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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Balance of September

During the month of September, I reviewed the following:

Books:
- "Leading Through Hope" by Joseph Okpanachi and Bramwell Osula. Read my review.
- "Not Famous Anymore" by Michael Loyd Gray. Read my review.
- "Latitudes: A Story of Coming Home" by Anthony Caplan. Read my review.
- "Shades of Souls Passed" by Teresa Andrews. Read my review.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book "Shades of Souls Passed" by Teresa Andrews

About the Book: Turn out the lights, light a candle or two, and get ready for a spine tingling journey into the unseen spaces, the spaces where The Souls of Shades Passed reside. Read the true ghost stories of nine different people from Madison County, New York whose lives were unexpectedly interrupted and forever altered by a chance meeting with the inexplicable.

About the Author: Teresa Andrews is a writer, photographer, and mother of four. She is the author of Shades of Souls Passed and is currently working on her first full-length murder mystery. She divides her time between Cazenovia, New York and St. Pete Beach, Florida.

My Review: This is a very well written book. It is a  nice collection of nine short stories from Teresa Andrews. She writes what 9 different people living in Madison County, NY told her on their experiences with the supernatural, in a conversational manner.
The stories flow with such a grace that it appears as if we were there with the character, living the moment, suffering all the fear with them. Some of the stories you will read at the edge of your chair. As being a short book (less than 100 pages), you can read in one seating. I was hooked from the first story and it took me about 4 hours to read the whole book.
Excellent entertainment, I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers who love short stories with a good terror/ghost contents, without any unnecessary embellishment. After all, "truth can be stranger than fiction"! My favorit stories were "Dark Night of the Soul" and "Winter Storm".
At the beginning of each chapter there are illustrations by Jacqueline Andrews. The front cover picture was well chosen and is very much appropriate!
This book was written by Teresa Andrews, illustrated by Jacqueline Andrews and it was published in December of 2010. I received a complimentary electronic version of this book for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.
If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book "Latitudes: A Story of Coming Home" by Anthony Caplan

About the Book: A coming of age novel about a boy overcoming divorce and cultural dislocation. When Father and Mother, a highflying young American lawyer and his party-hard bride, fall prey to the self-destructive lure of alcohol and sexual liberation, Will and his sisters pay the price in divorce and kidnappings that take them back and forth between the rain forest hideaways of coastal Latin America and the placid suburbs of Long Island. Will identifies with the oppressed workers laboring in his father's fast food restaurant and longs for American freedom. Father remarries the daughter of a local aristocrat, and Will is sent off to the hothouse world of a New England boarding school. Swimming in a sea of Fair Isle sweaters and LL Bean boots, Will discovers a core of resilience in himself that allows him to survive, thrive, and ultimately embrace the flawed and varied worlds he inhabits. Will reconnects with Mother, sinking into a New York City world of Irish bars and one night stands he cannot save her from. With a little help from friends, and a high school Shakespeare class taught by the school's closeted gay athletic trainer, Will begins to see the possibility of finding his true path. Latitudes charts the birth pangs of a quest for self and soul - from a tropical childhood to a coming of age on the road.

Read the Excerpt!

This time of uncertainty came to an end before it could gel into something, a pattern, a new beginning or different stamp to the days. It was one day in late August, an ordinary moment that would not have remained in his memory, much as the days that preceded it. In Will’s mind he and his sisters, their new neighborhood friends, seemed born full-blown in the backyard in the midst of some forgotten game. He was immersed again, as in the swimming pool on Margarita Island, in his inner thoughts even with the swirl of kids and dogs and the sun passing through the bright blue sky, as two cars pulled up on the street, low-slung, long and dark, their red brake lights warning to stop and look. Out stepped four or five men in pale trench coats. As they walked up the driveway, Alexa gasped.

“Father,” she said. Will had recognized him at almost the same moment.

“Father,” he repeated and broke into a run as Father smiled and held out his arms. The other men stopped in their tracks. Father hugged the four children. It was unusual, but exciting that he’d come all this way to rejoin them. The other men from the two cars must have been his friends.

“How about an ice cream?” he asked. This seemed unusual and exciting also. They had never known him to offer treats, but maybe this was his way of breaking the ice, start in on a new footing.

“Sure,” Will said, and Alexa agreed, eager as he was, speaking for all three girls. They all four sat in the backseat of the back car. Father sat in the front while another man drove. As the cars sped away, the babysitter emerged from the house and saw a knot of neighborhood children walking down the sidewalk, but not Will or his sisters. Breathing hard, panic struck. She ran back inside and grabbed the telephone.


About the Author: Anthony Caplan is a teacher, farmer and writer living in New Hampshire. He is the author of Birdman, French Pond Road and Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home.

My Review: This book is a masterpiece in terms of analyzing the psychological effects of a broken marriage into the mind of a young boy, how he deals with that and how he finds his way in life in his quest to feel belonging to a community, to a group, to a family.
The author did a superb job creating a set of characters with complex personalities. The plot develops through Chapters alternating life in the USA and Venezuela. Our main character, Will, suffers with the initial separation of his parents and subsequently with the separation from one of his sisters in a half successful kidnapping (his father acting to steal his kids from the mother), followed by another kidnapping (mother stealing kids from the father) in an intense soap opera very well described by the author.
All elements for an excellent book are presented here, including peer relation, showing how Will come to age in a magnificence description of development of survival skills and control of emotions.

I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader who loves a well written novel with a very up to date subject.

This book was written by Anthony Caplan and it was published by Hope Mountain Press in May of 2012. I received a complimentary electronic version of this book for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!



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Latitudes: A Story of Coming Home Tour Schedule

September 4
Guest Posting at WV Stitcher

September 5
Guest Posting at Writing Daze

September 6
Guest Posting at Hollywood Daze

September 7
Guest Posting at The Book Bog-Hogan

September 10
Guest Posting at Bless Their Hearts

September 11
Book Giveaway at Bless Their Hearts

September 13
Book Spotlighted at Bluebell Books

September 14
Guest Posting at Maureen’s Musings

September 17
Guest Posting at Strands of Thought

September 18
Guest Posting at Splashes of Joy

September 20
Book Reviewed at Books, Books and More Books
Book Reviewed at Books and Movies Reviews

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Book "Not Famous Anymore" by Michael Loyd Gray

About the Book: Elliott Adrian, a famous actor of questionable skill, drinks too much and works himself to the bottom in Hollywood and emerges from rehab wanting to put the American Dream into reverse: he embarks on a journey to not be famous anymore and works his way back to his hometown of tiny Argus, Illinois. After a short exile in Loreto, Mexico, Elliott's road trip takes him from Arizona to Arkansas and finally Argus, where he discovers the girl he was briefly married to in high school has a daughter he has never met. Along the way, Fox News offers a reward for anyone who can find Elliott and once in Argus he discovers he can't quite escape fame and must learn to straddle both worlds - Hollywood as well as Argus. A story about the value of fame and also discovering true self.

About the Author: Michael Loyd Gray was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, but grew up in Champaign, Illinois. He earned a MFA in English from Western Michigan University and taught at colleges and universities in upstate New York, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Texas. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Journalism degree and was a newspaper staff writer in Arizona and Illinois for ten years, conducting the last interview with novelist Erskine Caldwell.
He is the winner of the 2005 Alligator Juniper Fiction Prize and the 2005 The Writers Place Award for Fiction. Gray's novel Well Deserved won the 2008 Sol Books Prose Series Prize. His novel Not Famous Anymore was awarded a grant by the Elizabeth George Foundation and was published by HenschelHaus (2012). His novel December's Children was a finalist for the 2006 Sol Books Prose Series Prize and was published by Tempest Books( 2012) as the young adult novel King Biscuit. He has written a sequel to Well Deserved called The Last Stop, and another novel called Blue Sparta. Recently he finished a novel titled Fast Eddie. A lifelong Chicago Bears and Rolling Stones fan, he lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and teaches as full-time online English faculty for South University, where he is one of the founding editors of the student literary journal Asynchronous and sponsor of an online readings series featuring fiction and poetry.

My Review: This is a very well written book, with well constructed characters with very rich personalities. The author explores the theme of superficiality of celebrities making his characters come alive on every page of his book. All dialogues are great. The plot is simple to follow:
Elliot Adrian is a famous actor. When he was young his parents died in a car accident. Still young, while playing with a samurai sword, he had another accident involving his brother. Now, as an adult, fame leads to drinking problems. When he realize the deep hole he was jumping into, he goes into rehab and, after that, he starts a road trip that transforms him from the inside out.
He visit old friends in Loreto, Mexico and Tucson, Arizona, before returning to hometown of Argus, Illinois. In his hometown he met his old girlfriend and find out about her daughter. He also met with his brother. Finally he has to learn how to deal with fame and life in Argus.

After reading this book I start thinking about all the glamour of Hollywood celebrities. Why does our society try to make them hole models? This really beats me...

This is a great read. I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader who appreciates a good fiction novel and wants to be entertained for some hours. It took me about 5 hours to read the whole book. I look forward reading more novels from this author!

This book was written by Michael Loyd Gray and published by Three Towers Press in December 2011. I received an electronic version of this book for reviewing and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book "Leading Through Hope" by Joseph Okpanachi and Bramwell Osula

About the Book: Few things in life are as important as hope. While love and friendship may set our hearts on fire and inspire acts of devotion and sacrifice, in many ways Hope is the chugging motor that gives meaning to our lives. More than any other quality or force on earth, hope defines who we are, our attitude toward life and, ultimately, what we become.

My Review: This is a small piece of art. The two authors combined with an incredible sensibility to provide for the readers many angles of experiencing and using hope to lead others to achieve their goals with entusiasm and confidence.
Among many different discussions on what is the meaning of hope, the one that touched me the most is "hope is like a shelter and an anchor in the midst of the storm".
The book has a preface and an introduction and four major sections: The Law of Hope, Leading Through Hope, Leading Through Hope in Time of Crises and Uncertainty, and the Sinergy Between Hope and Opportunity. And the book end with a chapter on Reflections and finaly References.
The book was written by Joseph Okpanachi and Bramwell Osula and published in 2012 by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC, and I received  it as a gift from my dear friend and brother in Christ, Mr. Thomas Gadson.

I recommend this book to any Christian who wants to know more about hope and to those who have a leading role in their life and want to try a new approach in their leadership method, one that they will not regret.

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment.