” Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery” by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin #Spotlight

by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Genre: Nonfiction/Medical

Release Date: May 9, 2017

The acclaimed author of Carved in Sand—a veteran investigative journalist who endured persistent back pain for decades—delivers the definitive book on the subject: an essential examination of all facets of the back pain industry, exploring what works, what doesn’t, what may cause harm, and how to get on the road to recovery.

In her effort to manage her chronic back pain, investigative reporter Cathryn Jakobson Ramin spent years and a small fortune on a panoply of treatments. But her discomfort only intensified, leaving her feeling frustrated and perplexed. As she searched for better solutions, she exposed a much bigger problem. Costing roughly $100 billion a year, spine medicine—often ineffective and sometimes harmful —exemplified the worst aspects of the U.S. health care system.

The result of six years of intensive investigation, Crooked offers a startling look at the poorly identified risks of spine medicine, and provides practical advice and solutions. Ramin interviewed scores of spine surgeons, pain management doctors, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, specialized bodywork practitioners. She met with many patients whose pain and desperation led them to make life-altering decisions, and with others who triumphed over their limitations.

The result is a brilliant and comprehensive book that is not only important but essential to millions of back pain sufferers, and all types of health care professionals. Ramin shatters assumptions about surgery, chiropractic methods, physical therapy, spinal injections and painkillers, and addresses evidence-based rehabilitation options—showing, in detail, how to avoid therapeutic dead ends, while saving money, time, and considerable anguish. With Crooked, she reveals what it takes to outwit the back pain industry and get on the road to recovery.

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“Tight Rope” by Sahar Abdulaziz #CoverReveal

“Tight Rope”

Author: Sahar Abdulaziz

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Suspense

Release Date: June 1, 2017

In a socially and politically divided country after the presidential election, activist and American Muslim Nour Ibrahim prepares to deliver a speech at an anti-hate rally condemning the surge of attacks against people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and anyone else deemed different or disposable. As her inbox overflows with racist, xenophobic threats, she struggles to remain focused, refusing to give in to the fear. Concerns for her safety during the speech mount as one ruthless stalker escalates his terror campaign. Bitter and blinded by hate, he’s not satisfied with merely keeping Nour from speaking out: he threatens to silence her for good.

Stressed by the impending rally, a stabbing pain in her gut, and an Internet psycho who has her in his crosshairs, Nour begins to wonder—which one will kill her first?

Available soon on Amazon and Fofky’s Online Book Café

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“Self-Serve Murder (Death by Cupcake #3)” by D.E. Haggerty #Review

Death by Cupcake #3

“Self-Serve Murder (Death by Cupcake #3)”

by D.E. Haggerty

Genre: Cozy/Mystery/Humor

Release Date: December 5, 2016

Amazon          Goodreads

4/5 Stars!

#TeamKristie

Though little more than a supporting character in the first two Death by Cupcake books, Kristie Larson is a standout in Self-Serve Murder, the third book in the series.

The youngest of the daring trio (which includes Callie and Anna) from Callie’s Cakes, Kristie is, IMHO, the most mature…or at least she doesn’t act on impulse…much. And while she seems timid, you already know there’s more to Kristie than meets the eye considering her ‘job’ and commitment to an inner-city youth center.

These ladies seem to have a knack for finding dead bodies, and in Kristie’s case, she wakes up next to one!

(Totally appropriate to freak out at this point.)

A frazzled Kristie is soon ruled out of any involvement in the murder when test results show she was drugged. However, she did know the deceased, and wonders if his death is related to something sinister Kristie was looking into – the drugging and sexual assaults of young women who all happen to be in the Social Work program…like Kristie. So, who’s responsible?

Enter Callie and Anna to help solve the case! *Overly dramatic eye roll* I like these two, honestly, but they’re just a bit too over-the-top for me some of the time.

But, Kristie…she’s not (quite) from the same ilk. She’s more focused, and keeps things closer to the breast – the proof being the major secret she’s kept from everyone, including her best buds/workmates.

While Kristie needs to know what happened to her and Dick (the dead guy) and find out if it’s all related to the sexual assaults, she’d rather keep Lucy and Ethel, er, Callie and Anna…and everyone else away from the case…lest her secret comes out.

Of course, Kristie doesn’t get what she wants.

At the risk of angering their police detective significant others, Callie and Anna commence with the investigation plans. Kristie is more thoughtful…and tactful. Finding and gaining access to a private online forum for sexual assault victims, Kristie attempts to build a friendship with another member. She doesn’t necessarily get the information she’s after, but this connection will bring a big reveal Kristie never saw coming.

A couple of suspicious characters keep popping up at the unlikeliest of times, but when the villain is revealed, it’s #TeamKristie all the way. She’s shocked…and caught off guard, but when she realizes who’s standing before her…I wanted to stand up and cheer. I may have screamed, “YOU GO, GIRL!” It was awesome, and I subconsciously apologized to Kristie over and over again for underestimating her in previous reads.

Self-Serve Murder is a good read. Kudos and much respect to the author for tackling such a sensitive, yet timely issue.

Two things kept this from being a five-star for me – 1) the passive/aggressive relationships of Callie/Ben and Anna/Logan. One minute they’re all “We do what we want”, and the next they’re being chastised and plopped on their men’s laps with threats of spankings, and 2) Tyler’s aggressive behavior with Kristie. For me, it was too much too soon considering what happened to his sister, and for not only what Kristie went through, but the fact she was still an ‘innocent.’ It’s okay to be concerned, protective, and interested, but being so ‘hands-on’ right from the start isn’t.

It’s still Kristie’s show, though. Her internal thoughts were quite telling as to who she is. While she may have been falling victim to a case of insta-love, and hesitant to speak, she did eventually say the words, “I belong to no one.”

And that brings the story full circle and cements the vileness of the villain because he took away women’s right to choose. Good stuff!

You could read this as a standalone, but I don’t recommend you do. Reading books one and two will help you to understand more of the conversations, how the other two couples got together…and see just how awesome Kristie Larson truly is!

Enjoy!