April 2018 Review Issue
Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise
Monsoonrise takes place in the near future and follows events
that become a
climate crisis when a few weeks with no sea ice in the Arctic Ocean
chain relation that changes the entire northern hemisphere, bringing
and floods like never before.
An engineer, a governor, an
inventor, and a talk show
host are just a few of the people trying to adapt to this ongoing
their very different perspectives highlight events from competing
The story opens in 'Year
Zero', when the icecap finally
dies, following events from the start of the disaster to its
incarnation. The even bigger picture reveals that, to some degree, at
humanity has contributed to this situation. The question is: how will
survive in their changed world?
One doesn't expect pithy
dialogues between characters,
reflections on political and social choices, daily routines (such as
interviews) even as the waters rise, and the juxtaposition of disaster
daily concerns which adds a frighteningly realistic tone to the story
characters aren't running around screaming—they're living their lives
they can, accepting changes and making plans for a dubious future, and
as humanity probably would act in the face of sudden climate events.
This lends Altered
Seasons: Monsoonrise a much more realistic feel than
disaster stories, creating a series of subplots based on interactions
as mercurial as the waters that lap at high-rises.
The idea that things are changing and may or
may not go back to familiar routines and choices adds a powerfully
tone to a disaster scenario that feels refreshingly different.
Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise is a top
recommendation for cli-fi
(climate change fiction) readers seeking more depth than the usual
life-threatening environmental changes.
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Price: $ 3.95 (kindle) $ 15.00 Paperback
Website/ordering link: http://myBook.to/KurintorNyusi
reads hold the same familiar trappings: destiny redirects a young life,
heritage dictates its obstacles, the protagonist either rebels against
struggles to achieve his birthright, and new abilities come into play
Kurintor Nyusi takes a different
approach, adopting a focus on
protagonist choices in the face of changing circumstances and
changing options at different points during the tale.
just physical confrontations, and they don't always take place in the
a physical world, either. That's just one powerful piece in a story
through threats and arrogance, strong female characters who wield
defy death, and one savvy girl's devotion to her Da and her self.
in the course of these events is the language Aaron-Michael Hall
describe scenes and characters: "Druehox
was a smug churl who wouldn’t have given her the time of day had she
attention. Since the opposite was true, his advances bordered on
Every night, he appeared to have a different woman’s company. They
sniffed behind him as if he was the ruler of the twelve kingdoms."
attention to atmosphere and psychological insights is just one of the
that lend a touch of the fantastic to even ordinary scenes and
in the story line's emphasis on developing mental as well as physical
The descriptions of training and battles are well done, as are the
of how such training occurs on different levels. These insights
other kinds of preparations for survival against all odds: "You have to be aware of your battlefield, Damali,”
using his cover to mask his position. “There’s more to combat than
brute force. Use your mind and harness your true abilities.”
parents and the desire to carry on their teachings to unexpected new
("Once the gate closed, Alyelu
grinned. “I’ve shattered the mirror, Father,
and buried the past. With your death, I’ll truly begin to live,” he
outstretching an arm over Fòlais’ grave."), Kurintor
Nyusi is replete with subplots that cover various forms of
choice and transformation.
into an epic fantasy filled with satisfying battles, confrontations
and others, and changing ties between present, past, and future for a
saga especially recommended for epic fantasy fans who like their
stories seasoned with examinations of personal power and how that is
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Energy from Mars
ebook ISBN: 978-0-9882635-3-6 $2.99
Print ISBN: 978-0-9882635-4-3 $12.99
Unlimited, clean energy is an elusive goal even in the future, where a company on Mars charged with mining the Mother Lode of minerals finds itself under investigation by an audit team which runs into more than mining operation discrepancies.
be a solution to the world's clean energy dilemma and an
ever-deepening environmental crisis. One
refined Micromium can power a major metropolitan city for an entire
without any environmentally harmful side effects. There's
the team's latest probe may turn out to be their last as truths emerge
threaten not just projects and ideals, but lives.
sound like classic sci-fi, but its roots lie just as heavily in a
mystery as in
its backdrop of Mars. Readers who turn to it expecting the mundane
science fiction will uncover much more as they become involved in a
murder mystery, ethical conundrums, and corporate corruption and
that heavily impact mining operations and lives. The story is
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Brendan W. Williams
provided a succinct coverage of Obamacare's struggle to gain
support in his prior 2015 publication Compromised:
The Affordable Care Act and the Politics of Defeat. His Battle Over Obamacare: 2009-17 continues
the charge with an even wider-reaching discussion that examines Senate
sellouts, state regulation processes and conflicts, the battle against
exchanges, and more.
While Battle Over Obamacare provides
documentation specific to the evolving history of the ACA, on a deeper
it's about the struggles between special, political, personal and
interests and the industries that control and regulate the processes
contribute to unaffordable medical care.
In a land of
renowned around the world for its richness and high-tech opportunities,
healthcare remains a glaring contrast in ideals and enactment. It often
the focal point in ongoing battles that disrupt effective healthcare
its abilities and promise to the upper echelons of society.
Battle Over Obamacare documents these
processes, closely examining
the especially bitter fights surrounding the ACA and how regulatory
sabotage the process have led to long-standing court battles at all
the political and legal processes.
understand these various layers of contention must closely inspect the
and critical examination in Battle Over
Obamacare. It dispels many popular myths about the
effectiveness of the
American healthcare system, documents political action, inaction, and
to set and dictate ground rules that stifle a broader acceptance of
alternatives, and shows how legislative efforts are killed and how
with those perspectives are systematically thwarted on many levels.
astringent fights surrounding the ACA may seem to be well known; but
underlying forces, often buried in newspaper headlines or which take
under the radar, which are brought to the forefront here to provide a
understanding of the basic principles of the ACA and why it's been so
powerfully resisted by so many forces.
Readers of Battle Over Obamacare will receive a
specific examination of battle techniques, special interests, covert
forces operating on all sides, and the type of in-depth analysis needed
understand the specific structures and approaches of the healthcare
political reader of healthcare issues should be without this important
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Rickey Gard Diamond
She Writes Press
Print ISBN: 978-1-63152-318-2 $19.95
E-ISBN: 978-1-63152-319-9 $ 9.95
One might expect a
serious political discussion packed with dense figures and demanding
perspectives from Screwnomics: How Our Economy Works Against Women and Real
Ways to Make Lasting Change;
but while this work is filled with information, it's by no means
to the average woman without a degree in economics. It pairs personal
with graphic illustrations and easily-understood economic definitions
a survey that assumes no prior knowledge of either economics or women's
The first strength to note
is that Screwnomics
doesn't alienate male readers who
may be curious to learn how economic forces are stacked against women.
Introductory chapters outline these forces in a way either male and
readers can readily understand, examining how masculine forces have
and defined money and success in such a way as to stack the deck
participants in economic and business prosperity.
The coverage is specifically
tailored to prove accessible
to economically disadvantaged women, but it doesn't 'dumb down' its
considerations and it maintains a clear perspective on what it will and
do: "Screwnomics isn’t
intended to help you manage your personal
finances, but it will explain the larger assumptions of a system that
managing impossible for so many. Screwnomics
is my word for the unspoken but widely applied economic
women should always work for less, or better, for free...I translate
history, terms, and definitions that especially disadvantage women,
around the world. I introduce you to new, countering ideas and
don’t require a PhD, and may even inspire you to broach an economic
with your friends. As designed now, economic theory devalues family,
young children, music and art, nature’s splendiferous beauty, and the
devotions, the loyal commitments, that make any life worthwhile. A glut
fiscal verbiage can put you to sleep, or convince you it’s too hard to
comprehend or too boring. Yet its rules have made money the central
By blending judgments,
values, and personal insights into
this story of economic processes, Rickey
Gard Diamond succeeds in turning a potentially dull subject into an
invigorating—even empowering—read, connecting the subject of money to
playing field of personal goals, human values, and aspirations that go
fair wages and amassing wealth at all costs.
surprise is the discussion of moral and ethical hazards involved in
Most economics primers omit these important guideposts to personal
or any mention of toxic people and their threat to economic pursuits
money management, federal and business control processes, and why women
inherently at a consistent disadvantage are clearly explained and
facts that are clearly explained: "Everything
about the dollar trumpets the United States, proclaiming our nation’s
is, but the devil is in the details. Our national eagle and the Great
that giant eyeball atop a pyramid, have both been on the dollar since
Franklin helped design the original bills. Only when you look at the
in the border do you see what’s really going on in small type, the
words Federal Reserve Note."
powerfully accessible women's economics primer that covers not just
but the reasons why women consistently struggle to get ahead in a
male-dominated world of money, why they are often stymied in their
educate themselves about the subject, and how to overcome many of these
barriers to understanding to not just gain a semblance of equality, but
understanding of the force and role of money in their lives.
recommended for the average woman who seeks a better understanding of
American financial system works, why it's so often stacked against
what to do about it.
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ISBN: 9781619848498 $13.49 Paper
eISBN: 9781619848504 $ 3.99
doesn't expect a
crime drama in a series to also hold many political comments from
dilemmas; but author Marc Rainer, in his prologue, makes no apology for
fact that his story line takes a political stand in its exploration of
senator's death and how federal prosecutor Jeff Trask and a team of FBI
and police officers face big challenges in not only solving one murder,
prosecuting others. Can a killer receive a fair trial in Washington,
the capital is riddled with special interests and influences on the
questions are brought to the forefront in a crime drama well immersed
political process and questions of justice. Jeff Trask finds that his
complicated by Washington's political polarization, and also faces
deeply divided U.S. Senate, the specter of a Democrat responsible for a
Republication's demise, and killers at high levels of office affected
Presidential politics and grand jury processes.
All this might lead newcomers to believe that Death Votes Last's story line requires prior familiarity with the Jeff Trask series, politics, or legal matters; but readers need have absolutely no political or legal background in order to appreciate the events that unfold in this vivid drama.
Nothing is cut-and-dried as
Jeff Trask faces many
conundrums, and this is another satisfying piece to a story line that
prove as riveting for non-lawyers as it will to members of the legal
or those already familiar with Washington politics.
The result is a gripping, intriguing, complex crime drama especially recommended for readers interested not just in being entertained, but in learning more about courtroom proceedings and the logic behind investigative routines.Death Votes Last
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James M. Jackson
Wolf's Echo Press
ISBN-13 (Print): 978-1-943166-12-1
ISBN-13 (Kindle): 978-1-943166-13-8
Price: $14.95 (print) $3.99 (Kindle)
Empty Promises is Book 5 in the Seamus McCree series and continues to follow his evolution as he embarks on new roles in both his professional and personal lives.
become a bodyguard...and a poor one, it seems, as his client vanishes
consequences follow. His job is also tied up in his home life; for his
partner is also his lover, and she's furious with him for his
choices that place them both at risk when he fails to protect a witness
been moved to McCree's own family compound for maximum safety.
another man his life. What other snafus will Seamus create before the
through; and can his choices and actions save not only others, but his
failed as a
protector, Seamus decides to clear his name by turning detective to
what went wrong and who is behind it. However, this decision leads to
consequences as his own family is threatened and he discovers he is
repairing what he's started. While prior familiarity with some of the
McCree episodes will lend a better understanding of the characters in
story, this is not a requirement in order for newcomers to appreciate
dilemma of a capable man facing his own failures in life.
As the point
shifts between the first-person experiences of Seamus and the
Jason Graham, tension builds with an exquisite attention to detail,
involving atmosphere to support the events that present Seamus with his
greatest challenges yet.
Surprisingly, it's Jason Graham who faces losing everything. And it's Seamus who must confront the consequences of lies, confessions, and truths surrounding a storm of unfinished jobs by The Happy Reaper and their unexpected aftermaths.
nicely juxtaposes personal scenes, courtroom appearances, legal
and investigative conundrums in a fast-paced plot that is absorbingly
unpredictable, filled with twists, and nicely cemented by personal
on many sides, making for a detective thriller that genre readers will
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A Hole in One
Judy Penz Sheluk
Barking Rain Press
A Hole in One will attract readers with a
special interest in the
kinds of female amateur sleuths who find themselves in over their
creating a mystery that opens with a golfing promotion for Arabella and
antiques shop and turns deadly when an errant ball lands next to a
know, both women are immersed in more than antiquities as they discover
victim is connected to Arabella's ex-husband, who now is a prime
suspect in the
eyes of the police.
A variety of
leads brings them to an unexpected conclusion—one that they will find a
to their own lives if they can't resolve the mystery in time.
A Hole in One is its ability to
depict the golfing world alongside a dogged mystery filled with special
motives, reputations at stake, a news media flurry about the murder and
ramifications, and, at the heart of matters, Arabella and Emily's
complicated lives beyond the rigors of small business ownership.
computer world involvements from bloggers to Craigslist add modern
and complexity to a story line that even mixes in a perplexing
revolving around an antique gun. What really happened at the third
how can the special knowledge of an antiques picker affect a murder
drawn, Judy Penz Sheluk takes time to develop settings, business
characters, and the story includes enough twists and turns that even
mystery fans won't always be able to predict its outcome.
interested in a satisfyingly complex investigation that embraces
golfing worlds alike will relish the story of two women who find
over their heads, with no other choice but to move forward into
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Dark Chocolate Press LLC
978-0-9987557-4-8 (Print) $13.99
978-0-9987557-5-5 (Digital E-book) $ 3.99
Book 3 of an Angelina Bonaparte mystery series, and takes place six
Marcy hired PI Angelina Bonaparte to find her missing husband Hank, who
with all the money in their joint accounts. The fact that Hank is dead
change their interest in uncovering the truth about his actions, but
doesn't expect that her pursuit will lead her full circle to confront a
to her own family.
Hank was apparently
well-liked by his colleagues and
friends. Angie considers him a weasel. Which is the truth?
Under other circumstances,
Angie's report of the demise
of her suspect would conclude the case; but here it only broadens the
and casts the net of intrigue further. Hank apparently has a number of
identities; and each comes with additional complexity and questions.
One notable feature of Honor Kills is that Angie is not a
superhuman genius; but a human
being prone to discouragement and mistakes. Not everything she does is
even well-reasoned ("Feeling
cornered, I admitted that I’d sent a new message to Hank via S-Mail,
connected Hank and Beltran. Spider’s eyes rose to the ceiling as he
about my dumb move."), but these descriptions are exactly
Angie likeable and human.
Angie is as prone to
screwing up delicate situations as
she is adept at problem-solving, and this lends a realistic and
touch to her conundrums as she gets closer and closer to a surprising
takes the time to explore why her characters doggedly pursue their
and this too makes Honor Kills a
superior read in a genre that too often focuses on the 'whodunnit' over
'why pursue this inquiry' question.
The result is another
spirited Angelina Bonaparte mystery
that requires no special familiarity with predecessors in the series in
to prove satisfying to newcomers and prior fans alike.
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The Last Resistance: Dragon Tomb
ISBN: 1979564957 (paperback, $19.99)
ASIN: B0778ZN5DM (for Kindle,$2.99)
What would World War II have looked like if
an alien invasion had brought the Axis and Allies together? The
Resistance: Dragon Tomb reviews just
such a world in a fantasy
that opens the first book in a projected series.
staid alternate history piece, it should be mentioned that The
Resistance: Dragon Tomb is more
like an Indiana Jones action piece on steroids. Picture military
with a World War II backdrop, but with plasma-breathing fire dragons on
battlefield. Add a dash of difference with Chinese infantrymen joining
and fighting alongside Japanese and American forces. Now temper this
extraordinary adventures: captured archaeologist Chuan-Jay (CJ) Hoo's
excavating the tomb of the First King of China for a
the Ninth Cauldron, that can manipulate the time of the universe when
Dragon Stone is inserted; and a new mission that takes place a year
teams up with American adventurer Dr. Harry Jones to convince the alien
guardians to fight with first China, then the Allies in a winding story
that pairs familiar history with unfamiliar fantasy touches revolving
hidden forces, buried history, and dark changes.
It takes a deft hand to present World War II history in a logical manner while adding all kinds of alternative history elements, fantasy influences, and military confrontations between individuals who find themselves caught between too many opposing forces and special missions. Ricardo Alexanders succeeds in portraying a satisfyingly complex dance between a diverse range of influences. What new force released on Earth could prove so deadly that the efforts of all human fighters are thwarted? Will CJ prove mankind's last hope, or humanity's greatest enemy?
last desperate attempt of the Enola Gay to change history in a
to descriptions of the plasma blades of the Psyccagon, the action is
relentless, the story line complex but logical, and the nonstop events
Last Resistance hard to put down.
recommend a military-style fantasy for readers of alternative history
non-fantasy action thrillers; but The Last Resistance: Dragon
many unpredictable twists and turns, creates strong characters, adds
encounters, and flavors all with high tension that makes for a top
recommendation holding the ability to cross genres from fantasy to
audiences. Anyone who relishes the staccato action of an Indiana Jones
will find its equal in The Last Resistance: Dragon Tomb.
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Black Rose Writing
Zyklon provides a fine sequel to the
previous story Fava, and will be
by prior fans, who will find it a logical and absorbing continuation of
story of TV news reporter Francine Vega, who has been promoted to
a morning news show, but misses her more active role as an
reporter. The background provided from Fava
will make Zyklon quite accessible
newcomers, however, who will find this story compelling enough that a
pursuit of Fava will be a desire
than a requirement.
her personal and professional life changed by her experiences in Fava ("In
addition, I, working side-by-side with FBI Special Agent Will Allen
subsequently become my husband and the father of our daughter, Rosa)
Westbrook, a brilliant but quite unstable genius/computer nerd, saved
of Mecca from being destroyed and kept the world from plunging into
In the process, I was nearly killed a half dozen times. If that isn’t
my stripes” I don’t know what is."), she's about to find
changing yet again in Zyklon.
adapt, behave differently, and go back to a world where she not only
live news, but is immersed in it, receiving the kind of challenge she
she was forsaking with a big promotion and a quieter back seat to the
than report on the news. She thinks about the conflicts she's
the personalities who cross her desk: "I
thought it strange not only how easily they caught Aaron Kaplow, but
reports I read indicated he had been extremely sloppy, leaving copious
of evidence seemingly out in the open. In New York and the other cities
he committed his crimes, on the other hand, he scrupulously covered his
I passed it off as his getting cocky or perhaps his mental condition
deteriorated to the point where he could no longer adequately cover his
Or maybe he was just tired of it all and wanted to get caught."
ability to move beyond reading reports to analyzing their
her on a journey which brings with it misgivings about the case she's
on, the appropriateness of execution, and threats to her ability to
through society based on her newfound minor fame.
depth and detail to Francine's character, thinking processes,
decisions; readers become immersed in her life and the consequences of
reporting. Francine evolves from being a reporter to becoming involved
code-cracking, the deadly Zyklon Killer's puzzles, and a possible case
mistaken identity and injustice.
introduce far more speculative intrigue and insights into the tale than
expected. As Francine reconsiders what she's long known to be truth and
a frightening conclusion about what's really happening, the tension is
exquisite; both in the investigative mission and in the challenges to
Francine's approaches to and belief system about life in general and
her work in
particular. It's this added element of moral, ethical, and
reflection which adds depth to a tense story and elevates it to a level
intriguing tales can't reach.
is a tense
thriller that builds upon its predecessor, but demands no prior
prove thoroughly engrossing to newcomers to Francine's life and skills.
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Cheryl Denise Bannerman
ISBN: 978-1-4520-3580-2 (e) $5.49
ISBN: 978-1-4520-3578-9 (sc) $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-4520-3579-6 (hc) $24.99
years old when she begins a diary in Black
Child to Black Woman: an effort that follows her emergence
sweeping readers into her perceptions and interpretations of life from
child's eye, then from an adult perspective.
changes as she matures, and this is just one strength to a powerful
which succeeds in imparting a realistic sense of progressive growth as
follows the fictional evolution of a girl to womanhood.
the story doesn't stereotype black experiences. Tara comes from a
supportive home environment that faces challenges ranging from
molestation despite the efforts of her parents to build a sheltered,
environment for their kids. This experience rings true as life serves
mixed bag of tests and Tara considers choices on how to respond to them.
differently as she ages. This, too, is nicely captured and linked to
about her age, allowing readers to easily follow the progression of her
insights. For one example, her twelve-year-old journal entry reflects
as she realizes new truths about her family ("I’m
learning a lot about my brothers now. Things I didn’t
understand when I was younger. Darrell is on drugs. That’s what makes
weird.") as well as her hopes for changes, upon graduation ("It’s over. My family brings me roses
and takes a million pictures. I just want to go back home and out of
for now. Maybe I’ll come back to visit my friends in the nearby towns
or maybe I will never see them again. Who knows?").
center upon coming of age experiences from a black child's perspective;
employing a chronological journal of changing insights and events and
care not to stereotype her characters, Cheryl
Denise Bannerman succeeds in creating a compelling story of life
changing attitudes, and a sense of choice that runs through the story
lending it a depth that competing stories can't touch.
contemporary romances and coming of age fiction will find Tara's story
evolution and life experiences are astute, compelling, and hard to put
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Barbara Taylor Sanders
Ambassador International Publications
Print: 978-1-62020-600-3 $15.99
Laci Ann is
keeping her royal roots secret with a long-used tactic she's used while
abroad and even during her two brief marriages. She's also more than
with the strategy of toying with the men in her life, playing various
involving taking risks as she plays the part of a commoner courting a
why would she find attractive a hard-to-get and often rude bachelor who
in her father's company; and why would she marry him?
As the story
progresses, readers come to realize that Laci is well into repeating
mistakes of her past, marrying loser after loser. Her younger sister
can't understand the purpose of her game, while oldest sister Claudette
deliberately avoids her two siblings and fails to bond with their very
themes come together in Bloodline Secrets,
a powerful exposé of family ties, wealth, long-kept secrets, and the
of the privileged to live consequential lives with meaningful
In the first
chapters, readers might believe they are involved in an edgy romance;
events unfold and the very different personalities of the three sisters
emerges, mystery, intrigue, and danger take over. A boating accident, a
who may have an identical twin or his own secret life, Laci Ann's
with a terrible responsibility for her actions, and the truth about
heritage (which changes everything) are just a few of the subplots
swift and engrossing story. Events lead readers in a seemingly
direction; then abruptly and satisfyingly introduce new elements of
Bloodline Secrets is about far more than
heritage, inheritance, or
anguished hearts over either family or marriage relationships. Its
in for a treat as they follow a progressively building saga that takes
mystery and introduces themes of changing values, stormy encounters,
kinds of psychological changes that lead to a real homecoming in more
mercurial in its approach to unexpected relationship changes and
and satisfyingly specific in its considerations of how disparate
undertake different journeys to recognize, acknowledge, and reach their
selves, Bloodline Secrets is a
recommended read for anyone who likes their stories replete with
depth and the process of self-discovery.
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Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
978-0-9974113-6-2 $15.95 Print/$4.99 ebook
Bonnie and Clyde: Dam Nation provides the
second book in the
speculative fiction series; but newcomers need no prior familiarity
with Resurrection Road, the first
order to find it accessible.
America is deep in the Depression; but hope is blossoming over the New
focus on rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. Who would want to
blow up this process?
saved from death and put to work as secret agents of the government,
into action when a construction site informant who reveals a plot
treason and the sabotage of the Boulder Dam is found murdered.
people can pick up the pieces of this discovery and move forward to
disaster. Bonnie and Clyde's combined special skills can change the
Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall capture not only a sense of action and
adventure, but the atmosphere surrounding American feelings of despair,
and strength in the 1930s: "How did
you feel seeing Boulder Dam, now called Hoover Dam, for the first
“Small,” she said, eyes clouding over with memories. “Small? How so?”
it was just the sheer size of it all, like it literally made me feel
then there was another part, how each of us—me, Clyde, Jimmy,
workers—each one of us had this tiny part to play in this big,
We were all tiny cogs in a giant machine, and each one on their own,
none of us
mattered a whit, but working together made us all part of something
exciting and useful.”
and Clyde are cogs in the relentless wheel of history, affecting a
events that push ever closer to disaster, lends an engrossing ambiance
story that includes social struggles and worker rights issues as well
efforts to rise above devastation and fear.
Many of the
and scenes in Bonnie and Clyde: Dam
Nation will resonate with modern-day readers: "President
Roosevelt is giving us a chance to have a voice, and we have
got to take it,” he said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and we
mess it up. When we organize, we can ask for whatever we want. Is it
all the profits go to fat cats in their big fancy houses up on the
looking down at our sweat and suffering?” “No,” shouted the room. “Tell
not!” “Because we built that dam,” the group yelled."
ongoing affection between Bonnie and Clyde to their greatest challenges
together and apart, the plot reveals characters who teeter on the edge
working citizens and criminals and who don't always take their skills
heists in logical directions, even to each other: "We
ought to give that money back,” she said. “Now that we accomplished
what we set out to accomplish, doesn’t seem right to keep it to
raised his head to look at her incredulously. “Bonnie Parker, have you
your ever-loving mind? We don’t ever give money back to the people we
from. That’s like the first rule of bank robbing.”
is a rollicking
good read that adds additional flavors to the Bonnie and Clyde legend
action, humor, social issues, and a hearty dose of adventure, for good
The real history of the rise of unions and worker rights against the
of a nation recovering from the Great Depression provides a realistic
to a vivid read that blends fiction with nonfiction elements in such a
makes it logically engrossing and hard to put down.
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French Quarter Artists
Vivian Marie Westerman
9781977779533 $7.99 Kindle; $35.73 Paper
Artists follows the daily living, inspirations, and culture
of the French
Quarter in New Orleans, tracing these experiences through the eyes of
Marie Westerman's alter ego, protagonist Ivy,
Quarter artist who returns to New Orleans for the fourth time to live
city and find her muse.
As she captures the
sentiments, sense, and sights and
smells of the art colony and its relationship to the city, readers are
on a tour of the French Quarter with her; to places such as Jackson
Square, "...the only place in America where
can see the work being done. Everything else is done in China." The result of such
observations and travels
is a more intricate sense of art, artists, and art communities than the
New Orleans observational piece imparts. Perhaps that's because the
come from a fellow artist in a work that's more an insider's
documentary of the
art world than an outside critic's dispassionate analysis.
Ivy's education lies not
only in New Orleans culture and
art, but in the business of marketing street art to buyers who each
own personalities. Eventually she becomes involved in street artistry
New Orleans political affairs.
Part of what makes Ivy's story so compelling is Westerman's ability to bring the French Quarter to life, from the Mississippi River that is one of the city's life forces to its iconic hurricane drinks, bar culture, Mardi Gras embellishments, and the economic fragility of freelance street artists.
As Ivy's portraits capture
her customers' quirks and
lives, so her observations deftly paint a picture of all manner of
Quarter affairs. Readers aren't limited to written description, either:
photos throughout capture the street artists and their productions,
the story line with a visual touch that accents the historical facts
into Ivy's story.
In focusing on Jackson
Square in particular, the
microcosm of New Orleans artistry becomes a focal point for a broader
examination of street artist lifestyles and concerns as
Quarter Artists follows a portrait artist's deeper
involvement in the
culture and personalities that make the French Quarter a unique world.
Plenty of nonfiction books
attempt to provide tourists
with a survey of the French Quarter; but few make it come to life like French Quarter Artists. This blend of
biography and fiction excels in capturing the visual, historic, and
and psychological world of the Quarter's inhabitants.
Anyone with an interest in
New Orleans history and
culture or street artists will find the story a compelling highlight of
personalities, politics, history, and economics that grabs reader
while capturing the visual artwork of Larisa Ivakina Clevenger and
works create friendships and connections within artistic and social
Return to Index
Hampshire House Publishing
The Juggler is a novella, which means its
diminutive size (83
pages) allows for a succinct, digestible format that even (and
busiest reader will appreciate.
Harry Riis, a serious professional, influences an Indiana farm boy
teenage mind is impressionable and yet to be identified with any given
life, Richard develops an amazing talent that is challenged and changed
advent of World War II. He comes to discover that singular pursuits
necessarily driving forces throughout the extent of one's life. The
lies in adopting flexibility to what life brings; and this is one theme
of The Juggler, a story that flows
honing ability and adapting to change.
As the years
Richard finds himself married, then divorced; his once-bright juggling
set aside in the face of life's tribulations. The loss of his special
places new challenges on his life's dreams and achievements, and
the path of a broken juggler who now juggles life's ironies and
as he attempts to forge a new identity.
life is over. Could he have imagined a day would arrive when juggling
back stage to something new?
novella format demands tight prose, clear and succinct characterization
plots, and an approach that poses a key dilemma and provides solutions
very short period of time. The best novellas achieve an identity and
do not leave readers wishing for a longer production. The
Juggler more than satisfies the craving for strong
and satisfying resolution by providing a story line that grabs reader
from the start.
reflections on growth, transformation, self-discovery, and adaptation, The Juggler offers a solid, first-person
reflection on how a boy grows into adulthood and hones new goals in
highly recommended for any reader interested in a different coming of
presented in a compact, hard-hitting package.
Return to Index
Kalan Chapman Lloyd
Loser's Road tells of Oklahoma cowboy
Cash Stetson, an obvious
loser (he's lost his position as a doctor, his medical license, and his
in life) who nonetheless aspires to get the girl of his dreams. In this
the girl is ER physician Maggie, who is savvy enough to recognize Cash
he is; and to know that she's not in a position to rescue him or anyone
choices about his future when he goes 'as far South as he could go' and
himself on a beach, reflecting on his next steps ("Or
he could go home, sort out his shit, and try to find a life
again. That wasn’t an option he really wanted to consider, given that
mean facing his bad decisions and all the people who’d been privy to
choices. It would be best to keep going, he knew. Best to pretend he
brought it all upon himself. Best to remain untethered for the rest of
and just keep going where the wind blew him. There was a charmingly
freedom in that option. Loser that he
was, God wouldn’t turn his ass loose."). Maggie, who is in Mexico at this moment, is also
at a very different
crossroads in her life.
Common threads brought each to this point: emptiness in their lives, a lack of connections, and a medical mission in Mexico that is supposed to be punishment and a learning experience for Cash even as it's a lifetime achievement for Maggie.
While Loser's Road includes romance between
unlikely candidates, to brand it a romance alone is to belay its
a psychological novel about building new connections in life and
adversity to move into new growth areas.
takes no easy routes in her delineation of the strengths and weaknesses
characters, and this lends Loser's Road
both a realistic tone (as each assesses their lives) and a practical
neither follows set, logical courses either before or after they
might choose routes that are entirely predictable, characters Maggie
harbor a solid individuality and unique perspectives on and approaches
lives that clearly follows friendship into other realms ("She
liked him. It was a weird feeling,
liking a member of the opposite sex. For so long, Maggie had viewed
someone to use, or fear. Or usually, both. But Cash Stetson, in all his
and out glory, was likable. Maggie hadn’t had a male friend, maybe
for her brother, so the feeling was new, but good."),
motivations, background history, and psychological influences on the
feelings between them.
figuring out what he wants from his life apart from his goal of
Maggie is very nicely portrayed. The story line does a great job of
the evolving individuality of the two characters; not just how they
mentioned that a spiritual overlay is present, but does not translate
drama for religious eyes only. All readers will find thoroughly
story of how a down-and-out loser finds that only when he loses
he really win, with both God and love on his side.
Return to Index
K. S. R. Burns
Velvet Morning Press
Paris Ever After is a love story that
follows the results of Amy's
impulsive flight to a city far from home, and continues the adventure
experiences upon moving to Paris, far from her former life.
her goals and departure when she fled, and now she's building a new
life in the
city of dreams, and is pregnant at the age of thirty. She's enjoying
moment of new friendships, French culture, and a life that feels far
immediate than her old world.
past has a way of swinging full circle into present-day affairs, and
her new life shaken when two visitors (one from her past; the other an
unexpected arrival bringing conflict into her world) show up. Is Amy
enough rooted and committed to her new Parisian persona to deflect
could tear apart what she's built? Would it be safer to leave Paris, or
special affinity for Parisian culture will relish a novel that is well
in French affairs, serving as an enthralling backdrop to Amy's ongoing
Paris Ever After excels in building the
kind of story that is
immediately absorbing and even, surprisingly, educational ("Yes, in France the cheese course comes with rules.
hilarious. Women are served first. Older people are served before
people. If a cheese is round you carve out a wedge. If a cheese is
you cut an even slice across the short side. Your pieces should be no
than the size of your pinkie finger. Do not take more than three
cheese, and, whatever you do, serve yourself only once. I love stuff
the human psychology that permeates Amy's changing relationships and
revelations: "In our few years as a
couple I’ve done the weeping for both of us. Even when I had the
soon after our hasty wedding, all he did was look grave, and then, days
inform me in a neutral tone that “one third of first pregnancies end in
Facts and data. They can serve you, and you can love them, but they’ll
little love or solace in return. Anyway, information isn’t the same
knowledge. I said this to William once, not long after we started
just looked at me."
It should be
mentioned that Paris Ever After is
also a touching and engaging read fueled by the compassion of its
and by their realistic cross-cultural encounters and connections to
present: "Here I am in a foreign
country, far from my humble upbringing in inner city Phoenix, but
feel totally comfortable, totally at home."
compassion, romance, or confronting emotional ties, Paris
Ever After is the kind of captivating read
that can fling even armchair travelers
into another country into hearts and minds that are filled with
connections and beauty.
is a story
that is emotionally heartwarming; filled with warm tea, giving, and
inter-relationships that feel compellingly familiar. As Amy makes some
decisions and continues to cement her love for Paris, readers will find
themselves thoroughly immersed in the atmosphere and attractions of
culture in a highly recommended leisure story for a stormy night, a
heart, or an attempt to reconnect with the intrinsic goodness in people.
Return to Index
Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt
Print: 978-0692589809 $21.99
Ebook: ASIN: 0692589805 $ 8.99
Ashe is a reclusive writer being dragged into the limelight; Andrew
a dashing heartbreaker; and schemer and aspiring Hollywood star Bianca
for her next conquest. When these three disparate personalities come
to clash values and cross the country in an unlikely state of affairs,
level, Pride’s Children: PURGATORY,
in a trilogy, is about movie stars, love, and thwarted passions and
but look deeper and you'll find much more is going on here. A thread of
resurrection, and revitalization affects each of the characters, along
focus on abandonment, broken promises, challenging decisions, and the
consequences of bad choices.
sound like a romance conundrum, Pride’s
Children: PURGATORY is much more literary in its approach
than one might
expect from this description of its many themes.
Ehrhardt takes time to build her characters, winds a number of
challenges into their lives, and keeps tension high as her storyline
evolves. While this contrasts with and may prove challenging for
to plots with nonstop action, Pride’s
Children: PURGATORY is not based on thriller elements; but
upon the slowly
evolving relationships, personalities, and behaviors of a dissimilar
individuals who come together during a project to find their lives
From descriptions of filming and the underlying relationships and social encounters of everyone involved ("He’d gotten used to the sense of royal progression whenever he crossed the set. Everyone had a job to do. Equals—but not.") to expressed values in life ("Children are the most important thing in the world.” Kary’s tone conveyed deep conviction. “Choices have consequences. Nothing else is as crucial as protecting the children.”), Pride’s Children: PURGATORY's real strength lies in Ehrhardt's ability to take the strings of emotion governing each character's choices and give them tugs that, in turn, tug at the heartstrings of her readers.
plot keep readers guessing about some closely-held secrets that
dictate how the characters relate to one another, while fine
different perceptions of integrity and its impact on life choices
additional facets in a story that is hard to put down.
fiction and literature will relish the slow, methodical, involving
towards change that each of the characters experiences along their
being true to themselves and those around them.
Return to Index
The Seasons of Doubt
in Nebraska during the late 1800s, on a homestead she and her husband
free after the railroad was completed.
Many were lured to this harsh environment where dreams and
ownership beckoned, but many also abandoned their dreams in the face of
Nebraska's harsh environment.
husband is one
of them: when winter wipes out his crops, he leaves his wife and child
this is where Mary's story begins.
The Seasons of Doubt is about
abandonment, survival, and a young
mother's determination to work on her land until her husband returns,
to support them again. Her profound strength and courage in the face of
heat, devastation, and isolation in a world even the neighbors have
contributes to a survival story firmly rooted in history, yet filled
woman's obstinate determination to make a go of things against all odds.
Hungry, broke, and isolated, Mary must find a way to survive - and she must do so sans the husband who would lend her authority in the eyes of those who would judge her efforts and acknowledge that her land claim is valid and the property viable in the face of other interests who seek to come in and take her last remaining possession.
The history and events in The Seasons of Doubt are real. The story is fictional; but is a vivid reminder not just of the hardships of homesteading, but the special challenges of being a hard-working, determined female always operating in the shadow of a male figure, even if that figure vanishes. On the face of it, Mary is a hard-working survivor; but the undercurrent of a lie cuts through her world and complicates her efforts.
expands from working land to dressmaking and business, she finds the
accept what she cannot change and the determination to reinvent her
this powerful, women-centric pioneer story that will resonate with any
interested in Western history, women's experiences, and a fictional
made by one special, feisty survivor who spends her life circling the
doing penance for the untruths she propagates.
Return to Index
About Ann: Stories of Love and Brotherhood
J. Everett Prewitt
Northland Publishing Company
ASIN: B076YHN84C $6.95 Kindle/$16.95 Paper
Something About Ann's prologue opens in
June of 1969, with a
setting somewhere near the Cambodian border, making it evident this
be about Vietnam. What isn't immediately evident is that its two
characters, Clarence and Ann, will keep readers riveted to the story in
novella through a series of encounters against the backdrop of a
places this production a cut above the usual singular Vietnam War
Vietnam, Clarence meets Ann at a party, and her obvious Asian heritage
buried memories of the past to the forefront. After an encounter at a
where Clarence confesses his discomfort at how she reminds him of war,
part ways. Several
letters pass between
them; but they keep bumping into one another; and like a picked scab,
finds his raw emotions tweaked each time. Soon the chance encounters
occasional planned meetings between the married woman and the Vietnam
and things change between them.
More so than most
stories of Vietnam vets or postwar America, Something About Ann offers powerful messages about recovery
processes, relationships, healing, and a search for peace after
life-threatening challenges to survival and psyche.
As they move in and out of
each others' lives, Clarence
encounters other Vietnamese refugees, and his choices, from marriage to
training and its civilian applications, change as well.
But this collection isn't
just about Ann and Clarence's
choices and confrontations. A host of other characters contribute to a
picture; each holding their own perspectives about Vietnam's lasting
their lives. These stories offer differing viewpoints, yet nicely
another with messages that neatly dovetail to follow the evolution of
friendships, family, and a changing world that moves past the war's
and into personal arenas.
Those anticipating a
military saga might be surprised at Something
About Ann's different focus on
domestic affairs postwar, but will find this novella succinctly
changed individuals and lives, revealing their motivations and
impulses: "Even after Vietnam, it was not
was ever comfortable or confident in his ability to discern what
peoples' lives, but when Myron was in the vicinity of the other
candy people long enough, he began to connect, to feel-an unwanted, but
Readers seeking a
different kind of Vietnam piece will relish the messages and approach
About Ann, which
into the finer psychology of social change and individual choice than
making it a special recommendation for those who like their
insights at the forefront of popular modern historical writings.
Return to Index
Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D
Blue River Press
Ace Your First Year Teaching: How to be an
Effective and Successful
Teacher should be in the welcome packets of every new teacher
school training but is set to embark upon a real-world experience. Its
come not just from fellow teachers or advisors; but from school
superintendents, and administrators, and it offers a range of
designed to get new teachers through their first learning experiences
outside of the classroom.
learn many of their lessons the hard way, from first year snafus. Ace Your First Year Teaching seeks to
reduce or eliminate these surprises by covering them in advance; from
advice for the first day and first week of class ("The
first days of school should be about routines. Teach
explicit behaviors/routines rather than content; this will save you in
run. --Amy Glusco, former elementary teacher") to the basic
don't of classroom management, anticipating and preventing classroom
meeting all needs in an inclusive classroom setting, and more.
topics are covered in other educator guides, having them all under one
with a narrowed focus on a teacher's first year encounters offers a
explicit discussion of special challenges and solutions during this
time, reviewing everything from a teacher's subtle messages to students
incentives and strategies supported by research studies.
tips compliment case studies, analytics, and the specific guidelines to
tailoring classroom success that new teachers need in order to assure
That's why Ace Your First Year Teaching should
be required reading for anyone new to real-world classroom management.
Return to Index
Archetype of the
Number and its Reflections in Contemporary Cosmology
978-1-63051-438-9 - paperback $23.00
978-1-63051-439-6 - hardcover $47.00
978-1-63051-440-2 - ebook $ 9.99
philosophy, mathematics, and theoretical physics will lend to an
appreciation of Alain Negre's The
Archetype of the Number and its Reflections in Contemporary Cosmology,
discussion of mathematics, physics, and psychology through
a transdisciplinary approach that does not confuse the different levels
surveys the extent of cosmology's evolutionary process, its foundations
mathematics, and the evolution of research trends, a historical piece
introduced that embraces Jungian archetypes, scientific rationalism,
philosophical discussions of reality, and fundamental objectives of the
With so many
multidisciplinary viewpoints coalescing in this book, it would have
easy, under another hand, to have the discussion wind through avenues
eschew logic and progressive foundations of the building blocks of
favor of focusing on each approach. Under Alain Negre's hand, these
tempered by a smooth, linear discussion that successfully blends
philosophy, psychology and science. The result is a purposeful and
that deftly moves from ancient to modern times as it provides close
of the meaning, rationale, and evolution of the archetypal number and
the universe are contrasted in discussions that embrace the many routes
methods of exploring how the mind formulates truth. Chapters examine
consciousness, perceived time, ecological and cyclic processes, and how
theories of consciousness and these cycles directly link to brain
cosmological perceptions and interpretations alike.
scholarly discussion of cosmological cycles and their direct
human perception, psychology, biology and math, presenting much
history, research, and a close inspection of evolutionary processes
dovetail nicely with the subject at hand.
physics, astronomy and mathematical readers will be the obvious
benefactors of The Archetype of the Number
Reflections in Contemporary Cosmology, but this book is also
for libraries strong in psychology, philosophy, biology, and
Return to Index
Your Camel, Then Trust in God: An American
Feminist in the Arab World
North Loop Books
In 1978, California carpenter Chivvis Moore decided to write to Egyptian author Hassan Fathy, whose book Architecture for the Poor had made a deep impression on her. Little did she know that this decision would lead her on a journey to Egypt, an introduction to Muslim culture, and a 16-year involvement in Arab lives and history which comes full circle back to American readers with the publication of First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God.
The first (and, perhaps, the most important) thing to note about this story is that it comes steeped in the long-time experiences of a woman who lived in the region for many years; not a visitor on a limited holiday. This allows for the kind of depth and insight that comes from a special brand of familiarity with a culture that moves from a foreigner's perspective to that of a resident.
Moore's observations, reactions to the people and culture around her, and the decisions she makes about woodworking and life in the process of adaptation and acceptance hold powerful personal messages and experiences that more casual surveys would not capture. Even more important, they capture the underlying nuance and flavor of the Egyptian and Palestinian culture; from Arabic words, which are rendered in English as closely as possible to the way they sound in Arabic to feminists who are striking contrasts to popular Western images of helpless and down-trodden Arab women.
A healthy dose of political insight compliments the cultural and social observations ("The US and USSR, it seemed, were using Third World countries like pawns on a chessboard.") as Moore carries readers through her encounters with many people, and journeys through 1970s Egypt and Occupied Palestine.
Discussion topics range from prejudice to education as Moore is welcomed into a master woodworker's shop to receive lessons on architecture, craft, and life.
It's important to note that First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God is anything but a singular production. It will reach a wide audience with diverse topics that are unexpected for the genres it touches upon. For instance, travel readers will gain an important sense of place and culture, but might not anticipate the book's many social and woodworking insights; while those anticipating a read about Middle Eastern issues will find that Moore carries readers down the dusty streets and back roads of Cairo and other places with a sense of immediacy peculiar to a travelogue's approach.
What is it like to live in the Middle East as an independent American woman? What are some of the differences between Egyptian and Palestinian perspectives?
Moore confronts and dispels many myths about the experience during the course of her story and education process. Readers who want a wide-ranging discussion of this region backed by long-time personal experience will find First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God offers a powerful testimony to the daily lives of Muslims in two very different journeys -- through Egypt in the 1970s and Palestine in the 1990s-2008.
The "you are
there" feel, cemented by dialogue and examples of experiences with a
of Arab peoples, makes for a highly accessible, much recommended
Return to Index
Butterflies: The 5-Day Stage Fright Solution
Dr. David Lee Fish
9781981587841 $14.99 Paper/$5.99 Kindle
Goodbye Butterflies: The 5-Day Stage Fright Solution
is for anyone
who has ever been required to appear before an audience yet suffers
fright, but it doesn't just come from a doctor who hands out advice.
written by a fellow sufferer who well knows the mechanisms and
stage fright, and who uses his personal experience and professional
to provide tested solutions that work on many levels.
readily admits that his suffering has not ended, and that his book
miracle cures. Instead, it's a well-reasoned approach to performance
that points out that everyone experiences stage fright at different
and his Zen approach to mindfulness and a detachment from over thinking
of the keys to resolving many of the symptoms of stage fright.
therefore be open to the ideas and approaches of Zen and mindfulness
no prior experience with either is required in order to use this book).
concepts aren't simple, but Dr. Fish adapted them not just for a
approach to stage fright; but for newcomers to Zen's concepts.
It should be
mentioned that Goodbye, Butterflies
supports an online course Dr. Fish developed, of the same name. As
both a stand-alone book and one that can be applied as a textbook, with
exercises on his website.
does stand well on its own pages without any online support or
references as it
makes the contention that stage fright is a natural, manageable fear
be controlled and alleviated through mindfulness.
with self-help exercises readers can use to identify their core values
performing, ideas for practicing mindful routines before a major
and tricks in thinking that acknowledge nervousness but belay the
impact of stage fright. They include a healthy dose of psychological
on shame, anxiety, perfectionism, and the limitations of other
studies, and real-world examples permeate a discussion that is filled
information on how the mind works both for and against its user.
idealistic coverage, but a practical assessment of the mechanisms of
fright and how mindfulness can be applied to overcome the worst of
effects. It's not a miracle cure, but it nonetheless promises an
fear to a manageable level and will prove a powerful tool for anyone
themselves required to confront their biggest fear in a public arena.
Return to Index
978-0-9569547-4-9 eBook: $2.29/Paperback $13.99
Learn to Play Guitar pairs free
downloadable web audio tracks (for
both demo and backing purposes) with exercises geared towards beginning
intermediate students, explaining the basics of technique, theory, and
board layout using simple language to lay a basic foundation of
elementary-level basics creates a building block approach to
techniques and knowledge which will serve as a solid refresher course
with some prior background. The intention is to get all guitar players
same page, assuming no prior understanding of any part of the process.
theory is accompanied by musical examples in various styles geared to
pickers, and is meant to be used in conjunction with the audio tracks
offer two versions of each song: a demo of how the guitar should sound,
track with the guitar demo removed, which allows novices to play along.
tuning and tablature move to sections of basic details about scales,
and strumming choices, chords, exercises for playing by shapes,
reading directions, and more advanced techniques.
better self-instruction. This is common to many other guitar books; but
reinforcement of the audio tracks combined with adaptation
blank tabs to pencil in one's own version of the lesson to discussions
anatomy and how stretching exercises need to be part of the instruction
process, creates a different approach than most. Perhaps this is
because Learn to Play Guitar is
in its playing opportunities, from beginning sight reading to
exercises, examples that can be played forwards or backwards, and
that explore not only 'how', but 'why': "Ties
can be useful for when a note lasts longer than the bar that it is in."
guitar player guides sacrifice the basics in favor of quick
without creating a foundation of knowledge, omit concerns or
proper hand exercises to adopt when playing, or provide the 'how'
Learn to Play Guitar's attention to all
these details, combined
with black and white illustrations at every step and backed by audio
reinforcement, makes this book recommendable above most other beginning
instructionals on the market, presenting a clarity and logical
addresses multiple issues, concerns, and exercises that beginners need
Return to Index
Dr. Erin Stair
9781984032959 $9.75 Paper; $3.99 Kindle
Manic Kingdom: A True Story of Breakdown and
Breakthrough is based
on a real-life story and tells of Becka, who is about to become a
treating illness even as her own mental health falters. Though med
its toll on all its students, Becka finds that the rigors of
medical training cruelly
expose some rocky parts of her own life, in which she feels like an
and an intruder.
It's a long
from a near-perfect life to one which results in living on the street.
an aspiring young doctor get from the highs of Point A to the lows of
medical school experiences and influences, her boredom, exhaustion, and
life in 'Zombie Land', and her road to homeless and helplessness,
carried along for a ride into mental degeneration that is both a
saga and a sobering glimpse into the fine line between sanity and
changed all the names and many facts to craft a blend of fiction and
in Manic Kingdom; so portions of
story won't feel like one or the other. Some contentions (such as the
self-recover from mental illness) seem unlikely; but the actual
feelings of how
a mental illness is experienced are raw, real, and immediate.
account of such an experience that sets aside the heaviness of
nonfiction references and statistics will find Manic
Kingdom a powerful read that blends fiction and nonfiction
trappings into a journey that's hard to put down. It's especially
for psych students and those who would better understand mental illness
the inside out rather than from the usual outside observer's
Return to Index
Planet on Purpose
Hay House/Balboa Press
Your Guide to Genuine Prosperity, Authentic Leadership and a Better
explores the concept of life, how it works, and the science,
psychology, and spiritual
aspects of the idea of being purposeful. Although it advocates leading
purposeful life, Planet on Purpose
avoids any singular focus in favor of a wider-ranging examination of
individual purpose, but its incarnation in society as a whole.
Chapters begin with a basic
definition, quickly moving
into considerations of global applications, the human race's overall
evolutionary process, the notion of collective purpose, and the
political, cultural, and social forces on life purposes.
These are all facets that
typically don't examine, making Planet on
Purpose a bigger-picture piece that builds upon smaller-scale
From awaking one's
compassionate impulses and opening
one's mind to the idea of planetary identity and purpose, Planet on Purpose cultivates the kind of
language and thinking that
makes it particularly accessible to modern leaders, presenting
purpose as a scientifically-validated best practice that
moves us into an integral worldview. These
readers will find many new ideas here, such as becoming a
'Shambhala Leader' who is amenable to committing to ongoing,
change beyond the level of individual pursuits.
In order to successfully put
the ideas in this book to
use, a concern for global impact, inner transformation and
flourishing will be helpful.
Modern professionals and
social issues readers ready to
move from individual to global thinking who harbor a special interest
systemic change will find Planet
on Purpose is right there with
them, ready for the transition and the journey.
Return to Index
Joel L. Schiff
ISBN: 978-3-319-70033-5 (Hardcover) $37.85
ISBN: 978-3-319-70034-2 (eBook) $29.99
At first glance, Rare
and Exotic Orchids: Their Nature and Cultural Significance seems
another science book discussing the botany and natural history of
Joel L. Schiff's added focus on their cultural importance and why
communities around the world take special note of orchids adds an extra
dimension to the subject.
Orchid aficionados will find
Rare and Exotic Orchids's different
approach eschews the more common
attempt to classify and cover thousands of species in favor of a more
concentrated profile of selected exotics which represent some of the
plants on Earth.
An opening history of
orchids from ancient to modern
times moves into botanical discussions of orchids, those who grew,
wrote about them, and their place in a range of international societies.
From discoveries of new
exotic orchids and how individual
plants captured different hearts and minds to early explorers who
unknown territory in search of new species ("Frederick
Sander had read extensively about the southern Philippine
island of Mindanao and long held a fascination for it, believing that
it was an
ideal habitat for as yet unknown species of orchids. After steamship
were extended to the island in 1879, Sander dispatched traveler Carl
to Mindanao in search of the red Phalaenopsis."),
Joel L. Schiff brings to life not
just the science surrounding orchids, but the human process of
and appreciating them.
will appreciate the wealth of visual illustrations and technical
that reveal controversies as well as insights into orchid biology ("It should be mentioned that either
way, the well-established biological concept of coevolution is not
the validity of the preceding Darwin and Wallace nectary/proboscis
and a further instance of it will be discussed in the next chapter. But
clearly, further research needs to be done regarding the evolution of
nectar spurs and the corresponding lengthy proboscis of its pollinator."),
technical details are juxtaposed with lively debates, discussions,
facts that even casual orchid fans or newcomers to the topic will find
easy to understand.
high-quality images of exotic orchids (many of which are
unique to his orchid book) nicely supplement facts that include the
research on orchids and their deceptive evolutionary behaviors, nicely
the discussions of historical and scientific conundrums.
It's this approach,
combined with lovely close-up color photos throughout, which makes Rare
and Exotic Orchids a
recommendation not just for professionals or botany libraries, but for
readers who will enjoy a highly accessible study that invites an
interest in orchids and their importance to human affairs.
Return to Index
Dr. George Mecouch, D.O.
Belly Song Press
Paperback: 978-0-9966603-6-5 $18.95
PDF: 978-0-9966603-7-2 $14.99
Kindle/Mobipocket: 978-0-9966603-8-9 $14.99
EPUB: 978-0-9966603-9-6 $14.99
While Psychiatry Slept: Reawakening the Imagination
collects stories based on real-world cases seen by Dr. Mecouch. He's an
osteopath and a board-certified psychiatrist who considers the state of
imagination in modern psychiatric practice, analyzing the effects of
imagination gone awry in the advent of brain science and new
mental health, illness, and biochemistry.
Too many new
emerge from medical training with a focus on causality and not on
paths and approaches that adopt a more holistic view of psychiatric
and patient symptoms. Moreover, concepts of the soul's influence are
set aside in favor of a focus on brain development and the role of the
an integral part of the psyche. In a nutshell: psychiatry has forgotten
importance of dreams. And in doing so, it's missing a golden
opportunity and approach.
While Psychiatry Slept employs a
fictional structure to return the
profession to the ideas of soul, imagination, and a consideration of
"...a middle way that mediates between the
and body by its language of simile and metaphor, dreams and fantasies,
imagination and the as-if. It is from here that all creativity begins."
clearly stated: "Its title, While
Psychiatry Slept, is meant to draw
attention to the fact that while psychiatry attempts to make its
body, reality, and facts, it has fallen asleep to the realm of soul.
Psychiatric and psychological training has turned against fantasy and
and except for occasional writings of analysts, dreams are rarely
psychiatric case reports."
case histories that illustrate psychiatry's focus on treating symptoms
with drugs and the idea that shamans, spirit helpers, and ideals of
patients in all states of consciousness can be better served with a
view of psychiatric approaches and applications, they gain insight into
professional approaches that digress from the traditional medical
the story lend introspective and studied views of their training and
applications in discussions which take the tenants of modern psychiatry
lends a critical eye to their actual enactment: "Could this
represent the current ego ideal in analytic circles? he
his reductive and confining interpretations truly what freed patients
their soul’s wounding? Was the love that I had for Jung, which had
drawn me to
apply for analytic training, now being swallowed down the same
From recurrent dreams and their analysis to
dream cases and their reflections of connections between body, mind and
this collection holds much food for thought; particularly for those
embraces psychiatric processes in clinical settings.
Though these pieces will be enjoyed by lay
readers with any degree of prior interest in psychotherapy and
will prove especially accessible and thought-provoking works for those
or working in the field, offering a perspective and focus that
conventional psychiatric thinking even as they illustrate dilemmas in
dreams and daily lives of ordinary individuals.
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Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine
Blue River Press
All About Steve Wozniak is a short,
100-plus page biographical
sketch directed to young readers in 5th-8th grades, and reads like a
book with excellent-quality black and white line drawings that spice a
of 'Woz' and his achievements.
make this book recommendable for report assignments are here: an index,
glossary, timeline, bibliography, and an approach that offers insights
Steve Wozniak's entire life and times.
memorable mention is the fact that Steve had computers figured out as a
fourth-grader; but though he was a 'tech nerd' in many ways, he was
extrovert and an outgoing personality, participating in events and life
way that belays the usual portrait of nerdy creators as isolated
encouraged him in the engineering hobby he worked on in his spare time
development of the Basic computer language and its display at his
meetings, a well-rounded portrait of Wozniak is provided that covers
his achievements, but his philosophy and personal relationships and the
influencers that changed his life.
is one of
the few biographical approaches that lends equally well to leisure
school reports, peppered with excellent-quality black and white
by Amber Calderon and enhanced by a dramatic flair designed to keep
reading and thinking about not just Wozniak's life and the birth of the
computer, but their own approaches to creativity.
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Book 1 of the 'Daughters of the Lost King' series for middle grades 4-6 tells of Princess Campanulis (nicknamed “Tic”), the seventh and last daughter of Azarule, who is last of her lineage and more of a tomboy than a proper princess.
last thing Tic
wants is to serve as a diplomat to a neighboring country who can
her country's experience; but she's been tapped for the job of teaching
monarchy how to survive. Many think that Tic will be perfect for the
few know the ulterior motive in sending her: the hopes that she will
wed the heir of the Polarian throne and thus forge an alliance
their countries against would-be aggressors.
agenda, Tic is supported by friends and allies her own age, and her
brings with it a series of encounters and changes that challenge her
mind with new perspectives and choices.
The Borrowed Princess excels in
presenting a feisty, headstrong,
yet generous girl who is brave, determined, and well-equipped to
proves to be a perilous journey indeed.
a fine introduction to Tic's personality and viewpoints which drive the
line as a host of issues arise to test her abilities and determination.
also receive an unexpected dose of insight into the wiles and methods
who would manipulate others: "The
count was in a good mood. He joked with Sir Norman and Sir Winston. In
diplomatic missions, he had learned that if something didn’t go his
simply made the best of it.
Though he knew Winston and Norman had once been great soldiers and defenders of the king, he worried about their age and their dedication to the mission. He decided he would befriend them by bragging about their past heroism and ply them with promises of greater glory if they succeeded. Plumdom believed the men would respond and prove boon companions. But first he had to establish a working relationship with them..."
are too often omitted from children's reads because they may be deemed
complex for young minds, but their presence here imparts no great
helps educate kids about the methods and systems of major forces
Tic's choices, kingdom, and the political interactions around her.
language and communications ("Sweet?”
he snorted, barely moving his head. He hated being called ‘sweet.’ It
like a variation on the way the Queen called him a ‘cook.’ Tic
crossed her arms and drew back. “Yes, sweet.
What’s wrong with that? What would you call it?”) to Tic's
playmates who are called upon to support her in new ways, The Borrowed Princess offers surprising
depth and insights
unexpected in a leisure fantasy read for middle graders.
invigorating, complex story that pairs action with insights that middle
will find both entertaining and thought-provoking.
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A Boy like
You and Me
Eva Maria Schwarz-Pretner
978-1978477063 $8.90 (Paperback)/$3.68 (Kindle)
colorful drawings enhance this picture book story of a boy whose only
being special is that he lives in a far-away country. He's as ordinary
other boy—until a movie snafu results in a wish that, when granted,
stop there; because the boy hasn't learned his lesson. A second wish
further transformation and yet another problem ... and so the story
the wishful child is carried further and further away from who he is by
series of wishes that keep changing him.
It should be
the Kindle version of this book includes a simple quiz which takes
the Kindle’s text pop-up function.
(or, even better, adult read-aloud assistance) will enhance this gentle
of a boy who learns a hard lesson about wishes and being himself. While
these themes have appeared elsewhere, the compelling fantasy woven into
tale makes A Boy like You and Me especially
inviting and thought-provoking, and a highly recommended read for
readers and their adult read-along helpers.
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Mayhaven Publishing, Inc.
978-1932278361 $14.95 Hardcover/$8.99 Kindle
the picture book pup Cassie will find her latest adventure needs no
introduction to be immediately accessible and entertaining, while prior
will delight in yet another Cassie story; this one revolving around the
introduction to music.
Mrs. Applebaum, teaches music. Cassie feels she's in an exceptional
because, after all, she learned music as a puppy, running across the
keys, and believes she's a musical prodigy herself. Obviously, she's in
perfect place to appreciate her talents!
speaks a language humans don't understand. The young students she
play such classics as Bow Wow Black Dog and Twinkle, Twinkle Little
seem to know the tune or understand her instructions on how to play
can Cassie assist the venerable music teacher's job when all the humans
tale will require good reading skills or parental read-aloud
offers an unusual dog's viewpoint of matters and outlines events in an
engaging, thought-provoking manner.
communications, a small dog's burning desire to be helpful, and music
gone awry intersect in a story that is delightfully fun, nicely
spirited little dog's efforts to be an asset.
relish Cassie's upbeat and enthusiastic personality, creative ideas,
savvy and kind teacher's solution to what could have been a major issue.
dogs will find Cassie's Marvelous Music
Lessons a lively, entertaining read that holds a message
positive problem-solving and communication.
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Mary Sage Nguyen
Mary Sage Nguyen, Publisher
The Reading Parrot Named Darwin reaches
kids ages 2-12 with a story
that enjoys lovely colorful drawings by Marvin Alonso as it tells of
writer Lana, who suffers from writer's block and waits for words that
spill onto paper.
frustrating endeavor by the delivery man, Lana receives a mysterious
contains an African gray parrot, an odd gift from her aunt.
Darwin wears his special glasses makes for an engaging tale as Darwin
his prowess in more than just flying and Lana discovers her writer's
been cured by inspiration from an unexpected source.
aspire to literary success will find much to like about Lana's efforts
surprising interruption that turns her life around, providing new
spark her creative impulse.
moves in an
unforeseen direction in a stimulating tale that is both fun for leisure
and inspirational for would-be writers searching for their muses.
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Staircase of Fire
HC: 978-0-9973448-9-9 • $21.99
PB: 978-0-09773448-8-2 • $13.99
Ebook: 970-0-9973448-5-1 • $6.99
The Staircase of Fire opens with Rose
Lincoln on a mission to
exercise her newfound right to vote and Tom Wallace's worry that she'll
injured in the process of making her demand at city hall. Two features
story immediately become apparent: this is a teen read, and it's set in
early 1900s. Rose is not just a woman, but a Negro in Mercer County,
where being a black woman already poses two strikes against her.
white friend Tom is too afraid to support them. It's not just the riled
prejudiced townspeople who have him quavering in fear; but an
staircase that brings back dreadful memories from four years earlier.
Rose's effort opens the door for far more than bad memories, changing
life and his ability to remain in Shakerville.
and his cousin Will undertake a search that could save not only Tom but
town itself, events from past and present drive him ever further into
conundrums that challenge the course of his future.
The Staircase of Fire is about teens who
seek more from their lives
than their heritage has handed them. It's about fear and excitement in
course of facing seemingly-impossible circumstances and it's about
courage and flexibility as everything changes.
past, the dialogue at times feels contemporary in nature: "Will set down his iced tea and stood up. “Yeah,
because you are
one stupid shit.” While the social setting neatly
incorporates the events
and sentiments of the 1900s ("Tom
found Will lazing on the side porch drinking sweet iced tea. Two
rabbits soaked in a tub. The sun lowered itself into the West pasture."),
Tom and Will's adventurous spirits seem almost modern in their approach
daily life, whether it be farm work, solving mysteries, or seeking
activities to spice up their lives.
That noted, The Staircase of Fire succeeds in
offering dramatic action, mystery, social insights, and a story line
evolves from pure adventure to something deeper as Tom confronts his
the world-changing nature of his choices. This vivid immediacy combined
the story's ability to change from a mystery/adventure to a social
piece makes it a highly recommended pick for teens looking for
different which stands on the cusp between a historical novel and an
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Tenth Grade Angst
follows Bruce Ingram's 2017 debut story Ninth
Grade Blues and features the same four teens as they enter
the second year
of high school and confront many changes.
Shy Luke is growing braver
with the encouragement of Mia,
finding his muse and comfort in nature and outdoors activities even as
relationship with his father worsens and demands a kind of courage he
imagined he had.
Meanwhile, Mia, a straight-A
student on track with her
dream of becoming a pediatrician, faces the conundrum that her goals
move are interfering with her present-day high school connections. The
that she, a Mexican-American girl, would date white boy Luke introduces
controversy into a family already rattled by her choice of career over
Marcus is a sports star
experiencing doubts about his
projected athletic future even as he also faces challenges to the ways
been forming relationships with girls; while overweight and insecure
some weight but discovers that dating challenges are even more
All of them face new
challenges, from a parent's
increasing alcoholism and terminal illness to Luke's realization that
like his father, and can make something of himself in life.
As the disparate group grows
into their mental and
physical abilities, they discover new connections and meaning in their
and from their encounters with each other.
Plenty of teen novels hold
some of these same themes; but
what sets Tenth Grade Angst apart
from many is its focus on closely examining the different perspectives
selected teens who find their lives intersecting and changing.
chapter perspectives are clearly identified, the individual characters
nicely detailed both before they meet and as they begin to interact
world and each other, and readers receive a satisfying study in
change both with individual characters and the group as a whole.
The result is an involving
perspective that keeps young
adults avidly involved in the different perspectives and experiences of
characters. Tenth Grade Angst is highly recommended
as a revealing leisure read
that high schoolers will relate to and learn from.
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Who She Is
Red Adept Publishing, LLC
978-1-948051-07-1 $2.99 Kindle
Faye Smith's family works
the Florida orange groves, the
migrants are back in town for work, and Faye once again must face a new
The opening paragraph deftly captures Faye's ongoing and latest dilemma
("October 4, 1967. My first day at Valencia High started with a
bloody nose. I had physical education class right after homeroom, and I
wandered around the sprawling school, looking for the gym, for ten
minutes."), setting the stage for a predictable 'new girl in
migrant family story.
However, readers will
discover something different in Who She Is,
because Faye defies the
limitations of her epilepsy to try a new sport, which she loves, and
crafts a plan to escape her family's poverty until life shifts again,
into question her newfound identity and purpose in life.
That's one pleasing aspect
of Who She Is, which sets the stage
for a semi-predictable course;
then makes a complete about-face with digressions that are completely
unexpected and satisfyingly different.
Within the backdrop of
newfound dreams and hopes for her
future lies a family secret and a hidden heritage. Faye's brand new
challenged almost as soon as they are conceived. Realistic details
young girl's life, from smoking a joint and a first kiss that
quickly into something else to a landmark birthday when Faye drinks her
coffee and contemplates the freedoms a driver's license will bring.
Other than the spells which
overtake her, Faye seems to
be a normal teen ... or, is she? And if she is lying about some of her
experiences, isn't her mother doing the same?
From her participation in a marathon to her goal of
obtaining a college
scholarship, Faye has her hands full; and readers are treated to a
first-person narration of events.
Faye's character and her concerns are nicely drawn, the twists of plot are unpredictable and different, and the story line is thoroughly engrossing. Teens and adults who choose this leisure read expecting another story of a migrant lifestyle or a new girl's struggle with school will find much, much more taking place. Readers will appreciate Who She Is for its multifaceted approach to life and one girl's discovery of who she really is (and can be) in the face of bullying, betrayal, and abandonment.Who She Is
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Olivia Turner's Amazing
Audiobook: $6.95; Paperback: $6.99; Kindle: $3.99
Audible link: https://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Olivia-Turners-Amazing-Amazon-Adventure-Audiobook/B079THBCW3?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=R007665W14RDJRMSKWY8&
youthful, enthusiastic voice is the perfect match for narrating Olivia
Turner's Amazing Amazon Adventure, a vibrant story set in Ecuador that captures the
culture and atmosphere
of the Amazon jungle.
14-year-old Olivia Turner
has dreamed about the Amazon
even while at home in Vermont because she and her Spanish language
slated to visit the jungle in an upcoming field trip which she's been
forward to for months. She's lucky to be part of a small group of five
slated for a once-in-a-lifetime journey that seems perfect, given her
determination to excel in everything she does. Little does she know
trip will be even more adventurous than she anticipates.
After a grueling, long plane
trip and a harrowing bus
ride, Olivia is at last in the Amazon jungle, where the dire warnings
fisherman portends dangers Olivia and her group hadn't expected.
voice guides readers all the way, capturing Olivia's excitement, the
lower-voiced and firm admonitions of Paco ("The
mosquitoes are your welcoming party...get used to them...it is their
not yours...") and the other people Olivia encounters as part
group and in the course of her Amazon encounters.
As Olivia and her friends
help build the first school in
Ascension, they face a brutally hot sun, a river filled with harmful
large and small, the lure of playing hooky and breaking the rules to
and the consequences of rash actions and spontaneous invitations.
Is the old
Are they facing dangers certain to harm them despite the watchful
Paco and other adults?
environment comes to life in an engrossing combination of Stephanie
vivid rendition and William Graham's descriptions of high adventure
rooted in a
solid sense of place. This spirited, highly recommended audio story
action with realistic observations of the Amazon and its environmental
social challenges. It will thoroughly engross young readers seeking the
immediacy of an audio narrative paired with a heroine's determination
survive against all odds as she faces a series of encounters with
unforgiving jungle denizens.
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Film, Stage & Television
Writer at Play
Black vs. White vs. Brown is a one-act
play designed for classroom
use, and joins a series of stand-alone 10-minute plays by Trisha
require no props, costumes or sets; making them perfect choices for
budget-stretched classrooms looking for short, affordable drama pieces.
#32 in the series and features nine characters, a 'Greek Chorus' of
and is introduced by production notes to the play director. These
suggestions for crafting a successful result ("Texters
should be assigned lines based on gender/sentiment of the
line. Example: Text #3. I’d smash me some of that. This would
be an A male African-American. Text #2. Duh…Tyron
of course. This would be a female.") makes it
easy to assign roles that make sense.
As for the
this piece itself: expect conversations filled with acronyms, slang and
lingo and an attention to realistically depicting a high school scene
spicy, interactive, and revealing. This approach offers students a
realistic scenario of interpersonal interactions based on familiar high
interactions and objectives creates insights on the acting process, as
students encounter discrimination, experience school challenges, and
the shake-up of a school prom turned into a lesson in prejudice and
flavor of this one-act play will not only educate drama students on how
depict the scenes and emotions of characters, but teaches acting in the
of a drama that teens will easily relate to. Black
vs. White vs. Brown is a wonderful blend of honest portrayal
and useful drama student scripting!
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You’re Fat, You’re
Ugly, and You Dress Weird
Writer at Play
978-1479175680 $6.50 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Adding to the 'Shortn'Small'
series of one-act classroom
plays that require no special sets, props, or costumes is You’re
Fat, You’re Ugly, and You Dress Weird: a play about a girl
bullying when a new girl affects her friendships at school.
Aanya is unkind and as her friends begin to follow in Dakota's
suffers. Her major problem involves how to respond to Dakota's prods;
secondary problem is how readily those she thought were friends are
along in their new mentor's footsteps, teasing Aanya about her weight,
social media to torture Aanya online, the cruelty gets even more
There are many good features to note about this play: its strong message about bullying and cyberbullying and its insights into daughter and mother relationships.
only six characters in this short piece; but its impact is powerful,
through emotional scenes and learn how to depict these strong forces,
absorb lessons both about bullying and representing dramatic
Tolerance and compassion are outlined as the maligned Aanya finds her
reputation being systematically destroyed by cruel and nasty online
attacking her character and ego.
You’re Fat, You’re Ugly, and You Dress Weird
is more than just a
one-act play for aspiring actors: it's a lesson in choices,
school culture that's a highly recommended pick for drama teachers
affordable lesson plans holding wider-ranging educational attributes.
result is a powerful and wonderfully wrenching story that will lend
to drama classes.
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No Means No!
of Four Super Hero Girls
Writer at Play
No Means No! The Tale of Four Super Hero Girls
is a short one-act
drama for classroom instruction, requires no sets, costumes, or props,
features characters ranging in age from 13 to 22 as it explores the
Emilee and her girlfriends, who are facing pressure from their male
engage in sexual activities.
this play comes from its focus not on explicit sexual encounters, but
emotional confrontations, choices, and social interactions between
boys in the early stages of adolescence, making for an appropriate and
satisfyingly revealing piece that teachers and parents will find
reinforced by author notes in the beginning ("Scene
1: it should give the illusion of
heavy necking and petting (at the
director/educator’s discretion"), which help guide educators.
As the story
emotions between teens are explored, from love and 'proving it' to
between parental admonitions and romance's promises and pitfalls.
in more than acting abilities as they explore a play that deftly
dilemmas, choices, consequences, and peer pressure. Teachers receive a
wonderfully compelling story line paired with an attention to dramatic
embellishments that teaches kids about acting, life and love,
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Love Never Leaves
Writer at Play
violence is explored in Love Never Leaves
Bruises, a one-act play designed for budget-minded classrooms
contemporary themes and productions that don't require sets, props, or
boyfriend loves her: so why does he lose his temper and hit her?
couple and Megan's mother) interact in a short drama that explores a
many high school students may personally be familiar with: relationship
violence among teens.
a daughter's fear of telling her mother exactly what's going on with
boyfriend provide realistic encounters and outline the results of abuse
protecting one's abuser.
than just a lesson in drama through an inviting, refreshingly
one-act play that provides fine keys to surviving typical life
highly recommended as a strong addition to Trisha Sugarek's excellent
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This Means, and Does Religion Matter?
978-1-9997885-2-0 $7.95 Print/$3.99 Kindle
Being Spiritual: What This Means, and Does Religion
inspects the nature of spirituality, its meaning and impact in human
how different aspects of spiritual beliefs are reflected in diverse
and is a top recommendation for those who are not only spiritual, but
religious and philosophical reflection.
what 'being spiritual' means to different people, examining shared
belief, its connections to and reflections in behaviors and approaches
living life, and social, psychological, historical, and theological
on both traditional and alternative religious thinking processes.
multidisciplinary approach to the subject lends Being
Spiritual a scholarly yet accessible flavor that translates
to a thought-provoking, lively piece that invites debate and discussion
as self-analysis and reflection.
aspects to the notion of being spiritual that translate not only into
but into society-wide choices and perspectives that support civilized
"Being spiritual necessitates us to
have an interest in our fellow humans, to be political and motivated to
change what’s wrong in the world that we experience. It should
aggression, fewer wars, calmer people, reduced brokenness among
communities. Indeed, the healing that occurs inside of a
spiritual person can
directly impact on healing the world–what is inside every person
vibration and equilibrium of everything around."
religious groups that embrace the 'spiritual but not religious' concept
people who hold these beliefs, examining how they can offer support for
only reflection and discussion but "...promote
happy, co-operative and self-respecting communities" in the
promoting inclusiveness. The book adds very accessible insights on
challenges to the public face of religion in modern culture. Being Spiritual uses all these
approaches to support an inquiry and debate into the nature of not only
spirituality, but the religious groups that support various notions of
thought-provoking and key guide for modern times; especially for
thinkers interested in promoting a form of spiritual thinking and
that is wider-ranging than many groups would embrace. No religious
should be without this consideration of the nature of spirituality and
reflection in social and religious circles.
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Find the Seeker!
Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi & Clifford Stevens
ISBN: 9781619848566 $11.63
eISBN: 9781619848559 $ 9.99
The Pathless Path to Fulfillment and Happiness offers
spiritual readers a
road to enlightenment that doesn't take the usual paths of other
approaches, but creates its own original creative
course based on the age-old pathless path and encourages its readers to
While readers especially
well-versed in Zen writings
might therefore anticipate a familiar supportive stance, they will be
pleasantly surprised to discover that Find
the Seeker! holds something new in that it supports (but also
readers while maintaining that there is no singular guide (even this
The challenge lies in
identifying and 'unlearning' past
routines and rituals which no longer serve a purpose, recognizing
and delusions which are reinforced by life choices and making different
eschews how-to approaches and the
absolute necessity of mediation in favor of a
focus on spiritual foundations underlying life, encouraging
self-inspection, self-reliance, and a sense of self that moves beyond
Readers should anticipate a
good number of admonitions
about life, spiritual living, and choice. These offer opportunity for
reflection and should ideally be read in snippets; not sped through on
quest for a meaning too often rooted in ego: "We
frequently have the opposite impression, namely that we are
often unaware and unhappy, that life is full of ups and downs, and that
consists of “having and wanting.” You know by now that there is
something in us
(yes, the ego) which makes it seem that this is the case. If the Divine
longer seems to be worth striving for, then this something robs us of
grace, our Being, Conscious Being and Bliss. Accordingly, we dwell in a
of being unaware. It is our present-day reality, and is thus completely
to us. Existence accepts this. Who are you to quarrel with all of
and behavioral patterns—the functions of the ego—come and go, and have
or reality in the Eternal. Your ego is NOT you!"
Zen readers used to concepts
of the Oneness and its power
will be particularly intrigued by a presentation that charts the
pitfalls, and potentials of moving toward a different level of being.
is as much about the journey as the destination, and is especially
for readers already familiar with Zen perspectives who want a concrete
insights into better understanding its basic principles and connections
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The Story of the Joshua Quilt
Gail Howard Gibson
Marylee MacDonald, Publisher
ISBN 978-0-9962503-6-8 (trade paper) $14.99
ISBN 978-0-9962503-7-5 (hardcover) $21.99
ISBN 978-0-9962503-9-9 (Kindle) $10.99
God's Gift Within: The Story of the Joshua Quilt
pairs a Christian
inspirational piece with quilting insights as it explores the
between quilting efforts and Bible study, and how each can reinforces
by scripture to quilting tools and techniques that Gail Howard Gibson
while constructing a quilt inspired by the Book of Joshua, God's Gift Within creates a satisfying
balance between needlework
guide and spiritual reflection piece, and will especially satisfy
Bible readers who want a quilter's visual rendition of sacred matters.
usual 'how-to' approach should note that God's
Gift Within reads more like an interview conversation than a
The reason for this unusual approach is explained from the start: "This book was originally created as a
live interview with my friend and fellow author Marylee MacDonald.
it reads as a conversation rather than a traditional “book” that talks
you. I wanted you to feel as though I am talking “with” you, much like
friend or relative."
for more of a feeling of dialogue and engagement with the reader,
personal and spiritual reflections through a Q&A format that
complements the author's personal and spiritual growth. Chapters move
she first learned to sew in junior high school to scintillating and
thought-provoking descriptions of how her spiritual quilts were
physically and idealistically: "Gail: Originally,
I just thought I’m not going to spend a lot of money. I’m going to use
that I have, pieces of fabric leftover from previous sewing projects,
make it representative of the Israelites. They were a remnant people,
thought the remnants would be a good representation. I was planning to
squares, or 12 representations to represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
Originally, each of those would be represented by a single color."
evolve, so do color swatches throughout that display her projects and
techniques, adding a solid foundation to her descriptions of choices in
style, patterns, and religious representations.
striking production that should be in the collections of quilters and
readers, who will appreciate God's Gift
Within's solid and outstanding connections between quilt
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Cheryl Denise Bannerman
ISBN: 978-1-5246-2266-4 (sc) $13.99
ISBN: 978-1-5246-2264-0 (hc) $23.99
ISBN: 978-1-5246-2265-7 (e) $ 3.99
Words Never Spoken is a powerful account
of ambition and hope,
despair, and rejuvenation and introduces its subject with a succinct
observation of the process that receives deeper inspection in chapters
follow: "I wanted what every girl wants: to fall in love and
happily ever after. But after one failed marriage and with forty
approaching, I had given up."
While many stories chronicle this same
process, what sets Words Never Spoken apart from
most others is its
attention to rendering these experiences in verse, accompanied by black
white line drawings that, together, capture the process of wading
lies and obstacles to togetherness and a happy life.
Readers should anticipate a gritty,
determined, street-wise voice to these poems which reflect candid
and move from inner soul-searching to outward life depictions with a
that pulls no punches in the process: "Why can’t you be who
you say you
are?/Live close to me and not so far./Not have 10 kids and baby
job and not live wit yo mama."
Sometimes the most powerful experiences come
not just from the heart, but from the power of the pen and a writer's
to capture the moments that hold life-changing impact. As readers wind
the verses in Words Never Spoken,
they receive emotional tugs that come from soul-searching moments as
a brush with suicide and the one thing that prevents final disaster
It should be
cautioned, if it isn't already apparent by now, that this is no light
cursory brush with a life in flux; but an often-troubling, wrenching
into the depths of despair and how the character rebuilds her life from
depth, including her relationship with her child and God.
from a failed marriage, a miscarriage, and crushing depression to
all with a little help from God makes for an engrossing, vivid shout
pages of Words Never Spoken, highly
recommended for readers who want psychological, spiritual, and social
reflections wound into the struggle of a life not only saved, but
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