Tuesday Book Review: “Conscious Contact”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

conscious contact bill rich

Conscious Contact

by Deacon Bill Rich

ISBN: 9781478781875

Synopsis*:

Buen Camino… Deacon Bill Rich had a dream. To walk the Camino de Santiago; at 76, with severe arthritis and a shaky lower back. Accompanied by his son-in-law John McGrath, he was able to do just that. This is his story, a photo diary covering his preparations and thrilling journey across northern Spain. What did he learn? It is good to have a dream.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Conscious Contact: A Camino Pilgrimage by Deacon Bill Rich is an exciting book that chronicles the adventures of the author who, at the age of 76, dreamed of walking the Camino de Santiago. Deacon Bill Rich motivates and inspires readers through his story to take up challenges and look beyond their blocks and obstacles so that they can fulfill their dreams. The book covers his walk, which he terms as ‘Pilgrimage,’ and the thrilling journey he undertakes, in spite of having a degenerative arthritic condition in both feet. The book chronicles his foot problems, foot surgery, his determination to overcome the obstacles, and making the decision to do the Pilgrimage.

This book is amazing, uplifting, and thought-provoking and it encourages readers to look beyond the problems in their lives and do the impossible. It gives them the confidence to try out what they want to do and fulfill their dreams, despite setbacks in health. The ‘Pilgrimage,’ as the author terms it, is meaningful, profound, and will reinforce your faith in God and the higher self. Written in a journal format, the author’s pain, struggles, will to achieve what he wants, and determination are palpable. I like the strong messages the author conveys through his story – having a dream is important, to discover the incredible latent potential we all have, and spiritual growth. The photographs shared in the book help readers connect better with the author. His experience and ‘Pilgrimage’ will remove doubts and fears from our minds and encourage us to push beyond the limits.

– reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Reader’s Favorite

Other Reviews

Deacon Bill Rich had a dream. Despite being in his mid 70s with a bad back, two bad feet, one bad knee, one replaced knee, and two bad hands, he would walk the 500+ mile Camino de Santiago: the Way of St. James. Bill wanted both to stretch his boundaries and increase his contact with the Divine, and during the course of his journey is able to achieve both objectives. But this is not an expedition for the faint of heart; or the out of shape. And the intense two-plus year effort that he put into getting himself ready for the walk is a fascinating prelude to the pilgrimage itself.

But it is when Bill, accompanied by his son-in-law John McGrath, reaches Europe and begins his trek that the real fun begins. He shows an appreciation and delight in both the spectacular and the mundane and is an astute observer of both. There is breathtaking scenery and the serendipitous appearance of a lemonade stand just when he needs it most. He meets,and later re-meets, other pilgrims who evolve from occasional companions into friends. He learns the hard way that walking downhill can be much more treacherous than walking up. He fears a forecast of heavy rain but encounters a rainbow instead. But most of all he walks: 15 – 20 miles per day, over all sorts of terrains in all sorts of weather. And throughout, Bill shares with us his hopes and fears, but mostly the joy, of his journey.

This is a book that is both deeply spiritual and great fun. But the highest praise I can give “Conscious Contact” is that reading it made me wish I had made the journey alongside him.

As Bill says more than once: It is good to have a dream.

 – reviewed on Amazon by PBGNick

 

This book will be particularly meaningful to anyone who:
–is considering a pilgrimage of any kind
–has an interest in increasing their faith in a higher power
–wants to learn more about the potential of the human spirit.
– reviewed on Amazon by Tim

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Tuesday Book Review: “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

too much junk in my trunk! the adventures of zealy and whubba roe de pinto

Too Much Junk in My Trunk!
The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba, Book 4

by Roe De Pinto

ISBN: 9781478790259

Synopsis*:

The Adventures of ZEALY AND WHUBBA Children’s Book Series – 14X Award Recipient – Mom’s Choice, Readers’ Favorites 2016-2017, Readers Views, Independent Press, & National Association of Book Entrepreneurs, Pacific Book Review 2016/2017 Books 1, 2, 3 & 4

This newest release, “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” teaches children to eat a variety of food, encourages them to try new foods from early on, and teaches them not to overeat as well as providing comfort in knowing that their parents will usually “fix their boo-boo” so they know who to go to when that occurs! This edition actually engages the child throughout the book through questioning the reader, which enhances the child’s experience of what the characters are embracing throughout the story. Splish- Splash with Zealy and Whubba-more to come!! Watch for it!

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” is Book 4 in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba series by Roe De Pinto.  It is about two friends named Zealy (a seal) and Whubba (a killer whale) who ate too much. They went to Zealy’s mom and told her that they had a bellyache. The book says they had too much junk in their trunk that made them feel like funk. The book taught me that it is good to have other nutrients in our bodies and to try new different foods.

I liked that Zealy and Whubba had to have water and they ate some food. I liked that Zealy’s mom helped them feel better.  I did not like that they went into the deep end. It should have been against the rules. There were sharks and bad things in the deep end.

I thought the art was good! I really liked the cover because Whubba is hugging Zealy. On another page, the pictures showed the food that the friends were going to eat. I also liked that the pages were colorful and that all the pages had a blue background because blue is my favorite color.

I really liked this book because it is a good book and it is all blue! Other kids will like it because they can learn that they shouldn’t eat too much food or their bellies will hurt too.

Parent’s Note

Russ really seems to like this book. He runs around saying, “Too much junk in my trunk makes me feel like funk!” When I asked him about it, he said that if he feels like he is eating too much, that he won’t because it will make his belly feel bad. He also knows he needs to eat a variety of foods and take his vitamins. I think “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” by Roe De Pinto is perfect for little boys in the “potty talk” stage where they make up words anyway.

– reviewed by Russ Cramer (age 6) for Reader Views Kids

Other Reviews

For fans of Zealy & Whubba, the fanciful girl seal pup and her orca friend and mentor Whubba, we all get to join this duo as they go on yet another adventureAuthor Roe De Pinto brings these characters into new situations up in the cold water off of an imaginary Big Rock Island in episode 4Too Much Junk in My Trunk! In this episode, the two wander off to a new place where they come across a feeding area of new and flavorful fish, clams, lobsters and mussels. Zealy tries many new delicacies of colorful fish as Whubba eats his favorite crustacean diet. Along come some sharks, but since Whubba can protect Zealy from the sharks, they all decide to join the feeding frenzy. It’s a happy, festive feast when all of a sudden, oh boy, Zealy & Whubba both get big stomach aches.

They go back to Zealy’s parents where her mother tells them both, “Too much junk in your trunk makes your belly feel like funk!” So after drinking more water and feeling better, they come to a finale dance and celebration saying to each other, “Too much junk in my trunk makes my belly feel like funk!” Having this repeated by everyone time and time again “drills” in the message to children to watch what they eat, and keep away from junk. The importance of a well-balanced diet is explained, in this case by example.

The illustrations are wonderful and generously placed, interleaving with the story to provide an excellent and memorable bedtime experience. As children are read The Adventures of Zealy & Whubba!, they are taught special lessons of life, however the predominating rule in all of Roe De Pinto’s books is love. Love one another, and love yourself – it is all about love.

The achievement of this series of beautifully illustrated and printed children’s books has created two of the most lovable talking sea creatures since, well Spongebob and his friends in Bikini Bottom. Zealy with her snow white fur and Whubba with his shiny black and white body and blue eyes make ideal role models for kids to find details to love within both of them; making for excellent role models of loving the differences of others not looking the same as you. So many undercurrents of social behavior and family structure are threaded into all of Roe De Pinto’s books which make this series a “must have” collection for toddlers to enjoy – an excellent gift for young family libraries.

Each of the episodes bring to awareness the love of friendship and family and with the illustrations so consistently imaginative, each of the books comprising this series receives the highest accolades from not only this reviewer, but many from others as well.

 – reviewed by Beth Adams for Pacific Book Review

 

This book is adorable! The illustrations are colorful and show just how sweet this dynamic duo can be. There is a good lesson for the little ones to keep their belly’s happy and healthy that resonates through. The wordplay here is something my sons really loved. Highly recommend!
– reviewed on Amazon by Anthony Naber

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Tuesday Book Review: “Bertyl: I Just Want To Belong”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

bertyl I just want to belong sandra dobozi

Bertyl: I Just Want to Belong

by Sandra Dobozi
illustrated by Egle Bartolini

ISBN: 9781478784975

Synopsis*:

How Can Bertyl Fit In? Bertyl is a charming adventure story written in rhyme about a sweet little turtle searching for his identity. When Bertyl is born he becomes a beloved surprise to his family. But Bertyl wonders why he is different and doesn’t look like other turtles. Beryl’s loving family and wise friends help him understand that “We all fit in and we all belong.” This charming, wise tale reassures readers that we’re each exactly right, just the way we are.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Bertyl: I Just Want To Belong” is a lovely children’s story about accepting and celebrating individual differences. Written in refreshing narrative verse, the story of Bertyl turtle Summer Breeze, the air-colored turtle, is inspiring and intriguing. Bertyl is a beautiful, perfect, healthy young turtle who is born without any coloring of green. Instead “Bertyl Turtle Summer Breeze was the color of a sneeze/ Bright and shiny as window glass/ See-through clear as a jellyfish mass.” Although Bertyl was healthy and had happy proud turtle parents, he was unhappy because he did not look green like his Mama and Pappy. They thought about painting him green, but that would make him sick. He could not wear green clothes because turtles did not wear clothes. The word went out to a multitude of Bertyl’s rainbow friends, birds and beasts. To Bertyl’s question “Why do I look so very plain/ Like morning dew and summer rain?” The answer was beautiful and surprising.”We all were born to a greater good/In clearest waters and thickest woods/ And so you see, our dearest friend, The circle of life will never end./ Be brave and proud and strong of mind/ And who you are can’t be defined; Bertyl Turtle, you’re one of a kind.” In answer, reflected in the incredibly sensitive, expressive rainbow splashed illustrations, Bertyl became joyously acceptant of his different clear color, saying “I’m so blessed to be alive./ How we look is never wrong/ We always fit/ WE ALL BELONG.” “Bertyl: I Just Want To Belong” delivers a complex and delicate inspirational message while fascinating readers with the rainbow diversity of all creation.

– reviewed on the Picturebook Shelf at Midwest Book Reviews

Other Reviews

Thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated! kids of all ages will love this. we bought it for our neighbors that have a small child and when my kids (13,12,0) saw it and began reading it we decided to keep it. i will gladly buy another!

 – reviewed on Amazon by jw1zzo
This is such an AMAZING story that teaches children the important lesson of acceptance and pride in their individuality and that as unique individuals we are all part of a bigger picture! The descriptive language paints such a colorful picture of Bertyl and his family and friends in their beautiful surroundings. The illustrations are amazing as well! I LOVED IT!!! I highly recommend this story to children…AND adults!

– reviewed on Amazon by Robyn

Not everyone is born to look like everyone else. Every child wants to be accepted by their peers and no one wants to feel left out because he/she does not have the right clothes, is the wrong skin color or just appears to be awkward and or shy. Born in a celery patch this precious title named Bertyl Turtle Summer Breeze is curious, smart and does not understand why he is not the color of lime, leaf or grass. He is pure with no color mark namely the color of glass. You can literally see right through him he is a clear as a jelly-fish mass. But, his heart is made of pure gold and what he learns from his friends is more valuable than if he was born green like other turtles.

Checking out his face or reflection in the stream he realizes that he does not resemble or look like his parents and this makes him pose the all important question to readers: How would Bertyl turn to green? Some solutions are not that easy and all too often we wonder why. Bertyl wants to be the color green like trees or lima beans or what about green clothes? Why not paint myself green would that help? But, his wonderful friends came from all parts of the forest to help cheer him up and give him suggestions. Sugar-beet Parakeet and Blueberry Canary and others explained to him that you are not plain you are YOU! His friends told him a special story that only they can share with you about Paradise when you read this beautifully written and colorfully illustrated book. What they tell him applies not only to this special turtle but to children and adults too. I too understand that the circle of life never ends and I know it has no beginning and to me no end. So, you are not defined by other people or how they act or look you are one of a kind! As Bertyl will learn that he is special in his way all children need to learn the same lesson. What the final outcome is you will learn when you see Bertyl on the final page of the book and learn whether he smiles and if he realizes that he’s no mystery he is just as he says: Uniquely me!

Where does he feel he belongs? What will he do next? Does he feel that he needs to be green or is he happy just being him? We All Belong in our own special way. We all belong and should never want to change who we are on any day. Life brings us changes and our differences are what makes each one of us stand out for the best. Learning to get along is what we should all do everyday and maybe adults will learn the same lesson. For educators this is a great way to introduce a new student to a class and to the school. It’s a great way using each one of the animals who come to his aid showing that many different races, people and in this case animals can ban together to help someone feel special and a part of the group. Great to foster great self-esteem and self-worth, friendship, loyalties and just knowing that WE ALL BELONG!

 – reviewed on Amazon by Samfreene

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Tuesday Book Review: “A Dolphin and a Pilot”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

a dolphin and a pilot steven lane smith

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A Dolphin and a Pilot

by Steven Lane Smith

ISBN: 9781478791140

Synopsis*:

At critical moments in the lives of two of the world’s premier acrobats, each has to decide the other’s fate. Time will tell whether the risk is worth the reward. Flash is a Pacific bottlenose dolphin with a passion for acrobatics. Aspiring to be a world-wide sensation, he undertakes a 15,000-mile journey to reach the venue of his dreams – Aqua World. Captain Jon “Skip” Roper is an Air Force fighter pilot flying in a formation of four F-16s from Korea to Peru. At the pinnacle of his career, Skip is the master of his universe until a cockpit warning light illuminates in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The drama that unfolds propels the two proud acrobats onto intersecting courses. Each is confronted with a vital decision that will alter the life of the other. The consequences of their decisions signify triumph for the interdependence of Earth’s species.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

A whimsical yet compelling tale in which the fates of an unlikely duo collide, “A Dolphin and a Pilot” by Steven Lane Smith shows how two simple acts of compassion and kindness form an irrevocable bond of trust and friendship.

Flash is a young Pacific Bottlenose dolphin with a dream. The best acrobat in his pod, Flash craves the applause and admiration of humans and hopes to be world famous one day as an entertainer for Aqua World.  Against the advice of family and friends, Flash leaves his pod on a 15,000 mile quest to fulfill his dream. Flash bravely navigates through many of the perils in the ocean, but a treacherous encounter with an unruly group of humans leaves him wounded and vulnerable.  Will he make it to Aqua World or should he return to his pod?

Jon “Skip” Roper is a fighter pilot based at Osan Air Base in Korea. With just hours left of a week-long simulated air combat mission, the control panel in his F16 illuminate. As the systems begin to fail, Skip realizes his only chance for survival is to eject. Injuring his right hand in the process, Skip makes it to his survival raft, but his troubles aren’t over yet. With only a protein bar for sustenance and one container of drinkable water, he is exposed in his tiny one-man raft, in a sea full of danger and no land in sight.

Without giving too much away, Flash and Skip come together briefly at a couple of critical points in the story to teach lessons in mercy and relationships, and restore hope and faith in goodness and humanity.  A tall order for satirical fiction!

I’ve read a few novels by Steven Lane Smith and love his story-telling technique. He has a clear, distinctive voice and his clever wit shines throughout the story. His humor is often so subtle that many times as I was reading one page something he said on an earlier page suddenly clicked.  Skip Roper – ha! Most of the time however, the writing is just flat out hilarious, especially the dolphins’ take on things. For example on page 37, “I know what my life’s work is going to be!  I’m going to entertain humans in captivity!”  Flash’s obsession and obvious ignorance of what being in captivity actually means provides for some serious laugh-out-loud moments.

Not limited to humor, Smith can also write some agonizing drama. In this particular story the author’s background as a former fighter pilot provides a completely authentic experience.  One can actually feel the exhausting, painful ordeal Skip Roper goes through when he becomes stranded on a tiny survival raft through the author’s expert portrayal of the events.

Fans of satire, action and adventure, and general “feel good” stories will enjoy “A Dolphin and a Pilot” by Steven Lane Smith.  It is such a fun book to read and a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I highly recommend.

– reviewed by Sheri Hoyte on Reader Views

Other Reviews

Did you ever read the book, WATERSHIP DOWNS? It is a phenomenal story about rabbits who displayed human characteristics. As I was totally enthralled reading A DOLPHIN and a PILOT, the similarities were huge. This is a book everyone should read; light, humorous, didactic, it kept me fully engaged. This is an extraordinary book whose genius author allowed we readers to glance into another world where humans and mammals/animals portray our “oneness.”

 – reviewed on Amazon by E$rnie Carwile

This book is one of the best “Make you feel good” book that I have ever read. The subtle humor and the “dolphinizing” of human sayings and social issues made me laugh out loud numerous times. Bravo Zulu, Mr. Smith. I have recommended this book to many of my friends and, the ones who have read the book, made similar comments. This book will make a great Christmas present for all ages and genders.

– reviewed on Amazon by John Fenton

Steven Lane Smith is a brilliant fiction writer. His grasp of the human condition coupled with his simple, profound observations have made him among my very favorites. A Dolphin and a Pilot is another thoroughly enjoyable SLS offering that rises to the very high standard this gifted author has set. I highly recommend this wonderful book.

Smith is a master story teller. In A Dolphin and a Pilot he weaves a compelling tale of a young dolphin’s love of acrobatics – something difficult and beautiful. The dolphin’s problem is that in his immaturity, he has confused the rush of adulation with the deeper satisfaction of doing a difficult thing well. The addiction to public approval is so strong that he is willing to give up everything important in life to achieve it.

We meet fighter pilot “Skip” Roper is he is preparing to depart on what he believes will be a routine flight. Smith – a veteran fighter pilot – speaks with authority born of personal experience as he puts us in the cockpit of an F-16 with Roper. Flying a jet fighter aircraft for a living is something precious few have done. Roper, a member of this elite club, has confused what he does with who he is.

When our two friends meet, Smith weaves gentle reminders about uncomplicated but vital life lessons into a compelling, funny and deeply satisfying story. I found it impossible to avoid getting lost in this wonderful tale and it has remained with me long after I finished the final page.

I love this book. A Dolphin and a Pilot. Don’t miss it and let’s hope there are more coming from this talented author.

 – reviewed on Amazon by T.W. Price

Excerpt

(courtesy of stevenlanesmith.com)

THE GANG CALLED Los Bandidos was both an irritant and a source of amusement to dolphins in the pod. The most reactionary members of the pod wanted to expel the motley crew of ruffians, but Churchill, able to recall his own wayward youth, warned his fellow Balboans that what might evolve to take the place of Los Bandidos might be worse.

     Every pod in the Pacific had a similar band of brigands made up of adolescent male dolphins aged between three and five years. Each of Los Bandidos’ goof-offs and smart-alecks was too young to start a family but too old to be satisfied hanging around with his parents. Gang members were variously reckless, rebellious, sarcastic, rude, half-witted, idle, cliquish, selfish, mischievous, proud to be accepted into the gang, and merciless toward adolescent dolphins denied acceptance.

     Churchill once summed up Los Bandidos this way: “Never have so many done so little for so few.”

     Adora frowned on Flash’s involvement with Los Bandidos, but Finbar, who wasn’t eager to hold up his own youth as a model of propriety, was more resigned to it, saying, “Humpf!  Hooligans will be hooligans.”

     Flash was readily inducted into Los Bandidos because of his good looks and his athleticism. The gang of louts even waived giving Flash a nickname, because his name was so cool just the way it was. Nicknaming was an important ritual in Los Bandidos culture intended to promote comradeship among the unruly fraternity of delinquents. It normally was a primary order of business during induction of a new member. For Clyde and Cecil and other less-fortunately named gang members, a name change was thought to be vital. Satire and sarcasm were common.

     “Slim” was as fat as a pig because there wasn’t a time of day when he didn’t have a mackerel stuffed in his mouth.

     “Frank” was the truncated gang name for Frankenstein, possibly the ugliest dolphin in the Pacific. Beside Frank, a Morey eel looked gorgeous.

     “Grunge” had hygiene issues.

     “Gash” got his gang name when the propeller of a ski boat near La Jolla put a notch in his dorsal fin.

     “Stud” was the name claimed by the biggest and most cynical dolphin in Los Bandidos.

     “Gas Man” had flatulence challenges.

     “Einstein” was as dumb as piece of coral.

     “Lefty” listed to port when swimming because his left flipper had atrophied from being stuck in a Mason jar O-ring at an early age. The snout of a dolphin was too blunt an instrument to pry off the ring, and Lefty’s parents were too proud to ask a marlin or a sword fish for help.

     The most morose Bandido of all was called “Happy”.

     As for “Punk,” enough said.

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “Molly’s Rocker”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

molly's rocker susan hoskins

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Molly’s Rocker

by Susan M. Hoskins

ISBN: 9781478789741

Synopsis*:

Molly was born the youngest of seven children and the only girl on a tobacco farm in rural Kentucky. Though there’s a lot of love in Molly’s life, family tragedy follows her from childhood through marriage. Molly is left destitute after the betrayal of her husband’s son but she refuses to abandon her dearest friend, Henry Jackson, the son of former slaves. With no land or income, they must survive alone by their wits, enduring the wrath of townspeople who rail against the bond of a white woman with a man of color.

Inspired by the life of her husband’s grandmother, author Susan M. Hoskins wrote Molly’s Rocker as a book to be enjoyed by grandparents with their grandchildren. As warm as Little Women, Molly’s favorite book, Molly’s Rocker, also shares crucial lessons about the tragedy of racism, sexism, and other ways society forms inequalities. Hoskins helps even the youngest of readers understand the frightening connection between tobacco and slavery and what transpired in rural America following the Civil War.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Molly’s Rocker” by Susan M. Hoskins tells the tale of Mary Molly (Van Meter) Fry.  Known by friends and family as simply Molly, the story takes us through Molly’s life from the age of 7 all the way through the end of her life.  The story opens and closes in the present, with her grandson and his wife sorting through old junk in the attic of the family property.  In the process they find an old grand rocking chair and recordings made by Molly, detailing her life as a child and beyond.

The summary of the book as posed by the back jacket supposes that readers are going to read a story about racism and civil rights in late 19th and early 20th century America, something akin to “To Kill A Mockingbird” perhaps, however, that prominent storyline does not really come into play until the last 50 or so pages of the book.  Really, the book takes readers through life as a lower-class farm girl in Kentucky. Readers learn with Molly how to manage house, farm, and family while upholding strong Christian morals and decorum.

While the initial summary is misleading, “Molly’s Rocker” is a decent story.  Molly is a likeable and relatable character who reminds me of Laura Ingalls from the “Little House” books I loved as a child.  Molly goes through her life learning how important the power of love is in raising a family and maintaining a community.  I think this is what the author tried to show when the ideas regarding racism began arising in the latter part of the novel.  The character in question she focuses on in this regard is Henry Jackson, who was born just after Lincoln emancipated the slaves.  He works for a prominent family and comes to be close friends with Elijah Fry, who marries one of the daughters of his employer, and later remarries Molly after the death of his first wife Mary, during the birth of their third child.

A tragedy occurs in the town that sparked because of a struggle between a drunken white man and a young black serving boy who accidentally spilled some water during his duties as a waiter.  The man, who turns out to be running for the Senate, gets physical with the boy, which causes others to join the fray in attempts to restore a peaceful atmosphere.  Instead, a fire is started that rips through the entire town, killing at least two people.  After this, which takes place in the beginning of the 19th century, more dialogue about the evils of racism enter into the text and context of the story.  In all, I don’t think the message assumed by the book summary is that actual message the author was trying to portray.  She still portrayed a good one, as life lessons about love, family, and hard work and strife are always worthy things to learn.

“Molly’s Rocker” by Susan M. Hoskins is a book that can be enjoyed by a wide audience of readers, most likely female in gender, from ages of ten to 80.  Since the book details Molly’s entire life, there is something to appeal to readers of all aspects of life.  Young and old, innocent and wise all have something to learn from the prose.

– reviewed by Megan Weiss on Reader Views

Other Reviews

“Molly’s Rocker” by Susan M. Hoskins is a beautiful narrative about the courageous and inspirational Molly Fry. Molly endured more in her lifetime than most people ever experience, yet she persevered with dignity and grace, a loving heart, and a gentle soul. Molly was truly a woman ahead of her time and “Molly’s Rocker” is a brilliant testament to her life.

The author and her husband Larry discover Molly’s rocker one day while cleaning out the attic. Molly is Larry’s grandson and the son of Molly’s youngest daughter, Tula Mary. Larry remembers his grandmother coming to live with them after a fire destroyed her home. The rocker was the only thing to survive the fire. After seeing the rocker, Larry remembers some old tapes, narrated by his grandmother when she lived with them. These tapes provide precious insight into Molly’s life and the life of Elijah Fry, and how a twist of fate brought the couple together.

Growing up on a Kentucky tobacco farm in the late 1800s, Molly has to quit school at a very early age to care for her family when her mother is taken by consumption. As the new woman of the house, Molly implements some radical changes regarding the roles of males and females and vows to run the farm as an equal to her pa. The reader sees glimpses of Molly’s independent nature and impartiality early on in the story, and when she takes a stand with her father, insisting that women and men should eat at the same time (as opposed to the females waiting for their men-folk to finish their meals), I knew I was going to enjoy learning more about her. One of my favorite lines in the book is Molly’s declaration, “I wasn’t sure what would become of me as the years went by, but there was one thing I knew for sure that night. I was never gonna eat cold eggs again.” Don’t you just love her?!

Readers also learn the story of Elijah Fry, who comes to be Molly’s husband, by what can only be deemed as providence. Though Elijah has a rough start in life, he flourishes under the loving upbringing of his aunt and uncle, becoming a respected member of the community. His tragic past leaves him with trust issues however, and his only real friend is Henry Jackson, the son of former slaves.

Elijah and Molly raise a family, and have a successful tobacco farm. Life is good for awhile, until an unforeseen tragedy leaves Molly and Henry Jackson in dire straits. The two pool their resources to make ends meet, and their friendship causes quite a stink with the bigots and small-minded members of the community. Molly once again shows courage and integrity in the face of those trying to drive them out of town.

This story is absolutely amazing! It encompasses so many issues that are sadly, still relevant today. From feminist issues to racial tensions, the author manages to cover some serious ground in a seamless, thoughtful read.

Whenever I read historical fiction I get so wrapped up in the lives of the characters that I want to know everything about them. Where they lived, environmental conditions, cooking methods used, along with popular food items of the period, clothing styles, education – you name it, I want to know about it. Hoskins has excelled in writing a novel that authentically depicts every aspect of the time period. The characters have depth and integrity, and the dialogue is dead on, taking the reader straight back to another time, place and century. I contentedly imagined myself walking amongst the characters as I was reading.

I am truly in awe of “Molly’s Rocker” by Susan M. Hoskins. Imagine love inspiring a story through an old rocking chair that almost founds its way to a local flea market. I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, coming of age stories, and those wanting to experience the life and times of a different era.

 – reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views

I wasn’t quite sure this book was the genre I was looking for. I had read a few of this author’s other mysteries and this did not sound anything like them. I quickly found myself absorbed into the very fabric and folksy details of Molly and her circle of family and friends lives. It was a captivating read . It was interesting to watch Molly through the years affect her family. This is a book that has a few book club discussion questions to mull over a few cups of coffee.

– reviewed on Amazon by T. Packer

I loved this book. It reminded me of The Little House on the Prairie. It is set in the late 1800s around Elizabethtown, Kentucky. It’s based on real people and places, but the author has taken license to invent a storyline and create characters that enhance the tale. In one sense it is old-fashioned; yet, it deals with controversial issues that we still face today. I really liked the dialect that comes from the mouths of some characters. I find it difficult to enter into some fiction, but this one got me. I was close to tears several times. The author writes with an authentic voice that drew me into the scenes. It’s an adult book; but middle school kids would probably enjoy it (though it does deal with some adult matters). I had read one of the author’s previous novels–of the thriller genre, so I knew she could write. Molly’s Rocker was a joy to read.

 – reviewed on Amazon by E. W. McLaughlin

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Tuesday Book Review: “Final Outcome”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

final outcome james mcpike

readers' favorite silver medal winner

Final Outcome

by James B. McPike

ISBN: 9781432754495

Synopsis*:

READERS’ FAVORITE SILVER MEDAL WINNER – Christian/Fantasy.

Get ready for a prolific novel that takes you all the way from the war ravaged streets of the Middle East to the limits of outer space. For Lieutenant Lewis Snyder he thinks he’s served his time in the war zone and retirement is the next thing. But nothing could prepare him for what is about to happen. Being the honorable soldier he is, he accepts a harrowing call from a decorated general to once again serve his country. Except this time, the mission is far greater than he could’ve ever imagined. Joining forces with NASA they form the most cutting-edge team of the century. One of the team’s members is an enigmatic preacher who seems convinced beyond anything of the nightmarish villain they’re facing. They embark on a pivotal mission to another planet in the solar system so that they can recover a long-lost biblical treasure. But once they arrive there they soon realize they are not alone. One by one they get picked off by something that seems all-too supernatural. The closer they get to unraveling startling clues about the villain’s true identity the more dangerous things become. The ancients left many clues and warnings that begin to be pieced together toward a shocking revelation. But can Snyder be the one to solve it all in time and save everyone before it’s too late? This apocalyptic thriller pits good against evil in determining the FINAL OUTCOME…

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Lewis Snyder, an American soldier on duty in Iraq, stumbles across an ancient Sumerian relic inside an old mosque but forgets about it in the turmoil and bloodshed surrounding him. A few years later, he is out the war zone and ‘retired’ from active duty. His experiences have left him scarred and disillusioned. The last thing he wants is any involvement with the military. However, Snyder is the best man for the job NASA has in mind for him because he is the best at his job. In the intervening years, NASA has picked up a radio signal from a distant planet, code name Oblivion. This information holds dire implications for humankind, and to date no one besides a small group of top military personnel knows anything about it. At a meeting with a team of experts, Snyder learns that the relic originates from this planet and the strange symbols carved into it are meaningful. One member of the team is a knowledgeable preacher who knows his Bible backwards and is not afraid to speak up.

Their mission is to travel to this mysterious planet via an advanced technology, using wormholes, and investigate the place. Satellite pictures reveal a ruined ancient city with temples and pyramids that appear to predate the earliest known buildings on Earth. Once there, the team find themselves being picked off, one by one, by some kind of monstrous entities. Are they gods, demons, or fallen angels? Snyder comes full circle and faces his past when he realizes that he confronted this ancient enemy long ago in his youth. Can Snyder prevent these once glorious creatures from recolonizing Earth? Who will win the ultimate battle between good and evil?

This is a blockbuster read for sci-fi and fantasy fiction fans. The author has created a fascinating blend of fantasy, technology, history, and archaeology to take this novel out of the ordinary and give readers something thought provoking. The character of Lewis Snyder, an excellent main protagonist, holds everything together as he works out the enemy’s next step. The plot has enthralling twists and turns, and taps into age-old beliefs that still have the power to move us. My one disappointment was the characters of the two female team members. They were shallow and more like glamor girls than real scientists. That said, the author paints a brilliant picture of a ‘sulfurous’ ‘otherworld’ to which the fallen angels retreated after the Great Flood. Their gradual disintegration into decay is compelling. With mounting tension, non-stop action, and a powerful sideswipe of an ending (I never saw it coming!) this book will keep readers riveted. The novel was deservedly nominated for the 17th EVVY Awards.

– reviewed by Fiona Ingram on Reader Views

Other Reviews

McPike’s latest novel THE LOST PROPHET won the PACIFIC BOOK AWARD for Christian Mystery/Thrillers. It was called “One of the best books of the year” by SammytheBookworm (a judge for the Indie Reader Discovery Award.) It was named an Official Selection by New Apple Book Awards for Suspense/thrillers and was a Tuscany Novel Prize Top-10 Finalist. His 700-page debut novel FINAL OUTCOME won the SILVER MEDAL from READERS’ FAVORITE in the Christian/Fantasy genre. It was also nominated with 5% (50 of a 1,000) books by the publisher for the 17th EVVY Awards. He won the Ponderosa Lion’s Club Spelling Bee Championship in 1997. A year later he was an Honorable Mention for the William Saroyan San Joaquin Valley writing contest.

 – reviewed on Underground Book Reviews
I am not typically a Fiction reader. Once I picked this book up, I simply could not stop reading it. It is suspensful to the very end. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a book or MOVIE this much. I did not want this read to end. Incredibly done. Thank you James!!! I am a new Science Fiction/Horror/Suspense fan. What a Ride!!!!

– reviewed on Amazon by Hdygdyc

McPike is very descriptive and he brings you on his adventures with Ramsey! I appreciate McPike’s complexity of facts. After Reading his books and researching his statements; it’s very refreshing to read such exciting and factual material! I get to go on the adventure because Mcpike takes you there with his quick, exciting and easy read! I can’t wait to see the Series on the Big screen!?

 – reviewed on Amazon by Todd Anderson

Interview With the Author

Follow the link to read Writing Belle‘s fantastic interview with James B. McPike! Full credit to her for asking some really great questions about his process and inspiration, and for supporting the work of indie and self-publishing authors everywhere.


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Tuesday Book Review: “Pretty Blue Death”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

pretty blue death dan blair

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Pretty Blue Death

by Dan Blair

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478788393

Synopsis*:

A twisted psychopath targets a group of friends. A page-turning thriller from page one! Mark and Daly Ford are living the good life in the San Fernando Valley of southern California. Busy building their security company, they are shocked when a long-time friend drowns unexpectedly in his pool, shaking their world. With no foul play or reason for the drowning indicated, they, along with their neighborhood poker group, are baffled. Just as the alarm of losing a good friend begins to subside, another friend from their group dies of a massive heart attack while working at a food bank.

Both deaths appear to be innocent enough, but Daly’s instincts from her years with the L.A.P.D.’s Behavioral Analysis Unit cause her to question if the deaths could be linked. But what is the common thread explaining the murders, if that’s what they are? Mark and Daly thrust themselves into investigating if their friends’ deaths could be more than coincidence … and perhaps a deadly vendetta being carried out against their close-knit group. Worse yet, could the person behind these deaths be someone from within their group of friends?

Mark and Daly plunge headlong into solving the mystery, joining forces with an eccentric scientist friend from their poker group with strong analytical skills. As bodies continue to pile up, they’re joined by a police detective from Scotland Yard, Sean McClarey, on loan to Santa Monica PD. Still mourning the loss of his wife during childbirth, Sergeant McClarey throws himself into the case, bringing his respectful yet penetrating style to his interrogations. Will this band of friends be able to unravel the twisted intentions driving the serial killings in time? How many of their friends may die while they’re piecing the puzzle together? Will Mark and Daly be next on the killer’s list? Enjoy the twists and turns of this non-stop thriller leading to a surprising climax, punctuated by a psychopath’s obsessions

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Pretty Blue Death” by Dan Blair is one of the most unique suspense thrillers I have read in a while. The characters are so down to earth one can imagine playing poker with them and socializing on a daily basis.

Mark and Daly Ford run their own security company, while some of their friends hold work in the food conglomerate business, a hospital and in real estate. All are successful in what they do and are devoted to their families.

The mystery begins when their friend Tommy is found dead in his pool, discovered by his wife, Pat. Given that Tommy was an avid swimmer and swam on a daily basis, this stumps them all. After Tommy’s funeral, another friend suddenly dies, with no clues as to why. The big question is, is someone targeting this group or is it just a coincidence?

As Mark and Daly investigate the possibility of foul play, Sergeant Sean McClary, on loan from Scotland Yard, gets the feeling all is not what it seems. As more members of the close knit group die, readers get snippets of dialogue from a couple of women characters that have anger and revenge on their mind. The ending however, regardless of your sleuthing skills, will shock you.

The characters are well-developed; the plot is well thought out and researched. This read will keep you guessing as to motive, and who did it, and just when you think you have it all figured out, another twist puts you on an entirely different trail. I thought the method of killing was unique and how the perpetrator accomplishes it was brilliant.

The author provides a fast-paced, engrossing read that challenges you to the end. He provides a detailed knowledge of personal interaction and perfect revenge even if it is only in their minds. I found myself looking up specific plants mentioned in the plot and how they are used and possible potential hazards to a person. If you like books that put you in the action, have a great plot and keeps you searching for clues, “Pretty Blue Death” by Dan Blair is the book for you.

– reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views

Other Reviews

Intriguing plot and personal relationships make this a good book to read. The mystery keeps you interested in the plot while the characters personal and inter personal relationships keep you reading to know more about them. I am pleasantly surprised when the author surprises me with a characters humorous personal faux pax or interpersonal revelation.

– Amazon reviewer Frank Gruber

Just finished this book and I have to say it was a great read! The characters are well thought out, the plot twists were exciting and unexpected each time. I couldn’t put it down! I would highly recommend it to anyone and hope Dan is underway with book #2!

– Amazon reviewer Sally

 


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