#RRBC – Nonnie’s “RAVE” #Reviews

{These reviews are the personal views of Nonnie Jules.} 

**ONLY THE BEST READS WITH A 4 OR 5 STAR RATING WILL BE ALLOWED TO SIT ON THIS PAGE**

All other reviews will be posted to Amazon and B&N.  If you follow the sidebar on any page of this site under NONNIE’S NEXT 5 REVIEWS, you will be able to follow what I am currently reading and you will also know which books didn’t make the cut to sit here.  If you are looking for a TRULY GREAT READ, any book which sits on this page will serve you just fine because they have garnered a high mark from me!  No SUGARCOATIN’, these are well-written reads, some more-so than others! These are written works with great story-lines, but all in all, they are all enjoyable.   {I review books of RRBC members, as well as non-members but only the books of RRBC members, will be listed on this page.}

How can an author get better or improve on his writing if the world is constantly saying to him or her “Your work is great!” when it is clearly NOT?  Let’s all become a bit more honest in our reviews and from that, a world of GREAT writers will descend upon us! ~ NJ

“I have been told that people are afraid to ask me for a review, yet they secretly long for one from me because they know that HONEST reviews are CREDIBLE reviews.  HONEST {CREDIBLE} reviews are all that I give and CREDIBLE {HONEST} reviews can boost an author’s credibility and stature.”

Nonnie Jule's Seal of Approval

{If your book has been awarded a 5***** Star Rating here, you may display my “SEAL OF APPROVAL” on your blog/or website.  You may request it be emailed to you in the comments section below.  GOOD LUCK!}

~~~~~

FROM ONE WRITER TO ANOTHER:

*”Hi, Nonnie, I have read your reviews and respect your honesty and insight.  Also, after having read your “SUGARCOATIN’” book, I respect you as a writer.  I would be delighted if you would review my book for me, at such a time as you can get to it.  I have a huge TBR list myself, so I fully appreciate how long yours is likely to be! Warmest regards” ~ HK

*”I would like to submit my new superhero fantasy novel to you for review. I love the honest and in-depth approach you take towards your reviews which is why I want your opinion. For me it’s not about getting a perfect review every time, it’s about impressing those who are hard to impress.” ~ KD

***

6/10/20 – UNHINGED by John Podlaski

Unhinged A Micro Read by John Podlaski

5*****HE’S GOT A NEW FAN!!!!!

I began reading my first read by John Podlaski a couple of weeks ago but, due to my extremely busy schedule, I haven’t finished the read yet.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that John recently penned and published a Micro Read!  This was my chance to find out if this guy had made his way onto RWISA-Island based on his great smile or merely via his writing prowess.  Don’t be disappointed when I tell you the truth.  

The truth is – this guy can write his buns off!  This cute short **jule** took me 15 minutes to read and when I had to put it aside to take an important phone call, I found myself rushing through the call just to get back to finish it.

I don’t ever bother detailing what a story is all about (I mean, that’s what the blurb is for on Amazon), but, what I will dig deep into here, is letting you know that this Micro Read is the first one you should pick up!  (Even when I’ve finally published my own first Micro Read, as of today, I’d want you to skip past mine to devour this one first!)  I found not one single editing issue and the quick (and very interesting) storyline … amaze-balls all the way!  I felt like that 14-yr old kid running for his life!  (That’s the only tease you’re getting from me, by the way.)

The one fault I found with the book was – he left me wondering what happened to Nick, the other kid in the story.  I wondered, ‘How did this all end up with Jerry as the main character?’ But, it was still a great read in spite of that missing detail.

John, you got me believing in the bogeyman again!  Thanks for nothing! LOL!  Great job!

***

3/29/16 –  LEGEND OF THE WALKING DEAD by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

Legend of the Walking Dead by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

4****Stars!!

LEGEND OF THE WALKING DEAD is the second book that I’ve read from this author, and what I know about Author, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, is that she can tell a story.  In line with her first book, she’s continuing to give us more glimpses of her life, her world, her culture, through her eyes.  These Igbo mythologies seemed to be more like a collection of short stories, as opposed to a super-tale that would have some type of glorious end, and at times, I will admit to being a little confused about whether or not we were in the company of the living or the dead, but, I think that’s what she was after … leaving the reader to wonder until just the right moment when she wanted you to have clarity.  This was one of the reasons that I kept at it because I wanted that confusion in my mind cleared up.  I wanted to be the one who could say, “I could tell the difference!”   This book was so interesting to me, that I did my own research on the Igbo people and what I learned about this culture, is that they are a people who truly believe that the dead walks among the living, and they interact so normally together, that you can’t discern which is which.

But, you all came here to find out two things:  1)  If this was a well-written, good book…and my answer is…IT WAS ONE INTERESTING READ!  and 2)  In my humble opinion, do I think you should read it?  Here is my final answer:  It was an enjoyable read and one that I think you would find yourself “falling” right into!  Once again, Joy did a good job!

***

12/3/15 – HIEROGLYPH by Wendy Scott

Hieroglyph by W J. Scott

5*****Star Read!!

I don’t know if you all have heard me say this before (more like, whine about it), but I am a person who definitely judges an actual book by its cover.  Suffice that to say, not only was I not impressed by the cover of this book, but the title was a total turn-off to me, as well.  Not because it wasn’t a great title, and not because it was a bad cover, they were both just not my cup of “obvious” tea.  But, you came here for a review, didn’t you?

I thought Wendy Scott was an amateur writer.  Little did I know, that once between the covers of this book, I would be taken on an excitingly wonderful journey (and I don’t mean the one TC took us on).  The journey?  The book itself.  Great story-line.  Characters so real they felt like family, and the research that must have gone into making this book all come together so well, was nothing short of amazing!  An amateur, she is not. I know a bit more about Egyptian history now, more than I’ve ever known my entire life!  (Thanks for all the education, Wendy!)

I’m not one to give a full rundown of what a book is about in my reviews.  That’s what the book blurb and Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature is for.  But, just for the sake of the holiday season, this is a story of TC, an amazing young girl with supernatural powers, which no one knows she possesses.  There!  I shared with you what the story is about.  But, what I haven’t shared yet, is that Wendy Scott wrote a book so good, that not only teens will enjoy it because of the adventure aspect, but avid readers of all ages will, too.  Not only that… I am so impressed with the writing and her ingenious character-development, that I am giving this book 5 stars and hoping that everyone will take the time to read it.  This was truly a clean read and it flowed seamlessly, like a constantly moving river.  It was typo and error-free for the most part, so I must thank the author for taking the time to make the read more enjoyable for me, by ensuring that it was properly edited before I was introduced to it.  What I did find that detracted from the read just a little, were the animations.  I don’t think they are at all necessary, and maybe a bit distracting, especially when you happen upon a more serious side of the story, only to look up and be made to feel as if it’s all a cartoon.  In summation, HIEROGLYPH is a coming of age tale with a twist, and one that will leave you feeling good after the read is all over! I promise!  {This book would make a great gift for those teenagers in your life.  Ordering and gifting my own daughter with a copy!}

***

11/23/15 – SON OF MY FATHER by Peggy Hattendorf

Son of My Father by Peggy Hattendorf

4****Stars!!!

SON OF MY FATHER was a fun read for me.  Initially, when I saw this title, I wondered what would be so interesting about a father and son relationship, that the sister would write about it?  BUT, there is no son in this story, and since I don’t do spoilers, that’s all I’m going to share.

This was truly an enjoyable read, but the reason that I’m giving it 4 stars and not 5, is because I found there to be too many gaps of time missing or skipped over, without any warning to the reader.  I often found myself looking back, wondering, “Now, how did we jump from that to this so quickly?”  That was disturbing to me and at times, left me baffled.  Another reason that I’m rating this at 4 stars, is that there were no stop signs in conversation between characters, which means, there were quite a few times when I didn’t know exactly who was speaking during certain scenes because the conversation was run together.  No paragraph breaks between speaking characters are problematic for me.

Some of you may wonder, because of the issues in the book which I describe above, why I’m giving it such a high rating.  Well, once you open the book, you immediately “know” that the author is a strong writer, and I love good, strong writing.   I found very few typos, maybe some missing words here and there, but I was really impressed with her writing skills and the obvious fact, that if she didn’t actually live this story, she did some awesome research for it!  The story-line, if tweaked a bit, is strong enough for a made-for-TV movie, which should tell you that it was truly a good read.

One other thing that I found to be an issue in the book as I was reading the Kindle version, was that there were spacing issues, which I hope are just flukes of Kindle and not the same in the actual print version.  With some mild editing to this story regarding the issues that I found, this book would definitely garner a new and improved rating of 5 stars from me, and would get my Seal of Approval!  But, even still, as it stands right now, this book comes highly recommended!

***

3/24/15 – MIRROR OF OUR LIVES:  VOICES OF FOUR IGBO WOMEN by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

Mirror Of Our Lives by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

4****Stars!!

In the beginning chapter of MIRROR OF OUR LIVES, I didn’t quite grasp what was happening, or the direction in which the author was taking me as a reader.  Sitting at my desk, Kindle in hand feeling confused, I trudged on.  But, by chapter 2, Njide Meets Tunji, I was hooked!

Being the kind of woman that I am, coming from very strong female “stock,” I cringed each time Njide allowed Tunji to walk all over her.  I found myself wanting to strangle him myself, to wipe away all those smirks of enjoyment from his face, at the pain he had caused her by parading another woman in front of her, and even in her own bed.  And then there were those times when I found my chest heaving with pride when she decided to take back her strength, and I smiled or laughed out loud at the humor she sometimes used as her weapon.  Njide laughed away a lot, and her strength shone thru during those times.  How she kept it together, when every move he made dictated that she’d fall apart, was beyond my grasp of imagination.  She was by far my most favorite character in this book, and since she didn’t take a baseball bat to his head, I readily admit that she is a far stronger woman than I will ever be.

Move along to Ms. Nelly and her dedication and commitment to her family…most notably, her brothers.  Her story moved me, as well.  Her silent strength in the face of adversity, caused me to admire the way she chose to handle the lemons life had given her.  We could all take a good lesson from Ms. Nelly.

I’m not going to give away any more of this book, because it was such an interesting read, I want you all to go and read it for yourselves.  This book contains the voices of four Igbo women, but their voices and their stories are those of millions of women around the world.  No matter where we come from, no matter what side of the ocean we live, we still face some of the same struggles.  Your blonde, blue-eyed next door neighbor could be suffering as Njide did…and you’d be none the wiser.  The point I’m trying to make here is, you don’t have to be Nigerian-born to have the struggles these women had.  But, to survive their trials, you do have to have their strength and determination.

For those of you who would typically pass on this book simply because there is a beautiful woman of color on the cover, you’re doing yourself a great disservice and missing out on a fantastic, well-written read.  I couldn’t put it down and you won’t be able to, either…well, that is until you’ve reached the very end.  This was one enjoyable read and one that you should immediately move to the front of your To Be Read list!!!!  Aside from thanking her for the great messages of triumph for women inside this book,  Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, you did an incredible job!!!

***

4/11/14 – PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens

Pure Trash by Bette Stevens

4****Stars!

Since the book, PURE TRASH was a short story, my review will be short, as well.  Bette Stevens did a good job in writing this short, but a few things kept me from giving it a full 5-star rating:

1)  The introduction speaks a lot to the child (Shawn)  being bullied, yet there is no mention of it really happening anywhere in the story (the little hints in this respect wouldn’t count).  Yes, there are some negative comments and treatment by adults in the story, but I’d use the word “mistreatment” as opposed to “bullying,” which would lead us to expect that particular behavior being exemplified by the child’s peers, for example.  The author mentions in the intro that her story “may re-define your concept of bullying…”, but it didn’t for me.  When you’re speaking of a child in relation to an adult, in no way at all can that be construed as bullying.  Abuse/mistreatment, yes…bullying…NO.  I would suggest that the author re-word the introduction so as to not lend so much emphasis on bullying, as that is what I, as a reader, expected most out of the story based on the intro.  I got very little of it if any at all;

2)  Although it was meant to be a short story, even with around 5,000 words the ending could have been stronger and a little longer.  I would have liked to have seen Shawn and Willie make it home to their mom so that we could experience her reaction to what had happened during their afternoon away.  The ending left me with no closure.

In spite of the above, my 4-star rating stems from this:  THE WRITING WAS STILL GOOD.  I know another reviewer mentioned the “level of proofing errors,” but honestly, I found very few editing issues, which is always a plus in my book.  I am definitely looking forward to reading more about Shawn’s journey from childhood to adulthood.  I’m quite positive Mrs. Stevens will ensure that it is a solid 5-star read all around.  I have every confidence that she IS that kind of writer 🙂

***

2/24/14 – OUR LADY OF VICTORY:  The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community by Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Our Lady of Victory by Shirley Harris Slaughter

5***** Star Read!

Let me start off by establishing one very important fact:  I AM NOT CATHOLIC.  And because of that fact, I felt there wouldn’t be much for me inside the covers of this book.  I bought the book because I wanted to support this author.  I read the book all the way through because of the INTRODUCTION, paragraph 2 which states:  “This book will present the facts – and some of those facts may not make for pleasant reading.  I make no apologies since I had nothing to do with making the policies that shaped Our Lady of Victory and our lives…I ask that you understand that I am only the messenger.”   So, let me explain to you why the INTRODUCTION, paragraph 2 got MY attention:  1)  I like facts, and I’m impressed by people who feel no qualms about sharing factual information, be it comfortable or not; and 2)  I love people who make no apologies for speaking their truths!

OUR LADY OF VICTORY is a story of a black, Catholic community that is no more.  I was in awe of the author for the time and patience it must have taken to secure all this data and these facts, and to lay it all out the way it is now…in this great book.  This author wants everyone to understand that her book is a NARRATIVE HISTORY.  Don’t mistake it for a novel, a short story, fantasy, or any other genre.  It is the HISTORY of this church and how its existence and its demise, shaped so many of the lives that passed thru its doors.

Should I be ashamed to admit that when the author said “…some of those facts may not make for pleasant reading,” I instantly knew there was a cover-up involved here?  And who doesn’t love a good cover-up/mystery, especially one that gets UN-COVERED?   Shirley H. Slaughter uncovered some things about the higher-ups and the powers-that-be in that church, that a lot of people would have never touched with a ten-foot pole and I’m sure, some are still “whispering” about today.

Let me get to what you came here for…this book was one of the most detailed books I’ve ever read.  At first glance, I thought, “All this information is going to give me brain freeze,” but once into it, I found myself anxious for more.  Again, I’m not Catholic and don’t know much about the religion (other than I love this new POPE you guys have!), so I really enjoyed being “schooled” by an author who puts information together as well as this one did.  I’m a stickler for (almost) perfect anything, but especially (almost) perfect writing.  Mrs. Slaughter delivered a home-run for me.  It was clean, it was detailed, but most of all, it was interesting.  The best part is, you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy this book.  She gets 5***** stars from me for her compilation of the facts, and we all know how hard that is to do!

***

1/10/14 – ALLERGIC TO LIFE:  My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope by the late, Kathryn C. Treat

Allergic To Life by the late Kathrn C. Treat

5***** Star Read!!!

When I first began reading Allergic to Life by Kathryn Treat, I, for some strange reason felt as if I was about to be bombarded with a ton of medical jargon and my brain would instantly be thrown into information overload (something I always try to avoid). This is one of those times where you have to remind others NEVER TO JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER (and by the way, the cover of the book is what made me want to read it!).

Once inside and deep into the story, I found myself so engrossed in her journey, that I didn’t want to stop reading.  And that’s what this book does, it PULLS you into this author’s journey, one that I now feel, we all must go on. I am a mother of daughters, just like this author, and to have an illness keep you away from the joys in their lives…to sit on the sidelines while your daughter plans her wedding, to not be able to be as involved as you would normally have been in the birth of your grandchildren…I found my own heartbreaking for Kathryn and her daughters.

This book teaches a lot about the many allergies that we can become afflicted with, things we’ve never even thought of in our every day lives, the foods we eat, the clothes we wear…..can I be so bold to say… even the air we breathe? What was so amazing about this author is that she began to document her journey. She would write things down (it was very clear that she was a true organizer) but who, being as sick as she was on some days, would have the clarity of mind to do something so brilliant? Well, Kathryn Treat did.

I don’t like spoilers and so I’m not going to give you ANY, but what I am going to give you today, is some priceless advice. I am a book reviewer and critic of the worst kind and I have to say, that this book is one for the ages. You will do yourself a great disservice if you don’t pick it up, read it, learn from it and share it with the world.

I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Kathryn’s journey. I feel that she will one day stand in front of millions and share her story with the world. And even though she might still have to wear a mask over her face, that alone will prove to you how strong even YOU can stand in the face of any obstacle. Kathryn Treat’s life was turned into pure hell by her allergies, beginning with mold, and although I felt extremely sad for her, her strength and her courage to win each and every battle, her endurance to keep going when all she felt like doing was hiding under her covers, is what kept me rushing through my work and my extremely busy life to get back to read more of her story. This book will do the same for you.

I think even in the best fiction books which are meant to entertain us, there is always a lesson we learn. Kathryn Treat taught me that no matter how bad, no matter how hard I might think my life is, there is always someone who has it a little bit worse, and if they’re anything like Kathryn Treat, they’re probably not even complaining about it.

I don’t give 5***** stars easily but this was truly ONE EXCEPTIONAL READ!

~~~~~

If you are seeking a book review by Nonnie, please complete the form below.  Book reviews are done on a first-come, first-serve basis and are posted here as well as on Amazon.  An e-book copy must be gifted to me via Amazon for the review, or a paperback/hardcover mailed to me, if requested,  but not done until I have informed you that you are in my queue.  A request does not guarantee a review. {Absolutely no requests for Smashwords downloads will be accepted}.  You will be contacted via email as to whether or not your book is in my review queue.  Thanks!

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