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Can We Talk? 

Can We Talk? by Sam Smith is an impassioned story of a family trying to adjust to life in a new country while dealing with mental illness, racism, and divorce. Based on her life, being an immigrant in Canada, Sam gives the reader a view into her experiences with her husband, Shawon, and her two daughters, Julie and Shanon. Everyone in the family has a different struggle. Sam and Shawon have a strained marriage that was not made easier by their move to Canada. Shawon and Sam live in the same house but no longer sleep together. They no longer act as a married couple, with Sam’s coworkers not believing she is even married. This relationship trickles down to their two kids. Shannon, the younger sister, still lives in the house with both of them. She is often in the middle of her parents’ fights, always consoling her mother after her father says something cruel. Julie lives away at school and has become an independent and self-reliant person who doesn’t ask for much help.

Can We Talk? is a stirring story about how hard adjusting to a new life can be. The author does a wonderful job at conveying her life struggles and hardships in a compelling story that feels real and is relatable.

Sam Smith does a masterful job of creating a story where the reader can feel the struggle of the characters regardless of whether they have felt those same struggles. She does this without creating a large conflict, instead she tells a real story with real people and real problems.

The story never feels like it is about characters in a book, it instead feels like a story about real people living their life and trying to deal with their family struggles. It is easy to empathize with Sam and her kids, because you understand what they are going through and where the problems lie.

Reading about Sam’s relationship with Shawon and her experience immigrating to a new country, you can’t help but to feel for them. Although the reader can recognize that Shawon causes a lot of issues for Sam and their kids, you still understand his motives and actions. The real enemy of their family is the hardships that come with immigrating and not being able to provide for their family.

Can We Talk? is a deeply thoughtful and emotionally resonant memoir about the challenges people face and how that tests us and our relationships. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an insightful and poignant true story.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B09BRQGLR4

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LEARN TO LIVE LIFE!

Fred A.  Idiaquez is the kind of author that gets one to appreciate life. In Learn to Live Life: A Positive Outlook, the author talks about life on different journeys. He uses situations he has been through and what he has observed throughout his life. In his book, Fred A.  Idiaquez talks about positivity, realization, and the optimism that life offers.

The first chapter in Learn to Live Life is about understanding positivity. This chapter will enlighten readers and get readers to have positive energy around them. I like how straightforward the author is, defining terms and expounding on words that seem alike. When you read this chapter, you learn that positivity and optimism have some similarities despite having different meanings. This chapter is fulfilling and will awaken the optimist in you.

What stands out from Fred A. Idiaquez’s writing is his neutrality. Even when discussing societal vices, the author is modest and uses friendly language. As a reader, you get a warm feeling when reading Fred A.  Idiaquez’s work as you feel connected to him. I applaud the author for his impartiality and for showing kindness even when he is criticizing certain human behavior.

This book is an eye-opener and will get you to shun negativity, find balance, and change your perspective on various things in life. In Learn to Live Life, the author journeys with you during different stages of life. There are comforting words about grief, calming words about loss, cheerful words about joy, and assertive words about inspiration.

With the content in Fred A. Idiaquez’s book, you can take a new path, and make the life you have been dreaming of. Everything in Love to Live Life: A positive Outlook will leave you with positivity. The tales shared by the author, lessons learned, and the subjects in every chapter were enlightening as well as refreshing. The author uses thoughtful words as he talks about real stories in the most considerate of ways. I recommend this informative self-help guide to readers that are looking for a motivational book on modern living.

Pages: 69 | ASIN: B09V3L76VC

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Alphabet of Flowers

Alphabet of Flowers by Gloria D. Gonsalves is a beautiful picture book for preschool through elementary level readers. Each page is a letter of the alphabet with a different flower, a few facts about the flower, and a crayon drawing of the flower. After the letter Z, there is a summary table with each flower’s name and its picture for a quick look at them all. Then there are a few activities at the end for children to do to review all the different flowers.

The first thing that readers will discover about this exceptional picture book is the artwork. It jumps off the page with vibrant colors and simplicity. Children will love seeing the illustrations done in a medium they have access to and can try and copy the flowers. Of course, this is encouraged by the author! The standard format for each page is excellent as well. It would make it easy to use this book when teaching about the alphabet and be easily turned into a lesson plan.

I was impressed with the variety of included flowers; many are ones I have not heard of before, and they are fascinating. The simple facts are interesting but not overwhelming for children. The language is easy to understand and flows well, keeping the same format for each page. This writing style, repetition, is perfect for the younger readers but is not overly simplified so that older children would lose interest.

Alphabet of Flowers is a stunning picture book introducing young readers to the wide variety of flowers that are out in the world. It also serves as a unique way to teach the alphabet to preschool and kindergarteners. In addition, teachers and homeschoolers could easily turn this book into a complete unit study on flowers with the activities included in the book for review.

Pages: 44 | ASIN : B09VX8N9QL

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Stories from Ecuador

Stories from Ecuador is a collection of short, well-put-together, and connected stories of the author’s experiences while living and working in Ecuador. The book consists of thirty-four different stories all about the beauty of Ecuador and its welcoming people. It follows Nelson himself as he sets on a journey to work in this foreign country as an English teacher there. He writes about his whole experience from arriving at the airport in Ecuador and needing to quickly switch hostels due to overbooking, to detailed and beautifully explained sightseeing experiences in and around Cuenca, to the everyday life and activities he did and his overall impressions of the country that he got to call home.

One of my favorite stories definitely has to be one of the first stories in the book, where he meets his first friends there, Sheik and her son José. It is a heartwarming story about people instantly coming together and it sets the comfortable and cozy tone for the rest of the book. Nelson did a fantastic job at describing all the beautiful sights you can see and experience in Ecuador.

The book also does a great job of conveying that sense of the unknown that comes with moving to a foreign country and all the love, positivity, laughs and friendships that come with it. In addition to that, the book is filled with pictures of all the people and sights that the author got to meet and see during his stay. This really helps readers to become fully immersed in the authors experiences and understand the beauty with their own eyes.

Stories from Ecuador by Tyrel Nelson conveys all the wonder and joy that comes with traveling and living in a foreign land. It will certainly make you want to visit Ecuador. This is an entertaining and educational book that will transport you to South America as it provides a clear and beautiful view at one persons time in an exotic country.

Pages: 130 | ASIN: B08T9KMFV8

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An Opportunity To Put Lifestyle First

Jeffrey Shaw Author Interview

The Self-Employed Life gives those that want to be self-employed a realistic look into the challenges and pitfalls, as well as how to be successful in self-employment. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve never held a traditional job or received a paycheck from anyone. I realized this is a terribly underserved segment of society. A book was needed that spoke our language, that understood the realities of being self-employed. Business strategies that focused on relationships and not transactions. That were suited for one person businesses and small teams. An understanding of the emotional challenges we face and ways to improve our mindsets to reach our highest aspirations.

It’s always seemed that it’s the most innovative, creative, and bravest amongst us that chose to start their own businesses. To forge our own path and be different. Then without our particular needs being addressed, it seemed to reinforce we are “different”, not heard or as respected as we deserve. I want to change that.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were younger?

That recognition is an important strategy of success. I’ve always been perfectly happy just being good at what I do without worrying about whether anyone noticed. Eventually you realize that recognition is an important component of advancing your career and having the impact you desire.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

To be proud of being self-employed. To see being self-employed as worthy of the highest level of respect and to join together as a community. That being self-employed is an opportunity to put lifestyle first and build a business that fits into your life rather than a life you’re trying to fit into your work.

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

I have several ideas for the next book, but nothing decided yet. It will most definitely serve self-employed business owners again and I’m aiming for Spring 2024.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

From the host of the wildly popular The Self-Employed Life Podcast comes a compelling guide for self-employed business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, on creating a purpose-driven, heart-centered lifestyle.

To be self-employed means more than employing oneself. It’s a choice to challenge yourself to grow personally while building a business. Caught between entrepreneurship and small business, self-employed people often feel overlooked and left out.

Professional photographer and host of the Creative Warriors podcast Jeffrey Shaw believes that as we develop ourselves, we raise the bar—we’re capable of even more success. What self-employed folks need is both business strategies and personal development to reach and maintain that success. In The Self-Employed Life, Shaw offers a three-part ecosystem for success:

● Personal development: mindset, exercise, nutrition, and other healthy shifts
● Business strategies: marketing, finance, and other key tools for growing your business
● Sustainability: the daily habits that help you sustain success

This holistic approach will equip you over the long haul, beyond the mechanics of setting up and running a business.

Whereas Shaw’s previous book, Lingo, was about creating the secret language to attract ideal customers, this book is all about creating the environment, the Self-Employed Ecosystem, to attract the success you want. He shows you how to get clear on what you want to get away from what you don’t want, set clear intentions in a specific From-To format, and reflect on three big life questions to clear the way.

As Paul Jarvis did with Company of One, Jeffrey Shaw plots a path forward for the solopreneur who knows that small is better—except when it comes to how big you can dream. He shows you how you can set up your environment to create the success you want. You may be in business for yourself, but you’re not in business by yourself.

We Lived Every Kid’s Dream

Mr. Stephen D Reddy Author Interview

A ball with no points tells the true story of your high school basketball team and the remarkable victory they achieved. Why was this an important book for you to write?

As I explained in book’s Prologue, this story was too special to let it just fade away and be forgotten forever. Our recent team reunion after 46 years made it clear how special those memories still were amongst all of us who made it happen. We lived every kid’s dream…and it was time to share the dream with everyone else.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

It was describing some of the hardships that many of my teammates endured later in life, and that needed to part of the story. Life is hard, but despite those hardships, our friendships and bonds have remained stronger than ever.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

“You can’t be afraid of what other people might think of you.” – Jim Valvano

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

Believe in yourself, and then go chase your dreams.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

When a group of unheralded boys came together in 1971, not much was expected. Over the next four months they produced “one of the most remarkable Cinderella Stories ever written,” according to one local paper.

For decades Westfield, NJ has been the idyllic suburban town known for its distinctive homes along tree-lined streets, its classic downtown area, and for having a school system that was the envy of many neighboring towns. During the ’60s and ’70s, the town proudly witnessed the most dominant high school football program in the state under the leadership of head coach Gary Kehler, highlighted by a state record 48 straight games without a loss. Yet in the midst of that streak, the 1971-72 varsity boys basketball team briefly stole the spotlight from their football classmates while accomplishing something that no other WHS hoops team has ever done, either before or since. In a ball with no points, a member of that team recalls a basketball journey, life lessons learned along the way, and one very special season a half century ago.

For anyone who has ever stepped onto a basketball court, played high school sports, or dreamed of being a champion, there is something in this book for you. A ball with no points examines the many facets of basketball familiar to many, as well as a fairy tale season enjoyed by precious few.

Salt & Light; The Complete Jesus

Salt & Light: The Complete Jesus is an illuminating scholarly work on the authentic Jesus and his teachings. Dean lays out three important questions in the beginning of his book about Jesus, his existence, his teachings and what he offered to humanity; all delivered through a critical lens. Dean sets out on a daunting journey of finding the ‘authentic’ Jesus without any bias and only sticking to available evidence.

The beginning of this informative book contains information on different sources the author used and then the book dives into the Gospels, Jesus’ disciples and other topics, to make his case.

Each chapter has an intriguing question at the beginning, which is then followed by compelling arguments. Readers are not made to take sides on those arguments, but are allowed to critically think and decide for themselves.

The simple use of language throughout this book ensures that the information being conveyed is easily understood by anyone, and I think the text is much more powerful because of it. Photographs and other pieces of historical evidence are provided in this book which breaks up the long pieces of text. They are great visual additions that make this book much more engaging.

While I am spiritual, I certainly don’t have the level of knowledge of Christianity that the author does, and I had a bit of trepidation going into this book because of that. But the author provides readers with all the necessary information they need in order to understand the book. I feel like I walked away from this book with a lot more information on the subject, which will allow me to confidently partake in a discourse on this topic with other people.

I was mesmerized by the cover of this book because I felt like you are playing a word puzzle and finding Jesus in the scramble; which I think is a metaphor for this book, or maybe life too. While I think the book contained easy to understand language and the chapters fully covered a topic before moving on, I feel like this book is not something you finish in one sitting. There is a lot of thought-provoking information in this book that takes time to absorb. Going through the book, there were several ‘aha’ moments for me about Jesus and his teachings.

Salt & Light: The Complete Jesus by Jonathan Geoffrey Dean takes on a controversial topic in a way that is comprehensive and impartial. This is an enlightening book that provides the reader with the critical information they need to unravel the mystery of Jesus.

Pages: 211 | ISBN: 978-1-03-913143-9

www.saltandlight.ca

Slavery 101: Mercer Moments in American History

Slavery has always been a topic that is usually only covered in school, but to understand a piece of American history, slavery is something we cannot look past. Ken Mercer, in his book Slavery 101, does an excellent job of educating his readers about the origin, practice, and various crucial events related to slavery. The author delves into how slavery existed in the old days and how we are impacted by it even today. 

Every chapter begins with a question. It is then followed by the historical origin behind it, where the author debunks myths popularized in American society and the education system. This demystification of history is what makes this book unique. Describing slavery as heinous and evil, Mercer traces its origin back to as early as the time since man first appeared on earth. 

The author has described the key events and the historical facts in a lucid yet intriguing fashion, so that it is easy to comprehend for everyone. While it is definitely not an exhaustive study on the topic, it manages to make the reader aware of events that are often excluded from history lessons. 

From Islamic slave trade practices to white slaves, the author covers all facets of this evil practice. He also talks about modern-day slavery, i.e. human trafficking. As a devout Christian, he urges fellow Christians to raise a voice and battle against this modern form of slavery.

The author sets out on a scholarly pursuit, but the book is not as heavy on bibliography as you would expect it to be. Nevertheless, the thorough research and the to-the-point narrative are commendable. Slavery 101 is an enlightening read for anyone who wishes to understand the past better and look beyond what revisionist history has taught us.

Pages: 224 | ASIN: B095BW51FH

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