April 2019 Review Issue
Discovery: A Kammbia Omnibus Edition
Red Mango Publishing
978-0-9987612-5-1 $16.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
Journey & Discovery provides an
omnibus edition of Marion
Hill's fantasy United Kammbia universe, presenting the first two books,
Diondray's Discovery and Diondray's Journey, under one cover.
This will especially appeal to readers who want easy access to the
stories in a blossoming series. Their unified presentation allows
absorb the first adventures of truthseeker Diondray Azur, who turns his
his prominent family's position to search for answers to the questions
an ancient book.
leader prophesized to unite this long-divided land; but in order to do
must embark on a dangerous quest with no guarantee of success.
promises in the Book of Kammbi and leaves his familiar family and
in Charlesville, he encounters peoples and communities who hold very
ideas about the Book's meaning and lessons:
"Maybe fairness works in Charlesville. But not here in Santa Teresa.
this custom has created families in our city. I know the Eternal
Kammbi honors that. Anyway, what do you know about our Book of Kammbi?”
with different peoples, perspectives, and interpretations of the Book
lead to Diondray's spiritual and personal growth, helping him hone the
rudiments of a leader and hero: attributes he lacked at the beginning
Diondray's process of evolution, enlightenment, and growth is just one
theme in a story that follows his pursuit of the path directed by the
Comforter and his own destiny. From the lure of love which tempts him
this course to his attempts to promote unification among different
Diondray's mission will intrigue and attract a range of readers, from
enjoy fantasy worlds and quest stories to philosophical and spiritual
who seek these elements of greater purpose wrapped in the guise of a
Journey & Discovery is an
excellent introduction to the series
and achieves the goal its protagonist desires: unification of purpose
events. It's a top recommendation for fantasy readers who like their
infused with a sense of discovery and revelation, action, and
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978-0-9953272-2-1 $14.99 Paper/$0.99 Kindle
The Legacy and the Lion is the first book
in the Yusan Chronicles,
a military sci-fi story that holds a different atmosphere than most.
in the future, but focuses on a primitive world of kings, horse-riding
murder plots, and power plays. It actually reads more like a history of
ancient world than a chronicle of a futuristic one.
In this setting, soldier Patrick seems to have no obvious connections after the death of his family. His introduction to a new post where political and social differences abound makes for an absorbing story of change, adaptation, different layers of political purpose, and angst.
a post-apocalyptic tale should be advised that, in many ways, The Legacy and the Lion focuses on
military and political maneuvering as it follows Patrick's entry into
(to him) society of Yusan and its very different approaches to life.
trappings of a survival story or new society's evolution are largely
set aside in
favor of this focus on Patrick's adaptation process as he creates a
life in the
kingdom which is to be his new home.
It should also be noted that this is no light production. Elaine Jemmett takes the time to build her characters and the world in which they operate, resulting in a richer, fuller-bodied, less action-packed read than leisure readers usually receive.
notes aside, The Legacy and the Lion
outstanding in its world-building approach and its strong characters
individual concerns. The central protagonist Patrick, who faces a new
king's commands, mysteries and plots, and the changing political
a society under siege, brings all these pieces together.
circle into Patrick's realizations about his own family ties, readers
satisfying, multifaceted story that is as much a mystery and political
examination as it is the story of one man's search for a new place and
realizations in a futuristic world.
highly recommended for readers who like multi-volume series reads
social, political, and military encounters.
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Our Great Escape: Part 1: Dumbers
978-1719992503 $11.99 Paper/$5.99 Kindle
Part 1: Dumbers is a fantasy
with a message about the importance of memory and emotions in human
and is set in 2360, where a remnant of humanity exists sans many of the
memories which create awareness and a sense of past and place.
Dr. Henry Shannon has been picked to head a
new interplanetary mission to Jupiter. The story begins with his
into this strange world and the realization that his charge to save
via paving the way for an impossible migration actually has led to his
being extended artificially by hundreds of years in order to foster
"Great Escape" from a dying world.
Even more important is the bigger question
of who is controlling this effort and whether they are responsible for
dementia stemming from the universal application of mind-altering drugs.
As Dr. Shannon explores this and other
questions, he comes to realize that his mission is more than leading a
of humanity to a new home. It also involves probing the mystery of
connections themselves. When he ventures beyond his assigned duty into
realm of social control and the lengths humanity has taken in order to
he begins to question whether the end justifies the means.
Part 1: Dumbers is fascinating
because it's more than an adventure story or a mystery, but embraces
of each. Its insights and social concerns are even more compelling than
tale of interplanetary journeys and survival questions, and will prompt
to reflect on the costs of technological advancements, the challenge of
New Worlds, and the visions of future humanity fostered by a few who
they hold the key to its survival.
At the heart of these considerations lies a
literary philosophical approach that invites readers to reflect upon
importance of memory and its connection to "meaningful reasons to be
Who is in control? What is their ultimate
purpose? Dr. Shannon faces his own limitations and obstacles as he
modern dilemmas and confronts humanity's murky past as it transitioned
Race Wars and other struggles to arrive at its current, perhaps too
Readers who have a particular interest in
memory issues, Huxley's vision of a controlled humanity, and
between drugs and tyranny will find Our Great Escape: Part 1:
simply riveting, cultivating a fine blend of reflective insights and
designed to keep readers entertained and thinking throughout the story.
noted in the prologue, the author wrote this first part of a two part
a time when he was caring for his wife, who ultimately died from
manifested by severe memory loss. This science fiction was clearly
real life events that Dr. Hricik chronicles in a separate memoir called
Last Christmas: A Battle With Dementia.
Part 1: Dumbers is an apocalyptic
sci-fi scenario with a powerful message for modern man, and deserves a
not just sci-fi collections, but on the reading lists of anyone
cognitive issues and broader questions of what makes the human race a
cohesive unit. As an additional note, a follow-up book (Part
2) is in the
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9781794606425 $13.95 Paper/0.99 ebook
Readers of After the Fall who have absorbed Jason's
story of survival after disaster hits the world will appreciate the
saga in Uprising, which moves
Jason's changed milieu and ongoing challenges.
This is a world of authoritative control and fear. Stability has still not been achieved two years after an electromagnetic pulse attack has all but destroyed society. In a world with no federal government, no relief efforts, and no hope, lawlessness struggles with order, and often the rules enacted to survive are the same ones that compromise freedom.
the small town of Hillsboro when he saw it descend into corruption and
away from democracy. Now he faces a new battle in the isolated mountain
he's made his home, and where he makes his stand.
There are a lot of 'firsts' Jason faces in this new world; from first trading efforts that, while medieval in flavor, hold the possibility of civilized interactions with others to epic battles between valley tribes and Hillsboro's gang leaders. There are also engagements that highlight subplots which vary from personal to political revolutions, and revelations about the blossoming of repressive regimes in the absence of democratic process: "No one’s talking…because they’re afraid. Nobody fully trusts the police, and they certainly don’t trust the militia. Look, last year one of our doctors was helping Lieutenant Cameron collect some supplies for your baby’s birth. Well, he started to complain about how things were being run. Asking why we couldn’t have more freedom of expression, freedom of movement. I heard him. Others heard him as well and now he’s gone."
military strategy and local heroes to Catherine and Bird's standoff
outlaws and the rise of an army, Uprising
captures the revised lives and challenges of both those who face the
opportunity to enact changes and others who plan power grabs.
Uprising will especially appeal to
survivalist readers of military
fiction, who will be intrigued by the story's focus on military
the confrontations and responses of those involved in both sides of the
In such a
and world, survival leads directly to forces that attack, defend, and
for leadership. In effect, this changes not just political alliance and
society, but the nature of humanity itself: "Will
you win?” Donna asked. There was something—an almost apologetic
eyes. “Will this be the end of people like Leo and Stansky?”
thinking is what sets After the Fall
now, Uprising) apart from other EMT
survivalist stories. It goes beyond rebuilding society, struggles
groups, and threats to humanity's survival to consider individual
and female power, battles over direction, and ultimately the leadership
and responsibilities of those who envision a new direction for the
powerful saga that stands out from other survivalist pieces by
closer inspection of individual choice, growth, and struggles both
outside the greater social structure. Uprising
is a read which is lively, evolutionary, and fast-paced, all in one.
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Paperback: 978-1-948796-13-2 $18.95
Hardcover: 978-1-948796-14-9 $24.95
eBook: 978-1-948796-15-6 $9.99
Barnes and Noble:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/b-plus-michael-langlois/1129480977?ean=9781948796132
Books and Books: https://shop.booksandbooks.com/book/9781948796132
Plus: Dancing for
Mikhail Baryshnikov at American Ballet Theatre: A Memoir is
recommended for biography and especially classical dance readers, and
chronicles the author's experiences working at American Ballet Theatre.
should be required reading for aspiring young dancers whose goals
Michael Langlois details his
professional journey from a
small studio to the major league, assembling a patchwork of experiences
his letters, photographs, and souvenir programs, interviews for Ballet
and his memories. Because these experiences are cresting twenty years
Langlois offers them with the astute wisdom of hindsight, and this is
the features that makes B Plus an
excellent assessment for students just entering the world of
Langlois struggled with more
than professional ambition.
Among the challenges outlined in his memoir: handling romance and
within the company; dealing with a famous boss's personality and
obsessing over the dancer's biggest challenges: food and weight control.
His drive for perfection and
his body image and its
challenges are deftly captured in daily life experiences: "I went home after class that first day back and
entire apartment. As I sucked up the dust and bits of dirt and lint
the surface of her old, rose-colored, wall-to-wall carpeting, I felt as
those minor imperfections were my imperfections and that by making them
disappear, my feelings of dirty, fat inadequacy would disappear, and
for a few
fleeting moments, I felt clean and perfect and whole."
Sixteen years of
professional dance experience create a
memoir that is steeped in practical experience, encounters common to
young dancers, and ambitions that are nicely, specifically detailed
"Given the fact that we worked in
the same company day in and day out, it always struck me as odd how
our professional lives truly were, and how unfair. I wanted to be
hard as Julie. I wanted to feel real, genuine fatigue at the end of the
but the opportunity rarely, if ever, presented itself. In fact, during
entire time I was in American Ballet Theatre, there was but one single
occasion when I danced all three ballets in a repertoire program."
From personal perceptions of
deficiencies and different
standards in French and American ballet to learning how to throw
caution to the
wind to become the best dancer possible, the journey Langlois documents
will feel familiar and revealing to any aspiring dancer passionate
achievement and making a name in the very competitive world of dance.
Milestones, mishaps, and
revelations make this memoir a
top recommendation for anyone who would like to know what it feels like
reach for the pinnacle of ballet success.
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The Consequence of Stars
David W. Berner
Stars: A Memoir of Home is more than just an autobiographical
It covers David W. Berner's physical and mental travels, providing a
interconnected essays that explore life on the road and changing
sparked by death and a return to his home town.
Think Jack Kerouac's On
the Road, but with more of a sense of family examination and
a return to
one's roots. Add a dash of coming-of-age as David W. Berner recounts
childhood, journey away from home, and return: "I
loved that porch, my home, my neighborhood. And it never
occurred to me in those boyhood years that I might someday say goodbye
a wonderful world. It was a good place to be from, a town few of those
up with would ever consider leaving, a town of stayers. I, however,
would be a
Then wind these two
approaches into a blend of
philosophical and spiritual discovery which traverses the author's
them with the realities of a sense of place and connections to home, to
sense of a vivid approach to the memoir form that almost defies the
self-focused nature of the genre.
This atmosphere's series of
changes and contrasts take the
smaller picture of personal experience and translate these memories and
into bigger-picture thinking, as when Berner confronts his ailing
certainty that ghosts of the past are visiting her: "In
the days before my mother passed away in a nursing home,
dementia tearing at her brain, she insisted my father, who had died
years before, had come to visit her in her room. I never disputed the
It was her reality, and she deserved that. But still, there was the
so some could easily point to her deteriorating condition to explain
visions. Those who study paranormal activity believe there are at least
types of ghosts, the intelligent and the residual. The intelligent
the one who will interact with you, call your name, move an object,
something. Might they also type? The
residuals are those whose energy remains in the place most familiar to
home, a favorite bar, an artist’s studio. Hemingway
in Key West?"
This philosophical approach
not only traverses physical
landscapes, but connects generations and creates a road map of
reflection: "I wonder now if my sons
will one day think of their first home the way their parents did when
all of us
lived there, as a place of love and safety, as place where toes could
pressed to wet cement. It was a good house. Will they remember that?
think of it the same way?"
One doesn't expect
philosophy to enter a memoir about
place and purpose, but this is a powerful feature in The
Consequence of Stars as Berner attempts to define home,
connections to life and death, and the kinds of journeys that lead to
remarkable discoveries and newfound truths about life and the pursuit
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Life is Just
Kleenex After Another
David J Adams
Life is Just One Kleenex After Another is
a scrappy memoir about
world travels and experiences, disillusionment and discovery, and an
search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This journey
reveals one basic truth to author David J. Adams: that life is "just
Kleenex after another."
theme returns time and again as David J Adams traverses time and space
such disparate scenarios as the cultivation and collecting of
stories and lies, post-traumatic stress disorders evolving from jobs
experiences, and the kinds of life moments which cause one to reach for
Kleenex, as in being the golf caddy for Tiger Woods when trouble
expect all these experiences to be parsed of controversy. Many fall
the arena of 'politically incorrect', however astute their underlying
"There just has to be a travel guide for the illegal alien. Maybe the Government Printing Office should publish one. Why not? It would be more than government has accomplished on the subject of immigration so far
HANDY PHRASES FOR THE NEW ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT:
1. I am Canadian. Yo soy Canadian.
2. Is this the way to East LA? Donde esta East LA.?
3. Where is the Emergency Room?
4. No. Really. I am Canadian. Ay.
5. My accent is French Canadian, mon ami.
6. My social security number is: (insert unsuspecting Yankee number here from memory)
7. Yes, Officer. I am looking for the tourist center.
Where is the welfare
By now it
evident that Adams provides more than a collection of life experiences.
also an opinion piece and, like it or not, it leaves nothing to wonder
What some might consider to be outrageous or argumentative actually is
the strengths of his account, cultivating an inquisitive and volatile
which is much more than a rehash of attitudes.
moments which truly lead to tears and revelations with a gruff sense of
and this gives his memoir an engrossing honesty that pulls no punches ("Being a responsible adult
sucks.") as it assesses life, liberty, and the pursuit of
satisfying flavor captured in this account lies in chapters such as
Thoughts and Other Distractions', which comment on the ironies and
inconsistencies of seemingly innocuous encounters with other peoples
cultures committed to a new vision of outsourcing
incorrect, wryly ironic in its observations, and filled with a vivid
anger, humor, and comments on 'Kleenex moments', Life is Just
After Another is an observational piece that will especially
readers looking for hard-hitting, candid life experiences, shared
freely by a
very talented writer.
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and Renewal of a Surgeon-Scientist
Steven E. Wilson, MD
Kindle ISBN: 978-1-7329151-3-8 $8.99
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-7329151-4-5 $12.99
Audiobook ISBN: 978-1-7329151-5-2
The Making, Breaking, and Renewal of
a Surgeon-Scientist: A Personal
Perspective of the Physician Crisis in America is more than
just Dr. Steven
E. Wilson's memoir. It documents a health community in crisis which is
siege by everything from government regulations to insurance industry
protocols and decreased funding for medical research. Wilson notes
that: "Many illustrious careers that took
decades to build have disintegrated under the weight of a legal and
might have attended to documenting these attacks alone, but this has
before. Dr. Wilson's intention is to offer a focus not just on the
but their solutions; and this is where The
Making, Breaking, and Renewal of a Surgeon-Scientist
other books about doctors and their professional challenges.
remedies with personal experience, Dr. Wilson produces a memoir that
many levels, revealing the challenges and processes of a
work as he assesses common obstacles to success and ways of overcoming
disputes and resolutions during residency to Dr. Wilson's work planning
eye institute building at the Cleveland Clinic, The
Making, Breaking, and Renewal of a Surgeon-Scientist
juxtaposes personal life changes with professional evolution. It deftly
the author's various challenges at different points of his career,
and transition points in academic ophthalmology.
Readers learn much about this profession and its processes, but also gain a broader perspective about the medical community's interactions on many levels: "The operations of a clinical department with major efforts in medical care, teaching, and research are exceedingly complex, especially in a system that had grown in piecemeal fashion with revenues and expenses coming from so many different sources—faculty practice plan, dean’s office, hospitals, grant funding, endowments, etc. Even for the experienced administrator, it was like stepping into a minefield."
forges different ground in addressing the problems of medical
and these will enlighten and educate readers interested in
functions of the medical community.
conundrums, inadequate governance systems, and bewildering
systems and billing scandals are all covered in detail. Dr. Wilson
moved full-circle, from being a physician to being an administrative
before he went back to treatment, research, and teaching. His lessons
observations makes for an engrossing account contrasting different
system approaches: a highly recommended and eye-opening work accessible
medical professionals and lay readers alike.
The Making, Breaking, and Renewal of
should be required reading for any med school student and many a lay
concerned about the breakdown of America's medical system.
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Ryan K. Nelson
Kindle Direct Publishing
978-1540335821 $2.99 ebook/$11.99 Paper
FBI agent Alex Travis
receives an anonymous tip that
reopens a cold case involving a bank robbery. The tip leads him to an
Utah canyon home where a man reveals a story behind the events of the
bank robbery in U.S. history. Even more importantly, it poses many
about who is innocent and who is guilty which challenge Agent Travis to
decisions that will impact crime victims and perps alike.
From Jack and his girlfriend
Kate, who stumble upon some
dangerous truths about the crime's biggest secrets, to a continuing
pulls them apart and forces Kate to cooperate with Travis lest she
Jack again, events spiral through a father's anger and a thwarted
romance to an
ongoing predicament that seems irresolvable.
Ryan K. Nelson does a fine
job of crafting characters and
special interests, then building their personalities into reactions to
that present ongoing conundrums to all involved. The action proceeds at
clip, but attention to detail and character development is not
the sake of a good investigative piece.
As Jack and Kate solidify
their relationship and new
opportunities, they also face increased danger and confront an
dire situation that seemingly offers no way out. Both Kate and Jack are
danger, and the lies they've told to Travis and others are one reason
lives may be forfeited in the struggle that ensues.
One reason why Cash
Valley proves so intensely gripping is Nelson's attention to
builds believable, likeable characters and injects dilemmas that absorb
with sweeping challenges that are both hard to predict and
Another strength lies in the
twists and turns of a story
line that leads to no easy or apparent solutions. A touch of irony
through Kate and Jack's relationship and their choices. This follows
a mounting quandary and back again as Agent Travis attempts to discover
truth about their involvements.
The result is a thoroughly
engrossing saga that toes the
line between a crime story, an action piece, and a romance. It embraces
entwined lives and destines of three characters who each discover their
strengths and purposes in the course of discerning the truth about a
robbery gone bad.
highly recommended reading for anyone seeking a superior adventure
fast-paced action and satisfying twists of plot.
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California Coast Publishing
97809668447-8-8 $12.99 Kindle
terror that forces ordinary citizens to choose sides in a struggle
religious zealots. Consider the impact of a single individual hated by
sides of the equation, from the Vatican to Muslim extremists and the
Then add an Indiana Jones-style tension over the discovery of a
that could change the world, and which succeeds in angering everyone.
these elements with the dilemma of discoverer Hank Cameron, who finds
immersed in conflicts that hold no easy resolution, for a thriller that
out firing from the first chapter and excels in staccato, nonstop
The Destiny Relic is a story of passions
ignited by an impossible
find, but it's also the saga of a grad student in archaeology whose
could either change the world or destroy it.
Hank Cameron's mind was becoming embroiled in a Middle Eastern
military, political, and social issues coalesce on his turf, he
more than an archaeological revelation in a series of truths that
life and the world in jeopardy.
The Destiny Relic is the fourth book in
the Gold Lust series, but
it stands well alone as a riveting, tension-filled story that keeps
wondering whether any of the main characters will survive the
conflicts that blossom around them. Many are dragged into a conflict
could have imagined; but few are able to escape.
exquisitely wrought as Mitchell brings Hank and his associates and
the brink of extinction again and again. The relics are key to
forces' strengths and bargaining positions. But Hank has a bargaining
unique to his abilities and powerful role: one which even the most avid
thriller fan will find compellingly realistic and frighteningly
terror that forces decisions about the most basic of beliefs, choices,
survival tactics. Then consider the impact of The
Destiny Relic, which holds the power to take an action-packed
story, lace it with political and social observation, add a dash of
good measure, and involve all levels of thriller readers in a vivid
just won't quit.
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romantic suspense edging into steamy sex scenes topped with a thriller
keep readers guessing are relatively rare in the book world. Too many
that cross these genres don't create the kind of even-keeled attention
detail that support both the romantic and the psychological suspense
in their stories.
This is one
why Floating on Secrets is so
powerfully crafted, and why its story line works so well. It introduces
bartender Flair's absorption with visionary states of mind, lucid
her mysterious, chance encounter with a naked man in an isolation tank.
meeting takes a sensual experience and injects mystery and intrigue
about Flair's elusive romance, however. It embraces all kinds of other
elements; from threats to a healing environment to a job that has
and others in a Midwestern town that's undergoing changes manipulated
protecting another while imparting difficult information juxtapose
threats of violence and events and people out of control, a downward
social engagements and confrontations, and complicated connections that
around sensory deprivation and heightened awareness. Floating
on Secrets excels in creating subplots and motivations
that keep readers guessing about the fine lines between dreams and
what happens when obstacles of love and menace are penetrated.
the fast-paced action of a thriller, but tempers its suspense with an
vivid exploration of lust and love that considers choices,
visionary purpose. All these facets come permeated with music and
ways, it may
be said that Floating on Secrets is
neither fish nor fowl. Thriller readers looking for predictability will be delighted and
surprised by the
novel's psychological tension; while those anticipating a steamy
find the sexual encounters augmented by a series of mysteries that
emotional connections between mother and son, girlfriends, and a house
called Floating on Secrets which mirrors the experiences of many.
compelling, and filled with mercurial experiences, Floating
on Secrets lives up to its title and creates a shifting
atmosphere to carry its readers into worlds of changing purpose and
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978-1-5320-6027-4 (sc) $13.99
978-1-5320-6029-8 (hc) $23.99
978-1-5320-6028-1 (e) $ 3.99
Sam and James: The Missing Teen
introduces two disparate elements:
Penelope, the kidnapped granddaughter of the most influential man in
and ex-Vietnam vet James and his fiancée Sam, who are traveling to
build a new life together. When they meet, fireworks ensure and
changes, for all involved.
the abduction and the abductor's perception, moves to a road trip
new frontiers for Sam and James, and then joins these very different
providing a series of interlocking jigsaw puzzle pieces that at first
confusing, but quickly come to make sense.
confront each other over various circumstances as their relationship
and this includes some vivid sexual scenes as their sexuality, too,
ground. But nothing
important than the young girl's kidnapping as they become increasingly
entangled in the mystery, possible suspect, and growing secrets between
It should be
that Sam and James: The Missing Teen
is as much about a blossoming relationship as it is about a missing
other women in their lives (and in James' past) to the Penelope Campos
Sam and James face a variety of obstacles in their lives. From the
dilemma of a
female friend who has fallen in love with James despite his commitment
to different choices involved in going home, Sam
and James: The Missing Teen is ultimately about the trials,
tribulations, and blossoming of family ties and connections. It does a
of setting these emphases amid a broader story of a kidnapping's
than satisfy mystery fans who look for more emotional connections than
traditional 'whodunnit' offers. Sam and
James: The Missing Teen is a gripping sojourn with emotional
turns that will keep readers involved and interested to the end.
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978-1543947700 $15.99 paper/$7.99 Kindle
The Scopas Factor follows Detective Mike
Hegan as he moves from
Chicago, where he's hoping to recover from the last tragic
has taken much out of him, to a small town in California which faces
murders and a kidnapping that may involve his girlfriend's family.
At first this story holds many pieces that are potential puzzlers. It opens not with Mike Hegan's latest journey but with the disparate pieces of a Thailand refugee camp in 1990 and character Tom's involvement with a refugee aid program and a grieving young woman, fast forwarding to France twenty-five years later, where character David is fleeing from danger. Only after these scenes are set with short, staccato impressions does the plot move to Chicago and Mike Hegan's world.
Much of the
rest of the plot consists of weaving together these disparate
characters and lives. These introductions set a warm, vivid, spirited
the encounters which will challenge Hegan's life, professional, and
One thing to
about Vincent Panettiere's writing style is that it delivers its
characters and concerns using succinct, powerful paragraphs that move
road trips and relationships with powerful observations. Panettiere
paragraph separators to make it easy to mark the flows between ideas,
experiences, and events. This device allows the story to move quickly
places (such as Antibes or Chicago) and people, creating a flowing text
simple to follow.
France connected to those in California? Hegan examines a series of
on more than one level. Readers who like multifaceted mysteries will
themselves on a wild, riveting ride through more than one perspective.
Layers of additional plots and mystery provide satisfying twists and turns as Hegan finds himself moving from Weedley to Southern France in an effort to uncover the source of danger, facing threats and a secret life that somehow revolves around a story cloth and a mother's legacy.
To call The Scopas Factor a mystery alone would
be to oversimplify its impact and scope. Readers who enjoy
intrigue, changing action and settings, and a host of characters who
lives intersecting in surprising ways will relish the mystery and
crafted in The Scopas Factor, a
powerful story of suspense and love.
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State of Mind Publishing
978-1-7327839-2-8 $11.99 Paper/$5.99 Kindle
Status: MISSING is thriller reading at
its best, especially since
it's rooted in the reality of a missing Malaysian airliner, its
and the reason for its demise.
intelligence agencies have created The Drone Theory to explain the
circumstances surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. They've
Drone Theory Taskforce to investigate matters and determine
missing CIA drone over Iran gave America's enemies the technology to
airliners in a different kind of terrorist attack.
determined to get at the truth, especially when a U.S. government jet
rerouted via this high technology; its top officials kidnapped. North
Supreme Leader Choi Min-ho is equally determined to prove who really
upper hand in nuclear weapons negotiations.
officials search for explanations for the inexplicable, aviation
intrigue, and secret missions and purposes coalesce in this powerful
is responsible? And is President Shane Gilchrist facing the end of his
over a confrontation with the North Koreans?
high tech battles and developments, and military confrontation and an
investigation lead to a potentially world-changing battle as a missing
becomes a catalyst for greater disaster.
Status: MISSING excels in nonstop action
and the kinds of
political, military, and psychological acts of terror that lead even
professionals to the edge of breakdown. It probes individual and social
alike and reveals their powers and failings as it outlines a new kind
technological threat; and it centers its action and intrigue on a
woman who is tasked with an impossible mission.
characters, progression of events, and high-octane tension make Status: MISSING a gripping story that
will appeal to any thriller reader looking for action that's grounded
real world, believable, and a cut above the ordinary.
Return to Index
Thomas A. Burns, Jr.
provides readers with a new Natalie McMasters mystery that newcomers
fans alike will relish. The story focuses on a former
stripper-turned-pre-law-student who is on leave from school, and who
works as a
trainee in her uncle's 3M detective agency to help pay her way through
Her last case nearly killed
her, but her latest case will
break her heart. This is a version of Natalie that may prove surprising
prior fans. The story opens with her grief and probes both the
surrounding it and how she becomes enmeshed in a series of events that
to follow a key person in her life through the darkest realms of New
Thomas A. Burns, Jr. uses
the first person to capture
Natalie's thoughts and heartache. This provides a satisfying backdrop
mystery as a whole as Natalie winds through unfamiliar territory in
one she loves, who doesn't wish to be found.
relationships, cheating, and duty to
alternating viewpoints contrasting Natalie's perspective of events with
of others, Trafficked! is equally
adept at traversing byways of the heart, motivation, and choices.
lovers, Natalie's association with her uncle's partner Danny Merkel, and her dilemma over a partner wind
into a story filled
with satisfying twists and turns, colorful descriptions of dilemmas and
personalities, and a sense of purpose that leads her into increasingly
complicated relationships and danger.
It should be
cautioned that some graphic sex and assault scenes are detailed in the
of the story line. All are appropriate to the action and progression of
While they are candidly portrayed, they not overdone for 'shock value'
offer a fine balance between powerful description and choices in an
that emphasizes the overall diversity of Natalie's struggles.
Natalie McMasters is
the perfect detective for those who would read about a conundrum
choice and professional investigation. It's dramatic, fast-paced,
action and revelation, and is just the ticket for readers seeking a
superior investigative piece that nicely blends personal concerns with
Return to Index
Writer at Play
9781794168800 $4.99 Kindle/$7.99 Paper
Winter of Murder is the tenth book in the
World of Murder series, and like its
predecessors, it both stands
alone as a remarkable read for newcomers and as a supportive addition
series as a whole.
Garcia journeys to Alaska to visit her son, who is interning with a
biology group in the Alaskan wilderness. He's only been away from home
months, but it seems an impossible distance away from her urban world. Unfortunately, the one
thing that consumes
her professional life is as active in Alaska as in New York, as Stella
enters the picture and the dead bodies begin to pile up, prompting her
aside family time in favor of consulting with the local authorities,
experience and background with solving murders.
O'Roarke and Sneed are on their own without their third investigator
which means not only a challenge to their crime-solving abilities, but
opportunities for their evolving relationship.
While prior familiarity with these characters and their experiences will enhance appreciation for how much Stella and her comrades have grown since their first appearances in the series, newcomers will find this story completely accessible and thoroughly engrossing.
professional dilemmas abound, encounters between all are realistically
and the contrast between Stella's urban world and the rural wilds of
well done, creating a compelling environment in which Stella finds
from familiar scenarios or approaches to solving problems.
atmosphere of Native Alaskans are particularly well done, lending to a
which is vivid on more than one level: as a detective piece, as a story
character growth and personal advancement, and as a cultural inspection
Alaska's peoples and places.
uncertain territory and affairs, she gains new perspective not only
murder investigations, but her own relationship with her son.
growth and revelation as well as a satisfyingly complex murder mystery
ventures into cross-cultural perceptions, Winter
of Murder is an engrossing and strong addition to a powerful
Return to Index
978-1-946378-19-4 $14.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
Alma Mutters is a satirical examination
of high school culture, but
anyone anticipating a coming-of-age story like Catcher
in the Rye or others will be surprised (likely pleasantly)
to discover that the tone and wry observations of Alma
Mutters cultivates a unique voice that is both observational
and ironic: "Textbooks would be
relegated to toilet paper duty in the outhouse of history, usurped by a
techno-centric network of learning devices and pixie dust. Smiley-face
To say that Alma Mutters is an easy read would be to
belay the novel's underlying depth and passion. Alma
Mutters is well steeped in modern culture, and peppers
contemporary references throughout, from emojis to glow sticks: "A fourfold increase in student
animosity came with each passing reference to epistemology and
your summum bonum involved
popping ecstasy like chiclets until you looked like Bernini‘s Theresa,
could darken your glow stick faster than a Heidegger lecture on Dasein."
illustrated by this passage is author Julio Varela's penchant for big
Readers less versed in the English language may want to keep a
at hand, but the extra effort is worth it because the atmosphere,
culture of Alma Mutters holds the
power to immerse its audience as a reward for what might initially seem
undue complexity of language.
This is no
spotlight on student activities and perceptions. The entire cultural
high school is placed under Varela's microscope, including teachers and
administrators: "Calculus made her
glow like enriched plutonium. If she loved Mr. Sedaka like she loved
differential equations, that gentleman was one happy
camper. Bellarmine‘s nerve center had more tentacles than the
all that data required someone extremely bright, bright enough to
most of the monkey wrenches faculty and students could throw,
(faculty) or by design (students)."
on the objectives, learning process, and realizations of students and
capture pointed moments of triumph, adversity, and challenge ("When the teacher and the student fall
away, learning remains… Gedankenstein was
right on. This was the Moment, the time to leave, to walk away, and
back.") in a manner that will prove especially entrancing and
intriguing to students and teachers alike.
just another high school growth novel will be pleasantly surprised, on
levels, by the story's complexity and the contemporary, unique voice of
author who successfully captures both the irony and poignancy of high
general-interest readers will find Alma
Mutters an astute, literary example of satirical writing at
its best, it's
the teacher or high school student who will find Varela's study both
entertaining and educational. It's quite simply a captivating read,
a level of complexity that is delightfully, satisfyingly unexpected.
its reader in terms of language is rewarded in droves by its
Return to Index
Brown Sugar and Spice follows a would-be
chef's demise and many
life changes when his career ambitions and luxurious lifestyle grind to
leaving him in a foreign land, struggling to survive on many levels.
begun in Confused Spice (not read
reviewer), which revolved around Pierre Jackson's ambitions and
continues in a story which charts both a downward spiral in life and a
revitalized purpose brought about by new beginnings, new relationships,
renewed purpose through the most surprising of circumstances: new
Zola, who is also trying to escape the downward spiral of her past, and
similarly harbors dreams in the culinary world. These are goals that
finds similar to his own confused connections between good food and
It should be
that no prior familiarity with the events that led Pierre to this point
required in order to appreciate his ongoing conundrums and conflicts in
Brown Sugar and Spice. These are
satisfyingly stand-alone stories that begin and continue a journey.
characters and books support one another, they are quite accessible to
protagonist as a capable, ambitious gay African American male who has
experienced both success and failure and placing him on a concurrent
and business journey creates an absorbing plot. This offers readers
more than the usual urban scenarios that surround so many African
protagonists in contemporary stories.
Pierre is as
moving in circles of achievement and luxury as he is at surviving at a
level of living. These skills contribute much to a realistic and strong
presentation that includes graphic sexual scenes, emotionally-charged
of self-realization and growth, and encounters with cultural and racial
profiling: "I was trying to avoid
that stereotype that all back people came from Africa or the Caribbean.
first moved to Toronto, I got asked Where
are you from? so many times. That question isn’t commonly
asked in the
States. So whenever I said Detroit, it didn’t seem like it was enough
Torontonians. I would always get No, no, no, my
friend, where are you
exploration of family ties and exotic locales, Brown
Sugar and Spice crafts a series of colorful backdrops to
Pierre's story that add a sense of place, community, and purpose to his
Will he and
full circle to reconcile their pasts with their futures? This
involving story will especially delight readers who look for powerful
African American male protagonists who navigate their ambitions, life
and love and family connections with purposeful skill and ability.
Return to Index
New Heights Publishing
978-0-9969981-4-7 $4.99 Kindle
Oaktown Girls novel Driven, who
appreciated the feisty urban characters and backdrop of Oakland,
will be equally delighted with its sequel Committed,
the second book in a series revolving around lesbian auto mechanics,
and women driven to succeed where others have failed.
know about Committed is that it's a
romance story about intersecting lives, dating, careers, and the
culture of a
lesbian community in an urban city.
As the story
Sally's suffering from ennui and the feeling of being stuck in her
life: "It was as if all the vitality had been
sucked right out of it, and she was left swimming in a dirty dishwater
bad memories and big regrets. The obvious could not be avoided. She
should have gotten involved with girlfriend number twelve in the first
laugh at the girlfriend reference, although non-lesbians may wonder
This is a good place to note that familiarity with the lesbian
psyche will lend recognition to the underlying references, some
this story's progression.
and other characters from Driven
more changes and challenges (both health, psychological, and social) to
lifestyles and assumptions and goals, prior series readers in
find the plot absorbing and nicely logical in its continuation of the
characters' growth processes.
anticipate that PTSD will be part of the story line; nor that
change lives of lesbians long rooted in their community. Committed
excels in expanding the boundaries of not just the
original story, but the notion and actions of this urban ghetto
community as a
whole and lesbian interactions in general.
translates to a
vivid, realistic read based on real-life atmospheres (this reviewer is
familiar with Oakland's milieu), lesbian community interactions, and
arise on a microcosmic and macrocosmic level.
mystery about careers and life choices to a series of transformative
that leads many of the characters to reassess their perceptions and
a fine, multifaceted read. Committed
is especially recommended for California audiences, lesbian readers,
who would receive a better understanding of urban approaches and
Return to Index
The Interlocutor's Tale opens in 1980, on
a Saturday evening in
Manhattan. Tina and Yvette are two beautiful young sisters who,
find themselves in an America their genteel European father abhorred,
which he tried to shelter them.
in America, then? Because when their father died, his fortune (slated
education or dowries) became their ticket to freedom when they used it "...run off to Manhattan, New York, NY,
USA, to the Hotel Meridien, to the twenty-fifth floor, to travel and
and a little fun in their lives, finally, finally, after all the years
denial and deprivation, of being kept in the dark and out of the know
stubborn, old-fashioned father who cared nothing about their happiness
about their desires."
Thus opens a
two similar but ultimately very different sisters who find themselves
their lives, but stumbling into a mixed-up series of mishaps in the
course of a
multifaceted tale "...strangely
powered by fate, by
magic and by love."
As the first
observer of the story, who maintains an eye for irony and magic in the
explores not just their lives but those of others, The
Interlocutor's Tale evolves a certain sense of joie de vivre
blended with astute observations as Yvette, Tina, Pierre, and others
seemingly different destinies complicated and entwined.
Just as fate
sometimes hang on a single second, so The
Interlocutor's Tale evolves in complexity as Pierre/Sasha
in their lives in a manner even the clever Tina can't bend to her will.
and Yvette are fast becoming more than mirrors of one another, but are
and finding their own fates and destinies against the backdrop of
missed opportunities, and clashes.
these lost moments, even if they reveal dreams: "There
are times to wrestle with metaphysics, and there are times
to take things at face value and enjoy. This was one of those latter
poor me, I could not do it. I should have. I should have thrown my
around her bare shoulders and pulled her closer. I should have leaned
in for a
kiss. I should have laughed with her and experienced the sound of our
intertwining. Life offers up opportunities more often than we might
oftentimes they only last an instant. Hesitate and they are gone. Who
when the next one will come along?"
the first-person observer's identity and perspectives, yet under his
is no confusion about observer and participant in the evolving
series of insights that add full flavor and definition to the
changing relationships. He's a master at crafting these scenarios and
and at translating early upbringings, restrictions, and perceptions
newfound revelations as his characters grow and change.
multifaceted romp through the lives and influences of a cast of
whose trajectories in life overlap and influence one another will
astute observations of The Interlocutor's
Tale, which creates a compelling, almost surreal survey of
dreams, and revitalized relationships. It's a highly recommended story
readers who like their characters rich in detail and well steeped in
culture and international influences of New York.
Return to Index
Lonely Tree is a literary
piece that deserves a
place in any collection of contemporary historical fiction or Jewish
It vividly recounts the experiences of Tonia Shulman, who is a small
her family leaves Poland for British Mandate Palestine and a teenager
move (against Tonia’s strenuous objections) to an isolated kibbutz.
Life on the
kibbutz is dangerous and demanding, but its difficulties pale in the
the growing Nazi presence that is consuming Europe – and the extended
they left behind.
faith, politics, identity, personal ambition, and a blossoming – but
impossible – romance, as she seeks a safe place to call home, in a
Lonely Tree is the first
fictionalized account of
the true story of the siege and fall of the Etzion Bloc settlements,
Jerusalem. Seen through Tonia's evolving political, spiritual, and
sensibility, this period is brought to life in a compelling read that
no prior familiarity with the time and place.
portraying personal growth and changing perceptions,
The Lonely Tree is
a riveting work that deserves a place in any collection of contemporary
historical fiction or Jewish/Israeli literature.
Return to Index
Hoodoo of Peckerwood Finch
Jerome Mark Antil
Little York Books
978-1-7326321-0-3 (Paperback Edition) $14.95
978-1-7326321-1-0 (Hardcover Edition) $29.00
a sequel to the novel One More Last Dance, but newcomers will find it stands nicely alone as a
tale steeped in
Louisiana French Acadian history and culture.
The friendship between four individuals
continues to unfold a year after the events chronicled in One
Dance. Gabe is retired and aging despite his former death
criminal attorney Lily Cup Tarleton is frustrated by the spot he's put
in as a possible murderer, and Louisiana culture touches every
the characters interact with each other and their world's past,
future: "Throughout and after the Civil War, the
Creoles of color had racial alignment that was like no other place in
south. That’s a big reason we love to cook and eat well, and we live,
play together. We respect each other. It was the Jim Crow laws at the
the twentieth century that fucked it up. Even the streetcars were
1902. We’ve had our problems since, but after the Martin Luther King
prejudice hasn’t been that much of an issue here."
One notable observation
about the unique character and
atmosphere of Mamma's
Moon is that it captures
this sense of place and
explores it just as thoroughly as the processes of crime and
are an undercurrent affecting the friendships in this story.
From Peck's encounter with a tarot reader's
predictions and its impact on his choices to Gabe's move from
to facing charges, and Lily Cup and Sasha's movements through the Big
Moon is a mercurial story that traverses lives and cultures
with a finger
on the pulse of Louisiana history and ethnicity. This will especially
readers with a penchant for crime stories that are more than just
Moon traverses a series of crises
confrontations by each of the friends, focusing on their reassessment
friendships, life experiences, and goals with an astute eye to crafting
From Peck's homecoming visit with a mother
and grandmother and the red tape and opportunity it offers him to come
with the past and present to a prize gator, revised history, and
nicknames from the past, Mamma's Moon provides a
gentle account that
winds mystery and intrigue into a story of evolving families and
The result is especially highly recommended
for anyone who likes Louisiana backdrops and tales of evolving
connections, which are woven into a historical mystery that addresses
of years, generations, and lives.
Return to Index
Fans of Jean
Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear and
of prehistoric peoples' lives and adventures will relish Moctu
and the Mammoth People: An Ice Age Story of Love, Life and
Survival, the story of a Cro-Magnon boy who not only battles
a tribal rival
for leadership and love, but also encounters and is captured by a
group of Neanderthals.
This is no
story. Award-winning geologist and author Neil Bockoven took two years
review all the current genetic and archeological research about these
peoples (our earliest ancestors), and this attention to detail is
a story line that captures not only Moctu's experiences, but the nature
physical and tribal world in which he operates. Solid science drives
and - uniquely for a novel - it is annotated in an addendum to the
Bockoven also has been featured in a number of scientific journals, and
member of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Archaeological
Conservancy, and an Impact Member of the Center for Study of the First
authority and authenticity to the story, elevating it above and beyond
of the times.
As for the
itself, Moctu and the Mammoth People
is a riveting study in contrasts as Moctu confronts the cannibalistic
(Neanderthals), rivals and murderous plotters, enslavement by
hold the key to one skill that could propel civilization forward, and
possibility of building a presence and family under new conditions.
circle to confront his tribe's corruption, Moctu faces further
revolving around an interspecies confrontation and the turmoil
own heart and choices.
discoveries of other peoples and purposes beyond his tribe's approach
lends a realistic and thought-provoking feel to a story replete with
detail of the physical and emotional landscapes of the times: "He wedged himself in the crook of two
large boulders, and with his sharpened stick in front of him, he stared
above, recognizing the Warrior Stars directly overhead. He was
comforted by the sight. Maybe it was a good omen. As a youth, he’d been
them by Tabar, and their appearance tonight resurrected warm memories
seemed to heighten his sense of freedom."
intriguing, exciting and moving saga that takes the time to build early
and psychological tension alike. More than a light read about
Neanderthal confrontations, Moctu and the
Mammoth People does an outstanding job of considering the
process of learning and change by focusing on a primitive soul whose
existence and entire belief system are challenged by outsiders and new
particular, will find Bockoven's approach delightfully well detailed,
scientific and archaeological facts.
Return to Index
Black Opal Books
9781644370698 $15.49 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Mutilating Women is the story of an
'honor crime'; and if you don't
know what that means, then it's a story that is especially important to
understand. Set in 1947 India after the country's independence, it's a
and social examination that uses fictional interviews to bring to light
real world trials and sweeping cultural changes that affected Indian
the experiences of a new member of the Kotwal Clan, describing her
crime against her abusive husband.
to Indian culture might feel overwhelmed by its many traditions,
sects, family relationships, and differing perceptions of men and
concerns and perspectives of males and females feel quite dissimilar,
part of the dichotomies affecting changing Indian social norms.
initially felt by the wealth of historical and social details presented
in Mutilating Women's opening
resolves itself shortly. Readers become immersed in the lives and
between newlywed Saina, semi-Swami Sakar's views on India's changing
the revolutionary meaning and impact of Ghandi's message on everyday
traditionally shunned by society ("...revolution
meant making it possible for an untouchable and a woman to head the
of free India."), and the kinds of changes that are
social and political traditions in the country.
fictional view of the changing nature of not just politics and society,
relationships between men and women as Mussi and other characters see
traditions undergoing vast changes and challenges.
Those with a
interest in Indian history and social change will find Mutilating
Women is much more than a story about one woman's 'honor
crime'. It's a sweeping consideration of the sights, smells, and sounds
nation in flux, offers much food for thought, and is especially
anyone interested in absorbing India's revolution via a multifaceted
presented from different perspectives.
Return to Index
Daniela I. Norris
Premonitions, the second book in the
Recognitions series, opens
with a prologue set in 1500s West Africa, where a healer works his
magic on a
baby and faces fear and gratitude from the villagers he helps. Fast
2018 New York City. Here, a mother faces both her daughter's rising
and power and her own changes when her acceptance of past lives leads
separate from her husband after twenty years of marriage.
her husband's absence, his rush to a new life, and her own altered
consciousness and life. Now she faces new consequences stemming from
publication of her book Recognitions
and the results of decisions made in her other life.
By the third
which takes place in France in 1776, it should be evidence that Premonitions features a wandering
timeline that reinforces past lives, experiences, and quests for love
family as it draws connections between people with ties that transcend
be crossed by each character and evil confronted by leaders,
would-be warriors, and those just struggling to maintain their morals
ethics in worlds filled with changes.
like its predecessor, Recognitions),
Premonitions involves time travel
through not just different eras, but different personalities, as the
their choices, actions, and decisions resonates through the ages. This
demands attention and flexibility from readers who ideally are already
fans of Cloud Atlas, Life
After Life, and similar literary dips into reincarnated lives
and revised purposes from them.
interests and backgrounds will find Premonitions
joins the best of such reads with an attention to ancient
ghosts, processes of battle and comfort, and generations changed by a
phenomenon few can adequately describe. The acknowledgment of this
receives delicate coverage as characters move within their worlds and
come to realize
the indescribable power affecting them: "We
stood there for a few moments, holding hands in silence, trying to make
of what we were feeling, what we were experiencing. And we could still
words to describe it to each other. For me, it was a feeling of dread,
it was a
premonition. A premonition that something very wrong was going to
happen – or
perhaps it already happened? Could it have already happened, right
two hundred years ago?"
character's world, emotions, perceptions, and changes, they will
delight in a
story that evolves beyond the usual timeslip or alternate lives
probe the presence and impact of different kinds of magic in dissimilar
cultures and eras.
While Premonitions will best be appreciated by
those who enjoyed the background provided in Recognitions,
it will also reach newcomers who look for novels of
reincarnation, connections, and transformation. Uplifting and
enlightening, Premonitions is a
worthy sequel to Recognitions that
deserves just as much
acclaim as the first in the series.
Return to Index
Seeking Grace in
978-0-9985284-4-1 (pbk) Price: $15.99
978-0-9985284-5-8 (e-book) Price: $ 7.99
Available for order: amazon.com
Beulah Land charts the progress
the cold case of a missing wife and mother, Grace Barlow, whose husband
accepted her disappearance and continued on with his life as a
a rural Oklahoma community. Sixty years later, it falls upon grandson
Barlow to uncover the truth when he returns home to investigate his
grandfather's increasingly bizarre behavior, only to discover a family
that will change not only his life, but a small community.
Lu Clifton's story excels in fine
descriptions of this rural Oklahoma environment, from family
Mack's investigations, and community culture: "He figured the
burr-headed realtor to be a steamroller when it came to persuading
her point of view. People with Cadillac appetites were turned that way.
probably pitched his idea to the builder at the gated community that
which meant he needed to look at that agreement fast. But time was on
as Mama and Sister planned to visit Pa after they left the Hometown
then stop at the filling station to gas up."
As the characters begin keeping secrets from
and vying with each other, from siblings Sister and Ruby's growing
an evolving feud instigated by Mack with the Turners, their land-hungry
neighbors, it becomes apparent the secret is tearing apart friends,
neighbors alike. From mysterious watchers to missing mules and
waiting to happen, tension slowly ratchets up as Mack untangles a web
complexity in a relentless attempt to reveal a long-dead truth.
Mack believes he's doing the right
thing–but, is he? From peace of mind to legal proceedings that seem to
the Turners, events move from slow to fast-paced, successfully
readers in the psyche and simmering secrets of a small town on the
Beulah Land isn't a mystery per
se; leaning toward the literary, the storyline reaches for broader
and social depth. It's a satisfyingly engrossing, close examination of
married to the land, and what happens when war and nightmares change
everything. The truth about Beulah Land's real legacy complicates the
the people, politics, and personalities of Oklahoma in a manner that
examines rural life, concerns, relationships, and the consequences of
past and present.
Readers seeking an engrossing blend of rural
history and family and community intrigue will relish this saga, which
around land ownership, management, and the life-altering results of
and found: "A man might lay claim to a piece of land, he
in the end, it was the land that claimed the man."
Return to Index
978-1794388437 $8.94 paper/$5.99 Kindle
Serpents of Old is a novel steeped in
Southwest atmosphere and
mystery. Author Kirk Millson's familiarity with Arizona and Mexico's
(albeit now changed by growth and technology) lends a solid background
evolving story of dogs, murder, and desert struggles when reporter
Miguel follows his nose for trouble from Arizona to Utah.
vanishes during an Arizona hike; then her children also vanish from
Lake City home. The father is suspect, but but Carter thinks a
might be in play than the cut-and-dry case the investigating detective
slap on matters. Carter's probe leads to a Utah community, a con artist
latest deal is threatened by the reporter's nosing around, and a
truth that isn't easy to come by, given the detective's adversarial
relationship with the determined reporter.
that separate this southwest-steeped mystery from other genre reads to
an exception to any formula approach. One of the strongest is this
between investigators, and each's special interest in the case.
It turns out
Carter is not only reporting on a puzzle and trying to solve it, but
stirred up a virtual hornet's nest of dangerous special interests in
process of doing his job.
feature of Serpents of Old lies in
its astute cross-cultural descriptions as Mexican soldiers encounter
investigators and escapees on the run from justice.
undercurrent of humor that runs through it, as when Tom discovers that
escape plane has been running on fumes, and that Pedro must leave him
with it in search of gas, tamales, or tequila.
solid enough to keep the story flowing, and but not too numerous, which
it easy to follow the story line's circuitous route through different
perspectives and special interests.
strings behind an innocent man's indictment for murder? How have the
gotten a toehold in law enforcement circles, and how can romantic
between suspect Tom and Casey evolve in the crosshairs of a justice
wrong and a flight to freedom? As a teaser about one of the story's
themes, dog lovers also are thrown a pleasantly unexpected bone.
intersect to create a vivid story that will especially delight fans of
Hillerman and others interested in capturing the southwest landscape
the backdrop of murder, mystery, and struggles for justice.
Return to Index
The Story of
Paperback: 978-1-7336639-0-8 $9.99
Ebook: 978-1-7336639-1-5 $4.99
Barnes and Noble:
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=-yuKDwAAQBAJ
The Story of Keilah is about buried
secrets and the legacy of a man
who makes a promise to his mother that he will live the rest of his
things better for other folks" after
his leopard, a former circus animal, causes her death. His mother was a
woman who never understood her son. He's sold his farm for only a
dollars. And now the truth may be told to future generations about the
legacy of an unassuming man who came to own a fine farm and a woman
amnesia who returns to childhood scenarios in search of answers.
Keilah Brownwell's father's funeral and his
will changes everything in her life. Her inheritance is in question:
family outcast with missing pieces of memory, and long ago her life was
by nine-year-old Rosabel McCallister, a neighbor and playmate who makes
feel normal for the first time in grade school.
Years later, having come to a strange place
through new and old losses in her life, Keilah finds herself again on
outside looking in, this time with adult eyes tempered by the memories
childhood: "The piano twangs like it is in pain. Just like
Suddenly I have a surge of homesickness. There is no familiar rhythm to
place. The funny smell, the strange people; it doesn’t quite feel like
died in this building, but they sure wanted to."
From her choice of a life in the service
industry which puzzles parents (who believe such is below their
potential) to sister-in-law Melanie's plans to ease their mother from
house, redecorate, and eliminate any trace of the Brownwell childhood
Keilah's legacy and heritage are all in flux.
Journal entries keep track of back-and-forth
links between past and present, building insights that piece together
life, losses, and relationships, from issues with her own brother to
kidnapping of her landlady Dee's brother.
The story that evolves is about more than Keilah
or the Brownwell legacy. The
of Keilah constructs a series of
clues about her missing memories and eventually, like chinks in a dam
to catastrophic failure, results in a crescendo of shocking revelations
her family and Rosabel that force Keilah to confront a truth she'd long
rejected. But before she can truly build a new life, Keilah must come
with the old one.
crafting a story so subtle in its purpose that one is more than midway
book before its real strength leads to an inevitable draw towards a
Vivid, enlightening, and compelling, The Story of Keilah builds a powerful
series of slowly-building revelations that begin with a will's
moves into truths about disappearances, death, and family connections.
readers who appreciate the time and attention given to a slow build
to relentless observations and a moving story will find The
Story of Keilah compelling on many levels.
Return to Index
Harold William Thorpe
Little Creek Press
is the fourth book in the O’Shaughnessy Chronicles series and tells of 75-year-old Catherine
O’Shaughnessy, who is leading a quiet, peaceful life on the edge of
reminiscing on the past, until she realizes something is trying to
away from her home.
Ten years have passed since
her sister Ruby's death,
leaving Catherine the last in her family; but Ruby's legacy lives on
holds the power to affect Catherine's life.
This series is rooted in
Harold William Thorpe's own
family and its experiences, describing their relationships as he knew
real life, but adding fictional embellishments. The result is a
and understanding of the characters that makes Strawberry
Summer a warm read for both prior fans of the series and
Catherine's concerns about
her past, present and life are
clearly stated and easily understandable, as in this letter to her son:
"...just imagine if everyone was
gone—your mother, father, sisters, all your friends, all the
you’ve admired and enjoyed. My fingers would collapse from exhaustion
listed everyone who has left me. You wake up one morning, and it’s an
world. The people, the places, and even the morals have changed. All
are memories—memories and keepsakes. You have a wife and a job to fill
days, but I have neither. My only reason to live is to embrace those
to keep my family alive a little longer."
Bill doesn't want her to
live in the past; but when she
does, Catherine doesn't feel alone. She's committed to not giving up
but in the long run her memories don't always serve her well. When she
and breaks her leg, she meets Mrs. Amundsen, who encourages her to
life story and, much like author Thorpe, discovers purpose in putting
paper and capturing the events and characters that have shaped her life.
An evolving strawberry
business and its added impact on
her family's lives occurs during a summer where seedlings are planted,
and brought to fruition. At the same time, Catherine enjoys newfound
her life and comes full circle from past to present.
When taken individually, Strawberry Summer is a satisfying
standalone story of an aging
woman's acceptance of her life journey, the fact that she can't change
past, and her revised purposes for a better future. As part of the
provides a fuller flavor to its predecessors by continuing the
family legacy and exploring evolving facets of Catherine's life and
Readers seeking a cozy novel
of family interactions,
aging, and renewed purpose will find Strawberry
Summer quietly compelling and warmly revealing.
Return to Index
B07NV977KJ $2.99 Kindle/$12.00 paper
Summer of 1974 is a
literary work of Vintage
Contemporary/Jewish fiction that deserves a place in any collection.
Gavrielle, a young Israeli woman who is an officer in the Intelligence Branch of the Israel Defense Forces, is struggling with a number of personal issues. The most immediate is a decision she faces – does she really want to embark upon a search for her unknown father?
depicted trauma of the Yom Kippur War and the horrific terror attacks
followed it, she desperately needs time away from it all to reflect.
grants her a prolonged leave of absence, and she chooses Rome for a
vacation from reality. There she hopes to find the peace of mind to
her choices and how she wants to spend the rest of her life.
In Rome, in
she decides to take at an Italian language school, she meets Charlie
Gavrielle and this young African-American man immediately feel an
affinity for one another.
is no dilemma, but only one answer to her question – of course, she
for her father (whom she believes is an American). Otherwise, she will
regret not doing so. And he is going to help her. Charlie succeeds
have failed, drawing her out of her self-imposed solitude. As their
develops, readers discover what makes these two disparate strangers
Summer of 1974
has the full-bodied flavor of a fine experiential learning piece. As
and Charlie interact, they help one another reconcile their past and
lives with their ambitions for the future, and are able to view their
through a fresh perspective.
[Gavrielle] put a hand on his. “I’m just
asking questions that I think need to be asked. Risk
you ain’t the only one spent a lot of years assessing risks. You think
in a dangerous part of the world? Try Twelfth Street in Detroit. Spent
watching dealers switching stash houses, other gangs watching them
houses. Trying to guess where I don’t want to be at. Where they likely
after each other. You did it in a nice office – I been out on the
know about people bein’ seen when they think they ain’t.”
Summer of 1974 is a
riveting story of self-doubt,
confrontation, redemption, recovery, and determination. It will linger
thoughts of readers, long after they turn the last page.
While reading The
Summer of 1974, fans of previous novels by Ms.
Lonely Tree and Whatever Happened to Mourning Free?) will
be pleasantly surprised to encounter some old friends, now at a later
literary readers will relish this fine story!
Return to Index
The Age Of Donald Trump
978-1794431027 $2.99 Kindle/$20 Paperback
Ayahuasca is a Peruvian
psychoactive brew which author
John Forelli imbibed on his spiritual soul-searching journey in a move
away from Donald Trump's America.
a millennial searching for escape from what he viewed as the collapse
decency and many ideals he believed in when he decided to focus on one
he'd heard from many different sources–ayahuasca—a word he describes as
"the Everest of hardened psychedelic
Readers anticipating either
a diatribe about Trump or a
hallucinogenic series of revelations will be pleased to discover that
Forelli's candid survey is also a travelogue, following his journey to
and his encounters with Peruvian culture. As such, it captures the
smells, and scenes of Peru as much as his inner spiritual quest for
From a group cleansing of
the digestive system to first
encounters with a hammock, new friends, and new realizations, Ayahuasca In The Age Of Donald Trump is
peppered with color photos capturing Forelli's experiences. This lends
color to observational writings that impart a "you are here" feel to
Trump's cultural prejudices
wind in and out of his
encounters, drawing him back to American dilemmas, values, and changes
he experiences his own epiphanies. This documents his walk out of a
world into one which changes his perceptions and reactions: "Everything was pure—walking felt like
an adventure, air smelled like a miracle, and I was excited to talk to
His process of enlightenment is exhausting and demanding: "I sat down on a hard, bare, concrete step and dipped my head, hiding it in tired arms. I wanted to cry, but I was totally fried, and far too exhausted to do anything except...be." As readers absorb this personal journey and its broader contrasts between Peruvian culture, Trump's America, and Forelli's growth process, they will appreciate a series of contrasts that pinpoint the birth of gratitude as he learns how to translate microcosms of experience into bigger-picture thinking: "I saw what existence is in the purgatory of that orphanage—a thin line between life and death, heaven and hell. A line that we all crossed to come into the world, and that we’ll all cross leaving it."
As an additional note,
readers expecting a singular
production (whether it be condemnation of Trump-style thinking, a
about a Peruvian adventure, or a mystical journey fueled by ayahuasca) may feel challenged by Ayahuasca
In The Age Of Donald Trump's
multifaceted approach. Its depth and diversity reflects the author's
self-discovery of his place in the world and considers the evolution of
However, those who want a
rare spiritual and soul journey
spiced by a changing sense of time and place will find Ayahuasca
In The Age Of Donald Trump a powerful choice, and the
perfect antidote to despair and isolation.
Ultimately, John Forelli
acts as a tour guide leading
readers into a world steeped in mysticism and his growing realization
"magnificent melancholy" that adds new purpose to his life. Ayahuasca In The Age Of Donald Trump is
an inspirational series of growth-inducing steps that should not be
Return to Index
The Claws of
Independently released through Alaric Cabiling Ltd.
978-1-64516-394-7 $6.95 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Official Website (For Links to stores): www.alariccabiling.wordpress.com
suspense fiction ala Alfred Hitchcock is what a reader seeks, then the
stories of Alaric Cabiling (particularly his latest, The
Claws of Perdition) should be high on the "must read"
list. Unlike Hitchcock suspense collections with their largely
settings, Cabiling's tales run the gamut from pre-Civil War America to
times and thus offer a broader range of settings, eras, and
flavor their darkness.
As for the
themselves, think the depths of violence, angst, depravity and
with storyline twists that provide satisfyingly unexpected moments to
readers guessing to the end.
Predator', for one example. It's a first date for Veronica and Phillip,
when Veronica learns something shocking about Phillip Mobatu, she runs
He's a hired killer with a special talent for "charming his targets
unsuspected deaths", an ability which has earned him the nickname 'The
Velvet Touch.' His position as a rogue agent becomes more complicated
targets not strangers, but people he knows and even loves.
chilling look at a professional hit man facing old age and retirement
in a most
unusual way, creating a powerful series of insights into professional
predators, victims, and the business of killing.
'The Howling of the Void' is another chiller about a workaholic who no longer loves his life (if he ever did...). He encounters a beautiful young woman and is possessed of the notion that he must approach her with the intent of kidnapping her.
take the most innocuous and ordinary of scenes
and characters and turn them into circumstances of horror
drawing readers into the types of darkness that evolve from ordinary
Hitchcock's brand of suspenseful short stories, in particular, will
Cabiling's exploration of what happens when personal darknesses within
lives take over and reign supreme. His gift for slowly crafting
psychological suspense, and surprise conclusions is exquisite and
making for multifaceted, engrossing tales that linger in the mind
each story's conclusion.
Return to Index
Diaries: Proven Expert Tips & Tricks to
Live in Harmony with Your Dog
Diaries: Proven Expert Tips & Tricks to Live in Harmony with
covers everything from housebreaking a puppy and retraining an older
dog to not
poop and pee in the house to handling pet aggression towards people and
objects. It should be given to any pet owner as a basic instruction
successful dog behavior modification.
There are so many dog
training books on the market today
that one might wonder about the need for yet another; but a glance at
subjects under consideration here makes it evident that Dog Training
addresses common issues that more general training guides don't
organizes them in a different manner. Chapter headings emphasize this
difference: "How Do I Prevent My Dog from Menacing My Guests When They
to Leave?, "Is There a Good Way to Bring My Dog to Visit Family that
Has a Dog?", and "Why Is My Dog Running Around the House Like a
As far as its coverage and
advice, this is imparted with
plenty of case history examples that lend to easy reading about
that are simple to absorb and apply to various situations. Tom Shelby
each problem, outlines common situations, and offers tested alternative
techniques for resolution, as in his section on separation anxiety: "The dog with a severe separation
problem that lives with a traveling salesman starts to get nervous when
suitcase is pulled out and is a basket case by the time it’s packed.
is totally aware of all the things you regularly do before you leave.
putting on shoes or jewelry and brushing your hair, to grabbing your
or house keys, your dog knows all the things you do before you leave
better than you do and gets more and more nervous as you get closer to
out the door. The very first thing I recommend is that you
leaving and coming. No dropping to your knees with hugs and kisses,
the time apart. Just give a pat on the head, say “See ya later, Bella,”
book out. Same when you return. Pat on the head, “How ya doin, Bella,”
about your day."
Add lovely color photos of
Shelby's dog, his personal
experiences with dog training, and an exuberant celebration recounting
successes which led to increased pleasure for the pet and owner for a
training book that is personable, enthusiastic, and satisfyingly
If only one dog training guide were to be purchased to cover a range of situations throughout a dog's life with his humans,
Diaries should be the item of choice.
Return to Index
John E. Espy, Ph.D.
Ordering links: http://www.open-bks.com/library/moderns/eat-the-evidence/order.html
Jonah was a
suspected serial killer. Author John Espy is considered one of two
the United States in the area of pedophilic and paraphilic
the Evidence represents hundreds of hours of
interviews with Bar
Jonah and those who knew him well, and captures the extent of his life,
actions, and death. It is highly recommended reading for those who
crime accounts, psychological inspections of criminal and pedophilic
patterns, and in-depth inspections of serial killing.
It's important to note that
this is the first book in a
trilogy about Bar Jonah–surprising, because nonfiction in general and
biographical and crime stories in particular rarely run over a single
In this case, Bar Jonah's story is provided over the course of multiple
to allow for more detailed examination, incorporating the many
results and facets of his entire life. When one considers that
thousands of hours of interviews were conducted and synthesized for
effort, three books seems like an excellent way of assuring that
important is omitted for the sake of brevity.
One might anticipate a dry
compilation of facts from the
results of so much research and so many interviews, but Dr. Espy crafts
narrative to read like a novel. Thus, it's packed with dramatic
encounters between Bar Jonah and those who knew or encountered him.
creates a livelier read than anticipated by the subject matter, making
accessible to a much wider audience than nonfiction readers alone. Many
mystery or crime story fiction reader will find it intriguingly
This is not to say the
treatment assumes a 'whodunnit' or
detective-style inquiry. Indeed, it is filled with disturbing
pedophilia and the mind of the serial pedophile, and encourages readers
enter an inner sanctum of this world which they may ultimately be quite
This caution aside, it's
especially notable for this very
aspect: it provides a rare and unprecedented opportunity for parents
enforcement alike to enter the mind of the pedophile to better
only his psychology, but how he lives and operates in daily life. From
pedophiliac finds victims to the realization that they don't operate in
vacuum, as is so commonly believed, but participate in networks with
connections to others like themselves, readers should expect to be
challenged, and educated by Eat the Evidence.
Eat the Evidence
is a powerfully compelling survey
that should be required reading for law enforcement personnel,
parents alike. There's simply nothing like it in print–no other
approaches the depth of history, psychology, and criminal justice
Return to Index
The Genius Box: How
The “Idiot Box” Got Smart & Is Changing the Television Business
David C. Tice
Paperback: 978-1543944730 $14.95
ebook: 978-154394-474-7 $ 9.95
The Genius Box: How The “Idiot Box” Got Smart
& Is Changing the
Television Business surveys the evolution of television and
its impact on
society, but David Tice adopts a different approach than other media
examinations by considering the psychology of TV watchers, the
distribution systems and content creators, and the social and political
of television on viewers.
analyses, Tice doesn't take a contrary attitude towards television, but
explores its beneficial impact as a source of entertainment,
better connections between family and friends: "My
friends and I would watch television all the time (yes, we did
play outside, too – and without playdates, thank you) and bond over the
programs. In high school, meeting other people was a bit easier with
references to Monty Python’s Flying
Circus or Saturday Night Live.
TV even helped me connect with my extended family – all of our
in England, and we saw them but once every four years or so. Through
programming on PBS or stunts like the innovative schedule switch in
saw Thames TV programming shown on WWOR in New York1, I was able to
to my distant kin."
To him, the
television is "pure genius", and its evolution coincides with better
relationships all around, a perspective reinforced by chapters that
viewer's changing relationship with the television set.
changes between the years of rabbit ear antennas and smart TVs, and
documents these changes with an eye to considering how the transitions
technology resulted in a concurrent change in viewer attitudes,
This is no
overview. Specifics about the logic behind network and cable television
programming approaches provide consumers with many insights into the
process: "Churn – the proportion of
who leave a service each month – is an important issue for SVOD/OTT
with up to two-thirds of subscribers quitting a provider within three
signing up. In some cases, this is a reaction to the cost or impending
increases. For many others, it is simply a matter of only wanting to
pay for an
SVOD service for the months in which their favorite programs come out;
traditional premium cable channels have always had a similar problem.
one negative side effect of Netflix’s strategy of releasing all
episodes of a
series at once – if interested viewers watch all those episodes in two
days, why keep paying? That is why Netflix and other SVOD services have
page out of HBO’s playbook by constantly releasing new series every
every few weeks."
few clues on why and how television networks have operated in
or made changes to their programming and availability now have all the
for understanding such choices and their impact. The focus on this
process means that viewers will wind up with a much better
understanding of how
standards are set, managed, and assessed; and will have some window
future approaches of television and its impact on their lives.
This basic query, central to the book's review, is not as simple as it
The medium is constantly evolving and bringing viewers along for the
The Genius Box in hand, consumers
receive a rare opportunity to not just understand television history
culture, but to assess the meaning of past, present and future changes
their likely impacts on daily life.
recommended, The Genius Box is a
'must' acquisition not just for media studies holdings, but for
consumer libraries alike.
Return to Index
Novel for Narrator, Musicians, Pantomimists, Dancers & Culinary
Author: Dolly Gray Landon; Composer: Gary Lloyd Noland; Artist: Lon Gaylord Dylan
Seventh Species Publications
elements make Jagdlied a unique
title that defies easy
categorization as a novel, thriller, or other singular genre
While it's all of the above, it's also a performance piece, a literary
roller-coaster, a "musically and graphically enriched chamber novel",
a satire, a work of art, and a psychological striptease. One might not
the seriously dirty, cruel element of the story line; but this too is
the many pieces that make Jagdlied
First of all, readers should keep a
dictionary close at hand. This is no whimsical romp, but holds language
dense, paradoxical, and satisfyingly educational for readers who fancy
themselves wordsmiths: "Appreciating these “fun facts” about
beauteous young demigoddess, our besotted young aristo—the
lachrymose, and wretchedly heartsick young wooer publicly known by the
sobriquet “Threwer in the Sewer” (whose solo Dutch act, on Melody’s
inspired a wave of solitaires all across the country and abroad)—had
her the following ditty, as a kind of sympathetic ode, if thou wilt, to
aforesaid barb in her side..."
As poetry, black and white and color
illustrations, and scathing satirical observation permeate the story of
coddled rich girl's questionable ethical and moral standards, readers
the complex descriptions, wordplays, and scenarios to be both demanding
entertaining, all in one: "Suffice it to observe here that,
our castigated cokitten found herself arched over in such an
conciliatory posture, this publicly transgressive perscrutation of her
backslice didn’t unfail to forgo the kankerdort of consternating her
profusely." (Note: this book is offered in both color and
white versions—the black and white one is considerably less expensive.)
By now it
obvious that this tour de force is a thriller of linguistic acuity
delight a genuine aficionado of the English language. From the
heiress Melody's position of power and layers of exploitative behaviors
come-uppance, fostered by those who have suffered her slings and
arrows, Jagdlied is at
once indefinable because of its
mercurial approach and satisfyingly whimsical and unique in its
revenge and redemption, and a diamond-studded thriller atmosphere that
much from its readers while rewarding its audiences with a compelling,
set of characters and conundrums make for a read that is hard to put
passive-aggressive behavior in front of a judge or a "commiserable
coquette" who falls from grace and finds herself immersed in situations
beyond her control, Jagdlied
offers a lovely synthesis of graphic illustration, music, and a
satirical hand heavy on the written word that creates a lively romp.
author has embedded over a hundred YouTube videos into the text,
ideally have their headphones powered up to absorb the musical
Readers will want to allow plenty of time to
absorb both its captivating descriptions and the underlying nuances of
encounters in a story that is especially recommended for literary
experimental writings and thrillers which are quite a notch above the
Return to Index
Money in Your Pocket
Michael M. Kloian
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B07N8H6V8X $9.99
Pocket is a serious overview of the real estate industry and
of putting more money in your pocket when buying or selling.
introduction covers setting goals and addressing the common problems
with reaching them: "The bottom
line, when buying or selling real estate, is to get the best deal
save as much money over the long haul as possible. The real key is to
and how this may be accomplished. There are too many obstacles and
that can interfere with this simple goal, and this book will teach you
hurdle over many of those obstacles." The rest of the book is
to identifying and resolving the types of problems specific to real
The first thing to note
about Michael M. Kloian's
approach is that it is not a "get rich quick" scheme. It reviews
basic principles with an eye to instructing readers on the best
making reasonable assessments, investing properly, and understanding
affects the bottom line in the real estate world.
Readers may be surprised to
learn that the biggest
obstacle to success isn't the seller, property, or agent; but the buyer
seller himself. This is because many sellers and/or buyers oversimplify
process of buying and selling real estate, treating it like a "buy
high" stock market-type of transaction.
Kloian emphasizes that this
is just one of the many
common pitfalls new and somewhat experienced sellers and
and he shows how to adjust the perceptions, assessments, and practices
estate transactions to achieve a 'win-win' situation for all parties
As chapters review the
author's own approaches, hard-won
lessons from his personal real estate experiences, and his observations
strategic snafus and successes, readers learn how to fine-tune their
opportunities with a new eye to better negotiation processes, creating
'buyer-ready' home, and significant ways of saving piles of money when
or selling a home.
The chatty, accessible
nature of these discussions,
backed by examples and real-world transactions and concerns, lends to a
review packed with money-saving tips. These will be of particular
anyone involved in any buy or sell transaction in real estate, who will
find Money in Your Pocket packed
information that reviews both horror and success stories.
It's quite simply a 'must'
that stands out from
similar-sounding books because of its simple approach, clear
discussion, and concrete information gained from a wealth of real-world
Return to Index
Minds: Perspectives on Tournament Hold’em
Paperback: 978-0-9830679-4-8 $7.95
eBook: 978-0-9830679-5-5 $4.95
Poker with Friends’ Minds: Perspectives on Tournament Hold’em is as much about how people think, calculate, and make moves as it is about the game of Texas Hold'em and its different styles and trends. It focuses on tournaments with small entry fees and discusses issues surrounding predictable behaviors and approaches to the game.
This is no dry survey of strategy alone,
however. Mike Corbett employs a chatty tone to review tournament
between players ("I recently observed a phenomenon that I
become obsolete. It involved one unhappy person, one defensive person
indignant people. Ok, and one person with a big mouth who should have
out of it."), lending an excitement and authenticity to
observations that aren't typically seen in the usual poker book.
From demanding elements of poker and
descriptions of Texas Hold'em tournament processes to the challenges of
creating a methodological analysis for a game that holds so many
this discussion of intuition, decision-making processes, and popular
underestimations focuses on accomplishments and relationships between
Poker players who want more of a
psychological examination of the game's opportunities, challenges, and
interactions will relish the juxtaposition of analysis and strategy
that makes Poker with Friends’
on Tournament Hold’em
lively and personal and a highly inviting, educational read for poker
at all levels.
Return to Index
9781796731927 $29.99 paper/$9.99 ebook
Author’s website: SatansSynagogue.com
A Faux History is a complex
blend of history and fiction,
which is why
author Brian Josepher calls it a 'faux history'–and also why it defies
categorization on many levels.
At over 600 pages,
weighty read spans some 2,000
years, embracing Holocaust experiences and spiritual components alike.
vivid story of a lost manuscript, a treasure hunt, a search for
and intricate truths behind profits and religious figureheads, and more.
But perhaps the
to begin is with Josepher's
definition of a 'faux history' and
how it differs from traditional
faux historian begins like
authentic historian, with an investigation. The historian studies the
the case...The facts of the case don’t form a coherent, researchable
reasons for this are many: the facts are few; the facts are dubious;
are disinformative. For historians rooted to the historical method,
conclusion closes the door on the case...Without facts, what is
Without facts, what is a historian? Without facts, what separates the
from the fiction writer? The faux history,
at this point in the proceedings, picks up steam. Imagination replaces
Invention substitutes for truth. Fabrication kicks in. But unlike
of historical fabrication – historical fiction or alternative history –
faux history maintains the shape of a thoroughly researched history."
first indication that Satan’s
is an offering worthy
of technical reading; not a light quasi-historical, fictional journey.
When are 'facts'
falsehoods, and when are facts
embellished? As readers move through Satan’s
Synagogue, these questions should be kept at the forefront
because there is
a wealth of interconnected historical information about Elie Wiesel,
century historian Josephus (nee Joseph or Josephur. The author is the
the JDD, or Josephus Direct Descendants), accounts of Jesus, and the
and motivations of Josephus, who fostered his own legend at the expense
coverage of the Jesus story.
It should also be mentioned that, faux history aside, many of the approaches may be deemed controversial investigations, by some. Josepher's consideration of sexuality under concentration camp conditions, for one example, is not your usual approach to Holocaust events: "In my research, I had recently spoken to the survivor Siegmund Kalinski regarding Wiesel’s hanging scene. He’d given extensive background on the Beton Kommando, or the three men who’d tried to escape from Auschwitz, got caught, were then sentenced to death and hung in front of the full camp at Monowitz. Kalinski spoke about “homosexual friendships in camp” and “zärtlichkeiten,” as “caresses were exchanged.” His reflections caught me off guard but I wondered, as I spoke to Pfefferkorn, if Kalinski offered a self-reference. Was he admitting to his own behavior? Did he have homosexual relations in the camp and did that continue later in life?
that homosexuality was easier for survivors to talk about then
Even if they disdained such a sex act – and most of them did, coming
generation and reared in an orthodox, homosexuality-as-deviant mindset
could register such a sexuality without being personally touched.
Sex-as-fantasy, of course, had a different construct to it. There was a
By now it should be
that Satan’s Synagogue
production designed to challenge familiar
approaches to religion, morals and ethics, truths and legends, and the
evolution of hero archetypes throughout history.
Under Josepher's hand, history becomes a strange and wonderful topic. It feels at once familiar and unfamiliar when viewed through the lens of disparity, past and present archetypes, and the author's own journey through time and place.
Readers of scholarly historical revisions and fiction, especially those with a special interest in spiritual examination, Holocaust survivors Elie Wiese and Eli Pfefferkorn, and Holocaust topics in general, will find Satan’s Synagogue a thought-provoking study in contrasts which lends to reflection long after the final chapter and author's journey are concluded.Satan’s Synagogue
Return to Index
to Winning an Election
Moot Point Productions
978-1-7325117-0-5 (paperback) $14.95
978-1-7325117-1-2 (eBook) $2.99
lure an unsuspecting reader into believing that Michael French's book
political primer, it should be advised that this is actually a work of
a young adult political education piece.
simple: a youthful tide of enthusiasm for replacing elderly politicians
changing the face of American democracy, reaching even into high school
Political novice Brit Kitridge is up against incumbent Matthew
views his role as student body president as a stepping stone to enter
learn how to win, but how to deal with the corruption and ethical
confrontations she faces during a process that seems to be weighted
special interests and powerful backers.
come up to
political speed quickly as she faces bullying, manipulation, and
threats. With the help of a savvy history teacher and friends, she does
only to confront the process of exposing a scandal that holds
just for her bid for election, but the democratic nature of American
as a whole.
collecting evidence of a dastardly deed, Brit pursues her goal with
ideas about its importance:
matter, she thought, was less about winning an election than doing the
an inspirational story of a young woman's determination to not just to
office, but to do the right thing as she faces many obstacles to
determination, revelations, and challenges to her objectives and
ethics, The Beginner's Guide to Winning an
creates a powerful story of a novice's journey through American
will appeal to all kinds of readers, from idealistic, aspiring young
those who want a realistic tale of a high school girl's coming of age.
Return to Index
Einstein's Compass: a YA Time Traveler
Grace Blair and Laren Bright
Modern Mystic Media, LLC
Ebook: 978-0-9988308-9-6 $1.99
Paperback: 978-0-9988308-8-9 $14.99
Audiobook: 978-0-9988308-7-2 (release March, 2019)
Ordering Link: https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Blair/e/B07KQVK836?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000
What if Einstein's remarkable theories came
from his personal journeys through space and time? Einstein's
Compass: a YA
Time Traveler Adventure blends this premise into a broader
mythology as it opens with a brief glimpse of life in Atlantis and
moves to the
dilemmas surrounding Raka, a fallen Angel of Light. The spiritual
experienced an eon ago leads to his theft of a vial of DNA and exposes
resentment he holds for his uncle, who won't share secrets with him.
He seeks rewards and recognition from the
Council of the Sons of Belial in exchange for betraying his fellow
but the secret of the Firestone crystal continues to elude him.
This is a YA read; but it should be
mentioned that graphic violence is part of the story line ("...with
a ghastly smile, Raka viciously yanked the general’s hand and ripped
general’s entire arm from its socket. As his victim screamed in terror
agony, Raka regarded the arm thoughtfully. He began to gnaw on it with
The general lived long enough to see Raka devour his other arm and
start on his
legs. He did not live long enough to see Raka transform into a perfect
of the man he was consuming."). Such
descriptions may give
pause to adults seeking 'clean' reading for teens; but these moments
keeping with plot development and are not excessive in appearance, nor
Young Albert Einstein is in possession of a
compass that allows him to travel in time and space. Unfortunately, he
coveted key to not just enlightenment, but power, and he soon discovers
dangerous supernatural forces from different eras are also searching
Readers anticipating the usual timeslip saga
may at first be surprised by the inclusion of and focus on these
entities. As Raka stalks his unsuspecting prey, willing to pay the
for assaulting the holder of the prized Shamir,
Albert faces the death of a beloved friend, an increasing
his power and its danger, and a journey that embraces not just
forces, but Biblical times, Jesus, and Albert's own roots in Atlantis.
These subplots lend a complexity to Einstein's
Compass that will be intriguing and absorbing to mature YA
especially prior fans of timeslip sagas more used to such stories
historical rather than fantasy backgrounds.
Under Grace Blair and Laren Bright's
more than just another time travel story, but one of soul searching,
enlightenment, and classic struggles between good and evil. During this
journey, young Albert embraces the threat of death and world-changing
Albert will change the world, one
day. But the
roots of his knowledge and endeavors take a different turn in a
fantasy about soul-searching and growth which will keep young adult
engrossed to the end.
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Phyllis J. Perry
beagle Bones don't fit neatly into his mother's new marriage and
which involves a contrary stepsister and a cat. As a result, he feels
and alone, somehow always landing on the wrong side of family
perceptions until Bones goes missing during a storm.
relish this gentle story even if they choose it thinking it will be a
about a boy and his dog, only to discover it's actually just as much a
a boy adjusting to a new blended family situation.
by love, whether it be the love of a boy for his canine (which is
by his feeling that nobody else understands or accepts them) or the
love of a new family unit forced into a relationship.
The passive-aggressive attacks between
Annabelle and Ricky fuel their lives until a greater purpose enters the
picture, forcing all family members to re-evaluate their newfound
connections, and their ability to cultivate empathy and love over angst.
The two children eventually learn compassion
because of threats to their pets, but it's important to note that Phyllis
J. Perry doesn't sugarcoat this process, but documents the
movements and misunderstandings which take place between the characters
individually and as a family move to a better place of understanding.
answers and no sudden revelations to Missing
Bones: just a quiet and realistic progression towards
demonstrate that what is missing is more than a pet or basic family
process of coming together as well as the obvious dilemmas of
in a new family unit, Perry creates a memorable, realistic, and warm
will appeal not just to dog or cat lovers; but to young readers
stories of family evolution and the confusing, slow process of
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Casey Rislov Books
heroine in Casey Rislov's picture
book, is a cowgirl fly who has earned her name by being bravely
others. The goal is to prove that she is the toughest cowgirl in
fancying herself as "the greatest outlaw."
Her brazen cowgirl
defies cattle, fish, and any
tough days, but what she really needs is to lead a team of outlaws,
pride in being a loner and her inability to rustle up some comrades.
Kids with good
skills or parental assistance will
enjoy the story of a determined female fly who needs to solidify her
purpose beyond annoying others, but who really needs a lesson in
change her attitude about life.
illustrations will prove
captivating to adult and child alike, providing a whimsical
the story of a fly who is too daring for her own good. Cowboy lingo
the tale and adds to the fun story, while the animal portraits of
resist Randy's rowdiness capture both physical images and psychological
Packed with action and the unexpected, Rowdy Randy is highly recommended for young buckaroos looking for something different in the way of Western-themed action.Rowdy Randy
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978-0-9838774-0-0 $15.00 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
I Did It...You Can, Too! is highly
reading for school dropouts or anyone who would re-enter the
and obtain their degree.
autobiography posing as self-help. Fiona
Harewood presents many tools for those assessing not just how to return
educational system, but why. The first questions that should be asked
purpose of going back to school, whether it be career-related or for a
sense of self.
Topics include assessing common barriers to
returning to school as an older learner (those include financial
family makeup and needs, and time and ability) to locating resources,
and handling the routines of school itself by joining a study group or
understanding the pitfalls of dropping and adding classes. Harewood
entire structure of school systems as she helps readers identify their
it as adult learners.
Harewood doesn't claim that this process is
suitable for everyone. Indeed, readers are encouraged to carefully
their resources, goals, abilities, and purposes in returning to the
By having a reasoned assessment of all
obstacles and possibilities involved in re-entry, learners receive all
tools necessary for assuring their goals are met without unpleasant
I Did It...You Can, Too! might sound as
though it will be an
autobiographical inspirational piece; but the wealth of practical
gained from the author's experiences are backed by solid insights into
educational system's pitfalls and opportunities, making this book the
place to begin for a successful educational re-entry effort.
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