book reviews

4 Reviews from Blogging Authors

My writing PLN (professional Learning Network) pretty much revolves around blogs and the authors who share their insights and advice online. When I have a question, I often go there first, before digging through my shelves of self-help writing books. Along the way, I’ve read many of their books. Here, I want to share those that I’ve particularly enjoy and think you might too.

  • The Palaver Tree — one woman’s tale of growth from great personal loss to a challenging but fulfilling life
  • PS I Forgive You — memoir of a life lived with a narcissistic parent
  • Hurricane Crimes — fiction based on the power of nature
  • Lilith — a thoughtful discussion on life, based on Jungian psychology

The Palaver Tree The Palaver Tree

by Wendy Unsworth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wendy Unsworth’s Palaver Tree (Amazon Digital Services 2012) is a beautiful, sad but happy story about Ellie. Ellies leads a fairly boring–well, uneventful–life in Cornwall England that is upended when first her husband and family dog are killed by a hit and run driver and then her elderly mother dies. She no longer has any reason to remain in a town that, though it includes friends, has never really felt like home, and now holds nothing but lonely memories.

“Even after two years of marriage, she often woke with the feeling that she was somewhere she didn’t belong and would be caught, any moment, on the loose without an entrance ticket.”

She moves to a small African village to teach, but that turns out to include its own set of problems.

I was originally pulled into this story by the cover, but it was the gorgeous storytelling from Wendy that kept me reading.

“There was a tension in the house like musical strings, stretched to their limit and fit to snap.”

“Lately, any sentence honored with a mention of her husband was apt to hemorrhage sarcasm like warm treacle through a sieve.”

You cannot fail but enjoy this tale of Ellie’s personal growth from unmotivated housewife to extraordinarily accomplished adult.


P.S. I Forgive You

PS I Forgive You

by D.G. Kaye

5/5

Originally a sequel to Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt, PS I Forgive You (Amazon Digital Services 2016) became a stand-alone final chapter to D.G. Kaye’s emotional story about surviving a narcissistic mother. You can feel Kaye’s strength as she’s forced to break off communication with her mother as a last-ditch effort to protect her own mental health–even as her mother is dying. If you come from a loving supportive family (like I do), it’s very difficult to understand the damage caused by this sort of emotional abuse, but through Kaye’s eyes, I felt it. Suffered it. At one point, Kaye mentioned a concern that her mother might read what admittedly was a less than flattering book about her, but I already knew enough about her mother to know that she would never either read her daughter’s published words or listen to them.

That is how powerful this story is: I feel like I knew both Kaye and her mother well by the time I turned the last page. Highly recommended by anyone with a narcissistic family member. This will help you.


Hurricane Crimes (Disaster Crimes #1) Hurricane Crimes

by Chrys Fey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love stories where nature is the antagonist (or protagonist–I’ll take either). This series uses natural disasters as the setting for each killing. This one–obviously–is a hurricane. Chrys does an exemplary job of making me feel the power of this hurricane and how small man is next to it.


lilithIn Praise of Lilith, Eve and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden and Other Stories

by Susan Scott

5/5

In Praise of Lilith (Olympia Publishers 2009) is a delightful collection of thoughts Susan Scott, a devotee of Jungian psychology, has put together for readers. Five of them are personal, two not so much, but all thought-provoking and cerebral.

“…as I write, that ‘feeling’ comes into it, which is always satisfying, if not altogether surprising. While writing, I seem to undergo an attitude change and find I am more willing to be honest with myself and therefore to the reader as well…”

This sense Susan has of being more honest with herself and readers stands out in her writings. I felt like we were friends wandering down a dirt path chatting about the meaning of life and the world and our purpose in everything. Though this is Susan’s first book, it’s not her last. I will soon read another thoughtful book she has just published called Aging and Becoming.

View all my reviews


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for Spring, 2017. Click to follow its progress.

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43 thoughts on “4 Reviews from Blogging Authors

  1. I always enjoy your reviews, and this post is no exception. Now…are you the one who recommended the book Separate Beds? Set in London. I want to thank whoever it was, because I enjoyed the book very much. Either way – Happy 3rd week of March! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jacqui, these are such lovely reviews! The Palavar Tree looks enticing and I’m a fan of books set in Africa and also featuring the wonderful location of Cornwall is such a plus! Like you I have a warm loving and supportive mother and can’t imagine the heartache and pain Debby has suffered – the book sounds like an incisive insightful reflection on her life. What really struck me was your words of thinking her mother would never read or listen to her books anyway. Yikes, that cut but all too true I fear. Finally I’m intrigued by your last review of Susan Scott’s book and your delightful comment of ‘. I felt like we were friends wandering down a dirt path chatting about the meaning of life and the world and our purpose in everything.’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jacqui – the Palaver Tree sounds interesting … both Cornwall and Africa ‘are mine’! I agree the cover appeals … Chrys Fey’s Crime stories will make interesting reads as I’m sure she’s researched fully … while Susan Scott’s collection of thoughts I’m sure will be thought-provoking and cerebral – thanks for these reviews … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Four 5/5 reviews? That is high praise and I know you don’t throw those 5s around. The Palaver Tree seems like a perfect read for me. PS I Forgive You sounds like it could be my story (if I wrote than well.) In Praise of Lilith sounds like the kind of non-fiction I enjoy. In Hurricane Crimes, are people first suspicious that the weather was responsible for the death? Did you know I wrote a children’s story about a hurricane? Decades ago, it was the very first book I ever wrote.

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  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – St. Patrick’s Day – Pamela S. Wight, Brigid Gallagher, Jacqui Murray, Oyia Brown and Elizabeth Melton Parsons | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  6. Thank you for your generous review of Lilith Jacqui! Pleased, proud & privileged to be in such great company! Will check the others out over the weekend-they look intriguing indeed! Have a great weekend and thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

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