Cheryl Holloway Says, “How Important Are Book Reviews?”

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“How Important Are Book Reviews?”

I firmly believe book reviews are an essential part of reading a book.

What does it mean to review a book?

According to the internet, A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review may be a primary source, opinion piece, or summary review.

As an author, book reviews are the first thing I look at on Amazon. They tell me about my writing—overall. Reviews are an important way of getting the word out about books, and for authors, reviews are the much needed feedback about their work—encouragement from others. It is a validation of an author’s hard work—a validation by readers, fans, peers and friends/family.

I think, book reviewers have a different perspective on writing reviews. For them, it is an exercise in thinking about an author’s words and how she/he organized them and presented those words to the world.

I recently released one of my eBooks as a print book, A Sisterhood of Women Living Life: A Short Story Collection Book 1. I’ve sold several copies of the book and I encourage readers to stop by Amazon and leave a book review. I read somewhere that only 5% of readers write a review. I find that 1 in 250 readers write a review for the average author. However, for a celebrity author, they are knocking down the door to write a book review. How ironic, those are the very authors who don’t need a review. Oh, well…

On the other hand, many of my readers email me to tell me how much they enjoyed my books. This is wonderful, but no one sees their comments but me and them.

Recently, a friend, since I was 16 years old, finally read one of my books. (I have nine books on Amazon.) She said, “Wow, I didn’t know that you were such a great writer and story teller. Your book is wonderful. I’ve read it three times in a three days.” It is a stellar review.

So, how can I encourage the readers to tell me and tell the world about my books?

Amazon Link: http://tiny.cc/3f9uny

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Note: Photos/Clip Art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

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Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review for The Proposal: A Leap of Faith

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Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please read the wonderful 5 Star Review by Rosie Malezer at:

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-proposal

“This is my all-time favorite review of any of my books!”

http://amzn.to/2tzvQLN

 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

   

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review for The Proposal: A Leap of Faith

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Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review

Title: The Proposal: A Leap of Faith

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Short Story

Synopsis: If you love contemporary romance with real-life events…

Carol and Marvin love each other and have dated off and on for over ten years; however…Carol becomes jaded about the relationship when Marvin won’t ask her to marry him. Marvin’s commitment to the relationship never wavers despite being afraid to commit to marriage. Finally, he wants to move their relationship to the next level—on Valentine’s Day. After a heartbreaking event and crying for days, Carol is ready and at last she thinks he is, too. Will he ask her to marry him or does he have something else on the agenda? Will commitment-phobic Marvin take the plunge…

Smart and sophisticated, with a plot twist that will give the reader a jolt!

Similar to books written by Shirley Wine and Becky Wade.

Cheryl Holloway’s The Proposal: A Leap of Faith is inspired by a real-life women and real-life events.

Please read the wonderful 5 Star Review by Rosie Malezer at:

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-proposal

“This is my all-time favorite review of any of my books!”

 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

   

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Wynn Wagner

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Title: Brent: The Heart Reader

 Genre: Gay Fiction

 Synopsis: A New Age Romance (M/M, explicit, adult fiction)

Brent is a tarot reader, a young man whose adopted family doesn’t like tarot readers or gays or Swedes or anything else that Brent can bring to the discussion. One of his tarot readings is for a young Sioux man, and that’s where Brent’s old life stops. Brent’s finds a whole new life that is full of wonder and adventure, as he learns to read his own heart first. Viking meets Sioux — fireworks.

BRENT: THE HEART READER is the tender and sexy story of self-awareness and acceptance as this wounded healer lets himself fall in love with a wonderful man.

Wynn Wagner, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Wynn Wagner. Dr. Wagner is a retired Archbishop who writes gay romance novels. “It’s a niche,” he says. Welcome to my blog, Wynn.

Note: Wynn Wagner is a humorous man. You will smile or laugh throughout the interview.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

WW: A young man, rejected by family, creates his own life. He survives by doing tarot readings and flourishes when he falls in love. [23 words—That’s me bucking authority.]

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

WW: I start with the beginning. No more. I know the main characters (more-or-less), and I throw about 10 pounds of stuff into their 5 pound lives. “There, Wynn. Let’s see you dig your way out of that.”

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

WW: In one of my vampire books, I have two having sex while riding on the tail section of a jumbo jet as it screams over the Atlantic ocean. So, “believable situations” is a relative term.

All my books are first person, so Brent is telling his own story. He’s always on a spiritual quest. All the themes are known to me. I’ve meditated on tarot cards for most of my life; although, I have never done a reading.

Rejection by family is guesswork. I came out of The System (foster care), so I have never known a real DNA-based family.

CH: Where did you get the idea for this book?

WW: Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha (1922). It’s the best book on spiritual discovery I ever read.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

WW: They pop up in my head, and I become a stenographer for the first draft. I wish I could tell you there’s a magical formula or a special way of outlining, but that’d be a lie.

They mysteriously pop up, and I write down what they say. Seriously.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest character to write?

WW: Cecile and Hamlet in the Vamp Camp novels were so much fun. She’s snarky. He’s ditsy.

The hardest was Takoda, the love interest in Brent: the Heart Reader. He’s Native American. When he reacts to something, I had to make sure that I wrote things that a typical Sioux would know. That was way out of my comfort zone. Fortunately, I have a couple of friends who are Sioux, so they chased me around until I understood.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

WW: Namasté. People and things need to be seen as having a wonderful life force about them.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

WW: I treat the reader as an adult, a smart adult. There are b’zillions of comments that require you know such-and-such before you see the deep meaning or the joke. Nobody will get all my references, and that’s fine. I hope it’s still a good read.

All my books are laid out without lots of flowery language. They deal with action or conversation, without mentioning the fluffy purple coronation brocade under the main character’s tush, or the fluffy clouds wafting across the summer sky.

CH: You’ve written several books in various genres. What contributes to your success as a writer? What has been the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?

WW: Royalties. I was hospitalized for pancreatitis in 2010, and they kept me there for 5 months. Surgeons did a risky 4 hour surgery to remove my pancreas completely. I still have to be on powerful opiates daily for pain.

When I got home, I saw royalties were posted to my bank account all through that hospitalization. It made me double-thankful for readers.

CH: You’ve written a lot of gay books and articles on HIV/AIDS, Is this topic your passion for writing?

WW: I am one of the long-term survivors you hear about from time to time. I’ve been Poz (positive) since the beginning of the pandemic, and I am alive through nothing I did. It’s hard: my pancreatitis was caused by two of the early meds to fight the virus. I survived, but my pancreas didn’t.

At some level, the smart author will write what he/she knows. No, I’ve never had sex on the tail section of an airplane crossing the Atlantic. That was me being silly.

I write about HIV because I know the signposts. My book Commitment Issues is about a radio announcer who is getting sober one day at a time. I was also a network newscaster who got sober one day at a time.

CH: Your main character is a lot like you—adopted, Swede, and gay. How much of your leading man is based on you?

WW: Adopted Swede who’s gay. Have you seen books with that combination? No. It was up to me to fill this niche. At some level, all my characters come from something deep inside me. I’m an intuitive writer, but one who loves playing with words. I don’t think I’m allowed to have a non-Scandinavian or non-gay main character. It wouldn’t be seemly.

CH: What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?

WW: Lately, most of the feedback is whining about a new title. I haven’t released anything in years. That’s about to change.

CH: Are there any writing projects in progress? What can we expect next from you?

WW: Sure. Time Flies is a science fiction book (still a romance, too). It was just released!

 

Time Flies is an angry book to start. It happens in a small Texas town with rednecks and homophobes. The narrator went out to learn martial arts to protect him from bullying. He talks about “It gets better,” but adds “because I made it better.” The plot is his path to hope and love, against impossible situations.

Time Flies took five years to write. Writing for me was never a chore, and I could do a rough draft lickety–split. Those days are gone. Now, I need copious notes and outlines. Thank goodness for Scrivener and all its notes and version controls. I tore up the entire book 5 or 6 times, after writing myself into a boring corner, or a plot that was too intricate to follow.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

WW: My alternate websites are: www.MysticWaysBooks.com and www.DreamspinnerPress.com/authors/wynn-wagner-495

Or you could just search my name at your favorite online merchant. There are paperbacks, case bounds, and audio books. The biggest channel is Amazon (Kindle, audio, paperback). Readers are typically women, and they love the Kindle or audio versions.

Thank you, audience. Thank you so much. You have really made a difference in my medical bills.

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

WW: All of my books are sold online. I don’t know of any brick-and-mortar. I’m sure there’s too much sex for the typical walk-in merchant. They hear about that airplane tail section, and they’re all like: Oh, no, no, no, no.

CH: How to Find Wynn Wagner:

CH: Any closing remarks?

WW: This was a fun exercise for me, so Thank You for that. Because of my health, the publisher usually declines interviews. What I want to know is this: What nefarious rumor did you threaten the publisher to get them to agree to this?

CH: Thank you so much, Wynn Wagner, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers and give us a few laughs.  I probably asked the publisher for an interview at a great time, when your new book is being released. It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers,  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Wynn Wagner.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

   

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Gaynor Torrance

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Title: Step Up or Die

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: Attacks in the US and the UK result in a significant loss of life. Meghan Dawson has no interest in these events until her father is murdered. Stumbling across the identity of his killer she realises that her young son is in danger too. Fleeing New York she finds herself having to outwit a killer who knows her better than she knows herself. To save her son, it’s time for Meghan to Step Up or Die.

Gaynor Torrance, Author

International Authors on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Gaynor Torrance, an international author from South Wales. She has developed a strong interest in psychological and psychiatric conditions, which is incorporated in her books. Welcome to my blog, Gaynor.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

GT: Step Up or Die is the story of a woman who faces the ultimate challenge when she discovers that a psychopath is intent upon killing her and her twelve year old son.

CH: This book is a transatlantic thriller. Where did you get the idea for this book?

GT: The ideas for this book came from three separate sources:

  • An episode of Elementary starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu gave me a basic idea for my villain.
  • A documentary on the construction of St. Paul’s cathedral in London inspired the location for my ending.
  • An episode of Horizon (a science show which has aired for more than 40 years here in the UK) gave me the idea of what could tie the various strands of the story together.

CH: Does your background in psychological and psychiatric conditions have great influence on this book?

GT: Not in this instance, though I like to write about characters with psychological flaws or psychiatric conditions.

CH: Is this your debut novel? How long have you been writing?

GT: Step Up or Die is the second book that I’ve published. My debut novel, Revenge, is a whodunit set in Cardiff (the capital city of Wales), which was my home town when I wrote the book.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

GT: Setting much of Step Up or Die in New York was particularly challenging for me. It’s a city I have always wanted to visit but don’t have first-hand experience of. I’ve seen it on the TV, and these days you can view locations on Google Earth, which was particularly helpful when describing places. A crucial section of my story relies on journeys being made within a particular timeframe which was quite problematic for me as I wanted this to be as realistic as possible.

CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so do you prefer writing a book with a lot of twists and turns?

GT: I love reading and writing books with intricate plots and plenty of surprises. I want to be caught up in the story, racing towards danger, pulling back just in time, feeling that I’ve got a handle on things without quite knowing whether or not things will work out fine in the end. A story has to be exciting and perilous to hold my interest.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

GT: The message is how easy it is for any of us to be blinded by love as we tend to see only what we want to see. It would be wonderful to think that each of us will only ever experience happy, healthy and respectful relationships, but human nature dictates that some people will not be so fortunate. To enter into any romantic relationship you have to be optimistic about what it has to offer. Else why would you risk opening yourself up to another person? But it is this very investment of hope, coupled with a desire for happiness which can make you vulnerable to the other person’s character flaws. In most cases these flaws are trivial, and may irritate or cause minor upset when they come to light. But in the worst case scenario they are grounded in malevolence and so well hidden that you would not suspect your chosen partner to be capable of such thoughts or deeds. It is impossible to analyse someone’s every word or action, and it would not be a healthy path to embark upon as trust is essential for a relationship to flourish. However, there are occasions when you may not pick up on warning signals that something was not quite right. And no matter how secure you may feel you may suddenly discover that everything you took for granted has been snatched away from you.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your unique, suspenseful writing?

GT: I write about the darker side of human nature where nothing can be taken at face value. I also like to intertwine actual contemporary and historical issues into my work to inform and add interest to either the setting or the story.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

GT: It wasn’t hard to create fictional situations, and as I mentioned in the previous question, I also weave in real life issues to make the setting and plot more believable.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

GT: I find inspiration from many sources, from snippets of overheard conversations, news articles, historical characters and sometimes even people I know. But my characters are always a hybrid, which makes them interesting for me to write.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? Which character was your favorite to write?

GT: I found that my protagonist, Meghan Dawson was the hardest character to write. When she is first introduced she is quite dislikeable, but as you get to know her you realise that having spent her entire life amongst high achievers she has very little self-confidence.  She has to start believing in herself and as the story develops, we witness a slow, reluctant transformation taking place. When she discovers what her husband is up to, she knows that she has to stop him, but she is terrified of doing something which may get herself or her son killed. There comes a point when she has no one to turn to and has to make decisions for herself. As a writer I had to hold on to her self-imposed limitations and keep pushing her until she had no choice but to commit to a course of action.

Meghan’s husband Russell was my favourite character. As he had no conscience and was also a technological genius; it gave me so much scope to extend my plot.

CH: Do you have a book trailer? What are your thoughts on book trailers?

GT: I have trailers for both of my books. I think they are a very good way of advertising your book as people like visual and auditory stimulation. The book trailer for Step Up or Die can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvkkVeOCH7U&feature=youtu.be

CH: Are there any other genres you would like to write?

GT: I have recently had an idea for a science fiction story set in Florida which I may play around with and possibly develop at sometime in the future.

CH: Are there any writing projects in progress? What can we expect next from you?

GT: I am currently writing Cuckoo, which is about a teenage girl who is in a coma and two women who have links with her. It is a far slower pace than my previous books, but will have quite a few twists and turns along the way. I think I would class it as psychological suspense which will test readers’ expectations of the characters.

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

GT: My book is available at: Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple.  It is also be available at Inktera and Blio.

CH: How to find Gaynor Torrance:

CH: Any Closing remarks?

GT: Cheryl, I would just like to thank you for this interview, and encourage anyone who wishes to know more about my work to contact me via my website.

CH: Thank you so much, Gaynor Torrance, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Gaynor Torrance.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Victoria Benchley

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Title: The Siamese Suicides:  A Duncan Dewar Mystery of Murder & Suspense (Duncan Dewar Mysteries Book 6)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Mystery

Synopsis: For Scottish detective Duncan Dewar, do bad things really come in threes? People connected to the investigator keep dying, and he has to wonder. Will the past drag him from the promise of a bright future?
Offered a chance to consult with his former employer, Duncan investigates the apparent suicide of an art dealer in Edinburgh. In a case right out of today’s headlines, he learns that the art business has its shady side. Professionally successful once again and engaged, he’s finally ready to move on to the next chapter of his life. However, the past has a way of haunting the Scottish detective, and things aren’t always as they seem. Explore Old Town and see if you can solve the case of the Siamese Suicides. This stand alone novel is book 6 in the Duncan Dewar Mystery Series.

Victoria Benchley, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Victoria Benchley.  She’s a Christian who loves to write Scottish mysteries. Welcome to my blog, Victoria.

CH: Can you sum up your book in twenty words or less?

VB: Suicide or murder?  Duncan must determine what caused a respected art dealer’s death while facing demons from his past.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

VB: My ideas come from various sources and I follow no set formulas.  Often, a scene develops in my mind that becomes integral to the plot of the story, and the novel springs from that.  In the case of The Siamese Suicides, my interest in art fueled ongoing research, while past and current events in the international art world provided a portion of my inspiration.   At some point, the characters take over, and seldom do my stories end as I may have originally envisioned!

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

VB: Some real-life events do inspire points in my novels.   Often, these are not part of the main storyline, but they help to make the overall tale more believable.  I write fiction, after all, and part of the fun lies in ensuring that the reader gets a break from reality.

CH: Where did you get the idea for the series?

VB: The idea for the Duncan Dewar Mystery Series came from a combination of things—my Scottish heritage, travels around Scotland, elderly relatives from my childhood who possessed incredible wit, and a scene cooked up in my imagination.

CH: When you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

VB: When I wrote the first Duncan Dewar book, I knew it would be a two-part mystery.  Then, the characters took over and demanded more adventures.

CH: Which book in the Duncan Dewar Mysteries series was hardest to write?

VB: I currently have six novels and one short story in this series, with book number seven on its way to my editor.  They have each had their own challenges.  In The Merlon Murders I and II, I focused quite a bit on forensics, science and mathematics.  Those novels took a great deal of investigation into areas I normally wouldn’t explore with my free time!  Since I’m an art lover, aspects of The Siamese Suicides proved more enjoyable to research.  I find that each book’s writing process has its own unique hurdles to overcome.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest character to write? 

VB: I have had great fun writing Armondo Berluca, a chef who appears in several of the books, Duncan’s siblings, and Donald Merriwether, the Blue Bell’s innkeeper.  Duncan remains the most difficult character to form and develop.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your mystery/suspense writing?

VB: Since I don’t follow a formula, you never know where one of my plots will lead.  My novels are character driven, quite literally.   In the Dewar Series, you’ll find yourself in Scotland or another fascinating location, experiencing local customs, history, and little-known details of the region.  I write clean novels with quirky characters and situations.  I’ve spent a lifetime around scientists and others with extremely high I.Q.s, and I bring some of that unique experience to my books.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

VB: I encountered several challenges writing The Siamese Suicides.  As I mentioned, my stories are character driven.  That makes incorporating all the details of a mystery, in a way that makes sense to the reader, difficult.  Also, some of the subject matter could be a bit heavy.  I didn’t want to focus too much on the darker aspects of the crimes.

CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so do you prefer writing a book with a lot of twists and turns?

VB: I love a book or a movie that I cannot quite figure out.  I want to be able to follow the story, and come up with plausible solutions, but never be certain I’ve got the answer.  Those are my favorite types of novels and films.  So, I aim for plenty of twists and turns when I write.  Sometimes, the culprit may seem obvious, but his or her methods and motives remain surprising.  In other books, the villain may be a shock.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

VB: I would like to think, that as well as entertaining, my novel relays a message of optimism.  Good guys win in the end, and we must respect and be mindful of others and remember there’s a God in Heaven who cares for each individual.

CH: What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?

VB: I receive all kinds of feedback from readers.  People love my books and people hate my books.  I get very few middle of the road responses.

CH: Is this the last book in the series? What’s your next writing project?

VB: Actually, The Siamese Suicides is not the last book of the series.  Book seven is on the way to my editor in a few days!  I currently have no plans to end the series.  I do want to let Duncan take a well-deserved vacation while I work on other projects after the newest novel releases.  I hope to begin another mystery series, and I’m working on a story set in the medieval period.

CH: What was the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?

VB: There have been many wonderful things to come out of publishing.  Several of the Dewar books have hit the number one spot in more than one Amazon category and have also made the hot new releases lists.  My short story remained number one in its genre for almost a year.  I have met so many fantastic, fun, and supportive people whom I now call friends.  If I must choose, the most exciting thing continues to be finishing a novel!  That’s an amazing moment worth all the hard work.

CH: Can you tell my audience about your website address?

VB: My website is https://victoriabenchley.com/    Feel free to look around.  There, you can sign up for my spam-free newsletter, get to know me better, check out my other books, or join me for a cup of tea and friendly chatter on my blog, Teatime Tuesday.

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

VB: My books are currently available for sale as eBooks on Amazon.

CH: How to Find Victoria Benchley:

CH: Any closing remarks?

VB: I want to encourage anyone who’s ever wanted to write a book to go ahead and take the plunge.  Thank you to all of my readers for investing your time in my novels.  You are most appreciated!  Also, a big thank you to Cheryl Holloway for this interview.  Best wishes and happy reading!

CH: Thank you so much, Victoria Benchley, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Victoria Benchley.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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Book Review: Founding Father: A Novel by J. Kenneth Metz

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Title:  Founding Father: A Novel

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  Unlike Sally Hemmings: A Novel, the leading man in Founding Father: A Novel is not Thomas Jefferson, but is Jefferson’s first law professor, George Walker. And Founding Father’s early 19th Century setting is not Jefferson’s Monticello, but is little more than a stone’s throw away in neighboring Richmond, Virginia. And the leading lady’s role is not layed by Sally Hemmings, but is shared by several Southern belles in Walker‘s life.

It has been 25 years since George Walker signed the Declaration of Independence and 13 years since he helped frame the United States Constitution. He, the mentor to two U.S. Presidents and to the Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, has reached a point in his illustrious career where he can rest on his laurels. So George and his wife now have retreated to the sanctum sanctorum of their manor house among the gentry in the genteel City on the James.

But Lady Luck and Lady Karma will sling sand into the machine of Squire Walker’s comfortable, Old South paradise. Throwing grit into his squiredom’s hum drum, frictionless machinery will be a villainous arch-rival, who will cross swords with the “founding father,” a no-account nephew, who will manipulate his Uncle George’s bank account, a dancing girl, who will quicken George’s pulse to a fever pitch, and a femme fatale or two, who will lead George into temptation.

Can anyone deliver him from evil?

Ken Metz

J. Kenneth Metz, Author

Note: The author asked me to review his historical romance fiction. So, I started reading…

Founding Father: A Novel is a historical romantic fiction woven around George Walker’s life. During his illustrious career as a lawyer, he had signed the Declaration of Independence, helped to frame the U. S. Constitution, had been a mentor to two U. S. Presidents and the Chief Justice of the U. S, Supreme Court. George and his long-time wife were childless and upon retiring from his law professorship moved to their mansion in Richmond, Virginia. He decided to run for mayor against his political enemy.

George revealed to his sick and dying wife that he wanted an heir.  His wife’s dying wish was for George to remarry and have a child. George was surprised at who she chose for him to marry and to have his child.

Then the romantic escapades begin with his conniving sister-in law, his recently freed slave housekeeper; and any women interested in his money or his mansion.  He also had a few encounters with his nephew, who tried to manipulate his bank account with “investments”; and his sister-in-law’s boyfriend, who wanted to use George’s money for their benefit.

I enjoyed his dancing lessons and dinners with Lydia, a former slave who wanted him to buy her sons from their owner. George was impressed with her beauty and body.

There were some minor editing issues—misspelled and omitted words—that I noticed only because I’m an editor. The book was written from a different point of view, which the reader had to get used to reading.  However, the book was well-written and I enjoyed the mystery at the end.

I wish J. Kenneth Metz much success in his writing endeavors.

I rate this book…

starstarstar

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Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Cheryl Holloway’s Spotlight on Books: Split At The Root

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

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Title: Split At The Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity

Genre: Memoir

Synopsis: In this memoir, the author explores questions of race, adoption, and identity, not as the professor of cultural studies she became, but as the Black child of German settlers in Guatemala. Her journey into the mystery that shrouded her early years begins in the US when she realized it was not just her foreign accent that alienated her from Blacks. Under layers of privilege (private schools, international travel, the life of a fashion model and actress in Europe) she discovered that her most important story is one of disinheritance. The author’s determination to find out who her parents really were and why she was taken from them, tests the love of her White husband and their son, and returns her to Guatemala to find a family that kept her memory alive as legend. In the end, she learns truths about the women who were her mothers, and the disrespect committed long ago against a birthmother and her child in the name of love.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1R2uuw4

Catana Tully

Catana Tully, Author

I limit the number of book reviews because of the time restraints of my business. However, this book seemed like an interesting book and topic—the author wanted to value her personal history. I decided to review the book, even though it was published in 2012.

Catana grew up thinking that she was predominately neglected by her Gautemalan birth mother, when in reality she was primarily manipulated by her German “adoptive” mother; and her German parents changed her name, but never legally adopted her. There were some extraordinarily unique situations in her lifetime and Catana wanted to find the answers for herself.  So in the later years of her life, after both mothers were deceased, she sought to find out the truth—from her aging father and her half-siblings (two sisters and a brother).

Catana had lived a very privileged life of a German child—private schools, international travel/friendships and wealth, which was extremely different from the poverty of her Gautemalan family. The German family said that they were raising the child of an unwed Gautemalan young woman and the Gautemalan family said that the German family stole her from them—two very different versions of the same situation.  Her German sister, Ruth, was old enough to be her mother and had raised her most of her childhood.

Catana tells a dearly moving and very touching story of her privileged life in the earlier years, as a student and later of working as a polylingual actress and model in Europe over the years. She also tells of her trials and tribulations with the color of her skin. Her Caucasian husband, Fred, and her son, Patrick, were both insightful in all that she was feeling and going through at various times in her life. Catana also had a uniquely strange bond with her father and her half-siblings. Their mother had instilled in the three of them to always love her and be there for their estranged half-sister.

I liked how she told her students in a class discussion to “be secure in your cultural cradle.” I also liked the fact that she realized that she was Mutti and Vati’s (German words for mama and papa) emotional child.

The title is very appropriate in letting the reader know what the memoir is about.

The book is well-written and has a lot of explicit descriptions of characters and the various countries.  She often describes nature and scenery, which has nothing to do with the story, but she did it well.

I rate this book…

starstarstarstarLeft side

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Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author(s). They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

Book Review of Cheryl Holloway’s Books by Honestly Simple Reviews

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Review of Courgar Tales Book 1-3 by Cheryl Holloway

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Cougar Tales Books 1-3 by Cheryl Holloway

I received a copy of the Cougar Tales Box set from Cheryl Holloway in return for my honest review.

The Cougar Tales Box Set is made up of 2 short stories and 1 Novella

  • Book 1: Father & Son
  • Book 2: The Italian Basketball Player
  • Book 3: Jamaican Love
I read the Cougar Tales Box set individually so each story will have its own short review below 🙂

Review for Cougar Tales: Father & Son:

Now I’m not a person who generally enjoys short stories but i did enjoy the concept of Father & Son. Some people may say the story is badly written but i believe it’s just right for a novella…quite simple and really easy to follow 🙂When a writer gets too technical with their writing in a short story/novella it can become increasingly harder to commit to writing a short story if that makes any sense 😀

Any how little rant over now, i can tell you what i thought was good about this novella…the main thing i enjoyed about the story was despite how short the story was and the simplicity of its writing the characters where really easy to connect with which helped boost all the emotional factors of the story. This story is a mix of emotions from love, hate, happiness, grief and gross happiness…..yes i did say gross happiness, one of those moments when something is happy but when you think about it it’s also gross or disturbing at the same time. so without giving the story away that is all i can say…

⭐️⭐️⭐️


Review for Cougar Tales: The Italian Basketball Player:

Once again this story was cut all too soon. i sometimes find with short stories/ novellas that there seems to be chunks of story missing…not to the point of messing the plot up just to the point where your sitting there thinking ‘i wish i’d been there when he told his brother that… his reaction could have been awesome’

Overall I see great potential for this story as a full length novel..the characters are intriguing, to my imagination at least, the story line works really well too so I’d say I would rate my experience with this novella at

⭐️⭐️⭐️


Review for Cougar Tales: Jamaican Love:

Just like Italian Basketball Player this story was cut all too soon, but Overall I see great potential for this story as a full length novel..the characters are intriguing, to my imagination at least, the story line works really well too.

I fell in love with Spencer and Joi all too well and i can only hope for where their story will lead 🤗 but i am overly happy at the ending to this short story…i cried so much. Out of the 3 Cougar Tales i must say Jamaican Love is probably my favourite.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Thanks For Reading!
Lesley Acford

Honestly Simple Reviews

Link:

https://honestlysimplereviews.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/cougartales-cherylholloway/

 

I want to personally thank Lesley for her reviews. They are greatly appreciated.

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Cheryl Holloway’s Spotlight on Books: 21 Days of Christmas

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Kathy Ide

Kathy Ide, Author and Compiler

Sarah Shere

Sarah Earlene Shere, Author

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Charles Lober, Author

Title: 21 Days of Christmas: Stories That Celebrate God’s Greatest Gift

Genre: Collection/Devotional

Synopsis: 21 Days of Christmas is book 2 in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series–collections of short fictional stories followed by brief Life Applications, each chapter written by a different author.

Christmas is more than just a holiday. It is a time to recapture the joy and wonder of God s greatest gift: His Son, Jesus.

This book offers engaging, inspirational short fiction stories written by new, intermediate, and well-known authors including Lena Nelson Dooley, Joanne Bischof, Jan Cline, Lynn Kinnaman, and more.

21 Days of Christmas will warm your heart with stories about giving, loving, and family. These engaging tales celebrate the hope and joy that make this blessed season unique. At the end of each story you ll find an insightful message that will help you discover anew the true meaning of this special time of year.

“So grab a cup of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick, curl up in your favorite chair beside a picture window overlooking a serene spot, and savor the true meaning of Christmas through these inspirational and encouraging stories.”

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1J0HjG1

The stories in this devotional offer the reader life stories and situations that help you to grow in your relationship with God. These stories help you to remember the “real” reason for the season—Jesus.

The Christmas Star by Charles Lober was a refreshing story about a young girl and her fears and dreams. The star helped to guide Paige. It gave hope and inspiration to anyone reading the story. The true meaning of Christmas inspires all of us!

As readers of this blog know, Charles Lober is our favorite author of Christmas books and stories.

Star Light, Star Bright by Kathy Ide was a thought-provoking story about Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. Often times, we think about the stories in the bible and wonder what the people of that time were thinking.

Guiding Star by Sarah Earlene Shere was a very touching story about a homeless little girl, who made works of art for passersby. The story reminded us to not get so caught up in the glitter of the season, but that the eyes of the children can guide us to remember—the Christian reason.

Most Christians enjoy reading passages from the Bible and praying to God for guidance, strength and enlightenment. These stories encourage Christians to see the real meaning of Christmas at a time when the world is in a chaotic state.

I rate this book…

starstarstarstarstar

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2.   Invite your friends to view/read this blog                                                                 

3.  If you read the book, let me know what you think.

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We’d love to hear about what you’re reading and enjoying on our blog, so please drop us a line in the comments

DISCLAIMER

Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author(s). They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

Book Review: From These Ashes by Tamela J. Ritter

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Title: From These Ashes

Genre: Cultural Heritage

Synopsis: From These Ashes chronicles the journey of two siblings looking for “home,” while searching for themselves, each other, their heritage and their destiny. In a center for cult recovery in Phoenix, Arizona, 16-year-old Native American Naomi West refuses to talk; instead she writes — about her life, about her brother, about the prophecy, and about the fire that nearly destroyed it all. Meanwhile, her half-white brother, Tim West, awakes alone in a forest without memories of his past, only an unconscious urge to head west. It is on a Cascade mountaintop where he once again gets too close to a fire, and what starts as a horrifying nightmare wakens him to the truth of his past and a devastating choice that cost him everything.

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Author: Tamela J. Ritter

Note: Tamela J. Ritter is a first-time author. This book was written about two and a half years ago.

Several people told me that this was a good book and I should read it. Well, I have to decide for myself if a book is good or not. So, I started reading…

I was captured right from the beginning. The author, Tamela J. Ritter, had such great descriptions of characters and places that it drew the reader right into the story. I felt like I was there with them sharing the hurt, the pain and wanting to know why? The main characters were siblings in an American Indian tribe. This was of interest to me because I had lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a few years and had come in contact with many Indians and some tribes. I also saw many of them with an alcohol problem, like the children’s mother.

The reader readily knew that the writer presented Tim and Naomi’s story in a way that was written from her heart—it was touching. This book was an emotional page-turner. I cried, I got angry and I wanted to get even…throughout the book to the very end. I enjoyed how each character’s story—although similar, but so very different—was told from their point of view. Ritter is indeed an astonishing storyteller.

I realized that the American Indian had a hard life, mostly because of so many people wanting to use them in the disguise of helping them—such as The Way (a cult).

It was a compelling story with so much honesty and real life interwoven between the pages. This book takes the characters, as well as the readers on a journey of discovery. So much happened and I just couldn’t put the book down.

This is a great coming of age book for young adults. It is also a wonderful read for anyone!

There were some minor editing issues—misspelled and omitted words—that I noticed only because I’m an editor. The author refers to herself as the “wandering storyteller,” I think she is an unparalleled storyteller. This was an extremely well-written book for a first-time author.

I wish Tamela J. Ritter much success in her writing endeavors. I am looking forward to the next book!

I rate this book…

starstarstarstarstar

Action Steps:                                                                                                                    

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2.   Invite your friends to view/read this blog                                                                 

3.  If you read the book, let me know what you think.

Note: Clip art compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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We’d love to hear about what you’re reading and enjoying on our blog, so please drop us a line in the comments

DISCLAIMER

Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

Cheryl Holloway’s Spotlight on Books: I Swam with An Angel

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Children’s Book Week May 4-10, 2015  is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.

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Facts: Children’s Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. Since establishment in 1919, commemorative events have been held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, and homes—wherever young readers and books connect! Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. It is the 96th Anniversary.

I want to Spotlight this book during Children’s Book Week.

 

I Swam with an Angel

Title: I Swam with An Angel

Genre: Children – Handicap/Wheelchair

Synopsis: Initially from Jamaica, ten-year-old Cornell was born with a rare disease that made it impossible for him to walk. After the divorce of his parents, he was then sent to his aunt’s house, something nine-year-old Jaime thinks is a wrong idea. When Cornell first arrived to his cousin’s house, they were like water and oil. Jaime did not like the idea that he bragged to much about things he could not do, like swim or sail a boat. But when Cornell starts to get sick, will Jaime realize the real meaning of strength and how strong Cornell really is?

Vastine

Author: Vastine East

I must preface this review by saying that this is the first review of this book, and I don’t understand why, because it is a great book! I certainly recommend I Swam with An Angel.

For those readers who know me, you know that I am a grandmother with grandchildren of all ages. So, I started reading…

I Swam with An Angel is narrated by a young girl, Jamie, who describes the ups and downs of day-to-day life as she and her family adjust to her cousin from Kingston, Jamaica, Cornell, who is handicapped and in a wheelchair. Jamie is well aware of Cornell’s challenges, which seem to anger her and she just wants a normal life.

I loved this book. It is an emotional book that shares the experience of children with disabilities and their extended family members; and takes the reader on a journey of discovery. (I don’t want to give away the ending.)

Fully illustrated in color and written in child-friendly language, this book could be a wonderful resource for children and parents/adults. It is a juvenile easy reader, as well as a book adults can read to small children.

I liked the fact that this book is sensitively written and provides a base for discussion in families with a handicap child in a wheelchair. This is a story that can help other siblings and family members to share their feelings and reassure them that each person’s role in the family is very important—including the handicapped child.

Most families with a handicapped child look for resources at their local library or go online and become overwhelmed with the thousands of books written on the subject. I am offering you my opinion and recommendation of a delightful book for parents and children.

I wish Vastine East much success in his writing endeavors.

I rate this book…

starstarstarstarstar

 

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/I-SWAM-ANGEL-Vastine-East/dp/1465350594/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430839263&sr=1-1&keywords=I+swam+with+an+angel

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           1.  View/read this blog and comment  

           2.   Invite your friends to view/read this blog                                                                 

           3.  If you read the book, let me know what you think.

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Note: Photos and clip art are compliments of Cheryl Holloway, Vastine East and the Internet.

DISCLAIMER

Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

 

 

Black History Month 2015 – Black History Book Review

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Black History

 So far, this is my second post on black history this month, the final day of February.

Black History Book Review

This Strange New Feeling_Cover

Title: This Strange New Feeling: Three Love Stories from Black History

Genre: Historical

Synopsis: “The horror of slavery . . . the excitement and terror of escape and the problems of the newly free are dramatized in three stories based on actual historical incidents. . . Memorable.” —School Library Journal

“Lester here personalizes and vitalizes the essence of freedom.”—Booklist

In two short stories and one novella, Julius Lester has created a rich, layered, and ringing portrait of the slave experience in America, and of the perseverance and bravery it took to seek out love and freedom during that time. Included is the tale of Ellen and William Craft, the escaped slaves who became famous abolitionists. And new for this edition, in honor of the book’s twenty-fifth anniversary, is a thought-provoking author’s preface about freedom and empathy. This Strange New Feeling is historical fiction at its finest.

Julius Lester_Author

Author: Julius Lester

Throughout the years, I have embraced the plights and achievements of blacks. Today, I want to discuss the damages of slavery…mainly, the lack of freedom.

A very dear friend of mine, Charles Lober, sent me this book for black history month with the note attached…“Thought you might enjoy this …would be a good author on your blog”

Well, as most of you know, I’m an avid reader. I started reading and enjoying this book long before I realized that it’s a children’s book. It has two short stories and one novella about the joys and the sorrows of slavery, all inspired by true events in black history. This book won the Coretta Scott King Award in 1983. In honor of the books Twenty-Fifth Anniversary, the author, Julius Lester, wrote a thought-provoking preface about freedom and empathy.

Julius Lester  is a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, where he taught Afro-American Studies, history, English, and Judaic Studies. So, I guess it was destined to be a wonderful book—long before I read it

My friends must have thought I was crazy, because I was telling everyone during black history month about this wonderful book that I had “discovered.” LOL So, now, let me tell you about it!

When I read the first story, This Strange New Feeling, I thought this is not a love story, but when I had finished it, I realized that it was a different type of love story. Raz was a slave carpenter who was working with a white carpenter named Jakes. Jakes kept telling him about all the things he could have if he was free. Raz never said anything, so Jakes thought he wasn’t listening. Later, his Uncle Isaac and a white man helped him escape from slavery and go to the town Jakes had told him about. Raz was caught when Jakes turned him in. Raz was returned home, but he didn’t get a whipping because he told the other slaves how awful it was up North. But soon he and his woman, Sally, helped other slaves to escape.   They are almost caught and must kill his master to save their own lives. The sad part of the story was that Uncle Isaac’s wife had strangled her own babies rather than have them live in slavery.

The second story, Where The Sun Lives, Maria falls in love with Forrest Yates, who has been a free black man all of his life. She had grown up with her mistress, who dies at a young age. Her master sells all of his wife’s slaves and sells Maria to Forrest. They live together as a couple and she enjoys a taste of freedom, until Forrest is killed in a freak accident and all of his property must be sold to pay his debts—including Maria. She loses her freedom, but Maria has seen where the sun lives.

The final story, A Christmas Love Story, a novella, is the story of William and Ellen Craft, who run away from slavery to Philadelphia at Christmastime. Ellen can pass for white and poses as an injured young white man and William poses as his slave. They are almost caught several times, before they find freedom in Philadelphia. They later go to Boston, where her husband wants to tell people about how they escaped from slavery. She wants to live a quiet life and keep the story to them selves. They begin telling their story and become celebrities. President Fillmore signs the Fugitive Slave Bill. Then John Knight and Charles Hughes came to reclaim the slaves—William and Ellen Craft—and return them to the south and slavery. When the President vows to send the military to enforce the newly passed Fugitive Slave Bill, the Crafts are helped to hide and, eventually, to run by Reverend Theodore Parker, Lewis Hayden and many other famous people in the Slavery Abolition Movement. The part I loved best about this story is that years after the story was written the author met William and Ellen Craft’s great-granddaughter in real life.

I know I told you what happened in the stories, but you have to read the book to see how it happened. (You didn’t think I was going to tell you everything, did you?)

In one of his interviews with Scholastic Magazine, Julius Lester’s suggestion to other writers was, “Read, read, and read. You have to know what other people have written. You have to have a good grasp of literature.”

I agree with his observation for writers.

February is a month to remember our history, but I propose that we think about our history every day—not just in February. I will try to give you 7 Black History Tidbits once a week (one for every day). It’s your job, as readers, to keep me honest and when I miss a week, email me.

Now, my only wish is that I can get an interview with Julius Lester!

I rate this book…

starstarstarstarstar

Action Steps:                                                                                                                                        1. View/read this blog and comment                                                                                    2.  Invite your friends to view/read this blog                                                                      3.  If you read the book, let me know what you think.

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Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

 

Book Review – Endangered: A Novel by Jean Love Cush

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Endangered_Cover

Title: Endangered: A Novel

Synopsis:  An innocent black teenager is accused of murder in this provocative and compassionate thriller that skillfully probes issues of race, class, crime, and injustice and offers a searing portrait of modern America.

From the time her son, Malik, could walk, Janae taught him that the best way to stay alive and out of trouble with the law was to cooperate. Terrified for his safety, she warned him, “raise your hands high, keep your mouth shut, and do whatever they say,” if the police ever stopped him. But when a wave of murders hits Philadelphia and fifteen-year-old Malik is arrested, Janae’s terror is compounded by guilt and doubt: Would Malik have escaped jail if he’d run?

Unable to see her son or pay for his defense, Janae, a cafeteria worker, reluctantly allows Roger Whitford, a white human rights attorney, to represent Malik. With the help of an ambitious private attorney named Calvin Moore, Roger is determined to challenge the entire criminal justice system and expose its inherent racism—racism that threatens the very existence of America’s young black men.

Offering a startling and unprecedented defense, the lawyers spark a national firestorm of debate over race, prison, and politics that burns to the very core of Janae herself. As she battles to save her son, she begins to discover that she is also fighting for her own survival and that of her community.

Jean Cush

Author: Jean Love Cush                                                                                                 Note: Jean Love Cush is a first-time, self-published author.

I must preface this review by saying that there have been many reviews of this book, and I merely add my impression of Endangered: A Novel.

For those readers who know me, you know that I am a paralegal who loves legal thrillers. So, I started reading…

It was a little slow at the beginning, but picked up to become a page-turner.

Malik’s mother, Janae, only wanted justice and fair treatment for her 15-year old son, who was wrongfully accused of murdering his friend, Troy. Janae had raised her son in a poor disadvantaged area of Philadelphia. She had said, “If approached by the police, raise your hands high, keep your mouth shut and do what they order.” He did exactly what his mother had told him and now he was charged with murder. Janae didn’t have the money to hire a private attorney to properly defend Malik. So, his life was in the hands of a public defender. Or was it?

Roger Whitford, an attorney for the Center for the Protection for Human Rights (CPHR), wanted to try Malik’s case because of the social issues involved. He told Janae, “We’re not in the business of innocence or guilt. Our job here at the CPHR is justice…African American boys ought to be deemed legally endangered.” He told Janae that our current legal system is unfair to black boys and new laws should come out of this whole situation.

She wasn’t worried about changing laws; she was worried about getting her baby out of jail and proving his innocence of this murder.

Calvin Moore was a brilliant African American attorney, who was added to the legal team to bring clout and a different perspective.

I enjoyed an honest judge, who wasn’t afraid to express his personal opinion. I also enjoyed how the mothers and women of the “hood” stood by each other. I wasn’t quite sure if the budding romance between Janae and Calvin was appropriate or added to make the readers feel the realism of the story. The ADA was over zealous and unlikable.

Kid in Prison

Dealing with social issues is difficult, whether in real life or in a book. There were a lot of real issues in this book—real statistics, real issues of crime and real issues of justice. These are “real issues” that we must deal with today. This book is going to make you think about all of this…whether you want to or not.   Endangered: A Novel allows the reader to think beyond the crime that was committed; think beyond the consequences of the courtroom decision; and think about what can be done in today’s society. We can think about recent headlines with similar issues of African-American teens in Sanford, Florida; Ferguson, Missouri; and Chicago, Illinois.

Malik hadn’t had a chance to be a teenager—he hadn’t even had a first date. I wanted to hear more from his point of view. I wanted to hear how he felt about his beating by the police; his time in jail; and his being scared in the courtroom.

This book was well written, so that attorneys and readers alike could understand the story. The ending was good, but I would have liked an epilogue with how Malik and Janae had enhanced their life as a result of this incident.

My only real negative issue was that the cover didn’t really do justice to the book.

I wish Jean Love Cush much success in her writing endeavors.

I rate this book…

starstarstarstarLeft side

Action Steps:                                                                                                                    

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DISCLAIMER
Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

Book Review: Seeds of Magnolia by Bill Miller

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Seeds of Magnolia_Cover

Title: Seeds of Magnolia

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: The most peaceful years of Austin Miller’s life were before he married. Only he, Sophia and her mother, Elizabeth, were in the house. After his marriage, the house became a hotbed of chaos fueled by overzealous attitudes and unyielding temperaments. His marriage had been strained by adultery, and after it had been patched, they were separated by the war. Sophia’s best friends were three white girls that she grew up with. When seen by someone that did not know them, they would assume that all four were white. The color of their skin would not be enough to tell that one had a trace of black blood in her veins that made her a slave. Appearing to be white did not make a person white, and being black had its’ limitations. Yet, in a small southern town in Tennessee, Sophia ignored the social code regarding interracial relationships. Seeds of Magnolia unveils some of the stories that have been sheltered by the family—stories that have been kept in the closet, swept under the rug, or just gone untold.

Bill Miller

Author: Bill Miller                                                                                                         Note: Bill Miller is a first-time, self-published author.

For those readers who don’t know me, let me preface this book review by saying two things: I dislike historical books; and I dislike books that are almost 450 pages. But I started reading…

Just reading the synopsis captured my attention. This book was an emotional page-turner. I cried, I laughed, and I got angry…throughout the book to the very end.

The story began when Austin Miller purchased Elizabeth as his housekeeper from the Mrs. Taylor. Mr. Taylor had just died and they had recently moved from North Carolina to Tennessee. Mrs. Taylor was happy to get rid of them, since Elizabeth had been raped by Mr. Taylor, and had a baby, Sophia, who strongly resembled Mr. Taylor. Mrs. Taylor did not want to look at Sophia, a toddler, as a constant reminder of her deceased husband’s infidelity.  So, Elizabeth and her child were sold to Austin Miller.

Elizabeth had no idea if the Miller plantation would be any different than the Taylor plantation for their slaves. But indeed the Miller plantation was like no other plantation. On the Miller plantation, Sophia grew up with three playmates and best friends, Caroline, Amanda and Emily. And when people saw the four of them playing together, they assumed they were four white girls, and they didn’t realize that one of the girls was a slave.

Austin Miller was a lawyer, a politician and a wealthy single businessman, who worked long hours and just wanted peaceful evenings, so he didn’t bother correcting slave life at the plantation—as long as it felt right, he was fine. For many years, this was a peaceful life for Austin Miller, his slave housekeeper and her child.

Then Mr. Miller married a rich widow with two children and an arrogant attitude.  Mrs. Miller believed that slaves were at the bottom of the social class, while their owners were at the top of society and she ran her household as such, which contrasted with how Mr. Miller had run the household before his wife’s arrival.

Mrs. Miller had an inimitable personality and there was constant conflict between her and Sophia, who was now a teenager with an attitude, as well. Life happened during the next few years—Magnolia Manor was built, children were born, Mr. Miller was a member of the Senate, adultery scarred their marriage, friends came and friends were lost, love blossomed among slaves at bush harbor, and the family continued to grow in size.

Then the biggest change of all—the Civil War. It divided families, friends, the North and the South, slaves and slave owners. Mr. Miller left for his safety. Generals Grant and Sherman arrived to take over Magnolia Manor. Mrs. Miller and the slaves were left to fend for themselves during this time of destruction.

Absolutely nothing was the same after the Civil War was over. Life and attitudes would never be as they were prior to the war.

So much happened and I just couldn’t put the book down. When I finished reading, it was a sigh of relief and happiness, because my thirst had been quenched. I always enjoy it when an author mixes both history and fiction to make a truly believable and spell-bounding story.

There were some minor editing issues—misspelled and omitted words—that I attributed to the length of the book…450 pages. I am looking forward to the sequel. After reading Seeds of Magnolia, I can no longer say that I dislike historical books. LOL.

I wish Bill Miller much success in his writing endeavors.

I rate this book…

starstarstarstarstar

Action Steps:                                                                                                                     1.  View/read this blog and comment  

2.   Invite your friends to view/read this blog                                                                 

3.  If you read the book, let me know what you think.

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DISCLAIMER

Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

Book Review: The Road from Money: A Journey to Find Why? By Sylvester Boyd, Jr.

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Road to Money_Cover

Title: The Road from Money: A Journey to Find Why?

Synopsis: The Road from Money takes you on a journey to the small town of Money, Mississippi; just after the turn of the 20th century. It is the story of Estella Reynolds, a young Negro girl, growing up in America’s deep south. You follow her life as she faces racism, segregation, exploration, brutality and poverty. You watch as she finds the joy of family life, battles to get a good education, finds her first love and above all tries to figure out why things are the way they are. You enter a time after World War I and before the start of World War II. A time when automobiles were new and planes had just taken to the sky. The story is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the Great Dust Bowl, a flood, Prohibition; and a time when Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt were President. The story also highlights the strengths of a people and many of America’s weaknesses.

Genre: Historical Fiction

S Boyd

Author: Sylvester Boyd, Jr.

Note: Sylvester Boyd, Jr. is a first-time, self-published author.

I started reading…

The book captured my attention with the first chapter. It started in 1925 on Estella Reynolds’ eighth birthday, and she spent the day with her grandfather, Paul Reynolds, whom she adored. She spent a lot of time with her grandfather, who taught her many things about life, since her father had left Money, Mississippi the previous year.  Her and her grandfather faced racism head-on that day when they went into Benson’s General Store and had to wait until all of the white customers had been waited on before they could be helped. Estella did not understand why this happened and wanted to know why? She was a very intelligent little girl with a quizzical mind. This began Estella’s journey to find why and lead her to the road from Money.

I enjoyed how Estella had many situations and stories to share about her life—from the cotton fields to the relaxation and freedom of church on Sunday; from life in a small town in the deep south to the hopes and dreams of a big city up north through the Chicago Defender newspaper; from the poverty of the Great Depression and how poor Negroes, mostly sharecroppers dealt with life in general.   We tagged along in Estella’s life and went through the Great Dust Bowl, a storm and a flood; and we were even with her when she saw her first alligator. We were there for a lot of her firsts—her first love, her first movie and her first job. We were astonished at the first lynching she saw and the cruelty of southern whites to Negro victims—from diminutive pay to being chased out of town for no fault of their own. We followed Estella from her inferior and limited education in Money, Mississippi, to a Negro school many miles away that offered a better life, better opportunities and a better future.  We shared the closeness of family, extended family, friends, neighbors, and new friends.  We went with her into her first juke joint and learned about prohibition—for Caucasians and Negroes. She even met a Negro woman who could pass for white. These were all stories that made us laugh, love and cry.

But the story that touched us the most was Estella’s journey from Money—her plan, preparation and execution. And the long, train ride to the north!

Now, the reason that I rated this book 4 stars. There were some editing issues—misspelled words, omitted words, transition, and substance issues. Although, the one issue that bothered me most was the portrayed eating during the depression. All the families in the book ate too well during the Depression. They always had ham, but didn’t have any pigs. They never ate dandelions, grits, corn meal mush, sugar or molasses sandwiches, pig feet, chicken necks or ox tail soup. These and others were food items that African Americans made do with in times of poverty.

Now, for the good reason: It was a pleasure to see how Sylvester Boyd mixed both history and fiction to make a truly believable and interesting story. We followed Estella from her eighth birthday until she was twenty years old. This is the first book in a Memoir Trilogy.       I look forward to the other two books in this series from an upcoming author!

I rate this book…

starstarstarstar

Sylvester Boyd, Jr.’s Guest Author Interview will be Friday, August 8, 2014.

Action Steps:                                                                                                                      1. View/read this blog and comment;                                                                             2. Invite your friends to view/read this blog; and                                                             3.  When you read the book, let me know what you think.

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DISCLAIMER

Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.

 

 

Book Review: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Let me preface this book review by saying several things: I dislike historical books; I dislike books with two character’s point of view; and I dislike books that are almost 400 pages. But I got this book as a Christmas present (and had to wait until it came in), so I decided to read it anyway, since I loved The Secret Life of Bees.  I guess, it didn’t hurt the fact that Oprah had chosen it for her Book Club.

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Title: The Invention of Wings

Sue Monk Kidd Photo

Author: Sue Monk Kidd

So, I started reading…                                                                                                             It captured my attention from the very beginning when Sarah Grimké, the daughter of a rich Charleston socialite family was given ten-year-old Hetty “Handful” Grimké, a slave, as her waiting maid for her eleventh birthday.  The girls become friends in an awkward sort of way and share various thoughts and feelings. Sarah doesn’t want to own a slave and signs a manumission freeing Hetty; however, her father tears it up and she is forced to keep her. Early on, Sarah thinks of slaves as equals and teaches Handful to read.  They are both heavily punished for this act of bravery. Sarah confides in Handful that she wants to be the first woman Lawyer/Judge, but when her family finds out her ambition she is told by her father and brothers that this will never happen because women are not allowed to engage in such professions and her mother teaches her the finesse of being a woman. Both girls long to be free, but in different ways.

I enjoy how Sue Monk Kidd mixes both history and fiction to make a truly believable and spell-bounding story. And the clever way she ties in the title.

Handful’s mother, Charlotte, is a seamstress and she eloquently sews the history of her life on a quilt. Although, the slaves in the Grimké household have rich owners and live better than most; they still long for freedom beyond their walls.

Sarah knows that she is meant to be more than “just” a wife and mother; and more than anything, she wants to make her mark in history, but just doesn’t quite know how she will accomplish this feat. So, in the interim she becomes the Godmother for little sister, Angelina.

Over the next 35 years of Handful’s and Sarah’s life, we learn so much about slavery and slave-owners; abolition; and women’s rights in this book. The author very delicately allows the reader to see and become part of history in the south and in the north. She even gives us a chance to learn a little about Quakerism.  The journey of both young women with hardships and good times is portrayed in such a wonderful and enlightening story. I couldn’t put it down.

After I had finished reading, which I felt that the book ended much too soon, I sat and reminisced on having visited the Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, the slave ship in Baltimore and the Slave Quilt Exhibition in Washington, DC. I thought about these parts of history and I mentally wove them in with The Invention of Wings. I quietly came to the decision that Sue Monk Kidd is a great storyteller.

I might add that several people told me that the e-book with Oprah’s comments are distracting from the story and that they wished they had purchased the first-edition hard copy as I did.

Now, my only wish is that I can get Sue Monk Kidd to sign my book!

I rate this book…

starstarstarstarstar

Action Steps:                                                                                                                                        1. View/read this blog and comment                                                                                    2.  Invite your friends to view/read this blog                                                                      3.  If you read the book, let me know what you think.

Cheryl_Script Purple

 

DISCLAIMER

Endorsement Disclaimer: All reviews posted on this site and written by Cheryl Holloway are personal opinions of the book by the reviewer. The reviews are NOT paid endorsements of the book or the author. They are not advertisements. All reviews are honest, forthright and the opinion of the individual reviewer, freely given. Our opinions are not for sale.