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A Black Woman’s Journey

“You live, and you learn” is an idiom we have all heard often, and those lessons can come at a disproportionately high cost when it comes to relationships. Learning to navigate the roads of life and love can be difficult, but author Melissa Owens has resolved to keep moving up despite past mistakes. A heartbreak, however painful, can always be an opportunity to discover a new truth, whether it be about yourself or the world around you, and it should never be viewed as the end of the world regardless of its hurt.

A Black Woman’s Journey: Memoirs Of Love, Pain Loss, Comfort, and Forgiveness is Melissa’s personal travels through relationships as she tries her best to become more than her childhood and inopportune beginnings. She begins by acknowledging the societal influences that lead women of color toward a life of unfilled and unrequited love, then immediately jumps into her own story with no hesitation.

Pulling no punches, Owens unflinchingly talks about her teen pregnancy, her first genuinely satisfying sexual experience. In these situations, she’d thought she’d found “the one” and every bit of good, bad, and ugly in between. It’s a fast-paced memoir that shows the power of perseverance and learning to recognize your own needs. Owens never shies away from her own flaws, fleshing them out as naturally and objectively as if she were talking about anyone else. This story could easily be received as a cautionary tale, but at its heart, it is more optimistic than that, telling others to live a life without regrets. Owens detailed an immense amount of pain and heartbreak, all at a relatively young age, but her message is always to focus on yourself and move on. Personal accountability plays heavily into her story to a refreshing degree.

I enjoyed A Black Woman’s Journey as it was a quick read and didn’t get into much depth with any of the encounters. However, it was an interesting insight into the resilience that is necessary for survival sometimes, whether it’s within the world of dating or just life in general. In addition, Owens writes with a candor that makes it seem as if she were beside you, simply having a conversation, which makes it a much more personal read.

Pages: 72 | ASIN : B0BD5F8L6D

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Ever Vigilant

Ever Vigilant is the memoir of Michael J. Hebert and covers his year serving in Vietnam between 1969 and 1970 on the River Boat Patrols with the U.S. Army. The book is a fascinating insight into an under-reported aspect of the Vietnam War.

Ever Vigilant begins stateside before Hebert is drafted and covers his time in Vietnam and his return home after the horrors of war. From the first page, Hebert hooked me on his writing style. While many books focused on this subject matter tend to be exceedingly dry and severe, the beginning of Ever Vigilant is light-hearted. Hebert is a master at placing himself back in his shoes at a much younger age. His narrative sounds like a young 20-year-old is writing it, full of wit, self-deprecating humor, and a certain level of naivety that the reader knows will be shattered when Hebert reaches Vietnam. Hebert focuses on his time with the PBR (Patrol Boat River), which was used to intercept and hassle enemy travel on Vietnam’s myriad rivers, a dangerous job, to be sure.

Ever Vigilant is full of interesting stories of young men coming of age in the middle of a war zone. War is dreadful, but Hebert shows how even at the darkest of times, we can find glimmers of light. His stories of brotherly camaraderie between young men thrown together are genuinely heartwarming. The topic of the war itself is handled deftly. This is neither an anti-war book nor a diatribe on patriotic duty and the benefits of an aggressive foreign policy. Ever Vigilant is respectful and simply shows the war’s effect on real people, both positive and negative.

Hebert’s writing is energetic, and his descriptions are masterful. He has a real knack for sending you to the places he describes. For example, a large part of the book covers his team’s battle against nature during a typhoon after their boat is destroyed. Having experienced a typhoon myself, Hebert’s writing took me right back. The same goes for his descriptions of Vietnam. He perfectly captures the country’s beauty and the nature of the people who live there. While this is a book written from the American perspective during the war, Hebert shows an appreciation for how difficult the war was for the natives as well.

Ever Vigilant is a gripping memoir sharing a young man’s experiences in Vietnam. Whether you are interested in the Vietnam War or military history in general, there is much to love here. This personal account is a fun, humorous, touching, and sometimes harrowing tale of a young man’s experiences in war.

Pages: 339 | ASIN : B09PKNZ254

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The Decision to Kill

When a crime is committed, numerous questions are asked. But if that crime rips apart the very core of a family, the only question to ask is why? When everything about who you are and who you love is torn apart, what have you got left to stand for? And would you overcome all the pain and sorrow to see justice prevail? Would you fight for your family? Is blood thicker than water? And in the end, could you say that you still love after so long of feeling nothing but hate?

The Decision to Kill: A True Crime Story of a Teenage Killer and the Mother Who Loved Him is brought to us by Leslie Ghiglieri. It is a memoir and true crime book that documents the investigation and murder trial of Dwayne Weir, a 16-year-old boy accused of murdering his father. The author shares all the gruesome details surrounding the case but does so in as respectful a manner as she can. The story is told from the perspective of his mother, Cherie. She talks us through the whole story, their lives, the events leading up to the murder, and what happens after.

The author has included real courtroom accounts and expert testimony on not just the actual murder but the mental state of Dwayne. What I really enjoyed about it was the use of actual letters written by Dwayne. This really gave an insight into his mental state and showed how far he retreated into the dark corners of his mind. But this tale is as much about his mother if anything. Her quest for the truth and her battle to understand is almost too hard to bare. Her struggle to move forward and reconcile her feelings for her son after what he did is heartwrenching. This is a story no mother ever wants to be a part of.

The Decision to Kill is an emotionally charged biography and true crime story. This gripping story will engage readers as they follow the tragedy and follow along as the family searches for the answer to why. A must-read for any fans of true crime.

Pages: 340 | ASIN : B09ZNKF28B

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He Charged Alone

He Charged Alone by John R. Strasburg is an expository, comprehensive, and captivating biography. It documents the pains, joy, struggles, and triumphs of World War I Medal of Honor Recipient, Private First Class Frank Gaffney, who wrote his name on the sand of time after his heroic performance during World War I. Whether you are a student or teacher of history, an entrepreneur, or whatever field you may belong to, you will find He Charged Alone an exceptionally helpful and insightful read. This fascinating book becomes extraordinarily helpful for everyone as it documents a significant period in the history of the world.

Though the book is written about seven decades after the demise of its hero, who is flaunted as the “second bravest man of the war,” Strasburg utilizes copious materials and resources to write an objective account of the life of Frank Gaffney. This is not the product of hasty research, and the reader can expect to get a detailed narration of Frank Gaffney’s life and struggles.

He Charged Alone is not a military biography that weighs down the reader in its military content alone. Instead, it is a page-turner that makes use of detailed narration to keep the reader hooked until they suddenly arrive on the last page. In addition, carefully chosen pictures enhance his life story, making it more engaging.

This book does not only recount the experiences of Private First Class Frank Gaffney during World War I, but it also gives insights into what occurred during the war and what it means for anyone to be involved in such a war. He Charged Alone by John R. Strasburg is an eye-opening biography that will show you how you can also employ grit to win whatever you set your mind to in life.

Pages: 249 | ISBN : 1387855921

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God Glasses

God Glasses by medium Ann Monster encourages the reader to seek out a more profound spiritual and equally individualistic relationship with what they interpret as being God the Creator. Through her personal experiences talking with God about topics that weighed on her heart, she found clarity and meaning in her own life. She wants to share this experience with readers and help them gain the same healing she did.

Beginning with Monster’s own spiritual awakening. As a stressed thirty-five-year-old mother of two, she desperately needed a minute of relaxation. However, instead of a quiet moment of peace, she claims to have been greeted with a vision of Christ. This led to a noticeable self-transformation in the days following.

The book is structured meticulously. Based on the author’s conversations with God, she breaks down God’s perspective on highly controversial topics like race, HIV/AIDS, gender, and sexuality. These discussion topics span several chapters. Through the use of opening lines which form diary-like entries and provide everyday, real-world examples, the groundwork is laid for Monster to pose questions to ‘God’ as the basis of her chapter-by-chapter thesis items.

I particularly enjoyed one chapter which posed this question to the reader: “when does the natural and beautiful sexual desire that one human being can have for another become sin?” It considers how ‘sin’ has been redefined. Monster approached this sensitively and tastefully, bringing a welcoming and inclusive tone to God Glasses. This chapter assessed the literary interpretation of sin in accordance with the dictionary, then compared it to scripture teachings and how society has capitalized on sexuality through subliminal messages, which have caused humans to consider sexuality as the only facet of life that has any importance. It removed the stigma attached to pre-marital sex, sexual exploration, and leisure – it was not what I expected to see in a religious piece and was favorable.

God Glasses is a good balance of self-incitement and relatability; it does not aim to evangelize or coerce the reader. It would suit readers wishing to develop an intimate relationship with God but may be unsure that Christianity includes themselves.

Pages: 218 | ISBN: 153201774X

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Dear Daughter

Dedrick Moone and his daughter, Haelee, have conquered many things in their life together. From the separation and divorce of Dedrick and Haelee’s mother to the car accident that almost ended his life, Dedrick and Haelee have managed to find strength in one another. Their relationship is a truly special one. From her birth to their ultimate move far from the only home they both have ever known, the pair battle everything life throws their way with grace, dignity, and incredible resilience. Dedrick’s love for his daughter and his determination to keep her safe and supported is unmatched.

Dear Daughter, by Dedrick L. Moone, is a poignant personal story of the author’s relationship with his young daughter. This beautifully constructed children’s book/memoir details every joy Moone experienced from finding out he would soon be a father to winning a hard-fought custody battle which allowed him to give Haelee the life she so wanted. In addition, Moone includes each of the challenges he and his daughter faced. He sugarcoats nothing, and his honesty is appreciated. Moone’s work will touch the lives of more families than he will ever realize.

Moone grew up without a father and was determined to not fall into the stereotype of an absentee father that plagues the African American culture when it comes to divorce. His goal was to be present for all the important moments in his daughter’s life and this collection of letters shows that devotion. The letters are not all joyful and positive memories, instead, they show the real challenges he faced including going to jail. The darker memories are still told in an age-appropriate way that is not scary for children, rather factual and honest.

Dear Daughter: A Love Story, will show readers the intense love and admiration Moone feels for his daughter. It can be felt on every page of this heartwarming account of their lives. This heartwarming picture book is highly recommended to any parent who has faced overwhelming challenges in raising their children. Moone and his daughter give readers something that is difficult to find in today’s world–they give us hope.

Pages: 57 | ASIN : B09QZG1YFV

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