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.

 

 

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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 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 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 Carrie Jane Knowles

Maribeth Shanley’s novel, A Crack in the World is a rough jagged read that draws a roadmap for recovery and self-discovery, albeit sometimes bumpy, for anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse. It’s an honest story of how difficult self-acceptance and healing can be for a person who comes from a family built on a solid foundation of lies. It forces you to take a hard look at the damage one selfish and morally corrupt individual can wreck on a family and a community.

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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.

Book Review for A GIRL ON A BIKE by Susan Emmerich

Title: A Girl on a Bike
Author: Susan Emmerich
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Essays
ASIN: B00UVVM6Q4download

A Girl on a Bike
by Susan Emmerich

Book review by Maribeth Shanley

I found Ms. Emmerich’s writing to be very honest and even raw at times. I loved how she would end most chapters with a little bit of a light-hearted, quip of practicality.
Her relationship with her daughter, Jules was heart-warming. I felt as happy as was Susan was when she found Miss Jules’ poem. My heart melted with hers.
Ms. Emmerich’s love for her father filled me up. It was so genuine and loving, I found myself crying. I’m so happy she had the dad she did; and the Christmas traditions were wonderful!
I laughed out loud at Susan’s sarcastic humor when it came to the hot flashes which she described to a T. “I wake up thinking a God that I’m sure is a man because a woman would never have cursed women this way!” Right on, Susan!
Being one, I absolutely loved the answer to “What moves the souls of baby boomer women?” Freedom. In spades, Susan…in spades! Right on!
Overall, very poignant soul searching which left me smiling.

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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 DEADLY ADAGIO by Carole Howard

Title: Deadly Adagio
Author: Carole Howard
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1938101373

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Deadly Adagio
by Carole Howard

Book review by Maribeth Shanley

Don’t underestimate this author as, in true adagio fashion, she soothes your mind with her characters.

As quickly as your mind begins to drift into sweet repose, the author jolts you to life as she garrotes you just as the character Margaret is garroted into permanent rest with a violin string. Suddenly all your senses are wide awake and you find yourself in the middle of a perfect storm. Ms. Howard commands you to sit down, shut up and pay attention as she rubs your face and mind in African traditions that rivet refined senses, leaving the reader stunned at the insanity of it all.

I love Ms. Howard’s writing style. When the main character, Emily plays her murdered friend’s violin, one can’t get any closer to the heart of how she felt about her friend. “Emily tucked Margaret, in the form of her violin, under her chin and smiled.” That passage made me smile.

Ms. Howard’s intimate relationship with the English language results in her painting facial features and expressions, human thought and bodily language with strokes that left me thinking … when I grow up, I want to write like her.

Click here to read an: Excerpt From “Deadly Adagio” by Carole Howard

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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 Nicole Eva Fraser

Maribeth Shanley wrote Crack in the World from her personal experience, intensifying the story’s chilling realism. Shanley’s characters and their relationships are drawn and developed with detail, authenticity, and feeling. Main character Emily ultimately frees herself from her father’s abuse — but that doesn’t immediately free Emily from the effects of the trauma she endured for years. Her trusted friends support her in her recovery process. The frank sexual content may be too much for some readers; the story and characters will ring true to survivors; and for those who have been spared that kind of suffering, the book offer a window into their reality.
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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.