Thomas Duffy’s book, One Love, is a tale of both love and heartache. Protagonist Tim is torn between a “what might have been” sort of love and another that is actually in front of him. Duffy doesn’t paint over the ugly parts of love, instead highlighting them. He exposes what love looks like in real life, not some fairy tale version that we were taught in the movies. Duffy doesn’t shy away from the flaws and complexities of his characters. His is a raw and honest account of entangled and intertwined relationships that examines what we sacrifice for love, and the love we may sacrifice for security.
A book has to really grab me from page one for me to read it quickly. I got through this one in two days, even with other things going on. I was pulled in. I was fascinated and wanted to see what happened from page to page. I went through a range of emotion with the characters. I wanted to hug Tim and slap him sometimes at the same time. The same went for Louie and Melody at times. I felt like I was peeking in on intimate details of lives I shouldn’t be seeing but wanted to see at the same time. Thomas Duffy pulled back the curtain on real life. He exposed what everyone tries to hide.
Readers will find themselves identifying with the characters. They are all flawed in some way or another, and that makes them more identifiable. Louie’s addiction, Tim’s stagnant career and failure to commit, Melody’s indecisiveness, Cindy’s crippling anxiety. Duffy covers the gamut of dysfunction. Chances are that each reader will see his or herself in at least one of the characters. I appreciated the realism and admittedly saw myself in a character or two. Everyone has a “what might have been” scenario or two. This book lets readers vicariously live one of those scenarios out.
I’m not a romance novel fan. I wouldn’t call this your average romance novel by any stretch. However, there are some sexual scenes in the book. They are not overpowering to the rest of the plot. They feel necessary and relevant to the story. You’ll find much more concentration on the feelings of the characters and their daily lives than sex, but it is there. -And, it is important to the story.
This one was a real page-turner for me. The writing was simple without being boring. There was no pretense. No stuffiness. I was completely interested in the lives of the characters from the first page until the last and found myself wanting to know more. The characters felt real. They were well-developed. I feel invested in their lives. I want to know what else happens.
The book is brilliantly written. It was a very easy read. The pace was perfect, and the plot flowed well. The characters felt real. I can’t say enough good things about this writer. I’d love to read more of his work.
Pages: 263 | ASIN: B00PAE4HV4
Posted in Book Reviews
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The epic that we have been following for the last five volumes comes to a triumphant end in the sixth volume of Pushing Madness by D. Hart St. Martin. Book six in the Lisen of Solsta series culminates the agonizing fracture of familial relationships, the travesty of war and the painful ache of loss. Those who have been following the series will wait with baited breath to see what has become of Rinli and Lisen. Those who may be new to the series will still find a fantastical adventure with exquisite world-building and careful character development. This is not a book or series to be taken lightly as the real, raw character portrayals are sure to hit readers close to the heart.
St. Martin has been crafting the saga that is Lisen of Solsta for nearly four decades. It is very clear that she is devoted to her tale and takes care in ensuring that each book is a seamless transition for her returning readers. Nothing feels out of place, readers don’t feel like they have missed pages of content at the beginning of a new book for they all pick up almost precisely where they left off. There is never a lag and all energy from the previous book carries over into the next as it aims for completion.
The beauty of a book by St. Martin is the intense character development and portrayal makes the reader feel engaged and invested in the outcome. The characters and their feelings are so visceral it’s hard not to think of them as actual breathing people. St. Martin carefully shows us the strain in the familial relationship of our protagonist family as the eldest daughter cements herself into the antagonist role. It can be hard to show the fracturing of a family relationship and still keep readers invested into all sides, but St. Martin does that well.
There are no screaming shortcomings for this book and there are no major issues with style or grammar. St. Martin has done the Indie Author title proud by carefully reviewing and editing her work with the help of others. This has allowed her to put out an excellent product that she should be very proud of.
Those who are looking for a fantastical epic that they can really devote their time and energy to should look no further than Pushing Madness by D. Hart St. Martin. This sixth and final installment in the Lisen of Solsta series brings the epic to a satisfying conclusion. This book serves to honor the energy invested by readers who have been following since book one and to entice readers who may be discovering the series with this final book. For a saga that took so many years to cultivate and write, the wait is worth it. The payoff is a carefully crafted story with characters that are easy to identify with and a story line that doesn’t waver or get lost; despite covering so many pages. This series is definitely a keeper and be worth several rereads.
Pages: 386 | ASIN: B07BVL6SXQ
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Undercurrents in Time follows Tabitha as she sets off on her own adventures to try and understand what will happen to her family in the future. What were some themes that you felt were important and wanted to explore in this novel?
I felt the theme of balancing family and personal identity were very important, as this is something that happens to may women. Hence, the focus and tone does become a little different in Undercurrents in Time. There is also a theme of love/romance, as one’s expectations of love sometimes experience drastic changes as life goes on. However, there is still some fun in this book. Tabitha is a little rebellious as she tries to deal with her perceived loss of personal identity. She is a stubborn, strong-willed woman just as she was in Detours in Time.
Tabitha is an interesting character that I enjoyed exploring. What served as your inspiration while you were creating her character?
They say to write what you know. Well, I sure don’t always do that, however, I have spent a lifetime of holding in my opinions and second guessing the things I have said. Maybe that is what turned me into a writer. I revisit and reinvent my responses to scenarios from my life. I made Tabitha a strong-willed, outspoken woman, as that is what I have been taught not to be all my life, yet, I have always been stubborn. I think she deals with it in a healthier way. She is also never a peace maker just for the sake of being a peace maker. Her experiences in this book go back to some of my experiences with marriage and motherhood. I imagined some of the things I really longed to do when I was at that point in my life. However, I wanted to make her heroic. So, she was based on a mix of myself, the person I wish I was, and the personality of Jodie Foster’s character in Contact. (If I had to choose an existing character).
What were some ideas you wanted to carry over from Detours in Time and what were some new ideas you wanted to expand on in this book?
I wanted to revisit the character of Sal and expand a little bit on the character of Louise as well as giving some story to their family. In between, we have Calais. I also wanted Sal to have more backstory in this timeline while giving more backstory to Tabitha’s brother, Jared, whose life is drastically different in this timeline.
Ideas I carried over were the differences between Milt and Tabitha’s personalities, and how Milt really does not try to change her. Another was the suffering we do for our family members, learning to love them while stepping back a little and balancing our concern for them with concern for ourselves. Another thing I wanted to expand on the reality of love, how the illusion of new love is never the same as what you have a few years later. Yet, there is hope. I am trying not to give away key plot points here….
Are you a fan of the science fiction genre? What are some of your favorite time travel movies or books?
I certainly am a fan of the science fiction genre! When I was younger, I’d read my mom’s Stephen King books and just loved how they warped my understanding of reality. I loved Planet of the Apes, Back to the Future, Dr. Who, and many futuristic dystopian books and movies. I loved reading Kings 11-22-63 and the Outlander series, though I am hard-pressed to read her recent 1,000 pages tomes. I also loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, which was a mix of time travel and romance. To be honest, I haven’t read that many time travel books, it is more the time travel shows that have impressed on me, that and historical fiction or dystopian fiction. I love to ponder how things would be different if we tweaked just one little facet of our lives.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
Malachi (from Undercurrents) is speaking to me. It’s funny, I also started a story last fall about Norrie from the Made for Me series, but I think Malachi will be next. However, that could change. Can you tell I don’t write full-time? Sometimes I write to shave off remnants of a bad day, or I catch a mood. I get inspired at times by the oddest things. I am sure this is why the tone in my novels is not always the same. At any rate, I write a lot in Nov. and Dec. when there is less daylight, then I send to beta-readers, ruminate on it, revise, etc. Summer is usually when I like to publish a book because I teach, and summer allows me time to devote to releasing a book. However, I have short story ideas that I may release in the fall or spring. Following my newsletter is a great way to get notice of my stories or new releases, as I sometimes send free short stories to those on my newsletter list. I have ideas for other characters from Undercurrents in Time as well as new ideas that may not get the attention they need until I retire. Please don’t ask when that is. I have got to play the lottery more often…For sure, I will have plenty to keep me busy!
Now it seems the very things that cemented their bond will also drive a wedge between them emotionally. Travel to the future, discovery of a long-lost, troubled family member, and an unplanned baby all have taken a toll. Tabitha struggles to accept her new identity as a mother while remaining a strong, independent woman. She longs for a getaway, even a short one, but that getaway puts her on a collision course with danger.
Milt is busy trying to prevent a horrible future disaster at the hands of an enemy he has not yet met. While concerned, Milt doesn’t even suspect Tabitha’s plans, the very plans that will have her facing Milt’s nemesis.
Tabitha risks it all on a brief escape. How will she handle the unforeseen dangers she faces and make her way back home? How far will Tabitha and Milt go to prevent tragedy?
Posted in Interviews
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The action never stops in Breaking Worlds by D. Hart St. Martin. This installation in the Lisen of Solsta saga is easy to dive into, even if you haven’t read the previous volumes. The gut wrenching emotion that pours out of this novel is gripping and drives the reader forward: looking for the resolution of such a familial rift. The energy is compelling as the story drives forward. We learn about the divide between Lisen and Korin. We witness as their daughter Rinli undergoes what could be described as an evolution and her determination to change the world they live in shakes both mother and father to the core. This book has clearly been crafted with care and is sure to not disappoint new and returning readers.
St. Martin is a veteran at her craft. The raw emotions that both Korin and Lisen feel at the death of their daughter are so palpable the reader can’t help but feel those emotions running through their own veins as they read. It can be difficult to describe such grief, let alone show how it can consume an individual, but St. Martin does it with grace. As Korin wrestles with emotion that he has never felt before he wonders how others can live after feeling it. It is such a powerful statement that it will resonate with anyone who has ever felt pain at the loss of a loved one. Such descriptive power carries on throughout the book and enhances the story.
It can be hard to come into a series without the backstory of previous volumes. While there may be some slight confusion for new readers, St. Martin explains things in such a way that it’s not overwhelming and readers do not become lost. There is a guide at the back of the book that lays out the main characters and some demographic information on them that can be helpful. It also assists readers that St. Martin writes as if readers have either forgotten or have limited knowledge of previous installments. This is helpful for new readers and doesn’t detract from the amazing story she is trying to tell. This can be a delicate balance to keep, but St. Martin knows exactly what she’s doing and demonstrates her ability to craft an excellent tale.
Any reader who wants to throw themselves into the grip of an epic fantasy-adventure book needs to look no further than Breaking Worlds by D. Hart St. Martin. While this particular book is the fifth in a series, the carefully crafted world and elaborate world building is more than enough to grab the attention of new and returning readers. The raw human emotion that laces this book as our protagonists manage their grief, their pain and the familial rift that threatens to consume the world as they know it enhances the base storyline. Readers won’t be able to get enough as they consume the delicious story laid out before them.
Pages: 280 | ASIN: B0795DRCNJ
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Cynthia Roggeman’s personal memoir details the events throughout her life. She goes into great detail about her relationships, family and health complications. She does this while offering snippets of advice and wisdom that she has learned along the way. The book is often upsetting and full of events – on a number of occasions it seems as everything is happening at once for our author. She shares her life’s journey with the intention of learning from the process of writing and to divulge the positive aspects that result from a lifetime of hardship.
The sections about her family, mainly her father and her Italian grandmother, Nonni, are bittersweet and filled with memories that she describes in the manner of a child – because at the time she did not understand what was going on. Her childhood was filled with both happy and sad memories and she does not seem to resent any of the negative aspects at all. In her family circle, she experiences alcoholism and mental illness – which she regards as a choice.
Throughout her life, she has various serious health issues and is in the hospital a number of times. She suffers quite badly and even has to learn to self-medicate – something which carries a great responsibility, even if it is towards yourself. However, she does not let these problems set her back and each time she recovers and returns to work and normal life – this is not a woman who gives up easily.
The book is separated into short chapters, each beginning with a date. This makes it easier to place the events in the author’s life as they are not in chronological order. At times it can be difficult to remember at what age things occurred for her but she has ordered it according to her own time frame and reference of events – how she feels events in her past relate to each other. This is reflective of a realistic memory because often things do not go through our minds in order and jump around randomly.
She has written the book for it to be a therapeutic process, it seems to be a place for her grief, hope, and wisdom. She has learned to be imaginative and to really remember her past self. She has also learned to be grateful for the things she has, as well as the things she had. She writes that she has had to mourn her losses and accept them, as well as remember the fond memories.
Cynthia’s novel is a work of remembrance, which will make any reader reflect on their own lives and take heed of her writing. The deeply personal writing is both engaging and emotional, however sometimes it can be hard to keep track of the order things that happened. She urges us to be grateful, flexible and open to new things and changes and to be powerful – just like the blue dragonfly.
Pages: 100 | ASIN: B07DNDWFKN
Tags: alcoholism, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, biography, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, childhood, ebook, family, goodreads, grief, hope, ilovebooks, indiebooks, journal, kindle, kobo, life, literature, magic, memoir, mental health, mental illness, non fiction, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, self medicate, shelfari, smashwords, story, The Blue Wings of the Dragonfly, therapy, wisdom, writer, writer community, writing
Pyre to Fire follows two stories, the fate of a Spanish village during the Inquisition and the contemporary story of a Cuban girl trying to find her roots. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This was the story of my own family with information that I gleaned from all the archival material that I found while researching my own genealogy. While the trajectory of the family, their occupations, names, etc are the not fiction, I had to embellish on the scenes and fill in the blanks. The little girl in Miami is me and it was important to show the relationship between me and my ancestors in as real a way as possible.
I enjoyed the detail in your vision of the village of Fermoselle during Spain’s sudden and devastating conversion to Catholicism. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure your book was accurate?
All my material is primary sourced. I have every single birth, death and marriage certificate as well as land purchases, notarial deeds and last wills of testaments going back to 1545. I then have just wills, notarial deeds and Inquisition records in the archives going back to 1405 Spain and Portugal.
Maria’s character was one that I thought was well developed and captured her soul. What was the inspiration for her character?
I am Maria. The whole description of incidents is exactly as they happened to me.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book is The Recipes of the 15 Grandmothers. I was able to locate recipes that were passed to my Mother from Crypto Jewish times through today. The are special in that any keep the kosher laws even when the family was Catholic and are clearly showing a sign of their times. This book is finished and in the editing process.
A compelling work of historical fiction that engages the reader to follow the story of a family from the burning Pyres of the Spanish Inquisition to a young Cuban Catholic girl in Miami, Florida whose soul was ablaze with a desire to return to its’ rightful place among the Jewish people.
Posted in Interviews
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Is That Your Aunt in the Attic? is a creative fiction novel that focuses on the characters of Edna and Edith, two sisters that are private investigators. The sisters have traveled across the country to get away from the wrath of an escaped convict whose plans to murder were foiled by the sisters. The ladies travel to San Francisco to get away and visit family, but they still find themselves as a target for the mobster’s hitman. What comes out of it is a strange sequence of events that proves how resourceful the sisters are in solving problems and getting answers to their questions.
One of the aspects of this story that I enjoyed was the whimsical situations that Edna and Edith seem to get themselves into. The authors, Barbara Fletcher and Cheryl Gauthier, are mother and daughter, and at the beginning of the novel, they mention that some of the events that take place in the novel are somewhat true and have happened to them in real life. I liked that disclaimer, because as I was reading the novel I could more easily picture some of the silly events that were happening to the sisters actually happening to someone like me and my sister. Some parts of the novel induced a good chuckle as I read them.
The only thing that I thought took away from the novel was the small talk that Edith and Edna made with each other. For instance, they would bring up a memory of a saying from their father or mention something weird or funny that they did a long time ago. In a way, the small talk adds a more realistic value to the novel; however, it seemed out of place and took away from the overall plot and momentum of the story.
Overall, this was a fun book and I would love to read another novel in this series.
Pages: 262 | ASIN: B0794PB8FR
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Cara Reinard’s novel is an engaging story that gives readers a literary take on the popular genre of shows called the ‘The Real Housewives Of (enter your city of choice here)’ It tells the story of Cece and her family – her cheating rat of a husband and their children Camdyn and Josie. Very much modeled on the idea of the ‘American dream’, it lets the reader in on what goes on behind the closed doors of a family suffering from mental illness, infidelity, and financial issues.
Written from the first-person perspective of Cece, we see the female point of view in a neighborhood characterized by gossiping housewives who shame their friends at times they should be supportive. The women in the book are judgmental but are bound by the unspoken constraints of their society – lead by their successful husbands. This shows very clearly that the grass is not always greener on the more affluent side of town.
For Cece who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, believed to be inherited from her mother, this environment is toxic and leads to her becoming unwell because she cannot conform to the rigid expectations set by those around her. At a time when she should be surrounded by friends and family, she has nobody to turn to. It highlights important issues in the affluent community as to why the women are not there for each other and the pressure of maintaining a perfect home life and family. This is something we all know to be impossible, yet people still strive for it anyway. It also raises the question as to why Cece cannot speak to anyone about her mental health. In the book, she does not once have a therapeutic conversation about it, and her condition is only seen as a bother to her family. Her friends seem unaware of her mental health problem and just think that she has migraines.
A theme that runs throughout the book is the importance of parental influence on their children. Cece grew up witnessing her mother’s erratic and unusual actions and her children now have similar behaviour. They also see her love for expensive material possessions and become spoiled – so much so that she even indulges their unhealthy habits which lead to danger and illness. They won’t even get the bus, which Cece and her husband admit with a tone of regret. Her children are spoiled but her and her husband are no better.
The book follows Cece as she tries to get her own back on her husband who has shacked up with his young assistant. At times it’s uncomfortable reading and really unsettles the reader as you question just who’s fault this all is. There are moments of danger, humor, and emotional turmoil which keep the reader engaged and invested in the book all the way through.
Pages: 265 | ASIN: B01B0XMC24
Burnt Face is an outstanding contribution to the world delivering truth, reality and, emotion. Right from the beginning, I was left feeling an array of emotions which demonstrate the author’s ability to create an emotional story that brought tears to my eyes. Burnt Face: Scarred For Life is a true story about the author (Annette Swann) and how her life was changed in a heartbeat. This incredibly moving, thought-provoking, and true-life story really does get the reader feeling a range of emotions, making this one of the best reads for me.
The story is written in first person narration which means we are instantly drawn into Annette’s thoughts, experiences and way of life. This harrowing story highlights how one person’s life can dramatically change. Annette’s childhood was unlike any other. Having to face typical childhood problems and bullies, but she also had to face a world where people would stare and make comments about her looks.
Annette’s face suffered third degree burns at the innocent age of 9. That being said, Annette shows in her writing that she can demonstrate more courage, passion and life-experience than many of us put together. At times, I felt it difficult to read. Not because of the writing, but because of how emotional the whole story is. I think Annette Swann has done a remarkable job with regards to sharing her life experiences, and pure admiration is felt throughout the novel.
The story allows the reader to see what life for Annette was like before and after the tragic third degree burns. This helps to really get the reader feeling all-sorts of emotions, including how life can be unexpected, and unimaginable events can happen to the best of us.
One of the great things that Swann articulates in her writing is the importance of real-life issues and experiences. The author reinforces her personal experiences, which really makes this book different from others. I can honestly say that I felt privileged to read such a heartfelt novel that really does make you question all of the important things in life. The novel is great for anyone who loves biographical stories.
Although Annette Swann may not be the strongest and most articulate writer, what she does really focuses on is personal experience, in order to engage with her readers, and I think she does this exceptionally well. This is by far one of the best biographical novels I have read in a long time. The author’s optimism and spirit shines throughout her writing.
After reading this book, I left feeling a sense of admiration for Annette Swann. Despite all of what she has been through, she has been able to turn a tragic event into something positive. This is an emotional and harrowing story that is drawn from personal experiences. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a lover of personal experiences, personal journey’s, biographies, and real eye-opening true stories.
Pages: 173 | ASIN: B077Z7WDGP
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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.
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.
Posted in Interviews
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