Healthy Lifestyle

Southern Charm and Cause of Alarm

BOOKS! Yup, that’s what I am talking about!

I had a great reading month.  Since moving down south, I really wanted to feel like I was IN the south, so I choose two sweet southern books to read this month.

Also, for my book club, I read a fascinating book that I would have NEVER found if it weren’t for the book club!  My reviews and links are below:

Southern Charm

 The Summer Girls by Mary Alice Monroe


Three granddaughters. Three months. One summer house.

In this enchanting trilogy set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe captures the complex relationships between Dora, Carson, and Harper, three half-sisters scattered across the country—and a grandmother determined to help them rediscover their family bonds.

For years, Carson Muir has drifted, never really settling, certain only that a life without the ocean is a life half lived. Adrift and penniless in California, Carson is the first to return to Sea Breeze, wondering where things went wrong…until the sea she loves brings her a minor miracle. Her astonishing bond with a dolphin helps Carson renew her relationships with her sisters and face the haunting memories of her ill-fated father. As the rhythms of the island open her heart, Carson begins to imagine the next steps toward her future.

In this heartwarming novel, three sisters discover the true treasures Sea Breeze offers as surprising truths are revealed, mistakes forgiven, and precious connections made that will endure long beyond one summer.T

This book was set in Sullivan’s Island, SC. I absolutely loved the feel and vibe of the location! Reading books that take place in the south make me feel so much more at home. I actually get to understand how things are and work here, because they are SOO much different than in NJ. The south brings a comforting, homey and VERY community spin to my world. I am not used to it at all!  So experiencing books written in the south ABOUT the south, teach me so much and actually let me expand my views and beliefs.

This story is about 3 sisters that grew apart but are brought back together. They are all dispersed and gather together for a summer that was meant to bring them together by their grandmother. Each sister has her own share of problems, from an autistic child to alcoholism, everything really hit close to home.  It demonstrates life’s ups and downs  (that we all experience) and yet how having love and support can help you get through tough times. After all, isn’t that what life is all about? Feeling, being and giving love?

I recommend this for anyone that likes a feel good, easy, breezy read

The Pecan Man by  Cassie Dandridge Selleck

The Pecan Man

In the summer of 1976, recently widowed and childless, Ora Lee Beckworth hires a homeless old black man to mow her lawn. The neighborhood children call him the Pee-can Man; their mothers call them inside whenever he appears. When the police chief’s son is found stabbed to death near his camp, the man Ora knows as Eddie is arrested and charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, Ora sets out to tell the truth about the Pecan Man. In narrating her story, Ora discovers more truth about herself than she could ever have imagined. This novel has been described as To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Help.

I really enjoyed learning about the difficulties and unfairness blacks suffered, even when times were supposedly “changed”.  I loved the story line and felt myself relating to Ora Lee on a few occasions, most significantly her really realizing and admitting her mistakes to her self.  This was a beautifully written story and I felt the pain and happiness right along with the characters.

MY favorite read this month was

Brain on Fire by Susana Cahalan

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

A gripping memoir and medical suspense story about a young New York Post reporter’s struggle with a rare and terrifying disease, opening a new window into the fascinating world of brain science.

One day, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four year old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.

Susannah’s astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. As weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning her to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined her team. He asked Susannah to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing her with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

With sharp reporting drawn from hospital records, scientific research, and interviews with doctors and family, Brain on Fire is a crackling mystery and an unflinching, gripping personal story that marks the debut of an extraordinary writer.

I love psychology, the mind and WHY we do things. This book was fascinating and really caught my attention for several reasons:

  1.  It informed me of a new medical condition, I had NO clue about
  2. It made me realize how sensitive and in tune with myself I was
  3. It gave me the inspiration to NOT give up fighting for what is right , or what I feel is right
  4. That I really enjoy reading memoirs! (If they interest me!)

I find myself to be a sensitive person. By that I mean I feel I can pick up on my feelings or know when something is just NOT right. I feel I can do this with others as well. I am sensitive as to when something is bothering someone else


This book was for my book club, WHICH was interesting (and another post in itself) because there were two girls that were doctors in my group, so it was interesting to get the medical perspective about this book!


***When I say medical, do NOT run. It is very simple and easy to follow. The author does an exceptional job of “dumbing” down the issues and explaining terminology that may not be known to readers


2 thoughts on “Southern Charm and Cause of Alarm”

  1. I read brain on fire a few years back, I put it on a holiday wish list and liked it very much.. Psychology books or mental health related stories are top pics for me but aren’t usually everyone else’s- so when you said you read one as part of a book club, I had a feeling that would be the one. Glad you liked it. Just realizing you moved down south- good luck and I hope you love it!


    1. I really did like it a lot although it got mixed reviews in the group it definitely is not for everyone but then again what is 🙂 the south is very different I’m adjusting as best I can and loving many moments but also missing a lot of the things from back home


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