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Joyce McDonald

Joyce McDonald

After a courageous struggle with brain cancer, Joyce McDonald passed away on February 23, 2016 at the age of 68. Among numerous accolades and titles, her most prized accomplishment later in life was earning her black belt in Kung Fu. She was always a fighter but also knew when to surrender gracefully, and she went peacefully in her home surrounded by her immediate family. Joyce was born on February 1, 1948 in Dorris, California to Bessie and Ron McIntryre and older sister Jean. After moving to San Antonio, she attended Jefferson HS and later The University of Texas at Austin where she earned a B.A. in Russian and M.A. in Educational Psychology. She married fellow-Longhorn Robert L. McDonald on November 22, 1969. After college she worked as a high school teacher and counselor and later served the technology sector as a programmer, technical trainer, network administrator and documentation specialist. She and Robert lived in San Antonio and raised three children, Heather, Laura and Scott. Joyce is preceded in death by her mother, father, and sister. She is survived by her husband, Robert, three children--Heather Lotts (Gary Lotts), Laura McDonald (Mauricio Portasio) and Scott McDonald, and four grandchildren--Josie Lotts, Gavin Lotts, Braden Lotts & Mei McDonald.

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Review: "The House of Mirth" by Edith Wharton

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The House of Mirth, first published in 1905, is about New York socialite Lily Bart and her attempts to secure a husband amidst the social whirl of New York’s Fifth Avenue at the dawn of the Twentieth Century. Wharton pictures a new class of self-made millionaires created by Wall Street, casts a shadow over the tenuous position of those in the “leisure class” and offers a peek at the ascendancy of the self-supporting career woman. Continue reading .

Review: "Margaret's Rematch" by Farida Mestek

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After the loss of her sister, Margaret Fairfax settles at Northbrook Hall – the country estate of her brother-in-law, Mr. Westfield, whose dislike of her is legendary. There she faces a major challenge of reconciling their many differences and proving to him that despite the rumours of schemes and scandals that followed her from London, she is worthy of his regard and affection. With time and many an exertion on her part and that of her new family, Margaret succeeds in altering Mr. Westfield’s opinion of her and attaching his heart, but she fears the worst when her deceitful friend arrives. Continue reading .

Review: "The Last Man" by Mary Shelley

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As in Frankenstein Mary Shelley shows herself as a sci-fi pioneer and visionary with enough political savvy to know that the strife between Christian and Muslim would not be resolved even two hundred years into the future. Mary Shelley’s gifted use of the English language was perhaps better in this work than in Frankenstein. Also to her credit, Shelley, perhaps because of her many tragic experiences, quite accurately captures and expresses the angst of mourning. The Last Man is not Frankenstein, but if you have the patience to read it, you will find its mysterious makeup rather interesting. Continue reading .

Review: "A Voyage in the Sunbeam" by Annie Brassey

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First published in 1878, A Voyage in the Sunbeam is a journal detailing the Brassey family’s voyage around the world. Annie Brassey delights in the mild Tahitian and Hawaiian breezes, shivers in the Japanese cold, and swelters in the Arabian heat. She struggles to keep down her breakfast sailing through the Straits of Magellan, and boldly marches her children up to the caldera of an active Hawaiian volcano. She suffers many hardships, but Brassey is undaunted, retaining a childlike wonder in the sights she sees. Continue reading .

Review: "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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First published in 1909, The Secret Garden is one of Burnett’s most popular novels and is considered a classic of children’s literature. It tells the story of Mary Lennox, a sickly, orphan girl, who is sent to isolated Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England. There she befriends a boy named Dickon with whom she investigates a secret garden on the Manor grounds. Here the garden becomes a metaphor for Mary’s transformative effect upon her cousin and uncle. Continue reading .

Review: "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

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Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was published in 1818 and is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel. Started by Mary Shelley at the age of 18, the story tells of obsessed university student Victor Frankenstein who finds the secret to animating dead flesh. His creation is intended to be a beautiful, super-human being, however when brought to life it is a disgusting, frightening creature. Continue reading .

Review: "The Story of My Life" by Helen Keller

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Helen was born in June of 1880 in a tiny town in northern Alabama. She was nineteen months old and had just begun to talk when she contracted an unnamed disease, described by her doctor only as “acute congestion of the stomach and brain.” The doctor’s prognosis was that Helen would not live. She pulled through, but not before the disease had robbed her of her sight and hearing. Continue reading .

Review: "Heart Pulled to Pieces" by Megan Trennett

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How do you pick up the pieces when your life falls apart? When her marriage ends abruptly, Andi Mathews packs her bags and leaves the City to start a whole new life in a small town known as The Tourist Trap. A good distance away from her old life, Andi heals by meeting new friends, and flirting with the idea of falling in love once more. But just when life starts to look good for Andi, an unexpected turn of events sends her world crashing down all over again. Continue reading .

Review: "The Doctor's Wife" by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

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First published in 1864, The Doctor’s Wife uses the concept of the serialized sensation novel to create stories within stories within stories. A reworking of Madame Bovary, the heroine is Isabel Sleaford who is married to an adoring, if boring, physician. He does not share Isabel’s taste for literature, but she is content until she meets her intellectual equal in the author of her favorite book of verse. As Isabel’s life begins to take on complications worthy of her literary heroes, she begins to find what it is like to grow into a mature woman. Continue reading .

Review: "Rose in Bloom" by Louisa May Alcott

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A sequel to Eight Cousins and first published in 1876, this novel begins when Rose returns from two years in Europe. Her seven male cousins have grown up and are looked upon as possible mates for Rose. The winner would be fortunate, since Rose is a rich orphan. With all the conflict and reversals that never happened in Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom is a more adult novel than its predecessor. However it is vintage Alcott, echoing some of the sentiments from Little Women. Continue reading .


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