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on January 24, 2011
When Carol Anita Ryan sets sail for the South Pacific, she expects adventure, romance and memories to last a lifetime. In Right Now is Perfect, Ryan vividly chronicles her life at sea with refreshing candor.

Setting sail with the one you love is special and unique. Carol and Bill have known one another for some time. Carol, a computer analyst, and Bill, an archaeologist, but mostly a free-spirit, have travel and adventure in common. They've shared dreams and goals and are ready to have an adventure of a lifetime together. Along with Bill's sister and her husband, they embark on a journey to the South Pacific on a 36-foot sailboat, the Velela.

The joys of sailing are abundant and Ryan describes them with delight and clarity: "...shower of shooting stars...a festival of dancing dolphin...a day-glow of bioluminescence...." She clearly embraces all the beauty the sea offers. The story also shows the downside of living and sailing in cramped quarters and enduring interpersonal and sibling rivalries and resentments. There's the drudgery of cooking on a rocking, pitching vessel and handling sails in rough seas. It's tough being a good sport when your bed is wet from salty sea spray and you're suffering from lack of sleep. Life at sea is a contradiction of paradise tempered with human and environmental elements. Finances are a concern every time you reach a landfall. Only the wind is free.

Ryan does a remarkable job of weaving South Pacific history with their explorations at landfalls. Colorful people, both native and fellow yachtsmen, become an important part of their journey.

Romantically, Carol and Bill are often led by different conceptions. At times Carol feels alone and at odds with their relationship. Bill often feels restrained by the desire to follow his own dreams. At times he's oblivious to Carol's needs.

Life after being at sea isn't always smooth sailing, either, especially with the sting of betrayal to both heart and body. Ryan's honest appraisal of her situation is unflinching and poignant.

Carol Anita Ryan's bitter-sweet memoir is a fascinating read and shows how inner-strength and courage can change the course of one's life. For more information about Right Now is Perfect, visit the author's website, [...].

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on March 29, 2011
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time, and not for any of the reasons cited by other reviewers. I finished it in two nights. It's a real page-turner.

In my opinion the book has NOTHING to do with sailing the western Pacific. That's just a backdrop, and who wants to read a travelogue?

Instead, "Right Now is Perfect" is a painful, shredding, frustrating portrayal -- honestly and innocently told -- of an incredibly dysfunctional relationship. It details, to the level of torture, the moves Carol Ryan makes toward "Bill" and away from him. It shows her -- to the point of the reader's pain -- honestly being drawn into horrible moments, again and again and again. I was angry at her stupidity, and I cried a lot for her.

Her "lover" in this book seems to find her MS "inconvenient," but there are many other painful moments. For example, her man joins a singles softball league, for Christ's sake! And she STILL overlooks that. She helps this guy with transportation and any number of other things. And to what good end?

He ignores all her travel experiences, won't spend a dime, never calls, and is generally a total screwup. Nicely rendered! Carol Ryan couldn't have done better if this were fiction!

As I say, she is deeply in love, and is a great fool. Both at the same time. Too much for the reader to bear, and that's what makes the book good!

As a bonus, Carol Ryan happens to show "yachties" as an extreme pack of self-indulgent, self-absorbed asses. They love you when you're on a cruise, NOT when you're not. And for some reason, she keeps meeting them in the islands of the western Pacific. How insular! How provincial! How totally self-indulgent! And who could possibly envy these Lotus Eaters?

She also happens to show lousy life aboard a sailboat, and the problems of a disharmonious crew. Good!
She shows how painful and dull a long voyage is. Trust me, I'll stick to day sailing.

The key and final point--the emotional spectrum. A great book must run the reader up and down the full emotional spectrum. A book should pump every gland in a person. That's what Carol's book does for me.

Barry Schoenborn, President
Willow Valley Press
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on January 17, 2011
There are many books out there about, and by people, with Multiple Sclerosis. This book was so refreshing in the honesty and openness with which the author shared her own experience which had not so much to do with the disease but how to take on life, and not be afraid to challenge yourself when things become available, not when all reason says you should, after your career, when you have enough money, or any of the other road blocks we put up. This is the story of a brave woman, who took chances and learned some wonderful, and sometimes sad lessons about life, love, and living. I can't wait for the next book.
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on July 9, 2011
We've all heard the old saw that "everyone has a book in them." I'm going to make the assertion that almost everyone has a memoir in them that many people would enjoy reading. An autobiography would have too many boring parts, unless they're famous or have led a life more exciting than most. But since the memoir is a focused autobiography, anyone who has had uncommon or interesting experiences has that memoir in them. Whether they have the skill or desire to write a memoir is another question. Carol Ryan has the needed skills.

A large part of "Right Now Is Perfect" is a travel narrative. Quitting work and sailing the South Pacific isn't something I'll ever do, but I can do it vicariously this way. In the past I've made the claim that there were two types of travel narratives, one largely positive, emphasizing the adventure, and the other, focusing on the negative in a humorous way. "Right Now Is Perfect" makes a liar out of me, at least if we file this in the travel section, which I suspect a bookstore would. It has positive adventure, but also plenty of challenges, most of them not humorous.

But "Right Now is Perfect" is much more than a travel narrative. It is a memoir with adventure and romance. Ryan experiences adversities to overcome and plans gone awry. It is also a story of learning to live life to the fullest and making the most of what life brings, whether good or bad.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
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on December 11, 2010
I couldn't put this book down. I read it in two nights and was sorry when it ended. I really liked the author's style of writing and the suspense encountered page after page. What an opportunity for a guy to be inside the head of a woman in love. Really insightful! The vivid descriptions of the ocean and islands were second to the colorful descriptions of the social situations and the tedium of being on a boat at sea. A wonderful read!
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on December 23, 2010
I loved this book and truly felt I was along with Carol Anita Ryan the entire read. From physically experiencing life on a sailboat to the emotions surrounding her relationship to the admirable way she handles "the unexpected thereafter", I felt connected. She conveyed the picturesque world of the South Pacific so well and is gifted at succinctly expressing her emotional joys and sorrows. I couldn't stop reading this book and hope for more from this author soon.
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on March 22, 2011
I have several books on MS, but they are mostly medically oriented and technically boring. This one is not! This book is more of an adventure, and it exposed what relationships are really all about after the diagnosis is made. I read it to find a shared view of my MS symptoms, but I also found out a lot about narcissism. Not hers. Anyone who has received the news must mourn their previous carefree active life; I know I do, but no one really writes about it. Carol Anita Ryan does, and she reminds us that if there was life before MS, it will continue in some other form. This is an encouraging read, especially for those of us with primary progressive MS, the often forgotten diagnosis in terms of research and development for a "cure.".
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on December 21, 2010
Upon reading the last line in "Right Now Is Perfect," I wanted more;
it was too soon for the story to end. An easy read that left this reader
wanting more. Hopefully the success of "Right Now Is Perfect" will inspire
both author and publisher to ink a deal for another story that chronicles
another adventure the author has had and is willing to share with her audience.
Thanks Carol for allowing me to travel, laugh and cry with you.
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on April 12, 2011
I love a book that takes me somewhere, allowing me an experience that I might never have in my own life. Carol Ryan paints a vivid picture of what life is like sailing the ocean, and visiting exotic places. The sailing adventure allows the reader to experience both the highs and lows of life on a boat -at times making me wish I could experience the same magical moments, and at other times making me thankful for my warm bed and fresh running water.
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on January 29, 2011
This was an intimate story of a relationship as well as a graphic story of life aboard a sail boat on a long voyage. The courage and resilience of the author was awesome. I felt I knew the author by the end and wanted to know her more. I was sorry to see it end--I wanted more--perhaps another book? Her writing was lucid and sensual. I could feel the salt water and the sore muscles. The feelings created felt genuine, honest. Lovely book.
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