Member Book Reviews – #RRBC

Welcome to RRBC Member Reviews!  We know you’ve probably shared it on Amazon (or, maybe Amazon took your review down and are refusing to put it back up for whatever reason), but we’d also love to know what you thought of the RRBC books you’ve read.

Please leave the title of your book, the author of the book and your review (along with your star-rating) down below in the comments section.  Before you leave, we’d also appreciate you clicking the share buttons on this page and sending it to all your social media platforms!  Members who have had reviews removed from Amazon will get credit if they share their reviews here.

Happy Reviewing!

Flipping Over Honest Reviews


640 thoughts on “Member Book Reviews – #RRBC”

  1. Good afternoon, All!

    I just finished posting two reviews on Amazon for two great stories.

    1-I Wouldn’t Be Surprised, by DL Finn received a 4 stars. The review begins, Author D.L. Finn creates a story designed to start with a slow trail of fear before becoming an unstoppable terror. Janice and Dale move into a home in the woods. A beautiful lush location with neighbors a long walk away.
    During am average meal, Janice starts an ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if’ dialogue in fun, each outrageous statement containing one-upmanship leaps from the last. Dinner conversation entertainment until unexplained events start happening.

    2-Unwelcomed, by John Podlaski, received a 5 stars. The review begins, Author John Polaski is terrific as he sets up this story of middle-class Detroit in the Vietnam era. Young men off fighting a war, while their families continued a level of normalcy. When the solider receives a letter from his Sis, the events start to unfold.

    I really enjoyed all the visuals I gained from the words, yet the description of the Dad looking for a weapon struck me as nearly desperate…

    The full reviews will be available on Amazon soon. Enjoy the weekend, Rox

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good morning! On September 20, 2020, I posted my 5-star review of Robert Fear’s memoir, Exclusive Pedigree: My Life In and Out of the Brethren:. Here is my Amazon review:
    I was attracted to Robert Fear’s memoir, Exclusive Pedigree, because I could relate to living a similar, sheltered life of religious separation in my early life. Author Fear and I, both memoirists, share memberships in two writing groups: We Love Memoirs and Rave Reviews Book Club, where I learned of Robert’s work, editing the journals and diaries of his father, John L. Fear.

    While my Mennonite memoir is set in Pennsylvania, USA, Robert’s setting is in England, each story revealing similar separatist interpretation of biblical rules. I could certainly relate to the family’s eschewing reading comics in newspapers, wearing make-up or jewelry, astrology, smoking, playing cards, or drinking alcohol, “Satan’s Brew.” My father too was a conscientious objector, but we were not forbidden to make friends outside of the church. Each of our families had huge gardens and valued herbal medicine. I too had a stern father, but other close family members, like a grandmother, were more benevolent.

    The text, though mostly devoid of dialogue, reads like a diary, not a novel. However, it is rich in detail, which to a modern reader may sound quaint: The family had various uses for a single galvanized zinc tub: Father brewed herbal mixtures, mother washed clothes, and the family took baths. Once in a while the tub was used for household baptisms.

    John Fear’s formative years were bookended by the Depression and World War II, after which his family left the Exclusive Brethren and his life expanded through the military service, travel to continental Europe, and an appointment to the British Civil Service. Eventually, John’s world included involvement with the Billy Graham Crusades and Christian broadcasting in India, East Africa, and other climes. Long after John and his family left the Exclusive Brethren sect, he has found comfort in his own expression of faith: “I have come to the inescapable conclusion, far too late in life, that it is better to be loving than to be right.”

    Publishing the book has been a family affair: “John wrote chapters 1 to 26 himself. Chapters 27 to 35 have been built up from his notes. Chapters 36 to 39 were compiled from John’s letters and extracts from his diary.” Brother Alastair wrote the final chapters and Robert recorded the manuscript on computer and edited it. It has since been published as an audio book.

    Like Robert, I felt compelled to write my story because I wanted to leave a legacy to my descendants. As writer Laurence Overmire states, “If you can make your ancestors real for yourself, learn their stories and who they were, your life . . . will take on added meaning.” Robert Fear, I am quite certain, would agree.

    ~ Marian Beaman, blogger and author of Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl


  3. Hello all! I just posted my 5-star review of Visitors by WJ Scott on Amazon. Here is a copy: Brody and Tom’s ill mother is getting worse so she sends the two adolescent boys to stay with her artistic and reclusive Aunt Salley. When they arrive, they find that things are out of sort; their aunt appears younger, cars are all from the fifties, and strange blue lights are visible from nearby Tucker’s Mountain. With the help of the aunt’s dog, they head out to investigate and uncover a secret that the town has hidden for years. One that should help save their mom.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Visitors by WJ Scott and recommend this story for all ages.

    Have a great week!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just posted my 5-star review of A Soldier’s Children by Jan Sikes on Amazon. Here is a copy: I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Soldier’s Children by Jan Sikes. The main character, Jennifer is only fourteen years old but shoulders much responsibility in taking care of her younger seven-year-old sister. Her father is an MIA soldier in Afghanistan, mother walked out on them when meeting a new man, leaving them alone to fend for themselves. To make ends meet, Jennifer had a part-time job at an amusement park and collected monthly rent from an elderly tenant in their home. In fear of discovery by Child Services, she already queued several lying responses, and depending upon the situation, could keep them out of trouble if questioned about the whereabouts of their parents. She will do her best to keep them together and out of the “system”. Love will overcome all! Highly recommended with a happy ending.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Happy Friday! I posted the following 4-Star review of The Altar Boy by Phil Stephens on Amazon today. Here it is in its entirety:

    The Altar Boy by Phil Stephens is a fictional historical memoir. His protagonist, Carl Sanders, is the second youngest of five children. He loved his parents and enjoyed doing things with his father. However, dad’s job often took him away from home for long periods of time, and then when he returned, mom and dad argued all the time. The kids usually expected this and retreated to their own “quiet” place to escape the noise of battle. What Carl couldn’t understand was the excessive presence of Fr. Jacobson in their home and the many guest visits for dinner with him at the church rectory.

    Carl’s father, Dean, suspected that his wife was having an affair with Fr. Jacobson and possibly fathered his youngest daughter. When he visited the archbishop with his concerns, instead of firing him, they simply transferred him to another parish and the affair continued. This caused Dean to leave the family for good.

    I could relate to much of the story as it described life in the 60’s at a catholic school: cooties & cootie doctor, wicked & strict nuns, the introduction of the Beatles, long hair, hippies, and serving as an altar boy. I remember getting up at 5:00 am and serving at mass every morning during the week before school. His recollection of songs played on the radio during that time brought a smile to my face as I remembered them and when they came out, too. Many of his experiences and antics over time were hilarious.

    I did find that the last 5% of the book suffered a formatting breakdown: sentences were fragmented and words missed. Not sure if this is the cause of the author or something caused by my Kindle, but it was quite distracting.

    The Altar Boy was a fun read and I’d recommend it to anybody coming of age during the 60’s. Beware, though, that Fr. Jacobson overshadows the story – that part of the storyline is the part many will hate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My 5-star review of “Jonah” by Jan Sikes was posted on Amazon today. “Jonah” by Jan Sikes is a fantasy short story that explores the deeper psychological journey of a young man, Jonah, seeking redemption. Author Jan Sikes has masterfully crafted a tale about a metaphorical purgatory in which the main character, Jonah, must learn about himself to rise above his darkness. The island’s vicious creatures and spiny plants symbolize Jonah’s bitterness and selfishness. Step-by-step, as Jonah discovers the truth about himself, he finds the magic within himself to find a way to leave the island and to return to his human world as a redeemed person. This is a story that inspires each one of us to find the magic in our soul to rise above our darkness.

    For the full review, click on the link

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have posted the following 5* review for My Maine by Bette Stevens on Amazon UK:

    This wonderful book taught me a lot about Maine and the power of haikus, neither of which I was familiar with before.

    In an enchanting, well-presented compilation, the author takes you through the seasons in her home state. You see through her eyes and become inspired by her poetic contemplations. The photos are of a high standard and the 3-line haikus beautifully constructed. I became immersed in The Pine Tree State from the viewpoint of someone proud of where they live and happy to be there.

    A bonus at the end was the listing of facts and symbols related to Maine. These rounded off my journey perfectly.

    The care and devotion dedicated to preparing this book shines through its pages.

    I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, I’ve read and reviewed The Green Door by Heather Kindt. My review is live at Amazon.

    Reminiscent of Hunger Games in the beginning, The Green Door takes a plunge into an unbelievable world of speaking animals just like Alice in Wonderland. Brek and Megan enter the ‘Green door’ willingly to earn some money for their own reasons but have no idea what a weird world of fantasy they are going into. Half way through the story of winning all adventurous games, the focus shifts again and it seems all about adolescent crush with a dash of magic. It has some sane and loving interludes but most of the book is bizarre, a childish fairy tale, stretched out of proportions.

    Having said that, I would like to add that Heather’s main characters are quite realistic, with teenage emotions and perplexities. Meg is torn between her best friend and Carter – an amalgamation of guilt and infatuation is handled quite well. Cautious and calm in trying situations, Brek is the only character who is balanced but the combative spirit of Meg is admirable. If you like a mish-mash of magic with some terrible tricks to scare you, you might like this book.
    Balroop Singh

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have read and reviewed the following stories:
    1. Times Pendulum Swings Again by Joy M. Lilley on 9/10/20
    2. Terra’s Call by P.T.L. Perrin on 9/7/20, and
    3. Times Pendulum Swings Again by Joy M. Lilley on 9/14/20
    And posted my reviews on Amazon.Com and on other online sites.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi all, hope your weekend was good. I have a couple of new reviews I wanted to mention. September 12 – The One Enlightened by Yvette Calliero received a 5 star review on Amazon from me. Loved it. It starts … Author Yvette M. Calleiro totally delivers in The One Enlightened, book 2 of the series, Chronicles of the Diasodz. This story picks up where Sofia, Ar’ch, and Angel leave Rafe behind and travel to Diasodz via the portal. A great deal was revealed with At’ch and Angel explain the trip to Diasodz to Nolan and Valerie . (Boy, I am hooked for the next one.)
    September 10 – The Vagaries of Life by Joy Nwosu received a 5 star review from me. The collection was well done. It begins … Author Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko gives the reader a fascinating collection of short stories that highlight her commitment to faith. She elegantly includes race, religion, empowerment, and nationality in each of the tales. The experience and lessons are uplifting.

    Make this week awesome! Be happy

    Liked by 1 person

  11. 9/13/2020 Just left a 4-STAR review for WHILE THE BOMBS FELL by Robbie Cheadle.
    Through the Eyes of a Child—A WWII Memoir
    While the Bombs Fell is a family and community story told through the eyes of a very young girl (Elsie Hancy Eaton) in Suffolk, England during WWII. I found this family’s story both informative and unique. Author Robbie Cheadle collaborated with her mother (Elsie) to bring us this unique perspective of war to life. From a simple family living life through food rations and bombs falling, it was a fascinating look into war torn England told from a child’s perspective. The book includes recipes and definitely left this reader with the flavor of what families and children often endure during times of war. ~Bette A. Stevens

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello, I published my 3-star review of Through the Nethergate by Robbie Cheadle on Amazon today. Here is a copy:

    Through the Nethergate by Roberta E. Cheadle started out interesting enough but seemed to bog down in certain areas as the story progressed. Margaret, a 16-year-old girl, discovers that she has special powers when meeting ghosts from centuries past after she moves in with her grandfather in a centuries-old Inn. It’s clear the author did a great deal of historical research when the ghosts tell their stories of times long gone. These ghosts were trapped in an “otherworld” ruled by Hugh Bigod, a treacherous ghost from the 12th century, who distracted them upon their death convincing them to remain with him and not enter the white light of Heaven. Thus, they remained in this netherworld for eternity as slaves to Bigod. Margaret vows to help all the poor souls defeat Hugh Bigod and solicits the help of her grandfather and two local priests. However, Hugh has different plans and wants to use Margaret against Satan and take over hell. In the interim, Satan kidnaps Margaret and wants to use her to conquer and rule the world. This is when the story changes and the luster is lost.

    Like others, I thought the author told the story instead of using the characters to move it along with dialog. As a result, I found excessive use of the passive voice and the lack of emotion which, I feel, contributed to the flatness of the story.

    The battle at the end doesn’t seem realistic and the story ends as I expected. Perhaps a younger crowd would find this story more appealing and compelling. I feel that better editing and added dialog would make this story much stronger.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hello Everyone,
    I am jumping up and down with joy after winning a fight with Amazon Germany. I wrote a review on Mirror of Our Lives by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko. That was over almost two weeks ago. They rejected it. This Time I wrote a rebuttal asking why. They told me I had a picture on my review. After checking several reviews from other authors, I disagreed I wrote another rebuttal. This time they asked me to revise the review. Instead of arguing with them, I went ahead and revised what I considered a good review by changing a few words and taking out a féw words. That. was last Friday.
    I didn‘t hear from them so I wrote another nice letter a couple of hours ago asking if they could give me an answer about my revised review since it had been over a week. 🙂
    Well, the review is now up on Amazon Germany with 5 stars and I am happy.

    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good for you, Pat. I often wonder why my review count changes periodically and the number dropped. I can’t figure out which reviews are pulled and for what reason. Some people wouldn’t care to push back. Bravo!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I posted my 5 star rating for Joy Nwosu’s The Vagaries Life onto Amazon today. It begins… Author Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko gives the reader a fascinating collection of short stories that highlight her commitment to faith. She elegantly includes race, religion, empowerment, and nationality in each of the tales. The experience and lessons are uplifting. The rest can be found on Amazon. Have a great day all.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hi, I am sharing my review of Treacherous Love by Karen Black though one of my August review is still awaiting moderation.
    My latest review is live at Amazon.
    Treacherous Love is a short story with a difference. It explores emotional jealousy and anger and takes it to macabre proportions. Those who are as self-centered as Rochelle and are blinded by their skewed thoughts refuse to see reason. Ethan is gentle and forgiving but too weak to stand up to the violence in his home. Is this love? A subtle message to those who condone domestic violence in the hope of better days – an abuser gets belligerent with each incident. Never trust his/her apologies.
    This story has a lot of potential for development. Sadly it ends before you bat an eye-lid. I tapped the page to see the effect of Rochelle’s recklessness but there was none. Looking forward to more.
    Thanks. Balroop Singh.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I have left the following 4* review on Amazon UK for Out of Poland by Breakfield and Burkey

    A snapshot of events

    Having read the first two books in the Enigma series, I was drawn to this short story as it goes back to the origins of the R-Group.

    It is a quick read and a snapshot of events but is well written and provides a wonderful insight into the beliefs and motivations of the founders of the R-Group and the Enigma machine connection.

    Apart from that, it is a brief story of escaping the terror of the German (and Russian) invasion of Poland at the start of WW2. The characters were believable, and the dialogue gave an added dimension to the trauma that the escapees went through.

    I enjoyed this read but was left wanting more, which I suppose is the intention.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have read “Ruby Slips and Poker Chips” by Heather Kindt and gave it four big stars! It is a delightfully entertaining read that is well-written. The characters are believable and relatable. Anyone who enjoys a lighthearted entertaining read with a bit of sizzling romance will enjoy this story! I read it in two sittings.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I read and review Tequila Rose Virginity Blues by Wendy Jayne
    A pleasant read for a quick escape
    Having read Ms. Jayne’s writings before, I relished this story as much as her other precious ones. With her unique writing style, the plot is amusing, and the main characters are boisterous. The beginning may appear a bit chaotic; nevertheless, the storylines are well crafted and move along at a vigorous pace. The twist at the end ensures the readers a satisfying read and pleasant entertainment.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I read and review THE VISIT by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko
    A well-defined plot!
    With a clear depiction of the setup in the first paragraph, the story moves at a good pace throughout. Though it is a micro read, it still contains a beginning, a middle, and an end. The main characters and the plot are simple but well defined. Ms. Lo-Bamijoko illuminates the essence of the text in a consummate fashion. An engaging read!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I read and review Unhinged by John Podlaski
    A well-written and enjoyable short read
    The story begins with an engaging inquiry to readers: “Isn’t it funny that when talking to others about something scary, everyone has a story of their own?” This line allures the reader instantly. On that Saturday night long ago, the main characters, two young adolescents, with zeal, accept an offer working at a drive-in theater as temporary cleaning-up crews, with a reward of a free showing of Night of the Living Dead as part of their compensation. Mr. Podlaski’s brilliant writing style pens the main characters’ various emotions, especially their fear, with an animated, severe, and yet hilarious fashion. The entire script reads like a pleasant conversation with good friends related to a fond childhood memory after a hearty meal. It’s well worth the time and highly recommended for all ages.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. My review of When Can I Stop Running by John Podlaski
    I have recently learned a lot more about the war in Vietnam so when I saw this book I grabbed the opportunity to read about the experiences of a veteran. I was not disappointed. When Can I Stop Running is an account of one night in the lives of two American soldiers, Polack and L.G. in the jungle outside of the base camp.

    The pair are assigned to Listening Patrol which entails hiding in the jungle all night and acting as a human warning system for any unusual activity from the enemy. The reader quickly realises that this is not a popular duty among the men and the descriptions of the heavy and dense blackness of night in the jungle make it obvious as to why. It is awful to imagine being in such complete blackness, where you can’t see anything, and waiting and listening for the sounds of enemy soldiers all night long.

    Polack and L.G. have some unpleasant experiences during the night, including a group of enemy soldiers stopping for a meal not far from their chosen hiding spot and being attacked by apes with rocks.

    The experiences of the two soldiers is alternated with flashbacks, by Polack, to his childhood when he faced something that frightened him. These flashback’s ranged from when Polack was a young lad of eight years old attending holiday camp to an encounter with some neighbourhood witches a few years before he joined the army and was posted to Vietnam.

    The two different perspectives, those of the child and teenage Polack, who uses flight as his saving grace when faced with something scary, and Polack the young adult soldier who cannot run and has to face his fears is poignant and striking.

    I enjoyed this thought provoking book and would recommend it to people who like to read books about human drama, courage and the life of a soldier.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to post this review to Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. “The Day the Lights Went Out…In Education” by Nonnie Jules gets five stars from me. This is what I would call a lengthy op-ed piece about the status of education in the days of COVID19, as well as before and beyond. As the mother of a certified teacher who taught for more than 15 years in an inner-city school, I can attest to the issues Nonnie Jules explores in this book. Her common sense approaches to solving some of the problems are forthright, responsible and accomplishable. My late mother used to say what this country lacks is “logic, responsibility and common sense.” From my perspective after having read this book, and from listening to my daughter’s experience and my mother’s advice, I’d say Nonnie Jules’s book hits that nail right on the head. Now, if only those who are IN CHARGE of education would pay attention…

    Liked by 2 people

  23. “Bravura” by Lisa Kirazian is an intriguing novel about exceptionally talented violinist Kate Driscoll and her almost equally talented brother Neil, whose loving mother exposes them to enchanting classical music when they’re quite young, instilling them with a desire to live and breathe this music. Their violent, nearly almost-drunk father, hates hearing Neil “bang” on the piano and is physically violent to him. The bucolic setting of their home in Somerset, England, is often disturbed by dad’s outbursts.

    Tragedy hits the family early, as their gentle mother dies, leaving Kate and Neil to concentrate on their musical studies and hide as much as they can from their father’s drunken rages. They turn to a kindly couple in their area for solace when needed.

    Meanwhile, Kate’s become a virtuoso violinist and is accepted to the Royal School of Music in 1959. Unbeknownst to her, Neil has also applied to the RSM; they head off together, even living together in the same apartment in London, while they study their respective instruments.

    The novel explores their relationships, triumphs and tragedies through music school, professional music careers, wins, losses, and so many more issues and events that happen to people reaching for success and finding challenges. Love found, love lost, tempers flare, apologies abound.

    This author has developed believable characters who make decisions that I can see college-aged people might have made during the early 1960s. At one point, Kate is involved in an abusive relationship and doesn’t seem to know how to end it. In those days, the thought of what we now know as domestic abuse was something kept behind closed doors. She also deals with the advances of a much-older professor. Drinking alcohol plays a major role in this novel, as it did during those times.

    I was distinctly impressed by the author’s selection of opera lyrics that perfectly synched with the situations at hand. For example, when Maggie, the successful soprano, calls for guidance from the moon, she sings Dvorak’s “Mesicku Na Nebi Hlubokem” (O Silver Moon) from the opera “Rusalka.”

    I admit that I’m not an avid classical music fan; however, I have been a performing musician (seems like in another life), and have faced some of the issues in performance that these characters confront. These are very real, and must be even more so when the performers are virtuosi and classically trained. But one does not have to be a music lover to enjoy this book.

    I give this 4.5 stars; the only reason for not giving it five stars is that I thought it needed a little more dialogue to explain why Maggie would forgive Neil for what he did (you’ll have to read it to find out what it is). I know I wouldn’t have!

    Now I look forward to reading the next book in this three-novel series.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Hi Everyone,
    I posted a review today on Mirror of Our Lives on my book review blog today and sent it to Amazon Germany.

    I’ve just finished reading Mirror of our lives by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko. I have to admit that writers that strengthen and motivate me as they create their stories are people that draw me into reading a book, and this author did an excellent job of weaving the life stories of the four Igbo Women who she described and of giving each of them their voice.

    The book resonated within me. I went from page to page, seeing their struggles, and hearing them talking, pushing themselves to keep on going, and to achieve. Thus, in Mirror of Our Lives, you will meet four intelligent women who climb the ladder of success and overcame great heartbreak and disappointment. They demanded respect and had the desire to be treated with dignity. They are women who show what resilience is all about.

    Mirror of Our Lives is an excellent read, and I hope it rings a bell in you also.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. OMGoodness, I think I over-bought at the recent event! Now I am over-reading (beats the over-eating I think).
    I published 3 of my reviews finally on Amazon this morning 9/3. Two Shorts and a Snort by Jan Sikes earns 5 stars. The review begins with …The title of this book made my fingers click Buy Now, and I chuckled. Reading books by Jan Sikes is always an adventure. (you can read the rest on Amazon please)
    The Ex Chronicles by Maura Beth Brennan also received 5 stars. This one begins … Author Maura Beth Brennan will make you laugh and cry in the same sentence. The tale of Angie, with her loves with twists, is not unusual. The character development of both Andie and Bryce is good. (and you guessed it the rest is on Amazon)
    Tails by WJ Scott was another 5 star creation. And she says its for children. Okay I am a child at heart. This one begins …Author WJ Scott creates a fabulous middle-grade book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys fantasy. As book one in the series, Tails invites readers to learn about the inhabitants of the Sacred Platea. Akule and his pack of silvertails …
    These are very different books by distinctive authors and I loved them. I gave the kids Tails too. Have a great day. I need to go back to reading. I am nearly caught (not).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, Rox! Your comment made me chuckle out loud. We all seem to have the over-buying disease. 🙂 I’m surprised my Kindle hasn’t imploded. Thank you for your kind words about “Two Shorts and a Snort!” You have a great day too!

      Liked by 2 people

  26. I have finished Shirley Harris-Slaughter’s “Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community,” and, with everything that’s happening in the news these days concerning the African-American community, I urge everyone to read this book.

    The book chronicles the beginning of Our Lady of Victory Church, started in an area of Detroit where many African-Americans lived after they migrated north in search of jobs in the auto industry and to escape from the Jim Crow south. Although Black Catholics are not a large part of the Black Christian community, the people who worked hard to begin this church were devoted to this mission, despite the obstacles the Archdiocese of Detroit threw into their path. The people who established Our Lady of Victory, in conjunction with a dedicated priest (who did not come directly from the Archdiocese), came up with ways to finance the church and a school and even established a credit union for its parishioners. They even brought an order of Black nuns into the church.

    The author herself took part in this effort, which began in the late 1940s and 1950s. She profiles the people who led the development of Our Lady of Victory. She attended and graduated from the school. When she did research, she discovered that detrimental comments had been made about the African-American students–e.g., that they were “academically deficient” or had “low IQs.”

    Despite the success, the Archdiocese didn’t like what they saw. They removed the first priest and sent a diocesan priest to Our Lady of Victory. He too was successful.

    Readers need to remember that this was in the 1950s, prior to the passage of Civil Rights legislation, prior to Brown v. Board of Education. However, as the author indicates, even churches were guilty of discrimination. Discrimination was not only happening in the American south; indeed, it was happening in my home town of Boston during that same time. Black Catholics, it seems, had to deal with a double whammy.

    The Archdiocese “succeeded” in destroying Our Lady of Victory, but you will have to read this well-written chronicle to discover how they did it. I found many parallels to what the Archdiocese of Albany, New York, did to the inner-city Roman Catholic Church to which I belonged about 15 years ago. It was completely integrated, had many Black, Asian and Guyanese Catholics. We worked with the poor and homeless. The Archdiocese decided the building had real estate value, so they destroyed it by sending priests who alienated the people of color who belonged. The author brought back those memories.

    As we’re reading more and more stories like this in the New York Times, Washington Post and even our local newspapers, it’s crucial that historical chronicles such as this be brought to the forefront. I applaud this author for her work; I understand she intends to update this book, which was originally published in 2004. I will be interested in reading the updated version as well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Wanda for your thorough review of the book. I am in the process of updating the book into a second edition just because updates are needed but mainly because in the process of moving from my original publisher, to amazon, contents in the book were compromised, photos were missing and to my horror I just discovered the totality of the compromise this year. The book was published in 2007, republished in 2015 and getting an overhaul as of today. You have to be careful as an Indie Author because the support is not there for you. Thank God for places like RRBC. Again, thanks Wanda.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think of you often, Shirley, as I read and experience different things. My connection to the Civil Rights movement began when I saw a “coloreds only” sign above a water fountain in the early 1950s. It led to involvement in the 1960s up through this time. Your book–updated or not–has great relevance in so many ways. I want to read your book about your brother. I’m trying to get caught up with all the books I bought at the conference! Then I will buy that one!


  27. I read and reviewed “The Liberty Bodice” by Joy Lilley.”

    I have to begin this review by stating up front that I am a huge fan of historical fiction. “The Liberty Bodice” fits the bill. The author did tremendous research to weave historical facts into the story of Gloria and her family, bringing to life segments of pre-World War II that many people might not know.

    Gloria’s family is not wealthy; in fact, they live a sort of hand-to-mouth existence in northern Ireland. They move to England so that her dad can get a better job. Things go fine for a while until her mother, who makes extra money by taking in sewing, has twin boys. The family struggles again. Gloria and her sister are sent to live on a farm back in Ireland with their aunt and uncle. They keep thinking they’ll be going home soon, but it’s years before they go back to live with their parents and brothers. It seems their brothers, as they’ve grown, have gotten into trouble–one has stolen from his employer, the other has gotten a girl pregnant. To make matters worse, her dad has had an accident at his job.

    Gloria and her sister return to England to find their dad a changed man, their brothers in their respective messes, and their mother not knowing what to do.

    Enter World War II. Germany’s taking over Europe. Bombing England. Poland falls. Rumors of concentration camps and exterminations of Jewish people abound.

    What Gloria does next may surprise the reader. But this author takes you on an exceptional journey of a young woman whose resolve and strength that she obviously gained through a difficult childhood through a challenging–no, horrible–journey during one of the darkest times of the world’s history.

    The author develops believable, strong characters and brings them alive through her prose. She’s a skilled writer, and her research accentuates her writing perfectly. I disagreed with some of Gloria’s decisions, but that only made her more believable as a character.

    I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction. I look forward to reading more from this author.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Posted two reviews today…
    (1) Open, Shut by Nonnie Jules
    Thought-provoking Story about Beliefs and Relationships
    Open, Shut by Nonnie Jules is a poignant short story about a family who experiences the death of a loved one. Darcy Lynn’s parents were atheists and talking about faith was strictly prohibited in their home. When Darcy’s older sister, Lola was curious about Christianity and began secretly studying the Bible, she was reprimanded by her mother. When someone in the family dies, questions arise… This is a thought-provoking story about beliefs and relationships. ~Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning children’s picture book AMAZING MATILDA and other books for children and adults.

    (2) Tails by W.J. Scott
    A tale to keep readers wanting more!
    I received a paperback copy of Tails from author W/ J. Scott some time also. In this middle-grade fantasy tale, Kywah has lost his tail to a hunter, and now the hunters are back to get the rest of his pack’s tails. Since Kywah has nothing left to interest the hunters, it’s up to him to make his way through the gauntlet and find the Wise One so that he can find the Deep Magic that will save his pack.

    Tails is a high-interest story with messages that provide excellent discussion points for M/G and YA readers. Themes include facing your fears and meeting challenges that may seem impossible and putting others first. This is a wonderful adventure story that families and classrooms can enjoy together. I highly recommend Tails as a read-aloud. Readers and listeners are sure to enjoy the graphic images that accompany the story as well. Scott has conjured up a winner for Book 1 in a series that is sure to keep us wanting more. ~Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning children’s picture book AMAZING MATILDA and other books for children and adults.

    Liked by 2 people

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