April 2023 Review Issue
Fantasy & Sci Fi
Mystery & Thrillers
Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa
Inspiration Pointe Press
978-0996840644 $14.95 Paper/$9.95 ebook
ALFIE: Earth's Last
Hope will delight hard sci-fi
readers with its contrasts between a high-tech
future's ability to mitigate the ecological devastation of Earth and
realization that Earth's environmental degradation and abuse are not
to flee from; but tasks important to acknowledge and fix. Can humanity
and special interests each try to influence the planet's future. There
stark disparity between saving the planet's biodiversity and plundering
the bitter end, and this dichotomy is illustrated in the course of a
follows each train of thought about the planet's future and mankind's
responsibility in managing it.
intelligence into the mix that also holds its own special interests and
influences for a tale that brings to life those who would party away
inheritance and those who would preserve it.
Bunster-Ossa surveys suspended lives, errant behaviors,
futures, and the impact of attitudes and choices which lead to conceit,
rage, the ethics of an ecological approach to managing landscapes and
communities, and the ultimate impact of profiting from planetary
While part of
the tone of the story lies in a romp through social, political, and
technological decision-making follies, injecting a wry ironic humor
unfolding events, it also represents a thought-provokingly powerful
of what happens when humans exploit nature without concern for its
demise or health.
social messages embedded in this story pair hard sci-fi with social
an unusual, revealing manner.
ALFIE: Earth's Last
Hope is highly recommended to
sci-fi and social issues readers not just for
its futuristic focus, but for its many considerations of human impacts
planet. These portraits venture into realms of good, evil, and the ways
which mankind burns itself in the process of plundering the world.
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Larissa N. N. Davila
Stone Raven Press
979-8-9851260-4-4 $23.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Avelune continues the Sky Seekers epic fantasy series with a third book that expands the stark world of rival clans begun in the debut novel Shorn.
Here, Jhared Denaban, a young Shorn man, clashes with his own kind and with those who have long sought to enslave him.
Larissa N. N. Davila paints a compelling portrait of a world and an individual teetering on the edge of chaos. She is especially adept at encouraging her readers to consider the impact of Jhared's conflicting missions on his own goals: "...what if your Teachers are hunting for you on the Paths? Don’t you risk drawing their attention each time you travel? Aren’t you more vulnerable when you exhaust yourself?”
As Jhared travels among friends and foes, and toes a dangerous line between revelation and destruction, he comes to realize that the hurt he's suffered defies healing—but may be the driving force marking his ability to change his world.
The epic clashes presented in Avelune are as much psychological as they are physical as Jhared, driven in directions he never thought he would travel, accepts his destiny and rejects his dreams: "More than anything Jhared wanted what Moravel offered, but he could not be healed. He was Shorn. The skies would never be his."
If the devil offers to fill an impossible dream, does he become a savior, or a force ending everything?
Throughout the course of the story, Jhared searches for an elusive truth and gains the wings to fly with it. Jhared's journey is a compelling search for discovery and redemption that leads readers on another breathtaking flight of fantasy.
Libraries seeing enthusiasm
for Shorn and Cael's
find this third volume in the Sky Seekers series to be just as
its predecessors. Prior fans who have the grounding in this world to
its ongoing battles will relish the unexpected directions undertaken by
which introduces readers to unexpected love and a
strange source of freedom.
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Jeff B Willey
978-1-7386602-0-9 Price: $22.22 Hardcover / $14.03 Paper / $3.33 ebook
readers well know that the pickings in this genre are relatively slim,
to traditional sci-fi and fantasy. The Borderlands of Forever blends elements of cyberpunk, dystopian
fiction, AI challenges, and urban fantasy in its speculative tale of
realities, and will delight those who look for complex,
scenarios embracing humanity's evolutionary process.
events opens the story in 2043, when humanity first encountered the
tale then moves through time to the 2200s, when humans and machines are
and facing new potentials together, and finally to the inevitable clash
Paroxysm in 2888.
noted that the account starts in 2106 and jumps back and forth through
until the end of everything in 3113. This non-linear progression may
those who anticipate the usual set series of advancements of a
plot, but will delight readers seeking more intellectual and
flows from the characters and planet-changing circumstances that
revised wild worlds and super-intelligences which traverse its
questionable trails that lead to unexpected answers mark a vivid saga
takes the time to inject environmental inspection and a sense of place
"We found the gelatinous mass of a
slime-mold resting on a tree stump, its cellular body in a slow-motion
bending light through itself. Transparent butterflies. Monkey
trip-lines. Quetzals called to each other unseen, a song
of three repeating elements. Smudges of vibrating colour were all we
perceive of hummingbirds, who like hyperkinetic electron clouds never
in one place."
play with atomic fire, choose battles (sometimes carefully and others
carelessly), and fight for control of the minds of people, facing
malevolent forces that would employ high technology in newly dangerous
moves from Earth to the stars and reinvents itself both physically and
psychically, so changing prophets and belief systems confront strange
attitudes, new worlds, and possibilities that both blossom and contract
redefine mankind's endeavors and countenance.
to cloud forests, these adventures push the definition and experience
in a manner that will lend to thought-provoking book club discussions
sci-fi reader contemplation.
define it, The Borderlands of Forever is
an adventure in evolution that contrasts the revised intentions of men
machines and drives that bring them into alien territory, both within
themselves and in the outside world.
looking for engrossing speculative works must
include The Borderlands of Forever in
their collections as a literary example of the power in blending
technological, and social inspection within a speculative sci-fi
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Alchemist blends fantasy and humor in a story that traverses
worlds, from a twenty-three-year-old urban gang banger still living at
(but facing the possibility of change) to circumstances that introduce
Eliza to new worlds they've never navigated before.
Jaime is once again staring
into the barrel of a gun as
the story's prologue opens. Eliza appears in the first chapter in a
different situation as she navigates a relationship and contemplates an
intimacy she can't accept. She is a young woman on the cusp of great
entering new adulthood with many possibilities and much strength in
As disparate characters and
worlds intersect, readers are
treated to a story that moves through fantasy and reality with equal
Eliza finds many of her
blossoming abilities thwarted by
her latest pursuit ("Her failure as
a detective was only surpassed by her failure as a woman."),
Jaime faces his own repetitive patterns of failure ("Jaime
covers his face and waits for the next punch, just like he’s done
all his life. Just like he’ll keep doing for forever and ever.").
When she falls out of her
world and into a mystery and
adventure upon entering Professor Crowley's office, Eliza finds herself
express train through hell, riding into a reality that exists just
own perceptions. Is she psychotic or insane, or is she seeing ghosts?
is Oliver Crowley doing in her dream, if so?
As reality and fantasy
entwine, Eliza and Jaime's
disparate lives come together in a James Bond-style series of scenarios
involving assassins, demons, and evil.
Carlos Lacámara's infusion
of adventure, self-discovery,
and magical realism creates a story replete in mystery and explorations
different situations that ultimately challenge each character to not
survive, but evolve.
Libraries looking for urban
fantasies that flavor their
reality-busting stories with wry humor and nonstop action will find Eliza and the Alchemist a riveting tale
that's impossible to predict and hard to put down.
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Season: Planet Gallywood #1
979-8367783919 $14.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
Fans of the
sci-fi novels of Douglas Adams now have a new author to follow: Andrew
Gillsmith. His prowess at blending irony, humor, intrigue, and life
shines in much the same manner as Adams in The Final Season: Planet Gallywood #1.
this milieu sounds like a classic Adams observation: "If
the inhabitants of Rexos-4 had anything resembling a common
creed, it would almost certainly have been "Mxtlpicam bnak ooligapn,"
which in most languages translated to something like "What's the bloody
point?" In the original Rexan tongue, the question mark had been
deemed as not only unnecessary but also contrary to the spirit of the
expression. There was indeed no bloody point, and the Rexans damn well
popular entertainment franchise in the known universe sets off into a
which the Rexans face the end of their world with an attention to
pulling off a
grand finale in a manner never seen before.
executives and participants struggle to create the spectacle of going
a bang, readers are drawn into a rollicking ride that explores the best
possible worlds—even if it does reside on the edge of apocalypse.
to galactic civilizations that exist not by "darting around amongst the
stars and doing great things," but by people who are "carrying on
about their lives and trying to make their way through the workweek
being discouraged to the point of giving up," Gillsmith adopts a
speculative tone that enables characters to dance around each other and
biggest concern and objective overriding their lives ... their demise.
lotteries and rescue attempts to the entertainment businesses's
management of an
end of the world spectacle, The
Final Season is
simply outstanding. It's a prime example
of science fiction's venture into new worlds, sparked by a future
industry gone awry.
Is there a happy ending to
the saga, or a tragedy?
Libraries and readers
looking for Douglas Adams-style
sci-fi inspections on steroids will find The
Final Season a colorful examination of life's meaning,
threat and promise, and the efforts of media to capitalize on it all by
pinpointing the meaning of and irony behind everything, including
Return to Index
The Healer's Miraculous
978-1-66786-561-4 $18.27 Paper/$6.49 Kindle
What does it mean to
discover a power that mandates one
not only utilize it for the greater good, but capitalize on its
Miraculous Discovery is a novel of fantasy and life
revolves around young Stevie Katz's discovery of an object in his
store that gives him extraordinary healing abilities. The unexpected
exhibits leads others to herald him a kind of savior—an illusion that
to embrace himself as he moves away from the idea that his abilities
other than his newfound inherent divinity.
At first Steve protests the
charge that he represents
some kind of miracle: “I can’t explain
it,” Steve said as his face reddened. “There must be an explanation,
don’t have it, and as I said, if you want me to tell you I’m some
from God to save you all… that would be dishonest, and I can’t do that
The process by which he
comes to convince himself that he
harbors just such a blessing pairs with a growing conviction that, in
actuality, his life purpose is to save a self-destructing society from
And so he embarks on a televangenlical pursuit as an adult which warps
chance discovery into an opportunity to change the turbulent milieu of
Stephen Robbins presents a
likeable character as flawed
by his own miracle as he is by his perception of his role and
influence. As he
tackles conventions, tries to save the world, and finds himself in over
head, Steve's questioning of self and social purpose translates to a
chance in life not only for others touched by his unique miracle, but
The social, spiritual, and
philosophical ramifications of
Steve's life make for a sci-fi read that incorporates bigger-picture
into its plot. Readers who look for tales that begin with individual
but blossom into broader quests for truth and life meaning will find
questions raised in The Healer's
Miraculous Discovery to be thought-provoking. Book clubs
looking for many
discussion points relating to miracles and transformations will find
options for group debate.
Miraculous Discovery is highly recommended for libraries
crossovers between sci-fi and fictional representations of personal and
change. Its plausible possibilities create many insights and
readers won't see coming:
his best to provide a warm thanks for her hospitality, but inside he
offended by what he perceived as false, opportunistic, insincere, and
predatory. He was also feeling something new—jealousy. For the first
saw things that made him realize that while he was struggling with
own group, worried that he might offend someone, feeling that he had
to offer, he had failed to see the opportunity for personal gain that
had exploited; he failed to capitalize on it."
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The Human Effectiveness Institute
978-0-918538-17-8 $14.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook
Harvey's The Message
presents Episode 11 of the Agents
of Cosmic Intelligence series,
providing a prequel and introduction to Pandemonium.
It presents a
future world changed by a psychic message that everyone receives.
Vying political forces struggle to locate
the source of a message so powerful that it's likely whoever discovers
wellspring will change the world.
As a world-hopping quest evolves, Harvey
presents an exploration of social, military, and political circles that
heavily steeped in both psychological revelations and intrigue.
A wide cast of characters interact with not
only transformative possibilities, but the changing nature of their own
objectives and perceptions of their place in humanity and the universe
are forced to confront new possibilities in leadership and alien
Should the Leaders be trusted? Can control
be maintained in a situation which is rapidly spiraling out of
From high-tech combat situations to encounters
of the fourth kind, Harvey's survey represents not just a bid for power
control, but an effort to redirect the course of humanity itself.
The psychic investigation that is the
central theme of the story experiences many influences and forces as
explore new perceptions of the universe and their place in it. The
revised spiritual, psychological, cognitive and sensory perceptions add
extra dimension of human ability and growth to the story that gives it
distinctly intellectual flavor.
If there's one thing to be said about this
series, it's that it defies pat categorization. Those who would peg it
military sci-fi, hard sci-fi, or thriller would all be correct—but
represent only a fraction of the attraction and strength of the series
whole and The Message in particular.
Whether The Message is chosen
futuristic social experiments in transformation, its riveting
world, or the changes characters experience in the redefinition of
perceptions and purposes, one thing remains true—the story is complex,
inviting, and hard to put down.
Libraries and readers seeking a different
brand of sci-fi adventure steeped with thought-provoking intersections
media, society, and individual lives will find The Message
and its kin
to be a special, unique brand of higher-level political and social
They ideally will spark debates among book club circles and groups
future societies, values, and life purposes.
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Live to All Devices
The Human Effectiveness Institute
978-0-918538-15-4 $19.99 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Live to All Devices
is set twenty years in the future, when an American president seizes
control of the country, hides in a nuclear bunker, and installs a robot
of himself in the Oval Office to handle everyday affairs.
this future, robots are
virtually indistinguishable from humans, and psychic spies are an
recognized part of the paramilitary forces. These two facts dovetail in
powerful scenario that taps into and unfolds just about every thriller
has attracted genre readers in the past, from aliens, robots, and power
to AI takeovers and bids for control.
all this sounds like a thriller
rooted in action (which it is), it should also be mentioned that Pandemonium's
real attraction and unique quality lies in its approach to
interactions and differences as the characters reflect this futuristic
in disparate ways.
the opening lines, for one
Force methods were bizarre, by the Army standards
Templegard knew. Tim had explained the method they were now practicing
own interpretation of something Williams had said about the advantages
psychic nakedness ... Templegard found it easy to maintain his erotic
concentration shield while naked in a hot tub with three naked female
officers as they attempted remote sensing—seeing things as if being
the Kremlin. It was Templegard’s first attempt. He got nowhere. His
experience sets the stage for
both understanding the vastly revised milieu of this futuristic
forces compete on different psychic levels, and for reader immersion in
surreal blend of detective investigation and contrasts between dreams,
realities, and psychological foundations shaken by both.
wry sense of irony often emerges
from the interactions between disparate leaders and powerful guiding
affecting the organization and control of this world:
purpose,” Snike continued, “is to have a measured
ethical response to any country that persistently will not recognize
that it is
trespassing on the rights of other countries. We are not forming just
situation in the South China Sea but for all situations that could
world peace in the future.”
“What we mean by a measured ethical response,” said the Prime Minister of Israel, “is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. We will not overrespond, that would be unethical and cause escalation. Our purpose is to thwart escalation.”
depth of psychological
examination of individuals, organizations, country leaders, and
makes for an outstanding enhancement of the usual sci-fi attention to
and confrontation. This gives Pandemonium a
transformative feel and
quality that makes it as much an intellectual pursuit as an
how a "new, nicer
Hitler" is envisioned and groomed, to the looming specter of World War
Three, Bill Harvey leads readers on a satisfyingly unpredictable romp
future world in which special interests have humanity's future in
this world is so easy to
slip into and understand, powered by references which make it simple to
and hard to set aside, it's surprising to note that this is actually
12 and 13 of a series that carries forward the spiritual,
intellectual concepts of its predecessors. It should be noted that the
series is being published out of sequential order (a la Star Wars), so
only Episodes 2, 11, and 12-13 have so far been published. It stands so
on its own that newcomers won't be lost.
confronting evil has never felt so multifaceted and thoroughly
engrossing as in
Pandemonium: Live to All Devices. The story builds a
of dilemmas, exploring high-tech heroes whose allies in crime and
over love and world domination prove to be part of a greater media
involving augmented reality and revised tools for survival.
and readers seeking
higher-level thinking than an action-packed sci-fi adventure alone will
all these requirements met in a story which juxtaposes individual
with higher-level questions such as "Whatever became of that
nation we once were?"
answer explored here maintains
that it's constantly under siege, revision, and transformation from
forces both technical and psychological in nature.
clubs interested in novels
that develop intriguing debates about futuristic encounters, thinking,
purposes will find plenty of fodder for discussion in Pandemonium:
Return to Index
The Sherangivan: A
Tale of Esseduin depicts a world
changed by an attack,
murder, and the rupture of a kingdom. It follows the entry of strangers
world that Caleb thought he knew well—the villages outside of the
of Esseduin. In fact, it evolves to become a land he barely knows and
hardly survive as he faces Bured warriors and navigates
both the reality
of his life and the dangerous dreams that draw him into another realm
possibilities. These experiences revise his role in life and challenge
confidence he once held in its logical progression.
Jacqueline Fellows crafts an
evocative fantasy that
attracts in different ways, from the confusing romantic choices Caleb
experiences with two very different young women to his changing role in
family and community and his ability to tackle warriors or riots
efforts of his best friend Val to save him.
The sherang that can live in
souls and take over leads
Caleb to wonder if what lies inside him is murdering people. As the
between dreams, memories, and murderous maladies are exposed, Caleb is
to confront what lives in his soul and manifests itself in an
Those who are Sherangivars
move differently in their
worlds. Jacqueline Fellows weaves a compelling story of a young man who
struggles with alien forces both within and outside of himself, drawing
into a moving tale replete with demons and discoveries.
The story ends with an open
invitation for more, but
concludes Caleb's adventure in a satisfying manner that is not quite a
Libraries and readers
looking for evocative blends of
murder mystery, fantasy, and shifting interpersonal relationships under
will find that The Sherangivan
portrays a vivid world, filling it with characters that prove
courageous in satisfyingly different ways.
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978-1-63988-741-5 $17.99 Paper/$26.99 Hardcover
represents spiritual reflection at its best, and will be thoroughly
Christian readers interested in a reflective work that closely
presence, actions, and promise of God in daily life.
Dianne Lindsay cultivates a
literary hand in crafting
verse that both celebrates and considers God's mystery and promise. Her
writings, presented in short passages that explore "the love of God
upon one’s heart like sweet melodies," embrace the concepts of
encouragement and enlightenment that represent the promise of
inspecting God. 'Riddims' ("the rhythmic movement or beat of a song")
are chosen as a literary choice that allows this engagement to be
accessed by a
wider audience than prose alone could have achieved.
Lindsay's special form of
encouragement and celebration
provides spiritual thinkers with reflections that can serve as daily
a book that lends to non-linear pursuit. Open any page to discover a
passage of wisdom, as in 'Breastplace of Righteousness': "We
walk in righteousness/We Live in your position/We have the
mind of Christ/As we stand to fight..."
The succinct nature of these
works translates to the most
punch in the least amount of words. Readers already immersed in the
spiritual reflection will find these thought-provoking riddims to be
and deceptively deep in contemplative opportunity despite their
short, simple countenances.
and readers looking for spiritually reflective
works that can join other examples of accessible literary forms, paired
celebration and inspection of God, will find Godly
Riddims an attraction.
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Madame Curie's Piano Tuner
Piano Tuner blends historical fact with literary fancy and
license, using a
wry, wicked sense of ironic humor as it examines the life of newly
piano tuner Raymond Dover. His visit to the berg of Bucksnort, to
services to a veteran's retirement home, results in unexpected amnesia,
recovery, and a revised purpose in life.
Readers who embark on
Raymond's life journey will first
note the appealingly creative chapter titles which portend a different
read than a staid progression of events. Titles such as "Patriotism and
Bad Migraine (tough times for pigs and chickens)" and "The Mick, the
Moose, and Whitey" appear alongside "Read ’em and Weep" and
"Shrunken Heads and Chloroform Dreams," creating inviting headers
that shroud their contents in intrigue and invitation.
It should be mentioned that Madame Curie's Piano Tuner is no
light-hearted romp. Almost 800
pages of literary, social, and psychological inspection create a story
challenging (in that it appears less than linear, from protagonist
recollections and jumbled experiences), but well worth the extra
hidden in the complex series of sometimes-lengthy descriptions and
this rich collection of thought-provoking nomadic journeys injects its
descriptors with reflective metaphors and scintillating symphonies of
existence, all keyboard-equipped
devices, at one time or another, lose direction, some more frequently
others and through no fault of their own. Short shifts in the
wilderness are no
big deal unless the drift extends, and loss veers chronic. When this
propriety becomes secondary. Units grow agitated, dream of purposeful
shoved up the spines of absentee owners and puissant land-lords.
wearied of revenge or judicial recourse, pull on Protestant pants,
with surface protectants and dancehall gin, often threatening physical
themselves. Wood and chords darken, keys and foot pedals check depth
review rosters, fumble for coats, grow despondent over tardy
measures and long expired warranty agreements. Once pristine and
drift and pitch heads for the ditch. Who but the tuner is there to halt
As the metaphor and reality
of the piano tuner become a
progressive melody for tackling life and its ironic twists, turns, and
representations, literary readers receive a work that is so compelling
displays, so unexpected in its twists, and so satisfying in its
ramblings through the life of Raymond and the society he moves through
proves surprisingly hard to put down.
Surprising, because 800-page
novels typically are easy to
set aside and daunting to absorb—but such descriptors may only be
audiences who somehow choose this book expecting a light-hearted romp.
length should forewarn that the reading effort will be more than
the real pleasure of Madame Curie's Piano
Tuner lies in its ability to inject a sense of shock and awe
between Raymond's rambling observations and those social forces which
around him with unpredictable airs and flavors.
This literary dance is
especially recommended for
libraries looking for solid examples of experimental and literary works
college-level literature teachers using contemporary literary writings
illustrations of creative prowess. Dancing revelations spill from the
tip of the
writer's pen from the focal point of heartfelt perceptions.
It's easier to get into
something than exit from it. Madame Curie's
Piano Tuner will prove
surprisingly compelling for its length and complexity, and will delight
seeking fresh voices, original works, and a jumble of thought-provoking
Return to Index
choose Seasons of Life will find it
collection spanning childhood, coming-of-age, and adulthood. It offers
inspections both personal and universal as it discusses family,
the "four seasons" of growth which tie them together.
In many ways, Seasons of Life represents a throwback ... to simpler times and to rhythms lost in the modern swing towards free verse, much of which has almost lost the ability to be defined as 'poetry'. The rhyming simplicity of Susan McLeod's effort alludes to a time when poetry was both readily understandable and rhythmically attractive. One example lies in her survey of various kids' games, such as 'Hoops': "Roll, roll our hoops on the grass they go/Which way they fall, we don’t know/Playing with our hoops was lots of fun/Kept my friends and I on the run/I remember a simpler time/When playing hoops was very fine."
seem to look for and embrace a sense of complexity and philosophical
their works. The progressive short pieces in this collection pack a lot
into a number of succinct descriptions of life, allowing for more
be explored than one would think by the page count of this book.
Seasons of Life is a road map of
experiences of a bygone era. The
cadence of the rhyme, the simple daily life experiences which are
with a sense of joy rather than complexity, and the attention to
holes, summer days, and family comfort is a breath of fresh air against
usual angst-laden emotional turmoil of modern poetry. It will attract
seeking expressions of life's progression in a more celebratory manner
most poetic inspections offer.
Return to Index
Apprentice House Press
978-1-62720-423-1 $17.99 Paper/$6.49 ebook
Highlighting the life of Mary Edwards Walker, Maverick Suffragist,
Medal of Honor Recipient: An Advocate for Women from Then to Now is
powerful biography of a woman who made a name for herself as a Civil
and the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor. It represents some
years of research into her life and writings, but Frances Altman weaves
facts into a riveting story that should be part of any women's history
From the very beginning,
where Altman introduces Mary
Edwards Walker and traces the roots of her fascination with Mary's
receive lively connections between achievement and life philosophies
juxtapose the practicalities of being an advocate with intellectual
she practiced many of the principles I borrowed and used. Perhaps young
today may be in need of similar advice. For instance, she urged us to wear sturdy shoes if we are going to
rally, march, or stand in a line. That sometimes it might be better to hold your tongue or listen."
Altman recreates Walker's
life with the descriptive draw
of fiction, giving her chronicle an animated feel from the very start:
Walker was a feisty, petite girl who loved to jump, run like a deer,
at rocks in the dirt as she walked along the Bunker Hill Road near her
When no one was watching she was likely to pull up a handful of
blow their puffy tops away, and then nibble at the leaves, providing
tender. She loved being out in the open air, playing pretend, or
father around to watch him tinker with farm machinery."
This method of exploring
Walker's life, world, and
philosophy brings to life all the facets of coming of age as a young
during these times, following Walker's early experiences, influences,
unique perspectives on life she would adopt to not just survive, but
Walker's feisty, spirited
countenance led her to be
admired by men and women as she forged new roads in her life,
military personnel and civilians alike and cementing her reputation as
capable physician in a man's world.
While she operated as a
military doctor, Walker was in
effect a free agent—a civilian contact surgeon whose work resulted in
than the nurses under her. As
advocated for women's rights and health, rebutting suffragist leaders
she promoted women's independence, readers will especially appreciate
dichotomy Walker represented both during her times and to modern young
Her resilience, ability to
charm both sexes, and her
spunky determination to right wrongs makes for a story that is
revealing, historically accurate, and emotionally compelling for modern
who would understand not just Walker's influence, but her times.
From the clothing she sewed
and wore to her navigation of
the confusing and conflicting social and political worlds of men and
women, Destiny's Daughter provides
examination of a woman's life, determination, and influences.
Daughter will be included in women's history and issues
libraries, but will
also be chosen for highlight and debate by book clubs interested in
issues and biographies of early pioneers of women's rights who often
not just the status quo, but the methods and approaches of others who
It's especially timely,
considering events of modern
times, and gives all ages of reader guideposts for reconsidering their
approaches to advocacy and women's rights.
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Gail Brenner Nastasia
979-8-9869313-0-2 $14.99 Paper/$9.99 Kindle
The Fruit You'll Never See is a memoir
about shame and overcoming
negative messages from childhood. It will heavily resonate with readers
have struggled to overcome their own self-limiting training and
self-perception, and represents an example of the process of nurturing
strength against all odds.
Nastasia's memoir opens with a bang: "Not
even law school could change the fact that I was trash." As
is revealed, readers learn some shocking facts about her family and the
progression of her coming of age and entry into adulthood which
sense of shame and self-depreciation. Gail's realizations about her
aunt's shortcomings acknowledges the lure of being included at all
costs "...even though I know she used me, at
least I got to go along for the ride."
patterns of trusting and loving those who do not have her best
heart, Gail moves ever deeper into a familiar quagmire she is, sadly,
well-equipped to handle: trading sexual favors for the feeling of
being desired, and being loved.
various addictions, it is with the underlying conviction that her value
her worth to others—not herself. The remarkable part of her story lies
she overcame drug addiction to become a successful attorney; then took
big step in defying her inheritance of low self-esteem by creating a
goals, learns different, healthier ways of interacting with her family,
maintains the equilibrium that truly reinforces her value makes for a
that many readers will find inspirational and revealing.
consulting self-help books for growth lessons, readers would do better
to read The Fruit You'll Never See.
in abuse, recovery, and the contrast between healthy and unhealthy life
are stark and involving, offering clues to better living. It ideally
pursued in book club and psychological group discussions, as well as
for library patrons interested in vivid, candid stories of getting and
Return to Index
Loyola University Maryland/Apprentice House Press
978-1-62720-435-4 $19.99 Paper/$6.49 Kindle
Growth: A Mother,
Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They
Survived is a memoir about
parenting, health challenges, and the process of fighting for a child's
Matthew was eight, he developed an odd tic which evolved into other
that mother Karen DeBonis found alarming. Her efforts to alert her
Matthew's pediatrician that something was wrong fell on deaf ears, as
wanted to accept that Matthew could be facing a dangerous health
such a young age.
before a frightening diagnosis was obtained; but even then, DeBonis
herself constantly in the position of advocating for her son's
especially adept at charting the changes to relationships that
introduced: "I’d rarely seen my father cowed and apologetic.
vulnerable, and I wanted to yell at him again. In a flash of anger, our
relationship experienced a subtle shift. I had become less his little
more Matthew’s mom."
candid in both her self-assessment of her abilities and how far she
will go to
pursue options for Matthew:
"Some moms travel
the globe in search of
treatment or a cure for their sick child ... I was not that mom. I
world traveler, and my sense of direction was so bad, I didn’t trust
navigate a big city. What good would I be to Matthew if we both got
I wouldn’t intentionally abandon Stephen to move away with his older
even temporarily. Maybe if Matthew needed to relearn how to speak and
eat, I’d have hopped on the nearest bus to Timbuktu. But he didn’t, so
wouldn’t. We had to make this work on our own turf."
has faced a child's illness and is called upon to be proactive in ways
never has before, in environments she is both familiar and unfamiliar
find in Growth a powerful set of examples on how
motherhood can be
tested. A mother can experience growth from all kinds of events, even
one's own child.
revelations of disparate sources of growth that come from within, one's
and life itself makes for a story that embraces the wellsprings of
revised perceptions, and choices in taking different courses of action
for a child's sake, but for the family as a whole.
memoir about living with a tumor and handling medical challenges, it's
of personal transformation and resilience that will resonate with any
charged with acting in their child's best interests, against all odds.
readers seeking thought-provoking additions to parenting collections
will find Growth
not only suitable for personal enlightenment, but a fine recommendation
clubs looking for memoirs about parenting, health advocacy, and growth.
Return to Index
Memoir of Hope, Faith and the American Dream
$23.95 Hardcover/$16.99 Paperback/$6.99 Kindle
Amazon.com: UNDERGROUND: A Memoir of Hope, Faith, and the American Dream: 9798986587615: Ayoade, 'Deji: Books
one book were to be chosen to illustrate the power of perseverance
against all odds and the immigrant experience in America, it should be UNDERGROUND:
A Memoir of Hope, Faith and the American Dream. While many
memoirs hold these same themes, what sets 'Deji
Ayoade's book apart from (and above)
many others is his candid acknowledgement that this Nigerian "Logically,
should never have arrived here."
here," Ayoade refers not only to America and to a position of success,
to his powerful rise in the military to command a fleet of
missiles in the Air Force, and his leadership of the new United States
achievements are especially significant given Ayoade's family history,
"seventy percent of men in my family never lived past forty
Ninety percent never attended college, and ninety-five percent never
statistics on all sides is a man who attributes much of his success to
faith. But the meat of the story lies in how this all evolved, making
UNDERGROUND a rich read as Ayoade
traces the roots and
enactment of his foundation belief that "every moment of our
connected to our future in one way or another."
follow Ayoade on his journey will find his faith-based experiences
enlightening, inspirational, and thoroughly engrossing.
childhood and reconnection with his father to his hard work integrating
American principles and life, Ayoade pulls no punches as he candidly
the obstacles to success and the drive that promoted him upwards into
the darkness, anger, and bitterness that surrounded his family's
his father's decisions to that father's insistence that a faith in God
misplaced, Ayoade touches upon the wellsprings of not just
perseverance, but a
perspective that translates to leadership and achievement qualities in
confronting life's obstacles.
reflections peppered throughout his story provide interludes and
as Ayoade navigates illness, alienation, family reconciliation, and his
readers seeking stories not just of immigrant experiences in America
success, but of family ties and influences from afar, that continue as
his own family, will find UNDERGROUND:
Memoir of Hope, Faith and the American Dream
a powerful memoir of not just achieving and living
the American dream, but integrating it into a different culture and
connections both on American soil and back in "the old country" of
Memoir of Hope, Faith and the American Dream
is especially recommended for African-American
readers seeking reading group discussion points in powerful stories of
self-inspection and hope.
Return to Index
DeAnn Daley Holcomb
thrillers will find Beyond the Shadows the study of
a serial killer's
impact on a Texas community that delves into a woman's personal
a dangerous murderer.
newscaster Claire is Dallas Police Homicide Detective Lance Harris's
girlfriend. She also holds special knowledge of a growing threat to the
community as eight women are killed and the murder spree seems
with Jenny's impulsive move towards Jeremy, a stranger she meets in a
a choice that will cost her her life, adding to the string of victims
marked by a Smiley Face sticker left by their shared attacker.
knows the media is stirred up into a frenzy, which translates to
locate and lock up the perp before more victims emerge. When he
his ex has some special knowledge of the situation, he also finds that
placed her in the crosshairs of danger. Can he employ his investigative
to solve the mystery and save her life?
Of course he will, thinks the reader. But, before this can happen, a
series of unexpected
events emerges to test Lance, Claire, and the reader's perception of
redemption, and problem-solving processes.
Holcomb cultivates a special attention to psychological entanglements
sides. in which the crime serves as a backdrop to relationship changes
impetus for change in more than one way.
embraces Claire's family's special form of courtroom hell from the
impacts their relationships and lives in different ways: "No
knew what the truth was or what really happened. At family gatherings
holidays, everyone tried to act like it was a happy time, but it
unwittingly the reason why she now is the pivot point in a maelstrom of
struggle between two very different forces which affect the lives and
Dallas and the women who are threatened by a serial killer's
elusive predatory ways. In this milieu, Claire becomes the focus of
account feels all the more powerful because Holcomb is herself a
news journalist reporter who closely followed two serial killer murder
encounter with true evil and observations about crime, justice, and
contribute to a story which evolves new revelations in all three areas,
supplementing its mystery component with a close inspection of hope,
the motivations of perps and detectives whose lives intersect in
seeking murder mysteries steeped in interpersonal growth and
find Beyond the Shadows a compelling journey.
Return to Index
Susan Rogers and John Roosen
G-EMS PTY LTD and PS LLC
978-0-6454136-2-5 $6.99 ebook
Cobra Pose, the second book in the Yoga
Mat Mysteries series,
benefits from but requires no prior introduction to its predecessor in
prove accessible and inviting to mystery readers.
Williams is a
yoga instructor who uses Cobra Pose to boost her energy. Ironically,
and hackers The Cobra and The Wolf, who may be involved in her father's
disappearance, hold their own special abilities as they reach out to
Australia in an international scam that threatens the global economy.
microcosm of Elaina and her new love (photojournalist Ric Peters) and
relationship and latest mission to the bigger picture of the worldwide
posed by adversaries whose skills are well beyond amateur sleuth and
instructor Elaina's abilities ... and maybe even Ric's special hidden
It's rare to
yoga milieu incorporated into a thriller that evolves on international
playgrounds, but the two subjects dovetail nicely in a story replete
nuances and insights into both worlds:
"Renée was good. She knew what she was doing and
had a mellow,
soothing voice. Elaina walked around the class, helping them correct
poses. Elaina watched when Renée used her right hand, balancing on
fingers to demonstrate various floor positions. Afterwards, Elaina told
‘Your form and the timing is “parfait”. But I realize watching you that
can be achieved in many different ways. This is something I need to
‘Perhaps, mademoiselle, it will be the balance and grounding, despite any perceived obstacles, that will get you where you need to go,’ Renée said, holding up her right hand."
observe the blends of philosophical, political, and thriller influences
neatly create an exceptionally vivid atmosphere in which intrigue
satisfyingly unexpected ways.
As the story
thriller readers will relish the twists of plot which bring Elaine and
closer to an astonishing truth and test of each individual's abilities,
those interested in yoga will find added value in the emotional and
connections created by the yoga interludes and lessons.
atmospheric detail is not lost in the fast pace of the unfolding
is also a notable feature of a plot which takes the time to create
scenes: "They sat down to chicken
parmesan, roasted vegetables and pasta stuffed with spinach. In the
refrigerator, the chocolate mousse was chilling next to whipped cream
ready’ to serve as a topping. The Italian rolls were from the local
financial, and national interests come to life, requiring no prior
with the country from readers. Those interested in a gripping story of
will find Cobra Pose tests the
relationships and personal mettle of characters who often seem both
in unlikely positions to solve a mystery of international importance.
seeking compelling stories firmly rooted in a sense of place, and
who are each tested to operate beyond their intrinsic training and
will find plenty to appreciate as Cobra
Pose evolves its ultimate message about cyber-attacks,
decisions which lead to discovery, recovery, and uncommon courage and
Return to Index
Tom McCarthy and Bill Dohar
De Profundis Books, LLC
979-8986395210 $14.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
a Jesuit priest unearths a 19th century manuscript containing a puzzle
points the way to a medieval treasure, the Cuxham Chalice. Then the
vanishes. Can two friends (a librarian and an Oxford scholar) follow in
footsteps without becoming victims themselves?
unfolds a bittersweet song of promise and deadly danger. Its dual tune
compelling force combining action with psychological cat-and-mouse
these characters draw ever closer to a truth that will rock the world.
Eva tackle matters of decoding both the ancient document and their own
the world around them descends into chaos, pitting them against police
side and Vatican special interests on the other.
concern over their friend's life, which adds a personal dilemma into
quest that draws them into different levels of complexity, Myles and
discover that their journey is even more dangerous than they'd
How does an
Jesuit vanish into thin air? Nothing
his bio would suggest covert activity, and yet something strange is
find their special interests both dovetailing and driving the violence
seek to prevent, giving readers an absolutely riveting story that holds
satisfying nonstop action and inquiry of a thriller combined with a set
spiritual and historical revelations on par with The
The intrigue settles its
cloak well over each character's
psyche and special approach to problem-solving, creating a story that
fluctuates between the microcosm of personal interactions, friendships,
more to the macrocosm of threats to world order.
Librarians and readers
looking for historical suspense
fiction that dazzles with puzzle and psychology will find Dark
Sonnet a thrilling mystery that grabs from the
beginning and follows
through to a satisfyingly unpredictable conclusion.
Return to Index
genetically enhanced superwoman Matti Baker will welcome her return in Defcon, while newcomers will easily fall
into her world. This is because Matti employs a feisty voice in
encounter which once again tests her ability to survive, protect her
and prove effective in her efforts to thwart the bad guys and support
everything she loves.
Matti is one
triplet of enhanced children. Her strong family ties have resulted in
who also have extraordinary abilities, and who join her in her efforts
neutralize threats to the U.S.
thriller readers will be surprised and amazed by Defcon
because Matti's character is spunky, sassy, and infused with
proactive thinking and behaviors that translate into a passionate story
with history and social observation.
examinations offer unexpectedly astute considerations of American
awry as the intrigue and confrontations play out:
"The first three words are the emphasis, We the
say Government now, does it? Governments
creation and main role was to protect these rights and if not, ‘We the
have the right to revolt. The
Constitution and Bill of Rights established a government. The Declaration of
Independence was for
breaking away from government when not serving the people."
thought-provoking, critical inspections, delivered in a brazen staccato
first-person reflective voice, are part of what brings not only Matti
family to life, but the principles they are fighting for in Defcon.
device linking action with a contemporary, realistic punch is the
allusions Matti makes to popular music and songs which pop up in her
she undertakes her missions. These cement her activities with a blend
and social reference that compliment the cat-and-mouse actions of
counterintelligence, and unconventional warfare that encircle her life
all she loves.
challenge lies in
what label to assign Defcon,
it doesn't fit neatly into any pat genre read. Military in nature, but
psychological force that lends it a deep personal flavor; thriller in
but tempered by family relationships and close friendships; and
political and historical information that invite debate and thought, Defcon is quite simply a standout for
its adventure, tone, and powerful, female-driven protagonists.
extraordinary characters and stories which are nearly impossible to put
will find Defcon an outstanding
choice that holds the promise to attract a wide audience.
Return to Index
Daniel V. Meier, Jr.
979-8-88633-002-1 $18.95 Paper/$8.99 ebook
the perfect crime. Nobody can
suspect a murderer when the cause of death was clearly accidental. Were
for the conviction of the victim's surviving wife that something went
truth in Guidance to Death would not have even
surfaced. It's that
clever a crime: disable a plane's guidance system and let natural
circumstances take over.
this case, what takes over
isn't just death, but the perseverance of a grieving widow and independent aviation accident investigator
Frank Adams, who join forces to find the few clues pointing to foul
reinforces the likelihood that something more than plane
awry, and so the story unfolds with plenty of tense moments,
puzzles, and an attempt to silence Frank before he can piece together
clues that point the way to a perp and a dangerous scheme.
V. Meier, Jr. crafts a
story that illustrates technical aviation insights, the special
an aviation investigator, and the conundrum faced by a detective who
upon several people from his past in order to solve the present-day
doing so, Frank unwittingly places his friends in as much risk as he is
political power plays and
important bids for economic growth, Frank delves into the politics and
of individuals willing to kill for what they want. Payoffs, fictional
sell-offs, and a family-owned company's involvement in a plot that is
with goals of revenge brings Frank to the outer limits of his
abilities, testing his perceptions and his suspicions.
twists and turns of
plot keep even the most seasoned murder mystery reader guessing, while
aviation industry's processes and insights will delight those who enjoy
of blackmail and threat that take place in the unsafe skies and on the
and bodies mount as Frank
finds his suspicions correct—but in a way he'd never anticipated.
mystery readers and
libraries catering to them will find Guidance to Death
blend of action-packed thriller and whodunit. It is powered by the
an author who is a retired FAA Aviation Safety Inspector able
to inject all the
real-world processes of the aviation industry into a compelling,
can't-put-it-down inquiry that reaches its crescendo of surprise in the
Return to Index
9780744309300 $25.99 Hardcover/$20.99 Paper
sleuth and writer Bobby Frindley, a former athlete forced to rise above
talents (and pay grade) when he receives a series of horoscopes that
with taking actions to choose whether either only one or all of their
portents will come true.
this way, Bobby becomes both
perp and investigator as he seeks to uncover the identity of the
writer, navigating the uncertain waters of making decisions that will
with and direct their deadly outcomes.
Bishop immerses the story with
grisly detective investigations and their powerful outcomes from the
first chapter holds the future outcome, but the second reveals how
becomes part of this dangerous legacy, following his forays into worlds
romance, employment, and danger—none of which he is especially adept at
often give clues to
Libra Bobby's life and future. In this case, the directions they point
whether they are his evolving relationship with Star or the nuances of
dead-end job that holds some surprising keys to predicting his future,
that many readers won't see coming. His mercurial involvement with
friend Sarah assumes the same cloak of uncertainty as his career and
isn't intrinsically a savvy
person, whether in love or career. His flaws lend to both a realistic
questions of how he will incorporate the demands of a murder
the life he is building for himself.
juxtaposition of questions on
whether predictions really are coming true or if Bobby has any
his own actions and choices lends a particularly intriguing component
usual investigative puzzle, giving The Horoscope Writer
a touch of
philosophical and psychological power not often seen in whodunit plots.
Libraries and fans of amateur sleuth stories containing characters that are driven and motivated by their own life progression and the heavy hand of fate to investigate murderous situations beyond their ken or control will find The Horoscope Writer filled with realistic scenarios and satisfying twists.The Horoscope Writer
Return to Index
East River Books
978-1-7364680-6-7 $4.99 ebook
Indian Defense: A Historical Political Saga is the fifth book in the political thriller series One Hundred Years of War, it's
recommended that readers of The Indian Defense
will have read these
predecessors because their rich history, continued here, should ideally
the back of the mind when embarking on this latest adventure.
This story opens in 1989,
where an ex-president crippled
and incapacitated by an assassination attempt somehow appears to remain
player in the political struggles which are emerging.
It seems that stepbrother Godwin Kingsley has won, and is building his
business empire around the
world with a clever eye to disabling any semblance of rebellion in any
people or others who defy his bids for power.
daughter Lilah on the run from powerful hit men, Temple disabled, and
Kingsley's plan to rule the oil sector firmly in place, it would seem a
dunk that nobody can change the fateful progression of his
except his friend Noah and a family secret that could penetrate the
power and secrecy that surrounds Kingsley's world.
Jay Perin highlights
the thrill in the thriller genre as his world-hopping adventure carries
of characters into unfamiliar territory, foreign cultural encounters,
figures who prove just as powerful, in their own ways, as Kingsley or
evolves, with American politics one of the main prizes as the
miss, and strategize their next moves. As Lilah's foray into India
with tools to not just recover from the blows of but defy the forces
against her, readers follow her into an international journey replete
transactions and events that place a former attorney's reputation on
to exiles that concoct a new strategy to confront the forces that have
transformed their lives, Jay Perin explores social, legal, and
changes through the eyes of characters who each hold their own special
interests at heart.
risk-taking decisions, startling revelations, and a plot that toes the
between thriller and real-world historical facts, Perin's care in
events from politics of modern times, but couching them in a way that
distance from any association with real-world politicians, creates an
especially adept dance between fact and fiction. This will draw a wide
with the flavor of high drama and the not-quite-real familiarity of
to note, that this point, that the One
Hundred Years of War series is an adaptation of the Mahabharata,
Indian epic mythology.
many seemingly disparate elements would seem to portend a complex and
read, but The Indian Defense
represents an accessible, thought-provoking, thoroughly engrossing
enhances the series as a whole. It is highly recommended for libraries
readers seeking the intersection of fiction, fact, and the
tension of a compelling political thriller.
Return to Index
979-8-9871624-0-8 $24.95 Hardcover/$17.95 Paper/$5.99 ebook
The Miracle at Assisi Hill is a Christian
mystery that follows the
investigation of battle-torn amateur historian Cora Tozzi, who is
from tongue cancer and tackling her religious questions in a convent.
befriends a nun with a secret and faces her husband's own serious
her prayers seem for naught. Or, are they?
a quest to solve a mystery combined with spiritual inspection creates a
which will prove especially compelling to Christian audiences looking
than intrigue alone.
special brand of investigation of psychological and mystery matters is
delightful, between its focus on Cora's life and ongoing spiritual
the dilemmas faced by a woman destined to become a saint.
conundrums Cora faces with her husband Cisco's startling mental health
in the face of physical illness ("She
had no idea Cisco’s personality could be affected like this. When her
had a stroke, she was impaired and confused, but her personality
same. This was a shock. Cisco just wasn’t acting like himself.")
subplots of ghost lore, Native American history and tribal interests,
miracles that portend religious revelations, the story is much more
a mystery or a Christian examination, but a multifaceted production
on various levels.
It's rare to
novel as accessible to a wide audience of readers as it is to genre
followers or fans of Christian fiction. Camalliere creates a memorable
that resonates on more than one level, offering a draw that invites
as well as moral and ethical examination.
note to know about its creation: the Sister who is presently in charge
canonization process for Mother Mary Theresa participated in the
editing of this
book to ensure its historical and Catholic authenticity.
The Miracle at Assisi Hill is thus highly
recommended not just for
libraries seeking genre mysteries that stand out, or for Christian
seeking fiction that invites thought and discussion, but for
readers who will find Cora's dilemmas and revelations about life,
what lies between are both intriguing and thoroughly engrossing.
Return to Index
Kirland Publishing House
$29.99 Hardcover/$13.99 Paper/$.99 ebook
multicultural romance thriller that opens in 1981 London, where Fareed
mother Fiona are discussing women and observing strangers. It's a
situation because Fareed already has a beautiful girlfriend (albeit one
mother dislikes because of her attitude and abusive ways).
storm of a different nature
evolves when Palestinian
Fareed meets Turkish Nadidé, evoking a love between them that
challenges their cultural backgrounds, perceptions, and the politics
them in thrall.
Abu-Rish's contrast between
not just Turkish and Palestinian history and politics but the Western
which also influences the couple creates a series of thought-provoking
encounters. Fareed and especially Nadidé find themselves at
odds with their heritage and upbringing as their
From juntas to groups of girlfriends and the
involvements and influences of spies and the entanglements of politics
families and daily lives, Abu-Rish presents a story that requires no
background in any of the cultures discussed to understand the
and disparate cultural histories of the characters.
Fareed is endangered and Fiona
struggles to help him, readers become involved not just in a romance,
political power struggles that reach out from the Middle East to
often confuse individual desires.
typical scenario of
disapproving families translates, in this bigger picture, to national
interests which coalesce into surprising influences on Fareed and Nadidé's choices and lives.
Abu-Rish's hand, 1980s
Turkey comes to life through the eyes of a diverse cast of characters
observations, ideals, and participation in political rebellion and
change come to
roost at home, affecting their loves and lives.
political enlightenment of a contemporary historical novel; the
of lovers fated to struggle not just with each other, but their
cultural influences; and the action and tense twists of a thriller.
all these elements in a
readable story that doesn't demand prior knowledge of the times or the
countries featured is no mean feat, but Abu-Rish achieves the difficult
making his novel accessible to all kinds of readers; from those who
political intrigue to others seeking the story of fated individuals who
the odds and their own backgrounds in the name of love.
and readers looking for
novels steeped in social and political conundrums, rich with emotional
and strong character development, and packed with action that moves
political to social circles will find Nad of Nadidé
Return to Index
978-1-7363525-1-9 $14.99 Paper/$6.99 ebook
and thriller genre readers are in for a treat with O'Brien's
Law, which deftly weaves elements of both into a story set in
Francisco, where Michael O’Brien works at the notable law
Upton and Ishwood. His latest case, a big-ticket suit over an
involves him in a crime that both profiles and tests his investigative
as much as his legal prowess.
McNellis provides a gripping story as Michael evolves from a brash
new lawyer whose position in the firm and in his career is uncertain,
investigator charged with locating missing estate money.
conflicted about not placing his career first, Michael is forced
to set aside some of his boredom and personal flamboyance to embark on
serious matter that reaches out to test both his life and his romantic
the course of discovering truths about the "loser" case
he's been handed, Michael unexpectedly encounters truths about his own
and life pursuits which force him to grow in unexpected ways.
is adept at portraying increasing threats that test the
psyches of not only Michael, but Marybeth Elliott and others who may
intended the results they achieve in protecting their special
hearts, and lives. Swift action combines with intrigue and romance as
faces threats to Marybeth and his own career, suddenly coming to
both matter more than he'd thought.
from his boredom and flighty ways, Michael finds his passion
both romantically and in his job as he pursues truths that threaten to
elude and crush him.
the evolution of "difficult man" Knox to the
possibilities of murder, an accidental death, and Marybeth's increasing
involvement in Michael's life, McNellis presents a novel of growth,
and special interests which blends legal and thriller elements in an
interested in stories that embrace elements of love and
adversity alike will find O'Brien's Law a gripping
study in revised life
approaches and a young man's real coming-of-age test of not just
ethics and love.
Return to Index
979-8985662443 $26.00 Hardcover/$4.99 Kindle
Rebels in Pisa is a historical mystery that presents the fifth
book in the Nico
Argenti series, combining intrigue with the political atmosphere of Renaissance Italy in 1465. Nico and his
fellow Florentine Security Commissioners conceal their identities to
undercover with the Pisan loyalists, trying to identify their rebel
before he fosters an insurrection.
presented as Nico races against time to not only identify the leader,
the tide of events that threaten the security and safety of Florence
to the thoughts and perceptions of ordinary men, readers learn about
economic, social, and political undercurrents of Pisa during these
“You asked about Pisans with animosity toward
Florence. Yes, there are
men who say Pisa should reclaim its independence. You have only to
the business owners and the men who cannot find work to hear their
They don’t hide their beliefs. They voice their complaints openly.”
political and social observations, and trials and accusations that
immerse Nico and his readers in a series of conflicts that portray the
simmering siege and tidal changes of Pisa, Florence, and the
Ken Tentarelli brings these conflicts to life, staying true to both history and mystery as Nico delves deeper into a quagmire of opposing beliefs about Pisa's place in the world.
attention to building atmosphere and presenting historical facts makes
especially compelling work that needs no prior introduction to Nico's
position from previous books in order to prove completely accessible to
experiences courtroom victories that are accompanied by disturbing
and ongoing puzzles, readers will find his story engrossing and packed
unexpected twists and turns.
readers seeking exceptional attention to the development of both
foundations and an underlying mystery that shakes the political and
structure of Renaissance Italy will welcome the fast pace and insights
in Pisa employs to involve readers in the times through
investigative savvy and eyes.
Return to Index
She's a Lot
Joseph and Associates
979-8386120573 $15.00 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
a Lot Like
You is a suspense-filled
drama—a sequel to Jim Christ’s 2018 mystery novel,
Ways To Be Wicked, but the author’s latest work stands
nicely on its own, and it is steeped in moral ambiguity and societal
as much as it is in intrigue. Christ not only takes his readers on a
action-packed ride; he also leads them to an understanding of the
impacts of debt and sacrifice as he probes the cost of one man’s
of indebtedness and responsibility, high school principal Enrique
wrestles with the decision to attempt the rescue of a girl named Rosa
from a life of hopelessness and
is not only one of his students but more importantly the young woman
his ten-year-old daughter from sex traffickers only to wind up herself
family to danger in the past, Tavish wonders if he even has the right
undertake the rescue, but the debt he owes to Rosa is too deep to
he forges ahead despite the moral and practical sea of troubles he must
He hopes to avoid scrutiny regarding his motives from his wife and a
too-inquisitive public, and he sets up an elaborate plan to establish a
presence in northern Arizona as an alibi while he covertly pursues Rosa
captors into Mexico under an assumed identity. Besides, he thinks,
little hope of actually finding the girl, and his investigation will be
long and thorough enough to quiet his conscience and buy him some inner
He believes the whole operation will take only one or two nights away
home, and no one will be the wiser.
underestimated the terrifying forces he is unleashing upon his home
school and his community when he opens Rosa’s deadly Pandora’s Box. His
entanglement in lies and half-truths, along with the psychological
past trauma, pull him into a world of sexual exploitation, human
and, ultimately, murder.
not just to Rosa but to new understandings of the ways in which she’s
“Rosa thinks of herself as all grown up then. It makes me realize she’s
forced prematurely into a woman’s roles, assuming responsibility for
people, for one thing.” Still, he begins to wonder if he was a fool for
Rosa and freeing her from her captors because he can only watch as she
heinously ruthless brand of revenge.
In She’s a Lot Like You, Christ confronts readers with the cruelty and social injustice that are the inseparable realities of kidnapping and human trafficking; perhaps more basic, as his protagonist seeks redemption, Christ has his readers reckoning the costs for the pursuit of duty and a quiet mind.
dilemmas carry this novel to a thoughtful place that most
do not even approach. An engrossing story rendered with passion and
Return to Index
Skin for Skin
Gordian Knot Books/Crossroad Press
978-1-63789-709-6 $4.99 ebook/$22.99 Print
robbed one night in 1930s Kansas. One additional, who never makes it to
table, is murdered in a macabre situation. Two farm families already
with their calling find equal challenge in their hearts and lives as
reaches out to enfold them in a poker game's dangerous stakes and the
and revenge which results.
the Kansas Murders series is best imbibed by readers of the prior
who will find Skin for Skin a
powerful conclusion to the trilogy. This does not mean that newcomers
denied accessibility. From an opening section listing a cast of
their relationships, and the care Melvin Litton takes to build the
and environment of the times, the story reaches out in many ways, right
the start: "The sun tips down the
dusty sky to spill its last light over the broad horizon then drops
empty bottle beyond the tall weeds. The wind blows hard at the end of
leaving line and shadow ill-defined, all relic moments in the ruined
the poker game and events that follow chart the rushes of landscape in
manner that brings this world to life, flavors it with intimate
between life, death, and the shade that lies between, then serves as an
intriguing introduction to the more worldly events that follow.
and departure to the plot proves to be a device that cements
intentions, and a sense of place with the overlay of metaphor and
and psychological observation.
themselves walking the rough streets of 1930s Elim, Kansas, considering
religious reading and mythological references and analyzing characters
their ulterior motives. Changing scenarios then test their mettle: "...given all they do without she
admires her dad’s stubborn effort to keep their farm. And he keeps
despite the odds. Never gives up, keeps working like their grandad who
and says, 'Give me a couple good crops, I’ll spring back.'”
cemented by supercharged words and revelations that connect characters
cultural roots, religious inspection, and social change:
"'Would you say those fellows found a prospect?'
having heard little else from his dad all summer.
Brigham wakes from his listen and turns.
'They have prospect but none I would hold. You can strike a match ’n light a candle or lamp to see by. Or light a fuse ’n blast yer way. Them fellas lit a fuse.'"
To call Skin for Skin a mystery or suspense
piece would be both accurate and an injustice. Based on real events
cement the historical value of this novel, it is as vivid in its
the 1930s as it is in its probe of mercurial intentions and changing
seeking literary intrigue and thought-provoking surveys of gambling and
and their lasting impact on families and communities alike will find Skin for Skin a powerful exploration. It
feels complex in the amount of characters and topics it presents and
upon, but is completely riveting in its approach and discussions.
Return to Index
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
9781509249527 $5.99 ebook
Althea's Awakening adds a third book to
the School of Enlightenment
series of steamy romance novels, expanding the characters and attention
romance cultivated in prior books by Maggie Sims.
Egerton is looking to enlarge both her business and her love life. Both
be easy if she could find a rich suitor, but having been in thrall in
ways in one relationship, she is loath to compromise her newfound
with another marriage. An investor seems a more appropriate choice;
if he comes with added benefits.
Women often chase the Earl of Cheltenham:
he's seen as the perfect suitor. Sexually, intriguing, strong, and
match Althea's own strengths and pursuits...if she'd have him.
Maggie Sims creates a story that is vivid in its inspection of social, political, and personal ambition: "...her defenses rose. This was the second time he was poking at her marriage. Neither Thomas nor she deserved that. Her marriage had been no better or worse than anyone else’s. Anything she’d wished for was outside of the norm, but it was not Thomas’s fault he was traditional."
Like most men, Lord
Cheltenham wants "full
control" over his destiny and his women. He's in for a surprise,
if ever a woman were committed to not giving in, it's Althea. Even if
enjoying a form of sexual pleasure she's been unable to achieve in the
Steamy sexual scenes weave
nicely into a story of a
strong man and woman who find they are both colliding and joining their
ambitions and lives. The tie between sexual and business explorations
intriguingly made as the duo dance to a very different tune than either
anticipated from their lives.
Sims profiles the propriety
of the times in evocative
scenes which set the stage for exploration and realization:
evening, dusk turned to twilight as Evan rode to Althea’s home. To
risking her reputation, he turned the horse to the alley leading to the
behind the house. Leaving his horse, he was faced with a dilemma. It
to knock there like a servant, but he could not very well use his key
servants were about, making dinner. He knocked, dredging up every ounce
panache he could to nod as though it were normal for an earl to call at
The result is another vivid
romance both adding to the
School of Enlightenment series and creating characters that bend to the
of their social status while remaining true to their ambitions and
Libraries and readers
seeking titillating Regency
romances and intersections between personal lives and business pursuits
Awakening a delightful story that approaches growth and
discovery from very different vantage points than most Regency reads
Return to Index
978-1662919350 $9.99 Paper/$4/99 ebook
The Call of
Jeremiah McGill is a novel set in
1970s Missouri in the small town of Cape Creek,
where the eleven-year-old black son of a pastor stands on the cusp of
turbulence in society, his father's idea of what his future should be,
own growing confusion over his faith and destiny, Jeremiah McGill finds too many questions
and opportunities in store for his future.
the story is akin to the care that Harper Lee took in building the
of To Kill A Mockingbird. The same
close attention to small-town details, a preteen's evolving eye for the
world and his place in it, and the surprising changes that come from
friendships suddenly changed makes for a study in shifting perspectives
every bit as astute and compelling as Lee's classic.
intersection of black and white communities assumes a special air of
as events bring them together in unexpected ways:
"I have never seen so many saints looking at our
visitors. Most of
us hadn’t been to a white church before, nor had we seen how white
in such settings. Judging by what we’d seen on them Catholic shows,
more reserved when it came to praising the Lord, but not Mr. Helderman.
more hallelujahs and amens than some of the saints who had been there
which brings church and community in sync with a young boy's life
Joseph Moore's own experiences. Perhaps this is why the story feels
particularly realistic and rich in its observations and representations
young boy who at first resists, then steps into his role as he becomes
to be reckoned with, both socially and spiritually.
readers interested in coming-of-age works that hold the compelling
finding one's place in a faith-based family during a hectic time of
change will find The Call of Jeremiah McGill a
powerful tale that
captures a 'Preacher Kid' and his world in a compelling manner that
times, choices, and perspective to life.
Return to Index
The Green Path
9798422072750 $5.95 kindle/$11.99 paperback
historical fiction is rooted in revolution in Guatemala and the issues
drove college student Concepcion to America in the 1980s to study her
for the piano away from the guerilla
war which is consuming her nation and
everything she loves. Despite the passion she holds for her art and her
successful flight away from oppression, Concepcion comes to realize
past is never far behind her as nightmares haunt her sleep.
Those around her recognize
her struggle; from Vietnamese
immigrant Ngo, who also continues to struggle with the loss of his own
and roots to war and conflict, to a teacher who is personally familiar
oppression Concepcion fled from in Guatemala.
This circle of disparate
friends and mentors surround
Concepcion with not only support, but gentle reminders that she is in a
different milieu despite her ties to the past. The challenge lies in
conflict between her craft and the secrets she holds in her heart.
She is making a new life,
but the past is never far
behind. It follows her in the form of sponsors and romances, in the
that represent beauty sacrificed in the name of economics, and in the
she has made to either ignore and repress or accept matters she cannot
The culture and social
impact of her moves both in
Guatemala and in her new home in central Missouri are woven into the
story in a
delicate manner that builds upon small realizations to create a
a child, Hernando told her of the Quetzal’s sacred status among her
she’d never seen one until she came to Steiner’s modest preserve.
'The people need food,' she shrugged.
'Yes, Conchita. It is sad. To lose beauty for food.'”
These moments of revelation
are unfolded slowly in gifts
of reality and new possibilities as Concepcion searches for her true
amidst personal, social, and political currents of conflict at home and
Steven Clark's ability to
bring Guatemala's milieu to
life through various characters' eyes and changing perspectives is one
of achievement that makes The Green Path
an exceptional read:
countryside rippled with mountains, Guatemala City had manmade
smoldering refuse. Eduardo went there for pictures. Bodies dumped by
squads, beggars grubbing for scraps from a flotsam of consumer culture,
trotting off with a human hand in its mouth. Foreign papers paid well
The power of this story lies
not just in Concepcion's
revelations and secret, but in the immersion of others in the reality
Guatemala's struggles and the impact of atrocities on the hearts and
all involved, whether they be participants or observers.
permeates a story that places
readers firmly on the soil of two very different nations, leading to
inspections that test heart and mind. This offers book clubs and social
reading groups much food for discussion in the process of the story.
Libraries and readers
seeking evocative, powerful
literary works of historical fiction and psychological depth will find The Green Path especially compelling not
just for its story of an individual immigrant seeking refuge and
for a nation seeking the same opportunities.
Return to Index
Ruth and her
husband have moved mountains to build a megachurch empire, but in Heaven & Earth, the mountain has
just erupted in a big way. This results in a scandal that leads to
from their own creation and community as they flee into the backwoods
a small Missouri farm.
betrayal has not only shaken the foundations of their church and
causes Ruth to veer from her own preset course in life as a beloved
wife, leading her to question virtually everything she's believed about
world. Well known for her inner wisdom and ability to save others, Ruth
now train her light on a mission that is perhaps impossible—saving her
and herself. The cost of that venture may be greater than the
divorce or remaining married.
presents a multifaceted story that questions a diverse set of notions
the world operates, from opinions about homosexuality and marriage to a
proves to be very different than the façade she's accepted all these
One of the
of this novel lies in Ruth's revelations about the illusions and truths
entire life, which are portrayed in such evocative language that
drawn to her dilemma:
"As for heaven, now that Ruth stared once more into
the reality of
its existence, she wondered what was perfection without imperfection?
glory without defeat? What was light without darkness? What was
you couldn’t compare it to sorrow? She knew these questions would be
anyone saw them flickering in her mind, especially the two people
to her in the aseptic waiting room, but Ruth couldn’t keep her thoughts
bursting forth any more than she could stop the morning sun from rising
the hospital windows. A Savior. A God. Angels. Mansions. Crowns of
Streets made of gold. These are the ideals of a ten-year-old child who
believes in unicorns and fairytale endings and needs something to
herself from the realities of life dawning on her."
growth mirrors many paths in life which create set courses and then are
diverted by circumstances which introduce different realities and
challenge seemingly-solid foundations.
As she and
attempt to forge a new life and face difficult decisions that change
they've believed in, Ruth discovers that even she can continue moving
and upward, even though everything she knew to be solid truth is shaken
revelations about her world.
Heaven & Earth is outstanding in
its evocative probe of this
process. It's a novel highly recommended not just for libraries and
seeking stories of spiritual and psychological growth, but for book
examining women's lives and issues, religious lives and mindsets, and
of family changes that reach out to touch all with the promise of
Return to Index
Wild Rose Pres
978-1509245833 $17.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
in a paranormal Law of Love romance series, I
Dream of Demigods,
introduces a steamy romance scene featuring handsome boss Alex from the
few sentences. Part of the attraction is physical and part is an
emotional draw that adds icing to the cake of coworker love: “Listening
caring is just being decent. It shouldn’t be shocking.”
immersed in a scenario that smacks of sex but reeks of emotional
as well, as the story captures romance readers with the dual pull of
and emotional strength.
unfolds, the paranormal element also catches fire as readers learn that
Ro Baird's passion
awakens within her
latent powers that allow her to access her magical potential with the
help of a
a tale of love or magical growth, because Alex is actually a
demigod from beyond. To such a being, emotional manipulation is more
fine art—it's a way of life. Can Ro trust a being who is better versed
subterfuge than she will ever be?
unfolds a dilemma that operates in many unexpected realms, going beyond
traditional romance or paranormal story evolution as Ro and Alex
special conjoined form of magic in an effort to thwart the underlying
of Hades itself.
of ironic humor is reinforced by first-person explorations that
intrigue and new possibilities. Each evolve in different directions
seasoned romance or paranormal reader would anticipate:
"Just because Alex
trusted Melanie didn’t mean
she was trustworthy. But I had power now, a way to suss out her true
intentions. If only I could get closer to her. 'Can you give Elizabeth
kind of magical emergency that keeps her from being in that meeting at
Food poisoning, maybe? Getting stuck in an elevator?'”
it's against company policy for Ro and Alex to entertain a romance. And
also against the kinds of powers that govern each of their lives. But
holds no barriers, and so Ro and Alex pursue each other and their
through changed lives and milieus which are challenged by their
and underlying motives.
ability to embed the story with all kinds of personal revelations,
romantic and psychic transformations makes for a vivid read that is
Ro's first-person descriptions and the characters she interacts with.
readers seeking a blend of paranormal and romance elements that each
beyond the usual premises and psychological developments to produce
outside the norm will relish I Dream of Demigods for
its ability to fly
in the face of convention in a passionate, supercharged manner that
rollicking good read.
Return to Index
Regal House Publishing, LLC
9781646033256 $22.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
is set in the rural
South and follows what happens when two very different worlds
collide—the worlds of retired white Colonel Randolph Jefferson Lee and
elderly Black woman grieving the murder of her niece by a white man.
abandoned, ancient field that lies between them, "...tucked
between the Cedar River and the monstrous pines of the Gooley Ridge,"
serves as an unexpected impetus for change and a meeting point for
secrets of the past as these two disparate lives are thrown together by
circumstance of an auto accident.
rich lilt of Southern dialogue, the intersection of Black and White
communities, and the prejudices and assumptions that follow historical
of division are injected into a story as tumultuous in its characters'
realizations about hidden truths as it is about the interactions
disparate worlds that coexist alongside one another:
man stood before him, red-haired and freckled. Blue eyes searing. Face
red as a
'Pa died,' Rand said. If they hated Pa so much, that would surely make them happy.
'Drunk hisself to death, I reckon.'
'No, sir. No, sir. It was the Bartley Mine.' He stood up straighter. A mountain killed his pa. Not drink.'"
characters that interact both within and outside their families and
communities are powerfully depicted. Part of Marjorie Hudson's special
includes an attention to detail that successfully winds history and
into present-day perceptions and lives:
1954 when I come home from Baltimore. Supreme Court
just ruled white schools are for colored too. I read it in the paper. I
my new path, and it seems like the rest of the world is too. But sad
Poolesville is hardly there anymore. All our fine young Black men have
each character confronts the secrets that shatter their carefully
construed realities, readers are injected into the heart of Southern
and perception in a manner that makes this novel sparkle with a
of place and heritage. This also makes the characters' disparate lives
decisions more understandable, as impossible situations test possible
is set in the rural
South, but that doesn't mean its people and dilemmas aren't accessible
Northerners. All who imbibe will find the rich loam of the Southern
world to be
a compelling draw that makes this story hard to put down and impossible
and readers seeking literary explorations of Southern
heritage spiced with a touch of intrigue and mystery will find the
and people portrayed in Indigo Field to be more
than realistic. They nearly
walk off the page to sit beside the reader with a fan and a glass of
Return to Index
The Islands Call
978-1735037622 $14.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook
The Islands Call: A
Time Travel Adventure blends
history and romance into a
time-travel quest. The plot centers on Seattle astrology columnist and
part-time fortune teller Gino Calabrese and his chance encounter with
investigator Sara Shore at a party.
determination to expose the truth masks her own unusual clairvoyant
which has destroyed one than one relationship in her past. This is why
keeps her talent and emotions hidden, even though Gino wants them to
more than friends.
experienced with either time travel or romance stories may think
where this is all going—but they'd be wrong. Gino becomes lost in time,
though Sara knows he's gone missing and is in trouble, even she can't
him to help him.
Frykholm's pen, the story becomes steeped in historical details of the
The Black Death threatens Gino as much as the close attentions of a
teenager and Gino's assignment to become the personal
Signore Ottavio, a dangerous man who condemns charlatans to death.
tested to recall not only general history of the times, but the
power of the church and the popes that resided in Avignon before
Columbus. Ironically, a tattoo forces him to state that he can "read
stars" and gives him both a false status and a charge to live up to the
illusion he is forced to weave about his astrological prowess in a time
religion and the supernatural co-exist too close together.
no way out. But in this case, Gino's life depends on Sara, who is
worlds away. Her clairvoyant abilities may be the only thing that can
most time-travel adventures, Frykholm weaves detailed historical events
so seamlessly into her story that readers who choose The Islands Call for
either its promise of romance or its timeslip action will find the
times and their
challenges especially realistic and inviting.
strong developments of characters Gino and Sara and the logic behind
actions and reactions, The Islands Call is riveting
unfold from Gino's unexpected foray into the past or Sara's growing
something is wrong that only she can mend.
through Italy and matters of the heart unfolds with a compelling series
twists that bring history to life and inject it directly into the
minds of two characters who find their fates inexplicably and
result is a
powerhouse of a story that captures with introductory character
and then reinforces these different personalities and their quests with
of historical fact and psychological growth that keeps them challenged
their environment, their tangled knots of possibility, and their
connections to each other and the psychic forces that lie behind their
The Islands Call's ability to blend these
influences into a compelling adventure makes it highly recommended not
the usual timeslip reader, but for romance and history buffs and
looking for a read that's edgy and engrossing. The
Islands Call is unpredictably attractive in its contrast of
modern times and events of hundreds of years past that portend there
will be no
easy closure or recovery for either character.
Return to Index
George P. Tymitz
Key Number 17: A
Ukrainian Grandfather’s Odyssey of
Courage is a novel that brings to
life the history and culture of the Ukrainian people. It deserves
attention during these modern times of the Ukrainian war and struggles
brings to life the pre-Revolutionary Ukraine of 1905.
Creshenko's visit to his grandson in the hospital after teen Bobby is
beaten prompts Olek to teach his grandson about courage and resistance.
in order to
do so, he needs to go back in time to confront his own demons and the
that altered his life, forcing many impossible decisions that haunt him
between the worlds of Chicago in the 1950s and 60s to events that
formulated his life in his homeland of Ukraine in the early 1900s,
receive an engrossing contrast in social, political, and cultural
These set the stage for a greater understanding of present-day events.
between the now-in-his-eighties grandfather and his grandson (who is
now in his
twenties) forms and is featured in a story that examines relationships
those of not only different generations, but different cultural
Olek's own seven children don't help him in the way that Bobby does.
has helped Bobby find his own special connections to courage and his
even as Bobby now helps him navigate old age and increasing uncertainty
anticipating that this novel will be about Ukraine history and
might be surprised at the dovetailing of Ukraine's history with the
powerful focus on how different generations connect, learn from one
and receive support from past struggles that impart lessons to
draws important correlations between these life lessons and decisions
they are perceived by different generations, adding elements of
to solidify and profile these disparate perceptions and experiences
"Olek had helped
him understand the many ways in
which he could find courage, in which he could have the confidence to
himself in challenging interactions with others, in which he could
good feelings about himself. Likewise, Bobby had helped Olek understand
meanings of sad events which had occurred so many years ago and which
the old man an emotional cripple and a hopeless alcoholic."
Tymitz creates to more closely examine the wellsprings of these bonds,
as the disconnects between Olek and his children, contribute to a
that is as much about learning to forge a life with courage,
honor as it is about events in Ukraine or their resonating impact on
generations in other countries.
someone hands you the key to understanding courage. It's also rare to
immigrant's story so strongly rooted in the progression and results of
experiences and lessons that translate between generations, sometimes
a generation in the process.
seeking stories whose roots lie in Old Country Ukraine will find Key
17 is so much more than the usual immigrant's tale. Its
compelling story of
different generations that share a route to courage is hard to put down
worthy not just of individual reading, but book club profile:
“Robert,” he said.
“We help each other. Keep key with
you always. Use it when you need reminder of who you are – a brave man,
man. I am very proud of you. But remember, you must use key for good,
evil. I forget this on cold night in Kiev long ago, and all my life I
for my mistake.”
Return to Index
Armin Lear Press Inc.
978-1-956450-50-7 $24.95 Paper/$7.99 ebook
Liv's Secrets doesn't sound like a
historical novel, but it comes
steeped in the genre's best trappings of action and facts. It follows a
fictional South African Jewish family's journey from Eastern Europe to
Africa, where currents of prejudice and racism follow them to affect
list of characters opens the story. While some might translate this to
weighty novel that will feature fluctuating major players and a
belays emotional investment in people and outcomes, such a perception
be further from the truth.
approach is designed to introduce and streamline the many characters
interact on the pages and arena of historical change, and this prologue
review helps readers immediately place the characters and their
the Weisz family members evolves over a series of decades and different
generations, such a review lends a foundation of knowledge to the story
makes it easier to become involved in its personas and events from the
narrator Liv opens the tale with a reflection on her present
post-apartheid world, and memories good and bad that might pass with
the importance of preserving these experiences for future generations
do not go
"We learn history from survivors’ horrific
nightmares? Is this all
we have to share? Nightmare stories. Our century was one of struggle
strife. Perhaps I’ve lived too long? I’m forgetting the beauty of life;
forgetting the joy, the love, and the surprises."
As the saga
it becomes a template for other scattered South African Jewish family
experiences, revealing the social, political, and emotional ties that
tested by history and life.
introduction leads to third-person descriptions of the 1960s in South
and the events which unfold to present new challenges to her family.
timeline that moves from past to present is clearly identified in
headers that keep readers on track about the changing milieu which
and her family in new directions.
fiction has been written about Jewish experiences in South Africa. This
combined with Janet Levine's enticing attention to capturing life under
repressive White South African government and its lasting impact on the
of all strata of society, makes for a story that is rich in historical
compelling in its social examination, and cemented by family and
that face difficult decisions on how to live their lives and reflect
values and ideals.
those strong in cross-cultural fictional explorations of Jewish
experience in history—will find Liv's
Secrets a thought-provoking, delightful exploration that
ideally will find
its way to discussion groups interested in South African history and
cultural experience in particular.
Return to Index
Cynthia Newberry Martin
Vine Leaves Press
978-0-6454365-7-0 $17.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
reinvented after they become child-free, considering what happens to
when they have finished their childrearing job and find themselves once
an unexpected twist, each makes a decision to continue their lives
not shared, but in different directions. Will quits his job in
staying home with Angelina. In turn, she quits her at-home position in
returning to work as a nurse.
twenty-two years of set roles, each finds their new position both
transformative and alienating as they encounter different people who
to revise their ideas of what retired life together will be.
novels follow post-childrearing dilemmas in long-term marriage as
realistically and astutely as Love Like This. As
considers safety, growth, and different perceptions of the world,
be together or grown apart, readers follow an evolutionary process
evolves from the small acts, decisions, and reactions of daily living: "This
part, at least, seemed normal. Him outside by himself cooking on the
Angelina in the kitchen. Water that he made safe being put on the
table. But he
didn’t make the water safe anymore."
distance, revisions, and love that they feel for each other come to
light as powerfully as the forces that threaten to drive them apart.
years of connection, these come as almost a surprise. After 22 years of
commitment, new revelations revise the bigger picture of these
connections: "She was the love of his life. But she wanted an
house and he wanted to be in the house with her—with her wanting to be
with him. And he couldn’t make her want that."
than a predictable story of distancing, Cynthia Newberry Martin's
odyssey is also a journey of coming together in revised ways. The small
of giving and intimacy which forge innovative paths are delicately
creating moving moments which continually revise outcomes readers may
anticipate, but which pause on the brink of unfolding.
characters that are introduced to supplement the main characters in
unusual ways are equally intriguing as they dance around and reinforce
couple's changes. The disparate viewpoints of the two are especially
seeking a love story of a long-term marriage that faces
internal and external forces of change will find Love Like
This as rare
as a ruby, as brilliant as a diamond, and as subtle as a series of
surprise gifts. Each unwraps into a different possibility, and each
steeped in love explorations that carry characters and reader on
fresh revelations about marriage will provide especially intriguing
discussion points for both book clubs and groups discussing long-term
Return to Index
The Possibility of Everywhere
Everywhere: Casablanca to Oklahoma City, Kathmandu to Timbuktu
is a novel
following the life of Cindy Hollingsworth, who receives a hard lesson
from her own father, that females are inconsequential in life.
It's a lesson she thoroughly
refutes in her adult years
as Cindy learns about other cultures, powerful figures (such as Isis,
Indian Kali, and Saint Teresa of Ávila), and begins an examination of
and gender empowerment that changes her ideas of self, her place in the
From the start, Beth Harkins
adopts a tone of revelation
and discovery, starting in 1953 Morocco, when Cindy first receives the
that her life and position are of little value. The story then moves
milieu in which Cindy learns that, in fact, women can
cultivate a unique brand of feminine power that holds the
ability to heal and connect disparate individuals no matter their
Also present from the start
is a cosmopolitan perspective
which has Cindy operating in different cultures, setting the stage for
transformative process that encourages her to accept her abilities and
them into the world.
Her acknowledgement of the
impact of this transformation
on those she loves, who may not understand, is particularly well
about the email I’d received from Charlie at home in Oklahoma. Reading
the lines, I sensed how much he was entrenched in his familiar way of
That’s when I worried that both he and Abby, the two people I loved
most in the
world, might not grasp the ways our Western lifestyles strangle us and
the Divine Feminine. Pushing men and women to assume distorted
in the workplace and even at home. Often making us depressed or sick,
imagine another future. By living life entrenched in Western society
demands, despite its benefits, Charlie and Abby might not be open to
opening in me. The thought terrified me."
This example is only one
strength to a story that
explores not just one young woman's growth, but her choices and impact
society at large.
As she "sends shock waves to
people she loves,"
Cindy juxtaposes connecting to inner wisdom and courage with navigating
changes to her family and relationships that these new ventures
complexity revolving around her newfound understandings and the
stemming from her travels and experiences makes for an engrossing read.
Libraries seeking novels
about transformative growth,
travel adventures, and new possibilities that stem from change will
find The Possibility Of Everywhere
intriguing. It's a solid recommendation for book clubs interested in
literary explorations of growth, independence, and the impact of life
on the greater world.
Return to Index
ASIN: B0BWX78LV5 $3.99 ebook
The Rebirth is a novel that differs from
most stories of parental
trauma over a child's death in several important ways.
protagonist is a
father who is angry with himself for not fulfilling his role as his
protector. Damned by his own fury and never-ending grief, Mark's
threatens to consume the rest of his life.
Roneros is also
a fallen man—but in a different way. Beaten down by illness and the
the murdering Imperatores who stalk him and force him into the life of
recluse, Jason is at once dying and seeking redemption.
connected in more than one way; and yet are so distant from one another
seems their disparate and broken lives will force them apart while
one another in unusual ways.
together in their final attempt to achieve liberation and salvation.
of Dermot Walsh which opens this story is the tipping point for
trajectory away from one another with an encounter that portends a
psychological experience neither was prepared for.
suffering: "A monster had stolen the
life from it, and the boyish giggles had given place to creases on the
And just like that, there was a constant wound in the mom’s heart, and
smile had turned into hot tears, a wail that would never stop." Perhaps
her mandate to find courage is the greatest challenge of all, but it
the new roles the two men find themselves both fielding and embracing
pursue secrets, signs of truth, and self-revelations.
multifaceted story that attracts on different levels. Spiritual readers
appreciate the component of discovery and mystical interludes that
unusual journey, while those who look for mystery and intrigue will
find The Rebirth embraces both as
characters move from their comfort zones to new possibilities and
Readers who look for psychological depth in their novels will find
opportunities for reconsidering what makes heroes and monsters
Evans takes the time to delve into the purposes and perceptions of
aforementioned monsters—especially hit man Victor Taylor, who is tasked
both ending lives and uncovering their secrets.
will find that The Rebirth touches
its audience on different levels. Its special blend of mysticism,
discovery, interpersonal interactions, and close inspections of
men makes it a highly recommended read for a broad audience.
Return to Index
The Saint Louisans
9798835135103 $5.95 kindle/$11.99 paperback
Louisans, hospice nurse Lee Bridger sees a lot of death. She
herself unexpectedly in the middle of a family fray involving an
the future of a historical mansion, and the opposing interests of a
matriarch and the children who would tear down her legacy to profit
Hell hath no fury like a
heritage scorned, but Margot's
fiery method of making sure her children don't achieve their goals
after she is
gone places Lee in a uniquely conflicted position where her actions and
are scrutinized by the public eye like never before.
As Steven Clark weaves a
story about inheritance, fury,
and families behaving badly at the end of life, readers will find an
blend of historical issues and humor drives a plot filled with
confrontational hardheads that are affected by Lee's services and
that moment, I
thought I’d had enough of him. Of this. So did Philip. If he dies, I
don’t care. That’s a cold thing to live with. I don’t have Terri’s
and spending, nor Pierre’s Gesshoji and spiritualism. I do have my
God, and his love, but I also have that last night. The last words my
as he stormed out.” Her eyes hardened. “The last time I saw him alive.”
...My pause was brief. “I want you to make up with your children.”
She shook her head. “They’re so ugly, now. They want money. They want to destroy.”
As Lee "does battle for the
cause" and finds
her life turning in a different direction than her hospice charge,
with her through a milieu in which one powerful family's special
shaken not by death, but by end-of-life decisions about how a legacy
and change the future.
has its own karma." Lee's own is no different, but the
reactions she has crafted in the course of her work will change that
her own perception of her place in the world.
While humor is replete in
these encounters, readers
should by no means anticipate a funny ride into ironic experiences
alone. The Saint Louisans is a
inspection of family relationships and objectives that utilizes humor
contrast the brutal nature of emotional clashes and special interests
the wider impact of changes and family legacies.
Those expecting a linear
story will also be happily
delighted by the time Clark takes to create powerfully evocative
descriptions that sing:
shuts down organ by organ. The heart and brain the last ones to keep
on. Memories are refractions of time. They’re blips on the screen of
heartbeat, going to 2/4 time. She becomes a theory: space and mass are
relative, and no mass leaves only time. You focus, but there’s too much
on in each picture. All buzz and minuteness. You want an essence. One
good memory. The funeral. Hello, Tom. Aunt Mary. A picnic. Delivering
first baby: super nurse. No. Something better. Light. Music. Midsummer."
It is in passages such as
these that the true essence and
power of The Saint Louisans comes
Libraries and readers
looking for literary works that
capture the beating heart of transformation on many different levels,
with an unexpected icing of humor that emerges at different moments in
process, will find The Saint Louisans
an excellent read.
Return to Index
Creative James Media
978-1956183528 $12.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
Sushi and Sea Lions is a study in
romantic comedy that literally
opens with a hilarious bang: "I
glanced over at . . . Billy? I think his name was Billy. If it was,
he'd be the
third one since the walking boot came off. Like the Three Billy Goats
Trip trap, trip trap right into my bed. Especially after one too many
ballerina Daniela Verdi fills her newly-vacated days and life with a
distractions that lead her away from what her dream life has
encounters Vincent LaBate, who harbors his own reasons for avoiding his
revised life and any possibilities of romance.
relationship that is both healing and extraordinary as it evolves new
possibilities and reveals the chinks of old patterns that come back to
each of them.
novel represents a delightful romp through vastly revised possibilities
worldviews that take each character on a sentimental journey through
dreams and new circumstances. Vincent and Daniela are well aware that
lives are different, but what is less apparent is what is needed to
permanent revisions in how they approach the future and romance.
As life is
through Daniela's first-person confessions, readers receive an
is candid and vividly realistic: "I
used to be alive, filled with fire, consuming the world like tomorrow
never come. I relished a good love story, the exertion of leaping
ballet studio, the sighs a piece of art could emit from me. Since the
since my heartbreak, I'd lost my desire. It was time to find it again
Billys weren't doing the trick."
her life and heart, Daniela comes to realize the potential for a very
life, complete with new possibilities and goals: "I
couldn’t believe this was happening. That I could possibly be
everything Vinny wanted. That this was real life and I was here being
to Vinny’s bed like a princess. Like his princess."
juxtapose the evolving growth both between the romantic partners and
individual experiences and special interests creates a well-crafted
replete in intimacy, sexual exploration, and emotional growth. Vivid
descriptions even conclude with recipes.
steamy sex scenes for romance readers who like their stories hot, but
insights into the couple's interactions not just with each other, but
and friends around them. These contribute to a tale as fully vested in
exploring the patterns of developing relationships as it is to
physical attractions that develop between two already-strong characters.
perfect special blend of humor, growth, romance, and dreams altered and
realized will find Sushi and Sea Lions
a fine study in great expectations, unexpected endings, and new
Return to Index
Neil Perry Gordon
979-8987563205 $16.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Thunder Falls: The
Leopold Red Wolf
any collection strong in Western fiction and Native American
explores the evolution of protagonist Leopold Wolf in the
journey led him to become an outspoken Native American rights advocate
era when the concept of Native rights was barely an idea, much less a
The roots of
quest actually begin when he is eight and observes his mother's
when a cannonball is fired through their house by the Confederacy
opening days of the Battle of Carlisle. Tasked with taking care of his
at too young an age, Wolf grows up with the weight of the adult world
on his young
shoulders. This sets the stage for his later involvement in the
School, which employs Wolf and Son Woodworking in a much-needed
that the business arrangement would lead to social change and revised
in his life: "Much as I was involved
in crafting every inch of those structures, what I didn’t know was how
was going to change once the Carlisle Indian School opened its doors,
my narrowed outlook on the world would cease to exist."
juxtaposes fictional drama with historical fact in a satisfying way,
to life the milieu of the late 1800s and the political influences on
American lives and futures.
comes to many
new realizations that revolutionize his life trajectory, so readers
politics and influences of times which lead Wolf to make uncommon
that lead him to become an advocate for Native Americans.
rich contrast between ethical and moral values and the social compass
changing White society and Native Americans alike as issues of
repression, and civil rights rise to the forefront.
history encourages important dialogues between contemporary readers and
interested in the too-wild West and methods by which it was perceived,
seeking a fictional story that attracts with realistic scenarios and
will find Thunder Falls a powerful
social observation of many of the forces in this bygone world which
influence behaviors and choices today.
in a cliffhanger which portends further coverage of Wolf's journey and
education, maintaining that, despite all the events that have
his real education is just beginning.
Return to Index
is a novel of psychological growth that covers the journey undertaken
ten-year-old Paul, whose flight from his dysfunctional family leads him
abandon his younger sister Bethany in an effort to save himself.
the separated siblings reunite under the care of a psychotherapist
to rebuilding their relationship with each other and their estranged
It's a momentous effort that holds growth implications and threats to
psyches of all three clients.
in 1963 in White Plains, where Paul and his younger sister Bethany
supportive relationship. Bethany admires her older brother ("Paulie
doesn’t have imagination, but he has everything else that makes him my
brother in the whole world."), but his decisions drive them
ways neither could have anticipated or changed.
Beth has blocked off much of her childhood memories of abuse. Even
Lillian, whose goal is to encourage her clients to talk to a
listener, finds that Beth's deep-rooted traumas are difficult,
own professional distance and ability to serve as an uninvolved
especially skilled at illustrating these therapy sessions and their
"Beth had said a
great deal. Any new material was
usually presented as factual, with very little feeling. With subsequent
retellings, more and more feelings arose. It made sense. Ultimately,
be able to connect the feeling with the memories. The precise time when
would integrate her words with the right feelings would be under Beth’s
control. There was no prodding. Again, Lillian understood. Why would
want to know or remember how terrible it felt to be a powerless young
living with inescapable abuse?"
the story and
relationships progress, the healing process receives central focus in a
of acceptance, love, confrontation, and healing.
readers seeking powerful psychological inspections of family
awry and the process of confronting and saving them will find Triskele
the compelling story of a therapist caught in the middle between her
beliefs about what is true and the disparate experiences and
perceptions of her
much as it
will prove a compelling psychological revelation to individual readers,
holds much food for thought and discussion for not only book club
in psychological groups where clients, therapists, and approaches to
treatment are of interest.
Return to Index
Creative James Media
978-1956183160 $14.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
warning: When Oceans Rise is a
novel steeped in
revelations about manipulation, emotional abuse, and the processes of
identification and recovery which prompt seventeen-year-old Malaya to
reconsider her life when she becomes submerged in a toxic relationship.
Readers who would pursue her experiences will find much growth and realizations within her story that also embrace a touch of the supernatural as she comes to realize that she is cursed by a family legacy of women falling for the wrong man, with death as the outcome and cost of their love.
Malaya becomes convinced that her choices and man are quite different. The ways in which she becomes isolated and is manipulated by her dream man are subtle, at first, but work their dreadful magic to land her in a situation which would careens towards a similar fate.
or will Malaya be the one to break the curse and the trend?
a particularly thought-provoking, eye-opening scenario of heritage,
abuse, and the processes by which even a determined, savvy young woman
ensnared in the same emotional traps as women before her.
introduces an extraordinary opportunity for Malaya to travel back in
make different choices. But, will they lead to different scenarios, or
full circle to reinforce the idea that such patterns are inevitably
When Oceans Rise is a powerful survey
that introduces a sea witch's
influences, but presents many thought-provoking moments about pivot
decision-making, and repetitive patterns in life that defy change.
old and new life options, she makes the kinds of revised choices that
send her on a healthier alternative road. Or, do they?
will find much food for thought within her story, but ideally book
consisting of women's literature readers (especially young adults
new adult status) and psychological groups interested in the mechanics
abuse, repression, and breaking family patterns will find much
fodder in When Oceans Rise. This
makes it a highly recommended novel that operates on more than one
Return to Index
Why Hearts Keep Secrets
Bellekeep Books, LLC
978-1-936878-23-9 $18.95 softcover/$9.99 ebook
Secrets is the third novel of the Milford-Haven series, which
novellas that extend the saga. It will be best enjoyed by prior readers
story, as the characters and plots built in previous books are
further expanded in this novel.
The 'Milford-Haven' name may
sound familiar to even those
who have not seen the previous books. That's because the radio drama
first aired in the U.S. in 1987 reached overseas to pique the interest
BBC, which aired it in the 1990s under the name 'Milford-Haven, USA'.
opera took off, capturing the feelings, experiences, and milieu of
America. This latest addition to the series will delight listeners and
who harbor their own special affection for this environment, the dramas
evolve behind closed doors, and the particular seduction that comes
entwining lives and relationship dilemmas.
While the books may be read
out of sequence, the special
delight of this series lies in its special form of unraveling the
of a myriad of secrets kept by various residents. This story opens with
Deputy Delmar Johnson's date with a ghost. That's right—it's a visage
past that haunts him through recurring nightmares and the unresolved
the disappearance of broadcast journalist Christine Christian, whose
never been recovered, but who almost certainly is dead.
Recent facts seem to refute
this notion, but Delmar
persists in his certainty that Chris is not alive. As his investigation
proceeds, a host of other Milford-Haven characters emerge with their
special dramas, from newly successful artist Miranda
Jones's increasing discomfort over her love relationship (which
seems to rest on a foundation of uncertain secrets) to Samantha Hugo's
close-held secret that threatens to be exposed.
threatened and unfolding are one theme of a small-town story in which
the characters navigates uncertainty and oddities that shake their
personas and inner convictions: "Everyone
in the story had rights; but no one seemed to have achieved a happy
Mara Purl's multifaceted
probe into these disparate lives
and the community connections which keep threatening to reveal their
underpinnings makes for a thoroughly engrossing story.
Newcomers do receive both an
introduction to the
environment and a list of characters at book's end, which will help
smoothly into the small town's people and history. However, Why Hearts Keep Secrets will likely
prompt new readers to turn to the previous books to gain a fuller sense
milieu and drama underlying this community.
Libraries seeking books
strong in emotional twists,
community relationships, and small town politics and people will find
acquisition than Why Hearts Keep Secrets,
which cements all with a soap opera's ability to highlight private
public consequences with equal strength.
The mysteries underlying
these experiences will keep
readers engrossed and often guessing about possible outcomes as
drawn into disparate dramas lose track of their goals and find their
careening into unexpected territory.
Return to Index
Apple Bottom Blooms
979-8367492477 $4.99 Paper/$1.99 Kindle
is a novella about returning home to face second chances at romance and
possible snafus in the process of coming full circle.
finds refuge in her childhood tree house and life in small town of
Hills. She cultivates places to hide from life, because "...a
place to hide was exactly what she needed thanks to her ex,
Tristen, and the band of brainless baboons he called his friends. Even
the solitude of her childhood hang out, she could hear the merry band
hooting and hollering, laughing it up––mostly at her expense––by the
that was positioned only a couple hundred yards due north of her
love's potential only goes so far when potential romantic perp Chase
returns to town and picks up where he left off, attempting something
already doomed long ago by circumstances beyond his control.
embarrassing incident involving novelty
panties and a history of the bad nickname "Apple Bottom,"
Kinsley avoids not just Tristen, but anyone associated with him. And
proxy, includes Chase.
The short novella
format is the perfect choice for developing a succinct romantic comedy
achieves the most in the least amount of words. Every word counts in
endeavor. Morgan Rayne makes the most
of humor, irony, and strong characters that will especially appeal to
looking for powerful stories and examples of literary devices that
most in the shortest amount of time.
This is why Apple
Bottom Blooms ideally will not only be chosen by libraries
interested in the novella format, but for feature in creative writing
reader discussion groups seeking contemporary examples of successful
is alternately funny, thought-provoking, and sassy. Readers who absorb
Kinsley's character and interactions with Chase's special interests
the story a compelling example of small town atmosphere, changing
self-perception, and the emergence of a kind of romance neither
Return to Index
978-987-88-6402-0 $12.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
Banquet of Shadows is the first book in
the Bloodmoon Castelain
series, opening with a vivid death scene designed to both set the
and create immediate intrigue:
"The room was tinged red as the pendulum clock
letting them know what time it was with twelve ominous chimes. Amid the
and the blood, Craven squeezed Arthur’s hand tightly, as if this might
their parting. The room was brightly lit—so bright, in fact, that the
that sprang from the wallpaper flowers now seemed to have splashed
decorating everything. The vibrant colors now contrasted with the
pallor of Arthur’s face. Jarring juxtaposition.
'I don’t know . . . who killed me,' Arthur repeated over and over again."
the story takes off for uncharted territory, bringing readers into a
vampire tale that involves an 1887 backdrop, a macabre trap reminiscent
Edgar Allan Poe's best horror pieces, and a series of conversations
to the revelation of murder and danger.
would-be survivor Lester Craven finds himself confronted with a
perhaps-predictable trap instigated by the invitation of Baron Darcrois
a group in his bizarre Château.
writes with the flair of Poe and the passion of a seasoned wielder of
of intrigue and supernatural influence. Think a blend of Bram Stoker's
classic Dracula horror combined
with the mystery
and intrigue of Agatha Christie's story
And Then There Were None for a flavor of the literary
in Pogrzebny's tale.
As the saga
to consider banquet participant Lucien's deeper probe into the purposes
surrounding this dire dinner, Pogrzebny creates vivid scenarios steeped
"you are here" moments that bring the macabre events to shuddering
"The coach had picked him up at his home in the Rue
small flat above the discreet Librairie
Azur he owned—almost two hours ago now, but the darkness
of night was
slowly descending upon them like a wild animal. And perhaps this was
a metaphor, for Lucien was sure that not even the coachman could tell
certain what kind of creatures dwelled in those forbidden woods..."
It's hard to
a contemporary horror work that is more old-school in its attention to
atmospheric detail, yet more modern in its twists of plot. Pogrzebny's
lies as much in developing a mystery as it does in creating a
world of vampires and men which simmers under an investigative process
changes its possibilities like the spots of a leopard.
supernatural horror works that excel in both literary description and
and a sense of mystery and discovery will find Banquet
of Shadows a powerful addition. It's especially recommended
for more literary readers who love Poe's works and look for
writers able to emulate his prowess (albeit in a full-length
Return to Index
Catch IT in the Moment
Creative Book Writers
978-1959532118 $19.99 Paper/$9.99 Kindle
you have a
pet and a garden, you already have everything you need to be happy."
IT in the
Moment is a celebration of pets that captures the
intersection between pet
photography and written word. It comes from a pet enthusiast who
the source of her passion for pets and the influence they have had on
Pet lovers won't expect the
extent of revelations
incorporated into this celebration as it moves from bios of memorable
"...one thing that helps keep one on the move is
a healthy inflow of inspiration. Find it, and if you can’t, be a source
Keep a new inspiration horizon and find little things that give you
and you will be surprised by how lively the days become ... I can’t
the warmth I feel while talking about these lessons I learned while
passion. And a glance at the past makes me even more excited about the
It makes me ponder about what’s to come and the lessons to be learned
them. Each morning I have blinds of positive thoughts that circle me
blood to every corner of my conscience. And that what, I guess, passion
you - makes you feel alive."
unconventional dreams to the special challenges of capturing pets who
be always on the move, this blend of life philosophy and pet
prove surprisingly accessible to a wider audience than either
pet books typically reach.
libraries interested in thoughts about life's meaning, the efforts of
animals in action, and the emotional connections animals represent
translate to poses that influence the photographer's eye) will find Catch IT in the Moment a captivating
exploration not just of the mechanics and choices of pet photography,
driving force of love on career and life choices:
"I worked at a doggy daycare, signed up for a
cleaning company, and continued to do it to assure a steady income.
with all these hurdles, leaving photography at any cost is analogous to
worst of my nightmares. Because, you know, some actions don't really
logic; they rely solely on magic."
IT in the
Moment is simply exquisite, both
in its color pet images and the equally powerful written reflections of
enthusiast Lauren Meehan.
Return to Index
The Church of the Lighted
Window Volume I: Denial
Atticus Creative, Inc.
978-1733101868 $3.99 ebook
Church of the
Lighted Window Volume I: Denial is Christian fiction at its
follows Kyle Getty, who was a
successful man until his brutal assault on a bully. Assigned to
therapy at the Fallbrooke Mental Institution, he finds his fellow
those who have lost their minds in different ways, from Alzheimers to
schizophrenia. Each holds their own beliefs and pursuits, and each
Fallbrooke an environment in which they can hopefully face their fears
forge a way past them.
Kyle, who takes the opportunity and the decidedly odd environment as a
to more closely examine not just his innate pain and responses to life,
entire belief system.
meaning of life, Kyle's journey is hard-hitting from the start:
"At some point, everyone arrives at the same wasted
is life. You live it, and then you die. My problem was that one day I
and thought that this must be all wrong. Not in any deep way, but in a
sort of way. I imagined what it would be like to taste the air of your
breath on this earth and what a horror it would be to do so while you
was happening. What now? How did it come to this? A cool bed. Arms at
side. Alone or with family all around, but alone either way because you
the one dying. And then I thought of all the people who pass away, each
and it occurred to me that most of them are
aware. They are. And those arrows of regret, dismay, and
what is finally happening to them are piercing them at all angles."
The tone cultivated
in The Church of
the Lighted Window ranges
from that of One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest (as far as the variety of inmates and
ailments and perceptions of the world) to a spiritual reflective piece
awareness, life purpose, and the different methods of pursuing freedom
truth: "I realized that perhaps this
was why; because music opened the rusty gates in me and freed me,
either from the silence of my own skull or the endless sound of my
thoughts. And it was a freedom that I did not want. Yet."
emotional undercurrents that carry Kyle through this new world of
self-inspection are presented with a thought-provoking sense of
revelation: "One word. One syllable. Words
most incredible of things. We can ascribe to them any measure of heaven
by the realities they carry to us. My children were not here. I was
in one word."
of heaven and hell to the clarion call of change, Kyle finds his
transformative, inducing a form of growth and forcing him into
he'd never made before.
result is a
powerful foray into illness, redemption, and belief that introduces
influence in unexpected ways and unfamiliar milieus.
readers and libraries catering to them will find The Church of the Lighted Window Volume I: Denial lends
not only to
individual reading and reflection, but to group discussion; especially
Christian literature readers interested in stories that are spiritually
Return to Index
$42.00 Hardcover/$30.00 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Railroads: A Diamond Among the States tackles the myth and
emerging statehood with a focus on a Delaware that many readers won't
coming—even those few already well-versed in the state's history.
brand of history captures events with a powerful knack for drama that
life the state's unique background: "How
did Delaware get its name? It began with a storm at Cape Henlopen and a
Virginia navigator who had lost his way."
artifacts, examples of early homes and slave quarters, ship models,
more help drive this story, using visual images supplemented by
history to make it not just accessible, but thoroughly engrossing.
visual displays, readers of all ages will find Delaware's evolution
but dry, and will appreciate the attention given to details that
social history. Housing structure examinations, for example, capture
housing and church endeavors, taverns, waterway development and
services, and more.
Each piece lends to a
more intimate understanding of Delaware's roots than the typical linear
captures. Each is a colorful visual key to understanding the state's
politics, society, and evolution. All these facets make Delaware Before the Railroads:
A Diamond Among the States
captivating story that will attract even non-history readers with its
unusual historical relics and contemporary photos.
in Delaware's roots and an approach that uses historical objects to
reinforce the state's progression and evolution will find Delaware Before the
A Diamond Among the States
accessible to a wide age range, from young adults (who will appreciate
unusual inclusion of pirates and fighting Quakers) to adults who will
Delaware history both enlightening and thoroughly engrossing.
Return to Index
Amelia Estelle Dellos
978-1639885145 $16.99 Paper/$6.99 Kindle
blends fantasy with occult themes and explores the dilemma faced by
unemployed accountant facing financial ruin. When she discovers she's
witch (after a pair of witch hunters attack her), this adds to her
angst as she is forced to accept her unusual heritage and its
mandate to travel through time on a quest.
Dee's entire world turns
upside down as she steps into
the past and her own heritage, discovering new ways of viewing the
her place in it.
The blend of historical
inspection, fantasy, and even
romance adds a full-bodied flavor to the plot that keeps readers
only about outcomes and growth processes, but the actual genre of a
deftly winds through disparate scenarios.
Ultimately, Dee walks into a
world in which she is not a
loser, but holds the powerful potential of protecting and saving the
if she is not too lost in her own confusion and identity crisis to
power that was within her all along.
Amelia Estelle Dellos crafts
a compelling story of a
woman who encounters a series of obstacles to what she perceives as her
and objectives in life. These serve to revise her perceptions of
as she faces a lynch mob, summons witch powers, and strives to save
from her destiny and the power she has unleashed.
With handsome social worker
Jonathan Berwick at her side,
adding insights that spark growth and new realizations, Dee probes her
motivations and strengths:
like this happens to a person, it can forever alter their lives. They
over it, or they work to get their life back to normal like it was
“Or what?” Dee asked, unable to push down the rising anxiety building up in her tightening chest.
“Or it changes them, makes them stronger and braver than they ever were before,” Jonathan said, leaning back in his chair.
“So, my options are my life is ruined forever, I can go back to the status quo, or I can become a hero?”
“Pretty much,” he replied with a casual shrug.
proves a gripping blend of fantasy, romance, and coming-of-age story
follows an initially powerless woman into a position of strength and
Libraries and readers
looking for lively adventure reads
that cross genres to incorporate elements from fantasy, history, and
will welcome the intrigue and sense of discovery that's well developed
in Delilah Recovered.
Return to Index
Rough River Publishing
9780990856276 $18.00 Paper/$9.99 Kindle
The Fisher Man spins an intriguing blend
of thriller, social and
political inspection, and climate change issues into a novel about
Haycraft, who survives a youth of abuse and torment by adapting his
instinct to the world around him.
mark him as a dangerous fighter in his youth, causing community members
avoid him and his rage. It's an attitude which could attract the wrong
even in government circles—but it's one which portends to get dirty
if Elijah can be convinced that his actions are key to saving the world.
plans to control climate change blends nicely with the decisions to
and utilize Elijah's underlying rage and strengths in unusual ways.
weave into political special interests and social struggles as the
elements interweave with Elijah's psychological development and the
place him in the center of a perfect storm during a time of
As issues of
sociopaths are born blend with larger concerns about how special
tap their psychological traits, readers looking for thriller components
augmented by astute characters that absorb trauma and reflect its
the world in different ways will find The
Fisher Man thoroughly absorbing.
individuals who closely examine the truths and courses of their lives, The Fisher Man may be billed as a
thriller, but is equally powerful in its psychological probes of lives
worlds off balance, that intersect in unusual ways.
seeking potent first-person stories of evolving friendships and
find The Fisher Man hard to put
Return to Index
Finishing Line Press
ISBN: TBA $24.99
The Healing Book:
of Short Stories gathers writings that reflect psychological
transformation, profiling a disparate range of fictional characters
encounter and challenge their own notions of healing, health, and
particularly strong in its representations of the rituals of rebellion,
facets of existential crises that move each character to make uncommon
arrive at unexpected life-changing moments, and its juxtaposition of
that delve into the disparate foundations of change.
moving to the
stories themselves, it should be noted that the preface introducing
collection is far more than a few paragraphs of notes. Indeed, it
represents autobiography in itself as Dustin Grinnell synthesizes his
experiences and influences, illustrating how they ultimately led to
"Beyond Medicine" introduces the milieu of Peru, where a young female
neurosurgeon is on a personal quest to cure her ongoing depression
participation in a shamanistic ritual powered by an ayahuasca brew.
Allie's inherent scientific skepticism about such rituals and spiritual
revelations as she considers the proven healing methods of a leader and
technique which succeed where Western medicine failed makes for
reading as Allie participates in an endeavor committed to "ego death"
between physical and spiritual healing forces is nicely presented as
evolves in some unexpected, thought-provoking ways.
"Cured," about the intersections of faith and medical miracles which
revolve around a doctoral student's pursuit of an elusive cure for a
disease. The process of discovery and recovery profiles Peter
barriers to success and achievement as he is forced to set aside both
and preconceived notions about life and health.
start that "I don’t have a single adventure muscle in my body."
He's about to develop these muscles in an unusual way as he creates
to test the outer limits of medicine and belief.
that make him even more determined to achieve the impossible, Peter
must first adjust his own Western traditions and perceptions to take a
faith and attitude before he can enter a realm that holds a cure not
humanity, but his own psyche.
a delicate unwinding of tradition and a reformation of beliefs,
convictions that leads into realms of healing that the characters (and
readers) never anticipated.
these approaches, themes, and discussions will especially attract
interested in disparate roads to not just health and healing, but
self-empowerment and transformation. The elements of visionary fiction,
combined with the sense of discovery and adventure cultivated in each
situation, make The Healing Book a
thought-provoking, highly recommended journey not just for fiction
for book club and discussion groups interested in the intersection of
self-growth, spiritual insight, and healing processes.
Return to Index
$28.99 Hardcover/$17.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
Long Time Dead: My Investigation Into the Unsolved
Murder of Ralph
Wilson Snair examines a murder that ordinarily would not seem
close inspection: that of a retired church custodian who was shot. Was
death in 1957 a murder, or suicide?
from blood ties. Susan McIver is Ralph Snair's great niece, a scientist
former coroner well equipped to investigate this unsolved cold case
old notes, news and police reports, and autopsy results, and uncovered
clues remaining as to what really happened.
As she made
in a case that turns out to hold all kinds of social ties and political
insights and influences, readers will find this true crime
to life with its probe of not only events, but the underlying motives
involved in Ralph's death.
The fine art
piecing together police procedures and social and medical influences on
investigations makes Long Time Dead
especially invaluable, and a standout in true crime literature.
transmit a mystery, the process of solving it decades later, and the
procedures of investigators supplements a "you are here" feel with
the consideration of historical and social changes that affected
influences, and investigative technology alike.
why Long Time Dead is recommended,
above and beyond the usual true crime story, for libraries strong in
justice history and investigative methodology. They will find in the
to recommend to book discussion groups considering crime, problem
techniques, and the sometimes-deadly results of the changing social
American communities in the 1950s.
Return to Index
979-8987364000 $14.99 Paper/$7.99 Kindle
Happen: Inspirational Stories From Sports, Business and Life
comes from a
"serial networker" who likes to create and foster relationships and
connections to make things happen. His goal and contribution to society
hallmarks of a blend of memoir and how-to guide that covers the basics
meeting and working with a wide variety of people.
Happen adopts a non-traditional path in comparison to most
inspirational stories, following the process of going boldly into
of relationships with the specific purpose of making new connections,
using them to foster positive growth on many different levels.
The process begins with
mindful choice and adopting an
enthusiastic attitude towards the unknown. Steve Rosenberg follows the
building his own successful connections, using them as a blueprint to
readers understand the opportunities that lie in adversity and the key
that led not only him, but others portrayed in his book, to make
The diversity in his
examples of others' lives adds to
the uplifting representation of different methods of making good things
"Lead by example and help people
understand the complicated situation taking place daily...she brings
perspective and knowledge mixed with passion and intelligence and
examples of kindness are the most valuable
consideration of this process; for without kindness, efforts to achieve
come at a considerable cost for others.
political campaigns, mentors, self-branding, and planting seeds of
and opportunity, readers come to realize, by example, all kinds of
approaches to networking and relationship-building opportunities that
propel them onto a bolder path of discovery, growth, and achievement.
Libraries and readers
seeking self-help titles that operate on both entrepreneurial and
levels will find Make
Bold Things Happen's
collection of inspirational examples to be diverse and encouraging.
this book won't just repose on a library shelf, but will be chosen for
club discussion for those interested in entrepreneurial creativity and
Return to Index
Naples Secrets in the Sun
Meaning of Life Press, Inc.
979-8-9873147-0-8 $15.95 Paper/$7.99 Kindle
the Sun: As Uncovered by an Inquisitive Uber Driver takes a
ride into a
retired Florida lawyer's decision to become an Uber driver—in the midst
COVID pandemic, when the nation was shut down and sheltering in place.
clients he experienced and the vivid stories he gathered from this
make for an exploration of Florida like no other.
From byways and the culture
of the rich and retired to
the unique stories of and encounters with passengers who navigated the
Naples and Collier County, Florida, Alan Bianco crafts the kind of
that is anything but staid and familiar when one thinks of their
'Florida' would seem disparate
connections, but both entwine in a satisfyingly colorful, lively
Uber-driven experiences that are accompanied by snippets of wisdom on
meaning of life."
These notes aren't just
spiritual in nature. They offer
cultural, historical, and social references that prove keys to
the meaning of life in Florida rather than the generalities of life in
From local hangouts (Naples
being "the land of the
thousand restaurants") and the city's popularity among the elite
in part to Uber, maintains Bianco) to the riots that rocked the nation
2020 and how national trends were bucked in the more polite Naples
society ("...the “riots” that occurred in
Naples were kept to a minimum and were non-hostile. One day, about 180
the police” protestors “politely” marched on Tamiami Trail for a few
There was also a two-day protest on Immokalee Road, where about ninety
protestors displayed homemade signs and politely chanted anti-Trump
an hour or so before going home."), Florida's culture in
Naples' responses, byways, and personalities in particular come to life.
The result combines a
cultural and social inspection with
a lively travelogue that weaves connections between history and
Libraries and readers
looking for inviting stories that
capture the times of the COVID lockdown in a state that harbors a very
different atmosphere from that presented in the typical news report of
times will find Naples Secrets in the Sun
a rollicking blend of cultural and social inspection that
does not receive.
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978-1-7354860-0-0 $10.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
is a challenging title to neatly peg—and this is one of its strengths.
sci-fi, with its futuristic story of AI intelligence. It opens with the
narrator's consideration of a futuristic app that will allow users to
whatever stories they want, integrating these within the boundaries of
real-world lives to create transformative experiences of excitement.
reveals this possibility come to life with the creation of the
System, which Molly's team has fostered to fruition and fame.
into corporate visions of success, romance, user dreams and realities,
dating game which stems from dreams to become reality, readers come to
that sci-fi suspense and psychological progression are just a few of
undercurrents affecting the stream of lives in The
lies in introducing a science fictional possibility, then following its
unlikely evolution in daily life where nothing can be predicted or
“I didn’t break any ethics codes. The narration is
itself and the coauthor is the user,” Rob said, firmly. “If anything,
giving the user a role in the stories rather than making them a sheer
“Well, we can’t risk that.” Molly looked at Jurgen.
“Risk what? Why is this even scary?”
“Because, we have no control,” Molly said with a hint of frustration.
just from new technological possibilities, but their applications to
are changed by it in manners its originators could never have
new narrative form changes the world. This story will also challenge
any preconceived notion that sci-fi or romance need run in well-worn
familiarity with California's high-tech Silicon Valley business
gives the novel a realistic note; while his exploration of freedom,
disconnection, and technological influences on reality and
readers thinking and wondering.
This is why The
Narrator is particularly recommended not just to libraries
of AI possible futures and familiar backdrops of life gone awry, but to
clubs looking for discussion points that revolve around re-inventing
world's narrative system, memories, and the nature of consciousness and
special blend of suspense, high-tech intrigue, and psychological
readers thoroughly engaged in a world that holds the familiar feel of
times, but with a strange futuristic flavor that lingers in the mind
the story's conclusion.
Return to Index
978-0994863065 $18.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
Stone's Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza adds
to the growing literature about the JFK assassination, debunking
the contentions of Oliver Stone's 2021 documentary series on the
dialogues over what really happened may feel redundant all these years
but as Fred Litwin points out, they actually are as important as
truth behind what happened, because the drive to reinvent history is
by social belief and systems that change over time.
analysis reconsiders the
contentions posed by Oliver Stone, taking a step-by-step re-look at the
processes, findings, and the evidence surrounding the JFK examination.
photos of evidence to
excerpts of testimony, Fred Litwin points out where and how Stone's
were completely off-track, cementing these contentions with evidence
house select committee on assassinations (HSCA) and the ARRB studies
how bad Stone's documentary
film really was to evidence it ignored in the process of making its
Litwin provides not just another JFK study, but a consideration of how
legal processes, and social observation can work against the truth when
conveniently ignores pieces of evidence that don't fit the bigger
should modern readers care
about yet another survey of the JFK experience? Because, ultimately,
works shake the foundations of American democracy, painting a picture
at work behind the scenes which Litwin points out as fictional, setting
dangerous precedent for undermining the system as a whole: "According
to Stone and DiEugenio, the United States since the assassination has
been on a
militaristic trajectory that can only be rectified by revealing the
the JFK conspiracy and its cover-up."
he probes the historical,
social, and political significance of Stone's contentions, Litwin
study of film influence and media involvement that also adds important
of how reality is represented, reinvented, dramatized, or twisted.
elements make Oliver Stone's
Film-Flam recommendable beyond the usual books devoted to the
JFK's murder, reaching into media studies and film history programs and
students. This audience is encouraged to consider how media translates
and theories into stories that draw audiences, change hearts and minds,
impact social and political landscapes in modern times.
elements make Oliver
Stone's Film-Flam highly recommended reading for media
studies and social
issues students, who will find within it much fodder for thought and
debate and discussion.
Return to Index
Community Health Center & OctoberWorks
978-1-959262-00-8 $19.99 Paper/$9.99 ebook
& Health: How a Group of Small-Town Activists and
College Students Set Out to Change Healthcare
adopts a "yes we can" attitude over the elephant in American
society—a lumbering healthcare system that most admit is broken, but
can be repaired.
premise behind one community's
actions is basic: health care is not a privilege, but a right that
equally affordable by all. The story of how various ordinary
individuals in one
community joined forces to enact this vision on their own turf makes
just inspirational reading, but a set of blueprints on how a series of
disparate people and diverse actions reinforce this principle in one
community's healthcare system.
a 22-year-old Middletown,
Connecticut man who has no money or connections, but literally walks
vacant downtown storefront to create his dream of a clinic, to the
faced by those who have no healthcare or management background, this
follows the construction of an impossible dream.
the start, Charles Barber
acknowledges the daunting reality of enacting this vision: "In
ways, Mark Masselli’s vision was a terrible idea. Building a free
the poor in Middletown, Connecticut, in 1972 was an impractical, even
goal for a number of reasons."
real joy to this story is how
practicality is set aside in the pursuit of an "impossible" dream,
and how it comes to fruition through the advocacy and actions of
the case histories unfold,
various residents face many social changes and obstacles to their
also face daunting challenges on how to address changing health
range from the crack epidemic to AIDS.
ability to juxtapose the
financial and physical challenges of building a clinic to its social
in remaining viable and responsive to changing community needs is the
strength of a story packed with biographical insights and social
These not only provide practical assessments of community makeup and
but chart the typical obstacles healthcare faces in remaining both
affordable to all.
with black and white
articles and photos that reinforce community history and issues, the
nicely compliment the heart of this exploration.
and readers interested
not just in healthcare advocacy, but the process of reinventing a
the microcosm of building a clinic and pathways to using it will find Peace
& Health not just idealistic and inspiring, but
practical in charting
routes to achieving community goals.
Peace & Health
will be enjoyed by a wide audience, from those interested in grassroots
change to participants in the existing American healthcare system who
vision for creating something greater than it is now.
Return to Index
The Randall Family
Pinups Portraits and Posters: The Life and Art of
captures the life and works of one of the most popular pinup artists of
1940s-60s, illustrating that his art extended far beyond the pinup
Readers who already know his pinups will find that he produced art in
of mediums, from landscape sketches and charcoal to watercolors and
productions ranged from his classic and well-known pinup portraits to
lesser-known (but equally widespread) advertising art which captured
displays that power this survey of his art include sketches, ads, early
promoting book covers, magazine illustrations, and iconic branding.
vivid color reproductions are comments that help readers understand the
artist's special techniques and unique expressions, such as the
presence of a
gold earring in the familiar portrait of Mr. Clean, which suggests a
genie; or the whimsical approach he adopted to "Mr. Buck and Mrs.
Doe," animal characters used to explain a company's profit-sharing plan.
include allusions to family sway and presence in some of the works,
invaluable keys to understanding how Bill Randall's life, influences,
experiences translated to and affected his artistic eye.
children and grandchild collaborated on this showcase of his art. Their
and celebration makes for a powerful display that should be considered
foundation "must' for any arts library strong in pinup history in
or the wide-ranging art of Bill Randall in particular—especially since
these works have never before been published.
Return to Index
(St. Benedict, Book II)
Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
9781645480174 $17.95 Print/$7.99 ebook
The St. Benedict series continues, following River of Ashes (Book I) with the story of Leslie Moore, now in the second semester of her senior year at St. Benedict High and still recovering from the death of her twin sister. This is ravaging her with guilt and affects everything in her life, from her relationships to her future.
Readers unfamiliar with the prior book may think this will be a story about ongoing bereavement and recovery, but River of Wrath is a murder mystery, and will especially delight mature teens who can absorb both the emotional and the investigative impact of this compelling tale.
Leslie isn't the only one questioning her position and future in this town. So are adults who have lived there for a long time, only to find that a new threat is challenging and changing their perceptions of its attraction and safety: "Kent looked at the bloody mess that had comprised the remains of Beau Devereaux. The golden boy of St. Benedict had been a football star and heir to the Devereaux fortune. The day Kent had found his mutilated body along the river had been one of the worst of his career. Beau’s death on the heels of the rape and grisly murder of Dawn Moore had shattered his faith in their small town."
Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor craft a powerful story that moves from adult interests and perceptions to the narrower focus of a teen recovering from tragedy. Their ability to weave Leslie's concerns into the broader story of a series of murders that change everything is part of the draw of this tale: "She took a moment to reflect on Taylor's image, how she had moved through her home, almost as if she were a ghost. The nightmare quickly faded when the uproar of a heated argument filtered through her bedroom door. Frightened, Leslie tossed aside her covers and grabbed her robe. No one had shouted in her home since the death of her sister."
Not only has everything changed since Leslie Moore’s deal with the devil, but so has she. Vivid dialogue and descriptions cement the tension, contributing to a powerful account that winds through different lives affected by evolving events and subterfuge: "Her secret became a fire in her chest, burning through her flesh to gain its freedom, but she didn’t give in. She would not resolve the raging battle between her heart and her head during a moment of weakness. Leslie sucked in a painful breath, ready to walk away before she caved, and then it happened."
Readers needn't have prior familiarity with River of Ashes to appreciate this continuation of Leslie's dilemmas—but they should. Together, the two books present an intense series of events that are intrinsically woven on many levels, questioning the evolution of heroes, psychopaths, and family connections that not only bind, but damage.
revelations are nicely done, making this a special recommendation for
interested in not just murder mysteries, but the underlying influences
formulate criminal psyches and victims alike.
(St. Benedict, Book II)
Return to Index
Seeking: 74 Key
Findings to Raise Your Energy, Sidestep Your Self-Doubts, and Align
Your Life’s Work
Together We Seek Publishing
$22.99 Hardcover/$16.99 Paper/$8.99 Kindle
Audio is available on most platforms
It's somewhat rare to see a
new age book cross over into
genres of women's self-help and career and business, but Seeking:
74 Key Findings to Raise Your Energy, Sidestep Your
Self-Doubts, and Align with Your Life’s Work is the item of
libraries seeking books that can reach a wider audience than most
new-age literature can.
Perhaps this is because the
treatise comes from
businesswoman JJ DiGeronimo's own
experiences searching for life meaning in her career pursuits. The five
she spent researching, discovering, and applying her findings to her
results in a series of tips that can help other women traveling the
business and personal success.
began her journey with professional and corporate strategies, her
adds the psychological, spiritual, and philosophical growth elements
key to bringing these seemingly-disparate pursuits in sync with one
not be used to references to higher purposes, Soul wisdom, and
personal energy and pursuits towards greater realizations and end
creating a dialogue that redefines success on a broader scale is just
the surprises that these readers will encounter in Seeking.
DiGeronimo opens the
discussion with an invitation to consider transformative opportunities
in questioning the end result of business success: "If
you are tired of chasing standards imposed upon you by others;
if you are drowning in to-do lists that deplete your energy and maybe
impact; if you are swimming in negative thoughts and self-talk; or if
simply seeking more meaning...you are not alone!" For, what is success if it is unconnected to
the ticket for those who may have success in hand, but feel like there
be more to life than financial or business-building strategies. It
serves as a
lightning rod for the intersection between the personal drive to
that which questions the methodology of success. Even more importantly,
Seeking defines the entrepreneurial
personal events in life that deserve re-examination, redefinition, and
The blend of journal writing
opportunities, questions for
self-analysis, and encouragement for business readers to utilize this
more than a linear fashion lends to its use more for personal
the rigors of library lending. Its message ideally will be embraced not
individually, but in discussion groups of fellow seekers.
The "Soul lessons" it
considers and promotes
will prove especially accessible and thought-provoking to women
incorporating mindfulness into a life that has previously been directed
pursuit of satisfaction sans the opportunity for self-analysis or inner
Return to Index
neatly categorize or pigeonhole Sightseeing
in the Limbic Landscape: A Neuroscientific Comedy of Manners.
science fiction comedy of errors that romps through California's Delta,
neuroscience and psychology, and gender issues alike. Indeed, the
scientific, and political farces under examination and exploration
to a series of dialogues which are both philosophical and psychological
note about Sightseeing in the Limbic
Landscape (if the above descriptors are not enough) is that
this is a
literary work of over five hundred pages, packed with a Proust-like
in-depth descriptions and language (such as 'cuneiform' or 'funicular')
may not be in every reader's personal dictionary of terms.
a host of characters undertake this peculiar journey, the humor
social commentary comes to light in unexpected ways: "...it's
smoked gouda-style rice cheese and vegan salami with
sprouts and pickle relish. It smells of a natural foods delicatessen.
meat eaters find themselves wanting some."
journey through this landscape evokes behavioral and emotional
responses in the
reader, in keeping with the reference to the limbic system, as the
unfolds in disparate and unexpected ways, blending science with liberal
philosophical observations: "Hope is
no longer just hope when the appropriate equations are in place."
intersection between fiction and science will delight literary
looking for an expansive, involving neuroscientific comedy that is
your usual sci-fi formula adventure.
provokes and the social insights it encourages make Sightseeing
in the Limbic Landscape appropriate not so much for
leisure readers looking for action and adventure in the sci-fi realm,
literary audiences. These readers will thoroughly appreciate Call's
to detail and the liberal sprinkling of dialogues examining the nature
reality, science, and social transformation.
of sci-fi, but embracing so much more than a formula read, Sightseeing in the Limbic Landscape is
highly recommended for not
just college-level readers, but discussion groups interested in
devices and inspections that expand the boundaries and scope of
connections to life.
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Trying to Make It
Cornell University Press
to Make It:
The Enterprises, Gangs, and People of the American Drug Trade offers
an in-depth analysis of the American drug trade's processes,
history, and is highly recommended for any social issues library strong
topics that embrace these concerns.
In his preface, R.V. Gundur
explains the personal approach
employed to explore this topic: "The
story is the result of my observations, court documents, and interviews
129 people. These people included law enforcement, professionals who
with marginalized communities, residents of those communities, and
former participants in the drug trade."
With the goal to minimize
bias and present perspectives
and materials on the topic that are largely missing from other exposés of the drug trade in America,
Gundur embarks on an inspection that initially surprised even him: "I did not expect many of the stories
within and what I learned often challenged the perspectives I held
conducting my study."
From respect, power
struggles, and how underground
economies function to gang and drug activity on the streets, behind
walls, and in all walks of society, Gundur enters unfamiliar territory
considering not just the social and historical aspects of his subject,
underlying business practices that dictate the drug trade's ebbs and
By drawing on the interview
process to gain answers and
insights, Gundur offers personalized stories that explore all facts of
operations and the personalities of the people involved. These are
that, elsewhere, would either never see the light of day, or would be
set in a
scholarly tone that fails to convey the humanity of its subjects. One
is that the dynamics of the illicit drug industry are not all that far
licit business operations, such as its wholesaling strategies.
Gundur's probe of systems of
underground money and those
who participate in them lends many eye-opening realizations to the
will engross law enforcement readers, social issues students interested
gang, criminal, and drug operations, and history readers. Basically,
look for social inspections that delve deeper into the subject than
documenting circumstances and facts will find this book attractive.
to Make It
is highly recommended for college-level collections strong in criminal
social issues, and the business and community links of the drug trade
America. Its revelations and conclusions ideally will also be used as
for book club discussions, and for groups study law enforcement and
who are interested in exploring connections between business,
drug trade interests and activities.
Return to Index
978-1-953943-08-8 $29.95 Hardcover/$6.99 Kindle
Power: A Method for Thriving in Any
Situation, No Matter How Frustrating, Complex, or Unpredictable offers an opportunity and a concept embedded
in the idea of harnessing the power of mood. It is highly recommended
readers and psychology group discussions.
links power to mood in a manner few other books have attempted,
notion of 'unconditional power' as a personal energy source that holds
unlimited potential, driven by mood swings. The core message here is
"your mood determines the amount of power you have."
receive only one takeaway from this book, it's a powerful concept that,
nuclear fuel, promises an energy source that's renewable and
it can be understood and harnessed in an effective, enlightened manner.
the concept, building a foundation of methodology that invites
readers interested in growth and change to consider the inner tools
governed by moods and take charge of them.
The second biggest contention in this book, which drives its self-help strength, is that "...people don’t usually realize how dramatically our mood impacts our power. When we are in a good mood, we make better decisions. We invest our energy in creative thinking rather than worrying or complaining. We see innovative solutions that others might miss. We take smart, calculated risks, knowing that big payoffs are possible. As a result, good things start to happen. All of this makes mood the most important key to achieving and exercising power."
to create a theory, however. Unconditional Power first
posits the power
of change and adaptation, then follows through with case history
exercises that illustrate and cement the process of "calling
past experiences of feeling and being Powerful, and using those to
images of your immediate future."
dynamics to interpersonal interactions, Gaffney's focus on the
applications of a seemingly idealistic approach to life applies the
tapping moods to the reality of adapting them in an upward-bound
examples, exercises, and contentions work together to build a lesson in
positivity and empowerment that should be on the reading lists of
actively working to improve their lives.
readers looking for self-help books which are powerful and accessible
consider Unconditional Power a 'must read'
acquisition. Its promotion of
personal power during a period of time in which individuals often feel
disempowered by their reactions to life is nothing short of essential.
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Turquoise River Publications
and Wit: 301 Gems to Grow and Grin
is loaded with messages of hope and fun to light up life, juxtaposing
themes of observation and insight with delightful light airs designed
appeal and intrigue.
the start, the wisdom and wit
are on full display in as succinct number of words as is possible: "Life
is an amazing journey. Sometimes we exclaim WOW, only to be followed by
in the next scene."
clues to surviving life's
slings and arrows ("Refuse to let the hurtful words of others
to subscribe to the erroneous belief that you are small and
to reflections on how best to not only absorb but transmit positivity
world ("Locate negative patterns of thought. Pull
them out like weeds. Plant positive thoughts and
beautiful flowers will grow."),
may be described as jewels of wisdom and reflection, daily
reading, or collections of life learning which help readers better
how to weather hard times and share good ones.
Rose employs language which
is simple to understand, yet hard-hitting in its succinct roundups of
its appeal with a tone that is both inspiring and advisory, offering
for thought in an accessible form that lends to both browsing and
and readers seeking
daily devotionals and short, inspiring words will find this collection
Return to Index
Middle grade readers looking
for stories about baseball
that blend elements of history and women's issues into the mix will
Apart a fine study in sports and
social concerns. It brings to life the milieu of Millie Bauer, whose family has just
received notice that her brother is missing in the war.
the Army seemed to be a good move in many ways. But for Millie's
already suffering from the loss of their father in an accident, it's
challenge that could add to the increasing losses the family has
over the years.
Millie is an
baseball fan whose own pursuit of the sport gives her a respite from
of the world around her. Will it be enough to give her strength, with
brother's status so uncertain?
J.N. Kelly takes baseball
interests to a different level
in Fields Apart, injecting the
of a girl interested in sports with the vivid social and political
From Millie's challenges in
entering a male-dominated
sport at a time when girls did not play baseball to threats to the
that was able to move her mind away from her brother George and his
middle grade readers receive a vivid portrait of the 1940s as seen
Millie's perceptions of the changing times.
Kelly's injection of just
the right degree of social and
political inspection as it influences a young girl's life and coming of
makes for an especially vivid coverage of the issues and challenges of
Libraries and young readers
seeking a memorable story
rooted in baseball, war, and a girl's coming of age in different ways
Fields Apart an exciting
contrast between times then and now, as well as an inspiring portrait
courage that plays out on many different levels and fields of
Return to Index
Me in Time:
Find Me In Time IP Holdings, LLC
$16.99 Hardcover/$8.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook
Historical fiction chapter
books are not as common as one
would think; much less those that inject a time-travel component into
to bring that history to life in an unexpected way. L.T. Caton is a
seeks to inject a sense of place and discovery into the fiction format,
succeeds admirably with the first book in a projected series, Find
Time: Meeting Columbus.
The first thing to note
about this book is its ability to
draw young readers into the intriguing world of five friends whose
play hide-and-seek result in an experience that tests their confidence
reality itself: "Have you ever been somewhere you thought you
down to the tiniest detail, only to discover that things are not at all
The first-person game turns
into a journey none of the
kids expected in a story peppered with color drawings that bring the
When the children find an
extraordinary tree house that
is not what it first seems, they come to understand the opportunity
them—to experience history in a hands-on manner that written
never touch. What they don't expect is that the process will involve
connections with the past that affect their perceptions of not just
but modern-day life.
Caton does an especially
good job in bringing these kids and
their wonder to life, answering many questions about time travel and
with other cultures which are typically mercurial in time-travel tales:
he realized, he’d found himself in the middle of a tribe of Taino
hundreds of years ago. They seemed to see him as an important visitor.
looked like them, he could understand their language, and they could
The magic lies in the
newfound connections they make
between past and present, which also changes their closeness to one
their perceptions of cultural heritage.
The result is more than a
leisure story about a time
travel adventure, but a solid inspection of Columbus's times that
history to life, inviting young readers to understand how these events
translate to insights that affect modern approaches to life and
and readers looking for
fictional works that embrace stories of people of color, culture
events seen from other than the usual staid vision of Columbus and his
will find plenty of food for thought and classroom discussion here, all
in a lively read that will attract even those usually reluctant to
history's lessons and concepts.
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Fini, the Beauty of a Broken
9798370729935 $11.99 Paper/$6.99 ebook
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Fini-beauty-broken-Melitta-Santos/dp/B0BRMT29W6
the Beauty of
a Broken Shell will especially appeal to collections strong
from other countries. It presents a Paraguayan folk story to picture
readers, exploring the dilemma faced by young turtle Fini, who breaks
in a fall and feels she's now flawed and ugly.
The kind Fini enlists her
forest friends to help heal
her, but the solutions many offer to restore her shell and beauty don't
until a wise spider offers a solution that reveals the broken shell
important as Fini once thought.
Santos accomplishes two goals with her
story: it's a lesson on kindness and inner beauty, as well as a
of Paraguayan culture and folklore.
El Creativo provides bright
illustrations that bring to
life not only the forest and its creatures, but their underlying
Each animal Fini encounters
in her search for help
exhibits traits (such as shyness) that she can help change. In turn,
creature tries to positively influence Fini's life.
Parents who choose Fini,
the Beauty of a Broken Shell for read-aloud have the rare
discuss acts of kindness in action. They will relish the adventure Fini
experiences as she discovers that her outer and inner beauty are a
perception and attitude as much as fact.
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Florence’s Journey: Proving Something is
the first book in the
Wesley Club series for young readers and follows nine-year-old Florence
Williams, who is, as the story opens, convinced that her mother's
a surprise means many possibilities of an improvement to their home and
Surprise! It involves
a journey that, in 1955 Ohio, is no light undertaking when Florence's
are accused of a crime and arrested, leaving Florence with too many
and an uncertain future.
entries describing her experience juxtapose with third person
trials, errors, and foster homes that teach Florence about different
learn how to parent from a distance and maintain contact with Florence,
child embarks on a new life under vastly revised conditions, learning
participate in the community church and life in a very different way.
their case that her parents don't recall where they were or what
Florence becomes involved in an investigation that holds some
see a pre-teen read where the young protagonist is unwittingly pulled
into an adult
world of legal and criminal processes while simultaneously navigating
her own understanding
of strange circumstances. The intrigue added by Florence's own
those who arrested her parents introduces another layer of possibility
mystery that young people won't see coming (and neither will adults).
time goes by,
Florence's ability to adapt to new circumstances and participate in
not just her life, but those of her parents, creates a moving and
story that flavors its backdrop of 1950s Ohio with social observations
character development, and spiritual growth dovetail nicely with scenes
profile both the times and the proactive determination of a young girl
with getting her family back together against all odds and impossible
readers looking for realistic stories of trials, difficult choices, and
savvy, concerned child who might be the only one able to help her
resolve their own unexpected struggles will find Florence’s
Journey: Proving Something an astute story of courage,
spiritual growth. It ideally will attract a wide audience. This is the
book of the Wesley Club Adventure series.
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$24.99 Hardcover/$7.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
Book 4 of a
and Rio adventure for elementary-level readers, The
Forgetful Ferret, follows Caitlin Maggert and her magical
Ragdoll cat Rio into a new dilemma when a lost time-traveling ferret
wants to help
Daisy return to her home, but she also realizes that the ferret
unique opportunity to go back in time and change the series of events
brought the evil terrorist MacDougal into their world to threaten it.
absorb Caitlin's dilemma over treading carefully lest her own timeline
corrupted and damaged, they receive a rollicking good adventure story.
The Forgetful Ferret requires no prior
familiarity with the
preceding series stories in order for newcomers to dip right into the
characters and scenarios. This is because a brief introduction sets the
by condensing past encounters with MacDougal and following his foray
more dangerous territory in The Forgetful
stop MacDougal, or will she enter the time portal without them? Is
dangerous plan enough to protect her beloved Rio?
forces with best friends Molly and Trudy, who each exhibit different
to solve problems and decipher clues to puzzles, Sally Alexander's
adventure benefits from a side dish of realization about the supportive
strengths friends can provide in times of adversity.
is a tale
that simmers with action, mystery, a nautical treasure hunt, and a pet
offers underlying lessons on friendship and the true meaning of
libraries and readers looking for standalone adventures that are
well-written will find The Forgetful
Ferret an excellent choice.
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adults who enjoyed the story of boy/griffin hero/villain in Hale: The Rise of the Griffins will find
its sequel, Hale: The Prophet's Journal,
a satisfyingly, equally powerful follow-up. It carries Hale into more
adventures as he continues to confront his new powers and role in life.
The story opens with Hale's father Felix's nightmares and his determination to break away from his dearest, oldest friends to confront King Bayo's rule and son Hale's dangerously powerful, growing gift.
As the story
between Bayo, Hale, and Felix, it develops a powerful plot in which
readers once again are called upon to question who is the hero, who is
villain, and who is only human, in their responses to life's adversity
Griffin brother Bayo, who let him down. It's been eleven years, but the
rescue attempt shatters all hope that Hale can be saved. And yet, this
the end of the story; but the beginning.
a host of characters questioning their intentions, beliefs, and impact
their worlds, prior fans of The Rise of
the Griffins will appreciate the same attention to
development and conundrums that made the first book so compelling.
As Hale, a
and an awful power are changed by an unexpected savior, satisfying
turns develop which continue to challenge the young reader's perception
of who are
the good and who the evil characters in the plot.
white. Nor are the motives and questions of a host of characters that
with danger and sometimes even act against their own interests.
will admire Hale: "Epic battles
showcase Hale’s courageousness and righteous actions when he defends
innocent. The more Marcus watches, the more he is in awe of Hale. For
obstacle Hale overcomes, he remains true to his character."
they will hate him. This changing sense of purpose, perspective, and a
world in which the history of the Griffin clan comes dangerously to
for a complex, involving read that is one of the hallmarks of a
appreciate the ghosts, mysteries, and struggles which continue to
involve, and consume Hale, his family, and those around him. The blend
fast-paced action, multifaceted characters and purposes, and more
about the Griffin clan and their world makes for a satisfying sequel
should be in any collection seeing patron interest in Hale:
The Rise of the Griffins.
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Hugh the Hippo Camps Out In
978-1667868578 $14.99 Paper/$8.99 Kindle
Camps Out In My Head explores the hippocampus (the part of
the brain where
learning and memory live) for young picture book readers through a
story in which young Oliver meets his resident "hippo" Hugh. Oliver
embarks on a journey that shares their evolving relationship using the
action words and cartoon images (albeit much larger, for younger eyes)
Oliver's acknowledgement of
his side-kick and
super-powered internal "hippo" accompanies tips on how to reinforce
memories and strengthen brain function as Hugh and Oliver embark on a
adventures, from winning a video game to encountering 'dragons' during
in the woods.
The chapter book appearance
of this story is inviting.
Mark Jackson's graphics are vivid, colorful, and illustrate unexpected
encounters and adventures, while the underlying messages about memory
function are educational, yet action-packed.
Camps Out In My Head stands out from any other chapter book
as a fun story
that nicely entwines action with education, cementing all within a
graphic novel overlay that will prove not just familiar and accessible,
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978-0-6454219-0-3 $11.99 (Paperback)/ $19.99 (Hardback)
Coloured Socks follows the life
of young Jana, who has
just learned how to put on her socks herself. To celebrate her
parents have bought her a drawer of colorful socks. Now the challenge
which one to choose each day?
wide circle of friends because she is special in more than one way, and
both understand her abilities and celebrate her victories.
story of friendship, support, inclusiveness builds from Jana's
her giving nature and the widespread, unexpected results of her
a pond, Jana affects the world around her by not just her connections,
she invites her friends and peers to participate in her celebration of
colors and opportunities.
different story of a child with Down syndrome paints a loving, positive
portrait of a girl whose attitude shines into the world around her,
for the better.
story of colorful socks or achievement, it's a lesson in generosity and
that ideally will be profiled by adults who want to go beyond lessons
acceptance, diversity, or differences to illustrate the benefits and
of being a giving person to one's peers.
picture book enjoys colorful illustrations by Alexis Schnitger which
life a child's decision to share her delight with the world. The
kindness this picture book supports will ideally be reinforced in
by library acquisition, parental read-aloud, and young reader
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Westguard Rebel Spy
Wonder Jumps Press
978-1-7338681-2-9 $7.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Westguard Rebel Spy
is a historical time-travel piece that follows thirteen-year-old Kep
the Battle of Saratoga.
arrives in 1777 just days
before the battle takes place, infiltrates the British camp, and
his grandfather is part of a scheme to assure that the battle win goes
readers of Kep Wesguard's
time-travel history encounters in 1775 (One If By Land, Two If
will find the same attention to bringing American history to life is
here, as Kep comes to realize his involvement in a mystery will prove
point of a battle to preserve American democracy ... if he can escape
discovered and hung for spying.
Schnabel utilizes a vivid
storyteller's eye to flavor her story with adventure and action,
history to life and adding a delightful specter of a timeline gone awry
tries his best and considers the impact of failure:
entered Burgoyne’s tent planning to confirm
nothing had changed, confident he had been right to come alone,
history was on track and Fox had done nothing to change the
Instead, as he left the tent, he was sure something big had changed.
But he was
clueless what that something was. Or the best way to figure that key
information out. It was like a test question and Kep had gotten a fat,
checkmark: wrong answer."
stake is his future and
American liberty itself.
will absorb historical
facts about this key battle and its times without even realizing their
education, because the key components of the action lie in the
choices all characters make that will determine the state and future of
America. This adds an educational component to the tale that is
inviting as kids move through the story of a boy on a mission and an
gone awry. From mission notes and mysteries to clashes between
rebels, history comes to life as Kep struggles to keep his future world
seeking time-travel stories
that lure the leisure reader, yet educate them with real historical
flavored with intrigue and action, will find Kep Westguard
strong in characterization, plot, and facts.
Westguard's choices and impact
will bring not only the Battle of Saratoga to life, but give rise to
and book club discussions about the relevance of American history to
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of Donnie Malone
Paul E. Doutrich
979-8-88679-043-6 $16.95 Paper/$4.99 ebook
In The Many Adventures of Donnie Malone,
sixteen-year-old Donnie becomes caught up in patriotic fervor and
enlists to be
part of the war during World War I. Joining other fighter pilots in the
conflict, he finds that the struggle is only beginning when, at war's
returns to a much-changed civilian life. Or, is it he who has changed?
various social figures, starts an air delivery service, and finds
the wrong end of the law, Donnie falls into a series of dead-end jobs
dangerous possibilities until his wandering ways are brought to a halt
former mentor who taught him how to fly.
in Paul E. Doutrich's story lies in his ability to weave a tale that
concurrently through personal growth and society's evolution.
captured through the eyes of young Donnie thus become more personal,
certainly more memorable as he finds his path in the aftermath of a
rich 'you are here' feeling by presenting the world through Donnie's
"I made the first flight on a beautiful, warm
As expected, I had an audience, including the local paper and Mr.
course, Mr. Schultz was there. I got him to crank the propeller.
sat in the pilot’s seat, one hand fiddling with the throttle, the other
control stick and my feet on the prop peddles. After a few cranks, I
engine catch. I pushed the throttle forward and gently pulled back on
stick. Seconds later I lifted off the ground. I pulled the stick
cautiously getting more altitude. The Jenny didn’t have a speed gauge
altimeter, but you could tell about how high you were and how fast you
going by the position of the throttle and the control stick. In a
minutes, I was soaring high above the farm. It felt great."
not only absorb this milieu, but sit beside Donnie as he moves through
learning new lessons and crafting a better idea of where he is heading
to get there.
stories of aviation experiences will find Donnie's flights especially
as he builds familiarity with his craft and designs new opportunities
himself. These grow to embrace other realizations as the years pass,
with them Japanese internment camps, labor struggles, McCarthyism, and
adventures represent a vivid attention to detail and psychological
which demonstrate how viewing history through a character's eyes can
to life and make it memorable.
readers, those interested in aviation-centered stories, and readers
through adults who look for rollicking good flights into the skies and
will find The Many Adventures of Donnie
Malone a captivating story of growth and change.
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Clear Fork Publishing
978-1-950169-82-5 $16.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook
Secret Actress will attract teen
readers interested in
historical fiction, drama, and stories about feisty sisters. Molly and
younger sister Juliet lose everything in a plague that hits England in
They leave their plague-threatened home in Bitford-Upon-Avon to
their way to London, disguised as boys to avoid capture by Mr. John
wants to use them for free labor. His reputation for abuse is widely
so the girls are motivated to undertake a dangerous journey in a bid
freedom and new lives.
Sheri Graubert is adept at portraying a world transformed by plague,
personal impact on Molly and Juliet's young lives: "They sold
valuable thing in the house for food, apart from Molly’s lute and the
locket. They burned every wooden thing for heat: the stools, the
becomes an actor in one of Shakespeare's plays, she unwittingly becomes
The deep secret of her gender must be preserved at all odds, because in
era, women and girls are forbidden from professional pursuits.
her acting abilities
catch the eye of the young bard and writer Shakespeare, Molly becomes
unwitting muse which may inspire some of his works. Because she not
like a boy, but falls into her role, her world changes again,
new connections that build not just a different family around her, but
changed by her secret and newfound abilities.
crafts a compelling, inspirational story based on history that covers
social and political tides of the times. Her attention to building
and influences upon young girls lends to a thoroughly engrossing story
vividly presented and hard to put down.
fulfilling aspirations against all odds is particularly inviting and
creating a history which stands out for teen readers. Libraries looking
strong works of historical fiction for this age group will find Molly
Shipton, Secret Actress an excellent acquisition.
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Monologues for Young Adults
Ben Rose Creative Arts
9781953057112 $9.99 ebook
Young Adults: 60 Original Monologues to Stand Out, Inspire, and Shine offers
mature teens to those in their 20s and 30s a gender-neutral, ethnically
inclusive set of monologues that require no props or costumes. Mike
excels in creating short pieces that not only teach budding actors
delivery and acting choices, but translate philosophical and social
onto the stage.
Mike Kimmel's monologues
join other books in the
Professional Actors series, providing the opportunity to not only
basics, but consider the special opportunities the monologue
general, through these original social inspections.
Real-world topics combine
with ethical considerations and
conflicts, creating monologues that are in sync with and appropriate
thinking young adults.
Aspiring actors need a wide
range of materials to utilize
in the practice and evolution of their craft. These selections lend
strongly to individual practice, classroom, and stage pursuit.
An introduction of basics,
including how to get into
character and "tame your voice," leads to such works as the first
piece, "No Competition," which opens: "Call
me a rebel, but I like to see people happy and successful.
Life should be a beautiful journey, not a no-holds-barred fight to the
finish." The monologue goes on to explore the process of
"becoming the best possible version of ourselves"—an effort which
really involves no competition.
These monologues are so
short that one might wonder at
their potential for powerful diversity and lessons. Wonder not, because
piece packs a punch into a minimum of words, requiring actors to create
accompanying power of delivery that often proves elusive on stage.
Any library collection
strong in acting books in general
and monologues in particular should have Monologues
for Young Adults. Its strength lies not just in lessons
delivery, and acting choices; but in its range of appropriate subjects
test the boundaries of the young actor's talents and his or her belief
and social and ethical choices in life.
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of Smoo is a rollicking ride through Scotland that presents a
adventure replete with fun and the dilemma of something missing from
Fiddle Wood's residents
usually fill their homes with
laughter, but one day brother and sister Lucy
and Ben McClafferty realize that laughter has vanished from their
lives. Not just their home has been affected, however: nobody in the
laughs anymore, either.
quirky grandmother to embark on a journey to locate Gabel Lylhu, one of
ticklers of the world who hides in Smoo Cave, the children find their
with adventure and questions about why laughter has vanished. They
their efforts can make a difference not only in their lives, but in the
note is the lilting, lyrical, descriptive voice of Louiza Kallona as
presents this story:
"It was a crunchy cold afternoon somewhere up a
tractor-chugging, coal-tit-twittering track in Fiddle Wood, in the
Borders. The McClaffertys were huddled around a crackling fire in
Farmhouse’s kitchen when something hairy howled outside..."
crackles throughout the tale with thought-provoking, delightfully
scenes as Lucy, Ben, and Uncle Patrick face an array of unexpected
and encounters, from a grinning cat with a message to baboons that sing
through Smoo to learn that Gabel is not the end result of their search,
adventurers find keys to understanding not only what happened to
what force changed other cultures, from India to Britain.
Kids who choose The
Tickling Tale of Smoo
its promise of fantasy delights thus receive much more, from insights
on joy to
cultural revelations, all couched in fun wordplays and descriptions.
Libraries that add The
Tickling Tale of Smoo to their elementary-level collections
will find it a
standout not just for its sense of fun, but for its especially
language and blend of fantasy delights with cultural inspections.
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Karen and Kathy Honaker
978-1645435884 $18.95 Hardcover/$6.99 ebook
is a picture book about young Katie and Steven, who have to stay home
their parents travel for work.
Why do they always have to
stay home? Why can't they join
their parents on a journey? The siblings decide to embark on their own
right in their own bedroom, when a talking teddy bear proposes an
offers many unexpected, fun moments as the kids send teddy Tootsie on
exciting journey filled with wonders.
This is the perfect book to
choose for read-aloud for
kids whose parents travel, and is also a fine opportunity for
children the wonders of travel and encountering the unexpected.
Powered by Chiara Civati's
engaging illustrations, the colorful
and quirky journey through history and other lands represents the fun
adventure of travel while capturing the wonders of Washington, D.C.
Libraries and read-aloud
parents seeking picture books
pairing whimsical fun with travel insights will find Traveling
Tootsie lively, delightful, and just the ticket for
instilling a sense of wanderlust and discovery in young children.
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Maria Castellucci Moore
978-1637551431 $19.95 Hardcover
picture book story Vivienne
in Paris follows the daily life of a young Parisian girl who
the delights of the famous city, bringing young readers along for a
Mannello illustrates Maria
Castellucci Moore's story with an eye to translating Vivienne's
a way that all young readers can enjoy, whether or not they have any
knowledge of or interest in Paris.
introduces a surprise: she has undertaken a journey through her
home and discovered new aspects of it that she wants to share with her
of these surprises lies in how
Vivienne not only observes those around her, but interacts with them.
example is the time she takes to visit with her grand-pére as he sits
on a park
bench reading his newspaper. His query to her invites readers to also
of an emotional self-assessment and trip down memory lane: “Vivienne,”
grandfather asked, “do you remember a time when you felt most alive,
spirit, zestful, and sparkling with enthusiasm?”
invites her to “...ride
through Paris, go to your usual favorite places, but this time, take
what your heart and body tell you.”
this idea takes root and is
reflected in especially rich experiences that connect emotions with
environment, read-aloud adults receive the perfect opportunity to
the young to invite readers to consider their own connections to the
Vivienne encounters shopkeepers
and assembles gifts to bring back from her discoveries, readers also
lessons in sharing, generosity, and living in the moment in more
result is more than a
travelogue about Paris. It explores a young girl's place in the world
she can interact with and share it. Vivienne in Paris
perfect opening lines to an approach to life that adults will want to
and reinforce with kids ages 4-8.
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Creative James Media
978-1956183887 $11.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
Water and Blood is the second book in the
young adult fantasy
series The Chronicles of Terrasohnen,
and presents a blend of mystery, fantasy, and swashbucking pirate
will especially engage prior readers of the epic sword-and-sorcery
between powers experienced by Reith and his friends.
has fled the Elven capitol must both warn the dwarves about the
power of the Shadow and learn more about its strength and weaknesses so
can better defy its hold. If they can't reach the dwarves in time,
attempts to destroy them in the course of the journey, the entire
Terrasohnen will fall.
objective to place on the shoulders of a ragtag band in general and
particular, who is just coming into his own abilities and learning
limitations and strengths.
adversity, and darkness that "works
in subtle and manipulative ways" to lead them down the wrong
all elements that must be overcome if Reith and his friends are to make
both physically and in matters of their own hearts and perceptions.
receive guidance and warnings from others savvier about the process and
involved in their quest: “Good becomes
evil when evil is used to achieve some seemingly noble and good end,”
said. “There can be no partnership between Light and Dark."
enough to tempt fate and bad luck?
fantasy for teens and young adults can be accessed both by prior fans
Reith's adventures and newcomers to his world. The seamless integration
and present adventure allows for an immediate immersion into events
challenging, growth-inducing, and unexpected.
destiny coalesce, nonstop action and solid characterization power this
looking for epic fantasy series reads in which young people evolve a
purpose and better perceptions of good and evil's draw and dangers will
find Water and Blood especially
juxtaposing vivid action with personal insights about power and how it
confronted and wielded.
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and the Dream Eater
Quiet Storm Publishing, LLC
Hardcover $19.99/Paperback $12.99/eBook $3.99
Misawa illustrates A.
Kidd's picture book story, which is inspired by a Japanese legend about
eater. Misawa's delicate art brings to life Yasuko, her grandmother,
hungry dream eater that has its eyes on her most precious dreams.
the dream eater for help in consuming her nightmares.
only one problem: the
dream eater doesn't discriminate about which dreams it will consume. In
and the Dream Eater, the creature is not satisfied by
consuming just what
Yasuko wants it to eat. When its appetite remains unsatisfied, it
continue consuming everything she likes to dream about, too. But the
more than one of a young girl who finds a way to combat bad dreams and
contrast between Yasuko's life
visiting her grandmother in Japan and her home in America, her
"different" is not necessarily bad, and her redefinitions of bad and
good as a whole provide underlying themes that will appeal to adults
picture book stories that reinforce multicultural experiences and the
of adopting new life perspectives and skills.
origami to the different
loving rituals a Japanese grandmother has for her granddaughter, Yasuko
the Dream Eater explores problem-solving at its best, in
which a young girl
must identify the real problem and the best way to resolve it to
powerful note to this
story: Marcia Misawa makes her dream eater interesting, not
attention to detail allows access by the very young and parents who
educate kids, not scare them.
and adults looking for
multicultural stories that explore being part of two different cultures
find that Yasuko and the Dream Eater gives rise to
points and insights.
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You Unique Little Thing!
Thing! offers picture book readers an uplifting lesson in
self-confidence, and is highly recommended for read-aloud as well as
libraries interested in acquiring books that promote emotional and
growth in the very young.
illustrations accompany a story
about routes to happiness and satisfaction, outlining the experiences
children who exhibit traits of trying their best, whether at fencing or
cooking. Examples of achievement include a female weightlifter, a boy
to dance and works hard at improving his moves, and a female chef who
mistakes, but uses them to forge ahead.
Each illustration of
perseverance and success provides a
lesson not only in self-confidence, but in pursuing one's unique love
regardless of gender, expectations, and the influences of others.
The result is an inspirational collection of children realizing their aspirations and talents. Parents and adults who choose You Unique Little Thing! for read-aloud and discussion will find it a winning lesson in positive thinking.You Unique Little Thing!
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