My Time with Papa by Shauntae Spaulding is a heartwarming children’s picture book that tells the story of a little girl whose father has passed away. Her mother is there to support her as she grieves and helps her understand her heartache. Her mother tells her not to think of it negatively, to remember all the fun times she had with her dad. Thus begins the story as the girl closes her eyes and she and her father are reunited in her imagination.
Shauntae Spaulding navigates the devastating topic of loss while being respectful. Spaulding’s tone throughout the story helps keep the mood happy, which I am supremely grateful for, because as soon as I found out what this book was about my heart ached and I wasn’t sure I was ready for such despair. But this is an ultimately uplifting story that will remind children that our loved ones leave their memories behind. It teaches them to stay optimistic and hold onto those good memories. The use of rhyme and vivid artwork keep the reader engaged and eager to continue. The art is exceptional and seemed to me like it was ready to be made into an animated story.
My Time with Papa is touching and thought-provoking and gives children a unique tool to deal with grief and loss and Shauntae Spaulding has managed to do this in a fun and imaginative way.
Pages: 24 | ISBN: 978-0228830726
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The Ultimate Love shares a journey through grief that teaches readers to value life. Why was this an important book to write ?
The sudden death of my 25 year old son after a 5 month battle with cancer, made me realise that life is short and in the blink of an eye, our entire world can change. Many of us go through life working and to busy to spend quality family time and by the time we realise this, it maybe to late. I want people to understand that there’s more to life than material things, cherish your loved ones because they can be taken at any time.
In this book you share your grief but you also help readers understand how to continue after a loss. What were some ideas you wanted to share with readers?
Each person’s grief is unique and we all mourn differently. There’s various stages of grief and each of us can go through different stages at different times. There’s no fast rule that you must be in the first stage of grief example denial. You can start with anger, bargaining or even acceptance. We must also remember that not everyone will go through all the stages. Coping with the loss of a loved one is one of life’s biggest challenge and the pain of grieve can disrupt your physical, emotional and spiritual being.
What do you hope the one thing readers take away from your book?
Grief is a natural response to losing someone or something that is important to you. Everyone grieves differently, there is no time limit to grieve and each person goes through the phases in their own way. With time ,the sadness eases, you’ll be able to feel happiness and joy along with your grief.
Janet once had the fleeting thought of not having kids. But after Brian came along, she was glad she never paid any real attention to that thought. He was her little angel: smart, sweet, full of life, infectious joy, and gusto. As Brian grew into a fine young man, Janet’s love for him also soared. Life seemed good, untill things took a turn for the worse. Brian encountered significant turbulence on his journey, one that would affect the lives of everyone that cared about him.
Brian’s Journey is a real account of the life of an impressive young man, narrated by his mother, Janet Dubrasky. It’s both a heart-warming and heart-breaking chronicle of how Brian lived, loved, and died and how those closest to him came to terms with his death. It’s a book on unconditional love, the beauty of family and true friendship, and healing for the bereaved.
Dubrasky writes simply and from the heart. She bares herself before us, helping us understand her struggles and delights as she elevates her beloved Brian and stands by him even in his most trying times. She doesn’t spare us any detail as she tells Brian’s story, and that made the tale more immersive. I didn’t just hear about Brian. I got to watch him grow and flourish. It felt like I accompanied him on his sojourn, and as his life came to an abrupt end, my heart sank.
One of my major takeaways from the book is that grief is hard to deal with, and we can’t just wish it away. We must learn to live with it and continue our journey and, as at hard as it might be, accept that those who’ve passed have completed theirs. It’s easier said than done. But someone like Dubrasky, who has already done it, is encouraging us to take the same path.
Based on her experience, Dubrasky believes there’s indeed life after death. That death is, in reality, people being reborn, resting from their struggles having learned all they were supposed to. She says we are all energy, and energy never dies. It only changes form. In other words, the ones we’ve lost are not really gone. They’ve just been transformed. This is vital for leading a life of empathy and compassion. We all need peeks into other people’s worlds so we can deal with those around us with understanding. Brian’s Journey offers profound insights into the pain of losing a loved one. Therefore, it can help us deal with similar personal issues and better empathize with others when they go through the same.
Pages: 222 | ASIN: B08F7CPDMT
Tags: author, biography, book, book review, bookblogger, brians journey, ebook, goodreads, grief, inspirational, janet dubrasky, kindle, kobo, literature, loss, memoir, motivational, nonfiction, nook, read, reader, reading, self help, story, suicide, writer, writing
An emotional memoir by a mother who shares the harrowing experience of losing her son to suicide. Brian was her first baby boy: from the very beginning, he was a quick learner who readily made friends. As a teenager and young adult, he grew into a talented artist and musician, who also had a facility for languages, loved food and travel. He lived life. In this emotional memoir, Brian’s mother tries to understand the sudden mental illness that took over Brian’s life and led to his suicide. She describes the failures of the systems that could have helped him. And she shares her efforts to heal—a difficult path that other grieving families know all too well.
Nadeem was just 25 years old when he passed away after a short, but painful illness, however he lives on in the tireless efforts of his mother, Sherine Anniruth, to memorialize his life. The Ultimate Love is as much about Nadeem, the central figure that binds together the chapters of the book, as it is about his mother’s grief over his loss, in all its unimaginable dimensions. Anniruth’s grief comes in waves, some that reduce her to tears, others that almost obliterate her ability to continue with daily life. And her work serves as an open letter to anyone experiencing the same pain, wondering how they could possibly live on after their child has gone.
The Ultimate Love is a work of deep and startling honesty, but not one likely to fly off the shelves. Anniruth struggles to keep her emotions down long enough in order to analyze and discuss her grief, rather than to be caught up in the depths of it. Perhaps it’s not possible to capture such a deep sense of grief in words, let alone review a work that details a mother’s unending love for a lost child. As Anniruth herself says, “each person’s struggle is different”, and her experience of grief is hers alone. The Ultimate Love is less a novel and more of a guide to living through loss, authored by a loving, abundantly caring mother who asks how the world could dare to move on, when she’ll never be able to do the same. She tries to find positive affirmations and an overarching meaning for what happened to her son – a young man we sadly, barely come to know in the book, falling back on her faith for support.
What Anniruth has written is more a testament to the fragility of life, to its cruelties, and to our natural, built-in resilience to continuing on in the face of loss. As she carries the ghost of her son with her, she is herself transformed by the act of keeping him close to her heart. It’s not an easy read, for more reasons than one, but a book that’s bound to touch those who find themselves in the same position as Anniruth, and trying to cope with what feels like an insurmountable loss. Her parting gift to us as an author is to try and face it all, her grief, her hopes, her fears, and the small ways in which life does go on, while memory never fades.
Pages: 125 | ASIN: B0871MW1M9
She was a bubbly and jovial little girl one day and sickly the next. Brittany’s condition deteriorated along with her family’s spirit. When a loved one passes away, they leave with a part of us. You are left with a big hole in your heart that you have no use for. How then do you get past the loss? How do you feel the sun on your face again? How do you accept the loss and learn to live with it rather than let it derail your life? How do you finally find some peace despite the ache in your heart?
Brittany’s Rose is the story of a little girl’s death and her family’s journey through grief. It tells the story of their struggles with mourning. Mary Jane Clayton gives a candid account of what she and her family went through for the benefit of the reader. You can never truly prepare for such a loss. But with a book like Brittany’s Rose then you can hope for a better day. You can hope for a day when the grief will be more of a background ache than an earth-shattering life stagnating condition.
This is a quick read meant to help you get past the fog. To hold your hand through this turmoil. Because, really, there is no way to avoid it. The only way to get through it is to go through it. The author creates a sense of kinship with the reader by being honest and open. This book is written with the utmost empathy and is all heart. It is evocative and sad but comforting at the same time. It works whether your loved one passed recently or a decade ago. It is personal and uplifting and written in simple language. It is almost casual but still in a tone that lets you take in the message therein.
The simplicity of this book, the tone, the emotion, the personification of it and the honesty and transparency all make this book a great companion. Sometimes you have to let the healing happen naturally rather than forcing it. It is a natural process. You will also learn the importance of faith in the process.
Brittany’s Rose is a personal story that is always important and useful to someone. The one telling the story requires bravery and courage to tell their story especially one of this caliber so kudos to the author for letting us in. May all who have suffered losses be divinely guided through their grief to a space of peace and acceptance.
Pages: 206 | ASIN: B0792Y4LFF
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, Brittany's Rose: Finding Peace After Losing a Loved One, death, ebook, faith, goodreads, grief, inspirational, kindle, kobo, literature, loss, love, Mary Jane Clayton, motivational, nonfiction, nook, read, reader, reading, self help, spiritual, story, writer, writing
Love, Loss, Long Beach by Christiaan Pasquale tells the journey of Christiaan, and his endeavour to find true love. Set in the USA – predominantly Los Angeles; the story follows Christiaan, from his early twenties surviving as a musician and truck driver into his forties, overweight, on disability and living in Long Beach. The question is – will he be successful in his hunt for true love?
The story opens with a Trucker’s Mantra, “Aces never fall, they may slip, but they never fall. And I’m an Ace, and that’s that!” Christiaan is driving a Peterbilt, the sounds and sights of the trucker’s view realistically described.
He then describes his journey from The Slanderin band member to truck driver. Lured by the promise of money and the chance to improve his life he accepts a position with a local LA truck company. There he learns to drive a truck and gains his licence. Christiaan soon learns why his father tried to discourage him from a truck driving career. The hours are long and erratic and soon take their toll. I felt like this part of the story was realistically and authentically described. Descriptions were easy and vivid and always depth to the story.
The American Hotel becomes his home for a while. The squalid conditions are described in detail, again the nuance and detail is something that much enjoyed in this book. Dark, dingy and smelling of piss. Drug deals were common, as were a trail of women. The people and setting are described in depressing, realistic detail. From junkies to prostitutes to long legged nurses. The descriptions of both add to the authenticity of the story. The dialogue is raw, distinctive and realistic making it difficult not to empathize with Christiaan and his circumstances.
Christiaan is saved from this existence by his sister – who rings him and asks him to move in with her and his niece. However, after a while his old acquaintances catch up with him. They bring old habits with them, and I thought the idea of a man trying to escape his past is uniquely captured in this moment and in Christiaan’s character overall. Christiaan escapes most of this as he is spending more and more time in the inside of a truck cab. I always empathized with the hopeless situation, the long and unsociable hours and the vivid descriptions of the depressing neighbourhoods. However, the large number of characters can be difficult to follow, particularly friends coming into his life from his early years. But these characters also give the story a realistic feel, as people often come in and out of our lives when we least expect it.
By chance he reconnects with Lourdes and is thrilled to form a friendship with her. Eventually she encourages him to move to Long Beach and he leaps at the chance. Will he finally find the love he has been yearning for or does the ace finally fall?
This story leaves me with only one word to describe it all; authentic. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated the journey that Chistiaan has been on.
Pages: 214 | ASIN: B07QCYDBQJ
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Myrrendryl is a thought provoking fantasy novel that follows Davey as he escapes to a world very different from his own. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
I came up with the idea for the novel from a thought; What if when you die, you pass completely unaware and simply dream a dream that never ends. That, coupled with a deep love for horror fiction and stories that are more than the sum of their parts.
Davey is an interesting and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to explore with his character?
I really wanted Davey to be relatable, I wanted him to be the Everyman Hero, but even with the best of intentions, sometimes, doing the right thing is never cut and dry. I wanted him to struggle with bullying, abuse, loss, unrequited love, and being an outcast. In the end, even with the odds piled against him and despair baring it’s poisoned fangs, I needed him to make the choice that matters.
I found ‘Cardboard City’ to be fascinating and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind this and it’s backstory?
Let me answer this, with a question. Was it ever really there? Sure, it seemed like a magical place, but for all it’s glamour, couldn’t a Maytag box and a rat chewn blanket be paradise?
If it was there, it was because a common belief brought these youths together and kept them focused on a singular goal. A little paint here, some salvaged materials there and soon, they had their own community.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on a novel of the prodigal son.
James is a successful businessman in the city, but he harbors a deep secret. He is not who he says he is. A lawyer and private investigator track him down to tell him his mother is dead and her estate leaves him as the heir. Now returning to the small town he left far behind he is assailed with memories both good and bad.
But this town holds it’s own secret, and someone or something is very glad to see the son return home.
Hopefully out this year, but at the latest, it will be next.
The curtain, the veil, the void, the abyss. So many names for the mystery of the beyond. People spend a good part of their lives just wanting to lift the heavy canvas of the circus tent and take a peek inside. Eventually they’ll know, in the end, we all know, but mankind is an impatient beast. Sadly, for most, if they ever could pull aside that curtain, they would spend the rest of their lives trying to forget that they ever had.Myrrendryl tells the tale of four seemingly unconnected youth bound to one another in a way none of them could have guessed and knowing would threaten to shatter their very existence. The hands of fate appear to play them like marionettes, but are they truly controlled by fate? Or are they their own masters? A story that questions what is real, and what is the sands of dreams. A story ultimately, about the human condition and what deep down, we are willing to sacrifice.
Posted in Interviews
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