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MADAME PRESIDENTESS: An Historic Novel ~Nicole Evelina

Monday, November 7th, 2016

“Rising out of the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.” (TLC Book Tours)

48 years plus, before women were allowed to vote, Victoria was born in Ohio. Her life was not easy and her father, family, and her husband repeatedly abused her.  The spirits kept telling her that she was going to have an amazing future and become a leader and she listened and believed.  Her stories has been left out and written out of the history books in this country, but many winners have repeated her drive and lessons over the years and women politicians have benefited from her tactics and endeavors.

I always believe that storytelling is the best way to share history and this book falls heavily into that category.  The language is definitely directed towards young adult readers, and other than the sex and abuse might even be a good read for middle school readers.  I found I was looking up interesting pieces of information about Victoria Woodhull on Google and referred Internet sites.  I was surprised I had not read about her earlier with my extensive research for the re-publishing of THE WOMEN’S BIBLE.   Abuse of women, human rights were such huge topics in the post Civil War Period of our history and I would have thought there would have been more on her efforts.

This book is another TLC Book Tours read and I was pleased to have an opportunity to read and review this story.   I think many readers will find this a good read and savor the opportunity to celebrate another woman who featured prominently in US history.

About Nicole Evelina

“Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel, Madame Presidentess, a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Been Searching for You, her contemporary romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.” (TLC Book Tours)

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DRESSING A TIGER: A memoir ~Maggie San Miguel

Monday, October 10th, 2016

dressing-a-tigerDRESSING A TIGER is not a plain Ol’ memoir with a bit of spicing up, this is about a very interesting and sometimes disturbing life story mixed with a heavy dose of humor and a very spunky child who remembers so much.  Maggie is the youngest child in her family – much younger; her brother is 18 and her sister 16 when she arrives onto the scene.  Mom is fairly unstable and inconsistent and has almost no time for her youngest and Dad is a very busy man as the top negotiator for the Teamsters Union.  Maggie is not allowed to play in the front yard of their Connecticut home but the huge backyard with lake and below ground tree fort commands her attention.  Maggie loves to row her boat out to her private island and seize the day.

“Maggie San Miguel is a Past Life Regression Therapist, a Mediation Instructor and a Psychic Medium, appearing on the paranormal television show, STRANGE TOWN.  She has assisted law enforcement with a murder investigation in Texas.  She also makes pottery, paints and can cook a mean meatball.” (Cover)

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Maggie San Miguel Web

The book is quite interesting and includes geishas’ in Maggie’s rowboat, and mob hit men taking a 4 year old to the dentist.  Because of their reclusive lifestyle, Maggie dotes on the “friends” of her father who come to the house to plot, drink and eat.  Jack Dahlstrom, her father, though of a Scandinavian heritage, learns to speak Italian and interact with the Italian families involved in controlling the East Coast.  His friends are folks he connected with during his time serving in World War II.  His wife a great redheaded beauty grew up in poverty and led a very tough life. When the stress levels were too high, she disappeared into alcohol and bed, including strange behaviors especially trying to kill squirrels.

“A father serving the Mob, hit men moonlighting as babysitters, an uncle in the Secret Service, famous politicians amongst family friends, a mother in need of shock therapy, and a kid who eavesdrops and remember it all. “  What a unique childhood!

“Her father’s prior knowledge of the Kennedy assassination and his unique friendships with Jack Ruby, John Connally, Henry Wade and infamous Mafia bosses Carlo Bambino, Sam Giancana and Paul Castellano is a story untold until now.” “…Dahlstrom collected an impressive array of friends and Mafia secrets that were never meant to see the light of day.  Maggie San Miguel has just opened the blinds.” (Cover)

I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and think it will make a wonderful book to share.  I highly recommend it and am grateful that Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.  sent me an advanced copy for review.

This book will be published October 26, 2016

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FINDING LIBBIE: A Novel ~Deanna Lynn Sletten

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

‘Happily Ever After’ is the start point of this review and my sharing about this author.  It is a good love story nicely written and was a grand rainy weekend read – very much on the sweet side!

Emily Prentice is busy helping her grandmother pack up the farmhouse and move into the city and a new townhouse.  Emily has taken a job as a clerk in a clothing store and put her plans on hold to help her boyfriend Jordan get his schooling completed right through his doctorate and as she helps her grandmother she is pondering where the relationship is heading and if she wants to make “those” changes to her life.  The two women find an old hat box in one of the closets that is full of old photographs of Emily’s father and his first wife!  What a discovery and it leads to a full story of figuring out what happened and how life sometimes does not turn out the way that one expects it.

FINDING LIBBIE is about high school sweethearts from two different sides of the social divides.  Jack and Libbie fall in love during their senior year of High School.  Jack is working a number of jobs because he wishes to go to school to be a certified mechanic.  Libbie is the high school sweetheart; Homecoming Queen and well cared for younger daughter.  Jack’s family lives on a farm, everyone works hard and they are friendly and well liked.  Libbie’s mother has lots of “episodes” and her older sister Gwen takes care of her Mother and her own husband and child.  Libbie is sensitive and no one is expecting her to go to college, have a career or work.  That is okay with Libbie because she just wants to marry Jack.  They celebrate a lovely wedding day with family and friends.

The story turns darker with discoveries about alcoholism, pill addiction, financial concerns and just plain hard work and exhaustion.  Libbie begins to have her own episodes and begins her own regime of self-medication.  Car accidents, hitting and hospitalizations now the secrets begin to fly out of control.  The couple is parted.

Emily just must find out what happened to Libbie after she hears the story and she is persistent, which creates an clever story on it’s own and as Emily pursues her own future begins to take shape and she takes hold of her own life.

Happily Ever After is good in this story and just left this reader pleased to have spent the weekend reading.  I think others will like it very much and particularly those who are ready for Happily Ever After endings.

deanna-author-photo-lake-union

“Deanna Lynn Sletten grew up on the sunny coast of Southern California before moving to northern Minnesota as a teenager. Her interest in writing novels was sparked in a college English class, and she has been writing in some form or another ever since. In 2011, Deanna self-published her first novel and has since published several more, both on her own and with Lake Union Publishing.

Deanna enjoys writing heartwarming women’s fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes readers on the adventure of a lifetime. She believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, magic, and happily ever after—all of which are reflected in her novels.
Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian shepherd or relaxing on her boat in the summer.” (TLC)

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A PIECE OF SKY, A GRAIN OF RICE: A memoir in four meditations ~Christine Hale

Monday, August 8th, 2016

I just need to state at the very beginning of this review that I am so happy I was sent this book for reading and review.  What a wonderful book, which arrived at perfect timing for what is happening in our world and the politics of the day.  So many people right now are asking why do people remain so ignorant and do not change their minds?   This memory is about how one of those people, who value programmed in the Blue Collar realm of Southern USA and how much effort it took to learn to reprogram those values and help her children succeed.

“In this layered collage of memory within memory, Hale recreates for readers her kaleidoscopic experience of a decades-long journey to acceptance and insight. Writer, prodigal daughter, single parent, Buddhist disciple, and, late in midlife, a newlywed, she is transformed through an unconventional relationship with a female spiritual teacher and an odd ritual of repeated tattooing with her two young adult children. “ (from book cover)

A PIECE OF SKY, A GRAIN OF RICE is poetically written as the segments over lap in telling her story and piecing together the facets of a life.  From her parents love-hate relationship and hard work ethic,over years of self-study and volunteering in a domestic violence center in New York, this southern woman begins to understand how physical, verbal, and sexual abuse played out in her own family and that was considered the normative behaviors of her historic family and of the culture of the working class.  Christine Hale drugged herself up for awhile and then found a mentor who assisted her in digging her way out and making changes, which led to changes in her own family structure and breaking the pattern and the mold of enculturation she had endured.

TLC Book Tours  sent me a copy of this book for review.

The author also studied at the same school I did in North Carolina and now lives in the same area I did my first social work practicum.  At 20, I arrived from a family that discussed everything and had value programmed with one “British Rules” parent and one “Creative Genius” thinker and I could see clearly in my new surroundings  the stuck in a rut life systems that were not going to work in the new century – how to change awareness and values?  It seemed to take a great deal of pain and the desire to change to escape one’s early programming.   Hale experiences that pain and sometimes believes her only “out” is suicide and yet she persists and change happens.   The telling of her story certainly opens doors for others to step through and find new hope and not just escape and death.  Change is hard work.

Even without getting tattooed most of us can benefit from reading this beautiful memoir and it may help many others in the reading.

Though I have to say that most Buddhist retreats I have partaken of, the centers have been immaculate and beautiful in their earthy settings and natural silence.  Her teacher’s centers were fairly awful facilities and would have made it extremely difficult for me not to be distracted and nearly impossible to let go.   More power to Christine Hale

From the cover:

“Christine Hale is the author of a novel, BASIL’S DREAM.  Ms. Hale’s creative non-fiction has appeared in ARTS & LETTERS, SPRY, STILL, HIPPOCAMPUS, and PRIME NUMBER, among other journals.  A fellow of MacDowell, Ucross, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, she earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College.  She teaches in the Antioch University – Lost Angeles Low Residency MFA Program as well as the Great Smokies Writing Program in Asheville, North Carolina, where she and her husband live.”

www.christinehalebooks.com

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