Tag Archives: memoirs

The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir by Ta-Nehisi Coates Review

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

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates takes readers on a personal story of growing up with a tough-love father, his relationship with his mother, and the trials he would face, including racism, girl troubles, and so much more in the YA adaption of his memoir, “The Beautiful Struggle”. 


The Synopsis

Adapted from the adult memoir by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Water Dancer and Between the World and Me, this father-son story explores how boys become men, and quite specifically, how Ta-Nehisi Coates became Ta-Nehisi Coates.

As a child, Ta-Nehisi Coates was seen by his father, Paul, as too sensitive and lacking focus. Paul Coates was a Vietnam vet who’d been part of the Black Panthers and was dedicated to reading and publishing the history of African civilization. When it came to his sons, he was committed to raising proud Black men equipped to deal with a racist society, during a turbulent period in the collapsing city of Baltimore where they lived.

Coates details with candor the challenges of dealing with his tough-love father, the influence of his mother, and the dynamics of his extended family, including his brother “Big Bill,” who was on a very different path than Ta-Nehisi. Coates also tells of his family struggles at school and with girls, making this a timely story to which many readers will relate.

The Review

I found the author’s work to be so passionate and moving. The intimate way the author delved into his personal experiences and his life as a whole was in one breath very relatable, and in another breath very eye-opening, as he brought a truly unique perspective of what life was like as both a young black man and as the son of a Vietnam vet and Black Panther during a very turbulent time in our world’s history. The imagery and tone the author struck really brought the experiences the author delved into to life in a vivid way.

The author’s ability to translate this very adult memoir into a teachable lesson for younger readers, primarily YA readers, was amazing to read. The history and culture of that era and the hardships the author endured on both a cultural and personal level are things younger generations can definitely learn from. The personal struggles of his home life and his childhood will resonate with so many readers out there, and the artistry that has defined the author’s life and career is felt in every chapter.

The Verdict

Engaging, atmospheric, and beautifully written, author Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir” is a must-read nonfiction meets YA book. The contrast of struggle versus hope is a powerful theme that is felt throughout this reading, and readers will be able to find both important lessons on culture and history while also relating to the author’s life in one way or another. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.


Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor by Karen Moe Review

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

Trigger Warning: This book contains real-life mentions and memories of abuse and sexual assault. Anyone who is triggered by this type of nonfiction memoir is hereby advised to proceed with caution when reading this book. 

Author Karen Moe takes readers on an emotional, painful, and heartbreaking journey of surviving a horrendous crime and using her experience to help others see how the patriarchal hierarchy that has ruled this world for centuries has led to a societal imbalance that fuels these types of crimes in the book “Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor”.


The Synopsis

Imagine being a carefree, independent young woman enjoying life. Your bold, adventurous spirit pulls you to travel to distant locales. Then out of nowhere, you’re abducted, assaulted, and raped. That is the terror-filled experience that Karen Moe survived almost thirty years ago.

But this is not a crime story. This is not even just a survivor’s tale. Instead, this is a manifesto. In dialogue with other feminists and through case studies from around the world, Moe uses her trauma to shine a light on how not only violence against women, but all exploitation, is a natural result of patriarchal hierarchy. Yes, this is Moe’s story of triumph over violence, but it is also a call-to-action for both men and women.

The ultimate goal of Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor is to provide tools for resistance against a culture of exploitation. “In the end, what I have suffered and survived has given me a gift… Now, resistance, fighting for justice, is what I live for. My life is far bigger than myself.”

The Review

This was powerful, moving, and chilling yet important read. The author’s voice and unique writing style cut through the horror and shock of her experiences to bring to light the themes and messages that the author’s journey taught her, and in turn, teach us all. The honest way in which the author writes these experiences down is hard to read and yet speaks to the strength and courage the author has in the face of such trauma. The author’s ability to connect her story to her own personal family life as well, especially her relationship with her father and the impact it had on them, was truly inspired and helped bridge the emotional connection of her story with the broader study of the patriarchal hierarchy. 

The way the author utilizes her experiences to help readers understand the broader theme of how the patriarchy has impacted how society as whole views certain events or actions is both brilliantly done and yet sobering in its reality. The lengths people will go to in order to paint a victim of this type of assault as anything but a victim are shocking and disturbing, and the public ability to believe these falsehoods over logic and morality that should exist is a symptom of a far greater lie woven into the fabric of our society. The author’s use of history and crimes throughout history illustrate these points, from the disappearances of 43 Mexico students that was swept away as statistics in the drug cartel violence of the nation to the horrifying reality of high school boys rooting each other on as they *TW* gang rape a woman, showcase how fractured and haunted our world has become.

The Verdict

Moving, heartbreaking, yet empowering in its delivery, author Karen Moe’s “Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor” is a must-read nonfiction memoir and feminist theory read. One of 2022’s contenders for must-read nonfiction books, the author not only did an exemplary job of rooting out the causes of this patriarchal society but did so with a unique voice that spoke of the strength and courage the author held in bringing her story to light. While the subject matter of her own life was tragic, her strength and ability to turn her trauma into empowerment gives hope to many for the future and helps shape the blueprints to help build a better society that values compassion, equality, and justice. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Karen Moe is an art critic, visual and performance artist, author and feminist activist. Her work focuses on systemic violence in patriarchy: be it gender, race, the environment or speciesism. Her art criticism has been published internationally in magazines, anthologies and artist catalogues in English and Spanish and she has exhibited and performed across Canada, in the US and in Mexico. Karen is the recipient of the “Ellie Liston Hero of the Year Award” 2022 for being instrumental in putting the serial rapist, who raped and brutalized herself and countless other women, away for life in 1996. She lives in Mexico City and British Columbia, Canada. Published by Vigilance Press on April 2nd, 2022, Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor is her debut book.

Karen has just returned from her US Trauma & Triumph Tour for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, will be having a variety of events throughout the summer, and will be embarking upon her Cross-Canada Tour in September 2022.


The Evil I Own: My Son’s Prisoner by K.S. Penn Review

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

Author K.S. Penn shares her harrowing story of breaking free from a cycle of violence and abuse and sheds a light on the rarely discussed cases of a child against parent abuse in her book, “The Evil I Own: My Son’s Prisoner”. 


The Synopsis

A schoolgirl’s crush turns into a nightmare. Her fairy tale will not be coming true, and breaking free won’t be enough to stop the cycle of abuse.

The Evil I Own is a harrowing and brave story about family abuse. Partner abuse. Child abuse. Child-to-parent abuse.

This memoir recounts the painful and courageous story of Ellie, whose journey entails finding her way out of a life of violence and abuse. It will introduce a taboo-subject: Child-to-parent abuse, also known as child-to parent violence. It is one of the most under-reported and under-researched subsets of family violence. It is often ignored or misidentified. The effects of experiencing abuse from one’s child can be profound. Ongoing parent abuse has been found to impact on a parent’s and other family members’ physical and psychological health, with specific negative emotions such as fear, shame, humiliation, guilt and despair, and so they rarely seek help. There is stigma and disgrace around the concept that a child might choose to hurt a parent, and parents often attempt to ignore, placate, or surrender to these behaviours. It may include verbal abuse and name-calling, property damage (such as punching holes in the walls), financial abuse and the ultimate- physical abuse. Tragically, in some cases, even sexual abuse. Child-to-parent violence has been found to occur more commonly when the offending child has experienced violence perpetrated by a parent.

Ellie’s story will resonate with those who have lived with violence and educate others who may not understand how difficult it can be to leave an abusive situation. Sometimes life’s challenges and struggles can make you a stronger person. Perhaps Ellie was meant to survive and share her story. Perhaps in sharing, people see their own lives and stories more clearly.

Clearly written with insightful awareness and interspersed with messages of resolve and hope.

Recommended for readers 18+ due to scenes of graphic violence and sensitive issues.

The Review

This was such a heartbreaking yet engaging story. The author’s raw emotions and painstakingly vivid accounts of the years of mental, verbal, and physical abuse she suffered both at the hands of her husband and her child made this tale so tragic, and yet the author’s strength and courage in sharing her story help showcase the importance of speaking up against the cycle of violence so many people find themselves in throughout their lives. 

The vivid details of the years the author experienced this tragedy did an important job of highlighting the patterns and signs that exist within these types of relationships. The balance the author struck with memoir-style storytelling and the harrowing accounts of abuse and the signs and symptoms associated with it made this story feel both well-rounded and vital to read. The thing people rarely ever look at when studying the life of a violent person is how their parents were affected, and how parents can be targets of abuse just as children or spouses can. The exploration of such a difficult subject was handled with honesty and courage on the author’s part, and this was reflected in the author’s superb writing.

The Verdict

Emotional, painful, yet vitally important, author K.S. Penn’s “The Evil I Own: My Son’s Prisoner” is a must-read memoir and nonfiction read. The heartfelt way the author wrote and the thought-provoking content of the author’s personal story is filled with tragedy, heartbreak, and shocking twists and turns that leave the final chapters with a shocking and gripping conclusion. The impact of abuse on both children and spouses is explored heavily throughout half of the book, and the impact is felt when the child becomes the abuser later on in the story, and the author’s fight to overcome both is one many readers can either identify with or root for, and we are grateful to see the author’s strength in every chapter of this book. if you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia: A Memoir by Iris Novak Review

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

Author Iris Novak shares her story of overcoming her circumstances and upbringing in Yugoslavia to become a success in her book, “An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia: A Memoir”.


The Synopsis

This book is the memoir of a woman named Iris who is determined to succeed, although she was born as a poor and frightened country girl in what was then Yugoslavia. To achieve her goals, she used her abilities to gain knowledge from everything around her, and so triumphed against the odds and grew into a successful and independent businesswoman.

The Review

The author did an incredible job of curating a memorable and emotional memoir. What really appealed to me as a reader was the author’s personal approach to the subject, as most memoirs that deal with professional success focus solely on business over personal life developments. However the author did an amazing job of delving into their past, their childhood and lifelong experiences, and the lessons they learned along the way to make them into the success both in their career and in their life overall. 

The exploration of the pivotal moments that influenced the author’s life was truly profound. From the troubling impact of her parent’s relationship and subsequent divorce, the importance of education and learning how to present oneself to the world, and even the fight for a worker’s rights and building a business, this book dived headfirst into the author’s life. The descriptive nature and detail the author included in this book created a great sense of imagery, bringing their story to life so clearly in the reader’s mind.

The Verdict

Memorable, heartfelt, and engaging, author Iris Novak’s “An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia: A Memoir” is a must-read nonfiction book! The story of a young woman who fought her way through a challenging childhood, the education system, and life’s hurdles, this book was insightful and inspirational, pulling the reader into the author’s life and showcasing a path of handwork that readers can hopefully follow themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

The author writes under the pseudonym Iris Novak. She was born in the second half of the twentieth century in Slovenia, the northern part of the then Yugoslavia. She graduated from English and German, acquired her MA in Management and PhD in Librarianship. She worked in the international business, in librarianship, was director of a school for foreign languages and finally established her own business: employment agency and a college. The author lives in Slovenia, is married and has three children.


Breaking the Silence by Nancy King Review

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

Author Nancy King takes readers on an emotional and painful yet therapeutic journey into her traumatic childhood and the memories that have remained buried in the recesses of her mind in her book, “Breaking the Silence”.


The Synopsis

Secrets. Lies. Silences. Stories told by parents and their families to protect themselves. A father who defends his wife despite her damage to their daughter’s health and welfare. A mother, shielded by her husband, who perpetuates murderous acts of violence against the daughter, and keeps secret her husband’s sexual “play” with the young girl.

And yet … Nancy King, determined to learn the truth of her childhood and the heartbreaking effects it has had on her adult life, uncovers the secrets. Sees through the lies. Breaks the silence.

Empowered by the stories she told herself as a child, she learns to use stories as part of her work as a university professor teaching theater, drama, world literature, and creative expression. Gradually, with the help of body work and therapy, she finds her voice. Says no to abuse and abusers. Reclaims herself and life. Writes a memoir.

She climbs mountains. Weaves tapestries. Writes books. Makes friends. Creates a meaningful life.

This is her story.

The Review

What a moving, honest, and powerful read. Author Nancy King finds an engaging way of addressing a very sensitive and important subject without delving fully into the darkness this subject naturally brings and instead focused on the powerful journey of healing and overcoming that darkness through confronting the hidden memories of her past head-on. The descriptive nature of the author’s writing really allows the reader to feel transported to these snapshots of the author’s life, as each chapter is written in a way to highlight individual memories that showcase the overall atmosphere and tone of the author’s life. 

The theme of toxic family dynamics and the need to fight back against those who would take our light in life was felt so profoundly in this book. The imagery and emotions the author poured into this memoir really allowed the reader to not only witness these traumatic moments but see the strength the author found to face these moments and find the will to not let these moments define herself. In addition to this moving memoir, the initial introduction of the main theme and narrative of her life through a fictional story (something of a specialty in the author’s background), allowed the reader to feel a sense of world-building in the memoir that follows.

The Verdict

A remarkable, emotional, and enlightening memoir, author Nancy King’s “Breaking the Silence” is a must-read book. While featuring some heartbreaking and possible triggering memories that the author shares, the feeling of strength and hope that the author’s journey conveys to readers is inspiring to read, and highlights how the power of compassion and love can be the most powerful feeling of overcoming trauma a person can find in their life. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Purchase your copy now available on Amazon. Make sure to add it to your GoodReads reading list too.


About the Author

I was born in Brooklyn, NYC. From the time I was 8 years old, until I left for college at 17, I traveled by myself into Manhattan to take a dance, theatre, or music lesson. After class I was free to wander about the City until I had to leave for home at 4:30. I ate in small Mom & Pop ethnic restaurants, savoring food I could neither spell nor pronounce. Theatre and dance tickets in the balconies were cheap and museums were free. All I needed were two nickels for the train rides, a nickel in case I had to make a phone call, and a quarter for lunch. The City was mine to explore. These years made an indelible impression on me in many ways: I enjoyed being with a diverse group of people, attending a variety of arts performances, and making my way in unfamiliar worlds with confidence and curiosity.

Early experiences with abuse both at home and school led me to becoming a teacher, writer, playwright, and essayist, always focusing on issues of empowerment. I have taught creative writing, storymaking, drama, and literacy workshops in schools, universities, professional development programs, prisons, Head Start, mental hospitals, recreational centers, programs for children and adults with learning differences, and older adult programs in the US and abroad.

In 1985 I was diagnosed with a rare and anomalous form of leukemia. When treatment allowed me to think in terms of years rather than months, and ten years after becoming a full professor at the University of Delaware, I received my PhD, in multi-disciplinary studies focusing on literature, psychology, and philosophy.

As an award-winning author of seven books of nonfiction, my focus has always been on developing creative expression, arts-based approaches to learning, and student-centered learning. I have also written five novels, one of which, The Stones Speak, has been optioned for a movie. The focus in all of my writing and teaching has always been on empowerment. My newest book, a memoir, Breaking the Silence, is about the healing power of stories.  

Follow the author online on her website.

— Blog Tour Calendar

November 29th @ The Muffin  

Join us at The Muffin for an author interview, giveaway, and blog tour launch post for Nancy King’s Memoir “Breaking the Silence”


November 30th @ Mindy McGinnis

Mindy McGinnis interviews Nancy King about her recently published memoir “Breaking the Silence”. Don’t miss this engaging interview! 


December 8th @ Lost Wisp of Cosmic Dust

Sreevarsha Sreejith shares her review of Nancy King’s memoir “Breaking the Silence”. Stop by Instagram to learn more! 


December 9th @ KnottyNeedle Creative

Judy reviews and shares her thoughts after reading “Breaking the Silence” by Nancy King. Find out what she thinks about this recently released memoir.


December 10th @ Madeline Sharples Choices

Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples spotlights Nancy King’s “Breaking the Silence” on her blog today. Readers will be inspired by this newly released memoir!


December 13th @ Lisa Haselton Reviews and Interviews

Lisa Haselton reviews memoirist Nancy King about her recently released “Breaking the Silence”. Readers won’t want to miss this opportunity to be inspired! 


December 16th @ Word Magic: All About Books

Today’s book spotlight at Word Magic is Nancy King’s memoir “Breaking the Silence”. Readers will also hear from Wisconsin student Carmen Otto as she shares her thoughts after reading this insightful story.


December 17th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto 

WOW!’s very own Crystal Otto shares her insight into the beautiful and inspiring memoir, “Breaking the Silence” by Nancy King.


December 20th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Author Anthony Avina spotlight’s the newly released memoir “Breaking the Silence” by Nancy King. Find out more about this moving memoir and it’s inspiring author today!

December 24th @ The Faerie Review

Lily at the Faerie Review shares her book review of “Breaking the Silence” by Nancy King. This is a memoir about a mountain climbing author who has inspired many (despite all odds)! 


December 26th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Author Anthony Avina reviews “Breaking the Silence” by Nancy King. Find out more about this moving memoir and Anthony’s thoughts after reading it! 

December 27th @ Christy Flutterby 

Fellow author Christy O’Callaghan reviews Nancy King’s “Breaking the Silence” and shares her thoughts with readers on her blog. Find out more about this moving memoir and it’s resilient author! 


December 28th @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte

Wisconsin mother and healthcare worker Michelle DelPonte couldn’t wait to get her hands on Nancy King’s memoir “Breaking the Silence”. Today Michelle will share her review of this touching memoir. Stop at Bring on Lemons to learn more!


January 1st @ Boots Shoes and Fashion

Readers at Boots Shoes and Fashion will be enlightened as Linda interviews Nancy King about her newly released memoir “Breaking the Silence”. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn from someone who has overcome the odds! 


January 2nd @ Linda Appleman Shapiro

Fellow memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro hosts Nancy King and “Breaking the Silence” as today’s feature book on her blog! 


Kid on the Go!: Memoir of My Childhood and Youth by Neill McKee Review

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

Author Neill McKee takes readers on a personal journey exploring his own childhood in this prequel to his award-winning book (Finding Myself In Borneo) and highlights the exploration of childhoods not necessarily marked by tragedies but by the life journey so many around the world experience in his book, “Kid on the Go!: Memoir of My Childhood and Youth”. 


The Synopsis

In this new book, McKee takes readers on a journey through his childhood, adolescence, and teenage years from the mid-40s to the mid-60s, in the small, then industrially-polluted town of Elmira, Ontario, Canada—one of the centers of production for Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. 

McKee’s vivid descriptions, dialog, and self-drawn illustrations are a study of how a young boy learned to play and work, fish and hunt, avoid dangers, cope with death, deal with bullies, and to build or restore “escape” vehicles. You may laugh out loud as the author recalls his exploding hormones, attraction to girls, rebellion against authority, and survival of 1960s’ “rock & roll” culture—emerging on the other side as a youth leader. 

After leaving Elmira, McKee describes his intensely searching university years, trying to decide which career path to follow. Except for a revealing postscript, the story ends when he accepts a volunteer teaching position on the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia.

The Review

This was such a moving and engaging story. The author did such an excellent job of regaling readers with personal memories and both hilarious and sentimental moments from his youth that many readers would be able to relate to, while also painting an image of life in the Canadian small-town lifestyle the author grew up in. Acting as the reader’s eyes and ears in the era and setting, the imagery and the descriptive way the author wrote really transported one to the childhood the author had lived through, and even the descriptive smells that defined the different parts of town felt like they could be easily conjured when reading.

The highs and lows the author describes in this narrative paint a very special yet relatable picture of childhood in those times, and even some things that readers could be able to relate to now. From gaining one’s first pet as a child to the tragic loss of that pet years later, and everything in-between, the author covers a lot of memories and topics that explore his childhood, and the inclusion of original photographs from the author’s life and original drawings as well made the author’s life really pop in the reader’s minds. 

The Verdict

A memorable, insightful, and entertaining memoir, author Neill McKee’s “Kid on the Go!: Memoir of My Childhood and Youth” is a must-read nonfiction book. The way the author was able to cover his childhood and youth and present it in a way that gave voice to those who have experiences worth noting without having to have had a particular tragedy occur gave this book a unique voice, and personal experiences of my own life that the author touched upon showed how readers would be able to find instances and moments in the author’s life to relate to, which is the perfect way to bring readers into the nonfiction genre. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author


Neill McKee is a creative nonfiction writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has written and published three books in this genre since 2015. His latest work is Kid on the Go! Memoir of My Childhood and Youth, a humorous and poignant account of his growing up in an industrially-polluted town in Ontario, Canada, and his university years. This memoir is a stand-alone prequel to his first travel memoir Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah (2019) on his first overseas adventures in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo), where he served as a Canadian volunteer teacher and program administrator during 1968-70 and 1973-74. This book won the 2019 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Biography–(other than a New Mexico/Arizona subject) and a Bronze Medal in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippy Awards). 

In late 2020, McKee also released Guns and Gods in my Genes: A 15,000-mile North American search through four centuries of history, to the Mayflower—an entertaining account of how he searched for his roots in Canada and the US, in which he employs vivid descriptions, dialog, poetic prose, analytical opinion, photos and illustrations. In this work, McKee slowly uncovers his American grandmother’s lineage—ancestors who were involved in almost every major war on North American soil and others, including a passenger on the Mayflower, as well as heroes, villains, rascals, and ordinary godly folk. Through his search, McKee exposes myths and uncovers facts about the true founding of America.

McKee, who holds a B.A. Degree from the University of Calgary and a Masters in Communication from Florida State University, lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Russia and traveled to over 80 countries on assignments during his 45-year international career. He became an expert in communication and directed/produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, and wrote a many articles and books in the field. McKee is now busy writing another travel memoir on his career. He does readings/book signings and presentations with or without photos. He prefers lively interactive sessions.

Follow the author online at:

Author’s website: www.neillmckeeauthor.com

Kid on the Go! book page: www.neillmckeeauthor.com/kid-on-the-go

Kid on the go! buy page: www.neillmckeeauthor.com/buy-3

Author’s digital library: www.neillmckeevideos.com/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/neill-mckee-b9971b65/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/McKeeNeill/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MckeeNeill

NBFS: www.northborneofrodotolkien.org

Purchase your copy now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. Make sure to add it to your GoodReads reading list too.

Blog Tour Calendar

November 8th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Neill McKee’s newest memoir, Kid on the Go. Come by and read an interview with the author, find out more about his newest book, and enter to win a copy for yourself.


November 10th @ Quiet Fury Books

Visit Darcia’s blog today where she features an excerpt from Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.


November 12th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Neill McKee’s guest post on surviving the 1960’s Rock n’ Roll culture.


November 15th @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today and read her insights into Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.


November 15th @ Katherine Itacy’s Blog

Stop by Katherine and read her review of Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!. You can also enter to win a copy of the book for yourself too!


November 17th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as she features a guest post by author Neill McKee on issues on writing about your hometown. 


November 20th @ Sweet Silly Sara

Visit Sara’s blog and read her review of Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.


November 24th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again and read her review of Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.


November 24th @ C. Lee McKenzie

Join C. Lee McKenzie today as she interviews author Neill McKee, author of the memoir Kid on the Go!.


November 26th @ StoreyBook Reviews

Visit Leslie’s blog where she shares an excerpt of Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.


November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he interviews Neill McKee, author of the memoir Kid on the Go!.


December 2nd @ The Mommies Reviews

Visit Glenda’s blog today where she reviews Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.


December 4th @ Mother Daughter Bookclub

Join Cindy today when she reviews Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.


December 5th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Join Fiona today when she shares Neill McKee’s guest post on writing a memoir in a youth’s voice but with present-day adult reflections.


December 7th @ CK Sorens’ Blog

Make sure to stop by CK Sorens’ blog today and check out a feature of Neill McKee’s memoir and enter to win a copy of the book too.


December 8th @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she shares her thoughts about Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!. You’ll also have the chance to win a copy for yourself too.


December 10th @ Bookshine and Readbows

Join Steph as she shares Neill McKee’s guest post about how mentors changed his life.

December 10th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Join Jill as she interviews Neill McKee and features his memoir Kid on the Go!.


December 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again as he shares his thoughts on Neill McKee’s newest memoir Kid on the Go!.


Tiny Yellow Hat by J. Michael Chamberlain Review

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

Author J. Michael Chamberlain takes readers on a humorous journey through his life through anecdotes and true life experiences in his brilliant book, “Tiny Yellow Hat”. 


The Synopsis

This wildly entertaining book is laced with wicked concepts, cheap shots and a few bright ideas; a feast of funny words and clever notions without once mentioning vampires or zombies. J. M. Chamberlain created the perfect blend of madcap rants and true life experiences guaranteed to put a never-ending smile on your face. Actually, a never-ending smile might be cause for alarm; if your smile lasts longer than four hours, please call a doctor. In a nutshell, this extraordinary slice of life is almost too good to read, but I suggest reading it anyway. I also suggest telling forty or fifty of your closest friends to read it, because www.peopleneedtolaugh.com 

The Review

This was a truly entertaining and engaging read. The author found the perfect balance between humor and personal reflection that this memoir needed. The quick-wit the author employs through his writing while regaling readers with relatable experiences like stage fright, brushes with death, and so much more made this a driven read. 

With such a storied and memorable career as this amazing author has had, it was so fascinating to see the author hone in on both the career aspect of his work as a stand-up comedian/actor and how it relates to the life lessons and memorable moments that stood out to him within his personal life. The author’s poetic delivery of witticisms and humor to explore these lessons will have readers laughing while also connecting to the author personally, something all great memoirs hope to do.

The Verdict

A remarkable, heartfelt, and funny memoir, author J. Michael Chamberlain’s “Tiny Yellow Hat” is a must-read book of 2021! The author’s creativity and life experiences will have readers enthralled, and the charming delivery of his life will have readers chuckling and smiling as they engage with the author’s writing on a very personal level. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Originally hailing from Brooklyn, New York, J. Michael Chamberlain, the doctor of comedy, began his career as the class clown with cohort Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld and resident neurotic on Curb Your Enthusiasm. After a brief stint with a brokerage firm on Wall Street, the bestselling author signed up as a horse-and-carriage driver in Central Park. Comical tours through the park steered the way to stage doors, television studios, and major motion pictures. Soon, the gifted performer was working alongside Gene Wilder in The Woman in Red and Ed Harris in the timeless Irwin Winkler production, The Right Stuff. As a young actor and writer in Hollywood, he performed in over thirty motion pictures and countless television productions. When he isn’t penning bestsellers and appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman, he can be found playing the blues across America and enjoying the good life with his spouse and their rescued hounds, Charles Beresford Tipton and Gracie Poochinella Pants.

Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir by Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li Review

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

Authors Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li take readers into the heart of modern-day Iceland as Sverrir goes on a voyage around the world in the same vein as his Viking ancestors in the book, “Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir”.


The Synopsis

This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icelander’s success. Spurred by this favorable wind, Sverrir answered the call of his Viking forefathers, setting off on a voyage that took him around the world. Join him on his roaring adventures!

The Review

A truly magnificent and engaging read, this book really does capture the adventurous spirit and rich history of Iceland and author Sverrir’s Viking forefathers. The balance of history, culture, and life experiences through travel was great to see unfold here, from Sverrir’s family history to setting out into the world and studying in Finland, to making a life and home after years of travel with his wife and co-author Veronica Li, this book really does a great job of educating and allowing the reader to identify with the authors and their journeys. 

What really stuck out to me however was the way the authors managed to tie their more “modern” adventures around the world to the ancient Viking culture. As a people known for their travels and explorations, it was interesting to see the cultural note that so many Icelandic people have to make a name for themselves and learn from distant lands in order to bring more knowledge to their home country, in an effort to become the best. It felt like the perfect chord that brought the past and present together as one and really shows how ancient cultures still have an impact on our world today. 

The Verdict

A masterful, thoughtful, and culturally-driven memoir, authors Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li’s “Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir” is a must-read book. The attention to detail really brought the personal and broader history of Iceland and the author to life, while the teamwork and chemistry of both authors and their writing styles allowed the information and culture of this book to be absorbed by the reader. Even the utilization of images and guides to highlight Iceland and its language was both informative and engrossing all at once. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Authors

Sverrir Sigurdsson grew up in Iceland and graduated as an architect from Finland in 1966. He pursued an international career that took him to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the U.S. His assignments focused on school construction and improving education in developing countries. He has worked for private companies as well as UNESCO and the World Bank. He is now retired and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and coauthor, Veronica.

Veronica Li emigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong as a teenager. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. She has worked as a journalist and for the World Bank, and is currently a writer. Her three previously published titles are: Nightfall in Mogadishu, Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home, and Confucius Says: A Novel.

Sverrir Sigurdsson Author | Facebook


Interview with Author William Hart

1) How did you get into writing?

     I’m pretty sure it was my mother who inspired me to become a writer, when I was very young. She was a public school teacher responsible for kindergarten and first grade, and by the time my brother and I came along she had developed a most arresting manner of reading stories to her classes. She mimicked the character’s voices, adding her own highly amusing facial expressions to create entertainment at least as involving as the early television shows we were watching. The stories I remember best were taken from the Pooh Bear books, Winnie the Pooh and those that followed. Mom’s performances in our living room held my brother and I mesmerized—like her students must have been. The experience of her reading to us is unforgettable, and I believe it had much to do with both John and me becoming writers.


2) What inspired you to write your book?

     When I was fourteen, I joined a roller racing team at my local rink that turned out to be one of the best speed skating clubs in the country. Many of my teammates were national champions and so it was easy for me to set my goals high as I was developing as a skate racer. I was a varsity sprinter on my ninth grade track team, and those skills translated well to my new sport. Within a year I became one of the fastest roller racers my age in the country. As I was developing my skills, I attracted the attention of a very pretty girl my age who had taken second at nationals a week or two before she asked me to join her in a couple’s skate. Both of us, having found the mate of our dreams, fell in love for the first time, and for two intense, thrilling years that girl hung the moon for me. Both my new sport and my first romantic relationship made that period the most memorable of my life. Once I became a writer it was natural for me to want to write about those heady days of my youth, though it took me decades to figure out how to do it.

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

     There were many pretty girls at our roller rink. In addition to my girlfriend, who was slow to develop physically, there was a second girl my age who developed a woman’s body a little early. When my girlfriend balked at pursuing a complete physical relationship, both because she didn’t feel ready and because she didn’t want to become a party girl like her quite irresponsible mother, I became frustrated and dropped her for the girl who was much more willing to give me what I thought I wanted. Later, I realized I’d made a terrible and costly mistake. I’ve felt guilty all my life for what I did when I was sixteen. The primary message of Roller Rink Starlight is that sex is a poor substitute for love. When confronted with a choice between the two, pick love, because it is more valuable, much rarer, and holds the promise of a relationship that is deep and long lasting. There are many other messages in my book, but that’s the main one.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

     I’m usually a writer of fiction, and so it was natural for me to try to tell the story I most wanted to tell as a novel. Over many years, as I was writing other things, I tried three or four times to write my novel about love and sex at the roller rink. But every time what I produced seemed false to me, like music that is tinny, or an argument based on lies. Finally, as a senior citizen, I tried telling the story exactly as it happened, except that I changed some names to protect privacy and to avoid hurting people. Written as a memoir, the story came pouring out of me, true to life and I believe moving and meaningful. Apparently the story meant so much to me I had to tell it like it happened, full of the ecstasies and warts of real life. 

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

     I’m not active on any social media. For example, I have a Facebook account and over 300 Facebook friends, but only rarely do I interact with them in that forum. Basically I’m reactive rather that proactive. That is, if one of my Facebook friends messages me, I answer. But I don’t often message others first or try to sell my literary works on Facebook.

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

     I don’t have much advice, because each writer is unique in talent, so that what works for me probably won’t work for many others. But I do have one tip for those beginning on the writer’s career path. Most of us, at the start, are so fired up by our calling that we dream of our creativity providing our income, allowing us to write all the time. A very few are able to accomplish this. But most of us spend a long time developing the skills needed to earn significant money. In fact, the vast majority never become self-supporting from writing alone. Therefore, I advise finding other work that doesn’t conflict with the writing, but that pays the bills. I did this and received a bonus I didn’t expect. More than half my books have come from jobs I took in order to survive financially. 

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

     I’m currently working on a lightly fictionalized memoir about one of my friends, a quadriplegic marijuana dealer operating outside the law. He was my dealer for about twenty years before California passed medical marijuana legislation and I decided to go legal as a buyer. His story is interesting to me partly because his life is interesting, especially from the time his mother’s boyfriend accidentally sent a .38 caliber slug spinning through his fifth cervical vertebra, sentencing him to a wheelchair for life. My friend, needing caregivers daily, hired two undocumented immigrants from Tijuana, one a terribly attractive 18-year-old Chicana fashion model, the other her older sister, less attractive physically but an incredible workhorse, capable of succeeding at three outside jobs in addition to her work for my buddy As luck would have it, my friend fell head over heels in love with the beautiful sister, while the less beautiful sister fell in love with him. The story takes place in a south central L.A. neighborhood with street gangs and an assortment of unusual and entertaining characters, including two other paraplegics that my friend met and bonded with in his rehab hospital. If you think the paralyzed can’t live wild, turbulent, yet productive lives, read my book to find out how they can.

8) Are you a plotter or a puntster?

     Back when I was a teacher, I planned every course meeting in detail rather than “winging it,” so it shouldn’t be surprising that when my writer’s hat goes on I plot everything except short poems. I do let my creativity flow, but when I do it’s in the context of an established plot that I can modify while writing as I see better ways to tell the story than exist in my plans. For me, mixing carefully detailed planning with creativity is the best way to go, because it draws strength from two very different methods of accomplishing the job.

9) Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

      I read every review I hear about and I try to thank every reviewer, even those who are negative. Generally speaking, reviewers provide the most effective promotion that books receive and it strikes me as wrong to bite the hands that are feeding me. I might feel differently if most of the reviews of my books hadn’t been quite positive. Overall reviewers have been kind to my literary efforts, and some of those who have been critical have helped me improve as a writer. It so happens that reviewers are writers too, and it seems silly on my part to be disrespectful to those I want to respect my work. I sometimes review books for other authors and from that I’ve learned reviewing isn’t easy, though it is usually easier than the creative act.

10) How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way they sound or the meaning?

     I believe names are important in anyone’s writing, and in fiction, which I write most of the time, I create the names of characters very carefully. That’s because I strive for realism, and nothing jars with that style more than names that sound made-up. Some writers create names with symbolic meaning, but I don’t. I rarely run across a symbolic name in real life. I do pick names that match a character’s national origins, and I pick names that suggest to me the character’s personality, though I can’t describe that process with any precision. I choose names I like for characters I like and names I don’t like for characters I dislike. It often takes a long time to get a name just right, but it’s worth the effort because it helps readers see the fictional person as real and hints at what that person is like. A character name that is on the money works not only for readers but for me as author, because it helps me buy into the fictional world I’m trying to establish.     


About the Author

William Hart is a novelist and poet living in Los Angeles. He writes while helping produce the documentaries of PBS filmmaker Jayasri Majumdar, his wife. Hart’s work has appeared in several hundred literary journals, commercial magazines, newspapers and anthologies, and fourteen books.