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Infinity: A Crown of Golden Leaves

Infinity: A Crown of Golden Leaves by [DuBois, Catalina]

Matthaios is a prince and Sara is a slave girl. In ancient Rome, their love is forbidden. In fact, true love like theirs is not what royal marriages are made of. Matthaios is not cut from the same cloth as his father, Titus. Titus, being Caesar, is prone to all the atrocities and savagery of his title. Matthaios, kind and loving, is forced to marry a woman he does not and cannot possibly love. When Sara’s untimely death is foreseen by her trusted friend, the course of both their lives and any life they may ever have together takes a sudden and tragic turn.

Yet again, I am drawn to the characters in Catalina DuBois’s series. ​Infinity: A Crown of Golden Leaves ​is filled with a myriad of characters from all walks of life. From Medusa to Daniel, a merman and best friend of Sara, to Titus and Arrecina, his bride, DuBois pens some amazing and rich portraits of her cast of characters.

I didn’t want to be drawn to Titus. I fought hard against it for several chapters. Everything in me told me that Titus was not supposed to be my pick, but that’s exactly how outstanding DuBois’s writing is. She spins a backstory like no one else in this genre. Titus, in all his loathsome and vile glory, is truly the standout in this book. Without giving away too much, I will say the backstory the author has chosen to give him is heart-wrenching and sheds new light on his choices and his treatment of Sara. He absolutely stands as my favorite in the long list of DuBois’s characters.

I enjoy the mix of settings DuBois provides within the ​Infinity ​series. I didn’t expect to come across the element of fantasy so deeply intertwined with historical fiction. If an author isn’t careful, that cross can become an awkward and difficult pill for readers to swallow. DuBois however combines the two seamlessly. The reader quickly accepts the change of setting from above sea level to below as all part of the charm of the story.

As with DuBois’s other ​Infinity​ installments, romance is plentiful. However, DuBois constructs tasteful scenes that never border on vulgar or obscene. Her writing is touching and truly conveys a sense of deep and lasting love between her main characters.

Just as DuBois writes vividly of true love, she creates excruciatingly realistic scenes of her characters’ pain and heartache. I had a similar experience with Infinity: The Fifth Bride of​           Pharaoh. ​DuBois includes some of the most engaging prologues I have ever read. She pulls you in from the first paragraphs and keeps your interest piqued throughout the reading, moving along a roller coaster track of emotions and back again.

Readers seeking a quick but gripping historical fiction book with a tasteful amount of fantasy won’t be disappointed with the love story of Prince Matthaios and the love of his life, Sara.

Pages: 185 | ASIN: B076JLW85G

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8 Ways to Happiness: From Wherever You Are

I believe that most people’s goal in life, certainly my goal, is to live the happiest life possible. This may seem far-fetched in today’s world, but 8 Ways to Happiness is an amazing guide that will help you achieve that dream. In 8 Ways to Happiness, author Dr. Marissa Pei delivers quality advice that does not come off as brash or assertive. What I liked most about this book was that I could tell that she cared. She wants me to be happy and I respect her approach to attaining happiness. We are all deserving of happier living even if the rest of the world is miserable. Dr. Pei encourages us to embrace how we feel and aim to guard our happiness.

Within the first couple of pages we’re given a quote by Albert Einstein, “Is this a Friendly Universe?” I think the biggest statement in this quote is the question mark at the end. This demonstrates that our outlook defines our way of life and if you feel that it’s not friendly then your life will respond accordingly. Which also goes to say, and Dr. Pei is a master at elaborating on this point, that the mind is a powerful thing. Dr. Pei shares some scenarios that can leave you distraught, suffering from depression, or even worse. Although these instances are sensitive topics, she discusses ways to change your thinking for the better, including awareness of your Sad, Critical, and Brat voices within you. If I change the way I’m thinking, embrace more positivity and do better for myself, would that make life easier to maneuver? The greatest feeling is knowing that she understands what many of us are going through and does all she can to reassure us that this isn’t all that our lives can be. When she discusses death and missing those we’ve lost, it really resonated with me since I have lost a loved one. I’m told to embrace my sadness and to have faith. She gives very practical and down to earth advice, such as seek group emotional support and 12 step programs for those battling an unhealthy habit because they’re spiritually based. I’ve come to notice that we are all spiritual beings and should practice tapping into our connection with our creator, or higher power. The world would be a wonderful place if everyone faced their demons and handled them in a healthy way.

I’ve learned so much from reading this book and look forward to applying some of the exercises in my daily life. My goal is to become an even happier version of myself each and every day because life is short and should be celebrated every waking moment. This book encourages us to accept what we cannot change, and instead change our way of thinking. I highly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to live a better life.

Pages: 204 | ASIN: B07DKV7K9W

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My Breaking Point

Robert Crown Author Interview

Robert Crown Author Interview

Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins is the story of your dark childhood and how you overcame tough obstacles with the power of positive understanding and purposeful thought. Why was this an important book for you to write?

As I wrote in the Chapter “Facing Timeless Truth” this event pushed me to my breaking point after all these years. I did not care if I lived or died any longer I was ready to leave this world. The thought of writing a book ignited a spark within and brought me back to life. A reason to live, a reason to give, so others would not have to suffer as much as I did.

What’s more, my intention and the only reason for writing Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins was that when the world reads my story, it will give people hope, faith, and courage to overcome the challenges they face in their own life. I went through a variety and numerous intense traumatic events in my life. I know all too well what it means to suffer. If people read what I went through, realize I made it through to the other side, and now that I’m thriving living a life I choose, they will also know they can do the same.

Knowing that sharing my story has improved the quality of someone’s life, brings me a tremendous amount of joy, happiness, and purpose. This is my passion, my purpose, my reason for being born into this world.

This was a very emotional novel, and I felt you held nothing back. What did you feel was important to get right in your retelling of events?

I have a profound understanding of what it means to suffer immensely. If exposing the intimate details of my life will help people avoid what I went through, so they can improve the quality of their life, I’m all in. I firmly believe this is why I came into this world. To give faith, hope, and courage to millions of people in the world.

People need to know they are not alone, despite what happened in their past. They need to love themselves, know they matter to other people in their life and to this world. Everybody is worthy of living this life, they are also worthy to be empowered, go within, and discover who they truly are.

Life happens, but it happens for a reason. When we are able to discover this reason, tune in with our higher-selves, this is when our life will change for the better, forever. When this happens, it’s so magical, liberating, and empowering. There’s no going back.

My experiences are my teacher. Since I have been through numerous, and various amounts of trauma, I learned a tremendous amount which no university, no book, no one, can teach you about. This allowed me to put it all together. Although it took me a while and it wasn’t easy, I finally figured out how to overcome hardship, adversity, and suffering and live a life that thrives. Better late than never.

From my experiences and studying spirituality for thirty years my understanding is out of the box. This allows me to view the suffering one goes through in life as an opportunity or is intended for us to awaken to who we truly are. This is the purpose of life for humanity. To awaken that we are multidimensional beings living in this third-dimensional world. Once we have a profound understanding of this, awaken to the powers, abilities, and divinity within, our suffering will end.

I believe it’s important to be the best we can be, to accept ourselves for who we are regardless of what has happened to us in our past. The past no longer matters only the present moment matters.

It’s more than just okay to be who we really are, it’s the purpose of life.  I’ve been through hell and back a few times, but regardless of what I’ve been through, regardless of what people may think of me, or even what I have thought of myself in the past, I love and accept myself as I am. I love and accept others as they are too. This is an essential step in being able to change.

I just want others to realize that no matter what they go through in their life, they matter. People can enjoy a life which thrives if only they learn to control and use their thoughts intentionally to create the experience they want.

What do you find is one reason many people have for keeping themselves down? And how can they overcome it?

That’s easy. It’s the belief systems we hold onto, whether learned or programmed into us while we were young. Anyone can overcome any challenge in life. All they need to do is learn how to think properly.

Most people today live their life by default, instead of by intention. Meaning they let their thoughts run wild throughout the day. When you learn how to harness your thoughts, like placing reins around a horse, then you direct them to where you want to go, you can create the reality, the life you choose to have for yourself.

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

My next book is going into detail on how to overcome hardship, adversity, and suffering. Along with practical solutions on how to change old belief systems and negative thought patterns so you can thrive in your life.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins by [Crown, Robert]

How Does a Child’s Life Change When His Mother Tries to Murder Him? It’s one of the most profound betrayals imaginable, and it can follow the victim into adulthood, into all he does with his life, tainting his sense of self and his relationships with others. How does a man’s life change when he discovers that with his thoughts, his imagination, and his ability to listen to his higher self, he has the power to overcome the devastating events of his past and build a new life and a family?  

This is The Inspiring True Story of Robert Crown’s amazing journey out of the darkness of his childhood and into a world brightly illuminated by the power of positive understanding and purposeful thought. It’s the story of rejecting the victimhood he once embraced and finding the answers that allowed him to embrace the power to create a new life using universal spiritual laws.

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My Broken Heart

Hannah R. Goodman Author Interview

Hannah R. Goodman Author Interview

Till it Stops Beating is an emotional but fun novel that follows young Maddie as she struggles with anxiety and following her heart. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this novel?

Maddie came to me when I was 15 and at a creative arts summer camp, recovering from an awful break up with my first real boyfriend. So, I created “Maddie” to help heal my broken heart. I went on to write my first novel, My Sister’s Wedding, which is a (highly) fictionalized version of that “bad romance”.

This book, TILL IT STOPS BEATING, was inspired by that same theme of heartbreak…but not only romantic heartbreak, but also the heartbreak of growing up and becoming aware that not everything lasts or is permanent and not everything can be fixed or solved.

My students, clients, and my own children and my position as a parent/teacher/therapist were major influences in shaping this novel. Specifically, my own struggle with anxiety and panic attacks were things that helped me to flesh out Maddie’s own mental health problems. It was therapeutic to write about her struggle to understand herself.

Maddie is a character that I felt I could relate to; we were all young once. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing her character?

I wanted to capture and normalize the mental health issues that tend to come up during adolescence. When I had my own bout with anxiety and agoraphobia my senior year of high school, no one talked about this and it was lonely and isolating. I feel like this book is a conversation starter about anxiety.

This novel deals with the stress and anxiety young kids feel today. What do you feel is different about the challenges teens face today that is different from your generation?

I actually feel there is only one major difference—access to information and social media—and both of those things are double-edged, meaning there are positives and negatives to them. The stats around social media use and depression in teens pretty much says it all! However, access to information about mental health has also increased the awareness and possibly save lives. There is good and there is bad.

Teens have always and will always deal with the stress and struggle of growing up, no matter if you are a boomer, Gen-X-er, millennial, or a teen today, in 2018. As a Gen-Xer with a teenage daughter, I see so many similarities in terms of the angst and feelings; she and I are able to connect on that deep level because the feelings are epic, classic, and constant!

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

Though I thought TILL IT STOPS BEATING would be the last Maddie book (there are 4 in total), I have more stories to tell about Maddie’s life as she becomes an adult and navigates college and even beyond.  I’ve outlined both books and am planning to pitch them to my publisher. Hopefully the first of these two will come out at the end of 2019 beginning of 2020.

 Author Links: GoodReadsTwitter | FacebookInstagramLinkedInAmazonWebsite

Till it Stops Beating by [Goodman, Hannah R.]Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab). 

Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear.

Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.

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Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins

Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins by [Crown, Robert]

As a reader of Robert Crown’s Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins, from the moment I started reading to closing the book, I was completely hooked. The mix of of suspense and the unknown along with themes of death, betrayal, and loyalty is a great example of the new age and spirtuality genre. Crown does an amazing job at writing this inspiring true story whilst still inflicting a sense of uncertainty and eeriness to his readers.

Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins is based on a true story about childhood and growing up. A book complete with struggle, hardship, journies, and belonging. Robert Crown attempts to captivate his readers by using a dark childhood to demonstrate the importance of positivity and embracing the future.

What really enticed me whilst reading this book is the narration. The first person narration created that extra appeal. Reading an account of a person’s life really puts things into perspective for me. I love this idea that you can really learn from someone else’s life experiences, no matter how far away they are from your own.

For me, the book acts as a great reminder that no matter what you face in life, you will be able to conquer anything you set your mind to. No matter the hardship, no matter the isolation, no matter the fear, everyone has a tough interior – they just need to find it and use it!

Although Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins provides an epic depiction of the author’s challenges in life, we are also subject to a particular thought process. As I was reading I was constantly thinking to myself: if he could overcome these tragic moments in life, then so can I. This book left me feeling a sense of positivity. Although I have no idea what the author’s events could possibly have felt like, I felt as though my own struggles in life really help you to connect to the author and to the narrative.

The writing is clear and focused, which has a heavy focus on descriptions and impact. The writing provides a clear account of how one’s life can be instantly turned upside down. The writing assumes that, despite the rollercoaster ride of events, you can still come out of it a much stronger, happier person. This is something I think that everyone longs for, isn’t it? And reading this book is a great demonstration of just that!

Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins was by far one of the best books I have read for a long time. It has everything – originality, a clear thought process, a personal touch. For this reason, and all of the above, I would like to award this book an extremely deserving 5 out of 5 stars. I could immerse myself in the events of the book, and despite not actually going through these events myself, I felt as though the author described them to the point that I felt as though they were real and emotional.

I have very little negative points to say in regards to the book. The writer expertly conveys themes of betrayal, relationships, past vs. future and childhood. An emotive, beautiful piece of personal writing brought to you by Robert Crown. A fantastic read for anyone who enjoys themes including life experiences, childhood, longing, journeying on, and betrayal. This book is bound to get your heart racing whilst putting you on the edge of your seat!

Pages: 290 | ASIN: B077DWRSK5

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Till It Stops Beating


“If your heart has ever hurt from beating wildly, whether from anxiety or love, this book is the one to read.”

This quote at the end of the book summary perfectly describes the book. This is one of those stories that is relatable and heartwarming. When I first started reading this book, I found myself swept away with the story. It is about Maddie Hickman, a girl who suffers from extreme anxiety who has found herself on a downward spiral when life becomes too much. This takes the 17-year-old on a crazy adventure in the shape of a road trip.

I immediately related to Maddie in this story because I realized I was suffering from anxiety when I was her age. I loved seeing this kind of representation in a story, dealing with both the hardships and the hope. Maddie is a strong character that must balance her anxiety with being a normal teenage girl which for her means college applications, family drama, and boys. I loved reading Maddie’s voice as she s both charming and funny. Her attention to doughnuts, in the beginning, kept me cracking smiles and added to the characters unique voice.

Author Hannah Goodman did an incredible job of capturing the voice of a teenager, which is unsurprising when I found out she is referred to as “the teenage whisperer,” due to her 20 years long career working with teenagers as a teacher, tutor, and coach. I was impressed with how she was able to tackle a difficult issue like anxiety and make a story that was funny and sweet without making light of the issue. She also treats Maddie’s problems, whether big or small, as real, not belittling them as silly teenage issues. These things come together to make an amazing story that holds an important message for teenagers and adults.

On top of the masterful rendering of a teenager with anxiety, this story also delves into the sweet world of first love. Goodman has played with the complicated and often heart-wrenching experience of love that is oh so beautiful. I very much enjoyed getting to see Maddie deal with the ups and downs of love and found her story to be heartening and sweet.

I found this to be a great summertime read and would highly recommend it, definitely 5 stars from me.

Pages: 216 | ASIN: 1684330807

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You’re Not Alone, You’re Not Crazy

Elizabeth Onyeabor Author Interview

Elizabeth Onyeabor Author Interview

From The Shadows describes your personal journey through some very trying times. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I want people struggling with depression to know there’s hope. My message to them is: if you’re depressed, you’re not alone, you’re not crazy, and you can obtain lasting happiness.

The last thing I thought I’d share publicly was my journey into and out of despair. But writing this story uncovered a passion I buried forty-eight years earlier. By recounting and working through my most painful mistakes and memories, I discovered meaning and renewed purpose. I now experience joyfulness and self-love beyond my wildest dreams. I share all the steps I took so others can follow my path and find healing, too.

You were able to take a deep look at your depression, explaining its breadth and depth. What are some common misconceptions you feel people have about depression?

First, most articles focus on the sadness, but for me, depression also felt hostile. I remember constant self-loathing over the past, hopelessness about the future, and emptiness in the present.

Next, depression isn’t only about a person who’s stuck in bed. For years, I contended with high-functioning depression, or dysthymia. To the casual observer, I seemed healthy, but I wasn’t. Many times, I wanted to sleep and never wake up. But, I crawled out of bed every day and went to work pretending everything was peachy.

Last, depression is more common than many realize, surpassing all other disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, one in five people will suffer at some point. When I talk about my triumph, so many people privately tell me about their own or a loved one’s battle against depression that I wonder whether the one-in-five estimate is too low. Few admit to their condition because of the crushing stigma. Perhaps resources like my book can shift reader’s perceptions from judgment to empathy.

I felt like this emotional book was ultimately uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

If you’re combatting depression, I hope my insights from the trenches encourage your healing and self-love.

If you’re not, I hope by revealing the chaos my disorder caused, it furthers your understanding and compassion.

Either way, my wish is that sharing my intimate story serves as inspiration.

What is the next book you are writing and when will it be available?

Currently, I’m working on two books for release within the year. The first is Escaping the Shadows, a poetry collection. The second is Beyond the Shadows: The Light Within. It provides an even deeper dive into I how I healed my motherhood guilt. I share the ways I found forgiveness for myself and my molester to reclaim innocence lost and cement self-love.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

From The Shadows: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Renewal by [Onyeabor, Elizabeth]

Offering hope and healing, the author retraces her beautiful transformation from suicidal despair to habitual happiness, sprinkling each step with soul-stirring original poetry and journal excerpts.

For decades, she hid her chronic depression from everyone, including herself, until hitting a crisis point. She seemed successful and happy to all, except her closest confidantes; they knew the anguish she wished to end by killing herself. Through self-exploration, she found a pathway to conquer the pain.

In From the Shadows, she shares the questions she confronted, unearths her root causes, and presents a map out of the mire. Finally, she unlocks inner wealth by facing phantoms holding long forgotten keys to her past.

Joining in her journey, you may uncover a few treasures of your own.

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Upon Broken Wings

Upon Broken Wings by [Reedy, E.L., Wade, A.M.]

Upon Broken Wings by E.L. Reedy and A. M. Wade is not a light read, but it is a read worth your time. This dark, cathartic story is a unique meld of many genres; coming of age, gay positivity, and family all interwoven with religious flavor, life after death, angels and demons. Reedy takes us on a journey through a small, overly conservative community all the way to Purgatory in a way that makes sense. If the story has any weak points it can all be forgiven by the enthralling premise of the novel.

The story follows several boys at the verge of of adulthood; Andrew, who suffers from Aspergers, and Keenan, a brave gay boy who is coming to terms with his identity. A series of unfortunate events will lead to a gruesome assault that will require all the strength of their family and friends, dead or alive, to help them resolve.

Upon Broken Wings avoids obvious descriptions of the worst that the characters have to go through but the indication is enough to leave me seething and demanding justice. Add to it is the slow burn of sadness, loneliness and isolation that the characters feel, all the misfortune and all the lost chances add up to a dark and emotionally heavy reading experience. Reedy takes us through mud so we could feel all the anguish that made his characters behave the way they do. So when he finally, mercifully, starts to get us into a somewhat better place we feel like we earned it.

His characters are the best part of the story. They feel like real people and their motivations seem genuine, even when they are no longer among the living. And that’s a tall order with all the elements or death, gay identity and angels in it.

I felt that the dialogue was disjointed and the characters, especially young Casey, sometimes feel like intentional Mary Sues. Casey, Keenan’s brother, is a boy wise beyond his years and can also see angels. We are never given a reason for this ability. It serves the story and paints an emotional picture but I felt that it lacks depth. Similarly, Andrew’s Asperger is important for the story but we never see how it affects him in his day to day life. We are told but we are not really shown the consequences of living on a spectrum. I think this would have helped flesh out the characters.

The angels give a distinct New Age vibe. Their shallow philosophy of forgiveness and understanding along with healing crystals and other cliches works well because angels should behave like that, which gives this coming-of-age and coming-out story interesting and unexpected religious undertones. Upon Broken Wings is not a perfect story. But it is an interesting and original endeavor in this day and age that is. A rare novel, certainly worth your time.

Pages: 199 | ASIN: B07BZXWNBJ

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Lost in my Imagination

J.M. Buckler Author Interview

J.M. Buckler Author Interview

Stillness of Time follows the adventure of Elara and Cyrus as they try to make their way on a mysterious planet which holds secrets they may not want to learn. Where did you want to take the characters in book two of your Seeker of Time series?

In Stillness of Time, I wanted to whisk my characters away from Earth and let them loose on an emotional roller coaster in a new world. The book series as a whole is about self-growth and discovery, but Stillness of Time is where the characters begin to face challenges that test their mental and physical endurance. In book two, Cyrus is more emotionally sound than Elara. I wanted the reader to see how their relationship evolved when things took a turn for the worst. Every character faces a struggle in Stillness of Time and the ending is the tipping point that sets the ball rolling for the third book in the series.

One thing that stands out to me in Stillness of Time is the creativity embedded in this world. What was your inspiration for creating such an imaginative world?

My inspiration for creating an imaginative world stems from my love of the unknown. As an only child, I would play in my room or the outdoors lost in my imagination. I would visualize far off places and pretend that I could travel to them in the blink of an eye. I always wondered if there were planets like ours with people like us living on them, and I would spend hours daydreaming about the ‘what ifs’ in life.

In your novel I picked up some inspiration from other science fiction novels that I thought played well in the story. What were some of your sources of inspiration for this book?

My inspiration for this story came from within. I enjoy science fiction but funny enough, I have never read any science fiction books other than my own. I do appreciate a good sci-fi film though and LOVE Star Wars.

Will there be a third book in your Seeker of Time series? If so, where will the story go in the next book?

Passage of Time is the third book in the Seeker of Time series and is set to release in the fall of this year. So far, it is the longest and most intense book in the series. The adult content gets kicked up a notch and the combative scenes will leave the readers on the edge of their seats. Characters are faced with their toughest challenges yet, and the final battle with Zenith takes a twist that readers will never see coming.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

“I had to believe the good in life always prevailed. I had to believe that in the end, the truth would triumph.” Mystery, danger, and heartache are all things Elara must face now back on Aroonyx. Jax continues to reveal dark secrets that challenge her and Cyrus’s trust, pushing them farther than they ever thought possible. Can they keep their identities hidden from Zenith and the Collectors? New and mysterious friends help the twins through their darkest hours while enemies lurk around every corner. Eventually, Elara and Cyrus discover things are not always as they seem. Unsure of their fate, the twins form an unbreakable bond that over time will be put to the ultimate test. Elara’s relationship with Jax evolves to a whole new level, only to be challenged during a life-changing night. Presented with a difficult choice, Elara is forced to make a sacrifice that alters the course of her future forever. Does she have the strength to accept this new fate? Can you truly love someone enough to let them go? Stillness of Time is the second installment in the Seeker of Time series. Filled with danger, adventure, romance, and heartache, the plot twist and turns around every corner, sending the reader on an emotional roller coaster that leaves them breathless, longing for more.

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Did I Say Never?

Did I Say Never?: A Stepparent’s Emotional Journey with her Special Needs Son by [Nugent, Kim]

Did I Say Never is the first-person account of one woman’s life as stepmother to a son with special needs and the many ways in which he has blessed her life. Kim Nugent’s open and honest recounting of Brooks’s struggles includes her introduction into his life, the battle to find facilities capable of meeting his needs, and her family’s own triumphs over even the smallest of Brooks’s accomplishments. Nugent writes poignantly regarding her stepson’s progress throughout the years and the dedication and persistence required to provide Brooks with the best possible carparee as he matures.

Life has a funny way of making us rethink all of our absolutes. Kim Nugent is no stranger to this phenomenon. Having declared she would never again marry and never needed to consider the ramifications of dating a man with children, Nugent finds herself falling headlong into a relationship with her soulmate–and his children. The author’s descriptions of her love for her stepchildren and the great lengths to which she has gone to fit successfully into the role of stepmother are raw and touching. Her experience is relatable, and she offers readers more than just a peek into the process which has dominated her life.

As a mother and a teacher, I can appreciate Nugent’s methodical approach to meeting her stepson’s needs and the joy experienced when he meets each milestone. The time, effort, and devotion she shows Brooks is astounding. Nugent shares with readers a step-by-step list of instructions for helping meet his needs. She, literally, leaves nothing unaddressed. From his most basic day-to-day needs to interpreting his attempts to communicate his feelings, Nugent takes into account any and every situation in which a caregiver or family member might need advice when dealing with her son. Her family’s pride and elation upon hearing Brooks’s first word is clear to the reader. You cannot help but smile as you read and feel the warmth emanating through Nugent’s words.

I highly recommend Did I Say Never to any parent of a child with special needs, any parent struggling to come to terms with a difficult diagnosis, or teachers seeking to better understand parents’ daily battles to maintain a daily routine while, at the same time, enriching their child’s life. Nugent offers something to readers most of us are incapable of imagining in regards to raising a child with special needs–the whole truth and nothing but. Parents and teachers alike will welcome the honest delivery and upbeat attitude from Nugent.

I am giving Did I Say Never, by Kim Nugent, 5 out of 5 stars. Watching Nugent on her journey of self-discovery and seeing her stepson overcome some truly overwhelming circumstances makes for a wonderful reading experience. Not to mention, Nugent provides readers with an extensive and meticulously detailed list of needs and behaviors helpful to any caregiver or family member.

Pages: 150 | ASIN: B071XDJZK6

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