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What’s Not True by Valerie Taylor (Book Spotlight and Author Interview)

 

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PG-13 + M What’s Not True has several sex scenes and some bad language.

 
 
With her court date set for her divorce and her plans with the younger man in the rearview mirror, Kassie O’Callaghan shifts attention to reviving her stalled career. But things get complicated when she unexpectedly rendezvous with her former lover in Paris. After a chance meeting there with a colleague and a stroll along Pont Neuf, Kassie receives two compelling proposals. Can she accept them both?

But Kassie’s decision process screeches to a halt when her soon-to-be ex-husband has a heart attack, forcing her to fly home to Boston. There, she confronts his conniving and deceitful fiancée—a woman who wants not just a ring on her finger but everything that belongs to Kassie. In the ensuing battle to protect what’s legally and rightfully hers, Kassie discovers that sometimes it’s what’s not true that can set you free.

Though a standalone novel, What’s Not True is the sequel to What’s Not Said (September 15, 2020).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Bio
 
Valerie Taylor was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She earned a B.S. Marketing degree and an MBA from Sacred Heart University, as well as a graduate certificate in health care administration from Simmons University (formerly Simmons College). She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer. Valerie is a published book reviewer with BookTrib.com; and a member of Westport Writers’ Workshop, Independent Book Publishers Association, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator.
 
 
 
 

Tell us about the WHAT’S NOT Series.

 
Currently, the series consists of two books—What’s Not Said (September 2020) and the recently-released sequel, What’s Not True. The series takes the reader on a journey with a middle-aged couple whose marriage has gone well beyond its expiration date. When Kassie, the wife, decides to escape with a younger gent she met in Venice, her husband’s unexpected illness derails her plans. Thus, she must decide whose life to save: her husband’s or her own. Once that decision is made, Kassie switches her focus away from the two men in her life to her career, embracing a dream that she can have it all. Not so fast. A woman from her husband’s past has other ideas, forcing Kassie to fight for what is legally and rightfully hers.

I have made a commitment with my publisher for the third and final book in the series. Release date to be determined. But it’s coming!
 

 

 

What challenges did you face in writing a series?

 
I created What’s Not Said as a standalone novel. It was only after several early readers asked what was going to happen next in the story and to the characters was I motivated and inspired to write What’s Not True. Because I hadn’t planned to write the series originally, I had to go back to What’s Not Said and check some of the details, especially when describing the characters. I also read the first book again to be sure I maintained the character’s voices.
 
Needless to say, I was all in on the series by the time I was writing What’s Not True, and thus, I was able to lay some groundwork for book three.
 
On reflection now, I wonder what would’ve changed in What’s Not Said had I had the forethought to plan a series from the very start? We’ll never know!

 

 

 

What reactions/feedback are you receiving from readers?

 
One thing I’ve learned as a writer is that not everyone loves our books. But there are 85 million mature women in America who are looking to read characters they can relate to. So there is an immense audience out there even if the book isn’t for a handful of readers!
 
I’m gratified, though, that both What’s Not Said and What’s Not True are being well-received. As a series, conventional advice from readers is that people read What’s Not Said first, so they get to know the twist and turns of the plot and the motivations of the very flawed characters. Then, I’ve heard a number say that when they read What’s Not True, it’s like sitting down with your best friends and having coffee or a martini!
 
Most recently, I’ve discovered readers buy both books at the same time, especially because they’ve developed a reputation for being a fast read. Readers want the whole experience in a short period of time! I’m thrilled to have been able to give it to them!

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

 
Between writing sessions, the story is always on my mind. I play out different scenarios of what comes next, so by the time I sit down to write, I’m off and running. So, I’d say writing energizes me and excites me. If you’ve seen Diane Keaton in the movie, Something’s Gotta Give, where she’s a screenwriter, the scenes where she’s jumping up with glee in her chair? That’s me.

 

 

 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

 
One writing quirk I have is that I truly have conversations with my characters as their deeds flow through my mind and fingers onto the computer screen. I constantly ask, “What If?” In that way, they can take me down multiple paths until I, as the author, choose which is best for the story.
The other quirk I have surrounds jewelry. When I write, I can’t wear a watch, rings, or bracelets; but I must wear earrings. Now that’s a real quirk if I ever heard one!
 

 

 

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Here’s how you can reach and follow me:

 
 

And please do subscribe to my newsletter, Behind and Ahead, which I write with readers in mind:

www.valerietaylorauthor.com/subscribe

 

 
 
 

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Wilderness Spa: Where Physical Survival Meets Psychological Survival by Jim Halverson (Book Review)

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The Wilderness Spa brings people from three quite different sources together to survive catastrophe in the Alaskan wilderness. They amaze themselves in their ability to coalesce and work cohesively in the face of hunger, injury, insecurity, and possible death. With that on their minds, they explore statistics, logic, social justice, and challenges to philosophies and social norms.

After rocky starts when new members enter the group, they learn to find the best in their fellow travelers, how to help, follow, and lead when necessary. Nothing is ever easy. Without attacking each other, they dig deep to reconcile their differences.

Join the group as they make the best of what they have. Struggle along with them and reconcile your own philosophical belief systems with logic and science.

 
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Alone, I think every character featured in Wilderness Spa would’ve had a dreadful time surviving alone in Alaska’s wilderness. Together, the trek to safety was not easy. There were juries and casualties. 

Wilderness Spa stressed the importance of teamwork. The stranded campers had to use their life skills and adapt to survive the trek to Fort Yukon. Everyone was assigned a task/role. Tom, still recovering from his injuries, did his best to lead the group. This was a difficult feat for the loner. A man with no family and no friends now had his fate resting in the hands of strangers. And these strangers were relying on Tom to help them get back to civilization. 


Surprisingly, things went pretty smoothly until I was about 3/4 of the way through it. Then, things took a turn for the worse. While I wouldn’t wish their troubles on real-life people, I welcomed the action scenes for literary purposes. The break-time discussions on racism, evolution, Medicare, Christmas, and so forth reduced my interest in the overall story and the outcome of the characters. When you travel (on foot) through dangerous territory and in less than desirable weather, you expect and want bad things to happen. It makes the story and its plot more realistic. 


When you live or visit an area with questionable weather and wild animals, you have to expect that bad stuff can and probably will happen. Therefore, every incident that occurred in the last portion of Wilderness Spa was plausible!


Final note: I love the book’s cover. And, I would love to see the Northern Lights of Alaska one day. #BucketList 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author: 

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J​im Halverson is the author of Trials & Trails (2019) and Ponce, What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth (upcoming, 2021). Jim grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~  Goodreads

 

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Espoused by Jean Marie Davis (Book Review)

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Espouse: (v.) to take in marriage; to make a marriage permanent by court decree; the court-approved process by which couples may stay together beyond the legal 15-year term.

In the contemporary world, fifteen years is considered the legal life cycle of a marriage. If a couple wants to stay together (married), they must hire a lawyer and petition the court to become Espoused.

After 14 years of marriage, Sara and Thomas Healy are still in love. Their decision to go to court to be espoused permanently is a source of great embarrassment for their children. Avery is ready for the benefits of uncoupling, and Sam really doesn’t need the social stigma of parents who decide to stay together, on top of everything else. Lame! Their espouse attorney, Gwen Stevens, has other problems. The judge for the Healy case is her nemesis, Carly Abraham, also known as “the Wicked Witch of the Bench.” Judge Abraham was previously married to Gwen’s husband Dennis, from whom she uncoupled after the allotted 15 years. She hates espouse lawyers on principle, and seems to have an extra dose of dislike for Gwen personally.

While the Healys struggle through the espouse experience—trial separation, uncouple counseling, and ongoing financial burdens—Gwen has to deal with the judge and her own struggles at home. In this fight for love, who has the answers?

Buy the Book
Amazon
add to Goodreads
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 

In the real world, married life has no time limit. Some people stay together for decades, months, weeks, or even a few days. No one dictates how long you have to stay married. It’s all in the hands of a couple. However, Espoused by Jean Marie Davis has changed all the marriage rules. In this novel, couples stay married only fifteen years. Then, they must start the process of becoming uncoupled. I mean, it’s the law. Of course, they could choose to remain married, but the process is lengthy and a royal pain in the keister. There’s a trial separation, counseling for the kids, couple counseling, and TONS of paperwork. Plus, court check-ins — all in the name to stay joined. See, A PAIN IN THE BUTT! 


Unlike in real life, the majority of children in Espoused want their parents to become uncoupled. They want the two Christmases, parties, and separation gifts. In a conversation between a child and their parents, the child thought it was his fault the parents wanted to stay married. WOW, talk about a bizarro world! 


Espoused stated parents who stay together are considered “freaks.” Children of espoused parents are the laughingstock of the school. 


Espoused uniqueness is what drew me in and kept me turning the pages. It’s a book I will be recommending to others! 
 
Content Rating: PG for the subject matter of adult relationships/marriage/divorce, but there is no bad language or explicit sex scenes. For those who have cancer or have lost someone to cancer, some scenes might be a trigger for you. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤1/2
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Jean Marie Davis was born and raised in Huntington, New York. After graduating from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, she moved back to Long Island where she worked in the Marketing Research industry for over 30 years. She currently lives in Centerport, New York close to her daughter and son.

Connect with the Author 
Website 
Twitter Facebook  ~ Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

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‘What’s Not Said’ and ‘What’s Not True’ by Valerie Taylor (2 Book Spotlight)

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2021 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Women’s Fiction
2020 Canadian Book Club Awards Finalist in Fiction
Chosen as an August 2021 Pulpwood Queens Book Club selection
Featured by the international NoMo Book Club in May 2021
 
 

What’s Not Said is a story about Kassie O’Callaghan, a middle-aged woman on a mission to divorce her emotionally abusive husband and start a new life with a younger man she met while on a solo vacation in Venice. When she learns her husband has chronic kidney disease, her plans collapse until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.

Then again, Kassie is no angel. The separate lives they lead collide head-on into a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. As she helps her husband find an organ donor, Kassie uncovers a secret, forcing her to decide whose life to save: her husband’s or her own.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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With her court date set for her divorce and her plans with the younger man in the rearview mirror, Kassie O’Callaghan shifts attention to reviving her stalled career. But things get complicated when she unexpectedly rendezvous with her former lover in Paris. After a chance meeting there with a colleague and a stroll along Pont Neuf, Kassie receives two compelling proposals. Can she accept them both?

But Kassie’s decision process screeches to a halt when her soon-to-be ex-husband has a heart attack, forcing her to fly home to Boston. There, she confronts his conniving and deceitful fiancée—a woman who wants not just a ring on her finger but everything that belongs to Kassie. In the ensuing battle to protect what’s legally and rightfully hers, Kassie discovers that sometimes it’s what’s not true that can set you free.

 

Buy the Book
Amazon Purchase Link ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Indie Bound
Book Depository

 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Valerie Taylor was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She earned a B.S. Marketing degree and an MBA from Sacred Heart University, as well as a graduate certificate in health care administration from Simmons University (formerly Simmons College). She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer. Valerie is a published book reviewer with BookTrib.com; and a member of Westport Writers’ Workshop, Independent Book Publishers Association, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator.

connect with the author: 
website twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads

 
 

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To Every Page a Turning: One Life’s Journey by Carl Buccellato (Book Spotlight)

 

In this novel, the journey begins in the innocence of America in the 1950s. Traveling through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth, the novel also recounts the travel of a generation as they move through time. As you read the pages of this book, you will discover a man perhaps not unlike yourself, seeking knowledge, peace, and faith. Perhaps you, like he, have traveled through the paradigm shift of the twentieth century both in awe and fear of what lies ahead.

 

 

 

 

Each man who journeys through life must travel through its season and ultimate lessons. For some, the journey is brief, and their life’s light is fleeting. They are like rockets that flare to the heavens, glowing brightly only to go black in the next instant. Still others travel what seem to be an abbreviated journey, missing some of life’s seasons, never knowing the agony or the ecstasy of what they have missed. But some live each season, taste each tear, relish each sunrise, and brace themselves against each burst of wind. They have traveled life’s highways and finally joined the many pieces of themselves into the whole person they were born to be.

When a man is clearing old files out from his garage, he comes across a folder containing an old manuscript he wrote twenty years previously as part of his recovery therapy. It had served as a catharsis for him to help transition old painful issues from his past. He was still a young man when he wrote the words, and as a senior in his seventies, he begins to reflect on his life s journey. As he reads the old papers, many memories come flooding back. He begins to find that our lives are like pages turning from one place in our lives to another, each unique, holding treasures and pains of its own, and each a window to growth, learning, and acceptance of who we are and who we were born to be.

 

 

 

For all things there is a season, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time for planting and a time for harvesting, a time for making war and a time for peace, a time to live and a time to die. Ecclesiastes 3:1–8

Each man who journeys through life must travel through its seasons and ultimate lessons. For some, the journey is brief, their life’s light is fleeting. They are like rockets that flare to the heavens glowing brightly only to go black in the next instance. Still others travel what seems to be an abbreviated journey, missing some of life’s seasons, never knowing the agony or the ecstasy of what they have missed. But some, some live each season, taste each tear, relish in each sunrise, brace themselves against each burst of wind. They have traveled life’s highways and finally joined the many pieces of themselves into the whole person they were born to be.

Nietzsche has written, “That which does not destroy us makes us stronger.” This journey begins in the innocence of America in the 1950s, and travels through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth. It is the travel of a generation.

And a man who was uniquely part of that generation.

Overcoming, survival, and success. It finally centers on the one day in 2019 when he must reflect upon his lifetime and must come to terms with who he is today. He must acknowledge he has kept himself apart from his surroundings and buried his feelings deep inside.

 


Amazon ~ B&N
add to Goodreads

 

 

Meet the Author:


Carl Buccellato was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1942, and is of Italian-American descent. Throughout his career and travels, Carl has met a broad array of different people. Some, down on their luck, some at the pinnacle of their careers and personal lives. Many of the people and their stories left a mark on Carl’s heart and mind. It is from some of these encounters that Carl has drawn inspiration for a few of the fictitious characters in this novel. Today, Carl resides in Coral Springs, Florida, with his wife Mary Ellen. She is an award-winning multimedia artist and speaker. Together, Carl and Mary Ellen love traveling the globe and looking for new inspiration for their gifts and talents given to them by their loving God.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook  ~ youtubegoodreads

 

 

 

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