Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.
Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.
This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.
The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.
As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ
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Lessons from the Frogs I’ve Kissed is a heart-wrenching and personal story of love and loss. Why was this an important book for you to write?
“If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” –Toni Morrison
The writing and sharing of my story became a significant journey of healing for me. I felt the universe was fully supporting my writing as the memories were downloaded and I was able to recall the most intricate detail and communicate my feelings and memories in relatable words. I realised then that not only was this book meant to be written as part of my own healing process, but that it also needed to be shared with others, as there are plenty of people out there who could benefit from the lessons I had learned. This truly was the book I wish I had when I was going through any one of my painful break-ups at any given time. During the process I realised the more honest, raw and authentic I was with myself, the more relatable my story would be. So I threw myself under the bus a few times, in order to make sure this is not a one sided, man hating tale, as there were always two people in the equation. It has been written with cringe-worthy honesty and dashes of humour to keep a somewhat heavy subject matter light and enjoyable.
I appreciated your willingness to share difficult moments in your life. What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you?
One piece of advice that I wish someone had given me is that we tend to fall in love with our partners potential. We keep hoping and waiting for our situation to improve. What we don’t realise is that is just the kind of cake we bake with our partners, and that our relationships are unlikely to change into the fulfilling relationships we are hoping for. The dynamics between two people is set in the beginning. You will not magically be attracted to someone or earn their respect if it was not there from the onset.
You detail an abusive and destructive relationship, but I found the book to be ultimately uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from your story?
I really hope to give my readers perspective on their own relationships, whether they are good or bad ones, just something to compare them to. I also wish to give hope, hope that true love and happiness does exist. One of my big realisations was that in order to meet someone who could genuinely love me and I love them, I had to find self-love first, and I think this was one of my most valuable lessons.
One of my readers stopped me in the local shopping centre to let me know since reading my book she had the full realisation that she is married to a Pete, and she is now certain she needs to get out of her marriage, When I hear feedback like this I know my book is here for a reason.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I had to laugh when I was first asked this question. My book hadn’t been been out for three days after working on it for almost 5 years and people were already wanting to know when they could expect my next book. I had a rather sticky court case recently when I was sued for parental alienation. There is definitely a book there which I feel will help other women and men in similar situations. I guess I need to get my writing cap on soon.
I invite you to be a fly on the wall as I revisit all my significant adult relationships and share the invaluable life lessons I have learnt over the last 20 years. In my most desperate moments, whether dating or married, I searched for a book that could give me some much-needed perspective on my current circumstances. That book did not exist – until now.
Many of us have been in romantic relationships which feel incredible in the beginning but end up in trauma, regret and despair. How do we stop ourselves from becoming locked in cycles of abuse? What are the unconscious dating patterns that underlie our romantic interactions? How do we know what we are looking for in a partner ? And most importantly why do we need to learn to love ourselves first? Written with dashes of humour and cringe-worthy honesty, I am sure you will find Lessons From the Frogs I’ve Kissed to be an entertaining and powerful read, which should help you in your own personal journey in finding ever-lasting love and happiness.
Posted in Interviews
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Lost in the Reflecting Pool is a candid retelling of your life and the many trials you faced throughout. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was an important book for me to write Lost in the Reflecting Pool for several reasons. On a personal level, writing was a way for me to process some very difficult, and traumatic times in my life. The act of writing itself, allowed me to gain enough distance and perspective to gain understanding that I don’t think I would have otherwise gained.
Equally important, my book covers many issues that are of particular relevance to women and men in terms of toxic relationships, narcissism, trusting the red flags that one sees early on in relationships and I think that it is important that these are important issues for the general population to be aware of as they enter into relationships.
You wrote about a relationship with a man that you struggled to break free of; what is one piece of advice you wish you had at the beginning?
Trust what I saw – and to not ignore what I saw.
The book is a memoir about many difficult things in your life, but the story is ultimately uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope that people will take away from my story that it is possible to change to course of one’s life even when things feel as if there is no way out – things can get better. Developing a support system is essential. When in a toxic relationship make sure that one does not allow oneself to become isolated from all other supports (friends and family).
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am currently working on a psychological thriller, Call Me Angel which should be available late 2020 and I am working on two children’s books.
When Diane, a psychologist, falls in love with Charles, a charming and brilliant psychiatrist, there is laughter and flowers—and also darkness. After moving through infertility treatments and the trials of the adoption process as a united front, the couple is ultimately successful in creating a family. As time goes on, however, Charles becomes increasingly critical and controlling, and Diane begins to feel barraged and battered. When she is diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, Charles is initially there for her, but his attentiveness quickly vanishes and is replaced by withdrawal, anger, and unfathomable sadism. What Diane previously thought were just Charles’ controlling ways are replaced by clear pathologic narcissism and emotional abuse that turns venomous at the very hour of her greatest need.
A memoir and a psychological love story that is at times tender and at times horrifying, Lost in the Reflecting Pool is a chronicle of one woman’s struggle to survive within—and ultimately break free of—a relationship with a man incapable of caring about anyone beyond himself.
Posted in Interviews
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Ryder is the drummer in a popular band along with his best friend and his bestie’s hot sister, Lexi, and a few other colorful members. I love this great cast of characters. The dynamic among the group is unique yet believable. I’ve never been in a band but it seems like a realistic portrayal of life as a band on the road.
The action in the story starts when Ryder and Lexi break the number one rule of band membership… do not hook-up with anyone in the band. Ryder is doubly nervous because she is also his best friend’s sister!
This story starts with some excellent sexual tension that builds slowly and enticingly! The reader has to wait patiently for the first physical experience between the two. The author does a fantastic job with erotic descriptions. The sex scenes are lusty but not trashy. The strength of desire between the two is palpable. I do admire Ryder’s dedication to making sure Lexi was sufficiently satisfied! He even does research!
We also learn about deep pain and loss in our characters’ lives. The author weaves in nicely these back stories that then helps explain these characters’ drives and motivations.
This is a great book about relationships, love, loss and the power and importance of human connection. There is a good amount of erotic scenes however the author sets the tone as romantic and loving, never vulgar. I love the modern music and movie references. It gave it a very up-to-date and realistic feel. I Also loved the inside look at life on the road in a band.
The writing is fluid and easy to read without feeling juvenile. There are some great moments of humor but also real moments of pain and struggle. There were some points I wanted more action or was waiting for something to happen but overall I was engaged throughout.
This is a fun and sexy read for anyone looking for something quick and enjoyable with great characters and a romantic and interesting story line.
Pages: 399 | ASIN: B07MDHXT8C
MAMA SOU is the true story of a young mother who gets her son taken away. This book is pure love and emotion and nearly had me in tears several times. As the story unfolds, you see how much love Maria has for her son, and how she will do anything to get him back. She is strong, independent, and ready to fight for what is hers. Aside from the incredible story that is being told in these pages, the writing is superb and beautifully delivers a fully realized vision of the characters and the places they inhabit. It is incredible the lengths that people go to for their family, and the fact that this is someone’s real story is both beautiful and heartbreaking.
Whether you are a parent or not, you will feel the love that went into writing this story, and the emotions between the people in the story. The author, the mother herself, pours her heart into every chapter. I’ve read some books like this one, where a young mother struggles to gain her family back, but there is something special about Maria’s story. Maybe it’s the year that it happened, which was some 40 years ago, when these types of things weren’t really talked about, or maybe it’s because it happened in Greece. Either way, it holds a special place in my heart, and I will not forget this story any time soon.
As someone who has suffered from depression most of my life, seeing how Maria handled her depression was inspirational. That fact that she was able to fight for what she so desperately needed, all while dealing with mental illness, was incredible. I fully enjoyed this book, I think that whether you have kids or not, you will find some special meaning within these pages. The story is sometimes harsh, sometimes sweet, but definitely full of lessons to learn for everyone that reads it. I only wish that we could learn more about Maria and her story, and more about her son.
Pages: 118 | ASIN: B0793VJFFG
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, biography, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, depression, divorce, ebook, education, family, goodreads, greece, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, mama sou, maria griggs, memoir, mental health, metamorphosis of a mother, mom, mother, nonfiction, nook, novel, parenting, parents, publishing, read, reader, reading, relationship, self help, shelfari, smashwords, story, tyler clapp, writer, writer community, writing
One Path, Many Lights: One Woman’s Personal and Spiritual Journey by Maria Lacey is a non-fiction book about the personal experiences that occurred during a period of twelve months in the the author’s life after she returned home following a traumatic relationship breakdown (although details of this inciting event were not mentioned). Maria is a teacher, counselor, and healer who can see and feel spirits and energy. After overcoming her own trials and adversity, she is able to help others with their own healing, even as she continued to battle periods of self-doubt. The author’s purpose in writing this book is to inspire and bring hope into others’ daily lives.
The author’s writing style is very engaging and I really enjoyed it. It almost felt as though a close friend was talking to me and retelling various events that had happened in her life, rather than reading a book about someone I’d never met. It seemed like one bad thing after another happened to Maria, with a number of medical issues and the deaths of her two cats, Kovu and Moggy, all occurring within a very short length of time. I felt sympathy for all the things she had to deal with, which she handled with amazing grace. Then, through writing this book, she turned her personal hardships and tragedy into something positive. Her message resonates with the reader because we are always hardest on ourselves, and need to learn to love ourselves unconditionally, flaws and all.
It was interesting reading about the range of people she worked with in her practice, from pregnant women to men struggling with the changes brought on by retirement. I loved reading the part where the spirits of Maria’s beloved pets visited her often. I wish that was true for me, too.
I didn’t enjoy reading the channeling sessions as much as the rest of the book. It didn’t hold my interest quite as well. The section about her childhood felt a bit disjointed, jumping from one event to another with abrupt transitions, and they in chronological order. There were some grammatical issues and typos that distracted from the narrative, but overall, the book was a very enjoyable and inspiring read. The footnotes in several chapters were helpful to provide additional information and clarification. I would recommend this book to anyone in search of inspiration and spiritual growth.
Pages: 164 | ASIN: B00YOIOTIS
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, biography, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, counselor, ebook, family, friend, goodreads, healing, ilovebooks, indiebooks, inspirational, kindle, kobo, life, literature, maria lacey, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, One Path Many Lights, publishing, read, reader, reading, relationship, self help, shelfari, smashwords, spiritual, spirituality, story, writer, writer community, writing
The Golden Cage is an inspirational book that shares your life experiences to help people break out of their personal cages. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This book was really important for me to write because I want to change the world for the better. I want to motivate and inspire others to really go for their hearts’ dreams instead of settling in their lives. I know that the world would be a more joyful and compassionate place if we were all following our hearts.
You use the golden cage metaphor throughout the book. How did this idea start and develop while writing?
I had a vision of the cage when I thought about writing the book. I really did not fully understand what it meant. When I started writing it, the entire meaning unfolded. I wrote 35,000 words of the book in two days. It was a download more than anything else.
I found this book to be uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I would like my readers to know that they have the ability to escape their Golden Cages, and that they can do this by following some of the steps I outlined. I want them to know that they do not have to settle, but can really go for what they want and deserve in their lives.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on a book about pushing your edges and allowing fear to guide you into the unknown in a healthy way. It should be completed by the Fall.
Discover how to break free of life’s cages and follow your heart’s calling. Do you feel trapped in a relationship or career, going through the motions of life with little excitement or passion? Are you spending time dreaming about doing something different with your life? If this sounds like you, you may be living in a Golden Cage that brings you some measure of comfort and security, yet it does not fulfill your heart’s desires. The Golden Cage is a spiritual self-help book that will help you gain the necessary courage and skills to break free of life’s Cages and lead an empowered life in alignment with your heart’s true longing.
Posted in Interviews
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GARDENING WITH GUNS by AJ WOOTTON is a memoir which delves into the relationship between the author’s rocky childhood and her present-day struggles. We meet Amber as she gets a great job and goes on vacation with her family. Things take a quick turn for the worse when Amber’s beloved father’s body is found–suicide. While dealing with this significant blow, Amber ponders traumas from her childhood, compares her relationships with her absent father and abusive stepfather, and parses out her many tumultuous relationships—all while wondering if her past might dictate her future, knowing that her spousal relationship is also on the rocks.
Although this is billed as a memoir, I’d say it reads more as a memoir-within-a-memoir, with the loose threads of the current day events—the death of a family member, followed by the arrangements for the funeral and resulting small family dramas—connecting the real meat of this book: the author’s deep dive into scenes from her childhood, some of which have had effects on her she has yet to realize. The prose reads like a stream of consciousness, which is sometimes an asset: it does make you feel like you are sitting inside the author’s head, listening to her own thoughts as she notices details and pulls apart her memories. The book does a good job of delving into the complexity of dark human drama—divorce, infidelity, suicide, abuse—while giving front stage to the inner motivations which drive our actions. The first few chapters feel like a cozy memoir, as the author chummily guides you through interviews and family vacations as one would a close friend. While some of her stories tend to ramble a bit, the author provides such detail in her work that it is impossible to get lost amidst the narratives. The importance of every scene included may be questionable, as it occasionally veers into redundancy; and the timelines can be confusing, as in at least one case we learn to live with a character and then, later on in the narrative, “meet” him. However, it falls together as a deeply-felt memoir; it is impossible to read this without feeling one knows the author extremely intimately. As the author weaves through her life as an abused child, an entrepreneurial tween, a self-conscious teenager and beyond, it’s clear that the heart of the story is the author’s relationships: those with her father, step-father, mother, siblings, friends, husband, and, ultimately, herself.
Pages: 386 | ASIN: B07KT98NQR
Tags: A Guardian Falls, abuse, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, biography, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, divorce, drama, ebook, family, father, GARDENING WITH GUNS, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, infidelity, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, mother, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, relationship, shelfari, smashwords, story, suicide, wootton, writer, writer community, writing
This is a powerful book that kept me enraptured from the start. This poignant tale gives us a dogs-eye-view of a journey through a sometimes happy and often difficult life. From the sadness of leaving his mom as a young puppy, traveling through various homes, finding a loving home and losing it. The reader must experience great sadness and pain against animals who are defenseless and abandoned. If you are an animal lover this story will pull at your heartstrings. This is such a brilliant perspective encourages advocacy for animals. If you don’t shed a few tears while reading this, you must be asleep!
The writing is easy to read but not juvenile, as you might imagine with the perspective of a dog. The innocence of it is heart-wrenching at times, as if from the eyes of a child. I love all the descriptions and explanations for the dogs’ responses along with the actual dialogue between the animals. This was so endearing. The author masterfully created Toby’s world through his innocent observations that were without all the hyper analysis often accompanying descriptions of human emotions. Although the animals display innocence, they certainly are not dumb, on the contrary, there is so much intuition there that anyone who is bonded with a pet can understand. I love the relationships and bonds formed between animals as well.
This story paints a sad picture of shelter life. This is a great book if one is looking to inspire shelter adoptions, which may have been the authors intent. The picture painted in this novel is not pretty and It certainly created a great sense of compassion in me and interest in adopting an animal from a shelter in the future. This book is deeply penetrating and thoughtful. The writing is beautiful, full of innocence but also depth. This is a quick and impactful read that should be kept on hand for anyone wanting to promote shelter adoptions!
Pages: 191 | ASIN: B07K5MM6WJ
Tags: adoption, alibris, animal, animal care, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, canine, Chasing the Blue Sky, dog, doggy, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, love, nook, novel, passion, pet, publishing, puppy, read, reader, reading, relationship, shelfari, shelter, smashwords, story, William Lowrey, writer, writer community, writing
Life happens. We all know this and generally don’t have to be reminded of this truth. Along with the rigors of work, family, and relationships come changes in metabolism and eating habits. Women seem to bear the brunt of these changes with weight gain following the transition into marriage and motherhood. Make no mistake about it, women are well aware of the changes their bodies undergo, and they are hyper aware of the impact their weight gain has on relationships and their overall health. Whether women work to lose weight or not, they don’t need reminding that their bodies are changing in ways they may not necessarily like.
Carl Turner’s Gain Weight…Lose Your Mate examines the tendency of women to gain weight and focus less on maintaining the size they were upon entering the relationship with their mate or spouse. Turner spends a significant amount of time examining men’s awe regarding their girlfriends’ and wives’ seeming unwillingness to lose weight following childbirth. Though I understand some of the reasoning Turner sets forth, he focuses rather relentlessly on the desire men have to see their wives lose the baby weight.
Another aspect of Turner’s writing lies in the fact that he relates men’s feelings to the physical appearance of their wives and girlfriends. According to the author, there is a certain level of happiness most men feel as a direct result of their wives’ physical appearance, and that level of happiness is negatively impacted by their choices not to pursue exercise and healthier eating habits.
Peppered throughout Turner’s book are scenarios and examples of couples coping with the woman’s weight gain. Turner presents these situations in order to better illustrate his point but succeeds only in making men look more and self-centered. In once such scenario, Turner introduces a brief scene in which one man tells his wife that he will leave his wife alone with their children if she keeps her weight as is and doesn’t find a way to drop the extra weight she gained after having the two children. Sharing this story would have been effective had Turner used it to explain the selfishness behind the man’s comments. However, Turner goes on to explain that men don’t care what their mates eat as long as their weight/appearance is not negatively affected in their opinions.
Turner does include research-based measures and manages to warn readers of the consequences of obesity and the ensuing health conditions which result from overeating and failing to exercise regularly.
Turner’s writing style is straightforward and polished. Overall, I am mortified by the tone taken by the author and feel the writing lacks solid advice to rectify an issue rather than pointing out that there is a problem. His point of view is well crafted and easily understood.
Pages: 140 | ASIN: B079K5D4FY
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