Category Archives: Relationships

The File: A Mother & Child’s Life-Changing Reunion

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

It is very frightening for a teenage girl to find out she is pregnant but just imagine if this pregnant girl is the daughter of a pastor.

Anita had a loving family; they were close and supportive. Her father was the pastor and her mother was the church musician. Being the child of the pastor had advantages and disadvantages; Anita could sleep a little later because the church was right next-door but on the other hand if her father caught Anita talking during the sermon, he would call her to the front of the church and make her sit by herself.

Anita was friends with Allison and Brent. Brent was in love with Allison but she wanted to keep their relationship as friends only. Anita and Brent had a class together during their senior year and they went out on a date. They became bored at a party and left to be alone so they could talk more. They ended up in a place where a lot of the kids went to make-out. They also ended up doing more than talking and things went a little too far.

Anita soon discovered that she was pregnant. There was a difficult decision to be made. She could keep the baby, have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption. Her first thought was to have an abortion because it seemed the easiest. No one would know. Her parents wanted her to make the decision but offered some advice. They told her that an abortion would be hard for her to live with since she would be taking a life.

Anita went into her closet and began to cry. After a lot of praying and crying, she decided to give the baby up for adoption. Little by little she started to tell her siblings and her best friend of her pregnancy. They were all supportive. Her father was the pastor of a new church and he asked the bishop if he should step down. The news was given to the congregation and Anita asked if she could speak. She told them how truly sorry she was for bringing this upon the church.

As time went on, Anita began to feel her baby kicking. She was starting to have second thoughts as she was feeling emotionally attached to the baby. She signed up for a couple of college courses to take her mind off things.

The day had finally arrived. Anita went into labor. She had to make another difficult decision. Did she want to see the baby after it was born? Would it be easier to give the baby up if she did not see the child? She decided it would be easier to not see the child. She heard the doctor say it is a little girl. They did tell her how much the baby weighed. They moved Anita to a room away from other mothers who would be taking their child home.

After Anita returned home from the hospital, she had to make arrangements to sign more paperwork. The adoption was not final yet. She, again, began to have second thoughts. Her parents, once again, offered their support if she wanted to keep the baby. This only made it more difficult.

Once everything was finalized, Anita began to feel a little better. The judge assured her that the adoptive parents had the same spiritual beliefs as her and that they would provide a good home.

As Anita tried to get her life back to normal, she received a call from a young man she had met before. He asked her out. She soon realized that he was the one for her and it did not take long for them to get married.

Even though she seemed happy, she hardly had a day go by without thinking of her daughter. Anita knew she could not have any contact with her daughter until she reached the age of 18.
Anita and her husband had four children but she still wondered about the daughter she gave up for adoption.

The one thing Anita could do for her adopted daughter was to place items in “the file” at the agency. When her daughter turned 18, she could ask to see the file.

Will Anita’s adopted daughter ask to see the file?

I am not going to say anything more because this would be giving away “spoilers”. I want readers to find out for themselves what happens.

The File is a book that shows the heartbreak a mother has when she makes the decision to do what is best for her child. You could feel the pain in every decision that Anita had to make. On the other hand, this book also shows how happy an adoptive family can be when they have the opportunity to bring a baby into their loving home.

The author has done a wonderful job in weaving every piece of this story together. From sad emotions to joyous ones, the reader will feel like Anita is sitting right beside them as she tells her story. The File also shows how important spiritual beliefs can help in the process of making very difficult decisions.

On a personal note, I attended a workshop where Anita Keagy was the speaker. She spoke about giving her baby up for adoption. Her emotion and tears told the audience everything they needed to know. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Anita Keagy speak, please do yourself a favor and sign-up.

On The Corner: A Novel of Lifelong Friendship by S.J. Tagliareni

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

On the CornerDid you have a best friend who was there for you during the good times and difficult times in your life? This is the story of On the Corner.

Sal and his childhood friend, Michael have been there for each other. It is difficult to imagine what would have happened had they not been there to provide the emotional support to each other during the many events that took place over the years.

The reader will follow the story of these two men as they face many situations in life; marriage, deaths of loved ones, going their separate ways to college and reconnecting again.

Once you read On the Corner, it will make you really appreciate someone you might have known like Sal and Michael. Sometimes we take friends for granted but this story will make you take a second look at your close friends. Even if you have lost contact with a close friend, On the Corner will make you want to search for that person so you can reconnect again.

The Trinity Knot: Releasing the Knot of Silence by DonnaLee Overly

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The Trinity KnotBook one of an intended series of women’s contemporary fiction, DonnaLee Overly’s The Trinity Knot: Releasing the Knot of Silence, poses a journey into the core of one woman’s psyche, affected and conflicted by the trauma of sexual assault by someone that she trusted, taking place in a location where she should have felt safe. This story brings to focus this unpleasant scenario and questions, which bear distinct discussion, especially in regard to today’s ongoing headlines concerning sexual assault on women. The story raises the question; can you not only forgive your rapist, but fall in love with him as well?

The protagonist, Gabriella King, has a great life. She is the daughter of a wealthy Texas rancher, as well as being blessed with beauty, a talent and passion for painting and overall confidence but after experiencing the distress of a sexual assault she becomes a very different person experiencing a gamut of negative emotions. Ashamed, she keeps the attack to herself and chooses not to divulge anything to those closest to her. Hiding her pain, she lets time pass. She also thinks no one will believe her, and retreats from the world while maintaining a disposition of self-deprecation. However, she cannot remain cloistered in her shame and finds that she does have to confront what happened.

Mock My Words by Chandra Shekhar

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Mock My WordsMock My Words is comprised of three storylines. Each one of them is interconnected with a plot that involves a renowned author by the name of David Tan, who left China to live in the United States. The main storyline not only revolves around David’s struggles and challenges as a new teacher at John Steinbeck University in Northern California, but also portrays the stress and anxiety that David experiences while trying to survive a rough patch in his marriage. The secondary storylines involve David’s wife, Laura, and Melissa, a student at the university.

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David is worried and nervous about whether or not the students in his writing course will accept and respect him. This dilemma is due to the disconnect between his writing and his speaking. Although David writes beautiful prose, he speaks English very poorly, which makes it difficult to communicate with people. Even though he wants to share his love of classical literature with his students, they are ill-mannered and rude towards him. It does not get any easier for him when some of his colleagues rebuff him. In addition to work issues, whenever David is at home, he always feels that he has to tread carefully around his wife’s feelings in order not to upset her and possibly ruin any chances at intimacy.

Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Voyage of Discovery (Journeys) (Volume 2) by Susan Joyce

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Good Morning Diego GarciaWith Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Journey of Discovery (Journeys – Book 2), talented author Susan Joyce relates her further memoirs, which she began in The Lullaby Illusion: A Journey of Awakening (Journeys – Volume 1). The result is a fascinating book, combining the genres of memoirs and travel books, relating the author’s further adventures, when she and her husband, Charles, are invited by friends to travel in a yacht they are breaking in on its maiden voyage, and they travel to many exotic locations. Like in the first book, the author undergoes an internal journey of self-discovery as well as experiencing the journey of a lifetime places many people only dream of seeing.

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Good Morning Diego Garcia begins with the narrator and Charles back in Ojai, California, after having spent a tumultuous time in Cyprus, living through the 1974 coup and war there. The couple are settling into a house they have rented, with Charles waiting on his old job to call him back and let him know work is available for him. They do not seem to be worried about financial matters very much, as Charles has money socked away in at least a couple of bank accounts for them to get by on.

Be Your Own Brand of Sexy: A New Sexual Revolution for Women by Susan L. Edelman, M.D.

Be Your Own Brand of Sexy

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Positing a revamped sexual revolution for women, Dr. Susan L. Edelman invites the modern dating female to change their lives by changing their dating habits in her book, Be Your Own Brand of Sexy. This is a must have book for all women dating or looking to date, expertly suffused with invaluable guidance from Dr. Edelman that intelligently examines the current dating scene, and does away with the outmoded dating culture of the woman who settles for or accepts less than her ideal mate. In fact it poses a revolutionary change in standards for the modern dating woman that equips women with the means to know themselves and in turn help themselves and ends the potential for dating/relationship heartache.

Making It by Amanda Gibbs

Making It

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Love has many faces and Amanda Gibbs invites you to discover one of these through her book Making It. Her stories are not restricted to a single literary form, but take on whatever serves them best, so you can expect anything from prose and poetry to vignettes.

Actually, Making It is like a written photo album of a couple’s life. The chapters are like HD snapshots of adventures these two shared from the day they met to their 30th anniversary. The high-resolution imagery allows you to witness the smallest of details and the most intimate thoughts. What the reader sees about this couple is not restricted only to the material dimension, but it goes beyond that, to the magical and still largely unmapped minds of a woman and a man. The two main characters bare the burden of representing their gender, and they are both, in a sense the archetypal male and female. However, they bare the mark of our modern times. There is an interesting dynamic between what both of them think, say, and do. Their actions (just like ours) are not always smoothly linked to their thoughts and words. It takes time and dedication to get to truly know a person, sometimes it takes 30 years, and sometimes a lifetime is still not enough.

No Crying for Elena: A Woman Raised in a Cult and Her Daughter Finally Find Salvation in Each Other by N. Meridian

No Crying for Elena Reviewed by Diane Pollock

Child of a Cult, Woman of the World.

The author relates the true story of her life as a young girl in a cult who was forced into the real world following a raid upon their compound. She carves out a life for herself as a teenager, but is sideswiped by a rape that led to her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter Elena. She triumphs in the end as we leave her looking forward with hope.

The author has had an intriguing and difficult life, overcoming much adversity. I feel that the very writing of this book was quite cathartic and even necessary for her. The book teases us with flashes and glances at her life, leaving us longing for further detail. For example, we learn of her moving in with her Aunt Bee and living with her for many months before suddenly being told that Aunt Bee had an adult daughter who was bipolar and quite cruel to our heroine.

Dating Tips for You by Nocita Carter

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Dating Tips for You by Nocita CarterDating: Love it, hate it–we’re all either eventually going to date, have dated with varying degrees of success, or are married or in a relationship currently, but possibly one day in the future, will end up dating again. There are lots of different self-help and dating books that have been published to make the success you have at dating more likely than if you, to use a baseball metaphor, just keep swinging at the ball and missing it again and again. One book that I’ve read lately that is short, to the point, and contains numerous informative and useful tips on dating is Dating Tips for You by Nocita Carter. Though I am married, I saw many tips that would have been useful for me to know while I was dating, and ones which my teen daughter likely will find useful to know.

Different books focus on different aspects of dating. This book covers many topics that anyone embarking on wanting to meet someone they will want to have fun with and maybe share their lives with at some point down the road either have run into, or will, such as who should pay the bill on a date, or if the cost should be split. There are many schools of thought on this, because the man might feel as a man it’s his responsibility to pay for the bill. However, the woman may not want to feel as if, by the man paying for the bill, that she is then obligated to have sex with him. A happy medium the author mentions is that the two people might agree to switch off, one paying for the first date, the other, for the second.

Other topics include if you should date your boss or a coworker, if it’s a good idea to date your neighbor, if dating for fun with no commitment is for you or not, and if your date should meet your family and friends. As to the last topic I mentioned, doing it right away is generally not good, as it puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved. Whenever you do have your boyfriend or girlfriend meet your friends or parents, you should let them know or warn them about certain things that might be touchy subjects, or things that might make for sources of conversation during dinner, for instance.