Book Review: ‘Out Of Chaos’ by Elle Mott

‘Out Of Chaos’ is a compelling autobiographical read, written with honesty in a matter-of-fact style that makes reading this somewhat discomfiting story still a quite comfortable experience. 

The title of this book is no lie: it is a story of family dysfunction, homelessness, crime and abuse experienced by a young woman who had the strength to then reclaim and rebuild her life. It is a cautionary tale about how easy it can be to fall so far that it’s hard to get back up, but it is also a story that would give hope to anyone in similar situations.  

Mott neither glorifies the less-than-stellar choices and actions of her misguided youth nor begs for the reader’s pity as she tells her story, but does evoke a great deal of understanding and empathy in the reader as her life is pulled into a downward vortex from which she cannot escape. The moments of resolve and the decisive actions that Elle takes as a result position the reader to share her hope of a better life and to almost will her to make it work, despite the fact that they are reading the story in past tense. 

Despite the bleakness of its beginning and the despair encountered as the story continues, the overall tone and the message of this book are positive and life-affirming.

‘Out Of Chaos’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘A Study Of Household Spirits Of Eastern Europe’ by Ronesa Aveela

A fascinating compilation of stories, traditions and beliefs.
##tradition #beliefs #paranormal #nonfiction

This is a fascinating compilation of stories, traditions and collected information about the spirits and supernatural beings of Eastern European and especially Slavic cultures. There is a wealth of detail, including etymologies of the names and instructions for how to appease or banish each type of spirit. Some are similar to creatures found in fairytales and fantasy stories, while others may be completely new to the reader. 

The entries on each different spirit are thorough and richly detailed. The writing is clear and expressive while retaining the straightforward style that is conventional for an informative text. The inclusion of traditional stories, poems and ‘fun facts’ adds depth and texture to each chapter. 

This book would definitely appeal to those interested in the supernatural world or in cultural superstitions, and could also serve as a very useful reference work for writers and artists. There is an extensive bibliography and links to other sources that demonstrate the author’s diligence in research and historiography, which gives the reader confidence in the information provided. 

This most interesting and engaging book has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Josie’ by Susan Lowe and Diane Iverson

‘Josie’ is the true story of a young German girl who endured the family’s expulsion from their home in Glogon, now Glogonj in Serbia, after Workd War II, and the horrors of persecution and imprisonment. 

Written from a child’s perspective, the story is told in a straightforward but very personal way, so that the reader develops a strong sense of empathy and connection with Josie, taking on her emotions and feeling the tension of key moments in the story quite profoundly. 

While Josie’s experiences are neither sanitised nor glossed over, her story is  encouraging and positive, a powerful testimony to the importance of love, hope, and family connections in a world that so often seemed to Josie to be full of hatred and violence. 

A suitable read for teens and adults, ‘Josie’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Beautiful Lie: Finding Faith in a World Gone Mad’ by Tobin Crenshaw

This interesting book explores the complexity of human nature and the myriad different ways in which people search for meaning and fulfilment in their lives. The author draws on his own learning and experiences to offer tools and techniques that people can employ in order to deepen and strengthen their faith, relationships, and emotional and spiritual wellbeing. 

There is no doubt that we live in a troubled and problematic world. People can be so easily drawn into things that offer respite and answers but really only deceive. 

Crenshaw’s stories and arguments present a thoughtful and positive approach to faith and life that appears, from what he writes, to serve him and those who adhere to his teachings very well. There is no doubt that a sense of purpose and a strong faith enable people to weather the storms of life with greater resilience and grace than many others. In this, Crenshaw offers insights and teaching that makes the tools for developing a positive and resilient spiritual and emotional life that directly impacts on one’s physical health and wellbeing.

It must be said, though, that the author’s moral position on faith and life choices won’t appeal to everyone. Prospective readers should understand that this book is written from a fairly conservative Christian point of view and consequently, people of different orientations may find some of the author’s moral statements hard to accept. 

This book will appeal more to a Christian audience, but it does offer some wisdom and insights that a wider audience seeking to enrich their mindfulness and spiritual loves could find useful. 

‘The Beautiful Lie’ has been awarded a Bronze Acorn.

Book Review: ‘Spring Fling’ by Claire Buss

A relatable, easy to read poetry collection.

‘Spring Fling’ offers vignettes of daily life and glimpses into the thoughts of a young woman. Her children, family life, personal feelings and places they visit all feature in this collection of poetry. 

Some of the poems carry a kernel of a deeper truth that provoked more thought, while others skip through a scene, describing it in a way that leaves the reader nodding and smiling. In every case, it is easy to relate to the ideas expressed by the poet. 

‘Spring Fling’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Alaska Man: A Memoir of Growing Up And Living In The Wilds Of Alaska’ by George Davis

51SevJLenUL._SY346_It takes a particular kind of person to embrace the challenges of living in the more isolated parts of coastal Alaska, and to not only survive but thrive on the landscape and lifestyle that it presents.

George Davis has certainly proven himself to be up to the challenge throughout the years. His experiences are varied and interesting, and his story is told in a conversational way that is enjoyable and easy to read.

‘Alaska Man’ has been awarded a Bronze Acorn. Acorn Award III Bronze

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ’50 Habits of Highly Successful Authors’ by Jo Lajko

A helpful and practical guide to achieving success as an author.

Jo Lajko 50 Habits

In this helpful volume, Jo Lajko shares his experience and insights in the world of book marketing.
His advice is practical and easily understood, and provides a wealth of insight and understanding for authors who need to know how to produce the best book they can, and how to market that book when it’s published.

Lajko offers advice for authors who choose to pursue traditional publishing as well as for those who choose the Independent route. He consistently encourages them, whichever path they pursue, to write well, to ensure that the editing is excellent, and that the marketing is focused, and offers very helpful hints and tips that help each writer to achieve those things.

Lajko’s overall message is that authors need to create the whole package, of which their book is only one part. He gives step-by-step instructions about how an individual writer can develop their platform and audience so that their book is produced, received and promoted consistently well.

One of the points that Lajko makes very strongly is the importance of gratitude. This really resonates with me as an Indie author, because I have seen for myself the difference it makes to be part of an author community that is supportive, encouraging, and thankful. I have been inspired by those who are thankful enough for their own success that they will mentor and encourage those who are just starting out, and I have benefited from their expertise and wealth of knowledge.

Jo Lajko is generous and enthusiastic in sharing his expertise and knowledge in ’50 Habits’. As an author, I am very thankful that he has done so.  Acorn Award I Golden

This book has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.