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The Facets of Death

The Facets of Death by James Rondinone explores many questions people have about death. The author jumps into the topic of death by studying God’s involvement in death. James Rondinone looks at whether God prevents some people from dying and why God allows others to die. The author talks about his experience with a death in his family and shares his questions after the bereavement. This sets the book up well as it shows the reader that the author is another person on an investigatory journey.

The author looks at the death of Abel from the Bible. He discusses why God did not prevent his brother, Cain, from murdering Abel. James Rondinone then uses this example to look at the topic of free will. However, the author does not stop there. The author discusses complex issues like God’s role in allowing masses of people to die and uses the example of Noah and the flood. These situations are hard to grapple with, yet James Rondinone’s thoughts on the issues are well explained.

One of the most interesting things about the book is that although it was written from a Christian perspective, the author wrote it so that anyone grappling with the topic of death could read it and gain nuggets along the way.

Before picking up the book, I decided it would be a challenging and depressing read. On the contrary, the author wrote the book from a compelling point of view. He tackled a topic from an intellectual level instead of purely an emotional level. This allows the reader to look at death from a broader point of view and gain a bigger perspective. Even though the chapters are short, parts of the book felt slow, making me want to move on to the next section.

The Facets of Death is a thought-provoking book written for people from various walks of life. It contains numerous references from the Bible and deals with a tricky topic well. Even with the Christian references, the intellectual look at the topic makes this book a great resource for anyone looking for a different take on death and grief.

Pages: 130 | ASIN : B09TQ61M37

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Walking with Spirits

Walking with Spirits: Paying It Forward During a Global Pandemic is author Jamie Lee Mumford’s no-nonsense, “crazy connection” to the other side. In a touching recount of the birth of her fourth child, Chayse, who was left non-verbal and confined to a wheelchair after a traumatic birth – yet possessed a gift to interact with those unseen, Mumford details how the pandemic almost ruined the ode to what would have been his twentieth birthday.

As Mumford journeys through life’s stages, so do the easing of her psychic veil. Through dreams, flashes of objects passing out the corner of her eye, or the clear-as-day spirits that came to say hello on birthdays, they all confirmed that whatever gifts had laid dormant at one stage were alive. Utilizing her own mediumship gifts and connecting to the energy of Chayse on the other side, the spirit realm nudged Mumford into recruiting specific people to drive a community pantry initiative in Chayse’s honor. What follows is nothing short of phenomenal.

A heartwarming read that evoked goosebumps at every stage. The synchronicities, the ciphers: undeniable. The biggest skeptics would not be able to refute the connection between mother (despite being earth-side) and son (passed) in this gripping memoir.

Walking with Spirits: Paying It Forward During a Global Pandemic is for readers seeking comfort post the death of a loved one or having trouble following their intuition. This one is a must-read. Beautifully and honestly written, the first few pages will grip your heartstrings. Mumford creates an immediate connection with the reader at a post-pandemic time when many need it most, highlighting the good possible in tragedy. Readers can trust the pages to bring them a sense of comfort, closure, and an understanding that those on the other side are not lost; you just need to acknowledge the signs and embrace them.

Pages: 255 | ASIN : B09QBMGPMS

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Making Your Mark | Leaving a Legacy | And then… A Grand Exit That’ll Have Their Tongues Waggin’

Have you ever wondered whether you will have an impact on the world? An experience that, even after our departure, will live on in everyone’s memory? Than Making Your Mark, Leaving a Legacy, And then… A Grand Exit That’ll Have Their Tongues Waggin, by Peter Davidson, speaks about just that phenomenon! It comes with an abundance of ideas, such as starting a collection you can leave for those close to you or succeeding. Some may even consider you a hoarder during the process but giving your children or grandchildren your prized coin collection, season tickets, or concert tickets could be a tremendous amount of fun. It would really be of great importance for your legacy in the long run. Peter Davidson gives ideas from hypothetical situations and real-life examples to leave your mark.

A section of the book includes the celebration of life party and a final farewell for Timothy A. B. Smythe, leaving everyone who knew Timothy and Timothy himself with a smile. It was the best section of the book. Recognizing that his days were numbered, he organized a “Living Wake” with the support of his friends and family. Then, soon after his passing, a wild celebration honored everything about his life. The coffin was modeled after Timothy A.B. Smythe’s favorite vehicle. The entire ceremony was emotional and touching. This scene would leave you in tears.

A great book is presented here. It does a great job of making light of a very horrible circumstance. The author sets out to help readers prepare for what will eventually come and to make the best of the situation, even presenting ways to make it a time to remember for family and friends that remain. A few noteworthy aspects of this book include the author’s constant encouragement to readers to always see the positive.

Overall, the book is enjoyable to read and offers readers a little push to ensure they make a “Grand Exit.” One of those few keepsakes that kept me happy all the way to the finish. I’d give it a perfect score and suggest this book to everyone who has a handle on life and is searching for the next big step.

Pages: 287 | ASIN : B0B3W5YTYZ

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The Worst Life Has to Offer

The grief surrounding the loss of a loved one is unbearable. This heart-wrenching memoir of a mother enduring the worst kind of sorrow attempts to bring comfort to grieving parents. As she ponders over what she could have done differently she clings to the endless distress. That said, fate is beyond one’s control, with pain only mitigating over time. Her only solace now is to seek justice and process the heartbreaking reality of her life.

The Worst Life Has To Offer by Venetta Cox-Mylnczyk is a memoir that grips the raw emotions in one’s heart, translating a mother’s story of resilience as she navigates life after the unforeseeable death of her two sons, only 6 months apart. This book touches the core of your being and evokes empathy bringing tears to your eyes with the overwhelming realization of how one trivial mistake can drastically change another’s life.

Venetta has battled the worst, yet still perseveres in the face of adversity. She offers sincere compassion with her words to those that have been subjected to the worst kind of grief: a pain unimaginable. With emotions that hit you right in the gut, it evokes a powerful sense of strength in those who have dealt with the most unfair of life’s circumstances.

The Worst Life Has To Offer by Venetta Cox-Mylnczyk is a book that truly depicts raw sentiments of a mother’s plea for justice: encapsulating a sense of hope for those to overcome even the darkest of days and come out strong in the face of adversity. Challenging as it may be, nothing can compensate for a loss like this, but this narrative genuinely grasps the intricacies of pain, and gracefully honors the memory of her two sons, Brandon and Devon.

Pages: 132 | ASIN : B09TS42PXN

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Sixteen Days

Sixteen Days is a beautiful work by Victoria Wilson-Crane constituting the sudden death of a young woman named Mary Lou, who happened to be the author’s niece, and how her family handled the pain of losing someone so dear. Death is inevitable, and it brings a lot of grief to a family. Sixteen days is a handbook on how to grieve and facilitate others who are mourning a precious life lost.

Wilson-Crane writes a powerful memoir with so much honesty and grit. She masterfully begins this book with Mary-Lou’s introduction as her niece, her childhood, and how events develop leading to her sudden death. As readers, we can feel her pain and helplessness toward fate sometimes, yet the next moment as we read, Wilson-Crane gives her readers her best advice on coping with such moments.

The writing is elegant, straightforward, and engaging. Reading this book, one can understand and acknowledge the writer’s honest emotions. Wilson-Crane’s emotions are raw, yet she manages to give us her best advice on transitioning from one state of mind to another. The best part is the list of to-do’s when mourning or visiting someone mourning. The author’s approach to writing is simple yet extraordinary, making it easier for readers to follow through on such a grim topic.

Wilson-Crane keeps the chapters concise and appropriate for the information she wants to convey without overwhelming her readers with unnecessary details. The book is a quick read, and one can devour it for the wealth of information. Each chapter ends with the authors’ version of mourning etiquettes and how one can honor the privacy of the families who have lost someone very close.

As a reader, I am super grateful for such insights. Sixteen Days by Victoria Wilson-Crane’s background on the deceased, inevitable death, and the aftermath of death that surrounds everyone related, this book will be a great addition to anyone’s reading list. Sixteen Days is one of the most influential books I have read in the grief and self-help genre.

Pages: 95 | ASIN : B09Q996K6X

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How Do We Live With Our Mortality?

Author Interview William Loizeaux

Into the Wind follows a young boy who, while fixing up a sailboat, befriends his elderly neighbor. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

When I was a boy, I had a feisty, independent, widowed and elderly aunt who was an artist and loved sailing.  As she aged, she didn’t seem to mellow or retire or relax, but seemed to come even more alive, to throw herself with increasing energy at what she loved, even as that became more difficult.  She painted with a trembling, arthritic hand.  Some weeks before she died, she managed—in a wheelchair!—to get herself into a small boat and, with the help of someone who held the rudder, sail through some rough weather.  That was the germ of Into the Wind

Was there anything from your own life that you incorporated into Rusty’s and Hazel’s relationship?

Yes.  There is a certain amount of my relationship with my aunt in Rusty’s relationship with Hazel.  Like Hazel, my aunt was odd and demanding—you might even say cantankerous.  We rubbed each other the wrong way.  But she took an interest in me, and slowly I took an interest in her and came to appreciate her quirky sense of humor, the challenges she faced and the wisdom she had as an aging woman who mostly got around in a wheelchair.  We became unlikely friends.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The main theme was intergeneration friendship.  How could that happen between a boy with his life ahead of him and a woman near the end of hers?   What might connect them?  What might each of them gain from that connection?  

Our mortality is another theme, something that children from eight to twelve are beginning to grapple with.  By then they may have lost a loved pet or, worse, a relative.  How do we think about that?  How do we live with our mortality?  Maybe Hazel shows Rusty a way.  Sadly, life comes to an end, but it can be filled, like Hazel’s, with curiosity, fun, humor, generosity, growth, energy, friendship, love, wonder, and meaning—all of which might be passed from one generation to another.  I hope that’s what readers feel and understand when they finish Into the Wind.

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

I write books for children and adults, and I’m usually working one or the other, or sometimes both.  At the moment, I have an adult nonfiction draft on my screen and parts of a children’s story in a folder on the side of my desk.  When might they be available?  I don’t know, as I haven’t finished them yet.  Sometime soon.  Fingers crossed.  Information about my previous books is available on my website.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A character-driven novel about the unlikely friendship between a 10-year-old boy and an elderly woman. The old woman badgers the boy into taking her sailing, but when the weather turns bad, it becomes a wild sail. It becomes the last trip before she goes into the hospital where she dies: but not before the two of them share memories of their last sail together. Hazel helps build the boy’s confidence during a tough time in his home life. Both moving and joyful, Into the Wind is a poignant story about loss and love in a boy’s life, and the surprising and sustaining bonds that can grow between the old and young.

Into the Wind

Into the Wind by William Loizeaux is a children’s story about how an unlikely friendship develops between a young boy and an older woman in a wheelchair. It takes place during a difficult summer for both on the island where they live. After Rusty’s mother is admitted to an inpatient treatment facility on the mainland for depression, Rusty’s neighbor gives him an old sailboat that he works on repairing and learning how to sail. Hazel is a widow whose family lives far away on the west coast, and she hires Rusty to do odd jobs around the house for her to earn a bit of money. As they spend time together, the two find that they share an unexpected connection. 

The author has an engaging writing style that will draw readers into the story. The main character is relatable and believable, with a sometimes humorous point of view. This heartwarming story takes place on an island, and the author’s descriptions of the boats and water paint a vivid picture of the quaint tourist town where Rusty and his family lived. I could easily imagine the smell of the sea and the sound of the seagulls as they flew over the boats tied to the dock as though I was experiencing what Rusty did in the story.

I learned a lot of interesting things about sailing while reading this book, and I liked that various sailing terms were explained organically throughout the story for readers who are not familiar with sailboats. The author also includes a glossary of nautical terms at the end of the book. Watching the friendship between Rusty and Hazel is magical. Two people so different, in different stages of life, can find common ground and connect on a deep emotional level. They are both going through some challenging moments in their lives, and spending time with each other helped them cope.

This memorable book includes illustrations by Laura Jacobsen. They are done in shades of gray, like pencil drawings. They really add to the story as they are sparsely used and added to key moments in the story. My favorite was the image of Rusty pushing Hazel through the park with cards clipped to her wheelchair wheels. The innocence and simplicity of the scene remind readers to hold onto the small moments in life.

Into the Wind is a middle grades level chapter book. This emotional story deals with friendship, compassion, death, and grief. It is a wonderful story to help kids learn about love and loss and about the importance of treasuring the moments you have with people.

Pages: 138 | ASIN : B08PDGZRXS

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This or Something Better

While tracking the rural environment of Placerville, Sacramento, Glenn Ellen, and California’s rural foothills, This or Something Better by Elisa Stancil Levine presents an alternate shift from childhood reminiscence to dark, intense memories laced with perseverance and adaptability. The memoir begins in 2017, with a fire scorching acres of land in Sonoma Country, including the residential area of the author. It then shifts back and forth between adolescence and maturity, following the author’s frantic journey from self-containment to the never-ending pursuit of truth.

When the decorative artist leaves the fire land without informing any of her neighbors, the firestorm not only causes havoc with the natural animals and property but also prompts a series of introspective questions in her mind. Her story of estrangement and persistence takes readers on a journey through her eventful and incredible life. Having grown up in a reproachable neighborhood, lost her first child as a teenage mother, and having been labeled a murderer by her grandmother, the author takes readers on a roller-coaster journey through her past and present. It is at the end of the story that she discovers how to forgive herself for many of her self-proclaimed acts of accusation and discover the ultimate question that nudges her curiously from childhood- ‘what it means to be a human?’

The narrative is full of genuine viewpoints and a critical analysis of the numerous issues that plague a child’s head after experiencing sexual abuse, as well as their parents’ disapproval of their dreams and viewpoints. In addition to the spiritual inquiry, the fact that nature has a vital hold on the human psyche manifests itself in the reflections of the author, a nature girl. This or Something Better takes readers on a spiritual quest that comes with the inevitable questioning of who we are as human beings. 

Beginning in 1953 in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada foothills, every memory and experience from childhood is dusted off the memory attic in the memoir, complete with nostalgia, anguish, and ambition. It’s a terrific prescription for women of the times, as it aids in the healing of wounds created by uncertain relationships, child loss, adolescent parenthood, and the relentless efforts to silence the passionate and compelling voice of an assertive and insistent woman. It’s also a motivational read, with the uplifting message at the end of each chapter: “It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

This or Something Better: A Memoir of Resilience takes readers on an introspective journey as they listen to the author’s stories. Sometimes, a biography is just the history of one person’s life; this is more, it is a book of hope, perseverance, and healing.

Pages: 253 | ASIN : B09CYPNNP2

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