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!

Book Review: A Mathmatical State of Grace

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In her novel, A Mathmatical State of Grace, Cathy McGough pairs an awkward yet highly intelligent young teen girl with a super star jock and the result is a love story too sweet to pass up.  Grace is a loveable, isolated yet sweet character whose crush on Vincente Marino, who is the opposite of Grace, is resolved early on to be wishful thinking on Grace’s part.  The two live in separate worlds, Grace a mathematical genius with few friends and Vincente a jock with a beautiful and equally popular girlfriend.  Vincente only notices Grace because she helps him with his math homework so that he can stay on the cricket team.  It’s a sweet, enjoyable beginning to the inside of every young girls mind whose crushed on a boy that seems far out of reach.

The novel takes a slight twist when Grace is injured, at the hands of Vincente, and ends up in the hospital having lost her memory and possibly even at death’s door due to brain complications.  Vincente, in his guilt, stays by Grace’s side at the hospital and becomes more of a dimensional character as we are introduced to his soft side.

The novel from there, takes a turn and enters into a science fiction like mode.  Hardly explainable, Vincente and Grace find themselves lost in a world together which seems to have no way out.  Left with no one, alone in the world, the two characters embark on a journey of survival. Their love story blossoms as they traverse this apocalypse type setting and it is very sweet to watch the characters develop deeper.

While I struggled as a reader to grasp the plot and the turn of events taking place I did find that the love story was comforting.  It reminds readers that true love really can happen in the least expected ways, and that often times, love can bring out the best in us.  I did not necessarily connect to the events or happenings in the story outside of the relationship between both main characters but am hoping that book two will bring some insight.

This would be a great read for anyone who enjoys science fiction, or for teen girls who are looking for a great love story.  My recommendation however is that you really do need to read both books one and two as I was left without an understanding of anything that was really going on.  Hoping to get book two and give a more insightful review!  BUY BOTH BOOKS NOW!

 

 

Book Review: Another Time – Another Chance

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Author Steve Wilhelm gets falling in love right in his novel, “Another Time – Another Chance.” His ability to weave the magic of new love into a truly beautiful story of desire, hope, and healing is exceptional.  The story of a man, in this case, Daniel, whose life swarms with the blessing of beautiful women to whom he claims his love for, is at first a little bit one dimensional.  After all, the man has it all.  It seems, at first glance, when initially reading, that Daniel just got a great round of good luck and lives in bliss.  Where’s the plot?  Oh boy … keep reading.  Wilhelm introduces the idea of regret, that often not so distant companion of all things what if?  He does so in such a twist of fate, a simple moment of wonder, that the story takes on a life of its own.  What if we could go back and change things?  What if we didn’t have to wonder about the effects of our choices?

Daniel, having it all already, chooses to open Pandora’s box.  His memory plays tricks on him, to the point of his memory being completely erased for some period of time.  He cannot seem to shake off the idea that whatever it is that is missing, might be important.  He is given an opportunity to re-trace his life, to literally go back in time, to discover what it is he is missing and ultimately, find out what may have been.

As the reader I was at first angry at Daniel.  In fact, I had a lot of emotion.  Daniel had everything – a great wife, a loving daughter, a picture perfect everything.  Why risk what he had by challenging his memory to recall things that possibly were erased for a good reason?   Why, when he discovers what that memory is, does he want to immerse himself in it?  I struggled with the transition the author takes from Daniel in “real” life to Daniel “going back.”  However, Wilhelm doesn’t disappoint.  The new “life” Daniel finds is one that sucks you in and breathes a new life entirely into the novel.

The cliffhanger ebbs and flows throughout the second half of the novel, and I found myself getting more and more excited for a perceived outcome, one that I was sure was going to take place.  I couldn’t put this book down, not until I knew what was going to happen when Daniel woke up from his jaunt down memory lane.

Then, the author does the most difficult thing of all and does so in such a way that if he were here, in my living room, I would have smacked him on the shoulder.  He went somewhere I didn’t even think possible.   The ending leaves you breathless, and desperately wanting more.

Quite the love story, but also a novel that leaves you contemplating your own life, your own regrets and choices, and in the end provides a path that astonishes.  Five stars for this novel, pick it up today on Amazon!

Book Review: Moon Over Alcatraz

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Patricia Delagrange’s novel, Moon Over Alcatraz, will pull at your heart strings and leave you breathlessly in love with her characters.  The author develops the main character, Brandy, as first having it all together in life.  The career, the money, the valiant husband, the up and coming new baby; suffice it say she has it all.  As her story unfolds we watch Brandy become more transparent as she faces trauma after trauma in life, unfolding into a multi-faceted woman.  The relationships in this novel are well developed, with a bit of a turn key surprise with one of them.  Brandy’s journey towards self discovery and true happiness is the theme for this story and as you read her walk towards enlightenment it is difficult not to become her biggest fan.

With her marriage falling apart after the loss of her first born daughter, Brandy struggles to pull it together.  She is suffering from Post-Partum depression and in the midst of this pain, her husband, Weston, leaves her for a business trip to New York.  Alone and dealing with the painful loss of a child, Brandy attempts to deal with her depression on her own. In the meantime, Weston, at a loss for words to help his wife, struggles with her pulling away from him.  Each of them make a choice that significantly changes their entire world.

The novel begins here, but follows a path of painful truths along the way towards true happiness.  You will not be disappointed in Moon Over Alcatraz!  Get your copy now!

 

About the Author

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College, studied her junior year at the University of Madrid, received a B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and Jack. Her Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.

 

 

The Power of the Pen

CF 1During my radio interview last night with Vicki Drane Speaks on Artist First Vicki asks me how difficult it was to put so much of my own self out into the world through Restitution.  I responded with,

“The day Restitution went live on amazon I literally felt like I’d taken off all my clothes and walked naked into the streets for all to see.  It was a moment of feeling so extremely vulnerable that I simply fell to my knees and cried out to God, “Let this not be in vain.”  To tell our stories, to be so authentic with our truth – it’s never easy.  We’re trained, as a society, to keep the ugly hidden.  We put on airs that all is well and we secretly fight demons in our sleep, and for a lot of us, in our awake.  We pretend that we’re fine.  We pretend that our experiences didn’t shape us or change us.  We lie.  We keep quiet.   So, yes, putting Restitution out into the world was deathly frightening.  But I didn’t worry as much about what people would think …. what I worried about more was being able to be there for every single person that read it and thought, “Me too.  How do I survive?”  Restitution, for me, isn’t just a novel you can download for $2.99 on Kindle.  It’s a movement.  It’s a voice.  It requires that I walk in humility, truth, and exposure.  But, I’m willing to go there.   I’m willing to be the voice long enough until others harness the courage to speak for themselves.”

Try Restitution.  Just give it a chance, and maybe  you’ll discover that the secrets and the story within you has been begging to come out too.  You have purpose.  Your voice counts!