March 2018 Review Issue
Moon: The Minds of Mars Denver
Moon: The Minds of Mars is noir
sci-fi at its best, set on Mars in a future where artificial
human aspirations clash in a surprising manner. What is 'sci-fi noir'?
hardboiled detective and place her in a futuristic setting and you have
basic elements of a combination of gumshoe investigation and high-tech
futuristic challenges that make up an especially spicy, engrossing
Moon's opening prologue sets the
fast pace and riveting mystery by portraying a mysterious trapped man
remember how he came to Mars and awakened to a stark stone room with a
landscape above him. As
he survives on freeze-dried rations and faces isolation and possible
comes to accept the fact that he's been marooned and will die when his
runs out. The
problem is: death doesn't offer a way out of his dilemma. Instead, air
food keep him supplied and isolated. The
third-person opener changes characters in chapter one to a first-person
observational as Denver, a female PI, faces a crime scene "Vivid enough to provide for
worth of nightmares." A
big puzzle emerges from these foundations, and Denver just keeps
nose further into trouble and into a simmering war between bots and
fluid situations that began when her grandfather was stranded on Mars,
series of messages that pushes Denver to probe why her grandfather
memory for her to find, and why this mystery still holds vast
human and AI futures. Vivid
descriptions, powerful sci-fi settings and mysteries, social issues and
implications for AI and human intelligence, and murder involving bots
plots make for a fast-paced, riveting story filled with tense twists
that will keep readers guessing up to the end. Pair
a multifaceted noir mystery with a Martian setting and add the complex
and social issues surrounding bots and their evolution and connections
humans for a powerful story that is hard to put down and highly
mystery and sci-fi fans alike.
Warren Hammond and Joshua Viola
978-0-9986667-2-3 (print) $9.48 Paper/16.62 Hardcover
978-0-9986667-3-0 (ebook) $4.99
Moon: The Minds of Mars
Denver Moon: The Minds of Mars is noir sci-fi at its best, set on Mars in a future where artificial intelligence and human aspirations clash in a surprising manner. What is 'sci-fi noir'? Take the hardboiled detective and place her in a futuristic setting and you have the basic elements of a combination of gumshoe investigation and high-tech futuristic challenges that make up an especially spicy, engrossing mystery.
Denver Moon's opening prologue sets the fast pace and riveting mystery by portraying a mysterious trapped man who can't remember how he came to Mars and awakened to a stark stone room with a desolate landscape above him.
As he survives on freeze-dried rations and faces isolation and possible death, he comes to accept the fact that he's been marooned and will die when his food runs out.
The problem is: death doesn't offer a way out of his dilemma. Instead, air drops of food keep him supplied and isolated.
The third-person opener changes characters in chapter one to a first-person observational as Denver, a female PI, faces a crime scene "Vivid enough to provide for several lifetimes worth of nightmares."
A big puzzle emerges from these foundations, and Denver just keeps sticking her nose further into trouble and into a simmering war between bots and humans, a fluid situations that began when her grandfather was stranded on Mars, and a series of messages that pushes Denver to probe why her grandfather archived her memory for her to find, and why this mystery still holds vast implications for human and AI futures.
Vivid descriptions, powerful sci-fi settings and mysteries, social issues and the implications for AI and human intelligence, and murder involving bots and human plots make for a fast-paced, riveting story filled with tense twists and turns that will keep readers guessing up to the end.
Pair a multifaceted noir mystery with a Martian setting and add the complex politics and social issues surrounding bots and their evolution and connections to humans for a powerful story that is hard to put down and highly recommended for mystery and sci-fi fans alike.
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His True and "Unveiled" Face! A
Personal Search and Perspective
Charles Anemelu (Rev. Fr.)
Lumen Educational Publications
978-1-941065-43-3( Paperback) $27.73
978-1-941065-44-0 (ebook) $ 9.99
"Unveiled" Face! A Personal Search and Perspective represents a spiritual and personal search
for the literal and religious 'face' of Christ and its meaning in human
and is a strong recommendation for Christian thinkers who would more
examine the ideals and images of Christ in their lives.
Social media is only the latest way images
of Christ are depicted and translated into everyday lives. Such media
traditional portraits into artistic realms, resulting in revitalized
different renditions; many of which posed much food for thought.
Given the extent of artistic license, beauty
and especially accuracy are not necessarily the end goals of such
Neither are they necessarily measurably accurate. When Father Charles
examined even the most disturbing alternative depictions of Christ,
how these images influenced and affected his faith and his personal
Christ both as an image and spiritually, he evolved a response to such
reflections: that the "...conviction that a diligent,
transparent, and analytical scan of relevant pages of the Holy
well as the use of available information on related subjects, might
deep insight into what, perhaps, was previously “unknown” as much as
what deserves further attention and comprehension."
"Unveiled" Face! A Personal Search and Perspective represents that reflective journey and
takes religious readers under its wing for a studied, Scripture-based
examination of the fundamentals of the human nature of Christ and his
on different levels, providing in-depth research on what the living
Word of God
actually looked like.
Chapters closely examine assumptions about
Christ's identity, from genealogical influences on personal appearance
and post-Baptismal clues from the Bible, images of Christ as both
ever-suffering and content (even cheerful), and the results of forensic
anthropology as the extent of Christ's different portraits are
In the process of examining physical
possibilities, artistic license, spiritual perceptions, Biblical and
depictions, and a history of the changing depictions of Jesus through
Anemelu provides a studied, scholarly, yet accessible discourse that
reflection on far more than Christ's physical incarnation.
A key thread to understanding this
analytical process is actually presented not in the conclusion, but as
guideline right from the start: "All that we have in images,
icons, portraits, and sculptures are only imperfect representations of
The Lord, probably — and this speculation is my own — hid what he truly
like in the flesh from this generation and earlier generations, at
the time of his glorious ascension till this day, so that we all could
searching for his “true face” as a personal, theological, and, above
Ultimately, the real search for what Jesus
might have looked like should not be limited to historical,
scientific approaches; but should embrace the wider content of
influence, uniquely personal appearances (and, thus, their widely
artistic perceptions); and the quest for Christ's authentic, unique
face as it
relates to deeper religious understanding.
Too few religious inspections that begin
with a personal quest ever succeed in branching out into well-studied,
research-supported arenas; but Father Charles Anemelu's treatise
that, and is especially recommended for Bible students who would ponder
one of the ironies and inconsistencies involved in a deeper search for
Christ in everyday human affairs.
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T. Miranda, Publisher
August Murder creates a fast-paced
thriller about terrorism,
murder, politics, and one man who doesn't believe the report of events
surrounding his son's death in Puerto Rico, and who assembles a posse
lawyers and investigators to uncover the truth.
The story is
based on real life - there was such an event in Puerto Rico. Two young
murdered by police agents on one of the country’s mountains, and said
were later detained at the insistence of the Puerto Rico Legislature,
investigated, tried, and found guilty of police wrongdoing (despite
probes that exonerated them, conducted by the FBI and police agencies).
Although August Murder is loosely based on these
events, it adds drama, thriller elements, and suspense to wind Puerto
real-world culture and history into the true story.
on political investigations and a web of intrigue and conspiracy,
a heavy dose of Puerto Rican politics and cultural insights, lends to a
creation which serves to both entertain and enlighten.
It takes a
hand to wind nonfiction facts into a fictional mystery, grapple with a
of characters which prove compelling and recognizable in their own
through the story line, and maintain a flow of action and drama that
holds reader attention.
August Murder succeeds in all these
aspects, and is a compelling
saga of conflicting evidence and motivations for murder, crafting an
astute eye to capturing Puerto Rican daily lives and experiences: "Mr. Miller, policemen in Puerto Rico don’t
make a lot of money. The average salary for a police officer is around
about the same as the average salary for a teacher. For that kind of
they risk their lives in dangerous places. They have to deal with young
delinquents in the projects who may make $30,000 in one week, and who
better armed than any policeman. It’s amazing that more of them are not
money to look the other way or do worse."
to take a real-world scandal and use its details to enlighten readers
underlying culture, social issues, and political pressures in Puerto
contributes to an outstanding thriller especially recommended for
readers who would gain a sense of the island's processes and peoples.
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Paperback: $24.33 (discounted to 16.73 on Amazon)
ebook: $5.99 (discounted to $4.07)
The Blasphemy Law is set in Pakistan, a
country posed on the brink
of political and social transformation (or danger, depending on
and tells of an Australian solar engineer who runs into trouble when a
landowner involves a terrorist group in framing her for blasphemy. But
enough for Jane to face imprisonment and death: her family, too, is
and this embroils them in a life and death struggle between good and
One of the
features of the story lies in Salman Shami's ability to bring
environment and culture to life. From daily village activities ("Jane breathed in the earthy smells of
freshly tilled fields, cow dung fires and boiling chai.
The chirping of birds mixed with the gentle hubbub of
early risers, people conversing in quiet, polite tones. Women were
flatbread and churning lassi for
workers heading out into the fields. The village was gently waking from
peaceful slumber.") to terrorist movements and actions, those
would help Jane are pitted against professionals who would exact
obsessive assassins, ambushes and confrontations, or a series of close
with tenacious military intelligence agents, The
Blasphemy Law is replete with political and social strife and
terrorist cat-and-mouse games that keep thriller readers involved and
in the conundrums of all involved. The well-written plot, strong
characterization, and logical progression of events keeps action
readers on the edges of their seats.
get inside the hearts and minds of all his characters keeps the story
fast-paced and filled with insights that lend authenticity to
special interests: "Fazal yawned.
What did the major think he was going to learn by letting these
free. It was obvious they were going to Karachi. He could think of only
reason why that was the case. Karachi was the favourite route for
people-smugglers. If he wanted a publicly known figure to leave the
that is the way he would have chosen as well. He was no longer
spy movie on TV. It had become needlessly complicated. Life was rarely
thriller that brings its readers right onto the soil and perceptions of
Pakistani people of all walks. It pairs high-octane action with
suspense to keep readers on edge until the final, unpredictable
which cunningly leaves the door open for more while deftly finishing
adventure at hand.
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Black Rose Writing
Blind Eye opens with a beloved nun's
murder, but when another body
turns up holding a similar Bible verse, Jack Bailey realizes he has a
killer on his hands - and the timing couldn't be worse for
case. Jack's abrasive female sergeant poses an unrelenting challenge to
expertise and authority, and his work life is complicated by family
with women is 'dismal' and he's not looking for a relationship; but
enters the picture. Will he ever find a woman after the love of his
lost twelve years ago? After
murders, the killer’s motive assumes a personal form, and with this
comes the certainty that he's missing something big.
Meg Lelvis's ability to weave recovery attempts into a bigger picture—embracing a detective's job and his perceptions of the greater world and his place in it—makes for a compelling investigative piece that pulls no punches.
quirky characters round out the story: his partner, Sherk, quotes
his mother, Maureen, fancies herself as Maureen O’Hara; the office
geek; and many more relatable folks who appear as the story progresses.
familiar with Chicago will appreciate the references to both Mayor
Daleys and the
city's iconic scenes.
look for more depth and personal involvement from their detective
will find Jack's ongoing relationship issues with his mother and
PTSD, his dreams and nightmares, and his professional challenges to be
compelling. At first these threads assume the pieces of a jigsaw
puzzle; but as
seemingly disparate elements draw together, readers receive a powerful
magnetic result that proves hard to put down, replete in themes of
and, ultimately, redemption on many unexpected levels.
Blind Eye is highly recommended for
mystery enthusiasts who also
like their stories well grounded in a sense of place and personal
characters confront their blind eyes and uncover new ways of seeing.
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Black Rose Writing
$18.95 Paper, $4.99 Kindle; $23.95 Hardcover
Defiant Souls tells of young aspiring
archaeologist Kyle, who
eagerly accepts his aunt's invitation to spend the summer with her with
opportunity to go caving and search for relics.
face a madman, evil, and a cache of imprisoned people struggling for
lives; but Kyle finds he's walked into another world far beyond that of
tracking down relics - one which portends a deadly future if he can't
evil force's rise.
easily identify the audience for Defiant
Souls. While the protagonist is a young adult, those around
him are adults
who are caught up in a web of horror. His Aunt Cindy treats him as an
early on, inviting him to drop the 'Aunt' and just call her by her
and as soon as they hit the desert they encounter evil men who imprison
All this places Defiant Souls in
arena of mature teen to adult audiences who will appreciate the
and tone of a supernatural horror thriller that jumps right into the
after sketching a setting that explains Kyle's purpose and life up to
appropriate) descriptions of this evil force and those who are killed
influence also place the audience of this occult read well beyond the
adult and into the circles of adults who enjoyed Indiana Jones-style
paired with fast-paced action. These
readers will find Kyle's youth does not indicate a teen read.
young man stand between Satan and the rise of a powerful force in the
Kyle unearths more clues, from a diary to relics that indicate evil's
history, he finds he must prevent a transformation that joins two
entities into one powerful force. His youth is on his side: he's
treated like a
kid, when in actuality he's growing into being a formidable opposition,
action, cast of characters ranging from the youthful, impulsive Kyle to
aunt, Jack, Damon, and others caught in the growing web of evil and its
explosive confrontations, Defiant Souls
will be thoroughly enjoyed by horror fans who will appreciate its
evolution, twists of plot, and the journey of a young adult to manhood
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Elevation Book Publishing
978-1-943904-13-6 (hc) $24.95
978-1-943904-15-0 (pb) $16.95
Foreign Threat is a medical espionage
thriller with a touch of
something different, winding a romance into the bigger picture of a
medical intern caught up in circumstances far greater than the
circles he's training for. It's a winning pick for thriller readers
more personal touches than the typical Robin Cook-style read.
he'd be a doctor, just like his father. His experience as an intern
in the direction of becoming a surgeon, but a blossoming romance in his
personal life may become his greatest accomplishment yet.
foreign operative is at work behind the scenes, locating interns who
money and are less likely to ask questions about dubious ethics.
egotistical residents Jake and Sally with the aspiring Steve and there
than enough reasons why a would-be physician finds his career and
thrillers, Mitch Goldstein's Foreign
Threat centers as much upon rookie interns and their learning
relationships to one another as the evolving plot that targets them as
partners in a wide-ranging collusion scheme.
relationship with Erica evolves, so do his talents in the medical field
conundrum that involves Middle Eastern operatives on a deadly mission
anticipate the broader implication of Steve's growth process, but
guise of an international spy story and a situation that immerses the
community is the vivid tale of a young man's interactions with the CIA
chance encounter with a foreigner that changes everything. The ordeal
involves payoffs, promises of a life in paradise, and ill-construed
that hold dark consequences for all.
Replete with romance, individual and professional choices, and dark intrigue, Foreign Threat's deeper attention to evolving personal and professional relationships and moral and ethical challenges will delight readers who enjoy medical thrillers and international intrigue with more of focus on interpersonal relationships and romance than most; all centered around Steve Carmichael's challenging internship and a blossoming career that leads him on an unexpected journey alien to everything he's aspired to in his life.Foreign Threat
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Craig N. Hooper
ASIN: B078WYDBV1 $3.99
The Greatest Good is a powerful suspense
thriller that opens with
Agent Garrison Chase's lie and the reasons behind his questionable
quickly revealing that he's on suspension from his job. His specialty
cybercrimes, but what happens when he lies about an intruder's break-in
far more personal than professional challenges when he faces the
losing a new job he is slated to begin that day, and thus losing
custody of his
feature of The Greatest Good lies
it builds its story while leaving readers guessing at various points.
approach begins as early as the end of the first chapter, when a police
interrogation session leads Chase to see something in his own house
explained in evolving scenes, they succeed in creating a jigsaw puzzle
in which a myriad of seemingly disparate pieces are created and then
fall into place.
become the reader's scenarios of intrigue and keep interest levels high
attention riveted to details as the story unfolds, revealing that Chase
lot to lose no matter what his investigations uncover or how good (or
As The Greatest Good develops, a perp with
a penchant for explosives and a kid Agent Chase is charged with
is scheduled to die, become the centerpieces in a powerful
in which Agent Chase struggles to keep everyone safe around him,
Can a man
his former living as a spy adequately pinpoint the motivations and
the governor's son, Stanley Tuchek? Can one liar see through the lies
another? And how can he make the best choices for himself, his son
national security interests alike?
has to be
sacrificed for the greater good, and as readers are treated to a
hop through close encounters with death and special interest forces,
Chase lives up to his name and the rigors of his duty in a vivid
will keep readers guessing right up to a conclusion, which embraces an
The Greatest Good represents everything a
suspense reader could
desire from the thriller format: strong characterization, swift action,
approach that takes time to build its setting, motive, and
personalities as it
tiptoes through murders, terrorist interests, corruption, and a good
desperate attempts to do the right thing. Genre readers will find The Greatest Good a powerful read that
stands out from the crowd.
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Seven Guns Press
Gypsy Blood represents horror writing at
its most chilling and
begins when Corbin, a struggling writer living in Paris, witnesses a
attack on an old gypsy man by three knife-wielding thugs. The old man
his arms, but his legacy lives on when Corbin discovers that the
has entered his body and is intent in punishing his killers, using
body as its vehicle.
Corbin was in limbo, producing a notebook filled with anything but the
his publisher has been pressuring him to produce for his next novel. He never thought he'd
become mired in the
French justice system's pursuit of a lunatic killer, and never imagined
would be challenged with newfound self-awareness, self loathing, and
death influenced by Margot, the mysterious woman who somehow is
everything that swirls around him.
immersed in ancient rituals and a tortured dead man who has become a
entity, the mysterious Tacho R'asa and their capacity for bringing back
dead, and a relentless new voice in his head that drives him to kill,
finds that everything he's taken for granted in the world, including
reality, is changing.
into the rising horror of a writer who finds that Paris harbors some
secrets, and who inadvertently finds himself swept into the heart of
affairs through chance encounters with a woman, assassins, and an old
gripping thriller/horror blend which excels in scenes of terror and
transformation, and who like their horror stories steeped in blood and
long-buried physical and psychological skeletons, will relish the
progression and twists of Gypsy Blood
and a character whose innocuous life becomes an exercise in surviving
supernatural forces well outside his experience and comfort zone.
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Venegoni never wanted to be Don of his family dynasty. He's perfectly
living a plush lifestyle, and doesn't really harbor a desire for
tragedy seems to require such an impulse.
family loyalties and ties seem to demand it, and exact a price from him
be at odds with what he truly values in the lifestyle he's both
the heart of matters, Murder at
Venegoni's is also about the price to be paid for loyalty
when a seemingly
simple matter of armed robbery at the Venegoni Wine & Spirits
results in a convoluted and changed set of relationships in the
unfolding events is a probe of differing purposes, motivations, and the
yin/yang of family operations and connections that subtly embrace even
lowest of workers in the complex structures fostered by the Venegonis: "Although they are highly trained culinary
experts, they are also highly trained killers and criminals."
changed lives and multiple skill sets create a story where nothing is a
matter, whether it be exacting vengeance for murder, taking one's place
of a powerful Italian family, dealing with loyal assassins and the
severing connections and stopping ongoing wars, and encounters that
even the Pope.
circumspect or small about this murder: its impact just keeps
embracing conflict and confrontation at the highest levels of Italian
Overseeing matters is an uncertain warrior and reluctant hero who
Graziano War and struggles to keep personal secrets separate from the
anticipate graphic descriptions of murders, foul language realistically
sprinkled throughout the encounters (not overdone; but present), and an
attention to political and psychological detail that makes for a
complex and realistic story line.
line takes a Godfather theme and
elevates it a step
further, carefully inspecting underlying motives, family relationships
entwine with political factors, and issues of succession and personal
These psychological nuances are deeply explored, probing the boundaries
personal and political associations - and this is just one strength of Murder at Venegoni's: its ability to
move beyond events surrounding conspiracy and murder to link deeply
beliefs with family ties and the clash of motivations. While this may
those who thought they were entering a murder mystery alone (or a mafia
of action-packed conflict), the psychological depth is an added and
Fans of The Godfather and similar titles who
enjoy stories of high-level, powerful Italian families and
relish this fast-paced, involving thriller that ultimately centers as
one powerful man's choices as a murder that involves everyone in an
that may prove unstoppable.
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Hampshire House Publishing Co.
978-0-9893333-7-5 $15.95 paperback, $3.99 ebook
themselves the winner of a lotto jackpot; but when one struggling young
finds they hold the winning ticket to a fortune, their lives change -
necessarily for the better, because money doesn't always solve
anticipate the unfolding of this life-changing game, but what they
anticipate is a powerful story of mystery, love, and a process that
and Ron LaFrancis far from their difficult yet familiar blue-collar
struggles and into a world of the affluent that they are ill prepared
questions of who
are friends and who are enemies in the face of newly acquired wealth
imagination to underlying distain for the privileged class, reflected
messages as subtle as clothing choice, and a newfound realization that
wealthy, readers grow along with the couple and come to understand
players in the social game they've entered.
ways, Ninety Million and Change is
straightforward and unsurprising; but one doesn't anticipate the
mystery that takes center stage, and events that transpire certainly
offer a degree of predictability that would lead a reader to ennui.
underlying messages involved in how the couple chooses to handle such a
and the changed relationships that stem from it to bigger pictures
impact of these choices ("America,
it’s …Look, when people have big houses, it gives everyone else
shoot for. Everyone tries to find a way to make money to live in places
this, to take vacations in Europe, to own a big car, so they
work hard. Wealth is what makes America run."),
readers are given
plenty to think about as they follow Ron and Karen's growth.
importantly, Ninety Million and Change
is about a future with and without things as basic as children, and
underlying social messages that place the story on a much deeper level
get-rich-quick saga: "You've been a
one percenter since the day you were born,” Shelley said. “And how’s
were poor teachers,” Karen said. “One percenters in the world. Just about everyone in America
with a job is.” “That
can’t be true,” said Ron. Challenged, Shelley whipped out her iPhone. A
taps on Google and the answer was on her screen. She held up the proof
everyone to see. “There. Thirty-four thousand a year and you’re a
percenter,” Shelley said. “So whatever terrible shame you feel now, you
have been feeling it back when you were a teacher – but you weren’t,
You shouldn’t be feeling it now either. It’s how life is. Rich people,
people. It’s the reality. It always has been.”
to see how educated teachers Ron and Karen could have been oblivious to
the economic and social realities of the world which are revealed to
after wealth changes their lives. As Carl and Shelley point out what
somewhat obvious and attempt to negate Karen's guilt trips and tendency
self-righteous about her charity work, the story takes a darker turn,
readers down a dangerous road that holds no pat or easy solutions.
intriguing, and revealing, Ninety Million
and Change isn't just a story of newly acquired fortune: it's
a probe into
how one struggling couple reassesses their values and purpose in life
arrives; and what happens when everything goes horribly wrong during
Mystery and general novel readers alike will find the story compelling.Ninety Million and Change
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Plea for Justice
Mitchell Cove Publishing
Plea for Justice presents two viewpoints
that narrate story of
paralegal Jackie Siegel and convicted felon Aaron Slater, who have
childhood friendship to find themselves on opposite sides of the legal
as adults. In high school, it was Aaron who abandoned their
Jackie without any explanation after graduation.
When Jackie sees Aaron (who wouldn't hurt a fly) on television accepting a plea bargain in a murder case, she feels compelled to help; even if Aaron may be relying on their personal history and her professional status. Jackie finds herself confronting not only what was, but what is. Is Aaron just toying with her emotions in his time of need to use her skills to gain freedom; or is something more going on that requires all her professional capability to solve?
to help Aaron on many levels, Jackie uncovers a series of bizarre
that seem to refute not only what he says, but everything she believes
justice and the legal system's effectiveness as she embarks on the
personal and professional journey of her life and career.
Plea for Justice features several unusual
approaches that elevate
its action and premises beyond the usual courtroom drama. One is the
view, which alternates from Jackie's observations and experiences to
first-person experiences of "Me," the killer. These two viewpoints,
clearly delineated by chapter headings, deftly probe into the emotions
character and neatly juxtapose the perceptions of each.
through an emotional jungle ("A
surge of conflicting emotions swelled up in me—overwhelming pity at his
physical diminishment collided with buried anger from his decade-long
But the flash of resentment quickly dissipated and I felt myself back
school, reunited with my long-lost friend...This
was no joking matter and I’m sure reminiscing about high school
brought him no joy. I imagine it was crushing to think about the life
before and the future life that would never be."), while
"Me" plays a dangerous game that revolves around IT savvy and disdain
up? Or is he a secret psychopath determined to bring down Jackie's best
efforts? As Jackie's probe reveals strange truths and a dangerous
both find that their lives and perceptions of justice and the law
cat-and-mouse game that focuses on their relationship, throwing out new
challenges and deadly ramifications. Is taking a life just a game?
more courtroom drama from this approach, yet Plea
for Justice is more about a paralegal's private investigation
of a case that seems cut-and-dry to the courts, but holds many
avenues than it is about courtroom proceedings.
stories of investigations that hold many unexpected twists and turns
relish Plea for Justice, which
tackles entangled emotions past and present, long-hidden secrets, and
specter of a perp who has the perfect alibi to excuse his actions.
The blend of
psychological inspection, legal process, and complex, revolving
is just right in a mystery that percolates with a satisfying blend of
investigative action and thought-provoking revelations from start to
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The Rabbit Skinners
978-1976755149 $12.99 Print/$4.99 Kindle
FBI agent James Strait was once deemed a
hero for uncovering and stopping a terrorist attack. Sidelined by a
disease and facing a life of disability, the heyday of his
seems to be over - or, is it?
When a nine-year-old vanishes on a lonely
country road and her best friend entreats him to find her, James can't
back on her pleading, even if his spirit and body are broken. And so he
undertakes a task that initially seems far less demanding than his
higher-profile terrorist encounters of the past; but which soon proves
he's neither lost his skills nor faces a dilemma with any easy
His investigation places him at odds with
racists in his own hometown. It tears apart everything he knows and
his life, and it ultimately involves a battle with his past,
charge, and his own disability.
Having a mystery powered by a former career
investigator sidelined by his physical demise adds an extra dimension
proceedings which gives the story line an added dose of personality and
compelling attraction. James isn't just fighting a criminal element;
battling his own restrictions and past - and these facets meld with an
compelling saga filled with satisfying twists and turns of plot
James thought that having this diversion
would be therapeutic for him, after so many medical challenges. He's
forced out of the FBI, so his efforts in this arena could bring him
self-worth and confirm that his ability hasn't paled. But as events
he begins to believe the wrong man has been fingered for kidnapping the
he finds himself on a deadly road to face a bigger perp than he'd
Part of what makes The Rabbit Skinners
more than a one-dimensional mystery surrounding a kidnapped child is
Eidswick takes the time to explore small town relationships,
infidelity and dubious friendships to the social and political
make or break a small town's people.
James doesn't operate in a vacuum, and the
atmosphere and special interests of a wide range of characters
contribute to a
compelling and intriguing story of why several children become mired in
affairs. Even more compelling is the story of how he deals with his
and changed status with the FBI and how life events dovetail neatly
ability or inability to recognize the clues that could solve both the
his own dilemmas.
Tense, revealing, and replete with different
characters' special interests and evolution, The Rabbit
embraces themes of good and evil, courage and fear, prejudice and love,
unexpected touch of romance. Mystery readers will find it a compelling
from beginning to end.
Return to Index
Touch of Rain
White Star Press
978-1-939203-89-2 $17.95 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
A young woman is gone, and there are no
clues as to her disappearance. Only one avenue holds any hope at all:
consulting psychic Autumn Rain, who can read the imprints of emotions
objects, and whose skills aid police investigators and conclude
Autumn's special skill has always been a
challenge to her because it's not always under her control. She can
imprints and events from the most ordinary of circumstances and
objects, so her
psyche is always being flooded with impressions, emotions, and usually
insights from the world around her.
Wounded by fears and intense discoveries,
Autumn has "...learned the hard way that some emotions left
on random objects were better off undiscovered." But in the
grieving parents and a P.I. investigator who harbors her own mourning
missing, Autumn is drawn into a probe that reveals something much
personal loss or her own challenging ability, and finds her past and
worlds coalescing as she draws closer to a dangerous truth.
Part of what makes this paranormal
investigation account so invigorating is Teyla Branton's attention to
characterization throughout. Not only Autumn but those around her are
three-dimensional quality and depth, and this attention to detail and
builds sympathetic characters readers will empathize with and, in some
even fall in love with.
More than just suspense drives the story
line: there are flavors of intrigue designed to keep readers guessing
up to the
end; but there are also many personal revelations, struggles, changing
perceptions, and twists around Autumn's life that introduces a plethora
individuals and their own special interests.
Cruelty and domestic violence, an evolving
romance where Autumn moves beyond her original premises to truly
another's perceptions, a refuge that might be a prison for some, and a
people can't leave entwine in an unexpected story that certainly
in predictable directions.
Fueled by characters who are realistic and a
story that is compellingly different, Touch of Rain's
debut of a
paranormal suspense series is not to be missed by any reader who looks
vivid, solid opening act.
Return to Index
St. Helena Press
9781619848719 $15.99/$8.99 Kindle
The Wingman presents a Jack Sharpe
political thriller as vibrant
and gripping as Sharpe's prior appearance in The
People's House, and opens with a debate in New Hampshire,
Jack is moderating a heated discussion between four candidates for
moment during the debate, Jack creates the kinds of questions and
which save the day; but
his ability to
gain an emotional reaction from his audience and a clear viewpoint
political posturing from his candidates also introduces a conundrum. As
at reading body language as he is at being a political reporter, he
the eyes of a ex-military hero who reluctantly tells his war story
that something is wrong.
this subliminal hint of discomfort to lead to a powerful political
investigation into not just one candidate's war experience; but a
encounters. They stem from a civil war within the pentagon and
are kidnapped, coerced, threatened, and manipulated in a scenario where
forces lean towards resolving conflict through drones and robots.
of how war is conducted portends a slippery slope to a state of
covert warfare; and as Jack Sharpe and fellow reporter Alex Fischer dig
the secrets closely held by DroneTech and their brutal scheme, time is
out for everyone.
combines with a nose for troubling truths and a determination to expose
deeply-held corruption, anything can happen - and, it does.
One of the
facets of The Wingman is that
is cut-and-dried. Jack believes his investigative skills and his
Pentagon insider expert Alex create an outstanding investigative
approach - but
is Jack actually being manipulated and carefully led in predetermined
that veer from the actual truth?
As the story
it becomes less obvious and more uncertain as to what Jack's real
are, and how they influence the election process. Mirroring today's
puzzle, readers receive clues that keep digressing and moving deeper
into a closely-held Pentagon secret.
dose of personal perspective, political savvy, tension, and intrigue, The Wingman provides another powerful
Jack Sharpe thriller that stands nicely on its own and supplements and
Pepper's prior Sharpe book. It will engage and absorb readers who look
political scenarios that are frighteningly realistic and compellingly
in their relentless drive to reveal truths and consequences.
Return to Index
You Only Live Once
Kindle eBook: 978-1-77223-359-9 $4.99 USD
Trade paperback: 978-1-77223-360-5 $15.99 USD
Only Live Once's
opening scene presents what looks like a burglar scenario as Flynn
a facility and crawls through ductwork to reach his objective: a room
sleeping young woman awakens to greet him not with terror, but delight.
are then discovered - but the hulking nurse on duty isn't a threat,
In the next instant, readers
realize that the seemingly
straightforward opening scene isn't really what's actually happening;
then, they are hooked. You Only Live Once
is a thriller set in Los Angeles; but to call it a 'thriller' alone
would be a
misnomer, because a healthy dose of humor and irony is added to the
create a story about a misfit in search of a mission.
Much like Don Quixote, Flynn
finds himself flailing about
rather than being effective, and the story romps through his
proclivity for getting into trouble (whether it be bars, beds, or
and his sad and painful efforts to rescue women, among other things.
Elements of James Bond - only with an added dose of incompetence and irony - permeate a story line where James Flynn cultivates a kind of fear that makes him "sharp and dangerous" as events carry him far from Los Angeles to a Moorish castle, whose atmosphere he remarks on with a wry sense of humor: "The lair of our nemesis I imagine,” said Flynn. “Now we’re finally getting somewhere.”
From a secret technology and
threats of torture to
Flynn's unwilling sidekick Dulcie, who finds herself in way over her
head, You Only Live Once's unique
brand of a
bumbling but determined Bond-like figure who has his own way of living
for an engrossing read offering many satisfying twists and turns.
thrillers who expect a staid, formula production
will be delighted by the various nuances Haris Orkin brings to the
table as he
introduces a quasi-hero who ultimately faces success despite himself.
Return to Index
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B079KV9HX9 $7.99
Many wish to believe they can change the world. Few
can actually achieve this
goal. But much of the applause lies in the effort as much as the
in this, the protagonist in Awakening
excels. But is the act of attempting such change in itself an indicator
underlying idea that human nature is inherently asleep or tainted; and
those who awaken and strive should be considered rarities or
reflections of a
disturbance in the force?
might thwart readers who anticipate and seek a linear progression from
novels. There is no real 'heroine', no true salvation, and no easy
an ending where everything wrong is made right and what is obscure
clear. Like the most intriguing of philosophical reflections, it's
its approach to the traditional trappings of fiction - and that is one
Readers enter a world where Holly's
altruistic determination to save others is not always a good thing.
could that be? Does not one of the higher-level pursuits of man involve
effort to better not only one's own life; but those of others? And what
when an individual who is persuaded that she can make a big difference
short of her goals?
The story opens with Holly's early years in
a tumultuous family with a warring mother and father who are consumed
possessions. Holly hasn't yet had the years or experience to absorb
just one of
the lessons she'll gain from life: "I
hadn’t the slightest idea that those much-vaulted possessions were not
passing thought, it was all a stinking lie; it was all an illusion of
and peace. I hadn’t the eyes to see that they were doomed to decay.
my long arduous path to enlightenment would require me to learn from
from the natural world, with a dose of stubborn disobedience and
the world for myself."
From the start, Holly has many astute
observations of her world's parameters: "Dad,
the realist saw the world primarily in patterns while Mom, the
dreamer saw the world in terms of immediate appearances." But
inexorably moves forward to bring with it many new ideas not originally
Holly's thought processes, she is persuaded to consider a bigger
her life, and pursues this with the same determination she once tapped
survive her childhood angst.
As the microcosm of Holly's life evolves to
address and influence the macrocosm of social injustice and the "all
matter" movement, readers are swept into a journey that holds no
boundaries, limitations, or even a logical progression of right and
wrong or a
promise of personal redemption.
Holly's choices move from awakening and
loftier visions to a disturbing series of choices that seem to
mirror her parents' choices and experiences, and readers begin to
nothing about Awakening is cut and
dried, or easy. Holly's
satisfyingly complex, ever-changing, and not always upward-bound; and
mirror of life's actual routes and conundrums is one of the strengths
gives Awakening an edge that
shallower reads can't match.
was viewed as a work-in-progress: better editing will undoubtedly
grammatical errors and create a clearer read, correcting the flaws that
an otherwise-engrossing novel of philosophical and psychological
evolution and social
Readers who are interested in characters who
search for the fundamentals of serenity and peace in their lives will
find Awakening is a circumspect and
intriguing read that challenges perceptions and set paths of conflict
resolution, holds no clear bottom line or easy result, and provides a
philosophical read and social justice inspection that lingers in the
after its conclusion.
Return to Index
K. McCaffrey LLC
E-book ISBN-13: 978-0-9980907-4-0 $4.99
Print ISBN-13: 978-0-9980907-5-7 $11.99
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2EvkoFC
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/2sb667W
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/2nLGJ8a
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2ENIvwV
Amazon IN: http://bit.ly/2BirM5l
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2EbV2cr
Book 1 in the Pathway series, Deep Blue,
introduces a scenario in which Dr. Grace Mann's long-time close
with great white sharks attracts the interest of documentary filmmaker
who finds himself at first a fan of her beauty and expertise; then a
Grace isn't so certain he belongs on her
scientific expedition; nor does she necessarily think his documentary
great idea. Her focus is on the great whites which are her life's work;
relationships, publicity, or romance.
On Alec's part, his attraction is a blend of
fascination for her endeavors, respect, and the sense that, unlike his
lovers, Grace is something different ("The picture of her with
white shark may have flooded him with bone deep terror, but it also had
intrigued the hell out of him."). If he can capture her work,
be a professional coup. If he can capture her heart, his life will
And so the two begin their dance ... but
actually, it's a triad, with the great white shark forming the
third player in their encounters.
One thing to note is that Deep Blue
is not a 'G' rated read: strong language and sexual descriptions are
the story; so circumspect romance readers seeking emotional ties alone
This is not to say that the novel is overly
racy. It's just realistic in its portrayal of two disparate individuals
reach beyond their professions to find connections and different
purpose in each other's work. The very environment they operate in is
described ("The briny smell of saltwater greeted her,
the happy places in her head and heart. It was such a relief to be out
office and in the bosom of Mother Nature once again."), as
insights about why the ocean's ancient inhabitants feel so compelling
"Truly, they had entered another time and place, a Jurassic
with ancient great white dinosaurs swimming around them."
In addition to these vivid sensory
experiences of land and sea, Kristy McCaffrey creates a compelling
between two very likeable characters who face trouble when a tourist
goes awry and Grace's deep kinship with the shark, including her
dream encounters with them, is revealed to Alec: one of the few times
life that she's confided her deepest secret to another. Dr. Gracie Mann
reputation for being all business. That reputation changes when she
challenges both in romance and in her professional career.
Swept along for a challenging adventure,
readers of Deep Blue who like romances that are
shape and form, holding characters who care about more than just each
find this a powerful story filled with compelling examinations of more
kind of bond and more than one problem.
Return to Index
Alan S. Kessler
Black Rose Writing
Gables Court presents the character of
a romantic and a traditional thinker who is saving sex for marriage,
falls in love with a feisty college girl. He dreams of marriage, but
personal agenda doesn't include the title 'wife', and her ideas of
and commitment are in direct conflict with his own values and ideals.
usual romance with Gables Court,
despite the fact that this is one of its themes. It's far more complex,
besides being a young man harboring traditional hopes and dreams, he's
lawyer who represents an accused Nazi war criminal, the son of the head
crime family, and a new adult still coming of age in a turbulent world
social norms seem far from his own.
piece of his journey, which takes place over a ten-year period of time
which explores how Sam reconciles his ideals with his background and
realities, and how he makes and loses connections, faces loneliness
are crushed, develops confidence and independence, and ultimately
his black-and-white perceptions of what the world should be.
ways, Gables Court is a slice of
from its uncertain course. Samuel is not a one-dimensional figure in
of change: he helps others, tests and is tested by life, and finds he's
always able to begin when he left off when people return.
Clues to his
evolution are subtly wound into revealing dialogues, language that
captures the uncertainty of his connections and minute moments where
surge to the forefront: "Sometimes
when I'm working on a painting I know no matter how hard I try the
never be right. That's a form of fate too. Some things aren't meant to
hope you make lots of money. Goodbye."
descriptions filled with different references to color and creation,
navigates women, puzzling relationships, faith and perspective, choices
consequences, and in all of it, his changing place in the world.
Gables Court provides a powerfully insightful saga of a young man adrift in a changing world. As color flows through his life and brings with it psychological and social insights, Samuel slowly finds the impetus to be himself. Readers who seek a combination of psychological self-discovery and social awareness will find Samuel's journey ethereal, engrossing, and all too familiar. Highly recommended for thinking readers seeking more from their fiction than light entertainment.Gables Court
Return to Index
House Without Lies
White Star Press
978-1-939203-69-4 $14.95 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Without Lies is Book 1
introducing the Lily's House
series about a girl who has grown up unloved, and who opens her home
apartment to runaway girls in trouble, as an adult. Her life is full,
providing them with a safe haven and struggling to have everyone live
well in a
Jameson works as a teen counselor and wants
Lily to become certified and legal as a foster parent so she can be
effective by working through the system; but Lily is worried that
that system's regulations will result in her inability to help those
who most need her.
As a romance blossoms between them, the
consequences of Lily's refusal to work within the system become
several of her teens are endangered by vengeful fathers and
mothers. Lily is an instinctive nurturer whose roots lie in privileges:
make the kinds of choices on how to help that result in real change?
To call House Without Lies a
will lead to disappointment in readers looking for heavy passion and an
overriding focus on budding relationships. There's a lot going on here,
Lily's passion to help others and her struggles with a system that
help and harm her special cause. The issues of abuse, on many levels,
stronger than the evolving relationship conundrums Lily faces.
Readers seeking inspirational women's
stories with a broader focus than relationship-building moments will
Without Lies just the ticket. It's filled with many different
and diverse circumstances, but the overall plot holds true to its
and presents a vivid story made all the more immediate by Rachel
choice of using the first person to capture Lily's daily life and
Lily's accustomed to fighting for others:
can she fight for herself, as well? An engrossing read, it's also a
add a note that while House Without Lies is part of
a series, it's
actually a fine stand-alone story that neatly concludes its plot.
want more, but won't be required to hang off a cliff waiting for
and that's a huge bonus to the first book in this series.
Return to Index
Black Rose Writing
Leaves of the Linden Tree provides a
sequel to The Wanderers as it
follows Corrie Holden, who embarks on a new
life when she opens her bookstore in the small town of Linden Grove and
embraces a budding romance with Jimmy, who is also starting over in
town seems the perfect place to build a fresh life based on old dreams
relationships; but when emerging racism results in a hate crime from a
completely unexpected direction, Corrie and Jimmy must reconsider many
including their definitions of social justice and small-town
early on, from the lack of diversity in the town to how it is divided
status rather than nationality, that all may not be as idyllic as they
but as the story progresses, readers will be surprised by some
familiarity with The Wanderers
be a prerequisite for enjoying its sequel, but the main characters in
book, Kurt and Sarah, take second place to the evolving structure and
of Corrie and Jimmy's lives. This means that newcomers will equally
the story line's progression and will gain insights from a tale that
winds through affairs as diverse as Muslim perceptions, gun rights, the
for an ordinary woman's involvement in arson, and what happens when a
lit under the town's hidden prejudices.
bring everyone together and supplant the human disaster in the making
of the Linden Tree, which places Corrie and Jimmy's evolving
in the context of bigger social issues and questions.
looking for a
revealing, involving chronicle will find Leaves
of the Linden Tree moves through ordinary lives and bigger
concerns like a
train: sometimes smooth and modern and at other times noisy and replete
thundering wheels of change, nicely revealing of the mechanisms
restorative justice and the roots of resistance.
Return to Index
Love's Hidden Promise
M. Jean Pike
L. Cooper Press
ASIN: B078XMC3GQ $4.27
Love’s Hidden Promise: An Enchanting Tale of Love,
Loss, and the Magic
of Believing takes fantasy and paranormal elements
and winds them into
an overall romance that revolves around Willow, whose life is turned
down when she receives a medical diagnosis just as her support partner,
leaves her for someone else.
She's out of
comfort zone in more ways than one when she jettisons her familiar big
the wilderness, longing to photograph an eagle, and instead finds love
most improbable of places under the most improbable of circumstances.
Darby is also an unlikely candidate for love. He harbors his own
reason for eschewing civilization; but somehow, when they meet, Willow
she is meant to spend her final days in his presence.
Love's Hidden Promise is about endings
and beginnings. Even more
importantly, it's about life's challenges and who stays and who leaves.
of abandonment, pain, and friendship lead to greater stories of
commitment, and love; each holding key lessons that challenge Willy's
"She had tried to love
spontaneously, to loosen the chains she kept carefully locked around
But fear was a way of life for girls like Willy and Sid. They'd grown
knowing the sting of rejection, of never being quite good enough. As a
Willy had never taken a chance on anything that mattered, never known
really love. And now it was too late to learn."
of impossible odds is the best thing - but both characters instead defy
seems to be a logical course of action. Fantasy elements and a
Christian tone wind into the tale while the paranormal elements contain
somewhat of a surprise as they enhance the underlying theme of the
As clues are
presented and acts of heroism emerge, readers enjoy a delightful story
keeps its powerful moments in tune with emotional and psychic
is as much
a story of evolution as it is a romance, offering a few surprises and
for thought to delight readers who like their drama psychological and
insights connected to affairs of the heart and deeper concerns about
choice, and life's deeper meaning even in an isolated Garden of Eden
crafted by two hurting individuals. Genre readers who appreciate
entwined with these wider-ranging philosophical and spiritual elements
love the winding story of Willow, Darby, Patrick, and life's surprising
opportunities for transformation.
Return to Index
The Pas de Deux: A Classical Ballet Romance
Curtain Call Press
Print ISBN: 978-0-9984830-2-3 $14.95
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9984830-5-4 $3.99
Can an aging
ballerina and dying ballet company enjoy new energy from young blood
romance? Sure they can, as The Pas de Deux: A Classical
Ballet Romance demonstrates with
a compelling ballet saga
that blends the romance of a couple with eleven years' difference
with a revitalization process that affects everyone around them.
Chapter headings infused with ballet
terminology set the stage for each event that unfolds, imbibing the
ballet culture as it uses the structure of a classical ballet grand
de deux to trace the evolution of a fiery onstage love affair
the ballet director, Mr. D., to separate his head ballerina from her
Separation not only makes their hearts and
determination grow stronger; but is woven into the overlay of change as
faces the slow death of her own dancing skills as she ages ("Peri
herself was dying, but it was a different death—the death of a dancer.
once was easy was now hard, and what once was hard was now impossible.
Maintaining the illusion of brilliance was chewing at her.").
Themes of intolerance, acceptance, and
professional and personal challenge permeate the demands of dance,
requires supreme sacrifice from all involved, creating an engrossing
will prove particularly compelling to anyone who has a background in or
affinity for the dance world.
Invigorated by her newfound passion, Peri
dances like never before. But how long can she maintain her new ability
everything comes crashing down around her? As young Mark faces his own
from a drunken father who thinks his ballet dancing equates to him
homosexual to a possessive ballet company director, he faces the
heartbreak from the very one he trusts, who has an ulterior motive for
him go: "I broke your heart, so I wouldn’t break your spirit,
telegraphed to Mark, wherever he was now. I said I didn’t
love you because I
did love you, and loving you meant letting you go."
As dancing challenges, raw emotions,
separations and reunifications, and transformations ensue, everything
Bomboy's uncanny ability to capture all the subtle nuances of everyone
in a ballet company production creates a powerful story that captures
love's trials and errors, but a fading ballet company's road to a
a special affinity for the world of dance will relish this powerful
blends insights on history, love, choreography, and the climatic
buildup of the
grand pas de deux as it
out on stage and in hearts against a wider backdrop of social and
Return to Index
Michelle Hazen, Publisher
Author website: http://michellehazenbooks.com/
Playing the Pauses is Book 2 of the 'Sex,
Love, and Rock & Roll'
series, and will reach female readers of romance whether or not they
the prior book, A Cruel Kind of Beautiful.
inevitable when two powerful personalities collide during a rock music
New manager Kate is jazzed about her first big international band tour
assignment, while 'bad boy' musician and tattoo artist Danny seems to
many things and played many parts in her life, is now operating far
her usual comfort zone and is exploring "what
kind of person I’m about to become." Part of her process
involves a deliberate intention to seek change; but part of it, she
acknowledges, comes from chance encounters with life where different
assumed: “Tours started out as my consolation
prize when I turned out to suck as a musician. Because sometimes the
beautiful things happen by accident.”
employer is a challenge, particularly when you're business and travel
colleagues; but exploring new sexual avenues with S&M adds an
dimension to the journey.
By now it
evident that sex is a big part of Kate and Danny's discoveries about
and the possibilities of their expanding worlds. Readers who are
about the nature and frequency of a romance story's sexual component
look elsewhere; because this erotic story is firmly based in sexual
as it presents a woman's growth both as a professional and in her
loves that Kate and Danny share: a love for music and the road, and a
love for each other. This creates a collision course even as it opens
opportunities for play and self-awareness.
graphic sexual descriptions, strong language, and an approach that
sex scenes with an overall attention to a solid story development.
encounter is a central theme of the story, to call Playing
the Pauses an erotic novel alone would be to belie its
equally strong explorations of the boundaries between personal, career,
adverse to alternative sleeping arrangements and sexual encounters will
this saga of lives and careers on the road which are challenged by a
relationship that careens into forbidden territory to be an engrossing,
revealing tale of sex, drugs, rock music, and evolutionary processes
reveal many surprises along the way.
Return to Index
Fireship Press, LLC
$17.95 paperback, $5.95 e-Book
dies, he has no economic option but to go to work as a servant in a
home. In 16th century Italy, there are not a lot of choices: the
either rich or poor, with few in between. His only escape route from a
servitude lies in a competition to become a seer's apprentice; but his
adversary is not only his current employer's son, but is bent on
the apprenticeship and the beautiful daughter it involves.
walked away from everything he's known to build a new life, facing his
death and separating from his family at the age of seventeen. His
daughter has her eye on a more interesting life, even though her father
provided nicely for her and even though a more exciting suitor might
her father's financial savvy.
The blend of
Renaissance history and romance would, in and of themselves, be an
to many; but add a fantasy element to the story and it successfully
unexpected directions that sweep Antonius, Giulia, Nichola, and
them into a vivid world of spirits, initiations, unusual dreams, and
with social status and special talents.
rivalry fuels both boys to become men and recognize their own inherent
abilities, it also drives a story line that revolves around a seer's
church's growing concern over magic realism and threats to its visions
control, and young boy's coming of age in a rapidly changing society.
of history, magic, romance and growth is nicely done and moves deftly
the streets and culture of Italy. Readers seeking a historical fantasy
story will find Stone Circle a
powerful exploration of sad endings, new beginnings, and change as its
characters search for new homes and a sense of place in a world that's
under their feet.
Return to Index
Take Me Home
White Star Press
978-1-939203-83-0 $15.95 paper/$4.99 Kindle
Take Me Home is the first book in the Finding Home series and tells of an adult who faces being an adopted child plagued by vague, haunting memories of her birth parents and early life.
Liana has always felt conflicted about her
uncertain past and being adopted after her parents' plane accident in
left her an orphan; but the questions have only increased as she enters
adulthood with baggage that interferes with her ability to form
Successful businessman Austin Walker has
faced his own demons of the past and seemingly overcome them; but he's
similarly affected by unresolved issues and emotional conundrums.
Clarissa willingly adopted her sister's
child after the accident, but feels her own conflicts over her
forever-unresolved estrangement with her sibling. Someday she will have
Liana the truth - and that day comes all too soon, despite the passage
From early on in the story, Rachel Branton
presents a candid view of adoptee Liana's conflicted feelings about her
"As the meal progressed, Liana watched them interact, almost a
amidst her own family, her feelings confused and varied. She loved
she trusted Bret, and she was grateful to her aunt and uncle, the
had adopted her and raised her as their own. Gratitude was something
freely give them—much better than love, she’d told herself throughout
years. She still believed that. Gratitude didn’t make you shrivel up
when someone died. Only love did that."
When Liana begins to dig deeper into her
past, what she finds sends her on an unexpected journey for the real
about her heritage and her parents' deaths - a journey that involves
adoptive and birth mothers alike and brings them full circle, while
into question everything they've known about her past.
Me Home is about healing,
self-discovery. This powerful women's fiction piece will resonate
any reader interested in stories of personal heritage and Ukrainian
adoption, and connections with those who would be accepted as family.
Return to Index
1779671 Alberta Inc.
ISBN (electronic): 978-0995847057 $7.99
ISBN (paperback): 978-0995847040 $15.99
Purchase through: www.books2read.com/feasibleplanet
Feasible Planet: A Guide to More Sustainable Living
joins a host of
other books on the topic, but several features and approaches set this
discussion apart from similar-sounding books on the market.
propose individual actions that involve lifestyle changes based on
principles, Feasible Planet considers
feasibility's monetary benefits and incorporates a rational approach
many different kinds of beneficial economic results to more sustainable
clearly explain the impact of less environmentally conscious choices,
be as simple as choosing one type of fabric over another. For example: "A single wash of a
fleece (polyester) jacket can release as much as 1 ½
grams of micro fiber plastic. Half of this will probably not be picked
water treatment and will end up in rivers." A chart contrasts the impact of
different fabrics, with hemp, linen and cotton winning heavily over
acrylics, and polyester. (Many influences are profiled in this chart;
chemical usage to the ancillary effects of cashmere, produced from
"that can cause significant land damage," or silk, which requires a
fair bit of land to produce.)
'environmental compromises' enters the picture in a discussion of the
hard water, which increases one's environmental footprint, costs money,
only be resolved by method which hold their own environmental impact.
exactly what these consequences are or mean can translate neatly to
the balancing act that results in the least damaging and most
appropriate decisions, which Feasible
Planet excels in profiling.
discussions of random acts of kindness, humility, and child-rearing to
this bigger picture, but Feasible Planet
promotes a holistic approach that moves from individual choice to
cooperation and community impact, and no real discussion would be
without such a focus - again, something too often missed in
Feasible Planet is in many ways a wake-up
call: but it doesn't bat
its readers over the head: it gently taps them on the shoulder with
directly relate to personal choices.
motivations, and consequences for actions all form a solid foundation
which Feasible Planet advocates
changes that support economic growth, lifestyle improvement, and both
and environmental consciousness. It's difficult to impart all this
sounding 'preachy' or dogmatic, but another big difference between Ken
and his contemporaries is that his book is invitational and
a lecture that makes harsh judgment calls or promotes hard-line
big subject that's often overwhelming in scope. Readers newly embarking
journey towards better choices that begin with the microcosm of daily
and move into broader social, political and economic realms would do
begin here. Feasible Planet not
provides a road map, but embraces those new to these ideas and
providing an easy discussion clearly applied to daily life.
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Chosen Wisely began as a
search for truth and happiness and evolved into what it is today: a
consideration of how happiness and pleasure are really two different
mind, and how they dovetail: "The cause of happiness is peace,
tranquility, bliss and harmony, but the effects are the same as the
is our absence of desire from our higher thinking, wisdom, and
without any stress, anxiety or despair at all."
contains over 3,000 axioms, it actually represents an abridged version
original. If this still sounds like too much reading, be advised that Happiness
is Chosen Wisely also chooses its
words wisely, making the most of each axiom by numbering them so they
stand out, creating simple one-liners with a punch, and organizing the
to lend to smooth reading even for busy readers on the go.
far as content, sample a few: "It is more pleasurable to have
others than to be peaceful and calm," or "Our life
love or hate relationship without thinking about it," and "When
one realizes that all we may have sought was meaningless, we are reborn
Life isn't a
and neither is reading this book. Readers who choose just a few axioms
and take the time to reflect on them will find the many words of wisdom
only resonate but offer direction that embraces spirituality,
a life to identify and rid that life of what is meaningless. Readers on
road to true happiness now have a map offering clues of what those
may be and how to stay true to a journey that might take a few less
thanks to this collection.
New age and
inspirational readers will be the best audiences for Byer's works;
those who decide to take the time to absorb so much wisdom - the work
lifetime - without haste, cognizant of the idea that a new way of
viewing, and living life could be the reward for a careful pursuit of Happiness
is Chosen Wisely.
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Helene-True Story of a German
Girl's Resilience Growing Up During World War II
Helga Long and Helene Witzmann
the powerful true story of a girl who grew up in Europe
during World War II, and follows her growth and observations
changing social and political landscape that eventually dominates her
Helga Long grew up hearing her
mother's stories about the old country and life during the war, and in
1990s she got together with her mother and made some twenty tapes of
then set them aside as life coaxed her in other directions. When she
sat down to transcribe them, the journal format she'd envisioned for
turned into a biographical story filled with family and historical
that promises attraction to a wider audience than her own family's
Helene was "...a typical German
girl who felt the effects of the war and the Nazi regime; who grew into
womanhood with the dangers of a war surrounding her; and who, through
positive nature, continued to live a challenging, yet happy life."
All events in this book stem
from Helga's mother's memories; the facts checked against history to
supportive foundation, but not inflated by details her mother didn't
the course of her narration. This lends a realistic tone to the entire
that eschews fictional drama and embellishment to probe a real life's
What sets Helene
apart from many World War II accounts is this realistic and
candid collection of encounters from an everyday young German girl's
perspective. From the fun of parades and competitions, local
events, and the lure of the Hitler Youth groups to how ordinary Germans
embroiled in conflict, Helene provides a clear explanation of how life
changes and how the organizations and rituals of childhood take ominous
that feel innocent at the time: "When
I was ten, I was able to join the Hitler Youth. You had to be ten years
join, and I was excited because it was a fairly new organization in our
At this time, it was not mandatory to be in the Hitler Youth, but I
wait to join....I enjoyed the companionship of my friends and thought
meetings were a lot of fun."
Also notable are the daily lives
of a wide range of average Germans, described against an atmosphere of
political and social change. Descriptions of everyday people's changing
daily lives are far more detailed
the usual World War II Germany story that focuses on broader political
and their social impact, and offers a satisfyingly well-detailed flavor
German culture and affairs.
The result is a
involved survey that is vivid, memorable, and hard to put down: a
documentary of ordinary German lives and perspectives changed by
Helene- True Story of a German Girl's Resilience Growing Up During World War II
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Beck and Branch
Paperback: 978-0-9972644-3-2 $6.95
Kindle and ePub: ISBN: 978-0-9972644-4-9 $2.99
Science and Lust gathers essays for
Volume 1 in a series; but lest
readers anticipate a racy fictional exploration of sex; be advised that
nonfiction, and falls in the area of biological fact rather than lusty
The title, however, evokes an intriguing prospect of sexual exploration
many a fiction reader won't be able to put down despite its obvious
plot and story line.
read is so compelling to general-interest audiences (and even those who
have little prior interest in science, in general) is because the essay
combined with Rebecca Coffey's background in journalism and
science writing, makes for a winning combination when it comes to
nonfiction thriller short works? Consider 'Some Like it Too Hot'. The
gambit to this piece makes it intriguing, absorbing, and hard to quit
all the elements of a fictional thriller approach nicely applied to
fact: "Imagine a medical advisory
discreetly mailed to unfaithful men everywhere. “Warning,” it says. “Extramarital sex can kill.”
The medical staff
of the Andrology Clinic at the University of Florence has never
such advisory. But maybe someone should."
this piece beyond its compelling opener will discover "...intriguing
evidence that sudden coital death
in men is largely the problem of adulterers." The cold
realm of science just got a lot more upfront and personal - and this is
one example of an article that reflects the latest research, yet adds a
profoundly revealing twist to science, linking it to modern human
'Was It Good
for You, Too?' Apparently males are the primary askers of this
the answer too often can't be trusted. But why would women understate
misjudge the extent of their own arousal? Despite extensive research
testing, perhaps science itself is not yet in a place where women's
can be accurately measured.
essays push the boundaries of sexual understanding and perceptions of
differences and desires between men and women, analyzing the sources of
between the sexes.
in human sexuality who eschews the normally dry scientific study on the
will relish this absorbing read which puts the 'lively' back into
draws direct connections between modern sexual activities, dilemmas and
questions, and the latest scientific findings.
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The Writer’s Crucible: Meditations on
Emotion, Being and Creativity
Crucible: Meditations on Emotion, Being and Creativity offers a psychological examination of
typical obstacles that thwart the creative processes, and is directed
writers who struggle with the process of tapping their wellsprings
Other creative writing books have addressed
these issues; but The Writer’s Crucible's approach
is different. It
tackles self-reproach and the emotional challenges of putting pen to
discussing vulnerabilities from a psychotherapist's clinical viewpoint,
providing assessments and insights that crack perfectionist tendencies
It's unusual to find a trained
psychotherapist who believes in the practice and approaches of
spirituality. Writers looking for inspiration will find all three
influence an approach that considers the motivations of human behavior
writers' efforts, considering the process of being psychologically and
spiritually lost and the impulses that stem from both that and the
find one's path in life.
Creation and destruction are close
companions: this, too, is discussed on a psychological, social, and
level, giving writers further insights on the 'rhythms of creation' and
they operate on different levels.
Most writers will anticipate some sort of
how-to title: perhaps a series of guided meditations, or an analysis
the process of producing a written gem and links it to psychological
understanding or exercises designed to stimulate that process. The
Crucible digs deeper and promises no quick insights or
guarantees of success.
Its insights stem from self-awareness and
healing processes and add a personal tone to make it more of a personal
reflection than a dispassionate professional assessment: "Maybe
one of these talented people who can’t get going. Maybe you get going
follow through and finish, or you have a dozen projects going and never
deeply into any of them. Maybe you discredit the work so completely
ends up on the shelf. It’s okay. You aren’t alone, and you aren’t
are constricted and might possibly be shackled by the trauma response.
someone to help you undo the knots, and I think you’ll find the work
Of course, this means that there are no easy
answers or solutions. Writers anticipating a course of miraculous
that can magically unlock creative impulses will discover instead that The
Writer’s Crucible is actually a call to action on many
taking charge of one's
psychological and social self-discovery process.
Within the paradoxes of psychotherapy lie
routines and ideas that can stimulate and broaden the writer's efforts.
who are willing to do the work to get to this place will find that
Kenney advocates making a greater effort for better writing results: "A
life of writing is like that river finding its way to the ocean. It
its source, bending with the layout of the land, changing directions
again, searching for the low ground in a relentless journey to the sea.
adventure of exploration and discovery is one of the great thrills of a
creative life and a great liberator of the inner world. Developing a
relationship of curiosity with yourself is one way to disempower the
negating voices within."
The fact that The Writer’s Crucible
holds much more than exercises or mediations and addresses the heart of
keeps a writer from being effective and meaningful makes it a top
recommendation for writers who struggle to achieve their best against
barriers of anxiety, self-deprecation, and fear.
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The Story of Evil - Volume
I: Heroes of the Siege
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B00BAUTQW2 $0.99 Kindle; $6.42 Paper
Tyrus and Kari, are participating in a joust meet when the event is
monsters during an attack on their city, changing everything they've
granted in their lives.
their family and friends and the ruin of their city, they make choices
battle the evil that has invaded; and this move involves the evolution
heroism in different forms, for each of them.
hero in competition and a hero in the eyes of his faithful squires; but
he's engaged in the bigger, more dangerous game of life or death, and
grueling matches he's won only prove tests for the real struggle ahead.
and his friend Ty are orphans who grew up together as foster brothers,
are more than comrades in arms. And Kari is a simple half-human,
hunter who's grown up in a shadow of mystery surrounding her father's
and her heartbroken mother's subsequent death, who is drawn into a
never asked to be part of and a battle she's reluctant to participate
observations stand in stark contrast to those of the warrior brothers
perspectives on survival and fighting are quite different.
begin, there's an odd element of discussion between the brothers that
mock the seriousness of the situation. As monsters fall under their
hands, Steve and Ty banter about earning points and winning the 'game';
it's explained that Ty jokes when he's nervous or challenged, and Steve
is used to this and interacts in Ty's way of handling stress. This
banter between the boys continues as events unfold, providing both
and a sometimes jarring sense of odd reactions to life-challenging
confrontations ("Cutting it close
that time, huh?" Steve yelled over the sounds of destruction.").
another jousting match: it's a life or death situation that extends far
the realms of championship jousters and comebacks, and involves a
the control and existence of Celestial City itself.
around the ages of 12 and a few years older will especially appreciate
fantasy that is steeped in adventure, castles, the evolution of young
the struggles of humans, semi-humans and monsters such as dragons,
perseverance, which earns him the title of Brightflame early in his
life and is
sorely tested during this struggle, to the ruthless Hooded Phantom and
skilled and deadly army, Heroes of the
Siege makes some pointed observations about heroism's
realities and costs.
ways, this is
quite a complex read for pre-teen and early teen audiences. While the
between good and evil is fairly cut and dried, the trappings of what
constitutes each is mercurial and provides much food for thought as the
line evolves. As time shifts between past and present occur seemingly
(and sometimes without easy staging), younger readers can become
some points, which are designed to inject history into the progress of
Each hero is tested, the villains are clever enemies who employ all manner of skills in the pursuit of their goals, and readers are swept into a world that holds many similarities to medieval Earth, but with twists and differences to support the fantasy theme and keep readers guessing.
on one invasion and the struggles surrounding it is an appropriate and
read especially recommended for younger teens who enjoy tales of
swordplay, confrontation, and dungeons and dragons.
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Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (an imprint of Melange Books, LLC)
9781680465907 $4.99 (eBook) $15.95 (print)
18-year-old Bowie is on the cusp of being an
adult at the height of his abilities. Trained in deadly combat, this
his militia unit is slated to marry a pretty girl and is well on track
inherent the leadership of the Pacific North stronghold when a plane
into their island sanctuary, bringing with it a stranger who turns his
Now Bowie is fighting for everything he once
took for granted, faces an uncertain future, and finds himself entering
he never trained for in this dystopian survival story.
Bowie is used to testing his abilities - but
under controlled conditions. As everything in his life spirals out of
he discovers that the home he would fight and die for is rejecting him
his history as a good soldier and his potential to be a potential
leader. Conditions are no longer in his control - and with this
life's set course changes drastically.
Many young adult dystopian stories center
upon individual and group survival, but The
Stronghold differs in posing questions about underlying
and what's worth living and dying for: "...I
want you to fight for whatever it is that you believe. But don’t die
for Fort Thunder, Bowie. That was never what I wanted for you.” I can’t
he is saying this. Of course I would die for our home! “What better
there to die for?” I ask. “A family of your own,” he answers. “A life
for yourself when you truly know what your options are. Not just the
give you.” “I’m fine with those options,” I say. But for the first time
I’m not quite sure I believe it."
Pandemics and martial law forced the
stronghold's existence. Now it's time for Bowie to consider whether
structure continues to be viable for him and everyone else. And once he
everything he's loved and called home, can he ever return?
The best dystopian fiction doesn't just
focus on a protagonist's challenges and changes; it creates a
society and world, places its foundations at risk, and follows
they face paradigm-changing events and continue to not just survive,
creates such scenarios for its mature teen to new adult audience,
action-packed series of challenges that include confrontation,
escape, survival and even a touch of romance, and comes full circle to
a satisfying, unexpected conclusion.
Young adult and adult fans of dystopian stories will find Bowie's military background, convictions, and special determination powers a volatile and compelling series of encounters that will keep readers immersed and involved as an underlying story of special purposes and hidden intentions emerges.The Stronghold
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