Authors Talk About It

Book Award Contest & Indie Support

Category: non-fiction (Page 1 of 15)

Highest of Highs to Lowest of Lows – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Michael Kinyanjui

Highest of Highs to Lowest of Lows: My Battles with Bipolar Disorder is Michael Kinyanjui’s powerful memoir about his struggles with mental illness. From his birth in Kenya to his eventual rock bottom, Kinyanjui discusses the many facets of his bipolar disorder and how he eventually tamed his inner demons.


At times, Highest of Highs to Lowest of Lows almost seems to lose track of itself or become distracted. There are many instances where Michael Kinyanjui tends to get lost in his own reminiscing, seemingly forgetting what the main purpose of this memoir was intended to be. Instead of discussing his mental illness, he diverts to discussing female exploits and fun shenanigans he got into, without explicitly breaking down these stories or explaining to the reader how or why those events relate to his bipolar disorder. Also, the narrative is not in any sort of direct chronological order, making the timeline sometimes seem confusing.


Nevertheless, Highest of Highs to Lowest of Lows is an intriguing and captivating memoir. Michael Kinyanjui writes in a casual, yet descriptive style that breathes life and emotion into his tales, painting a vivid and clear portrait of what his life was like as he struggled with his bipolar disorder. Equally enlightening and alarming, this book sheds light on what mental illness really looks like, as well as providing a helping hand to readers who may be in similar situations. Highest of Highs to Lowest of Lows: My Battles with Bipolar Disorder is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the tumultuous nature of bipolar disorder, as well as how to manage it and maintain bright optimism for the future.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

Help, My Horse is Drowning – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Ray Hamill

In Help, My Horse is Drowning!, Ray Hamill explores the unique relationship between sports and their overzealous fans—himself included. Through personal stories of his own, colorful facts and history, and some satirical portraits of sports fans, Hamill delves into what exactly it is that makes people go nuts over sports.


There are some areas within Help, My Horse is Drowning! that seem a bit disorganized or jumbled; many times, Ray Hamill seems to get sidetracked with long-winded stories before returning to his original point. It’s still quite entertaining to read, but might benefit from some more diligent organization. Also, perhaps it should be noted that readers who are not already sports fans may occasionally find themselves having no idea what or whom Hamill is referring to in his tales. It’s not devastating to the book by any means, since it carries itself quite well regardless, but that’s just something to be aware of.


Regardless of whether readers are sports fans or not, though, Help, My Horse is Drowning! is undeniably a hilariously entertaining read. Ray Hamill writes in a casual, infectiously funny style that immediately captivates from the first page and actively keeps the reader engaged right on through to the end. Equally thoughtful and down-to-earth, Help, My Horse is Drowning! is a unique, memoir-style book that is sure to leave a memorable impression on its readers. At the very least, readers will finish Help, My Horse is Drowning! and find themselves still chuckling aloud at the thought of a flying NASCAR race or the image of Ray Hamill “splashiming.”

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

Hearing His Voice – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

Click here to get your copy!

Meredith Swift

In Hearing His Voice: Meeting Jesus in the Garden of Promise, Meredith Swift shares her illuminating encounters with Jesus Christ. In the sanctuary of her own personal “Garden of Promise,” Swift found her faith in her Savior; she shares her profound discoveries with the world in Hearing His Voice.


Though certainly interesting, Hearing His Voice is a bit odd in terms of general construction and development. Much of the book consists of a one-sided “conversation” with Jesus, which the author/narrator does not respond to, elaborate on, or give context for. Occasionally, there is a beautiful description of the imaginary “Garden of Promise,” but the rest of the book is just Jesus talking to the author. This format can be confusing sometimes; it is unclear if Hearing His Voice is meant to be a motivational self-help book through Jesus, a religious memoir, or a work of fiction about what Meredith Swift imagined Jesus would say to her during difficult times in her life. This ambiguity and lack of context makes the entire book perhaps not as effective as it could be.


Nevertheless, Hearing His Voice is certainly an invaluable illustration of faith and love for the Lord. Meredith Swift writes with eloquence and vivid imagery, making her words—and Jesus’—resonate deeply with the reader. There is also an abundant supply of poignant advice to be found in this book, spoken through Jesus’ voice and in a manner that would be incredibly relatable to anyone who reads it. Hearing His Voice: Meeting Jesus in the Garden of Promise is powerful and touching, uplifting and inspirational, gentle and loving—and above all, full of light and promise through the eyes and words of Jesus Christ.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

ALL FISH FACES – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Tam Warner Minton

In ALL FISH FACES: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish! (Ocean Friends Book 1), author, world traveler and diver, Tam Warner Minton shares more than just tons of gorgeous personal photos of tropical reef fish. She shares tons of educational information with personal snippets of her personal encounters -sometimes humorous- with these beautiful sea creatures.


Tam Warner Minton has put together a highly enjoyable book that crosses ages, ethnicity, and gender. ALL FISH FACES is highly intriguing with so many pictures of the various different types of the species Warner Minton includes in the book. The e-book version has major formatting issues, but that could be fixed by hiring someone to professionally format the book for digital format. It certainly wouldn’t take away from the print version though. Throughout the book, readers will find sections inserted that focus on preserving the oceans and how to go about it. The drawback to those are simply where they are placed in the book. Perhaps, two parts to the book would have been better -one part focused on the fish and a second part focused on the health and vital importance of the oceans.


ALL FISH FACES is a quick and easy read, but the beautiful pictures captured by Tam Warner Minton just might keep readers entertained for much, much longer. The intent of Warner Minton to bring the beauty and joy of the tropical reef fish to those have not or cannot journey into the sea to witness them for themselves is a wonderful concept for the book. Inspiring others to care for such beautiful, comical, and fascinating creatures makes Tam Warner Minton’s ALL FISH FACES: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish! a must have for science teachers and children who are curious about what lies just under the surface off the beach.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

[Author Interview] Bree Stedman | Own Your BS

Featured Authors Talk About It

Author Interview

Bree Stedman

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

Bree:
For the past 4 years I’ve dedicated my working life to helping professional mums find Emotional Confidence – to better understand and address their Head Talk by learning and working with their very unique Female Brain…. But the lead up to me being able to do this was an aggressive, less than ideal rollercoaster for my family and myself.

For more than 6 years I had been building a successful business in the Direct Sales Industry – known as a positive and influential leader, it appeared that I had ‘it all’ together.

Behind closed doors though I hid a dark secret that sabotaged the success and satisfaction I was experiencing in my life.

With 2 young children at home, I found myself frequently feeling angry, ashamed and guilty. The build up of emotions hid a truth I wouldn’t allow anyone to see, and that was the resentment I felt for my mother role. It felt as though I spent my entire day wrestling with negative and destructive self-talk that zapped my energy, diminished my confidence and dragged me away from appreciating the here and now. I got trapped in an Emotional Fog fueled by negative Head Talk.

In 2012 I hit an all-time low – living on the verge of ‘losing it’ all of the time, with bouts of out of control behavior I was only just hanging on when I realized that I hated being a mum! I hated what my life had become – who I had become.

After one particular violent episode, I knew that I had a choice – let the self-talk dominate and control my life, or address my inner voice and commit to becoming the best me I could be.

This decision became a pivotal moment in my life that quickly changed everything. With family relationships improving and my self-belief back in tact, I turned my professional attention to helping other mums and women to gain what I now felt – confidence to create a life of control, self-belief and clarity.

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

Bree:
Own Your BS is the first book I’ve had the pleasure of writing.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

Bree:
Own Your BS: The No-Nonsense guide to addressing your Female Head Talk

Click here to get your copy!

ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

Bree:
Although new to the writing world, I most enjoyed the ‘rawness’ and authenticity the experience provided me, to dig deep and share my truth. I’m a big believer in ‘no-fluff’ – getting down to business quickly. And so to be able to shift through the years of experience and knowledge I’ve accumulated and condense it into a book that has the potential to really help a woman with her self-talk was a real privilege.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

Bree:
Embracing vulnerability in print – sharing some of the details of my story, particularly the relationship I shared with my son when I was in the ‘crazy-pyscho mumma’ mode. Being honest with my experiences felt necessary, as I know that many mums have the same struggles, however putting it in print knowing that my family, my friends and colleagues would now have insight into how much I struggled was challenging.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Bree:
A combination of my own life experiences and learnings, and the extensive training and studying I’ve participated in at the Institute of Women International over the last 5 years.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

Bree:
Thanks to my coaches at the Wellness Leadership Academy, the writing process was simplified into a journey for the reader. I spent a weekend Immersion in Hawaii in December 2016 where I hashed out the plan and feel for the book, and then gave myself a timeframe of one chapter every 4-5 days. I found that having a short term specific focus kept me on track and kept the writing purposeful.

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

Bree:
The message of my book – to own the role you play with your negative self-talk definitely took on an agenda. It’s something I’m very passionate about in my daily life – whenever I thought of a struggling mum reading the book, the words would just flow with a life of their own.

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

Bree:
When I decided to write Own Your BS, I wanted it to be a hands-on practical tool that women could not only embrace but physically do something with to bring themselves a sense of peace and control over their head talk. So I think my favorite part of the book is the awareness activities of common limiting language in chapter 3 – the activities I encourage readers (and clients) to do neutralize negative emotions very effectively while highlighting possible choices for readers to take. I also really loved sharing my philosophy on goal setting – bringing the masculine (logical) brain together with the feminine (emotional) brain that really inspires action, no matter what a woman dreams or desires for herself.

ATAI: What are you working on next?

Bree:
I’m currently working on a follow-on program to the book – it’s a 9 week Online Course (called Own Your BS: The Program) that extends the awareness gained in the book with a tool-box of in-the moment life strategies and for women to master, that helps them not only cope with life, but deal with all the challenges that show up. My true passion & vision for my life is to help women to be role models not only for themselves, but also for the people they influence most in their worlds, particularly children. Own Your BS: The Program has been designed so women can start to empower themselves and others simply and effectively.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

Bree:
www.breestedman.com
I’m also all over Facebook and have a really active online community called Emotional Confidence for Women – join now.

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

Bree:
Thank you so much for this opportunity! I hope that I’ve been able to inspire any woman who is struggling with sabotaging and destructive self-talk to know that you’re not alone, and secondly there are really simple things you can do to take back control. Head Talk does not need to consume your day, your relationships or your dreams.


*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.

Would you like to have a featured author interview on ATAI?  

Click here.

Please like & share:

A Spot in My Heart: Loving a Special Needs Dog – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Kelly Artieri

A Spot in My Heart: Loving a Special Needs Dog is Kelly Artieri’s touching memoir about her bilaterally deaf Dalmatian, Vinnie. Vinnie was deaf, had OCD and Pica, and found himself in heaps of trouble at times, but always brought joy to his family. In this book, Kelly Artieri shares her tips and tricks for training deaf dogs, statistics on Vinnie’s ailments, and charming stories about Vinnie’s everyday life.


Though delightful to read, A Spot in My Heart suffers from some mild disorganization in places. Intercutting chapters that purely discuss facts and statistics occur often and interrupt the main story; though interesting, they are distracting and sometimes frustrating. Also, the narrative switches from one topic to another rather abruptly each time, rather than flowing into the next smoothly and naturally. Nevertheless, Kelly Artieri’s casual, friendly style of writing makes it easy to follow along and enjoy this short memoir all the same.


It’s Vinnie’s story, though, that really steals the show. From hilarious tales of mishaps and trouble-making to heart-wrenching recollections of illness and pain, A Spot in My Heart captivates from the very first page. Peppered with photographs of the adorable pup, Kelly Artieri’s creative and cheerful memoir is a pure joy to read. Her gentle optimism and unconditional love for her family’s “bad puppy” oozes off the page, carrying readers along on her journey of love and acceptance alongside Vinnie the Dalmatian. A Spot in My Heart: Loving a Special Needs Dog is reminiscent of touching tales like Marley & Me, with the sort of pure love and merriment that can only come from a truly wonderful dog.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

Hidden Tears to Healing – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Penny B. Price

Hidden Tears to Healing is Penny B. Price’s autobiographical memoir about her struggles with depression. After a tumultuous family life, her father’s tragic suicide, and a seemingly irreversible flood of sadness, Price was dragged down the rabbit hole of grief and mental illness. However, through treatment, support, and sheer resilience, she came out on top and shares her story in this touching memoir.


Hidden Tears to Healing is a book about the author, but then again, it isn’t at all. Though she shares many of her own personal stories, Penny B. Price shifts the focus away from her in a remarkably selfless way. Instead, she spends the majority of this “memoir” discussing statistics, treatment possibilities, and encouraging words of wisdom for other readers who may be experiencing the same things she did. Rather than just spit out her own life story and call it a day, Price uses her platform to educate and uplift readers who are in a position that she once was herself. Her gentle, “Hey, I’ve been there” tone is not only effective, but also incredibly heartwarming and easy to relate to.


Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Hidden Tears to Healing is that it consistently acts as a helping hand, subtly and appropriately extending almost motherly advice to the reader. Many times, Penny B. Price interrupts her own narrative to share tips about depression and suicide awareness, as well as a plethora of real and helpful resources that readers can reach out to if needed. Though her own personal recollections and her exploration of the causes of mental illness are captivating and interesting to read, it’s really Price’s loving, knowledgeable guidance that steals the show—in the best way possible. Hidden Tears to Healing is a remarkable, poignant, riveting book that is a must-read for readers of any walk of life; there is a priceless value to be found in the peace of support and recovery, and Penny B. Price captures that sentiment perfectly.

 

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

American Justice on Trial – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Lise Pearlman

In American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton, Lise Pearlman discusses the murder trial—and subsequent appeals—of Huey P. Newton in the 1960s. Charged with killing a white police officer, Newton was the victim of outrageous racism and injustice, much of which is comparable to the modern instances of racism that occur today.


Though clearly biased in terms of the angle at which the story is told (though perhaps not in a negative way), Lise Pearlman maintains a careful and cordial objectivity throughout her telling of the Newton trial. At times, American Justice on Trial may be a bit too objective, reading more like a history textbook than perhaps was intended. Also, this book does not discuss just the Newton trial, but also all the historical events that led up to, are relevant to, or were directly caused by the sensational court case. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives the reader more context and detailed information, it can also lead to a bit of confusion here and there in terms of how everything all fits together.


This richness in detail is still one of the greatest aspects about American Justice on Trial, though. Lise Pearlman has clearly done her research and weaves each fact and narrative into a multi-faceted book that is simultaneously riveting and thought-provoking. American Justice on Trial bravely shines light on the history of racism and inequality in the United States, while also comparing it to similar modern-day cases in an eloquent, poignant manner. As Lise Pearlman pointed out in the book’s opening, “What has changed in this country in the last half century and what has not? How do we best move forward?” Perhaps after reading American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton, readers will be able to form some answers of their own to that intriguing question.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Dr. Frank Chase Jr. Th.D.

In Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway?, Dr. Frank Chase Jr, Th.D. explores the concept of tithing down to its very roots. Using the bible and other references, he investigates whether tithing is a mandatory tax or a gift given out of free will, as well as alternative viewpoints for those who’d rather worship with their hearts than their paychecks.


Though it certainly has an interesting premise, Kleptomaniac is perhaps a bit too winding and drawn-out in many areas. Much of the first few dozen pages are comprised of redundant reiterations of what the book is about, which quickly becomes tedious and may not hold readers’ attention well. A more straightforward approach would benefit this book incredibly. Also, the narrative is a bit unbalanced; some passages read like a personal memoir about the author’s experiences, while others read like a purely factual, impersonal textbook. These aspects sometimes make it difficult to maintain interest in this book.


Nevertheless, Kleptomaniac certainly has an extremely intriguing concept. The investigation of tithing in the bible, history, and modern day is a unique and not-often-thought-of idea, which is explored quite eloquently here. Dr. Frank Chase Jr, Th.D. has incredible knowledge of the bible and a vast array of excellent sources to back up his points, which only adds to the validity of his writing. Whether readers agree with Dr. Chase’s views or not, it cannot be denied that he certainly provides something interesting to ponder in this book. Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? is a thoughtful, well-researched book that is equally respectful and revolutionary in its unique approach to an age-old, unspoken question—what is the purpose of tithing really?

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

#FMJ – Trust Transition Trade – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Airplane Jane | Jane Gallina

Jane Gallina’s #FMJ Trust Transition Trade is a collection of interviews with eight female stock traders, the author included. In each interview, the various women discuss what attracted them to trading, how they learned to be successful at it, and what their journeys in the ever-changing world of trading were like.


In some ways, the interview format of #FMJ Trust Transition Trade seems a bit odd and unusual. Each chapter solely consists of a brief introduction to a trader, then a Q&A-style interview, with absolutely no follow-up or discussion about the interview afterwards. While it certainly is a straightforward approach, perhaps reworking each interview into a biography format or the addition of a closing paragraph by the author would have been more beneficial. Also, it is a bit unfortunate that neither the title nor the cover image adequately depicts that #FMJ Trust Transition Trade is about female traders, as it is a fantastic idea that deserves more attention.


So much of this book’s power and memorability comes from its interviewees, who each brought a unique and detailed journey to the table here. Whether they were seasoned experts or still-learning beginners, each woman’s tale is fascinating and full of depth. Jane Gallina’s thorough and intriguing questions, along with her own remarkable growth as a trader, peppers each interview, adding to the captivating answers that each lady gives. #FMJ Trust Transition Trade is very much an inspiring, educational book, equally informative and empowering to its diverse readers. As Jane Gallina herself said at the end of the book, “It makes no difference what your background is…with dedication, hard work, and perseverance, you can succeed.” The powerful women who narrate #FMJ Trust Transition Trade certainly illustrate that perfectly, yet also provide a trailblazing path for future fellow female traders to follow as well.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

Click here to learn more and enter!

Please like & share:

Page 1 of 15

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)