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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Diane Donovan Lauds Jendi Reiter's Newest Book, Two Natures

Title: Two Natures
Author: Jendi Reiter
Author website: http://www.jendireiter.com/
Genre: Literary fiction
ISBN: 0996907424
Published by: Saddle Road Press (www.saddleroadpress.com) 
Where to buy it:
Name of reviewer: Diane Donovan
Original review publication: Midwest Book Review
Reviewer's link:

Reviewed by Diane Donovan originally for Midwest Book Review



Julian is a Southern boy and transplanted aspiring fashion photographer in New York City in the 1990s; a gay man facing the height of the AIDS epidemic and professional, social, and spiritual struggles alike as he questions himself, God's will, and Christian values in the advent of a specific kind of apocalypse.

It's rare to discover within a gay love story an equally-powerful undercurrent of political and spiritual examination. Too many gay novels focus on evolving sexuality or love and skim over underlying religious values systems; but one of the special attributes of Two Natures isn't just its focus on duality, but its intense revelations about what it means to be both Christian and gay.

In many ways, Julian is the epitome of a powerful, conflicting blend of emotions. Take the story's opening line, for one example. Readers might not anticipate a photographer's nightmare which bleeds heavily into evolving social realization and philosophy: "I woke from another nightmare about photographing a wedding. The bride was very loud and everyone's red lipstick was smeared across their teeth like vampires, except vampires would never wear lavender taffeta prom dresses. It's always the wrong people who can't see themselves in mirrors."

Even the language exquisitely portrays this dichotomy: Julian's parents are still "Mama" and "Daddy", his language and many of his attitudes remain delightfully Southern ("You know, back where I come from, that was the first thing you asked a new fellow: what does your Daddy do, and where do you go to church?"), and his experiences with men, female friends, his evolving photography career, and life in general are wonderfully depicted, drawing readers into not just the trappings and essence of his life, but the course of his psychological, philosophical and spiritual examinations.

As Julian explores this world, readers should expect sexually graphic (but well-done) scenes designed to enhance the storyline (not shock it with departures or dominant heaviness), an attention to the social and political environment of the 90s that swirls around Julian and changes his perspectives and decisions, and a gritty set of candid descriptions that probe real-world experience.

Readers of gay fiction seeking more than a casual series of insights into the world of New York City's culture, enhanced by the deeper perspectives of a young man who spiritually struggles to find his place even as he fine-tunes his career and life, will welcome the close inspection of truth, love, and life provided in Jendi Reiter's Two Natures, powerful saga of Southern etiquette and perspectives turned upside down and the risks involved in moving beyond one's safe zone.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jendi Reiter is also the author of  Bullies in Love (Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize):

"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise."
Surangama Sutra

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Costa Rican Author Gleans Editing Tips from The Frugal Editor

Title: The Frugal Editor, 2nd Edition
Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author’s Web site: http://HowToDoItFrugally.com
Awards: USA Book News, Reader Views, Irwin Award
ISBN: 9781505712117
Available as an e-book or paper, http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor

Reviewed by Helen Dunn Frame

Senior citizens may find it difficult to change a life-long habit, specifically typing two spaces after the end of the sentence. Now it’s possible to keep an old habit and let Word “correct” it for you. Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson, in The Frugal Editor that contains a wealth of information for writers editing their own work, explains how to use “Replace” to fix this element in a document.

She outlines the directions under a “Sidebar” in the book, one of many tips crammed in it. I found it on page 34 of 123 pages in my PDF copy under the heading Let Your Replace Function Spot the Dots.

Be sure to “Select All” to highlight the entire document. Just remember to put the cursor on the “Find what” and “Replace with” bars, to the far left as possible. Press the space bar twice in “Find what” and once in “Replace with.” They will look blank but when you click on “Replace All,” the poltergeist will correct the spaces. A box appears to confirm the app has worked.

The Frugal Editor has helped me before with useful information.

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Helen Dunn Frame is the author of
Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (Second Edition); Greek Ghosts; Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth; Secrets Behind the Big Pencil, Inspired by an Actual Scandal.

Website:
http://bit.ly/1KxXt7T  Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1COtMJn 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her next book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers will be How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. 
                 

The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. 

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 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Reviewer Would Give All the Stars in the Universe


  • Title: Rarity from the Hollow
  • Author: Robert Eggleton
  • Web site link: www.lacydawnadventures.com  
  • Genre: Adult Literary Science Fiction
  • ISBN: 9781907133060;1907133062
  • Name of Reviewer:  Charity Rowell-Stansbury
  • Review Site: On My Kindle
  • Amazon Link: Available in paper or as e-book.
  • Rating from Reviewer: If I could, I would give it all the stars in the universe.

Reviewed by Charity Rowell-Stansbury originally for On My Kindle

Lacy Dawn seems like a typical Appalachian eleven-year-old girl; bright, resourceful, living in poverty, and trying desperately to "fix" her mother and father. Her father, Dwayne, is a war veteran who suffers from PTSD and prefers to self-medicate; when triggered, he becomes violent and Lacy Dawn and her mother become the target of his rage. Lacy Dawn's mother, Jenny, does her best to protect her daughter; however, she is worn down from years of abuse and sacrificing her dreams to take care of her daughter and husband.

Despite outward appearances, Lacy Dawn is a very unique and gifted child. She spends most of her free time talking to the trees in the Hollow; playing with her deceased friend, Faith, who dwells in the trees; and learning all she can from her anatomically incomplete and semi-organic boyfriend, DotCom. After helping Lacy Dawn implement a treatment plan for her parents, DotCom reveals his true purpose; he was sent to help Lacy Dawn evolve, and then recruit her for a mission to save the universe.

While DotCom has no idea what she is supposed to do to save the universe, the pair decide to let her family and Tom, family friend/local entrepreneur/drug dealer, in on the secret. With the help of friends, family, and the family's dog; Lacy Dawn and DotCom come up with an ingenious plan to save the universe.

When Eggleton requested a review of Rarity from the Hollow, I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go. It is not every day that I find a kindred spirit in a book, but I found one in Lacy Dawn! I admired her courage, her imagination, and her intelligence; I could go on for days about the excellent job that Eggleton did in developing Lacy Dawn's character, but I won't. What I will say is that even if you do not fully understand her perspective, you will admire her spunk.

I also greatly admire Eggleton's whimsical, witty, and understanding approach to sensitive and serious subject matters: child abuse, child poverty, domestic violence, PTSD, drug use, and alcoholism. Eggleton's matter-of-fact and irreverent tone about these subject matters conveys the gravity of the family's situation without sending readers into a spiral of suicidal depression, or being insulting.

Rarity from the Hollow
brilliantly combines social commentary in a fantastical and intricate science fiction setting that readers can understand and relate to. It is one of those books that if it does not make you think, you are not really reading it.

FROM THE REVIEWER:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Girl Plus Book Reviews Cresecren Chronicles for YA

Title: NOVUS 
Series: The Cresecren Chronicles, Book 1)
Author: Crystal Marcos
Genre: Young Adult
Honors and Awards:
~"Official Selection" Winner in the E-Book Young Adult category, 2015 New Apple Book Awards!
~Winner Best Books in the Young Adult category, 2016 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards!
ASIN: B010OI7UIM
ISBN-13: 978-0984389988

The Cresecren Chronicles: Novus
Reviewed by Sarah originally for Girl Plus Book  

“I may never know what it feels like to lose a mate. As I watched Zira rock back and forth moaning, I wondered if love was worth what she felt. “

Adventure-packed experience with a Cinder-like feel and a iRobot-like storyline. Marcos takes you into a dystopian world where humans have made a new being to aid in the survival of the human race. The Cresecrens, essentially a new race whose sole purpose is to serve humans. No rights, no freedom. Humans and Cresecrens live peacefully within their own boundaries, until one unexplainable event, all that changes.
From character development to plot twists, Marcos story comes together beautifully. There is never a slow or dull moment: conspiracy, forbidden love, hidden cities, battles, and more; you are sure to read this book in one sitting.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Imperfect Echoes
Subtitle: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Honored by USA Book News
Genre: Poetry
ISBN-13:978-1515232490
ISBN-10:1515232192
To buy as either paperback or e-book: http://bit.ly/ImperfectEchoes r%2Caps%2C272
Cover art by Richard Conrad Jackson

Reviewed by Helen Dunn Frame
Five Star Review on Amazon:

Review:

I’m not a poet and I know it. However, Carolyn Howard-Johnson is as evidenced by her latest work Imperfect Echoes Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small. She found inspiration for her poems in a variety of lengths in a wide range of topics garnered from news stories, photographs, events and more. Her style is distinctive. You’re bound to find poems that strike a chord in your life. Be sure to read the section at the end of the book, “About the Author” to learn about this fabulous woman.

About the reviewer:


Look for Helen Dunn Frame’s fourth book, Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth, in paperback and Kindle on Amazon soon. Her other books are Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (Second Edition); Greek Ghosts; and Secrets Behind the Big Pencil, Inspired by an Actual Scandal. Find out more about her here: Author’s Page: http://www.amazon.com/Helen-Dunn-Frame/e/B0054LDOBW
Website: 
http://bit.ly/1KxXt7T  Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1COtMJn Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/grandi1369/   and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-dunn-frame

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Darcia Helle Reviews Award-Winning Book of Poetry

Title: Imperfect Echoes
Subtitle: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Smalll
ISBN: 9781515232490
Available as e-book or paper on Amazon
Genre: Poetry
USA Book News Finalist


Accepted for inclusion in Poets & Writers prestigious list of published poets, multi award-winning novelist and poet Carolyn Howard-Johnson is widely published in journals and anthologies. She is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was named to Pasadena Weekly’s list “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts and her poetry chapbooks have won several awards. One of her poems won the Franklin Christoph poetry prize. She was an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program for nearly a decade. Learn more about all her books at http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile or http://howtodoitfrugally.com. All proceeds from this book will be donated to Amnesty International. Their work includes–in part–monitoring human rights violations the world over.
Published: August 2015

Reviewed by Darcia Helle, author and reviewer
Originally published on Darcia's Quiet Fury blog
Carolyn Howard-Johnson has the ability to transform intensely personal experiences and emotions into poetry that belongs to all of us. She draws us in, embracing us with her words.
Survival allows no time to laugh, no time to cry.
I love the theme of this collection. Carolyn looks at the broad scope of war, humanizing events, inviting us to see beyond political soundbites. We’re not given a stream of violent words to spark graphic images. Her intent here is not to shock with trails of blood. Instead, we’re shown what war looks like from a smaller standpoint; a child, a grandmother, a friend. We also see what compassion looks like, what real justice might feel like if we could learn to embrace our differences.
Does danger lurk
in the dark of my closet
or the fist of discipline
or the noose of justice?
This is a beautiful collection of poems that can be read and reread many times over.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Alessandra Domina: "Hooray for Waking the Bones!"

WAKING THE BONES, by Elizabeth Kirschner, a memoir
ISBN: 978-1-939739-60-5
Publisher: The Piscataqua Press, Portsmouth, NY
Rated: Five Stars


“Hooray for Waking the Bones”
Reviewed by Alessandra Domina, originally for Amazon

"Waking the Bones" is one of those memoirs one dreams about reading -- a gutsy, shameless, prose poem of the highest lyrical order that leaves one in awe of the process and the talent put out by the author. Kirschner unavoidably raises herself above the masses by layering a kaleidoscope of childhood memories underneath and on top of her present adult self, digging down so deep in some chapters that one is relieved that the subsequent chapter brings her back up into the light. Thank goodness Kirschner is, first, a poet. Then thank goodness she decided to share her survival story. The two have brought us a brilliant expose filled with terror and love on the same page.

"Waking the Bones" is intense with familiar images of everything that ever happened to everybody, or almost did. It is a biography of man and woman, mother and father, daughter and siblings. It is universal in scope even though it is a singular voice. It is ever a chameleon, changing mode, tone and color despite it's diminutive size. It should be required reading for all psychiatrists, counselors, and those afflicted with even the slightest mental illness.

"Waking the Bones" puts salve on wounds just by existing as a literary accomplishment. A very important book for Kirschner, but equally important for readers everywhere. It's a reality show of the highest order. Read it and be changed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Kirschner’s memoir, WAKING THE BONES,  is the winner of the North Street Book Prize for best work of nonfiction by an Independent author. (Learn more about that prize at http://winningwriters.com).   Kirschner has published six previous volumes of poetry, including, Surrender to Light, 2009, Cherry Grove Editions and Do My Life as a Doll, 2008, Autumn House Press. My Life as a Doll was nominated for the Lenore Marshall Prize and named Kirschner as the Literary Arts Fellow in state of Maine in 2010. She has also published over two dozen essays with The Coal Hill Review and is widely published in other literary magazines, both nationally and internationally. 

Kirschner has been writing and teaching across four decades. Most recently, she taught in Fairfield University’s low-residency Program in Creative Writing. Extensive teaching experience includes Boston College, Boston University and Carnegie-Mellon University. Residency stays include The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and Gullkistan, Iceland.

Kirschner has collaborated with many classical composers, including Carson Cooman
and Thomas Oboe Lee, resulting in various CDs. She set her own poetry to Robert Schumann’s love song cycle, retitled it The Dichterliebe in Four Seasons. She lives in a cottage named Sea Cabin on the water in Kittery Point, ME, with her old dog, Larka. Kirschner is available for readings, signings, is a dynamic public speaker and loves to lead Memoir Writing Workshops for all populations. 

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Mentoring & Tutoring to Support the Writer in All of Us

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.