March 2023 Review Issue
Fantasy & Sci Fi
Mystery & Thrillers
979-8373774963 $10.00 Paper/$8.00 ebook
Angels of Antila: A True Accounting of the Seville Pox, or The Confessions of Alonso is an alternate history sci-fi story that postulates a "what if" scenario in which the first voyage of the Spaniards to the New World brings smallpox and devastation to the invaders—not the Native Americans they encounter.
linguistic prodigy and Franciscan monk who travels on the Santa Maria on Columbus'
first voyage, confronts
many moral and ethical dilemmas as events unfold in this alternate
the tale doesn't open with his perspective. Instead, it presents the
first-person experience of a young Native American girl who has just
puberty and who contemplates taking a husband—her duty as the only
her clan leader father.
different opinions about guiding her life. Her mother, the widow of a
chief, helps solidify the lessons reinforced by clan tradition and a
predicts a future in which strangers invade their land.
outstanding job of contrasting the forces influencing this new world,
traveler and postulant Alonso to belief systems which clash and
which are designed to foster political special interests rather than
reality: "There was no fever,"
insisted the Admiral. "It was witchcraft, and I found the antidote."
clashing perceptions and explanations of what drives the characters
worlds and destinies are nicely done, involving readers in both sides
encounter which transforms all involved.
world steeped in both magic and belief systems that are shaken by the
circumstances beyond anyone's control.
the Columbus encounter offers much historical food for thought in an
history story that is character-driven, turning events and illnesses
down in a thought-provoking manner. The vivid characters supplement a
action that embraces conflicting forces and perceptions alike, creating
suspense and interests from its portraits of illness, cures, and
alternate history sci-fi that offers the opportunity for a deeper
of contrasting, diametrically opposed cultures will find heroes come
unlikely (and different) places in this intriguing tale of suffering,
and a world on the wrong path, driven by a young woman's choices and a
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Burn the Ship
(Pirates of New Earth series, Book 3)
Sooner Started Press
978-1-957774-06-0 $18.99 Paper/$1.99 ebook
Burn the Ship is the third book in the
Pirates of the New Earth
series begun in A Merry Life,
the saga of mother and pirate Kat, who made such a splash in the first
continues her foray into uncharted territory here.
stories, Burn the Ship assumes a
cyberpunk overlay of dystopian angst as Kat juggles her duties. She
added task of serving justice to the world and eliminating human
Earth while serving dinner to her family and keeping her personal life
and separate from the political and social issues that drive her to be
Kat is, in
force to be reckoned with. As an officer in the Bosch Pirate Force, she
charged with entering the fray of a blossoming threat while addressing
family's needs and the ghosts from her past that continue to haunt her,
her choices and values:
“Yes, well, Kat does like to remind all of us at
length that her past
was far more difficult than anyone else’s.”
I feel the words like a stab, and I know everyone at the table heard the comment by the silence that follows it, but then my husband smoothly continues, “And speaking of children, we should really return to ours and relieve your mother, Kat.” He pauses for effect before adding, “Don’t you agree, my love?” The smile on his lips does not reach his eyes."
social and political turbulence Kat navigates are matters of the heart
keep redirecting her special interests from home to broader social and
rollicking rides through dystopian worlds that are replete in emotional
currents and undercurrents will especially relish the confrontations
Kat to re-examine her closest connections in life: "I
slowly sit back down, not taking my eyes off this man I have
laughed with, cried with, fought next to, and yes, even bought drinks
Greene is still tracing the leak; Ludlow is only one possibility. He
may be telling
the truth. But if it turns out he is lying and did give away our
nothing will stop me from killing him."
and new opportunities for Kat blend into the kinds of conundrums that
destroy, shake, or build a family. How she chooses to navigate these
worlds makes for a powerful dystopian adventure story that will attract
only Kat's prior fans, but newcomers who like exceptionally powerful
protagonists who tackle the dual and concurrent challenges of family
which emerge from Kat's actions and reflections promise to attract a
audience with components of thriller, mystery, adventure, and women's
inspections, as well as those reading the sci-fi genre it will be
(Pirates of New Earth series, Book 3)
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Blow the Man
(Pirates of New Earth series, Book 4)
Sooner Started Press
978-1-957774-09-1 $18.99 Paper/$1.99 ebook
Because Blow the Man Down is the fourth book
the Pirates of New Earth sci-fi series, it's recommended that readers
least an initial familiarity with pirate mother Kat and her unusual
justice and family before joining her on her final adventure. Those
background will already know of Kat's evolutionary process, conundrums,
special challenges in remaining true to both her mission to end human
trafficking and meeting her family's needs. Both pursuits continue in
2366, as Kat faces both the culmination of her life's pursuit and a new
when her children are abducted.
Torn by the
her heart's deepest desire, Kat's initial feeling that "the world is
in balance" shatters with each event that further proves she is not in
much control as she'd imagined.
faces threats even in places she'd formerly felt safe, and begins to
she and her allies can ever defeat the storm that has driven both human
trafficking on New Earth and the man who once enslaved her.
a story that centers not just on Kat's strength, but the emotional
forces that buffet those around her. One such character is fellow
and survivor Carisa, who has adopted extraordinary measures and
order to endure:
“Kat, I was good at blending in and being invisible
on Bellcoast, and
it helped for a year or so after you escaped. When Abernathy finally
me, it was you who helped me survive. You had taught me to disconnect.
while that isn’t healthy in this world,” she makes a circle with her
“it was essential in Abernathy’s."
realize the real impact of past, present, and future decisions she must
about the course of her life and its pursuits, readers absorb a
crescendo of events that both challenge her convictions and solidify
just the right special blend of action and discovery that keeps Kat
evolving, and challenged to do and be more.
characters that can serve as role models for adaptation and courage
Kat's dilemmas and scenarios emotionally compelling, realistic, and
Blow the Man Down should consider
series as a whole. Each book builds another piece of Kat's character
Together, the series books create a world both realistic and thoroughly
in stories of proactive women who confront new lessons about their
and power in life will find many discussion points sparked by not just Blow the Man Down, but the series as a
(Pirates of New Earth series, Book 4)
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Readers of medical thrillers and action
stories will find Children of Alpheios
a futuristic sci-fi mix that can appeal to a wide audience through a
is vividly portrayed, action-packed, and hard to put down.
From the start, Children
of Alpheios displays a mystery infused with medical
intrigue to draw readers into a purple puzzle: "Alina
rolled the vial between her fingertips, noting Mandin’s blood sample
a purplish undertone. They had never requested her permission for an
experimental lab test. Dr. Olek would have informed her. Did Dr. Daxmen
one of the vials of blood used for Mandin’s diagnostics?"
Mandin is a baby born in a genetically
engineered colony on a new world. Even in this world of differences,
stands out; for his DNA makes him as desirable as a lab rat and a
research project as feared by his young mother, Alina.
Alina must flee her colony home (into the wilds of the planet Eamine)
protect her child. She's aided by a gruff pilot who protects her from
forces as she navigates this strange new world which Mandin's birth has
introduced to her life.
As she and Kiean climb ice walls, navigate
treacherous terrain, and forge places of new safety and understanding
one another and their world, connections develop which change the
perspectives of each.
Sci-fi readers that enjoy stories firmly
embedded in strange new environments will appreciate the time Diana
takes in world-building descriptions, while those who look for
action, intrigue, and satisfying twists and turns will appreciate the
mystery that drives choices and the pursuit of new lives.
Used to hiding her heart, Alina admits that "The only permanent relationship she
could grasp was with Mandin." Her priority doesn't allow her
flexibility to contemplate long-term connections with others.
Many a mother reading this story will
heavily relate to Alina's charge and mission: "If
her fate was being solely responsible for the most important
decisions affecting her and Mandin forever, so be it. She couldn’t
thought for inconsequential matters, or fanciful longings." As
finds there is more at stake than her child's life and happiness, she
accept a different role in the world that brings with it a more
of her destiny and choices.
Libraries looking for epic fantasies rooted
in world-building scenarios will find Children
of Alpheios a top-notch read that stands with the best of
designed to lure readers with identifiable emotional quandaries and
personal, social, and political connections.
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The Cycle of Eden: The Young
Cycle of Eden:
The Young Revolution is a fantasy space opera that introduces
"young revolution" of Eden, a world based on rebirth, where the
living are caught in an ongoing struggle between darkness and light
seems to resolve.
Wars decide how Eden will be
reborn in a new cycle, and
this current situation isn't any different. Daniel Varona provides the
and introduction to this scenario which are essential for understanding
impact of Eden's patterns and why things are different now.
New potential lies in this
cycle's latest prophesied hero,
Seth, who finds himself
alone in a world sinking once more into darkness.
Varona is skilled at
capturing a "you are here" feel of the atmosphere: "The
mounted cannon ejected the harpoon
with a metallic sting, ringing for a few seconds. The depth of the
was tracked by the number of clicks the metal wire sounded off, like a
gun. The connection suddenly halted and seized its tightening grip on
it hit. A full second later, a deep and mournful roar erupted from the
blue, causing a shockwave to rattle the once calm waters."
As Seth's purposes merge
with those of Valentina (who is
fighting against forces that would make slaves of her people) and
characters, a conjoined mission of disparate individuals evolves. Each,
their different way, becomes a force for promoting the Age of Light
darkness Eden seems destined to fall into.
The pace and action are
fast, the characters many, and
the intricacies of Eden's political, social, and psychological
intriguing. Readers can expect a fantasy that works on both an
leisure read world-building manner, and one which injects a degree of
complexity into the changing scenarios of Eden and those who struggle
its cycles of promise and failure.
The dialogue between
characters as they fight and
confront myriad forces is also very nicely done:
“Damn, girl! I ain’t seen a chick move like that before! Now how may I repay ya?” greeted the reckless man in a far-too-friendly manner. Valentina aimed a fist at him. “Shut it before I shut it for you. You’re not the first man I’ve saved.”
Fans of space opera and
world-building fantasies will
find this first book in the series compelling, concluding with a
vision of world-changing gods and attempts to free Eden from its curse
conclude in a cliffhanger for future books to explore.
Libraries seeking vivid,
complex world-building fantasies
will find The Cycle of Eden: The Young
Revolution a compelling tale worthy of acquisition.
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attacked not by outside forces, but via the neural networks of one's
Many would call this "mental illness," but in Death
of the Antagonist, the breached inner sanctum of the mind
comes from aliens who intend to use one Ian Preston as a portal for
the invader's perspective as they arrive on Earth and encounter a busy
street scene. The "target time period" is correct. All the scout
needs is the appropriate host. But, his senses overloaded by data, he
that "nothing he does can stop time
and the downward spiral of his life."
He's in the perfect position to become the focal point in
against this invader, which draws to him two disparate individuals
are also in flux and on the edge of society—a homeless man and a sex
more unlikely heroes for an epic battle. Usually the warrior figure is
flawed, but intrinsically admirable. This ragtag band of disparate
existing on the fringes of society at first seems the least likely to
world. In reality, they are not just its best option; but its only
story that layers its drama slowly, beginning with the perspective of
elusive invader and then moving deftly into Ian's life.
relationship with Aurora and the spiritual discussions they have about
psyche (“I didn’t say God has some
checklist. All I’m saying is there are rewards for trying to do the
thing. But it takes some focus, some effort. The closer you get to God,
more obedient you have to be.”) to wisdom imparted by a
homeless man who
offers unexpected connection and salvation (“Life
is conflict,” his voice is almost a whisper, “but it has a
purpose.”), Ian is drawn into a crazy situation. This forces
reexamine the bizarre path his life has taken and its ultimate meaning
impact in the greater world.
juxtapose these spiritual, psychological, and social insights within
context of an invasion that occurs on different levels will especially
readers seeking more than a light entertainment piece with the classic
a magically transformed world and introduces uncommon sides to its
forcing them to adapt new survival tactics and bigger-picture thinking
to change themselves and the human race as a whole.
“Life is conflict. Get used to it.”
transformation and survival permeates a rich story that embraces
fiction themes, but places them in an environment where each of the
is forced to adapt to something far outside their experience or logic.
In this new
love seems to be a detriment: “Did you
really think you could win them with friendship? With some warm, fuzzy
reunion?” The beast leans forward, his lip curling slightly. “… with love?” Or, is it?
the bigger-picture questions of life, survival, decision-making
encountering something far beyond the usual ken of mankind will find Death of the Antagonist both steeped in
drama and conflict and thought-provokingly rich in its approach to
seeking a sci-fi story that incorporates the vivid nonstop action of a
thriller, the depth of a psychological probe, and the otherworldly
of a host of creatures who change individual perceptions of life
find Death of the Antagonist
outstanding in its special blend of fast-paced confrontation and
development. These profile a brand of insights and revelations that are
powerfully positive against all odds:
"Life is just getting started. Your purpose is
about to blow your
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Dancing Corgi Pres
978-1943654253 $19.95 Paper/$.99 ebook
New Dragon Soaring is the third book in
the Dragon Shadows series
featuring dragons, girl pirates, and curses. In this book, Lisette de
Tristen de Rocco have a young daughter, Alara. The kidnapping of their
a Ruhee, a vengeful women obsessed with Rocco, separates the couple and
them into different discoveries as each strives to find their baby.
which led to Alara's birth in the aftermath of battle to the specter of
savior turned deadly force because of a love that takes a dark turn,
Carline paints a compelling story replete with twists and turns that
serves as a standalone tale and enhances the prior series novels.
blood dragons and how they differ to the yet-unexplored powers her new
may exhibit, the story provides a satisfying blend of quest and
involves readers of all ages in a special tale of combat and revelation.
adept at portraying the different kinds of growth each character
both individually and as part of a couple. Embedded within Rocco's
transformation from dragon to man and back, for example, are
everything from relationships to parenting choices:
“Like Lisette, you are a moon dragon. Unlike
Lisette, your power lies
in your anger.” She sat in the soft green moss and grasses. “You must
this feeling in order to transform and be the kind of dragon your
“I know you keep saying I must help Lizzie raise Alara, but I just don’t see how that will be possible—I’ll be at sea for months at a time. Why can’t Lisette handle those duties?”
Lamya stood, her eyes full of fire, pointing back at the campsite, her voice loud and words biting. “Because that is your daughter, and you are the edge of the blade on which she walks. Lisette will bring her goodness, kindness, but make no mistake—a child born of two blood dragons is born into righteous anger. Your control of your own rage is what will teach her to do the same.”
of New Dragon Soaring doesn't just
lie in a
quest or the uncovering of personal power, but in the discoveries
transmitting this power and these lessons to new generations.
struggle, battle scenes, and interpersonal interactions between good
not-so-good forces, but Carline takes the time to examine the
influences on all choices, making the characters believable and
looking for action-packed sword-and-sorcery fantasies that take the
in explaining the growth of power and connections will find New Dragon Soaring a sterling example of
a series book that holds equally powerful appeal to prior readers as
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K. M. Warfield
Creative James Media
978-1956183726 $12.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
fantasy readers seeking epic and memorable stories will find Scales and Stingers, the first in the
Heroes of Avoch series, to be a compelling introduction to a world in
half breed Thia Bransdottir is shunned. Her father's protection
his death, and she is slated for religious work in a cloister, but her
doesn't end here.
sworn to protect Thia throughout her life no matter where she goes. Her
unwillingness to trust anyone after her father is killed leads her to
about everyone in her life—even those seemingly charged with protecting
half-Fallen like herself.
from anything. Does this make her courageous? As she comes to know Adam
host of people that swirl around her, some with special interests and
their own preservation in mind, Thia discovers innate abilities she'd
considered. These are brought to the forefront both by new challenges
who observe her closely: “Thia, you adapt
faster than anyone I’ve ever met. A fighter is trained to see openings
react to them, take advantage where we can. You weren’t. But you’ve had
thrown at you that would make most people I know crawl into a ball and
come back out.”
It's not in
quit—or to make friends. She must learn different ways of reacting to
adversity if she is to not just rise above her heritage as half-Fallen,
embrace its strengths.
a story that is compelling as different characters deal with
courage, and unexpected strengths. From warlocks and unusual
secrets that bind a disparate group of friends, Warfield's ability to
story based on changing political and social environments creates a
hard to put down.
greatest lesson isn't just to learn to trust others and herself. It's
how to oppose and guide the forces at work in her kingdom: "Wisdom isn’t telling someone what they should do,
them the support they need to make the decision themselves.”
introductory series titles in sword and sorcery fantasy arenas will
character-building moments in Scales and
Stingers to be vivid draws that nicely juxtapose social
action and dilemmas
with individual struggles.
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Many a fantasy series has
featured a protagonist divided
as much by their own psyches as outside events. Most focus on the
emergence of the character under duress. Few present the specter of a
loner, Quen Santu, whose two hearts drum to a different beat than what
created to do—destroy the world.
Quen's odyssey and purpose
is always under review and
struggle as she considers her limited future options. Becoming a
not one of them. Perhaps she should study the art of war? Certainly,
ability also eludes her.
But destiny does not. For,
beneath her skin lies a
changling Nixan—the shadow soul who pushes for a metamorphosis that
squelch everything Quen is or wants to become. Letting it win would
loosening that wild spirit to destroy everything. Quen both houses the
that could end all and is perhaps the only one who can stop it.
On the face of it, this
first book in the Dragos Primeri
series is the usual adventure and struggle to overcome impossible
Look deeper for the emotional connections to life and love which Quen
represents, from her affection for a father that supersedes death
itself to evolving,
unexpected friends who turn into lovers to help support Quen's human
The young woman at war with
herself also battles the
forces that would harness her innate condition for their own special
This adds a further social and political inspection to her trials and
exploration of self and its connections to the outside world, which
potential even as some plot to control it for themselves.
As vivid as the emotional
and changing currents are of
this journey is the descriptive force Natalie Wright employs to explore
just Quen's abilities, but the magic of this world: "Pelagia
turned and flourished her remarkable cape. As she did, a
few butterflies moved, breaking the pattern. Quen gasped. I
used dead butterflies to construct the cap,but these are alive. How
control them to make them behave in such an odd way?"
Desperate for answers about
her path and purpose, Quen
will even walk into a spidery brass web leading to a "hall of iron ribs
and glass." She is a Doj’Anira—twice
blessed, with two different countenances that attract dynasty
leaders and opposing forces alike.
draw embedded in her journey will pull readers as well, offering ties
just magic and new possibilities, but the sacrifices of newfound
everything ache. Her arms were like
two soggy tubers gone to mush. Quen clambered up the wall and dug her
into the ice on the ledge above, but they were already tired from
Nivi. Heartache sapped her strength to pull. She hung like a carcass,
scrambling in vain to push up. She howled in frustration. Strong hands
her wrists. “Mourn him later,” Rhoji said."
By now, it should be evident
that this fantasy world and
adventure shines in more than one manner. From inner turmoil and
power and good and evil to the forces that offer spiritual and
redemption at a price, Quen resides at the center of too many conflicts
within and outside herself. Her readers will find themselves carried by
power of her observations, growing love for selected others, and slow
realizations of what her abilities and determination really bring to
Libraries looking for
fantasy series titles that open
with a bang of psychological and political allure will find that few
the force of Season of the Dragon.
Its attraction comes from many different strong subplots, each cemented
courageous woman who defies her destiny and heritage and, in so doing,
to see the opportunity of being the result of her mother's bargain with
different kind of devil.
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Corpse Beneath the Crocus may sound like
a murder mystery, but its
subject is literary in nature and emotional in content. In detailing
experience of grief, loss, and re-creation, Nelson brings to the table
added value of growth and revelation, injecting a sense of new
beginnings under impossible circumstances.
Seed' for one
example. It compares life to a seed, then metamorphizes to reflect a
stage of growth: "Sometimes life is
like a seed/And sometimes I am the seed The waiting change/The
burst of freedom/The power buried beneath turned
"waves of reflection" that follow loss and batter against life itself
as newfound coldness results in "Crying
the flood/Crying for the beautiful soul/Wandering somewhere in the
works are not
succinct expressions. 'Bizarre Mind', for example, explores "Cirque du
ridiculous" in considering the meandering pathways of thoughts and
challenged by reality and imagination, and the mercurial boundaries
heartache of loss
and the pain of transformation are captured in a work that chronicles
process of going down the rabbit hole of loss and emerging into a new
seeking poetry collections that are candid, vivid expressions of this
will find the free verse of Corpse
Beneath the Crocus compellingly rich in its study of the
and valleys of grief.
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Poor Tom is a humorous story of Jewish
literature. It tells of
Julius Dickman, who wants to be a mensch by being a good son and father
but harbors a full sack of insecurities, phobias, and worries that
from being effective in his own life; much less in another's world.
inconsistencies of his life often assume the feel of the Shakespearian
that his father is so enthralled with, King
Lear. Perhaps if his name hadn't stemmed from the Bard's
could have been more powerful in his life ("Sometimes
I wish they’d given me a nice, short, masculine, one-syllable name—Bob,
or Biff. Al would be okay. I think I’d have been more successful with
what it is. Until it isn't, which is a circumstance retirement
his father, changing their relationship and challenging Julius to step
his own sense of self and world worries to adopt a bigger role in life.
Martin Drapkin is astute at
weaving the subtle marks of Jewish heritage, literary influence, and
psychological dilemmas into this story, examining Jewish culture and
with an eye to injecting them with both recognizable scenarios and
As Julius considers possible
careers that don't contain drama, questioning the photography which
leading him into stormy situations, the humor rings true in even his
embarking on a different life:
the idea to start my own painting business. I wouldn’t call it Dickman’s Fine Painting, though.
Maybe Julius’s Mediocre Painting.
Or even Poor Tom’s Painting,
with no descriptor one way or the other. I’d be a one-man operation. I
want to work together with anyone or manage or supervise anyone else. I
want to have to make conversation. I just want to do my work alone,
the surfaces and applying the coats of paint with brushes and rollers
carefully as I can, not making messes, and cleaning up thoroughly, and
listen to my CDs of plays while I did my work—just the comedies,
maybe some of the histories, but not those damned corpse-strewn
He's sick of his life assuming
the progression of a Shakespearian piece; but keeps falling into the
situations that challenge his desire to do well and be better.
Drapkin's story weaves a fine
portrait of Jewish life and culture, an uncertain character's wavering
to become more than he was raised to be, and family history and drama
intersects with the stage in unusual ways.
Replete with wry social
inspection and psychological complexity, Poor
Tom is a top recommendation for readers of Jewish literature
and libraries looking for excellent contemporary voices that capture
thinking—the latter via a romp through the hopes and dreams of a
worrywart who longs to play a different role in life.
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Graphics - Blue Sunshine
Grey Line Pres
ASIN: B00P2SX8NQ $1.99 ebook
Blue Sunshine presents the second book in the Words and
Graphics series, creating a love story out of free verse, prose, and
images that is a compelling literary approach to exploring sexy,
of waking up beside a stranger to the love and anguish that evolve from
chance encounter, Blue Sunshine
captures emotions and relationships using a vivid descriptive approach
"We both smiled, and it was her smile that
told me she was still there of her own free will. Then, quiet, as if
mystery solved, there was nothing left to say; there was only the
of what needed to be done. The reality of her leaving, me being
of us left with regret."
through South Africa, confrontations over pregnancy, and evocative
peppered throughout (such as 'A Glimpse of Our Future in the Present
Were Unable to See Through the Haze'), the story unfolds with the
a relationship and the gentle lyrical inspections of philosophy and
new beginnings, and love found and lost all resonate through these
literary intersections, embedding Blue
Sunshine with a portrait of discovery and intergenerational
viewpoint and inspection.
is a literary mosaic of poetic and prosaic dialogues and art centered
heartache, and irony.
seeking literary works that toe the line between fiction, experimental
literature, and poetic inspection will find Blue
Sunshine an excellent acquisition featuring approaches that
powerful and accessible to a wide audience.
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978-1-63988-706-4 $24.99 Hardcover/$16.99 Paper
Wave Pulse is a poetry collection
dedicated to representing the
waves of life change that pulse through worlds of man and nature alike.
Centered in the experiences of humans and environment, each poem is a
observation of the banality, focuses, representations, and the
"spontaneous patterning" of daily conversations, random events, and
inspections stem from inspirational observations, as in 'FROM A PHOTO
OF A HOPI
PRIEST BY ADAM CLARK
VROMAN': "seedjar spills into
night/snake priest jaws gripped/eyes glisten..." One doesn't
photo to reinforce these visual words—their description and impact are
magnetic attraction of science, as in 'OF COSMOGENESIS', which crafts
evocative physics-laden discourse connecting waves of science with
life: "atoms protons electrons/neutrons arc,
quarks! What/sparks neurons in our veins?"
The flow and
waves of life, light, and insight resonate through free verse designed
contrast the bluster and focus of human affairs with the wider-ranging
limitations of and possibilities in nature.
Wave Pulse is an energizing collection of
inquiries into the models
and spirits of man and nature. Libraries that pursue it for its
literary style will find much to recommend to poetry readers interested
flux and rhythms of life.
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Windows blends nature photography and
poetry in a visual and verbal
exploration that tells of windows into other worlds, and taking the
look through them.
Mark Dornblaser does in a book that offers viewers the opportunity to
reflect, and draw new connections between illuminating scenes and their
In order to
this feeling in the reader, Dornblaser presents each poem on a facing
one of his color photos. The twilight image of an illuminated barn
"Scene from the Road" in which the narrator reflects on a place where
"The early snowmelt seeps into the
low seams of the fields,/a sinuous sheen of slate blue weaving through
rolling sea of white." and "A
weathered, peeling barn is quiet,/and a rusting combine lies idle."
from both image lighting and written reflection as Dornblaser muses
wellspring of that inspiration.
Each poem is
portrayed, incorporating nature observation and employing color and
that not just compliment the color images, but match their impact.
example lies in 'Cayman Blues', in which a multi-blue ocean world is
supplemented by a poetic examination: "Cobalt
coast,/cerulean sea,/indigo ocean,/they beckon me." The
layers of blue
are reinforced by both image and words.
pairing words and images appear each year. Most aren't integrated
well as Windows, and merely stand
two disparate art forms under one cover, holding too few connections to
photos and written words are symphonies of experience, reflection, and
observation inviting readers to look out the window of their own lives
experience their world in its fullest glory. They explore the soul's
to this world ('Wisconsin Highlands', for example, describes where "I long for the stillness of a
Wisconsin Highlands early evening.") and moves into the
place in both observing and living within this world: "Night
approaching,/my breath is frosty, though I can feel/Winter
has lost her edge."
man, nature, and a sense of place are clear. Look through Dornblaser's
to receive observations that are life-affirming testimonies to
between self and the world.
belongs in any poetry or arts lending library, and on the shelves of
would follow the author on inner journeys and artistic observations.
Return to Index
Finding My Wings
JoAnn Santore Dickson
Butterfly of Hope: Finding My Wings is a
memoir about facing
illness and spiritual roots, and listening to life-changing messages in
adversity that push author JoAnn Santore Dickson's life into new
addresses a variety of topics as it moves through Dickson's life, from
self-healing to not only getting life back, but delving into the past
better choices for the future.
goal was to
accept herself unconditionally and embrace new facets of spiritual
that helped form a different personality and perspective on life. This
achieved both in her actions and reactions to her experiences and upon
publication of her book, which points the way for others on the same
her Christian Science upbringing that led her to resist going to the
after a car accident delivers alarming symptoms weeks later, to a state
which she pays more attention to her body and soul, readers will
progression. Especially strongly described is her relationship with
which steeps the story with additional conversations about relationship
spiritual realizations, and a life complicated by health challenges on
to stay strong for others as well as herself, she moves into training
that help her better achieve her emotional, spiritual, and physical
memoir, Dickson does more than explore the process of emergence. She
wings to her readers, who in turn can use her experiences and lessons
their own possibilities of growth and flight. She offers insights into
accepting change, but how to run and fly with it.
memoirs steeped in spiritual and healing processes will find much to
like in Butterfly of Hope: Finding My Wings,
which is spiced with journal entries that reflect the author's
realizations about her life and her approach to it.
Return to Index
Argita and Detina Zalli
Sandra Jonas Publishing
$14.95 Paperback/$26.95 Hardcover/$6.99 Ebook
Morning, Hope: A True
Story of Refugee Twin Sisters and Their Triumph over War, Poverty, and
library interested in stories of refugee experience in general and
history in particular. Also about family, strength, and the bond
it's likewise for any reader interested in stories of growing up
fighting for a better life. It chronicles the efforts of an Albanian
flee the financial meltdown in their country in 1997, but it doesn't
their successful escape to England.
In some ways the story is
just beginning at that point
because the twins and their parents then move into a social milieu
challenging as the environment they fled.
As the story evolves, from mystery helpers who assist the family's flight to circumstances that threaten to separate the family at numerous junctures, Argita and Detina Zalli
present the emotional
tension both outside and within the
family as they confront the pressures of their choices:
reached out to
Mom. “Are you all right, Dita?”
Mom still hadn’t said a word to him. Her eyes shot darts at him. “How can you ask me that?” she snapped. “Do you have any idea what we have been through during the last hours? Why the hell didn’t you call us?”
“Well, because we don’t have a phone, do we?”
component to their story is the
prejudice against immigrants and refugees, which the children
experience in a
land that took so much effort to reach and initially showed so much
events unfold, these ongoing struggles challenge the family to adopt
methods of handling their vastly changed world: "The
bullying and racism at school had been too much for us. But I
didn’t want to fight anymore."
The Zalli twins powerfully
detail the emotional tides and
revelations that force disparate individuals to come together: "I had been a good actress so far, but
how could I pretend that the past didn’t exist? How could I pretend
would work well together with two girls who hated us and had caused us
suffering? How could I forgive them without their asking for
The result will move beyond
readers interested in
Albanian experiences and into general audiences attracted to stories of
survival, prejudice, and integration processes.
This is a book for libraries
and readers seeking vivid
first-person chronicles that embrace family, a sense of place, and
Morning, Hope is a study in adaptation and courage that
chronicles growth against all odds, documenting how one family blossoms
the midst of social, political, and psychological storms.
Return to Index
Memoir of a Girl Chef joins a rising number of nonfiction
books that blend
autobiography with insights on becoming a professional chef. It follows
Mangani as she develops her taste buds, cooking skills, and ambition to
a career in the kitchen.
The world of professional
cooking has largely been a
man's job. The respect, training, and kitchen atmosphere is laden with
testosterone. Mangani discovered all this and more as she entered an
from the explorations she had previously made in counterculture life.
Her memoir departs from
others in that it isn't just a
record of cooking. It's a story of kitchen management and
politics that captures some engrossing, thought-provoking experiences:
the pot-washing station at Italy’s far reaches, Italy/pizza/pot is a
within a kitchen. For the first three months of the fair, it operated
with a pizza manager named Steve and his entourage of seasoned
creating the theatrical effect required by Chuck Sanders. But the
microcosm became too big for itself and pizza cooks and pot washers
each other in and out, logging sixteen-hour shifts for all. My
when I’d discovered this while tallying time cards upstairs in the
to go down there and fire them all. Fire
the kitchen during the lunch rush? With all those hungry staring eyes? Fire
them I did, afterward grabbing anyone I thought could flip a pizza
without making too many holes in it, to keep the station afloat while I
and retrained to keep the ship on course while millions of judging eyes
upon us novice pizza schlubs through the pickup window."
Mangani's varied jobs,
duties, and challenges aren't just
limited to steamy kitchens. Her pursuit of new discoveries and travel
into many types of culinary situations, all explored here.
This is one of the
highlights of this book, and a feature
which keeps it from becoming another staid account of growing wiser in
From nutritional revelations
to fielding the changing
taste buds of a toddler, Mangani probes the world of changing tastes
fluctuating place in it, juxtaposing personal revelations with new
into food's place in her world and her changing relationship with it.
influenced by family experiences and kitchen encounters alike: "After a forced father-daughter
tomato-eating episode, with Daughter gagging, she said it was the
turned her off. She no longer ate bananas either, or any other fruit
matter, unless it was in juice form."
Mise En Place is a travelogue, a hedonistic exploration of living life to its fullest, and an embrace of the culinary and food worlds that move outward from the inner sanctum of restaurant kitchen operations to home life and other cultures.
The result is a romp through
the hospitality business and
the world that goes far, far beyond the usual chef's memoir.
Libraries looking for
travelogues of personal discovery
and revelation which come replete with added flavors and textures will
welcome Mise En Place's outstanding
Return to Index
Years Later is an addiction memoir refuting the common notion
addicts always come to a bad end. This could have easily been the case
Storm moved through addiction to more powerful drugs and descended into
of crime and struggle.
And yet, the book offers the
ultimate message of hope
with the example that even the most addicted individual has
recover and change his life.
Given its subject, readers
might anticipate the story be
filled with graphic trigger experiences of violence, murder, suicide,
substance abuse. And, it is. No punches were pulled in the making of
But, underlying its candid
streetwise message of a white
Philadelphia rapper boy's life gone awry is an inspirational example of
Storm turned his life around against all odds and influences. It serves
testimony to new possibilities, and to never losing hope during life's
From the start, Storm
presents cautions and insights that
will compel readers to learn more, introducing his saga with
reflections on why
and how The Struggle was written:
book to share my experience, strength, and hope for recovery from drug
addiction and alcoholism. You will read about how I used drugs and
fit in and have fun with my friends. Over the years, I became a person
thought I would become. I hope this book opens the eyes of both addicts
non-addicts and gives a better understanding of how addiction can
I tried to be 100% honest in my writing, but the time frames and
not always be completely accurate. This is because drugs and alcohol
a toll on my memory."
The gritty, honest language
and descriptions reinforce
the fact that this life experience comes from the streets and the
heart: "This moment was the lowest I’d ever
felt in my life, at least up until this point. But as I sat there in my
self-pity, little did I know that a Christmas angel would come to save
As I sat on the curb, crying my eyes out, at least two dozen people had
me without even blinking an eye. This made me feel even worse because
that nobody gave a fuck about me."
As low points of despair
contrast with high points of
hope from unexpected places and experiences, Storm keeps his readers on
with stories of his evolutionary growth process and how it was affected
circumstances both within and beyond his control.
Young adults, particularly,
who are on the road towards
the spiral Storm experienced will find much to gain from his account of
acceptance from his friends while finding himself trapped in a cage of
choosing, encouraged by influences that did not hold his best interests
Neither did he. This is
perhaps the most hard-hitting
message of all: the juxtaposition of social and internal pressures that
his path and choices seem logical, no matter their self-destructive
easily reaches all ages, its greatest impact will be on young adults
their ways in life.
Libraries that choose The
Struggle for its candid, gripping accounts of a downfall and
find it especially lends to young adult group and book club discussion.
offers many keys to understanding better choices that come not from the
philosophical, protected world of the achiever, but from one who has
yet still successfully risen into a different life and new ways of
defining opportunity and recovery.
Return to Index
ASIN: B0BVC7HY42 $9.99 ebook
Where Yellow Flowers Bloom: A True Story of Hope
Loss is a mother's memoir of the gripping tragedy that
resulted in the loss
of her home and the positive life she had built. It opens with a vivid
experience that occurred when the family was buried in their home by a
documents events from 2017 onward that involved struggles with fire and
products of California's changing weather, readers gain a sense of what
means to survive not just one, but a series of life-altering
events. These reach from the crazy weather events of 2017 to the
of 2018 that produced avalanches that ran through their home at 35
Where Yellow Flowers Bloom cultivates a
"you are here"
experience as it narrates the blows Cantin's family endured:
thick slime seeped in under our doors. The muddy water came up through
bottom of our front walls and front doors. I looked down at Chester,
the floor near my feet. I told him, “Let’s go!” But he tilted his head
looked up at me hauntingly as he lay on the carpet. Chester did not
seemed to know there was no escape. I heard a horrifying, unfamiliar
sounded as if I were standing under the walkway of Niagara Falls. Like
of an oncoming train, mere inches away."
her entire family would die that night. Her house totally destroyed and
loved ones missing, she barely survived, herself.
One of the
of her story, which lends to its vivid appeal, lies in daughter
about her experiences, juxtaposing with her mother Kim's reflections
being survivors against all odds:
"My baby had been buried alive, totally alone,
entombed. My mind
wanted to shut out the horror she’d endured. She told me that during
she felt like the rest of the family had gotten out and left her. That
heart. Never in a million years would we have done that, if any of us
have moved from our location to help her. With the slide’s power and
none of us had the ability to help each other. We were separated in our
the roaring force of the slide that came down the mountain like an
It flowed like powerful thick wet cement, and rendered each of us
as well as dog Chester, were lost. Jack was not found for three years.
search Kim was to undertake involved the community and brought together
strangers who helped: "I witnessed
some of the best of human kindness." This joint effort to
family resulted in compelling examples of kindness and concern from
that was to set the course for recovery and the rest of their lives.
Where Yellow Flowers Bloom
is more than a portrait of a family disaster. It's a riveting account
of the love and perseverance that carry a mother and daughter into a
new life where kindness becomes intrinsically entwined with survival.
The lessons Kim receives
given back in different ways; one of which is the publication of this
memoir: "It reminds me to accept my life’s
changes, and to work to thrive and move forward. I know for sure that
what my husband and son would want for us. And, maybe, just maybe, they
this coincidence to happen."
As hope and
emerge from inconceivable circumstances and loss, readers gain a sense
hope and faith become tied to community response and support efforts.
receive a diverse portrait of kindness in action from all types of
memoirs of tragedy, adversity, grief, and, ultimately, hope will find
that Where Yellow Flowers Bloom is
especially powerful portrait—one that should join any other true
surviving the impossible.
Return to Index
Club is a novel about political
reporting, the power of money, and the efforts of a writer trying to "...do
my best to write something that didn’t take yet another piece of my
it into the digital abyss."
connections and involvements,
Washington Post reporter Seth Thomas still finds himself in over his
his latest assignment, which morphs into a puzzling pursuit of truth
thwarts his initial desire not to become mired in something that
he follows the trail of
money that leads through risky
bank practices and loans, his journey takes him to Iceland, where
Olafsson cautions him: “If you want to help, find some
answers. And, after
you do, don’t vanish like the others.”
Nesbit opens up more
than a few cans of worms as he
shows how Seth becomes increasingly involved in and aware of the
"billionaire's club" members and mandates: "Extremely wealthy
people kept making money on top of the piles they already had … for one
significant reason: They had access to precisely the kinds of
opportunities denied the other seven billion on the planet. No strategy
lucky break could get you into this exclusive club…only the kind of
controlled by a very small group."
club members, and networks that
move money come to light, readers receive a vivid probe into financial
entanglements that involve Seth in pyramid schemes and questionable
practices conducted on a world-wide arena.
is especially adept
at entwining financial savvy
into a plot in which Seth, who is largely operating outside this
discoveries that lead increasingly into dangerous territory inhabited
billionaires playing with the world's financial stability.
story he grasps after
relentless pursuits and
eye-popping realizations shakes his own foundations of how he perceives
influence and power in the world, making for a story ripe with
challenge Seth's values in choosing a story lead over money.
looking for a
vivid thriller atmosphere backed
by real-world financial realities will relish The
engrossing, fast-paced probe of schemes, risk-taking, and moral and
Return to Index
9781399935159 $16.42 Paper/$9.99 ebook
The Chanteuse from Cape
Town is a
hardboiled noir mystery that
centers on P.I. Sol Nemo's efforts to help his friend, whose wife has
kidnapped. This leads him deep into South Africa's underworlds and into
situations he'd never envisioned, also landing him in life-threatening
situations when his efforts result in him being shot and the kidnappers
to succeed, Sol moves from Pretoria to Cape Town and beyond as his
to get results becomes a personal obsession.
surprising depth of social examination that accompanies this murder
John Constable injects a wry humor that adds to the atmosphere: "We parted company after that. As
Bezuidenhout walked away, I heard his phone’s ring tone. I’m oft en
by people’s tastes in music. On this occasion, I was nonplussed to hear
disco strains of Stayin’Alive.
Given the captain’s rate of cigarette consumption, I reckoned this
qualify as wishful thinking."
his Port Elizabeth base, Sol finds himself encountering dead bodies,
waters, and personal threats. Throughout the story, Constable takes the
capture the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of Sam's South African
when he is in desperate straights: "A
bottle of Castle beer with condensation dripping down its sides would
be a good
start, as would a long drink of orange and lemonade with ice, or
all would be plunging my face into the mountain stream close by my
social inspection, and murder and revenge bring the story to life in an
exceptional manner that will especially please murder mystery fans that
their stories firmly rooted in a sense of place and purpose.
The Chanteuse from Cape Town for its
intrigue will be delighted to find the background and culture almost as
absorbing as Sol's evolving dilemmas with cat-and-mouse game that
struggle not just for truth, but for life.
Return to Index
David M. Olsen, Editor
Kelp Books, LLC
$28.00 Hardcover/$14.50 Paper/$9.99 ebook
The Dark Waves of Winter is a literary short story crime anthology
that both compliments the prior collection, The
Silver Waves of Summer, and stands on its own. It gathers
works of extraordinary writers who spin compelling yarns based on
waves of adversity, and navigating crime.
The opening short story
'Room and Board' by Vinnie
Hansen, is about a
Santa Cruz, California couch surfer whose helpful friend gets him a job
Surf Museum. They hope that gainful employment will get Jayden off the
and into mainstream society, as well as providing him with a coveted
Instead, the docent job
both exploits the past
patterns Jayden has
developed with his friend Matt and introduces new conundrums as he
his friend's ulterior motives and the cost of their
he screws up and steals the wrong surfboard.
In the process of making
good on his promise to
Matt, Jayden discovers
that crime can be alluring: "His
heart raced, but damn, this was fun, like making the drop on a big
the blend of surf culture and suspense that evolve as Jayden rides unto
unfamiliar territory, fumbling criminal activity and work life and
havoc in his wake.
'Undertow' is a study in contrasts as it reveals a plot that also
of an old connection that emerges from the past. Ex-cop Reggie finds
drawn into a nefarious situation when his chance encounter with old
acquaintance Scotty leads to a strange job—to watch Scotty's wife, who
unwell since a surfing accident.
"Perhaps Reggie should
have known that it wouldn’t
go as planned.
And he should probably feel bad about what’s happened. But he doesn’t.
all. Because it’s impossible to believe that something that feels so
could possibly be wrong."
awry and tilts into uncharted territory as Reggie faces the failures of
past and a riptide of events that leads to yet another terrible result.
connecting crime scenes with the psyches and conundrums that disparate
personalities exhibit and face as they enter the treacherous territory
emotional connections and life adversity.
surfing and water themes combined with crime revelations will find The
Dark Waves of Winter
a compelling anthology where every short story reflects its own
lookout for crime anthologies of new voices that are powerfully
welcome The Dark Waves of Winter
their literary and mystery collections.
Return to Index
on the High Seas
$24.99 Hardcover/$14.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
Diamond on the High Seas is a nautical mystery that takes place aboard a cruise ship and sails through uncharted waters. It tells of protection service owner Hope Diamond's charge to embark on a cruise to protect her husband's cousin from an assassin. But that's only the tip of the iceberg when murders (plural intended) enter the picture despite her best efforts.
tongue-in-cheek choice of naming the main character 'Hope Diamond' to
already-complex dilemma of ending her relationship with FBI Agent Matt Dennison (who also happens
to wind up on the same cruise), Karen
Gilleland cultivates an atmosphere of odd circumstance, interconnected
and irony that adds an undercurrent of emotional suspense to the story.
traitor begin an odd dance, Hope finds herself in the middle of danger
ship, mired in a business she loves more than Matt. Or, does she?
characters interact with Hope and Matt to add their own special
secrets into the growing complex mix of intrigue.
crafts a story that moves between personal and professional adversity
changing target that operates in a relatively closed environment of
cruise ship and emotional attachments.
her plot with the seasoning of emotional and moral change and adds more
dash of cruise ship culture and atmosphere that challenges each
fulfill their missions while listening to their hearts.
lead them into murky waters, Matt and Hope dance around the bigger
before it is fully exposed to introduce additional challenges into
The stormy atmosphere builds nicely, adopting a tension throughout that keeps readers engaged in the different threads of possibility that emerge from unexpected places aboard ship.
readers seeking mysteries steeped in realistic atmosphere,
special connections, and professional challenge will find Diamond
High Seas cultivates a special
brand of investigative insights that range from FBI approaches to a
service owner's increasing involvement in matters over her head, heart,
Return to Index
and Shamus Go Golden
Gay Toltl Kinman and Andrew McAleer, Editors
Down & Out Books
978-1643962788 $18.95 Paper/$7.99 ebook
and Shamus Go
Golden: Twelve Tales of Murder, Mystery, and Master Detection from the
Age of Mystery and Beyond compiles stories that reflect
murder mystery formulas, demonstrating that the classic puzzle,
questionable alibis from suspects remains as captivating to modern
readers as in the past.
contemporary examples of this draw takes
the Golden Age of Mystery's form and translates it to diverse tales
tribute to the classic detective form cultivated by Agatha Christie,
Hammett, and G.K. Chesterton. They demonstrate that the mystery genre
abandoned the roots of its golden heyday of detective writing, but has
carried its old form to new heights.
Golden Age flourished
between two world wars. It
produced classics that resonate today. Edgar
and Shamus Go Golden follows in its footsteps, infusing the
with contemporary flavors.
John McAleer's 'Case of
the Illustrious Banker', for
example. Unearthed some eight decades after its creation, this short
features the crime-fighting debut of 1920s London-based private
von Stray who, at the behest of Scotland Yard, investigates the
of a notorious banker. 'Illustrious Banker' is just one example of the
treasures unearthed and contrasted in this anthology.
collection opens with
'The Outsider' by Martin
Edwards. In its opening line, Darius Fortune protests that he is "not a detective." Indeed, he is an
American enigma who has arrived in London determined to solve possible
murder that keeps him up nights and in thrall to his investigative
and non-professional challenges to solve an impossible puzzle. Gwyn's
involvement in her beau's struggles places her in a unique position as
who participates in this
effort, a "scholar on sabbatical and a dabbler in criminology," is
well aware of his pursuit, failings, and her own limitations in the
Despite this, Gwyn is more than capable of not just participating in
efforts, but able to follow through with investigative approaches he
an old lady's death
involves Scotland Yard and tests
Gwyn's determination and investigative savvy, readers receive a story
steeped in a woman's viewpoint and ways of seeing the world.
contrast is Kristen
Lepionka's 'Saints or Harridans',
set in 1938 Los Angeles, where barkeep Nicky finds himself drawn into a
presented to him by former lover Annette Wexley, who left him to return
husband many years ago.
she's back ... and with
a "damn good bluff"
that involves Hollywood games, vixen manipulation, and a murder that
Nick in an unwelcome spotlight.
story is steeped in a
sense of place. Each considers
the mercurial roles of men and women placed in extraordinary
through chance and choice, and each excels in representing the
detective atmosphere replete in 1920s investigative fiction.
looking for throwback stories of
the past which feature contemporary authors and new perspectives on
will find delightful and compelling the diversity of dilemmas
illustrated in in
Edgar and Shamus Go Golden.
contributors all are
well published, with numerous
stories and novels to their names and reputations. They will expand
audiences through participation in this anthology. Going back in time
worth the effort in this sterling example of Golden Age approaches.
strong in the
mystery genre that look for
historical connections to past murder mystery approaches will find this
gathering an intriguing probe not only into the causes of death, but
of perps and investigative entities alike.
Return to Index
investigation that surrounds
waitress and part-time sleuth Mabel Davison in a cold case she'd
long put to bed. Mabel thought she'd set aside this quasi-profession.
working single mother of two young boys and guardian of her niece, she
than has her hands full without reawakening ghosts of past
past reaches out to haunt you. Such is the case that literally stumbles
her diner to threaten her family, dredging up ghosts of the past that
tear apart everything she's built and shake her future's foundations.
lost everything fighting for her community and family. Now she stands
cusp of further changes and challenges, delving into lies and carefully
truths to find a serial killer lies at the heart of controversy.
Trevor Wiltzen injects social issues into the confrontations Mabel faces with family, friends, and those who operate in murky territory. A Christian mother confronts a hero's confession that he is gay, hurling accusations at Mabel when she tries to defend him: “How dare you talk to me! You did this! You! No wonder the town hates you! You and all your ungodly ways. Living alone in sin without a husband! Raising two feral boys!"
between characters and confrontations blossom, it turns out the killer
likely someone she knows) is just one of the many challenges she faces
world where friends are dropping like flies and adversity is everywhere.
Mabel's life will find that Trevor Wiltzen does an excellent job of
her past experiences to ease their entry into her latest case.
and community milieu are nicely developed and realistic, contrasting
home life with her proclivity for getting into trouble and identifying
who hide under the guise of ordinary individuals and lives.
protect others contrasts nicely with the illusions she fosters about
her and the realities a serial killer introduces through actions that
increasingly too close to home.
humor runs through Mabel's perceptions and responses, adding further
this story of life's ironies and realities.
result is a
haunting tale that leads Mabel to more closely examine her past. It
prompts readers to follow her into the process of assumptions and
their beliefs about systemic racism, good and bad decision-making
and wisdom gained from realizing that layers of good and evil lie
surface of what seems to be a safe haven.
readers seeking stories that blend an amateur investigator's efforts
growing insights about her community of choice will find the issues and
relationships presented in Haunting Pasts
intriguing. It will also attract interest and discussion from book
look for mysteries engrained in the affairs of killers, investigators,
social questions that challenge communities in flux.
Return to Index
Catherine Coulter, Editor
ASIN: B0BLR9KYD2 $9.99 ebook
Infinity: A Suspense Magazine Anthology features a host of notable writers, from Susan Wingate and Tosca Lee to E.J. Howe, and provides an adventure-oriented thriller collection that excels in the unexpected.
usually don't receive laugh-out-loud moments. Nor does the genre
embrace a broad spectrum of age ranges in its protagonists, or
laced with the bite of irony and unusually poetic inspections.
more support a diverse selection that travels time, space, and the
to pick out those gems that truly stand out from the crowd.
J.T. Ellison's “Louche 49," for one
example. 1985 Paris
comes to life through the eyes of assassin Annalise, whose latest
"easy" assignment has gone very, very wrong. The outcome of her failure
is outlined from the start:
"The woman with the
blue suede shoes will sit
at table ten. If she orders the tartare, the job is done. If she orders
sole, something went wrong. Do not order the sole. Those
were the final
words before the call had been terminated and she was sure she’d never,
have to debase herself by admitting defeat. Do
not fail. She has no idea that, were she to order the
it will come with a lethal dose of poison in the tender white flesh.
patrons of the restaurant will assume she’s choked on a sliver of bone,
waiter who deboned the fish tableside summarily dismissed, and the body
to a field near the Bois de Boulogne for a discreet burial."
A lie will
time while she seeks to fulfill her mission. The progression from Paris
modern-day Nashville represents a sea change in perspective as readers
seamlessly shift into another reality which holds unexpected
twist of tale lies in Kelley Armstrong's "The Joy of Wrong Numbers."
Here, a grandma recovering from a heart attack in a hospital stumbles
joy of wrong numbers when a mishap results in the unexpected.
to inject fun into a thought-provoking story is only one of the
here: "How does one go from “Whoops,
wrong number” to a recipe exchange? Well, first, one needs to be my
to a lifestyle change. In Gran's case, it certainly does, as daughter
finds that the wrong number pursuit may result in the right thing for
In a genre replete with formula writing and often-predictable results,
refreshing to find a gem of unpredictability and diversity. Such is Infinity.
short story thriller collections that stand out from the ordinary with
who each craft very different visions of suspense, horror, and the
of thriller and life endeavors will find much to relish in Infinity, which should be held up as an
example of truly creative thriller
Return to Index
Fire Hornet Codex/DRPZ Publishing
ASIN: B0BM4G3CTM $9.99 ebook
The Logos Prophecy
is the first book in
the Fall of Ancients
series, and provides a thriller rooted in metaphysical intrigue and
the death of Cambodian villagers by the Khmer Rouge each time they come
for the American soldier who deserted his post during the war. Young
observes him, and somehow escapes the Khmer Rouge's attention just as
soldier also manages to evade their every visit. She also notes his odd
and comes to realize that the impact of war is not the only thing
lives around her.
symbol entwines her world with that of conspiracy theorist Ary Long and
scientist Jordan Burke, a world-hopping exploration of discovery
connects disparate cultures and special interests alike.
tension unfold, the tale grows to embrace comet impacts, direct
the Aryans, the efforts of ancient peoples to remake the world in their
image when opportunity strikes from above, and the legacy they leave
their rewrite of history.
weaves intrigue, metaphysical, scientific, and social issues into a mix
brings to mind The Celestine Prophecy's
power and allure—but in a manner that brings history and mystery to the
forefront of this tale of an underlying powerful group that has long
secretly dictated the course of humanity.
such power? Part of it is metaphysical and part is because of "Corrupt humans, who desire only power
and wealth. But they too were fooled. Their greed made them susceptible
As Ary and
find themselves immersed in a troubling puzzle, their eyes are opened
to a form
of human history never exposed before. It's powered by two groups (the
and the Aryans) that would either destroy or preserve Logos and its
captivating story that traverses nations, history, and individuals with
hand towards intrigue and revelation.
captivating blends of history, mystery, thriller, and scientific
find The Logos Prophecy a fine
that blends an Indiana Jones-type series of discoveries and adventures
draw of a metaphysical mystery that delves into human intentions and
in The Celestine Prophecy and
spiritual adventures will find the action and thought-provoking,
suspense-throbbing discoveries in The Logos
Prophecy hard to put down.
Return to Index
Indies United Publishing
Kindle $3.99, Paperback $16.99, Hardcover $26.99, Audiobook $15.99
Salt Island is
the second book in the
E&A Investigation Series.
It follows former CIA operative-turned-private-P.I. Mari Ellwyn's
into a CEO's blackmailing and the witness determined to bring his
to public and legal attention.
partner, Derek Abernathy, is thrown into her complex world as
deaths take an even more dangerous turn for them both, placing them in
crosshairs of a conflict that evolves beyond a singular case to embrace
facets of wrongdoing and threat.
surface, Salt Island may be labeled
a work of
suspense and intrigue. Scratch that appearance to find it's fraught
of satisfying complexity that drags moral and ethical conundrums into
storm is captured in a surprising prologue that opens not with
the image of a surreal place of safety powered by a gently rocking
peace is suddenly shaken by a body in the water that changes everything.
narrator's father was a spy before he went missing, and so the corpse
introduces both a mystery and a flashback to possibilities the
would rather not think about. Especially since this former officer of
should not have been in the area in the first place. The situation is
complicated by the question of whether her boat and discovery lie in US
Towles takes off on a globe-hopping journey of discovery which probes
international waters and past and present events alike.
news, assertions and rebuttals in the legal arena, and deadly purposes
in the course of Ellwyn and Abernathy's venture into unknown waters and
unfamiliar territory. From chemical dumping and toxic relationships to
secrets and discoveries that rock Mari's personal life as well as her
professional acuity, readers are treated to changing subplots and
that lend a dance of danger to the story.
adept at entwining personal and political circumstances in such a way
readers are kept guessing about outcomes. Who is the perp and who the
and what entangled relationships keep circling back to a missing
receive a far more complex story that many; yet it's one which is
planted in the personalities and lives of not just perps, but their
each partner is charged with reconsidering not just their involvements
lives, but each other: “That’s an
unthinkable betrayal! How could you do this?” I asked, realizing that
about this on our call just now and he hadn’t mentioned it. My anger
though, and he knew that. He was protecting me. That’s what partners
Salt Island is a
gripping suspense story
that reveals many
unexpected connections, yet takes the time to inject a sense of place
sense of purpose, creating a "you are here" experience no matter
where the partners are in the world: "We
sat there for thirty minutes, sheltered by the wind in the protected
of Santa Monica Pier on a grungy table eating the most delicious
from my favorite taqueria, while I told him the story – at least part
Salt Island both
enhances and expands
Ellwyn's world from her prior
appearance in Hot House, standing
nicely alone as a riveting work of espionage, wrongdoing, and
will attract and grab the attentions of those interested in stories as
about uncovering personal secrets as in crime-busting efforts.
exceptional thriller reads powered by the passion and purpose of
revelations that continue to the story's concluding lines will find Salt Island more than worthy of
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Nik Xandir Wolf
Kelp Books, LLC
$22.00 Hardcover/$14.95 Paper/$2.99 ebook
recommend a suspense crime story to readers who also enjoy surfing
Shadow Valley neatly fills both with
its special flavor of intrigue which journeys from Panama to the
counterculture communes of Santa Cruz, California; then back into the
waters of romance, family angst, and death.
Xandir Wolf moves
through these shifting worlds so deftly that readers can't help but
walk in the
two characters' shoes as they navigate their blossoming relationship,
events that land them on the run (as well as on a search for the truth
Heath's past), and perilous truths about family connections which are
chapter explores Heath's early roots and family, which represent
ties to a world Heath should ideally never know:
"As a hired killer who
never knew his
own father, Hector had hardened himself against love and all of its
Then, in his mid thirties, he met this girl, Lindsay, and she cracked
shell wide open. And then they had their son, Heath. And it was as
Hector’s entire understanding of the universe had been violently ripped
This girl and this boy left an imprint on his soul so deep, and so
Hector was transformed."
about couples don't include the special brand of tension that is
cultivated in Shadow Valley. Under
Wolf's hand, both
relationship and political and social challenges come to light in a
dance with death that keeps Heath and Rori in the crosshairs of
through Heath's first-person experiences, readers absorb Rori's
the duo must face adversity together at all odds (and costs): “We need to stick together. Forever.”
an underworld of intrigue and crime, how do you escape? That is the
Rori and Heath face, which is perhaps more important than their search
family roots or truth. It's also the question that will keep readers
as the dynamic duo moves ever deeper into a quicksand that threatens to
them in and tear them apart.
readers seeking vivid suspense stories that are fast-paced and
connected between characters and readers will find Shadow
Valley outstanding for its vivid action, sense of place, and
evolving sense of purpose as Heath and Rori struggle with themselves,
and forces that would change their lives. Shadow
Valley features many surprising twists that readers will
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Nancy J. Cohen
Orange Grove Press
978-1-952886-25-6 $14.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Star Tangled Murder is the eighteenth book in the Bad Hair Days
cozy mystery series—but that doesn't mean that newcomers need pursue
17 books in order to start with and thoroughly enjoy this latest
4th of July
holiday has led hairdresser Marla Vail and her detective husband Dalton
to visit a historical village in Florida, where they plan on steeping
themselves in American history ... until a simulated battle becomes too
body is left on the battlegrounds, raising the investigative hackles of
ensues is a romp through American and
Seminole Indian history in a probe that takes place on domestic soil,
ventures into foreign territory with another hair-raising tale.
folk die via tomahawk? Which cast member in this insidious play took
step into becoming a murderer, changing the plot of an entire village's
hairdresser's precision for employing effective cuts, Marla joins her
in the probe, only to find that they are not confronting one suspect,
murky undercurrents and secrets of an entire village.
intention from strangers in a world she barely knows, Marla's
for trouble uncovers too many possibilities in even the most casual of
encounters: "Was Uriah passing on a
friendly warning, or did this threat come from him directly? She
ascertain his purpose and tossed out another query to test him."
astute as the
methodology is between husband and wife, which contrast according to
skill sets, is the character-building and community-revealing force
Cohen employs. History and mystery entangle in unusual manners as the
unfolds, revealing a series of lies and possibilities that become even
convoluted and puzzling as Marla and Dalton delve deeper. As the
more murders evolve, the duo finds themselves ever more twisted in a
that leads Marla to consider when to obey her more savvy husband's
edicts and instincts and when to embark on her own course of action.
delightful in its progressive unfolding of facts and fancies, cemented
characters that encounter a strange twist on American history and
pursue these links
to their surprising conclusions.
seeking cozy mysteries replete in psychological strength and American
drama will find Star Tangled Murder
compelling portrait of a historical reenactment gone awry.
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Elliott D. Light
Savage wasn't thinking
of murder when he set out to
photograph the gorgeous but deadly lionfish underwater. And yet, a
body drifts into his line of sight, forcing him to move from the beauty
invasive species in the Florida Gulf to the deadly possibilities of
first instinct is to
pass on the unexpected opportunity
to investigate another murder. He's in the middle of an alternate world
another case literally drifts by. But, some things in life, you simply
drifted past me and the sun
returned. I didn’t want to go to her, to see what I knew were the
remains of a once-living human being. I had seen ravaged bodies up
dreaded the idea of seeing hers. I wanted her to leave. I wanted her to
disappear. If I just waited a few minutes, she would be out of my
sight, a speck
in the vast Gulf waters. A voice pleaded with me to let her go, but
being repulsed by the mutilation of her face, I simply couldn’t leave
the whims of the wind and tide. She deserved better."
so Jake moves his
readers from an underwater photo
shoot and concern about ecosystem invasion to a different kind of
heart and soul which pulls him into a new pursuit of the truth.
search for answers
leads him into unexpected new
territory, including race relations issues that arise from even a man
who confronts him when he searches for truth on the doorstep of faith: "Couple
of white girls get in a bind, and the two of you come here for help.
and brown girls go missing, no one thinks twice about them. I don’t
girls any harm, but what happens to them isn’t my problem.” The harsh
from a supposed man of the cloth stunned me.
the story evolves, it
turns out that Jake has come to
Key West in pursuit of more than one ideal. His dream job of tracking
populations and playing with software has already been challenged by a
suffered by his foster mother Ethy, who raised him, but always reminded
wasn't really hers.
with caring for
Ethy, Tess Simpson also proves an
unexpected adjunct to Jake's life as he juggles his obligations, a new
and possibilities in murder and young runaways that bring social issues
doorstep: “What? You thought she’d see you as heroes coming
to save her? You
see a girl who ran away from home who can be saved with hugs and sweet
Alicia didn’t just run away. She was discarded. People like you saw her
street and looked the other way.”
D. Light builds a
compelling story based on these
issues as much as the murder scenario and Jake's own life challenges.
ability to juxtapose the lives of disparate individuals who become part
complex puzzle of Megan's death and Alicia's disappearance brings many
confrontations to the table as social issues and racial concerns
these elements make Throwaways
more than just
another whodunit, but a social probe that places Jake in the center of
maelstrom of controversy, leading him into a personal confrontation
murders in his own past history.
seeking a multifaceted story that
moves both outwards to embrace a community and internally to unravel
puzzles affecting Jake's past and present will find Throwaways
thoroughly absorbing. It's powered by realistic characters whose
truths against all odds lead them in unexpected directions that readers
Return to Index
979-8-9867452-4-4 $17.99 Paper/$7.49 Kindle/ebook
The Typhon Affair
agent Mac Sisco and his Team
Apogee to center stage in the second book of a thriller trilogy that
Mac's ongoing efforts to save the world.
Director of the National Security Agency, Admiral James Clausen,
signal that Mac's prior efforts have not fully thwarted the bid for
domination, causing him to recall the team and send them on another
globe-trotting series of confrontations.
the nonstop action of events with time and attention to detail that
the physical and psychological profiles of Mac and those around him: "Sisco was a fit thirty-five year old
who at six feet one and 180 pounds looked more like a young real estate
from Texas than a lethal weapon. His standard attire was jeans, a polo
his favorite custom full quill Ostrich boots and occasionally a Larry
to top off the effect."
presence that melds nicely with psychological strengths, Mac is a
figure that comes alive in the reader's mind. But, perhaps he's not
enough to stem the tide of takeover that forces from the first book, Apogee, continue to pursue in this
such as President Holbrook, also cultivate their own auras of
intellectual prowess, their words both reasoned and educated as they
a rapidly evolving threat to world order. Holbrook's language is as
his approach to juggling world politics:
solemnly, “of course we must
them. But we would be premature to do that yet, since we are still
Any leaks could cause a worldwide panic, which would be catastrophic
exacerbate the already combustible environment.”
exhibits the potential for worldwide disruption and mass terrorism on a
never seen before, Mac and his team are tasked with the seeming
confront an enemy who seems to be everywhere, and yet nowhere.
dovetail political cat-and-mouse games with social inspection lends a
tone and attraction to The Typhon Affair
that places this thriller on par with the best of established genre
situation from which there may be "no defense or recovery," the fate
of not just the world order but humanity itself literally rests on
shoulders. If his mission should fail, the world goes with it.
not get any better than this. Libraries and readers seeking an
story packed with unexpected twists and turns, strong characterization,
astute social and political inspections will find The
Typhon Affair a winning acquisition and read.
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$27.99 Hardcover/$17.99 Paper/$6.99 ebook
Velma Gone Awry
is a mystery set in
Brooklyn during the Roaring
20s. It follows a middle-aged Hungarian P.I., 8 Ballo, who enjoys a
simple and satisfying life until he's hired to locate the missing
Fritz Hartmann, a wealthy German businessman.
out of his comfort zone as 8 delves into the life of Velma, a
twenty-five-year-old woman who at first seems more than capable of
of herself. Velma considered herself a flapper. The fact that she's
missing three days and there's no ransom demand is puzzling, indicating
that there may be more at stake than a simple abduction for money
As 8 moves
in and out
of her life and his own fugue states, readers learn that both
not what they initially seem. Each harbors dreams and takes actions
not always supportive to their goals.
awakened in 8 a renewed passion: "It
must be Velma who’d thrown him back into disturbing fantasies of being
Once again, in real life this time, he’d been tasked with saving the
didn’t mean to fail."
anticipate the blend of historical and social inspection of the times
permeates Velma Gone Awry, but this
strength is just one of the pleasing surprises of the vivid story:
"8 had fought alongside
just about every ethnicity
during the Great War, and he’d mostly found that backbone and integrity
have much to do with the color of skin or who your parents were. While
Black and white units were segregated, that didn’t always last when on
As 8 moves
impossible, challenging scenarios, his feelings about his moves
themes embedded in the overall story: "He
didn’t realize where he was going until he was almost there."
readers, too, won't realize the outcome until they are nearly there
makes Velma Gone Awry a powerful
intrigue, redemption, and discovery that comes full circle from Velma's
circumstances to her family's history.
full-bodied mysteries that display equally captivating elements of
and social intrigue will find Velma Gone
Awry just the ticket for a more literary and complex
inspection than a
simple whodunit alone.
Return to Index
Creative James Media
978-1-956183-58-0 $16.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Among the Fallen
focuses on a sleepy
Appalachian village, but
doesn't open with the ordinary world. Instead, it introduces a milieu
portents of change between the Two Worlds charge Wendl with introducing
(aka Abigail Trammel) back to the Stream from the world of the Fallen.
realize that the Fallen's world is our own familiar one. Abigail is no
chicken. Well into her elder years, Abigail prides herself in
abilities her peers have not.
just the new renter in town—or so she thinks. Why is a visitor coming
off-season and unannounced? It's none of her business, Abigail
turns out to be entirely her concern, because the visitor lies at the
an edict to change worlds and her own future via the challenges Wendl
introduces to Abigail's set life.
and puzzles mount, readers will find this story a special blend of
realism, murder mystery, and a tale of evil, redemption, and other
come to center on one small town and an aging woman who holds
answers to odd circumstances and questions.
are the gods. More inscrutable, even than dragons."
keys to a
special kind of kingdom, will Abigail use them?
mystery, literary reflection, magical realism, and discoveries with
community culture in a manner that lends to the book's enjoyment by
novel readers alike.
Its magic is
in two worlds, its characters operate on the edges of both, and its
psychological tension develop many surprises in the course of events
all kinds of people into a transformative encounter.
will find Among the Fallen easily
patrons interested in mystery, magical realism, fantasy, and small town
forces alike, creating a bridge between fantasy and fiction that, like
characters, operates equally powerfully in two genre worlds.
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Ryan A. Kovacs
ASIN: B0BRNW1JY7 $7.49 ebook
adopts an unusual
format in presenting a novel
in verse. It's centered around a crazy doctor hell-bent on harnessing
psychic abilities of a 12-year-old for his own nefarious intentions.
component of the story may thwart the typical novel readers looking for
thrillers in the usual prose format, Ryan A. Kovacs successfully
compelling draw both in plot and form which will appeal to more
readers interested in epic dramas.
explaining destruction as the power of "...the
undeniable action/that man chooses—/the very thing he creates" assumes
a vivid set of descriptors that follow the bad doctor into moral,
uncharted territory via the perspective of young Thomas, who
participates in a
As the major
representing the doctor's vision, Thomas harbors his own personality,
and struggles. These carry him into revelations about his own evolving
abilities and their direction: "My
mother always told me that/we say more with our bodies than with our
nothing could be truer about the mad doctor/and I suppose/nothing could
truer about me …"
might find the verse structure a struggle will be surprised at how
Kovacs draws readers into Thomas's perspective, experiences, and
of purpose under the doctor's hand and his own evolutionary process.
The verse reinforces
the specter of an ambitious, thought-provoking inspection of
choice, exploitation, and the talents utilized by a boy who comes to
is being employed as a weapon. Passages prove thought-provoking and
than if they had been rendered in prose, neatly drawing readers into
dilemmas: “Nothing matters because we
have lost the meaning of life./Until we understand that once again/we
ever moving backwards in time.”
powerful story that combines the experimental creativeness of
the draw of a thriller and the power of fiction to produce an
revealing story that should attract a wide audience.
Destruction will be profiled not
just for its unusual form of a novel in verse, but for the embedded
psychological and philosophical discoveries that bring Thomas and his
questionable abilities and guidance to life.
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Prey opens with a
seemingly-ordinary morning in
the commonplace world of Maddy. She's embarking on the second phase of
life, which includes exercise. But something has gone awry in the
because her friend Jazz has become immersed in a new church that mutual
Jacques believes has all the makings of a cult. The three friends are
immune to its draw, either, as events prove.
As Maddy, Jacques, and
Jazz find their lives
entwined and changed in unexpected ways, they build both resistance to
connections with the cult and each other that challenge their
cults and religious fervor:
cult play games with my livelihood? How can people who claim to be
work, do so many hateful things to others? This is about the zealots’
for power and control,” Jacques railed.
The cult targets the
three friends in
different ways, and as its methods and purposes emerge, readers receive
thought-provoking discourse not just on cult attractions, but how New
Hope actually represents a growing tide of repression and fascism in
The underlying social
commentary is presented through the changing experiences and
perceptions of the
three friends, who find themselves in an unexpected struggle internally
externally at a time in their lives when they should be relaxing and
Mary Longley is skilled
at contrasting the
changing lives and perceptions of each character. Maddy faces
challenges to her
university job and her future, Jazz finds herself drawn ever deeper
spiritual conundrum, and Jacques explores the angles and oddness of
which increasingly indicate that the population around him is being
the cult by nefarious means.
observation captures the
changing atmosphere of this engrossing story in a nutshell: “I
like a broken record, but this whole thing is Get Out meets Invasion of
Body Snatchers,” said Jacques."
The result is a
rollicking ride through
changing belief systems, organized underworld activities, and the
a police state that replaces freedom with fear.
these, for modern times;
making Cult’s Prey an attraction not just for
leisure readers, but
discussion groups looking to open dialogues about cults, followers, and
of cult conversion that fly under the radar until they are too apparent
denied ... and too strong to resist.
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is a work of fictional
erotica that explores a
middle-aged divorced woman's sexual reawakening. It is a recommended
women interested in how the challenges of separation and upcoming
new doors for a woman whose life has been relatively staid.
realizes she is probably too old for many men. Men and her children
the focus of her youthful years, but "Now
most men wouldn’t want her, and her children didn’t need her. She
her job marketing textbooks was going to compensate for this."
expect the wry undertone of humor that accompanies Cybill's
this is just one of the facets that make the story compelling and
as she spreads her sexual wings and flies into uncharted territory.
edgy material both sexually and socially as Cybill encounters a variety
lovers that bring with them social inspections that are as candid and
as the sexual approaches they introduce.
"goy-toy" Quinn, for whom she wears a Star of David necklace that
makes her feel "... as mischievous
and saucy as if she was wearing a red lace garter belt under a long
skirt" to Lucas, who seems to demand that she put her life in
during a snowstorm to fulfill her obligations to him, Cybill finds
taking flight in a variety of situations that test her sexual and
women) who enjoy candid stories of risk, transformation, exploration,
social inspection will find Cybill
Unbound fun, intriguing, titillating, and thought-provoking
in its contrast
between disparate lovers and characters who each exhibit different
survival instincts that work in different milieus, from online to in
fiction that traverses erotic and psychological growth much in the way
Jong did in her Fear of Flying will
find this journey of a middle-aged woman a satisfying contrast in
from a different vantage point.
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of the Shadows
Black Rose Writing
978-1-68513-167-8 $22.95 Paper/$6.99 ebook
Shadows is the second book in the Defying the Crown series
and opens in
1667 Quebec, where secret Protestant Isabelle spies on her Catholic
the surface, she is "A supportive
soldier’s wife and a Daughter of the
King. But these guises are nothing more than a front that hides the
my Protestant heart."
opens a fiery
first-person story that captures the
clash between belief and political systems and social forces set to
asunder the fabric of a Catholic-dominated world.
Chaput's ability to
inject passion and description
from the perspective of a woman whose life has thus far been a story of
betraying her people, leaving them to perish in France while she made
escape to a new life, is the beating heart of a novel that is
vivid work steeped in not just French history, but romance and
growing lies to
support her efforts bring her
in increasing conflict with her heart. Those around her, who are wiser,
her there is more at stake than guilt or personal atonement for one's
transgressions: “The question, Isabelle,
is not what you have done wrong, but what you will do with this
finds herself in
many conflicted circumstances,
learning how to survive an Iroquois raid, handle church gossip, and
secrets that could ruin everyone at court (including the king), and
herself navigating a thin line between treachery and conviction. When
loyalty and power emerge, Isabelle must make decisions that change not
life and those she loves, but people who struggle and chafe against the
and power of their kingdoms.
Antoinette to the Huguenots come
to life in a way that both educates and entrances.
passions and purposes of
not just religious conviction
and political ambition, but a strong woman who is at once a wife and a
to her heart, come to life in a story that grippingly recreates the
requiring a minimum of historical background knowledge from its
will find that the
only prerequisite to
complete enjoyment of this novel is a light interest in history and a
interest in fictional stories that embrace romance and action to the
Readers who choose Daughter of the
Shadows for these possibilities will find the story
captivating, hard to
put down, and written in a manner that both supports its predecessor
requires no prior familiarity from newcomers in order to prove
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David Wesley Williams
Everybody Knows is a satirical novel that blends Biblical
allusions with political and social commentary about modern times. It
with the atmosphere of a rainy period in small town Tennessee that is a
microcosm of a world under siege.
don't normally enjoy Biblical references will find delightful the
approach David Wesley Williams cultivates in building this world:
"It was dusk on a
Sunday, some ten
years after the year the world didn’t end. It was early that summer in
called Lower Grace, in the west of Tennessee, in
the great nation under God, and under water—or up in flames, all
No cranny of the country was safe, no crook or bend. The West was burning up. In the Midwest there were dust storms like something out of Deuteronomy. Elsewhere were tornadoes and hurricanes and epic electrical storms; government weather radar, just before it went down, recorded a single lightning bolt that stretched from Kennebunkport, Maine, to Paducah, Kentucky. There were sinkholes, spontaneous combustions, plagues of insects—winged fuckers the size of Piper Comanches."
"high lonesome sound" of banjos and musicians to the process of
facing the coming storm by tempting fate, the political and social
the South comes to life in a compelling narrative marked by literary
passages steeped in Tennessee culture: "And
the Tennessee deck, the pleasure deck, did thrum with dancing and
carousal and every kind of country music there was; some of it was even
romp through this environment, there are mistresses and politicians;
and escaped felons; the advantage of hindsight (the novel is set in the
future) paired with the irony of a world in which current tragedy is
guiding light to what the future holds; and a sense of post-apocalyptic
struggle that embraces the lives of disparate character almost as an
afterthought to the tragedies that mark their days.
what's coming, but the band plays on.
language permeates an elusive dance between parody and reality, Everybody Knows becomes a welcome beacon
of promise and possibility even as its unusual characters face climate
and political challenges to Southern tradition. The crazy,
choppy seas of life carry characters and readers onto the shores of
posthumous notes of a dying America are played.
readers looking for evocative literary works replete in social
ironic observation will relish the linguistic lure of Everybody
Knows, which cultivates a wild roller coaster ride
through the lives of seafarer and survivor Trimble, convicted murderer
and others under siege in a crumbling South.
Return to Index
Give My Regards to
Nowhere: A Director’s
Polarity Ensemble Books
$16.95 Paper/$6.99 ebook/ Audiobook TBA
My Regards to
Nowhere: A Director’s Tale sounds like a memoir, but it's a
comic tale of
love, backstage operations, and the challenges faced by Chicago theatre
director Dwayne Finnegan when his big ideas to raise a small production
lofty fame result in lost funding.
artistic vision and undaunted by the lack of money, Dwayne enters a
existential and artistic magnitude that challenges his relationships,
and "inner Zen."
But, not his
his dream against all odds, Dwayne pulls others into his idea, crafting
scenario that Shakespeare never saw coming.
paints a realistic backdrop of theatre drama, backstage confrontations,
host of special interests that affect Dwayne's dream and his ability to
has at home with Angela hold humor as they evolve in ironic ways:
“Anybody can make a
mistake,” Dwayne said. “I’ll
call them. I’ll see if
I can get the penalty expressed.”
“Expunged, Dwayne. Expunged. I don’t know what the hell will happen if you ask to get the penalty expressed. Maybe then it’ll be a hundred dollars.”
At the heart
story lies serious acting challenges and the aspirations of a disparate
characters who all see their livelihoods and dreams going down the
who work (sometimes at odds) to rise to the occasion and meet the new
determination empowers not only himself, but his ragtag cast of
dreams: "They could actually be
brilliant. If only. Holy Jesus, savior of stumbling humanity and lost
bless this show."
through the underbelly of the acting world and the determination of a
sees this world fall apart and come back together in a new way as the
on will attract anyone interested in drama, theater, Chicago backdrops,
drive to succeed against all odds ... however impossible they may seem.
humorous stories about moving forward that hold thought-provoking
struggles and kindnesses will find Give My Regards to Nowhere an inviting novel of perseverance and
artistic pursuits that ultimately teaches how to "be alive in the
Return to Index
$24.99 Hardcover/$14.99 Paperback/$7.99 ebook
His Lying Got Me Funny
is a humorous,
fictional account of growing up
in a "...crazy but super-loving, overly hugging, and touchy
Iyer family" steeped in the culture of South India. Tia's ambition
her to a new life in America, but her cultural ties send her back home
man of her dreams that she was dating before she left.
America and they marry; but though you can bring someone into another
that doesn't mean you can change him. So Tia finds as she discovers her
is actually a compulsive liar whose dishonesty has crafted an illusion
in love with.
extent of his lies in two countries and faces both legal repercussions
renewed effort to find the man she thought she loved, she faces
the challenges of being friends with Sameer; and the impact of his
and approach to life on her own ideals and experiences.
blends cultural inspection, social issues, and humor into Tia's story
navigates two very different worlds, as well as the disparate
viewpoints of men
fun thread for the story, whether it's about Tia participating in a
with her skirt over her head, hanging upside down and prompted to
assigned role as a gunner in a game; or Tia's ongoing confrontation
impact Sameer's lies have not only on her, but those around her.
thought-provoking, and culturally insightful, His
Lying Got Me Funny is a fictional romp through a modern
girl's trials and tribulations. It incorporates a fun sense of
with the disappointments and enlightenment that run side by side in her
with female characters who are proactive, talented, and yet firmly tied
their cultural roots will find His Lying
Got Me Funny an intriguing inspection of relationships,
emotional ties that brings to life not only Tia, but her family,
Return to Index
$17.99 Hardcover and large print/$11.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook; Audiobook TBA
Other Worlds Were
is a fictional work of political and social
commentary. It features the parable of a happy, ideal community
"aliens" in their midst who defy the community's approach to living
with the earth, promoting its exploitation, instead.
That's because the story of Sunny and his clan's confrontation with
themselves mirrors the microcosm of forces that clash in their views of
impact on the planet and the methods of managing it.
teaches by example as it moves from a hunter/gatherer society to
impact of those who live not with the land, but to "utilize" it.
These awaken some uncomfortable (but essential) truths that need to be
acknowledged and considered by readers who would assess the urges to
illusions and realities open this story to draw readers into Sunny's
his clan's history.
of generosity, gratitude, and change receive the added touch of
messages about everything from kinship to abundance:
"As Crow moved into his
could be no doubting the matter. He was the most successful hunter
recall. Thanks to Crow, everyone was able to eat meat for both lunch and dinner. But his peers no longer rubbed their bellies, to show their
appreciation. They hugged their
bellies, to comfort themselves from the stomach pains this meat
as Serenity and Delight become examples of irony as the clan grows,
and finds itself equally alien, in comparison to its roots.
masterfully depicts this transformation process and the methods by
clan moves away from its initial origins to confront strange and
who "...really were a threat. They
were not content with conquering the living. They wished to conquer the
They were not just waging war on their people,
but on their land; on Mother
unfolds, the clans-folk experience confusing and distressing grief that
to philosophical and psychological inspection on a level they never
before. Sheldon considers both group decisions and individual rituals
course of exploring the clan's confrontations both within and outside
readers seeking political fables, wry social examinations, and a story
transformation that comments on the history and specter of imperialist
will find plenty of discussion points suitable for book club and
group debates in the cutting edge that is Other
Worlds Were Possible.
Return to Index
J. Wynn Rousuck
978-1-61088- 603-1 $22.95
is a novel that uses letters to build
its characters. It opens with a letter by Winslow that tells his
about the unwelcome addition of a puppy to the previously-one-dog
Winslow, wife Pamela, and husband Frank.
with a letter back ... to the
new family member she has named "Zippy," for its proclivity for
dashing around the house.
Winslow's life with Zippy
evolves, readers receive a
warm story that reaches out to embrace not only a lost dog's new home,
family that needs him—whether they know it or not.
correspondence lends an
intriguing element to the
story not only because it comes from a grandmother's distant
family relationships and interactions, but because it's largely written
canine. And yet, the principles, lives, and underlying influences on
family come to life through this unusual observational process from one
outsider to another: "Pamela and Frank are expecting a baby.
A baby is
a kind of people puppy, although a baby takes much longer to grow up
puppy does. The period between being a people puppy and being a
called childhood, and this will be a really fun time for you."
the story and lives
evolve to embrace topics ranging
from codependency to family therapy, presenting challenges that test
ability to communicate and relate to one another, readers find the view
evolutionary process benefits from the perspectives of different family
who offer disparate views of what is happening.
Wynn Rousuck's unusual
letter-writing approach to
following this family's evolutionary process lends a personal touch
observation with insights on different forms of therapy and recovery.
a tone of revelation to family connections which come to life under
forms of examination.
result is a novel that
will appeal to libraries and
readers interested in stories that cultivate unusual approaches to
dynamics. Please Write represents a different spin
relationships, moving through life changes with the call and response
and human observers who prove to be unexpected major players in a
Return to Index
River of Crows
River of Crows demonstrates that
the impact of a child's
disappearance never goes
away. Also vanished is the family structure and support system that
under the pressure of a mystery that affects everyone.
went fishing with their father and never returned. Her emotionally
unpredictable Vietnam vet father, the suspect in his son's
arrested and charged with murder. Her mother, torn by these events, has
Sloan herself is in the middle of a divorce and still struggles with
question of what really happened to her brother and her family.
Her decision to return
to the scene of the
possible crime, Crow's Nest Creek, leads to a strange encounter with a
That, together with the bizarre appearance of the body of
leads Sloan into an effort to uncover the truth ... even if it kills
crafts a thought-provoking story of revelation, family ties, discovery,
murder. She injects nuggets of wisdom into the tale from the start,
with revelations about life, optimism, and adversity: "No
unraveled by pulling a single thread. Just like no family is. Sloan
that all too well."
up to its
initial promise, A River of Crows pulls on many
disparate threads of
experience and possibility that then take unusual turns. As the plot to
a family thickens, a cast of characters participate in events that lead
an inevitable outcome and an unusual twist on predictability. This
keeps readers thoroughly engrossed in the psychological dynamics of
into a trial that tests love and survival abilities alike, Sloan finds
courage to not only discover what really happened, but revise her
family, friends, and forgiveness.
choose A River of Crows for its mystery will find
an unexpected draw and
value in the emotional components which keep the plot action-packed and
choose A River of Crows for their collections will
find it lends
particularly well to book club discussions about family ties and how to
and recover from the ashes of devastating loss.
Return to Index
Sanctuaries is a
powerful story of
adoption, family connections,
and being a disparate enigma in a world where relationships and
are not part of the usual family discussion.
unvoiced conversations and the sense of "not being real" do more than
permeate young Gianni's life. They influence what kinds of
will develop in the future, and how they will play out.
middle-aged Jewish-Italian Holocaust survivor) would seem an unlikely
for a young boy's attraction, but they share an affection for classic
that introduces them to other worlds—and each other.
connection lies in Gianni's embrace of Gabriel, an African-American
who takes him under his wing when nineteen-year-old Gianni stumbles
world of queer culture in an exploration of New York City's Christopher
"Saturday night on
Christopher Street, summer of
1969, resembled a
Hollywood studio lot where Westerns shared the set with the Ziegfeld
Men, some wearing Stetson hats and unbuttoned flannel shirts, or no
all, and drag queens in Dolly Parton wigs, eyed Gianni as if he were an
come to Sodom and they could smell the newbie on him."
is "pretty sure I'm gay." His exploration of his sexuality, the
choices in relationships which are driven by mutual recognition of
emotional currents, and his personal foray into making himself
"visible" in a world experiencing turbulence from the Vietnam War and
counter-culture rebellion creates a realistic tale that's hard to put
the events of the 60s, yet replete with explorations of self and the
unacknowledged feelings that ripple underneath the surface of
concepts of right and wrong, Sanctuaries
is a story of discovery, healing, and cultural collision as Gianni
'firsts' and more clearly begins to see how he fits in:
"There were drag queens
and drag kings. There were
feminists. There were men who seemed to hate 'nelly queens.' Sylvia and
founded an organization called STAR, a radical collective focused on
of trans and gay youth, many of them sex workers. Gianni knew there
schisms, but he didn’t understand the depths and anger until today. He
loved and hated his first gay march."
LGBTQ novel that explores a young man's coming of age and developing
reconsider his psyche in the face of many social and political
his thinking will find Sanctuaries
compelling story. It holds the added value of offering many disparate
suitable for book club discussion groups, and is a memorable read
to put down, replete with the sensitive countenance of love and
Return to Index
978-1-63988-706-4 $24.99 Hardcover/$16.99 Paper
satire at its best,
blending a first-person observational style with experimental fiction
manner designed to challenge reader perceptions and ideals.
opens with a bang: "I faked my death
in Paris, which proved far easier than I had imagined. The one time in
I devoted my mind and soul to planning. Real planning. France is not
America. A few hundred years older, maybe not wiser, but definitely too
to deny or regulate a man’s personal freedoms."
card from a dying man leads the narrator into a life "...free
of fame and chaos and forced narcissism." The
self-professed "Mr. Mojo Rising" has been a busy man in America,
playing the 'victim/hero' in a variety of scenarios that keeps testing
identity and fostering his participation in the nation's "collective
narrator crafts so many observations and dialogues that readers ride a
coaster ride of irony and social inspection that moves from money to
around the world, juxtaposing a jaunt through others' lives with a wry
embellishment and commentary that runs over disparate lives like a
affirmative action and prejudice, the love child of a
dalliance, or scenes from a play that offer serious messages, the
strobe light roller-skating
foray is certain to intrigue, offend, and give rise to all kinds of
embedding poetry, play scenes, or nonfiction into his saga, one thing
certain: this experimental work will challenge some and intrigue
Ultimately, its romp and realizations deserve attention and discussion
groups interested in satirical experimental fiction firmly embedded in
will do well in
libraries that look for
contemporary satire, experimental literary fiction, and stories that
with contemporary angst.
Return to Index
Pond Reads Press
978-1-64343-722-4 $19.95 paper/$9.99 ebook
Theresa et al. is a novel that follows a trajectory that begins with the disappearance of Theresa Cole, who has discovered that an eagerly-awaited unborn child carries a genetic defect that leads her to consider having an abortion.
Her husband is stationed in Afghanistan and her sisters want to help, but their very religious mother becomes part of a plot to save mother and unborn child against all odds. And so a rift between mother and daughters opens wider as the horror that has led Theresa to run away expands to involve her kin.
Theresa herself hates the thought of abortion. She and her husband Charlie had many plans for their child—a normal child born of love, a perfect child physically and intellectually. Her unexpected journey away from that ideal moral landscape that has embraced her all of her life results in pain, adversity and anguish, immersing her family in a series of challenges that batter their relationships.
Jean Hackel's novel is a microcosm of the battle over abortion affecting American households today. As mother Maureen searches for signs from God that she is doing the right thing, each character faces paradigm-changing circumstances that force them to re-examine virtually every value in their lives.
Hackel covers these circumstances with an astute eye to representing all sides, creating interplays of family dynamics and wrenching emotions over the birth of a child with Down syndrome and the impact of that birth on everyone:
we do anything for you?” Mary asked, stroking her sister’s arm.
“It’s a little late,” Theresa said sarcastically. “You could have rescued me weeks ago. That would have helped.”
“Your sister tried,” Charlie’s father said. “Believe me, she tried.”
“Oh, really?” Theresa responded in a voice that suggested skepticism.
Maureen, from the other side of the table, looked at her daughter and felt mainly shock and dismay. It seemed clear that Theresa was going to blame other people rather than herself."
stress and challenge ideals of love and sacrifice, readers will be
only into Theresa's dilemmas, but into those faced by everyone who
In Theresa et al., the author’s ability to look at all sides of the birth of a child with Down syndrome and the impact of a variety of choices associated with this event creates an evenly-presented story that focuses on the very human and understandable reactions of different characters.
These storylines lend themselves to discussions by readers interested in not just abortion issues, but in the difficulties involved in raising a disabled child as well as the medical, social, religious, and psychological conundrums that swirl around a family reconsidering what it means to be a good Christian.
Libraries will find the story's many characters and their interactions create a compelling novel that will attract readers of fiction about mothers, children, and family ties.Theresa et al.
Return to Index
978-1-7341170-6-6 $12.95 Paper/$20.95 Hardcover
preclude romance? In Amy Leonard's case, it may prove an unlikely and
obstacle to achieving senior partner in her company—a goal she has
fought hard for.
As the story
Amy already has a lover and roommate in Tom. In many ways, her life is
predictable and its course has been set. Relatively quickly into the
becomes evident that Amy's life course is not on the same page as
fact, it's set to change in a way that challenges her greatest ambition.
through Amy's increasing dilemmas about what she envisions as being
for her future, they face, alongside her, choices which are both
irrevocable. Each option holds the possibility of totally transforming
life, but no option seems completely satisfying.
company, Reggie Boykin, offers her another choice that adds new
but his idea also places him at risk in new ways as he takes his own
into the unknown and struggles to keep a secret from Amy that he has
romance from unlikely roots, adds the conflict created by job and two
co-workers who face their own life-changing moments, and follows each
the mire of ethical and emotional choices. The focus on emotional
changing priorities, and the juxtaposition of work world and family
creates a satisfying backdrop for an evolving relationship that rests
on rocky foundations.
Amy find themselves mired in an increasing love triangle-style dilemma,
must make choices that seem to go against everything they've believed
A Third Option
is a study not in
traditional romance and
relationship-building, but what happens when life introduces surprising
to carefully planned life paths. Each of the characters feels compelled
up to the challenge in different ways, holding different feelings, and
lend a fine layer of complexity to the story.
be billed a 'romance', A Third Option
actually is far more detailed than the usual story of love. As Amy, Tom
Reggie re-examine their lives and options, new paths emerge which
ideals of love as well as testing their characters and life objectives.
love stories that emerge from turbulent roots and surprising
find A Third Option attractive and
recommendable, especially to book clubs seeking more than the standard
Return to Index
979-8370437366 $8.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
Unresting Death is the second book in the USA Trilogy series, and will especially attract prior readers of The Far and the Near, continuing the story of political and social conflict and the forces that intentionally mask the real purposes and actions of government entities.
with an alluring atmosphere of intrigue as Private Kirby struggles with
repairing an engine. It's only as he's walking away from it that an
demonstrates that he was literally a step away from death.
contrast is the second chapter, which presents the characters of Craig
parents, who live in a prestigious neighborhood thanks to his father's
law and connections to the mob. The undercurrent to this façade of
in a gambling habit which has placed Craig's father in a dangerous
are introduced in following chapters, a progressive series of events
them to tie these figures together, representing diverse walks of life
fantasies about the future which dovetail in unpredictable ways.
drive for answers in college leads to his nefarious association with
would influence and command free elections in America. How an ambitious
man finds his ideals and questions twisted to other purposes is just
one of the
subplots embedded in a story filled with thought-provoking contrasts
characters and intentions:
"What Craig wanted to
learn was how it
came about that a person, or religion, or society, could bring people
believe things that were not true.
Craig asked himself that simple question, a huge sprawling complex of
and ideas opened before him."
segments of society to down-and-out characters like Mac McCaslin (who
is "...alone, abandoned, with no one to
blame, and nothing to be done ... Always some threat or trouble
birds of the air must live like this, Mac thought.
And yet they get by."), the story
evolves on different levels and from different perspectives as it
social conditions and political special interests alike.
disparate figures find their lives unexpectedly interconnected, readers
relish the psychological and social juxtaposition of a changing world
each character faces difficult choices and transformations that seem to
be unlikely, given their backgrounds.
He did not know where
he was going, but he
was not going home.
Unresting Death doesn't assume the typical condemning
approach of either right-wing or left-wing politics, but leaves its
flexible enough that readers can easily interface with and form their
opinions of what "side" the characters represent.
especially astute in setting up surprises even seasoned novel readers
coming. Issues of justice, redemption, and poor or logical choices are
woven into a story which introduces its characters (and their
bigger-picture thinking—even if it kills them.
seeking a fine novel of interplays between political forces and moral
ethical challenges will find Unresting
Death vivid in its disparate characters and their social and
setbacks and challenges.
Return to Index
The Vast Clear Blue is about a wife's betrayal, a husband's
flight to Central America in response, and a new milieu of
bring with them different forms of complexity and engagement. Readers
choose this story for its promise of new beginnings from loss and angst
find that it opens with a compellingly different tone:
"I would have sex with
she stated. Mark laughed. What the hell was she talking about? But then
laughed again, and she joined him, because of course she would not have
with a chicken. She was simply putting herself in the place of the hens
they were watching through the car window—the hens that scratched and
the earth of Belize."
he resembles that rooster because his encounter with Kendal, a fellow
whose complicated relationship between her older, dying husband and her
(his best friend), develops a connection neither saw coming.
Schwartz steeps her novel in the atmosphere of Belize and the warmth of
environment. Readers unfamiliar with this country or its milieu receive
exploration of both the region and the hearts and minds of visitors who
undertake to explore its byways in the course of solidifying their own
intentions and confusing relationships.
her lover Aaron) dance around one another and the life, impending
demise of relationships that bring them to form new connections with
wife Cathy, their children, and the infidelity which drove them apart,
reassesses his own role in the marriage:
"...he had the vague
memory of his eyes finding his
wife on the
couch that Christmas morning; and instead of the warm glow of love, a
thought had skipped through his mind: she didn’t look quite as good as
when they’d married—a few extra pounds, that new haircut he didn’t
older, slightly pasty face...He pushed his hands through his hair and
out to the churning gray sea. What kind of man was he to think such
Christmas—or any time, for that matter? As if the years had only taken
and left him still in his early twenties. He had, in some basic way,
revelations weave into his new life abroad to bring growth and
of the part his changing attitude might have played in his marriage's
... a pattern he may be in danger of repeating now. Mark left behind
unresolved questions and family when he fled his wife's infidelity. He
left anger and broken responses, but took some with him.
self-examination and his evolving new and changing old connections in
makes for a moving story about divorce, change, and transformation that
lead readers to think more deeply about their own approaches to and
love and life.
characters receive close inspection, from the kind of man Aaron seems
to be to
elderly husband Charlie's demise and his young wife's response.
The Vast Clear Blue is about navigating changing friendships
and love. Its powerful surveys of all three characters create many
points which book clubs will find thought-provoking, creating lively
thought and debate.
Return to Index
To Accelerate Your Career And Find Balance In
James Espey, OBE
978-1-913615-60-4 $12.95 Paper/$8.56 ebook
Accelerate Your Career And Find Balance In Life is a business
succinct advice that flies in the face of other books on the same
require more reading time than a busy worker may have. By condensing
business advice into quotes that offer digestible instruction and food
thought, James Espey offers an
unusually accessible collection of wisdom gleaned from business leaders
kinds of industries.
typical for a business book, ranging from branding considerations and
a company to developing leadership qualities and making philanthropy
part of a business
effort of building a career from scratch: he moved from being one of
poorest kids in school to starting a career in the grocery trade,
working his way up the business ladder to head a global marketing firm.
gleaned from his years of efforts are designed to help readers not only
themselves and solidify their objectives, but apply insights and words
wisdom to the processes which continue to propel them upwards and
followed by further food for thought: "Most
new brands fail, but one terrific success will make up for a string of
failures. You must take risks if you are going to get anywhere."
attractive line drawings by Cris Black accompany these details and
the quote in eye-catching ways, as in the orchestra which accompanies
"An orchestra without a conductor is
only a room full of musicians and instruments. Management is simply
things done – it is leadership that gives direction and sets the
libraries will find 365
Quotes To Accelerate Your Career And Find
Balance In Life the
perfect reference to consult during business and life changes. Its
inspirational, practical advice and considerations make it a standout
blends personal and business pursuits, with practical advice for
Return to Index
II: Complete Guide to Sorcery
spirituality readers will find Alpaca's
System II: Complete Guide to Sorcery a survey of sorcery's
progressive examination of how one becomes a sorcerer, and a model for
contemplating the energy and path that may bring one's life into a more
enlightened state of being.
development of personal and
spiritual power with an eye to understanding how intention and the
interact, and how they may be trained via a different definition of
"sorcery" than the usual image of magic and wand-waving:
"Sorcery can be taken
as the art of
accumulating energy, personal power –
which is then used to alter perception and perform actions that lay
spectrum of “ordinary” by the means of intention. It is the art of
allows practitioner to liberate from imposed limitations and become a
his own reality."
typical approach of many new age spirituality titles, Jose illustrates
different concepts of energy (such as the tonal and nagual), marrying
concepts to ideals of spiritual and psychological growth to encourage
to take the steps into self-examination that involve deeper-level
"The point is not in
what you can do
with the help of all the technological devices and social
in who you really are and how you feel deep inside, beneath the level
and even the level of physical body. There, on the deepest level, we
potential to be strong and disciplined – to be impeccable, to shape
in any possible way, to explore the multi-dimensional energetic reality
transcend beyond the human stage of evolution."
differentiation between seekers and sorcerers is nicely defined:
realise that the
path of concentration on superficial – the path of an ordinary human
nowhere as it locks us in a relatively narrow spectrum of possibilities
are defined by rational limitations. Instead of entertaining themselves
waiting for an end and making the everyday life as simple and safe as
– sorcerers go the other way, concentrating on comprehensive
their structures on both the physical (Tonal) and energetic (Nagual)
readers through the process of identifying and striving for this
type of wisdom, chapters accomplish the difficult task of achieving
from and during the process. This helps wisdom-seekers better identify
structures for achieving awareness and enlightenment, showing how not
gain it, but optimize its impact on daily life.
result is a
textbook on enlightenment, self-liberation, and practical processes and
applications of wisdom that offers spiritual readers a guided focus on
self-healing and developing personal power.
readers seeking blueprints for deep-level change will find Alpaca's System II: Complete Guide to Sorcery
Return to Index
978-1-77458-085-1 $16.95 Paper/$9.95 ebook
Essential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion at Work addresses the
challenge of building a LGBTQ2+
inclusive workplace, and is highly recommended for business leaders,
entrepreneurs, and anyone who understands that the effort invested in
creates riches and returns for the entire workforce.
diversity expert whose 2020 book on the topic, Birds of All
Feathers, quickly rose to
best-seller status. This companion moves from the 'why' to the 'how' of
process, discussing how sexuality affects workers in the workplace, how
create the feel of a safe place at work that accepts disparate
how to not only make straight people comfortable in such a diverse
but how to attract and retain LGBTQ2+ workers.
Bach's first book set the
stage by introducing a
continues the effort, covering "...sexual
orientation and gender identity and expression; the magical, mysterious
of the LGBTQ2+ communities; and how people can do a better job of
inclusive spaces for those of us who don’t fit into the box of
of the purposes of this
book is to educate readers
about this community's diversity and special needs. The other, beyond
understanding and acceptance, is to reveal the process of integrating
diverse worlds in a way that supports business pursuits.
Bach moves through
examples, stories, and insights,
business leaders receive an eye-opening guide that will confront many
myths; the first statement being that there is no singular LGBTQ2+
but a host of communities embracing all kinds of people.
challenges are discussed in
light of these complex
relationships and associations, with chapters profiling business goals
just attracting workers, but customers:
one wants to go to work and feel unsafe. No one wants to volunteer in a
where they could face violence or discrimination because of who they
one wants to feel like they don’t belong in their temple or school. You
attract and retain LGBTQ2+ people (as employees, customers, volunteers,
patients, and so on) if you first make sure yours is a safe space."
takeaways conclude each
chapter with reviews of the
result is replete in
revelations that support not
just better understanding, but revised business organizational
strategies that assure all participants an equal role in transforming a
business books that promote
diversity and inclusion will find Alphabet
Soup especially notable not just for its insights about the
that identify as LGBTQ2+, but the essential changes that represent a
sense of safety and
acceptance for everyone.
The message's ideals and
practical examples should
be discussed early
in any business class interested in promoting not just financial savvy,
business structure that is more flexible, accommodating, and accepting
traditional workplace has been in the past.
Return to Index
Courts of Justice: Why Justice is Hard to Find in America
Eric D. Oberer
978-1-63988-762-0 $28.99 Hardcover/$18.99 Paper
of America's judicial system, Courts of
Law Not Courts of Justice: Why Justice is Hard to Find in America
assume a one-sided approach, but considers the problem of justice from
variety of viewpoints. It provides a huge service to law readers in
array of opinions, precedents, and analyses from both sides of the
serving as a starting point of information for broader discussions
in judicial proceedings.
not just from the usual worlds of academia or law, but spent much of
childhood in high-crime White and African-American neighborhoods. This
pursuit of legal work (as a "guns, drugs, and violent crimes"
prosecutor in Baltimore) a special connection to street crime scenarios
allowed him to apply ideals of fundamental civil rights to scenarios of
punishment, redemption, and innocence.
America's legal system and the evolution of the modern urban criminal
system's processes and patterns are nicely covered. The survey probes
definitions of evidence, reviews criminal investigations proceedings
within the court system and before and after its processes, and
miscarriages of justice are perceived and committed.
thought-provoking are connections between policing and racial
give rise to bigger pictures of social issues embedded in and reflected
criminal justice system operations.
from the legal world accompany examples of court decisions, methods for
generating arrests, and the limiting choices faced by the justice
general and Baltimore City in particular: "Baltimore
City could arguably move many more cases through the system if it hired
judges and court employees and built a new courthouse. But can you
thousands of citizens in each day for jury duty?"
That Courts of Law Not
Courts of Justice proves
as accessible to non-legal readers of social issues as it will to those
studying criminal law and justice translates to a primer that should be
kinds of collections, from law libraries and college student holdings
general-interest public libraries seeing patron interest in social and
filled with case histories, commentary, and connections between past
present American judicial evolutionary processes, is a powerful
of what the definition of how the ideal of "Equal Justice Under Law"
actually translates in modern American society. It's highly recommended
for anyone either entering the justice system professionally or looking
results from the outside.
Return to Index
Under 99 Pages
CJS Hayward Publications
$11.99 Hardcover/$5.99 Paper/$.99 Kindle
the spiritual writings of C.J.S. Hayward well knows they are
lengthy productions designed to engage spiritual thinkers and audiences
This is why C.J.S.
Hayward in Under 99 Pages
represents a significant achievement, appealing to modern readers who
have time or inclination for a tome of hundreds of pages, however
intriguing they might be; but who will find this a fine synthesis of
that touches on the highlights.
consolidate so many trains of thought, literary, spiritual, and
references, and intellectual discourse into such a diminutive work must
been daunting, given the length and breadth of Hayward's previous
familiar with them
might expect that the idea that the scope of these works could even
fit into 99 pages would be a task especially daunting (perhaps nearly
impossible). And yet, Br. Christos achieves this goal, offering six
an introduction, and an epilogue that touches upon the basic principles
heavily outlined in his previous works.
gain an introduction to Christian Orthodoxy principles in general and
extensive reflections on it would do well to begin with C.J.S.
Hayward in Under 99 Pages. Its ability to capture audiences
with discussions that are lively and contemporary makes it a top
for book clubs interested in debates and discussions over spiritual
and analytical approaches:
"Where the reader only sees one question, an ancient reader saw at least two other questions that are invisible to the present reader. As well as the question of "How?" that evolution addresses, there is the question of "Why?" and "What function does it serve?" These two questions are very important, and are not even considered when people are only trying to work out the antagonism between creationism and evolutionism."C.J.S. Hayward in Under 99 Pages
Return to Index
China's Anti-Poverty Strategies
William N. Brown, PhD
9789811972805 $59.99 Hardcover/$49.99 Paper
The Evolution of China's
Cases of 20 Chinese
Changing Lives reveals a program replete with new examples of
how China's population
has overcome poverty. It is highly recommended reading for social
students interested in alternative anti-poverty strategies that have
successful in the real world.
The book is
Dr. Brown's personal travels through China from 1988 onwards, when he
there to study Chinese. It follows family travels around Southeast
he observed rural and urban poor Chinese that were not only optimistic
their future, but active participants who embraced the Chinese Dream as
their daily lives.
what many Western nations grapple with? They didn't rely on economic
development to end poverty, but instead educated and provided even the
communities with the infrastructure and education to encourage citizens
participate in and build their own anti-poverty programs.
In 2019, Dr.
again embarked on a journey around China to chart what had actually
25 years of idealistic effort. What he saw proved that even the
areas benefited by the wide reach of China's anti-poverty program.
The power of
story lies in Dr. Brown's personal observations, conversations, and
interactions with ordinary people affected by seven decades of
entire country had progressed much more rapidly than he would have
people were optimistic about their national programs and personal
restoration efforts that took place not just economically but in
ecosystem revision via community involvement were far more effective
than the typical
government approach of trickling down wealth or bequeathing aid for the
eye-opening survey, on many levels. For students of Chinese history and
culture, The Evolution of China's
Strategies provides the personal insights, interviews, and
from more scholarly debates about China's people and policies. For
interested in the social issues of various nations and China in
particular, The Evolution of China's
Strategies provides a blueprint of entrepreneurial efforts
how prosperity may be encouraged at all levels of society.
should ideally be part of any library interested not just in China, but
social effort of overcoming poverty and enpowering people at all
levels. The Evolution of China's
Anti-Poverty Strategies should also be part of book clubs
discussing anti-poverty issues and strategies beyond the typical
experience and focus.
Return to Index
Your Frog: And Other Pearls for Professional
Elizabeth Kagan Arleo, MD
Armin Lear Press Inc
Frog: And Other Pearls for Professional Working Mothers
work/life integration processes in a more thought-provoking, studious
than the usual discussions of work and parenting, and will appeal to
who are not just going to work, but cultivating a professional career
approach to work and life.
insights are presented
in the form of eight
selected pearls of wisdom that advocate developing a growth-oriented
then adopting routines that support that process. Working mothers well
overwhelming feeling that is involved in giving fair time to what is,
effect, two important jobs.
Frog provides the tools that can adjust and improve mindset
functioning in both environments, and points out that it is possible to
maintain two efforts that often seem to lead in opposite directions.
Ambitious, career-oriented women will find the nuggets of "how" embedded into a book that reviews the basic principles that lend to better organization, time management, and prioritizing strategies.
Kagan Arleo doesn't claim that her book is "one size fits all." It
adds to literature on the subject by synthesizing and presenting many
real-life-tested approaches to achieving balance and sanity, gathering
own experiences and those of others to use as examples of common
how they can be addressed.
accompanied by a powerful note; a "...reminder
to myself and others to be
kind and gentle to and with yourself in terms of planning and getting
done. We only have one life to live so we need to enjoy the process,
getting there, not just the end result."
examples of organization, from computerized
"to do" lists to paper monthly planners, impart the basics; but the
meat of First, Eat Your Frog lies
chapters that not only provide real-world illustrations, but review the
of wisdom for their underlying messages: "Let’s
explore why we, as professional working mothers, tend to apologize too
when there is no actual reason to do so. First, the topic will be
explored in a
point-counter point style discussion. Second, the psychology of
will be considered. Third, you will find specific practices to utilize
process leaves no room for confusion and plenty of encouragement for
not just in book clubs, but in professional and parent groups where
balance is a topic of concern.
who choose First,
Eat Your Frog will
find its drive towards enlightenment and pattern adjustment makes for a
of concrete reflections not just on the balancing act, but the process
creating more satisfying, fulfilling dual careers in motherhood and
Return to Index
Two Valleys Publishing
Factor: The Busy Person's Guide to Sustainable Diet and Exercise identifies
the common cause of diet failure as being one of a basic inefficient use of time and energy. This
leads to problems scheduling and following through with exercise and
to pack more into an already-too-busy life results in friction which
limits, and ultimately can sink the best of diet and exercise hopes.
solution? Eliminate the friction component, using The Friction Factor to identify typical obstacles to diet and
Martin is a certified
personal trainer who uses his
expertise to craft real-world solutions to organizational dilemmas that
influences on making a health plan
work, from knowing one's body and mental inclinations to setting
goals, designing workout and diet programs that work on many different
and making lifestyle adjustments that address the barrier of physical
mandate to get and stay fit.
than just a how-to on
exercise and diet, Martin's
book is a strategic assault on lethargy and ennui which advocates
and adhering to a pattern of habits that not only support, but embrace
goals. The far-reaching impact of this strategy goes beyond diet and
holding the opportunity to revise approaches to life: "...developing
effective habits is a universal necessity for
anyone seeking success in virtually any area."
athlete Martin is in
the perfect position to
explain not only the routines of perseverance, but more efficient
that can be done in a home gym environment, eliminating much of the
travel elsewhere for achieving fitness goals.
result is a "down-home"
promotes discipline and understanding both exercise options and the
organizational and commitment routines that reinforce exercise to
takes a prominent, regular position in even the busiest lifestyle.
fitness books that embrace
lifestyle changes will find The Friction
Factor an excellent choice, as perfect for discussion in
fitness groups as
it is useful for individual pursuit.
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From Oversight to Overkill: Inside the Broken System That Blocks Medical Breakthroughs—And How We Can Fix It is not a book about political interactions, as one might expect from the title. It's a powerful survey of stymied research in the health arena as the result of a system that was devised to protect, but too often tamps down, limits, and delays medical breakthroughs. As such, it offers a powerful consideration of how potential breakthroughs too often become bogged down in non-scientific overkill regulations.
Simon N. Whitney focuses on the Institutional Review Boards which exist at every hospital and medical school where research is done—a process that readers outside the medical industry may not have heard of. He explores how initially well-meaning oversight processes become laden with regulations and directions that bypass scientific approaches, too often wandering into the realm of excessive, unsupported cautionary measures that limit and even kill breakthroughs.
All kinds of processes in the medical industry are affected by this regulatory nightmare, from consent forms that would take a PhD to understand to cumbersome oversight approaches that kill rather than save live by limiting research that should ideally be explored on an expedited timeline.
From the racial bias inherent in these approaches to federal oversight that has been "strict but not wise" and the moral and ethical quandaries faced by patients and medical personnel alike, Whitney takes the time to craft eye-opening examples of a range of impacts of overkill measures on patients, healthcare participants, and regulators alike:
"Most of the literature about the SUPPORT debate focuses on the consent form and the effects of more or less oxygen. I have never found an article that discusses the debate from the point of view of the parents and their children, yet their experience—the experience of more than a thousand families—is the controversy’s moral core."
From Oversight to Overkill identifies ways in which the system is broken, suggests routes to reform that should result in better and faster medical care, and addresses the major overhauls needed to the IRB system.
with source notes and bibliographic references that represent fifteen
hard work and research, From Oversight to Overkill is
simply a "must have" reference for libraries reaching
general-interest patrons and health professionals. Ideally, it won't
repose on library shelves, but will be recommended to reader and
discussion groups for its many insights and lead to lively debates
healthcare professionals and users of the American medical system.
Return to Index
979-8987090305 $11.95 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Learn How a Small, Powerful Act Can Enrich Your Life covers
not just how to
write notes, but how to communicate more effectively and personally via
rapidly-diminishing art form: the handwritten (not typed!) note.
expecting a primer
on how to write actually
receive much more than another creative writing lesson. Carrie Pierce
the wider-ranging impact of the handwritten note, discussing the
of personal interaction rituals that have been largely replaced by
technological distance and a from-the-hip shooting style of impulsive
more thought, purpose, and
thinking about others. They inject a form of personal psychological
as communiqués are put onto paper, taking the modern propensity for
interactions and expanding it into a deeper effort that promises
rewards via improved life connections.
promise of personal
enrichment is presented from the
start: "If you read the book closely
enough you might convince yourself that this practice of writing notes
by hand and
sending them out into the world can do more than simply express
can actually fill your life with greater joy and abundance."
this sounds lofty (and might, indeed, feel impossible) to generations
the age of technology, Pierce explores how heartfelt communications can
relationships and lives.
a lost art and a form
of magic, the effort of
putting a thought to paper via pen fulfills the promise of a type of
that has largely been dissolved by the distance created by typewriter,
computers, and voice commands.
the neuroscience behind
note-writing efforts to
famous notes of others and the psychology that drives them to succeed
other avenues of communication fail, Pierce makes a thought-provoking
for the power of the pen and the influence of written words that take
teaches by example, including reflections on Carnegie and others whose
approaches fulfilled the goal of creating and fostering authentic
It also considers the long-term effects of isolation created by
devices and technology over personal interactions, including case
disparate individuals. These include the author's own father, whose
psyche was heavily impacted by the distance created by COVID isolation.
book is far more than
another 'how to write' guide,
but a social survey of the handwritten note's impact, potential, and
inspirational results. Handwritten Notes
represents a promise, an opportunity, and a return to basics.
and readers that pursue its wisdom will find
its promise of abundance to be inspirational reading, promoting a form
connection that can reap surprising rewards via deeper authentic
Return to Index
two-hour sci-fi and fantasy stories will find A
Happy Christmas Ceilidh a fine addition to the Shrouded Isle
series. It offers not just a fine Christmas story, but a compelling
fun, family, and community.
Much in the
an O. Henry story, Zoe Tasia presents the dilemma of holiday dreams
couple cannot afford. Tempering this altruistic approach to the holiday
series of challenges, from a moving elf on a shelf to an unwelcome
snowman and the
changing world of Becca, her boyfriend Greg, and her children, teenage
Jessie and younger daughter Tate.
It's a cozy
spiced with Christmas seasonal celebrations, Scottish culture, and
which both dovetails nicely with the prior books in the series and
on its own for newcomers.
natures and perspectives of each family member, readers receive a warm
of magic and seasonal giving that is steeped with many of the literary
of O. Henry in its development of ironies and life inspections.
adults will find this story attractive, it would be a shame to limit
to this audience alone. Many a busy adult looking for a shorter
that embraces the warmth of caring and clues to solving puzzles will
find A Happy Christmas Ceilidh
uplifting, and satisfying, with its special blends of place and
building community characters and added notes of cultural and social
interaction creates a story that is as warm and cozy for winter pursuit
is embracing in the concern that each of the characters exhibits
shorter reads will welcome A Happy
Christmas Ceilidh whether they have prior books in the series
or want a
stand-alone seasonal story.
Return to Index
Did Life End Up With Us?
Ordering Link: https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Did-Life-End-Up-With-Us-Sean-OConnor/9781739155902?ref=grid-view&qid=1675952430050&sr=1-1
live in a
world in which knowledge is power, and it’s rare to find someone who’s
to take people out of a
rather than showing how clever they are by taking them ever deeper into
Did Life End Up
With Us? is the first book in the Secrets of Life quartet,
and offers a
chatty, appealing discourse on the perils of taking life and humanity
O'Connor has spent his
life "trying to boil
things down," condensing research and theories about life into a
narrative. The fact that he writes about science from the perspective
non-scientist only makes his effort more readable to fellow non-science
followers who remain interested in the philosophical, scientific, and
nuances of life.
assessment of the progression of life,
O'Connor provides a whimsical observation that draws on disparate facts
human evolution and presents them in a manner that's reflective and fun:
alive, it’s because our ancestors bred successfully. None of them died
celibate. They and their offspring could be said to have made the right
decisions about how to
since evolutionary biologists are fairly confident that 99.9% of all
species that have ever existed would later become extinct, that tells
something about how successful we all are - and also the burn-out rate
how humans make
decisions that support survival and
evolution to processes of selection, diversity, specialization, and the
or disappearance of species, O'Connor's consideration of triggers for
and development are laced with science and humor that lends to reader
as well as reflection.
considerations of the origins of altruism
and growth processes, O'Connor provides just the right blend of serious
observation and humor that brings together a myriad of life experiences
facets: "Richard Dawkins says that
all living things are just vehicles for their genes. But he also says
humans are unique in being able to override the instructions those
giving us. So, does that imply that because we’ve got intelligence and
criticism and empathy and all the other good stuff… that our altruism isn’t just a biological
imperative? Can this mean that we truly are separate and superior
would be a shame to limit
this book's audience to
individual pursuit alone. Ideally, How
Did Life End Up With Us? will be pursued in classrooms and
used as book
club debate material for its lively discourses and reflections on the
of life and the elements that make us both human and ironic.
will find How
Did Life End Up With Us? a compelling read blending biology,
and human history in a lively and reflective process of
Return to Index
How Far Do
Matt Holt Books/BenBella Books, Inc.
9781637743430 $30.00 Hardcover/$15.99 Kindle
unlimited in How Far Do You Want To Go? Lessons from a Common-Sense Billionaire, which covers the basics of leadership and
money management, inspired by an immigrant's rise to riches.
weaves autobiographical details into his account, but the meat of the
not just in his personal experiences, but how they led to the
leadership, and money management lessons that propelled him to success.
As much as
it is a
tribute to the business savvy that grew in him, it's also a pledge of
allegiance to America, which offered him many opportunities. As readers
his life story and the achievements that evolved from education and
perseverance, they also absorb the special keys to success that drive
individuals to rise above their circumstances to take next steps that
cement these life lessons are nicely woven into the business savvy the
learns and the questions that accompany growth. When given his first
writes: "The car was mine, and it
gave me a sense of freedom I had never experienced before. I wasn’t
sure what to do with it, but I definitely liked the way that freedom
roots are not left behind in his assimilation into American culture.
reinforced by the Church and by experiences that lead him continually
his roots and foundation lessons:
there are many successful Greeks in America. Who
better than the church to bring them together? “This isn’t about making
Father Alex often said. “You guys all have money. Those of you who want
you already have fame. Up until now, you didn’t have each other, and
special weaving of community, political, social, and financial
translates to a story that, peppered with black and white photos,
the riches that come not only from financial and social success, but
reinforced in a narrative replete with a close examination of the
Dream that's realized as Catsimatidis grows his independent grocery
into the conglomerate Red Apple Group, combining his interest in
entrepreneurial avenues with his conviction that community and society
connections are equally important.
like another "how to be successful" financial guide, but in fact, its
accompanying astute survey of American ideals in action is its greatest
self-help readers who choose this book expecting a blueprint that will
them to achieve the status quo either financially or socially will find
that How Far Do You Want To Go? is
much without purpose, values, ethics, and drive.
blends all these themes and more into his account of becoming a
makes How Far Do You Want To Go?
especially attractive. It's recommended for a broad range of readers,
business and entrepreneurial audiences to those seeking stories of
immigrant experience, political and social evolution, and a just plain
outstanding, captivating read whose lessons are couched in discovery
Return to Index
$25.99 Hardcover/$15.99 Paperback/$9.99 ebook
Life-Changing Stories From my
takes its readers on a rollicking ride through disparate lives as it
individuals in rideshare situations.
life-changing airport ride bringing three strangers together, the
focuses on the encounters that bring all kinds of life learning lessons
participants. Even if all they wanted was a simple ride to somewhere
which rekindle love and connection to those that draw driver Andrew
become emotionally invested in the lives of his temporary charges, Intersections traverses the fate that
creates extraordinary situations from happenstance.
encounters affect these passengers? Will they go on to live their
find themselves forever changed by a single rideshare?
intriguing, thought-provoking scenarios which indicate that the process
sharing might extend beyond momentary intersections in life to
affect everyone involved.
choose Intersections for its
enlightening, unexpected rendezvous will find Spink's participation in
documentation of this process results in an inspection of
chance situations, and the kinds of life-changing moments that can
only in close quarters shared by disparate riders for a brief period of
presented in the form of case histories that read with the drama and
of fiction (including dialogues), but represent discoveries that will
with readers interested in short biographical sketches featuring candid
confessions that were made to an Uber driver privy to the most intimate
in this collection. Each are based on the true experiences of Spink's
passengers, and each offers a moving story of self-discovery,
adversity, and healing that comes from challenged and changing lives.
inspirational true tales that read with the drama of fiction but are
real-life experience will find Intersections:
Life-Changing Stories From my Rideshare Passengers an
driven by drama and capable of provoking the reader's own consideration
lives intersect and change from chance encounters.
Return to Index
Look Into the
Secrets of Credit Repair
979-8986572512 $16.77 paper/$5.99 ebook
A Look into the Secrets
of Credit Repair:
How to Fix Your Score and Erase Bad Debt: 6-Step Strategy + 609 Sample
to Take Control of Your Finances and Outsmart the Credit Bureaus is for any reader interested in improving
their credit rating or recovering from bad debt situations, and offers
six-step program for handling debt and poor credit ratings.
affect lifelong endeavors. That's a harsh reality for many to absorb,
with the knowledge that one's financial status and choices can either
takes a hard look at what goes into a credit score, how to boost it and
desired lifestyle without taking big risks and becoming trapped in
debt, and how to understand the underlying financial institutions,
applications of credit scores.
no prior reader financial savvy, but teach the basics of embarking on a
Credit-Building Strategy' designed to demystify the credit score
build upon one another as they impart a progressive understanding of
financial choices and their impact, including poor choices that seem
ideas at the time:
"Closing your credit
card to avoid
paying your debt or because you feel as though you can never catch up
payments is like moving your unfolded laundry from your bed to that
the corner of your bedroom: it’s still there, and it still needs to be
with. Even if you have good reasons to close your credit card, like
don’t want that specific credit card account anymore, closing the
harm your credit score."
facts may surprise not only new adults, but many who believe themselves
relatively well versed in the world of credit.
Applying her 30 years of experience in real estate, Diana Donnelly synthesizes decades of acquired practical knowledge into a formula for success that readers from all walks of life and financial circumstances can easily follow.
revealing are the insights into handling debt that draw direct
between these choices and one's resulting credit score: "The
debt you owe the creditor will count as one negative mark on
your report, and the same debt you owe that has been transferred to the
collector will become a separate negative mark on your report."
get in trouble and find themselves underwater, burdened with debt and
credit? Donnelly explains not only how this happens, but how to affect
that reflect new healthy financial habits.
readers seeking books that pinpoint specific pitfalls and opportunities
credit world will find A Look into the
Secrets of Credit Repair packed with not only insights into
but better financial approaches and choices that can repair even the
Return to Index
$18.99 Paper/$29.99 Hardcover/$14.99 ebook
Down: The Hunt
for the Arctic Airship Italia is the true story of one of the
rescue efforts in human history, chronicling the adventure with the
descriptive flair of fiction backed by the facts of nonfiction.
looking for a mystery when he stumbled upon a musty old book entitled With
the Italia to
the North Pole.
It was a book that would entwine him in an enigma more than ninety
and which equally reaches into modern audiences with its allure and
In 1928, the
arctic-exploring airship Italia (code-named N-4) was returning,
from its adventures when it crashed at the North Pole. In other
this would be the end of the story. Instead, it triggered then-famous
explorer Roald Amundsen and others to embark on an impossible rescue
that would result in his own disappearance and yet another polar
this journey with Piesing will hear the rumble of the zeppelin engine
ears, feel the frosty bite of the Arctic on their faces, and will
immersed in the amazing history and mystery he uncovered and pursued.
exploration involved physical journeys to the far north as he "stepped
back into a fantasy world" via museum visits, old documents, and relics
time when the North Pole lured the most intrepid of explorers, then
them in disaster and mystery.
is an account of zeppelin travel and its heyday in the "Roaring 20s,"
which opened a new era of exploration and the possibilities of access
regions of the planet. Gripping stories of how the promise of the
turned into a tragedy that involved some of the greatest explorers of
makes for an account as vivid in its narration as any fictional read.
story is so vivid is Piesing's attention to detail. His descriptions
evocative a "you are here" atmosphere:
"Like many airships of the
time, the gondola was
embedded into the
envelope of the airship. Nobile’s men could climb up a ladder directly
keel of the ship. Once inside, the crew could walk down along a fairly
V- shaped corridor stretching the length of the ship, which might bring
imagination the corridor of an alien spaceship. At one end of which, in
canvas-lined keel, the men could find spare parts, cans of fuel, a
sleep on, and emergency supplies. However, little thought had been
given as to
how any crew members still in the envelope would escape if there was a
landing. This oversight would have terrible consequences."
This is key
story's ability to attract beyond the usual historical mystery reader,
promising to reach suspense and thriller readers who normally choose
for its dramatic attraction over the typical dryness of nonfiction
Down: The Hunt
for the Arctic Airship Italia is a sterling example of the
truth and descriptive writing. Libraries that select this for their
should do more than file it away in the nonfiction section. Ideally, N-4 Down: The Hunt for the Arctic Airship
Italia will be profiled as an absorbing adventure story that
little prior familiarity with the times or the far north in order to
and hold attention.
Return to Index
Bob Coecke and Stefano Gogioso
drawings throughout Quantum in Pictures
and its simple language might indicate to some that this book might be
appropriate for a library's children's section, in fact, it's a primer
be used by anyone interested in quantum mechanics or physics, young or
best audience will be those able to absorb the mathematical concepts
intrinsic to understanding the quantum world.
pictures alone (diagrams in black and white and color) to illustrate
basic principles, educating readers about quantum concepts in an
manner that includes a solid amount of mathematical detail and
specialists alike will benefit from the authors' attention to making a
subject surprisingly user-friendly ("...we
came up with simple, friendly names for many of the concepts
prior Picturing Quantum Processes,
this introduction creates a foundation of knowledge that can easily
serve as a
stepping stone for readers who wish to take the plunge into the quantum
whether they hold physics or computer backgrounds, or are lay readers.
value is created via an online connection, as all the chapters of Quantum In Pictures are also available
as videos on Quantinuum’s YouTube channel, which adds some special
talk about complex quantum subjects enables its grasp by a far wider
than the usual student of science. The wide range of subjects, from
teleportation to spider bites and how math formulas may be translated
transmitted pictorially makes for an unexpectedly lively format that is
tests to understanding errors in visual terms, it soon becomes evident
that Quantum in Pictures is
anything but a
children's picture book.
accessibility and visualization deserves a place in any science library
collection where quantum discussions are of interest, creating a
understanding that pairs visual math with solutions to complex problems.
Return to Index
The Climate Crisis Solution
The Great Healing Press
Agriculture: The Climate Crisis Solution poses both a simple
and a complex
solution to not just climate crisis, but environmental degradation as a
by promoting regenerative agriculture, which focuses on processes of
renewal and support.
some may initially
wonder at the expansive promise
of a seemingly a small approach, Stephen Erickson's book makes a
case for a process of rejuvenation that offers big payoffs for its
'regenerative agriculture' as being "...based
on these principles applied
in combination: Cover crops, compost, crop rotation, minimal
disturbance of the
soil, animal integration, no synthetic pesticides, and protecting the
unfold the true
bigger picture inherent in
achieving this goal, as well as the obstacles and pitfalls that are
be encountered along the way.
of this book's
contentions will prove controversial
to traditional farming and land management approaches. From how tilling
"destroys underground networks" and the premise that "No-till
or minimal till regenerative
farming is the best way to protect it" to liquid carbon
solutions, building carbon sequestration via regenerative agriculture,
other methods of regenerating the soil, this book promotes idealism
sense of "how-to" reality that both makes a case and supports it with
tested agricultural changes.
ultimate purpose of this
book isn't to provide
another idealistic view of how to transform the planet, but to give
farmers a practical lesson plan on how they, too, may incorporate
principles and approaches into their agricultural business plans.
Stephen Erickson reviews everything from organic produce and farming practices to new opportunities for profits in processes that support the land. He considers the studies and results of efforts towards more regenerative processes.
argument that this form
of farming is best designed
to survive climate change is compelling:
farms, with their healthy soil microbiomes, are far better suited to
rising temperatures and other severe climate consequences in store for
Robust regenerative ecosystems retain significantly more moisture, keep
cooler, and better sustain soil life and crop yields compared to the
biologically devastated, carbon-releasing soil of industrial ag farm’s
Agriculture should not only be a mainstay in any library
agricultural business, but ideally will become a discussion title in
and reader groups of future farmers and those involved in agricultural
and practical eye to
juxtaposing a blueprint for better farming with practices that enhance
farmer's bottom line creates a book that is as practical as it is
Return to Index
Real Clear Publishing
chronicles of history, male speech-makers are typically highlighted
are portrayed as clapping on the sidelines of their success. That's why
While Female: 75 Extraordinary Speeches by American Women is
powerful and important—it captures women's voices and showcases their
to illustrate that women are no less capable in this department than
They've just been understated and buried in a patriarchal society's
representation of historical characters and strengths.
of women's voices in America exposes and captures their nuances,
equally powerful presentations. Rubin herself is curator and founder of
Female Speech Bank. As a notable speaker, Rubin created this project to
highlight women's voices, illustrating and returning their power to
and social significance and, through this book, hopefully widespread
although very accessible to individual pursuit, would really shine when
utilized by drama students, in women's issues classrooms, and by
history discussion groups. The speeches themselves raise many important
both in their content and by their choice of words and passion.
note is that these works assume a chronological strength made uniform
historical journey through women's experiences from the 1800s to modern
Many won't anticipate that a modern-sounding subject such as Lucy
impromptu speech "Disappointment is the Lot of Women" would be presented as a moving speech in October
17, 1855 at the Seventh Women’s Rights Convention at Smith &
in Cincinnati, Ohio.
words ring with
strength and protest:
of Woman’s Rights is a practical one. The notion has prevailed that it
an ephemeral idea; that it was but women claiming the right to smoke
the streets, and to frequent barrooms. Others have supposed it a
comparative intellect; others still, of sphere. Too much has already
and written about woman’s sphere. Trace all the doctrines to their
they will be found to have no basis except in the usages and prejudices
is just a single
example of an eye-opening
collection that corrects the absence of women in the history of
orators, bringing to life the topics, repression, and achievements of
the speech-maker or writer, but her fellow female audiences at that
wide range of library
collections will see popularity
with this survey, which ideally will not just be studied by
utilized in group and classroom settings, as well as book clubs, as a
for debates and consideration of women's words and the force with which
were written and delivered. Their impact on modern audiences interested
women's history and issues cannot be stressed enough.
Return to Index
Grief and Loss: Compassionate Stories
and Practical Wisdom to Help You Heal
Robert Jackman, LCPC
Practical Wisdom Press
978-1-7354445-6-7 $19.95 Paper/$8.99 ebook
The Tender Path of Grief
and Loss: Compassionate
Stores and Practical
Wisdom to Help You Heal adds to psychotherapist Robert
Wisdom Healing Series, which includes Healing
Your Lost Inner Child and its
Companion Workbook, and Healing Your Wounded Relationship. It
tackles the pain of loss and the deep grief that accompanies it with
descriptions that will resonate with anyone who is struggling
after experiencing loss:
"...fearful sorrow is not
the bogeyman. We are, in
fear of ourselves, seeing ourselves so small and trivial next to this
grief. This unwelcome friend is more a part of us than we know, our
and ending. Take a pinch of this raw sorrow, so new and unknown. Taste
bitter edges and realize it isn’t lethal, but ignoring it just may be."
strength of this book lie in the disparate stories of grief that
includes as examples of healing and transcendence. Each story presents
different kind of loss and reactions that illustrate how to acknowledge
face defeat and its ongoing presence in life.
the "tender path" are covered through various examples: "In
the first phase of the tender path,
we respond to the loss based on the emotional landscape within us at
of the loss." These offer a progressive series of lessons
each loss experience and add wisdom, insights, and lessons to help
understand the disparate processes of grief and how different people
them: "You will learn the difference
between grief and depression and the reasons why some people can’t move
will also learn how to determine whether you are choosing restorative
indulgent responses to the pain of your loss."
path" to healing embraces three phases: "the
shockwave, the stretch, and the solace." Each holds
insights key to not just understanding, but moving along in the process.
maintaining fluidity and strength, and his assessing focus that
there is no right or wrong way to grieve, outlines the invitations and
signposts during the process that point the way to growth and healing.
approach serves as a blueprint for those afraid of getting stuck at
places as loss is integrated into the rest of their lives.
supporting this process present diverse, heartfelt, eye-opening
the various phases of traversing the "tender path" towards healing.
Each represents a window of opportunity for readers to use the
consider their own transformative options and processes.
come to be
seen as not just an outcome, but an opportunity? Those grieving may not
perceive this; but in the end, the transformative prospects can be
result is a primer that should be on the reading lists not just of
have lost and are grieving, but any human being who would better
to find hope in hopeless situations.
"tender path" involves an amazing journey of growth and realization.
Its message offers wide-ranging opportunities for reflection,
insights on the individual level and for those in groups, making The Tender Path of Grief and Loss a top
recommendation for libraries seeking self-help and psychology books
uncomfortable truths and comfortable insights that support and
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fascinated by Stephanie Kane's opening
references in her fictional novel Quiet Time, which
contained more than
a few elements of truth based on her own family story, will here
Quiet Time wasn't just based on fiction, but on
Kane's life. That she
takes additional time here, in True Crime Redoux,
to more fully explore
the realities of her family entanglements and the truths that emerged
is testimony to both resilience and a search for truth that will
engross readers from the start:
Frye had been indicted for his
wife’s murder. The charges were inexplicably dropped, and for the nine
during which I was married to their son, the crime was not discussed.
divorced, I tunneled into an existence strangely like my protagonist’s:
corporate lawyer by day, haunted at night by Betty’s murder and the
that somehow our wedding had been the catalyst for the explosion of
ended her life. By the early 1990s, it was time to put my ghosts to
it was serendipity
that the novel she'd written,
which was changed so radically that the real events remained largely
emerged again to become the focal point reopening a cold case with a
confession from the murderer's sister.
her notes and draft
copies subpoenaed in a move that
led Kane to question "what I’d done to real people to exorcise my own
ghosts," the dual process of being a writer and exposing the truth
in a powerful manner that is as thought-provoking for its examination
fine line between fiction and fact as it is for its true crime
will be entranced by
this complex story, which
moves through emotional turbulence and criminal investigations alike.
assumes the factual deliverance of a memoir, a crime probe, and a
reflection as it embeds its story with the authority of solid literary
expression: "A telling detail captures the essence of what is
described. Like a perfectly framed snapshot, it says more than it
it embeds itself in one’s memory."
probe of murder,
crime, family connections and the
psychological ramifications of confession and eventual justice is
seeking true crime
stories for their
collections will find that True Crime Redux lends
especially well to
book club recommendation for its powerful threads of discussion on
from family secrets and legacies to the processes of justice and
which draw innocent and guilty alike into a complex web of secrets and
family's deadly entanglements.
Return to Index
of American Terror
Rev. Kenneth W. Wheeler
$29.95 Hardcover/$19.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
US: The Resurrection of
is a memoir of Black anger
and struggle, and comes from an Evangelical Lutheran pastor who
white supremacy as the real terrorist threat on American soil.
growing up in the Jim Crow South, Wheeler embarks on a historical and
examination of racism and prejudice which exposes how its roots and
contamination have touched not only seven decades of his own life, but
experiences of every Black person in modern America.
civil rights struggles and insights about the roots and impact of white
supremacy as readers receive an unusual blend of scripture references
social examination that embraces scholarly and spiritual works alike.
grief in response to senseless shootings to personal, political, and
examination on the deepest levels, Wheeler shows how his search for
him to look to Biblical references to explain and explore Black
"When I learned of this
shooting I immediately
turned to Psalm 88.
It is a Psalm that is rarely used in the Church because it conveys such
bleakness. The Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann calls Psalm 88
of deep lament. The words of Psalm 88 are the words spoken by people
faced an evil that has turned their world upside down. The evil has
disoriented. The enigma of slavery was the beginning of our nation’s
disorientation. You stand in a place where everything that once gave
meaning and mooring and balance has been taken from you at an instant."
of this memoir reflects both a call to action, a drive for wisdom, and
Wheeler's own experiences in a major white Lutheran denomination that
glaringly scarce in its own examples of racial diversity. The hopes
by such a congregation seemed more like "white noise" than sincere
efforts to be inclusive or representative.
of the writer and US: The Resurrection of
American Terror sets this memoir apart from most others. Far
another civil rights history or personal story of struggle, US: The Resurrection of American Terror
offers an unusual blend of scholarship and religious inspection that
make it especially
recommendable to religious library holdings.
well as libraries catering to diverse populations interested in issues
participation in largely White groups, will find US:
The Resurrection of American Terror holds many groundbreaking
insights that deserve to be included in book clubs and social issues
Return to Index
Love Can Do
Katharine Hope Levy
Romance Without Borders Publishing
979-8-9874570-0-9 $14.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
do not come easy, and are not always seen as such. What
Love Can Do is a literary romance story about lost
opportunities and new chances.
entering her forties—but many would never know it. Attractive and
confident and self-sufficient, she harbors a sensitivity that is shaken
unexpected text from Matt Conroy, a beau from twenty years ago.
a situation which has long plagued Matt, and which she had blocked from
memory. Now, after all these years, he is ready to confront its lasting
impact—only to find that she's moved on so thoroughly that the past has
shrouded in secrecy and the bliss of ignorance.
Matt share many ideals; not the least of which is about love: “My mom used to say that cardinals teach us
that real love takes time and that you need to be patient and
when the right person comes along, you’ll know it because you’ll be
able to see
into each other’s hearts and souls. She said that with true love, all
how to be with one another, absorb forgotten lessons of the past, and
contemplate entering and leaving a new relationship, each becomes
not only the second chance of their encounter after so much time, but
connections to others.
with Brad for three years before they broke up over the issue of having
children she coveted and he didn't want to raise. As she and Matt
relationships, why failures occurred, and differences in ideals and
to life, they begin to realize that second chances may not be all they
kind of second chance evolves from serendipity and long repressed
Jennifer finds herself on a whirlwind of change.
graphic sex scenes pepper the story, adding sultry attraction for
readers who like their stories hot, whether they are physical
play that permeates this story is as compelling as the discussions
love and expectations between the couple, and the fiery passions they
in one another. Katharine Hope Levy creates a warm, compelling love
rests as much on transformation and two powerful individuals coming
different ways as it does on the juxtaposition of past and present-day
experiences and expectations. Cemented by equally powerful characters
discover renewed possibilities in their lives by joining together, What Love Can Do is heartwarming and
readers seeking women's fiction that tingles with renewed connection,
considerations of individuality and growth, and blossoming passion that
operates on physical and psychological levels alike will find What Love Can Do steeped in powerful
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Would You Rather?
Brown Dog Books and The Self-Publishing Partnership Ltd.
978-1-83952-517-9 $15.83 Paper/$5.99 ebook
Which Would You Rather? features
sociopath misfit protagonist named Brian Rayment, whose proclivity for
snafus lands him in a series of mishaps and crimes that continually
his well-being and his world.
perception of life comes not from rose-colored glasses, but lenses
artistic observations, film references, and angst.
the tricks he likes to contemplate playing on others and his checklist
irritations with neighbor Tony Bartlock, Brian moves from petty
murder with a deftness that incorporates his years of film passion and
personal camera's eye observing the world around him with a jaded and
expecting the typical murder mystery or tale of intrigue will find that
Puckett excels at getting into the mind of the psychopathic
Brian's motivations, conclusions, and errant behaviors become logical
understandable under Puckett's pen—but there's also a wry humor that
underneath Brian's interactions with others:
"His random answering system wasn’t working, mainly because they were messing it up. They wouldn’t ask proper questions. If they approached it like twenty questions – just yes/no answers – then perhaps we could get somewhere. He decided to abandon it and be creative. ‘He had a big, mouthy mouth and small, tiny, titchy teeth.’ It occurred to Brian that he never seemed to see or describe any normal-looking people. Maybe he should throw in a few normal attributes for the sake of realism. ‘He had an ordinary nose and some ordinary hair.’"
humor drives the story line, adding a whimsical taste of irony and fun
navigates all kinds of unexpected situations:
"Brian was very rarely
speechless, so he didn’t quite know how to handle it. He tried to say
but physically couldn’t say anything. How could a person you were
arrest just tell you to ‘shut up’ and ‘stop being silly’? It was
wrong reaction. It just wasn’t true to life. You’d never get that
happening in Prime Suspect."
The world never quite fits into Brian's expectations and experiences, and so he makes adjustments (sometimes radical) to achieve the kinds of outcomes that come from talking to the police or serving as a witness. The result is an unexpectedly fun crime spree romp which follows Brian into a murky world of increasing challenges and trouble.
logic is impeccable in Brian's reactions to his quicksand of
story builds a satisfying tension surrounding a flawed character whose
to gain traction in his world just land him deeper into trouble.
looking for British-based scenarios and stories of murder gone awry
much to appreciate in Which Would You
Rather?, which follows Brian into a leap of faith, possible
romance, and an
irresistible which-would-you-rather scenario that pushes him ever
situations he struggles to escape.
Return to Index
979-89858043-0-0 $28.00 Hardcover
Your Best Life:
Tactics, Tools, and Insights
to Create a Life of Fulfillment, Joy and Abundance provides a blueprint for creating an
extraordinary life, but it doesn't take the usual route of self-help
enlightenment books. Instead, it purposely violates typical conventions
"going wide" instead of narrowing its topics and focus, packing in
visuals for more than a linear experience while employing sparse
that is easy on the eye.
read either in progression or by skipping around, as the topics lend to
browsing and encourage taking the time to absorb the ideas presented.
admonition to "highlight, scribble, doodle, then share" makes this
book more recommendable as a personal acquisition and journal than a
lend, but its messages and invitations are such that it will ideally
permanently on a home bookshelf for regular review rather than in a
offering only a week or two of limited reading time.
inherent skepticism about the laws of attraction and his take on how
concept can be successfully applied, to the jobs of living consciously
purposefully by honing communication and perception processes that are
purposefully enlightening, Your Best Life
is filled with practical life applications.
more than ideals and actually work is cemented by stories and examples
by science and facts. The approaches to better living are concrete.
with possible typical life scenarios in which Mike X changed his own
"It turns out that the
apply whether you’re trying to talk a guy out of jumping off a bridge
to make your spouse feel better after you said something stupid and
insensitive. The first step is always the same: connect. You need to
the strongest possible connection at the current moment in time. (It
matter how connected you were yesterday.) With the guy on the bridge,
begins with asking his name and telling him your name. With your wife,
could skip the introductions, but—until she feels like you’ve really
with her and with how she feels at this instant—you’re a stranger to
are followed by the "how" of better approaches that blend studies in
neuroscience and other disciplines with concrete moves that defy the
magic-tamping patterns of life.
these tools and tactics requires only a flexible mind open to
new avenues for reaching personal, interpersonal, and life success.
interested in taking the next step into personal transformation and
enlightenment will want to take Your Best
Life and run with it. Its examples and ideas are meant to be
action and are eminently achievable for all readers at all walks of
making Your Best Life a highly
recommended self-help title over many others.
Return to Index
Your Space, Made Simple
Blue Star Press
Simple offers formulas for
affordable DIY interior decorating, and should be made a staple on the
bookshelves of anyone renovating their home.
usual review of the design process, but then departs from similar
design books by providing a series of blueprints for design options
encourage uniformity of style and thinking.
of 'recipes' for redesigning various rooms of the house, from kitchen
bathroom to dining room. The section on outdoors space is particularly
important because modern living has begun to embrace the outdoors in
same inclusive way as the indoors, with weather-resistant furniture,
and heating structures offering opportunities for extending the house's
footage of living space.
sizing techniques for assuring that all designs are in sync with each
the house's structure, melding art, design, and function in different
based on individual routines and habits. Lists of equipment needed for
redesign, options, and assessments include organizational directions
getting the job done.
diagrams, and layouts accompany insights from Ariel Magidson's work
clients in developing concepts that also are sensitive to political
about cultural appropriation and literal and symbolic impact.
Simple goes far
interior design displays to consider not just the usage of a home, but
message it embraces, reflects, and embeds in its design choices.
seeking DIY interior design books that offer recipes not just for
psychic support will find Your Space, Made Simple filled with insights and ideas that other design
Return to Index
Fitzroy Books/Regal House Publishing
9781646033072 $8.95 Paper/$8.49 ebook
August or Forever provides children with a story of siblings
and blended families, and tells of ten-year-old Molly, whose older
Alison lives on another continent entirely. They maintain connection
letters, but it's not the same as being under the same roof, like many
friends enjoy. At last, however, Alison is coming to visit with them
entire summer ... and there may be a way Molly can get her to stay.
more about being a sister and discovers some secrets about why Alison
far away, she comes to realize that her illusions about this sibling
expectation that she will conform to Molly's ideal of sisterhood are
than distance? Raised apart, Molly and Alison still hold a family
which comes into play and keeps them together even when psychological
physical distance separate them.
a compelling story of what it means to be sisters. Through ten-year-old
first-person insights, new realizations about her older sister's
and approaches to life come to light to provide thought-provoking
siblings who pursue August or Forever.
This special form of enlightened understanding evolves a tale that
around dreams, expectations, and changing realities:
"The one person who
gets this about me is
Diane, which is why she’s the one person I’ll let join me in my room
draw. We’ll sit next to each other on my bed, and she’ll quietly work
Diane loves to write, but never gets to do it at home for obvious
guess I’d always assumed it would be the same for Alison and me. We’d
our shared room in the evenings, each silently working."
August or Forever is a warm story of sisters who are very
different in many ways, yet bonded in others. Its message and
these different experiences and ideals will encourage young readers to
understand their own siblings—especially if blended families are
revealed in family history and her older sister's secret adds a further
of intrigue and revelation to a story that offers just the right blend
revelation and discovery to the sibling encounter.
seeking novels about blended families and sister relationships will
find August or Forever deserves not
profile on a library shelf, but recommendation to classrooms interested
assigned reading and opportunities for group inspections of family
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Diane Campbell Green
is the sixth book in the Becky Chalmers series for advanced elementary
middle grade readers. Like its predecessors, Becky's 1960s life is
with a close attention to contrasting Becky's experiences, perspective,
coming of age with the cultural and social milieu of the '60s. This
the perfect choice for modern young readers who would learn about this
of time and the forces affecting its young people.
story opens with Becky
and her sister-friend Sharon
discussing the elementary school's spring dance, which will be their
Campbell Green does a
fine job of both introducing
the adults in Becky's life and adding their perspectives to Becky's
world: "In the Chalmers household, Becky’s
mom, Jackie, focused on her daughter’s first dance. Jackie was ready to
Becky, her oldest child, into the grown-up world of school dances.
Jackie had met Jim when they were both nine-years-old."
times, an adult reader might wonder at points
of authenticity (in the '60s, adults were seldom identified by their
names, by children), one can argue that, for the sake of relevance to
young readers and their experiences, any slight adjustments such as
the story more accessible and realistic to modern audiences (today,
are known to children by their first names).
"bumps and curves" of a maturing body and the mental changes that
lend new interest to different relationships with boys and their
change, readers receive a realistic portrait of a girl facing physical
emotional maturity challenges in nearly every aspect of her life.
capture not just peer interactions, but shared family experiences.
portrayed as an obstacle that introduces creative thinking; especially
Christmas when first the oven, then the power, go out on the cusp of
biggest entertainment day of the year:
“It’s nice to be inside
and with family on
Christmas Eve,” Jackie said.
Overnight, ‘nice’ turned to worry; then to catastrophe. When Jackie checked the turkey an hour after putting it into the oven on Christmas morning, it was as raw as when it first went in. The oven was simply not working. Jackie panicked turning to her husband, “Jim, what am I going to do? I have a dozen people to feed this afternoon.”
“Becky,” Daddy said, “go tell Mrs. Edwards our oven is not heating up. We can’t cook anything here.”
Becky slid on the ice, covered now with a thick layer of snow. At the Edwards house she gave the message to Pat. Right at that moment, all of Cadwallader Court lost power when a tree, heavy with ice and snow snapped the last of the working power lines. The adults huddled.
readers might anticipate a story replete with boy-crazy dilemmas, but
much more going on than boys alone.
shared experiences and questions about school, boys, changing
new ventures, Becky receives life lessons that set the stage for growth
and her world to life. Libraries seeking stories rooted in the milieu
1960s will welcome yet another exploration that brings these times and
girl to modern audiences as it explores how enemies become friends and
individuals from disparate experiences (even boys and girls) learn to
with one another in new ways.
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SilverWood Books Ltd.
Bobby and Bubba's Small
Adventures is a
picture book that
introduces Bobby and Bubba, British bulldogs that live in the middle of
Their walks of discovery around Chelsea are illustrated by Adam Share,
brings to life the appeal of two dogs that survey and explore their
who choose Bobby
and Bubba's Small
Adventures as a nightly read-aloud will find plenty of detail
and fun in
these "small adventures" as the bulldogs explore their world and
their perceptions of it.
emergency visit to the vet by Daddy Alexander to Bob and Bubba's love
grooming (which feels suspiciously like a spa day adventure), Anthony
presents the world through these dog's eyes, capturing the delight of
daily interactions with one another, their family, and their world.
in dog stories will find much to enjoy in this title, which embeds life
into these experiences in a manner adults can employ to discuss values
very young: "It dawned on them that
while happiness may depend upon ourselves, true happiness is found in
little often unremembered acts of kindness to others. It was that, and
their new found stardom, which made this day their ‘best by far’."
Bobby and Bubba's Small
Adventures is an
exploration of life
experience, choices, and lessons that deserves feature both in
libraries and through home read-aloud discussions that bring forth the
underlying positivity and messages of these dog's-eye experiences of
Return to Index
Thousand Acres Press
978-1-956450-60-6 $7.99 ebook
everything is ordinary and fine. A rock concert featuring the Mystic
Weasels engrosses twelve-year-old witch Jilly Pleeth and her friend
Lluck in a
fun event. The next minute, reality changes in another fantasy addition
series that returns Lluck and fellow characters to a new magical
everything changes, for an instant, and band singer Chantz may have
to do with it. Her enchanting voice is a spell that draws Jilly beyond
and into a scenario that awakens her sense of danger. She knows
wrong—but even the savvy friends around her don't seem to sense
anything awry: "Something from that
she’d just been dragged through seemed to have hitched a ride back and
a keen and unwelcome eye on her."
the focal point in a new fantasy encounter which continues to test
Lluck, Qwyrk, and others who have been profiled in previous books in
easily delve into this world via smooth reflections and introductions
refer to past events while focusing on evolving dilemmas, prior fans
especially inviting the ways in which these disparate lives dovetail to
new challenges and growth processes.
humor into the discoveries. This will delight readers used to the staid
approaches of fantasy quests and adventures:
“It says here that the
Sluagh are fearsome, but not
“Well, I know that; I kicked some of their feathered arses in York, quite literally. Sent them packing,” Qwyrk said with a bit of pride."
All magic leaves a trail.
As a team of
magic-wielding, savvy kids
uncover clues about their latest adversary and consider the forces that
breach enchanted barriers, pre-teens, teens, and many an adult reader
vivid adventure notable for its ongoing character development and
both to past books and growth processes that test these young peoples'
powers and perceptions.
Lluck aren't the only characters receiving feature and focus here. A
others (including Moirin, who faces a stolen life, illusions, and a
brother) bring their own special concerns into the fold to share center
with the kids.
stories that either expand their series origins or stand nicely on
will find Chantz a compelling
adventure that embraces magical realism as well as fantasy. It neatly
juxtaposes real-world concerns (such as rock concerts) with the
presence of magical forces underlying them for a rich read in fantasy
social ideals alike.
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Carter Carver's Way
is a children’s picture book about a smart young African American boy
Carter. Carter loves school and is good at many things. He simply does
understand the concept of colors. He's managed to keep it a secret by
different ways to guess the colors presented to him.
that eventually his classmates will find out that he doesn’t really
colors and has to guess them. When that happens, he’s sure they will
him. Should he keep his secret safe by just staying home from
wise mother patiently
listens to his concern and
comes up with an idea. Hopefully, with a little support at home and
creative consideration on his part, she can help him think through his
and possibly find a resolution.
Carver's Way is more than a story about color perception.
problem-solving, positivity, support systems, and handling the
teasing that comes from being perceived as different or lacking by
Carter and his
mother's reactions and approach to
his big issue, kids ages 4-9 receive insights on how their everyday
may be solved through some creative alternative thinking.
Carver's Way provides many lessons suitable for adult and
and discussion. Ideally, it will be chosen as an example of positive
creative approaches to life's adversities, empowering a child to
their own abilities, disabilities, and attitudes.
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Space Kid: Do
978-1-7366774-5-2 $2.99 Kindle/$4.99 Paper
third book in the Eudora
Space Kid chapter book
series provides young readers with another space-based adventure. Do the Robot! presents the dilemma faced
by third-grader Eudora, a technology and math kid whiz who has been
aliens and lives in space on a ship.
aspires to become the
spacecraft's chief engineer
someday, though her proclivity for disaster and trouble thwart her
When she inadvertently breaks Lootenant Commander Walter (the
robot officer on board, and her friend), Eudora is charged with fixing
mistake ... or tricking the entire space ship into thinking Walter is
okay and is not broken.
excels in making "big
plans" that often
go awry, with hilarious results. Chapter book readers absorbing her
conundrum's odd twists and turns will be entertained by her dilemmas
peppering of black-and-white drawings that accompanies them.
David Horn adopts a chatty tone as Eudora explains and explores her life: "Engineering is just using math and science to make cool machines and things. Like the ship’s engines. And to make cool things, I also needed to learn about computer coding. So I taught myself that stuff too. You can’t believe the fun you can have when you can do all these things. Like the time . . . oh, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow."
attraction as readers absorb an
action- and technology-packed space adventure that tests Eudora's
popularity with the prior Eudora
books or new to her space-faring conundrums will find Book 3, Eudora Space Kid: Do the Robot!, a fine
blend of humor, problem-solving approaches, and action and adventure.
Return to Index
KP Publishing Company
and her mother open
this picture book story with an
exploration of the chocolate Bermuda fudgsicle, but young readers
ice cream will soon find that the story expands to consider more than a
bright, fun illustrations to
words, bringing Novi's world to life as her Caribbean mother decides to
introduce her both to the new treat and novel concepts about life and
in it: "Just like you, it's a smooth
chestnut dynamic delight," Novi's mom said.
the American notion
of a fudgsicle, these
Caribbean delights come in many flavors. As the child observes the
hues of brown and relates them to people she knows, readers will relish
attraction each flavor brings to the personalities Novi pairs them with.
is the common word
descriptions which celebrate different people of color and their joyful
presence in Novi's life.
story empowers black and
brown girls to not just
understand color differences, but celebrate them.
read-aloud inspection and fun,
Fudgsicle's lesson in positivity is
the perfect choice for parents seeking to teach the very young a lesson
celebrating delicious differences in life and between people of color.
self-awareness, developing confidence, and
handling disappointments that accompany this basic understanding of
self offer many opportunities for discussion and insight, all couched
delicious flavors of a special Bermuda treat.
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Hayley Reese Chow
979-8583619184 ebook: $0.99, paperback: $4.57
The Gatekeeper of Pericael,
twelve-year-old Porter has the task of channeling spirits from the
universe of Pericael while maintaining a seemingly-ordinary life as
part of a
family on Earth—a family charged with being Gatekeepers between the two
thief enters this scenario and challenges Porter's desire to maintain a
delicate balance between two worlds, he finds himself in Pericael,
to survive and maintain and absorb his powers as the gatekeeper's son.
bigger-picture thinking, young Porter can't help but wish his life was
He expresses this frustration in ways and during events that other
present differently (but less realistically). True to his young nature,
isn't as interested in being heroic as he is in living an ordinary life
being accepted by his peers. This juxtaposes with his loftier position
mission in life and provides a (perhaps) annoyingly realistic portrait
of a boy
who just wants to play games and remain less than a superhero despite
heritage and mission.
readers may balk at the way Porter faces his challenges and how sisters
Conri confront the same adversities in a different manner, the strength
story lies in many of its realistic scenarios in which a young hero
doesn't want to step up to the job that tests his childhood.
growth process, as it so often is, proves so sudden that some might
say it's nearly a magical transformation of attitude; but growth isn't
linear process. The lessons Porter receives and rejects are suddenly
in a satisfyingly unpredictable manner that remains true to life's
Ames and Yassa to Fira and Conri, a host of characters both
support Porter's evolutionary process and contrast nicely with it with
own perspectives on courage and purpose.
result is surprisingly complex for a pre-teen fantasy, but provides
characters whose choices and actions don't always embrace the idea of
but the desire to live their lives in ways they choose rather than what
seeking fantasies that hold the opportunity for wide-ranging
discussions and insights among children's and preteen book clubs will
spirited psychologists twists and turns of The
lend to discussion as well as attractive
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Mystic Owl Publishing
979-8-9860450-3-0 $4.99 ebook/$14.99 paperback
enjoy historical fiction about brave, proactive girls will find Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery,
Daring, and Adventure a satisfying blend of romance and
It profiles young women who rise to the challenge of helping not just
themselves, but those around them, whether they be family or strangers.
the genre of historical fiction, Hometown
Heroines makes an important case for the fact that history
need not be dry
and dull. Each of the nineteen profiles of 1800s girls that Betty Bolté
in her book features a vivid life filled with pivotal moments that
newfound skills or choices that test each young woman's mettle.
typical problems with presenting history to young people. She grew up
history's dryness and boring attention to dates and details, but became
resolved, as an adult writer, to introduce a different type of story to
adults that brings events to life.
Perhaps one key to why these tales stand out from other types of YA historical writings is that Bolté presents the stories with an especially strong feel of familiarity reinforced by her travels to the regions each young woman lived in.
This lends a
"you are here" feel to the stories as each girl navigates a different
milieu that results in local commemoration of her actions and choices.
in age from seven to twenty years old. Each demonstrates capability,
and a reasoning process that, combined with action, led them to take
and resolve adversarial situations.
sketch includes a "just the facts" section that synthesizes only the
facts, for historical accuracy, citing their sources so students have
references to consult when producing papers or conducting further
especially lively portrait of young girls and women who chose uncommon
proactive paths in their lives against all odds. Hometown
Heroines is a cornucopia of portraits in courage that read
with the vivid re-enactment drama of fiction, but holds breathtaking
that will captivate a wide age range.
If only one
collection of female biographical sketches could be chosen to represent
historical events and portraits of courage, it should be Hometown
Heroines. The synthesis of fictional drama with plenty of
fact-based, research-supported information makes it a standout, as
recommendable to leisure readers and non-history fans as it will be to
who enjoy reading about proactive young women who face their challenges
courage and resolution.
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and the Invisible
979-8986070254 $18.95 Hardcover/$11.99 Paper
book readers ages
3-7 will find Isabel and the Invisible World a
in scientific discovery that presents a young girl, her magnifying
her passion for observing strange worlds around her.
is interested in not
just observing life in
unusual places, but solving mysteries. Her magnifying glass enlarges
providing clues that can solve such disparate puzzles as what is eating
mother's garden plants and what is causing her dog to itch.
illustrations by Nadia Ronquillo
capture Isabel's interest in solutions that solve problems around her.
to observe, she sees things other children overlook."
experiences, young readers are also
encouraged to more carefully observe the world around them and the
big and small, which deserve attention and closer inspection.
a magnifying glass
gift will accompany any
read-aloud effort or a self-reading child's pursuit of Isabel's world.
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rarely mix with romance, but Kaitlyn's
Wheel takes a different approach to the usual abduction
theme in adding
romance into the picture.
eighteen-year-olds in different parts of
the country experience the possibility of an alien abduction in
One sees it as a possibility that her father hasn't died of cancer, but
exists. The other uses it as an excuse for his absence at school.
observation of a
UFO the night her father left
them sparks within her a desire for something more to come of life's
inevitable death, so when she meets Zachary, whose contentions about
have gone viral and made him a media focus, his alternate reality
develop between them is based on
not just new possibilities, but a lie that leads Zachary into as
territory as Kaitlyn's passionate pursuit of a belief that influences
perceptions and choices.
Zachary and Kaitlyn
explore not just their connections
but the beliefs that brought them together, they discover truths that
rock their foundations and expectations about their lives and each
Halvorson creates a
winning combination in his examination
of two disparate sides of an extraordinary issue, considering how
lies change each character both individually and as a couple.
an antidote to
depression, Zachary's story begins to
change both his outlook on life and his perception of his influence in
world. Even then, he knows that "he’d shied away from the
now he wasn’t so sure what that truth even was."
their thoughts about
aliens becomes mercurial and
challenging, their relationship changes. Readers will find the
growth process especially intriguing, given the different perspectives
close inspection throughout the story. A surprise twist also lends
insights as the alien experiences become bigger than either life itself
character's perception of their life-changing influence.
collections looking for
thought-provoking stories that
focus on the growth process of and connections between teens on the
changing their worlds will find Kaitlyn's Wheel powerfully
thoroughly engrossing for the emotional growth process paths its
choose, navigating through alien and romance experiences alike.
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Meritxell Andreu Publisher
979-8-9859038-2-9 $20.99 Hardcover/$9.99 Paper
are in for a treat with Lauren the Cow,
between T.I. Frazier's inspirational story of a cow who aspires to be
special and Meritxell Andreu's colorful illustrations that bring Lauren
world to life.
Jersey cow that lives on a farm with her mother. She wants to be a
"jumping cow," but her wiser mother informs her that this goal isn't
achievable for a cow. If there's another thing that Lauren is, it's
Obviously, all that's required is some training. And so she sets off to
her goal by getting stronger and testing her limits.
Lauren's story aloud, there's plenty of opportunity to add supplemental
about perseverance, belief, empowerment, and all kinds of other themes
need to know in order to pursue their own "impossible" dreams. As
other creatures become involved in Lauren's dream, lessons about
support systems also enter to form a bigger picture.
colorful drawings that bring this world to life, Lauren
the Cow holds an adventure and a message that adults will
find powerfully perfect for kids who need encouragement to envision and
for their own "impossible" dreams.
the story adds further delight to a picture book highly recommended for
and home collections alike.
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Friends With Feelings
Friends With Feelings is a gentle picture book exploration of
the very young, and uses cute bunny images illustrated by Kate Gleyzer
appeal to the story.
basic focus is on
developing understanding and
compassion for others. Even little bunnies can feel confused, sad, or
for different reasons.
Molly has been in
foster care for a long time, and
is facing a new place. Even though it sports toys and appeal, she is
and uncertain. But on the floor near the play equipment is another
seems to feel even sadder than she, and so Molly reaches out. Bunny
observes the two from the top of the play castle and is confused about
friendships and role.
emotion, from sadness
to confusion and fear, is
described, represented in appealing, colorful pictures, and repeated
times so that read-aloud adults can emphasize the emotion being
array of emotions unfolds
as the story progresses,
from thinking and feeling to courage, happiness, and the desire to
story features an emotion-based plot that easily explains each bunny's
different reaction and the conflict they can introduce.
result is an exploration
of emotions that engages all
ages with a story of bunnies who face others and themselves with
who choose this story
to help the very young
understand their feelings will find Making
Friends With Feelings visually compelling and emotionally
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Making Friends With
Sandra L Rostirolla
978-0-9991891-8-4 $15.95 Paperback/$28.00 Hardcover/$9.99 ebook
With Monsters is a YA
novel that tackles the
heady subjects of depression and unbalanced families. It explores how
just understand, but talk about the too-often-unspoken 'monster in the
that affects family relationships, yet reinforces its isolating message
Yes, the author admits the
book's contents and approach may be 'triggering' to some. It should be.
monsters she tackles still walk among those in society who face
shaming, and family dysfunction which remains confined to the four
home, growing with the tacit acceptance of the edict not to tell.
The first-person narrator
the story with a bang of realistic observation about family dynamics,
life, and a growing mental illness that takes over Sam's family: "The moment Dad picks
up the phone, a sickening feeling races through
my stomach, like I know something bad is going to happen. Kind of like
scary movie, when someone does something they shouldn’t do, and that
decision sets off a chain of events that may seem unrelated, but really
connected by a Monster that’s hiding in the dark, slowly scratching at
wall, waiting to attack."
Drought and stressful
awakened the beast at the heart of this family's world, and as chaos
unpredictability devour and threaten routines and ordinary life, Sam
descends into a form of angst that threatens to erupt.
The wrong decision
the introductory chapter continues to grow as Sam's family experiences
turbulence and Sam's relationship with his beloved older brother
isolating Sam and shutting out everyone: "I
don’t wear Ben’s jersey to look cool. I wear it because, well, I used
his stuff because I wanted to be him. Who wouldn’t? He’s a sports hero
a ton of mates and the best girlfriend. Now, I wear his jersey because
only way I know how to feel close to him. He’s changed so much; I don’t
who he is anymore."
With Monsters depicts,
more carefully and
realistically than most, the inner sanctum of family relationships and
happens when they are breached from a force within.
Sandra L Rostirolla is
especially adept at capturing daily routines, outside life forces of
which buffet the family, and the psychological profiles of parents and
who become lost in the process of confronting and containing an
that threatens to grow beyond their ability to survive.
As Sam confronts his
demons, his father's choices, and his own role in changing family
readers receive a powerful saga of change and confrontation that will
to examine their own family dynamics and perceptions of different forms
dysfunction and mental illness:
agonizing over whether Dad’s Monster is on the verge of swallowing him
Ever since the water truck incident, when his Monster decided our
for water was more important than its hunger, I figure Dad’s Monster
has a ton
more digging to do before it even scratches Dad’s
surface. Of course, this way of thinking is my Monster refusing to
the possibility of Dad being on the edge."
Sam's ability to swim
murky waters of individual and group monsters to perceive not just
possible ways out, creates a compelling novel that is gripping from
to end. As the emotional currents carry family and Sam into new and
waters, young readers will be not just invited, but compelled to
of mental health and illness.
With Monsters is highly
recommended not just
for YA libraries seeking novels replete with themes of family evolution
mental conditions, but for adults leading discussion groups about books
scenarios relating to family mental health and illness. This audience
especially inviting the numerous observations, events, and realizations
lend particularly well to group discussion and YA insights about not
living with and enduring, but handling forces of adversity that can
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Cintia Alfonso Fior
Rising Advocate Press
978-1-959963-00-4 $9.99 Paper, $18.99 Hardcover
reach ages 8-12 with a message of power and purpose that incorporates a
of experiences, from a girl's experience with bullying and being an
an encounter with a Native American spirit that sends her on a quest of
self-realization and inspection.
may sound like heady
reading for this age group, but
one of the values of Moraline lies
its ability to inject bigger-picture thinking into the usual pre-teen
experience. This is because its foundations lay in peace education.
Alfonso Fior's purpose is to craft a story that draws with action and
adventure, but equally powerfully introduces new, disparate
racism, inclusiveness, and social justice.
novel's focus on
children's rights, environmental
education, and conflict resolution creates scenarios which introduce
initial flight from her adversaries, then moves into experiences and
which elevate her purpose and teach her about interconnected peoples
to running from
trouble, Moraline is charged with
absorbing different ways of dealing with life and better understanding
options and the impact of her choices. This gives her young readers
empowerment as they receive concurrent lessons on being alone, feeling
connected or alienated, and moving in unfamiliar circles which charge
adventure, strange encounters, and
Moraline's evolutionary process is well done, introducing mystery as
revelation. This will keep young readers engaged as she surveys a world
thought she knew well, only to find surprises changing her choices.
and adults looking
for reading that goes beyond
entertainment value to educate kids about all kinds of subjects, from
interpersonal relationships and connections with nature to tactical
engagement choices, and perseverance will find that Moraline
lends to group or classroom discussion as well as
highly recommended for adults who seek to instill higher-level thinking
peace, social justice, and life and community connections in young
Children matter, and have powerful voices. Perhaps that is the most
lesson Moraline offers.
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My Sister Wants an
Randy's younger sister
is insane. And his
mother seems to be enabling her. In the picture book story My Sister Wants an Elephant, narrated by
Jerica makes a birthday request the family seems to actually entertain.
A tone of jealousy runs
protest of his little sister's demand, because Randy's wanted a llama
"forever," but has yet to receive one.
The family lives in a
apartment, which was the initial excuse for Randy's llama request not
granted. When they moved to a regular house with space indoors and out,
still did not get his dream pet. So, why isn't Jerica's elephant dream
When he gets over his
decides to join forces with his younger sibling.
Lynne Podrat's My Sister
Wants an Elephant sports especially whimsical, engaging,
creative color illustrations by Sarah Gledhill that enhance the story
Randy's decision to insist on achieving his long-term dream.
Emotional peaks and
valleys are charted as
Randy considers his sister's ability to get their parents to agree to
impossible dream, and his lessons on how to turn adversity into new
From fairness to
approaching parents with
one's needs, My Sister Wants an Elephant
surveys many issues, offering many lessons in the course of revealing
family connections and his deepest desires.
Parents who choose this
story for read-aloud
will find the laugh-out-loud moments many and the education value about
ties, compromising, adoption, and sharing lend to ongoing discussions
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Odriel's Heirs is the first book in a YA fantasy series of
the same name, and will appeal to teens who like proactive, strong
protagonists, world-changing stories, and action-packed scenarios of
of the novel paint a powerful portrait of the Dragon Heir: "Kaia Dashul wove a ball of fire between her
the rage simmering beneath a tangle of excited nerves as she watched
festival from the shadowed wood."
power is meant to protect her people from the threat of a dangerous
undead army. However, so many years have passed peacefully that this
threat has become a simmering possibility that seems relatively remote
everyday life, making the Dragon Heir feel like more of a present
threat than a
stop gate to evil.
is just beginning
to learn how to control and apply her powers when the undead re-emerge
threaten everything. She runs away to join the battle and fulfill her
only half-trained in her powers. As rage, driven by teenage hormones,
with her coming-of-age and great responsibilities to save not only
her people, Kaia's situation appeals with not just fantasy adventure,
realistic portrait of a young woman who really just wants to be
associates with the Shadow Heir who wields a similar ability and learns
true meaning of a potential hero's connections and disassociations with
world, Hayley Reese Chow builds a vivid series of battles and scenarios
which epic events sweep archetypal figures off their feet.
juxtaposition of teenage angst and adult purpose are particularly well
Kaia not only walks into her destiny, but strides into battles greater
those within her.
confrontations which drive the action are many and are graphically
lending an aura of reality to the tale: "With
a spin and a wide sweep of her blade, Kaia managed to fling the eyeless
from her body and take three paces before another group tried to pull
She chopped at them with her blade and took a step before another one
its arms around her neck. With one more stumbling lunge she passed
Dorinar’s defense. Screeching, the cobalan on her back slammed into the
barrier as if it were made of brick. More white-skinned cobalans piled
against the yanaa shield, breaking against it like a rough sea on the
Odriel's Heirs is a solid, compelling opening story to the
series, creating an entire world that revolves around a young woman's
blossoming powers and ability to decide how to employ them.
looking for world-building epic fantasy stories that center on strong
and supporting characters that exhibit equally interesting blends of
decision-making prowess will find Odriel's
Heirs well-written and hard to put down.
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of the Lost: The
Paper Lily Press, LLC
979-8-9868117-0-3 $9.95 Paper/$7.95 Kindle
of the Lost:
The Uninviting Forest provides teen readers with a riveting
fantasy. A pack of sentient wolves faces a cave-in at their home and is
to scatter into the nearby forbidden forest without their leader.
and Daffodil discover that the forest holds strange delights as well as
unfamiliar challenges and adversity which come from nature and humans
but they also uncover the roots to special abilities which
explain many puzzles about their origins and connections.
Jasper learns to climb a
tree, shocking the humans,
his search for his littermates becomes a quest for identity and an
understanding that moves beyond the typical wolf pack's intentions and
perceptions and into realms of reality he'd never known existed.
magical amulet, a ghost,
and a quest lead the wolves
into increasingly unfamiliar and dangerous territory marked by legends
adversity as the story unfolds.
Kapoor crafts an
adventure replete with action,
changing scenarios, forces of myth and magic, and the power of sentient
They develop the ability to see dark sides, strength, and new
the form of Felix, a wolf ancestor ghost.
dialogue and actions of
the wolves, as they navigate
precarious worlds with new purpose and understanding, creates a
story. It is an
choice for readers of Watership Down
and other animal-oriented adventure tales, and is highly recommended
libraries seeing patron interest in animal-based fantasies.
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Secrets of Windy Hill:
Light On Publications
9781732506633 $18.99 Print/$8.99 ebook
Windy Hill: Becoming Jesse - Book 2
is a fine sequel to Becoming Jesse,
which introduced an orphan boy born in 1947 New York City, who lives a
steeped in magic and the possibility of discovering answers to the
secretive mother left for him.
first book included a
quest for a missing
grandmother, a villain, and a scheme that tests Jesse's heart's desire
diverting his greatest wish into an effort to thwart evil.
sequel returns Jesse
O'Neil's focus on his quest,
following him to a remote New England island where he moves from the
to rural Windy Hill, which also holds new challenges and secrets.
every step of the way,
Patsie McCandless embeds her
story with magic and adventure, whether it be secret staircases,
mystery shells, secret doors, or the legacies of magic that other
experience along with Jesse.
builds just the
right blend of adventure and
action into a story that follows Jesse into unfamiliar territory and
possibilities he'd never expected. As he navigates new secrets,
and perils, advanced elementary to middle grade readers will appreciate
pull on heart and mind that comes from magic and evolving emotional
result is a story
steeped in love and learning that
follows an orphan into the kinds of relationships, connections, and
lead him to the Light and the truth behind magic.
of the underlying
lessons of this action-packed
adventure will lend to group and classroom discussion and debate as
and adults guide young readers to make the most of Jesse's changing
seeking stories of
action and discovery will
find the mystery-infused magic comes to life in a winning tale that
introduction to Becoming Jesse in
order to prove accessible and compelling to newcomers.
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won't expect The Stallion and His Peculiar Boy
more than a horse story, but its setting during World War II (and the
lesser-known fact that the Nazis relied on a horse breeding program to
them with the mounts they used to carry out their European campaigns)
the value of a historical novel and the allure of a story that leisure
horse fans will relish.
the life of Witez, a Polish horse stolen by the Nazis and brought to
Czechoslovakia for their breeding program. A local non-communicative,
village boy, twelve-year-old Teodor, is assigned to be the horse's
then the magic begins.
not just an unusual piece of World War II history, but probes the
about autism and mental conditions during an era where little was
about either. Evans carefully portrays the sentiments and perceptions
autistic boy who becomes tasked with an extraordinary job: "Teodor watched the tiny world go by, a world into
which he had
been born but had experienced very little. He neither desired, nor was
the opportunity, to interact with it."
himself unexpectedly responsible for and fostering a large animal's
into a different world, so he himself is carried, by this relationship,
new territory in a world which is transforming and reinventing itself
him. The post-war milieu which emerges is one in which Teodor and Witez
find an extraordinary place as they are rescued, sent to America, and
part of a bigger picture than either could have dreamed.
this relationship are very nicely presented and specific: "No one knew how hard the boy struggled to control
with all the changes and upheaval he was facing. His very survival
upon order and routine . . . of which little was to be found. He lost
or perhaps it would be better to say that he saved himself, in caring
powerful evolution that moves from Nazi-occupied Europe to America;
captive breeding programs to the show horse circuit; and from the
repressed world that Teodor is familiar with to a winning relationship
changes horse and boy alike.
of historical fact and intricate details about autism are wound into a
replete with much attraction, making for a highly recommended pick that
libraries should profile for any young reader interested in horses and
remarkable impact they can make in therapeutic situations.
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has a lot
on his plate in Topanga Canyon: Fire
Season. His mother is an alcoholic, he's been sent from
Chicago to his
grandfather's ranch in California, and his urban roots preclude any
with horses or ranching life.
wants is to
get back to his familiar world, where he knows its struggles and has
strategies to handle them. What he gets is not just an unfamiliar
but new challenges that come from the men and horses he is ill-equipped
finds himself facing too many adult situations in which he is forced to
determine the intentions of unscrupulous characters, consider how to
grandfather save his ranch from repossession by the bank, and how to
nefarious character that is capable of wrecking a revenge that destroys
everything his grandfather has worked for.
more permeate a story that is filled with new connections and
Matt learns new techniques for handling horses, men, and life.
who choose Topanga Canyon: Fire Season for
its exciting-sounding promise of fiery results won't be disappointed.
Bryan builds the boy's character with a series of intriguing dilemmas
to the action and adventure embedded in this horse-centric tale.
will find Matt's learning process revealing, it's the young adult
already interested in horses and coming-of-age plots that will best
the vivid scenes and dilemmas Matt faces as he grows into his boots and
too many adult conundrums.
Libraries seeking crossover titles capable of reaching from young adult to adult audiences will find Topanga Canyon: Fire Season a rich blend of insights that lend to thought-provoking reading, book club discussion, and leisure enjoyment alike.Topanga Canyon: Fire Season
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