Required Reading

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Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Monday, September 20, 2021

You are Revolutionary by Cindy Wang Brandt



My first reaction to the book was girl power.  I fervently support strong female roles.  I read it again and I may have missed the message the first read.  It is kid power or people power. 

The point, I think, is that everyone can make a difference.  The author is striving to point out injustice and to empower kids (people) to take a chance and support change. 

The look of the book would lead me to believe it was for very young children but the message is more appropriate for kids who might be in third to sixth grade.  I see a problem in that not many grade six students would want to be seen with a picture book.

I like the book and the message, I’m not sure who the target market might be. 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi


This is an angry book depicting a dystopian future based solidly on today’s racial inequities.   Only a person of color could be courageous enough to write this book. Anyone else would be vilified for racism.  On the flip side, this book is so one-sided that reverse racism could be claimed.

I had mixed feelings about the book.  It depicted a future that hopefully is grossly incorrect.  One can only hope that as a society we are improving not devolving. 

It was a thought-provoking book that was uncomfortable to read.  I would like to think better of society but the current divisiveness and open racism might feed despair. 

We, the people, across all the wide spectrum of differences need to do better. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Spotlight on Butterfly Awakens: A Memoir of Transformation Through Grief by Meg Nocero

 A Q&A with the Author




  

  1. Where did you grow up /live now? What is your education/career background?

 

Both my parents were raised in large, tight-knit Italian-American families in New York.  After they got married, when the United States entered the Vietnam War, and the Draft began, my father signed up to serve with the U.S. Navy as a doctor. So right before I was born, my mom and dad were given orders to report to the U.S. Naval Base in Orlando, Florida. And on December 1, 1969, my dad said that I arrived at the U.S. Naval Hospital singing like a joyful and loud nun in the Sunday choir. 

 

We stayed in Orlando for the two years that my father completed his military service, then my mom, older sister Mary, and I returned to Yonkers, New York, where my dad could finish his residency at Bellevue Hospital in cardiology. Upon completion, one of my dad’s mentors in the Navy invited him to join a cardiology practice in Orlando—we all returned, this time with the addition of my little sister Aimee as well. So, from 3 years old until I went to Boston College at 18, that is where I grew up.

 

Because I applied to the American Field Service as an exchange student, I lived in Bucaramanga, Colombia, South America, during the summer before my senior year in high school.  Falling in love with Latin culture, the music—merengue, salsa, cumbia, vallenato—and learning Spanish, I chose to continue studying romance languages in college to open up communication with more people.  At Boston College, I traveled to Mexico, spent my junior semester abroad in Rome, Italy, and went on two mission trips: to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

 

Graduating with a B.A. in Spanish/Italian, and not knowing what else to do, I applied to law school. Because there was a recession, there was an increase in applications for professional schools. After being waitlisted, when I did not get in, I decided to return to Orlando to figure out my next step—I took a GAP year in the 90s before it was even a thing.

 

Not really focused on a particular career path, after working in an office as an assistant, then as a translator and interpreter for international conferences, I decided to go back to school at UCF to take the pre-requisites to get my M.A. in International Studies. When I got into the Graduate Program at the University of Miami in 1992, I moved to Brickell Key and never left—I finally felt like I was home.  Even after Hurricane Andrew blew through not even two weeks after I moved all my earthly belongings into my one-bedroom condo in Brickell Key II near downtown Miami and had to evacuate, I returned with my dog Alfredo Luigi. I fell in love with this big International city, the tropical feel, the dominant Latin culture, the wonderfully diverse people, and stayed. After receiving my J.D. in 1997, I married a fellow law school classmate who was also an Italian-American.  I worked for the federal government as an immigration trial attorney for nearly 20 years, raised two awesome kids, and built a wonderful life in Miami—Miami is a significant part of my story in that this place has helped me become the passionate creative that I am today.  

 

  1. Where/When do you best like to write?

 

I am creative. For me, writing, drawing, and singing have always been necessary therapeutic outlets.  As a kid, I would carry a journal with me wherever I went to jot down my ideas, emote on the page, organize myself, and sketch. As an adult with many roles and responsibilities, I had to get intentional to be creative. As a Julia Cameron's Artist Way student, I love to begin my day writing my morning pages, three pages longhand, stream of consciousness writing that clears your head. Knowing that it only takes 20 minutes a day to give a story life, I schedule that into my life while riding my stationary bike every morning. This exercise is an active meditation for me. It allows me the opportunity to do something healthy for my body and my mind. And, when a story or writing piece grips me, I will stay up all hours into the night, capturing its essence and bringing it to life on the computer screen or longhand on paper.

 

In the end, I love dancing with different languages, words, music, innovation, creation, and beauty. Writing has allowed me to be vulnerable, sharing my story with others while infusing more joy, fun, and creativity into my life. For years, living up to other people's expectations and basing my worth upon the opinion of other people left me feeling empty. Writing empowered me to decide that I was tired of suffering; I made an active choice to follow my bliss and see where that would take me with happiness as the ultimate goal. So, whenever I get a chance, I make time to write more.

  

3.    Is there a message/theme in your book that you want readers to grasp?

 

            When I was moving through grief, I promised that I would keep going to share a better story for             my life, healing myself and in service to others. The metamorphosis of the butterfly and the                    guidance of the lighthouse were symbols that stood foremost in my mind. Never giving up in                this life, doing the hard things that surround transformation, and in the end embracing your                    inner beauty—not needing  approval or permission from others to be here. I want other                       people to honestly know that there is always light, even in the darkness and that they are                       more than enough just as they are.

 


  1. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

There are so many synchronicities in life. Living my story was amazing. Getting it out there has been even more amazing—meeting and collaborating with so many creative people. I have learned so much and continue to learn every day—the learning curve is steep.

 

 

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Paulo Coelho, Liz Gilbert, Neville Goddard, Suzanne Simonetti, & Leslie Rasmussen

To buy the book go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble



This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Sunday, September 5, 2021

High Stakes by Iris Johansen



Lara is a pianissimo in the virtual sense, the finest.  She is also beautiful and deadly.  Russian mobsters rule her life but an even bigger mobster with mysterious intentions wants to change it.  Tanner, gambler extraordinaire, is hired to extract her from a perilous life with a nebulous promise of payment. 

Tanner is a savant, he excels in all he touches.   His ego may be superior to his skills and he finds that his intentions are impacted by an unforeseen emotion.  

Lara trusts no one but soon discovers to change her life she is going to need to trust someone. 

There is action aplenty, relationships and treachery.  

I enjoyed the book but was not over enjoyed with the book. 


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click on a purchasing link below.#CommissionsEarned

Pick of the Literate