Book Review · Books

Always Yours, Bee

Bee and James had the perfect life with their three boys. That is, until the day James insisted on biking to work on a very rainy day. That choice ends in an accident. Bee blames herself as she was focusing on hearing back from her book agent. She did offer to drive her husband, but of course he insisted he’d be fine. James survives, but the mental aftermath is ugly.

What is it like to suffer a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD? What is it like to care for the love of your life who can’t recall their psst and know they are supposed to love you, but it feels brand new to them? Bee has to deal with these changes in James. She gets so wrapped up in helping her husband, Bee doesn’t realize her own depth of trauma. Follow Bee and James on their journey to work through recovering from Jame’s accident.

This memoir is intense, gripping, emotionally draining, insightful, mesmerizing, and hard to put down. I’ve never read Mia Hayes before, but after reading this gut wrenching memoir of hers, I want to read her other books.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Always Yours, Bee by Mia Hayes from Finn Star, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. Thank you NetGalley for always providing memoirs that become all time favorites. This is one of them. I can’t wait to grab a copy when it comes out. Thank you Mrs. Hayes for opening your heart and past, so that others could see there is hope on the darkest of nights.

Book Review · Books

All About Us

What would you do if you could go back in time to choose a different path than the one you are currently on? Ben gets his chance in: All About Us. It’s Christmas Eve and he’s in a rut. His wife, Daphne is off at her work Christmas party. He declines to go so, he can stay home and decorate their tree. Instead he’s off to the pub to see his best friend Harv. At the pub he meets a watch salesman who gifts him a watch. This stranger asks Ben if there was anything in his life he’d like to do over. Welcome to Ben’s adventure to find out just what that entails.

This novel is fast paced, gripping, emotional, thought provoking, and sobering. I couldn’t put it down. This book is fiction, but the essence of the story brings home so much on a personal level. You can’t read this novel and not think about your own life and all you’ve gone through to be at where you are at currently. If you love a Christmas Carol then you may enjoy this story. I have never read this classic Christmas tale, but I just might after reading this novel.

I received my complimentary copy of All About Us by Tom Ellen from HarperCollins, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. Thank you for the opportunity to get to read such a powerful book.

Book Review · Books

Affirming

Sally was raised in a Christian church that adamantly believed being gay was a sin and not what God wants. She was devout in her faith and loved her church. She was raised in a strong Christian home where her parents and grandparents showed and reflected their faith to her through how they lived their lives. The challenge came when she noticed she didn’t like boys in the same way her girl friends did. Instead she got crushes on girls. This quandary bugged Sally because she wanted to the do the right thing. She tried, prayed and begged God to change her desires. Nothing worked. When Sally encounters believers who have a different view of monogamous gay relationships between believers what she has tried to believe is challenged. Follow Sally as she goes on a faith journey to figure out just what exactly God wants.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Affirming by Sally Gary from William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. This memoir I couldn’t put down. Sally is candid and not preachy, but kindly shares her faith throughout. She talks about how not only how her church helped shape who she is, but the impact her family had on her with how they showed love to others through their hospitality. I can relate to Sally when it comes to always having different people coming over for dinner or staying with your family for months at a time when you are growing up. Flexibility and patience is key. I think this is an excellent book to help open up an important discussion within the church. If you have read God And The Gay Christian or Torn, then you’ll want to add Affirming to your Christian LGBTQA library collection.

Book Review · Books

Life Under The Apple Tree

If you grew up in the 80’s then you’ll remember the children’s book The Giving Tree. The cover of Life Under The Apple Tree gives off this same vibe as it is a cartoon of an apple tree with a single apple dangling from a branch. I just had to read this story.

Enter into the author’s ordeal starting his life over when his wife passes unexpectedly. The author and his children scramble to find a home to move into. His family cabin becomes a brief respite while they search since their old house sold and their new home fell through.

Things turn sour when financial troubles hit hard. Life gets even more stressful. Thankfully the author has a best friend in the local couple Thaddeus and Christopher. They offer pearls of wisdom under the apple tree. Come sit and listen to their wisdom.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Life Under The Apple Tree by A.P. Roberts from BooksGoSocial, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and are my choice. This story is based on a true story of what the author went through. It is hard to put down and is a swift read. This book is parts magical, convicting and inspiring. I can’t get over how much I love this book’s cover. It brings out the kid in me.

Book Review · Books

The Outlook For Earthlings

If you are craving a story about friendship then you need to go grab a copy of The Outlook For Earthlings. Mel and Scarlet are classmates, a grade apart. Scarlet is older with beautiful red hair and Melanie is the one with the mousy brown hair. Both teens love books. Both live in difficult home situations. Mel looks up to Scarlet and Scarlet doesn’t judge Melanie’s strange father who has pin up photos in his writing office for inspiration.

Through the years both ladies go through life changes and careers. Both Scarlet and Melanie stay in contact through letters, phone calls and when email comes on the scene they graduate to sending messages from their prospective jobs.

This novel touches on the topic of friendship and how through the years even if our lives are in turmoil at least we have our best friend to vent to and share life with. Even though both Mel and Scarlet come from different kinds of families, they form a friendship that still stands firm beyond the different life decisions they make as adults.

I received my complimentary copy of The Outlook For Earthlings by Joan Frank from Regal House Publishing, care of TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. The prose in this novel is captivating and will make you pause with reverence. The description of the setting of the story is spot on and so visceral you feel as though you are walking the neighborhood between Scarlet and Melanie’s homes. The only thing is that I don’t understand how the title coincides with the book. This is a novel that isn’t long, but deep in heart. Have you discovered your own Scarlet or Melanie?

Book Review · Books

The Ancestor

An unknown man wakes up crusted in ice. After he frees himself he wanders in the woods and discovers civilization has changed from what he dimly recalls. He doesn’t recall who he is, but while trying to piece together the mystery of who he is, he discovers Travis. This other man looks so much like him it’s creepy. How is that possible?

Travis lives a simple life with his wife, California and their young son, Eli. He’s been in a funk being out of work, but glad there’s a job for him to start. Life in Alaska consists of fishing, hunting, beer, the bar and seeing his extended family. Hopefully this new fishing job will ease his stress.

When the unknown man and Travis meet it’s like looking in a mirror, minus one with a beard and one clean shaven. Travis befriends this stranger, who seems like he’s also, down on his luck. The two form a friendship.

Grayson, part of the police force and Travis’s best friend is leery of the uncanny stranger, but tries to give the unknown man the benefit of the doubt. Travis’s wife is a tad thrown off by the resemblance of this new stranger in town, but he’s super old fashioned polite. He’s quite the charmer.

How is this man connected to Travis? What is the unknown man’s fascination with Travis, California and Eli? Will his amnesia ever life to uncover the truth?

I received a complimentary digital copy of The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg, from Down & Out Books, care of the author and TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab your own copy get one quick from Amazon. To connect with the author, check out his website. This novel is a whirlwind of identity, family, brotherhood and the question we all face: do we always truly know those who are in our lives? This novel is fast paced, fascinating and a story you won’t soon forget.

Book Review · Books

How To Make A Life

If you love family sagas then you need to go grab a stunning copy of How To Make A Life. This novel tumbles you first into Ida’s world, the old country, the Ukraine. Due to the first war she escapes off to America with her two young daughters, where she works to build a brand new life for them. Ida can’t wait to put away the horrors of the war behind her.

This novel touches on the tough subject of mental illness and how society has viewed it through the decades and how family members can view it very differently. Would you be strong enough to call it out when a family member may need help instead of keeping quiet since you speak out loud just may bring shame on the family?Another subject that is focused on is sisterhood. When is being a sister go from caring to usury?

Each chapter gives the point of view from a different family member through different eras. Join Ida, Bessie, Jenny, Ruby, Morris, Irene, Abe and others on their adventures through life.

I received my complimentary copy of How To Make A Life by Florence Reiss Kraut from She Writes Press, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own choice. I love the cover of this book. I have a soft spot for WWII books and this cover gives off the rustic, charming, 1940’s antique look. It makes me feel like I could walk right out onto the cover and be there with the characters.

Book Review · Books

Breathe Again

The death of a child is a road we don’t wish our worst enemy to have to travel down. Stacy Henagan takes our hand and walks us through this personal Hell. A beautiful daughter almost 1 years old. Cancer. Praying for a miracle, believing for healing and then that road you don’t want to go down, but are dragged down it kicking and screaming? Yes, Stacy has soldiered that painful road.

Stacy’s memoir of dealing with grief is no holds bared. It’s the kind that scrapes your heart so raw you don’t know if God will be able to heal it. She gives us that honest look at how her own faith morphed and changed. Stacy is a gracious host who shows us that even though that road beats you up, you can get through to the end and come out stronger.

Would your faith survive something like this? I, personally have no children of my own, but disease isn’t a prospector of persons. Tragedy touches us all at some point and we have to decide if we are going to weather our spiritual storm?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Breathe Again by Stacy Henagan from Thomas Nelson and Emanate Books, care of NetGalley and TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. Grab a stunning copy off of Amazon. Thank you Stacy for sharing your daughter’s story and your faith journey through weathering your own personal storm.

Book Review · Books

Those Who Prey

College is a time for freedom, to discover yourself, enjoy dorm life and take the classes that interest you. Emily was thrilled to go away to Boston, away from her home in the south. Dorm life wasn’t the greatest. College life was lonely, until a cute guy interpreted her reading at the local coffee shop.

Josh invites her to hang out with his friends Heather and Andrew. Emily is excited to meet new people and make new friends. Heather seems very nice and that she wants to become genuine friends. Emily gets invited to an event where she gets a glimpse into the group that her new friends are involved in. Heather isn’t religious, but hearing one of the leader’s speak she is transfixed. Who doesn’t want improve their life, to discover their spirituality?

Heather is Emily’s mentor of sorts and as Emily goes through the process of learning and growing it seems Heather becomes even more controlling. Emily brushes off the caution in her gut. Heather wants the best for her, right?

When an internship spot opens up through the group Emily wants to go since Josh is going. The only challenge is that Heather wants to go. Which of them will get picked?

I received my digital complimentary copy of Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett from Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. This book will make a great conversation piece. This novel is a cautionary tale of sorts and an important one. I’m still processing my reaction.

Books

Author Q & A For: Lifeline To Marionette

A Q&A with Jennifer Waitte

Author, Lifeline to Marionette

 

Question: You have a journalism background, why did you choose to move into fiction?

Jennifer Waitte: My interest in creative writing actually predates my journalism career. When I was in grade school, I was always writing short stories and poems. In college, I originally majored in architecture because I loved architectural history and design, but I failed miserably in anything mathematical. I switched to English, and I loved English lit but worried about my career options as an English major. I switched again to journalism after deciding I wanted to focus on editorial and feature writing for magazines, and eventually be a magazine editor. All through college and my early journalism career, I continued to write fiction, mostly short stories. Overall, I just loved writing features about interesting people. As a result, my novels are character-driven stories.

 

Question: What themes in Lifeline to Marionette do you most want to highlight and why?

Jennifer Waitte: The effects of societal pressures, the hopeless trap of drug addiction, and the damage caused by exploitation are the primary themes that are the backbone of the story. It is also a love story, albeit a dark one.

 

Question: What character do you hope most resonates with readers and why?

Jennifer Waitte: Definitely Alaina Michelle Sekovich. I want my readers to sympathize with her and cultivate compassion for her as they come to understand the disparity between what she is (a celebrity) and the pressures she faces, and who she is, which is a lonely and misunderstood young woman. Ultimately, I want readers to find her damaged yet endearing.

 

Question: Please describe your writing process.

Jennifer Waitte: I spend a lot of time thinking about my storyline and my characters’ personalities, motives and actions before writing. I develop an outline first, so I know where the story is going, and then I go back and work on different sections solely based on what I feel like working on. I don’t write beginning to end. Lifeline to Marionette takes place over a short period of time, which is two weeks. The sequel, The Fifth Language, also takes place over a short period of time, which is about a month. In both books, readers learn about my characters’ lives, but the actual plot unfolds over a short period of time. 

 

Question: Are there any writers or specific books that influenced you as you were writing Lifeline to Marionette?

Jennifer Waitte: There is one book that truly inspired me to start writing again, and that was The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, by Cherise Wolas. It’s a brilliant, well-written story about a writer resurrecting her writing career. What influenced me while I was writing Lifeline to Marionettewas not another novel, but music. I have a Lifeline to Marionette playlist, and each scene/situation in the story is a certain song or a collection of songs. The main character was inspired by a song. 

 

Jennifer Waitte is an award-winning journalist, editor and author. She is a graduate of California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

For 15 years, Waitte worked as a writer and editor for numerous lifestyle, equine and equestrian sporting magazines. She has won many awards for her writing, editing and editorial direction.

 

Waitte is an avid equestrian. She competes in the sport of long-distance horse racing and dressage. She lives in Napa, California, with her husband Barry. They own Tamber Bey Vineyards, a boutique winery located in Napa Valley.   

Connect with Jennifer Waitte at JenniferWaitte.com, Facebook.com/jenniferwaitteauthor and Instagram.com/JenniferWaitte.

 

Lifeline to Marionette will be available at Amazon.