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Book Review: Iberian Claim by Vincent Casciani

Book Details:

Author: Vincent Casciani 
Release Date: 
23rd August 2021
Series:
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Critique, Spanish Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 196 pages
Publisher: New Degree Press
Blurb:
“I put down the pen and set aside the paper. I have served my time.”
The Spanish Empire’s conquest is marked by blood and gold. Alvar Núñez, soldier-turned-administrator, knows little else, and finds himself dissatisfied by the trappings of an ordinary life. When the opportunity comes to seek gold and glory in the New World, he jumps at the chance to revive his old passions.
It’s a shame, then, that his eight-year journey through the Gulf Region reduces him to a meager shell of a man. He must adapt and find compassion for the natives around him or die.
Iberian Claim, Vincent Casciani’s breakout novel, details the grueling account of Alvar Núñez’ interaction with the various Native American tribes inhabiting La Florida. His conviction is degraded, his worldview is overturned, and his belief in Spanish superiority is tested at every turn.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Iberian Claim by Vincent Casciani is a historical fiction critique of Spanish colonialism. This book was impressively educational and provided a (much-needed) fresh perspective on Spanish colonialism, a subject that, in my opinion, is not much discussed, at least in the British colonised countries like India as we spend an awful lot of time only studying and educating ourselves and the future generations about the British colonisation and that’s it! Most of our history books are only full of the valors of the British and the ones who supported them but not about any other colonies or how they came to be and what happened to them.

So reading about Spanish colonisation has always been a subject of interest to me and this book came as a breath of fresh air with its unique perspective and a comprehensive narrative on the subject. Reading The Iberian Claim has clarified many doubts I’ve harboured over the years and many questions I’ve carried in my mind regarding Spanish colonialism and the Spanish Empire’s way of conduct on the whole.

The prose in the book is very neat, crisp and smooth and had a nice flow that made reading it a very smooth experience making it a very quick and enjoyable read. I’d strongly recommend this book to all history buffs, especially to readers who take an interest in Spanish colonialism.


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Book Review: A Council Of Ghosts by Ryan Harper Jones

Book Details:

Author: Ryan Harper Jones
Release Date: 
1st November 2021
Series:
Genre: Children’s Fantasy, Adventure Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery
Format: E-book 
Pages: 222 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
When a sorcerer arrives in Edgings Burrow, Saul, Ruby, and Henry don’t realise the turmoil their lives are about to encounter. Transported into a strange world of sorcerers, vampires, and ghosts, the three children endure a desperate race to return home which takes them to the edge of war, through the clutches of slave traders and kidnappers, before they discover a deep dark secret.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Council Of Ghosts by Ryan Harper Jones is a brilliant new fantasy adventure book full of fast-paced twists and turns that’ll keep the reader on the edge of their seats from the beginning of the book right down to the very end. This book was an emotional philosophical rollercoaster ride that left me wanting more!

I absolutely loved the writing as it had a great flow and, at times, showcased a beautiful lyrical quality, especially in the descriptions that helped elevate the narrative to an entirely different level. The characterisation was the best part of the book and I was able to relate to not only the main characters of Saul, Ruby and Henry but also to the secondary characters.

I would strongly recommend this book to all fantasy readers, especially children’s fantasy and adventure lovers because it has a lot to offer to everyone.

NOTE:

A Council Of Ghosts will be available for free from Monday, August 8 2022, 12:00 AM PDT to Friday, August 12, 2022, 11:59 PM PDT.

The book will be available on Amazon as follows:

UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09KQ2FQCY
USAhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KQ2FQCY
Indiahttps://www.amazon.in/dp/B09KQ2FQCY


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Book Review: H2LiftShips: A Back Story by Bob Freeman

Book Details:

Author: Bob Freeman
Release Date: 
21st February 2021
Series: H2LiftShips (Book #2)
Genre: Science-Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 325 pages
Publisher: Indies United Publishing House
Blurb:
Trading and dealing for a living is just what the LunaCola’s crew is doing to get by. But everybody (or octopus) has a backstory, and the members of the crew have more than enough to reminisce. There’s nothing quite like sitting down to play cards, celebrating a job well done, and recollecting the past but there’s still plenty that still has to come to light.
The big questions, such as how in the galaxy did the born-and-bred asteroid citizen learn to drive sports cars on Earth? Are the bioGels Sentient? The even bigger question is, are they plotting against their owners? And what dark secrets is Jack harboring behind his fears of prison? Those answers and more. Plus: Do octopuses really think that they are better than the terrestrials? (spoiler, yes they do, and there’s a story there as well.)

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

H2LiftShip: A Back Story by Bob Freeman is the second book in the series and a sequel to Beyond Luna. After the first book, which was written in a very unique was more like a technical manual than a straight story, this book had a more coherent storyline that was easier to follow making this book a tad better than the first one (though I did like the first one too, it’s just the flow that I am referring to here in terms of being better.)

This book had a lot of interesting insights, more side-plots and character development and helped the overall world-building for the entire series to a great extent so I really liked this book too. Now I am looking forward to finishing the last book in this series (which I have already started!)

Again, I’d recommend this book to anyone who has read the first book in this series and anyone wanting to explore a new sci-fi series or a sci-fi author.


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Book Review: Beyond Luna (H2LiftShips #1) by Bob Freeman

Book Details:

Author: Bob Freeman
Release Date: 
24th March 2021
Series: H2LiftShips (Book #1)
Genre: Science-Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 338 pages
Publisher: Indies United Publishing House
Blurb:
H2LiftShips, a tech manual for a futureImagine a world, exactly like ours, but differentPart Road-Trip, part solar sailing, always with food, gambling, jail, and pirates, not necessarily in that order No: Aliens, Monsters, blasters, pyrotechnic computers, or Anti-Grav powered rockets. Yes: Lasers, Primates, Canines, Octopus, Space Travel via Solar Sails, and the rare Rocket Ship.No violence, except for the spinning meat bolas and asteroid pebbles coming to the defense of their home rock.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Beyond Luna is the first book in the H2LiftShip science-fiction series by author Bob Freeman. This book was so wildly adventurous that I could not stop myself from starting to read the next book in the series right after I was done reading this book. But first things first, this book had an amazing plot, excellent execution of that plot, good writing to bring it to life and well-built characters to bring it all together.

It was an immensely immersive read and the world-building was simply out of the world (pud definitely intended 😉
I liked the authors writing and the new creatures in the book were definitely created with a lot of careful consideration. I enjoyed reading about them and cared enough about their character development to read the entire book and was left wanting to read more.

I would definitely suggest this book to all science-fiction readers who are looking for a new series to start.


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Book Review: Mahatmas and Monsters by Kim Idynne

Book Details:

Author: Kim Idynne
Release Date: 
15th February 2022
Series:
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 180 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
When nineteen-year-old vampire Elias Hellström reunites with Aarya, his childhood love, she sets him on a strange and terrifying path to becoming human again. Confronting his own demons is challenging enough, but Elias must also contend with the monsters he has gathered around him: monsters who prey on humans, and who respond to his transformation with varying degrees of hunger, envy, and wrath.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mahatmas and Monsters by Kim Idynne is a new adult paranormal fantasy read that proved to be a fast-paced emotional rollercoaster ride. This book started out on a high note and pulled me in right from the beginning. For the length of the book, I was impressed with the number of details it packed and the profiling of the characters.

The writing was good and made this book an even quicker read, which is always a big plus for me. I liked the characters and cared for them enough to know what would happen to them throughout the book. I am looking forward to reading more books by the author.

This book would be a perfect fit for paranormal and new adult genre readers.


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Book Review: The Study of Sentient Things by Trevor McCall

Book Details:

Author: Trevor McCall
Release Date: 
30th May 2022
Series:
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Horror, Short Stories
Format: E-book 
Pages: 367 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
The first four stories in this collection are adapted straight from works by EDGAR ALLAN POE. You will read updated and expanded versions of The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe’s poem The Raven, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Black Cat. They’ve each been given new twists that will intrigue your imagination while maintaining the spirit of the originals. The final story in this collection, Broken Vessels, when reviewed as a standalone novel by Kirkus, received a STARRED review:

“Powered by razor-focused writing, relentless pacing, and a masterfully intricate storyline that includes references to Freud, Descartes, and Edvard Munch, this tightly woven novel reads like a Ray Bradbury short story—especially the brass knuckle thematic impact of the conclusion.
While somewhat uncategorizable, this dark gem of a novel is supremely gratifying.”

– Kirkus Starred Review
All five stories are connected by their dark and powerful imagery, and each features an immurement motif. If you’ve ever enjoyed one of Poe’s stories, you will love these five tales.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Study Of Sentient Things And Other Stories by Trevor McCall is a collection of short stories that will definitely keep you up at night. I loved reading this book because, a) I am a Poe fan and, b) these stories were indeed very well written! I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every story and was impressed by the author’s take on some of Poe’s legendary tales. Although I love the original, these adapted stories were great too.

The writing of the author is quite impressive and I did feel like I was reading Edgar Allen Poe’s work itself. It wasn’t an imitation of writing style though, the originality of the author’s style did not fail to shine through, especially in gritty scenes. The flow of the stories was really lucid and smooth and I was able to read this book in just one sitting – I simply could not put it down!

I’d highly recommend this book to all horror readers and fans of surreal fiction. I strongly believe this book has a lot to offer to readers of dark fiction in general.


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Book Review: I AM NOT GOD: How Far Can a Reality Show Go by Joshua Veridical

Book Details:

Author: Joshua Veridical
Release Date: 
1st Febrauary 2022
Series:
Genre: Spiritualism, Philosophy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 152 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
In the Rush of living our life, it is true that we forget Purpose of life. Religion keeps us disciplined and shows us the path to find that purpose. There are many monks, Spiritual Leaders and Priests who guide us to maintain stability in life and help our soul grow. This book takes you in the unusual journey of Spiritualism where the purpose of life is found by our main protagonist but in a very unusual way.

Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I Am Not God by Joshua Veridical is a book based on the spiritual journey of the main protagonist that tackles many philosophical questions about life and its meaning in general. Overall the book is a decent read and proved to be a quick read. The main character, although not extremely relatable, was likeable enough for me to be able to read the entire book to learn more about his journey.

I did feel that the book needed more polishing as the writing felt a bit rough and could have been better, but of course, that is my personal opinion and being an editor myself I do have tough standards when it comes to writing style, especially in Indian literature.

This book would be perfect for readers of philosophical books and spiritual enthusiasts.


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Book Review: Meta (Game On #1.0) by Xander Black

Book Details:

Author: Xander Black
Release Date: 
14th March 2022
Series: Game On (Book #1)
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Adventure, Humour
Format: E-book 
Pages: 445 pages
Publisher: BC BOOKS
Blurb:
WELCOME TO THE METAVERSE
2065: the streets are abandoned, shops are empty, parks are silent. But is that really much of a surprise when you can connect to the Cybernet?
Everyone can turn on, log in and drop out.
Cyrus, a failed physicist, and drop-out game designer Everett are on the cusp of their big breakthrough into the meta ranks of Neverborn, the world’s most popular game.

But when several high-profile avatars disappear, and their human counterparts are found dead, Cyrus and Everett find themselves under suspicion. They must clear their names and unravel the deeper mysteries of Brith and the Neverborn. In doing so, they will uncover a dark secret, that threatens not only the game-world but the safety of their physical realm.

Satire, science fiction, fantasy, and mystery combine in an epic adventure where no one ever leaves home, perfect for fans of Ready Player One and Douglas Adams. 

Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Meta by Xander Black is a new science-fiction fantasy adventure novel based on the concept of MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) in a PSW (a persistent state world) where millions of players can develop their characters in virtual reality. In simple terms, this book is based on a future where people spend most of their lives in virtual reality instead of living a normal life in the real world.

This book was a decent read though it did remind me too much of Ready Player One (which I thoroughly loved.) At some point, it got a bit overwhelming and I wanted to quit reading it, though knowing better, and trying not to draw comparisons between the two books because of their common concept, I kept reading and finished the book in the hopes that it would be different and I’m glad that I did because this book proved to be a good read with a nice ending.

I liked the writing because it had a good flow but the efforts of the author to try and sound like Douglas Adam-ish felt pretty annoying and seemed to have killed the author’s natural writing style. I found the satire a bit forced and not correctly executed. Also, the book felt to have been lacking decent editing, it may be because I was sent a review copy and not the final book, but the copy if the copy I have and the final book are the same then the book obviously has editing issues. If the book’s final version is well-edited, it should make for a better read. Apart from these issues, as I previously said, the book was a decent read and would be a great fit for sci-fi and adventure genre readers.


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Book Review: STAR ~ Personality Styles (Complete Vol. 1 & 2): RATS ~ Grow up or be Left Behind by R Luciani 

Book Details:

Author: R Luciani
Release Date: 
4th October 2021
Series: Star Personality Styles (Vol #2)
Genre: Christian Non Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 400 pages
Publisher: KoHoE Publishing
Blurb:
Everyone marries with the hope of feeling wedding bliss “until death do us part”. At the time of writing this book, several sources reported that 60% to 85% of marriages are unhappy, and the Divorce Rate (in Canada) is around 38%; this means that 22% to 47% of married couples remain in unhappy marriages until death do they part.
Only 7% of conflicts are due to the words of the message; 93% of conflicts are due to the delivery of the message (quality of voice and body language); it is my intent to help people comprehend and resolve conflicts that are due to a simple misunderstanding of different personality styles – before conflict escalation. With the right rules and the right tools, wedding bliss “until death do us part” is possible for every marriage.
“STAR Personality Styles” is based on principles from the Holy Bible, but don’t let the source of information turn you away. Almost everyone (Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other religions, and even atheists) with whom I have shared the information directly (one-on-one, couples, or small groups) has reported to me that they have benefited from the information contained in this book.

STAR Personality Styles uses principles from the Holy Bible to explain: (1) the Negative, as well as the Positive, Personality Styles; (2) how to deal with people who have Negative Personality Styles; (3) how to overcome Negative Personality Styles within ourselves; (4) Safe, Effective, and Calm Conflict Resolution; (5) a comprehensive set of rules to promote the most satisfying relationship for all Interpersonal Relationships.
STAR Personality Styles Complete (Volumes 1 & 2) contains both Volume 1 (STAR and RATS) and Volume 2 (Tools and Rules) in a single book. If you (the reader) are interested in both Personality Styles and Conflict Resolution with Relationship Rules from the Holy Bible, the Complete version (ISBN-13: 978-1-7778566-0-1 available through AMAZON) is the book for you.
STAR Personality Styles Volume 1 (STAR and RATS) explains the different Personality Styles: Positive (STAR) and Negative (RATS) and answers how and why the differences can cause unhappy relationships. If you (the reader) are only interested in Personality Styles, Volume 1 (ISBN-13 978-1-7778566-1-8 available through AMAZON) is the book for you.
STAR Personality Styles Volume 2 (Tools and Rules) explains how to establish and nourish Love, Joy, Peace, and Harmony in your relationships with different personality styles – of course, success depends on your commitment to the relationship. If you (the reader) are only interested in Conflict Resolution with Relationship Rules from the Holy Bible, Volume 2 (ISBN-13: 978-1-7778566-2-5 available through AMAZON) is the book for you.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

STAR Personality Styles (Vol.1 & 2) RATS: Grow Up Or Be Left Behind by R. Luciani combined book with two volumes: STAR ~ Personality Styles (Volume 1 STAR and RATS): RATS ~ Grow up or be left Behind and STAR ~ Personality Styles (Volume 2 Tools & Rules): RATS ~ Grow up or be left Behind.

This book is a complete package with the first volume providing insights to the readers about the relationship mechanisms and context into how exactly people’s minds work while being in relationships and dealing with them and the second book giving a detailed look into conflict resolution and various solutions related to relationship problems. The author uses examples, anecdotes and teachings from the Bible in order to present his ideas but he has done so in such a way that even if you are not a Christian and have not read the Bible it’ll all make perfect sense to you.

The author’s writing has a beautiful flow and the style of writing resonated with me. I was able to read this book very easily and without any difficulty related to the pacing of the prose.

This combined book is great for anyone looking to understand the “why” behind human psychology of relationships and also the “what to do” in case they find themselves facing a related problem.


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Book Review: Your Sleep Map: Navigating Your Own Path to Relief from Insomnia by Thad R. Harshbarger

Book Details:

Author: Thad R Harshbarger
Release Date: 
5th April 2022
Series:
Genre: Self-Help, Non-Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 332 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
If you have insomnia, you want relief as soon as possible, and you need a path to your own answer. Your Sleep Map will help you link together a series of decisions and actions to identify the sources of your insomnia, and once you do that, you will be better able to make changes to relieve it.
The book begins where you are, with symptoms and a history. It moves forward by posing questions about your insomnia. Your answers to those questions will define a path that leads to suggestions for treatment.

Each chapter-map is initiated by a flow chart that organizes its component sections of text. You follow the flow chart, and when you need more information, you read the associated section of text. In that way, you individualize the text to suit your own needs. You actually only read a part of the book – the part that matters to you.
This form of organization emphasizes the choices you need to make in order to get better sleep. It fits the book to you, and not you to the book. You use a method or technique that you have chosen because it suits your needs and issues, and you eliminate a lot of techniques that are interesting but irrelevant.
For more, look at the Overview, pages 3 to 5, to see how the book is organized. The first map begins on page 6.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Your Sleep Map: Navigating Your Own Path to Relief from Insomnia by Dr. Thad R. Harshbarger is an extensively insightful and practical book that would help the readers not only to explore their insomnia or sleep-related issues in general but also find an effective solution for it. The book is written well with the author using simplified language and explaining difficult technical terms for the reader’s understanding which made reading this book smooth-sailing.

As the author claims in the blurb, this book really is a tailor-made kind of read thanks to its various extensively researched and meticulously figured out flow charts making it a really special and personalised read. I found a lot of helpful information in this book which I am planning to implement in my routine as well as add to my habits in order to improve my sleeping schedule. This book has loads of useful and practical information and I’m glad that I read it!

I would highly recommend this book to everyone as most people suffer from some sort of sleep-related issues, if not exactly insomnia, and this book could actually help you.


You can also read this review on:

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Book Review: STAR ~ Personality Styles (Volume 2 Tools & Rules): RATS ~ Grow up or be left Behind by R Luciani 

Book Details:

Author: R Luciani
Release Date: 
4th October 2021
Series: Star Personality Styles (Vol #2)
Genre: Christian Non Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 270 pages
Publisher: KoHoE Publishing
Blurb:
Everyone marries with the hope of feeling wedding bliss “until death do us part”. At the time of writing this book, several sources reported that 60% to 85% of marriages are unhappy, and the Divorce Rate (in Canada) is around 38%; this means that 22% to 47% of married couples remain in unhappy marriages until death do they part.
Only 7% of conflicts are due to the words of the message; 93% of conflicts are due to the delivery of the message (quality of voice and body language); it is my intent to help people comprehend and resolve conflicts that are due to a simple misunderstanding of different personality styles – before conflict escalation. With the right rules and the right tools, wedding bliss “until death do us part” is possible for every marriage.
“STAR Personality Styles” is based on principles from the Holy Bible, but don’t let the source of information turn you away. Almost everyone (Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other religions, and even atheists) with whom I have shared the information directly (one-on-one, couples, or small groups) has reported to me that they have benefited from the information contained in this book.

STAR Personality Styles uses principles from the Holy Bible to explain: (1) the Negative, as well as the Positive, Personality Styles; (2) how to deal with people who have Negative Personality Styles; (3) how to overcome Negative Personality Styles within ourselves; (4) Safe, Effective, and Calm Conflict Resolution; (5) a comprehensive set of rules to promote the most satisfying relationship for all Interpersonal Relationships.
STAR Personality Styles Complete (Volumes 1 & 2) contains both Volume 1 (STAR and RATS) and Volume 2 (Tools and Rules) in a single book. If you (the reader) are interested in both Personality Styles and Conflict Resolution with Relationship Rules from the Holy Bible, the Complete version (ISBN-13: 978-1-7778566-0-1 available through AMAZON) is the book for you.
STAR Personality Styles Volume 1 (STAR and RATS) explains the different Personality Styles: Positive (STAR) and Negative (RATS) and answers how and why the differences can cause unhappy relationships. If you (the reader) are only interested in Personality Styles, Volume 1 (ISBN-13 978-1-7778566-1-8 available through AMAZON) is the book for you.
STAR Personality Styles Volume 2 (Tools and Rules) explains how to establish and nourish Love, Joy, Peace, and Harmony in your relationships with different personality styles – of course, success depends on your commitment to the relationship. If you (the reader) are only interested in Conflict Resolution with Relationship Rules from the Holy Bible, Volume 2 (ISBN-13: 978-1-7778566-2-5 available through AMAZON) is the book for you.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

STAR Personality Styles (Vol.2: TOOLS & RULES) RATS: Grow Up Or Be Left Behind by R. Luciani is the second volume to STAR Personality Styles (Vol.1: STARS & RATS) RATS: Grow Up Or Be Left Behind. This book goes further in exploring the relationship dynamics between two people and explains ways to effectively resolve conflicts.

Author R. Luciani again draws largely from the Holy Bible to explain and describe ways in which relationship conflicts can be easily resolved with a little patience and understanding. I found the concepts explained in his book very helpful and feel positive that they would help others greatly too.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is going through a difficult time in their relationship and needs help, advice or is seeking direction in general.


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Book Review: The Playful Mind: How to Restore the Happiness We Experienced as Children by Paul Daniel

Book Details:

Author: Paul Daniel
Release Date: 
14th July 2022
Series:
Genre: Self-Help, Non-Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 269 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
As children, we were often so happy because it was easy for us to enter the playful mind. The “playful mind” is the mentality of being receptive to engagement with the present moment. As we got older, this playful mind became interfered with, making it more difficult for us to enter this mental state. If we are not mentally receptive to the present moment, it becomes harder for us to engage with it and produce feelings of happiness.

In this book, Paul Daniel identifies what is interfering with the playful mind and how to remove them. Primarily, there are mental frameworks we’ve adopted growing up that inhibit our satisfaction and cause us suffering. Such mental frameworks today preoccupy our thoughts and keep us from engaging with what is happening right in front of us. By dismantling these mental frameworks and removing other sources of interference, we can more easily enter the playful mind again – even as adults. With easier access to the playful mind, you will be able to experience more happiness in each moment.

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Playful Mind: How to Restore the Happiness We Experienced as Children by Paul Daniel is a very informative book about understanding how the mind works and how we can choose to be more present in the present moment (something like mindfulness but not exactly like it) and be more happy and assertive as a result.

I liked reading this book because it had a lot of information on self-growth and self-development and I found most of it easily understandable and applicable in daily life which I really appreciate. The book is written well and has a good flow. I was able to finish the book pretty quickly so for me it fit in well with my schedule and busy work life.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who likes reading self-development books, especially the ones focused on how the mind works and the various practices that help one achieve better and stress-free living.


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Book Review: 28 Disastrous Dates: A (Mostly True) Humourous Memoir by Poppy Mortimer

Book Details:

Author: Poppy Mortimer
Release Date: 
10th May 2022
Series:
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 276 pages
Publisher: Poppy Mortimer
Blurb:
Poppy Mortimer is hungry for love. Will she find The One, or lose her appetite for men, forever?
Smart, attractive, and fueled by wide-eyed optimism, Poppy Mortimer leaves rainy England to start a new life-and find the perfect man-in exotic Australia. Surely somewhere out there, a Chris Hemsworth impersonator is just waiting to whisk her off her feet and show her the real charms of ‘Down Under’.
But as Poppy launches into 28 dates, ranging from the outright hysterical to borderline traumatic, it becomes clear she’s going to have to kiss a few frogs-assuming she doesn’t croak first. From the seven-foot giant with a disturbing workout practice, to the exclusive party that turns out to be a lot more than just cocktails and canapes, Poppy starts to wonder if she should sue Disney for giving her false hope.

With gusto, humour, and a lot of heart, Poppy digs deep into her past as a child of divorce, and her ongoing journey as a modern woman and devoted romantic. Through laughter, tears, and characters that are truly stranger than fiction, Poppy won’t stop until she finds true love-or something even greater.
Fans of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Sex and the City (or any person who wants to feel better about their own dating life) will love this book.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

28 Disastrous Dates: A (Mostly True) Humourous Memoir by Poppy Mortimer is a funny account of the author’s troubled yet exciting and often amusing love life. In this book, the author pens down her disastrous dates, the things she learned from each of them, and how she went on to the next, thinking she won’t be making the same mistakes but ending up somehow on another disastrous first date.

I liked how the author used her sense of humour to keep the tone of the book light and made it funny and thus more relatable as well as easily palatable for the readers. The author’s writing style is good and the writing had a good flow which made this book a really easy and fast read.

I’d recommend this book to all readers of humorous non-fiction as I’m sure this book has a lot to offer to all its readers whether they are men or women.


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Author Interview: Phillip Riley

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome the author of Sleeping With Cancer, Phillip Riley, from Atmosphere Press, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Phillip Riley was born in Seattle, Washington but whose adult journeys took him to New York City, Boston, Vermont, California, and for the last several decades, Hawaii. His half a dozen colleges include the Cornish Institute for the Arts in Seattle, Washington and the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. He has a Bachelors in Fine Arts and a Master’s in Education. He continues to paint, teach, and write in Hawaii.

You can connect with author Riley here:
Author Website


Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

 Briefly I have roved the United States as a fine artist before finding myself in Hawaii sleeping on the beach after a divorce 23 years ago.  I remarried and mostly wrote poetry and children’s stories, as well as other short stories in both first and third person.  I remarried and followed my wife around the world on adventures.  I became a special education teacher during this time using the arts as a way to address what educators call core content.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

Sleeping With Cancer developed without an outline.  I modeled the main character after a lady I met in Boston.  As I continued the narrative, my thoughts as a caregiver in real life with a wife fighting an advanced stage of cancer began seeping into the story.  In a role reversal I wrote my thoughts from the first person of the lady with a boyfriend with cancer.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

If there is one message, it might be that there are examples of courage all around us that go unseen and without drama, especially with those surviving with cancer.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

My favorite character is the lead character, Emily.  It is her thoughts that resound through most of the book.  She is THE character, with grit, sarcasm, heart, and I would have to say love.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

An incident began when my wife and her mom went to Las Vegas and she called so exultant about winning a jackpot of $6000.00.  I began to think, you can win a jackpot, but you still have cancer. 

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

I think this book began about four years ago.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

I write in different venues.  I would like to publish several more books of short stories as well as novelettes and another book.  I like to think my writing will be a contribution to my fellow human beings.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

I am writing another book, but like Sleeping With Cancer, I am not sure where it is going.  In general, I prefer the tone to be optimistic.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

I have never written in the first person of a woman for a book as in Sleeping with Cancer.  I suppose I did so to get my thoughts out without naming my wife. I do write in multiple genres.  For example, I have a number of short stories whose characters are insects, crabs, and squirrels.

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

I think the person who inspired me long ago was a teacher at Massachusetts College of Art named Lila Chalpin.  In my twisted journey through New York City, Boston, and elsewhere living on the edges of poverty attempting to be an artist, writing has been my refuge for reflection. Traumas and experiments in living bring a lot of fodder to the mind.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

I like to write in the morning beginning at Starbucks and later at home. I bring a notebook everywhere to write impressions, such as when I occasionally teach.  I go to a writers’ group once a week to share what I am doing.

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I prefer old school writing first draft by hand in a notebook.  Section by section is then put onto my computer, which functions for me in the editing process and where the writing is made more readable and legible.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

  1. Anne Sexton, Transformations
  2. Erica Jong, Half-lives
  3. Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror
  4. Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna
  5. Lately… Diana Gabaldon’s books, such as Dragonfly in Amber

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I just write nonsense. I call it my blah blah time.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I think I might say to be careful who your teachers are and to not think too much about the outcome.  As a special education teacher I am aware of different learning styles and that it is sometimes important to give oneself room to go your own way.

Thank you, author Riley, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

Sleeping With Cancer

What is the meaning of life when you can see the end in the one you love?
Emily’s life changes after she witnesses two men kill each other in her apartment leaving a duffle bag with 1.2 million dollars.   With money no longer an obstacle and drifting through a dreamy state of trauma where spirits often appear, she eventually falls in love with a new man.  When he is later diagnosed with cancer, they embark on parallel journeys with an urgency and impatience to absorb the world.
In Sleeping with Cancer by Phillip Riley, Emily’s thoughts on the arbitrariness of life accompany her new love who is engaged in each moment with an appreciation she can only imagine.


You can find Sleeping With Cancer here:
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Nick A. Jameson

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome the author of Rosebud: A Poetry Collection, Nick A. Jameson, from Infinite Of One Publishing, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Nick A. Jameson is a philosopher-poet with strong progressive convictions and a history of creative endeavors, including the conception of left-leaning political, economic, business and spiritual theories. Residing in Bend, OR, Nick was born in Fort Bragg, CA, and has spent most of his life in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, CA.

Nick has a BA in Business Economics from UCSB and an MA in English from ASU. His projects include works of fiction and nonfiction delving into the disciplines of storytelling, philosophy, poetry, spirituality, sociopolitical theory, nutrition and naturopathy. All of his ideas, projects, discussion boards and blog posts are available at infiniteofone.com.

You can connect with author Jameson here:
Author Website | Facebook | Instagram


Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I’m a natural philosopher-poet spurred by a deep inner force, what I consider the essential Self, or Spirit, to seek answers to the foremost questions arising from humankind’s quest for meaning. Both highly contemplative and highly emotional, my heart and mind have converged to create everything from my own idealistic set of social systems (see my other works, including Infinite of One and Cultural Cornerstones, Recarved, as well as my website at infiniteofone.com), which is why I consider myself an ‘ideologue,’ to poetic, cathartic releases on every emotion with which I wrestle. My progressive convictions and philosophical nature shine through in most everything that I write, including my poetry, as does my strong drive to seek the spiritual, or metaphysical, nature of existence. I’m also highly romantic, and motivated by a chivalrous sense of honor and a platonic idealism valuing ideas and principles above everything but love, which, along with liberal education and the philosophical and poetic arts, I think are highly undervalued attributes and pursuits in the modern materialistic era of corporate dominance. I’ve been a creative, self-driven individual all my life, and much prefer to be the driving force behind my own endeavors than attempt to fit into a box or a role designed for the purposes of others, which is part of why I’ve always been resistant to the concept of the ‘job,’ or even the ‘career,’ in which we’re compelled by forces other than the fired heart and impassioned mind. Instead, my desire is to combine my conviction regarding ownership of one’s work, a semi-socialistic entrepreneurial attitude towards the ‘workplace,’ with my desire to write and create generally. While I created games for friends set to paper as a youth, which I called ‘paper games,’ my creative side has found a grander outlet in my poetry, social theories and philosophical pursuits.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

Rosebud is an emotional, intellectual and spiritual outlet collected into a series of poems with the power to both elucidate complex ideas as well as to touch upon and assist the reader in cathartically releasing their emotions, especially when those emotions are based upon the unresolved quests for love and self-realization. Like my book Heresies of a Heathen, it experiments with a type of writing I call “reinterpretive verse/prose” in several of its poems, as well as in the post script. While I’m certain that the writing community has another term for this, what I mean by ‘reinterpretive’ is that I’ll be inspired by a work, such as The Prophet and Siddhartha in the subject book, Rosebud, or the collected Gnostic Gospels in Heresies of a Heathen, yet I’ll see the ideas and wisdom that they impart through my own philosophical lens, and thereby come to rewrite them, or portions of them, in my own words, reinterpreted through my own perspective and philosophy. I believe Rosebud contains a ton of value on many levels, including: insights into the nature of Spirit/God; how spirituality and religion aren’t identical, and why; explorations of the emotional and psychological aspects of love and ‘the muse;’ both the suffering and the reward of the seeker; and much more. It is representative of the overlap between the philosopher and the poet. As Emerson said: “The true philosopher and the true poet are one. And a beauty, which is truth, and a truth, which is beauty, is the aim of them both.” 

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

While, per my response to the previous question, it would be all but impossible for me to conflate the book into a single message, if forced to choose one, it may be: while it may sound cliché, one must follow their hearts, for the heart is the focal point of Spirit into matter, and is therefore the bridge to the everlasting wisdom and One Being which we all share, and which, though it shall test you, assailing you with demons, the secretly angelic nature of those demons shall someday be revealed in the incalculable rewards wrought by the stronger self they bring.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

Writing is an outlet for me; I call it my ‘pressure release valve,’ envisioning my sanity being much like a cannister under pressure. Yet, without the emotional and intellectual pressure, and without the suffering they entail, I wouldn’t be able to delve into the ideas that I do, or be inspired to write what I write. So, it’s a combination of needing an outlet for beliefs and ideas and the fact that I’m what one might call ‘troubled in love.’ I collect muses and unrequited affections, for a number of reasons, and my related fantasies and pains produce much poetry.

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

I’m always writing, and struggle not with ‘writers block,’ but with much the opposite phenomenon: with having too many ideas and too much content, and not knowing exactly how to organize them into particular projects, or to ‘stop’ those projects. This particular book, Rosebud, is based upon a collection of poems produced over about half a year. The two muses whom were in my heart and mind when I wrote it, for example, include the memories of one I was in love with for years, and was writing about in Northern CA, and a newer muse I became infatuated with since moving back to Bend, here in Central Oregon, who has since been, let’s say, very unkind towards me; the word ‘betrayal’ is definitely apt; but who, nevertheless, I’m happy I got the chance to know, because the poet needs a muse, because I got to focus my love on someone new, and because all pain is a lesson in disguise. Six months, going from one muse to the next.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

It’s difficult to put a limit on such ambitions. I firmly believe that I have a natural capacity to create theories of near limitless social value, to elucidate most any obscurity of the philosophical and spiritual landscape, so to speak (if nothing else, I’m a natural philosopher), and to purge my own emotional struggles onto the page in a manner which others may identify with. Having started my own independent publishing imprint, Infinite of One Publishing, with ‘infinite of one’ being an allusion to the core spiritual belief of mine, a non-dualistic monotheism I call ‘monoexistentialism,’ my ambition is to be a globally-recognized philosopher poet that runs his own publishing imprint in league with a cadre of like-minded creative, spiritual progressives.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

I write in most every genre; all of it has value. Naturally, philosophy and poetry are my go-to’s, but I write sociopolitical theory and fiction as well, just not as regularly. For me, I love poetry because, as in the book blurb, I believe it to be the freest of writing genres; the one the least beholden to form, structure and style and, therefore, permitting the possibility of the purest conveyance of heart and mind. My favorite poems, in fact, seem to come out of me when my mind is the least aware of itself, and when I’m in a type of trance, seemingly conducting from the very depths of my being without my mind really understanding what I’m writing, or why.

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

I’m a writer by nature, because I’m a thinker and a creative, and because I love language and the exploration of ideas; my particular combination of attributes tells me I’m meant to be a writer along progressive lines, where I create not just for fun or entertainment, but for the quest to understand all the mysteries of human existence. That said, deciding to pursue writing professionally is anything but easy, as I’m sure you and all your interviewees know. And yes, you could argue that it entails sacrifice; heeding what I believe my calling is has, to the dismay of some family members, pulled me away from less risk-averse, seemingly more lucrative paths.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

I tend to do the most writing early in the day. I read while drinking coffee or tea, usually with classical piano playing in the background, and as I read I’m routinely provoked to write, either because I’m reflecting on ideas or recent happenings in my life with the blood circulating quickly thanks to the caffeine, and/or because I feel the need to respond to what I’m reading. I also have the routine of making ‘notes’ in my phone whenever a thought arises that I believe to be of value, most of these being of a philosophical nature. Let’s check… I currently have 2,759 notes on my iPhone. After I make the note I send it to various outlets, including two different email accounts, and from there I copy and paste the note into collections intended for writing projects, one of which will be a lifelong series I call From the Roots Up: A Progressive, Spiritual Philosopher’s Notebook, which is, per the title, a collection of notations of philosophical value.

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Per the last response I make a lot of notes in my phone. That said, I write in many different ways. I’ve always had very good penmanship, and I write in a series of journals (the current go-to is a leather journal with a Tree of Life imprint), plus the phone, plus often directly into MS Word.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

That’s a tough one. Plato, Rumi, Orwell, Thoreau and Wilde. 1984, Walden and the collected works of the other three. I have so much on my reading list! It’s a dense word document on my computer. I’m a bit of a rarity, I believe, in that I write more than I read. Relatedly, it’s long been a goal of mine to transfer some of my cinephile self to being more of a bibliophile.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I don’t really experience this. I’m an ideas guy, and I have the opposite problem: knowing which ideas to pursue, and when to cut them off when it comes to a particular project. I don’t think writing should ever be forced. Inspiration is the force of creation, and if I’m not being inspired by something, whether positively or negatively, I’m not writing.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Your heart is your truest self. If it tells you to write, write. Don’t worry about popularity or who will read it and what they’ll think, or even grammar/editing. Release it onto the page, even if it’s just for your own emotional and intellectual development; just to explore an idea, to develop your convictions and/or to cathartically release emotion. What to do with it, and whether or not you or anyone else thinks it’s of value and worth broadcasting, is a ‘downstream’ concern.

Thank you, author Jameson, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

Rosebud: A Poetry Collection

Poetry is powerful because it’s free; free from the forms, constructs and constraints of prose. It permits those that wield it to go anywhere, to explore anything, without the restrictions of other forms of lingual expression. In this book of poems, the writer uses poetry for manifold purposes, from wrestling with his inner demons, to seeking that elusive angel amongst his muses, to evoking every color of the emotional spectrum, to pulling progressivism from the greed and controls of prevailing culture and politics, to seeking the nature and imparted wisdom at the very source of all truth and being: Spirit, or God.


You can find Rosebud: A Poetry Collection here:
Goodreads | Amazon

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Whispers Of Innocence by Natasha Simmons

Book Details:

Author: Natasha Simmons
Release Date: 
7th June 2022
Series:
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 272 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
The baby is quiet. Too quiet.
When Madeline checks on her seven-month-old daughter, she discovers the reason for the baby’s silence. Abigail is dead. Madeline is soon living every mother’s worst nightmare among a cacophony of sirens and police interrogations.
Accusations and old resentments can’t stay contained under the pressure of guilt, tears, and the horror of picking out a baby-sized coffin. A line is drawn through Madeline and Brian’s marriage, and a battle begins.
But defining heroes and villains is as difficult as untangling the truth from the impossible web Madeline and Brian have created to protect themselves. Abigail’s killer isn’t the only monster hiding in the shadows. And among the dark secrets, everyone will crumble under the consequences.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Whispers Of Innocence by Natasha Simmons is a very well-written psychological thriller that will make it impossible for you to put down the book for even a second.

As much as this book was emotionally taxing, I loved reading it. The tension throughout the book, right from the first chapter, was wound so tight, that it was impossible to put it aside and do anything else. And that is the best way any author can write a psychological thriller novel, so I am really glad that I read this book. The writing was good, the concept was brilliant, the characterisation was very well developed and the tension and pacing were completely on point.

The story did have its dark moments, but it was to be expected given that the author had been honest about a child’s death in the blurb itself. So be prepared for some reader’s emotional damage (as I like to call it) but unless it is a trigger for you, you shouldn’t worry about it because the book after all is a dark psychological thriller.

I would strongly recommend this book to all thriller readers, especially all dark psychological thriller readers and fans of the genre.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Some Mistakes of Darwin and a Programmer’s Theory of Life by Daniel G. Vintner

Book Details:

Author: Daniel G. Vintner
Release Date: 
24th May 2022
Series:
Genre: Non-Fiction, Philosophy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 263 pages
Publisher: Boros Dániel
Blurb:
Darwin’s theory of evolution has been widely regarded as one of the greatest accomplishments of science. Except for a few individuals, most scientists have dismissed the issues that have crept up in the last century related to and in opposition to the theory of evolution. However, developments in molecular biology and genetics have failed to address some of the original concerns with the theory and also exposed even more significant flaws that should not be overlooked.
The evolution debate has been raging on the outskirts of academia for two centuries, and the sides have never been further apart than they are now. “Science versus religion” and “evolution versus creationism” was what the audience heard for a long time. In the twentieth century, God was brought down into the fighting pits of scientific society to duke it out with Charles Darwin, and for the longest time, it seemed he had lost the match for good. In recent times, though, God has put his gloves back on and seems to have managed to insert himself back into the debate.

Or has he? Has anything really changed in this debate, which is as old as debates themselves? Did evolution change, or science, or God himself? What is true from the grandiose claims of those who claim to have resurrected God by virtue of their arguments? And what truth is there in the words of the scientists who claim to have buried him?

Some Mistakes of Darwin goes back to the beginning of evolutionary thought and verifies every claim made by Darwin and his successors. Everything is put to the test, and nothing is off limits. No claim is accepted without verification and no argument is beyond questioning. Travel from the birth of genetics and molecular biology, through the advances in software engineering, to the far ends of space and time and beyond. By the last chapter, the book goes full circle and reaches the same conclusion as the philosophers of old have, from the same facts but a different perspective, arguing from science, not from scripture, for a new theory of life.

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Some Mistakes of Darwin and a Programmer’s Theory of Life by Daniel G. Vintner is a very interesting book to read that will leave you thinking really hard about the age-old debate of ‘science vs religion.’

This book had a very unique premise and to say that I was intrigued by this book would be a huge understatement. After reading the book I was really impressed by the author’s arguments presented in the book and believed them to be true, finding myself leaning toward his explanations and thus, his side, more than I thought was possible. Without giving away any spoilers, I would just like to say that be prepared to be swayed from your one-sided stand after reading this book because the author might just be able to convince you to agree with his arguments.

I would strongly recommend this book to everyone who likes to explore and read about Darwin’s Theory of evolution.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: No Ghosts in the Graveyard: The Lifetime Adventures of a Small-Town Oregon Boy by Bob Crites

Book Details:

Author: Bob Crites
Release Date: 
29th August 2021
Series:
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir
Format: E-book 
Pages: 429 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
“I had the good fortune of being born with a high biological set point for happiness.”
Walking alone at night, at age nine, selling newspapers on the streets of Eugene, Oregon, Bob Crites was among the last of the American paperboys. In the early 1950s, Bob and his triplet siblings didn’t know the word “homeless”; he thought they were living an adventure camping in the woods with their young mother.As an adult setting out to make a difference in the world, Bob finds his passion: Helping others help themselves.
Follow the funny, sometimes sad, always interesting adventures of “The Incredible Crites” as he saves lives, almost gets killed, and makes a world of difference.

Bob Crites has earned numerous recognition and awards for his service and altruism. In 1964 he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Brazilian hinterlands of Mato Grosso, Brazil, when the country was taken in a military coup. And in the late 70s, he was an Associate Peace Corps Director in Guatemala during a civil war. In the 1990s, he partnered with the “Second Mother Teresa”, one of the 20th century’s most enlightened women, to enrich the education of impoverished students. In 1991 Bob was thrust into the role of agent for an African teen who went on to become an Olympic gold medalist, world record-holding track star voted along with cyclist Lance Armstrong as the two top sports competitors in the world. In 1998 Dr. Jane Goodall personally requested Bob to partner with the Jane Goodall Institute in awarding academic scholarships in Tanzania.
Now retired from a career as an educator and counselor, Bob is an avid backgammon player living with his Brazilian-born wife Dalva in Eugene, Oregon. They love to travel and winter at their beachside condo in Recife, Brazil

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

No Ghosts in the Graveyard: The Lifetime Adventures of a Small-Town Oregon Boy by Bob Crites is a beautifully written memoir that will make you forget everything else as you read this book.

I quite enjoyed reading this book mostly because of two reasons; firstly it was a very well-written book and secondly because the story that the author had to share with the readers was a very interesting one. This book had a lot of aspects to it as the author had shared his long and interesting life through small captivating anecdotes. The book managed to grip my attention from the first page to the very last one and I was left wanting for more.

The pacing of the book felt right and the narrative style was very gripping. I would highly recommend this book to all readers of non-fiction and personal memoirs.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


5 Important Factors To Consider Before Buying A New Car

More often than not, buying a new car, especially one’s first car, is one of the most important and the biggest decisions of one’s life. And just like any other important decision, before taking such a huge step, a careful consideration is important as is market research.

Today I will be sharing 5 important factors that should be considered before buying a new car to help you make an informed decision.

5 Important Factors To Consider Before Buying A New Car

1 Car Type

The first thing that you need to consider is need Vs want. You ming want to buy an SUV, but if you need is that if a small hatchback, then why waste money on an impractical SUV or maybe a shiny new sedan. Or maybe you simply need a practical second-hand station wagon instead of the new convertible that’ll definitely be difficult to park just anywhere.

2 Budget & Financing

The next thing on my personal list is financing. My father was a car collector and owned more than 12 luxury cars in his 60 years of life. The one thing I can tell you from my own experience (and his) is that the first thing you need to consider before buying a car (or anything that expensive) is to figure out your budget and the financing schemes and options available in the market. There might be a million schemes, of course, but you need to make an informed decision and consult a friend or a wealth manager and figure out the best finance scheme that would sit comfortably in your budget and that would easily accommodate the price of the car you’ve been eyeing. Or simply use a webiste like CarPaymentCalculator.net and use their features like ability to calculate car price that fits a monthly payment or loan payment amounts, printable amortization schedules, figuring your MPG, calculating your fuel budget, exploring the cost of underwater trade ins and saving money with biweekly payments.

You can even visit websites like NerdWallet or CreditKarma to better understand your credit scores and figure out the loan amount before actually applying for the loan.

3 Features & Technology

While it is important to know what kind of car you need, it is also important to know what features you want your car to have. For example, airbags, navigation, automatic windows and locking mechanisms, folding seats, air conditioning type, etc. These things also affect the cost of the car so it is always advisable to consider these things before you actually finalise the options.

4 Insurance Policy

Insurance policy and roadside assistance are major players when it comes to buying a car. You need to make sure that the insurance policy and assistance you are going for will cover the majority of the situations or scenarios that you might possibly get involved in. For example, if you are into a lot of road trips then make sure that you have complete roadside assistance and anti-theft and accidental protection as opposed to petty theft and damages.

Age and the premium amount that you are willing to pay, play a big role in determining the quality of your insurance policy so make sure to investigate thoroughly and do the required groundwork with your insurance agent before settling for an insurance policy.

5 Residual Value

While buying a car you don’t just have to think of the present but also the future, so thinking of what the car will fetch you after a couple of years if you decide to sell it off and go for another car is always smart. Some cars and models have a high residual value as opposed to others. If you are sure to not sell then this might not matter much, but most people upgrade their cars on a regular basis -especially keeping in mind the technological advancements, so it is always better to have the option of being able to sell your car in the future for a good price a good idea.

So these are some factors to consider before buying a new car. If you have anything more to add (there are many other things that have not been added in this article for the sake of brevity) then please feel free to share them in the comments below. We welcome all views and comments 🙂

Author Interview: N. Ford

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome the author of The Refuge, N. Ford, from Atmosphere Press, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

N. Ford spends most free time in the open air, usually barefooted and with readily available mango.  An alumni of Taylor University and the University of Central Florida, N. Ford exists somewhere in between a midwesterner and beach bum, currently residing alongside the mountains of Tennessee.  With the steady company of a giant dog and something to write on, anywhere will do. Defined by faith, fueled by tribe, and driven by purpose, N. Ford writes for all; and simultaneously, for just One.

You can connect with author Ford here:
Author Website


Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I am a life-long learner who hopes to continue to learn new skills, have dynamic experiences, study other cultures, and continue in formal education.  I need physical movement nearly all the time, and ideally outside.  I love to be at the sea, or in the mountains, or exploring somewhere new.  I start every day in a Bible and end every day with exercise.  I like nothing more than to be with family and friends, but a day under a tree with my dog, my guitar, and a notebook is also a day well spent. 

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

The entire idea for the book was formulated in 2015, and once I really got started in 2019, it felt like it wrote itself.  Interestingly enough, the majority of the theming centers around war, unity, and race relations – subjects that became highly relevant in the wake of 2020, 2021, and 2022.  It’s my great hope that the messages of unity and human value can seep into our current cultural events in impactful ways. 

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

More than any other, the primary message of the novel is the value of human life.  We humans represent a beautiful and dynamic amalgamation of shapes, sizes, colors, ethnicities, capabilities, backgrounds, nationalities, experiences, etc.  This story celebrates our differences while highlighting our similarities.  We need each other.  And everyone brings a unique value.  That’s the primary message here. 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

I read somewhere that as an author, there’s a part of you in every character.  Knowing the truth of that, it’s hard to choose a favorite.  I love Jude’s drive toward meaning and his desire to do something purposeful with his life.  I admire Mae’s simple and immoveable nature, along with her love for her people.  I desire to have Matthew’s curious and independent mind, and Faith’s courageous spirit.  I relate to Jonathan’s heart and respect his iron will to do the right thing even though it hurts him deeply.  I want to lead like Issachar, dream like Eden, and rejoice like Jackson. 

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

For me, life is driven by faith.  This project is no different.  This story was placed on my heart to tell, and I did my best to tell it without letting my own voice get in the way. 

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

I wrote the first words to this book on August 15, 2015.  After receiving discouragement at the first try, I gave it a rest for a while.  I had a few successive failures to launch over the next few years and finally dedicated myself to writing it with new strategies and tactics in place.  That was in August of 2019.  By August of 2020, the novel was complete, along with an outline for the rest of the trilogy.  From the first words on a page to publication – it took 6 years and 9 months.  Books two and three won’t take quite that long.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

Ideally, I’d like to quit my grown-up job and write full time.  I’d like to finish this trilogy, make it into a movie or a TV series, and then get to work on the ever-growing list of writing projects sitting unattended in the notes app on my phone. 

Are you working on any other stories presently?

Other than Book Two of The Refuge Trilogy, no.  There’s a long list awaiting my attention, but graduate school will need to end before I can give it the time it needs.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

I will write in multiple genres.  I chose this one to begin simply because I felt called to write this story first.  There are many that will be published as nonfiction pieces, and hopefully more in the fiction realm as well. 

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

A few years ago, I found an envelope my parents kept of papers I wrote in school.  They all received high marks, were a mix of subjects, and came from several class years.  Upon further investigation I discovered that my parents always knew I had a skill set for writing.  It took me much longer to discover.  I was one of those kids that had no clue what I wanted to do when I became an adult.  I ended up in my university major by default, not by choice, and chose to make it work.  Discovering my purpose and understanding what I wanted to do on this earth was a deep and difficult challenge for me.  I think that’s why I so deeply relate to Jude’s search for purpose-driven work. 

After an explosive time in my life in which I lost a job, a primary relationship, and had close family move away, I started using writing as a means of catharsis.  That’s what ultimately led me to understand that writing is something I love, something that gives me energy and passion and meaning, and something I feel I can use to make a positive impact.  More than all of that, though, it’s something I feel God created me to do, and I want to pursue it with all that I am. 

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

This novel was written at a time when I was juggling a full-time job, graduate school, and multiple community service opportunities.  It was highly challenging some days to achieve the ritual I committed to completing.  Nevertheless, day after day I would work my job, do the tasks assigned from graduate school, and then force myself to walk to the coffee shops in my near vicinity to write until I couldn’t anymore.  Sometimes this was no longer than twenty minutes.  Sometimes it lasted for hours. 

What I was able to identify that was crucial to my writing process was that I needed music playing in headphones (I chose tracks for this by Audiomachine, John Paesano, Ivan Torrent, Gustavo Santaolalla, etc.).  I also identified that I had to be somewhere that was a dedicated space for writing.  In my home, I had one chair for writing – I used it for no other purpose.  I also selected several coffee shops or cafes that were my ‘writing spaces’.  I didn’t socialize there or do any other work there – only writing.  The psychological and physical separation of these places for writing helped me make progress day after day in ways that I don’t think would have been as successful otherwise.

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

My writing process starts with a pen and a notebook.  Outlines turn into chapter synopses (still in pen and paper form), and once the chapter synopses are complete, I move to a laptop. 

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

Frances J. Roberts is a long-lasting favorite author.  She writes truth with beauty, poetry, and rhythm.  It’s truly unique and distinctly beautiful.  My favorite title by her is Come Away, My Beloved.

For gorgeous and descriptive fiction, Charles Martin is a go-to.  When Crickets Cry among others are true works of art. 

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I do something else.  I walk away, go work out, spend time with family and friends.  Play some music, work on something else.  There’s a separation that must happen for me.  I try not to let it bother me and try again the next day. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I would tell aspiring writers to do everything they can to not strive for a story.  Let the story come to you.  Let it call out to you instead of you striving to create something that you think may be unique or may sell.  The more you can let your experience be about the story you were created to tell instead of the story you think you should tell, the better it will go for you. 

Thank you, author Ford, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

The Refuge

In a world that has ever only known war, generations still swing their swords on whispers of conflict from centuries past.
In Physis, the law of the land is ‘every territory for itself.’  Lineage is everything; racial identification is paramount; and territory loyalty is the code by which one lives or dies.  But when a few individuals decide the given system isn’t working,  everything begins to change.
What will happen to the world when inherited authority is questioned; when standards of judgement are re-evaluated; and when independent thinkers redefine purpose for a new generation of leaders?
In The Refuge, by N. Ford, readers travel from the snowy mountain estates of The Diamond Isles to the clay arenas of warrior life in Agon.  They sail the Physis Sea, chasing mystery and meaning, and swim in the clear pool at the bottom of the Western Bay.  Readers will meet love, loss, and sacrifice anew, while rediscovering what purpose can do when it’s authentic and hard-won.


You can find The Refuge here:
Goodreads | Amazon

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: STAR ~ Personality Styles (Volume 1 STAR and RATS): RATS ~ Grow up or be left Behind by R Luciani 

Book Details:

Author: R Luciani
Release Date: 
4th October 2021
Series: Star Personality Styles (Vol #1)
Genre: Christian Non Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 302 pages
Publisher: KoHoE Publishing
Blurb:
Everyone marries with the hope of feeling wedding bliss “until death do us part”. At the time of writing this book, several sources reported that 60% to 85% of marriages are unhappy, and the Divorce Rate (in Canada) is around 38%; this means that 22% to 47% of married couples remain in unhappy marriages until death do they part.
Only 7% of conflicts are due to the words of the message; 93% of conflicts are due to the delivery of the message (quality of voice and body language); it is my intent to help people comprehend and resolve conflicts that are due to a simple misunderstanding of different personality styles – before conflict escalation. With the right rules and the right tools, wedding bliss “until death do us part” is possible for every marriage.
“STAR Personality Styles” is based on principles from the Holy Bible, but don’t let the source of information turn you away. Almost everyone (Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other religions, and even atheists) with whom I have shared the information directly (one-on-one, couples, or small groups) has reported to me that they have benefited from the information contained in this book.

STAR Personality Styles uses principles from the Holy Bible to explain: (1) the Negative, as well as the Positive, Personality Styles; (2) how to deal with people who have Negative Personality Styles; (3) how to overcome Negative Personality Styles within ourselves; (4) Safe, Effective, and Calm Conflict Resolution; (5) a comprehensive set of rules to promote the most satisfying relationship for all Interpersonal Relationships.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

STAR Personality Styles (Vol.1: STARS And RATS) RATS: Grow Up Or Be Left Behind by R. Luciani is a brilliant and insightful book about the workings of people’s personalities and their relationships. Pastor Ross Luciani has highlighted the types of personalities and the ways to deal with such personalities in his latest 2-volume book series, STAR Personality Styles using his knowledge of the Bible to draw parallels and to define personalities and the ways to handle the negative ones.

I am a firm believer that religious texts are mostly written keeping in mind a common man and how this common man can overcome obstacles in their daily life and live happily. Cementing on this belief, I had the privilege to get the opportunity to read and review books by author R. Luciani who draws heavily from the Holy Bible to explain and describe different kinds of people around us and how their personalities bare an influence on their relationships, especially marriage – the most sacred of all relationships.

I think this book would be helpful to anyone in general, Christian or not (which means it is okay if you have or have not read Bible previously) as this book has a lot of useful information about how people think in general and behave according to how they are and the way they see this world. Reading this book would give a really insightful look into the workings of certain relationships and I am sure you’ll be glad after reading this book and, like me, would want to jump on to the next one to know more about conflict resolution too.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Graphic Novel Review: Shrieks and Sounds and Things Abound! (The Quiet Wants of Julien J.) by Drew Palacio

Book Details:

Author: Drew Palacio
Release Date: 
9th May 2022
Series: The Quiet Wants Of Julien J. (Book #1)
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Short Story, Graphic Novel, Poetry
Format: E-book 
Pages: 34 pages
Publisher: Brandylane Publishers Inc
Blurb:
JULIEN J’s frustrating evening takes an extraordinary turn when BLUEBULLET, his favorite comic book superhero, pays him a surprise visit.
After a long day filled with school and homework, Julien immerses himself in the latest adventures of Bluebullet, his favorite comic book. His evening reading retreat goes awry when the neighborhood crow starts incessantly cackling. He attempts to drown the noise but finds himself interrupted again. This time it’s by a group of sneezing, buzzing bees. Julien’s exasperation balloons inside him. Determined to finish, he sticks his nose back into his book. His efforts are finally thwarted by additional creatures, now all simultaneously ruining his day.

This unwelcome commotion unfolds while Bluebullet is at a crucial moment in his battle! The cacophony of noises derail his experience and sends him into a fit of rage. Julien screams at the top of his lungs – so loudly, that it summons Bluebullet himself, who swoops down from the sky, ready to help! Julien’s anger would become the catalyst for a profound learning experience. Bluebullet is a wise, seasoned hero who imparts pivotal guidance to Julien. At this moment, Julien learns to maintain his peace of mind even when confronted with adversity.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Shrieks And Sounds And Things Around! by Drew Palacio is the first book in the new children’s graphic novel series, The Quiet Wants of Julien J.

This book is tremendously engaging and I enjoyed reading it a lot. The illustrations are beautiful and captivating and the writing is really impressive. The book has a big moral to share with its readers in the end and that makes this book all the more precious. The poetry in the book has a great flow and will be easily understandable by children.

I would highly recommend it to all middle graders and early teens and to parents who read books to their children. This book has such a beautiful message for everyone that you wouldn’t want to miss out on it.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Starstruck And Swindled In Paradise by A.H. Nazzareno

Book Details:

Author: A.H. Nazzareno
Release Date: 
1st June 2022
Series:
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Short Story, Humour
Format: E-book 
Pages: 42 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
A discontent and disillusioned author embarks on a road trip to the desert paradise of Las Vegas, teeming with oddball characters. Starstruck And Swindled In Paradise is a fictional short story about a flawed man attempting to reinvent himself while experiencing an unforgettable adventure.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Starstruck And Swindled In Paradise by A.H. Nazzareno is a short story about an author’s (mis)adventures that will tickle your funny bones.

I enjoyed reading this book because it was engaging, fun and light-hearted. I liked the writing and the characterisation and I found the author’s sense of humour to be really good. It is a short and well-written book that I’d recommend to all contemporary humour readers. Also, if you are a writer then you’ll definitely enjoy this book.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Author Interview: Michelle Bennington 

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Michelle Bennington, author of Devil’s Kiss, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Born and raised in the beautiful Bluegrass state of Kentucky, Michelle Bennington developed a passion for books early on that has progressed into a mild hoarding situation and an ever-growing to-read pile. She delights in spinning mysteries and histories. Find out more on her website: http://www.michellebennington.com and follow her on her social media profiles.

You can find author Michelle here:
Author Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads


Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I was born to a blue collar family of construction workers, farmers, and factory workers. I was one of the few people in my family to go college.  I’ve always loved books and since the age of 13 wanted to be a writer. But when I was younger, in the place I lived and in a pre-Google era, there weren’t many resources to guide and facilitate my growth in writing. Later, once I got to college, I was introduced to world of writing workshops, craft courses, and a host of other resources, which vastly improved and honed my craft. Since then, I’ve published a few short stories and poems, but writing books was always the primary goal. Now I’m aiming for other goals within the industry. When I’m not writing, I hold down a full-time job. And when I’m not working (which is rare these days), I enjoy crocheting, painting, dancing, reading, ghost tours, distillery tours, traveling, and hanging out with my family. 

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

I really wanted to write a book that featured Kentucky  in a positive light. That was incredibly important to me. Also, I named my character Rook after my grandmother’s favorite card game, Rook. So I wove a few real-life things into the book.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

I don’t really have a message planted in the book, but I suppose, if there’s a takeaway, it could be summed up in one word: Resiliency. My characters go through things, horrible things, but they remain hopeful and resilient. 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

I think my favorite character is Prim. She’s a sassy grandmother who has seen hard times and though she’s petite and delicate-looking, she’s tough, wise, and takes no guff.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

The book concept first began with a half-baked idea about an amateur sleuth who is also a part-time college instructor. I happened to also be a part-time college instructor at the time. While I was generating ideas around that, my husband and I attended a ghost tour at the Buffalo Trace bourbon distillery. Because Buffalo Trace has a long history, there are a few places on the property that seemed a little spooky to me—especially at night on a ghost tour. That gave me the idea of a murder mystery taking place at a distillery. Then not long after that, I read an article about the Pappy VanWinkle heist, which was a BIG deal in the bourbon industry because Pappy is a rare 15-25 year old bourbon and is quite expensive. Then the ideas began swirling and soon the plot for Devil’s Kiss was born! 

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

From conception to publication, it took me about four years total. The actual writing and completion of the manuscript was two years. Then, because I really wanted to do the traditional route first, it took another two years to find an agent and publisher. Once I landed the publishing contract in January 2020, I had to wait an excruciating 18 months! Taking the traditional path to publication has definitely put my patience to the test.  But that’s a character flaw in myself that I needed to work on anyway.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

I have a long list of books I want to write and publish. A few are already written and need revision or rewriting; a few are partially written and need completion; and many are just idea-seeds right now.  I want to be a full-time writer. I want to write in a few genres (historical, mystery, romance, fantasy, paranormal). While I enjoy writing the fun stuff like cozy mysteries (and I have no intention of quitting those), I do want to write some upmarket books and serious historical fiction, too. I want to grow my YouTube channel and start a podcast, teach some writing workshops, sit on conference panels, maybe even start up my own indie press.  I want to finish the screenplay I’ve started and I would love to have any of my stories picked up for movie / TV production.  That’s where I see my next five years. Will all that happen? Who knows? I’ve always operated with the notion of “Dream Big, Work Hard, and See What Happens.” But I go into my plans knowing that I won’t get everything I want, work for, and dream for.  I might get a much smaller version of what I hoped for. And that’s okay.  Of course I get disappointed when things don’t go as I expected or when I worked really hard for something that doesn’t come to fruition. I accept that it wasn’t meant for me and move on.  I try not to dwell too long on disappointments because it’s a waste of time. I just get right back to work.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

I am working on a lot of things presently. When I signed Devil’s Kiss with Level Best Books, they gave me a three book deal. So, I’ve already written the second book (Mermaid Cove, slated for release in 2023) and will soon begin plotting the third book, Unbridled Spirits (2024). This week I signed another 3-book deal with Level Best Books for a historical mystery series set in 1803 England. The first book, Widow’s Blush, is due to release October 2023, with books 2 and 3 coming out in 2024 and 2025, respectively. I’m also currently working on a Southern gothic cozy mystery, called Dumpster Dying, that I intend to self-publish by October 2022. In addition, I’ve started the rough draft for a historical fiction based on a true crime. I have no idea how long it will take me to write that manuscript because I want it to be upmarket, closer to literary fiction. However, I do anticipate that it will be a 2-3 book series because it involves a ton of characters. I also have begun writing a screenplay, but since I know nothing about writing a screenplay, I’m having to educate myself as I go.  And lastly, I have two completed manuscripts—a romance and a historical fiction—that need to be revised. My plan is to start revising one of those once I’ve completed Dumpster Dying. The romance I plan to self-publish and the historical fiction I would like to see traditionally published. But we’ll see what happens there. 

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

Well, the very first book I wrote was a romance. Honestly, I chose that because I thought it would be easier and therefore I could use it as a means of training myself how to write a novel.  One of those statements is true. I did, in fact, learn a ton about writing a novel, but it was not easier to write a romance. The romance genre doesn’t get enough credit, I think. It’s really hard to grow a believable love relationship between two characters and keep that thread running through a whole book. But I didn’t like writing love scenes. It’s one thing to read them, but writing them felt awkward for me. So I thought, “Why am I not writing mysteries?!  I love mysteries, thrillers, forensics, true crime books, shows, and movies.” It was a simultaneous lightbulb and “DUH!” moment. Because I love historicals, I paired that with a mystery and came up with Widow’s Blush and later wrote Devil’s Kiss. Right now mystery and its subgenres are my primary focus, but I do eventually want to branch into romance, fantasy, and historical fiction. 

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

My writing journey was a long, circuitous route. I began dreaming of being a writer when I was 13 after reading an Edgar Allan Poe anthology. I fell in love with his writing and wanted to impact others the way his writing impacted me. I fashioned a journal for myself and began writing. I wrote a lot of really bad poetry imitating his style. Then in high school my English teacher praised a passage I wrote for a creative writing assignment—and read it in front of the whole class as I blushed and sank lower and lower in my chair. Afterward, everyone sat quiet, looking at me as if seeing me for the first time (many of them probably were seeing me for the first time). It was embarrassing and exhilarating at the same time and something sparked for me that day (I’m ever grateful to Mr. Campbell!). But my road to writing was not an easy one. I grew up in an environment that left me with little or no self-esteem or confidence and some mental health issues. I thought, “That’s a dream for other people, not for a small-town girl from Kentucky.” Add to this that I didn’t have much in the way of resources: computers, internet, books, writing groups, etc. that help so many people develop and hone their writing skills. I tried off and on for years to write and publish, but it always felt like I was in the dark, that I didn’t know what I was doing. 

Through college, even though I continued to receive praise, minor publication, and even small awards for my writing, I was far too shy and reticent to share my dream with anyone or to try to find someone to help me hone my skills. It still felt out of reach. I decided to go into teaching instead.  I did that for a while, but writing was always in the back of mind. I thought if I was a teacher then I could write during the summer months. But I was not very happy in teaching and left that. Then several years ago I came to two conclusions: first, I’m not getting any younger and second, I want to die with as few regrets as possible. And I knew that I would regret never chasing my dream of being a published writer. I was already regretting putting it off as long as I had, that I had let so many years slip by.  So I went and found as many books about the craft of writing that I could find and began reading. I read as much fiction as I could find. I took all the writing workshops I could find and afford. I had to overcome perfectionism. I pushed myself to try to get published and was repeatedly rejected. At first, it stung, but I knew I needed the rejection to make myself better. I got all the feedback from anyone who would give it. Again, sometimes it stung, but I knew that I needed it to produce better writing. My confidence began to grow (my husband was crucial in the growth of my confidence and self-esteem). My biggest hurdle was completing that first novel. But once I did that, it was like the universe opened up to me, as if I had deciphered a secret code. And long story short, I just kept pushing. Resilience. I guess my story always comes back to resilience.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

 I wish I had the time to develop a ritual. I don’t have one.  These days, I write when I have the time. Even if I have only five minutes to write a few lines or a paragraph then I consider myself that much further ahead. I write on road trips when I’m the passenger. I have an adapter that plugs into my laptop and the car cigarette lighter. I write on lunch break and after work. I write on weekends, vacations, and holidays. I write when I’m in the airport on a layover. I have written in hospital waiting rooms. I plot and plan stories while driving or in the gym or in the shower.  I don’t mean to make it sound like I never stop. Of course, I do. But if I’m on a vacation or visiting family, I get up earlier than everyone else anyway. So, I make myself a cup of coffee, crack open the laptop, and write until I’m interrupted. That’s maybe a whole hour of time where I can easily get 2-4 pages written. That’s a good chunk. If I’m lucky enough to be in a mental flow where the words are pouring out, but I have to stop, I make a few notes on the page of what I want to say next so I’m ready to go when I come back next time. I’m hybrid plotter-pantser. I always sketch out where I want my story to go before I begin writing. However, I usually go off course about half way through the book because better ideas always crop up once I’m in the thick of it. And that’s okay. I just see where it takes me. So far, with every book I’ve written I complete the whole rough draft before I go back and edit/revise. But then that leaves all  the revision work at the end and I’m not keen on revision; it can be so tedious. It’s the part that takes the longest. I would like to train myself to revise the previous day’s material before continuing on.  I know of many writers who do that, but I’m not sure if or how that would benefit me or if I would like that method. I might try it for my next book. 

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Computer, definitely.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

Five favorite books? Oh, gosh. That’s like choosing my favorite ice cream, so I’ll go with authors: Jane Austen, Daphne DuMaurier, Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver, CS Harris—It just doesn’t seem fair that I can only name five! There are so many!

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I used to struggle with writer’s block a lot when I was younger. And then I read or heard somewhere that writer’s block is a result of not knowing where you’re going with the story. That’s when I started to plot out my stories and that has helped so much. Another thing that has helped is that I usually work on 2 or more books at a time. That way, if I’m not connecting with one book, I can go work on another. If I’m blocked on that one, too, then I’m probably just tired and need a break. So I go do something else for a while. Baking, crocheting, painting, reading, bubble baths, walking or swimming usually help me loosen up my mind. 

What advice would you give to aspiring non-fiction writers?

  1. In the beginning of your journey, read all the books on the writing craft that you can find, join a writing group, connect with a mentor, and take writing courses. There are many online and community-based groups and programs that are low cost or free. Writing groups, especially the in-person variety, give you a safe place to fail. And you need to fail. It sounds contradictory, but failure is actually a good thing if you learn from it, grow from it, use it to improve your work, and as long as you don’t let failure intimidate you. You have to keep trying. Some writers get rejected dozens of times before getting accepted. 
  2. You’re not a writer unless you’re writing. Get in the seat and start writing. Even though I don’t have a ritual right now, in the beginning I did. I tried writing first thing in the morning. I made myself write every day, even if all I wrote was a single sentence. I kept doing those things until I developed the discipline.
  3. Understand why you want to write. If it’s to get rich or famous, you will very likely be gravely disappointed. You have to love the work for the sake of the work. Most writers work other jobs.
  4. Read everything you can get your hands on—especially in the genre you want to write in—but books outside your genre will help your writing, too.
  5. Everything you write is NOT gold. Edit and revise without mercy. 
  6. Let the first draft be junk. It’s called first draft for a reason and that’s what revision is for. Just get it written. 
  7. For the beginning writer, find different authors you like and imitate their writing style when you write. It will help you find and develop your unique voice. 
  8. For those hoping to go pro: When you submit to an agent or publisher, thoroughly read and follow the submission guidelines. And do your research. Understand how to write query letters and what genres the agent/publisher represents, etc.  
  9. If you’re serious about writing find an excellent critique partner who will tell you the truth about your writing—not what you want to hear but what you need to hear. They are rare, but invaluable.

Thank you, author Michelle, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

Devil’s Kiss

Rook Campbell is broke, divorced, jobless, and in desperate need of steady employment, which is hard to come by in the small town of Rothdale, Kentucky. With the help of her friend and neighbor Bryan, she lands a good job at the Four Wild Horses Distillery and meets an attractive co-worker with lots of dating potential. Her life is finally headed in the right direction until a co-worker dies under suspicious circumstances and a shipment of rare small-batch bourbon goes missing. Worse, her personal life begins to unravel as her beloved grandmother falls ill. Normally she can depend on her ex, Cam, for help, but his new fiancée’s jealousy is getting in the way. As the body count rises, Rook becomes ensnared in discovering who’s committing the crimes—or she might be the next to die.


You can find Devil’s Kiss here:
Amazon | Goodreads

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Wrecked by by Nick Stephens

Book Details:

Author: Nick Stephens
Release Date: 
30th April 2022
Series:
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 141 pages
Publisher: Reading Between the Lines pub.
Blurb:
Sam has been stuck on this deserted island for some time. How long? He has no idea. He was just about to give up on trying to survive when Desmond crashd ashore. Unfortunately, not only does Desmond not offer any hopes of rescue, he appears to be insane. Sam must survive the island and Desmond while he attempts to remember who he is and how he got there.

Desmond found himself stranded after his plan for murder goes awry. Perhaps Sam will learn more about himself as he uncovers the truth about Desmond. Perhaps he will find himself descending into madness. Wrecked is a thrilling novel full of suspense, twisting and churning like the rough tides of the open ocean.
Will Sam survive long enough to piece together his past, or will the island, and Desmond, destroy any shred of hope he has left?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wrecked by Nick Stephens is a brilliantly written psychological thriller novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading right from the very beginning until the last page!

This book had a really good concept and the execution was spot on. The characterisation was great and I was able to feel a connection with Sam, the main character, and wanted to see how things would turn out for him. And boy, I was not expecting the end to be the way it turned out to be! Absolutely loved the way the book ended. The tension and suspense ran tight and high throughout the book and I really appreciated it as it made the book an un-put-down-able read!

I would strongly recommend this book to all psychological thriller readers. This book has a great premise and an amazingly written plot that’ll blow your mind!


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Author Interview: Richard Scharine

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author of The Past We Step Into, Richard Scharine, from Atmosphere Press, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Richard Scharine is from rural Wisconsin. A professor emeritus in the University of Utah theatre department, his honors include University Professor, University Diversity Award, and College of Fine Arts Excellence Award. Dr. Scharine has published two scholarly books, five book chapters, and many articles. A Fulbright Senior Lecturer at the University of Gdansk in Poland, he has directed a hundred plays and acted in seven foreign countries, including the title role in Oedipus at Colonus in Athens, Greece. The smartest thing he did was to marry Marilyn Hunt Scharine.

You can connect with author Scharine here:
Author Website


Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I attended a one-room grade school.  Disadvantages:  No plumbing or indoor bathrooms.  Having to work to the nearest farm with a bucket for water.  Advantages:  Taking 8th grade eight times if you paid attention.  (Seven in my case because I skipped a grade.)  Going to the library meant only walking to the back of the room.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

In eleven of the twelve stories a woman gives advice to a man—almost always the character based on the author.  Sometimes she shares with him.  Sometimes she blames him.  The title, The Past We Step Into, was taken from Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

We’re aware of most of what happens in our lives, but it may take a long time before we recognize its importance.  (I call it “the unawareness factor.”)

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

Lynne, the wife of the narrator, appears in ten of the twelve stories.  Two are told entirely from her viewpoint:  In “Hiroshima 1964” she has a miscarriage, and in “Yemaja” she is diagnosed with a fatal disease.  (Believe me, that is not the most important thing in the story.)

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

I didn’t even know I was writing a book until I wrote the 12th story, “Danton on the Kaw.”  At that point I realized I had written a cycle of stories about the same set of characters, set from the 1940s to the early 21st century, but with a gap from 1964 to 1977.  The events of “Danton on the Kaw” happened in 1970.

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

I’m an academic and I’d written two books and a score of articles and reviews in that genre, but I didn’t begin to write “fiction” until my sister died in 2006.  She was the last of my family from that generation (including my wife), and as my academic career slowed down I began investing the richness of their characters in situations where they didn’t always find themselves in real life.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

Given my age, my ashes will probably be found at the base of the tree that Westminster College planted by the Arts Building in honor of my wife.  If I survive (given my age), I have a lot of stories yet to tell, courses yet to teach, and on-stage roles yet to play.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

Right now I’m working on a story called “Harvest,” which centers on a nine-year-old Wisconsin boy taking part in his first grain harvest in 1947, but the characters who shape his life are a cousin (who never appears) with almost God-like abilities and a hired man with a dark past.  “Harvest” will also be the title of the book, if Atmosphere Press is willing to include a number of other stories I’ve written.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

Children always make up stories.  Mine were initially based upon 15 or 30 minute radio programs (Superman, Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger, etc.).  My father, who had to go to work in the 6th grade, always had magazines and books around the house.  My favorite was Collier’s, especially the single-page science fiction stories by Ray Bradbury—many of which I still remember today.  As a literary historian, I fell into the habit of teaching history through stories (80 minutes of stand-up).

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

Beats me!  Following army service, I discovered theatre in my second junior year of college.  After a Berlin Wall-based call-up was over, I was accepted into graduate school solely because in those pre-feminist days my wife had been accepted and they felt they hadto take me.  Sixteen years later, I had directed 45 plays and the University of Utah hired me strictly as a classroom teacher.  I’ve acted in seven foreign countries—always with an academic group—and I believe the connection between acting/directing and writing fiction is imagination.  I always see pictures and hear dialogue when I write.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

I don’t sit down until I have something to say (or a deadline).  Even then I put it off as long as possible.  It’s mid-afternoon before I touch the laptop and I’m there until the early hours of the morning.  I don’t work from handwritten notes unless the story has a particular routine and time period to cover, e.g. a summer of riots and rehearsals in “Danton on the Kaw,” or a farm to farm grain harvest in “Harvest.”

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

The great thing about a laptop computer is the ability to start over again, and to save something that isn’t right at this moment, but may be useful some other place in the manuscript.  You young whipper-snappers have no idea what it was like to write before the days of saved documents and copy machines.  Imagine a 1964 graduate thesis written on a typewriter using four carbons to make five copies.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

I’ll stick to Americans and also eliminate playwrights.  As a child of the ’30s I was first introduced to Sinclair Lewis and John Steinbeck.  I read every word Thomas Wolfe ever wrote.  (Thank God he died before he was 38.)  Look Homeward, Angel is the most nourishing book I ever read, in that when we were breaking bivouac during a War Games exercise, somebody threw my copy into the egg crate of a mess truck.  I also read nearly every book John Updike wrote, Kurt Vonnegut going back to when he wrote for Collier’s, and twenty years of short stories in The New Yorker.  Alice Munro is almost exactly seven years older than I am, and should she go first, I am planning a Mr. Spock Vulcan mind-meld to get inside her brain.  That girl can really mess with time!           

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I know what I did, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  At the beginning of 2020 I had stopped writing.  “Danton on the Kaw,” the last and longest story of The Past We Step Into (located in the exact middle of the book), was fifty years in the making, based on the Vietnam War protests and Civil Rights riots in Lawrence and at the University of Kansas, where I was working on a PhD in the summer of 1970.  I saw no way of dealing with it.  Then I was diagnosed with cancer, and then the chemotherapy didn’t work.  The answer, eventually, was Imbruvica, but before that was available I experienced some colorful hallucinations, the best of which I wrote as a short story which I hope Atmosphere Press will consider for my next book.  When I got out of the hospital almost exactly two years ago, I couldn’t walk but my mind was clear and, thanks to the pandemic, no one could go anywhere anyway.  In the summer of 1970 I was obsessed with Georg Buchner’s 1835 revolutionary play, Danton’s Death.  Danton was an actual hero of the French Revolution, until it occurred to him that the only way of continuing the revolution was to kill more and more people.  At which point he “tuned in, turned on, and dropped out.”  Shortly thereafter he was on the guillotine.  Shortly after I was home, the protagonist of “Danton on the Kaw” was trying to produce Danton’s Death in the midst of an actual revolution, interacting and in one case, casting, actual participants in the revolution.  As I’ve said, that story turned The Past We Step Into into a book.  My methodology is not practical, but I can walk now.

What advice would you give to aspiring non-fiction writers?

For heaven’s sake, write from your own experience. Already suffering from writer’s block in 2018, I took a college class with other hopeful writers.  My young classmates, whose accumulated ages roughly approximated mine, lived in a world of sexual and economic threats, reasonable fears, uncertain futures, and about the same number of intriguing possibilities.  And I never read so many cliches in my life.  Look around you, I would have counseled.  Of course, given my age, I didn’t have to “look around.”  I looked back, and wrote “Saturday Night in front of the IGA, which became the first chapter in The Past We Step Into.

Thank you, author Scharine, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

The Past We Step Into

“Time is the school in which we learn

Time is the fire in which we burn.”

— Delmore Schwartz

A young couple finds themselves hip-deep in sex, social change, the Arts, Civil Rights, politics, warfare, and — ultimately — children, as they negotiate the paths of self-discovery spanning over fifty years and four continents.

In the twelve stories of Richard Scharine’s The Past We Step Into, we experience the America we remember, the America we want to forget, and the America we dream of achieving.


You can find The Past We Step Into here:
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Spotlight: Devil’s Kiss by Michelle Bennington 

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author Michelle Bennington for her latest release Devil’s Kiss releasing this May!

Devil’s Kiss

Book: Devil’s Kiss: A Small Batch Mystery
Author: Michelle Bennington
Series: A Small Batch Mystery (Book #1)
Publication Date: 31st May 2022
Page Count: 274
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Level Best Books


Synopsis

Rook Campbell is broke, divorced, jobless, and in desperate need of steady employment, which is hard to come by in the small town of Rothdale, Kentucky. With the help of her friend and neighbor Bryan, she lands a good job at the Four Wild Horses Distillery and meets an attractive co-worker with lots of dating potential. Her life is finally headed in the right direction until a co-worker dies under suspicious circumstances and a shipment of rare small-batch bourbon goes missing. Worse, her personal life begins to unravel as her beloved grandmother falls ill. Normally she can depend on her ex, Cam, for help, but his new fiancée’s jealousy is getting in the way. As the body count rises, Rook becomes ensnared in discovering who’s committing the crimes—or she might be the next to die.

You can find Devil’s Kiss here:
Amazon | Goodreads


About The Author

Michelle Bennington

Born and raised in the beautiful Bluegrass state of Kentucky, Michelle Bennington developed a passion for books early on that has progressed into a mild hoarding situation and an ever-growing to-read pile. She delights in spinning mysteries and histories. Find out more on her website: http://www.michellebennington.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and GoodReads.

You can find author Michelle here:
Author Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Infernal Relations: A Quintessential English Comedy by P.S. Rover

Book Details:

Author: P.S. Rover
Release Date: 
4th April 2022
Series:
Genre: Literary Comedy, Humour
Format: E-book 
Pages: 270 pages
Publisher: Forte Books
Blurb:
Eloping Has Never Been So Criminal
Another academic season is in the offing at Lockwood Institute, the eclectic finishing school for those who’ve been barred elsewhere. When Spencer and his interloping cousin, Monty, are summoned back for a special assignment they quickly find themselves in the thick of it with a trophy-hunting Brigadier on a quest to slay a mysterious beast, while his daughter, Natalia, proves a temptation too much for the fantastical Monty. This heady concoction provides the perfect ingredients to rock institute life to its foundations.

As one staggering revelation unfolds after another, does Spencer have the fortitude to cope? Monty couldn’t possibly have done what people think, could he? Is he culpable? Is he capable? As Spencer desperately tries to pull Monty’s chestnuts out of the fire, a head-spinning discovery awaits them. Skulduggery is afoot!

“It IS funny. Just what we all need”

Cassandra Clark (Acclaimed author of the Brother Chandler trilogy and more.)

“A great story.” 
LoveReading

“An intricate and well-written book. Filled with atmosphere … I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to other literary fiction fans.” 
LoveReading

“The beauty of this book is in the writing. Rover has a wonderful way with words and I found myself laughing out loud at several lines where Spencer gave his unusual views on life around him. I thoroughly enjoyed Infernal Relations by P.S. Rover which I have awarded 4.5 stars.”
(Whispering Stories) 

“Rover is excellent at crafting unique sentences … with a poetic touch… Readers will leave the book impressed by his ability to squeeze all the juice out of the English language.” 
(Independent Book Review)

“A rollercoaster ride” 
(Independent Book Review)

This book will especially delight fans of:
The Ransom of Red Chief (O’Henry), The Harpole Report (J.L. Carr), The Ascent of Rum Doodle (E.W. Bowman), Diary of a Nobody (Grossmith), Augustus Carp Esq., James Thurber, Mark Twain, Wodehouse.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Infernal Relations by P.S. Rover is a brilliantly crafted booking roaring with intricately woven English humour.

I recently happened to re-read The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer for my book club’s genre challenge and reading this book right after that one was like stepping into a different version of the same book. I don’t mean that both the books are the same, but what I do mean is that the author of Infernal Relations heavily draws from the sense of nostalgia that is invoked while reading Mark Twain’s masterpiece. I might not have noticed it so acutely had I not just finished re-reading TDOTS right before picking up this one! But I am glad that happened because it made the reading experience of this book even more enriched. The differences in both the books were pretty evident and both the books are very different, yet they are very similar (again you’d notice it only if you’re very observant or, like me, had recently, read both the books so close to each other.)

Moving on from comparing the two books, I loved this book a lot. The writing was marvellous and I enjoyed the lyrical quality of the prose, which is so rare these days, to find in contemporary fiction. I liked how the author used his brilliant sense of humour and an acute sense of using phrases to his advantage to bring out the subtlety of satire in the best possible ways. I chucked more than I was expecting and giggled probably more than I should have. The story had a great flow and the pacing was really good and kept the flow very smooth. I enjoyed reading this book right from the beginning to the very end.

I am not a literary expert, although I am somewhat of a self-proclaimed book aficionado, and hence I’d like to say that, for me at least, the author’s style resembles a lot to that of the revered Mark Twain and therefore, I really really enjoyed his writing and in fact, I am looking forward to reading more of his works in the future (hopefully soon!)


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Audiobook Excerpt Reveal: Ballad Of Jasmine Wills by Lee Rozelle

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Lee Rozelle who’ll be sharing a couple of excerpts from their latest audiobook Ballad Of Jasmine Wills.

About the Book

Ballad Of Jasmine Wills

A zany twist on the Southern Gothic, Ballad of Jasmine Wills is a wild and heartfelt tale of abduction and revenge, body shaming and media fame. Lee Rozelle’s debut novel is the story of overweight banker Jasmine and her kidnapper, the enigmatic reality TV mastermind Preston Price. Trapped inside an egg-shaped studio in the secluded backwoods, Jasmine is tortured with haute cuisine, brainwashed with self-help videos, and badgered with cardio exercise routines for her growing mass of livestream fans. Filled with flashbacks of adolescent nuttiness and ennui in the 1980s, Ballad of Jasmine Wills goes bizarro to explore links between reality TV and the real, intervention and exploitation.

You can find Ballad Of Jasmine Wills here:
Author Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Audio Excerpt #1
“Jasmine and Suzie Work Out”

Overweight banker Jasmine Wills has been kidnapped, placed in an egg-shaped dome, and forced to watch self-help videos. Suddenly a monitor pops on and she hears techno…


Audio Excerpt #2
“The Ossobuco Catastrophe”

Reality TV chefs Annon Martiz and Morris make a special Mediterranean meal for kidnapped Jasmine.


Audio Excerpt #3
“Preston’s Deliverance”

Preston searches for Jasmine in the woods but finds a gang of suspicious-looking pig hunters instead.


About The Author

Lee Rozelle

Lee Rozelle is the author of the novel Ballad of Jasmine Wills and nonfiction books Zombiescapes & Phantom Zones and Ecosublime. He has published short stories in Cosmic Horror MonthlyHellBound Books’ Anthology of BizarroShadowy Natures by Dark Ink Books, If I Die Before I Wake Volume 3, and the Scare You to Sleep podcast

Learn more at leerozelle.com

If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Sidelined: How Women Manage and Mismanage Their Health by Susan Salenger 

Book Details:

Author: Susan Salenger 
Release Date: 
10th April 2022
Series:
Genre: Non-Fiction > Health
Format: E-book 
Pages: 224 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press
Blurb:
DON’T MAKE ANOTHER HEALTHCARE DECISION WITHOUT READING THIS BOOK 
“If men had cramps, they’d have cured this by now…”
“I told my doctor about my pain for years, but he told me it was all in my head…”
“My doctor removed my IUD without anesthesia because ‘there aren’t any nerve endings in there.’ Boy, was he wrong!”
These and countless other comments from women who’ve suffered at the hands of the healthcare industry are frighteningly common… but they don’t have to be. 

Sidelined: How Women Manage & Mismanage Their Health discloses how women have been marginalized and hesitate to take control over their own healthcare. But what’s behind this nationwide medical crisis? 
Too often, women:
· Ignore their symptoms to avoid being “difficult.”
· Downplay their suffering out of fear of being branded “hysterical.” 
· Are reluctant to question their doctors’ assessments, even if they don’t seem right.
The end result could be inferior care, which can lead to serious consequences.
In Sidelined, writer and researcher Susan Salenger explains why women are misdiagnosed more often than men, and why their symptoms often go unrecognized or even disputed. 
This book teaches readers how to:
· Take charge of their health.
· Communicate their medical needs with their doctor.
· Make informed decisions about their own healthcare.
· Leave their appointments with answers instead of just questions.

Knowing how to advocate for your own healthcare can mean the difference between healthy outcomes and years of needless agony or even death.
This important women’s health book equips readers with the knowledge, language, and skill sets they need to overcome the gender bias that is present in the medical industry and get the best healthcare possible.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Sidelined: How Women Manage and Mismanage Their Health by Susan Salenger is a keenly essential and extremely well-researched book on women’s health that should be read by all women and even men so that they can know the challenges and help out and, when required, take better care of their partners, mothers, sisters and friends.

This book simply BLEW my mind as it had so much relevant and essential information that I had not been expecting at all. I mean, of course, I was expecting some information and advice, but this book turned out to be a whole treasure trove of valuable insights, practical examples and experiences, advice on what to do, how to do and what not to do and if to do something then how exactly to do it. This book even covered the misconceptions harboured by doctors themselves and how these could be way more harmful to patients that the disease itself. So ladies, start by choosing the right doctors and gynacs for yourself. No more going for the douche doctors who think period pains are “just in your head.”

To summarise in one sentence, this book is a must-read for all women and even men, who have women in their life whom they really love. I would strongly suggest this book to EVERYONE on this planet! GO, get this book and read it!


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon