Tuesday Book Review: “Banister – Raiders of Santa Fe: An American Frontier Adventure 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:

Banister - Raiders of Santa Fe Kent Courtney

cipa evvy merit

Banister – Raiders of Santa Fe:
An American Frontier Adventure Novel

by Kent Courtney

ISBN: 9781478779995

Synopsis*:

It seemed that Banister blood was destined to wander, starting with the earliest of settlers in the original colonies. This desire to see what was beyond the mountains or the sea flowed like a curse through their veins, pushing them on… In the third installment of the popular Banister Ranch Series, we discover what it was like to travel into unknown regions of the western frontier as an early settler. Spending months riding in a hot, crowded, bone-jarring covered wagon was only part of the challenge. A shaky treaty with some of the Indian tribes opened the Santa Fe trail for travelers, but nothing guaranteed their safety or insured their success as they struggled not only to survive, but to build a ranch during a violent and dangerous time in American history. Banister-Raiders of Santa Fe blends American history with the saga of a fictional family, the Banisters, revealing what it was like to face multiple, seemingly insurmountable challenges and surviving against all odds on the frontier. The series offers relevant, realistic historical fiction with real places and events woven into exciting storylines that will resonate with the modern reader.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Amazon Reviews

Wonderful book!! I am looking forward to “Banister-Outlaws of the Badlands.” I have loved this series and each book is better than the last.

– reviewed by Maria on Amazon

Best in the series so far. Well written and it held my attention throughout the whole book. We will be looking forward to his next book.

– reviewed by Sherrie on Amazon

AWESOME!!!!!

I love this book. Can’t wait to read the next in the series.

– reviewed by Linda C. on Amazon

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “A Place to Call Home”

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 place to call home g a whitmore

purple dragonfly book award

A Place to Call Home: Toby’s tale

by G. A. Whitmore

ISBN: 9781478700739

Synopsis*:

A Place to Call Home is the heartwarming and inspiring story of an abandoned white German shepherd puppy named Toby and his cross-country search for a forever home.Narrated in part by the animal characters in the book, the reader experiences Toby’s world through his eyes and those of the animals he meets on his journey.

Toby’s life begins on a farm where the carefree, happy days he has known come to an abrupt end when his breeder decides to “dispose” of him and his sister Tara because of the color of their fur. With the help of a kind farmhand, the two puppies escape unharmed.

After a tumultuous time during which Toby is shuffled from place to place, he is finally adopted, but he quickly realizes his new family has deep-seated issues that put him in danger, and what seemed like an ideal home, turns into another place he must escape from.

As Toby struggles to find a forever home where he can feel safe and secure, he experiences some painful losses, but he also makes new friends–friends who will help him to trust humans again and teach him the power of love.

Inspired by a true story, this middle grade/young adult novel can be enjoyed by dog lovers of all ages.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

As a dog rescuer myself I was happy to get my hands on “A Place to Call Home” by G.A. Whitmore. We rescued Peggy, a mixed Belgian shepherd breed from the shelter almost seven years ago and now can’t imagine life without her. Toby is white German Shepard was abandoned with his sister on the road due his white fur by the breeder, a farmer who thought no one would buy them. After the two puppies are rescued, and their new situation seemed to promise a loving home for them, Toby’s tragic adventure begins.  This heart wrenching story made me imagine my own dog’s past and wonder what type of cruel situations she had to endure before we found her. Many of us dog rescuers fall in love with them and try not to think about all the cruelty these puppies have been subjected to previously. They are so loving to us that it is hard to imagine anyone could be capable of hurting them. This book will take the reader through the worst of mankind as it recounts the abuse Toby experienced.

“A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale” by G.A. Whitmore is the first of the series which promises to be heartwarming tales of rescued dogs. Toby’s tale was inspired by the author’s own dog. Her love for him and dogs in general is evident in her writing. It is apparent through her writing that this is her first book, the flow was not quite there and it felt to me a little repetitive. I am sure that as she gains more experience she will be able to edit out unneeded wording which will help the flow a lot, from dialogue to narration and one scene to the next. Nevertheless, this is a great story and a much needed series as the amount of abused dogs in the shelters are testament to the need for loving homes.

“A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale” by G.A. Whitmore is a heartwarming story that will touch dog lovers and even people without pets. Hopefully, their hearts will open up enough to make room for a shelter dog, as they read this book.

– reviewed by Susan Violante of Reader Views

Other Reviews

I Enjoyed This Book

I saw an ad for this book in my Story Monsters Ink Magazine. I was intrigued because it won the Purple Dragonfly Book Award and the author donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book to an organization that helps protect dogs. I read it in about a week and found it to be very enjoyable. The author’s love of dogs is apparent throughout the story and the book reminds us of the horrors some of these poor animals live through. I loved her beautiful imagery and think this would be an excellent gift for dog lovers. Not sure I’d give it to someone under the age of 14 or so though. A few parts might upset younger readers. It is a story of second chances and ultimately, one of love.

– reviewed by Michelle Seelye Drucker on Amazon

A Delightful Read with a Message

This was a thoroughly delightful and enjoyable read, one that moved me to both smiles and tears. Written for young adults, it balances well the scenes in which the dogs talk to one another and other more gritty and dramatic human scenes which explained the hardships this rescue dog went through and perhaps why. Even as it engages with Toby’s joys and travels, it sends an important message about the responsibilities of dog ownership and how they look to us for much more than food, water and shelter. Loving a dog is a responsibility and it’s a great joy. The organizations that save and the people who adopt, make a tremendous difference to many small creatures who hurt. The writer skillfully and engagingly sends that powerful and beautiful message with Toby’s story.. – LB Johnson – Author of “The Book of Barkley – Life and Love Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever”.

– reviewed by L. Paul on Amazon

The story of a dog family told from the canine point of view. Unique & Excellent!

This is a wonderful, sweet and engaging book about a dog finding a forever home and his relationship with a young boy and family. It is broken up into several sections, with the story of the pups mother and grandmother on a farm and how this pup ended up being part of a family. I particularly loved how all the perspectives are from each dog’s point of view, which is something I’ve never seen before. And my favorite section was the story of the grandmother dog and her adventures on the farm – I don’t want to give anything away so I’m not going g to say anything more about it, but it was captivating and charming and really a unique story.

This would be a great book for any animal lover. The themes focus around rescues and how even a dog that is abandoned deserves a chance to be loved and love in return. The descriptions from the dogs point of views make for an interesting, unique story and I highly recommend it.

– reviewed by jld2 on Amazon


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Tuesday Book Review: “Classroom Boredom Busters”

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:

classroom boredom busters donna malone

cipa evvy 3rd place

Classroom Boredom Busters

by Donna Malone

ISBN: 9781478785323

Synopsis*:

Spark student curiosity and increase student participation with classroom activities that won’t add to your busy workload. In Classroom Boredom Busters, veteran educator Donna Malone shares her proven ideas for exciting kids about learning.

Teachers of all content and subject areas in grades four through twelve can encourage active learning using movement (for example, role-playing being in a press conference); word games (such as writing messages in bottles); and friendly competitions (including game shows).

Educators who have attended Malone’s professional learning workshops have received these ideas enthusiastically, and students of theirs still fondly recall, “I remember when…” because these teachers used activities from this book. With Classroom Boredom Busters, every lesson comes alive and becomes more memorable.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Reviews

Entertaining Learning: A Win-Win Combination

This is the best book available on the market for all teachers who want to make learning fun again! Students will be entertained while they learn, a win-win situation for teachers and students alike. Award-winning author Donna Malone presents 50 clever games to captivate and energize students in the classroom, especially middle school where attention spans are short. The book includes eight categories of games, five in each. One section includes learning games that get children out of their seats, up and moving, to play games such as “Wall Slap,” “Snowball Fight,” and “Vocabulary Relay.” Other games are based on everything from popular game shows to celebrity glamour. Malone has almost 30 years of teaching experience and is a popular presenter at conferences. Currently, she serves as School Improvement Specialist at an agency for the Georgia Department of Education.

– reviewed by S. Mclaughlin on Amazon

Attention Educators

Educators will find Classroom Boredom Busters refreshingly effective for today’s youth. The author delivers some uniquely fun and simple approaches to stir up the stagnant climates in many of today’s classrooms. Donna’s box of strategies are delightful as well as practical for all involved parties. As a classroom teacher, I’m looking forward to adding many of her ideas to my repertoire!

– reviewed by Laurel on Amazon

 

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Tuesday Book Review: “Healing Walls”

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:

healing walls rea nurmi

cipa evvy 2nd place

Healing Walls

by Rea Nurmi

ISBN: 9781478785132

Synopsis*:

Opening new horizons to those whose lives are restricted. Healing Walls features the therapeutic side of Rea Nurmi’s work, which blends her skill as an artist with her love of vibrant colors and peaceful, natural settings. Her murals are designed and created to provide a liberating experience for patients, visitors and staff in the clinical environment of hospitals and other medical facilities. She describes her art projects as drab walls bursting alive with color and movement. Large works of gardens and other nature scenes relax and sooth both staff and patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities and schools. Rea paints alone or in collaboration with staff, patients and residents. Her intention is to bring color and light into the world and take the art where it is most needed. The first mural was done in the MRI unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. Others are located in major cities in Europe and her native Finland.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“See when you start at Yale, doors open.”

Thank you, everyone, who participated in our event with Finnish artist and now writer Rea Nurmi! The atmosphere was warm and intimate and Nurmi talked about her new book Healing Walls and showed us photos of the colourful walls she has painted with patients of hospitals, retirement homes and detention centres while guests enjoyed her lively personality and storytelling together with some cheeses, crackers and fruit. You can find a recording of the presentation online on our Facebook page!

“It’s no glamour work, I tell you!”

rea nurmiRea Nurmi is a painter who has produced and exhibited artwork since 1987. She divides her time between Helsinki, Finland and St Petersburg, Florida. She was born in Helsinki, Finland, where she graduated from the Structural Design Institute. In 1973 she moved to the US and worked as a designer in engineering firms in CT.

Nurmi’s journey as an artist began in 1986. She left her engineering studies and her work as a designer for a life adventure that took her travelling half-way around the world for several months: hiking in New Zealand, scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, exploring the beaches of Hawaii, and discovering Tahiti’s Moorea Island in the South Pacific. Inspired by her travels, upon returning home, she decided to devote all of her time to art.

reanurmi2-1024x558Through the years, Nurmi’s paintings have been displayed in solo exhibitions in New York City, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Boston, Helsinki and many other locations. Her work has also been featured in galleries throughout New England, in corporate collections in New York City. In 2011 she moved to St Petersburg, FL and she teaches a pastel class at the OLLI program at Eckerd College main campus.

Healing Walls features the therapeutic side of Nurmi’s work, which blends her skills as an artist with her love of vibrant colors and peaceful, natural settings. Her murals are designed and created to provide a liberating experience for patients, visitors, and staff in the clinical environment of hospitals and other medical facilities.

– reviewed by on www.FinlandCenter.org

 


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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: “Genetics Isn’t Everything”

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:

genetics isn't everything katherine egan

cipa evvy 2018

Genetics Isn’t Everything

by Katherine S. Egan

ISBN: 9781478790372

Synopsis*:

Did you know? Environment, diet, and lifestyle, along with daily choices, influence how our genes are expressed. In other words, each decision determines how, when and if certain genes get turned on or not. Just because you have certain ‘inherited’ or genetic traits, or certain diseases seem to run in your family, you’re not destined to get the same illnesses or conditions as your ancestors. A happy and healthy life, while not guaranteed to everyone, is within reach. We have more influence over health and wellness than many believe. This book unveils truths behind the relatively new science of epigenetics by sharing the personal, heart-wrenching stories of 16 women who would not take illness as a lifetime answer. They changed their health and thus their lives with nutrition and self-care, and you, can take your life back too!

Internationally Certified Health Coach Katherine S. Egan, author, states, “I’m on a mission to spread hope and understanding. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and with the proper knowledge, support and guidance, this can be achieved! It’s my life’s purpose to help you believe that within each of us is the answer to better health. Don’t delay. Every life has value and is not supposed to be lived in pain or in diminishing health. The time is now. Reach out! Let me help you discover what this means for you. I’m honored to help you finally find your extra-ordinary!”

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

You probably heard before that your genes determine how healthy you will be in life. Katherine Egan disagrees. According to her, Genes Isn’t Everything. She believes that high-quality nourishment and an effective exercise regime will improve your energy metabolism, body composition, glucose tolerance, and cardiovascular disease risk. We have more control over our health than we think.

 

Genetics Isn't Everything, by Katherine S. Egan Book Review

GENETICS EXPLAINED (BRIEFLY)

Genetics implies that our DNA, as we inherited it, can not be changed. Egan introduces us to Epigenetics. This basically means that there is a whole lot that you can change about your genes. Our environment has the ability to change our genetics either positively or negatively. She proves this by telling us the stories of women who cured themselves of a variety of incurable diseases, all from a lifestyle change.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Our generation runs on stress. We eat unhealthy convenience food. We neglect ourselves. This has, unfortunately, become the new normal. However, it is never too late to become proactive. There are people who have decided to go against the grain. They refused to be told by their doctors that there is no hope for them. And they healed themselves. Our bodies are designed to heal itself, but we need to give our bodies what it needs.

Genetics Isn't Everything, by Katherine S. Egan Book Review

THE STORIES OF HOPE

Genetics Isn’t Everything shares stories of people that cured themselves with nutrition, self-care, and self-compassion. From thyroid conditions, migraines, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, lupus, depression and weight disorders, there are stories of victory for all of them and more.

Genetics Isn't Everything, by Katherine S. Egan Book Review

WHAT DID I THINK OF THE BOOK:

I liked that there is a lot of footnotes with the books and website names where the information came from. So you will be able to continue your research quite easily. I also liked the fact that it is a body mind and spirit approach. This book will be available in Spanish soon, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested!

Genetics Isn’t Everything is the motivation we all need to take better care of ourselves.

– reviewed by Rina on Bookerina Book Reviews

Other Reviews

Inspiring and Powerful!

People say don’t judge a book by its cover but that is exactly what initially captured my attention and the content doesn’t disappoint. I suffered for many years with chronic headaches and I wish I had this book to show me alternative non-toxic ways to deal with my pain. Reading the journeys of these women was so inspiring, powerful and empowering. Katherine shows that good health is not all about food, exercise or even your DNA…it’s about balance, choices and gradual changes to an extraordinary you. I recommend this book to all.

 – reviewed on Amazon by SP

Not getting the answers you need in the medical world? Open up this book!

Great, easy, informative and inspirational read! Katherine shares stories from multiple women who were able to cure themselves using food and positive lifestyle choices. She does a wonderful job of sharing her message of how your genes are not necessarily your destiny. Your diet, environment and lifestyle play a part in the “expression” of those genes. This book will inspire you and guide you on a path to disease free good health! Get your copy today….and buy one for a friend! They’ll thank you!

 – reviewed on Amazon by Lorraine Miano

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “Two Towers: A Memoir”

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:

two towers t d arkenberg

cipa evvy 2018

Two Towers

by T.D. Arkenberg

ISBN: 9781478722007

Synopsis*:

Sometimes, life pushes you to the brink. In his poignant memoir, Two Towers, T.D. Arkenberg navigates readers through a personal perfect storm. A resurgence of his father’s long-dormant cancer and chaos at his job in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks serve as the backdrop for a private struggle with a secret hidden for thirty-seven years. The story opens on Christmas Eve, 2001. Alone, he stands in his empty childhood home. Two months earlier, his father succumbed to cancer after a lengthy struggle. Five weeks after that painful loss, his mother’s unexpected death shattered his world. The double-barreled blast toppled his towers of strength and unconditional love at a time he was barely treading water. Only weeks before his parents’ deaths, his professional life descended into turmoil. Nineteen hijackers commandeered four commercial jets, unleashing unspeakable terror on US soil. Two towers collapsed into piles of twisted steel, a dusty grave for thousands of innocent souls. Two of the planes belonged to his employer. Eighteen colleagues were killed and thousands of others were soon without jobs. His leadership would never be more severely tested. Friends don’t know how he survives. Neither does he, especially with the added burden of a dark secret. As his world starts to crumble, fate offers a lifeline. Jim, a facilitator of a men’s coming-out group guides him through the process of accepting his sexuality. With towers collapsing around him, Jim might be able to save him from becoming another casualty. Two Towers stands as testament to duty and the power of love.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Final Descent may have been T.D. Arkenberg’s debut novel but Two Towers is a deeply connected return to this crushing accuracy and devotion as an airline employee. This is his first memoir and it is a love letter.

Arkenberg has inherited a work ethic from another generation. Throughout the narrative, which details the trials of the late 90’s into early 2000’s, even into the Crisis Center in Chicago O’Hare airport on September 11th, 2001, his dedication to United Airlines and his fellow employees is clear. He recalls how the airline grounded flights just before the devastating moment they discovered two of the hijacked planes were their own and the profound grief that caused: “Our airplanes were used as missiles. Our passengers and employees were murdered.” The depth of identity with his position reflects the very deep devotion to his company and the connection to his sense of self.

The story is also a love letter to his parents’ fortitude and endurance. How they shaped him cultivated respect and crafted an iron clad work ethic without ever knowing their son’s deepest sense of self and secret. Tender vignettes reveal his devotion to the aging couple, culminating in his father’s return to Montgomery Ward as they begin to liquidate locations.  Arkenberg demonstrates an acute sensitivity to the inner world of his family. He offers to take his father back to the closing location musing that “perhaps Dad’s fond memories of Ward outweighed the hurt.”

As a devoted son, he goes beyond the physical expectations of helping with snow shoveling and heavy lifting but also cares for their mental and emotional well-being. Arkenberg’s own capacity as caretaker is a gentle mirror of his steadfast mother as she remains a faithful caretaker during her husband’s life and lengthy fight with cancer.

Endurance is a running theme throughout Two Towers. As his career shifts, seemingly every few months, and he climbs ever higher on the precarious ladder of airline management during a most unsteady time, and as his father lapses into weakness and his mother finds less time to be herself as they pass slowly–or suddenly–into the grave, Arkenberg has committed to himself to come out of the closet and to live a full life without secrets. Again and again, he must reveal himself while learning to navigate the world not as the perfect son or model employee but as Todd Arkenberg, a gay man who loves his partner, Jim. Though he may be considered middle aged, his youthful fear and innocence in to the foray of that new existence heighten the tale.

Hundreds of stories about the events of 9/11 have surfaced but few invite us into the Crisis Center for United Airlines in Chicago as the events unfold. Countless memoirs may have shared the stories of caring sons but few offer the humanity of their own internal struggles beyond that role. More and more stories of ‘coming out’ are reaching the light, inspiring those who feel trapped, and Arkenberg’s tale joins in the voices of attaining strength through vulnerability.

Two Towers is not as fanciful or imaginative as his two Faulkner-Wisdom nominated novels, Jell-O and Jackie–O and None Shall Sleep, yet Arkenberg fans will still see the depth and introspection present in his earlier work. The earnest telling of his coming-of-middle-age and his slowly strengthening sense of self among the rubble of his childhood and first career in the airlines is a moving exploration of what pieces we use to put ourselves together. It is a tumultuous expression of how outrageous events can rock us out of the shell of our status quo. Arkenberg asks a number of introspective questions throughout the book and while not all of them get an answer, it makes for a thoughtful and emotional read.

– reviewed by Elizabeth Melvin  on Windy City Reviews

Other Reviews

An in-depth accounting of the life of a normal American, a joy to discover.

I have read all of T.D. Arkenberg’s books and each is unique and interesting. They are as different as the stories they depict, and each is it’s own unique journey. This book however was a journey of my own life in parts as well, since I had lived through a portion of this same story, as have all Americans, who were living on September 11, 2001. My own path and job responsibilities of that tumultuous time relived in this reading. I had other moments of empathy having lost both of my parents and becoming an ‘orphan’ as well. It means, in my case, I am forever a parent but never again a child. This author is gifted in being able to bring to words the emotions and personal details of his life in a way that can truly express what I and others have felt during the similar challenges faced in one’s lifetime. The best compliment I can give a book is to say that I couldn’t put it down and that I’d recommend it to others. Both are true. Go read it for yourself. Now.

 – reviewed on Amazon by Valerie Driskill

Raw emotion with accurate detail.

This book eloquently and accurately captures the events at United during this time period, from balls supporting our communities to bankruptcy. Todd shares the challenges of caring for aging parents, corporate decisions and coming out in a society that did not fully support gay lifestyle. In my opinion this book accurately captures the outstanding individual that Todd is corporately, personally and creatively. Can’t wait for more!

 – reviewed on Amazon by Andra

 


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