Life in a Whirlwind of Numbers, 26 years of OCD, 2nd EditionDavid W. Dahlberg
Life in a
Numbers (Twenty-Six Years of OCD) shares David Dahlberg's
experience of OCD
and what it feels like to live such a life. It is NOT a case study but
autobiography: in this respect, the usual medical descriptions of
and options are contained within the realm of personal discovery and
revelations rather than self-help advice, and are related within the
the author's personal experience of OCD.
is the brain's perception of
slings and arrows
(sometimes real, too often imagined) paired with a flight-or-flight
mechanism that contributes to an ongoing cycle of anxiety. Because the
perceived fears aren't intrinsic to physical reality, often OCD
deemed inappropriate or odd; and because it's relentless and ongoing,
victim is kept in a state of high anxiety over 'little things'.
any not suffering from OCD
can't really know what it
feels like, readers will come close with Life
in a Whirlwind of Numbers, which clearly documents the
emotions and reactions of those with OCD: "The
danger is imaginary. But the feeling
is absolutely real. Your body’s response is exactly the same as If it
actually happening. You become caught in an endless, inescapable, and
debilitating loop. All because your nervous system grossly overreacted
image that would simply pass through the minds of other, "normal"
as a small child, Dahlberg was
cognizant the feeling
that he had to interact with the world in a specific way, through a
habits and repetitions, before he felt 'right'. Being able to stop repetitious behaviors was part of
what made him feel good.
chapters move through the author's
life and experiences,
readers along for the wild ride that is OCD learn about the perceptions
actions of the OCD individual from an 'insider's' viewpoint: something
other books on the subject don't begin to adequately address.
a roommate good at directing and
dysfunctional people to carry out his own hidden agendas, who wins such
by charm, to how Dahlberg's personal rituals fit into the world (or
not), Life in a Whirlwind of Numbers offers
a tumultuous swirl of emotions, experiences, and compensating habits
Dalhberg fit into his world.
more revealing is how he gains
help in the process of
moving through life. From getting through college to taking on a
Dahlberg's rituals and obsessions eventually come to find useful places
deals with career and life: "Staying
calm with students was easy. Having dealt with the anxieties of OCD, I
the reality of a real classroom much less nerve-wracking. As a result,
always able to maintain an even keel with my students. They knew I
yell, and I knew they would respect my requests and reactions."
does Dahlberg eventually resist
these rituals and
compulsions to participate in OCD behaviors? Through a combination of
recognition, hard work, and adjustment; which readers will find both
specifically detailed and applicable to some circumstances in their own
It's not a medical book and not a self-help guide; but in exploring the progression of one man's OCD from childhood to adulthood, Life in a Whirlwind of Numbers documents the process of seeing the light at the end of a long tunnel of discord, and ultimately paints a picture of hope and understanding for those who live with OCD.
Life in a Whirlwind of Numbers
$10.99 - paperback $2.99 - e-book
beginning to be truly new, worlds must be shattered and rebuilt. And in
endeavor, there's always the risk that no phoenix will arise from such
Crystal Caverns there is no single
phoenix; just three remarkable teens. And, still, the threat of
They aren't alone in their quest; they're guided by the venerable old Agostino. Evil doesn't operate without support either, on its side: guided equally expertly by Venceslao, its new goal isn't just to defeat the Healers; it's to capture them to tap their powers for its own evil purposes.
was described in prior books (not seen by this reviewer), but newcomers
little prior familiarity to jump right into the story line, with its
flowing descriptions and ability to pinpoint protagonist interests and
And, it's Donna Labermeier's evocative imagery which proves just one of
strong points that set The Healers:
Crystal Caverns apart from other young adult fantasy
odysseys: "His mind was quicksilver fast, but
were uncoordinated, and he approached physical tasks with a
care to be sure his innate clumsiness never got the better of him. He
hardly a great warrior and so trailed his prey with his customary
patiently padding just out of sight behind the enemy’s circle."
appears to be a
pure fantasy adventure is, in fact, a satisfying blend of spirituality,
philosophical reflection, and a focus on both individual and collective
transformation: themes that permeate its action and provide many
for deeper reflection: "…barely a
handful of non-Healers had managed to replicate any of their amazing
seemed that confidence was the key. Ultimately, no one could allow
to fully believe in humanity’s ability to ascend to the next level of
evolution. As a species, it appeared we were fatally infected with
doubt - a
tiny gap inside of us, like a broken circuit at the heart of an
electronic array, across which electricity could never flow…Almost never."
seemingly-supernatural powers that face down disasters few others could
confront to channeling healing energy that plants a seed of hope in an
increasingly dysfunctional world, the teen heroes are but a microcosm
issues humanity faces both in this fantasy setting and now; an approach
lends to a vigorous read offering subliminal personal connections
another strength of Book Three: The
Healers: Crystal Caverns emphasizes connections that also are
times they are presented as strengths; at other times, as flaws that
"wreck the world". They
can't be both; so are they attributes or dangers? That's up for the
solidify and for readers to ultimately determine.
centers upon a series of increasingly difficult challenges which each
tasked with facing down. As various truths about the mysterious
emerges (they don't seem to be from this planet, for one thing), a
of possibilities materializes to present both dead-ends and prospects
good-versus-evil story line; make no doubt about it. And in the course
events there are elements of manipulation, betrayal, power struggles
light and darkness, and a few good warrior heroes who may be all that
the line between the two.
human misery and darkness that fuels the greatest darkness of all: can
teens, however talented, defeat mankind's own inner demons?
prepared for any possibility in The
Healers: Crystal Caverns. Those who seek a singular action
read might find
the interwoven spiritual and philosophical perspectives here add more
complexity than is desired from a purely entertaining fantasy - but
makes this story stand out.
"You are part of what
comes next. Understand
that you are on the Earth to help create wonderful and miraculous things…"
It's ultimately a tale about endings and beginnings; self-defeating
paradigms and what could replace them.
In order for any beginning to be truly new, worlds must be shattered and rebuilt. And in such an endeavor, there's always the risk that no phoenix will arise from such ashes. That The Healers: Crystal Caverns leaves all possibilities open right up to the end is a final testimony to its ability to surprise, delight, and involve readers on more than a singular level.
Healers: Crystal Caverns
J.M. Haug, Publisher
No ISBN $2.99
Author's blog: http://jmhaugwrites.tumblr.com/
Order from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Perilous-Land-Fall-Lida-Azhad-ebook/dp/B00EFJ24QA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1409080922&sr=8-4&keywords=perilous+land
Order from Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/perilous-land-jm-haug/1119972867?ean=2940149683468
Perilous LandJ.M. Haug
be all too
easy to anticipate a standard fantasy and a straightforward read; but
the delights of Perilous Land (and, note: it won't
be a delight
to those who seek a light, unchallenging pursuit: readers be warned!)
lyrical style and descriptions that pull outsiders into this colorful,
demanding setting: "Thunder, like unto the hate-forged tempest
birthed them. Ever had that been their sound, the waves. Serpentine,
slithered from out the east, howling and hungry, an endless blue-gray
vengeance mythological. Coiling. Crashing. Failing. Then would come
the dragon’s roar of retribution…"
storytellers and an exceptionally brave (or, foolhardy: take your pick)
protagonist, Lida Azhad, whose struggles and passion forge new paths
herself and those around her.
against the backdrop of a land replete with fierce dangers, narrated
dialogue that takes some getting used to, but which only adds to the
complexity and well-rounded attention to detail that sets Perilous
apart from a genre standard: "It is good to hear you zay as
because I had begun to wonder if my artifizer knuhs the aczhual duties
puzt.” Cool curiosity presses her brow higher, a challenging glance
edge of the prop page in the hopes that if the letter itself be not
enough, the sheer force of pretense will maintain the deception, for at
moment does this sample of a grand duke’s missive sit upside down in
These quoted passages give some idea of J.M. Haug's approach, and should serve as fair warning for the dense, realistic devices employed to make the story line believable and immediate. Through winding descriptions that take their time linking past to present events to extensive slang dialogue that initially is taxing but ultimately spices the story line, Perilous Land doesn't just set its table with light, fragile trappings: it embraces the sights, smells, and textures of a creaking ship and a journey replete with voyages and dangers.
woman would initially seem to hold no place in a pirate's plundering
in a world replete with myths, blasphemies, harsh lands and harsher
Azhad has been forced into the role of a queen and leader, and seeks to
imprisoned brother's freedom.
takes her into jungles and loses her men. It challenges her until she
more than just another captain in a fleet of extraordinary ships, and
against dragons and politicians alike.
it's an easy
fantasy leisure read that's desired - move along, please.
wrap-ups here…but then, the subtitle should warn that there's more to
so the cliffhanger shouldn't be entirely unexpected.
abound: take a breath, inhale … then become steeped in the sights,
feel of the strange new world that Perilous Land
provides. Few other
fantasies come close.
Barnes And Noble:
The magic number is three. Three days to save the world. Three people to help Darius McPherson succeed. And three important life lessons to learn in the process.
The setting is a war being planned in Heaven itself by a reluctant warrior too young to be in Heaven in the first place, and the mission involves saving humanity from its own follies: no mean assignment for a young man killed in a drive-by shooting and suddenly tasked with saving the world.
is about magic on many levels: the incongruity of Heaven and its
absurdities of Mankind, and the passionate concerns of a boy faced with
apocalypse on a scale that moves beyond singular death and into the
of humanity itself.
As if this
wasn't enough, add demons
and a road that
literally leads to Hell (albeit paved with good intentions) and you
fast-paced thriller novel that defies the usual genre definitions of
thriller or action piece and creeps into the realm of the impossible.
darkens rapidly as Darius investigates company clinical trials, angel
operatives, and deadly courses of action, spicing his approach with a
blend of offense and defense that presumes a degree of training he
lacks: "Crooking his arm, Darius
lifted his hand just below chin level with all five fingers splayed. He
reminded himself of David Carradine as Caine in a “Kung Fu” TV episode.
experienced angel operative would certainly prepare to attack with “way
subtlety, he figured."
humor are tossed in for
effective comic relief as
Darius questions why a Heaven governed by the concept of free will
in the affairs of man - and why it would choose to do so for one event
another: "Darius sat perfectly still for a while with his
hands in his
lap before speaking again. “I’m confused,” he said with a solemn
“On the one hand, you say everything that happens to a man is the
free will, and on the other hand, you send me to Earth to stop a pill
going on the market. I don’t get it.” “Good observation, Darius. It
a contradiction, but it’s more like a distinction. We have to pick our
carefully. We try not to interfere with the operation of human free
sat by and watched in horror, for example, when Roman soldiers
and terrorists flew commercial airliners into the
will Darius learn in his
latest incarnation as
a new angel? He has only three days to absorb them - or witness the end
is a fast-paced, vivid read that incorporates all the elements of a
mystery, thriller, and fantasy. It's certainly not a portrait of a
afterlife, a conventional Heaven, or a banal post-life mission. All
facets merge to create a uniquely involving story blending amusing
engrossing encounters between disparate forces; each with their own
interests and agendas.
He's in it for the ride,
and takes readers along
with him in an unexpected journey through Heaven, Hell, and beyond.
Dark Light Publishing
No ISBN, website, $TBA
cleanest of scenarios in
novels, thrillers and mysteries
alike, the good guy wins. In such a world, free will and choice are
rights, and infuse the paths of the righteous with clear direction.
eventually is defeated in these paradigms, and good reigns. That's the
for a traditional story line.
that formula and mix it up.
Assume there are, in
fact, no real choices and no free will; but an inevitability that leads
human race inexorably in one, fatal direction.
being in charge of one's
life is an illusion;
that, in reality, others are
directing a play called 'life'. Then assume that there's another world
influencer about to rise, named Nightstalker, who has been a marionette
many lifetimes - but is now ready to cut the strings and up the ante
Mix up all
these elements and you
have the gist of Tomorrow's End, a
between sci-fi, mystery, and spiritual reader which posits a new kind
force set loose in the world.
usually come packed with
accounts of battles,
saviors, and clear delineations between good and evil. They are seldom
with accounts of aliens begging for death, of monsters claiming to be
gods while in disguise, and of humans tasked with understanding the
motives of impossible beings - and whether or not killing, under such
conditions, is an act of good or of evil: "What
makes something evil is the objective negative outcome that it
creates in the universe. It’s how it affects everyone’s lives. Justice
of good such as killing in self-defense will gain you power of light
you have dominion over that person. The intruder who breaks into
house in an attempt to murder will have lost so much light that the
defends himself will be brighter, thus making it justified to kill in
self-defense. Humanity’s abundance of light is what gives them dominion
the plants, animals, and insects. Thus it’s not an act of evil to kill
it’s certainly not evil to delete a program pretending to be human.”
It all boils
down to what entity has
a soul and what doesn't
- and what is allowed for those with souls versus what is inhumane: "In many aspects they are just as real as any
human being. They can die like humans, have babies like humans, and
emotions like humans. The only real difference is they don’t have a
Instead of being powered and guided by a spiritual essence, they are
created by that diamond you saw on the ground.”
background, teenager Kevin is about to learn the secret of creation
only, the truth might not be pretty: "Beyond space and time,
two fundamental forces. Infinitely dense and infinitely powerful, these
govern physics, nature, and the laws of the cosmos. One of them was the
an emptiness, a nothing, but all that is negative…There was a light
darkness, a something inside the nothing. It was knowledge, choice, and
that is positive. There came a moment outside of time, where the
something could choose to be something rather than nothing."
about to learn that he may be the true savior not just of humanity, but
the forces of good and evil, and how to do they operate in the world?
existence itself a choice, and is the 'infinite collective' involves in
world-changing battle similar to time's beginning, when "The
of choice and existence became one."?
about demons and battles and about creatures from hell and the tortures
exact on their victims. Readers should be prepared for scenes of
entrails-spilling violence as battles rage across the pages of a book
with religious confrontation and a world ruled by right and wrong
(which even the evil Nightstalker must bow to). They should also be
for time fluxes that place Kevin in another era, battling the Dragon
linked to Hell itself; and for Kevin's evolution beyond his own
eyes that can peer into atomic structures themselves.
virtual conflagration of
forces that meet with the
atomic smash of a matter/antimatter collision, with humanity's ultimate
survival at the heart of world-altering confrontations.
And what do spaceships, aliens, a
transitioning teenager, a new kind of Eve, and a President used to (and
disgusted by) demons have to do with ultimate salvation and
Aside from the violent struggles that permeate its pages, Tomorrow's End offers no pat plot and no
singular purpose on the
part of its protagonists.
references and alternate
viewpoints throughout ("But Adam’s
power was limited to change and not creation. Creation of life meant
essence from existence to mold into a physical form. Everyone agreed
kind of power was to be relegated only to the representatives, or
biological choice of each living creature. You know, giving birth. “Adam chose to exist
unnaturally; he was
created, and not born. Both means were ultimately made through free
and you have a strange attractor that will grip Christian readers of
Revelations and secular readers of science fiction alike.
Rebecca Trelfa, Publisher
No ISBN $TBA
of the 'Severxance Living Legacy Saga', The Warren already
it's part of a series about some kind of legacy. What is striking from
first paragraph, however, is that this involves an alien stranded on
caught in a human torture chamber. And then things get interesting.
stranded on another world with no memory and no way home? What if you
behind with an infant to care for, and what if your species was capable
life and regeneration? And what if you devoted the centuries to filling
blanks about your past and keeping your heritage a secret, only to find
that the way home is paved with strange intentions entwined with human
opening salvo of a story that combines the best of alien investigations
human affairs to take hard sci fi to a whole new level.
been decades since hard sci fi was at its heyday. That position has
over the years by a preponderance of sword and sorcery and urban
genres that often eschew much of any science in favor of the trappings
magic. So it's especially refreshing and notable to find here not just
throwback to a genre that once rested firmly on hard science, but which
treasure trove of new possibilities.
why this is possible is Becca Hardy's attention to building believable,
protagonists, plus an overriding mystery that permeates the story line
truly involves readers with passion and effortless reading. A twist on
traditional Simak-like Way Station setting that has
protagonists unwilling (and unknowing) participants in a greater
than an accidental stranding doesn't hurt, either.
in the hard science itself. Attempts to reinvent alien transportation
considerations of collective memory's wider place in the universe, and
between memories and the shape of reality itself keep science-minded
immersed and fascinated; and that's not an easy task in a genre
with marginal plots, predictable routines, and (too often)
to be truly engrossing, all of these elements must be present - and
The Warren thus stands out from the crowd in many
ways, and readers who
become hooked from its first words will find its action relentless, its
science believable and sound, and its characters and their motivations
exquisitely logical: "Catching a secret government agency in
the act of
dissecting a fellow alien was no surprise. It was the main reason he’d
them so long… Physical pain he could watch—take. What he couldn’t take
being out of the loop. If he hadn’t been so desperate for answers, he
have risked chasing down his kind at all. He knew three things about
torture victim. One: He was the only other alien Foster knew of on
They’d arrived together. Three: The guy wanted nothing to do with him.
off so fast after they landed, Foster didn’t even learn his name."
The basic questions of identity, purpose, and life's meaning are universal ones: their presentation here takes another turn and makes them even more poignant.
to the mix, stir, give them uncertain (but definite) connections and
and add a healthy dose of interspecies interaction and conflict and you
violence (at times strong), humor (always sharp and unexpected),
surprise ingredient), mystery (all-pervading) and hard science (complex
The Warren: Severxance Living Legacy Saga - Book One
Nation: The Founding Fathers, Families and Patriots
Joan Wheeler LaGrone
0967823028 WIN Publishers of
"There was a
fundamental difference concerning the meaning of the Revolution between
Founding Fathers." The opening introduction outlines this
of a Nation
could all too easily have proven a dry, unremarkable coverage under
hand, but Joan Wheeler LaGrone's expertise lies in her ability to take
of American history and culture and turn it into a remarkable saga of
confrontation, change, and evolution.
Why rehash a
subject that has
received some degree of
analysis in other discussions of the Founding Fathers? LaGrone explains
best: "We must keep our true history
alive and teach it to our children. We cannot forget who we are. A
nation or a
people who do not remember where they came from, or their true
easily be destroyed from enemies without or within."
perspective in mind,
American history readers
learn about the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, the Founding Fathers and their
interactions with and connections to early patriots, and more. At each
the way traditional historical observation blends with critical
events and how their interpretations changed over the decades.
this process and its
results, LaGrone succeeds
in probing underlying elements of social and political process,
interactions within and between major influential families of the
times, in a
lively story and dialogue that seeks to move beyond the usual facts of
to probe at their underlying psychological, social and political impact.
devices employed to bring
history to life are
liberal quotes from source documents and descriptions that read with
immediacy of a novel's drama: "John
Hancock was first to sign his name with a large and bold signature. He
professed he wanted the King to be able to read it with out his glasses."
of a Nation
doesn't just focus on interactions in political and social circles; but
examines relationships between Indian and white man and encounters
figures in both cultures. Again, source material quotes enliven the
LaGrone's descriptions bond all together and lend life to a vivid
A number of
chapters take a
genealogical turn in describing
the backgrounds and culture of select major families of the times.
first this might seem a digression, there's an underlying purpose in
which embraces the notion of differing backgrounds interacting from
regard, the family
genealogies work well, providing
necessary background on special interests and ethnic makeup and showing
various family members came to emigrate to
illustrations from Wikipedia,
Ancestry and other
sources pepper a lively coverage of the political and social
between families that cement political events with personal backgrounds
interactions, making for a powerful reminder of exactly where the roots
American political process really lies: in the hearts, minds, and
of ordinary people who should not be forgotten.
of a Nation
assures they won't be, and is a 'must' for any American history reader,
high school into adult circles.
It's All About
Muhammad: A Biography of the
World's Most Notorious Prophet
titles discuss Muhammad's
teachings and works, but
too few offer the kind of in-depth, critical approach to Muhammad’s
influences, which is really necessary for a well-rounded understanding
roots of Islam.
All About Muhammad
remedies this lack, yet this
book is not for the casual reader seeking a light review of his life,
those seeking specific connections between the events of Muhammad's
the Koran - which, Burleigh maintains, is best viewed as a diary or a
the book is about
Muhammad's violent approach to
imposing his religion, and it probes that violent life based on a
study of some 20,000 pages of original source materials.
Muhammad's violence was fueled at first not so much by religious fervor as it was by a struggle to stay alive in a dangerous world: thus his attacks, murders, and conflicts demonstrated controlled, purposeful violence that was fanned by a delusional belief that God backed his actions.
to his delusional beliefs
abound: "He had constructed a fantasy world
with prophets and angels, and he lived inside his head with them as his
intimate companions. They were as real if not more so than his
companions. The stories of the prophets, or at least his version of
stories, had become points of reference for him and served as a
Key to this
biographical review are instances
of Muhammad's exploitation of the Arabian religious customs of
"The Meccans were furious. It was
clear Muhammad was using their customs to gain an advantage over them.
hiding behind the security of the sacred months even though he himself
little respect for the tradition. Neither did he have any respect for
tolerance. He was exploiting their openness…"
murderous rampages to peaceful
times, he added verse
after verse to his Koran in response to life events: "After
doing some thinking on the idea of returning a faithful woman to
a den of polytheists, Muhammad unilaterally changed the terms of the
treaty to exclude the forced repatriation of women. He backed it up
with a new
an admiring portrait of
the man. Burleigh
maintains and provides ample evidence for the notion that, ultimately,
was so morally deformed and ruthless that this book and other exposés revealing the
truth about him
could eventually result in the collapse of Islam. Burleigh admits that
collapse won't be fostered by one book alone (or even a series of
from wide media exposure.
Muhammad is the beginning:
the opening salvo fired in a war against Islamic violence and all of
Heavily footnoted with source material references throughout, this book
best opening act one could wish for in a discussion of Islam’s
precedent and how to stop its cycles of violence from reaching ever
into modern times.
The Longitudinal Star Gate 14 Model , Model III - Synergistic
Matrix Logistics Informatics - EDITION 4
Siafa B. Neal
gamers interested in war
gaming or chess will find
this fourth edition of Advance 3-D Chess
to be a winning explanation of the ongoing, advanced moves of the game
specific insights on Single, Double, Triple, Quadruple and set-up modes.
recommended that readers gain a
from following the prior titles Siafa B. Neal has produced on the
latest follows the same format and is for audiences who have the basics
in grasp, and who seek a more challenging game in the 3-D format.
on a conventional chess
board are supported by
equations and color positionings that set the stage both visually and
mathematically by beginning with traditional positionings, then moving
formulas and images to 3D by inviting players to imagine a structure
the basis of the Latitudinal Star Gate 14 Model.
establishes wood and glass chess
sets to help newcomers
distinguish between the two sets and their set-ups and their
provides insights on single, double, and unified and non-unified setup
between platforms offer
insights on differences, distinguishing
characteristics, physical and abstract squares, and the psychological
strategies that differ between conventional chess boards and the 3D
options, while The photos and diagrams showing the trapezoidal platform
make it easier to view the strategic organization, the player moves and
of plays at the 3-dimensional level.
abbreviations for trapezoidal
that make it easier to view strategic organization and player moves to
of plays that operate on a 3D level, this fourth edition continues to
few chess guides attempt. Diagrams, illustrations and drawings form the
foundations of advanced theory explanations which are accessible to any
player looking for greater challenges.
The coordinates on the non-conventional chess board are
Equations and color positions for added clarification.
healthy degree of
mathematical formulas, detailed
color-coded multi-dimensional game boards, and specific strategies
handling the longitudinal model's particular structure and strengths.
A Plan for
Eric C. Wentworth
Charles Stephen Publishing
A Plan for
21st Century Guide to Success in Wealth,
Health, Career, Education,
Love, Place...and You covers a wide range of topics relating
to an overall
life plan, and provides an excellent motivational title revealing
from mind/body connections to making better choices that reinforce a
financial planning is
challenging to many and why
the rich get richer to the physical and emotional fitness necessary for
health, developing an 'Over-40 Plan B' career (to thwart the
common ritual of age-related unemployment), and managing living
optimum happiness, A Plan for Life
eschews singular approaches to any one topic. Instead, it blends
seemingly-disparate threads into a unified theory for overall wellness
success that neatly moves beyond typical life planning.
Here are not
only admonitions for
leading a better life, but
proven approaches and tools that lend to success. Here, too, are keys
understanding the path to fulfillment and the mechanics of making
decisions that lead in this direction. Finally, it's a plan not just
specific age group, but for a wide audience from recent college grads
Boomers considering retirement.
Such a plan
usually involves an
perspective: not so with A Plan for Life,
which represents some of the best critical thinking of great minds
with the latest scientific research findings and some 500 resources,
thus are wide-ranging; from
'foods' to avoid at all
cost (cupcakes, muffins, cereal and sugars) to how rising medical
erode savings ("Medical costs
increase substantially after age 70. Even with Medicare, your entire
Security income could be consumed by medical costs. Fidelity
estimates (as of 2012) that you will need an average of $240,000 just
for your medical expenses after age 65."), Wentworth's
approach is to
combine these latest statistics and research with the latest strategies
to build a better life.
it's really all about reinventing
your life - on many levels.
So be forewarned: those not
interested in doing the work, shouldn't be looking at this wide-ranging
a marketing veteran, has
businesses, and has his finger on the pulse of macro trends that are
lives. His examples are rooted in reality and facts, not ideals - and
solutions include positive and uplifting supportive documentation of
tried this approach and succeeded: "Re–evaluation
and re–invention can come from an honest self–analysis of failure.
our old self has to die for complete rebirth,” says Julie Wainwright,
CEO of the now defunct Pets.com. “Remember, the best is yet to come.”
book ReBoot: My Five Life–Changing
and How I Have Moved On, Wainwright describes her own
public failure to depression to resurrection. She is now the CEO of a
successful new startup The Real Real."
a pat formula here, and
don't expect a short
coverage of easy routes to follow. Some five hundred pages pack in
and readers should be open-minded about all kinds of approaches to
re-invention process, from personal health and finances to
creates true happiness. Thus, advice ranges from downsizing and
'must have' list to becoming better organized and building a workable
the future that embraces all facets of well-being.
ultimately about ridding oneself
of negativity and
understanding trends and options to make the best choices. In this, A Plan for Life stands out from the
crowd of self-help books covering the planning process with its
examples backed by real statistics and the life experiences of
entrepreneurs and achievers who successfully completed their own
John J. Davis
Simon & Winter Inc.
A clash of
thunder echoes through the
house, awakens a man
and his wife, and prompts the surprisingly-immediate observation that
explosion should have set off the
house alarm … but didn't. Seconds later, two men are dead. And that's
opening salvo in a series of explosive encounters that involves Ron
his family in a deadly game.
story of retirement gone wrong, of ongoing confrontations and threats,
one family's struggle in the center of a vortex that becomes
complex and all-encompassing.
It blurs the
line between criminal
and entrepreneur and
between opportunistic and chance events as the story follows an ex-CIA
reluctant return to the fold from a rural retirement when his family is
threatened by unknown forces.
progress, Ron and wife Val
must choose between an
impossible mission and their family; between peace of mind and the
issues of a power play that could change the world.
these elements appear in
standard thriller writing
in one form or another: Blood Line's
exception is that all these facets are packed into a saga that
action, reaction and twists and turns from its very first page. The
represents the difference between a single-shot pistol and an AK-42:
events are unrelenting and allow little 'down time' for ennui or
And that's just one of the notable attributes of Blood
Line that elevates it from standard genre thriller
'plus': its attention to
building a complex set of
interlocked puzzlers that keep readers guessing on motivations,
and ultimate results of choices. At every turn Ron and Val are
reassess their personal goals, beliefs and lives in comparison to a
worldview. At every step they face threats from a variety of unexpected
threats that successfully involve readers without revealing the entire
and forces behind the plot. And at every step, the protagonists feel
control over their lives and future slipping away.
is exquisitely wrought, its action is elegantly played out against the
of political and criminal forces, and its ultimate results are
unpredictable. The aforementioned psychology weaves through the story
line in a
delicate dance between motivation, anticipation and control: "Moore and company thinks we’ll play it safe
because of Leecy. That’s why we’re going to do the exact opposite.” “I
it,” I said, gesturing toward the trunk. “And Julia?” “We need her to
part. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t involve her. She’s manic.”
“If not physically, definitely mentally. We’ll use her, but treat her
surprise conclusion that
skillfully ends the saga
while leaving the door open for future developments and the end result
thriller that proves haunting and unique, recommended for even the most
seasoned thriller genre reader.
Vijay S. Shertukde
international thriller that takes terrorist plots to a whole new level
explores a new weapon: a blast that leaves no destruction, just corpses.
thriller novels have (especially
in the last decade)
come to embrace both high technology and terrorist plots: that's
new is the
addition of a mystery that's seemingly unsolvable, paired with a
woman who will stop at nothing to understand the new force, its
its limitations - if any.
expect a singular, easy
read, here. Though promoted
as a story for children and adults alike, it's the quite mature teen
cusp of adult thriller reading), and the adult thriller reader used to
constructions (who seeks something more complex and puzzling in content
outcome) who will be the biggest fans of Blur.
lots of background
reference, and even the occasional linguistic lesson: Blur
holds many such references and sometimes reads with the depth
of nonfiction. But, despite its title, 'a quick read' is not what Blur is all about. And it's this depth
that lends it an extra dimension not present in competing novels.
Just as its
disaster strikes out of
the blue and poses many
mysteries, so it's up to the reader (as well as protagonist Kiran) to
understand other cultures, politics, power plays and purposes in order
arrive at the final, satisfyingly unexpected truth in Blur.
readers, the best thriller
elements lie in a
component of predictability paired with solid character development.
those well steeped in the genre who seek something a cut above the
species, Blur offers the kinds of
and explanation lacking in most and uses all these disparate rudiments
a fine plot replete with challenges for reader and protagonist alike -
that's the mark of a truly superior genre production.
The Devil's Crib
Trenchcoat Press, a Division of Diverse Publications
writer can claim a career of forty years as a professional investigator
bodyguard, but Frank Ritter's background lends
depth and authenticity to the highly-charged events in The
that take place in the Middle East,
back up a
step to also mention that The Devil's Crib is as
gritty as Frank
Ritter's last novel The Killing Games - which
means, in a nutshell, that
readers offended by sex and violence and who seek milder, more casual
international thrillers should look elsewhere lest their sensibilities
affronted by circumstances which demand liberal doses of X-rated action
throughout the story.
not to say
that The Devil's Crib is unnecessarily
laden with sex and
violence: more that in the course of its realistic settings and events,
elements are not glossed over nor sugar-coated, but revealed in all
passionate and bloody incarnations. And that's just one of the many
that sets this novel apart from the usual story of international
ability to wind an intricate, complex web of details that gets under
and probes the minds and motivations of every protagonist, creating
elaborate psychology that emerge only under extreme duress - all provided in the
course of action that
unfolds on personal and political arenas alike.
around the fabled Crib of Balthasar, a priceless Vatican relic in the
a Pope who reveals his plan to use it to fund the integration of
refugees into Israeli society: a plan fully supported by
kidnapping occurs with a resulting escalation of threats to kill
the world unless PLO leaders are released from prison, it falls upon a
Guard and an Israeli Mossad agent to thwart international tensions that
ultimately lead to a world war.
The Devil's Crib's writing is lean, mean, and so packed with dramatic scenarios that there's barely time to absorb the twists of one encounter before another rich confrontation is set forth.
meaningless legendary relic that resurfaces in the chaos of the 1990s
the pivot point for nations teetering on the brink of annihilation? As
affairs of popes, cardinals, politicians and professional spies come to
an intricate dance of detail, motivation and passion evolves that
myths (such as that of Ivan the Terrible) to life with scenes injected
sometimes-cruel sex and equally brutal violence.
of a solid novel of intrigue are here, from codes locked away in
colonels who cross the line of military protocol in quest of personal
writer can lay claim to a background that mirrors much of the realistic
approaches of his novel's characters; and not every thriller can
repeated punches of surprise that will engross even the most seasoned
Crib holds the ability to provide a genuinely revealing story
and redemption is testimony to Ritter's dramatic skills, attention to
historical detail, and ability to immerse readers in an intricate story
political and social entanglements involving murderers, failed
the horrible deaths sparked by an ancient artifact.
One week of
a broken heart, and
lives changed by romance and murder: that's the fragile shell of
surrounding Melody's life, changed by one simple discovery of a pair of
seems like an ending (of
twenty years of marriage)
turns out to be only the beginning of a nightmare when Jack's lover
be someone Melody knows. When she is murdered, Jack is arrested - and
events really begin to snowball.
Melody's descent from a
predictable life into one of chaos, which leads her to question the
love, commitment, and rage and seems to indicate that the man she has
trusted is not whom she thought. Or, is he?
premises of Empty
Shell (infidelity and murder) have been done elsewhere. What
about this story is its focus on the emotional changes protagonists
they confront the turmoil of re-ordered lives - a turmoil quietly
even before events spiral out of hand: "With a
sheepish grin, I held out the noisy thing to him. He didn’t even
try to hide his irritation as he yanked the screeching clock from my
hands. His body language made clear his thoughts about my inability to
such a simple task. His angry hands used to touch me with gentle
how I miss them."
One of the
story's more powerful
devices is its first-person
narration, intimately depicting a character's emotional response to
situations. Through Melody's eyes, the reader doesn't just see events,
experiences the storm of emotions ever-present throughout the
juxtaposition of wife and legal professional: "There
was no way I could ever come
up with the bond money. All of our remaining assets were used up in the
renovations. I didn’t own anything worth the one-hundred-fifty thousand
it would take to secure a bond, nor did I know anyone who did. The
disappeared at this latest news. The horrified wife emerged."
Melody navigates a thin balance between her two personas, with each
vying for position and lending support for what will prove to be the
series of challenges in her life.
take the issue of infidelity
and all its emotional
conflicts and then add in the specter of murder and the possibility
has been long married to a dangerous killer, the possibilities ramp up
singular event to a series of body punches that just keep coming.
night, a terrified husband,
and a wife (also a
legal professional) who nearly overnight comes to doubt everything
into her world: these are the elements of superior, racy reading. And
goes searching for answers, that's when things really get interesting -
nothing is as it first seemed when Melody learned the one truth that
deal-breaker to her marriage.
about what happens when one woman gives up, one man gives in, and
in to manipulate lives and hearts. It's about what's left when the love
out, when death changes everything, and when a woman who leaves faith
finds lives ruined because of her choices and reactions.
And the murder? Empty Shell is, most of all, about the outer edge of what some will do to get what they want. Nothing is left untouched in Melody's pursuit of truth.
emotional drive, and winding,
wondering blend of spirituality and romance, Empty
Shell will fill readers with a vivid story line that leads
Melody away from her faith, then ultimately comes full circle with a
perspective surprisingly formed by complete strangers and uncertain old
perhaps its greatest
strength: the ability to
shock, amaze, and ultimately bring about a conclusion that represents
return to the familiar, albeit in a very different form. For more,
have to read the book.
The Lupane Legacy
Darby G. Holladay
Manor Minor Press
Clothbound ISBN: 978-1-942024-00-2
$6.99 Kindle, $12.99 paperback, $22.99 clothbound
thriller readers are in for a treat with The Lupane Legacy.
thing, it comes from the pen of a State Department employee who writes
something he knows intimately: the Gukurahundi massacres in
note is that The Lupane Legacy is billed as a
'Joshua Denham and Devon
Kerr novel'. Neither character is evident in the opening scenes, a
in a small 1983
October 2012, where Joshua Denham makes his home in
has come a
long way from his childhood's sudden end, growing up as an orphan to
certain amount of status and power in
is interested in and concerned with records organization; but
veneer of a dedicated records manager lies the steaming heart of a
five-year-old who has witnessed his entire village's destruction - and
heart leads Patrick to a second, undercover career that involves
deception, and political alliances.
meets up again with the lovely Devon Kerr, who is now a lobbyist, an
new partnership forms as political events not only throw them together
them on one of the most dangerous journeys of their lives.
from his past, a feisty cousin facing sudden disaster, and an overseas
assignment have to do with
everyone is hiding secrets, from
international cat-and-mouse games, and ultimate goals: all the facets
solid novel of international conspiracies are here, paved with the good
intentions and special interests of each protagonist as they circle
with the protagonists from
are no easy answers, no predictable, logical courses of action, and
emotional involvement on the parts of all concerned just makes the
action all the more engrossing, making The Lupane Legacy
recommendation for even the most seasoned thriller reader.
spilling beans, suffice it to say that what neatly concludes as an
the seeds for possible new beginnings, as well.
Vincent J. Sachar
9780989813327 Paperback: $12.25 ebook: $2.99
and murder are nearly
everyday themes in
mysteries these days: what's less common is the story of recluse Ron
(alias Kent Taylor), who has lived an isolated life in upstate New York
five years, until an FBI agent on a covert mission and an elusive new
breaks into his world and threatens to destroy it.
corruption, and even
romance suddenly spill into
Ron's self-imposed isolation and what opens as a theme of withdrawal
and conflict becomes steeped in threats brought about by a
past experience and present events.
turn into nightmares and
breaks down even the most rigid of barriers, Ron finds his carefully
constructed fortress of solitude crumbling on many levels: "Woodruff could scarcely believe that he
would ever be so lacking in self-control, so foolish to open any door
crack. The extent of relationship he could have with someone like Katie
something that might be limited, occasional, or even something simply
are a lot of surprises
yet to be explored in
Ron's carefully-constructed world, and romance proves the least of his
as he struggles with past and present threats to remain a survivor on
about self-invention and control, the fine lines between murder and
and, ultimately, about the inevitability of life's connections and
sequel to similar events in Nowhere Man,
so one might initially
believe a familiarity with the
prior book is needed - or, that the events in this one will mirror
those of its
predecessor. Not so: Nowhere Out
needs no prior introduction and stands well on its own (although
enjoy this novel will likely want to read its predecessor). Some
Ron's isolation are set in the events of Nowhere
Man, but Nowhere Out is a
beast in that its story line, although connected to prior events,
any explanation to stand completely on its own - and, that's rare in a
completely retire from life
with the specter of a ruthless
killer at large - a killer that only a few men can stop? Apparently
just as Ron can't run from either his past or present, so readers will
story line gripping enough to feel compelled to read through all of its
and turns to discover a satisfyingly complex conclusion that leaves no
A Patriot's Act
needn't hold familiarity with Kenneth Eade's
prior courtroom thriller A Predatory Kill,
be forewarned: such a familiarity will provide background for A Patriot's Act, which continues Brent
Marks' globe-trotting international encounters; and newcomers who enjoy
book will turn to its predecessor
another well-grounded, involving legal thriller.
would seem the last place
to find Marks when a
naturalized American citizen goes missing in
don't stop in the
courtroom's boundaries or
jurisdiction, either, as they lead to detention and torture in
determination to locate her
missing husband in
forewarned: there are periods of
(and graphic accounts)
torture; and while these scenes are in keeping with both the plot and
real-world events, that doesn't mean that A
Patriot's Act is a recommendation for the light thriller
the juxtapositions of life at
about delicate balance of
power and experience -
something gone awry in A Patriot's Act,
and something explored through intimate descriptions: "Debbie’s
home cooking was great, but the
company was even better. As the candles dwindled, they drained the
Pinot Grigio. Brent’s thoughts drifted to Ahmed. It’s true that life is
balance between hardship and joy. Everybody suffers. But in Ahmed’s
balance was decidedly tipped toward suffering, and the joy was only in
deftly juxtaposes the lives
of two very different
Americans experiencing two very different circumstances, he delves into
politics and processes of prisoners and military men alike, exposing
of their experience and psyches and the points at which man's
from a worldview that dehumanizes and rips apart systems and people.
machine-gun staccato of
unremitting action, and underlying issues of freedom, sacrifice, and
ultimate results of
intention is to grab his
readers by the collar and
shake them up with an exposé of detainees who have no freedoms, rights,
hopes under the Patriot Act, concluding with courtroom activities that
the very nature of freedom itself, then he's more than succeeded in
such a story under the guise of a legal thriller that probes the
America's belief system against the backdrop of terrorist activities.
terrorists won their quest
for freedom's erosion,
exposing its underbelly of inconsistencies and repression - and will
Marks win his quest for justice? That's for the reader to learn in a
deftly winds its way around the world and through the hearts and minds
audience as it provides a compelling, thought-provoking (and not an easy) read.
Evolved Publishing LLC
ASIN: B00N56E7ZA $3.99
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Shatter-Point-Jeff-Altabef-ebook/dp/B00N56E7ZA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409695313&sr=1-1&keywords=jeff+altabef
killer is nothing new to the mystery genre. A woman
kidnapped by one who has been watching and stalking her for years is
special, either. But take these ingredients and add a near-future
(2041), more than a dose of political intrigue, and the efforts of sons
retrieve their mother (only to uncover a snake's pit of family secrets
with deadly political and social conflict) and you have an original,
saga in Shatter Point.
comes together with a
bang, here; from decades of
a killer's careful plots to a future
expect the story to open
with its protagonist
Maggie, or perhaps her stalker Cooper: instead, it all begins in a lab
scientists are experimenting with a drug that regenerates brain tissue
- a drug
about to be used on a young patient, which holds the potential to end
Alzheimer's and improve cognitive function - or kill.
manipulation and twists
of fate to cold-blooded
murder, scenarios change with a snap but succeed in bringing readers
what evolves into a wild ride of not just murder and mayhem, but social
inspection: "Without extraordinary
truly superior wine cannot flourish. The same is true with humans. Only
with the proper genetic code can truly be exceptional.”
evolve from lab to real
world and spill over into
2041 interactions and political possibilities, the focus on a dangerous
development and use centers Shatter Point
and keeps it a turbulent story with a powerful focal point. And one of
points is: the drug has its pros and cons. Like everything else in Shatter Point, nothing is simple or
you add the social issues,
however, that the story
really gets interesting and departs
from anticipated routes: "That’s the
best part.” Wickersham laughed. “‘We can brainwash the ghettos and transform them into hard-working
citizens at the same time. Some will even work themselves to death
realizing what they’re doing.”
of a cancer vaccine, the
secret Project Qing
that involves the highest levels of government, a Vice President of the
who believes his superior genes gives him the right to not only
kill - all this coalesces in a thriller that grabs readers and doesn't
skillfully twisting, turning, and manipulating its plot for maximum
of the prior Fourteenth Colony (of
which this reviewer
is not) will likely be
satisfied with a sequel which further adds social and political
the futuristic setting; but newcomers will find absolutely no prior
is necessary to enjoy Shatter Point
as the stand-alone thriller that it is - and that's saying a lot in a
publishing world where too many books that should ideally be singular
are broken down into cliff-hanging trilogies and beyond.
dystopian world posited by Shatter Point,
in which wealth and
privilege is concentrated in a
relatively small pool and everyone else struggles with marginal lives
tightly regulated circles, is more than believable. Issues of poverty
to new levels here, while characters share often-cloudy degrees of
responsibility to themselves and each other. At the heart of many
issues is the
ideal of superiority and the 'right' of some individuals to decide for
even in life-or-death situations.
In such a
actions and responsibility
become equally murky, and even the strongest protagonist (such as Maggie) can find
about the points where a little knowledge translates to social
and when it should be limited to protecting one's turf.
moral and ethical dilemmas
posed by drug testing to
the control of violence in a society dominated by privilege, Shatter Point reveals much food for
thought. Add the overlap of romance, murder mystery, and political
you have a truly multifaceted read that grabs a hold with powerful
and issues and won't let go till its logical, satisfyingly unexpected
conclusion: a neat wrap-up perfect for a precisely-evolving thriller.
Alan L. Moss
Whiskey Creek Press
978-1-63355-625-6 Paperback: $16.99 at Amazon.com and Whiskey Creek Press
978-1-63355-600-3 E-Book: $3.99 at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Whiskey Creek
Barnes & Noble Nook
Whiskey Creek Press E-Book and Paperback
the Endgame moves
with the precision of a game of
chess. It opens
with the promise of a quiet life for
its protagonist, but as additional moves take place, soon it becomes
that he will continue to be an unwilling pawn in the greater game of
is back in
a quiet, drama-free
life is not in Rob's cards. When
he finds that the newspaper exposé has
been shelved, he also discovers that the conspiracy has re-grouped
vicious leadership. This
time the goal
is to elect a presidential candidate under their thumb regardless of
professional killers come after
Rob and his wife, they
abandon their new life and initiate a wild escape assisted by a friend
pilot’s license and Piper aircraft.
again, Rob must match wits with the international terrorist group with
funding and capabilities usually reserved for national security
carefully plots its moves and
characters. As the conspiracy seeks control of the national election
those who have suffered at their hands investigate past crimes and plot
defeat the conspirator’s presidential candidate.
Chess usually features willing players, but
Rob and his allies have been given no choice but to die or fight back
death-defying close encounters and a bold campaign strategy.
range from the highest
levels of political
office to the Cloud itself, with circles of conspiracy ever-widening in
satisfyingly complex manner. Rob and an interesting cast of supporting
characters battle right down to the last page of the novel. Especially interesting are
Anna Goddard, CEO
of Mid-Continent Energy and new leader of the conspiracy; Seymour
dogged reporter for The Sound newspaper; and Larry Knowles, Goddard’s
who seeks corporate promotions in return for his silence.
is recommended for any who
enjoy the action of thrillers, especially those that revolve around
international intrigue, politics, and presidential campaigns.
giving too much away, suffice
it to say that events
hold many surprises as they unwind, and nothing is guaranteed - not
survival of favorite characters. It's about loss of life, survival
odds, and capturing power in a seemingly endless game that perhaps
truly win. Even the
thriller reader will find Surviving the Endgame
filled with delightfully
can be a big determiner of
whether or not to pick
up a novel; so it's worth mentioning the exceptionally memorable cover
Twisted, featuring a giant
businessman sitting amongst small urban buildings, head in hand, with
sparking all around him and a subtitle that compels: "Before
things went sour, he needed a minor miracle. Now, he needs the
just the opener and draw
for Twisted, which is inspired by
actual events and which integrates
themes of terrorist plots with romance and a man unwittingly caught in
a net of
intrigue and shocking revelations about his past.
your usual thriller
format, however; for
protagonist author Mofe Esiri's only starting his impossible journey
revelations: a trip that includes time travel, family ties, a clever
with international and mafia ties, and more.
At times it
feels that Mofe is
trapped in so many ways that
he will never untangle the twisted web he's spun for himself through
actions and investigations. Nigerean culture permeates the story line,
blossoming film industry that is 'Nollywood' to the pageantry of rising
and the country's blossoming tourist industry. Against this backdrop,
impossible world emerges; one that evolves from his status as an
Nigerian writer who lives outside of his country and which follows his
unwitting entry into danger after having lived a peaceful life filled
(for a Nigerian) literary acclaim.
inevitable that anyone who
sits in the hot seat of success
will experience a downfall - but not the kind of downfall any could
story line replete with the
ups and downs of
success and failure, with some of these elements coming from personal
achievement and others stemming from romance. Expect, also, a story
intrigue and action; a surreal thriller couched not just in the specter
international intrigue, but the daily challenges of infidelity,
court cases and police activities, and one man's unwitting involvement
criminal outfit more than capable of murder.
a scenario the seeds of
human bonds and
relationships are born. Against the threat of violence emerges love.
And as the
hopes of a man tempted to live out his erotic fantasies becomes
entwined with the world of assassins, he finds himself not just
strange land, but maneuvering through the changes it will introduce to
seemingly laced with good luck and unprecedented literary success.
unfamiliar with Nigerian
politics and culture will
find Twisted a welcome
while those with a degree of knowledge about
It holds all
the trappings of
mystery, suspense and romance
without the usually-Western settings and sentiments that permeate these
and it offers both believable and absorbing protagonists with a locale
will especially please
who enjoy all three genres, but who seek more depth than the usual
A Cat Out of
C. L. Francisco, PhD
Cat Out of Egypt is billed as a
prequel to Yeshua's Cat
(…not seen by this
reviewer), and opens with a prologue that deftly sets the first-person
character as cat Miw, called 'Daughter of Fire' among her people. Born
rare ability to communicate with humans, Miw is growing old and thus is
motivated to share her story about her encounters with humans she
eschews and one special human in particular. A Cat Out of
Egypt is her
story and will attract a range of readers from young adult through
you're getting the typical cat's-eye view of a cat's life, think again:
story begins with the birth of a baby in a manger, where the magi
only ones to see a strange star in the sky and wonder. So does the
Who is Bast, as she gives birth to kittens - and thus begins a journey
transformation and fear: one in which vipers and sacred dancers mingle
portents spark an ancient cat culture to view human events with a new
interacts with young Yeshua and imparts wisdom on what it means to live
cat's world, readers are in for a treat that presents Biblical events
from quite a different (cat-oriented) vantage point wedded to the
notion of a
Goddess overseeing all, rather than a male God: "The goddess
the One who is. And it makes sense. Among cats, mothers feed and care
young. Fathers go their own ways and care little for their children. If
cat offers neither love nor sustenance to his kittens, why should a
is in the air and human and cat worlds alike find their focal points in
child who will grow up to change everything: "Who was this
held the power of life in his hand? Had he spoken truly when he said
but the One Creator were lesser gods, unfit to be called by that name?
beloved Bast, Flame of the Morning and Mother of Light, no more than a
trembling wraith who thinned and vanished before the brilliance of the
Yeshua called the One?"
friendships between animal and human, the birthing of kittens and new
possibilities, and (most of all) the evolution of a new force in the
saturate a striking blend of spiritual history and feline observation
holds many important spiritual conversations and observations: "I
there was a time when people everywhere knew the face of the Creator.
scriptures tell us so. But scripture doesn’t explain how they could
forgotten the name of the One who formed them from the dust, and
with the small spirits of the Earth. Even the beasts are not so blind.
wonder if the glory of the One was too great? Perhaps the human heart
for a god it can see and touch."
engrossing, and vivid, A Cat Out of Egypt is simply
a delight, and
highly recommended for Christian readers who would gain a different,
cat's-eye perspective on Jesus' early experiences and his interactions
Dead Soul Mary: A Novel
ISBN Kindle Edition: 978-0-9840269-5-1
ISBN ePUB Edition: 978-0-9840269-7-5
ISBN Trade Paperback Edition: 978-0-09840269-4-4
Price: Kindle Edition: $3.95
Price ePUB Edition $3.95
Trade Paperback Edition $14.99
Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dead-soul-mary-a-novel/id903479816
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/M_J_Winn_Dead_Soul_Mary_A_Novel?id=12_sAwAAQBAJ
Soul Mary: A Novel begins with a
simple premise: that souls can become sick, and that
they can die while the host lives on, unaware that anything is missing.
in itself, is a thought of horror - but it's only the beginning for
seventeen-year-old protagonist Megan, who finds the world a bloodbath
and wonders why.
singular story line in Dead Soul Mary, however: it
presents many twists
of theme that elevate it beyond the usual horror genre production.
Korean-American teen who has her hands full as she battles an infected
sociopath bent on spreading the soul-killing disease he carries. It's a
that masks right from wrong, that leads to killing sprees, and which is
responsible for much of society's descent into a bloodbath of
one that infects innocent people with
hate - and it's a disease that host Desmond has successfully
horror novels produced today represent genre formula writing at its
shallow characters, predictable plots, and story premises that don't
extraordinary, at all. Not so Dead Soul Mary, which
begins with the
premise of a soul-infecting plague, draws in readers with a
young protagonist who struggles with her own self as well as the wider
world, and who serves as a focal point for the vast social changes to
eyes events come to life - and through Desmond's eyes, his evolution
'marked' but happy child with an impish spirit to a soul consumed by
also well drawn. Because the novel revolves around these two, it spans
of decades from the late 1960s to modern times, following the different
and worlds of each protagonist until they ultimately, inevitably,
story, there are gruesome scenes described; so despite its
protagonist's age, Dead
Soul Mary is recommended for mature teen to adult readers.
will find the plot peppered with so much more than overt horror: i.e.
complex issues of race relations, the seeds of the downtrodden that
attitudes, and the determination to survive even at the cost of one's
soul ("And it happened. As she
pulled the door
toward her to greet the bony, grim-faced Mr. Tully, the best part of
unceremoniously disappeared from view. Everything was gone."). All these facets entwine in a story
line that is rich with psychological insight as well as slowly-building
readers shouldn't expect nonstop action, here, either.
Winn takes plenty of time to build up plot and protagonist - and it
big time, in a progression of believable events fueled by realistic
and protagonist responses.
describing events, there are scenes where Megan encounters racism even
friends, and learns that her heritage alone may spark unreasonable
"Hearing him say “these people”
stung. Megan had a special fondness for Trisha’s grandfather, and she
he had felt the same for her; he used to call her Chinadoll and offer
from his pockets. While growing up, she had liked to pretend he was her
grandfather, and now he was treating her like a stranger. But worse
he seemed bitter, like he reviled her or perhaps blamed her."
heart of it all is a virus that only Megan can battle; a plague
that soon becomes public knowledge despite its impossible progression: “Haven’t
you been watching the news? It’s
much worse since this morning. People are going berserk from this new
Stutterbug Virus. Normal folks attacking
strangers for no reason, mothers hurting their babies and shit like
horror often evolves slowly - it doesn't always drop into one's world
bang, like so many horror writers portray. So it's a real pleasure to
slowly-building plot where the horror element is tempered by the
influences and history of realistic people just trying to live their
perhaps that's Dead
Soul Mary's greatest talent: its ability to depict a social
spreading virus that holds roots in believable possibility. Fueled by a
protagonist who struggles with moral and spiritual faith and makes
mistakes despite good intentions, this is a spirited and
story made all the more compelling for its links to modern concerns
escalating world violence.
Urban Christian Books / Kensington Press Distributors
what you wish for: it can
come back in an
unexpected form and bite you. That's just one of the messages in the
multi-faceted story Glorious Sunset,
which toes a fine line between romance and fantasy and injects a
of humor into the mix for good measure.
four-hundred-year-old genie and a
contemporary interior designer with no memory of their past love sounds
unlikely scenario for humor, much less spiritual reflection; but Glorious Sunset comes steeped in a blend
of wry observation and irony (which makes for a satisfyingly unique,
style) while spiritual concerns are only one strong thread running
winding, changing saga.
opens in 1600 A.D. in West
Africa, where a king
and warrior faces his own death, the fiery destruction of his village
most importantly - the end of his one love in life. Taka can't handle
that his beloved queen is dead, and in his madness he awakens the one
that has saved and counseled him through the eons: Aniweto, a friend
the vessel of God, God's
messenger, and the means
by which Taka perceives meaning and purpose in his
Taka demands that his love be reunited with him; but even if she could,
does not have his warrior personality and it's likely she won't accept
awakened or saved in the aftermath of their entire village's
"She has not years of battle; has
never seen this much destruction or dreamed she would have to survive
is a strong spirit but this is too much for most of my children to
much for all but a man weaned, trained and protected by his guardian
are the only one with the strength of mind and spirit to withstand this
Taka struggles with his
messenger and its
higher power and makes a decision that will change his life forever: "Two years with Zahara could never be enough.
A lifetime could never be enough. “You are a false and cruel Entity to play games such as
this. What is the purpose?
Are we just toys? Playthings to amuse You?” “Taka, I allow you license
because my love for you is great, but it is not your right to question
purpose.” “If I cannot question Your purpose—if Your reply to me is
that I have
no more right to question my
existence than a child should question why he must take his sustenance
day—then it is obvious to me You have no respect for me."
And so the
only logical action is
taken by the diety to
alter the world of Taka and his eternal love: a course that creates a
the path Taka will forever walk in search of the impossible.
To say that Glorious
Sunset opens with a bang is to understate its power. In just
one chapter, Ava Bleu captures a timeless
human and deity and deftly explains
how a genie becomes a trapped, wandering soul. In the first chapter
unending journey and limitations are set: it's up to the remainder of
to play out his eternal search - and Glorious
Sunset does so with a deft hand and an attention to detail
captures spiritual and human objectives alike.
From this emotionally and spiritually-charged beginning, fast forward to the present to one Violet Jackson, an ambitious interior designer. The last thing she needs - or believes in - is Taka's love; so his task is formidable even after he finds her.
comes to believe in his genie powers, she's fixated not on his love,
but on his
abilities: "Listen, your concern
appreciated. You obviously
have a lot of time to spend pondering the meaning of life but I really
want you to grant my wish." "To make you like a stick?" "Size
eight, no larger." "You
are already larger, are you not?" "I can afford to lose a
two." "I do not want to grant this wish. Can you not believe me when
I tell you you are beautiful as you are?" "Once again,
very sweet, but let me explain this in terms you can understand. You …” she pointed at his chest.
“…will be gone tomorrow and I'll be
stuck in a time where size fourteen is way too fat. I need to be
dilemma is constant: it turns
out that his former
queen Violet challenges his arrogance as much as his God did when he
a genie, doomed to forever wander through time granting wishes and
what you wish for. It can
come back and bite you,
as Glorious Sunset proves time and
again. It's about faith and power, arrogance and acceptance, tragedy
salvation, and (above all) different levels of love. It grabs readers
sharp passages of insight and thought-provoking events and cements its
with humor and reflection. What's not to love?
romance novels are
nothing new: stories of
evolving love and maturity ever proliferate against different
dissimilar protagonists fueling change.
What sets Less
Nothing apart from the crowd are several added facets not
typical in your
usual love story. For one thing, the main protagonist, Sage, is
teenage runaway living in the streets of
savvy, quickly honed from
includes just enough skills to evade cops and predators and make money
herself; but when she meets a fellow musician (Derek), her carefully
abilities must expand to meet the unexpected challenge of including a
about this expansion process and charts the course of two
teens who have more starry eyes than street savvy, and who handle their
unexpected relationship with caution.
The only reliable force in her life prior to Derek has
been her Yamaha
guitar ("…it’s the one thing in my
life that’s a constant, and now that I’m homeless, it’s doing double
supporting me…"): now it's time for Sage to accept something
life and heart that's not inanimate - and trust that it will support
develops, how love evolves
from that, and how two
people living on the streets wind up pursing a dream bigger than each
makes for a winding series of connections and interconnections that
two disparate characters together and capture reader interest.
to adults will find the
story holds believable
dialogue, themes of major changes and transitions between teens just
to realize possibilities in their lives, and a progressive discussion
involving and tense.
coast-to-coast journey undertaken
by ambitious teens who
have little but one another, their dreams, and musical connections adds
and a sense of adventure and discovery. As with many young adult
rarely factor into the interactions and events presented - until Derek
deal-killing mistake that causes Sage to question their goals and more
refine her own, separate dreams.
is a road trip undertaken on the power of dreams and the certainty of
meeting the seemingly-impossible head-on. It's about a spunky girl who
own well-developed psyche and who wants more than immersion in
- and it's about how two ambitions weave together in this milieu to
something better than either alone could have achieved.
adults will be the likely
audience for Less Than Nothing,
let's not omit the
adult reader who enjoys romances spiced with stories of personal
transformation. It doesn't get much more realistic or optimistic than
story of how two lives collide, move apart, and then consider the pros
of coming back together, but in a whole new way.
As Book One
of a projected trilogy, The Metronome's
subtitle warns right away
that this will be no
light fling and that events will likely be supported and expanded by
books in the series. That said, expect a novel of international
stands well on its own while providing a prequel to the
already-published The Great Game.
'old country' (in this case,
father was a detective, so
Pavel is used to family
secrets, even though he's now a physicist on Wall Street far from his
homeland and its mysteries. But
death of his father brings him back to Russia; there to uncover a
will follow him, in turn, back to the U.S. and take over his life.
theme (one of many) of unwanted memories that spring up to haunt a new
a different country is just one facet of Pavel's experience that not
his world but brings readers along for what turns out to be a wild ride
international intrigue, family secrets, and mystery.
So what does
an old metronome have to
do with the sequence
of events? It runs through Pavel's life as a recurring symbol, linking
disparate events and memories: "Sometimes
my parents would turn the metronome on. Click…click…click.
They would do it when they argued, then one would turn on
the device and
an argument would end. And sometimes the mother would say, “Today is
such-and-such date” and start the metronome. My parents would exchange
and grow silent for a minute."
It shows up
in a journal with missing
pages that answers
some questions in the course of raising others: "But
mostly it’s a “click, click, click” sound of the metronome,
heartbeat of the starving, frozen city. We are not living, we are
day at a time."
And in a
world of invisible bonds and
struggles for survival
in the midst of a brutal World War II siege of
metronome is a play and a
heartbeat; it's the sound that
reminds of life's vibrant and inevitable ticking progression, and it's
legacy linking present and past worlds, even across an ocean of
"I turn on the old metronome, the
way my parents did when I was a child. I listen to its sound, tuning
noise of a busy New York street and imagining my parents as teenagers,
around a wooden crank radio, hungry and cold, armed only with their
a simple (or
easily-defined) novel, here: The Metronome
is a link between
and turns are multifaceted
and delicately woven
and will delight readers who eschew the usual shallow leisure read for
something richer and steeped in other cultures. In this, The
Metronome shines, analyzing Pavel's life and the final
that will set him free, once and for all.
Soft Cover 978-1-4958-0399-4
the field who pick up the political will of government and people and
these ideals through wider struggle. It's the soldiers on the field who
ultimately pay the price of military and political maneuvering and
And, in Neither Children Nor Gods,
it's the principles of war, their careful application, and their
is closely examined in a military saga that will prove, on closer
to be a horse of another color.
around the broken relationships between young officers, the aftermath
which results in alcoholism and PRSD, a battle involving past romance
present-day dangers, and individuals forced to confront the lasting
cost of war chronicled from an everyday life: "…a
weary and cynical historian, a cloistered shadow of himself. His
presentations on the principles of war layered with doubt, he had
atheistic military historian. A cloak of defiance and stubbornness
ragged and disquieted wraith that drank too much."
think this passage portends that the narrative will end with quiet
but Neither Children Nor Gods won't
end with a whimper; these are only the opening salvos setting the stage
world-changing paradigms to come. G.D. faces a new breed of cadet and a
military game changing with the rise of
embeds itself into military actions that sweep from
terrorists; but then, Henry is about to die: he figures he has nothing
by presenting the truth: "Your lands
are not holy. Arab tribes have feuded and fought
over them for
ages, like dogs fighting
over dinner scraps.
hostage, a man with the savvy to inform American intelligence via hand
Morse code about where they are being held, turbulent lives and
born in the military ("It was all
good fun - the laughs at someone else’s expense - the camaraderie
within the four years of living the same turbulent life – the final
graduation."): it's unusual to see so many disparate elements
the guise of military fiction - but that's actually the second strength
about Neither Children Nor Gods.
Nothing is set in stone.
exquisite details, but it's the military insights, firmly grounded in
real-world encounters, which are its strength as cadets transition from
to battlefields ("They had learned
about character and honor. Now they were going to have to live those
was one thing to be a cadet officer and give orders to their peers. Now
were going to give orders to NCO’s and Joe’s who did not share the same
and had not been taught in the same rigid value system.") and
most seasoned of military men find themselves stymied by old routines
fiction churns out formula writing and a singular focus: one battle,
perspective, one ideal, one inevitable conclusion. Neither
Children Nor Gods follows none of this routine - and that's
its third notable exception to the rule of tired and battle worn
scenarios: its ability to take stories of officers, cadets, retired
and young hearts and minds on the brink of discovery and weave all
with evolving political and military challenges to create a powerful
survival and evolution.
singular about this approach; so if it's just entertainment that is
or descriptions of military prowess - then, best to look elsewhere.
military novels offer this brand of leisure reading distraction. Neither Children Nor Gods stands out
from the crowd and examines acts of nobility. Its protagonists excel at
reaching beyond the call of duty. So does this novel.
9780990460800 $25.99 www.secantpublishing.com
historical fiction typically value settings and history as much as
drama - and
that's where some historical stories fall short, focusing on events and
only the faint trappings of the background that would fully explain
progression. And this point is where The Oblate's Confession
from many other novels set in
Oblate's Confession is set in
gone awry when the return of his natural father results in a clash
child's monastic superior, the hermit, and the warrior stranger who
overview of a plot replete with politics, conflict, and Middle Ages
for survival. Now for the nitty-gritty … The Oblate's
takes readers on a trip through time. This is not to say it's a
story; just that its ability (through use of the first-person and
descriptions) to capture the sights, sounds, smells and feel of its
successfully transport readers to the distant past like few others can
"It was not as bright as I had expected but it was bright. I blinked and then looked
again. The sun was
well up now, mid-morning, and it
looked as if it would be a nice day.
had rained during the night and the air was sweet and fragrant. I placed my hands on the
leaned out. A
breeze moved over the
surface of the outer wall and the perspiration on my forehead began to
skin there suddenly feeling cool and fresh."
novels take the time to create proper atmosphere. Most breeze (or, more
charge) through such descriptions in favor of fast-paced action; but
approach that truly immerses readers in the era - and that's what
historical fiction is all about.
Oblate's Confession goes beyond
narration and a fast-paced story line
replete with personal
and political struggle to snare readers with a series of exquisite
that do more than create a setting: they inject the present-day
follower with a
vivid sense of the past. All the senses, in fact.
passages of action tempered by the slow winding observational views of
boy growing up and learning from his three very different fathers: "I
had to think about it for a while - seeing the raindrops falling on the
footprints, seeing other footprints falling on the raindrops - but when
finally came to me the solution seemed so obvious I couldn't believe I
seen it before: "You can tell when thins happened!" I cried.
"You can tell when he passed through here by the raindrops!"
recreates the times and events that drive motive, action and decisions.
superior work tempers these events with solid characterization,
insights, and a sharp sense of place that captures the everyday.
Benedictine monks and their world to a young oblate's struggles to live
different realities, The Oblate's Confession more
than succeeds in
recreating the Dark Ages in all their facets. Not since Rosemary
historical prowess has such a strong sense of the times succeeded in
this reader into a powerful historical saga.
Elena Maria Vidal
opens in 1887
seeking a spicy immigrant
saga replete with Catholic
faith and the search for spiritual and social freedom will find The Paradise Tree is just the ticket:
it's historical fiction writing at its best, bringing alive not just
of one man's life, but the underlying motivations, perceptions and
Elena Maria Vidal's
descriptions, the beliefs and
driving force behind a devout Catholic immigrant's experiences comes to
with driving passages of color and passion defining the forces that
compel an immigrant to leave his homeland for the unknown: "During the night, the crash of the waves
sounded through the chambers of Daniel’s mind, speaking to him of
place, a faraway place mentioned in one of the old songs. The words
themselves back into his memory: There
is a distant isle/Around which sea-horses glisten;/Let not your
overcome thee; Begin a voyage across a clear sea . . . .Daniel
of the legends of the western seas and the Blessed Otherworld, which
monks like St. Brendan had sought to find. An inexpressible yearning
the depths of his being, as if something indefinable called to him from
lyrical passages skillfully
motivators, which range from social and political change to failed
specter of starvation and a clan's survival. No punches are pulled:
also a story of addiction and depression: facets that many immigrant
leave out when recounting struggles.
In order to
present-day events, the past
needs to be thoroughly explored. The
Paradise Tree does an outstanding job of creating this link
with its a
history of an Irish heritage, passed on from a grandfather's tales to
grandson: "…so harsh were the laws
that many Protestant authorities would not enforce them, and looked the
way. The religious orders, the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and the
did not abandon us, but kept the faith of our people alive. They built
chapels, but those were few and far between. In my grandparents' day,
went to Mass in private homes, at the back of the pub, or in the open
places called scathlans or
rocks. My parents went to hedge schools in the countryside, and the
Presentation sisters taught many Irish children in and around
As the lives
of Daniel and his wife
Bridget come to life, so
are readers steeped in the culture, influences and motivations of a
unified by forces that invade their close-knit world and change the
is a solid example of historical fiction at its best, illustrating the
circumstances affecting its protagonists and capturing the drama of
lived. The fact that it's all based on the author's own family heritage
("…elements of The
Paradise Tree were gleaned from
private family papers and unpublished or privately published works,
assorted letters, newspaper clippings, and legal documents."),
documenting how the author's family emigrated from Ireland to Canada,
makes it all the more compelling.
Sofia Diana Gabel
Escargot Books and Music
ISBN (EPUB) 978-1-908191-99-1
ISBN (Paperback) 978-1-908191-29-8
Prices: $4.99 eBook, $9.99 print
Website : www.escargot-books.com
suffering from arachnophobia
will either have their
fears confirmed or should stay away from Sofia Diana Gabel's Pest Control, an environmental thriller
that revolves around a spider invasion of epic proportions. But it
would be a
shame for such a phobia to result in avoiding this novel; for its
arachnid-based action is exquisitely different from the usual thriller
revolves around an entirely new insect deterrent a professional killer
community finds revolutionary and appealing. So begins a story of
horror as the new product, Arach-No-More, is touted as a pest
dream (soon to prove a nightmare).
than a hint of
tongue-in-cheek humor, here, as
a neurotoxin designed to exclusively attack the DNA of spiders hits the
With the new product comes not only the promise of ending
wiping out a new breed of aggressive spiders threatening
But as with
any new environmental
killer, the "new best
friend" soon turns into a nightmare of epic proportions - and that's
Pest Control really comes into its
own, offering a believable premise, a variety of involving characters
special interests, and an unexpected twist that ultimately makes even
dangerous spider more desirable than the product that kills it.
environmental battles, an
outdoor world made unsafe
by human meddling, and the rise of Pest No More as a top stock market
are all about to coalesce in a thunderous crash that will take down
This much is
predictable from the
start; but what isn't
predictable is Pest Control's
twists and turns that keep readers guessing about the outcome. And as
Arach-No-More's victims adopt a deadly genetic mutation in an effort to
to their newly poisonous environment, schoolgirl Amelia (who harbors a
pet tarantula) finds herself in the unlikely role of trying to saving
from its own fears - as well as the spiders she loves.
Arach-No-More succeeded in
creating its own biggest
spider nightmare? And can an ornery teen face down men who are richer,
stronger, and nearly as clever as she?
What sets Pest
apart from any other Michael Crichton look-alike is its attention to
motivations, background, and
sassy savvy are
logical and realistic and draw readers in with well-built human
when the murders begin, her objectives lie at the heart of not only a
struggle against environmental degradation and corporate greed, but a
technology that ultimately migrates into military hands and purposes.
As a new
Insecti-Gone, threatens the
world, it's Amelia and her supporter Marvin against the evil Vogorev
special interests that embrace all aspects of what is wrong about
management efforts. But how can teenagers win over the tide of insect
sweeping the nation: one that will result in irreversible decisions to
control but eradicate anything perceived as a 'pest'?
some hard questions in the course of its wild ride through murder,
manipulation, and environmental concerns. Its scenarios are not
unlikely and in
fact border on believable - and that's what makes it a powerful survey
great scientific discovery, a world-ending decision based on greed, and
greater experiment to possibly reverse the impossible.
powerful blend of
environmental thriller and
murder mystery, all wrapped up in the passion and concerns of a feisty
determined to save what she loves.
C. Michael Lorion
ASIN: B00JJ4D8NY $2.99
Author website: http://cmichaellorion.com/
Barnes & Noble-http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/totem-c-michael-lorion/1119269144?ean=2940045838085
not just young adult readers, but adults who will find satisfyingly
its complex twists of plot and time-travel events. Another plus: this
formula plot, but elegantly synthesizes fantasy, mystery, Native
cultural insight and teen angst to create a multi-faceted story that
handily fit into any single genre.
of Tony Hillerman's
Native American mysteries
but with the time-travel piece; it's parts of the best teen stories of
rivalry set against the backdrop of an epic quest; and it's steeped in
Massachusetts small-town culture.
Most of all,
is about spiritual connections to an evolving new world and the choices
confront four teens as they decide what kind of world they will
ultimately, create. It's an epic story on a far grander scale than the
coming-of-age saga, blending portions of this feel with the wider
quest of a girl charged with finding the Totem that will heal all -
herself. And this first book in the trilogy focuses on a single day in
quest and battle, so be prepared for more.
connections to the divine are
straightforward: "She prayed to The
Great Spirit. She waited. Minutes passed. No voice. No vision. Nothing.
raised her head and opened her eye. She was on her own. No. That was
She felt as though she was on her own, but she knew that feelings most
were deceiving. This was simply the way it was between her and The
Spirit. It was as elemental to her life as air was to breathing…No matter how long they were, or what form
they took, Kimi’s petitions had never once been answered with any sign
vision or voice. Still, she continued seeking The Great Spirit’s
always knowing that her petitions did not go unheard, always believing
Great Spirit was there, guiding and sustaining her. She had no other
to be sure of that much. "
parallel line of scars and
conflict in the form of
teens Abby and Josh who struggle with both their relationship and
tragedy lends depth to a story line that successfully juxtaposes the
of supernaturally-influenced twins with those of a couple on the verge
breaking up (and breaking down). They, too, are unexpectedly given the
stopping an ancient evil force in their world, and so they find
themselves on a
far greater mission than healing their broken families and relationship.
a host of scars carried
forward through time,
and forces of evil and good that all circle around the Totem, which
maelstrom of confusion and possibility in their lives...there's a lot
potential for confusion under a lesser hand, but C. Michael Lorion
pulls it all
events, a host of
supporting characters, and
plenty of drama, Totem succeeds in
entertaining and engrossing mature teen (because of its moments of
that range from disfigurement to suicide) through adult readers, and
lively adventure story with many vibrant moments: "Kimi
ran. More accurately, she moved as fast as nature would allow her
to with a boy slung over her shoulder, a broken wrist in a splint, and
ankle that was getting worse now that Kimi had to run for her life. She
and stumbled and scampered, the branches parted for her, and she was
to The Great Spirit for that. Since that time when the tree had saved
Kimi had, in times of danger, whether from animal or man, been in
situations when the forest acted as her friend. Her protector. When the
acted as if…as if it were alive. And it did not matter which forest it
Whenever Kimi’s life had been threatened and she was close to a
forest—it had never
happened with a single tree—the forest acted on her behalf."
enjoy trilogies packed
characterization and vivid events with more than a touch of
influence will find Totem a
powerfully compelling pick.
synesthesia are typically
nonfiction accounts of
the ability to 'feel colors'; but to have a literary, poetic work
descriptions integrating colors with characters and life is truly a
another color. Perhaps equating The Color
Syphonies with Proust's flavorful writings would come
closest; but even
then, Proust is relatively inaccessible to all but the most literary
and The Color Symphonies is
delicious ice cream, bits of
color flake off in the
mouth and leave pleasing impressions with every bite: "In
the playful day/jets of light were
launched,/the white spaces shuddered,/there was dazzling cobalt
windblown yellow./You begin to hear colors/you never thought would speak."
accounts have attempted
to explain the
perceptions and sensations of synesthesia; but few have truly
now, it seemed one must be one of those rare individuals to 'feel
even understand descriptions of such a feeling.
The poems in
Symphonies are like a blind man learning to see for the first
bring with them an extra dimension of perception and, for just a
readers along on the journey that is synesthesia: a heightened sense of
perception that integrates color with sound and movement to create a
of extrasensory impressions.
that a poetic work can be
recommended for that
fellow artist, the painter or capturer of colors. Usually wordsmiths
are separate creatures, each striving to capture the color-haunted
world in a
different manner, with different tools.
synthesis comes together -
once more, a symphony of
color - and invites the fellow artist working in another medium to come
sit down, and partake.
of colors, their
interactions, and their
presentation all come to life in a collection where colors are the main
characters, assuming the vibrant words of a canvas and interacting with
and responses in the world that contains them, keeps them from
and dissolves them, and simply dances.
poetry collection describes. A
collection captures. But a superior work absorbs, dissolves, recreates,
immerses, and then dances … such is The
Color Symphonies. There's simply quite nothing like its
animated free verse
and light-filled perspective, even in today's overloaded poetry genre.
Main Street Rag Publishing Company
A number of Nancy Scott's poems have appeared in journals and blogs; but published appearance alone doesn't necessarily mean literary achievement - not if you consider the wealth of opportunities on the market for publishing poetry these days.
so many, many poetry collections on the market these days that it takes
unique voice to stand out from the crowd. Ideally, something that goes
personal revelation and observation to embrace larger worldviews in
such a way
that the poetic structure itself lends to a different kind of
moves beyond the traditional into the realm of exceptional. Running Down Broken Cement is that kind of achievement, and comes not
from an isolated at-home literary writer but from a caseworker for the
messages are thus narrated from a unique perspective and purposeful
life, and fictionalizes many of the stories she heard and the
the trenches' of her work and life. These poems are, in fact, a
"…bear witness, to give voice to all the children and adults
struggle daily against the odds."
opener 'Sometimes What We Miss', for example. Against the
backdrop of a handicapped mother who responds to the nighttime cries of
the poignancy of her handicap (immediately compared to the newborn's
perfect body) is quickly cemented not by a contrast in physical
limitations, but by what the mother gives to her baby: "She
lullaby of lemon trees/ and goat bells tinkling,/ the music of
shoes dancing, hands clapping/to the beat of the tarantella./ In this
Rosalita taught the child/ how to make its body sing."
ethnic traditions passed down within a single nighttime
lullaby - and all imparted in a succinct 21 lines of precise free verse
wastes not a word. Now, that's talent!
expect every poem to assume similar proportions, however. Many
are vignettes of cases narrated in stanza style. Such is the case with
Tweed Jacket', which relates the dilemma of Jenny, whose mother and
abused, then abandoned her. So why is she wearing the tweed jacket of
abuser? " All the kids wear their dad’s jacket/ besides it
has a nice
tobacco smell./ Jenny clutched her tweed arms/ tight around her budding
no singular theme to these sagas; no age group that is immune
from the caseworker's inspection. And sometimes trauma comes from
aging bodies, minds, and attitudes; as with an 81-year-old
people, precarious lives, and hints of rough diamonds and
hope beneath thin skins of desperation: these are the urban visions
Running Down Broken Cement, which illuminates lives
looking for poems cemented in the urban reality of mental illness,
personal struggle, and survival will find attention to real-life
powerfully entwined with free verse's accessible experiences; all
packaged into meetings that succeed in placing poetry readers at the
heart of a
caseworker who works with homeless families and abused children and
herself, has adopted and fostered these children.
Beth Francis Butler
The dawn of
a new day brings forth
responses in nature as
creatures awaken and embark on their pursuits (largely surrounding
so such a dawn awakens pursuits in human lives, and the course of a day
mirror the course of a lifetime of journeys.
readers who enjoy vivid blends
of nature photos and
simple free verse celebrating life and emotion will find much to love
in Simple But Deep, which creates a
progressive series of insights into these human pursuits and
opens with several nature pieces; the most striking of which is a photo
sunflowers against the backdrop of a rising (or setting) sun, pairing
with a simple haiku-like, 6-line verse linking morning's unfolding with
transition from tulips, pines,
sunflowers and nature to
blood-soaked human battles and huge ships may be jarring after the
chorus' created by the natural observations; but expect these unusual
juxtapositions to continue throughout the work, which excels in
observations of human pursuits
and nature to
expressions of personal emotions ("I
have hurt you/I know I have/Never did I mean to…"), Simple But Deep never leaves readers
behind in its jumps between personal and wider worlds.
field of poetry is replete
pursuits, verse constructed in the strictest of rhythmical rules, and
revelations that often lose readers seeking the simple observational
tone of a
free verse production. It's also replete with complexity and
writers who don't write for the general public, but for an audience of
this from Simple
But Deep: it's constructed with the basic everyday poetry
reader in mind,
and offers a series of vignettes honed from a combination of life
personal observation, and poetic translation.
Any who seek
couched in simple verse and
matched with truly striking imagery will find Simple
But Deep is the collection of choice.
Silver Birch Press
poetry collections flood
the market; often to
the point that a reviewer or editor's desk can be crowded with genre
many of which don't impart distinction or surprise. Such is not the
case with Vanilla Milk, which holds
both; not the
least of which is a surprising blend of formats which melds a memoir to
poetry. And so, the
for appreciating Vanilla Milk is
affection for poems and memoirs alike.
Brenner is not the first to
use poems to immortalize
and capture the events surrounding a child's death: Stan Rice's Some Lamb is one example of an
outstanding synthesis of poem/memoir - and Vanilla
Milk deserves to take its place alongside it, on the shelf of
her son Riley died, Brenner
began to write a poem
- only the fifth she'd ever written in her life. She began taking her
everywhere, channeling her grief into something cathartic and concrete.
the result, sending the pain "somewhere" - and that 'somewhere'
proves to be a collection that honors her son, keeps a piece of him
transmits a small bit about him to the wider world.
glance at the table of
contents listing poem titles
shows that these pieces adopt unusual perspectives: 'Toy Venom', 'Riley
Again Yesterday', and 'God as a Waiter' aren't approaches to be found
poetry collection, but are solid examples of the flood of changing
perceptions death (especially the death of a child) brings to life.
themselves can best be
described as 'free verse
tinged with unveiled emotions' - so be prepared for heart-wrenching
in the author's experiences: "Nothing
belongs to us, not our hair, not our thoughts,/not our sons…. A washing
outlives a little boy./These are the ruins: hair, eyes, teeth, flesh
bones./What parts of his body do we want to give away?"
Milk will find the purpose here is not to rhyme stanzas nor
works steeped in literary excellence, but to capture the essence of
and the world that all too briefly swirled around him and his death.
looking for total immersion in
and who want a memoir that tackles all facets of a mother's response to
death and the grief process will find Vanilla
Milk laced with warmth and pain alike: a satisfying,
involving hot drink
perfect for a winter's day and an understanding of the process so
described as 'grieving'.
A linked set of short stories revolving around a working-class woman is an unusual approach, but Parallel's collection is a standout with short tales that correspond to American lives and working-class hearts, and is a special recommendation for women's literary collections and general-interest readers looking for realistic stories of an ordinary woman experiencing life's changes.
Tales from the Other
Daniela I. Norris
Feathers: Tales from the Other Side
is a short story collection presenting
works that are spiritual, diminutive, filled with action, and
compelling reads; especially for busy readers who prefer to digest
stories as short staccato pieces rather than winding, full-length
human connections and love, and it imparts these basics using a variety
protagonists, settings and circumstances that reach into everyday lives
flavor them with a dose of spicy reflection; whether those events be as
as shopping in a grocery store, as poignant as visiting a child's
grave, or as
world-changing as a suicide attempt.
messages are embedded in these vignettes, from health struggles
depicted in 'A
Reason to Go On' to portraits of loss, despair, struggle and
Throughout them all, Daniela I. Norris's lyrical, poetic hand adroitly
the heart and feel of lives at crossroads, even in seemingly-ordinary
"We saw storms in the eyes of the other patients. They stared
enviously as we walked away on that grey, miserable morning. Could they
seen us both? We were the ones getting out, they were staying behind.
Or was it
the other way round?"
everywhere - or is it the individual who refuses to let it go? Each
replete with some kind of darkness and some kind of light; whether it
physical, psychological, or spiritual. And each is permeated with
attention to detail, which betrays a poetic hand lurking in the
vivid description: "I could hear the early summer winds
melancholic tunes, accompanied by the sound of a distant piano. They
at me, for me. No one else seemed to hear them. Whoosh, whoosh,
they would say, and I whooshed back at them,
ignoring the loud protests of the starlings which must
have been trying to distract me."
be all too
easy to present the trappings of what each short story in this
estimably about - but that would be doing the overall collection a
disservice. Really, it's about reasons to go on living and where (and
these reasons are found.
afterbirth and afterlife are all intricately wind together against the
of tragedies happening daily and how people cope, move on, and move
breathing, beating heart of Collecting Feathers,
not for those who expect entertainment from their short stories, but
readers more interested in reflective pieces spiced with poetic imagery
succinct (but striking) revelations.
we're talking about another fine addition to M.D. Hall's works in the
form of Mystery
and Misadventure - An Old Acquaintance, a companion to the
and Misadventure short story collection. And if you think
you're in for the
usual succinct vignette that entertains, be prepared for something very
different: the same exquisite twists of story line that made the
out are back, and just as powerful here. Think Twilight Zone with a
smoky intrigue and quietly compelling, fluid plots.
'The Clock'. The mysterious narrator S.P. best describes his own take: "Have
you ever wished that time could have the fluidity of water, or that you
rewind time, not unlike a fishing line? Robert is about to discover
about time he could never have imagined…" When a teacher and
clock collector stumbles upon a puzzling ad and its hidden potential,
an 18th century marvel in a clock that holds a mirror to time itself.
awaiting its keeper… Nobody can own it, for the clock itself is the
for an extraordinary relationship.
draws Robert into the world of a killer, and he becomes the unwitting
of an ultimate power in this story of corruption, evil, and slavery to
another such read, opening with Brian's awakening in a hyperbaric
revealing the results of what was to be the most exciting dive of the
investigating a mysterious 'siren circle' area where ships vanish
scientific investigation; it's a secret salvage operation - but what is
uncovered isn't just gold, it's a trail of dangerous crumbs leading to
navy ship that holds a deadly power.
is unpredictable, amazing, and unleashes a storm of impossible truths.
like a good Twilight Zone scene, the everyday and the expected are
into the extraordinarily unexpected in an otherworldly twist packed
intrigue. Would that other short story writers wrote this well!
critic to a deep-sea diver searching for treasure, an exceptionally
(nee: crooked) businessman whose 'failures' are human lives, to
just don't survive the impossibilities of their lives, Mystery
Misadventure - An Old Acquaintance's eminently unpredictable
will delight both prior readers of the original book and newcomers.
introductions and afterwords, the beginning and ending featuring the
surreal voice of 'S.P.' is as compelling as the reads themselves,
eerie sense of irony that permeates all the stories in a very highly
recommended, well-polished collection that cuts its sharp teeth on the
edge of the impossible.
Mystery and Misadventure - An Old Acquaintance
Kommuru provides warm, fun
crayoned backgrounds and
drawings for the picture book Mother's
Love Can Conquer Any Fear!, which requires good reading
skills (or parental
assistance) and revolves around Anand Nagar, a chicken farm sporting a
chicken who oversees a contented flock where everyone is happy.
always a bad boy in every
peaceable kingdom and
here it takes the form of Kaalia, a vile crow who is always up to no
who only seeks to bring dissention and strife into the peaceful world.
insistence on changing happiness introduces a darkness into the
requires innovative plans to put an end to the evil that infects Anand
efforts are thwarted by
the clever crow, which
sees through every plan, the chickens are discouraged as the atmosphere
their home changes from one of freedom and happiness to one of watchful
a bit of magic to truly
find the way to stop
Kaalia from infecting the coop - and that magic is born from an
place, right at home.
motherhood and bravery is
accompanied by insights on the threat of evil and how to handle it.
lovely crayon illustrations
appear to be directed
to an easier reader than the accompanying text, they do lend a bright
personality to the overall effort that will delight budding young
while the story's gentle moral messages and celebration of mothers
evolves in an unexpected way.
is a picture book reader
that is a fun, different
standout from the fable-oriented stories typically available to young
and a special recommendation for any collection strong in multicultural
settings, fables, and animal stories.
Searches for Santa
Author/Illustrator: Jonathan I. Gonzales
N.B. 498 Press
Publisher E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
978-0-9960610-0-1 $16.95 36 Pages
adventurous little penguin, lives with his family
mis-delivered letter changes all
that; and Porter finds
himself searching through his penguin world for someone who knows who
mysterious Santa might be.
illustrations in full
color depict a unique (but
appealingly different) penguin and his fun world, which is filled with
snow but multicolored swing sets, books and tables, and the specter of
Rockhopper, the biggest penguin Porter's ever seen, and a wise but
skills (or parental
assistance) will be
required: this isn't a collection of one-liners, but paragraphs of
information geared for young picture book readers who have some basic
under their belts.
consist of 2-3 paragraphs of
description as they
chronicle the search of a once-happy little penguin who seemingly fails
mission to locate the elusive Santa.
when all seems lost,
something magical happens…
strengths of Porter
Searches for Santa lie in an unpredictable, different story
line and truly
engaging, colorful claymation scenes by Jonathan I. Gonzales. The
offers a refreshing difference for kids looking for seasonal reads that
something other than the usual, predictable Santa tale. Parents, too,
delighted to read aloud the story of a tenacious little penguin whose
and knowledge of the wider world are fueled by one mis-delivered letter…
Lizzie and the Time
Travelling Magic Cloak
978-0-9913352-2-0 26 Pages
Hardcover: $23, Paperback: $17.99, Ebook: $3.99
the Time Travelling Magic Cloak is Book Three of a series,
with the prior books is recommended for any who would imbibe. This
with an assumption of such prior awareness of Princess Lizzie and the
her court: "King Harry, upon hearing
of Hippopotamus's talent for fixing royal items, made him a knight…"
holds some larger words to
encourage picture book
readers to expand their vocabularies; so don't expect a picture book
the very young reader: "…Princess
Lizzie and her smart assistant, Monkey, collaborated on a new project."
color drawings accompany
the fun story of a royal
ball, a princess with a magic cloak and (forbidden) time-traveling
capabilities, and her growing realization that resources not
result in poverty and suffering.
accompany her on a
journey to save her friend's
life when her hippo friend falls ill. Princess Lizzie is given the gift
magic medicine that could save his life and help others.
about the kingdom's wider
problems? It takes a
savvy, spunky young princess and a gentle wife to change a king's
legacy of an
ancient, unfair law that banishes wrongdoers and their families from
a simple one about
justice and fairness. It's
also about how one individual can move outside their world, return to
gifts, and change even entrenched beliefs and status quo thinking.
packaged in a picture
book that combines vivid,
wordless color images by Juniardi Satyanagara with passages of
inviting readers who have some basic skills under their belts, but who
yet ready for long passages or chapter books.
Its message is clear and the blend of fairy tale and fable with an encouraging conclusion teaches basic concepts of empowerment and choice to young children who ordinarily wouldn't receive such a lesson at the picture book level.Princess Lizzie and the Time Travelling Magic Cloak