Book Review

A Cold World

A Cold World

By | August 3, 2016 at 8:48 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- Zero K by Don DeLillo Fiction ----- Slowly but surely science and technology are moving toward cures for human disease. What if a new medicine or remedy became available after one’s death that might have reversed a deadly illness? If a body was...

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Art and Craft

Art and Craft

By | July 28, 2016 at 4:00 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- The Fat Artist by Benjamin Hale Stories ----- A dominatrix, a lawyer, a pool man and a drag queen are just a few of the characters living on the edge in Benjamin Hale’s The Fat Artist and Other Stories (Simon & Schuster, 288 pages). Author...

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Monster Madness

Monster Madness

By | July 21, 2016 at 10:37 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- Monster: A Love Story by Liz Kay Fiction ----- Love is complicated. Or is it? In Liz Kay’s Monster: A Love Story (Putnam, 368 pages) an emotional heart and an intellectual head don’t add up to a manageable relationship. The story is told by...

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Conflict Diamonds

Conflict Diamonds

By | July 21, 2016 at 10:26 pm | No comments

Where emphatic fantasy fiction bends to uncover authentic, primal humanity at its best By Morgan James What originally began with G.M.O. foods, lead to the harvesting of synthetic organs in medical applications, which led to an obsessive addiction that humanity couldn’t...

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Unfair Justice

Unfair Justice

By | July 14, 2016 at 7:25 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- The Innocents by Ace Atkins Fiction ----- People are complicated. Rich or poor, whether it’s due to nurture or nature, humans are more often than not in some form of survival mode. In Ace Atkins’ The Innocents (Putnam, 384 pages) there is a fine...

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Life in a Small Community

Life in a Small Community

By | July 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo Fiction ----- There is a certain allure to small town living.  Knowing your neighbors, making a difference and building a community are appealing to many.  But there are drawbacks if you love privacy and...

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Whatever Works

Whatever Works

By | June 30, 2016 at 3:34 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips Stories ----- Everyday life is filled with challenges.  Too often we become jaded and our world is reduced to a simple routine with occasional drama now and then.   Even with bumps in the road, we only...

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Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List

By | June 24, 2016 at 12:47 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons Something about summer reading makes me feel relaxed.  It’s as if I’m on holiday even if I never leave home. The idea of choosing a book with an immersive story that can take you far, far away to a distant world with new and fascinating characters, is...

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A Gift Guide For Father’s Who Love to Read

A Gift Guide For Father’s Who Love to Read

By | June 17, 2016 at 12:33 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons My father loves to read about history.  This makes it fun and easy for me to choose a good book for Father’s Day.  Historical nonfiction is some of the most fascinating, compelling and entertaining reading on the shelves today.   More often than not,...

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Getting Clean

Getting Clean

By | June 12, 2016 at 12:22 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ------ The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo Nonfiction ----- Having a home and workspace that’s simplified, clean and organized, seems like wishful thinking.  It may be something we all want, maybe dream of, but it seems impossible to...

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Swing State

Swing State

By | June 2, 2016 at 10:58 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- Dance Floor Democracy by Sherrie Tucker Nonfiction ----- Earlier this year, Secretary of State, John Kerry, met with Hollywood movers and shakers to persuade the film industry to help with the fight against ISIS by producing movies that would change...

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On Being Real

On Being Real

By | May 28, 2016 at 1:33 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- At The Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell Nonfiction ----- I don’t know what it’s like in your house when the family is gathered around the table, but at mine, the conversation more often than not, turns to the big questions of life: What...

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Ambition Runs Deep

Ambition Runs Deep

By | May 19, 2016 at 8:36 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight Memoir ----- Nike is one of America’s greatest companies.  For a country driven by capitalism, you’d think starting a business would be easy.  In Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog (Scribner, 400 pages), building a...

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Lovely And Lethal

Lovely And Lethal

By | May 12, 2016 at 2:31 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Maestra” by L. S. Hilton Fiction ----- I think it’s fair to say that women must work twice as hard as men to achieve equal wealth and power.   I’m not sure women can ever truly have the power men possess.  But some women try and they’ll...

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Impossible Love

Impossible Love

By | May 6, 2016 at 1:41 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Girl in the Moonlight” by Charles Dubow Fiction ----- If you have ever been in love – head over heels in love – you are lucky.  Maybe even blessed to feel something so powerful, strange and magical.  But what is love?  In Charles...

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Coming-of-Age in the American West

Coming-of-Age in the American West

By | April 21, 2016 at 3:56 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Last Bus to Wisdom” by Ivan Doig Fiction ----- There is nothing quite like the fame and allure of the American West.  Its history and lore has called to many around the world who long for freedom and adventure.  In Ivan Doig’s final novel,...

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Patty Duke Actress and Author

Patty Duke Actress and Author

By | April 14, 2016 at 12:56 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Call Me Anna” & “Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness” by Patty Duke Non-fiction ----- Actress Patty Duke died last month on March 29 at the age 69.  Since her death, I have been surprised how often Duke has came up...

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Murder, Corruption and Conspiracy in Our Desert Paradise

Murder, Corruption and Conspiracy in Our Desert Paradise

By | April 7, 2016 at 2:56 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Palm Springs True Crime” by Eric Meeks Non-fiction ----- No matter where you reside in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs has an undeniable allure with its rich history and Hollywood glamour.   The city has served as an anchor lending its good...

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The Space Between Book Signing with Dr. Virginia Simpson

The Space Between Book Signing with Dr. Virginia Simpson

By | April 7, 2016 at 2:54 am | No comments

By Janet Newcomb Something very interesting happens to us at a certain age. As adolescents we were chomping at the bit to be adults, and adulthood was pretty exciting for a while – until we slowly evolved from offspring to parent to caregiver. As a bereavement care...

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Gender Transformation in Argentina

Gender Transformation in Argentina

By | March 30, 2016 at 4:44 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “The Gods of Tango” by Carolina De Robertis Fiction ----- Life is mostly unpredictable and often the decisions we make change the course of direction in the way we live.  In Carolina De Robertis’ third novel The Gods of Tango (Alfred Knopf,...

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Weird, Wild and Wonderful

Weird, Wild and Wonderful

By | March 24, 2016 at 7:06 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Ark of Gold” by David Hatcher Childress Nonfiction ----- With the upcoming “Contact in the Desert” in Joshua Tree this June 3-6, it’s appropriate to high-light a good friend.  This event is one of the largest UFO conferences in the...

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Magi, Mysteries & Meaning

Magi, Mysteries & Meaning

By | March 17, 2016 at 2:43 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Magicians of the Gods” by Graham Hancock Nonfiction ----- If you spend too much time thinking about it, you realize, life is just strange.  We find ourselves here, on this beautiful planet, without absolutely knowing why.  Certainly there...

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In the Dark

In the Dark

By | March 10, 2016 at 10:45 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Last Words” by Michael Koryta Fiction ----- I have never known, whether hobbyist or professional, a caver.  To me, spelunkers seem to be a rare and bizarre bunch.  It would be fascinating to know such a person to understand the draw to the...

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Drawing on Humor

Drawing on Humor

By | February 4, 2016 at 2:05 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “How About Never.  Is Never Good For You?” By Bob Mankoff Memoir ----- What makes something funny?   In Bob Mankoff’s memoir, How About Never.  Is Never Good For You? My Life in Cartoons (Henry Holt and Co, 304 pages), humor is always...

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Rancho Mirage Writers Festival: A Readers Paradise

Rancho Mirage Writers Festival: A Readers Paradise

By | January 28, 2016 at 12:54 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons Congratulations to all the organizers, workers and supporters of the Third Annual Rancho Mirage Writers Festival for delivering an excellent event. Enough cannot be said about how much the festival is loved and adored by CV readers.  I am delighted to use...

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Looking for Treasure

Looking for Treasure

By | January 21, 2016 at 12:46 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “The Marauders” by Tom Cooper Fiction ----- How much does our community impact our character and shape our dreams?  In Tom Cooper’s The Marauders (Crown, 320 pages) a nightmare of environmental disasters reconfigure the lives of a Louisiana...

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National Book Award Winners

National Book Award Winners

By | January 14, 2016 at 12:25 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons It’s award season!  We all assume that means awards for movies.  The most exciting award shows are aired on television.  A few award shows are celebrated privately by industry guilds with the results quickly shared before the next award event. Whether...

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PSIFF:  “The Power of Words: Book to Screen”

PSIFF:  “The Power of Words: Book to Screen”

By | January 6, 2016 at 4:32 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons Good friends Barbara Keller and Susan Rosser had a terrific idea one night over dinner.  They both like to read and love movies, so why not combine the two and celebrate the art of film adaptation.  What if they could bring authors and filmmakers together...

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Favorites of 2015 – A Year in Books

Favorites of 2015 – A Year in Books

By | December 30, 2015 at 4:39 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons Amazing how quickly a year goes by! Considering the last 12 months, I realize how strange the notion of “time” really is.  If I dwell on its meaning -– if indeed time has meaning -- it can weird me out.  Thoughts cross my mind: “Did I make the...

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A Story of Compassion

A Story of Compassion

By | December 23, 2015 at 12:09 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens Novella ----- “I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round – apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that...

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Tis the Season for Gift Giving

Tis the Season for Gift Giving

By | December 16, 2015 at 11:53 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons This time of year there is a lot of pressure to find the perfect gift.  For some, the challenge is a joy, while for others it’s a nightmare.  Whichever side you are on, you can find something for everyone on your list at a bookstore. Books are a...

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The Future of Existence

The Future of Existence

By | December 10, 2015 at 4:14 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Population Wars” by Greg Graffin Non-Fiction ----- It doesn’t take expert analysis to recognize the world is tumultuous and life as we know it is changing.  The future is precarious for all living things on our beautiful planet.  Without...

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Finding Space in the World Outside

Finding Space in the World Outside

By | December 3, 2015 at 2:21 am | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Room” by Emma Donoghue Fiction ------ It’s horrific that human trafficking and sex slavery is happening today.  It’s hard to believe that people can disappear and live as prisoners right in our own communities.  In Emma Donoghue’s...

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To My Reading Buddy

To My Reading Buddy

By | November 25, 2015 at 9:59 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons Good-bye, my dear friend. You loved to read!   At the start, maybe more than I did.  You certainly looked forward to it.  I often thought of reading as a chore, but you didn’t.  You could hardly wait for us to get started. As soon as I picked up...

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Save Our Sea!

Save Our Sea!

By | November 18, 2015 at 11:42 pm | No comments

By Heidi Simmons ----- “Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea” by Christina Lange Nonfiction ----- Right in our back yard is the State of California’s largest body of water.  At 33 miles long and 13 miles wide –- that’s approximately 376 square miles! -- it...

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