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Child of Sorrow 

Child of Sorrow by Gloria Taylor Weinberg is a fictional short story, based on a true events, that follows a woman who is forced to give up her baby for adoption in the late 1950’s. Seventeen-year-old Vicki Bayle plans to be the first person in her family to attend college. However, her plans are derailed when she becomes pregnant and is sent to the Safe Haven Home for Unwed Mothers in Jacksonville, Florida. She is sent three hundred miles away from her home in Clewiston to have her baby in secret. Her parents are ashamed of her situation and want to hide the truth from their friends and neighbors, telling people that she has enrolled in cosmetology school. After Vicki is forced to give up her baby boy, will she ever see her son again?

This heart wrenching story, about being forced to give a child up for adoption, clearly describes a situation that many young girls and women can relate to. The story is told from a first person perspective, which I thought was a perfect choice for this book since it helps readers connect with the main character. Readers will understand Vicki’s emotions and be able to imagine themselves in her place, dealing with this challenging situation, even if they have not ever had to face it themselves. Residents of Safe Haven ranged from a girl of twelve to women in their forties. This book brings to light a lot of unexpected aspects of a home for unwed mothers, including the emotional struggles, as many are there against their will and do not always want to give up their child.

Sadly, many things about Vicki’s situation will not surprise readers, such as her ex-boyfriend refusing to take responsibility and help Vicki when she told him she was pregnant. Him choosing not to believe that the baby was his. As well as her unsupportive parents that cared more about appearances than their daughter’s wellbeing. The story is bittersweet because it is based on real-life and not merely fiction.

Child of Sorrow is a heartbreaking story, based on real-life events, of unwed mothers and the experiences they had to endure in the 1950’s. This is an impassioned novel that will appeal to readers looking for an emotional and authentic fictional memoir or anyone looking for a story that provides a clear-eyed view at dark truths.

Pages: 67 | ASIN : B00DRHK6MK

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No Names to Be Given

Spanning over fifty years, No Names To Be Given is a moving and heartbreaking historical novel about three different women from the 1960s who had to give up their children out of wedlock. Inspired by actual events, it takes the reader through the roller-coaster lives of Becca, Faith, and Sandy – from the day they met in the Magnolia Home Hospital to 25 years later, where their darkest secrets are threatened to be exposed. 

This is author Julia Brewer Daily’s debut novel, but it feels like she’s been writing this story all her life. Perhaps that is the case, given that she was one of those babies adopted from a maternity home hospital during this period. While there were probably mountains of research to write this novel, it would be believable if Daily wrote this story purely from memory and family history.

Her tender prose shows that she’s writing from the heart. Despite that, she tells the story with some emotional distance. The journeys of the three women are told in alternating chapters that are so unflinching that the whole novel almost feels like a documentary. Additionally, this is based on very real traumas. Daily allows the story to shine on its own with the respect it deserves. She writes with an assured and confident voice and isn’t afraid to challenge the reader if it means telling the story the way it’s supposed to be.

It’s clear why Daily chose to alternate the story between chapters. It’s a complicated story, spanning generations, that would not have felt complete if done in a singular manner. The alternating chapters also emphasize the diversity of the characters’ situations. Becca falls in love with an African American man during the height of racism in America; Faith gets sexually assaulted by one of her father’s employees; Sandy becomes involved with a married mobster. If only one of these stories were told, it would not have done any justice for this disparaging historical truth. 

No Names To Be Given is a through-provoking historical fiction novel. Readers will experience the heartbreak and fear these women live through, having their worst moments in life brought back to haunt them. A look into women’s history, adoption, and motherhood from the perspective of women in the 1960s.

Pages: 334 | ASIN : B09B157HLR

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Abraham’s Tears

Bruce Stein’s novel, Abraham’s Tears, takes readers on an educational and eye-opening journey surrounding the conflict in the Middle East. We learn the values and beliefs of two families- one of Israeli/Jewish decent and the other with a Palestinian/Muslim background. The question of what can be done to bring peace between the religions and the ethnicities is explored through an emotional and exciting tale, supporting Ghandi’s prophecy of “An eye for an eye makes a whole world blind.”

The two protagonists are Jamil Monsour and Jacob Goodman. Proud of their religion and heritage, they have strong views surrounding the reasons for the divided state of the middle East and solutions for peace. Jamil grew up believing he was a Shiite, then learns he was actually born a Sunni that had been adopted as a baby. Jacob grew up believing he was Jewish and was even serving in the IDF, only to learn that he was also adopted and had been born to an Arab/ Muslim family. The revaluation of their previously unknown identities comes as a shock to both young men, making them question their beliefs. This realization brings into question if someone is who they are born as, or who they are raised as. Through horrible loss and tragedy, hope is instilled in the end, as two women from opposing sides are brought together to fight for peace and an end to the senseless fighting and killings. Author Bruce Stein creates rich, believable and empathetic characters in his thought-provoking novel. I really enjoyed the thoughtful character development and the emotional journey the characters embark on.

Abraham’s Tears will appeal to readers looking for an educational novel. This is a thought provoking story that provides readers with different viewpoints and reasons for the events that are happening in the Middle East. This book brought a humanistic aspect to the topic, making it feel close to home. Bruce Stein has created characters that are easy to identify with. Seeing the way this conflict affects everyone involved, no matter where they are living, was an eye-opening realization.

Pages: 185 | ASIN: B009368OLE

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Dogs That Are So Often Forgotten

Will Lowrey Author Interview

Will Lowrey Author Interview

Chasing the Blue Sky follows the life of a shelter dog from one home to the next. Why was this an important book for you to write?

There are so many animals in our shelter and adoption system that it is often improbable for people to actually place an individual face or story with many of them. They are often relegated to statistics or ambiguous shadows behind kennel fencing. I wanted to write a story to help capture for people the vibrant life that exists in every one of those statistics or shadows. Having spent a great deal of time around shelters and dogs that have otherwise been abandoned on chains or in backyard kennels, I have seen so many dogs with great possibilities for life who were restricted based on their circumstances. The intent of the book was to try and show people that every one one of those dogs is rich, hopeful, and brimming with the chance to bestow the amazing gifts that all dogs give to us. I wanted to bring people behind the kennel walls using Toby’s story as a vehicle to share the voice of so many forgotten animals.

The story is told from the eyes of a dog, and delivers innocent but intuitive views of the world. What were some inspirations for Toby’s character?

Toby was particularly inspired by my first dog, Mack. Mack was a black and white pit bull mix who was adopted as a puppy from a city shelter. He was such an amazing dog – loving, kind, smart, and patient. He was everything anyone could ask for in a dog. But before I adopted him, he was a dog in a kennel. He may have been overlooked a hundred times and depending on the circumstances he found himself in, he may never have had the deserved chance to show everything he was capable of showing. He inspired me to let the world know that there are countless dogs just like Mack that, if given the chance, will be the greatest gift you may ever know.

The story is heartfelt and beautifully told. What were some of your driving ideals throughout the story?

As mentioned above, I wanted to bring people closer to so many dogs that are so often forgotten. My driving ideal was to be true to the reality of the world. It would have been very easy to write a book that was upbeat, and happy, and full of feel-good moments, but that would have been disingenuous. The book tells stories that I have personally seen over and over again over the past 15 years. This is real life. Often it is gritty and tough to see. Sometimes the situations in the book are tough to read but to address the problems facing thousands of dogs in our country, we must first face the truth. I also wanted to portray some of the unique challenges facing pit bull type dogs. These situations are also based on real stories and scenarios I have come across or personally dealt with. The world is harder if you’re a pit bull type dog and it is important for people to understand the obstacles arrayed against these dogs.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My focus is on books that promote the integrity, rights, and interests of animals. I am currently working on a second book which takes a very different theme. This book is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel set in the aftermath of a pandemic. The story follows the owner of a neglected roadside zoo, his personal journey to survive, and the evolution of his view of animals in light of the savagery of man that has suddenly engulfed his world. I expect it to be released early Summer 2019.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads

Chasing the Blue Sky by [Lowrey, Will]

When life with his loving family takes a sudden turn, Toby finds himself fighting to survive in the unforgiving world of the county animal shelter. But he’s not alone – a motley cast of homeless dogs and a devoted pair of shelter workers will give anything to make sure he finds his forever home.

Chasing the Blue Sky is the compelling, emotional story of one dog’s journey to find his place in the great big world. Readers have described it as “Beautiful,” “Brilliant,” “Poignant,” “Powerful,” and “Gripping.”

If you’ve ever adopted, rescued, or fostered a dog – this book is for you.

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Lamellia: The Wicked Queen – Trailer

Can a human baby possibly be a mushroom?

When King Polipoli, the ruler of Lamellia, finds a human baby in his mushroom kingdom, he adopts it immediately to satisfy his wife’s desire to be a mother.

But when the baby mysteriously grows weaker and weaker under the queens care, suspicions start to arise.

What is the queen doing to the baby? How did the baby get there? Will it survive and fulfill its purpose before its too late?

Get your copy now to find out the answers and reveal to your children the importance of showing kindness, following the rules, and understanding consequences.

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Chasing the Blue Sky

Chasing the Blue Sky by [Lowrey, Will]

This is a powerful book that kept me enraptured from the start. This poignant tale gives us a dogs-eye-view of a journey through a sometimes happy and often difficult life. From the sadness of leaving his mom as a young puppy, traveling through various homes, finding a loving home and losing it. The reader must experience great sadness and pain against animals who are defenseless and abandoned. If you are an animal lover this story will pull at your heartstrings. This is such a brilliant perspective encourages advocacy for animals. If you don’t shed a few tears while reading this, you must be asleep!

The writing is easy to read but not juvenile, as you might imagine with the perspective of a dog. The innocence of it is heart-wrenching at times, as if from the eyes of a child. I love all the descriptions and explanations for the dogs’ responses along with the actual dialogue between the animals. This was so endearing. The author masterfully created Toby’s world through his innocent observations that were without all the hyper analysis often accompanying descriptions of human emotions. Although the animals display innocence, they certainly are not dumb, on the contrary, there is so much intuition there that anyone who is bonded with a pet can understand. I love the relationships and bonds formed between animals as well.

This story paints a sad picture of shelter life. This is a great book if one is looking to inspire shelter adoptions, which may have been the authors intent. The picture painted in this novel is not pretty and It certainly created a great sense of compassion in me and interest in adopting an animal from a shelter in the future. This book is deeply penetrating and thoughtful. The writing is beautiful, full of innocence but also depth. This is a quick and impactful read that should be kept on hand for anyone wanting to promote shelter adoptions!

Pages: 191 | ASIN: B07K5MM6WJ

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The Three Lives of One

The Three Lives of One by [Mooney, Lesley]

A massive tsunami destroys the island home of a little girl. Left without a family, she is rescued by missionaries who name her ‘Patchula’ or ‘Patches’ and take her to Darwin, Australia. What follows is a story of misfortune and tragedy; adoption, death, abuse, forced prostitution, but also of hope as Patches finds joy and meaning, especially in her talent for photography and singing, in spite of the pain. Spanning Australia, America and Japan The Three Lives of One by Lesley J. Mooney is a sweeping tale which carries us across time and continents in search of love and fulfillment.

The book is written in beautiful yet un-flowery prose which is at times poetic. Mooney conjures up place incredibly well, and I found the movement between different continents particularly fascinating –the depiction of the sights, sounds and geography of these places gave me total wanderlust! The description of the tsunami and the wreckage and devastation that follows is extremely affecting and pulled me into the narrative immediately. Mooney is also skilled at portraying her time periods, which begin in the 1920s and move to the 1980s, and the changing biases and turbulent politics of the times.

There are many themes running through the narrative including womanhood, nature and environment, religion, the importance of family, and the value of keeping faith and resilience in times when despair seems never-ending. Although many terrible events occur in Patchula’s life, the book is ultimately about hope in the face of the unknown and what we can achieve if we have the strength to carry on.

Mooney has written a large and diverse cast of characters, and the world she has developed seems utterly real. Patches in particular leaps off the page as a fully-formed individual. Some of the mistreatment she endures is quite harrowing and difficult to read, but it feels very honest. Her hardships elicit great empathy in the reader; I was constantly rooting for her to overcome all of the tragedy in her life and felt completely invested in her development. The more peripheral characters are also well-drawn and prove to be quite emotive, some invoking feelings of intense anger!

One aspect of the book that bothered me slightly was the pacing. We are introduced to Patchula’s predicament, and the narrative subsequently moves very swiftly through the first part of her life and I would have liked this introduction to the story to be slightly more drawn out. Despite this, the rest of the book has a really good tempo, and because there are so many unexpected twists and turns I was always eager to find out what would happen next in Patches’ story.

This book moved me to tears, but it also gave me a great sense of hope. I finished it feeling as though I had been on a long journey–and an extremely rewarding one at that.

Pages: 361 | ASIN: B074M3LW12

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Humanizing the Process

Mirta OlivaSublime Adoption delivers the adoption story from three points of view; from the mother, adoptive parents, and child. From what point of view did you find the easiest to write and which was the hardest?

Adoptions can be for the most part sublime when the endeavor by all parties is a noble one, following legalities and heart dictates. All parties have something to give and some have a lot to lose. For a long time, I had been troubled by certain perceived notions of the good or bad roles each character played in real life’s adoptions. Thus, I tried to impart the right balance in my story by humanizing the process, recognizing the individual pains, and giving credit to those who deserved it – all the while equating the status of being adopted with that of feeling wanted; hence, it was an equally sensible act for me to passionately engage in each subplot – from one character to the next – despite their angst.

It seemed like you took your time in building the characters and the story to great emotional effect. How did you manage the pacing of the story while keeping readers engaged?

I did not plan the whole story at the outset, though I knew how far I wanted to go with it. On those premises, I let the story evolve as I wrote – something I always do. Although the adoption theme was to be the crux of the story, a passionate and illicit love intervened throughout the first chapters, giving way to lies and deception. Each wrong move by two of the characters brought about a new unforeseen scenario, resulting in  a story within a story – adding complicacy and interest.

There was a constant theme of poetry being used to express emotions throughout the story. How do you think poetry bridges the emotional gap between fictional characters and the reader?

When I interject poetry within a story, I am trying to add emphasis to a prior segment. Either the narrative voice or the characters at play can surprise the reader in verse form with their condensed experiences, feelings or thoughts.

Do you have a poem you could share with us?

I am glad to share a love poem, extracted from my recently published book which includes love, motivational, inspirational, abstract and miscellaneous poems.

© Mirta Oliva

Night of nights…
As the moon gleefully shines above,
Falling stars spray silvery rays
And a derelict wind blows across my face.
I then feel the warm embrace
Of this radiant night
While I wait for my love to arrive.
Night of nights…
Could that be him coming from afar?
I feel his presence ever so near…
But why is the wind swirling around me,
The shimmering stars disappearing,
And the moon beginning to hide,
As I long for my love to be here?
I prefer to ponder in vain
Than to hear the truth once again
That my love may never return…
But my doubts have now disappeared…
A guiding star brings his vessel so near
With flashing lights beaming in my eyes
Sending me a message of love so dear…
Nigh of nights, my love has arrived!

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

As the title implies, this is a tale of love and mendacity, recurring acts that surround the unique sublime adoption theme. The story does not lead to a merciless condemnation of certain characters for mistakes or actions in their past; instead, it focuses on the cumulative ill effects of lies and deception as the only way to deal with difficult situations. In the end, repentance and forgiveness prevailed, providing a new insight into the complex spectrum of adoptions.

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