Saturday, December 11, 2010

Great book club read...

I am a social worker so I was quite interested in this book because of the title alone. I was hoping it wouldn’t be a predictable love story and it went far beyond my initial expectations. Barbara was an educated college professor who became extremely depressed after her children left home. The depression was there all along but she managed to “put on a face,” as a lot of depressed people do. Yet once the children were gone she began having difficulty “faking it.” She went to work and home. It wasn’t until her husband realized there were no meals on the table waiting for him that his wife of many years needed help.

Barbara was married but spent most of their married life being a servant to her husband and being ignored by him. His life was separate from hers and she never questioned him about the things he did. She just let them be sinking further into herself. He was the popular outspoken one and she wasn’t. She didn’t attend events he invited her to because it reinforced how far apart their two worlds were.

Barbara had a life most would envy. A beautiful home, good children, a successful husband and a prestigious career made up her world. Friends were few and that was good enough for her. Despite what she had Barbara felt lost. At the suggestion of her disconnected husband Barbara went to a therapist to get help. What would happen next was extraordinary and of course, unethical. Barbara begins to find herself where she least expected it. Her life began to change on the couch in her doctor’s office.

The author told a love story that was funny and quite vivid. I could see the roads that she drove on in New England, the diplomas on the wall in the psychiatrist’s office that she squinted to read on her initial visit, and the beauty that lay within Barbara’s gardens. At times I could see both her joy and pain. Ms. Rose has an amazing ability of grabbing the reader’s attention quickly and drawing them in. I found myself laughing out loud at the author’s humor and feeling sorry for Barbara in other instances. In the end, I applauded her growth as I do Ms. Rose’s storytelling ability. This is a must read and is a perfect book club suggestion or Christmas gift for the reader in your family. What are waiting for? Go to the link on my page and buy it!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

You see the rainbow?

I lost a friend last week that I've known for as long as I can remember. It is always hard when someone you know passes. Its especially difficult when their your age. It forces you to look closely at your life. He was a great guy and hero to many. He will be missed by those who knew and loved him. His death made me truly think about this life I am living. Am I truly living? I am doing my best and wonder... could be doing more?

My friend Heather is home from the hospital. They found a bone marrow donor for her. Thanks for all of the prayers but her journey is just beginning. Please keep praying for her!! She has had chemo and will be returning to the hospital for thirty days. After she comes home she will be in her room for over three months. Not in the rest of the home where her two little children are but in her bedroom. I spoke with her today. She informed me that although she felt better physically she wasn't doing well mentally. Heather told me that she's afraid. I informed her that there was nothing wrong with her being afraid. Its a normal and expected reaction to illness and especially to cancer.

I implored her to remain faithful. I also told her that being in her bedroom for over three months was better than not coming back home at all. As I told her, its easier for me to say looking in from the outside, but its true. Option one... never come home from the hospital. Option two... come home and be locked in my master bedroom for three months with a laptop/iPad, bathroom, iPod and television. I'm going for option two!

I am in no way making light of her situation because its dire. Her journey isn't over. Its just beginning. What I am doing is searching for the rainbow before the rain has stopped. I have learned to do that in life. I get up in the morning because I see the sun shining brightly through the clouds, in the fog and in the rain. I have to. I never used to and my life was a reflection of such. Once I changed my way of thinking and my view on what truly matters in life. Now I see the rainbow during NOT after every storm!

Please keep Heather in your prayers no matter what faith, religion or language you pray in. Pray that God comforts and keeps her. After this 100 day journey she will start living again. Make sure you look at your today and embrace all that you have. Remember the importance of loving yourself so that you can be a light in the lives of others as my friend was...

You see the rainbow? You know I do...

Supporting Minister Steve!

We went to see Minister Steve at the Gospel House Cafe on Thanksgiving weekend. He will be there again this month on the 26th. I know its the day after Christmas but its a great time. The Gospel House Cafe is a great place to bring family and friends for the holiday! If you're not out of town there is no excuse...

Come out and support Minister Steve at the IRBY Dance Center at 168 Irvington Avenue in South Orange, New Jersey!

Monday, November 15, 2010

She's Got Issues Book Review...

She's Got Issues is the perfect title for a chick lit book. What man hasn't said that a woman has issues? We are just misunderstood sometimes, I guess. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy chick lit books. It is a witty, laugh out loud book that will have you yearning for more or encourage a shoe fetish.

The story is of young Chloe Rose who owns a shoe obsession. Chloe is a little naive and at times, talks to her shoes. As a child, she would play with her shoes instead of her dolls. Chloe works at Issues Magazine as an assistant to the assistant. Lost in her own world Chloe fails to see the jealousy that her boss, Ruth, has for her ideas. Ruth gives Chloe mundane tasks to complete so that she can steal her ideas. Ruth tries to convince management that the ideas are her original ideas and knowing some of the tricks has played, Chloe supports her boss.

Chloe narrates the book which keeps you laughing because she is a bit "weird." She's a smart girl but she perceives the world a little differently than others. She will impress you with her telegraphic memory but also leaves one in awe when she spews out things that make her appear clueless. Chloe is triumphant in all her endeavors despite the challenges she manages to face. Ruth would like to fire Chloe but her ideas makes Ruth look too good. Chloe accepts the abuse from Ruth because it gives her access to the shoe closet.

Women have had issues for years when it comes to workplace competition. This doesn't mean that men don't but women's struggles are a little different and this book reflects some of them. This book was hard to put down as the craziness at the Issues Magazine office unfolded. Despite how naive Chloe is and how annoying that may be, it works for this book. The reader learns to like Chloe even if they try not to. The reader will be charmed when they least expect it. The lack of brains and self-awareness help Chloe tell Ruth to stick it in her own way.

This book is a must read, but remember you will laugh out loud so read it with caution in public places...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Don't lose sight of your dreams!

I am feeling some kind of way today. I am not sure what to call it. I woke up refreshed after a long day working on Minister Steve's demo. I had a short work week but it was longer than others I've had recently. I think what I am feeling is being ready for something different. I love being a social worker but I think my mind and heart are pulling me in a different direction.

This music thing has been a part of me for many years. I remember wanting to do something with it along with my sisters when I was a teen. They didn't want to sing professionally and I didn't think I couldn't do it without them. So, I turned up the volume on my radio listening to other artists as their dreams of flowing over the airwaves came true. Secretly, my dreams were still there I just no longer shared them with others. I wrote poems, short stories and lyrics on scraps of papers, napkins and notebooks. I filed them away for safe keeping never to look at them again.

As an adult, I continued to write, write, write and only shared some of my work through poems that I gave to others. At this time in my life, my dreams are overpowering my thoughts forcing me to pay attention to them. Life experiences, both personally and vicariously, have brought them out of their hiding place. To see friends and family go through health related issues or other challenges in their lives has reinforced for me just how fragile life is. While writing quietly and trying to be a successful social worker, I may have not noticed some doors that were opened wide for me. As I am focusing on my dreams and changing my present situation, I've learned to enter those doors that my heart leads me to. I no longer have doubts about my future success as a songwriter, producer and manager. If I don't step out on faith I will accept a life (or career) that is no longer my desire.

I am satisfied completely with my personal life. God has blessed me beyond measure to be with someone who loves, trusts, supports and encourages me. Now I need to be as equally as satisfied professionally. I know that when you talk about it you are speaking it into existence. So, "I will be successful in this journey to complete, publish and share my literary works and song lyrics. I see it already but I just need and want to feel it!" I said it, God said it and it shall be done...

Success is there for the taking but you can't lose sight of your dreams. Tell God what you want and He shall provide. All doors God opens may not be for you but you have to run through the ones that are with your dreams in hand!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Anoxic Zone by John G. Rees... five stars!!

This horror story grabs the reader from the very first page never letting them go. I don't read a lot of horror or vampire stories but I have read some. Although this book is not as long as the others I've read it is as equally as powerful and thought-provoking as the 500 plus page books. This book is a riveting, fast paced page turner leaving the reader yearning for more. As the reader turns the page the anxiety increases because you can't read the story fast enough.

From page one you are thrust on a journey along with two service personnel, Johnny and Jake, who work for Megacorp. Megacorp operates with its own laws and doesn't care who is in the way as they enforce their laws. The people of Megacorp are arrogant, narcissistic individuals who walk hand and hand with the evilness they spew. The job of the service personnel is to maintain the infrastructure of this culture at the end of the industrial age. The journey extends from Hawaii to Romania as Johnny and Jake have come across the evil that created their kind. The innocuous journey forces them to accept who they have become while forcing them to attempt to keep the evil from Megacorp.

This book is for those readers who love getting lost in a deep, dark vampire book. It isn't like most of the other vampire books giving the genre a new twist. Each character and event is vivid drawing you in at every scene. This story is a reflection of what the future may hold for Megacorp. The reader is thrust into a world of unknown and turns each page rapidly trying to read what the outcome shall be. I recommend this book to readers looking to delve into a vampire book like no other. Straying away from the basic vampire love story, Mr. Rees, opens our eyes to what could be...

What do you know about favor?

What do you know about God's favor? I know what His favor has done for me. If it wasn't for His favor, I know where I'd be. That place wouldn't even be close to where I am now. That's why each day, all day, I thank God for His favor. He moved mountains for me and showed me the gifts I forgot I had. I am beyond thankful for His favor which has allowed me to stand tall in every situation embracing my victory before it even occurs.

Some folks walk around with arrogance spewing out their pores. They act as if they've become successful solely through their efforts with no amount of God's grace falling on them. Of course, we have to be steadfast and diligent as we work toward our goals and dreams. But one must recognize that it is God's favor that has allowed us to be. Whether our dreams and goals are met or not, God's favor has allowed us to accomplish even basic things. I woke up this morning, that's favor. I have my health and strength, that's favor. I have an abundance of love and encouragement in my life. That's favor. Favor isn't always fair, some folks say, but favor is favor to me. I embrace God's favor in all that comes my way...

I have stood and sometimes crawled through a few storms. Not having the strength and courage to stand, I almost faltered. I bent as far as I could embroiled in battles I wasn't sure I'd survive. With my eye towards the sky I prayed for help through each storm. The more I survived, the more I believed. As my faith increased so did my strength. To me... that's favor!

I stand today not worrying about things that don't matter in my life. I have reached deep within and found strength to make it through anything. I am not perfect and sometimes I do react stronger than I should. My imperfections make me human and I know I'm a work in progress and growth continues daily. I know also that I have come a very long way from where I stood twenty or even five years ago. Politics mean absolutely nothing to me. Worrying about what other folks do or say, means nothing to me. I am all about living this life God has given me to live. That's favor!

So... as you stroll through this life, climbing up this ladder of success, don't forget God's favor. It is your responsibility to use your gifts to succeed but one must look over their shoulder helping others along the way. God's favor was given to you and has guided your spirit to the place where you now stand. Don't forget where you came from as you stand tall looking out at the things you've accomplished. God's favor ain't fair but God's favor is good...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Another day ahead...

Another day ahead is another opportunity to work hard. Today I have some errands to run, a book review to write and some football to watch! I paused today to write this post because I've had a few weeks that have caused me to reflect on a few things.

With my neighbor, Heather, being back in the hospital fighting leukemia, I am forced to look at my life. Am I doing what I want to do? Can I still get things done? Well, the answer of course is yes! Life has distracted me but Heather's illness has empowered me. It has reminded me that this life I am living is not forever. It has encouraged me to stand up and do more because life can change in an instant.

You won't find me at any political rally because I don't care enough. That has never been my thing. I've become more disgusted by the behaviors of people on both sides including some friends and colleagues. Everyone is out for their own agenda spewing hate and lies about each other. Well, I am out for mine and it doesn't include any Democrat or Republican ideas. Things I think about directly affect my life and don't require I stand and yell about ideas that don't include my well being.

I am focused on the things that matter to me. I have so many stories and songs lyrics floating around in my head. I am forced to carry a small notebook wherever I go because ideas come no matter what I am doing. My ideas flow constantly sometimes distracting me from what I am doing. But... I am grateful for that!

When I walked into work a few days ago, I overheard a patient talking about staff to another patient. She said, "I feel sorry for the staff because they have to get up so early and come to work." I paused as I walked past her but didn't say anything. As much as I wanted to say something I didn't. Why did she feel sorry for me? Of course, I don't want to work but I want to have a productive life and opportunities to enjoy this life only come when you have money to experience them. I work to pay my bills and to buy the things I desire. Why does she feel sorry for me?

I looked at this patient as her conversation continued amazed at her words. She felt sorry for us? I work on a psychiatric unit that treats those with illnesses ranging from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and addictions. This patient just happens to be a heroin addict, mother of two children that she doesn't have custody of, and homeless. Is that life better than mine? I couldn't imagine being homeless and battling a heroin addiction is not a desire of mine either. To live a life full of schemes while trying to beat the system or hiding out in a hospital because I have no place to go, is not something I could bear. Shouldn't I feel sorry for her? Actually I feel sorry for the children being brought into this world addicted to drugs and facing struggles because of the choices their parents made.

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. I have the strength, will and desire to get up each day and go to work. I am beyond grateful for the things God has provided for me. I have goals and dreams that will essentially allow me to work for myself entirely one day. Don't feel sorry for me, I say. Pray for my success!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

I sit in front of my computer screen with many thoughts floating through my mind on the eve of one of my favorite days, my birthday! I think of the journey that I've been on and this thing called life. I've made a few detours along the way but God always managed to guide my path. No matter how many times my young mind led me astray, I managed to get right back to where God wanted me to be.

So, as I sit three hours away from turning forty-three I lift my eyes in awe. In awe at the wonder of what my life has become. I had no drug addiction or anything as severe as that but I had become complacent. I had become comfortable just being a social worker and working so hard to diligently take care of everyone else. I realized, at forty, that I needed to be more than a social worker at this point in my life to truly be happy. To be happy in my personal life meant I needed to look beyond my educational background into my heart. Inside I found gifts that I had allowed life to suppress.

I reached down deep and found a childlike spirit hiding alongside those gifts and the love in my heart for myself and others swelled. I embraced the childlike spirit and began dreaming bigger dreams for myself. My dreams for my life partner and I began to increase as I realized how blessed I was to have such an honest, compassionate, loving person in my life. My relationship with God is something I've never felt before. It is amazing! At forty, my life had begun and I promised to never stop living once I started.

Tonight, I vow to have a year that is beyond measure. I am no longer complacent. I am eager to see my dreams of becoming a successful writer, songwriter, and whatever else is on my heart come true! I thank God for Jen, my family, health, love, passion and desire. He has blessed and protected me for forty-three years and I hope to be blessed to see many more. God is... I am... thankful!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Musings by Treasure Gibson...

Musings by Treasure Gibson is a collection of thoughts, musings, moods and feelings the author has experienced. I enjoy reading things that I can relate to and this was one of those reads. The poems are about love, strength, power, heroism, vices, and deception mixed with wit, humor and pictures introducing a new idea. The pictures add to the images already formed in each reader's mind by the words the author writes. The pictures bring the words alive!

One of my favorites is, "Who the Hell is 'She'?" This embodies exactly who every woman is to everyone they interact with. A woman is everything to everyone at all times. A woman spends her day catering to the needs of everyone neglecting her own needs and desires. The list of a woman's needs are written below the needs of her family, boss, neighbors and friends. The author describes everything that a woman is forgetting to mention "tired!" Tired, in my opinion, is exactly what most of us are.

The ideas this author shares are vivid and I would love to read them in greeting cards. This book was well done and quite enjoyable. I anticipate the release of this book and hopefully the author will write another one. This book is a great holiday, birthday or "just because" gift and should be laying out in your home on the table for your guests to read.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Prodigal Sons by Sheldon Greene

This fictional yet riveting novel with World War II as the backdrop was a page turning read. The main themes of hope, love, pain, anger, violence, rage, despair, and reconciliation flow heavily into each paragraph leaving the reader yearning for more. This story occurs at a time that caused pain to many while at the same time forcing them to lose their identities. Although it occurred many years ago, the pain is freshly etched in the minds of those who lived through it personally or vicariously through stories of their families being torn apart.

Horst Vogle was Jewish and raised in Poland at the outbreak of the war. He came from a professional family--his father was a doctor and his mom was a nurse. They were extremely respected by others in their town. The main character, Horst Vogle, is stuck with the task of reinventing himself after the war. Prior to World War II, his name was Jan Goldberg. Jan's sister and parents were taken away by the Nazi's and killed at a concentration camp. After the war he emigrated to Palestine with a group of others. He was hired by the Israeli Secret Service to find and kill those Nazi officials who were able to escape the punishment for their crimes. He changed his identity from Jan Godlberg to that of Horst Vogle. That is when Jan's journey as Horst Vogle begins.

On his quest to find these men and kill them, he comes across a woman named Greta. She, a pianist, only knows him as a museum curator not as a vengeful man hunting Nazi's. In the midst of everything, he falls in love with Greta and is forced to balance attending her performances with his job as a killer. As time goes by, he is forced to look at himself in the mirror and figure out his true purpose--is he merely a killer seeking revenge for the wrongdoings to innocent people (including his family) or is he a part of the new Germany being developed? He didn't have an answer readily at hand.

The story is vivid and full of emotions stemming from a horrific time in our history. It shares the intimate details of the lives lost and found through the eyes of a man who lost his family and himself. It pulls on the heartstrings, make you angry and vengeful, and brings you comfort at times. This is a great book by Mr. Greene! If you are a history buff, this is the book for you.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I promised God I'd stand...

I haven't done any posts for a few weeks. The biggest reason being that I haven't had any books to discuss. I've been collaborating on a few projects. Minister Steve and I are working hard to take his music ministry to another level. In addition, I was assisting someone with their bio and have a few things pending with this person. However, I'm not sure where we stand with that. I'm eagerly working with a friend on another project that I can't wait to complete. Its going to be great! Lyrics flow through my head daily so I'm writing songs too. I only need that one song to receive my Grammy. Yes, I already claimed it. I'm far from conceited. I'm faithful and speaking my desires into existence.

My interview was aired on last Sunday morning. It was both exciting and embarrassing for me. I've never been interviewed before. I like working behind the scene but God wanted me up front. He didn't want me to be a backup singer on this. So, I didn't pass up the opportunity. I took a deep breath and did my best. I thank Franyora Clophus for the amazing opportunity and wish her continued success with her Sunday morning Gospel show.

I'm truly grateful for the way things have transpired. Some things are falling into place and some have not changed. At times I may be doubtful but because I have faith, I know it will all come to fruition. I have stumbled and one some days tears have even formed. I don't let any tears fall because God has my back. I am who I am because of the journey my life has taken. There were moments when life knocked me down and I thought I'd never get back up. Once I stood, I promised God I'd never fall again. I haven't. I also promised Him that I cried my last tears for things I knew He'd bring me out of. Today I cry in the midst of my triumphs not for fear I won't get through things.

I always knew of God's promises so I asked for His help. With every fiber of my being I believed and He provided. Life comes with a lot challenges but as long as I stay pressed toward the mark things will be as I've envisioned. If things are getting a little heavy for you, ask God to help. Believe it in your heart and He will bring you through it. I am not telling you what I heard I am telling you what I know...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Four stars for Insight!

Insight by Jamie Magee was an interesting read. The creative fantasy tale focuses on power, family, true love and extreme trust. The journey begins with Willow, a teenage girl, suffering from nightmares who learns the truth about who she truly is. As long as she can remember she has suffered from dreams where she is frightened awake never clearly seeing the person's face that terrorizes her. However, she does hold onto the image of a very handsome man that appears in her dreams as well.

After one of her agonizing nightmares, Willow's parents inform her of her true existence and the mystical powers that lie within. It is then that she realizes that she is more than a teenage girl and her dreams,too, may also be real. What I like the most about the story is the depths that the characters go to find, love and protect each other. Once they meet, I envy the peace that overcomes them. The love they share with their families and soulmates is the very foundation of their existence.

After being informed of her abilities, Willow also finds that she has a soul mate who has searched a life time to find her. Before they can truly be together their love is interrupted by a sinister force similar to the visions in her nightmares. It is then that Willow, who has found peace, must fight the force to reclaim the love she has just found.

I highly recommend this fantasy book to young adults. It is a book that holds your interests from the first page to the last. The journey and triumphs that ensue are a tribute to the author's superb storytelling ability as each character, scene and battle comes to life. I only give the book four stars due to the editorial issues I found along the way. The story comes through vividly despite the errors but there are enough to make them noticeable and sometimes distracting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tragic Treasure by Dianne Rosena Jones... inspiring book!

Underneath the story of the author’s tumultuous life’s journey, lie the most important ingredients of one’s basic survival—inspiration, hope and self-love. This story is a heart-wrenching look into the life of a woman who faced tremendous loss, abuse, anger, and self-hate. The author taps into her inner strength, which was dormant during various times in her life, in order to stand when the tragedies of life surmounted. The reader bears witness to her self-reflection and survival. The life she was living before she found the greatness within bent her emotionally, mentally and physically almost to the point of no return.

This book is inspiring and unlike most self-help or motivational books, it taps into the reader’s soul. It forces the reader to look into the events in their lives and their reactions to them. The fact that it’s interactive is an added touch for readers. The lists or questions allow the reader to reflect on things within their lives and modify their negative, self-loathing thoughts. Through this book, the reader can become the strong individual that Ms. Jones became once she learned her own worth.

I have given this book four stars. There were some editing issues throughout the book that kept me from giving it five stars. I strongly feel that once this book is professionally edited, it will receive five stars from all readers as the content is powerful and uplifting. Ms. Jones is a very talented author and writes in a way that readers will understand. I look forward to reading more of her books.

I recommend this book to those in the midst of a struggle or celebrating the triumphs beyond the struggle. It reaffirms that in order to survive the tragedies that one endures, one must know who they are, own self-love, and tap into the strength within...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ashes of Innocence by Alexandra Tesluk

Working in the social work field has unfortunately allowed me to interact with children who face similar circumstances to those of the author. More often than not, neighbors show up after the damage is done to say, "I knew there was something going on but I didn't want to be nosy." If someone would have been "nosy" butting into the sad, abuse filled life of Ms. Tesluk, she might not have had to endure so much pain at the hands of her mother and stepfather. However, as a result, she may not have evolved into the strong, loving, and kind friend, mother and wife that she did.

Ms. Tesluk tells a painful yet triumphant story about her life as a child. She was born at a time when families, including hers, were in war camps in Germany. It was a life where she was ignored and labeled inside and outside her home, abused emotionally, physically and sexually, and simply forgotten. To live in the home with your mother and not be acknowledged has to be far worse than not knowing her at all. Innocently, she longed for the love of her father who she barely remembered. Her daydreams often included her father coming to save her from the pain she endured. At times she was driven only by those dreams.

The reader can't help but be saddened by the truths that were in fact the fiber of Ms. Tesluk's life--neglect, hate, and consistent abuse. The story pulls at your heart strings. The scars of her childhood followed her to adulthood playing out in her relationships with men. She didn't love herself and fell into the only life she was familiar with; one of abuse and neglect. Despite the pain and horror that encompassed her life, Ms. Tesluk was resilient and overcame it all while learning to love herself and others. In short, she managed to bend when life was in fact doing all it could to break her.

I gave this book 4 stars because I did become lost at times in areas that were too wordy or in a few places where the author went from the past to the present. I found myself reading some sections over. The pictures were a great addition to the story. With professional editing, the author will receive the accolades she deserves. I do think the book should be shared with others trying to overcome their circumstances. They will be encouraged...

Monday, August 2, 2010

God's favor...

I have met a few people that I never would've met without Facebook and Twitter. I have rekindled old friendships and acquired new friends. This week was a little different. To me, it is further confirmation that I am where I am supposed to be. A few folks got started in the music industry before me but it doesn't mean there isn't any room for me. My dreams can be attained. Watching those around me, new and old friends, succeed inspires me providing comfort to my soul.

I had a chance meeting with a few folks the other day when I came across Verity Gospel doing an interview with DeWayne Woods. He is one of my favorite gospel artists. I was able to participate in a chat discussion with him, of course, along with others. He was very real and he answered my questions. During that chat session, I met a few people on there and was invited by Montria A. to become a part of their network. They chat regularly on which is an award winning internet gospel radio station started by Gerard Bonner. They are like a family and I was invited to be a part of it. Speechless.

Then I met a young woman on Facebook who is a host of another gospel radio show. She hosts Sunday Morning Glory with Franyora Clophus ( she requested my friendship on FB. I am sure this was no accident or chance meeting. She offered an opportunity for me to be a part of one of her shows helping other people. My knee jerk response was, "Let me think about it because I'm shy!" Contrary to what folks may think, I am shy. I looked at her question, took a deep breath, and replied answering "Yes," eventually. I didn't want to miss an opportunity to help someone else.

Let me tell you what I know about God. He is never late. At times we may think things are going slower than we like or that the opportunities are all gone. Admittedly, I have been guilty of this in the past but my faith has grown. It has well surpassed my doubts and fears. What I have to remind myself daily is that things that I desire will come BUT not always at the pace I would like for them to. God orders my steps, guides and provides. I will reach my goals but He will bring things full circle for that to occur.

God is placing a lot of honest, trustworthy and supportive people in my life. He is preparing me for what is to come. If I stand on my toes I can see my breakthrough just beyond the horizon. God is showing me that there is life after social work. Although I worked hard to acquire my degrees and license, I have always wanted to be in the music industry. Not as a performer. Remember? I'm shy! I want to be behind the curtain writing, managing or whatever. God has strategically placed me where I have always longed to be. And step by step, I will get my songs heard and performed, Minister Steve will be known internationally, and my books will all be published. Those are my dreams and goals and I am speaking them into existence.

How do I know? Because I asked God, believe it and it shall be...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Working toward my breakthrough...

I am writing songs and trying to finish my adolescent fiction novel. I think I will be finished with it soon. Its a pretty interesting story which I will share once it is complete and I officially register the copyright. I am working on getting my adult fiction novel published. I wrote this book when life threw me a curve ball. It was a great motivator for me and guided me to where I am now. Hopefully I will have "Vengeance is Mine Says the Lord... except in the 'hood," published during 2010. If not, it will be released in 2011. I am really excited about it and have received some good feedback on it by those who have read the manuscript.

I have also been doing book reviews which I've shared on my blog. I hope that everyone has enjoyed reading them. I read fiction books and nonfiction books but prefer fiction. I am open to most genre. I love to read and am trying not to limit myself to one particular genre. If you are interested in buying the books or anything else on, you can get to their website via my blog.

Minister Steve is in the studio working on his CD. He is also ministering this Friday at the 5th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival in Newark, New Jersey. The event is from July 30th-August 1st. He will be ministering on July 30th and is making changes to his website ( He is working diligently to get his CD finished so we can take his career to the next level. I am so excited about all the progress he has made and look forward to the direction he is getting ready to go in.

I have been writing songs almost daily. It never stops, LOL!! My mind stays busy thinking of what song to write next. There are times when I am reading and something pops up or when I am walking and the trees sway a certain way an idea comes to mind. I am beyond thankful for being able to write songs. I am working with my friend, Martin Dominguez Ball, on my songs. He is an amazingly talented musician. He has a band Larrama and has played in various venues.

God has placed me in the right place with the right people. I am being inspired by new friends and old friends. When I even think that things might not go as I have planned God shows me different. Working with Martin has allowed me to fully embrace the possibiity of songwriting success. We've completed three songs. Two are country and one could be pop, rock or country. You can listen to them by going to directly to my page on and search Stacey P.

I am working toward my breakthrough. I am a social worker by profession but my goal is to transition into the music industry. I already shared that vision with God so I know it will come to fruition!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Fruit of the Dendragon Tree... great fantasy read!!

I don't generally read fantasy fiction but I'm so glad that I took a leap of faith with The Fruit of the Dendragon Tree. It was extremely worth it. This book grabbed my attention as I immediately became lost in a world of mythical creatures--witches, werewolves, vampires, elves and a dragon. Each character more vivid than the next. Each scene as if I stood in it myself. The faces of the characters as clear as someone standing next to me. The heat of the dragon's breath filled the room with each page I turned. Every battle felt as if I was there as I experienced sadness, hope, fear and anxiety along with the characters. I was afraid to put the book down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. There were so many twists and turns that left me guessing I read fervently to the end.

Jake Patel's mother was dying of cancer. He is angry but hopeful. His dad has pretty much accepted the fact that his precious wife is going to die. Like we all do at least once in life, Jake makes a bargain with the universe to spare his mother's life regardless of who has to die in her place. Jake refuses to lose hope as he thinks his father has. Jake's classmate, Jenny, is an untrained witch who comes to his aid in his efforts to save his mother's life. As a result of her help, Jake's transported to Tiramonde which is a world he isn't familiar with or even expected to see.

Upon his arrival to Tiramonde, he is guided by a young witch, Ureth, who informs him that the only thing to save his mother's life is for him to grab fruit from the dendragon tree. The only problem is that the legend says removing the fruit will release the dragon, Kildraig, who protects the tree. Easy, huh?

David, Jake's father, wakes up to find Jake is gone. He leaves is ailing wife to search for him with the help of Jake's friend, Jenny. However, he ends up being transported to Tiramonde as well. He doesn't immediately find Jake. He has to venture on a dangerous journey to meet his son. However, Jake is then faced with the task of deciding which of his two parents will survive.

What I liked about this story is that it focuses on something we are afraid to discuss--death and loss. Jake never loses hope and does what every child wishes they could do when dealing with a sick parent. When you truly love someone whether its a child, parent or partner, we suggest we will go to the end of the earth for them and that's exactly what Jake did for his mother and his father for him. Cancer kills many people and this book is a great read for those dealing with that issue or have done so previously. Love does conquer all and Jake's experience is a clear reflection of such. He never loses hope!

This story is colorful and exciting. There is definitely a need for a sequel. The basic principles of love, honesty, and truth meet vengeance, power and dishonesty as the two worlds collide. The ending will completely surprise you. The lengths that Jake and David go will make the reader question how far they'd actually go to save the life of a loved one. Me, I would fight until the end for those I love unless of course its a dragon I have to go up against. What about you?

Well done, Mr. Deepan, and thank you for donating partial proceeds from your book to Breast Cancer Research...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Juvenile fiction... Five Stars for Max and Menna...

Max and Menna
Shauna Kelley
Publisher: Lucky Press
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9780984462735
Pages: 198

Max and Menna is a great juvenile fiction book that I would readily share with teens. This book is a wonderful story about a set of twins growing up in the South in the early 1980s. Although set in the 1980s, the racist views of the townspeople make it feel like it takes place much earlier. It feels like the 60s! Menna and Max live in a house with an alcoholic mother who never notices them unless its to beat or ostracize them and with an older sister lost in a cycle of physical abuse stemming from both her mother and boyfriend. This story addresses issues that affect many people in our society--poverty, alcoholism, substance abuse and racism--forcing these children, like others, to be resilient. They are forced to take care of themselves and find their own way as many children do living in their conditions.

What I find interesting about this book is that the racism is different than what is overwhelmingly portrayed in most books or in movies. The racism in this book isn't about black and white issues. There is a young black girl in the book who is discriminated against but she isn't the focus. The focus is on the relationship between the Native American and white people in the town. This is a new outlook on racism in our society.

Max and Menna meet Nick one summer on the hill in the woods. Nick is a Native American boy that lives on the other side of the fence, literally, which the townspeople refer to as the reservation. Max and Menna live in horrible conditions but Nick's house is almost inhabitable. Like the twins, he lives in a home without his father, alcoholism and extreme poverty. Their lives are mirror images of each other although they are separated by the fence. The three become inseparable and the story becomes alive as we witness racism, alcoholism, poverty, abandonment, and love through the eyes of a child.

I think this book should be shared with preteens and teens as well as adults. I strongly feel this well written coming of age tale will allow the reader to see things from another perspective when interacting with people who are different from them ethnically and racially. So many people make judgments before ever interacting with someone who is different from them. Judging a person by the color of their skin or religion doesn't allow you to truly see the person inside.

When reading this book, the reader feels an array of feelings--anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, happiness--because the story is vivid and each character is so real. The reader is thrust into a world that could and still does exist. The reader gets lost in the book traveling along with Max and Menna cheering them along their journey.

I would love to see this book on the big screen. Great job Ms. Kelley shining the light on adult views through the most vulnerable people in our society...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interesting Christian Paranormal Read... 5 Stars!!

Rabbit:Chasing:Beth Rider
Ellen C. Maze
Publisher: Outskirts Press

I’ve often wondered what makes vampires so intriguing to humans. Is it the sheer mystery of it all or the sensual way they are portrayed in books and movies? I wish I knew the answer because I’ve never been drawn to them as others have. It makes me wonder if I am missing something. I read one of the Stephanie Meyers’ books because I wanted to see what all of the hype was about. Although I thought the one story I read was a good book, I had no desire to see the movies that were written from the books. However, I read Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider and definitely want to see it on the screen. The author opened my eyes to a unique and interesting new world leaving me thirsting for more as I read the last page.

This book caught and held my attention from start to finish. It was well written and Ms. Maze’s amazing story telling ability flowed off each page. The story is engaging and the reader is thrust into a world with best selling author, Beth Rider and vampires living off of human donors. Beth Rider wrote a series about the Rakum and how a group of them found Christ. This goes against what the majority of the Rakum believe and her mere words enraged some of them.

Beth Rider is going through life living her dreams. She is writing and has become a best-selling author with her book series about the Rakum. She is at the top of her game unaware of the effect her words are having on her readers. Specifically one reader, who is a Rakum or vampire, becomes quite angered by her book and changes her life forever. He feels that her words are a threat to his kind and wants her to die. As a result of his anger, he meets Ms. Rider and informs her of how he feels. He goes further to make her a Rabbit by marking her with his blood. Being marked with the blood of an elder makes you prey for other vampires sometimes resulting in suicides of the Rabbits. The life of a Rabbit is stressful and they end up taking their lives.

It is then that Beth Rider's peaceful life turns into one where she is in immediate danger. She has become prey for all vampires who smell her scent and become intrigued by her mere presence. Her life has changed and she is clueless why it has happened. The question then becomes… will Beth survive?

After becoming a rabbit, a simple stroll through an airport brings Beth to the attention of a Rakum. He becomes attracted to her because of her beauty. He also becomes interested in knowing why she has been marked. He feels that no creature as beautiful as she could do anyone harm. He doesn’t feel she should be placed in such a horrendous position. He becomes lost in her beauty and is drawn in to protecting her from his brethren.

The characters in this book are solid and each scene is more vivid than the next. The story comes with moral twists and turns, romance and Christianity. The book shows characters embracing religion, which readers don’t usually see in vampire books. It is an interesting take on things. Ms. Maze is extremely talented and I highly recommend this fantasy novel with a new twist to vampire love. Is love the answer to why we are drawn to vampire stories? That’s something to think about. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mexican Madness by Andrew J. Rafkin... GREAT summer read!

Mexican Madness
Andrew J. Rafkin
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9781432755096
Pages: 469

Are you’re looking to go on a summer reading adventure? If so, I think I’ve found the book for you! With his third book, Mr. Rafkin keeps you on the edge of your seat with a racing heart trying to figure out what’s going to happen next in this wild, yet believable adventure.

A group of doctors go off on their annual fishing excursion in Mexico City and come up with more than an afternoon meal. What they find is more than they bargained for in the form of a human body. They find a man’s mummy-wrapped body instead of the yellow-fin tuna they sought. After finding the body, they find more bodies opening them up to an adventurous underworld where human organs are more valuable than life itself. Their little vacation is immediately interrupted as they are thrust into a world of corruption, spies, the sale of human organs and terrorism, as more bodies manage to surface.

The doctors aren’t strangers to criminal behavior. They are members of O.R.C.A., an independent worldwide agency created to combat terrorism, drug-trafficking and eco-sabotage. This adventure that started at the end of a snagged fishing line throws them into their toughest task. They go from a pleasant, relaxing trip to a job trying to destroy people who are trying to attack the very core of America. They use all their greatest efforts to do whatever they can to keep this from happening and conquer the people committing such a heinous acts.

This book is your typical good guys verses bad guys story focused on a topic—the sale of human organs--that is quite frightening. To think that this could actually happen in our world where reprehensible things do occur rocks your very core just imagining the possibility. We, Americans, walk around with a na├»ve level of safety. We never think anything that happens in others countries coulhappen here. This book might make the reader think differently about that.

Mexican Madness is filled with suspense, crime, vivid characters, terrorism, and events ripped directly from the headlines. The story flows naturally and is filled with twists and turns allowing the reader to get lost in the madness of it all. As soon as the reader thinks they know where the author is going, like a roller coaster, the story unexpectedly goes into another direction dropping you deeper into the madness of the story. Although unbelievable the author makes this story quite believable… Five stars for this fast-paced thriller… get your copy today!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This story left me breathless... FIVE stars indeed!!

K.C. Marshall

Publisher: Xlibris

Published: 2009

ISBN: 9781436325684

Pages: 192

This book displays the courage of three African-American women traveling along their journey through life. These women own similar characteristics that hinder success—self-destruction, self-hatred and substance abuse. These three characteristics cripple a soul forcing the negative self-image to prevail planting the seed in the cycle of poverty. This book left me breathless but refreshed on some level. The issues the author addresses are some that I feel personally affect the current status of African-Americans in our society today.

If one doesn’t own self-love they will not succeed. In order to become successful one must first believe that they are worthy of success. I found myself getting lost in each page holding my breath at times waiting for the outcome of each woman’s journey. I also became angry at how real each story was. We, in the African American community, hinder our success and the success of others by continually owning self-hatred. When we place value on the color of skin or hair texture rather than on character and integrity the results are disheartening resulting in violence, poverty, substance abuse, etc.

Each character faces racism in the larger society but also within their communities and families. However, they all become empowered and succeeded despite their circumstances. The author allows the reader a brief glimpse into life behind the walls at the Whittenhall. The characters and the baggage—stories--they come with are very real. Ms. Marshall paints a clear picture of how things are and what is expected behind the Whittenhall Wall. In our society, life for some begins and ends behind a wall similar to the Whittenhall as they feel they deserve nothing more. They don't acquire the necessary strength to tackle the walls placed in front of them. Whereas in other cases, people use all of their power—education, desire and will—to climb out of their situations creating a better life for themselves. These three women did just that.

The veil is a metaphor of the importance of knowing your true worth and value. When you believe that you come from greatness then you believe that you deserve the best that life has to offer. I highly recommend this book for all people, however, feel it will have its greatest influence on young women despite the color of their skin. When we teach young women to love and respect themselves they end up demanding it in their lives. This book is phenomenal and I hope the author gets the praise that she deserves for addressing serious issues in such a gripping way.

Five stars for this amazing, fast-paced thriller...

Charity Becker

Publisher: Blysster Press

Published: 2009

ISBN: 978082681800

Pages: 292

From the very first page the reader is thrust into the dark yet compelling world of the main character, Mina Jewel. While the reader is supposed to be scared the main issue in the story takes more of your attention--child abuse--lessening your fear. The story begins with Mina Jewel believing that she saw something that authorities have determined she didn't see. Within the depths of her soul she is convinced that she saw the boogeyman murder her abusive stepfather. After spending nine years in a psychiatric facility, her fear, anxiety and pain prevent her from even believing herself. Yet as a reflection of the resiliency children own, once released from the facility she becomes empowered through various experiences and near-death events. As each event occurs attacking the small amount of sanity that remains she becomes stronger.

I found myself cheering Mina on hoping that she would become empowered as she searched for herself amidst the pain she had become accustomed to feeling. Like many people who are abused, she felt that she didn't deserve better even when it made her feel safe and warm. Mina expected the worst as she had always been told she deserved. When the story ends, the reader may not look at the boogeyman as the "scary guy" as they witness his true self evolve throughout the story.

As you become aware of who you think each character really is the author reveals more information modifying your initial perception. Charity Becker is an amazing storyteller and created a vivid, riveting page turning thriller. She uses supernatural powers while focusing on such a human theme. Many children thrust in the throes of abuse secretly wish for power to excel from such madness. Through the life of Mina Jewel, they do. I highly recommend this book and encourage readers to let the hair down and get lost in this magnificent story about a little girl lost. Yes, she finds her way and this story will encourage others to do the same.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Four stars for children's book... For Those Who Stare at the Moon...

For Those Who Stare at the Moon
Tiffany A. Flowers
Golden Butterfly Publishing
ISBN: 9780578059495

This book is a children's picture book that I think is a great story. The book is about a little girl who uses her imagination to journey to the moon. Children will love the illustrations as the little girl's journey pops off of each page. The illustrations allow children to accompany the little girl when she goes to the moon because her journey is vividly reflected. I commend the author for creating such a fun filled story for children who do look beyond the stars and am inspired by the fact that a portion of the book proceeds goes to the New Orleans Public Library Foundation. I hope that encourages parents or schools to purchase the book because every child deserves to own a book and the children who were affected by Hurricane Katrina aren't any different.

I gave this book four stars instead of five. The book doesn't have any punctuation or page numbers which I think helps a book flow successfully. In addition, the author uses the word, "flaying," out of context. I wish this author great success with this book and hope that educators and parents add this book to their libraries, children will enjoy it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thought-provoking poetry...

I must say that this collection of poetry, although the title of the book is deceiving, is more than a collection of verse. It is a book reflecting a journey where you feel as if you have taken part in that journey with the author. The poetry is vivid and filled with emotion with Ms. Earsman splashing history throughout. The author’s work stems directly from her heart into yours making it quite fulfilling. Ms. Earsman’s poetry is extremely thought provoking and edifying.

Two of my favorite poems are “Barry” and “Harbor.” They are as equally as vivid as the other poems but there are a few lines in each that provoked a lot of thought related to our society today. The final lines of “Barry” suggest that Barry’s behavior is making him miss out on a lot of things. My thoughts went directly to the behaviors of the children or youth in our society today. They are often encouraged to modify their negative behaviors so they could reap the rewards of positive behavior. I often wonder if “they” realize what they are missing out on in life while they are wasting time getting in trouble at school or in the community with violence and drugs.

In “Harbor,” Ms. Earsman clearly paints a picture of what you see and feel at the harbor. The final line of the poem makes reference to all people having to face a day of judgment despite what life we have led. I feel that that is a profound statement. It is something that is very real and in the end makes us all equal despite our social class or ethnic or racial background.

I haven’t read any of Ms. Earsman’s other poetry but this book has encouraged me to do just that. If you are a lover of poetry, history, and God, this book is for you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another great book...

I don't always give 5 stars. It has just been amazing that many of the books I've been reading warrant five stars...

Don’t Come Here, Julie!
P. Joy Webster
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781432740931
Pages: 62

Don’t Come Here, Julie!, is a science fiction story geared toward teenagers. The main character, Julie, is extremely similar to teenagers that exist in our real lives—independent know-it-alls! This fiction story focuses on, Julie, who is originally from Rinda but is a human unlike most of its other inhabitants. Her mother, Eva, recently became the Ambassador to Norandia. Julie attends boarding school on Earth and was directed to go to her aunt’s home in Rinda after attending a tiring year at school. Julie misses her mother and wants to go see her instead of going to her aunt’s house. Despite her wishes to go and see her mother, Julie gets on line to go to her aunt’s like her mother requested. At the last minute, Julie becomes her own boss. Julie feels she deserves an explanation for her mother’s request for her to stay away from Norandia and abruptly decides to change her plans.

Assuming that she knows what’s best for her, Julie changes her ticket and journeys to see her mother in Norandia. In her haste to modify her plans, Julie was unaware of the social problems occurring that her mother failed to mention. Her mother didn’t want her to worry so she never informed her of the chaos that was ensuing. It’s not until she arrives in Norandia that Julie realizes that she may have made a grave mistake but it was too late to turn around.

This book teaches the reader valuable lessons regarding parental guidance, diversity, respect and other social skills—trust, empathy. I highly recommend this book to preteens and teenagers. I think it would be a great addition to the summer reading list, classroom, school and home libraries as well as public libraries or agencies. This book is written in a tone easily understandable for the age group discussed and it is just long enough for them to get lost in Julie’s adventure on Norandia. It is a vivid story stealing the reader’s attention from start to finish. I look forward to sharing this book with the teens and educators in my life while hoping the author writes a sequel to this great story. Well done P. Joy Webster!!

Five stars for Self Convictions...

Self Convictions
R.J. Hamilton
Publisher: Bedside Books
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9781589825918
Pages: 220

From start to finish I was intrigued by the idea of telekinesis in R. J. Hamilton’s book, Self Convictions, as I’ve been in real life. However, the fast paced and sometimes violent journey of the main character, Brandon Hudson, went beyond what I could ever imagine. As his extraordinary powers emerge, one is thrust into a thrilling journey as his insanity comes to life through his experiences and the events that occur in the lives of those around him. This story was a page turner that I had to force myself to read at a slower pace. I was eager to finish it the first day because it snatches the reader’s attention from the Prelude holding onto it until the very last page.

Brandon is a character that one might envy, love and feel empathy for because of his powers. He appears at times to be a lost soul struggling with his real powers. Every time I thought one thing was going to happen, the author took the story in a different direction. As each event took place I felt a range of emotions—sadness, fear, anxiety, anger, nervousness and love. The author created an extremely vivid story making it hard to believe this is his first book. I highly recommend this fantasy book to readers looking to get lost in the mind of one with telekinesis. It might make you think twice about wanting the ability to read minds or seek revenge on someone using your mind rather than your hands.

The author challenges the reader to think about becoming at the very least a friend to the Hudson family, feel for them or wish to be with one of them. After reading this story I’ve decided to watch them from afar.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Inspiring poetry...

Angel's Destiny
Author/publisher: April Martin Chartrand
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780615302515
Pages: 150

This book is a collection of poems, prose and illustrations. It is a clear reflection of the author’s journey through domestic violence. Ms. Chartrand suffered domestic violence but came out standing tall. She is not living her life as a victim and has told her story through poems to encourage others who may be experiencing painful events similar to hers.

The poems tell the story of someone in the midst of a struggle but it also shows one’s journey from extreme fear and darkness to freedom and self-love. When experiencing abuse, one struggles as they experience a range of emotions—fear, anger, self-hate, sadness. The poems delve deep into the inner soul as does the abuse. Domestic violence breaks down the individual and their soul, resulting sometimes in self-hate. In this book we see where the author’s journey begins as well as the moment self-love emerges as she pulls herself out of the torturous experience. The emergence of self-love allows her to break free from the violence and become an ambassador to those whose voices have become silenced from fear and abuse. She has become an inspiration to all.

The writer’s courage is witnessed throughout as each poem and picture emerges. Ms. Chartrand has turned her experiences into something positive and her voice without fear can be heard clearly. I highly recommend this book to anyone searching for their voice and strength. Ms. Chartrand’s art and poetry speak to the heart and it will provide the extra “push” readers may need to take the first step toward self-love and freedom.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My review of Flirting with Faith by Joan Ball

Flirting with Faith
Joan Ball
Publisher: Howard Books
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9781439149874
Pages: 213

After reading Flirting with Faith, whether you are a Christian, atheist, or unclear about what you believe, you might arrive at the conclusion that it was a great thing that the author, Joan Ball, had her come to Jesus moment when she did. After reading the book, the reader is amazed at the experiences she endured—the death of both of her parents, a friend and a child and her son’s illness-- in a short period of time that would bring any Christian, saint, or sinner, to their knees. Faith came to Joan’s life, one might say, in the nick of time. Her survival in part depended on it. A Christian might say, “God is always on time.” And for Joan Ball, the atheist, He was “right” on time.

I was raised in the church and had been to church through my adult life, but never owned the blind faith that I had always desired. My journey, although different from Joan’s, was similar in some ways as that blind faith came over me unexpectedly all at once. I know the power of God and was able to witness it in my life which allows me to believe that the story she has penned clearly reflects her conversion experience.

Ms. Ball will face skeptics who might question her story but my being a Christian allows me to see that her story is valid without having been there beside her when it happened. God comes to all of us in different ways and at different times and that is reflected in Joan’s walk throughout the story. When one is truly anointed it is evident to those who know what “it” looks like if that anointing is real. Joan Ball is now walking the life of a Christian and is no longer an outsider standing on her toes peeking in.

This book is well written and clearly reflects the sudden and profound experience Joan Ball had in 2003 that would ultimately change her life forever. I feel that this author’s wit, honesty and humor guided this book allowing the reader to think of their own religious views while reading about her being “struck” Christian. Joan has walked with blind faith since that day allowing God to be her guide. She never stopped to question what she was feeling. She just stood up, owned it and has never let it go. That is the most amazing part of the story to me. She, like an infant navigating the world for the first time, embraced God and hasn’t questioned what He needed from her. She fervently acquired knowledge through reading the Bible, meeting with her pastor and the monks, and dove into Christianity as she had into her addiction, education and career. She had a great desire for her life to be in order and it is now held together by the one thing—religion—she never thought she’d embrace.

Despite your religious beliefs it is clear that something happened to Joan Ball that day which has affected her life and has changed her view of life since religion became a part of it. I look forward to reading another book by Ms. Ball as she continues her Christian journey.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fast paced thriller!!

This is a page turning fiction novel that leaves you wondering, “Could I do that?” Life keeps us all very busy and at times it seems that bad things only happen to good people over and over again at the hands of the dredges of our society. There are times when people become frustrated with their life and it becomes evident in an outrageous act that affects others—work or school shootings, or other violent unexplainable acts where people just snap. This book reminds me of how fragile the heart and mind is.

Benjamin Cole rides the bus daily and has “bus friends.” He knows their first names but that is the extent of him truly knowing them. Despite that, there is a bond between all of the daily riders. Commuters establish a relationship with the other commuters. It may not extend beyond the train car, bus or the commuter parking lot but it is there nonetheless. Benjamin Cole is a good guy who looks out for his fellow man but when his world in the fast pace city is disrupted by one act where a “bus friend” dies, that all changes. Life as he knew it no longer exists. What evolves from this one experience affects the next moments of his life.

The life changing event takes place in the very first pages snatching your attention and never letting it go making it impossible to put down. Readers will be eager to find out what happens next on Benjamin’s journey but as soon as you think one thing may happen, there is another twist. To see the heart, mind and soul of a humble man evolve into those he hates is an amazing feat that Mr. Dickerson portrays with ease.

The author suggests that the reader makes this book come alive when in fact it is his amazing talent that brings the story to life. We all have felt like Benjamin Cole at least once in our lives and may or may not have acted upon it. This book allows us to open our eyes, heart, soul and mind to the world that we live in and takes us through a range of emotions—anger, joy, excitement, pain, fear—without ever leaving our chairs. Well done Mr. Dickerson. I am glad you found your voice and look forward to listening to it again… bravo!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Children's Book Review... Five Stars!!

Sam Brown
Herbert I AM-I CAN
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781432748425
Pages: 48

Herbert has a dream to be a firefighter like is his father was. He is twelve-years-old and is unable to think of anything else. His dad died a hero saving a family in a fire. Herbert has visited the firehouse on numerous occasions and knew this was his desired goal especially after his dad’s death. In addition, he felt being a Boy Scout would better aid him in his efforts of becoming a firefighter. There were no meetings in his neighborhood but when his mother mentioned she had met a scout master, he was immediately interested in joining. The only problem was that the meetings were a few blocks from where he lived. He would have to walk past the one person he was afraid of on his trip home from the meetings donned in his Boy Scout uniform—Roscoe, the neighborhood bully.

Herbert’s fears became real each time he returned to his neighborhood as he was subjected to ridicule by Roscoe. On one spectacular day Herbert saw smoke coming from his apartment building while on his way home. After running toward it he realized it wasn’t his apartment on fire but Roscoe’s. Herbert never hesitated to save his enemy.

This book is a story filled with many life lessons that are imperative for children to learn—kindness, social responsibility, caring, fortitude—to name a few. I worked in a school district for many years with children who owned dreams as large as Herbert’s yet the tools I was able to utilize to offer guidance were not reflective of these children. I commend Mr. Brown while at the same time thank him for creating a book with the images of children that are not generally portrayed in a positive light. It will further enhance their learning. In addition, the safety tips in the back of the book are very important as families need to prepare for these situations. Their lives depend on it.

This book should be on the shelves in elementary school libraries, homes, public libraries and used as a tool during fire safety programs which occur annually in most school districts. I highly recommend this book!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Great book for teenage girls!

The Attitude Girl
Mila Bernadkin
Publisher: Five Star Publications, Inc.
Published: 2009
Pages: 323

When we are introduced to the main character in the book, Vicky, we clearly understand the reason for the book’s title, “ The Attitude Girl.” Vicky, like a number of seventeen-year-olds, is self absorbed, too outspoken, a know it all and selfish. She becomes hot and cold as different experiences occur in her life forcing her to unwillingly look in the mirror catching a true glimpse of who she really is. Along with Vicky and her friends I experienced a range of emotions—happiness, sadness, anxiety-- and found myself at some points laughing out loud. Armed with her attitude Vicky goes through her senior year dealing with various issues but works hard to land on her feet as she enters into adulthood.

Vicky is intelligent but her quick wit is sometimes offensive. When her calm life becomes rocked by different obstacles it becomes evident how dangerous her tongue can be. Vicky attempts to control her harsh tongue but is unable to do so when her temper takes over. Vicky’s journey includes various life experiences—death, sex, pregnancy, drinking, abandonment, and family illness. It was enjoyable to see her growth through each experience.

Ms. Bernadkin clearly captures what it means to be a seventeen-year-old through the voices of Vicky and her friends. This coming of age tale is poignant and could be used as a learning tool for the “mean kids” and for those who suffer at their hands or words. This story is realistic, meaningful and quite powerful. I highly recommend this book for young girls but also for those who raise or educate them. Although it’s told in the voice of a teen it can be clearly understood and appreciated by adults giving the reader a better understanding of this sometimes tumultuous stage of life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blow Dart: The Abduction Book Review...

Blow Dart: The Abduction
Patricia Gayle
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing
Published: 2009
ISBN: 97816084431347
Pages: 232

In a word, brilliant! I am a fast reader when I'm interested in a book but my pace is faster when the book is extremely good. I finished this book which shall now be classified as one of my favorite books, in only a day and a half! This book is a fast paced thriller that grabs your attention from the first page never letting go until the very last word. My anticipation for the next one was heightened after reading the epilogue. Ms. Gayle leaves readers thirsty for more!

Patricia Dawson is an extremely good friend and because of that she is thrust into a position she does not deserve to be in. She is happily married and innocently offers relationship advice to two of her closest friends. As a result, she ends up fighting for her life as well as that of her best friend. Patricia is left in the woods barely alive and is rescued by a man that she eventually falls in love with.

Ms. Gayle's amazing storytelling ability allowed me to feel a range of emotions that mirrored those that Patricia felt-- fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, rage-- toward her captor. In addition, I was pulled so deeply into the story that I also felt anger towards her rescuer for allowing her to continue to forget her past. His selfishness mirrored that of the murderer/captor although he was the hero for bringing her to safety after finding her initially. I know the story would've been extremely short if the author didn't allow this to happen but his behavior angered me just the same.

Without telling the story I must say from start to finish, Ms. Gayle captured my attention providing twists and turns that left me astonished. Each time I thought I knew what was going happen the story took another turn. Each scene more vivid than the next, I felt like I was there when each person was fighting for their life or running to safety. I was clearly able to see the black van, its license plate and smell the sweat of the captor and basement. It is hard to believe that this is Ms. Gayle's first book. I look forward to reading her next book and liken her work to that of one of my favorite authors--Patricia Cornwell.

Well done and I eagerly await the next masterpiece!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Magically Delicious Cookbook Review...

Magically Delicious
Felicia Martin
Publisher: Create Space
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9781438232935
Pages: 240

This book was filled with meals that could be prepared easily on a daily basis. It wasn't a book filled with ingredients that were foreign to me. The lists that were provided included food that I was familiar with. However, the author did inform you of where to find certain ingredients in the grocery store that were less commonly used ingredients. She included a list of spices, cleaning tips, a recipe index and a glossary of terms used in the recipes and for cooking as well. This was an added touch.

I wish the author would have included a table of contents to guide the book easier. I am big on presentation. Most cookbooks are usually bright, colorful and inviting and I feel this book would be better received if the books color scheme was different. Most importantly I wish the pictures of the food were in color. The food would be more inviting when the pictures jump out at you. In black and white it is hard to appreciate the finished products. I hope if the author is planning on writing a second cookbook that there are color photos in the next one. Color explodes off the page whereas the current photos don't allow you to enjoy what the food could look like.

This book has recipes that can be used in any home and I recommend readers add it to their collection.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Foreva' Young

I wrote this song and made this on my camera. I am looking for someone to help me write the music so that I can make a demo. I am not looking to sing it but want to find the right artist to do so... Serious inquiries ONLY, please... thanks!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A diet book like no other!!

Title: The Diet Joke
By: Lisa Pedace
Publisher: Big Shot Press
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9780982340417
Pages: 226 (excluding bibliography)

Like many Americans I have tried various weight loss regimens in an attempt to get to a desired weight. However, like many folks, I arrived back at the same place many times. I wanted to read this book not because I’m on a particular diet currently but because I recently realized that if I wanted a healthier lifestyle that I had the power to change it, and could only maintain that lifestyle for the rest of my life if my thought process changed along the way. This author has written a book suggesting that as the key to successful dieting. Basically, reprogramming results in success.

This author offers different suggestions than most diet books in that they generally focus on specific recipes and exercise regimens whereas she goes one step further and discusses reprogramming—changing your way of thinking. She ventures away from the norm of diet books and is extremely successful in her delivery. I get extremely bored when reading dieting books or magazines, however, I eagerly flipped through the pages of this book trying to comprehend reprogramming in its entirety. Although it was educational Ms. Pedace, offers up a great deal of humor and sarcasm making the book easier to digest. There are cartoons in the book and when she sums up each section, she does so in a laughing out loud kind of way. For example, “Some people don’t have enough to eat. You are not one of them,” or “Calories are not the enemy, but that doesn’t mean you can turn your back on them,” and “If your gas tank was as stretchy as your stomach you could hardly afford to drive to work.”

There are diaries and food journals, reprogramming activities, and science that bring this book full circle. There are no recipes or exercise regimens although she does mention walking exercises and the amount of calories burned. This book is full of knowledge that will help readers modify their thinking thus resulting in weight loss that they will be able to maintain. There aren’t any weight loss diet tricks anywhere in this book, but what you will find is an honest, hilarious, sarcastic look at dieting and the key to success—reprogramming. It encourages us to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which is easier to do when it is explained to you in a humorous way allowing you to laugh at a serious and sometimes difficult situation.

I highly recommend this book for readers whether they are dieting or not. Reprogramming is the key to survival in every aspect of our lives… well done!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sotherton Abbey Book Review...

Title: Sotherton Abbey: Jane Austen Meets Sante Fe
By: Inez Ross
Publisher: Ashley House
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9780966433746
Pages: 173

Each chapter begins with a quote from Jane Austen and other prominent authors including C.S. Lewis, Lord Chesterfield and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This book is a pocket companion small enough to fit in your back pocket but large enough to tell a great coming of age story. It’s a small book with a lot of suspense and excitement as Christina Dashwood leaves her Michigan farm home travelling to Sante Fe to take six weeks of summer classes at the Regency Seminar.

Introduced to Jane Austen in her final year of high school by her classroom teacher, Mr. Saxon, she is eager to attend this seminar. Christina has never left her home town alone and her parents are not exactly excited about the trip to New Mexico. At first, her father denies her the opportunity by telling her that they don’t have the money for her to go. However, her teacher informs the class of the trip and the scholarship that comes through a writing contest that Christina eagerly enters. The contest winner receives a free trip for the seminar which Christina ultimately wins. A real journey begins as soon as Christina boards the train for her trip. Christina arrives at the seminar but not without setbacks that occurred on her journey. Despite the challenges, she triumphed and arrived in Sante Fe while becoming friends with a young girl, Jane Fairfax, along the way.

Christina and Jane become close friends which directs the suspense and mystery of the story. Jane’s family has some secrets that are shared throughout adding to the suspense and mystery that begin to arrive in Christina's life. Christina becomes a heroine as she helps Jane solve the mystery. That is exciting for Christina as she has secretly desired to be a heroine. This book is a great, faced paced story that could be read anywhere as it is small enough to fit in your pocket or purse. The difficulty is that you will want to sneak a peek at it every chance you get because it is hard to put down. Ms. Ross is an established author and this is her eighth book which is reflected in her great storytelling ability. If you are a fan of Jane Austen or have never had an opportunity to read anything from her time, now is your chance. Good stuff!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another shot at spoken word...

I've always been the type of person to call someone on their mess. Am I perfect? Not even close nor would I want to be. You may call it "being politically correct," but I refer to it as respect. I make every effort to treat each person as I would like to be treated unless I am given a reason not to.

I read a Facebook post that an old classmate put up in regard to the earned income credit. He remarked that it wasn't a tax return but it was welfare. At what point in life do people exhibit compassion? The great thing about life is one day you can be on the bottom and the next you can stand on top. What you also have to remember though is that you fall from grace faster than you arrived. Another words, it is really easy to return back to where your journey began.

This statement annoyed me but even more it allowed me to realize how thankful I am for who I am. I do my best not to pass judgment because I don't want to be judged. I cringe when blanket statements about people are made. We don't know what situations led anyone to the current place they are in life. Poverty like homelessness, addiction and disease crosses all boundaries. How do we simply disregard each other because "we made it?"

Out of my disgust for his comments I was inspired to take another shot at spoken word. I wrote something which of course is called, Earned Income Credit. I won't call him out because my intent is to encourage folks to look beyond our differences and not encourage hate. If I called him out publicly, I'd be no better than him. The "I" that I speak about is not me but it can be anyone you'd like it to be...

Earned Income Credit

Earned income credit
Not everyone qualifies or can even get it,
Wake up each morning wiping sleep from their eyes
Searching for the American dream
Chasing each opportunity with every sun rise,
But for whatever reason the bootstraps never make it to the top
Falling short despite how many hours they manage to clock.
Despite their efforts the money doesn’t flow
You think they like qualifying?
Then there’s something you should know--
We all have the same opportunities their presentation may be disguised
It may be just beyond the horizon where an absent father lies,
Or in the bend where a mother’s life has abruptly come to an end,
Along the river aside the job that unexpectedly washed away
Or next to a sick child in need of medical treatment
As each hospital bill arrives a bank account becomes nonexistent.
Each situation presents itself differently
Not packaged and perfectly placed attainable on a shelf.
Maybe your parents had some type of wealth
Or have never been struck by poor health.
My opportunities aren’t as overt as yours
I’ve faced numerous slamming closed doors
Requiring me to work harder than you’ve had to
So, does that make me less than you?
I am as strong as you with a different foundation
I work hard, fall short and suffer your condemnation.
Your world overflows with perfection oozing out of your pores
In my eyes I see your reflection as you stand behind a glass door
In this life things can change in an instant knocking all dreams aside-
Your positive turning into negative right before your eyes.
What would happen then if you qualified?
Would you think about the words you spoke and I heard?
“It’s not a tax return, its welfare.”
Is it then that you’ll care?
Dear sir-- I may have less than you but in my heart I have more
I work hard every day to better my situation
Building for my children, a better foundation but…
Earned income credit it's a small price for what I originally put in it.
Each day I fall short wishing someone would care
I want success I don’t want welfare.

© 2010 by Stacey Pierce
© 2010 by 2sistaspublishing

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My next two book reviews...

My next reviews will be on Sotherton Abbey by Inez Ross and The Diet Joke by Lisa Pedace. The Diet Joke is a sarcastic reprogramming guide that encourages the readers to lighten up their dieting routine. We are encouraged to modify our thinking to get better dieting results. In essence, we are encouraged to see the lighter side of dieting instead of taking it so serious. If you are watching your weight like most people, this book seems to have the same information as most diet books, but the author’s humor and sarcasm allows readers to ingest it a little easier.

Sotherton Abbey: Jane Austin meets Santa Fe is a pocket companion that touches the heart, is full of suspense with sprinkles of history throughout. It tells the story of Christina Dashwood who leaves her Michigan farm home for the first time to attend a pre-college seminar in New Mexico. This is Ms. Inez’s eighth book and thus far it is a great read. It is fast paced and fun.

I will have these reviews completed by the end of the week. My schedule has changed and I am a lot busier than I have been in the past few months. That’s a good thing, right? I think it is but at the same time it is taking me away from some of the goals I have set. I think the key will be to look at things, revamp and get back on track. I am looking forward to completing so many things on my goal list. I just need to make it all work for me so that I get it all done.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rainbow Eyes Book Review... highly recommended!

Rainbow Eyes:Chakramid Reflections
Author: Mary Jo Shaffer
Publisher: Heart Projects
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780984263806
Pages: 152

Rainbow Eyes is a work of visionary fiction based on one woman’s journey to a Chakra Energy Awakening. Chakra is defined as a “wheel” or “circle.” The author suggests that, balanced Chakra “creates a free-flowing subtle energy network in your body that promotes physical and mental health, vitality and harmony, as well as spiritual and psychological awareness and energy.” In short, to me, Chakra is being comfortable in one’s space. Jessica, the main character, who is not in a particularly good place in her life spiritually and psychologically, accepts an invitation for an all expense paid trip to an exclusive penthouse. Unsure of her destination, Jessica tossed a few items into a suitcase without giving much thought to the contents. She has no idea what to expect or where the invitation even came from. Upon her arrival to the address on the invitation, Jessica sees a large pyramid that she assumes may be a casino. She becomes upset and confused standing in the empty parking lot but enters the building anyway.

Once she enters the building she rides the elevator looking for someone to give her direction. The elevator doors open to a large white empty room. She is the only person there. Jessica’s frustration increases and is combined with fear as she rapidly pushes buttons to return downstairs. Despite her efforts, the elevator won’t budge thus catapulting Jessica on her Chakra Journey.

Rainbow Eyes is informative and explains each Chakra in detail via Jessica’s journey through the Chakra Pyramid and her new beginning. She journeys through each of the seven Chakra on the pyramid. This book gives the reader insight into their personal journey as well. The journal pages in the back of the book with the definitions of each Chakra outlined in the appendix is an added bonus. This allows the reader to align with Jessica travelling on their own personal journey.

I have read self-help books before and have never truly understood them in the way that I did this one. The fact that the book is interactive in nature promotes a better understanding in the reader as their journey parallels with Jessica’s. I highly recommend this book to anyone stepping out on a personal journey to release or find their Chakra energy. The fact that there is an underlying story—Jessica’s journey—behind the lesson on the Chakra energy awakening disguises the fact that this is a self-help book. Although self-help books are informative and interesting, this author guides the reader to a personal transformation when its least expected. This is a clear reflection of her amazing storytelling ability because the reader sets out reading about Jessica’s journey and before long, gets lost on their own journey. Well done!!