June 2018 Review Issue
Mystery & Thrillers
Kindle: 978-1-938212-72-7 $4.99
EPUB: 978-1-938212-73-4 $4.99
Paperback: 978-1-938212-71-0 Price TBA
Chipless presents an uncertain and
strange utopian/dystopian future
world in which chips are placed in the brains of each infant to prevent
disease. Perhaps predictably, those with chip implants can ultimately
manipulated and ruled. When a young physicist discovers the truth
'health chips,' he also finds his life is threatened.
Amber is a
girl who is determined to help Kal escape from the forces threatening
both, and they embark on a journey to escape the city, armed with a
could change everything. This makes them of special interest to those
vested interest in subjugating humanity.
reach a place where they will be safe, they must journey through even
dangerous territories; and their high adventure, which involves leaving
dubious civilization of a protective but controlled city in an effort
safety elsewhere, may be an even more questionable venture than
forces that would control mankind.
rights to struggles over technology's use, Chipless
provides a host of scenarios that offer thought-provoking moments
throughout: "What you want to do will turn
with a chip into a marionette, even more than they are today. When we
this work, following that of our mentor, the first High Professor, we
do good. We aimed to shelter our people from the plagues of the world
to give them a healthy, good life. And look what you’ve done with
taken their freedom away by feeding their brains with lies! If I were
you how to change their memories as well, I would become a criminal
you. I won’t do it.”
that represents the bastion of civilization in The City vies with the
eliminating diseases and creating hope about the future survival of
and these elements are carefully wound into a gripping story of moral,
and social conundrums experienced by all the characters.
interesting perspective on a dying utopian community that attempts to
a very different realm, Freeland, with a choice of aggression or
serving as a model for change. They also receive an intriguing
adventure as Kal
and Amber journey through the countryside via rickshaw, take gambles,
their abilities to achieve the unimaginable in order to survive and
regain control of their memories and lives.
Chipless offers an engaging story line
that excels in unexpected
twists and turns; and while the tale doesn't end in a cliffhanger per
does conclude with an open-ended feel promising more.
fantasy who enjoy stories of societal and personal challenges to values
threats to survival emerge will appreciate the especially vivid
action of Chipless, which is
ultimately designed to make readers think about the roots of tyrannical
impulses and freedom. Chipless is very highly recommended both for its
strong characterization and a deeper action that revolves as much
ethical questions as it does upon individual choice.
Return to Index
Gambit is a tale which
opens with the Earth
threatened by cyber attacks, while sentient malware beings, the Bots,
their battle on Elthea's Realm, involving members of the Utopia Project
struggle for power and control.
land of Elthea mirrors and holds dangerous implications for the future
Earth, and so Philip Matherson and his team become involved in a
struggle to save more than one world in a vivid quest that will
please readers of the 2017 saga begun in Elthea's
device for immersing new and former fans than use of the first person
in all readers as the protagonist reflects on past, present, and future
conflicts, providing the personal angle that brings the story to life: "I often thought about her during quiet
moments like this, remembering all we had lost. A year ago our lives
of promise, a chance for a new beginning. But that had been shattered
terrible moment. Was I the cause, a fatal flaw in my soul, or could
another explanation for the darkness in my heart? Did our foe return,
unbeknownst to me, plant the seeds of destruction in my thoughts?"
ripped from his familiar world, transported to another realm to
special mission, and facing circumstances beyond his control and
Philip's relationship with Cassie has been assaulted. They can no
up the pieces, assimilate their experiences, and remain a couple. This
one of the potential tragedies explored in events that bring Philip to
brink of disaster in more than one way.
reflections and encounters impart a "you are there" feel to the story
line, giving it a robust and familiar feel that allows outside viewers
become immersed in events that would otherwise feel complicated.
personal revelations, fast-paced action, world-changing Bots, and
races; sci-fi and fantasy readers receive a story line that flows
both new arrivals and prior readers. Attention to detailed descriptions
conflicts between protagonist and the Bots create vivid moments
story line that intersect nicely with discussions of trust, love, and
compellingly absorbing saga that is full-faceted, hard to put down, and
with a nice juxtaposition of action and psychological insight.
seeking the kind of world-building chronicle that easily blends a
setting with personal transformation and achievement will relish
return to action in this second book of a growing Elthea's Realm series
concludes in a satisfyingly fashion, but leaves the door open for more.
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9780997448559 $16.95 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Awoken is a young adult fantasy
picks up where Fates Aflame stopped; so it's
especially recommended for
prior young fans who want a continuation of the tale. Despite this
important to point out that Fates Awoken is
designed to be a stand-alone
novel, so while author Anastasia's enthusiasts will welcome this
familiarity is not a requirement for newcomers.
War has been declared on Rayvenstar Castle
and Admiral Hawksford's team is sent to address the threats. Soon she
that the facts as presented to her don't support reality as she faces
of disparate personalities, the test of her powers as Elemental
circumstances which lead her to realize her affinity for magic is more
than she'd realized.
P. Anastasia employs the first person to
bring Valhara's world and impressions to life; and this is the first
to mention in a vivid fantasy saga that combines a traditional quest
story of a woman evolving into the powers of her world.
Another important note; this is clean, epic
reading. No heads will graphically roll; nor are there steamy scenes,
contributing to the enjoyment of a story that rests as much upon
self-inspection as on epic adventure.
Widely respected as a powerful Elemental
Guardian, Valhara finds not only her powers but her beliefs tested in
come, facing ice dragons, bloodmanes, and even more important tests of
and lies in the process of confronting everything she believes.
If all this sounds like heady reading for
young adults, it should be noted that mature teens already reading epic
stories will find nothing overly challenging about the language or
here. They merely invite YA readers to think about deeper issues
proving overly complex.
Having an epic adventure tempered by strong
characters, vivid fantasy threads, and personality clashes is always a
rare occasion, and Fates Awoken doesn't disappoint
in its ability to
gain sympathy for an already-strong woman who finds her powers sorely
Book 2 in the series crafts a rollicking
ride through political and physical threats compounded by the volatile
temperament of a king who demands that he be defended, yet too often
his own life. YA readers and many an adult fantasy fan alike will find Fates
Awoken a potent saga that proves hard to put down, firmly
Valhara's changing perceptions about her place in the world.
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Print: 978-0692105351 $12.95
Kindle: B07C756G8S $ 2.99
It used to
hard sci-fi enthusiasts and detective mystery readers were seldom on
the same page
when it came to leisure reads; but Steven Burgaur's Moon
Beam combines both fields and easily crosses genres with its
powerful story of intrigue and space discovery, proving that this
genres has become mercurial in nature.
loose on a lunar station, who lives for the fear she generates and
prey is the engineering team assigned to build the first lunar space
Add additional threat from a solar flare. Living and working in space
dangerous: that's why there are rules...all of which are about to be
in a most dangerous fashion.
salvo of circumstances, Moon Beam
promises tension, whether it be the psychological challenge of managing
women in a restricted environment; the physical test of surviving in
long periods of time; or the purpose of triaging risks for the greater
surveillance, terrorism, and a deadly killer's modus operandi blend
greater questions of high technology's ability to thwart the greater
solar threats to mankind's greatest creation. Moon
Beam's trajectory is thus consistently vivid, filled with a
satisfying blend of physics and psychological tension, and includes the
technological and emotional descriptions that hard science and
readers alike will relish.
why Moon Beam succeeds so well at
this atmosphere where others might fail is perhaps
because Steven Burgauer has a
diverse set of interests and a background in writing both sci-fi and
blend of genres requires attention to different kinds of detail which
employed to exceptional advantage in Moon
Beam. By creating a story line that juxtaposes technical
psychological tension, Burgauer excels in marrying the complex worlds
science and soft psychology in a way that keeps the story line
engrossing, and satisfying.
added to the mix which might be confusing under another hand; but
strength of Moon Beam lies in its
ability to add a dose of unexpected humor which turns dark at times,
but adds a
different flavor to the story: "Any
reports of someone missing a hand?” Santini asked. “Don’t you mean,
the rest of the body?” “We both know the answer to that
question.” “We do?” “Further down the drain somewhere,”
Santini said. “The hand didn’t clog
the drains; the rest of the carcass did.” Chief Flynn threw
up violently, dropping the severed hand in the
process. “Great! Now you have gone and soiled the crime scene,” Santini
cautioned that readers anticipating a milder leisure investigative
be additionally challenged by scenes of torture as well as in-depth,
descriptions of space science. Both are presented in good taste in
the story line as the personality and objectives of the dangerous Ouida
described and clarified.
Moon Beam is a powerful saga that takes
the foundations of human
nature and discovery and gives them a twist that will keep sci-fi and
readers thinking long past the final, unexpected conclusion to this
recommended, hard-to-put-down tale.
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Izzard Ink Publishing
Softback: 978-1-64228-000-5 $18.95
Hardback: 978-1-64228-001-2 $27.95
eBook: 978-1-64228-002-9 $ 7.99
Primary Anomaly takes place in the
decades following 2033, after an
experiment in human genomes has gone awry and destroyed much of
proved key to mankind's survival, establishing Habitats that save the
bastions of the world after the illusion of good intentions has long
humanity's kick start must of necessity be selective; and so only those
proven to be unaffected by mutation are allowed to enter this brave new
sets the background and stage for what is to come, using a recap from
Logs' to follow the progress of a super virus, doomsday machines, and
social, political, and physical disintegration of a society. Mutants
survivors clash in this changed world, whose fable taking place against
backdrop of the controlled Habitats which both lock out humans and lock
But a new
for mankind isn't the only theme in Primary
Anomaly. A new augmented soldier program experiment results
surviving drone evolving new powers in this confused world. Unregulated
for the first time in his life, the young man embarks on a journey
past the world he's always known as a drone, facing vicious encounters
Three, the Taskmaster, Enforcers, abominations, and more.
walks through this world of struggle, readers receive a powerful view
too-few promises and numerous obstacles to survival. And yet, humanity
general and the characters in particular seem to find purposes, new
and revised vision within the chaos and violent encounters which lead
through an army of the animated and slaughter of innocents and into
confrontations over a new weapon.
As Three and
companions face a corporate cloaking device, military strategies and
confrontations, and their own responsibilities in setting in motion a
of events that will change the world, readers find themselves in a
position as the observers of the world's final evolutionary process.
It should be
cautioned that a cliffhanger conclusion may stymie those who like at
basics of the story tied up in the introductory book in a projected
sci-fi blend of military and social commentary wound into the form of a
that holds messages and meaning not only for mankind which possibly
its last legs, but for readers interested in the price of survival and
ultimate meaning of remaining human in the aftermath of a
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978-1975614133 $1.99 Kindle, $5.95 paperback
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Witch-Store-Olga-Gutsol/dp/1975614135
Stories from the Witch Store presents a
young witch whose ambition
to open a magic store in a small town turns into trouble when her
results in an unexpectedly boring business environment. It seems that
though she's an adept witch, wasn't cut out to be a small business
so she begins a diary about her real passion in life: teaching
ins and outs of magic.
used to explore her evolution as Arelia moves from a dull beginning ("How did I end up here, in the
quintessence of boredom? When I first came to Burnaville to open my
potions store, I fell in love with the town, with its decorated
stone pavements, and brightly painted wooden buildings...Yet only two
later I am in a constant fight with this impenetrable monotony.")
promising new venture in life.
Though Stories from the Witch Store features a
young witch on its cover and would initially seem to be a fantasy story
teen readers, the presence of big words and larger ideas will also lend
enjoyment by adults looking for something refreshingly different.
at once poignant and whimsical ("Morning
was unpleasant. Rain was unpleasant. Lack of clients was unpleasant. I
cards with Cat and Puck, lost five times in a row, and called Puck a
with which Cat agreed wholeheartedly. Puck called Cat a traitor and
himself in a chimney") and offer a few puzzles (how does one
oneself in a chimney?) and many amusing observations about village life
("I met Madame Rouge in the market
today. It is fascinating how makeup can transform women. From merely
she became explicitly dreadful.").
white cartoon-like drawings introducing each chapter contrast with a
serious inspection throughout. This keeps teens and adults on their
they absorb the unpredictably whimsical tales surrounding an aspiring
shopkeeper's observations of townspeople who both learn from and
offerings: "Draculus sent an owl
message reporting that the blocking illusions had worked. The girls
another day running around in complete confusion and then by pure
discovered…Victor. Now they are running around Victor and arguing
werewolves are better than vampires. Typical girls’ dilemma."
words inject a learning experience into these fun tales ("We
did not interfere, just sat on the windowsill admiring the
strength of Burnaville women and listening to musical and fruity
language slowly dying down in the romantic mist of a looming night.").
While it may
challenge to easily peg the age group of a potential audience for Stories from the Witch Store, this
should reach and delight readers who enjoy humorous fantasy, the
increase their vocabulary in the course of a lively read, and those who
appreciate the ability of the diary format to lend a tone of personal
observation that a first- or third-person approach couldn't match.
unexpectedly original and unpredictable, Stories
from the Witch Store shouldn't be limited to young readers
alone, but will
find an appreciative audience among any who relish stories of magic,
and entrepreneurial endeavors gone awry.
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Morgan Rice Books
ASIN: B07D4PMZ42 $2.99
Book 1 of
Invasion Chronicles represents a departure for fantasy series writer
Rice, who here places her affinity for fantasy in the adjacent realm of
teen Kevin's growing struggles with visions and paralyzing headaches: a
condition that's been diagnosed as a degenerative brain disorder, but
actually proves to be something quite different.
initially involve a strange string of numbers; but as he begins to also
planets, a burning sun, and a kind of countdown, he eventually comes to
that his condition and hallucinations are much more than a physical
sentence. They're actually a transmission from an unknown
entity and they portend a danger only Kevin may be able to address.
sci-fi and realizes that in the movies, important people would quickly
recognize the value of his experiences. But, he's only thirteen. How
convince the adults around him—including his mother—that he is
something more than a brain malfunction's final hallucinations?
helps him think differently about his visions and disease ("Kevin had already been thinking that his visions
were linked to
the disease in some way. That maybe it had changed his brain enough to
receptive to the visions. He didn’t think that was what the
though.") and various options for coping with both, Kevin is
with the kinds of tools that lead him to a number of well-kept secrets
his home planet; from hidden bunkers and military projects to
government concerns, and a conundrum for the world which arises when
dares to talk about aliens on TV.
out, and Kevin finds himself in the middle of a series of dilemmas that
affect Earth's future and humanity's choices.
in Transmission lies in a plot
first seems familiar (boy discovers alien invasion, child becomes a key
events as they unfold), but takes some unexpected diversions into areas
international intrigue, adding thriller elements that are surprising in
sci-fi story that will reach adults as much as young adult audiences.
other countries and other concerns add depth and surprising dimensions
story that many readers will anticipate as a standard alien invasion
offering an approach that juxtaposes a boy's deadly illness with his
challenging new abilities.
presenting the key
character as an unusually savvy 13-year-old, Morgan Rice is in danger
this survey regulated to teen audiences alone; and that would be a
Although Kevin's age is one of the facets that enters into his ability
perceive what others cannot and his flexibility to accept the
unusual wisdom and involvements with adult affairs from NASA to
in Columbia hint of a maturity level far beyond a thirteen-year-old's
abilities. This makes the story quite accessible to adult sci-fi
readers who might not ordinarily pick up a read featuring a teen
honor, faith, and questionable alien intentions are neatly woven into a
boy's quickly-evolving personality as readers find themselves engrossed
unexpected series of events once the initial platform of an incurable
and impossible visions is presented in the opening chapters. The
is that an aura of predictability is crafted; then turned upside down,
creates an atmosphere of surprise not typical in most sci-fi alien
series writer. This means that, like her other productions, Transmission is not only the first in a
series; but ends in a cliffhanger that leaves outcomes questionable and
and firmly rooted in strong psychological profiles backed with thriller
sci-fi elements: what more could readers wish for? (Just the quick
of Book Two, Arrival.)
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The Austin Paradox
William R. Leibowitz
Manifesto Media Group Ltd.
978-0-9898662-9-3 $15.98 paperback, $5.99 e-book
William R. Leibowitz's thriller Miracle Man will
delight in the return
of Dr. Robert James Austin, who lost his genius-level intellect in a
explosion and now struggles to regain his abilities.
journey of self-discovery, he battles private demons, otherworldly
a government obsessed with controlling him. Add the presence of corrupt
business and special interests that would manipulate and threaten the
doctor. Then toss in the influence of ruthless political powers, to
gripping thriller that revolves as much on healing and self-discovery
as it does
on outside influences and elements.
The Austin Paradox reaches for the goal of a medical thriller
on the level
of a Robin Cook production; but readers can anticipate a much more
charged, personal scenario as Dr. Austin confronts everything he holds
in his life.
have read Miracle Man (although, they will want to)
in order to quickly
get up to speed here because a well-written prologue reveals the
Dr. Austin, once deemed the greatest genius in human history and the
no less than eleven Nobel prizes, who is now living under the alias of
Whiten. His protective status and new identity began when he recovered
serious injuries caused by the lab explosion, but emerged from a coma
hopes for normalcy under the Witness Protection Program; but that goal
unmet if Dr. Austin can’t regain his extraordinary intellectual
enough to save mankind from a terrifying pandemic that threatens
As if this
enough reason to applaud Leibowitz's latest, readers will find the
elements tempered with family interactions, introspective and spiritual
insights, and flashes of scientific brilliance.
small events and larger consequences make for vivid, engrossing reading
doesn't sacrifice personal relationships for the higher cause of
thriller's tense atmosphere. This is an added plus to a story that
the start and is just as hard to put down as a Robin Cook saga; perhaps
so, because the family atmosphere and characters in The Austin
are exceptionally well-done.
It's hard to
the full impact on the reader of the combination of a medical thriller
with government and terrorist forces, and interwoven with international
intrigue; all wound into one genius' life and times. The
invites readers into a believable, tense world in which one man
a difference. The result engages readers on many levels, from political
psychological to spiritual arenas, and is highly recommended for fans
medical and international espionage thrillers.
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Confound It is the fifth book in the
Dreamwalker mystery series and
returns psychic sleuth (she prefers the term 'Dreamwalker') Baxley to a
mystery that both compliments others in this ongoing series and stands
its own for newcomers.
faces a home meth lab fire that is much more than it initially seems,
her talents and inquisitive nature challenged not just by crime, but by
complex twists and turns of family relationships and interactions.
anticipate a probe into a drug ring's operations; but should be advised
there are satisfying surprises woven into the story line which create a
picture than either a drug ring investigation or family involvements.
As the story
progresses, Baxley finds her special abilities tested in the search for
especially clever killer as she interacts with a Cherokee leader (who
respect as not just a psychic detective, but a powerful spiritwalker
his prowess), assesses healing possibilities, considers how a palm
be connected to the case, and works with the police and her own
senses to solve what turns out to be a truly confounding crime.
enjoy detective pieces based on both supernatural touches and
relationships will relish the combination of whodunit and a vivid
threat to a
boy's body and soul that connects children to secret meth lab
complex, multifaceted read that holds many satisfying twists and turns
the staid detective story reader. Confound
It will prove hard to put down and surprising right up to its
Return to Index
Frank L. Gertcher
Wind Grass Hill Books
Hardcover: 978-0-9835754-2-9 $29.95
Softcover: 978-0-9835754-1-2 $16.95
The Dark Cabin Murders opens in the year
1840 in Indiana, where
successful swindlers John Edwin and Maude Worthington and their
eleven-year-old-son Thomas have gained title to an isolated cabin where
set their sights on another victim: wealthy newcomer John Murrow, who
his own dark secrets of murder and thievery. Predictably, Murrow
not before these events gain the attention of those already suspicious
As the years
son Thomas pays the price of his family's decisions, even though he's
to be a wealthy architect and seemingly is a successful man. His
friends James and Samantha notice that success does not seem to have
Thomas lasting satisfaction; but when his parents are murdered, the
trio of friends
returns home from the Civil War to find a new battle has evolved on the
front: one involving past injustices and present-day vengeance.
The Dark Cabin Murders is not your
typical murder mystery. It's
steeped in Indiana historical background and the challenges presented
good-hearted boy faced with dark cruelty and lasting guilt.
healthy dose of mystical encounters as Samantha's soul delves into
encounters with puzzling visions of the past that lend both clarity and
to her friend's life and struggles. These insights into interconnected
Thomas, James, and Samantha and the consequences of their choices lend
multidimensional facet to the story line and move it from a murder
mystery to a
deeper examination of life purpose: "Like
James before her, she saw that each path had different people, events
outcomes. Every person was free to make choices. Some choices made by
would affect her, some would not. She also saw that some of her choices
easily peg the audience for this original story. The initial youth of
characters would seem to indicate a young adult readership; but the
murder, Civil War encounters, the deeper spiritual impact of character
and the passage of time involving interconnected lives of Samantha and
friends would suggest appropriateness for an adult audience.
that as the story line evolves, readers from mature teens to adults
find the murder mystery strong in characterization, dialogue, and
and spiritual revelations. The Dark Cabin
Murders opens the door to a new kind of murder probe that
relies not so
much on the 'whodunnit', but upon explanations of life choices and
lasting impacts on all.
mysteries looking for a range of insights into motivations cemented by
descriptions of place and time will relish the many facets of The Dark Cabin Murders, which is
anything but singular, involving readers in probes of inner being as
mysteries and events that ultimately examine wider issues of the impact
Return to Index
Stolen Time Press
9780996350761 $12.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
enough when a fleeing woman boards the wrong plane and vanishes; but as
troubled detective Freddy Ferguson discovers early on in Gate
76, matters are even more frustrating because the woman seems
to be the only witness to a crime that's making headlines in the
involves not just tracking her movements, but backtracking through
her life. What he uncovers holds dangerous implications for not only
missing witness, but the world.
Gate 76 is a complex mystery not only
because the perp at large and
the threatened witness are in the crosshairs of investigation; but
threats to the investigator's life and the processes of airline
special interest in this case? He simply wants to make sure the woman
is ok. It
doesn't make sense that a call girl would commit such a heinous act of
and then vanish: motive and method are both far from plausible.
his own relationships with women, his life choices, his ongoing
his sometimes-poor decisions (such as promising his four-year-old son
menagerie of animals will appear at his birthday party when in
actuality his ex
is holding it at Chuck E. Cheese with quite a different atmosphere in
sidles ever closer to a truth that leads readers to think about not
choices in life, but differing perceptions of how they should be made
readers edge closer to the truth, the question becomes what he will do
it—and what they will think about this particular choice, which is
of the bigger ones in his life.
inspection offers a different psychological approach to the typical
mystery, taking a terrorist dilemma and adding personal touches that
force self-inspection on a reader's part as they wade through Freddy's
and almost-predictable self-destructive ways.
is a vivid
story not just of terrorism and missing perps and witnesses (that would
actually be a simpler scenario to paint); but one of interpersonal
relationships, motivations that spill from personal to professional
and how one flawed hero might get it right (or not).
and terrorism plots are in for a different kind of adventure and a real
with Gate 76.
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Mountain of the Dead combines the genres
of mystery, thriller, and
horror, and follows an American true-crime writer who is determined to
the truth behind a mysterious 1950s Siberian event where nine Russian
flee into the night during a blizzard, there to suffer violent,
Incident has long been steeped in mystery, which is just the kind of
attracts and spices the life of a substitute teacher with a penchant
Indiana Jones-style action and an interest in the unsolved mysteries of
Indeed, Mountain of the Dead is the fifth book
in Jeremy Bates' 'World's Scariest Places' series, and charms the
with a series of tense encounters based on true experiences and a story
that reads like a combination of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Clive
(who happen to be among Bates' favorite authors).
which, to this day, remains one of the most chilling unsolved mysteries
twentieth century, Bates takes the essence of the puzzle and moves it
realm of supernatural terror and mystery.
note is that nothing is staid or predictable either about the
their pursuit. The presence of a white substitute high school teacher
nose for trouble and shoulder-length hair and a black man named 'Disco'
anything but normal tourists to Russia; while their special interests
them at odds not only with each other, but with the rugged mountain
that imparted such terror to a group of skiers.
Russian environment and the puzzle at hand create a compelling
lends realistic background to character encounters: "As
I watched the mélange of old and new buildings flash
past—classical churches and chapels, trendy-looking restaurants and
shabby Soviet apartment blocks—I couldn’t help but think about Igor
his friends, all of whom had set out from here on their ill-fated
1959, blissfully un-aware that they would never reach the summit of
that they would die sad, and for some, very gruesome deaths, which
more than a half century of lurid conspiracy theories."
the details from the hikers' perspectives as they make their way into a
danger that usually doesn't come from mountain challenges. As Mr. Smith
encounters something he never would have believed in under ordinary
he's forced to confront the presence of a deadly force that
impossible being. But, is it really the source of the fatal events?
readers involved and guessing, providing twists and turns that lead the
line towards the seeming inevitable before taking a big turn in another
direction. The result is a powerful thriller that is thoroughly
packed with surprises, and steeped in the culture and atmosphere of
and a remote mountain world filled with intrigue.
prior familiarity with the previous books in the series: the action and
surprises stand well alone and create a compelling, highly recommended
that's hard to put down.
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978-0-9876272-1-6 Paper: $13.00; Kindle: $2.99
a detective or an investigator by trade. He's a man who has narrowly
health issue and seems to have a new lease on life. When, by chance, he
ex-friend (who'd destroyed his marriage) murdered on an elevator and
the body has been hastily disposed of and the case seemingly covered
up, he has
no idea that his job of restoring Merseyside to prosperity has somehow
entangled with a murder mystery.
Forced by circumstance to become an amateur sleuth, Martin finds himself navigating murky political and social waters in Merseyside that he'd never considered in the past, moving from the cardiac clinic to an unlikely association with a woman who rejects the corruption in her own profession, as the town mayor's key assistant.
Not Without Risk is no casual murder
mystery, but a complex and
well-detailed story that embraces British politics, culture, and the
experiences of an urban planner who faces corruption and special
the course of his job of redesigning communities.
detective work, Martin often operates outside his comfort zone and his
inquisitive nature actually can work against him; but the real meat in
story lies in well-detailed, absorbing descriptions of community and
personalities which draw readers into the story and keep them on their
and hard bargains, the process of laying a deadly trap that precludes
witnesses and Martin's increasing involvement in complex matters
computer hacking, key contracts, and political enemies turned deadly
an involving tale that's hard to predict, with many special forces at
classic British investigative piece that juxtaposes Martin's medical
with some special sacrifices that may or may not lead his job through
influences and into a better light for all. Riveting and engrossing, Not Without Risk is especially
recommended for prior fans of British murder investigations who like
reads steeped in social and political insights.
Return to Index
James R. Callan
Digital: 978-1-7321227-1-0 $4.99
Paperback: 978-1-7321227-0-3 $14.95
Hardback: 978-1-7321227-2-7 $25.95
Ordering Link: https://amzn.to/2pIHMqs
Political Dirty Trick is a suspense
thriller that revolves around
candidate Ron Drake's run for governor of Texas, the fake news campaign
evolves to smear his good name, and his friend Crystal's increasingly
attempts to get to the bottom of the dirty politics being played, which
from a smear campaign into murder.
Ron has been
about his opponent, whom he describes as a 'nice guy' (when he has to
him at all); but the methods and content of the dirty tricks being
played thrust Crystal and Ron into
political campaign replete with threats, innuendos, and nasty,
story of Political Dirty Trick, but
it should be cautioned that this is no easy entertainment read; but a
designed to challenge opinion, imagination, and perceptions of the
process. Chapters create a stealthy overlay of moral, ethical, and
considerations as the characters grow into roles beyond familiar
a burglar attempting to snatch a painting from a home when Ron's property manager returns,
forcing her to hide. What's a politician doing with a valuable Mondrian
and why is it so important that a thief would target it? As the story
winds back and forth between thief Ginnie Loverett's efforts and
political encounters, readers receive a powerful, riveting drama
around the concept of the Political Dirty Trick or Podirt ("...Something that drags your opponent's numbers
down like they
had a cement anchor attached.").
politician's past is fair game for such a trick. And if there are no
specters available, one can be readily construed with just a little
and an artful deception.
pleasure of Political Dirty Trick
that its readers will think they know exactly what is happening and
plot is going. After all: terms are defined, personalities crafted, and
viewpoints move between victim and perp. What could be left to wonder
lies the strength in Political Dirty
Trick's story line: it is anything but linear. As a host of
interact on different levels and in different ways, readers are treated
gripping saga that winds its way through various lives, motivations,
of fairness, justice, and double-crossings.
actually lies outside the plot itself and in the timing of this book's
at a period in American history when political dirty tricks appear to
their height of usage and public awareness. If timing is everything,
then Political Dirty Trick has not
that nail on the head, but creates a compellingly different political
that will satisfy readers who enjoy not just murder stories; but savvy
explorations of the underlying motivations and personalities
Powerful in its characterization, plot, and narrative interactions, Political Dirty Trick is the item of choice for thriller readers who like their stories steeped in realistic scenarios and possibilities.Political Dirty Trick
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Castrating the Wolves of Wall Street?
Paperback: 978-0-9979710-02 $15.99
e-book: 978-0-9979710-19 $ 5.99
title like Secret Agenda: Who's Castrating
of Wall Street?, a reader might envision a nonfiction
indictment of Wall
Street shenanigans; but in actuality this is fiction; and a solid
mystery, at that.
a takeover of the presidency of the United States have been so
their financial heists that they think nothing can stop them. But
stopping them in a big way, and as the story evolves, a host of secret
and wronged women emerge.
Secret Agenda could easily have focused
on the mystery portion
alone, but Barbara Brett includes a healthy dose of psychology
predators in high places, and conversations and insights highlight the
of women who are often at the mercy of these wealthy thugs, early on: “I doubt it. You have more to fear if word
got out about our little rendezvous. I can either deny it and say
in order to get publicity to save your career from going in the toilet.
simple businessman who is unacquainted with women and their wiles, I
the world that you seduced me—and turned out to be a lousy lay. Either
of elite male privilege and its abuse to the ex-detective who owns a
and a cat but can't quite shake the lure of investigations when a case
right on his doorstep, Brett crafts a compelling narrative that moves
political and monied forces and cat-and-mouse moves.
forces collide on various levels, readers will find this mystery
hard to put down, flavored with a sense of urgency as a host of
discover they've been emasculated by a savvy attacker bent on serving
revenge in the most intimate of ways.
Brett is a
developing characters, tension, and personal and political scenarios
to grip readers with a relentless attention to twists and turns and
scenarios. As detective Tom finds himself involved with a woman he
considering in the midst of a case which draws upon an expertise he'd
he left behind, readers will relish a story that rests firmly on
attractions and psychological insights.
beautifully written, Secret Agenda
a highly recommended pick for readers who like their political
steamy, passionate, and thoroughly involving.
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x Wired: A Psycho-Sexual Investigation of The Thrill Detective
978-1986204491 $10.75 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
Cross x Wired: A Psycho-Sexual Investigation of The Thrill Detective combines a dark noir detective piece with a psychological drama replete with elements of literary and political satire; and while the effort sometimes proves a challenge to neatly categorize for genre-specific marketing purposes, it cultivates a dark sense of entertainment and angst.
On the surface, this is the story of a detective recovering from electro-shock therapy who is on a mission to find the girl who landed him in trouble. However, this is no light pursuit.
graphic metaphorical sexual scenes, violence, a talented female
penchant for depicting realistic terror in her 'galleries of the
evolving relationships between men, women, and those who would obtain
over one another.
All this is
into a complex backdrop of social inspection and accusation, the
masterpieces of depravity, terror and horror, and sizzling scenes
agitate reader sensibilities as they follow a murky, complex world and
characters who can barely navigate their lives; much less each other.
overlay of a detective piece are a series of literary and social
that force readers to wade through scenarios of depravity and dark
in survival mode to navigate the trajectories of love and its high
There are characters willing to die for love and possession as well as moments of passion intertwined with graphic displays of depravity, juxtaposed with sweet scenes that each demonstrate Robert Rubenstein's prowess at crafting metaphor and analysis: "As a detective, he searched for clues. As a man, he was searching, too. There were hidden intimacies. Shared moments when love had come briefly. A blush, a kiss. An unrushed moment when two hearts touched. The eyes adrift in the morning dew. The smell of earth, of grass and green fields. The dizzying sea, angling to cover him inside an endless summer wave."
much a draw in the story line as its characters and their special
immersing readers in a mercurial adventure story that moves from
and social inspection to the dilemma of the personal with an 'everyman'
illusions surrounding the pursuit of love and connections.
nature of modern culture to the setting of post-apocalyptic America and
challenges its readers with thought-provoking clashes of reason,
social and political structure. It is especially recommended for
audiences who like their stories steeped in metaphorical yet explicit
encounters tempered with satiric and pointed observations of social and
individual condition. Thrilling times, indeed!
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The Artist and the Soldier
Artist and the
Soldier opens in 1938 on Long
Island, where two young men meet at a Nazi-American summer camp and
feelings for one another in an era when gay love was barely
Torn apart by circumstance and war, under
normal circumstances Bastian Fisher and Max Amsel would never meet
fate and brings them back together five years later in the most
places, on the battlefields of Europe during World War II. Now they
friendship both evolving and tested against the backdrop of the rise of
Coming of age stories with historical
backgrounds like this hold vast opportunity for understanding both of
milieu and personal struggle. Under the right hand, the historic events
take second stage to character development, but entwine into the story
a manner as to reinforce the overlay of familiar history with a
undercurrent of psychological insight.
Artist and the
Soldier's delicate progression
through war, peace, an evolving gay relationship, and the forces of
hate at work on everything creates a commanding story that builds from
roots of friendship. These facets evolve into commitment, different
political growth, and choices that blend military encounters with
obligations and fears.
How does the making of a film lead to the
saving of lives? Max's dangerous plan, which unfolds in Nazi-occupied
involves hiring Jews as 'extras' in a movie in an elaborate ruse to
escape the Nazis, brings a lesser-publicized piece of World War II
When shown against the backdrop of a
different kind of dangerous relationship, The Artist and the
succeeds on several fronts. It deftly pairs a historical novel
many social insights and uses the experiences of two very different
to bring their personal relationship to life.
Readers of historical novels and gay fiction
will applaud the depth and diversity of this story, which stands out
crowd in both historical novel and gay fiction genres.
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Beneath the Same Heaven: A Novel
Anne Marie Ruff
American woman Kathryn (who marries Pakistani Muslim man Rashid) and
children at first seems to mirror the nonfiction story of Not Without My Daughter, an account of an
involvement with an Iranian man which leads to her entrapment in the
East. But Beneath the Same Heaven: A Novel takes a different turn when Rashid's
father is killed by an
American drone near the Afghanistan border, prompting cross-cultural
connections to fray and shatter.
grief, loyalty, and revenge are mixed into issues of terrorism,
alliances, and family relationships and duties, bringing the
arena solidly into their homes to wreak anguish and havoc on their love
evident that Beneath the Same Heaven is about many things in the course of describing
political events; not the least of which is how love survives the
family battles and clashes of cultural perception.
One doesn't anticipate the sense of mystery
that also hovers over evolving events, but it's present from the very
lines which introduce Kathryn and Rashid's dilemmas: "So you
where he is?” the man asks, with some urgency. “What do you mean?”
answers into the phone, soap bubbles dripping off her hand into the
sink. “You scheduled his off shore job. He told me he’d be gone for a
so.” “You better call him, and find out where he’s at,” the man
in time and between countries, Beneath the Same Heaven deftly draws connections, builds (and
sometimes destroys) interpersonal relationships, and crafts poignant,
unexpected insights during moments of crisis: “How do you do
that? Show me
the world I think I knew, but upside down. Making me understand that
I had thought was right and wrong isn’t so black and white.”
points in the
story, cultural conflict leads to greater understanding and
perceptions of the world; and this is one of the strengths in Beneath
Same Heaven's approach to the
process of a family's coping with the personal impact of terrorism.
From Kathryn's emotional transitions between
love, hate, and reconciliation to a divided family and how they come to
with life-threatening and life-changing new paradigms, Beneath
Heaven winds a sticky web of complex interactions through the
perceptions of both Rashid and Kathryn.
their lives are still in flux, and readers are swept into a
that follows consequences and aftermaths like ripples in a lake. This
adaptation, change, and even surprising transformations lend Beneath
Same Heaven a delicate sense of
balance and insight that will delight readers seeking strong
connections in the course of their reading.
A powerful literary piece that excels in
cultural understanding, Beneath the Same Heaven
should not be missed by
any reader who enjoys not just a love story, but a close inspection of
connections against political and social devastation.
Return to Index
A Child Went
High Top Publishing
A Child Went Forth tells of a
thirteen-year-old con artist, Charlie
Griffin, who journeys from Brooklyn to Missouri to give secret cash to
abolitionist leaders in 1851. While the age of the protagonist might
to think this is a young adult novel, it should be advised that A Child Went Forth is actually fodder
for adult readers as much as mature teens, offering a different look at
and racism through the eyes and experiences of a young character in a
replete with heroes, heroines, romance, and danger.
evident that Boston Teran writes with a hand nicely dipped in metaphor
description: "Every artist dips his
brush in his own soul and paints his own nature in his pictures. I
from you, Mister Beecher. And what is the great canvas of our age? It
America, sir. And the country we paint together will determine the
this great nation."
The words of
evangelist Henry Ward Beecher and father Zacharia Griffin's utter
the abolitionist efforts leads Charlie to question growing perceptions
political and social injustices of his time and his father's impact and
in that world: "His father had that
way of making Charlie disbelieve there was a heart beating under all
schemes and slave catchers to encounters with assassins, millionaire
gunfighters, church involvements, and thieves and liars, A
Child Went Forth blossoms into a social examination as
learns how to make his own decisions about doing the right thing in a
riddled with deception.
of abolitionist America are reflected throughout A
Child Went Forth as a host of fictional and historical
interact and special interests unfold. Many characters enter and exit
story; but under Teran's hand, psychological and social developments
done and well-detailed. Action moves the story along in a spirited
allows time for reflection.
involving novel with the unique ability to entertain and educate all at
story of resolution, adventure, and America's emerging values as seen
the eyes and experiences of a young man coming of age along with his
readers will find A Child Went Forth
to be astute, penetrating, and quite involving.
Return to Index
Loose Leaves Publishing, LLC
In 1842, a
grows up as a slave on Vanner's place, affects a daring escape that
only him but over twenty fellow slaves on
a journey for freedom, and eventually returns to Webb's
Bend, a small
town in the corner of Cherokee territory, as a free man.
While readers might anticipate the usual focus on abolitionists, slavery, and struggles for freedom from this introduction, it's important to note that The Freedom Game has its roots in a lesser-known historical fact. Native Americans themselves owned thousands of slaves before the American Civil War; and this book is based on the true story of events of the Slave Revolt of 1842, when twenty-five slaves successfully escaped from a Cherokee plantation.
only one teen's successful and unprecedented efforts but the lives of
twenty-four other slaves changed by their sojourn to freedom thus
only slavery's issues but the cultural clashes between races and ideals
times. It's especially powerful in offering many insights into Native
involvements in slavery that will be lesser-known facts to most readers.
a vivid, engrossing examination that includes solid psychological depth
the characters don't just operate under conflicted and challenging
political circumstances, but confront the progress of their own lives
interrelationships: "I hesitated to
share everything with Rose. I was getting used to my thoughts and
kept secret, not trusting anyone with the whole truth. It was hard for
me to do
because I didn't like dishonesty. Some people like to keep secrets,
pretending, making a lie look real. I'm not one of them. If I'm not
truth, it makes me feel like there's a hard rock in my stomach. Lately,
all I seemed to be doing, though, keeping secrets, hiding the truth,
historical fiction (particularly when it's directed to younger adults
require action, adventure, and solid characterization to maintain
the background issues being presented) lies in its ability to immerse
reader in the atmosphere of the times and character concerns as they
choices and live their lives.
The Freedom Game personalizes political
and cultural clashes and
makes them vivid and engrossing, winding them into local atmosphere for
measure and addressing the kinds of changes that lead individuals to
transformed with new options and the promise of new lives: "In a leather holster at his side, where he once
carried tools to
build, he kept the long, sharp knife he had used to cut the rope. Caleb
mechanic, the carpenter, had become Caleb the rustler and warrior.
become such a warrior? I had read stories of ancient knights who fought
honor for a worthy cause. They were willing to sacrifice, face danger,
death, not for sport, not to impress. They believed that their fight
important than themselves. Could I be such a knight? I wasn't sure, but
determined to try. As we felt our way through the darkness, I looked up
wide night sky. I didn't know what the sky looked like in other places,
here, in Webb's Bend, the clear fall air allowed every star to sparkle
sparkle, and the moon to shine its brightest bright. We were like those
that moon, shining our brightest bright, daring to cast away everything
been taught about who we were and what our lives were for..."
different visions of Cherokee and Native American society and their
relationships to slavery will find The
Freedom Game a vibrant, revealing odyssey that cements
where it becomes most relevant: through the eyes, hearts, and minds of
individuals in general and a young protagonist who faces romance,
and struggle in his world.
Return to Index
Timothy A. Brown
Squatter's Gold is Book 1 of the 'Sam
White Homeless Mysteries'
series, introducing a historical novel based on the experiences of
1850 California Gold Rush prospectors, Sacramento’s historic Squatter’s
and the legend of lost gold hidden in a tree. With such diverse roots
reality, it seems a no-brainer that a story based upon these events
engrossing, and Squatter's Gold
up to this expectation with a fast-paced, multifaceted plot that keeps
enthralled and involved right up to the end.
note about Squatter's Gold is that
its timeline moves unexpectedly between 1850s California history and
modern-day 2002, where homelessness in the state's capital city is
to see a
historical background paired with an modern urban mystery, but Timothy
deftly pulls off this marriage of timelines in a production that will
the very difference audiences of history buffs and readers interested
social issues of poverty and homelessness. The central character is a
worker who is anything but an investigator, but who finds himself drawn
and present in an unusual manner.
As the story
readers receive solid descriptions that range from murder in a homeless
encampment to political and social advocacy efforts and Sam's efforts
address the homeless issue: "Sam
knew Police and Park Rangers who would shake their heads at the notion
ending homeless camping simply by enforcement. When campers took their
court the City often lost and keeping homeless people in jail for
offenses was a huge waste of money the city couldn’t afford. Of course
constant camping citations did criminalize homeless people, many of
suffered from addictions and mental illness."
should be pointed out that readers who pick up Squatter's
Gold anticipating either a Gold Rush adventure or a
hardboiled mystery will find that this mercurial story is neither; yet
some of the drama and trappings of both. While readers of formula and
productions who seek entertainment value alone might chafe at the
depth and social perspectives offered in a leisure read, the result
the entire production beyond the usual confines of a singular genre
create an engrossing series of encounters that send Sam on a treasure
beyond his wildest dreams as a social worker.
homeless community interrelationships, and violence emerge, Sam finds
moves into street encounters and efforts to save a legendary treasure
vindicate a man's death over its discovery.
their stories firmly rooted in a sense of place (in this case,
Sacramento) and a sense of purpose (Sam's newfound efforts to make a
in the lives of the homeless) will find Squatter's
Gold a compelling, vivid read whose underlying consideration
issues will linger in the mind as much as its story of a struggle for
Return to Index
André van Wyck
Self-published through Amazon
9781980669210 $4.99 ebook/$10.99 Paper
Stoned sets the tone for 'The
series. While the cartoonish cover could lead some to think this effort
directed to younger readers, adults will be the best audience to
van Wyck's astute synthesis of cultural observation, wry humor and a
irony in this: a series of events that center around a state-sponsored
of drugs and the life of a non-Frenchman who is ensconced in a French
Stuck with a
that is anything but what he could have imagined, the protagonist is
ignorant of his past and the French language, but carries readers into
akin to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest—but
with more astute observations and language that is drolly ironic: "Men don't get un-masculine tattoos
like that unless there's a really good story that goes with it. I'm
just the stupid tattoo. Like my extremely limited repertoire Francais
it is a
milestone on the road to nowhere. It's the kind of thing that could
insane except, you know: nuthouse. A name would be nice. A home
of kin. Occupation prior to 'shuffling zombie', et cetera. Some bits
to piece together. A difficult enough task when one doesn't speak the
and complicated further by my staple diet of drugs. I once spent the
part of a day, in a narcotic haze, trying to tie the shoelaces on a
shoes I wasn't wearing. (Say what you will about the French, their
health care does not suck.)"
Stumbling Stoned is a
insightful examination of life from the viewpoint of a man who moves
chaotic, confusing scenario to another; confronting death, making
decisions, facing the consequences of bad choices, and retrieving his
identity in the process.
Readers move from institution to battlefield
during a series of mishaps and encounters that receive a combination of
engrossingly descriptive language ("And then the sky is racing
from me and the wind applauds loudly in my ears.") and
encounters with drugs, cats, and a host of supporting characters
Stoned is a whirlwind ride
through insanity to a
drug-induced, unlikely reality ... ours.
Those who seek literary psychological and
social reflective pieces spiced with the astute and astonishing
a narrator who struggles to piece together his non-existent life's
relish the lively tone, lovely metaphorical descriptions, and many
encounters in Stumbling Stoned: a vivid story of
transformation, and monsters both real and imagined.
Return to Index
A Well-Respected Man
David W. Berner
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
$7.99 Kindle/$13.50 Paper/$26.00 Hardcover
Man documents a successful
professor and novelist whose acclaimed romance and celebrated career
around him when an affair with a student crosses lines and shatters his
Emotionally compromised, with a career in
ruins, Martin Gregory retreats to a quiet English village to lick his
but his life is not destined to become that of a recluse. When Emily
a message that sends him on an unexpected journey, this once-respected
finds he's not only re-examining his past, but reconsidering his future.
Love, loss, and transformation are common
themes in novels but they assume more literary proportions under David
Berner's approach, which winds messages about choice, consequences, and
wider-ranging life changes into a saga of male and female interactions
Is Martin worthy of such a message and
mission? Even before the life-changing communiqué is delivered, Martin
his importance: "In a few minutes, a woman would be at his
door with a
message that could alter his life, a woman who would look him in the
survey his world, and in minutes decide whether Martin was worthy of
message she had promised to deliver. Certainly the outcome of this
have little to do with whether Martin’s flat was messy or spotless, but
seemed at that moment to be the only thing Martin could control. He
what he wanted, what this all meant, or exactly how he fit in, but he
certain he had to show his best side, for whatever reason, for whatever
Can Martin pay tribute to a woman he once
loved and the situation she's in, which demands support and a response
be ill-prepared to give?
It should be warned that philosophical
reflection is as much a part of Martin's journey as the psychological
revolving around ethics, responsibility, and a call to action upon a
has just destroyed his life. The impossible situation leads him to not
confront himself, but Amelia, Bobby, and the fate of a child.
Readers interested in reflective drama pieces that swirl around the obstacles and rewards of a past relationship's lasting impact on the future and one man's destiny will find
Man somber, absorbing, and the
beautifully-penned story of a man's process of coming out of his shell
re-embracing the world in a new way.
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Echo Hill Arts Press
Print: 97809995061-9-6 $14.99
eBook: 97809995061-8-9 $ 2.99
Available to public libraries through the Self-eBook free distribution program.
The Winter of '79 finds Kate alone on an Alaskan mountain in the dead of winter while husband Tim commutes to work on an old snow machine. Kate had come from Hawaii, determined to experience a winter. Tim had migrated from Boston in response to Jack London's Call of the Wild. After eloping, the pair settled on a remote parcel of wilderness and prepared to live out their dreams. This second volume of the "Sleeping Moose Saga" trilogy describes five particularly severe seasons in a row that the newlyweds experienced together.
It's important to note that
this story is
autobiographical in nature and documents isolation, primitive living
conditions, and a life made without benefit of communication or even
basic amenities such as running water.
Kate's journal of being a wilderness wife captures the heart of a wild Alaskan experience using a fictional overlay which lends her memoir a dash of dramatic embellishment. The mountain abode's location is fictional, but their bush adventures are not.
The story of Kate and her small family's private paradise receives added adornment with black and white photos that beautifully illustrate the events she depicts as Alaska's heart and soul reflects their daily lives.
One exceptional attribute of her story is its depiction. Alaska's wilderness beauty is captured in descriptions that impart a "you are there" feel of her surroundings: "'When we’re finished here,' Kate said to her little companion, 'we’ll go out for few rays of sunshine, and maybe collect a bouquet of spring wildflowers. It’s such a beautiful day. I want you to get a gander at all the grandness that surrounds us.' When the dishes were done, the young mother saddled her little one in a pack tied across her front, and they headed out for an Alpine denizen’s delight."
Usually a new reader presented with Book 2 in any given series is at a serious disadvantage as far as setting and plot are concerned; but The Winter of '79 holds the rare ability to stand alone even as it compliments its predecessor. This means that newcomers can dive right in without feeling lost, while those already familiar with Kate's story will relish its ongoing encounters.
There's an undercurrent of humor that runs through her observations and adventures: "Kate doubted his whole story. If he’d been raised by the Sioux, then she’d married Prince Rainier . . .", as well as a style of candidness in communications which reflects a spunky, forthright personality. "'If you’ll wait outside, I’ll bring you a drink,' Kate finally offered. 'But I’m not comfortable with you coming into my house uninvited.'"
There's also a mighty dose of philosophical reflection as the nature of change and its pros and cons is contemplated: "On the other hand, what would it be like to have people parked right there on the other side of those trees? How would having other people living close by change things, exactly? Would life really get better, or would it simply get more complicated?"
Warm family interactions and relationship-building moments as young Attie contemplates her first walk (which Daddy eagerly awaits) operate against the backdrop of nonstop blizzards and innovations conceived in the struggle for survival as The Winter of '79 offers a bracing, invigorating portrait of a young family's encounters with Alaska's wilderness.
is a saga that is hard to put down, reaching
out on several different levels to illustrate a frontier lifestyle
by journal entries capturing the sights, sounds, flavors, and peoples
Alaskan bush. This story is especially highly recommended for memoir
who like their accounts spiced with the passion of a pioneering spirit
adventure and appreciation of life.
Return to Index
American Tech Crisis and The Road Map to Change
978-1985690356 $15.95 (print); $2.99 (kindle)
Website = www.billionslostbook.com
Ordering links = https://www.amazon.com/Billions-Lost-American-Crisis-Change/dp/1985690357/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524608622&sr=8-1&keywords=Billions+Lost
Billions Lost: The American Tech Crisis and The
Road Map to Change documents
the progression and results of the massive move of tech industry jobs
countries; but that isn't to say that the subject is treated to a
survey condemning one party's approach or ideals over another's efforts.
intention is to assess the overall state of the U.S. technology
and provide a history of how it got here; and her eye-opening book
to the usual political finger-pointing, but to identifying the
and global influences that led to the mass exodus of U.S. technology
to more lucrative sites overseas.
note about this survey is that this isn't just Gamm's solo effort. She
states: "I amassed a team of researchers and
and spent countless hours, writing, editing, researching, and
approach between professionals and industry experts creates an
authority and well-researched facts which have been checked,
and balanced with various viewpoints and theories; all with an eye to
encouraging dialogue, insight, and foresight among Billions
history of an exodus more devastating than the loss of manufacturing,
strength of this account evolves as it documents the process's social
impact: "As the research has confirmed,
billions of dollars have been, in essence, given away to foreign
through the offshoring of technology jobs. The significant and negative
on our country’s education, workers’ rights, and national security have
obvious to me."
every American should care about this history and Gamm's projections of
issues stemming from the problem is neatly answered as she maintains
general public's ignorance of the impact of these events is part of
endangers us all.
readers might think that experience with the tech industry is a
it should be noted that no such background is required. Gamm provides a
foundation of knowledge from the start, building a history that
insights into how tech visas work, the use and problems of employing
technology labor, how STEM education for foreign students in the U.S.
contributes to the deficit in domestic technology labor, and trade
impacts on U.S. technology and economics.
research-backed suggestions for changes that can trickle down from
adjustments to American pockets, there's no better book for the average
non-tech, non-economics reader than Billions
Lost, which successfully weaves an overview of the topic with
a call to
action in a well-researched, in-depth and accessible package for all.
Billions Lost: The American Tech Crisis and The
Road Map to Change is
thus a top recommendation that should be on the reading list of anyone
concerned about the future of this nation's technology industry and its
impact on every American.
Return to Index
Dr. Mahdi Mason
978-1-925666-61-8 (paperback) $19.95
978-1-925666-62-5 (ebook – epub) $ 9.99
Earth Healing: Healing the Earth to Heal Ourselves
is for any
activist (or would-be activist) reader interested in taking personal
responsibility for healing the Earth, and evolved from the experiences
doctor whose work in environmental management and indigenous culture
extra dimension to the usual insights on connections between
concerns and human affairs.
understand how environmental influences enter into their daily affairs,
receive a "you can do it" sentiment throughout that takes individual
perceptions of powerless when facing bigger issues and turns them into
on things that can be done on an
individual level to make an impact.
focus on reducing one's personal environmental footprint to consider
step, which involves reversing damage already done. The effort embraces
committing to and becoming an 'Earth Healer' and the methods for
are as diverse as fostering new connections to nature and Mother Earth,
generating less waste by avoiding single-use items and packaging,
using, and choosing natural products, and embarking on a metaphysical
'Dream the World Into Being' ("In
other words, focus on what you want to happen so that the Universe can
happen for you. In terms of Earth healing, it’s imperative we keep
better world into being.").
individual voice, renewed purpose, and commitment to life-sustaining
everything from consumer products to food and making the kinds of
can blossom into circles of like-minded individual education, Earth Healing proceeds to promote
revised ways of living life with gratitude, positivity, sensitivity,
newfound awareness of one's personal impact and power.
The result is a set of guidelines that move from ethereal, spiritual, and psychological adjustments to a focus on 'giving back' to the planet as a whole. It represents a call to action on many different levels. While new age readers will be the major audience for this kind of message, any reader interested in personal empowerment and environmental issues will find its diverse tips for change to be astute and achievable.
Earth Healing is especially recommended
for those already on the
path of environmental concern who want concrete physical, mental, and
approaches to making a real difference in the planet's future and
place and role in Mother Earth's evolution.
Return to Index
Clink Street Publishing
978-1911525172 $2.98 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
explanations for spiritual concepts like karma, heaven and hell, and
reincarnation? Heaven vs. Reincarnation
is not for the reader who would delve into the definition and proof of
reincarnation; but rather for those who would more closely examine the
intersection between the basic Biblical narrative of God and human
of spirituality as it relates to their personal goals in life.
easy explanations or rationales, the author points out. Its foundations
contrasted with 'king religious' approaches to faith, contrasting this
welcoming nature of 'teacher faith' and its very different, open
classroom-style approach to sharing belief. Essential teachings in
reincarnation from this and other religions are contrasted for their
styles, approaches, and impacts in a survey that discusses dreams,
fallacies in expectations and interpretations of God.
is both reasoned and chatty, in tone: "God
is not sugar daddy. You will get what you asked for—Heaven is real, but
might yet be disappointed—for you are asking for something that is
unnatural—just joy and happiness to be given to you without any pain or
suffering—only the lower forms of life can enjoy that—to be reborn as a
a rock—to throw away human life for the life of a tree! But that is
from the difference between faith and religion to considerations of
of revenge, justice, vengeance, why Hinduism has never taught 'fear of
other facets of its approach, readers receive not the anticipated
reincarnation's relationship to Christian belief systems; but a deeper
inspection of its incorporation into Hindu beliefs as well as a
of what Heaven truly promises or means to many believers.
psychological insights and interpretations in what is basically a
survey; but Heaven vs. Reincarnation's
wide-ranging and often free-flowing style doesn't leave out psychology,
philosophy, politics, world affairs, or social issues in its
the larger meaning of life on earth and human connections to and
heaven and reincarnation.
people who contribute to life on Earth in different ways consider
would likely choose to return to continue their processes, offering a
broader perspective than a historical or religious survey alone could
is not a
series of definitions nor even a cross-comparison of religions and
teachings; but a detailed discussion of choices, rewards, and
heavenly attributes and benefits in a revealing probe of values,
life purposes that takes a broader view and invites readers to consider
own life process and how they fit into the definitions of heaven,
reincarnation, and a life well lived.
Return to Index
The Way of
Mothers (and fathers)
watching their daughters grow up
who are protective of their bodies and minds as they enter into
relish The Way of the Warrior Mama: The
Guide to Protecting and Raising Strong Daughters. It's a
virtual roadmap to
adolescence which focuses on young adults in the teen years and offers
a different way of viewing events as their daughters move into
it goes beyond theory and ideals to tackle the nuts and bolts of the
of raising a daughter.
This focus on sexuality goes
beyond the usual birds and
bees to tackle serious issues of preventing sexual assault,
"body temple" and its boundaries and possibilities, and parental mind
games that often place women in eternal 'warrior' modes without
practices are reviewed to help mothers overcome common obstacles to
communication and empathy, hard questions tackle common stereotypes
mothers and daughters and how women can work to identify and mitigate
impacts, and interviews with leading experts in adolescent psychology
age practices provide 'meat' to a discussion designed to reduce the
It should also be noted that
Sally Clark includes many
cross-cultural references to how girls and
women are treated, linking these to Western concepts and belief systems
contrast and added insights.
From moving from "a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset" in relating to other women and cultivating more generous, accepting approaches to friendships and acquaintances to blending several different kinds of therapies in the pursuit of faster healing processes, The Way of the Warrior Mama clearly outlines paths women can choose to help not only their adolescent daughters; but themselves.
The effort becomes
cooperative in nature, rather than
authoritative, as mothers reading this book receive keys on how to
daughters in processes which lead both to new insights and approaches
Too many books about
mothering, parenting, and adolescent
girls serve as admonitions for change. The
Way of the Warrior Mama is a healing discussion that doesn't
from lofty realms, but on a level designed to promote equality,
self-understanding, and processes which bring all women closer through
goals, perceptions, and acceptance.
that helping their daughters may coincide with self-healing processes
will relish the path of this discussion, which considers obstacles to
and how they can be overcome. The Way of
the Warrior Mama is very highly recommended reading,
especially for mothers
and daughters who are, after all, on this journey together.
Return to Index
Joseph O. Adegboyega-Edun
Yoruba Boy Books
978-0692995037 $13.00 Paper; $3.99 Kindle
Trazer: Kids of Stolen Tomorrow is the
first book in a series that
provides a fresh, new look at the fantasy genre billed as
'Afrofuturist' as it
follows Dara Adeleye, a student in the year 93 O.O. whose world was
decades before her birth by the Miracle of Elegua, which stabilized
humanity on Earth. Her future as an artist blends with a determination
her loved ones rise above poverty in a world that seems, once again, on
brink of collapse.
Arvelo is a
trazer: a graffiti artist whose words can ignite revolution and change.
mystic trazer community is just one of the forces that influence
world survives this latest challenge, or whether the carefully-built
stratas separating humanity fall into chaos once again.
Although Trazer: Kids of Stolen Tomorrow holds
teen characters and therefore can be readily marketed as a teen fantasy
it should be mentioned that its level of complexity, social issues, and
Yoruba-based spiritual elements injected into a futuristic setting make
top recommendation for adult readers of dystopian novels, as well.
experiments on those with extranormal abilities to Dara’s determination
processes of indoctrination in her school and her attempts to rise
her station in life and the propaganda teachings that would keep her
there, Trazer: Kids of Stolen Tomorrow
a complex and delicately balanced society of kids who aspire to be
more than their backgrounds and training.
unique to this story ("phrinways" and slang language) will challenge
teens as they navigate this very different world, but dialogue and
cements character relationships and interactions nicely and never stray
from the norm: "The little pudgy boy
in my dreams was protective and fiery. There was destiny in his waddle.
spoke of the gods in a tone of true belief. Even then you gave off the
purpose." (There's also a Glossary at the back of the book
defines and clarifies any lingo that may remain a puzzle during the
this adventure; though confusion is minimal because context is nicely
into any slang references.)
Perhaps the strongest feature of Trazer: Kids of Stolen Tomorrow lies in its ability to move its young characters from self-centered actions and perspectives to bigger-picture thinking. As the kids take risks and murder becomes part of the equation, readers are led into a world that asks many questions about morals and ethics, the consequences of individual pursuits, and belief systems that involve faithful followers and purposeful political pundits alike in a struggle for survival.
adults will relish the evolving spiritual and cultural message of
inheritance which runs through this saga, as well as the
considerations of evil, monsters, and the truth behind these creations.
Readers looking for a complex, multi-faceted futuristic story firmly rooted in both Yoruba culture and broader world issues will relish this fast-paced, very different story which stands out from all others in the genres of dystopian reads or teen fantasy to create a powerful adventure and message during the course of unpredictable action and satisfyingly intricate subplots.