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review 2018-03-14 16:12
Psychological and Social Reflections on a Life Reborn
Words Never Spoken - Cheryl Denise Banne... Words Never Spoken - Cheryl Denise Bannerman

Words Never Spoken is a powerful account of ambition and hope, despair, and rejuvenation and introduces its subject with a succinct observation of the process that receives deeper inspection in chapters to follow: "I wanted what every girl wants: to fall in love and live happily ever after. But after one failed marriage and with forty quickly approaching, I had given up."

 

While many stories chronicle this same process, what sets Words Never Spoken apart from most others is its attention to rendering these experiences in verse, accompanied by black and white line drawings that, together, capture the process of wading through the lies and obstacles to togetherness and a happy life.

 

Readers should anticipate a gritty, determined, street-wise voice to these poems which reflect candid observation and move from inner soul-searching to outward life depictions with a deft hand that pulls no punches in the process: "Why can’t you be who you say you are?/Live close to me and not so far./Not have 10 kids and baby drama./Have a job and not live wit yo mama."

 

Sometimes the most powerful experiences come not just from the heart, but from the power of the pen and a writer's ability to capture the moments that hold life-changing impact. As readers wind through the verses in Words Never Spoken, they receive emotional tugs that come from soul-searching moments as potent as a brush with suicide and the one thing that prevents final disaster from taking shape.

 

It should be cautioned, if it isn't already apparent by now, that this is no light read; no cursory brush with a life in flux; but an often-troubling, wrenching discourse into the depths of despair and how the character rebuilds her life from that depth, including her relationship with her child and God.

 

Exactly how one moves from a failed marriage, a miscarriage, and crushing depression to overcoming all with a little help from God makes for an engrossing, vivid shout from the pages of Words Never Spoken, highly recommended for readers who want psychological, spiritual, and social reflections wound into the struggle of a life not only saved, but reborn.

 

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review 2018-01-21 00:00
A Christmas Kerril
A Christmas Kerril - Denise Jaden Short sweet and well constructed - not too super sweet though. I enjoyed the simplicity of this story of a youth coming to terms with her past, her present and her future. It was not a cheesy story that was overly simplistic with buckets of Christmas-ness but more a reflection on the dramas of a teenager trying to come to terms with not loving her life or Christmas. The characters were a little brief in their descriptions but it was a short read that was easy going so it was fine. I liked that she had dramas but nothing too gritty. I liked the parallels with A Christmas Carol - it wasn't too heavy handed and it was a lovely read over the Christmas season.
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review 2018-01-21 00:00
A Christmas Kerril
A Christmas Kerril - Denise Jaden Short sweet and well constructed - not too super sweet though. I enjoyed the simplicity of this story of a youth coming to terms with her past, her present and her future. It was not a cheesy story that was overly simplistic with buckets of Christmas-ness but more a reflection on the dramas of a teenager trying to come to terms with not loving her life or Christmas. The characters were a little brief in their descriptions but it was a short read that was easy going so it was fine. I liked that she had dramas but nothing too gritty. I liked the parallels with A Christmas Carol - it wasn't too heavy handed and it was a lovely read over the Christmas season.
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review 2018-01-14 03:21
The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan
The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home - Denise Kiernan

Biltmore is an enormous Gilded Age estate in North Carolina. It was built on the orders of George Washington Vanderbilt II in the 1880s-90s as a summer retreat and became the largest private home in America. Biltmore is situated on a plot of land to match, over 10 square miles, the bulk of which is forest and now a National Park.  The house itself, astonishingly, remains in private hands. How this came to pass makes for an entertaining bit of history.

I hadn't known much about the origins of Biltmore or its role in the early environmental movement and was impressed. Kiernan veers away from the story of the house to dwell on Vanderbilt family drama, but its to be expected. Not many people just want to hear about stone korbels and inspiration for plasterwork. The Biltmore Vanderbilts lived interesting lives, Edith (George's wife) in particular with her involvement in an Arts & Crafts cottage industry around the estate. The other family members, especially where it seemed Kiernan had to fill gaps of information with speculation such as with Cornelia Vanderbilt (the original heiress), was less interesting. Thanks to this book, Biltmore and its gardens and the park surrounding it have risen above the 'cottages' of Rhode Island as a must-visit for me.

The fact that Biltmore, such a white elephant from the beginning, survived intact through a century as destructive as the last one is remarkable.

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review 2017-12-18 15:24
The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed: The only personal finance system for people with not-so-regular jobs - Denise Kiernan,Joseph D'Agnese

Excessive purportedly-illustrative anecdotes with occasional useful bits buried deep inside.

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