Saturday Book Review: “My Truths: A Collection”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

my truths a collection michelle farmer anderson

My Truths: A Collection

by Michelle Farmer Anderson

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 978147877793

Synopsis*:

“My Truths” is a masterpiece that reminds us of our humanity. This book welcomes you to partake in a meal that will most certainly nourish your soul; an open invitation to sit at the table with victory and defeat as you turn each page, as you read each phrase. Spend quality time in a world, the architecture planted firmly on a solid soil of magical words. The building, a smorgasbord of positive light and negative energy, all saturated with a very real passion for writing and a zest for living. The contradictions are deliberate and they play along with the theme of life… the ultimate support and unconditional love of a mother in HER clashes with the feeling of not belonging in OUTSIDER. The redemption of WINNING which speaks to insecurities ultimately overshadowed by strengths to BAD BOY- a potpourri of what could have been, and what might be. POISON is a haunting take on the drug epidemic and TOMBSTONE TALKS takes us to a cemetery where we can trust the secrets won’t be shared. My Truths is a book about life, death and everything in between.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

“My Truths” in poetic verse delves into many different aspects of life. Anderson has a unique style that takes readers on a journey thru many things we all take for granted. She deals with children, mothers and daughters, grandparents and romantic relationships. There is much to enjoy in “My Truths” that will hold readers interest to the last poem.

 

reviewed by Gary Roen of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

This is a great collection of personal, yet relatable, thoughts and feelings. Each poem offers a different perspective on a person or time in Michelle’s life. Some pieces are deep and emotional, while others are inspiring and uplifting. A little something for every moment in life- great mix! You won’t be disappointed!

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer

Written in an inspiring lyrical form. “My Truths” is a wonderful read for any occasion; to feed the spirit and to contemplate. Each poem transmits a personal touch of faith, hope and unique experience.

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer


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Saturday Book Review: “That Weekend in Albania”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

that weekend in albania peter meehan

That Weekend in Albania: A Road Trip to Intrigue in the Balkans

by Peter J. Meehan

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478777090

Synopsis*:

An expatriate family takes a road trip to visit Albania’s historical sites, two months after 9/11 in the only Muslim country in Europe. Despite its historical location at the crossroads between Rome and Greece, Albania is still largely avoided by tourists—the country’s Stalinist past and reputation for money laundering in support of terrorism limits interest, but there are investment opportunities for multinationals.

Tony is working as a manager for a Vienna-based company that is having issues in a contract area near the Kosovo border. Drug and weapon trafficking persist in the former Yugoslavian province’s frontier despite a peace settlement having been reached. Tony hopes this weekend outing will convince his wife that a Mediterranean lifestyle is possible in Europe’s poorest country, and that it might restore some good will with his teenage daughter, who is visiting from a Vienna boarding school. The trip will be their first overnight stay outside the capital, but unbeknownst to him when he is informally asked by his consulate to note any illegalities en route, their destination is now a regional Albanian mafia centre. When Tony’s diplomatic contact becomes an Albanian mafia target, and the organisation hires a hit man to eliminate their problem, the expat suspects his sense of adventure is misplaced, and that dire consequences are still a possibility while the country attempts to modernise.

As Tony tries to deal with family and work issues while travelling across classic ruins and remnants of Albania’s heritage as a Christian bastion prior to four hundred years of Ottoman rule, the conflict to control the growing underground economy heats up. He and his family witness the nearly unknown Mediterranean coast road’s natural beauty, but the remains of an ancient past, and the consequences of the more recent brutal military dictatorship, continue to confront them.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

That Weekend in Albania is a thoroughly researched and well-written work of travel fiction introducing Albania to readers interested in adventurous travel. Peter J. Meehan presents this fascinating Balkan country through two perspectives – an ex-pat family’s, and that of Albanian entrepreneurs trying to create prosperity in a post-Communist world. The family must cope with issues such as midlife crisis and parent-child relations in a context of culture shock, separation, language barriers and an unfamiliar environment. The businessmen do not hesitate to use questionable means to achieve their ends, within a framework of recent conflict and ancient loyalties. Several thriller-like episodes, featuring fast cars on bad roads, furnish jolts of excitement. Altogether, this book is an interesting and informative vicarious journey through a new and unfamiliar country.

reviewed by Audrey Driscoll of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

At first I thought that I wanted to keep reading T.W.I.A. because it revived memories of when I visited Peter in Tirana. Later, I realized that I wanted to keep reading because this is a very good, entertaining story. His geographical, cultural and historical descriptions are accurate, his characters real. I’m looking forward to Peter’s next book.Given his life around the world I’m guessing that he’ll have lots to tell.

– Amazon Reviewer Keith James

Well researched and full of detailed information on a largely unknown country. Added perspecies from foreigners and Albanians make for an interesting read. The fictional story of crime keeps the pace going between a story of a father daughter relationship. Highly recommended.

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer


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Saturday Book Review: “Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

yasu's quest diane dettmann

Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph

by Diane Dettmann

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478755791

Synopsis:

In this skillfully woven coming-of-age story, Yasu Sakamoto continues her journey that began in Dettmann’s award-winning book, Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel. Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph carries readers into the next phase of Yasu Sakamoto’s life so smoothly that the book can be read independently or as a sequel.

With a keen sense for detail, author Diane Dettmann skillfully draws readers into an engaging story about an unexpected friendship that develops between Yasu Sakamoto and Martha Annala, a university professor. When they first meet on a train headed to Minneapolis, Yasu is afraid to trust Martha with any information about her past and lies about her identity to protect herself and her family. Alone and with no place to go, Yasu eventually tells Martha about leaving her home in Glenville and the three years she spent imprisoned in the internment camp. Martha feels Yasu’s pain and opens her heart and home to her.
As the war intensifies anti-Japanese attitudes escalate in America and the hostility runs rampant. Martha’s decision to befriend Yasu ultimately creates hardships and challenges in her own life. Relationships with university colleagues become strained, but Martha remains committed to her friendship with Yasu. Negative looks and anti-Japanese comments surround Yasu everywhere she goes. She deeply misses her parents, her brother, Haro, and Kenta, her loving German shepherd, but knows she must push forward.

Critique:

How can an eighteen-year-old girl escape from a U.S. internment camp for the Japanese that has been heavily and successfully guarded for three years? The opening of Yasu’s Quest, continues the saga begun in Courageous Footsteps, which observed the pre-camp life and early internment of the Sakamoto family. Familiarity with this prior novel will lend a special appreciation for this powerful sequel, which goes in a different direction as it outlines Yasu’s choices.

The Sakamotos have been devastated by the war as much or more so than any other American family (“How can this be happening? First my son dies in combat, then my daughter disappears and now my husband’s in jail.”). Yasu’s escape is just one more trial they have to bear in an impossibly changed world; and as for Yasu herself – how can she hide when her Japanese heritage gives her away?

Her journey to Minneapolis results in a chance encounter and an unexpectedly friendly face, and her life changes. Yasu and Martha each confront their changing world with innovative survival techniques that provide insights into both the larger issues of domestic World War II and its daily challenges (“With sugar rationing still on, women often use beer for setting their hair. So I gave it a try. Seems to work and I just put it in the refrigerator and use it over and over until it’s gone. Sometimes even spit works.”).

Diane Dettmann’s careful attention to focusing on both aspects of this world and both bigger and smaller pictures of changed lives makes for a far more thoughtful, detailed inspection than most World War II accounts provide, creating a series of insights based on Yasu’s evolving experiences in college and the family’s life as the war draws to a close.

The contrast between a young woman making her way in this changed world and a family on the edge of return to a world both familiar and alien makes for a riveting story line that clearly reveals the difficulties of the times: “Even the letters to the editor were filled with vicious comments about preventing the Japanese Americans from returning to their homes. Mr. Sakamoto folded up the paper and tucked it in his suitcase. His joyful thoughts of returning home were replaced with fear and anxiety.”

Will the family reunite, and how will they pick up the pieces of shattered lives and rebuild, along with the rest of America? One woman’s act of kindness could change all their lives. Yasu’s Quest neatly covers issues of loss, grief, recovery, and acts of kindness as it presents a journey that ultimately transcends the forces of division and injustice pummeling the Japanese family.

While teens will be the likely readers of this novel, many an adult will find that Yasu’s Quest holds perspectives and details that are as enlightening as they are involving. It, along with its companion, are thus highly recommended picks for any reader interested in a powerful, ultimately hopeful, view of World War II’s lasting effects on the Japanese in America.

 

reviewed by Diane Donovan of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

I have been waiting for the sequel to Courageous Footsteps – which I couldn’t put down! What a great novel with important historical references, but also developed characters that I could relate to. Thank you Diane! A must read!

– Amazon Reviewer Kelly McNelis

Love this book…fast read…held your interest…hard to put it down!

– Amazon Reviewer Karen Grossaint


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Saturday Book Review: “Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel diane dettmann

Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel

by Diane Dettmann

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478755586

Synopsis:

PACIFIC RIM BOOK FESTIVAL WINNER!

Courageous Footsteps is a historical novel about two teenagers, Yasu and Haro Sakamoto, who, along with their family, are imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp in eastern California during WWII. Surrounded by barbwire fences, Yasu and her brother struggle to make sense out of their young lives. They long to return to the life they enjoyed in Glenville, California, but instead are forced to endure hardships and make choices that will change their lives forever. Awarded runner-up in the Great Midwest Book Festival in the young adult category, this piece of America’s history is an informative, eye-opening read for adults too.

Critique:

The majority of novels about World War II are directed to adult audiences, but Courageous Footsteps is a story for teens and presents the experiences of Yasu and Haro Sakamoto, who are removed (along with their family) from their Glenville, California home and interred in a concentration camp.

All ages will find Courageous Footsteps a gripping, eye-opening approach, for several reasons. One is its ability to provide a stark contrast between the comfortable, middle-class American lifestyle experienced by the family at the novel’s opening with life behind barbed wire fences after they are removed from their home.

Few other novels, adult or teen, so adequately portray the emotions, daily experiences, and struggles of the Japanese during this period of time. From the moment Pearl Harbor is bombed and war is declared with the Japanese to the President’s orders to take away their lives, Courageous Footsteps progresses swiftly and documents the quick rise of fear and its accompanying prejudice, which place the family in constant danger and flux.

Nearly overnight, the Sakamotos become enemies of the people and are attacked, beaten, and maligned by strangers who only see their Japanese faces and not their American identities. Their personal possessions (radios, guns, cameras, binoculars) are confiscated by the Army in the name of national security, the family is forced to do the best it can under prison conditions, and camp regulations take over their formerly-free lives.

How does a family stay together and preserve their shattered dreams under such conditions? Courageous Footsteps is as much a story of this survival process as it is a documentation of one girl’s evolving determination to escape this impossible life and resume her dreams.

Teens and new adult audiences alike will find Courageous Footsteps evocative, compelling, and hard to put down.

reviewed on Donovan’s Bookshelf of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Book really made me think about what these American born Japanese American citizens went thru at the hands of our government. How sad the way they were treated. This book evolves the characters so well with just enough info about them and not so much that you get bogged down with their personalities. Just a marvelous book that gives so much insight into what the Nisei’s went thru. How they worked so hard to build their lives and then to have it taken away and have them herded into these camps, how badly they were treated and how awful the conditions. OMG I admire and respect them for their perseverance and how they all worked together and were so respectful of their parents. Haro worked hard and applied himself and fought hard for this country after how badly he was treated. It was a different time…you won’t find many kids today with this kind of respect for their parents nor their work ethic. Just an amazing and enlightening book! Can’t wait for the sequel!

– Amazon Reviewer Karen Grossaint

The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII is a period of history which I was not familiar with. I had read magazine articles but they only touched the surface. Ms. Dettmann’s book is a real eye opener! I had no clue what my fellow Japanese Americans faced and the atrocities they lived through! While this book is a historical fiction novel, I had to continually remind myself of just that. The author’s extraordinary writing skills made it read like a true story. The characters and their experiences seemed so real.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese were rounded up and arrested like common criminals. They were forced in to camps against their will and remained there until the end of the war. The reader follows the painful journey the Sakomoto family through the eyes of their teenage daughter Yasu. They were law-abiding American citizens in 1941. They owned a small business in Glenville, California. Being a close knit family, they had a deep love for one another and their country. The quiet, peaceful life they had known changed quickly after the bombing. Persecution from fellow townspeople and even friends was immediate and harsh. Their lives became endangered in the very area and by the people that had been a part of their happiness.

My heart broke for young Yasu. Being a teenager is hard enough, but to face adolescence with such rejection and hostility was excruciating. Her sweet family continued to trust their country and government right up to their arrests. The gentle humble spirits of the Japanese were a great contrast as to how most Americans would have responded to this extreme discrimination.

I had no clue the camp conditions were so degrading and horrific. My first thought was about the concentration camps of the Jews. These camps were not as severe as Hitler’s, but they were shocking. There was filth, crowding, squalid living conditions, poor food, such as I would never have dreamed could take place in America. The author took me into the camp, to walk daily with the Sakamotos, living their experiences and allowing my heart of feel their emotions.

Though each era had different details, I saw a common thread running through history in the injustice toward other groups: the slavery of African Americans, the Chinese in the early 1900’s, the Jews, and the Japanese. People that had done no wrong but were victims of fear and misunderstanding.

I do disagree with this being labeled as a “young adult fiction”. This book is for teens and adults too! A must read for all! Watch for a sequel!

– Amazon Reviewer Moonpie

 AUTHOR INTERVIEW


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Saturday Book Review: “50 Things Your Kids Don’t Want To Tell You”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

50 Things Your Kids Don't Want to Tell You by Shelly Campbell-Harley

50 Things Your Kids Don’t Want to Tell You

by Shelly Campbell-Harley

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478773627

Synopsis:

Shelly Campbell-Harley has a Master’s in Education and has had dozens of articles published online and offline, including The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, where one of her articles was included in TOS magazine’s Best of the Best 2013 special publication. Shelly has been involved with young people in many different facets over the past two decades, including that of teaching, educational consultant, youth group leader/director, and working with youth in a rehabilitation environment. She is currently teaching at-risk youth in an innovative charter school program in southern California. 50 Things Your Kids DON’T Want To Tell You is a compilation of valuable insights gleaned from young people aged 10-19 whom Shelly has encountered and wanted to share with parents and other adults who work with young people. It is an eye-opening experience for many who are curious as to what is going on in the lives and minds of our youth today. It was written with the purpose of opening the lines of communication between adults and young people, as well as promoting more positive relationships. 50 Things Your Kids DON’T Want To Tell You is a fascinating, scary, and realistic read that will awaken your mind and shake up your impression of how well you think the youth of today are living. With the rise of teenage suicide rates and school shootings, this book may be the beginning of an important connection needed to bridge that gap of communication while helping our young people see that they are being heard and understood. Get your copy today and make a positive change in a child you know!

Critique:

50 Things Your Kids DON’T Want To Tell You is comprised of five chapters:

  1. Family Relationships
    2. Personal Choices
    3. School: The Stage
    4. Legal: Crossing Lines
    5. Sex: No Plan

After each chapter, author Shelly Campbell-Harley has a ‘Reflection Page’. This is where you may list your thoughts about what you’ve read. Here, you may use free thought, mind mapping, or whatever method you deem necessary to lead to possible truths.

There isn’t any commentary on the 50 Things and it’s supposed to be that way. The book was meant to help you to think critically (deeply, not negatively) about whether or not your offspring is struggling with some of the mentioned issues. If 50 Things brings you and young to a point where a nonjudgmental conversation can be broached, then, the book will have well-earned your bucks.

Perhaps, a resource section would have been good though.

Shelly Campbell-Harley is the author of over a dozen educational articles and has written several children’s books, as well as a book on leadership. She has a Master’s in education and has been teaching for over 20 years. When Shelly is not writing, teaching, or spending time with family and friends, she enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time outdoors.

 

reviewed by Ginae McDonald of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Shelly Campbell Harley understands the most important thing about getting your teen to open up and talk to you, the parent, about what’s going on with their lives. And that is listening. Not interrogating, but rather inviting your child to share with you, and responding in a way that allows for them to feel safe in their sharing. The key to get them to take you up on this invitation could be unlocked in this simple book. Forever grateful to Shelly Campbell Harley.

– Amazon Reviewer S. Brown

I loved this book. I back and bought multiple copies after reading it, and gave to family, friends and co-workers. This book really opens your eyes to the different situations that might be or could be going on in your own child’s life or possibly a friends child or a family member’s child. I am very happy with this purchase and recommend this book to everyone.

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer


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Saturday Book Review: “Still Marching On”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review.

Still Marching On Lynda Stephenson

Still Marching On

by Lynda Stephenson

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478771982

Synopsis:

Frankilee Baxter is back! And she is as sassy and resolute as ever. In Still Marching On, Miss Baxter aspires to participate in the Civil Rights Movement, become editor of the Athena College newspaper, and marry Calvin Morris-and odds are, she’ll make her dreams come true with sheer force of personality. A witty young woman with nerve and verve, Frankilee is in no way the traditional Southern sorority girl, which brings disappointment and alarm to her family, as well as shock and dismay to Calvin’s parents. With humor and heart, this highly anticipated third novel by award-winning author Lynda Stephenson depicts the triumphs and the failures of a plucky girl determined not only to stand against the Southern customs she loathes but also to marry the man she loves.
“Here is the story of the irrepressible Frankilee Baxter, who, while she may be a disappointment to the 1960s down-south establishment, will fight to the end for life and liberty, and all that she believes in. I loved it.”
-Carolyn Wall, author of Sweeping Up Glass and Playing with Matches

Critique:

A resolute college student rails against discrimination and injustice in the South in this third novel in the Frankilee Baxter series by Stephenson (The Southern Chapter of the Big Girl Panties Club, 2013, etc.).

Frankilee is well known for her steely determination. In previous novels, she helped save a girl from abusive parents, and dealt with burglary, kidnapping, a shooting, and heated racial issues – all taken in stride as part of her formative years.

In quieter moments, she continued her fervent hunt for a steady boyfriend. The third installment opens in 1960 with Frankilee transferring from Athena College in San Antonio to the University of Texas in Austin, along with her black roommate, Eleanor Wilson. Although the university is deemed to be integrated, they are met immediately with racial hatred. A landlady turns the two away screaming, “What do you mean, bringing this nigra girl to my front door?” They are pelted with tomatoes by fellow students who tell Eleanor to “go back to Africa” and hurl vicious insults at Frankilee. The women are rescued by Calvin Morris, Frankilee’s old basketball coach and love interest, setting the tone for the remainder of the story: a blend of endearingly quirky romance and determined resistance to Southern bigotry.

Choosing to return to the expensive Athena against her mother’s advice, Frankilee pushes to become an integral part of the civil rights movement, and attempts to gain a voice in the institution by becoming the editor of the college newspaper, her relationship with Calvin developing all the while. Stephenson possesses the rare ability to make a reader want to actively root for the protagonist. Frankilee is political, stubborn, and fiery, but she is also loyal, witty, and warm. It is difficult not to fall in love with her.

Despite excavating the abhorrent and often nonsensical nature of racism, the novel displays an effervescent humor and offers some delicious caricatures: “Mr. Hatham is a banty-rooster of a man with reddish hair carefully combed to hide no hair. He has an inflated chest and prancing feet.” This elegant and intuitive writing, loaded with wisdom and charm, is prevalent throughout. The book delivers an astute examination of American race and gender politics, with a generous serving of love and laughter.

In this compelling and insightful tale, a strong Texas heroine passionately advocates civil rights.

reviewed on the Reviewer’s Bookwatch of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Another outstanding book by Lynda Stephenson. Great character development, and very authentic to the period. If you were a college student during the 1960’s you can really identify with the subjects dealt with in this book. The civil rights movement, the freedom riders, the limited professional opportunities for women college graduates, and the predetermined expectations of parents for their children, especially girls. Frankilee, the main character, takes on all these issues with wit, humor, passion, and, yes, her rebellious ways. Ms. Stephenson’s previous book in the Frankilee Baxter series focuses on Frankilee’s freshman and sophomore year; in this book the focus is her junior and senior year. She is more mature, more thoughtful, and more concerned about social inequality. She truly grows into adulthood. Obviously, this is a great book for anyone that was a young adult in the 1960’s, but if you have parents or grandparents that lived through that period and you want to know what they experienced and what life was like, then this book is for you. FINALLY, THE BOOK HAS A GREAT ENDING!

– Amazon Reviewer AdaBill

In ‘Marching On,” Frankilee Baxter is fundamentally the same wonderful, perplexing, and often perplexed character that we came to know and love in “Dancing With Elvis” and “The Southern Chapter of the Big Girl Panties Club”. In this third novel of the series, author Lynda Stephenson expands upon the theme of integration as it developed in the 50’s and early 60’s. The struggle for civil rights in the South becomes the central factor in Frankilee’s personal struggle to establish her worth and purpose in life. More than ever, she is an idealist who pays dearly for pursuing social and moral goals that clash with purveyors of deeply entrenched bigotry. Though tempered by her comical girlhood blunders, Frankilee at the same time leads the patient reader down (or up) a primrose path seriously darkened by physical and emotional pain.
Looking for structure, Frankilee attempts to summarize her life in literary terms: as classical comedy, which ends with a wedding, rather than as tragedy, which ends in death. Yet more specifically one might say that her willful suffering bespeaks a more complicated persona than one finds in Jane Austin or Emily Dickinson, two of Frankilee’s heroines.
Nor is Frankilee’s journey deeply tragic in the Shakespearian sense of an uber-complicated Hamlet. Her sacrificial cause is rooted in the powerful utopian dream of idealists such as John Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr. Buttressed by the somewhat enlightened progressives among her friends and family, her optimistic belief in a more just world seems realistically achievable.
Marching On is the story of a small town girl in the throes of becoming a world class woman. She entertains us with an overlay of buffoonery, but she is defined by her capacity for love, including love for her friends, for her family (no matter how obtuse or obnoxious); for her man, and, most importantly, for the unvarnished Truth, however awkward or undignified that makes her feel. In her own personable way, Frankilee Baxter embodies the correct side of our unfolding history.

– Amazon Reviewer James A. Moore

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Saturday Book Review: “Hero of My Dreams”

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, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

her of my dreams j r pitts

Hero of My Dreams

by J.R. Pitts

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478769057

Synopsis:

The crew of the Arklardin Command Air Transport traverses a wormhole that empties them into the spiral Milky Way galaxy. Time is running out and they must find the one they seek. This is the third day of their search to find a hero who can lead Arklardin against an alien invasion. ZEUS, their on-board computer, directs them to a small blue planet. Kumari, the beautiful science officer who operates the advanced computer wonders, “Will we find the one we seek here?”
Arklardin is a peace-loving planet millions of light years from Earth. Their ancestors outlawed war centuries ago and nothing could have prepared them for this intrusion upon their serenity. An evil tyrant interrupted the nation of Pretoria’s winter games; his chilling words rang out across their fairgrounds: “Surrender or die.”
Kumari is filled with dread as she realizes her dreams are coming true. For over two years she has been tormented by visions of imminent danger to her world. She is perplexed and confused because the hero of her dreams always snatches her from the jaws of the dragon but never lets her see his face. If her hero is her fiance, then why does he hide his face? Surely if he is known to her, he would show himself. Kumari and her crew have been commissioned by the Pretorian king to search other worlds and recruit the warrior they so desperately need.
Dragoon is Lord and Master of the planet Zharbruk. His lust for power and conquest causes him to turn his eyes to his neighbor, the huge peace-loving planet of Arklardin. A secret alliance gives his forces what they need to begin the interplanetary assault. However,his vision of conquest is not limited to his own solar system. Once he has Arklardin under his heel, there will be other inhabited worlds to conquer. Will the universe bring forth a champion to defend this beautiful planet?
Meanwhile on Earth, a young, handsome war hero contemplates his life and the war he has come home from. Awarded the Medal of Honor for courage during a bloody action in Southeast Asia, he wonders if there is some grand design for his life. Has he endured the horrors of war for nothing, or has a Higher Power been preparing him for some worthy cause? He is confused at the direction of his life. Lieutenant Alexander Freeman last saw Veronica standing beside his best friend when he sailed off to war. He was not prepared for her Dear John letter to arrive the day his first tour of duty ended. It was at this time he began to have the dreams. A beautiful apparition often visited and seemed to be in peril. He knows it is only a dream but is puzzled at the strong emotions manifested.
Arriving back in his hometown of Wimauma, Florida, the war hero settles into the rustic life of a cattleman. One night as he lays beside the pristine Little Manatee River, absorbed in the beauty of the night sky, a bright light suddenly catches his attention.Alexander Freeman has no idea the events of this night will cast him into conflict out among the stars where he has always found solace. Destiny has finally found him and his life will never be the same.
Could it be possible these two young lives have connected in their dreams from worlds millions of light years apart?Have the dreams of Kumari and Alex brought them together for some purpose other than repelling the invasion? Is he truly her hero and can he, in the process of saving her, save her world?

Critique:

Hero of My Dreams by J. R. Pitts is a fantasy all readers must have. It is fast-paced. Tons of action, as well as immediate danger, plunge readers deeper into the story. A journey that travels beyond space into dreams. This romantic story packs a lot. A peaceful planet in danger of a horrible invasion and they only have so much time before they find someone who can save them. One man on earth might be just the one. Alex, already a hero from fighting a war in his country keeps having dreams of a woman. What he doesn’t expect or know is that the woman is real and her planet is in trouble. Dreams, love, fate, and war are all tied in beautifully by this talented writer. I normally am very picky when it comes to fantasy novels and this one has met every one of my expectations. I was instantly taken into the foreign world created in this stunning fictional piece. The characters were believable. Enemies can be defeated and dreams can come true. I loved reading Hero of My Dreams. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.

 

reviewed by Danielle Urban of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

‘Hero of My Dreams’ by J.R. Pitts focuses on the princess of a peace loving planet (Arklardin). She is forced to fight for the freedom of her people against the evil Lord of Zharburk. This book has fantasy with intrigue, and romance with adventure. Written in an easy to read style, this book proves what a born storyteller J.R. Pitts is, because the entire driving force behind the book is the fact that it is unashamedly a fantasy story. With vivid atmosphere deftly brought to life, the author’s writing goes beyond creating a story in our minds; it truly feels like you’re walking in their footsteps. The fact that he manages to blend Sci-fi with the Medieval seamlessly is even more spectacular. The attention to detail only serves to make this story even more enjoyable. Can an earthling prove worthy of a princess’ love. Can a princess find the hero of her dreams? Open this book to find out.

– Amazon Reviewer Sara Knight

Hero of My Dreams is a fantastic book.It has fantasy,romance and adventure all wrapped up in one great book.It kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I laughed…I cried reading the romantic parts.You can feel the passion that J R Pitts has for writing when you read his books. If there was a rating higher than 5 stars J R Pitts would surely deserve it.

– Amazon Reviewer Connie B.


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