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Can We Talk? 

Can We Talk? by Sam Smith is an impassioned story of a family trying to adjust to life in a new country while dealing with mental illness, racism, and divorce. Based on her life, being an immigrant in Canada, Sam gives the reader a view into her experiences with her husband, Shawon, and her two daughters, Julie and Shanon. Everyone in the family has a different struggle. Sam and Shawon have a strained marriage that was not made easier by their move to Canada. Shawon and Sam live in the same house but no longer sleep together. They no longer act as a married couple, with Sam’s coworkers not believing she is even married. This relationship trickles down to their two kids. Shannon, the younger sister, still lives in the house with both of them. She is often in the middle of her parents’ fights, always consoling her mother after her father says something cruel. Julie lives away at school and has become an independent and self-reliant person who doesn’t ask for much help.

Can We Talk? is a stirring story about how hard adjusting to a new life can be. The author does a wonderful job at conveying her life struggles and hardships in a compelling story that feels real and is relatable.

Sam Smith does a masterful job of creating a story where the reader can feel the struggle of the characters regardless of whether they have felt those same struggles. She does this without creating a large conflict, instead she tells a real story with real people and real problems.

The story never feels like it is about characters in a book, it instead feels like a story about real people living their life and trying to deal with their family struggles. It is easy to empathize with Sam and her kids, because you understand what they are going through and where the problems lie.

Reading about Sam’s relationship with Shawon and her experience immigrating to a new country, you can’t help but to feel for them. Although the reader can recognize that Shawon causes a lot of issues for Sam and their kids, you still understand his motives and actions. The real enemy of their family is the hardships that come with immigrating and not being able to provide for their family.

Can We Talk? is a deeply thoughtful and emotionally resonant memoir about the challenges people face and how that tests us and our relationships. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an insightful and poignant true story.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B09BRQGLR4

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Hidden Truths Needed To Be Uncovered

Author Interview
Peterson Francois Author Interview

Inspirations is an inspirational and motivational self-help book that shares your personal struggles and the process you underwent to achieve your success. Why was this an important book for you to write?

This book was vital for me to write because many hidden truths needed to be uncovered by the world. Unstill today, many individuals live in the dark because they are being blind by manipulators and abusers. Those individuals are unable to make informed decisions by themselves. I believe if they had the opportunity to read my book, they would be able to see clearly and lead their lives in a new direction, which would enable them to avoid being ambushed by conspirators.

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

One piece of advice I wish someone had given me when I was younger is developing financial literacy.

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

One thing I hope readers take away from my story is belief.

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

The next book that I am working on is the Second Edition of the Book Inspirations: My Vivid Imagination Has Been Transformed into Reality. It will be available in 2024.

Author Links: Facebook | Amazon

Inspirations: My Vivid Imagination Has Been Transformed into Reality focuses on human interests and finding the balance that can change your life forever. Author Peterson Francois has compiled inspiring quotes and information that can instill confidence in anyone who is working hard for success. Information is power, and this handbook is designed to provide enough power to handle any situation you might encounter.

A collection of quotes that offer valuable lessons Francois has learned from his experiences in America, Inspirations is arranged by topic. From Sticking to Your Principles to Flexibility and Change Are Necessary for Growth, his goal is to see all people around the world live as happy and productive individuals.

Francois has provided a great deal of stirring, useful information designed to enable to everyone to make better lives for themselves and to better position themselves for success in todays society. His ultimate goal is to help people gain knowledge, achieve their goals, resolve their problems, and enable their success in todays fast-paced world.

Inspirations: My Vivid Imagination Has Been Transformed into Reality fulfills Francoiss vision of enabling everyone to make their future success a reality.

Peterson Francois is a thoughtful individual whose many ideas will cause readers to reflect upon their lives in a way that could likely lead to a more fulfilling life.

Dr. Ralph Norcio, Lynn University

Peterson Francois is a highly motivated person who has been confident in his academic and professional abilities and determined toward achievement and further progress. He takes his responsibilities very seriously and tries his best to achieve the perfection. Paterson Francois is a very friendly person with a positive attitude and respect toward others.

Dr. Farideh Farazmand, Lynn University

A Topic I Know Well; Swimming

Carla Albano Author Interview

Soul of a Swimmer is the true story about a high school athlete that dies in a school shooting and the legacy he left behind. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Many believe that America has come to normalize mass shootings; often the seriousness of the crime is measured by a body count, and that’s it. No matter the breadth or depth of one’s life, every person who passes on in a mass shooting is worthy of their story being told- they were in the process of dreaming, and living for the future when they died. Few stop and ponder “Who were these people who died? What talent is our society never going to realize?”

This was my first book, and I chose to write about a topic I know well; swimming.

I am a lifelong competitive swimmer, and I implicitly understand Nick. We are of the same breed (so to speak), his passing deeply affected me and indelibly rocked swimmers worldwide. Even though swimming is an individual sport, swimmers share a kinship like no other, and myself and countless other swimmers deeply mourn Nick; a lost member of our school of fish.

Shortly after the tragedy I became acquainted with Nick’s story through several memorials and fundraisers for his charity http://www.swim4nick.com. Nick was and still is a phenomenon. I hadn’t planned on writing a book, but Nick found me and I had to tell his story. It was a pleasure and honor to forever memorialize Nick in this way.

Lastly, I came to learn about the other 16 souls we lost in Parkland. They each were remarkable people; I wish I had the bandwidth to write their stories too.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

By far the prologue was the hardest 2 pages I’ve ever written and probably ever will write. I’m still emotional and often choke up when I think about the interview with Annika, Nick’s mom, which led to the finalization of this passage.

Each interview as hard in its own way. There was always a balance of grief and joy during the interviews. There were lots of tears; yet openness among all of the interviewees. Resounding respect for Nick resonated throughout the interview process.

What is your favorite memory of Nicholas?

During the writing process, every way I turned, there was a remarkable new” favorite” memory. My favorite is when Mitch, Nick’s dad, described Nick secretly teaching his younger brother to drive. Mitch’s facial expressions during this conversation were priceless. The story of Nick comforting his friend Carlos through a family tragedy was profound and unexpected. This is a story which Nick’s parents never knew before I wrote the book.

I love the memory of Nick visiting Daria’s mom, unannounced. I also love the memory of Nicholas consuming most if not all of the “Fika” snacks.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from Nicholas’s story?

Nicholas Dworet was a remarkable human being. His was a “Life Well Lived.”

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Soul of a Swimmer is the true story of Nicholas Dworet, a champion swimmer from Florida. Through interviews with his family, friends, coaches, and teammates, the book fondly describes the lifelong process of nurturing a child who has extraordinary talent and ebullient dreams as he develops into an elite athlete. As Nick matures, a young man with a remarkably humble and genuine character emerges amid his athletic successes. When he was a senior in high school, Nick found his Olympic dreams within reach. But tragically, his life was cut short in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Nick’s story will resonate with the reader forever.

We Lived Every Kid’s Dream

Mr. Stephen D Reddy Author Interview

A ball with no points tells the true story of your high school basketball team and the remarkable victory they achieved. Why was this an important book for you to write?

As I explained in book’s Prologue, this story was too special to let it just fade away and be forgotten forever. Our recent team reunion after 46 years made it clear how special those memories still were amongst all of us who made it happen. We lived every kid’s dream…and it was time to share the dream with everyone else.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

It was describing some of the hardships that many of my teammates endured later in life, and that needed to part of the story. Life is hard, but despite those hardships, our friendships and bonds have remained stronger than ever.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

“You can’t be afraid of what other people might think of you.” – Jim Valvano

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

Believe in yourself, and then go chase your dreams.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

When a group of unheralded boys came together in 1971, not much was expected. Over the next four months they produced “one of the most remarkable Cinderella Stories ever written,” according to one local paper.

For decades Westfield, NJ has been the idyllic suburban town known for its distinctive homes along tree-lined streets, its classic downtown area, and for having a school system that was the envy of many neighboring towns. During the ’60s and ’70s, the town proudly witnessed the most dominant high school football program in the state under the leadership of head coach Gary Kehler, highlighted by a state record 48 straight games without a loss. Yet in the midst of that streak, the 1971-72 varsity boys basketball team briefly stole the spotlight from their football classmates while accomplishing something that no other WHS hoops team has ever done, either before or since. In a ball with no points, a member of that team recalls a basketball journey, life lessons learned along the way, and one very special season a half century ago.

For anyone who has ever stepped onto a basketball court, played high school sports, or dreamed of being a champion, there is something in this book for you. A ball with no points examines the many facets of basketball familiar to many, as well as a fairy tale season enjoyed by precious few.

If Only I Could Read

If Only I Could Read by Robert Cox is an extremely insightful autobiography of a man that spent almost all his adult life without the ability to read. Life is already pretty hard for most of us, but imagine how things would be if you couldn’t read. From small things to big and important ones, reading is essential to get by in life: to remain in school, get into a competitive job, and even get groceries or reading directions. So the ability to read is necessary. Robert’s book fantastically describes how much of a difference being able to read can impact someone’s life and how this can become a huge setback.

Regardless of his problems with reading, what I enjoyed most about Robert’s description of his life were his perseverance and resilience. He never gave up, and he made the most of his life despite not being able to read. In his story, we get to see the multiple jobs and projects he worked on and the effort he put in to support his family. It wasn’t easy, but he always had a positive attitude. From his childhood, we see the difficulties he encountered that could have negatively disrupted his life; however, he got through it with determination.

The book is fast-paced and is written engagingly. Reading this story was an inspiring journey that allowed me to get a new perspective that I had never considered before. There are many people out there that can’t read for whatever reason or that possess learning disabilities. This book does an excellent job of portraying what it’s like to navigate life with this problem, letting readers worldwide understand the struggle.

Robert felt that there might be something wrong with him throughout his life, feeling unintelligent at times. Nevertheless, he experienced a lot of exciting situations from which he was able to learn. However, his reading problems constantly haunted him and even kept him away from taking advantage of some incredible opportunities that came his way. With time, he had to find a route to overcome his problem and understand it in the first place.

The author perfectly illustrates the journey that a person has to make when they simply can’t read. Through this book, people will gain a better perspective and insight on learning disabilities, maintaining a compassionate and understanding look of those out there that may have some disadvantages in life.

If Only I Could Read is an uplifting autobiography of a man that made it well into adulthood before learning how to read. His remarkable story of getting through school despite his inability to read and eventually uncovering why he could not learn in school is eye-opening. In addition, his struggle is a view into the world of people with learning disabilities and the challenges they face.

Pages: 126 | ASIN : B083HMJT32

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Blessed: A Family’s Struggle to Rise from the Ashes

After something traumatic happens, victims end up having their story told for them over and over again. It can seem perverse, like a performance on command for an audience without anything at stake. For the victim, there can be emotional power in determining how their story is told. The victim can center themselves in the story, flip the narrative from one about what happened to them, to one that explains their thoughts and feelings. I believe this is what Dr. Sherri Young was aiming to do in writing her emotionally resonant memoir, Blessed.

In 2018, the house in which Dr. Young, her husband, and their young daughter lived was suddenly destroyed in a propane explosion. Due to a serendipitous midnight wakening and correct emergency response, the three people living in the house managed to escape the blast. But the explosion was just the beginning; Blessed details their struggles with insurance companies, the loss of pets and cherished possessions, and returning to daily life after the trauma. It is a bumpy road, and the reader is given direct access to Dr. Young’s thoughts and feelings about the trauma and its aftermath.

This is a heartfelt story that stands as a great source of inspiration, but I would have enjoyed hearing more of the authors personal introspection and thoughts on this time in her life. This is a work that details the author’s intense (and understandable) feelings of anger, of loss, and of embarrassment, and I wanted to delve deeper into those feelings because what little is given is compelling. At multiple points in the book, she nearly melts with shame over her circumstances, and she never examines why she feels so much shame over something that is clearly not her fault. I think this comes out of the connection I felt with the author due to the fantastic writing. I just wanted to know so much more, and understand her so much better.

Even though Blessed is light on emotional introspection, this impassioned memoir still offers a lot of insight into how someone who suffers a catastrophic loss might feel. I can only hope that being able to tell her incredible story on her own terms is healing for Dr. Young. Overall, Blessed is a good, quick read, especially if you like to read stirring memoirs.

Pages: 124 | ASIN: B084BZKK1Z

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Posttraumatic Stress Is Very Common

Dr. Peter Salerno Author Interview

Fit for Off-Duty is a self-help book targeted at firefighters but is a useful resource for anyone dealing with PTSD and their families. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Having been raised by a firefighter, and having a brother who is a firefighter, I experienced the impact that work-related trauma exposure had on my family members and how even subtle changes in thought, feeling, and behavior impact the family system. This book was inspired by that as well as the thousands of first responders I treat in my practice, and I wanted to offer a resource that could help first responders and their families make sense of some of the conflicts that arise as a result of traumatic stress.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about PTSD?

That it is not common. Posttraumatic stress is very common, not just in first responders, but within the general population. People refer to it as many other things, but we certainly underestimate how many people are living in survival mode as a result of unresolved traumatic stress.

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

I hope the book will help people give themselves permission to heal from the unnecessary suffering that posttraumatic stress causes.

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

I published a Law Enforcement version of the Fit For Off-Duty book which is currently available on Amazon, and I will be publishing another self-help/self-improvement book that is aimed more toward the general population that will be available sometime in May or June of this year.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Every firefighter is a trauma survivor. Even veteran firefighters may not realize this. But constant exposure to traumatic events takes a serious toll. The body is affected, so is the nervous system, and so are the firefighter’s personal relationships. Off-duty days can become something to dread rather than look forward to. It doesn’t need to be this way. This book— written by a trauma therapist from a firefighter family—is a definitive manual for healing from trauma exposure for those who serve in the fire service and for those who love them. Feeling fit, healthy and unburdened by the effects of trauma can be a short-term therapeutic process. And there are steps firefighters can take on their own, immediately. This book is a good place to start.

The Importance Of Perseverance

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Author Interview

My Life at Sweetbrier shares your experiences growing up on the Sweetbrier horse farm in Easton, Connecticut and conveys all the obstacles and emotions of that time. Why was this an important book for you to write?

In My Life at Sweetbrier, I wanted to convey the importance of perseverance in life. I firmly believe young readers would benefit from this story because it shows that determination can change the direction of your life. Also, many people have a negative attitude about things and they may be deterred from following their dreams if other people discourage them. But I’d like children to know that you can succeed against the odds if you refuse to give up on your dreams. Imagine what I would have missed if I didn’t pursue mine.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

It was difficult to write about the fire in our barn that killed two of the horses. One of those was my mom’s beautiful, talented, Arabian stallion, Chiefie. Mom adored him. They had a rare connection and I was so hard for her to carry on without him. As always, she was a role model for her courage. Also as a family, we had to choose whether or not to rebuild our barn The fire showed us that we must carry on after a tragedy.

What is one memory that this book has helped you to remember?

My Life at Sweetbrier helped me recall how thrilled and blessed I am to have Peach, my remarkable horse who helped us become champions together. We had the kind of connection that Mom had with Chiefie. Peach understood me and seemed to be so sensitive to the pressure of my legs when I wanted her to lengthen her stride before a jump. She was beautiful and gifted at jumping. Peach loved jumping and that’s the reason she never grew tired of it, even when my sisters and I shared her at shows. Other horses were dragging themselves around the course by the end of the day, while she was still shaking her head and playing around. We won first place in our debut show together. As you can imagine, I was elated.

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

I hope readers remember to always follow their dreams because they may accomplish much more than they imagine if they refuse to quit. Every person has bad days and fails from time to time. Even champions experience days when things do not go well. But every winner knows it’s what happens after your fall that matters.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Website

What if you grew up on a horse farm and your single passion was to become a champion rider? This problem is, you were born with a disability. This happened to Deanie. Doctors told her parents she’d never walk, let alone ride. What happened next? What did Deanie’s dad do that changed her life? Could a failed racehorse and a handicapped girl become a winning team? This is the author’s true story. If you love horses and someone who has been counted out becoming a winner in every way, you will love this book.
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