I love a good mystery and Bad Sons by Oliver Tidy didn’t disappoint me. David Booker was teaching English as a second language in Turkey when he came back to the UK to help his aging relatives liquidate their bookstore. When he arrived, no one was there to meet him. No one had seen his aunt and uncle that day. And then a body washes up on the beach.
The descriptions were so detailed I could imagine myself on the gray, chilly mornings, standing next to David looking out at the English Channel. David wasn’t a superhero, quite flawed actually, a smoker, drank a little too much, had a bit of a temper but was overall decent. His concern for his relatives drives him to do more investigation than the local police would like.
David forms a sort of alliance with Detective Cash, the female detective assigned to his case. Together they do some poking around in an effort to discover what has happened. Not to spoil the story, but they discover that sometimes things are exactly what they seem.
Delightfully, this is only the first book of the Booker and Cash trilogy. I wonder what sort of other mysteries find themselves entangled in.
I’m currently on a quest to become a certified life coach and picked this book for this reason. Initially, I thought I had made a mistake. Some sentences in the introduction were so poorly worded and word choices were so unusual, that I thought perhaps the author was someone whose native language was not English. However, the author chose to include one of my favorite quotes by Joseph Campbell, and I decided to keep reading.
I’m glad I did. Although I won’t say that every chapter resonated with me, quite a number did. Each chapter focuses on a single type of activity that you can do to start listening to your body to begin to make better choices. There were seven sections that used the imagery of a mighty tree as a representation of your body, from roots to the process of photosynthesis.
Each of those seven sections were further divided into daily activities. At the end of each chapter, there was a recap list, which was quite helpful. For example, one chapter was about minimizing distractions and included brief discussions on how applying the concepts of Feng Shui, Minimalism and saging your home environment could help you do that.
As I mentioned, some of the chapters weren’t for me. I don’t feel that restless energies are trying to speak to me at 3 a.m. I am not in any way clairvoyant, nor do I regularly comune with a guardian angel. But that’s just me. Undoubtedly, there are those out there who would find tapping into those aspects of the unconscious a useful exercise.
The women were honest about the struggles they had to create the life they love in Mexico. All of the women told their stories from the “other side” after prevailing against discrimination, income loss, relationship challenges, and just plain ol’ culture shock. All in all, it’s an inspiring “happy expat” read.
So why did these women leave their home countries? Some left because of the current political climate. Others left to provide life experiences for their children they would not otherwise have. Some women came for the culture, others for the cost of living. Some lost their marriages to Mexico, others found love and stayed.
What did these women find in Mexico? Purpose. Simplicity. Patience. Confidence. Seem like pretty good trade-offs to me.
I would have liked to have seen more stories from women who chose voluntary exile after their spouses were deported, but then perhaps they don’t fit the criteria of “expats”. Most of the women in this anthology were also living in areas full of gringos or small towns near those epicenters, San Miguel de Allende, Mazatlan, Lake Chapala, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel and so on. Perhaps that’s the book I need to write…
Sarah and Nate Hunter become embroiled in more than they bargained for when they volunteer to help restore a crumbling church in Mirador, Chiapas. Unbeknownst to them, el Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) has big plans to use Nate’s internet savvy in order to make public their War Against Oblivion. Then the unthinkable happens.
I have to say that Mirador by James A. Jennings was a great read. The Zapatistas (EZLN) have been in the news lately as they continue this struggle against oblivion begun in 1994. The pivotal events in the story occur just months before the Zapatista battle cry ¡YA BASTA! was heard on January 1, the day NAFTA was signed into effect.
The characters were well-developed and believable. The locations were described in exquisite detail. The political situation was explained in the introduction and then again in a historical note at the end, bringing the events up to the present.
What this book really needed, however, was a Mexican consultant for the Spanish phrases included in the book. These lacked the proper cadence and rhythm found in Mexican Spanish that just can’t be duplicated by a non-native speaker.
For example, although “Mi hijo” is grammatically correct, no one says that, mijo. It was to the point that I was reading the Spanish text as if a gringo were speaking, not a Mexican. There were also grammar errors. When speaking of the native people of the area, the correct term is “los indígenas” not “las indígenas” even though the word ends in the feminine “a.” Another incident was that a young man would NEVER use the informal “tú” tense when speaking to a woman he revered as a grandmother which occurred in the book. There were sentences that were totally incomprehensible in Spanish, as if the author tried to translate directly from English. “Ser grave” should have been “Se serio” and so on.
While I understand that the book was meant for English speakers, these glaring oversights detracted from my enjoyment of the story to some extent. Although to be authentic, most of the characters would have been speaking in one of the nearly 70 indigenous languages found in Mexico.
On the other hand, I took immense pleasure imagining life among the Zapatistas, something I probably will never experience. I was delighted to learn just a little more about el lek’il kuxlejal which roughly translates as buen vivir (living well) that is at the heart of the indigenous resistance movement in Mexico.
Each and every page of The Creative Journey by Tim Cigelske was a delight for me to read. There were quotes from my favorite creative people, Jim Henson, Joseph Campbell, and Mr. Rogers. Excerpts from the writings of Buddha and the bible were scattered like wildflower seeds throughout the text. Real life creative success stories and commentary from Professor Cigelske’s college students drove each chapter’s point home. And then there were the activities! Write your own obituary, create a children’s book about your dreams, keep a logbook. Wonderful stuff!
Although many of the items discussed in this book were not new to me, I did learn a thing or two along the way. We often get so bogged down in what we have to do, we forget what it is we should be doing. Thus was the reading of this book for me. I remembered what I wanted to do before paying bills and assignments and even book reviews got in the way. I want to create.
The path to creating isn’t a well-traveled road. Each of us must find our way by going on own hero’s journey, a concept made famous by the anthropological studies of the esteemed Joseph Campbell.
We are born. We go forth into the world. We are tested and found wanting or we are challenged and found sound. We need to be brave enough to search out our true purpose. We need to be humble enough to learn from those that have gone before us. We need to be committed enough to follow through and not give up. Only then can we say that we have become masters of our own destinies. Even then, sometimes the end of the hero’s journey is just the beginning of another.
Creativity is not something we are naturally endowed with or not. Rather, it’s a way of looking at life. Each section of this well-written book will encourage you to find the creative life that is already inside of you. Whether you run off and join the circus or invent the iPod, living creatively is the only way to find meaning and purpose. And who doesn’t want to live a life full of meaning and purpose?
For those brave enough to seek a life of creativity, this is the book for you.
I received an ARC of this book from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.
This book was written just for me. After having had my first hot flash a few weeks ago, I suddenly and dramatically realized how unprepared I was for this next stage of life. I vaguely understood that I belong to Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) but hadn’t even considered that I was already in midlife at 46 (which begins at 40 and ends at 65). That’s how clueless I was.
Not only did this book have factual information about what I can expect as I bumble, crash and burn, (Who really sails serenely through any life stage?), this later adulthood phase, but there were life stories from other women who have successfully transitioned. Additionally, there was a “Taking the Controls” section in each chapter with questions for me to ponder as well as a template for my own personal Flight Plan for me to work through.
If I was in any doubt that somehow the author knew what I needed to hear, then there was that quote from my all-time favorite movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that cinched it for me. Other phrases that resonated with me were “Midlife is a time to recalibrate, not surrender.” and “There are many versions of you, and they are all right.”
There were chapters on the physical changes I can expect, and the mindset I should strive to develop. There were sections on self-care and finding financial freedom. The author shared her experiences and thoughts (some were quite eye-opening) on everything from social value to sex.
After reading this book, I’ve come to realize how much I can do with this stage of my life. It’s time for me to get started on all those things I’ve been putting off, like finding my superpower, indulging in my guilty pleasures, and even some death planning. Let’s get started, shall we?
I admit, the title of this little book was what first attracted me. I wanted to know why life stories change and how I see myself differently as I have aged. I’m not sure that this book gave me a concrete answer to this question though.
The author shared a few samples of his life story rhetoric as examples of how looking back he has reevaluated the importance of a particular event. He has a little more experience than most in retelling his life story as a member of a men’s church group focused on bonding. Mr. Jones first noticed that the stories of members in the group shared changed with the retelling over time which led to the thoughts contained in this book.
I would have enjoyed more personal stories and more development of the topic of why life stories changed in the book. The book was finished before I had time to mull things over. I was left with the question of what I was supposed to do with this idea of retelling life stories. Was the author encouraging me to just reflect on these events? Was I supposed to write my life story paying particular attention to how I saw events as I was writing? I felt at loose ends at the end of the book.
The text was well edited, except for the words Little League which were not capitalized when used. Having been born a mere stone’s throw from the capital of the Little League World Series stadium, this was a glaring issue for me. Other than that, there were no major errors that I found.
I enjoyed the quotes from book characters, authors and celebrities that were sprinkled throughout the book. I also enjoyed reading the segments of Mr. Jones life story he chose to include. His About the Author was very well written, so much so that I would have enjoyed hearing more about some of those events in the book itself.
Reedsy Discovery is looking for book reviewers! I’ve been reviewing books for this company since the book reviewer program went live in March 2019. Now, the floodgates have opened and they are looking for more readers to critically review the hundreds of self-published books they have received.
You can help authors become better wordsmiths with your reviews. Here are some comments I have received from grateful writers.
“Many thanks for your insightful review of my book. I believe you caught the spirit of the adventure. Much gratitude!”
“Thank you for the amazing review of my book. I am so glad that it resonated with you and that you found it helpful. I had the chills as I read your review and was near tears because you got it!”
“Thank you for pointing out those few things in your review, it was definitely helpful, especially the part about a missing section. I had two different documents and somehow that section wasn’t transferred over. So thank you for pointing that out. I’m surprised no one else mentioned it. Good eye!”
If you’ve always wanted to combine reading and writing into one enjoyable activity, then it’s time for you to sign up to be a book reviewer! You can learn more about becoming a book reviewer for Reedsy Discovery here.
Although it’s designed to complement the eCourse with the same name, it can be used entirely independently. I should know. I was a contributor and editor!
Included in the workbook are the activities Getting Clear on What You Want to Achieve, Creating your Conditions of Satisfaction, Your Project Plan and The Next Steps which are all designed to help you create a plan for finding your dream life in Mexico.
Now only that, but you’ll find featured interviews from Judy King, Meg Moulton, Daniel Gair, and Krish Yadav to provide just the inspiration you need to start your plan to move to Mexico today!