“Surviving Heartbreak Valley” by Linda Walls

SurvivingHeartbreakValleySURVIVING HEARTBREAK VALLEY

Linda Walls
Outskirts Press (2018)
ISBN 9781478757290
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (11/18)

“Surviving Heartbreak Valley” by Linda Walls is an important, heartbreaking story of domestic violence and stalking that every woman and family should read. I will say that for those who are or have been in an abusive relationship Walls’s memoir might bring some horrific memories to the forefront.

Walls relates how hard it was to write about this period in her life when her children were brutally murdered by Bernon Howery. One way abusers make sure your life is hell is to take away what matters to you most. Walls did an excellent job of narrating her emotional experiences, thoughts on “if she had only done this,” and portraying some things were not as they seem.

For me, as a reviewer and mother, this was a hard story to read. My daughter was in an abusive relationship for seven years, and it was the most traumatic, heartbreaking time of our lives. As a psychologist, I’ve heard many people say, “I would never let that happen. Why didn’t she leave?” It is so easy to judge, make assumptions and second guess when you have not walked in an abused person’s shoes.

Bernon Howery was a very smooth con-man; he knew everything to say and do to manipulate situations to suit him and abuse was his power. One look at him and you would think he would never hurt anyone, much less the woman he professes to love. Linda is doing the best she can to better her life and take care of her children and pay her bills. While it’s true no one is perfect, no one deserves to have a gun held to their head or be verbally and emotionally abused.

On the day Linda graduated from college her worst nightmare came true. Her children were dead, and life did not seem to be worth living anymore. As time went on, Linda became an advocate for abused women, and conducts seminars and helps women become empowered through knowledge of stalking laws, having an escape plan in place, and support services. In the latter part of her book, she provides a wealth of information for any woman or family to know what to do.

I highly recommend “Surviving Heartbreak Valley” by Linda Walls. Thank-you Linda for bravely sharing your story. You are unbelievably strong.

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“Yes, The World Is Round Part I” by Donna Hill

YesTheWorldIsRoundIYES, THE WORLD IS ROUND PART I

Donna Hill
Oriole Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9780995057944
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (11/18)

“Yes, The World Is Round Part I” by Donna Hill is the bold and gutsy journey of the author and her husband’s five-year sailing adventure from England to Fiji on a sailboat. Readers will experience first-hand the excitement, obstacles and pain the couple encountered using the water as their highway, often getting to remote destinations that were only accessible by boat.

It was inspiring to hear the author note: “The truth is I was never fond of water; I was one of the few kids who never learned to swim in my hometown’s swimming hole.” Also, she states “And the fact that the journey was carried out by a married couple who are still married, is one of the greatest accomplishments of the voyage.” I for one cannot imagine taking a journey like this with my husband and remaining married. I can only imagine the stress, decision-making and detailed planning that occurred.

The chapter on ‘Crossing the Atlantic’ and the detailed preparation left me breathless. I feel my husband, and I are very organized, detailed and prepare well for anything, but I will say the author has me beat hands down. Knowing that one will be at sea with no corner store to purchase supplies or a place to get boat repairs means one has to prepare for every little thing. The author had me laughing at going to a store to get supplies and food when everything was in Spanish and having to sometimes second guess what the labels said. It reminded me of living in Germany, not knowing any German and having to get used to the idea that if you saw something you wanted to purchase, you’d better get it as it might not be there the next time.

Hill’s extraordinary vivid descriptions of each place they visited, people they met and mishaps that occurred are entertaining and provide readers with the opportunity to travel on the journey with them.  At the end of the book, the author also provides, among other things, great information on the history of each place, memorable meals, place names and players in the story.

As the book is quite lengthy with so much detailed information, “Yes, The World Is Round,” by Donna Hill is not a book you can breeze through; so take your time and enjoy it, a little goes a long way. Overall, it is well written, researched and captivating, especially for adventurous travel buffs.

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“Lexicon American Style 2” by Patrick Ragains

LexiconLEXICON AMERICAN STYLE 2

Patrick Ragains
Outskirts Press (2018)
ISBN 9781478701170
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/18)

“Lexicon American Style 2,” by Patrick Ragains is the second book in a series that covers the American way of communicating. A great deal can be learned about American culture in this text. This information doesn’t just cover America as a whole, but also the different subcategories that might be found in different states or regions.  The author literally covers topics from A to Z. I hate to use the word “literally,” because it is so over used, but the topics actually do range from A to Z and beyond! I found myself gaining an understanding of what words or phrases mean in parts of the country that are unfamiliar to me. Acronyms, idioms, metaphors, oxymorons, etc., they can all be found between these pages. There is also some great advice for creating an online dating account. While I am not in need of one of these accounts, at this time anyway, I found the advice presented to be quite informative.

Foreigners who plan on traveling to the United States will find “Lexicon American Style 2,” to be a great resource to use while traveling around. Perhaps a better understanding of our American terminology could help prevent an international crisis from occurring or escalating!  I am also considering giving this book out as Christmas gifts for my friends who have everything. They will really enjoy this one! I have an English as a Second Language instructor on my Christmas list. Perhaps, she will consider using Lexicon American Style 2, as a textbook for her class. It would also make a great bathroom reader for families who have low fiber diets and have to take time to sit around and read, whether they want to or not.

In all seriousness, I do believe that reading “Lexicon American Style 2,” by Patrick Ragains will improve our use of American English. I enjoyed gaining a lot of new information and also having a chance to check my own usage. The area that I found particularly helpful was in the discussion of redundancies. Hopefully, my writing skills will improve a bit. Having a chance to gain knowledge while laughing out loud is wonderful! Readers will find this information extremely interesting and highly entertaining.

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“Karda” by Sherrill Nilson

KardaKARDA: ADALTA, VOLUME 1

Sherrill Nilson
Green Canoe, LLC (2018)
ISBN 9781732272903
Reviewed by Araceli Noriega for Reader Views (11/18)

“Karda” is the first book in the Adalta series by Sherrill Nilson. After losing her only living relative, a young spy is sent on a mission to collect information about a planet she has never been to before. As she masters living on this entirely new world, she must also gather data and send it to her deceitful employer. During the course of her work on the planet, she faces life experiences in such a way that she must reconsider her allegiances before she can complete her mission. Just as she has settled into her chosen life, a malicious entity threatens her whole existence and that of those she has come to love as her new family.

The author is quite successful in carrying out the purpose of this publication. The protagonist is captivating and transforms before the readers eyes. The setting is somehow unknown yet familiar; the storyline builds momentum until the final moment is had with remarkable results. This novel makes the reader think about and explore the role of human relationships and life’s highs and lows.

There are some phrases that don’t make sense right away because they seem to either be out of place or have a grammatical error. But as the book goes on, it becomes apparent that this was simply the author’s style of describing this futuristic universe. None of the errors take away from the story, though.

This book is for younger readers. It reads like the author is protecting readers from graphic sexual scenes and extremely abusive language and violence. This book is a great sci-fi read as it has a very interesting and well-thought-out universe. There were no examples of relationships outside of hetero-normative standards, though. Therefore, this novel could make some audience members feel excluded. However, to other readers, this may feel like a classic sci-fi heroine storyline.

I consider myself an adventurous person, so I can relate to the main character throughout the book. My personal opinion is that this story about a young woman and her flying horse is a terrific metaphor about the way young women feel as they enter adulthood. My favorite part was when the mythical flying creatures let the main character know that they are able to communicate with her telepathically. I also appreciate the way the main character learns to trust her thoughts and her intuition as a result of her life experiences.

I recommend “Karda: Adalta Vol. I” by Sherrill Nilson as a fun read. It is an adventure to be had with minor interruptions. The storyline is strong and barely predictable—which is really quite enjoyable. It is an exciting trip into a universe we can only dream of filled with possibilities the reader will watch evolve into thrilling encounters. Whether you love animals, mystery, or just alternate universes, this is a sure bet for anyone seeking an engrossing escape.

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“The Jester’s Dance” by Leslie Hachtel

TheJestersDanceTHE JESTER’S DANCE

Leslie Hachtel
CreateSpace (2017)
ISBN 9781545056875
Reviewed by Shoshana F. Regos for Reader Views (11/18)

The premise of “The Jester’s Dance” by Leslie Hachtel was intriguing and the writing overall seemed fair. Lady Margaret has left her home after the sudden death of her husband and has decided to disguise herself as a jester and roam free. She travels to Court with Lord Seth, a Scotsman in desperate need of the king’s help with a neighboring clan that has kidnapped some of his family. Lady Margaret is unexpectedly attracted to Lord Seth and he finds himself gazing at the young court jester. They soon form a bond and Lady Margaret decides to assist Lord Seth in freeing his family from their captors.

I was conflicted about my feelings for this book and took some time to think about “The Jester’s Dance,” before writing a review. Overall, I enjoyed the story, it was an easy and fast read for me. The plot drew me in and I liked the historical fantasy components, with a hint of romance. The detailed description of historical features allowed me to visualize the landscapes that Lady Margaret traveled on. The author’s descriptions of the encounters between Lord Seth and Lady Margaret were very vivid, allowing the reader to feel the deep emotional connection between both characters.

The witchcraft elements, however, kind of threw me for a loop, and it made the story somewhat hard to believe. There was no structure and all of a sudden Lady Margaret has these premonitions and visions of the future. I would have liked more of a backstory about her and her friends’ early experiences with witchcraft. It just seemed intrusive and out of context and scattered throughout the story. The witchcraft for me added little to the story.

I would recommend “The Jester’s Dance” by Leslie Hachtel for those that are interested in an entertaining and quick read. It was an uplifting adventure with a female lead.

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“Crazy Beach: Disc One…” by L.R. Welborn

CrazyBeachCRAZY BEACH

L.R. Welborn
CreateSpace (2018)
ISBN 9781983749308
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (11/18)

In “Crazy Beach: Disc One…” author L.R. Welborn provides a unique way of describing his life during the 70s at a famous beach in North Carolina. Given his love for music, Welborn uses tracks from music discs and titles of songs for chapter titles.

For many readers “Crazy Beach” will take you back to a time where life was simple, the small things mattered more than the technology of today, and kids got to be kids. Regardless of whether one lived at or near a beach, you will love Eggs a somewhat bizarre middle-aged man who tends to talk to himself and grumble incoherently while making a deposit of bodily waste in the middle of the street and placing a small American flag on top. It brings back memories of the same such person in our small town, who despite being a small nuisance, is protected by all.

Having grown up in a military town, Track 3 – We Gotta Get You a Woman, had me rolling on the floor. No respectful local girl was allowed to date a soldier, and it wasn’t unusual for the local boys to play tricks on inebriated young soldiers. In Crazy Beach, the author and his friends have a game they play with local Marines called Marguerite, where the beach girls play a cruel but funny joke on them thinking all the while they will get plenty of action.

I found the characters to be funny and sometimes serious – all are well-developed. The writing brings out the kid in all and evokes memories from long ago. The author chose some of the best highlights of being young, adventurous and mischievous. I would have liked a bit more information about the beach. If I didn’t currently live in North Carolina I wouldn’t be able to picture the area in my mind.

Overall “Crazy Beach: Disc One…” by L.R. Welborn is a fun read, slightly over exaggerated but it works. Readers will like the humor and reliving their youth.

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“Infinity 7” by Charles R. Hinckley

Infinity7INFINITY 7

Charles R. Hinckley
Mad Drummer (2018)
ASIN B07K7ZY8ZS
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/18)

Powerful and compelling, “Infinity 7” by Charles R. Hinckley is a riveting psychological sci-fi adventure that readers won’t soon forget!

When suspicious communication comes from the Metis 3 Space Station requesting a team to investigate malfunctions and the possibility of alien life forms, astronaut and astrophysicist John Collins knows he is headed back to space.  Developer of the Metis Space Program, Collins has dedicated his professional career to this project, at great personal cost, and will do whatever it takes to keep the funding flowing for this research. Discovery of alien spores found in soil samples have been mishandled by Forrest, one of the techs, putting the entire station in danger of contamination.  Strange behavior from the crew and the mainframe computer system suggest alien forces have taken over as an entranced crew member is determined to destroy the space station.  Fighting hallucinations and madness caused by exposure to the spore toxins, John Collins is in for the fight of his life and the future of the earth.

This story is a fantastic read!  I really enjoyed the writing – Hinckley has a talent for creating vivid, colorful, life-like descriptions in every paragraph, and not a word is wasted. The plotline is complex without being overwhelming; the various layers of the story are sophisticated and round out the entire story as a whole.

The author’s imagination seems limitless as the creativity displayed in the scenes and the settings compel the reader to plow through the pages.  The hallucination scenes are frightening, the nightmarish-like sequences had me questioning reality right alongside the characters. Somehow, even though Hinckley paints clear visuals, he also leaves enough room for the reader to incorporate their own visions as well, and that is one of the things I love so much about a well-told story.

And the characters – wow!  From the creepy camera that follows the crew around (yes, the camera is life-like and so deemed a character), to the sexy holographic woman that was “enhanced” by one of the techs, to the crew members and a mysterious old man – all the characters have dimension and personality – even the alien spores! The protagonist is realistic and likable – he’s a single dad trying to raise a teenage daughter while grieving a monumental loss.  He’s also flawed and has questionable motives throughout but is definitely someone readers will want to succeed.

Overall, I found this to be an incredible read and I think the story sets itself up nicely to be on the big screen one day.  Readers of sci-fi and psychological thrillers will enjoy “Infinity 7” by Charles R. Hinckley.

 

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