October 2020 Review Issue
Table Of Contents
a whimsical fantasy that will appeal to adult readers who like their
couched in a sense of fun and follows the dilemmas of an ex-Royal Fool,
Murd, whose exploits have landed him in unemployment trouble.
Now that Malfred has lost
even his famous Fool's hat,
nobody would know that he has a talent for entertainment at all. He's
low as a Fool can fall: "Keep
thinking about machinery, he told himself. About rain. About anything,
except what the hottest hindmost Hell you’re going to do with no
money, no hat and no future."
And then everything changes.
He hatches a plot which
revolves around Dame Elsebet de Whellen, a sweet old woman who isn’t
ignorant dear she seems to be. Actually, she leads a country
facing vast changes, and views Malfred's dubious talents as a possible
changing the outcome of her struggling kingdom.
From a power-hungry boat
captain capable of making his
own double deals to subterfuge on all sides and the bawdy language and
that swirl around the characters, Eva Sandor creates a satisfying blend
observation and irony that powers action, tempered with a firm
that brings this world to life: "A
stevedore scrambled among the cubes, measured them with her striped
shouted to the sailors aboard the Big Rat to bring that scabflappin’
sling closer, damn it, can’t you see these blisterscratchin’ bales of
fluxin’ wool are down here,
flyin’ up on the boom like your sweetheart’s lousy britches. Four at a
the stevedore fitted the bales into the sling’s pyramid of rope and
them, directing the sailors to winch them inboard and lower them down
into the Big Rat’s hold."
The rhythm of this sense of
place and Malfred's changing
role in it makes for a fast-paced, revealing tale as characters barrel
special interests and Fred navigates the uncertain waters been royalty
The result is a lively
account of villains, plots, tricky
politics and uncertain associations that keeps its plot replete with
satisfyingly unpredictable twists and turns.
Fantasy readers who like
stories of nobility, irony, and
confrontation over change will find Fred a likeable character who
and out of some grave dilemmas, changing not only his life, but those
him. Those who appreciate humor and satirical inspection are in for a
It Came From … The Stories and Novels Behind Classic Horror, Fantasy And Science Fiction Films
Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison
Midnight Marquee Press
and Novels Behind Classic Horror,
Science Fiction Films
is written by two critics who offer close inspection of classic horror
sci-fi films and the books that inspired them. It considers the
translations, links, and success and failures of the ability of film to
reflect or supersede its literary
Is the book
really better than the movie? Or are there cases where the translation
results in something greater than the original inspiration? What
a good adaptation from a poor one or a mediocre representation from
interest in both literature and film receive a powerful survey of both
considers the connections and methods that differ between them.
considered, from the iconic Wizard of Oz to the rise of Flash
works. The critical inspections are nicely done, offering much food for
about the presentation and effects of films as they move from their
(which may be books or comics) to screen.
in plot, structure, and focus to how each story is brought to life,
receive a critic's eye that reveals production challenges and
how screenplays borrow elements from books to special challenges in
with animation and sets.
Readers receive close
inspection of all the elements of translating written word to screen,
find It Came From an
essential key to understanding how the film
version evolved and the background choices that were made in their
interpretation and presentation.
result is an
outstanding survey that not only connects literary with screen
approaches, but offers readers a foundation for assessing and
different horror and sci-fi cinematic approaches.
From is excellent,
highly recommended reading that pairs many black and white film images
astute, specific analysis that ultimately pinpoints why and how a film
effective, connected to its literary origins, or produced differing
(as in Dracula) that reinterpret the original intentions of the authors.
should be without this classic inspection.
RD Palmer, Publisher
Paperback: 978-1-7328491-4-3 $14.99
Ebook: 978-1-7328491-3-6 $ 4.99
century, and Dr. George Adams has given up everything in life
to create an
artificial intelligence, The One, in The
One Singularity. This intelligence will finally, once and for
all of mankind's problems...war, famine, hate. Of course, Nirvana comes
price. Like the classic computer takeover story Colossus,
it's one that mankind is ill prepared to pay.
are employed to trace this AI's development, from the Amish to the
historians, politicians, and scientists. From action set in Palo Alto,
California, where a bot attack and experiments conducted by the Palo
Connectome Project take place, to the split special interests in AI
by different forces, RD Palmer crafts an absorbing, gripping story that
more than the rise of a powerful intelligence, but the influences on
development and use.
This places The One Singularity in a category of its
own as it surveys the political, ethical, moral, and psychological
of mankind's ability to craft a superpower that perhaps will oversee
demise. The contrasts between those who support its specific use to
shun its creation are satisfyingly presented, involving readers in a
keeps concepts of 'the enemy' mercurial and thought-provoking.
what it means to be human and the progeny of a new form of being who
George and Rebecca, his creators, to contrasts between Amish and
perceptions of the world, the juxtapositions of differing ideals are
nicely presented: “Why is it so difficult
for the English to understand what we’ve always known? Knowledge is the
of the mind, and wisdom is the power of the soul. For if anyone lacks
let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth
it shall be given him. Instead of wisdom, though, the Outsiders sought
knowledge, just like in the beginning with Adam and Eve.” His mind
raced to a
Bible passage from Jeremiah. It was as if he saw a vision. He recalled
words: The destroyer shall come upon every city, and no city shall
As The One Singularity unfolds, far more
depth and philosophical, psychological, spiritual, and political
provided than most other high-tech stories about supercomputer
powerful consideration of purpose and intent, soul and spirituality,
science which weaves an unpredictably multifaceted story that is simply
riveting. The changing surprises and perspectives make The
One Singularity hard to put down.
Chandra K. Clarke
Fractal Moose Press
9781777217419 Paperback: $10.99/ebook: $3.99
is stuck in a small town with a load of student debt, a writing dream
going nowhere, and ongoing house repairs and problems that add burdens
expected was to encounter a dragon that shows up in his bedroom one
fails to breathe fire, but peppers conversation with literary quotes.
dragon offers him adventure and a way out of his dull and demanding
life...if Ian is brave enough to
challenge and journey to the land of Connectome.
only fantasy that becomes part of this strange new world. There are
bears and hilarious situations that lend comic relief even in the face
threat: "How would you feel if I
shredded your cute widdle friend here?”Simian just smiled. “As you like
said and waited. Crunch. “ARGH!
He bit me! Leggo! Leggo!” It took two bears to pry Hutch off the first
ankle. He hobbled back to Simian. “That,” he seethed, “wasn’t very
of the other bears sighed. “He ain’t gonna talk, Boss. Can’t we just
proves to be a way of navigating this foreign land, readers become
a fun fantasy romp that follows Ian's process of becoming inspired. As
discovers his writing prowess may be the key to not just surviving but
thriving, his self-imposed barriers are unlocked and a powerful
is unleashed. But is it enough to win the battle?
crafts a whimsical, fun blend of intrigue and personal discovery that
delight fantasy readers looking for less weighty reading than most in
genre. The process of Ian's self-growth and evolving powers make for
unexpected moments, pointed observations, and a story filled with
ironic twists and turns.
enjoy satisfying tales of new and old lives that meld and clash will
find Pundragon a delight. Its
create unexpected scenarios from life-changing, extraordinary
it an atmosphere that makes it stand out in the fantasy genre.
Black Rose Writing
ISBN: TBA Price: TBA
Warrior of the Stars is the last book in
the Glass Star Trilogy and
nicely completes the blend of romance, supernatural intrigue, and
created in its predecessors. It's recommended reading for prior fans
waited for this conclusion with baited breath, following the Earthly
journey of Sloan in her final incarnation and battle with evil.
Previous books depicted
Sloan as being caught in the
middle of an intergalactic war, facing a dangerous adversary and an
romance that each tests her special abilities and choices.
Warrior of the Stars continues this saga,
opening with a deadly
struggle between Sloan, enemy Darrow, and the powerful icy inner wolf,
Genesis. Although she awakens from this nightmare beside James, she is
far from its gripping reality, continuing to struggle with the
her dreams are actually warnings from Genesis.
It's unusual to
receive a fantasy story that includes talk of chakras and new age
melded to an intrinsic cosmic battle, but that's just one of the
Lewis cultivates in her story. It's a mixed sense of influences,
confrontations that stem not from a singular source, but a blend of
both earthly and intergalactic.
skills, love, and strength for a final confrontation, readers are swept
her world of Warriors—one which, she is just beginning to realize,
truths and lies of adversaries and those who would effect change: "It is nothing," Aleo snapped.
"A fantastical doctrine belonging to a doomed people. One that has no
bearing on why we are here." "It has everything to do with why we are
here," I said. "You told me I wasn't chosen. That Genesis was given
by random selection. But that was a lie. Everything you have told me
been a lie or an omission."
those of the strongest Warriors in the Universe, especially since she
one with the Genesis Energy. But even these may not be enough to bring
the life she is meant to lead—one of love and freedom.
world-changing saga is best imbibed by prior fans of the Glass Star
will find this final adventure replete with action, powerful
blossoming powers. Lewis devotes time to not just building but
Sloan's psyche and mission as she crosses universes and battles warrior
personal interests alike.
perspective and descriptions of battles and struggles make for a
filled with action and personal experiences, adding a "you are there"
feel to events: "I became a wild
thing, hacking at the blazing whip around my torso. The tendrils broke,
producing a thunderous growl from The Four. I raced towards Jude. My
body halted as multiple whips laced around my wrists and ankles. The
lifted their arms, swinging me against the wall. The first hit was
back and shoulders. I thrashed, my chest tight with panic. They pulled
forward and then slammed me against the wall again. The side of my face
into the clear brick, dazing me. Stars blossomed at the corners of my
I dropped my sword. The third time, the back of my head took the full
My skull broke with a sickening crack."
Fans of the
books are in for a real treat as Sloan exposes wrongs, solidifies her
the universe, and comes full circle to identify what is important to
The action, characterization, and multifaceted challenges create a
read that's hard to put down.
Khawaja Azimuddin, MD
Austin Macauley Publishers
Hardback: 9781645361206 $19.09
Paperback: 9781645361190 $10.95
The Boy Refugee: A Memoir from a Long-Forgotten War follows
the life and evolution of a young boy who escapes a war-torn Bangladesh
internment camp as a civilian prisoner of war to make his way back to
native Pakistan. It is a gripping, absorbing read for anyone interested
experiences, impact, and aftermath of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
childhood experiences as a refugee and prisoner of war come alive in
discussions which stem from his notes about camp life, written at the
preserved until they could achieve book form today.
By having a
that comes from notes written at the time rather than the limitations
decades later, these circumstances, politics, encounters, and lessons
immediacy and authenticity that recollection alone could not have
much history and insight about the conflict. Its political origins as
its personal impact on civilian lives are nicely documented so that
not have a prior background in or familiarity with the region's history
politics to understand the events: "The
violent Operation Searchlight unleashed a reign of terror that lasted
months and resulted in looting and the maiming and slaughter of the
population. From Rajshahi to Chittagong, from Mymensingh to Barisal,
Sylhet to Jessore, East Pakistan was burning. Pakistani soldiers raided
pillaged villages and towns to forcibly restore government control.
raped and children were orphaned...With the situation rapidly
father decided to move ourfamily to safety, and in April 1971, we left
Pakistan and flew over to West Pakistan."
insights about these social and political reports, which often reached
world from the pens of outsiders, that make The
Boy Refugee a standout in the literature surrounding events
of this time
period. The story nicely captures the feelings of those who lived
through it: "Pappa resented listening to the
and Mark Tully. “He is always portraying us and our army like we are
criminals.” “Is it really possible that our army killed all these
people?” Ammi asked one day. “Of course! They did.” There was
Papa’s voice, “But not to the extent that has been reported. This is
propaganda. The figures Mujibur Rahman is giving are preposterous; they
exaggerating it ten times.” “I can understand if they fired on looters,
hooligans, or terrorists, but if they killed any innocent civilians;
unacceptable.” Ammi sounded angry for the first time, “Why did our Army
far?” “They were trying to prevent the breakup of our country,” Pappa
he prepared to sleep in our corner of the barrack room, “Frankly, I
our country to remain united but when the entire Bengali nation wanted
their own way, they should have
granted independence. Sadly, our army went to the extreme trying to
their will upon the Bengalis.”
his own experiences but the adult discussions, perceptions, and
swirled around him at the time, The Boy
Refugee proves educational and enlightening on many levels.
examination of a
civilian family's experiences as prisoners of war should be considered
for anyone who would understand the evolving nature of conflict and its
on the social structure of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Boy Refugee's ability to capture
and changing experiences on all sides injects understanding and
the history of this conflict as the boy grows to a man and begins to
the layers of ethnic and social conflict affecting his homeland.
Elizabeth C. Haynes
Warren Publishing, Inc.
Lessons at Midlife is an autobiographical collection of
personal stories of
true grit, survival tactics, and the process of establishing
independence, and individuality. It comes from a woman who faced abuse
early age and confronted many choices that stemmed from it. She reaches
age hauling the baggage of trauma, poor decisions, and evolving chronic
Life seems to be one
obstacle after another, and yet
something special happens when midlife is reached. Elizabeth C. Haynes
herself reassessing her values, goals, and life experiences for the
they hold not for validating her past, but justifying her future
This process offers a
learning experience not just for
Haynes, but for those who read about her approach to life in general
midlife in particular.
From cutting ties with toxic
people to creating a new
perspective on life, Haynes reveals the mechanics of a process which
challenges and invigorates her: "Doing
these sorts of things helps me feel like I have the upper hand on the inside. Like I am working to
take back control of my feelings and my world, even if it’s done slowly
step-by-step. I think this alone can help us take some power back and
own positivity, our own emotional health. There is strength in making a
and nobody can take this away from us; it lies within ourselves."
While autobiography lies at
the heart of these
explorations, so does an assessment of revised strategies at midlife.
particularly interest self-help readers who look to change their own
self-assessments about how to better live the remaining years of life.
Embedded in these
experiences are strategies readers can
follow to success. For example: Haynes has been a life-long insomniac.
simple strategy of turning her clock around also changes her perception
night, sleep, and frustration: "I
had two goals in mind when I turned that clock around. The first was to
eliminate math (okay, I joke, let’s start over). The first was to
anxiety about time by eliminating the thing that measures time, and the
was to improve my ability to get back to sleep by creating a scenario
could lie to myself about what time it actually was. This strategy
well because when it’s dark, unless you’re tracking the path of the
constellations like a sailor, dark is dark is dark.
So it’s pretty much impossible to know what time it is if
you just look casually out the window at the space between you and the
fence. The only clues to time in the nighttime space are when the last
the sun holds the twilight, or when the first rays of morning just
the sky. And neither of these moments are my problem times."
Her long road to
rediscovering joy in life will delight
readers who look for blends of life experience, uplifting new takes on
positivity, and clues on how to recapture that burst of energy and
that drives the days with meaning.
Lessons at Midlife is more than one woman's struggle to
reconcile her life.
It's a blueprint for how to revamp and revise perspective and objective
maximum results, and should be on the reading list of any self-help
Liza Minnelli: Too Many Damn Rainbows
Darwin Porter & Danforth Prince
Blood Moon Productions
glance, Too Many Damn Rainbows
would seem an
entertainment guide to the careers of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli
(which it also
is), but actually, the book is so much more. It's a survey of their
relationship, of the rigors of mother-daughter acts in show business,
and a gossip
tell-all in keeping with other Blood Moon productions that
ladles previously unknown (or underpublicized)
revelations with a wealth of black and white photos.
Fans of Judy
and Liza Minnelli will appreciate that the extensive interviews with
friends and those who criticize them range from personal connections to
professionals and peers who worked with them in the entertainment
focus is on Judy Garland, the insights on their relationship, the
Minnelli's journey in her famous mother's footsteps, and the fierce
competition and love that drove their relationship and dual successful
an in-depth survey that will especially delight those who like their
Many of the
interviews are as passionate as the authors are about their subject.
the first time is a complete overview of Judy's troubled,
marriages to five men, three of whom were gay. Husbands were
not her only
problem: Her beaux were memorable and varied, many of them show-biz
in some cases, political lions in their own right. They
included John F.
Kennedy, bandleader Artie Shaw, avant-garde
filmmaker Orson Welles, billionaire Prince Aly Khan, matinee idol
Yul ("The King and I")
Brynner, and James Mason, her co-star in A Star Is Born.
prominent (and notorious since she was underaged at the time) was her
dalliance with the much older actor, Spencer Tracy.
information is included, it would have been too easy for Too
Many Damn Rainbows to have become weighty and overloaded. The
information is complimented (and the weighty feel of over 700 pages is
countered) by the book's inviting structure and its obvious admiration
Garland as the greatest entertainer in show-biz history. Sidebars of
information, photos on nearly every page, and an attention to lively,
controversial, appealing details makes this read a delight.
lovers who got away or the reams of insights and anecdotes associated
Judy's bruising Opera House, Las Vegas, and
European Tours, prior fans
of either Judy Garland or Liza Minnelli are in for a real treat
Many Damn Rainbows. The only prerequisite to enjoyment is
familiarity with or interest in either or both women.
Somewhere in Persia
Dward Lee Greenbird
Persia: Memoirs of a War Correspondent is the author's
father’s story of
his experiences as a war correspondent, based in Iran during World War
II. It covers a secret mission in which they anticipated a
never came to pass, capturing the moments of this waiting game through
correspondence and the articles that Corporal Sam Greenbird published
United States while stationed in Iran.
It is illustrated with black
and white photos he took
while in the army, includes handwritten letters and v-mails, and adds
articles that he published about his military experiences.
Sam was a Jewish soldier
whose Middle East assignment
changed him in many ways. In collecting the extent of his impressions
experiences in a wide range of formats, son Dward Lee Greenbird does an
outstanding job of capturing all the social, cultural, military, and
psychological nuances of his father's war years.
As the war came to an end
and Sam returned to civilian
life, this, too, is explored as he contemplates giving up the writing
drove him through the war, to take up carpentry and start a family
From personal experiences
with the U.S.O. to experiencing
the "humanity and heat" of urban areas, and the unexpected side
benefits of basic training on how to act in foreign lands, Sam's
come to life in an unusual manner reflective of the combined force of
his words, but the various mediums in which they appeared.
Readers seeking a more
wide-ranging, engrossing survey of
the World War II experience from a war correspondent's pen should
choose Somewhere in Persia, a
thought-provoking "you are there" survey of life in the military
A Father-Son Journey to a Side-by-Side Championship
Lecture PRO Publishing
Author website: www.mikekowis.com
Ordering Link: https://www.amazon.com/Texas-Off-road-Racing-Side-Side/dp/1732863024/
Texas Off-road Racing: A Father-Son Journey to
Championship may sound like just a racing story, but it's
also a love story
between man and machine, as well as a survey of evolving family
where the father shares his passion for winning. As such, it offers a
likely to reach beyond the racing world audience and into the hearts of
who enjoy accounts of shared sports passion.
brings his son along for a vigorous ride into the world of off-road
readers are treated to a "you are there" feel that captures the
excitement and challenges of going for championship status in the sport.
visual embellishments will especially appreciate the attention to
provided by color photos and illustrations throughout. These capture
from a mud-encrusted 2018 Polaris RZR
XP Turbo, which practically buried the vehicle, to the happiness
winning another hard-fought XC race.
The moment-by-moment descriptions are
particularly well done and bring readers right into the passenger seat
experience: "As the race went on, I started seeing a disabled
or there, especially in the pasture areas. Then I reached a corner near
back half of the course where I saw an upside down UTV just past the
tree. A few track officials were already on the scene to cautiously
around the downed vehicle until they could safely roll the SxS back
wheels. Not long after that, I saw another one sitting on its side next
sharp corner, and then a second one upside down at a different
time I came upon one of these “upside down turtles,” it made me
and get hyper-focused on the course ahead. Just remember, rubber side
Between its enthusiastic tone, its riveting
competition successes and snafus, and the added value provided by a
son's side-by-side championship bid in the off-road world, even
readers are promised a thoroughly engrossing story that is the next
to being in the driver's seat.
Texas Off-road Racing is highly
recommended for racing fans, in particular, who would imbibe of the
atmosphere and experience through the eyes and heart of one who used
to strengthen the relationship with his son.
Veil of Silence
Sharon Shea Bossard
Veil of Silence is an Irish memoir that
moves from the 1950s to the
late 1980s, following the success of Sharon Shea Bossard's two prior
about Chicago Irish genealogy and roots. This story explores her
growing up in an Irish family where "I
knew little of our family background except that they lived terribly
What I did learn at a very young age from arguments, accusations,
whispers was that to be Irish meant to be defensive and secretive.
was a stone’s throw away. My mother Helen Healy Shea’s only advice to
“never marry an Irishman.” She believed that if I did, my lot would be
making, and I deserved all the misery I’d find in it."
of ethnicity or cultural interactions, Veil
of Silence holds a specific purpose in telling its story—to
break a pattern
of silence and suffering and the tendency to pass this secrecy to
generations: "Growing up, I’d
witnessed my mother lose herself in the euphoria of alcohol in order to
break from her own daily paranoid delusions that grew worse over time.
solitary journey dumped feelings of powerlessness and helplessness onto
vulnerable children. And we stayed silent, terrified that if we let the
silence drop, we’d no longer be cared for, loved, accepted." This
purpose is well served in a story that juxtaposes family history with
cultural connections to Ireland, giving readers a sense of daily life,
atmosphere, and the underlying influences on choices and perspectives
permeated Bossard's home. This encourages readers to consider the kinds
small events and reactions that translate to lasting legacies. This
creates a spirited story that follows home, school, and community life
equal fervor and revelations, whether it be nuns who attempt to dampen
child's spirit or a brother's sudden disappearance.
designed to interest primarily the writer and their family. Veil of Silence reaches into and beyond
the Irish community with a story that illustrates the importance of
communication and growth.
Black Rose Writing
brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans, and Brett McGovern thought
going on a hunting trip on the Navajo Reservation. They didn't
they would turn out to be the prey and would be stalked by strangers
to kill them, and that the decisions they make could lead to a
Brian is no
to violence. His twin brother died in a stranger's arms and his mother
father, then herself. He alone survived to be given a home by Jeremy,
in five other boys.
Now his life
is set to
change, once more threatened by violence. This time, he's determined to
only survive, but help his brothers escape their mysterious adversary.
killer and a missing boy in the Navajo Nation threaten more than their
structure or reservation life. These events leave a question in Brian's
about survivor guilt and whether he is ruining his adopted family by
member of it. These questions reverberate in a mystery that challenges
values, life, and experiences in an unexpected way. He feels they are
at war as
he and his brothers search for safety and answers, violence hot on
excellent job of crafting and entwining the politics and process of
reservation violence, and the efforts of a group of boys determined to
answers about their conflicted lives and disparate backgrounds. He
realistic, involving portrait of reservation life and the FBI's
shootouts and confrontations that threaten to change not only lives,
cat-and-mouse game challenges Brian and his brothers on many levels,
Brian's relationships and adopted family to the level of trust he puts
others. When the truth about his closest friendship comes to light,
changes in an unexpected way that neatly ties up loose ends and keeps
line realistic, compelling, and emotionally charged.
To call Betrayed a thriller alone would be to do
it a disservice. Its social inspection of Navajo reservation culture
and its probe of the roots of love and connection are wonderfully woven
story of adversity and a struggle to survive on many levels.
elements make Betrayed particularly
for readers who look for psychological depth and complexity in a story
violence and evolution.
Frank L. Gertcher
Wind Grass Hill Books
Hardcover: 978-0-9835754-6-7 $29.95
during the Prohibition era in late 1920s America, The Blind
captures the milieu of Chicago's culture and society as it explores a
detective's probe into 'blind pig murders' set in illegal speakeasies
format revolves around the diary of narrator Caroline Case, whose PI
leads to her probe the frequent murders fostered by illegal booze
in her prior River
Rat Murders mystery, Caroline works with Hannibal Jones
again, pairing her
sleuth skills with his special abilities in a relationship which pits
dynamic duo against some of the most dangerous elements of speakeasy
Hannibal investigate the monetary motives for murder, a dangerous
widow', Widow Nuardi, places Caroline in the crosshairs of her
attention as her
prey when Caroline moves ever closer to a dangerous truth.
Frank L. Gertcher crafts an absorbing mystery. It exposes the culture
society of Chicago from decades ago while continuing to expand the
investigative skills, and perspectives of Caroline and her sidekick.
building satisfying tension, both over the mystery and Chicago's
the evolving relationship between Caroline and Hannibal. The jazz
and confrontations that are portrayed during Caroline's probe of the
are wonderfully presented because Gertcher takes the time to build
and thoroughly connects it to Chicago history.
the reason Chicago's neighborhoods come alive in such a realistic
Gertcher's own travels through the city and his attention to studying
architectural drawings, including the Spencer (now the Chicago Hilton)
decor, parties, and guests of the 1920s. This lends a personal
and authenticity to the story that brings its backdrop to life.
The Blind Pig
Murders is highly recommended
reading for mystery fans that hold a special
affection for Chicago and American history. This audience will
appreciate the genuineness and action blend that make The
Blind Pig Murders
a top attraction for American history and mystery readers alike.
Can't Put It Down Books
978-0-999-4623-3-1 $9.99 Paperback, $4.99 e-book
Ordering link: https://www.amazon.com/Bones-Saint-Pierre-Mason-Wright/dp/0999462334
The Bones of Saint
Pierre is about art preservation,
forgeries and stolen paintings, and Nazi
involvements that take place on the cusp of World War II. It opens with
Wright's encounter with former beau Collette, who asks for his help in
plan to save French art from the threat of a Nazi invasion.
a museum worker who could have led a safe, quiet life working in his
New York and transports him to a world of danger as Mason makes a
become involved based not just on Collette's entreaty and past
moral questions: "The only thing needed for evil to succeed
is for good
men to do nothing."
becomes part of a bigger picture of war, fugitives, and art underworld
as he finds himself at odds not just with the Germans, but black
well. The action takes place pre-invasion, providing a satisfying focus
of the encounters, influences, and prewar threats experienced by savvy
individuals on both sides, who saw war coming and held special
either preserving or profiting from classic art pieces.
and priests with guns to treks through Paris' underground catacombs and
Collette's involvement in an increasingly deadly series of encounters,
Knapp builds a powerful saga that takes a spirited, involving approach
outlining the dilemma of European art preservation during World War II.
mystery and tension are wonderfully written, engaging readers who may
little prior interest in World War II, but who choose the story for its
elements of intrigue and mystery.
evolves Mason's connections with Collette, Anna, and others as he
searches for answers that preserve art and sanity alike.
Mason makes to resolve these dilemmas and leave Europe before all hell
loose for a thoroughly engrossing, fast-paced, well-developed read
hard to put down.
979-8669499372 $11.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
cozy mysteries usually aren't paired genres, but Catch
Handle demonstrates that both can come alive to reach these
Vivian Anderson is busy working at her aunt's Arabian horse ranch as
searches for a job in her vet profession. The last thing she expected
stumble into is a mystery.
challenges her perceptions of those closest to her in this horse world,
suddenly Vivian adds a third job to the mix—that of uncovering the
protecting those she loves as well as her career goals.
horses and read many stories about their nature will recognize that
O'Mara well knows her subject, capturing the allure and attraction of
world with descriptions that embrace and explore that milieu: "Nothing surpasses the beauty of an
Arabian horse in motion. As Vivian removed the colt’s halter and
he spun and galloped across the pasture. The early morning light
through his mane and tail in his dash toward freedom. Disaster
threatened as he
raced headlong toward the fence, apparently oblivious of any barrier.
sudden flurry of long legs and flying dirt, he turned just in time.
around, he looked back at Vivian accusingly."
animals aren't an adjunct, but are an integral part of the action and
setting: "How about you meet me after you’ve
finished here?” Vivian suggested. She would have liked to have Abby
but they could not just drop everything and leave the animals
the growing pandemonium. Colin had been talking to another Detective,
overheard the last part of this exchange."
detail creates a solid, unified approach to animal and human interests
Vivian finds herself out of her turf and struggling to reconcile her
in justice and helping animals.
the community, family and friends, and those investigating the mystery,
readers become involved in not just problem-solving, but the heartbeat
narrow, Vivian finds herself in danger and faces a scenario she'd never
imagined would come alive, either in romance or in the horse world.
characters, a sense of place and community, and a love of animals and
alike, Catch Handle is a cozy
highly recommended for readers who like their mysteries surprising,
protagonist all too human and vulnerable, and their stories
Charity Cases is set in 1888 and tells of
attorney Cecil Lawrence's
curious involvement with physician Charity and the dilemma of her
patient, a woman now unjustly assigned to an insane asylum. Cecil pairs
oddball PI Tom Kassel to investigate his latest case, but as Tom
surprising connections and dangers, the two discover that their case
becoming more complex.
hospital routines, legal obstacles, and well-hidden secrets that depend
woman's incarceration to hold together, he discovers that murder and
doubt aren't enough to build the case he's beginning to form.
excellent intrigue through evolving interpersonal relationships that
main characters on their toes and growing.
As a beat
a detective and cultivates a special form of savvy, doctor Charity is
challenged to tap the moxie and spunk she had cultivated before a
knocked her down. A host of characters also examine their own lives and
futures: "You wanted it and you
sacrificed for it. How many people have you helped? How many lives have
saved? If you choose to walk away tomorrow, all it will mean is that
leaving one meaningful chapter behind for a different one.”
about loss and life emerge from Tom's investigation, everyone is
discovery, revelation, and new perceptions.
Charity Cases offers an intriguing story
of characters that move
from revenge and depression to more active roles in their lives. Each
in a different manner, each facing different and new challenges during
mystery and PI investigation with broader choices and consequences that
many of the characters creates a story that is highly recommended
mystery, PI, and psychological fiction readers alike.
More than a
work of intrigue, Charity Cases
excellent tension and interpersonal connections and choices to explore
characters evolve and solve life challenges. Its series of intriguing,
engrossing twists and turns will delight readers who look for the
both the mystery and character responses.
Child of Sorrow
Thomas-Jacob Publishing, LLC
Paperback: 978-1950750320 $12.99
Hardcover: 978-1950750184 $17.99
Although Child of Sorrow is the third book in the
Tennessee Delta Series, it is designed to stand alone as a fine mystery
revolves around a teenager suspected of murder. Attorney Brian Stone
foster child Johnathan Thomas Woods quite by accident,
opening line that grips from the start: "Had
my client not tried to kill me that damp April morning, I may have
Johnathan Thomas Woods."
boy. However, he quickly comes to feel that this is not the countenance
murderer, but a teenager who is innocent...and who offers his lawn
to hire Stone as his defense attorney.
mixed sense of hopelessness and courage, Brian accepts his unusual
case and embarks on a mission to counter the seemingly irrefutable
against his young charge. In the process, he stumbles on a greater
defies his legal team's efforts.
Child of Sorrow is narrated from two
perspectives: that of Brian
and angry teen Johnathan. The contrast between these two very different
incorporates perspectives that differ due to age, life experience, and
approaches to adversity. It's also influenced by the charge of a murder
could have committed:"What got into
me, Henry wanted to know. I got busted, is what got into me. Caught in
I’d figured I probably would, sooner or later, but I’d hoped I’d have
come up with a good story before it happened. Good enough to be
anyway, but it’s not easy to make up a story to explain why a kid might
school to buy a switchblade on the very same day his foster mother gets
murdered. The obvious answer was because he wanted to hurt someone,
kill someone. And I did want to, but I also didn’t...I could be mouthy,
sure—that was all I had—but I wasn’t violent unless I wasn’t given any
an exceptional job of contrasting these two personas as the mystery
Each character harbors a resilience, strength, and determination to
albeit in different ways. Each is involved in the case from a very
angle and with dissimilar life experiences. And both hold a vested
the outcome beyond the determination of innocence or guilt.
against them. But they might have a chance, as John's youth and
gives Brian an edge in delivering news with shock value for maximum
lifetime of trauma has created many trigger points. Can Brian call up
response that leads John to reveal a truth that can save him?
Child of Sorrow will appeal to readers of
child welfare stories
with its strong advocacy message; to readers of court procedurals (who
find Clayton's descriptions of the criminal justice system's prisons
proceedings to be specific and involving); and to anyone who
solidly engrossing story about justice, redemption, and recovery,
R. Douglas Clark
978-1-64540-174-2 $15.95 Paper/$6.99 Kindle
is used to tough investigations, and has won acclaim for his efforts in
past. But his probe into what appears to be a simple blackmail case
into a treacherously unfamiliar underworld in Dangerous
mysteries and intrigue will find R. Douglas Clark does an outstanding
pairing the frontier atmosphere of south Texas border country with the
politics, policing, and illegal activities of an underworld that has a
grip on this region.
Maez is used
uncovering facts, not confronting perps. But in this case, poor people
into the only income-generating routes they can afford, and the shadowy
between good and bad people and decisions makes it difficult to define
in black and white terms.
young mother's choice to enter a dangerous world of sex trafficking or
dangerously close connections between love and death, Maez finds
often confronting ambiguous scenarios in which there is no clear
right and wrong. The overriding danger of his investigations, however,
frighteningly obvious, and leads him into ever-darker lives and choices.
through an online dating service, Maez meets ambitious young bookkeeper
Weeks. As his relationship with her becomes more personal and more
his fallback plans become complicated. Can he trust anyone?
detail, whether it's building relationships or probing the associations
lead people down dark paths, is very nicely done. The characters, their
motivations, and their logical decision-making skills are clear and
lending a powerful atmosphere to the overall intrigue and evolving
struggle to escape Brownsville and her past to decisions to either hide
expose different involvements and influences, Dangerous
Crossing excels in juxtaposing hair-trigger action with
surprisingly deep psychological inspection that's often missing from
full-flavored, multifaceted read that takes no predictable path towards
outcome, which will engage and engross readers with its surprising
of Maez's investigation and Raelynn's choices.
Shira Shiloah, MD
Hardback: 978-1-7351930-2-1 Price: 26.99
Paperback: 978-1-7351930-0-7 Price: 15.99
Audiobook: 978-1-7351930-3-8 Price: TBA
Ebook: 978-1-7351930-1-4 Price: 7.99
is a medical thriller story centered on anesthesiologist Dr. Roxanne
is recovering from lost love even as she steadily moves towards a
with a fellow doctor.
romance is a precursor to the mystery that swirls around a noted
who seems to be racking up too many deaths during his practice. Despite
recognition of danger, Roxanne finds herself working alongside him when
of his patients succumbs on the operating table. This event draws her
increasingly dangerous situation drawing on both her medical expertise
find a thriller where the killer is a known entity with the ability to
behind his profession; the justice-seeker a fellow physician who must
him on personal and professional levels while protecting herself from
own background as an anesthesiologist leads to the plot's realistic,
atmosphere that blends a serial killer's dangerous modus operandi with
romance story in an especially intriguing, unusual manner.
surgical procedures are precise, as are the inspection of the killer's
processes, logic, and actions. As Roxanne faces both a murderer and the
downs of a new relationship, the story evolves in a satisfyingly
manner that leads her straight into danger on more than one level.
realistic, gripping thriller is highly recommended reading for fans of
Cook and similar styles, which look for strong female protagonists who
career, romance, and criminals with equally strong ability. It's a
that is nicely described and hard to put down as Roxanne faces loss,
redemption, and confusing matters of the heart.
Matthew E. Wheeler
Paperback: 978-1-7349138-0-4 $15.99
Ebook: 978-1-7349138-1-1 $ 7.49
Falling Onto Cotton is a literary crime thriller and a coming-of-age
these facets into one book might seem like a stretch, but Matthew E.
adds another pleasing facet with chapter headings that come from
and an opening line that grabs attention from the start: " "I’m
dying.” Chance thought it was the start of a joke."
"Chance" McQueen always thought his uncle would 'live forever', but
stage four lung cancer brings the man to the end of his life and Chance
beginning of another stage in his own. It's then that he inherits the
being a Milwaukee crime lord and head of the family, along with
19-year-old Winnie, who is lost and wandering in his life. He finds his
full as he tackles loss and love simultaneously.
Winnie words of advice that resonate with his own life situation ("Winnie,
sometimes people don’t know what they want or what they need, but they
definitely know when they aren’t getting it.”), Chance not
only falls into
several new roles at once, but hones objectives that propel him into
danger, and purpose.
Wheeler creates a protagonist who is always tapping his own strengths
he doubts them. Music is not only embedded in chapter headings, but
steady stream of background atmosphere that both illuminates Chance's
and introduces him to people with kind hearts and open minds.
guide, Chance finds himself unexpectedly forming a solid new direction
perspectives in his life. But his path isn't always one of positive
as he descends into drinking and finds that some of the death and angst
life originates from his own responses and choices. These lead into
he learns the truth about his uncle's death and the people around him
involved in betrayal and murder.
that Matthew E. Wheeler's freewheeling character is human and
whether it be in love, making right and wrong decisions, or how he
challenges in his life.
a lover who
may be secretly destroying his inheritance to finding his role and
place in a
criminal empire that he newly heads, Chance's evolution is riveting and
stories involving the mob are in for a special treat with a story that
young man's ability to not just adjust to new roles, but accept his
complicity in an exhausting set of tests that alcohol can't resolve.
Falling Onto Cotton mixes many facets, but does so with a bartender's
attention to the
perfect drink of action, surprise, evolution, and revised life
It's highly recommended reading for crime story fans who like their
literary and thought-provoking.
FUR: Zeke Adams
Series, Book 2
ASIN: B08CQ249GF $5.99
Publisher's website: Pandamoon Publishing
What begins as a teen prank of ringing
and running away turns deadly as one is shot and killed by a homeowner
appears, is getting away with murder. When the murderer is then found
suspicion falls upon the dead teen's father. The task of proving him
falls to Zeke Adams, former
sleazy tabloid journalist and landlord.
is in no
position to undertake a defense, but finds himself in this position
vows to save his friend, the father of the dead teen, only to find
embroiled in the underworld of Florida, including conspiracies,
alligators, militants, and assassins. Who knew Florida could sport such
variety of threats?
struggles with a temper issue that thwarts some of his interactions,
atmosphere of both his inner turmoil and Florida's natural and human
brought to life in descriptive moments that enhance the investigative
"I continued to stare at the ocean. A flock of terns stood on
beach, heads down, facing into the wind. It was blowing too hard to
to feed. They had nowhere to hide—they had no choice other than
huddled against the wind, waiting until this force beyond their control
abated. I wondered what they were thinking."
expect animal rights issues to emerge from a story that begins with
and a killing, but animals are an intrinsic part of the story line, as
Zeke's involvement with an increasingly odd cast of characters who add
of irony, humor, and Florida subculture into the overall plot: "I
sitting on my front porch, watching a lone sailboat tacking across the
expanse of the river, when my phone rang. It was Todd. “Don’t tell me,”
“You ran out of booze and want to break into my house and raid my
haven’t been drinking this morning.” "Congratulations. You’re making
progress. You’re just stoned, then?” “Give me a break, Ezekiel, it’s
I’m calling because I was talking to Bear in the laundry shed and,
He’s a furry! He was washing his paws in the gentle cycle.”
Fur is an
intriguing, hilarious romp through lives that coalesce in unusual ways.
Parker's ongoing touches of humor appear in unexpected places to add
relief even during the most serious of situations: "God dang
said. “Ricky Lee, what the hell’s going on?” His voice receded. Was I
rescued? Someone shouted, “Use the bolt cutters on the lock.” Cows
protest nearby and then dozens of them trotted by my stall. They kept
“Go, go, go! You are being liberated! Get into the truck!” The Captain
my stall behind the last cows. “Go, my friends! You will be safe now!”
me,” I called out. “Captain!” The Captain didn’t hear me, didn’t even
my direction. The cows were rescued by ARF. Zeke was not."
escalates from one murder to bombings and more, readers will delight in
Zeke draws upon all his skills, both good and questionable, to not just
one case, but navigate his way through a minefield of social and
Natural history comes alive in an unusual,
intriguing manner as readers receive a story packed with twists, turns,
Fans of noir mystery and the
and particular mystery/humour atmospheres of Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich are in for a treat
compelling, fun survey, highly recommended for prior Zeke fans and
The Girl at the Hanging Tree
Monster Ivy Publishing
Girl at the
Hanging Tree is a fine psychological thriller that revolves
Louise Coldiron's very different personalities. Gemma is self-confined
mansion home, coming out only to shop for necessities every few weeks.
alter personality Tansy (Gemma has Dissociative Identity Disorder) has
upon Gemma the need to stay inside, even as Gemma chafes against her
limitations and wishes to travel despite the amnesia she suffers from.
Tansy knows many
things...including the fact that Gemma
was once married to an oil tycoon who vanished, and that he led a
society. She also knows too much, and her attempts to keep Gemma in the
are starting to backfire. Will Gemma develop further alter
personalities in an
effort to keep her self and life together?
As much a story about the
inner mindset of a woman
struggling against herself as a thriller about a possible real-world
Mary Gray creates a compelling story by juxtaposing two personas who
one body: "Consciousness hits me
like a swift creek rolling over smooth and jagged boulders. Hand on
back against door. It appears Tansy’s decided it’s time for me to take
Salt and pepper shakers go to war in my arms, so I shake them out.
nearest pillar. Looks like my alter
has left me on the side porch this time."
There's no mystery about
Gemma's personality and amnesia
condition. The tension is created as much by outside events and
by the mental struggles of a woman charged with not only handling her
but the possibility that she is either innocent or guilty of murder.
Either way, it's up to Gemma
to juggle Tansy and a
missing man simultaneously. Exquisite tension between the two
well-crafted in a story which delicately walks the line between a
exploration and a thriller.
By using the first person
and having Gemma more than
aware of many facets of her mental condition, Gray crafts a story line
compellingly realistic. Tansy's perspective is equally well done as she
interacts with Gemma, and readers slowly learn the rationale behind her
obsession with painting macabre art and her fixation on making sure
safely at home: "Bringing a shaky
hand to our forehead, Tansy says, “I’m tired
of keepin’ all this to myself. It’s a monumental task,
dearest. It’s why
I have to paint. But I’m tired of harborin’ all the secrets, and I am tired of you not trustin’ me. I think
it will be easier if you understand why I am who I am. You need to
exactly why leaving our home isn’t safe.”
The many secrets that are
revealed in the course of
Gemma's journey enhance the intrigue and tension over the course of
events. As a result, the story solidly rests on psychological insights,
proves hard to put down.
the Hanging Tree will reach thriller readers with its
plot, it will especially delight those who enjoy fine psychological
close inspections of mental conditions. Having Gemma be an aware woman
learns survival tactics while dealing with traumas that have split her
personality makes for an approach which is wonderfully compelling
it explores how a woman disassociates from trauma in an effort to put
pieces of a dangerous puzzle back together.
Jeannette de Beauvoir
Print: 978-1-7340533-5-7 $12.95
Ebook: 978-1-7340533-6-4 $ 4.99
The Lethal Legacy adds to the expanding Sydney Riley series set in
Provincetown about a
wedding planner who inadvertently keeps finding herself involved in
singer Jordan Bellefort at a dinner, learns she is descended from a
slave who sheltered in Provincetown during her flight to freedom, and
becomes deeply involved in her life.
of his slave relative have led to the present-day murder of Reggie? And
Sydney confront a legacy that holds death for its descendants?
fiction and mystery readers will relish not only the layers of past and
influence which permeate this story, but the captivating first-person
observations of a feisty, clever woman who has made Provincetown and
history her turf. Sydney's unique style of reflective problem-solving
the evolution of events: "It all started with a
disappearances, in fact, that you’d think were completely unrelated.
starting to think life doesn’t work that way. We put ideas and people
situations neatly into boxes, but they’re wild, aren’t they: they won’t
where we put them, they won’t stay separate. There’s an undercurrent of
connectedness flowing just under the surface of every event, every
just waiting to bubble up and be noticed."
stories take the time to craft atmosphere.
Jeannette de Beauvoir's special attention to detail lends
are there" feel to the story line, making it especially engrossing: "The
sheer size of the Provincetown Inn invites intrigue...Everyone walks
going one way or another; the reception area is tucked off to one side
staff are generally busy and not paying attention to what is happening
lobby, noticing who is coming and going—and even if they were paying
they wouldn’t recognize anyone out of place, simply because no one
looks out of
place. You wouldn’t even have to be brisk or look like you knew where
she probes Reggie's
death, Sydney keeps returning to a key question: "What was it
research into the Underground Railroad that had proven so deadly?"
increasing entanglement in the mystery evolves to threaten a little
life, Sydney finds herself facing an adversary who holds all the keys
history, murder, and her future. All she holds is gut instinct and a
determination to follow the leads to solve the crime and keep everyone
Beauvoir excels in her careful creation of Sydney's personality and
One would think that a series addition to an already-extensive set
preclude the interest or abilities of newcomers to dive right in; but The
Lethal Legacy is both a standalone mystery and a fitting
Sydney's past escapades. It does a fine job of appealing to prior fans
proclivity for creating tense scenes, satisfyingly unpredictable twists
turns of plot, and emotional connections between not just characters
precedent and revelations, The Lethal Legacy stands
out as a powerful,
engrossing read that is hard to put down and captivating to the end.
gripping infusion of local and regional history is a huge plus.
Mind in the
Bruce M. Perrin
Mind Sleuth Publications
978-1-7320835-5-4 $11.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Mind in the Clouds is the second
contribution to the 'Mind Sleuth'
series and tells of Dr. Sam “Doc” Price, whose new job involves
two-person team's training. But only one team member is human. The
other is an
artificially intelligent killing machine constructed for battle...and
the usual cognitive evaluation process that is Doc's specialty.
The timeline, clearly outlined by chapter headings, begins two months before 'The Day' and continues in its aftermath. Especially intriguing is Doc's personal confrontation with the different approaches to artificial intelligence and how they differ from human thought. His internal debate injects satisfyingly complexity and intriguing dilemmas into the thriller.
Doc is not
confronting technology, but his own concepts of intellect. He'll also
confront his own mortality as he becomes involved in a dangerous
game in the desert, against an impossible adversary.
conferred degree (which means that he still has flexibility to adapt to
and impossible situations) gives him an advantage in his fight to
Bruce M. Perrin takes time to build this peril. While this doesn't
the usual high-octane approach of the thriller genre as a whole; in
the buildup will delight readers who value depth and complexity over
of fast pace alone. The in-depth technological discussions are
the thorough enjoyment of the premise and action, and neatly set the
the steadily-increasing confrontations to come.
intelligence truly superior to human cognition? Who will determine its
Are the basic premises of psychological and cognitive processes
machine intelligence? And what happens when analysis and practice go
comes to question the moral and ethical outcome of his own involvement
experiments: "I looked on in horror
as the symbols for three Hellfire missiles appeared on the display,
its flight a half-second later at the Maintenance Building. Legs that
moments before had been so restless I couldn’t stand in one place now
me. I dropped into the chair next to Troy and hung my head. Would I be
Jill and her new husband at their wedding in a few months … or would I
explaining to him how I had drawn her into a killing field during her
in a few days? The pain and guilt I felt threatened to paralyze me."
thought-provoking questions are wound into an absorbing story that may
the staccato pace of some of its technological thriller competitors,
but that more
than makes up for it with a deeper foundation and the logical and
revelations it produces.
like more than a casual dose of high tech in their story lines will
find Mind in the Clouds just the
an involving, compelling read.
Publisher: Magpie Press
Paperback: 978-1-7345602-0-6 $19.99
Ebook: B0878Y7JYV $ 5.99
Amazon Order Link:
Barnes & Noble:
October: A Historical Thriller from
America's Heartland tells of
photographer Olivia, who is given a photography assignment in the
Midwest and a
deadline she's unlikely to meet. This is especially true when she
that every photo she takes holds the same mysterious figure in the
background...a figure that, it turns out, is not from her time.
in 2003. In 1897, William Monroe's ruthless pursuit of Evelyn
despite the presence of her love Austin Hearth in her life, leads two
clash over her hand in marriage.
crafts an engaging story with two different timelines of events which
in an unexpected manner. The resulting ghost story mystery is replete
elements of Midwestern atmosphere.
the big-ticket assignment coupled with a string of disappearances that
danger, Olivia is assisted by her friend, Dr. Simon Monroe, as she
than career success with her latest assignment.
had a male best friend before. His role becomes more complicated as the
embraces them both, leading to weird feelings and more than a
challenge from the past.
art and intrigue mixed into a story with a firm sense of Midwestern
will especially relish the atmosphere and efforts of Olivia as she
something beyond the craft she knows well.
Austin risk much to pursue their love and Olivia uncovers clues to the
that lead to present-day conundrums and intrigue. Readers interested in
histories and mysteries will find themselves especially intrigued by
of blossoming romance and danger that permeates both timelines in Photographs
the time to fully develop not just the mystery, but each character's
personality, and individual challenges in pursuing their lives and
This takes more time than most reads, but results in a full-bodied
as appropriate time is made for rich descriptions, both psychological
of plot belay easy prediction of outcomes, while the evolving
pursuits of all the characters make for a story line that is equally
whether the setting is 2003 or in 1897.
the art and photography world permeate a spooky atmosphere that is
delightfully, delicately wrought with a solid attention to detail. All
elements make Photographs of October an outstanding
audiences interested in a combination of thriller, ghost story, and
centered on Midwestern experience and artistic circles.
The Soul of
D.X. Varos, Ltd.
Paperback: 978-1-941072-78-3 $18.95
Ebook: 978-1-941072-79-0 $ 6.99
McCrary and John Harvey are Union spies hiding in their South Carolina
under different identities. Martin is a newly-commissioned militia
privy to information invaluable to his Union contacts, while his secret
half-brother John, a former slave, is organizing his own response to
Union in its battle.
The Soul of a Stranger is the second book
in the The Harvey & McCrary
and explores what happens when war changes everything for
brothers, from their political stand and commitments to their
each other. It provides a powerful story that winds not just through
Charleston area's politics and leaders, but the lives of businessmen,
officers, and others impacted by evolving events.
strength of this story lies in the fact that it takes time to explore
interests, interrelationships, and the kinds of struggles that both
divide people. As murder and arson evolve from such struggles, leading
deaths that change relationships and social and political trajectories,
brothers find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of conflict that
their hearts as well as their ideals.
the rebels and buy time to decisions that change life forever, Phillip
provides a hard-hitting set of encounters, confrontations, and
circumstances that test the convictions of the brothers and everyone
Civil War focus on battle strategies, changing ideals and
the struggle for achievement and success. The
Soul of a Stranger differs from most in that it includes a
special interests and perspectives in the form of characters who
change, and support the brothers in different ways; and who themselves
twisted and changed by the tides of war and division.
"you can't go home again," and that is certainly true for brothers
who make irreversible decisions. But if you can't return to what is
and comfortable, where then can you go?
face the consequences of their actions and choices, readers are given
a series of battles over different sides in the Civil War in a
engrossing examination of matters of the heart and soul that linger in
long after the final salvo.
nature of the story's conclusion, which gives obvious room for a
frustrate those who like stand-alone stories with solid conclusions,
the threads are neatly tied up during the course of The
Soul of a Stranger, and so the presence of a door ajar should
lead to more delight than angst.
The Soul of a Stranger is highly
recommended reading for those who
want their Civil War stories firmly rooted in social change and
who like tales that go beyond obvious points of contention to examine
ethical, moral, and psychological challenges of survival during a war
embraces everything...including family connections.
Paperback: 978-1-9999817-4-7 $16.99
ebook: 978-1-9999817-5-4 $ .99
tells of a secret biomedical lab experiment connected to Russia, and paleoanthropologist Dr. Maxi Reimer's odd
clash with the world of killers and spies, for reasons unknown to him.
in a way
he's never been before, Dr. Reimer is forced to also chase the truth
dangerous, illegal experiment and the reasons why some would kill to
paleoanthropological find is one of the keys that places him in the
of dangerous possibilities. But the other is his determination to
truth to save his life and his findings. It's this effort, central to
action and intrigue permeating Species,
which makes for a gripping science thriller story that keeps readers
engaged and on edge.
capturing the elements of a medical thriller ala Robin Cook and the
adventure action of Indiana Jones and top-notch sci-fi writers.
the specter of bioengineered Neanderthals released to wreck havoc on
is intriguingly, realistically presented. Because it mirrors active
possibilities in modern science, it becomes all the more engrossing for
inclusion of real science pursuits and studies.
the genetic predisposition of taste are an intrinsic part of the story
keep the science realistic and the plot engaging, while the potentials
neo-Neanderthals are explored with a clever hand to mingling scientific
with the action elements of a solid thriller.
result is an
absorbing, engaging story that is realistic, nicely developed, cemented
believable characters, and hard to put down.
Jay Kerk Books
9781513665276 $11.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
"When locked up in my room, I can no longer imagine
things." This opening statement in The
Trapped Daughter offers a clue to the young protagonist's
strong voice in
this "dark and twisted psychological thriller" (as it bills itself)
about a young woman wronged by a man and punished by her father, locked
repressive mansion both of her father's rule and her own making.
readers into the psychological tangle of emotions and fears that is
Belle Andresson's world. Through first-person observations of her life,
become attuned to her role as her father's hostage in his home, and her
surrounding Gabe's ethereal presence in her life.
only goal she cultivates after eight days of being locked up.
also high on her list of objectives: "I
can only think of escaping to survive, but before escaping, I must know
father is doing this to me."
Kerk is a
mingling dreams with reality, both over the presence and figure of the
mercurial Gabe and in Belle's own perceptions of what is happening to
focus on psychological tension, revelation, and the fine lines between
and fantasy are the hallmarks of a thriller which questions what is
what is not.
an ever-changing scenario of good, evil, purposeful intentions, and
and danger which is always in flux, keeping them guessing about Belle's
situation, the people in her life, and the boundaries of reality.
story is a
thriller with many tense encounters, struggles, and moments; above all,
it is a
masterpiece of psychological inspection that hones its focus on the
twists and turns Belle experiences as both a victim and a prisoner: "My emotions are conflicted. Part of me
wants to leap up and whoop with joy; the other part is scared. I feel
like a child
suddenly, faced with the wideness and strangeness of a world that has
beyond my reach for weeks. I draw a slow breath and focus on the first
This is what I wanted. I cannot let myself think I did the wrong thing.
Selfdoubt will latch its claws in me, and I’ll find myself
yearning for the
safety of Richard’s prison."
self-inspections are sharply exquisite, and the tension is well-drawn.
readers who enjoy complex psychological inspections will be delighted
story that offers no clear answers and directions, but keeps its
its toes until its ending. Its conclusion is unexpected on some levels
predictable on others as it winds through the wellsprings of illness,
The Trapped Daughter is especially
recommended for readers who
enjoy psychological mysteries and the process of coming to terms with
abilities and perceptions.
Tetsuo Ted Takashima
thriller readers, especially those
already knowledgeable about the plights of refugee immigrants, will
to like about The Wall: The
Refugees’ Path to a New Republic.
One standout feature that sets this story above and beyond others is
Tetsuo Takashima's attention to the logic and impressions of both sides
tale, which revolves around the infamous Wall separating Mexico from
and what happens when this seemingly impenetrable border is threatened
desperate refugees who are dying under a harsh dictatorship.
Takashima's descriptions of lives on both
sides of the wall are vivid and immediate, from the start: "The
energy seizing the soldiers grew yet more potent. They once again
guns. “Fingers off your triggers, soldiers,” said Jadon. “We’re just
scare them. Remember, they’re not armed. No harm will come to you, so
down.” It did serve to soothe some nerves for the time being, but how
would he be able to keep that up? The crowd, which was dyed as red as
desert, kept closing the distance toward The Wall, planting fear into
soldiers’ hearts. Before they knew it, the refugees who they thought
asleep had gotten onto their feet too. In a blink, the scarlet sunlight
beyond the dunes had given way, and a great throng was flooding the
of The Wall."
Captain Jadon Green thought he was doing his
duty by defending his country against the refugees who stormed
defenses. For his harsh response, he was named 'The Border Butcher'—and
life hasn't been the same, since. Shame and honor are sometimes
companions and Green's actions have placed him seemingly forever on the
side of the wall of moral and ethical behavior.
Now he has a new mission: leading an army
into a Central American country to build a new nation from the roots of
revolution. Is his latest assignment an opportunity for final
Readers confront the options facing Jadon as
he leads attacks. When Jadon and his revolutionary army find themselves
dangerous trek that tests their physical, emotional, and moral prowess,
slips back into the soldier/leader persona he once claimed so
time, with a sense of leadership and caution that once again portends
"You get a ten-minute break. The second your break’s over, we
Everyone, I want you to keep walking even if it kills you. All of us
in to help anyone who physically can’t walk. US Army soldiers like me
leave anyone behind. We make it back together, or else.”
it's describing a jungle trek,
challenges to leadership and ethical choices, revolution and death,
and life, or political and military conundrums,
Takashima's settings assume a
realistic life of their own as various characters consider options,
consequences, and sometimes find their present choices too eerily
However, this story is about more than
Jadon's personal redemption. It's about changing or confronting the
minds of others involved, directly or inadvertently, in his mission and
"You’re expecting the people to rise up,” Arsenio told Bryan
“but they’re not that heroic. People are selfish. All they really care
themselves and their own families, in that order. They couldn’t care
the nation.” It's also a close inspection of the plight of
in the middle of warring political systems and the daily, impossible
faced by those who confront enemies both within their nations and from
influences in potential new homes.
The blend of military and social and
political insights makes for an action-packed story tempered by
moral considerations alike. This imparts a rich flavor to the adventure
suspense components of this political thriller.
Readers who like their stories to embrace
wider-ranging facets than singular actions and encounters will
broader insights into society-building revolutionary forces and the
and social influences that drive them. The primary story revolves
refugees are created and their struggles to survive, illustrating the
challenges involved in creating and managing humane immigration and
is a powerful story of nation-building and changing hearts and minds.
prove an attractively absorbing saga for any thriller reader who likes
embedded in the actions and changing purposes of leaders and followers.
close inspection of the roots and minds of refugees creates an added
of understanding not present in most other genre reads.
Against My Better Judgment
The Wild Rose Press
Digital: 978-1-5092-3277-2 $4.99
Paperback: 978-1-5092-3276-5 $16.99
Judgment tells of freshman Sara Donovan, who has choices to
make as her
first year of college draws to a close, leaving her to face both finals
possibilities. She never expected that her impulsive purchase of an
souvenir funerary mask would add intrigue into her life, but Sara's
certainty that her purchase is authentic and illegal leads her into
territory tempered by unexpected romance.
Sara sees herself as being
passionate about life, her
discoveries, and her future even as others brand her "stubborn and
hardheaded." This quality serves her well as she pursues the truth
her sometimes-clumsy, awkward attempts to confront the world.
Her spunky voice and
determination provide the grit and
sass in a lively story, narrated in the first person to capture the
her experiences and determined nature: "I’m
thinking hard about making some changes in my life. Fast. Starting with
ditching that fricking independent drumbeat of mine and taking up
else—like the glockenspiel. Otherwise, kiss ’Bama goodbye and say hello
living back home with my parents. And the exciting life of a commuter
Sara is an effective snoop
until romance thwarts her. And
then there's her canine companion Mauzzy, who adds further insights
life on many different levels.
Readers who enjoy mystery,
comedy, and romance will
relish the special blend created by B.T. Polcari. Sara's feisty manner
view of life keeps her stubborn, yet she also harbors an ability to
recreate, and reformulate her plans of attack. These approaches keep
their toes as she consults her family, dog, and friends and revises her
Blissfully ignorant of the
real devices of being either a
spy or a problem-solver, Sara is at her best when confronting the
professionals, as in an FBI interview: "I
cracked a smile. “Ohhhh, I think she can take care of herself. Pretty
owns a very—colorful—past.” Grant cocked his head. “Colorful? How
“I’m not sure, but she told me her walker was part of her—cover? And last Friday while we drove
around talking, she made some crazy maneuvers in her truck. She said
she had to
‘take care of some dry cleaning,’ but we never even passed a dry
G-men made eye contact. “She specifically used that term?” Agent Walker
“Yup. Dry cleaning. Why?” “In certain circles, the term means eluding or
evading surveillance,” he replied. “Certain
circles?” I asked."
Readers who enjoy
laugh-out-loud moments and the winning
combination of a clumsy but effective amateur investigator who stumbles
unfamiliar territory will find Against My
Better Judgment wonderfully entertaining, refreshingly
different, and just
the ticket for a lively read.
ASIN: B08BX5PJ7Y $9.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
offers a narrower focus on the lifelong effects of childhood adversity
most novels provide, is set against the backdrop of World War II, and
child's evolution in Manhattan as his experience changes both his life
those around him.
Although Ron Terranella's
slow-building story is about
this young victim's struggles, molestation is not the only force
life. Paulie matures and experiences the return of his father from
the many social changes wrought by the war. He also absorbs family
about a cruel immigrant grandfather who was jealous, suspicious, and
like American ways, a talented grandmother who tried to smooth things
her kids, and experiences fiery relationships with sibling Joey.
inspection, and dangers are nicely
woven into the story line, creating a delicate dance between moral,
and spiritual questions as a Catholic boy takes it upon himself to turn
experiences into something different.
Terranella provides no pat
characters, easy answers, or
obvious documentation that falls into clichéd areas common to stories
Instead, he crafts a story that surveys all kinds of influences on
recovery and evolution. While his experience is central to forming his
life and perceptions, it's just one driving force directing his mature
This approach makes for a
more complex, better balanced
read than most, incorporating typical Catholic perceptions of life and
of the 1950s era: "Divorce! Movie
stars got divorced, not ordinary people—never Catholics! The idea was
and grotesque—like bigamy or homosexuality! It was unthinkable!"
As Paulie and Joey confront
the impact of their childhood
and how it has led each to view the world with uncompromising black and
readers gain a story of how each adult struggles with a lasting legacy
cannot be justified or easily explained by family heritage.
Firmly rooted in religious
and social inspection, it
should be noted that The Calling is
no light read. It offers no easy answers, no predictable formula
creates characters who struggle to live with the past while forging new
in the present.
The result is a compelling
story of abuse, recovery,
family and religious ties that will keep readers absorbed in Paulie and
changing world as they foster a feeling that they must journey far from
family to find—hope.
very highly recommended. Readers will find it a multifaceted standout
among coming-of-age literature.
The Day Hal
Joseph and Associates
978-0692498484 $9.95 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
The Day Hal Quit brings us into the life of Hal Mull, who was orphaned at age ten and grew up on a borderlands ranch, following a passive, mild manner that also keeps people at a distance—even the women in his life and those he professes to love.
A Korean War veteran, Hal ekes out a living as a bartender who never anticipated or asked for much of anything out of life. But when his boss’ daughter, Tara, talks him into bringing a machine gun to her in the Arizona desert, he becomes involved in the dangerous objectives of an attractive young woman who uses his compliant nature and his desire for her to pursue the kind of life she wants.
Hal’s subsequent involvement with dangerous men, desperate women, and underground lifestyles and drugs is anything but what he wanted from life. As Tara drags him into this chaotic world, Hal's secret relationship with her involves him in illegal escapades that drive him far from the calm life and persona he’s always cultivated.
Jim Christ's novel is at once a psychological drama, with elements of Western frontier survival and confrontation, and a story of crime, seduction and salvation. It will appeal to and is highly recommended reading for literature fans, as well as readers in the suspense/mystery genre. This audience will find the action well-rendered, the characterization intriguing, and the relationships between disparate individuals eloquently unique.
It's refreshingly different to have an inherently passive individual be the protagonist of a story in which his carefully-cultivated persona is challenged by events instigated by a risk-taking, ambitious young woman.
Day Hal Quit’s exploration
of crime, peace, loyalty
and adventure will keep readers guessing about Hal's evolutionary
the end. Its blend of crime, romance, and problem-solving efforts
Anne Marie Bennett
9798663865104 $3.99 Kindle
Dragonflies at Night tells of a
mother/daughter connection after
death, fears of cancer and connection, and the possibilities of love
thirty-something couple whose secrets and fears have prevented them
connections, in the past.
continues to watch over her daughter even after she passes away from
cancer in her forties. Her biggest fear is that she's passed this
daughter Savannah. But more has been inherited than physical challenges
and Savannah is newly tasked with finding her way through these
fears to live a better life.
story covers romance and mother/daughter relationships in a gentle,
compassionate manner. This draws readers into the perceptions and logic
involved, from potential suitor and successful artist Ben's mistrust
loneliness to Savannah's drive to create a positive direction for her
as she eschews the notion of building a family.
personalities contribute to a gentle probe of love and the willingness
set in their ways to let another person become involved in their lives:
"He could feel some of the adrenaline
from the concert dissipating into the wide openness of the night sky,
the welcoming presence of this woman. He was deeply touched. Who else
asked him how he felt about his own concert? As Savannah began
to lightly stroke his face, he closed his eyes, savoring
As they meet
other's friends and form new connections, they begin to resolve and
some of the barriers that have led to their individual isolation. These
from Ben's ongoing feeling that everyone wants something from him to
determination not to pass on the health legacy she may have inherited
children who might come later.
As she faces
challenges of others around her, Savannah comes to realize that the
connections in her life are more important than she'd perceived: "What do you mean, you don’t see the
point? The point is life, the
living, the loving!
Look at us. We love you. We certainly don’t think your
time is up."
Dragonflies at Night is an evocative
exploration of fears, futures,
and connections between family and friends. It will delight readers of
fiction who look for stories of romantic adversity, growth, and change.
also highly recommended reading for women who want an exploration
family issues added into the romantic interplays and evolution of all
Flowing Water, Falling Flowers is an
evocative novel that centers
on the flowing lives of three family dynasties: the Hans, Wangs, and
family tree for each, and a poem written by a Chinese Zen monk in the
century, opens a story that opens in 1851 China and moves from there to
modern-day Chicago, where Rose Ming is recovering from the breakup of a
with a married man and the loss of her job.
to her mother's California house, but the two then embark on a sojourn
China, where their family roots and heritage draw them into a mystery
impacted their lives for generations.
are narrated in the first person. The same poetic style that introduces
Flowing Water, Falling Flowers via
monk's reflection is apparent in a voice that observes the nuances of
living with a compelling synthesis of metaphor and observation: "Women are made of water. So says a
Chinese proverb. Water is so soft that it changes itself to fit
it is allowed to be. But water can also turn an angled and rough rock
round and smooth pebble, erode the mountain that blocks its flow, and
ship it carries. If I were an ideal woman, by this notion, I would be
persistent enough to turn Harriton, my angled rock into the round
pebble that I
could hold on to."
of literary style and personal inspection continues throughout Rose's
blending disparate themes of family relationships and challenges,
intergenerational experiences, and cultural encounters with an astute
capturing details and nuances of life in modern China.
nicely juxtaposed by the third-person experiences of other characters,
a compelling and alluring story from different viewpoints.
legends, and intrigue enter the picture, readers will relish the care
impart the social and cultural interchanges between families and
experiences: "Ahh, the Dream of the Fang
Uncle De-chen said. “I thought your aunt was joking when she said that
and she had the same dream, about their grandma Iris asking them to
somebody in the family. But one day when Hong-mei was in college, I
be in Chengdu and was visiting her. She told me a dream she had the
before that bothered her. Hong-mei did not know about her mom and
dreams. I admit that I had a shiver running down my spine when I heard
story. In Hong-mei’s dream it was Grandma Pearl who visited, but she
the same thing. I have no reason to doubt that the Fang ladies all had
dream on this matter.”
As its title
promises, Flowing Water, Falling Flowers
gently flows through these disparate lives and experiences, giving
voice to the
strengths, weaknesses, and choices and consequences of generations of
characters. X.H. Collins crafts a masterful tale of intrigue and
traverses lies, truths, spiritual intention, social interaction, and
revelation with an equally deft hand.
far-away places to husband matchmaking conundrums and the price of
made for the future and betterment of generations to come, Flowing Water, Falling Flowers offers a
cultural, social, and
psychological inspection that is as literary and compelling as its
title. It is
highly recommended as a journey of discovery and change that will
anyone interested in the lasting impact of Chinese heritage and culture.
ASIN: B083TXWDH3 $4.99 Kindle
Hotel Chelsea is the 6th book in the
'World's Scariest Places'
series and follows a reporter's experience as he investigates a hotel's
continuous renovations and comes to realize that its reputation for
haunted place may be entirely well-deserved.
stories and ghostly encounters will relish the atmosphere of the
Association Building's Hotel Chelsea, with its dual magnificence and
magazine reporter for City Living,
takes stock of the iconic New York City landmark's reputation and
modern incarnation, he becomes increasingly caught up in a series of
that surround the sad state of the hotel and the odd characters who
Jeremy Bates is careful to keep them tasteful and in keeping with the
point of the story, which is the evolving horror and truths that
unearths as his relationship with the odd building and its eccentric
inhabitants (both living and dead) evolves.
roof to images of those long dead, more is going on than a wily
wants to make life as difficult as possible to force the hotel's
Part 2 is
with a series of black and white photos documenting famous
associated with New York City's iconic hotel. Real figures associated
hotel in the 1980s and 90s are linked to this strange mystery in an
story that moves between fiction and reality in a very satisfying
are in for a special treat because of this unique approach, which
juxtaposes fiction with real (and dead) people, as when Malcolm shares
experience with dead punk rocker Sid Vicious.
bastion of creative forces that can never die? As Malcolm moves deeper
hotel's history and spirits, he comes to believe something dangerously
different than he'd initially envisioned.
stellar job of bringing the hotel's history, odd characters, and
life. The blend of nonfiction and fiction is nicely done, and the story
riveting whether readers turn to it as a quasi-history or as a
fine tension, explain New York City's iconic atmosphere and culture,
intrigue into the ghostly encounters makes Hotel
Chelsea a highly recommended read for mystery, ghost story,
and New York-centered
fiction fans alike.
is in her
twenties, but still hasn't learned enough about relationships and how
a healthy one in It Doesn't Have to be
discussion of her life, friends, and loves in 2012 in Arlington,
reviewing a relationship which holds all the warning signs for disaster
summary too many women will recognize from personal experience: "Joe called the shots for us and I
didn’t mind. I mean, why piss him off? Sure, he wasn’t always easy to
with, but neither was I. And sacrifice is critical to all good
unexpected job changes, new relationships, and girlfriends and enemies,
perspective moves from her chronicles to those of her 72-year-old
Flaherty's observations and insights, and the trajectory which sends
on an exploration different from anything in their present or past
suffered in his life, but maintains a positive perspective about a
holds nothing but challenging changes for himself and his young
It's rare to
story that explores an intergenerational friendship and relationship.
Rowen does a fine job of exploring hard times and their impact on two
different individuals, probing how proximity and shared experiences
them in unexpected ways.
appreciate the realistic attention to detail that moves Molly from an
with her latest possibility, Andy, to a newfound appreciation for a man
took for granted.
It Doesn't Have to be That Way is women's
fiction at its best. It's
a warm story of mercurial relationships, friendships, life hardships,
unusual connections that defy perspectives, hopes, and dreams at all
for a beach read or a warm story educating women about relationships, It Doesn't Have to be That Way is a
satisfyingly compelling read highly recommended for readers who like
characters realistic, warm, and thoroughly engrossing.
Part II of La Chimere of Prague is set in the late
and follows the life of Joseph, who is set to move on in this sequel to
La Chimere of Prague: The
reviewed womanizer Joseph's approach to life, his dysfunctional
the evolution of his reconciliation with the alluring city of Prague,
equally alluring presence and memory of love in his life.
Pryll's first story will find this latest probe picks up where prior
left off. Joseph is about to "leave this fairy tale flat behind" and
accepts the risk that he might never be able to return.
It's hard to
paradise. It's even harder for him to begin anew, where Karina might
follow...in a different place, with new possibilities.
His move introduces new sexual adventures and
new self-examination: "Joseph
questions himself. Do you love her? Do you love her enough? How will
swirl through his life have no illusions about romance and love, such
a "rationalist to the core" who doesn't believe in romance, love, or
heaven. He seems the least likely person to understand Joseph's journey
mercurial relationships with Camila, Ilona, and a host of females. And
becomes an important part of Joseph's evolutionary process.
a woman he loves her, or explore the effect she has on him. But
prevents him from accepting a deeper form of emotional intimacy than
prepared to give.
backdrop of the city and culture of old Europe, Joseph's journey
unfold in the form of journal entries that capture the immediacy and
of his friends and lovers. Rick Pryll excels in capturing both the
the history of old Europe, injecting a modern young man's growth into
backdrop. Psychological depth and detail offers an exceptionally
blend with the history. Readers looking for a story of historical and
psychological entanglements will find the second book of La
Chimere of Prague an outstanding survey that follows Joseph's
ongoing choices, consequences, and evolving perceptions of life.
psychological inspection of romance, ideals, and realities provides a
story that eventually comes full circle back to Joseph's strongest
as he rejects the past, only to find it intrinsically wound into his
readers of La Chimere of Prague
will find this
continuation of Joseph's exploits and realizations just as powerfully
as his introductory experiences, and will welcome the ongoing struggles
Love: A Story
Love: A Story interlaces the
philosophical and emotional journey of
a man who faces both cancer and love. He's wondering if the former
will unfairly affect and negate the presence of the latter, when
Michael meets and begins to love a girl in her twenties.
of what is just and fair in life and love to the dual nature of his
relationship with Li-Li and his struggle to remain cancer-free, Love: A Story captures an unexpected
slice of life's realities and challenges as Michael develops his
asked, whether about sexuality after cancer treatment or fairness in
relationship: "Was Michael's love
for Li-Li paternalistic? Was there something condescending in his
both before and after his developing love for Li-Li is nicely charted.
specific in its considerations of pros, cons, and their different life
journeys, walking readers through a world where a middle-aged man feels
control in more than one way, challenged equally by love and health.
Love: A Story may be about romance, but
it's also a self-assessment
that injects philosophical and psychological considerations into the
living a meaningful, effective life.
appreciate Love: A Story for its
added, expanded value as a survey of unexpected new directions in life.
not a romance, per se, but a singular discussion of growth's many
winds a love affair into a bigger survival picture. It's highly
readers who like their love stories multifaceted and revealing.
978-1645480396 $14.95 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
The Magic Ingredient is a holiday novel
set in Bar Harbor and
features the challenges Eve Silver faces as the tourist season's end
with barely enough money to get by, at what should be the most
of the year. Her family business, Mount Desserts & Tea,
needs to win
a coveted catering bid to continue.
catch, because the annual harvest festival and the survival of her
business aren't the only things pulling at Eve's heartstrings. So is
presence of newcomer Jeff Parish, a widower who has moved to town with
young daughter in a desire to start over.
hands full with the business and fall preparations. Can she handle a
romance in the midst of all this?
and his daughter, who are still recovering from loss: "Can't
you give me something to make the feeling go away?"
she asked after she'd muddied up his sleeve with mascara and heartache.
tea or a candle? Mom must have known about some kind of herb to stop my
from hurting. She sold stuff like that in her shop." Jeff thought about
all his wife's things, packed away in boxes elsewhere in the house.
the times he'd wondered the same thing."
time for either of them to become involved? And yet, sparks are flying.
Sometimes life takes over when matters of the heart appear stalled.
an excellent, clean romance which revolves around the atmosphere of Bar
Maine. She captures the sights, sounds, and smells of the region, along
its holiday celebration preparations, and thus injects the romance's
with a sense of community, personal atmosphere, and change.
exploring the lives and emotions of all involved, rather than just Eve
alone, gives a full-faceted feel to the story that keeps readers
the roots of all the choices and the origins of connections that turn
of fighting for what is wanted in life is a positive thread that
Eve, and their readers: "Eve sighed.
"I haven't given up. I'm bracing for an inevitability." "All I'm
saying is defeat is not a good look on you. The Eve Silver I knew would
have just laid down and waited for disaster." "Hey, that's easy for you
to say. You were always the brave one. Never met a challenge you
handle. I'm just trying to stay ahead of the disaster—you’re the one
running into it." Allie clicked her tongue against her teeth. "I like
fire, but there's more than one way to be brave."
emotion-driven moments are another reason why this novel is so
realistic, and compelling.
enjoy cozy stories of small towns and changing emotional and financial
scenarios will relish Eve and Jeff's revised lives as they consider
options. The holiday overlay in The Magic
Ingredient lends it a warm flavor that lingers in the mind
and heart long
after Eve and Jeff tackle their personal obstacles and the potential
Yellow City Publishing
Print: 978-1-7354113-0-9 Price: $15.99
EBook: 978-1-7354113-1-6 Price: $ 4.99
awakened by troubling news from her mother. Her ex-husband Jimmy has
missing for at least three weeks. Given the stormy relationship between
and daughter, Charley is the last to know of any family troubles.
an ex-husband whom her parents prefer over their own daughter, Charley
on a journey from New York to New Mexico in search of answers, falling
more trouble than she expected.
Mountain Heat may be the fourth book in
the Charley Anderson Crime
Series, but it requires no prior familiarity with Charley or her
order to prove accessible to newcomers. It opens with the bang of a
person who holds both a personal and an estranged connection to
Charley, then evolves to a satisfyingly complex situation which draws
friends, and strangers alike.
steps, she deals with everything from fighting a trained assassin to
the back roads of Indian lands and confronting men with assault rifles.
of a woman who tracks down both a murderer and a mystery is riveting
involving. Charley discovers that an Indian group relied on Jimmy to
pueblo back, bringing tribal history into play.
Long does an
excellent job of expanding Charley's abilities, personality, and
this latest mystery. The exploration of Native American involvements
is a satisfying added benefit to a murder mystery that embraces all
issues as Charley strives to uncover the truth.
who enjoy strong, spirited female investigators that that tackle
their own as well as threats from a myriad of forces will find Mountain Heat a compelling read. It's
highly recommended for those who like their heroines imperfect yet
John Layne’s Official website: www.johnlaynefiction.com
Amazon purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0999879677/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_3H4wFb0XEW7R1
Red River Reunion will attract Western
novel readers with its 1877
story of U.S. Deputy Marshal Luxton Danner and Texas Ranger Wes Payne,
represent the combined force of law in the wild, wild West.
a bang of confrontation as a job Wes had described to Sheriff Dan Kirby
being an 'easy' confrontation with a tack thief turns into a gunfight
group determined to shoot their way out of town.
Western, however, the scenarios Wes and Danner face are sometimes
predictable, as when Wes observes a group of nuns in the frontier town
Buffalo Gap, a further indicator of how much the town is changing.
attention to rich details craft scenarios that embrace issues of wealth
land ownership; young family fugitives; women who assume roles of
power as they embrace the independence and resilience of a frontier
and lives wasted because rescue didn't come in time. All these angles
contribute to the rich fabric of Western daily experience.
changing relationships, and Western style of confrontation and legal
developments set Red River Reunion
aside from many genre reads. Its moral, ethical, and psychological
provide solid insights into the changing perspectives of all the
involved in building and preserving lives in this environment.
juxtapose nicely with these revelations, which are replete in the kinds
that flush out the characterization, enhancing their believability and
growth: "What little faith Danner
had managed to keep until now evaporated into the air, replaced by a
rage that no lawman should possess."
become heroines and examples to others to men who confront town trouble
politics and survival tactics of individuals change, Red
River Reunion is a solidly compelling Western. It engages
swift action supported by strong psychological tension and social
and is highly recommended for Western readers looking for in-depth
representations of different forms of frontier survival and evolution.
The Road to Sugar Loaf: A
Eric T. Reynolds
Hadley Rille Books
978-1-7350938-2-6 $14.50 Paper/$25.00 Hardcover
Road to Sugar
Loaf: A Suffragist's Story will appeal to readers of
historical fiction about
women's rights, following the life and politics of Midwest Suffragist
Wolfe from 1894 to 1920 as she tackles the impossible obstacles women
the time, over the right to vote.
The timely release of this
book, as American voters face
challenges and questions about the system as a whole, should be noted.
than the singular fictional story of a woman's efforts, Eric T.
the time to focus on the local, statewide, and national Suffrage
real-world actions and struggles, building a foundation for
evolution of voter rights and women's efforts to change it.
Published firsthand accounts
by suffragists who capture
actual events form the foundation for many of the fictionalized
presented in Kathryn's story, which both brings it to life with a
overlay and enhances the story's viability as a reflection of the times.
As Kathryn interacts with
women around her, the politics
of how and why women choose to become involved (or not) are also
explored: "After a few minutes, she paused
her browsing. “I’m reconsidering Women’s Suffrage,” she said. “What is
you back around?” Kathryn said. “I am observing some people’s behavior
Suffrage, some of it for questionable reasons.”
Reynolds also excels at
painting bigger pictures of the
times, and the place women's suffrage efforts held in the larger scheme
world politics: "We’re supposed to
be defending democracy,” said Kathryn, “but we don’t have democracy in
our own country.”
“True,” said Claire. “I’m worried the war news is overshadowing the
Suffrage Amendment reintroduced in Senate a couple of days ago by
Jeannette Rankin of Montana. We must keep up the pressure on the
The result is a fine blend
of literary inspection,
historical fact, and emotional connections that brings the times and
issues and influences to life. As readers examine Kathryn's world
eyes, they learn new facts about the underlying motivations affecting
on all sides.
Historical novel readers who
look for the drive of
fictionalized action paired with the realistic history of events will
find The Road to Sugar Loaf: A Suffragist's
pragmatic and informative as it spins a compelling story of Kathryn's
determination to find and change her place in the world.
9798671735451 $13.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
The Shadow War is set in the turbulent world of 1969, when a group of genetically enhanced teens, 'Shadows', begin to confront and change the already-tenuous politics of the world in strange and violent new ways.
Erin Escalante is at the heart of these changes, but is an unlikely heroine. She's a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking teen with a reputation for trouble and a growing reluctance to fulfill her destiny as an assassin.
Also meet her contemporary, Matthew Mutantes. The obsessive-compulsive son of a drug lord has grown into the top killer for Mexico's competing Latin X Program. He, too, has goals and visions beyond what he's been destined for.
Mature teen to new adult readers will relish the confrontations, spicy personalities, and clashes between Shadows who are created to both heal themselves and rip apart the world around them.
From family abuses of power in this Legacy Universe to memories of an idyllic childhood shattered by violence and trauma, Steven Cortinas crafts a compelling story. It looks at the world through teen eyes and the training of young killers who could evolve to become something more than destructive forces in the world.
The rise of non-human species and the lure of alternate and more advanced worlds influence 24-year-old Matthew's changing role as he shines above his peers and attracts the attention and new assignments for Latin X. The Shadow War thus cultivates a changing scenario of good guys and bad guys that keeps readers on their toes.
As teammates face battle and changes, Cortinas excels in crafting a world in which new adults navigate a series of personal, political, and social obstacles to gain the freedom they envision.
Replete with bloodshed, confrontation, and personal growth, The Shadow War is a fast-paced series of confrontations that is highly recommended both as an addition to the Legacy Series and as a stand-alone story that holds the power to capture and retain attention to its unexpected conclusion.
Mature teens and new adult readers of sci-fi and social issues are in for a treat. This story is strongly powered by well-built characters, constant confrontations, and the evolution of a Shadow War that draws everyone in and challenges this world's uncertain course.The Shadow War
Shattered is a historical romance about a
Marine veteran's PTSD
struggles and his affection for Laine, who faces her own obstacles in
opens in 1952 Korea, where 21-year-old Matt is increasingly saddened by
role he is assigned to play in that country's war.
The second chapter introduces Laine's life in Illinois, where she and her younger brother, Eddie, face changes tempered by their mother's death and their father’s emotional distance. "If you stay miserable about things you cannot change,” Helen, the Czech housekeeper, explains, “you will never find happiness in life.”
Alternating chapters contrast these lives and how different perspectives evolve. Matt finds himself in a VA hospital in Southern California recovering from war wounds, feeling that he's left his war duties unfinished. They meet when Laine journeys to visit her cousin, Marcy, in Florida, while Matt makes the trip for different reasons.
Reflections on war's lasting impact permeate their developing relationship: "Once these guys have been in Korea, they grow up fast. Age doesn’t mean anything.” Marcy tells Laine. “Being smart, staying alive is what counts.” How Matt and Laine grow with each other while accepting past influences on their relationship makes for an engrossing romance that follows each individual as well as their combined connections.
As Matt faces his own anger and reactions at home to his experiences overseas and confronts his emotional dislocation, Laine, having had her fling with him, contemplates her high school boyfriend, Peter, and ponders Matt's inexplicable behavior at a New Year's Eve party.
Matt's return into
Laine's life brings with it a complexity and depth she's been longing
along with the promise of a future each
has avoided discussing, for different reasons.
Nancy Scott does an outstanding job of depicting two young people whose different influences and lives at first belie the promise of connection and romance. There are no easy answers, no predictable trajectories, and no shallow characterizations in Shattered.
High drama and startling confrontations are anticipated from the book's title, but the true challenges of this relationship lie not in one startling, world-changing event, but a series of reactions and experiences that lead Laine and Matt in different directions, from Florida to Idaho to Illinois, to the Northwoods in Wisconsin, and back again, before they finally join together.
Scott uses the mercurial, fluid status of romance and love to spice a story that is quietly compelling and turbulent. Whether Matt and Laine are in the same place or miles apart, each continues to affect the other's life.
The Korean War changed everything for many young people. Scott does a fine job of depicting these changes both at home and abroad in a romance replete with social, historical, and political changes. This story ably conveys how individuals survive, grow, and love.
highly recommended for romance readers, its strength lies in its
of the recovery process and the challenges for
individuals working not
just on their relationship, but
on their own courage and ability to dream, both
978-1952816109 $16.99 Paper/$5.99 Kindle
Something in Madness, Book 3 of the DarkHorse Trilogy, is set in 1865 after the Civil War, when Durksen Hurst, a half-Seminole, and three black soldiers return to their Mississippi home, only to find that the battle for freedom has not yet ended in that region.
Durksen Hurst built a plantation shared with slaves hiding in the swamp on land he swindled from a Chickasaw chief. Eventually forced to flee the town with his silent partners during the war, Durk and his band establish a colored regiment within the Union army, name it DarkHorse (after the bygone plantation), and eventually return home with the hope of resurrecting the plantation after the war.
Their homecoming to Turkle, Mississippi and the newfound conflicts they face there form the foundation of Something in Madness, which illuminates a deadly truth: "The slaughter on the battlefield had come to an end, but a scourge more insidious and enduring now descended upon the shattered land."
Whether he's describing unrequited love or battles, Protzel does a fine job of capturing the underlying nuances of interpersonal relationships against all kinds of backdrops: "So Durk’s back in Turkle! Her mood sank, hitting bottom faster than a boulder dropped into a shallow creek. Durk, the man she’d wanted from the first moment she’d seen him, who she’d pursued throughout Missouri, who’d cost her so much, even her freedom. Durk, who she must have but knew she never would — because of Antoinette."
From brutal treatments and relationships between generals, employers, and ordinary men and women to the continuing conflict between those free and others only recently freed, even after the war, Protzel's story follows a delicate dance between personalities, options, and different ways of coping with conflict.
Durk's struggle with rigged systems and the ongoing legacy of slavery pits him against people and systems alike as slavery continues to exert its insidious force against everyone despite the war's outcome and seeming conclusion.
This aspect of ongoing battle and confrontation is a seldom-explored result of the Civil War. The story offers invaluable lessons on the real roots of modern racial strife which never entirely left American soil and not only lay in wait for future generations, but emerges from dormancy like a living legacy of ever-present adversity.
The motivations, lives, perceptions, and challenged social structure of the South is deftly covered through the eyes and experiences of characters who juxtapose personal interests with bigger-picture thinking.
The result is an engrossing story not just for historical fiction readers, but for anyone who would better understand the roots of modern racism and the choices and impact it brings to all sides of the equation.
recommended for civil war fiction readers and those with an interest in
racial discord in America, Something in
Madness stands out as
a powerful saga of ongoing strife.
The Sting of Love
Georgina's visit to her elderly father in England, a veteran of World War II, becomes one of unexpected travel and trials when he asks her to accompany him to Italy, a country he once said he'd never visit again. The Sting of Love follows father and daughter to a nation which unexpectedly changed them both—and is still changing each in new ways. It blends a World War II aftermath saga with a story of growth and interpersonal relationships.
Part of what makes The Sting of Love so persuasive is its unique blend of fictional characters with non-fiction events and history.
A daughter who senses that her beloved father harbours a mystery, finds that her own secrets and complicated life intersects with his in an unexpectedly revealing way that changes them both. The guilt and family secrets both resonate with her present-day experience and mirror her world in an unforeseen way as each undertakes a journey that holds the potential to change everything.
Captain James Drummond survived the war, but it wasn’t just the battlefield experience that changed him, as Georgina comes to find. It was the aftermath and the relationships that evolved during the peacetime mopping-up operations that created pieces of life unknown to loved ones, which return to haunt their old age.
"Some secrets are best kept with the dead." But as they come to light, they hold powers beyond the grave, both for past and present-day generations.
Sting of Love features
many twists and turns that
are engagingly unexpected. As families are rejoined and new forces
them, readers are treated to a blend of history, love story, and
probe that proves riveting to the end.
978-1-64548-047-1 $14.95 Paperback/$4.99 ebook
spend Christmas with her family on Kauai arrives just in time for
Summers, who is recovering from heartbreak in Los Angeles. When the Wind Chimes follows this
interlude during which Kaitlyn
recovers, finds new life meaning, and encounters family and new friends
time to make new connections in her life.
does a fine
job of creating an atmospheric first-person read that brings readers
the journey to Hawaii and new opportunities: "Jingle
Bells” blasted at Lihue airport on Kauai, only I wasn’t
dashing through the snow. I was sprinting through the terminal with a
duffle bag hiked over my shoulder and a smaller one clutched in my
job interview "an ocean away from home" to her increasing involvement
in the fabric of not only Hawaii but her own life and future, Kate's
involves growth and new opportunities which come to life under Ting's
When the Wind Chimes excels because of
this growth process. It's
much a story of discovery and change as it is an evolving romance as
local celebrity Leonardo Medici and finds herself unexpectedly
sound of wind chimes that indicate each new possibility is a gentle
reflects hope and expanded perceptions as Kate evolves.
things that truly make her happy in life and how they may be
journey involves her readers and encourages self-consideration. Her
experiences with men who include her new boss provide food for thought
the nature of her choices and perceptions: "If
Lee, my boss, whom I barely knew, took the time to take care
of me better than my ex-boyfriend, someone who
had supposedly loved me, I shouldn’t have any problem finding someone
When the Wind Chimes is easy reading: a
journey of romance and
self-examination which comes to life in the first person to bring
Hawaii and a young woman's recovery and growth. It
is highly recommended for women who like their protagonists
strong, flexible, and engaged in creating a new life.
978-1539121619 $15.63 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
Yield opens with a flashback on life that
implies illness or death
as narrator Marley Cover considers her life decisions, the impact of
for other than true love, and the challenges she faces in the aftermath
meeting her ideal of romance (who is not her husband-to-be) on her
effects on America serve as the backdrop for her struggles, offering
its own special
brand of struggle over concepts of loyalty and dedication. The country
Marley's confusion as things begin to fall apart and circumstances test
ability to remain true to the path she's chosen.
What do you
the right man shows up at your wedding to the wrong one? Marley was
an era during which women were taught to remain committed, often
happiness for a greater moral and ethical purpose. As Marley is tested
emotionally and politically, she comes to question the roots of her
upbringing, and her future: "I
stared out at the lit houses across the lake and wondered about the
lived in them. Were they
happy? Had they ever been tempted?
I thought about my own happiness and my own temptation and I wondered
what was going to happen next. The unsteady stairway I was standing on,
lead to heaven or it could lead to hell. The trouble was, I didn’t know which."
perils of war and those left behind, her evolving relationship with
her husband Peter's absence in the military, and the confusing choice
face when Peter returns, readers follow not only Marley's special
the changing sense of time and purpose that was America during the
changes everything yet again, leading Marley in yet another direction
holds the power to both resolve the situation and muddy it further.
find Yield a powerful story of
political, and personal change that keeps readers thoroughly engrossed
Marley's dilemma and challenging times.
politics, song lyrics, and quotes throughout capture these times in a
that is hard to put down, realistic, and especially notable in its very
protagonist who must choose between right and wrong approaches to
doesn't always make the 'right' decision. This approach gives readers a
compelling story highly recommended for anyone who would relive the
era through the eyes of a young woman's changing world.
Smith & 1 World Chorus: Live in LA
Aaron Nigel Smith & 1 World Chorus
Aya World Productions/Tuff Gong International, Distributor
Fans of reggae music are in
for a treat with an album
that was recorded during a live performance at The Broad Stage in Santa
First of all, the reggae
beat is supported by a
children's chorus and vocals by Smith's own son Zion. This multi-voice
production lends a depth and dimension to the usual reggae sound that
rich community feel to the effort, one of the contentions and hearts of
From 'Reggae Ridmon', a
dance party infused with the
energy of the children's voices in 1 World Chorus and 'Zion Lion' that
encourages all ages, to 'Everyone Loves to Dance' which presents "not a
dance contest, but a joyful rhythm' that melds rock influences with
rhythms, this upbeat, positive presentation is designed to attract a
audience than most reggae artists appeal to.
By infusing the classic
reggae beats and sounds with rock
and accessible rhythms, Aaron Nigel
Smith creates a winning combination that expands his audience. 1 World
expands the age of this market to younger listeners, juxtaposing dance
with different songs such as 'Natty Dreadlocks', about the big hat and
hair often intrinsic to reggae artists.
"If you really want to know why I let my hair
grow/it was a
promise I made a long time ago/to live a life of peace and unity..."
children gathered around, listening to this gentle explanation. One can
adults gathered around, as well, enjoying a diverse and lively disc
departs from often-typical political focus of reggae beats to embrace a
world, more diverse voices and ages, and a rhythm that will prove
Voices On The Gift Of Companionship
Amy Lou Jenkins, et.al.
Jack Walker Press
ASIN: B08DHDVYVC $3.99 Kindle
The Gift Of Companionship collects stories that explore the
enactment of friendships of varying types. It is an uplifting
essays about the value of friendships.
theme range from discussions of long-term friendships to short-term
and associations that held different values and perspectives for each
and experiences of these writers is nicely juxtaposed in a heartwarming
collection that is invitingly filled with revealing personal messages: "...the death of my best friend isn’t
the topic. I’m here to celebrate her life and to share the life she so
graciously shared with me—the life that helped to save me. We became
friends in what felt like an instant. I loved her with my whole heart,
know full well that she loved me with all of hers. We understood each
a way no one else could. We were both sick. Hers was physical, and
mental, but we were both ill. And when you’re so sick and so young,
stray from you. Not because they are bad people, but because it is
hard to watch a young person you love fade away."
evolve, readers will relish the personal tones, touches, and
consider the nature of friendship, its gifts and resiliency, and its
impact on all.
Most of all,
inspirational read captures those often-fleeting moments of friendship
change and influence lives, even years later: "I
can’t remember saying goodbye or feeling bad about leaving
Carla or even missing her. In fact, I can’t remember which of us left
first. I recollect that we didn’t keep in touch. I don’t have a clue
happened to Carla, and writing this, I realize I’ve never wondered
single most special strength of this series of diary-like descriptions
special relationships remembered—the ability to celebrate their ongoing
on lives even after they have long passed.
personal vignettes about friendship will find Friends: Voices
On The Gift Of
Companionship an outstanding key to understanding how
change, pass, and often come full circle to become even more valued as
years go by.
Hola, Amigo: Songs of
Artist: 123 Andrés
Salsana Records (ASCAP)
The group 123 Andrés
represents the rollicking songs of
Andres Salguero and
Christina, who specialize in creating
bilingual Spanish/English songs the entire family can enjoy. The catchy
CD Hola, Amigo: Songs of Friendship supports
the previously-published children's board book, Hello
Friend/Hola Amigo, adding a literary foundation to the
Spanish and English songs for the very young.
Hola, Amigo: Songs About Friendship is
being released to celebrate
the 10th anniversary of this book, creating a children's music album of
remastered versions of Hola, Amigo
Spanish and English, plus eight more bilingual songs that explore the
Classic Latin beats, horns,
and simple bilingual language
marks a presentation that kids and parents can readily enjoy together.
the power of this album—reaching families with sounds and music that
not just friendship and understanding, but shared lively experiences.
While Latin listeners will
likely be the first audience
for this family-oriented production, any English-speaking child
Spanish will also find the music a very accessible way of learning not
foreign language, but the cultural forces that it represents.
From songs of celebration and encouragement to tunes like 'Cooperation', which hold bilingual embellishments against a country music-sounding backdrop, this diverse collection of creations expands the definitions of cross-cultural creations and Latin influences alike. It is very highly recommended listening for the entire family.Hola, Amigo: Songs of Friendship
to get on disability for any reason well knows what a challenge it is
qualify for benefits. More so than most assistance programs, disability
been identified as having the most potential for abuse—and therefore,
is one of
the most challenging programs to understand and qualify for.
Don Sloan's How to Get Disability Benefits: What
You Need to Know offers a
solution to successfully gaining benefits through this program. It does
hard footwork of covering the system and how it operates for newcomers
have little clue about how to achieve their goals.
foundation series of chapters that define disability, discuss benefits,
help readers determine if they are eligible for the program. This in
itself is a winning approach, because the law is quite specific about
constitutes the kinds of disability that qualify for benefits.
applicants properly prepare for first contact and understand the
responses that lead to winning approval for disability status. Again:
very specific routines and approaches to this process that, without Don
book, would be overlooked or misunderstood by the typical applicant who
little prior familiarity with the disability system.
it would have been all too easy for this book to end at this point.
greatest asset to How to Get Disability
Benefits lies in its wider-ranging coverage of the aftermath
of placing an
application, from an invaluable chapter on 'Making Ends Meet While
a listing of 'Top 10 Disabilities' and discussions of how much one can
from the disability program, and how long benefits typically last.
years, the complicated
disability structure has become a quagmire of confusion. This often
legitimately disabled applicants from navigating the system enough to
successfully gain what is owed to them. Don Sloan walks readers through
confusion, presenting sample experiences, letters, social welfare, and
insights alike. These represent especially essential keys to navigating
waiting period, encouraging cultivating financial resources that can be
benefits kick in. This approach sets this book apart from any other.
which can evolve into years and involve more than one period of time,
particularly insidious aspects of the disability system that Don Sloan
navigates with specific insights and advice.
How to Get Disability Benefits: What
You Need to Know is a practical primer that
should top the reading
list of anyone newly disabled. It tiptoes through a minefield of
confusing routines and processes which will likely be alien to most new
applicants, employing case histories, examples, and insights that
gain disability benefits.
book on the
market holds such specific, clear advice; and none include the
considerations of income generation both on and off disability that are
long-term survival. How to Get Disability
Benefits is very, very highly recommended as a key
applicants and reference, healthcare, and individual libraries alike.
Soul: A Modern Reinvention Guide for Women
Less Ego, More Soul: A Modern Reinvention Guide for Women promises a 21-day program of transformation for women who want to revitalize their approaches to life to be more effective in both business and personal pursuits. The only prerequisite to the successful use of this book is a willingness to change and evolve.
between this book and others about personal transformation is that it
just directed to the woman who has not made much of herself. Those who
successful in many arenas may still harbor feelings of discontent and
restlessness on some levels, and more so than other books, Less
Soul appeals to this audience of achievers who remain
frustrated and lost.
thinking about one's role and place in life is tackled in chapters
pinpoint the different kinds of 'masks' we all wear and how they can
actual personas and desires.
That's the perfect time to consider re-invention and the lessons in Less
Ego, More Soul. Janet Ioli empowers readers by pointing out
have a wise self that resides inside of you." Tapping into
and insights of this 'wise self' are part of the exercises that
guide, which is designed to be pursued alone, without audience or
connections to this wiser persona moves readers away from the need for
validation and into a world where new methods of self-communication and
already done some of this kind of work receive the advice that:
you learn to pause, listen, and be patient with yourself without trying
control, you will slowly but surely realize that you can no longer
way you have been operating thus far. What worked for you in the past
what will work to keep you grounded and connected to your inner wise
directions for guided meditations and insights teach not only how to
with inner self and its messages, but how to apply this newfound
answers to these questions are your result from your second week of
Search Sessions. Sit with them. Go inside yourself and really feel the
Find that place of inner knowing and let your pen do the rest. Trust
already know the answers to these questions. You do. Now,
hold fast to these answers. You are ready to
define who you are becoming beyond the ego mask in the last week of
been part of this process already well know the value of
improvement, but Ioli cements details not just about the work, but its
impact: "Being true to your wiser self doesn’t mean
you throw out the practical considerations of making a living. It means
you are conscious of your why. WHY are you doing the things you do?
part of yourself are you honoring as you do what you do? What higher
commitments are you operating in service of, beyond your own ego self?"
audience, from those already familiar with new age self-help routines
aspiring and successful businesswomen, needs this message and its
clear steps that promise to lead to success.
The Little Handbook for
Navigationally Challenged Cidiots
D.C.Head, G. Head, Ken Head, S.V. Head
Paperback: $8.99/Kindle: $2.99
Drivers who want a hilarious
spoof on driving, cars, and
rules of the road should consider The
Little Handbook for Navigationally Challenged Cidiots one of
books on the humor market. It provides a close observation of drivers
less than adept at the art of getting behind the wheel, and causes
even before the story is narrated, starting with a 'Table of
'Table of Contents') that features such headings as 'The Shoulder: I
Passing Lane' and 'Lights and Gadgets: Use’m Already!!'
Hundreds of driving offenses
are covered with a
tongue-and-cheek observation of 'cidiots' who flaunt the rules. There
of typical types, alongside personal case history observations of the
offenses: "The In-Your-Face Shoulder
Pass: So my friend Johnny and I are sitting in stand-still traffic on a
freeway. All of a sudden we notice the increasing number of shoulder
whizzing by our vehicle just to squeeze in front of the twenty cars
us. So Johnny gets tired of this blatant violation of the law and steps
grabs a nearby construction barrel and plants it in the middle of the
to prevent this rudeness from continuing. Just as he hops back in our
I noticed the most peculiar thing….instead of preventing the shoulder
from carrying out their violation, the barrel placement has only
them to become more creative. So now Johnny and I just sit with our
as we watch the shoulder jumpers drive slightly up the hill and around
barrel so that they can continue to either exit the freeway or bully
drivers ahead of us."
From 'Driving Under the
Influence of Dummies' to parking
snafus and 'snipers', this collection of driver observations requires
the reader be an adult driver. This audience will find it easy to
violators and their modus operandi for getting ahead and breaking the
All drivers should read this
fun book. It gives food for
thought about offenses and approaches to driving while providing
moments firmly based on driving realities.
Julie Gianelloni Connor
Bayou City Press, LLC
Paperback: 978-1-951-331-01-6 $17.99
Ebook: 978-1-951331-00-9 $ 9.99
in pilgrimages and memoirs will find Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the
Pilgrimage, Not the Hike
unusual armchair journey in several ways.
First, it wasn't written in
a specific period of time,
but evolved over different writing methods and time frames, from blog
produced while on the Camino; back home (for Julie Gianelloni Connor,
Houston); and years later. This reinforces the feel that this
account is a journey with lasting memories and impact, not the
momentary experiences of a limited period of time.
The Camino de Santiago is a
pilgrimage destination. And
if you don't know the difference between 'travel destination' and
this is the place to find out.
The title holds one hint of
this different approach as it
chooses the descriptor 'savoring' over the less powerful, more general
The goal in writing this account was not just to offer a "you are
there" experience of every step, but to provide a bigger-picture
perspective on the lasting impact of a choice to walk the Camino.
succeeds in meeting her goal in a story that is powerfully written,
adversity and revelation alike.
Her descriptions blend
personal experience with history
and cultural, social, and travel observations: "Puente
La Reina (The Queens’s Bridge) has graced this hamlet
since the 12th century. The guide books say that historians are not
of two queens had it built. What? If a king had built it, there would
doubts about which king. But let me not get off on that particular
many millions of pilgrims’ feet have traversed these stones? What a
serene, and beautiful image it is for this town."
Black and white photos and
images liberally pepper the book,
bringing these experiences to life, but Connor's descriptions hold the
the story, recounting each stop, town, and the personal and spiritual
that they introduced.
Some may wish for more of a
spiritual emphasis than is
provided. This is not a spiritual story per se, but a pilgrimage that
the impact of different locales and churches, museums, and towns and
along the Camino.
The difference between being
a pilgrim versus a tourist
is clearly outlined (you need to read Savoring
the Camino de Santiago to enjoy the full extent of this
Connor and her family explore, they invite readers to join them through
Those who want a satisfying
blend of spiritual and travel
revelations which use the Camino as a road to understanding and
on many levels will find Savoring the
Camino de Santiago the perfect item of choice. It covers the
reactions, and insights of a pilgrim who cultivates a slower approach
viewing the world than most travel accounts offer.
More importantly, it takes
the 'you are there' feel to
another level. It is especially highly recommended for fellow pilgrims,
armchair travelers or destination-oriented, who would take the slower,
reasoned approach to discovery.
Nom D. Plume
Nom D. Plume Enterprises
Paperback: 978-1-7348864-0-5 $9.99
Ebook: 978-1-7348864-2-9 $3.99
and poems holding elements of the supernatural and odd ironies permeate
anonymous author Nom D. Plume's Tales
from an Odd Mind, the item of choice for those who like their
compellingly eerie and thought-provoking.
unusual facets to this collection. The first section contains
stories, for example. The Introduction is written in the first-person,
Death. As for the stories themselves, they run the gamut in subject and
of Killer Robots', for one example. This uncompleted tale in the first
centers on the mental patients of 'Sol Lotus', an institution which
dark secret in the labyrinth of tunnels underneath New York City.
upon rows of robots in the depths of a basement, he realizes he's been
purposely directed to a secret that could change everything.
this very short piece is both inviting and puzzling, leading readers to
speculate about the next steps for both Silver and Sol Lotus.
'We Few Old Souls', is described as "A quintet of tales of several young people
who find each other, time after time." These
pieces hold no titles, and
introduce various young characters whose interpersonal relationships
encounters are mercurial and challenging. The piece depicting Rebel and
they (yes, 'they') react to hospital settings, dreams of war and
the truth about a body which houses countless souls is engrossing and
challenging, all in one: "“We-–we’re connected somehow. Our
bound together and every time the last of us dies we start to be
all at once but we start. And every time we find each other, across
and across oceans because we have to.”
The third mixed section of poetry and prose
comes with the whimsical caution that they hold "No rhymes,
reason". Here, you'll find such works as 'The Night Belongs
to Us', a
brooding masterpiece celebrating night and dark influences: "Fields
rustling in the breeze/Storm clouds lazily rolling/across the endless
of sky, stars peek out between them/Are all for us/The day’s humidity
stayed but not the ugly heat/For the sun has birthed fireflies/A
flickering up from the damp grass to join the clouds and stars
What unifies this collection is a sense of
the macabre, strange wonder, and edgy realizations of the extraordinary
alongside seemingly ordinary life scenarios.
From its uncompleted tales (which,
surprisingly, seem complete even given their cliffhanger stops) to its
exploration of unique connections between people and its hard-hitting,
poetry, each section is cemented by large black and white images that
food for thought.
This collection of odd tales and poems of
imagination, mystery, wonder, and eerie settings is highly recommended
readers who want to be surprised and engaged on a more intellectual,
level than most eerie works.
It promises a set of experiences that linger
in the mind longer after their reading, juxtaposing nightmares with
possibilities and revelations that are anything but predictable.
anticipate anything more than a quiet visit to Stono Beach when they
their day, but when they are kidnapped and taken to the Aphotic, a
of the universe, everything changes.
find much to like about this fantasy as Ko and Aileen find not only the
boundaries of their world challenged, but their role in it.
first person narrator Ko to capture this world and his relationship to
his sister. This lends an observational immediacy to the tone and
which draws in young readers; especially since Ko is much older than
sibling and holds rationales and insights that come with the wisdom of
age: "Aileen was nine years old, six years
my junior, and beautiful. It was obvious she would one day be a very
woman. However, her current beauty was less about appearance and more
being. She was innocent, glowed with youth, and concerned herself only
next adventure or game. Society had no hold on her yet, as it had
offer that could garner the attention of her blue eyes."
His ability to perceive possible futures and scenarios in present-day incarnations and experience gives Aphotic such a deliciously analytical tone, yet keeps its experiences in logical sync with its young protagonists.
perspectives move from Ko and Aileen to Sam, Joan, encounters with the
Reaper's possibilities, and more, readers are led into a full-fledged
that holds a quest, a challenge, and many battles.
first person to a third person narrative, but by then young readers are
thoroughly immersed in the situations, perspectives, and struggles of a
of the Aphotic search for a way out, the story is reminiscent of
L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, but
a broader cast of would-be heroes and children who struggle to make
this new world and their place in it.
galaxy lies in these young hands and the choices they face to preserve
Middle grade and older readers with a special interest in fantasy
find Aphotic a marvelous saga of
courage, self-resilience, and change.
Chant and Crown
Paperback: 978-0-9764184-4-3 $15.99
Ebook: 978-0-9764184-5-0 $ 9.99
Author website: www.jordanmcmakin.blogspot.com
Ordering link: https://amzn.to/2M6o0Qr
is a compelling fantasy that revolves around the magical Chants, who
exiled and feared by The Kingdoms of Trestlewen for centuries. Two
princes targeted by the Chants find themselves on the same side, for
must join forces against an ancient enemy as the winds of war unite
them in an
uncertain, tenuous manner.
Teens looking for a fantasy
scenario that is focused as
much on evolving sibling relationships as it is on world-changing
confrontations and the rise of darkness will find Chant
and Crown hard to put down, especially because its classic
story of sibling interactions, growth, and adversity powers the overall
of siege and transformation.
Strong dialogue, fiery clashes with opposing forces (as well as those on the same side), and a blend of magic and military might keep readers engaged on several different levels: "Aylan grabbed the papers from Ezrick, still shaken and upset. Then seeing the top page his face fell. Ezrick thought he was going to cry again. “Shit. I was supposed to finish this for Lady Ghent by three. She needs it for the Scribe. But I promised Ghent I’d have the Council agenda organized! Then you woke up, and Driscoll kicked me out . . . I tried to focus, I tried to . . . but I was worried, all I could think about was . . . I think I’m losing my mind!”
Perhaps the most inviting
feature of this young adult
fantasy, however, lies in the psychological descriptions Jordan McMakin
incorporates into his story. These keep readers involved in each of the
princes' perspectives: "Aylan was
stalling. Ezrick knew it. But he had to know Ezrick would ask this,
why would Aylan have disclosed it. “I’m involved now, Aylan, and I
know. You’re my source, and if you don’t tell me now, I’ll seek out
my own.” He spoke
part of him tired. The emotional toll of the last few days had scraped
As Aylan becomes Ezrick's
only source of information for
survival and effective battle, belaying the threat of a father who
kill his sibling if he catches him, the evolving, complex relationships
part of what sets Chant and Crown
apart from other fantasy tales of a kingdom threatened.
The dichotomy of its
internal and external battles and
the politics and processes of family relationships contributes to a
engrossing saga. Chant and Crown is
highly recommended for teen to new adult readers who will absorb not
clashes between magic and political forces, but the turmoil and
connections between very different brothers. The siblings must learn to
each others' strengths to survive, only to find that their newly-forged
connection instead destroy everything.
The plot is especially
recommended for its depth of
psychological drama and exploration of entwined relationships, which
a sense of purpose and connection to the overall fantasy.
Ann Colberson Schiebert
Andrew Benzie Books
Print: 978-1-950562-21-3 $9.95
Ebook: 978-1-950562-30-5 $4.99
Preteens and young adults in middle to high
school grades who enjoy illustrated stories of friendship, adversity,
discovery will welcome both the story in Dumpster Dogs
Varonin's colorful illustrations. These bring to life the tale of dog
who lives under a dumpster and believes himself to be independent and
when he is actually lonely and lost.
Riley needs canine friends and even humans,
but believes he needs nobody and has everything he needs to make him
Once, he had humans whom he loved, but they abandoned him. Now he has
himself that he doesn't need human love—only the uncertain circle of
fellow Dumpster Dogs who, like himself, know how to live on their own
their own destiny. They are now his 'family.'
Riley's life changes, though, when he meets
Sophie and Emily and forms a bond with them against all the rules he
friends have made for their lives: "He was amazed over the
friends had excused his violation of the Dumpster Dog Club Rules! They
really, true friends, and he vowed he would never leave them behind if
invited him into her family."
Will Riley risk everything he's built for an
uncertain sense of home? Ann Colberson Schiebert injects
passages throughout her story that will give dog-centered kids pause
thought about more than family, animal rescue issues, or a sense of
had been a Dumpster Dog for so long he had become accustomed to his
and his freedom. No one told him what to do, and he liked it that way.
glanced over at Sophie. Would losing all his friends be worth it? As if
could read his mind, Sophie looked over at him. In a whisper she said,
if you don’t take a risk, you will never know if your life could be
will you? You will be stuck in the past.”
As Emily becomes involved with all the dogs
and a Hatfields-and-McCoys style of conflict emerges, both Riley and
their friendship tested, their ideas of home challenged, and their
compromised in different ways.
It's hard to easily peg the attraction of Dumpster
Dogs. The illustrations would seem to make it a choice for
elementary to early middle grades, but the story line offers a
satisfying insights that lend to its appeal to older readers.
Audiences not too 'mature' for a peppering
of lovely illustrations, who are interested in relationships between
people, and family, as well as underlying issues of animal rescue and
animal hater's perceptions of life, will find the subplots and issues
Dogs makes for compelling, surprising reading.
More than "just a dog story," this
is a survey of life challenges and approaches to conflict resolution.
deserves a place on the reading lists of young people interested in
The Firefly Warriors Club
Hastings Creations Group
Ebook: 9780997088397 $3.99
Paperback: 9780997088328 $8.99
Middle grade readers
interested in an ecology story of
adventure, adversity, and mystery will find delightful this story of
who investigate the declining number of fireflies in The
Firefly Warriors Club.
The boys know fireflies are
disappearing. The sparkling
lights they see in the woods are a revelation, both about the fireflies
their natural history and the fact that they have become even more
Twelve-year-old Davy's guide
to this strange world is the
Insect Field Guide. His cohort is 10
year old Anderson. And his latest discoveries aren't in the Field Guide, but inject adult challenges
into his child's life of observation which, until now, hasn't been
In the opening pages, Davy
is off to the best insect
observation site he knows: his grandfather's Texas farm. Even before he
he's well aware that fireflies are vanishing, although his unconcerned
shrugs: "When I was a kid, I used to
love catching fireflies.” Dad sounded wistful. “I’d love to catch some,
there are hardly any left.” Davy crushed an
empty chip bag. “All kinds of insects are disappearing.” “I hadn’t
about it, but I guess that’s right.” “Look at the windshield.” Davy
“Looks fine.” “It should be
splattered with insects. First insects disappear, then birds starve.”
should eat more roaches. Cockroaches will rule the earth,” said Dad."
As Davy contemplates
creating a firefly habitat and faces
the special challenge of preserving their environment against forces
decimate it, young readers receive an ecological lesson couched in a
peers who decide to move from learning and observation to taking charge
Line drawings pepper the
story and add visual
embellishments to Davy's account.
This fine tale works well on
Characterization is well done, and the natural history is revealing,
human and natural affairs and interests and Davy's own evolution in a
Middle grade readers are in
for an informative treat with
The Firefly Warriors Club!
Frankie and the
Gift of Fantasy
Paperback: 978-0-9978532-7-8 $12.95
Kindle: 978-0-9978532-8-5 $ 4.99
Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy is a middle grade read about a lucky young boy who lives in a lovely house by the sea in California. He lives in his own world of make-believe, frustrating parents who think he should ground himself in reality instead and develop ambitions that will lead him into a successful adulthood.
Despite their admonitions, Frankie persists in his fantasies while skating through life, until a crack in his bedroom ceiling transports him to a two-mooned planet called Urth, where he embarks on an adventure beyond even his wildest dreams.
to note about Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy is
that it draws readers
into the action with a personal touch that represents an unusual
participate in Frankie's experiences: "...since he’d never
meal, he didn’t know what real hunger was like, so he felt sorry for
spinning a story that a forest that had felt so wonderfully homey at
unfairly betrayed him by failing to provide dinner at the expected
can decide at this point whether you want to give Frankie the peanut
sandwiches you brought with you into this chapter. But I advise against
someone else in this story will soon need them much more than well-fed
and you may wish to give them to her instead."
The second strength to his
story is also evident early in
the tale. Its Ruthy Ballard's ability to create compelling, unusual,
descriptions that provide kids with visual embellishments worth
laughing over: "An eerie kind of twilight
took the stars away as he sat among the purple fruit, staring at the
fantasizing about food. The constellation that had looked like a pile
steaming spaghetti topped with a healthy dose of grated Romano cheese,
out. The circle of stars shaped like a gooey pizza faded away. And in
well, what was in the east requires its own paragraph to describe."
As Frankie's story unfolds,
preteens receive an
engrossing adventure that takes Frankie's proclivity for participating
unbelievable to new levels. In this world, Frankie truly comes into his
Meanwhile, back on Earth,
his parents are anguished over
his disappearance, and an innocent man has been arrested in the matter.
Frankie's absence is making as much of an impact on his former life as
presence does in this strange new world.
Kids receive a thoroughly
engrossing story powered by
these descriptions, dilemmas on all sides, a sense of humor, and an
beyond even Frankie's ability to imagine.
Other quest and
confrontation stories proceed in
predictable manners. Not Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy.
This lends it
a unique, powerful voice that makes for a standout in the genre of
fantasy. The epic adventure flushes out Frankie and his family's
the dilemmas of alien peoples who have as much at stake in Frankie's
or absence as do his family back home.
fun, and action-packed, Frankie and the
Gift of Fantasy is hard to put
down. It's highly recommended beyond the advanced elementary to middle
readers it is likely to reach.
Jiggs, The Beginning
Murray M. Smith
Paperback: 978-1-64718-765-1 $14.95
Hardcover: 978-1-64718-765-1 $24.95
Ordering Information: Ingram, B&N, Amazon
Ages 2 and older will
appreciate this picture book story
of Jiggs, a cat who lived in the Pigeon Point lighthouse.
Lovely artistic drawings by
Jonathon Wilson and hand
paintings by Darice Machel McGuire highlight Murray M. Smith's tale of
named Jiggsy who was born with his siblings under the lighthouse porch.
When they become old enough
to leave their box, they
receive a stern warning from Mom about the dangers of the world and a
dark cave. The kittens promise to stay safe, but curiosity dominates,
Jiggsy decides to investigate the dark cave in a safe way that
him in trouble.
Kids who like cats, playful
drawings, and stories about
animals will enjoy this story about caution and curiosity.
assistance will be required for
youngsters who don't read at the paragraph level yet, but the
will attract all ages.
Lessons about safety,
kindness, friendships, and caution
create a compelling saga that is playful and serious at the same time:
for parents who want to teach their kids a combined sense of wonder and
about exploring their world.
Twelve-year-old Will leads a good life. He's
found work and a home in Mister Wilberforce’s house, a friend in
eleven-year-old Nellie, who is teaching him to spell words, and leads a
life, for an orphan, after living alone on the streets of London.
His memories of the day he met Mister
Wilberforce, when everything changed, feel murky and incomplete,
he encounters strange little animals that appear to be speaking to one
some pieces of the puzzle of his life begin to fall into place.
As Will stumbles into an adventure that
includes a group of disparate children and a fireplace that leads him
another world, young readers are treated to a story that is peppered
about social and cultural relationships and different forms of
found himself smiling hesitantly. Jax appeared to be the leader of this
of friends, but he didn’t seem domineering. Despite their different
children treated each other like equals. Was that how life was in
it couldn’t be so. America was terribly dependent upon slavery from all
Will understood. This comfortable amity between these children
yet at the same time, it pleased him."
Will's search for the portal that will lead
him back home isn't the only purpose of this story. The tale moves from
raccoons and time travel to encounters with historical figures and kids
with finding their way home under impossible circumstances that
perceptions of the world.
Loralee Evans crafts a fine adventure in Kits
and Cubbyholes that moves from a boy's singular good fortune
in a revised
life to his ability to take charge of his own future.
Middle grade readers will find the
characterization well-done, the dialogue and dialect particularly
and believable, and the adventure portion nicely paced. It's not too
is captivating, as Will participates in an adventure with newfound
the 21st century and confronts the mystery of what his future will
Toshi Ikagawa and MJ Brooks
9780978786434 $7.89 Paper/$3.39 Kindle
grandmother gives her the gift of a sunflower seed, something special
from it in Maddy's Sunflower, a picture book story
that will be enjoyed
by children who like flowers as well as parents and teachers who wish
introduce the very young to gardening concepts.
paintings by Toshi Ikagawa enliven the story of Maddy's first seedling
flower bed project. Maddy delights in her project as her sunflower
than she, but when problems arise, it's her wise grandmother who holds
Underlying themes of change and loss also provide read-aloud adults
further discussion material, backed by lovely colorful drawings
will appreciate this project-oriented introduction which holds
keys to understanding science, nature, and basic gardening. Each page
Maddy's experience and lessons to a celebratory feel of fun, inviting
contemplate creating their own flower gardens.
educators looking for a positive, uplifting story that encourages the
young to undertake an easy project will take pleasure in the story of
delight in her sunflower and her newfound understanding of plants in
Sunflower is highly recommended as a basic primer on the
though Maddy's experience is presented as an enthusiastic fictional
The book is also available in Spanish as El Girasol de Maddy.
I Need My Wheels
Hardcover English: $17.99 978-1735092805 $17.99
Hardcover Haitian Creole: 978-1735092812 $17.99
Paperback English: 978-1735092836 $12.99
I Need My Wheels, available in both English and
Creole, focuses on a big event in a child's life: when bicycle training
are removed. In this case, young Eddy thinks he can't ride his bike
them. His challenge is to learn otherwise.
Illustrations by Blueberry
Illustrations add realistic and color-infused life to every
page as Jeanne Fortune explores Eddy's reluctance to ride his bike
advocates for his independence, but Eddy is worried he'll fall without
and keeps insisting that their absence may preclude future bike rides.
however. His mother and father are committed to helping. Family scenes,
mealtime to bedtime, supplement these riding efforts to create a warm
a supportive family atmosphere.
their encouragement, Fortune does not provide easy or quick solutions
dilemmas. The boy has much to overcome, even with help, before he can
riding an unassisted success.
story of facing obstacles, failing, and trying again and again will
read-aloud parents and children with its inviting, realistic,
story. The multicultural family environment and specific story of a
many children will readily understand makes this a recommended
which uses bright, compelling pictures and a warm story of achievement
adversity to make a point.
Mommy, I Need My Wheels is highly recommended reading for beginning picture book readers and read-aloud parents alike, who look for stories of courage and independence to serve as life lessons for the very young.Mommy, I Need My Wheels
Covenant Books, Inc.
Paperback: 978-1-64670-803-1 $13.95
The Rounders and the Tallers gives
picture book readers and
read-aloud adults an intriguing lesson in diversity and acceptance as
outlines a world which houses two types of people: mean round folk and
thing that makes the Rounders the meanest is the one thing that should
to all: the beach. This is also the thing that makes the Tallers the
or parental assistance for the younger readers will lend to enjoyment
compelling story of how this world became so divided: "You
see, before the Rounders became mean and the Tallers became
sad, everyone was friendly and happy. And everyone went to the beach
happy and friendly together. So many Rounders and so many Tallers went
beach each day that soon the beach became very crowded. And as you may
when people are crowded and stepping over each other and sitting in
other’s way, sometimes people get upset. And this is how the story
although it likely wasn't written for this purpose, this story becomes
parable for COVID times and new restrictions as the Rounders and the
confront the evolution of rules designed to keep the Tallers from the
As the years
rules proliferate and conditions worsen, where is the answer that can
joy to both groups?
thought-provoking illustrations are perfect accompaniments to a story
poses a dilemma, traces the evolution of prejudice and repression over
years, and offers some surprising solutions that also contain insights
this new age of COVID than one which teaches tolerance and win-win
for all? The topics of exclusion and community growth and involvement
delight parents looking for discussion points for the very young, as
picture book readers who harbor the skills to absorb multiple
evocative description and detail.
The Rounders and the Tallers is very
highly recommended as a
'coming together' title that advocates understanding and revised
embraces connection and shared joy in life's opportunities.
Signs in the Dark
Publisher's website: http://www.vinspirepublishing.com
Author's website: http://susanmiura.com/
Haylie Summers is deaf.
Music, thunder, and words are not
part of her world. And yet, she acknowledges that her condition gives
abilities the ordinary person might deem a 'sixth sense'. And right
sense is sparking warnings and information that lead Haylie on a
It's been two months since
her father re-entered her
life. She doesn't trust the permanence of his presence, since she's
of her life without him: "Ben thinks
that’s an easy question. He waits for me to say “yes” because my
“nice” for the past two months, but there’s about fourteen years of
silence to consider. The occasional birthday or Christmas card only
painful reminders that he walked out on me and mom when I was three. A
can’t just let that go."
Haylie is a fighter and a
survivor. She'll need all these
skills when she is kidnapped and a series of events place her in a
danger. Is she on the road to human trafficking? When her
Nathan Bolivia works to uncover the clues, he finds himself in just as
danger and powerless to prevent the inevitable. The perps, meanwhile,
new problem in their quest for easy money that now feels quite
fine job of moving from Haylie's perspective and insights to Nathan's
determination to use all his skills to rescue her, highlight the plight
as they face a threat not only from the kidnappers, but from Haylie's
philosophical and spiritual reflections at various points in the story
depth and contemplative insights to the plot: "I
guess it’s true that God works in mysterious ways. Nothing
about this relationship makes sense. Everything about us is different.
we connect in ways that science can’t explain, and that the world may
understand. We were given the gift of each other, and
that’s all we need to know."
about the real nature of Haylie's reality and life, readers are treated
moving story of survival, recovery, and revised relationships that
changes two teens experience after facing death.
Young adults who
choose Signs in the Dark for either
its intrigue or its insights into a deaf girl's world are in for a wild
a multifaceted thriller that holds solid action and emotional
throughout. It's highly recommended for teens seeking
action stories that incorporate a sense of purpose and growth within
especially those who like unexpected stories of love, commitment, and
Stan's Frightful Halloween
Clear Fork Publishing
Halloween enjoys vividly colorful Halloween drawings by
Burgen Thorne as it presents the unusual dilemma faced by a young
finds that Halloween frees him to be his authentic scary self on one
day a year.
The problem arises when
clumsy Stan injures himself
before Halloween, and is forced to stay at home when other friends go
candy and fun. He knows he can't keep up with the crowd in his usual
can he do something different?
He thinks another group may
be easier to keep up with,
but soon discovers that the trappings of ghosts, mummies, and witches
with their own special talents which he does not have.
Things go awry and
constantly thwart Stan's ability to
scare people. And Halloween is almost over.
tale of a
child's dilemma offers a different kind of Halloween story perfect for
read-aloud and seasonal enjoyment. The unexpected conclusion is
thought-provoking, reinforcing the feel of friendship and holiday fun.
Alayne Kay Christian
Blue Whale Press/Clear Fork Publishing
Hardcover: 978-0-9814938-1-7 $16.99
Paperback: 978-0-9814938-2-4 $10.99
Weed That Woke
Christmas: The Mostly True Tale of the Toledo Christmas Weed provides picture book readers ages 4-8 with
the fun story of a weed that grows from a seed in the crack of urban
He's unnoticed by the busy city people rushing by, until one little
the time to decorate him for the Christmas season.
For the first time, people begin to notice
the weed. As they bring other holiday embellishments for this weedy
celebrate the season, young readers receive a gentle story of a
blossoms around need, wealth, and giving and taking.
Kids and their read-aloud parents will
delight in this concept of sharing. The act sparks further and greater
neighborhood interactions between people who were formerly isolated.
Gortman's paintings throughout are beautifully done and nicely
the appealing, positive story.
The tale is fiction, but is based on a true story
about a family in Toledo, Ohio who found an unusually tall weed in a
circle during Christmastime 2018 and decided to decorate it—an act that
unexpected results that rippled through the urban community.
The fine message about holiday spirit makes
for a perfect read for parents seeking stories that encourage kids to
empowered to begin changes that cross age and economic barriers. The
That Woke Christmas is a lovely, positive, much-needed story
Where Are Shayla’s Socks?
Natalie McNee & Michael Dotsikas
Porch Time Publishing
Where Are Shayla’s
Socks?, written by
Michael Dotsikas and Natalie McNee and illustrated by
Morgan Spicer, follows the aftermath of a young girl's restless night,
socks she goes to bed with unexpectedly vanish.
As she joins her mother in
searching for and considering
the possibilities of missing socks, young readers and their read-aloud
are treated to a whimsical, fun romp through fantasy as Shayla and her
confront a "profound mystery" that will appeal to the very young.
Action words peppered
throughout consider the strange
possibilities of the missing socks' alternate lives, and teach kids
sounds and fantasy possibilities as the sock hunt continues.
Kids and parents receive a
surprising fantasy revolving
around the alternate lifestyle choices of socks before yet another
twist in the
plot is revealed.
Story time and bedtime will
become fun experiences for
adults and kids alike, as this book provides its satisfying romp
antics and possibilities in a very highly recommended visual adventure.
It should be noted that this
is the first book in the
Shayla series. These books support the Shayla Shares Foundation's
bring literacy and books to disadvantaged and underserved communities
the world through a special gifting program.
Danielle A. Vann
ISBN: TBA Price: TBA
Fans of the
Whizbang Machine typewriter of prior books will relish the addition of
segment to the drama: Royal Deception.
Readers start by attending the bleak funeral of narrator Elizabeth's
her Grandpa Jack beside her, as she faces the Whizbang machine's
drive her and her Grandfather into another adventure even as the
Elizabeth is tasked with solving problems her mother Laurel could not
stories of magic and family relationships will relish this latest
saga; especially if they've already absorbed its premise in the prior
cultivates a vivid blend of dialogue, action, and psychological
that brings the story to life: "Stop!
I don’t want to see those things! I don’t want to do this. I don’t want
ever again! Let the memories die! Let my insides die!” My hands flew
stabbing the twisting air. Hot breath filled my lungs as I pinched the
of my nose. The same alternative future I’d held on to, visualized time
time again, came into view. Grandpa Jack was grayer, wrinkled, hunched,
bent with age. My mother stood waving and smiling, untouched by the
serves as a provoker, entreating Elizabeth to step outside her life and
crushing pain to tackle bigger pictures. Those around her provide their
individual angst and perceptions, often challenging the Whizbang
used to the continual crashing and banging of the machine's admonitions
prophecies, these assume a compelling countenance as they inject drama,
urgency, and information into Elizabeth's newfound life on the run.
Royal Deception excels in many twists
and turns as Elizabeth and
those around her re-examine their roles, objectives, and perceptions of
truth and the purposes of their enemies. There are puzzles, magical
and close encounters that keep everyone, including the reader, on their
Whizbang adventures will relish the depth and complexity of this latest
addition as Elizabeth continues to stretch the limits of her abilities
matures in unexpected ways. The changing relationship between herself
grandfather are satisfying interpersonal strengths in a story that is
impossible to predict and difficult to set aside.
Middle grade readers and older, who like stories of magic and adversity, will relish this action-packed saga.The Whizbang Machine: Royal Deception
Parent's Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse
The Addicted Child is written for parents
of adolescents who are
abusing substances, and differs from most parental guides in that it
cover prevention, but handling what already exists.
The focus is
these substances affect the child's brain and actions, how medical
and treatments work, and what is being offered by the best treatment
about what substances are likely to be available and abused, how to
symptoms, how to understand remedial approaches, and how to contrast
programs for maximum benefit.
Most of all,
receive a guide based on the author's own practice working with
children, which results in many practical insights: "The
majority of teens I treated used marijuana, usually multiple
times a day. When asked why they used it, most said, “It helps my
Their answer points to an important clue hidden below the surface of
abuse: There could
be an underlying reason why your child uses alcohol or
are the passages which outline strategies that got through to teens
to stop or confront their addiction: "Challenging
these very intelligent teens to stop using a drug they believed helped
anxiety was an exercise in futility. Lecturing them was a waste of
telling them the drug was illegal meant nothing. They’d heard it all
What did they respond to? Neuroscience education! After I explained how
like marijuana worked inside their developing brain, I had their
it was a catalyst to change."
The Addicted Child is based on Richard
working with teens and treatment programs. It provides a satisfying
of medical explanation and psychological understanding that assumes no
knowledge in either discipline.
already been through often-futile approaches to reaching out to an
teen now have a guidebook that addresses many common experiences,
and paths to success in overcoming addition's allure. It's
overly technical, and specific enough that concerned parents can easily
it for answers.
There is no
treatment that is right for everyone, and no single book that holds
answer. But Richard Capriola's The Addicted
Child, more so than most, provides a starting point for
understand not just their teen's addiction and why it's happening, but
offer them something better than drugs.
The Addicted Child is very highly
recommended as a mainstay reference
for parents, health library, and general lending collections alike.
An Evidence-Based Approach
Kenneth Finn, MD, Editor
Print: 978-3-030-45967-3 $99.99
Ebook: 978-3-030-45968-0 $79.99 Buy/$16.99 Rent
Website: Cannabis in Medicine: An Evidence-Based Approach
marijuana's legalization in many states across America, the discussions
cannabis become more flavored with opinion over facts, on either side.
why Cannabis in Medicine: An
Evidence-Based Approach is an essential tool for anyone with
interest in medical treatments and cannabis' role in them. It gathers
and studies surrounding the herb's uses and provides a reasoned,
survey that is key to any medical professional as well as consumers
in the evidence supporting its various applications.
risks, effects, and short- and long-term influences of cannabis
increased, especially in recent years, but until now, no single
the studies surrounding its medical use has been available.
considers different medical disciplines, pinpoints areas containing
well as those which lack information, and contrasts varying uses,
effectiveness, and studies on cannabis.
Key to these
is an acknowledgement that limitations surrounding measurement
data remain a significant issue in the ability to properly assess
role in treatment programs.
surrounding such investigations has changed, thanks to the evolution of
neurophysiology and better testing which, in turn, has led to a new
information that needs to be properly examined, synthesized, and
collection also includes many insights on social stigma, cultural
between cannabis and other substances, the impacts of intentional and
exposures (such as pediatrics), and studies on dose response effects on
This is no
pursuit for those pro or con about the subject, but a heavily footnoted
reference and serious college-level medical treatise that seeks to do
few others on the subject achieve. It gathers verified data and places
perspective of the medical community's different disciplines and
integrating cannabis into their treatment options.
studies and meta-analyses, clinicians receive a solid consideration of
latest data and research on cannabis, and can use this book to tailor
approaches to the herb's possibilities and detriments. Those working in
healthcare and legal fields alike can also refer to these studies for
in physician and consumer choices on many levels.
pinpointed about the unknown or detrimental effects of cannabis, some
claim bias in the wealth of research being presented. But those used to
empirical studies well know that while bias may be built into some
investigations, overall, it is accounted for in medical examinations
studies; especially in this book, which mentions when limited data
that a proper decision or conclusion can't be reached.
is a solid
collection of studies and evidence that will appeal to professionals,
college-level students, clinicians, and anyone interested in cannabis
applications, research, potentials, and proven detriments.
The Gift Within: 10 Lessons of Spiritual Awakening and the End of Life from a Trauma Center Chaplain represents a gift in and of itself. It comes from a woman who serves as chaplain on a palliative care team in a large urban hospital. Her personal reflection on her work gives readers an important understanding about the chaplain's unique role, which is rarely talked about in the literature.
illustrate the varying styles and approaches of assisting those with
life-threatening illness. They open with an overview of chaplain
perspectives, but move quickly into Rosemary Baron's background and the
experiences that gave her a special edge, making her a perfect
the job: "My life’s experience and
work prepared me for daily chaplain encounters. My faith is integral to
development and life...International living, traveling, and studying
my life and prepared me for the cross-cultural experiences of chaplain
As she helps
and families, readers are treated to inspiring portraits of her
bigger-picture thinking about the spiritual dimension in their lives,
the patients and their families.
has a keen
ability to bring alive the moment-by-moment encounters as she is
present at the
bedside of each patient. These vividly reveal the chaplain’s humanity
comfort to those in a health crisis. "My
last visit with Michael was just after his doctor told him there was
more to be done for him except to keep him comfortable. He was crying
wiped his tears.”
The Gift Within is highly recommended
for anyone interested health
crises that spark spiritual awakening.
Tolu’ A. Akinyemi
The Roaring Lion Newcastle
interested in works that make a passionate plea for social justice and
positive Black image and power will appreciate the works in Black#Inferior, a poetry collection that
is presented in two parts: linked poems exploring Blackness and the
issues it attracts; and more general life themes affecting Black lives.
passion is evident in works written to Black people which entreat them
develop self-respect, self-love, and power: "I
wish you can rise above the tides of hate,/and the contraptions of
oppression./I wish you can see through the dawning of each day/that
black and unique."
His use of
means there are no artificial limits or constructs to the cadence of
writing, translating to poems that are far more accessible to non-poets
ordinary readers than the usual intellectualism associated with poetic
employs a steady hand and heart to capturing Black lives in various
from political and social arenas to personal experience: "Equality
is a forgotten child. The blood of the innocents/soil
the World. Racial Injustice walks tall,/the graves of our ancestors
anguish/at this perpetual ignominy."
the personal and the political makes Black#Inferior
a particularly important read. It holds a compelling,
accessible message to
the Black community in the form of hard-hitting poems which offer
observations of the modern state of Black minds and societies around
interested in the fusion of literary ability and social inspection will
appreciate the hard-hitting blend of both in Black#Inferior,
which is recommended reading for a wide audience,
especially students of Black experience.
The Blue Collar Blues and
Paperback-$15.00, E-Book-$4.99 (e-book available 10/4/2020, may be pre-ordered.
Blues and Other Stories is an anthology of forty-six works
Stockton published over the decade, organized by theme.
The first section, 'The Blue
Collar Blues', revolves
around a young boy's experiences in a working-class neighborhood.
The second section (the most
diverse in subject) offers
short, independent pieces on a range of subjects, from autobiographical
vignettes to comments on life. Young Navy sailors of the past take the
the third part, while real-life biographical stories from the Navy
fourth and final section of the collection.
Stockton excels in
assembling a potpourri of flavors and
perspectives in his stories. 'A Man Who Lost His Wife' is about a man
attends a conference alone, finds himself hosting an inebriated
stranger at his
table, and learns about how he lost his wife, making a connection
story that goes beyond historical tours and lectures. The nautical romp
'Captain Tuna', set in Norfolk, Virginia and at sea, depicts a young
who inadvertently goes AWOL, facing charges and problems with his
crewmates. These stories blend autobiography with slices of life
both within and outside the military.
Each tale excels in
capturing a distinct, unique
personality. Each holds many insights into jobs, psyches, and
interactions. Readers interested in Navy affairs will find Stockton
time to build descriptions of not just people, but the ships and subs
the fleets: "Throughout the summer
of 1960 Barbel stood out as
only “teardrop” hull design at Key West. The local “boats,” as
called by their crews, were all converted World War II design “fleet
that had been modernized for a more streamlined appearance. These
“Guppy” boats made up the entire Submarine Squadron 12 force, along
submarine tender USS Bushnell and
the submarine rescue vessel USS
These literary works are
intriguing pieces that will especially delight anyone with a degree of
familiarity or experience with the Navy. Together, they form a unit of
psychological and career inspection that captures quirky personalities,
challenging situations, and the financial, social, and psychological
decision-making that changes lives.
Readers of military
literature who look for rare blends
of personal and professional inspection will find these stories grasp
reveal the pivot points of life both within and outside the Navy. The Blue Collar Blues and Other Stories
is highly recommended reading for those who look for ordinary heroes in
The Bubbe Meise and Other
Tumbleweed Press Inc.
Bubbe Meise and
Other Stories gathers a collection of short stories, both
realities of Aaron Zevy's life and imagination, for a winning set of
fun, thought-provoking reads.
Some examples of the
highlights include 'Corned Beef',
written about "a person who is funnier than me", which opens with a
confession that, under another storyteller's approach, the tale might
very different: "Were anyone else
writing this story, it would rightly be one of survival. It would be
miracle. But that is not my story to tell. I don’t write those stories.
been at the parting of the Red Sea, my story would have been about
shekel on the beach. That would have been my miracle. Or about having
to walk a
mile down the beach so I could find somewhere to pee in private. So if
looking for redemption or acts of God, you’ve come to the wrong place.
here to write this bit."
As the story progresses,
readers are treated to a
surprising revelation that injects coronavirus into the mix in an
This doesn't seem funny—it feels like tragedy as a community comes
tries to cope while in actuality is able to do relatively little to
affect the deadly progression of a young man's health.
When the prize of a corned
beef sandwich enters this
picture, the humor moves from macabre to edgy. This kind of laughter
everyone. It's a blend of dig, irony, and life twists that injects
situations where it's unexpected and welcome, providing an ending one
It should be noted that
Aaron Zevy's voice is
contemporary and raw. There will be cursing. There will be a gruff
life's serious situations and perspectives that turn them around into
of comedy. There will be moments that are not for everyone. And there
good-size black and white photos that introduce each new subject.
However, this is a
compelling collection that takes
incidents and revelations from Zevy's daily life, throws in a handful
fantasy (and, no, readers won't always know which is which), and
of life and irony most will find accessible and hilarious.
Another example is
'Labradoodle', when Zevy makes an
impulsive case to a neighbor for a non-breeder dog and finds himself
inadvertently bequeathed with what he has expressed a wish for (not).
serendipity doesn't lie in inherited circumstances. It lies in...lies.
Each story holds an
underlying lesson about life. Most of
all, they teach a form of humor and observation that keeps readers
laughing, and considering the slings and arrows of life and one's
'Bubbe meise' is defined as "An
tale". An untrue story." It's
also the heart and soul of Zevy's fun tales, which are highly
recommended for readers looking for humor and something eloquently
A Dream, An Imagination -
Joy Joseph Antony
Joy Joseph Antony, Publisher
978-1-7773248-0-3 $4.58 Kindle/$9.72 Paperback
Imagination - Unfolded collects poems from a Sri Lankan
emigrated to Canada in 2010. This debut poetry collection reflects acts
perseverance, realizations, and dreams that imbibe daily life with a
purpose, history, and love "...a
nature/that gave me awe and wow/a girl/who made me write a vow/a walk/that
showed me the colors of life/a moment/that pierced my
heart by knife..."
These are poems which capture and reveal the delicate unfolding of life experiences, pairing them with perfect moments in which romance evolves and wandering becomes more purposeful: "...you know where you began/you have a destination in mind/you will be guided along the way/for some, the guide is society/for others, the guide is their heart/i had been the sailor of its many routes until i met you/in one of its crossroads..."
As family, best friends,
love, and loss evolve, readers
are carried into narrations that ebb and flow like a river of emotional
Line drawings throughout add
visual embellishments to
capture and solidify these poetic inspections.
Readers of life experience
and growth who look for free
verse poems firmly rooted in emotional change will find A
Dream, An Imagination - Unfolded a lovely collection that
the course of a dream enhanced by imagination's colorful overlay of
Its words and whispers
linger in the mind long after the
journey is complete.
Lesson for the Laity
978-1-950730-52-0 $16.00 Paper/$5.99 Kindle
Publisher Website: http://www.unsolicitedpress.com/store/p292/cathrynsheabook.html
Genealogy Lesson for
offers a spiritual-based literary collection that comments on social
prejudice, war, and peace with an eye to exploring contrasts in
collection opens with personal
reflective touches on life, family, and connections, as in the legacy
in 'Family Tree': "My family tree
floats out there/part of so much flotsam,/ branches sheared off in the
was born twenty miles from this/grave of shipwrecks, where gulls eye/
tide pools from the rocks."
Philosophy joins with nature
and spiritual insights as
the stories progress: "Today I am
observing western pond turtles,/many orders beyond the
renewal hides beneath a carapace."
From people-driven choices
and perspectives while
volunteering to a historical review essay, 'Horses in Dust and Ash',
poems and literary works are astute, thought-provoking examinations
connect and reflect on history, culture, generational experiences, and
Its contrasts between hope,
love, and processes of
renewal are nicely done and easy to relate to, making Genealogy
Lesson for the Laity a highly recommended contrast
in various approaches to life.
Minor Sketches and
ASIN: B089GHYB87 $4.00 Kindle
usual trappings of the short story in the pieces that comprise Minor Sketches and Reveries. As the
title says, these works eschew the usual focus on progressive plot or
development in favor of a sketchbook method of capturing slices of
lends particularly well to writers and readers who want their
succinct and their images and progressions as free-flowing as an
search engine. The result is impressive and evocative, leaving an
taste in the mouth.
Minor Sketches and Reveries is a diverse
collection that holds no
unified theme other than its excellence and element of surprise. Take
opening piece, 'Dog Orientation', for example—a primer for the canine
ironies and incongruities of living in a human world. Its observations
astute and intriguing: "At times
humans let down their guard and play, but mostly they seem sullen and
At night (and sometimes during the day), they will stare at large and
pondering images and sounds. There
is no need for alarm; it just helps humans to relax. Even during meals
do this same kind of staring, oblivious to the world around them.
disappear for hours – or days. This
shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Daily foraging for food and junk is a
of human behavior and something they prefer to do alone. Actually in
instances where dogs are invited, they have been bored silly. As fun as
occasional car trip may be, it's never as fun as staying on familiar
and knowing where the bones are buried."
The sense of
and fun about the dog's-eye view of human affairs and the role of the
caretakers of their estates' provides a fine introduction to other
are more reflective and serious in nature, but often embedded with this
sense of ironic observation.
Recommendation Letters', which Alberto Balengo wrote himself and
included in an
application to a school's creative writing program, are also whimsical
nature, reminiscent of Australian humorist David Thorne. The
Balengo's life in New Spain and the ironies of its residents are
hilarious: "New Spain, he said, was a
place, especially in a settlement along the Gulf of Mexico. The
natives spoke in slow thick
drawls. Although residents had two healthy feet, instead of walking to
they preferred traveling inside the bellies of mechanical contraptions
kept as pets. Whenever they went walking, their eyes looked down at
objects they held in their hands. New Spain did have churches, but many
worshiped once a week before a small talking box named Seinfeld. Many
Spaniards in this settlement paid good money for memberships to “health
in which they enjoyed the luxury of being able to lift heavy objects
exhaustively in a circle at any hour they desired."
contemplating an odd form of travel, visiting family, or writing from a
different perspective, these pieces are oddly compelling, fun sketches
They will engage and delight readers looking for succinct, humorous
endeavors which fall somewhere between autobiography and life
but with a layer of added value in the thread of irony which runs
almost all the pieces.
illustrations by Brittany
Bethurem represent the icing on the
cake of a wonderful production. Whimsical and artistic, these color and
and white drawings are the perfect choice to bring this literary aspect
Minor Sketches and Reveries is a panacea
for minds stressed by
life's challenges. Anyone who seeks a literary series of sketches that
with tongue-in-cheek reflections that often linger in the mind long
initial reading will find it a satisfying choice.
My Adversary Came Onto the
Windowsill of Another Dream,
As A Bluebird
Finishing Line Press
The very title this poetry
collection, My Adversary Came Onto the
Another Dream, As A Bluebird, reflects its promise to provide
unique in its metaphors and descriptions. It will delight those who
free verse compelling and unique.
Michele Rozga's voice is
beautiful. Her evocative
descriptions are refreshingly original: "In
the childhood of my language/the trees seemed to walk along/at the side
road where I/walked. My mouth could barely/move because the blood in
so often just sang its song/without my help. The gods were/many and
weren’t a big deal:/a firefly here and there, a snakeskin..."
As readers move through the
poems, it's evident that this
is a poetic autobiography that charts people, places, travels, and
with an astute eye to detail, as in 'Helicopters over Cabbagetown': "It was a windy fire: the old cotton
mill/burning so badly the bricks themselves,/in the heat mirage, seemed
down/the sides of what they’d once been."
Between its sense of place,
self, past and present
history, and life observations, My
Adversary Came Onto the Windowsill of Another Dream, As A Bluebird assumes
a lovely, ethereal stroll that brings to life everything it touches.
Its questions, observations,
and journeys will reach into
the hearts and minds of poetry readers who like their writers fluid,
descriptive, and well centered, making strong connections between
emotion, and life events.
The images and language of My Adversary Came Onto the Windowsill of Another
Dream, As A Bluebird is
simply exquisite, making this a highly recommended piece for free verse
of autobiography and life experience.
White Pearl Press
Paperback: 978-1-7355083-0-6 $16.95
Coming Home: Finding Shelter in the Love and Wisdom
Yogananda is recommended for new age and Eastern religion
readers, who will
find it a lovely survey of Paramahansa Yogananda and his followers.
personal exploration of faith and discovery that brings to life the
of 'coming home' to a spiritual life, capturing this feeling through
into the personal lives of Yogananda's disciples: "By
the time you become familiar with Paramahansa Yogananda, you
are mindful of the dissatisfaction and impermanence inherent in
experience. You may be wanting, confused, even disillusioned, adrift or
by a sense of disconnection and loss. When you discover your true
Paramahansaji, you are astounded, as Andy was astounded, that someone
everything about you—and loves you anyway."
connection between belief, spiritual leaders, and life experiences and
sets Coming Home apart from many
other books which present either autobiographical or analytical
this tone into her perceptions and discoveries for a different approach
will prove particularly welcoming to newcomers to Eastern spirituality,
following her changes and revelations: "I’m
the studious type, a book learner. I’m not a naturally devotional or
person. Even now, I much prefer to sit quietly in the back of the
because Master said he would return to the earth one day and sit in the
the Temple. I want to be there when he comes. But the experience of
other devotees added a new, heart-felt dimension to my spiritual life I
Living Guru and incorporates lessons into her life perspective and
she reflects the kinds of lessons and insights that help her draw
between daily experience and higher-level thinking.
reflections about this process carry readers beyond the teachings
and into their incarnation and lasting impact: "Master’s
teachings provide a knowing that allows me to
spiritually exhale, to say “Yes!” to the truth of who I am—who we all
to the Oneness behind all true religions."
It's rare to
new age or spiritual memoir that allows the reader to 'spiritually
exhale'. Coming Home: Finding Shelter in the
Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda offers an opportunity to
discover, and is highly recommended reading for those who would
is involved in leading a spiritual lifestyle.
O-Books/John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
978-1789044362 Paper: $23.95/ebook: $11.99
Consciousness – The Secret Story of James The Brother of Jesus, St Paul
Early Christian Church asks if divine consciousness
is in all of
us, or just the Son of God. It does so through the early life and
of Paul and the evolution of early Christianity, following Paul's
teachings, journeys, and impact on the nature and spread of
Later, the story shifts to James.
As significant events are outlined and
readers also receive contemporary discussions, reactions, and parables
illustrate the messages and impact of Jesus, past and present.
This isn't a biographical sketch of early
figures, nor an analysis of their messages, but a strong series of
between basic spiritual lessons and modern lives. As such, the approach
but is designed to reach into the heart and mind by connecting daily
and modern perspective to traditional views of Christianity and faith.
It should also be advised, for Christian
that the approaches include past life regression and secret stories
part of the greater mythos of spiritual origins.
Kumarasingham is a regression therapist. This approach is reflected in
which may be chosen by some for its scholarly-sounding analytical
which will soon bring readers into surprising realms as the regression
technique is linked to new revelations about spiritual roots and their
It's been two thousand years since the original
teachings that formed the pillars of Christianity were formed. Think
many changes have been made in the course of just a few decades as
revised, reinterpreted, and often wrongly assigned values that deviate
immensely from original intention.
Now look at Divine Consciousness with
perspective in mind. Regression records and conversations power a new
to understanding the divine and its incarnation over the centuries: "Mia:
I was sent a messenger. A boat came and told of what was happening in
Jerusalem. There was fighting. Fighting within the church. Jesus’
efforts are being twisted and convoluted. But even more, those who
can’t agree on what to teach. What the principles are. There is a lot
infighting and a lot of pressure by the Sadducees and the Pharisees to
their will on our Church. With the threat of the Romans, everyone is
There is a lot of chaos and confusion. I have to go. Reena: Who was
church in Jerusalem when you were in Britannia? Mia: There are several
factions. Many people trying to say, “This is The Way.” Reena: So it
was all a
bit chaotic? Mia: Mmm. Also it is safer there now. From the Romans."
Unlike any other discussion or book, Divine
Consciousness is a standout from this perspective alone,
invaluable spiritual and historical insights that will intrigue
Christians and readers from other disciplines. Scholars who look for
notes will appreciate the heavily footnoted references throughout, as
the extensive bibliography and appendix.
The new age connection lends to a unique and
original work: "Two thousand
years ago marked the end of
the Age of Aries, and the start of the Age of Pisces. It was a time of
as the New Consciousness brought about change and challenged status
quo. It was
a time where cultural conditioning and belief systems were being
was during this time that Jesus, his teachings and his followers
their controversial new teachings, which challenged the established
both the Roman and Jewish establishments. They challenged both the
and Ways of Being, as well as the rituals of polytheistic worship by the Romans. Those who wanted
'Open-minded' is a requirement not only due to
regression therapy technique, but to the revision of some Christian
perspectives about the early Biblical figures and their movements and
motivations. Readers open to moving behind staid traditional
will find a treasure trove of new spiritual meaning in Divine
that propels a greater understanding and interpretation of spirituality
modern world and the real origins of their roots.
Readings & Devotionals, Volume 1
C.M.H. Koenig, Compiler
Dove Christian Publishers
9781734862553 $19.95 PPB, $3.99 eBook
Readings & Devotionals, Volume 1
offers succinct daily devotional readings
designed to encourage reflections about God's purpose, Biblical
Christian Old Testament readings, and the link between these words and
gathered from the early works of several major Christian devotional
authors Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), an English Particular Baptist
Robert Hawker (1753-1827), an Anglican priest; and Octavius Winslow
(1808-1878), a pastor. The meat of their impact lies not only in their
perspectives, but in compiler Koenig's attention to arranging their
a manner that lends to independent or group study of Biblical concepts
systematic, chronological structure.
This approach walks readers through Scriptures
logical manner that lends to clear discussions and understanding of the
concepts in Genesis and Job,
the focus of this first in a projected fourteen-volume Biblical study
grew up as a missionary kid, with daily devotions lead by her parents.
places her in a unique position to gather devotions to lead others,
first discussion of Genesis to the end of Job. The reflections from
faith are wonderfully written, thought-provoking, and especially
for study purposes. This passage stems from the first devotion on
sooner is there a good thing in the world, than a division is
and darkness have no communion; God has divided them, let us not
Sons of light must not have fellowship with deeds, doctrines, or
darkness. Children of the day must be sober, honest, and bold in their
work, leaving the works of darkness to those who shall dwell in it
hard-hitting food for thought in digestible daily passages that lend to
discussion and comprehension, Koenig provides Christian readers with a
program that advocates taking the time to thoroughly consider major
passages, events, and meaning.
Bible study will find Old Testament Readings &
Devotionals, Volume 1
an essential key to understanding the Bible in new ways that lead to
comprehension and a richer ability to absorb the true meanings of God
recommended reading for self-study or Christian group pursuit alike, Old
Testament Readings & Devotionals, Volume 1 requires
only time for
careful pursuit and reflection and a Christian audience interested in
deeper understanding of the Bible's connections to human and spiritual
Tales Of The
Readers who enter into Tales of the Holy Mysticat: Jewish Wisdom Stories
by a Feline Mystic thinking
that this will be a feline philosophy guide will find the emphasis on
wisdom stories and spirituality a satisfying focus. This is a
tales that centers on Rabbi Rachel Adler's cat and its unusual
mysticism and spiritual reflection, operating much in the manner that
The Dalai Lama's Cat did for
This book begins the way cat
books usually do: as a
series of autobiographical stories of Adler's amusing cat's antics and
personality. But it becames much more.
It is a testimony to faith
and a way of imparting the
messages of Jewish texts and practices from an unusual cat's eye view
spirituality. It is a fun observation of how spiritual growth and
can exist even in crabby, difficult personalities such as Dagesh.
In taking time to observer
her "Holy Mysticat",
Adler discovered new questions and answers about her faith and its
place in the
world, and cultivated discussions and insights that would not have come
light but for her interactions with Dagesh.
Rabbi Alder's method of
imparting this wisdom through
observations of her cat is appealing and well-written: "The
Mysticat believes that in his previous life, he was a human
Kabbalist and was rewarded for his piety by being reincarnated as the
life form made of flesh and blood: a cat. In his present form, he is
a faithful gabba’it, who, while not a mystic, is at least not a total
(am-ha-aretz). His simple
surroundings are clean and abound in s’farim,
holy books, whose holiness the Mysticat takes into himself by lying on
absorb their textual content. (I myself covet this ability more than
any of the
Mysticat’s other powers, but alas, the only way I can learn Torah is to
it into my head with multiple repetitions.)"
Connections between cat and
Kabbalah are nicely drawn to
grasp the attention and perceptions of readers of Jewish mysticism and
alike, while the thought-provoking reflections offer insights and
the Jewish faith that will prove remarkably astute and revealing to
analytical processes, discussions
between Torah scholars, and descriptions of Jewish customs,
history are the heart of the story, but by making the Mysticat part of
process, Rabbi Adler creates additional connections and revelations
attract readers usually adverse to scholarly approaches: "Yesterday
the Holy Mysticat celebrated Rosh Chodesh Tammuz with a
divided heart. Certainly, any new moon is a blessed occasion. The
Mysticat, a mighty
singer, loves the Hallel psalms. But he is deeply ambivalent about this
month. Tammuz and the
month of Av, which follows it, are articularly pleasing to a creature
luxuriates in warmth and light. In these months, the Mysticat abandons
office chair and meditates at the foot of the floor-to-ceiling window
out onto the balcony. The text he most often calls to mind is Rav’s
of the World to Come—Olam Ha-Ba—in Berakhot
The result is an exploration
of Jewish studies that is
more accessible than most, teaching not just the foundations of Jewish
but the importance in observing the world around us (which may be as
one's kitty) and translating its actions and insights into the fabric
traditions and beliefs.
Jewish readers will find
this a much more accessible,
lively, and thought-provoking way of learning and relating to Jewish
than many other approaches offer, and will learn to appreciate the Holy
Mysticat's wisdom as interpreted by Rabbi Adler.