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Review of “Wild Willful Heart” – W. Boone Hedgepeth

Take a wild megalomaniacal trip into the American spiritual and Cultural Revolution of the 1960s-1990s, as a young southern man gives fresh perspective to the propaganda, bad marriages, a collection of strange gurus and some bizarre mystical places. For many years, author W. Boone Hedgepeth was a magnet for unusual occurrences of an ethereal nature which vigorously affected the world around him. Suffering a life threatening illness and after a near death experience, Boone goes on an adrenalized journey from the American south and across the country seeking answers. Here, force of will and prayer are the proven best weapons against very unusual circumstances. Literally seeking the face of God, the author plunges into the magical medicine of his native ancestors, the new age metaphysical movement, Christian fundamentalism, and other wild and life-changing experiences before coming out of the fires to the other side.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

There is so much I want to touch upon regarding Wild Willful Heart. Please be patient with me as I share my thoughts on many aspects of Boone’s story.

 

Mormonism

I’m not too familiar with Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I grew up in a Pentecostal church and my minister only spoke of our beliefs. While reading Wild Willful Heart, I learned both religions believed in the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit.

However, Boone disclosed some bizarre facts about Mormonism that had me shaking my head.

1.) For over 100 years, Mormons believed there were six foot tall beings living on the moon because an early church leader named Orson Pratt had said so. This was debunked after the moon landing.

2.)Mormons believed their “magic underwear,” which had Masonic markings on it, was knife proof and bulletproof. It had to be worn everyday to protect the righteous wearer from evil.

I’m not sure why anyone would believe such nonsense but, then again, atheists wonder why people believe in GOD so to each their own, I guess.

 

Like many people, Boone questioned organized religion. He used words like hypocrite and hypocrisy more than once. I can understand why he used these key words. I’m not saying all churches or church members are hypocrites. What I am saying is I can fully understand why some people are losing their faith in GOD, churches, and religion as a whole.

 

Mental Health

As Boone embarked on his vision quest, he discussed troubling times from his past. At thirteen, he began to hear voices in his head, which instructed him to end his life. He assumed every teen experienced these voices as they transitioned into adulthood. As a teen, I began hearing voices too. I didn’t speak of them. The voices are scary. You feel alone, afraid of your own mind. Like Boone, I also live with bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I truly believe MORE people should discuss mental health because we need to end the stigma of mental illness. If we don’t, if we shame those with mental health problems, people who are suffering won’t seek help. A person who thinks there’s no help, no understanding, will end their life. I, personally, don’t want to see that happen. Everyone needs the opportunity to feel safe to discuss their issues, to get the help they need, and to live a long, happy life.

As for Boone’s experience with drugs and alcohol, it happens with most teenagers. IMHO, I don’t believe illegal drugs and liquor should be consumed if you’re battling a mental health problem. It can and will make you more self-destructive. Boone discussed this during one of his flashbacks. Boone, I applaud you for being so forthcoming with your struggles with mental illness, mental health hospitals, liquor and drugs.

 

Apparitions and UFOs

Many people have claimed to see sprits and UFOs. I’m not sure if spirits are real or just a play on eyes, a figment of our imagination. However, if you believe in life on other planets, then the possibility of UFOs is plausible. Maybe, just maybe, spirits are real. And maybe, those sightings of UFOs do hold some merit as well. Bravo Boone, you made me stop and evaluate their validity.

 

Vision Quests

Vision quests are popular because many people seek enlightenment, a connection to all things. They want to find answers, peace, or a purpose in life. Boone went on several and he spoke of the physical, emotional, and mental toll it took on him. It changed his life; it was cathartic. After I read about his time on the mountain, I began to wonder if I could benefit from one. Maybe after reading his trials, you’ll consider participating in one as well.

 

Summation

You don’t have to be a religious person to read Wild Willful Heart. You only need to have an open mind and few hours to spare on this (under) 300-page story.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Author W. Boone Hedgepeth
W. Boone Hedgepeth studied history at the University of South Florida for four years. He spent 35 years in business and copywriting, with 11 years as a lay minister in his free time. His favorite places are the mountains of North Carolina, and any good waterfront restaurant in South Carolina. His hobbies include classic cars and RVs, listening to swampy blues, and reading the Bible. W. Boone Hedgepeth lives with his wife on the coast of South Carolina.
 
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Review of “Trudy’s Diary: A Libraries of the World Mystery, Book One)” – Amy M. Reade

Daisy Carruthers moved to Washington, DC, from New York City following an emotionally draining murder investigation, little knowing she would soon be involved in two more. But when her boss and her best friend come under suspicion for killing two adulterous lovers, Daisy has no choice but to help when they ask. 

And when she comes across a diary and an old dime novel with suspiciously similar stories and unknown origins, she knows all the mysteries are somehow connected.

Can she figure out the identity of the killer–or killers–before it’s too late?

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Trudy’s Diary was actually a multi-layered mystery novel. Daisy was investigating two murder mysteries in present day and the disappearance of Trudy from the 1800’s. As I was reading Trudy’s secret thoughts, I wondered how her story played into the events of the present. I didn’t see the connection. However, when all the pieces clicked into place, I was impressed on how Amy connected all the dots.

Whether I was stepping into the past or attempting to unmask today’s killer, I was thoroughly engrossed with the happenings in Trudy’s Diary.

You don’t have to be a history enthusiast to read this story. You just have to like mystery novels with a touch of love and romance.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, community volunteer, and recovering attorney.

She’s also a writer. She is the author of Trudy’s Diary, A Libraries of the World Mystery (Book One: Library of Congress), The Worst Noel (Book One in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series), The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross), and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

Her days are split between writing and marketing her books, but uppermost in her mind is the adage that the best way to market a book is to write another great book.

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Review of “An Angel Came for You” – David J Howell

At the age of twenty-six Sarah only ever wanted the best life for her three-year old son Tommy, and after living four and a half years of hell with Charlie, Tommy’s father, a controlling, abusive and very violent man she manages to escape his grip. 

Now finally free of him, she feels for the first time in Tommy’s short life that she can give him all of her time, love, devotion and the life he deserves but fate has different plans for her.

Somehow she wakes up five years in her past, finding herself back with her first love John, and living back at home with her mum, two years before Tommy’s birth.

Struggling to come to terms with life without Tommy and the guilt she feels for failing him, Sarah needs to figure out why she is trapped in her own past. With nobody to turn to, and with only her faith in her guardian angel to help her, she has to make the almost impossible decision; follow her life path the same way, meet Charlie all over again and relive every painful minute of her abusive life with him so that Tommy will be born, or believe that fate has changed her destiny to give her a second chance with her first love John, the man she always regretted leaving.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

If you’d lived through abuse or are living through it at this very moment, An Angel Came for You will be a difficult story for you to read. David J Howell described the mental and physical abuse in such vivid detail that it made me walk away from the story more than once. I never felt so much pain and empathy for a character in all my life. No one, and I mean no one, should endure what Sarah and Kristy faced on a daily basis.

David was correct; people stay with an abuser for multiple reasons.  The victim stays out of fear, hopelessness, and (most times) for the child(ren). In many cases, the abused choose to end their own life.

Without a doubt, An Angel Came for You will tear you apart emotionally. You might cry. You might get angry. Most importantly, you also might find the courage to get out of your own abusive and toxic relationship.

Despite all the anguish, heartbreaking moments, the book did focus on the love a mother had for her child. It did give individuals hope that life could get better and to keep reaching for their own happily ever after.

I implore anyone in an abusive relationship to seek help; get out now.

Here’s a link https://www.thehotline.org or you can call 1-800-799-7233.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤❤

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You can reach out to David J Howell through his  Twitter Link .

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Review of “Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #1 and #2” – Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin

When a disgruntled professional wrestler declares himself “galactic champion of the universe” an alien planet of wrestlers sees it as an act of war!

A hilarious THIRTY-TWO PAGE megaextravaganza kicks off this limited comic book series with art by Dan Schkade, colors by Marissa Louise and lettering by A Larger World Studios. Created & Written by award-winning writers Matt Entin & Ed Kuehnel.

 

(review request submitted by Ed Kuehnel for an honest critique) 

 

Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia: Date With Destiny (Volume 1) contained cheesy lines, extraordinary costumes, and a wrestling bear. Yeah, you read that right… A WRESTLING BEAR.

Besides the bear, it reminded me of why I loved watching televised wrestling programs decades ago. Fans know things are scripted but they still tuned in or attended the matches in person. They are thrilling.

In real life, we’ve seen many wrestling crash and burn for various reason. In volume one, Rock ‘N’ Roll Rory Landell’s drinking and going off script was the kiss of death for him and the American Wrestling Federation. He trash talked his fellow wrestlers and even Martians. One Martian, Manifest Destiny, wasn’t too keen by Rory’s smack talk. They didn’t meet in the ring in this comic but I got the impression they would be meeting up very soon.

On a final note, I have to give props to everyone who contributed to the artwork. You all did a masterful job. I also loved the wrestler names you all had assigned to your real names. I’m not sure who thought of it but the additions to your names was brilliant.

Great job, everyone!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤ 

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While “Rock n’ Roll” Rory Landell drowns his sorrows off the grid, Earth is on the receiving end of a nasty surprise.

 

(review request submitted by Ed Kuehnel for an honest critique) 

I was hoping in Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #2: Two Worlds Enter, One Leaves! I would see Rory and Manifest Destiny lock horns but it didn’t happen. We did see wrestling action all across the globe including on the White House’s lawn. Yeah, I could actually see a wrestling event happening there since we all know Trump, the McMahon family and their WWE organization are super tight.

For the rest of the comic, I again thought the artwork was top-notch.

But…

How does volume 2 (Two Worlds Enter, One Leaves!) rate against volume 1 (Date With Destiny)? Well, I think volume 1 had more humor and more wrestling content. Both ended fantastically but, in my opinion, Date With Destiny reins supreme as the comic champion.

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤ 

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Edward Kuehnel

Ed Kuehnel is an award-winning story consultant, narrative designer and writer with sixteen years of experience across a wide range of games, film and video. His list of clients includes publishers such as Ubisoft, Paramount Digital, Vivendi/Universal and Disney Interactive, as well as some of the most highly regarded studios in the world, including Twisted Pixel Games, Uber Entertainment and Telltale Games. His game writing debut, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, earned a Game Developer’s Choice nomination for Best Writing in 2005. More recently, his work on Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts helped the game win the award for Best Narrative at the 2014 Game Awards.

2014 also marked Ed’s film debut as a co-writer for the soon-to-be released Lumberjack Man, starring Michael Madsen. He is a former contributor to The Onion.

Ed is an expert at solidifying narratives and polishing stories for games, screenplays and other creative projects at all stages of production. For a confidential and complimentary assessment of your needs please email him at ed at edwritesgames dot com

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Matt Entin: I’m a writer with over 15 years of professional experience. I’ve written for film, comics, advertising, and video games. 

My career in games began in 2003. Since then, I’ve worked on a variety of titles, from indie to casual to AAA—including “Valiant Hearts: The Great War,” winner of Best Narrative at The Game Awards.

I’ve also done ad work in Europe and the US for a diverse collection of clients, such as Nintendo, Lexus, Duracell, Sprite, and McDonalds.

I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities. Email me at matt.entin@gmail.com to discuss my misplaced nostalgia for “3-D WorldRunner.”

Specialties: narrative development, dialogue writing, copywriting, ideation, mission design, VO direction, motion-capture direction, cinematography, casting

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Review of “Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Cozy Mysteries, Book 1” – C.S. McDonald

Fiona can’t wait to attend the performance of Coppelia at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. Her old friend, Silja Ramsay, is dancing the principal role. They have dinner after the show, but when they return Pittsburgh Ballet Theater is down one dancer! Ballerina, Alexis Cartwright, has been found dead in the dressing room. Is this murder a result of hot tempers among the cast members? Or is it a random act of violence? Will there be more murders? Homicide Detective, Nathan Landry, isn’t taking any chances. After finding out Fiona has a strong background in ballet he recruits her to go undercover among the cast of Coppelia. Can Fiona help catch a killer, or will she be the next victim?

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Mystery definitely had A LOT of mystery to keep this lady sleuth engaged in the story.

C.S. McDonald (the author) gave us multiple murders to investigate, many suspects to choose from, and a few surprise twists that will make you happy you kept on reading, even when you think you’ve got it all figured out.

Yeah, I was 95% sure I knew how the story would wrap up and then a certain double-digit chapter happened. (Yes, I am being vague so no one flips ahead to check out his or her hutches.) Darn you C.S. McDonald, you pulled a fast one on me because I never saw that certain someone as a suspect. (Yup, I’m being vague on purpose – again.)

Ladies and gents, I encourage you to read Murder On Pointe: A Fiona Quinn Mystery. I wonder if you’ll be able to solve every single case. I’m thinking C.S. might just stump a few readers like myself.

Happy sleuthing!!

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

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Murder On Pointe, book one: Amazon Purchase Link

Merry Murder, book two: Amazon Purchase Link

Waves of Murder, book three: Amazon Purchase Link

Tastes Like Murder, book four: Amazon Purchase Link

Good Luck to Murder, book five: Amazon Purchase Link

Mambo and Murder, book six: Amazon Purchase Link

Short stories

Banking on a Murder: Amazon Purchase Link

Harriet’s Heist: Amazon Purchase Link

 

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