Critics in the book industry are essential in building up the credibility of an author. Because of their honest and non-biased review, sometimes if not often, their remarks could either make or break an author’s confidence to penetrate the competitive world of books. However, if an author would constructively take the criticism, if negative, and see the silver lining, then everything will be on the right track towards success. But what if the author receives an admiring review? It could be the starting point where the door of opportunities will flow.
These are the reviews we did for our authors… These had been our official entries for The Moving Words 2021 Award:
Told through multiple persons of voice and from three different locations, Slaves, Masters, and Traders by H. Ann Ackroyd is a historical fiction that explores the subject of slavery. It is set in the backdrop of 1800 AD and through the power of words the author presents us the experiences, culture and life of Africans prior to enslavement in their homeland West Africa and in Louisiana after enslavement.
The narrative is moving and pivotal. The author not only has thoroughly researched on the topic but also has an immense knowledge and understanding of it which reflects in her writing. 1800 AD is the darkest era of history but we still fail to gauge the extent of the harsh conditions Africans had to go through. And this is where Slaves, Masters, and Traders sets itself apart. It provides an accurate representation and builds a story around it. It does not tamper with the representation to fit a narrative.
The story is told through slaves, masters and slave traders and that made my journey as a reader more enriching and raw. The characters are crafted in a detailed manner and the descriptions of the setting are vivid. The author has a very lucid style of writing which makes it an easy read.
With the issue to racism brought to the forefront in the current times, I’ll recommend everyone to give it a read. This book completely consumed me emotionally and is an experience in itself. It is going to stay with me forever.
Dark Against the Sky: A Climbing Boy’s Story by Stephen Hauge
Dark Against the Sky: A Climbing Boy’s Story is a heartwarming tale of hope, determination and perseverance. Tommy is a climbing boy (young chimney sweep) working in the streets of London. He is a child, stolen from his parents and trapped in this hard labor, overseen by a cruel and greedy master sweep. Tommy and four other boys form a band of brothers to help each other through this hopeless daily grind. But Tommy has a dream, a better plan for the future. He wants to reunite with his family and so embarks on an epic adventure to regain his lost life.
The title perfectly synchronizes with the story and its characters. Set in 1834 in London, this novel transports you back to the darkness of unforgiving poverty and child labor. Yet Tommy’s determination and focus are unwavering. He is fueled by the ray of light coming through each chimney he sweeps, as he knows the hardest climb often presents him the best view of blue sky. And the story is also structured like a chimney climb: darkness at first and the constant, rewarding challenge to find the ray of hope.
The characterization is mesmerizing, with the protagonist and the many supporting characters being well portrayed. Among the many features that also set this story apart are its meaningful conversations and descriptions. They underscore the level of research the author has used to build this evocative novel.
Overall, Dark Against the Sky is a perfect slice of art drawn through inspiring characters and powerful themes
This is Yakutat by Kadashan
Yakwdaat Aya: This is Yakutat by Kadashan is a collection of fictional tales masterfully woven by the author and seasoned by his own life experiences as an inhabitant of a small village of Tlingit Indians in southeastern Alaska. It is a remarkable and very illustrative painting of their culture, their people, and their struggles.
Don’t think, though, that Kadashan’s tales are fantastic and epic, nor are the challenges his characters face mythical beasts, made up for the sake of fun; no, Yakwdaat Aya: This is Yakutat allows us to see how the Tlingit have faced struggles that are common to us all – namely the day-to-day survival fight we all go through – but in a way harsher environment and how those hardships have shaped the secular Tlingit people. The author shows all that with impeccable writing, layered with beautiful descriptions of the character’s routines that offer us not just a glimpse, but a full-motion video of that time in rich detail. The description of actions and scenarios is so well-made, that it is easy to transport ourselves to the situations lived by each character.
I can’t stress enough how tasteful the “seasoning” of the author’s life and observations is to his tales. While you know the stories are fictional, there is just so much down-to-earth, passionate penmanship here that it’s impossible to think that they are entirely made-up. They are not, as I suspect Kadashan may have lived and met some of the people that inhabit the small, yet giant in itself, world of the stories. What crowns my suspicion is the final tale, which is dedicated to someone very real and exhibits an important figure’s whole soul through a few pages. I will not spoil it here, of course – all I can say is that it concludes the book by showing the core of the Tlingit spirit, and again, through a vast choice of words, yet so simple in its nature.
I recommend Yakwdaat Aya: This is Yakutat by Kadashan to pretty much everyone. It’s heartwarming, endearing, and definitely human. Have an imaginative seat with Kadashan and let him tell you the tales of a land of majestic bears, river fishing, and seal hunting. Amidst your trip through his words, you will find a portrait of the People of the Tides that you literally cannot find anywhere else.
Breaking Free from the Inner Critic by Kalie Marino
Breaking Free from the Inner Critic is a revolutionary book to rewire our brains to overcome our innermost limitations. We have been programmed by our environment from the very first moment we were born. From there onwards, we absorb the thoughts, teaching, emotions that people around us expressed towards us. We derive meanings from these experiences. Soon this becomes the foundation of our consciousness. This in turn infuses anxiety, fear, and negative emotions in our mind. This inner critic drags us behind from everything that we want to do in our lifetime. This book presents powerful tools to reprogram our mind to break free from the limits we created over time.
The author gives a new perspective to self-improvement. I realized the extent of inner critic’s influence in our thoughts and activities. Our environment is feeding the inner critic more subjects to explore each day. We are consuming more criticism than positivity. This was an eye-opener for me.
The book is written in a perfect structure. The author supports her claims with real-life examples, events from history and theology. The first part of the book is dedicated to the analysis of criticism and how we are addicted to it and wired this trait in our brain. The author supplements her arguments by giving psychological evidences. After a thorough explanation about the nature of this addiction, she then moves on to the symptoms. The next part concentrates on the solution of this problem.
Overall, this is a well-written book. The author adopted an interactive style of narration rather than a monotonous one. Throughout the book, every techniques and ideas are presented with a pinch of humor. This tone helped me to glide through the pages very easily.
The Princess and the Swan by Ryke Leigh Douglas
The Princess and the Swan by author Ryke Leigh Douglas tells us the story of Wendelyn, a cheerful princess who lives an idyllic life in her father’s kingdom while she waits for her perfect charming prince to appear so that they can lead a happy life together. Her undying yearning for such a fate leads her to take questionable and risky decisions in order to make her fateful love happen as fast as possible. Eventually, the pretty princess goes through big trials to shape her as a true lady and to test the strength of her will.
The story in this book is a heart-warming fairy tale much akin to those of simpler times of after-school afternoons in our childhood – and it brings back those very same feelings of wonder of yore, with fantastical worlds, magical beings, and happy endings. In these days where our children and teenagers are faced with harsher realities than we had in our childhoods, The Princess and the Swan is a balm of spiritual tranquility and a chance of dreaming – both things that kids nowadays have been increasingly deprived of. And it’s not about drenching our kids in illusions – it’s just about telling a story that allows them to be pure and imaginative children, and The Princess and the Swan offers exactly that. The illustrations by Christopher Finn are painted by watercolor and shine on each pair of pages, with their simplicity and variety of colors and shades.
There is another side to this book other than what story it depicts, though. The way in which Mrs. Douglas tells the story shows us that an enjoyable tale can also be a great vehicle to help children in their learning. She is an experienced writer of stories for kids, which is proved by her careful and thoughtful choices of vocabulary and construction of sentences, both aspects aimed at presenting a book for kids and teens that can actually improve their syllabus, reading, and writing skills, as well as teaching words that have been gradually forgotten and ignored by the youth as means to express themselves. Again, these are different times from those in which we were children, and the communication created through the instant speed of internet messaging is done in very basic terms, wherein a single word such as “cool” is used in any and all instances where more elaborate expressions like “incredible”, “superb” and “delightful” could have been used instead. Thus said, The Princess and the Swan is a very enjoyable read for kids, yes, and it is also a great way to have them get in contact with a richer – and 100% safe – vocabulary.
Moreover, I can definitely recommend this book for students of English as a second language, because it is both simple and rich in fine writing. A languages teacher can use this book for ESL classes to a good extent since The Princess and the Swan is filled with class-planning opportunities in its structure.
To sum it up, The Princess and the Swan by Ryke Leigh Douglas is certainly worth your and your kids’ time. Opening its pages was like traveling back to so many gleeful moments of being a child, and I am glad I’m now able to share that experience with my kids through one of Mrs. Douglas’ finest works.
Across the Rift: World War Two Novel in Rhythmic Prose (Colonial Historical Fiction Series) by H. Ann Ackroyd is set at the backdrop of World War 2 that explores the lives of the members of the same family living at different countries during the war.
It explores the impact of the war on them, the society and on people around. It builds on the theme of love, loss, hope, family, and redemption. It also investigates the similarities and differences of experience with changing locations, local politics and class. This exact narrative makes this book immensely compelling and utterly moving. It instigates your mind and provokes your thoughts. It makes you dissect the historical events through a completely unique lens.
Like her other books, the author has thoroughly researched on the topic before writing on it. That combined with her knowledge and understanding of the African heritage and culture, made reading it an experience in itself. The book will challenge your preconceived notions at every stage and completely consume you emotionally.
Another thing that makes the book stand out is the refreshing style of writing. It is written in a very different but nonetheless intriguing style that the author calls the ‘rhythmic prose’. It made my reading experience even more pleasant. Will definitely recommend this book to everyone.
Sketches of a Small Town by Clifton K. Meador
A memoir, an absolute whirlwind of a read, at times laugh out loud hilarious and at others poignantly sad…
I only recently moved to the US, but since I have always had such a keen interest in history, I have been devouring the stories of the country I’ve found myself in. Never had I imagined that the tales of this land could engage and enthrall me to such an extent, I have often felt as though I could spend a lifetime looking into them and still have countless more to find. This memoir is a wonderful addition to my journey into the past of the USA, a snapshot of a time that seems so far away but still touches us today. I enjoyed the real and candid insight into the realities of segregation and the insight into life in the deep south for the generations before us. A truly moving, entertaining and above all, honest, account of a life well and truly lived, a gem for future generations.
Let Me Count The Ways by Boyd B. McNiel
Eye-opening and mind-blowing. When I started reading Let Me Count the Ways in Which We Have All Been Deceived, I was under the impression that the book would be another book in which the author spews his truths and offers little or no basis to what he’s showing. But how wrong I was! The author, Boyd B. McNiel, is a real connoisseur of the Scriptures and the mythos that surrounds it – and that is shown by the very in-depth explanations he offers to demonstrate how we, as God’s sheep, have been deceived through centuries of copious patchwork and decisions made by man in order to hide the Truth of what the Scriptures had always intended to teach us.
With the help of top-notch software and extensive mythos knowledge, McNiel irrefutably proves several points of discrepancy that we, as believers, must pay special attention to. He goes as far as analyzing the roots of Hebrew words which meanings may have been lost in translation (purposely, perhaps), and then associates that information to different versions of the Bible, events in History, geographical data, and insights of astronomy – and it all makes perfect sense.
Among the facts of which we have been excluded, the book discourses about everyday notions we take for granted, such as the names of the days of the week, the months of the year, and even the number of days and hours we consider to be normal – all of it has pagan, misinterpreted or plainly hidden origins. You must read Let Me Count the Ways in Which We Have All Been Deceived with an open mind, for sure; but rest assured that by the end of it, you will be seeing the world in a whole new – and fair to the real guidance of God – light.
The Tale of Tumeleng by Ryke Leigh Douglas
Ryke Leigh Douglas created a great children’s book with an important message for all ages. I really liked it! I believe every single child will fall in love with Tumeleng who has an adventurous spirit and is the cutest elephant that you will ever read about. And have you seen this precious cover?
I recommend The Tale of Tumeleng as it is a great book for you to think about the importance of bravery and how it is ok for children to be afraid, but with the strength of family and friends they can overcome it. Curiously, elephants were always my favorite animal in the planet, they are just enormous majesties and beautiful. I have always thought that they are kind, united and friendly. All great values to pass to the children.
The illustrations are truly beautiful. I recommend this book to all parents to read to their children.
Cuauhtémoc by D L Davies
Descending Eagle starts with the birth of Cuauhtémoc, a child born to Natomis who was destined to change the world as people knew it. The plot builds on the adventures as he learns to fly and ventures into his first battle.
The story is engaging and extremely entertaining. The author David Davies has an impeccable hold over his craft and knows his art of story telling. His finesse and creative thinking reflects in each page. The hook is provided very early in the story and that is enough to keep you intrigued through out. The pacing is fast and you keep turning the pages trying not waste time on breaths. I devoured it in just a couple of sittings.
But what specifically sets Cuauhtémoc by author David Davies apart and immediately catches your attention is the delightful world-building. It is extremely intricate and immensely vivid. That combined with detailed character arcs transports you to the setting instantly. You practically live in the world and get lost in it.
This is the first instalment in the Cuauhtémoc series and I cannot wait to continue reading more of it. I will recommend it to everyone who loves reading A Good fantasy novel.
Colonial Adventure and Other Stories by H. Ann Ackroyd is a compelling collection of novella and short stories. Written in rhythmic free form prose this book explores the British colonial history of Africa, specifically Zimbabwe (the then, Rhodesia). As the author draws from the experiences of herself and her family in Africa, it is very hard to match her narrative. Her understanding of the events and issues reflects themselves on each page. Like H. Ann Ackroyd’s other works this too through its intricate narration puts forward a vivid picture of the culture, lifestyle and history. It is every bit moving and pivotal.
The illustrations are simple yet communicate the essence of the pieces appropriately and in an engaging manner. Each piece strikes a chord with the readers. Especially me coming from a colonized ethnicity myself connected with the feelings of them immensely, even though the experiences differed.
The stories are short and crisp. They are meant to be savoured slowly but I devoured it in 2 sittings. This is a very significant and enriching read. I’ll recommend it to everyone who likes a good piece of literature.
Chasing Quetzalcoatl to the American Dream, by Garret Thomas Godwin, is a fictional tale of Trick Hartland, a descendant of the Navajo, showing his life struggles between his mundane desires and the spiritual calling of his soul. The book has Trick’s story told from the very beginning to his 40s, spanning decades of cultural and societal changes that influence Trick in pursuing one path over another and pondering his life goals between achievement the American Dream and chasing the figure of Christ in Quetzalcoatl.
Trick’s story, albeit fictional, serves as a great way to shine a light on our own life choices and decisions, how we are molded by them and how life itself has a way of guiding us through God. Some parts of the book are especially good in illustrating that, such as when Trick gets involved with growing opioid plants while amidst Vietnam War incursions and tarnishes his soul with that; later on, under the guidance of a wise Navajo shaman, he is reborn through his spirituality and seeks to find redemption and forgiveness in his pursuit of Jesus by the Book of Mormon. Due to Mr. Godwin’s poetic experience, this duality can also be seen in subtle hints through carefully handpicked character names, for example.
The way in which this story of inner reflection and finding oneself is presented by author Garret Thomas Godwin embraces the reader and makes them feel like they are actively witnessing Trick’s evolution firsthand. Chasing Quetzalcoatl to the American Dream is very easy to read and the short length of chapters definitely makes it an essential pick for short-burst reading sessions before bed. As it is a pretty lengthy tale, several different characters are presented and some have foreign names which can be hard to remember after reading hiatuses, and to remedy that, the author kindly offers an index of characters at the end of the book for a quick glance that allows you to not lose track of who’s who.
Dondobee opens with introducing us to Coal, a dirty little urchin living in a black back alley and his invention of a unique musical instrument. An instrument through which he mastered such a melodious tune that all the birds and animals came to listen. One fine night his melody attracted two Leolian Elves who lived nearby. They danced and danced and danced. And came into an agreement with Coal, to be at his service for a lifetime in return of him playing them the music. This tale is about their son, Dondobee, the little Leolian elf, and his adventures in the castle.
The storyline is simple yet intriguing. It not only entertains readers but the narrative strikes them at various levels. It challenges and aspires to redefine beauty in a unique way. It makes readers think and teaches them to withhold their judgment. It also upholds the value of kindness and reiterates how things have value only when it brings happiness to others. These are integral lessons to impart to young readers.
Another thing that stands out about the book is its writing. It is effortless, lucid and has a natural flow to it. The plot never once lost its pace. In such fewer words, the author crafted detailed and amusing characters. I ended up feeling emotionally connected to not only our protagonist but also to others in the story like Coal, Rodo, Sheebee, and more. I adored Dondobee and I think it will be ideal for readers aged between 6 to 14 years. And I will also recommend it to all adults still young at heart like me.
Creating an Atmosphere for the Promises of God, by Melba K. Wiggins, is a book for all of us who need to find guidance in our identity as Christians. It teaches us how we can create a Godly atmosphere through our words and faith and through the author’s own experience and examples which are always based on what the Word of God says. It is by no means an easy task, so the author explains what we can do to allow ourselves to project that atmosphere from ourselves and onto others.
This book is an invitation to reflect on our existence and on God’s promises on how to face the struggles of seemingly meaningless everyday actions, negative words, and thoughts.
The book has many positive aspects, but I’d like to focus on some few points. For example, I love how the author doesn’t target her messages to any specific Christian group, but any Christian individual. That, by itself, shows the knowledge she has in creating an atmosphere of Godly resonance. Another good point is that the book offers questions at the end of every chapter, helping us to summarize and better absorb the concepts and messages. The use of the author’s examples helps us to see ideas in practical terms, which is admirable.
All in all, Creating an Atmosphere for the Promises of God is a reliable guidebook and highly recommended for spiritual enlightenment.
Kitty McCaffrey’s book, Raising Charlie: A Self Help Book for Single Mothers, centers on raising and developing children. This is an interesting and impressive book to read especially for single mothers who want to learn from the experience of Kitty, a single mother herself.
This book is not only about raising Charlie but raising the author’s other kid as well named, Jon. Although Charlie is the main focus because he’s the youngest adopted child, it was also Kitty’s story who had struggled her way through divorce and how she was able to raise her kids from early childhood to early adult successfully despite the many challenges and obstacles that a single parent could have experienced. It was such a painful decision on her part, who had a Near Death Experience and had lost two daughters before the couple’s decision of adopting the two boys (Jon and Charlie).
When the couple decided to separate, the author had to do her best to manage the kids with limited financial resources while working as a full-time teacher in Florida. Her spirituality as a Christian has helped her cope with the daily struggles and routines of raising her two boys while finding additional income to support the family since her husband was not very supportive especially when it comes to the security and emotional needs of the children. Aside from that, it was her wisdom and their togetherness as a team (between her and the two boys) that made their journey meaningful as she was able to focus on her children’s strengths through discipline and positive reinforcement.
I can also say that the author has given much importance on developing the kids holistically in terms of quality education, sports, travel, and the passion for music (the boys excelled in this area). Lastly, learning is also emphasized on raising Charlie with the help of his older brother since they acted as a team.
There are many good points about this book. First, every experience and meaningful anecdotes as narrated by Kitty, there is always a lesson being presented which is quite simple yet profound. Second, the author uses simple words to communicate to the readers whose audience is primarily intended for single mothers and would-be parents in the future about what it is like to raise a kid successfully. Third, the book focuses much on important themes like parenting or responsible parenthood, divorce, child development, and child psychology, religion, spirituality, remarriage and American cultural values.
Workbook for Basic Phonics by Melvine Groves
This book begins with verbally being able to identify colors and then identifying the color words. Melvine puts in the supplemental material for learning the alphabet, digraphs, and vowel sounds. She included activities where students will point, circle, or write colors, numbers, or letters. Also, she uses red to help with identifying vowel sounds. At the end of the book, she has sentences written out for the student to read. The one unique aspect of this workbook is the author’s use of color to help maintain the attention of the students.
The audience of the workbook could be any teacher who is working with pre-kindergarten age students up to first grade. The workbook also may benefit anyone who is working with special education students that need extra repetition of skills.
Overall, this workbook would be useful to reinforce or practice phonics skills that students are learning.