Friday, September 30, 2011

Memoir of a Good Death

Memoir of a Good Death

By Anne Sorbie

This is a creative novel, written as a type of memoir. Rhegan tells her story from “the other side”. It is an emotional story of her bond with her mother, Sarah.

Sarah learns more about Rhegan after Rhegan’s early passing. Throughout the story, as it unfolds, the memoir becomes two-fold. It becomes a memoir of a mother-daughter relationship.

We are reminded again that love does not die, that love surpasses death. Death can even help us to understand things we don’t see or know during a person’s life. With grief and understanding comes eventual healing.

Anne Sorbie writes a creative novel celebrating a life while grieving it. Heartbreak and happiness do indeed often intertwine. Life and death complete a circle, but we don’t ever have to fully let go, because love goes on.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It is said that the greatest gifts in life are faith, hope and love. I believe this. These are at the heart of many other gifts.

Faith is the anchor. It grounds us, holding us in place, allowing us to weather any storm. Faith gives us strength to continue, to survive. It helps us to believe in ourselves, and to find our place in the world.

Hope is a beacon, an eternal light that shines through any darkness. Hope carries us when we think we cannot go on. Hope finds a way, leading us through whatever we may encounter.

Love is the ultimate gift. Love gives its best, full of both faith and hope. Without love, nothing else makes sense.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chance of Sun

An Oregon Memoir

By Kim Cooper Findling

Chance of Sun tells the story of a girl growing up in the 1970s-1980s of Oregon. It also tells of her finding who she is, as she grows from a girl into the woman and writer that is Kim Cooper Findling.

Kim tells what it is like to grow up in rural Oregon, the child of a forester. She writes of the natural wonders and a time of freedom on many levels.

Throughout her memoir we see Kim searching for herself and her place, and we see her perhaps lose herself along the way. She speaks openly of her escapades throughout her youth, going from the wilds of rural Oregon to the wild city nightlife.

As she moves through life, Kim finds herself moving back to her roots, back to the real Oregon. She is not shy about sharing the person she is and her story of self-discovery. Her writing is bold and raw in its sincerity. She remains true to herself and to the reader.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Going Home

Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die

Finding Peace When Pets Die

By Jon Katz

Jon Katz is a well-versed expert on dogs. He has shared many of his experiences with many readers over the years. He writes from Bedlam Farm of his many dogs, and the many stages of life with them.

In this most recent book, Jon Katz addresses the inevitable final stage. He writes of Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die.

This one is of particular meaning for me. I have lost many pets over my lifetime. I miss every one of them still. I have had an especially difficult time losing my Shetland Sheepdog, Maisie (in 2010). I have shared pictures of her, written about her, and still grieve for her.

Jon’s book is understanding and compassionate. He understands dogs and their people. Jon understands the bond between them. In this book, he gets it right with his words of advice and comfort. He honors this bond, this relationship between pet and person. And he respects the undying love.

In addition to his books, Jon Katz has a website and a blog. I recommend Jon Katz, his books, and his sites. He understands the special bond of “Furever Friends”.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Judy Croome, author of Dancing in the Shadows of Love, is very generously giving away a copy of her book to one of my readers/followers!

Please read my review of her special book, and the comments for more information!!

Thank you so much, Judy! And good luck to all!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dancing in the Shadows of Love

Dancing in the Shadows of Love

By Judy Croome

Judy Croome grabs you by the heart and does not let go. In this novel she explores the lives and loves of three women. Each woman has her own story, her own struggles. The characters and their stories are raw and deep, making for a powerful book.

There is a glossary that is not only useful, but necessary in understanding certain terminology used in the book. There are also symbolism and complex plot lines. The intertwining of these stories adds to the impact of the book.  

Judy Croome is a creative talent and a thorough writer. She has honed her craft. This is her first novel, though not her first published work. She has a story and trilogy of poetry in the anthology, “Notes from the Underground”, by the Literary Lab. Her second novel is due out in 2012.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little Madhouse on the Prairie

Product Details

A True Story of Overcoming Abuse and Healing the Spirit

By Marion Elizabeth Witte

This is a true story, Marion Witte’s story. She goes into intimate detail to explain how things came to be the way they were. She is very sensitive and even understanding of what her family was like and who they were. Marion offers acceptance and respect to the people that were her grandparents and parents, in spite of things not being “right”. I found this to be a great statement about healing and the person that Marion Witte has become.

Marion chooses to focus on the journey of overcoming abuse. She tells of the effects of what she endured because of the abuse, but even more importantly the recovery involved in surviving abuse. She does not focus on the what, so much as the why, and the way out.

The journey is difficult, yet Marion Witte reaches deep within herself to overcome years, even generations of abuse. She sets forth an example for others on similar journeys of their own.

Marion searches for herself through many sources from medical professionals to spiritual shaman. What we sometimes cannot understand, we must learn to accept in order to heal and overcome. Forgiveness is the key to healing. Ultimately, Marion does find herself and healing. She also finds she has much to offer and share. Marion sets herself free, through acceptance, forgiveness and healing.

Marion Witte’s message is important. It is one about overcoming abuse and healing the spirit. The world is a better place because of Marion Witte and her brave and honest book.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Black Girl's Poetry for the World

Product Details

By Kimberly LaRocca

Kimberly LaRocca is a very talented and gifted poet. Her poetry is clear, concise, and straightforward. I feel privileged that she asked me to review her book.

This book of heartfelt poetry is divided into two sections: Life, and Love. But it is clear that both are reflected in each of Kimberly’s poems. In fact, her poetry is driven by both life and love. She captures living and shares it in her poetry.

Every poem that Kimberly shares with the reader is written from her experiences, from life and love as she knows them. Her words are well chosen and perfectly arranged, making her poetry accessible. Each situation can almost be felt and experienced, as poetry should be.

This is a wonderful book of poetry. I will read it again, and often. In fact, I look forward to reading more of Kimberly LaRocca’s poetry in the future. Her book has a permanent place on my poetry shelf.

Learning to Breathe

Product Details

My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life

By Priscilla Warner

This is a beautifully profound book. I think we can all learn from Priscilla Warner’s journey and subsequent book.

A lifetime of anxiety attacks of panic and fear lead Priscilla to decide that she not only wanted, but needed to find peace within herself. She needed calm in her life.

After studying religion and many different religious practices, Priscilla feels that meditation may provide the serenity that she needs. In her study of the ways of the Tibetan monks and their prayer practices, she feels this may be a path to peace.

Priscilla goes on to document her journey, including observations and opinions of the many teachers, therapists, physicians, and friends along her way. Each offered something in her search. She discusses her experiences and discoveries of various treatments used in meditation, relaxation and therapy. Some things she shares are Kabbalah, Buddhism, and the more popular chocolate therapy and traditional neuroscience.

Priscilla Warner’s mission to reroute her way of thinking and uncover the things that caused it is both interesting and commendable. We all seek peace. Priscilla was brave to share her lessons learned.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Diary of Lucy Blue

A Puppy Mill Survivor’s Story
Product Details

By Janice Mitchell

I was attracted to this book for several reasons. I love animals and am an animal advocate. I have almost always had dogs, including Shelties. I cannot imagine buying from a puppy mill or anyone who may get their puppies from one.

Lucy Blue was rescued from a puppy mill. She was taken in by Second Chance Sheltie Rescue. From there, Janice Mitchell took Lucy Blue into her home as a foster dog. So began Lucy Blue’s road to recovery and that of a normal life.

This book is so much more than just a diary. It tells of the heartfelt experiences with Lucy Blue. It describes her rehabilitation and the healing process. We learn of the methods Janice used for Lucy Blue, including the reasoning behind the methods. We learn what works for these very special dogs and why these methods work. We see Lucy Blue’s growth and healing, of both her body and her spirit.

The book will make you cry and it will make you think. Lucy Blue made it out of a puppy mill, but there are many who do not. I wish everyone could and would read this book. We need to put an end to puppy mills and those who support them.

Please think of Lucy Blue and those like her when you add a new puppy to your home. Consider carefully your source.

It's a Very Special Week!

SEPTEMBER 17-25, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines

Just released in paperback - my debut novel

By Carol E. Wyer

Facing fifty (50!) Amanda Wilson has a lot on her mind, as well as her proverbial plate. She is dealing with all of the usual day-to-day things that we all deal with, like trying to age gracefully and maintaining health, while trying to be there for family and friends. She does her best.

However, lately Amanda is feeling ignored and neglected. Her husband seems more interested in the news and finances, while their self-absorbed, drop-out son is essentially absent in general. Even her mother is not there for her, as she is off living the high-life with a new boy-toy!

Bored and ignored, Amanda blogs all of this online. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities to her! As she reconnects with her first true love, suddenly Amanda is faced with decisions regarding her present and her future. And anything is possible.

Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines is written in blog format, being very accessible with characters that are both believable and relatable. It is a very funny read.

*Carol is hosting a "launch party" on September 16 for this romp of a book. There will be virtual dancing, fireworks, games and contests, treats and goodies, and who knows what else! I have no doubt that a good time will be had by all! Please join Carol and the great fun that she offers with her unique and much-needed humour.

*Please join Carol E. Wyer on her blog:

Facing 50 with Humour

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Turn of Mind

Turn of Mind

By Alice LaPlante

This is a fascinating, thriller of a novel. Alice LaPlante takes us into the extraordinary mind of a woman who is an educated surgeon, but who is also sinking into dementia.

When we first meet Dr. Jennifer White, her neighbor and best friend, Amanda, has been murdered. Oddly, some fingers have also been seemingly surgically removed from the murdered woman’s hand.

As the investigation into Amanda’s death and mutilation ensues, Dr. White is a suspect. She does not even know if she is involved. Is her mind preventing her from remembering something, or could it be protecting her from something horrific?

This is an intelligent novel of the mind and how memory affects who we are, and who we think we are.       

The Harvest Moon

Tuesday, 12 September 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Disrupted Lives

Product Details 

By Brenda Youngerman

Disrupted Lives is a wonderfully written novel of family and the effects of adoption. We are able to see into the lives of both families, going back several generations. This enables us to understand the family dynamics and role of each character.

Brenda Youngerman creates characters that are well developed and genuine. She has a gift for creating authentic dialogue, with interactions and situations that are sincere and heartfelt.

Disrupted Lives does well in describing the complexities of old Southern family traditions and the effect on future generations, including issues of “old money”, status and class. These issues play into the situation of adoption and the child’s future role in such a family.

Brenda Youngerman is a talented author. She has written several novels, each with a message. She is well known for her creative thinking, including the story of Disrupted Lives. I felt this was an interesting novel, with important points to both make and consider. As always, Brenda never disappoints. She keeps her promise of writing “Fiction with a Purpose”, with important messages that leave you thinking.

A Brief Interview with …Brenda Youngerman

1. What do you find to be the most challenging part about keeping your writing fresh?
I have a habit of writing the same story over and over again about college and dorm life...and I NEED to stop doing that! I do not want to be the author that is SO predictable that all my stories are the same but with different named characters. Obviously the issues are different...but life still takes similar paths.

2.  Do you ever worry that you are going to be classified as an author that writes about the same thing all the time? 
Oh Yeah!!!! Especially after Hidden Truths came out...that was the third novel that dealt with domestic abuse. I have so many other issues that are important to me and I don't want to be boxed into ONLY speaking about domestic abuse...Please don't get me wrong. Domestic abuse is HUGE in my mind and needs to be discussed - but I don't want to be known as the "author that writes about domestic abuse."

3. What motivates you?
The idea that maybe someone will pick up a book and realize they are not alone. There is help, they can get help OR specifically in the case of Sorrowed Souls - someone can pick up a book and look at a homeless person in a totally different light - they are a human being who is down on their luck - they deserve the respect every human being deserves. Eye contact is not such a bad thing!

4. Do you feel like you have kept up with the new 'technological' world?
Oh heck no! I still haven't figured out facebook!

5. Has blogging helped you reach a new audience?
Most definitely! I would never have met you! What is amazing to me though is that although I have met so many wonderful new friends - I am not a salesman and most of them don't even know that I'm an author!
6. If you had one full day to talk with someone - anyone - who would it be?
Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a woman who was raised in wealth and spent time with those impoverished. She never let her station in life allow her to forget humanity. I wish the politicians today would remember that once in a while. What are we if we are not human beings first?

7. Can you name three people who have influenced you the most in your life?
My mother, My daughter, my ex-husband

8. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
dog, dog, dog, dog, dog

9. Do you procrastinate or plan?
I am a planner  --- and then I procrastinate.

10. How many books are you in the process of writing right now?
Well, I am currently writing one on paper (computer) and two in my head.

Brenda Youngerman, Author
Fiction with a Purpose
One person can make a difference
Follow my blog

Disrupted Lives is now available

Sunday, September 11, 2011

America the Brave

...our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Velva Jean Learns to Fly

Product Details

By Jennifer Niven

We first met her in Velva Jean Learns to Drive, where she was searching for her dream. Now Velva Jean is back in a second novel, pursuing her dreams.

It is 1941, and Velva Jean has made it to Nashville. She is struggling to make her way in the music industry. Her heart and soul remain grounded in the mountains of North Carolina, but her dream is still to sing at The Grand Ol' Opry.

To the shock of the world, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and suddenly everything is changed. Velva Jean sadly watches as men she knows go off to war. Before reporting for military duty, her brother finds her in Nashville.

Determined to learn to fly, he takes Velva Jean with him to lessons. This opens up a whole new world to Velva Jean. She loves the feeling of flying, but even more she loves the challenge of it. She decides to learn to fly.

Velva Jean continues to delight and surprise. From the mountains to the city to the wild blue yonder, the sky is the limit for her! Through Velva Jean we see the beginning of Women Airforce Service Pilots (Wasps) in World War II.

I wonder what Velva Jean, and Jennifer Niven, will do next. I think they are capable of almost anything they put their mind to!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Little Heathens

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm during the Great Depression

By Mildred Armstrong Kalish

This book honours a time, place and way of life that unfortunately is lost to most of us today. This book is a joy to read, allowing one to live vicariously the happy childhood that Ms. Kalish so joyously shares.

Family is the central focal point. It is, in fact the importance of family ties that drive the entire book. Each story stresses the bonds that hold family together through the thick and inevitable thin of farm life and the Great Depression.

It was the love and commitment of family that made each experience, each memory so ingrained and important to Mildred, as a child and sustained her throughout her life.

It is both a pleasure and a privilege to read this book. While not an easy life given the hardship of the times, it was a beautiful life. That Ms. Kalish immortalizes this time and life makes it all the more special. The way of life, the innocence and true simple pleasures may be gone. But thanks to Mildred Armstrong Kalish they will remain in hearts and minds. The spirit remains in this beautiful memoir.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Running from Solace

Product Details

By Nakia R. Laushaul

In her debut novel, Nakia gave voice to the many people who silently live through childhood abuse. She does this very sincerely and genuinely. Nakia R. Laushaul bravely takes on subject matter that is difficult. She is straight-forward and real in her writing.

From the beginning, you are drawn into the tormented life of little Naomi. Wanting love and acceptance, what she receives is abuse and pain. That Naomi survives is the ultimate reward for the reader, as well as for Naomi herself. One can never get over abuse, but one can get through it and survive it.

The characters are so honest and real that they will stay with you long after you close the book. While it is a painful story to read, it is an important and powerful book. Nakia Laushaul reminds us that if we let it, what does not kill us can indeed makes us stronger.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel

By S.J. Watson

This is a novel of a woman who suffers an unusual memory disorder. Christine begins every day with no memory of who she is, who her husband is, or what her life consists of.
Her disorder was caused by a trauma long ago, in her past.

Under the care of a new doctor, Christine begins a journal to help her piece together her days and events. As things begin to link together, her story unfolds. This leaves Christine not knowing who to trust, and with even more questions. The more she uncovers, the more she questions.

Christine struggles with issues regarding what is real, what is imagined, and who has the answers. Her minimal memories are not the things she is being told by her husband or her doctor.

This is an interesting suspense novel. It is entertaining, posing unique situations. There are many twists, turns, and surprises for Christine, and the reader as well.