Books I’ve Reviewed

5.0 out of 5 stars Review of "The Gifted Ones" by Lisa Vaughn, February 28, 2012
Brian M. Hayden
This review is from: The Gifted Ones (Kindle Edition)

I do not review books. I write them. I sometimes share them with my fellow writers. Last fall, Lisa and I swapped books. From the moment she proclaimed herself "Lisa The Great" I was hooked. By the time I finished the book, I felt compelled to share my experience with Lisa Vaughn. Lisas' story is a coming of age memoir of a young girl growing up in middle America. Her relationship with her stern and usually religious parents unfolds before us. The trials of school, finding a friend - then finding quite unexpectedly a special friend are subjects nearly all of us can relate to, at least on some level. The story on its own merits was wonderful. Add to it, Lisa's expertise in crafting that story and you have a "feel good" memoir that will put a smile on your face. Lisa Vaughn is Raw sometimes. But it is real language that elevate the story. Her frank discussion of a young girl's discoveries is equally raw and revealing AND essential, as that language is precisely what draws you into her world and connects you. Lisa Vaughn is a special writer with the ability not only to tell an interesting story, but put magic in her words to draw you in as if you are there, watching from the sidelines. "The Gifted Ones" by Lisa Vaughn is a MUST READ for all lovers of true stories.


5.0 out of 5 stars Another Happy Traveler, September 4, 2012
Brian M. Hayden
This review is from: The Unscheduled Stops (Kindle Edition) by Sinead MacDuglas

"The Unscheduled Stops" by Sinead MacDuglas is written from her heart and immersed in her soul. Sinead clearly took her time to craft the stories in such a way that I found myself feeling like I was right there with the story teller. From her first story, "Daisy's Love at War" I was drawn in to Sinead's world. This book is aptly named. With every story, and each poem, Sinead had me on a journey of emotions that I did not want to depart.

This book, while only 44 pages will keep your attention and entertain you from start to finish. Sinead is a unique talent that must not be missed. For a thoroughly enjoyable read, you must treat yourself to "The Unscheduled Stops"



5.0 out of 5 stars "A Favorite Son" is a favorite of mine, March 4, 2013
This review is from: A Favorite Son (Kindle Edition)

I recently read her book, “A Favorite Son.” Let me tell you what I thought of her book.

“A Favorite Son” is a modern day interpretation of an old biblical story. Two brothers – twins, and by all accounts equal, except one brother was born one minute before the other. Uvi skillfully sets up the story as she introduces the brothers first. We begin to understand the dynamic of their relationship, and the importance of being first born.

Next, Uvi introduces the mother. As we understand her, the special relationship between the mother and one of the sons is unveiled. Like building a brick house, piece by piece Uvi layers the characters and the inter-relationships. The last character she introduces is the father.

The stage is set. The characters introduced. All that is left is to see how it will all play out. For the answer to that…you must buy the book – and I am telling you: You must buy this book!

Uvi Pozansky is an excellent word smith. She so carefully put this story together that it held my attention from start to finish. For those of you who know me, that is indeed an accomplishment.
Uvi Pozansky’s book, “A Favorite Son” is a favorite of mine. It is a must read for everyone!


5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Written Biography, March 12, 2013

"Sliding on the Snow Stone" is the story Of Mr. Szpuk's father, Stefan. Written mostly in his father's voice, this story takes the reader through the horrors of living in the Ukraine in the 1930's. Stalin's plan to consolidate all of the outlying countries into a unified U.S.S.R. left millions without food or shelter, and in many cases, without their lives . Stefan, recounts many stories growing up in this era. Fighting to survive, strength - resisting the Soviets, and the unbelievable terror of his hungry family given meat, only to find out it was the flesh of Ukrainian children!

Mr. Szpuk's writing style brings you right into the stories. There was one story in particular that resonated with me - Stefan and his family heard on the radio that the Germans were heading east. Would the Germans do as they are saying? Nazi propaganda assured the Ukrainians that they were liberators. Palpable tension could be felt within the family as well as the village. They would soon have their answer.

Through Stefan's voice, Andy continues his story through time. We are right there with Stefan, as he makes his way through the 1040's and beyond. To give you too much detail would be to deprive you of the quintessential Ukrainian experience living through the mid twentieth century.

Andy Szpuk's retelling of this time in history is compelling, and often heart wrenching. Having family that left Russia and Europe prior to World War One, I found myself emotional while reading much of this book - yet I am very happy that I did. Andy Szpuk brings readers into the story, to the extent that we are eagerly reading through the pages to find out what happens next.

As a lover of biographies, I thoroughly enjoyed "Sliding on the Snow Stone". As someone who has lived through most of the cold war, the topic of this story intrigued my intellect. As a fan of Andy Szpuk's writing, I was not surprised that he once again exceeded my expectations and wrote an incredible book. This is a must read for anybody that has an interest in history or is a lover of eloquent writing.