Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.
Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.
This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.
The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.
As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ
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On Loving follows Rose who must deal with a storm of emotional chaos involving family, secrets and another man. What was the source of inspiration for the journey that Rose goes on in this book?
As a family physician, I’ve had a true chance to work with different people, men or women, at different stages of their lives and this gave me a chance to get more familiar with humans’ emotional changes and the way they affect people’s lives. People that I’ve come to know and worked with always inspire me. An important lesson I’ve learned during all these years of practicing was that self-awareness and self-scrutiny are the hardest tasks to get through in life and people who have the chance to achieve them are, indeed, the luckiest people alive. Rose is an accomplished woman, modern and respected. A woman with a good career and education who has a wealthy family with all the possibilities in front of her, but she is still missing something, and she doesn’t feel complete. She needs to know her roots and she needs to go through her personal growth to become satisfied with herself. Falling in love and what comes next gives her this opportunity to know herself, her strengths, her weaknesses and how to overcome her fears and open her heart to embrace her life at every stage of it. She learns that being a woman is a privilege and something to be proud of.
Rose is an intriguing and thoroughly developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
“Rose”, a symbol of new beginnings, hope and resilience, was the name I chose for this main female character. The year is 1972 and the world is changing. She is a modern and educated woman with the respect for her fellow human beings. She is a strong-willed character, but weak and fragile at the same time during the challenges she faces while taking many steps of her love-driven life journey. As in real life, being a professional particularly being a physician, doesn’t protect her from the devastating and destroying effects of tragedies she endures in her turbulent life. She is a human being with all the flaws and faults, beauties and capabilities possible. She falls, she breaks into pieces, but she stands up again and moves on in her own ways. The title is chosen in a loving memory of the late, controversial Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad, who was also a modern woman with her modern ideas much ahead of her time in a society that discriminated woman and criticized her for her ideas and the way she expressed her emotions. Just like Rose, she was a free spirit who explored her emotions and as a poet she brought them to life by writing beautiful poetry that showed the delicate soul of a young woman in a modest and pure manner. I intended Rose to represent such a woman, but in another type of setting, a surgeon with a good knowledge about literature who learns how to analyze her emotional journey and connect to her inner being to become a better person.
This novel is emotional and explores the meaning of love in new ways. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
“On Loving” is a love story, but more importantly it is a story about love itself: its psychology, its physiology and the research behind it. The concept of conditional versus unconditional love has been explored in depth in this story. Both main male characters were following their own agendas representing these two concepts from the beginning till the end. Valuing and getting to know your emotions (including love, anger, fear, jealousy, etc.) by working to achieve self-awareness was another main point I was intending to explore. Unfortunately, unknown or miscomprehended emotions can make us vulnerable in life and be the main source for depression and anxiety disorders. Rose, on the other hand, explored the real meaning of love (both of the above concepts), depression, bereavement and their inevitable consequences all through this story. Being a physician with the knowledge of these mental health issues never made her immune to these unfortunate consequences. In fact, she was missing the signs for years and this is what we see in real life of many people including health care professionals.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a new story which is also about women’s related issues and the issues I work with as a physician. The title, “Greeting the Sun Again”, has also been chosen to honor Forugh Farrokhzad, the late Iranian poet, and it has been taken from the title of her popular and famous poem called, “I will Greet the Sun Again”. Just like “On Loving”, It is a love story twisted with literature, history and everyday life realities. I’m expecting it to be out by next year.
In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box. It is a world both foreign and familiar, in which her primary place is as the heiress to a great tribe. In Iran, Rose will find family she never dreamed of, her own people, and a man who loves her as passionately as he does the rare black roses of his garden. She will return to the United States carrying a new secret and torn between two men: the one she loves helplessly, and the one who loves her unconditionally.
Woven throughout with Persian poetry ancient and modern, On Loving is the story of one woman’s lifetime of love and loss, of societal change in a nomadic people, and of overcoming personal challenges, including mental and physical health, to find true contentment. Above all, it is a story of love: its physiology, psychology and philosophy; the many forms it takes; its myths and truths; its challenges, its joys and its gifts.
Posted in Interviews
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Reading a sports-themed inspirational novel is one of the best things about literature. You get to learn a lot about particular sports and your heart is filled with hope and aspirations at the same time. ‘The Backwards K’ is a great book simply because the author wrote it with enthusiasm and deep feelings. The book is nothing but entertaining, exciting, fun to read and educative. There is so much one can learn from Jet Brine’s life; everything from his struggles, achievements, goals, personal life, general work and contribution to the baseball community. Reading about Jet Brine’s love for baseball was a wonderful experience. I learned how passion and dedication can make you move mountains through his life. Each one of us wants to be a winner and achieve set goals at the end. Jet Brine made me clearly visualize this.
Jet Brine’s end game was to be the best at baseball. He loved slot machines too and enjoyed playing the games. I loved that about him because they made the story cheerful and happy. I loved reading Jet’s story up until things started falling apart. I must admit that I did not see the troubles in his marriage coming, as he seemed so much in love. Linda is among the characters I loved in the book. I had so much faith in her as she seemed to turn things around. She rarely disappointed and was incredible throughout. She was one of the engaging characters whom I could feel connected to. I loved how she reasoned and how she brought the best in everyone. I appreciate her because her encounter with Jet Brine made the plot interesting and fun to read.
The Backwards K is a fictional inspiration book which apart from being entertaining, offers lessons that can help the reader in real life. It is great when a work of fiction blends with the real world, making the reader relate better to the events and the characters in the book. There are some things that most of us did in the past and would love to forget or overcome them. Jet Briner struggled with such things and got to be in situations where he needed to forgive self to move forward. Through Jet Brine, one gets to see how imperfect humans are. You may excel in everything else but one thing comes between you and your success. I am glad the author helped me examine myself when he wrote about Jet. The major theme in the book may have been sports but the author sure explored a lot of issues through the main character.
J. J. Hebert is an excellent writer. His way of storytelling is great and his execution of characters worth noting. Everything in the book flowed well; the plot, themes in the book, lessons, the diction and the general presentation of content. The author is skilled in more than one ways. I love that he made me inspired and motivated by reading Jet Brine’s story. One good thing about J. J. Hebert is his style of narration. One easily grasps what he is talking about and fully enjoys the story.
Pages: 226 | ASIN: B076B6M1RS
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The Golden Cage is an inspirational book that shares your life experiences to help people break out of their personal cages. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This book was really important for me to write because I want to change the world for the better. I want to motivate and inspire others to really go for their hearts’ dreams instead of settling in their lives. I know that the world would be a more joyful and compassionate place if we were all following our hearts.
You use the golden cage metaphor throughout the book. How did this idea start and develop while writing?
I had a vision of the cage when I thought about writing the book. I really did not fully understand what it meant. When I started writing it, the entire meaning unfolded. I wrote 35,000 words of the book in two days. It was a download more than anything else.
I found this book to be uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I would like my readers to know that they have the ability to escape their Golden Cages, and that they can do this by following some of the steps I outlined. I want them to know that they do not have to settle, but can really go for what they want and deserve in their lives.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on a book about pushing your edges and allowing fear to guide you into the unknown in a healthy way. It should be completed by the Fall.
Discover how to break free of life’s cages and follow your heart’s calling. Do you feel trapped in a relationship or career, going through the motions of life with little excitement or passion? Are you spending time dreaming about doing something different with your life? If this sounds like you, you may be living in a Golden Cage that brings you some measure of comfort and security, yet it does not fulfill your heart’s desires. The Golden Cage is a spiritual self-help book that will help you gain the necessary courage and skills to break free of life’s Cages and lead an empowered life in alignment with your heart’s true longing.
Posted in Interviews
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Voyages is a collection of poetry that inspires reflection while also helping readers grasp a deeper meaning of poetry. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Voyages was my way of showing to the world how I perceive the everyday things that go unnoticed. My philosophy coupled with my thoughts in order to point out some universal truths about human nature. The collection is almost like a guide which will take anyone through their teenage years and relive their memories.
What is a theme you find yourself drawn to when writing?
I believe in the abundant goodness that lies in every person. Luck always guides you to be someone greater than yourself. The infinite energy of the cosmos brings balance and harmony to our thoughts, if we allow them to. Every day promises new opportunities which help us move higher and these are the themes I deal with. My writings have inspiration and love.
One of my favorite poems from the collection is ‘Prayers Alive in Hope’. What is your favorite poem from the collection?
Wow! Thanks. “Prayers Alive in Hope” is indeed one of my best poems. My favorite poem would be “Heavens Face”. It was written when I was 15 years old after reading Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book will be VOYAGES Volume II – A Collection of Short Stories available end 2019/early 2020. I occasionally release small short story booklets and one such has already been published titled “A Rural Coincidence” which is available on Amazon. The next short story booklet will be released on Mother’s Day titled “The Farewell”.
Voyages Volume I is a collection of poems written to break the notion that poetry is an art comprehensible only by the elite. Understanding good poetry becomes easy when there is a guide to help understand all those complicated words and lines. Keeping in mind the feelings of the reader, a small quotation has been provided at the end of each poem, carrying a message of what the preceding lines were all about. This style of writing has been chosen as most of the time we fail to understand that poetry is very much a part of our life.
Whether it be sharing good wishes everyday on social media or going through some lovely quotations to uplift our moods, life is just one big book of poetry that we refuse to understand in popular culture. Just like a ship embarks on a voyage, searching and exploring new continents through vast reaches of the ocean; our life too embarks on a journey of adventures which are best described in poetry. I believe this collection would be able to help readers appreciate poetry as a whole and live up to every possible expectation.
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The Beauty of His Presence by J. Shannell Evans is a forty day-daily devotional for Christians. Each passage includes Bible verses mixed with everyday scenarios to which the reader can relate more closely. After each passage is an open ended set of questions with a writing area that lends itself to daily interpretation and reflection. The book begins with verses and passages about Thanksgiving and Christmas. It delves into Jesus’s birth and death from the start then incorporates the roles of faith, prayer, fellowship, and more within its pages. The author incorporates her personal opinion and experience into the work making it feel more personal and real to the reader.
Evans has curated a nice flow of devotionals. One flows nicely into the next, while at the same time standing alone should someone get off track or skip around. The passages are concise enough that reading one a day would not be a daunting task at all, and many would likely be able to easily read several. They are simply written while still being engaging. The book could easily be used in a group Bible study or Sunday school group. The questions after each section would be good for facilitating group discussion. The daily “Create your own ‘Thought for the Day’” prompt will leave readers with personal food for thought that they can ponder on throughout each day.
I like that the voice of the writer is incorporated. Evans gives accounts of her personal experiences and struggles. This makes the book feel less stuffy and rigid. It makes lofty goals of being a so-called “good Christian” feel attainable. Her personal voice keeps the book light and friendly. It feels more like a conversation than a sermon, and that is comforting. The book keeps a positive, uplifting vibe throughout. The content is heavy at times, but manages to give a hopeful air encouraging a closer walk with God.
I think the substance of the book is on target for its intended audience. Readers will enjoy the relatable stories paired with the daily verses. Evans has put together a great body of work with this book. I feel that it will be a book that will strengthen Christian’s relationships with Christ. It will give hope and positivity to the most downtrodden of readers.
Pages: 206 | ASIN: B079K5BJQY
Posted in Book Reviews
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Life Interrupted: It’s Not All About Me is a memoir about your life and the challenges dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important to write for several reasons none of which was more important than the next. When I started out writing Life Interrupted, It’s Not All About Me, it was my intention to help one person, myself. You see, when I was divorcing my ex-wife to be’s lawyer had embellished much of the petty jousting that often goes on between individuals in the process of divorcing, but he really made me out to be a calculating monster, which I was not.
I wanted to share the truth with family members, in-laws and friends , but I believe God intervened and said, Chris, you can help one person, yourself, or you can help thousands of chronically ill and disabled individuals in the middle of their own desperate, downward spiral into the abyss of depression by helping them to avoid making the same relationship destroying mistakes that I once made.
In summary the two main reasons for writing my memoir were one, to save face and two, to help others with chronic illness avoid falling into the self – sabotaging, dismal, depressing downward spiral of the relationship destroying poor me attitude.
I enjoyed how you shared both the good and bad times and it felt like you held nothing back. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The hardest thing for me to have shared was my insidious anger and the fact that it was misdirected anger made it that much worse. I was out of control and in the midst of the worst I found God and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone gave you when you were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?
The best piece of advice anyone could have given to me when I was first diagnosed with MS would have been, never stop living your best life. If I had given into my initial thought that life was over, I would have missed one of the most fabulous lifetimes full of unimaginable things, loves, wonders and experiences. I have lived and continued to live the most exciting joyous life with not a single regret.
The book is very emotional but also inspirational. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
My hope is that readers will look at what I have gone through and recognize that through hardship and misery comes purpose and direction. In my life it was God who saved me, when I thought I was not worth saving. Take a couple of moments to invite God into your life, asking Him to reveal Himself to you.
Life Interrupted: It’s Not all about Me, is a candid and humble memoir about one young man’s diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and how his ‘poor-me’ attitude cost him his marriage. Chris hopes others might learn from his mistakes to communicate more effectively and not allow disability and low self-worth to destroy relationships. Chris also writes about his faith in God, and his new wife, Jane, who he married in April of 2007.
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Life gets in the way–this is something we have all experienced. The people with whom we choose to surround ourselves, the chances we opt to take, and the goals we set for ourselves set the tone for our success and, in many cases, our failures. One of the most effective methods for being successful is recognizing that you don’t have to go it alone. From learning with others to staving off those who ooze negativity, realizing that we are not expected to find our niche alone is the key to reaching goals of all types–not just goals related to business and career.
Leo Bottary, author of What Anyone Can Do: How Surrounding Yourself with the Right People Will Drive Change, Opportunity, and Personal Growth, sets forth some tidbits of advice regarding reaching goals and the realizations he has made along his journey. Interwoven with his own brief, high-interest anecdotes are words of wisdom from those he admires and from whom he has gleaned the most effective advice.
One of the most striking aspects of Bottary’s work is the stress he places on finding individuals who provide the appropriate amount of support but, at the same time, push us to reach our potential. Bottary effectively points out that the time in which we are currently living is an integral part of our ability to reach our potential. We essentially have everything we need at our fingertips, and our access to experts and the opinions and advice from others with similar interests and goals is ever-increasing. Bottary brings to light many points I had not considered as I am considering a career change myself and face my own negativity heading forward.
As an elementary teacher, I am stunned at the revelation Bottary makes regarding the time in which people tend to lose that feeling of invincibility. He points out that we are born believing we have no limits, but life tends to change that rather quickly. Specifically, he shares that by the age my own students are in third grade, they begin to second guess the fact that they can be anything they want and have what they desire. That was an eye-opening passage worth a second and third read to this teacher and mother.
Page after page, Bottary hits on one relevant topic after another related to the plans we make during our lives. I especially appreciated Bottary’s words on the changes we make related to career and business. My teenagers are about to graduate and set out on their own. Bottary emphasizes that the feelings my son is having about making a career choice and the pressure he feels to be sure about it now are validated by Bottary. I am more confident, after reading, in talking to him about the way in which we tend to change our minds about school and career paths.
What begins with the feel of a business-oriented self-help book turns quickly into an excellent source of inspiration for all readers.
Pages: 186 | ASIN: B07GRD9YPT
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Decrypto: Unlock Your Life Journey is an inspirational book that uses your life stories to help people understand and overcome challenges in their own life. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
What I would love the reader’s to take away from reading my book is to feel inspired and empowered, and continue with their journey of self-discovery. I’d like them to realise that life is an adventure of ups and downs— but ultimately they are in control and don’t have to stay stuck in a life that is less than what they want. I want them to believe with confidence, “I can change my life!”
In your book you discuss how each one of us has the potential to experience happiness. What do you find is the biggest impediment in people’s lives that keep them from that?
This is a very complex subject matter although often this can be as simple as a lack of understanding of the underlying causes that prevent a deeper connection to happiness. Many people are not living the life they truly want and find themselves holding onto regrets and what-ifs. Our past, if unresolved, can strongly impact and impair, our ability to connect to and to experience happiness, especially if fuelled by strong emotions.
You give a lot of good advice in this book. What is one piece of advice that you wish someone would have given you when you were younger?
I’m the ninth child in a family of ten children. I felt as if I was born into a crowd, where individuality wasn’t valued. I believe this had a powerful impact on my life. The advice that I wish that someone had given me is that we are all unique and each person has something special to offer. To dream big, as anything is possible! If you believe you can achieve it, you will!
I felt that hope was a key theme in this book. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in this book?
There are many themes that individually and collaboratively are important aspects of the book. The main theme that underpins Decrypto is self-empowerment— the sharing of knowledge being the key that opens the door to a new beginning. I’d like to encourage my readers to nurture their belief in themselves, and to know that they have the potential to change their life, to find themselves, and to live a dream…
Whether you have it all, are searching to find yourself, or live with regrets and what-ifs, Decrypto is the key to opening the door to changing your life.
You will gain an in-depth understanding of your thoughts, emotions and life, as you discover what is happening to you and why. Your newfound self-awareness will empower you to make positive and long-lasting changes, to create the life you are longing for.
Be inspired to find a new direction, as you ignite the passion to follow your dreams.
Change starts now!
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The book starts with the author taking us back to her childhood. She writes about an awful incident at home. In an attempt to perhaps discipline her, her mother physically abused her because she had an argument with the brother. She was so hurt and afraid, even thinking that she could die from the punches she received that day. The author also talks about how she tried to be her best but no one ever appreciated her efforts. Not even the excellent grades could get her a simple nod from the people around her.
Angelo Lowery tells of her story growing up. The good, the ugly, and the unfortunate. In all her narrations, she never forgets to mention how gracious the will of God is. The writer has gone through a lot. Experiencing just a fraction of what she has gone through can be quite overwhelming. Life can be disappointing, but we need to keep holding on. I love that the writer used examples from her family, friends and other associates in her life. Some of the things she talked about hit home, and I couldn’t help but think about some of the decisions I have made in my life.
I Am And The Spirit Walks With Me is a book written for everyone who is on the verge of giving up. Don’t lose hope. Keep moving, keep pushing, keep seeking. It is only a matter of time before everything falls into place. The author reminds us not to focus on the bad things that have happened to us. Yes, you may feel like this life is not worth living, you may have had the worst experiences among your peers; don’t feel sorry for yourself, the good Lord is out there looking for you. Sometimes all we need are challenges that make ourselves aware of the situations around us. Don’t blame yourself. It gets better with time. Don’t be quick to anger. The author excellently explains what holding grudges does to you. She knows first-hand, what carrying other peoples’ burdens does to your body. Strive to stay positive and always pray to God for strength.
I love how the author emphasized healing after hurting. Angelo Lowery’s life is proof enough that overcoming pain and suffering is possible. When writing this book, the writer had people who are heartbroken and those going through mental distress in mind. Her kind words are warm to the soul, and will help anyone who feels like this universe is not doing them justice. Open up to those who care, turn to God and always keep a positive attitude. There are so many lessons that one can learn from the author’s life. I Am And The Spirit Walks With Me speaks directly to you as a person.
Pages: 150 | ASIN: B0777KSDVF
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