Perfect and Forgiven by Zach Maldonado

Book Summary:

What do you do when you feel unworthy? How do you find freedom from shame, guilt, and sin?

We’ve boiled down the message of Christianity to being imperfect people who have been forgiven. But what if the message isn’t just about what Christ has done for us–forgiving our sins so we can go to heaven one day–but also about what He has done to us?

Life is filled with shame, guilt, sin, and hurt. These things have convinced us that we’re flawed, we’re not enough, and that something is uniquely wrong with who we are. And quite honestly, we look to Christianity for help and the message we often hear leaves us disappointed, doubtful, and disillusioned.

Zach Maldonado has experienced this firsthand. But he’s discovered that who we truly are is not found in what we’ve done or what we’ve gone through. In Perfect and Forgiven, Zach takes us into his own journey of identity, and with humor, vulnerability, and a unique story-driven format, reveals how to live free from shame, guilt, and sin.

Through understanding who you are in Christ, you can begin to live free from the shame that condemns you, the guilt that riddles you, and the sin that entangles you.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2VlduIS

Review Quotes:

“Zach Maldonado has been radically and authentically undone by grace. He is also gifted to communicate like few others. Those realities combined allow truth, lived out, to jump from the page. He is smart, vulnerable, and funny, funny, and funny. I think you will love this book.”
–John Lynch, Author of “On My Worst Day” and co-author of “The Cure”

“Zach unpacks powerful Biblical truths, raw and transparent stories from his own testimony and many inspirational examples to help you unlock the God-given potential lying dormant inside.”
–Dave Willis, Best-selling author of “The Seven Laws of Love” and TV and Podcast Host for MarriageToday.

“‘Perfect and Forgiven’ is a wonder of practical beauty and theological truth! I laughed, gasped, marveled and cried when reading Zach Maldonado’s book, because the God I know, who speaks to me and motivates me, moved through its’ pages. If you know–or have yet to know–the God of all grace, get this book. You’ll be deeply moved.”
–Ralph Harris, Best-selling author of Life According to Perfect, and God’s Astounding Opinion of You

“This book is such a beautiful reminder of God’s relentless, radical grace. It inspires and challenges us to reject the narrative of shame, accept that we are accepted, and live out our identity as sons and daughters of God.”
–Dominic Done, Lead Pastor at Westside: A Jesus Church and author of When Faith Fails

Author Bio:

Zach Maldonado serves as a pastor at Church Without Religion and with Andrew Farley Ministries. Zach is also an author and speaker with a passion to proclaim the gospel and to help people believe Jesus is enough. He holds a Master of Arts in Theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. You can follow him on social media at @ZachMaldo or visit his website ZachMaldonado.com

Possessed: From Darkness to Light by Cordelia Lee

Book Summary:

Cordelia Lee has experienced something few in the Western world have even witnessed: exorcism. Demonic possession brought her to a Taoist shaman who could drive out her tormentors, but only temporarily. Cordelia’s problems were multifaceted: a troubled childhood, molests, rape attempt, black magic, anorexia, unfulfilled maternal instinct, failing marriage, and depression. Given the severity of her experiences and the return of the evil spirits, Cordelia had to dedicate her life to healing if she was ever to recover.

She had earlier experienced an unexpected kundalini awakening; it awakened her to the spiritual realm and the unseen energies that fill the universe. Things she used to think were illogical and nonexistent. But the spiritual realm that promised answers also held the ghosts that flooded her—and a much more human danger.

Not everyone had the kindness of the shaman who exorcised Cordelia. She met other teachers on her journey, and some of these gurus wanted to manipulate her with black magic. Discerning between helpful guides and wolves in sheep’s clothing proved challenging. Yet the promise of healing through earthly and spiritual means urged her forward. With the support of trustworthy friends, Cordelia would become a healer in her own right.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2p2vXxI

Review:

Possessed: From Darkness to Light by Cordelia Lee is a memoir that reads like horror, and it’s hard to believe this is a true story, but the narrator’s voice is so real that the reader is compelled to accept the extraordinary events narrated in this memoir. Readers are introduced to a protagonist with a heap of problems — difficult childhood, molestation, attempted rape, black magic, anorexia, marital issues, and depression. Possessed, a shaman exorcises her, but is unable to completely banish the evil spirits. While Cordelia Lee seeks healing, she has an unusual experience of awakening — transported to a spiritual realm where she experiences the different energies in the universe. She could find answers to her quest for healing in this dimension, but this realm is also the dwelling of malevolent spirits. Can she beat the ruses of manipulative spiritual teachers who would use black magic to get what they want, find the tools she needs for her battles, and win her inner freedom? This is a story that exudes a rare kind of pathos and as the reader encounters young Cordelia Lee — a once happy and exuberant child — they become keen to find out what could possibly happen to her. They quickly learn to care about her.

The author has a unique narrative voice and knows how to make readers feel what she has felt. You’ll touch her fear; you’ll feel the chills run down your body as you connect with the images she conjures. While the writing might not be exceptional, the story is confidently told and the author has a voice that is original. Possessed: From Darkness to Light is a true story that gives hope to readers, making them understand that they can be masters of their destiny and that no matter how horrific their experiences in life, they can always choose to seek the light at the end of the tunnel. This is an engrossing story that will awaken all kinds of emotions in readers.

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/possessed

Author Comments about the book:

My personal memoir as a survivor of black magic and demonic possession, on top of other life challenges like troubled childhood, molests, rape attempt, anorexia, unfulfilled maternal instinct, failing marriage, and depression

This is the only personal memoir in the market of a real person who came out triumphant, positive and healed after a harrowing experience as a black magic victim and that of demonic possession.

Not to mention becoming a healer who helps others who suffer such torment.

Most victims end up diagnosed as schizophrenic and having to medicate themselves for life or end up being committed to a mental institution. Or they live a life of suffering till they are able to find salvation.

Author Bio:

Cordelia Lee lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband and their son. After overcoming depression and anorexia in her teens, Cordelia experienced a spontaneous kundalini awakening in her thirties. Although she had no prior training, she found herself able to perform vocal sound healing, which she has used to help others handle stress and heal.

Together with her husband Ket, they are meditation teachers. Their practice is nonreligious and not mainstream. The most important aspect of their work is to help and empower people to heal, especially those who have gone through ordeals like hers. Their work has taken them around Asia and Australia as they lead meditation sessions, retreats and workshops.

Cordelia is a firm believer in second chances and their availability to anyone who seeks them.

Mighty Mary by Max Davine

Story Summary:

Mary was a circus elephant. The Star of the West. She could dance, play the trumpet and pleased crowds wherever she went.

In 1916, after a disastrous Wild West show in Erwin Tennessee, acts against Mary the five-ton Indian elephant would go down in history as one of the most disturbing and bizarre cases of animal cruelty the world has ever seen.

But, Mary had a life before the circus. She was free once. Part of a wild herd.

During the British Raj, she was captured, trained and sent to America to become a spectacle. Along the way, she loved, she lost, she made friends and formed bonds. She suffered heartache and experienced ecstasy. She was a living being.

This is her story.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2N8EiLh

Video Link – https://www.goodreads.com/videos/145536-interview-by-susan-reynolds

Good Reads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43090884-mighty-mary

Reviews:

Max Davine’s Mighty Mary tells the story of the real-life circus elephant known as Mighty Mary. Born in the wild, she is captured by humans when her mother is killed for ivory. Once acquired, Mary is subjected to horrific cruelty, as circus elephants typically were in the early 1900s. But Mary remains stalwart in her belief to please the humans and avoid pain by not harming those who have wounded her. She even goes so far as to find friends among humans who give her a place to belong.

But when old human habits return, Mary will be pushed beyond her limits, and not even her new friends can stop what comes next. In Mary’s world, the good guys aren’t always who you think they are, and the allies are those who are the most broken.

Mighty Mary is a heart-rending tale that rings all too real with what elephants suffered in performing shows. Their training and treatment should disturb everyone. Davine paints this treatment vividly, and with his use of Mary’s perspective, this becomes even more visceral. The misunderstanding between animals and humans is a critical point of this story. Everything hinges on how misunderstanding and fear, on both sides, leads to needless suffering and hurt for all involved.

There is stunning depth given to the inner lives of the elephants. It made me curious to know more about the role that research played in writing the book. I’d hoped for some insight from an author’s note, but no such note appeared at the end. This was disappointing as Mary is such an interesting figure, and I’d been looking forward to a behind-the-scenes of her story.

Writing a story from an animal’s point of view is an ambitious project. Davine pulls it off quite well, though it does end up anthropomorphizing the animals a bit, though that would be hard to stay away from inherently. As a result, the animal characters and their experiences are more fully realized than some of the human characters. The humans can come across as one-dimensional when compared to the complexity of Mary. Still, the story is enjoyable, even though it is an emotionally brutal experience. The author keeps tight control of a highly emotional book, and tells an amazing story of an amazing elephant.

Is brutal on reader emotions, but this is a well-told, interesting story that explores the line of brutality and kindness, fear and suffering, and it can cause us to question our own relationship to the animals around us and how they might see us.

Reviewed By: Axie Barclay
https://manhattanbookreview.com/product/mighty-mary/

About the author:

Max Davine was born in a suburb of Frankston, Victoria in 1989. He began writing dramatic pieces throughout highschool, and upon graduating set off to Los Angeles to learn the art of writing and pitching screenplays. Returning the same year, he went on to study acting with Peter Kalos at the Melbourne Actor’s Lab from 2010 to 2012, the year his first novel, “Terra Domina”, was published by ASJ Publishing. As well as novels, he has written for the stage and screen.

Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War by Patrick Hogan

Book Summary:

What would you say if I told you there are disturbing things the US Government hasn’t told you about the Vietnam War and doesn’t want you to know? Things such as all the rainbow-colored pesticides and the disabling effect they had on US service personnel.

Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War, is an account of war – a tale of anger and determination – a chronicle written in sorrow and hope. It’s the story of countless veterans who served in Vietnam and could even be your story.

While the book is categorized as a memoir, it’s also an investigational voyage into all the issues the U.S. government hasn’t told you and doesn’t want you to know about the Vietnam War. The work isn’t just another rehashing of the war or Agent Orange. Rather it’s a “silver bullet” which cuts through to the heart of the circumstances and chemical used in Vietnam—enduring toxic herbicides and insecticides—which in some cases are still being used to this very day all over the globe, even right here in America. Now I’m sure many of you will find that fact hard to believe. Nevertheless, it’s true.

So, forget everything you’ve heard from the government and what you think you know about the Vietnam War because you will be absolutely stunned by what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam—their allies—and even their own troops.

What happened in Vietnam … didn’t stay in Vietnam. It came home with us!

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2KR2MFe

 

Review:

Between the years of 1955-1975, The Vietnam War impacted lives across the world. Patrick Hogan, a former staff sergeant, has dedicated his novel Silent Spring: Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War to exposing the public to the horrors that the United States government consciously inflicted upon its own people—soldiers who were fighting for the United States, and never gave their government a second thought as to the motives for their actions. He also wrote this for future generations to not forget some of the fallen soldiers that served during the Vietnam War—too many for Hogan to name.

Hogan covers all of the bases with his research on the ill-effects of the pesticides and herbicides used on the soldiers serving in South Vietnam. Reading thousands of research papers and looking through declassified papers, he has found an abundance of information to help him, personally, explain his many ailments and bodily problems he has experienced since his time in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, our government released highly toxic pesticides into the air, with the U.S. soldiers present to soak in every molecule of the poison into their bodies, of course, unbeknownst to them. Pages and pages of chemicals are listed, including the infamous Agent Orange and Agent White, with all of poisons combined being referred to as the “Rainbow Herbicides.”

To imagine what the soldiers had to go through during the war itself would be hard, but to imagine what they are still having to go through, even after the war has been over for forty-plus years, is sad. The way that Hogan describes everything pertaining to the DVA and the military, especially with their unwillingness to completely comply to the overall healthcare that veterans did, and currently do, need reminds me of a spoiled child who won’t accept responsibility for their actions. Deep down they know what they did, but they are too stubborn to admit it out loud at the risk of losing money and power. The amount of time that had to have gone into this book was extremely evident, and for that, it is very credible. Hogan’s style of writing was easy to read, and, personally, I loved how he incorporated uplifting words, such as Bible verses and the doxology into his book. As this is a story focused on so many negatives, it definitely needs some positivity included. The information included will be valuable for many generations to come to help us not forget this time in history and use it as a learning tool.

Reviewed By: Rachel Dehning
https://manhattanbookreview.com/product/silent-spring-deadly-autumn-of-the-vietnam-war/

 

Author Bio:

The author was stationed in Vietnam from September 1966 through June 1969. While there he earned the rank of Staff Sergeant E-6 and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal by the Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor. Shortly after being discharged, in August of 1975, he was appointed to the Teaneck Police Department as a law enforcement officer. During his police career, he attended Fairleigh Dickenson University’s where he earned an Associate in Arts Degree with honors. He has completed police training programs at law enforcement educational facilities such as John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the NJ State Police Training Academy and the New England Institute of Law Enforcement and Management (Babson College). In addition to his educational accomplishments, he is a certified State of New Jersey Police Training Instructor.

Initially, writing a book about the Vietnam War or being an author was the further thing from his mind. However, after he started his research journey into Agent Orange, things changed. He never suspected what his investigation would discover. The deeper his exploration took him, and the more he saw all the lives which had been taken and damaged by the rampant use of pesticides during the war; the more determined he became to try to set the record straight. So, starting with the death of his friend and fellow veteran, Larry White the concept for Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War was born, and a reluctant writer emerged out of sheer exasperation and sorrow.

Journey To Healing—The Art and Science of Applied Kinesiology by Dr. Eugene Charles

Book Summary:

True health is not simply the absence of disease. It is a state of being in which the miraculous physical and mental forces that make us human work together in proper balance. True health allows us to be ourselves and live every day at our own personal best. Achieving true health is a journey—unique to every individual.

However, many of us do not feel the need to begin this journey until we experience symptoms, such as pain or dysfunction, that interfere with our quality of life. The disruption of our health becomes something that needs to be “fixed.” So we visit our doctors in the hope of finding relief. Traditional mainstream medicine, while immensely helpful in combatting disease and medical conditions, neglects the deeper concept of true health by treating the condition and its symptoms, not the total individual. Under our present system, doctors simply do not have the time to evaluate the overall health of their patients. Therefore, they are forced to focus on the specific symptom or condition, instead of trying to find the underlying source of the problem and treating it with an appropriate therapy to heal the entire body.

The fundamental weakness in this approach is that it doesn’t help the patient achieve true health. It applies general therapeutic procedures proven to address the condition, not the person. Often, what might be an effective treatment for one person might not prove as effective for another with the same condition because of their unique physiology and circumstances. Many patients might get temporary relief, but the underlying imbalance in their system tends to resurface in the future. As a result, too many people end the journey to healing before it has truly begun and never achieve optimal and lasting health.

Applied Kinesiology (AK) follows a different model. It is the science of healing the total person and supporting his or her true health through the study of movement and integral muscle function. Patients often visit an AK specialist after they have run the gamut of traditional medical professionals with little or no success. AK specialists take the time to do an extensive interview with each patient to assess his or her concerns regarding their health. They review the results of any standard tests the patient has undergone. Then, by observing how a person moves and subsequently testing various muscles by hand that are linked to a particular condition or symptom, the Applied Kinesiologist can create a unique treatment plan to alleviate the underlying dysfunction and restore the patient to health.

Applied Kinesiology utilizes a spectrum of noninvasive diagnostic and treatment protocols to restore optimal function to your body. These include various muscle manipulation techniques, chiropractic therapies, acupuncture, nutrition, cranial therapy, specific exercises, and mind/body procedures.

Current estimates suggest that 1,000,000 practitioners worldwide are using some form of AK manual muscle testing, and as more and more patients and medical professionals become aware of its benefits—this number will continue to climb. As its benefits become more mainstream, it is only a matter of time before Applied Kinesiology takes its place as one of the most effective healthcare disciplines in the world today.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2QgV2P9

Readers’ Favorite:

Achieving true health is indeed a journey and it is not just simply the absence of disease. True health is unique to each person and will allow every individual to live each day of their lives at their personal best. Journey To Healing: The Art And Science of Applied Kinesiology by Eugene Charles, D.C. is about Applied Kinesiology which follows a different model. Healing is done through various muscle manipulation techniques, acupuncture, nutrition, chiropractic techniques, cranial therapy, specific exercises, and mind/body procedures. The author introduces this unique healing system which is relatively unknown and gives readers information about it.

Muscles, bones, nerves, and organs are interconnected and co-dependent. This book gives good insights on a topic that is not generally known to readers and will help them realize how helpful the technique is to patients and that there is an alternate way to healing and dealing with health problems. The book also tackles various health conditions and how Applied Kinesiology addresses these conditions. The author speaks about the topic in an expansive and methodical way and he uses simple language so that it will be easy for readers to comprehend. Traditional medicine may not be effective all the time. The author’s personal experiences make it easy for readers to understand Applied Kinesiology. This is an interesting and engaging book for readers who are on the lookout for alternative ways to heal themselves.

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan

Author Bio:

Dr. Eugene Charles is a doctor of chiropractic and a Diplomate in Applied Kinesiology. While in his early 20’s he experienced severe shoulder pain due to an athletic injury. He suffered with the pain for years until Dr. George Goodheart—the founder of Applied Kinesiology (AK)— diagnosed his condition and correctly devised a treatment plan. Since being healed, Dr. Charles has dedicated his life to helping people with difficult to treat conditions and teaching AK to other practitioners.

Dr. Charles has treated well over 6,000 patients and has taught thousands of doctors from many different specialties the art and science of Applied Kinesiology. He has been teaching AK for more than 30 years.

The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

The Third Mushroom is a serious yet fantastical story about family, relationships, life, death, science, and so much more. Ellie gets home from school to find that her grandfather, Melvin, has turned into a 14-year-old boy. They start experimenting with jellyfish, and they put together a plan for a science fair project that will blow everyone away. In the process, they learn that it’s okay when life doesn’t quite turn out the way you hope. The author has a conversational writing style that makes the story easy to follow, although sometimes it seems to ramble a little. The science topics are well integrated into the story, and there are so many different concepts covered. The characters are well developed and very believable, including the adults. Ellie is a self-assured, inquisitive, and likable middle schooler, and her relationship with Melvin is especially great to read about. This is a good book for anyone aged 10-14 who likes science, fantasy, and cool experiments. I really liked the book even though I hadn’t read the first one. It’s a fun, interesting, and good story about growing up and also growing older.

Reviewed By: Yessenia – Age 11

Butterfly Hill by Brendan le Grange

Book Summary:

A psychopath with mother issues. A policeman with his career on the line. A beautiful agent with unclear allegiances. And an ancient organisation guarding a secret that could get them all killed.

Hiko Shimizu is not a nice man, but he is ingenious. Ingenious enough to find a lost artefact capable of catalysing a revolution in China? Maybe. And that’s close enough to draw the attention of powerful forces that won’t hesitate to kill to keep their secrets safe.

Meanwhile, Matthys Rossouw is in hot pursuit, unaware of the full scale of the danger he faces. Butterfly Hill is the exciting follow-up to Drachen. Set in the hills above Hong Kong’s Lantau Island, it’s another high-stakes game of cat and mouse that races towards an explosive conclusion.

Seven hundred years ago a Dynasty died, how far will people go to keep it dead?

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2L14ELl

Book Viral Reviewed:

It is clear from the start of Brendan Le Grange’s Butterfly Hill that thriller fans are in for a treat. A daringly structured and cleverly executed International Thriller, it would be easy to summarise his latest release with a few commonplace adjectives. High octane, adrenalin-driven and bold, every chapter feels crisp and polished, but there’s nothing extraneous here as Le Grange weaves a plot of genuine intrigue.

This time around the focus is on Matthys Rossouw who remains relentlessly on the trail of Hiko. Overall it’s easy to read, yet highly immersive, as are all the best thrillers, and once again Le Grange brings us a host of cleverly imagined characters underpinned by an authenticity that eludes many of his contemporaries. With a visual quality to his writing, Elaine, in particular, stands out but when death throws an ever-looming shadow over events she is also the catalyst for a twist that sees an unexpected alliance formed. Add to this a narrative flow that’s natural and involving and all in all there’s more than enough here to sate the most voracious of Thriller Genre appetites.

http://www.bookviral.com/butterfly-hill-a-matthys-ross/4594484617

Author Bio:

Brendan le Grange lives in Hong Kong with his beautiful wife and daughters, writing high-paced action thrillers when his day job allows. Luckily, that day job also allows him to travel to the exotic locales in which his books are set.

The Secret Life of Mrs. London: A Novel by Rebecca Rosenberg

Book Summary:

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2QkMRAi

YouTube Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFdi0aWLqvI

 

A Bookaholic Swede Review:

I instantly knew that I wanted to read The Secret Life of Mrs. London from the moment I read the blurb. I just love reading historical fiction about famous persons and I was intrigued by the prospect of reading a book about Jack London, a man that I didn’t know much about. Also, the addition of Harry Houdini to the story made my eagerness to read this book even greater.

I’ve actually been putting off writing this review, you know waiting for the right moment because I was so taken with the story that I needed some breathing pause to be levelheaded to write a review that is just me rambling. To be honest, I’m not sure it helped, but anyway, here we go!

The Secret Life of Mrs. London is about Jack London’s wife Charmain London and in this story we get to follow Charmain story through a period in life when everything around her changes. Her marriage isn’t the easiest and although Jack loves Charmain do one really get a feeling that she is there to take care of Jack businesses, from his writing to the dream house that he’s building. Her own ambition, her own writing is something that she has to just dream about. The Harry Houdini sweeps into her life…

As much as I liked Jack in this book can’t I help, but frankly adore Harry Houdini. The attraction between him and Charmain is palpable. It helps that the writing is top-notch that the characters are so alive, so well-developed that I breathlessly turned every page with the desire to know what happens next, but at the same time didn’t I want the story to end. Yes, I’m gushing, but seriously, this is one book I could easily read again and nowadays I don’t have time to re-read books. Another character I came to like very much is Bess Houdini, she shows up in the book now and then, and just like her famous husband has Bess a strong and vibrant personality. I quite liked her interaction with Charmine.

The Secret Life of Mrs. London is one of the best books I have ever read. It’s a story I will never forget and I can’t wait to see what Rebecca Rosenberg will write next.

https://bookaholicswede.blogspot.com/2018/01/blogtour-secret-life-of-mrs-london-by.html

 

Author Bio:

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. Next novel: GOLD DIGGER, the story of Baby Doe Tabor Jan. 2019

https://www.rebecca-rosenberg.com/about/

The Way by Kristen Wolf

Book Summary

Anna is a striking and spirited young girl living in ancient Palestine where being a daughter is a disappointment. While her father excitedly anticipates the birth of his first son, the invisible Anna endures a life of drudgery. One bright spot in her world is the crippled old woman living by the village well who declares that the headstrong girl possesses a powerful destiny. But before the elder can reveal her prophecy an unexpected tragedy strikes Anna’s family and her father—dressing Anna as a boy—sells his daughter to a band of wandering shepherds.

Abandoned and armed with only bravery and wits, Anna must learn to survive the harsh desert and unruly men. Yet just when she masters her bold life of disguise, she stumbles upon a den of mysterious caves and is captured by the secret band of women living inside. Unable to escape, Anna soon discovers that the sisterhood’s mystical teachings and miraculous healing abilities have forced her to question everything she’s been told to believe and—to her amazement—unleashed an astonishing power within her.

But when violent enemies opposed to the women’s ways threaten to destroy them, Anna vows to save her mentors and preserve their powerful wisdom. Forced again to leave home and loved ones behind, a transformed Anna returns to the world of men—as only she can—determined to unfold a daring and dangerous mission: One that will put everything she’s become to the test. Will she succeed…or be condemned?

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2Ng0NuD

“The Way is a daring and passionate debut from an author to watch in the future.” – Historical Novel Society

“Wow, is all I can say. This novel blew me away!” – Book Pleasures

“THE WAY is a magical, evocative first novel that I plan to buy a carton of to give to my family and friends. This message of compas­sion, healing, and respect for women could indeed transform our world.”  -Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of A Woman’s Journey to God

Author Bio:

KRISTEN WOLF is an award-winning author, creative and wondernaut living in the Rocky Mountains. Her debut novel, THE WAY, was hailed by O, The Oprah Magazine as “A Title to Pick Up Now!” Her second novel, ESCAPEMENT, won a 2018 IndieReader Discovery Award. A graduate of Georgetown University, she was nominated to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and holds an M.A. in creative writing from Hollins University.

Tree by Melina Sempill Watts

Book Summary

Tree is a novel about a tree written from a unique point of view: the chief narrator is a tree. Tree uses magical realism as a key to access the interrelated emotional realities of the many species that share one pristine valley in Topanga, California. Grass, birds, other trees and animals come to life on the pages, while one 19th century Mexican woman and one 20th century schoolboy, hearts opened by grief and loneliness, come to know one California live oak whose 229 years span the evolution of four human civilizations, Chumash, Spanish/Mexican, Yankee and new money Hollywood, which each leave their mark upon the landscape and upon Tree. The author’s obsessive botanical, scientific and historical research give substance to a world that feels both as real as last weekend’s dust on hiking boots and as mind-altering as a fully fledged mystical experience. Take a journey into the heart of the woods where every plant shines Tree will change how you see nature.

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2JYUgmo

YouTube Video – https://youtu.be/tUx3twJDisQ

KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut novel tells the story of life in a California valley through the eyes of a tree.

The hero of this book is, as the title suggests, a tree. Specifically, a live oak that germinates in Topanga in the 18th century. The tale begins, more or less, at the protagonist’s conception: a new acorn drops from a tree and is picked up by a blue jay, which is in turn snatched by a hawk. The acorn falls from the hawk’s talons high in the air and comes to rest in a crack on the dry valley floor. It waits for days in the arid dirt until a mountain lion kills and eats a deer over the crack, coating the acorn in blood: “And the acorn responded to sudden moisture as seeds do. Things uncoiled and uncurled inside.” From there, Watts takes the reader on a journey through more than two centuries of California history with Tree right at the center, from the struggles of the surrounding animals and plants who serve as the oak’s neighbors to the human settlers—Chumash, Spanish, American, and contemporary Angeleno—who alter the face of the valley. The saga of Tree becomes a window into the immensity of nature, simultaneously dynamic and everlasting, and the ways that humans have come to upset the ancient balance. Watts writes in an elegant, highly detailed prose that shows an incredible knack for chronicling the minutiae of the natural world. Even more impressive is her ability to wring narrative from the most common interactions, reminding readers of the Homeric drama unfolding all around them, at every level of life. She makes the most of the novel’s conceit, going so far as to use a Tree-specific pronoun: e instead of he or she. Far from cute, this book takes a serious look at the value of love, the impossibility of permanence, and the ways in which humans leave the world. For anyone wondering about the outcome, Watts closes the work’s first paragraph with the reminder that “there is no happiness. Only serenity lasts.”

An ingenious and satisfying tale about a single live oak.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/melina-sempill-watts/treeT/

Author Bio:

Melina Sempill Watts’ writing has appeared in Sierra Magazine, the New York Times Motherlode blog, Earth Island Journal and Sunset Magazine, in local environmental venues such as Urban Coast: Journal of the Center for the Study of the Santa Monica Bay, the Heal the Bay blog and in local papers such as Malibu Times, Malibu Surfside News, Topanga Messenger and Argonaut News.

Watts began her career in Hollywood as a development executive, writing consultant and story analyst working for such luminaries Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy and Peter Horton and at Dreamworks. She has worked as a watershed coordinator, run a stable, shelved books at a library and created, marketed and ran Starfish Catering. Watts graduated from UCLA with a degree in history. She lives in California.

Upcoming events include on stage (5000 guests anticipated) at the Placer County Earth Day at Royer Park in Roseville, California and on April 21 and L.A. Zen Center on June 17.

Watts will come to university or high school classrooms to talk about “Tree.”