Forgiveness with a Vengeance

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I Forgive You by Nathan Pennington

5 star

5 Stars

iforgiveyouPennington’s suspenseful short story is a quick read that packs a vengeful wallop. Emotions run the gamut in a story that can be read in one sitting. It grips you from the first sentence, drawing you before you know it into the story of the second-person protagonist who laments over the fate of someone you never meet but plays a central role in the story. Without giving too much away, it’s about the protagonist’s encounter with a man whose checkered past leaves him torn over how deal with an unseemly revelation. The two characters engage in an interplay that leaves the reader sympathetic to both individuals and eager to reach the last page in order to discover how the encounter plays out. Pennington ends it with a satisfying twist in a killer flourish that befits a writer in the crime fiction genre.

While short, the story is a worthwhile read. You will get more for your money from it than some full-length books I’ve read. I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it.

I Forgive You is now available at:


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Learn E-book Publishing Success from a Master

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The Secrets to E-book Publishing Success by Mark Coker

5 star

5 stars

This is a gem of a book for the price (free on Smashwords). It’s a good read for aspiring authors who are just starting to self-publish and need some guidance getting started in the seemingly chaotic, unorganized, and ever-expanding galaxy of the self-publishing industry. As founder of Smashwords.com, Mark Coker leans heavily on Smashwords’ self-publishing platform to help the reader understand what it takes to publish and distribute an e-book(s) successfully. The book complements his other free companion pieces, the “Smashwords Book Marketing Guide” and “Smashwords Style Guide.” The three books together are great primers for using Smashwords and leveraging it as a distribution and marketing tool.

Coker’s book offers 28 secrets to publishing a successful e-book. Some “secrets” are common sense, and the book doesn’t go into great deal on how to take advantage of them. The biggest “secret” to success is to write a great book that resonates with readers, but Coker doesn’t explain how to do it. That’s up to you. He does, however, generally point writers in the right direction, getting them to think about the different elements of self-publishing success. For example, he suggests writers think beyond the price to generate sales. Should a book be priced at $0.99 or $9.99? It depends on the writer’s objective. Price is just one aspect of book sales an author should consider.

Coker does not offer as many specifics in this book as he did in his marketing and style guides, but I appreciate the holistic view of self-publishing he offers. Experienced self-published authors may have a few “duh” moments when something strikes them as common sense. Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile for any writer to read this book and learn from one of the masters of the self-publishing industry.

I give Coker’s book five stars and highly recommend it to all writers, including those interested in traditional publishing who might be persuaded to self-publish after reading the book. If nothing else, the price point — free — should be an incentive.

The Secrets to E-Book Publishing Success is now available at:



Not Stupid by any Means…Gems for Life

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How Stupidity Saved My Life by Okechukwu Ofili

4 star

4 stars

Mr. Ofili has written a gem of a book filled with pearls of wisdom. He shares with readers 18 ways to have a better life by making the right choices. His conclusions are underscored by news stories, anecdotes, and moments from his own life when he realized that he was doing something wrong and that there was a better way to handle the situation.

I appreciate how candidly he drew from his own experiences and lightened up the book with humor. I enjoyed his funny and telling sketches to illustrate (literally) his points. I liked the stories that tackled tough issues, from growing up in another culture, racism, a tendency to overanalyze, and financial challenges, among others. While the life’s lessons the author shared are grounded in common sense, he packaged them in an easy-to-read, thought-provoking book. His stories made me want to know more about his personal life, but I’ll have to wait for him to share more if he writes a follow-on book.

If there’s any reason to give this book 4 out of 5 stars, it’s because it ends before you know it, and the wisdom he imparts is quite fleeting. It’s not the kind of book that those seeking help to change their own lives can rely on for solid advice. The author does not take enough time to help the reader apply it to their own lives or even sink in. It’s a great read for what it offers. His advice might not be equally applicable to all, but he left it up to readers to decide if they agree with his advice. Not everyone is an engineer or has an engineer’s mind (myself included), but his anecdotes cut across a wide demographic.

I recommend this book to anyone who prefers to learn life’s lessons from others than the hard way — on their own.

How Stupidity Saved My Life is now available at: