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  • Innocent War (Revised Edition): Behind an Immigrant's Past Series Book 1
    Innocent War (Revised Edition): Behind an Immigrant's Past Series Book 1
    by Susan Violante

Glimpse of Sunlight by Leona DeRosa Bodie & G.E. Gardiner

Glimpse of Sunlight

Leona DeRosa Bodie & G.E. Gardiner
WRB Publishing (3/2014)
ISBN 9780989624756
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (3/14)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘Glimpse of Sunlight’ by Leona DeRosa Bodie and G.E. Gardiner on Blogcritics.

Being born and raised in Maracaibo-Venezuela, a Caribbean pirates’ hideout spot, I was very excited to review “Glimpse of Sunlight” by Leona DeRosa Bodie & G.E. Gardiner, and I was not disappointed!

The story begins in current times when Donovan, a college student gets in contact with Kyle, his old professor, now treasure hunter. Donovan ends up flying to Jamaica and takes a summer job offered by Henry, Kyle’s treasure hunt sponsor, at a tourist spot in Jamaica, an old house which is believed to be haunted. During his stay at the house he will uncover the history behind a sunken treasure to which claim is being disputed through the stories shared by Kyle and Henry. He will also discover that there is much to explore in the old Dickinson house.

Although the book begins in current times, the real adventure is not the actual treasure hunt, but the story of the Seydou-Dickinson feud which took place hundreds of years in the past. The adventure begins when Oumar is taken from his home in Africa by seventeenth century slave market hunters, to be sold in Jamaica when he was just 10 years old. Parallel to this in Ireland, a young girl and her mother, Blair, are sold as slaves to pay a debt and also sent to Jamaica. Unfortunately, Blair’s mother perishes before arriving. Upon arrival, she catches Jonathan Dickinson’s eye, then just a young boy. Destiny will connect these people to transcend time.

Bodie and Gardiner do an amazing job presenting such a rich plot, as it flows wonderfully from the present to past; and from one character’s story to the other. Their descriptions are so vivid they painted pictures in my mind, taking me into the setting by lighting all of my senses. The characters are as colorful and real as the places they lived. The action kept me turning page after page, not wanting to put it down!

Overall, “Glimpse of Sunlight - Book 1” is a well written historical fiction adventure about pirates, treasures, slaves, and everything else that made the seventeenth century Caribbean colorful, beautiful and at the same time scary. A great read!


Book Review of Khuda Buksh: The Pioneer of Life Insurance in Bangladesh by Muhammad Obaidur Rahim

Article first published on Reader Views

Khuda Buksh: The Pioneer of Life Insurance in Bangladesh
Muhammad Obaidur Rahim
The University Press Limited (2011)
ISBN: 9789845060271
Reviewed by Daryn Watson for Reader Views (01/14)

Muhammad Obaidur Rahim’s biography of his father, in “Khuda Buksh: The Pioneer of Life Insurance in Bangladesh”, is a very detailed depiction of Mr. Buksh’s success and pioneering career within the life insurance industry in Bangladesh.

Khuda Buksh was a very polite and very ethical human being. Growing up in the remote village of Damoyda, he was the eldest of five sons to Shonabuddin Howlader and Arjuta Khatun. Living his childhood without conveniences, even electricity. His family did not feel they lived in a scarce world, but they made do with what they were given.

In 1930, Khuda Buksh arrived in the city of Kolkata, where he applied to Islamia College and then continued his studies at Presidency College. Due to health and family reasons, he did not complete his post-secondary studies. He joined the Oriental Government Security Life Assurance Company as a clerk, which began his illustrious career that would change the insurance industry forever. As Khuda Buksh’s career continued to grow, he recognized the extreme poverty within the Muslim community. Furthermore, most people were very skeptical of insurance salesmen in general, a public perception Khuda Buksh vowed to change. When he met with potential clients, he would simply point out the fact that if the man of the house were to fall ill, or pass away, who would take care of his wife and children? Most men did not have an answer, let alone the financial assets to replace their income and these men began to see Khuda Buksh’s sincerity in looking out to take care of the well-being of others.

Khuda Buksh went on to become the general manager of the Eastern Federal Union Insurance Company where he expanded the company’s sales and influence throughout the region. Unfortunately, after a fallout with a colleague, Mr. Bhimjee, Khuda Buksh resigned in the spring of 1969. Khuda Buksh went to work for Federal Life Assurance Company. He helped this company prosper while his former employer, EFU, floundered.

Mr. Rahim writes with great detail in this tribute to his late father, Khuda Buksh. As readers, we can picture the impact this man of simple means had on so many with his sincere and gentle approach to people. The book flows well chronologically. I would have liked to see a bit more stories about the personal family life of Khuda Buksh with his wife and children.

However, the main focus of the book is to educate the audience on the great and long-lasting impact Khuda Buksh had with the clients and friends whose lives he touched the most. I would recommend this book for those who want to learn a different approach to sales and to see how a simple person can influence so many people. “Khuda Buksh: The Pioneer of Life Insurance in Bangladesh” by Muhammad Obaidur Rahim is a tribute to the author’s father’s life. His story is about a man’s legacy to his family and community.


Book Review of Veiled Destiny by Shirin Humzani

Article first published on Reader Views

Veiled Destiny
Shirin Humzani
CreateSpace (2013)
Reviewed by M.Cristina Lanzi for Reader Views (01/14)

Veiled Destiny by Shirin Humzani is a long, richly textured romance filled with wonderful characters and an extraordinary sense of cultural detail.

This absorbing novel illustrates Pakistani culture through the medium of the family saga, describing the local traditions so well that it almost becomes a palpable experience. The setting is depicted in vivid detail: the people, the village and the traditions are all brought to life thanks to the author’s ability to create a range of fully-developed characters whose lives are filled with challenges and struggles.

Ehla is a ravishing Pakistani young lady who lives in a mountainous tribal region of Pakistan. Apparently her life seems serene, but this perceptive young woman fears that her father is planning to fix her up with a man she loathes. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg of lies and secretes that the family she used to worship kept from her since her childhood.

Ehla is born into a cultural environment that hasn’t changed for centuries; through the pages of the novel though, we discover that the world she sees as immutable is on the verge of upheaval.

“Veiled Destiny” didn’t get my whole attention from the beginning though. It took me several chapters to get familiar with the names, which are all very similar to each other and therefore hard to memorize, and with the idiomatic expressions and the outlandish attitudes of those Middle Eastern characters. Eventually, though, all the details, that in the beginning can easily distract the reader’s attention, become the main peculiarity of the book, since what emerges is an intriguing plot in a marvelous cultural setting. From this world steeped in ancient traditions comes a multi-layered novel of the lives, loves, secrets and strivings of two generations of Pakistani families.

Veiled Destiny is without doubt an absorbing and thought-provoking novel about courage, pride, love and hope; a very interesting read with lots of cultural information embedded in the storyline. The characters, as already mentioned, are well written and interesting, with convincing shades of personality, strengths and weaknesses.

Overall, I enjoyed reading "Veiled Destiny" by Shirin Humzani. The agony and worry of Ehla and the other main characters create a riveting story, made even more interesting by the Middle Eastern background.  What I loved about this book is that, while reading a family saga intertwined with a love story, the reader can discover a far-off country and some aspects of its exotic culture.


Book Blitz: Innocent War by Susan Violante

Innocent WarInnocent War
Behind An Immigrant's Past Book 1 Susan Violante

Number 16 On the Cyrus Webb's Conversations Book Club Top 50 Non-Fiction Titles for 2009

Based on the taped memoirs Susan Violante received from Nino, her father, Innocent War is a boy's adventure showing a child's point of view through the war's hardships, dangers, and tragedies, combined with his own humor, innocence, and awakening as he grows up. Join Susan as she gets to know her father, and finds herself within the family she thought she knew.


ViolanteBorn and raised in Venezuela from Italian immigrants, Author Susan Violante completed a BA degree in Political and Administrative Cs. before moving to the US. Although she built a career as a Business Analyst / Accountant since 1987, she also kept herself active as a Freelance writer. Violante finally retired from Accounting and leaped to the publishing Industry; she currently works as the Managing Editor for Reader Views, First Chapter Plus, and I have Something to Say Press, LLC while dedicating the remainder of her time to her own writing.

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White Leaves Blog Tour - Tour de Blogg - M.P. Ness


Synopsis: Shannon Hunter, an eco-terrorist member of the elusive Earth Liberation Front (E.L.F.) discovers real elves bent on more than petty sabotage... Plunged into the a world teeming with magic she never really imagined to exist, Shannon discovers the terrible reality left to both Mankind and herself. The Elves have decreed - "Mankind stands upon its own terminus, heedless of ruin" - and its high time the real protectors of nature strike back. The only person able to do anything to prevent a supernatural war mankind cannot hope to fight; Shannon must find a way to overcome her misanthropic ways, and prevent the Elves from making a mistake that threatens not only Mankind but all life on earth. The contemporary fairy tale, "E.L.F." is set in a dystopian vein, somewhat akin to the Harry Bates' classic, "The Day the Earth Stood Still", only fantasy, not Sci-fi, and with far more epic action.


Excerpt: Utter tranquility wrapped about her as her bare feet settled amidst moist grasses, the softest she’d ever felt. The air was cool and smelled of pollens and perfumes she couldn’t even begin to identify. The canopy far overhead obscured what should have been moonlight and blocked away the stars entirely. Yet there was a light of some sort, emanating from beyond the trunk of a tree so great in girth it could have dwarfed the great sequoia or redwoods.

She gaped in awe as fireflies and other ethereal, luminous insects flitted lazily.

“Welcome to the Veil of the Leaf’s Edge,” Athaem spoke softly at her back.

Slowly a smile slipped onto her youthful features.

…This place was utterly magical…


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Born in the Midwest, I share my birthday with Leonardo Da Vinci, and seem to share a bit of that creative monster's spirit.

I paint, draw, write, sculpt, and more.
I'm extremely prolific when I don't have life and day-jobs tying me down.

I published my debut novel, E.L.F. vol. 1, White Leaves, July 1st, 2013, and hope to release the sequel, Blighted Leaves, sometime early/mid 2014

White Leaves is currently available at all major online retailers in both print-paperback and eBook forms.

I do my own cover-art, book-trailers, formatting, and marketing.
It's tough, but a thoroughly engaging ride.

I've also done logo, cover art, and animations for local Seattle area musicians, other musicians elsewhere, luthiers, videographers, authors, and retailers.


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