Book Review: ‘Can’t Sit – Living With A Sitting Disability’ by Rick Lunkenheimer

This book is the story of Rick Lunkenheimer’s battle with chronic pain and the impact it has had on his life.

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Rick Lunkenheimer Can't Sit

The author tells his story in a straightforward and knowledgeable way, explaining the conditions he suffers and the consequences they carry in a way that informs and educated the reader without asking for sympathy. As a reader who also suffers chronic pain conditions, this is really important to me: the goal of speaking about invisible illnesses must always be increased awareness among the audience, rather than making excuses or seeking pity.

The points made about social acceptance and understanding are relevant to all “invisible illnesses”. It’s great to have a book like this for people to read so that they gain a better understanding of other people’s lives and situations. This, in turn, will result in greater acceptance and less judgement of those who are so often misunderstood as a result of ignorance.

The book is well written and the author’s story is both personal and highly informative. The personal vulnerability that comes with recounting one’s own experiences so honestly is enormous, so I genuinely appreciate the honesty and bravery required to write this book.
Acorn Award I Golden

Because this book is well written, tells an inspiring story and offers good advice, it has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy at Amazon.

Book Review: The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

This is a book that delivers the full gamut of emotions through the course of Della’s story. It’s a well-written and very satisfying read.

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Some people find it easy to leave the past behind. Others cling to the parts of it that hold precious memories or give them comfort. Both types of folks exist in this beautiful story of loss, grief, and finding oneself among that which remains.

 

When love, trust, and Della’s understanding of her own family are called into question,  the reader is reminded just how rare personal integrity can be, and just how profoundly it speaks for itself to others who value it.  The reader finds themselves silently cheering for Della every time she resists the type of mediocrity to which she seems to have been relegated since she was a child, and rejoicing with her when she overcomes her challenges and does something truly extraordinary.

 

This is a book that delivers the full gamut of emotions through the course of Della’s story. It’s a well-written and very satisfying read.

 

Acorn Award I GoldenThe Bookshop On Rosemary Lane has been awarded one of Book Squirrel’s shiny Gold Acorns.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘All The Nothing We’ve Done’ by Christina McMullen

If you died suddenly and were confronted with the reality of having to justify your deeds to get into heaven, what would you say?

 Christina McMullen All The Nothing We've Done.jpg
If you died suddenly and were confronted with the reality of having to justify your deeds to get into heaven, what would you say?

 

‘All The Nothing We’ve Done’ revolves around this very question in a light-hearted and often humorous way, yet it is an interesting and thought-provoking read.

 

The reader is reminded that what one person considers sinful might be seen as virtuous by another – perspective and interpretation are key factors in how we view and evaluate others actions, or our own.

Acorn Award II Silver

I enjoyed this short story very much, and am pleased to award it a Silver Acorn.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Gift’ by Rhonda Hopkins

This Christmas story challenges the reader to assess their values and priorities, and to remember what is most important in life. 

What do we sacrifice for success without realising? Rhonda Hopkins The Gift
When his life is thrown into turmoil with no notice two weeks before Christmas, Robert faces a number of challenges he had never anticipated. The choices he makes will be the difference between success or failure as a father and family man.
The story itself is well-written and nicely developed. I wasn’t expecting the ending to happen as it did, but the ability to surprise a  reader thus is one mark of a good writer.  ‘The Gift’ is an enjoyable and rewarding short read.
This Christmas story challenges the reader to assess their values and priorities, and to remember what is most important in life.
Silver Acorns
Book Squirrel gives this book a Silver Acorn.
Find ‘The Gift’ on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Team Holly’ by Jane Jago

The mutual love and respect between two young men and their stepmother is the beacon of hope for the dysfunctional family at the centre of this story.

 

 

Jane Jago Team Holly
The mutual love and respect between two young men and their stepmother is the beacon of hope for the dysfunctional family at the centre of this story.  Jago has masterfully created a lovable and realistic pair of heroes and very effectively positions the reader as a member of ‘Team Holly’ as the story begins to unfold.

This book serves to remind us that neither families nor individuals are perfect, and that those fractures that are often easier to overlook at other times of the year often come into acute focus at Christmas.

Its dark themes add depth and gravity to this powerful story, beautifully crafted with wonderful writing that draws the reader into the family home and holds them there, a silent witness of awkward, painful and tender moments alike.
Golden Acorns

‘Team Holly’ is fully deserving of a shiny Gold Acorn.
Find this great book at Amazon.

Author Interview: Heather Dawn

Welcome once again to Book Squirrel’s latest ‘Nuts about Authors’ interview.  Today I sat down with Heather Dawn to discuss life as a writer and her novel, Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies.

Interview Orange

Welcome once again to Book Squirrel’s latest ‘Nuts about Authors’ interview.  Today I sat down with Heather Dawn to discuss life as a writer and her novel, Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies.

Heather Dawn Imbroglio

Hi Heather, thanks for being here and chatting with me. 
Hi, Book Squirrel. Thanks for having me!

What inspired you to write?

Pain inspired me to write, plain and simple. I needed to get out of my circumstances into someone else’s, and thank God it worked!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I penned an essay in college entitled, Dear Little Girl, which was an assignment to write a letter of advice to myself as a child. Despite the intense joy of publishing a novel that’s getting five-star reviews, the timeless words in this essay resonate with me the most, allowing me to walk down memory lane and relish the nostalgia of my youth, grow from the mistakes, and ultimately, appreciate who I’ve become as an adult. I never would’ve thought such a simple assignment would be so invaluable to me.

What are you working on writing now?

Between my tasks as an elementary school mom and an independent entertainment production events contractor, I’m sneaking in the sequel to my debut novel.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My best vacation was a nine day trip to Italy, exploring more than eight beautiful cities and stretches of breathtaking countryside from Rome to Lake Como with a wonderful group of ladies, our own tour “mother,”  a private tour bus, delightful hotels, and food that made me hurt myself trying to devour it all!

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

My pet hate is deception––lying and hiding in relationships. Yes, I absolutely built that despicable behavior and its consequences into my writing. That is what Imbroglio, the Ties of Love and Lies is all about! An intense storyline of drama, action and suspense where a woman’s omission (intended to maintain the interest of one surprisingly debonair, irresistible and likewise mysterious man) collides with his secrets, and the two are led on a volatile, even dangerous, journey for truth, forgiveness, and love which neither of them could have fathomed. I think it would just be lovely for every reader of Imbroglio to recognize the fears that entice us to lie and consider the lamentations of Carlos and Shannon when facing such temptation! Perhaps my genre would evolve to “romantic suspense fiction with a lesson.” Hmmm…

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I can watch The Incredibles over and over and over. And over. There is something about the dynamics of their relationships. No perfection among super heroes there!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a veterinarian. With all my heart. And then I saw what happens when animals get worms and diseases. I said, “No thank you.”

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Beverly Cleary began my passion for reading with her character, Ramona (as in the pest.)
Ernest Gaines wrung the tears from my eyes with his masterful and deservedly highly-praised novel, A Lesson Before Dying. I admired his ability to write about a subject so heartbreaking and yet keep readers engaged to the end.
Stephen King paints a story so dexterously. I remember the idiosyncrasies of his characters being so vivid in my mind, loving the way he drew me into a tale, and feeling terrified to read on.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It will challenge your fortitude. Unlike when there is a publisher behind you, there is no one to convince the world that you (the self-published artist) have talent except you. Keep pressing onward!

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

1) I wish erasing the painful emotional scars imparted by others and restoring hope to the lost was easier. 2) I wish it was easier to say what needs to be said.

Those can be tough challenges indeed!   
Where can we get your book?

Imbroglio: The Ties of Love and Lies is on Amazon.

Heather Dawn Imbroglio Author Pic

Fantastic! And where can we follow you on social media? 

Oh! That’s easy!

Book Squirrel Review: Christmas Miracle at Easter by R.M. Gauthier

Gauthier is a great writer and a master of finishing a story with a sledgehammer that leaves you wanting to read on and keen for the next story.

Renee Gauthier Christmas Miracle Easter

The third instalment in R.M. Gauthier’s Christmas Miracle series, this story is a little shorter than the others but still full of the same tension, humour and characters.

Gauthier is a great writer and a master of finishing a story with a sledgehammer that leaves you wanting to read on and keen for the next story.

I really enjoyed this book, and I really hope there will be another. Christmas Miracle on Canada Day, perhaps? Now there’s a holiday this squirrel can get behind!

Golden Acorns

‘Christmas Miracle at Easter’ gets a shiny Golden Acorn!

Get your copy at Amazon!

And if you haven’t read the others – they’re great, too!

SIBA First Miracle