Posted in reviews

Dear Nobody: a poetry collection by Robin Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: THESE POEMS IN THIS BOOK DEAL WITH THEMES OF ABUSE, SELF-HARM, MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER STRUGGLES. READ WITH CAUTION IF THESE THEMES TRIGGER YOU.

Author and poet Robin Williams returns with a beautiful and heartbreaking collection of poetry that touches the soul and lays it bare for all to see in her book “Dear Nobody: a poetry collection”. Here’s the synopsis.

The Synopsis

From the letters addressed to no one, comes a strong collection of poetry. With themes of heartbreak and love, to the far less tread upon mental health and trauma, is a work of art you won’t want to put down. Take the road less traveled and read a broken girls words to the world.

The Review

Poet Robin Williams has a beautiful and clear way of showing the world a visual representation of the pain and anguish many struggling with mental health and traumatic experiences have to undergo on a daily basis. From toxic relationships and abusive situations, to feelings of loss and desperation, the author does a marvelous job conveying these strong emotions in a way that elicits both an emotional response and wakes the reader up to the hidden struggles many face in isolation.

The poems in this book will speak to everyone. Whether you are looking for a poem that speaks to the pain you are feeling from a breakup or the powerful and overwhelming feeling of love, to the seemingly hopeless feeling that overwhelms us at times and the need for hope in an all too often hopeless world, these poems are sure to bring a tear to your eye and capture the emotional essence that only true poets can do.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fantastic poetry collection. A story of one woman’s struggles laid bare for all to see, this novel showcases some of life’s toughest challenges, especially in this modern world where issues of online bullying, self-harm and hopelessness are far too common. The author is a master poet and world class writer that everyone should pay attention to, so if you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Dear Nobody: a poetry collection by Robin Williams today. 

From backpacks and planners, to study guides and textbooks, B&N has everything you need to start off the second semester right

Rating: 10/10

https://amzn.to/2BdHPQR

About Robin Williams

My name is Robin Williams. I am an 18-year-old introverted author living in southern Pennsylvania.

I’m an activist for equality between men and women, a fighter against global warming, a member of the lgbt+ commmunity, and a privileged voice for the minority.

I write for myself and for others about things I have gone through, and about things the people around me have gone through. My most highly praised piece is titled “Racism is Over” and tells stories of the racism POC still face today. As I interviewed those for the poem, my heart stung as I saw how blind I was to the discrimination, and I made it a priority to use my voice when they cannot.

I’m a survivor, and so are you. Keep fighting.

Posted in reviews

Treading the Uneven Road by L.M. Brown Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author L.M. Brown delivers a powerful collection of short stories that explores the connected lives of several people living in a small village in Ireland during the 80’s and 90’s in her upcoming book, Treading the Uneven Road. Here’s the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later. 

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

The Review

This is a fantastic short story collection. Filled with heart, passion and fantastic character development, the story flows naturally and makes for an even paced series of stories that build this village’s life in unique ways. Exploring this unique time period and showing off some of the many problems people living in Ireland faced on a daily basis was an inspired choice, highlighting the changing world around them and how some people accepted this change, while others fought it wholeheartedly. 

From the hostility towards anyone who comes out or is found to be gay in a very religious community to the trouble that comes from  parenthood and how some people aren’t made to be mother’s or father’s. Exploring marriages, friendships and everything in between, this emotional roller coaster of a short story collection is truly unique and brings some heartfelt struggles to life.

Gifts That Show How Much You Care: The B&N Valentine’s Day Collection

The Verdict

This upcoming collection is a must read 2019 book. An interesting journey of individuals with their own personal struggles and how those struggles affect others really shone brightly in the novel. Amends in particular is one short story you won’t want to miss, as the story takes readers into shocking directions and forces the reader to ask themselves how our elders prejudices affect us, and how they can affect others. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy of L.M. Brown’s “Treading the Uneven Road” today (or grab your copy of the book if it’s already released)!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Treading-Uneven-Road-L-Brown/dp/194438880X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1548732149&sr=1-1&keywords=9781944388805

Posted in Interviews

Author Interview with W.R. Anderson

The Case Files of Doctor Arthur Lyons Medical Examiner

by

W. R. Anderson

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

As a forensic pathologist I’ve been involved in thousands of cases involving deaths wherein there is some suspicious circumstance, the death is related to trauma and the cause and mechanism of injury may become important, the cause of death is unknown, or is the result of the action of another—particularly instances of homicide, medical negligence or when the victim is under the control of a State agency, such as in police custody.

While there is an increased interest in forensic science on the part of the citizenry, often as in any field, some of the intricacies involved in the actual practice of those sciences may not be particularly apparent to them. And sometimes this obscuring may be other than inadvertent.

One of the objectives of this series of case studies by our fictional medical sleuth is to uncover some of the problems that are often ‘under the radar’ of the people not directly associated with the field, as is the case with all of us when dealing with areas that we don’t encounter every day.

Hopefully, this will be at least a little informative.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I think the general public, including when those folks serve on juries, have the impression that forensic science is an exact process, and very black-and-white, basically immune from the outside influences that might tend to prejudice a case. The reality is quite different with often considerable political pressures being exerted to come up with a result that will help the prosecution (the State) which most often is the employer of the very scientists who are trying to be ‘independent’.

In the late 1800’s the birth of forensic science was fostered to some extent at least, by a number of writers who featured protagonists who utilized investigative techniques and critical thinking in their approach to solving crimes—and some real ways enlightened people as to how science might vastly improve law enforcement investigations.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes would obviously stand out as a prime example of what I am referencing. Holmes not only used deductive reasoning in his approach to investigative problems, but also suggested many avenues wherein science, including chemistry and forensic analysis, could help solve crimes.

It really is these types of methodologies seemingly pure ‘science fiction’ at the time, that led to the development of many of the disciplines we now have in the field of forensic science and pathology.

Now that the science has been established, it is necessary to critically address the potential problems that might arise when actual people perform these ‘scientific’ exams, and the human errors that would possibly compromise the integrity and accuracy of those determinations.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Despite the precision and objectivity that science brings to the field of forensic analysis, we must remember that although the methods and techniques are accurate and free from bias, the humans that perform those techniques and utilize those methods are a different story, and subject to the potential for errors in the performance of the analysis, as well as potential bias in the equally important interpretation of the results that they generate.

We see in all of the cases that Dr. Arthur Lyons investigates that while the facts may be relatively clear and straight forward, the issues can be rapidly clouded and complicated when the politics of human nature becomes involved.

There is consistently the most frequent problem that is encountered by our hero, and in reality reflects situations encountered almost daily by forensic sciences in dealing with a legal system that places a priority on winning, and scientists that are trying to bring objective analyses of medicolegal situations to the court—with the goal of educating the jury to the truths they are trying to explain.

It is important that potential biases be recognized in order that the public doesn’t automatically equate ‘forensic science’ with absolute fact when confronted with information that might be presented to them as irrefutable ‘scientific fact’ most critically when they deal with some aspect of the criminal justice system. In this case, it is good to be skeptical!

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

As a practicing physician and forensic pathologist and having experienced many of the issues in common with our protagonist Dr. Lyons, this seemed to be an area that I knew at least a little about, and since these are fictional accounts, they are constructed in a manner to address some of the real-life issues encountered in the practice of forensic pathology in the real world.

5) Of all the cases in your novel, is there one in particular that you found compelling or captivating more so than the other cases mentioned in the book? For instance the Boy in the Mat case really held my attention as it mirrored a real life case that has captivated and made me eager to see justice done for quite some time, and reading the story here only served to heighten my interest in that case. 

As I indicated earlier, although the case studies are fictional and not necessarily base upon actual case situations, the issues addressed were based upon a composite of experiences and problems encountered in the real-world medical practices of many forensic pathologists.

There are a number of concerns addressed in each of the case studies in Volume One, that include the political intrigue and cover-up in the ‘Rough Ride’ case, the failure to acknowledge the clear evidence of a non-accidental death in the ‘Gym Mat’ case, and the conviction of a young Black teenager, fleeing a law enforcement officer firing indiscriminately into a darkened vehicle—claiming that he ‘ran over’ that officer despite the absence of impact injuries and a dashcam video that clearly refuted the facts upon which he was convicted.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Well we’re still in the early stages of getting this project off the ground, but we’re using FaceBook primarily as well as email to various contacts. The plan is to continue as e-book on Amazon and within a few months expand to at least a paperback format.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Everybody has areas of expertise, and it is usually in those areas that the person is most knowledgeable and consequently most comfortable.

Personally, I think there is great potential in utilizing real life experiences as the basis for fictionalization and in doing so can extract certain factual situations and expand them thru ‘poetic license’ to address larger issues—utilizing this as a potential vehicle to both enhance awareness of a problem and provide impetus for action to correct it.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

There is, either happily or unfortunately, (depending your perspective) a plethora of cases both from recent events and from my professional experience that continue to address the issues and raise the controversies that fueled the first volume of case studies.

Clearly we title the first book as ‘Volume 1” indicating that there were more to come and consequently plan to have a second installment in the series ready for publication by late summer of this year (2019), which will include several more case studies addressing the problems and the successes of our hero in the pursuit of justice in the practice of forensic medicine.

You can read the review of W.R. Anderson’s book here!

From backpacks and planners, to study guides and textbooks, B&N has everything you need to start off the second semester right
Posted in reviews

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

An emotionally and politically charged thriller like no other, author N. Lombardi Jr. is set to release one of the most relevant and headline grabbing novels of the year with his upcoming release, Justice Gone. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. N Lombardi Jr. is the author of compelling and heartfelt novel The Plain of Jars.

The Review

My first reaction to this novel was simply…wow. Between the relatable and attention grabbing characters to the heartbreaking and straight from the headlines story and the vivid imagery, this novel truly came to life in ways few novels are ever really able to get to. The issues discussed through the character’s struggles, from homelessness and racism to police brutality and neglecting the needs of those suffering from mental health struggles (most notably in this novel war veterans), made this novel feel not only gripping and engrossing, but important.

The complex issue of right and wrong takes center stage as readers have to not only see the horrible crimes the police are able to commit against citizens, but the tragic cycle of violence that occurs when these issues are left unchecked. I recently saw an interview in which a student remarked that what’s moral and ethical is not always what’s legal, and this novel really brings this sentiment to life. At what point do we start standing up to immoral acts that are protected by technically legal tactics? Do we as a society share any responsibility for crimes committed due to these injustices or the lack of care for those suffering through traumatic mental health struggles? That’s what this novel delves into as the mystery behind the brutal killings of three cops slowly but surely get untangled throughout the book.

The Verdict

This is a must read novel of 2019! Full of edge of your seat twists and turns and a story that touches on the pulse of our current society, this novel excels in every way, delivering a story full of heart and emotion that doesn’t always pair with a good thriller, but in this case it does and then some. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy of Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr (or grab your copy if you’re reading this after February 22nd, 2019), today! 

Rating: 10/10

Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr. Tessa Thorpe.

Publication Date
February 22, 2019

GOODREADS LINK:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40398725-justice-gone

NETGALLEY:

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/152931

Amazon link – 

Author Bio


Author Nick Lombardi Jr. has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and he speaks five languages. An event in California in 2011 in which a homeless man was beaten to death lead Nick to write his newest novel, Justice Gone. Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 
Online: FacebookAuthor Website

Previous Titles from this author
Journey Towards a Falling Sun (9781782794943), Roundfire, 2014. 

The Plain of Jars (9781780996707), Roundfire, 2013.

Categories
FICTION (General)(FIC031030) -> Thrillers (General)(FIC031030) -> Legal(FIC031030)
FICTION (General)(FIC022040) -> Mystery & Detective (General)(FIC022040) -> Women Sleuths(FIC022040)
FICTION (General)(FIC031010) -> Thrillers (General)(FIC031010) -> Crime(FIC031010)

roundfire-books.com

Posted in reviews

The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence and Calmness by Jonas and Nils Salzgeber Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In the age of the internet and growing technology, authors Jonas and Nils Salzgeber have brought the ancient philosophy of Stoicism to the modern age and have found a way to show readers how to adopt this philosophy to everyday life in their novel, “The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence and Calmness”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”
– Epictetus, Stoic philosopher

Where can you find joy? Gain strength? How should we face our fears? Deal with the death of a loved one? And what about those reoccurring depressing thoughts?

While traditional schooling doesn’t address such questions, it’s exactly what ancient schools of philosophy were all about: They taught you how to live. Even though these schools don’t exist anymore, you and I and most people are in as much need of a philosophy that guides us through life as we ever were.

This compelling, highly actionable guide shows you how to deal more effectively with whatever life throws at you and live up to your best self.

A mix of timeless wisdom and empowering advice, The Little Book of Stoicism will point the way to anyone seeking a calm and wise life in a chaotic world.

The Review

This is one of the most comprehensive and in-depth guides to Stoicism I’ve ever read. Readers will be delighted to read everything from what Stoicism is, the history of the philosophy in our world and over fifty different practices that anyone living the Stoicism philosophy can use in their daily life. They even go in depth into what negative influences often cause people to fall off of the philosophical path of Stoicism.

One of my favorite moments came from the history part of the book. As a history buff myself, it was fascinating to read about all of the infamous philosophers who adopted this viewpoint, most notably Zeno of Citium. The father of Stoicism, this philosopher’s story of moving to Athens, studying under Crates the Cynic, and developed the philosophy many know and practice today. The Ancient Greek world and it’s influence on philosophy has always been a great subject for me to study, and the author’s attention to detail in this arena blended well with the message they were getting across.

The practices the author’s give readers was great to read as well. My favorite would be practice 15: Forget Fame. This practice is so relevant in this age of digital and social media, especially as an author who’s book sales are dependent on being active via social media. While it’s important from a business point of view, from a philosophical viewpoint it makes sense to put what other’s think of you out of your mind, as it limits us and forces us to do things according to other’s standards rather than our own. 

The Verdict

This is a must read for any readers who are fascinated with philosophy and in particular Stoicism. It’s incredibly detailed and delves into every aspect of not only the history of Stoicism, but the practices that will help us stay on that path. It’s a truly fascinating and one of a kind read, so if you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas and Nils Salzgeber today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Authors

Hey, we’re Nils and Jonas Salzgeber and we’re on our journey to live a great life and become the best versions of ourselves.

And yes, we’re struggling a lot. This is part of the game of life. Just get up, rub off the dust, look ahead and keep on moving.

That’s sort of our motto. You won’t be perfect. Ever. But you can try to be the best you can be. And you certainly can get better at taking the hurdles of life.

Author: Jonas Salzgeber (that’s me)

Author blog: www.njlifehacks.com

Book page: www.njlifehacks.com/the-little-book-of-stoicism/

Excerpt: https://s3.amazonaws.com/njlifehacks/The+Little+Book+of+Stoicism+-+Free+Sample+Practices.pdf

Publisher: Indie

Genre: Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Psychology, Self-Help

Posted in reviews

The Deep Tunnel: An Andromeda Brown Novel by Adam Alexander Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A fresh start of another school year becomes nearly impossible for Andromeda Brown and her friends as they continue to traverse the strange alien presence invading Earth and leaving them caught in the middle of an intergalactic secret war in author Adam Alexander’s novel, “The Deep Tunnel: An Andromeda Brown Novel”. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

Having foiled an alien invasion with the help of some very out-of-town friends, Andromeda Brown’s seventh grade future looks set: boredom at school, extra-terrestrial help with her homework, and – hopefully – only modest amounts of detention. The world, however, has other ideas. A grisly death in the Chicago sewers can mean only one thing. The alien Kulrada are back. Even worse, her father has decided she needs a nanny. A human nanny would be bad enough, but no human would ever wear so much beige. Andromeda’s nanny is totally a Kulrada robot. Not knowing what she looks like, the nannybot has been searching for her all summer, and now, somehow, it’s cooking dinner in her kitchen while trying to work out if Andromeda is the target it’s looking for. If Andromeda lays low, her out-of-town friends will be unable to stop alien invasion 2.0. But if she tries to act, her cover will be blown, and the nannybot will tear Andromeda and everyone she knows to pieces. Andromeda’s life has once again become impossibly complicated. And that’s not even counting the sudden rash of earthquakes.

The Review

The unique balance struck between the life and death alien battles these children are caught in the middle of and the everyday trouble of growing up these kids must face makes this novel shine brightly. This Children’s/YA Sci-Fi story brought about the creative blend of action, alien mythology and strong and relatable characters, especially in protagonist and hero Andromeda Brown. 

From alien robots posing as nanny to shocking deaths too grisly to imagine and a mysterious group making prophecies of an apocalyptic nature that begin to come to be true, this novel has everything. While some of the character’s relationships will make more sense for readers who have read the previous book in the series, the novel itself stands strong on it’s own feet, presenting the reader an enjoyable journey of emotions and action that stands apart from the rest of the YA novel pack.

The Verdict

This is a great read for children, YA and adult audiences alike. A fantastic fusion of young heroes and adult dangers, this story showcases the rising power of a young hero in Andromeda, brings a strong female protagonist to life and highlights the bond that comes with true friendships in the face of great tragedy and danger. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of Adam Alexander’s “The Deep Tunnel: An Andromeda Brown Novel” today!

Rating: 10/10

https://amzn.to/2HneZTy

About

Adam Alexander, who has been described as “an especially skilled author,” is a writer of SF/Fantasy for readers of all ages.  Noted for his diverse casts of well-rounded characters and tightly-plotted story lines, his Middle Grade adventure novel, The Shifter’s Trail, and his award-winning YA Dystopian, Archangel, are already in print.  He has two other novels heading toward publication: The Deep Tunnel (for Middle Grade readers) and the fully adult Starship 4.  Check out the Books page for excerpts!

Adam, a native-born Scot and escapee from Harvard Law School, lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a wife, child, and two embarrassingly large dogs.

Adam supports the following causes with proceeds from his book sales.  Even if you don’t buy a book, please consider making a donation.

National Science Teachers Association

Association For Women In Science

ChickTech

Posted in reviews

On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other by Stephen Parkes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Readers get a dark, heartbreaking and emotional roller coaster of a story as the man readers met in The Soldier faces a criminal trial for a crime he committed while in the throws of addiction, and in the process highlights some of our world’s most difficult and inescapable truths in author Stephen Parkes novel “On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other”. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

The stakes couldn’t be any higher. Stephen Parkes, a former Airborne Ranger and law school graduate, has been charged with a brutal crime. A career prosecutor has made him an offer of thirty years in return for a guilty plea. He has a hanging judge and his own public defender wants him to die in prison. The circumstances have never been grimmer.

So, he decides to take matters into his own hands. He drops more than eight feet into a noose. His heart stops beating. His lungs stop breathing. 

But, somehow, Stephen Parkes lives. 

Fresh off his own gallows, his problems are only beginning. Parkes is as guilty as sin. The case against him is perfect. Undeterred, Parkes fights back, hoping to be set free. The odds against him are impossible.

Set against a background of horrid child abuse, pitiful drug addiction, and brutal crimes, On A Cold Day In Hell provides a scathing indictment of the American judicial system, demonstrates the emptiness of mandatory minimum sentencing, and gives a first-hand look at the consequences of the unthinking cruelty payed out to a minor child at the hands of a Catholic priest. 

Part jailhouse lawyer, part convict and all human, Stephen Parkes stands his ground and makes his own case for freedom, which can only be found On A Cold Day In Hell.

The Review

This was a dark look into the troubled life of Stephen Parkes. Written both eloquently and with wit, the author brings readers into the harsh reality of his life, which many across the world can relate to. A history of abuse, drug addiction and mental health problems plague this man, which turns him to a life of crime. While readers will be able to see that the crimes themselves were inexcusable, the author’s first hand account and painful ordeal showcases a true injustice in our society. Rather than help those suffering with addiction or mental health, it is more common to just throw them in jail with no means of helping or changing their lives around for the better. It showcases a never ending system of violence, abuse and addiction both within and outside of the criminal justice system.

It was interesting to see the perspective of the man underneath the criminal persona given to him in life. A highly intelligent man with a knowledge of the law himself and a former Army Ranger, the hardships and mental strain of childhood trauma and the resulting mental health problems that arose showcase a man divided between himself and the addict that took over his life. It’s a story of fighting for the truth and finding ways to help those who suffer rather than punish and then throw away, forgotten and abandoned as they were in life.

The Verdict

This was a powerful read that any true crime, non fiction and criminal justice/mental health advocate would be interested in. With bits of humor, a use of imagery that really brings the cold reality of life in prison and the affects of abuse/addiction on anyone in this world, and a compelling story that also touches on the struggle with suicidial thoughts that often plague those who have lost all hope, and the need to help those going through that kind of pain. It’s an emotional and heart pounding read that you should check out for yourself, so be sure to read On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other” by Stephen Parkes today.

Rating: 10/10

Posted in reviews

The Soldier: An Airborne Ranger’s Fall From Grace by Stephen Parkes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Stephen Parkes takes readers on a grueling, personal journey through his training with the US Army Rangers and the affect it had on his life going forward in the novel, “The Soldier: An Airborne Ranger’s Fall From Grace”. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

2LT Stephen Parkes is about to enroll in a soldier’s school. Between 1977 and 1995 its syllabus killed nine men. Graduation is anything but certain. He grabs his rifle and engages the most brutal fifty-six days of his young life; controlled starvation and sleep deprivation, a hundred pound rucksack and a five hundred mile walk. By parachute, helicopter or fast-moving jet, it’s a character defining journey through dense mountain forests and high desert plains, neck deep in salt water marshes and soaked to the bone in cold open seas. It’s July 1st 1986, welcome to Ranger school. 

On the other side of the world a cold war rages. Minefields, Morlocks and a long way from home, follow Lt. Parkes as he walks combat patrols inside the Korean demilitarized zone. The rules governing the Joint Security Area are clear, but Lt. Parkes has orders to follow. Join him as he breaks every United Nations regulation in the book and invades Panmunjom with a platoon of soldiers packing heavy weapons. From here, Parkes’ character flaws catch up and events grow complicated, grim and more dangerous. 

Recruited into the 75th Ranger regiment, 1LT Parkes arrives at Ft. Benning and learns everything there is to know about mortars, and lies. He gets honest and makes promises. He exits Jumpmaster school with a clean slate bound for the great Northwest and duty with the 2nd Ranger battalion and men of unparalleled principal. Meet Lieutenant Pete, a young officer of uncompromising bearing and unbreakable constitution, and Captain Mike, a soldier destined for greatness on the world’s stage, and LG, perhaps the most dedicated Ranger of all times. But here Parkes does not belong.

The promises he made are broken. His perception of self barely rises to worthless. He seeks that which he thinks he deserves … ugliness. Five years soldiering had seen hardship and risk, but no one had actually fired a weapon at him. All that’s about to change.

The Review

This was a truly gripping story to read. This memoir and true crime style novel focuses on the intense physical and mental toll training in the US Army Rangers can have on an individual. Not only will readers see through the author’s eyes how painful and difficult the journey can be, (from forcing trainees to strip any ranks they’ve earned from their military clothing, throwing mock grenades into cabins, etc), but readers will also see the great deal of mathematics, science and physicality that these officers in training must go through when preparing for their future missions and jumps from high altitudes. 

After leaving school behind, readers are taken to the harsh and tense area between North and South Korea, and the infamous DMZ. Seeing the author’s struggle through addiction while undergoing the grueling training was tough, but also getting to see through the author’s eyes the true nature of military life and the intensity of missions that they undertake was just as exhausting and emotionally driven as anything else. This is the perfect read to showcase the struggles and difficulties military training, and in particular Army Ranger training, can have on individuals and how it affects their lives after service. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel. The author’s personal journey highlights this struggle in a powerful way. While a short read, hearing the author’s tale and getting a glimpse into the life an an Army Ranger was eye opening to say the least. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “The Soldier” by Stephen Parkes today!

Rating: 10/10

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, book launch, Book Promotion, reviews

You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America by Jane T. Bertrand Blog Tour & Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One woman’s journey to traverse the highest peaks in all 50 US States leads to a nearly decade’s worth of stories and memories in author Jane T. Bertrand’s You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

ITCHING FOR A CHALLENGE when she turned 60, Jane Bertrand set out to reach the highest point of each state. Her strategic mistake was to start with the easiest ones, leaving the most strenuous for the end of this decade-long quest. She recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to join her in making this the experience of a lifetime.

Jane Trowbridge Bertrand is a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. A Maine native, she moved to New Orleans over 40 years ago where she and her husband Bill raised their children, Katy and Jacob. Her recurrent travel to Africa in connection with international family planning work generated many of the frequent flyer miles that made this highpointing pursuit possible.

The Review

This was such a unique and inspiring book to read. This nonfiction, sports and senior travel novel showcased not only the sport of high pointing and the various goals, classifications and challenges that go along with it, but it showed the strength and resilience it takes to complete such a task. Despite many challenges and alternate hiking routes/mountains that needed to be taken, the goal was the pursuit of this challenge, and showcased how anyone labeled a senior citizen can still accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. 

Although a fairy short read, the amount of detail and the writing itself was brilliant in this book. Breaking each chapter down by the mountains climbed and the difficulty of the climb itself, to bringing in memories of family and friends, as well as the travels themselves and the companions who joined her, made this not only an inspirational story and unique take on high pointing in general, but a personal story at that. This allows readers to connect with the author in a whole new way, and made this quite an enjoyable experience. 

The Verdict

Overall I loved the tale. A true story of overcoming the odds and adversity as a strong and powerful woman tackles an often overlooked sport and challenges herself to this task, readers who enjoy hiking, high pointing and stories of fighting against all odds will absolutely love this tale. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America by Jane T. Bertrand today!

Rating: 10/10

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Walnut Park Press (November 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1732847703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1732847705

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Started-after-Highpointing-across-America/dp/1732847703/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

Itching for a challenge when she turned 60, Jane Bertrand set out to reach the highest point of each state. Her strategic mistake was to start with the easiest ones, leaving the most strenuous for the end of this decade-long quest. She recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to join her in making this the experience of a lifetime.  

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About the Author:  

Jane Trowbridge Bertrand is a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. A Maine native, she moved to New Orleans over 40 years ago where she and her husband Bill raised their children, Katy and Jacob. Her recurrent travel to Africa in connection with international family planning work generated many of the frequent flyer miles that made this highpointing pursuit possible.

(Longer “about” from her website if you prefer:)

Jane Bertrand traces her love of hiking back to Girl Scout Camp Natarswi, located at the foot of Katahdin in Maine, the Northern terminus for the Appalachian trail.

After attending college out of state, she would return annually for her two-week sacrosanct vacation in Maine.  Over the years she would continue to climb Katahdin, first with her sisters, later with her own children, and finally with adult friends who shared her love of the mountain.

Yet not until age 60 did it occur to her to expand her annual expedition up Katahdin to a quest to reach the highpoints of the 50 states. When she started this project of “climbing a mountain in every state,” little did she realize that the Highpointers have a Club, Foundation, website, and annual convention.

During most of her adult life, Bertrand stayed in shape by jogging three times a week, but she was no elite athlete. When at age 60 she began her highpointing pursuit, she got off to a lackluster start, achieving only 11 high points in the first six years, and almost all of those were “easy.” As she advanced to her mid-sixties, the race against time begin. Despite minor setbacks with runner’s knee and bunions, she pushed ahead – her interest in highpointing evolving into an obsession and finally an addiction. As she faced mountains of increasing difficulty – that she had unwisely left to the end – she accelerated her exercise routine in hopes of meeting the challenge.

Initially, she assumed that her full-time job at Tulane University, both teaching classes and traveling to Africa in connection with her international family planning work, would be a deterrent to reaching the highest point of every state. Midway through this journey, she realized it was actually a facilitator, as she traveled through different Delta hubs en route to her work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Over the course of this decade-long pursuit, Bertrand recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to accompany her on this journey. They ranged in age from 4 months to 71 years. Some she hadn’t seen for over 40 years, others she met on the day they highpointed together. 

 Bertrand initially ruled out any mountain that would involve technical climbing requiring a harness, rope, ice axe, or helmet. But as the remaining mountains on her list increased in difficulty, she had no choice but to bite the bullet and harness up.  Her story describes the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment of pushing harder and reaching further than she expected possible. Yet it also recounts the humbling experience of getting lost more than once and dragging down the final miles, even after successfully summiting one of the hardest mountains – with every muscle in her body screaming “this is why 69-year olds should not be climbing Mt. Hood.”

Jane Bertrand received her B.A. (French) from Brown University in 1971, her PhD (Sociology) from the University of Chicago in 1976, and her MBA from Tulane University in 2001, Bertrand has lived in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband Bill Bertrand (also a Tulane professor, affectionately known as the “Cajun Chef”), where they raised their two children, Katy and Jacob. She has come to love her adopted city: the jazz, the food, the beauty of Spanish moss and tropical plants. She is also a member of the all-female Krewe of Muses, a group that parades every year during Mardi Gras. 


Find Jane Online:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1785116.Jane_T_Bertrand?from_search=true

 Twitter:  @JaneBertrand8

  Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JaneBertrandAuthor/

 Website:  https://www.janebertrand.com/

Motivational and Inspirational Books for the New Year



———-Blog Tour Dates

Launch Day – 1/7 -Jane T. Bertrand launches her tour of “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

(interview questions sent; need responses)

Tuesday, January 8th @ Fiona Ingram

Fellow author Fiona Ingram reviews the adventures story of Jane T. Bertrand’s experiences highpointing across America in “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Readers won’t be disappointed in Ingram’s review or Bertrand’s memoir!

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 9th @ BOL w/Crystal Otto

Crystal Otto couldn’t wait to get her hands on Jane T. Bertrand’s story about highpointing across America! This busy farmer seldom leaves the farm and enjoyed every moment she experienced reading “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Find out more in her book review at Bring on Lemons today!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 10th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker

Learn more about Jane T. Bertrand as she is interviewed by Cathy Stucker at Selling Books. You won’t want to miss this insightful interview about Bertrand and her memoir “You Started What After 60? Highpointing Across America”.

https://www.sellingbooks.com/

Friday, January 11th @ Breakeven Books

Don’t miss a very honest book review about Jane T. Bertrand’s “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

https://breakevenbooks.com/

Monday, January 14th @ Look to the Western Sky with Margo Dill

Author, Editor, and Reviewer Margo Dill shares her thoughts after reading the inspiring memoir “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand.

Wednesday, January 16th @ Author Anthony Avina

Description:Author Anthony Avina reads and reviews “You Started WHAT After 60?” – by Jane T. Bertrand. Readers won’t want to miss this adventurous memoir about highpointing across America.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

Friday, January 18th @ BOL w/Michelle DelPonte

Michelle DelPonte offers her point of view after reading “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Find out what this Wisconsin wife, mother, and autism advocate has to say about Bertrand’s recount of her adventures!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 22nd @ Book Santa Fe w/Elizabeth Hansen

Description:Young reader and reviewer Elizabeth Hansen shares her thoughts after reading about Jane T. Bertrand’s adventures in “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

http://www.booksantafe.info/booksantafeblog

Thursday, January 24th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples

Description:Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples shares her review of “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Readers at Choices will be thrilled by Bertrand’s adventures in highpointing across America!

http://madelinesharples.com/

Wednesday, January 30th @ To Write or Not to Write with Sreevarsha

Sreevarsha reviews the inspirational book “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about Bertrand’s adventure highpointing across America later in life.

http://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.co.at/

Tuesday, February 5th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles

Description:Nicole reviews and shares her thoughts after reading the thrilling account of Jane T. Bertrand’s adventures in highpointing across America in “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Join readers at World of My Imagination and find out more about this great read and inspirational author!

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/