The New Book Review

This blog, #TheNewBookReview, is "new" because it eschews #bookbigotry. It lets readers, reviewers, authors, and publishers expand the exposure of their favorite reviews, FREE. Info for submissions is in the "Send Me Your Fav Book Review" circle icon in the right column below. Find resources to help your career using the mini search engine below. #TheNewBookReview is a multi-award-winning blog including a MastersInEnglish.org recommendation.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Andrew Benson Brown Tells History with Humor and Wit

Poetic History-Telling with Humor and Wit: A Review of Legends of Liberty Volume II by Andrew Benson Brown

 

Reviewed by Theresa Werba

 

Legends of Liberty II

Andrew Benson Brown

Bard Owl Publishing

978-1737551324

Released March 2024

$13.99 Paperback, 5.99 Kindle

265 pages

https://www.amazon.com/Legends-Liberty-Andrew-Benson-Brown/dp/1737551322/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

 

Andrew Benson Brown has created a continuation of his Revolutionary War historical mock epic in Legends of Liberty II.  This is a retelling of history which blends fact with absurdity in a way that is surprising and innovative. In the tale we are presented with a continuation of Revolutionary War saga, and we encounter such notables as Ben Franklin, King George III, Thomas Paine, and George Washington. We are also taken through a fresh retelling of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

 

Benson Brown employs 10-line stanzas with alternating rhymes and final rhyming couplet. The form is ababcdcdee in lines of iambic pentameter with an additional metric foot in the last line. It may thus be seen as a sort of “truncated sonnet” form.

 

Benson Brown makes history humorous and interesting, and the retelling of the story is never dry or pedantic. At times it hardly feels like what is normally considered formal poetry—it is very story-like and moves with a brisk and expectant pace. We are  reminded now and again of the funny and subtle rhymes and meter while reading an often-bizarre and surreal story. The historical mock-epic is overflowing with adroit rhymes and clever wordplay. Some of my favorite examples:

 

“Like a tree that sprouts full-grown 

From fertile soil, Ben sprung upon his heels 

And said with eager eccentricity, 

 ‘Eureka! I’ve discovered electricity.’”

 

“’It happens to us highbrows.’

She traced a yellow carrot round the brights 

Of yellow orbs: ‘What happened to your eyebrows?’”

 

“Immigrants all mutter grand 

Ideas as their ships approach the motherland.”

 

The rhymes eccentricity/electricity//highbrows/eyebrows //and mutter grand/motherland are quite clever indeed, and the entire poem is replete with such examples.

 

I particularly liked Benson Brown’s description of 18th-century London from the eyes of the American Ben Franklin:

 

“Ben fumbled, squelching and meandering 

Through worming alleys snaked with London fog. 

A baron hounded whores, philandering. 

A beggar prowled in shadows, licking grog. 

A sooty urchin clawed loose pocket shillings. 

Shopkeepers hawked their goods with piercing calls. 

A gang, jaws bare, tore loot from their fresh killings. 

Through haze, two folded wings—a dome?—St. Paul’s! 

This scene of lawless riot and confusion 

Exposed the lairs that darkened majesty’s illusion.”

 

I also thought the description of Franklin as a “human Tesla coil” to be particularly inventive, as is his depiction of the insanity of King George III as a man’s brain invaded by the devil in the form of a cockroach!!!

 

“One day as Britons cheered their sovereign’s sight, 

The devil crawled into his servant’s brain. 

He entered through the ear as a termite 

And caused poor George the Third to go insane. 

His Majesty’s gray matter had a tang— 

Dis nibbled reason’s overlooking terrace. 

The walls of speech fell next when yellow fangs 

Went chewing on the pars opercularis. 

Then recall’s fortress, breached with just a scamper, 

Flapped like a tent when Satan bit the hippocamper.”

 

A particularly beautiful stanza involves repeating phrases and lines, rendered skillfully to poignant effect:

 

“The salt sea parts sweet lives from lovesick skies. 

No motherland can stop tectonic shifting. 

Connect the dots, or stars will fade from eyes: 

A tree of broken branches slowly dies, 

While crowns, well-pruned, stay healthy and uplifting. 

The salt sea parts sweet lives from lovesick skies 

When the sunset sails below the waves, to rise 

Tomorrow, as the last ship darkens, drifting. 

The salt sea parts sweet lives from lovesick skies. 

Steer true: connect the dots, so stars don’t fade from eyes.”

 

 

The book is replete with illustrations which enhance the reading experience. The images are often surreal and Python-esque. Terry Gilliam would be proud!! The print edition, unconstrained by the rigidity inherent in Kindle formatting, inventively incorporates these illustrations and images into the formatting of the stanzas to pleasing effect, which complements Benson Brown’s metrical experiments and text layout.

 

The extensive annotations can be clicked on with the Kindle edition to provide extra elucidation and clarification.

 

            I would highly recommend Legends of Liberty Volumes I and II as supplements and enrichment to any American history course taught at the high school and college levels as well as anyone who enjoys satire and humor combined with deftly-written poetry.


MORE ABOUT THE POET

 

Andrew Benson Brown is a poet and journalist living in Kansas City. He is a member of the Society of Classical Poets, where he regularly contributes poetry, essays, and reviews. His work has been published in a number of journals. He is also an arts columnist for the Epoch Times and a history writer for American Essence magazine.


MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER 

 

Theresa Werba the author of eight books, four in poetry, including the newly-released What Was and Is: Formal Poetry and Free Verse (Bardsinger Books, 2024). Her work has appeared in such journals as The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Wilderness House Literary Review, Spindrift, Mezzo Cammin, The Wombwell Rainbow, Fevers of the Mind, The Art of Autism, Serotonin, The Road Not Taken, and the Society of Classical Poets Journal. Her work ranges from forms such as the ode and sonnet to free verse, with topics ranging from neurodivergence, love, loss, aging, to faith and disillusionment and more.  She also has written on autism, adoption and abuse/domestic violence. Find Theresa Werba at http://www.theresawerba.com and on social media @thesonnetqueen.

 












More About #TheNewBookReview Blog 





 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. 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 and love. Please see submission guidelines in a tab at the top of this blog's home page or go directly to the submission guidelines at http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews or to the guideline tab at the top of the home page of this blog. Authors and publishers who do not yet have reviews or want more may use Lois W. Stern's #AuthorsHelpingAuthors service for requesting reviews. Find her guidelines in the right column of this blog home page (a silver and gold badge and threee silver-gray circles beneath it. Carolyn Wilhelm is our IT expert, an award-winning author and veteran educator, she also contributes reviews and posts on other topics related to books. Reviews, interviews, and articles on this blog are indexed by genre, reviewers' names, and review sites so #TheNewBookReview may be used as a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. As an example, writers will find this blog's 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. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing HowToDoItFrugally http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews. Pre-format the post editor for each new post. Cancel Save Post published

Saturday, May 4, 2024

The Magnum Opus of a Master Poetess


The Magnum Opus of a Master Poetess: A Review of What Was and Is: Formal Poetry and Free Verse by Theresa Werba

 

By Andrew Benson Brown

 

 

What Was and Is: Formal Poetry and Free Verse

Theresa Werba

Bardsinger Books

978-0965695503

Released April 2024

$12.95 (Paperback) $6.99 (Kindle)

217 pages

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0965695506/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&dib_tag=se&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.FbAFQVKkgMID7MrxbQT47p6i9QURU1mLEtGd5P1IDbHDVvu15phoqGiF5wLE_Yh8AaH1pBtTyX0UZE8F0OwQrg.xkTLvkI8kwJ8yTe-aVjN09MwWiXo9WWtou9U1oxa0Tk&qid=1713008651&sr=8-1

 

 

 

In What Was and Is: Formal Poetry and Free Verse, a magnum opus decades in the making, Theresa Werba reveals how the calling of poetry is infused into the very being of the writer. Werba is no mere scribbler of verse. In her list poem, “Poetess,” she catalogues the panoply of emotions that go into her vocation, beginning with:

Thinking, feeling, surging, trying,
Contemplating, dreaming, dying,
Resurrecting and creating,
Finding, telling, speculating…

           Theresa is considered one of the living masters of the sonnet (a fact which another reviewer has pointed out). I would point out, in addition, that she joins the likes of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Edna St. Vincent Millay as one of a handful of women in history to have become expert in this form. She does not confine herself to the sonnet, however. This collection is full of wondrous variety of forms, including some high quality free verse.

           Poems are organized thematically: creativity, love, the mind (about dealing mental illness), poems about people (some historical), her ‘other’ vocation as a professional singer, biographical poems, aging, and (in a fitting finale) her spiritual life.

           Sometimes a poem is included in one section that might well be in another. One might think the sonnet “For John of the Cross” would go in the section “Pantheon” with other historical figures, or perhaps in “Ever Towards Uncertainty,” the section of spiritual poems. But no. Werba slots it into the section “My Mental World is Overloaded,” devoted to her experiences with neurodivergence. It begins:

It was five years of darkness. I was dead
But barely breathing, living hardly; lain
About the marble slab. It was my bed
Where I would live, if life were sleep.
Heart slain Of all feeling— empty, absent, gone—
Was beating only, but no heart therein.

           We realize, of course, that this poem is as much about the poetess as the author of “The Dark Night of the Soul.”

           In the ballad, “A Formalist Poet's Lament,” Werba captures her approach to writing verse:

It saddens and perplexes me,
The things I hear of late,
Of how to create poetry,
And how to make it “great”:

I've heard it's not emotional,
It's nothing how you “feel;”
But it's entirely rational,
Not heartfelt in appeal.

           “For nature poems are fine and good,” she says a few lines down, “But what about the soul?” The soul is, indeed, what separates the true poet from the poetaster or AI program.
           It also might be said to be the theme of every poem here, whether hidden or overt—both in the general sense of ‘soulfulness,’ and also (we find later) in a more conventionally religious sense as well.
           Werba pulls out all the literary devices, often employing these in a mimetic way that reflects her theme and subject matter. In ‘Sonnet of the Hardened Heart,’ for example, parenthetical descriptions are enshelled within the details of her thoughts on erecting barriers of emotional protection:

Care less, I warn myself; bother no more
With inner crevices: prying the shell
Like scabs (rough, oozing, sore), which crust, but tell
Of tumults against the psychic seabed floor;
It is in vain. Swollen and hard around
The meat (like newborn skin, or the vaginal flower)….

           Werba belongs to that limited class of creatives who are adept in more than one field: in this case, music. Poetry and music have long had a deep connection, and her dual skills interpenetrate here. This section appropriately contains several actual songs, complete with instructions for performance. In “The Classical Singer’s Drink Offering,” we are invited to experience secondhand the ecstasy of music, which approximates both a sense of drunkenness and (as in the biblical passage from Numbers 28:7 that the title references) of spiritual inspiration. The closing stanza reads:

But after the heaves and pants, the shimmer, the ring,
The chill-bumps in the hairshafts, when my blood
Has leapt and circled corpuscular gamuts, filling
My mask with heat and sound, a kind of thud
Percusses my environs. I turn around
As if to see Him watching.
Oh, to face
Not loving half so much my very sound,
As Him for whom this pouring out took place.

           In “Venus and Adonis,” a long poem of over 100 lines, Werba demonstrates a capacity for extraordinary sensuality:

I see her standing there.
Ringlets of curls cascading down
Soft shoulders
Onto the copious breasts of pearl and alabaster.
The curls unfurl longer and longer,
Shining and reflecting like circle rings
The sun which hits them.

She walks, tall. Her feet bare and white,
Painted with lilies and grass.

The mountains in front of her
Are billows of soft escape,
And how I wish I could
Bury myself in them,
Taste and touch them,
Suckle them and know them,
Honor them and find them
Again and again.

           The uninhibited quality of passion that fits well with the spontaneity and irregularity of free verse, and I must confess that of all the varieties of this form, I enjoy the topic of love most. I shared this poem with a lady friend of mine, and she LOVED it. “So beautiful and raw,” was her impression.

            Werba’s ability in the spheres of both formal and free verse is reminiscent of some of the early modernists like Eliot, Stevens, and cummings, who moved to free verse styles after acquiring a deep familiarity with formal verse, allowing them to develop a unique voice and subtle structures. While Werba does not engage in the radical grammatical experiments of a cummings, her skills also reflected in several nonce poems—verses written in no named, congealed form, skirting the boundary between the formal and spontaneous.

            In the final section, we encounter a series of poems engaged in deep spiritual reflection. One of the most impressive in the collection is “The Supreme-Breasted One (El Shaddai).” A poem of praise as well as philosophical and personal reflection, it has an irregular structure, with stanzas of varying line length and number, as well as an irregular rhyme scheme:

The woman in my Father’s face
The ruach of my soul
Male images have hid the shad,
The breast, that El Shaddai has had
To comfort those, who wounded, have
Quite never been made whole.

Born anew? Yes; a birth it is—
But only from the pronoun “His”?
When earthly form so plainly shows
That woman is in what seed grows
And germinates, and procreates?
And she, whom Comfort has made flesh
To show His less, nay, more than “manliness”:
That He is really also “She”—
A femininity in Trinity?

           After five more stanzas, Werba, having assimilated an expertise for different forms, ends the poem with a couplet:

Now delivered, life from Life is come:
O feed me, fill me, Supreme-Breasted One.

           As a master of the sonnet form, Werba is particularly adept at ending her poems with a powerful two-line punch like this. Its unexpected appearance as the closing to an ode makes it all the more effective.

           The poems discussed and excerpted here are only a slice of the rainbow this collection contains. It is well-organized (and elegantly formatted): beginning with personal reflections on creativity and eros, we move through history, life, and finally come full circle into the realm of the spirit—all while never ceasing to be personal. In terms of both diversity and depth, Werba is both a poet for our time, and for all time.


MORE ABOUT THE POET

 

Theresa Werba the author of eight books, four in poetry, including the newly-released What Was and Is: Formal Poetry and Free Verse (Bardsinger Books, 2024). Her work has appeared in such journals as The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Wilderness House Literary Review, Spindrift, Mezzo Cammin, The Wombwell Rainbow, Fevers of the Mind, The Art of Autism, Serotonin, The Road Not Taken, and the Society of Classical Poets Journal. Her work ranges from forms such as the ode and sonnet to free verse, with topics ranging from neurodivergence, love, loss, aging, to faith and disillusionment and more.  She also has written on autism, adoption and abuse/domestic violence. Find Theresa Werba at www.bardsinger.com and on social media @thesonnetqueen.


MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

 

Andrew Benson Brown is a poet and journalist living in Kansas City. He is the author of Legends of Liberty, a mock-historical poetic epic. He is a member of the Society of Classical Poets, where he regularly contributes poetry, essays, and reviews. His work has been published in a number of journals. He is also an arts columnist for the Epoch Times and a history writer for American Essence magazine.



More About #TheNewBookReview Blog 


 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. 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 and love. Please see submission guidelines in a tab at the top of this blog's home page or go directly to the submission guidelines at http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews or to the guideline tab at the top of the home page of this blog. Authors and publishers who do not yet have reviews or want more may use Lois W. Stern's #AuthorsHelpingAuthors service for requesting reviews. Find her guidelines in the right column of this blog home page (a silver and gold badge and threee silver-gray circles beneath it. Carolyn Wilhelm is our IT expert, an award-winning author and veteran educator, she also contributes reviews and posts on other topics related to books. Reviews, interviews, and articles on this blog are indexed by genre, reviewers' names, and review sites so #TheNewBookReview may be used as a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. As an example, writers will find this blog's 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. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing HowToDoItFrugally http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews. Pre-format the post editor for each new post. Cancel Save Post published

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

TALES2INSPIRE ~ THE JADE COLLECTION: Celebrated by Jorge Barboza



TITLE OF BOOK: TALES2INSPIRE ~ THE JADE COLLECTION

CREATOR, EDITOR, AUTHOR: LOIS W. STERN

GENRE OR CATEGORY: MEMOIR - ANTHOLOGY

REVEWED BY: JORGE BARBOZA

ISBN #: ISBN-13  :  979-8858240747

REVIEW:


Amazing & Exciting Stories

If you're searching for exhilarating and genuine narratives designed to plunge you into the core of turbulent waters, steer through hazardous paths, track down distant relatives worldwide, or traverse in a self-constructed car from South America to Detroit, this publication will undoubtedly enchant you. Granted the opportunity to examine and appraise numerous stories therein, I encourage you to undertake this


REVIEWER’S BRIEF BIO:

I am a writer born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, in 1981, with a deep appreciation for my country's culture and Latin American history, which serves as a constant inspiration for my writings. As a young child, I cherished moments spent in a hammock by my grandfather's side, where he would regale me with stories while gently rocking me to sleep. His storytelling focused on the extraordinary achievements of ordinary individuals, and this narrative style has influenced my own work, aiming to provide readers with an uplifting, well-crafted, yet humble experience.



REVIEWER’S FAVORITE LINKS: 

https://tales2inspire.com/from-machicos-to-detroit/ 


ASSURANCE TO SATISFY COPYRIGHT LAW: 

 X Yes, I have received permission from the reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety


REVIEWER’S BYLINE: Author, Screenwriter


MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

In 2007, I was fortunate enough to win a Latin Grammy as a producer for the best music video, which opened doors for me to pursue my dreams in the USA, where I relocated in 2008. Since then, I have had the honor of receiving recognition for my screenwriting, including being named a finalist and semifinalist in esteemed festivals such as Hollyshorts and Raindance

________________________________________

MORE ABOUT LOIS W. STERN AND HER TALES2INSPIRE PROJECT:


Lois W. Stern's Tales2Inspire was a kernel of an idea that started in 2012 and has grown to proportions even she didn’t dare to envision. Her innate curiosity about potentially fascinating human interest stories was the spark that ignited this idea. But it was the confused state of traditional publishing that propelled her forward. Tales2Inspire delivers exactly what it promises as both an ‘Authors Helping Authors’ project and a contest. Winners get their stories published in print, e-book and some even in video formats, with their names, headshot photos, and mini-autobiographies included. Then she spreads the word about the winners and their stories on her blogs, social media and monthly newsletter. FREE to enter, this is a great competition for talented newbies and seasoned authors alike.  Learn more here:

Tales2Inspire website: https://www.tales2inspire.com
LinkedIn profile: http://tinyurl.com/odtw2wt
Get a FREE Tales2Inspire Sampler book at: www.tales2inspire.com/gifts
Tales2Inspire trailer: https://youtu.be/FuDgXkYMHvo



More About #TheNewBookReview Blog The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. 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 and love. Please see submission guidelines in a tab at the top of this blog's home page or go directly to the submission guidelines at http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews or to the guideline tab at the top of the home page of this blog. Authors and publishers who do not yet have reviews or want more may use Lois W. Stern's #AuthorsHelpingAuthors service for requesting reviews. Find her guidelines in the right column of this blog home page (a silver and gold badge and threee silver-gray circles beneath it. Carolyn Wilhelm is our IT expert, an award-winning author and veteran educator, she also contributes reviews and posts on other topics related to books. Reviews, interviews, and articles on this blog are indexed by genre, reviewers' names, and review sites so #TheNewBookReview may be used as a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. As an example, writers will find this blog's 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. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing HowToDoItFrugally http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews. Pre-format the post editor for each new post. Cancel Save Post published

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Book Review: WAITING FOR AEGINA by Effie Kammenou





TITLE OF YOUR BOOK: WAITING FOR AEGINA


AUTHOR OF BOOK's NAME: Effie Kammenou


AUTHOR'S EMAIL ADDRESS effie.k.speyer@gmail.com


AUTHOR'S FAVORITE LINKS: Website http://effiekammenou.com  

Amazon author page

https://www.amazon.com/stores/Effie-Kammenou/author/B013NZRWLI?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true  

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/effie-kammenou

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/effiekammenou_author/


ADD THIS ASSURANCE TO SATISFY COPYRIGHT LAW: 

X Yes, I have received permission from the reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety. I have a written email if needed.


REVIEWER’S BYLINE: Ekaterina Botziou - Author, writer, digital creator


THE REVIEW:

ANOTHER GREAT READ FROM THIS WONDERFULLY TALENTED AUTHOR!
 by Ekaterina Botziou

‘Waiting for Aegina‘ is the second book in Effie’s ‘The Gift Saga‘ following the immensely popular ‘Evanthia’s Gift‘. Influenced by Effie’s heritage, both books are set against a beautiful Greek backdrop and combine love and romance with the poignant emotions of a coming of age drama.
In this second outing, the story continues to follow the life of Sophia as she enters middle age and has to face certain demons from her past. Familiar faces (or imagined faces in a reader’s case!) from the first book return to bring colour and drama to each chapter and the story itself goes even deeper into the lives of its main characters.
‘Waiting for Aegina’ is far grittier than ‘Evanthia’s Gift’ but it is no less beautifully written and once again Effie’s amazing ability to bring the Greek setting to life with just a few carefully chosen words will have you wanting to dive straight into the page.
The inclusion of several secret recipes at the beginning of chapters is just another gem that Effie has thrown in.
Another great read from this wonderfully talented author."

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER: 

Ekaterina Botziou is an author, writer and digital content creator. Her six-part Greek mythological children’s series 'The Adventures of Omicron' is available on Amazon worldwide and she also creates children's activity books under her planner brand 'Pandorus Publishing', as well as notebooks, diaries and journals and digital art. Ekaterina has written for British and European lifestyle magazines and is the founder of The Greek Wives Club - a group that promotes Hellenism and Greek brands. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR WHOSE BOOK IS BEING REVIEWED:  

Effie Kammenou believes it's never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart, or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she'd hoped that by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. But instead, she worked in the optical field for forty years while raising her two daughters. 

 

In 2015, three years after her mother died from pancreatic cancer, she published her debut novel, Evanthia's Gift, the first book in a women's fiction, multigenerational love story, and family saga, inspired by her mother and her Greek heritage. Kammenou continued to pick her father's brain for stories of his family's life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America until his recent death in November 2022 at 100. Her interview with him was published in the nationally circulated magazine Reminisce. 

 

Evanthia's Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 finalist in the Readers Favorite Book Awards. Book two, Waiting for Aegina, was awarded finalist status in the 2019 International Book Awards. Chasing Petalouthes, the last book in the trilogy, also placed in the Readers Favorite Book Awards for the 2018 contest.

Most recently, Love is Worth Fighting for won silver, second place for contemporary romance, in The Readers Favorite Book Awards.


Kammenou's latest project is The Meraki Series. Love is What You Bake of it, Love by Design, andLove is Worth Fighting for are available. Book four: Love in Plain Sight, will finish the series. Each book focuses on a sibling and their quest for love and professional success despite their sometimes stifling and meddling family. But it would only be a Kammenou novel with delving into the past or references to mouth-watering foods. A mystery shadowed by a historical event in Greek history is slowly uncovered throughout the series.

 

As a bonus, each book contains traditional Greek recipes; many passed down from her Athenian mother.


Effie Kammenou is a first-generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island. When she's not writing or posting recipes on her food blog, aptly named Cheffie's Kitchen, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for 'research.' She recently returned to her roots by occasionally working as a background actor in film and television productions.

 

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

 

For updates on promotions, events, and new releases, follow Effie on Social media. Sign up for her newsletter to receive a free copy of her novella Don’t Want to Leave Her Now.

 

Website - http://effiekammenou.com

Newsletter signup - https://www.subscribepage.com/effiekammenou

https://twitter.com/EffieKammenou

www.facebook.com/EffieKammenou

https://www.instagram.com/effiekammenou_author/

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjMZUQRPRjX0R6VVPpIKk8A

Monday, April 1, 2024

BOOK REVIEW: MY YEAR WITH THE ITALIAN GIRL by Linda Leuzzi



TITLE OF YOUR BOOK:
MY YEAR WITH THE ITALIAN GIRL


AUTHOR OF BOOK's NAME: Linda Leuzzi


AUTHOR'S EMAIL ADDRESS  Leuzzi.Linda@gmail.com


AUTHOR'S FAVORITE LINKS:  LindaLeuzzi.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon


ADD THIS ASSURANCE TO SATISFY COPYRIGHT LAW: 

 X  Yes, I have received permission from the reviewer to reprint their review in its entirety. 


REVIEWER’S BYLINE: 

Campbell Dalglish (Writer, Director, Producer) - Founding Director of D'Arc Productions, award winning playwright, screenwriter and director. Associate Professor, The City University of New York. Amazon review


REVIEW: Having followed Linda Leuzzi’s award-winning journalism for the last 20 years in the Patchogue/Bellport area on the South Shore of Long Island, I can attest to her savvy uncompromising activism for the environment as well as her coverage of our community. She pulls us all together when it really counts, and you can count on her research. So it was no surprise that she is also a witty novelist who has created an imaginary community based on Bellport that is threatened by environmental concerns and the politics of builders eager to build more housing. “My Year With the Italian Girl” stands out as a novel about community and reminded me of Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” in its various voices, and even Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milkwood” that depicts unique characters in Welsh poetic fashion. Written in a “head hopping” point of view the reader gets to see our imaginary village that is of course a real village to us, the Bellport reader, through the voices of three women who share the role of protagonist. Vivian Allegra, also a journalist, has taken in an Italian exchange student, Francesca from Catania, Italy. The third woman in this triad is a high school Step Dancer, Keisha, who introduces Francesca to her world of Bellport. Other characters continue to pop up throughout this story as Vivian romances with a witty Brit, faces off with Rowland a builder, and revisits her community through the eyes of her Italian guest as she gets initiated into Keisha’s circle of friends at school. All the characters are rich and unique, including a Canadian Goose named George and a black bird named Crowbar. I have read the book already once and am starting it up again. Head Hopping is a pleasurable literary device when used well, allowing us to get into different mind sets to arrive at the truth, whatever that may be. Often used in mystery thrillers for a Rashomon Effect where the truth is a guessing game played out by unreliable narrators, Leuzzi has used it for the joy of seeing her imaginary world, which soon becomes ours through three different and distinct reliable perspectives, engaging us not so much in the mystery of Bellport as with its unique character. I could easily see this turned into a play or an episodic TV series, and it’s the kind of book you can take with you to the beach for summer reading again and again.


Campbell Dalglish’s website is https.darcproductions.net.


 (See video of Isabella Rossellini interview with Linda at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it0oVFeTSQU.



P.S. (I have a total of 48 reviews on Amazon.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR WHOSE BOOK IS BEING REVIEWED:  

Linda Leuzzi is an award-winning journalist, author and editor and her latest novel “My Year With the Italian Girl” was featured in a book talk interview by Isabella Rossellini. She’s written 8 non-fiction books for young adults, two of which garnered New York Public Library citations. Linda also wrote a book for the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts celebrating their 20th anniversary. As former editor of the Long Island Advance, Tide of the Moriches and Suffolk County News who now writes frequently for them, her stories have won 19 New York Press Association Awards including First Place mentions for In-Depth Reporting, Spot News, Coverage of the Arts, Spot News Photo and Sports Feature. She’s won two Third Place Sharon Fullmer Awards for Community Leadership for team coverage of LGBTQ+ issues. Her many celebrity interviews have included Isabella Rossellini, Chazz Palminteri, Bernadette Peters, Sara Jean Ford, Tony Danza, Joe Piscopo, Melissa Errico, Lou Diamond Phillips, choreographer Randy Skinner as well as Nobel Prize, MacArthur Award scientists and astronauts. She also received a Media Award at the Long Island Women’s Conference for her contributions and positive community impact as well as a Science Museum of Long Island Outstanding Advocate for Science and Technology Award for Environmental Writing. She regularly writes musical theater previews and reviews for The Gateway Performing Arts Center as well as for art exhibits and film festivals. Community awards include Woman of Diversity for the Of Colors Black History celebration, Brookhaven Town’s Women’s History Outstanding Service in Media/Communications and a Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts honor for her stories. Linda also writes for the Fire Island News. She has mentored several young people over the years in the newspaper business and also via the Rotary Exchange Student program (six young women hosted at her home). A member of the Long Island Author’s Group, Linda is also a Sayville Rotarian who was asked to speak about her book during a regional conference. She trains at the Patchogue YMCA,, is an avid walker with her dog Tina, and loves trips to Manhattan visiting museums and attending Broadway plays as well as animals. Passionate about travel, her last two trips included a women’s wine tour to the Campagna region in Italy and a Celtic trip to Scotland and England. She also enjoys visits to the East End, stomping in preserves, and is an avid environmentalist. 



More About #TheNewBookReview Blog The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Authors, readers, publishers, and reviewers may republish their favorite reviews of books they want to share with others. 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 and love. Please see submission guidelines in a tab at the top of this blog's home page or go directly to the submission guidelines at http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews or to the guideline tab at the top of the home page of this blog. Authors and publishers who do not yet have reviews or want more may use Lois W. Stern's #AuthorsHelpingAuthors service for requesting reviews. Find her guidelines in the right column of this blog home page (a silver and gold badge and threee silver-gray circles beneath it. Carolyn Wilhelm is our IT expert, an award-winning author and veteran educator, she also contributes reviews and posts on other topics related to books. Reviews, interviews, and articles on this blog are indexed by genre, reviewers' names, and review sites so #TheNewBookReview may be used as a resource for most anyone in the publishing industry. As an example, writers will find this blog's 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. #TheFrugalbookPromoter, #CarolynHowardJohnson, #TheNewBookReview, #TheFrugalEditor, #SharingwithWriters, #reading #BookReviews #GreatBkReviews #BookMarketing HowToDoItFrugally http://bit.ly/ThePlacetoRecycleBookReviews. Pre-format the post editor for each new post. Cancel Save Post published

BOOK REVIEW FOR THE FRUGAL EDITOR by Carolyn Howard-Johnson



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A GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING


When a friend gifted me with a copy of The Frugal Editor, my first thought was “Why do I need a book on editing? I know how to edit, and besides a book on that topic would be just plain boring. But I was so wrong! Carolyn Howard-Johnson has a style all her own, turning what could be a dull topic into a book that is both fun to read and informative. She shares some nuggets of wisdom that might just surprise you. I know they surprised me. In her chapter on up-to-date editing secrets, I learned that grammar rules actually change with the times. For example, in an effort to keep up with the times, today we want to be gender neutral so the she/he reference is now being replaced by they/their/them, even when making a singular reference to someone of unidentified gender. The Frugal Editor explores many of the subtleties in the use and misuse of italics, possessives, apostrophes . . . Trust me, you’ll know and understand them all by the time you finish this book.

 

I’ve done more than my share of line editing to check my typos, grammar, punctuation, and such. But until reading this book, I was unaware of some of the subtleties of editing…that there is so much more to the job than what I listed above. I never knew that a really good editor can actually help you find your voice. What a treasure to find one of those! I wonder if Carolyn Howard-Johnson would take me on as a client?


MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Lois is an associate of TheNewBookReview, working with a passion to help other authors strengthen their visibility on this blog and elsewhere. Through her annual Tales2Inspire contest, a labor of love that has received worldwide recognition, she accepts entries from talented newbies and accomplished authors alike and continues to feature her winning authors on an ongoing basis. True to her 'Authors Helping Authors' philosophy, she charges no submission fee for folks to enter her contest. She receives no remuneration for any of her services, but hopes those who benefit from them will express their appreciation by purchasing Tales2Inspire anthologies and writing reviews. In her continuing spirit of “Authors Helping Authors”, Lois provides several tips on how authors can help promote themselves while writing honest reviews for others. To read her article, Be a Hero: Make Some Magic for Yourself. CLICK HERE.


All details for submitting stories to her annual Tales2Inspire anthologies are detailed  HERE. To date, winning authors whose stories are published in Tales2Inspire anthologies come from across the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.


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