“U.S. Veterans in the Workforce” by Mike Schindler


Mike Schindler
Elevate (2016)
ISBN 9781943425952
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (09/16)

I was excited for the opportunity to review “U.S. Veterans in the Workforce” by Mike Schindler. My interest in working with military veterans stemmed from having four generations of veterans in my family. One of my grandfathers served over forty years of active duty in the Navy. The other one was a retired Colonel in the Army. My father is a Naval Academy graduate. The list of family members goes on. My dedication to helping active duty military and veterans led me to be part of a team that brought a Military and Veteran Resource Center to my community college campus.

“U.S. Veterans in the Workforce” is a resource that is critical for military veterans and people who work with them. The author uses real life scenarios of military families to illustrate how difficult it can be for a dedicated veteran to transition over to the civilian world. He discusses the veterans needing assistance with seeking employment so that they know how to market themselves in a way that will appeal to the corporate world. Many veterans only have their military experience to rely upon when trying to seek employment in the civilian world. A lot of them do not know how to translate their special skills into civilian terminology so that the people hiring can understand the value of these applicants. Also, as the author points out, not all veterans are wounded warriors, which has started to become a stereotype for veterans who have served during wartime.

The veteran needs to be educated on how to job seek in a way that will emphasize skills and traits they might consider to be standard for all employees, but are not. This includes, having a strong work ethic, being on time, being a team player, having the dedication to make sure that the job gets done. Some work skills they received in the military might not be of use for the job in which they are applying, but these other skills will be of value in any place of employment.

“U.S. Veterans in the Workforce” discusses why it is critical for active military to have the right support systems in place to help ensure a smooth transition to veteran status. This not only involves assisting with accessing their benefits for education and employment, but also housing, medical care, and psychological issues. This would help prevent them from cycling through issues with poverty, suicidal thoughts, addiction, unemployment, and divorce. With 7% of our population being veterans, it is really important that they get the services they need to be able to transition quickly and easily.

The information contained in “U.S. Veterans in the Workforce” by Mike Schindler is incredibly valuable. It helped me to open my eyes as to why my father, a Naval engineer and Naval Academy graduate was a Mc Donald’s manager after his service. It wasn’t just economic issues that had my brother-in-law, a Lieutenant Search and Rescue pilot in the Navy, moving furniture when he retired from service until he could find the right job. My desire to educate myself to help others has given me a greater understanding of what was actually happening in my own life because of reading this book. This is highly recommended reading!

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“Gestation Seven” by J. Stewart Willis


J. Stewart Willis
Xlibris (2017)
ISBN 9781543410150
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (06/17)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘Gestation Seven’ by J. Stewart Willis on Blogcritics.

“Gestation Seven: One Was Black and One Was White” by J. Stewart Willis is a suspenseful medical thriller that will captivate and haunt readers from the very beginning.

When reporter Mary Murphy stumbles upon a crime scene, she sees two small bundles being carted off by the authorities. These bundles turn out to be holding the bodies of two murdered newborn babies. One is black and one is white. As more information comes to light, Mary takes it upon herself to do whatever it takes to get answers. Her search for the truth ends up opening a huge can of worms.

One of the worms is a research scientist named David Neale. He is one of three government scientists who were working on a secret project outside of their jobs. This project was funded by a doctor who was also one of the scientists involved. Their goal was to find a way to reduce the human gestation period from nine months down to seven. Secretly using human subjects, the trio soon discovers that their experiment has gone horribly wrong. One of the scientists takes drastic action resulting in the deaths of two of the babies. He and the scientist who funded the project disappear, but in different directions. David Neale is left holding the bag. His career and marriage are in serious trouble unless he can prove that he didn’t murder those babies. Even then, his reputation is destroyed. He tries to redeem himself by finding answers to what happened, but it looks like it might be too late.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story! The idea behind the plot is creative and interesting. The writing is engaging and emotional. As I read, I truly found myself hoping that nothing like this would ever happen! The characters are genuine and well developed. The protagonist David Neale is far from perfect, yet he still tries to find redemption. He does not appear to be a man of great strength or character, yet this makes him seem more real. The reporter Mary Murphy is the strong one in this story. She also has some weaknesses but overall, she is not one to reckon with!

“Gestation Seven: One Was Black and One Was White” by J. Stewart Willis is a must-read for fans of medical suspense. It has a uniqueness that makes it refreshingly different. I look forward to more novels by this author.

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“Blood Ties” by Philip Klaus


Philip Klaus
LifeRich Publishing (2016)
ISBN 9781489705532
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Readers View (5/17)

Philip Klaus’ memoir, “Blood Ties” is a heart-warming, gut-wrenching read about being adopted into a loving family, but never having the sense of who he is. Always curious as to how he fits into the world and why he does some of the things he does, puts him on the path to search for his biological parents.

Having little to go on but two names, Philip met obstacle after obstacle until his daughter Holly, began to help. Philip’s biological mother kept his birth a secret from everyone she knew, including her immediate family. Given her circumstances and the views on illegitimate children during that era, many will understand her stance, but at the same time be appalled a mother could do that. For over seventy years, Philip searches for information, but reminds himself that, “growing up with a biological parent(s) doesn’t always equate to happiness.”

Having worked with children and adults who are adopted, there are so many questions left unanswered. Many concern themselves with, “Did my parents ever think about me or search for me?” Adoptive parents are concerned about health or mental health issues that might impact behaviors or a medical crisis.

I found the author’s passion and vivid descriptions made me feel like I was on the journey with him. Frustration hit when one family member wouldn’t accept his intrusion and wanted to keep him a secret from his biological mother. When extended family members were found, I can honestly say I was ecstatic, scared, and curious as to what would happen. I felt every emotion possible during this read. Klaus’ memoir isn’t one to make readers feel sorry for him, but hopefully, provides encouragement in the steps he took to find his parent(s).

The author includes pictures, letters to his birth mother, and letters from his dad to his brother. He also has a Facebook account where he gives suggestions to birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents, which I thought was very insightful and helpful. He does remind us that not all birth parents want to reconnect, nor does every reunion go well.

“Blood Ties” by Philip Klaus is a must read for all that have started a similar journey or those who have experienced it. The memoir provides insight into the thoughts of adoptees and birth parents and fears that many adoptive parents experience.

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“A Perfect Plan” by Alyssa Drake


Alyssa Drake
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781523827053
Reviewed by Shamekia Agnew for Reader Views (05/17)

“A Perfect Plan,” by Alyssa Drake is a sweet romance and fun to read. It took me back to what I love about romance novels. It’s easy and unforced. It is the perfect companion for a rainy afternoon or a night of candlelit reading, or for the end of a crappy day. It is a bubble bath, wine, and chocolate sort of read. I think I like it because it is not trying to be anything more, a lot of romance novels try to sound literary, and that takes away the fun. It makes them difficult to read. This author has trust in her audience and in her story not to overwhelm with melodrama. There is time to care about the characters and care about their circumstances. The story is sweet, fun, and intriguing.

The men are dashing and brave. The women are heroic damsels. I really enjoyed the heroine’s sass and awkwardness. She maintains a certain innocence and integrity. She pushes society’s standards based on her terms because she doesn’t know any other way to be, and she doesn’t sacrifice that to fit in. The hero is the classic gentleman rogue.

I also enjoyed the author’s approach to the story. I love marriage of convenience stories. As much as I love them, there is a difficult balance to maintain believability enough to stay engaged in the story and the characters. I feel the time and care the author took to create this story and it was so appreciated. With so many authors using alternative methods of publishing, they often bypass how beneficial editing is to their vision.

I am excited about book 2 to see how it all comes together. I am excited to see if and how the characters change and grow. I am excited for the twists and turns because the author does not try to keep the reader on edge throughout the story, she offers relief from the drama to enjoy the sweetness and romance of the story. Even the author’s use of clichés adds sweetness to the story, making them easy to forgive. I hope she has more stories to share. “A Perfect Plan” by Alyssa Drake is a perfect relief.

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Interview with Diana Forbes, Author of “Mistress Suffragette”



Diana Forbes
Penmore Press, LLC (2017)
ISBN 9781946409072
Reviewed by Juliana Leal for Readers Views (05/17)

Article first published as Interview: Diana Forbes, Author of ‘Mistress Suffragette’ on Blogcritics.

Diana Forbes is a 9th generation American, with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Diana Forbes lives and writes in Manhattan. When she is not cribbing chapters, Diana Forbes loves to explore the buildings where her 19th Century American ancestors lived, loved, survived and thrived. She is passionate about vintage clothing, antique furniture, ancestry, and vows to master the quadrille in her lifetime. Diana Forbes is the author of New York Gilded Age historical fiction.

Welcome, Diana and thank you for being with us today! Why don’t you start by telling our readers about your journey to becoming a published author?

I had a story I knew I wanted to tell, but I knew I needed help in how to relay it. I started taking novel writing classes here in NYC and just kept taking them. The classes provided many deadlines—a great thing for an aspiring author. I would get the feedback from my classmates and revise and revise. Eventually I had a first draft and then I revised that a few times!

What is Mistress Suffragette about?

The story is about a young, sheltered woman who gets drafted into the Suffrage Movement – almost by accident. She has a unique talent that makes her attractive to the Movement, which allows her to be paid. In the meantime, her love life is a complete disaster. One of the men she becomes involved with is quite dangerous, and he threatens to unravel everything she’s fighting for.

Tell us about your protagonist. What motivates Penelope Stanton?

DianaForbes.jpgPenelope looked forward to living a traditional life, including marriage and children. That life is whisked away from her due to her father’s financial travails. Now she needs to find an alternate path but she has no idea how to go about that. Her quest is a search for independence. She thinks she is looking for love, but she needs to find and assert her own selfhood.

How do you relate to Penelope on a personal level?

The novel is about change and one’s ability to cope with unforeseen circumstances. Penelope does not have a strong support system, as her parents always seem to urge her to do what conflicts with her aspirations. Even though the book takes place in the late nineteenth century, I was aiming to highlight some of the themes many women experience today.

How extensive was the research required for this story? Tell us a bit about it.

The research was extensive! I had letters from my 19th century ancestors, which I read over many times. I also had photographs that had been handed down in my family. Beyond that, I made it my personal mission to visit each setting in the novel. If the building still exists today, I visited it and took photos and notes. I went to some fascinating historical re-enactments as well. Beyond that, I read about fifty books – both nonfiction and fiction—about the time period. I found old newspaper clippings as well, researched ancestry records, and in some cases, hunted down menus and other relics from the period so that the setting would feel authentic.

What kind of reaction to your writing do you most seek from your reading audience? 

I want my writing to resonate with readers. In some of my writing classes, some of the other students would say things, such as “Gosh, it was just as hard to find a man back then as it is today.” Or, “I never realized how tough it was for those women then.” Then I would feel as if my writing had reached its audience.

What is a typical day for you as an author? What are your writing practices?

I roll into my office at 9 a.m. I write for four hours. Then I try to think of ways to promote Mistress Suffragette for three hours. And then, I write in the late afternoon again. I’m always toggling between writing and promotion, and more writing.

What can you share with us about your publishing experience?

It’s been a huge learning experience for me. I researched and wrote the novel over a five-year period. In year three, I searched for and found an agent. Every piece of feedback I received be it from writers, readers, my agent, or editors I took into account because I knew I was just a newbie author. So, I revised the novel a lot.

What’s next? Is there another novel in your future?

I certainly hope so! I am on draft six of the sequel – probably a few dozen drafts away from completion, but well on the road to the follow up book. And, I see this as a trilogy.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received, about writing, or about life in general?

Each rejection that a writer receives is a badge of honor. You can’t be a writer without facing some rejection. So when you receive a rejection, it’s time to double down and get the work out there again.

What advice can you give aspiring writers of historical fiction/romance?

People always say to “write what you know.” But that is pretty limiting! Write what you feel. Write what you want to know, or want to understand better.

What writers have inspired your own work as an author?

Edith Wharton, Charlotte Bronte, Tolstoy, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I found myself rereading Jane Eyre this morning, for example. I enjoyed Gone Girl a few years back.

Where can readers connect with you on social media to learn more about you and Mistress Suffragette?





Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I try to put some of my own passions into the story. I think doing so makes the work more tangible.

Read review of Mistress Suffragette
Visit authors website

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“Secret Science and the Secret Space Program” by Herbert G. Dorsey III


Herbert G. Dorsey III
Herbert Grove Dorsey III Publishing (2015)
ISBN 9780578152387
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/17)

The author of “Secret Science and the Secret Space Program,” Herbert G. Dorsey III, has a background in Electrical Engineering, Physics and free energy systems. He also has an intense interest in extraterrestrials, teleportation, time travel, and free energy. Dorsey claims that we have actually made huge scientific advances in these areas, some of which happened in the 20th century. However, he states the knowledge of these scientific accomplishments is being kept a secret by groups who are trying to protect their financial interests. Much of what I read in this book has been theorized about before, including the incident of the Manhattan Project. It was really interesting to learn more about it.

The author presents information on all the subjects mentioned above, plus his belief that the Cold War was a front for the United States and Russia to cover up their collaboration in a space program that put bases on the moon and Mars. There are also human-like aliens actively involved with these secret groups on earth. Some well-known people who have had this information shared with them, have now had their memories erased. Memory erasing helps protect the secrets and allow the research to continue without public involvement.

The information put forth by Herbert G. Dorsey, III is truly out of this world! I found “Secret Science and the Secret Space Program,” to be a fascinating read. I do not have the scientific background of the author, nor have I had access to the knowledge that he has. I would love to continue to do more research on these matters because if this information is correct, I believe that most of this science should be put to use. Conspiracy theorists will love reading this book!

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“An American Beer Trail” by Zach Stinehour


Zach Stinehour
Outskirts Press (2016)
ISBN 9781478768432
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (06/17)

I have enjoyed opportunities to go wine tasting in Paso Robles, California and La Valley de Guadalupe, Mexico. I also visited agave plantations in Mexico to see how tequila is made. On my bucket list, I dream of touring whiskey distilleries in Scotland. In spite of evolving from keg parties in college to microbrew parties after graduation, never would I have thought to take an 11,000-mile journey on a BMW motorcycle to explore beer crafting in America! But that is exactly what the author Zach Stinehour did. And he began his travels from upstate New York in the winter! 44 breweries and 244 beers later, he shares his journey with us in “An American Beer Trail” by telling his story and illustrating it with photographs taken along the way.

Before Zach takes us on his journey, he gives a brief history of beer, taking us back to Mesopotamia and bringing us into the present with interesting facts about the craft, which includes explaining some of the different beer styles. At almost every stop, he also intersperses interesting historical facts about beer into his current experience. It amazes me how many of the common phrases used today are historically linked to alcohol. This includes, “tanked,” and “getting off scot-free.” The historical information presented makes the brewery experiences even more enriching. I also think it was very creative of Zach to, for the most part, use photographs that were taken off his motorcycle in scenic places, rather than of the breweries themselves, because it sets more of an ambience for the area in which he is passing through.

I really enjoyed “An American Beer Trail” by Zach Stinehour and my interest is piqued in learning more about the craft of beer, especially because I now have a greater respect for the history that is behind this industry. While I am not sure if I will sign up for the Master Brewer’s certification program through the UC Davis Extension, I will definitely strive to keep myself informed about my brews! This book would make an excellent gift for someone who enjoys long distance travel on motorcycles and the craft industry of beer.

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