Monday, January 12, 2015

Blood Drive

Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein is the second book in the Anna Strong Chronicles, and picks up two months after Anna's becoming a vampire.  She's still picking up the pieces of her life after that night and especially after the way things went down with Avery, she's determined to maintain as much as possible some semblance of her human life - something that is becoming increasingly more difficult all the time, in ways she hadn't predicted.

In Blood Drive, however, things get even more complicated when the last girlfriend of her late brother shows up after more than ten years, claiming to need her help.  Anna didn't like Carolyn when she was dating her brother, and she doesn't trust her now, but the help she needs is with her daughter, Trish - Anna's niece.  Anna isn't as easily persuaded as her parents that her brother is the girl's father, but she agrees to help find her.  When a friend of Trish's turns up dead, however, and Anna begins uncovering evidence of the things Trish has been involved in, her protective instincts start kicking into overdrive and leaves open some very difficult questions:  Who can she trust?  Will she be able to reign in her rage enough to contain her newly acquired thirst for blood,  or will she lose her grip on what's left of her humanity?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chinese Medicine for Healthy Skin

Chinese Medicine for Healthy Skin by Michelle O'Shaughnessy, as the subtitle states, is a "Chinese Medicine Guide to Vibrant Skin, Ageless Beauty and Vitality."  Traditional Chinese medicine includes such practices as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and tai chi, and has been in use for centuries upon centuries.  In the world of what is considered Western culture, these practices are being used more and more, although I believe most people use them as complementary treatments to a more modern medical approach.

O'Shaugnessy is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and owns a clinic in Orlando, Florida.  She also runs a website which sells herbal medicinal soups.


I received this as an ebook for review (quite a long time ago, I am sorry to say - I have a shameful backlog after being on the longest hiatus I ever hope to take from blogging), and I am glad that I was finally able to get around to reading it.  Prior to reading this, I didn't really know anything about traditional Chinese medicine apart from some VERY basic concepts.  I am, however, interested in holistic/herbal remedies for things.  Not being able to afford health insurance tends to make you more interested in finding ways to maintain your health and do what you can without racking up bills with a doctor.

So the title of this book specifies that the content will offer a guide to obtaining healthier skin through use of Chinese medicine, and that's exactly what O'Shaugnessy provides.  What surprised me, though, is that the nature of traditional Chinese medicine is such that the remedies actually target many other parts of the body as well; this is all because of the flow of energies that connects everything together, and in treating one area, you are also treating the directly related areas.  Chinese Medicine for Healthy Skin gives an excellent sort of crash course to all of this in the beginning chapters, discussing the history of Chinese medicine, as well as the concepts of qi (chee), yin and yang, and meridians.

Basically, Chinese medicine is about getting the energies of your body into harmony and keeping them that way - not treating one thing by substituting pain or discomfort for (potentially equally annoying) side effects.