Review of A Conflicted Heart: A Daughter’s Quest For Solace From Emotional Guilt, by D.G. Kaye

Well, we finally have the first hints of spring here, after getting pounded by snow several days ago, the temperatures are in the pluses and the snow is turning back to its original state.

I’ve just finished reading a true story about the life experiences of fellow author, D.G. Kaye. What are my thoughts? Keep reading and I’ll share them with you. 🙂

The Deets:

A Lifetime of guilt — What does it take to finally break free?

Somehow I believed it was my obligation to try to do the right thing by her because she had given birth to me.

Burdened with constant worry for her father and the guilt caused by her mother’s narcissism, D.G. Kaye had a short childhood. When she moved away from home at age eighteen, she began to grow into herself, overcoming her lack of guidance and her insecurities. Her life experiences became her teachers, and she learned from the mistakes and choices she made along the way, plagued by the guilt she carried for her mother.

Conflicted Hearts is a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and acceptance, an exploration of the quest for solace from emotional guilt.

My Thoughts:

If there was ever a story that gives a perfect example of peeling away the protective layers in which many of us enshroud ourselves, you’ve just found it.

D.G. courageously shares her story of being raised by an emotionally, and often physically, distant mother and the damaging consequences. I think most of us read stories to connect with the characters, and I found myself highly engaged with the younger D.G., as she tries to navigate through the emotional turmoil of her mother’s rejection; no child should ever have to go through that.    

In spite of her mother’s alienation, D.G. does find strong supporters, within her family and in romantic partners. The reader cannot help but feel relief and joy every time these people turn up in her life.

I grew to admire D.G.’s resilience, kind heart, and appreciated her brutal honesty. The pages are choc full of valuable life lessons.

Life is rarely fair, but there are bright spots that we can soak up, and D.G. is certainly one who has learned to do just that. No one is spared from disappointment and varying degrees of trauma. We all need to find our ‘people’ who will support us.

I recommend this book to anyone with a pulse.  

I’m giving this book, FOUR STARS!  

Please note that I only post reviews on books I deem four or five stars. Life is short and if I don’t like a book, I simply won’t finish it.

Meet D.G. :

D.G. Kaye was born and resides in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of Conflicted Hearts – A Daughter’s Quest for Solace From Emotional Guilt, Meno-What? – A Memoir, Words We Carry, Have Bags, Will Travel, P.S. I Forgive You, and her newest release – Twenty Years: After “I Do”. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer and writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

Kaye writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and the lessons that were taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome some of the many obstacles that challenged her. From an emotionally neglected childhood, to growing up with a narcissistic mother, leaving her with a severely deflated self-esteem, D.G. began seeking a path to rise above her issues. When she isn’t writing intimate memoirs, Kaye brings her natural sense of humor into her other works.

D.G. began writing when pen and paper became tools to express her pent-up emotions during a turbulent childhood. Her writing began as notes and cards she wrote for the people she loved and admired when she was afraid to use her voice.

Through the years, Kaye journaled about life, writing about her opinions on people and events and later began writing poetry and health articles for a Canadian magazine as her interest grew in natural healthcare. Kaye became interested in natural healing and remedies after encountering a few serious health issues. Against many odds, D.G. has overcome adversity several times throughout her life.

D.G. began writing books to share her stories and inspiration. Her compassion and life experiences inspire her to write from the heart. She looks for the good and the positive in everything, and believes in paying it forward.

“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return, Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

D.G.’s Favorite Saying: “Live. Laugh. Love …and don’t forget to breathe!”

When D.G. is not writing, she’s reading. Her favorite genres of reading are: biographies, memoirs, writing and natural health. Kaye loves to read about people who overcome adversity, victories and redemption and believes we have to keep learning–there is always room for improvement! She loves to cook, travel, and play poker (when she gets the chance).

Connect with her and purchase your copy:

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Review of When Can I Stop Running? by John Podlaski

As I write this another steady blast of snow is landing on my roof and around the house. I’m surrounded by a cocoon of white fluffy water, but pecking away at this review, I’m warm and dry.

Today, I’m reviewing a book written by Vietnam War Veteran, John Podlaski.

The deets:

John Podlaski’s encore Vietnam War novel brings back John (‘Polack’) Kowalski, the central character in ‘Cherries’, and introduces us to Louis (‘LG’) Gladwell, his irrepressible black friend. Polack and LG are a ‘Salt and Pepper’ team, best buddies and brothers in a way that only those who have fought side-by-side in a war can ever truly understand.The year is 1970, and the story follows the two soldiers – impressionable Detroit teenagers – during their long night in a Listening Post (‘LP’), some 500 meters beyond the bunker line of the new firebase. Their assignment as a “human early warning system”, is to listen for enemy activity and forewarn the base of any potential dangers. As they were new to the “Iron Triangle” and its reputation, little did they know that units before them lost dozens of soldiers in this nightly high-risk task and referred to those assigned as “bait for the enemy” and “sacrificial lambs”. Sitting in the pitch black tropical jungle – with visibility at less than two feet – John’s imagination takes hold throughout the agonizing night, and at times, transports him back to some of his most vivid childhood memories – innocent, but equally terrifying at the time.As kids, we instinctively run as fast as we can to escape imaginary or perceived danger, but as soldiers, men are trained to conquer their fears and develop the confidence to stand their ground and fight. Running is not an option.

My Thoughts:

My Thoughts:

I admit to not having read the first in this series, “Cherries.” I cannot speak for the plot line in that book. The plot line in, “When Can I Stop Running?” was not what I expected, but in a good way.  The story is written from the perspective of John ‘Polack’ Kowalski and delves more into the internal battle with fear, rather than the physical war John and so many others were dragged into.

The emotions are raw and reveal a perspective that only one, ‘who’s been there,’ can accurately depict. In spite of the nightmare in which John and his partner, Louis Gladwell, are currently enduring, John frequently slips into memories of his life before the war. They start from a childhood fear of the old basement and evolve into fears of a house “haunted” by “witches.” I had a chuckle over most of these childhood flashbacks, as John presents them in a humorous light. The flashbacks were expertly choreographed with the present scenes.  

If you’re looking for a book with realistic, relatable, and likeable characters, I’d highly recommend this book.

Five Stars!

Please note that I only post reviews on books I deem four or five stars. Life is short and if I don’t like a book, I simply won’t finish it.

Meet John:

John Podlaski (1951 – ) was raised in Detroit, Michigan and attended St. Charles and St. Thomas Apostle Catholic schools, graduating in 1969. Immediately afterward, John started working for one of the automotive parts suppliers in the area and then attended junior college full-time in the fall. After four months of overwhelming pressure, John dropped out of college – choosing income over education. This turned out to be a huge error in judgement as a school deferment protected him from the military draft. Uncle Sam wasted no time and Mr. Podlaski soon found himself inducted into the Army in February 1970. Then after six months of training, John was sent to Vietnam as an infantry soldier; serving with both the Wolfhounds of the 25th Division and the Geronimo of the 101st Airborne Division. During his tour of duty, John was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, two Air Medals, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and several other campaign medals. Back in the states, Mr. Podlaski spent the next four months in Fort Hood, Texas before receiving an early military discharge in December 1971.

The War Veteran returned to his former position with the automotive supplier and because of his military experience, he was promoted to shift supervisor. He met Janice Jo a few months later and married in 1973. The G.I. Bill helped them to purchase a home in Sterling Heights, MI, they continue living there to this day. A daughter, Nicole Ann was born in 1979. Using additional benefits from the G.I. Bill, Mr. Podlaski returned to college part time; graduating four years later with an Associate Degree in Applied Science.

In 1980, John began working on his memoir about his Vietnam experiences. He had carried a diary during his year in Vietnam, and his mother had saved all the letters he had written from the war zone – both were used to create the outline. He toiled on a manual typewriter for four years before finally completing his work. About the same time, a new national veteran group, akin to the V.F.W. was formed in Washington, DC. They called themselves “Vietnam Veterans of America” and chapters quickly sprung up around the country. John joined Chapter 154 in Mt. Clemens, MI, and as an active member, helped to launch their

inaugural Color Guard – marching in parades and posting colors for local events. The members of this chapter were a closely knit group, but wives often felt left out during the many discussions about Vietnam. When learning that John had authored a book about his tour of duty, the wives asked to share a copy of the manuscript, hoping it would help them better understand what their husbands might have endured during their time in Vietnam. The memoir was well received, and wives were now joining their men during these discussions. All were increasingly supportive and urged him to locate a publisher. After hundreds of rejections, a publisher from Atlanta, GA finally came forward and offered to consider the manuscript if it were re-written to a third-person format.

Atari had just come out with a new computer console and a word processor – making re-writes and editing much easier; his work now saved on floppy diskettes. The re-write continued until 1989, consuming all his spare time. John had finished half of the manuscript, then suddenly lost interest – discouraged, and not wanting to work on it any longer – it was ten years already and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. So everything was boxed up and moved to the garage for storage.

Mr. Podlaski continued working for various companies within the automotive sector; primarily in Management roles tasked in either plant start-ups, financial turnaround, or plant closures. John returned to college in 2000 and received a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration two years later. He and his wife retired in mid-2013.

At John’s 40th high school reunion, many of his former classmates who read his original manuscript twenty years earlier had questioned its lack of publication. It was a great story and all were relentless in their efforts to get him motivated and finish the rewrite – offering help wherever needed.

After learning that the conversion of Atari diskettes to the Microsoft Word format was extremely cost prohibitive, John’s daughter offered to retype both the completed manuscript and the rewrite, saving both on a USB memory stick. Nine months later, “Cherries” was completed and published. It took almost thirty years, but seeing it in print made it all worthwhile.

During his retirement, John published a second book about his Vietnam experience called, “When Can I Stop Running?” in 2016. Additionally, he’s published two short stories: Unhinged and Unwelcomed; all are available on Amazon.

The author and his wife own a 1997 Harley Davidson Heritage motorcycle and enjoy riding when possible; both are members of the Harley Owner Group.

Connect with John and purchase his works:

Website Twitter Amazon.com Amazon.ca

Review of The Eve’s End, by Stephanie M. Matthews

Brrr! It’s a cold one up here, in the Canadian North! Speaking of which, I have the privilege of reviewing the work of fellow Canadian author, Stephanie M. Matthews. Before I begin, I suggest that you read the first book of this series, The Gift, in order to better comprehend this one. There will be more purchase links listed at the end of this article.

A quick intro:

An Amazon Bestseller, “The Eve’s End” is the stunning sequel to the breakout thriller, “The Gift.” Re-immerse yourself in the vivid writing style, provoking storytelling, and addictive suspense that made you love the first novel! It’s been twenty-eight years since Fae Peeters came to a little Belgian village for Christmas. Twenty-eight years since she received the Gift and came face-to-face with Nefas. Fate would ensure that twenty-eight years would not become twenty-nine.

My turn:

As with The Gift, this story is choc full of nuances, allegories, and explores the nature of free will. Indeed, how much of what the characters assume are their own choices are actually the work of a master puppeteer? How much of what appears to be the right choice, is pure poison?

There’s a divine incarnation of good versus evil via a number of the characters, and the humans are left to sort out who they’re going to follow. At times, even Fae Peeters is left questioning the reality and the soundness of her path. There’s plenty of action, but it’s those layers that piqued my interest.

I’d recommend The Gift and The Eve’s End for readers who enjoy supernatural thrillers, that fuel contemplation of the deeper meanings of life.

Five Stars for The Eve’s End!

Please note that I only post reviews on books I deem four or five stars. Life is short and if I don’t like a book, I simply won’t finish it.

Meet Stephanie:

Having been raised as an East Coast girl in Truro, Nova Scotia, Stephanie M. Matthews has spent time living in Newfoundland, Oklahoma, and Italy. She has currently settled in Ontario, Canada working for a non-profit organization and writing in her spare time.

Stephanie’s love of writing came at an early age, drafting her first “real story” in Grade 2. This love of writing has continued throughout her life, as a university professor once accused her of having made a history research paper too exciting. While this accusation inspired an opinionated debate between department professors- from which she gently excused herself, the moment solidified a decision to never take the excitement out of her writing- fiction or non.

From a young age, Stephanie was drawn to thriller stories, as they appealed to her adventurous side.

Still admitting to be too scared to read many supernatural thrillers herself, she knows exactly how to craft an exciting, thrilling supernatural story by drawing on everything that scares her!

When not writing or working, Stephanie enjoys fueling her passion for Ancient Rome and indulging her nerdiness in Middle-Earth. Stephanie also loves mountain biking and combatting her arch nemesis: her love of cookies. She can be found mourning the loss of the television show “Firefly”, pretending like she can play hockey, or planning her bucket list, for which she had to come to the harsh reality that time travel is not an option.

Connect and grab your copy:

Website Facebook Instagram Blog Twitter

Amazon.com Amazon.ca Indigo Barnes & Noble iTunes

Photo Prompt For Kreative Kue

Good morning, afternoon, or night. Today I’ve decided to participate in author Keith Edgar Channing’s “Kreative Kue” Please follow the link to Keith’s fantastic blog.

Here is the photo prompt:

“Pshaw! Really Josh, was it so morally bankrupt? Flushing the goldfish down the toilet and framing Sylvester? My actions liberated the poor thing, forced to swim in circles in that glass dungeon, that’s no life. ‘Course the dummy had the memory of well, a fish. Irritating! ‘Oh, look! A castle! Oh look! A castle!’ All day and everyday! Sheesh! Did everyone a favor!

“Yup! Looks like I’m really paying for it, huh, Josh? Enjoying the view, Sylvester? Oh wait, you can’t because you’re outside for the day and the curtains are closed. That’ll teach you for clawing the stuffing from my bed. This is waaay better, anyhow! The best part is, I know Dad will bring me to the store to get a new one this afternoon! All you’ll be able to do is meow for forgiveness as we drive away.

 “Lucky for you Josh, that you’re a budgie. Frank’s now working at Marty’s Mattress Emporium; flys around jerking his beak towards every mattress, ‘Soooofft!’

“Parrots who squawk get shipped down the block! Ahhh! This is the life! Worship me! Worship me!”  

My Toast To You

There’s no shortage of talent here on the blogosphere, and that goes for some amazing poets, too. Heck, you’re all amazing! That’s why I’ve chosen this theme for my first ever attempt at Concrete Poetry.

I mean every word and I wish you all the best this season and onwards into the New Year!

A toast to all of you, my dearest friends

From near and far, to all four earth’s ends

Pinotage on the heights of the Drakensberg

Beck’s sipped near the Pegnitz in Nuremberg

Be it wine, water, whiskey; just raise your glass

I admire each one, because you are all first class  

May trouble nor fear lay you low, with nary a snare

All dreams and ambitions be realized without a care

Please toast towards Canada and I’ll hoist mine back

Life spare you lemons and misfortune cut you slack

I wish every blessing, joy, and great thing for you   

A very Merry Christmas, and all the best in ‘22

Cheers! Salud! Santé! Prost! Cin Cin!

Kanpai! Saúde! Skal!

Sláinte!

J

O

Y

P

E

A

C

E

LoveHope

Goodwilltoall

Noel!Noel!Noel!Noel!Noel!Noel!