Book Review for ACQUIESCENCE by Velya Jancz-Urban

Title: Acquiescence
Author: Velya Jancz-Urban
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
ISBN: 978-1630661021
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Acquiescence
by Velya Jancz-Urban

Book review by Carole J. Howard

The historical information in this book is mesmerizing. Other elements of the book are, too, but it was the history that was uniquely fascinating. What a clever plot device (no spoilers!) to integrate the history and to keep it relevant. I’m not ordinarily drawn to this genre (I can’t say why because it would involve a spoiler), but I’m so glad I dug in. And the way she ties it all together at the end is great. If only history had been this interesting in school.”

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carolehowardAfter a career in which her writing largely consisted of training manuals and memos, in which clarity was the holy grail, Carole is thrilled to be writing fiction and memoir.  She lives in the beautiful and rural Hudson Valley of New York with her husband, and with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren just down the road apiece.

Carole gets around, having been to about 50 countries (so far), including eighteen months spent in Senegal, the setting for her novel Deadly Adagio, while her husband was a Peace Corps Administrator. She has also been in several amateur orchestras, which is territory that, like a country, has its own language, customs, government, hierarchy, and sub-groups.

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Book Review for ACQUIESCENCE by Velya Jancz-Urban

Title: Acquiescence
Author: Velya Jancz-Urban
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
ISBN: 978-1630661021
Acquiescence+front+cover

Acquiescence
by Velya Jancz-Urban

Book review by Susan Emmerich

Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, and don’t believe that those who have passed on are still with us, you will be touched by the power of Velya Jancz-Urban’s Acquiescence. In her incredibly well researched novel, Jancz-Urban takes the reader on a journey that suspends belief as it explores betrayal, forgiveness, and acceptance. With my own connection to spirits, with my love of cemeteries, I identified closely with the characters and the story. I found myself regularly checking to make sure this was a work of fiction as the book read as both drama and a memoir, with the main character, Pamina, exposing intensely personal struggles and insights. Her wisdom is evident in passages like: “…Even when you heal, you’re never what you before. You can’t go back. You can’t change the past. It just is.” While Pamina’s family is the focus of the book, it is their experience with the spirit Susannah that guides their path to establishing a fresh beginning. This meshing of the past, present, and future is what makes Acquiescence a compelling read.

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Susan Emmerich is not a writer by training and discovered her love of words late in life.  In her first career as a licensed social worker, she worked in the areas of family violence and adoption.  When her own daughter became school age she made the leap to school guidance to take full advantage of snow days!

While having coped with multiple losses in her life, Susan did not really take notice of their collective impact until her first menopausal mood swing.  It was then that she found writing and biking to be the best medicine for a wounded soul.  She currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio and is still discovering miles of new bike trails.

Susan is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes. 

Book Review for THE NINETY-NINTH REUNION by Dene Hellman

Title: The Ninety-Ninth Reunion
Author: Dene Hellman
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Mainstream
ISBN: 978 1938101922
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Ninety-Ninth Reunion
by Dene Hellman

Book review by Maribeth Shanley

I totally enjoyed this book!  I found Maggie’s quirkiness and sarcasm endearing.  Lee, a former victim of bullying before it was called that, turned out to be a formidable woman who knew what she wanted and had earned being happy.  Ben, a very decent Midwesterner, was very unassuming.  Then there’s Caroline!  My husband was born and raised in Iowa.  Fortunately, we never spent much time going back to his hometown.  Now that I’ve read The Ninety-Ninth Reunion, I’m glad we didn’t.  This book gave me the willies on what I may have encountered.  I’m also now very thankful I’ve never made the effort to go to a high-school reunion.  Those were never my favorite years; and, now, I’ll gladly let that sleeping dog lie.  The Ninety-Ninth Reunion…good to the last drop!

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MaribethMaribeth Shanley lives in Myrtle Beach, SC with her husband Bob Bibb.  They have three furry and three feathered children.  Maribeth is now retired from McCormick and Co., Inc. of the famous spice brand.  Once retired she decided to try her hand at writing.  “I’ve always loved to write and dreamed of becoming a writer.  Never did I imagine, however, it would actually happen.” Shanley is the author of the novel Crack in the World, which is based on her own experiences as a sexually abused child.

 

 

Book Review for CRACK IN THE WORLD by Maribeth Shanley

Title: Crack in the World
Author: Maribeth Shanley
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978-1630661014

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Crack in the World
by Maribeth Shanley

Book review by Susan Emmerich

I picked up Maribeth Shanley’s novel, Crack in the World, with a bit of dread. As a former social worker, dealing with issues of sexual assault and domestic violence had been a daily task for me for a quarter century, and I was not looking forward to recalling decades of horror told by clients. I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. Shanley focused more on the emotional fall out from abuse, rather than the details. She accurately describes the family pain resulting from sexual abuse, without ever losing sight of the strength of her main character, Emily. The reader can’t help but rejoice in Emily’s triumph.
Yet, I found myself cheering equally hard for Emily’s mother, Sarah. It is through her eyes that we really come to know the depth of the damage, the layers of hurt. In her descriptive style, Ms. Shanley is able to draw the reader into understanding the thoughts, fears, frustrations, and sadness that often go unsaid in families impacted by the ultimate betrayal. 

If you are looking for a feel good tale of love and support, you will find it woven among the complications of human pain and lost innocence. You will be reminded that wounds can be healed with kindness and honesty, even if they never quite disappear. Crack in the World is accurate, raw, and honest. Anyone impacted by abuse will benefit from reading Ms. Shanley’s insightful novel.
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 Susan Emmerich is not a writer by training and discovered her love of words late in life.  In her first career as a licensed social worker, she worked in the areas of family violence and adoption.  When her own daughter became school age she made the leap to school guidance to take full advantage of snow days!

While having coped with multiple losses in her life, Susan did not really take notice of their collective impact until her first menopausal mood swing.  It was then that she found writing and biking to be the best medicine for a wounded soul.  She currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio and is still discovering miles of new bike trails.

Susan is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes.

Book Review for APRICOTS IN A TURKISH GARDEN by Carrie Jane Knowles

Title: Apricots in a Turkish Garden
Author: Carrie Jane Knowles
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Short Stories
ISBN: 978-1630661090
Apricots in a Turkish Garden

Apricots in a Turkish Garden
by Carrie Jane Knowles

Book review by Nicole Eva Fraser

Carrie Knowles is a great writer, pure and simple, and her gifts shine in this collection of short stories with a crazy-quilt of characters we can recognize and identify with. In her stories, conversations are key—imagine! People talking face-to-face and on the telephone to each other! People conversing at length without their minds and eyes wandering to their smart phones! Knowles brings her individual characters, their relationships, and their realities to life so richly, through her heart for people’s stories and her ear for real conversations. What impresses me most is that the stories flow so naturally, without hiccups, false notes, or contrivances. Knowles wields her writing prowess quietly and effortlessly. These stories brought me back to the land of the living.
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07-2014-nicole-eva-fraser-230x280Nicole Eva Fraser received her MFA in creative writing from NEOMFA consortium in northeast Ohio, and graduated summa cum laude from Baldwin-Wallace College with a double major in English and communications. She is an adult-literacy activist in Cleveland, Tanzania and Malawi. She runs 10Ks (slowly), used to speak French, and often can be found putting her foot in her mouth. Fraser is the author of It’s the Hardest Thing in the World and I Don’t Think It’s that Simple.

 

Book Review for I DON’T THINK IT’S THAT SIMPLE by Nicole Eva Fraser

Title: I Don’t Think It’s that Simple
Author: Nicole Eva Fraser
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Psychological Fiction
ISBN: 978-193810159

I Don’t Think It’s that Simple
by Nicole Eva Fraser

Book review by Maribeth Shanley

Ms. Fraser’s writing is excellent and her book well executed. I must admit, I did not like her main character, Evan, which made reading difficult. I found him to be arrogant, full of himself, narcissistic, yet, so insecure that he could never commit to anything, especially himself. I felt Ms. Frazer’s character, Julia, expressed everything that was wrong with Evan when she said about her own life, “Life is all mine now –to fly or fall — it’s up to me.” She said this while all Evan could think of was himself. Not my type of person at all.

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MaribethMaribeth Shanley lives in Myrtle Beach, SC with her husband Bob Bibb.  They have three furry and three feathered children.  Maribeth is now retired from McCormick and Co., Inc. of the famous spice brand.  Once retired she decided to try her hand at writing.  “I’ve always loved to write and dreamed of becoming a writer.  Never did I imagine, however, it would actually happen.” Shanley is the author of the novel Crack in the World, which is based on her own experiences as a sexually abused child.

 

Book Review for MERCY’S SUNSET by Lindsay Luterman

Title: Mercy’s Sunset
Author: Lindsay Luterman
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
ISBN: 978 1938101922

Mercy’s Sunset
by Lindsay Luterman

Book review by Carrie Jane Knowles

Lindsey Luterman raises an interesting question as her well crafted novel, Mercy’s Sunset unwinds: How do you choose a love for eternity if you have lived more than one lifetime? Also, how and who do you choose to travel with you from one life to another?

What are the choices we unconsciously make and how do the shape our lives?

If you’ve have ever wondered about the possibilities and the responsibilities that travel with you from one life to another, you’ll delight in the journey of Mercy’s Sunset.

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Carrie Jane Knowles has been a freelance writer for the past forty years. She has published widely in both fiction and non-fiction and has won a number of prestigious writing awards, including: Midland Authors Poetry Award, the American Heart and Torch Award for Creative Journalism, and Glimmer Train’s Very-Short Fiction Contest. She is the author of Apricots in a Turkish Garden.

Carrie and her husband, Jeff Leiter, live in Raleigh, North Carolina. They have three children.