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Don’t Bury an Ailing Marriage

Don’t Bury an Ailing Marriage: … It’s Not Too Late to Resuscitate! by author and psychologist Don D. Campbell Ph.D. is a relationship/marriage self-help book that gives insight into marriages and relationships in four different parts. This informative book breaks down straining relationships and how to heal them through four distinct concepts: 1. Open your mind, 2. Open your heart, 3. Cleave unto your spouse, and 4. Office visits. This inspirational book concludes with an epilogue titled Love is Forever. 

By addressing each of these ideas, the author highlights the roots of issues that lead to ailing marriages. The book goes through several key issues that are found at the heart of many struggling marriages, including but not limited to: loss of the sense of self, adultery, anger, dissatisfaction, abuse, victimization, and lack of sexual intimacy. Though these issues are individually addressed, Campbell gives profound insight for working through these issues and practical tools for healing wounds that have surfaced. 

Conflict resolution, weekly date nights, respect, and re-sparking romance are just a few of the ways addressed to help heal an ailing marriage. Campbell does a good job at getting to the root of many issues and offering solutions for marriages. Knowing that there is no one cure for all, Campbell covers multiple solutions while encouraging readers to figure out the right combination for their unique needs.

This thought-provoking book gave me hope for seeing the value of working through conflict in order to better my own marriage. By challenging readers to address their own personal issues, this encouraging book does a great job of extending hope and restoration to couples at any stage of their relationship.

Don’t Bury an Ailing Marriage: … It’s Not Too Late to Resuscitate! is not only an enjoyable book to read, but it is also recommended for couples and singles looking to better understand all kinds of relationships. The information is invaluable and contains solid advice and ground to stand upon as relationships are navigated.   

Pages: 244 | ASIN : B07958H7QB

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NO ONE walks alone!

Author Interview
Nina Norstrom Author Interview

Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matters is a very personal story for you. How hard was it to put this story out in the world for people to read?

Firstly, you must know that I grew up in a house full of secrets. Whatever went on in the family, we were taught to keep it in the home. So, as an adult and a single parent, I was compelled to live a secretive and private life. I made a practice to rarely reveal what was happening in our lives. Even back then, those that knew of me had very little knowledge about me.

Secondly, for many decades, my journey with toxic relationships was deep seated, raw, and buried inside me. What you have to realize, I kept it all in a diary. Never realizing I was exactly telling a story about our life that would one day become an opened book to others. Unknowingly, this writing was a healing medium that many may have called writing therapy.

Initially, during the editing phases, all I could do was cry, cry, and cry while trying to relive those painful and hurtful events. There was an instance, I recall when the editor and I had bumped heads; since I could not break through those raw emotions to express my thoughts clearly and precisely. It was extremely bad that the publisher had to intervene. After the conversation with her, she had me to take four days off to recover from that ordeal.

Finally, once we’d gotten back to the writing, I still couldn’t break through those unsettling emotions. It was then I came up with a conclusion to take the portion out. Therefore, I wrote in its chapter titled, Finding Peace and Comfort.

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

Truly, there were many challenging moments. The pain was just overly great and hurtful, I wanted to scream in an octave range; to the top of my lungs. But, I’ll share with you these crucial ones . . .

The challenges surfaced when writing about the guilt and steps taken into being someone’s mistress. Knowingly, the pain I had ‘cause another with the interference I’d made in their lives. And how horribly I’d abused myself by giving up my self-worth; self-dignity; and all those other self-dimensions one possesses. Through it all, I’ve come to realize we can be our worst abuser.

The most sharpening and piercing piece was writing the horrible news about my child. Being that parent and having to watch one so young go through a grown folk’s disease ─ can be the most devastating experience ever endured. It even breaks my heart (now) to write it here. You know, life can be so unfair? Yes, then again, whoever said life was fair?

You have to remember, I was reared in a Christian environment. So, once I let go of my religious and spiritual beliefs, there I was holding on to that poison of unforgiveness. It took decades to find my way through the darkness that kept me in a fixed space with an inability to move forward.

Finally, those years of experiencing losses took its toll traumatically, and overpowered me mentally. I had become a basket case. Surprisingly, I didn’t see that until it was on paper! To become housed living inside a world of trauma was not only terrorizing, but horrifying. Perhaps, that may be difficult for one to understand what it’s like − unless he or she has walked that journey.

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

Unfortunately, that’s a tough question, I can’t clearly say there is one thing but many . . .

It’s story speaks about the good, the bad, and the ugly stuff life throws at us. Not only that, it was raw and canned. Thinking about relationships, there’s no way to prevent an engagement with them. Every integral piece is a vital part of living, period.

Ultimately, it’s message will reveal the importance that life brings many challenges; with each there are lessons learned along the way. And with each relationship, one can learn to recognize whether it has a toxic or non-toxic impact. Flipping through those pages, it illuminates the beauty of love, compassion, courage, determination, and strength.

As an end result, I can only hope readers reach an enlightening height from the lessons learned while walking on the journey. And realize that the engagement of toxicity affects everyone in one form or another. But, know when walking, NO ONE walks alone!

What is a common misconception you feel people have about toxic relationships?

In many cases, it could be that some feel they’re making the wrong choices or poor decisions when it comes to unhealthy relationships. However, they fail to realize you don’t chose a toxic person, they chose you.

In another instance, some are failing to realize the dangerous effects their interactions play out. But first they must understand what is a toxic relationship? “A toxic relationship occurs when two or more people interact in a way that is detrimental to their life.” Or, “Anything that is poisonous and capable of causing sickness or death.” In either case, all one has to do is think about how deadly COVID-19 has impacted our lives, daily. With that in mind, it’s evidence that a toxic relationship becomes nothing to play.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Website

Allowing us to learn lessons, let go of toxicity, and gain insight, relationship can play a powerful role in our lives. They are formed with people, alcohol, animals, battlefields, diseases, drugs, environments, and even our emotions. Whether toxic or nontoxic, relationships are an integral component of daily living. Author Nina Norstrom lost her child to a disease, but that wasn’t the only toxic relationship she endured. In this book, she explores the effects that her relationships with grief, pain, trauma, and forgiveness have had on her life. This tale exposes a mother’s struggle to escape her world of toxicity, her journey out of the clutches of diseased relationships, and the shoe prints the experiences have left on her family’s history. This story in its raw form projects a remarkable voice to the heroic fight, courage, and bravery gained when striking back to wipe out toxic relationships. Its message reveals that life brings many challenges and that each challenge provides lessons to be learned. This book is not intended to be a blueprint for dealing with diseased relationships. It’s about the shoe prints: those symbols of life’s journey that are left by our experiences. “Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter” is an insightful and inspiring personal story of one family’s journey through toxic relationships.

Dear Daughter

Dedrick Moone and his daughter, Haelee, have conquered many things in their life together. From the separation and divorce of Dedrick and Haelee’s mother to the car accident that almost ended his life, Dedrick and Haelee have managed to find strength in one another. Their relationship is a truly special one. From her birth to their ultimate move far from the only home they both have ever known, the pair battle everything life throws their way with grace, dignity, and incredible resilience. Dedrick’s love for his daughter and his determination to keep her safe and supported is unmatched.

Dear Daughter, by Dedrick L. Moone, is a poignant personal story of the author’s relationship with his young daughter. This beautifully constructed children’s book/memoir details every joy Moone experienced from finding out he would soon be a father to winning a hard-fought custody battle which allowed him to give Haelee the life she so wanted. In addition, Moone includes each of the challenges he and his daughter faced. He sugarcoats nothing, and his honesty is appreciated. Moone’s work will touch the lives of more families than he will ever realize.

Moone grew up without a father and was determined to not fall into the stereotype of an absentee father that plagues the African American culture when it comes to divorce. His goal was to be present for all the important moments in his daughter’s life and this collection of letters shows that devotion. The letters are not all joyful and positive memories, instead, they show the real challenges he faced including going to jail. The darker memories are still told in an age-appropriate way that is not scary for children, rather factual and honest.

Dear Daughter: A Love Story, will show readers the intense love and admiration Moone feels for his daughter. It can be felt on every page of this heartwarming account of their lives. This heartwarming picture book is highly recommended to any parent who has faced overwhelming challenges in raising their children. Moone and his daughter give readers something that is difficult to find in today’s world–they give us hope.

Pages: 57 | ASIN : B09QZG1YFV

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Not a Blueprint; It’s the Shoeprints That Matter

Relationships play a significant role in human experiences throughout life’s journey. Nina Norstrom, in her memoir Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matters refers to the toxic relationships she lives, endures, and learns through as a daughter, mate, mother, and working woman. The reader is taken on the author’s journey as they follow the shoeprints she leaves along her life path and those left behind by many others in her life. By going along with these shoeprints, the by-products of her life, readers learn about her battle against toxic relationships in various forms.

There are seventeen chapters in the memoir, which begin with an account of the author’s life. In the first nine chapters of the book, the author describes her experiences and struggles with domestic violence, both as a child witness it and in her own personal relationships. Throughout the remaining chapters, the author vividly recalls, her experiences while dealing with the toxic relationship with cancer that invades the life of her angel, her daughter.

In addition to expressing the author’s diverse emotions, the book pays homage to Nina Norstrom’s daughter, who tragically succumbed to a diseased toxic relationship in her life. My experience as a reader was emotional, and I commend the author for being open about her feelings while letting the readers inside the usually restricted area of a person’s psyche. The poems written for the departed soul of her daughter are beautifully expressed, seeping out the multitude of emotions of a parent. Moreover, the other feelings expressed in the book, whether it’s grief, anger, or resentment towards certain people, fate, or God, are raw and genuine.

This inspirational non-fiction story recounts Nina Norstrom’s journey of grief, guilt, and anger at God, to the path of finding peace with the will of God. Apart from providing solid shoes with which one can walk the hard paths of life, God also accompanies His children as they leave their shoeprints along the life journey. In the end, four appendices provide support resources, centers, and reading materials for those who are caught up in toxic relationships and would like support.

Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matter is a deeply personal memoir that is recommended for those who want motivation from a genuine account of a battle with toxicity and self-reflection in the aftermath of trauma.

Pages: 179 | ASIN : B016X198SO

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The Lockhart Women

The Lockhart Women is a debut novel by author Mary Camarillo. This novel follows the Lockhart family as they navigate some pretty intense life events. From divorce to undiagnosed mental illness to organized crime, this story just about covers it all. Each chapter is told from the perspective of the three girls of the Lockhart family: Brenda (mom), Peggy (daughter), and Allison (daughter) as they try to reconfigure their lives after their husband and father left.

As the story progresses, we learn more about the personal lives of the three Lockharts and the secrets they keep from each other. Drawing on real life events, the story takes place at the same time the infamous O.J. Simpson trial occurred. Using this memorable event in history gives readers a period reference and they can draw some parallels between those involved in the case and the characters in the story.

Camarillo’s writing was intriguing and fast paced, each chapter adds to to the adrenalin rushing plot build. This standalone novel was written in a way that doesn’t leave you with lingering questions. The author did an excellent job tying up loose ends and concluding certain character storylines. She also created each character in a way that you could vividly imagine them right in front of you. In many cases, I found myself relating to all three of the Lockhart women in some way.

The characters are very relatable and will appeal to a wide selection of readers. The Lockhart women are written in a way readers can put themselves in their shoes and experience their development beyond the page. There were only a few characters that I felt could have been developed further but they were not pivotal to the storyline.

The Lockhart Women, by Mary Camarillo, is a well developed story, has characters that are memorable, and enough action to keep the plot exciting and readers constantly guessing what could happen next.

Pages: 351 | ASIN:  B08DKK51XF

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After Happily Ever After

After Happily Ever After: A Novel by [Leslie A. Rasmussen]

Maggie was unhappy. There was simply no way around it. Her husband was distant and uninterested, her father was in an assisted living facility, her mother was as unsupportive as ever, and the daughter that she had given up her career for couldn’t wait to move away for college. It all left Maggie wondering where her place in the world was, as she tried to deal with the looming inevitably of change that waited on the horizon. It took a chance encounter that she would never have expected to ignite the chain reaction that brought everything crashing down in a way that helped her to finally begin putting together the pieces.

In After Happily Ever After, the first book from Leslie Rasmussen, we meet Maggie as she’s in the midst of a full blown mid-life crisis. Having been a stay at home mom for nearly 20 years, being faced with an empty nest is just one of the many things life has decided to throw at her suddenly. Marital problems, the inevitable loss of her father, other family drama, frustrations and uncertainty about re-entering the workforce, and unexpected attention from a handsome stranger- Maggie wonders daily if she can withstand the pressure. Over the course of the book, Rasmussen writes a story that is without frills and presents every day just as it happens, which is precisely its biggest strength. Maggie is most women at some point in their lives, in at least one aspect of her struggles. That very relatability makes her easy to sympathize with and become invested in. Her husband, Jim, and daughter, Gia, are never fleshed out enough as characters to create more than a surface impression, but that just stands to further illustrate the point that this book is about Maggie.

In that vein, this book explores the idea of identity. While it’s easy to read it as a simple story of a woman dealing with the stress of life, the first crisis Maggie encounters, and the one that continues as an undercurrent throughout, is the question of who she is once her primary role is no longer a mom. What does that make her, where does that leave her? As most people are defined by their roles inside and outside the home, Maggie faces the fact that with Gia gone, she fills a purpose in neither. The lack of availability from those she should be able to seek for support only snowballs everything into a larger problem.

I found myself completely invested in Maggie’s future and unable to put the book down. After Happily Ever After is an emotionally resonant story following a compelling character through a crisis that is relatable, grounded and engaging. This is definitely a book I would highly recommend!

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B08DK22T13

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Baby Out of Wedlock

Baby Out of Wedlock: Co-Parenting Basics from Pregnancy to Custody by [Jim and Jessica Braz]
Co-parenting is not easy especially for unmarried parents. So how does one go about it without a hassle? Jim and Jessica Braz have answers to all the questions that involve co parenting. The authors write from their own experiences and give solid advice. One major lesson that I picked up from this book is that the children’s interests should come first no matter the issues at hand. The reader gets to learn a bit about Jim and Jessica at the beginning of the book. Jim narrates his story as well as Jessica’s and one gets to share the mistakes both made while young. Both Jim and Jessica had children with people they were not married to. From their stories, one can conclude that it is not a pleasant experience to not be on talking terms with the person you are expecting to have a child with.

Baby out of Wedlock is the right book for you if you are expecting a child with someone you have no intentions of settling with. The authors are friendly, honest and make the reader feel like they are not alone. Carrying a pregnancy to full term is challenging and that is why women are advised to have their partners with them when pregnant. If your circumstances are however different, the authors advise not to feel lonely. I like the fact that Jim preached about being positive even in distressing situations. The author has a way with words and will make every mother expecting a child out of wedlock to not feel alone. Jim advises against thinking of the pregnancy as a mistake if things fail to work out with your partner. The authors are practical and share nuggets of wisdom for both young and seasoned co parents.

Another major lesson in the book was about child custody and finances. Discussions revolving around money are not easy to have. While sharing the custody of a child however, it is important to lay out a firm financial plan and get to communicate with the other parent how the child’s upkeep will be taken care of. I appreciate Jim for telling it as it is, that money talks are difficult and can drive one to the edge. The author gets real with every situation and even gives disclaimers when discussing. Legal battles are another thing that mint money from both parents. The authors advise that one gets a family lawyer, and not just any lawyer when faced with custody battles. This will help you get the correct advice and save you tons of money as not every lawyer knows how to give counsel on custody battles.

Baby out of Wedlock is a short book that talks about almost all the scenarios that could happen when you get pregnant with or impregnate the wrong person. The authors use facts and statistics to support their arguments and share words of encouragement for readers that are in the situations discussed in the book.

Pages: 176 | ASIN: B092Z1GC6D

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Lessons from the Frogs I’ve Kissed

Lessons from the Frogs I've Kissed: I have made all the mistakes in the book so you wont have to by [Kolnik, Krystal]

If you can imagine it, Krystal has experienced it. If you’ve ever wondered what an abusive relationship truly feels like, Krystal can tell you. If you’re curious as to what a true survivor looks like, take a good long look at Krystal–her life is a testament of dedication, overcoming the worst of the worst in relationships, and learning from one’s mistakes. When Krystal finds Pete, she believes she has found forever. She could never have foreseen that the world into which she would bring her children would be one in which their father would make their lives a living hell.

Krystal Kolnik’s Lessons From Frogs I’ve Kissed is one of the most heart-wrenching stories of love and loss I have ever read. The strength it takes Krystal to simply live from day to day in the presence of such a dismissive and disloyal husband is completely stunning. As I read page after page filled with descriptions of her husband’s indiscretions and manic outbursts, my heart ached and I was filled with a rage of my own.

Krystal’s willingness to open her heart and spill her experiences for the world to read is beyond admirable. More than that, her story resonates with both men and women across the globe. Abusive relationships of one type or another are, sadly, a common occurrence. Readers who are desperately seeking validation will see themselves mirrored in the way Krystal is drawn back to Pete time and time again as his hollow promises are broken one after another–so goes the life of a victim of domestic abuse.

From Krystal’s own struggle to believe or not to believe Pete to her family and friends’ choice to conceal their own knowledge of Pete’s ongoing affairs, the author details each and every crushing blow before calmly describing the ease with which Pete is able to slide from his duties as a father and husband into the life he prefers as a sleazy cheater and abusive sociopath. Without having to present him as an actual character, Krystal succeeds in giving readers an antagonist worthy of all the hatred they can muster.

Krystal details the day-to-day struggles of being a single parent wanting to date in today’s world. Her descriptions of her young daughter’s vision of her father are almost too much to bear. Her recollections of his tantrums and abuse make my stomach turn. Krystal and her children have lived through more than their share of hard days and deserve all the good times life now has to offer.

Relationship after relationship, Krystal lays it all out on the line and goes for broke. Time after time, she is met with adversity. She does a wonderful job of making readers feel her pain and frustration–her descriptions of online dating are relatable in every way.

This is easily one of the most engaging stories I have read in years. Krystal’s mistakes become her lessons and, in turn, become the reader’s as well. Were it not for authors like Krystal, many of us would continue to feel alone in our frustration and misery. Krystal opens the door for communication. For that, I am grateful.

Pages: 342 | ASIN: B07NP6FNXC

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