Tuesday Book Review: “Cursed”

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:

cursed jeanne blanchet

cipa evvy merit

Cursed

by Jeanne Blanchet, PhD

ISBN: 9781478747901

Synopsis*:

The year is 394 CE. Christianity has recently been declared Rome’s state religion, and the empire’s pagan temples are being shut down. When Christian Princess Serena accompanies Theofilus, a young priest, to oversee the closing of Vesta’s sanctuary, she pilfers a necklace from the statue of a goddess, inciting the head Vestal to call a horrific curse down on her and her family. Cursed traces the remainder of Serena’s life as she wonders if the curse will destroy her completely and attempts to cope with her gradually rising desperation. Meanwhile, Father Theofilus embarks on a lifelong quest to find the priceless antique Palladium, which had been housed in the sanctuary and which he plans to donate to the Church as a means of furthering his ecclesiastical career. Stilicho, Alaric, Theodosius I, Bishops Ambrose and Augustine, and Saint Jerome are among the fascinating individuals who return to life in this historical fiction thriller. Their exciting adventures are set against the background of the fall of the once-mighty Roman Empire, the rise of Christianity, and the mass migrations characteristic of Europe’s turbulent fourth and fifth centuries.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Jeanne Blanchet’s “Cursed” is an epic historical account of Christianity’s strong entrance into Roman culture, and how religion came to be more absolute than the power of even the emperors.

Christian Princess Serena and a young priest and aspiring Bishop of Rome, Presbyter Theofilus, make up two of the principal characters in the cast. Serena is pampered and used to living a life of luxury.  While her heart is often in the right place, she is easily misguided, however, by material aspirations and the beauty and allure of things, like jewelry.  Presbyter Theofilus started out as a promising young military prospect but turned his sights on the Church when religious traditions in Rome became overrun by Christian teachings and power.  What these two young people learned during their years, as did every other Roman citizen and intruder, was that Christianity’s power was to be stronger than anything else.

“Cursed” starts out strongly and is filled with rich details and obvious research.  The terminology which the author inputs into the story represents long hours of academic study, which help produce an authentic picture of Rome in its final century.  While the details remain strong throughout the novel, the pace staggers a bit as the story progresses.  It seemed that the author’s aspirations for the novel almost became a little too broad.  Whereas the synopsis of the book intimates at the book being about a young woman being evilly cursed by one of the remaining pagan priestesses, or Vestals, of Rome, and about Presbyter Theofilus’s journey to find the antique Palladium, these storylines become a little blurred.

While most of “Cursed” takes place toward the end of the 4th century CE, there are various chapters that almost randomly go back in time 30, 40, or 50 years.  One contains details about the coming of the Goths, while another provides backstory on the current Bishop of Rome.  While the historical details are strong, the context of why these chapters are included in the midst of the main story is lost.  I think the too-broad aspirations and outlook for the plot ended up overshadowing the intended theme and main point of the book, albeit unintentionally.

I am not sure I would consider this a read for the general audience.  The historical and technical terms may make the prose seem a little dense and hard to understand.  I am a history student and an aspiring historian, so the inclusion of the historical facts was perfectly normal, easy to understand, and even exciting to me, but it may pose as a barrier for those who aren’t as historically inclined.

“Cursed” certainly shows a lot of promise as a work of heavily research historical fiction.  The idea for the story is unique and captivating, and the characters are unique enough to make you want to know what happens to them by the end of the book.  In the end, “Cursed” by Jeanne Blanchet is a great example to aspiring writers of how important structure, pacing, and context are in contributing to the overall understanding, execution, and package that is a novel.

– reviewed by Megan Weiss on Reader Views

Other Reviews

History come to life.

The author has taken the historical account of early Christianity and the fall of Rome and woven together a most descriptive narrative to bring the events to life.

– reviewed by Nancy Redmond on Amazon

This book has inspiring attention to detail and emotional depth. The knowledge and research that went into the writing of Cursed has made it a real page turner that pulls you right in and won’t let you put it down.

– reviewed by MacLennan on Amazon

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “Wasp on the Wind”

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:

wasp on the wind c r norris

cipa evvy 2018

Wasp on the Wind

by C.R. Norris

ISBN: 9781478785989

Synopsis*:

The saga continues as a future apocalyptic world begins to reveal its secrets . . . Chris, now a Trax, was what the West Sand Command called “a greeny.” Her “Before Time,” that time before she had been rifted, had been from a distant past, and perhaps even a different timeline. Who could say . . .? But after some three years of training and a return to the very group who had rescued her from the desert, her “Now Time” circle was complete . . . with one adjustment, she was now also “Det Arju′” She carried with her a mysterious pendant that she had been ordered to present to Lon, the Tagos of the Choe, an assignment that, as of yet, no West Sand Commander was aware. Bruce, Chris’s friend, and fellow “Before Time” band geek, was rejected by the Trax. While Chris trained, his path hooked him to the side of the Taden’s greatest nemesis, the Captain. Now as his lieutenant, he must help the Captain save his command by aiding him in the capture of Ponopin, a genius Tader entrepreneur, and the Brigade’s greatest thorn. But as fate would have it, neither mission is as easy as it sounds, the tangle of circumstances sending Chris and Bruce on a collision course with each other.

Richly imagined, beautifully characterized, and deeply engaging, Wasp on the Wind will leave you clamoring for the upcoming third book in The Wasp Chronicles series.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Wasp on the Wind” is the second book of the “Wasp Chronicles” trilogy by C.R. Norris, a science-fiction/action-adventure series that follows several different perspectives. Readers explore the world through military officers, merchants, and even a man wanted by the government. Each storyline is vastly different, but all of them converge with at least one other during the course of the novel.

The variety of characters provides insight to all corners of the setting, allowing the reader a total and immersive experience. The world itself is detailed and painstakingly wrought. Norris balances an impressive number of societies with an even more impressive number of characters. The novel’s scientific aspect is interesting and easy to understand, providing a fantastic introduction to the genre.

While the vast cast of characters provides many sides to an already complicated story, they can sometimes prove a hindrance. The point of view jumps are often random and confusing. There is no warning before the shifts occur, and this makes it seem as if the author simply couldn’t decide whether they wanted to write in third person limited or third person omniscient. It’s enough to pull the reader out of the story completely while they try and adjust to a new point of view that often lasts only for a few paragraphs.

I found many of the side characters come off as flat. They have a single trait that defines them, and they seem more like they are there to fill up space. Sci-fi novels tend to be more action-driven than character-driven anyway, but like the sudden point of view jumps, I just found these side characters distracting. I was annoyed with the one-dimensional feel of them and the way they drew focus from the main characters, and felt that a lot of them could have been combined or cut from the novel altogether.

Overall, “Wasp on the Wind” by C.R. Norris left me conflicted. The story is intriguing and something I want to know more about, but the characters and point of view conflicts give me pause in continuing the trilogy. I removed two stars from my final rating for these issues. I don’t think I would highly recommend the series for anyone with a love of character driven novels.

– reviewed by Skyler Boudreau on Reader Views

Other Reviews

Great storytelling! May even be better than the first book in the series which was also excellent. Very powerful and intensely written with strong character development. Highly recommended, especially if you’re looking for a different sort of sci-fi.

 – reviewed on Amazon by Vinny D.

Just finished reading The Wasp’s Nest by C. R. Norris. Since I am 85 and don’t usually read science fiction I wasn’t sure, but I enjoyed it so much and will look forward to the next in the series. M’s Norris just might have got me started reading science fiction that several of my grand children enjoy. Thank you young lady you did a great job!

 – The Wasp’s Nest as reviewed on Amazon by Joan Stegall

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “Man At The Cross Road”

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:

man at the cross road jeanne blanchet

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silver-awardIBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Historical Fiction

Man At The Cross Road

by Jeanne Blanchet, Ph.D.

ISBN: 9781478778547

Synopsis*:

Man at the Cross Road is the gripping story of Marcus Casca, the exactor mortis who headed the death squad that crucified Jesus. After serving his army stint, the tough, desensitized legionary returns to Rome, where, unable to readjust to civilian life, he embarks on a twenty-year spree of debauchery and violent crime. His life is altered when, having fainted on the street from a fever, he is rescued by a Christian Jewish couple. Through them, he meets Church fathers Peter and Paul, Aquila and Priscilla, and other prominent figures in the early “Way” movement. Witnessing the Lord’s Supper, however, he suspects they are cannibals. Additionally convinced they practice sorcery and constitute a potential threat to Roman security, he becomes a government informer, infiltrating their ranks with the intent of gleaning enough evidence to have them arrested, tried, and executed. Little by little, however, the believers’ message of love and salvation works a change in the dissolute thug’s heart. But can he commit? Can he truly believe that Christ died for a despicable sinner like himself? And if so, can he ever dare disclose to his new brethren that it was he who crucified their Jesus? For years he wrestles with these questions. At the novel’s climax, he is offered the money he desperately needs to treat the life-threatening disease he has contracted if he reveals the group’s new secret meeting place, in the process condemning the only friends he has ever known to certain death. Marcus is at a cross roads and must decide once and for all whether he believes. One choice saves his life, the other, his immortal soul.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Author Jeanne Blanchet has done an amazing job in “Man at the Cross Road,” her story of the man who crucified Jesus. This is a book written in modern terminology, but instills facts that document this event. The author has done extensive research in trying to present the information on a subject that is highly sensitive and controversial. She provides excellent information on the differences in worship services, the Holy Eucharist, and beliefs.

The story begins in Rome 30 CE where readers meet the family of Sextus Cascas, who are awaiting the return of their son Marcus after serving in the Roman Army. Each family member reflects on their memories of Marcus and the feelings/fears they have about his return.

The mother, Gnaea sees only the good in her prodigal son but at the same time remembers his defiant ways as a child. The father, Sextus, tried to be the best father he could, exposing Marcus to learning the family trade, providing trips to the theater and “guy” events. Sister Livia remembers the abusive bully who only cared about getting what he wanted, when he wanted it.

Marcus returns with what we call today PTSD – he is non-communicative, hostile, and violent. His time in the Roman Army has only increased his belief that he is better than anyone else is and all others are stupid and incompetent. After advancing in the ranks of the army, he was chosen for the “death squadron.” The squadron’s goal was to crucify anyone who went against Roman law and security, and those deemed unworthy. Crucifying an individual included being stripped of all clothing, flogged, and then nailed to a cross in a public arena.

The turning event for Marcus was the flogging and crucifixion of the so-called “King of Jews.” Never had any crucifixion impacted him like this one. Not only did this Jew not call out or beg for mercy, he appeared calm and spoke to the crowd and the convicts hanging next to him. Marcus couldn’t get the eyes of Jesus out of his mind and that image followed him for years. It was due to this image and memory that Marcus lost touch with reality and was sent home.

Once returning home, Marcus leads a life of stealing, lying, and taking advantage of any woman he wanted. One such woman was Hadassah who was not killed but sent home. He later encounters her and her family after being found in a ditch due to illness.

The topic of Jesus’ crucifixion is addressed and why it happened or was thought to happen. This was delivered very well with historical facts. The author left it up to the readers to decide if they could forgive a man who did this.

Blanchet provides definitions of terminology, footnotes, maps, and further information on historical facts in the back of the book. One point made was that “No one knows for sure the hour Jesus died,” due to differences in how time was calculated within different groups. She relates that most authorities believe Jesus hung on the cross from 9:00 a.m. until his death at 3:00 p.m.

“Man at the Cross Road” by Jeanne Blanchet is an excellent read that will certainly challenge readers on their beliefs of what really happened.

– reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views

Other Reviews

Dr. Jeanne Blanchet has written a gripping novel about one man’s journey through crucifixion, debauchery and finally, salvation. In the character of Marcus Casea, the chief executioner of Jesus, we find so much about our own struggles with life, faith and the grace so freely offered by Jesus. This book will help believers and non-believers alike — there is so much shared humanity in the book that it cannot help to both captivate and inspire readers to examine their own lives and their relationship with God. A must read!

– reviewed on Amazon by Amazon Customer

Dr J. Blanchet, an accomplished author, spent years of research before writing this intense yet believable story. She cleverly weaves into the story all the teachings of Jesus the Christ in an attempt to influence the dangerous life of the Centurion who crucified Jesus. We highly recommend this book even for those who do not know the Biblical story!

– reviewed on Amazon by Amazon Customer

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “Toxic Food Nation”

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:

toxic food nation george burnell

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Toxic Food Nation

by George M. Burnell, M.D.

ISBN: 9781478775355

Synopsis*:

Toxic Food Nation: Why the American Diet Is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It is a wake-up call to all Americans about the typical American diet, rich in processed foods, fat, sugar, salt, omega-6s, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and hundreds of untested chemicals. This diet triggers chronic inflammation in the body and brain, which leads to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, anxiety, mood and behavior disorders, and cancer. We are now faced with several questions about the safety and toxicity of the American diet.

How harmful are these chemicals? Can we rely on the government and food industry to protect us from potential threats to our health? What can we do to protect ourselves? Toxic Food Nation answers all these questions and tells you what the food and chemical industries don’t want you to know and why governmental agencies and elected officials remain silent on the subject. Our food supply is laced with dangerous toxic chemicals that will harm you and your loved ones for years to come unless you take action now.

Toxic food is now the new tobacco. It took over two decades before the public accepted the fact that tobacco caused cancer. Meanwhile, plastics and pesticides in our food continue to stockpile in our issues for decades, eventually erupting into a full array of chronic diseases in midlife. In Toxic Food Nation Dr. Burnell shows you how to benefit from cutting-edge science, explaining how to protect and enhance your immune system, which is the key to overcome the devastating effects of chronic inflammation. Drawing from clinical and laboratory studies as well as the latest research around the world, Toxic Food Nation gives you a highly practical program of simple dietary recommendations to prevent disease and heal the symptoms that threaten you and your loved ones. In a clear and nontechnical language Dr. Burnell discusses the issues, choices and barriers to overcoming.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Toxic Food Nation: Why the American Diet is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It” by George M. Burnell, MD, is an absolute must-read for anyone concerned with improving their health, longevity, and quality of life. As cited on the back cover, this book is a wake-up call to all Americans about the standard American diet. Most of our food supply is in the form of processed convenience foods that are full of sugar, fat, chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics. This diet can be directly linked to numerous diseases, including among others:  chronic inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, mood disorders, eating disorders, and cancer.

In “Toxic Food Nation” Dr. Burnell writes clear-cut, concise information to inform and educate readers in language that is easy to follow and understand. The chapters address a multitude of issues that the average American is just not aware of, such as the effects of toxins and chemicals in our food, the safety of vitamins and minerals, and the science of manufactured flavors and food substitutes used to make our food look and taste better, and last longer. There is also extensive information on the role of the government and politicians, as well as what they do (or don’t do) to protect their citizens. I found the information to be meticulously researched and documented and could be the most powerful source of reference available on the subject.

Each chapter stands well on its own but I found it most helpful to read the entire book straight through then backtrack to review chapters holding special interest. With an extensive glossary, a list of resources, and other helpful websites, “Toxic Food Nation” by George M. Burnell, MD provides a practical look at how to make beneficial changes for your health and well-being. It is a book I will keep close at hand and refer to often.

– reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views

Other Reviews

I am a health and fitness instructor and I read Dr. Burnell’s book with great interest because I am very careful about what I eat and food I recommend to my students. I learned a great deal about all the chemicals that exist in conventional foods, namely the American diet.
Dr. Burnell has written one of the best books on food safety and prevention of chronic illnesses triggered by chemicals in our food, most of them untested by government or private industry.
He pulls no punches and tells us in a clear and non technical language about the risks and danger that the American diet presents in our lives. He gives us easy to follow guidelines, once you know the science that support his recommendations. You will most likely want your friends, family and co-workers to read it and spark discussion on the issues this book brings up.
Undoubtedly, this is a wake up call to all Americans that will save lots of money on unnecessary medical bills in the long run.

 – reviewed on Amazon by Douglas

“Toxic Food Nation” is a comprehensive book on what’s bad and risky in the typical American diet today. Dr. Burnell has made this book very easy to read, and understand. He starts with a questionnaire that assesses whether your current diet puts your health at risk for future chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke and cancer) and compares it with a retake version of the same questionnaire after you finish the book.
At the end of each chapter you can follow a set of guidelines that will lead you to more healthy eating at your own pace. There is lots of invaluable information, well researched and backed by evidence peer reviewed studies up to 2016. You can always refer back to a given chapter or page you wish to tab for a revisit. Many of my pages are tabbed already. Our foods are becoming the good, the bad, and the ugly, due to so many toxins in processed and packaged foods, our water, and soil.
Organic is the way to go forward. Invest in good food now and save yourself the big extra bucks for medical care later on. Remember: It is never too late to start.

– reviewed on Amazon by Elizabeth Ann Gomez 

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Tuesday Book Review: “Characters on the Green”

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:

characters on the green j peter hoyer

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Characters on the Green

by J. Peter Hoyer

ISBN: 9781478756316

Synopsis*:

Witty, sarcastic, and humorously captivating. Real episodes with real golfers, and real funny. We called him “Mr. D,” not his correct name, but one that he liked. Mr. D was rich enough to own all the pineapple fields on Oahu, but he’d rather sneak out and steal a few pineapples instead. “Hank” turns out to be a virulent “Hank-Enstein” in the chapter of the same name. You will discover that the three “Patrick’s” have something more in common than their given names. “Doc,” not an actual doctor, and Nick, who may have been the inspiration behind the cable TV series, The Sopranos, are more of the personalities who are the focus of these chapters. There are numerous books devoted to professional athletes. For the game of golf in particular, readers can find publications about Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, and many other pros. But what about the millions of amateurs who play the game? They are seriously overlooked-until now. “Great Chapters. Enjoyable and relatable for anyone who has spent any time around the game. Pete makes the many characters of the game we can all identify with come alive.” -Andy Weissinger, PGA, 2009 PGA Patriot Award Winner. “Pete’s lifelong love for the game has given experiences that any golf lover would enjoy. Read this and you will see why golf is more than a game. It has Character.” -Nick Zanca, Director of Golf, Kiskiack Golf Club.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Characters on the Green” by J. Peter Hoyer is a humorous look at the people encountered by the author during his decades-long love affair with the game of golf. Hoyer indeed met some real characters – both his regular partners and random people added to his foursome by course starters, on golf courses across the country. These include good golfers and bad. More importantly, it includes many people who wouldn’t be considered normal in settings anywhere other than a golf course.

Hoyer is a shrewd observer of people, and able to pick out and describe those quirks and idiosyncrasies which create humorous stories. And, the stories are not by any means limited to golfers. Some of his better stories are of characters he met during his career in the Army and his tenure coaching young golfers.

The author’s sense of humor is not the rip-roaring, slap happy variety. It is much more dry wit and sarcasm. As an example, when given a cigar of the type once smoked by John F. Kennedy, Hoyer wrote:

“Now there were three things that JFK and I had in common: cigar brand, chronically sore, stiff lower back, and experience running an important organization. Mine was a hundred twenty-person Army Transportation Company. Kennedy’s position was a slightly larger organization of around three hundred million people.”

Perhaps the best section of “Characters on the Green” is that describing golf technology and overall golf tips. These are found in golf magazines, golf TV channels, and random tips from other golfers. Every one of them is “guaranteed” to add ten yards to each shot, or improve score by 10%, or provide some other dramatic improvement. Hoyer quipped that if a golfer had enough money to invest in all of the available technology, each with such a guaranty, the golfer would surely improve his score well enough to join the professional golf tour. The flip side of this is equally true, since every bad round of golf can easily be blamed on poor equipment. A golf partner of Hoyer once blamed a poor round of golf on his socks – the socks were simply too heavy!

“Characters on the Green” by J. Peter Hoyer is an easy-to-read journey through the author’s encounters with some interesting people – most of who were met by him on a golf course, but all of them skillfully described with wit and humor.

– reviewed by David K. McDonnell for Reader Views

Other Reviews

This is a fast read for anyone interested in learning about golf etiquette. It deals with the situations that I often wondered about, as a golfer of 28 years. For example, how do you deal with players when pairing up by the ‘starter?’ The author’s “no chit-chat” policy allows one to announce upfront that we are to enjoy this round, and that means we are not to be distracted by small talk. The vivid descriptions of various golf courses and first-hand knowledge of military standard operating procedures were meaningful and amusing to me, having gone “chairborne” for my two-year stint.

The author presented considerations to those who golf with bosses or clients. Playing with superiors has potential consequences when the boss expects without exception playing partners to keep to the weekly routine…short of an unexpected departure from this world! For those who see the golfing experience as an outdoor adventure, this book gives thought to appreciate some of the unexpected background sounds; or people’s peculiar habits; and the need to keep a singular thought at the ‘address,’

I recommend this book as a good mental tune-up for beginners and seasoned golfers alike.

 – reviewed on Amazon by Joe Mancuso

I just finished reading Pete Hoyer’s book, “Characters on the Green” and passed it on to another golfing buddy. I found the book to be very entertaining. I really enjoyed the chapter on golf gimmicks (so true). But my favorite chapter was about Pete’s experiences coaching a high school golf team. Having coached and tutored junior high and high school kids, I could definitely relate to this hilarious chapter.

– reviewed on Amazon by wizardbob2

Author Website

http://www.charactersonthegreen.com/


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Tuesday Book Review: “She’s My Dad”

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:

she's my dad by iolanthe woulff

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She’s My Dad

by Iolanthe Woulff

ISBN: 9781432744052

Synopsis*:

“Don’t hate, Nicholas. Hate destroys everything. Don’t let it destroy you…”

For decades, ultra-liberal Windfield College has been a thorn in the side of Northern Virginia’s hidebound elite. When a teaching position unexpectedly becomes available, the school hires a former male graduate – now a transsexual woman named Nickie Farrell – as an assistant professor of English. Hoping to find peace, Nickie keeps her secret under wraps until ambitious lesbian student reporter Cinda Vanderhart outs her. And Cinda has noticed something else: both Nickie and a young townie waiter named Collie Skinner have a genetic quirk which causes their eyes to be different colors. Convinced that the similarity is no coincidence, Cinda begins an investigation to discover the connection between them.

Meanwhile, in a death-bed confession as she succumbs to years of brutality at the hands of her disgraced cop husband, Collie’s mother Luanne reveals that his birth resulted from an illicit affair she had with a long-vanished Windfield college senior named Nick Farrington. Shattered by his mother’s death, Collie turns for comfort to Robin Thompson, a gentle-hearted Christian co-worker at the upper-crust Foxton Arms restaurant. As Nickie is stalked by a pair of homicidal sociopaths, Robin finds herself entangled not only in Cinda’s investigative machinations but also a murderous plot by former U.S Ambassador and tycoon Eamon Douglass to eradicate the hated college with a suicide detonation of a Cesium 137 dirty bomb. Lives and secrets hang in the balance until everything comes to a head on the morning of Windfield’s annual spring picnic: April Fools Day.

Filled with richly-drawn characters and building to a stunning climax, SHE’S MY DAD is a story about the destructiveness of hate, the power of love, and the redemptive triumph of good over evil.

Like her title character Nickie Farrell, Iolanthe Woulff is a transsexual woman. A fifty-nine-year-old Princeton-educated English major, she lives in Palm Springs, CA, where for several years she wrote a column in a local magazine about the challenges of gender transition. As the eldest child of author Herman Wouk, storytelling has always been dear to Ms. Woulff’s heart. Her hope is that besides providing a suspenseful read, SHE’S MY DAD will help to dispel some of the widespread misconceptions about transsexual people.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Author Iolanthe Woulff has once again written about issues that impact all of us. She hits every point head on without sugar-coating anything. In this book, “She’s My Dad,” the author addresses hate, specifically blind prejudice and how each of us handles it.

In a small town in Virginia, a wealthy man disowns his son because of his sexuality, but this one surviving son is his sole heir. The son chooses to use his inheritance to build a university where all individuals are accepted without judgment or prejudice, however many of the local people are not happy with the ideals of the university.

In 1979, Nicholas Farrington had an affair with a married woman, and unbeknownst to him, they have a son Nicholas “Collie” Skinner. No one has heard from Farrington since he suddenly disappeared.

Now 25 years later a new engaging and dynamic professor Nickie Farrel, has been hired at a local liberal college. Nickie is hiding a huge secret–she is a transsexual woman. There are individuals threatening to expose Nickie’s secret and cause trouble for the school. Cinda Vanderhalt, an aggressive journalism student, will do anything to get that “big” story that will make her famous.  Eamon Douglas, a former Ambassador, is determined to get rid of that “fag” loving college and all the gay students and faculty.

The author provides powerful insight into the destructiveness of hate, the love of an abused mother, and learning that we all have basic needs and desires. We fear what we don’t understand. Many will not take the time to become more knowledgeable about these fears, but prefer to keep hatred and prejudices inside until they lose control and do harm to others.

Woulff’s characters provide amazing insight into the turmoil that we as individuals and society experience when others do not fit into our “accepted” roles. She provides very controversial topics, and subplots that will have readers re-thinking their stance on their values and beliefs.

Readers will come away from this read with new knowledge and hopefully more understanding and a better person. I highly recommend “She’s My Dad” by Iolanthe Woulff to everyone; you will remember this book long after you finish reading.

– reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views

Other Reviews

I picked this book up to read on a recent trip. I was intrigued by chapter 3 and had trouble putting it down by chapter 7. The story line is multi-dimensional and complex in its presentation. This book did a really great job of helping me to understand some of the complex social issues facing our nation and world today, and I am a better human being for having read it. My heart is more open to people of different social upbringing and sexual orientation after the author’s magnificent presentation of a side of an issue to which I had no previous exposure.

Most of us don’t spend much time thinking what it would be like to have been born the opposite gender, or born with the feeling of being assigned one physical gender with the inner feeling of belonging to the opposite gender. Today’s society has little room for the small minority of people with gender identity issues. Because they are in the minority does not make them insignificant and unimportant.

What the author accomplishes by telling her story allows her to demonstrate the universal truths that bind us together as a human race – despite our differences in beliefs, ethics, politics, etc. we all have the same basic needs and desires, and our differences pale in comparison to our similarities despite how things may seem at first glance. We fear what we do not understand. I now understand things I did not prior to reading this book. I will probably be forever changed, in a good way, for having read and understood this book and the point of view it portrays.

 – reviewed on Amazon by Sidney D. Lehr

I just finished “She’s My Dad” and I thought it was excellent. It got me very wrapped up in the characters early on and kept me that way right through the whole book. Well, as it was, not through the WHOLE book! Seems I didn’t really know what “Epilogue” meant and ended the book before I read that part. Being so wrapped up as I was and anxious to see how things ended, bad over evil I hoped, where I ended caused me so much anger that I threw the book on the floor! God, it couldn’t end this way!! It just couldn’t! It was 11pm, I turned off the light and rolled over trying to sleep. The next day I read the Epilogue! It’s probably not recommended that one read She’s My Dad that way but looking back it set me up for a wonderful high! I loved it all through the book and highly recommend it. Definitely not too long for the story that was told.

– reviewed on Amazon by InfoSeeker

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Tuesday Book Review: “Help! I Have a Brain Injury”

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:

Help! I Have a Brain Injury: And It Feels Like I've Dropped Out of the Sky" by Kay Pratt

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Help! I Have a Brain Injury: And It Feels Like I’ve Dropped Out of the Sky

by Kay Pratt

ISBN: 9781478718079

Synopsis*:

WHAT do you know about brain injury? How does it happen? How does it affect one’s life? What does it feel like? How long does it take to recover from a Traumatic Brain Injury? Will a survivor ever be the same again?

WHAT are your beliefs about the future of someone who’s sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury? The answers to these questions are as broad and unique as the individual’s who have sustained brain injuries. “In my own experience as a TBI survivor, I have come to understand that the degree to which we recover can be measured not only by our physical reality, but, by our personal and caregiver’s belief systems; after all, if, we are cognitively and physically able, what we believe, shapes our every outcome!” Kay Pratt.

In this Book, TBI survivors share the answers to these questions and more through the voice of their experience. It is with sincere hope that by doing so, your understanding and beliefs about brain-injured individuals will be broadened and your perspectives enlightened.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Help! I Have a Brain Injury: And It Feels Like I’ve Dropped Out of the Sky” by Kay Pratt is one of the most amazing, informative and well written books I have read on this topic. Having had multiple mini-strokes in August of this year, I wish I had this book in hand afterwards.

The author shares her experience in her ten year recovery from her brain injury as well as the stories of others. Little did I realize all the anger, depression and loss I would feel when I lost the ability to write, walk and do small, everyday tasks. I am sure many going through this feel the same way.

Pratt and others talk about the pain, fear, anger and depression and the long road of physical, occupational, and sometimes emotional therapy to learn to walk and talk once again. What impressed me was in each story or discussion, Pratt includes a section on Important Takeaways – how one deals with the loss, anger and changes in our lives. Believe me, recovery will not happen overnight, and you will come to rely on many professionals, as well as family and friends to help in this process.

As a Psychologist, I found the information in this book to be very helpful, full of supportive tips and resources. It is very well researched, and provides information I hadn’t even considered. The examples Pratt provides on the impact of domestic violence and brain injury caught me off guard. Her statistics, lack of treatment and diagnosis was shocking, although it shouldn’t be. The undiagnosed impact of brain injury may be a reason why some women choose not to leave an abusive relationship; brain injury makes it difficult to get a job and be self-supportive. She also relates that according to some sources pushing a diagnosis may have unintended consequences such as being used against the women in custody battles.

What many people do not realize is that children who are abused may suffer from mild to severe TBIs (traumatic brain injuries). It is imperative to assess children for dizziness, change in personality, and change in behavior, and determine if they should be returned to a violent home. That means that caregivers, family or friends need to be observant and say something.

Part 5 of Pratt’s book, entitled Brain 101! includes vital information about what TBIs are, statistics, parts of the brain impacted and what that means. She goes on to discuss coping with challenges, length of time for recovery and provides numerous resources.

Since I am still early in my recovery, I showed this book to my Occupational Therapist, and she now has it in her hands to share with others. “Help! I Have a Brain Injury: And It Feels Like I’ve Dropped Out of the Sky” by Kay Pratt is a must read for all professionals, family members, friends and those who have diagnosed TBI, or not.

– reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views

Another Review

If you or a loved one has experienced a brain injury you most likely feel as if you are suddenly hurtling down a never ending road of pain, confusion, hard questions and a roller coaster ride of emotions, as you try and decipher the clinical terminology from well-meaning experts, as well as face the reality of what is. Given how brain injuries impact one’s life and those around them, it is hard not to be overwhelmed with fear and doubts at the long road ahead, let alone the day to day journey.

HELP! I Have a Brain Injury And It Feels Like I’ve Dropped Out of the Sky! by Kay Pratt is the result of all that she has learned throughout her 10 year journey and recovery from the time of her own brain injury to the present day. This is her third book in her HELP series on dealing with brain injuries and it answers quite possibly any and every question you might have on the topic. The book is extensively researched and thorough in it’s discussion of all aspects of brain injuries, from the first steps to take following the occurrence and diagnosis, the physical and emotional health concerns following the injury, understanding brain trauma, the importance of advocating for one’s self and tips on coping with daily challenges as you move forward in your recovery journey. Yet you never feel like you are reading about a medical issue nor do you ever feel inundated with medical terms. Ms. Pratt breaks everything down into a conversation between ordinary people. The book is about you, whether you are the patient, a family member or friend. It is always about you and your own personal journey.

Ms Pratt recounts as well moments of her own journey, the obstacles she faced and how she dealt with them. Also included are the personal stories of other brain injury survivors. On page after page Ms. Pratt’s inner grace, strength of spirit, wisdom and compassion infuse the book and her words with hope and give one the courage to go on, even when confronting what seem unsurmountable odds. I cannot say enough about how invaluable this book is for anyone suddenly finding themselves facing the unexpected reality following a brain injury.

 – reviewed on Amazon by reluctantmuse

 


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