Feb 152018


The world can be a violent place. Although you try to shelter your children, terrible things can happen at any moment. As a parent, you want to protect them, but this isn’t always possible. The best thing you can do for your children is make sure you are prepared to help them after a sudden death or other traumatic experience.

Where Did My Friend Go? was written by clinical psychologist and child-development specialist Azmaira H. Maker, PhD, to help adults discuss a traumatic death and bereavement with children ages three to eight years old. Children will read along as the protagonist talks about the sudden loss of a friend and asks adults important questions about dying, grief, and safety.

Dr. Maker has spent her career working with children and families. She understands how witnessing-or even simply hearing about-a violent and sudden death can leave children traumatized, frightened, and confused. Dr. Maker’s new picture book allows children to cope with their feelings and questions in a calm and nurturing context.

The book includes a guide for adults and a list of discussion questions to help children and adults talk honestly about the difficult emotions that arise after the sudden loss of a loved one. Through conversations, pictures, sculpture, playacting, and more, children can share their fears, learn how to cope, and receive appropriate reassurance about their own safety.

MY Thoughts

This book, unfortunately in today’s climate, explains losing a friend through a traumatic experience. However, I think it could also be useful as a guide to talking with a child relating to death. As adults, we sometimes, can’t understand, so how does a child?

I thought that this book would be a very useful tool for an adult to broach such a hard topic. I also thought the guide, in assisting adults, to ask the proper questions was extremely insightful.

Recommended for children 4-8 years of age.


Publisher: Aspiring Families Press

Publication Date: April 14th 2017

ISBN-10: 0996194118

ISBN-13: 9780996194112

Pages: 30




“Divorce” is a big word…especially for little kids. It’s hard for young children to understand what the word means, let alone how it will impact their lives—and it’s hard for us, as grown-ups, to explain it to them in terms they can fully comprehend.

Nonetheless, when a child is involved in a family divorce or separation, it is crucial that he or she understands and embraces the changes… and this book will help you explain the transitions to your child.

Family Changes is a delightfully informative children’s book that tackles a complicated topic in compassionate, child-friendly terms. Ideal for young minds aged four through eight, it features a colorful cast of fuzzy characters led by a young bunny na­­med Zoey, who is struggling with her parents’ divorce and is riddled by important questions and feelings your child is likely to encounter.

In addition to the heartfelt story at its core, Family Changes also offers parents, therapists, teachers, and caregivers valuable information on how to ease children through this significant life change. A comprehensive note to parents and a list of essential child-focused questions are provided to guide the adult and child, and are certain to be an asset to both children and adults involved in the divorce/separation process.

MY Thoughts

Another hard topic for children to understand, and not blame themselves for, is Divorce.

The story is about a frightened bunny that is having to deal with her parent’s divorce. The fear, anxiety, where will she live, etc. that comes with a divorce.

Another excellent tool for parents to help their child during such a traumatic issue in his/her life. The author also includes a guide as to what and how to ask the hard questions.

Recommended for ages 4-8.

This book received the USA Best Book Award.


Publisher: Aspiring Families Press

Publication Date: May 28, 2015

ISBN-10: 099619410X

ISBN-13: 978-0996194105

Pages: 34



Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D.

Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and speaker, and an expert in child development, parenting, and psychotherapy. She has been working with children, parents, and families for over twenty years and has extensive experience in hospitals, schools, clinical agencies, and nonprofit organizations. She has also taught and supervised graduate and undergraduate students in child development, child therapy, play therapy, family therapy, parent guidance, trauma, and loss, and has published several research and theoretical articles in scientific, peer-reviewed professional psychology journals. She brings a wealth of experience working with divorcing families to Family Changes, which is certain to educate, enlighten, and empower children and parents.

“I was committed to writing this book because I love children, and connecting with and helping children makes me feel alive. Sometimes, even the smallest of interventions can profoundly shift a child’s developmental path and life experiences for the better, and when this occurs, my commitment and dedication to my work is reaffirmed. I am passionate about empowering children and enabling parents to be the best parents they can be.”

Dr. Azmaira H. Maker holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Vassar College (Phi Beta Kappa), and received her doctoral training at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Maker completed her post-doctoral fellowship training at the University of Michigan Hospital, Department of Psychiatry. Her extensive experience in working with divorcing families, along with her specialized training at the Child Advocacy Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School provides her with extensive clinical skills and expert knowledge that guide the content of Family Changes.

“My draw to my work is the intense relationship and trust I have with each person, each parent, and each child. I experience individuals as unique, a kaleidoscope of characteristics, thoughts, feelings, and ways of being. I thrive on the path of hard work, discovery, insight, and growth. I often use the word ‘transformation or transfiguration’ with my clients.”

Dr. Maker currently resides in San Diego with her family and has a private practice in Del Mar. In her practice, Dr. Maker sees children, teenagers, families, and individual adults. She work with people presenting with a range of vulnerabilities and stressors, including divorce, trauma, loss (including pregnancy loss), infertility, anxiety, relationship/interpersonal struggles, depression, adoption, attachment, learning disabilities, developmental delays, and giftedness.

Connect with Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D. at these sites:



This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Sep 162014


Ali B.

Born and raised in farm country, Ali B now lives in San Diego with her husband, two kids, and a small herd of wily dachshunds. Books give her peace. Writing gives her life. Teaching gives her joy.
The Sixteen is her second novel and the second book in the Soul Jumpers series.

Connect with Author:

http://alibbooks.com/ TWITTER

What bothers Ali B when she’s writing?

Hmmm…. What bothers me most when writing? The first Soul Jumpers book, Iris Brave, was written in a coffee shop in San Diego. Iris’s adventure was plotted while nursing decaf lattes and refueling on bagels and cream cheese. For those of you troubled that I was there solely for the free Wi-Fi, I promise I wasn’t. I was there so I wouldn’t be bothered by my laundry.

Accumulating laundry is the bane of my existence. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I am really distracted by it. I tend to be a bit hard on myself, so even though I know writing is hard work, I still think I’d be a better human being if I could write a novel while simultaneously conquering household chores.

I solved the laundry problem by finding a spacious coffeehouse that serves a lovely latte and didn’t have metered parking. This charming place was miles away from my laundry room. I loved it! For about a week it was my literary oasis, but then someone sat in my spot.

I know what you’re thinking – that guy’s got a lot of nerve. That’s what I thought too. I was forced to sit at a lesser table across the room with people sitting behind me. I like my back against a wall – in case of an invasion, of course. It was unbearable. I clearly wasn’t going to get any work done. The first day he was in my spot I tried out my Vulcan mind meld powers on him. I’m sure they would have worked if I could have touched him (as is the Vulcan way) but that would have made me the creepy one.

He was there every day, in my spot, for about a week, but then he stopped. I was back where I belonged, blissfully sitting under the white rhinoceros sculpture that was oddly nailed to the wall at least two feet above anyone’s sightline. From that spot, without laundry and cheeky table stealers, I could write Iris Brave. For the most part.

Here’s a short(ish) list of other things that bother me when I’m writing.

1. Loud conversations.
2. Repetitive music.
3. Cell phone chatting.
4. Noisy eaters.
5. Noisy, slurping, coffee drinkers.
6. People who practice “spoken word” monologues at coffee houses.
7. People who meet their life coach at coffee houses.
8. People scraping their chairs at coffee houses.
9. People who stand outside the open door at coffee houses and smoke.
10. Needing to pee but not having anyone to guard your spot because everyone thinks your mean because you keep giving them dirty looks for the first nine things on this list.

ABOUT The Sixteen

There are people out there who don’t die with their bodies. Their souls live on in the bodies of others. Some good, some bad-they are soul jumpers.

Nothing in Iris Brave’s world makes sense anymore. Her father, Micah, is still alive-his soul survives in the body of a teenage boy.

It is up to Iris and a rogue group of soul jumpers called the Sixteen to save Micah. To do so Iris must take on the unscrupulous leaders of the Council. Can she save her father? Will she survive? Who can she trust when one mistake could cost her everything?

Scared and running out of hope, Iris doesn¹t know what her next move should be but she knows she must act to save the people she loves. A long way from home and surrounded by people who she knows are not what they seem, Iris jeopardizes her own freedom. Her brave rescue forces her on the run and changes her into someone she could’ve never imagined.

In the Soul Jumpers Series, Ali B. shares the message that we are more than the body we live in, everyone can be brave and while there is evil in the world, there is also infinite good.


Number of Pages:
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Publisher: New Shelves Publishing Services
Publication Date: July 18th 2014
ISBN: 0988942216 (ISBN13: 9780988942219)




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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Mar 252014



Susan E. Davis is a New Jersey Licensed Physical Therapist with over 36 years of clinical experience, who transitioned from human practice to working with animals. She owns and operates Joycare Onsite, LLC, formed in 2008, providing Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation services exclusively to multiple animal species: in the pet’s home, farm, in clinics, animal shelters, and a zoo. She currently provides pro-bono services once per week to the Monmouth County SPCA and prior to that at Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park Animal Clinic. Susan has been a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and its Animal Rehabilitation Special Interest Group and also belongs to the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO). In 2004, she received the Monmouth- Ocean NJAWBO Business Woman of the Year Award, and is currently a nominee for a Northwestern University Alumni Community Service Award. In addition to clinical practice, Susan is a writer and author, public speaker and consultant.
Connect with Susan at these sites:


Q&A with Susan E. Davis

What was your inspiration for your book?
The animals and how they respond to Physical Therapy, especially when compared to human beings! I have a unique perspective on this, having been a “people” physical therapist for 30 years before transitioning into the veterinary world.  Animals, though they may not be sure exactly what you are trying to do the first few minutes, figure it out fast. Once they sense you have inherent good intentions, they accept every bit of care you provide.  They don’t harbor hidden agendas. They let down their emotional barriers quickly.  Because of these traits, they absorb the benefits of PT rapidly and respond usually within the very first encounter. What may take 4-6 PT sessions for a human, can be accomplished in 2 visits or less with an animal. They also hold the improvement longer and I don’t need to schedule appointments as often. For example a person might attend PT 2-3 times per week, but animal sessions are just once per week or every other week.

What do you hope to accomplish?
Empowerment of pet owners to be able to better help their beloved furry/feathered friends.  I wrote the book specifically as a guide for the consumer, instead of gearing it toward the veterinary professional. I strongly believe that knowledge is power and if concerned owners are armed with information, they can make the best choices and achieve optimal outcomes for their pets.  As a therapy provider, I love to have clients who are savvy and keep me on my toes.  I also feel it is very important to teach pet owners all they can do on their own regarding therapy, and there are many examples and recommendations of this throughout the book.

Did you write the book in a linear fashion, or skip around to various topics?
I started with an extensive outline (which became the Table of Contents), in a logical (linear-style) order and organized by medical condition.  But after that, I wrote sections in random order, based on my particular passion at the time.  If I had a current caseload with lots of neurological cases, I tended to jump ahead to those sections of the manuscript. I drew the contents from actual clinical cases, educational courses, review of current literature, information from therapeutic symposiums, and interviews. I included anecdotal stories from actual experiences in pet’s homes, animal shelters, zoos, and farms which were woven throughout the book.

What is the most important lesson the animals have taught you?
Trust.  Not simple blind trust, but allowing oneself to trust another once you have used your internal intuition or compass to determine that the other’s intentions seem  sound.  The animals don’t wait for you to prove yourself fully or lay out all of your cards, but quickly process the initial input provided and if it meets their threshold, they surrender to your loving care.

What traits or habits are important for someone interested in writing a book?
Curiosity, concentration, discipline, a love of reading, and the ability to function on reduced sleep!

Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite current day author is Anita Shreve.  I also love the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens.


Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals is an essential guide that helps a pet owner navigate the veterinary physical therapy and rehabilitation field throughout their animal¹s lifespan. Topics include: finding a qualified therapist, getting started, what to expect on the initial visit, goal setting, treatment intervention plans, anatomy, and descriptions of a wide variety of conditions affecting the pet in the areas of Orthopedics, Neurology, Oncology, Metabolic Illness, etc. The book also addresses interesting topics such as Seniors/Geriatrics, Arthritis, Injury Prevention, Sports and Athletic animals, Stem Cell Procedures, Reiki, Braces and Splints, Wheeled Carts and Artificial limbs, etc. Numerous patient case studies and anecdotal stories covering over 5 animal species are interspersed throughout the book.


Number of Pages: 286 pages
Publisher: Joycare Media
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
ISBN-10: 0989275000
ISBN-13: 978-0989275002



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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Mar 242014



Christopher Zenos is a pseudonym. The author is a well-published university professor who has contended with mental illness all his life. Autumn in Carthage developed, in large part, from his need to narrate this world he inhabits: The man standing at the window, bracing against the wind as he gazes in wonder at the light and comfort on the other side.
Connect with Christopher at his blog on GR:


The nether side of passion is madness.

Nathan Price is a college professor with crippling impairments, seeking escape from his prison of necessity. One day, in a package of seventeenth-century documents from Salem Village, he stumbles across a letter by his best friend, Jamie, who had disappeared six months before. The document is dated 1692–the height of the Witch Trials. The only potential lead: a single mention of Carthage, a tiny town in the Wisconsin northern highland.

The mystery catapults Nathan from Chicago to the Wisconsin wilderness. There, he meets Alanna, heir to an astonishing Mittel-European legacy of power and sacrifice. In her, and in the gentle townsfolk of Carthage, Nathan finds the refuge for which he has long yearned. But Simon, the town elder, is driven by demons of his own, and may well be entangled in Jamie’s disappearance and that of several Carthaginians. As darkness stretches toward Alanna, Nathan may have no choice but to risk it all…

Moving from the grimness of Chicago’s South Side to the Wisconsin hinterlands to seventeenth-century Salem, this is a story of love, of sacrifice, of terrible passions–and of two wounded souls quietly reaching for the deep peace of sanctuary.


Number of Pages: 332 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: March 5, 2014
ISBN-10: 1496043022
ISBN-13: 978-1496043023



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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Mar 072014



With a degree in English and graduate work in Creative Writing, Debra McKenna worked as a feature writer and editor for city magazines in Sacramento, Denver, Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas for over nine years.  Recovering from Life is her first novel.
Connect with Debra at these sites:


Guest Post by Debra McKenna

Fiction—what a wild, wild world.  I came to this realm after ten years as a writer and editor for city magazines where I confronted topics as technical as heart surgery and as fluffy as the latest trends in home décor.  Though these topics were diverse, they all had one thing in common: they were based in fact.  So, just imagine how I had to murder that little reporter/editor who was hovering at my back and drooling on my shoulder at every turn.  In fact, I think I’m still trying to squeeze the life out of her.

But, before making this shift from non-fiction to fiction, I had to become inspired.   And that inspiration came after bartending through six years of college as I studied English and Creative Writing.  While working “the planks” at a popular nightspot in a Northern California city, I became an observer of humankind and a student of life.  When those two things didn’t kill me, I started writing.

After I’d created a couple of interesting characters, most likely amalgams of the nut-burgers to whom I’d served drinks, I began to notice our current culture’s penchant for using rehab to deal with various “issues.”  With that realization came another—pretty much everyone one has some peccadillo.  So, when are these issues rehab-worthy and when do they simply define who we are?  In the end, we all have some troubling behaviors, be they eating habits, shopping habits, drinking habits, or romantic habits, habits being the operative word.

Recovering from Life is the story of Stephanie McCarthy and her rollicking road to redemption.  After Steph’s husband disappears, she confronts her own issues while triumphing over hardship, some of which was of her own making.  While her trials and ultimate redemption involve serious issues, they’re seen through a clear lens of humor.  After all, life really is quite funny when it isn’t driving us nuts.  Or, perhaps more accurately, finding it funny is what keeps us from going nuts.  In truth, we live in a crazy world.

The fiction writing process is a unique one.  The writer gets to invent a world and all the people in it—and even decide what comes out of their mouths.  For me, it was essential to have a strong narrative voice, a main character who would grab readers’ hearts and minds but also keep them giggling.  And keep them giggling over topics that aren’t so funny at times.

As such, the rewrite of each chapter, the fine-tuning of each draft of the book, required focusing from a different angle.  First: just the facts, ma’am.  Second: what’s your point, darlin’?  Third: is this road taking us anywhere? And, fourth: could you please make us chuckle some more?  As a fact-finding reporter type, when I began this project I had only a rudimentary idea of what I was jumping into.  I started with a premise and an ending to my story, and then I let my characters take me for a ride.  When one of the characters misbehaved too badly or took me somewhere too odd, he or she got a spanking.

As I start on the sequel to Recovering from Life, vigilantly plotting my story line, I have the feeling the characters are going to take me riding to the edge of reason again while laughing madly the whole time.  Sometimes irony is the best way to get a point across.


A story of humor and hope.

Recovering From Life is the tale of 39-year-old, redheaded spitfire Stephanie McCarthy’s rollicking road to redemption. A gifted freelance writer in Northern California, Steph works days hawking frozen foods while her life limps along. Until her husband, Kenny, disappears into the crack ghetto. His descent into addiction catapults Steph onto a wild ride that feels unendurable—but ultimately leads to her own self-discovery.

Marooned in a state of financial doom, legal tangles, and emotional turmoil, Steph navigates the pitfalls of her new path, which takes her into the realms of drug dealers, high finance—and hot romance. With her wisecracking buddy, Lee, and other surprising allies at her side, Steph begins to rebuild her world as she stumbles into her blind spots and wrestles with her faulty guy-radar.

When Steph at last spies the “Welcome to Reality” sign at the end of the road, she realizes that her job is to heal from a life she never chose—and to recover from the one that she did. But while she rides that roller coaster of recovery, Stephanie has one hell of a good time.



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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.