Blog Archives

Secrets of the Kashmir Valley

Secrets of the Kashmir Valley is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the untold truths of the Kashmir Valley. Farhana Qazi does an excellent job of bringing to light the true stories of women in this region who have suffered immense pain, loss, and terror. The stories are not only filled with sadness but also with hope for a better future.

The author effectively conveys the reality of life in one of the most militarized zones in the world, where the Indian government has imposed strict control, making it difficult for the voices of the Kashmiris to be heard. Despite the constant fear of detention, curfew, and violent raids, the women of Kashmir continue to celebrate happy occasions, but always with the underlying fear of what might happen next.

This emotional book highlights the atrocities committed by the Indian army, including mass graves, restrictions on basic human rights, and the countless incidents of rape, even of women as young as 17 and as old as 80. The writing style is simple yet powerful, making the reader feel the pain and suffering of the women in the region.

Secrets of the Kasmir Valley is a moving and eye-opening account of the struggles faced by the people of Kashmir. These powerful stories bring awareness to this country and what the people endure. For those that want to learn more about this region and understand what it is like to live there as a woman, this informative and passionate look at life in the Kasmir Valley will shed light on the decades of suffering and the unstoppable desire for survival.

Pages: 186 | ASIN : B08D68Y5FL

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The Possibility of Everywhere 

Beth Harkins’s, The Possibility of Everywhere, is a must-read for every traveler or for anyone who one-day dreams of traveling. If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’ll find that this book will evoke memories and rekindle a sense of wanderlust. For those who dream of adventurous travel, this book will carry them on their journey to the places of their imagination and destinations they wish to visit.

Cindy Hollingsworth, the protagonist, brings readers on her travel chronicle across various countries, continents, and landscapes, documenting the stories of women along the way. The book is captivating, not just because of its vivid descriptions but the insightful characters within her journey. One of the key themes of this book is the protagonist’s journey to self-discovery and finding acceptance.

Cindy transforms from a self-doubting person who relies on others to build confidence to an empowered woman who embraces her feminine power. This transformation is a remarkable portrayal of personal growth and self-awareness as she gets in touch with the possibilities and capabilities within. The author wrote this book carefully, with each page marking a new chapter or adventure in Cindy’s life.

The Possibility of Everywhere: Casablanca to Oklahoma City, Kathmandu to Timbuktu represents a desire for new experiences and a search for one’s purpose. This book is a statement, or metaphor, for Cindy’s journey, as she experiences a range of emotions from bliss to loss and thrill to uncertainty. It’s an excellent book about those who seek the courage to find themselves and their purpose in life.

ASIN 1639887024 | Pages 318

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No Unpaid Passengers

No Unpaid Passengers is an emotionally riveting collection of poems written by author Pam R. Johnson Davis. The collection is organized into six sections: I: Unpaid Pain, II: The Next Stop, III: Alone on the Night Train, IV: Love on the Ride, V: End of the Line, and VI: Afterword: Anybody Can Write a Poem (Or How Rejection Turned into a TED Talk). Serious themes such as racism, assault, divorce, and religion intermingle with themes of love, friendship, joy, home, and beauty to take readers on an incredibly raw and relatable journey.

Author Pam Johnson Davis does an incredible job of telling a story that touches everyone in some way. Davis plays into expectations with her use of slang and familiar language, using those devices to bring to life personal experiences and paint clear pictures of real-life situations that readers can relate to. Through those grounding narratives, Davis can so effectively tackle less tangible themes of love, loss, betrayal, grief, hope, and joy. Through her own experiences with marriage and divorce, Davis leads readers to question their ideas of relationships, commitment, and love. Through her experiences as a black person, a woman, and a member of the church, Davis brings up ideas about religion, trauma, sexism, racism, determination, optimism, and acceptance, both of self and others. Following this pattern, No Unpaid Passengers is able to operate as a book of revelation, showing readers the pervasive connectivity of the human experience: what you go through, someone else has gone through, and what you feel, someone else has felt.

I highly recommend this collection of raw beauty and vulnerability, in which Davis depicts her experiences. She writes not as an individual but as a representative of the human experience, providing an opportunity to connect both with the unfamiliar outside of ourselves and that which hides within.

No Unpaid Passengers is an emotional collection of poetry that takes readers on a journey through human experiences in a way that will stay with them long after they put the book down. These poems will leave readers feeling everything from one end of the spectrum to the other, a true representation of life, the joys, and the sorrows.

Pages: 90 | ASIN : B0BC5NXXXS

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What’s Not True

In midst of a divorce from Mike, Kassie O’Callaghan reunites with her ex-lover Chris as they run away to Paris. But unfortunately, their plans are derailed repeatedly. First from her marketing career at Calibri marketing group, when she is offered a new position at her company’s Paris office. Second a sudden heart attack that drags her back home to Boston. While in Boston, Kassie has to deal with Mike’s fiancee, Karen, as she attempts to steal the rights to the business Kassie and Mike forged together. Things get more complicated during the legal battle between Kassie and Karen when DNA tests reveal shocking news that could change everything. What’s Not True; A Novel is a sequel to Valerie Taylor’s What’s Not Said.

When reading the novel, a reader might be caught off guard as the story picks up directly after What’s Not Said. However, after the first couple of chapters, the characters and their story become more apparent. Although not a required read, What’s Not Said offers much insight into the characters’ dynamics.

The reader is quickly sucked into a complicated love web. Author Valerie Taylor does a fantastic job with her character building. Each of her characters is endearing in their own way, despite their flaws. For example, although Mike’s character is questionable, the reader is still found rooting for him and his desires. Kassie struggles with finding her footing as a professional and in her romantic life. The situations Kassie ends up in are great catalysts for her character’s growth.

The book has a satisfying ending where many family secrets finally come to light, giving many characters clarity on their past. Readers will not feel like they are left hanging with questions and will actually find peace on many subjects that come in in the course of this entertaining novel.

What’s Not True is a heartwarming story that would make a great beach read, filled with plot twists and interesting characters. This captivating and romantic story that is anything but predictable.

Pages: 336 | ASIN : B08QZ8KR4Y

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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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My Love Affair

Love is a complicated but incredibly beautiful thing. Most of us know and experience love, and some of us are fortunate enough to find a love so strong that it impacts our lives in ways we can hardly find the words to effectively describe it to others. Author and poet Natalia Lazarus once knew a love like this–a love like no other. Her life was so profoundly changed by this romance that she was moved to transform its power into verse. Her emotions, experiences, and phenomenal words can be found in My Love Affair: Thorns and Roses.

My Love Affair: Thorns and Roses, by Natalia Lazarus, is written in a unique format. Lazarus has gifted readers her story in the form of poetry presented as a drama. This stunning take on storytelling serves to lure readers into Lazarus’s world and gives them a front-row seat to all of the trials and tribulations she felt in this once-in-a-lifetime love affair.

Readers will be moved by the eloquent poetry; they will find the prose engaging. The combination of styles by Lazarus creates a special kind of appeal for readers. There is both deep pain and love in her words. Both are almost palpable. Lazarus takes readers on a journey of her relationship. From the beginning, through its ups and downs, to its tumultuous ending. The syle is unique and fresh, giving readers an engaging format to experience Lazarus’s work. The raw emotions and openness with which she writes are incredibly captivating. I felt as if I was watching the relationship unfold through her eyes. Readers will not be able to help but feel compelled to continue reading as she presents every tender aspect of her experience. The beautiful photographs of Picasso’s work that accompany Lazarus’s work only enhance her story’s mystery and richness.

My Love Affair: Thorns and Roses is a uniquely-styled romance for anyone seeking a quick but powerful read as well as those who prefer dramas. The combination of poetry and prose will enchant readers.

Pages: 204 | ISBN : 1736313495

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No Names to Be Given

Spanning over fifty years, No Names To Be Given is a moving and heartbreaking historical novel about three different women from the 1960s who had to give up their children out of wedlock. Inspired by actual events, it takes the reader through the roller-coaster lives of Becca, Faith, and Sandy – from the day they met in the Magnolia Home Hospital to 25 years later, where their darkest secrets are threatened to be exposed. 

This is author Julia Brewer Daily’s debut novel, but it feels like she’s been writing this story all her life. Perhaps that is the case, given that she was one of those babies adopted from a maternity home hospital during this period. While there were probably mountains of research to write this novel, it would be believable if Daily wrote this story purely from memory and family history.

Her tender prose shows that she’s writing from the heart. Despite that, she tells the story with some emotional distance. The journeys of the three women are told in alternating chapters that are so unflinching that the whole novel almost feels like a documentary. Additionally, this is based on very real traumas. Daily allows the story to shine on its own with the respect it deserves. She writes with an assured and confident voice and isn’t afraid to challenge the reader if it means telling the story the way it’s supposed to be.

It’s clear why Daily chose to alternate the story between chapters. It’s a complicated story, spanning generations, that would not have felt complete if done in a singular manner. The alternating chapters also emphasize the diversity of the characters’ situations. Becca falls in love with an African American man during the height of racism in America; Faith gets sexually assaulted by one of her father’s employees; Sandy becomes involved with a married mobster. If only one of these stories were told, it would not have done any justice for this disparaging historical truth. 

No Names To Be Given is a through-provoking historical fiction novel. Readers will experience the heartbreak and fear these women live through, having their worst moments in life brought back to haunt them. A look into women’s history, adoption, and motherhood from the perspective of women in the 1960s.

Pages: 334 | ASIN : B09B157HLR

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Is It Time To Shift The Narrative?

Angela Quijada-Banks Author Interview

The Black Foster Youth Handbook is written to help youth and young adults that have aged out of the system heal and thrive afterward. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I was called both while awake and in my sleep through dreams to create a guide for young people in foster care back in 2016. The pandemic in March of 2020 made the call louder and it was revealed to me that I could not put it off any longer- that youth were aging out of foster care not only in stereotypical outcomes such as homelessness, sex trafficking, prison and suicide but to add to that— a whole world wide pandemic. The world is calling for us collectively to heal and youth and families touched by the child welfare system need support through the lens of holistic wellness not just coping skills and survival mechanisms. I need youth to know that they can create a joyous life in spite of their trauma and so I was willing to be vulnerable in sharing my story in order for others to feel empowered and uncover the purpose within their pain as I have. I created the R.E.A.L success model that takes youth and supportive adults through the 4 phases (Root, Envision, Ascension & Liberation) so that the reader can have a practical framework to self reflect, engage in self-exploration alone and with community as well as achieve a sense of inner freedom out of the bondage of one’s trauma.

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

Honestly, the whole book haha..

My first draft was very angry. I carried a lot of pain and writing, picking up running while I wrote and processing this information was extremely healing. After sending the draft off to my editor, I had a very clear and vivid dream on how the book was going to be formatted and the clarity of the R.E.A.L success model. I am grateful for my husband, divine connection to my ancestors, my book launch team, friends, and a few family members who helped me process this. I knew it would be rough but that it was necessary for such a resource to exist. It was time.

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

To cherish the people in your life while they are still here and alive. You know, give them their flowers while they are still living and don’t wait until they have passed to show your appreciation, love and admiration for them. This is something I do daily and each chance I get to speak up and tell people how they are positively making a difference in my life, in others or the world.

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

The trauma you experienced is not something anyone should have to go through and yet you are here still living. And that says something profound, that you have a divine purpose that you may choose to fulfill in this life. You are not your trauma. You are whoever and whatever the hell you wish to be. You are powerful beyond what you give yourself credit for and in order to fully step into your gifts- You will need to challenge many aspects of yourself and circumstances that you grasped on to in order to survive. It was never your fault but now it is your responsibility to create a life worth living. Powerful soul, it is time to heal. It is time to be free. It is time to discover the real you-outside of the version of you created to endure the trauma. You do not have to do this alone. You are loved. And after everything, you matter to so many. Greatness is in your hands but it all starts with choices.

Do you choose to be what you have seen doesn’t work? Or is it time to shift the narrative?

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook OrginialSoulFlower | Facebook soulfulliberation | Website soulfulliberation | Website originalsoulflower

Foster Care is a whole other world that most of the world’s population knows little to nothing about. Many people do not know the very low statistics young people endure in order to successfully age-out of foster care.

Less than 5% of young people with the experience of foster care graduate post-secondary education. There are many youth who become prey to sex-trafficking or suseptable to suicide due to homelessness, mental health challenges and no support system. Now, couple the child welfare system with the element of racial injustices and the history of white supremacy and the topic may even become taboo.

Ángela Quijada-Banks, a woman of African and Indigeneous descent has taken the liberty of giving back to these communities for a half a decade through advocacy, advisory and organizational training. Through her travels across the nation, speaking to congressional members, federal stakeholders and constituents of the foster care system she decided some sort of manual was needed to combat the shocking low success rates of young people with the background of foster care. This handbook is written to be supplemental to young people in foster care’s navigation through foster care and healing beyond it.

Supportive adults such as foster/resource parents, case managers, GALs, therapists and social workers will also find this to be helpful in their roles in young people’s lives. Success is possible regardless of where you come from, you just have to know where to look, who to trust and believe in the one person that can get you to the other side of pain and trauma, you.
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