Self-Published Saturday: So Far From Home: The Pearl Bryan Murder

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help indie and self-published/indie authors share their books. Indie authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing. If I can help even a little bit, I’m happy to do it. Below we have So Far From Home: The Pearl Bryan Murder by Robert Wilhelm. This is a nonfiction account of the murder of a well-to-do Indiana woman, whose headless body was found in Northern Kentucky.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

The headless corpse of a young woman, discovered in the woods of Northern Kentucky in February 1896, disrupted communities in three states–Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.

. The woman was Pearl Bryan, daughter of a wealthy farmer in Greencastle, Indiana. Her suspected killers, Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling, were dental students in Cincinnati, Ohio. How her decapitated body ended up in the Highlands of Kentucky is the subject of So Far from Home: The Pearl Bryan Murder.

It was the age of yellow journalism when sensational murder cases drove newspaper circulation, and daily papers competed to print the most gruesome details and explicit illustrations. Local crimes became national news, and readers followed the daily progress of police investigations and murder trials as if they were serialized mysteries. The murder of Pearl Bryan in 1896, featuring a headless corpse, remorseless villains, and threats of civil unrest, fit the bill perfectly. So Far from Home; The Pearl Bryan Murder revisits the story as it unfolded in the daily press.

BOOK REVIEW

Readers who follow true crime will be enthralled by this account of the Pearl Bryan murder. In 1896, Pearl’s headless corpse was found in Northern Kentucky. Investigators initially suspected she was a prostitute or actress but were shocked to find out she was the daughter of a rich and well-known Indiana farmer. This book does a great job of following press reports of the investigation and the shocking events that ended in the murder of a young woman. The author shows how much power and influence the press had back then. Murders were presented as juicy serial stories, and readers were whipped up into such a frenzy that they sometimes formed lynch mobs and carried out their own idea of justice before the trials even happened.

The investigation shown here is not a retrial and is not searching for a new conclusion. It is an account of the investigation, the backgrounds of those involved, and reactions from the family. It also shows how local murders were elevated to national news, and it brings home the degree to which the press got themselves involved in the story. All of the facts are portrayed in such a captivating way that you will be spellbound. I read it in one sitting. Robert Wilhelm really has a talent for relating facts in an interesting way and transporting the reader back to that time and that culture. True crime readers should not pass this one up.

I received a free copy of this book via Reedsy Discovery. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Wilhelm is the author of Wicked Victorian Boston (History Press, 2017), The Bloody Century: True Tales of Murder in 19th Century America (Night Stick Press, 2014) and Murder and Mayhem in Essex County (History Press, 2011), a history of capital crimes in Essex County, Massachusetts from the 1600s to the turn of the twentieth century. He blogs about historical true crime at Murder by Gaslight (www.MurderByGaslight.com) and The National Night Stick (nightstick.azurewebsites.net). Robert lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts.

ROBERT’S WEBSITE

HIS BLOG: MURDER BY GASLIGHT

TWITTER FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

*If you read the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

More Of Our Readers’ Favorites of 2021 #Bestof2021

Below are more favorites chosen by our readers as their favorite books of 2021. The link to buy each book can be found by clicking on the cover.

YOUNG ADULT

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family is taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then: her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in the face of mounting evidence that he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

This is the first book in the Juche series. There are a total of three books available right now, with a fourth coming in May. Click on the cover to find purchase information for the whole series.

Jack Monroe and his friends have been volunteered to help out at Saint Nicholas’ Farms to start off their Christmas vacation. They quickly discover that they’ve been selected to not only help decorate the Christmas tree for a big ceremony but also to foil the plans of a secret organization known as the Shadows.

Despite having his own adventure, Jack is summoned once again to witness the life of Niko Monroe, who is clinging to the hope that he can find his friends, save his family, and free the Faithful from the tyrannical reign of President Julius Arrigo.

Join Niko and his companions – Maia, Rafe, Wiley, and Flick – as they travel the State of Ariel, defy state officials out to stop them, and lead a new generation of the Faithful to unravel Arrigo’s insidious conspiracy to destroy Ariel and the neighboring nation of Jakkobah in unending war.
Is there hope for the Faithful?

ROMANCE

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

Maya Jackson has worked for a renowned New York City bridal gown brand for years and dreams of becoming Head Designer. She has the talent, she just needs a chance to showcase her unique style. Due to an illness, she’s always prioritized her career over her personal life until Maya’s father fractures his hip and she returns to Charleston, SC. While home for only a few months, she’s thrilled to find an opportunity at the local bridal gown boutique, never expecting sparks to fly with its owner…

A military veteran and widowed father, Derek Sullivan hopes to save Always a Bride from bankruptcy in order to preserve the legacy of his family. He also wants to reconnect with his estranged, twelve-year-old daughter, who is still recovering from the loss of her mother. The last thing he needs is a relationship with a beautiful, smart, complicated woman who will be leaving soon.

When Derek begins to fall for the lovely Maya, he knows there’s no future. But destiny has its own plans, and these two lonely people with big hearts discover that coming home to love is the best gift life can give.

NONFICTION

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni offers a remarkable insight into the lives of Afghan women both before and after Taliban’s rise to power. The reader is caught up in the day-to-day lives of women like Sharifa, Latifa and Marzia, sharing their problems, dramas, the tears and the laughter: whether enjoying a good gossip over tea and fresh nan, dealing with a husband’s desertion, battling to save the life of a one-year-old opium addict or learning how to deliver babies safely.
Mary Smith spent several years in Afghanistan working on a health project for women and children in both remote rural areas and in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Given the opportunity to participate more fully than most other foreigners in the lives of the women, many of whom became close friends, she has been able to present this unique portrayal of Afghan women – a portrayal very different from the one most often presented by the media.

The undertow of the Great Depression becomes poignantly personal as we experience the travails of Leora and Clabe Wilson, a displaced Iowa farm family. Gritty determination fuels this family’s journey of loss and hope, a reflection of what many American families endured during those challenging times.

In this true story the Wilsons slowly slide into unemployment and poverty. Leora must find ways to keep her dreams alive while making a haven for her flock of seven children in one run-down house after another.

Philosophers and mystics ponder the mystery of these flashes. Pamela Wight writes about life flashes in her short stories that include family and friends, love and life’s challenges. Wight’s “Flash Memoir” promotes the belief that we all share sparks of the extraordinary that occur in our everyday life. Each short story is true and brings a smile of recognition to her readers: that life transports and enthralls us in all its confusing, amusing, challenging, and astonishing ways. Each story is light-hearted and short – like a flash – but be prepared for a page-turner that keeps you in your seat, smiling.


Blog Tour and Book Review: The Addiction Manifesto #Addiction #Recovery

BOOK DESCRIPTION

2020 International Book Awards Finalist for Health: Addiction & Recovery

“Some people won’t believe in you, and that’s ok, this journey isn’t about them. It’s about you.”

The Addiction Manifesto has been uniquely designed to provide you with a new perspective on recovery and will show you that anything is possible.

In this deeply personal book, JR Weaver has crafted a raw insight into his life and how he’s been affected by substance abuse over the past 20 years. He details his recovery process and how he’s dealt with loss.

With this book he wishes to help people on their journey to recovery. His realistic approach details his journey to try to have a normal life again.

If you’re going through addiction recovery or want to help someone who is… This book allows you to fain a greater understanding of substance abuse and its many challenges.

BOOK REVIEW

In this excellent book, the author describes his own battle with addiction and how he hit bottom and rose back up again. He describes addiction itself and how it will rob you of everything dear in life, and then try to take your life as well. He outlines his process to recovery in order to help others that struggle with with this as well. The process is well explained and easy to understand. Most importantly, he talks of the continuing battle even after recovery. There are also true stories from others who have fought this fight and found their lives again.

The stories from the author and many others are heartbreaking, and tell of how addiction robbed them of everything and everyone they held dear, and how they finally broke the chain and began to live again. For anyone who struggles with addiction or knows someone who does, this will be a helpful and poignant read. This is also an important book for anyone who just wants to better understand those who have struggled with this.

I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JR Weaver lives in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a veteran of the United States Army and now specializes in helping other veterans adapt and adjust to the civilian world while dealing with issues such as PTSD, depression, and substance abuse. Jerry was like many veterans, lost and confused after finishing his time in uniform. His life quickly spiraled out of control, and he was at the breaking point. It was during his recovery and regrowth period where Jerry discovered the healing power of writing. He began writing down his thoughts and processing feelings and has gone on to become a staunch advocate for veteran’s addiction and recovery.

Contact JR Weaver:

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

WEBSITE

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

Self-Published Saturday/Silent Rise: A City, the Arts, and a Blue Collar Kid

Self-published Saturday is my attempt to help Self-Published/Indie authors. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing and more. Saturdays are reserved for giving them a little bit of help with the marketing side. This week’s first offering is Silent Rise by Rick H. Jones. It is about his life and his path to becoming the Director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, OH. As an additional note, I have stopped putting dates on Self-Published Saturday reviews. I think it’s better that they remain timeless.

BOOK REVIEW

This is the author’s memoir of growing up in Dayton, Ohio, his talent for painting and love for the arts, and the path that led him to become Director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, OH.

I found this book to be part memoir and part “how to” book, as a lot of the mechanics of setting up, conceptualizing, and funding an arts center were discussed in the book. There are a lot of personal anecdotes as well. Jones pays well-earned homage to the leaders in Hamilton who helped him to bring the idea of an arts center to fruition and help it become the center of a thriving community. For anyone interested in setting up an arts center or any kind of nonprofit, this will be a fascinating read. 

Jones mentions his extended family in the “hollers” (or hollows) of the Eastern Kentucky mountains, and I appreciated the beautiful quote he provided about “the definition of a holler,” written by Roberta Stephens. The full article by Stephens is at https://www.marshmallowranch.com/defi…. I completely understood that quote. I grew up in Cincinnati, but my late Mom is from Western Carolina, and we spent summers with her relatives in Bryson City. I will be living in the very holler my Mom grew up in after I retire.

While the author said some of his family and acquaintances in Appalachian Eastern Kentucky were racist, I have not experienced that at all. My Western North Carolina mountain family includes cousins of Native American and African American heritage, not just Caucasian, and I haven’t seen racism there. Cherokee, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, is just 10 miles away. I can only speak to my experience, but I just didn’t want people to think all of Appalachia is racist, because that is not so.

Overall, this is a detailed memoir about the arts and what they can do for a community. The author’s love and care for his adopted community of Hamilton, OH, are very evident and appreciated.

COVER RATING

Cover Rating is a new feature where I give my opinion as to whether or not the cover will be noticeable when readers are scrolling through millions of offerings on Amazon. It does not reflect in the overall rating of the book review. I asked the author, who is an artist, if this was abstract art, and he said “No. It’s rusting metal.” This is to symbolize the rust belt and Hamilton OH. I thought that was pretty cool! I think the cover is very noticeable, especially for a non-fiction book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick H. Jones

Rick got his start in the arts when his mother enrolled him in Saturday morning art classes at the Dayton Art Institute in Ohio. He continued for nearly a decade. With two degrees in painting, having taught college art for six years, and forty years’ experience in arts administration, he is now an exhibited painter, author, and sometimes poet. He has consulted on board development, fund development, grantsmanship, and arts management for numerous arts centers, councils, and organizations. In retirement, he and his family own an art supply and framing store in Hamilton, Ohio. In 1991 he was awarded the Ohio Governor’s Award in Arts Administration.

WEBSITE

*The author’s books and paintings are both showcased here.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Book Review and Giveaway: Taken at Birth

GIVEAWAY

The winner of the giveaway was drawn randomly, and I’m pleased to announce it is Nancy B. Klein. Nancy has been contacted and I’ll be sending the book to her soon.

Taken At Birth by Jane Blasio is the story of Blasio’s struggle to find her birth family, as well as the birth families of hundreds of other people after finding out about a baby-selling operation in a small town in Georgia. It all revolved around a hometown doctor, Thomas J Hicks, in the small town of McCaysville, Georgia.

Blasio’s struggle with uncooperative townspeople and her own anger and loss of faith makes for a fascinating read. Her journey to find not just her family, but her faith again is poignant. Her determination to find out the truth from a town that was mostly unwilling to give it up is admirable. She details her anger at her own adoptive parents, who were unwilling to reveal much information until right before their deaths. The book contains stories of some of the birth mothers and their dealings with Dr. Hicks, and shows his heartless, selfish, and creepy personality very well. Overall, this is a compelling read. Anyone interested in true crime stories and stories of family separation will enjoy this book.

There is also a six episode series, Taken at Birth, which aired on TLC in 2019.

I received a free copy of this book from Baker Books. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Blasio

     
(In Her Own Words) My personal birth search, as well as acting as a search facilitator and representative for those sold by Doctor Thomas Hicks, has personalized my expertise and reputation. Today, I continue to assist those who are still bound to the Hicks Clinic and looking for answers. I’ve found most of what I was looking for, but not how I ended up at the clinic in the first place. The search of what happened in the clinic will not end until the deception which has marked everyone it touches, is burned off and truth restored. Truth that is owed to all of us lost and torn from the Hicks Clinic.

BUY TAKEN AT BIRTH

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

TARGET

BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

Book Review: Sunshine Girl – An Unexpected Life

For whatever reason, I don’t enjoy posting reviews about books I did not like, although I have done it in the past. Usually when I do, I feel strongly that people may want to see what I found wrong with the book and choose for themselves whether or not to buy it. That was the case here. See my review below and decide what it is you want out of the book before you buy it.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Sunshine Girl by Julianna Margulies is her memoir about being a child of divorce, living different lifestyles with her mother and father, and navigating difficult adult relationships. She is candid about her childhood and her adult relationships. This takes up a majority of the book. She spends very little time on her two major roles, Carol Hathaway on ER and Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife. Fans who are expecting a lot of interesting stories about these shows and her fellow actors will be disappointed. Fans of ER and The Good Wife might want to look at the table of contents before spending $14.99 on the Kindle version. Chapter 12 is about getting the part on ER, and most of Chapter 13 is about leaving ER 6 years later. George Clooney’s name is mentioned 9 times, but 7 of those times are in the story about getting the part in ER, and two mentions are while she’s complaining about fans, which I will go further into below. I could not find any mentions of Anthony Edwards, Sherry Stringfield, or Noah Wyle. As for The Good Wife, the amazing Christine Baranski is mentioned in one anecdote about a medical problem Margulies was having, but fans of Matt Czuchry and Josh Charles will be disappointed. I could not find them in the book. 

There was one story that completely bugged me because she complains about how embarrassed she was when a group of fans stopped her to talk about her two famous roles. People watched these shows for years, and are still watching them. She continues to benefit from these shows. At least she could treat her fans with respect instead of slamming them in a memoir.

Of course it is her prerogative to write about anything she wants, but fans of ER and The Good Wife might want to decide if it’s worth the money, depending on what they hope to get out of the book.

As someone who has enjoyed ER and The Good Wife, this fell flat for me. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning about Julianna Margulies’ childhood and relationships, and very little about her two hit shows. The title is also deceiving. There’s no sunshine in this book.

BUY ON AMAZON

My Goodreads Review (Likes appreciated if you are so inclined)

RECOMMENDATION:

As a contrast to this disappointing memoir, I would like to recommend Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, by Alison Arngrim. Her book is everything this one is not. She shares VERY personal information about her childhood, but also talks about the show (Little House), the fans, and her fellow actors. She even mentions members of the crew. She is witty, gracious, funny, and clever. It is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Warning: She was sexually abused by her brother as a child and talks about it in the book. Interesting fact: Nobody liked Mary. I read this years ago but I will probably put up a review soon.

Book Reviews: Memoirs of a Karate Fighter

Memoirs of a Karate Fighter

Novelist and former karate champion Ralph Robb recounts his experiences at one of Europe’s toughest dojos and provides an insight into the philosophy and training methods of a club which produced national, European and world titleholders. In a hard-hitting story, Ralph tells of the fights on and off the mat; his experiences as one of a very few black residents in an area in which racist members of the National Front were very active; and the tragic descent into mental illness and premature death of the training partner who was also his best friend.

BOOK REVIEW

This was an interesting and engaging memoir by Ralph Robb about his life as a member of the Wolverhampton YMCA Karate Club, his championship battles, his struggles against racism, and his fights in and out of competition. He also relates his determination to build a safer and better life for his family, and his beloved cousin’s battle with mental health issues.

Although I do not know very much about karate, I enjoyed reading about the karate competitions and especially the real-world situations in which Robb used karate to protect himself. Robb shares how karate helped him deal with everything from racist skinheads to drunks and mobsters in the real world. The story of his strong relationship with his cousin Clinton and Clinton’s battle with mental health issues is heartrending.

This is not just a book about a karate fighter. This is a book about a youth who comes into his own while dealing with racism and while cultivating a skill that would shape his life. It’s also about karate, its history, its varying styles, and some of the greats who have practiced and taught it. But most importantly it’s about the growth of a young man, from fighter to father, and the lessons he learned from karate.

This is a must read for fans of karate and those who enjoy coming of age stories.

I received a free copy of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Purchase Links 

AMAZON UK  

AMAZON US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ralph Robb was born and raised in the industrial town of Wolverhampton, England and now lives in Ontario Canada with his wife, cat and dog. A proud father of four, Robb works as an engineering technician and loves rugby, martial arts and a good book. His world is balanced by quality TV, global events, great outdoors and of course his grand-daughter. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RalphRobbBooks

Twitter: @RalphSRobb

Webpage: www.ralphrobb.com

Blog Tour by Rachel’s Random Resources

MY GOODREADS REVIEW

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

Chasing Flavor

Chasing Flavor is an amazing cookbook by Dan Kluger that is true to its name and helps you get the absolute best flavor into your food. He starts with suggestions for pantry and kitchen equipment to help you make his recipes. He shows different techniques, such as how to cut and blanch vegetables, make pasta, and slice brisket. The cookbook is full of great ideas, such as adding pureed cauliflower to tomato soup so you get creaminess without dairy, or turning chicken nuggets into something insanely special by adding a maple chile glaze. 

Among the recipes I plan to try are Cashew Vinaigrette, Crushed Cucumbers with Yogurt and Chiles, Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Parmesan Croutons, Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Fermented Chile Sauce, Grandma Pie, Raisin Stuffed Pork Loin, and Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Warm Potato Salad.

I received a free, temporary digital copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.