Book Review

Book Review: A Year in the Company of Freaks by Teresa Neumann

I took one look at the book cover and I wondered what I would be reading? A hippy, sixties book about drugs and protesting?

Total surprise, the book is very different than what I thought! Yes, it is about hippies, but it is not all about drugs and protesting. The book is based in California and takes place in the seventies on a farm. The main character, Sid grew up on this farm, but left as soon as he could to attend Berkley University. His life changed and his perspectives changed. He got caught growing (or trying to grow) pot on this farm and he had a choice. Go to jail or live on this farm and be monitored by the town sheriff for a year. What would you choose?

While living on this farm he takes in a few borders to help with expenses. They are each different and come from different backgrounds. They help keep the book interesting! The book is worth reading-take a look!



Book Details:

Book Title:  A Year in the Company of Freaks by Teresa Neumann
Category:  Adult Fiction,   515 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher:   All’s Well House
Release date:  Dec 21, 2015
Format available for review:  print & ebook (gifted Kindle copy)
Will ship print books to:  USA & Canada only
Tour dates: Sept 11 to 29, 2017
Content Rating: PG + M (Little violence and profanity, no f-words, no sex, but some drug use)

Book Description:

It’s 1972 and a seismic clash-of-cultures is rattling northern California. In the redneck town of Trinity Springs, rumors of hippies migrating up from San Francisco have residents bracing for an invasion. When Italian-American hometown boy and Berkeley graduate Sid Jackson is busted for growing pot on his deceased parents’ farm, locals suspect the assault has begun. Will a crazy deferral program devised by the sheriff keep Sid out of prison? Or will a house full of eccentric strangers, a passionate love interest, and demons from his past be his undoing?

A “disarmingly appealing” tale of discrimination, transformation and restoration, Freaks is bursting with intrigue, drama, comic relief and romance. Reviewers agree this five-star, coming-of-age classic “very much reflects the attitude and mood of the times.”

Praise for A Year in the Company of Freaks:

“This coming of age story will draw the reader right in. Teresa Neumann demonstrates how much she values relationships in her writing … a precious skill. I held my breath all the way through to the final few pages. Five stars!” — The San Francisco Book Review

“As it relates to the complicated clash of culture and counterculture, Freaks acts as an authentic, strongly Seventies book. Northern California works as a strong presence in the novel that is vivid and omnipresent, but never overwhelming. Sure to intrigue and entertain, Freaks will have its digs in you before you realize how involved you’ve become.” — The Manhattan Book Review

Teresa Neumann

About the Author:

Author of highly-acclaimed “A Year in the Company of Freaks,” Teresa was raised in a large Midwest family and now lives in Oregon. She is also the author of “Bianca’s Vineyard,” and its sequel, “Domenico’s Table.” Both books are based on the true stories of her husband’s Italian family in Tuscany. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians.

Connect with the Author:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

Author Interview:

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing A Year in the Company of Freaks?

There were many, but crafting the language of my characters in this book, who came from totally different backgrounds, was especially difficult for me. Backstory: Years ago, I discovered some “love letters” from the 1970’s that I had written to my husband. My excitement fizzled immediately when I realized that the worst four-letter words dominated nearly every paragraph of every single letter. No way was I going to pass them on to my children, so I threw them all away! What a waste and what a wake-up call considering I’m so fortunate to be in possession of some precious love letters that my grandparents wrote to each other. The difference between theirs and mine was so painfully stark, I vowed then and there, to be a wordsmith who refused to use contemporary vulgarities.


Isn’t that impossible to do?

Nearly impossible, yes. But I told myself, “if Shakespeare and Dickens and Tolstoy and Hugo and Dumas and Hardy and Steinbeck could write powerful, timeless tales without using the “F” word, so could I. I occasionally use words like “damn” or “bastard” when appropriate, but I never use the “F” word – or other particularly offensive vulgarities.


Have you found an advantage in writing “clean?”

Definitely! A writing instructor once told our class (paraphrased): “If you’ve written a book that you can give your mother or grandmother to read, then you’ve failed as a writer. The more barriers you break, the more you offend, the more you will succeed.” I completely disagreed. I WANT mothers and grandmothers and daughters and granddaughters to read my books! Indeed, the success of my first two books is due, in part, to the fact that I write so that my novels can be shared with loved ones.


So, would you say A Year in the Company of Freaks would make a good Hallmark movie, then?

 Actually, apart from the subject matter – drugs – I suppose it might. It would depend on how it was interpreted. I know there are movies and television shows that have been highly successful with similar plots, like Last Man Standing, where the occupants of a house — who are totally different and very strong in their individual beliefs — somehow get along.



Speaking of beliefs, several of your main characters are people of faith – or have no faith at all – yet you treat them equally. Is there an underlying message there?

 I never set out to intentionally write a book with an underlying message, but all books (paintings, movies, works of art) convey a message whether intended or not. It’s impossible for an author’s heart not to be reflected in their writing. The fact is, faith, or a lack thereof, is a driving force in humanity. Always has been. To include that element of human nature in my books, I think, lends fullness and reality to the storyline. I treat the beliefs of my characters as fairly as possible because respecting the beliefs of others is the foundation of forming a viable relationship. It doesn’t mean characters with opposing viewpoints have to agree, or be friends, or even necessarily “get along.” But, respect for the right to differ in thought from each other is what enables the diverse cast of characters in Freaks to survive a year under the same roof. I began writing this book over a decade ago and am actually stunned how relevant that message is for today!



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Book Review, Career/Job Advice, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Book Review of: I Attract What I Am by Melissa Dawn

I loved this book! Much of what the author wrote resonated with me. I could relate to a lot of what she wrote as I am divorced myself and have 2 kids to think about, to worry about, to support. I need to do well to support them, but I also need to have work that makes me happy, brings me joy, that I am passionate about. Fortunately, this is the case as I am a social worker/case manager, group facilitator, author, and a mom.

I love all my roles and would not change my life in any way (as of today that is). All that has happened, happened as it was meant to. If you have the attitude that the good and the bad or the positive and negative in your life happens for a reason; to learn, to grow, to force you to make changes then I am ok with my life. I have definitely learned a lot; what I do not want and what I want and I will make changes. It might happen slowly, but it will happen!

Melissa writes of her two divorces, what she learned in each, the happiness of her son being born and all that entails in being a mom. At the same time she has a great job, but it does not bring her joy or make her happy.

She choose to make some changes and take a leap by becoming an entrepreneur and launched a certified life and coaching business and is the founder of CEO of Your Life. She is  a motivational speaker and trained energy practitioner. She wants each one of us to live what she terms, “an orgasmically joyful life and business.”

Her book motivated me and I am grateful to her for that. I finally took the leap and launched my own business and while it is a ‘soft’ or slow start, I am ok with that. Everything happens as it is meant to.

Melissa’s energy, her inspiration, her hope come through while reading this book and I highly recommend one reads this book and makes changes in their own life, as long as they want to.





Book Review

Book Review: The Nomad’s Premonition by Georges Benay

This is a great book, just like the first! Right from page one, I was hooked. I like the flow of the book, the characters, the setting…

Eric Martin is trying to forget his past and the horrible experience he survived three years ago when he worked in an investment firm and found out it was run by terrorists. He was left for dead, but as this is book two, he survived and another intriguing story will keep your attention.

This book is set in Paris until he goes off to Istanbul with help from an Interpol agent, Stephanie Brulé to look for answers.  He becomes aware of a trader who has an amazing ability to predict profitable trades.


Book Details:

Book Title:  The Nomad’s Premonition by Georges Benay
Category:  Adult Fiction,   240 pages
Genre:  Thriller, mystery/suspense
Publisher:   Story Merchant Books
Release date:  April 28, 2017
Format available for review:  print & ebook (mobi, PDF)
Will ship print books to:  Canada
Tour dates: August 14 to Sept 15, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (some violence, a couple of swear words – minimal)

Book Description:

Eric Martin is desperate to forget his past, one that almost cost him his future.

Working in Paris as deputy head of a bank’s internal security department, Eric notices a high-speed trader’s uncanny ability to predict extremely profitable trades. Even though there’s nothing illegal about the activity, he knows the trader’s success is more than just luck.

But, no one believes him. Armed only with a handful of data and a powerful instinct, Eric searches for the mysterious trader on his own. He suspects that a predictive algorithm has fallen into the wrong hands.

Eric sets off for Istanbul to find answers promised to him by an informant. He finds an unlikely ally in Interpol agent Stephanie Brule. With Interpol wanting him back in Paris and out of the way, Eric’s quest is also hampered by the sudden appearance of his ex-lover, a boss he’s not sure he can trust, and a terrorist who always seems one step ahead.

Will Eric put an end, once and for all, to the nightmare that began when he accepted a job that was too good to be true? Or will his need for revenge and justice lead him deeper into a treacherous world he has no way of escaping?

Buy the Book:
Meet the Author:

Georges Benay is a former international banker who is now working as a Toronto-based writer and award-winning photographer. He is the author of two novels, including The Nomad’s Premonition and a collection of short stories. His award winning pictures have been featured in several magazines and book covers.

Georges Benay
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Book Review, News

Book Review: Nomad on the Run by Georges Benay

Nomad on the Run by Georges Benay


I have to say from the first pages I liked this book. I liked the author’s writing style. I loved the storyline and I liked the characters.

The book looks a little unassuming as the cover is pretty plain. The title gave me the impression the book was about a nomad in the desert. Wrong!

The storyline is about a man who leaves his wife in Toronto and returns to the country he was born in, Morocco. He works in a small, private banking firm there and was recruited for this position. His life becomes a whirlwind and he knowns something is wrong. He falls in love and begins secretly dating the bank owner’s daughter.  He is asked in the middle of all the troubles to continue recruiting and hiring staff for this small exclusive private bank and to come up with a plan to save the bank  while there is an economic crisis going on around the world!

Who is involved? What is going on? Why are there secret meetings? How does the woman fit in? Is she involved? Can Eric trust Valerie?

Are you intrigued yet? I hope so and I believe like me, once you start the book, you get caught up in the storyline.



Georges Benay

Author: Georges Benay

Georges Benay is a former international banker who is now working as a Toronto-based writer and award-winning photographer. He is the author of two novels, including The Nomad’s Premonition and a collection of short stories. His award winning pictures have been featured in several magazines and book covers.

Book Title:  Nomad on the Run (Book #1) by Georges Benay
Category:  Adult Fiction,  290 pages
Genre:  Thriller, mystery/suspense
Publisher:   Bookstand Publishing
Release date:  April 15, 2011

Tour dates: August 14 to Sept 15, 2017. ​Beneath the golden desert and azure seas of Morocco lurks a hidden world of greed, deceit and financial terrorism. But the players are not who you might think. Lured away from his seemingly idyllic life as a managing director for a major international bank in Toronto, Eric Martin returns to his ancestral roots in Morocco.

Tempted by a mysterious offer from a boutique financial firm, Eric soon discovers he has walked into the middle of a whirlwind where everyone has their own secret agenda, and he unwittingly has become the key to unlocking them all. From the broad avenues of Toronto to the mean streets of Casablanca, Eric rushes to discover the truth before time runs out. But who can he trust?

The power and attraction of money is strong. In the midst of a dangerous cast of characters, Jeff Offenbach, bank president, knows more than he lets on. But how much does he know? Is he a key player in a scheme to terrorize the global economy, or is he just trying to save his firm from becoming another victim of the global economic collapse? Valerie is the unknown factor. Is she involved in the partners’ machinations, or is she as guileless as Eric? Can he trust her? And more importantly, will he survive long enough to find out?

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Book Review, Career/Job Advice, Education

Back Pocket Coach by Diane Brennan and Alexandra Ross: Book Review

Book Review:

A handy reference book with quick tips to remind you or prompt you with appropriate phrases to use both professionally and personally.

If you think about it, we have all been in situations where we felt stuck, unheard, dissatisfied, frustrated, and felt correct communication was missing/lacking or we either gave or received feedback that did not match the issue being discussed or argued!

This small book can travel with you to work or home and one can easily look up the situation/issue at hand and read/learn small key phrases to be used in meetings, large and small, with family members or friends. The idea is for you to reflect, refocus, clarify and move forward.

Self-reflection, obtaining all the facts, positivity, acknowledgment, truthfullness, critiquing, and more are discussed.

Definitely worth a read……

*Disclosure: Thanks to the authors for sending me a complimentary copy. I was not told how to rate or review this book.*





Book Details:

Book Title: Back Pocket Coach: 33 Effective Communication Strategies for Work & Life
Authors: Diane Brennan and Alexandra Ross
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 104 pages
Genre: Communication, Self-help
Publisher: New View Press
Release date: January 2017
Tour dates: June 5 to 16, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Have you ever been in a situation that was emotionally charged and the stakes were high? And it was difficult to find the right words? Back Pocket Coach provides 33 power-packed communication strategies to support you in creating satisfying conversations that result in good outcomes for you and others. These just-in-time strategies will help you move through conversations masterfully –whether you’re engaging with one person or a team of people.

You’ll learn how to:
— Provide difficult feedback to everyone from your boss to mother-in-law — improving your relationships in the process.
— Effectively renegotiate any agreement.
— Say no to a request that would leave you stretched too thin — and do so from a place of strength.
— Get unproductive meetings back on track — even if you’re not the meeting organizer.
— Safely speak your truth.
— Increase your self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
— Use appreciation authentically — the secret sauce for thriving relationships.

Buy the Book:

Alexandra Ross is an executive coach, team builder, and author. With a Masters degree in Organizational Communication, she helps leaders and teams sharpen their leadership skills and exceed prior levels of performance. Alexandra is internationally certified as a Master Certified Coach. She coaches executives and leaders in the fields of aerospace, engineering, high technology, medical, financial and more. She is also passionate about coaching women in leadership. Contact Alexandra at

Diane Brennan is a consultant, coach, author, and speaker. She is passionate about leadership in all types of organizations. She enjoys working with leaders and teams in the fields of healthcare, aerospace, engineering, science, academics, and business. Diane’s expertise in organizations includes strategic thinking, navigating change and creating a learning culture. Diane holds a Doctorate in Behavioral Health, an MBA and is a Master Certified Coach. She brings calm to the chaos in organizations and life. Contact Diane at

Connect with the Authors:
Book Review

Book Review: More Than a Soldier-One Army Ranger’s Daring Escape From the Nazis

Book Review:

More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger’s Daring Escape from the Nazis

by D.M. Annechino

History novels intrigue me and particularly WWII memoirs. There are many out there, but each book tells a new story, a different story. Even if two books are written on the same topic, they are never the same. Each person’s story and experience are unique.

Angelo J. DiMarco chooses to enlist in the U.S. Army voluntarily. He is hoping to gain approval from his father. He is trying to do the right thing. He feels it is his patriotic duty to go into the front fighting lines of the war.

Angelo J. DiMarco of Italian heritage is sent to Italy and quickly put through training as a Ranger to help stop the German invasion. What this Ranger goes through, how he survives will stun you. He is captured by the Germans with others in his unit. His escape, his will to live, how he assists fellow soldiers, his will to return home and all that occurs for this to happen-basically his story of survival, will keep you glued to the book wanting to read more.

You as the reader will learn about the Italian countryside, the history of some of the battles that occurred in Italy and about the good nature, the helpful nature of Italian citizen’s. How a Prisoner of War escapes and survives for a few years in Italy until he reunites with the U.S. Army and returns stateside. A lot happens in between his joining the Army and his return to the states-a few years’ worth of details which includes romance, but you need to read the book yourself and experience this particular soldier’s story yourself.

Definitely a book worth reading…


More Than a Soldier


Book Details:

Book Title:  More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger’s Daring Escape From the Nazis Author: D.M. Annechino Category:  Adult Fiction, 316 pages Genre:  Historical Biography, WWII Publisher:  CreateSpace Release date:  April 2017 Tour dates: May 29 to June 16 2017 Content Rating: PG-13 (A few four-letter words and violence associated with war)

Book Description:

Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen year old, Angelo J. DiMarco, enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.

Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody battle of Cisterna. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and exposure to the elements.

More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience and courage.

About the Author:

Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel, ‘They Never Die Quietly.’ He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.


Connect with the Author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook


May 29 –  Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / giveaway
May 30 –  Gabriel’s Wharf – review
May 30 –  Books, Dreams, Life – review / giveaway
May 31 –  Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
June 1   – Il Mio Tesoro – review
June 2   –   NorthernMsw – review
June 5   –   Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review
June 6   –   Man of la Book – review / giveaway
June 6   –   Cheryl’s Book Nook – review / giveaway
June 7   –   What Cathy Read Next – review / giveaway
June 8   –   Puddletown Reviews – review / giveaway
June 9   –   Olio by Marilyn – review / giveaway
June 12 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
June 13 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
June 14 – Leels Loves Books – review
June 15 – Nighttime Reading Center – review / giveaway
June 16 – The World As I See It – review / giveaway





Book Review, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Seeing Double: An Elisabeth Reinhardt Novel Book Review

Book Review- Seeing Double: An Elisabeth Reinhardt Novel by Nancy J Alexander.

This is a book that combines suspense, espionage, mystery, and love with a psychological twist all in one.

I was intrigued because this book focuses on ‘current’ Middle East issues regarding civilians that are also involved in espionage for their respective countries of Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

Five children grow up together and form friendships working in their respective family fields, they ‘hang out’ together unknown to their parents through their childhood and teen years until they go to college, work or the army and they make a pact to dedicate their lives to creating peace between their countries.  These friends learned each other’s customs, languages, and beliefs. They maintain contact in their adult lives, but the camaraderie and freedom of their youth are not the same.

I am a fast and well-versed reader, but even I had difficulty keeping the friends’ names straight and the country they served in my mind. You will get caught up in the story and wonder who is who! Double agents, religious extremists, love in unexpected places and ways will keep you the reader on your toes.

The theme and issues are relevant to modern times; issues that affect the Middle East today are worldwide between Jews and Muslims and these issues are far reaching.

At times the transition from chapter to chapter was not smooth, the friend’s names similar or began with the same letter and so I had difficulty in keeping track of who was who. The ending suggests a sequel, but personally, I think the ending could have been done differently. I also came across some spelling errors and this is a pet peeve of mine. I expect every book to be well edited and do not expect spelling or grammatical errors.


Book Details:
Book Title: Seeing Double: An Elisabeth Reinhardt Thriller by Nancy J Alexander
Category: Adult Fiction, 318 pages
Genre: Espionage Thriller
Publisher: NJA Productions
Release date: Nov 2015
Tour dates: May 8 to 26, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M for themes of terrorism, kidnapping, some bad language, but no explicit sex or violence.

Book Description:

A chill ran up her spine, triggering an alarm that spread through her system. Her eyes studied him as his eyes studied her. In the recesses of her mind, a fragment of a memory tingled…a tiny blip from long ago. An image spiraled, then vanished. There was something about this young man, this Ari Ben Aviv. There was something about him she couldn’t pinpoint.”

On the heels of her last mystery, Elisabeth’s new patient is more than meets the eye, and unraveling his secrets will throw her team into a desert storm of double agents and religious extremists. All that stands between love and war are two families, two brothers, and two conflicting versions of the truth.

To follow the tour and read reviews, please visit Nancy J. Alexander’s page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book: 


Meet the Author:

Love of the mystery/thriller genre combines with psychotherapy training and experience to produce an emotionally supercharged dramatic novel. Nancy Alexander has devoted much of her professional life to helping survivors of childhood trauma; their distress has been ingrained and works to create characters who give voice to their plight. To analyze the evil minds that prey on others and the intricacies of law enforcers who pursue them seemed a natural interlacing of professional, literary and creative interests.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook