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Countless Strange and Humorous Situations

Hank Mancini
Hank Mancini Author Interview

Memoir of a Nerd shares your personal stories growing up in the ’50s and the hilarious situations you got into. Why was this an important book for you to write?

My children and friends are used to me telling stories about the countless strange and humorous situations I found myself in, and they encouraged me to “write them down.” I feel fortunate to have had a very full and satisfying life and felt compelled to share my story with others.

There were a lot of humorous situations in the book. What is a moment in the book that makes you laugh every time you think about it?

My favorite story is the chapter titled “A McDonald’s Bag of Cash.” I cashed a check for over $18,000, and the only thing the teller had to put it in was a used McDonald’s bag. My second favorite is the chapter “Déjà vu,” about a prank we played on a fellow missionary.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

Life is better when you enjoy what you are doing. Looking back on my life, I realize that my enjoyment was more of a state of mind than the circumstances or situation.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

I hope that readers will enjoy reading about my escapades enough to brighten their day.

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Instagram

This book will make you laugh!

In these tense times of uncertainty and division, this remarkable book is just what the doctor ordered! The book is filled with hilarious and humorously told stories.

A self-described nerd, the author recounts his experiences growing up in the ’50s and the endless predicaments he has found himself in throughout his life. From spending formative years as a missionary in Japan to learning life lessons in Las Vegas, Mancini’s antics seem never-ending. His days looking for love, as he says in all the wrong places, are very funny.

You will surely laugh at the hilarious and often absurd events in this very personal memoir! The author writes with wit, optimism, and humor. This book is a rare gift of humor that will give anyone a good laugh. Recommended to anyone who needs a break from these crazy times.

Read Memoir of a Nerd and find out why the author admits that if there were an award for “Worst Chapter Title,” the last chapter of his book would likely win it!

Skinny House

Skinny House: A Memoir of Family, by Julie L. Seely is, despite the title, a story about much more than just a house. It is about the fascinating people of the Seely family that lived within it. Their stories are brought to the reader by one of the family members, the house builder Nathan Seely’s granddaughter. Her experience and some research allow every reader to understand what goes on in the tiny house.

Seely writes in a captivating and detailed way, giving us insights into her family’s inspirational story and helping everyone understand what each family member has gone through during their difficult lives. As a reader keen on details, I appreciated the effort put into researching and describing the lives of the people the author barely met, like her grandfather Nathan and describing his life at the beginning of the 20th century.

The book does a fantastic job of creating detailed portraits of the people in the family, and it really transports readers to that time and place in a fascinating way, but I felt like the book moved slowly because of all these details. If you are looking for a book that dives deep into the lives of interesting people, then Skinny House is a perfect fit for you.

Skinny House: A Memoir of Family tells an emotionally resonant story that I think every reader will be able to relate to in one way or another because of how realistic and authentic these people feel due to the wonderful writing of author Julie L. Seely. I recommend this book to any reader keen on African American entrepreneur success during a time when racism was everywhere, to readers keen on history and for anyone looking for a book on real life stories that are inspiring.

I would like to end this review with my favorite quote from the book: “Despite its title, this book is no simple story about an odd narrow-built dwelling. It’s about the family who lived in the house and the patriarch who built it”.

Pages: 211 | ASIN: B07N8H4N4C

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Silent Freedom: A Memoir of Service with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Iraq – Book Trailer

During war, anything can happen. Newly married, Aurea Franklin moved to Hawaii and joined the U.S. Army, following the call of her silent freedom. After moving all around the U.S., she witnessed the attack on the Twin Towers. Soon after, she deployed to Iraq. In this memoir, Aurea details her time spent with the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She discusses life as a soldier—abroad and at home—and the triumphs and difficulties that come with it. Silent Freedom is a story about love and loss, purpose and faith. It will take you to the darkest corners of the war zone in Iraq while demonstrating how faith and hope for a better future can make a difference.

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Memoir of a Nerd

Memoir of a Nerd: Humorous Essays and Short Stories by [Hank Mancini]

Memoir of a Nerd, by Hank Mancini, is a personal account of the many situations Mancini has gotten himself into throughout his lifetime. From pranking his grandmother, Mormonism, and general lifetime shenanigans, Mancini writes from an upbeat and comical perspective. Memoir of a Nerd is a more detailed retelling of Mancini’s original book, The Cat That Ate a Thousand Bananas. What sort of antics can a self-proclaimed nerd get into? What exactly did a nerd do back in the 50s and 60s? Hank Mancini gives his readers a vivid retelling of the positive goings-on a nerd would partake in during that time.

This memoir is a good depiction of what life was like in previous decades and it gives its reader a clear window into the regular day-to-day happenings of the time. So often, we only hear about major life-altering events in terms of previous decades — JFK, the moon landing, Vietnam — it’s refreshing to read accounts of everyday life. Memoirs are meant to give readers insight into the author’s past experiences. Good memoirs will transport the reader back in time to each moment the author speaks about. Great memoirs will leave a reader wanting to go back and reread the book over and over again. This particular memoir was witty, humorous, and heartfelt and kept my attention to the very last page. I appreciate that each chapter was 2-3 pages long, but I would have liked more substance in each chapter. At the beginning of the book, Mancini mentions that he doesn’t want to dwell on the bad aspects of his previous memories, but I feel like that would’ve strengthened the story.

Memoir of a Nerd is a short but humorous memoir with a unique voice that makes this book stand out. It was nice to read a memoir from someone that does not aggrandize their life, but instead shares a life filled with humor and the same ups and downs we can all relate to.

Pages: 243 | ASIN: B096YRW48K

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Throughout This Ordeal

Author Interview
Larry Singleton Author Interview

Prayers and Po-boys tells your inspirational true story battling and surviving cancer. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I think that despite how much cancer has touched all of our lives, there is still so much that goes overlooked and I wanted to highlight the struggles of not only patients, but caregivers as well.

I appreciated how candid you were in the book. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

There were several aspects that were hard to discuss, but I think that the fear and uncertainty was definitely the hardest.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were first diagnosed?

Throughout this ordeal, just trust the process and most importantly, trust God.

What do you hope readers take away from your story?

I hope that readers understand the true struggles that accompany having, surviving, and giving care to those with cancer and that they continue to pray for the families and friends of those who lost their battles to this terrible disease.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter

Prayers and Po-Boys is the author’s account of his own journey with cancer, taking readers from the earth-shattering diagnosis, to the ups and downs of chemotherapy, and ultimately to Singleton’s miraculous recovery. He details not only the physical pain he dealt with, but the mental and spiritual toll both cancer and chemotherapy took on his life.
Readers will find themselves inspired by Singleton’s courage in the face of everything cancer had to throw at him, including the extreme side effects that accompany chemotherapy. Prayers and Po-Boys will both touch and uplift audiences as they experience firsthand the trials Singleton experienced as both a cancer patient, and survivor.

Prayers and Po-Boys

A few days to Christmas, Larry Singleton receives news that would change his life forever: he has been diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer). Suddenly, Singleton realizes that he probably doesn’t have as much time as he thinks. The father and husband braces himself for a bumpy ride of treatment and picks up vital life lessons along the way. As he weathers the storm of chemotherapy, worry, and life generally, all he can do is pray and eat.

Prayers and Po-Boys is an inspirational account of Larry Singleton’s true topsy-turvy journey from when he was diagnosed with cancer through chemotherapy till he went into remission.

With soothing honesty, Singleton relates his thoughts, fears, struggles, and victories as he battled cancer. His approach suggests he is humble enough to accept that sometimes, the best help you can offer is to simply share your story.

Singleton’s crisp, concise, and immersive writing style makes his ideas stick in the readers head long after they have put the book down. Also, his tone is warm and reassuring, a sign that he is not just out to write a book but to genuinely reach into people’s hearts.

Prayers and Po-Boys is short but insightful. Its lessons range from Singleton’s epiphanies on living with cancer to revelations that can help anyone better understand and support affected loved ones. This is a fantastic book made even more so by the relevance of its themes.

Pages: 88 | ISBN: 1643074377

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Live The Life You Want

Meg Nocero
Meg Nocero Author Interview

Butterfly Awakens is an emotional memoir of your life and the grief you went through after losing your mother. Why was this an important book for you to write?

As an empath, someone who can absorb another individual’s mental or emotional state, I am sensitive to the energies in this world. My mother grounded me when the world became too much. She was my safe place. When she died, I felt like my connection to my guide was cut off. I was left alone to navigate the confusing grieving process. Additionally, I burnt out from traveling back and forth from Miami to Orlando to help with her care while managing my own hectic family life, a full-time job as a federal immigration attorney, and raising young children.

I have always had a journaling practice—using writing as a tool to work out so much. So I looked for a way to navigate the grieving process and started to write as a healing tool. I started simply. I would wake in the morning and read from a book that resonated with me. When a quote or a passage spoke to me, I grabbed my journal and channeled at least three pages of longhand about what I felt my mother would want to communicate to me about it. One day led to the next, and this routine led me to complete my guide that I would later call The Magical Guide to Bliss: Daily Keys to Unlock Your Dreams, Spirit & Inner Bliss. I intended to empower myself to figure out how to will myself back to life, step into the unknown, and wake up to life again. In addition to allowing me to feel connected to my mom, it helped me muster the courage to make a career change after 20 years as a federal prosecutor. The writing was the first step towards what helped me trust my transformation; it was my cocoon, a safe place to strengthen my budding wings so that I could imagine metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.

I remember thinking how easy it is to get stuck in life, far short of where I wanted to be, and I felt trapped by pain and despaired that the suffering was all that there is; that bliss is just a myth. I started to get intentional with my life. Paying attention to the people, places, and things that would show up every day, I became excited about my present and future again. When I was at an all-time low, I begged the universal divine for assistance. I promised that when I did emerge triumphantly, I would share the vulnerability of my story to inspire others not to lose hope and give up on their dreams if they find themselves in darkness. I wanted my story of transformation through grief to one day be the light for others—the greatest gift is for someone to look at you and say, because of you, I didn’t give up. That helped me fight my way out of my darkness.

And, some of the events that occurred as I learned to love myself unconditionally were truly extraordinary. When Oprah’s “Live the Life You Want 2014” came to Miami, it catapulted me to take the final step and truly live the life I wanted as a published author. One of my long-time dreams was to meet Oprah, one of my spiritual guides, and I was one of the lucky ones to get called up on stage with Oprah in Miami, and as they say, the rest is history; in this case, a trilogy—The Magical Guide to Bliss, Daily Keys to unlock Your Dreams, Spirit & Inner Bliss, Sparkle & Shine: 108 M.A.N.T.R.A.s to Brighten Your Day and Lighten Your Way and finally my memoir, Butterfly Awakens!

“I will never forget Oprah looking me in the eyes, saying to me, “this is your moment, Meg, don’t miss it; it is time to live the life you want!” And so, I have! And the most fantastic thing is that I have brought many others with me.

When I was moving through grief, I promised that I would keep going to share a better story for my life, healing myself and in service to others. The metamorphosis of the butterfly and the guidance of the lighthouse were symbols that stood foremost in my mind. Never giving up in this life, doing the hard things that surround transformation, and in the end embracing your inner beauty—not needing approval or permission from others to be here. I want other people to honestly know that there is always light, even in the darkness and that they are more than enough, just as they are. And, to offer hope to those who are where I was when my mother died, that is the driving force behind sharing my story—inspiring others to keep going and reach out for help when they need it. To ultimately remind others that “we got this” and do not have to go it alone!

I appreciated how candid you were. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The scariest thing for me was seeing my mother suffer and not being able to help her. And, writing about her final weeks was difficult because I essentially had to relive it again. I tend to be a hypochondriac; while going through it, I started to believe that something terrible would happen to me too. I became very anxious, I began to experience panic attacks where my heart would start racing, and I felt like I would die. Sharing this kind of vulnerability was hard for me, and I had to manage that while sharing what happened all over again.

And, to share with the world, my weakness was a very vulnerable position to be in. I have moments when fear took over, and my overrun nervous system gave way to a ringing in my ears, tinnitus, that was maddening. I tried to numb out on most days; when I returned home from a full day at work and took care of my children, I retreated to my walk-in closet where I felt safe and just cried and cried because I did not know where to begin to move on without her.

However, hiding is exhausting, and I thought sharing my story could help another person feel like they were not the only one going through challenges. On the verge of what felt like a nervous breakdown, I chose to ask for help. I wanted others to know that it was ok to do the same. When I was moving through grief, I promised that I would share the vulnerability of my story in service to others when I healed. I held tight to the metamorphosis of the butterfly and the lighthouse as inspiration on the way to bliss. Choosing to never give up on me, I looked for the positives along the way. Committed to face my fears, I did the hard things that surrounded transformation. In the end, I ended up embracing my inner beauty—not needing approval or permission from others to be here. Now, I want other people to know that there is always light, even in the darkness and that they are more than enough, just as they are. Shifting what happened to me as a catalyst for positive change, I learned to reframe my situation, asking what it was trying to teach me. By sharing my story, I intend to offer hope to another who is experiencing darkness.

What advice do you wish someone had given you when your mother was diagnosed?

Seek help- you do not have to go it alone. Don’t lose sight of your dreams-that was something that helped her too. Breathe deeply again and slow down the pace a little bit. Look for a community–those helpers who are your angels ready and willing to help. I sought groups where I could get intentional, taking in all that life has to offer one day at a time. I joined author cohorts, ran monthly mastermind groups, and volunteered to serve others. And, do not wait for tomorrow to do the things with those you love today. Have those conversations, do something you love, take many photos, record beautiful stories- don’t stop living, laughing, and loving. Ultimately, death is a part of life. We can never know when it is someone’s time, but truly living a life on purpose is essential, and not having regrets.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

That we are all stronger than we think we are as long as we do not give up. While I still experience dark times, especially after the pandemic year, the evidence shows that I can push through. I am still working to overcome pain to varying degrees. I don’t think that pain in life ever ends; my father has said that is the price we pay to be human. However, the key, I believe, is not to unpack and stay there. The root of the word emotion is e-motere, to move through. With all feelings that arise from different circumstances, instead of pushing them down or ignoring them, it is imperative to feel what you feel and trust the process of life to learn thoroughly. On the other side of the coin, this is a welcome bit of advice when you feel joy or happiness, truly embrace that and feel every bit of the good stuff as you can as well. We are here to enjoy the process too!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Butterfly Awakens: A Memoir of Transformation Through Grief by [Meg Nocero, Habib Sadeghi, Sherry Sami]

Butterfly Awakens depicts the story of the extraordinary transformation of a forty-something Italian American attorney as she moves through unimaginable grief and sadness watching her beloved mother lose her battle to breast cancer. This tumultuous life experience shifts her world, causing her to question her life choices and opening her up to her soul’s calling. Nocero brings readers along on her journey through a dark night of the soul as she deals with the grieving process, a toxic work environment, and intense stress that results in depression, anxiety, and an acquired somatic nervous disorder called tinnitus. Through it all, she never gives up, instead looking for the help she needs to start to heal and find her light. In the end, like the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, this story is a beautiful love letter that honors Nocero’s mother’s legacy while detailing the awakening of her own.

There are many stories about breast cancer and grief, but none are quite like this one. Throughout her tale, Nocero pulls the reader deep into her story through the intensity of her emotions; and in the end, after resigning from her career as a federal prosecutor due to a toxic administration, she searches for the lighthouse she saw in a vision when her mother died. Embarking on a spiritual pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain to get to the lighthouse at Cap Finisterre, she sets out to wake up and live again; the butterfly connection and stark honesty of her writing offers readers important lessons learned from moving through grief so that each person can shine their light again.

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I Will Never Forget That Day

Eugene Ditaranto Jr.  Author Interview
Eugene Ditaranto Jr. Author Interview

Knights of New York provides a detailed account of the FDNY along with your years of experience in the department. Why was this an important book for you to write?

The FDNY’s greatest asset is the men and women who work for the agency. I felt compelled to tell their stories. Knights of New York is about ordinary people who perform extraordinary tasks.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about fire departments?

I am not sure if people realize that the New York City Fire Department is tasked with so many roles. The department responds to a wide array of incidents and its personnel require a breadth of knowledge across many fire life safety disciplines.

You share a lot of experiences in the book. What is one experience in the book that stands out for you personally?

9/11, I will never forget that day and the days that followed. I will never forget the courageous acts I saw others perform and I will never forget the support provided by so many. The country, especially in New York, was one nation with one shared purpose – support each other.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

I hope others recognize that there are brave men and women in New York City who stand on a wall and say, not today, not on my watch, no one is getting hurt today.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Knights of New York by [Eugene Ditaranto Jr.]

The New York City Fire Department, better known as the FDNY, is one of the most storied organizations in American history. Their longstanding traditions and acts of bravery are well documented, from their sacrifices on 9/11 to how they handled the Covid-19 pandemic. These brave men and women are the example for others to follow. Knights of New York is a detailed look into the leadership, management, and commitment to service taught by the greatest fire department in the world. Not just for firefighters, this one-of-a-kind book is the definition of what it means to put the needs of the people before yourself.

The views within the book are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the City of New York or the FDNY.

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