GARDENING WITH GUNS by AJ WOOTTON is a memoir which delves into the relationship between the author’s rocky childhood and her present-day struggles. We meet Amber as she gets a great job and goes on vacation with her family. Things take a quick turn for the worse when Amber’s beloved father’s body is found–suicide. While dealing with this significant blow, Amber ponders traumas from her childhood, compares her relationships with her absent father and abusive stepfather, and parses out her many tumultuous relationships—all while wondering if her past might dictate her future, knowing that her spousal relationship is also on the rocks.
Although this is billed as a memoir, I’d say it reads more as a memoir-within-a-memoir, with the loose threads of the current day events—the death of a family member, followed by the arrangements for the funeral and resulting small family dramas—connecting the real meat of this book: the author’s deep dive into scenes from her childhood, some of which have had effects on her she has yet to realize. The prose reads like a stream of consciousness, which is sometimes an asset: it does make you feel like you are sitting inside the author’s head, listening to her own thoughts as she notices details and pulls apart her memories. The book does a good job of delving into the complexity of dark human drama—divorce, infidelity, suicide, abuse—while giving front stage to the inner motivations which drive our actions. The first few chapters feel like a cozy memoir, as the author chummily guides you through interviews and family vacations as one would a close friend. While some of her stories tend to ramble a bit, the author provides such detail in her work that it is impossible to get lost amidst the narratives. The importance of every scene included may be questionable, as it occasionally veers into redundancy; and the timelines can be confusing, as in at least one case we learn to live with a character and then, later on in the narrative, “meet” him. However, it falls together as a deeply-felt memoir; it is impossible to read this without feeling one knows the author extremely intimately. As the author weaves through her life as an abused child, an entrepreneurial tween, a self-conscious teenager and beyond, it’s clear that the heart of the story is the author’s relationships: those with her father, step-father, mother, siblings, friends, husband, and, ultimately, herself.
Pages: 386 | ASIN: B07KT98NQR
Tags: A Guardian Falls, abuse, 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, divorce, drama, ebook, family, father, GARDENING WITH GUNS, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, infidelity, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, mother, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, relationship, shelfari, smashwords, story, suicide, wootton, writer, writer community, writing
Jackie White’s Deception is built around Asia McKay, a beautiful, high flying career woman who is thrown into a whirlwind of hurt, betrayal, infidelity, confusion and depression. Her marriage comes to an abrupt end when she discovers that her husband, David, has been having an affair with her friend, Gina, an affair that leads to pregnancy producing twins- Reign and Raven in the long run. Asia and David have to go their separate ways. Moving on with her life, Asia meets a good-looking, randy medical doctor, Zaire, who follows her to Aruba and sneaks into her hotel room, subjecting her to sexual assault that results in pregnancy. On discovering that she is pregnant from Zaire, she becomes downcast and comes up with the idea of falsifying a DNA test in favor of David in order to keep Zaire far away from her and her child.
Deception is a compelling novel full of intrigue, irony and suspense that depicts the grim realities of life. The book is not larger than life, I found most of the characters believable to a heart breaking extent. The book’s laudable strength consists in its ability to hold its readers sway from start to finish, paying critical attention to details when describing events, places and people with felicitous phrasing. The omnipresent narrator has a sharp eye for details.
While I found the book to be highly entertaining and thrilling there was humor injected at just the right moments to bring a bit of levity to an otherwise suspenseful novel; a moment to relax your shoulders before the next twist. The novel employs the intense use of soliloquies with some characters like Asia, Gina and Zarie thinking aloud in their respective distressing and lonely moments. Conversations leading to overwhelming emotional outbursts are recurrent in the novel. As stated earlier, the author’s literary mastery shines through, describing turns of intricate events with sheer creativity, maturity and ingenuity.
The novel explores so many provocative themes in a way that is engaging yet understandable. Themes like betrayal, deception, infidelity, lust and love can be found in any one of our lives, but how Asia deals with these emotional obstacles is what kept me turning pages.
Pages: 280 | ASIN: B0792LCPRZ
Tags: african american, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, beauty, betrayal, 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, confusion, deception, Deception The Ultimate Betrayal, depression, desperation, disappointment, ebook, emotional torment, falsehood, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, infidelity, jackie white, kindle, kobo, literature, love, love story, lust, nook, novel, perpetual fear, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, shelfari, smashwords, story, writer, writer community, writing
There is no greater test of love than that which Chadwick and JaLana faced 11 years into their marriage. JaLana thought her marriage and life would be like any other couple attempting to live a life of faith in God. While they had met their fair share of troubles and setbacks in life, they were always united together. All of that was suddenly wiped away the morning JaLana saw her husband exiting the garage with another woman that had been living with them. The next day, Chadwick came forth about the affair he had been having for the past six months with the sister of a friend they both had allowed in their home. Stunned and shocked, JaLana had a choice to make. Her husband had made it clear that he didn’t want to be in a relationship with her anymore. He wanted a divorce.
Twelve years later, the couple remains together. How did they do it? Why didn’t JaLana give up and give her husband the divorce he wanted? Learn how the love of Christ was able to touch both JaLana and her husband Chadwick Walsh. Discover how God’s truth came into the marriage, moving them both to humility enough to feel the burning love He had, and will always have for each and every one of His children.
Chadwick and his wife have now teamed together to retell the story of one of the most vulnerable moments they have shared as a couple. They explain the steps they took to regain their marriage completely without any remaining residue. They have laid everything bare to bring the world their personal experience of adultery and how God led them through the fire to a marriage completely healed.
In a completely new take on a book about adultery, you will read from both perspectives of husband and wife, how adultery had broken them both. They discuss the common pitfalls man and wife can face on the road to recovery and offer practical guidance for grieving couples who might know the same pain they have faced.
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Author of 50 Shades of Truth, Josef, takes some time to discuss his personal life and the book it spawned.
50 Shades of Truth seems like a very personal story for you. How hard was it to put this story out in the world for people to read?
Incredibly personal and very hard. Writing about my infidelity was the hardest part and it ripped my heart out. I still cannot think about my wife without a regret that burns like a hot knife. She loved me deeply and the stupid thing is that I loved her too, but living as a slave to a life of sex made it impossible to be with her. I can only wish and pray that she finds true happiness now with someone. But just having the book out there seems even harder in some ways (than writing) because everything is so different now. It’s confusing. I have a completely new life and am exploring feelings that I never thought possible. But in the end it’s all very positive because now I can live my life like the person everyone always thought I was for 60 years. Waking up in the morning and not having to live that secret life is an incredible relief, and I feel a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
Do you have any advice for people who might be going through the same things that you have?
It depends how they feel about it. If people are going through the same things but don’t have any “life search” conflicts or infidelity issues, I would tell them to take the brakes off, and enjoy it. The beautiful world of BDSM, trannies and sex is delicious, and looking at it just on it’s own merit I love it. If someone is going through the same things I did, and living in a prison of guilt like I was, I’d tell them to find someone they can trust, and start to talk about it. They need to be 100% ready, and wishing more than anything to let it all go otherwise I don’t see that doing any good, but if they’re feeling like I was, then they are definitely ready. Finding the right person to talk to is the hard part, and it’s not as easy as looking up a therapist in the phone book. Some therapists are worse than useless, and could do more damage than good. I know that from experience. The first therapist I spoke to needs some serious couch time herself before she should ever be let loose to talk to someone about their problems. It only takes one session to know if you’ve made a bad choice, and when someone starts seriously looking for a way “out” they need to trust, and listen to, the voice in their heart that made them pick up the phone in the first place. It takes courage.
This was originally an assignment from your therapist. Did you know that you would eventually publish the story or was it something that you decided later?
It was something I decided later, although the idea surfaced before I finished writing. If I had thought about it sooner, and looked at it from a commercial perspective I may have written some of it differently. I mean differently mainly in terms of the language that is used in the book. Less profanity might have given the book a wider appeal but that would have changed the experience of writing it. I even thought about going back and rewriting it for publication after I finished but I couldn’t do it. That just felt dishonest, and doing that would have made writing it pointless. I needed to stay true to myself, which is an ironic thing to say, considering the lifetime of lies and deception I have lived.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t get married until you sort it out! But I don’t know if that is “possible” advice. It’s just that I would have loved to find a way around the pain I caused to some people close to me. Seriously, I would tell myself to be gentle about whatever is happening, and not listen to fear. Being guided by fear and standing in judgment of ourselves is the most ridiculous situation imaginable, considering how very little we know about life’s purpose. But laughably, our lives are driven by fear, which serves no purpose but to undermine and destroy life’s beautiful possibility. Not listening to fear is easier said than done, but I’d tell my younger self to have a crack!
Who do you think would be the perfect audience for your book?
Anyone who has a secret that makes them afraid. If we can dissolve the fear that breeds loneliness and find a sense of ‘aloneness’ instead, we empower ourselves to begin to properly live our lives and find true freedom, so anyone with the courage to look at fear would be a good audience. The problem of fear comes up a lot in the book. The sad thing is that most people will never realize that their lives are ruled by fear, and the prison this creates, because they are too scared to look at it. That is an incredibly cruel irony of life. A very wise man once said that mankind has to overcome four enemies to find enlightenment. We’re told that first enemy is fear. Unfortunately most of us are taken out by fear before we finish Elementary School.