Jade Emperor quickly sucked me in…

Kelly Boyd’s life was quite predictable with every day planned out and the routine set. Her husband, Steve, is a Vietnam veteran who deployed shortly after their first child, Augie, was born. Now married with six adult children, Kelly and Steve were comfortable with their lives, until a stranger arrives at their door and their routines are flipped upside-down. The Jade Emperor by Suzanne Jenkins quickly sucked me into the storyline.

That stranger turns out to be the son of Steve and his mother is from Vietnam.  Wait, what? Yes. Apparently, Steve had some fun when he was in Vietnam thinking he was going to die at any moment. He even convinced Kelly all those years that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when in reality he was internally hiding that he was in love with someone else in a different country and he never kept in touch with her.

When this stranger arrives, his mother is with him a well. Knowing this, Steve suddenly spends tons of time with the two. When Kelly finds them at a restaurant outside of town, she observes how he treats this Vietnamese woman and realizes that he has never treated her like that. The moment that Steve hasn’t been suffering from PTSD, rather from heart-break hits her. Kelly begins to understand that they’ve both been living a lie all these years.

It doesn’t take long before Kelly brings the family together, a common occurrence. Unexpectedly, Steve and his Vietnamese love, Lee, shows up in the middle of the gathering. Talk about awkward moment! Kelly uses this moment to begin getting to know this lady and her son, Titan, while containing her composure and encouraging her children to be polite.

Then, everything seems to happen quickly in the story and I went from being lost in the story to wondering what just happened and how did everything progress so quickly. The Jade Emperor was mentioned in the story until more than halfway through and there wasn’t much of a history about this Jade Emperor. Personally, I feel like the ending of this story was rushed. The detail of the beginning was lost about halfway through.

The Jade Emperor by best-selling author, Suzanne Jenkins, was provided complimentary through readingdeals.com for an honest review. I feel this story is a 3-star because it begins so well and the detail so realistic, then it lost me as the ending felt rushed and thrown together haphazardly.

The not so Useless Warrior Princess

A Princess convinces her father, the king, that she wants to become a warrior like her brothers and the other boys. There are several kingdoms and the Warrior kingdom is the one that seems to keep the others in check. The Princess isn’t able to learn the magic in training but she doesn’t understand why. 

This book is brief and exciting. While the Princess isn’t doing well as a warrior-in-training and has been teased by many, all hope seems to be lost when the fire king begins taking over the other kingdoms. There is that one sliver of hope with the Soul Eating Sword, but it requires a Warrior kingdom sacrifice. The Princess and her brothers travel far to find this Soul Eating Sword. But will this sacrifice be the answer to defeating the fire king?

Recently I received an email requesting a review for a children’s book, The Useless Warrior Princess by Segilola Salami. I feel like this is a great story for children, but there is just something missing. There is discussion about each kingdom, about the Princess having weaknesses and strengths. But there is no examples of what these are. As much as I thought this story was about overcoming weaknesses and using your strengths, there is nothing about what these might be for the Princess.

There is potential with this story. Provided complimentary for an honest review, Unfortunately, I was unable to open this book on my kindle app, so I was unable to see any colors that may be present on the story. I was able to read it in black and white on my kindle Paperwhite. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review this book.

A suspenseful and emotional Return to Christmas

Returning from combat deployment is no vacation and it sometimes leaves the soldier feeling like no one understands him except for his battle buddies. While life goes on, the readjustment is difficult for many. In Return to Christmas, post-deployment is difficult for Chet as he attempts to readjust to behind home with his family and having difficulty finding and keeping employed. It as not until he meets a quiet autistic child that he begins to open up.

The behaviors of Chet are familiar to me, as I work with wounded warriors full-time. I’m not a social worker, but sometimes I wonder if that’s the next chapter for myself. Regardless, this story of Chet and his family and their journey to Christmas is emotional, heart-breaking, hopeful, and enlightening. In my experience with working with the wounded, ill, and injured service members post-deployment, their conditions are not always physical, but rather behavior health with chronic issues with sleep, anger, depression, headaches, and more. 

Chet seemed to do his best when it came to caring for his child. This is one person who wouldn’t judge him nor does he feel judged. This is often the case with returning soldiers from combat-deployment. They seem to focus on their children. Maybe it’s because they have seen the value of life, or maybe it’s because they want a better life for their own child, whatever the case, their children seem to ground them, particularly if the child is young, like Chet’s.

This story lightly touches on the effects on the home life for many who return from combat-deployments. An easy and light read, yet heart-warming and touching storyline, Return to Christmas by Kathi Macias shows a fairly typical story of post-deployment soldiers. The support of family and friends is important, even though the soldier may not want it. The changes in behavior are typical for soldiers who have deployed to Operation Eduring Freedom and Opeartion Iraqi Freedom, resulting in isolation and difficulty to reintegrate into civilian life.

I am honored to have the opportunity to read and review this book that shows even a small glimpse of life with a wounded warrior. This book was provided complimentary for an honest review. I highly recommend this book to anyone who knows a recently deployed soldier or maybe just a military love story. 

The Bravest You leads us to an extraordinary life

Are you brave? Do you follow your passions, your heart, your intuition? Or do you live your life in fear, limiting your reality? ‘The Bravest You: Five Steps to Fight Your Biggest Fears, Find Your Passion, and Unlock Your Extraordinary Life” by Adam Kirk Smith is an amazing collection to guide readers towards overcoming those fears, finding and following your passion, and unlocking an extraordinary life.

As we grow up, we have dreams to become these great people, affecting the lives of others and we begin to work towards those dreams. Then, life happens. We create a monotonous life, a life of routine, and we stay in those limitations, yet we dream of bigger and better, but we just don’t have enough time to get there. Our dreams get pushed aside while we work on the here and now.

Let’s get past the obstacles life and thrown at us and work towards becoming a braver us! What are you passionate about? What passions make you thrive? What are you willing to do without expecting to get paid to do it? What can you do that will leave a lasting impact on your life?

“Passion is and always will be the force that pushes you forward to find success – nothing more, nothing less.” ~Adam Kirk Smith, The Bravest You

Once you find your passion, you will find your purpose. Don’t limit your reality if you haven’t found your purpose!

This author also describes having hope. Break out of mediocrity and do something grand.  Use your intuition and previous life experiences plus the knowledge obtained along the way to achieve your purpose.

Create new brave habits to achieve the success you desire. Momentum will come when your passion comes from within, not from external forces. You need that drive, that grit, to keep going beyond where you’ve ever gone before.

Personally, I have found the tips in this book to be very useful and enlightening. There are many quotes within this book that I have highlighted and shared with my friends on social media. In my field of work and in my business, this book has come in very handy.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels stuck, who wants to achieve those dreams, or who feels there’s just not enough time to work on anything else. This book was provided complimentary for an honest review on NetGalley.