March 2019 Review Issue
Exile of the Sky God
Jackal Moon Press
Author Website: http://www.TheSkyGod.
Barnes and Noble:https://www.
Exile of the Sky God is a fantasy set in ancient Egypt and tells of the god Horus, a deity who wants to eschew traditions in the human world. When he discovers a truth that leads him on a mission to change the worlds of gods and men, a power struggle pits him against all that is familiar and true, forcing him to confront his role as a god and his ultimate purpose.
When Horus turns his back on his destiny (to be appointed to the position of Sky God among a court of other specific Egyptian gods), he unleashes forces that test loyalties, preordained destiny, and the strength of chaos to win over all.
From the beginning, Horus desires something different from his life purpose: "...it was my wish to stand out amongst a crowd of beastly gods." His quest for individuality and uniqueness amongst a circus of godly figureheads leads him to discoveries that defy reason and introduce "foreign and complicated" cravings into his life.
With no precedent for his actions or ambitions, Horus carves out a new path that tests his role as a god and his relationships with the mortals he oversees: "I may have been one of the youngest gods in the palace, but I still had my wits about me. A single mortal human should not have been able to influence me. There were thousands of sheep in my flock, and I was to watch over them all with equal diligence."
Will his desire for power consume everything he's destined to be? When Horus unexpectedly assumes the form and frailty of those he's charged with protecting, his familiar training and perspectives are challenged.
Readers move easily through P. Anastasia's ancient Egyptian circles through the astute eyes and observations of this ambitious, often reckless, transformed god. Dark warriors, the overriding authority of the temple, village idiots, bullies, friends and foes, and Horus' unique position when he is caught between two very different worlds creates a gripping story that is filled with discovery, revised purposes, and new visions of gods and men.
Readers seeking a fantasy about ancient Egyptian figureheads and destinies achieved in unexpected ways will find Exile of the Sky God thoroughly engrossing and satisfyingly unpredictable: a powerful read, indeed.Exile of the Sky God
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Kilts and Catnip
Black Opal Books
e-book ISBN: 1644370468 $3.99
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/2G8BBVE
Kilts and Catnip is Book 1 in the Shrouded Isle fantasy series, and opens with the first-person impressions of a mother who is rudely awakened by her teenager. Daughter Tate has been abducted in the middle of the night and Becca is charged with her rescue, an endeavor which quickly turns into so much more in a story steeped in Scottish atmosphere, legends, and romance.
A dark-haired, handsome figure in a kilt returns Tate, and Becca quickly learns that he is not the kidnapper, but she faces an instant conundrum over puzzles that only become more complex as events progress.
From a kitten's rescue that leads to a near-deadly encounter with a kelpie to the handsome Greg's knowledge of this strange world and his efforts to keep Becca safe, Kilts and Catnip not only offers an emotion-packed first person adventure, but injects a solid sense of place into its descriptions and dialogue.
To its credit, Kilts and Catnip doesn't attempt to reproduce Scottish brogue in its many conversations, but instills just enough accent into its dialogues to make it readily understandable, yet atmospheric.
Readers seeking strong stories of romance paired with paranormal elements will especially appreciate the strength of Becca's first-person observations as she navigates a world replete with threats, mysterious forces, and her personal quest to uncover Greg's story and real identity.
As Becca and her teens interact on different levels and learn more than they expected about fairies and Scottish legends, they find themselves facing many changes and challenges to their lives and relationships.
By building a powerful atmosphere of family ties and then introducing a romantic and mysterious figure into the mix, Zoe Tasia has created an original, gripping story that draws readers in with not just evolving romance and fantasy, but strong interpersonal ties which lie at the heart of any truly compelling read.
Kilts and Catnip is highly recommended for paranormal and romance audiences who want their writing vivid, personal, and as strong in psychological connections as it is in a sense of place and an atmosphere of danger; all set against a search for connections and home.Kilts and Catnip
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We Have Met the Enemy
D. X. Varos, Ltd.
978-1-941072-37-0 $17.95 paperback/$6.99 ebook
We Have Met the Enemy is a military sci-fi drama whose tone and plot will remind readers of Clarke, Asimov, and Orson Scott Card. Set in the 31st century, it pairs personal with political and military struggles as it presents Naiche Decker's mission to avenge her mother's death by battling the Eternals. Her journey to their home world to exact revenge leads to more than a military struggle, which is what sets We Have Met the Enemy apart from the usual genre production.
For one thing, Naiche's roots in Apache culture and her initial ambitions beyond her newfound cause are set forth in the opening pages, as a cousin confronts her with the sentiment that she was destined to become a doctor and healer: objectives that clash heavily with her latest life purpose.
The differences between her cultural roots and her peoples' perspectives and her own are nicely posed in the beginning before she even sets out on her journey: "You think your presence is going to turn the tide of a war Uniterrae has been losing for ten years? No, the N’daa went out into the stars where we don’t belong. They’d rather find new worlds instead of trying to heal the one Bik’ehgo’iindáń gave us. They brought this upon themselves; let them solve it. Your mother would still be alive if she had stayed here – where she belonged. Especially after she had you.”
As questions of justice, enemies versus friends, and shipmates and causes permeate Naiche's world, it's evident that We Have Met the Enemy is about more than a drive to battle. It's about an inner struggle that overlays her cause, and the efforts of humanity and its many cultures to survive an alien onslaught.
From her mother's tragic demise while brokering a truce to the terrible price paid for slaying an Eternal and the underlying meaning of this alien contact, Naiche and her brothers-in-arms face themselves and the horrors of transformation as she follows in her mother's footsteps.
Naiche Dekker is wrong about so many things; but will she finally realize the one truth that could save her and everything she believes in?
Felicia Watson crafts a marvel in We Have Met the Enemy. Her ability to employ old-style methods of sci-fi drama with an alien invasion and military response, weave it into a cross-cultural lesson, and add a series of revelations about transformative processes on all sides lend a satisfying depth to the story line. In addition, insights about the terrible price of both revenge and mercy contribute a level of psychological and ethical depth that makes We Have Met the Enemy a superior, engrossing read.
Too many 'military encounter' sci-fi plots fall short of the real draw created by believable protagonists facing their own dilemmas and growth challenges. We Have Met the Enemy offers subplots that are compelling and thoroughly engrossing, placing it more than a cut above most in either military or the sci-fi genre as a whole.We Have Met the Enemy
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Bright Days and Dark
John S. Wilson
978-1729516010 $14.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
In 1974, seven-year-old John dreamed of
becoming a pop star. Bright Days and Dark captures
his journey towards
this and other dreams, chronicling the passions of an aspiring child
began as a series of interviews with John S. Wilson by writer J.
Wickett, who conducted these interviews four decades ago, made copious
for a projected book, then set aside his effort. The notes and tapes
resurrected last year, and because they are John's words, he is listed
Six-year-old John's passion for music never wavered, and as he moved from introductory lessons to a talent quite advanced for his age, adults recognized the rudiments of a musical genius. These experiences are chronicled in this blend of biography and autobiography, spiced with humorous reflections on the progress of becoming a musician.
From the evolution of his songwriting abilities and recording session experiences to his growing determination to become a star, John's life achieves a roller coaster feel that carries readers into thrilling heights of achievement and depths of despair.
The challenge of being and managing a child musician, locating supportive players and talents to bring John's songs and abilities to public life, and the process of making albums and interacting with family craft a story that is refreshingly original, crisp with description and psychological detail, and steeped in the experiences and memories of a songwriter with early roots in musical ambitions.
Readers won't expect some of the paths John's life takes, from a possible poisoning and detective's investigation to touring with such famous names as John Denver; navigating family, fortune and fame; and struggling with the processes of keeping his connections to his hometown and family.
From promotional efforts to violent encounters, John's life is sharply defined not just by music, but by the trials and demands of a musician forced to handle promotional and security issues alike.
Readers who want to know about John Wilson's life in particular as well as a budding touring musician's life lessons will relish the ups and downs depicted in Bright Days and Dark, a compellingly sassy story of a dynamic life which is narrated from multiple viewpoints. It's spiced with unexpected twists and turns that keep readers engaged and thoroughly involved in the evolution of John's career and world.Bright Days and Dark
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Confessions of a Good
Memoirs typically take the form of childhood memories affecting adult directions later in the narrative, but William Fogg goes a step further in recounting a stubborn baby who swallows a cigarette butt and refuses to vomit it up: a tale related to him as a teen by parents who use it to illustrate his early nature: "My mom told me this story when I was a teenager, making the point that, although sometimes amusing, my behavior was often “difficult.”
This whimsical story sets the stage for a romp which could have as its subtitle "in trouble again", and which will delight readers interested in adventurous tales of precocious children and risk-taking troublemakers.
What sets Confessions of a Good Kid apart from the typical memoir's random set of memories is an attention not just to recapturing and relating the details of years gone by, but a focus on exploring underlying messages: "I wasn’t impressed with the soundtrack to Beach Party, a dumb but influential film that catered specifically to the teenage drive-in market, but I was intrigued by the complex and energetic dancing that went with it. She would boogie unselfconsciously in the living room while Mike and I watched and wondered – would we ever be called upon to participate in such insanity?"
As the narrator leads readers through a counterculture experiences and middle class life, readers receive a lively set of experiences that go beyond defining 'good' and 'bad', and which surges through early friendships, American cultural influences, the roots of rebellion ("I may have appeared to be an (almost) model citizen at school, but on my off hours I was developing a taste for anarchy."), and a learning process that translates life experiences into lasting lessons: "It is indicative of my state of mind that I didn’t consider the implications of our behavior."
Readers of biography and autobiography who look for memoirs steeped in American culture and both personal and social evolution will find Confessions of a Good Kid just the ticket for a combination of entertaining read and social inspection, offering up a host of insights in the course of recollecting Fogg's childhood, coming of age, and the influences on his adult perspectives about life.Confessions of a Good Kid
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My Persian Paradox:
Memories of an Iranian Girl
My Persian Paradox: Memories of an Iranian Girl captures vivid impressions of the Iranian Revolution at a time when author Shabnam Shahmohammad was just seven years old, and moves from her earliest memories in the 1970s to modern times as she grows up witnessing the impact of the Islamic Revolution on her family.
As the regime becomes more repressive and challenges both her father's communist ideals and her mother's religious beliefs, Shabnam longs for a world and life not ruled by oppression, and marries at age nineteen in search of a more adventurous life.
The difference between Shabnam's choices and those of many Iranian women lies in her determination to realize her dreams against all odds: dreams that evolve into a bid for freedom under impossible circumstances. How does one dream of leaving the country when there is no means of departure? And what will happen when she is exposed to so much unfamiliar freedom in later years that she experiences a stark disconnect between her bitter childhood struggles and her much-changed world?
She reflects: "How could I not hate the male-dominant culture heavily influenced by Islamic dictatorship that had stolen those opportunities from me during the first thirty-one years of my life, filling my heart with guilt and shame? And yet, I counted days that I had no one to speak Farsi to. And yet, I cried when I heard the Iranian national anthem. And yet, I screamed happily when Iran’s soccer team made its way to the World Cup."
Many autobiographies by immigrants discuss struggles with repressive regimes, the bid for freedom made by coming to America, and cultural conflicts experienced upon arrival; but Shabnam's survey of past and present ideals and their impact on her ability to assimilate makes for an engrossing survey that goes beyond most immigrant stories.
Another difference between her story and others is her focus on not just coming of age and leaving her country, but living in it through regime changes. Her warm observations of her country, its people, and its culture offer simple reflections on daily life challenges and objectives: "I realized people in cities all over Iran longed for freedoms as simple as running a business without bribes."
The book ends with her departure from Iran: given the thought-provoking foreword about her contrasts between countries, readers may anticipate more of an emphasis on this part of her story in a second book, which will focus on her life in America as an immigrant.
My Persian Paradox is an outstanding synthesis of personal experience, social change, and political insights both in Iran and in the U.S. Its revelations about the emotional growth required to immigrate and reconcile two countries' cultures makes for an inviting, educational, and thoroughly engrossing account which is especially recommended for any library strong in immigrant experiences and the psychology of integration.My Persian Paradox: Memories of an Iranian Girl
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Third Edition: Ready
For Your Close Up?
Positive Progression Publisher
Ready For Your Close Up?African Americans And Internationals In Cinema
College Graduates is a reference
recommended for both performing arts collections and high school to
ethnic studies readers, and lists the awards and stage, film, and
resumes of selected African American individuals who act, direct,
produce for the film industry. It provides a chronological
from cinema's early pioneers to modern independent filmmakers, is
avid film enthusiasts as well as students who intend to make a career
profession, and lists cinematic occupations in the fields of acting,
screenwriting, and cinematography.
From biographical profiles of selected actors, actresses, and athletes who transitioned to film and made successful names for themselves to lists of their awards, movies, made-for-television movies, and family details, this compendium of profiles offers inspiration by example. The A-Z listing makes it easy to either locate particular names or browse the list.
Details allow for a better understanding of the progressive nature of building upon skills and talents. To name a few of the profiles: Kerry Washington (1977), actress, producer. Paul Robeson (1898–1976), actor, concert singer, lawyer, athlete, social activist. Shaquille O’Neal (1972), athlete, actor, producer, soundtrack, entrepreneur, philanthropist. Ava DuVernay (1972), writer, producer, director, independent film distributor. Lupita Nyong’o (1983), actress, director, producer, editor.
Each listing pinpoints influences and achievements: “Oprah Winfrey (1954), media executive, talk show host, producer, actress, philanthropist. Winfrey is proof that for better or worse, with willpower, focus, and a goal, mega success can be within reach. One of the most influential people in the world, Winfrey was born into humble beginnings in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Winfrey’s father was strict when it came to excelling in academics, and Winfrey rose to the task. She won a scholarship to major in speech communication and performing arts at Tennessee State University…..”
Any collection seeking either a film reference or a 'hall of fame' listing of successful African American performing artists will welcome this highly recommended compilation, which goes beyond listing achievements to provide indicators of exactly how each individual made their name in a highly competitive industry.Third Edition: Ready For Your Close Up?
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Devil's Dance offers some curious juxtapositions between good and evil, first with the first-person narrator and protagonist's own uncertain position first as a Nephilim (the product of a fallen angel father and a human mother) and secondly due to his own choices as a killer who enjoys killing but chooses to side with the angels in a battle between good and evil.
As if this dilemma wasn't enough to power an intriguing story, Jeff Altabef adds a murder investigation into the paranormal mix, outlining a serial murder's rampage and Steven Cabbott's efforts to resolve a mystery where everyone's soul is threatened.
Altabef excels at creating a delicate dance himself between a story of good versus evil and the conflicts in a quasi-man's heart. This dichotomy adds a layer of complexity to the story line that not only keeps readers guessing, but lends to a closer examination of the emotional and spiritual stakes in life choices.
A dark, brooding atmosphere is cultivated both psychically and physically as tension rises and Steven is forced into increasingly dangerous challenges: "I look back at the tunnel and feel a wave of foreboding. It’s closed now. There’s no way for us to go back. Either this passageway leads out or we’ll be stuck inside the belly of this hill forever."
His personal dance with the devil both within and outside of himself translates well to a story that also balances delicately between a mystery and a paranormal battle, depicting an arduous dance between relationships and struggles. Intense confrontations are synthesized in descriptive accounts that reflect the evolving, changing relationship between Steven, Riann, and others: "Relationships have an arc. Some start at a slow burn and explode unexpectedly. Others begin with a bang and fizzle over time. Intense situations often act like gasoline thrown on a fire."
With the ultimate battle between good and evil powering a deeper story of murder and a protagonist's heart, readers of Devil's Dance, whether they be newcomers to Steven's persona or familiar fans from the prior book, will find this story compellingly hard to put down.Devil's Dance
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Fire in the Rectory
Hampshire House Publishing Company
Fire in the Rectory is accompanied by two other John Nolan private detective novellas and presents the cases and dilemmas of a determined detective whose investigations uncover dark secrets in peoples' lives. The title story stems from an interview which asks about some of his more notable cases and profiles one that took place 20 years ago, whose terrible secret still is a great weight on Detective Nolan's shoulders.
The fire began in a church rectory in 1915, and involves Nolan when an insurance company engages his services to investigate the circumstances surrounding the blaze. Nolan's ability to solve seemingly-impossible crimes is renowned in New York City, but this arson case is a convoluted one that leads to an ongoing dilemma.
Early 1900s Brooklyn
history and culture comes to life as the story unfolds, bringing with
outstanding sense of the climate that dictates Nolan's choices and
to his cases. More so than most detective pieces, Fire in the
Rectory excels in a sense of place that is intrinsic to
the action and premise of the story.
Readers who pursue stories for their whodunit detective elements may be surprised at the historical details woven within; but one of Fire in the Rectory's strengths lies in its historical accuracy, which brings the era and its culture to life.
The other Nolan stories in this collection are equally well steeped in culture and place. 'Murder at the Met,' for example, opens with a discussion of an Amati violin and includes discussion of Nolan's home life with his wife and daughter before it devolves into an opera drama that is all too true-to-life.
Italian opera participant Ricci teaches Nolan (and the reader) about opera as he presents the case of a lost $5,000 violin that quickly evolves into something more deadly. From a swindling operation and bad investments to monetary interactions between musicians, Nolan delves into more than just a simple case of corruption in this fast-paced story of fatal ties and opera personalities.
'A Death Threat for Mr. Hughes' opens with a typewritten death threat against Mr. Hughes and his family by 'The Fighters for America' and crosses into political circles as an American against the war runs for Congress to represent Brooklyn, but engages Nolan because he fears that corruption in high political circles will impede any police investigation of the matter.
All the stories excel in a fine balance of whodunit, politics, cultural inspection, and a flavor of 1900s America. Together, they paint an engrossing portrait of not just Nolan's detective prowess, but the times.
Fans of detective works firmly rooted in a sense of place and intrigue will relish these engrossing scenarios, which nicely capture Nolan's overall life and times.Fire in the Rectory
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The Hitman of Avenue
Paperback: 978-0-9979710-2-6 $15.99
e-book: 978-0-9979710-3-3 $ 4.99
What would drive a churchgoing family man to become a killer? Possibly an employment offer he literally can't refuse. George is unemployed and depressed when a childhood friend and Mafia insider offers him an unusual job in The Hitman of Avenue U.
As the story opens, he's just selected his first gun and has joined the charismatic Big Nick's 'family' as a 'zapper'. His interactions with his new employer and friends are sometimes filled with remarks steeped in attitude and male bonding remarks which some female readers might chafe at ("Actually, I didn’t have anything there to brag about, either as to size or performance. Unlike the characters in the Jacqueline Susann novel, Once Is Not Enough, once was usually sufficient for my wife, Alice, and me. Only rarely would we go for an encore. On birthdays and our wedding anniversary. Valentine’s Day. And special occasions like that."), but which lend nicely to the realistic atmosphere of an old-time Italian mob family's male structure and interactions.
George desperately wanted a legit job; but this newfound career may be just the ticket for revenge when he sets his newly trained eye and piece on former boss Jack, who ruined his life and career. His experiences at the Globe and the demise of not just his job but his ego are nicely chronicled as powerful lead-ins to a day of reckoning that feels inevitable, but as The Hitman of Avenue U builds its story of the evolution of a killer, it also builds subplots that support character development and a more intricate set of moral dilemmas than anticipated.
As events build up to George's stalking his prey in a power play that turns the tables on his own life, readers are treated to a story line gritty with realistic street scenes, dialogue, action, and the perspectives of an ex-employee on a personal vendetta.
After an emotional breakdown and depression where Jack Warren has been unsympathetic to his careful pursuit, which is juxtaposed with memories of the past and how Jack has ruined his life, George's precarious mental state slips into dangerous territory and brings readers along for the ride.
Perhaps this is the finest achievement of The Hitman of Avenue U: under a different hand, it would have been all too easy to focus on the methodology of the hit man. However, Hy Brett's concentration on the evolution of his protagonist offers much food for thought about related issues, from workplace politics and interpersonal interactions to the kinds of stresses that would turn an everyday family man into a killer bent on revenge.
The Hitman of Avenue U is highly recommended for readers of psychological suspense stories and murder tales. It takes the time to focus on the killer's first-person account and experiences, adding the kind of depth and focus that creates an emotionally charged and riveting plot right up to an unexpected conclusion. It's also highly recommended for readers of Mafia encounters who want more depth and psychological detail than usual.The Hitman of Avenue U
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The Last Caliph
First Coast Publishers
Print: 978-0-9884400-1-2 $14.99
Ebook: 978-0-9884400-2-9 $ 4.99
Alexander Logan and his team are best known (in intelligence circles) for thwarting China’s Zero Day attack against the U.S. The in-depth cybersecurity effort that united all branches of the government was a satisfying end result of his achievement.
Now he's facing something equally dangerous just as he's in the process of questioning bureaucratic processes and barriers in the wake of this amazingly successful battle. Danger doesn't just come from external affairs, this time. He and his wife Zahir have lost a baby, possibly directly related to the consequences of his work, and they need a change.
T.L. Williams clearly outlines opening scenes in which Logan realizes the limitations of his job and the reasons why he's putting it on hold for a year of absence: "He knew himself well enough to realize what had really been gnawing at him for the last year was the recognition that he was at his best when he alone called the shots. He was used to having more autonomy than the CIA customarily gave its officers. In the field, operations officers saw themselves as the pointy end of the spear, and they had considerable leeway in making operational decisions on the spot as circumstances demand. Back in Washington though, you were just a cog in the wheel."
He also faces the process of grief, views it in those around him, and wonders if it will continue to erode his relationship years later: "Logan was struck by the melancholy expression on his father-in-law’s face and the plaintive tone of his voice. It was apparent decades after his loss, the pain was as fresh and poignant as the day it happened. Was this his and Zahir’s fate? Would bitterness and disparagement define their lives going forward or would love win out?"
With this background nicely detailed, The Last Caliph proceeds to meld personal with political adversity as Logan's personal year off for recovery turns into a deadly series of confrontations with forces both beyond and interconnected with his professional and personal life: "He was going to get to the bottom of Ali’s contact with ISIS and blow the lid off of anything ISIS thought it could do in the U.S. And then he was going to get his family back."
From New York mosques in the crosshairs of terrorist activity to Logan's deteriorating relationship with Zahir, Logan struggles with ISIS activities and forces that create disruption and confrontation on all sides, immersed in a whirlwind of Middle East issues and a civil war's horrific aftermath.
Between his investigative efforts with enemy Azar, her ISIS contact Rifat, and his journey through areas replete with car bombs and danger, Logan experiences newfound hope in the middle of a crisis in a desert in a far-away land–just when he didn't expect it.
Readers will find themselves drawn into a changing plot of espionage and intelligence actions, cemented by Logan's personal life conundrums and the possibilities of disaster and redemption which run side by side through every dangerous moment.
The concurrent stories of grief, recovery, and new possibilities keeps the counterintelligence maneuvers lively and personal, creating a vivid plot that is both fast-paced and emotionally engaging.
Readers who seek a constant barrage of action paired with emotional twists and turns will find The Last Caliph satisfyingly unpredictable and nicely written: a gem of intrigue that will keep thriller enthusiasts on edge and wondering right up to a politically charged resolution which brings all situations and characters full circle.The Last Caliph
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Relics of Andromeda
Jonathan Michael Erickson
Gold Dragon Books
9781718918207 (print) $15.00 print/$5.99 ebook
Relics of Andromeda is Volume 1 in the Song of the Ancients series about the colonists of Andromeda, who discovered dangerous time-bending relics long before the story's protagonist, Anka, was born.
The uncovering of relics with the power to mess with human psychology and perception led to chaos. Now Anka is tasked with the dangerous mission of carrying a relic on her person to deposit it elsewhere: a relic known for speaking to humans and luring them with heart's desires and emotion-twisting power.
The history and basic premise of the relics is set forth in just a few succinct, informative pages...then the real action begins. It turns out that Anka's mission is far more deadly then even she thinks, because time travel, tricks of the mind, the abandonment of traditional ways of dealing with the relics, and subterfuge mark her task and teach her and her companions that the mission involves more than they'd been led to believe.
Their efforts involve a reassessment of the power and meaning of the relics which have been carefully regulated and controlled since humanity stumbled upon them, and Anka winds up at the heart of a conflict that swirls around the relics, their meaning, and their management.
What gives Relics of Andromeda such a unique, compelling flavor is its interactions between people, machines, high technology, and aliens. Anka's exploration delves into perceptions of self and others even as she faces some difficult truths about the meaning, power, and impact of the relics on all their lives.
As political clashes and battles take over Anka's life, she finds herself struggling with a tradition that dictates she must passively wait for the situation to worsen as forces on different sides gather power in preparation for battle. There's also romance in the wind, as Anka had chosen fellow tribesman Trevor to be her mate, and jealousy and strife emerge from this decision, as well.
It should be cautioned that Relics of Andromeda is no light read. A lexicon at book's end defines and explains history, characters, and politics, and should ideally be reviewed before reading begins. The advantage of this lexicon is twofold: it provides and synthesizes background information key to understanding setting, history, and events; and it condenses this background information into its own area so that the story line can flow seamlessly without the need for injecting constant explanations throughout.
This allows for a smoother reading of the story, which is free to focus on Anka's dilemmas, choices, actions, and impact without having to constantly divert into necessary background history.
Readers will find Relics of Andromeda a multifaceted production indeed. It pairs military clashes, cultural and technological struggles with a young woman's mission and experiences with power beyond her experience, and a tribal history of a legend that of necessity requires revision. The result is a thoroughly engrossing, unpredictable first contact story about a young female warrior facing grief, courage, endings and new beginnings.
Without spoilers, suffice it to say that the crescendo of action leads to a conclusion out of left field that is a satisfyingly gripping approach, injecting the story's growing sense of mystery and the unexpected into the reader's experience.
Relics of Andromeda's powerful action is well worth the read and lingers in the mind long after its final, vivid conclusion.Relics of Andromeda
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The Book of Joe B: A
Michael Winn Publications
978-0-9840269-8-2 $0.99 Kindle
Middle school gym teacher Joseph Bustamante has done everything right in his life and has a girlfriend, friends, family and employment; but he suddenly loses everything and begins to question his life, choices, and objectives in The Book of Joe B: A Love Story.
Perhaps most significant of all those pieces of his now-disintegrating life is the spiritual evolution that follows, leading Joe on an unfamiliar path that moves beyond reconstructing his assets into reconsidering his purpose in the broader scheme of things.
Readers will anticipate a romance, given its title, but The Book of Joe B: A Love Story is actually about much more than one man's broken life and relationships. It builds a story that moves from his realization that his path has been safe, albeit boring ("Why did everyone he meets seem to have lived a more interesting life than he had?"), to understanding the driving forces of real change.
Michael Winn takes an "ordinary Joe" and turns his world upside down, but doesn't leave him in purgatory. Instead, he follows the threads that lead Joe to move away from the familiar and set course he's entrapped himself with and into realms of the unfamiliar and unexpected. His ensuing spiritual journey blossoms to accept that his feelings about and reactions to life, including his beloved mother's health crisis, may actually have a deeper meaning.
Caught up in a maelstrom of physical and spiritual violence, Joe B. dares to defy what he can't understand ("Always hiding. Always invisible. Never taking responsibility. Come and explain yourself! Are you even up there? Who’s steering this lousy ship, anyway?”), managing to uncover answers amidst the chaos which will serve as guideposts for the rest of his life.
Readers who pick up The Book of Joe B: A Love Story anticipating a romance will find love in the book; but also a defiant questioning of life's purpose that brings Joe to the brink of dissolution before it returns him to a changed world.
His relationships and experiences are all part of a bigger picture, and readers interested in the evolution of a small-time, ordinary man who moves beyond his comfort zone will find his journey an involving, enlightening, and engrossing blend of dark humor, ironic situations, spiritual evolution, and defiance that is starkly realistic and ultimately hard to put down.The Book of Joe B: A Love Story
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Larry Spencer, Publisher
Material Things portrays iconic California culture at its best, and describes in narrative form the experiences of a young entrepreneur who rises to fame and fortune in the jeans business in the 60s and 70s.
The first thing to note about this story is that it's a murder mystery—among other things—and crafts its story by alternating three perspectives and lives: those of Matthew Street, Jon Lewis, and Christopher Styles. This approach creates a full circle that immerses three very different individuals in a crazy series of escapades that delve into Southern California culture with a vengeance.
One doesn't expect confrontations between the Mafia and FBI, budding entrepreneurs, style mavens, and criminal investigations in a story about the evolution of bellbottom jeans in California. The owners of an up-and-coming fashion boutique find themselves in a hotbed of action and confrontation, and readers are along for a ride steeped in high drama and undercover activities.
It's important to keep in mind that Material Things hold its roots in real history. So many eye-popping and incongruous events take place that it would be easy to mentally categorize this read as simply fiction, but such is not the case, and that makes the account even more compelling.
Larry Spencer adds a solid dose of humor to the narrative which lends realistic and fun elements to the plot and provides satisfying comic relief: "They concluded they were letting a drunk scribble on their skin. Jon feared the worst. “What if the alcohol muddles his train of thought,” he mused, “and he somehow inscribes the word MOTHERFUCKER in a font size you normally see on a marquee sign?”
As the dynamic trio winds through business propositions, Southern California culture and fashion trends, the underworld, and FBI processes alike, readers become immersed in a lively story that holds a ceaseless relay of action, decision-making conundrums, and interpersonal relationship changes. During this process, language, sexual explorations, and confrontations can be gritty and as rough as in real life, so readers seeking a 'clean' story should look elsewhere: "He pulls into her parents’ driveway. The house is your typical California ranch style. Tree in the front yard that could have once accommodated a tire swing. Or not. She noticed his apprehension. “You okay?” she asks gently. He shrugs. “I’ll be fine.” In truth, he was a fucking wreck. His throat felt tight. He could hardly form spit. “Just be sincere and to the point,” she instructs him. “Try not to use the word vagina or pussy.” She was attempting to make him more at ease with her droll humor. It didn’t work."
With its edgy personal situations, road trips into near-death experiences, the slings and arrows of crazy love, and too many persons of interest, Material Things ultimately grasps the nature of a culture evolving during pivotal decades not only in the characters' lives, but in Southern California's social development.
It's a compelling and crazy romp through these changing worlds that readers will find engrossingly realistic and unpredictable: a novel/reality piece that is entertaining and thought-provoking all in one.Material Things
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Plum Rains on Happy
Michael A. Greco
ASIN: B07DWQ3R68 $4.33
Plum Rains on Happy House is set in Japan, where an odd kind of boarding house containing a strange cast of characters engages a Westerner, Lawrence Thornberry (called 'the Ichiban' by the house observer), in a culture clash of oddity that opens with a powerful description of this individual's countenance:
"He wore pointy shoes that were like two little brown puppies scurrying on the leash ahead of their owner, determined to get somewhere before anyone else. The Ichiban looked like a ski jump with feet—his body always seemed a half step behind, as if his shoes were in charge and the rest of him was just along for the stroll."
The first important key to appreciating Michael A. Greco's production is an acceptance of its quiet descriptions and contrasts between Japanese and American cultures.
His approach to description, which might seem so exquisitely wrought to some (as in the passage above, which will particularly appeal to poets with a solid appreciation of metaphorical color), might feel a bit too slow to others.
Greco himself remarks on cultural differences in many ways throughout the story, providing further clues to his plot and choices which belay the Westerner's usual penchant for fast-paced action and startling surprises over astute observation:
"No one smiled at him as he passed with his bulky backpack and his suitcase, and this confirmed things he had heard or read; the observations of Westerners that the Japanese were not an outgoing bunch, rather stand-offish, inward looking, not exactly what you’d call friendly—the opposite of what the world considered Americans to be: open and affable, fat, gun-toting, frontier individuals."
Readers who approach this story awaiting a crescendo of action may thus be disappointed, but others able to see this novel for what it is–an astute, reflective piece taking the time to peel away layers of Japanese psyche and society like an onion–will discover riches in the odd cast of characters, quirky old house, efforts of an English teacher to absorb Japanese culture, and the haunting reflections of a different kind of sentient house that holds the heartbeat of Japan within its walls.
There are no seismic events in this story: no shocking confrontations or thriller-style moments. Indeed, its winding plot and characters sometimes thwart the reader's logical understanding as much as the historically enigmatic Japanese culture may defy neat categorization and pat interpretation.
As a result, some readers might see the story as elusive and puzzling. Perhaps the best prerequisite to a thorough appreciation of Greco's tale is to hold a prior appreciation of surrealism art's ability to take familiar places and objects and skew them for a different, thought-provoking result. Viewed in this manner, the fine art of cultural inspection and impressions give Plum Rains on Happy House a unique literary feel that sets it apart from other stories.
This story will especially please wordsmiths and poets, as well as those familiar with Japanese culture and scenarios. These audiences will find the literary work delightful and evocative where everyday readers might find it hard to pin down and challenging, and will appreciate the haunted house's major role in influencing "the Ichiban" and his obsessions.
The house is flowering–and so will the reader, if they allow proper time to walk Plum Rains on Happy House's surreal hallways. This is a gem of metaphorical description, and provides insights that linger in the mind long after the mysterious, true nature of Happy House draws to an end.Plum Rains on Happy House
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Yusuf Ibn Sirin
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B07KWHPBS4 $7.25
Reptillia: The Beginning is based on true events and is no light read, ideally requiring some degree of knowledge of the history and culture of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Great Britain and their interconnections. Take the fighting heart of the Afghani people, blend in Muslim interests from Pakistan, and add the backdrop of Great Britain, an empire-building force in the world used to subjugating its conquered peoples, for a novel that delves into processes of conquest, religious clashes, violent struggles, and metaphysical issues.
Furthermore, Yusuf Ibn Sirin has also managed to throw in a touch of entomology which has been immaculately blended within the story-line to cement the notion of 'empire'. The Krypto-Knights are inspired by the 'modus operandi' of ant colonies and their innate survival instincts derived from nature. Especially the merciless Army Ant species.
Winding all these facets into the story of an individual at the pivot point of vying cultural and spiritual forces is no easy task. Yusuf Ibn Sirin brings readers as easily into the tribal interactions of the Afghani people and the local mosque in Goshta as he does the streets of Manchester. Just as deftly drawn are the characters of these nations who are brought into British society carrying their cultural baggage with them for readers to open and explore.
The story comes from Yusuf Ibn Sirin's experiences, yet it's not an autobiography but is fiction infused with his cultural observations. The story traverses mystery, intrigue, the evolution of a Krypto-Knight Empire and its symbols and knowledge base, and the advent of a new ideology fuelled by optimistic young people bent on taking over the world.
Its many social, political, and cultural challenges would seem to limit Reptillia: The Beginning's readership to politically astute, historically informed, or socially active readers of worldviews and revolution–and, indeed, college-level students well versed in these topics will likely be its primary audience.
However, Reptillia also holds a set of remarkable observations on warfare, the emergence of duty and honor on the battlefield, and protagonist Abdul-Hakeem Nawabi's personal growth that keeps ordinary thinking readers engaged and absorbed even when they don't possess a background in history or political affairs.
As it careens through a backdrop of revolution and nation-building, Reptillia promises and delivers the kind of action and inspection that gives it a decidedly thought-provoking nature, which will especially please readers who don't like their stories replete with pat answers and predictable scenarios.
Quite simply, Reptillia is the story of choice for the educated, politically aware, socially concerned world citizen interested in a powerful story of revolutionary change on many levels. It's driven by the inspections and interactions of operatives and zealots who ultimately question the point of their social dismay and alternative arrangements. As the Arctic Wolves of the far right head for an inevitable clash against an ideology born of prejudice and poverty, the story proves riveting until the last page. Reptillia is a solid portrait of individuals transformed by their interactions and politics.Reptillia: The Beginning
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Autopsy of an
Unwinnable War: Vietnam
Colonel (Ret) William C. Haponski with Colonel (Ret) Jerry J. Burcham
978-1612007199 Hardcover: $32.95
Autopsy of an Unwinnable War: Vietnam differs from most Vietnam histories produced in America in that it provides an analysis covering the extent of different nations' involvements in Vietnam, beginning with France in the 19th century and moving through U.S. efforts into Vietnamese battles with their countrymen.
As such, its focus is far more wide-ranging and inclusive than most similar-sounding histories, considering not just the actions taken by various countries and leaders, but the ideals driving them into conflict.
Colonel Haponski's contention is not only clear, but logical; and is backed by historical events: "In the light of that animating vision--the unwavering idea of a united Vietnam free of foreign influence--William Haponski holds that no French or American or South Vietnamese general could have gained a victory in Vietnam."
Readers anticipating a dry historical analysis should be advised of two things: Haponski adds his personal experiences in the country and adopts a lively tone in revealing its underlying challenges; and he focuses on the social, political and military events that occurred within the country. The importance of this emphasis - that social sentiments from the home front or any political approaches had little to do with influencing the war's outcome - is reflected in a preface which states: "The stark facts, though, are that the Vietnam War was lost before our first American shot was fired. In fact, it was lost before the first French Expeditionary Corps shot, almost two decades before us, and was finally lost when the South Vietnamese after us fought partly, then entirely, on their own."
From idealistic soldiers and diplomatic failures to nationwide resistance within Vietnam, the nature of soldiers and citizens in both North and South, and bad strategic and tactical mistakes made by commanders, the account shines with detail. Autopsy of an Unwinnable War traces the evolution of perceptions, decision-making foundations, and acts of individual and group courage and cruelty which influenced the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese.
Few other analyses combine the personal and the wider-ranging clash of experiences and cultures like Autopsy of an Unwinnable War. Hardly any go the extra mile to consider underlying influences on choices and these perceptions, and even fewer take the time to document a struggle that traces resolution, resistance, and the types of decisions that spread a failing war effort beyond Vietnam's borders.
There are numerous footnoted quotes from and references to other Vietnam research and analysis, personal experience in country supports contentions and insights, and influences on ultimate outcomes receive in-depth consideration.
Other Vietnam histories provide dates and events or trace personal experience alone. Followers of Vietnam War history would do well to consult Autopsy of an Unwinnable War above most others: its ability to synthesize the extent of political, social, military, and personal experience for a clearer, bigger picture of why Vietnam was an impossible conflict all along makes it a winning, engrossing study that should be on the shelves of any definitive Vietnam War collection.Autopsy of an Unwinnable War: Vietnam
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Car Business 101
978-1792652929 $9.99 Paper/$5.99 Kindle
While Car Business 101 is addressed to a specific audience not of car buyers but professionals involved in the auto industry, it should be mentioned that Max Zanan's coverage holds expanded opportunities for buyers who wish to understand his contention that: "My goal is to shed the light on #CrazyShitCarDealersDo in order to protect the industry from self-destruction. Car dealers are not just good at selling cars; they are absolutely amazing at digging their own grave. This book is unique because it covers insanity that takes place in all departments of a car dealership."
Yes, auto professionals will be the book's main audience; but car fans, buyers, collectors, and anyone with more than a cursory interest in the industry will find Car Business 101 packed with eye-opening revelations that come from an author who grew up in the industry and worked in every department of the car dealership.
Some readers may deem Zanan's approach 'sensationalist.' There's an "oh my god" feel to his statements that incorporates drama, but also employs a candid, hard-hitting tone directed to car dealership professionals at all levels, from salespeople to managers and supporting staff members.
Better editing might have made the read smoother by locating lapses in punctuation and grammar that detract from the writing's potential impact, as in this sample of omitted punctuation: "Let’s be honest carmakers can barely build a car that consumers want."
These cautions aside, Car Business 101 is simply packed with insider observations, revelations, and details not to be easily found in any other book. From OEM pre-paid maintenance contracts to staying competitive, improving customer experience by incorporating mystery shoppers, and addressing departmental fallacies and failures ("Finance managers are like the rest of us; they are creatures of habit. So if the finance manager is only comfortable pitching vehicle service contracts and GAP then these are the only two products that he or she will present. Using a menu allows you to hold your finance department accountable and track product penetration. Tracking product penetration will help you make training and pay plan adjustments in order to increase it and make more money."), Car Business 101 should be considered the gold standard against which every dealership is critiqued, measured, and held accountable.
Anyone involved in the auto business, especially those seeking to revamp dealership departments with best practices and better approaches, should make Car Business 101 their "bible."Car Business 101
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Innocent on Death Row
Print: 978-1-54395-507-1 $19.99
eBook: 978-1-54395-508-8 $ 9.99
True crime readers with a special interest in death row proceedings will especially appreciate the premise and developments in The Deprived: Innocent on Death Row, which collects the experiences of 10 Americans affected by wrongful convictions and the death penalty.
From what it's like to be on death row when innocent to how wrongful convictions happen, Steffen Hou goes beyond adopting a singular set of interview questions about experience to consider wider-ranging issues, from risks based on color, gender, and age to the circumstances surrounding evidence and convictions.
Since June 1790, almost 16,000 Americans have been executed. Modern support has waned for the death penalty in America, but many still feel it is a suitable punishment for murder. No matter what side of the issue the reader is on, Hou surveys many intriguing facts, from its financial burden to how many people have been exonerated from death row upon evidence of their innocence.
The heart of The Deprived lies not in a rehash of social debates around the death penalty's legality and issues, but on the personal toll it exacts from those involved, from family members who live with condemnation despite being good people themselves to how the innocent who have been wrongly convicted survive the violent, harsh atmosphere of prison.
Hou's intention is to personalize the death row experience from many different angles and to document just how innocent people become wrongfully convicted. His approach is more of a close examination of the justice system's failures than it is a social examination of the death penalty's validity. Even more eye-opening are numerous passages about those exonerated, who must live the rest of their lives with the badge of having been viewed as a dangerous criminal, with questions about the validity of their guilt or innocence continuing to impede their progress, test their families, and impact their lives.
Take the case of Nick Yarris, for one example: a long-time Pennsylvania inmate who spent over 20 years on death row before DNA absolved him of a heinous crime. Hou followed Yarris for four years after his release from prison, convinced that "...if one exonerated prisoner was to restore his life, it would be him."
Could anything be more challenging than life on Death Row with the likes of Ted Bundy in the cell beside you? Yes: release. The chapter 'Please Kill Me' covering his case, release, and ongoing challenges is a powerful testimony to a life that was ironically marked by crime and forever changed by accusations of two big crimes which he did not commit.
Lawmakers, justices of the court, and anyone concerned with the overall impact of the death penalty and its place in the criminal justice system will find The Deprived hard-hitting, with an unusual ability to juxtapose personal experience with bigger-picture thinking.
No debate or close examination of American justice or the death penalty would be complete without this highly recommended consideration of the many issues the death penalty ripples into society. Crafted on the shoulders of personal experience, this approach holds far more impact than any scholarly analysis could ever have achieved.The Deprived: Innocent on Death Row
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House V. 1
Darwin Porter & Danforth Prince
Blood Moon Productions
Anyone interested in
the history of Staten Island, including exposés
and lively surveys
of landmarks and personalities alike, must place Historic
Magnolia House V. 1 on their reading lists.
Intended for destination-bound visitors to the island but equally accessible to armchair readers with a particular interest in the region's history and culture, this blends travel writing with the passion of history and adds tabloid drama for good measure.
This means that readers seeking a dry history, a travelogue, or a gossip piece will all be surprised by the multifaceted approach of Historic Magnolia House V. 1, which proves that historical facts can be lively and engrossing, travelogues can hold the background and sense of place that go beyond observational works, and tabloid drama holds its place in any history and culture under close examination.
Black and white vintage photos liberally pepper this memoir of film personalities, celebrities, the lives of entertainers and eccentrics, and the many personalities who have moved through Staten Island for over a century.
Combine racy scandals and facts with a wider-ranging survey of regional Americana for an engrossing production which should reach well beyond performing arts or biography holdings to engross readers from other disciplines.Historic Magnolia House V. 1
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Lengthening Shadows: Poems
978-1792961502 $6.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Poetry enthusiasts who relish haiku and short forms which succinctly capture moments in time and place, laced with evolving, lengthening descriptions of nature and the human condition, will relish Lengthening Shadows, a collection which captures everything from "...a fragrant field where flowers/raged with radiance" to the failure of romance, the lying lures of novels that promise relief from pain, and childhood memories from Iowa.
These "lengthening shadows" assume the form of numbered works that move from short three-line jotted feelings and observations to more verbose descriptions of hard labor, happy and challenging moments, love's ebb and flow, and the secret escapades of children and adults alike.
In moving from the singular and simple to the complex, William Graham recreates in written word the lengthening shadows of life that he describes, from blossoming, minute roots to more complicated lives, memories, and experiences.
Each nugget of wisdom is a stand-alone observation and story unto itself; but when taken as a whole, this collection charts the progress of time, life, and experience. It doesn't use a chronological approach—indeed, these tidbits move back and forth from childhood to adulthood, working lives to safari encounters, and love to death.
The result is a compelling compendium of experience that charts not just relentlessly lengthening shadows of life, but the mercurial approach of time itself, which moves experience back and forth on a non-linear timeline in poems that capture emotional overflow and moments of quiet desperation alike.
Readers who want a progressively intricate series of poems that evolves from the haiku and short forms to longer free-verse observationals will find Lengthening Shadows just the ticket: a contrast between nature and man which probes the rewards, changes, and transformational processes of each at the intersection of storms and serenity.Lengthening Shadows: Poems
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Gary Eldon Peter
New Rivers Press
ISBN: 978-0-89823-367-4 $17.71 Paper
e-ISBN: 978-0-89823-368-1 $ 6.99
Oranges is set in the modern Midwest (southern Minnesota, northern Iowa, and Minneapolis, to be specific) and offers short stories that flesh out the life and LBGTQ experiences of residents who move through personal challenges, the early days of the AIDS crisis, and their lives.
Through the window of the short story format, Gary Eldon Peter successfully synthesizes not just a singular experience, but winds many lives into the social, political, and interpersonal relationships of changing times and increasing public awareness of gay lifestyles and individuals, and their prevalence in American society.
Take 'Sun Country', for example, which explores the narrator's sojourn to Florida from Minneapolis, where he connects with his crusty father: "The black people in town keep to themselves and the snowbirds like it that way,” he said. Then he paused, as if he were waiting for me to take issue with such a statement. I just smiled." He describes the cookie-cutter uniformity of the trailer park his father inhabits in southern Orlando as he experiences seven days with his father: the most time he's spent with his dad since before he left home for college.
It evolves that his father "...seemed that he hadn’t quite gotten around to telling them—“my best friends here,” he called them when he introduced me—that his only son is gay." His reason for hiding his son's lifestyle acknowledges his not-quite acceptance: "Now you know that whatever you do with your life is fine with me,” he whispers. “But these people, well, they don’t want to hear about that kind of thing. You know how they are, they grew up during a different time.”
Their dialogue in a public restaurant where secrets are threatened captures a microcosm of similar conversations across the country where parents and children struggle to maintain connections with one another when a close-held family secret means a choice between an open relationship and community acceptance: "Here I’m trying to help you understand why sometimes you can’t just march up to people and be whoever you want to be, and you treat it like a big joke,” he snaps at me. I stop laughing. “Actually, I think it’s pretty sad,” I say. “You having to lie about me.”
Through this one story and others which capture the experience of being gay in America, readers receive a pointed and compelling piece about aging, social and psychological changes, and moments of understanding that successfully penetrate stigma, prejudice, and social barriers.
Oranges is a delightful compilation of such moments, traversing changing times, culture, relationships, and levels of acceptance and understanding both within and outside of the gay community.
Readers who choose Oranges for its revelations about changing attitudes, hearts and minds will find each story lingers in the mind long after the reading; much like the pungent scent of sweet oranges remains in one's taste memory long after the last satisfying bite.Oranges
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Q1: A Survival Guide
978-0-692-04375-2 $14.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook
Ordering link: https://www.amazon.com/
Q1: A Survival Guide to Adulting is about preparing for adulthood, but it isn't just for teens on the threshold of becoming adults. It's about adults who may not realize that the infamous midlife crisis holds elements similar to this transition point in life, as well as those who interact or work with teens at the final stage of realizing their adult capabilities and dreams.
The real-life stories presented here come from Anna Minte's own experiences and cover everything from romance and schooling to learning to prioritize life, facing health issues, moving beyond living day-to-day to plan ahead, and setting goals. These are common topics for young adult missives; but chapters discussing family relationships and interactions with adult and new adult children, "tribe" participation, and stories about turning adversity into strength are the hallmark of this book. They go far beyond the usual young adult admonitions on how to handle life outside of familiar childhood home and structures.
Each account carefully illustrates hidden opportunities to achieve and move forward through a better acknowledgement of life's common hurdles and best practices responses to them, and each encourages bigger-picture thinking through examining one's ideals, goals, and 'future self' to consider connections between choices, impact, and long-term goals.
Minte is a risk-taker in creating this focus because she also tackles hard topics not usually seen in other young adult self-help guides: "According to Maslow (1943), if the body lacks some chemical, the person will most probably develop a specific appetite for it. If not, it will seek ways to obtain it (even if they are not the healthiest ways). This is a tough one for me to explain; I was warned by family members to leave this story out of the book as it could “affect my professional career”. However, here it goes." This lack of chemicals manifests itself in her life as a mental health issue (lacking serotonin, leading to bipolar disorder, then later leading to overdrinking to feel a certain "high" or "happiness").
Another plus is a conversational tone, which encourages young adults rather than admonishing them: "Let’s start making a very fun list: all the people you have dated seriously. (Yay!). In my experience, to consider a relationship “serious” nowadays you must have: posted pictures together on social media and… well that’s about the highest standard people set these days. However, research shows that habits form in 21 days and emotional shifts happen in 6 months. So, we’ll make this our parameter for considering a relationship “relevant”."
Quotes from statistics and studies are sprinkled among the examples to support her contentions, and add authority to her perspective beyond a personal approach alone.
Still another bonus is a concluding section of comprehension exercises which offer instructions for self-assessing strengths, opportunities for growth, and considerations of science, belief, and faith.
A willingness to
learn from the messages presented in this inviting discussion is the
prerequisite to absorbing this life instruction manual. It should be in
hands of any young adult on the cusp of adulthood who wants to use
self-examination and insight to streamline the process of becoming an
avoiding familiar, common obstacles along the way.
Q1: A Survival Guide to Adulting is highly recommended; especially for parents and teachers who can gift this treasure trove of detail to an inquiring young mind.Q1: A Survival Guide to Adulting
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Paintings by Marley Kaul
Poems by Taiju Geri Wilimek
Mill Studio Press
We Sit represents a fine collaborative effort by a 79-year-old artist and retired art professor and a 65-year-old poet and clinical social worker, both of whom were facing health challenges. Each had an epiphany about life's progress and brevity, and their interactions over philosophical, psychological, and spiritual questions about the dynamics of this process led to We Sit.
The most powerful feature of this production lies in the excellent quality of the juxtaposition of full-page color painting images and facing-page poetry. The white space surrounding each and the length and depiction of each subject are visually appealing, poetically and artistically well done, and offer pairings that are not just appropriate, but excellent to the degree that readers could not have asked for a better marriage between art and poetry.
As one example, the Zen-like, color-infused painting of a steaming tea pot and a table set for quiet enjoyment, infused with a background of life-affirming flowers and a blue sky, is accompanied by the poetic note that life itself is unfinished and in flux from moment to moment: "This poem is unfinished./It seemed true when I wrote it./One day it could ring false,/or it could become brighter/and smarter with time." The ending goes on to offer startling food for thought, wrapped in the guise of exquisite simplicity.
The same blend of ordinary life progress with emotional overlays of surprise takes place in the painting 'Doubt', a colorful yet complicated twining of images which compliments the observation that "Grief arises here/in the laundry room,/facing a mountain of jumbled/sheets warm from the dryer."
From the recovery of a broken heart in "Know" to the lure of danger in "I Can't", We Sit is simply a gorgeous, artistic presentation of visual and verbal reflections that deserves a place in any poet and artist's life; especially those predisposed to mindful contemplation.We Sit
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Tumblehome Learning, Inc.
Inventors, Makers, Barrier Breakers
gathers the stories of over 25
diverse American inventors and entrepreneurs from America’s earliest
the present, adds photographs in both black-and-white and color, and
ages 12 and up with a survey that blends biographical inspection with
social studies, and history.
Where other books about invention and technological progress either appeal to an older age range or focus on biography or scientific processes alone, it's important to note that Inventors, Makers, Barrier Breakers expands its subject into different areas of social inspection and progress. It considers the various types of barriers each inventor had to face in order to bring their ideas to light, and in this respect it captures the eras and times in which each individual made his or her mark.
Another important note is that Inventors, Makers, Barrier Breakers reads like fiction, incorporating all the lively aspects of interpersonal relationships, extrapolating about inventor thought processes, and following the evolution of unexpected inventors whose stories tend to be less publicized and familiar.
These approaches not only inform and involve young readers, but encourage them to consider the results of their own creative impulses and curiosity.
Stories offer many strong connections between an inventor's personality and approach and the impact of their investigations: "Franklin’s scientific studies were moved by curiosity rather than the hope of riches. Even in his days as secretary to the assembly, as he sat in long meetings and got bored by long debates, he amused himself by creating magic squares. He freely admitted they had no practical use. On the other hand, he was eager to offer practical suggestions where he could. To see how different colored fabrics absorb heat, he laid squares of cloth out on the snow and measured the rate of melting. Snow under dark squares melted faster, indicating that dark squares absorbed more heat. Franklin concluded that people should wear dark clothes to keep warm during cold months."
The sidebars of drawings and additional science explanations compliment lovely vintage photos and illustrations.
Inventors, Makers, Barrier Breakers is a powerful recommendation for any advanced elementary to early middle grade library seeking a survey that can transcend the nonfiction genre and reach out to young leisure reader audiences. It's highly recommended not just for its report-appropriate facts, but for its lively and involving approach detailing the lives, social climate, and objectives of a wide range of inventors and makers.Inventors, Makers, Barrier Breakers
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It’s Time to Start Living with Passion!
Jean Paul Paulynice, MBA
Paulynice Consulting Group, LLC
ISBN: 978-1-7335601-0-8 (Paperback) $12.99
ISBN: 978-1-7335601-1-5 (eBook) $ 6.99
ISBN: 978-1-7335601-2-2 (Audiobook) $ 9.99
It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery uses author Jean Paul Paulynice's own progression to delineate a route to better living. This autobiographical journey offers its readers an admonition about standing still in a dissatisfying life. This book is filled with insightful reflections on pitfalls, progressions, and the kinds of realizations one gains only from hard knocks in life.
This short accessible read, chronicles a hard-working family man's expectation that his efforts would translate to happiness and contentment and, after numerous struggles, the realization that this anticipation of rich rewards would not be seen to fruition without some attitude adjustments and a deep look within.
Why was Jean Paul working so hard at a 9-5 job while staring into an abyss of frustration and depression? He realized he needed "work that didn’t feel like work." Locating that passionate calling became his motivator for many adjustments towards living a more passionate life.
Readers will find a chronicle of a life-affirming journey and real-world examples of the processes of gaining insight, identity, and purpose. Those readers who are “stuck” may have pursued this goal again and again, only to find themselves at the same starting point. Jean Paul has "been there and done that," and his story promises the invaluable rewards of a successful pursuit: “Life passion is life itself. It is the price and the reward. It is what life is all about."
His descriptions make very good points about adjusting one's life to allow the kind of time suitable for reflection and discovery and adjusting one’s perspective so that happiness can be allowed in: "Imagine driving through the same fall woods without life passion by your side; you are like, “How annoying. Why are these leaves falling? They are obstructing my view. They are making a mess of everything. I’m going to have to spend so much time raking leaves this weekend!”
Many of the truths revealed may come as a surprise in that they clearly delineate passion from other (sometimes worthy) pursuits: "Even if something is good, noble, and worth investing in, it does not mean that it is your passion in life. Something you need to know at this point as you are seeking to find your passion is that passion is narrow."
Synthesizing autobiographical examples with wider psychological, social, and philosophical observations about finding happiness in daily living is not easy to do, especially in fewer than 100 pages, but Paulynice does it perfectly.This book provides a very lively, readable, and inspiring account that is accessible to audiences who usually eschew weighty self-help reads. This roadmap to success circumvents the common problems of effecting lasting change and produces real results. It’s Time to Start Living with Passion!
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