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Truths that Transform Lives

Jess Lederman Author Interview

Jess Lederman Author Interview

Hearts Set Free follows the interweaving tales of characters on a journey that illuminates both faith and love. What served as your inspiration for this wonderful novel?

People who know that Hearts Set Free contains autobiographical elements (and several historical characters) sometimes ask me, “How much of the story is true?’ And I answer, “Perhaps twenty percent—and the rest is even more true!” What drives my writing is the desire to convey truths that transform lives. Truths of the heart. There were several inspirations: the first was my own journey, from being an arrogant atheist (for the first fifty years of my life!) to a follower of Christ. The story was also born out of tragedy. At the prime of her life, only a few years after we had both become Christians, my late first wife was diagnosed with ALS and given two years to live. She’s very much the model for one of the major characters, Joan Reed. We chose to spend her last days on earth together in a small town in Alaska, and lived not far from the headquarters of the Iditarod, the iconic thousand-mile dog sled race. It’s no coincidence that my novel begins with the Great Race of Mercy of 1925, the heroic effort to get diptheria serum to Nome to save ten thousand lives, which inspired the Iditarod.

Yura and Luke are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

One of the themes of Hearts Set Free is how people come to faith and deal with doubt. I put aspects of myself into several of the characters, including young Luke, although I only wish I had his courage and purity of heart. Yura and Luke Noongwook are native Alaskans, mother and son, and they embark on a quest to bring back Victor, who is Yura’s husband and Luke’s father. He’s a hero of the Great Race of Mercy who has abandoned them for a beautiful reporter from New York. Yura has a warrior’s spirit, and has resolved to kill the woman who stole her husband. Thirteen-year-old Luke is desperate to have his father back. I won’t spoil the plot by revealing whether or not they find Victor and bring him home, or whether Yura follows through on her plans for revenge, but I’ll say this: on their long journey, these two, who at the beginning know only the Inuit gods, do find their true Heavenly Father. God draws all people to Himself, though some respond quickly and others come kicking and screaming. How they respond when the Hound of Heaven is nipping at their heels is the key to their character development.

Your characters overcome many obstacles and are testaments to the human spirit. What do you hope readers take away from your story?

First of all, I hope they enjoy the story and love the characters as much as I do. What I’d love for readers to be inspired by is how many of the characters seek to make their faith a reality in their day-to-day lives. There are several points in the story where characters are discussing Scripture, wrestling with difficult passages, and coming to terms with doubt. What does it really mean to follow Jesus? What is involved in forgiving our enemies, let alone loving them? My characters struggle to come to terms with these things, not out of some academic interest in theology, not as a Bible-study exercise, but out of a burning desire to love God with all their heart, strength, soul, and mind. If a reader is motivated to do the same, I’ve accomplished everything I could ever hope for in writing Hearts Set Free.

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

I’m hard at work writing The Church on Misfit Row, which is set in Las Vegas in 1955. God willing, it will be completed in 2020 and available shortly thereafter!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Hearts Set Free: An epic tale of love, faith, and the glory of God's grace by [Lederman, Jess]

Hearts Set Free weaves together three tales of men and women who journey from the darkness of doubt to triumphant faith and from the ache of loneliness to everlasting love.

In 1930, the rag-tag riffraff of a railway stop called Las Vegas need a fighting man to shepherd their tiny church after their pastor is murdered. Might David Gold, a washed-up boxer and Bible-school dropout who fights as the Pummelin’ Preacher, be the answer to their prayers?

At the same time, Luke, a native Alaskan boy, is on a quest to find his father, who has abandoned his family for a beautiful woman his warrior mother vows to kill. The journey of mother and son will lead them to the Nevada desert, and to truths–and terrors–of which they’d never dreamed.

In 2011, Science Cable T.V. producer Tim Faber is determined to prove that mankind has no need of God, while his lover, Joan Reed, strives to regain the faith of her youth. They’re bound for Las Vegas to meet with a 99-year-old man who holds the key to a mystery they must solve–and answers that will forever change their lives.

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Life Without Humor is a Pathetic Experience

Eduardo Chapunoff Author Interview

Eduardo Chapunoff Author Interview

Charlas Con Dios En Calzoncillos contains discussions with religious representatives of different faiths. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Most people are seriously and justifiably concerned about their thoughts on God and religion. Fears prevail and limit humans’ ability and disposition to express their feelings on the subject.

Asking questions to representatives of different creeds exposed some crucial differences among them. However, I tried to convey the message that mutual understanding can be achieved EVEN when individuals have opposite points of view.

My motivation in writing this book was based on a life-long struggle to deal with this issue and showing how important it is to express your ideas to GOD, even when you don’t know (as it happens in the book), He’s speaking to you.

This book contains some fictional stories to get a larger point across. What were some themes you wanted to capture in these stories?

Life without humor is a pathetic experience. Those who believe in God and his extraordinary goodness will notice his great sense of humor and of course, his capacity to do miracles.

Another very important point I made in the book is the suggestion that God is not directly responsible for human beings cruelty, and that He is extremely frustrated about humans’ highly dysfunctional behavior. That becomes even more pronounced when He recognizes that He’s unable to correct it. God’s attitude is humble and compassionate and he admits that the creation process of the world and human beings, regrettably, and to his deep regret, suffered from “infrastructure failures”.

I like the title of his book. Where did the inspiration for the title come from?

Perhaps, subconsciously I felt that those who believe in God would like to have chats with Him in a very personal and intimate way. Talking to God in underwear would be one way of doing that.

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Believing in God is far better than not believing in God. Appreciate God’s incredibly smart and beautiful he created for our world but also understand his limitations, as mentioned in the book by Rabbi Isaac. Also, make an effort to tolerate the doubts of the agnostic, Dr. Terrin, and don’t hate him for his ideas.

Nobody’s is perfect and God appears to be the first one to recognize that. Don’t feel guilty for your doubts. God will be grateful to you for your candor, sincerity, and understanding. And remember that He’ll never be able to avoid tragedies in your life, but will give you the strenght and capacity to fight adversity.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Charlas Con Dios En Calzoncillos (Spanish Edition) by [Chapunoff, Eduardo]

Dios viene a la Tierra como hombre para comunicarse con seres humanos directamente. El libro contiene discusiones con representantes religiosos de distintos credos y tambien contiene capitulos humoristicos. Se cataloga como “ficción”.

No tengo conocimiento de que algo parecido se haya publicado anteriomente.

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Literary Titan Book Awards May 2019

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

The Winter of Swords: A Grimdark Epic (Overthrown Book 1) by [Bunce, Aaron]Shadow Resistance by [Cyprian, B.J.]Lessons from the Frogs I've Kissed: I have made all the mistakes in the book so you wont have to by [Kolnik, Krystal]

Soul Dark: Chosen by [Reedy, E. L., Wade, A. M.]Forgotten By the Sun by [Eismann, Celeste]Osteoporosis & Osteopenia: Vitamin Therapy for Stronger Bones by [Lusk, Bryant]

Journey To Osm: The Blue Unicorn's Tale by [Durant, Sybrina]Unconventional by [Hebert, J. J.]

Image may contain: textCallie’S Ghost by [Christian, James]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Chasing the Red Queen by [Glista, Karen]The Scopas Factor by [Panettiere, Vincent]Boomerang Will Not Return: A Novel of Time Travel by [Crane, David]

Shipwreck Island by [McPike, James B.]The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot's Encounters by [Genest, Micah]RISKING FOREVER: Vol 1 (The Forever Series): New adult college romance by [GALLINA, TARA]

Gazelle in the Shadows by [Peach, Michelle]Weepy the Dragon by [Hebert, J. J.]The Backwards K by [Hebert, J. J.]Moments in Time: Poems of Life Love Faith by [Reinheardt, Larry]

The Red Grouse Tales: The Little Dog and other stories. by [Garland, Leslie W P]Prodigal Avenger: A Story of the Secret War in Afghanistan by [Moynihan, Tim]The Final Wars Begin (Final Wars Trilogy Book 1) by [Asthana, S. A.]

Ameher's No More Crumbs Chronicle of a 4-D Woman Rising from Hate to Hope: Beloved I Wish Above All That You Prosper and Be in Health Even as Your Soul Prospers by [Ameher]The Fantastic Inner Life of An American TeenagerThe King of Halloween & Miss Firecracker Queen: A Daughter's Tale of Family and Football by [Leachman, Lori]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

7 1/2 Habits To Help You Become More Humorous, Happier & Healthier

7 1/2 Habits To Help You Become More Humorous, Happier & Healthier by [Jacobson, David]

The first thing that caught my eye even before getting to the first chapter of the book was the dedication part. The author styled dedication as ‘deadication’ and I thought, wow, is this a typo? Reading on, the author explained that the misspelling was intentional because he was dedicating the book to every dead person he knew. I thought that that was cool, and sort of funny. Here I was getting ready to read a book that would make me more humorous, happier and healthier, and what do I find at the beginning? Some funny word. I immediately knew that I was in for a good read. David Jacobson also had a livication part; dedicating the book to all living people.

In chapter one, the author states that you should treat humor as a necessity, not a luxury. The author writes that you should make humor a priority in your life. I agree with him because, with humor, life stops being too serious. Humor will help you improve your attitude, physical and mental health. On using the self-effacing humor, the author writes that it is good because you will let others know your humor, and they will be comfortable knowing that you know they know.

Habit four was my most favorite of all. The habit reads “Use the power of humor to positively influence you and others.” I couldn’t agree more. It is evident that by bringing in humor even during tense situations people feel a little bit relaxed. By reading and adapting this habit, you will help those around you better their own well being. There is no harm in being a little funny with your friends around. Humor makes the environment more cheerful and more fun to be in. The sixth habit was a good one too; humorize – Combine humor with other aspects of your life.

I kept wondering why the author wrote about 7 and 1/2 habits. Why did he half it? Why not write about either 7 or 8 habits? The author explained that he wrote the half habit because you don’t need the entire habit for it to work. The half habit is also the most challenging to maintain. “Mastering your thoughts” is the last and half habit. It is not easy to master your thoughts. The good news is that if you manage to master them half the time, you’ll be doing twice as well.

Every book lover should read this book because the book is educational and amusing. I also recommend the book because it makes you view humor and life differently, and enables you to see the light side of things. The best part is that the book is a light read so you will finish reading it sooner than you realize.

Pages: 167 | ASIN: B07L23YS7C

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The Holy Grail of Personal Finance

Gustavo J. Gomez Author Interview

Gustavo J. Gomez Author Interview

Private Money Lending is a comprehensive book that details the different ways someone could make money from their investment in private money lending. What were some key ideas you wanted to pursue in this book?

Every investor should know that learning to generate a consistent, substantial, and predictable passive income stream sufficient to cover your total monthly expenses is the ultimate goal for anyone who wants to retire early. In fact, creating a safe and consistent passive income stream is considered the ” Holy Grail” of personal finance.

My objective in writing this book was to present to potential readers the existence of a little-known but crucial area of investing. This area of investing is private mortgage investing. What makes this investment vehicle safe is the fact that the investment is guaranteed by a tangible asset, brick, and mortar, such as a house or a commercial building.

Under a worth case scenario, a real estate tangible asset will always retain a certain amount of value, which it’s something that can’t be said for stock market correlated investments that can simply evaporate overnight based on bad news. Therefore, the important aspect of investing in private mortgages is that it is a non-correlated market investment that works under all market condition.

Private Money Lending is the only book on this topic that is based on a university-level qualitative research study. The study demonstrated the power that private mortgage investing has in generating a safe, substantial, and consistent passive cash flow under any market condition. This investment can generate a 9%-12% return on investment (ROI) safely in addition to providing all the legal protections a first mortgage provides banks.

Typically, investors learn about this investment vehicle by happenstance; that is, by knowing someone who is a private lender and understands all the nuances of this type of investment and who is willing to teach someone else the concept. Private mortgage investing is an especially useful investment vehicle in low-interest rate environments, such as the current market we have been experiencing for the past 12 years, where you can only receive 2%-2.5% for a 1-2 years CD and 3% for a 5-10 years CD. These low-interest rate environments are always devastating for the retired or soon to be retired individuals living on a fixed income. There needs to be a safe alternative, and private mortgage investing meets this requisite.

I believe that with the use of the book Private Money Lending: Learn How to Consistently Generate a Passive Income Stream as a guide any potential investor will no longer have to learn about this investment vehicle by happenstance.

What is your experience in this field and how has that helped you write this book?

I learned about private mortgage investing by happenstance like most people back in 1992. Thus, since 1992 (27 years) I’ve been safely investing in private mortgages, specifically in commercial and residential non-owner-occupied properties. As a result of learning about this investment vehicle, I no longer invest in the stock market because I can safely and consistently generate double-digit returns with a higher degree of safety.

There are many different investment opportunities out there, why did you want to write about private money lending?

I wanted to write about private money lending with an emphasis on private mortgages because I believe this is an investment vehicle that can generate the necessary cash flow to sustain a comfortable retirement with much less volatility and risk than with stock market correlated investments.

Yes, there are many different investment opportunities in the market, however, the majority carry too much risk. At least for my taste. The approach I use in this book was to first describe the advantages and disadvantages of the majority of available market investments before making the case of why I consider private mortgage lending a superior investment vehicle.

If you are an investor searching for a safer way to invest you should ask yourself three questions:

  • Would you like to generate a passive and meaningful income stream in all market conditions?
  • Would you like to generate this income stream consistently?
  • Would you like an alternative with less risk than investments subjected to the volatility of the stock market?

If your answer to at least one of the three questions is “yes,” then reading this book will not be a waste of time or financial resources for you. In fact, learning about this investment strategy will change your financial life for the better.

What are some common mistakes investors make when they first start?​

For investors entering this industry, the most common mistake is not possessing the necessary education to be safe.

It is important to learn how to perform the necessary due diligence regarding the loans that you will be considering.

It is also important to physically inspect the quality and location of the properties under-consideration to ensure a safe loan. Investors should never make any loan simply because of the high returns they can garner.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

If your answer to at least one of the three questions is “yes,” then this award-winning book is a must-read for you.

  • This book is an important and timely research study that explores a little-known area of investing, which is that of private mortgage lending. The reason for undertaking the study was twofold; reason one is because, for the past 15 years, retirement portfolios had been devastated by stock market fluctuations, resulting from a greater prevalence of boom and bust economic cycles. It is quite possible that currently, another bust cycle might be unfolding, in spite of the Trump apparent bull market. 
  • The second reason is that of the adopted Federal Reserve policy of creating an artificially low-interest rate environment in an attempt to sustain the continued growth of the stock market and support of the current real estate recovery efforts.
  • These two economic conditions primarily affect income investors because of the low yields being offered by the customary available fixed-income investments, such as bonds, CD’s, savings, and money market accounts (MMA). The combination of a reduced interest rate environment and increase stock market volatility has dramatically impacted the livelihood of the fixed income investor. Moreover, it has forced these investors to take greater levels of investment risk by incentivizing them to seek higher yields by investing in the stock market; in essence, the place that has created most of their financial problems.

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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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Kill the Teachers: Mexico’s Bloody Repression of Human Rights

Kill the Teachers: Mexico's Bloody Repression of Human Rights by [Stout, Robert Joe]

Terrifyingly gritty is the world within Kill the Teachers: Mexico’s Bloody Repression of Human Rights by Robert Joe Stout. Reader will not find a kind world in this historical retelling of events from the not-so-distant past. Corruption, suppression and oppression are what wait for readers within these pages. It is important to read about the past in order to learn from it: to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes again. However, learning is not the same for everyone. The brutal history of Oaxaca, Mexico is what readers are going to find themselves thrown into within this book. This small area that has never quite advanced with the rest of the country where dangerous men with big ideas crushed the spirits of those who lived there. Sometimes even ending their lives.

This book is a carefully researched and written recounting of life in Oaxaca. There are interviews with those directly in attendance of the rallies and demonstrations those who wanted reform. These first-hand accounts bring home the reality of what people were facing in this tiny state. Stout crafts his retelling of the events in his novel in easily digestible chunks. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the history, politics and subterfuge in books like this. Those who are not history buffs may be turned off by the content at first, thinking it too dense for their enjoyment. They’re not wrong, as a lot of information is covered in this book. This is not something you pick up to read while relaxing in the backyard.

That being said, the layout and the formatting of the book are reader-friendly. The chapters are peppered with quotes from interviews and the content is presented in a way that makes it easy for readers to absorb the information they are reading without feeling like they signed up for an intensive history course. The data is dense, but it is not difficult as it flows like a novel would. It is not dry and boring.

It is easy to see that Stout had a competent editor as the errors in grammar and style are minute. It is not easy to share the fragmented history to a world that is not familiar with its roots. Stout appeals to the reader in such a way that learning happens naturally.

Those who are looking for a political or historical thriller will find their needs met with Kill the Teachers: Mexico’s Bloody Repression of Human Rights by Robert Joe Stout as he shares the non-fiction reality of Oaxaca, Mexico. This is the real-life story of a state that has a bloody history. At times, this information is devastating to read, especially when the reader realizes that this did not take place hundreds of years ago, but within the last half-century. However, this truth is something that we should not avert our eyes from, but learn from instead.

Pages: 316 | ASIN: B07C883C1S

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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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Neurotic Children as Adults

“It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.”

This right here is an accurate summary of the purpose of this book. The kind of adults children grow into is entirely dependent on how they are brought upon. According to Arnold Holtzman, nothing is ever truly forgotten. There is always a subconscious memory of childhood comforts. For this reason, something as simple as interrupting the comfort and joy of suckling can have deeply etched effects on the child. Effects that run into adulthood.

The author introduces the idea of the mother from hell and the mother from heaven. The mother from heaven instinctively cares for her child. Her physical and emotional connection with her child is real and almost tangible. Even when she is chastising the child, he or she can still see the love and affection in her eyes. The mother from hell does not take the time to build this bond. They let their own demons color their interactions with their child.

Over the years, behavioral disorders have been defined differently. It seems that every few years a different disorder becomes the it-thing. A look at the root and basis of all these disorders reveals that they are all as a result of parenting from hell. They are all a result of some form of deficiency in childhood. It all comes down to the experience in formative years. All the way from infancy, not just when the child learns how to speak.

The author obviously has a good understanding of psychology and behaviorism. His understanding is obvious in the way he relays his message. He does not just regurgitate the information from textbooks but rather lays out his understanding in simpler terms. He does this in simple language. The prose flows freely. This is a subject requiring a strong voice. The author is unapologetic but not arrogant or offensive. This book has depth. It is not an overview. It is a breakdown of the subject matter. It is a contribution to a discussion. It is not a lecture.

This book has several examples of adults with behavioral issues deeply rooted in developmental deficiency. His description of each one of these cases is vivid and revealing. These cases are relatable. More often than not, the reader will recognize his or herself in Janice or Cheryl. If one is already a mother they will recognize how their childhood played a part into making them into this kind of adult. Hopefully, that will help their own relationship with their child so that they will not grow into such an adult.

Being a parent is often tinged with doubt. No one stops to tell a parent they are doing a good job. They only ever stop to make judgment when something looks wrong. This means that life as a parent is uncertain. One can never know if they are doing it right, they can only hope. This book is that much needed assurance and guidance. Children are the future. This book is one way of ensuring the adults of the future are emotionally and psychologically healthy. Five stars out of five for this book. It is incredibly helpful. It is not judgmental. It is apt and fitting. If there were more stars, Neurotic Children as Adults would be deserving.

Pages: 286 | ISBN: 198169692X

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Grandma’s Secret Blessings: A Memoir with a Twist

Grandma's Secret Blessings: A Memoir with a Twist by [JohnEgreek]A chance encounter in the park leads Yianni to develop a relationship with a family similar to the one in which he grew up and in need of the same love, unconditional support, and unfailing guidance provided him by his grandmother once upon a time. His recurring meetings with little Christina, her parents, grandmother, and brothers reveal more interesting and, sometimes, amazing coincidences between their family and his own. Eager to share the stories of his youth and finding more reasons all the time to reveal his most troubling and painful secrets, Yianni begins to save his newfound family while he saves himself in the process.

Right out of the gate, JohneEgreek strikes a powerful chord in Grandma’s Secret Blessings: A Memoir with a Twist with his emotional reaction to his first encounter with three-year-old Christina. Yianni is clearly missing a piece of his heart due to the strained relationship with his son. The fact that he has never met his young granddaughter, Aubrey Rose, eats away at his soul, and the warm reaction he feels from Christina’s mother and brothers begins to fill that tremendous void. It is difficult to read without becoming overwhelmed with emotion at Yianni’s thoughtful reflections upon each of their storytelling sessions.

There exists an entire demographic of readers who will relate to Yianni’s description of his childhood. The abuse and unrelenting savagery with which his father throws his way from a tender age is unbelievably horrific. To find that Yianni is able to grow, thrive, and find a way to cope with his past is truly amazing. His story gives readers hope and provides them with a virtual shoulder on which to lean as they battle their own childhood demons.

Yianni’s grandmother, the basis for his strength, is a phenomenal woman indeed. She provides young Yianni with all the love and protection he needs once he loses his grandfather, his idol. The advice flows freely from her day after day, and she builds Yianni’s self-esteem when his father has beaten him down. Her words alone are enough to heal Yianni’s spirit.

The regular meetings Yianni has with Christina’s family are fascinating to say the least. I was stunned at the coincidences he discovered week after week between his own lineage and theirs. I felt as though the story was leading to an aha moment in which a secret relationship was revealed–that’s how coincidental and numerous the connections are. Story after story, Yianni builds a life with Christina and her parents–even her reluctant father, Ray. I have to say, I was more than pleased to see the final turn of events involving Ray and Yianni.

I give Grandma’s Secret Blessings: A Memoir with a Twist by JohneEgreek 5 out of 5 stars. To have so freely opened his life to the eyes and ears of the world is an admirable thing indeed. The years he spent being abused by his father and the time he spent living as the one sibling his father refused to love shaped JohneEgreek into a man who can heal others with his own stories.

Pages: 316 | ASIN: B077PLR98B

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