Posted in reviews

Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir by John Robinette and Robert Jacoby Review

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

A man spends a year interviewing his friend in an attempt to confront his friend’s grief head on in author’s John Robinette and Robert Jacoby’s “Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir”. 

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The Synopsis

A story of grief, male friendship, and healing conversations.

“Be present,” “cherish each day,” “always say I love you.” John Robinette lived those words. Or so he thought. Then his wife, Amy, was killed instantly in a pedestrian accident.

John’s world shattered, and he began the grueling task of parenting two young boys in a house filled with vibrant, bittersweet memories. As the grief closed in around him, John’s close friend, author Robert Jacoby, saw John struggling and proposed an unusual idea: to interview him over the course of the first year after Amy’s death. Robert’s hope was to meet John directly in his experience of sorrow, explore his grief with him, and discover what lessons might be learned.

Born of a year’s worth of candid interviews, Never Stop Dancing avoids clichéd takeaways about grief and healing to chart a deeper, thornier examination of loss and regret. Robert and John are transformed through their shared experience, too, emerging strengthened and with an abiding male friendship that cuts against the grain of pop-culture trends of quick fixes and easy answers. This memoir-in-conversation provides hard-won reassurances that one can and does go on after loss.

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The Review

This novel was emotionally and beautifully written. While steeped in tragedy and pain, the bond created by these events and the painful process of grief have given readers and the authors alike an experience like no other. In this novel, the eloquently written interviews between two friends take readers through John’s painful journey through the sudden loss of his wife. From the heartbreaking moment he’s confronted with the news, having to tell all his family about it, the first time his sons are confronted with Mother’s Day and more all bring the heartbreak and pain of loss to the forefront. 

However as the interviews grew on, both Robert and John began to examine some of life’s toughest questions in the face of such a painful tragedy. From whether or not “God” is in fact all powerful or more of a being still prone to mistakes, how we converse and treat those who have lost someone, the falsehood that somehow men are supposed to have their lives together more readily than women in the face of tragedy, and finally the ultimate lesson of living in the moment with those you love rather than worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet, all these lessons are found and experienced firsthand by the authors as they go on this emotional journey together. 

The Verdict

A truly well written, evenly paced read that challenges readers to examine life, the bonds they share with those they love and the painful truth behind grief that most self-help books and quick fixes won’t tell you. As someone who lost a close family member this year, I could relate to the author’s struggles in a lot of ways, but as the book shows as well, grief is different for everyone. Both physically and mentally the grieving process changes and grows for each individual person, and respecting that and helping those in grief to find their way through is sometimes the best way to come together in the face of tragedy. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir” by John Robinette and Robert Jacoby today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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Robert Jacoby

I’m a poet, novelist, memoirist, and diarist. My poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in more than 20 literary magazines. My story “The Span of Blood” was selected runner up in the 2018 Haunted Waters Press Short Shorts Flash Fiction Competition; read the story here. I’m the author of three books: Dusk and Ember(2019, novel); There Are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes(2012, novel); and Escaping from Reality Without Really Trying: 40 Years of High Seas Travels and Lowbrow Tales(2011, nonfiction). The book’s website is escaping-from-reality.com and has audio clips of the interviews, an FAQ, and more. My new book, Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir, is forthcoming October 2019. I’m currently working on two new novels.

Visit my other sites around the web to see what I’m all about:

• robert-jacoby.com

• Facebook page

• Amazon Author page

• LinkedIn page

John Robinette 

After the death of his wife Amy Polk, John began journaling on his blog Hole in the Sun about his journey and has contributed to Elephant Journal.

John has a B.S., and M.S., in Management Science and spent the first 25 years of his career as a software engineer, IT professional, and project manager. After Amy’s death, he shifted his focus towards helping people be more successful and find more joy in their careers.

When he is not writing, John is an organizational development and leadership coach with the Center for Leadership and Organizational Change at the University of Maryland. He is also a principle at V-Teamwork, a company using immersive virtual game simulations to build trust and accelerate collaboration in teams.

John has a passion for the natural world and environment and met his current wife Lori on GreenSingles.com. They live in Takoma Park, Maryland with John’s sons Adam and Bryan along with three rescue pets.

https://hole-in-the-sun.com/

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

Book Blitz/Release: A Bleak December by Author Hanleigh Bradley

Author: Hanleigh Bradley

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance,

Release Date: 1st May 2018

Price: 99c / 99p

Key Words: Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Short Story, Novella, Christmas, Death of a Parent, Loss of a Loved One, Office Romance, Depression, Grief,

Length: Just below 20K

Availability: Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo, etc.

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oTOGJg

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38943078-a-bleak-december

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Blurb:

Her Christmas list isn’t long. It is the shortest it has ever been. She doesn’t want a pretty new pair of shoes or a new dress to wear to her work’s New Years Eve bash.

All Ella wants is a Christmas Miracle.

With a sick mum in hospital and a little brother at home, she struggles to maintain order in the chaos that is quickly engulfing her. If she doesn’t get her miracle will her entire world fall apart? And if it does, who will help her put it back together again?

Excerpt:

He’s my boss. That doesn’t stop me though. It doesn’t stop my mind from picturing him naked standing in my shower, water cascading down over his toned, muscular flesh. No. It doesn’t stop my inappropriate thoughts, and it definitely doesn’t stop me having them at the most inopportune of moments. It’s not like I just think about him when I’m lying in bed late at night. No, I fantasise about him during staff meetings, when he’s being a pain in the arse bossing us all around and when he’s reprimanding me yet again for being late.

Do you want to know the worst bit? It’s not the thoughts. I can deal with my dirty mind; it’s always been that way. Dirty thought after dirty thought, wrapped in a world of dirty thoughts. No. The thoughts are fine; it’s the things that come out of my mouth. The actual words that I apparently have an equal lack of control over. Like right now, the whole room has gone silent in shock because of my stupid, big mouth. As if I just said that. I can feel my cheeks redden with embarrassment and my best work friend is laughing under her breath beside me. The bitch.

Tristen had asked me why I was late. It was a reasonable enough question but why, oh, why couldn’t I give him an equally sensible response??? No. Instead, I only went and gave him the most ridiculous cock and bull story known to man.

“Why are you late?” Tristan Riggens, my boss had asked in that deep, authoritative, yet almost disrespectfully uninterested voice of his. It’s a voice that threatens to destroy you while drawing you in, keeping you walking some imaginary tightrope.

“My dog ate a condom.” Why that sentence made it passed whatever filter I have, I will never know. Sometimes my mouth does unexplainable things, embarrassingly unexplainable. It’s a problem I’ve had since childhood and it shows no sign of improving.

The room goes silent, but he doesn’t react at all. His face remains expressionless except I think I can see humour in his eyes, or at least I hope I do. He’s not exactly easy to read and right now I really have no idea what he thinks. “Well, I hope your dog is okay now.”

“He’s absolutely fine.” I’m probably the colour of the Christmas tree in the corner. I think I might throw up my breakfast from the sheer embarrassment that I now feel.

“Someone should call the RSPCA.” A voice says from somewhere behind me.

“You might want to reconsider where you stash your condoms.” Another of my colleagues laughs.

My best friend, the one who’s supposed to be on my side is in fits of hysteria. In fact, she’s laughing so hard she’s close to choking. I hope she chokes.

“Okay.” Tristen tries to divert their focus from me and my condom eating dog, back to the meeting. “New Year – we’ll be having an office party.”

If he thinks talk of a party might divert their attention from my poor imaginary dog, he is wrong and he clearly doesn’t know his team that well. “How on earth did your dog get a hold of a condom?”

“Did it still have the foil wrapper on?”

“Eww, it wasn’t used, was it?”

I’m shrinking into myself. Massively embarrassed. Eyes on the floor. Cheeks burning hot. Head pounding. Heart palpitating. How the hell will I get out of this one? I have an uncanny knack for getting myself into a bit of a pickle and absolutely no skill at getting myself back out again. “That’s enough – I’ve heard more than enough about condoms and dogs for one day. Back to work.” He’s shaking his head as he dismisses us all before leaving the open offices of our floor of the TRW Advertising building. Walking into his office, he closes the door behind himself. Lucky sod. At least he has a door he can hide behind.

“Fuck.” I say under my breath.

“Only you Ella.” Sadie laughs beside me. “I don’t know how you do it.”

“I just open my mouth…” I sigh.

“You don’t even have a dog!”

“I know.” I’m groaning in mortification. “We should get back to work before Tristen gets all shitty.”

“Or worse,” Sadie whispers, “Delos might come out of her office and have at us.”

“As if – Clara’s too nice for that.”

“To you. She hates me.”

“That’s not true.” I laugh gently. The door to Tristen’s office opens once more, and he pops his head out. “Winthrope. Reed. Do I need to find you something to do?”

“No sir.” Sadie nods her head before turning back towards her cubicle.

I move to follow her, but Tristen is still talking. “Winthrope, in here please.”

“Shit.” I grumble before following him into his office. This is the moment when he finally tells me that enough is enough and I need to start being on time, or worse look for a new job. The new job scenario is probably more likely. My tardiness is my biggest failing. I’m lucky I haven’t already lost this job.

 

He’s sat behind his desk; calm and composed in a way I have never been. He motions a hand towards the leather chair in front of him, and I take it gratefully because my legs are like jelly. My mouth is practically glued shut because I can’t trust myself not to say something completely absurd. His eyebrow is raised. “Your dog ate a condom?”

“Yes.” My sister Tia says when you lie you have to own it.

“Have you taken him to the vets?”

“No. He… he just coughed it up.” I tell him, desperately hoping that he doesn’t see through my lies.

“You do need to make a better effort to be on time for work in the morning.”

“Sorry Sir.” I tell him honestly. It’s not exactly news to me that I need to get my shit together.

Author Photo

About The Author:

Hanleigh loves books more than nearly anything in the world; whether its reading them or writing them, Hanleigh just can’t get enough. She relishes in the way authors can create worlds with the words they put in their books. She loves the way your imagination introduces you to a new world when you read a book. It may well be a world completely foreign to the one you live in. That world is brought to life; inspires you to dream, captivates your imagination, entices your senses.

Hanleigh first took to reading as a small child reading Dr Zeus. She then fell in love with romance literature when she first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; when she first swooned over Mr Darcy. She’s read more books than she can count and owns more books than some libraries.

Although born in Scotland, she sometimes wishes she could live inside the world that she can create inside her mind, but since that isn’t possible she puts pen to paper and shares that world with this world instead. There is something addictive about being able to mould your words into something that causes the reader to fall into your mind. When you put pen to paper and create a world, it’s exhilarating. Every word has meaning. You know every character intimately. You know every secret, every whisper, every smell, every look; as the author you know the world you created and more so than even the most avid of readers you can get lost in your own creation.

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Author Links:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/authorhanleigh/

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hanleighbradley/

Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hanleighsstreetteam/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HanleighBradley

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

AFWB: http://authorfriendswithbenefits.com/members/HanleighBradley

Readers Group: http://authorfriendswithbenefits.com/afwb-groups/hanleigh-s-brits

Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/1/+HanleighBradley

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14468232.Hanleigh_Bradley