indieBRAG Blog

A conundrum!

FACT NO FICTION! 336 Hours by Rachel Cathan 336 Hours by Rachel Cathan documents the honest account of a woman attempting her third IVF treatment and the emotional, funny, and moving experiences she goes through. Imagine placing on top of her experience discovering that you’d be committing a felony if you disposed the unused fertilized embryos. This is the conundrum created by the Supreme Court’s ruling when they overturned Roe v. Wade and left it up to the individual states to decide the fate of abortion rights. People waiting for babies could realistically be impacted by laws passed in their state granting personhood to frozen fertilized embryos. Some states say fertilization starts life; some say 15 weeks. Some do not specifically talk about IVF; others feel personhood starts immediately. No one knows precisely at this point which is making choices risky and very tough for couples choosing IVF. Depending on the state, a lot of these couples could be in legal limbo with tough choices. Currently, their choices may be fertilizing one embryo at a time, freezing embryos and then implanting all of them and seeing what happens, transferring the frozen embryos to states which allow their existence, or paying for the frozen embryos’…

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Memories of the Deli-

Laurie Boris' Boychik Reading this book took me back to the tastes and smells of my Dad’s deli—the sour pickles, the corned beef sandwiches, the lox and the deli salads. Set for much of the novel in Brooklyn in two neighborhoods, Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg, both neighborhoods with which I am very familiar. Like main characters, cousins Eli and Artie Abramowitz, my dad was born in Williamsburg and was only 2 years younger than Eli. His dream was to own a deli, which he did many years later. In Brooklyn Heights, a wealthy neighborhood then and now, another main character grows up, Evelyn Rosenstein, daughter of Murder Incorporated mobster. What happens when these characters meet is an absorbing story, filled with romance, crime, and dreams, where Hollywood and life intertwine. Evelyn grows up in a wealthy but troubled family. Even at 17, she is chauffeured by a bodyguard everywhere and resents the lack of freedom she sees others have. She loves the Jewish traditions and thinks, “She liked lighting the menorah with her mother on Hanukkah. She liked the Seder dinner. They felt like invisible threads connecting her to Bubbe and Zayde, and all the family going back for generations.”…

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Time Travel

Time Travel By Deborah Lynn In A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage, Alexandr Lind finds herself several centuries back in time landing at the feet of a handsome Matthew Graham who has no earthly idea what to do with her. Sounds absolutely enchanting, doesn’t it? Who hasn’t dreamed of going back in time to a romantic tryst for a while? Hmmmmmm, lovely. It’s an extremely popular genre in the present day with countless books and movies dedicated to feeding our desires for time travel. In our time, it was first popularized by H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine, but the idea has been floating around the human psyche for thousands of years. The Vishnu Purna talks about King Raivata Kakudmi traveling to heaven and meeting Brahma, the Creator, only to find when he returns that hundreds of years have passed. Then there is the Japanese story of Urashima-no-ko, a fisherman who goes to an undersea castle for a few days. When he returns 300 years have passed and all he knows is gone. Let's have one last example. The 1st-century BC Jewish scholar Honi ha-M'agel fell asleep for seventy years and when he woke up no one knew him…

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A Trip into Medieval England

1066   What Fates Imposed by G. K. Holloway reminded me of a wonderful holiday I took with some great friends to the very place that gave Holloway his mesmerizing topic. I am a an open and unashamed Anglophile. I admit it. I love the Queen. I love tea with milk (NOT cream). I love the Cotswolds. I’ve vacationed there so many times I can’t count. I’ve watched every single Endeavor and Morse series at least 3 times AND their spinoffs. I also adopt an English accent the minute the captain announces we are landing at Gatwick. Ta! I also adore English History. I once bored to death (my husband can vouch for this) a quiet, unobtrusive English couple, minding their own business, staying at our B&B, eating breakfast the same time as us with a complete and accurate recitation of all the kings and queens of THEIR country…in the correct chronological order. Mind the Gap! So it makes sense that I would have, at some point, visited the (holy!) site where the Battle of 1066 took place and the future of Britain was decided. That particular year we were staying in Rye, a gorgeously quaint town in the southeast of Kent…

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Ahh! Summer Reading & a Lovely Tomato Salad

Eagan Whitcombe gets up before dawn each day. He eats a thin watery gruel, often his only meal for the day, and goes out onto the streets to gain clients who need their chimneys cleaned. He negotiates his own prices and works alone, often in unsafe conditions. He eats if he can. He gives most of what he has earned to his master. He sleeps on the floor of a basement, in which he is locked in all night. Eagan is a chimney sweep. He is 6 years old. You won't be able to put down A.M.Watson's historical nove, Infants of the Brush. My mom is not a vegetable eater and I am always hiding veggies in puréed soups and stews. Yet my mom ate an entire tomato of my Summer Tomato Salad! This is a seriously delicious and easy salad, even more delicious with tomatoes from your garden, farmer’s market or local produce in your supermarket. Sliced tomatoes marinating in a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette with a little salt on top create this summer wonder. Use a variety of tomatoes for a pretty look. I used some from my garden and some from Costco. Wow!   Summer Tomato Salad ​ Serves…

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Time Travel

Time Travel by Deborah Lynn In A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage, Alexandr Lind finds herself several centuries back in time landing at the feet of a handsome Matthew Graham who has no earthly idea what to do with her. Sounds absolutely enchanting, doesn’t it? Who hasn’t dreamed of going back in time to a romantic tryst for a while? Hmmmmmm, lovely. It’s an extremely popular genre in the present day with countless books and movies dedicated to feeding our desires for time travel. In our time, it was first popularized by H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine, but the idea has been floating around the human psyche for thousands of years. The Vishnu Purna talks about King Raivata Kakudmi traveling to heaven and meeting Brahma, the Creator, only to find when he returns that hundreds of years have passed. Then there is the Japanese story of Urashima-no-ko, a fisherman who goes to an undersea castle for a few days. When he returns 300 years have passed and all he knows is gone. Let's have one last example. The 1st-century BC Jewish scholar Honi ha-M'agel fell asleep for seventy years and when he woke up no one knew him…

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A Memorial Day Special!

We thank all the men and women who have served our country in the military, for keeping us free, protecting our Constitution and flag. Have a safe and meaningful Memorial Day. In one of my favorite scenes from The Surgeon, a Civil War novel, Dr. Abbey Kaplan confronts a disapproving male doctor. Not only won't Dr. Connolly work with her, he doesn’t allow her into the male wards, even though male doctors are allowed into female wards.  When Dr. Kaplan complains about this unequal treatment, he responds, “How dare you talk to be like that! You have no business being here in the first place. The very idea of a female doctor is abhorrent.” He then slaps her across the face. Abbey, 6’ tall and well trained by her father and brothers in self-defense, slams her right fist into the doctor’s face, then a left uppercut to his belly and a right to his jaw. She throws him out of the surgical tent.  Dr. Connolly never reports the incident as he couldn’t admit to slapping a woman nor that he was beaten up by one. He requests a transfer to another unit and Abbey is on the road to respect from…

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Delicious Savory Onion Pie is paired with this month’s Foodie Lit historical novel, Infants in the Brush.

Eagan Whitcombe gets up before dawn each day. He eats a thin watery gruel, often his only meal for the day, and goes out onto the streets to gain clients who need their chimneys cleaned. He negotiates his own prices and works alone, often in unsafe conditions. He eats if he can. He gives most of what he has earned to his master. He sleeps on the floor of a basement, in which he is locked in all night. Eagan is a chimney sweep. He is 6 years old. You won't be able to put down A. M.Watson's historical novel, Infants of the Brush. This delicious Savory Onion Pie is paired with this month’s Foodie Lit historical novel. This delicious Savory Onion Pie was typical fare for those in the 18th century lower class, who couldn’t afford much meat. Onions were substituted for meat, with potatoes for bulk and apples for a bit of sweetness. I modified this recipe from a wonderful website, savoringthepast.net, which collects recipes from 18th century cookbooks. The combination of onions, potatoes and apples is aromatic and hearty—a meal in itself. I have made onion and leek tarts and find this recipe modern in ways those…

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“I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!”

"Pay the Stake, Roll the Dice, Do the Dare. Getting divorced at twenty-five sucks. Teaching over-confident rich kids when you’re all but homeless sucks. In fact, every single aspect of Daisy Fitzgerald’s life is one big fail. Enter hot young chef, Xander. He’s a Knight-in-Shining-Cricket-Pads who knocks Daisy off her wedge heels and into his privileged world of It-girls, players and Michelin stars. High on cocktails & escapism, Daisy agrees to play Forfeit, the ultimate game of dares." #FORFEIT by Caroline Batten Daisy Fitzgerald in #FORFIET played a game of dare that led to a romantic kiss, but also “blackmail, betrayal, [and] revenge… “. I am not a daredevil. I never have been and never will be. But then, that’s me. Someone says I dare you and I am out of there fast. But apparently, there are a lot of people out there (especially young people) who are attracted to dares and challenges, especially when it involves social media. According to the article “Danger Ahead: Social Media Dare Games” on Netsanity.net (on which this blog is based) social media appears to ratchet everything up a notch. So, if you can do something wild and crazy, that’s fine; but if you…

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Handfasting- a commitment by joining hands

In the opening List of Main Characters in the book 1066: What Fates Impose, by G. K. Holloway, Edyth Swanneck is listed as “handfast wife of Harold,” the main character of the book. When I first read about Edyth and Harold in a novel long, long ago, I read that they were “handfasted” in marriage. When Harold took the throne of England (in the book I read) he needed a politically expedient wife and the Christian priests said that handfasting was no big deal and that Harold could just ignore it and get on with marrying his “real” wife in a Christian ceremony, which is what he did. At that time, I wasn’t too keen on “handfasting” nor Harold, for that matter! Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about the term and its origin. Apparently, the practice is over 7000 years old and was used in the English, Norse, Scottish and Celtic cultures. The word itself comes from Old Norse, “handfesta” which means to strike a bargain by joining hands. Hence, “May I have your hand in marriage?” “He asked her father for her hand in marriage.” Actually, it started out as a commitment between a man and a…

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