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BOOK REVIEW: THE HIDING GAME by Gwen Strauss

March 22, 2022 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as ,

THE HIDING GAME

Gwen Strauss

illustrated by Herb Leonhard

Pelican Publishing Co.

 2017  

ISBN 978-1-455622658

A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

Picture books, that welcoming world of imagery and words that capture the heart and the imagination. And most wonderful of all, when the story is true and reveals a hidden gem.

The Hiding Game, a work of creative nonfiction, is a moving account of the author’s great-uncle Daniel Benedite and Varian Fry, brave men who were instrumental in saving the lives of some of the most important scientists, artists, writers and thinkers of the day such as; Vlady Serge who fled to Mexico and became one of the country’s leading muralist, Max Ernst, a German painter, and artists Marc Chagall and Marcel Duchamp, among others.

Little Aube, daughter of the famous poet, Andre Breton,( known as the Pope of Surrealism), is forced to move from place to place with her family during the 1940s in Nazi-occupied France. They eventually find shelter in Villa Air-Bel, a hidden villa where Varian, with funds from the New York American Rescue Committee, works with Daniel to arrange passage for them, and others, out of war-torn Europe.

Sundays are Aube’s favorite day because, together with all of the “guests” in the house, she spends the day drawing, singing, and playing games. “Papa said that by singing, playing and laughing with the greatest joy, they would fight against fear.”

But most of the time, things remain secret, like the radio for listening to the war news, and the cow in the yard for giving milk. Aube also has her own secret hiding place; the old armoire in the kitchen, just in case “they” come.

Illustrations by Herb Leonhard draw the reader into the lives of the characters, turning a factual account into a personal encounter with time and history. Strauss also provides actual photos of the individuals, a brief history of the account, and links for further study and reading.

I leave you with a quote listed in the book’s endnotes attributed to Rosemary Sullivan’s book, Villa Air-Bel. “Andre Breton believed that surrealism and art must keep the playful child inside us alive. He believed that laughter was fundamentally the opposite of fascism.”

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on April 22nd!

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Challenging Myself To Write A Book Review

June 12, 2021 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as ,

I have found writing book reviews a little intimidating. Even though I know as a expectant published author they are important and help with book sales. I’m not one to share my opinion on something unless asked. And I tend to stress over the words I choose for explaining what I mean.  I mean, what if what I say misses the mark? Or offends someone? And I’m not as eloquent as someone else. Have you read some great reviews on a story and wish you could phrase things like that?

Yet, a book review is just that.

An opinion.

And someone might be interested to hear about it from my point of vew.

I have to remember that.

And then when I decided I would try, my kindle only lets me select a star count, not write words, so I’d have to go downstairs to my computer, log-in and find the purchase and write the review. It makes an already reluctant book review writer want to scream.

Yet, don’t I read reviews when making purchases to see if it’s something that fits my interests? I need to at least try.

So now I have a notebook on my ottomon so that when I finish a story I can practice writing a review. 

Writing a Book Review

I recently took the time to type up one of them and post it. 

I also see that sometimes people review books in blog posts, and that’s a new challenge for me.

So, in the essence of practice, I wanted to post a review in a blog post as well.

Here I go;

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly Cover for writing a book review

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly

This is book 2 in her Chaparral Hearts series, published by Wild Heart Books (and yes I’ve read book 1 and looking forward to book #3). The historical setting is in California, mostly in the San Diego area.

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly is a special story of love, kindness, & patience.

I loved the characters, their interactions with each other, and the way God’s words were woven throughout the story naturally. 

The historical context was rich with details and I felt right there in the story. 

The struggles of doubt and longing and the lies we believe were very easy to identify with. 

It’s amazing what can happen when one continuously seeks God’s wisdom and stays on the path of doing what’s right. I want to be a better person after reading this. 

I wanted to disclose that I received a free copy from the author but was not required to review it. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share.

It’s not a large review, but it came from the heart. Maybe I will get more comfortable with this and learn to expand a bit more. 

Are you comfortable writing book reviews? For those more experienced, any words of wisdom?


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FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO–A Review by Veronica Jorge

February 22, 2021 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,

Forgiving Mariela Camacho: A Kurchenko & Gonzalves Mystery, Book 3 of a series

by A.J. Sidransky

Black Opal Books 2021  

Revised edition.   

ISBN: 978-953-434067

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Books-A-Million
Buy from Kobo
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About the Book

When a tenant reports a terrible odor coming from apartment 7-F, detectives Kurchenko and Gonzalves know it can only mean one thing: a dead body. But despite all of their training and experience dealing with crime on New York City’s streets, the detectives aren’t prepared for what they are about to encounter.

Sidranky’s first book in this three-part series, Forgiving Maximo Rothman, (reviewed by this writer on December 22, 2020), introduced us to Maximo: his harrowing escape out of Nazi Europe, life as a refugee in the Dominican Republic, and the horrific event that forces him to flee to New York City. In book two, Forgiving Stephen Redmond, (see my review of January 22, 2021), Stephen grapples with his feelings toward his father Maximo, his own dark past, and eventual self-discovery.

In this third and final book of the series, Forgiving Mariela Camacho, Kurchenko and Gonzalves take center stage as they discover how closely their Russian and Dominican lives intersect. Now, more than ever, their partnership will be tested and challenged. How well do they really know each other? How deep is their trust in the other? Solving the case and saving the lives of those they love will depend on how well they can answer these questions.

Why You Should Read It

In Forgiving Mariela Camacho, the most powerful of the three novels, Sidransky weaves a tale of passionate once-in-a-life-time-love, deep-rooted hate, the self-debasement dire circumstances impose upon the most pure and, above all, how essential forgiveness is to the human heart.

The author expertly connects the lives of the seemingly disparate characters and safely carries us to a masterful and satisfying conclusion: the redeeming power of love.

As one of the characters states, “We each have our own destiny.”  Sidransky’s novel will make you ask, “What is mine?”

Veronica Jorge

Join us next month on March 22nd for an interview with A.J. Sidransky. You don’t want to miss it!


Books Reviewed by Veronica Jorge

#PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

A DRAKENFALL CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A DRAKENFALL CHRISTMAS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Buy now!
FOREIGN RELATIONS

FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO

Buy now!
FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO

FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN

Buy now!
FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN

FORGIVING STEPHEN REDMOND

Buy now!
FORGIVING STEPHEN REDMOND

MIGUEL’S BRAVE KNIGHT

Buy now!
MIGUEL’S BRAVE KNIGHT

MY FRIEND JACKSON

Buy now!
MY FRIEND JACKSON

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

Buy now!
ONE TASTE TOO MANY

SECRET RELATIONS

Buy now!
SECRET RELATIONS
SERIOUSLY, MOM, YOU DIDN’T KNOW?

SEVERED RELATIONS

Buy now!
SEVERED RELATIONS

THE ALLIANCE

Buy now!
THE ALLIANCE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN PICKED UP A PENNY

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

Buy now!
THE LAST GOODNIGHT

THE ONLY ROAD

Buy now!
THE ONLY ROAD
THE RELUCTANT GROOM AND OTHER HISTORICAL STORIES

THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

Buy now!
THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

THREE TREATS TOO MANY

Buy now!
THREE TREATS TOO MANY

TWO BITES TOO MANY

Buy now!
TWO BITES TOO MANY

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Forgiving Maximo Rothman–A Review by Veronica Jorge

December 22, 2020 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , ,

Forgiving Maximo Rothman: A Kurchenko & Gonzalves Mystery, Book 1 of a series

by A.J. Sidransky

Black Opal Books 2020  

Revised edition.   

ISBN: 9781953434517

Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
Buy from Google Play

About the Book

Tasked with solving the homicide of Maximo Rothman, an elderly man in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, Detective Tolya Kurchenko is hard pressed to keep peace in the polarized community. The Jews, mourning the loss of one of their own, are demanding more protection. The arrest of Carlos, the young man who helped care for Maximo and now accused of his murder, elicits cries of protest from the Dominican residents.

Kurchenko’s gut tells him that Carlos is innocent. Who then had motive and opportunity?

The detective determines to learn everything he can about Max and the people in his life. For now, the possible suspects are a son, a daughter-in-law, a helpful neighbor, and Carlos.

Reading Max’s journal reveals his past. The bitter loss of his family. Escape from Nazi Europe. And life as a refugee in the Dominican Republic, until he runs afoul of the Dominican dictator Trujillo and is forced to flee to New York City. Moreover, Kurchenko gets a glimpse into Max’s heart: a man who has known danger, deep love, bitter loss, and anger at a God who does not help in times of anguish.

The search for the truth takes on a life of its own, and in the process, Kurchenko discovers a man … just like him. The experience forces him to confront his own past filled with loss, anger and fear. Kurchenko’s murder investigation simultaneously becomes a search for life as he attempts to reconcile with the past, revive the dead parts of his heart, and boldly reach out to lay hold of love.

Why You Should Read It

Shortlisted by the National Jewish Book Awards for Outstanding Debut Fiction, Forgiving Maximo Rothman forges a compelling bond between past and present that transcends culture. For at every time and in every place one grapples with questions of identity, and responsibility for the lives and well-being of those around us and those in our care. Ultimately, in the words of Max, Sidransky’s novel reminds us that, “Life is too short to make enemies of those we love.”

Veronica Jorge

See you next year, January 22, 2021!


Books Reviewed by Veronica Jorge

#PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

A DRAKENFALL CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A DRAKENFALL CHRISTMAS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Buy now!
FOREIGN RELATIONS

FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO

Buy now!
FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO

FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN

Buy now!
FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN

FORGIVING STEPHEN REDMOND

Buy now!
FORGIVING STEPHEN REDMOND

MIGUEL’S BRAVE KNIGHT

Buy now!
MIGUEL’S BRAVE KNIGHT

MY FRIEND JACKSON

Buy now!
MY FRIEND JACKSON

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

Buy now!
ONE TASTE TOO MANY

SECRET RELATIONS

Buy now!
SECRET RELATIONS
SERIOUSLY, MOM, YOU DIDN’T KNOW?

SEVERED RELATIONS

Buy now!
SEVERED RELATIONS

THE ALLIANCE

Buy now!
THE ALLIANCE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN PICKED UP A PENNY

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

Buy now!
THE LAST GOODNIGHT

THE ONLY ROAD

Buy now!
THE ONLY ROAD
THE RELUCTANT GROOM AND OTHER HISTORICAL STORIES

THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

Buy now!
THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

THREE TREATS TOO MANY

Buy now!
THREE TREATS TOO MANY

TWO BITES TOO MANY

Buy now!
TWO BITES TOO MANY

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BOOK REVIEW: MY FRIEND JACKSON BY CHRISTOPHER D. OCHS—A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

October 22, 2020 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , ,

$16.95
eBook: $3.99
Author: Christopher D. Ochs
Genres: ParanormalUrban FantasyYoung Adult
Tag: 2020
Publisher: Anigrafx LLC
Publication Year: 2020
ASIN: B08J2LMFP9
ISBN: 9780998172613


Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Books-A-Million
Buy from IndieBound

Being a teenager is tough enough: trying to fit in, figuring out who you are and want to be, and finding your place in the world. Jasmine Price also has to deal with being alone most of the time because her mom works two jobs to make ends meet. Her dad? Well, he’s been serving in the military so long Jasmine’s afraid she might be forgetting what he looks like.


But things seem to be looking up. They have moved out of the Projects into a better neighborhood; their neighbor Bibi, a grandmotherly figure, provides the companionship and confidante Jasmine needs while her mother’s at work, and Jasmine has a good shot at making the basketball team at her new high school.


That is until she runs afoul of Nevaeh, the team captain, and her crew. The game plan is on: take Jasmine out.


Hard pressed to deal with the escalating attacks and violence against her, Jasmine confides in Bibi who offers a solution to all of her problems: Jackson, a pet chameleon from her native Tanzania. This magical creature speaks and can transform not only his colors, but also his size, and defends, to the death, those he has sworn to protect.


When Jasmine uses the chameleon’s powers, things spiral out of control. She even becomes a police suspect in another teen’s disappearance.
Jasmine learns that by her actions she must choose who she wants to be, and realizes that positive change starts with her. Now she wants to get rid of Jackson, but how?


My Friend Jackson is a unique and riveting story of the physical and emotional impact of bullying, and the consequences of one’s actions and choices to resolve conflicts that every teenager and adult can relate to. A great and compelling story!

~Veronica Jorge
See you next time on November 22nd!

Buy Links for My Friend Jackson

$16.95
eBook: $3.99
Author:Christopher D. Ochs
Genres: ParanormalUrban FantasyYoung Adult
Tag: 2020
Publisher: Anigrafx LLC
Publication Year: 2020
ASIN: B08J2LMFP9
ISBN: 9780998172613


Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Books-A-Million
Buy from IndieBound

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