August 2018 Review Issue
Jeffrey W. Tenney
Whistle Creek Press
978-0-9796333-0-0 $14.95 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
time-traveling tale of Caveman
seem a familiar timeslip theme. American archaeologist Trent
Marshall didn't expect to embark on a special journey
when he entered a
French cavern with linguist Bridgette Genet, but when they are
Cro-Magnon times in 40,000 B.C.E. along with colleague Sam Jenkins,
that their expedition has unexpectedly resulted in a closer inspection
history than relics alone could provide.
like Trent Marshall started out to prove his groundbreaking theories on
prehistoric civilizations with his personal involvement in events; but
what happens when he finds himself in the middle of a war between
thing to note is Jeffrey W. Tenney's power of expression. His
delightfully evocative from the start ("His
audience of pale, bearded faces could pass for a lineup of sedated
words fluttered over their heads and around the fusty chamber like
bats. Were he speaking on the anatomy of the Louisiana cockroach he
more response."), spicing a story that becomes increasingly
lives of the three time travelers are contrasted nicely with the
and the different approaches to life between the primitive and modern
of man as events lead the trio to explore not only the past, but each
psyches and motivations.
inspection of life purposes, the impact of heritage on decision-making
processes, and the contrasts between actions of the past and their
the future makes for a delightful interplay between characters as they
their unique personalities and special interests as events play out for
man: "What I do here, what I have
done, is for my people. I guess I’ve been careless in the ways I use
own life is fucked over, but what I do for them is redemptive. It gives
purpose in a world that doesn’t offer me much else.”
of the Chut, Gat, Musi and other tribal members evolve and interact
trio from the future, readers are treated to a fast-paced story that
smoothly and progresses in a logical, believable manner.
lively timeslip story that is well-developed, action-packed without
frantic, and holds just the right balance of drama and unexpected
moments ("Bridgette was going to marry a
god.") to keep readers interested, immersed in the different
personality contrasts between ancient and modern peoples and the
trajectory that changes all their lives.
Fans of Jean
seek more of an action-based, detailed read contrasting past and
actions and perceptions of humanity will relish the detail and
descriptions Caveman embraces as it
characters who are educated and insightful, but who ultimately just
want to go
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Lakes of Mars
say you can't run from your problems, but Aaron
Sheridan attempts just this when he signs up for what he believes will
suicide mission to the never-ending Rim War after he causes his
in a shuttle accident.
He's seeking the kind of
solace (and redemption) that
comes from an honorable death. What he didn't expect was an honorable
life as a
result of decisions and confrontations which provide him not with
peace, but a demanding stint in a four-year school intended to make
out of soldiers.
It's a contrary world where
sullen students "...didn't look like kids;
like old men who'd seen it all." It's an environment which
systematically strips the humanity from its warriors and cultivates an
atmosphere of alienation, competition, and brutality. It also turns out
just the ticket Aaron needs for his uncertain path not towards death,
recovery and life.
Akin to Lord
Flies with its descriptions of cruelty, confrontations, and
change, Lakes of Mars deftly
training and processes of control and honing competency in preparation
From the complications of
modern interstellar life to
special political interests, a prestigious command school which may
have to be
relocated from Mars, and jealousy and intrigue on the job, Aaron finds
hands are full and his mind has become occupied with something far
his personal sorrow.
This blend of military
description, sci-fi, and social
inspection create a satisfyingly engrossing tale that fills its pages
battle scenes and high-tech devices, but with ethical and personal
that challenge Aaron to probe deeper into the circumstances surrounding
he'd initially only wanted to die in.
The result is a
well-detailed, complex story that centers
on destruction, rebirth, and the emergence of new threats in the face
and violence. Sci-fi readers will find Lakes
of Mars moves beyond an officer training experience and into
fundamentals of beliefs, goals, and recovery.
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The Masked Queen's
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B07DD18H76 $2.99
The Masked Queen's Lament is Book 3 in
the 'Gift-Knight Trilogy'
and opens with Derek and Chandra enjoying the fruits of their victory
ride towards a friendly city. They don't have long to savor their
because dark force Alathea still has designs on the world, and her
conquer it aren't over.
the delays and failures, she's decided to take matters into her own
personally embark on her mission to quash her archenemy, Crown Princess
Kenderley, at a point when she's most vulnerable and without her
under the power play between these two rivals with their very different
perspectives on how a kingdom should be run, readers are treated to a
that is approached from different viewpoints. There's King Derek, who
chosen a better world for everyone; Alathea, who believes that world
one of her own direction and choosing; Prime Minister and
Lucen, who has successfully saved the land from the Persecution but
himself facing other conundrums; and Chandra, who faces military
ride into danger, and unexpected alliances with strangers.
are accounts of battles and confrontations with self and others as the
travelers find strangers risking their lives for their kingdom and
battles both a heritage of hatred and the forces that would exploit
for their own purposes.
satisfying blend of social and political confrontation that pairs a
new discoveries about different factions operating in the kingdom.
familiarity with the other books in the series will make for a better
appreciation of the setting and history of The
Masked Queen's Lament, it's not a requirement in order for
gain a sense of what is going on, why, and how Chandra and Derek have
hands full even after an apparent victory.
and strength is how the perceptions of the people juxtapose with those
higher-ups who have special interests and influences on the outcome of
action-packed quest story that goes beyond clashing encounters to probe
roots of power, manipulation, social forces, and individual strength. The Masked Queen's Lament is a solid
addition to the series as well as a good stand-alone read especially
recommended for fantasy fans who like their plots multifaceted and
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Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy
978-0990323495 $14.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
Noriko's Journey is Book 5 in the The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series
and follows Azuki (a girl
who incorporates the elements of a Toki bird with its beautiful
sparrow-boy Shota, and Noriko, who has her own secrets and
this Japanese setting, the boundaries between human and animal are
special abilities and struggles juxtapose with everyday life changes
uncle's marriage and new wife Noriko's challenge to accept her niece
nephew's secrets to a coming child who may be more crane than human.
the only ones to wonder if the next generation will be entirely stable:
fantasy version of Japan, nothing is certain, and secrets abound within
between families. It will take a journey of challenge, acceptance, and
before Noriko can fully integrate her new position in life with its
demands and uncertainties.
centers around two children who can turn into birds and their
with very different worlds, it also focuses on Japanese history and
the changing perspectives and dilemmas of those who traverse this odd
its changing landscapes, and is especially strong in presenting the
and perceptions of inhabitants who, in one way, are very Japanese in
shrewd assessments of marriage proposals and life: "Toyoda-san
was shrewd, Yuta thought. Marrying a second wife who
was an older and experienced business-woman might be one way to acquire
housekeeper and property manager. Yuta concluded that Toyoda-san was
of Noriko and didn’t want to see her dazzled by the offer of a late
her ultimate detriment. He decided to forgive Toyoda-san’s bad manners."
of the story comes from its focus and reflections on Japanese social
cultural inspection: "Noriko was one
of the new women, she thought, the ones she read about, the independent
who questioned traditional society and social roles. Religious life
part of traditional society, but Noriko wasn’t the type to take that
Satsuki could tell. Monasteries were for believing Buddhists, or those
to pretend to be. Satsuki knew without asking that Noriko had never
it. What she wanted to know was how samurai or aristocratic women
outside the system of marriage and family connections without becoming
the floating world of entertainers. That was another refuge for
women willing to sacrifice respectability for security and sometimes
Noriko had avoided that, too."
This lends a
profundity and series of real-world revelations unexpected in a fantasy
setting, giving Noriko's Journey: The
Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy a credible element of not just
but astute insights into the perceptions and social connections of the
as a people. Within this backdrop of detail lies a complex world of
humans, quasi-humans, and special forces which operate beyond the usual
of human concerns.
multifarious yet engaging, injecting questions of heritage into an
quest that leads each character to question their roots, objectives,
in the world.
powerful fantasy infused with Japanese cultural inspection,
changes. While prior familiarity with the settings and characters from
other books in the series will make The
Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy's continuing saga easy to pick
will discover that enough background is provided to lend to a
accessible read (albeit mid-journey).
fairytale about children with uncommon gifts evolves into an engrossing
that brings medieval Japan and its customs and culture to life. It's
a fantasy can claim to educate its readers about real-world
circumstances; but The Toki-Girl and the
approach both entertains and educates, making for a highly recommended,
story that should appeal to all ages, from children to adults who
history and fantasy stories that journey from individual challenges to
wider-ranging social and cultural inspection of Japanese women who
with many facets of their changing worlds.
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978-1980601265 $9.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
of Xereill' series is science fiction
romance reading at its strongest, and even newcomers who have not
imbibed of The Cyborg's Lady (like
will find accessible and engrossing the events in The
Traitor's Bride, which opens with the specter of ex-army
Major Areg Sebi, who is about to be put to death for high
Witness to his imminent
public demise is laundry
maid Etana Tidryn, who shared hot, passionate love with him
previous evening, and who has fallen for more than his physical
would seem unlikely that Lord Sebi can be saved or that their love will
overcome death; but Etana has a gift even she doesn't fully understand.
Readers will find that many
aspects in this sci-fi saga
are unexpected; from the injection of light doses of humor as
interact to the ribald sexual descriptions that present steamy moments
passion and juxtapose nicely with the story's social, political, and
Alix Nichols inserts just
the right degree of observation
and complexity into his story to keep readers involved in the evolving
relationship of its two main characters: "She
was mistaking his worry about her well-being for a selfish whim as if
his gift with the wrapper and the bow on. Like he wanted to be sure it
been used before."
Double standards between
menials and lords are explored; a quick move is
charted from a brutal death to a lifetime of helplessness and guilt;
marriage proposal that may offer a way out for both Etana and Areg
to a fast-paced story that puts passion firmly in line with
circumstances and life-altering decisions.
The focus on Etana and
Areg's evolving love under
impossible conditions includes fast-paced action that moves from prison
forests filled with bearwolves and threats. The Traitor's Bride follows the growth of political tyranny,
grassroots social reform movements, and how two individuals become
swept up in
a course of events. It profiles injustice, escape, and how a new hope
freedom sweeps through a repressed society.
It should be cautioned that
sexual descriptions are a
strong feature of The Traitor's Bride.
As much as Etana and Areg form personal and political alliances, so
physically cement their relationship and cultivate a growing
tenderness towards one another. The sexual descriptions and their depth
necessary part of the story line; not an enticer for readers of soft
In many ways, The
Traitor's Bride profiles a long rescue attempt: that of a
under thrall, hearts longing for the companionship of a partner, and
salvation of freedom, honor, and redemption.
All these facets wind nicely
into a quest and story that
places more than personal safety at risk, concluding with the kind of
open-ended bang that promises more with an ultimate question of who is
villain, who the hero, and if anyone will really survive this kind of
Sci-fi readers seeking racy,
action-packed reads will
appreciate the many avenues taken in The
Traitor's Bride's quest as it weaves through delicate issues
of social status,
power, romance, and sexual awakening.
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Unconquered Warrior is Book One of the
Womara Series and provides
fantasy readers with a powerful story set in early human history when
warriors battling for their clans and equality.
The clan of
warriors profiled here is one which has lived free from patriarchal
and they battle for equality and, perhaps ironically, peace among men
story is Rowan, whose peaceful village life is forever changed by a
raiders who kill her people, assault her, then sell her into slavery.
world is dictated by clans attacking clans, so when a rival clan then
Rowan takes the opportunity to flee into the forest with a small group
who decide they will never be controlled again.
warriors, the Womara, noted for living without men and living
Fast forward a number of generations, when Rowan's flight to freedom
created a powerful group of women now confronting new challenges by
power struggles are the forefront of a fast-paced story that is as
about its social and political struggles as it is about individual
blossoming powers and efforts to maintain control of their lives.
embrace a surprising romance story set against the backdrop of these
inheritors of destiny, fantasy readers will especially appreciate the
focus on the social and political influences affecting the characters
between mothers and daughters—which are well-detailed and pointed in
emotional interactions—to plots involving barbarians, disputed
kings and murderers, Unconquered
Warrior’s fast pace, and deep focus on characters tested by
makes it a book that is hard to put down.
bridges and unabashed confrontation and struggles for change, Unconquered Warrior presents a society
of effective, powerful women who must remain flexible enough to adapt
changing world around them. Its ability to consider the nature of women
take charge of their lives and destinies and who by their strengths and
abilities change the perceptions and purposes of the men and women
makes for a sharp inspection of challenges, choices, and consequences
pairs investigation of a female warrior's heart with the broader
impact of her strength.
seek female-centric stories challenging perceptions of social and
systems will relish the story introduced in Unconquered
Warrior which concludes with the promise of more to come.
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Bear Notch Road Press
Print: 978-0-9975704-2-7 $19.99
Ebook: 978-0-9975704-3-4 $ .99
25 is set in the near future in
the year 2022,
when terrorism in America has ramped up yet another notch and alt-right
political supporters of the President are being targeted by assassins.
Unlike modern-day terrorists, these
attackers seem like ordinary citizens until their suicide mission, and
fact bewilders and challenges the FBI's investigation until they
living member of the The 25 and send an operative
undercover to locate
him before he, too, becomes a suicide killer.
The first strength to note about Ace
Bryant's choices in presenting this story is that it's not only
narrated in the
first person, from the investigator's viewpoint, but incorporates a
candid assessments about his world that solidify setting, characters,
atmosphere: "For the umpteenth time, I wonder how Stephens
flaunt the Bureau’s rules regarding physical fitness, which aren’t just
guidelines, but requirements.
he must have a bunch of secret files on the higher-ups. I wouldn’t put
him. In fact, I wouldn’t put much past Stephens. He can be a shrewd
From Reggie's mixed feelings about conducting
his undercover operation and his evolving relationship with Gina as
for Danny as he builds a web of lies that threatens to unravel to the
undercurrent of light humor that coats some of his interpersonal
my angry dates fumble into their clothes, while giving me the stink-eye
I’m some kind of perv, there’s a part of me that wants to shake them
them about the horrifying shit I see every day at work. The twisted
that some guys visit…the gut-churning photos they try to hide on their
computers, or phones. To my mind, I’m a Boy Scout by comparison, and I
focus on that, as my latest paramour storms from the bedroom."),
25 juxtaposes thriller tension with strong characterization
supported by the use of the first person point of view.
Political insights are nicely woven into the
evolving terrorism as cops are videotaped shooting victims and
clash on either side. From police procedurals to the blowing up of
citizens, many of the events profiled in The 25 are
realistically that they could too easily seem reflective of modern
25 is hiding literally in plain
most people are too blind to see them. In the process of ferreting out
group and its purposes, Reggie is forced to see his alter ego persona
"die", to re-imagine his own life without the people he's recently
become involved with under that disguise, and to ultimately face the
consequences of a form of terrorism that challenges American ideals in
cautionary tale about this country's future.
Thriller fans seeking solid tension,
satisfying twists and turns of plot replete with political and social
reflections, and an attention to solid characterization that carries
into areas too many thrillers neglect will find The 25
a riveting book
that opens with all its guns blazing and keeps the action and tension
until the end in a thought-provoking story of lies, truths, and the
of everyday terrorism.
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Dorothy Van Soest
Apprentice House Press, Loyola University Maryland
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62720-197-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-62720-198-8
Price: $16.99 PB; $8.49 Kindle
focus on investigative processes. The best provide a side dish of
But Death, Unchartered takes an
additional leap into complexity by providing the subplot of an inner
teacher's efforts to help disadvantaged children at all costs—even
sacrificing her career to make a stand on their behalf—and this adds an
dimension to the story of a child's death, creating a riveting
pairing a murder mystery with ethical and moral conundrums.
Teacher Sylvia Jensen is the last person who
should be a candidate to become an investigator: she's already fully
her students, and has been for many years. This is exactly why she
mysterious little skeleton unearthed during excavation for a new
site is one of her students, and why she's so readily able to connect
to link the outstanding mystery of his disappearance with these remains.
Even with this certainty and evidence, there
are still many unanswered questions which Sylvia pursues with a gusto
police could never match on a 'cold case' like this. Why was Markus
reporter J.B. Harrell also wants to know the truth,
and the duo join
forces to probe the past events leading to a child's death and their
present-day threat to others.
Under another's hand this story could have
become a P.I. probe; but underlying insights on corporate greed,
deadly deals, and motives that would lead one to kill a child involve
in a story that directly dovetails with her passion for defending the
schoolchildren under her care.
There are also astute insights on Sylvia's
personal life and choices which are nicely woven into the scheme of
was another truth, too, which I never admitted to anyone but myself. I
afraid that if I had children of my own, they would eat me alive. I’d
myself to them on a plate like I did with my students, and because they
progeny, they’d feel entitled to demand seconds and even thirds."
much will she give of herself, to serve her students? When will her
Her changing viewpoint about activism on her
own turf and how she changes in response to it is also an intrinsic
part of an
evolving story that draws readers not just into a murder mystery, but
educational challenges, union activism, and forces of social inspection
change: "I crossed my arms over my chest and watched in
Teresa grabbed the hands of two children, pulled them from the middle
crowd of picketers, dragged them to the front entrance and deposited
the door. With long, angry strides, she went back and threw her body
one of the picketers and the mother of the children. As I listened to
picketers’ vile language and watched the ugly scene unfold, a seismic
took place inside me. Any residual ambivalence I had about the union
away and was replaced by a combative defiance that infused every fiber
being. The union had crossed a line. It had proven itself unworthy of
association with the union movement. Something had to be done. The
to be stopped."
Political activism, forces of corruption
that affect public education funding and pursuits, and issues reaching
1960s tumult to modern-day graft create a story that is filled with
possibilities and much insight. Teachers, particularly,
will find many
of these scenarios and concerns true to life, linking classroom and
socialization objectives with bigger pictures of societal and political
overseeing teaching choices and approaches to education.
perspective that makes Death, Unchartered
more than just another murder 'whodunnit' but an unrelenting probe into
impact of greed and special interests on the educational system.
turn to Death, Unchartered for a
murder mystery genre read will find the story compelling, complex, and
with the protagonist's personal reflections and transformations which
plot moving quickly and crafts a gripping read with a surprising
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Light Messages Publishing
9781761532548 $14.99 PB/$6.15 Kindle
Liar Liar adds Book 3 to the series of
Nicole Graves mysteries and
tells of Nicole's assignment to care for a witness who is suing a star
figure for rape. The only problem is that seeming victim Mary Ellen
many mysteries that, upon closer examination, lead Nicole to question
innocence and events; and these mysteries just multiply as Nicole
that Mary Ellen isn't the only one lying.
so complex that even Nicole's fiancé Josh tries to persuade her not to
this case. But Nicole is determined to uncover the truth even against
flurry of lies muddying the waters. Can the Bible-studying Mary Ellen
involved in blackmail? And what is the truth of the case when she
only lies and truths, but the growing web of intrigue that threatens
engagement with Josh and the course of her own life.
Liar Liar creates exquisite tension in
the mystery area, but its
focus on Nicole's evolving relationships and the impact of her latest
her life is the real strength in this saga. Readers receive more than a
'whodunnit': they are given an astute, gripping, personal story that
courtroom proceedings and criminal investigation with revelations about
protagonist's personal life and how they dovetail and clash.
inspection of the investigator's world has been done before; but seldom
such rich description, psychological depth, and attention to detail.
is a seamless intersection of personal and professional objectives that
readers into a vivid story filled with unexpected twists and turns.
their mysteries spicy with personal reflection will find Liar
Liar an exhilarating exploration of how far Nicole will go to
probe the elusive nature of truth and the impact of a series of lies on
truths she values about her life.
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Cat): A Pacific Tale
David Michael Gillespie
David Michael Gillespie, Publisher
978-0692947708 $11.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Obake Neko (Ghost Cat): A Pacific Tale
tells of a secret Japanese
aircraft carrier/submarine during World War II that is the last
of it fleet at the end of the war. It vanishes carrying precious cargo,
original story ends here...or, does it?
later a former Navy pilot breaks into a submarine museum in Pearl
prompting his son to realize that his father harbors a dangerous secret
the disappearance of the Obake Neko: one that interests not only the
but the Japanese.
from his own life changes, is charged with helping his father,
from various special interests on both sides, and uncovering the truth
Obake Neko; and this creates an engrossing thriller that traverses
international waters, political special interests, and military
The truth of
matter keeps eluding Mike. Events are complex, not always linear, and
discovers that some of the 'bad guys' his father has talked of are
fact, something different.
from 1944 to modern times, giving readers a sense of the history behind
present-day mystery. This movement and background succeed in enhancing
understanding of the evolution of the secret, the events that have led
and his son's involvement, and why ongoing interests in the vanished
special charge hold such importance to the world.
At every turn, history repeats itself, and real-life events that took place in the Pacific arena come to life under David Michael Gillespie's hand. Another strong note is the descriptions of place and history that lend a "you are there" feel to the story, whether it's in Germany, Japan, or the Pacific region. Gillespie assumes no prior knowledge of any region's history and provides these backgrounds wherever they are needed: "Guam lay approximately four thousand miles west of Hawaii. It was a US territory with a strong military presence with Anderson Air Force Base and US Naval Base Guam. In WWII, the island was captured by the Japanese hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was occupied for two-and-a-half years. US troops recaptured Guam in August 1944. The landing path showed an island overgrown with thick jungle, so dense that a Japanese soldier had used it to hide out in for twenty-eight years after the war."
powerful story of intrigue, historical connections, war, and a father
efforts to solve a long-standing puzzle: perfect for fans of historical
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immigrant James Wilberforce has built a better life for himself in
has his own highly successful sprawling business, a wife, and three
What more could a West Indies immigrant desire?
Good health, for one. When
he's diagnosed with a rare cancer,
James is offered a unique opportunity to participate in an experimental
treatment. The only problem is that it holds not just the opportunity
recovery, but changes that will affect everything he has worked for all
Think of a Robin Cook-style
thriller when pursuing the
medical mystery that is The Plasma;
but with an overlay of social inspection that elevates this production
something more than a quasi-science fiction plot.
Medical details are
realistically and convincingly woven
into a plot that tackles not only the processes of medical
the outcome and impact of an experimental procedure, but the
efforts and desire to put his life back together the way it was before
The waxing and waning of his
feelings of helplessness,
insights on complicated and changing family relationships in the face
illness ("The children were less
joyful this time, but they were delighted to see their dad like a
person, as their dad again."), and the narrator's
introduction to the
"fascinating world" of effectively serving as a guinea pig in medical
circles make for engrossing descriptions of lay individuals whose lives
changed by medicine.
At times these medical
descriptions feel dense and overly
complicated; but like any good medical thriller, the proof of the
in the details and authenticity of description. The connections between
experiments, a focus on making profits, and moral and ethical
involved in medical experimentation are very nicely presented despite
density of some of these descriptions.
As the narrator defines his
concerns over a period of
years in which treatment success moves up and down, he explores the
his choices on his family and frets about their possible future without
And as events move into legal circles, readers are treated to an
situation that nicely defines the interconnected worlds of patients,
physicians, innovative medical treatment choices, and their broader
Plasma is a
powerful medical drama that plays out in the arena of personal
special interests, and business motivations alike. It poses many
thought-provoking moments especially recommended for readers who enjoy
of moral and ethical challenges in the medical world. Action is spiced
fast-paced race to a conclusion which ends with a satisfying bang of
Return to Index
Music and Mayhem Press
978-1-7321301-0-4 Print: $15.00/Ebook: $3.99
Sniper pairs New Orleans homicide
detective Frank Renzi's
crime-busting abilities with a challenging scenario as he faces a
Quarter sniper, a crime spree, and a set-up in which a deadly killer
strangers with the precision of pre-calculated automation.
pinpoint the perp, he has no idea if the killings are random or
Neither is it evident why a clever jewelry store thief's operations
attract the sniper's admiration and earn an invitation for them to meet.
comes to believe that someone important will die if he can't get a
handle on the sniper's modus operandi and his identity. Unfortunately,
doesn't know who the target will be.
Like Susan Fleet's other Frank Renzi books, Sniper can be read as a stand-alone. While it dovetails nicely with his other adventures, it doesn't require any prior familiarity with Renzi in order to prove accessible to newcomers, who receive all the background details they need in the course of this riveting crime thriller.
to the evolving mystery is that readers are privy to the sniper's
thoughts, actions, and his stormy relationship with his handler, which
some of his choices and actions. One glimpses the heart and mind of the
and sees through his eyes, an approach that creates a tense thriller in
killer barely on the edge of control chafes at being reigned in and
clever thief who uses disguises and carefully targets her heist victims
delivers a fascinating scenario in which three vastly different
New Orleans life and culture in the French Quarter dovetail with deadly
Renzi's interactions on the street and with the top brass in his department reveal everyone's stake in protecting their reputations, some of which hinder Renzi's search for the sniper. Fleet's characters are realistic and engrossing, her action swift and precise, and her subplots complex, enhancing the atmosphere of treachery and betrayal.
detective novels and crime thrillers will find the tension exquisitely
with just the right doses of psychological intrigue, insight, and
twists to keep the story line moving along at a swift pace.
Sniper is delightfully unpredictable.
Readers may get into the
minds of Renzi, the sniper, and the thief; but won't always know where
lives are heading. Mystery fans who crave surprises will delight in
Renzi saga that turns their expectations upside down, a twisty thriller
weaves a far more sinister tale than that of a lone random sniper.
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ASIN: B07CZ8S4LJ $5.99 ebook; $16.99 print
The Teratologist is the first book in a
series by the same name and
opens with Dr. Frank Follett's early 1900s study of "monsters":
individuals born with physical deformities.
Follett embarks on a long vacation in search of peace and a different
environment. There, he encounters patients who not only have physical
deformities, but extraordinary mental abilities; and it's then that the
definition, presence, and possibilities of the monster comes to life.
cases; but doesn't treat them. His hands-off approach to his subject is
challenged not only by these real-life figures; but by special
kidnappings, and threats. His study of birth defects becomes personal
frightening on many levels, carrying him into realms of struggle he
imagine from his war experiences and his professional studies.
the supernatural, social considerations, medical challenges and moral
and thriller components added into the mix, The
Teratologist represents something satisfyingly different from
and contemplative story of a professional physician who is introduced
monstrous realm beyond his initial studies is unexpectedly involving.
Follett faces many challenges to his belief system; from the fact of
(despite its unscientific basis) to being locked in a desperate battle
his surgical and mental acuity is challenged.
Philippines overlay themselves on present-day events and evoke
PTSD along with more telepaths than the good doctor can handle, readers
treated to an invigorating story that is fast-paced, packed with
of medical procedures and conundrums, and hard to predict or put down.
The Teratologist is a gripping medical
thriller of suspense and
parapsychological action that reads like a Robin Cook thriller, but
added impact of the supernatural; all cemented in a Florida backdrop
sense of a bygone era.
Return to Index
Neena H. Brar
9781775158028 Hardcover: $27.99 US; eBook: $7.99 US; Paperback: $19.99 US
Barnes & Noble:
woman nobody likes: she's deceitful, malicious, a philanderer, and
So when the Indian town of Sanover awakens to news of her murder, few
not to be condoned even when the victim isn't liked or respected; and
of Police Vishwanath Sharma begins a probe of Singh's life that
reveals far more depravity than the surface events everyone seems to
note about this murder mystery is the fact that this is a literary
saga. It includes far more depth and psychological and cultural
the typical murder mystery's scenario.
in-depth insights into a husband's prior knowledge of his wife's
ways and how he both accepts this fact and lives his life with her (and
comes to terms with a marriage containing no emotional depth). The
some of Singh's relationships affect not only her but those around her;
readers learn about the devastating consequences of actions that result
distancing of affection, attachment, love, and family ties.
complex emotional trail of a woman whose puzzling actions led her to be
because she may have held the key to something in a missing album.
treated to a story line that probes sensational lives in Sanover and
of a woman's decision to lead the kind of life that causes multiple
want to kill her; including her husband.
introduced to a wife's knowledge about Davika's affair with her husband
process of how they become strangers after years of betrayals, they are
into a story not just of infidelity and murder; but of alienation.
deeper price to pay for complicated financial and emotional
well drawn, different perspectives are nicely presented and closely
and readers receive a healthy infusion of Indian background and culture
the backdrop of a murder mystery that leads an investigator in
is a vivid
story that is highly recommended reading for those who like their
mysteries set against the bigger cultural and social questions
Indian town's residents.
Return to Index
Joe J. Elder
Joe Elder, Publisher
DEAR AMERICAN BROTHER follows
German-Russian Hans Gerein, who
dreams of a better life in America as World War II spins his family and
out of control while he stands in the crossfire of nations at war. The story opens with the
search for a teenage daughter lost during the recent communist
numerous tragedies decimating his family and life in the face of social
political upheaval, Hans reflects on his past and his tumultuous world
undertakes a desperate (likely impossible) search for the last thing
life meaning. Readers are deftly carried into a past which includes
during the 1917 Communist Revolution, Stalin’s campaign of mass
America is a beacon of hope as Hans reflects on his past and struggles
present reality, and readers are swept into his family history, from
with the infamous Gulag system to American brother Kurt's promises in
aftermath of war, which injects dreams into the growing realities of
and military rule.
attribute of this story lies in its vivid portraits of what this kind
oppression looks like: "The largest
of the military trucks, the timber-framed box stacked with sacks of
flour, rumbled around the corner and ground to a halt in front of the
Captain Shukov slid from the passenger seat. Exuding an authority one
almost smell, he adjusted his collar and climbed the stairs to face the
Reinbolds. He raised his arm, made a fist, then uncurled two fingers
pointed to the trembling couple. “During the search, my assistants
hidden under a pile of potatoes in their
root cellar. An entire bucket filled with wheat!” A
rippled through the crowd."
various forms of tyranny are powerfully wrought and bring readers into
wracked by special interests, military and political pursuits, and
impacts on the culture and lives of the people.
to the author's choice of a first-person narrative lies in his
ethical and moral conundrums he constantly confronts in the face of
His choices lead to no clear path to redemption: "A
fierce battle raged in my soul. One quick answer in exchange
for word of Katie and Amilia, but betray a friend? No. It took great
shake my head."
navigates a world on eggshells replete with spiritual and physical
readers are carried into a changed landscape where nothing is stable
everything is being questioned.
chillingly vivid tale of communism, country, and salvation that deftly
a bygone world and a protagonist changed by the difficult choices it
His quest to reunite the remnants of his family under the most
conditions creates story that's equally hard to put down.
Return to Index
Crooked Cat Books
eBook: ASIN: B07DH6B38H $2.99
Paperback: 978-1722402648 $12.99
Designer You introduces Pam's perfect
life as a mother, loving
wife, and co-owner of a DIY business with her husband. It seems like
pinnacle of success couldn't get any higher; but it's actually
balanced on many fragile pillars. When disaster strikes, Pam finds
with a headstrong teenager to raise by herself.
A number of
have posed a similar-sounding dilemma: a happy wife suddenly alone and
struggling. What sets Designer You
apart from these stories is the DIY part of the story: their small
(Designer You) has generated an audience and a blog of followers
creating their own home redesign projects. What Pam hadn't anticipated
its underlying concepts and message of hope, achievement, and
be applied to major life-changing events in her own life, as well.
has two choices: become immersed in the struggle to keep ahold of what
built, or use her business savvy to reinvent her own future. It's this
and its consequences which makes Designer
You a brilliant, different story of grief, recovery, and
so does Pam. This brings readers on a rocky ride towards
self-realization and a
new life. From venturing into the world of online dating (which
requires her to
closely define the ideals she seeks in a partner) after 20 years of
the ideal man to deciding how much to hold onto the life she and Nate
painstakingly built together, Pam's journey is fraught with decisions,
challenges, and new directions.
Designer You offers no platitudes about
this journey, and no easy
answers. One of its special strengths is its ability to pinpoint major
obstacles to change; considering choices in how these are approached,
or welcomed as focal points for new or revised goals.
in how it precisely captures turning points and moments of connection
grieving mother and daughter, following them through thick and thin and
underlying worries that affect their relationship:
"Do you ever worry you’re going to forget about him? Like,
forget little pieces at a time? That after a while, you’ll forget maybe
how you felt when he’d come home from a trip. I remember I used to run
when I was little. I could smell the faraway cities and airports and
restaurants in his suit jacket.”
contemporary fiction who want a story firmly grounded in realistic
possibilities and experience will relish the tone and progression of Designer You, a standout story which
outlines an unexpected journey from paradise to hell and back again.
Return to Index
Publisher: Pen & Ink Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-692-15319-2 Price: $15.99
Brave women trying to change not just laws but status quo and its impact on female lives ties a major current news theme into Desperate Parallels.
The novel opens in Japan with a vivid description: "Asami Fujioka’s French-manicured fingernails had been her dinner, a wretched substitute for sushi," when daughter Hana fails to show up for her birthday dinner.
The setting then switches to New York with equally-powerful angst when worried mother Etta feels that a sudden silence from her adult daughter portends disaster; a feeling confirmed when her daughter’s partner Henri phones Etta to tell her he's been locked out of their home and daughter Chloe refuses to acknowledge him.
The juxtaposition of these very different worlds is just one of the parallels drawn between lives, cultures, and similar experiences as two mothers explore their daughters' lives, their reasons for concern, and past histories that could portend future disasters.
Real-world Japanese culture is embedded into this evolving story of mothers and daughters; from women who served as prostitutes for the Japanese Government to Chloe's ultimate course in life and the possibility that Hana follows in her footsteps.
Etta begins to believe the terrible situation is her fault as she copes with male privilege and abuse and its lasting impact on her life. Asami is changed by her mentor and friend's daughter and her choices as she grows, changes, and comes to challenge her country's cultural perspectives about males and females.
The actual process of making these changes, including adaptations that allow them to slink into forbidden territory, is one of Desperate Parallels' most powerful attributes: "Asami and Etta had been doing what her friend called “the woman’s dance.” Outwardly there could be no misstep. Neither could inadvertently crush their partner’s toes for fear of retribution or ridicule. Both had to let him lead while they followed. Yet, inwardly, they were both determined to change the “dance”—taking measured steps—eyes always focused above his shoulder."
A second strength of the story lies in the evolution of each mother as she confronts her own successes and failures, their lasting impact on their progenies and society as a whole, and the choices she's made as an investigative process exposes hidden influences, office fiascos, and inadvertent messes made of lives in the balance. When irrevocable disaster strikes, Etta and Asami must confront deeply held secrets and truths when they wind up immersed in an unexpected scam.
Parallels is a quasi-detective
tale of two very different women, from two different cultures, who find
lives drawn together in tragically unexpected ways. It will appeal to
like stories about vulnerable yet powerful women who confront the men
world, the ideologies dictating their behaviors, and the consequences
cultural and gender teachings that cause them to hide important truths.
Return to Index
Love, Life & Sex
Writers' Raven Publishing
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-692-12123-8 $ 2.99
Print ISBN: 978-0-692-13409-2 $16.95
Ebook link: https://amzn.to/2jRa0Mk
Print link: https://amzn.to/2sT7Z7f
Electric IMPULSE: Love, Life & Sex
is Book One introducing an
adult romance series and Aria Davenport, who believes her life is on a
trajectory to a predictable course of college, marriage to her beau,
happily-ever-after conclusion. Unfortunately, life has a way of
the best-laid plans, as Aria discovers when her fiancée dumps her the
before her college graduation just as she's on the cusp of realizing
Sent into a
over the sudden derailing of her careful objectives, Aria is hurt,
and ripe for exploitation. As the savvy, clever, secretive businessman
catches the eye of this fiery beauty and decides to make her part of
plans for success, Aria finds her hormones are on fire. Both are
consumed by a
passion for sex and success that drives them together in a burst of
both justifies the title Electric IMPULSE
and sets the stage for a rollicking ride through love, lust, success,
and everything in between.
reader of Electric IMPULSE won't be
stymied or put
off by graphic sexual descriptions or the ribald explorations of a
who finds her world has shut down unexpectedly; then opened up in new
Crushing disappointment neatly sets the scene for something far from
intentions or knowledge, and while there is a good degree of
some manipulation and special interests at stake; also present is the
growth opportunity and exploration that sets the stage for confronting
childhood issues and adult perceptions.
place not just in the sexual arena but in her maturity level as she
a journey she could never have predicted, jump-starting a stagnant love
with a relationship she can barely define as 'love', much less the kind
lifestyle she'd envisioned as being her original goal.
To call this
'romance' alone would be to do it a disservice; though a powerful
overlay contributes to the story's appeal. Even though lust, sexual
and love are part of Aria's story, just as compelling is the account of
changes her relationships to the men and women in her life and how she
new insights and perspectives about life (whether for good or bad)
based on her
encounters and observations with Phoenix.
moments are astute and clear, marking the points where Aria learns
herself, Phoenix, values, and approaches to business and life: "Ari, babe, I’ve seen it all. I know
her type. She’s a poser. She talks the talk, but can’t walk the walk.
her heels. Louboutin yes. But worn to the nub like it’s the only pair
Her so-called designer watch isn’t keeping time any more. And her
earrings look more like cheap cubic zirconia. People like her only see
limitation, so they discriminate against others every chance they get,
feel better about themselves. But I’ll set it right. Let it go. For
worth, she won’t reach her financial goals with us. We’ll make sure the
associate she brings over gets a nice commission.”
Electric IMPULSE is a pointed journey of
self-discovery in which
Aria lets go of her perception that her worth lies in her relationship
man and embarks on a hunt for what is truly of value to her world. She
initially doesn't know what she's getting into with Phoenix, but things
just starting to make sense. Readers who follow her journey will find
thought-provokingly vivid and filled with confrontation, reflection,
observation, and the kinds of questions that lead to new beginnings,
empowerment, and growth both for the protagonist and, possibly, for her
contemporary blends of literary, psychological, and social reflection
plenty to like about Ari and Electric
IMPULSE, a story of how empowerment and self-realization
Return to Index
Exquisite Tale of Love and Passion
explores an unusual relationship between Cristofer Vaughn, a dashing
composer posed on the brink of fame and fortune, and his housekeeper
woman hiding behind the guise of a man. Both of them find themselves
in ambitions that not only drive, but threaten them when a wealthy
hands Cristofer his dream and Henri an opportunity that proves to be
Henri's secret, which has her hiding in a
successful job that keeps her effective and safe, is torn asunder; but
Cristofer, too, faces wrenching changes as his creative charge to
masterpiece of his career remains elusive and challenging.
The first strength to note about Kristen
Wolf's creation is an attention to descriptive detail that crafts
unique imagery: "I have but only once seen a grand piano
its keys. Its soul gouged and gaping. The utter paralysis of spirit—the
inflicted and eternal silence suggested by that image—is terrible. Were
for my undying fidelity to that instrument whose tones still pierce my
would flee in terror."
Cristofer the artist isn't the voice opening
this story: it's Henri, who, as it turns out, is perhaps an even
virtuoso than her master, and who because of him taps into the greatest
her life, which she has kept well hidden on several levels.
Between the hidden talents of the two and
their attempts to reach for the impossible, it would seem that Escapement
already has enough story on its place to prove compelling; but Wolf
and complexity through her attention to describing classical musical
Europe, scandalous operas that refute traditional musical approaches
challenge their viewers, and opposing circles of classical theory that
just as mightily as the lives of two main characters.
These descriptions are so astute and
revealing that if readers were to turn to Escapement
enlightenment alone, they would be quite happy with its insights: "Such
conversations, either in support or opposition to the Wagnerian school,
occurring in drawing rooms throughout Europe. The speakers’ arguments
tempers were enflamed enough to burn books in their shelves. The
existed between the opposing schools cannot be exaggerated. The first,
advocated by Cristofer and the Thornes, among others, honored the
the classical music tradition: pure harmonic scales, unmodified chord
progressions, uplifting melodies, and harmonic resolution. Above all,
proponents served as guardians for music of substance, that which
highest human aesthetics of grace and beauty and intelligence. The
school, advocated by Wagner, Liszt, and others, was eager to sweep away
cobwebs of “the old guard,” including the likes of Beethoven, Bach, and
Its ardent supporters hoped to inspire and invent an entirely different
a new aural experience that pushed the limits of human ingenuity. They
chemists of sound, slaving away in their labs to mix never-beforeheard
compounds. They staunchly rejected boundaries and balance and favored
discomfort over pleasantries. Decoration over virtuosity."
These exquisite depictions of musical
controversy and passion translate equally well to Christofer and
struggles as each strives to achieve the impossible, reaching for the
lights in their lives.
Blazes, fires, and flames are descriptive words used throughout this story that highlight the pretenses at play on all sides. A love of music carries both the main characters and everyone around them in a swell of passion and artistry, providing descriptions as vivid as if they were explicit sexual scenes: "The music swelled. Encapsulating us. There is no embrace, no world, or womb as subsuming as that defined by music’s membrane. Together, we floated." From "storms of chords" that tug at audience heartstrings and illustrate a concert's draw and emotional passion to Henri's growing discord and danger, Escapement provides a passionate, evocative and sensitive story that is hard to put down and hauntingly compelling.
Classical music enthusiasts will relish the
historical background that lend complex notes to the production, will
appreciate the rising tension present from the opening scene to the
unexpected foray into realms beyond creative enlightenment, and will
language, especially, one of the driving forces of its passion: "The
morning arrived despite my reluctance to face it. A robin’s jaunty song
in alongside hints of timothy and honeysuckle. I looked up. Noticed the
scurrying about. Noticed too the light. How it gripped the walls at a
angle, a wild animal exposing its underbelly. The day was full of
groaned and shut my eyes. Wanting nothing to do with it."
Like a fine musical composition, Escapement
delights, challenges social mores, lends insights into a composer's
crises, and even concludes with a listing of classical pieces that
There is no better tribute to the classical world or passions of the heart than this enchanting novel, very highly recommended for those who love music, life, and stories of complex blossoming truths which lead to an unexpected crescendo of emotional power.Escapement
Return to Index
Days in May
teens from different countries who meet, fall in love, and are
life's circumstances. Under ordinary conditions, their story would end
point; but fate brings them back together under extraordinary
as adults, they face many more obstacles to their connection than even
Five Days in May is a love story; but
it's not limited to romance
alone. In fact, Canadian girl Helen's initial contact with Chase is
limited, even if they do form an instant attraction that has no time to
blossom. Neither believed in the kind of quick romance that has
after their separation, letters and distance is all that they have left.
years into the future. Communication has dropped off, but neither has
the past. Still, life has gone on for both of them, and memories of the
and instant love they once held has been muted by life circumstances
on both sides.
their first intense love; but it seems destined to end with memories
until something changes and the intensity returns to their tabled
(albeit not in its original form).
point made by Ric Ward in Five Days in
May is that life circumstances create unexpected, quirky, and
lingering connections. As musician Chase rises to fame and confronts a
life on the road when he's not in the spotlight of adoring fans, Helen
her own issues as a fan of his music, considering whether her
lies in an affection for his art rather than his soul.
acknowledge the emptiness in their hearts and lives ("Even
though Chase had talent and stardom, he didn’t have a wife,
kids and the white picket fence. Inside, he longed for that.").
unrequited dreams of the past come full circle into their adult lives,
better prepared, in some ways, to accept the fuller changes a
Five Days in May is a love story; but its
real strength lies in its
sag of perseverance, life-changing events and the growth that stems
and how two souls eventually reunite under much-changed conditions.
how relationships evolve and blossom will find Five
Days in May a warm story of this process, and will relish the
initial and lasting affection between two characters who grow into
lives as well as the possibility of being a couple again: this time
endurance, thanks to their separation and individual growth.
As a 'beach
summer, it's especially inviting. As the Bruce Springsteen song says,
"From small things, big things one day come." Five
Days in May charts those small things and their eventual big
Return to Index
The Gods Wait
John von Dorf
Vern & Sisters
9781370508549 $0.99 on Amazon, free on everything else
The Gods Wait offers a novel of internet
relationships and excels in a complex web of characters and lives that
in unexpected ways. Of necessity, this approach involves building not
two but many psychological and social profiles: an endeavor that may
who anticipated a lighter read; but which will delight literary readers
more depth and reflective reading than most novels provide.
If the chapter titles don't give a clue of this complexity early on (the book opens with 'A Sawmill Discotheque'), descriptive phrasing surely reinforces this notion as characters move through different phases of their lives and interact with the world around them ("Pascal Adanoma sat down to go to sleep, where he thought about baseballs teleporting around a baseball diamond in layers of energy levels. It was dark in his room. He lived alone. He didn’t make his bed every morning, and sometimes he didn’t shower before lab. His biggest secret, however, was that his socks didn't match that day. He had many secrets.").
foreigners, changing times and brutal realizations about life, and
anonymity and conspiracy in the chaotic world of daily life flow
character experiences in a mercurial manner that carries readers
different observations, social milieus, and personal perspectives.
readers are flies on the walls of each different character, observing
changes through a series of rapidly-changing scenes that might
to be vignettes of different stories. All ultimately serve the purpose
contributing to a greater good and unifying theme, down the line.
their language, personas, and perspectives like actors shed costumes
scenes. This serves to illustrate both similarities and differences
their approaches and the kinds of social and interpersonal activities
should not expect a linear read from The
Gods Wait; nor is it a hasty meal to be consumed quickly or
Those who enjoy digesting bits and pieces of life and who allow plenty
for reflection and re-reading will discover The
Gods Wait to be a treasure trove capturing intimate and
vivid jewels of
life experience: something to be savored, lingered over, and only
set aside at the conclusion; perhaps to be revisited later as events
a bang and provide a fitting crescendo to the diverse,
Return to Index
Judith Petres Balogh
9781982903688 Paperback: $15.27/Kindle $5.50
chart the progress of history as they craft characters who move through
Hungarian social and political climates; but Nemesis
is one of those stories that is rich in a background of
real social inspection.
lovely story of a Hungarian actress acclaimed in her own country for
theatrical performances; but virtually unknown outside of it. Enique
supreme talents, her marriage to a talented writer, and their
each other and the uncertain political plays of the controlling forces
them makes for a vivid saga of survival, confrontation, and social
change. Nemesis should not be
missed by any
readers who would understand the fundamental changes of a democracy
dictatorship and its impact on the arts, personal lives, and safety.
craft and enthralls her audience, so readers become immersed in the
of the life of a privileged family that holds a rare, esteemed place in
changed society; and how it becomes immersed in a greater crises that
both fidelity and social norms.
drama piece written by a truly great artist, Nemesis
both displays the glitter and allure of the stage and
probes behind scenes at the actors and personalities who contribute
to the world they have created.
their country and expose her genius-level art to a greater stage,
Victor outline the reasons why they would remain in a society heavily
controlled by political forces: not the least of which is to change
minds through their well-received and enlightening theatrical
writing holds the ability to delicately and precisely capture a range
special interests and courageous, determined personalities who operate
and off stage. It also nicely introduces Hungarian cultural and
that will be accessible even to Westerners with relatively little prior
familiarity with either.
gripping read that follows a gifted woman's choices, the actions of a
movement that change a family's lives, her husband's determination to
stalwart even against the urgings of his own daughter (who has
Sweden and wants him to follow), and a changing world that demands
played precisely and carefully.
shocking conclusion places Nemesis
a category unto itself as a social, political, and artistic work of art
enlightens, educates, draws readers into another world, and succinctly
concludes with a bang.
Return to Index
She Writes Press, September 11, 2018
Odessa, Odessa is a novel that belongs in
any collection strong in
Jewish history and literature and traces the journey of two young
come from a background of rabbis and cantors in a shtetl near the Black
western Russia, but flee their homeland to escape anti-Semitism.
to go to
America and the other to Israel. Generations later, their choices
resonate as their lineage adapts to two very different cultures and
and grandchildren find their relatives to be distant and foreign.
note about Odessa, Odessa is that
isn't just about Jewish roots, history, and connections; the novel
atmosphere where capitalist and socialist ideals are contrasted on a
shattered dreams, connections between the past and present worlds of
divided family, and accounts of immigrants who forge new lives in both
and the U.S. juxtapose not just experiences and ideals, but changing
which "rule beyond the grave" to missing information and pieces which
stem from family roots that divide and migrate to other countries, Odessa, Odessa documents a powerful
immigrant experience that richly details how other cultures impact and
transform the immigrant as generations evolve.
experiences that pass between generations come to life through the
characters of Hannah, Dora, Roberta, and others steeped in Jewish
creating a memorable saga that explores three generations moving into
century, who lose and regain their history and lost connections.
recommended odyssey should be in every Jewish literary collection.
Return to Index
Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC
9781945181368 $13.99 Paper/$5.99 Kindle
Waiting for You at Midnight tells of
Arabella, an older woman and
recovering alcoholic who spills out her life story, anger, suffering,
trials in a novel that reads like a memoir as it considers her vivid,
one might think it would end: later in life, after she's gone through a
relationship with a husband whom she discovers is a bank robber, who
suffered from lung cancer and left her a widow.
male companionship, but because she's both lonely and angry, she
makes the wrong choice in a man who initially seems charming and
exciting, but who
actually is a predator. Distancing herself from her previous
habit of being deceived by men, Arabella finally falls for a fine man
genuine. The only problem is: he's of a different race and class,
new issues that tie in directly with her Southern heritage and cultural
Waiting for You at Midnight might have
focused on destructive
repetitive relationship patterns; but Vicki Salloum introduces
elements to chart Arabella's growth not only in her choice of
but in the kinds of experiences that challenge her preset notions of
acceptable behaviors in social situations.
number of surprises, from the specter of a woman over the age of 50
sexual satisfaction and romance later in life to the challenges of
loving partner in the face of devastating illness; a widow who seeks to
continue living a full life after loss; and the kinds of situations
widows victims of men who would take advantage of them. Add palpable
with alcoholism and staying sober under the influence of life's pulls
challenges and the ideals of Southern class and cultural norms in a
society and it's obvious that Waiting for
You at Midnight holds far more than a singular approach to
process, on many levels.
sound like Waiting for You at Midnight
would be a demanding read, be advised that its heady descriptions and
the first person makes for a compelling, empathetic examination that
hard to put down and thoroughly engrossing as readers follow Arabella's
revelations, growth, and determination.
Waiting for You at Midnight is a vibrant
story recommended for
readers of women's literature who would consider the fundamental
between the sexes as they follow how an older woman recreates a
course for her love life in later years.
Return to Index
Harlen Books Pty Ltd
9780648229513 $25.99 Kindle
Are You Happy? A Guidebook On How To Earn Happiness
common problem surrounding happiness: too often, those asked about
of happiness have no way of gauging it or even defining what happiness
the first to question this perception: many before her have tried to
define, or examine the parameters of happiness; but what makes Are You Happy? different
isn't her focus on redefining the
wheel, but on helping her readers discern what makes them truly happy.
both an explanation (in an introductory section that offers a recipe
happiness) and a series of instructions that encourage readers to look
new experiences to help them understand the roots of their happiness.
that happiness is to be earned and cultivated. It doesn't drop into
Other books and discussions often identify happiness as stemming from a
power, a positive attitude towards life, being on top, or cultivating
self-esteem. Are You Happy? points
out the common fallacies of such thinking and offers a clear,
approach for recognizing happiness, introducing it into one's
utilizing its power for optimum results.
and review a formula for happiness, readers are given the tools needed
"stretch Master Brain muscles" to explore strange new worlds and new
avenues of perception. Wandering is one door that can be opened to
self-awareness. Using this approach, 'settling' (either physically or
is seen as a form of enslavement when it becomes a well-worn rut that
change and new experiences.
readers how to cultivate the finer art of escaping such life-defining
ruts to make
time for new experiences and processing life's journey, but she also
to recognize and avoid this 'type of people' who are driven by forces
and submission and those who excel in using the Reptile Brain to
control those around them. Are You Happy?
thus provides a clear guide on how to recognize happiness and
cultivate avenues that lead towards it while deflecting those which
against it; whether this be through individual choice and perspective
or the happiness-crushing
influences of critics.
perspectives ("Dog Brain" and "Master Brain" to name a few)
are defined along with routines for redirecting or deflecting these
to life, readers are given the nuts and bolts of how happiness can be
and achieved despite all the forces (both internal and external)
interested in a blueprint for finding personal happiness in life needs
consult this master guide to success. The only prerequisite to its
use is a willingness to examine one's life and modify one's perspective.
Return to Index
The Artful Liar
Cynthia Leeds Friedlander
Hybrid Global Publishing
Print: 978-1-938015-92-2 $15.95
eBook: 978-1-938015-93-9 $ 3.99
Reflections on Betrayal and Deception combines the
memoir form with
fiction and presents a series of vignettes based on Cynthia Leeds
perceptions, tailored into a third-person protagonist's observations,
nameless “she” as a deliberate device to reflect a deeply personal
while giving voice to a universal depiction of betrayal shared by
The common theme at the core
of these observations is a
struggle with dishonesty, betrayal, and deception, which prompts a
powerful insights from the process of letting go and healing to the
experienced by reassessing core values and beliefs to arrive at
stronger positions about life and its challenges.
Stark descriptions of the
contrast between relationship
ideals and reality provide pointed moments of realization and change in
the protagonist comes to understand the impact of underlying deceptions
their effects on the course of life choices: "There
was no crystal ball there that April wedding day to see
into her future to inform her she would eventually fall madly in love
gorgeous husband who spoke five languages and who would be a devoted
and father. She would have no way to know the very pedestal she so
wanted to be
on, that day in Rome when she married Hank, would at some point begin
like a bejeweled trap holding her prisoner and keeping her from finding
strength and voice. She couldn’t possibly have imagined that day when
wore the wedding band she intended to keep on her finger for the rest
life that she would venture outside of her marriage to find deep
The lessons of these revelations are reinforced in a 'Messages' section that summarizes the impact of each event ("She learned how important it is to:
• Refrain from making choices based in fear.
• Honor your commitments through honesty.
• Rely on yourself to provide your sense of well-being..."), and this allows readers to not just follow the story, but to clearly understand where that segment of understanding fits in the bigger picture of personal growth and evolution.
shocking discovery of years of deception in a
decade-long relationship reveals growth and self-awareness that comes
determination to gain strength and wisdom through painful loss.
like a snake who could slither away in almost any direction, leaving
wondering if the truth you’d just seen had even existed. It always came
Mathew instantly to re-represent; he was gifted that way. … She
dirty and stupid when she realized how often he’d convinced her of what
wanted and needed her to believe. She knew many times whatever it was
completely harmless. She also knew there was much harm within many of
deceptions and omissions Mathew had perpetrated and there was no safe
back to trust, back to belief. It was only about damage and loss now.
only about letting go.”
As the epiphanies and
realizations continue, readers
experience adventure, disappointment, and growth through the eyes and
life of a
woman who perceives each occurrence as an opportunity to embrace
ways in which survival becomes linked to identity to patterns of
thinking and false perceptions which are identified, then revised,
receive the close inspection of a life that is not just experienced,
The result is a story which
opens with a focus on
deceptions both internal and external and evolves into a detailed
of processes of transformation. From big lies to false perceptions
ideals, The Artful Liar considers
various forms of deception and their impact.
It's this facet which makes The Artful Liar a powerful presentation. Any thought that the work does not artfully fit into one specific genre (women's fiction, contemporary literature, psychology, family relationships, or a memoir) will be offset by the fact that, in actuality, it's a broader inspection that touches upon all these areas. This makes The Artful Liar of special interest and recommendation to female readers who would cultivate their own avenues of self-reflection and growth. “She wanted to bring hope and healing to others who had been betrayed and deceived. … She wanted to build bridges to self-worth and contentment that many could travel across and then multiply their well-being among many more. She wanted to pay it forward.”
If illumination and
fulfillment are among the reasons a
reader would choose such a story, The
Artful Liar more than fits the bill with its reflective
messages on the
finer art of letting go and finding peace by cultivating personal
identifying and shedding the deceivers in one's world.
Return to Index
The Coca-Cola Trail
G L Management
is recommended reading for anyone with a special interest in America's
soft drink, its history, and the places across the country where this
is on display.
The 'trail' here is a
collection of Coca-Cola building
locales, signage, processing and bottling plants, and not a few
Among them is Bellingrath Gardens, a 65-acre visitor attraction in
came from a Coca-Cola bottler who grew his enthusiasm for Coca-Cola and
what was originally envisioned as a fishing camp, but grew into a
This example demonstrates
that Coca-Cola's influence
extended well beyond business walls and into the community. Author
Jorgensen moves from business accounts to personal lives changed by the
presence and growth of Coca-Cola in a fine survey that's far more than
business history alone.
Under another hand, this
story might have adopted a
one-dimensional focus; but the inclusion of a wealth of vintage black
photos, biographies of men who grew both within company ranks and in
status, and an attention to pairing Coca-Cola history with America's
development creates something refreshingly different.
Readers who anticipate a
singular approach to the subject
thus will be delighted by its expansive embrace of not just Coca-Cola's
but the many lives it touched across the country.
Business collections as well
as general-interest holdings
strong in regional Americana will find The
Coca-Cola Trail a versatile, engrossing story that profiles
and places forever changed by Coca-Cola; all woven into a vivid set of
descriptions that make for lively reading.
Return to Index
From The Heart Press
Biblical Revelations through Past Life Journeys
walks the path of enlightenment through Biblical references that follow
the lives and messages of James, Paul, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and
is a highly recommended pick for Biblical scholars from novices to
By reviewing these lives and
their impact and
messages on spiritual thinking, Reena Kumarasingham provides a direct
connection between how and why these people evolved as they did and
If this was the only approach
supporting Shrouded Truth's
contentions, it would
be effective in and of itself. There's a lot more going on than
reflection alone. The information presented herein has been obtained
through studying Biblical events but by including information received
sessions of past life regression.
Therapist/author Kumarasingham has become an expert in the
Regression Therapists around the world in the techniques and
possibilities of working
with past life information.
The story of
Christ, when viewed from the typical scholarly and religious angles, is
notable; but when imbibed with insights gained from past life
it is particularly insightful: especially, here, where eight different
unrelated to one another contribute their versions of Biblical events
By now it
evident that one prerequisite for appreciation of Shrouded
Truth's focus and contents is an acceptance of past life
regression. The memories presented herein popped up over a four-year
different parts of the world and were experienced by common people who
prior connection with each other or with Biblical scholarship.
This fact is, perhaps, one of Shrouded Truth's greatest strengths,
because it's hard to refute or ignore the kinds of insights and
that dovetail so neatly and explicitly in this coverage. Through
and possibly determined spiritual effort, these disparate individuals
Kumarasingham's attention: thus, this book.
A second big plus to
is her attention to blending known, proven facts about the times with
past live experiences. This makes for far more than a collection of
and ideas, linking historical fact to the new information: "…it
far-fetched to think that James had a commercial network and a small
trading boats that travelled to England. Although the area was not
‘England’ during the Bibilical period, the memories were being filtered
Mia’s current-life vocabulary, hence her use of terms from the current
As is mentioned by Isabel Hill Elder, ‘It is not by mere chance that
Joseph became acquainted with Cornish tin and Somerset lead mining, for
Prince of the House of David, Joseph was aware that his kinsmen of the
Asher had made Cornwall famous for the prized metal.’ Again, this
the family of Jesus was an important, well-to-do family."
unique blend of historical fact, verbatim chronicles from past life
narratives, and new perspectives on Biblical events that intrigues and
debate from Biblical scholars.
Shrouded Truth is a unique, highly
recommended Biblical study that
should be included in any serious historical and cultural examination
life and times.
Return to Index
ASIN: B07D4MR86Y $4.99
Hexborn represents the first book of 'The
Hexborn Chronicles' and
provides young adult fantasy readers with opening maps of the Kingdom
and a listing of the many characters to be found in the story.
surprisingly detailed, should not thwart would-be readers who might
from its length that Hexborn will
overly demanding or complicated. In fact, the story is fast-paced and
engrossing and the interplay of numerous characters only serves to
abomination in her world: she is 'hexborn' and her illness, combined
status as a bastard newly orphaned from her father and mentor,
isolation, danger, and a threat which others perceive from her special
advantage of her powers and the fact that she's been raised to be a
patriotic, obedient asset to her kingdom; but Shiloh finds herself
for her realm but for her life and singular purpose as she becomes
a confrontation between those who would use her powers and the wizard
that would expand them.
will relish the ongoing focus on Shiloh's dilemmas as she faces too
choices that have nothing to do with her real place in the world. She's
hard education all her young life about law, special abilities, and the
requirement that she quickly adapt to the changes that swirl around her.
the kinds of alliances that will test not only her blossoming powers,
everything she's been taught to value in her life.
under the burden of terrible lessons and fights, her interactions with
students and leaders as special interests flow around her, and the
factions which swirl around the king's court which is her new residence
for a gripping read that young adults will find firmly cemented in
fine focus on Shiloh's perspective and challenges, and attention to
detail to virtually build a world contributes to a story that is hard
down and, while satisfyingly complex on one level, is relatively easy
find this rich tale of oppression, conquest, and achievement a suitable
read, as well, making Hexborn a
highly recommended, multifaceted read for a wider audience than its
Return to Index
Me Myself Publishing
Book 2 of 'The Ferret Books' and ideally young adult audiences who
continuation of the saga will have a prior familiarity with Book 1
picks up the story where Pia Wade, beset with visions, went missing.
re-encounters the strange Ferret, who had changed from animal to human
waved goodbye to her as she was leaving the island, in the prior story.
later, at the
point where the first story ended, she'd espied the human Ferret at a
bookstore. Perseaus picks up the tale at this point
and runs with it,
following feisty Pia's determination to probe the last four years of
at all costs, and the meaning of the mysterious Ferret.
Most of all,
wants freedom. At the story's opening she appears to have achieved
soon her suppressed emotions rise to the surface as she discovers that
confronting her past leads to not really feeling free: "Freedom
letting go. For whatever reason the notion brought chills to my arms. I
away the chills running my hands up and down my arms, thinking how
changed. I was free now. It had been all I ever wanted, all I could
of. Free of the creepy visions, the dreams, and all the craziness that
with it. Free so I could again live a normal life, and now that I was,
as if “normal” wasn’t normal to me anymore."
and dreams will return to once again change her life. Odd coincidences
circumstances keep entering into her world, such as picking up a psych
a bookstore only to discover that the strange young clerk who thinks he
her from somewhere is actually a haunting figure from her past whom she
with Cameron, her rescuer, continues to evolve towards romance and
familiarity, so her inspection of the rest of her world begins to
uncertain, warped mystery overriding her life. Is she actively making
sick with her imagination; or is something really happening, once again?
about a young woman growing into her special abilities, finding her
life, and coming to terms with new possibilities brought about by her
visions and mystery: "Living is life. To not live is to die,”
as he crushed the leaf in his hand. “And this is my life; it’s all I’ve
and I need to make the most of it.” He now opened his hand and the leaf
the ground. “And…I don’t remember any other life,” I felt compelled to
you could would you want to?” he asked with a trace of something
about his face. Sadness, I believed it was."
to make the kinds of choices that could solve the mystery but change
forever? And what will she do with the answers she's demanded from the
answers, and mystery are complex and are nicely cemented by Pia's
changing life. The consequences of her quest for knowledge and meaning
candidly displayed in scenes that pair adventure with self-inspection ("To
remember meant understanding, and understanding was the one thing I
have."), while the subplots (such as Cameron's evolving
prowess) are satisfying juxtapositions to the central fantasy and
elements injected into the story of Pia's life and its conundrums.
complex and nicely evolving blend of fantasy, mystery, and romance
highly recommended for young adult readers of these genres; but which
reach into adult audiences with its strong characters, overlying
riveting twists and turns of plot.
Return to Index
Plays of the American
Meriwether Publishing/Pioneer Drama Service Inc.
American Experience: 25 Fascinating Scenes for the Classroom or Stage
fictionalizes actual events in American history and tailors them for
creating a dual benefit for young adult actors who would better
drama and social life in America over the years.
Each play offers a
completely different focus and topic;
from the effects of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation on a house
decides to leave her former owner for a new life in the North to
Susan B. Anthony's decision to pursue her case in the courts. These
scenes capturing well-known historical figures or events: they include
regional social conditions, such as a family's decision to send their
eight-year-old son into the mines to follow in the footsteps of his
The timeline of these events
is provided in chronological
order, from 1845 to 1973, which further cements the atmosphere, social
concerns, and eras of the characters.
Another big 'plus' to this
collection is that there are
no pat answers provided in many cases; but a dramatic attention to
consequences, and the impacts of events that promote a deeper
their eras and atmospheres.
In the play about the
Emancipation Proclamation, for
example, the hard-hitting conclusion questions its negative impact from
of one adversely affected by its wide-reaching consequences and the
brings to their household.
Quite often, history's facts
and lasting impacts are
reviewed in notes that outline the real-world aftermath of events
the play, as in the drama about Alice Hamilton and her participation in
controversy swirling around issues of industrial toxicology.
Not only will young adults
absorb historical facts and
the social sentiments of various times; but audiences receive much food
thought through hard-hitting conclusions that cement the lasting
The result is a highly
recommended collection of short
10-minute plays that are particularly well suited to middle to high
presentation under all kinds of conditions. They require neither prior
skills nor big stage sets, can be used either on stage or in classroom
settings, excel in creating engaging and thought-provoking encounters
actors, and present ideas that bring history and controversies to life
personal manner that dry facts alone couldn't capture.
powerfully-crafted scenes that hold
high interest for students normally resistant to learning history could
better than to choose this versatile, compelling collection as their
text for not just teaching drama, but adding life to the American
Return to Index
Safe in a Beehive
Judith Petres Balogh
9781983151828 $6.59 Paperback/$5.18 Kindle
in a Beehive
introduces student Mike, a 'bad boy' who can't seem to please anyone: "Kathy was the teacher’s pet. Teachers liked
students who did their work, knew the answers to dumb questions and
caught in fights. She
fit all these
requirements perfectly and her elevated status made her irritatingly
proud. He hated
proud girls. On the
other hand nobody could accuse Mike of
excellent behavior, perfect papers or of being peaceful and meek during
recess. Sadly, he
was very far from
being a pet; most adults referred to him as a pain, a nuisance, a young
who was capable to do much better if he’d only try."
Life isn't much better at
home, either: he's always in
trouble for mischief. With this setting in mind, readers won't expect
bully and young failure would next encounter an elf in his own garden -
that's what happens.
As Mike embarks on an
unexpected journey, his 'bad'
habits and ways, as well as the lessons others have been trying to
begin to haunt him with experiences that reinforce basic ideas about
life itself: "Instead of paying
attention to what he was doing he was thinking about Kathy and was
that moment, just before his feet found a secure place, his hand
slipped and he
lost his balance. Before he could understand what happened he was
on the flat part of the rock at exactly the same spot he just left.
once Mrs. Mallory was right. She repeated often enough one of her
“Pride goes before the fall.” He was proud and fell, just as she was
From an educated, talking
bee's basic lessons on life to
encounters with a queen and lessons about bee biology and life
purpose, Mike slowly absorbs through experience what neither his
his teachers could impart with threats or encouragement. But,
Mike's past catches up with him; and when he breaks a Hive law, a
queen must confront questions and actions she's never faced before: "There are three things I cannot have in our
hive: filth, sickness and disobedience. Do you suppose you could
promise not to
break the Law again? “ Mike was so relieved about hearing her say this
barely managed a whispered ‘I promise this, Your Highness.’ She just
that, but added, “Oh, that unhappy, black day, when you joined us! We had peace until you
came. I did not have
to face such difficult decisions. I am very, very unhappy and confused
More so than most middle
grade stories about bad boys,
bullies, and temperamental kids, Safe in
a Beehive offers a close inspection of the process through
begin to change. As Mike absorbs an entirely new 'culture' with
perspectives on the world (and different rules), he slowly begins to
of everything that has guided his own different world. His
process is a pleasure to see.
Young readers receive a
wealth of bee information as a
side benefit to this fantasy; but the real meat lies in its
portrait of a young man's growth process and in positing why some life
that aren't absorbed through one method, come to life under different
Being of newly diminutive
size means that Mike not only perceives
natural and human worlds differently; but that he must employ different
techniques, such as body language, to survive. In this world, he can
rocks and bees - but not humans. In this world, he must gather a kind
resourcefulness that doesn't rely on his old habits. And in this
Mike faces a snake full of promises, considers true miracles and
treasures, and comes to know the real strengths and weaknesses of 'Mike
delightfully original, Safe in a Beehive
is as much about
growth and taking chances as it is about safety. The evolution of a
failure into something greater is portrayed as a realistic, rocky path
isn't always linear, but is always challenging and engrossing, and
readers who hold a special affection for life-affirming fantasy tales
self-help and growth will discover in Mike a powerfully evocative
Return to Index
Dogs and Books
is first in a projected series of "Santa Dog" books, and a portion of
each purchase will support animal rescue causes; so those with a
interest in dogs will relish both the story and the beneficial impact
book readers ages 5 and older receive a rhyming adventure that focuses
Santa's best dog, Lance, who he falls out of the sleigh and is taken in
animal shelter, then adopted by a military family.
is happy in
his new home and helps his family when deployment takes their father
home; but when next Christmas rolls around, where will his loyalties
provides colorful and fun full-page drawings to accompany a rhyme which
lend equally well to independent pursuit or parental read-aloud as it
dogs, reindeer games, and one special Santa's pet.
The appealing tale of a dog's two homes leads to a difficult decision for the canine, and one which youngsters will find easy to understand. The dog's feelings are nicely explored in a compelling plot that invites discussion and introspection, making for a charming story on many levels.Santa's Dog
Return to Index
Biography & Autobiography
50 After 50
Maria Leonard Olsen
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Hardback: 978-1-5381-0964-9 $34.00
eBook: 978-1-5381-0965-6 $32.00
age, author Maria Leonard Olsen was a divorced drunk who had long
successful law career for family. 50
After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life documents
midlife crisis, realization that she was actually at the beginning of a
life rather than the end of what she'd created, and points the way for
similar situations who have turned to alcohol over enlightenment and
purposeless, Olsen decided, when she turned fifty, that she would
herself the purpose of doing 50 things new to her that embraced
spirituality, travel, physical challenges and lifestyle changes.
50 After 50 documents this odyssey and
its results, offering
midlife readers clues on transformation and change and insights on not
possibilities, but their lasting results.
purposes behind each action; from getting off the beaten path to "be a
student of the world" to changing the dynamics of daily interactions to
make for more meaningful changes and experiences.
examples, results, and how Olsen let go of the judgments of strangers
family to explore new avenues of personal satisfaction to herself makes
revealing, involving blueprint indicating how readers could craft their
road maps of transformation.
powerful blend of lists, journal prompts, autobiography and tips on how
cultivate a more open mind and spirit that offers readers many 'how to'
for rejuvenating their own approaches to life.
older, in particular, will be not only inspired by Olsen's experiences,
given the tools for embarking on their own life-affirming journeys in a
that is both engrossing and inspirational; highly and especially
for anyone of older years who feels 'stuck' in their chosen path.
Return to Index
Be True to Yourself
York Publishing Services Ltd
ASIN: B07BRJY6LG $2.99
Be True to Yourself: Living with my Autism
is an essay that offers
a rare glimpse into the heart and mind of a man who uses his own
life to illustrate what it's like to live with and be diagnosed as
especially recommended reading for anyone who would go beyond medical
psychological profiles or the observations of outsiders, from family to
to understand how it actually feels to be autistic in this world; and
focus on how he feels and experiences the world and how, in turn, the
experiences and defines him makes for thought-provoking, insightful
rarely seen in memoirs about autism. His encounters offer a combination
personal experience and insights into how better to relate with an
diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
note about Be True to Yourself is
that while it's a short essay, it should be read completely through, to
end. Parker has a lot to say, some of it may prove eye-opening or
in nature, and readers who try to skip through his story to lift points
perceive as being relevant to their own experiences will likely miss
picture message he's trying to impart, here.
believes that adrenaline rushes play a major role in autism, and that
heightened perceptions and abilities are a part of the autistic
individuals into two major groups: "The
first group struggle to control their adrenaline and fear (flight) and
struggle to cope in life...The second group learn to master and control
emotions to an extent and they tend to go on to do very well in life
This leads to much success, which empowers them immensely, which leads
greater success. Regardless of which group it is that people fall into,
everyone who has Autism leaves traces and clues that give themselves
characteristics, perceptions, traits, and consequences of these
of looking at and interacting with the world, readers gain a deeper
understanding of the autistic experience and how it fits into this
approach to everyday experience.
conscious effort to both identify the symptoms of autism (which, to
obvious) and control them (such as body language giveaways). He details
efforts and, even more importantly, provides some astute analysis about
place and presence of autistic individuals in society as a whole: "...there isn’t a place in society on a
large enough scale for people who have Autism to freely express
It’s as if once (a lot of) people know that you have Autism, you
that condition as a label written all over your face and you become a
class human being. To say that this happens regularly is completely
and personally I find to be unjust. This needs to change."
anticipate a memoir or autobiographical reflection alone may be
read these challenges to social perception, reaction, and sentiments;
they're one of the most valuable pieces of Parker's essay and are key
serious discussion of autism.
is a short
but pointed survey by an autistic individual who considers himself, his
relationship to and within society, and areas for social improvement
revised thinking. By pinpointing these perceptions, social snafus and
and their consequences, Parker has achieved a powerful goal of inviting
greater dialogue on the subject than most books on the topic could give.
This makes Be True to Yourself not only a powerful
road map for autistic individuals struggling to live meaningful,
lives in a non-autistic world, but an important tool for identifying
fallacies, failures, and misconceptions of non-autistic people who
and interact with them.
Ideally, Be True to Yourself will be included on
the reading lists of any discussion of autism and its place in the
and how social perceptions can (and should) be changed. Parker
concludes: "The time has come to enlighten
World. The World needs to know more about us."
Be True to Yourself, that time is
Return to Index
Fit for Joy
Hardcover: 978-1-939054-98-2 $24.00
Paperback: 978-1-939054-93-7 $14.95
Fit for Joy: The Healing Power of Being You
comes from a personal
trainer who advocates a different approach to fitness: one that blends
with a focus on finding joy in life.
joy would lie in family and career; then looked for it in the fitness
Nothing brought her the kind of feeling she was looking for; and,
pursuit of fitness soon became a form of escape.
her book is important because it not only traces her personal quest,
cements the development of mind/body experiences that together create
introductory chapters linking early trauma to later distortions in
and belief systems to the influence of relationships and the journey
failure to fitness, Teles creates a progressive set of realizations
readers through different thought processes and experiences.
to newfound revelations about fitness, depression, the rise of
thinking, and how fitness and spirituality actually dovetail. At each
point Teles examines the experiences, choices and perceptions that
her towards or thwart her pursuit of joy. It's this progressive
detail that makes her journey so familiar and compelling: "How hard could it be to get in shape again? I got
to the gym and
asked the front-desk person about the fees. While she was looking on
computer, I got a cold feeling in my stomach. Every single thought I
the place was negative. The gym seemed too big, too open, too dark. The
was too mellow, the stretch room too crowded, the girls there too thin,
and on. My mind was looking for ways to sabotage my plans. Then, when
receptionist told me how much the membership was, another thought
strength of this memoir lies in such reflections. More so than most
autobiographies, Fit for Joy goes
beyond advocating a belief or charting a path: it surveys the barriers
achievement which are created by both self and other influences.
discussions about this psychological and spiritual process ("This kind of negative reinforcement of
perceived victimhood allowed my mind to build a painful, cyclic reality
and those around me. The mind could not conceive then what it is aware
that I was the cause of my own pain and all the suffering to follow.
this can have profound effects on our lives. Think about going from
dissatisfaction to joy. This is the kind of radical change that a shift
perspective can result in."),
and that sets her story apart from similar-sounding books.
spiritual reflection is one prerequisite for thoroughly appreciating
story's approach: something readers might not anticipate from a fitness
Those who hold such openness will discover a treasure within: the
Teles' exploration and clear discussion of a process that can be
others, avoiding the common pitfalls too many may experience.
Return to Index
An Incomplete List of My Wishes
An Incomplete List of My Wishes provides social inspections in short stories that are astute windows into society's secrets, prejudices, double standards, and individual purpose. In the course of short pieces that examine relationships and reactions to life's biggest challenges, these works offer tightly-written, engrossing inspections that are as diverse in nature as they are connected by the unifying theme of plucking elements of humanity from inhuman conditions and fiery reactions.
Many of these works have won prizes and publication by prestigious literary journals. Their stand-alone nature lends nicely to this pursuit, but when compiled as a whole under one cover, their impact is even greater.
Take the short story 'Five Assignments and a Mistake', for example. The piece opens with a bang ("The day begins with a dead baby.") that makes it impossible to put down, but events turn far from the compelling opener as readers learn about a college psychology student's assignment to watch a child being wrested from its mother as she pursues a degree in social work.
The protocols she's absorbing to handle clinical emergencies are actually the same lessons Laura Sue will need to make it through life, ministering to people who could turn violent, bleed, or bite. Riding shotgun with a woman from the city's Child Protection Department provides Laura Sue with a perspective that uniquely defines the world and sets the path for her involvement in it: one that deftly contrasts reality with the possibility of a different kind of discovery about life forces ("The day begins with dark hands...in her sleep, alone, she can lift off again into the oh of discovery: how the buzzing in her limbs subsided, for the first time ever, and she was vast and powerful as a sheet. She was wind. She could lie on the ocean and nothing would stir.").
Laura Sue has evolved to be a student, a thief, a sexual tease to her boyfriend, and a mama's girl who has learned her lessons far too well. She sports a diamond engagement ring, but the engagement dialogue in her heart is another matter.
Like the other observational vignettes in this collection, Jendi Reiter offers no easy conclusion. The "incomplete list" slices pieces from lives that, themselves, are works in progress as yet purposeful and undeveloped, offering inspections that cement the notion of lives led in a whirlwind of self-inspection and social challenge.
The result is a vivid literary and psychological collection especially recommended for those who like their stories passionate yet observational, their psychological depths presented in sips rather than explosions of flavor, and their stories nicely imbedded with social and spiritual reflection alike.
An Incomplete List of My Wishes offers the kinds of inspections that leave readers thinking far beyond the curtain call of quiet dramas in lives lived on the edge of self-realization and social engagement.An Incomplete List of My Wishes
Return to Index
In the Realm of
Spirit: Psalms from a Mountain
John A. Brennan
Escribe Publishing Inc.
In the Realm of Spirit: Psalms from a Mountain is prose poetry at its strongest, but does not always appear in the stanza format that is usual for poetic efforts. The result is often 'somewhere inbetween', a state of journeying described in a prose poem of the same name: "Somewhere between the fork in the road and the narrow, overgrown path lies the way to the true destination..."
Poetry enthusiasts not wedded to the idea that verse need be measured and fit into a given format will relish John A. Brennan's diverse collection for its flowery, descriptive language of personal, cultural and physical journeys and for its metaphors and meaning. This is not to say that such a form doesn't exist, here: prose poems are interspersed with thought-provoking passages that represent a strong poetic heartbeat: "The stone-cold slab bruised hungry bones,/as he lay on the floor all alone./His life ebbed nigh, but his spirit held high,/as soon he would feast with his own."
His language strikes at the heart of mountains, men, and evolutionary processes of transformation, offering perspectives that are at once rooted in villages, mountains, and the rugged terrain of hearts and minds.
What evolves is an observational journey that follows mountains, valleys, and spiritual reflection alike: one that takes a progressive, haunting perspective as it traverses the hills and dales of an ancient land in search of those nuggets of enlightenment that stem from both a dispassionate observer and a nomad: "I’ve been down in the green valley, the holy place; the place where pagan and saint walk the blessed earth yet still, in silent mystic. The one where the river flows ever onward to its birthplace, carrying the tortured history, winding slow with measured precision, to cast upon the ocean."
Brennan juxtaposes these prose reflections with other verse that assumes the more familiar structure of poetry; but it should be noted that these are in fact psalms; and by nature can be recited, sung, or contemplated outside the usual vein of poetic literature.
The result is a set of observations, journeys, and revelations that touch upon history, moral compasses, the destinies of nations and the heart of the Irish soul. It's highly recommended for literary readers who would absorb both the history and individual impact of Ireland's ancient roots including the astute observations of "Gullion, the mountain of steep slopes."In the Realm of Spirit: Psalms from a Mountain
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Ebook: ASIN: B07D6YK614
Literature® blends speculative fiction with a dystopian mystery's noir atmosphere in a production that opens with a reflection on how literature was defined in the First Era, before the Disaster that changed everything.
In this world, book burning ceremonies are common, literature is reviled, and protagonist Billy is a secret bookworm in a society where fiction has been banned. Therefore, he believes someone is out to kill him.
A single day in the life of this protagonist as he navigates an uncertain world outlines the perils and possibilities of love, death, and redemption in a society where modern literature has fostered a Second Enlightenment which has left fiction behind in favor of something less independent and more unsettling.
There are many intriguing references that become clear as the story unfolds: Pinpoint®, Cog® power, Gripping Tails®, Applied Lit®. The satire involved is so delicate that initial references might slip by readers at first; but as the story progresses, these insights and references become tangible, recognizable parts of a plot that readers will come to anticipate with delight. Woven within the dystopian saga of a rebel book reader are comments on social mores, the evolution of thinking trends and altered perceptions, the roots of rebellion, and the fostering or suppression of independent thinking which will provide modern literary audiences with much food for thought.
Literature is facing its "full optimization" as a brand, but not in any form Billy will accept as a replacement for his forbidden passion. In a world where everything is branded, what place is inhabited by the rebel, the independent thinker, and the real literature buff?
Art, alienation, and consumer culture evolution and rules lie at the heart of a story that continually piques readers, inviting them to think about issues of control, manipulation, and forces of change challenging their own independent thinking processes.
Billy's unexpected venture into murder is only one aspect of a frightening story that poses many questions about evolving social change. A series of complex and unexpected faux pas move Billy to the brink of trouble, but with a wry injection of satirical humor throughout.
Literature® is a literary piece that may be hard to identify with a particular genre; but which provides a satisfying blend of literary inspection, social commentary, dystopian world analysis and individual dilemmas to keep readers guessing and thinking to the end of Billy's perplexing, fast-paced day. It's highly recommended for its multifaceted themes, social inspection, wry insights, and unexpectedly fun approach.Literature®
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