I loved the concept and execution of Notes to My Son. Written in the form of 25 letters to his son, Eric Lynn shares advice on life, being a dad, and so much more. I loved the way he put his feelings down as a tribute to his son.
How I Felt:
The letters, or notes, that Lynn has compiled for his son are broken up into 25 unique pieces. I have found that these really stayed with me after I finished. There is a lot of wonderful advice for people of all ages in this book.
Stefan’s Promise is a book broken into two separate stories. I enjoyed that the writer was able to separate the story by so many years and keep me connected and interested in the character’s lives.
How I Felt:
The story of these two character’s lives felt so real. I forgot I was reading fiction at times and would have to remind myself it wasn’t a memoir! Sam Rennick’s writing was beautiful.
The Characters: Alan and Stefan are the two main characters in Stefan’s Promise. I liked and connected with both characters, but I felt like things were just always going wrong for one of them and right for the other. So, I tended to keep pulling for Alan to have something good happen for him.
The Length: While Sam Rennick’s writing is absolutely amazing and I really did enjoy this book, it is a fairly long one. I think that I would like to see this story broken into two books. There really are two stories here and they could be a book 1 and book 2 of a series.
Overall, this was a well-written, wonderful story. The characters felt real and so did the story.
To Read or Not To Read:
Readers that enjoy books like The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and A Man Called Ove would really enjoy this story. If you like books that tell a story of many years, connect you to the characters, and tug at your heartstrings, this one is for you.
The Vietnam War Changed America. Two Best Friends Weren’t Spared. Only One Was Drafted.
It’s 1968. America is rocked by assassinations, war protests and political upheaval. Alan Young, 21, is brooding over having been dumped by his girlfriend. This won’t last long. His draft notice is in the mail.
Stefan Kopinski isn’t about to let the war get in his way. He spends his days at the mercy of his reckless ambition. When fate steps in, will he finally understand what has been right in front of him for 30 years?
“Stefan’s Promise” is the story of Alan and Stefan. Circumstances part them and sharply diverging temperaments further erode their bond. Yet, Alan and Stefan are wrong in supposing their friendship has ended. It’s just getting started.
Stefan’s Promise by Sam Rennick
Genre: Literary Fiction
Page Count: 546 pages
Publisher: Hugo House Publishers
Pub Date: September 3, 2019
Sam Rennick began writing Stefan’s Promise forty years ago, but it wasn’t until fairly recently, when he retired from his law practice that he was able to take his manuscript from its drawer and finish it. He admits he wishes he could say he planned this all along, since the two books comprising the novel, though written many years apart, combine perfectly into a compelling narrative.
While many authors have influenced him, he singles out Somerset Maugham as his muse, observing that Maugham always starts with a good story, but often finds a way to insert that “something extra” separating merely a nice tale from literature. Sam’s interest in books is only exceeded by his love for baseball, which began when he was nine years old.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
The intertwining story of the twin’s lives with their birth mother’s story was beautiful. I loved the way the tale was woven together, jumping from one piece of the story to the next. It kept me so interested!
How I Felt:
The Birth Mother is a beautifully written story with excellent research and information about the locations making the book come alive for the reader! I was so invested in the stories! The birth mother’s story had me gripped from the moment I found out her parents were selling her to save their son. I appreciated the statements the book is making on the roles of a female within each country’s culture (and religion). It is not overstated, but you see it within the Chinese portion of the story with the treatment of the birth mother and the orphanage’s lack of boy babies. In America, it is so obvious just from the relationship of the adoptive parents. The religious beliefs are fleshed out thoroughly as you complete the book, giving explanation to why God is a She. I found this to be a great overarching theme through the book and I appreciated the Ah-Ha moment as things were explained towards the end.
The writing style in this book felt so unique. Daryl is having a biography completed for his family so at times, the biographer is telling the story, but then Daryl just can’t contain his excitement and he takes over for portions of their family history. I found it endearing, and their relationship was another trait from this book that had me captivated.
A rape scene that is not graphic but could be a trigger for some people. Discussion of birth and babies.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend this book to any reader that enjoys a book surrounding family. The book is well-written, and the story moved quickly. I highly recommend The Birth Mother to anyone that loves a dramatic story with endearing characters.
On a business trip, a high-powered fifty-six-year-old American entrepreneur visits his partners in China. After their meeting, his Asian mentor invites him to an orphanage, a trip that will change the course of his family’s life forever. Without hesitation, he and his wife fall in love with Anglo/Asian twin girls and become their adoptive parents.
The children grow up in a world of twists and turns with multiple coincidences and synchronicity. Their journey takes them from China to Europe to America and back to China where their unusual birth mother enters their lives. This powerful story is filled with drama at every turn as the daughters face internal and external challenges. The Birth Mother is a story filled with love, pathos, tragedy, and triumph. Read, laugh, cry, and learn. It’s a tale you will never forget.
Seymour Ubell is not a professional author. In fact he never went to college. His father died when Seymour was seventeen years old and suddenly had to get a job and help support the family. Seymour was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He has lived in Manhattan for the last 40 + years. He is the chairman of an American packaging company with offices in New York, China and Europe.
At eighty-eight, the author’s daily routine includes working out every other day at 7:AM in a local NYC gym, breakfasts with friends and arrives at his office each day around 10am. By 3pm he heads home to his wife and continues his research and writing. His weekends are spent enjoying the cultural arts of Manhattan, including the theater the Philharmonic, movies and his family. He is currently writing two more novels. The first, almost complete historical novel about his family business which goes back to early 1880 with his great grandfather in the original family shop in Poland. And continues into 2019 in the USA and the rest of the world. His other novel is entitled, Second Love. About people who divorce, lose their partners from a health problem, an accident or even suicide…and find a second act in love and togetherness.
Seymour Ubell has spent most of his career in the print and advertising business. His clients are, and have been, the largest apparel, footwear, pharmaceutical, retail and consumer products companies in the world. He is a published author (A Life of Risks Taken, 2014 and The Birth Mother, 2019), lecturer, and raises funds for Parkinson’s research when he’s not at the theater with his wife, Marsha.
I had a chance to interview Seymour Ubell on his writing and inspirations!
SJLB Question: How did you do research for your book? SU Answer: Google, thesaurus and dictionary…some interviews.
SJLB Question: Which was the hardest character to write? SU Answer: Shan Di’s biological father. It was difficult for me to imagine the feelings of a father selling his daughter. The easiest? The feeling of the adoptive father was the easiest.
SJLB Question: In your book you make a reference to “God Is A woman”….how did you come up with this idea? SU Answer: When writing the book, my life with my wife, my mother and my daughters fed me with enormous kindness. I began to learn that all beautiful things on this earth have a feminine title. In my marriage to my second wife, Marsha made my life, our home and all that surrounded us into a heaven. Therefore to my sixth sense, God must be a woman. My niece Lori Ubell allowed to include a wonderful brief story that she wrote many years ago, which I never forgot.
SJLB Question: What made you write a book about adoption SU Answer: It came from an original experience of almost adopting Anglo Asian twins.
SJLB Question: Where do you get inspiration for your stories? SU Answer: My inspiration comes from actual experiences. I am now working on two books. One is entitled, The Family Business. It goes back 125 years to my great grandfather’s original tailor shop in Poland. My other book entitled “Second Love or Act ll, I am not sure of the title. The story is about at least ten couples who lose partners by divorce, death or sex complications and find a second love.
SJLB Question: There are many books out there about adoption….What makes yours different? SU Answer: I Have not read any other BOOKS ON adoption.
SJLB Question: What advice would you give budding writers? SU Answer: A good writer is always writing…even as he or she thinks. All thoughts should be written down…otherwise you will forget the ideas that come to you on a daily and even hourly basis.
SJLB Question: Your book is set in China, the USA, and Europe. Have you ever been to these locations? SU Answer: I have spent 25 years of my life going to China on a monthly basis. And Europe as well.
SJLB Question: If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be? SU Answer: I am all the characters.
SJLB Question: Do you have another profession besides writing? SU Answer: Business man in here in the USA, with offices in China and Europe.
SJLB Question: How long have you been writing? SU Answer: Seven years, however I’ve been telling stories my entire life.
SJLB Question: Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it? SU Answer: I do get writers block. I just stop writing until the flush of ideas comes back. Reading helps and the theater definitely helps
SJLB Question: What genres do you write and why? SU Answer: I fictionalize actual experiences. Except for my memoir. All 100% truth.
SJLB Question: What is the last great book you’ve read? SU Answer: Portnoy’s Complaint, The Mueller Report, The Ride of a Lifetime, Bob Iger. The Brothers Karamazov, Red Notice, The Good Earth.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
Life is a precious gift and it can change within the blink of an eye, something Patricia discovered at a young age.
After an extremely tragic event her loving family, good friends and many dreams and aspirations were all gone. An unwanted child was sent to what was supposed to be a place of love and warmth. Instead she soon discovered that those responsible for her care added so much more pain and sadness to many lives.
What occurred within the walls of Cecilia House was one of the most despicable and unimaginable acts to ever happen within an organization whose duty it was to protect innocent children.
Book: Cecilia House by Simon Gandossi Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Xlibris Release date: September, 2019 Content Warning: PG-13 + M: This book contains mature themes and scenes with child abuse.
I had the chance to interview Simon Dandossi about Cecilia House and about being an author!
Q: Why historical fiction?
A: During high school, I began to visit my local museum and became fascinated with all the antiques. I created short stories about many of the objects I saw. A few of those were entered into the young writers of the year competition, and I became a finalist. I knew then that I wanted to make history my career. When my family and friends read my stories and were captivated by them, I wanted to reach a much wider audience. I write what I am passionate about, and I write something that inspires me so, in turn, I can inspire others.
Q: What inspires you to write?
A: Of course, history inspires me greatly, but my family is such a big part of my life, and without their support, I would never have been able to undertake such a difficult task to become a full-time writer. When I see my young nephews, I always think that when they are older, I want them to have an uncle they can be proud of. When you give up so much to obtain your dream, there are so many things that inspire you in order for you to reach it.
Q: Cecilia House deals with such an unthinkable subject not many could comprehend. What made you want to write it?
A: When I began my research for my first book Elsa, I discovered so many horrifying stories involving people of all ages. I would sit at my desk and read through my notes and listen to interviews I conducted. I have written about topics that involve people undertaking things they would never have thought they were capable of even thinking about, let alone doing them.
Cecilia House came about when I watched a documentary about the abuse of children within the Catholic Church. They were neglected and unwanted children. As a historical fiction author, my goal was to bring to life as many different aspects of the past as possible. I wanted to be the voice for these children, and I hope in some way my book inspires victims and their families to seek justice.
Q: You must have been prepared to deal with a certain amount of criticism when writing about such terrible abuse?
A: To say I was angry when my website was hacked would be a severe understatement. I respect people’s rights to their opinions, but there is a line you do not cross. I never for a second intended to slander anyone’s name nor convince people what they do and believe in is wrong.
My intention is to educate and make people understand that certain things did happen and they must never occur again. We must learn from our mistakes and ensure that those who are unable to care for themselves are provided with care and comfort. Cecilia House will go a long way to teach that valuable lesson.
Q: You promote yourself as being a “unique” writer. Could you explain why?
A: Time travel stories dominated my writing during my high school years, as far back as the Tudor period in England to WW2. When trying to become a full-time writer, I did not want to use the time travel theme in my books. I wanted to take my readers back in time by making them become one with the character, so I write from a first person perspective. They become flies on the wall and are drawn into every page. I do not need to create a time machine; my books send you to a place that will spark your interest in history.
Q: Do you have any ideas about your next book?
A: Yes I do and I have already began my research. My goal is to publish two more books in the next 12 months. I will be posting updates on my blog on my website.
About the Author:
Born and raised in Western Australia, author Simon Gandossi grew up on a small quiet farm. Very early on in his life he began to visit museums. As he looked at the various antiques, he created stories about each of them in his mind.
When his father bought him his first computer, those stories came to life. That passion for history grew over the years making him one of the best up-and-coming historical fiction writers.
His first two books Elsa and For Beau – The Sarah Ashdown Story have gained outstanding reviews from several major bookstores and critics. His unique perspective shocks and inspires those who read them. This has carried over into his newest novel Cecilia House when yet again Simon has created a confronting and powerful story.
Simon will continue to write on that same peaceful farm from which he wrote his first story so that for a long time to come we all will be captivated by his work.
Beautiful Allison Harley is far from perfect. She was a victim of domestic violence that left her physically scarred and emotionally broken.
Hunter Vaugh was handsome, rich and brilliant. He was a golden boy who thought he was invincible until a tragedy took away his perfect life… along with his ability to see.
When they met, Allison was running away from her nightmares, and Hunter thought he had no reason to undergo the treatments needed to recover his eyesight.
He was blind, but he saw how beautiful she was, and she gave him a reason to live… a reason to see again. She was his angel, and he was hers.
Hunter went away with a promise that once he returns, he will be able to see her, protect her… be the guardian angel she deserved.
But once he got his eyesight back, can he look past the scars that her nightmares left her? Will he keep the promises he made her? Or will he go back to his perfect life and leave her in the hands of the new angel, who took care of her when he left?
Wingless and Beautiful by Jerilee Kaye is a YA Fiction novel, appropriate for ages 13+. Page Count: 290 pages Genre: Romance / YA Publisher: KIX Creative Publishing House Release date: November 21, 2019 Content Rating: PG-13 : some curse words, kissing scenes, minor love scene
Jerilee Kaye was born under the sign of Leo in the year 1979. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Management from De La Salle University. She has post-graduate qualifications in the fields of Product Management, Project Management and Procurement. She is a Certified Senior Professional in Supply Management from NLPA, Pennsylvania and is currently working her way to an MCIPS certification from CIPS UK.
She manages a global supplier portfolio for multi-national and government entities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. She is also an entrepreneur, managing a photography and printing company with her husband.
She is married to her first love, Sam, who she’s been dating since she was 16. They are blessed with two beautiful angels, MarQuise Justine Jerilee and Sir Alfred IV.
When she’s not buried under stacks of paper at work, or engrossed with her writing, she spends some down time playing golf, kicking her husband’s butt on a judo match and learning to play the piano.
This was a fun mystery that got me so invested in the characters. They are silly and fun, and loving to each other. Their banter showed me just how good of friends they are, and how long they have known each other. It made me feel like I had been friends with them that long as well. Additionally, there is some really great (and silly) stuff that happens with the dogs and their over-sized personalities. It just made me laugh a lot. It was outrageous and perfect for the story. This was the first book I have read by Lauren Carr, but it will not be my last!