“That Book I Wrote About Me” Sarah Buchanan

After three ex-husbands,

              two successful novels, and one disastrous book she’d rather forget ever having written, Fiona Fields has hit a wall. Days once filled with critics gushing over her latest masterpiece have given way to endless hours spent lying on her living room floor in Lakeview Valley, the tiny North Carolina mountain town of her youth, and staring at her ceiling. 

But after Fiona’s agent calls with an opportunity intended to drag her back into the land of the living, Fiona finds herself inspired by her ex-step-daughter, Karen, and she’s soon off and running with a brand new idea for a book and a brand new lease on life (sort of).

What Fiona doesn’t anticipate is long-buried family secrets revealing themselves and threatening to upend her newfound momentum. As she struggles to make sense of revelations about the life she thought she knew, Fiona will find that the past often shows up in the present in very unexpected ways, and that, try as she might, she’s not exempt from the 215-year-old Lakeview tradition of long-forgotten secrets coming to light in spectacular fashion.

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Sarah Buchanan Author Pic     Sarah Buchanan grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has worked as a waitress on a dinner train, a radio DJ, a preschool teacher, a journalist, and a technical writer. She now lives in Southern California with her husband and their cats. 

Her first completed work was a play written when she was 9 that was performed by several classmates and the fish puppets they made in art class.

Sarah’s debut novel, That Book I Wrote About Me, is the first in a series of novels about the fictional small North Carolina town of Lakeview Valley.

“That Book I Wrote About Me” by Sarah Buchanan

After three ex-husbands, two successful novels, and one disastrous book she’d rather forget ever having written, Fiona Fields has hit a wall. Days once filled with critics gushing over her latest masterpiece have given way to endless hours spent lying on her living room floor in Lakeview Valley, the tiny North Carolina mountain town of her youth, and staring at her ceiling. 

But after Fiona’s agent calls with an opportunity intended to drag her back into the land of the living, Fiona finds herself inspired by her ex-step-daughter, Karen, and she’s soon off and running with a brand new idea for a book and a brand new lease on life (sort of).

What Fiona doesn’t anticipate is long-buried family secrets revealing themselves and threatening to upend her newfound momentum. As she struggles to make sense of revelations about the life she thought she knew, Fiona will find that the past often shows up in the present in very unexpected ways, and that, try as she might, she’s not exempt from the 215-year-old Lakeview tradition of long-forgotten secrets coming to light in spectacular fashion.

that book i wrote about me Cover

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Sarah Buchanan’s debut novel “That Book I Wrote About Me” is bursting at the seams with classic small time charm, beautifully flawed characters and a story that will make you wish Fiona were your best friend.

Fiona has been through a lot but she always rises above. It may not be without some pushing and shoving but nothing keeps Fiona down long. She’s strong, but not so much in your face about it. She makes mistakes. Drunken, hilariously awkward mistakes…..but her oopsies make her all the more lovable since she really means no harm in her blunders. She’s real and honest and raw. Unlike her mother and the stereotypical small town woman, Fiona lets the world see who she really is. She doesn’t hide the proverbial crazy.

My favorite thing about Fiona is her golden heart. Those she loves, she loves hard. Ex-husbands, ex-step daughters….everyone. She genuinely gives a crap about their lives. Even when, by all rights she could walk away completely. She’s that ex that becomes the friend that made you fall in love with her to begin with.

There is a part of the book where Fiona tapes up a picture of her first ex that sticks in my mind. First loves are a whirlwind of emotion that lingers no matter how things end. Probably more so when there’s no real closure. Watching Fiona comb through her past and work through old hurts really resonated with me. We’ve all thought “What if”. We’ve all sifted through our past with plenty of cringes and a boat load of sighs. Experiencing those alongside Fiona was therapeutic in a way books like this usually aren’t. I think it was the authenticity of Fiona’s character. It was the authenticity of her resentment and bitterness. It was the healing and forgiving of everyone…..especially herself. It takes a lot of bravery to analyze yourself and admit that you messed up. Especially when your mistakes cause other people more pain than you initially thought it would and you find yourself face to face with the consequences others are facing from your blunder. Fiona faces this with as much grace as a hang over will allow but she means what she says and that right there is enough to make you love her. Apologies are just words unless you can really see that the person who messed up is filled with regret and remorse.

To see such strong work from a new author is exciting to say the least. What’s more exciting is “That Book I Wrote About Me” is the first novel in the “Lakeview Valley” series. Buchanan hooked me with this book and I am staying on the line to find out what’s next for our bumbling Fiona as well as the whole of Lakeview. I strongly recommend you hop on the hook and join me.

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: That Book I Wrote About Me | Series: Lakeview Valley |  Author(s): Sarah Buchanan  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services / Publication Date: 6-9-2017 |Pages: 234 (Print) | ISBN:  B071PBSMNP |Genre(s): Contemporary / Women’s Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 7-14-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

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Indie Author Spotlight – Tracey Brame

Originally from Indianapolis, Tracey Brame graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point with a degree in political science. Since then, she has earned dual masters degrees from the Kelley School of Business and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She is the owner of West Point Financing, an equipment leasing company, and has devoted her life to exposing the modern, coercive methods of white supremacists in the United States.

Tracey Brame Author Pic

The Interview

Q: “Undeterred” was a real eye opener for me as I read. What are your hopes for the book? 

I hope every American regardless of political affiliation  reads the book to understand that the tactics of the modern Ku Klux Klan being carried out against modern citizens under the nose of society. I hope women read it twice since they are the greatest target.

 

Q: Since the release, has anyone attempted to contact you or threaten you about what you’ve written?

Not yet. There is a rare chance that the KKK does not know that the book is available. I’m comfortable with my decision to write my story.

 

Q: It seemed to me that the military doctor who initially examined you after your rape was very concerned for your safety but had his hands tied on what he could do about it. Do you feel like there was more he could of done? Did Military Police do an investigation based on the doctor’s findings?

The doctor saved my military career. He false passed me which happens in the military.  Ultimately someone with PTSD will destruct upon coming out of shock. Mine was a more severe case than that doctor could have known. Had he called the Military Police I would never have graduated.  I have no hard feelings for him. He was in a tough position.

Q: In the book, you mention a number of times that you spaced out conversations and had large pieces of your encounters that went missing from memory. Do you think if PTSD was discussed more and the symptoms much more well known you would of recognized this pattern or someone close to you may of?

No. A PTSD patient cannot diagnose themselves when they have memory loss. It’s not like depression where you can see the signs. Your brain cannot access the memory. When it does you need help immediately. Some PTSD cases are more severe than others. Some people are bothered by thoughts and flashbacks, but coming out of shock can be just as dangerous as going into shock.  Someone I trusted told me to run to the veteran’s hospital. We have to convince the sufferer to seek help.

 

Q: For me, reading this book was a very emotional experience. Has writing it helped you to work through your attacks?

Yes. I wrote the book quickly, cleanly. It was like a relief to be done with it.

 

Q: I personally believe that the KKK are domestic terrorists and should be handled as such. Do you share this view?

I agree with you, but the crimes that I experienced are the work of organized criminals, so my book takes that position.

Q: With writing this book you have made very public a piece of society that many try not to recognize exists. With the rise of Trump and his cabinet, do you feel that the KKK and white supremacist movement have heightened the probability that more people will endure what you have?

I think that as long as the KKK can influence appointments and positions they create a lasting impression on agencies like the FBI which would normally oppose them by design. Literally they can create scenarios where they are or are not policing themselves. This will make it easier for them to get away with more organized crime.

 I would like to thank you for reviewing my book and taking interest in my story.

Allie- Thank you for taking a stand and exposing this very dangerous terrorist organization. I am in awe of your bravery and perseverance. 

Undeterred Cover

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Tracey Brame took an oath to serve the nation at the United States Military Academy. When she revealed an interest in entering politics during formation, a cadet violently attacked her. Brame subsequently suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and a dangerous memory loss known as dissociative amnesia, in which the victim cannot recall suffering a traumatic attack. She kept charging through her West Point duties oblivious to her condition.

After serving her commission time, Brame took a job back in her home state of Indiana. Again she expressed an interest in entering politics, and again she paid a price. The Ku Klux Klan, who did not want an educated African American woman to run for an Indiana office, targeted Brame for continued, organizational crime and harassment. She moved from Bloomington to Indianapolis, but the KKK pursuit—ordered by two grand dragons, a father/son duo, both doctors—continued.

Get ready for a gripping memoir of one woman’s perseverance over adversity.

 

Why should you read book reviews?

Why should you read book reviews?

For most of us deep in the trenches of the book world this kind of question has a pretty obvious answer. Our books are our lives and we live and breath each part of every story. We well know that each person’s reading experience is unique and having an intimate view of our favorite stories from all angles is what dreams are made of.

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There’s also a practical side to book reviews. For the prospective buyer, it’s a great way to try before you buy. Most reviewers are careful to avoid spoilers so it’s a great way to know that the book you’re buying is the book you thought it was. Summaries can be tricksy sometimes and I’ve been burned more than once by them. Like most people, I am on a tight budget and nothing makes me more angry than using my few funds to buy a book that was nothing like the summary said it would be. Ever seen the movie “Inside Out”? I look a whole lot like “Anger” as he melts the window. 

Anger inside out character

Checking Goodreads or Amazon and having the ability to read a plethora of reviews brings me all kinds of happiness. 

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Another great thing about reviews is that when you’ve read a book that hits you so hard it changes the landscape of who you thought you were you get to brag to everyone about it in your review and help a great book gets loads of attention. 

Should people get paid to write a review and if they do should you see that review as tainted?

I probably have a less than popular opinion on this because I think that paying someone to write a review is fine. I don’t see that the author of the review earning money for their work is a disqualifier for honesty. Some of the most in-depth and thought provoking reviews I’ve read have been from people paid to write them. I love when someone puts time and effort into a review to shape it into this beautiful opinion on a story that deserves it. I’ve read paid reviews of books that got horrible reviews. Turns out, those horrible reviews came from more than just that paid reviewer. Sometimes, a book sucks. Sometimes an author tries to put out a crap product that they try to pass off as great and that sucks. It really does. When I read your review of a book, I don’t care if you were paid to write it or not. I am looking for how the book moved you…or didn’t. I want to know about the book….not your income. As a reviewer, I base my opinion on the content of your reviews. That’s it. If your reviews are wildly opposite to others, my opinion of your honesty is based on that alone. 

Why is someone earning a living from their writing even an issue? I mean, there is a clear divide on it and I can’t figure why so many people are against paying someone for their abilities. Not everyone can write a great review. Not everyone has the ability to decipher meanings or explain why a book just doesn’t work. It’s not helpful to an author to get a review that just says “your book sucks”. How does it suck? What exactly has gone wrong? You want authors to turn out a great product but they need guidance like the rest of us. With the rise of the self-published movement, authors could use more back-up. I see reviewers (paid or not) as a great way to get that back-up. 

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Let’s empower writers of all kinds to come together and build great worlds with great heroes! 

 

“The Breeders” Katie French

When you’re an endangered species, it’s either LIVE or LOVE. 

Sixteen-year-old Riley Meemick is one of the world’s last free girls. When Riley was born, her mother escaped the Breeders, the group of doctors using cruel experiments to bolster the dwindling human race. Her parents do everything possible to keep her from their clutches-moving from one desolate farm after another to escape the Breeders’ long reach. The Breeders control everything and they’re hunting Riley. 

 
When the local Sheriff abducts the adult members of her family, Riley and her brother Ethan are left to starve. Then Clay arrives, the handsome gunslinger who seems determined to help to make up for past sins. As Riley’s affection for Clay grows she wonders can she trust Clay with her secret and risk her freedom? The three embark on a journey across the scarred remains of New Mexico. When Riley is forced into the Breeder’s hospital, she learns the horrible fate of her mother-a fate she’ll share unless she can find a way out.

Over 75,000 downloads so far. More than 400 four and five star reviews. Top Ten in Free Kindle Teen & Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopian Romance. Winner of Kindle Book Awards 2014 Semifinalist. 

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“The Breeders” is a perfect example of post-apocalyptic fiction. French’s creation of this post-apocalyptic world is impeccable and I was hard pressed to put it down. Riley is a complex character who will draw you deep into this world and never let go. Her gumption and her wit make her a character that equals that of Katniss or Tris. Add her to the list of great heroines.

French’s world is the run away train of sexism. Where women are so undervalued and poorly treated until they become rare and needed. You would think that would make the treatment of them improve. Not a chance. Instead women are a commodity. A means to an end. Their worth measured by their ability to reproduce. Sounds a lot like another book I know. 

I think this theme is so popular in our society because for hundreds of years that’s the meat of how women are seen. Take a long look at some of the fundamentalist cults America houses. Women are tightly controlled. Their lives rigidly regulated. Sex is merely pleasure for a man and something to endure for women. In this world, the breeders are there for just that. To breed women. Think puppy mill….only with humans and the cages are a bit fancier…..until they aren’t.

World’s like French’s are important to note and learn from. This is what could happen. Fiction in all it’s forms is a learning tool. It’s a way to see where those extremist groups and views can lead. Let us take note of it’s horror and learn.

This book has a few inconsistencies that could use to be addressed with another good edit but other than that it’s a solid book that I enjoyed reading.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Breeders | Series: Breeders Series |  Author(s): Katie French  |Publisher: Katie French Books / Publication Date: 2-18-2014 |Pages: 256 (Print) | ISBN: B008RH5MFQ  |Genre(s): Dystopian / Science Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 5-27-2017 |Source: Copy from Kindle Unlimited.

 

Undeterred “KKK Witness, KKK Target” Tracey Brame

Tracey Brame took an oath to serve the nation at the United States Military Academy. When she revealed an interest in entering politics during formation, a cadet violently attacked her. Brame subsequently suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and a dangerous memory loss known as dissociative amnesia, in which the victim cannot recall suffering a traumatic attack. She kept charging through her West Point duties oblivious to her condition.

After serving her commission time, Brame took a job back in her home state of Indiana. Again she expressed an interest in entering politics, and again she paid a price. The Ku Klux Klan, who did not want an educated African American woman to run for an Indiana office, targeted Brame for continued, organizational crime and harassment. She moved from Bloomington to Indianapolis, but the KKK pursuit—ordered by two grand dragons, a father/son duo, both doctors—continued.

Get ready for a gripping memoir of one woman’s perseverance over adversity.

Undeterred Cover

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The first thing that I am going to do before I begin my review is give you fair warning. This book could be triggering to a lot of people. Before you pick it up, I’m going to give you an idea of what’s inside.

Brutal Rape

Physical Abuse

Mental Abuse

Stalking

Gaslighting 

Attempted Murder

Racism

Domestic Terrorism

Brame does not hold back and thoroughly depicts each situation in detail. This is a memoir and her story is deeply troubling and upsetting. While I fully support her endeavor to bring these issues to the fore-front of society, I want those of you who aren’t ready to face this kind of trigger to have the chance to back away.

That said, I think Brame is an incredible woman. Her bravery knows no bounds and her steel determination is awe inspiring. I am in complete awe of this woman and all she has rose above. Brame’s story is gruesome and disturbing. However, her story is one that should be told to everyone. We should all see humanity in all it’s forms.

There are parts of this book where the narration feels a bit detached but it fits well with the mindset that Brame would of experienced. It’s a chilling look into the reality of just how many cruel people there really are among us. I applaud Brame’s bravery to write and publish this book. Especially since she has endured every intimidation tactic known to man for it’s release to be prevented. I hope that those of you who know racist people stand up against them. In my mind these people deserve to be shamed. Society should stand up at every opportunity to ostracize these horrid people among us.  

Brame chronicles her repeated attacks from her ex boyfriend. His repeated attempts to destroy her life as well as his attempt to murder her are shiver inducing. A lot of women have encountered an insane man and some have not lived to tell their tale. It’s a very real and terrifying part of our society that needs to be stopped immediately. This man should never of had the opportunities to continue his torture. Something is very broken in our society.

There is one scene that I will never get out of mind. It’s the shower scene. You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you read it. I can’t imagine how that must of felt. This story will never leave my mind. Brame’s story will forever fire between the synapses in my brain. This story has absolutely changed my outlook. I hope it inspires change in yours.

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Undeterred – KKK Target, KKK Witness | Series: N/A |  Author(s): Tracey Brame  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services / Publication Date: 6-7-2017 |Pages: 347 (Print) | ISBN:  B071G8BWC9 |Genre(s): Memoir |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 5-24-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

Book Review “The Last Orphans” N. W. Harris

One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world. 

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas–an out-of-his-league classmate–who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance.

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected–the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead.

The Last Orphans Cover

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Prepare yourselves, this book moves fast. It’s non-stop action the entire read. There is never a good stopping point and every single time you have to close the book it will cause you literal pain!

Shane is a kid whose entire life goes to hell in a hand-basket far quicker than it has any right to. This book is a great insight into how quickly things really can fall the heck apart. The death scenes are brutal and horrific but I do have to give Harris kudos for his imagination. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a single bug again without thinking of this book.

Some of the realities of this story and the choices that the characters have to make was heart wrenching. No one thinks about tiny babies in these scenarios. Once that was brought up it stuck in my mind and still sneaks into my mind when I really REALLY don’t want it to. Because really, I would like to think that I would go house to house rounding up babies to take care of but……with the ever growing chaos and the continuing decline of older kids and safe places….it’s something to think about for sure.

Harris has created a world that sucks you in and doesn’t let go. I’m looking forward to continuing the series and getting more answers to exactly what is really going on. 

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Last Orphans | Series: The Last Orphans |  Author(s): N. W. Harris  |Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing / Publication Date: 10-9-2014 |Pages: 277 (Print) | ISBN: B00NJCL302 |Genre(s): Teen / Young Adult  |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 4-25-2017 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

Word Of The Day – Abdicate

Here at AlliesOpinions, we love words! We especially love when those words are carefully selected and wove together to create the best stories of our lives. Language is important and words have meaning so we’ve decided that adding to our vocabulary is a must. There are a million ways to communicate so why not do it in the most colorful way you can? We hope you enjoy our selections!

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Abdicate

1 : to renounce a throne, high office, dignity, or function
2 : to relinquish (something, such as sovereign power) formally
3 : to cast off : discard

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All of our selections come straight from Merriam Webster.

Word of the day

 

Word Of The Day- Vex

Here at AlliesOpinions, we love words! We especially love when those words are carefully selected and wove together to create the best stories of our lives. Language is important and words have meaning so we’ve decided that adding to our vocabulary is a must. There are a million ways to communicate so why not do it in the most colorful way you can? We hope you enjoy our selections!

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Vex

a :  to bring trouble, distress, or agitation to – the restaurant is vexed by slow service

b :  to bring physical distress to – a headache vexed him all morning

c :  to irritate or annoy by petty provocations :  harass  – vexed by the children

d :  puzzle, baffle  – a problem to vex the keenest wit

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All of our selections come straight from Merriam Webster.

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Word Of The Day – Erstwhile

Here at AlliesOpinions we love words! We especially love when those words are carefully selected and wove together to create the best stories of our lives. Language is important and words have meaning so we’ve decided that adding to our vocabulary is a must. There are a million ways to communicate so why not do it in the most colorful way you can? We hope you enjoy our selections!

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Erstwhile

1: in the past : formerly

“The participants proceeded with civility and purpose. Meetings that erstwhile had taken entire days were concluded with agreement in an hour or two.” — Greg Behrman, The Most Noble Adventure, 2007

 

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All of our selections come straight from Merriam Webster.

Word of the day