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Surrender to You

Mellie is not the average twenty-something. Her older brother, a SWAT member, and all his fellow officers inundate her day-to-day life. Though Mellie has her sights set on Morris, she can barely bring herself to function when she is in his presence. Morris, her brother’s best friend, is also a SWAT officer and, amazingly, has the same stunned-into-silence demeanor toward Mellie. When the two are finally forced into an initial date, it seems the stars are aligned for the beyond-perfect couple. Before Mellie and Morris can begin their life together, they must overcome one glaring obstacle–the one person who knows no boundaries when it comes to keeping Morris from being with the one woman he loves more than anything.

Surrender to You, book one in Nikki Mays’s SAPD SWAT Series, introduces two main characters beginning an intensely romantic life with one another. Mays’s first in a series is primarily a romance novel peppered with a hint of mystery and a moving commentary on mental health. Mays incorporates concerns over addressing mental health needs via her antagonist who is not revealed until late in the story line. Though the plot takes a harrowing turn, Mays makes sure to tastefully deal with her character’s failing mental health and the various ways those around the character missed cues.

The author does a nice job of keeping readers guessing as to the identity of Mellie’s stalker. I found myself guessing the culprit’s identity based on three different motives as the reading progressed. I was not completely surprised to find out who had been harassing Mellie. However, I was impressed by Mays’s ability to redirect my attention to and away from three characters simultaneously.

For fans of romance novels, Surrender to You contains it all. I was more impressed with the style in which Mays has chosen to use in her writing. The bounce back and forth between Mellie and Morris’s first-person accounts is highly effective in engaging the reader. The first-person narrative provides a much more intimate look at the characters’ thought processes and allows the reader to both sympathize and empathize with their struggles. In addition, Mays makes use of a relatable conversational tone in her writing that keeps the reader involved and invested in the budding relationship and the mystery surrounding Mellie’s unwanted attention. All in all, Surrender to You is an easy and fast read due to Mays’s ability to reach her audience so quickly in the opening chapter with Mellie’s heartfelt confessions.

Mays gives readers well-drawn characters and has established a wonderful cast readers will be eager to see again in the next installment. Mays has tapped into a target audience who will most definitely agree with Mellie in her assessment of the prowess of the members of the South Amberly SWAT.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B07F8FVHNQ

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One Love

One Love by [Duffy, Thomas]Thomas Duffy’s book, One Love, is a tale of both love and heartache. Protagonist Tim is torn between a “what might have been” sort of love and another that is actually in front of him. Duffy doesn’t paint over the ugly parts of love, instead highlighting them. He exposes what love looks like in real life, not some fairy tale version that we were taught in the movies. Duffy doesn’t shy away from the flaws and complexities of his characters. His is a raw and honest account of entangled and intertwined relationships that examines what we sacrifice for love, and the love we may sacrifice for security.

A book has to really grab me from page one for me to read it quickly. I got through this one in two days, even with other things going on. I was pulled in. I was fascinated and wanted to see what happened from page to page. I went through a range of emotion with the characters. I wanted to hug Tim and slap him sometimes at the same time. The same went for Louie and Melody at times. I felt like I was peeking in on intimate details of lives I shouldn’t be seeing but wanted to see at the same time. Thomas Duffy pulled back the curtain on real life. He exposed what everyone tries to hide.

Readers will find themselves identifying with the characters. They are all flawed in some way or another, and that makes them more identifiable. Louie’s addiction, Tim’s stagnant career and failure to commit, Melody’s indecisiveness, Cindy’s crippling anxiety. Duffy covers the gamut of dysfunction. Chances are that each reader will see his or herself in at least one of the characters. I appreciated the realism and admittedly saw myself in a character or two. Everyone has a “what might have been” scenario or two. This book lets readers vicariously live one of those scenarios out.

I’m not a romance novel fan. I wouldn’t call this your average romance novel by any stretch. However, there are some sexual scenes in the book. They are not overpowering to the rest of the plot. They feel necessary and relevant to the story. You’ll find much more concentration on the feelings of the characters and their daily lives than sex, but it is there. -And, it is important to the story.

This one was a real page-turner for me. The writing was simple without being boring. There was no pretense. No stuffiness. I was completely interested in the lives of the characters from the first page until the last and found myself wanting to know more. The characters felt real. They were well-developed. I feel invested in their lives. I want to know what else happens.

The book is brilliantly written. It was a very easy read. The pace was perfect, and the plot flowed well. The characters felt real. I can’t say enough good things about this writer. I’d love to read more of his work.

Pages: 263 | ASIN: B00PAE4HV4

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The Blue Wings of the Dragonfly: Finding Magic in Every Day, Everyone, and Everything

The Blue Wings of the Dragonfly: Finding Magic in Every Day, Everyone, and Everything by [Roggeman, C. Lee]

Cynthia Roggeman’s personal memoir details the events throughout her life. She goes into great detail about her relationships, family and health complications. She does this while offering snippets of advice and wisdom that she has learned along the way. The book is often upsetting and full of events – on a number of occasions it seems as everything is happening at once for our author. She shares her life’s journey with the intention of learning from the process of writing and to divulge the positive aspects that result from a lifetime of hardship.

The sections about her family, mainly her father and her Italian grandmother, Nonni, are bittersweet and filled with memories that she describes in the manner of a child – because at the time she did not understand what was going on. Her childhood was filled with both happy and sad memories and she does not seem to resent any of the negative aspects at all. In her family circle, she experiences alcoholism and mental illness – which she regards as a choice.

Throughout her life, she has various serious health issues and is in the hospital a number of times. She suffers quite badly and even has to learn to self-medicate – something which carries a great responsibility, even if it is towards yourself. However, she does not let these problems set her back and each time she recovers and returns to work and normal life – this is not a woman who gives up easily.

The book is separated into short chapters, each beginning with a date. This makes it easier to place the events in the author’s life as they are not in chronological order. At times it can be difficult to remember at what age things occurred for her but she has ordered it according to her own time frame and reference of events – how she feels events in her past relate to each other. This is reflective of a realistic memory because often things do not go through our minds in order and jump around randomly.

She has written the book for it to be a therapeutic process, it seems to be a place for her grief, hope, and wisdom. She has learned to be imaginative and to really remember her past self. She has also learned to be grateful for the things she has, as well as the things she had. She writes that she has had to mourn her losses and accept them, as well as remember the fond memories.

Cynthia’s novel is a work of remembrance, which will make any reader reflect on their own lives and take heed of her writing. The deeply personal writing is both engaging and emotional, however sometimes it can be hard to keep track of the order things that happened. She urges us to be grateful, flexible and open to new things and changes and to be powerful – just like the blue dragonfly.

Pages: 100 | ASIN: B07DNDWFKN

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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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8 Ways to Happiness: From Wherever You Are

I believe that most people’s goal in life, certainly my goal, is to live the happiest life possible. This may seem far-fetched in today’s world, but 8 Ways to Happiness is an amazing guide that will help you achieve that dream. In 8 Ways to Happiness, author Dr. Marissa Pei delivers quality advice that does not come off as brash or assertive. What I liked most about this book was that I could tell that she cared. She wants me to be happy and I respect her approach to attaining happiness. We are all deserving of happier living even if the rest of the world is miserable. Dr. Pei encourages us to embrace how we feel and aim to guard our happiness.

Within the first couple of pages we’re given a quote by Albert Einstein, “Is this a Friendly Universe?” I think the biggest statement in this quote is the question mark at the end. This demonstrates that our outlook defines our way of life and if you feel that it’s not friendly then your life will respond accordingly. Which also goes to say, and Dr. Pei is a master at elaborating on this point, that the mind is a powerful thing. Dr. Pei shares some scenarios that can leave you distraught, suffering from depression, or even worse. Although these instances are sensitive topics, she discusses ways to change your thinking for the better, including awareness of your Sad, Critical, and Brat voices within you. If I change the way I’m thinking, embrace more positivity and do better for myself, would that make life easier to maneuver? The greatest feeling is knowing that she understands what many of us are going through and does all she can to reassure us that this isn’t all that our lives can be. When she discusses death and missing those we’ve lost, it really resonated with me since I have lost a loved one. I’m told to embrace my sadness and to have faith. She gives very practical and down to earth advice, such as seek group emotional support and 12 step programs for those battling an unhealthy habit because they’re spiritually based. I’ve come to notice that we are all spiritual beings and should practice tapping into our connection with our creator, or higher power. The world would be a wonderful place if everyone faced their demons and handled them in a healthy way.

I’ve learned so much from reading this book and look forward to applying some of the exercises in my daily life. My goal is to become an even happier version of myself each and every day because life is short and should be celebrated every waking moment. This book encourages us to accept what we cannot change, and instead change our way of thinking. I highly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to live a better life.

Pages: 204 | ASIN: B07DKV7K9W

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The Troubling Designs of their Lives

Arnold Holtzman Author Interview

Arnold Holtzman Author Interview

Neurotic Children as Adults is a guide to help parents understand themselves and in effect become better parents. Why was this an important book for you to write?

After several decades of professional experience with clients who had been overtaken by serious neurotic disturbances in both their social and intimate partner relationships, along with damaging perceptions of self-worth, and with lives simply going nowhere, it was as clear as the noonday sun how maternal deficiencies and abject parental failures, often from day one, determined the troubling designs of their lives as adults. Inasmuch as I had written this book for young parents whose intentions were essentially very positive but whose own histories perhaps lacked bonding experiences, the experience of worthiness, and a recognition of their most fundamental security needs, it was also written for the adults who might identify with people described on these pages and grasp what had so mangled their own lives. True, genuinely absorbed awareness of what was responsible for the neurotic designs in their personalities offers, in effect, the only leverage permitting lasting therapeutic adjustments.

What do you feel is one common misconception people have about parenting?

Parents rarely grasp the degree to which a child is powerfully molded by just about everything that defines its earliest home environment. Up until about the age of eight the parents are seen as the life models with which they must identify and emulate. Later they may insist that the very opposite is true, but the patterns are effectively ingrained.The early experience of an unstable home environment, grievous emotional scarring, serious and prolonged parental discord produces children who, as adults, are without the capacity to experience true joy in any area of their lives.

I thought you showed a solid grasp of psychology and behaviorism. What background in education or experience do you have that helped you write this book?

A Ph.D. in the behavioral sciences, many decades of private clinical experience and almost as many decades lecturing on these experiences. The last decade included laboratory work in psychiatric hospitals and papers on biometric diagnostic procedures published in academic psychiatric journals.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

When therapy fails it is largely because the therapist has no idea what may be at the root of his, or her, client’s distress. The therapist is entirely without access to the history of the client’s earliest pre-conscious experiences – information that is almost always vital in grasping the very reasons why that person had been moved to invite professional intervention. What sets this book apart from every other in the genre of child development and parenting issues are the perfect links it presents between very specific infant/child stress experiences, and equally specific disturbing attitudes and behaviors in the adult. Nothing is ever lost to memory even such as transpired in the earliest development phases. This work is intended, in the main, as a guide for the genuinely devoted parents of infants and young children. At the same time it delivers clear answers to adults weighed under by lives going nowhere and suffering anxieties of an unforgiving nature.

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Darkness in the Mirror

Ondie Reid, a schizophrenic who is finally living a normal, productive life with the help of medication, finds her world once again spiraling out of control when her daughter’s father, whom she is trying to win back, begins sleeping with her younger sister. Original.

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The Warrior Teenager: Let Go of Self-Sabotage & Embrace Your True Power

The Warrior Teenager: Let Go of Self-Sabotage & Embrace Your True Power by [Fernandez, Mary Lynne]

In this world where everything is fast paced and competitive, one can feel a little overwhelmed. They can feel lost in the crowd. They can feel like they are drowning in their inability to measure up to society’s expectations and standards. It is not easy. It is not ideal but it is what it is. There is nothing more to do than equip the future generations with the skills to ignore all the news. The wherewithal to see the standards but not bend to them. The ability to understand that the only standards worth measuring up to are ones set by one’s own self.

Mary Lynne Fernandez, with her extensive experience and brilliance, seeks to do exactly that with this book. She seeks to guide teenagers through life. To arm parents with tools to efficiently and successfully navigate the mucky and turbulent waters that is parenting to teenagers. She seeks to shine a light on this depression and suicide epidemic. She seeks to weed it out. She seeks to ensure teenagers seek help before they seek the noose. The only way to achieve this is by harnessing one’s own true power. To embrace and overcome. Suicide is not the way out. Staying alive to fight and exorcise those demons is.

The author has done an excellent job of appealing to her demographic. She does not tell the reader to just get over it. She outlines practical steps with passion and affection. Her delivery and presentation are powerful. She lays a strong foundation for her message with vivid writing that uses simple but powerful language. She is not looking to provide answers but rather a road-map to realization. The subject matter is relevant, relatable, and rings true. She has addressed the conversation in a sensible and sober way.

I think this book is aimed at two demographics. The first is the teenagers, of course. They need to understand just how stacked the deck is and how to play the game. They need to understand the truth about the world they live in. Parents of said teenagers will also find this book useful. The author does a good job of addressing both generations. I felt that she understood and appreciated the different situations and thus successfully speaks to both parent and teen.

This book is inspirational and useful by providing ingenious insights that are both practical and applicable. If you go into the woods, you may bring a wilderness survival book. If you’re becoming a teenager you may want to take this book along with you. This book will help you approach your thoughts and passions with fresh eyes. Read it. Understand it. Utilize it.

Pages: 188 | ASIN: B07CSF7PPN

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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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Lost In His Own World

Dawnette Brenner Author Interview

Dawnette Brenner Author Interview

The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birth of a Hero follows a 12-year-old boy who finds himself thrust into a magical land full of danger. What was your inspiration for this thrilling novel?

My inspiration for my story hit me after several episodes of depressive and manic scenarios with my son Joshua back in 2006. I felt helpless, as I watched my youngest child suffering from the throngs of what I learned to be bipolar disorder. He often would daydream and seem lost in his own world and although I researched to find answers, support and help, I couldn’t imagine this world he lived in, full of darkness. It was dreadful. Anyone with this disorder knows that it can cripple a family. I couldn’t fathom this life and so I created a world in which I wanted him to be the hero, one where he could over come any obstacle, to tell his story.

Joshua struggles with being bipolar and his parents divorce. I felt that you handled both with care and realism. Why did you want to cover such sensitive topics in your novel?

As a mother it was heart-wrenching and I learned so much, but still the world seemed to stigmatize the mental disorder my son suffered with and I wanted to change that for my son and others like him. As a teacher, I felt this story, in the hands of kids, could help them relate to a character like Joshua and they could empathize. Kids like Joshua would also enjoy reading that a character like them could overcome obstacles and become a hero, faltering along the way, but always striving to overcome. These are both important in our world with kids in schools, to help end the stigma and normalize these kids in not only their eyes, but others in school as well.

The world Joshua entered is full of magic and wonder that is described superbly. What were some themes you wanted to capture when creating your world?

I actually wanted to describe a fantastic world, full of intrigue and one in which I felt my son would enjoy, he seemed to love imaginary play outside with his action figures. So in the beginning that’s what I wrote, but as I progressed and the characters formed in my mind, and real life also took us on a journey through darkness, it was dreadful. Secondary to the imaginary world, it was essential Joshua Creed faces grave darkness, soul crippling darkness, although not as prevalent in this book, the series will encompass thematic elements of the darkness in anger and the peace at the end of the tunnel.

Will this book be part of a series? Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?

Yes! The book will be a series of three, possibly more books. I’m currently in the editing stage with book 2 and will come out this year, with book three later this year or early 2019.
The book will pick up two years later, where Joshua continues struggling in school and learns a great deal more about the prophecy of his destiny. If you pick up a copy of the first book, there’s a preview of the first chapter at the end. Enjoy!

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitter | InstagramFacebookWebsite

The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birthing a Hero by [Brenner, Dawnette N.]Joshua Creed receives disturbing news about his parents, but before he is able to process it, he is flung into a world of intrigue and danger where he must fight for his life and the lives of the inhabitants. He discovers he has secret powers, and the mystery of his eye is revealed, but it isn’t easy being bipolar and only nine years of age. His newly found friends and family help him through his adventure but not before he’s forced to change schools.

The action-packed, fun, and exciting adventures of Joshua begin in this first adventure of his destiny.

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