Tag Archives: non-fiction

Bad Deal For America by David D. Schein Review

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

Author David D. Schein shows readers how members of Congress are currently utilizing taxpayers’ dollars in the book “Bad Deal for America”.

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The Synopsis

Bad Deal for America explores the high-stakes game U. S. politicians are playing with the taxpayers’ money. The major players, themselves like a deck of cards, have shown us in their own words that the political system is broken. Readers can follow the money to see how some have lived high on the hog while masquerading as public servants. Told in an entertaining and unique way, this book is a call to arms to fulfill the ideals of the founding fathers by holding the political class responsible.

The Review

The author did a great job of delving deep into the murky waters of the American political system. Namely the members of congress, this book did a great job of maintaining a neutral point of view as far as party lines are concerned, showing the corruption and greed that exists on both sides of the aisle.

The thing that stood out to me as a reader was the balance of research and study that went into the campaign finance system and the money earned and spent by the political machine, and the quotes and viewpoints of various politicians mentioned throughout this book. The author was able to present clear and concise facts about these politicians without getting bogged down in specific political preferences and presented clear and well-researched arguments based on the words and actions of the individual politicians mentioned in this book. 

The Verdict

Thoughtful, engaging, and captivating, author Dr. David D. Schein’s “Bad Dead for America” is a must-read political book of 2022. The evenly paced tempo of the book and the amount of research that could be found on each page of this book made it a thought-provoking read that will open up reader’s minds to the facts surrounding each politician’s promises, lies, and financial gains through their work in Washington, as well as its impact on the average American citizen. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dr. David D. Schein is an author, professor, consultant and public speaker. He is a tenured Professor, the Director of Graduate Programs and the Endowed Chair of Management and Marketing at the University of St. Thomas’ Cameron School of Business. He is also the President and General Counsel of Claremont Management Group, a Human Resources consulting firm in Houston, TX. He often speaks on employment and consumer matters.

Plug the Holes, Fill the Barrel: A Beginner’s Guide to Building Wealth with Real Estate by Jason M. Kogok Review

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

Author and real estate expert Jason M. Kogok takes readers on a journey into the heart of the real estate business, helping newcomers and experts alike to know the ins and outs of the industry and how to properly manage their investments in the book “Plug the Holes, Fill the Barrel: A Beginner’s Guide to Building Wealth with Real Estate”.

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The Synopsis

Intended to be the go-to real estate textbook for novice and beginner investors, this quick-start guide teaches the ABCs of building wealth and financial freedom with real estate investing, while offering practical explanations, tips and real world examples that you won’t find elsewhere. Beyond simply providing a top-level guide of creating wealth and passive cash flow, this step-by-step playbook offers an in-depth look at every aspect of the investment process.

‘Plug the Holes, Fill the Barrel’ is the antidote to the drudgery of saving for 40 years only to wonder if those savings will last through retirement. The author, Jason Kogok, breaks down complex topics that may seem daunting to the beginner investor, from principle/interest payment strategies, to financing options, to effectively selecting the best investment properties in various markets. He answers common questions with practical guidance, like how to build a network when you’re just starting out, accurately forecast cash flow, leverage properties you already own to maximize future earning potential, and much more. He also delves into the less commonly discussed challenges specific to investing in rental properties, like effective property management techniques, red flags and must-haves of leases, and qualifying and managing your tenants in a way that creates efficiencies, reduces vacancy and increases cash flow.

Dripping with real world examples, this book demystifies ubiquitous investor “rules” and addresses common concerns like understanding market analysis, BRRRR strategy, real estate vocabulary terms and financing options and investing calculations. The text examines all styles of residential real estate investing, including single family and attached homes, and includes detailed explanations of . There is also quite a bit of explanation for various investment strategies, leverage, profit measurements and creative ideas that can teach you the way of the pros. The author also includes those often overlooked, but critical, often missed topics such as taxes, capital gains, depreciation, depreciation recapture and 1031 exchanges. The book discusses property management, leases, how to qualify and manage tenants in a way that creates efficiencies, reduces vacancy and increases cash flow. After finishing, readers should feel very comfortable on starting their own path to financial freedom, creating wealth with real estate investing and early retirement.

  • This is a real estate finance textbook for beginner to intermediate level investors.
  • One of the most comprehensive real estate books in 2022.
  • A real estate quick study guide for all.
  • Understand basics of real estate wealth hacking.
  • The perfect key for mastering your real estate career.
  • Create passive income from real estate wealth system.
  • Setting short & long term realistic real estate investment financial goals
  • Examining real estate properties for their investment viability
  • Running true complete cash flows with an easy to use formula for real estate rental properties
  • Portfolio analysis in its entirety and per asset
  • Examining depreciation, recapture & real estate taxes
  • Methods to reduce cash needed to invest
  • Leverage strategies
  • Real estate exit strategies
  • Examine supply & demand, inflation and interest rate
  • Financial terms, ratios and calculations such as Net Operating Income, Debt to Income ratios & Cap rates
  • Managing your tenants and creating efficiencies
  • Time management to create portfolios that run with limited time involved

A dense toolkit in an easy to read package that prepares you to immediately start building a portfolio of passive income with limitless potential.

The Review

This was a truly thoughtful and dynamic introduction to the world of real estate investment. The detailed and invigorating way the author speaks about the business and wealth side of real estate is so fascinating to read, as it gives a unique perspective that is not discussed often in a public forum. The author did a great job of covering a wide range of topics within this field, from the different ways in which to manage one’s investments to the types of properties to invest in and so much more.

What drew me into this book immediately was the author’s honesty and candor. The author’s own words make it clear that he is not a writer with a working knowledge of real estate, but instead a real estate expert who took a stab at writing to help others understand the field better. This honest approach to the writing style made the book come alive in the reader’s hands and felt like having an honest and open discussion with the author himself as the book carried on. Their experience as a teacher was felt as well, often coming through in the tone of the book as the lessons in real estate came to life on the page. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, enlightening, and passionate, author Jason M. Kogok’s “Plug the Holes, Fill the Barrel: A Beginner’s Guide to Building Wealth with Real Estate” is a must-read nonfiction book on business and real estate in particular. The precision and detail in which the author went into the business of real estate investment, and the author’s ability to transform these lessons in a way that the average reader and newcomer to the business could understand made the book an instant hit in my book. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jason started his real estate career over two decades ago as a real estate sales broker and since then has grown his real estate team to the top ranks in North Carolina. He also manages his own real estate portfolio and has had tremendous success with building his rental portfolio, along with ‘fix and flip’ properties along the way.

In addition to real estate, Jason has a passion for teaching, so he combined his extensive real estate and investing knowledge to pursue another chapter in his career. Jason teaches and coaches real estate brokers, novice & intermediate investors, as well as works alongside large individual investors to help scale their portfolios.

Jason lives with his family in Raleigh, NC.

https://www.investorswealtheducation.com/

Building Resilience and Finding Meaning by June Rousso, Ph.D. Review

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

Author June Rousso, Ph.D. takes readers on an inward journey to discover the tools that we both have within us and develop over time as we face life’s challenges and how we can use those experiences to find meaning in life in the book “Building Resilience and Finding Meaning”.

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The Synopsis

Building Resilience and Finding Meaning in Life: A Guide for Teens is an interactive book meant to engage readers in learning how to face adversities in life and to find meaning in these experiences.  It gives the message that we have a treasure chest of inner resources that can be called upon in the face of adversity. These resources must be discovered and, in some instances developed to build resilience and find what holds personal meaning.  

The guide also can be read by counselors and educators to help teens cope and live a more meaningful life. The guide was inspired by the teachings of Dr. Viktor Frankl, noted author of Man’s Search for Meaning, and by the research findings on character strengths presented by the VIA Institute on Character.    

The Review

This was an incredibly well-written and captivating read. It is rare that I am able to get the opportunity to read YA-driven nonfiction books, and the author did a fabulous job of writing in a way that the book’s intended audience would have no trouble understanding the research and development that the author speaks of, while also providing emotional narrative elements to keep the reader invested in what that research delves into. 

The thing that stood out to me immediately was the author’s study of the works of Dr. Frankl, a survivor of the Nazi Concentration Camps, who helped to develop logotherapy and the three tenants that it is comprised of. The passion and zeal for life both the author and Dr. Frankl share were amazing to see come to life on the pages of this book, and the lessons that come from this line of the study were great to see. From the examination of freedom of choice growing up and the fine line between following a parent’s rules and accepting total compliance throughout one’s life, to how the perceptions we hold about ourselves and others reside within our spirits, this book does an excellent job of showcasing both the detailed study of Dr. Frankl’s work and the author’s ability to reach a younger audience in an impactful and meaningful way.

The Verdict

Captivating, thought-provoking, and engaging, author Dr. June Rousso’s “Building Resilience and Finding Meaning” is a must-read book for 2022! The fast pace of the book and the thoughtful approach to life’s challenges and the lessons teens can learn from these hardships, as well as the history and study of Dr. Frankl’s work, made this such a memorable read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dr. June Rousso is a licensed psychologist, life coach, and writer. She is a Clinician Diplomate in Logotherapy and Existential Analysis and maintains a private practice in New York City working with children and adults.  Dr. Rousso is on the advisory board to Child Resilient, a student-led nonprofit organization focusing on fostering emotional resilience and mental health wellness in children and adolescence thorough education, outreach, and awareness. She also is the author of The Little Book of Character Strengths that focuses on helping children become aware of their character strengths to feel better about themselves and learn to face difficult situations in their daily life. 

http://junerousso.com

Life Skills 101: All You Need, But Won’t Learn in School by Ivi Green Review

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

The collective team of Ivi Green takes readers on a journey to explore the highs and lows of teenage life, giving a comprehensive study of the expectations and lessons we can learn from those coveted years in the book, “Life Skills 101: All You Need, But Won’t Learn in School”. 

The Synopsis

The Most Valuable Life Lessons For Teens Told Through an Infographic, Essential Social Skills and Mindfulness for Developing Personalities.

Growing up is a painful process for everyone involved. Teens want freedom, while parents want their kids to be responsible. Teens struggle with heartbreak, friendship troubles, self-esteem issues, and overwhelming expectations. Parents worry about the choices their kids might make but can’t get through to them… and nobody knows what the #@!% they’re doing. It just so happens that we’ve got a manual for that.

It’s a colorful, practical, and engaging 100-page guide to every soft skill your kid needs to be happy. And you won’t have to rack your brain trying to get them to read it! While applying the scientifically proven method of visual learning, Life Skills 101 teaches important life lessons in a way that is accessible and easy to digest. Whether 10 or 18, your kid won’t be able to put it down (and neither will you).

✔ACCESSIBLE TO A WIDE RANGE OF AGES: although it is primarily targeted towards teens 12-16, the skills this book teaches are not age-specific; it’s never too late or too early to learn and work toward growing into the person you strive to be

✔SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN WAY TO LEARN: our infographics use attention-grabbing, and relevant illustrations to help your teen learn and retain valuable lessons long-term. Keep their attention with the most visual of all books for teen girls and boys

✔FOR TEENS, BY A TEEN: this is a unique book that has been written by a mom for her teen girl who then translated it into English. It won’t talk down to its readers; it’s a much-needed, fresh teen take on the self-help genre

The Review

This was such a comprehensive and detailed read. The collective creators and people who go by the name Ivi Green do a wonderful job of creating an easy-to-read guide and found the perfect balance between written content and bright and colorful imagery to help illustrate the points the passages are making. The amazing content allowed for readers to have some sort of information and guide to not only their teenage years but their adult years as well. 

I loved the wide variety of topics the collective group of creators brought to this book. From everyday topics like calculating taxes to more profound and meaningful topics like who we are as individuals and emotional intelligence, the book did an incredible job of providing a thorough and thoughtful collection of information to allow teenagers to understand the often confusing and difficult years of their teenage years. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, engaging, and interactive, the collective of Ivi Green’s “Life Skill 101: Everything You Need, But Won’t Learn in School” is a must-read book. The way the writers and creators were able to include both fact-based graphs and information with more personal and emotional-based writing allowed for a much more well-rounded read, and the book also makes for a great reference read in case teenagers need to go back and study up on issues facing them in certain moments of their lives. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ivi Green is the curious bird peeking out at you from our logo. Her cheerful, curious, creative temperament helps her to navigate life with love and wonder. Ivi Green is also the alias for our big team of passionate parents, dedicated kids, and creative professionals who participate in the project with the same Ivi spirit.

It all started from a never-ending stream of questions that Sofiya, now 16, brought to her mom, Maria.

https://ivigreen.com/

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”. 

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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

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Ethosism: Self-Enslavement Abolitionist Manifesto by Jo M. Sekimonyo Review

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

Author Jo M. Sekimonyo takes readers on a journey to explore a way of leaving behind the inequalities of capitalism through a new system meant for the 21st century, Ethosism, in the book “Ethosism: Self-Enslavement Abolitionist Manifesto by Jo M. Sekimonyo”.

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The Synopsis

In the global environment of trade and commerce, humankind appears to have given up its natural journey of progression to improve the social order and universally accepted capitalism. But, whilst the richest continue to accumulate vast amounts of wealth, inequality grows and the poorest still live in extreme poverty. This passionate, academic study will go on to present that socialism is just another means of enslaving society under the capitalist model. So, is there a new social, political, and economic arrangement that fits the twenty-first century reality? Ethosism looks at the fact that in the twenty-first century more people than ever before have the means to acquire and own their means of engagement, participation, or involvement in an enterprise. As the result, capitalism, socialism, and communism have lost their raison d’etres.

By examining the foremost upheavals of the twenty-first century, wealth inequality and climate change, plus social class conflicts resulting from the paradigm shift, my conviction is that we are in dire need of a morales nuvem consensus which will herald new social, commerce, intermerce, and political covenants that will enable us to successfully traverse the twenty-first century and beyond.

The Review

This was such an incredibly moving and thought-provoking read. Immediately what stood out to me from the author’s writing was how one of the first lessons taught is how far too little morality is brought into the conversation regarding the economy and wealth as a whole. The capitalist nature that puts the self above all else and leaves behind those who fight to survive and can’t make any headway is something that has weighed on me for a long time, and reading the author’s words was powerful and fantastic to behold.

The exploration of not only why systems like capitalism and socialism don’t work in our modern age and are only hurting our current system, but the author’s ability to thoughtfully and honestly present a new approach to wealth and class systems as a whole through Ethosism was amazing to read. I was immediately struck by the balance of philosophy the author brought into the discussion of politics and economics throughout the book, and the writing style itself was so remarkable, as it moved smoothly from an almost poetic-like writing style to engaging non-fiction reading at its best.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, educational, and moving, author Jo M. Sekimonyo’s “Ethosism: Self-Enslavement Abolitionist Manifesto” is a must-read book on how to shape our society to fit the time that we are living in. The need for change has never been greater, and the only way a society can grow and prosper is by moving forward, not looking back to systems that no longer function. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jo M. Sekimonyo is a theorist, human rights activist, political economist, and social philosopher. He is a Congolese born, American fermented and globally bottled Merchant of Ideas. He has been a strong critic of mainstream economists stating that, “these clown shows chip away the substance of economic disparity dialogues”.

On the Labor Theory of Value, Sekimonyo argues that in the twenty-first century, instead of the average number of labor hours, the quality of the means nested in an enterprise to produce a commodity or provide a service establishes relative prices.

In this context, labor is no longer viewed as a cost but one of the profiteers, as it ought to be. The working class is no longer a cost but one of the profiteers, as it should be.

Much of his writing has been concerned with “economic injustice, poverty, and egalitarianism”.

His work has been translated into over ten languages.

Sekimonyo argues that the ability of individuals to understand the world and creatively respond to challenges that confront humanity is key to alleviate poverty. He facilitates several workshops and seminars every year throughout the developing world geared towards stimulating debates around global social issues and mainstream economic theories.

He is the founder of “En Charge”, an independent, non-partisan organization that promotes the participation of young people in social, political and economic dialogues at the national and global levels.

His more recent work deals with an alternative to capitalism; ethosism.

https://www.sekimonyo.com/

The Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence Review

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

Authors and podcast co-hosts Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence take readers on a twisted and horrifying journey into the inspirations and sciences behind the true monsters of some of Hollywood’s most iconic horror films in their book, “The Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend”.

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The Synopsis

Discover the real-life inspirations behind history’s most infamous serial killers: John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and so many more.

Gothic media moguls Kelly Florence and Meg Hafdahl, authors of The Science of Monsters, The Science of Women in Horror, and The Science of Stephen King, and co-hosts of the Horror Rewind podcast called “the best horror film podcast out there” by Film Daddy, present a guide to the serial killers who inspired the movies and media we all know and love. Delve into the brutal truth behind horror’s secret: many monsters portrayed on the silver screen are based on true murderers. Uncover the truth behind the real monsters of horror, answering such questions as: 

What is the science behind serial killers’ motivations like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy? 

How did detectives discover the identities of criminals like the Boston Strangler and the BTK Strangler?

Has science made it possible to unmask Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer? 

What is the science behind female versus male serial killers? 

Through interviews, film analysis, and bone-chilling discoveries, join Kelly and Meg as they learn about the horrors of true crime through the decades. 

The Review

I absolutely loved this read. As someone who has been fascinated with true crime and in particular the psychology behind the few individual criminals who can be classified as “serial killers”, and as a big-time fan of horror films and books, I was instantly drawn to the authors and their work. The amount of detailed research and history each put into these killers and crimes, and yet were able to craft it into a concise and very readable book, was astounding to read. 

What really stood out though was the author’s work to identify the fascination and inspiration these true-life killers had on some of the most iconic horror films of our era. From Jack the Ripper’s inspiration for the film From Hell to the murders of the DeFeo family that inspired the Amityville Horror film series, both authors did such an amazing job of breaking down each film and project that these killers were responsible for and showcased how the intricate details of their crimes lead to some of cinema’s darkest and most memorable horror moments. 

The Verdict

Haunting, visceral, and engaging, authors Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence’s “The Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend” is must-read nonfiction read! The in-depth analysis of both film and true crime will have horror fans enthralled by the information the authors share. With the wide array of different criminals, from the prolific to the under-the-radar crimes that will absolutely shock you, this is one collection readers won’t want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

About Meg Hafdahl: 

Bram Stoker Award nominated Meg Hafdahl is the creator of numerous stories and books. Her fiction has appeared in anthologies such as Eve’s Requiem: Tales of Women, Mystery and Horror and Eclectically Criminal. Her work has been produced for audio by The Wicked Library and The Lift, and she is the author of three popular short story collections including Twisted Reveries: Thirteen Tales of the Macabre. Meg is also the author of the three novels; The Darkest Hunger, Daughters of Darkness, and Her Dark Inheritance called “an intricate tale of betrayal, murder, and small town intrigue” by Horror Addicts and “every bit as page turning as any King novel” by RW Magazine. Meg, also the co-host of the podcast Horror Rewind and co-author of The Science of Monsters, The Science of Women in Horror, The Science of Stephen King, The Science of Serial Killers, and the upcoming The Science of Witchcraft lives in the snowy bluffs of Minnesota. 

https://www.meghafdahl.com/

About Kelly Florence: 

Kelly Florence teaches communication at Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN and is the creator of the Be a Better Communicator podcast. She received her BA in theatre from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and her MA in communicating arts from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She has directed, produced, choreographed and stage managed for dozens of productions in Minnesota including Carrie The Musical through Rubber Chicken Theatre and Treasure Island for Wise Fool Theater. She is passionate about female representation in all media and particularly the horror genre.

https://www.horrorrewind.com/

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”.

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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

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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.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09MMS1Y8D/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F60784956-an-independent-woman-in-yugoslavia%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DQB2qsCaet8%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Again. Again and Again: Awakening into Awareness – Essays and Stories by Mathias B. Freese Review

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

Author Mathias B. Freese takes readers deep into his mind and life through a series of personal essays and third-person stories in his book, “Again. Again and Again: Awakening Into Awareness – Essays and Stories”.

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The Synopsis

Having once been a psychotherapist who’s never hesitated to turn the therapeutical gun barrel toward himself, Mathias B. Freese ramps up his radical reflexivity in this latest work, from confessional first-person narration to third-person “stories” starring “characters” named Matt. (This genre could be called meta-Matt.) “I write to know perhaps something about who I am,” Freese writes. “I write to arrive at some awareness, however dim, about self or other, for when I have that fleeting moment of awareness, I feel at one — true.” Truly, Again. Again and Again. is a song of himself.

Rocker Billy Idol proves to be an unlikely but apt echoer here: “When there’s nothing to lose and there’s nothing to prove, well, I’m dancing with myself.” As a one-man show, Freese puts the “dance” in “abundance,” stressing an author’s singularity, the innerness of writing, the sharing — rather than the proselytizing — purpose of artistic expression. In other words, as Freese says, “a book is one person’s awareness as he or she sees it.”

More than a few times, Freese had implied that Again. Again and Again. would probably be his swan song, his “final stirrings,” his ultimate testament. How laughable, considering both his prolificacy and “urge and urge and urge” (as Whitman would gush). Sure enough, the author is no longer so sure that he’s expressed enough, and it seems that yet another stirring idea spurs him to create again. Again and…

The Review

This was an incredibly profound and thought-provoking read. The author found the perfect balance between his 1st personal perspective essays and the more 3rd person short narratives that each highlighted an important theme or idea that the author presented. One line that immediately stuck out to me was one in which the author speaks of a friend of his who said literature always featured love and death, but in reflecting on that notion the author realized that his friend forgot time itself. This was so profound, as the author delves in one page into the heart of not only literature but life itself, for what is love and death without the time it takes to achieve both? 

The thing that stood out to me as a reader immediately was the author’s writing style. Whether he was writing a short story about man’s awareness of the universe around him or a personal essay on the pursuit of greatness and how the journey is far more often beautiful than the completed end as a whole, the author always wrote as if he were having a personal conversation with the reader. This very intimate and thoughtful approach to this style of writing was so well-conceived that I was on the edge of my seat the entire reading, mesmerized by the author’s words and the passion for which he wrote.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, engaging, and thoughtful in its approach, author Mathis B. Freese’s “Again. Again and Again” is a must-read book of short stories and essays on life’s most existential questions. The honesty and enlightening way the author weaves together a collection of writing that is both inspiring and philosophical really highlights the author’s sense of teaching and writing, making this one book readers will not want to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

MATHIAS B. FREESE is a writer, teacher, and psychotherapist who has authored eight books. His I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust won the Beverly Hills Book Award, Reader’s Favorite Book Award, and was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Awards, the Paris Book Festival, and the Amsterdam Book Festival. In 2016, Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers, his first memoir, received seven awards. The following year his second memoir appeared, And Then I Am Gone.

https://www.mathiasbfreese.com/

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