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Milw. Writer RSS Feed (Milwaukee, WI)

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Small Miracles from Beyond: Dreams, Visions and Signs that Link Us to the Other Side
Small Miracles from Beyond: Dreams, Visions and Signs that Link Us to the Other Side
by Yitta Halberstam Mandelbaum
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.65
60 used & new from $3.88

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you ever wondered if your loved ones who've passed are watching out for you, October 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Have you ever wondered if your loved ones who've passed are watching out for you, sending messages from beyond? SMALL MIRACLES FROM BEYOND will show that it's true. With deeply inspiring stories experienced by or told to the authors and outside contributors like Wayne Dyer, readers will be truly touched, no matter what faith. And, I admit many stories went right to my heart and brought tears to my eyes, not out of sadness, but because the stories were so profound and moving. (On a side note, I love the cover and the motif on the inside.)

This is a not-to-be-missed book you'll want to share with everyone you know who aches for someone who has passed. What a fantastic edition to the Small Miracles Series! Thank you so much Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal. I could NEVER have enough of these stories. They inspire, bring hope, and reinforce the Small Miracles that go on around us every day.

Please note: I have three stories included in this anthology, all related to my grandparents. I am deeply honored and grateful to have been included in this exceptional collection.

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $5.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, revealing, heartbreaking, October 7, 2014
General comments: Great cover with the river of red fabric for the cloak worn by a young woman. Symbolic and powerful. Stunning artwork alongside Christine Heppermann’s poems.

Bite and taste


Apples stuffed

down girls throats

by society,


the clothes

on mannequins

selling sexuality,

diet aids, beauty.

Rebel against


Stand up

for feminism. Take

a good long look

in the mirror, mirror

on the wall

who’s the fairest


of all. See how

we’re brainwashed

to believe so little

about ourselves

as girls, women.

Thank you

very much

fairy tales. Damsels

in distress we’re NOT!

Welcome to

the real world

filled with Poisoned Apples.

Poisoned Apples is a brilliant must-read, critical for both male and female young adults. I hope teachers in upper middle school and high schools will have the courage to put this in the hands of students and utilize it for a strong social discussion of society’s pressures caused by stereotypes and negative self-image. A clever, revealing, heartbreaking, honest window into beauty and society through a retelling of fairy tales.

by Sara Zarr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.41
91 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel for those heading off to college or need help with roommates!, September 2, 2014
This review is from: Roomies (Hardcover)
An emotional, accurate portrayal of two YA girls transitioning between high school and college.

Even though I'm writing this review on the first day of school for many, this is the PERFECT time to pick up this novel. It's not to early to start thinking about what's ahead and what kind of relationship you might want to have with a roommate in college. C'mon, let's be honest. If you're a senior, you're already thinking about it! For those who are adjusting to a new roommate, this novel will provide some great insight on roommate relationships.

Written in two different perspectives utilizing narration and emails and text messages, the reader dives into the lives of two VERY different girls. Lauren is from a large family and needed a scholarship to afford college. She doesn't have much time for friends let alone any personal time or space. EB is an only child of a gay father who abandoned her when she was five.

Over the summer, EB and Lauren share some very personal insights into their lives, sharing feelings for boys, family, friendships. One of the most powerful relationships is between Lauren and Keyon, an interracial couple. It revealing, honest.

Why I think YA will like this novel?
1. Shows how jumping to conclusions can be completely false.
2. Relating to people who are very different than you.
3. Opens doors for communication and honesty.
4. Though this may sound cliche, it's still important: Shows no one is perfect!
5. Opens eyes to seeing different perspectives on the same situation.
6. Touches upon sexuality and relationships and connecting with the ONE who makes a difference in your life - how love impacts you.
7. Addresses fears, anticipation for the next big step in life: college.
8. Shows the transition between old high school friends and new friends and how to stay connected as you all go your separate ways.

Definitely recommend!

It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor)
It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor)
by Jill Shalvis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.80
93 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I love this series!, August 27, 2014
Ahhhhhhhh! Jill Shalvis and Lucky Harbor are on top of my list for favorite romance novel authors/series. Hands down, my FAVORITE romance series. I love "revisiting" Lucky Harbor in these novels, and somehow, Jill Shalvis keeps the stories fresh and interesting and fun and totally swoony. For me, it's a perfect escape to happy. These novels have heart and they make me smile.

So, IT'S IN HIS KISS (the 01th Lucky Harbor novel) did exactly what I hoped for: made my heart ache for Becca and Sam, both wounded people who figure out not only how to take care and protect each other, but how to love one another. Their chemistry is thicker than air and it's definitely satisfying to see two broken people find a way to mend each other with kindness, respect, love, and friendship.

I liked the balance with Becca's messed up family and Sam's messed up family. They're the type of families that people can relate to, and the fact that Sam sticks up for Becca and Becca sticks up for Sam shows that they give each other the strength and support they need.

The fact that Becca struggles with her passion for music and the panic it brings out when she has an audience was something I think many people can relate to, whether it's standing in front of a group to give a speech or feeling vulnerable after doing something embarrassing in public. For Sam, he has his issues that are relatable too. Words and actions need to match. If you say I love you, it better means something. It's never really meant anything until Becca. Whether you've had love all your life or are still struggling to find it, the message of words and actions matching is a powerful one. I definitely subscribe to it!

Romance lovers, if you haven't read a Lucky Harbor Series novel, then you are missing out! These are the best and I have a shelf of them! Considering how much I read, that means everything. I only buy books that I want to revisit like an old friend. For me, this series does it

Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls)
Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls)
by Dahlia Adler
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.01
66 used & new from $0.05

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect characters readers will love!, June 27, 2014
I loved every single one of these imperfect characters, even the ones who I loved to hate. Behind the Scenes takes you exactly there - behind the scenes of a TV production. Readers will experience the glamorous and not so glamorous life through Ally Duncan, the BtS's main character who watches her best friend Vanessa land the lead role in TV's hottest new teen drama. There, Ally meets Liam, Vanessa's hot co-star, and eventually has an amazing first kiss. But life is never simple, and falling in love with a TV star has miles and miles of film's worth of trouble. In addition, Ally has to deal with her father's stage four skin cancer. It's a heart-wrenching, painful experience to "watch" him suffer through treatment after treatment, knowing perfectly well that there's a good chance he'll die.

And then there's JOSH! Oh this is one bad boy you will fall in love with! I definitely did. Josh, Josh, Josh. What I loved the most was that his heart was huge, even bigger than his ego. His goodness was some of the sexist, most yummy parts of this novel. Liam is definitely to swoon for, but so is JOSH!

Things people will love about Behind the Scenes:
1. The friendship between Ally and Van.
2. The friendship between Liam and Josh.
3. The kissing.
4. Van is an Asian beauty. Whoot!
5. Liam's talent and his knack for languages, especially French.
6. Ally's relationship with her younger sister Lucy.
7. Ally's passion for Columbia University.
8. Fake relationships suck and are what help make this novel sizzle.
9. Imperfection. Many characters make mistakes. It's how they react to what they've done and how they improve their circumstances.
10. THE ENDING! <3

I am looking forward to reading more books by Dahlia Adler!

Maybe Someday
Maybe Someday
Offered by Audible, Inc. (US)

5.0 out of 5 stars Colleen Hoover does it again!, June 11, 2014
This is my third audiobook of Colleen Hoover's, and once again it nails me right in the heart. I couldn't stop listening. The story is so compelling. This is an unconventional love story, but one I think anyone can find something to relate to. You'll feel torn by what Ridge and Sidney are going through and it's hard to know what is right and what is wrong for the two of them. Ultimately, you can't help but hope that things will work out for them. Like other Hoover novels, this will make you ache, perhaps even cry. I loved every moment of it. And ooooh the songs. So beautiful! There isn't anything by Colleen Hoover that I won't listen to or read.

Just One Night
Just One Night
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Satisfying End, June 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Just One Night (Kindle Edition)
This was a satisfying ending to Just One Day and Just One Year. Without a doubt, you could feel the kisses Willem and Allyson shared right in your "kishkes." Perfect for anyone who wanted to know what happened after Willem opened the door and found Allyson (Lulu) on the other side.

Save the Date
Save the Date
by Mary Kay Andrews
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.54
171 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful summer read!, June 3, 2014
This review is from: Save the Date (Hardcover)
Save the Date was pure delight. If you love weddings and novels that revolve around them, then this is THE novel for you. Savannah florist Cara Kryzik is struggling to keep her floral shop afloat and pay back her father the money she borrowed to help her business. Life hasn't been easy. Her husband cheated on her, she faces some extremely demanding brides and mothers of the bride, and even a step-mom that will make you want to rip your hair out.

As Cara struggles with her business, she experiences many challenges, including a competitive florist who is out for revenge when he loses a big wedding and Jack, a good looking, dog-nabbing guy who keeps bumping into Cara at weddings. Their chemistry is palatable and delicious. But they have plenty of challenges. One of the things I love about Jack is his profession. He remodels and renovates old buildings, and I love how Mary Kay integrated this into the novel.

Save the Date is filled with plenty of Southern charm. I had no problem imagining the lovely estates and the area where Cara's shop is set. The description of her garden was easy to see in my mind, so much so that I could almost smell the flowers. Without a doubt, readers will cheer for and relish in the relationship between Jack and Cara. There are lots of fantastic secondary characters, many are brides, grooms, and others connected to wedding parties. Some are easy to deal with, others are nightmares, including Cullen Kane, Cara's biggest competitor. It takes a special breed to deal with the kind of pressure that comes with putting together a wedding that makes all parties happy.

Oh, and I can't forget to mention Cara's dog Poppy, a Goldendoodle, and Jack's dog, Shaz, who also is a Goldendoodle. The fact that they both have the same type of dog leads to some pretty funny moments.

Definitely save some time to read Save the Date.. It's the next best thing to attending a wedding for someone you love and is a satisfying, enjoyable, quick read with likable characters!

Silver Bay: A Novel
Silver Bay: A Novel
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $9.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, memorable characters, May 13, 2014
Another absolute must read by Jojo Moyes, author of ME BEFORE YOU and many other excellent novels.

From the moment you begin this novel, the multiple characters narrating SILVER BAY will pull you into their story and keep you guessing. They'll fill your mind with images of Silver Bay, they'll teach you that people can be transformed, and they'll make you long for an Australian vacation to watch the magnificent whales and dolphins in the secluded bay with a rundown hotel. You may even be able to get a taste of an ice-cold beer and smell the salty air.

This is so much more than a love story. There are multi-dementions and angles to the story. There are multi-generations that give their perspectives, each one adding their pieces to the whole for a richer, more interesting tale.

I can't even begin to sing the praises of Jojo Moyes and her incredible storytelling talent. It's bloody brilliant. Prepare to have a few kleenexes on hand. Prepare to fall in love with Mike and Liza, and Aunt Kathleen and Nino, and even the dog Milly. Most of all, eleven-year-old Hannah will grab ahold of your heart and keep you wondering about her life, not as it is now, but what it will be ten years from now. If you're like me, you'll want to think about her and her family and friends and Silver Bay and the future.

There is NOTHING Jojo Moyes writes that I can't or won't rave about to anyone who'll listen. You might as well put all her books on your to-read list, that is, if you haven't done so already!

The Gospel of Winter
The Gospel of Winter
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly written, tough, heartbreaking must read!, May 6, 2014
Raw, heartbreaking, authentic, important!

The Gospel of Winter is a critical novel of coping with one of the worst things that could happen to a young man--sexual abuse. In this case, a priest takes advantage of a vulnerable young adult, Aiden.


Brilliantly designed. The jacket is translucent with the silhouette of a boy underneath. This symbolizes the hidden layers of Aiden, his shadowed self, and secrets. The letters in the word "Gospel" are broken symbolizing how the "gospel" Aiden learns from the priest is indeed broken, filled with lies and holes. It's brilliant.

General comments:

I cried. I paced. I asked the question, "Why?" And I blessed Brendan Kiely for having the courage to write such an important book!

This is a novel that will let others who have gone through sexual abuse know that they're not alone, that what they've experienced and how they've coped is normal, but that ultimately it's unhealthy and painful to keep the trauma to oneself.

The story: (contains some minor spoilers, proceed with caution.)

Aiden's father has left his mother and him for Europe and another woman. The novel starts out with Aiden co-hosting his mother's annual Christmas party. He is surrounded by overbearing, "keep up with the Jones" type adults, and lots and lots of alcohol. Aiden crushes Adderall and snorts it. He drinks. All of this is his way of coping with the sexual abuse.

As the story goes on, Aiden develops some positive relationships with three other young adults. They're able to talk about "real" stuff and take their "masks" off. Aiden sees many of the people around him as fake, always looking for the next deal and trying to out do their neighbors, their friends with bigger and better parties. Personally, I thought this was an accurate portrayal of what it's like in some East Coast suburbs. I've met people like this, and though I find it shocking, it seemed very authentic. Many parents go off and leave their children to be raised by nannies. It's not a Midwest "thing" but it's a heck of a lot more common on the East Coast. What crushes me is the lack of respect for another person. Aiden's "nanny" Elena is Hispanic, and he loves her. But there is definitely "class" and race separation. When will we live in a society that sees beyond skin color? Aiden is more of a second son to Elena. Unfortunately, Elena doesn't do what it takes to protect Aiden. She too, fails him.

Readers might not like the choices Aiden makes or the adults around him. There are choices that many regret and are ashamed of. BUT THIS IS LIFE! Maybe you'll get upset with Aiden, maybe you'll cry for Aiden, maybe you'll be frustrated with what happens and how the adults cope, BUT GET REAL! Because this is real! The drug use, the denial, the fear, the self-loathing, the shame, the guilt.

Brendan Kiely gives readers an opportunity to walk in a male young adult's shoes who has faced horrible abuse. This isn't a "story" where we get to decide how Aiden shoulda reacted. Brendan Kiely researched this novel and spent six years writing it in order to give people a gift. A gift that will allow young adults going through abuse a window into what can happen if you don't tell and don't cope, especially when the abusing adult puts the fear of G-d in you, in this case, literally.

The power of friendship is also explored in this novel. Aiden fails one of his best friends Mark. His failure is wrapped up in Aiden's lies and his inability to cope with abuse. Aiden is sixteen! Sixteen-year-olds disappoint friends. They make bad choices. HECK, adults do it all the time! So many adults failed Aiden. Our hearts can break for him, for Mark, but ultimately we need to realize that neither had the love or support or the guidance to get out of this mess.

Except for a lovely friend named Josie. EVERYONE should have a good friend like Josie.

I want to commend Brendan for writing one of the most important books on sexual abuse, and for tackling an even more taboo topic, sexual abuse involving a boy!

The Gospel of Winter is a brilliantly written, tough, heartbreaking must read!

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