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To the Top of Greenfield Street

Ryan Standley’s To the Top of Greenfield Street follows Eric Daniels as he spends a brief yet formative summer in Freeport, a small northern Illinois town hundreds of miles away from his childhood home in Iowa. The text is written in an autobiographical fashion, with many musical and cultural references that indicate that the events take place in the 1980s or 1990s.

Standley does a superb job at recounting the nostalgia of youth. Eric’s adventures with his (mostly) newfound neighborhood friends – from their nighttime rendezvous to the drive-in theater to the Fourth of July festivities, all the way down to Eric’s surprise going-away party hosted by his mates – feel absolutely real and capture the freedom of any summer in the life of a Midwestern teenager. Nate, Matt, Billy, Melissa, Jen, Rachel, and Declan each make their own contribution with their easy-to-distinguish personalities.

To the Top of Greenfield Street is ultimately an engaging coming of age story. Eric has two major experiences that take place in a short amount of time, but leave an indelible mark. It is also through these turning points that Eric learns that resolutions aren’t always happy events – nor do they need to be. One, he comes to grips with the reality of his ties with Donna, his estranged and drug-addicted mother. Two, he experiences through Jen what it is like for a young man to share feelings of affection and chemistry, however fleeting, with another young woman.

Above all, the author showcases the finite nature of young relationships in a way that resonates with readers as young as their twenties. By the end of the text, Eric walks away cherishing the friendships and good times that he has had, but also accepts that just as summer inevitably turns to fall, he must accept what is and begin his next chapter of life alongside his dad. Endings do not need to be finite in nature – and very often in life they are anything but.

This is a solid read for readers of any age who want a well-written, teen-centered coming of age story. To the Top of Greenfield Street is a young adult novel that I heartily recommend.

Pages: 286 | ASIN: B08GFQCVH8

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Able Soul: Empowering God’s Spirit Within

Able Soul: Empowering God's Spirit Within by [Lucy Goncalves]

The biggest message that Lucy Goncalves has in Able Soul: Empowering God’s Spirit Within is that there is no challenge that is too hard if you believe in God. The good Lord cannot burden you with something that you cannot handle. Lucy Goncalves gives her story as a true testimony of what God can do. Her story is not only inspiring but also comforting. There is always a good thing at the end of the storm. Believing in God means that you have cast all your troubles to Him and trusting that he will take care of them. Lucy Goncalves tells every reader that goes through this book to have faith.

Able Soul: Empowering God’s Spirit Within discusses different things in life, not just the author’s stories. The book is refreshing and enlightening for anyone who questions life and the challenges they face. Do you ever feel that you need someone to lean on 24/7? Are you allowed to give up? Is it worth it being a Christian if all you have experienced is suffering and misery? These are some of the questions that get answered when you read this book. The author does not sugar coat her text but opens your eyes to realities and talks of how you can live a fulfilling life. In her book, Lucy Goncalves makes you feel that you are not alone even as you fight temptations.

This is ultimately a motivational and inspiring story. Lucy Goncalves gets personal and talks about living with cerebral palsy. She lays bare the realities of living with this condition, how it shapes one’s thinking and why we should all be kind to each other. The author’s personal experiences were touching. Through her story, we are reminded not to give up as God walks with us throughout. Lucy Goncalves is an inspiration, not only to people with the condition she has but also to everyone who is on the verge of despair due to one thing or the other.

My favorite chapters in the book were The Value of Reliance, The Art of Wrestling, Hunger to Serve, and A Faith-Filled Adventure. At the end of the book, you will gain an in-depth understanding of life, the Holy Spirit, and God. You will understand yourself as a person and those that live with you. The author’s encouraging words will keep you going, and help you move barriers.

Pages: 90 | ASIN: B07R66TN5X

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Foreboding: A Black Eyed Witch Novel

Foreboding: A Black Eyed Witch Novel (The Black Eyed Witch Book 2) by [Rowan Staeffler]

Foreboding: A Black Eyed Witch Novel by Rowan Staeffler, is a thrilling tale set in a fantasy world. The main characters in the book are Lithia  and Ronan. Lithia is a witch and Ronan, a human, is her boyfriend. Ronan’s job is to protect the witches from people. The people want to kill the witches because they believe the witches are responsible for the many deaths in the battles against monsters. Lithia, Rononan, and other witches are on the hunt for who is really to blame for the deaths and save the world.

Foreboding: A Black Eyed Witch Novel has a thrilling setup to an intriguing romantic fantasy that is filled with gruesome scenes. The author has a distinctive descriptive style that makes the grisly scenes lean towards the macabre a bit. For example this scene: “the bearded man continued to scream, watching his blood gushing out of the stumps.” (Chapter 1 page 3). Scenes like this showcase  the authors willingness to let the blood flow in some shocking ways that, for the right audience, can be entertaining.

The storyline on its own is interesting, it was something that kept calling me back to this book, and made it hard to put down, I wanted to see where it was all going. It made me wonder if they would actually end up capturing the Naguals and save the world. My favorite character is Ashley because she was fun, upbeat, and optimistic throughout the obstacles in the book. I also love fantasy, so I loved the scenes with the witches and their awesome powers trying to save the world. I really enjoyed this novel, and I think with a good edit it could definitely be a fantasy novel that I praise to everyone I come across. But as it is there are just a few sentences scattered throughout the story that feel oddly worded.

Foreboding: A Black Eyed Witch Novel is consistently riveting and filled with imaginative characters. Author Rowan Staeffler has created an absorbing fantasy adventure that is perfect for fans of sword & sorcery.

Pages: 303 | ASIN: B089FR4ZDS

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From The Painted Tomb

FROM THE PAINTED TOMB: Something Ancient is on its Way by [Brenda Hill]

From The Painted Tomb by Brenda Hill follows newspaper reporter, Krista Hawthorne, that lives in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains. While on a date at the Lune river Krista and her date get attacked by a mythical creature. Her date gets murdered right in front of Krista’s eyes but her life is spared. Krista knows nothing of her lineage but she notices that the creature has the same ankh that Krista got from her mother. Knowing the creature is still out there Krista and the local sheriff venture out to find out why this creature let her live.

Brenda Hill entices readers with her thrilling fantasy novel from the very start of the book. Such a gripping story I wanted to continue reading through the night but couldn’t because it was too eerie. The author’s writing is so refined that I was not able to predict how the story would end. Hill’s writing flows effortlessly between Krista’s ominous adventures while seamlessly blending Egyptian history throughout the alluring narrative. But a good mythical fantasy is only as good as its cast of characters and Brenda Hill has created some compelling if not relatable characters that I didn’t even realize I was so invested in until I found myself biting my nails.

Krista’s love interest brings a welcome complexity to the story. While her relationship unfolds throughout the story, the focus of the book never moves away from the enigmatic mystery that drives this spellbinding story forward. With relatable characters, an engaging paranormal plot, and a dash of romance, From The Painted Tomb will appeal to readers across genres.

Pages: 283 | ASIN: B08GJXC7LB

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Beyond The Goodnight Trail

Roy V. Gaston brings us a Classic Western novel based on true historical events. This compelling story follows Pete, a former Texas Ranger, in an action-filled adventure. Pete rides with his friend, Charlie, with the goal of travelling across the state bringing cargo and other riders. All the while there is a dangerous threat looming over them. That is, they need to traverse through land owned by the Comanche; a Native American tribe who are tired of seeing other Natives being used, abused, and taken from their land.

Beyond the Goodnight Trail is based on historical figures and events, and author Roy V. Gaston effectively delivers an engrossing read that feels authentic. Not only did he choose a very intriguing time to write a novel about, but he was able to capture that time cleverly. The dialogue between characters captures the dialect and slang of that period especially well, this can get tiring depending on the reader, but it shows Gaston’s skill in depicting a certain time and place. The author puts even small facts in this novel, like calling Native Americans ‘Indians’ and describing fine details of riding in the West, which helped immersion immensely. Overall, this created a fully realized atmospheric setting that was easy to fall into, though this became easier after the first quarter.

I enjoyed this novel and felt that the pace was quick overall, but I did feel that the start was a bit slow as it was filled with long descriptions of characters. But characters in a novel are arguably the most important, especially for historical-based ones, so this time is beneficial in creating engrossing characters. Beyond the Goodnight Trail performs smoothly in this section as well with an antagonist you love to hate and charming protagonists and side characters. The small biography-like sections at the end of the book were a cherry-on-top as the reader gets to see what became of these historical figures afterward.

Beyond the Goodnight Trail is an exciting adventure novel filled with interesting characters and striking settings. Readers who enjoy a good western will truly appreciate this story, but anyone looking for an entertaining read will find plenty to enjoy.

Pages: 264 | ASIN: B08KSKYZ2P

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Before The Origin

Before the Origin by [F.S Bala]

Before the Origin by F.S Bala is an account of events in several people’s lives all connected by the change in pattern in the world’s occurrences. Amy Taff, an outstanding character in the book, is thrown into a world of magic, science, and mystery. Her life changes drastically after she gets a job at Scythe. Immediately she realizes that a thread holds the balance between life and death. Ash, a talented young man, partakes in scientific government projects but his friend Abel, has several conspiracy theories surrounding this project. The lives of all these people are connected in one way or another by the environment, science and technology.

F.S Bala has outlined every event in a systematic manner that creates a balance between different generations and lifelines. The writer has embraced vivid imagery creating in depth visual representation that brings depth and color to the magical realism genre. The story is not a far-fetched work of fiction but based on normal day to day life occurrences and the prediction of the future. Although the book leans more towards science and technology, Bala uses poetic language that is filled with humor to bring levity to what could have been a drab experience. I am impressed with Bala’s writing style and the author’s ability to incorporate African folklore into this story, which made this book educational as well as entertaining.

Before the Origin is a engaging action adventure novel that excels at creating alluring characters in an intriguing world.

Pages: 124 | ASIN: B08KJ3MTF1

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Inside the Head of a Bully

Brenda Turner
Brenda Turner Author Interview

Bullying: What Are We Really Scared Of challenges our current response to bullying and explores successful ways of dealing with bullies. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I was able to get inside the head of a bully, learn all the secrets as to how they bully and why. Stemming from this, I was able to devise an action plan to stop bullies from hurting me. After many years of implementing this plan, learning that it worked every time, seeing the world was in such a state with bullying problems, saddened, I felt it was imperative I shared the secrets to defeating the bullies to help victims with this worldwide problem.

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

Divulging the truth about bullying, that it is not just the schoolyard bully or domestic violator, but that bullying is in every aspect of our lives. Exposing their secrets and sharing how easy it is for bullies to be retrained during counselling from being a physical violator to a psychological abuser because that is when they are most dangerous. Demonstrating, with examples, how easy it is to fall victim to bullies and what to look out for to be safe from the manipulations of bullies. Explaining to victims that the Justice system is more often than not, a lame duck when it comes to seeking help from them so they don’t fall into the abyss of depression when it fails to help them. Most importantly, I wanted to empower victims to be self reliant, to help themselves to stop the bullies in their lives.

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

That bullying is scary, that once they fall victim to a bully it will never stop, that they cannot defeat it and no one would believe them.

Do you have plans to write other books on this topic?

Yes, I am in the midst of writing a book for younger children (ages 3-8) to help them understand bullying and what they can do to stop it.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

This multi Award winning book; Bullying What are we really scared of? is a comprehensive educational guide to bullying. From the school yard through to the workplace, cyber bullying, domestic and family violence, even elder abuse, this book covers all areas of bullying.Why you were chosen, why you responded the way you did, why no one would step in to help and how to stop it? Understanding bullying is crucial to defeating it, learning how the bullies think will tell you what tactics they use to help you can counter them to defeat the bully. With practice, you can stop the bullies before they start.
Winner of the Best Self Help Book for 2018 by the Pacific Book Awards, Finalist for Self-Help Books for 2019 by the Book Excellence Awards and a Gold Winner Award for Education/Reference for 2020 by the Elite Choice Book Awards.
This informative book challenges the current “system” response of victim blaming and punishment and lays the foundation for a successful way of dealing with bullies.
The author gives:
• Realistic, affordable and easy solutions to the bullying problem.
• Empowering victims to overcome their fears so they can stop the bullies easily.
• Aiding victims to diffuse bullying situations.
• Educating bystanders to understand their role in helping victims
• Educating parents to understand the situation their child is in and how to help.
• Educating school staff how to help the victims instead of punishing them.
• Educating the Justice System to help victims of all forms of abuse.
• Educating governments and education departments on better policy and decision making.
Bullies are really not that scary when you understand them, in fact, they are easy to control when you know how. Put all bullies in their place today, order your copy of Bullying What are we really scared of?

I Wanted Him to be Honored

Shauntae Spaulding
Shauntae Spaulding Author Interview

My Time With Papa helps readers deal with the loss of a loved one by reminding them of all the wonderful memories they have. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was important for me to keep the book lighthearted but also provide a discussion for parents to have with children. I also wanted to make sure my stepfather came to life in the book by capturing things he loved and the bond he had with his granddaughter.

The art in this book was vivid and bright. What was the art collaboration like on this project?

My illustrator was fantastic in capturing my stepfather’s likeness. It was uncanny. I was very specific in what I wanted in the book because it was a reflection of him and I wanted him to be honored. My illustrator took the details and embodied the emotions I wanted to capture by keeping the illustrations lively and colorful.

Do you have plans to write other children’s book?

Yes, I do! After writing this book, I fell in love with process and wrote three more. I look forward to sharing those with the world as well!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

This is a loving story about a little girl who lost her Papa and finds a way to remember all the wonderful memories she had of him that she will cherish forever. Walk down memory lane and recapture the memories of lost loved ones from the imagination of a young girl.
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