Book Review: A Long Way Home

I’m always curious about strange and unexplained events so when I came across a headline on the Internet that read “True Stories Stranger Than Fiction,” I immediately clicked on the link. That’s how I discovered the book, A Long Way Home.


At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

A Long Way Home 
is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope.

My Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but when I stumbled upon the story of Saroo Brierly and learned he had written a book, I immediately checked it out through my local library. The story didn’t disappoint.

In 1986, five-year-old Saroo lived in India along with his family—his mother, two older brothers, and a younger sister. Abandoned by their father, they lived in poverty. His mother worked hard to support her family, but there was never enough to go around, and they often went hungry. The older brothers picked up work whenever they could and Saroo was often left to care for his little sister.

Despite the hardships, they were a close family. On a rare occasion when all gathered for dinner, Saroo accompanied his older brother where they boarded a train to “Berampur.” When they got off at the station, Guddu told Saroo to wait and that “he would be back in a little while.”

Guddu never returned. Somewhat panicked (what would you expect from a five-year-old) Saroo boarded a train in hopes to find his brother or get back home. Instead, he found himself in a locked car and traveled to the city of Calcutta (now) Kolkota. There he wandered the streets for three weeks before being placed in an orphanage.

Uneducated and unable to communicate the name of his home, he was willingly placed for adoption. A couple in Australia adopted him, and he grew up in a loving home in Tasmania. He loved his “Mum and Dad,” but Saroo often wondered about his family in India. As an adult, he began a painstaking search for his hometown using Google Earth images. Twenty-five years later, he found his home and eventually his family.

A Long Way Home is a story of courage, hope, and a reminder that we should never give up our dreams.

Book Review ~ Pretty Evil New England

Hey, everyone. Hope this first Tuesday in November finds you well. This week I’m reviewing Pretty Evil New England, a true crime story by author Sue Coletta.


For four centuries, New England has been a cradle of crime and murder—from the Salem witch trials to the modern-day mafia. Nineteenth century New England was the hunting ground of five female serial killers: Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E. Nason, and Sarah Jane Robinson.

Female killers are often portrayed as caricatures: Black Widows, Angels of Death, or Femme Fatales. But the real stories of these women are much more complex. In Pretty Evil New England, true crime author Sue Coletta tells the story of these five women, from broken childhoods, to first brushes with death, and she examines the overwhelming urges that propelled these women to take the lives of a combined total of more than one-hundred innocent victims. The murders, investigations, trials, and ultimate verdicts will stun and surprise readers as they live vicariously through the killers and the would-be victims that lived to tell their stories.

My Review:

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. No matter how interested I might be in the subject, I usually grow weary after a few chapters and leave the book unfinished.

Not so with Pretty Evil New England. I was intrigued from the moment I learned Sue Coletta was writing this book. And once I began reading, it was hard to put down.

Pretty Evil New England is the story of five nineteenth century female serial killers, Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E. Nason, and Sarah Jane Robinson. The author’s research into each of these killers is phenomenal. After finishing the book, I’ve concluded female serial killers are colder and more calculating than their male counterparts.

The book reads more like thriller fiction instead of a boring account of the crimes. Ms. Coletta writes about the victims, gives details of the crime, provides stories from witnesses, and covers the trials of each woman.

I hope the author will write more true crime books. If she does, you can bet I’ll be reading them.

Five stars!

Review: Ghosts of Gettysburg #TuesdayBookShare

While researching my post, Gettysburg Ghosts, I happened upon this book on Amazon. It’s an older publication. The print book was released in 1991, the Kindle version in 2012. However, the information contained is still relevant.

Over the years, I’ve purchased several non-fiction books that I use for research. With most of them, I only read the parts I need. Not so with this book. I read it cover-to-cover and thoroughly enjoyed it.


The print version of this first volume in the “Ghosts of Gettysburg” book series was released in October 1991, and established Gettysburg as the mecca for all thrill-seekers. Combining history and mystery, in this initial volume, Mr. Nesbitt focuses on the early ghost-lore of Gettysburg, along with some more current ghostly happenings. Included are the timeless stories of the woman in white, the surgeons of Old Dorm, the ghosts of Devil’s Den, the Blue Boy, and other infamous spectres who wander the town and battlefields of Gettysburg.

Mr. Nesbitt started collecting ghost stories as a visitor to Gettysburg in the early 1960s. In the 1970s, he worked as a Park Ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park and was assigned to live in some of the historic houses on the Park. His collection of ghost stories continued to grow. After “Ghosts of Gettysburg” was released, he was inundated by letters and faxes from those who had had their own ghostly experiences while visiting Gettysburg.

Mr. Nesbitt refers to Gettysburg as “acre for acre the most haunted place in America.” Seven “Ghosts of Gettysburg” volumes would appear to support his theory!

My Five-Star Review:

I’ve long since been interested in Civil War History as well as stories of “hauntings” surrounding many of the battlefield areas. Having seen several TV specials about Gettysburg ghosts, I decided to purchase a copy of this book.

I like the author’s no-nonsense approach to the stories. He didn’t use a lot of hype or sensationalism in telling the stories. Nesbitt includes the history of the place in which each sighting occurred, which I enjoyed.

If you like Civil War history and want to hear non-sensationalized stories of the paranormal, this book is for you. I will be reading more of this series.

A note about ratings. I consider three stars and above as positive reviews. I reserve five stars for books that keep me turning the pages and that I would read again. (Yes, I’ve been known to do that.)

5 Stars: Awesome story! Couldn’t put it down – Highly recommend.
4 Stars: The book kept me interested – Check it out.
3 Stars: It was okay. Not my favorite, but I didn’t dislike it enough to discontinue.
2 Stars: Book didn’t hold my interest, problems with the plot, characters, poor writing, etc.
1 Star: Don’t bother!

Book Release: Creative Solutions by @HarmonyKent #TuesdayBookShare

Hey everyone! I’m delighted to welcome back friend and fellow author Harmony Kent. Her newest non-fiction book, Creative Solutions for the Modern Writer, releases tomorrow. From what I’ve seen, this book can benefit both new and seasoned writers.

Harmony, take it away.

Hello everyone. Harmony here. I’m excited to share my latest non-fiction book with you all today. Huge thanks to Joan for hosting me today.

Creative Solutions for the Modern Writer does what it says on the tin (or cover, lol), and offers tools to fire your imagination. With chapters on things such as using chess and tarot to develop stories, plots, and characters—as well as adopting the principles of nursing triage, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, horoscopes, and more—this little guide is full of fun tips and tricks to get your muse working overtime.

This excellent writer’s companion is available on pre-order now in ebook. And both ebook and paperback go on sale on October 9th.

Here’s an excerpt for you:

Many and varied writing prompts exist, as well as ways to use them. Here are some reasons for using writing prompts:

  1. This one, we’ve covered already … writer’s block. Or, in other words, feeling stuck. A writing prompt can offer a way to clear your block and break you free from this negative cycle.
  2. To sharpen your writing skills. Prompts can assist you in honing specific areas such as plot, pacing, and dialogue, as well as description.
  3. To warm up your writing muscles. This is like a work-out for your creative brain. It doesn’t matter what you write. It is the act of writing that is important here.
  4. To get a better grip on your characters or setting. For example: Ask a question, or come up with a scenario, and write from your character’s perspective. Imagine the place you want to write from/about, and describe it in as much detail as you can.

I list the most common types of prompt below:

  • Descriptive Prompt
  • Emotion Prompt
  • Situation Prompt
  • Setting Prompt
  • New Story Prompt
  • Existing Story Prompt
  • First Line Prompt
  • New Character Prompt
  • Existing Character Prompt
  • Ask Your Character a Question Prompt
  • Perspective Prompt
  • Looking-Inward Prompt
  • Take Three Nouns Prompt
  • Non-Writing Prompt

The above list is not finite. You can use anything in your life as a prompt. However, when you find yourself stuck for words, these are a good place to start.

Emotion Prompt Excerpt

Emotions can bring a whole new perspective to our experience, and thus the experience of our readers. For instance, I can see the same view from my window day after day, yet the mood I’m in will change how I feel about and see that view.

Also, our perceptions are never the same as anyone else’s. Take my writing desk, for example. To me, it has a history and many associations—some painful and others positive. When I sit at my writing desk, that tells my muse to get ready to play. For other people, though, it’s just a desk. A large wooden thing upon which sits a computer. No two people will view it in the same way.

In the blink of an eye, our emotions can undergo a seismic shift, depending upon events and our reactions to them. Here are some emotions we can experience throughout our day:

  • Fear
  • Love
  • Hate
  • Regret
  • Jealousy
  • Envy
  • Aversion
  • Disgust
  • Dread
  • Hope
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Pride
  • Disappointment
  • Boredom
  • Anger

A note on Anger …


Anger is only ever a masking emotion. It never appears in isolation but always comes in relation to another emotion.


A person never feels anger alone. That emotion comes as a response to another emotion, be that fear, hurt, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment, shame, inadequacy, pride, etc.

Our expectations also shape our emotional responses.

Author Bio

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.



Story Empire (co-authored):

Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @harmony_kent

LinkedIn: Harmony

Goodreads: Author Page


Creative Solutions Pre-order Link: