February 2023 Review Issue
Mystery & Thrillers
979-8402449732 $8.99 Paper
probe The Sagan returns from its
investigation of a nearby star system, it brings with it an alien
challenges mankind in a way no other has ever done.
both the narrator of this story and part of the experiment to bring
complex life. His effort should have been safe, as these samples were
to space station Randleman, in orbit above Earth. It would have been,
plague had been anything like Earthly plagues. But, it's not.
unfold with high-octane
tension and high-tech revelation as Dr. Hutton discovers that the
microbes contain properties that make them uniquely deadly and
the usual obstacles faced in an alien environment like Earth.
nicely wound into the story, from issues of adaptation and repeat
how Beta Strain life moves from quarantine to a threat. The cure might
mass gene therapy or leaps in infectious disease control.
this story feel familiar to modern-day pandemic experience that Alien Plague should receive additional
attention from those who will find its interpersonal dialogues and
frighteningly similar to today's methods of addressing COVID.
As a total
containment looms, Dr. Hutton may be the only man able to save humanity
what it has brought back from the stars.
anticipate an action-packed thriller alone, such as Michael Crichton's Andromeda Strain, will find more
psychological depth in the characters' interactions in Alien
boss, Dr. Diane Victorovich, make headway in their research and their
to control disaster by creating yet another virus, drawing readers into
futuristic story that holds many familiar-sounding quandaries.
may be set
in the distant future, but its relevance both in building interpersonal
professional relationships and its methods of addressing threat and
tactics will resonate beyond the usual sci-fi audience.
genre crossovers that tap into modern experiences, yet pose an
conundrum, will find Alien Plague
intriguing read recommendable to a wide audience of sci-fi, thriller,
social issues readers alike.
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Stacy Von Haegert
Dragon Crest Publishing
$17.99 Hardcover/$11.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Forged of Fire is the first fantasy in a
new adult trilogy. It
opens in 776 BCE where Zander's father (the king) oversees a ritual
promises either death or rebirth to its participants. It's one which
change the balance of power and Zander's own future, but a surprise
introduces darkness into the ritual to produce unexpected results.
present, where retired warrior and royal Ashdon LaGoryen seeks a
peaceful life, only to find that the House of the Dragon has stretched
talons and powers beyond the usual boundaries to immerse him in
new possibilities for his future.
finds herself transported into realms she never knew existed as she
stuff of legends via a "farce of a marriage" to a vampire and a new
life in a castle.
minds (and hearts) produces (perhaps an inevitable) romance, but also
dangerously powerful connection where a legend seems to have
their destinies. All they have to do is walk into their new roles. Or
The blend of
fantasy, and intrigue simmers tension and twists of story, inviting
beyond the usual fantasy genre followers to appreciate the special
faced by two strong characters whose union is not exactly on either's
dashes of humor which present irony and interest to spice the story's
action: "Ash supposed his earlier torture
sentence was a bit much. He really needed to get control of this damn
Before he torched the whole countryside with its wrath. He should
have someone tell Gilly she could get up off her chamber floor."
contribute to the trappings of a fantasy which is a cut above the
genre production in its embrace of both adversity and growth-inducing
possibilities for each of its main characters.
much more than an attraction between a moral and an immortal in Forged of Fire. Its story of adaptation
and revised perceptions of the world and one's place in it creates
engaged characters whose decisions are unpredictable and involving.
adult fantasies forged in fiery confrontations, nefarious deals, and
will relish the different brand of psychological and interpersonal
confrontations that marks Forged of Fire.
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979-8366081894 $14.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
The Triumph of Beauty adds to the Dark
Matter Necklace series and
is set in 2052. Alice Blair wakes up in the future sporting a
and the knowledge that she was responsible for changing the course of
producing a drug-dependent world that quashes hope and dreams.
grown up, literally overnight, leaving her alone in this future world,
new technology and frightening lack of positive possibilities. Alice
managed to form new daily routines, navigating this strange milieu
spider glasses, but is determined to rectify her bad influence of the
lead the world into a better milieu. This effort involves interacting
power-hungry artificial intelligence, making a deal with it to
beauty to a forsaken world in exchange for helping it get to an alien
choose this book (and who have a grounding in the prior books in the
will find Alice's challenges and determination powers a sci-fi scenario
anything but predictable.
blind obedience to authority, sacrificing
beauty in the process, leads Alice to traverse dangerous
on Earth and beyond it as she makes an impossible deal and searches
for salvation via her connection to dark matter.
She is the
who can embark on this process of personal and global redemption, and
choices and challenges will determine the fate of humanity itself.
thought-provoking and wide-ranging adventure embraces the spirit of a
woman who doesn't settle for guilt over the results of her past
decides to remain proactive and engaged in the future.
While The Triumph of Beauty both adds to the
series and creates a stand-alone story of achievement against all odds,
holds many possibilities for discussion points that would lend to a YA
book club audience's enjoyment and debates.
to the wellsprings of inspiration and possibility, The
Triumph of Beauty crafts a story that deserves a prominent
place in any YA collection (and many an adult sci-fi holding) where
interest in stories that move beyond fast-paced action and
challenge into arenas of moral and ethical quandary and discovery.
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Deborah Jean Burris-Kitchen, Ph.D.
Exposed uses poetry, short stories, and photography
(the latter by Dr. Heidi M. Williams) to explore issues of social
love, and toxic masculinity. This approach creates an unusual and
synthesis and contrast between black and white image and written word.
disparate contrasts are juxtaposed, as in the poem 'To
be Short, Blonde, Female, and White,' in which the writer
reflects that "My skin color is a
cruel reminder/Of what my brothers and sisters/Have done to people of
color./They may hate me for it."
poison, and potency
are just a few of the themes running through discourses that expose
cultural, and social connections and disconnects in a manner that
the usual staid ego-centric focus of too many poetry collections.
not just her personal connections and reactions but social injustice
ironies, Dr. Deborah Jean Burris-Kitchen creates a collection of
inspections that attacks American caste systems, women's repression,
forces that contain them.
A great deal
is embedded into these protests and proclamations: "...mine
is a loving God who embraces me/While I fight to escape the body, I
imprisoned/erroneously/Your maltreatment of me has/infuriated him/Take
long look at me/I am beautiful, strong, and powerful/Because I walk
tall next to him..."
voice, compelling images, and vivid, damning survey of the "petty
bourgeoisie" and their methods of legitimizing atrocities, Exposed reveals not just the author's personal
outlook and experience, but the underbelly of America itself.
Libraries seeking contemporary social issues
works that not just protest, but roar, will find Exposed
example of personal and political examination. It ideally will find its
not just on a shelf of contemporary women's writings, but on the lists
discussion groups and book clubs interested in works and words that
fire to spark debate and reflection.
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O C E A N
O C E A N is a poetry collection about
tides of grief, waves of
healing, and the pull of something bigger than the human soul. Life
steeped into works that arrive with no title to portend the punch of
produces weeping words that sparkle and glisten with evocative free
phrasing: "I dreaded the rain/every
time the clouds/came rolling in/I knew it was my collection/of tears
week/ready to let me have a/taste of my own sadness."
storm of sorrow before metamorphosing into the healing rains of an
life promises. Before this transformation, they move from first-person
third-person observation in a form that demands of its readers an
flexibility in moving fluidly from observer to observed: "she
doesn’t show the bad and the ugly – she doesn’t show her
tears/although bright, warm, and vibrant/she’s hidden/amongst her fears
insecurities – she feels forgotten/just when you think you/couldn’t
enough – she stays awake at night/wondering if she is loved."
the ocean comes later, in a wave of evocative poetic description that
heart and soul with the unrelenting tides of nature: "I
am immersed into the undiscoverable/our human eyes have not
seen/can you see me?/a second passed and a whisper entered my
the Milky sea…”/bioluminescent film coats the top of the water/it’s on
filling my pores/in my eyes, they are glowing."
evident that this collection is about more than grief or healing, but
about love and inevitability. These threads wind through the
joining the poems in a mosaic of extraordinary word pictures that
relationships, transition points, and growth.
exploration of her life and the tides that consume and carry it will
readers of emotional free verse autobiography that brings with it a
place, purpose, and connection that expands from personal experience to
"wild side" free in these works, and libraries looking for emotional
explorations of that side in contemporary free verse will find O C E A N a draw.
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Our Lives in Verse: Everyday Poetry pays
tribute to common,
ordinary life in a simple yet evocative manner that translates to its
accessibility and understanding by poets and non-poets alike.
of literary strength lie in both a lifelong familiarity with and
of poetry and Ann Brubaker Greenleaf Wirtz's desire to comprehend,
embrace everyday experience. Her fine art creates a work that both
poetic efforts and remains vivid and easily understandable to her
readers. She achieves
this with poems that reflect experience through the lens of her faith,
spiritual component that will especially reach readers on similar paths
linking everyday experience with spiritual reflection.
between poem and prayer, which Wirtz traverses with a delicate step.
her writings are more spiritual letters to God, as in 'Our Community, a
"Regardless the generation,/Challenges are ever
certainly the way is never easy,/But good-hearted faith and
to succeed do prevail./Thank You, Dear Lord, for our town,/A vibrant
life-giving with hope,/For our place and time in its history, and/Upon
our sheltering home..."
ordinary wonders, such as a summer's drive in the country, captured in
Bales of Summer':
"My car made its way/Down the winding road,/A lazy
jaunt to see
the sights/Of farmland and pasture/In the afternoon light.../Garden
were rioting,/And farm fields flourishing,/When startling my gaze/As
into view,/Were hay bales to frankly amaze."
moments of everyday life and times and injecting these with expressions
gratitude and wonder, Wirtz pays tribute not only to God, but to life.
literary works that remain true to poetic form and description while
celebrating miracles of place and time will find Our
Lives in Verse: Everyday Poetry a fine choice that holds the
ability to reach literary and non-poetry readers alike.
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Peace in the
$28.00 Hardcover/$11.00 Paperback/$6.99 Kindle
Peace in the Midst of the Storm will
appeal to Christian readers
and collections interested in literary connections to faith. It focuses
overcoming obstacles that impede faith and confidence, on adopting a
behavior set that approaches both mortal and spiritual life with hope
proactive thinking, and it solidifies the kind of faith that connects
individuals to the freedom of choice they must maintain to strengthen
spiritual bonds: "I choose to live
the rest of my life in peace/Through my battles and mistakes, I’m
of the spiritual presence left behind by a dearly departed one in
Shadow' ("The battle you fought was
won and the race you partook in was gracefully completed/Another angel
chosen; no need to tirelessly be included with a world deemed so
dense/Our minds have processed that you are no longer with us, but with
hearts, you will never be deleted...") to a foray into
egotism and the karma it transmits into the world in 'Broken Mirror',
Thompson's strength lies in an ability to connect daily life events
ethereal considerations of growth and Christian perspective.
through every poem to solidify its spiritual and emotional draw.
imperfection and humility or "...the
importance of spiritual and mental release as I am no longer held
captive to an
unapologetic nightmare...", Peace
in the Midst of the Storm depicts a variety of life-inducing
storms and the
methods by which peace (both emotional and spiritual) are derived from
inspections of choice, consequences, and paths towards enlightenment.
Peace in the Midst of the Storm will
especially appeal to readers
of faith, who will find within its poetic notes a wisdom about how to
life and its deepest currents of challenge, and connections to
thinking. Christian collections, in particular, will find it both
form and filled with food for thought and debate in its subjects.
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I Was Dying…Then I Changed My Mind
Was Dying…Then I
Changed My Mind: My Journey From Illness and Opioids to Healing,
and Transformation is a memoir
about living, dying, euthanasia, and a woman who was imprisoned not
bodily pain, but by the expectations which limited her options and
Readers who anticipate that this story will
be one of reincarnation, euthanasia's processes, or physical challenges
will find much more in Güngör Buzot's story. As she
suffering that takes over her life and seems to dictate that peace can
found in death, Buzot provides thought-provoking insights through
"Over many years, doctors, outstanding in their
profession and in
whom I trusted implicitly, would inform me that I either needed an
that the illness I suffered from had no cure. The more I went to
more they prescribed painkillers, addressing only symptoms, while my
health deteriorated day by day. Pain took on such a role in my life
that when I
was not in pain, I felt something was missing. I did not know how to
this (or known someone whose lives seem dictated by suffering and pain)
find in I Was Dying…Then I Changed My Mind nuggets of hope and possibility that can come from
alternative medicine solutions. These are what changed Buzot's
That this took place after over sixty years
of chronic pain will prove an inspiration to those who have long been
path of illness, and who have come to believe there is no hope in life
solution but death.
Chapters weave through the recovery process
with an attention to how Buzot became more and more dependent on
and then faced addiction issues on top of ongoing physical health
healing was not always an uphill journey of discovery. It was
debilitating, and challenging, requiring her to accept different
mental insights, new alternative therapy routines, and the most
part—taking care of herself. This required a different mindset about
her options and abilities, but the roles of her family and friends in
supporting her in a different way: "I
was starting a journey to recovery, but I longed for a place where
look after me. I could barely make the journey alone."
"traditional medicine" also includes traditional mindsets to support
it that also need to be revised is part of what makes I Was
Changed My Mind an exceptional
Layers of habit, perception, predetermined
ideas surrounding health and disease, and insights needed to also be
order for real recovery to happen.
Those who have long struggled with
illnesses, ailments, addiction, or life challenges that immersed them
loved ones in battles will find I Was Dying…Then I Changed My
filled with much food for thought not only about alternative approaches
healing, but the required psychological changes that need to accompany
move towards lasting health. The spiritual component that winds into
process is also inspirational and enlightening.
Libraries looking for memoirs that support
physical and mental health alternatives will find that all the steps
new possibilities are outlined in I Was Dying…Then I Changed
My Mind, a
memoir that is vivid, candid, and ultimately hopeful.
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Love Queen: The Making of a Master is a memoir of both recovery and discovery. What do you do when you can't travel, can't escape, and have no job, money, or health?
to readers in the form of journal entries that capture Mireille's life,
2007 when she was a 28-year-old teacher and would-be writer to the
where she is in flux and finally forced to stay still and contemplate.
"What is it that makes me always want to be
appreciated? What is
it that needs constant reassurance of love? How can I rise above these
feelings and be as strong as an anchor on the seafloor? Is it my
belief that we need to be a certain way for things to be right, or else
just like my parents?"
are both a
part of this journey and the reason why these journal entries reflect
progression so powerfully. They bring readers not just into the milieu
Mireille Parker's life choices and development, but encourage
in her readers.
attractions and connections to the power of love and the transformative
experience of coping with its ebbs and flows, Parker brings readers
world buffeted by revelations about growth, healing, and change.
very act of producing this book will prove cathartic: "I
am hoping that in the writing of this tale my thoughts will
form some order and my life too. I need a reason to get up and stay
can imagine that with the regular setting down here of thoughts and
story will take on its own life and move through me like Life itself."
possibly not in the manner she anticipated.
clubs that choose this memoir for its unique life experiences and
of various emotional and physical survival tactics will find much food
thought and debate because this book encourages deeper-level thinking
just surviving, but staying present in and engaged with life.
memoirs about growth and opportunity in adversity and life influences
Love Queen: The Making of a Master
rich in its descriptions of love, life, and the challenge of learning
how to be
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Hidden in the Shadows introduces several
unexpected facets as
twenty-three-year-old protagonist Evie Day confronts a mystery that
back to the small town of Woodsville, Arkansas; there to reveal a
secret that threatens to embrace her life and the entire community.
since Evie left. She never wanted to come back. But, charged with
photos for her grandfather's funeral, here she is; reviewing his life,
experiencing nostalgia both for his times and her past, and
photo which has always been a mystery to her.
automatic writing and forces that seem to reach out from a spirit
finds herself confronting more than a mystery alone, but the forces
her own psyche: "Something was
twitching beneath her consciousness. Something dark, something… ugly.
somewhere between her subconscious and the here and now. Just out of
Like words sitting on the tip of a tongue."
in crafting a dark, atmospheric story that moves from Evie's return
home to a
growing force that threatens to not just solve a puzzle, but take over
wrought, the characters strong and purposeful in their perceptions and
intentions, and the story moves nicely between personal and
thinking as Evie comes to realize many startling truths about
employed to inject tension into this thriller is the juxtaposition of
third-person experiences with the first-person reflections of the
leader of a
dangerous children's foundation who has created a haven for clients.
run to an attraction to forbidden youth.
arises, Evie's interference may prove the only cap to the deadly force
miring itself in the town under the eyes of everyone.
thrillers that are firmly based on community and individual actions,
hold elements of surprise through twists and turns readers won't see
will find Hidden in the Shadows
a fine job of connecting the dots between a mysterious photo that
holds all the answers to a young woman who navigates unfamiliar and
territory, past and present.
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West Point Print and Media LLC
978-1957582931 $24.99 Hardcover/$14.99 Paper
readers can here
expect another powerful interplay of the commanding personalities of
his wife Sam, who navigate business, political, and personal interests
forthright assertiveness that powers both their relationship and the
a powerful global empire that influences (if not holds) the effort to
governments. Their latest venture into acquiring railroads and fielding
accompanying political and economic controversy involves both
characters in a
fight that challenges not just their opulent lifestyle and ambitions,
relationship with their growing family.
involving story of power, love, and international intrigue that carries
characters from their lavish lifestyle and success into the murkier
political influence and control. The obstacles and complexities that
introduces to their family life also tests ethical and moral compasses
employees, employers, and friends find their connections tested and
cat-and-mouse games that became complex as interplays between
introduce further issues into the husband-and-wife relationship and the
structure they fight to preserve around their family life.
and company controller Miles Cornish surveys the above-board
back-room operations of the business and its leaders, it's hard to say
element is more commanding or compelling: the personal strengths of the
characters, or the issues that arise to test them.
James notes: "Sic transit gloria
mundi." When Sam questions his conclusion, he
lets her know
what someday she will have to step up to replace him as leader: “It’s Latin––an ancient Roman saying. The
literal translation is, ‘thus passes
the glory of the world.’ What it means is that ‘all glory is fleeting.’ It’s to
remind someone who is having
success that it won’t last forever.”
journey of intrigue that Sam and James experience will delight both
to their action-packed adventures and those who have enjoyed previous
interested in thrillers that profile two equally powerful partners in
business, and foreign affairs will find Manning
a Raptor a powerful exploration that grabs with social,
psychological inspection and doesn't let go.
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Once to Die
9788986606408 $16.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
Once to Die is the first book in The
Other Side of Dead series, and
is a novel of Christian suspense that will appeal to Christian
seeking blends of spiritual stories and intrigue.
endangered by witnessing a drug deal on the streets. Father John is
endangered—but by a temptation that invites him to cast aside some of
treasured beliefs as he struggles with exhaustion and new possibilities.
twist with a priest's confrontation with murder and redemption for a
the combined power of a spiritual quandary and a murder mystery under
mystery fans will find many of the familiar trapping of suspense in Once to Die. However, the stakes are
higher because choices and temptations faced on the earthly plane hold
resounding spiritual impact on eternal life.
move from a life of independence, strength, and spiritual lack to one
to renewed possibilities of heaven drives the story, rather than the
focus on mystery alone. This lends Once
to Die the attraction of philosophical, psychological, and
insights that inject added value into its plot.
the death of a young man. A radio report on his death laments the
another youth's life wasted on the streets, but this turns out to be
the tip of
the iceberg as the story moves into unexpected territory.
community of the police who investigate to the spiritual sanctuary of a
priest who finds the death almost more than he can bear, Epperson
multifaceted story that examines good and evil, the gray area
the efforts of both good and questionable men to follow the paths
between Perry and Father John is particularly well done, with its
between the questions and decisions each faces and the unexpected
that evolve from their association. Social expectation and perceptions
nicely with dialogue that reinforces their different worlds and the
mystery and Christian inspection that may contain streetwise language
momentum of death and danger, but juxtaposes these traditional mystery
incorporating a sense of discovery and growth that makes for a solid,
Christian collections looking for mysteries and fiction that places spiritual confrontation at the center of the plot will find
Once to Die an excellent,
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Running Wild Press
Ordering: Paper Pirate: McIntyre, Dawn: 9781955062183: Amazon.com: Books
The Paper Pirate blends humor with a cozy
mystery to invite readers
into small-town bookstore The Paper Pirate, owned by five partners who
threat that targets their store and their homes. Why would bookstore
subject to peril? Because a rare book sparks greed and makes them all
the owners also harbor their own secrets. These threaten exposure under
close scrutiny of a crook whose search reveals more than the hidden
notes of a
wealthy man's ancestor.
both booklovers and the secret worlds books can harbor as events
unfold: “Books were my escape when I was a
kid. The characters were my friends, their adventures were my
adventures when I
wasn’t allowed to have any of my own. I started out getting my fix in
libraries, but as I grew up and could afford to build a collection of
my own I
began haunting book stores, and I’ve just never stopped. My
life has been rich because of books. My
life has been a joy because of books.”
creates bibliographic undercurrents that will especially attract fellow
enthusiasts of written word and intrigue alike.
perfect story for small-town pursuits and scenarios, exploring book
and publishing, the possibilities of treasures hidden in plain sight,
puzzles that accompany a special form of adversity that refutes logic: “But we bought the place five years ago,”
Felicia almost whined. “Did someone just realize they wanted the book
past couple of weeks? And, we’re a store.
Why the hell didn’t they just waltz in and buy it?”
more is taking place than is evident at first and on the surface,
making The Paper Pirate as much a
hidden lives and social influence as it is a bibliofile's dream of
treasure hidden on the dusty shelves of a book collection.
cozy mysteries that are solidly grounded in the book world will find The Paper Pirate a fine choice.
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Anthony R. Wildman
Plutus Publishing Australia
978-0-6489454-4-4 $14.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
The Lost Years of William Shakespeare Book 2 is a historical
turns a literary figurehead into a detective. The first note to present
potential readers is that they need not have a prior background in
Shakespeare or his times. Anthony R. Wildman introduces the milieu with
attention to detail that injects atmosphere and background information
seamlessly into a story riddled with political and social observation:
archbishop waited, fingers twitching at his robes as he tried to
impatience while Henry of England, newly crowned as the fifth king to
name, sent packing some importunate friends from his younger days who
to court in expectation of preferment. Remember
that he is but a youth, a little voice in his head kept
telling him, though he may seem older than
Listening with half his mind as the king berated his former friends, he
remembered what the old king, bent and worn with the cares of his
said of his son: ‘a rude youth, which with grief will end his father's
This grounding in the times
is important to understanding
the plot's progression as Shakespeare becomes a key name both in
political maneuvers between nations and in the world of Elizabethan theatre, where his literary
reputation is on the rise.
not a chess move, but a troupe the young Shakespeare joins to further
acting ambitions. But, too soon, he finds the group and himself mired
affairs that seem to pull him away from his intention to become a
research into these times is evident in the passages of detail which
the interconnections between common man and their leaders while
unique foray into young Will's investigative involvements.
in mysteries will find the added attraction of a good deal of
insight enhances the realistic feel of the plot, while those who choose
The Queen's Player for its
literary references will be drawn into an accompanying dilemma that
increasingly challenges Will to operate far from his familiar artistic
From a dank
cell in Verona (which Will manages to escape from) to the conflicts
affect his role in the acting company and his ambitions outside of
work, Wildman presents a thriller steeped in both espionage and actor
"Though dressed in his usual woollen doublet and
patched hose, he
somehow managed to move and look like a young woman. It was a
to create such an illusion with nothing more than his voice and some
the way he walked and held himself. Not for the first time, Will
this pleasant and amusing young man was also a very fine actor."
blend of history, mystery, and biography places it a cut above
explorations in any of these genres. Its ability to attract on
levels, yet keep the story line engrossingly realistic and accessible
kinds of readers, makes for a story highly recommended to libraries and
individuals looking for well-detailed, nicely-researched,
Those who choose The
Queen's Player will come away from it not only satisfied with
travel journey into Elizabethan times, but with a better understanding
Shakespeare, steeped in the lingering atmosphere of a story replete
satisfyingly unpredictable twists and turns.
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three minutes when every second commands your attention, and every one
ends up being relived over and over, until it has become a pattern in
A Song for Leonard presents a mystery of
a different ilk, opening
with the reflective passage above and moving into an unusual encounter
takes place in 1978 on the streets of New York City, where a beautiful
singer/songwriter is murdered on the streets. Was she a perp that chose
polite New England girl to demand money in a street mugging, to own a
to back her demand, or to smile with a mouth full of blackened teeth
nightmare Medusa. Fast forward to 1996, eighteen years later, when
Bateman returns to New York City to confront his demons and the mystery
surrounding Suzanne Finch's murder and the implication of Charles, her
victim, in the crime.
his name, Charles embarks on a journey of discovery that juxtaposes his
with his investigation into the singer's motivations, life, and the
her songs—particularly 'A Song for
Leonard', which may hold strange answers to dangerous
this New York-steeped crime story will find Charles's foray into the
inviting and thoroughly engrossing. A.I. Fabler creates an atmospheric,
tension-laden read in a tale replete with unexpected twists and turns.
characters come to life in ways the typical murder account don't touch,
making A Song for Leonard a
investigation of New York City culture and conundrums that grabs the
imagination with many possibilities couched in a powerful series of
exceptional intrigue that unfolds over different social strata of New
City's culture and changing times will find A
Song for Leonard a standout. Its intrigue and inspection
lingers in the
mind long after resolution is reached and answers provided in this
interlude of discovery.
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978-0-9996953-3-3 $16.99 Paper/$6.99 ebook
In A Town Called Why, people know detective
Frank Gaines as a man of achievement and courage. What they don't know
he's also a man harboring deep insecurities and doubts. These lead him
therapy, where he not only tackles his problems, but falls in love with
therapist. Like Frank, she harbors Apache blood and special abilities
compliment her savvy wisdom and attraction.
disaster when Frank's relative is murdered and therapist Sunny must
that his sacred duty is to not just find a killer, but to torture and
Rick Lenz is
capturing the natural and human worlds of Arizona:
"A Mexican gray wolf, then three, then a dozen
stare at the
desert, immense, motionless, aglow. As if with a single eye, they see
unshadowed forms of sheep bones, an empty prairie dog town, rabbit
piñon, creosote bushes, and a half dozen kinds of cactus. A purple
looms ageless in the distance. The only noise, apart from the insects,
gourd rattle, sounding like a diamondback in an upside-down kettledrum
sheet of granite."
can expect a certain supportive atmosphere to accompany any mystery.
looks to achieve more than a casual backdrop, steeping his characters
dilemmas in the culture, environment, and influences of Arizona and its
peoples. This adds an extra element of intrigue by embedding mysticism,
and ethical dilemmas, and Native American heritage into the mix of a
Add a dash
for a sense of the appeal and complexity of A
Town Called Why, in which a seasoned detective finds his own
tested and pointing in a different direction than his career has
beyond Frank's special form of angst and into general observations
"...police work can also be self-serving and
worse—at least for
some cops. It can also be lonely. Sometimes, it’s like being a little
playing … pretending to be tough, like people are looking at him with …
not always respect, but at least they pay attention to him. Most people
he’s there to keep the peace as skillfully as possible. They can’t see
whatever his little insecurities might be. Why would they want to?
he’s off where people couldn’t possibly be looking in on him; he’s all
himself, wandering up some godforsaken excuse for a road toward some
A Town Called Why is a vivid portrait of
directions, cultural and social influences, and murder that places
American communities and ideals in the center of a detective's
reflections on the part of more than one character are exceptionally
"She wonders about her generous
nature. But that’s never taken her anywhere useful. No matter how kind
or reasonable, or even a twisted sort of honest sometimes, she’s still
she’s always been."
that look for remarkable stories of cultural identity and discovery
murder mystery scenarios will find A Town
Called Why an outstanding read. Tense, character-driven, and
culture-steeped, it is filled with atmosphere and intrigue tempered by
unexpected twists and turns that keep both Frank and his readers
Return to Index
978-1959431824 $11.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Werewolf for Hire is the first novella in
the Sara Flores, Werewolf
P.I. series, and follows the
supernatural mystery of an investigator who just so happens to have
into a werewolf. Sara thinks she might be the only werewolf on the
she may not be alone. She never thought she'd be taking on P.I. cases
new form, but she can't turn down Lillian Knudsen. Not
when the woman
believes she is a murder target, and that Sara's special skills could
riveting story that juxtaposes the struggles of a P.I. facing changes
to her job,
skill set, and life with the equally monumental struggles of an
amputee woman who faces an unknown adversary on American turf.
new worlds collide in an unexpected way, new friendships evolve, along
controversies that test the mindset, recovery process, and future
each woman (or, should we say, woman and woman/wolf?).
That's only one of the new realities Sara faces in her new form as she
bat for Lillian, only to find the battle has become personal on her own
affecting her future possibilities and survival potential, as well.
Werewolf for Hire builds its strength
upon not just mystery, but
growth and discovery as each main character reaches for a different
the baggage from the past along with them.
personalize Sara's discoveries about her new condition to add a touch
humor to her inspections:
"She never screamed from the pain of transforming.
Not because she
was holding it in. Sara wanted to scream more than anything. She
inside her mind with all the power she could give. But nothing came
suspected it was a werewolf evolutionary thing. They wouldn’t have
the 21st Century if they screamed when transforming."
military and civilian issues, PTSD from different sources, and the
signals of the living and dead create an especially vivid story that
and involves on different levels of intrigue and psychological
Werewolf for Hire is especially highly
recommended for libraries
seeing patron interest in paranormal as well as P.I. scenarios. This
intersection, combined with the added attraction of psychological
discovery, also should place Werewolf for
Hire on the radars of book clubs interested in
that go one step beyond the usual whodunit (or, who will do it)
Return to Index
$17.39 Hardcover/$16.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
Bewitching a Highlander blends Scottish
romance with supernatural
overtones as it follows healer Breena MacRae's search for her missing
This endeavor leads her into the clan hold of the Campbells, where she
encounters fiery leader Egan Dunbar.
the two supercharges their missions and secrets as each dances around
question of heritage, romance, and separate quests that might lead to
and family threat.
story with more than issues of attraction, Roma Cordon creates a
towards physical and psychological revelations through descriptions
"His lips searched, probed, then devoured hers,
they were warm,
strong, sinful, and wicked against hers. The taste of mint leaves on
made her delve further into the kiss. Breena fought to breathe, caught
this whirlwind of luscious emotions that tugged and flooded her. It was
what she’d imagined happening if she drank an entire bottle of port
multiplied a hundred times."
that romance readers are the primary audience for this story, look
discover more themes ranging from the wealth and opulence that divides
and individuals to the influence of history on the evolution of rival
secrets that reach from the past to affect the future.
traditions, influences, and flavor and seasoned with a romantic
draws each character from familiar territory and preset notions into
worlds, Bewitching a Highlander is
about wielding love as a force of discovery, redemption, and
to a confrontation with the Campbells and matters of their own hearts
family roots, Breena and Egan's different perspectives and heritages
in unusual twists that will keep romance readers guessing about
risk sparking a clan war for love?
steamy romances well steeped in cultural exploration and historic
find Bewitching a Highlander a
compelling historical romance that holds the power to attract on
Return to Index
Witches: Stitches in Time
979-8-9856075-7-4 $26.95 Hardcover
The Blanchard Witches: Stitches in Time
continues the story
introduced in Prodigal Daughters,
where the last story left off—with the disappearance of family member
This third book in the series expands family relationships and
the witches move through both familiar and unexpected territory on a
that tests both their paranormal abilities and their survival.
the coven, Artemis, finds her edict to guide the family greatly
forces both within and outside its circle as more members vanish before
eyes and the entire family structure is threatened. Who will be next?
to change in a way even wise elder Zelda can't see coming. She knew
Beryl—but the others were a surprise even to her.
between witches, blood Blanchard kin, and wry irony intersect with the
mystery, readers are introduced to a realm in which family ties are
their own members.
cultivates an undertone of discovery which traverses generational
and individual and clan abilities alike. Dialogues and new
create surprising insights: "Can you
guys imagine what’s going to happen whenever we find a way to get
and we tell Fable—militantly atheist Fable—that there is a God, and
expect the time travel component which intersects with family lives and
experiences, but this adds to the paranormal fantasy elements to create
timeline of unexpected connections, family secrets, and intrigue
in Southern traditions and culture.
turn, encourage thought-provoking assessments of powers and their
influences: "How could she be
expected to police thought. A
person couldn’t help what thoughts crossed their mind. But she’d been
about it lately and had come to the conclusion that the thought itself
the catalyst, it was her speaking the thought which turned it into a
the Blanchard family unfold, prior series readers will especially
the time taken to evolve further inter-generational connection. An
rescue via time travel creates a deadly repetitive cycle that traps a
savior in a fatal loop of past and present conundrums. The Blanchard
incarnation through various timelines and influences between past,
future evolves a delightful foray into possibilities that are affected
choice, motive, and surprising family identities.
fiction and libraries looking for standout series reads will find this
to the Blanchard family saga a riveting story that juxtaposes love,
efforts, and paranormal heritage in a moving saga that's hard to put
impossible to predict.
Return to Index
The Bones of
Betsy L. Ross
978-1-63988-694-4 $18.99 Paper/$26.99 Hardcover
again. How can it be that we don’t learn, that we clutch at low-hanging
branches of wrongs and misunderstandings from the past, fearful always
difference? Why this continuing predisposition toward creating
It's rare to
novel about suffering, redemption, religious clashes, and social
blended with a time travel piece that tests the patterns and illusions
different cultures and peoples, but The
Bones of the World speaks the language of pain and contrasts
ranging from Holocaust to Inquisition through Rachel's observant eyes.
make about this story is its lovely associations between myth and
Rachel awakens in a strange mansion, having been delivered by Harry,
have drugged her to take her away from danger and protect her.
and contrasts between mythical figures and the strange reality Rachel
herself floundering in create a powerful surreal atmosphere from the
start: "Inside the high stone walls, oaks
just visible from Rachel’s second-story window reached for the heavens,
dreaming of the selfless beanstalk that gave its life to provide for
his mother." This sets the stage with a sense of place that
to steep the novel with "you are here" immersive experiences.
Inés, charged with honoring the Ancestors by tending their tombs, even
the Children are her latest charges) are introduced to reflect the
loss, survival, and ghosts that haunt the living, dead, and graveyards
Ross is a
contrasts as different worlds collide: "The
first time the teenaged boys, festooned in red, white, and blue,
the streets of the old city with automatic rifles, Rachel had been
from a night at the opera."
historical and social inspections that move Rachel from past to present
thought-provoking questions about the choices her Jewish people have
survive, and the costs they may have unwittingly incurred as a result.
an added layer of social and philosophical reflection that will lend to
club debate as Rachel navigates Ghetto experiences, the Golems of
and their various forms, her incarnation as Sariah, living in Portugal
the Inquisition changes her life, and disappearances that terrorize the
community facing new survival tactics and choices during the Holocaust.
brings with it the mandate to decide how she will react to and live
peoples' history of ancestral suffering. These are far from reasonable
as Ross points out. Indeed, has reason ever guided the Jewish people to
not infused with trouble?
to an enchanted cemetery forces her to re-examine her history and
readers receive a story that is thought-provoking in its contrasts of
and the familiar patterns seemingly disparate situations evolve.
atmospheric, compelling, and thought-provoking.
Ideally, The Bones of the World will not only
become part of any Jewish fiction library, but will be profiled as a
or reader group discussion option lending to revised inspections of
experience and tradition as "lives are left unlived" and everything
Return to Index
Clara in a
978-1639884315 $18.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Clara in a Time of War is set in 1777
Pennsylvania, where wife
Clara is holding down the farm while her husband Malachi is off
war. Faced with responsibility for family, work, and far from her
urban roots, Clara is both exhausted and lonely. When she helps a
wounded man who
winds up in her carriage house, Clara receives the first indication
set life will be changed not just by war, but by love.
introduction sweeps readers into Clara's reflections and story: "I
only tell you, forthrightly as I may, how my life, my old life, you
it now, was swept away as capriciously as a leaf in the wind and some
life put in its place."
As she moves
unfamiliar territory, developing an emotional attachment to the wounded
while awaiting her husband's return, Clara finds the ripples of war
her doorstep in many different ways.
surface, Clara in a Time of War
would seem to be
a love story about kindred spirits who touch in a time of crisis. Dig
discover that this is a story of a woman's blossoming in a way that
life's values, trajectory, and commitments on many different levels.
backdrop of transformation and change. This, in turn, brings Clara into
milieu in which she observes stranger Decan O'Reilly's manners
just her own life, but the habits and responses of her family:
wants to learn Irish,” he said.
“And you will be his tutor,” said Declan.
“Right enough,” Jamie declared and went back to his seat.
Right enough. Something else of Declan O’Reilly’s that over the last few weeks had become my son’s.
powerful review of the secrets, transformations, and challenges that
even to isolated pockets of rural life.
story of a
stranger's impact on her world is captivating, injecting history and
with emotional ties that prove hard to put down and thoroughly
historical novels about early America will find that history comes to
this powerful story of Clara's transformative experiences.
Return to Index
The title of Distress & Determination doesn't
a genre read in either Regency or historical fiction, but James Wollak
incorporates elements of both as he reveals the trials not of the usual
woman associated with Regency-based novels, but young gentleman
Darcy. His self-confidence and legacy is tested when, not even twenty,
himself assuming the role of the master of Pemberley estate.
story with a somewhat daunting cast of characters both within and
Darcy family. The Lintons, Duvalls, Rutledges, and other families are
listed which may introduce the feeling that this novel will be weighty
laden with many personalities and perspectives. Readers will be
learn that the complexity is accompanied by a story cemented in action
As the story
Frederick has been expelled from Cambridge for gambling and behavioral
sent home in disgrace to face a father who had expected so much more
son. In fact, Frederick resisted temptation, and readers gain the first
that this young man has a moral compass that could serve him well in
conflicted over his legacy and its impact on his life, readers follow
familial and interpersonal relationships which test this moral compass,
lessons his relatives try to impart to him about not just his role as
Master of Pemberley, but its impact on his freedom:
“...on the one hand it is very attractive to talk
about freedom and
think that you can do anything you please; but there are few people who
truly do so.” She looked at him. “Such freedom is for monarchs, or
and vagabonds—not for a gentleman like your father, or even those who
earn their living in trade.” She thumped her cane. “As far as I am
you can have freedom. You know that I admire those who perform their
carry out their responsibilities.” He nodded. “Yes, I can see that you
your path has been determined for you; no more choices for you, it
do you think I was ever able to go off and do exactly as I pleased?”
one of the many strengths of the novel, following a new adult into
choices, consequences, and experiences. All lead Frederick to assume
of a more commanding role in his family, relationships to his sister
others, and in his own life.
who has chafed at the burden of a legacy and the responsibilities it
Frederick's role and confrontations will prove not just understandable,
strong emotional draw. The story invites discussion and food for
social propriety, personal values, and the trust and forgiveness a
cultivates and struggles with.
a moving saga that follows this young man into adulthood and the world
as he navigates many obstacles, from social and familial expectation to
sense of self and his role in family and life.
Regency-based coming-of-age stories that use a young man's evolutionary
to cement a story of growth will find Distress
& Determination a powerful story. It is aptly named,
involving scenarios and personal relationship issues, and thoroughly
of the Regency times and values that affected society in the 1800s.
Return to Index
Fade to Blue
Top Reads Publishing
9781970107357 $16.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
story with the ethical inspection of an overworked medical researcher
that her work can change the world for the foundations of a powerful
examination of medical possibility and danger that is Fade
pain ... Sarah's pain, as she struggles to rebuild her stamina after
smoking. This effort accompanies a brutal work schedule surrounding the
for a treatment for Alzheimer's that could change the world.
It all could
much easier if she were free to conduct the one forbidden experiment
result in real change. The lure proves too much as Sarah gives in to
convictions that her research is illuminating a path of positivity that
can't see, only to find that, in fact, its results introduce a
involving her in terrorism and brain-destroying power.
Hank Scheer crafts a powerful story and a set of characters that swirl around Sarah's decision with equally significant objectives and perspectives that clash in unusual ways.
scenes, foreign backdrops, and forces set in motion that jeopardize not
Sarah's life and her purpose, but the results of an experiment gone
awry. As deaths
mount and Sarah finds
herself far from her objectives and her supportive friends, readers
into a world replete with ethical and political twists.
masterfully accents the changing landscapes and situations that
move from a research's illicit decision to lives and nations affected
release of a new force of adversity and challenge into the world. He
Sarah's changing perceptions with a deft hand to outlining criminal and
special interests alike; both of whom intersect with Sarah's life in
readers (especially those interested in medical conundrums
which lead the protagonist into uncharted ethical territory) will
the technological and medical aspects of the story neatly dovetail with
perspectives and special interests.
seeking medical thrillers which do a fine job of adding
international intrigue into their mix will find Fade to Blue a
of pain, redemption, and an earth-shattering mission to deploy a drug
could be used for good or evil, depending upon who controls it.
characters, fast-paced action, and ethical dilemmas create
reading suitable for book club discussion, contrasting nicely with
standout medical thriller genre reads.
Return to Index
The Fall of
$21.99 Hardcover/$12.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook
The Fall of Faith doesn't sound like it
will be a thriller, but a
delve into the story reveals that its roots lie not just in religious
discourse, but in a plot that revolves around sin, survival,
trucker Jimmy consuming food in a diner at the crack of dawn. Jimmy
style of pondering that feels unusual for a truck driver: "As he stared at his receding hairline, he
acknowledged, if only
to himself, that his life had been filled with neither luck nor
courage. He had
always been more comfortable inside himself than out in the world."
he's now on the cusp of giving up the trucker life. Perhaps it's
changes are also on the edge of moving his life into unpredictable
His run-in with a senile old man is just one experience that changes
overnight, moving him into a life that juxtaposes death and faith with
time to inject evocative atmosphere into this story:
"He loved the fall in Missouri, and especially in
his hometown of
Kansas City. The air had a crispness about it that woke your senses.
traveled farther. And the leaves would turn shocking colors of reds,
and yellows before raining down like a firestorm to the cold ground
Jimmy felt more alive when the rest of the world was preparing to
insights permeate a tale replete with the unexpected as characters
further thoughts and dilemmas into Jimmy's life:
"You can quit. Leave your girl and your pride
behind and ride off
into the sunset. But you know why the movies always fade to black as
rides into the sunset? Because if they lingered on that shot too long,
see nothing special happens when you ride away. The next town is the
problems ride shotgun with you wherever you go.”
Jimmy has with a stripper reveals a secret that not only shakes him,
town and the world he's so carefully construed and moves through.
anything but the usual genre read. Its characterization, plot
the detailed, realistic atmosphere of Missouri and Kansas that come
Berney's hand leads readers into realms which are entirely
This is just
the compelling aspects that make The Fall
of Faith a journey into more than murder and belief, but an
life changes that lead an ordinary trucker into a world he never saw
suspenseful stories that embrace philosophical, psychological, and
influences will find all these elements and more in The
Fall of Faith, which is highly recommended for readers
surprises in powerful writing.
Return to Index
Elsie G. Beya
A Florist Called Daisy features a sassy,
woman who has not added "pursue a man" to her to-do list—until she
attends the after party of the indie band Cardinal and encounters its
singer, Stewart Burns. A celebrity crush is not her style, but Daisy
experiences an attraction that moves her from her usual comfort zone of
observer to being an active participant in Stewart's world.
than bring out the best in her. He questions her inherent pessimism
“'She thinks everyone she loves will
leave her,' Nan answers for me. I sigh, pushing my teeth together. They
line, injecting interpersonal clashes that come as much from Daisy's
with those around Stewart as with her own heart:
“It's not what it looks like!” I shout out as I
chase her, the steps
have never seemed so steep, so mountainous.
Izzie bursts through my bedroom door with such force, she could have easily ripped the hinges out.
“It looks like you’re shagging Stewart from Cardinal!” Izzie screams.
Then yes, it is what it looks like.
maintain control of situations she sees spiraling out of control,
follow her floral-wrapped foray into romance with an eye to
thoughts and trials of an independent woman who finds herself involved
romance that's over the moon—and clearly over her head.
Beya does a
fine job of exploring the life of an already-strong woman who tackles
the same degree of clarity and force that has made her successful in
and life, only to find that old habits don't work well in new
Daisy's struggle to not only admit her heart, but tell Stewart that she
him, and how this effort is thwarted by his lifestyle and other
makes for a moving saga that is at once fiery, dramatic, and thoroughly
and boisterous personality of a woman who doesn't take no for an
answer, A Florist Called Daisy will
women who enjoy their romances laced with emotional growth and
move beyond relationship-building to personal empowerment and maturity.
romance reads that depict an "anxious coward" will find this story of
a character that is firmly rooted in the world of flowers and growth to
absorbing, filled with unexpected twists and turns that bring Daisy and
readers closer to a depth of love that can withstand public inspection.
Return to Index
"Was the whole world dreaming, or just one young
Underground is a novel about
ordinary daily life in New
York City that assumes the surreal overlay of descriptive personal
It opens with the chapter 'I.Alice', which poses the image of a woman
walked between two worlds, so it was hard to say where one began and
The juxtaposition of these milieus leads
Alice and her readers into her past and present, from recovering from a
tonsillectomy as an adult to rejecting the vapid reactions and
teens in favor of an individualistic attitude that leads a boy to love
because "...it was the very thing that made her beautiful,
first boy who ever loved her—that way she had of expressing what lived
of her, while others seemed to rove around, staring into cyberspace as
chatted from the sides of their mouths."
New Jersey roots into adulthood, Alice has been stirred and shaken by
influences and tides of society and her own role as an outside observer
much of it. Between her relationship to mother Jenna, who observes her
with mixed pride and puzzlement, to the tides of life which wash her
memory to present-day experiences and choices, Alice's world and
come to life with simple, yet powerful reflections: "It
was all she ever wanted, to love with ease and laugh with
ease. To just be."
also wonder about the inevitable progression of his life away from its
"For all she knew, her father, Hank, was at his
desk at that very
moment, staring off into space and measuring the gulf between himself
world around him, full of disgust for family, work, and all the other
conventions that pinned him down when what he really wanted from life
adventure. That was gone now, beaten out of him, and it was getting
find a reason to go on doing anything at all."
family's disparate individuals and their dreams together with the
deftness of a
tightly-knitted emotional quilt of dreams. She captures, within this
sense of life's changes and the unexpected influences that both attract
pull apart individuals, families, and relationships.
atmospheric detail, philosophical and psychological reflection, and
inspection other characters' lives (such as Emma, who tackles the
motherhood with an attention to detail that belays any insufficiencies
"But when it came to assuredness, one could find it
in the way she
gripped rocks and branches on a steep hike, or how she could reveal the
of an object in a drawing, or how she could become one with the rain
ran across a soaking lawn. So motherhood was not a thing she took for
ever, and doubted it was even a universal condition. Every day brought
different demands, challenging her to figure things out as best she
part of his mother's fluid fascination with life's realities and
demands: "When did a person enter sequential
history, Emma wondered. And at what age would Adam distinguish his
from real possibility? She wasn’t sure she always lived by such
As mother and son move through urban and nature worlds, the paintings and metamorphosis that links Emma, Adam, and Alice become evocative dances that move through seemingly disparate personalities to make deft connections.
is a novel
that reaches out and grasps the heart of life's progression and the
relationships that form, break away, then rejoin in unexpected ways.
powerful stories of everyday life juxtaposed against the undercurrent
extraordinary abilities and observations will find the descriptions and
connections of Hiking Underground
a surreal, compelling attraction.
Return to Index
A History of
Cynthia J. Bogard
A History of Silence opens with a
startling prologue set in 1986
Texas, which depicts a murder scenario:
"Professor Johnny Wharton the Fifth had finally
found the ultimate
way to keep us all talking about him. He’d gotten himself murdered,
all over the expensive Persian rug that graced the floor of his
office. Stabbed to death with the office scissors, I’d heard from our
department secretary, Maria, her voice hushed and excited...Even in
man had a huge ego. His funeral had to be held in an architecturally
interesting, historically important church built circa 1855."
humor cultivated in Maddie's introduction continues (albeit under
circumstances) as the story moves back in time. Events follow how the
professor's daughter Jenny runs away to Madison, accepts the overtures
scary friendship despite her alienation from her past and determination
remain free and solo, and then becomes involved in a web of
changes that reverberate through her present and past lives.
aren't the only characters Cynthia J. Bogard cultivates in her story.
Maddie's lesbian lover leaves her against all odds and Johnny's wife
to reconnect with her daughter, a web of deceit, realization, and
evolves that spins a different kind of yarn as four women's lives
connect in unpredictable ways.
voice is represented in alternating chapters which bring these
attitudes and perceptions to life:
"It was hard to keep trying, hard to keep giving
when silence and
insults were your only rewards. It was hard to keep caring, a shameful
admit about your own flesh and blood, your only daughter, your only
when Johnny’s sorrow could be heard in his voice, or times like this,
Jenny’s contempt for me was written in red on a birthday card envelope,
myself wishing I had had a son instead — or no children at all."
involves acknowledging the price a father has imposed as a legacy to
wayward daughter. It also involves acknowledging the cost of her own
infatuation with a college professor who treats her as other than a
or mentor. These realizations lend to vivid scenes in which a teaching
assistant assumes a very different role than she'd originally
envisioned: "It was terrifying to think
so illusory could cause such a lack of control in my life."
powerful interplay between disparate women who each circle around
their own goals for their futures.
women's fiction that builds quiet psychological drama based on a
figure's violent and dangerous tendencies will find that A
History of Silence creates a vibrant story of what happens
only when women are silent, but when they roar.
groups will find A History of Silence
replete with themes that lend to debate and closer inspection.
Return to Index
Water is the coming-of-age story
of new adult (and
would-be doctor) Landon Ratliff, who has come to New Orleans to pursue
passion for healing people. Instead of immersing himself in traditional
he confronts the passion and purposes that brought him to this point
profession, encountering alternative ideas in the process.
The first note to make about Holy Water
is its astute examination of not just a career, but life's meaning.
an impressionable young man new to the wider world, and New Orleans
offers not just opportunity, but insights into the diverse and changing
of that world—and his place in it.
From the story's opening lines, it's evident
that young Landon is not your typical staid medical student, but holds
uncommon ability to see life in a very different way: "If you
a map of the United States onto the tanned, toned back of a pretty girl
skimpy top, the Mississippi River would coincide roughly with the
course of her
Anatomy never looked so good—and neither has
the story of an aspiring doctor.
The time is 1993—the perfect setting for a
journey of discovery. This sense of extraordinary events to come
during a plane trip and the observation of the map of America that lies
him which is, here, compared to the opportunities offered by the
neck muscles came together would be Minnesota. Her scapulae would be
around St. Louis; New Orleans
was hidden under the beltline of her shorts. Like most single
twenty-six-year-old men, Landon pondered the mysteries of her New
then dismissed any thought of striking up a conversation."
This literary descriptive tone lends an
inviting aura to a story that sashays through medical and social
alike, steeping Landon's world in an added New Orleans flavor that
away from preconceived notions of his training to become a doctor.
As he is forced to confront memories that he's
kept hidden, Landon finds his future is at stake. His long-time mentor
confronts the forces changing his relationship with Landon as he moves
love entanglement that also introduces currents of change.
Robert Schwab builds an exquisite, delicate
tension from Landon's life that at times demonstrates flowery,
language and at others assumes the languid flow of daily life and
of growth: "There was a girl and music and a place to learn
who he was
and what he could become."
People are entitled to their secrets. Even
doctors. What Landon experiences in the course of immersing himself
medicine and in the culture of New Orleans becomes a lesson in love,
entanglements, and the introduction of fate and fortune that leads him
waters that are stirred by new revelations and unexpected chance
Landon's world comes alive through metaphor and experience to reach out
grasp a wide audience:
"...he needed an anchor, something to remind him
who he was. It
seemed as if everything had changed. Even the river, so golden and
sunset last night, was an angry mess now, belching trash and tree parts
the gaps between the rocks guarding the levee."
Libraries and readers looking for novels
replete in New Orleans flavors that follow a blossoming young man from
career ambitions to personal success will find Holy Water an
Return to Index
In the Event
Post Hill Press
978-1-63758-666-2 $28.00 Hardcover/$14.99 Kindle
In the Event of Death is a novel about childhood trauma and its ongoing impact on Liz Becker, a mother, wife, and business owner, decades later. An event planner in Silicon Valley, Liz struggles in 2008 when an economic downturn forces her to become involved in end-of-life events she's always avoided lest they dredge up troubling memories of the past.
Liz fears death. Her new business venture demands that she face those fears—and when she does, all hell breaks loose.
Planning memorial services entails many of the same trappings as planning a celebration, with flowers, speeches, and food, but Liz knows the stakes are completely different. She must balance the need to support her family with the emotional toll of reliving the loss of her younger sister when Liz was just ten years old. Liz becomes immersed in a journey that threatens to upend the stability she has fought to maintain since childhood, but which ultimately leads to healing and recovery.
Kimberly Young's moving story of life, death, and the generational experiences in between, creates a study in survival tactics. Liz grapples with unforeseen pitfalls in her business, changing dynamics within her family, and disturbing revelations about her sister’s death.
Under these challenging circumstances, cracks in integrity and intention appear in various characters, setting up dramas that will grab readers’ attention and immerse them in life’s quandaries and questions regarding death, grief, and the way forward. These themes will resonate especially well with book clubs looking for meaningful subjects to discuss. Humor and fast pacing make this book surprisingly easy to read despite its sometimes dark subject matter.
novels exploring inter-generational issues related to family life,
challenges, the rituals and taboos around death, and the power of
will find In the Event of Death
a satisfying addition to their shelves. In the Event of Death is
captivating study in family secrets and revelations that ultimately
ones together on the cusp of the "hard work of dying."
Return to Index
In the Heart
Ekta R. Garg
of a heart doesn’t have limits."
In the Heart of the Linden Wood is a
story of magic trees, evil
kings, grief, and courage. It tells of Christopher, a king wracked with
upon losing his wife and child. Lily was the only person who truly
him, so her loss is an especially hard blow. Nothing can shake his
himself—until the magical trees begin to die and he is tasked with not
finding out why, but embarking on a mission to save them (and himself).
involves a quest
into the heart of betrayal, evil, and redemption. Christopher may be
mend his own broken heart, but his kingdom rests upon his ability to
self-confidence and strength which he had placed in his wife's hands.
search for the courage and heart to rule Linden is, in effect, a search
own abilities and heritage, which brings him deep into a woods of his
making as well as those which support his rule.
deep in his grief to leave his castle and re-enter the world to
connections and solutions?
may seem like a classic fantasy, but under the veneer of kings,
magic lays an attention to emotional details that make In
the Heart of the Linden Wood as much a psychological draw as
The magic of
stones reveals truths and revelations Christopher has never anticipated
point in his life, bringing readers into an evocative story of
that holds many lessons on how magic involves strengthening the heart
potential of In the Heart of the Linden Wood
from a wide audience and to serve as a discussion point in reader
interested in tales of self-discovery, growth, and ripples of impact in
makes for a highly recommended tale that libraries will find
of self-exploration translates to a newfound ability to direct his
more positive paths of discovery, reinforcing the ideals of courage and
Return to Index
Jayne and the Average North Dakotan
You can take
away from the Midwest, but can you take the Midwest out of the boy by
his community connections? Sure you can.
libraries catering to them will find Jayne and the Average
North Dakotan a fictional study
in intriguing contrasts
as middle-aged North Dakotan Randy Larson struggles to find a place in
community. He is adopted by flamboyant drag queen Jayne Mansfield, who
introduces him to a world both familiar and alien at the same time.
a wry sense of humor into razor-sharp descriptions which add elements
surprise into a tale that begins with a high school swim session:
"A mile-high waterspout agitates the Minot High
swimming pool. I heroically battle the dyspeptic current, spending more
calling for Mother than implementing any swim training. In my defense,
the swimming instructors ever mentioned waterspouts, indoor or outdoor,
looked to my usual comfort source. The razor-sharp concrete deck tears
as I pull myself to safety. Intense seasick-ness reverberates through
If I could just sleep, this would all pass. A thunderclap startles me
semi-consciousness. “WELL, LOOK WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN!”
is his past catching up to his present world?
the rollicking ride Randy experiences will find much to appreciate
manner in which his transformations are delivered.
excels in a wry first-person sense of inspection that captures not just
influences and conservative roots, but the changing culture which
As much as he fits into this world, he also has long resided outside
still does, in many ways.
the wing of a seasoned gay culture veteran (and on his own) results in
change of emotion and conflict as Randy learns a new language and
forms of friendship and connection:
“Well, no, I haven’t had experience with women.
I’ve never been
interested.” His sincerity encourages me to keep talking. “And, if
honest, I haven’t had much experience with men, either.”
“That’s too bad. Why not? You’re a cute guy, in my humble opinion.”
I really want to run around like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer yelling, “He said I’m cute! He said I’m cute!” But I realize he’s just being nice. We’re having a conversation like real friends, and I should enjoy that.
There is a
that "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Randy
experiences this as he examines his move to Washington and whether he's
it solely to recreate the life he had back in Minot. His goal of
feels shaken by both the support systems and connections he's
accompanying the question of whether he's really finding himself, or
into another pattern of dependency and convention (albeit defined in a
different manner in a new community).
Is Jayne a
godmother, or the devil?
the well-meaning but dominating Jayne's moves to push him further and
than he's willing to go (and with developing a meaningful gay romance
first time in his life). His readers follow him into a milieu which is
astute at examining his patterns of action and reaction as in exploring
community's rich undercurrents of sexual and emotional connections.
is a story
that is unconventional in its depiction of a thirty-something
world; in its contrasts between straight and gay experiences; and in
characters who each reflect their origins and different perspectives of
love, and everything in between.
realistic LGBTQ novels will find Jayne and the Average North
Dakotan a study in growth,
understanding, and the
varied support systems which emerge from an "exploration year" to
revise and open a closeted life.
Return to Index
Eric J. Matluck
Next Exit Press
$22.95 Hardcover/$16.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
The Judges shows how much life can alter
when a simple task prompts
transformation. It tells of acclaimed pianist Mary Sorabi, who wins
in the Graffman International Piano Competition in Philadelphia at age
and finds her world changed because of this achievement.
her this honor open the ceremony by stating that their decision was
with challenge. Mary's response is simple:
"Bullshit, Mary thought. No decision is ever
difficult is rationalizing it, especially when you have to rationalize
someone else. And whose benefit is that line for? The winner is going
he or she didn’t really win by that much, and the loser is going to
himself or herself for having come so close but not quite making it.
a single point is as ridiculous and cruel as being told by a doctor
could have saved you had you seen him yesterday."
events might portend a foray into musical territory, Eric J. Matluck's
takes quite a different turn, because Mary's world isn't altered by her
much as by the presence of a different judging panel that appears in
her home to
assess her life. They aren't there temporarily. They are assigned to
various experiences as Mary works through controversy and achievement,
find her every choice rated on a different scale than she's ever known.
embraces spiritual, psychological, and social perspectives from the
of a nameless observer who narrates the affairs that change Mary's
This multifaceted examination lends the novel a metaphysical feel that
attract thinking readers interested in a foray into musical circles and
higher-level considerations of their impact on ordinary audiences.
do much self-examination about her life purpose, art, and her impact on
world. This (and the presence of the mysterious judges) leads to
inspections of her life purpose. As an artist, a critic, and a
Mary finds within her new music program and accompanying judgments
about it the
courage to reconsider her life's accomplishments.
humor into these inspections, but the real meat of the story lies in
philosophical and artistic connections between and reflections of music
life, which create astute and thought-provoking passages of revelation
readers on different levels:
"...she realized that she never could and never
would know what
Schumann was thinking, not because she never knew
him but because she never was
him. You can know someone as intimately as you like, but
you’ll never really know what’s running through his or her mind,
everybody’s thoughts are locked away; cloistered. So she started going
her own thoughts, letting the music conjure memories of people and
knew and remembered, and by doing so the music started to reveal
certain phrases and certain passages evoking images from her past that
lot to her. And finally, she realized, Kreisleriana
did touch her and did move her, and that was when she
magic of how music communicates."
powerful story that cultivates musical notes to interweave artist,
and judge, expanding the subject into the greater issues of life.
thought-provoking stories of artistic and personal transformation will
find The Judges an astute
reflection of the
power and nature of right, wrong, and those who would define and
Return to Index
D. László Conhaim
Broken Arrow Press
At first glance, contemporary readers—particularly those who are not intrinsically attracted to the genre of historical fiction—might not realize the gem they hold in their hands with Memoirs of Spurius. The story features a figure who lived in second-century BCE Rome, and whose actions crushed the cult of Bacchus. It will take an open mind to new possibilities in historical writing and one able to spot connections between the ancient and modern world to uncover the delights embedded in Memoirs of Spurius. The novel draws many parallels between the past and present, from cultism and terrorism to the actions of a leader whose choices not only influence but transform his world.
D. László Conhaim's efforts in recreating and depicting the times are particularly notable, given the dearth of information about these events. Close attention to the historical record and archaeological evidence helped fill in many gaps. Our narrator, Spurius Postumius Albinus, thus comes to life as a believable character whose actions as Rome’s consul are understandable within the context of his circumstances and which surprisingly foreshadow the politics of today.
One way Conhaim makes his story so vivid and relevant, even for readers with little to no prior familiarity with ancient Rome, is in the use of the First Person to bring Spurius to life as he recounts and ponders his duties in bringing order to a threatened society:
"Still rivaled by neighbors on the Italian peninsula, the state was weaker then, but by the age of my consulship we had subdued every major enemy at home and also abroad. Thus, when we suddenly discovered the state threatened by an internal foe, some of my colleagues in the Senate suggested that the gods were punishing us for having neglected public morals at home in favor of building the empire. Now, if the gods’ method of exposing our slippage was indeed to threaten Rome with a false and pestilent religion, then they had consequently made me the champion of her moral revival."
social struggles that unfold, and the moral and ethical questions that
offer countless discussion topics for book clubs.
"As the cult gained in popularity and influence throughout Italy so did the amount of chattel offered to the god for the maintenance and enjoyment of his rites. Thus the wealth of the sect burgeoned to a size comparable with the treasury of a small state. Through free will or coercion, people began signing away whole estates and bequeathing legacies to or through the cult, in effect giving Italy away to the Bacchanalians . . ."
Indeed, so many thought-provoking talking points arise from this novel that it would be impossible for one review to detail them all. Nor would it be wise to expose all the elements of surprise and insight embedded in this powerful exploration.
that Memoirs of Spurius shatters
any notion that a work about
ancient Rome will be one weighed down by plodding facts. Under
Conhaim's hand, Memoirs of Spurius
is lively, timely,
and holds so many possibilities for debate that it earns top
libraries and readers alike.
Return to Index
Sofia Bella Roma
In Mother Knows Worst, Rose knows she has
never been good at self-inspection. She has also failed at acting,
her next endeavor in life: law school. This latest effort comes with an
unexpected side dish of romance with an Indian boy that leads Italian
to therapy to question her trajectory and experiences.
who takes the lead in prompting Rose to question many things she had
granted about herself and her place in the world. As she navigates the
waters of a mother-in-law who injects resentment and discord into their
Rose comes to realize truths about her own family roots and the choices
which bring her to re-examine her motivations and options.
an outstanding job of depicting Rose's process of growth, juxtaposing
self-examination with the life events that lead her into positions of
the changing roles of wives and mothers with marriage is particularly
as is her consideration of the insidious undercurrents that direct
"Rose felt like she was losing her mind. This was
started saying to herself, What is in
this bitch’s cooch juice that no one can see how she manipulates? Rose
started to notice it with other mothers too. She would listen to her
and after their husbands or boyfriends would be around their mothers,
like they changed and were tweaked."
From a son's
motivation for not supporting his wife and wanting his family's
approval to a
daughter-in-law's perception of a changing marriage that is heading
waters she never saw coming, Roma creates a compelling series of
interplays and revelations that are realistic and involving.
accusations from those outside as well as within the family as things
go awry not just between herself and her husband, but her husband and
world. Centering her emotions and self-respect are friends who inject
thought-provoking observations into the mix: Amy
laughed. “It may be enabling, but you had so much going on and you
did what you had to do to survive. You were in full blown survival
think it is more complicated than saying you are an enabler.”
lively, thought-provoking journey into one young woman's marriage,
cross-cultural encounters, and life. Mother
Knows Worst is recommended not just for novel readers seeking
women's experiences, but for reading groups interested in the
entanglements between different cultures and generations.
Mother Knows Worst for its
entertainment value will find much more reasons for recommending it
than its leisure
read attraction alone.
Return to Index
Pull of the
Joanne C. Parsons
978-1734943634 $11.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
Kenney is not
the kind of man to push a woman around. Even in the 1800s, the setting
of Pull of the Moon, he's a poor
with dreams beyond struggling to survive. Maybe that's why he moves
Massachusetts home and family to embark on a journey that moves him
and life between households and countries to new possibilities: "I stood tall despite my trembling legs
as my feet touched land after the long voyage. No longer the mangey
greenhand, I was Edmund Kenney, whalehunter."
Foster is an
orphaned Irish immigrant who left her home with family in search of a
life, only to find herself indentured and trapped in poverty and
new life in America feels like "lambs going for slaughter" as she and
her sister, fifteen and sixteen, find themselves alone and buffeted in
that requires them to be linked to a man, whether by marriage or in
Where is God
Frances needs him? Apparently nearby, because she is called upon to
frail Lenora and care for her newborn. Everything changes as she is
like a cow" and ensnared in a different manner than Lenora, who is
Pull of the Moon follows
the journey of
three strangers, who each suffer broken promises, heartache, and
for some, the courage to start over. It does so with a special gift for
profiling different characters, their motivations, and the rationale
their perceptions and actions, giving the story a strong psychological
that keeps readers thoroughly immersed.
standing in the Irish immigrant community in America come to life as
Wilson confronts the "shanty Irish Catholic" who would wed his
daughter, and Edmund in turn thinks little of Wilson's heritage:
waste of my time. Find another fish to hook. I’d be lowering myself to
into your family. A bunch of fallen Catholics who didn’t have the
stand by their faith.” He sneered, “All for money.”
beginning relationship has to do with love. It's a practical
evolves into something more complicated than Edmund, his father-in-law
or Frances ever could have imagined.
does an outstanding job of probing concepts of greed, slavery, and
influences that move from Ireland to Massachusetts and into forays
between third- and first-person discussions, involving readers in
ways as the entwined lives and loves of Lenora, Edmund, and Frances
are the discussions of women's and men's roles in a world where love,
and servitude aren't readily defined as they are today. Each character
thrall in different ways, both by their heritage and by their
themselves and their roles in life.
heavily draw historical fiction readers especially interested in the
community and its strata of relationships and social standings,
strong literary writing that blends high drama with choices and
that invite understanding and new realizations.
compelling story of three very different yet entwined lives whose
secrets, heritage and objectives bring them together in complicated
powerful stories of the 1800s Irish community in America and especially
tales replete with social and psychological inspection will find Pull of the Moon especially compelling
in how it portrays these disparate lives and the forces that influence
their progression, but their relationships and how they perceive
from angst and repressive circumstances.
Return to Index
Daisy Dog Press
Sister Liberty, the first volume of the
Stables Family Chronicles,
opens with an "author's note" by C.J. Stables, who recounts his birth
in 1942 and his family circle and upbringing. Actual author Gregory
his own introduction after this (he's identified as the 'ghostwriter'
novel) that follows the family link into modern times with an added
humor that permeates the story that follows.
challenge of traveling to the world of the 1800s to properly begin this
history again is delivered with the force of a writer seasoned with
humor: "It’s often said that the man who
he has a small anus does not swallow coconuts. As I continue to wrestle
this project, I’m beginning to suspect that, in answering Mr. Stable’s
I’ve swallowed the whole fucking deserted island."
begins in 1885, with a murder. But the perp isn't fleeing—he's turning
humor, Gregory Hill excels in a sense of observation that juxtaposes
contemporary language with powerful images that contain both a sense of
and a strong sense of people:
"Speaking in his clusterbomb of a voice, Arthur
would pace the
cell’s hardpacked floor while Annie tidied his grammar and rendered
the overall rhetorical shape of what would be his last words. These
happiest moments of a marriage that had endured twelve years of famine,
produced one child, and which was very nearly at its end."
As a romp
America and through issues of religious folk, intolerance (and
revivals and unwritten rules, and the odd lesbian couple who find
ironically, encountering an Indiana cult (the Solemnites, whose edict
pleasure), irony and religious satire abound which is guaranteed to
offend and generate much laughter in the process.
social and religious connections, Hill adds a heavy dash of atmosphere
permeated by commentary that is unexpectedly wry throughout:
“Are you afraid of the werebear?”
Auguste’s eyes grew wide, his mouth dropped open. “Holy smoke! I think I saw it last night!”
“Saw what? And it’s holy smokes, plural.”
delightful romp through mystics and cults, a fractured American Dream,
immigrant experience of the odd kind, and the rollicking world of the
1800s which introduces a literary and historical flavor not to be found
entertainment and literary value will find Sister
Liberty an outstanding read that is hard to easily categorize
but easy on
the eye, destined to attract a wide audience looking for a novel that
Return to Index
The Songs of
your life if you were responsible for a car accident that killed a
just such a quandary in the novel The
Songs of My Family after a tragic accident places the blame
directly upon her. In the novel's opening chapter, Myra is finally
Garcia children who have lost their parents.
aged sixteen, refuses Myra's gesture of help, further identifying it as
from a pat and privileged life the kids thoroughly reject:
“We are not a charity case, Ms. Jenkins. In fact,
before you killed our
parents, we were living rather comfortably. So please, don’t insult us
your stupid gifts and expect it to make everything all right just so
sleep at night. I have to watch over my sister and brother now, and I
teach them to take handouts from people like you, people who think they
their way out of anything."
comes to realize she can never begin to make things right. Or, so she
Life has a
changing perceptions and convictions, so when unexpected events bring
her full circle
back into the kids' lives, redemption turns out to be yet another
as these very different worlds intersect.
will anticipate that The Songs of My
Family is about moves towards recovery. The high degree of
racial and social
inspection, however, reveals the kinds of connections which are
bringing two disparate groups together through a shared tragedy that
with it new opportunities as well as grief.
story lies in how these cultural and social disparities come to light
the needs of Myra to make amends and the kids to stay together as a
even though orphaned. As readers pursue a mixed bag of experiences that
together under unusual circumstances, they will find within the
family connections that can be formed from shared adversity and
explores many questions about family make-up, connections, and stormy
relationships that ebb and flow with the tides of Myra's life and the
children's future prospects.
novels about family change, growth, loss, and evolution will find The Songs of My Family a powerful tale.
It also deserves recommendation to book clubs exploring issues ranging
ethnic differences and perspectives to family make-up and recovery
Return to Index
To See God
Bruce J. Berger
Black Rose Writing
978-1-68513-157-9 $22.95 Paper/$6.99 ebook
To See God is a novel about faith, divine
missions, and a quest for
truth which arises when a devout Greek Orthodox nun experiences a
informs her that her black grandnephew in America is the second coming
completes a trilogy, it's recommended that newcomers pursue the prior
before embarking on this final conclusion to an epic spiritual quest.
distance bring together a family divided as the story introduces new
conundrums, the possibility and impact of miracles, and underlying
about God's purpose and mystery.
will find these thoughts engrossing and captivating adjuncts to the
and emotional quandaries faced by each character as they struggle to
both themselves and God's vision.
"There are many venerated icons of Jesus..." This
examination shakes preconceived notions of how Jesus might re-appear
countenance he might assume, in the process also shaking both spiritual
social presumptions about the Second Coming and its incarnation.
Christian beliefs and interests clash and force social, legal,
emotional quandaries and confrontations, readers will find themselves
inspecting their own teachings and ideals about life and the nature of
To See God represents not just a process
of acknowledgment, but
discovery on many different levels as the characters interact, share a
that leads to mourning and redemption, and ultimately consider the dual
importance and validity of Jewish and Christian family and faith.
"Are we not living proof of God’s story?"
To See God certainly is. It is highly
recommended for spiritual
readers—especially those who familiar with the prior books in the
will find this concluding volume thought-provoking, essential reading.
Return to Index
978-1948598590 $17.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Witchy Illusions is set in the 1500s and
follows the trial of
fifteen-year-old Mademoiselle Ambrosine, accused of witchcraft. Readers
expect that events will come from her perspective will find the first
surprise is that one Barthélemy de Chassenée, her lawyer, is actually
participant and observer of events. He employs a first-person
prowess to bring this world to life ... albeit, from the afterlife.
(especially given its serious subject) is an undercurrent of joviality
runs through dialogues and encounters as the protagonist interacts with
post-living beings and reviews the circumstances of his life and demise:
it is: Monsieur Chassenée, you are dead.”
“You no longer kill time, so to speak, among the living. You have become a specter like me, a ghost. Death has struck you down, my friend. You have acted in your last play, at least as a living being. As the saying goes, la farce est jouée.”
“Oh, dear God!” I said.
“Révigny shook his head in mock sadness. “He can’t help.”
As events of
witchcraft accusation, the resulting trial, and the social and cultural
of beliefs surrounding witches during these times comes to life,
produces a wonderful, evocative story that reflects on many historical
and experiences, embracing spiritual, social, and philosophical
“I’ll pause a moment and pose a question many have
pondered: if Satan
can act alone in causing any misery he chooses, why is he so eager to
I can only speculate and offer this theory. It’s probably more fun planning and then making mischief in the company of fellow believers than alone. And what more delightful venue for a being who embodies ultimate evil than a drunken orgy?"
historical fact head-on in a delightful exploration that presents a
young woman, a lawyer who sometimes finds himself at a legal loss, and
portrait of inevitability about the outcome of a trial that then takes
satisfying twists and turns into arenas of the unexpected.
elements will delight readers of historical fiction, they also create a
dance between the drama of fictional accounts and the reality of the
This will attract readers who may know little about this era, but will
comes to life between the narrator's observations and the accused's
Witchy Illusions is a delightful survey
of demons, legal
determinations, illusions and realities, and belief systems under
It is highly
for libraries seeking exemplary examples of how history and its
influences can come to life under the right pen, reaching beyond its
audiences to those who are simply looking for entertainment. This
appreciate the surprises and insights that unfold a sense of magic with
thought-provoking material suitable for book club discussions.
Return to Index
The 7 Secret
David J. Muchow
books on startups have swamped the market that readers might wonder
need for yet another. David J. Muchow cultivates a different approach
in The 7 Secret Keys to Startup Success: What
You Need to Know to Win that sets his book apart from
titles about startup operations.
For one: he
identifies, early on, the choices of supportive partners that must be
reinforce the startup's position and role. These range from partners to
and accountants. Accompanying advice tells how to best utilize these
to form the type of company and employee situations that best support
moves to risk management, examining the nature of a business's risk,
identify and evaluate the risks, and providing examples of common
real-world experiences of risks that led to disaster.
and protecting intellectual property to legally managing money and
liability in the process of building a new business, David J. Muchow
the kinds of hard development questions that many competing business
over. He also takes a more comprehensive view of the startup process
books in the field, that tend to concentrate on the usual subjects like
marketing and finance.
because Muchow brings decades of practical and broad
experience to a wide
range of subjects, being a serial CEO, corporate lawyer, inventor,
former prosecutor, and a faculty member for Law, Business, and
at Georgetown University.
lies in the book's adventure component, unusual in a business title.
Dad, Poor Dad, it’s entertaining to read, with a continuing
after each chapter that illustrates the principles in the chapter. The
adventure involves Professor Scooter Magee, who travels around in his
Austin Healey convertible fixing troubled startups. Along the
fights off mob figures and falls under the spell of a mysterious femme
fatale. Think: Professor Harrison Ford in Raiders
of the Lost Ark
meets Silicon Valley.
acknowledging the chaos and promise that invades the startup's new
vision, Muchow adds practical real-world advice and experiences that
entrepreneurs away from the typical sinkholes that would challenge or
their new venture from the start.
and candid; from new routines to instigate to considering the peril in
seeing the bigger picture as a myriad of smaller challenges test new
and their leaders: "You must be able
to focus while also knowing what’s going on around you that might
how can you do this when they’re contradictory goals? There are ways
need to build this into your company’s DNA by adopting the right
The 7 Secret Keys to Startup Success: What You Need
to Know to Win
does not guarantee startup success. It does
identify common pitfalls and how to avoid them to lead a business from
uncertainty onto rock-solid ground.
contemplating a new startup, and business libraries catering to them,
The 7 Secret Keys to Startup Success:
What You Need to Know to Win just the right blend of specific
and overall advice on how to tailor a winning proposal and foster it to
Return to Index
Rodney G. Miller
Communication & Beyond deserves
inclusion in any collection
strong in higher education, educator biographies, or Australian social
innovative education processes. It synthesizes Rodney G. Miller's
and participation in the evolution of communication study and teaching
Australia, noting changing faculty personalities, educational mandates,
growth of communications studies programs and curriculum and their
both the university and Australia as a whole.
think that Communication & Beyond
would be of limited interest to those outside Australia, the book
process of developing collaborative programs that moved outside
university circles to affect educational progression in many other
society. Its examination of the evolution of sociological and
interpretations of communication documents will pertain to other
well. Its survey profiles changing institutional and governmental
affected learning strategies and ideals, improved education resources,
to institutional advancements that fostered innovation throughout the
The focus of
Communication & Beyond
bigger-picture thinking about the interactions between institutions of
and the community, tracing the impact of new programs and ideals as
from academic into public arenas.
expands into international circles to document the effects of QUT's
efforts on other segments of world society, making the importance and
this survey even more evident.
Communication & Beyond's
accessible and thought-provoking
examination of human communication studies translates to an effort that
be not just absorbed by, but debated in educational and community
the world, joining other notable explorations of higher education
impact in libraries ranging from university to education collections
Return to Index
Rodney G. Miller
Communication Essays provides seven
essays about the fine art of
building public debate, discourse, and communication. It is
key to both improving community interactions and fostering democratic
written from 1979 to 2010, pinpoint the foundations of building strong
communication processes, considering best practices that have been
from landmark businesses displaying success because of their successful
business circles to public debate and communication objectives is
an eye to exploring how some approaches break down and thwart the very
they intend to support: "When the
goal of communication is just to “get a message out,” stakeholders
intuitively that their views, feelings, or perspectives are not
provide important insights into various approaches to communication,
stylized methods to those which support principles of institutional as
individual advancement, compiling benchmark approaches that have proven
successful and superior.
through different communication protocols and methods in different
institutional, business, and public settings, communications students
majoring in business receive a powerful set of contrasts between
programs and their encouragement of the types of questions and
that further their organizational strength and purpose.
powerful survey that displays how systematic personal communication can
growth, change, and dialogues that promote organizational and community
alike. Each paper comes with bibliographic references that both support
essay and lend to further research and reading.
audience will appreciate these discussions, whether they are students
communication studies, business, government, or linguistics.
Return to Index
Terra Nova Books
interested in stories of terrorism and journalistic investigation that
into spiritual and psychological dilemmas alike will find The Dark Side of Grace both a compelling
draw on various levels and
a fitting adjunct and sequel to the previous A
with a terrorist bomb that sends reporter Kevin Pitcairn and his love
a search for answers, The Dark Side of
Grace introduces its story with the backdrop of the state's
This injects the welcome dose of a sense of place and atmosphere before
drama begins with a sudden explosion that pulls apart this quiet
countryside: "A huge, gray cloud cascaded up
directly ahead of them, towering against the idyllic blue skies,
carpet of snow-covered land, and brilliantly backlit mountains. It
surreal—a perfect landscape scarred by what was clearly a plume of
are unexpected, keeping readers both wondering and absorbing a
personality whose ability to find humor and meaning in even great
one of the strengths and commanding forces of the novel: "Pitcairn
could not help but laugh. It was an insane moment which
brought with it a release. “When you’ve seen the humor, you’ve seen the
he reminded himself as he turned to watch the billowing cloud. Already
fringes were beginning to dissipate and feather off into the morning
As the story
into spiritual realms, from discussions of making amends to inspecting
ideal of Grace which injects moral, ethical, and spiritual dilemmas
Pitcairn's job and choices ("...how
can you make it right when you’ve killed someone?"), it
different levels that make it impossible to say that it's the usual
the motivations of its characters to not just solve problems, but
the religious and moral motivations in the fabric of their lives, The Dark Side of Grace crafts adventures
and encounters which lead characters and readers to debate the nature
redemption, good and evil, and the essential ingredient of prayer in
discovering better choices and truths in everyday adversity.
book discussion groups centering on the importance of prayer and
living will find plenty of food for thought as events unfold to test
of how Christian belief incarnates in the decisions and choices of man.
"Our lives are prayer being lived."
of a novel that appears with the trappings of a thriller but moves
realms of social and political enlightenment as well as Christian
concepts makes The Dark Side of Grace highly
recommended for Christian readers seeking deeper inspections than
reads usually offer.
addressing the lasting impact of PTSD or the healing process of faith
posttraumatic growth, The Dark Side of
Grace will prove not only riveting on an entertainment
level, but hard to
put down as it winds through issues of enlightenment, faith, recovery
trauma, and better living.
Return to Index
$26.99 Hardcover/$14.99 Audio CD/$13.99 Kindle
Disabilities Act reshaped the face of access in America; but until now,
impact on generations pre- and post-ADA has received relatively little
This is why Disability Pride is such a notable
landmark examination, and why any library strong in disability issues
include it in their collection. Ben Mattlin, himself disabled, notes
social, economic, and political influences that define "success" as
well as "disability" and "achievement."
to not just historical developments and social change, but the
clichés surrounding the perception of disability provides quick (and
brutal) condemnation of the facets of society that would either condemn
overly praise the disabled community for attempting to live life at its
hard questions of privilege and the influence of gender, sex, and
status in the disability mix:
"How you define yourself in a world full of
challenges can be vitally important. But your outcome depends, too, on
circumstances, your resources. Can you afford the supports you need to
good life? And if you can afford them, do you have access to them?"
'disability pride' of necessity involves the kind of blunt inspection
likely make readers uncomfortable as they examine their own perceptions
ability, disability, and what constitutes pride: "I
inadvertently picked up on a kind of disability code that was
common then: minimize the impact, hide it, sweep it aside as a mere
detail—and get on with your life. This, I see now, was the opposite of
does the impact of the ADA to cut across gender and class status to
community to not just enter mainstream America, but take fuller
its possibilities, receive such attention as in Disability
social inspection, contrast of experiences of different generations of
individuals, and the ADA's role in changing the hearts and minds of an
nation, Disability Pride provokes
kinds of discussions and insights that should appeal widely to reading
and those debating generational differences in disability experiences.
profiles of a wide-ranging series of individuals, it becomes evident
is no homogeneity among disabled people. The group's very diversity
that its needs, experiences, and perceptions differ widely.
the melting pot of the disabled and abled community alike, with the ADA
heart of new promise and potential for future generations:
"The more we make friends with our disabilities and
come to value,
even cherish, our existence, the easier that path may become for other
people...The ADA empowered many of us to dream of such a reality. To
fully inclusive society where unramped stairs and stares of pity are
of a vile past, known only in history books. Thirty-plus years on,
of that change has already started happening."
beginning. Disability Pride should
take center place in any discussion of past, present, and future
actions and perceptions of the disabled community as a whole.
Return to Index
In Dominant Species, love and death run too
closely to high technology and danger for the likes of well-trained
Dave Brank and his lover Emily Lennox. Having survived a terrible
confrontation, they can't begin to relax and heal before the next
challenge—North Korea's confiscation of genetically engineered
dinosaurs from a
secret lab. Their intelligence is growing by leaps and bounds,
mankind with a singularity that is far from the usual computer-driven
high-tech components marry well in the story that features not just the
high-octane action of a thriller, but the ethical and moral dilemmas
face as the creators of something they no longer can predict or control.
inclusion of action and quandaries based on this consideration of the
the creator in destroying intelligent creatures makes Dominant
Species a standout. The story captures not just the levels
of human concerns and individual pursuits of special interests, but the
perspectives of the creatures themselves as they experience a sea
moving from primitive response to calculated reasoning: "Vulcan
let out a hiss, barring them from attacking. Staring down
at the cluster of humans his primitive instincts gave way to more
abstract thought patterns. He formed a plan."
human and animal perspectives allows for an intriguing mix of elements
the typical thriller format of international struggles and the sci-fi
of a genetic engineering experiment that proves more successful and
its creators ever could have imagined.
cat-and-mouse game of survival into political and thriller components
readers engaged on many different levels. The contrast between horror,
injections of humor, and overlay of social and political inspection
a story that operates nicely as a dance between sci-fi possibilities
multifaceted, thoroughly absorbing action read that moves through a
dilemma with the precision of a thriller, the special interests of a
international intrigue, and the ethical quandaries of a creation that
beyond any predictable progression.
works that operate as both horror and sci-fi reads will relish the
action-packed progress of Dominant
Species and its ability to capture and hold attention through
unpredictable scenarios and developments. These also will spark
debates in book club circles.
Return to Index
Love Story Never Told
Story Never Told: Liberating Jesus and Mary from Christianity should
mainstay in any Christian collection not because it explores the usual
contentions of Christian history; but because it defies many of these
Its controversial message
won't be for every
Christian—but it should be, because within its challenge of Church
the extreme efforts made over history to rewrite the image of Jesus the
lies an intention to place Jesus in the kind of perspective that makes
more of a spiritual figurehead:
to understanding Jesus, the single most important question humanity has
to ask is, “What did this young man find within him that he was willing
sacrifice everything for the sake of sharing it?” If only Christians
this one question, without supplying it with a two-thousand-year-old
biblical answer that he was a “Messenger of God”, they would have
entirely different Jesus - one more
alive and vibrant
than he who hung on the cross."
Vibrant, uplifting, and
filled with reworkings of
traditional Christian history, The
Greatest Love Story Never Told indeed walks the dangerous
revisionary works in challenging some of the most closely-held legends
From Mary Magdalene's real
role as the wife of Jesus and
one of his apostles to her very human broken-heartedness over his
and the roots of why he was envisioned as rising from death after three
days, The Greatest Love Story Never Told
only adopts a broader perspective in re-interpreting the life of Jesus,
does so with fiery passion.
This often translates to
condemnations of not just Church
doctrine, but challenges to the form of history that it created in the
not God, but its own special interests.
Many of these passages will
offer much food for thought
in other ways, envisioning possibilities that could have stemmed from
they were interpreted and presented differently: "...there
is no Christianity without Mary and her internalization
of Jesus’ truth. If Mary Magdalene had been a man, in all likelihood
Christianity would have replaced that of Jesus’."
By now, it should be evident
that, inherent in the
controversial reworking of Christian history, there is enlightenment in
discovery of a living man who was something even more intriguing than
mystical figure the Church created from his life.
willing to consider this book's
revolutionary and outspoken revisionist approach to Christian history
it sparks not only debate and food for thought, but a different, more
appreciation for the path Jesus walked.
Libraries appealing to
Christian readers and thinkers
will find The Greatest Love Story Never
Told: Liberating Jesus and Mary from Christianity essential
groups interested in different views of how Christian fact and fancy
The book encourages reflection and debate as it forms an unusual
Jesus' life and the way it was taken over and interpreted by the
interests of a Church undertaking to cement its power in the world.
Return to Index
Tango, Not a
War: Dancing with Type 1 Diabetes
Agua Fria Publishing
9798985236705 $14.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
It's a Tango, Not a War: Dancing with Type 1 Diabetes doesn't dance around the subject of staying healthy with Type 1 diabetes. It engages readers with the promise of action and success, blending humor with practical lifestyle change recommendations that support both the emotional and physical process of adjusting to a diabetes diagnosis.
This is the
ideally would accompany initial diagnosis. It takes the feel of a war
the equation, instead pursuing the idea that diabetes offers not just
challenges, but new opportunities for building a better life.
why blood sugars go up and down (sometimes against logic or efforts to
stable) to addressing the progressive challenges of the disease, Karen
promotes the idea of a tango over a struggle.
This perspective alone lends the book an unusual flavor as it taps into the myths and realities of a new diagnosis and offers food for thought that belies the inevitability of decline that such a diagnosis used to portend:
"Another myth you may have bumped up against is the
that because you have diabetes you are likely to be depressed.
long been linked with all types of diabetes and may affect
support from a professional who knows depression and what to do about
essential. Meanwhile—all of us have emotional responses to life
and a number of those are associated with diabetes self-care. A
diagnosis to investigate is Diabetes
Distress...Diabetes distress is not a mental illness. And
much more frequently than clinical depression among people with
the effects of obtaining a Fitbit to encourage physical activity, the
of finding and building a diabetes support team, and adjusting to life
diabetes, she also adds her own life experiences into the mix.
dramatic to point out that her experiences and book could even save
case in point is when she had to educate a physician about the signs
was entering a dangerous state that could lead to coma and death: "My diabetes educator and the ER nurse
saved my life. My father and the unwise doctor might have unwittingly
die. In crucial moments, even near coma, I spoke up for myself. I am
I knew what to say and was able to convince the unenlightened doctor in
This is just
example of why It's a Tango, Not a War
tops many of the other books about diabetes, a new diagnosis, and its
progressive effects. Readers who absorb Meadows' own dance will find
lessons on not just adjustment, but finding renewed purpose and better
discussion groups interested in health, recovery, and daily wellbeing
plenty to talk about in a book that provides the blueprint to better
with diabetes. It's as much a book about personal empowerment and
self-awareness as it is about managing the disease.
Return to Index
Lose It For
Amy Newman Shapiro, RD, CDN, CPT
978-0-9886071-4-9 $19.95 Kindle $7.99
The second updated edition of Lose It For The Last Time is the first and last diet-oriented book a reader should consult in the effort to lose weight. Last, because it will prove definitive, to many, eliminating the need to add more diet instructions to one's personal library.
been written either promoting specific diets or covering why diets
long-term, but Lose It For The Last Time's encouragement of
self-assessment to determine
eating habit triggers and how to change them goes the extra mile by
readers adopt new habits that become part of an ongoing lifestyle
this book was published almost a decade ago. The many scientific and
technological advancements which have taken place since dictated the
an updated edition incorporating these tools and changes, making this
edition a suitable replacement for any library's aging, outdated copy
blueprint allows readers to read,
reread, think about and
implement the approaches in each chapter of Lose It
For The Last Time, embarking
on a weight loss program designed to last a lifetime.
who worked with the author accompany specific insights into unhealthy
healthy behaviors accompanying food choices, exercise, and more.
Shapiro adds her own reflections, experiences teaching others, and
weight loss efforts to reinforce the messages.
self-help book that goes beyond 'diet' and which will appeal to anyone
for a lifelong learning opportunity for adjusting habits for permanent
weight loss books that are accessible and involving will find Lose It For The Last Time an excellent
choice promising lasting results.
Return to Index
Justine Johnston Hemmestad
Antimony and Elder Lace Press
978-1-955329-10-1 $9.99 ebook
Macbeth's Spinners is based on ancient
Greek and Roman legend, opens
in 11th century Scotland, and poses a "what if" fantasy that uses the
foundations of Shakespeare's classic, twists it in an unusual manner,
contrasts witches, Apollo, and the gods with the affairs and
anticipate, from this literary and legendary coverage, a vivid story
set on the
playground of new possibilities. What they won't expect is the
psychological depth that examines not just the trappings of legends and
purposes, but romance and deeper revelations:
"Apollo, however, could not accept the freedom in
he did not know what it meant to be unhindered by the weight of
knew how beleaguered he was, for they could feel it in the air like
sharpened teeth. Little did he know that they saw him for who he was – vain, self-consumed, and
rather than the benevolently healing deity he projected himself to be."
and power struggles play out, Macbeth's Spinners poses the literary and
inspections of men, witches, and women who vie not just for power, but
control over their lives and destinies.
Hemmestad writes with a vivid attention to detail, capturing motive and
within these interactions:
"Writing about him was the only way to calm her
mind and separate
her fears from his manipulative grasp. She wrote faster than time
Apollo’s wickedness, her memory of his love, and even her fear of him.
to be honest, for writing equaled truth. Her script would be added to
of Life with a single hope of her heart; her truth would register in
moment of time. The most powerful spell she had ever cast was written
Christian canon long before, and therefore she had used the
power in writing to spread wings she did not have to create."
power seems inevitable (and impossible to vanquish) to women who rise
them to control of their own destinies, the story excels in vivid
revelations about the nature of these individual strengths: "...she knew instantly that as long as
she ran from Apollo, as long as she sought places to hide from him, she
never be free, and her captivity would be self-imposed, a
product of his
To call Macbeth's Spinners a fantasy alone would
be to do it a grave injustice. Its multifaceted plot, clashes between
women, and traditional ways of viewing and acting, and its quest into a
torn between a god and a man provides much food for thought. This lends
particularly well to book club discussions about power plays, different
of love and freedom, and the injection of legend and fantasy into a
literary and psychological depth in a story that stands out from the
legend-base fantasy pursuits will find Macbeth's
Spinners a worthy addition which should reach a broad
audience with its
tale of enchantment and cross-purposes.
Much in the
Shakespeare twists his stories to provide unexpected and
conclusions, so Hemmestad creates a final turn of perspective that
won't see coming.
Return to Index
The Maid and
Little Creek Press
Website/ordering link: http://littlecreekpress.com/bookstore/
True crime history
readers in general and Wisconsin residents in particular will relish
and explorations of The
Maid and the Socialite: The Brave Women
Behind Green Bay's Scandalous Minahan Trials. In the milieu of Green Bay’s early 19th
century's politics and attitudes toward women, Drews’ powerful
voice, presented with the drama of fiction and the compelling research
traces the stands of an illiterate maid and a college-educated
against the city’s celebrated surgeon and closet abuser, Dr. John R.
At the end of the 19th
century, syphilis was on the rise.
Nobody was immune to its touch, whether the rich and famous, artists
politicians, or ordinary people. What does this have to do with crime?
Because it was wielded as a
sword of accusation and abuse
by the socially celebrated Dr. John
R. Minahan, who accused two women of the disease in order to stifle
intentions to expose him publicly for the abusive monster he was.
Cenefelt and college socialite Mollie Bertles had little in common
their connection to Dr. Minahan and their intention to speak out. Turns
they also shared the dangerous eye of his intention to destroy them,
in further determination on their parts to speak out and tarnish his
with the truth—even if it cost them their jobs and positions in life
this story with the drama of fiction and the compelling research of
progression, liberally quoting from archival records, letters, and
documents to trace the progression of each woman as she makes her
also explores the fate that brought them from disparate statuses to
wrenching experience both during the abuse and in its aftermath.
with a powerful storyteller's voice from the opening lines, drawing in
who may usually eschew historical nonfiction or true crime's tendency
formula approaches to facts: "The
Green Bay, Winona & St. Paul train screeched to a halt on
January 9, 1893,
its cowcatcher encased in ice, and Mary Cenefelt stepped off, a small
in each hand. She had lived on her sister’s charity for three months,
had returned to the cities of Fort Howard and Green Bay seeking
hope. She had no way of knowing the hell that awaited her."
these women's' experiences and decisions to pursue justice that led to
courts and shook the foundations of typical legal proceedings, she
the times and the back-and-forth contentions that destroyed reputations
tested the justice system alike: "Attorney
Martin insisted that Dr. Minahan was entitled to a fair trial before
unbiased jurors. Attorney Olin said he would consider the proposition
proceeding with eleven. Since the civil case was expensive to conduct,
Hastings said he was not ready to call a mistrial. Instead, he would
the rest of the jurors before he made a ruling."
behaviors," society duties, overt and unspoken rules, and the impact of
these women's' decisions on family life and reputation alike are
an eye to revealing the true courage and costs of their determination
the system and their own life trajectories to stop Dr. Minahan by any
her husband and her boys. Twenty-six-year-old Mary sees little chance
happiness in her future. As pressure on the two of them comes from all
and walks of life, Mollie and Mary find themselves facing ruin and
questioning their ability to continue pursuing the truth: "Her only option was to yield to Minahan’s demand
and have Dr.
Fairfield burn her signed statement."
social and political connections swirl throughout the story as a
look at the then-small-town atmosphere that linked various levels of
and resulted in backroom agreements and political entanglements.
Mary feels trapped into accepting Minahan's terms. Mollie was an optimist and an early feminist. Yet, against all odds, these two disparate women persevered, and ultimately won.
Drews focuses on the emotional and physical impact of abusive behavior, revealing these aspects with precise insight and description that could prove triggers to modern readers who have experienced similar circumstances in modern times.
entrapment to a stormy divorce that shook Green Bay at all levels,
the time to capture the atmosphere and impact of the times.
history is absolutely compelling in its progression, social inspection,
contrast between two women from very different walks of life who take
courageous stands against Green Bay's famous surgeon and closet
abuser, Dr. J.R. Minahan.
strong in either true crime or Wisconsin history will be the logical
for this story, it ideally will receive additional attention from book
interested in pursuing topics of justice, abuse, and social and legal
influences on courage.
fought the same man and won, confronting not just one man, but an
structure designed to support his reputation and actions.
To call The
Maid and the Socialite
work of historical true crime alone would be to do it an injustice. Its
of courage and perseverance against all odds will give modern women
thought and encouragement for fighting their own abusers.
Return to Index
Documents in American History
Craig Kaplowitz, Editor
Schlager Group Inc.
9781935306726 $395 print & ebook
Milestone Visual Documents in American History
is a study in visual
images that helped shape America, and contains multiple volumes under
that explore these visual impacts over the decades.
1540-1858, the second covers 1859-1940, and the third moves from 1940
Entries arranged chronologically by year follow the same uniform
Fact Box, Document Image, and Analysis. This makes it easy to move
decades with cross-comparative attention to details between them that
scholarly study and ready understanding of their connections and
venture is so weighty and expensive is that it represents a vast
visual materials to highlight the heart of visual images that have
and interpreted American experiences from the country's inception.
More than a
of such images, the authors take the time to analyze and place within
timeline the images' creators, purposes, perceptions, and choices in
American history. This lends especially well to high school to
classroom discussions on a wide range of topics, from American
representation and depiction to the background and intentions of each
commentary both places the image(s) in context and allows students an
analytical insight into the process of capturing and displaying history
all its inherent prejudices, influences, and outcomes.
Kaplowitz selected each image for its individual strength as well as
opportunity for classroom discussion. Of particular note is the
prowess that not just invites, but compels students to consider how
claims about American historical events are influenced by images and
to their creation.
study complete the educational prowess of this collection by prompting
to look beyond the book's representations to consider viewer influences
historical events and their depiction.
references for further reading include books, articles, and websites.
additionally enhance the wide-ranging educational impact of this
may be; but
any library or school with a special interest in engaging students in
process of better understanding how visuals affected historical facts
analysis, and how they reflect both the creator's focus and the
of the times, will find Milestone Visual
Documents in American History a key acquisition well worth
its price tag.
There is no
be placed on critical thinking development. Milestone
Visual Documents in American History's added value in this
it a standout.
Return to Index
My Days with
Paul Dunion, EdD
My Days with Emma: A Soulful Path to Elderhood
holds the trappings
of a memoir combined with the spiritual reflection of an inquiring
mind, and is
a moving account of a mentor relationship between a senior wise woman
and a younger
man contemplating aging and life.
years ideally involves a form of inquiry that re-assesses remaining
choices made past, present, and future. My
Days with Emma solidifies and highlights this inquiry
process by following
the author's journey into being an elder; reviewing the ambiguities of
changing relationships between men and women; and considering the
purposes of maturity and growth during later years.
surveyed the spiritual progression of such an effort; but, more so than
most, My Days with Emma represents
journey not because of its subject, but because of its presentation.
raw inspection of the process of developing compassion, gratitude, and
of the special opportunities of this time of life: "We
can stop taking life for granted in stage four. We might drop
through levels of feeling we have been gifted by life, let-ting go of
attitude that life owes us."
of the difference between his efforts and other memoirs is the
of not just the process, but the difficult challenge of achieving
clarity: "...gratitude for a single
breath was not something I could easily access. It made sense to me
and, at the
same time, felt extremely foreign."
between this concept of 'soulful eldering' and books on aging which
how to inject power and prowess into one's revelations for future
clearly on the side of a more spiritual attitude towards not just
one's changing relevance to the world: "Soulful
eldering is not interested in arriving but rather in being devoted to
something larger than oneself."
potentially foreign place, tackling its possibilities and challenges
and with a spiritual flavor to psychological growth, and surveying how
"mature spirituality" unfolds and flowers, Paul Dunion has done the
work of outlining paths of new positivity, growth, and possibilities.
philosophical-minded readers interested in a different view on aging,
meaningful relationships between all ages, and elders who embark on a
"soulful path" to discovery will find the encouragement, ideas, and
insights in My Days with Emma offer
focus on opportunities which don't exist in most similar-sounding books
aging or spiritual enlightenment.
memoirs that hold the potential to reach widely outside the genre of
memoir or spiritual reflection will welcome the opportunity My Days with Emma brings to the
discussion table, and can easily recommend it to book clubs looking for
reflections that encourage soulful self-inspection.
Return to Index
My Husband Chose The
Homewrecker Over Me, Now What?
Yolanda Randolph & Roshonda N. Blackmon
Paperback: $17.99; E-book: $9.99; Hardcover: $20.00
The Homewrecker Over Me, Now What? makes a big promise to its
the start—the promise of recovery from heartache and betrayal in love:
I’ll take you through my own personal burn, sharing stories of my
maneuvering past my heartache and divorce in hopes that my story will
motivation for you to push past your pain and to focus on your healing."
It is a candid account about
being burned, confronting
bad choices and unintended good consequences, and the process of facing
betrayal and reconstruction. It features an eye to salvaging not just
financial life, but emotional connections to life, faith, and new
in love. The roller-coaster of emotions experienced during this journey
explored with a sassy, lively voice that reviews the peaks and valleys
infidelity and divorce.
The advice to fellow women
who are walking the same path
comes not from a psychotherapist or relationship expert, but one who
confronted her own heartbreak, illusions, healing, and recovery
Yolanda Randolph and Roshonda N. Blackmon explore all these elements
and more, following
what happens when a marriage breaks apart.
Many books on the market
seem to offer similar-sounding
approaches; but what sets My Husband
Chose The Homewrecker Over Me, Now What? apart from most
others is its
candid blend of memoir and self-help exploration, which adopts both a
determined tone and one that exposes all the raw moments of heartbreak
processes that strengthen the soul:
countless hours fighting to stay afloat, consoling the argument between
and that mean ole sour-hearted reflection in the mirror, and working
to allow myself to become the bitter, angry black woman whose husband
her. Let’s face it, heartache sucks! It’s that one thing that drags us
hair and knocks us down—locks a tight
grip on us as strong as gorilla glue."
From exes who, like ghosts, seem to "come back again and again" to haunt and thwart recovery to moving on to the tests of character and misunderstandings that emerge from different situations when one attempts to lead a Christian-based life, Randolph and Blackmon pull no punches in either Randolph's candid assessment of herself or the situations that draw her towards or away from her foundation of faith.
Another difference lays in
the chapter about kids and the
impact of infidelity, heartbreak, and emotional currents in the home.
receive the astute admonition that "...kids
need time to process, too, after breakups, changes, and divorce. There
void in their lives, too, just as much as there was one in my life." The
story goes on to expand into the scenario of a stepfather also
departing: "First their father is gone and
this! The stepfather may not be the biological father, but his presence
still missed around the house when he’s no longer around."
The in-depth details about
the household impacts of such
events offers readers much food for thought about the adjustments and
between all family members as healing takes place, and is an invaluable
the curative process that's often missed in books about divorce and
The result is a
Christian-based examination of marriage,
lapses, recovery, and redemption that places the onus of strength on
who faces a home-wrecking situation and emerges from it to forge a new
just for herself, but her whole family.
Libraries strong in
Christian stories of redemption, revitalization,
and rejuvenation will find the honest tone and practical insights into
recovering from a breakup offers not just much food for thought, but
discussion points that Christian reading groups can raise and learn
Return to Index
Deborah Goodrich Royce
Post Hill Press
$27.00 Hardcover/$31.95 Audio cd/$9.99 Kindle
Reef Road is a novel of murder and
intrigue with the added
attraction of surprises and twists of disparate lives brought together
death. In most circumstances, such a plot would deem the book's genre
'murder mystery,' but to do so would be a literary injustice, because Reef Road is the perfect example of
literary and psychologically-driven action that takes suspense to a
introduced to "the wife" in a prologue set in 2020, where two teen
surfer boys breaking all the rules with an illicit outing at Reef Road
onto a severed hand on the beach.
discovery leads from third-person experience to a first-person
narrative in the
next chapter. It introduces the specter of Noelle, who was "marked for
death" by a killer when she was only 12 years old. This event has
many lives, and these play out in chapters that follow, moving between
perspectives and experiences to draw intriguing links between
wide the ripple of untimely death will spread to affect others: "I grew up under the shadow of a dead
girl—a girl I had never met, whose family had not heard of me, a family
not know if I passed them on the street, nor would they, in turn, know
the death of this girl long before I was born has clung like pollen to
Noelle's fate lends a fearsome resonance to a life that is synthesized
a writer's thoughts, a young woman who faces her own missing family,
events on Reef Road, past and present, which reach out to change
movement from past to present and the delicate dissection of these
creates a thought-provoking literary mystery that both tugs on the
and piques the mind.
Royce is especially skilled at crafting the kinds of characters whose
only dovetail unexpectedly, but entwine unusual tendrils of influence
paths that at first feel inevitable: "Linda’s
unseemly outburst with me that night helped her to see that the path
she was on
was untenable. And I was the gateway to a different path. At least I
gateway for Linda to begin to consider that she would be able to forge
movements between first- and third-person descriptions of events create
satisfyingly compelling contrast between observation and experience
develops a "you are here" atmosphere and then steps back to place the
experience in perspective.
on both a psychological and mystery level to juxtapose intrigue with
revelations in a manner that introduces many surprises and insights
won't see coming.
is a novel
of psychological suspense and intrigue, cemented not only by the sense
that is Reef Road, but characters that revolve around past and present
with no guarantee that the future will prove any different.
literary reads that incorporate vivid characters and situations where
no going back from the brink of discovery will find Reef
Road a compelling vision of "what if" and
"why" as the wheel of destiny moves between monsters and men.
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The Air Fryer Cookbook
You Live Right Publishers
978-1-7366756-1-8 $19.99 Paper/$8.99 Kindle
Fryer Cookbook should be boxed along with one's new air fryer
as a basic
manual to both using the fryer and linking its cooking method to
Specific meals, such as
breakfasts or snacks, accompany
dishes such as desserts. The latter may not immediately come to the
mind of a
new owner of an air fryer, but needs to be explored as part of the
wide-ranging possible applications.
The introduction begins with
a discussion of which fryer
accessories should be added to one's kitchen tools to expand the air
This moves into a discussion of spices, then a chapter of breakfast
form a foundation of knowledge for the different uses of the air fryer,
baking muffins to making "perfect" grilled sandwiches.
Rather than attempting an
all-encompassing cookbook, each
dish is designed to profile the different types of cooking possible in
fryer. Appealing, full-page color photos of finished dishes add visual
to the ways in which the air fryer excels over many conventional
Chapters move on to complete
meals with the same
attention to methods of cooking, nutritional content, and Mona's own
shopping for ingredients or adding value to the recipes.
should ideally be presented to a new air fryer
owner, along with the device. It's the easiest way of getting started
and pursuing all the different options the air fryer holds for
producing a wide
range of dishes.
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Hell is An
ASIN: B08HTSQNWR $2.99 Kindle
The title of
Johnson's book might lead some to think this is another basic primer on
economic terminology, history, and structure; but What
the Hell is An Economy? offers much more than a cursory
of government and banking processes. It makes the case for a
economy, pointing out the pitfalls of the historical direction of
course of this
exploration, Johnson (an engineer self-educated in finance and
reveals not just answers to questions about economic direction and
but insights into the steps that consumers can make to protect their
through better understanding and decision-making.
self-education resulted not just in personal empowerment and
this book lends to its accessibility by a far broader audience than the
business reader or economics student.
prior reader familiarity with (or even an interest in) economic
subjects. He goes
beyond translating economic terms, creating lively discussions that
survey such potentially confusing subjects as bitcoin:
bitcoin as a ledger, a digital record of transactions, with this ledger
on thousands of independent computers. The ledger stores a perfect
record of an
ever-growing list of all bitcoin transactions, keeping track of the
ownership of bitcoin from one owner to the next. It helps to imagine
bitcoins are stored in virtual lockboxes, where a “digital key” (a long
number) is used to mathematically transfer the bitcoin from one lockbox
another. Whoever possesses the digital key to open the lockbox owns the
And the definition of
money itself: "Money is anything that many believe
can be used to store and transfer wealth."
Whether it's bank transfers,
government spending and
borrowing, or investment funds under discussion, Johnson applies this
attention to detail, clarifying the processes and terms that allow
economic concepts complete access to all manner of business and
relationships and economic interactions.
The result is much more than
a primer of terms. It's a
wide-ranging, accessible discussion of the perils, pitfalls, and
management and economics that involves all levels of reader in better
understanding money management on individual, corporate, and
Containing a powerful
message promoting decentralization,
("The same unwinding that normalizes
interest rates will also push our economy back towards more
The decisions on the allocation of wealth will be made by the empowered
and not the few. It is the decentralized portions of the economy that
create the wealth that the centralized portions require for
that will allow us to recharge the dollar wealth battery."),
second edition of What
the Hell is An Economy? ideally
should reach discussion groups interested in understanding the notion
economic centralization and decentralization and its influences on
compassion, and social programs alike.
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Lefty & Righty: The Windy City
The Adventures of Lefty & Righty: The Windy
City is the
whimsical picture book story of socks that fall into an adventure when
escape the dryer to embark on a Chicago exploration. Where are they
a White Sox game, of course!
accompanies the socks through Chicago landmarks, from taking the Blue
through Jefferson Park to exploring Soldier Field, the Field Museum,
grabbing a water taxi.
of Chicago's highlights as the socks experience a fun day before the
And when it
socks and kids are in for a surprise.
choose The Adventures of Lefty &
Windy City for its geographic value will find the fictional
adventure wind nicely into the explorations of Chicago's milieu.
illustrations lend drama and visual attraction to Lori Orlinsky's
inviting leisure readers to learn about Chicago and baseball through a
odd eyes indeed.
this story for its attractive visuals or Chicago foundations will
story's inviting format, engaging rhymes, and the opportunity to teach
young about the Windy City, powered by the lively presence of two fun
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Ivan Lin and Stephanie Fu
town, he entrusts the care of his sprightly dog to the young girl and
father who live next door.
the dog, the child insists she can hold onto Bobo's leash tightly. But
not tightly enough, because Bobo escapes when a squirrel proves
him, leading child and father on an urban run. Robyn Ng's fun
capture the strangers that become involved in the effort to capture
As the girl
Bobo in and out of places that involve other people, unexpected
from strangers result from the small kindness she takes a moment to
both her hectic effort and the world around her.
will appreciate the zany story of a dog walk gone awry. Dig deeper for
kernels of wisdom which make this story far more alluring for adult
participants who seek to instill in the very young an appreciation for
out kindness even in the midst of adversity.
well as libraries catering to elementary picture book readers, will
find Bobo's Wild Chase more than
story. It's an adventure in friendship, diversity, and giving that
profile, inter-generational discussions, and top recommendation.
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Healthcare Heroes ABCs: A Journey through the Alphabet with Your Healthcare Hero Team
$11.99 Paper/$26.99 Hardback/$2.99 ebook
plenty of children's
picture books about health and nutrition, but few focus on the
this care or the teamwork required to foster good health in patients of
ages. This is why Healthcare Heroes ABCs:
A Journey through the Alphabet with Your Healthcare Hero Team is a standout in the literature of
health information for kids.
takes on new life through an exploration that opens with the job of
anesthesiologists and ends with Z for the "zillions of other healthcare
heroes" that participate behind the scenes to foster well-being.
workers who work to match people with services to lactation consultants
help new moms learn how to feed their babies, a wide range of
is covered, from emergency care providers and counselors to teachers
color illustrations by Christina Michalos illustrate Courtney Booth's
exploration, providing warm images of links between providers and young
recipients of health care services.
absorb these messages about the wide variety of service providers and
efforts to keep people healthy additionally have a fine opportunity to
future careers in the industry—ones that move way from the traditional
than alphabet coverage, and also more than the usual narrowed focus on
particular kind of healthcare provider. Its ability to survey the range
services and workers that make up the healthcare team and industry
makes Healthcare Heroes ABCs an
review that even some adults will find educational as they read aloud
very young, as some of these service providers are relatively new.
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979-8520864127 $7.99 paper/$3.99 ebook
The Little Door is a coming-of-age YA
fantasy designed to attract
readers through vivid adventures. It opens with the punch of a
experience of drowning. The narrator realizes that she's dying, but
just as she
is about to succumb, a helping hand rescues her.
of this childhood accident usually resurfaces in dreams, but is also
her parents' bitter battles beyond her bedroom door. This time,
to let her nightmare affect her last day in junior high school, Rose is
a different kind of adventure in which growth and new opportunities are
on the horizon
... unless she drowns in events that shake her world and her perception
self, reality, and her future.
compelling fantasy which presents the world of Other-Siders, in which
Rose is a
curious human creature that stands out. The world of Mavarak doesn't
kindly to humans and the trouble they tend to bring, but Rose also
possibilities that appear through little doors to change all kinds of
and the nature of reality itself.
the growing connections between Rose and Rylan and the mission that
both takes the time to inject atmosphere with descriptions that cement
broader purpose of Rose's experiences with small details such as a meal
delicious new flavors.
Keepers and Guardians and Wood Dweller interests to a major snafu that
Rose to threaten the world by introducing Other-Siders that force the
Dwellers to leave their beloved village, Lynn creates a moving tale of
forces and special interests where Rose becomes the focal point of
confrontation, and change.
Much like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,
Rose's inadvertent influence upon this fantasy world changes her and
around her. Time moves differently in this milieu. Can Rose finish what
started ten years earlier?
messages about responsibility, choice, and moral and ethical behaviors
revolve around Rose's encounter with a strange new world adds to the
adventure component. This elements create a remarkably vivid, moving
highly recommended for young adult and adult fantasy readers alike.
contemporary examples of YA fantasy couched in bigger-picture thinking
find The Little Door just the
for book club and reading group discussions.
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Gary John Gresl
A Logger's Tale: An Origin Story is a
children's myth story that
revolves around 'Hodags' and the Northwoods legends surrounding them.
Wisconsin legend will attract a wide audience, from young followers of
myth and folklore to Wisconsin residents well familiar with the
the north woods who like vivid accounts of fantasy and magic.
added value of being a multi-personality. Some view it as a monster;
also can be something more. This emerges when a Logger becomes involved
Hodag and comes to realize its transformations as being something less
monstrous and more amazing.
Roberts provides enchanting, colorful illustrations based on her own
"encounters" with Hodags. These bring the fun story to life as young
readers and adult read-aloud companions follow the mystery of the Hodag
its connections to look-alike Loggers and seasonal lumberjack
stories about legends offer relatively one-sided representations. One
special pleasures in A Logger's Tale
(besides its Wisconsin atmosphere and roots) lies in its ability to
multi-faceted vision of both legends and how they evolve as it reveals
Loggers tackle the problem of the Hodags' tall tale legend and special
outstanding story especially recommended for libraries looking for
based on regional American environments and legends.
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Love is in the Air
Karen M. Bobos
Bobos Babes Ltd.
979-8-9859822-3-7 $17.99 Hardcover/$2.99 Kindle
is in the Air
is a Bobos Babes adventure picture book that excels in positivity and
It's set in the land of Harmony, where a variety of creatures interact
kindly manner—especially on Valentine's Day.
The three Bobos sisters are
helping their parents prepare
for the momentous occasion, and Alli the alligator nanny has come to
company one night while their parents celebrate.
A rollicking rhyme carries
the story, introducing kids to
a variety of supporting cast creatures with a quirky twist that brings
personalities to life: "Karl the
Crocodile was Ali the Alligator’s husband./He was the love of her
they were little baby hatchlings,/He dreamed of making her his wife."
Whimsical illustrations by
Jazinel Libranda capture the
dilemma faced by the siblings and their nanny when a perfume potion
embedded with a magic that turns good intentions upside down.
From singing swans to a king
and queen who are still in
love three children later, love is certainly in the air—and so is
Read-aloud adults who choose
this sparking picture book
will find many nights of adventure pleasure, between Libranda's vivid,
illustrations and the unexpected events that add a potent difference to
aura of love that pervades the kingdom.
collections seeking a fantasy
centered on proactive girls and magic will find much attraction in Love is in the Air's tale of mishaps,
redemption, and adventure.
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Forgotten Christmas Tree
Wagner's Needles, The Forgotten Christmas Tree
deserves year-round mention and should be included in any
collection seeking evocative seasonal stories that hold impact beyond a
singular holiday event. Its ultimate message of hope, perseverance,
bullying and poor self-image to achieve goals, and more will involve
book readers and their adult read-aloud companions in a saga that is
snowy Christmas tree illustrations to bring to life the story of a
tree that faces constant messages that he's not good enough: "The
other trees would tell him that he was too small and nobody would want
This frightened Needles. What would happen if no one brought him home
not to be neglected, forgotten, or left out of the festivities, and
strength carries him through many changes.
choose Needles, The Forgotten Christmas Tree
for read-aloud will find the story suitable for a number of nights of
A slow reading pace will assure that its many messages will be
the very young ("Would
he be forgotten and dry up and turn
brown, never to be decorated? Needles told himself, No! He would not be forgotten, and he would not
give up hope.").
While it may
tempting to view the story as a Christmas saga alone, in fact, Needles, The Forgotten Christmas Tree
deserves year-round recognition and feature as an important opportunity
kids to learn the foundations of positivity and differing perceptions
in the world.
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Mary A. Graves
Bowker Identifier Services
Nora, a Neanderthal girl is a historical
novel for young chapter
book readers. It recreates a day in the life of a Neanderthal girl Nora
cousin Runi, who lived more than 20,000 years ago in a cave with
injects what is known about Neanderthals and their times with a lively
fictional tone of action that helps young readers view this as a
adventure while absorbing prehistoric background history embedded in
also highlight this sense of adventure with realistic scenarios,
past to life in a tale that opens in a cave in Europe or Asia. The photos showcase
evidence of Neanderthal
life found at different Neanderthal sites. The first photo is
Cave where an anthropologist and his team dug up Neanderthal remains in
expedition. Colorful illustrations by Isabelle Arné pepper the tale to
a strong visual component that adds interest to the plot.
past and present events is nicely portrayed as detailed descriptions
Nora's world to life from the start:
"Nora feels a soft
on her face. She yawns, shivers, then snuggles down under
skins covering her. She sighs softly, opens her eyes, and looks up. Her
follow the sunlight slowly moving across the ceiling of the cave. She
mom adding wood to the fireplace nearby."
fine art of
scraping deer skins to a favorite meal of deer meat and chestnuts,
comes to life with descriptions that enhance a young reader's
the distant past.
is a rare
opportunity to absorb the Neanderthal world while enjoying Nora's
life. The tale represents the best merging of the worlds of fiction and
nonfiction, educating kids about prehistoric life and how Neanderthal
may have experienced it.
chapter books that pair entertainment and leisure reading value with
supportive foundation of anthropological science will welcome Nora, a Neanderthal girl's rare ability
to synthesize fiction and nonfiction in one fell swoop.
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ISBN: TBA $7.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
fantasy and paranormal adventures will find The
Wood Dwellers a fine sequel to the tale spun in The Little Door, where Rose faced an
unwanted summer vacation at
her grandparents' place in the isolated woods until magic entered the
magic continues and grows ... and so does Rose as the story opens 496
counting) after she left Mavarak. She is entering 10th grade at high
presumably will have much more on her plate than magical encounters.
the magic continues, as it is wont to do.
provide a recap of events so that newcomers won't be left entirely
given the strength of the events prior to this point, it's highly
that YA readers have a grounding in The
Little Door to achieve a fuller sense of the past precedent
that sets the
stage for Rose's continuing adventures.
great effort) "forced the thought of
the half-elf, half-human species—the Wood Dwellers—out of her head."
But she finds that one can take the extraordinary out of daily
not the soul. Once touched by magic, it has a tendency to be drawn to
predictably) Rose falls into another fantasy encounter in which the
beautiful village of Mavarak again pushes to the forefront of her life.
regain her lost fighting ability to support her reputation as a
lost when she became too human, too long ago.
wild ride is Drew, Rylan's younger brother who, at age 12ish, is there
her when the little door comes back to draw her yet again into another
her story with intrigue, eccentric characters, thoughts about wisdom
maturity, and a compelling progression that marries a coming-of-age
the observations and experiences of a girl on the cusp of realizing her
and the choices they bring.
the call for Rose to step into her role as a warrior to lead them to
Drew's involvement in a fantasy world that at times feels like a dream,
embarks on a mission that tests both her friendships and her special
story of maturity and purpose drives a tale replete in rebellion and
dilemmas faced by a teen who walks between two very different worlds.
a story that is vivid, compelling, and refreshingly realistic, driven
psychological growth as much as fantasy adventure, will find The Wood Dwellers crafts a mercurial
plot as compelling and involving as C.S. Lewis's classic The
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Libraries looking to make associative recommendations to this audience will find The Wood Dwellers a draw to Lewis fans seeking "more, please."The Wood Dwellers
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