Welcome Back #Author Andrew Joyce

I’m thrilled to welcome author Andrew Joyce back to my blog. Andrew recently released his short story collection, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups, and I’m pleased to help him promote it. 

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce

Buy the book HERE

BLURB

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and nonfiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

BIO

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.

Joyce now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mahoney: An American Story.

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You’ll be delighted to know that Andrew brought Danny along (actually, I think it’s the other way around 🙂 ). We’ve missed you, Danny!

Danny the Dog

And now, over to Andrew and Danny … 
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Hello, my name is Andrew Joyce. I’m here today to try to sell a few books. I have a new book out entitled Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups. And I thought it might help if I brought my dog along because he’s a bit more articulate than I am. We’re here to discuss a few of our favorite things. But first, I’d like to introduce you to Danny the Dog.
Say hello, Danny.
Hello.
Could you be a bit more enthusiastic?
Could you get on with it? You dragged me away from a Lassie rerun. She was just about to save Timmy, who fell into a well. I wanted to see how she was gonna do it, seeing as she has no opposable thumbs. You never know, I might have to save you from a well someday. Then you’ll be sorry you didn’t let me finish watching my show.
Okay. Let’s just get down to it. I’ll say my favorite things first and then you can tell the nice people about your favorite things.
Why do you get to go first?
It really doesn’t matter to me, Danny. Do you want to go first?
No.
Boy, oh boy! You are something else. I’m sorry, folks, but Danny seems to be in a mood today. I’ll start the ball rolling by telling you some of my favorite things.
Make sure they’re not too sappy.
Be quiet, Danny. Okay, here goes. I like getting up early to see the sun rise out of the ocean. I like rainy days when I can stay inside and read a good book. I like a good cup of coffee, and happy endings in movies. Now it’s your turn, Danny.
Whoa! Are you kidding me? What are you trying to do, fool these poor people? I’ll tell ’em what you really like.
No need to do that, Danny. I’m just trying to sell some books here.
Hush. If you want to sell books, then be honest with the people. It’s my turn and I’ll use it to tell the people what you’re really like. Andrew’s favorite thing is vodka. Then there’s his obsession with beer. You should see him when he has a snootful. He’s just like Hemingway. I don’t mean he can write like Hemingway, but he sure can drink like him.
Thanks a lot, Danny.
I’m not done yet. Sunrises? Andrew hasn’t seen a sunrise since I was a pup. And coffee? Of course, he loves coffee. He puts three shots of vodka in every cup. I will admit he does read a lot, rain or shine.
You are a bad doggie, Danny. Alright, you blew my cover, but we still haven’t heard about your favorite things.
I thought you’d never ask. I love to sniff where other dogs have peed. I love our walks in the morning when it’s just the two of us. I love it when, after our walks, you give me those treats. But do you want to know what I love the most?
I’m afraid to ask.
I love you. I’m hard on you because I’m trying to keep you on the straight and narrow. An impossible task, I think. But I’ll keep trying.
Aww shucks, Danny.
Can we get out of here now? There’s an old Rin Tin Tin movie on TCM that I don’t want to miss.
Sure, Danny. Let me just thank Tina for having us over.
Thank her for me too. It wasn’t so bad.
Thank you, Tina. 
You’re most welcome, my friends! It was my pleasure to host the dynamic duo of the blogosphere 🙂 
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I hope you enjoyed visiting with Andrew and Danny. You’ll find Andrew’s other books HEREBooks by Andrew Joyce
Learn more about Andrew and Danny, and be sure to get your copy of Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups
Website   Blog   Amazon   Facebook   Danny the Dog   Twitter   
Thanks so much for stopping by 
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Posts from Your Archives – Problem, Lesson or Opportunity by Tina Frisco

Sally Cronin is graciously hosting me and other authors on her blog series, Posts from Your Archives. Sally is multi-talented and administers a blog that exemplifies her character: Smorgasbord Invitation. If you’re not familiar with Sally, do yourself a favor and rectify that! Her blog is highly #recommended

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the series where you can share four of your links from your archives here on my blog to a new audience. Perhaps posts that you wrote at the beginning of your blogging experience that deserve another showcase. If you have book promotion posts then please contact me separately for other options. Details of how to get in touch with me at the end of the post.

Today I am delighted to welcome Tina Frisco to the series with the first of her four blog posts. We would not be human if we did not face problems in our lives. Not just the minor daily issues that we deal with as routine, but the kind of problems that are possibly life changing, life threatening or impact more than just ourselves. It is easy to get into a tail spin especially if others are depending on us to find a…

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#Book #Review ~ #AnnetteRochelleAben

Annette Rochelle Aben

On September 25, 2017, Annette Rochelle Aben announced on her BLOG that she would like reviews of her books as a gift for her birthday, which is October 25th. She began a month-long PARTY and set up a delightful soup and beverage bar on October 11th. 

Annette is an inspiration for so many of us. To show my gratitude for her abiding love and friendship, I read and reviewed two of her books: Go You and Angel Messages: A Wing and a Prayer

Visit Annette’s Amazon Author Page by clicking on the image below. 

Annette Rochelle Aben's Books

Annette’s books affirm the positive and move us into feeling grateful for all we have been given in life. I am so pleased to share my reviews with you now. 

Happy Birthday, Annette! 

Angel Messages: A Wing and a Prayer
My 5-Star Review

You Are Not Alone

I have always believed in Angels and have read several books about them. What strikes me most about Annette Rochelle Aben’s book, Angel Messages: A Wing and a Prayer, is the open heart from which she writes.

Ms. Aben shares her personal experiences by sprinkling the Angel messages she has received, between passages of her own lovely poetry.

Two of my favorite messages are: 1. Be in love with the gift of your life. Your joy colors your world; 2. Choosing love will always bless you. The answers are in your heart. 

Ms. Aben states that Angels may materialize in the guise of ‘just plain folks.’ I think we all experience this yet often overlook, for example, the woman who gives us the extra change we need to make a purchase, or the man who extends a hand to help us onto the bus.

Whether you believe in Angels as heavenly beings, visitors from the cosmos, or just plain folks, this book will touch that place in you that searches for comfort, assurance, and a positive outlook on life.

Go You
My 5-Star Review

I Know I Can!

Although only fifty-three pages in length, Annette Rochelle Aben’s book, Go You, packs a mighty punch. Filled with positive affirmations, it offers the reader the potential to secure a favorable outcome from myriad life experiences.

Ms. Aben believes in the power of the positive and in paying it forward. She reinforces these beliefs by giving herself a pep talk every time she looks in the mirror. What a fabulous world we would live in if everyone practiced this!

The next time you catch a glimpse of yourself, look into your eyes and say: “You are special! You are appreciated! You are the better half of the whole! GO YOU!!” Or: “You are worth protecting! You are worth supporting! You are worth loving! GO YOU!!”

The author ends the book by asking: “Now, what would YOU like to say to yourself?” This question rests atop a lined page that is blank, prepared for us to affirm our positive thoughts and aspirations.

I smiled when I read the title of this book. By the time I finished reading it, I was ready to take on the world. You will be, too.

EDITING 101: 59 – Character Profiles…

Susan Uttendorfsky is over at The Story Reading Ape‘s blog with Part 59 of her Editing 101 series, Character Profiles. Have you considered interviewing your characters as a way of developing them into strong, flexible, and unique personalities? Susan’s articles are invaluable and highly #recommended

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy ofAdirondack Editing

Character Profiles

Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser (101:21), I’m almost 100% certain that at some point, you’ll have to keep track of your characters’ details. The plotter/pantser post also covered some practical ways that some authors make sure these details are fresh in their minds—or, at least, quickly available.

However, before you can list these precious tidbits of information, you have to either discover them (if your story leads you) or decide on them (if you lead your story). The obvious information is focused on physical appearance: eye color, hair color, stature, body shape, etc. But sometimes authors neglect to round out their profiles with other information that can play a critical part in your story. I’m talking about…

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#Odd Jobs and Characters #Sally Cronin #firefly465

Fellow author and blogger Adele Marie Park hosted Sally Cronin as she promotes her latest collection of short stories, Odd Jobs and Characters.  Sally consistently promotes other authors in various ways on her blog, and Adele is an avid reblogger. I’m delighted to reciprocate, especially with this amusing story. If you’re not familiar with SALLY and ADELE, please visit their blogs, follow and share ❤

I am thrilled to be hosting Sally today as she tells us another of her great life stories, this one is particularly loved by me as I grew up on a farm and have helped in rounding up sheep, cows and…

Sally's Odd Jobs and Characters by Sally Cronin

Thank you so much, Adele, for hosting one of my stories from this series and I hope your readers enjoy.

Odd Jobs and Characters – The Sheep Farm – Indignant Rams and Black Sheep by Sally Cronin.

When my husband and I were first married, we had to stay in Wales for another six months, whilst he completed a research project in the mountains. We needed somewhere to live and being November and out of season, he managed to find us a flat to move into on the hillside above Dolgellau. The flat was part of an old farmhouse owned by a couple who I knew as regular dinner guests to the hotel, and it was a great arrangement.

After a few weeks of idleness and enjoying being a new wife, I decided that perhaps there might be a way to pay our rent and get some exercise. The rent we saved would be put towards a deposit of our own home; very high on our priority list. I approached my friend and landlady, asking if I might help out on their hill farm, where they kept a flock of several hundred sheep. She was more accustomed to seeing me in long dresses and heels, showing guests to their tables in the hotel, than walking up Cader Idris, but after she stopped laughing, she agreed to give me a trial run.

I went out and bought suitable clothing, which bearing in mind the time of year, involved waterproof boots and fleeced wet weather gear. It was early December and snow was not unexpected, and you did not want to be caught up at altitude inadequately dressed. I will admit that the first two or three days left me breathless, resulting in me giving up cigarettes (no bad thing). It also served to remind me how unfit I was. However, by the second week, I was hitting my stride.

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#5-Star #Review for #Plateau

While I was on break helping my sisters with my mother, my book PLATEAU received two new reviews. Since I haven’t developed the habit of checking my books for reviews (I know! What kind of author am I?), I stumbled upon these at different times.

I reblogged Colleen Chesebro‘s review on 10/5/17. You can read it HERE. I just learned of Madelyn Griffith-Hayne‘s review, and would like to share it with you now. 

Madelyn is a practicing ADD Coach who trains, mentors, and coaches ADD professionals. She refers to herself as The ADD Poster Girl and describes herself in this way: “Mentalist and empath, visionary and myopic, the sanest person I’ve ever met with the craziest life: a self-aware, self-assured stuttering wonder of more-than-a-mess.” That alone should kindle your little grey cells 🙂 If you’re not familiar with Madelyn, please visit her BLOG, comment, and share. 

Madelyn has captured the essence of PLATEAU. Thank you, my friend, for this heartfelt and moving review ❤ PLATEAU by Tina Frisco

Spiritually Moving and Uplifting

FIRST I must say that I loved this gentle little book. I devoured it in a single evening, so entranced by the story that I didn’t want to stop to read the inspiring quotes from Lynn V. Andrew’s Power Deck that began each chapter. Once I reached the end of the book I had to go back for the quotes, skimming each following chapter a second time.

NOW I must say that I have struggled with how I could possibly write a review — I’ve never read another book quite like it.

Other reviewers here have given you as much as you need to become familiar with the book’s “environment” – if I can call it that, introducing you to a few of the characters – so I won’t repeat similar content. But they can’t convey the deeply spiritual, uplifting essence of the book that, to me, is what makes it remarkable. Plateau never pontificates, but rather seduces the reader to come to his or her own spiritual realizations as the story unfolds.

I suppose the most impactful thing I can say is that I was infused with a sense of well-being when I finally put down my Kindle and turned off the light. I was in such a calm and totally relaxed positive state of mind that I transitioned easily and almost immediately into a deep sleep – a rare experience in my life.
xx,
mgh
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
“It takes a village to transform a world!”

CALL TO ARMS!

When will we humans understand that to turn a blind eye to those in need is to turn a blind eye to ourselves? When will we come to know ~ Know with a capital K ~ that we are all one?
Gallybloggers is an online forum for authors who are Homeless. Dewin Nefol, creator of the site, states: Those who write and submit to Gallybloggers do so wholeheartedly believing in what we do and in what we would like to achieve by giving voice and opportunity for expression to those who are walked-over by society and passed-by everyday on our streets and empty shop doorways.”
I’m reblogging this today in the hope that many of you will follow Gallybloggers, comment on their outstanding posts, and share their brilliant works

~ GallyBloggers ~

Call To Arms

Science suggests millions of years ago just one ‘seed of light’ springing forth from a sea of potential was all it took for the creation of the Universe. From this initial event new worlds came into being, and new life emerged from out of the darkness.

And so it can be that way again in 2017: whereby small seeds of light emerging from out of the silence and solitude of Homelessness can illuminate the hearts and minds of people and far more importantly highlight deficiencies in the competency of the UK Government who fail to manage Homelessness either effectively or humanly. Homeless people are suffering daily, and some also dying on UK streets, as consequence of Government Policies, an ineffective, prejudice  and woefully underfunded Social Security System, and pitiful despicable neglect by the UK Government who have an overarching responsibility to extend a duty of care to every citizen within the UK. The Homeless are not being considered either fairly or reasonably or if indeed at all, and neither is adequate funding or provision being made for…

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#Hope… Is It Enough?

John Fioravanti has written a brilliant article on the troubled times in which we live, suggesting that the choices we make will determine whether or not we survive as a species. I couldn’t agree more. #HighlyRecommended

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

~ Michelle Obama

It may be an understatement that we live in very troubled times. I know from my study of history and my daily history blog, “John’s Believe It Or Not,” that every era has had its troubles, yet the present seems especially fearful. The fact that the leader of the free world exacerbates the issues plaguing humanity gives one pause. How can there be hope for progress and a better future when a narcissistic megalomaniac has been allowed to run amok in the White House?

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Colleen’s #Book #Reviews ~ 5 Stars for Plateau

Colleen Chesebro gave me the most wonderful ‘welcome home’ gift by featuring her review of my book, PLATEAU, on her blog. It’s always a thrill when our books receive positive reviews, especially when they touch our hearts.

If you’re not familiar with Colleen, do visit and follow her wonderful blogs ~ The Fairy Whisperer and A Mindful JourneyI’m sure you’ll be delighted.

Thank you, Colleen. You are a sister and a friend. My heart to your heart ❤❤

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PLATEAU by Tina Frisco

  • Title:  Plateau: Beyond the Trees
  • Amazon Author Profile: Tina Frisco
  • File Size: 1474 KB
  • Print Length: 176 Pages
  • Publisher: Tina Frisco, 2nd Edition
  • Publication Date: July 11, 2017
  • Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B073W789GB
  • ISBN-10: 1548771783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1548771782
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Metaphysical, Visionary

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS:

Is there any hope for humankind? Will love prevail over fear? A young tribal female is unaware she holds the answers to these questions. W’Hyani was born strong and willful and the Keeper of the Crystal Heart. Her mettle is tested by the cosmic forces that shaped her destiny. She comes face-to-face with fear in a battle that would shrink the will of the most daring warrior. The fate of all beings in the Universe depends on her defeating the bloodthirsty gondrah and unlocking the mystery of the Great Mosaic of Life.

MY RECOMMENDATION:

At the first turn of page one in the Plateau: Beyond the Trees, the reader steps back into time, or possibly the future, to meet the E’Ghali tribe and the young, W’Hyani. The story is told through her experiences and life journey as W’Hyani embarks on a hero’s journey fraught with all the hardships and heartbreaks that life can bring. Yet, somehow the lessons she learns come across as fresh and new leading her on the path to illumination.

At the core of the story is the legend of the sacred cave of the E’Ghali where the Great Mosaic represents the Great One. W’hyani and her parents hold the key to this mystery as they grapple with their destinies. Each family member holds a special place in the fulfillment of W’Hyani’s destiny.

At times, travelers from “the city” ventured onto E’Ghali land and relationships were established. When this happened, I couldn’t quite tell if we were in the future or the past. It didn’t really matter because the tribal legends spoke of a time when humans would be able to exist in peace and love which left me with the feeling that this event would soon take place. When this event occurs is not the point. Instead, it is the fact that it will happen that captures your spirit.

Such is W’Hyani’s destiny as the Keeper of the Crystal Heart. She represents hope and the future of all mankind.

At the beginning of each chapter, the author shares a quote from Lynn V. Andrew’s, The Power Deck. Each of these quotes drove home a powerful message that was highlighted by W’Hyani’s particular journey in that chapter. I was deeply moved by many of these passages which were a great addition to the story.

Plateau was an emotional read for me. I took my time and tried to experience through my reading, the life lessons that W’Hyani and her friends undertook. Their experiences caused me to reflect upon my own life and spiritual journey. This is the kind of book that transports you to a higher plane of existence where what you thought was the ending is really only the beginning.

Tina Frisco wrote this book as an outreach of hope to the doomsday messages that swirled in the media around December 21, 2012. In reality, the book is timeless. The message of love, understanding, and compassion resonate today or any day. Respect for our mother Earth reverberates lovingly through each page.

I’ve added this book to my Me Time Category for Spirituality because of the emotional impact this book left on my heart. I’ve never read another story like it and found it to be a hidden gem in the literary world.

MY RATING:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate:  5 out of 5 Fairies

Continue reading… 

Return and Reviews

I’m happy to return from my blogging break and report that my mother has recovered and is progressing well. My heartfelt thank you to those who kept in touch with emails and messages. Love is the backbone of existence, and I’m so grateful for its presence in my life.

I’m still in catch-up mode, so it will take me a few days to get back in sync with visiting your lovely blogs and dealing with my social network pages. The nearly 700 emails that greeted me have slowed me down a bit 🙂

Although I had no time to be online and visit blogs during my break, I did read and review several books while traveling cross-country by train. I found all of them delightful, compelling, and enlightening. I can’t think of a better way to re-enter the blogging world than by featuring the following reviews.

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YELLOW HAIR by Andrew Joyce  Yellow Hair by Andrew Joyce
My 5-Star Review
A Native Truth Unveiled

In this gripping historical novel, Andrew Joyce threads the fictitious tale of a White man’s life-changing events through the factual tapestry of the devastation suffered by the Plains Indians at the hands of the American government. The White man is Jacob Ariesen, who becomes known as Hin Zi or Yellow Hair.

It is Spring of 1850 in North America. Imagine you are a member of a wagon train of one hundred and forty-four White people going West in search of a better life. You encounter overwhelming hardship and are rescued by Indians. You are treated well and with respect.

Now imagine you are a Plains Indian. Soldiers invade your land at the behest of their government. They do not ask your permission. They do not treat you with respect. They look upon your people as savages and presume all you hold dear is theirs for the taking. They force you to sign their treaties, by which they trick you into selling acre after acre of your land in exchange for gold. You tell them you have no use of the yellow metal, but they deceive you into trusting you can use it to barter for horses, tools, food, and other necessities. They employ deception time and again when their Congress rewrites the treaties – without your knowledge or consent – and drastically cuts the agreed-to purchase price. They literally steal your land, upon which soldiers build forts and settlers build houses. The Wasichus (Whites) trap and hunt indigenous wildlife into near extinction, forcing you to become dependent on the American government for your very existence. You once were proud, fierce, and free. You now are demoralized, displaced, and angry.

In this sober and eye-opening tale, Joyce strips away the facade of righteousness brandished by White military and political figures, people whose names appear dominant in American history. He lays bare the greed and fear that fueled their ignorant beliefs and heinous deeds, not the least of which was the bloody slaughter and mutilation of women, children, and old ones.

Noted Native American figures, presented as one-dimensional savage people in White history books, become fully developed animated characters under the pen of Andrew Joyce. They jump off the page, grab and captivate the reader. Among these are Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, who pull us into their world and show us first-hand the effects of severe hardship coupled with dehumanization.

This was the perfect book to read while traveling across the United States by train and following the Colorado River for 230-plus miles. I imagined covered wagons caught in deadly currents that drowned all life forms as they carried them downriver. I imagined the battle at Wounded Knee Creek. I imagined the Battle of the Little Bighorn fought on the banks of the river that lent its name to this historical event. But most of all, as the train moved through mountain gorges and territories not traversed by automobile or person, I imagined a time when life was lived by the seasons, close to Mother Earth. My heart broke as distant memories of such a life played across my mind like a slide show.

This book is a page-turner that kept me glued from beginning to end. It is very well-written and chock-full of engaging characters, be they honorable or deplorable. I appreciated the humor Joyce attributed to the Indians, which he sprinkled throughout the novel. This added an inherent humanizing dimension to the indigenous peoples of whom Americans learn so little in school.

I also appreciated that the author intermittently but consistently focused on Native American spiritual beliefs. My favorite line was: “It is a good day to die.” In what way is that spiritual? you ask. Well… You’ll just have to read the book and figure it out for yourself. Hoka hey!

P.S. I FORGIVE YOU by D.G. Kaye P.S. I Forgive You by D.G. Kaye
My 5-Star Review
A Courageous Revealing

Parenthood does not come with a user manual. Children learn parenting skills from the adults in their lives. They generally emulate what they see and experience. If their lifelong experience is a negative one, they might be inclined to perpetuate it. But this does not have to be so.

In her compelling memoir, P.S. I Forgive You, D.G. Kaye reveals the habitual neglect and abuse she and her siblings suffered at the hands of an envious, threatening, narcissistic, and deceitful mother.

It takes courage, strength, and determination to prevail over hardship, especially when it is a constant in childhood; especially when a parent perpetrates neglect and abuse. But it is not impossible to overcome adversity when one focuses their intention.

Kaye shows us how to take the energy consumed by feeling mistreated, hurt, fearful, and guilty, and instead make it work for us by directing that energy toward building self-esteem, fortitude, and positive intention. She tells us how she reacted as a child, and then shows us how, as an adult, she turned a negative into a positive. Acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness are major players in this scenario, a dynamic that tested the author’s resilience, challenged her conscience, and ultimately allowed her to triumph over the all-consuming adverse conditioning perpetrated by her demanding narcissistic mother.

I highly recommend this book to anyone whose childhood was hijacked by a neglectful and abusive parent, and who would like to learn how to break free and live a happy healthy life.

SAM: A SHAGGY DOG STORY by Sally Cronin
My 5-Star Review
Do You Speak Dog?
Sally Cronin

Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story is one of the most delightful books I have ever read. Sally Cronin gives her Rough Collie a voice, allowing him to narrate his own tale.

A few of the things Sam tells us about are his friends (cat, dog, and human alike), his favorite things (sausages, cheese, ice cream, snow), his job as security consultant, car rides while singing along with Sally, and walks along the beach.

Sam is very observant and intelligent. He learns to understand both cat and human vocal sounds. He also learns to speak a few human words! Mawgh is more; heyoo is hello; and Orh, Ee, Va is Oliver. ‘More’ and ‘Oliver’ are interchangeable, as they both indicate he would like ‘mawgh’ of a delicious treat he had just enjoyed.

Sam’s introduction to cats is very positive. When he is still a puppy, Sally and her husband David – the alpha humans in Sam’s pack – adopt a feral cat whom they dub ‘Henry.’ Henry teaches Sam many worthy things about life, and they become great friends. Also, a feral mama cat has kittens on Sam’s property, and he dubs himself their guardian. These experiences prepare Sam for when Sally brings home two kittens. He readily steps up to the plate, nurturing and protecting them.

Sam’s story is heartwarming and humorous, sure to amuse and delight adults as well as children. I read this book in one sitting and was disappointed when it ended. I wanted more, and so will you.

What I appreciated most about Sam’s story is that it leaves the reader with a heightened respect for nonhuman animals. They think and feel as we do; and anyone who thinks otherwise will be hard-pressed to hold on to that opinion after meeting Sam. I would like to see this book offered for sale through animal rights and humane organizations around the world. And for me, that is the highest praise…

ON TRYANNY by Timothy Snyder 
My 5-Star Review
“It can’t happen here.”

In his eye-opening book, On Tyranny, Timothy Snyder draws parallels between Nazism/Fascism/Communism and what is occurring now in the United States of America. It is a small book, quickly read but packed with relevant data.

The road to tyranny can be subtle, drawing people in with false or exaggerated claims of terrorism from homeland or abroad. Real news is purported to be fake and is consistently repeated as such, gradually moving people to mistake falsehoods for truth. Free thinkers become the enemy of the State, and the exercise of free speech becomes a criminal act.

The author suggests that truth dies in four modes: (1) open hostility to verifiable reality; (2) endless repetition that makes the fictional plausible and the criminal desirable; (3) open embrace of contradiction; (4) misplaced faith. Snyder states we have witnessed all of these with the current U.S. President. (1) During the 2016 campaign, the candidate vehemently repeated lies as facts; 78% of his factual claims were found to be false. (2) Repeating “Build that wall” and “Lock her up” served to reinforce the connection between him and his followers rather than describe what he actually planned to do. (3) He promised to cut taxes and erase the national debt while also promising to increase defense spending. These promises were mutually contradictory and encouraged people to abandon reason. (4) “I alone can solve it” was a self-deifying claim that made truth “oracular rather than factual” and made “evidence” irrelevant.

Snyder details the progression to tyranny in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Communist Russia, showing how small and often subtle changes serve to lure the people, little by little, into accepting the dogma of tyranny and, thus, tyranny itself. He warns us to be wary of one-party States, paramilitaries, and dangerous language.

Entrancing words can mesmerize and entice people into blindly accepting the prelude to tyranny. Once the prelude is established, totalitarianism slides into place with ease. It would behoove those of us living in democratic countries to remain vigilant to this slippery process. Tyranny is a beast with many tentacles. We need to recognize them and prevent their institution. We need to dialogue with each other and realize that differing opinions are healthy and necessary to democracy. We need to pinch ourselves daily and remain alert to subtle changes that would erode democracy (e.g., The Patriot Act trades freedom for a false sense of safety). We need to get involved in the democratic process and not fall prey to the mistaken belief: “It can’t happen here.”

Tyranny can gain a foothold anywhere people are drawn in by a charismatic leader whom they follow blindly. In remaining alert, aware, and vigilant, we are our own best allies.

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Thank you for reading my reviews, and I’ll see you soon on your lovely blogs. The beautiful featured image is courtesy of Terri Webster Schrandt ❤

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