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Destiny Lives on Fairhaven Street

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Violence. That’s all C.J ever knew as a child. From the brutal bullying by boys at school to his father’s fiery fists of rage, his life was nothing short of a nightmare. When his abusive father and traumatized mother divorced, C.J shed his childhood nickname and began searching for the real Chris. It is at this time he meets Danielle, the girl next door. With an instant attraction, their worlds collided and erupted into a magnificent world of love and trust from the start. Danielle became a beacon of hope that guided Chris through the most challenging years of his life, a time when he was discovering who he was and who he wanted to be. However, Chris ended up moving to Michigan, ripping him away from Danielle just as their young love blossomed. Can Chris move past the trauma and distance to win Danielle?

Author C.J. Hudson thrusts the reader into his world of pain and belittlement by his father and bullies at school. The scenes of abuse were hard to get through, and I absolutely hated C.J.’s father for how he treated him, but that also shows the author’s writing is descriptive and moving. This impassioned story reads like a journal written by the author to his sons about his childhood life and how he met their mother. I was able to connect with the author, and I enjoyed being able to read about his thoughts. I understood his reasoning for not liking certain things like his real name or something as minute as oatmeal.

C.J.’s and Danielle’s relationship made me smile because she loved him for who he was. Reading about how Bob, C.J.’s uncle, treated him was heartwarming and, I must say, the best part of the author’s memoir. It brought a smile to my face when C.J. began to feel the real love and get the right parental guidance. I don’t know why I was surprised by the ending of the author’s memoir, maybe because a part of me was rooting for him to win Danielle back.

Destiny Lives on Fairhaven Street is an inspirational memoir of trials and triumphs. Readers will follow as the author finds the strength to survive the things that life throws at him and watch as he tries to build a better life and legacy for his own sons.

Pages: 258 | ASIN B0BHTP7FH9

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Lost in Beirut

Ashe and Magdalena Stevens’ Lost in Beirut is a true story of love, loss and war. It is a work of non-fiction and narrates the lived experiences of Ashe and how he managed to escape the war in Lebanon. Beautifully written, this impactful book will immerse you in the story and keep you flipping the pages, wanting to find out what happens next.

Set in 2006, in the socio-political context of the early 2000s with America at war with the Middle East, the novel depicts the truth of the racism, stereotypes, and prejudices Middle Eastern individuals had to face at that time. The story follows Ashe, a rising star in Hollywood, and his best friends, who get a chance to organize a gigantic concert in Beirut, Lebanon.

For the first few months, Beirut seems like a dream come true as he falls in love with Aleyna and Beirut itself. This bubble of bliss bursts when Israel and Lebanon abruptly go to war. Stranded in a country where being an American is equivalent to having a target on your back, Ashe and his friends experience the devastation of war in Beirut. The authors, survivors of this war, give a real representation of the Middle East’s political situation and war crises. The writing is powerful and evokes strong emotions in the reader. We follow Ashe through love and happiness and then devastation and grief, feeling these emotions with him.

Lost in Beirut: A True Story of Love, Loss and War is the true story that took Ashe Stevens fifteen years to overcome his PTSD and recount how he escaped the devastating war in Lebanon. Definitely, a five-star read, Ashe and Aleyna’s story will leave you feeling a riot of emotions. Violence, love, and grief have been written beautifully and leave a lasting impact on the reader.

Pages: 189 | ASIN : B09MTGCWBT

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Zipline

Zipline tells the riveting story of two couples and their friend who are determined to zipline down a mountain. Each of them have a bright future ahead of them, but will they survive what hides in the woods? The group’s trek up the mountain is riddled with intrigue. Strange sounds and curious marks on the trees leave them wondering, is something following them? Gail has heard scary stories about the mountain from her uncle. Could the stories be true? What secrets are the woods hiding? Zipline hooks the reader almost immediately. This is a suspenseful story with a compelling mix of tension and adventure.

I really enjoyed the characters in Zipline. There is complex but brave Gail, resourceful Danny, insecure-ish Paula, weed-head Sam and hard-to-pin-down Neal. Each character is unique and compelling and their issues with each other makes their relationships feel deep and meaningful, and makes for a gripping read when things go awry.

The trek through the woods is written in such a way that readers will feel practically compelled to continue reading. The characters reactions to situations in the woods are stunningly detailed and their emotions are conveyed in a way that allows readers to experience the emotional highs and lows right along with the characters. The majority of the story takes place in the woods, which provides a captivating setting for the story and imbues the book with a sense of intrigue and adventure throughout. The story has many suspenseful moments, but there are also light-hearted moments which is welcome because at times the issues faced in the woods can be grim.

P. Anthony Michael has created a suspenseful story with a unique adventure element that is interesting, but I felt that some scenes were a bit drawn out. I would have liked more of an emphasis or build up to the warning that Gail’s uncle gives them about the danger in the woods, but otherwise I think this is still and entertaining mystery story that fans of adventure novels will find engrossing. I recommend Zipline for its gripping storyline that leaves you wondering; what will happen next?

Pages: 87 | ASIN: B0B3C7ZZ7H

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Carbon Under Pressure

Carbon Under Pressure is the extraordinary story of an ordinary young woman called Rose. This emotional book starts with an account of Rose’s daughter Sophie attempting suicide. Then, the book follows Rose through the next three years of her life as she tries to save her daughter. As if this is not bad enough, more troubles follow this family as they try to wake up from the nightmare they are living and get through to the light.

Author Meg Heart tells her story in a manner that if the reader didn’t know beforehand that this was based on a true story, it would read like a fictional novel. The people portrayed in this book take on the appearance of a set of characters, with a relatable protagonist, a supporting yet devious husband, and a teenage daughter going through a dark phase in her life. While the entire story seems fictional on the surface and anything but ordinary, the most significant message of the book is that it can happen to anyone. The author adeptly carries the story forward while focusing on the mental state of all the characters involved and thus manages to evoke strong emotions in the reader.

This book is intended for mature audiences and covers topics of suicide and sexual assault. However, it is done with great care. The author only mentions the details that are required to tell the story without making the book too heavy to read. The book revolves around the themes of suicide, dealing with depression, family, and sexual assault and covers the topics in fair depth and accuracy.

Carbon Under Pressure is the memoir of one woman named Rose and about the darkest point in her life. How she survived and made it through is detailed with the cautionary tale that it could happen to anyone. This biography will appeal to readers that are interested in women’s studies, depression, sexual assault, and family issues. This book does an excellent job of describing the lesser talked about realities of life.

Page: 176 | ASIN : B09KY45J7P

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You Are Not Alone

Author Interview
Chyenne Daley Author Interview

Ninety Days is a powerful collection of poetry that takes readers through the six stages of relationships. Why was this an important collection for you to write?

The most important section for me to write was the healing section of the book. Writing the book was a therapeutic process for me and this part was especially important in my process.

My favorite poem from the book was the second one under Attraction. Do you have a favorite poem in this collection?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I put so much emotion into each and every poem, but one that I really felt connected with even after publishing was the 11th poem under the healing section. It really speaks to the growth and the developing love for myself after such a traumatic experience.

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

You are beautiful, you are valuable, you are worthy of all good things.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your collection of poetry?

I want my readers to know that they are not alone, that in this lifetime we will all experience pain, heartbreak and loss. Healing isn’t linear but eventually you do come home to yourself and find peace.

Author Links: Website

http://This book is a collection of poems that will take the reader through the journey of love and heartbreak. Ninety days is a personal look at the events that have scarred and inspired the author. The collection attempts to capture the nuances of love, and some of the hardships that come with shattered relationships. Ninety days is separated into six sections: Attraction, Intimacy, Uncertainty, Betrayal, Nostalgia, and Healing. These sections highlight the journey towards self-love and wholeness. Join the author on this voyage of exploration.

Journey Between Two Worlds

Growing up under the dictatorship of Hitler, author Karola M. Schuette was accustomed to a life that seemed monotonous at best. Always tiptoeing, always careful of what you say or do. You don’t want to be under surveillance, do you? She stayed affectionate to her aging parents as she developed into a young lady being the model German citizen to not attract attention. Around the same time, Hitler lost the war, and although she did not patronize their ruler’s tyranny, she was still German. The allied forces made sure she never forgot that. To Karola, it was as amusing as it was unfortunate. She relied on humor at times to get through. Even after the war, the hopelessness and destruction it left behind seemed unsurmountable. Life was difficult, but Karola was still grateful even for the smallest things. But right when she least expected it, she met the man who would move heaven and earth, just to make her happy and keep her safe.

Journey Between Two Worlds is Karola Schuette’s auto-biography that started from stories she remembered and the three binders of notes and photographs that she kept growing up. Despite moving across the world, the binders remind in surprisingly good condition. It is from this she started to tell her remarkable story.

It is a retelling of her journey as a young girl who grew up in a nation that Adolf Hitler drove to the ground. Then unexpectedly, she was swept off her feet by a German-born American soldier. Marrying him would mean moving to another country, thus her Journey Between Two Worlds. I found it hard to put this book down for two reasons: one is a realistic account of a woman’s adversities from girlhood to immigrating to another country, and two, Karola is hilarious. Her writing style feels as if you’re reading a letter from an old friend. Talking about the absurd amount of paperwork to get from one place to another, how nosy her neighbors were and how cigarettes turned out to be such an invaluable commodity are just the start of the entertaining topics she remembers.

Journey Between Two Worlds is a captivating memoir that has the perfect blend of history, comedy, and a retelling of a love that is so certain and unwavering. Readers will find her true story an eye-opening experience told with such personality they won’t want to put the book down.

Pages: 186 | ASIN : B097H4YMMD

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Ninety Days

In her second book, Ninety Days, author Chyenne Daley shares a collection of poems about tragic love life. Broken down into six stages: Attraction, Intimacy, Uncertainty, Betrayal, Nostalgia, and Healing. Through her poems Daley depicts the good, the bad, and the ugly side of falling in love, facing the denial and gaslighting of a cheater, and recovering from the heartache and mental problems that can arise from a toxic relationship.

These collections of poems are graphic and depict a powerful truth of what some women and men go through when facing a cheater; worse, a toxic cheater. Daley uses very few metaphors in her poetry. Her poems are very blunt, direct and there is almost no room for misinterpreting her words. “There was always red flags, There is always red flags.”

At the beginning of Daley’s book, the poems began with rhythm. As I continued reading her collection, the poems slowly lose rhythm and became more symbolic. For example, “I remember when I saw those eyes, I knew they were for me, I declared you my own before you even got, the chance to know me…” The beginning of this poem has a decent rhythm to it, but by the end: “Protecting myself such ideas was, Essential despite the potential bliss, I could have eaten you up almost immediately, But I told myself to wait.” The poem’s end is abrupt with the change in rhythm, and I was pleasantly surprised by the change of pace.

I liked that the author didn’t stick to one way of writing poetry, instead she jumped from strong symbolism without rhythm or focus on a balance between rhythm and symbolism. This leaves the author’s poetry open for interpretation and unpredictable. In the section of Uncertainly the author looks to have shifted perspective from first POV to second POV. Where the author used “I” and “me,” Daley uses “You.” “…Will you take it as a sign to proceed, Will you risk the danger…” I do not know if this is intentional, but it threw me for a loop. I was not expecting this change in POV so abruptly. I did have to take a step back to reread the poem again but it didn’t take away from the meaning of the poem. I found Daley’s poetry deep and I easily connected to the emotional content.

Ninety Days is an emotion invoking read that will have you wanting more. This thought-provoking collection of poetry will have readers experiencing a wide span of emotions.

Pages: 44 | ASIN : B09PZF462P

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Be True to Yourself

Annabel Harz Author Interview

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine takes readers through your emotions as you battle depression. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Depression is a soul-destroying condition. It permeates every aspect of a person’s life. If it is clinical depression, it can be extremely challenging to overcome. Its pervasive nature changes a person from the inside out, so sufferers who make it to the other side are very different people to those who went into it.

My depression lasted ten years. Coming out of it as a young person in my early twenties, that was half my life. That decade was so transformative and profound that the lessons I learned—including new ways of behaving and thinking—remain my core approaches, today.

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine was an important book for me to write because my experiences are shared by many others: sadly, the frequency of depression remains very high, and although the triggers and causes may differ, the resultant reactions of being stuck, feeling anxiety and fear, having panic attacks and thinking suicidal thoughts are all too common.

I have a wealth of raw materials which provide a first-hand account of what it is like to be in the depth of depression, and it is now time for me to ‘pass it forward’ in a way that hopefully will assist others: fellow-sufferers whose experiences are validated through seeing them mirrored in my book; and people without direct experience who gain insight into what it is like to be in that position.

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

The hardest thing to write about was suicidal ideation, because people thinking these dark thoughts are the closest they can be to madness without actually being locked up. It’s terrifying to have such thoughts invade the mind, unbidden and unwelcome, unable to be stopped. When I finally crawled out the other side of my darkest days and could reflect on my past with some distance, it was petrifying to realise how unwell I had been, how deep I had sunk and how out of control my situation had been … especially when I realised the danger that had put me in. It’s challenging to come face-to-face with the reality that I actively considered death a better option to life, because that is the ultimate end-game that most people don’t go to willingly.

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

Be true to yourself: ultimately, the only person anyone needs to answer to is themselves. All the kindly-provided advice and help from others amounts to little if it doesn’t feel right in your gut, so listen to your instincts and be guided by your intuition.

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

I have ideas for several books, in various formats, which are parked at the moment. My next project is a memoir of my mother, integrating other key influences in my life. My mother is an inspiration, a trailblazer in many ways, and her life deserves to be heard about by more than her family circle.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website | Amazon | Reedsy | ArtsHub | Readers Favorite

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine continues the theme of Journey into the Dark and the Light, the first book by Annabel Harz. Disarmingly honest words and images reveal more of her personal experiences: the deep shadows of loneliness and depression; the recognition of the value of survival at her lowest point of feeling unworthy; the importance of mental and physical space in creating a safe place for personal exploration and growth; and ultimately the sunshine of wellbeing when—through sheer grit and endurance—her personal demons had been conquered and set free.

Sustained effort is required to rise out of depression once it is established as a daily state of being. The poetry and artwork in this collection exemplify the resilience required to rise above the despair of mental ill-health, and with candour and sincerity depict the internal strength which facilitates reaching a place of well-being.
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