May 2020 Review Issue
Fantasy & Sci Fi Mystery & Thrillers
C. T. Fitzgerald
9798616940483 $12.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
Athlan is a civilized light in the darkness of the world in Crucibles
Power...but nothing lasts forever, and it too faces the
instability and destruction from dark forces. Only the defenders of
Marfach Gardai, can prevent disaster in Book 1 of the Threat
of Angeals series.
fantasy readers who look for vivid settings and descriptions
receive a healthy dose of each in this story, Book 1 in a four-book
which benefits from C.T. Fitzgerald's strong descriptions: "Cean
before the main gate of the Ban Castlean, the Ivory Castle, chest
bright. Pushed by some otherworldly force, he had run for two days and
to arrive on time. The walls were massive and carved with runes. The
the fortress was white, glowing in the sunlight, on an island nation
other rock was hard, black basalt. There was no explanation. The entire
was carved from the living rock of Radahar."
Mak-Scaire is ready for battle and indeed shows his prowess with
sword and courage as he is summoned to battle a deadly ancient
Exhausted by a series of confrontations which test his abilities even
his goal is reached, he journeys through a land that holds equal
for defeat and promise.
a fisherman's son turned warrior faces the challenges of Angeals, he
also discovers a higher purpose in their involvements in his world: "I
am the Cath Angeal: the Death Angel. I decide who lives or dies. You
put into situations. You will have to make decisions. Your decisions
consequences in the real world. If you choose to save people, they will
saved. If you kill, they will die. Your decisions will determine your
can tell you no more. Remember, be true.”
are they relics of the past or portents of his future? As the
timeline becomes mercurial and he is charged with protecting his
finds within himself power, determination, and most of all, the hope
Mother Earth herself joins the fray, a host of characters on both
sides struggle for survival and a world revision which may consume the
vestiges of civilization.
seeking an epic fantasy replete with battles, strong forces,
convincing characters, and men and women who confront Gaia and other
odds with their world's survival will find Crucibles of
Power fits the bill for an invigorating, compelling read
that builds a series of confrontations and special interests.
warriors require extraordinary heroes to defeat them, and these forces
place in a story that probes the nature of good, evil, and the choices
consequences of warriors and ordinary individuals called upon to be
creates a compelling blend of battle scenes peppered with philosophical
psychological insights. These draw readers into a story that is hard to
down, following Caen's evolution into a Warrior worthy of participating
biggest battle of all.
fantasy readers are in for a treat.
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It Takes Death to
Reach a Star
Stu Jones and Gareth Worthington
$21.95 Hardcover, $17.95 Paper, $8.99 ebook
Audio: free through Audible subscription or available everywhere else for $24.95
The scenario in It
Takes Death to Reach a Star is almost uncanny as it relates
to the latest
coronavirus outbreak. Set in 2251, the story documents the aftermath of
world-wide plague that strikes at the end of World War III, decimating
population and leaving only one conflicted Siberian city intact.
struggle in that city: a poor group naturally immune to the plague and
elite, rich group which has been bioengineered to be immune. Mila is a
of the poor group, forced to work for an organization which wants
Demitri is a member of the elite group, but is ill and dependent upon
expensive, forbidden drug to survive.
The choices made
by these two disparate individuals hold the power to change not just
lives but the remnants of humanity in this vivid story.
There are plenty
apocalyptic stories of survival on the market, but the difference
contrived, mundane production and an extraordinary presentation such as
Takes Death to Reach a Star lies in its depth of
and a sense of place created by the authors. The insights, reflections,
descriptions presented throughout the story are supercharged with
vivid language: "To my genuine surprise, I don’t dream of
flame. Three hours feels like twelve. I’m a new woman, or might as well
least I’ll be able to work tonight. Clief will be happy, and Clief
means a room for a while yet. I swing my feet over the edge of the cot
lower my head to whisper a short chain of rehearsed words. The Graciles
abandoned faith long ago, but for us—for me—the power it has to
motivate, to generate hope, is more powerful than the evils at my door."
It should be
cautioned that It Takes Death to Reach a Star is
no quick thriller or
sci-fi read. Stu Jones and Gareth Worthington take the time to create a
society utilizing in-depth psychology and detailing the political,
psychological, and social influences in a very different world. This
to a satisfyingly detailed account that is anything but quick to
Readers interested in simpler scenarios should look elsewhere.
thrillers offer such simplicity, but what is more satisfying and unique
this story is that it takes time to build a society and atmosphere that
its characters through the sights, sounds, and streets of an
contrasting its social makeups in the process: "This side of
run-down and desolate. What was a shadowy blessing before has now
curse. Here, there’s no swelling mass of people to disappear into, no
businesses to enter and blend into, just street after darkened street."
Perhaps part of
this book's intense language and style comes from the fact that neither
is a writer alone. Stu Jones is a career law enforcement officer with
decade of experience, and this background lends a realistic, gripping
the descriptions of struggles with authority and survival processes.
Worthington holds a degree in marine biology
and a PhD in endocrinology, in addition to being a sci-fi writer.
two created a riveting novel that grabs attention, crafts a realistic,
thoroughly engrossing scenario, and probes the roots of tyranny and
work against impossible odds (including their own training,
natures) towards elusive freedom.
begun, It Takes Death to Reach a Star proves
difficult to put down!
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Continued Miracles, 2nd Edition
Debra L. Stout
Don't believe in miracles? The second
updated edition of Continued Miracles: Inspiring Testimonies
of God at Work
in the Lives of Everyday People shows how God removes
obstacles to lead
believers to better paths, whether it be away from addiction and prison
circumstance and connections such as pets.
These experiences define miracles and
demonstrate how God operates, with testimonials recounting adversity,
and pain with the purpose showing how each was overcome, defining the
a miracle and its spiritual impact.
Each story is very different. Often, the
'seeds of faith' are planted early on but are not followed until a
changes everything. Other times, the individual narrating the account
stumbled onto the path (guided by God) of understanding and devotion.
Each story offers a conclusion and a
reflection, inviting readers to consider the presence of miracles in
lives, and those moments which served as transformational vehicles.
In addition to quotes from Biblical passages
reinforcing the divine nature of these experiences, the 'Your
section requires that readers do more than absorb another person's
experience, inviting them to analyze their responses to the story: "What do you think of Dolores’ story? Would
you have made the same decisions if you were in her situation?"
and "Would you be able to forgive if you
were Sam? Is there someone you need to forgive now?"
This interactive encouragement goes beyond
gathering testimonials about the presence and methods of God. It
readers to take a closer look at their own lives, events, and the
presumptions, and spiritual lessons to be learned from individual
Under another hand, it would have been too
easy just to gather stories and add a few Bible passages. But Debra L. Stout's
added value to this approach involves creating an interactive lesson
miracles. This sets Continued Miracles apart from
most other collections
of spiritual experience and, indeed, is an intrinsic part of the
Miracles concept of sharing and growing.
Readers are invited to write their own
miracle stories to embark on a journey that embraces journaling,
creating a testimonial, and most importantly, considering its impact
message: "How did my miracle affect
my belief, faith, and trust in God? Scripture that applies to my
would I like someone else to learn from my miracle? With whom have you
your miracle story so far? What was the outcome? Did I miss my miracle?
A coincidence is not a miracle and a miracle is not a coincidence."
Those on a spiritual path who would do more
than read messages will find Continued
Miracles a powerful documentation of living faith not just
reflected and examined.
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Silent Path: Awaken to Your Highest
The Silent Path: Awaken to Your Highest Possibility provides the perfect introduction to
meditation for newcomers to the practice. It speaks about cultivating
individuality and purpose in life against the onslaught of collective
that few modern systems "are working for the liberation of the
individual." Most are juggernauts of collective melding that work for
themselves. This is why meditation can provide answers that society
It's individual-centric, and just as society cares little about inner
so the foundation question "Who am I" cannot be addressed by society,
but marks a path of self-inquiry that meditation supports.
on this journey will realize new possibilities, from renewed purpose
identity to revised approaches to life itself. And that's what The
is all about.
Readers already contemplating a personal
journey towards enlightenment will find The
Silent Path intriguing in many ways. For one, it points out
spiritual path and a religious path are different: "Spirituality
has nothing to do with religion. If spirituality is
a living garden where beautiful flowers are growing, religion is a
all those once-beautiful flowers are now wilting...While religion
of the mind of man mostly for his selfish desires, spirituality takes
the longing heart of an individual. Spirituality is an existential
know who you are; it is the desire of the universe to know itself
Later discussions synthesize and further
illustrate this concept: "Spirituality
is always a leap of faith. It’s like walking to the edge of the
jumping off without worrying whether you are wearing a parachute, or if
is down there to catch your fall. That moment of trust when you reach
within and take the leap, is the moment of your spiritual liberation.
of the journey is simply to realize the fact that you have already
you are looking for."
unfamiliar with these processes may initially believe this discussion
revolve around philosophical or ethereal concepts of higher purpose,
there's a grounded benefit to many of these approaches that translates
improved everyday life. One example lies in pain sufferers: "When you watch the pain intensely, the
energy of watching completely transforms the way you experience pain.
the source of pain is in the body, it is the mind that makes it real.
controls everything, including the sensations of physical pain. When
you gain control
over your mind, you gain control over physical pain as well."
the concepts and approaches of spiritual enlightenment and meditation
facet of daily living, readers come to understand that the benefits of
following this silent path go beyond enlightenment on the spiritual
permeate every facet of life.
to the Culture of Doubt, The
Silent Path: Awaken to Your Highest
is more than just uplifting. It's simple, achievable, and easy for
digest. It offers a course of action and a set of admonitions that
resonate with a wide audience, lies within no single religious realm,
be understood and applied to all lives, across the board.
interest in self-help and spiritual growth will find The
an excellent beginning to embarking on a different life journey
grounded in the
pursuit of happiness and renewed purpose.
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The Assassin and the Pianist
ASIN: B084ZWT3FN $1.99 Kindle
The Assassin and the
explores two very different worlds that unexpectedly clash when an
talented classical pianist rescues an assassin who has lost his memory.
Christina uses her country cottage refuge as
a place to experience peace, quiet, and uninterrupted practice on the
she prepares for world concerts and acclaim. Taking in a stranger
storm wasn't part of her agenda. Nor was falling in love.
But she does both, and not only does her
life change, but a new spark is added to her musical efforts that
make her exceptional pianist—if heartbreak doesn't kill her inspiration.
For his part, assassin Dan Stone wasn't
looking for anything but escape and survival from an assignment gone
Having lost his memory, all he knows is that bad people are looking for
and Christina's isolated cottage proves a good place to recover and try
regain a sense of his past.
Romance wasn't on their agenda, but as it
evolves, questions of past worlds, new threats, and a future together
readers into an exceptional story of survival and achievement.
David Nees does an excellent job of crafting
a stand-alone story that requires no prior familiarity with the other
thrillers in the Dan Stone series in order to prove compelling to
More than most series titles, this is a complete story that focuses
unwinding events than recreating past history, and this makes The Assassin and the Pianist immediately
Equally inviting is the contrast between two
very different lives and worlds, how they come together, and the
forces beyond outside menaces that threaten to tear them apart. It's
see a thriller/romance that works so well on so many levels, but The Assassin and the Pianist achieves
its goal of providing a multifaceted read that will satisfy audiences
for both love and bigger-picture confrontations and action.
The Assassin and the
will be welcomed by readers who look for stories with strong emotional
which follow the growth experiences of characters and conclude with
approaches to expanding the possibilities of all the characters.
It's an involving thriller about making
choices and living one's life, and how both are reconsidered when new
opportunities emerge to challenge established patterns.
Thriller and romance fans alike will find it
a gripping tale.
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California Coast Publishing
eBook: 978-1-7342065-2-4 $ 9.95
Trade Paperback: 978-1-7342065-1-7 $15.99
The Black Camel is an undercover political
assassin with a reputation for always hitting her target. That's why
hires her to spread terror attacks across the USA in an effort to force
U.S. out of the Middle East. And that's why it will take a crack team
terrorists to stop the Black Camel...a team that includes a FBI Special
and a jaded Israeli Mossad Field Officer.
While it may seem like a newcomer beginning
with Volume 5 in The Gold Lust series would be at a disadvantage, it
emphasized that each book is a stand-alone production. Black
Camel opens with a list of characters and their jobs, a short
but intriguing prologue that establishes setting and background, and
to a captivating question at a Virginia wedding that immediately gains
reader's attention: "Why do I want
to marry a man who’s a magnet for danger?”
With the prologue and first sentence, readers are off and running as it becomes evident that the bride is right to worry. An unwelcome visitor, a Muslim watcher with a camera, is stalking the wedding from afar—and the threat is just beginning.
While urban firebombs, a connection between an air show and a murdered farmer, and Allah's Avengers in America test the FBI-team, readers are treated to a fast-paced story of intrigue and action that punctuates explosions and confrontations with dangerous decisions on both sides of the War on Terror.
Ed Mitchell's military background again lends realistic action and description to a story that is powerfully compelling as readers romp through close encounters, near misses, and the evolution of terrorist attacks on American soil.
America needs her defenders...but the price of participating in defense may tear apart love, family, and normal life on many different levels. It should be noted at this point that female operatives play important roles as the story evolves, proving just as assertive and savvy as their male agent counterparts. A subplot involving two women's relationship and the complicated challenge a man's love inserts into it adds further depth and dimension to the thriller.
The result is a heady romp through a
much-changed, threatened America that moves from personal lives and
to political intrigue. Readers of Black Camel are
in for a treat!
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The Burden of
Keep On Climbing Publishing
Paperback: 978-0-9959379-8-7 $12.99
Kindle: 978-0-9959379-9-4 $ 4.99
Amazon profile page: http://bit.ly/2BarryFinlay
The Burden of Darkness is the fifth
in the Marcie Kane Thriller
Collection and involves Marcie Kane and hubby Nathan Harris. Nathan is
suffering from PTSD after a Tampa hotel fire nearly claimed her life
of the President of the United States. While her quick thinking saved
could not prevent the rise of terror and tension in Nathan's mind every
thunder sounds or something sparks these horrible memories.
At first, this
FBI consultant seemed fine. They married. Life moved on until the PTSD
part of his personality, confidence, and life. Now it is the dominant
affecting their lives and relationship, and even Marcie's quick
savvy reactions can't seem to change its relentless course.
The Burden of Darkness is an astute survey of
the insidious process of PTSD.
Its ability to create a thriller that incorporates descriptions of a
awry due to the tensions of being active agents is particularly well
stopped working; the gym was a distant memory and he had little
anything. It seemed like he struggled between letting her do what she
and being with
her constantly to provide the
protection he thought she needed. She had suggested help, but he
Nathan's panic attacks, nightmares, and a husband's denial of any
another threat that evolves from outside their relationship, Marcie has
hands full, and even her formerly-capable husband can't help.
As she comes to
realize the dangerous extent of his condition while confronting an
whose terminal disease gives him added strength, these seemingly
threads of connection become interwoven with a bigger picture of
The strength in The
Burden of Darkness lies in its ability to move from the
microcosm of changed
lives to the macrocosm of an endangered society and the impact of one
woman's decisions that affects them both.
lies in the psychological revelations Nathan discovers during his
process...insights that will, in turn, help Marcie in her quest to help
husband and others: "The term brainspotting is easier to
something new she introduced me to. It's hard to understand and even
explain, and if you'd asked me two months ago, I would have told you it
voodoo. The doctor said it combines elements of a bunch of different approaches. She said the
reprocessing part of
the equation is the most important. It involves helping the brain
store appropriate emotions from experiences that are causing the
like retraining the brain to stop thinking the next event will be like
discoveries and recovery leads to newfound love and new tools for
readers are informed about not just the causes and impact of PTSD, but
adversary Strand is going downhill, and has limited time in which to
revenge using clever drones and a grudge against Marcie that he has
overriding message that leads him back to being an effective husband
agent is also the battle cry in a story that is evocative and
"Anxiety will not dictate the terms. I’m in charge."
The result is a
suspense thriller that is an outstanding follow-up to Remote
leads readers on some unexpected journeys. Those who like their
especially strong in interpersonal relationships and connections and
psychology and evolution will welcome The Burden of Darkness
compelling blend of action and insight.
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Paperback: 978-1-64704-050-5 $14.99
Ebook: 987-1-64-704-051-2 $ 4.99
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/charleston-green-stephanie-alexander/1136546725?ean=9781647040505
Communicating with the dead is not on her
list of things to do, but in Charleston
Green Tipsy discovers that her new home harbors unexpected
union is not only stormy, but creates a special posthumous angst
Jane believes Henry killed her and then himself...an accusation Henry
'Psychic investigator' was also not a role
Tipsy expected to play, but as she's drawn into the history of Jane and
dilemma, she probes not only the circumstances of their deaths but
personalities, secrets, and motivations.
Stephanie Alexander does an outstanding job
of not only outlining a mystery and the dilemma of a psychic who would
not imbibe in the problems of the afterlife as she faces her own
and family dilemmas, but who finds her own psyche buffeted by too many
Tipsy is a struggling artist who never gets
the time to fully realize her talents, she's broke, and she's on edge
the everyday world and her psychic connections keep colliding,
around Henry's techno-puzzles.
As she struggles to maintain equilibrium with new beau Will and forge a new life for herself, she comes to find that her future happiness is intrinsically tied just to not her own past, but her ability to uncover the truth about Henry and Jane.
Stephanie Alexander's story
strong features: a wry sense of observational humor, encounters with
ghosts where she can make a difference (such as freeing young Luisa
haunting ways), and handling cantankerous twins.
Readers will appreciate Alexander's
attention to detail, drama, and the interactions and concerns of both
and will find the mystery woven into the story a nice icing on the
of Tipsy's life.
It would be a shame to limit Charleston
Green to either readers of
psychic fiction or mystery fans. These audiences, as well as historical
readers and those who want a romp through life and the influences of
will find Charleston Green a
thoroughly engrossing saga.
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Adelaide Books, LLC
Hardcover: 1951214056 $27.40
Paperback: 1950437019 $22.30
is the first book in a spy thriller series by John Casey and tells of
Dolan, a staffer at the Pentagon who is approached by the CIA to use
skills to stop a terrorist attack in Europe. Now an undercover agent,
finds himself tasked not only with a threat to society, but a threat to
carefully constructed psychological state of mind.
As cat-and-mouse espionage games play out,
Dolan employs his tech-savvy prowess and ability along with his
background and political experience to navigate dangerous waters indeed.
The story doesn't open with Dolan's life or
abilities, however. It sets the stage for events to come by presenting
efforts of agent Lauren Rhodes, who coordinates a mission that involves
deploying a new deadly device. It's a mission seven months in the
thus far has seen no success, with only loosely linked evidence and spy
material to show for a concerted effort.
Once Dolan enters this complex picture, the
story becomes much more than one of espionage and spy games. John Casey
a healthy note of psychological self-inspection into Dolan's efforts.
creates added value in presenting a character who is a cut above the
Dolan inspects many facets of his psyche and
brings readers along for his self-revealing ride: "He’d
also heard that one wouldn’t dream about doing something
they wouldn’t do in real life. Not that you wouldn’t want to do it or
about doing it. It’s more accurate to say one wouldn’t ever do
something in a
dream that they wouldn’t dare to do when awake, like committing murder.
led him to wonder, why was he was prevented from helping his friend? In
situation he would, without hesitation. Instead he freezes, his friend
killed gruesomely and he wakes up sweating, eyes wide and heart
was an evil dream. It scared him. He hated it and wished it would go
he also liked it."
As the story unfolds, this extra
psychological inspection keeps Dolan's character believable and
inviting readers into the action using an emotional component designed
them engaged in the step-by-step moments of his experiences: "Dolan’s heart rate had slowed by the
time he was back to his original hiding place in front of the house. He
confident he now had the upper hand and he was fully in his zone. He
felt this way since Afghanistan, and he welcomed it like an old, dear
He was calm. Precise. Lethal."
Committed to his mission, Dolan never gives
up and always does his best. That edict is challenged and changed by
circumstances that keep readers on edge and thoroughly involved.
Those seeking a seat-of-your pants thriller
that avoids the usual formula character and writing in favor of
refreshingly different will find Devolution
a fine story that is riveting and hard to put down.
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Dharma: A Rekha Rao Mystery
Great Life Press
Print: 978-1-938394-42-3 $14.95
Ebook: 978-1-938394-43-0 $ 4.99
features Rekha Rao, a thirty-something Indian American professor of art
who faces many conundrums. Her father has been murdered, her family is
on getting her a beau to marry, and she's struggling with PTSD while
from an abusive relationship.
Any of these situations would be cause
enough for angst. The last thing Rekha needs is to become involved in
murder and its investigation, but her background in art history may
clues needed to find the real perp in both cases. And so Rekha embarks
journey that places her squarely on an investigative hot seat.
From a cross-dresser whose lies could hide
either a hidden impulse or a murder to a suspect list that continues to
Rekha's skills and psyche are assaulted by moves that place her in
threaten her carefully built recovery from PTSD.
As she probes the murder and its connection
to an art relic, the idol of the Hindu Goddess Durga, Rekha struggles
own attraction to the fiery detective on the case, her family's
choose an appropriate Indian suitor as her next beau, and a sense of
keeps her questioning apparent truths about the real murderer's
is a lively story about duty, discovery, and growth as much as it is a
mystery steeped in Indian tradition, yet set in Los Angeles.
Vee Kumari does an outstanding job of
weaving the process of Rekha's awakening and various avenues to romance
her pursuit of truth, both in the murder cases and in her own life.
juxtaposition of goals and values keeps the story fast-paced for
readers, yet involving for those who look for cultural insights and
psychological growth in their protagonists and stories.
powerful female character is not only intellectual and clever, but
engrossing romance story of a woman deciding between two very different
suitors. It will please those seeking strong characterization that
underlying story of intrigue and revelation.
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Print: 978-1-7320833-1-8 $TBA
Ebook: 978-1-7320833-2-5 $2.99
provides a sequel to Van Fleisher's prior thriller Final
Notice, but requires no prior familiarity in order to appeal
to newcomers because it recaps the prior book's events in a succinct,
The story's concept is simple: a smart watch
invention that can predict one's day of demise is intended to help
their affairs together, but an unexpected result is that some use this
knowledge to enact programs of revenge or vengeance.
followed that initial development. Final
Act expands the idea to what those around the watch-holder
would do if they
held such knowledge.
A cast of characters follows the prologue,
but doesn't explain their roles. This is left for the story to fill out
follows the dilemmas of Vijay Patel, the VT2’s inventor, and Zoe
FBI agent trying to contain the trail of deaths left by wearers of the
To add a contemporary twist to an
already-engrossing setting, a tumultuous election year involving a
power's interference in the U.S. elections complicates matters for the
are trying to monitor and control the fallout from the VT2 device.
As the story moves from California to
Massachusetts and New Hampshire, readers are treated to a vivid romp
relationships, politics, and technology that builds a complex,
interrelationship between all three.
As a member of the original team that
developed VT2, Alek Belikov holds information that is desired by
Coerced into helping them lest Jennifer and Zoe be murdered, Alek finds
special interests at odds in a battle for both control and redemption.
The intrigue and thriller components of this
story are very well done. Readers will be on the edge of their seats as
cast of characters navigates the uncertain waters of political clashes
special interests over a technology and political process gone awry.
What makes this story especially strong,
however, is its moral question: "Would
you kill, knowing you would never live to stand trial?"
The answer to that question creates a
riveting story that is impossible to put down for political thriller
seeking something different.
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Rosanna Savone and Diana Savone (aka The Savone Sisters)
Liv Luhv Rahyt Inc.
Giacomo's Daughter introduces a new crime thriller series centered
Sofia Spera, and presents a realistic
Mafia story replete with violence and social observation. Its vivid
descriptions might disturb readers looking for a lighter treatment, but
pointedly captures the realities of this world for those who look for
historical stories about domestic violence that pull no punches.
Denaro heads a powerful Italian mob family, the Scalici Squad. He's
coveted performer Sofia Spera since he first saw her sing, and has made
wife. Now Sofia is trapped not just in a marriage, but a dangerous
even her father Giacomo can't save her from.
eighteen-year-old married-to-the-mob Sofia is no delicate rose
paling in the face of danger. She's a spunky, determined, feisty young
who cleverly fights not only her newfound Mafia connections, but
of a woman's strengths as she takes matters into her own hands. She
schemes that take advantage of her aura of innocence, which makes for a
cunning many a male could not match.
only problem is that her cleverness results in an unexpected danger
when she inadvertently sparks the infamous Detroit Mob War.
Rosanna Savone and Diana Savone do an
outstanding job of capturing the origins of Sophia's spunky attitude: "According to her strict Catholic
parents, well-behaved women didn’t run around on stage making
themselves. Good women weren’t created for entertainment. At least,
wide audiences. They were created for a higher purpose, a more noble
only to be enjoyed by one special man. Her future husband.
the culture of an immigrant Sicilian father who believes that
women are only suitable to be nuns, whores, or wives to a husband who
owns her, Sofia's 1924 world seemingly holds few other options. Or,
Sofia's determination leads to a series of conundrums that results in her best friend's disappearance, her husband's lies about his involvement in that event, and her decision to confront him, even while naked, about the truth. Max really doesn't know what to do with Sofia, sometimes. On the one hand, she's his beautiful heart's desire. On the other hand, her ability to manipulate him occasionally backfires, causing him to question her motives and loyalties: "Not allowing Max to brush her question away easily, Sofia continued, “Again with the laughing. Do you blame me for thinking it? That’s what you do, right? Besides being a bootlegger… You do kill people.” Growing wearisome of her antics, Max stared right into Sofia’s eyes. Giving a severe warning to his mouthy wife with his deliberate glare, he replied, “Yes, I do kill people, but that’s no laughin’ matter.
Sofia takes advantage of a man's innate tendency to protect a woman,
provokes courtship in order to gain answers which create further
situations, and encounters mob connections and surprises that endanger
and those around her, readers receive an engrossing story indeed.
has held the power over her from the beginning of his attraction:
"You are my wife,” Max reminded her, but it came out as a barked order.
“And it’s death do us part.” Now everything is about to
gritty reality of mob politics, social interactions, and 1920s
sentiments towards women and their value contrast nicely with young
changing situation and determination to rise above her destiny against
Rosanna Savone and Diana Savone create
powerful characters and capture the underlying nuances of mob
politics, profiling the wellsprings of Sofia's courage and changes as
navigates a strange world her father Giacomo never raised her to
As she cultivates new connections and allies
based on a mutual life-threatening fear of Max, the Savone sisters add
characters both within and outside the mob community in an engrossing
special interests that is compellingly realistic, streetwise and
hard to put down.
The underlying focus on domestic violence
and sociopathic mob men sets this story apart from most other stories
mob, adding a rare dimension of history, psychology, and intrigue to
of Sofia's survival.
Readers of fiction where women's strengths
are prominently displayed will relish Giacomo's Daughter, a crime thriller that rests firmly on the
evolutionary process of a beautiful daughter who develops and pursues
best interests in the midst of the city-wide mob confrontation she
inadvertently (and sometimes purposely) helped to build.
Return to Index
ebook: 978-1-7337986-3-1 $ 4.99
Paperback: 978-1-7337986-4-8 $19.99
Price: Free on Kindle Unlimited.
provides another amorous romp across India by Anitha Perinchery, who
brings the culture, politics, and social caste system of her Indian
life as nicely as was done in the previously-reviewed thriller One
story takes a different turn. It's a medical thriller that
involves spunky heroine Anjali in a series of complicated encounters
exes, a clinic which could be a front for illegal operations, and a
neighbor who keeps trying to drive her out of town, and who holds the
affect her brother's position.
other characters such as Dr. Joe face their own strange encounters,
including meetings with family members in the afterlife, A
ramps up to include romance and intrigue combined with ironic
reconnections: "This can’t be happening, her mind screamed,
her dreams, they’d met again a thousand times. Each time, she’d been a
unleashing royal fury on him for ripping her heart apart and trampling
pieces. Each time, the agony of loss overwhelmed her pride and anger,
cried loud, ugly sobs which left her humiliated even in her
was finally—finally—trying to put the painful chapter behind her, and
into him exactly when she bore a close resemblance to a drowned rat."
readers think 'medical thriller' and associate it with the
in-clinic intrigue crafted by writers such as Robin Cook, but Anitha
excels in a culturally-based, powerful examination not just of illicit,
activities in the Indian medical community, but the impacts of class,
romance, and cultural changes in a small Goan town.
story thus moves beyond the clinic's walls and into the milieu of
Indian society. It offers a surprise in the return of Seema, the
One Monsoon in Mumbai, as well as other characters
who here are
presented from quite a different perspective as Anjali struggles with
contemplates suicide, and uncovers her own brand of investigative
as in One Monsoon in Mumbai, a spunky, progressive,
determined, yet very human female protagonist drives the story line,
read that is compellingly difficult to put down.
Return to Index
The Mystery at
Mount Forest Island
978-1937484729 $17.95 Paper/$5.95 Kindle
The Mystery at Mount Forest Island
is the third contribution to the Cora
Tozzi Historical Mystery series and
remains firmly rooted in a real-world setting and history.
Blinded in an auto accident, Valerie Pawlik
longs for the life and independence she once had as she learns to
dark and dangerous new world. But there's much more to her story than
to a new disability as she embarks on a mission to find the mother who
abandoned her and solve the mystery of her beloved uncle's murder.
Questions of family loyalty in Al Capone's
circle and the Chicago mob scene draw generations of interconnected
an injection of paranormal encounters and the evolution of a new
Valerie who is
fully cognizant that her quest could result in difficult answers ("It’s been so long. Maybe I won’t like
what we find. Maybe we’ll make things worse. Maybe this isn’t a good
As tension in The
Mystery at Mount Forest Island mounts, so does a
delightfully intricate series of encounters that challenges Valerie's
missions and ability to fulfill them.
One doesn't anticipate the injection of gay
love between friends, mobster connections and secrets, and a romp
family history that become key themes in a story filled with exposed
and revelations, but The
Mystery at Mount Forest Island
excels at weaving personal lives with bigger-picture historical and
entanglements. As the cast of characters interacts over time, a fine
evolves that combines historical mystery elements with psychological
Pat Camalliere's tale doesn't require prior
familiarity with its predecessors in the series, although this will
solid foundation for further exploring the Cora and Cisco Tozzi
connections and encounters.
What it does require is a mystery reader
able to appreciate historical settings, family genealogy, and a quest
that is delightfully complex and filled with many characters whose
goals become interconnected on more than one level.
Such a reader will relish this story's layers
of detail and Chicago lore and will find The Mystery at Mount Forest Island
a compelling twist on the historical fiction genre. It takes a mystery
with it through generations of family entanglements, the lasting impact
choices, and the consequences of love.
The Mystery at Mount Forest Island is highly recommended for both
mystery and historical fiction readers searching for something
Return to Index
Monsoon in Mumbai
ebook: 978-1-7337986-0-0 $ 4.99
Paperback: 978-1-7337986-2-4 $12.99
Free on Kindle Unlimited.
presents Seema Rawat, cyberspy, who is, predictably, a nerd (less
predictably) involved in a complicated romance and a spy mission. How
Indian girl move from being a pickpocket to becoming a top cyberspy
target the handsome Adhith Verma, son of India's finance minister?
first strength to note is that the sights, sounds, smells and feel
of urban Indian streets comes to life through Anitha Perinchery's
descriptions: "She crouched on the road and squinted through
windows of the taxi at the office building, trying not to breathe in
exhaust fumes from the succession of vehicles cruising down the road.
radiating from the asphalt had her drenched in sweat within seconds.
exclaimed the driver. “Are you crazy or what? You can’t sit on the
poor fool will hit you and have his licence taken away. Get up, please.
gimme my money.” “In a minute,” Seema muttered. The crook she was
be covertly investigating was at the entrance. If she paid now, the
take off, leaving her exposed."
who has visited or lived in India will breath in a deep breath
of urban atmosphere upon reading this book, and will find familiar the
and social observations embedded in Seema's world. One doesn't expect
emerge from such a crowded and embattled atmosphere, but irony is
added into the mix to spice the story and bring Seema's confrontations
conundrums to life.
encounters evolve that lead overly protective auntie Madhu
to join forces with the personality Seema is supposed to be covertly
investigating. A terrorist attack on South Mumbai and Adhith's showdown
Seema's presence in the office adds to a rollicking, spicy, relentless
events and personalities. These surge through the streets of Mumbai and
the hearts of readers who will find Seema's story compelling,
and hard to put down.
Perinchery doesn't omit the complex family relationships that involve honor, pride, jealousy, and marital arrangements that affect child and parents in a complex series of perceptions and deceptions about choice and consequences: "What you think of as my forgetting where I came from was my unwillingness to take any more of my father’s taunts.”
its engrossing cultural and political inspections, the dilemma
of a woman facing romantic prospects with two very different men, and a
rocky career moves, One Monsoon in Mumbai isn't
about just one storm,
but a series of confrontations steeped in Indian atmosphere, intrigue,
looking for a romantic thriller that is more than a cut above
the ordinary and who particularly enjoy stories set in India will
the details and impact of this spy adventure. It's a production that
the funny bone while adding intrigue and mystery to keep the conclusion
unpredictable and engrossing.
highly recommended as a standout in Indian action fiction.
Return to Index
Anaphora Literary Press
Pennyworth is beginning a new job as American Counsel in
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It's a position that seems a dream job at
turns into a nightmare when a famous expat writer vanishes and Amanda
involved in searching for him.
first the reader might wonder why a Counsel would be drawn into such
an investigation, but keep in mind that this is Mexico. The layers of
surrounding the Mexican Federales and local authorities immerses Amanda
layers of subterfuge and corruption that raise more problems than they
about not just one man's life, but a plot that thickens.
shows an uncanny ability to absorb many of the investigative
processes of those professionally involved in the PI business. From
facial recognition technique that involves equating animal cues with
names to navigating both State Department protocol and her rising fears
something is very wrong in Mexico, the story embarks on a satisfyingly
need have little familiarity with Mexican politics or culture
in order to appreciate Zona Romantica's setting and
is laid out during the course of the story, from the position and
the typical American Counsel to the motivations of an intuitive
who sees "...a different edge of things."
a journey into a botanical forest and ransom money that doesn't do
the job to Amanda's strange feeling that somehow Joshua Talbot knew he
about to be kidnapped, Zona Romantica winds through
all kinds of
connections and clues as it crafts a satisfying, engaging mystery
keep readers moving through Mexico with Amanda, discovering clues
cultural revelations and special challenges.
dash of romance added to the intrigue and historical references
keeps Zona Romantica a thoroughly inviting read,
and political observations right up to an unexpected conclusion.
Return to Index
ASIN: B0863S3LYN $7.70
The narrator of this story, Mark Mangosteen, has many fears which he's held all his life. To him, imagination often reflects reality and it is difficult to discern between them. Brown Soda focuses on the evolving life of a man whose imagination, vulnerability, and sense of alienation led him to become an advocate for special needs children as an adult.
As Mangosteen describes romance and new people in his life which "result in a chain reaction that would change my life," readers are treated to a survey of the observations and life of a man on the autism spectrum who tries to help children until he is indicted for his actions ("The serious ashen faces of the society I represented had come for me.")
Accused of rape and taken away from the life and job he's so carefully cultivated, Mangosteen faces his own demons and those of society, which judges him and forces him to rip apart the family he's built.
Robert Rubenstein's descriptions are emotionally compelling and hard to forget: "Shackled, I signed the declaration as Socrates screamed. He knew something was about to happen— to him, to his brother, his mother and me. Life had come hard and stark to claim him. To rip apart his memories. His family was broken—Humpty Dumpty on the floor. He went into his bedroom and beat the Messiah drum. To see my face then, one might be reminded of a painting. The horror on a footbridge in a cloud of blood. It was a nuclear bomb imploding without a classroom desk under which to crawl. The shards of glass had pierced my soul. My face conveyed a silent scream."
As Mangosteen embarks on a dangerous journey that changes the adulthood he's carefully built from the uncertainties life choices, readers are treated to a novel replete with moral, ethical, and psychological challenges and changes.
As he confronts Remy's lies and impact and struggles to maintain his relationship with the special children he has adopted, Mangosteen becomes a whirlwind of controversy involved in a socially unsupported effort while trying to protect his own children from their mother’s wrath and her delusions of flight (she wants to go skydiving without a parachute.)
Repeatedly accused of molestation by Remy and others which stems from how he interacts with them, Mangosteen considers the court's perspective and definition of molestation (which can be as pervasive as providing the children information to help prevent the very deed he's being accused of) as he struggles to maintain everything he's built and believed in.
Brown Soda is about survival, moral behavior, and love. Rubenstein excels in capturing these conflicts and conundrums and paints a vivid story of a man's struggle to retain control of his world: "In real time, nobody knows the reasons why we act the way we do. Human behavior is not explained by the rational—the choices made, the things we do. And what we see is often suspect—a reflection of our fears or destiny."
An engaging philosophical story of social
inspection and strife, Brown Soda crafts
a compelling read packed with metaphor and psychological description
is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in custody issues,
protection, and evolving relationships against all odds.
Return to Index
Tambellini could be any American citizen. She's looking to
move away from home into an urban apartment with her shepherd dog.
enthralled about her new place, but few rentals will accept larger
about to be less thrilled when she uncovers the truth about the
is about starting a new job, entering a new world, and being surprised
by its magical qualities. Tamara is feeling more and more uneasy in her
apartment, but attributes her creepy feeling to overthinking until
happens that she can't ignore.
she enters a realm where trees talk, Reapers creep into apartments
and threaten humans, and enchantment is a superpower, Tamara finds she
rare immunity that sets her apart from her fellow apartment dweller
The building is obviously a portal to danger, and just as obviously,
of the few to sense or understand the full extent of the threat.
who believe they're reading about a new adult encountering many
'firsts' in her life will be surprised and delighted to find Tamara's
adventure that leads them into a magical alternate reality. This
grounded by Tamara's practical side even as it's tested by her special
abilities and perspective.
Ocean does a fine job of crafting a story that lives well on the
borders of real-life experience and the extraordinary, providing enough
realistic detail to allow new adult readers to become engrossed in
journey and struggles.
its focus on her evolving emotions and maturity as she confronts
these extraordinary situations, Complex Jungle uses
to drive both mystery and action: "Leaning forward on the
placed my chin in my hands. It was all beginning to overwhelm me. I’d
was probably the one to break the curse, but I’d had no idea just how
whole operation was, and I was currently feeling very small."
teens to new adult readers will relish a story that reflects
many of their concerns about moving out, moving on, and growing up even
absorb the elements of fantasy that make Complex Jungle
journey into an extraordinary reality underlying the familiar urban
highly recommended for its ability to weave an emotionally driven
plot with a novel of intrigue and investigation.
Return to Index
Don of the Q
Paperback: 978-0-9972055-7-2: $13.99
Ebook: 978-0-9972055-6-5 $ 3.99
spoof on Don Quixote, Don of the Q, introduces a
Quick Stop clerk who
suddenly loses his memory when "the world blinks" and he conjectures
that he's an angel sent to Earth to do good. His puzzlement at being
store counter immediately turns into an altruistic gesture when a
customer complains about the price of the beer he's purchasing: "Much
money as I’ve spent in here, this damned well ought to be free.” Maybe
my purpose here. “Take it, bro.” I smile, proud to add a momentary
sunlight to the semi-darkness of the convenience store cave. I give him
generosity; he will give me thanks. We will go on with our day
brightened by a
positive moment with a stranger who is now a friend. “With blessings.”
It's evident at
this point that hilarious interchanges will be a part of Don
of the Q as
the determined clerk, aided by fellow clerk and sidekick Sancha, forays
the world to do good despite all the odds against his actions resulting
twist to this modern incarnation of Don. He harbors an atomic bomb in
basement. It vanishes. And someone is out to get him and locate the
In a society gone
mad, Don and Sancha of the Q represent a romp through insanity as they
through minority neighborhoods and encounter individuals struggling
their own windmills of adversity.
reflections pepper the saga, creating compelling observations of how
live their lives unaware of each other and the world: "People
notice skin-deep changes on the outside, and never the large changes of
When Don is
captured and made part of the search for the bomb and his father,
whether to view him as a genius or an idiot.
prepare for a wild ride with a lot of laughter. Social observations are
and astute as Don navigates the uncertain waters of women, government
bureaucracy, and a deadly threat. As Don's attitude spills into the
around him, readers are treated to a fun and thought-provoking blend of
observations and encounters: "Heaven’s for heroes and angels.
just people making the best of a bad situation.” “Maybe that’s the same
Look at that woman over there, helping the young mothers take care of a
of kids. Yesterday when we came here, I saw her sitting on the side of
with a WILL WORK FOR FOOD sign. Today, she has food and work. Her hands
purpose. And everybody else is a little bit better off for it.”
Guillebeau creates the perfect madcap romp through modern
society that requires no prior familiarity with the classic Don
(but those with such a background will certainly relish the literary
modern-day Don and Sancha are likeable characters, immersed in
urban culture and encounters with women and ethnic groups that operate
different levels than government agents and authorities. They face
impossible circumstances and battles while imparting lively
Dr. Strangelove blended with One Flew Over
Nest...only set in the macrocosm of a society gone just as
mad as Don
The tongue-in-cheek humor, social insights, and
encounters will both entertain and enlighten readers interested in a
blend of honor, world destruction, warped family relationships, and
Don of the Q is highly recommended
as an original, involving
read that pushes the boundaries of comedy, stormy relationships, and
Return to Index
Set in San
Francisco in the mid-1960s during the height of the hippie movement and
War, Eden tells of the prophetic dream of teen
flower child Lani, whose
boyfriend Harv Stetson is sent home in a coffin. There's one twist to
story: in a prophetic dream about his death, she'd seen him as a black
when she opens his coffin, that same black man is there...not Harv.
explains the puzzle from Harv's perspective, but adds an extra
angst as events unfold with the reader now cognizant of both Harv and
very different realities.
sergeant who condones a deadly choice, a girlfriend who can never
the politics and pressures of being a grunt in Vietnam, a prophetic
threatens the best-laid plans, and the atmospheric unraveling of
society during the 1960s, Eden represents a
compelling blend of murder
mystery, 1960s social exploration, romance, and more.
excels in capturing the scenes of this era through the experiences of a
who wanders through its mysteries: "I fly home. The night is a black cape
I’ve wrapped around
me. I’m invisible. I can go anywhere and no
one will know I’m
there and no one will bother me. My
are the size of dinner plates. I
without light. My
mouth is a beak and I
am a giant owl hunting the tiny mice of the city, my feet soaring
the sidewalk. The
music rings in my ears
and I hum as I fly. I
don’t know who the
band was, not a well-known one but it doesn’t matter.
Everyone got stoned and had fun."
As race relations
enter into the picture to influence decisions and deadly choices,
treated to an absorbing interplay of events solidified by events of the
atmospheric reflections of changing morals and values of the times are
exquisitely portrayed: "Is this how Petra feels? Her bed is shared by a
different guy every
night. She enjoys
it but I don’t like
being touched, prodded, and rubbed by hard hands that don’t care what I
need. I don’t want
guys who pinch and squeeze and
bite. I don’t know
why it’s called
making love: it
isn’t love. Love
hurts your heart, not your body. I
don’t want love in any form. It
hurts no matter how you define it."
As truths, lies,
dreams and reality become jumbled, readers receive a powerful survey
mercurial and hard to put down. Eden is a powerful
novel that will leave
its readers reflecting long past its final surprises and insights.
Return to Index
Kathleen M. Rodgers
978-1-948018-78-4 $15.95 paper/$4.99 ebook
The Flying Cutterbucks is a story about a
serial sex offender, a family
of women forced to stay silent in order to survive, and the legacy this
which is passed down through the decades. It's also a surprising
between modern-day US politics and elections and the pain that erupts
this secret and the tensions that come from the election of a man who
condones sexual violence against women.
returns home to help her mother get the house in order after her
passing, she gains the opportunity to finally come to terms with past
present challenges. A mother who doesn't know what happened to her son,
daughter who faces the truth about a missing father, and their combined
silence contribute to a story that is multifaceted and compelling.
Just because a
rapist dies, doesn't mean his legacy doesn't live on. It is alive and
the hearts and souls of women who continue to live their lives
cognizant of how
he's changed them forever. That's what Trudy discovers when a
visitor in a Lexus defaces a tombstone with the one word the family has
struggled to suppress all these years.
provides this emphasis in various ways as Jewel, Trudy, and Georgia
allude to their shared adversary and pain, and continue to struggle to
make peace with the past, but with present-day events that seem a
assault on their recovery process.
however, hold the opportunity for new beginnings. As the women begin to
of terror and close-held secrets made for the sake of survival, they
to each change in ways that bode well for a different kind of future.
The Flying Cutterbucks excels in depicting
haunted lives and a renovation
process that involves more than a house. It shows how the women
become closer as each recognizes in the other a different method of
survival. This results in a strength that finally moves beyond
other and protecting themselves from the world.
The Flying Cutterbucks is a powerful story of
women returning from the
dead (in a manner of speaking) to finally recover not just from assault
secrets, but from the lasting patterns, habits, and the alienation that
from it. It will immerse readers in a world of
discovery, recovery, and
revised family lives, and is highly recommended for readers seeking an
evocative, compelling story of family relationships and change.
Return to Index
Further Life of Rusty Kenneficke
Classic Day Publishing
9781598492774 $18.95 hardcover/$4.95 ebook
Life of Rusty Kenneficke is the second book in the series and
continues the story of a man who survives a terrible year in 1979 and
into happiness for a while. Now a legal threat could change everything
struggled to build since.
retribution, and Boomer's inability to let Rusty move into a
better life after the disaster mark a story that, like its predecessor,
replete with growth stories about an evolving man, his motorcycle
tale opens with a threatening anonymous note from a sender who
obviously knows about both Rusty's birthday and his past, then takes a
turn back to 1979, the origin of events that have returned to haunt him
As chapters move through the 1980s and into the 90s, following Rusty
Boomer's concurrent evolution, readers are treated to another road trip
time and place that focuses on friend Boomer's scams, woman problems,
Rusty's place in that world.
Thye writes with a seasoned hand that expands upon details from
Book 1, adding an extra dimension of interpersonal relationships that
the growth processes of both men.
scenarios are realistic, absorbing, and compelling as money turns
heads, changes minds, and causes shifts in values and ethical behaviors.
expecting another road trip receive a different kind of journey
that is as much about Boomer's life and choices as it is about his
with Rusty's world.
should be noted that the open-ended conclusion paves the way for
Book 3, which will conclude the trilogy. There's no neat tie-up of
angst to an
investigation that becomes inconclusive and troubling.
its astute observations of this process and two very different men
whose lives coalesce, The Further Life of Rusty Kenneficke
absorbing story of choices and consequences that leaves readers
after the realization that arguments can take on dangerous lives of
Return to Index
$19.99 for libraries; $4.99 for personal purchases
Jefferson Wept should be on the
reading lists of anyone who wants
to absorb the political background and insights of this
Readers who want
to learn more about Jefferson's political evolution, his impact on
the basic tenets of his democratic vision will find Jefferson
perfect item of choice for understanding these principles. It weaves
with fact to make American political heritage and processes compelling,
understandable, and intriguingly accessible to modern readers who may
The saga opens
with a review of Jefferson's history and interactions: "Nearly
centuries would have to pass before Jefferson's words of the ideals of
were finally realized. He was deliberately kept from contributing to
Constitution upon which all his concepts of freedom and citizen
to be implemented. The Federalists wanted no democratic voice in the
architecture of the document, especially his. So, they sent Jefferson
away from the Constitutional Convention as they could. He was to go to
so as not to tinker with inclusions of democratic sentiment such as a
citizen's rights. And there he stayed until the Federalist deed was
think that this will be the focus of the story, it should be pointed
the introductory segment concludes with reference to a time travel
leads Jefferson to travel to the future (our time) to see just how his
ideals and involvement have been enacted, here to either excel or die a
death on the doorstep of true democracy.
satisfying ebb and flow to the structure of the story that takes its
create a fantastic scenario, then inject into it lessons about
influences, beliefs, and how they are represented in modern American
early evolution, involvement with the teleportation device, and
to travel to the future to the political changes he finds there
contrast between his initial ideals and their political incarnation in
times) readers are treated to a hard-hitting intersection of fiction
nonfiction which succeeds in drawing out the origins and concepts of
principle against the backdrop of a fictional ride through time.
from the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to Jefferson's inquiry over
became of the first amendment and why and how the original principles
warped over time, provide readers with thought-provoking background
that sets precedents and the stage for discussions beyond the fictional
of a traditional time-travel piece.
questions between characters strengthen these political concepts and
am sure that you have read that a politician thinks of the next
election and a
Statesman thinks of the next generation. It may be difficult to ever
that aspect of human nature; that so few among politicians have; that
altruism to think past their own careers, but there is another way.
People educated and involved and they, because they love their
become a nation of Statesmen as they take charge and put an end to the
of bureaucracies that constitute your present-day governance.”
authors might have chosen a nonfiction format and thus lost the
general-interest reader without a background or special interest in
American political evolution, or Federalist history, Frank Muskeni has
successfully created a powerful intersection between story and
Return to Index
Lake of Urine: A Love Story
Sagging Meniscus Press
Paper: 978-1-944697-94-5 $21.00
Lake of Urine: A Love Story focuses, for much of the time, on Willem Seiler, who is slightly insane and obsessed with measuring everything in his world in a compulsive habit that envelopes everyone around him. It considers what happens when he falls in love with a member of the family he 'holes up with' for the winter. For the rest of its 214 pages, it charts the quiet progression of that family member, Noranbole, and the fates of her mother and sister.
Seiler's fixation is evident in the very first paragraph of his chatty first-person reflection: "What a winter! It was the deepest we had ever known, and I am uniquely qualified to say this because I know exactly how deep it was—I measured it with a piece of string and there hasn’t been as deep a winter since...This is the piece of string, and if you were to stand on the Wakelings’ back porch and hold it while I took the other end and walked, I would be able to touch the Flemings’ front door and go no further. It would have to be you on the porch as I am no longer welcome there. Interestingly, there are no other landmarks of any kind along the circumference that the string’s tip describes around the Wakeling house which correspond exactly with its length. So the Fleming house is a very exact measurement."
From this introductory passage, it's quickly evident that the character harbors not just a distinctive, analytical perspective about the world, but cultivates a unique voice as he expresses his experience. Readers will find Willem Seiler a dichotomy—at once an OCD madman and a lucid observer of the oddities and incongruities of the world around him.
As he measures the depths of lies and life, Willem finds that although his miraculous string can plumb the depths of a lake nobody has been able to gauge, it can't adequately cope with matters of the heart.
As the story progresses, it becomes evident that, although Seiler would have us believe he is the protagonist, Noranbole truly is, in the classic sense of the word.
At once hilarious, ironic, and a psychologically astute piece of literature, Lake of Urine: A Love Story presents a series of astounding, gleeful scenarios that excel in a sense of surprise as characters make choices and present personas in public and private that are spiced with some big words and broader ideas.
This is no light read, despite the prevalent sense of humor in its consideration of unusual connections between disparate personalities. It requires an attention to detail, language, and psychological development. However, it pays back this investment with a vivid, unique story that keeps readers entertained, guessing, often perplexed, sometimes disgusted, and regularly delighted.
Always intricate in his atmospheric descriptions, Guillermo Stitch excels in juxtaposing a sense of place with the psychological developments, contrasts, and clashes between characters: "Oh, happy lark! Sleepy cows loll about in their pasture, their big brown eyes on the travelers, seeming to wish them well as they go. Horses, happy-tired from a day’s labor, peer over gates and flick their ears in greeting. Delightful sights, scents and sounds abound in the air about them; here the summery buzzing of bumble bees, borne on the breeze that blows round the wheelwright’s shed, there a troop of tiny blue birds that swoop and perch on the mule’s rump."
Readers seeking a literary work akin to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but set in the outside world and a microcosm of family dynamics and changing relationships, will find the language, scenarios, and unexpected developments in Lake of Urine: A Love Story fits the bill perfectly for a funny, thought-provoking frolic through sanity, insanity, and social and family life changes. It's thoroughly recommended for lovers of the transgressive, and is not for the faint-hearted.Lake of Urine: A Love Story
Return to Index
Outlaws of Maroon
the main characters in The Outlaws of Maroon are
graders, one might automatically think that the audience for this story
be elementary-level readers. However, John Curl bills it as an "adult
novel about the world of children," and this billing gives adults
permission to acknowledge that just because children feature
prominently in the
story doesn't mean that children should be its sole readers.
this is a story of 1950s Cold War America and how a group of
children face the lies of grownups during McCarthyism and the threat of
development that will take away the forest and their special place.
radicalized in the process of absorbing adult changes, messages, and
police searches, confrontations, and danger from the adult world
spills into the special dreams and refuges they've created, children
alike are changed by a myriad of forces, from developers to political
undercurrents of repression and control.
on these changing conditions are nicely woven into the
story, which probes personal motivation and changing perspectives: "So
you told them she’s a subversive because she wouldn’t approve some real
deal?” “She is a subversive. Her husband was at least. I did not make
This all didn’t have to happen. No one had to lose. Helen can be so
headed. She gets such fixed ideas into her head. Foolish. She almost
to break her will. It would have cost her nothing. Everyone would have
simply refused. And now look where we are. If she would have simply
fall, everything would have been fine, and none of this would have
This was the only way left to me. The development will improve the
neighborhood. That stretch of sidewalk is isolated and dangerous.”
Curl's literary novel is highly recommended reading for all
adults. Because it embraces the perspectives and lives of children and
alike, juxtaposing them against the backdrop of evolving social and
changes, a depth and attention to detail is cultivated that keeps
engaged with the different age groups, competing forces, and changing
perspectives that influence them all.
ability to weave escalating threats and violence into a complex
series of interchanges between adults and between children alike
remarkably astute atmosphere designed to keep readers of all ages
until the surprising crescendo of a battle for justice over competing
Return to Index
Richard W. Wise
$27.10 Hardcover, $19.60 Paper, $7.99 Kindle
Novel of Boston is set in 1974 and focuses on the Jamaica Plain
section of town. This area has been redlined by banks, due to the
market's crash, which sets the stage for racial steering
prompting the transition from a healthy neighborhood to a
buildings proliferate as crime rises.
a building is burned and the body of a community activist is
uncovered, fellow community organizer and Marine combat veteran
Flynt and assistant Alexis Jordan become determined to stop
destruction of the neighborhood. They assume the role of amateur
probe the arson and death with a focus and determination reflective of
too soon, however, adversity strikes even closer to home. Jedediah
and Alexis face their own prejudices, pasts, and the initial discomfort
forthright, sexual woman confronting a former Marine already
the power women have assumed in society and the workplace. These
capture the first phase in the blossoming women's movement that was to
many of these roles.
interpersonal interplay of emotions sets the stage for a dual
confrontation as the unlikely team forays into unfamiliar territory
personally and politically.
first, Redlined reads with the setup and motivation
murder mystery. Readers are in for a bigger treat, however, because
Wise incorporates real, contemporary social issues and tensions into
story, along with a special dynamic between the investigators, which
his read beyond a typical whodunit.
Jedediah's ability to face Alex's charge that he is a
"consummate opportunist' whose worldview affects his life choices and
taints his perspective to their shared zeal and campaign, the politics
plays dirty tricks behind the scenes in Boston affairs, and gang
members (a coalition
of actors; real estate agents, developers, crime syndicate,
who make money
from the destruction of an urban neighborhood) who play a key part in
choices and makeup, Richard W. Wise tailors the kind of story that is
as much in Boston's unique cultural and social makeup as it is in
struggles to change it.
investigative mystery readers will be the likely audience of Redlined,
the story will especially appeal to women who like their characters
purposeful. Another audience will be readers familiar with Boston's
milieu, who will find Redlined an absorbing series
of conundrums that
lead ever deeper into the heart of a community's manipulations,
social interactions. Highly recommended.
Return to Index
9781644280591 $18.15 Hardcover/$11.49 Kindle
Search Heartache is
a women's literary fiction piece that stands out from the crowd. It
the life-changing revelations of Maura Fielder, who stumbles upon her
secret on his computer. This leads her to confront everything she's
taken for granted
in her approach to life.
Many similar-sounding books have tackled
divorce, infidelity, and changing relationships between men and women,
sets Search Heartache apart from
these stories is Carla Malden's attention to exploring the intersection
computer lives and real-world heartache, adding an unexpected humor
permeates an often-surprising story of life, death, love, and
Another plus is that this story will reach beyond women readers and
audiences who will find it astute and accessible, offering many insight
much food for thought.
Irony and a wry sense of fun flavor Maura's
observations from the start as she interacts with husband Adam in their
Angeles milieu: "Adam didn’t answer.
He was watching a promo for the new Ken Burns documentary. This time
Dust Bowl. They were hyping it as the worst manmade ecological disaster
history. “I wonder if that’s true,” Adam said. “What?” “About the Dust
“People thought it meant the end of the world,” I said, uninterested.
people always think everything means the end of the world.” “It’s blowing right on
said. “Would you turn off the air?”
From the nightmare she uncovers about her
husband's obsession after she snoops through his secret online life to
handles her discovery and assesses its impact on their relationship's
and values, Search Heartache excels
in revealing not just the immediate problem at hand, but also capturing
types of connections that either bind a married couple or tear them
apart: "My marriage was supposed to be like
that Buddhist adage about hands—how we have a right hand and a left
they never fight or take credit. The left hand doesn’t say, “I wrote
word.” The right hand never says, “I turned that page.” They simply
other. When one hand is injured, the other takes over. My marriage was
those hands, intertwined so that sometimes you couldn’t even tell which
belonged to which hand. But this morning, I was the hand that stirred
oatmeal, and Adam was the hand on the mouse of the computer, and they
As new revelations, connections, and choices
drive Maura into another life entirely, fraught with both challenges
promise, readers of women's literature will find this story a
psychological drama that is compellingly realistic. This authenticity
by Carla Malden's ability to juxtapose real life backdrops and events
acknowledgement of the lasting impact of these choices: "Adam
may have lit the fuse, but I was the bomb who
is a gripping first-person story that does an outstanding job of
evolution of love, change, and choice. It reveals many mercurial points
before coming full circle in an unexpected and satisfying way, and will
fans of women's fiction and literature who will find in Maura a
character whose dilemmas are at once challenging and, in an ironic
Heartache is chosen as a beach read or a more
thought-provoking work of
literature, it's a tale that will linger in the mind long after its
Return to Index
9781632932983 (paperback) $19.95
A man's search
for meaning in 1940s California consumes his world but results in a
that affects not just his life but two nations in Son of
Novel of Appearances.
It's been seven
years since Andrew Martin's 4-F rejection by the army. He's a lawyer
cases receive much public attention, yet he struggles with issues
the rejection, including an odd disability, and a confrontation with
When new legal
challenges change his course, it's apparent that Andrew may have lost
famous 'golden touch' in the courtroom, as well. His search to uncover
about the past is only one facet of his obsessions, angst, and revised
in life. Only his faithful parrot Emerson, attuned to his moods, offers
respite and adds meaning to the place he calls home.
this value when he contemplates the reason for returning home in the
his personal investigations into Nazis who have fled Europe and who
live undercover in his very community: "Home. I wanted to go
home to what? My bird, of course. Emerson, poor thing. A creature of
whose ability to survive there had been domesticated out of him. A
being. All talk, like his owner. Yes, I’d go home to my bird. My home.
modernly furnished cage where I was imprisoned by a calendar, by the
anniversary, and the next."
Ona Russell takes
the time to capture Andrew's conundrums as he struggles with his life,
and its purposes. His recognition of the ongoing impact of the war
life throughout the story in vivid depictions of and contrasts between
and social insights: "I felt afraid, like a kid forced to
the bed at night. He brought his arm closer. 20405. Twenty thousand,
hundred and five. Behind those impossible numbers were trains and
ovens and gas. Swastikas, salutes, and yellow badges. Mountains of
flesh. Horrors I might have been forced to see for myself had my number
and survival mode often clash as Andrew makes his way through a
carrying the weight of the Army's successes and failures with him.
Russell's use of
the first person represents a fine job of capturing these experiences
ultimate impact from Andrew's changing perspective. This adds an extra
dimension to his legal and ethical conundrums to bring his story to
love find a place within these existential and career crises?
The added value
of Son of Nothingness lies in its powerful internal
discussion of a man
thwarted from his desire to serve and its impact on his civilian
journey Andrew undertakes is revealed on multiple levels as he
and legal actions, faces an identity crisis, and revises not just his
his moral perspective about survival.
The social and political sentiments of the times, including legal processes, also come to life under Russell's hand: "The comparison wasn’t hyperbole. The Guild needed a new precedent. Anything smelling of class or racial injustice. They wanted another Sleepy Lagoon, the murder case that had brought them fame. Defending all those Chicanos, losing in court, and then, years later, getting their convictions overturned. Noble, one might say. But they were idealists, and, as in Scopes, weren’t above risking the person to the principle. Was López such a case? I didn’t know, but I’d muddied the waters by suggesting it was."
The result is a
passionate, involving story about evolving a sense of place, purpose,
revised objectives that keep readers thoroughly immersed in a vivid
Andrew's growth, discoveries, and 1940s world.
Return to Index
Advance Chess - Extrapolative Insights of
the Double Set Game (D.4.2.11), Book 2 Vol. 4
Siafa B. Neal
Cold Coffee Press
Book 2, Volume 4 of Advance
Chess - Extrapolative Insights of the Double Set Game
(D.4.2.11) compiles drawings of board layouts and color
photos of the
special 3D double set board game structures, and is recommended reading
chess players who have purchased the Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model
board, who want further insights specific to the double set game's
Diagrams are one of the most valuable
components of this book because they clearly document not just board
but specific moves and strategies.
Game objectives, game setup configurations,
how chess pieces move between layers, and equations for attack
displacements, and horizontal and vertical plays are all covered in
These illustrated forms take the player step-by-step through the board
The photos and diagrams work together to
teach strategy, placement, and board makeup. They are key to
advance chess processes, logic, and applied equations and calculations.
The result is about as close as it gets to
personal one-on-one instruction, presenting a clear discussion of moves
play options that teach the makeup, approaches, and strategies
the 3D chess playing environment.
Those already well versed in conventional
chess who seek the next level of playing will find Advance
Chess - Extrapolative Insights of the Double Set Game (and
Neal's set as a whole) specific to understanding the game, its
and the moves that make for successful plays.
Return to Index
Douglas A. Dixon
Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield
Hardback: 978-1-7936-2781-0 $90.00
Ebook: 978-1-7936-2782-7 $85.50
Beyond Truman: Robert H. Ferrell and
Crafting the Past is a scholarly,
historical survey of a widely respected Hoosier historian and the
history-making in the twentieth century and beyond.
Readers with some background in American
historical scholarship will be pleased with Dixon's ability to entwine
work, set against the
nuances of revisionist
controversies, postmodernism, and various approaches to
analyzing the past.
Beyond Truman provides
a rare attention to detail that embraces current debates over Ferrell's
and approaches with methods of historical analysis. These offer
for thought in considering twenty-first century “new approaches” to
which have many of their foundations in Ferrell's research and era.
American history, politics, and
biography readers will be the primary audience for Beyond
is quite accessible to lay readers interested in the methodology of
scholarship, its history, and its impact. Packed with numerous detailed
footnoted references and illustrations, Dixon's own scholarship and
bibliographic materials are impeccable.
Return to Index
Bigger, Better, Braver
Top Reads Publishing, LLC
Paperback: 978-1-970107-12-8 $18.99
Ebook: 978-1-970107-13-5 $ 8.99
Bigger, Better, Braver: Conquer
Your Fears, Embrace Your Courage,
and Transform Your Life is all about stepping out of one's comfort
zone to embrace life, and encourages a big leap from set patterns in
taking on new challenges. It's a top pick for readers who want to make
move, but who don't really know how to do so.
The first step in the series of steps Nancy
Pickard outlines actually involves examining the common barriers to
risks. From underlying childhood messages and experiences to
and how fear becomes a driving force for living life, Bigger, Better, Braver explores
the process of identifying and making decisions from the heart to
Pickard asks some pointed questions that
readers will want to consider: "How
many times have you let yourself down? How many promises or goals got
the wayside? And how often do you let yourself down when you wouldn’t
doing that to someone else in your life? Yet, somehow, with yourself,
to be okay. We rarely give ourselves the reverence we give others. What
it be like to be as accountable to yourself as you are to other people?"
It should be noted that Pickard's
exploration involves psychological, moral, and philosophical
who anticipate a blueprint they can follow without such
not be using this book to its best advantage. It comes with the charge
change in a better, more positive way. Exercises, examples, and
for reader fill-in offer enlightening insights into this process and
results and potential: "By owning
more of who we are, we become less reactive and set ourselves up for a
successful leap toward our vision. This is not about making ourselves
It’s about emotional education and becoming more whole."
There is no singular philosophy driving this
approach, which represents a synthesis of Buddhism, Law of Attraction,
journaling, and insights from popular culture: "One
of my favorite quotes is from Robert Heller, a 19th century
businessman, who said, “Fear is excitement without the breath!” So when
feeling fearful, remember to breathe deeply. All the other
responses are the same ones you feel when you’re excited. Your heart
your palms sweat, your energy is high, and you may feel fidgety or
Bruce Springsteen considers these as signs that he’s ready to step out
The result of these combined influences is a
chatty, accessible, thought-provoking set of admonitions that invite
encourage change-oriented readers to take their own first steps to
their lives and perspectives. It's a powerful exploration from a
Integrative Coach through The Ford Institute for Transformational
uses Nancy Pickard's own experiences, both personally and
build a bridge for reader transitions.
Bigger, Better, Braver is a highly recommended,
integrative approach that requires that its readers approach life
Return to Index
Compilations Pertaining To Random Access To
Problematic Probabilities or (R.A.P.P.), Double Set Game (D.2.50 ) -
Siafa B. Neal
Cold Coffee Press
Book 2, volume 3 of Compilations
Pertaining To Random Access To Problematic Probabilities
or (R.A.P.P.),Double Set Game (D.2.50 ) will reach computer
gamers, chess players, and toy manufacturers with a very specific key
Advance 3D Chess. It is especially recommended for readers of Neal's
volumes who are avid players of the game.
Unlike most manuals about playing, even chess, Siafa Neal's book holds a specific purpose: "The essence of this book intends to synergize the Cognition Informatics thought processes of Chess Players to higher levels of mental awareness of alternatives to the game’s possibilities which includes the Double Set Games. Three-Dimensional Chess offers many beneficial effects. Most prominent of these include higher levels of cognitive cognition which improves a Player’s mental aptitude and capacity to absorb and to adsorb new data over time. This benefit aids to reduce the likelihood of age-related dementia which associates with the memory inability to absorb new information. In addition, another beneficial attribute is it allows Players to develop sustainable focus strategies that results from constant practice of 3-Dimensional Chess games. The effect of constant practice increases the level of synaptic electrical activity in the neuro-synaptic spheres of the brain. As a wise conjecture stipulates, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
This puts the game, instructions, and
promotion beyond simple leisure, making a case for a type of analytical
development that will interest not just chess players, but those
expanding skill sets to improving mental acuity.
Diagrams explaining double set games and
probabilities include handwritten identifiers of board layouts and
representations to allow the eye easy access to the different board
These are supplemented by color photos of
the playing boards which accompany step-by-step discussions of
logic, and different move options that change the board makeups,
From physical diagonal attack movements and
play forfeits to illustrations of positions, this is an astute series
compilations covering random access to problematic probabilities. It is
acquisition for 3D players looking for study guides, examples, detailed
descriptions and equations, and visual examples of the Longitudinal
14 Model playing board.
Gamers already familiar with conventional
chess who seek additional challenges will find this game and book take
step to a new level of playing.
Return to Index
Denied! Failing Cordelia Book Two: Pride
& Legal Prejudice
Hardcover 978-1-5144-8891-1 $39.99
Softcover 978-1-5144-8892-8 $25.99
eBook 978-1-5144-8893-5 $ 3.99
Two: Pride & Legal Prejudice provides the second
book in a
trilogy about an adoptive father's efforts to battle through the courts
dependency case that led him to advocate for both her and his parental
should be noted that this second book
follows on the heels of preceding history. Readers should ideally have
first book, The
Cankered Rose and Esther's Revenge, and its extensive background before embarking on
this ongoing story of
court struggle, legal team efforts, and parental and child rights.
a background who already know the detail and legal descriptions of its
predecessor will find Pride
& Legal Prejudice an outstanding continuation of the story. It
is a gripping focus not just on court proceedings and legal team
the father/daughter relationship under question.
From Cordelia's escape and adventure as her
father tries to assure her safety to Cambridge's struggles with legal
versus the child's ultimate best interests, this story is replete with
reflections that focus on the conundrums he constantly faces which tear
different directions: "Yes,
it was technically illegal [Cordelia's
to be with the author in Washington State], but the court
that reunification was the central goal of the case. Yes,
Cordelia was a supervised child under the legal authority
of the DCFS but she was also the victim of what her attorney had
determined was gross mismanagement by the department. After all, we had
hearing date contesting the DCFS on this very point. Yes,
in the sense that she was a kiddo with RAD and her
behaviors were being shaped by this reality. Her prospects would always
better to me in the Seattle area than they ever had or would in Los
the other hand, I would strongly advise against following suit if there is any chance at all of the
legal path working as well as it should when reunification really is
of the case."
noted that in no way does Cambridge's account purport to represent
for other adoptive parents caught in court battles. This is a memoir
to document a particular case, set of circumstances, and the logic
decisions which, at times, were legally conflicted. It is not intended
as a blueprint for others to follow.
said, Pride & Legal Prejudice outlines
a series of confrontations and courses of action, along
with the evolving and changing relationship between father and teen
child that stemmed from this conflict and their efforts to reunify
backdrop of a dependency case that offered few easy choices and which
most of them when they were made. This focus adds an
extra dimension of
understanding and legal savvy to a story that rests on emotional
There's a back-and-forth feel to events as
Cambridge reviews the failures of court and community proceedings,
opportunities, and misguided interventions: "I
wanted the commissioner to consider the available family focused
that still existed at the time for Cordelia, including the full range
Seattle-based options, and to reflect on the many missed openings that
when my daughter was most committed to the idea of reunification."
At the same time, insights are candidly
given into the circumstances which led this dependency case to evolve
first place: "Both Maureen and Mr.
O’Reilly argued that I had made insufficient progress in my completed
because I was refusing to accept my daughter’s embellished version of
parenting mistakes that had led to our having a dependency case to
The DCFS and the CLC both saw this as “denial” and even arrogant. My
also believed that I was incapable of following court orders and that I
more interested in defying the court’s decisions for my own
goals. In turn, such goals—or at least my approach to them—were viewed
Maureen and Mr. O’Reilly as “obsessive” and “unhealthy.” This
notable because it would have been all too easy for Cambridge to build
case without equal opportunity to explore the perceptions of those
His approach lends a full-faceted feel to
the legal proceedings and their underlying emotional conundrum that
enlighten and intrigue not just parents going through similar court
but members of the legal community, social services providers, and
involved in legal cases revolving around parental rights and
His observations of the overall process and
its impact beyond his own case and experiences is particularly well
done: "On the other side of the door to Room
101, it is highly unlikely that anyone enjoys what they do or feels
have had a good day when they go home. Secondary or vicarious trauma is
probably as much an issue for court commissioners as it is for the
defenders and social workers. I would see miserable parents, bored
frustrated public defenders, harried attorneys, and a commissioner who
spent several decades working her way through a very dysfunctional
Commissioner No has probably seen relieved parents and angry parents,
children and those more than happy to be allowed to return home whether
they were first detained for valid reasons. Yet, in this same
chaotic environment, decisions are made in the cool light of legal
“sever and terminate” the parent-child bond. While for some parents and
children this might be a matter for relief or sullen indifference, for
parents and their children it is not."
Anyone concerned about the ultimate impact
of court proceedings and choices on a child's best interests must read
book. It's a compelling testimony of the promise, ideals, and
nightmares of the
court system—one which should be considered by a wide range of readers
interested in child protection issues.
Return to Index
Trond Arne Undheim
When does managing company failure become a
growth opportunity? Disruption Games: How
to Thrive on Serial Failure advises companies on how to not
but use that failure as a stepping stone to greater heights. It
failure needs to be managed as carefully as success, and it provides
to doing so under a range of circumstances.
One might expect futurist Trond Arne
Undheim's book to be idealistic, filled with untested admonitions, but
cultivates a proactive real-world approach to everything from better
communication in a startup situation to fostering innovation. This
takes advantage of innovation fads and not just managing but embracing
failure's underlying opportunities for innovation and change.
Chapters delve into these subjects with
footnoted references to global business pursuits and methods,
approaches and attitudes are revised and the unexpected benefits
global corporations such as Bosch: "Innovation
scouting, accelerators, and all good external sources of innovation
compete with the fact that a company has much more control with
ideas—and can incubate them far more effectively. Plus, the indirect
such effort is culture change toward a more innovative company, which
harder to achieve by acquiring an innovative startup or simply
Fast, low-cost, measurable methods of
commerce development are considered and contrasted with traditional
Business readers should ideally be
change-driven and interested in the specific forms of innovation which
proven to promote real growth and new directions.
This audience will appreciate an approach
that loads its ideals with real-world examples of success from around
globe, creating a structure that allows fellow business movers and
consider the heart of true innovation and change.
From the underlying characters of company
serial founders to opportunity costs and raising venture capital, Disruption Games excels in specific
examples, approaches, and game-changing plans for addressing both
failure. It is recommended reading for any forward-thinking
interested in not just learning from business failures, but embracing
growing from them.
Return to Index
Human Rights, What Are They Really?
Robert Stephen Higgins
E-book US$3.95; Paperback US$11.95
Human Rights, What Are
Really? makes an assertion that may surprise and
anger many, initially—that some claimed human rights are ideals, are
necessarily inalienable, and should not be part of what is popularly
seen as a
Robert Stephen Higgins is quite clear about
the origins of his examination and this book's intention: "Through my adult life I have been conscious of a
my natural rights as a person and the power of governments and other
organizations over me. Regrettably, there has been systematic operation
over that border. This has included the aggravating inclination to tell
to think on certain general issues such as what rights a person has. As
it, rolling back this incursion requires a clear, unequivocal
universal and permanent human rights that marks the ground where
and other organizations may not tread. This book is my endeavour to do
that." What ensues is the discovery of human rights by
much the same way as theorems in mathematics are discovered. The result
list of fundamental rights that is quite different from the United
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
His close inspection of the boundaries
between individual rights and government ideals, the process of
refining, and implementing 'true rights', and issues that move into
wide-ranging circles such as resource management, allocation choices,
right of ownership applies these ideas to institutions and individuals
Higgins applies the theory of rights to
business with disturbing results. For example, he claims that in an
situation the employee owns the value of what he/she created and should
for that instead of for his/her time. Also, that when a company
minerals or fuels from the ground they are not ownerless. Rather, they
owned by everybody in common and everybody should be
are only a couple of the fall-out results from the theory.
Higgins promotes conversion to a true human
rights-based social arrangement that would operate like the rules of
providing a code for human conduct in any situation. This will require
changes in not just legal and social structures, but attitudes: "In a community, attitudes determine
what is regarded as acceptable and what is not, and therefore generate
flavour of a society in terms of freedoms and taboos. In a human
society, a specific range of attitudes will naturally accompany the
on human rights. This range is quite different from that existing
and the more so as the society in question is in contradiction of
rights. Therefore, conversion to a human rights-based society will
some or many profound changes in attitude."
With its application of an objective theory
of human rights to a range of issues from capital punishment to world
and its analysis of forces opposed to the enactment of the theory, Human Rights, What Are They Really? is a
wide-ranging discussion that should be essential, required reading for
history, social and political studies, and debate courses from the high
level on up.
Return to Index
Oasis Earth: Planet in Peril
9798625267472 $35.00 Paper/$5.00 Kindle
Amazon: High-res print and e-book versions to purchase on Amazon:
Free download: Low-res FREE PDF available HERE.
Oasis Earth: Planet in
does what other books often fail to achieve—it delineates the current
precarious state of the planet and mankind's contribution to its
looming fall, offering a game plan for redemption in the face of
disaster. Rick Steiner maintains that humans have only ten years left
mankind's unrelenting assaults on the biosphere. But he doesn't stop
This approach may sound similar to other messages,
but Oasis Earth does more than
present a set of dire warnings. It backs up its contentions by
separate piece of the interconnected whole of Earth's various
including humanity's rise and current downward progression, then
second section packed with sustainable alternatives to the current
This is an immense subject...too broad for
most books to properly tackle. It's too easy to become bogged down in
and overlook the bigger picture when the topic is as historically,
scientifically, and ecologically complex as this. But Rick Steiner's
in the ability to synthesize the facts into easily-digested admonitions
insights: "The current trajectory of
global environmental decline points toward a rapidly approaching
future for civilization and the biosphere. As we exceed planetary
the way humans live on the Earth will change, one way or the other,
Either we will adapt our lifestyle to a sustainable biosphere, or we
Too many discussions consist entirely of
text without illustration, but Oasis
Earth includes hard-hitting, artistic photos from the U.N.
Program’s international photographic competitions, NASA, Greenpeace,
to back the facts and provide visual embellishment. This crafts an
accessible atmosphere that pairs hard-hitting footnoted references and
with colorful food for thought.
The call to action section is quite
specific: "We the people have to
make the environment a central issue at all levels of governance -
regional, national, and international. Politicians need to understand
not just the economy that matters, but also environmental
the two are inextricably linked. Citizens need to nominate and elect
who support progressive environmental policies, and need to express
environment to all elected officials, proposing not just general views
specific, science-based legislative and administrative actions."
is filled with admonitions for positive change at all levels of
out that competing plans for idealistic changes don't necessarily
the drive for consumer goods or the greed of not just corporations and
governments, but individuals. Steiner points out that a redefinition of
'progress' itself needs to become part of humanity's toolkit for
this will involve a revision of ideals not just on a political or
but personal values and perspectives on life.
Steiner juxtaposes scientific facts and
cautionary tales from past collapses of society, pinpointing
failures and the lessons to be learned from them, creating a survey not
past patterns of failure and redemption, but how the future might look
fixes were undertaken and human purpose itself was transformed.
Books on ecological conservation and
sustainability run the gamut from dry studies to simplistic
admonitions. Oasis Earth represents
middle ground in its ability to synthesize hard data into a digestible,
revealing set of insights the everyday reader can readily understand.
The inclusion of practical guidelines for a
revision of human goals and perspectives adds an invaluable conclusion
force of this collection: we all live in the same place. Setting up
and political avenues for preserving the environment is key not just to
health and happiness, but our long-term continued survival.
Return to Index
Simply Amazing Women
Hardcover: 978-1-7347058-0-5 $28.99
Paperback: 978-1-7347058-2-9 $19.99
Ebook: 978-1-7347058-1-2 $ 8.99
If ever there was a good time to publish an inspirational collection of stories, it's now. Simply Amazing Women is about choosing the kinds of responses during adversity that translate to survival and courage. While these mini-biographies were compiled before Covid-19, they highlight the ongoing need for inspiration now as never before, and are intended, like those in its predecessor Simply Amazing Special Author’s Edition, to provide the encouragement to not just go on with life, but make it the best possible.
posed by these women all demonstrate paths to rising above adversity.
receive a survey filled with intense battles involving self-healing,
transformation, and the kind of self-improvement that leads to helping
both through example and by outward-oriented effort.
Take 'A Mother's
Love', a hard-hitting interview with mother Marcy Stone about an
journey into motherhood against all odds. K.C. Armstrong's
here is designed to follow the building blocks of how Marcy Stone
life perspective and came to rely on it to face and overcome many
her life. From how she overcomes impossible predictions to her
what it really means to be a mother, her story is filled with insights
will find hard-hitting, remarkable, and clear in their progressive
thoroughly engrossing piece is 'A
Song of Gratitude', an interview with Dr.
Feyi Obamehinti, who met her abusive mother for the first time at age
Obamehinti's life experience not only led her to become a prominent
figure serving as an example for other women, but helped her build a
family without many of the challenges she faced as a child: "Sometimes, we have to become what we
never had. For me, that meant being a loving, caring and present mother
remarkable lives unfold through interviews designed to pinpoint the
their strengths and perspectives, readers are treated to a moving,
inspirational account offering various strategies for overcoming
a new world
replete with fear, death, and division emerges, there is no better time
reading and considering this book's underlying message about not just
but building and rebuilding a better life from the ashes of disaster.
recommended as a torchlight guiding the way to transformation.
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to the Darkside: A BDSM Primer
AKO Publishing Company
Author Website: https://rajandominari.com
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1136603956
First, a definition: BDSM is an acronym that
stands for Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission and
to the Darkside: A BDSM Primer is an introduction to this
topic and its
sexual applications, presenting a positive, supportive spin for those
to explore their less sexually accepted inclinations: "BDSM
ultimately about two or more people trusting and caring for one
sometimes expressing this via erotic play sessions. This is one of the
I feel that BDSM is so attractive to those that want to become involved
Readers receive candid, graphic descriptions
of the interplay between partners and will appreciate descriptions of
underlying emotional interactions which accompany these sexual plays
choices: "Selfishness and
self-importance are synonymous in the case of damaging personality
have when you’re trying to be submissive. Most new and/or untrained
tell themselves that they won’t submit unless they get something in
There's a fine line between those with
experience and knowledge of BDSM practices and newcomers. Rajan
the time to thoroughly explore this difference between individuals and
From clear explanations of BDSM's common
terminology and its overt and underlying meanings to the etiquette of
act, react, and new ways of considering the opportunities in sexual
Welcome to the Darkside cultivates
approach that is candid, sexually and emotionally explicit, and leaves
to wonder about how the process works.
The advice goes beyond this book to address common issues of becoming part of such a community, including gaining a mentor who will support such explorations: "I think mentors are awesome. They help you navigate a community that’s likely new to you, and they are a useful resource for learning the etiquette and language of BDSM. ... To make sure that your potential mentor has good intentions, you should lay out two simple rules: no play and no sex. A real mentor wouldn’t want these things anyway, and any mentor worth their salt knows this as well, so if they refuse, you know where they stand."
The result is a guide that covers the entire
definition, approaches, individual and group interactions, social and
meaning and makeup of BDSM. It's a rare collection of guidelines that
prove especially essential to those newly entering this world.
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Woman in Scarlet
Karen L. Adams
Hardcover (IngramSpark): 978-1-9994043-1-4 $24.99
Ebook ASIN: B07GZ8TPXJ $4.99
Amazon ebook purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GZ8TPXJ
Ebook ISBN 978-1-9994043-3-8 $5.99
Universal purchase link for other major retailers: https://books2read.com/WomanInScarlet
Woman in Scarlet
offers a true memoir of Karen L. Adams' 28 years of service in the
formerly-male-only Royal Canadian
Mounted Police, and is a lively survey not just of the RCMP's
history, but the growing presence of women in the ranks and the
faced by these early participants.
22 when she joined the first group of female recruits. Her idealistic
service and respect received many challenges at the hands of men who
viewed the RCMP as being off-limits to females, and who gave her a hard
This even involved a physical confrontation with a fellow member of the
time to explain not just the internal influences on the force, but the
political and social strife which affected her perceptions and life: "The whole of the RCMP was watching
every move by members of the first troop of female officers. The media
inquisitive and reported to the country on our arrival in communities
Canada. My belonging to the RCMP resulted from a political decision,
the reluctant organization to accept women members. And it was obvious
was looking for any excuse to demonstrate that women could not cut it
with fellow members and the public takes the form of a memoir, it could
argued that Adams also crafts an account suitable for women's history
documenting the step-by-step process of integration that she, as one of
early women in a male-only profession, helped foster.
reinforced not only by encounters which survey her public appearances
image, but the evolution of her purpose as she delved into her dream of
teaching: "In the New Year, my first
troop as an operational training instructor was all male. Up until 1989
were still separated by gender and not integrated. I believe the
female recruits back in the day was two troops annually, in other words
women a year. The training academy staff scrutinized every move the new
instructors made, concerned the male recruits would not respect us.
for myself, I believe respect is not granted on the basis of rank.
to be earned and I worked very hard to be credible, inside and outside
These specific insights about the process of
integration, social acceptance, and political forces both within and
the RCMP contribute to a story that moves far beyond one individual's
experience. Woman in Scarlet
documents the ideals, philosophy, psychology, and sociology of all
struggle to gain acceptance in male professions.
The result is a memoir that blends Adams'
life and professional dreams with some very solid insights into how
can succeed against all odds. This story belongs not just in
memoir collections, but in any library strong in law enforcement
RCMP history in particular. It creates a legacy that goes beyond any
intention of capturing her experiences for her family, to reach future
generations of women.
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Write Through the Crisis
978-1-7338652-1-0 $11.99 paperback, $6.99 ebook
Write Through the Crisis
comes from a "veteran of living through crises" and provides a
powerful approach for unprecedented times, showing readers how they,
use the tools of writing to stave off depression, isolation, and ennui.
Samantha Shad wasn't broke or quarantined, but
she did survive living with a psychopathic mother who committed
created a life that always teetered on the edge of chaos and crisis
crisis. Shad turned to writing to mitigate the damaging effects of
constant challenges, and here advocates writing as a technique any
person can use to heal themselves.
She notes: "You don’t
have to like living in disaster-mode, but you can use
it to make your life better. I did. This book tells you how to make the
out of a crisis by using it to write yourself to a richer soul."
This approach advocates finding your own
healing process and writing 'voice' and demonstrates how to do so by
understanding storytelling options, writing forms, how ideas and dreams
to result in positive goals, and more.
Psychology, creative writing tips, and
self-help healing skills are woven into an account that should be a
for those facing Covid who want to see and reach towards a light at the
a challenging tunnel of darkness.
As Shad discusses the mechanics of creating
characters, plots, and themes, readers will be encouraged to put pen to
to follow their own dreams.
Why not? Those under quarantine now have all
the time in the world to write their way to a better perspective, and
lively, accessible Write Through the
Crisis, they now have the tools to do so.
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An Old Man and
Alayne Kay Chirstian
Blue Whale Press
978-1-7328935-6-6 (hardcover) $16.99
978-1-7328935-7-3 (paperback) $10.99
An Old Man and His Penguin: How Dindim made
João Pereira de Souza an Honorary Penguin
displays colorful, realistic art by Milanka Reardon as it provides
readers and their parents with a story set on an island off the coast
Brazil. Here, João finds a penguin soaked in oil, spends much time
up, and discovers in him a new companion.
The two come to
love each other as Dindim becomes part of João's world, but João
his penguin friend needs the companionship of fellow penguins more than
home among humans. And so he attempts to do the best thing for his
the inevitable happens. Or, does it?
An Old Man and His Penguin holds a number of
important messages about
human/animal relationships, love, oil slicks and their impact on sea
focus on letting go and reaping rewards from non-possessiveness offers
outstanding lesson about love for the very young, delivering this
message in a
colorful tale that repeats and emphasizes its point in a creative,
for an inviting animal story with an important message will welcome
appealingly different seaside tale.
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Benevolent Lords of Sometimes Island
978-1087878645 Paper: $15.99/ebook: $3.99
It's 1986 in Texas, and a war is being
conducted by two groups of boys who find themselves stranded on an
a battle raging between them.
The Benevolent Lords of
Sometimes Island could serve as the poster child for a
psychology class in group dynamics. Scott Semegran's story, narrated in
first person by young suburbanite William Flynn, adopts a sense of slow
reminiscent of the approach of Stephen King. All appears frighteningly
at first, but evolves into a dangerous situation cemented by adversity
isolation in a dangerous pairing of events.
The groups of middle school kids in question
already harbor relationships 'as thick as thieves', as the young
observes. This lends to the dilemma as this close-knit band of buddies
confronts something dangerously beyond their middle-America experience.
Semegran's choice of voice for this narration is compelling, setting
story's unique feeling and atmosphere from the start: "Earlier,
I said that middle school was the time in my life when I
first experienced real danger, but I failed to recall a time in my life
elementary school when, in fact, I also experienced something quite
Sorry I didn’t mention it earlier, but that’s how it goes with memories
sometimes. They can appear and disappear in your mind like fireflies
across your front lawn on a warm spring night."
Remember: this is a slow-building horror
story. It takes the proper time to build moments of levity, play, and
unsuspecting encounters into its percolating plot about dangerous
situations. This is one of the outstanding features that makes
feel compellingly realistic.
As events unfold and challenges evolve
beyond the usual childhood conflicts, readers are treated to a crazy
involving the threat of the Thousand Oaks Gang, the added impact of a
that encourages deadly truths to emerge, and the changing perspective
middle grade boy well on his way to becoming an adult.
Semegran's cultivation of a first-person
voice that is evocative and compelling drives the story line and makes
absorbing read fueled by William's very real reactions to his changed
life: "Here’s the thing about adulation for
an introvert: it’s kryptonite. After about an hour of stares from
students and congratulatory handshakes from grinning teachers, I was
cover myself in the sheet of anonymity that a ghostly wallflower like
enjoyed so much. Being anonymous is only truly appreciated after it’s
guess if I learned anything that day, it was this: I didn’t want to be
Middle grade leisure readers are in for a
treat. Adult teachers and literary readers should also consider using
the ideas in this story for classroom discussion, debate, and
as Lord of the Flies was used as an
iconic literary representation of group dynamics.
It's a highly recommended, superb example of
psychological twists and interpersonal encounters gone awry.
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Cassie Pup's Favorite Ladybug and Snake
Publisher: Sheri Poe-Pape
Cassie Pup's Favorite
and Snake Stories enjoys bright, fun drawings by Harry Aveira
that introduce young children and their read-aloud parents to bugs and
via inviting rhymes.
The collection opens with 'Lucy the Loony
Ladybug?' which presents a forest ladybug's dilemma when she begins to
colors. As these changes venture into some fantastic territory (who
wants to be
Scotch plaid?), she struggles until the remarkable Clem Chameleon,
rainbowed, makes a proposal.
The dialogue includes some rollicking lingo
that parents will want to use to illustrate the different choices of
and how words can reflect personality: "Reminds
me much as the old timers howl/you
are truly 'a horse of
a different color!' ”
'Claiborne the Cha Cha Cobra' is a dancing
fool. But in a contest, can her evocative sways win against dancing
These lovely pieces, embellished with the
captivating, colorful work of Harry Aveira, will draw in both prior
fans and new readers who will enjoy the poetry that follows original
and their special dilemmas.
As an early introduction to poems, fantasy,
and description, Cassie Pup's Favorite
Ladybug and Snake Stories is an attractive production holding
presentations backed by large-size, compelling drawings that bring
snake to life.
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I Dreamed You
Justine Avery and Ema Tepic
$14.95 hardcover/$7.95 paper/$1.99 Kindle
I Dreamed You
is the gentle love poem of a mother who, before she became pregnant,
was missing something from her life...someone who would assume the form
child in the future. She writes this poem for that child, and it is
in an evocative combination of gentle rhyme and images that will best
enjoyed by mothers who read it aloud to the very young.
Justine Avery tackles a difficult
subject for a young picture book reader: that of bringing a child into
world and how life changes because of it. Her account isn't just for
but any adult who would welcome a child into their lives, whether it be
parents, grandparents, or adoptive parents.
The rhymes are compelling and crafted to
draw readers into this story: "In
quiet times and busy times/when everything seemed just fine,/something
missing./It was you, meant to be mine."
The words reinforce the sense of love,
belonging, connection, and change that a child brings to a family. They
encourage discussions between adults and children in a warm, supportive
packed with lovely drawings reinforcing I
Dreamed You's encouraging messages.
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Speak No Evil
$19.95 Hardcover, $17.95 Paper, Ebook: $8.99
The connection between truth-telling and
evil was never so firm as in Speak No
Evil...only, it's not what you think. Here, truth is directly
the growth of an evil force, as foster child Melody Fisher knows all
The story opens with fifteen-year-old mute
orphan Melody in custody for stabbing a football star classmate. How
get to this point in life, a far cry from a good life with parents at
Melody tells her own background in a
flashback that recounts an encounter with snakes and her unique ability
the deadly serpents into tranquility. Her father is a snake handler in
Appalachia and her mother died from a snakebite, but Melody's own
snakes continues to haunt her life and is just one of the many
sets her apart from the norm.
Her mother's church also was deeply involved
with snakes, linking them to faith and God. After her mother's death,
Harlan forces her to handle snakes as a test of her faith...something
mother had forbidden. Torn between her mother's admonition and her
insistence, Melody finds her own hopes influencing her decision: "It was too soon after her death. But if it
meant God might listen to my prayer, I had to try."
Riddled by sorrow and events that keep
testing not only her survival skills and faith but questions of good
Melody finds the snakes are always present in her life years later,
metaphorically or physically: "The
raging sense of loss and overwhelming heartbreak rose out of the desert
past, like a snake ready to strike and swallow her whole."
Liana Gardner does an outstanding job of
entwining a suffering orphan girl's coming of age with the story of a
ability that represents a tightrope walk on the edges separating good
Melody's character is well done and drives a
story line that keeps mature young adult readers wondering about her
she faces her snakes and demons in more than one encounter.
Compelling, gripping, and evocative, Speak
No Evil is a study in personality
development, horror, how support systems for teens can either succeed
and the impact a caring adult can have on a teenager's life.
It's an empowering story that embraces
abuse, best friends, secrets, and loyalty that will keep not just
but new adults involved until its unexpected, satisfying conclusion. It
also be noted that Speak No Evil is
one of 6 that made the final ballot this year as a Bram Stoker Awards
for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel.
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K. J. Farnham
K. J. Farnham Publishing LLC
9781732283220 $13.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
Jenna Kemp is a typical teenager with a circle of friends, a boyfriend,
good home and life. It seems incongruous that her world would spin out
control from a childhood trauma that resurfaces, but as she begins to
do drugs in an effort to repress it, her life begins to fall apart.
Six and a half
months after her disappearance, her mother Bonnie is still looking for
about what happened and where Jenna went. When she stumbles upon
diary, answers begin to surface that offer clues and condemnation over
involvement in Jenna's downfall.
uncovers answers, Jenna's former best friend and others who have been
her life struggle with their own involvement in Jenna's downward
Jenna's diary powers these revelations and provides revealing insights
process of repressing painful traumas: "After lying for so
everyone, including myself, I'm more terrified of telling the truth.
keeping my distance from Eli will make it easier to keep my memories
This series of
insights into the struggles of a victim to repress memories under
circumstances drives a young adult story that touches readers with an
grip few other stories of mental illness can duplicate.
Perhaps this is
because the diary format and changing perspectives of mother, daughter,
friends create a satisfyingly complex, believable juxtaposition of
emotions, and responses. These all lend credibility and understanding
experience from different vantage points.
Add the efforts
of detectives and family to solve a puzzling missing person case, the
surrounding Jenna's past, and the coping process of survivors of sexual
for a story that is revealing, riveting, and thrilling, all in one.
of trauma and survival revolve around the victim alone. By expanding
circle to family and friends, K. J. Farnham creates a dialogue between
community that goes beyond most trauma victim stories to inject
social, and family dynamics into the equation of a teen's struggle.
a captivating young adult read that lingers in the mind long after the
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Zany Can Do
$11.95 Paper/$19.95 Hardcover/$4.95 Kindle
Zany is a unicorn
with a uniquely positive view of daily living and its many
explorations of this world and his reactions to it begin with picking
perfect outfit to greet each day (in the introduction, this is a
assembly of safari hat, star glasses, the required cape, and a grass
As fun, simple
rhymes accompany a series of bright drawings by Tevin Hansen, young
book readers enjoy the tale of a savvy little unicorn who has 'to do'
help direct his day, cultivates an awareness that healthy foods are
important as coveted sweets (and that 'health' can arrive in unexpected
packages), and harbors the desire to take risks and experiment, whether
with art, sports, or choosing different kinds of books to read.
Zany's explorations and positive perspective on life and absorb the
messages that new things aren't always easy to learn or cultivate, it's
make mistakes, and individuals need to take unique approaches to life.
Young picture book readers receive a series of uplifting messages during this amusing story of a colorful little unicorn who grasps life's opportunities with both paws.Zany Can Do Anything
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Dead Dogs Don't
Tolu A. Akinyemi
978-1999815929 $10.88 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Dead Dogs Don't Bark
They Don't Bite is another reflective, inspirational,
uplifting free verse poetry collection by Tolu A. Akinyemi who, in this
collection, continues to capture the basics of motivational thinking in
that support the premises of Dead Lions
Don't Roar while expanding on its themes.
From poems about Akinyemi's native Nigeria
and experiences that shaped his life to the title poem, which entreats
reader to "...let the world hear
your bark/Be a bright spark/Make a difference...", these
stimulating and reflective poetic pieces that discourage life's
entreats readers, "Don't be a
tourist/When you could have been the pilot."
Some may think that everyone can't be a
guiding light...but these poems continually reinforce the notion that
person can, indeed, make a difference in the world, however small.
Though Akinyemi admits he is a "work in
progress," he also acknowledges role models and leaders, the
of evolving ever upward in spirit and intention, and the methods by
life may be addressed, assessed, and honed. The goal is to live dreams
the poet and reader can "burst apart at the seams" with eyes wide
Heartfelt, thought-provoking, and inspirational,
Dead Dogs Don't Bark nicely
new approaches to considering life and its changes, and makes for an
game plan for building a better world.
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and Other Misfits
Garden Oak Press
Foundlings and Other
collects 41 poems and 15 short stories that represent observations of
children, and the ironies of daily life conundrums, such as finding a
stuck in the toilet. It's a synthesis of experience that blends flashes
humor with serious inspection of evolving from a foundling to honing a
purpose: "Wet at the ghetto
gate/without clothes, speech or food/I am taken in, taught never to be
speechless/or wet again./I think it love 'til the cashier asks a
teaching learning never ends —/then swallow understanding./Hold it in."
From mismatched Gemini twins and longings
for connection and reconnection to a rail against psychotherapy's
you bastards are innocent./I'm the one ruining my life./Now
what?/Hemlock?/Screw you, Socrates!"),
Estelle Gilson provides a vivid inspection of life which
poetry and prose alike.
'The Man Who Sold His Mother', for example.
This short story revolves
around Horace Ross, a man who decides to sell his mother. "Promise me one thing." How many times had she
sworn him to
the oath. "No matter what happens, you won't stick me in an old age
home." Well, he wouldn't."
and fun coalesce in a story that tells what happens when he packs ma
wheelbarrow into his car, only to find that he can't give her away for
And his mother actually likes the barrow, deeming him as being
saving her the effort of walking.
Estelle Gilson's ability to weave anger and
observation into humor to provide a taste of something different is one
facets that connects her poetry and prose pieces to keep them lively
Other strong features of this collection as
a whole are its close inspection of life events, relationships, and the
evolution of a girl's independence as she moves from foundling to savvy
able to deflect the unwelcome advances of a predator (among other
The result is a powerful literary and
psychological inspection that lingers in the mind longer after the
final short story.
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Firefly Southern Fiction
978-1-64526-259-6 $14.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Set at Greer’s Ferry Lake in Heber Springs, Arkansas, Little Tea explores the bonds of female friendships that have lasted through the ages, coming home, and coming to terms with aspects of Southern culture.
Claire Fullerton sets the stage when three childhood friends reunite after a decade of separation. "I’ve had more friendships than I care to list come and go over the years. People I thought would be in my life forever fell by the wayside for one reason or another, some leaving me baffled and bruised and second-guessing. But Renny Thornton and Ava Cameron have remained. The progression of years and disparate locations has not altered our bond one iota. We became friends when we were thirteen, and now that we’re “a little older,” each of us realizes we’re in it for life. Our dogged loyalty to each other is partially based on longevity. We’ve invested too much time in each other to turn back now. We overlook the fact that we’re as different as night and day in what our lives have become, because we began at the same starting point. Born to a certain sect of the South so staid in its ways few people ever leave."
Their reunion is laced with childhood memories as narrator Celia Wakefield reflects on her coming-of-age on her family’s 3rd generation farm in Como, Mississippi. In the midst of deeply-engrained cultural beliefs about the racial divide in the Deep South, readers are swept into a family saga impacted by society's opinion of Celia's close friendship with the spirited Thelonia, who goes by the nickname Little Tea.
Readers of women’s fiction and Southern fiction will find Little Tea thoroughly engrossing and satisfyingly unpredictable as each character undertakes an emotional journey that is captured with a lyrical, lilting attention to detail: "I’ve heard it said you don’t recognize the best times of your life unless you see them in hindsight, but I beg to differ. I knew every moment of this day for exactly what it was, and each crystalline variable seemed to me a highlight: the selection of the low heels and white sleeveless dress I wore, the arrival of Renny and Mark and Ava, the secret flutter of my heart every time I met eyes with Tate."
Little Tea is the story of the
ties that bind during changing
times and documents the bravery it takes to move forward. Readers of
literature will find it a compelling story of Southern friendships and
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in a Pin-stripe Suit
Jay M. Mower
Garden Oak Press
Poet in a Pin-stripe
features well over a hundred poems divided into sections that range
Swamp Witch' and 'Roller Derby' to 'Beyond Electricity, Strange
Visits to Dystopia'. Each section offers writings that closely inspect
different experiences and life encounters, capturing a sense of place
moment in time.
Take 'That Old Black Magic', for example.
Its slice of life/love feel evolves from a description of magic moments
blend with a Halloween backdrop: "Louis
and Keely‘s vocal ends/followed by a bumblebee buzz/on the sax while my
sip/of scotch whiskey disappears/off the rocks. Halloween and
to magic spells, witches/and a spider that spins elastic/catenaries, no
knots,/glistening across the morning/sidewalk to a weatherworn fence..."
The blend of atmosphere and romance is
well-done, with the latter an unexpected injection into the setting of
jazz, sharp whiskey, and past love.
'Passages' offers a glimpse of the writer's
inspection of life as he observes "...collies
fly into fuchsia Frisbees,/boys soar into Japanese warrior kites/on
Park green and see money/as a knife we plunge into each other,/like
wood loom as future pyres." As he sees the universe abiding
changes looming, his conclusion is to capture the appeal of small
pleasures: "...I'll not wait/for a
fireworks extravaganza,/but live for a trice of ice cream."
Jay M. Mower cultivates a back-and-forth perspective between bigger-picture thinking and small slices of life. He excels at forming connections between the two that capture the fleeting moments and threats of life, be it "the big one" earthquake or the lack of a tsunami's roar that leads him full circle to the ordinary before a concluding extraordinary event changes everything in 'An Eerie Evening'.
This blend of speculation and reality,
imagination and daily life, and the intersection of ordinary experience
extraordinary encounters to be found within them and the mind creates a
collection that is evocative, wonderfully written, and a breath of
Readers can easily follow the juxtaposition
of literary and daily affairs in poems that bridge the gap between
and everyday experience, making Poet in a
Pin-stripe Suit widely accessible to all.
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Gifts in The Rain
ASIN Ebook: B005K01ATU $ 4.03
Paperback: 979-8605986614 $12.00
Amazon link (ebook): https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Gifts-Rain-theSailor-ebook/dp/B005K01ATU
Amazon link (paperback): https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Gifts-Rain-theSailor/dp/B0849HM3RL
in The Rain
opens with a parable about a little girl who grows
up and dies before ever knowing her true adversary and purpose—a girl
to live in a time where mankind was on the cusp of change, yet never
real potential, living an unrealized existence instead: "Her
which had once been open, inquisitive and mystical, shrank into a
structured matrix built entirely around the need for material comfort.
struggle would have to be of her own making. But she made nothing. In
company of her peers, she sank slowly and steadily, and quite
the seductive quicksands of mature adulthood."
Angel is telling this story to a boy who wonders about a girl who
never fought, who never identified an adversary in her life, and whose "...elders
had drawn a veil over her mind and left her only eyes with which to
the Boy is different, and so are these seven interlaced stories
about human potential, purpose, and the obstacles that obscure vision
intention. These stories originate from seven books, each of which "...contains
a story illustrating one of the gifts...When you have read all seven,
should understand the purpose of the guardian's seven gifts, and the
them being unveiled at this time."
the reader and protagonist embark on a philosophical, ethereal
series of encounters that each hold a lesson about life and living and
bringing readers into the realm of life's inspection and meaning
such as 'Charlie's Angel', about a shipwreck and a seagull.
one such story, strong descriptions of the power of storms and the
sea lead to an old Bosun who experiences yet another shipwreck and
the gifts the sea has given him: "He and the Captain were the
ones, he reflected, to have such clarity of thought as only the sea
To see life in its simple forms, uncluttered by all the confusion of
social graces; and the obligations and blindness they create. The
found peace, and so, one day, would he."
would have been too easy to allow each story to stand alone and
resonate with the reader, but discussions between boy and Angel of the
learned from each event reinforce each tale's perspective and possible
Often, there is more to each than meets the eye, and so the deeper
imparted in the course of these debates hold philosophical and
lessons for readers.
gifts from the sea that form the foundation of these experiences
and life lessons are teased from the wind, sand, and stars of nature
given to any who would delight in stories that serve as more than just
in The Rain
is highly recommended reading for readers of
metaphysical fiction, who will find its gentle philosophical and
reflections to be compelling, inviting, and thought-provoking life
Return to Index
Side By Side But Never Face to Face
Side By Side But Never Face to
Face collects a novella and short stories for a
presentation of linked narratives revolving around the shared grief of
and Holocaust survivor Manfred over the loss of their child.
Past, present, and future become mercurial
as Greta and Manfred see their life perspectives shift and the gap
widen, with tragedy highlighting the underlying differences between a
from Germany and a woman who has "...never
known war or borders or boots. She hadn’t even been born forty years
Manfred ran for his life. Raised in harmonious comfort, she barely
why Mutti had refused to have her Fredi circumcised, why she had
the dates in his baby book to make it look like he had been baptized
at birth. Now, without warning, calamity had shoved its way into
presence, decimating the rich and varied pleasures of their life
There is confidence that the grief will pass
and their relationship will continue to survive: "We've
had good times,” said Greta in the morning, speaking
through tears, “and we will again.” But in the face of death
and all its
changes, a transformative process threatens to change many facets of
It would have been easy to have the focus
rest solely on Greta's shoulders, as women's grief is often more easily
and captured. But Maggie Kast takes the time to focus on Manfred's
as well, and this lends a powerful perspective to their story, bringing
emotional turmoil to life from both sides: "He
wanted to order her alive, but all that came out was dry sobs."
Side By Side But Never
Face is not just a story of grief and survival,
but a summation of the coming together of a couple distanced by
and cultural connections. As stories reveal this disparity, readers are
to lyrical observations of these differences which proves compelling: "She felt free to criticize but was
nonetheless infatuated with all the sights and smells that had formed
His “fatherland” would always be her “otherland,” its yellow facades
vineyards and damp coffeehouses the Austria she had married."
As the stories that accompany the novella
move beyond Greta and Manfred to probe the lives of other family
readers receive a full-bodied exploration of the lingering effects of
heritage and struggle that brings to life the process of coupling and
The language, too, evolves and changes in
each of these descriptions of daily life unwinding: "You
married your husband largely for his freedom and nerve, for the
way he suddenly stopped on the street, took a deep breath, and raised
to embrace the world, knowing he deserved its gifts.
He reached like a tall stalk to speculate
about the world beyond his limits, and he sent down searching roots to
muddy depths of behavior, his and yours."
These changes in character, purpose, and
literary style coalesce to profile interconnected lives that are not
productions, but lively, growing entities. They traverse the world,
different traditions and belief systems from Germany to Minneapolis to
Readers looking for a powerful literary
collection that takes daily life challenges and moves them outward like
ripple into society and psyche alike will find Side
By Side But Never Face to Face a compelling read replete with
psychological, spiritual, and cultural strength.
Return to Index
Morgan James Publishing
Snapshots represents just
what its title insinuates—a collection of short story vignettes
capture slices of life in succinct revelations that make for both quick
and lingering impressions, much like a photograph.
short piece is carefully crafted to capture individual lives and
reflections on the moment when they change.
'Hub2000' for one example. The narrator is working his last
graveyard shift for United Parcel Service, and Hub2000 is the employee
he's entering for the last time as he moves on in his career.
Owen encounters first-day employee Bryce on the bus at this
hub. Bryce is new, enthusiastic, and "ready to go." Owen is seasoned
and ready to leave, but he's called upon to serve as Bryce's mentor for
night. Their brief encounter changes both when a strange package leads
restricted area, an escapee, and a strange truth that transforms Owen
shocking, truly unexpected conclusion.
Ten Pin' documents a bowling experience on steroids when Brett,
who grew up in a bowling alley, encounters Justin and finds a
to a horrific conclusion. Everything leads back to the bowling
alley—but in a
twisted manner that reveals another side to Justin.
Parker's ability to take these 'snapshots' and add extra
dimensions to what begin as ordinary life experiences is what sets this
collection apart from others.
story specializes in a twist that challenges readers to think
about their expectations and prejudices about outcomes, people, and
Each will delight short story enthusiasts looking for literary works
tension development, plot, and the ability to craft something
different from disparate life experiences.
Return to Index
J. A. Hailey
ASIN: B082K7KNC2 $2.99
Sometimes She Smiles
excels in vignettes and slices-of-life encounters that make for
hard-hitting reading for attention spans limited by busy lives. It
different subjects in a collection designed to make the most of the
in as broad a representation of subjects as possible.
The opening story, 'Act of Goodwill', offers
a dialogue-driven philosophical encounter between Saint Peter of the
Gates and John, who could go either way, and who had an eternal life
that turned into a Ponzi scheme involving cryogenics and his mistaken
that "I am the first human to have
Humor is unexpected in this jovial
conversation about possibilities, injecting a sense of irony into the
story: "But why am I here, if this is indeed
the gateway to heaven?” “You’re facing the wrong way.” “What? That
behind me? Wow, and it actually has a sign over the gate, just like the
fellow said. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. How did he know?” “He
But he gave us the idea and the words, so we made the sign. He was
poem when we booted him in.”
quite a different take, consider 'Humans
Are Virtuals', a short piece excerpted
from a larger work and crafted into the standalone story of a virtual
containing intelligent beings who converse with the wheelchair-bound
and scientific discussion evolves to consider the origins of geniuses
morons, the involvements of these 'virtuals' in human lives, and the
possibilities of sanity and insanity as they relate to these odd
with human affairs.
proofreading would have caught the punctuation errors peppered
pieces, which would have made for a better reading experience.
aside, the meat of the diverse stories in Sometimes
She Smiles is always intriguing and provides fun food for
stories that are easy to grasp and intriguingly different.
Return to Index