Book Review: “Joined” by Barbara Carter

On September 15th, Barbara Carter releases the next book in her memoir series, Joined – a memoir of marriage. Barbara sent me a copy of the book in February to read and review. February? I know. That was a lifetime ago. Who plans seven months ahead? More over, how can she wait seven months to release the book after it’s ready? I couldn’t. That’s why I’m horrible at pre-launch promotions. She must have the patience of some religion legend whose name I can’t recall.

Description

Falling in love is easy.

Creating a life together is another story. . .

JOINED is a real-life read, a true confession, a compelling story of life’s many challenges and its few choices. It is the fifth in Barbara Carter’s memoir series, Barbara by the Bay (Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia).

It stands well on its own, not requiring the reader to have read any of the earlier books, although certainly knowing about her earlier life will enhance the experience of travelling with her into marriage and motherhood.

This is a story of the perseverance a woman needs while trying to make marriage work through a surprising barrage of adversity. Dealing with issues that could end their relationship.

My Review (written the day I finished the book on March 25th)

We all make mistakes in life. Some of us are addicted to making mistakes. Yet we can’t let past mistakes define who we are today. I’ve lived long enough to know the past is the past and if we dwell on it, we limit our future.

This philosophy I’ve developed over the years kept coming to mind while reading Joined – a memoir of marriage. I also kept reminding myself the early 80s was a different era. What we understood as normal and what we tolerated was different than today. I knew people who were living similar life styles as those in this memoir. Today, I don’t.

Joined is the story of young Barbara, who endured many ups and downs in life, some brought on by her own actions and some by others in her life, including the man she marries in this chapter of the memoir saga.

Readers will be met with thoughts like, “I remember doing that,” “I knew someone who did that,” and “I’d never put up with that.” Though I really can’t speak for the person I was in my 20s, so I may have tolerated it.

As Barbara navigates married life with a husband who drinks way too much, she’s faced with complicated pregnancies, health issues, financial woes and the continued conflicting philosophy of her mother. One night, looking to relive a little freedom she had in her pre-marriage, pre-mother days, she makes a huge mistake. Yet, she endures. Isn’t this what warriors do?

Learning through experience is how we get through life. Learning through the experiences of others, gives us a boost we wouldn’t otherwise have to get ahead.

This memoir will appeal to readers who enjoy reading the raw human experience, one in which a turbulent childhood turned into troubled teen years delivers a woman into marriage, motherhood and deciding if her future will be that like many other women with alcoholic husbands in rural Nova Scotia or something different, exciting and one that will satisfy her soul.

Author Barbara Carter

Barbara Carter: artist and author. Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, December 25, 1958. Married, with three grown children and three grandchildren. Healing from past wounds is the focus of her work. She shares her life experiences and lessons learned, to connect and hopefully help others with their healing journeys. This is her fifth memoir.

Connect with Barbara Carter

Where to buy the book

It is available for pre-order at Amazon. Release date is September 15th.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

~ Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

Book Review Coming Soon

Today, I finished reading The Druid Magic Handbook by John Michael Greer. Interesting. My review will be posted here by the end of the week.

Tomorrow, I start reading The East Coast Music Book of Fame – Top 50 by Bob Mersereau. It has a forward by Joel Plaskett. It was published by SSP Publications in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I was sent a copy to review. When it was offered, I didn’t hesitate. I’ve been a music fan all my life, and I’ve met several of the people in this book, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

I’m trying to read more, but time is limited. I spend about 30 to 45 minutes reading each day.

Part II: Book Review: “A Sure Cure for Witchcraft” by Laura Best

This is Part II of my postings today. The first was Pagan Traditions, Witches and Beltane. It speaks about Walpurgisnacht, a day marked in A Sure Cure for Witchcraft.

“We become the thoughts we think each day,” said Alisz, one of the main characters in A Sure Cure for Witchcraft. “So think only happy thoughts…”

There is much to love about A Sure Cure for Witchcraft by Laura Best, but this line echoes what I have believed for many years. It walks along side, “Where you place your attention is where you place your energy.”

If one believed in magic, they’d understand how powerful our thoughts are. This is stressed in the novel and can be understood in real time by the power of the placebo. Given my attraction to magic and energy and my use of it in my fantasy novels, I was interested in seeing how these would play out in Best’s story.

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Part I: Pagan Traditions, Witches and Beltane

Today is a two-part day. I’ve never done this before, so let’s have a go at it. Below is the first post of the day. It will be followed three hours later (because three is a significant number) with Book Review: “A Sure Cure for Witchcraft” by Laura Best.

I’m posting the review for A Sure Cure for Witchcraft by Laura Best today because today is Walpurgisnacht, also known a Walpurgis Night and Burning of Witches. You’ll have to read the book to learn the significance.

While many sources claim information about this day, we truly don’t know when it started nor what it was all about. We have the impressions of what writers have provided over the centuries but as we know, everyone forms their own impression on an event depending on what they’ve read, people they’ve spoken to and what they’ve seen. Walpurgisnacht was so long ago, anyone who experienced the first inkling of the day is mere dust in the wind.

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Book Review: “The One We Forgot to Love” by Sandy Totten

The One We Forgot to Love by Sandy Totten was written from the perspective of a mother who watched one of her children suffer with a silent enemy. While this is a fictional story, like all writers, Totten injects real-life experiences into it.

The members of the family – Addie, Dexter, Seri and Ivy – tell their version of events, and all four perspectives intertwine to give readers an excellent view of the big picture. Readers are left knowing more than the characters of how relationships can suffer when communication breaks down.

After a few chapters, you might think you know the full scope of the problem, but Totten weaves in hints throughout to provide a different view of family members that will change your mind. The ending was a twist I hadn’t expected.

What else does it contain? Hockey. The family is a hockey family, and Dexter coaches his two daughters in the game of their life.

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“Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind” by Darlene Foster

Amanda in New Mexico is an ideal book for children who are ready to read chapter books. It’s not too long or too complex that a mid-elementary student won’t be able to read it. My daughter would have been able to read this book by mid-way grade 2. Certainly, grade 3 students will be able to read it.

This is one of many books Canadian author Darlene Foster has written in the Amanda series. Foster has sent Amanda to several places on the globe, including England and Holland. In fact, there’s a sneak peak of Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action in the back of the paperback I read.

Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind has just enough spookiness to intrigue children but not scare them or give them nightmares. Foster leaves the ending open in the way she doesn’t confirm or deny the existence of ghosts, which I think is an excellent way to do it because . . . sometimes I believe in ghosts and sometimes I don’t.

Foster shares the New Mexican culture through food, history and language. Children will learn new words and about the Day of the Dead, an old Mexican tradition.

Day of the Dead

At the end of the story, Foster poses eight questions to readers, which teachers can use if the book is read in class.

I won’t answer any questions except the last one: Would you enjoy a class trip like the one Amanda and her classmates went on?

ANSWER: Yes! Without hesitation.

Amazon Review

Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind is a delightful story about Amanda, her friends, Cleo and Caleb, and seven of their classmates who travel for a class trip to New Mexico. While there, strange things happen, and Amanda isn’t so sure if she still doesn’t believes in ghosts after possibly seeing one…or two. The group explores local museums and historical locations, including a cemetery, and learn about local customs and sample traditional foods.

This book is suitable for children who are able to read chapter books. It’s a fast-paced adventure that may even keep the attention of reluctant readers.

Where Can You Buy the Book?

I picked up my paperback copy at Amazon.

Learn more about Amanda’s adventures and Darlene Foster by visiting her website: Darlene Foster.

Book Review: “Where There’s A Will” by Judy Penz Sheluk

My first Sheluk book won’t be my last

While I’ve been following Judy Penz Sheluk for some time, Where There’s a Will is the first book by her that I’ve read. My reason: limited reading time and the mound of books waiting for me to read.

Where There’s a Will is the third book in A Glass Dolphin Mystery, but it can be easily read as a stand-alone book, which I’ve done. I don’t feel I’ve missed a huge part of the story though I’m certain the story would have been more fulfilling if I had met the characters and witnessed their earlier struggles in books one and two.

Unlike the previous two books, which contained murder for the mystery, this one is an estate mystery. No murder, or at least no concrete murder is under investigation. To avoid spoilers, I’ll stick to a general review of the book.

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Book Review: “Graves for Drifters and Thieves” by Sophia Minetos

Disclaimer

I’ve been part of Sophia Minetos’ launch team over the past few months, and I received a free copy of Graves for Drifters and Thieves to review.

Confession #1

Halston Harney is my favourite character. Nowadays, for whatever reason, when I read books written by others, I often don’t have a favourite character. It’s odd. Years ago, within a few chapters, I always found a favourite character. I’m not sure why I don’t anymore. I was pleasantly surprised when I found one in this book.

Confession #2

Westerns are one of my favourite genres. I grew up reading the old western novels my oldest brother had bought. I also read western comics, such as Jonah Hex, and watched western television shows (Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Dr. Quinn) and movies (Young Guns and every John Wayne and Clint Eastwood western). I’m also writing two western novels.

This made it easy to slip into Graves for Drifters and Thieves.

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Book Review: “Emma” by F. W. Kenyon

Emma F. W. Kenyon 1955

I picked up Emma by F. W. Kenyon at a yard sale back in July. It’s the hard cover 1955 version. Right away, I was surprised at the willingness and ease Emma, the main character only 17 years old in 1780, living in England, gave herself to Captain John Willet-Payne who offered to free her 14-year-old cousin from the Navy, having been forced into it by a press gang. ‘Gave herself’ as in a sexual favour exchanged for a personal favour. Oddly, it seems this wasn’t Emma’s first sexual experience.

No surprise, her stint at Uppark at South Harting in Sussex under Sir Henry Fetherstonhaugh’s protection ended within a year, Emma having become impregnated and showing. Offered protection by Charles Grevill, she eventually falls in love with him as he tutors her into being a refined lady.

In this novel, a man offering protection was not merely him putting a roof over her head and protecting her innocence; it was more often the woman doing the chores and offering her bed whenever her protector needed satisfying.

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Sometimes You Really Can’t Go Back

This was supposed to be a review of Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, but I can’t do it. Back in the mid-80s, reading this novel as an impressionable young teen who loved the fantasy world and wanted to be a writer, I devoured it. Loved it. But times change. Minds grow, develop and adapt to their surroundings. What had enthralled me then, doesn’t today. Let me explain.

A Yard Sale Find

Wanting to relive that feeling I initially felt, when I saw the July 12, 1983 Mass Market version of The Sword of Shannara at a yard sale for 50 cents, I snatched it up. My hardcopy had been out of sight and mind for almost 17 years, when my youngest moved into my office and my office was packed away in boxes and stored in various closets.

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Book Review: Storm of Divine Light by Ernesto San Giacomo

Revisiting the past is a deadly game of false mentors and betrayed apprentices.

Storm of Divine LightHis Mage-Sense had reached out to him like a psychic serpent coiling around his mind and slithering into his subconscious.

I had not gone but a few lines and this sentence coiled its way into my mind. It gave me pause for thought and I wondered, what path have I set my feet upon? More than 300 pages later, I found the path to be one of adventure, mystery and magic; all trails I enjoy.

In Storm of Divine Light, book 1 in The Tales of Tyrennia series, Ernesto San Giacomo weaves a story around a man with a past, a dark past, a past he’d sooner forget. Yet, perhaps Blackmond Moonshadow – oops! I mean Dagorat inwardly wants to find closure for this past life so he can imagine a future, possibly one with a family. While the depth’s of Dagorat’s powers are not fully explored in book one, I feel we will see more of them in the coming books.

His companion, Cyril the Wise, provides guidance and, at times, entertainment with his wisdom and crush on the finest cook in Mentiria, a Halfling named Lilly, who works at Sword and Anvil Tavern.

Together Dagorat and Cyril are called upon to solve a great theft, one that might destroy their world if the stolen goods fall into the wrong hands—and you know, it falls into the wrong hands. They set out to capture the thieves and along the way, Dagorat discovers much more than he bargained for and is forced to confront his dark past or return to it.

Unlike many fantasy stories, I didn’t have to struggle with strange names that make me roll my eyes, wishing the writer would have chosen Bill or George, anything but Sueelliea. While hard-to-pronounce, obviously-made-up-names were popular in the 80s, writers have since realised readers hate them.

Presentation: I bought the paperback. It was well-constructed and well-designed. The text was excellent for these tired, old eyes. Hats off to the designer who chose the layout, line spacing and font size. I loved it.

To learn more about Ernesto and his books, visit his San Giacomo’s Corner – A Place to Connect with Readers.

Storm of Divine Light is available in eBook or paperback at Amazon.

Enjoy.

 

Book Review: Cammie Takes Flight by Laura Best

The full moon reaches its fingers through the tree branches and grabs at the furniture in my bedroom.

Cammie Takes Flight by Laura BestIn my opinion, this is the best line written by Laura Best in Cammie Takes Flight. There are many good lines in the book, but this one instantly created an image that made me pause.

We were introduced to young Cammie Deveau of Tanner, Nova Scotia, in Flying with a Broken Wing. She was living with her Aunt Millie then and at the end of that story, we learn her world was about to expand greatly.

The opening of Cammie Takes Flight puts us in the Halifax School for the Blind, where Cammie is adjusting to life in the big city, making new friends and trying to make sense of the actions of her father, Ed, and her Aunt Millie. Her ultimate goal turns out to be finding her mother, who had abandoned her at birth and who supposedly lives in Halifax.

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Book Review: Passing it on Before Passing On by H. L. Foster, M.Ed.

Passing it on Before Passing On

by H. L. Foster, M.Ed.

Rating: 4 Stars

Before I Begin

Let me tell you where I stand before I review this book. I come from a family with a long history of alcoholism. I grew up with a father who couldn’t control his drinking, and I’ve seen aunts, uncles and siblings go down that hard road. I am not an alcoholic; I see things from the other perspective. While I’m not addicted to alcohol, I feel I have developed characteristics stemming from being conceived under the influence and living within the shadow of an alcoholic.

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Book Review: The Girl at the Top of the Tree by Barry Corbin

The Girl at the Top of the Tree

by Barry Corbin

Published: 2018

ISBN: 978-1775327905

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 380

I enjoy local stories that take place in rural settings, so when I read The Girl at the Top of the Tree, it struct a nerve. The story takes place in rural Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Valley to be exact, or as locals call it, The Valley. It starts several generations into the past, but quickly transports readers to the 1960s.

The brief family history tugs at my genealogical nerve, and I’m wondering about the surname and if I can find it on a census record. Details about the First and Second World Wars also pique my interest. I’ve done a lot of research on both because of family members, including my father, who served in them.

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Sunday Review: 1964 by James Farner

1964

by James Farner

Rating: 2 stars

A good effort that fell short

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read the book, this review contains pieces of the story that may hamper your enjoyment if you decide to read it.

I had high hopes for the story for two reasons: 1) For some odd reason titles that use only a year intrigue me; 2) It was set in a small community in the UK. However, the lack of polish and editing of the story slowed the pace and, in some instances, confused me. Many sentences were unnecessarily wordy.

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