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The Twisted Crown

The Twisted Crown by [Richmond Bunkley, Anita]

The Twisted Crown​, the newest historical fiction novel by Anita Bunkley is a fascinating look into the post-Civil War South. Focused on the story of a free black woman from the North, Eva Phillips takes advantage of the abolition of slavery in the South to embark on a treacherous journey to South Carolina to try to find the mother who gave her a chance at freedom as a child. Along her way, readers meet a captivating cast of characters ranging from cunning professional gamblers to complex carpetbaggers to innocents turned corrupt by hardship. Eva has to navigate a part of the country decimated by the bitterest of fighting as it struggles to regain its footing. And like Eva, readers will never know if the character with the checkered past they just met will be someone who can be trusted or or who will surprise them with an unexpected betrayal.

Along the way she meets up with Chicago lawyer and profiteer Trent Hartwell who, against the recommendations of his new Charleston acquaintances, offers to help Eva in her quest. Although he came to the South to benefit from the financial opportunities blossoming in the wake of so many people’s misfortunes, he can’t quite understand the unwritten rules governing the South about the proper roles of white people and black people and why there should be any difference.

This book also sheds light on the important and dangerous work that took place during this time by black activists to promote equal participation in government for all races. This work made many who benefited from the pre-war social structure very angry and prone to violence, so the lobbying had to be done secretively.

While the story is solid and flows well, I thought that the characters and dialogue lacked some depth. This book kept me very engaged, however. The quick pace, many edge-of-your-seat situations, and several sultry moments kept me reading along without any lulls.

I also came away with a much clearer understanding of what life in the South was like after the Civil War for both whites and blacks. I didn’t know the depth of poverty freed slaves were faced with and this book provided a very interesting example of the creative and sometimes unfortunate ways that people used to survive and start a new life. Anita Bunkley is famous for writing stories that show what a famous period in history was like from the perspective of black women, and I really appreciated having the opportunity to experience this after so many other Reconstruction books (Gone With the Wind, That Bright Land, ect.) only focus on the white experience. This is important because, clearly, this was a period where the African-American experience is integral to understanding the situation appropriately.

I highly recommend joining Eva on her exciting voyage to the land of her birth and learning more about the United State’s most interesting periods of history in ​The Twisted Crown ​by Anita Bunkley.

Pages: 336 | ASIN: B07G7GPX2F

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Seven Beyond

Seven Beyond by [Atrium, Stella]Dr David Christopher Meenins finds himself haunted. Haunted and disturbed by his past. He needs to reconcile with that past in order to move forward to a new home world. On the journey to self-discovery and a somewhat clean conscience, he is accompanied by mysterious Linda Deemer and the fabulous Lady Drasher among others. These people will all grow closer as the journey progresses. They will help the good Doctor unravels his past and come to terms with it. They will grow to become good friends and their friendship will lead to finding a new home, one that they will all revere.

The relationship between the characters is especially heartwarming. It is a beautiful friendship between inherently different people. All with different patterns of thought but are similar in the quintessence of human nature. The characters are all loveable and relatable to the reader. Their warmth and personalities jump off the pages and wrap the reader in a halo of joy. Lady Drasher is a particularly outstanding character. Her strength and stance are inspiring and mesmerizing. The author has made the female characters into pillars. They are not merely damsels but strong women who rely on their own capabilities.

Stella Atrium executes the plot with lustrous expertise and flair. Her writing flows effortlessly. She effectively captures the attention of the reader and keeps it hostage until the very end. The book is colored with intrigue, adventure, and a splash of humor. Maybe a dollop of romance on the side. The plot is quite original. For a fiction fantasy book, this story is quite enthralling. Weaving in fantasy worlds can be quite tricky and most probably doomed to fail but the author has handled it very well. Her portrayal of the characters in their natural (or unnatural) forms is impressive and masterful. This book is evidence of the vast level of creativity the author holds.

Dr Meenins is a wonderful character. His disposition works to gain the allegiance of the reader. One will find themselves cheering him on as he escapes assassins and works hard at his mission. At the beginning, the reader will have a little trouble staying on track but that situation dissolves quickly. It may also be problematic to keep up with the characters. This does not influence the literary experience. The book still holds charm and just enough mystique to look past that issue.

You will experience a cornucopia of emotions with this book. This is not the book you idle about with by the pool. It is a book you take seriously. A book you read intentionally and with fervor. The author will display exactly how deep her well of vocabulary runs. Either you can enjoy that or let it daunt you. If you choose the former, a scintillating experience is in store. There is nothing like it. Take the trip with Dr Chris.

Pages: 290 | ASIN: B00ICTAIN0

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For The Difficult People Who Sometimes Never Know

Sarah Elliston Author Interview

Sarah Elliston Author Interview

Lessons from a Difficult Person: How to Deal with People Like Us is a guide for people who find themselves dealing with people they find difficult. Why was this an important book for you to write?

As a recovering difficult person, I find myself aching for the people who didn’t say anything to me as I gaffed, who avoided me rather than take the time to help me see how annoying I was. I wrote the book for all of us who avoid difficult people, to help them actually have conversations with them. And I wrote it for the difficult people who sometimes never know how they are perceived by others and feel lonelier and angrier and distanced from others.

I understand that you are a successful workshop leader and trainer. What is one common misconception you find that people have about ‘difficult people’?

One common misconception people have about difficult people is that their behavior is purposefully hurtful; deliberately unkind.

I enjoyed the personal stories you shared. Was this always going to be a guide book, do you think this could have easily been a memoir?

I wanted to help people understand how difficult people are unaware of their impact on others and to do that I had to use my own life stories. It could have been a memoir but my passion is helping difficult people discover that they can change and the only people who tell them would be the readers. Thus, I included the exercises and practice processes for having a conversation.

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

I hope readers will look at difficult people differently and look for ways to help. I hope readers will see that difficult behavior is a habit, and it can be changed.

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

I am currently working on a book with more stories about my life in terms of how I changed, with the focus on how difficult people can change; either a reader or a friend of a reader.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website

The funny thing is that Sarah Elliston never realized she was “a difficult person,” –someone who harangued people until she got her way, threw snip fits and temper tantrums, talked over her bosses and pointed out what she thought were their misconceptions. In her family, where she felt bullied, the only way she knew how to get someone’s attention and approval was to voice her opinion–and loudly! Without standing her ground, how could she do what she thought was best for herself and everyone else around her. She wasn’t intentionally mean-spirited. She was just trying to do what she thought was RIGHT!

Until a kind, but firm, boss woke her up! With great compassion, and strength, her boss pointed out that her actions had consequences. That in being “difficult,” she was not only disrupting the office camaraderie and production, but impeding her own professional advancement.

That’s the beginning of Sarah’s transformation– when she started on the journey to leave behind the difficult person, and become the woman who teaches others how to deal with difficult people. Sarah “Sam” Elliston is now bringing forth her vital manual on how to awaken the challenging personality, and change both the relationship and the environment with her new book Dealing with Difficult People; Lessons Learned from a Difficult Person.

Today, Elliston is a highly successful workshop leader and trainer, who offers wisdom learned the hard way–and through rigorous study and certification in many areas of professional training that aid her in her work — Values Realization, Parent Effectiveness Training and Reality Therapy. She is a faculty member of the William Glasser Institute. Glasser is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and developer of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy that teaches people they have a choice in how they choose to behave.

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Caution to the Wind

She and her partner answered the call of the sea. They wanted to heed to the breeze and sway to the wind. Such was the image of what would be expected of the sojourn. The reality was different. Marred with seasickness, a faulty water trap, uncooperative winds, and even loss of a crew member, Lin and Geoff were in for the ride of their lives. So many hurdles thrown into their plans and expectations. Frequently doubting their plans. Getting on each other’s nerves at some point. This is an outline of the journey from New Zealand to England. With an unexpected end, this story is one of a kind.

In Caution to the Wind the author does not leave even the bad parts untold. If you are going to tell a story, tell the whole of it. That is what Linda Ford has done. She has given the reader an inside view into her adventure. Her passion for the sea is evident in her narration. However, she does not let her expertise boggle the reader’s mind. She tells her story in simple language. Even providing a glossary in the back which will come in handy because this book is immersive.

Linda has quite the writing skill. Her descriptions are vivid which is perfect for the many picturesque scenes that this story sails into. The book is fairly short and can be read in one siting. From the first page, I was taken with Lin and Geoff, and did not want to put the story down until the end. The author clearly knows how to capture the readers attention.

You know when you walk up to a group of people having a conversation and it takes you a little while to catch up? That is the feeling one might experience in the beginning. The first chapter sort of starts in the middle. It feels like there should have been something before that first chapter. However, you will catch on quickly to the flow of the story.

The chapters are really short and lends to the idea that this is more of a journal with the chapters being akin to journal entries of sorts, but I was left wanting a bit more structure to allow me to be immersed in this fantastic story even further.

Some talk about bravery. Others talk about going for it. This story is inspiring in it’s ability to unveil a story that captures both of these things. I mean if Lin and Geoff can stand against treacherous weather at sea for months with overlapping disappointments, surely no goal is too ambitious. This book will have you on the edge of your seat then it will have you off that seat going after whatever that goal is that you set aside. The story is one big adventurous metaphor for the way to live life.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 0648164756

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The Witch Trials Book Trailer

Once upon time, women struggled to gain notoriety capable of any feat besides household responsibility. The struggle was life and death in the resistance of recognizing the inevitable rise of women. Starting life in Italy with a wealthy protestant family. Sylvie idolizes her father Dr. Fiore. Sylvie has her hopes set on being one of the first female doctors known to the area. But when Sylvie is married off to a wealthy craftsman named Leon, in France, she quickly realizes that this dream may be out of her reach and possibly run the risk of death. Is Sylvie’s dreams worth dying for? This book starts our journey in a small town of Eze in Southern France in the late 1600’s and tells a fictional story based from real time events in our history. This is book one of a new short story series.

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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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Zertone Book Trailer

Evelyn Anderson is a normal teenage girl who thinks her life is boring. She goes to school and lives in an ordinary, suburban neighborhood with her parents. The only excitement in Evelyn’s life comes from practicing martial arts.

Evelyn soon finds herself working at a boating company with her father’s friend, Chuck. It is out in the open ocean where Evelyn discovers that she has a thirst for adventure. Her life suddenly changes when a storm sweeps her into another world. There, she meets a boy named Sam who becomes her comrade. Together, they set out to find Ferjian, a powerful being who wields magical powers, but rumors say that they are evil demons who love to murder and destroy.

What will Evelyn and Sam discover about this world and about the Ferjian they are seeking? Read and find out!

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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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River’s Child

When Mavin Cedarstrom heads to the Svalbard Seed Vault for another day on the job, he can’t possibly imagine the turn his life is about to take. His former life gathering seeds as an assistant to his favorite professor pales in comparison to the life he leads working in the exclusive and formidable vault housing samples of every seed variety in the world. Mavin’s job helping to protect and preserve the future of the planet’s primary food source leads him on a journey like no other when he awakens to find himself in what he soon learns is the future–the distant future.

Right out of the gate, Mark Daniel Seiler introduces readers to an intriguing set of circumstances. He wastes no time in keeping his audience guessing as to both time and place. The opening pages of River’s Child reveal a scene with an amalgamation of characters with varied backgrounds. It isn’t until Mavin reaches the vault itself that the reader is treated to the splendors of technological advancements. Seiler springs this futuristic setting on his readers in a wonderful contrast with the opening bar scene.

Reading River’s Child is akin to reading three different books, but it works well. Mavin’s time working in the vault and the tragedy that befalls him when he reports to work that fateful fall day are a far cry from the way he is found and worlds apart from the scene that greets him when he is pulled from beneath Earth’s surface. Once he and his rescuer/guide, Simone Kita, make the year-long trek to civilization, the story takes on a completely different feel which somehow also makes sense. To say that Mavin has taken a step into the past would not be wrong, nor would it be wrong to say he is almost light years in the future upon being pulled from the remains of the vault. Seiler presents for readers a picture of an Earth recreated after its destruction and, somehow, simultaneously archaic and advanced.

Seiler’s choice to make males subservient and females revered in the new world is both refreshing and entertaining. Simone, a strong woman in many ways, teaches Mavin the proper way to show respect and how to remain demure in his foreign surroundings. The author has pulled from multiple cultures to create the portrait of a lesser sex in this futuristic world which blends ancient customs with the discovery and mastery of unique and highly developed talents. Simone’s amazing ability to control space and time is superhero-like and takes the reader as much by surprise as it does Mavin the first time she tries to discreetly display it.

Seiler offers readers a picture of  what is essentially a post-apocalyptic world that is different from any I have read. He takes readers on a journey that begins and ends with the soul survivor of a catastrophic event and allows them to watch as he struggles to find his place among those who now inhabit Earth. Seiler peppers his writing with the perfect amount of suspense and humor as he weaves this unforgettable tale.

Pages: 312 | ISBN: 1947003399

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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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