Category Archives: book reviews

“Running In Heels” A New Memoir by Mary Ann Perez

Hello readers, writers, authors and creatives! I’m always overjoyed to receive an email from writers I’ve connected with, informing me they have finished their manuscript or found a publisher for their masterpiece. You know the icing on the cake comes when I’m told that their book is ready for purchase and would I please aid them in promoting their baby?

Running In Heels, is a heart wrenching memoir, written by Mary Ann Perez and it’s available for purchase. For those of you who follow my blog, you know I don’t recommend a book I wouldn’t read or haven’t read myself. At this point, and after reading the synopsis to Mary’s new memoir, I’m looking forward to reading it in its entirety.


Pre-orders are available and can be ordered in soft, hard, or e-book. All printed pre-orders will be signed.

Go here to read an excerpt of “Running In Heels” and purchase your copy today.

Everyone have a blessed (count your blessings) week-end and always treat yourself special…

A Congratulatory Post On Poetry And Books

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope your week was productive and that you have a safe and memorable weekend of rest, reconnection and gratitude. I, like you, was saddened to hear of Robin Williams death. I was remembering all of his great performances and his upbeat, perfectly timed improvise & jokes that made us laugh until we hurt. What baby boomer doesn’t remember Mork & Mindy? His passing is unfortunate and very sad. There are never enough words.

This is a congratulatory post of sorts that I’ve been meaning to share with readers about what’s been brewing on my creative stove, give a well-deserved shout-out to an author’s milestone accomplishment and share information about clara54’s upcoming guest author appearances.


I admit it. I didn’t spend time working on my memoir during my hiatus. I couldn’t bring myself to create in that cathartic space and so I went back to writing poems; a genre I’d found a bit of success in, in the beginning of my freelance writing career.

I wrote a few new poems and gathered some of my languishing poetry to enter them in The Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize Competition. where they placed in the competition’s quarter finalists. The finalists vote comes at the end of August. Fingers crossed:)

I received edits to a poem selected for inclusion in the Michelle Obama Anthology (the authors changed the title) which is set for publication in the historical academia’s “The Black Scholar” sometime in September.

My poem “When Morning Comes” was selected to appear on the website Best New Poems for 7 days where readers and poetry lovers get to vote on the poem they like best and that poet wins the contest. My poem is scheduled to appear on the site August 29th. I need your votes, people! so go here to vote for When Morning Comes

I’m collaborated with,and will be the featured author on a new upcoming Christian Romance Guide, penned by my colleague and friend, Evelyn Cogdell. At our last correspondence, Evelyn was held up and anticipating returning to the project in September. More on that as it unfolds.

Kathy Pooler, who blogs at Memoir Writer’s Journey is presently on a blog tour for her just released memoir and will be stopping in at clara54 the first week of September to talk about her new book (which has received great reviews) and her journey away from emotional abuse.

The same week, Kathy will guest post at my Authentic Woman site to encourage, inspire and empower other women to live a life of wholeness, away from abuse.


I was stuck writing my memoir and turned to penning poems on my time away. I also connected with Joy Devok, a prolific cross genre author who blogs at “My Life a Legacy” and who just happens to have recently published her e-book of poetry, called Poetry: Touch the World with Your Art and Soul.


Look for Joy’s appearance very soon as she joins the writers blog to talk about her enormous body of work and the joy of writing poetry. I’m excited to have these authors visit and share with us their writing process and talk about their books.Congratulations authors!

Whew, this post was supposed to be short and sweet. What happened!? If you have great news to share with my readers, please feel free to inquire about joining the fray:)

Upcoming Review of Spartan Up!

th spartan cover

Alright, I have to be honest. I’m in the process of reading Spartan Up! for clara54’s next book review and I’m hearing a little birdie going , “Is this crazy or what?!” According to the author and founder of this obstacle race, people have undoubtedly called him sadistic, crazy and even suicidal but every weekend thousands of people participate in this race.

This is the book of Joe De Sena, founder of The Spartan Race and I hope to finish it for review (fair and impartial one) for my readers. In the meantime, I leave you with this bit of digestion; all participants in the race must sign a waiver acknowledging fully, knowingly and freely that they accept all risks, both known and unknown before they’re allowed to join the race. Hmm- is there a method to this madness?

Have a safe and memorable Memorial Day weekend. I hope to see everyone on next Friday for my review of Spartan Up!
Feel free to stop by and share your comments about the author, the race and the book.

Clara54 “Whatcha Doing” in Books for 2014!

Hello readers, writers and published authors! Well, stuff is happening in my world- some good, some not so good, but my creative juices will not be deterred:) Today, I’m reflecting upon some of the many books/authors I’ve read for my reviews here at Clara54, and and I wanted to share and recommend some “Whatcha doing” in books to my wonderful readers.

You guys are so deserving and this is my way of saying ‘thanks’ for all you do and to remind you that great books and authors are rising up, many of whom I get to spotlight at clara54 writers blog. Today at clara54’s “Whatcha doing” book series:


“Through The Lens” by Kwana Jackson, is an enjoyable and romantic book. The protagonists discover their love for each other through the lens of a beautiful Island backdrop.


“Murder At Castle Rock” is a wonderful whodunit that takes the reader on a joyful and suspenseful journey through the love for rock & roll music and mysterious murders. This book was written for diehard music lovers and wannabe mystery solvers with a in a rock &amp ambiance. The author is Anne Marie Stoddard.


Want to read about women trailblazers in Basketball? Remember when women weren’t even allowed to play the sport? This memoir “Home Sweet Hardwood” was written by one of those women! I learned a lot about the tenacity and strengths that women had to muster in order to become ‘one of the boys’ in this male dominated sport. I’m also glad to report that Pat Mckinzie and I are great cyber ‘sistah’ friends. Keep going warrior woman!


“When One Door Closes” is one of my favorite women anthologies and not because I’m one of the contributors, but because of its author. Terri Spahr Nelson took the voices of many women and formed a community of a woman support system of shared truths and the voices of women in conversation on a global scale. I was thrilled to read and be a part of this book that reflects on Life’s turning points in the lives of women.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own little contribution to sharing the authentic woman voice. With “A Life Toward Authenticity”, I’m not even trying to go to the place of published author (wip) with this short eBook of my personal journey to truths seeking, but I tell you it packs a great big wallop in an honest attempt to help other women on the path to living an authentic lifestyle. From my heart to yours, I ask that you receive the message in which it was given.


‘Eating Smoke” by Chris Thrall stayed in my mind long after I’d finished reading it. It’s a true to life story of addiction, psychosis and a man alone in Hong Kong, whose life force is quickly spiraling out of control as his addiction to drugs worsens and his sanity wan. I’m still waiting for an interview with this author, but he’s presently in talks and preparing this masterpiece for the big screen!

18513417 heart bones

Wow, you talk about a master at work, “AS The Heart Bones Break” by Audrey Chin is so descriptive and detailed in its craftsmanship. The story unfolds via a mysterious voice painting tales of espionage and secrets that extends from Singapore to the shores of the USA. The protagonist is determined to stay true to his people; his heritage and considers it an honor to spy for his country from where he lives and works abroad. The secrets within his own heritage and insidious family dramas colors the story and lures the reader, making it impossible to put the book aside. I was pleased to hear of the author’s success with her book, only one of several. I predicted Heart Bones would become a bestseller and box office draw 🙂

These are some of the books I’ve enjoyed reviewing for my blog or at and there are others that I want to recommend, but those will come at another posting. I hope those of you reading this post will pick up one or more of these author’s books. Clara54 was selected as book blogger site in 2010 for a reason, people, so go on and get your read on.

Have you read any of my recommendations? Feel free to share.

Book Review/Hugo The Happy Starfish Children Educational Book Collections

Happy Friday to you! I slept later than usual this morning and when I woke up feeling rejuvenated, I heard my body responding “You needed that” 🙂 Today I’m sharing a review from the HUGO THE HAPPY STARFISH collection of award winning educational children’s books by the author Suzy Liebermann.

I’ve given an honest review of three of Suzy’s book in the collection for Amazon and I’m providing the links to those at the bottom of the post.


4.0 out of 5 stars Lessons For Early Learning, March 6, 2014
By Clara (Illinois)
This review is from: SIMPLY CHARMING – THE ISLAND OF APPRECIATION (HUGO THE HAPPY STARFISH – Island Adventures 12: Educational Children’s Book Collection) (Kindle Edition)
The premise of Suzy Liebermann’s books centers on educating young children about different aspects of life. I thought The Island of Appreciation accomplished what it set out to do in teaching kindness and appreciation through expressing simple compliments to others.

Hugo The Happy Starfish and his friends arrive on the Island Of Appreciation and are encouraged to show appreciation on a daily basis or suffer the giggles by Tony, the Tickle Monster. The starfish had to endure the giggles if they hadn’t offered words of appreciation to anyone and sets out to show appreciation to others. By giving others compliments, Hugo and his friends find that showing appreciation help make others feel good

I think children will enjoy these simple acts of showing appreciation as a learning tool in the classroom and as a fun read during their bedtime rituals.

I was given complimentary copies of Hugo The Happy Starfish in exchange for an honest review. Read my Amazon reviews here:


To learn more about the author and her HUGO Books, go here:

What are your fond children books memories?

Authors Seeking Book Reviewers


TGIF! I know right? In order to promote their books and great works, many established authors are seeking book reviewers to help them do that. I’ve been asked to do many book reviews over the years and loved doing it because I’m a book voyeur from way back:)

Do not be fooled, doing book reviews is no easy task as it’s time consuming, demanding and can interrupt your personal writing and time schedule. For this reason, I’m more selective when choosing books for review- so many wonderful books, so little precious time (sigh) The books posted today are available for review from their authors and ones that you might consider reviewing on your blog.

The Redeemers Tale- Book One by J.P James is an epic fantasy of good vs evil, with some magic and romance thrown in for good measure. Mr. James invites readers to visit his to get details of how to download a complimentary copy for review. You can also visit and use the coupon code TF62U. And get it via the promotional site at, along with a giveaway for your readers.

When you sign up at you will be on their book reviewer list for promotional book and product reviews and giveaways for your blog readers. Some products and books come with prerequisites such as number of FB likes or Twitter followers. If the author is familiar with your work,however, they will sometimes waive prerequisites and contact you directly. Such was the case for Hugo The Happy Starfish author, Suzy Liebermann, whose line of children books are educational learning tools introduced in the schools.


The author will be leaving Tomoson. com in March and asks that any blogger wanting to review her line of educational books for children, contact her at or email
I have committed to writing an honest review of Hugo, just because my grandchildren might get a kick out of hearing about Hugo and how he solved problem faced by so many of today’s’ children.

What do you think of authors seeking book reviewers for their projects? Have you had to turn away books for review?

Author Spotlight: Eloisa Ramos

Hello and good morning to all of you! I’m thrilled to be back with movers and shakers and creative word makers to wish you a wonderful and prosperous (health, wealth, love, happiness) New Year 2014! Today our spotlight is on a woman whose work is not only intriguing, but, enlightening. How much do you know about EFT and Tapping? My next guest will provide insights into this phenomena and other insightful tips on recognizing the inner workings of our personal psyche. Please welcome the author of Beyond Self Esteem, Eloisa Ramos.


Eloisa, I’m so glad you’re here to talk about your informative book “Beyond Self-Esteem- Discovering Your Boundless Self Worth. But, before we do, please tell our readers a little something about you and why you wrote this book.

The issue of self-esteem, and more importantly self-identity, has been important to me since my early college days. I remember asking myself the question, “Who am I?” as a sophomore in college after realizing that I was not the labels and roles that I played: “a student, a daughter, Latino, a woman, etc.” and which were many. I wanted to know my true Self.
More recently, I noticed as I worked with clients doing EFT, and as I saw my four children grow and go through their teen years, that self-esteem and self-identity, which go hand in hand in my mind, can become problematic in so many different areas: relationships, work, finances, major changes, etc. So, I wanted to write something that would have helped me when I was a sophomore; young adults trying to figure out who they are now; and also adults that suffer from self-worth issues because of how they are seeing and evaluating themselves.

As you now know I reviewed Beyond Self-Esteem for and as you also know, from our correspondence, I was a bit per-judgmental and that I quickly recanted those preconceived notions! Talk a little bit about EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) as it applies to us.

The founder of EFT, Gary Craig, describes EFT as a needleless version of acupuncture because it is aimed at releasing or balancing blocked Chi energy from our acupuncture meridians by using our fingertips to tap on various points on the face and body. The discovery statement of EFT is, “The cause of all negative emotions is the disruption of the body’s energy system.” So, with EFT we are restoring inner peace, or energetic balance, by releasing stuck or disturbing emotional energy, thus the name: Emotional Freedom Techniques.
We hold emotions because we were not able to fully process them at the time we experienced them. They stay stuck in our energy system and become a type of glue for holding on to particular conclusions or beliefs about ourselves, others and the world. When we release this stuck energy, our mind opens up and we are able to see other possibilities.
The mind is then free to recognize the truth about ourselves, others and the world
Gary said that what occurs with EFT is like what happens when you clean the grime off a floor and see the natural shine underneath, or like having the clouds clear to reveal the sun. This approach is unlike hypnotherapy that clears a belief and then replaces it with another, granted, a negative is replaced with a positive, but I was primarily interested with what lay underneath, the essential nature of what we are. This is what attracted me to EFT, though at the time the most pressing issue was helping my kid’s heal their allergies and asthma and I applied it to that.

As I used EFT, I saw how fast and lasting the shifts happened within my mind. Compared to the walking-pace of the self-awareness gained in the previous 20 years, this practice felt like I was riding a high speed bullet train of self-insight.
The depth and speed of the new understandings I receive continues to amaze me, and of course, I am deeply grateful. EFT is a tool to help us heal, but what many people may not see is that the healing of our mind is what allows the consciousness of Higher Truth to dawns upon us. Healing is the journey to our Higher Self, which is our true self.
I continue to use EFT daily since I learned it, and in particular I apply it to the study of A Course in Miracles, my spiritual practice at this time. As I read, I notice the resistance you spoke about in your review (when you first started to read my book) and release it with EFT, and the Ramos Clearing Technique– which has evolved out of my study and practice of ACIM, EFT and muscle testing– to open my mind to new ideas and possibilities.

It was interesting and revealing to know that we are so our self image that we completely are unaware of our “self” expand upon what you’re, in essence, saying to people about our ‘self.’
Any conceptual idea that we have about our “self” will be limited or have boundaries set by the definition, the picture/image, or implied by the words and concepts we use. So anything that follows, “I am __________” will be some label or concept with individuality or boundaries.
The problem is that when we put boundaries on anything, we exclude what is not included in that concept or definition. So if you say, “I am a daughter” because in that moment you may be playing out the role of “daughter” with you parents; but in the next, you may be with your kids and now playing the role of “mother”; or at work and playing the role of “writer”; it means that the self you have defined in such a way is not constant and therefore unstable. Or, you would be trying to somehow reconcile the idea of having multiple selves and then which one are you really? So even though we may feel and act as if we have been split apart into many selves, we fundamentally recognize there is only one of us (given we are in our right mind).

So, the true Self with a capital “S”, is that which lies beneath all concepts or self-images. It experiences itself in the present moment, not as a thing separate and individual from other things, but as a part of all that shares life. It is a bit like a series of above-ground water springs that see themselves as separate above the ground, yet underneath are fed by the same water source. Our identification shifts from “I am this above-ground spring and I see myself separate from those other springs over there”, to, “I am one with all springs because we have one source of water; and my essential nature is a part of the source of the water that rises and feeds all the surface springs.” It is an expanded sense of self that has no boundaries and encompasses everything. All life that I meet is me.

I’d like to believe that I’m living a spiritually existence and that I’m aware of my spiritual truths. Tell me, how do we know for certain that we are?

Well truth implies certainty, so if there is no certainty we need to look at the doubts that are in the way of us connecting to that certainty and release them. That is all we can really do, clear the blocks that are in the way and the truth will then be revealed to us; because it is inherently there, but just obscured by the doubts. So when there is certainty, there is truth, and that is why Truth is self-evident and not learned conventionally.

I don’t know if you are familiar with Byron Katie’s The Work. The first question she asks is “Are you absolutely sure of that?” This is how the clearing begins with her work, asking us to connect with certainty so we can recognize that what we are believing to be true, is not Truth; and so ,”It (the false appearing true) releases us”.

The truth with a “th” cannot be known by the thinking or conceptual mind because Truth, which is universal, is not bounded like all concepts are, yet it can be experienced as the obvious, or as an insight or an “aha” moment.

“We are as our creator created us.” Immediately upon reading those words, I felt a connection to the powerful messages you share with us. “Beyond our externals lies our essential nature.” Please share your insights on such words of impact ( there are many)

We are often reminded in A Course in Miracles that “I am as God created me.” Now we can have different perspectives on how our creator created us, or even on whom our creator is, but without a doubt, if you recognize yourself as being alive, you will have to acknowledge that you have life and that this life has a source–we happen to call “creator”. Otherwise, you would be saying that life can come from no-source, no-life or death; which is a contradiction and cannot be.

We can also see that life extends itself, it shares its essential nature; a peach tree gives seeds and seeds grow into more peach trees, etc. So regardless of how the conceptual mind wants to define “essential nature”, we are going to be sharing that from which we are created; source, and if we create, we share that which is our essential nature. That we are, or exist, then can have no doubt.

But for the conceptual mind that can’t know Truth, the important decision that we must make is: What do I want to believe that I am? Beliefs are part of the conceptual perceiving mind and that is why we have so many different beliefs around this question. However, beliefs in no way change the Truth, that we are as our creator created us, though we may not yet recognize what that is exactly.

Since most of us accepted beliefs about what we are from others, it is now important to notice the effect they have on us; how we experience ourselves and life, as a result of holding them. This will guide us in choosing which beliefs are really in our best interests to hold on to.

There are noticeable and important differences in the effects. Some will engender fearful and stressful states and some will engender a more loving, joyful and peaceful existence.

Perhaps you are tired of feeling scarred or hurt most of the time? I am. This is what guides me to choose what I want to believe. In my experience, those beliefs that come into alignment with loving acceptance, forgiveness and non-judgment have the effect of bringing about healing, joy and boundless gratitude to my life and those I work with. It is these beliefs that I choose to hold on to; the rest I clear.

Website-Beyond-Self-esteem book

Note to self- pick up Byron Katie’s The Work. What are you working on next?

I will be hosting an on-line radio show on titled “A Course in Miracles: Health and Wellbeing through Inner Peace” which begins January 17, 2014 on Friday at 12 noon and continues every two weeks. I am also translating Beyond Self-esteem: Discovering Your Boundless Self-worth into Spanish and putting it in audio format. In the back of my mind is another book to be written that will focus more on healing and creating, but I haven’t started on that yet.

Where can readers pick up a copy of your book?

I have a PDF download at:, and links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, if your readers have a kindle reader or want to order a hardcopy.

Thank you Eloisa, it was such a pleasure as your work provides many “aha” moments.

You are very welcome. Thank you for the for the opportunity to share this with your readers!

Eloisa C. Ramos was born in 1960 in a farming village, in Guanajuato, Mexico. Her family moved to Northern California in 1968. She graduated from Stanford University in 1983 with a BA in Sociology. She married, but when two of her four children developed asthma and substance sensitivities, she began looking for “another” way to help her children.
It became clear to Eloisa that mainstream medicine did not offer a permanent solution for their health issues. In finding “another” way to help her children, she discovered many wonderful healing aids including EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).
EFT tapping has opened up a new world of possibilities for Eloisa, her children and her clients. She has evolved The Ramos Clearing Technique which uses muscle testing to find and clear non-serving beliefs, and energetic imprints. She is a certified EFT Master Practitioner with the AMT and will be starting a radio show at beginning January 17, 2014.
Eloisa incorporates EFT tapping into her daily life and study of A Course in Miracles and shares the insights she receives with her readers and listeners.
May her work help to light the way for all to see the Truth that is within. For more information about doing a phone or Skype EFT session with Eloisa Ramos; EFT, muscle testing and to get a free download version of the Ramos Clearing Technique, visit her website: or email her at

I’m so much more informed after talking with Eloise! What do you guys think or feel after this interchange? Please share.

Reviews And Recommendations

Happy Friday to all creatives in the literary realm! I hope your Fourth of July went swell. Today, a brief recount of what I’ve read recently and wholeheartedly recommend that you add to your summer reading repertoire- between those hot fun in the summertime days:)

another Lorain

Walk On Water by Lorain Hemingway is a memoir about starting life as a young girl in the simplicity of Mississippi where she embodies the pleasures of southern life/ its people, Mother nature, swimming and learning the intrinsic of cat-fishing. Lorian’s love for fishing consumes her as she embarks upon a journey that leads to the heart of her passion for the fish and have her traveling in her grandfather’s fishing/writing circle.

Lorian Hemingway wasn’t aware of her famous namesake until later in life. Her father was the youngest son of Ernest Hemingway. Her love and passion for the art of fishing leads her to fish in the footsteps of her famous grandfather, learn lessons about the sport from her uncle Les, Hemingway’s brother and meet many interesting fishermen whose love for the sport supersedes her own.

Lorian Hemingway’s life is written in bold strokes of abuse, drugs, alcoholism, love, legacy and deep sea fishing-all captured on the page in richness and vibrancy.It is a must read. Who knew that a writer could reel in her reader so effortlessly as she does the fish in Walk On Water?


In, You Are A Writer (So Act Like One) Jeff Goins pulls no punches. He’s direct, assertive and positive in his approach. He doles out sage writing advice, many writers already know, but, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. I found many little ‘reminder’ gems that I need to apply in my efforts to getting published. I’ve listed a few that resonates:

1. Stop writing for accolades and start writing for passion
2.Live up to your calling and make an impact
3.Failure is just a bump in the road to success
4.When do you become a writer? “You are a writer when you say you are”- Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art.

You can read my review of You Are A Writer here:

Have you read a great book you’d like to recommend? By all means share!

Book Review: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

A tweet from Ms. Terry McMillan advising another person to definitely pick up a copy of Tayari Jones 3rd novel, Silver Sparrow, has spurred me on to get this review out for my readers:)

The story is set in 1980’s Atlanta & centers around a Southern family caught up in the drama of lies, loves and emotional breakthroughs, due, entirely to decisions grownups make. At the age of 5, Dana Lynn is excited to show the picture she’d drawn at school  for her teacher to James Witherspoon, her father.  Her fathers’ reaction to seeing the two sets of families in young Dana’s drawings, however, only baffles the young girl. She, after all, knows about Chaurisse, his other daughter and her sister, so what’s the problem?

 She soon learns the ugly words used to describe her family’s existence. Dana’s father is a bigamist and young Dana Lynn is the “secret”. The author’s clever pairing of the sisters encounters- planned entirely by Dana and unbeknownst to Chaurisse, the fathers’  “legitimate” daughter,moves the characters along in a gripping series of events that will have the reader wondering what’s going to happen next.

The story is told through the eyes of both sisters, which makes for an interesting perspective on how children handle crisis. It also begs to ask the question? How far should adults go in keeping secrets as a means to protect their children? Tayari Jones Silver Sparrow has been compared to a Toni Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye. A professor at Columbia University, Farah Jasmine Griffin said in an interview profile of the author’s work “Scholars are starting to recognize that Southern Writers are also global writers” 

After reading Ms. Jones latest book, I’d have to agree:)  Tayari Jones blogs at Tayari Jones.Com

Clara54would like to thank Algoquin Books for providing a copy of Silver Sparrow for review…

Sooo Excited!

Book Review
Image by roeyahram via Flickr

I know, right?! This just couldn’t wait another day. I’m so excited to bring you guys the news and to thank all of the authors and their publishers who have kindly allowed me to review their Masterpieces (books) for my readers here at clara54! I know a mouthful, but, I just yesterday received another great anticipated read from the publishers & I will be bringing more  about that review shortly. HOWEVER!

I am a book review blogger & yet, it hasn’t really resonated with me over these five years, due to the fact that I love to read and share what I’ve read with others; you guys/gals. Same with movies, tv shows, etc. Anyhow, today Clara54 Weblog is proudly displaying her WordPress Book Blog Listing Badge because my work as a book blogger has been recognized by RANDOMIZE ME who publish & share information about WP Book Bloggers!

Okay, I gotta go apply a cool compress to my forehead now! Keep it here for more good stuff headed your way, ok?