Book Review: 360 by Vicki Drane

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If you’ve ever looked around at your life and thought to yourself, “Is this what I really want?  Is this who I really am?” Then Drane’s novel, 360, is for you.  Vicki exposes us to the life of Jessica, a beautiful young woman who has found herself at the cusp of desperation.  Lost and isolated in the throe’s of an abusive relationship, Jessica feels fear, insecurity, and is unable to escape from her own denial.  Drane exposes physical abuse in her novel and courageously speaks, through Jessica, on the painful and horrific ways in which women can often get stuck in negative patterns.  Jessica, a full time social worker whose job is to support, hear, and enable young children as they go through crisis, excels at helping others but fails to see how much self-care she herself deserves.

Your heart will break as you get to know this young woman, full of such potential with a selfless, giving spirit.  She seeks to serve others and to ensure their happiness but her efforts continue to be thwarted by those who do not appreciate her or see her value.  Drane however does not create a character who needs pity, or a woman who is completely oblivious to the reasons she acts the way she does.  Logically, Jessica is able to see – almost as if looking from the outside in – that she is stuck in a dead end and needs to escape.  As always however, even though we know the logic and reason of our situations that does not always mean our heart is in tune.  Jessica simply wants to love and to be loved.

Drane introduces Ruby, one of the little girls that Jessica nurtures at work.  Ruby, a precious and wise little spirit, endures so much pain and rejection from her mother but yet fights to find the positive in her life.  As their relationship grows, Jessica begins to see how she can give Ruby advice on letting go of the past- but she isn’t taking her own advice.  It is ultimately her relationship with Ruby that inspires her to finally take a stand.

Jessica’s revelation comes on a single day when she realizes, enough is enough.  Her ability to self-talk and see the light at the end of the tunnel pushes her forward to do the one thing she had needed to do all along.  Get out of her abusive relationship.

You will find yourself cheering Jessica on, desperately wanting to reach into the pages and offer her encouragement and hope.  You will feel, as the author does such a beautiful job, her pain and her loneliness and her struggle to let go of everything holding her back.

She is each of us.  She is the innate desire we each have to love and be loved in return.  She is the whisper we tell ourselves, that we deserve to be happy.  She is the pain, confusion, and insecurity we each feel when our past creeps in on us and our futures seem bleak.  She is authentic, truthful, and powerful in her quest to find her true self, escape from denial, and finally emerge the beautiful and inspired Jessica that was always there.

If you’re looking for an inspirational, heart-felt, authentic motivational book on conquering your fears and unveiling your true potential; this is it.  Drane does an amazing and fantastic job leading us down a path of hope.  GET YOUR COPY NOW!

Book Review: As Life Goes – Elementary

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Jason Zandri’s novel, As Life Goes – Elementary, whisked me away into blissful nostalgia with words that remind me of my own father.  This novel, endearing and wise, is a must read.

Zandri details the life lived of a father and son who face adversity hand in hand, soul to soul, and with a priceless conviction of truth and honesty.  Mark Sanford, Mathew’s father, picks up the pieces left from his wife leaving him and their son with an honor and dignity that makes you fall in love with him; both as a father and as a man.  Woven so perfectly throughout the pages, and throughout his life, are words of wisdom so poignant that at times I highlighted them, to make sure I could recall them for myself as a mother.  Not only does Zandri create a character who overcomes adversity with sheer will power, but he adds compassion, wisdom, and enlightenment.  I found myself cheering Mark on in the early pages as he begins to create a new life for himself and his son, Mathew.

Add in a beautiful younger woman, Diane, in need of work but more so, in need of a hero, and her little sister and mother and you embark on several relationships that blossom and bloom in glorious new colors.  Jason’s novel couples coming of age, love story, parenting, and insight  with genuine, real life inspiration and as the relationships ebb and flow through travesty, hope, and trust one cannot help but want to read more.

Growing up, and even now into my forties, my father has always bestowed pearls of wisdom unto me.  It has been and always will be one of my greatest blessings, to have a father whose words guide and support.  Zandi’s novel made me pick up the phone and call my father after having finished reading it, just to remind him of how much I love him.

If you want a book that eloquently reminds you of what it means to lead an honorable life, without being preachy, this is it.  You will fall in love with all the characters, each in a different stage in life, and even have some amazing life lesson take-aways.

For so many reasons, this novel is a treasure.   Five stars.

Get your copy NOW!