Canine in the Promised Land
Philip J. Kowalski
like nature and reflections on the passions of man will find much to
admire in Canine
in the Promised Land, a discourse
on the natural and human worlds, the creatures who inhabit it, and
in and influence upon them and himself.
A wide range of poetic structures observe
both individual concerns and the overall changing environment, but
often a chiding note to works that place much of the responsibility for
environmental degradation in the lap of mankind, as in the opening "The
Tip of the Iceberg," which laments the fact that "...we
to articulate/The ravages of the earth/That we have shamelessly
observations are spiritual and social reflections on the human
explore the rigors of individual transformation, social change, and
The satisfying blend of free verse and structured rhyme demonstrates
variety and extent of Philip J. Kowalski's poetic prowess.
written word like a cudgel of emotion, as in "Narcissus": "You sit in that black-and-white
photograph,/Too consciously and retroactively produced, with/All of its
pretentiousness, exactly like you./Holding a dog that doesn’t look
stuffed/Animal that approximates a semblance of a/Real self, not one
The sense of
and literary allusions are also powerful threads that run through these
from a contrast between Brooksby Village (now Peabody) in 1636 to
to a treatise on Ulysses: "Ulysses,
or Odysseus,/whatever your name is,/You’re an overrated loser. Know
Hecuba,/Queen of Sorrows, hates you for her concubinage./But that’s
operandi, isn’t it, after all?"
By now, it
evident that the ideal reader of this complex collection should already
educated in literature, history, natural history, and psychology. This
audience, especially, will appreciate the undercurrents of
accusations, and observations that link the poems this collection into
unified consideration of human, nature, and world connections.
"The Toad" sums up these contrasts in perspective particularly well: "The sun shimmered in the low heat of a
humidity-/Less day when I heard a bird above and to the right up in a
knew how Grammy and Grandpa kept birds often in a cage,/And with
an Audubon guide kept track of/The wild ones by the river’s edge that
occupied./This one whistled and sang, and as I pointed it out/To
rendered itself instantly mute./And then, what did I see? A muddy toad
all/Brown in and of itself by nature borne appeared/As I dug the earth.
could not have been impacted/In the density of said ground. I took it
as a sign,
out of /Nowhere the precious thing appeared."
desire a collection that embraces history, self, and nature alike will
in the Promised Land a diverse
voice and a powerful read.
in the Promised Land
$19.95 Paper/$9.95 ebook
Mark: Shakespeare on Love, Women, and
Human Nature is
for two audiences: readers already familiar with the Bard's classic
existing critical analyses as well as lay audiences interested in
key themes that inform his writings.
Shakespeare's major plays provide the meat of this examination, which
into why Shakespeare has reached so many audiences for more than five
centuries. Many critics attribute this to his astute but balanced
human nature. This uncanny ability is what feeds Dr. Brackshaw’s
passion for introducing Shakespeare to contemporary audiences.
light or casual familiarity with Shakespeare receive a very accessible
lively survey that relates his works to the Bard's special ability to
underlying emotions through memorable characters: "Experience
teaches that the words used to speak about love can either reveal or
whatever exists within the heart. It is not easy for people to get
truths. The distinctions Shakespeare makes between artificial and
gradually lead him to an understanding of reason's limitations and the
significant value of the emotional connections that bind people to each
Beginning most clearly with Hamlet, reason is shown to be a morally
aptitude that can exercise its sway over situations with either good or
audience aware of Shakespeare's plays on a less critical level stands
the most from these considerations. This is the result of Dr.
ability to not only explain these undercurrents of reason, logic, and
but to contrast these ideas with other critical approaches to
any assumptions about the reader’s familiarity with Shakespeare, Dr.
explores the contents of each play, elucidating important connections
history, critical precedent, and other philosophical and psychological
approaches. Because great care has been given to making each play and
critical perspectives more accessible, the inevitable consequence is a
understanding of Shakespeare's works.
Shakespeare’s evolving perspective on love as the basis for moral
this book leads the attentive reader to an appreciation of
ultimate, lasting impact on the literary world and demonstrates why
have withstood the test of time.
of this book is in high school or college or simply an adult who
appreciation for the Bard's major works, any student of Shakespeare
will find The
Ever-Fixed Mark a worthy social and critical
inspection of the man,
his views, and his times. This is a book that should appear in any
literary collection and on the reading lists of every Shakespeare
Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance
Paul Stream Press, LLC
of Love & Remembrance is
panacea for pain, but a baptism in the waters of love that allows the
memories of her beloved father to wash over her and her readers.
these pieces provides an evocative experience that needs no familiarity
Gauffreau's situation or a family member's death to prove accessible.
"Poetry has no say in the matter"
of death, Gauffreau acknowledges from the beginning. What it can
capture those moments in time which have become the past—moments of
realization, remembrance, and transformation that crystallize and hold
experiences suspended, much as a once-living figure in amber is
all time (or, in this case, as long as this book remains in print).
Color and black and white family photos
personalize these experiences, emphasizing and capturing the presence
mothers, daughters, and family as they consider the lives and pasts of
and father who are now gone.
As much as grief is embedded in these poems,
so are family connections, pivot points in the growth of a child that
captured in family portraits and poetic notes, and interpersonal
that remain timeless.
What is anticipated to be an expression of
sorrows and grief thus becomes a celebration, honoring those departed
shaped the author's life in so many ways.
The child's-eye viewpoint incorporated into
many of these works and the hindsight of wisdom and longing of the
weave poem stories that are succinct and vivid: "silly school
project/cardboard box, green poster paint/George’s time machine/trips
time at his command/if only he had kept it."
Songs is a collection born from
ultimately rests firmly on a lifetime of memories and bittersweet
recollection and loss. By "indulging childhood foibles," these
memories bring home, in free verse recollections, the entire family
support, love, and experience which the author and her readers can
legacies of the past and touchstones for the present.
Poetry readers willing to walk the road of
grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of
Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. Its very
tribute brings with it something to hold onto—the memories and
past family joys, large and small.
Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance
G.H. Mosson and Marcus Colasurdo
Revolutions is a poetry pamphlet that, in a little under
captures the feel and influences of pop music and culture through
inspections by collaborators G.H. Mosson and Marcus Colasurdo with
intensity and diverse range.
It's an unusual production
on many levels. Collaborative
poetry, where the poets intersect their talents and perspectives, is
rare. Literary and social allusions within works that provide political
cultural inspections are also relatively rare. Poetry collections tend
emotion-driven observational pieces rather than reflective works
resting on the
shoulders of poets and musicians who have come before. The spirited
of these pieces also adds a flavor of drama and emotion that too often
lacking in modern poetry collections.
The language sometimes
incorporates and embraces
capitalization for added impact. Take the opening poem "Thinking
Apart," for example. Its powerful capitalized words emphasize
reflection, and choice as the narrator blends cultural observation with
inspection: "I need to DISCARD
logos and icons/of the cool,
dressed-up landscape and HUM what’s crude/maybe ethereal UP/above the dark FREE/as
air ABOUT us like/loafing in
favorite chair/rescued from memory’s JUMBLED
attic/so (not another “you”) but all our TRUEST
names/can be TOUCHED
through ONE another."
The free verses wind through
the themes of contemporary
musicians and poets, American communities and journeys, and beat poet
a manner that will be particularly recognizable and appreciated by fans
Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, and other beat poets who blend social activism
literary, psychological, and artistic inspections.
Other poems incorporate a
sense of place (often
identified in the beginning), offering less dramatic emphasis and more
quiet examination of place, time, and human effort; as in "Tilling": "Tilling: In short time,/the back grows
stronger./It’s that kind of work./These arms bronze over/hard-glossed
heat./As fields I’ve found/call me further, I dig
travel experiences to the ceremonies and symbols of social and
change, these poems are hard-hitting, succinct, and diverse in theme
It's rare to find a pamphlet
of works where every piece
is finely tuned and exact. In this format, more so than book-length
such precision is not a benefit, but a requirement.
Revolutions reaches into the heart, mind, and literary worlds
that resonate long after the reading is over. It's highly recommended
just poetry and literary collections, but anyone interested in social
cultural representations and revolutions that take place on different
levels: "What cloth would you choose/to make
public and plain/the look of your dreams?/Through what language
blood and brains/would you stitch/the totem of your settlement?"
Warleigh Hall Press
Susan, A Jane
Austen Prequel is a regency-style
romance based on the
earlier life of one of Jane Austen's characters, is the first in a
series, and introduces rebellious Lady Susan Smithson, a teen who has
expelled from an exclusive finishing school in London.
to attract men and scandal wherever she goes leads to her banishment to
Collins' rectory in Kent, a staid rural town where she presumably will
from temptation and trouble.
however, Susan hones her abilities to attract attention. But there is
going on than a series of flings alone, because Susan is an intelligent
woman who pursues not just men, but the perceived freedoms and
enjoy: "Mr Oliver would soon be departing to the races, but
heard nothing of Frank Churchill’s plans. Recollecting this, she could
thinking, with powerful yearning, ‘If only I were a young man – a young
means!’… If only she could say, as lightly as Mr Oliver had the
evening, ‘Miss Richardson, after the races, I plan to return to town,
hope you will also be.’ If only she possessed the same liberty to
choose – her
own home or a friend’s, the theatre or the racecourse, the continent or
country! She wondered if such men ever recognised the luxury of their
captures the tone and language of an Austen classic, but also does a
of considering the social positions of women of the times and their
opportunities, which Susan considers and longs for.
are also contrasted—not just by Susan, but by other females who compare
circumstances to others: "Alicia also embraced her cousin,
could not help feeling a little envious. It seemed to her that Susan
born fortunate – in looks, in luck, in nerves, in everything!"
Emma and Pride
and Prejudice, but with the added value of a sense of humor,
determination that elevates Susan beyond what normally would be
appropriate behaviors and responses for her class and position in
Austen and regency romances will find the period details nicely done
fine contrast to the spunky Susan's observations of her world and her
place in it. Her engagements with different men (some simultaneously)
emotions she causes in women around her are astutely presented, true to
Jane Austen approach and milieu, and will delight readers looking for
contemporary stories that build on these characters and their evolving
and social challenges.
Women Are Hard To
Figure is designed to appeal to a
wide audience who may recognize their
parents, their friends, their lovers, or perhaps themselves within
stories of seventeen people who navigate their worlds differently. If
stories sound familiar, that may be because each has been previously
in a literary magazine. Or, maybe it's because each story hits close to
with a recognizable character portrait that comes from everyday walks
Each story grasps and
contains a particular puzzle that
invites readers to partake of a piece.
Take the introductory "An
Artist in the
Family," for example. A family meeting takes place after
Sam, an eighth-grader, flunks his class and must repeat a grade. Sam
really care. He's going to be an artist. The art and craft of his
doesn't need gym or math to succeed, he believes.
Sam has much to teach
everyone around him, from his
brother to his father: "As Sam
turned the canoe slowly toward home he said, “Pops, this is a song we
song about us, about the pond, about the water, and about what is
now. Can you feel it? Can you see it?” “I’m trying, Sam,” said Dad.
trying. Honest I am.” “Don’t try,” said Sam. “Just feel it.” And as we
into the shore he added, “Don’t worry, Pops. It’s okay. The world is a
You’ll feel it.”
Women in this story are
peripheral to the quiet drama
that unfolds within the family and a young artist's unique view of the
he maintains that "dreams and art come from the same place."
From a young schoolteacher's
influence to a mother
portrayed in such a way that "her hands look like claws," the best
works of an aspiring young artist with few other talents to his name
eye-opening to a brother and father who partake of his world on a canoe
that introduces new perspectives to all.
In contrast, "The Filmmaker
and the Night
Watchman" takes a very different kind of artist and provides his
interpretation of one individual's world through a cinematic vision
life. Walter is out
of practice in
conversing effectively with people. He's more used to documenting
events as a
drama in his mind.
As his persona is injected
into his fictional characters,
readers receive a vivid story of different perspectives in the guise of
filmmaker's notes translating these experiences: "Production
note: The dog, of course, is
Walter—a stray, a
lost soul—a creature of the night—a little afraid, shy. You sense that
people but holds himself apart. Human relations are difficult for him.
gentle, approachable, but when someone does approach him, he backs
Everything depends on points
of view. And Walter excels
at changing them as he moves through different scenes, from his
as a night watchman to his desire to have his film vision mirror
"Notes on Walter: Quiet,
nice—night watchman—part of that thin blue line that separates our
the dark world. I want the film to walk that line."
As perspectives shift from
daylight to night, simple
encounters with filmmaker Mary and a bus driver whose routine never
when nobody is around, elusive scenes and emotions are driven by a
who "has no history. I'm just here now." The backstory and movie
become an unexpected collaborative effort between Mary and Walter.
Walter's day ends at dawn,
so he leads a "backward
life," in comparison to most. How he makes a new connection in this
isolated world forms the crux of a dilemma and a revelation that both
this story and opens the protagonist's door for a revised sequel.
By now, it should be
apparent that Women Are Hard To
Figure isn't just about women. It
is life that is hard to figure out. Various incarnations of life are
in vignettes that serve as moments in time that portray small town
individual trajectories, and the ironies and humor of everyday
the dreams that fuel them.
Literary short story readers
are in for a treat with this
warm collection of stories that observe, reflect coping methods, and
She Writes Press
Anyone who has wondered
about the modern immigrant
experience and perceptions of coming to this nation to fulfill dreams
America Calling: A Foreign Student in a
Country of Possibility a lesson in adaptation,
advantage, and revised
futures by those who come to this country as students: "These
travelers are foreign or international
students who seek an American university degree, the Made in America
prized by students all over the world. Their burdens are not light.
with them not only their two suitcases, but also their personal and
professional aspirations, and the hopes and dreams of generations."
Author Rajika Bhandari
didn't always harbor these dreams.
She grew up middle-class in India and observed that many who left to
the prized goal of an American education never returned. And so she
resisted the alluring idea of pursing an education in America, only to
herself on a similar trajectory.
She did so determined to
return home to India afterwards;
but when her attempt to move back to India as a foreign-educated woman
succeed, she returned to the USA to craft a new life and job, working
international students facing a host of social and political challenges
course of their drive to receive an American education.
combines a memoir of her experiences in this country with a review of
international students' lives. Reviews of various coping mechanisms and
experiences expand the focus to more than her life alone: "Most of the international students in Glendale
bed-rooms and were packed into cramped apartments like sardines—the
only way to
survive on international student teaching or research assistantships.
like my neighbor Ravi, just couldn’t deal with it, and sought refuge in
ways. He would speak at length with his long-distance girlfriend in
ended up squandering all his money on those calls."
From cultural clashes and
homesickness to navigating
immigration regulations, the American education system, and social
alike, America Calling offers a
of not just international students' lives (and especially Indian
but how they live and what these students choose after achieving their
The impact of living in
different countries are included
as discussions delve into some of the latest arguments and
international students in this country, backing contentions with
research: "One estimate suggests
that the projected ripple effect on the US economy of reducing OPT
dire: a decrease in real US gross domestic product by about a quarter
percentage point by 2028; a loss of 443,000 jobs over the next decade,
including 255,000 jobs held by native-born US workers; and a
decline in the average real hourly wage by 2028. Restricting the
individual international students to stay and work in the US would end
penalizing all Americans."
The result is far more than
a singular memoir of one
Indian student's experience, but a wider-ranging embrace of the various
cultural, political, and educational challenges that all readers should
order to completely understand the choices, processes, and rigors of
international student in America.
Any collection strong in
educational issues and cultural
relationships, as well as Indian/American interactions, should consider
America Calling an essential
Contained within the memoir
format is a wealth of
well-researched information about international education that is made
more powerful for the personalized approach to these experiences that
cultivated in America Calling.
Capable: A Story of Triumph
For Children the World has
Judged as "Different"
Deborah Winking, PhD
High Expectations Press
When Deborah Winking's son
was born, he was put on a
ventilator and eventually diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that
him as "different" and threatened a life of limitations.
Winking's memoir reveals her
challenges and triumphs in
raising her child as capable. It offers not just an autobiography of
achievement, but a road map for parents who also face seemingly
challenges in rearing a child the world has deemed not just
"different," but "less than."
Parents committed to
protecting such children may be
surprised at Winking's admonition that all kids need to be encouraged
risks, push their boundaries and perceived abilities, and be challenged
experiences that lead to opportunities and growth.
They may have long received
the message that these
options are not available for their special needs child, and that the
of handling life is to protect the child, shielding them not just from
heartache but from the positive self-image that comes from tackling a
or new skill and mastering it.
Even at the start of her
journey with Jack, in the limbo
before a diagnosis was offered, Winking nurtured hope. Her perceptions
experiences will resonate with other parents who face similar obstacles
fears: "Like any parent with a
compromised child, I continued to scan the landscape for the slightest
that Jack was with us and that he was fighting."
The contrasts between the
usual parenting approaches and
concerns and those Winking experiences as she introduces Jack to the
particularly striking: "Unlike most
moms, my greatest fear was not that Jack would get hurt on the
fact, that would be a point of pride, it would mean that he was moving,
his limits, joining in. No, my greatest fear was that he would remain
on his bottom in the sand."
These and other experiences
form the crux of a story that
engages parents of all kinds of children to understand the shared goals
parenting no matter what a child's abilities.
story of triumph on many different levels. It's messages, grounded in
experience and ever shifting challenges as Jack and his mother evolve,
many moments of understanding and education for all parents. This is,
itself, a triumph of connection against all the social perceptions that
stigmatize, limit, or isolate children such as Jack: "Elementary
school was a collage of joyful, absurd, unexpectedly
tender, challenging and mundane moments. But a theme through it all was
too often Jack was left out, passed over, ignored."
Parents, educators, and
anyone interested in
child-rearing will find Capable a
compellingly powerful account that deserves a place in a variety of
collections, from parenting, health, and educator libraries to
A Story of Triumph
For Children the World has
Judged as "Different"
Desiree-The Music of My Soul
Black Rose Writing
Author website: www.peggyrace.com
of My Soul is a memoir and a love
story that will especially appeal to dog lovers. It tells of a
Katrina rescue that sparks a short relationship that earns a special
author Peggy Race's heart.
It all begins with Race's early farm
experiences and compassion for animals, which evolved from an early age
reach into maturity. As she moves into adulthood and assumes the role
stepparent to a child who challenges her trust level, Peggy finds
herself at a
crossroads that leads to the realization that "There
that cause destruction, leaving behind a path of devastation.
life can emerge from beneath the rubble."
This prepares her for the appearance of dog
Desiree in her world. This isn't an immediate focus of the story.
autobiographical reflections of family, relationships, and challenges
center stage, along with the interspersed letters to Desiree that
experiences and changing perspectives about life's meaning: "Life
no promises. I am certain that both of us have moments when we wish we
reprogram our lives, rewind the hands of the clock and bring back those
shared a special journey with us. Today, only memories stand between
the love I
feel for Terry and the love I feel for you."
As the story unfolds with a new family and
new possibilities, Peggy faces loss yet again, but hopes her
animals will lead her out of the depression and struggles which have
familiar patterns in her life. Her work with dogs began long before
but expanded after meeting this one special pooch.
As her abilities and connections grow, so
does her relationship with Desiree which, at first, feels too familiar,
dog's conflicting behaviors mirror many of the confusing actions and
her human relationships have experienced over the years.
As Peggy faces this latest challenge, she
grows in new directions: "From my perspective, Desiree and I
embattled in a tug of war. She tugged at my heart strings, pulling me
the comfort of the life I knew. My expectations failed to account for
adjustment period. I needed to gently pull her back towards the middle
settle on common ground."
Her story of how one special dog succeeded
in changing many aspects of her life calls into question who actually
whom, creating a warm, appreciative memoir about humans, dogs, and the
boundaries which expand when each enters the other's life.
This riveting story, at once an
autobiography and dog celebration, will especially delight canine
This audience receives a heart-warming story of a Good Samaritan who
dog and herself at the same time as Race searches out the truth about
past and explores the process of their tumultuous bonding and the true
of Desiree's role in her life.
Music of My Soul
Retirement and Beyond
$15.99 Paper/7.99 ebook
glance, Gaining Altitude: Retirement and
sounds like another guide to achieving retirement status—but Rebecca
memoir explores her own process of becoming a retiree and the many
psychological changes that affected her trajectory. During that
explores the process of recreating oneself not as a worker with a
experience, but as one embarking on a new series of discoveries about
non-working world of retirement.
a typical American, in that she'd not thought too much about how she
retire or what her life would look like afterwards. Until she turned
retirement always seemed to be a distant possibility.
Her story of
retirement happened unexpectedly early and the choices she faced in
her post-retirement world provides examples and food for thought for
reader, no matter what their age.
successfully retired friend to think about advancing her own retirement
timeline, Milliken first faced not financial concerns, but her own lack
realization about what she would do and who she would be without the
psychotherapy job she loved, which defined her daily routine and self.
self-inspection and awareness bring readers on a journey of discovery
offers insights into many of these possibilities as her friend pushes
think about this radical change: "Now
that I thought about it, she was more
interesting since she had retired. These days, she was always coming up
unfamiliar, new perspectives on life and following up by trying out
hadn’t considered before. But still, I just couldn’t see myself doing
was doing and actually retiring. I’m
happy in my work life, I reassured myself. Why would I retire?"
identity crisis sans work and choices of moving in various ways, both
physically and mentally, to considering what can happen outside of a
"work-obsessed, career-oriented city" without the professional
identity she spent a lifetime strengthening, Milliken is faced with a
challenges common to those teetering on the edge of (or newly fallen
growth, and journey goes far beyond most retirement planning guides to
the many psychic adjustments and attitude changes needed to become a
punches in showing just how hard this process was: "But
it was just these messages and dictates from my past that I
was questioning now, along with the general workaholic culture of
D.C. Was I okay if I didn’t immediately fill my days with worthwhile,
citizen activity? And what if whatever I ended up doing now didn’t
being purposeful or making a contribution to the world? Could I become
creative about how I spent my time? Could I find a new way to be
without being driven? Questions abounded. Answers were still elusive."
Gaining Altitude is a powerful memoir
that succeeds in tracing not
just the author's path to re-envisioning a new life, but the common
to satisfaction that many new or would-be retirees face.
the financial aspects of retirement planning. Gaining
Altitude: Retirement and Beyond fills in the gaps of
psychological planning, as well. It needs to be on the bookshelves and
lists of anyone interested in getting a head start on the process of
success via the examples and experiences Milliken provides.
Retirement and Beyond
Against All Odds — An
Inspiring Real-Life Story of Courage, Hope, and True Resilience
expect an epic life transformation from a thirteen-year-old alcoholic,
but I, Tarzan: Against All Odds only
goes to show that
anything is possible. The memoir traces a childhood dream that moved
and alcoholism to living an adventure-filled, positive life.
dreamed of exploration and a lifetime of discovery, but initially
this goal was attainable. It was though, and I,
Tarzan: Against All
Odds is as strong at following his transformation as
it is in
exploring the outdoors experiences that gave Soulé's life renewed
How does an
individual move from a rough childhood ("By age thirteen, I
all the big boys down, and there weren’t many opportunities for me to
within the confines of the school. So, I took my aggression to the
Tall and muscular, I looked two years older than my age and hung out
teenage delinquents and young adults.") to such an
just a few mentors to change a young man's trajectory: "Cave,
wreck, and ice diving, as well as playing with sea life, also reminded
all the summers I had spent with Uncle Philippe — my mentor for all
things, my guide to unique spelunking adventures. And I remembered that
being an alcoholic, Uncle Philippe was my Indiana Jones–like role
offered me precious months during which I could reignite all my
adventure and life. Teaching diving, I was also giving a little bit of
back, by introducing people to new adventures and helping them discover
fascinating underwater world."
that early adversity sets a life's course in stone should read I,
Tarzan: Against All Odds. One expects adventure from
its title and
cover art — and in this, the memoir doesn't disappoint. One doesn't expect
the concurrent journey from a seemingly dead-end future to a vigorous,
life that's well lived.
from A to
B is well described, thoroughly engrossing, and makes this book an
as well as an adventure that points the way to how others may achieve
dreams, however out of reach they may appear.
takes is survival, inspiration, and big dreams. The dreams that lived
Soulé's young heart eventually transformed his life.
Tarzan: Against All Odds will reach out to other
souls who also hold
visions that seem at great odds with their reality, inspiring them to
through adversity and into a life with no boundaries, no limits, and a
All Odds should be in any collection where memoirs
about adventure are
cultivated, but ideally it will also reach disenfranchised youth who
their own “impossible” dreams, serving as an inspiration for
Against All Odds — An
Inspiring Real-Life Story of Courage, Hope, and True Resilience
Into the Woods…and
Beyond is a nature memoir about
author Stephen Altschuler, a modern-day
Thoreau who eschews the rat race of city living to adopt the lifestyle
thinker and meditator in a primitive cabin in the woods.
Altschuler's journey is recounted in a chronicle that embodies the
of self-discovery in a celebration of self and nature that focuses on
openness to examination and input from the natural world that so many
Altschuler didn't already harbor an all-embracing appreciation for the
of primitive living or nature. He chafed against the onslaughts and
his chosen lifestyle, and reviews obstacles and challenges that include
just confrontations with nature and self, but financial and social
to link these experiences to the wider community around him via writing
recording them for a radio station, he achieves the type of writing
one of his goals; embarking on a process of discovery that taps into
physical world and the psychic wellsprings of inspiration alike.
closeness to the land incorporates new worries about its ability to
and itself long-term as he celebrates the simple daily routines and
requirements for life in its rawest form: "In these
seemed more than mere water: it moved, it lived, as life itself."
he moves from
southern New Hampshire to coastal California to experience different
environments and influences, Altschuler learns how to take the tools he
cultivated initially and apply them to a way of life that is more
heartfelt, whether it takes place in rural or urban environments.
the hiker and
meditator discovers a renewed sense of self and purpose, his choices
reflect a close inspection of the kinds of traps life presents and how
escape them: "Everything I did, everywhere I turned, I was
the fall and the monkey trap I’d been caught in. How many more times in
life would I reach into the trap, grab the figurative food, and not let
incarcerating myself in a prison of my own making?
Why did I do such things?"
enjoy philosophical and psychological inspections will find the lyrical
and fervor of Into the Woods...and Beyond to be
thought-provoking: "In that instant, holding the bent branch
transformed into a potentially lethal catapult, I was unconscious, and,
intents and purposes, dead. An
wisdom knew I should let go, be at peace.
But a black shroud covered that wisdom as I staggered,
100-proof ego. I
can do it, I
thought. I won’t be
hurt. I am mightier
than this tree. I
will have my kindling. I
I will. I
who want to translate and contrast this classic of yesterday with a
journey between worlds could not have a better path to follow than Into
Woods...and Beyond, which should be in any collection where
philosophy, and memoir intersect.
Evelyn M. Leite,
"Just Fine, Thank
You." Growing Up With
Family Secrets is a powerful
memoir about a child's growth in a closed family system held together
by a 'no
talk' rule. It focuses on that rule and its lasting impact.
grew up in a poor rural Midwestern family during the 1940s, in a
replete with dysfunction and substance abuse. In her case, as with so
others, the 'no talk' rule reinforced the family's boundaries and
helped validate and reinforce an abusive system that should have
closer critical inspection from outside the family as well as within.
evolves and family secrets are not just exposed, but analyzed for the
quo they maintained, Leite provides a solid set of insights into the
repression which will resonate with many of her readers who came of age
similar circumstances: "The look on Mama's face is stormy.
don't brag or tell all they know.' 'Why are you mad at me? It's true.'
did I do wrong? I was just telling the truth. 'It's not nice to brag.
not mad. Ladies don't get mad.' Mama says."
interactions, ideals of right and wrong behavior, and family secrets
considered, Leite reviews the kinds of language and teachings that
dysfunction and challenges from the outside to the family's dynamic.
specific incidents, their lessons, and the angst they created helps
identify the kinds of messages that translate into adult lessons about
marriage, secrets, intimacy, and relationships. These can serve as
for readers who would more closely examine their own family's unspoken
"Just Fine, Thank
You." is more than one woman's
the story that follows Leite's life from youth to age 13, her
to illustrate different family messages that get passed down, either
or subconsciously, between generations.
that ideally will appear not just in the biography section, but on the
of psychology readers interested in exploring family dynamics in
detail. Adults who grew up in
alcoholic homes will
commiserate with Leite as they relate to the high highs and the low
is part of the family system.
Darwin Porter &
Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz: They Weren't
Lucy & Ricky Ricardo
is the first volume in a two-part biography, and covers the marriage
relationship between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz between 1911-1960.
both individually, as well as together, will engross and entertain as
was a chorus girl in the 1930s before she became involved with Arnaz.
from a teen who earned a reputation as a bad girl in Jamestown, New
she become involved with the local hoodlum to working in show business
and as a
Her move to
expanded her activities as a hooker and show girl. These changed when
Desi, a Cuban whose family lost most of their wealth in the Cuban
before they fled to Miami for a new life.
Hollywood encounter led to a marriage fraught with stormy conflicts and
separations...a relationship that lasted two decades, suriving
Hollywood gossip and stories of stars, starlets, and passion will find
forces and more in Lucille Ball &
images pack the story, embellishing it with photos, vintage ads and
bills, and on- and off-screen shots that capture the personalities and
of Lucy and Desi.
biography filled with Hollywood stories, however, Lucille
Ball & Desi Arnaz captures the era which produced
and Desi, from backroom deals and critical successes and failures to
evolution of films, shows, and the two stars as they navigated a
Hollywood milieu and their relationship.
and personal and career encounters and choices each faced, both
and as a famous couple, is captured in vivid descriptions of filming
that bring the Hollywood of the 1930s to modern times to life in all of
strength of this story lies in its contrast between the dreams and
a Hollywood couple whose professional lives impacted their personal
and moment-by-moment inspections, Lucille
Ball & Desi Arnaz is a definitive biography highly
anyone interested not just in these two, but in Hollywood filming,
couples, and the changing milieu of movies and television over the
media collections alike will find this exploration educational,
accurate, dramatically intriguing, and revealing.
Return to the Light
Return to the Light
Within: How I Woke Up,
Rediscovered Who I Am, and Found Happiness
is a memoir of transformation that charts the path of Dmitria Burby,
who discovered that, despite holding the trappings of happiness in
family, she remained unfulfilled and disconnected.
revelations come to life in a story replete in interpretations and
considerations of the Divine and how each spirit's desire for growth
connection influence choices and life trajectories.
than outline her life influences.
what circumstances built her belief system, how she lived it, and her
about this lifestyle: "I had done everything that I had been
how you “made it” and became successful...For years, the building of my
and the world around me was enough to keep me distracted. I was busy,
and I was
seeing the things I was told were going to make me happy fall nicely
place. But the truth was that things were not perfect. Under the layers
perfect family and successful career, I was depressed, exhausted, and
from extreme anxiety. It seemed that no matter how I tried to solve
underlying issues, nothing seemed to work. In fact, the more years that
by, the more I found that the issues were getting worse. It made no
me. I had everything that I wanted in my life. I had everything I
needed to be happy and joyful at my fingertips. Why couldn’t I engage
life that I had spent so many years creating for myself? Why couldn’t I
and enjoy the fruits of all of my labor?"
these, which are replete through the memoir, set Return to
the Light Within
apart from many spiritual reflections or autobiographical stories.
focus on her pursuits, their results, and evolving new commitments to
marriage, and focus on a "divine path" to a different success story
drive an account filled with examples of how this process actually
the real world.
are required for complete satisfaction with this engaging book: an
of basic spiritual influences on life, and an interest in seeing
these influences redirect choices, perceptions, and values to connect
reader's own interest in awakening and transformation.
to capture a sense of how all this works and apply these lessons to
experiences with newfound insights and wisdom will find Return
to the Light
Within more than just another memoir of enlightenment.
for self-discovery that charts the course through ceremonies, rituals,
change that applies not just to the author, but her readers, as well.
to the Light
Enterprise Architecture Fundamentals
Izzard Ink Publishing
$45.95 Hardcover/$39.95 Paper
collections strong in information
management guides will find Enterprise Architecture
Fundamentals: Using the Pagoda Blueprint a solid technical guide to the opportunities
and challenges of creating and managing enterprise architecture.
to provide a primer about the process that opens with basic definitions
surveys of enterprise architecture systems and frameworks, building
introductory knowledge to delve into models and profiles of working
The contrasts between business and architecture models and requirements
roles of architecture-driven approaches to systems creation and
are nicely presented.
coverage of models for success and the process of modernization and
of enterprise-driven and agile approaches creates a technical, yet
discussion: "These connectors can also help to iron out the
discrepancies betweenmodeled business domains and the unmodeled or
modeled (cf. chapter 4) ones. A clear remit of enterprise architects,
modeling transit areas are managed by thesauruses along modeled
Whether these representations are meant to remain outside systems
concerns (e.g., business intelligence) or to be progressively
descriptive and prescriptive models, they should all rely on a common
connectors with consistent meaning."
IT and business managers will find the many
business examples contribute a better understanding to the entire
while those involved in orchestrating the architecture-driven
receive many specific guidelines and examples: "Enterprise
must consequently characterize events according to their nature and
Color diagrams abound and discussions
revolve around problems, solutions, and creative applications of
architecture principles, with the Pagoda Blueprint ("an extension of
Zachman framework, which is used to chart EA’s mix of
organizational, and systems components") cementing these approaches and
From its modeling system (based on the
Stanford Symbolic System Program, or SSP) to its integration of Pagoda
graphs and foundations that rest on Agile, Use cases, and Model-based
engineering concepts, this business guide covers new technologies,
concerns, and integration prospects.
Considerations even delve into the philosophical
realm as they consider the nature of these opportunities: "Things
happen by chance but won’t last without a reason. That could be the
motto for both applications and architectures; the former, chasing
opportunities, and the latter, trying to milk perennial assets. But
two caveats: to keep up with digital environments, enterprises have to
more than their application spots; but too many changes may turn
into cluttered shambles. Thus, the challenge for enterprise architects
to transform a plurality of emerging trends into agile, consistent, and
No business collection (especially those
already containing some books on enterprise architecture) should be
this satisfying examination of technological and business processes.
Ellen Snee, EdD
$16.95 paper/$8.95 ebook
How Women in
Charge Claim Their Authority originated in the university,
where the author
and her classmates concluded a lesson in leadership principles with
engagement and examples.
This class created the
kernels of wisdom for Lead: How Women in
Charge Claim Their
Authority; because it was here that the leadership approaches
of males and
females came to light in a manner the guiding professor hadn't quite
Ellen Snee is especially
talented at outlining the heart
of these differences early on: "Our
male colleagues were still eager to identify leadership with
and relational work as something to “get out of the way.” I couldn’t
how quickly the alpha males had reverted to the views and behaviors
brought with them when the class began. Had they learned nothing in
few months? And yet as I sat there watching it all play out, I
I was feeling the same powerlessness that had driven me to take the
behavior was the same as when we had started."
Her questions about
authority's connection to traditional
leadership and how this impacts womens' attempts to assume a leadership
all walks of life led to an examination of the special challenges
of formal authority pose for women who want to guide
Case history examples cover
communication styles that
inadvertently undermine careers; the types of skills and experiences
to senior promotion in businesses which all too often are not part of
approaches; developmental milestones that are directly connected to
ambitions, and more.
Businesswomen and leaders in
all kinds of organizations
will find these very specific discussions a key to not just success,
revising their attitudes about the roots of achievement and its
More importantly, each
chapter in the book is a call for
women to lead, using these teachings and the experiences of others to
and support new courses to success that leave behind many engrained
and issues over accountability.
More than just a discussion
of the psychological and
structural barriers women face, Lead: How
Women in Charge Claim Their Authority is a goldmine of tools
that women can
use to change their approaches and leadership paradigms.
Its attention to both
individual and collective changes
needed to make progress and success happen makes for a highly
for women in all walks of life, and for collections strong in women's
self-improvement, and business and career strategies.
Master Chinese Business
Author website: www.qingshunzou.com
Business Culture: Becoming a China Expert will prove knowledgeable,
inspirational, and essential
to Western readers. It is a
for Westerners who would embark on a business relationship with Chinese
companies and leaders.
In order to do business with
another culture, especially
in modern times, it's necessary to thoroughly understand different
approaches, and etiquette. A number of business-oriented books cover
business etiquette as though it's a memorizable formula; but Qingshun
focuses on conducting business on a deeper level that embraces China's
Its analysis and
recommendations embrace cross-cultural
encounters, standards, etiquette, and common points of understanding
misunderstanding. Examples include absorbing the logic and intention
Chinese brand names and ideograms that have a positive meaning in
culture to absorbing yin/yang concepts that appear in all levels of
society (from cuisine to interactions), the ongoing presence of
all walks of life, and the Chinese model of conflict management, which
"the search for harmony, the maintenance
of the relationship at all costs, the saving of face, and the adoption
As Zou explores the history,
culture, and impact of
Chinese values and perceptions on business relationships, readers gain
broader series of insights based not just on standards of behavior, but
historical and cultural influences. This deeper level of understanding
outshines competing etiquette-centered books, expanding the horizons of
businesspeople who want to do more than parrot appropriate behaviors.
This is why not only
business collections, but any
interested in Chinese culture, history, and social norms needs Master Chinese Business Culture: Becoming a
China Expert. It offers more than the chance to become a
alone, presenting valuable insights that will lend to a better
the Chinese people as a whole.
Hardcover/$16.99 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Insider’s Tour of the Secret World of Residential Real Estate for
Sellers, and Buyers is a guide to residential real estate
appeal to as broad an audience as possible. Therefore, it is set in an
community which mirrors the real estate trends of the country, yet
brokerage company nameless while incorporating decades of real estate
and experiences into its examination.
Most real estate guides
narrow their audience to either
sellers or buyers, adopting perspectives that consider one group's
By tailoring this insider's guide to agents, sellers, and buyers alike,
outlines and contrasts the different perspectives of all three, which
provide readers with important information.
Another note is the chatty
tone which makes accessible
ideas and experiences that are too commonly couched in technical
dispassionate description: "My
husband believes home sellers are nuts. He also believes home buyers
As for the real estate agents who make careers out of servicing these
pretty much regards us as nutty too (“damn crazy” were his exact
won’t protest Al.’s harsh assessment of all concerned. Via this
Realtor, he’s been exposed over the years to so many real
contretemps, legal snafus, financing tangles, structural issues,
problems, and bizarre emergencies of all kinds (at all hours) that I’m
relieved he considers my industry “damn crazy” and lets it go at that."
This level of engagement
succeeds in attracting an
audience which may not ordinary be drawn to the world of real estate
transactions, personalizing experiences and making them not just
As chapters cover topics
often glossed over or omitted in
other residential real estate discussions, from the vulnerability of a
real estate agent to predators who dangle expensive listings and sexual
to racists and safety challenges agents face during open houses,
much information and advice on how to stay safe and savvy during the
selling and buying process.
Many of these lessons will
apply not just to realtors,
but homeowners who would attempt to sell their own homes and women who
be more cognizant of the risks in handling different situations and
the course of pursuing real estate professions.
Buyers, too, receive details
about scams and
misrepresentations that will educate them about the need to be
careful: "Despite the 2005 seller’s
reassuring letter, the eventual buyers for the property at that time
entertained reservations about the man’s claim concerning the integrity
house’s front wall. To assuage their concern, the seller immediately
volunteered to bring in an expert to examine it for them. Why the
agree to this self-interested arrangement rather than investigate the
an expert of their own (or their Realtor’s) choosing is unclear. The
second “engineering” report that was only a letter appears to have been
deliberate attempt at misrepresentation. Someone, not a structural
writing on the letterhead of
big-time structural engineering firm, states that he did a “visual
of the cracks” and found nothing amiss."
With engaging case histories
from real life and a desire
to reveal all aspects of residential real estate transactions from all
sides, Joey Sheehan succeeds in
experiences into invaluable information that should be in the hands of
sellers, and agents alike.
collection that includes real estate guides should include Open House!: An
of the Secret World of Residential Real Estate for Agents, Sellers, and
Buyers as a matter
of course. Its tone and details
will appeal far beyond the usual buyer/seller focus typical in such
Blood of the
Author website: www.lindawatkins-author.com
The Blood of the
Viper places Kate
Pomeroy in the limelight as she
returns to Storm Island, the scene of prior mystery and adventures.
with a newborn, she has returned to her clinic and is looking forward
should be a well-balanced life and career.
in the Gothic mystery/horror series adds to the rest of Kate's stories
continues to build her life and reactions to it. The novel opens with a
threatening vision of supernatural viper's blood which is powered by an
evil and a thirst for the human soul.
baby, Hamilton Sloane Bradshaw, arrives at the start of this story,
new beginning in her life's values and motivating forces. The next
moves backwards in time to the Yucatan and an assassination attempt
left Vlad Sokolov paralyzed and vulnerable.
seemingly disparate events and the viper's threat come together as the
evolves to embrace the ancient sect that threatens lives and impacts
that unfold on Storm Island.
takes the necessary time to build her story as the island's most recent
newcomer moves into the strange Gothic mansion and proves to be a
harboring a dangerous secret.
the first person to explore Kate's experiences, reactions, and
This heightens the drama and "you are there" feel of the plot as she
struggles to meld her new life and focus with a growing sense of threat
family and home.
to incorporate Kate's past and present and the island's special history
not detract from her latest adventure for prior fans, while gently
Kate's exploits with a sense of her past experience, for newcomers.
Jones-style of adventure and supernatural confrontation emerges from
tunnels and mystery Kate faces—but at a more reasoned pace that takes
to meld interpersonal actions and reactions with discovery and
will especially please readers of gothic supernatural suspense who want
than a fast pace alone.
Pomeroy's prior Storm Island adventures as well as newcomers to her
times will relish The Blood of the Viper not just
for its mystery, but
for its attention to detailing the evolving love between Kate and
their new life together assumes another layer of complexity and love.
a stand-alone story, Blood of the Viper both adds
to the series
adventures and leaves the door open for more.
Blood of the
$13.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
supernatural thrillers will find Earthbound heady
blending a crime thriller with an action-packed mystery that keeps
guessing and involved from its opening sentence: "He looked
was half-blinded by the white glare of a huge overhead light. He
believe what he was seeing. It was as if time had slowed down, and his
and disbelief were stalling any attempt to understand what was
was simply not possible that the face of the patient on the operating
John Logan believed his life was just beginning, not ending, when he
Dublin to New York. As death looms, John experiences an extraordinary
a very different world...one which overlays his familiar life.
life, John has been changed in fundamental ways. Adding to this change
layer of angst as he embarks on a search for truth in an investigation
challenges his abilities and his perception of the world and his place
during these transformations is Jennifer Miller, a relative stranger he
on the night he was stabbed. He'd already developed a crush on her
fateful event that was to link their lives in an unexpected manner. Now
recovery is also linked as she wakes up from a concussion to find that
everything has changed.
“Just when I
thought my life was starting, it ended.”
In reality, it's just taken another turn,
which Fynn Perry outlines in a fine blend of supernatural fiction and
and medical quandaries to spirits and The Game that is being played out
different realms, Earthbound operates on different
levels of suspense
that will keep thriller readers and fans of supernatural stories
guessing about the outcome and evolution of these two worlds.
John and Jennifer
join extraordinary forces to defeat El Gordito's drug ring, spirit
threats, the Voids, and a host of others who operate under the radar of
their action fast-paced and tempered by interpersonal relationships and
threats will find that Earthbound does an excellent
job of mixing two
genres to create a crime thriller of a different ilk.
whodunit pairs well with supernatural inspection and otherworldly
to add color, tension, and action to a story nicely cemented by young
who come into their powers and draw new connections with each other and
will delight two audiences: fans of thrillers and crime stories looking
different outcomes and influences, and readers of supernatural
like well-done twists and turns of plot and motive that keep them
keeps you on
edge to the end!
$4.99/Paperback: $14.99/Audiobook: $19.95
is a thriller that follows Brad
Cranston's second startling life challenge. When his brother Conrad
just before they were to hike the Appalachian Trail, Brad's world
down. Landon Beach opens his story with that event—a missed hike in
Conrad not only doesn't make their appointment, but goes missing. The
to test Conrad's resolve about undertaking this challenging physical
turns into a test of Brad's ability to survive his brother's loss and
present, six years later. A frantic phone call out of the blue from his
hastily arranges a meet up on a boat with the promise of a fortune
a warning that the police need to be left out of this venture.
P.I., however, and so Brad enlists the services of Allison Shannon, a
diver and investigator. The two embark on a venture that begins to
mirror the events and losses of the past. It's one in which Brad's
as an illustrator, able to identify and capture precise points of
be the skill that makes the difference between life and death: "As he hiked down the path that split
two patches of woods, he felt close to Conrad. His brother had been
presumably hidden a cell phone in the building he was heading toward.
creative part of his mind that allowed him to illustrate book covers
burning on the entire trip down. What
had Conrad gotten into? He had been at this park, yes. But where did
brother live? A twig snapped
underneath his sandals, and he remembered the failed thru-hike of the
Appalachian Trail. Why had Conrad missed the hike? And did that
have anything to do with this one?"
cultivates a powerful ability to draw close connections between events,
emotions, and approaches from past and present. He melds them into a
replete with satisfying twists and turns that keeps all the characters
three-dimensional and compelling.
dubious reunion weren't enough to power the plot, Beach also adds a
revolving around FBI
Agent Patrick Bruno's investigation of the Detroit Mafia. His
entanglement in a
plot to assassinate the new young Godfather, Don Ciro Russo, leads him
question what Brad, Shannon, and Conrad have to do with these events as
all wind up on an island that holds the key to an underground battle
purposes, and intrigue of the subplot and its close connections to
family dilemma and independent investigation dovetail nicely with the
saga. This adds heightened tension as Conrad and his girlfriend Stansie
(a former Mafia black sheep turned golden girl) explore their new
the outdoors, and revised purposes away from the rehab center
shared, which began their journey away from each other's comfort zones
recovery on more than one level.
money, mob connections, and romance to two family troublemakers who
themselves and their circumstances, Beach creates a fast-paced, vivid
loss, recovery, revitalization, and renewed challenges.
It should be
that the violence occasionally gets graphic. This is completely in
the story's perspective, characters, and evolution, however; and
impact of violent descriptions with a full-bodied feel of evolutionary
processes to keep the story realistic and vivid.
Embedded with ongoing
references to the outdoors efforts that change the characters, The Hike
is especially recommended for fans of Mafia
thrillers. This audience will receive quite a different perspective and
than the usual Mafia encounter, filled with unpredictably satisfying
turns from start to finish in a process of discovery that transforms
Book 1: Exile
Bat City Press
$12.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
The Last Roman Book
1: Exile opens the historical
thriller series with a
touch of fantasy, for added value. Imperial fighter Marcus Sempronius
Gracchus leads the 9th Roman Legion into a bloody battle
against a fierce
barbarian rival, and is killed. The catch is: Marcus cannot die, but is
again and again. And he's not the only warrior who can change the world
fear of death.
with Marcus overseeing crucifixions in Jerusalem. One man in
captures his attention because his eyes impart not agony or reproach,
forgiveness and pity.
later, he still has nightmares about the Galilean who died unlike any
was tortured on the cross. The Roman is still fighting for the Emperor,
vision and purpose have been tempered by extraordinary circumstances.
expect a story that seems firmly rooted in the past to embrace events
present-day Paris and other regions. B.K. Greenwood's ability to shift
action within time, as Marcus's children are lost to slavers and
Thomas, Nico and Isabella learn the truth about the price he's paid to
them, leads readers into startling interactions and contrasts between
past and people of the future.
comes with a heavy price. The characters discover this as they
their new fates and places in the world: "Thomas kept
thinking that he
should be dead. He should have died a long time ago and should never
the things he had seen, should never have done the things he had done.
should never have found Rebecca, and God knows he should never have
And if God existed, he should never see the morning sun."
detail in presenting past and present worlds, the changing time lines
ancient Rome to modern-day Paris, and the action-packed stories of
confrontation as Marcus, Thomas, and others affect their world makes
engrossing blend of history and fantasy that is firmly rooted in both.
story offers the opportunity to view historical events through
and surprising perspectives. This lends the story an intriguing tone
that is filled with satisfying twists and turns. All these features
Last Roman Book 1: Exile a powerful introduction to a series
readers on their toes and involved in a myriad of evolving scenarios
Book 1: Exile
Scariest Legends 4 is a study in horror thriller experiences
delight those who like nautical intrigue and tension. It joins other
"World's Scariest" collections by Bates, yet stands on its own as a
powerful saga of literary terror and intrigue.
Jeremy Bates's ability to
produce a stand-alone read that
adds to a series yet requires no prior familiarity with setting,
premise will delight horror fans, who will be immediately immersed in
prologue that tells of Karlo Winkler, a seasoned game fisherman who
something he can barely handle. The mystery and the final revelation
conclude, but set the stage for more as a series of characters make
that lead them to become open to the existence of different forms of
As oceanographer and shark
scientist Dr. Elsa Montero,
Dr. Martin (Marty) Murdock, and others navigate Sri Lanka's mysteries
legends, the possibility of something unique and threatening comes to
Bates builds believable
characters whose special
interests, professions, and fears dovetail with the rising possibility
previously-unknown underwater milieu that portends a dark and dangerous
Readers who enjoy graphic
descriptions of horror will
relish these descriptions and the ongoing threat of being eaten alive
denizens that live in a very different world.
As Jacqueline DeSilva, a
reporter for the Daily
Mirror, risks her life for the
most vivid story of her career, tension heats up and confrontations
that embrace both horror and adventure as relationships emerge and are
challenged and changed by merfolk legends.
particularly delightful way of building suspense, releasing it, then
for more. Readers will find the tension ongoing and delightful, often
unpredictable, and replete with harrowing scenes of survival struggles.
literature, sea-based intrigue, and changing choices will find Merfolk builds its attractions from the
first page, challenging its characters and readers to experience many
levels of horror as the story evolves.
The evolution and
interconnected tension, mystery, horror,
and interpersonal relationships form a tango that keeps readers reeling
reading until the story's final moments provide a satisfying,
pilot recovering from last night's party with a loving family who gives
little boy a coveted plane ride over a lake when disaster happens and
the ingredients for a lawsuit in Plane in the Lake.
famous Chicago legal team in this aviation disaster? Because something
add up, despite the obvious indicators of why the plane crashed.
lawyer Tony Valenti, of the firm Brooks and Valenti, is called upon to
the accused in a seemingly impossible case.
must become a sleuth as well as legal counsel in a story that opens
perfect morning to fly and evolves into an investigation of corporate
shenanigans, intrigue, and danger.
cut-and-dried lawsuit turns into a dangerous probe into business
and nefarious deals as Tony flies into the face of danger and
almost overwhelm even his dual abilities to field the courtroom and the
possibility of corporate misconduct.
blame on the two aircraft maintenance mechanics that have only done
feels puzzling to Tony, who harbors a nose for delinquency and a
uncovering the truth.
into the reality of who is behind this lawsuit and their drive to win,
partner Penelope pull up evidence and follow leads that lead them into
dangerous and murky waters of moral and ethical challenges.
choice of the first person nicely captures both Penelope and Tony's
observations, emotions, and thought processes, along the way: "Penelope
nods. “Smells of a set-up, doesn’t it?”Jesus. How many blind alleys are
going to wander into by the time this nightmare ends?"
involvement to Tony's increasing courting of danger in crossing the
people during the course of his probe, readers receive a satisfying
tense thriller and whodunit that both calls into question and
strengthens his bonds with friends, family, and peers: "My
add considerable spice and humor to the proceedings for the next little
as I bask in the camaraderie and, yes, the love that permeates these
relationships. In one way or another, everyone here has been through
his or her
own version of hell over the past few months and understands that we’ve
played a part in seeing one another through. We share a bond that I
doesn’t diminish as events recede into the rearview mirrors of our
Somehow, I just can’t see that happening."
Plane in the Lake works on many different levels to involve readers
in a puzzle that
remains murky up to its satisfying surprise conclusion. Its fine story
murder, retribution, and Tony and Penelope's confrontation with
FBI alike will keep readers (whether newcomers or prior fans of Tony's
streetwise style) thoroughly engrossed to the end.
Searching for Truth
Keep On Climbing Publishing
profiles retired investigative journalist Jake Scott, who is struggling
being a widower and unemployed when a double murder's recent resolution
on his radar to intrigue him.
The resolution of the
three-year-old case hasn't
satisfied Constable Danielle Perez, who remains convinced that the
wrong man is
in prison and the real murderer is still on the loose.
Why obsess over a cold case
that seemingly is resolved?
Danielle's certainty causes Jake to question both her perceptions and
to the case: “I still don’t understand. I
admire that you’re trying to stick up for someone you think is
there must be more than gut instinct involved here. My God, this could
alive if you let it.” He searched Dani’s dark eyes as she clutched her
cup with both hands. He wondered if she was asking herself if she had
His uncertainty soon becomes
a conviction as Jake begins
to wonder why she's tapping a retired reporter with only minimal
skills when she could have the power of a trained police detective who
better suited for the investigation.
If its one thing Danielle
has learned from her job, it's
when to be circumspect about her suspicions: "I’m
looking into some things I would prefer to keep to myself.
One thing I’ve learned is that evidence doesn’t lie, but sometimes it
tell the entire story."
As the victim's discovery of
fund discrepancies come to
light to inject uncertainty and danger into the mystery, Jake finds his
full as he struggles with too many nefarious connections that lead to a
Barry Finlay crafts an
intriguing murder mystery that
embraces many different facets of personal lives and angst beyond the
case's twists and turns. As a widower trying to reconcile his loss with
a new life
purpose, yet young enough to prove handsome and desirable on a personal
Jake is a fine contrast to the usual image of a widower as being older
His involvement with
Danielle and her surly teen daughter
is nicely portrayed and adds further emotional depth to the story line,
it more than a cut above mysteries which focus on the problem-solving
over the people involved.
Each character has a
history, baggage, and much to
overcome. All come across as three-dimensional.
Set against the backdrop of
evolving danger and personal
tests, Searching for Truth
questions the moral and ethical integrity of pursuing the truth under
impossible circumstances. It's an intriguing whodunit that embraces
psychological depth than most mysteries, and will have readers both
and involved to the end.
Murder mystery readers are
in for a treat!
a lot going on. He has Asperger's Syndrome and he's just lost his
making him an orphan. Both protected by his father and used as a
Edward knows nothing of life other than working and reading.
the terrible smell around him, Edward confesses: "My dad is dead. The
killed him." Thus begins a journey in which the workers at Lamonia and
Company, his father's business, try to support Edward.
backdrop of the Covid pandemic which further challenges community
makeup, Edward's story almost becomes lost in a sea of tragedy,
death. Perhaps it would have become background noise were it not for
fact that Edward is a sharpshooter, confused, and resorts to the only
that he's capable of effectively doing to change his world.
Gonnella is a savvy P.I. used to the rituals of the Jewish community
processes of perps alike. He and partner Raquel are charged with
Edward's next move before more deadly ramifications play out.
investigation efforts involve moral, ethical, and professional
they find themselves both pursuing a dangerous adversary who's anything
predictable professional perp and who makes alliances with the devil
don’t really care who gets the ball over the goal line, as long as we
this guy,” Vic stated. “I can’t believe it. Deegan was a killer, an
international fugitive and we are counting on him to help us. If it
out that we’re working with him we are totally finished,” Raquel added."
down not only Edward but the fruits of his life and actions, they
family facts, details about his Asperger's Syndrome, and an adversary
both clever and compromised in unusual ways...one who can be understood
he proves dangerous and unpredictable.
Louis Romano's latest Detective Vic Gonnella thriller, is as much about
lasting impact of the pandemic on individuals and communities as it is
the twisted choices of a compromised man who is set adrift in a sea of
confusion as society and his home fall apart around him.
psychological insights and intrigue alike keep this story unique and
unpredictable not just because of its setting, but because Edward Olson
your usual perp with the typical motives for violent reactions.
attention to building details of purpose on both sides and his
interweaving of Covid concerns into the situation creates a
suspense piece that motivates readers to identify not just with the
investigators, but with the gunman at large.
result is a
multifaceted story steeped in the Orthodox community's social and
perspectives and standing—a thriller that maintains interest with many
satisfying twists and revelations right up to the end.
detective stories, social inspection, and suspense will find Shonda
riveting cat-and-mouse story that builds on social and personal
explore how individuals and communities and the Jewish community and
compromised individuals react to and come apart under pressure and
Hardcover; $19.95 Paper; $7.99 ebook
The Society of
Necessities provides historical
fiction that blends with a thriller story's
nonstop pace, and opens with Daniel St. Croix's last act of industrial
espionage before his death. All he has to do is elude the cleaning
make his getaway. Next on the to-do list is his second date with the
East Indian girl Devi. Little does he know that this might lead to a
introduction to previously unknown facets controlling his life in a
resurrection that brings with it a renewed purpose.
The Society of
Necessities adopts an
exceptionally fast pace, but takes the time to build
relationships, puzzles, and history surrounding a Canadian man's
underlying desire to exit the rat race of convention and live "a life
you wish for. Since pretense has driven his life up to this turning
Daniel is in for many changes. Readers should prepare for many big
along the way.
kidnappings, and threats from different directions emerge, Daniel and
become lovers on a mission that supersedes romance and enters into a
for survival and finding answers to difficult questions.
Bowron juxtaposes two lives—Daniel and his father, Pierre St.
these characters' experiences with the use of the third person and
to outline their differing points of view, making for an easy segue
from a small-time operation to international waters as a mysterious
ring and an
inheritance of danger come to life.
their puzzles compelling and fueled by a search through history and
heritage will find the action keeps them guessing as Daniel draws ever
to a strange truth buried in both past and present events.
supports this story weaves nicely into the thriller components. The
fast-paced, but well drawn as Bowron takes time to capture changing
relationships between all characters as well as past and present lives.
ring? Who is immortal, and who is invincible?
Devi are forced to change, then reconsider their relationship in the
their new identies, the story becomes as compelling as that of The
Code. Fans of this classic will find much to love in The
Society of Necessities.
– The Workings of DrugTech; and Book 2: DrugTech – The Deep State
$6.00 Kindle, $19.00 Paperback
and 2 of Spellbound combines two
legal thrillers under one cover, which will delight readers who look
that are interconnected, smooth reads.
Book 1, The
Workings of DrugTech, introduces a
series of short stories that revolve around a clandestine
The scenarios and
individuals presented in these stories
are diverse, from astronaut Dr Helouise Dawson (who heads an Atlantis
mission compromised by the death of one of its engineers) to
who is charged with murder based on DNA analysis and a pirate ship's
treasure without the leadership of their captain.
While these tales and
characters seem diverse, they are
all connected by DrugTech's operations and contracts.
At first these stories seem
to hold no universal ground;
but as their seemingly disparate scenarios play out, Marcel Victor Sahade excels in
the characters' interlinked fates and purposes through stories that
to one common denominator.
can expect a degree of confusion before the purpose behind all these
become evident in a surprising manner…and then the action really heats
Those with the patience to absorb seemingly unrelated situations will
their patience more than rewarded by a slow realization that a
theme is emerging.
DrugTech – The Deep State
Deepens builds upon this introduction in a
fully satisfying manner and provides more political and social insights
DrugTech's continuing evolution and power.
stories in Book 2 presume a working familiarity with The Workings of DrugTech. This means
that the placement of these two collections under one cover is
relevant and important for readers, who receive uninterrupted and
connections in one place.
DrugTech exercises the influences it built up in the first book.
reach for power and process are stymied by the efforts of three University
Students and the Dominican Order of Priests who struggle against its
Victor Sahade is particularly adept at winding the stories and
Jake and other characters into an ongoing series of confrontations and
realizations that operate on both personal and political levels.
Readers who enjoyed the
first collection will find these
themes expanded and equally gripping here, replete with surprise twists
turns that even the most seasoned suspense reader won't see coming.
As in the first book, the
characterization, tension, and
interactions are well done and maintain a satisfying blend of action
psychological, social, political, and legal inspection as DrugTech and
all sides evolve.
Sahade's ability to expand
the short story format into a
series of interconnected vignettes that support one another makes for
compelling reading, indeed.
gripping two-book presentation is highly recommended for short story
suspense novel readers alike.
– The Workings of DrugTech; and Book 2: DrugTech – The Deep State
A Swarm in May
Mark Anthony Powers
Swarm in May
is a medical thriller that will delight fans of Robin Cook. Dr. Phineas
observing the traumatic sight of a coma patient in an opisthotonus
he struggles to alleviate these dangerous symptoms, he also faces overt
prejudice from the elderly man's racist son, who is furious that a
is part of the team caring for his father.
As the inevitable happens
and treatments don't go as
envisioned, these threats become more open and dangerous, challenging
on several different levels as medical conundrums and intrigue escalate.
A subplot involves a
beekeeping endeavor and the natural
history of bees, connecting to the story in unusual ways as it expands
world of a medical intensive care unit team by introducing a concurrent
involving the outdoors and nature's connections to human endeavors and
Mark Anthony Powers holds
the rare ability to build an
ICU drama that is connected to events not just outside the ward, but in
This juxtaposition of settings, concerns, and lessons about man and
creates a satisfying mix of scenarios and insights that evolve on more
Readers who expect the
singular intrigue of a Robin
Cook-style production will find this multifaceted approach adds depth
complexity to keep readers guessing about outcomes, influences, and
on different levels.
The blend of social
inspection, natural history, and
medical thriller is nicely done and charts the rise of both white
attitudes and a son's involvement in baseball as Phineas navigates
different worlds. The family relationships, sports, ICU intrigue, and a
threat that reaches into the doctor's family life create a multifaceted
suspense story that is satisfyingly unpredictable.
Readers looking for medical
thrillers that hold more
themes and interpersonal relationship analysis than the usual Cook
with the added value of subplots revolving around bees and baseball,
relish the special attention Powers gives to all of his characters. His
approach places the story a cut above the ordinary medical thriller,
social inspection as part of the puzzle.
Swarm in May
$12.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
usually feature a perp, a detective, and a motivation. Thunderbird
a difference—here, victim Grace Cummings is called upon to solve her
murder, posthumously. It's the second murder she's been tapped to
because two years earlier, her husband Reggie died before her eyes when
experimental aircraft exploded. Her investigation of his death proved
it was no
accident. Can she achieve the impossible—this time, from beyond the
holds a surprising difference from most murder mysteries. The
life force bonds with her beloved Thunderbird car that she rested
her last moments of life.
car is sold
to a young woman, Allison Chapman, who becomes aware of Grace's
presence and is
drawn into a probe that leads her far from her own comfort zone.
takes the time to thoroughly explore their evolving relationship and
uncertainty about the new role she's accepted by simply buying a car: "The
enormity of the situation was frightening. She was Grace's only hope.
was not even fully responsible for herself yet when you got right down
This monumental task seemed comparable to walking a tightrope while
in a hurricane. Yet, for all of her self doubt and fear of failure, she
that she was the only one capable of pulling it off."
ebb and flow of Allison's vastly changed life tugs at both heartstrings
reader's affection for intrigue as the story evolves to bring Allison,
into a circle of danger that started with Reggie's unresolved death.
Silverthorn's search for an elusive healing from that terrible night's
to Grace's determination to change lives as she pursues the truth, a
people slowly become aware that the Thunderbird has come to life.
result is a
blend of supernatural experience, murder mystery, and suspense story
ever closer to a truth that challenges Grace one last time.
an exceptional story that brings to mind Stephen King's novel Christine
(also about a possessed car), but incorporates a fine investigative
attention to the details of lives changed not just by Grace's unusual
but by her pursuit of truth and justice. Grace and Allison's evolving
relationship also holds the feel of the
old TV series Knight Rider.
characterizations of very different personalities who interact and
entwine in a
variety of ways contributes to a fast-paced story line that holds many
surprising twists and turns.
who want more of an emphasis on a problem-solving mystery will find Thunderbird
just the ticket for a riveting read.
$16.99 print/$2.99 ebook
Victim Eleven opens with an old cop who
receives a strange text
from his prosecutor son-in-law about the capture of the Ransacker perp
known as California's notorious Golden State Killer of the 1970s).
surrounding this serial killer, but offering a different take on his
and modus operandi, Victim Eleven
takes real-world news and turns it into a gripping 'what-if' story that
how the Golden State Killer changed the lives of investigators,
the state of California as a whole.
Skip was a
year GS special agent at the time, in the early stages of his police
the Ransacker's break-ins and games attract attention and then turn
deadly, Skip and his fellow officers are charged with keeping a deadly
secret...one that investigative reporter James Cole is too close to
from being a
reporter to consulting with law firms threatens to reveal more than the
State Killer's identity as events unfold.
an engrossing portrait of a cat-and-mouse game between perps,
and police. He crafts a story of possibilities that blurs the line
and bad guys and the motives of all involved, creating a scenario that
filled with satisfying twists and turns as moral and ethical questions
Brooke's love is tested and she's drawn into a murder investigation
too close to home, readers will enjoy a fast-paced story that entwines
lives of a host of realistic, absorbing characters who all sport their
special interests in and connections to the Golden State Killer case.
readers, particularly those intrigued by postulations based on real
will find Victim Eleven thoroughly
engrossing, unpredictable, and hard to put down, powered by strong
who each contribute a piece to the puzzle.
Lindy Miller with
Rosewind Romance (an
imprint of Vesuvian Books)
$13.95 Paper/$4.99 ebook
As Aloha With Love opens, Jenna Burke is
experiencing the aftermath of two life-changing events: her longtime
has dumped her, and her beloved Aunt May has passed away in Hawaii.
island reveals that she and her sister have inherited an old Victorian
home. They are tasked with renovating it before they can sell it.
with it a contractor Jenna can barely stand: Ben Fletcher, whom she is
to use, due to her aunt's final wishes. Ben drives Jenna crazy. He
surprisingly, offers the opportunity to lead Jenna in a new direction
life—which her savvy aunt must have known.
Terence Brody provide a compelling story that is as much about personal
as it is about relationship building: “The
moral of the story is that spending all that time with Dad and Aunt May
on the house helped me grow into who I am, even if I’m still working to
my particular dream. Maybe it’s the same way for you—you have so much
think you could make a brick taste like heaven.”
Ben and sister
Sarah, too, are charged with rebuilding more than an old house. Their
merge and change as a result of their connections to Aunt May's legacy,
currents of their hearts and individual paths in life, and the spirit
Hawaiian aloha which permeates their experiences with newfound
connections: “May was a wise woman,” agreed
Ben, “maybe a
little too wise, actually. She always knew how to help people see their
selves by living every day in the spirit of Aloha. She truly was a
woman of the
islands. What was it she used to say—I
ka nana no a 'ike.” “By observing, one learns,” translated
Jenna. She gave
her sister a wistful smile. Yep, that sounded like Aunt May."
a special affection for Hawaii will especially enjoy the Hawaiian
philosophy, an undercurrent that runs through the perhaps-predictable
attraction between people who at first seem complete opposites.
between the aloha spirit of Hawaii and the mainland are brought to life
course of a story where all the characters are changed by each other,
and Aunt May's legacy.
nicely portrayed, not too pat, and filled with philosophical and
connections and reflections that add an extra dimension of attraction
Aloha With Love is as much about chasing
dreams and finding a place
to call home as it is about matters of the heart. Romance readers
uplifting stories of change and discovery will find it a heartfelt,
free-spirited story of dreams recognized and family connections both
of all kinds of connections that adds depth and attraction beyond the
evolution, and will delight romance audiences looking for uplifting
personal and interpersonal transformation.
Daniel V. Meier, Jr.
Boutique of Quality Books
Bloodroot is set in 1609 and follows the
journey of Matthew, a
young man who runs away from his oppressive job as a carpenter's
England to pursue a new life in the British settlement of Jamestown,
His friend Richard, who joins him on this adventure, has portrayed that
blossoming colony as a paradise of opportunity. Matthew never quite
this flowery picture of perfection, but he also never imagined that
in that colony would challenge him more than his difficult life in
Indians and starvation to elusive promises that turn out to be equally
and imaginary, Matthew has jumped from the frying pan into the fire,
to feel that the only escape from his battered life is death.
completely unexpected angle and changes not only his downward
the wellspring of relationships in the New World in this vivid
piece, highly recommended for mature high school students and
novel-reading adults alike.
fiction pieces about these times have been written before; but Daniel V. Meier, Jr. holds a special
ability to bring the times to life through his use of the first person
capture these dilemmas through Matthew's eyes, adding an extensively
background that rests solidly on real historical facts.
encounters are particularly well described as Matthew and his fellow
struggle to navigate an alien environment with few resources, providing
contrasts between England and wild America: "The
Lieutenant himself went in search for whatever fruits the land would
He soon returned with his hat and shirt full of berries which looked
English strawberries but with a sweeter, juicer taste. We heard a
not too far off and, in less than half an hour, the marksmen returned,
a large male deer strung on a carrying pole."
depicted in all its complexities as Matthew struggles with his heart
aspirations: “I thought of it many times,
but Richard told me that he wanted to take you for his wife. You know
for the future. His reasons for wanting to marry you are far nobler
You know why he is here. He is a man of learning and vision. I knew
that if God
would favor anyone, it would be Richard. I came here only to escape the
and if it becomes safe for me to return to England, that is what I will
detail and description power the story line and provide realistic,
scenarios that bring these early times to life.
combined with an adventure that keeps changing as Matthew adjusts to
environments and hones his real vision of a different future, make Bloodroot an engrossing read. It
succeeds in imparting much historical information about early America
in a way
that makes the story personal, memorable, and hard to put down. The
descriptions of settler and Indian encounters and clashes are
notable: revealing and engrossing.
collections and readers interested in a well-done account of early
life will find Bloodroot a superior
tale that stands out from competing genre reads.
$22.30 paperback / $9.77 e-book
a contemporary literary novel set in Chicago and follows the '08
crash and its impact on narrator John Ganzi, who finds his predictable
vastly changed by financial events far beyond his control or
The first strength to note
about this astute and
compelling story is its ability to draw readers into the bullring of
trading and operations, a highly charged atmosphere that is purposeful,
passionate, and rife with struggle and change: "Now
that things are going electronic, customers no longer need to
trade through a broker—they don’t even need a seat on the Exchange. Yet
of us who own seats still wade into our pits every day, thrashing our
crying out until the veins in our necks bulge, knowing that not only
expendable as human capital, but that the very trading pit we occupy is
obsolete in today’s fiber-optic world. Ignoring the empty pits around
void encroaching like an unknowable darkness; ceding more and more of
estate each day to puissant tech-nerds programming tangles of circuitry
wires meant to do one thing and one thing only: outperform us. It’s me
the machines. Fucking John Henry and his silver fucking hammer."
Ganzi stands on the cusp of
many transformations that are
personal, financial, and social as his teen daughter comes to live with
his home life and world of options trading, which has made him wealthy,
Imagine a man whose life has
been fairly predictable, who
has long set his course through actions that produce success, who faces
on more than one level.
L.C. Fiore is especially
astute at capturing the dilemmas
of a determined successful businessman facing the end times of his
world and kind.
The quandaries that evolve
from this transformation are
especially well captured through Ganzi's eyes and experiences as his
tried-and-tested tactics begin to fail, and his familiar world changes
Another powerful note about
the story is that Fiore takes
the time to capture not just change and reactions to it, but the
tastes, and options experienced by the protagonist in his search for
forms of success. The immediacy of his milieu, his emotions and
this pivot point in the financial world is deftly captured by
take the time to inject sensations and emotions into the story. The
psychological interactions and descriptions are thus especially
powerful: "Sometimes, you start messing
with something just to see what happens. A blackhead, say. Or a cat at
friend’s house, when the friend leaves the two of you alone for a
Seeing if you can make it bite its own tail, just because it’s there.
has gone better than I hoped. I’ve wound her up, and now she’s off,
pull-back toy racecar."
From the challenges of
options trading and its special
milieu to the transformation of a man and place "always in the act of
becoming," Coyote Loop will
delight not only literary fiction readers, but business novel
those interested in a personalized historical backdrop that captures
market conundrums and connects them directly to changing hearts and
Far and the
B095MS1DZX. $7.99 Paperback
social commentary and politics will find The Far and the Near
intriguing lesson in cause and effect. It employs a fictional format to
the wellsprings of corruption and lies that filter into society from
echelons of governments around the world.
government researcher charged with producing reports. As a dedicated
paper-pusher, he's learned not to ask probing questions about the facts
called upon to synthesize. This attitude changes when he reads about a
government that has sent aside 23% of its land for conservation in an
move even the staid Nashe questions.
explores confidential government sources, counter-intelligence
reports, and considers the social and political impact of new
he comes to realize how truth and reality has been distorted
him. To what extent that distortion is intentional or not is the
one of Nashe's supervisors reminds him: “Our staff, as you
know, come from
all over the world, with different experiences and different
all of them are privileged to be here, working in this agency, where
the opportunity to use their minds and training to make great changes
world. But with that privilege comes a great deal of responsibility —
obligation to put aside biases and prejudices and to make decisions
evidence and reason — to make absolutely certain that the facts really
facts, to dig down deep and question their sources, and, even more than
to question themselves, their motives and preconceptions, before they
establish what they think is the truth. Only then can they make
could in any way be morally justifiable in the world. The interesting
which I admire a lot, is the way you have embodied that process in your
It is too bad that it has been taken so erroneously, as though you were
advancing a dangerous and heretical end product rather than providing
appropriate and useful exercise in consensus formation. That is a
we need more of it."
The Far and the Near's ability to hold a mirror up to events happening
today, on both
personal and political levels, lends it an aura of believability and
that will delight astute readers of current events and political
firmly embeds this process of examination within the lives of Nashe and
around him, considering not just cause and effect, but the underlying
motivations of all sides for promoting their version of reality and
navigates dangerous ground, transforming his familiar approach
something more sinister, readers
encounter thought-provoking insights
that invite them to reconsider the motivations of the many
players in the
result is a
powerful narrative that is thoroughly engrossing and hard to put down.
focus on Nashe's discoveries, choices,
and transformations makes for
heady intellectual reading. The action ranges across
countries, presenting an array of characters with vastly different
and agendas, from old friends of Nashe to diplomats, scholars,
agents, political refugees, and ordinary citizens.
Far and the
Near is a powerful survey of social, political and legal processes that
each individual's experience and perspective to chart the changing
morals, and practices of a world that seems to be trending
freedom: "Is that, Nashe wondered, where we are heading in
country, too? Where every person fulfills his duty with the immediacy
machine and not the thought, feeling, and judgment of a human being?
panic, distrust, and betrayal replace whatever instincts may have
us of patience, courage, and trust?"
political fiction interested in more than a light inspection of how
are transformed will find The Far and the Near
too realistic for comfort.
Far and the
Green Place Books
Faron Goss is a novel about Menhaden
Island, a close-knit Maine
fishing community of a little over five hundred "think-alike"
lobstermen and the "peevish women who marry them." They are
challenged not only by the death of one of their own, but the dilemma
of how to
care for her special son, Faron. The story brings new life and meaning
saying "it takes a village" as well-intentioned people struggle to
embrace a boy who is odd beyond their comprehension.
an enigma to the town from the day of his birth to a thirty-year-old
mother who keeps his father's identity secret, causing the town wives
about his paternity: "Whoever
fathered the child had to be a local, no doubt about it, and as Faron
an infant to a boy, the island wives kept him at a distance, worried
they looked too closely they might see their husband’s grin flash
interacted much with others in town, but has a reputation for being
polite, and easygoing. After his mother passes, they come to know his
which include artistic skills and a passion for nature. When his first
experience goes awry, Faron is given a reprieve and sent to a place
faces the possibility of being himself for perhaps the first time: "What he didn’t know was that, at the
same time he was being suffocated by shame, a part of him was set free."
cherished part of the small town's life and adopts a path to
readers receive a tender, expressive story of a very different young
brings to mind the gentle local color embedded in the best-selling Where the Crawdads Sing.
language is evocative as it traces Faron's move into adulthood and new
challenges, both artistic and personal: "After
supper, they walked to the edge of the moonlit orchard and set the open
a stump to wait for the moth to fly away. It fluttered frantically for
moment, green wings gleaming in the moonlight, then ignored the
and doubled back toward the bright lights of the cider house, and even
Faron knew releasing it was the right thing to do, it was hard letting
the community comes of age around him. Lechleitner surrounds the reader
the intricacies of lobster fishing, gritty observations, and
are both stark and filled with an appreciation of nature.
the past fuel an exploration into the changing Maine community and its
as the story develops during a search for family and meaning.
looking for a
poetic, evocative description of coming of age in a Maine lobstering
will find Faron Goss a lovely
literary piece that comes full circle into love.
this positive outcome is especially appreciated.
For Malice and Mercy
Gary W. Toyn
American Legacy Media
Mercy is a World War II novel that focuses on events in the
immigrants Karl and Marta Meyer are arrested as spies after they visit
homeland and return, only to find that Hitler's threat has brought
Perhaps part of this novel's
power comes from the fact
that it's based on the true story of a German-American family from
parents were targeted as Nazi sympathizers, sent to an internment camp,
forcefully deported to Germany as pawns in FDR's top-secret prisoner
the Third Reich.
These events and more come
to life in a story that
embraces the extent of not just prejudice (which is the usual depiction
World War II concentration camp experiences), but the political
between nations at war which affect the lives and outcomes of citizens
This feature is perhaps the
greatest strength of this
story as it evolves, setting it apart from the typical World War II
adding an extra dimension of social and political inspection and
insight to the
Gary W. Toyn moves the
scenarios from America to German
soil, exploring the interactions between fighters, spies, farmers and
people, and those who fight battles on different levels.
As fighters contemplate the
difficulties of going home to
confront family and ideals left behind, Toyn reveals many underlying
the struggle that come to life in the hearts of not just men, but women
participated in the war: "...you’ll
have plenty of time to get back and still see your folks.” He tilted
in a gentle, reprimanding way. “Billie. They haven’t seen you in a
“Look, I haven’t got a whole bunch of reasons to go back to Utah.” “I
you had a boyfriend there?” “No. I don’t have a boyfriend,” she said,
glancing at her feet. “I have a close friend who’s somewhere in the
While these moments may not
seem to be the driving force
of the story, they each contribute a piece to the bigger picture of
meant and how it felt to live in rapidly changing times that challenged
personal goals and visions.
Mercy is a World War II novel that stands out from the crowd,
facets of belief, prejudice, battle, and change in a manner that is
multifaceted, complex, and satisfyingly realistic. No World War II
collection should be without this wide-ranging story of mystery,
social and political dilemmas.
Malice and Mercy
$19.95 Paper/$5.99 ebook
Dani Marek may be young, but she already knows she's passionately in
one destined to be her life partner. In 1965 Chicago, the milieu of Just
Look, revolution is in the air and anything seems possible .
. . including
an event Dani never could have predicted, as six years pass without her
Chicago neighborhood where Joanne Kukanza Easley grew up, but based on
completely fictional characters, the story moves through Dani's young
realizations, her new adult errors, and changing perspectives and
eventually bring her full circle.
out self-absorbed, arrogant men on a personal vendetta that embraces
dangerous situations, Easley portrays a woman who feels wronged not by
loved one, but life in general and men in particular: "As we
of the cafe, two soldiers in uniform walked by. I made eye contact and
They nodded to me. Luke noticed the exchange and said, “Suckers.
I got a
330 in the lottery. Call me lucky.” His heartless attitude and smug
enraged me. I stopped cold and swung to face him. “Call you lucky? I’ll
you an arrogant asshole.” Spinning on my heel, I bolted to my car. Luke
lucky, all right. Lucky I didn’t scratch the smugness off his face and
his eyes out. “Dani, wait!” Of course, I did not. Opening the door of
I saw Luke striding toward me. I slipped behind the wheel and plunged
into the ignition. The full-throated sound of the well-tuned engine
me and made me feel close to John. Shoving the gearshift into reverse
turning the wheels, I spotted a clear shot to Oak Street, so I found
and gunned it. Luke stood in the street gaping after me."
and political transformations are particularly captivating as she
perspective time and again. Easley is adept at capturing the ruin and
revolution of Dani's times and heart, contrasting external with
changes and influences as she traces the logic that underlies both her
results in death, Dani blames herself. Employment, status and
the consequences of poor choices come to roost in a series of
about men and identity which will particularly intrigue women also
reconsidering their choices.
backdrop of already-turbulent times, Just One Look's
story of a girl who
evolves into a young woman seeking a different path makes for an
story of loss, revenge, redemption, shame, and recovery that many women
readily relate to, in different ways.
examination of the processes of love, hate, manipulation, and women's
identities apart from men will leave readers satisfied and reflective,
definitive conclusion tracing how the characters grow and change.
in a Time
Hardcover/$17.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
so than any
other state at the time of the Civil War, Louisiana represented a
of cultures in which black residents comprised not just half of the
but were the largest free-Black population of any state in the South.
marriages were as common as Voodoo's mix with Catholicism, in this
Love in a Time of
Hate opens with a review of
Louisiana history that sets the stage for the
events in the novel, which take place in the summer of 1866 as Black
is coming into its power.
investigation conducted by eighteen-year-old Emmett Collins, newly
rural Maine after the war ends, evolves against this backdrop as he
unique culture of New Orleans in all its social, religious, and
are the spark point for a Black uprising in that city which reaches out
threaten and attract him with its undercurrents of love, hate, and
over four years, bringing Emmett a maturity that comes with many price
he reflects on the circumstances which have brought him full circle.
freed slaves struggle against the brutality of Louisiana's political
and Southern prejudice, Emmett's life is caught up in a series of
challenge the education program he's committed to building to help
Queen Madame Marie Laveau sees a better future for him, but Emmett
but think that his evolving romance with woman of color Manny Lescaut
of both the problem and the solution.
equally astute at guiding Manny towards different realizations of her
strength as a woman: “Are you saying there can be no bonds,
religion or marriage?” “Of
course there are elements that bind us
in this world. The love between a man and woman is certainly a powerful
tasty dish, but only if it is based upon equality.”
“Equality, yes, but
separate strengths certainly.”
Madame Laveau returned to her seat, perching herself gingerly on the
wooden chair. “Perhaps you believe that a woman cannot pull the trigger
gun? Or that our minds are not made for deeper thoughts like politics?
not be able to vote, but I will tell you right now that not much
happens in New
Orleans without my opinion being heard, weighed, and considered.”
spiritual, and political forces of the times come to rest upon and are
represented by not just Emmett and Manny's love, but by the military
white superiority still at work trying to hold New Orleans together.
receive a powerful story that is both a love tale and an intriguing
of Black power's rise in Louisiana after the Civil War has divided it.
faith-driven residents come together after such a tumultuous and
divided set of
beliefs has come to rest among the city's diverse population?
Love in a Time of
Hate's ability to juxtapose
different forces, special interests, and
perspectives against the backdrop of both endings and new beginnings
intrigue and delight historical fiction readers—especially those with a
particular affection for Louisiana culture.
characterization is well done, there is no shying away from the
sometimes-brutal events that challenged both sides, and Matthew Langdon
takes the time to build a saga that is compelling and hard to put down
Emmett finds his way through a morass of social conflict and tries to
is right for both himself and the greater good.
in a Time
Night and Fog
Night and Fog is a vivid World War II
novel that explores the
history of the underground group Comète (Comet), a Resistance
organization in occupied Belgium and France. This was a network of
committed to fighting for the cause without using arms. It was the
several escape networks that operated behind the lines of occupied
role in this organization, and it's about time that somebody told their
The fact that it's presented in a fictionalized format means that more
will absorb the history through its attention not just to detail, but
underlying drama and personal experience.
Cavell (whose efforts to save Allied soldiers during World War I spark
years-long endeavor to return about 800 airmen to safety) to Franco,
rebuilds the line after sweeping German arrests threaten to destroy it,
Sebastian Rizzo's ability to inject real-world history with personal
lends to a compelling read: "Franco
lay curled up in total darkness, his shirt wet from sweat, his knees
touching his chin. He hadn’t hidden in such a tight space since he was
playing games. But this wasn’t a game. He was in the trunk of a black
his way to Gibraltar at the request of British intelligence. They had
him as the successor to Dédée, but now he wondered whether it was
considered him the most capable, or because at only twenty-three years
they thought he might be easy to manipulate."
the handling of prisoners of war and the methods of escape networks to
moral and ethical issues faced by those conscripted to duty against
better judgment in order to survive, Rizzo captures the dilemmas and
of life behind and outside of Allied lines: "...despite
the relative benefits of life in Torgau, many of the women could not
making munitions to kill their people. The camp commander responded to
protests with indifference. “You do not have to work here if you do not
to. But if you do not work, we will simply send you back to
detail and intersecting scenarios that Rizzo takes the time to explore
characters and settings will especially delight historical fiction
seeking authenticity and facts from their stories.
Night and Fog is a vivid story of a
lesser-covered aspect of World
War II that brings people and their wartime dilemmas to life. It's a
should be part of any World War II history reading list or collection.
Names to Be Given
Paperback: $14.99; Hardcover:
$29.99; Ebook: $4.99
unwed mothers meet at a maternity home in 1965. They are there to have
babies, give them up, and either start life over or return to their old
afterwards. But, in No Names to Be Given, their
choices don't have a
conclusive, happy ending.
years later, a blackmailer contacts each of them with information that
destroy the lives they've carefully built over a secret.
with terrible decisions of the past does not just change their new
spills over into politics and social circles to make an impact on how
mothers are perceived and how various rights are instigated to give
Daily provides many contrasts in the perspectives, experiences, and
juxtaposing the lives of Sandra Reynolds, Becca Gordon, and Faith
three meet in the Magnolia Home Hospital in New Orleans under similar
straits, their backgrounds are very different, as they are from
Carolina, and Tennessee.
them isn't just their unexpected pregnancies, but the pressure to make
decisions that change their lives and place their babies in the hands
read like television vignettes, with all the pathos and passion of
who face impossible circumstances and think they've overcome their
only to find that it returns to haunt them in an entirely unexpected
relationship with one another in this temporary home becomes akin to
bonded by fate. Their shared circumstances as teens evolves to become
with a shared adversary as each woman has transformed her life and
with a power that is tested by modern social and political standards.
adoption story inspired this novel, which is based on events that
young unwed mothers between 1940-1966. A history of maternity homes in
and a list of well-known people who are adopted provide an important
concluding this hard-hitting story with real facts to make the main
more evocative, emphasizing its foundations in real dilemmas.
entries as she tries to understand the long-lasting impact of her
particularly poignant: "How do I understand what happened to
girls so long ago? Decisions were forced on us by society, our parents,
finally, ourselves. Today’s young women won’t understand how our
us feel shame so intensely we surrendered our first-born children to
strangers. Only in our dreams
could we reconcile
happily-ever-afters for our children. We read stories about child
incest, and infant deaths, and they stunned us. We imagined them the
we gave to those situations, to those monsters—our fault. We felt a
loss the day we relinquished our children. It followed us for years and
us still. Our unconscious minds never fully recovered from knowing a
part of us
was somewhere we could not reach."
women, especially, need to absorb No Names to Be Given.
Its a firm
reminder the lasting impact of the past provides a powerful summary of
circumstances and plights surrounding adoptees and mothers who
their babies in hopes they were giving their child—and themselves—a
Names to Be Given
Pontiac in the
$14.00 Paper/$4.99 ebook
A Pontiac in the
Woods will attract modern young
adult to new adult women who enjoy
first-person stories of spunky females who come of age to embrace
which Jamie does despite being homeless.
never thought she'd be living in a car and on her own, but when she
foster care system after she loses her adoptive parents and strikes out
independence, she joins the ranks of other young women who choose to be
not alone. She has mentors and support from several places; from an
understanding social worker to a school track coach. Both guide her
disaster and into new possibilities that transcend her living
the choices she's made to create a different life against all odds.
to note about A Pontiac in the Woods is that
nothing is set in stone—nor
entirely predictable. From a cousin who robs Jamie of her inheritance
friendships and support gained from unlikely places and peers who are
to her, the plot constantly shifts as Jamie explores different facts of
support systems and considers what she really wants from life when
strikes: "Finally, he just took a deep breath, smiled at me
and then reached across the seat to pull me close. It was a weird
moments, because my gut told me I shouldn’t be doing this, especially
Mum in the car. I didn’t want to replace her or, God forbid, even think
cheating on her with him—but at the same time I was just past twelve
and all I saw was years of days and nights living in the same house
cooking, cleaning up the dinner dishes, and watching hundreds, maybe
of hours of crap TV while he slept in the chair next to me. And snored.
kind of fun was that? How romantic was it? I hated my thoughts; I knew
and Mum had saved me as a baby, so how could I abandon them now just
savvy considerations of her revised role and choices comes under attack
different ways from different people—even those who support her—adding
inspection of motivations, end results, and approaches to her life.
will lead mature teens and new adults to assess their own influences
support systems. Jamie's task is to accept the kinds of help that will
away from tragic outcomes and into a better situation.
evolves, readers receive a healthy dose of social and psychological
that keeps throwing curve balls of growth and self-realization into the
A Pontiac in the
Woods is thoroughly engrossing,
primarily because Jamie's inspections of her
life and its trajectory are warm, revealing, moving accounts that keep
guessing about the ultimate outcome.
story that's hard to put down as it redefines family, love, and
Pontiac in the
$12.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
ever dreamed of winning the lottery and seeing life change as a result
find the premise and experiences of big-time winners Rose and Henry
Ball come to life in Powerballs.
be noted that author Jimmy Clifton himself is no more. He disappeared
fishing boat, leaving behind several manuscripts that fell to relative
advertising man Michael Hayes to return to life.
these details comes from John Henry Thibodeau, Captain of the Miss
fishing boat that Clifton vanished from, and tells how these books came
be grateful for this rescue, because if Powerballs is
Clifton wrote with a vivid, seasoned hand that created wild tales and
characters and conundrums to life.
opens, Henry Ball wants his boss at PharmaSolutions, Dexter Schmidt,
Dex's narcissistic drive for success at the expense of his employees is
Henry's wife Rose Ball loves her boss too much. Husband and wife are
tiring of their routines and oppression when their big win changes
makes all their dreams come true...but also, all their nightmares. As
options on how to live spirals out of control, Clifton spins a yarn
embraces caution thrown to the winds, irony, adventure, a wry satirical
life and personalities, and intrigue.
the strongest facet of Powerballs: a whirlwind of
action that embraces
the tumultuous choices of lives changed virtually overnight, where
adventure, and greed intersect in a world-hopping journey of lives gone
evolve in unpredictable ways and find that their choices are not always
easier by unprecedented wealth. Instead, new conundrums evolve that
of them in unexpected ways.
Henry part to face their different challenges, readers are invited on a
that redefines luck, wealth, and the Powerball fortune's real legacy as
couple faces cartels, politicians, and corruption.
for a rollicking adventure that begins with a world-changing
evolves into a tale of intrigue and action will love Powerballs.
ability to keep the couples' connection alive while romping through
special interests and influences creates high entertainment value as
characters give opposing forces a run for their money.
$29.99 paper/$9.99 ebook
Shades of Gray:
Complete Civil War Serial Trilogy
(Vol. 1-3) was previously published as Shades
of Gray, later re-released as Noble Cause,
and is revised and
expanded here, combining three books into one heady read that's highly
recommended for Civil War historical fiction audiences.
(Vol. 1), Honor Bound (Vol. 2), and Glory
Bound (Vol. 3) are
accompanied by a bonus epilogue that rounds out the 788-page story of
struggle that opens in 1862 Northern Virginia, where Confederate
Captain Alexander Hunter holds the line against Northern efforts to
beloved Virginia home.
seems a cut
and dried opposition (and a particularly challenging battle against a
mysterious boy on horseback who excels at defying his carefully-built
turns into a personal conundrum when the boy's identity is finally
placing Captain Hunter in the untenable position of having to choose
his heart and his family.
committed to her side of the cause is Andrea Monroe. Like Captain
do anything for her country. As a Southern-born Union spy, she works
other side to oppose all the politics Hunter holds dear. When fate
together, new quandaries arise about their beliefs, political
commitment to their causes.
explores the forces at work on both sides of the Civil War conflict,
on gray areas of moral and ethical certainty that prove not rigid, but
fluctuating in a struggle that pits family members against one another.
most Civil War novels, she achieves this contrast in ideals, purposes,
special interests by forming unlikely relationships between two
opposing forces. As the story unfolds, the personalities and strong
between the main characters come to life through dialogue and
are vivid and realistically portrayed: “You? Helpless?”
“Hell will undoubtedly freeze to the core before that day comes.” He
over to the bed. “I’m not a doctor, Miss Evans. But were I to guess,
your only ailment now is a rampant infection of self-pity.”
between their different approaches to life both embraces their
highlights their differences, again venturing into that gray area
connection and confrontation that keeps this story clean and edgy at
time: "The hostility in his voice was in utter opposition to
emotions he felt as he looked down at Andrea’s innocent, determined
shadows shrouded her face, and the expression she wore was somber—yet
stories are driven by battlefield confrontations. However, this war was
fought in hearts and minds that were rigidly set, but had to experience
new options and resolutions in order for the conflict to ever be
these insights to life in the course of charting a struggle that holds
easy answers, either in its evolving romance or in the characters'
to the realities of each others' lives and belief systems.
“An officer cannot
be expected to trust the enemy.”
In their case, can exceptions be made when so much is at
struggles to remain strong and both characters fight to remain true to
hearts and ideals, the story moves forward through wartime events and
possibilities of resolution that come to light in different ways and
approaches to life: “But we can begin again.” “We cannot. Too
happened.” Andrea fought through a haze of feelings and desires that
unwilling to face him, yet unwilling to turn way.
books of the trilogy under one cover makes complete sense. Although the
may appear daunting to readers who prefer to digest their books in
doses, the segues between books and events are better in one package
divided into three.
result is a
vivid examination of how hearts and minds are changed from resolute
and certainties during the course of conflict.
story should be on the shelves of any genre reader. It offers a
story that features the power and passion of Gone With the
Wind, but is
more poignant and personal about the inherent struggle between two
individuals who must change their lives and paradigms to effect a
outcome to the war raging within their hearts.
Helena P. Schrader
Cross Seas Press
Fans of World War II
historical fiction will find Traitors
for the Sake of Humanity: A Novel of
the German Resistance to Hitler an excellent, sweeping historical portrait that
begins in 1938 in a town
in southern Germany and ends in 1944 Berlin.
Helena P. Schrader
has a PhD in history from the
University of Hamburg, and her astute attention to historical detail is
reflected both by her expertise and the fact that this novel took over
decades to craft, blending primary and secondary research conducted
in East and West Germany. Her interviews of over a hundred survivors of
Germany lend authenticity and add real events to a haunting story.
A somewhat daunting list of
characters introduces the
novel, giving reader the notion that this will be a weighty—perhaps
demanding—read, for a fictional work. While this is certainly true on
levels, Schrader tempers her fact-based story with atmosphere and
that reflect her personal familiarity with and involvement in German
evident from the first paragraph of description: "Altdorf
was a harmonious jumble of half-timbered and plaster
façades in medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. The occasional
structure crouched on the outskirts near the tracks. As the local train
Frankfurt pulled into the little station, the single passenger in the
first-class compartment — an officer of the German Army — set his cap
his head. He adjusted the peak to sit just above his rimless glasses.
He then pulled
on his leather gloves and picked up his suitcase by the handle."
As the story unfolds, the
real impact and presence of the
Nazi regime in daily German life becomes recognizable, understandable,
engrossing: "Alexandra took a deep
breath and again focused on her story. “It was like my whole house of
collapsed on top of me. The entire criminal justice system proved to be
nothing but an over-bureaucratic kangaroo court. To be sure, there were
prosecutors and defense attorneys, and all the formalities were
observed. But, before the staged show started, the judges conferred
prosecutor, who advised them on the verdict and sentence they were
produce.” “What?” Philip didn’t believe it—and then again, he did. Alix
continued. “The worst part was that no one was even a little bit
ashamed. I was
included right away like it was the most natural thing in the world, as
there was nothing to be embarrassed about. The show was for the
public, but ‘between colleagues’ there was nothing to hide. Suddenly
wasn’t any point in being a defender of the downtrodden and the
against. I would only have been tilting windmills."
It should be noted that if Traitors for the Sake of Humanity sounds
familiar, that's because
it is a re-release of a book published over a decade ago under a
title. Its appearance now, in a day and age where the lessons,
presence of Nazis in social, political, and military circles holds more
and meaning than ever in the struggle to preserve democratic ideals, is
The presence and methods of
resistance, how Hitler's
power and appeal were opposed in various strata of society, and how the
and its people won small victories at great personal costs is
documented through the eyes, minds, and hearts of characters that come
under Schrader's hand.
Anyone who would understand,
on more than a factual
level, the emotions and motivations of resisters and believers alike
will find this
powerful history captured in a story that is, yes, complex...but also
engrossing and thought-provoking.
Sake of Humanity serves as a strong reminder of the price of
allegiance. It deserves to reach new audiences with a reprint edition
represents new lessons from old history, for modern times.
paperback, $9.99 eBook
The Universe in ¾
Time uses three struggling
European musicians and the mysterious appearance
of a World War II piano to consider the impact of fate and war on the
with a surreal consideration of the discovery of music in southern
nomads, some forty millennia ago. After a quick historical review that
from this to Pythagoras and Mozart, centuries later, readers are moved
modern times through the eyes of pianist and orphan Audrey Nightingale,
habit of walking the streets of Brussels at night, in search of
her to a strange upright piano that suddenly appears on the
since she played with inspiration after a disaster changed everything.
somehow, this elegant piano, which makes her own feel more like "a
in comparison, with porcelain cameos of nymphs cavorting, clawed feet,
curlicues," brings with its mystery the promise of new life both for
itself and her.
embodies the connection between body and soul and can change
can Audrey refuse a gift that leads her to call friend and violinist
Lafève, who believes in cosmic harmony as much as music?
prompts journeys, transformations, and growth for all characters, the
spiritual, ethereal, and practical daily life coalesce in a story
powered by an
effort to uncover the piano's owner and its history.
might expect the mystery to remain in modern times, it actually
to link past and present circumstances. The dance between timelines is
intriguing probe of abandonment, acceptance, and timeless love.
enjoy stories of intrigue that reach out to embrace spiritual and
as well as artistic sentiments will be especially pleased by the
attention to emotional reflections and details: "What I want
to you is the importance of the journey itself. This can be a literal
my family’s. Or a spiritual one, like the one I’ve embarked on with
Ideally, we should all experience both, for then we’re more likely to
enlightenment, as well as the state of being we all seek: the
our physical selves. A piece of music is a journey, isn’t it? It begins
single note or chord, as a journey begins with a single step. Music
artistic expression, really) is also proof that the most profound
are more often those taken by the spirit."
inspiration and muse; the challenges of life and death and paying
the past and those passed; and Audrey
and her fellow musicians' attempts to unravel the truth and meaning
mysterious instrument makes for gripping reading that musicians and
fiction readers will find hard to put down.
evocative spiritual and philosophical considerations throughout the
provides the perfect balance between mystery and history. The story is
by Audrey and her friends' journey between nations, matters of heart
and the influence of music on a changing world.
travels full-circle in a satisfying, evocative manner designed to keep
thinking and delighted long after events conclude, leading Audrey to
new possibilities from lost melodies that finally are found.
The Universe in ¾
Time is a delightful artistic
dance that readers will find evocative and
lyrical with its light peppering of mystery and profound stories of
and transformation that operate from and compel on many different
$19.99 Hardcover/$11.99 Paper
Vacation With a
Stranger gives romance readers a
fine blend of sexual description and
relationship insights as it follows Hollywood television star Leslie
who becomes involved with a fan just after her TV show is cancelled.
to responding to fan mail, much less cultivating a relationship that
with a letter. But something about the honesty and approach of this
her on an unexpected journey away from her routines and everything
to enter uncharted romantic territory replete with new
expect nothing but love from Vacation With a Stranger
will find it
especially satisfying that Les's life also revolves around business
and other new directions.
she forms with Steve works on many different levels, introducing them
vast changes as Les probes a molestation charge and why her network
really cancelled unexpectedly.
corporate intrigue, sex, and expanding emotional ties creates a story
unexpectedly multifaceted for a romance, and a step above most genre
complexity may at first stymie romance followers who expect traditional
outcomes and plots, Vacation With a Stranger is not
love-driven story, but a creative, pleasing, sexually explicit and fun
that provides many twists and turns.
looking for something both steamy and edgy will find Vacation
Stranger more than fits the bill with its three-dimensional
satisfying blend of romance, sex, and intrigue that keeps readers
She Writes Press
$16.95 Paper/$9.95 ebook
What's Not True: A
Novel will appeal to female
readers of contemporary urban fiction with its
special inspection of romance, martial relationships, and a divorcing
woman's unexpected discovery that while several doors of opportunity
closed, so many more remain open.
there such a
thing has having too much love on one's plate? This can be so if these
connections happen simultaneously and provoke not just two proposals,
scenario in which Kassie O’Callaghan, still technically married, must
her ex and his sly, scheming new fiancée Karen, who has her sights set
Kassie's assets as well as those of her husband-to-be.
acknowledges that Kassie is a powerhouse: "Whether it was
started the business or branched out and expanded it, Kassie supported
didn’t interfere. Smart, savvy, and spunky, Kassie became successful in
right, right in front of his eyes. An intelligent, independent,
He figured many men would’ve swapped places with him in an instant."
has sacrificed for him, her intent is to wipe out Kassie's legacy and
the time Karen was finished, any memory of Kassie would be erased from
brain of her husband and her son. Anything she could do to eliminate
from their lives was priority one."
unfolds, Kassie is forced to not only consider all her too-many
ramp up her inner strength and solidify her purpose: "That
Kassie needed to be great, not just good, Kassie—new business genius,
extraordinaire, mistress of the universe. Well, she had that one
fortunate, brave, and takes risks with Chris in a Parisian world that
her foundations, leading readers into a relationship journey that is as
at considering Mike's perspective and his own emotional growth as it is
outlining Kassie's determination and conundrums: "His kidney
and the divorce forced him to admit he’d been a shit all their years
He took all that Kassie had done for him for granted and never gave her
credit and attention she deserved. If he had been a better man, perhaps
would’ve happily joined her on that trip to Italy six years ago, and
would’ve been no Chris in the picture."
What's Not True is an engaging story of love, honesty, tangled
jealousy and ambition. The changing perspectives of Mike, Kassie,
Chris nicely contrast shifting attitudes towards not just
relationship-building, but their roles in life. It's especially
pleasing to see
a strong career woman who takes charge of her life and romances via an
powerful state of mind.
a beach read
and satisfying stand-alone sequel to What's Not Said
(where Kassie first
confronts her emotionally abusive husband and his health crises and
infidelity), What's Not True expands upon many
themes while staying true
to the course of charting Kassie's emotional and romantic growth.
When We're Thirty
Red Adept Publishing
$5.99 ebook/$14.99 paperback
Romance readers seeking
stories of lasting love and
evolution will find When We're Thirty
a fine story. Jersey girl Hannah's life is altered when she accepts a
online friend request from old flame William Thorne and finds
changed because of her choice.
Will was a big part of her
college years. From their
shared interests in alternative emo band Wilderness Weekend to her
with a steady relationship and a job that is going nowhere, Hannah
faces an old
pact, memories, and the opportunity for a new direction even marriage
predict or direct.
Her biggest challenges come
not just from her
relationship with Will and a promise made long ago; but from the family
friends around them.
No matter the real reasons
for marriage, Hannah finds
that she and Will are good for one another...a fact that some friends
The age of thirty brings
with it a different perspective
on old relationships and the value of aged promises. It also brings
different options that Hannah and Will face as their relationship
Readers seeking a realistic
story not of falling in love,
but falling into a convenient relationship that holds perks beyond
find When We're Thirty a
While it's not filled with
steamy scenes or even
passionate falling-in-love scenarios, When
We're Thirty offers readers an exceptional probe of issues
relationships that range from financial to family influences.
Both characters are
realistic and appealing in their
different ways. Each holds concerns that make the old pact they'd
attractive, years later. The underlying secret and motivations
and Will's choices and actions is nicely done; and while readers will
disaster coming, they may not anticipate the twists and turns that get
Romance readers seeking
stories of moral and ethical
quandaries, love, and relationships of convenience that evolve beyond
initial rules and boundaries will find When
We're Thirty engrossing, fun, and thought-provoking.
takes place in Montana in 1933, where fourteen-year-old Millie Chase
been orphaned. She resists the idea of living with her stepfather, who
has a replacement wife waiting in the wings. She feels he is "just a
Momma had married."
She decides to track down
her mother's good friend Ginny
Baker, who lives in Yellowstone Park with Nate, a winterkeeper for the
end of the park, which is closed for the season; but instead finds that
husband Nate is holding down the fort while his pregnant wife is in
struggling to find and maintain control of a fortune her parents left
and her sister.
Midlife crisis collides with
a coming-of-age experience
as Millie and Ginny face impossible, different circumstances. Each
find her path, strength, and purpose in the face of threatening changes.
Jo Horne adds a host of
obstacles into the story. This
will require maturity from teen readers, or new adults and adult
will appreciate the different characters, details of how they interact,
what their shared goals ultimately require of them in the way of
determination, and moral and ethical behaviors.
As stepfather Roger's real
character comes to light and
poses a further predicament affecting Millie's safety and future,
insights into the processes of building family connections, dealing
advocacy issues, and trust.
Called upon to reach out and
be a part of Millie's life
in order to protect and advocate for her, Ginny and Nate find
embroiled in something far beyond their quiet life in Yellowstone in
Readers will learn much about how people become family and earn places
others' hearts by their choices, actions, and reactions to adversity.
Those who like a touch of
intrigue added into the mix
will appreciate the mystery surrounding Roger Fitzgerald's purposes and
actions—especially how it reveals a dark psychological undercurrent
eventually comes to light only due to Millie's determination and Nate
Ginny's pursuit of the truth.
All characters are charged
with doing the right thing,
which further strengthens the coming of age story that moves from
and future to the impact of choices Ginny and Nate make on her behalf
the sake of their own futures.
multifaceted blend of history, mystery, psychological journeys and
age story makes for a fast-paced, evocative read. It should reach
adults to attract adult readers interested in stories of justice,
power struggles as characters challenges their assumptions and
is a vivid story that proves hard to put down.
You'll Be Fine
Alexandra Maas's mother has
always been steady when it
comes to the principles like not wasting gas on an air conditioner for
and not wasting money for replacement tickets to an event. But she's
as steady about being a positive influence in Alex's life—nor committed
off the booze.
Perhaps this is where Alex
got her sense of distance from
her family, learning not to answer her phone at odd hours of the night
with a wasted mother or engage with a stay-at-home adult brother who
quite grew up. Instead, she chose to hone her own career and her life
lesbian and a professional woman.
When her mother passes away
suddenly from an accidental
drug overdose, Alex takes a leave of absence from her job as a
magazine writer to come home and help her brother Owen settle affairs.
with her mother gone, things will be different.
They aren't different enough
to prevent angst,
also in the
neighborhood is a married woman Alex once loved and still harbors
for, whom she is charged with interviewing for her magazine. Also newly
is her father's "aunt," a transsexual woman who inserts herself into
the broken family's affairs, only to reveal a secret that answers many
lingering questions about Alex and Owen's heritage.
From unspoken words to the
"smallest things that
fester" and lead to estrangement, Alex's journey to conclude this
of her life and get things organized turns into a voyage of discovery
inspects all the things left unsaid, undone, and incomplete in her past.
Jen Michalski creates a
vivid drama that covers many
layers of family inspection and interactions. Alex is a savvy, aware
well knows her own nature and choices, although she hasn't fully
origins. Even as romance is offered and new opportunities emerge, she
cognizant of both revised prospects and unstated emotions: "You came to explore the wreck, she tells herself,
back, walking up the broken flagstones to her mother’s house as Carolyn
away. Not check out the mermaids."
The layers of inspection,
danger, and love that run under
the surface of apparent goals and rationales is nicely presented, with
psychology of an evolving situation cementing the dilemmas Alex
"She lets herself out of the office
and walks through the kitchen. It feels cramped, full of dangerous
to cut yourself, burn yourself, slip on the floor. Yet Juliette works
every evening and doesn’t even think about it."
Michalski's ability to bring
both overt and covert
personas, ideals, angst, and desires to life supercharges a story that
quite a romance, more than a family drama, and embraces elements of all
of diverse challenges that bring Alex full circle, back to the home she
Rich in psychological
tension and description, You'll Be Fine
is a highly recommended
read for lesbian women, women struggling with diverse family makeups
interests, and those who simply want a compelling story of
The ABCs of Public Education
Dr. John J. Pepi Sr.
ABCs of Public
Education: Abuse, Bullying, and Corruption: A Story of
Mobbing in Education was written
to help others who suffer from abuse and bullying. It blends an
experience with an autobiography that closely examines the approaches,
and impact of bullying on not just kids, but adults.
Mobbing behaviors encouraged or condoned by
the educational system may lie at the heart of this treatise on public
but Dr. Pepi's survey blends his own experiences with those of youth to
a wider-ranging consideration of the issue for all ages.
As he points out, bullies come in all forms,
and at all periods of life. Sometimes they are supervisors. When the
escalates into 'mobbing' where attacks come from different directions
different people, even more challenges emerge—some of them not just
life-impacting, but life-threatening.
Dr. Pepi documents many different
situations, from coaching and sports to administrators, peers and
those whose political ties are so broad that battles with them are lost
they begin, with mobbing behaviors provoked by any pushback to bullying.
Although Dr. Pepi's focus is on what he
knows best—the structure and organization of an educational system that
bullying on different levels—it's evident that The ABCs of
opens in this arena, but holds many lessons that can translate to other
and organizational settings.
Cemented by experiences that document the
psychological toll and the social, political, and business impact of
the author documents how efforts to push back through arbitration only
in more mobbing actions: "I started to really feel the heat
from both the union and the city. The union, during lunch break,
in one of the offices, and I was getting it from all sides. I had
turn, and they were treating me with hostility for not taking the
Why? What was so important for them? They were not hiding the fact that
were for the school district and not for me. I started thinking that I
lawyer, and fast, before the statute of limitations runs out. The
who, how, and with what money?"
Many studies on bullying focus on youth, as
though this age group almost exclusively features such experiences. In
presenting a blend of autobiographical experience and focus on
oppression and its impacts, Dr. Pepi provides a rare and important
at bullying's adult incarnations.
ABCs of Public
Education should be selected not
just for educator collections, but for any collection strong in
oppression in adult circles. The educational system here is a specific
but also serves as a template illustrating what happens in business and
organizational settings across the board, and how battles against
are fought, won, or lost.
ABCs of Public Education
Like This? In the Rest of God
Hardcover/$15.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Can You Sleep Like
This? In the Rest of God links a
discussion of sleep and rest with a
spiritual, Biblical perspective that examines the importance and nature
getting a good night's sleep.
seem unusual to place these two seemingly disparate topics under one
Evonne Thompson provides a different perspective on the power of
resting in the
presence of God, contradicting the equation of rest with non-Godly
laziness and promoting, instead, the concept of adequate rest as being
to Biblical ideas of being more spiritually effective.
many instances in which God rested from his endeavors while recharging
next task. As readers learn about the support system for adopting
that accept rest as a necessity rather than an obstacle to spiritual
effectiveness, they gain deeper insights into the concept of rest.
refers to Biblical events, passages, and incongruities in the course of
examination. This will delight those who look for specific supportive
references: "As you continue to read through the covenant
out through Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, you will see
even more time-related boundaries. Leviticus 25 describes how God
practice of the Sabbath to not just every seventh day but every seventh
And if that was not the icing on the cake, after the seventh cycle of
seventh year, year forty-nine, they got a back-to-back siesta in the
year as well—the year of jubilee. Can you imagine what that would look
today? No—sorry, I cannot come into work today, or for that matter, the
year. It is my Sabbath year. This would be the law everyone would
It makes me wonder: on every seventh-day Sabbath in the seventh year,
rest from their rest?"
inspections that embrace social, business, and psychological milieus
readers to think about the underlying messages of the Bible about rest,
relaxation, and duty.
does God wish to impart through such admonitions, and how have they
traditionally been interpreted or misinterpreted?
purpose of promoting restoration to larger intentions, Dr. Thompson
path to understanding that moves beyond the subject of rest and sleep
bigger-picture thinking about God's ultimate goals.
delight Christian readers, providing a road map to enlightenment and
restoration that supports the path to understanding with a wealth of
readers and collections concerned with connecting everyday life
choices to bigger pictures of God's intention will find Can
You Sleep Like
This? In the Rest of God a solid exploration of how to
and achieve a state of rest in God.
applicability of this effort to other Christian principles and
excellent food for thought, fodder for Biblical study, discussion, and
interpretation, and an in-depth survey of the nature of what 'rest in
truly means and how to fully understand and achieve it.
collection should be without Can You Sleep Like This?
Like This? In the Rest of God
Hugh McTavish, Ph.D.
West Fork Press
COVID Lockdown Insanity: The COVID Deaths It
Prevented, the Depression
and Suicides It Caused, What We Should Have Done, and What It Shows We
Now To Address Real Crises will be a controversial read for
many, but it
charts the impact of choices made during the pandemic and the
social, political, psychological, and economic forces in contributing
If a reader
gains one thing from Hugh McTavish's perspective, it will be a better
understanding of how these forces interact to create decisions that
citizens around the world.
approved of decisions made to lock down the world or opposed them,
discussion is critical to understanding the process of making,
promoting society-wide perceptions and policy decisions of all kinds.
ideally be on the reading lists of sociology and political science
well as the general-interest, thinking reader.
lockdowns will be forced to question their position if they read this
an open mind, and opponents will be armed with the data and evidence to
punches in damning the influencers who both made these decisions in the
public interest or promoted the lockdowns while omitting facts that
altered the lockdown approach to Covid: "We
should ask, and our leaders and experts should have asked also and told
many COVID deaths would be prevented by the lockdowns, and now that we
year into this, how many COVID deaths the lockdowns have prevented."
book reflects personal opinion alone, it should be pointed out that
supports his beliefs with authoritative studies and quotes from them: "There is good evidence that hand
washing and use of hand sanitizers
reduce the risk and spread of the common cold and influenza and
COVID-19. The following are four of the best studies that I find very
validity, authority, and further references for reading to COVID Lockdown Insanity and assures that
readers seeking scientific
backing receive all the background studies and information available
support McTavish's history and contentions.
fallacies in thinking about Covid no matter their source, even at the
levels of authority: "Despite that
paper, Dr. Fauci and CDC leaders continued to recommend school closures
then recommended that if schools opened they should mandate mask
students and social distancing. (No evidence supports either of those
interventions in schools.) That is Dr. Fauci’s fault; not the fault of
staff or those CDC authors recommending against school closures."
Is COVID Lockdown Insanity controversial?
Yes. But its many contentions and insights should be required reading
they encourage readers to think not just about Covid history, but the
and logic behind epidemic management and social safety approaches as a
and public policy decisions generally.
COVID Lockdown Insanity should ideally
receive attention in
educational circles, where debates over its contents would be not just
appropriate, but fruitful.
Your Creative Process
CREATE! Developing Your Creative Process
helps readers define
creativity, consider and strengthen their own process of discovery, and
new approaches to encouraging the creative process. It stems from the
experiences and success stories of a wide range of participants in
given by Cathy Pickens, who developed these approaches over the years
artists, business leaders, technical specialists, jail inmates, and
fruits of these success stories into a book was likely a challenge.
often defies definition and easy access, proving elusive to those who
constrain its potential with narrow inspections.
workshop-in-a-book represents Pickens' own life as she moved from
herself not especially creative to shifting paths to uncover the
impulse that lay within her (and which resides unrecognized within many
Her years of
creativity and the methods used to promote and encourage it resulted in
tangible results, a six-step method that can apply to anyone, and this
which takes readers through the encouraging process of identifying,
and bringing to life that spark of creativity that can translate to
this process, readers learn from the experience of not just the author,
others who have found their muse: "One
well-kept secret, in discussions about creativity, is that nothing is
new. “All creative individuals,” observed writer Paul Johnson, “build
works of their predecessors.” More experienced creators and artists
they have learned from, built upon, even borrowed from others."
insights support a program that includes group as well as individual
which considers how to make these avenues of opportunity work best: "Before joining or forming a group, ask
yourself, “Do I like these people?” My writers group was the first work
of women friends I’d ever had. My work life had been filled with men,
growing up with three sisters seemed to take care of the need for
companionship. But these bright, funny women, each with a different
and life journey, brought perspectives that have made my writing—and my
nurtured and encouraged in order to move from a rare spark to a burning
CREATE! Developing Your Creative Process
embraces all kinds of
approaches that lend to this newfound strength. It is a 'must' for
writers, and creators in all mediums who would better understand the
for creativity and how best to assure its ongoing flow.
Your Creative Process
Killer: The Right to Counsel
Jim Potts, JD
$15.95 Paper/$7.99 ebook
written about serial killers—usually biographical sketches, or accounts
their surviving victims. Defending a
Serial Killer: The Right to Counsel takes a very different
approach to the
subject in considering the moral and ethical challenges lawyers face in
fulfilling their duties to defend a client who may ultimately be
their efforts are successful) to kill again.
Potts was a brilliant young law student recruited to craft a death
appeal for a convicted serial killer. His research efforts uncovered a
that could overturn his client's conviction and lead him out of prison
possibly murder again.
As his legal
his client and the Constitution he's pledged allegiance to clashes with
values and a pregnant wife who maintains she'll leave him if he follows
on his duties, Potts becomes caught in a dilemma that tests his
many different levels.
How can he
to his profession while assuring he keeps his family together and
unleash evil back into the world, based on a technicality of law?
discussions hold the ability to capture a compelling immediacy in the
processes of law, as well as the dilemmas these processes bring with
Readers gain specific details about these approaches, which teach them
how law is interpreted and enforced as the story follows Potts and his
in and outside of court: "When Ron returned to his seat, we
discussed every other aspect of the case, as well as other potential
in great detail. This was a common approach, as when a case is
possible issue is submitted with the hope one may be sufficient for a
verdict, resulting in a reversal of the lower court’s decision."
the long-term results of their arguments and efforts is also nicely
the tale unfolds: "Reading the
California Supreme Court’s decision, I was highly satisfied with the
had done my job, and I had done it well. The court had focused on
the key arguments I had personally come up with in making its decision.
fact that Mattson could possibly be free again to prey on new victims
my mind, but I dismissed those thoughts. I had to. We cannot
might happen, only what did happen."
often poignant) are his reflections about the ultimate outcome of his
arguments and its impact on his life and career alike: "My
involvement with Mattson’s appeal appeared to be never ending.
I had thought I could let it go, but I was having trouble. What was it
this man? Why did my life have to be touched by him? I began to wonder
or not he was truly sorry for the crimes he had committed against those
girls. Probably not. I wondered how he took the news of the Supreme
ruling. He was probably up at San Quentin celebrating with his fellow
each one asking how he pulled it off in the desperate hope he had some
answer on how they could also escape death."
learn more about legal processes, lawyers' moral and ethical
and how killers are treated in the courts and the minds and hearts of
defend or oppose them will find much food for thought in Defending
a Serial Killer.
recommended reading; especially for students of law, who will find it
many vivid considerations of the underlying human impact of defending
killers in court and supporting the right to counsel that is an
cornerstone of the American justice system.
Killer: The Right to Counsel
C. P. Serret
Tempest & Gayle
Kindle/$8.99 epub/$19.99 Large Print/$16.99 Cypherpunk Edition
coming-of-age literary fiction who look for a blend of LBGTQ themes and
inspection mixed with intrigue will find the genre-busting Die the Villain impossible to easily
categorize or put down, once
blends mystery and noir atmosphere with a transgender examination of
that winds through social and political challenges alike.
this story is that it requires a literary, astute mind to appreciate
language and descriptions. Those unused to such elements in their
stories should keep a dictionary close at hand, because they won't want
the depth of language embedded in Die the
Villain's ethereal descriptions: "Black
pumps, slim heels, despite the wet. Her dark hair was wind-tousled over
café-racing jacket and red scarf, a violet mididress under her unzipped
and a matching tote in the crook of one arm; she was Lady Purple in
spades – a
neoteric Murasaki no Ue. Smileless behind her Jackie O sunglasses, she
out at the end of the line among the uptown coffee bar’s ambient
book-club reads, bibelots, and blonde woods. He was as conspicuous but
invisible, the other metal-base plywood tables crowded with backlit
patched jeans, and rain gear. Alone among flatline mouths. Tense
descriptions capture a Darknet leader's gender-fluid identity and
and the clash between special interests when a cybercrime goes awry,
are drawn into a dark underworld and a LBGTQ culture that educates,
and intrigues all at once.
noted that, in addition to the language, dialogue between characters is
punctuated as usual. Instead, the separation of dialogue is clearly
a different way which preserves the fluidity of language and lends to
"—Thanks for the drink. My brain was about to fry.
She sighed after another sip, eyes closed. Finn
drifted nearer, a
wavering petal on a winding brook, and debated on where to sit: right
her on the sofa, or just within arm’s reach; or away on the easy chair
too busy for anything like that – or on the causeuse like bait on a
trap. He remained standing.
—No prob. I was having coffee on campus with Her
Most Serene Highness,
and she mentioned you were hitting the books. Figured it was the least
—O? What’s Vik up to?
—She didn’t say, but she was dressed to the nines.
—Mike, I’d guess. What’s this called? It tastes
like white chocolate
An anticipatory grin blew his punchline.
—Liquid Cocaine. I asked the barista for something
strong enough for a
long study session. It has four shots.
—Four shots after Adderall and a half-tab of
Dexedrine. I’ll be ready
for lift-off soon.
—ADD? Had no clue.
—No. It helps my grades."
By now, it
evident that Die the Villain will
be every reader's cup of tea. However, what it requires of its audience
terms of literary acuity is more than rewarded by a plot loaded with
psychological, and social inspection and a truly unique, original story
with satisfying twists and turns.
More so than
coming of age stories, Die the Villain
holds the special ability to capture worlds and perceptions outside the
mainstream and the norm while maintaining an atmosphere of suspense and
intrigue that keeps readers on their toes. Replete with modern cultural
references, the action remains fast-paced and unpredictable throughout.
find the story darkly complex and compelling as it moves from Cris
has just returned from Japan working undercover as a consultant, to a
life-changing encounter with Chloe, who introduces him to new social
she explores strong women and characters brought "forth and living in
darkness" in a world-traversing romp through "two worlds that can
never touch"...but, do.
Get a Move On!
Luisa Coll-Pardo Heymann
Bold Story Press
Readers who feel flabby,
lousy, and hopeless about
embarking on an exercise regimen that sticks will find plenty of
paired with practical approaches to "mini-workouts," in Get
a Move On!
This isn't the first book to
advocate more realistic
approaches to exercise, but what sets Get
a Move On! apart from most competitors in the genre is its
linking daily activities to these mini-workouts.
This will especially appeal
to those who feel they
already don't get enough "me time," let alone enjoy a schedule that
allows for leisurely exercise pursuits. This type of busy reader will
appreciate the idea that workouts can apply to every endeavor and room
Take the kitchen, for
example. Waiting for a pot of water
to boil is typically time spent cleaning, but it also can embrace
Luisa Coll-Pardo Heymann points out that "We
probably spend more time in the kitchen waiting for something to happen
else, so why waste all that time? The waiting is usually done in short
but these add up over the course of a week, even if you’re not much of
While you’re waiting, do any freestanding movements (e.g., marching in
toe-touches) or those where you need a counter for balance (leg lifts);
appropriate arm exercises (overhead reaches, swimming strokes,
presses); stretching moves (calf stretch, hand flexes, shoulder
rolls); or try
some dance moves like the Twist, the Macarena, or…maybe a little Funky
while waiting for your oatmeal?
Where other workout books
for busy people advise taking
extra time throughout the day to add these routines, Heymann pinpoints
lag time already happens during the day, and shows how to fill these
with effective and even fun exercise routines.
As chapters review different
kinds of movements and
exercises and discuss their benefits and applicability to the busy
exerciser, readers receive a wealth of information about what works,
science and logic behind different exercises, and how side benefits to
the battle of the bulge extend to positivity, self-confidence, and a
healthier lifestyle overall.
The result goes beyond
outline of workout routines,
discussing how existing lifestyle can lend to mini-approaches that are
surprisingly effective and a snap to incorporate into any schedule.
Anyone looking to add into
their schedules needs to start
with Get a Move On! Its outline of
achievable objective is inspirational, educational, and rewarding. All
for these routines to be personally attainable is a degree of
reading about and employing them. Get a
Move On! makes the effort a snap with its chatty tone,
science, and encouraging
a Move On!
readers will relish The Haunting of Potter’s
Field: Mostly True Stories, Unearthed from The Grave, a
gathering of life
inspections of immigrants and pioneers buried in Woodlawn Cemetery’s
field in Winona, Minnesota.
late nineteenth and early twentieth century settlers and native peoples
originally written for the stage, intended as performance pieces. The
scheme and succinct descriptions were preserved for this collection and
married to illustrations by Jared Tuttle for added impact in book
sketches take the form of poetic examinations of such characters as
Mister Foster, who "sold wares in the markets and fairs" and ended
his life, "His pain and his sins unconfessed." The mysterious woman
who is neither kin nor wife begs that the man be buried with dignity,
but "We looked all around, eyes cast
guiltily down,/We’d no money to help the poor lass./So she left as she
through the fog-heavy rain,/With her heartbreak, we watched the night
outlines how a person came to end up in the potter's field, readers
literary examination that encourages a translation to stage.
blend of historical examination, biographical sketches, haunting visual
embellishments by Tuttle, and a spirit-laced reflection of ordinary
have passed makes for evocative reading.
musical scores at the end completes a unique gathering highly
social history readers who like accounts of early American lives and
experiences in a form other than staid prose, as well as drama students
for literary works that can easily translate to stage productions.
Heart of a
Bill Amatneek, Editor
of a Man:
Men's Stories for Women gathers writings intended for both
explore men's feelings...a subject sadly neglected or downplayed in too
literary accounts. It's also an invitation to women to understand men's
thoughts, struggles, choices, and being a man in the world.
These accounts appear in
many literary forms here, from
essays to poetry and fiction, all capturing the essence of the male
at different stages of life, from childhood to adulthood.
Eugene Karlin's lovely black
and white line drawings
pepper the collection, bringing life to selected quotes that emphasize
topics and feelings explored in these writings.
Some of these authors' names
will be familiar, from
Shakespeare and Lord Byron to Updike and Michael Chabon. Most will
that doesn't diminish this anthology's power or authority.
Within its covers are
suggestive stories from the lives
and hearts of men who write about their greatest challenges, longings,
influential experiences and revelations in life.
Particularly evocative are
works that capture pivot
points in life experience (as most of them do). One example is Jed
powerful reflection on fatherhood in "My Father, My Son, Myself:" "When I became a father, I thought to
myself, I'm going to do things differently. The birth of my first child
my life...The nurse handed him to me, and as I looked into his eyes, I
vow: 'I will be a different kind of father than my father was to me. I
everything I can to help bring about a world where fathers are fully
with their families throughout their lives.'"
The concluding section, a
Q&A with the editor, offers
particularly important insights into how these stories were selected
others, why certain topics were included or excluded, and the main
differentiation between male and female perspectives which is so
the strength of this collection: "I
learned how differently men and women see the same word, sentence,
story, book cover, and book. I learned that I control the anthology's
but not the writing. All the works here reveal men, but I don't endorse
word of every work."
This anthology offers what
every woman has dreamed of...
men confident in their male persona, yet unafraid to bare their hearts.
Heart of a Man offers a rare
to walk in a diverse range of male shoes and experiences.
Come along with Bill
Amatneek as he collects and shares
these jewels of male insight. Heart of a Man
will bring the sexes together with newfound understanding and literary
revelations that resonate in heart and mind.
$14.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
Legend of the New World: Origins is a
military dystopian thriller
that revolves around an American girl who was tapped and trained by a
organization for a mission that will change and challenge the nation:
on the audience watching the Super Bowl LXXXI..
slated for teens, the adult nature of the investigation, terrorist
and sci-fi scenario of a technologically enhanced young woman charged
changing the world belays the youth of its characters, imparting a full
of adult concerns that will easily reach older readers, as well.
complexity winds into the story as siblings Mega and Aniya assume the
identities of Brandon and Tiffany Ames and move to LA on a mission that
them to probe the new America around them: "Almost
no one here has dodged the impact of Massacre 81; almost everyone is
experiencing some great loss from the attacks that subdued America a
They probably all knew someone who had died that day, knew kids who
malnourished and left to fend for themselves. This is the new era, the
the haves and the have-nots. Many were traveling westbound just to be a
the ever-growing homeless community across California. The homeless
at an all-time high, to a point where the government had no new ideas
how to intervene. Mega and Aniya—or, as they are now, Brandon and
heading somewhere that will surely give them a culture shock."
readers will find the combination of thriller, dystopian setting,
inspection, childrens' lives and involvements, and social and political
conundrums to be satisfyingly complex and revealing, powered by a
political revelation of self-inspection and social change.
More so than
thrillers or sci-fi settings, Legend of
the New World: Origins creates a believable, compelling world
satisfyingly full-faceted, built on the foundations of modern issues,
all-too-realistic future, the young characters that drive the special
personal interests of this milieu come alive.
consider Legend of the New World: Origins
a refreshingly original read, packed with action tempered by
revelations and thought-provoking insights.
Loud Woman: Good-bye, Inner
$14.99 paperback or $9.99 ebook
Good-bye, Inner Good Girl! outlines the type of woman who is
born, but made from a combination of encouragement, social challenge,
inner voice that becomes an effective influence on the world.
Many more women could be
'loud women' than are present
and active, and that's where this book comes in. It's a recommendation
woman who would uncover, encourage, and hone the effectiveness of her
and provides a blueprint for enacting this change to be a more
and commentator in a changing world.
This social awareness is an
intrinsic part of developing
the kind of voice that acknowledges and respects others, and is present
Celeste's own self-inspections as she opens her book. She acknowledges
is a white woman of privilege making conscious choices about the
audience of her book, fully knowing that these choices might have
diverse readers without such a preface explaining her actions,
understanding of gender terminology and the underlying influence and
of white privilege.
Conservative and liberal
readers alike are encouraged to
be "Loud" in an all-embracing account that opens with vignettes of
the author's own experiences. The example from a job in which she was
to ask questions to gain the information needed...but deferentially, in
politically acceptable manner that supported the status quo...is a
powerful display of the political and social repression that keeps
empowerment and effectiveness: "Here’s
the thing: I was getting counseled for asking a budget question;
knew it was much more than that. What I was really
being counseled on was my Loudness—how I spoke up, how I
asked for what I wanted, how I had boundaries around my time, and how I
tolerate being interrupted. What I really
was being asked to do was to take up less space, keep my
mouth shut, and
do my job in the quietest way possible. My employer embodied a classic
As the stories, examples,
and insights progress, many
women will find eye-opening examples of repression and power in
and business circles.
Celeste's intention in
charting these examples and paths
to defying repression is clear: "You
will break through your fear mindset and do things scared. You will
set up boundaries so people no longer take advantage of you. You will
your selfworth so you can (finally) get the things you deserve. You
to trust yourself, because you are the expert at what’s best for you.
will illuminate this path so you can join other women who are on the
journey, and we can love and support each other as the Loud Women we
Any woman who has, either
overtly or covertly, been told
to "be quiet" needs this book—especially since it validates "Loudness"
and identifies the many subtle messages and circumstances designed to
women from being powerful, effective voices of change.
Good-bye, Inner Good Girl!'s examples, game plan for lasting,
change, and blueprint of how to get there is highly recommended for
issues collections, psychology holdings, and business libraries alike.
Woman: Good-bye, Inner
Hardcover/$9.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
a horror story that opens with a husband's sadness over his wife's
Alzheimer's. At least, that was the diagnosis that changed their lives
as arthritis disabled husband Ward Ayers.
Malina's distorted tongue, however, he comes to realize that her
not due to dementia, but a more insidious threat that portends not her
but her transformation into something very different.
to change in ways only Ward can see, he comes into conflict with
doctors and comes to doubt the evidence of his own eyes and mind.
he insane? Or
is something sinister and menacing replacing his beloved wife?
the questions of sanity, insanity, horror, and reality create a
excels in building not just tension but self-doubt as Ward keeps
evidence that supports a terrible and impossible truth.
of his interactions, his wife's transformation, and his attempts to
despite his own handicaps makes for thoroughly engrossing reading that
incorporates twists and turns even avid horror readers won't see coming.
ability to craft not just a horror scenario, but one in which the
feelings of a loving husband are tested, contributes to a story that
home and broadens to include the wider-ranging implications of Malina's
changes. Hope, in this case, comes from strange avenues and choices as
struggles with his discovery and his love for his wife.
descriptions of little daily changes that lead to bigger, life-changing
situations will especially resonate with anyone who has lived with a
suffering from a degenerative condition that poses new changes and
on a daily basis.
especially recommended for fans of Lovecraft-style horror; but it's
special pick for those interested in supernatural-tinged fictional
living with disability and the ravages of old age.
Mavericks, Mystics, and
and Misfits: Americans Against the Grain is a historical
covers American history from colonial to modern times, using the
various Americans to chart the nation's evolution, influences, and the
and contributions of those who defied the norm over the years.
These profiles range from
early explorers and politicians
to social activists that represented their times, including many names
readers may not find familiar.
One such example is Josiah
Gregg, whose life perspective
mirrored the concept of "Manifest Destiny" that drove America's early
expansion west and southwest.
Parts of his life read with
the drama of fiction ("On May 15, 1831, in
a sickly young man in failing health was carried onto a wagon bound for
Mexico on the Santa Fé Trail. He was heading out onto the prairie on
of his physicians, who had recommended a change of climate and scene as
treatment for the chronic dyspepsia and consumption that had kept him
to his room for months. So began a twenty-year odyssey that would take
Gregg to the far corners of the American west and produce a unique
record of America’s relentless expansion to the Pacific Ocean in
its “Manifest Destiny.”). The author links these personal
broader American historical events, such as the Mexican-American War.
Another example of this link
between personal and social
change lies in the profile of rustic Norwegian farmer’s son from
Thorstein Veblen, whose social philosophy questioned the prevailing
about the emerging social order after the industrialization and
America in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Another important note:
these are not biographical
sketches, as is usually done in similar approaches to American history,
in-depth reviews of lives and times that juxtapose both in detail.
Black and white
illustrations and photos of each profile
open and personalize the chapter, bringing its subject to life.
Recommended for high school
into adult circles, these
slices of American history pinpoint essential contributors who made not
world-changing decisions, but challenged the nuts and bolts of
Readers who want a
thought-provoking inspection of these
forces and individuals will find Mavericks,
Mystics, and Misfits both educational and engrossing.
Readings & Devotionals, Volume 3
a Division of Dove Christian Publishers
Readings & Devotionals, Volume 3
adds a new study to C.M.H. Koenig's series;
this covering Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and a portion of First
during the period between 1406 BC – 1025 BC. This third book in an
series takes the time and energy to pair analysis with a daily
designed to encourage a chronological, in-depth study of the Bible.
is marked with a Biblical passage, accompanying devotional with food
thought, and footnoted references that connect Biblical concepts: “The
eternal God is thy refuge.” Deuteronomy 33:27 (AKJV) The
word refuge may be translated “mansion,” or
“abiding-place,” which gives the thought that God is our abode, our
is a fullness and sweetness in the metaphor, for dear to our hearts is
home, although it be the humblest cottage, or the scantiest garret; and
far is our blessed God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being.
It is at
home that we feel safe: we shut the world out and dwell in quiet
when we are with our God, we “fear no evil.”
to take Biblical study in digestible pieces and apply its teachings to
experiences and spiritual and philosophical enlightenment lends to a
group-study program like few others.
readings are paired with insights from several scholarly sources, from
1700s Anglican priest and author Robert Hawker's Poor Man's
Commentary to the reflections of 1834 English Particular
and author Charles H. Spurgeon, and 1800s pastor and author Octavius
highlight striking features in Biblical figures and messages, present
interpretations that will lend not just to individual reflection but
study and debate, and allow for daily connections to Biblical messages
analyze the heart of passages in a succinct, chronological approach.
Testament Readings & Devotionals, Volume 3 will
appeal to scholarly and
religious students, it's also quite accessible to everyday Christians
to delve deeper into Biblical meaning and God's word in a manner
most devotionals offer.
the Bible rich in lessons and meaning, but who need guideposts to fully
them, will find Old Testament Readings & Devotionals,
Volume 3 and
its series the perfect place to embark upon a well-organized study.
Readings & Devotionals, Volume 3
$15.99 paper/$3.99 ebook
your life will never be the same. This is a well-known, accepted adage
wisdom that receives central attention in Bruce Sherman's book, which
should be given to any young couple starting out in life before they
decision to have children.
book is to encourage the discussion of the many ways children will
life. Sherman is 90 years old, retired, the father of two sons, and
succinct, important review of all the forces that influence the
have children, considering the pros, cons, and fallacies of some of
objective is to
examine these reasons more closely so that readers can formulate their
plans based not on ideals or family habits, but with fuller knowledge
it means to dedicate a lifetime of care to a child.
for wanting children and who is happier—parents or those who chose to
childless—to how children influence the perception of and journey
happiness, and problems in parent-child relationships on many different
Sherman provides succinct observations into not just traditional family
structures, but how new and existing parents can consider and handle
stress forces on their childrearing focus.
parenting guides, Sherman's book embraces all kinds of transition
changes, from divorce and separation to conflicts that stem from
the financial impact of raising a child. He outlines common choices and
misconceptions, obstacles to success and happiness, and how young men
considering adding children to the equation can best prepare for this
many different levels.
worth it? Take the Planning Kids? Why?
quizzes, consider its blend of statistical information and
social insights, and then decide.
the tools and insights needed to make this decision, creating a
analysis that outlines all the pros, cons, and issues involved in
leap into being a parent.
Is he happy
decision to be a father? You’ll have to get the book to find out!
Rock n' Roll
Rock n' Roll
Puzzlers: 70 Word Search Super Challenger
Puzzles +7 is a game book highly
recommended for rock and roll music lovers who like solving puzzles
on rock music trivia. It presents word search puzzles that will ideally
prior familiarity with the structure of this kind of brainteaser in
puzzles cover various artists/bands, with discographies including both
and collections, and details the items to be located in a list that
easier to use.
initially created these music word search puzzles for fun. The balance
British and American music is nicely done and makes for a satisfying
major musical influences while utilizing word placement in multiple
"super challenger" puzzles incorporate a larger grid size than
regular puzzles, allowing for a challenge level of medium to high for
experienced to expert in puzzle formats. Different ways of finding
and looking at the bigger picture challenge the mind in a satisfying
states in his introduction, the special benefits of undertaking
puzzles lends to making these part of one's brain-exercising repertoire
better health, in addition to their entertainment value: "From
medical perspective, word search puzzles are also known to help improve
cognitive brain function for many people who have unfortunately
strokes, as doctors give patients these types of puzzles to assist in
back their mental strength."
who like puzzles that are challenging and fun tests of memory and
will find Rock n' Roll Puzzlers: 70 Word Search Super
Challenger Puzzles +7
the perfect choice for leisure pursuit and brain exercise, providing a
that can be taken on a trip, pursued on work breaks, or used to
open one's day.
Sounds Like Love
$18.99 Paper/$31.99 Hardcover/$7.99 ebook
Cat lovers are in for as much of a surprise
as Wendy experiences in Sounds Like Love, where her
search for romance
leads in an unexpected direction.
Wendy's grandmother has passed away, leaving
Wendy with a box of keepsakes and an unexpected charge: a tabby cat
unusual name. While her parents may think this a fine inheritance,
so sure. Her parents specialize in pedigreed cat shows, and thus Wendy
cats. Or, so she thinks. And, why wouldn't her parents have taken her
grandmother's cat themselves? They say it's because of their fancy show
who are picky and pampered beasts.
There's another reason she doesn't want the
cat: "She didn’t like cats and she didn’t want to face being
of Grandma and how much it hurt losing her. Seeing Grandma’s cat every
would just make her feel sad."
As Wendy comes to discover this cat's
unique, special qualities and impact on her life, she finds the
richer than she'd originally envisioned. The cat's dilemma brings with
it a new
resolve to lead a better life and be more understanding of others: "Suddenly
she wasn’t thinking about how she felt anymore; she was wondering how
was feeling – she felt compassion for the cat. All through her
had disliked cats because her parents had paraded them in front of her
had made her feel second best. But now, this cat was looking for a
could Wendy hope for people to understand her when she wasn’t trying to
understand this cat? “Empathy,” Wendy said out loud to herself. “That’s
the world needs. More empathy.”
It's difficult to easily peg an intended age
range for the readers of Sounds Like Love. On the
one hand, the themes
of death, revised purposes in life, and a search for love and
connection as a young
adult would seem to indicate its appropriateness for an adult audience.
However, the colorful drawings peppered throughout and the short length
story would seem to make it an appropriate read for high school readers
Aside from the question of audience age
group, Sounds Like Love offers readers an engaging
story of a cat that
holds unexpectedly special abilities, a grandchild learning to care for
while missing a significant person in her life, and an emotional roller
of love, empathy, and revised connections that stem from their
lovers, in particular, will find this
story of evolving love that comes from different directions to be
is charged with giving the cat a chance...but during the growth
also must learn to give herself a chance, as well.
Surviving Our Parents' Mistakes, Second
Larry Godwin, Ph.D.
Surviving Our Parents' Mistakes: Healing the Scars from
Childhood Mistreatment is both a
memoir about the author's
recovery from childhood emotional neglect and a testimony to how parents'
behavior affects their children for,
often, the rest their lives.
journal entries and Larry Godwin's background as a Ph.D. to cement the
tactics that helped him not just to survive childhood, but to craft a
for himself as an adult. Overcoming the impact of a single mother who
emotionally abused him throughout his childhood was a lifelong pursuit.
depression, anger, and self-esteem and guilt issues to develop special
mechanisms, those who have endured childhood trauma receive not just a
about the author's past, but a blueprint for envisioning a better
motivation in producing this book is to "...encourage
other abuse victims to acknowledge the crippling disabilities they face
adults, to openly confront what happened, then to heal childhood
teaches these approaches by example is invaluable—especially since the
discourses and revelations come from recognizable, relatable personal
encounters, and are presented as short, readily digestible vignettes
for easy contemplation through brief bursts of insight.
Parents' Mistakes goes beyond
books that outline the problem to delve into how effective solutions
from childhood adversity.
It should be given as a gift to any who
struggle to overcome parental abuse, and also should appear in any
strong in self-help and psychological healing.
Our Parents' Mistakes, Second
Dr. Carolyn Vincent
hardcover/$13.99 paper/$3.99 ebook
Readings That Inspire and Motivate is an uplifting harvest of
words that teach how to lead one's best life, and is directed to
need not just encouragement, but positive perspectives about the future
age where negativity and depression are rampant.
Dr. Vincent's message is
that there is always an
opportunity to grow from adversity. Her reflections appear in succinct,
staccato lines of insight and are accompanied by blank workbook pages
encourage readers to fill in their own feelings in an 'insights and
reflections' area corresponding to each piece.
Some examples of her
encouragements include "Chart
New Territory," which celebrates new opportunities: "This
is your chance to make big bold courageous steps./Make a
choice to embrace each obstacle like the warrior you are."
These daily inspirational
nuggets of wisdom embrace the
ups and downs of living. They are meant to be easily-digested,
pieces that reach even the busiest person with encouraging words that
The opportunity to chronicle
one's responses in sections
set aside just for this endeavor is a nice touch to a book that acts as
daily reminder of encouraging attitudes and viewpoints and a place to
on one's personal insights and revelations.
Readings That Inspire and Motivate is especially recommended
as a gift for
those facing new life challenges, providing a welcome dose of
positivity in an
$14.95 Paper/$5.99 ebook
typically is not a big standout nor mentioned in a review for a given
it's worth mentioning here that the colorful and immediately compelling
of Why Some Animals Eat Their Young: A Survivor's Guide to Motherhood is a huge draw, from the start.
will both recognize and laugh at the cartoon portrait of three tots
chaos with a disapproving mother looming over them, which invites
readers to absorb
the stories and solutions presented in the book.
real-world scenarios are also reflected in chapter headings which
three elements into their titles. Examples include "You Shoved What
Your Nose?", "Alien Adventures and Other UFOs," and "Dazed
an experience of managing children with an attention to humor,
insights, and capturing the daily challenges of decision-making and
savvy mother: "I’m convinced that
children are really super-cute carrier monkeys. Their job is to pick up
attract the latest and greatest germ, bug, or virus and bring it home
with the rest of the family. We teach our children to share, but we
miserably to distinguish between the germs and the good stuff. Having
kids in twenty-six months was pretty close to having twins with a
they passed everything back and forth to one another."
recognize themselves in many of these stories, but the inclusion of
mechanisms and insights into the process provide added value,
do was marry her love and build a family. She did. How she survived her
greatest desire is narrated in a style akin to Erma Bombeck: earthy,
matter-of-fact, and simply hilarious, as well as thought-provoking.
seeking a bit
of humor about their childrearing experiences will find it in droves in
Why Some Animals Eat Their Young.
especially important because, without humor, surviving this stage of
life becomes questionable.
Amber: Walk in the Woods
Mindstir Media, LLC
hardcover/$12.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
picture book explorations of nature will find The
Adventures of Amber: Walk in the Woods a lovely story that
holds beautiful illustrations by Bekir Rıza Sahin to pair with
adventure girl Amber's story.
grandparents' mountain cottage in summer, where a walk in the woods is
a "you are there" feel to the story as Amber wonders at tall trees,
identifies beautiful birds, and chooses natural materials with her
for a future art project.
sounds, and feelings of being in the woods come to life in detail and
embellishment as kids enjoy a celebration of nature's wonders through
her grandmothers' eyes.
The Adventures of Amber: Walk in the Woods
celebrates not just the
outdoors, but a shared experience between young and old. Its winning,
story is perfect for adults who want to introduce young readers to the
showing how they can benefit from an older adult's participation in the
Amber: Walk in the Woods
$21.95 Hardcover/$16.00 Paper
fall down wells—not teenagers. Adults are usually political
ordinary teens without a name. But Amanda911 poses
the question of how
the ordinary becomes extraordinary when sixteen-year-old Amanda Dizon's
into a well during the presidential primary campaign leads to media
that places her in the spotlight of news reporting.
is a social media star. Neither she nor her family is prepared for the
responsibility and demands of this kind of attention.
from the perspective of a grandfather who relates his granddaughter's
but quickly incorporates an irreverent humor into the piece in an
teens and adults alike will find intriguing even as disaster unfolds: "911
Dispatcher: What’s the address of your emergency? Amanda (crying):
have GPS? 911 Dispatcher: Please give me your address. Amanda: I’m at
bottom of a fucking well! I don’t think they have addresses in wells.
Dispatcher: Are you in a safe location? Amanda: Hellooooooo! Bottom of
WELL.911 Dispatcher: Do you have injuries?Amanda: Do you think I could
down a well and NOT have injuries? I’m not a cat."
not the emergency crew who arrive first on the scene. It's a national
media reporter from the new platform PingPong. And so the story evolves.
ability to capture a sense of whimsy and fun elevates Amanda's story as
enjoy a wry tale narrated from a grandfather's perspective: "At
hospital they tripped over each other to photobomb her fifteen
minutes/seconds/nanoseconds? of fame. Even the president couldn’t
Photoshopping himself with Amanda from her knees up with the captions:
wells are safe! And Drill deeper! Meanwhile my granddaughter, her left
a cast and her right ankle in a brace, lay in a hospital room that was
in name only."
just political self-interests but social media focuses and
actions that swirl around Amanda and her choices mark a tale that moves
Amanda's moment of fame and the good times it brings her, to new
decisions that affect her friendships and life perspectives.
of presenting much of Amanda's experiences from the perspective of
who go along on her journey is involving and especially fun as
inter-generational interactions meld with modern-day social media woes
pitfalls of fame.
through politics, hackers, lovers' quarrels, changing family
the decision to either fully embrace or lock out the world makes for a
that is at once hilarious and thought-provoking.
to a teen audience, Amanda911 will appeal to adult
readers, as well. Its
rollicking, sassy tone and special brand of family and social
refreshingly original in voice, playful and spunky in life approach,
powered by underlying realistic inspections of society and culture that
leave readers thinking and laughing.
is highly recommended as a delectably unique read in a sea of the
standing out for its social inspections and relationship ironies alike.
Co- Author: Yoel Silber
Author: The Amazing Bees
$19.99 paper/$2.99 ebook
The Amazing Bees blends a natural history
appreciation of bees with
the fantasy story of a hive of honey bees committed to rescuing their
the aid of a little girl named Princess Debbee, princess of the honey
It uses gorgeous, colorful illustrations to reinforce a blend of
real bee facts in a lively format designed to engage all ages.
Debbee different from others is her makeup: "A
princess bee is just like any regular human girl, but with a dash of
sting and fight in her. The honey makes her sweet, her stinger helps
herself and the fight, well, that’s just something all girls seem to be
with, even bee girls."
the engaging fictional interactions: "Princess
Debbee shakes her little stinger in the direction of her brother and
tongue out playfully. Prince Bob Bee looks back at his own bee-hind.
stinger there. “Still hasn’t come in?” asks Princess Debbee. Boy bees
don’t ever grow stingers. It’s because they don’t really need them for
they do to support the hive."
detail is imparted than one would expect from a fantasy adventure
story: "Girl bees become drone bees in a
typical honey bee colony, and it’s their job to help gather nectar,
honey, care for the queen and much, much more. Boy bees become drones,
their jobs are a little different. No matter what a bee’s job is,
there’s a place for every single one in the hive."
fantasy that evolves, while read-aloud parents will find the action and
lends to a story time spread out over several nights of interest and
Buzz, son Bob
and daughter Debbee, and their hive face the Honeycomb Destroyer and
threats, young readers receive a vivid tale that teaches them about bee
history in the course of imparting an underlying message about ecology,
environmental awareness, and what it takes to keep nature (and bees)
use the underlying lessons of this story to teach kids about bees and
valuable insights on how humans interact with nature, and how their
impact the planet.
than a fable
or a natural history, The Amazing Bees
embraces bigger-picture detail and thinking, providing more content and
than most other children's books on the subject of bees.
awareness primer, the story will reach a wider age range than the usual
book with its important message, couched in a lively anthropomorphic
1 epic tale
+ 10 free
coloring pages = hours of family fun!
A Bike for Buster
Junior and Reba McLaughlin
Farmer Bob is the ultimate
recycler. He repurposes and
finds a use for all the old things on his farm. In A
Bike for Buster, he is tasked with helping Buster the horse
his beloved human friend Annabelle in her fun activities when she gets
bike for her birthday and begins to leave him behind.
But, how can a horse ride a
Annabelle's farmer father is
a clever man, good with his
hands. He builds something special, modified for Buster's horsy frame
As Annabelle discovers
opportunities to renew their
connection through a shared effort to be inclusive, young readers
story spiced with bright, large-size illustrations throughout that
and Annabelle to life.
Nothing is impossible with a
little effort, and best
friends should not be left behind in the pursuit of new adventures.
the messages embedded in a whimsical story of a determined horse and
friend, and are lessons that read-aloud parents and kids will find
applicable to dilemmas faced during growing up, when new interests
with different opportunities.
Bike for Buster is
a fine picture book read that teaches how to go the extra mile to
friendship connection in the face of change.
Bike for Buster
$7.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
readers love sci-fi tales of space, adventure, and black holes. Black Hole Radio is recommended reading
for this audience, and opens with a first-person invitation that kids
appealing: "Do you ever think about
space travel? Alien encounters? Amazing adventures? If not, you should
this book now. OK, so you’re a believer. Then you just might be ready
what happened to me on the most intergalactic day of my life."
Hawk (named after famous
astrophysicist Stephen Hawking)
and his best friend Matt have their own club, the "Uranus
is the Butt of the Solar System Club." Their secret space
club is all about exploring strange new possibilities, from UFOs to the
they view through Hawk's grandfather's old telescope.
noise in a box attracts them to what looks like a small radio, they are
into an alien place far from Earth.
doesn't feel as satisfying as they had imagined: "I feel like
been transplanted into our favorite TV show. But it’s not as fun as I
it would be."
illustrations by E.M. Roberts pepper the story and add visual
the dynamic duo face a host of challenges from aliens such as Dweezil,
wormholes that take them on unexpected journeys.
sci-fi adventures will relish the experiences of two boys who find that
heart's desire and fantasies about sci-fi are not just too real, but
as they face threats from scary, drooling alien monsters.
offers fun action for 8- to 12-year-olds who dream of outer space,
being heroes. It's a fine leisure read designed to bring intrigue to
of readers, and excels in capturing interest with a first-person piece
vividly laced with nonstop action.
Once Upon a Dance
Once Upon a Dance, Publishers
Ball presents picture book readers with inspirational stories
of dance by
ballerina Konora and others. It celebrates dance movements through the
experiences of young Brielle, whose anticipation of her seventh
accompanied by an outline of the steps to an "I'm excited" dance that
illustrates, through small step-by-step photos of dancer Konora, bodily
reactions to happy news and more.
Each of Brielle's everyday
experiences receives a
translation into movement. For example, the story illustrates Brielle's
unwrapping a special gift of a mysterious advance birthday package that
outside her door, while Konora's dance translation invites kids to
responsive movements: "Pretend to
unwrap the ball, then character switch-a-roo and pretend to be the
the ground we go, and roll sideways. As the ball stops, find a moment
stillness and rest."
In effect, Brielle's
Birthday Ball is a bilingual presentation presented in two
of a traditional story, and its counterpart in movement and exercise.
Adults who work with the
very young to read Brielle's
discovery and adventure will find the link between dance and life
be unusual, accessible, and fun.
Ball is a great way of introducing kids to the world of dance
couching these movements into a broader journey of magic, dreams, and
Written by a mother/daughter
team, Brielle's Birthday Ball is
based on a grandmother's story and
celebrates ballet by making young readers "dance partners" in the
celebration of life. It is very highly recommended for anyone seeking
introduce ballet concepts at an earlier age, and more accessibly, than
picture books offer.
$15.95 Paper/$7.99 ebook
Scout is the first to make the gruesome discovery of a body in
Hampshire woods. This sets the stage for Hannah and her best friend
become sleuths, which they imagine will be intriguingly fun despite the
seriousness of a decades-old body.
pursuit of the
truth opens the door for deadly consequences as they begin to uncover
mysteries in their small town, and come to realize they've placed
growing small-town horror will attract fans who enjoy not just the
specter of a surprising threat, but the resourcefulness of two girls
imagined their inspection of the past could result in a whirlwind of
that changes their present-day lives.
always warned her about the forest that surrounds their home and "goes
almost to Canada," but he never imagined that when he reveals the
it represents only part of the bigger picture.
face stories of alters and rituals, victims brought back from the dead
newfound youth, and her grandfather's friend Ezekiel Jacob Mather's
from an old woman that he's been "chosen to do good things," The Clearing becomes an entwined story
of supernatural influences, courage, and challenged belief systems.
was altered and led him to work with the homeless. Only he has known
about what happened to his friend Sam Nichols (Sammy-Five) all those
when an incident in the same clearing changed them both.
involvement opens a can of worms with a long history and an equally
long life. Mature
teens who choose this book will be enthralled by the duo's persistent
find lasting answers.
creating a history and mystery that is engaging, action-packed, yet
rooted in different personalities and the sources of their motivations.
blend of mystery, thriller, and supernatural intrigue will relish a
holds no clear path and many surprises along the way as the resourceful
determined friends pursue the truth.
tough-girl Hannah and one who is vulnerable and frightened, and her
trust as she works with her father and friend to survive and uncover
truths, is especially well done and helps drive the story line beyond
The Clearing's strong protagonists and
their realistic concerns,
beliefs, and choices creates a memorable and thoroughly engrossing read
difficult to put down and impossible to predict—just the tickets for a
horror novel which ends definitively, leaves the door open for more,
ideally reach into adult horror reader circles, as well as mature teens.
The Wild Rose Press
$18.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
In Dragons Walk Among Us, amateur
photographer and high schooler Allison Lee has made a name for herself
art. But that hasn't helped her face down bully and fellow photographer
whom everyone seems to love.
jealous, and prejudiced against Allison for many different reasons: “Your photograph is fake.” Leslie snarls.
“Just like you. Fake. Fake like your hair. Ugly like your slanted
freeze, the lukewarm water cascading over my hands. The words remind me
fact I try to ignore. The reality that my face is a mixture of Asian
heart, as well as her talents, help Allison's high school reputation,
path to success seems all but certain when she wins a big prize for her
But when an attack by a stalker leaves her blind, Allison's world falls
the opportunity to try an experimental procedure to restore sight which
otherwise would be permanently lost? Even if there are side effects
Allison discovers, reveal the presence of dragons amongst ordinary
Dragons nobody else can see.
fantasy with a teen's confrontation with many different elements
life and the world makes for riveting reading.
Even as she
victimized by prejudice and violence (both of which are appropriately
for teen audiences), Allison retains her spunky ability to not just
but adjust and thrive in new surroundings and even new realities.
The focus on
cultivates friendships, faces down enemies, and stays positive against
is exceptionally well done, as are the descriptions of Haji and Dalia,
who join her in her quest to find out what the dragons are doing in
world. They support her in her efforts to adjust to her prosthetics and
interact with the dragons and comes to view them not as the enemy but
entities that hold their own personalities, interests, and objectives, Dragons Walk Among Us imparts further
lessons on different kinds of prejudices and assumptions and the
replacing knee-jerk, judgmental attitudes with understanding.
As the story
embrace a threat to humanity itself, Allison turns out to be the only
solution to a problem that most humans aren't even aware of.
a very different girl's ultimate transformation as she comes to accept
differences, the gateway to Earth that introduces more changes into her
and underlying messages of love and threat that keep her human and
affecting the outcomes of everyone around her.
readers, especially those interested in dragon stories, may choose this
for its fantasy promise, it's important to note that the underlying
drive the plot make for a richer tale than one of adventure alone. It's
inspection of purpose, self, bullying, and growth surrounding a
character whose evolution changes everything around her.
pace, attention to strong characterization, and compelling elements of
that reveal underlying mysteries and realities makes for a young adult
that is hard to put down.
Fight Like a
Michael G. Lewis
Fight Like a Girl is inspiring nonfiction
reading for middle
graders who are interested in histories and biographical sketches of
have participated in combat over the years.
stories have been obscure and almost lost to history, Michael G. Lewis
great service in revealing these lives and histories.
twenty-five women for profile here; but in reality, there are many
graders who delve into the tip of this iceberg will find vivid,
stories such as that of 1700s Deborah Sampson, who became a soldier in
Revolutionary War against the British; or female pirate Ching Shih, who
commanded the largest pirate fleet in history and whose exploits grew
into a position of power.
with the drama and embellishments of fiction, making them accessible
for young audiences: "During
negotiations with the Chinese emperor, Ching Shih was bargaining from a
position of strength and both she and the emperor knew it. Her demands
extreme, but there wasn’t much the emperor could do about it."
illustrations by Hila Ronis open each story, with a peppering of black
white images included in each descriptive adventure.
Fight Like a Girl is a fine survey of
relatively unknown women
whose efforts changed their world. It deserves to be in any middle
seeking to put the roles and achievements of women in their proper
The Joyous Adventures of
Jack Zarb Adami & David Bush
of Whizzojack is highly recommended for ages
7-10; especially readers who enjoy comics and superheroes. This
readily recognize themselves in the story's protagonist Jack, who
chapter by chapter, thirty-five super-villain characters from the
of Freakyland who are seeking to integrate into the world, with their
off being Jacktown.
As the stories evolve, it's
evident that these
aren't evil threats, but immigrants who each hold different abilities
seek to integrate into their surroundings despite the prejudices of
How can eight-year-old Jack
when he wears his superhero costume) make a difference in their lives?
Colorful illustrations by a
contributors pepper the story and bring to life the encounters with
arrivals as The Brain Man, who is "…too brainy for everyone else. No one could
keep up with him. He said one thousand words at the same time. He did
thousand things in one moment. He seemed to be in one thousand places
same time. Complaints about him were piling up fast."
His impact on those around him
portrayed, as is the prejudice which deems him a madman and seeks to
a tornado and I don’t want to end up in
the Land of Oz.” Dorothy said. “He’s worse than that. He’s a hurricane
must take my sleeping tablets. I don’t want to be swept off my feet,”
the teacher complained. “I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to be
into a whirlwind I can’t escape from,” Willie Wong said. The editor of
the Daily Speaker wrote, “It’s either him or us.” Mayor Boxall
finally gave in to the popular opinion of the Jacktown residents.
How can Whizzojack help? By
underlying talents that turn The Brain Man from an adversary into a
As each story unfolds, the
roots of prejudice
and redemption are revealed in delightfully original, compelling ways,
by a young hero determined to do good by changing perspectives and
discoveries about these new arrivals and their potential contributions
of Whizzojack is no light coverage of
prejudices, but delves into social and political pressures: "Mayor
Pete was about to reluctantly expel the biscuit man from the city
because of legal pressure from Simon S. Screamer. The biscuit man was
of this public health problem. The people of Jacktown did not want to
The streets had a lovely smell that no other city had. My whizzo-sense
me that an election for the new mayor was coming up. I told my father
present a petition to keep the biscuit man in town."
with exploring a wide range of scenarios that present different
each immigrant to town.
Can he make
happy? That is the question. There are no simple answers, but there are superheroes who can make a
of Whizzojack is an outstanding exploration
the roots of prejudice in underlying fears and attitudes. It is highly
recommended reading, both as a leisure adventure story and as a deeper
into how prejudice evolves, how people integrate and learn to get
situations which demand extraordinary perceptions and powers to resolve
Its messages about how to
assist the disadvantaged
as they integrate into society is well-done, involving, and
and will attract a wide age range. It also will serve as fodder for
discussion, demonstrating how 'freaky immigrants' can prove not to be
super-villains because of their differences, but super-assets.
Joyous Adventures of
$14.99 Print/$7.99 ebook
Author Website: Rsveira.com
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/R-S-Veira/e/B01DBC5S3W?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1621717488&sr=8-1
edition of The Last Guardians is a
fantasy story of war and peace that introduces Book One of the Tales
of Aela series.
The world of Aela is again facing war after
a prolonged peace that has lasted almost a generation. But, this time,
savior Guardians have vanished, leaving the world vulnerable to
Reuel Haldane, who belongs to the
Windwalker race, seems the least likely to prove a hero under such
his recurring dream of the pale man with the dragon tattoo is one of the portents that he's to play
more than a casual role in this latest evolving conflict.
loneliness and isolation since his family moved to the Kingdom of Ira,
believes that this and his nightmare are his major challenges in life.
his recent birthday brings with it new abilities, he taps into his
finding that they come with a price and a newfound mission.
a coming of age fantasy with an adventure that teens will find
realistic. Part of why this works especially well in The
Last Guardians is that time is taken to explore Reuel's
changing connections not just with his abilities, but his world. As he
discovers that Eve shares his nightmare, and struggles to maintain the
about his heritage and legacy even to Elon and new friends, Reuel
absorb new lessons about the world and his place in it.
explains and explores all the facets that influence Reuel's newfound
and decision-making abilities: "Reuel
couldn’t understand why he was drawn to Elon. They had only
formally met moments
ago. Yet he wanted to share everything with him. Reuel lacked the
wisdom to put
what he was feeling into words. The best he could come up with was that
fate. He and this Grindbler were meant to meet at this moment. There
was a bond
here, deeper than anything he had ever experienced in his young life.
more profound than the love he had even for his parents. It was a bond
of duty, of destiny."
between truth and lies, myth and reality, and the parallel processes of
Windwalker who is something more than his destiny predicts creates a
story that is compelling. The tale expands as Reuel forms many new
and more characters join him. The Last
Guardians evolves to become an excellent, unpredictable tale
on social, political, and personal levels.
of conflict predetermined even before an effort begins?
will find The Last Guardians
absorbing, and adults who enjoy solid fantasy tales of evolution, new
beginnings, and phoenix-style recoveries from devastation will find the
You Get Your Colors?
evolves in Mariposa, Where Did You Get
Your Colors?, which clearly and simply outlines butterfly
challenge and her solution to the problem of feeling different and at
her black-and-white world. It imparts deeper messages about overcoming
alienation, cultivating giving, and handling the good and bad aspects
Chacon, a noted muralist, does a superb job of capturing the nuances of
colorful butterfly that flits through her world in the picture book.
simple, lovely drawings are perfect for a story which focuses on a
butterfly who stands out from the black and white world she flies
alienates her from others, and she doesn't feel a part of the world.
asks about the origins of her colors, her wise grandmother states that
a gift. How, then, can Mariposa use this gift wisely?
assistance is recommended for the discussions which should follow this
evocative story. Any who work with children will find this an
revealing, and thought-provoking story that holds a bigger message
You Get Your Colors?
Enter the Hidden
$28.95/Softcover: $16.95/Kindle: $7.99
Author website: https://bettyfudge.com/
8-12 who look for stories about friendship, alliances, and adversity
the first book in the series, Norm &
Ginger Enter the Hidden, an adventure that grabs hold from
the very first
line: "When things go wrong, they go
way wrong. That didn’t mean sixth-grader Becky Miller had to like it,
did have to live with it. Later—and there’d be a lot of later, because
how her life was about to reshape itself—she’d be able to think about
things that had gone wrong. That wouldn’t make the result any better,
even make it understandable. It would only clarify the picture. And her
and her family move into a remote Vermont farmhouse when her father
floor lies a secret and a strange alternate world in which artifacts,
puppy Ginger, and a strange series of events challenge her
life, filling it with threatening creatures and a new mission.
changes, the arrival of Great Aunt Fiona from Scotland, and a strange
which holds the key to a life-changing experience. Readers will find
adventure riveting, filled with many unpredictable twists and turns.
long ago involves Becky, Norm, guardian dog Ginger Miller, and others
Beira, the queen of deceit, trickery and confusion, challenges the few
the power to oppose her in The Hidden.
evolves is filled with action and excitement, with a dose of wry humor
sprinkled in for good measure: "Pan
looked stunned and then agitated. “I thought I was in the dollhouse to
and the magic it contains. Now I discover I was changed from a warrior
into this . . . this . . . this candyscented cotton ball with giant
legs. I am going to kill her!”
Norm & Ginger Enter the Hidden is
a vivid fantasy about
friendships, alliances, mysteries and problem-solving that will
delight children looking for mystery and adventure. It's a captivating
read that leaves the door open for more.
Enter the Hidden
Celestial Beings Trilogy
$11.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
fantasy readers will find PNĔUMÄ – The Celestial Beings
Trilogy a fine
story that began as a journal and dream and evolved into this tale.
drives the plot which involves young readers in the lives of Jovianus
of a tribe of aliens who coexist secretly alongside humans) and mortal
who inadvertently and unexpectedly captures his heart.
observe rather than be involved leads to a conundrum between the races
Jovianus stumbles upon both romance and a plot that could end it.
acknowledged not just his heritage, but his future role as a leader: "I
hate being in this predicament, where I must do what is asked of me,
I risk being labeled as unadaptable. Against my will, I have acquired
undesirable responsibilities that one day will hold me accountable for
all five tribes. This prophecy was delivered unto my family by the
the moment I became of age. And once the divination is presented, there
getting out of it unless the chosen has perished."
romance brings with it a clash between moral human and immortal
beings, Eli Liszt provides a moving saga replete with satisfying
powered by the first-person narrator's growing insights about his
and unfamiliar emotions: "Her candid response only solidifies
friendship is no longer harmless as we are drifting onto dangerous
cannot allow myself to entertain these notions because it would be
for us both. She is but a human. A mortal whose life is worthless and
insignificant to our kind. And I am a celestial being. An eternal
has and continues to live among the human population in secrecy."
these emotional shifts and the visions and prophecies that evolve from
to change both species creates a gripping story that presents the idea
extraordinary beings evolve from unexpected circumstances.
humans are on the rise, a predatory creature is loose, and Freyja, the seer
of the Nahanni tribe, is charged with
clarifying rumors, addressing conflicts, and helping her community find
nuggets of truth that will guide their actions and choices.
one of their own? Are formerly-strong alliances and pacts destined to
requiring new rules of engagement and connection?
other moral, ethical, and political issues evolve, young readers are
the interactions between two disparate beings whose changing
reality and each other seem destined to change the world.
characterization, the evolution of a threat that at first feels
evolves to affect social and political circles, and the intrigue of a
challenges two disparate species and their peaceful coexistence
a story that is a powerful examination of love, loyalty, and an
that affects and directs a botched mission.
in fantasy romance and bigger pictures of interspecies history and
will find PNĔUMÄ a fine adventure, replete with
many satisfying and
Celestial Beings Trilogy
Sean Moses Is Martin Luther, The King Jr.
Moses D. Powe
Hardcover/$17.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
ages 7-9 years old will find Sean Moses Is Martin Luther, The
King Jr. provides a different
take on the topic of
Black history and biography.
to portray Martin Luther King Jr. for his school's Black History Month
Excited, he rushes home and invites his parents to guess his new role
X, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, or Marcus Garvey, each mention is
accompanied by a brief biographical sketch and a quote from one of
drawings illustrate each key figure and personalize their appearance
powerful standing in the community.
parents' final guess proves right, young Sean corrects their language
perception of the man's greatness: “Martin
Luther King Jr.,” said his father. “No! Martin Luther, the king.”
Based on a
young man's real explanation of why Martin Luther King Jr. was truly
the impact he had on Black lives over the years, Sean Moses
Luther, The King Jr. employs a
creative, lively, quirky, thought-provoking method of imparting
covering social issues and Black community concerns alike.
More than just another coverage of Martin
Luther King Jr.'s life, this story explores, supports, and presents
Black figures in young peoples' lives. It is the perfect picture book
adults looking to capture the excitement and greatness of Black people
Moses Is Martin Luther, The King Jr.
American I Publishing
$16.99 Paper/$6.99 ebook
The 8th book
Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series for young adult to adult fantasy
adds yet another adventure based on Japanese history and culture. Here,
a 'toki' human girl who is also a crested ibis, lives in 1877 Japan,
has just fought for and won her biggest dream. Or, has she?
threatening the Japanese Empire, and her toki-human abilities may be
thing that holds her world together as Azuki finds new changes and old
traditions clashing all around her, from her little brother's
dangerous secret to a princess's desire to help her people despite her
history, Japanese settings, and an added dash of fantasy and magical
will find Claire Youmans cultivates a compelling atmosphere of fantasy
real Japanese history of the Meiji era. No prior familiarity
that history or the prior series books will be needed to become
Azuki's latest challenges.
descriptions, action, and conversations which embed setting and history
the unfolding events: “How did I do?” she
called to her friend, Renko, an Asian Dragon Princess now in her
as a blonde-haired European girl. Renko rode the Palomino, Kiku. She
despite her coat; it was cold. Kiku blew out steamy breath. As the
pointed out when the two had met, they matched."
simmering underlying worries that spring to life during the course of
another journey that charges her to change, various levels of Japanese
and society are brought to life: "Lady
Satsuki settled the musicians and they began to play. Japanese people
to Western music with a vengeance, and many had become accomplished
more quickly than anyone expected. Lord Eitaro and Lord Toshio came
garden with another group of guests, including Yuta."
As in the
Toki-girl and Sparrow-boy adventures, Youmans crafts a powerful
fantasy atmosphere that will attract both fantasy readers and those
in historical accounts.
The blend is
magical as Japan's Meiji Era (1868 to 1912) comes to life
through Azuki's eyes and heart. As she finds herself confronting
uncle and guardian of the Toki-girl and the Sparrow-boy, and his warped
of war and opportunity, Azuki finds herself confronting mentors and
as well as those forces that would twist their lives.
It should be
that this is the longest book of the series, yet. Young adults will
find it and
the peppering of black and white illustrations throughout a fine
the series that also holds the possibility of proving a satisfying,
stand-alone read to newcomers.
$17.99 Hardcover/$13.92 Paper
works with artist/illustrator Ann Pilicer in Spin a Circle,
dyslexic-inclusive picture book rhyme that celebrates toddler play for
preschool and elementary-age children.
action-oriented drawings of kids at play pair nicely with illustrations
humans, dogs, pigs, turtles, foxes, rabbits, and a wide range of
join together to celebrate movement and fun.
portrayed here range from reading and jumping to riding in Grandpa's
wheelbarrow, finger painting, building with blocks, and more.
for the note
that this book is 'dyslexic inclusive'—this translates to a format that
printed in a font that everyone can easily read—including people with
lively action, positive celebrations of activities and movement, and
opportunities for read-aloud adults to interact with the very young
a Circle an attractive choice for adults looking to work with
to connect the written word to fun and play.
$12.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Spooked By a Suspicion sounds like a cozy mystery, but will reach
readers in middle grades with the first-person story of thirteen-year-old
Rocky, who is shocked by the news that his mother is marrying her
Ted—a man he instinctively doesn't like.
It's not like Rocky has had no
warning: "...she did give me the talk about
she hoped to remarry someday, but I assumed someday meant four years
when I'm away in college. Rocky,
you’re so clueless!"
As Ted moves from being his mother's
client to becoming
part of their family, Rocky resists yet another change in his life,
with the notion that the man actually could be inherently evil. But,
how can he
Rocky plots with his girlfriend Olive
to thwart this
marriage idea, but only gets into more trouble when his own reputation
sullied. Now he has two problems: stopping his mother's marriage and
his name of unjust accusations.
problems form the meat of the title, Risa Nyman injects insights about
self-esteem through his expressive frustrations over his ability to
take action, and make the right decisions: "That
piece of paper could've helped prove my innocence. Too late now.
big fat stupid D.U.M.B.J.E.R.K. you are, Rocky."
receive insights into both Rocky's struggles and his logic as he views
in his life, building a growing investigative prowess as he tackles two
conundrums simultaneously and manages to resolve them in unexpected
teen who has
faced a parent's remarriage and questions about their identity and
compass will readily relate to Rocky's situation. They will be
intrigued by the
mystery components as he unravels various truths about his peers and
around him, and will find Spooked By a
Suspicion an involving story that excels in strong
problem-solving approaches, and insights into clashing personalities as
learns how family and friends are all unique in their own ways.
The Strider and
Tricia D. Wagner
The Strider and the
Regulus pairs a fantasy with a
treasure hunt adventure that swirls around
thirteen-year-old Devonshire boy Swift, who searches for a famous
legend, the Star of Atlantis, with the aid of a map he's uncovered.
obstacles to locating this treasure is the stormy Celtic
Sea he must
traverse; but another obstacle lies closer to home in the form of
father Justus, who obstructs Swift's deepest dreams of adventure and
His father just wants his
son to hear and absorb his
warnings, but Swift is convinced the man does not really hear or
his son's determined path.
As it turns out, the son
embodies the qualities he's
accused his father of (ignoring his guardian's words of caution and
source), and is resolute about the mission that leads him away from
into the heart of danger: "No Justus
Talk was needed to get Swift where he needed to go. No pathway to
school was necessary to satisfy his father’s ambitions. The moment the Regulus left the dock, Swift would be
well on his way, trekking his very own pathway. He was older, taller,
stronger than he’d ever been. Surely, he’d quickly learn all there was
As Swift lives up to his
name and his family legacy,
young adults receive a fast-paced fantasy that will appeal not just on
adventure or fantasy levels, but in matters of the heart as the young
for independence and action in the face of parental restrictions.
The very act of treasure
hunting and searching for bigger
dreams forces Swift to acknowledge truths that come not just from his
but life experiences as he learns from others around him: “Treating it like a passing interest, or expecting
isn’t going to cut it.” Caius straightened. “You have to learn to love
struggle itself, not just the win. You have to get really, really good
standing back up after you’ve been punched down.”
“What are you
talking about?” asked Swift. Caius reached down his hand. “Treasure
Tricia D. Wagner's attention to pairing
psychological struggle with the adventure of finding a promised
creates a story that pulls on the emotions of young readers as it
their desire for action and adventure.
Swift's coming of age begins to incorporate
teachings and lessons in new ways specific to his dreams and desires,
readers will relish the conflicts that sweep both Swift and the Strider
into strange waters, indeed.
with superb action and interactions
that lead to growth experiences on many levels, The Strider and the Regulus is recommended for preteens and teens who like
their adventure paired
with a healthy dose of growth and self-inspection.
Time and the Tree
$19.60 paperback; $7.99 ebook
and the Tree
is a novel of awakening and nature and follows a year of passing
a child awakens within the embrace of a Tree, having slept for a very
time. One might think this event introduces the major character driving
story; but the forces that drive this story aren't human, but embrace
encounter with the Tree.
picture, the peaceful world is changed not just by Time, but by Shadow
others who come to partake of the woods. It appears that the boy has
missing out on changes brought by Time's passage, though the offering
“Tell him what he is missing out on.”
Time impatiently pointed at the creature. “Tell him now, Fool.” The
raised its voice, reaching no more than a raspy whisper. “Seconds,
the hours, always running towards Tomorrow.”
“And the rest,” prompted Time, who was nodding in mounting
pleasure as the Shadow swayed weakly on its feet and intoned dry words.
of time that kills all thought of can’t and care and clinging ties.”
ethereal novel evolves, Tree, Shadow, Weaver, Wanderer, and others
explore their gifts and consequences, with Tree overseeing the journey
wisdom, redemption, and "mangled opportunities": "The
Tree held the Weaver’s gaze, “You have taken your gifts and
shaped them into knives with which you stab and peel your tortured
need to heal these wounds before you start to poke at the hearts of
for beauty and pain alike are explored through the intersection of
appear to control it but, in reality, too often blow with the winds of
and opportunity to transform all.
poetic imagery, thought-provoking philosophical and social inspections,
parables and fables will find Sorahan's world evocative and revealing
imparts his wisdom: “It is easy to be a
tree in the forest. Supplant it, and the sun may no longer dapple its
electricity wires may rustle through its eaves; its roots may crackle
concrete paths; and noxious fumes may seep into its seams. Yet still it
reach for water and light. Birds will continue to nest in its branches.
strive to grow and be what it is. Beyond the forest, it is still a
and the Tree
explores matters of spirit, intention, kindness and how to live the
is offered through a series of revelations that will often prompt
set aside the tale to consider their own relationships with time and
and the forest's initial harmony is disturbed, so the reader's heart is
and intrigued by the concepts reinforced by an old tree's relationship
young child and the forces around it.
especially recommended for mature readers who enjoy parable, fable, and
tales. Her ability to bring to life some basic tenets of existence and
existential questions many come to feel during the course of a lifetime
an insightful read on the level of The
Velveteen Rabbit classic, where a seeming fable of nature and
into insights on how to best live a life and accept its limitations and
evocative stories, compelling imagery, and philosophical and
insights will welcome the discussion that supports this fable of a
tree, time, and the knowledge that affects decisions and perceptions: “The knowledge that time will pass can
inspire us to take control of our lives and value each passing moment.
choose to live in the light, without regrets and without shackles,
our own destinies.”
and the Tree
Turner Street: Where the
Monsters in the Closet are Real
Author Website: Rsveira.com
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/R-S-Veira/e/B01DBC5S3W?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1621717488&sr=8-1
The second edition of Turner
Street: Where the Monsters in the Closet are Real represents
the first book
the Turner Street Chronicles trilogy and uses the two-hour reading
craft high-interest tales especially intriguing to teens with short
The short story format is a
particularly challenging one,
for maintaining reader interest. The characterization, plot, and any
of suspense or intrigue that are woven into an abbreviated format can
awry. The best of such collections don't just fit stories into a
but employ that structure to build fast-paced interest.
R.S. Veira takes an
additional step in providing a linked
short story collection where the pieces share a common sense of place,
build different scenarios, characters, and elements of surprise. An
series of events affecting the fine line between reality and fantasy
Turner Street's residents and results in tales that are satisfyingly
interlocking like pieces of a puzzle.
Take "1428 Turner Street:
Agent Jericho," for
example. Jericho is charged with patrolling the house at 1428 Turner
keeping sleeping child Amelia safe. The previous protector, Special
Thomas Williams, died the night before, saving the child from a demon.
Jericho is no ordinary agent
of the IWPS. He's assumed
the guise of a teddy bear to thwart these otherworldly attacks, and his
defense is a sword that seems unlikely to deter anything: "He continued shifting through the contents of his
he came across his cardboard sword and scabbard. The sword was
encrusted with a
thick layer of applesauce and melted sugar, which happened to be a
combination when fighting the demons that hunted children."
His last assignment to
protect a child resulted in
disaster. Can these trappings of fantasy protect his latest charge?
As the truth about this
invisible war emerges, readers
receive delightful twists and turns of plot that center around a
child's nightmare and an unusual defense system that is a night-long
"1632 Turner Street: Gary's
Mess," in contrast,
takes place over a period of four hours in which Gary, a stocky man
hair, is charged by the same IWPS to conduct a "wipe" on 1451 Turner
Street. Only a month into the job, this is his third assignment
cleaning up situations that might alert the human world to its
As a cleaner, he's charged
with removing evidence of this
world from homes and reality...even if the gore and survivors have
Humor, intrigue, suspense,
and fantasy power each story
and provide a different twist and angle on its outcome.
Readers of all ages will
find these tales especially
astute in their ability to add another layer of inspection to the
fantasy worlds inhabited by Turner Street residents and their
As children and adult
characters are empowered to change
their worlds and confront demons and their own powers, each tale
becomes a fine
inspection of children's fears, lives, and the undercurrents of
that lie close to their realities.
All ages will find these
diverse tales and protagonists
to be quick, absorbing reads perfect for limited attention spans,
readers, and literary enthusiasts of the short story genre.
Street: Where the
Monsters in the Closet are Real
Carly Manes and
have been written about abortion for teen to adult readers, it's
notable that, finally, a picture book for younger readers explores this
in a manner that is medically accurate, culturally inclusive, and
reader is for any child who has heard the word or known someone who's
abortion. It assumes that the young reader already has a working
basic reproduction and pregnancy.
gender-inclusive and works to challenge the social assumption that only
cisgender women have abortions. Thus, the illustrations depict people
races, genders, and forms, mirroring the reality of modern society and
who seek abortions.
methods for abortions, both surgical and pharmaceutical, to discussions
reasons why people have them, What's an Abortion, Anyway?
does a careful
job of exploring the influences and perceptions involved in making such
book's underlying message is simple: "...everyone should be
make this decision for themselves."
focus on how
the community and friends can be supportive is also very nicely
matter how someone feels about their abortion, they deserve to be
love and respect."
Emulsify support the coverage's messages and provide images that are
powerful representations of the broad spectrum of individuals affected
children's picture book holds such an inclusive message and attention
exploring the emotional and relationship impact of abortion.
This is a highly
recommended acquisition for modern thinkers who want to promote both
understanding and supportive relationship-building in young people.