Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Baby Girl Box Set I-IV by @ElleKlass

Today’s team review comes from Heidi, find her here https://m.facebook.com/#~!/heidi.simon.921?ref=bookmark

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Heidi chose to read and review Baby Girl Box Set by Elle Klass

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Baby Girl Box Set Books I-IV

By Elle Klass

Review by Heidi Lynn

 

First, I would like to thank Rosie Amber and Elle Klass for providing me with this box set so I may bring you this review.

 

Baby Girl by Elle Klass was full of kidnapping, neglected children, crime, fake identities, two great loves, poverty, death, loss, reinventing yourself, missing person, secrets, hit n run, mystery, suspense, homelessness, body guards, proposals, glitz and glamour. This book had me at the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen.

 

Cleo and Einstein’s story touched my heart. I loved their first kiss, the first time they explored each other and their blossoming relationship. To see where they both came from to now was amazing. Yet, heart breaking as well.

 

Baby Girl was extremely well written. I loved the attention to detail and descriptions that she was able to give the characters and situations. Many times I would come across a line or a paragraph and it would crack me up. Some of the names I felt were unique.

 

This book gave you an inside view of what it like to actually be homeless. You get to visualize what Cleo and Einstein had to go through to get by. Seeing her transform and her self discovery was a joy to read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Vanessa reviews Losing it All by Marsha Cornelius

Today’s book review comes from team member Vanessa, she blogs at http://www.vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.co.uk/

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Vanessa read and reviewed Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius

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What an original and heart-warming book! This is life at its worst, with the best outcome.

I admit that I did not think it would be my kind of read when I started it, but as I progressed I got sucked into this desperate world of homelessness, domestic abuse, and bad luck.

Overall, the characters were beautifully developed and I loved it. The author has managed to take a difficult situation and write about it. I don’t know many that could do this.

Highly recommend if you want to read about romance against the odds.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Terry reviews Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius

Today’s team book review comes from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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She chose to read and review Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius

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LOSING IT ALL by Marsha Cornelius – review by Terry

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this – it’s interesting and unusual.

The novel is set mostly around Atlanta, Georgia in the US. Frank is a Vietnam vet whose life has crashed and burned, leaving him a vagrant trying to scratch out an existence as best he can. Chloe is a small town, naïve mother of two who has allowed her path through life to be determined by others. When husband Duane deserts her, everything gradually falls apart and she ends up in a shelter for homeless women.

Marsha Cornelius has clearly put a great deal of research into this story. I recently watched the 1960s BBC (UK) drama-documentary ‘Cathy Come Home’, which shows how easily families in the UK in the 1960s could descend from keeping their heads above water into homelessness; this book had the same effect on me. It’s shocking, but so real, and really made me think about how so many people are just a couple of salary cheques away from the street!   The details of both Chloe and Frank’s struggles are very well illustrated, as is their climb back to something approaching normality – though indeed, what they consider ‘normal’ is not the conventional lifestyle some would expect.

The message of this book is definitely one of love and relationships mattering more than anything else, and about it being the simple things in life that can bring the most happiness. The romantic aspect of the story was perfectly portrayed too, I thought; not schmaltzy, or overtly sexy for the sake of it but just touching and true to life.

It’s a story about love and hope, the goodwill of friends, and the discovery of inner strength. Recommended.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius

Today’s team book review come from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com

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She chose to read and review Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius

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Many thanks to Marsha Cornelius for sending me a copy as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team.

Frank and Chloe, for completely different reasons, find themselves homeless. Frank is happy enough on the streets, collecting cans each day to make a little money. After the horrors of fighting and battling to survive in the Vietnam war, he returns to the US disabled and ignored and turns to alcohol and drugs to dull the physical and mental pain. Another homeless man, Randall, helps Frank work through his issues, get dried out and cleaned up. They forge a close friendship.

Frank makes the most of the little he has, with his good friends and the little community they have built. When all Frank knows is destroyed horrifically and violently one night, and he almost loses his life, he doesn’t know whether he will be able to claw his way back again. Until a chance meeting changes his life forever.

Chloe, after being abandoned by her husband, and with no-one to turn to for help, is left with two children and debts she can’t pay off. After losing her home and all her possessions, she doesn’t know how her life could get any worse. But it can…a whole lot worse.

Sinking further and further into a pit of despair and hopelessness, Chloe can’t see a way forward. She is at the mercy of a very defective system of shelters, incompetent childcare and predatory men, leaving her emotionally battered and completely drained. Until a helping hand reaches out to pull her back from the brink.

The story is told from both Frank’s and Chloe’s points of view. It brings home the stark reminder that the homeless of this world are actually out there, struggling to survive from day-to-day against sometimes unimaginable odds. Losing it all. How far can one person fall before all hope is gone. This is a fascinating book with wonderfully developing characters and a sometimes harrowing storyline, dealing with the complex issues and situations the homeless can, and more than likely do, face.

I was drawn to Frank immediately, there’s depth and authenticity in his character. He’s had a really rough deal but despite everything he cares about others and does whatever he can to help. Chloe hasn’t had a happy life and, I think partly because of that, chose poorly when it came to a husband and father for her children. The two characters’ lives are interlinked and brought together in a compelling and profound storyline. Their portrayal is genuine, believable and endearing. The writing is accomplished and descriptive with a reality that encompasses so many emotions, hope, love, anguish, misery, all of which shine through the narrative.

A really excellent read which enforces the old adage, never judge a book…You never really know the true story behind a person’s appearance and what events forced them into a certain situation. Or how a single act of kindness can be the start of changing someone’s life for the better.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Cathy reviews Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff

Today’s book review comes from team member Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com

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Cathy chose to read and review Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff

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This is a non fictional story of a group of homeless people in a Canadian city from the perspective of the man who befriended them. Documented in diary format Dennis Cardiff catalogues the conversations he has with the various panhandlers, which brings home the reality of people who are forced, for one reason or another, into a life on the streets. These accounts show just how people’s lives and personalities can be and are formed by past traumas in the form of abuse, addiction and mental and physical disorders.

The conversations throughout the book demonstrate the sense of community among the group and the very noticeably differing personalities, each having their own stories and set of circumstances, and all the while helping the reader to see them as people in their own right, with real feelings and needs, struggling to survive against the odds.

Ian – “I didn’t know what to do. I was homeless and didn’t have any way to get to the hospital, so I phoned Alcoholics Anonymous. They said they would send someone to pick me up and stay with me in the hospital. I was unconscious for three days.”

Shark – “I’ve been sick. I’ve had a lot of pain in my legs, my right hip and my shoulders from my HIV. Morphine makes me sick. I take the pills and sometimes they stay down, most time they come right back up. Marijuana and booze work better than the morphine.”

Hippo – “I slept outside last night, under the bridge. There is an exhaust fan overhead, I’ve got a good sleeping bag, the weather was mild so it wasn’t too bad.I’ve had it with the shelters. It’s really bad there now, mostly crack heads. Things get stolen, it’s noisy, fights start, there are bedbugs. I’d like to get a clean place that’s quiet, no bugs and a lock on the door.”

This book tells it like it is, with no frills, and it is a challenging read. Not only because of the plight of the street people but also the way they are viewed and judged by the general public and more often than not, ignored. It’s something I imagine most of us, including myself, are guilty of. Dennis Cardiff tackles the issue in a completely constructive way by offering food, a bus ticket or coffee on daily basis and gradually getting to know the street people. It all started one morning as he was walking to work and saw a woman sitting on the sidewalk. He didn’t know quite what he should do, if anything. A friend advised him to offer her food and coffee and so began a morning ritual which evolved into a life changing experience for the author.

Joy fell on hard times. She slept behind a dumpster in back of the coffee shop. I saw her with blackened eyes, bruised legs, cracked ribs, cut and swollen lips.

Joy – “My boyfriend punched me in the face. I’m covered in bruises, my ribs are in bad shape and I’ve been coughing blood….He’s ok when he’s sober, but when he drinks he gets crazy.”

This is a unique insight into homelessness and the views of some of the people who live on the streets. Dennis Cardiff doesn’t try to explain why they are homeless or suggest solutions, he just offers his time, friendship and a willingness to listen.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Karen reviews Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff

Today’s book review comes from Karen, she blogs at http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/

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Karen chose to read and review Gotta Find A Home – Conversations with Street People by Dennis Cardiff

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My Opinion

The book introduces you to author Dennis Cardiff explaining how it all began, and to the conversations with his ‘Usual Suspects’, a number of street people. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This is a book that would like to be read by all of you – individually.

With Gotta Find A Home, Dennis Cardiff has created a quite different and heart-warming chronological collection of conversations. The conversations are often brief, offer insights in the homeless’ lives. The author cares about his protagonists, proves with his book that the homeless are human – a fact which non-street people tend to forget. Street people and non-street people face similar challenges: community, bills, relationships, addictions, etc. Gotta Find A Home is an important reminder that we are all human, making mistakes, and the ability to making things right. There is no reason to beat up a homeless person. If it doesn’t feel right to ‘donate’ money, why not follow Dennis Cardiff’s example to offer a bus ticket or a coffee voucher? The Buddhist approach – respect for the living is a great concept. I soon felt acquainted with the ‘Usual Suspects’, wanted to know what was next. Gotta Find A Home is a great read for those who are interested in humanity and/or the human factor.

This is a book to read again. The upcoming volumes are already on my TBR (‘to be read’) list.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Elizabeth reviews Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff

Today’s book review comes from Elizabeth, she blogs at http://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

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Elizabeth chose to read and review, Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff

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Here is her review.

Gotta Find a Home by Dennis Cardiff

From whatever country we come, we are used to seeing homeless people in our cities begging. It is easy to be judgemental, frightened or indifferent but we often forget that they are human beings. Dennis Cardiff is not like that. He makes daily visits to a group of homeless people in his Canadian city to talk to them and maybe buy them a snack. For several years he has kept a journal of these encounters on his blog “Gotta Find Home” and this book is an edited version of this.

I was hoping for a compilation of the conversations with a particular character building up a coherent biography of people like Joy, who slept behind a dumpster and was often beaten up or of Antonio, the small gentle man who slept on a bench in the freezing cold but Dennis Cardiff has stuck to a simple recount of each conversation as it occurred.

The “usual subjects” as Dennis calls his friends on the streets do gradually stamp out their identity in these conversations and we learn some of their back story but perhaps because this is real life and Dennis is determined not to interfere there is no clear timeline of their life events to explain their current predicament.

In an interview at the end of the book Dennis concludes that although many suffer from mental and physical illness and a great many were abused when younger there is no one reason why they are homeless. He does not offer a solution to the problem, but following Buddhist principals to, “open one’s heart and practice generosity,” he gives his time and a listening ear to them.

This book is not an easy read but it does help to increase our understanding by its honest and frank account of the lives of this group of homeless people.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com all profits go towards helping the homeless.