Blog Archives

So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids!

So, You're Raising Your Grandkids!: Tested Tips, Research, & Real Life Stories to Make Your Life Easier by [Hodgson, Harriet]

It is common to see grandparents raise their grandkids. The reasons vary from the children getting in trouble, passing away, divorce, teen pregnancies, parents being in jail, not being in a capacity to raise the kids, or not having the right parental skills. Grandparents raising grandkids may seem easy, but it’s not. Harriet Hodgson takes us through the struggles, the fun times that create the relationship children have with their grandparents.

Harriet Hodgson uses real-life example to delivery some poignant and sage advice. She raised her daughters’ children, and so speaks from a position of experience throughout the book, but not as a teacher, more as a knowing grandparent. The kids were twins and raising them was an amazing experience. The author notes how difficult it can be when grandkids ask for information which you think would be best explained by their parents. Losing her daughter was painful. Grieving for her daughter, the twin’s father, her brother, and father in law was among the lowest moments in her life.

This book reads like a parenting guide for grandparents. Some may feel that, since they are grandparents, they know how to raise kids. But remember, you are raising kids from a different perspective now and this book illuminates those differences and helps you tackle them. The author writes about family values and helps one understand what children want and how they should be treated. Raising teens can be an uphill task for anyone. The writer shares her experience raising her grandkids in their teen years, and how adolescents react to issues.

The tips Harriet Hodgson shares should be mastered by everyone as they will always come in handy at some point in life. The book is written in a flowing style, with the author listing her thoughts then explaining later in detail. This book not only educates you on parenting, but also helps to understand and cope with grief.

Throughout the bok Harriet Hodgson words are backed by research and science. That is the other amazing thing about this book. Everything listed is a fact, and one gets to understand how some families come to be. From the texts in the book, one can tell that Harriet is excellent at care-giving.

I’ve learned a lot just by reading this book. Mourning can take a toll on someone, but there is always that period where you rise up. The author did well by talking about stress and the effect it has on kids and how one should take care of their health. You understand how you can encourage a child to aim higher and get to the peak in everything they do.

Pages: 200 | ASIN: B075J5YNKW

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Caution to the Wind

On May 5th, 1994, at 9.30 am on a chilly, sunlit day, Ebony, a 36ft Roberts Spray, left the safety of Lyttelton Harbour in New Zealand, to venture into the unknown, where nothing would be predictable.

The voyage plan was to follow the famous trade wind route, sailing from New Zealand to England.

All too soon, they found themselves battling their way to Sydney, Australia. Caught in a ruthless storm with no contact with the outside world, they were truly alone. All the romantic notions of the ultimate cruising life disappeared into oblivion.

Step aboard Ebony and take an adventure, an epic 15-month voyage. Experience this day-to-day passionate tale, packed with intrigue, and at times suspense. Experience the delights of the lands visited and learn more about the world of international sailing. This was a life-changing adventure, with a dramatic, unexpected, ending.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Burnt Face: Scarred for Life

Burnt Face: Scarred for Life by [Swann, Annette]

Burnt Face is an outstanding contribution to the world delivering truth, reality and, emotion. Right from the beginning, I was left feeling an array of emotions which demonstrate the author’s ability to create an emotional story that brought tears to my eyes. Burnt Face: Scarred For Life is a true story about the author (Annette Swann) and how her life was changed in a heartbeat. This incredibly moving, thought-provoking, and true-life story really does get the reader feeling a range of emotions, making this one of the best reads for me.

The story is written in first person narration which means we are instantly drawn into Annette’s thoughts, experiences and way of life. This harrowing story highlights how one person’s life can dramatically change. Annette’s childhood was unlike any other. Having to face typical childhood problems and bullies, but she also had to face a world where people would stare and make comments about her looks.

Annette’s face suffered third degree burns at the innocent age of 9. That being said, Annette shows in her writing that she can demonstrate more courage, passion and life-experience than many of us put together. At times, I felt it difficult to read. Not because of the writing, but because of how emotional the whole story is. I think Annette Swann has done a remarkable job with regards to sharing her life experiences, and pure admiration is felt throughout the novel.

The story allows the reader to see what life for Annette was like before and after the tragic third degree burns. This helps to really get the reader feeling all-sorts of emotions, including how life can be unexpected, and unimaginable events can happen to the best of us.

One of the great things that Swann articulates in her writing is the importance of real-life issues and experiences. The author reinforces her personal experiences, which really makes this book different from others. I can honestly say that I felt privileged to read such a heartfelt novel that really does make you question all of the important things in life. The novel is great for anyone who loves biographical stories.

Although Annette Swann may not be the strongest and most articulate writer, what she does really focuses on is personal experience, in order to engage with her readers, and I think she does this exceptionally well. This is by far one of the best biographical novels I have read in a long time. The author’s optimism and spirit shines throughout her writing.

After reading this book, I left feeling a sense of admiration for Annette Swann. Despite all of what she has been through, she has been able to turn a tragic event into something positive. This is an emotional and harrowing story that is drawn from personal experiences. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a lover of personal experiences, personal journey’s, biographies, and real eye-opening true stories.

Pages: 173 | ASIN: B077Z7WDGP

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Caution to the Wind

She and her partner answered the call of the sea. They wanted to heed to the breeze and sway to the wind. Such was the image of what would be expected of the sojourn. The reality was different. Marred with seasickness, a faulty water trap, uncooperative winds, and even loss of a crew member, Lin and Geoff were in for the ride of their lives. So many hurdles thrown into their plans and expectations. Frequently doubting their plans. Getting on each other’s nerves at some point. This is an outline of the journey from New Zealand to England. With an unexpected end, this story is one of a kind.

In Caution to the Wind the author does not leave even the bad parts untold. If you are going to tell a story, tell the whole of it. That is what Linda Ford has done. She has given the reader an inside view into her adventure. Her passion for the sea is evident in her narration. However, she does not let her expertise boggle the reader’s mind. She tells her story in simple language. Even providing a glossary in the back which will come in handy because this book is immersive.

Linda has quite the writing skill. Her descriptions are vivid which is perfect for the many picturesque scenes that this story sails into. The book is fairly short and can be read in one siting. From the first page, I was taken with Lin and Geoff, and did not want to put the story down until the end. The author clearly knows how to capture the readers attention.

You know when you walk up to a group of people having a conversation and it takes you a little while to catch up? That is the feeling one might experience in the beginning. The first chapter sort of starts in the middle. It feels like there should have been something before that first chapter. However, you will catch on quickly to the flow of the story.

The chapters are really short and lends to the idea that this is more of a journal with the chapters being akin to journal entries of sorts, but I was left wanting a bit more structure to allow me to be immersed in this fantastic story even further.

Some talk about bravery. Others talk about going for it. This story is inspiring in it’s ability to unveil a story that captures both of these things. I mean if Lin and Geoff can stand against treacherous weather at sea for months with overlapping disappointments, surely no goal is too ambitious. This book will have you on the edge of your seat then it will have you off that seat going after whatever that goal is that you set aside. The story is one big adventurous metaphor for the way to live life.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 0648164756

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Freedom Justice Are Both

This book will hopefully bring the justice that should have been done in the first place. It has been a long ride of being hungry and lonely for the author. I really hope justice will come, and he will finally be happy and be with his kids again. It’s been so long I wonder, do his kids even know him anymore? I know it’s been a long battle for him. But we all know God got him.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Witch Trials Book Trailer

Once upon time, women struggled to gain notoriety capable of any feat besides household responsibility. The struggle was life and death in the resistance of recognizing the inevitable rise of women. Starting life in Italy with a wealthy protestant family. Sylvie idolizes her father Dr. Fiore. Sylvie has her hopes set on being one of the first female doctors known to the area. But when Sylvie is married off to a wealthy craftsman named Leon, in France, she quickly realizes that this dream may be out of her reach and possibly run the risk of death. Is Sylvie’s dreams worth dying for? This book starts our journey in a small town of Eze in Southern France in the late 1600’s and tells a fictional story based from real time events in our history. This is book one of a new short story series.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

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

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Date to Speak Up

Nataly Restokian Author Interview

Nataly Restokian Author Interview

Masks follows Anna as she struggles to find herself and her love as she navigates the social, religious, and sexual taboos of the Arab world. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It had always been my dream to write novels, and I wanted to start my first book by being the voice of so many in the Lebanese and Arab society who pay the price of the social, religious and sexual taboos and never dare to speak up for themselves. If you had the chance to let the rest of the world read and find out about certain issues that people suffered from wouldn’t you write about them?

Masks is based on true life events. What were some things you felt had to remain true in the story and what were some things you took liberties with?

Though Masks is inspired by true life events yet it contains fiction, the part of the story that had to remain true is my own feelings and thoughts, this is a very hard question… well, I took liberty in writing about some facts but created characters that were the combination of more than one person in real life.

I understand that the story is based on your own life. Was there anything that was difficult for you to write about?

The story is partly based on my own life but I had to add fiction to the characters including Anna the protagonist in order to be able to write about so many things that I have heard, saw or lived, but then again it was not easy at the beginning. I had been thinking about starting this novel 8 years ago and I always hesitated because concentrating on my inner thoughts and to able to express fears and open closed doors was never easy. My husband, my family, and my friends supported me a lot. It is so strange that I really felt relieved when I put down my thoughts. As a journalist and a TV host, I always did my best to reach out to my readers and fans with messages that touched their hearts, I hope the characters in my book will be able to touch the heart of each and every reader and inspire them in many ways, I Hope…

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

I already started writing my second book hoping it will be available within two years, it is somehow the continuation of Masks, though the first book has an end, the second book will talk about different adventures and taboos. Some characters from my first book will be in the second story but the readers will meet new characters with different problems and dissentious personalities.

I thank Thomas Anderson for this short yet interesting interview, the questions were few but very well chosen to satisfy the curiosity of any reader about the novel. I wish you a very prosperous career, I appreciate your time & work & hope to bring a change to my readers with the story of Masks.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Masks by [Restokian, Nataly]Masks is a dark fictional tale, based on true-life events. It narrates the adventures of a young Armenian girl born in Lebanon in the seventies. She dreams of fame and power in Lebanon and the Arab world and shows resilience and motivation beyond her years. The novel delves into the world of the protagonist, Anna, who is surrounded by social, religious, and sexual taboos. She fiercely breaks the chains to enter the world she has strived to reach, in a seemingly conservative society barely emerging from a civil war. She builds her success on her remaining values, challenging her fate and sparing no way means to attain her goals.

As a disappointment to her parents, she walks the challenging paths alone, making her way toward fame and fortune despite lacking the support system to do so. Doors begin to open for her, and she enters the world of Arab celebrities. She is now a public figure in the Middle East, living an immoral married life in a materialistic world surrounded by influential business people and royal family members. She tries, in vain, to fill the void in her soul with sexual adventures and controversy by taking a wide variety of lovers. Her adventures invariably end in misery, doing nothing to awaken her from her numbness. Still, her vivid, out-of-control personality helps her move forward while simultaneously getting her in trouble. In the early stages of her life, she has suffered the unthinkable, being bullied and raped, with the civil war a constant backdrop throughout most of her childhood. The novel delves deep into Anna’s mind as she has flashbacks of the trauma she has suffered, offering the reader a hint of an explanation for her behavior.

In a society in which men dominate women, she is one of the few who realize that fashion, social status, plastic surgeries, and bright smiles are not the answer to happiness. She lives in a world where a girl is only worth as much as her virginity, where women do not dare to ask for a divorce, where the fear of retribution keeps them locked in a cage that is very rarely gilded.

As fame, money, and power slowly eat at her soul, the arrogant Anna falls in love with a total stranger—a young, single bachelor from Canada—after a night of secret passion. That is where the story begins to unravel as she returns home with a scandal in her back pocket, her eyes and ears and heart tuned to this man instead of her husband. Anna realizes that neither her marriage nor her achievements have ever made her happy, so she decides to throw it all away. The lies and deceit that fill the so-called glamorous life she has been leading are floating up to the surface, including her husband’s infidelity and the critical steps she has taken to reach the top.

Marriage, family, career—all destroyed to be united with the stranger. She starts a new battle, this time struggling to change her destiny for someone she barely knows, who lives oceans apart and offers her nothing except his heart.

She risks everything, turning her whole life upside down. Anna realizes that her happiness, inner peace, and love are found worlds away from her own, with someone she would never have expected to be her soul mate. Still, Anna’s sacrifices are not behind her, and the struggle has not yet ended, although she has found what she has needed all her life: redemption and unconditional love.

The stranger enigmatically hints at emotions in Anna that have been hidden for a long time behind the masks of her dark and shallow lifestyle.

The characters in the story are the voices of so many who do not dare to speak up in a world where social and religious standards openly chastise the very actions that behind closed doors have become the ultimate paradigmatic way of life.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology

Charli Mills Interview

Charli Mills Interview

The Congress of Rough Writers is an anthology that showcases flash fiction from a diverse set of writers. What was your inspiration for putting this collection together?

Carrot Ranch started as a sandbox — an online place to invite other writers to play for the sheer joy of creating literary art. The weekly flash fiction challenges created a safe space for writers to explore and push into their craft 99 words at a time. Maybe it was Julia Cameron’s teaching that we can be creatively healthy as we gain experience. We created a literary community with diversity that blows my mind every week. It’s uncoached and has no expectations beyond meeting the constraint and boldly going where the prompt leads. The writers inspire me to work with their material in an artistic way, to show how individuals of different backgrounds, genres, and levels can collectively create a powerful vision.

I’m a little jealous because you got to work with so many talented writers on this project. What was the development process like in putting this work together?

Right? The Congress holds some amazing talent. That’s what made me think of calling them the Congress of Rough Writers in the first place because I felt like Wild Bill Cody gathering talented riders from around the world and getting to play with their feats. The development process included coordinating with Sarah Brentyn who developed the structure from my crazy ideas to pull together memorists and fictioneers and build from their original material. I’ve become enthralled by the challenge of putting together collections of 99-word stories, and it’s like a secondary artwork to me. Norah Colvin developed my ideas for building community and wrote a clear and compelling educational component. We had a great challenge throughout the process to uphold different styles of English from global writers. C. Jai Ferry line-edited the entire book and several other Rough Writers served as editorial advisors. It’s not easy melding world styles but we succeeded. It’s breath-taking to work with a large group of writers beyond submissions.

I enjoyed how this collection showcased stories that were only hundreds of words long but managed to inspire some thought-provoking ideas. What was your favorite story from the collection?

Just as any reader acknowledges, we often pick a favorite based on how it personally resonates. For me, that one story is Pete Fanning’s original 99-word “Normandy.” He manages to express what the combat veteran’s experience is like as he ages. The story gives me shivers every time I read that final line, “I was alone on that beach.” I’m a spouse of a combat veteran and we’ve had hard times. We are finally getting him VA care although it’s a fight every step of the way. As my spouse’s advocate, this is my battle. So, to read Pete’s story to a group of combat veterans and their spouses, there was not a dry eye in the room. This is the power of literary art in 99-words. Pete nailed it.

Do you plan to put another anthology together?

You bet! Right now, I’m working with 33 Rough Writers on seven new parts that will focus on what writers can do with serial material. We had several writers create returning characters or write follow-ups to interesting story developments in previous 99-word stories. I’ve invited these writers to craft complete three-act short stories up to three thousand words long. I’ve invited writers to write narrative essays to tell the real story behind a 99-word BOTS (based on a true story). Memoir expert, Irene Waters, will help me develop that section. Educator, Norah Colvin, returns to help craft a new educational component that encourages writers to use their material in clever ways beyond a single use. We are also playing with three acts by piecing together three 99-word serials. Instead of creating chapters from prompt-linked flash fiction, I’m arranging hundreds of 99-word stories into 10-minute reading collections and connecting the stories in surprising and compelling ways. And, because Carrot Ranch is about making literary art accessible, I’ve invited 26 more writers as Friends to respond to new prompts. Each writer will include a 99-word artist’s statement in the new collection. It will publish in November after a rigorous editing process. I’m so excited to be working with such talent and passion for literary art.

Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

Witness great feats of literary art from daring writers around the world: stories crafted in 99 words.

Flash fiction is a literary prompt, form, and tool that unites writers in word play. This creative craft hones a writer’s skills to write tight stories and explore longer works. It’s literary art in thoughtful bites, and the collective stories in this anthology provide an entertaining read for busy modern readers.

Writers approach the prompts for their 99-word flash with creative diversity. Each of the twelve chapters in Part One features quick, thought-provoking flash fiction. Later sections include responses to a new flash fiction prompt, extended stories from the original 99-word format, and essays from memoir writers working in flash fiction. A final section includes tips on how to use flash fiction in classrooms, book clubs, and writers groups.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

With Angel’s Wings

With Angel's Wings by [Collins, Stephanie A.]

With Angel’s Wings, by Stephanie Collins, is one mother’s raw and heart-wrenching account of her life with two daughters with special needs. Written as a third-person account with name changes, the author describes each and every obstacle encountered as she struggled to come to terms with her daughters’ challenges while simultaneously dealing with a long string of physicians, specialists, and therapists. Laura, as the author calls the young mother, fights an uphill battle from the moment she is told her days-old infant has a heart defect–the first of many. While facing a seemingly unending barrage of personal hurdles, Laura somehow learns to cope with the endless physical and emotional demands placed upon her family by tiny Hannah’s diagnosis of Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.

This author’s life story as a work of fiction is almost indescribable. I do not believe I have ever read a book that kept me as breathless and as anxious as this one. Laura’s laundry list of traumatic events ranging from her newborn’s purple feet and hands to her seizures lasting for hours on end is mentally exhausting to read. Her life is so full of twists and turns and drama surrounding Hannah’s diagnosis and subsequent health scares, the author has no need to embellish with flowery language and lengthy stretches of narrative. There is, literally, no room or time left to dress up her text. This book reads as a journal of heartache peppered with true love.

Collins is honest and open with her feelings about her daughters’ diagnoses. As Laura, she sugarcoats nothing. As strong as she is, Laura reveals her vulnerability as an overwhelmed young mother. The reader aches to watch her contemplate, time and again, a way out. Her frustration as a parent fighting her way through the healthcare system is one with which many readers will be able to relate. In addition to her day-to-day battle with fevers, seizures, hospital visits, and mounting financial woes, Laura faces the virtually indescribable audacity of an ex-husband who lacks not only both sympathy and empathy but a soul, as well.

As a parent and a teacher, I have never read a more authentic and touching account of life as a mother or a more revealing account of what caring for a child with special needs truly entails. Emily’s early signs of autism hit home with me as a teacher. No one knows the struggle of helping a child on the autism spectrum like a parent. Laura begins accommodating for Emily’s needs long before her diagnosis. She modifies, plans, and tries to remain several steps ahead of meltdowns from early on in Emily’s life. Parents of children with autism will appreciate reading about the way Laura intricately weaves a web of plans on a daily basis to compensate for Emily’s developmental delays.

Though the book is primarily focused on the battle to save Hannah and come to grips with her many needs, the author does a beautiful job of illustrating the relationship Laura develops with Daniel. Daniel, the one shining light in her darkest days, is a rather unlikely saviour. Their love, apparent from early in their friendship, is one that only intensifies through the rigors of identifying and finding ways of successfully coping with all Emily and Hannah’s needs.

There aren’t any options for stars beyond 5, so I am restricted to giving With Angel’s Wings 5 out of 5 stars. The author’s life story, now Laura and Daniel’s as well, is an absolute must-read for any parent, teacher, or caregiver of a child with special needs. There is a love like no other born out of a relationship with these children, and Stephanie Collins has handed readers everywhere the key to unlock hearts and minds and build a better understanding of the struggles faced by many of our family members and friends who have children with special needs living lives like Laura’s.

Pages: 304 | ASIN: B01DL9AXAI

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: