My Review of “IA Initiate” by John Darryl Winston

1. Introduction

In this review, I am going to inform you about IA Initiate, which is a teen novel John Darryl Winston published in 2016. It is the first book in the IA Series. I will tell you what my opinion is of this novel, and whether it is worth a read.  

2. A Summary

First, however, I would like to give you the following summary of this novel:  

The most important thing in the world to thirteen-year-old orphan “Naz” Andersen is keeping his little sister safe from the streets of a Chicago/Detroit-like urban ghetto known as the Exclave. Naz tries to stay out of the way at his foster parents’ home, but he walks in his sleep. He is unable to keep the fact that he hears voices from his therapist. He attempts to go unnoticed at school and in the streets of the Exclave, but attracts the attention of friends and bullies alike.

Naz is ordinary, or so he thinks. He harbors a secret of which he is unaware. A seemingly random act of gang violence propels Naz on a path that leads to discoveries about his supernatural abilities, abilities that will ultimately decide whether he lives or dies. Now he must navigate his turbulent surroundings and face the full force of the world around him. The only way he can survive is to discover the supernatural world within.

3. Strengths

I loved four things about this book:

Firstly, IA Initiate is a well written book. It contains great descriptions and writing which captures you.

Secondly, Naz, the main character, is someone I could easily identify with and love. I saw the world from his perspective, and knew and felt he was a good person. Naz only wants what is best for his sister, and I found that heartwarming. Family should always come first.

Thirdly, IA Initiate is a beautiful story about a boy who is less fortunate in life. It describes his resourcefulness; what it is like to grow up in a bad neighborhood in the U.S.. It also depicts his will to survive and do good.

Last but not least, the best thing about this novel is that it teaches children good ethics. I find it imperative that children who grow up in this day and age learn this. Naz and his sister have endured trying times, but still Naz insists on doing good in life.

4. Weakness and Conclusion

My only point of criticism would be the fact that it took a while before it became clear to me what the conflict of the story was. In my opinion, the author could have presented it sooner in the book.IA

Even so, this is a great book which I not only recommend teens and young adults to read, but also older adults. Congratulations on a job well done, Mr. Winston. I liked this novel a lot, and look forward to reading I.A. B.O.S.S., the second book in this series.  


My Review of “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”



  1. Introduction

In this review, I am going to inform you about The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which is a novel Alexander McCall Smith published in 1998. I will tell you what my opinion is of this novel, and whether it is worth a read.  

  1. A Summary

First, however, I would like to give you the following summary of this novel:  

Precious Ramotswe is Botswana’s first, only – and finest – female private detective. Her clients have all kinds of issues for which they seek Precious’s help: wayward daughters, missing husbands,  philandering partners, and curious conmen. Since her clients have problems, and no one else can help them, they come to see Precious.

Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she has warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side. Besides, I should not forget to mention Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, who is the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. Precious is going to  need her great qualities and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case which tumbles her into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency offers you a delightfully different and captivating glimpse of an unusual world.

  1. Strengths

I loved five things about this novel:

Firstly, this book contains beautiful depictions of the main character’s background story and family history. The author does not merely present case after case to the reader. Instead, he takes you back in time, and tells you the story about Precious’s father, and other stories about Precious’s youth.

Secondly, this novel holds much wisdom and many life lessons. Mr. McCall Smith does not only tell his story, but also teaches the reader about life and the best ways to live it.

Thirdly, the reader learns a lot about the culture of Botswana. I found this very interesting, especially since I only held a limited knowledge about the nation. Although I have had the fortune of visiting Botswana, reading this book gave me a wonderful learning experience about the country.

Fourthly, the author gives the reader intriguing cases which the main character needs to solve. I feel certain a lot of thought and research went into creating those cases. They are definitely products of a highly original mind.

Last but not least, this novel is about a strong, proud and independent woman. Hence, I think especially women are presented with great empowerment when reading this book. I know I feel empowered by it.

  1. Weakness and Conclusion

My only little point of criticism would be the fact that Mr. McCall Smith could have added more dialogs to the book. The novel contains long parts of writing which lacked dialog, and that was a little less pleasant to read.

Even so, this is a fantastic book which I recommend everyone to read. I have left the Amazon link to this novel below this video, so buy a copy of your own today.


Amazon link:

My Review of “The Hotel” by Chris Smedbakken

  1. Introduction 

In this review, I am going to inform you about The Hotel, which is a short story Chris Smedbakken published in 2011. I will tell you what my opinion is of this short story, and whether it is worth a read.  

  1. A Summary 

First, I wish to give you the following summary of this short story: 

Liam was driving through the desert, and wondering what happened to his best friend Patrick who had disappeared. Since Liam was getting tired, he stopped at a hotel, checked in, and was shown to his room. Liam soon noticed something strange and mysterious was going on at the hotel. In the hotel room, he found a letter from Patrick. In it, Patrick had written that he had felt uneasy about staying at the hotel. He had suspected that someone was on to the investigation he had been conducting. Will the letter help Liam find his lost friend? Or will it deepen the mystery of the hotel and his best friend’s disappearance?

  1. Strengths

Here are the things I loved about this short story:

Firstly, The Hotel is an excellently written short story. The author is clearly a gifted writer. The use of the English language is terrific. This is remarkable considering the fact that the author’s first language is probably not English. Both the dialogs and the descriptions were great. 

Secondly, The Hotel is a fast-paced story. It never gives you a dull moment. There is always something intriguing going on. 

Last but not least, the story contains a lot of mystery, and the level of mystery rises gradually. This will probably make you read the story faster and faster.

  1. Weakness and Conclusion 

In this paragraph, I am supposed to provide you with something which the author could have improved in the story. However, I am unfortunately unable to give you anything of such kind. The Hotel is simply a marvelous piece of writing.

So, perusing this short story will give you a wonderful reading experience. I recommend you navigate to Chris Smedbakken’s website to read this story, and several other stories she has scribbled. I know I am heading there right now.

Chris Smedbakken’s website:





My Review of Evan Asher’s “Sweeter for the Pain”

  1. Introduction

In this review, I am going to inform you about Sweeter for the Pain, which is a romance novel Evan Asher published in 2014. I will tell you what my opinion is of this romance novel, and whether it is worth a read. 

  1. Summary 

First, I wish to give you the following summary of this novel:

At the beginning of the story, Nicole Ross is on her way to Pine View, which is a secluded forest retreat which Holt, her cousin, owns and wishes to renovate. When her car sputters and dies, it leaves her stranded in unfamiliar territory. Seemingly out of

nowhere a man Foreplayappears. He frightens her. He’s unfriendly and keeps to the shadows of the trees. As they talk, her initial fear turns to fascination for this reclusive stranger.

The stranger’s name’s Finn Erickson, and he had chosen a solitary existence after the car crash which robbed him of his family and disfigured his face. He thought he could handle being lonely if it meant avoiding the crushing heartache of loss. Then Nicole, with her sweet eyes and soft smile, invades his isolation, reaches past his defenses, and touches his wounded soul. Is he ready for the love she offers? That’s the question Finn asks himself in this romance novel. 

  1. Strengths

Firstly, despite the fact that I am yet to read Evan Asher’s The Profiteer, I think Sweeter for the Pain is Evan Asher’s most well-written novel I’ve read. If you ask me, he should stay away from collaboration projects and independently write his books. Sweeter for the Pain proves he is a great author.

Secondly, this wonderful novel provides the reader with a beautiful depiction of how hard it must be to dare to love someone again after you have lost your loved ones.

Thirdly, Sweeter for the Pain presented me with a beautiful depiction of the importance of a kiss. Never before had I read a story which described this importance so well.

Last but not least, I loved that the story was written from the man’s and the woman’s points of view. That made me understand the main characters more.

  1. Weakness and Conclusion

My only little point of criticism would be the fact that Mr. Asher switched perspective from one main character to the other without using a blank line in between. So, suddenly, the story was being told from the other person’s perspective.

Even so, Mr. Asher is excellent at writing romance. With this novel, he proves that indie authors are equally skilled at writing romance fiction as traditionally-published authors.

A Review of A.C. Salter’s “Darkest Wish”

 1. Introduction

In this review, I am going to inform you about Darkest Wish, which is a short story A.C. Salter has published in 2017. I will tell you what my opinion is of this fantasy short story, and whether it is worth a read.

2. Summary

It’s a stormy night. Ignor, a creation of Dr. Finklesteam’s, is assisting the Doctor, his master, while the latter tries to take over the power of the world. Dr. Finklesteam is a wicked inventor and scientist. By using a thunderstorm, he wants to seize power of the world. During the storm, he wants to let a genie in an amber diamond get out of the diamond and enter his body. Once the genie has entered the doctor’s body, the genie will bestow a wish upon the doctor. When the doctor’s uttered his wish, the genie will give him world domination. This is the doctor’s plan, and in the story, the reader finds out if Dr. Finklesteam’s able to take over the world or not.

3. Strengths

To begin with, Darkest Wish is a well written story which contains humor and wisdom.

Secondly, A.C. Salter has again proven that he is fantastic at creating a certain dark atmosphere. I could clearly see the laboratory on the screen of my mind as the descriptions were detailed.

Thirdly, this short story is a great allegory about the dangers of having powerful people in this world who overestimate their own brilliance and intelligence.

4. Weakness and Conclusion 

Finally, the only weakness I could think of was that some words are at a very advanced level. If English is not your first language, or if you are not at an upper advanced+ level (C2+), you will probably struggle to read the story. Then again, having a dictionary nearby is always a possibility. 

However, if your level of English is upper advanced+ (C2+), I definitely recommend you read this amazing short story. I especially loved it because it teaches us about the dangers of overestimating ourselves. 

The Amazon link:

A Review of Dan Lawton’s Operation Salazar

1. Introduction

In this review, I am going to inform you about Operation Salazar, which Dan Lawton published in 2016. I will tell you what my opinion is of this crime novel, and whether it is worth a read.

2. A Summary

With the help of his longtime friend, Antonio, and his pizzeria-owning uncle, “Big Sal”, Marco Salazar’s journey for righteousness for his falsely imprisoned father, Bartolo, leads them through the suburbs of Boston. A string of home invasions leaves the trio just shy of having the money needed for Bartolo’s defense attorney’s retainer, and they have saved their prime target for last. But even the target – a 1941 Victorian in a quiet neighborhood in Stoneham – has secrets trapped deep within its walls, and unlocking them unraveled a whole new world that has its own set of rules. It was supposed to be a routine home invasion. Except, as Marco learned, there is no such thing. The players who loomed in the shadows are ruthless, with its net stretching even wider than anyone could have imagined. Nobody can be trusted. And that is only the beginning.

What the secrets reveal could tear down an underground criminal enterprise, and it threatens to destroy everything which Marco has worked for. Families will be torn apart, bonds will be broken, and faith in one another will be put into question. All the while, the clock is ticking on Bartolo. And if Marco somehow makes it out alive, his life will be changed forever.

This summary is also the blurb of this novel.

3. Strengths

In Operation Salazar, the author introduced me to wonderful sub stories and characters. The characters were believable, and I wanted them to reach their goals. I liked them, understood them, and sympathized with them. Here come five more things I loved about this novel:

Firstly, I loved that the author gave me detailed background information on the characters as that gave them depth. It gave the characters the credence which great fictional characters need to have. The characters felt real.

Secondly, the author described the characters’ relationships in an excellent way. For instance, as a reader I could understand the frictions between the Winstons, the married couple.

Thirdly, Mr. Lawton was great at making sure I gained sympathy for the characters’ rivaling goals. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted them all to reach their goals although one character reaching his goals would implicate another character failing his goals.

Fourthly, this novel is a beautiful and riveting story about how good people sometimes feel forced to turn to crime to solve their problems.

Last but not least, the writer presented me with a fantastic description of how it feels to be a defendant in a lawsuit.

4. Weakness and Conclusion

My only little point of criticism would be the fact that the book has some typos here and there.

Even so, I still think it is clear I enjoyed reading every page of this novel. This is simply an amazingly well-written book, which I recommend everyone to read. I do not think you need to be a fan of the crime genre to appreciate this great story. The dialogs were well written; the novel lacked an abundance of adverbs. It contained much suspense, and the end was incredible and surprising. You have done a fantastic job, Dan Lawton. link:

Operation Salazar



How to Finish Your Novel

In this video, I and five amazing authors will hopefully motivate you to finish the novel you’ve started writing.

Buy or check out these awesome authors’ work here :
Rob Keeley:,
A.C. Salter:,
Robert Holt:,
Ken Stark:,
Rosie Chapel:

My links:

Twitter: @edvin_palmer.
“You’re My All” on Amazon:…

What teaching aids will I utilize to teach young learners in the TESOL classroom?

Can you remember a teacher in high school whose lessons were taught by simply delivering a lecture without utilizing any teaching aids? I can, and although I remember this teacher, who was my physics teacher, I fail to remember the content of his lessons. Knowing that teaching aids facilitate learning, utilizing at least a few learning materials would have made his lessons more enjoyable and educational.

To begin with, he could have used anything to facilitate our learning process. Any kind of teaching aid can inform a learner, stimulate the use of the content being taught, and make learning more meaningful. Since I refuse to make the same mistake my teacher made, this leads me to the following question: What teaching aids will I utilize to teach young learners in the TESOL classroom?

Firstly, listening to music is an enjoyable experience for a majority of students. Hence, I can use songs from a wide variety of music genres in my classroom. Furthermore, music can be used at any level and with any age group. A case in point is Let It Be by The Beatles. Although it is an old song, it has proven itself useful for learning the simple present tense.

Secondly, I am rather fond of newspapers. For this reason, I will use them in the classroom as they will help my students practice their reading comprehension skills. Moreover, my students will learn about people’s everyday experiences by reading newspapers. By way of example, students can study an article and present its content in front of the class.

Thirdly, utilizing the work of bards gives students chances to practice reading comprehension skills, vocabulary, and phonemic awareness. Hence, poetry is a useful tool in the classroom. Not only do the students improve their reading skills, but by writing their own poetry, they will also improve their writing skills. What is more, they can read their poems to the class.

Fourthly, teachers have been provided with a mother lode of learning materials since the advent of Internet. Both educational articles, games, quizzes, and lesson plans can be found online. Students can use either laptops, iPads, smartphones or Smart TVs to get access to these learning aids. In addition, students can use e-mail or chatrooms approved by me to practice the language.

Fifthly, movies and novels will often be used in my classroom. The ending of a novel can be rewritten by the students; their own novellas and short stories can be created and illustrated by the learners. Not to mention letting my students write their own ending of a movie, which can be performed in front of a camera. I will let my students show their own recorded ending of the movie to the rest of the class. The other students will be entertained and educated as they watch their classmates’ videos.

Sixthly, role playing is also an important tool. It will give my students an opportunity to recreate everyday experiences such as visits to a doctor, transactions at a bank, ordering food in a restaurant, returning an article to a store, or conversing with somebody on the weather.

Finally, visual aids such as pictures, timelines, charts and graphs help students understand and remember concepts more easily. By way of example, visual aids allow me to present the meaning behind various vocabulary and structures without explanation.

In conclusion, it is evident that teaching aids are inherent in good education. Overusing them would not be wise, but often utilizing the different learning materials is highly recommended. Should my former physics teacher read this essay, he would do well to heed my advice.


Guide to Teaching Aids” provided by American TESOL Institute.

 Teaching Aids

A Review of Madison Hartt and Evan Asher’s “Untrusting Hearts”

  1. Introduction 

In this review, I am going to inform you about “Untrusting Hearts”, which Madison Hartt and Evan Asher wrote together in 2015. I will tell you what my opinion is of this novel, and whether it is worth a read. 

  1. A summary 

After Jade Broussard’s beloved grandmother passes away, Jade feels forlorn as far as family is concerned. Jade’s grandmother was sadly the last of her immediate family. Therefore, Jade is eager to find out if she has any family left.  

After thorough investigation, Jade finds an aunt in New Orleans. Her name is Maylene Broussard-DuBois, and she is a wealthy elderly widow. Both Jade and Maylene feel overjoyed to have found each other, and Maylene invites Jade to stay with her in her New Orleans mansion.  

When Jade arrives at the airport in New Orleans, Maylene introduces her to Gage Pichot, a handsome young man who is a family friend and works for Maylene’s company. Although Jade and Gage feel attracted to one another, Gage accuses Jade of being after Maylene’s money. Gage’s accusations and insinuations that Jade is a money-grubber infuriate her, although she grudgingly finds Gage irresistible. Will their love for each other conquer their untrusting hearts? That is the big question in this wonderful novel. 

  1. Strengths 

What I liked most about this book was how the authors described the romantic atmosphere. This novel contained all the romance a lover of the genre craves for. The romantic scenes on the steamboat were my favorites.

Moreover, the arguments between Jade and Gage were equally convincing, and well written. The reader could readily feel Jade’s anger and frustration.

Last but not least, I love it when the final chapter of a novel strengthens the love you feel for a book. The last chapter of this novel did just that; it made me love the book even more. The final chapter was unpredictable, and that was what I loved about it.

  • Weakness and Conclusion

My only point of criticism would be the fact that the beginning of Untrusting Hearts bears a striking similarity to another novel written by Mr. Asher.  UntrustingHearts-book-cover.jpg

Even so, this novel is definitely worth a read since it contains all the delectable ingredients of a fantastic romance novel.