A humble blend of prose and poetry with a Christian message.



Shepherd (The Secret Shack, 2016) offers prose and poetry for the faithful in this Christian collection.

In this work, compiled from writing produced over the course of many years, Shepherd delivers thoughts and advice on everything from rejecting racism to overcoming procrastination. The title refers to the author’s habit of holding on to leftover food in her refrigerator, causing friends to joke about the mold or “penicillin” she must be trying to grow. Through her experiences and contemplations, the author has grown medicine of a different kind: short essays, anecdotes, and poems to serve as prescriptions for times of doubt, stress, loneliness, and discouragement. In “Weeding as Prayer Song” (recommended as a cure “for Elimination”), she muses on the way the simple gardening task connects her to nature and God. In “P.A.P.” (“for Aging”), she uses verse to work through her fears of illness: “What is this new disease called P.A.P. / Which comes uninvited to you and to me?” In “September 11, 2002” (“for Strength”), she shares the grief and confusion she still feels a year after the terrorist attacks. Most pieces end with a brief prayer to God or a note about how the work came to be written. Shepherd’s prose ranges from clipped and weighty to buoyant and friendly, though it always demonstrates a value for precision: “Sometimes a hairdresser/stylist is the most special person you can know. Petite and attractive, almost sixty (which you’d never believe), Diane always welcomes me with a smile.” Her poetic style varies from formal to free verse, the latter of which succeeds more often than the former. While Shepherd’s language is sometimes too abstract to make a full impact, she generally communicates her devotion by effectively writing about people and objects in her own life. Though God is present throughout the text, the author rarely becomes dogmatic or overtly theological, presenting instead a spirituality that manifests in those small personal moments everyone should learn to better recognize and cherish. Readers should find shots of inspiration in this earnest work.

A humble blend of prose and poetry with a Christian message.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4497-6969-7

Page Count: 174

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you...



The queen of Thursday night TV delivers a sincere and inspiring account of saying yes to life.

Rhimes, the brain behind hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. She describes herself as a young girl, playing alone in the pantry, making up soap-opera script stories to act out with the canned goods. Speaking in public terrified her; going to events exhausted her. She was always busy, and she didn’t have enough time for her daughters. One Thanksgiving changed it all: when her sister observed that she never said “yes” to anything, Rhimes took it as a challenge. She started, among other things, accepting invitations, facing unpleasant conversations, and playing with her children whenever they asked. The result was a year of challenges and self-discovery that led to a fundamental shift in how she lives her life. Rhimes tells us all about it in the speedy, smart style of her much-loved TV shows. She’s warm, eminently relatable, and funny. We get an idea of what it’s like to be a successful TV writer and producer, to be the ruler of Shondaland, but the focus is squarely on the lessons one can learn from saying yes rather than shying away. Saying no was easy, Rhimes writes. It was comfortable, “a way to disappear.” But after her year, no matter how tempting it is, “I can no longer allow myself to say no. No is no longer in my vocabulary.” The book is a fast read—readers could finish it in the time it takes to watch a full lineup of her Thursday night programing—but it’s not insubstantial. Like a cashmere shawl you pack just in case, Year of Yes is well worth the purse space, and it would make an equally great gift.

Rhimes said “yes” to sharing her insights. Following her may not land you on the cover of a magazine, but you’ll be glad you did. 

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.


A hip-hop star who went on his first international tour wearing an ankle monitor explains how to succeed.

“The words you are about to read can help you,” writes Gucci. “That’s because there is truth in them. These are words of wisdom, like the Bible and its proverbs.” Unquestionably, Gucci likes to aim high, as many of his proverbs attest: “Stop Underestimating Yourself”; “Whatever You’re Thinking, Think Bigger”; “Nobody Cares. Work Harder”; “When They Sleep, I’m Grinding”; “Do More, Get More.” And never forget, “Women Are Brilliant.” Gucci not only shares his recipes for success. As in a cookbook that shows pictures of the end result, the author includes dozens of dazzling photos of himself and his beautiful wife, among them a series on his surprise wedding proposal at an Atlanta Hawks game. After the success of his bestselling debut, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, Gucci has realized there is money to be made in the book business. In addition to the Bible, he has his eye on Malcolm Gladwell and his reported $5 million advances. While he is “cool with Malcolm Gladwell being more celebrated than me as an author…the difference between Malcolm Gladwell and me is that I’m going to make more money because I’m going to make so many books for my following….You can enjoy this book or not, but I’m going to make my fifty-second book, my hundred and eighth book.” Many readers will hope that one of them will be a diet book, as the 100-plus pounds Gucci has lost and kept off are a frequent topic—alas, he doesn’t reveal his weight loss secrets here. Until the next book, try to live the Gucci Mane way. “Avoid lazy and miserable people,” and “Find something to be excited about every day.”

Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020


Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet