Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen

The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen by Cameron A. Straughan is a collection of twenty-three chronological short stories about the day-to-day life of Anthony Zen. As illogical as this book may seem, the character is not fazed by the absurd adventures he has to face on a daily basis. Anthony is a man who runs to work without pants, owns a cat named Monty that rings, and finds this wacky behavior normal. This humorous tale of a man who lives his life to the fullest is wildly creative and entertaining. This eccentric story is full of shenanigans and outrageous creatures. It is a creative tale with backward logic that makes you laugh.

The book is brimming with wildly imaginative shenanigans and outrageous creatures that are sure to keep readers entertained. The writing is sophisticated and free of grammatical errors, making it a joy to read. Although I think the book would benefit from illustrations, the quality of the writing and the depth of the characters is enough to engage readers and take them on a journey through Anthony’s surreal world.

While most books with eccentric worlds have a set of rules that guide the reader, The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen does not. The author adds details seemingly at random, leaving readers in a state of anticipation, never knowing what to expect next. This unpredictability adds to the entertainment value and keeps readers in suspense.

The book’s structure is broken up in a way where each chapter functions as its own individual story, but the book consistently follows Anthony’s overall narrative. This non-traditional approach to storytelling is refreshing and makes the book stand out.

The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen is a well-written and creative book that offers a unique take on storytelling. It is certainly an enjoyable one that will leave readers both amused and engaged.

Pages: 191 | ASIN : B088LQF344

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Higher Steps Solutions For Healing

Book Review
Dr. Louise Pyant

In Higher Steps Solutions for Healing, Dr. Pyant discusses mental wellness, being prepared, dealing with things like trauma, attracting the right energy, and being the best version of yourself. This book is a must-read for any individual that is struggling with knowing themself and fighting silent battles. Dr. Pyant uses her real-life experiences to expound on some of the issues being discussed in the book. As a reader, you are able to connect and feel the author’s concern and passion for each subject that she discusses. Higher Steps Solutions for Healing is not just a self-help book, but it is a necessity for all that aspire to live fulfilling lives.

This thought-provoking book gives the reader a sense of being heard. Dr. Pyant’s writing feels authentic and genuine. The author writes based on researched facts and lived experiences. She does not fill the pages with useless information or antidotes; rather, she writes concisely and with purpose. I enjoyed this book because of the analysis provided. It does not matter whether It is a hypothetical situation or an actual occurrence; Dr. Pyant analyzes the details and gives the reader in-depth answers.

I appreciate the section of the book titled ‘Beginnings.’ In this section, the author discusses how trauma affects the brain. This is a deep topic, and the discussion that follows is even more profound.  We learn that there are three types of trauma; Acute, Chronic, and Complex. The three may not have the same magnitude, but they all affect different people in diverse ways.

Reading about trauma, the impact trauma has on our brains, and the traumatic events the author and other people have gone through was eye-opening. I like that the author gives a step-by-step discussion in that she shares notes and gives practical guides on every topic that she writes about. Dr. Pyant, in her wisdom, wrote about critical mental issues that we face and has helped many readers face the said issues. She touches on almost every situation that the average adult has gone through, and that is what makes this book special. Some of my favorite chapters in the book were those that discussed cosmic guides, religion, finding peace, and of course, the author’s personal story.

Higher Steps Solutions for Healing is a well-written self-help book that helps readers understand the different kinds of trauma and how to work through them. At the end of the reading, one subconsciously reflects on the topics that have been discussed and take on life lessons that will aid them when dealing with trauma.

The Healing Book

The Healing Book: A Collection of Short Stories, authored by Dustin Grinnell, is a poignant anthology that takes readers on a journey alongside diverse characters as they confront personal challenges and seek a deeper sense of purpose. Comprising thirteen compelling short stories, this collection delves into various themes, ranging from the discovery of one’s own voice to providing solace to someone who may not be healed.

A standout story in the collection, titled The Healing Book, tells the tale of Dr. David Mitchel, a surgeon grappling with his wife’s cancer diagnosis. As he exhaustively explores every possible avenue to help her combat the disease, from conventional medical treatments to holistic practices and the transformative power of literature, he eventually comes to terms with the painful reality of her passing. Through this story, Grinnell masterfully captures the emotional turmoil faced by countless individuals affected by cancer.

The author’s writing style strikes a delicate balance between scientific grounding and a thought-provoking exploration of morality. Drawing upon his background in Western medicine, Grinnell deftly showcases the complexities of the human experience, posing challenging questions and confronting difficult issues with sensitivity and courage. Each short story is thoroughly engaging, marked by well-developed characters and insightful examinations of human nature.

A unifying thread that runs through the collection is the characters’ pursuit of spiritual healing. These relatable, evocative tales will resonate with readers on a deeply personal level. I am pleased to have read this captivating and thought-provoking book, and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking empathetic, introspective, and engaging stories.

The Karmatic Way Series

Angelica Quantinet Grayer’s The Karmatic Way Series: Side Effects is a captivating and emotionally-driven novel that explores the power of karma and its impact on our lives. Grayer’s storytelling skills are exceptional as she weaves a complex tale of twin sisters, Treesy and Twinkle, who find themselves drifting apart due to a lack of communication. The author takes us on a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs as the sisters’ relationship is tested in unexpected ways, leading to karmic consequences that are both good and bad.

The plot of this book is well crafted, with a great mix of mystery, crime, and erotica that will keep you turning the pages. Grayer’s ability to balance the various plot elements is impressive, and the way the story concludes is both satisfying and surprising. The characters are well-developed, with Treesy and Twinkle stealing the show as the two protagonists. Treesy’s desire to break away from her sister’s shadow while still wanting to protect her is relatable, and Twinkle’s strength and resilience in the face of her disability are inspiring.

The supporting characters are equally engaging, with the twin brothers that Treesy and Twinkle start dating being the perfect matches for them. The signs they receive that indicate they are meant to be together are cute and endearing, adding to the overall charm of the story. Greer, a father in the story, is a standout character, with his protective nature and desire to help his daughter, adding depth to the narrative.

The Karmatic Way Series: Side Effects is a must-read for anyone looking for a well-written and engaging novel. Grayer’s storytelling skills are on full display in this book, with the plot and characters being skillfully crafted. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery with a touch of romance and erotica thrown in. You won’t be disappointed!

Pages: 297 | ASIN: B085ZTJK8F

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Justin’s Quest

In the wild Australian Outback, Justin Fielding seeks to find his destiny. A young artist on the cusp of manhood, Justin wrestles with uncertainty as he attempts to balance his dreams to become an artist with his family’s expectations of him. Searching far and wide to find himself, Justin explores the mysterious Australian Northern Territory, taking odd jobs as he continues to improve his artistic skills. Intrigue and secrets abound wherever Justin goes, from the isolated cattle stations to the urban centers. As Justin fights to pursue his dreams, dangers surround the young man, as well as a whisper of a possible romance. Can Justin hope to discover his place in the world and choose his own destiny, or will he forever lose all that is truly important?

Justin’s Quest by Winsome Board, book two of the Shangri-La Trilogy, is an engaging adventure steeped in Australian culture. Although this is the middle of a trilogy, this tale stands on its own without the reader feeling a loss of context. Board includes a wealth of information about the Aboriginal history of Australia, as well as the complex lives of those with Aboriginal heritage as they fight to balance the values of their culture in an ever-shifting modern society. Justin’s struggle to learn more about his heritage was real and spoke volumes to my heart. In fact, the story, written in the style of a diary, was so incredibly realistic that I felt as if I was actually reading the journal of an aspiring young artist.

Board does not shy away from heavy themes such as domestic violence and addiction in this somber narrative as the history and culture of Australia are explored. Written as an actual diary account, there are many loose ends and mysteries that may never be solved and motivations that will forever remain unclear. There are a few moments of implied intimacy, but these are handled with discretion as Justin fights to understand his own heart. Finally, the deep story comes to an ending that, while not entirely conclusive, leaves the reader perfectly satisfied and curious about what book three will hold.

Justin’s Quest is deep and rich in cultural awareness and is an excellent find for readers who enjoy adventures in world history. Containing violence, language, drug references, and mention of domestic abuse, this story is perfect for mature readers looking to expand their literary horizons. A deeply touching tale of self-discovery in a dangerous and confusing world, Justin’s Quest is an engrossing journal-style narrative unlike any other.

Pages: 140 | ASIN : B0BYPCQB78

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An Accidental Parisian

In An Accidental Parisian, Juliet Young shares a riveting memoir chronicling her life from childhood to becoming an expat in Paris. Despite her desire to return to Toronto near her parents, unforeseen circumstances led her to stay in a foreign country much longer than she had planned. Young candidly shares the highs and lows of her life journey, including the romantic and tragic moments that shaped her into the woman she is today.

The memoir provides a rare insight into the cultural elements of Paris throughout the 90s and early 2000s. From Young’s early life to her first few visits to Europe and eventually settling in Paris, the book takes the reader on a personal journey. Young’s writing style is friendly, creating the impression of a personal conversation rather than a mere collection of events. In addition, her depiction of French culture is detailed, revealing the city’s patriarchal nature through the eyes of a feminist expat.

Throughout her adventurous life, Young never lost her courageous spirit, whether she was in Toronto or Paris. Instead, she shares her grief openly as she reminisces about her beautiful childhood and loving parents. Despite initially intending to return to her home country, France became her permanent residence, and this memoir details the events that led her to that point.

Juliet Young’s memoir is a captivating and inspiring read that takes readers on a remarkable journey of self-discovery and adaptation to a foreign culture. An Accidental Parisian is sure to engage and inspire readers and is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a compelling memoir.

Pages: 302 | ASIN : B09Z333JQ1

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Break Heart Canyon

Una MacLaren is a fiercely independent woman and widow. When her beloved husband suffers an accident in Break Heart Canyon, she concludes her life is just another story to add to the depressing legacy of the canyon. Preferring the company of her goats and her dog MacTavish she works her farm and keeps to herself for the most part. That is, until a relic hunter appears uninvited and unwanted on her property. Ryker is unlike the other bone hunters who try to pilfer the spirit cave on her property. Slowly the two of them work their way into each other’s lives, with a bit of help from Whiskey Jim, the mysterious wonder that seems to know everything that goes on in this town.

Break Heart Canyon by Gini Rifkin is more than a western romance novel. It is the story of Native American legends, Scottish heritage, and self-discovery. Ryker is the loner, never staying anywhere long, just long enough to get the job done and get paid. But, it is in the canyon and after meeting Una, he starts to realize there is more to life and adventure can come in many forms. Una learns that she doesn’t always have to be strong and it is ok to love more than once in a lifetime. Together they find the missing pieces of themselves and help solve a long-standing mystery that has plagued the town.

Rifkin’s writing style pulls the reader in, giving them rich characters that, in order to get to know the real person, you have to keep reading. Even the minor characters are well-developed and are used to show added depth and personality to the protagonists. Intertwined in the story is the mystery surrounding the cave and the events that have happened in the canyon. The mystery plays out well and leaves some wonderful surprises for the reader to discover.

Break Heart Canyon is a captivating historical romance filled with legend and lore that will have readers unable to put the book down. Each chapter gives the reader something new to think about, leading them deeper into a world they were not expecting. This is the perfect read for those that want romance with their adventure.

Pages: 196 | ASIN : B0B4Z39G9X

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Joseph W. Taylor BORN TO BIRD

Joseph W. Taylor: Born to Bird is an engaging biography penned by Ann Taylor, chronicling the life and passions of her father, Joseph Taylor. The book delves into Joseph’s deep love for birds, nature, and conservation, showcasing his significant impact on Ann’s life. Set against the backdrop of the idyllic mid-20th century, the narrative is captivating and nostalgic, as Ann Taylor’s conversational tone draws the reader into her family’s rich experiences and lessons learned.

Ornithology serves as the book’s focal point, with Ann introducing readers to the fascinating world of birding through her father’s eyes. As the story unfolds, she recounts Joseph’s involvement with the prestigious 600 Club, a birdwatching group dedicated to research, conservation, and the joy of birding. The narrative is imbued with Ann’s admiration and affection for her father as she shares the passion and enthusiasm that fueled the club’s members.

Complementing the vivid storytelling are a collection of stunning photographs featuring color and black-and-white images of Joseph Taylor, his family, and his birding adventures. The meticulously captioned and dated photographs offer a visual journey through Joseph’s life, from his early years to his later excursions to breathtaking locations such as Alaska, Newfoundland, New Mexico, Nova Scotia, and Florida.

Despite Joseph’s challenges in his later years, Ann Taylor’s account of her father’s life is a testament to his resilience, love for nature, and commitment to family. The narrative, interspersed with uplifting moments and valuable life lessons, pays tribute to Joseph’s lasting legacy within the birding community. His dedication to preserving the natural world and treasuring family bonds remains an enduring message that resonates with readers.

With its compelling narration, intriguing insights into 20th-century ornithology, and heartwarming stories, Joseph W. Taylor: Born to Bird is a must-read biography for those seeking a captivating journey into the life of a remarkable individual and the enchanting world of birds.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B0BWLWNHJQ

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