Tag Archives: nonfiction

The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles by Mark Leslie Review

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

Author Mark Leslie takes readers on a humorous and engaging journey to look behind the scenes of the making of John Hughes’s instant classic film Planes, Trains and Automobiles and the use of a very real book in a pivotal scene in his book, The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”. 

The Synopsis

The Prop Book That Keeps on Popping Up!

Yes, the cover of this book looks a lot like the one Del Griffith (John Candy) is reading at the New York airport in the 1987 movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A strikingly similar book also appears in 2018’s Deadpool 2. It was long believed that this was a prop book. But it was a real book published in the 1980s and from a company that went out of business before the end of the decade.

This re-imagined incarnation of The Canadian Mounted explores the use of this prop book and many other intriguing, insightful and entertaining behind-the-scenes details as they relate to the classic 1987 John Hughes film.

Created for fans of the movie and of John Hughes, this book explores and shares stories related to the writing and making of the film, curious tales and collected trivia associated with it, including:

The incident that inspired Hughes to write the original script

Del-isms

The film’s eclectic sound-track

Missing Oxford commas

Deleted scenes

Ryan Reynolds’ adoration of fellow Canadian John Candy

General trivia

And more…

If you love and regularly re-watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles, then this is a book you must read.

The Review

This is a truly detailed and captivating read. The author does an incredible job of finding just the right balance in tone between educational moments from the film and book in question and personable writing styles that make this feel like a shared experience between friends. The wit and charm with which the author crafts this narrative was incredibly inviting to the reader. 

The vast amount of research and information the author provided the reader was spectacular. The way the author was able to implement everything from unused portions of the original script to behind-the-scenes commentary, and finds a natural way to blend this into the author’s own personal connection and history with the film and book itself made this such an inviting and unique read.

The Verdict

Informative, thoughtful, and humorous, author Mark Leslie’s “The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles” is a must-read film and pop culture trivia and reference book. The personable and imagery-heavy writing style really allowed these experiences both for the author and those involved in the original production of the film to come to life on the page, and this book makes the perfect story to pick up for longtime fans of this film and filmmaker John Hughes in general. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mark is a writer, editor and bookseller who was born and grew up in Sudbury, spent many years in Ottawa and Hamilton and currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

When he is not writing, he tacks “Lefebvre” back onto his name and works as a book industry consultant, having been a bookseller since the 1992, the same year his first short story was published.

Apart from publishing novels and non-fiction paranormal explorations under the name Mark Leslie, having works occasionally appearing on his mother’s refrigerator door under the name Mark Lefebvre, and podcasting and consulting about the book industry under the name Mark Leslie Lefebvre for his Stark Publishing/Stark Reflections brand, Mark is a lover of craft beer.

When he’s not enjoying craft beer or playing around with his three given names, he can usually be found wandering, awestruck through bookstores or libraries. 

http://markleslie.ca/

Love The Dark Days by Ira Mathur Review

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

A woman who has been stuck in a vicious cycle of trauma as her grandmother lashes out after the loss of her former life finds herself fighting to let go of the past and reinvent herself in author Ira Mathur’s “Love The Dark Days”.

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The Synopsis

From award-winning journalist Ira Mathur, Love The Dark Days is about accrued intergenerational damage between mothers and daughters in post-colonial worlds.

Set in India, England, Trinidad and St Lucia, Love The Dark Days follows the story of the life of Dolly, of mixed Hindu Muslim parentage in post-colonial India. Dolly, whose privileged family has colluded with the brutality of the British Rule in India, lives with her grandmother, who feels a raging loss at the fading old world. With it, her privilege. Dolly absorbs her grandmothers’ rage, becoming a living memorial of all the pain and injustice the imperious Burrimummy repeatedly hauls back from her past to tell and retell to Dolly. Just as Dolly is constantly pulled into the old wounds, so is the reader. The story is crafted so the reader viscerally experiences how trauma loops around, coming back and back through generations to warp the future.

That damage of unbelonging is repeated when her family migrates to Trinidad, where, in her darkest hour, she meets Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, who encourages her when she visits him in St Lucia over a weekend to leave the past behind and reinvent herself. Before she can do this Dolly must re-enter the past one last time.

Can Dolly find the courage to examine each broken shard of her shattered family and reassemble it into a new shape in a new world? It is raw, unflinching, but not without threads of humour and perceived absurdity; Love the Dark Days is an intricate tapestry with Dolly’s story at its heart. 

The Review

This was such a well-written and captivating memoir and biography. The balance the author found in the generational stories of her family, including her grandmother and mother, with her own experiences was so impactful and thought-provoking. The rich imagery the author conjured up through her writing really brought readers into the lives of these very different yet connected women through the generations of this family. 

The heart of the author’s story was true in the intricate details of her life experiences and the multi-cultural journey she undertook in her life, as well as the deep look into how Colonialism impacted both her family and the generations that came before. The history of Colonialism is so rarely discussed in detail within nations such as The United States outside of an advanced history course, and so learning of the experiences that came with Colonialism and getting to see it through both her mother’s family’s side and her father’s point of view was fascinating. Yet it was the intimate, heartfelt moments that the author shared of her own life and experiences that really made the deepest impact, even in the opening pages as she confronts a loss of proportionate significance. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, captivating, and engaging, author Ira Mathur’s “Love The Dark Days” is a must-read memoir and nonfiction book. The rich cultural dynamics both within her family and her own life were so passionately written about and felt in the journey the reader was led on, and the emotional and mental struggles the author and her multi-generational family underwent, including this cycle of trauma, were both tragic in its delivery and yet hopeful in the author’s achievements and experiences in the modern day. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ira Mathur is an Indian-born Trinidadian award winning multimedia journalist with degrees in Literature, Law and Journalism. www.irasroom.org .She is currently the Trinidad Guardian’s longest-running columnist , and has freelanced for The Guardian (UK) and the BBC.

IN 2021 Mathur was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award for her unpublished novel ”Touching Dr Simone.”

In 2019 Mathur was longlisted for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize. An excerpt of her memoir is anthologized in Thicker Than Water, (Peekash Press, 2018).

In 2018 she shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize, the Lorian Hemmingway (short story) and Small Axe Literary Competition.

Mathur gained diplomas in creative writing at the University of East Anglia/Guardian with James Scudamore & Gillian Slovo and Maggie Gee at the Faber Academy. ( 2015/2016)

https://www.irasroom.org/

Full: Overcoming Our Eating Disorders to Fully Live by Melissa L. Kelley and Alayna Burke Review

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

TRIGGER WARNING: BOOK INVOLVES AND SPEAKS ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF EATING DISORDERS. FOR ANYONE WHO CAN NOT HANDLE A BOOK INVOLVING THIS SUBJECT, READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Authors Alayna Burke and Mellisa L. Kelley share a personal story of anxiety, eating disorders, and the path they took to overcome the odds and find joy in their lives in the book “Full: Overcoming Our Eating Disorders to Fully Live”. 

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The Synopsis 

Growing up in the digital age, with the pressures of social media and increasingly competitive academics, Alayna’s perfectionism started early in life. She began to despise her body after a pre-teen wellness check when the physician told her to “lay off the snacks” and watch her weight. At age 16, Alayna was diagnosed with anorexia. She was three weeks from being sent to an in-patient treatment center when she decided to take charge of her life.

Plagued with body dysmorphia beginning at six years old, Melissa came of age in the diet culture of the 1970s and 1980s when fad diets, diet pills, and at-home exercise equipment dominated the golden age of advertising. Melissa was diagnosed with bulimia when she was 16 and her treatment included both inpatient and intensive outpatient programs over five years. After a series of traumatic events, she struggled with anorexia in her thirties.

Burke and Kelley weave their stories of illness and recovery through 12 topics that fed their eating disorders and share how they now manage those challenges to fully participate in life. FULL offers insight and hope to people struggling with eating disorders and those who love them.

The Review

This was such an emotional and captivating nonfiction read. The authors did an incredible job of finding just the right balance between the memoir style of writing and the specific focus on the topic of eating disorders and the impact they have on the person suffering from them. The atmosphere the authors create through their shared experience speaks both to the hardships they endured in their journeys and the hope they found in overcoming those disorders through the help of their families and proven techniques they discovered that helped them.

What stood out to me was both the exploration of each of these authors’ journeys in vastly different eras of history and the focus on personal experience more so than any technical or clinical focus on these disorders. The personal stories these authors share not only reflect their struggles but how the era they grew up in impacted how their disorders arose and presented themselves. This allows a larger group of readers to identify with the book and feel represented by the bravery and courage these authors have shown in writing this vitally important book. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, emotionally driven, and haunting yet hopeful all at once, authors Alayna Burke and Melissa Kelley’s “Full” is a must-read nonfiction and memoir-style book. The amount of knowledge and personal experience the authors share about their own journeys and how they related to one another over time, as well as the inspirational tone that the authors struck made this book readers won’t be able 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

Alayna Burke started her idea for Full as an eighteen-year-old senior in high school. She grew up in Saint Charles, Missouri, and always loved to write as a kid. Alayna developed anorexia, stemming from anxiety and depression, as a sixteen-year-old. Outpatient treatment and a strong support system helped Alayna recover in about two years, although the voice of her eating disorder still nags at her every once in a while. Alayna often wished there was a book out there from the voice of a teen who could relate to her, so she’s providing just that for other women. FULL is Alayna’s first published work. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in nutrition and exercise physiology with a minor in psychology at the University of Missouri. Alayna plans to become a registered dietitian.

Melissa Kelley grew up in Saint Charles, Missouri, the third of six children. Her love for writing began in high school and blossomed in her forties when she began blogging and writing a memoir. Full is her first published work.Throughout her career, Melissa has worked in both corporate and civic non-profit organizations. She currently holds a leadership position in a company whose mission is to make the planet better through environmental sustainability services. In 2018, Melissa was named one of Saint Louis’ Most Influential Businesswomen by the St. Louis Business Journal. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Truman State University and a Master of Business Administration from Washington University in Saint Louis. She lives with her two children, Athena Robin Kelley and Erin Iris Christine Kelley, and their Cavapoo, Noah, in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Something More! Essential Attitudes for Building the Life You Want (and avoiding mistakes along the way) by Amrit P. Kirpalani Kathleen Goolsby Review

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

Authors Amrit P. Kirpalani and Kathleen Goolsby take readers on a journey to discover how to find their true purpose in life, unlearn the bad habits in life that block them from achieving that purpose, and how make the decisions necessary to earn that purpose in their book “Something More! Essential Attitudes for Building the Life You Want (And avoiding mistakes along the way)”. 

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The Synopsis

Do you keep thinking, “Is that all there is to life? I want something more!” Do you think you can’t achieve your best life? This book guides you in avoiding blind spots and challenges on your journey to fulfill your purpose and have a more meaningful life.

You may already have read other books discussing how to discover your purpose or calling in life. Or you may be just now starting to figure that out because you want to live your best life, a more meaningful life. Either way, Something More! provides what the other books lack: a guide to help you manage the emotional and decision-making challenges on your journey. And you absolutely need that information!

This book is like a journey map, guiding you in the way to achieve the life you desire, despite the challenges you’ll encounter along the way in your personal transformation journey. You’ll benefit from the insights shared from ordinary people, who share how they made the necessary decisions and career changes along the way and how they managed their self-doubts, past regrets, fears, and other inhibiting emotions so they could achieve their best life.

The book includes 16 Essential Attitudes and associated Do’s and Don’ts to help you avoid blind spots you didn’t know you have that can hinder your journey and to help you change the blind spots into attitudes and mindsets that will propel your journey. It also has practical tips for managing through change, despite any anxieties you may have. Most people are not comfortable with change; yet change is necessary to achieve a meaningful life based on your purpose.

It also provides all sorts of tips about making decisions, which is one of the most difficult aspects of a personal transformation journey to achieve the life you want.

It also shares insights about some self-defeating emotions and behaviors you may have that you need to “unlearn,” along with how your journey will evolve through several life stages.

Consider which of the following points describes where you are today:

  • You know what you want to pursue in life but feel stuck because of what seems like a lot of changes required to get to what you want to pursue.
  • You already started on your personal transformation journey but encountered challenges along the way that you didn’t know how to manage through; so now you feel stuck again or feel dispirited about trying to move forward.
  • You already discovered your purpose in life and started moving toward the dream of the life you want to live, but you weren’t a parent then and suddenly are now, or you weren’t handicapped then but are now.

Something More! is an insightful guide to support achieving your dream for your best life—no matter your fears, doubts, past regrets, or your age and well-being as you go through your journey from this point forward. I hope that, at this moment and with this book, you realize you now have all you need for your journey to a wonderful place—the fulfilling life you desire.

Buy it now and get started on transforming to your best life.

The Review 

This was such a well-written and incredibly put-together book. The authors did a brilliant job of presenting well-researched steps through interviews and studies to show the reader how they can accomplish their goals. The personable way the authors wrote the book out and the honesty they poured into their work allowed the reader to connect to the message and tone of the book much more. 

The thing that stood out to me immediately about the book was the way the authors presented the path that was taken to get to the point they found themselves rather than focusing on specific solutions. This allowed the book to feel more guidance based and less preachy in general and gave the reader a feeling that the lessons learned here and the goals we hope to see ourselves achieve are far more attainable than we thought possible. The way the authors presented this book as something to be used both for those seeking more out of life and those who have been impacted by negative events or thoughts who are seeking a means of pulling themselves back up was an inspiring direction to go.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, captivating, and engaging, authors Amrit P. Kirpalani and Kathleen Goolsby’s “Something More! Essential Attitudes for Building the Life You Want (And avoiding mistakes along the way)” is a must-read nonfiction and self-help read. The easy-to-follow steps the authors lay out balanced the personal stories and blend of quotes and anecdotes well, and the relatability of the authors themselves and their message helped keep readers invested long after they finished the book. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Amrit Kirpalani believes that most people want to make a difference in the world and that living your best life starts with discovering the “real you” and then using your uniqueness to contribute to the happiness of others. Amrit focuses on creating pathways to change and working with others to collectively make positive impacts in the world. He does this partly by advising community entities and nonprofits and serving on the boards of directors of various organizations. He also mentors entrepreneurs in successful mindsets and in how to avoid pitfalls in their new endeavors. And he advises leaders in Fortune 500 companies and other organizations in his role as CEO of NectarOM, one of two marketing consulting companies he founded. His favorite part of each day is when he spends time with his three daughters where the family lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

Visit www.amritkirpalani.com to sign up for his monthly e-newsletter and see examples of the inspirational articles in the newsletters.

Kathleen Sassaman Goolsby misses a lot of sleep because she loves reading books (especially historical fiction and action-packed Westerns). When not reading, you’d find her playing Scrabble or enjoying the high-desert mountain scenery where she lives in New Mexico. She has a passion for helping others learn and does this through writing business, inspirational, and self-help books and articles. She has a B.A. in English from Friends University.

Follow Kathleen on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathleen-goolsby-5045a51).

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BHDZW5Q6/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F63252333-something-more%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D4U27qlhKN7%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

A Journey with Plato and My Monkey Towards Ground Zero by Khaled M. Issa Review

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

Get ready to take a philosophical journey through one man’s self-reflection and accountability in author Khaled M. Issa’s “A Journey with Plato and My Monkey Towards Grand Zero”. 

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The Synopsis

Do you know your monkey? Do you truly know who you are or how you became so?

I was living in an illusion in the world that I thought I knew. I had painted such a great picture of myself, that I loved so much. My shortcomings and uncalled-for poor personal behaviors were always justified by either nature or by the presumed faults of others.

Then I met my monkey and we decided to take a journey together with Plato, representing knowledge and wisdom. We discovered that nature and people, most of the time, have nothing to do with our bad habits and poor behavior.

Join us in a journey of searching for the best version of ourselves by going back to ground zero. Then and only then shall we live the true essence of happiness, prosperity, and peace of mind.

The Review

This was such an insightful and thought-provoking read. The author did a fantastic job of crafting a book that brought a balance of almost memoir-style writing and self-help philosophy. The tone and creative imagery the author used to bring these ideas and concepts to life allowed the reader to connect even more to the author’s message and kept me hooked on the author’s story. 

The book’s strongest moments came when the author was delving into the heart of this book’s themes. The personal writing style reflected these themes, as the guide and message to readers honed in on the need to reflect and find ourselves and our place in the world. Rather than viewing the world solely as we see it, the importance of examining situations based both on our experiences and the realities of the situation is crucial. Rather than blaming outside forces for our failures or mistakes, it is important to take ownership of those mistakes and faults and grow from them. The exploration of multiple aspects of one’s personality, including the conscious and subconscious minds as separate entities, was an inspired choice to examine this topic.

The Verdict

Brilliant, captivating, and engaging, author Khaled M. Issa’s “A Journey with Plato and My Monkey Towards Grand Zero” is a must-read philosophy and self-help book. The thought-provoking themes and lessons the author discovered and imparted to the reader were momentous and will have readers going back to the author’s work over and over again throughout their lives. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Khaled M. Issa graduated in 1986 from the University of Missouri at Rolla with a degree in mechanical engineering and became a patent holder with Caterpillar Inc. in 1991. With over three decades of experience in business management and consultancy, Khaled was able to create a successful career based on analytical thinking and process reengineering. During this time, Khaled was dedicated and passionate about employee training and leadership development, which made a significant impact on many of his team members both personally and professionally. He has not only been a CEO and board adviser of several companies, but he is also a loving father of five and grandfather to seven.

https://www.austinmacauley.com/us/book/journey-plato-and-my-monkey-toward-ground-zero

The Job Hunting Book by Ian Allen Review

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

Author Ian Allen shares a step-by-step guide to readers on the best practices to create the best chances at finding work, especially that first graduate job, in his book “The Job Hunting Book”.

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The Synopsis

Searching for your first graduate job is an exciting time, but can often leave you feeling lost and frustrated. So here’s a secret— it’s not all about you! Getting a job interview is also about your employer. Added to this, the tools that recruiters and job seekers use have changed, and to be successful, you’ll need:

* An online and in-person profile for yourself before you even approach an employer.
* A job application that solves an employer’s problems, and fulfils their hopes and dreams.
* To use technology as the cornerstone of your job seeking process.

In this practical, step-by-step job hunting guide, industry veteran Ian Allan will become your personal career guidance mentor. You’ll be given a foolproof process for writing a resume and cover letter that will go straight to the top of the “yes” pile, and a method for job hunting that includes identifying your skills gaps—and what to do about them.

Plus, Ian will teach you useful strategies for finding the four out of five dream jobs that aren’t advertised, and share actionable tips on how to build relationships so you get that job interview.

Draw on Ian’s decades of experience as an employee, employer and consultant to ensure you become an ideal candidate and land the job you’ve always wanted.

Bonus content: FREE access to four hours of video training and job hunting resources, including LinkedIn profile tips, downloadable templates, and real-world examples of successful job applications.

The Review

This was a well-written and incredibly researched book. The author did a fantastic job of showcasing a clear line of connection between a person getting a job by identifying with the employer themselves. The balance of personable and professional writing styles really elevated this book. It allowed the subject to shine brightly without getting lost in other areas of discussion in the job market. 

The clear-cut guide and interactive element of the book that challenges the reader to utilize these steps for themselves were inspiring to read and watch unfold on the pages of this book. The way the author delved into the impact on the job market these last few years have had, from how COVID-19 has changed how we work experience to the importance of having an online presence for many employers, really made the book feel relevant and accessible to a wide range of readers who are seeking employment in this new world.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, engaging, and insightful, author Ian Allen’s “The Job Hunting Book” is a must-read nonfiction book of 2022. The educational value alone will keep readers invested. Still, the relatable and thoughtful way the author approaches the subject with such honesty and conviction will have readers eager to engage with the author’s guidance and practices and in the field looking for work ASAP. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Life has a way of throwing up challenges. Mine happened in my late teens. In the final year of my apprenticeship a nasty workplace accident forced me to rethink my career.

Fast forward to my early 30s, I’d been a furniture restorer, a furniture removalist, a bingo caller, a pedestrian accident researcher, a condom tycoon (for some reason that failed to impress my girlfriend’s mother), a software engineer, and a lecturer and researcher in spatial science. I won jobs, sometimes due to my tenacity, but looking back, mostly through word of mouth.

In the 90s I started a consultancy and did spatial modelling for universities, the water industry, all levels of the Australian government and the UN. Magically, consulting work and now my employees came via word of mouth.

So, after 40 years as an employee and as a consultant, I’ve learnt that the secret sauce for getting work is relationships, especially professional relationships. These need not be insincere or manipulative. Opportunities naturally arise for those who make the effort. The trick to giving relationships their best chance of yielding work is to put yourself in the other person’s boots and empathize with their problems, their hopes and their dreams. Getting work becomes a simpler exercise when you’ve customized your offering to meet someone’s needs. And that idea is essentially what I’m on about.

I’m a teacher at heart. Now, in my 50’s, I can look back on my career as an employee looking for work, as a consultant winning work, and as an employer hiring and firing. The guidance I write was not around for me when I was starting out. In the absence of a mentor, I had to work it out for myself. And so here are some of my thoughts for you.

https://www.ianallanauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/IanAllanAuthor/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/i-allan/

Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag: A Memoir by Michael Anthony (Illustrated by Chai Simone Review

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

Author Michael Anthony takes readers on a journey of love and veganism as he searches for a way to maintain his relationship with his girlfriend as she dives further and further into “The Cause” in the graphic novel “Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag: A Memoir”.

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The Synopsis 

A rough-and-tumble Iraq War veteran is young and in love, and the last thing on his mind is food and the ethics of eating meat. But when his girlfriend becomes a vegetarian and animal rights activist, suddenly food is all he thinks about.

A true story of how love and vegetarianism can triumph over all else. Love, heartache, and the rest of the ingredients that make a reader laugh, smile, and stop-and-think, are all found in this enthralling graphic memoir. Amidst the stories of love and frustration, there are treatises on food, vegetarianism, and the ethics of the animal rights movement (some of it juxtaposed against Michael’s graphic wartime experiences). Told with Michael’s sardonic perspective and the delightful artwork of debut graphic novelist Chai Simone, this is a journey of true love gone temporarily astray.

The Review

This was such a unique and interesting read. The author did an incredible job of conveying real information and knowledge about the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle and how it can impact relationships while also infusing humor and wit into the narrative. The natural tone and atmosphere the author infuses into the story were great to see come to life. Typically in a memoir, the author has to work to infuse imagery into their stories, but the amazing artwork of Chai Simone did a great job of providing the warmth and depth this narrative held. 

Aside from the excellent utilization of the graphic novel format, what stood out to me was the deep emotional impact that this narrative had as well. The honesty and charm the author infused into the backstories of both himself and his girlfriend and the hardships they each had to overcome that led to their outlook on life (and subsequently the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle as a whole) was so profoundly moving and made the memoir feel more relatable and connected for many readers.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, gripping, and engaging, author Michael Anthony’s “Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag: A Memoir” is a must-read graphic novel meets nonfiction memoir of 2022. One of the top memoirs of the year, the author does an incredible job of finding his voice and infusing humor and emotion so seamlessly into the story of his relationship with both his girlfriend and his lifestyle as a whole and made this one book I didn’t 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

Michael Anthonyis the author of the graphic memoir Just Another Meat-Eating Dirtbag: A Memoir,and the award-winning and acclaimed memoirs: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir,and Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq.

Michael’s writing has been called “strong … and starkly honest…”-Publisher’s Weekly, “Dark Humored,” –Kirkus, “smart and mordantly funny,” –Milwaukee Journal, and “gut punching…”–Mary Roach. He has appeared in several anthologies, and has written for The Washington Post, Business Insider, Signature-Reads, and The Good Men Project, where he served for a year as chief editor of the War & Veterans section.

He has been featured in several documentaries regarding military service, philosophy, and comedy, and he has worked as a military consultant for award-winning theater and art installations.

A graduate of Bridgewater State University, Michael also holds an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. A former US army soldier, he currently lives with his wife in Massachusetts and spends his free time working with veterans.

Michael can be reached through his website: MichaelAnthonyAuthor.com

Love Soars the Skies: A Mother’s Quest to Reach Her Son by Linda Ann Jones Review

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

A mother must learn not only how to cope with the grief of losing her son, but how to utilize the heartbreak that comes with that loss to see beyond the world we know and understand the hidden world that resides just beyond our perception in author Linda Ann Jones’s “Love Soars the Skies: A Mother’s Quest to Reach Her Son”.

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The Synopsis

A mother’s love lasts for all eternity.

Grief struck — paralyzing, debilitating — the day she prayed would never come.

The personal story of how one mother coped, to find answers and to somehow make sense of it. She knew that to reach her son in the place he now resides was her only hope.

This book will not tell you how to deal with the unfathomable grief of losing a child. It invites you to explore a bigger picture.

No one understands the complexities of drug addiction. But what if it was a plan all along? To learn, experience, and grow. Earth and heart have the same letters. What if it’s through heartbreak that we grow the most?

There is more to this world than meets the eye, and new vision is required to see past the paradigms that bind us.

Through her son, the author discovers extraordinary signs and synchronicities, some of which are supernatural.

This much is sure. There is an invisible world that we cannot see with our mere five senses. But we can sharpen our vision, to glimpse the wonders of eternity in all its powerful glory, and realize the mighty bond of love that forever weaves and sustains it. For love is the abiding force that connects the entire universe.

And absolutely nothing will ever diminish the unrivaled magnificence of a mother’s love.

The Review

This is truly an emotional and captivating read. The author’s writing really allows the reader to feel the depth of emotions that she felt and continues to feel after the loss of her son. The imagery and artistry of the author’s writing style really captured the impact of both this loss and the journey that she went on in the wake of that loss, and the subtle tones of hope and meaning lay amongst the waves of sadness that the author had to overcome really captured me as I read further and further into this journey.

Yet for me, the author’s striking balance between memoir, biography, and spiritualism as a whole really made this nonfiction read feel more profound. The way the author delved into the powerful themes of drug addiction, grief, and the meaning of death and life as a whole were perfectly elevated by the study of more supernatural elements in the author’s journey, such as the synchronicities that occurred in the wake of this tragedy and the search for communication on the other side that defined her grieving process.

The Verdict

A memorable, engaging, and heartbreaking story of love, parenthood, loss, and our place in the world, author Linda Ann Jones’s “Love Soars the Skies” is a must-read nonfiction memoir and spiritual book. Bringing the heart and deep impact that the loss of a child gives to parents at any age, the author instantly connects with the reader and allows us all to walk in her shoes on this journey of hers to make some sort of sense of this tragedy, and in that same vein understand the unexplainable nature of our world altogether. If you haven’t yet, please be sure to read this book immediately.

10/10

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About the Author

Linda Ann Jones grew up in beautiful upstate New York which probably had something to do with her love for poetry. Quite unexpectedly, that eventually led her to write an award-winning children’s book series titled Alphabet Anatomy. In 2014, she became a grieving mother, which led her on a path to reach her oldest son in the place he now resides. She and her family live in sunny Arizona with three lively dogs and one remarkable cat. Her motto for writing has always been, “Say what’s in your heart, and touch someone else’s.”

https://lajones.allauthor.com/

The Alphabet Anatomy Rap is on You Tube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxxZsC-70jg

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BH6Y8TNL/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F62882247-love-soars-the-skies%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DOMm2pKvrk8%26rank%3D3&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Guide to Smart Wedding Planning by Edna Dratch-Parker and Jeri Solomon Review

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

Readers are treated to a practical and thoughtful approach to wedding planning in authors Edna Dratch-Parker and Jeri Solomon’s “Guide to Smart Wedding Planning”.

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The Synopsis

The Real Deal Wedding Insiders® Guide to Smart Wedding Planning gives you practical and actionable steps to take control of your wedding planning, make the best decisions, and keep your sanity along the way.

You’ll learn how to:

* Navigate stressful relationships

* Create a vision that represents you both

* Understand and build a realistic budget

* Choose the right venue and vendors

* Stay present and enjoy your wedding day

The Review

This was such an insightful and engaging book. The authors did an amazing job of taking the reader through the journey of wedding planning in great detail without losing themselves to an overabundance of backstories. The way authors were able to craft an interactive and educational read that has real-world practical applications that the reader will be able to share immediately.

The breakdown of information and reliability of the authors and their work is what stood out to me. The way the authors take the reader through every step of the wedding planning process, from the moment that you become engaged to the moment the wedding is over, was fantastic to read about, as there are so many aspects of the wedding process that the average reader doesn’t even think about. From the emotional side of things like learning how to be present in the moment of the wedding day to the finances and practical side of things that come with setting a budget with the person funding the wedding, this book does a great job of delving into the most important information that readers will be able to apply immediately.

The Verdict

Informative, thoughtful, and engaging, authors Edna Dratch-Parker and Jeri Solomon’s “Guide to Smart Wedding Planning” is a must-read book for the engaged couple seeking help with their wedding this season. The memorable and interactive writing style will keep readers invested in the information the authors have provided, and the brilliant and concise way the authors have collected this information will stay with readers well into their own weddings and beyond. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

With a combined 30 years and hundreds of weddings produced, Edna Dratch-Parker, founder, and creative director of EFD Creative—Event Planning & Design, and Jeri Solomon, owner of Jeri Solomon Floral Design, bring their depth of knowledge and real-life experiences to help couples avoid common mistakes, reduce stress, and truly enjoy the wedding planning process.

Website: https://www.realdealweddinginsiders.com/

INSTAGRAM: 

@weddinginsiders

@efd_creative

@jerifloral

FACEBOOK: 

@RealDealWeddingInsiders

@EFDCreative

@jerifloraldesign

TWITTER:

Handles to tag:

@RDWedInsiders

@EFD_Creative

@JeriFloral

TIKTOK: 

@RealDealWeddingInsiders

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3MLX47b