Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized, Writing to Write

Book Review: Life Expressed in 25 words or less: Distilled Wisdom for Life by Jack Cantwell

life-expressed-in-25-words-or-less-jack-cantwell

 

Book: Life Expressed in 25 words or less: Distilled Wisdom for Life 

Author: Jack Cantwell

Rating: 4/5

 

Curious about a summary of the book……Press Me

 

A few quotes….just a little bit though: 

“A time that was is still a time that is”

“Honest reply does not quell anger”

“Compassion has nothing to do with economics”

My thoughts:

 

Kudos to the first time author, Jack Cantwell. This book is a series of his observations and experiences written in 25 words or less and resembling the haiku format.

These haikus paint pictures with words that pull you into what he was experiencing at the time. Humor, mindfulness, nature, history, sports, and so much more are woven into the haikus to bring the words to life for you.

Some of the haikus reference the awe of a Power greater than thyself. His poetic style captures earthquakes in Japan, the tragedy and undying spirit of the Boston marathon, the beauty within a can of Miller delight, and the priceless miracles of life.

Here are three haikus that I enjoyed:

I.

“Illiterate man works hard 

To learn reading, 

So he can sing karaoke.

Motivation is a good thing, 

whatever the reason.”

II.

“A bat falls from a tree

into the lap of a man in a parked

convertible.

The crotch-scratching bat causes the 

man to

vault from the convertible in world

record time.”

III.

Born 5 weeks early.

Dodges every medical bullet.

At 10 he scores a soccer goal

In front of joyful grandparents.

Icing on God’s miracle cake.”

Overall, I liked this read. It was very quick. I’m a bit biased because I love when people are triggered to write their experiences spontaneously and creatively. So kudos to Jack.

Also, this is a nice challenge to writers out there. Why don’t we create a book of haikus that take place over a certain period in our lives?

Pick up the book and then let Jack know what you think of it. His information is within the pages of the read. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized, Writing to Write

exit-the-labyrinth-by-stephanie-kay-bendel

 

Book: Exit the Labyrinth: It’s Onset and Aftermath

Author: Stephanie Kay Bendel

Rating: 4/5

 

Interested in a summary, Press Me

 

A Small Dose of Quotes: 

 

“Remember, it’s not so much what happens but how you interpret it that causes pain” 

“The morally responsible person considers the possible consequences of his deed before he acts” 

“How difficult it was to understand why we feel what we feel”

“Sometimes you have to follow your instincts, even when what they tell you doesn’t seem logical”

“Laws and social structures had been turned inside out and upside down, so powerful was the idea that we not only have the right to question the rules but are sometimes obligated to do so” 

 

 

My Thoughts:

“I see a faint light in the dark labyrinth I’ve been living in.”  This quote sums up so much of the book. Stephanie does an impressive work of unraveling into revelation. She uses each glimmer of light (therapy, dreams, conversations, experiences, and family) to build the puzzle of sunshine that was previously pitch black, as there were portions of her life that she could not account for.

 

Stephanie demonstrates how childhood perspective, interpretation, and feelings mold you into the person you are today. She endured many traumatic experiences as a child, directly and indirectly.

“I’ve learned that’s how the mind works–it does not accept what it isn’t prepared to deal with.”

 

Overall, Great read. It will encourage you to self-assess lovingly and honestly in order to find balance and acceptance.

Hey, you might learn a few things, such as:  “A screen memory is the memory of an event that arouses an unusual level of emotion because what you are remembering contains elements that are similar to the original trauma–the one you can’t remember.”  I think we all are affected by this crumb of info.

 

Here’s another:  “It’s not the intuitive knowledge that makes you feel crazy–it’s the doubting of that knowledge.” PREACH! The story of my life. Intuition vs Logic can create internal battles that leave you more confused than you started. Hold my mule a moment, why don’t you.

 

You don’t have to take my words for how well done this book is weaved together.  Pick up the book, and see what Stephanie’s labyrinth will help you unravel in your life. Happy reading!

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: No Place to Pray by James Carpenter

no-place-to-pray-coverjcbricks2

 

No Place to Pray
By James Carpenter

Southern Gothic Explores Destitute Characters, Dark Plot Turns, and Magical Realism
LIVES UNRAVEL AT THE SEAMS OF CLASS, RACE, AND RELIGION IN A PLACE WHERE NO ONE EVER QUITE TELLS THE TRUTH

How do the consequences of alcoholism impact our daily lives and those we love? It may be more than you think, as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that, within the United States alone, 16.3 million adults ages 18 and older (6.8 percent of this age group) have an Alcohol Use Disorder. Nearly 88,000 of those individuals die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the country.

 
Alcoholism and its impact is one of the leading themes in the new Southern Gothic novel No Place to Pray by author James Carpenter. In this new spin on a beloved genre, the book takes readers on a harrowing journey with the “intensity of ten moral lifetimes” (Edie Meidav, author of Kingdom of the Young).

 
Two young men, one bi-racial and the other white, meet in an overnight lockup, thus beginning a shared twenty-year downward spiral into alcoholism and homelessness. LeRoy and Harmon work together, drink together, and brawl together. As Harmon suffers from his final illness, they both bed Edna, a wealthy widow who — out of pity, curiosity, and loneliness — takes them into her vacation home by the river.

 
Through episodes rendered from multiple shifting points of view, a series of flashbacks, and LeRoy’s adventure stories—this intelligent but uneducated man’s attempts at fantasy writing—the stories of these people and the tragedies that shaped their lives unfold. Their lives steadily unravel at the seams of race, class, and religion, where no one ever quite tells the truth.

 
A Southern Gothic steeped in traditional language and with emphasis on destitute, drunken characters, dark plot turns, and magical realism, No Place to Pray experiments with a new form of lyrical language that touches upon the author’s experience as a published poet. This is not the only aspect of the book that draws from Carpenter’s own varied life experiences.

 
“The book is obliquely autobiographical,” Carpenter reveals. “Fictionally, I am LeRoy James. He represents the binaries in my own life, where I have never quite resolved living in two worlds, my blue collar, hardscrabble origins, and eventually teaching in the Ivy League and all the disconnects intrinsic to that social distance.”

 
A sobering and insightful take on the Southern Gothic genre, topics and themes explored in No Place to Pray include:

 
• Social interactions are transactions whose currency varies depending on the nature of the interaction.
• How we as humans are spiritual beings who are ill-served by our religious institutions, leaving us with no real place to pray.
• Untreated alcoholism is always fatal, 100 percent of the time.
• We are prisoners of our pasts, yet there can be moments of clarity during which we can escape into a place of self-awareness.
• Social binaries and contrasts regarding race.

Born and raised in rural Mercer County, PA, James Carpenter made his way through college working various eclectic jobs and, after graduating, taught middle and high school English. He then retrained as a technologist, eventually developing the Erica T. Carter software system that composed the poetry anthologized in the Issue 1 dustup. Erica’s poetry has been published in several dozen literary journals and he’s presented Erica at international conferences, including at the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, and the e-poetry 2007 conference in Paris.

Carpenter spent fourteen years as a member of the affiliated faculty of The Wharton School, where he lectured in computer programming, system design, and entrepreneurship before retiring to write fiction. Since then, his writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Chicago Tribune, Fiction International, Fifth Wednesday Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, and Ambit. His novel, No Place to Pray, is forthcoming from Twisted Road Publications in September.

Learn more on his website, or through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads

No Place to Pray can be purchased on Twisted Road Publications, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

REVIEW COPIES OF NO PLACE TO PRAY AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Contact: Rachel Taylor or Jennifer Tucker
856-489-8654 x321 or x303
Rachel.Taylor@SmithPublicity.com/Jennifer@SmithPublicity.com

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized, Writing to Write

Book Review: Don’t Speak: A Jade Harrington Novel by J. L. Brown

dontspeak

 

Book: Don’t Speak: A Jade Harrington Novel

Author: J. L. Brown 

Rating: 5/5, Learned a lot while being entertained 

Summary: Press Me to read an overview of Don’t Speak 

A Small Dose of Quotes: 

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” F.Scott Fitzgerald

“The circumstance is not of consequence, but how you react to it is. Being still and doing nothing are two very different things.”

“There are causes worth dying for, but not worth killing for.” Albert Camus

My Thoughts:

 

Well, hot diggity dog, this is a great read. Did she say ‘hot diggity dog?’ Yep, read it and then i want you to exclaim it as well.

A major gold star sticker reward is earned due to the handling of political info.  How often has politics been presented to you resulting in your feeling more confused and brain-fried than when you started? Lo, and behold, Don’t Speak is not one of those moments. The points are digestible and you’ll find perspective and empathy in the positions presented. Politics. Plots. Perspective. Parenting. A lot of Ps, huh?! Be Patient. The paragraphs unfold in this unpredictable thriller.

Sidenote: You’ll absolutely love Jade Harrington.

Truly, there aren’t any negatives or dislikes that I find fault with.  The characters, with their biased opinions, will fuel your own passions on sensitive subjects, such as abortions, social and income inequality, and misogyny. Don’t Speak aids in your understanding that your speech can and will cause a reaction. Be mindful of what slips past your lips.  It can be the difference between life and death.

I highly recommend this read!!!

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized, Writing to Write

Book Review: The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy (Book 1) by Claire Youmans


the-toki-girl-and-the-sparrow-boy-book-1

Book: The Toki-Girl and The Sparrow Boy

Author: Claire Youmans 

Rating: 3/5

 

Visit the bookshelf for more info: Press Me

 

 

A few Quotes:

 

“…for love transcends space and time”

“You can’t change your essence, it only leads to unhappiness if you try.”

“So you have decided to be all of yourself all at the same time.”

My Thoughts:

The story is very imaginative and filled with a mix of unique characters, such as bird children and sea dragons.  A major message presented in this work is ACCEPTANCE of who you are and flowing within that.

There is also emphasis placed on spirituality. Through the actions of the characters, faith and belief possessed the power to change your entire life. How does one handle change?

Change presented itself in cultural and identity roles. The message: Internal wars may lead to external wars if mismanaged.

Overall, the creativity of the story is appealing. However, there were many times boredom set in and I started calculating the page numbers to completion. It just did not keep me coming back for more expectations of wonders. My greatest like of the book is Self-Acceptance. It’s often difficult but necessary for growth and balance.

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized, Writing to Write

Book Review: Devil In The Grass by Christopher Bowron

devil-in-the-grass

 

Book: Devil in the Grass 

Author: Christopher Bowron 

Rating: 4 / 5, Probably need professional counseling after reading this 🙂 

 

 

Curious for more about this book/summary:  Press Me

 

Quotes:  Only a dose though…you have to read the book. It’s worth it. 

“Family is bigger than the individual.”

“I’m not gonna take up with the Lord just to get into your pants.”

“If these were dead people, you’d still have ’em gutted, and hung up. To me that’s bein’ a  sick b@stard.”

My Thoughts:

Gosh, this is a very chilling read…characters, such as Isaac McFadden, are truly disturbing.  Although, I almost decided not to read this book due to the mentioning of a “cult”. Lo and Behold, glad that I took the time to get lost in these pages. The writing is magnificent, and humorous at times.

Devil in the Grass is a well-developed plot with gripping, eery characters that prance around unapologetically in sadistic behavior. Someone, please pass me the communion wine and bread because I feel unclean. HA!

This thriller begs the question: How far are you willing to go to further, or come out on top, for  your agenda? The plot is sprinkled with traditions, spiritual, political, and family beliefs. Riddle me this batman: Who will survive up until the very end?

Overall, this is a highly recommended read by myself to you. Go get it now and please let me know what you think of it. You will be pacing the floor and yelling at the characters…and probably even ducking and seeking shelter.

There are many unpredictable and emotion-triggering moments which is a win for me. No one likes a predictable book. It dulls the surprises. So, don’t procrastinate. Devil in the Grass is the way to go.

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Book Review: Sophie by Jennie Sargam

 

Book: Sophie

Author: Jennie Sargam

Rating: 5/5 Stars, I read this book in a day 

Goodreads SummaryPress Me🙂

Quotes I like from the book…only a few though …

“How can I expect anyone to really love me if they don’t know who I am?” 

“Everything I am and have is a result of what I’ve lost.” 

“Show me how to forgive him, because I never want to love him any less.” 

 

 

My Thoughts:

Where do I begin? First off, this is Jennie Sargam’s debut novel. Jennie, if you’re reading this, walk outside and look up. The blimp with “Salute” on it is for you. Well done!!!

Major message in this read: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Sophie is the perfect example of this quote coming to life.  This teen’s goal to graduate is the easy part compared to the responsibilities on her plate. A life without her parents has given her a special love, determination, and iron exterior that many ADULTS haven’t successfully navigated.

Each character has a background that has shaped who they are. Each person understands love, pain, death, absence, complexity, and communication. As you read this, imagine yourself as each character. Try to view the world through their perspectives.  It’s very eye-opening how our internal battles, and agendas can lead to adding more in a person’s life than necessary, although sometimes needed.

I really loved each character but Brooke reallllyyyyy made my nerves grate against one another. And it’s because my personality is very much like Sophie. Read the book to understand what I mean.

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Book Review: Nirvana (Nirvana #1) by J. R. Stewart

 

 

Book: Nirvana (Nirvana #1)

Author: J. R. Stewart

Ratings: 5/5, Check out that cover also! Major points.

Goodreads Summary: Press Me 🙂

Quotes I like from…only a few though..

The world is crumbling, you’re my distraction from the pain.”

We need the light to see the darkness, and in the darkness is the truth.”

An intelligent mind is never bored.”

My thoughts:

First, take a moment to check out that book cover. It is truly captivating huh. Well, let me tell you what I think about this book.  Dramatic pause.

Loved it. The writing has such a smooth flow to it, and it kept my attention the entire read.  The characters (names and actions) merge so well. It is a movie that plays in your mind as you progress through the pages.

This novel pulls you into the present world we live in, while also being based in the future.  It brings together the concept of virtual reality, corporate greed, important environmental issues, and humanity.

Of course, I won’t tell you any spoilers but I do think this is one you should read. Then you can wait like me for the next book…eagerly awaiting the next one…where is the next book…omg…*taps watch*

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Book Review: The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson

 

Book: The Opposite of Everyone

Author: Joshilyn Jackson

Rating: 4/5 Stars, This even appealed to my nerd side (teach me, teach me, teach me)

Expected Release Date: 16 February 2016

Goodreads Summary: Press Me 🙂

Quotes I like from the book….only a  few:

“His existence shifted history. His birth, his loss, remade my mother, and recolored her choices.”

“If you live a life shaped like a loaded gun, your kid is going to come along and shoot it.”

“A long time ago, this happened, and it’s happening now”

My Thoughts:

This read reminds me that there is nothing new under the sun.  I love these stories with poetic, cryptic lessons of deep meaning. The reader (yep, you) interprets the meaning.

We all leave our residue within each stage of our lives, coloring the world with our fragrant beliefs and actions…composing our own unique masterpiece.

Karen lived life on her terms. It may not all make sense, or run smoothly, but we all are living our own stories, sometimes blending paths. One story can lead to many different endings, which are actually beginnings.

I love reading a story in which you have to remind yourself the characters aren’t real. These characters are alive, and their emotions (energy) leaps out the story.

Well done, Joshilyn. Well done.

Also, the Hindu storytelling was a brilliant addition.

Definitely give this one a read

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Book Review: A Moment of Silence: Midnight III by Sister Souljah

Book Review: A Moment of Silence: Midnight III

Author: Sister Souljah

Genre: Fiction/African American

Rating: 5/5 Stars   (I would give more if they were available)

Goodreads Summary:  Press ME 🙂

Quotes I like…only a few though…

“A true confession should come from a person’s soul voluntarily”

“Any man can learn another man’s language if he could shut up long enough to listen, and sit still long enough to study.”

“Whatever the truth is in my soul, heart, or mind, I take action over words.”

My Thoughts:

Phenomenal Read! I would recommend this book to anyone with eyes to read. This work is a life changing masterpiece, infused with multiple doses of cultures (Japanese, Sudanese, American, Chinese, Korean, Jamaican, Mexican, and Dominican).

We navigate the world through the eyes of Midnight, as he endures conflicts with self, society, and family. This book will challenge you to think critically. It will cause you to use introspect regarding your actions, decisions, accountability, and beliefs.  As stated within, “We have a consideration, a responsibility to think and rethink, to evaluate and weigh and make honest and careful decisions. We have a responsibility to pursue the truth, and be the truth, yet we know we can never be perfect.” This marvelous work will trigger powerful discussions by all that are blessed to digest its message.

Sister Souljah wove life into each character with ease. You can hear their voices as they each speak their truth. You never know what you will get as you turn each page of this read, but you will be transfixed until the end…and begging for more.

This is a must read that should be a part of your library.

Indulge. Take notes. Enjoy!