Category Archives: Four Stars

How Ferris Wolfe Got Fired

How Ferris Wolfe Got Fired is a memorable story about the intricacies of working for a corporation, in this case it is ‘Aquatic Hobbyist.’ The novella focuses on different perspectives within the company and the building where the company resides. The different perspectives give you insight of how unhappy people actually are working for this company. I really enjoyed this evocative story and couldn’t help but empathize with Ferris. Just as soon as he had tried his best in raising the company’s numbers and then being recognized with this accomplishment, he is fired for an incident that occurs in the office. Just as he is about to rejoice in his triumph he is quickly shot down and blamed for a lot of the actions that his employees partake in.

The reality of this intriguing story is how the most dedicated workers are punished, despite their devotion to their occupation, just like Wolfe, while the others are given a pass; it’s frustrating but it is true in essence. One thing I really like about the different perspectives, or rather focus on different characters, was that it gives readers a look at people who might have had a motivation to sabotage the company. We see characters like Elena and Theo who arguably are taken advantage of as well as Imogen. They are characters who attempt to not only work but do their best and pick up the slack–arguably they are underestimated. This is a short but entertaining tale that gives insights into how a corporation might operate and it reels you in with a curious whodunit story? Who has breached the system and attempted to take down Wolfe?

How Ferris Wolfe Got Fired is a quick read that has characters you can empathize with and a puzzling riddle that makes this mystery story an engaging read!

Pages: 113 | ASIN: B08RSQVRMR

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Walking with the Word: Viewing Chronic Health Issues Through the Lens of Scripture

Walking with the Word: Viewing Chronic Health Issues Through the Lens of Scripture will give readers the strength to face the challenges that they are going through. Aaron Montgomery gives readers a message of hope and optimism even when one feels like giving up. The text in the book is warm, welcoming, and pleasant. I like that the author never hides his vulnerability. The author feels very authentic and connects with his audience and does not try to conceal any truth. Reading this book is therapeutic and will have you change your perspective on many things in life.

Any reader who enjoys good inspiring stories will appreciate how Walking with the Word starts. In the introduction, the author directly speaks to readers that either have received news about their health or the health of their loved ones. This part of the book is important for many as it feels like a one-on-one session with the reader. I enjoyed reading the introduction because the author gives a sneak peek of Walking with the Word while mentally preparing the reader for the content in the book. Chapter one of the book is titled ‘Trust God and His Word’. This was one of my favorite chapters because of the assurance one gets while reading. Aaron Montgomery talks about the love of God and how faithful the lord has been to him. This chapter is refreshing to read and encouraging for any Christian who had started to lose faith. The author adds bible scriptures after every few pages to explain the content into perspective. I love this style of writing because the bible verses are a good reference point for those that want to read more.

Each chapter in the book has something different that the reader can learn about. Aaron Montgomery writes about being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Pain Syndrome among other conditions. His journey is interesting as the reader takes us through the details of living with the mentioned conditions, relating with family and friends and how one can survive chronic ailments. The author tells it all. He is candid and has the ability to help the reader understand even the most complex of terms. One of the major lessons learned in this book is that it is important to have a strong support system when going through health issues. The support system could be one’s spouse, their children, colleagues at work, parents, and even friends and neighbors. Brandy, Aaron’s wife is an inspiration among many. I like how Aaron talked about his wife. One could feel the love through his words.

Walking with the Word is a motivational book that inspires faith in readers. Anyone looking for an easy to read book that will help them grow spiritually will find a wealth of knowledge and encouragement in this book.

Pages: 180 | ASIN: B08DTLQRJ4

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Decanted

Decanted eimage.jpg

Decanted is the story of bored millennial wine enthusiast and super palate Samantha Goodyear. When Samantha gets the opportunity of a lifetime to visit and work on one of the finest vineyards in France, she drops everything to go. Samantha returns to the United States and begins to build her own wine empire from a special gift left to her family by an older relative from World War II. But disaster strikes and the possibility of love once again enters the picture. Will she take the opportunity and will her business survive?

This emotionally charged book that radiates the aura of leisure and gives the reader a beautiful picture of sunny California, historic France and miles of vineyards. Author Linda Sheehan gives readers a light romance that is humorous at times and not too bogged down with heavy drama, although there is plenty of it it’s always refreshing. The flashbacks to the past and Aunt Vivian’s story are wonderful too and provide extra insight into the culture and art of winemaking that shapes Samantha’s life. The one thing that makes this novel stand out from other contemporary romance novels is the wine culture that is used as a fascinating backdrop to some stimulating scenes and alluring characters. The characters are all distinct and have their varying degrees of interest and class in the world of winemaking. There are the snobs, the hard workers, the casual enjoyers, and all are represented effortless yet realistic way. Samantha in particular is a compelling protagonist. She is a relatable millennial who is stuck in the rat race and trying to make a living, figure out life, and manage issues between her parents. But the truly amazing and likable things about Samantha is how she pursues her passions with abandon, all the while staying true to her herself. It is so refreshing and unique to read a protagonist so ready to think, act, and pursue her true self and her desires.

Decanted is a wonderfully realistic and intelligent new adult romance novel revealing a well-researched wine culture that’s effortlessly entertaining. I enjoyed the rich and detailed explanations of the natural views and taste or smells of the food and drink in the book. This book is a paradise for the gastronomically inclined. I highly recommend this as a light and refreshing read to any who dreams of the French campagne, soleil, et bon vin.

Pages: 265 | ISBN: 978-1-68433-703-3

Black Rose Writing

Tempest of Bravoure: Kingdom Ascent

Tempest of Bravoure: Kingdom Ascent by [Valena D'Angelis]

Ahna has all the powers needed to do great damage or be a great asset. As a dark elf, it is not likely she will be welcome in this battle as a rebel. She has spent many years secluded and trying to push aside all memories of the battle that was lost by her people. Her time has been spent trying to separate herself from those days. Despite all her efforts, things have come full circle, and she is being coerced into escaping seclusion and heading into battle once more. Will Kairen’s pleas be enough to bring Ahna to the forefront of the war?

Tempest of Bravoure: Kingdom Ascent, by Valena D’Angelis, is a beautifully vivid fantasy novel focused on the life of Ahna, who is dokkalfar. Her personality, her appearance, and her unique set of skills all combine to make a memorable character and a force with which to be reckoned. Ahna is one of those female leads readers will love from the moment she graces the pages. Her energy is pure, and her determination is strong.

Fantasies, when well done, have a certain beauty all their own. D’Angelis has mastered exactly that in a story filled with adventure, peril, and self-discovery. The descriptions of the landscape are particularly breathtaking and truly make the story all the more riveting. In addition, the author has created a fascinating cast of characters and beings; their world is one that draws readers directly into the story. D’Angelis’s work is not short on action. Page after page, Ahna and her comrades find themselves in the throes of a battle that never seems to end. The magical energy and abilities Ahna possesses make each and every one of their clashes that much more intriguing. As splendid a setting and as full of adventure and action as it is, I would love to have seen more of a focus on the backstories of the main characters.

I was especially touched by the dynamic between Kairen and Ahna. The rescue that brought the two together sets the stage for a close and loving relationship. Ahna, a mentor and sister figure to Kairen, spends a great deal of her time modeling appropriate behavior and teaching Kairen to prepare for the rebellion in which she would one day participate. She is as much a mother as she is a trainer.

Tempest of Bravoure: Kingdom Ascent is an emotionally charged adventure that sword and sorcery fans will devour. Author Valena D’Angelis is adept at creating a mystical world that seems like we’re only scratching the surface of some deeper lore.

Pages: 283 | ASIN: B08R2SDW5V

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One Way In, No Way Out

One Way In, No Way Out by Malcolm Boyd is an adult urban fiction novel following the fierce Mann Walker. Mann used to do drugs, tried to quit, but was unsuccessful. Eventually he decides to embrace the lifestyle and start selling. One day while hanging out with a local radio DJ who is “wild” to put it politely, a series of events unfold that lead him back stage at a concert. There he finds the District Attorney’s daughter doing drugs along with some adult entertainment. He freaks out because she is both underage and she is related to a certain cop that hates him. He takes off running, gets outside, and gets sucker punched by an off duty, out of jurisdiction, cop. The whole thing reeks of abuse and police corruption and his drug and weapon possession charges are dropped if he agrees to never say anything about it. Mann is more than happy to do that, and decides it would be best to get out of town to relieve his stress. He flies to Las Vegas with his girl (he calls her his wife to others, but she has no memory of him proposing) to relax for a bit. He’s winning big, enjoying some drinks, but trouble follows him. First in the form of a gang out to get his new friend, and then the DA’s daughter shows back up. His attempts to escape trouble land him right back in the thick of it in a very entertaining way.

What I liked most about this compelling book is the wild turns that the novel often takes, which ratchets up the thrill factor, but never feels forced, and always feels like it’s just another day in the life. Author Malcolm Boyd provides a gritty and irreverent look at drug culture. While I found the novel to be consistently entertaining, be warned that this story is full of sex, drugs, and a criminal life style that is not for the faint at heart. The story is propelled forward by the always captivating protagonist, Mann Walker, who can always get himself out of trouble, but never seems to escape it altogether.

One Way In, No Way Out is a suspenseful urban fiction novel that delivers action in heavy doses. Recommended for readers who don’t mind dark topics and want a unique look at life on the streets.

Pages: 378 | ASIN: B01N37P508

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The Early Years

The Early Years by [G. Carrington, Rachel]

The Early Years: A Memoir (Matters of the Heart Book One) by Rachel G. Carrington is an autobiography that tells the story of a young girl who was born in Kentucky in 1930. Rachel Gaylord is the oldest of eleven children, and she leaves home at seventeen. This book is a collection of short stories about her growing up and life as a young adult getting married and starting a family. These stories were taken from her journal entries that were written throughout her lifetime, beginning in her teenage years.

The Early Years is a heartfelt story of young love. Brad Carrington had an interesting story to tell Rachel after he walked her home from church, and it kept me wanting to read more. I enjoyed the descriptions of daily rural life in the 1940s, such as cooking on a woodstove, gardening, canning, and laundry, which were reminiscent of stories I have heard from my own grandparents about their experiences living on a farm. I could picture scenes similar to old family photographs I’ve viewed. Some of the stories in this book were of separate unrelated incidents, but most of the stories connect to others in a related chain of events. Many of the stories were humorous, including the wedding night chivaree.

This a touching memoir that explores a young couples relationships, and shares the high and lows one woman experiences. While I enjoyed the story, I sometimes had trouble connecting things because some events were not in chronological order. There are many interesting people that come into Rachel’s life, I thought it would be helpful if the author included a family tree to make it easier for me to connect all the people. Many of the scenes are delightfully detailed, but since this is a true story I had a desire to see what these people and places actually looked like and I would have really liked to have seen some photographs. 

I desperately wanted to continue reading Rachel’s story to find out what happened after she and Brad moved their family to northern Kentucky. This is where Book Two, Dreams Born; Dream Fulfilled, picks up Rachel Gaylord Carrington’s life story. The Early Years: A Memoir is an absorbing and emotional memoir that readers will surely enjoy.

Pages: 248 | ASIN: B08TQKHQPC

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Around the world in 65 years

Author Biku Ghosh shares a detailed account of amazing life lived over six decades and reaching all corners of the globe. Biku Ghosh beautifully describes cities and landscapes. Ranging from ancient cities to modern landscapes such as New York. Amazing architectural descriptions are a fantastic feature in this book, whether it be the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Empire State Building or the ‘quirky’ and ‘tacky’ hotels in Las Vegas. He vividly describes many natural settings such as the “copper colored Colorado River,” African deserts, and the Niagara Falls. Biku Ghosh briefly describes his work, but mainly focuses on the sights, food and people he encounters. 

As one of Biku Ghosh’s interests is mountain climbing his climbs feature throughout the memoir. Some of the climbs described include: the Himalayas, the highest peak in the British Isles and Mt Kilimanjaro. He describes his joy when reaching the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Eventually we hear of Ghosh’s climb to the Everest Base Camp. He writes a detailed description of the trip, split into the various stages and mountain heights. Aside from mountain climbing he also describes completing a safari in Africa, raising money for a Breast Cancer charity, scuba dives in Sorrento and the Great Barrier Reef, paragliding and skydiving in New Zealand! There are also photographs throughout the memoir, adding color and bringing life to the story.

The author’s mode of transportation is also a feature of this book. Ghosh describes the type of transport he takes in each journey, from public trains in India, electric buses in Paraguay to taxis in New York. Airplanes of various sizes from large long haul planes to a 12 seater plane to traverse the Grand Canyon. Bus rides vary from local buses, to 45km trips through forests and canyons. All of this really gives you a front seat view of the entire trip, not just the highlights.

As well as his transport and activity details, mouth-watering meals are a constant in this story: dosa, samosas, yoghurt, roti, Ethiopian coffee and popcorn, boiled shrimp, French Onion soup, almond pastries and numerous servings of ice cream to name but a few! The inclusion of food and meals adds to the depth and authenticity of the memoir.

The memoir is organized in chronological order, which makes it very easy to follow. At the beginning the sentence structure is quite long and cumbersome, however as the memoirs progress the writing becomes more natural and easier to read.

Around the World in Sixty-Five Years is an extensive memoir filled with vivid visual descriptions of exotic locations. The travel is extensive, and the anecdotes are always interesting, as are the activities, food, animals and people described. This is an engrossing memoir that will show you how much beauty there is in the world, and inspire you to travel.

Pages: 512 | ASIN: B08P7LQ9JS

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Rise

Rise by [D. U. Okonkwo]

Rise by D.U. Okonkwo is an engaging and exciting story that makes you root for the heroine.  Riana or Ria, who is socially awkward and struggling due to her facial scars, is an extremely talented artist but unable to pay bills due to her withdrawn nature. Readers feel her pain and rejoice at her success. The reader experiences her self-actualization at every step.

This book made me fall in love with art, mostly sculpting. Author D.U. Okonkwo’s use of imagery in the book is exceptional. The representation of art in the book is charming, elegant, and exotic at the same time. The visual appeal of the book keeps you hooked and the characters are endearing and compassionate. One of the beauties of the book is the relationship of Ria with her family. Especially the mother-daughter relationship between Ria and her mother is beautiful. Ria is scared and intimidated by the world around her, but her mother is always there for her. She also finds support in her close friends. The chemistry with her romantic interest is also terrific. The overall dynamics between the characters portrayed are quite heartwarming.

One of the positive aspects that I liked about Rise by D. U. Okonkwo is the length of chapters. Okonkwo keeps the chapters short, concise and unfolds in a manner that keeps you yearning for more. The book is an enjoyable experience and keeps you entertained till the end. It soothes your heart and creates warm fuzzy fluttering in your heart.

The story begins as a fun and entertaining read that turns into her experiences with God, and the rest of the book is filled sermons of Pentecostal ideology. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the book, because it was an interesting fictional account of a serious medical condition that’s handled in a compelling way.

Rise will appeal to readers looking for a feel-good empowering book. Author D. U. Okonkwo has given readers a stimulating inspirational religious fiction novel.

Pages: 358 | ASIN: B00RUMK4ZM

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