October 2021 Review Issue
Fantasy & Sci Fi
Literature Mystery & Thrillers
Ink & Magick
Ebook: $4.99; Paperback: $14.95; Hardcover: $24.95
The Assassin's Legacy is a
"Minte and Magic
Adventure" that tells of a retired monster hunter who is only trying to
find some peace in his life. He assumes a new identity as Sasha, a
moves from job to job.
close behind, however, when Sasha's sister sends an assassin to kill
forcing him to return to his homeland to renounce his title in hopes of
first person to bring Sasha and his world to life. This adds intrigue
allure from the opening paragraphs of the story, which introduce an
scenario as Sasha reacts almost automatically to a threat that calls
killing expertise and instincts: "I should not waste what I have left. I do
not know how long it will be before I get another job. Though
position on the merchant airship had been ideal for staying on the
move, I wasn’t
keen to fly anytime soon after what had happened with the pirates.
eyes, I could still feel the warmth of their blood as it streamed down
to my hand. Mac’s astonishment echoed in my mind. “Sasha, where did you
to do that?” he’d asked as I stared blankly at their lifeless forms
easily he breaks his own vow not to be a murderer, Sasha faces not only
challenges from his family, but his own too-familiar knee-jerk
threat which make it hard to set aside his vocation in favor of a more
homeland is threatened by supernatural creatures, Sasha faces difficult
on whether to stay true to his stated desires or fall into
paths that lead into all too familiar scenarios of conflict and
crafting a fantasy steeped in intrigue, diabolical threats, changing
interpersonal relationships, and Russian culture. She takes the time to
psychological insights into the mercurial relationships Sasha forms and
conflicts between his alter ego, the killer Aleksandr, and his efforts
tides that ebb and flow throughout the story are particularly well
cementing the action with believable characters and realistic reactions
dilemmas of mind, body, and heart: "...now
that those feelings were real, it all felt like a farce, a buffoonish
of things too serious to joke about. Perhaps if she’d shown any real
in those times, I would tell her what I was feeling now. Then again, if
shown real interest, I would’ve felt guilty for teasing her to begin
for nonstop action and cursory characterization may not fully
time taken to fully explore motivation and feeling, this is one of the
strengths of The Assassin's Legacy.
It exposes the depth of conundrums faced by a protagonist who wants to
change his ways even when life calls upon him to repeat and rely upon
irony of old versus new intentions and how they play out in a world
the same types of threats as in the past contributes to a particularly
absorbing and thought-provoking read.
The Assassin's Legacy is made
all the more powerful by the
moral and ethical dilemmas of its protagonist and his first-person
on the value of his and others' lives.
intrigue, fantasy, and psychological self-inspection will enthrall
an ending which leaves the door open for more adventures.
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Lost Canyon Press LLC
readers who enjoyed Jurassic Park (and also the first book in Janice
Jurassic Judgment series) will find Deception
Island a fine continuing saga of genetic manipulation gone
Costa Rica is overrun by dinosaurs. As if this isn't enough, Oakley
also struggling to understand why her mother tried to kill her.
just dinosaurs are on the receiving end of genetic manipulation,
in the center of a struggle to survive that pits her against forces
destroy her freedoms and sacrifice her for a greater good.
It turns out
Oakley Laveau's initial banishment to Extinction Island for her
involvement in a murder she didn't commit is only the opening salvo of
and discovering the truth behind her genetic makeup and origins was
As she moves
a world of captive dinosaurs, examines who has manipulated her and why,
faces a jungle adventure replete with Indiana Jones-style action (but
Jurassic Park overlay), readers will find the action, intrigue, and
unpredictable despite their seemingly unsurprising backdrop.
ability to create a thriller format that incorporates sci-fi elements
heavily rests upon intrigue and survivalism will expand the audience of
Deception Island to those who
don't pursue the sci-fi genre.
self-discovery on a level that challenges her perception not just of
but the world and her place within (or outside) it, readers receive a
compelling, fast-paced action story filled with unexpected twists and
keep them guessing.
prior familiarity with its predecessor, Extinction
Island, would be a requirement in order to easily absorb the
milieu of Deception Island; but
recaps that are so seamlessly wound into this story that even prior
balk at receiving information they already know.
question boils down to "why were we created?"
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978-0692614471 $25.99 Hardcover/$4.99 ebook
Author Website: https://garonwhited.com
is a metaphysical fantasy that also holds the rare attribute of
humor throughout as it tells of Eric, who is egged on by his friends
getting drunk at a bar, meets a beautiful woman, and awakens the next
not just in her bed, but in her life.
There's only one problem.
He's become a vampire; then a
nightlord. Sasha's lure has introduced him to a world he didn't even
in, much less thought he'd have to navigate, as he becomes a powerful
Garon Whited provides quips,
fun, and scenarios which
impart laugh-out-loud moments to this and other revelations as Eric
physically and mentally: "If I had
body fat, I couldn't find it. I knew I hadn't looked like this when I
out of the shower on Friday morning. Whatever it was, it would make a
as a diet plan."
From dragon fighting to
avenging death, Eric's
mind-boggling journey keeps sending him in new directions with some
allies at his side, including a horse: "I
wondered who held conversations with his golem besides me. Then again,
do I really have that knows me for what I am?"
It may be difficult to
envision an epic fantasy wound
into a playful series of encounters juxtaposed with serious threats and
transformations, yet Garon Whited achieves this dance between darkness
with a hand both heavy on the action and equally adept at ironic
to be a weighty read at almost seven hundred pages, sporting an
that portends an ongoing series by presenting itself as the first book.
But, there's nothing light
or artificially divided about Sunset.
Its ability to open with the
realistic scenario of a jilted man who drinks too much and awakens in
of another world, its epic adventures with unexpected allies and
scenarios, and an unlikely hero in the form of an ordinary man who
the implausible creates a complex, well-rounded, yet inviting fantasy.
will delight readers looking for something refreshingly original in the
of vampires and dragons.
To call Sunset
a vampire story is to do it a disservice. Whited creates a multifaceted
that is thoroughly engaging, world-building, and hard to put down.
action and fun, its movements between worlds takes readers along for a
rollicking, unpredictable ride as Eric comes into powers he'd never
and forms some unusual relationships and a new purpose to life...and
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978-1-7350679-3-3 $13.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
Power's Play, the sequel to Fool's Proof, continues the series now known as the Heart of Stone Adventures in another romp through fantasy and parody that takes place during the Month of Peaches— when magpie Corvinalias Elsternom e Rokonoma the Fourth, Count of Upper Cloudyblue, awaits an inheritance from his boring and vocally astute old uncle, the Duke of Lower Cloudyblue.
Four playful storylines with their own powerful protagonists evolve, from intelligent Corvinalias to former Royal Fool Malfred Murd, ruler Dame Elsebet de Whellen, and her loveable cousins the de Brewels.
As the magpies investigate what the Umans are up to with their artificial wyrmlight lamps and their machinery, they conspire to hijinks even as they set the stage for new readers of this environment through wry magpie observations. New readers will find this story delightfully accessible, as a result.
As a host of characters with engaging names (Butterpat, Hamflesh Fliss, and more) interact, readers receive a fun story where Corvinalias faces puzzles, other creatures, and his own uncertainty about his world.
Think Watership Down, but with more fantasy elements that move beyond animal concerns and perceptions alone. Think the survival messages and life-changing confrontations of The Last Unicorn, but with an added dose of comedic flavor that adult readers will find unexpectedly fun. Each character grows and develops a deeper knowledge of their best qualities and life purposes as they evolve.
Eva Sandor writes her fairy tale with a fine attention to irony and parody, as well as tongue-in-cheek social inspection.
Other birds acknowledge, by their sometimes illogical activities, that they must "fill the time with something," but Corvinalias is in search of more. And, he's an outsider in many of these worlds.
As wisdom and enlightenment come to life, readers of all ages are treated to the specter of an adventure turned into a mission.
Human interactions with various creatures, including a wise mother whale, are illustrated in a captivating series of descriptions that bring readers on land, sea, and from the world of clueless Umans into that of various creatures of the wild.
From forgers to healers, the romp through an unusual society and various creatures that inhabit this milieu offers many surprises, both in description and turn of words, to delight literary fantasy readers looking for far more than an adventure tale alone.
enough literary humor in the fantasy genre; but Eva Sandor fills this
another adventure story that should be read closely, so as not to miss
the tongue-in-cheek humor (both overt and subtle) that graces its
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978-0998783550 $15.99 Print/$6.99 Kindle
readers who enjoy stories replete with magic, intrigue, and adventure
The Whisper of Dragons the perfect choice. It's a
pick for readers who
want a compellingly original story that doesn't just draw from the
yanks one's attention with surprising descriptions reflective of the
Michelle Picard's writing: "The first moments of an Earth
ass compared to any rodeo bull ride. All tingling rush and alive,
symphonies and color. Full dissolution into the body of the Earth was a
verdant, breakneck speed descent, except done in exquisite slow motion.
ripped out of an Earth dive? That sucked worse than unexpected jalapeño
your breakfast cereal."
compelling moments, Picard demonstrates an ability to capture
twenty-nine-year-old narrator Kavi Kindra's wild romp through her world
search of Stories of miracles large and small, disasters, birth—and way
many Death Stories.
secret relationship with a Dragon, and holds the power to bend and
Stories. She's being pressured to become a Guardian, but is not sure
will save her people. Instead, she seeks an alternative and ignores
cautions of the Dragon and her own clan to become the kind of Guardian
believes her world needs.
find this land both familiar and alien, at the same time. It's replete
powerful women, dragons, sages, whispered Stories, and influences that
upon nature and human worlds alike, from California's Calaveras Big
Park to experiences which illustrate that Kavi harbors different goals
Guardians or her own people.
between Kavi and both these forces offer philosophical inspections that
delight readers seeking more than action and adventure alone: "The
dragon drawled a response. *Are you not willing to
pay a price? Is the
goal not important enough to push aside foolish rules and protests over
rights? Is it not inconsequential to worry about forcing others without
supervolcanos, earthquakes, and other forces of nature enter the
are affected by Kavi's decisions and talents, readers are treated to a
compelling saga that takes the urban fantasy genre and turns it on end
fresh tone of originality and action that is compelling and creatively
The Whisper of
Dragons holds few of the
familiar trappings of either dragons or magic that
have grown old over the decades with such writers as Anne McCaffrey and
who followed her.
satisfyingly refreshing, surprising introduction to an entirely new
dragons are just one facet of a tale which embraces romance, rebirth,
seeking a new perspective that rocks with power and rolls with force
relish The Whisper of Dragons and its ability to
forge a new world
replete with revised Stories and a compellingly wild life.
recommended for fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal collections
standout new voice.
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13 By 11
Vincent Czyz, et.al.
Papillon du Père Publishing
9798451000373 $9.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
13 By 11 is a multi-author literary
anthology of short
stories revealing "life in diverse places & spaces," and excels
in strong images and depictions that provide much food for thought.
opening short piece "Chele
Czyz. The story revolves around "echoes from a place we can no longer
access" as it explores Serbian patriotism and history: "They looked at each other, fully aware that their
son and daughter
might grow up without a father. “But not,” Milorad often said, “without
A father going
off the battle thinks he will likely never see his family again. A
later, in another era of the future, 'This Side,' tourists snap digital
of Chele Kula ('Tower of Skulls') and draw their own
connections to past
Czyz moves fluidly between
different realities of 'The
Other Side', 'In Between', and 'This Side'. These snapshots of
and reflections embrace the perspectives of ghosts and historical
in a rare dance between them that draws unexpected connections between
The history, anguish, and
impact of a bloody conflict
that still resonates in present-day experience comes to life in a story
with emotional ties and tangles as these different perspectives come
Time is also fluid in
Harriet James's "Forsaken Path,"
in which it turns out that a school is much more than the usual prep
in Derek McFadden’s “What
Eternity Taught Eve.”
Each of the stories holds
the gift of surprise. And there
are literary reflections and, in places, extraordinary philosophical
McFadden, Jeffrey Kahrs, Erol Engin, and Greg Gerke. Each
piece takes an
unexpected journey and twists it to produce many surprises along the
addition of romance, from
Caroline Scott, sci-fi from Bradley Harper’s possible time-travel tale
Carla Rehse’s lovers on the run, and fantasy from Lilla Glass’s
hunter-turn-hunted and from Will Knight into many of the mixes means
backgrounds and plot developments are anything but predictable.
Readers seeking a literary
anthology filled with
satisfying revelations and unexpected forays into other worlds will
find 13 By 11 a uniformly powerful
where each piece shines. Another plus is that one can start anyplace in
book to choose a standout piece...there is no linear progression to
for reader flexibility.
11 is a
collection strong in literary and speculative devices, an eclectic,
genre-busting gathering that will appeal to a wide audience.
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Fair Now, Later Rain gathers poems of sorrow, hope, and opportunity,
with life and perspective to offer succinct free verse insights that
especially powerful metaphors for life and emotional reaction: "I
redraw the roof of my world,/throw stars in the sand, but perhaps/first
should start with the stones."
writes with an evocative hand as he explores experiences and the
connected to them. One example of the vivid imagery that results from
probe is the long evolutionary poem "Crumble, I'm a Mountain": "Love
was a mountain/love was the mountain of you and I./Love could have
kept together/fell and never withered, never /withered its flowers and
yearning, and connections between the natural world and emotional
pivot points of knowledge and understanding that carry readers on a
through lilting, lyrical life: "Spanish music/calling to my
window,/like a long day ahead it’s not/the lullaby I’ve come to
secrets and the wind/merryling round, to and fro./Oh, Maria, please go."
cultivates a unique voice that is expressive as he embraces change and
unsettling roots. As his poems move between periods of rain, showers,
nearly-spent experience of love, readers will be thoroughly immersed in
vivid imagery, emotional connection, and ideas that keep them thinking
relish the observations and descriptions that make Fair Now,
such a lively and unique collection: "Fog is the laziness of
rain/content with running at a stroll."
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Bits of Steak Press
Last Call is a poetry collection like few others. It offers a view from the barstool that gathers thoughts and experiences from the streetwise, gritty atmosphere of the saloon. Those who tend to view poetry as staid, incomprehensible, or dull will find this vivid collection of life inspections quite the opposite.
Take "The Beer at the Swinging Door Saloon (Projacked from The Swan at Edgewater Park by Ruth L. Schwartz)," for example. The poem actually opens with its title, to continue: "isn’t one of those warm, half-ass beers/wouldn’t be at home in some swanky, uptown joint/chooses the hefty confines/of its frosty 30 oz. mug,/prefers the parched mouths of mechanics/who pour it past their lips like engine oil/into the great tanks of their guts,/swilling it with little bits of pretzel and steak,/fermentation of grain with bouquet of hops,/while churchgoers walk by saying Look/at those giant drunks!"
These pieces are hard-hitting inspections of the writer's life, often incorporating elements of humor into their descriptions, as in "At My Funeral": "I want a girl to sing/Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic/while playing the violin/and dancing around/my stiff corpse/in a skimpy white bikini,/stopping from time to time/to sprinkle my cold, dead,/blue lips with whiskey/straight from the bottle.//Not my wife—/I want my wife to sit in the front row/and stew." The surprise concluding lines to this piece explain the writer's impeccable logic in wishing for such a conclusion to and celebration of his life.
Readers seeking circumspect literary pieces should look elsewhere. Last Call's language can be course and flagrant, its descriptions challenging, and the poetic inspections anything but politically correct.
Conversely, Last Call is a lesson for those who think poetry is largely inaccessible to the masses. It draws connections that blend vignettes about the writer's life with broader ironies and inspections of the world at large, often couching these poems in a sense of place to cement their themes and meaning, as in "Looking for a Lost Book When I Should Have Been Enjoying Ireland." The purpose behind this book's inexplicable disappearance is presented at the end of an absorbing acknowledgement of the impact of a preoccupation with capturing "nuggets of wisdom" in the margins of a book.
hard-hitting, sometimes raunchy, vivid poetry collection that defies
while describing life from the barstool will find Last
compelling, thought-provoking read.
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Woolgathering, & Ghosts
$19.95 Paperback/$29.95 Hardcover/$9.95 ebook
Author Website: https://kassiasobey.com/books-by-kas/
Woolgathering, & Ghosts
blends poetic prose and photos by CK Sobey
in a reflective collection that bows to spirituality, philosophical
and poetic literary life inspections without fully adhering to these
alone. Her ability to weave these stories into a collection filled with
coherent, rambling, yet pointed probes into life's surprises and
processes lends to a collection ripe with the fruits of a poetic time
consider different processes of living.
provides an autobiographical introduction that maintains, "I
in a cocoon of solitude for over two years./When the Coronavirus
forced isolation already felt familiar."
reflects that, "The creative spirit yearns for ideas to be born,"
these emergences are traced in a series of poetic vignettes that
sense of mindfulness about world observations, nature, and one's place
"Offerings," for one example. The poem begins with a close
observation of a restaurant experience, then moves to broader horizons:
selection was deliciously described./He looked right in my eyes as he
the end, I was spellbound./How to choose one dish over the other?/Would
palate be satisfied with just one choice?/...I have come to realize
day offers me something special."
boils down to accepting all kinds of offerings, realizing that life's
smorgasbord involves making the right decision at the right time.
talks about one door closing and another opening as Sobey visits a
soon-to-be-closed store ("I went to visit the store today and
mourn.") and acknowledges the sense of "community grief" in
a shared experience of demise.
Plenty" maintains that "At times there is so much want inside
us." The result? "We live our life day to day,/just
existing./We forget how to harvest our yield of plenty."
Woolgathering, & Ghosts
is about yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows.
It's about absorbing the grief of time's passage, moving on, and
reap that harvest.
for nuggets of wisdom from those who routinely hide from life, then
its wonders like butterflies will find Musings,
Woolgathering, & Ghosts
a powerful display of reflections. It blends mourning and mindfulness
nature-rooted words to keep readers thinking about their own isolation,
and interactions with the world.
Woolgathering, & Ghosts
is the perfect panacea and reflection for
these Covid-bound years, and will reach many hearts which have taken
to move from artificially fast-paced living to incorporate meaning and
into the beat of life.
provided here, readers should look forward to more works by CK Sobey
in the pipeline.
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By Sam And His Father, John / With The Help Of A Very Wise Elephant/
Orpheus Rising By
Sam And His Father, John / With The
Help Of A Very Wise Elephant/ Who Likes To Dance is a modern rendition of the Orpheus myth. It
reflection with an inspection of loss and whimsy, as experienced by
might think this translates to a children's book, be advised that the
and meaning of Orpheus Rising is designed to
appeal not just to kids,
but many an adult reader, who will find its special blend of fantasy,
philosophical inspection, and adventure equally engaging.
scenes are presented in the course of this epic journey, as when
and John's yacht sails through an ocean of floating faces..."faces
every imaginable variety dotting the ocean, round, flat, wet, floating
that kept up a continuous chatter unless disturbed by the yacht. “Fine
one said. “I’ve seen worse,” another replied. “Beautiful.” “Ohh… How I
crest!” “I like the troughs, myself.” “Never down but up.” “Never up
“Fine weather.” “You’re looking well.”
to desert journeys, evading pursuers, and navigating strange worlds,
all ages are treated to a blend of poetic imagery, nonstop action, and
adventure centered on the unlikely relationship between a well-dressed
elephant and his charges.
story is hard to easily categorize—and that is one of its charms.
readers will appreciate the whimsical world he creates, poetry
relish the metaphors and descriptions in prose that form the backbone
adventure, and children (as well as adults) will value the multifaceted
that keeps them guessing about relationships, outcomes, and the story's
elements intersecting in a satisfyingly vivid manner, it's easy to
recommend Orpheus Rising By Sam And His Father, John / With
The Help Of A
Very Wise Elephant/ Who Likes To Dance as a standout from the
if its exuberant story defies simple categorization. This translates to
expansive audience who will appreciate its charm.
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Christy Alexander Hallberg
Livingston Press/University of West Alabama
97801060489-291-8 $19.95 Paper/$29.95 Hardcover
Searching for Jimmy
Page begins its journey the night
the eighteen-year-old narrator's faith
healer great-grandfather dies, when he speaks (for the first time in
decade) to inform his granddaughter that he hears owls "like music,"
which portend his death.
something different—the haunting lure of family memories of music and
parents: "Long ago, I’d heard a song about owls crying in the
the singer’s wail primeval, in synch with marauding guitar licks, the
jungle drums. I felt them vibrating inside me just then, like a distant
from another life, one that still included my mother."
forged forward in her life, steadied by her grandparents' religious
and determination. But this death brings with it something new: "I’d
never looked back. Never. Until that winter’s night in February 1988,
was eighteen years old, the past summoned like fire in my
shack, phantom owls crying in the night."
help her grasp a long-repressed memory of her dead mother's fascination
Jimmy Page, which may ultimately hold a key to her mother's suicide and
insights into her life. This revelation prompts her to leave the
farm she's always known and venture out into the world.
to reveal family secrets, a better sense of self, and the impact of
cultural influences on all their lives brings readers into a close
of music, spirituality, suicide, and a foray into musician Jimmy Page's
are anything but staid and often emerge unexpectedly, backed by the
Christy Hallberg takes to capture the sights, smells, sounds and
these times and people: "My whole body wanted a cigarette. I
smell like the fecund tobacco field I’d left behind, the numinous fire
great-grandfather’s shack. I wanted to smell like home. I wanted Jimmy
remember the rich fragrance of North Carolina winter woods. Isn’t smell
most likely of the five senses to trigger memory?"
poetic) metaphors and phrases pepper Luna's story to reach readers
more evocative, compelling reads that incorporate a sense of place and
take her from North Carolina to England in search of Jimmy Page, her
dreams, and answers to family mysteries and close-held secrets. They
reader along for an intense variation on the usual themes of suicide,
secrets, and connections, creating musical interludes and history that
compelling and touching.
strong literary works that focus on a daughter's journey to grasp the
of family relationships through cultural icons and musical references
Searching for Jimmy Page a powerful story. It is
very highly recommended
reading; especially for those on their own trajectories toward
levels ranging from spiritual to psychological, that incorporate family
between musical influence and icons and a daughter's still-evolving
relationship with a mother who has long passed makes for an evocative,
involving story that is hard to put down...or forget.
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Barking at the Moon
River Grove Books
humor, and memoirs of life with animals will relish Barking
at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble. There
simply aren't enough of these positive animal stories on the market, so
Beckerman's tale adds a note of positivity and fun for pet owners, who
a hilarious series of vignettes.
Bombeck's style, mixed with canine conundrums and family life. Humor
Beckerman offers this special blend in a warm cup of comfort that is
and educational as she tackles a home beset upon by children and
Halloween effort to be inclusive is just one example: "The
kids and the dog were about the same size. The dog could
borrow one of the kids’ old costumes. After so many years of my kids
trick-or-treating, we had enough costumes to outfit a whole kennel of
not just one costume-challenged retriever."
lacking during these challenging years. Those who miss its laughter
Beckerman's stories, brought alive by family ironies, interactions, and
insights, as in her daughter's observations:
“I think Riley is lonely,” [my daughter] said, glancing at the dog who did not look very lonely at all, but rather, asleep. “We should get a puppy.”
“Not on your life,” I responded succinctly.
“Because we have one dog, a chinchilla, a bearded dragon, and two goldfish that I have to feed every day."
“I’ll feed the puppy!”
“No puppy!” I shouted. She pouted and stomped out
of the room. I didn’t
care. If pouting and stomping actually worked, we would have had ten
Icelandic pony out back, his llama friend, and a dolphin in the pool."
kids, pets, and parenting provides many laugh-out-loud moments, readers
learn about dogs and the process of integrating pets into one's family.
retriever Riley to facing empty nest syndrome, Beckerman's world will
choose Barking at the Moon for its
management insights or peek into the window of family follies, suffice
say that the story is a rollicking good read and a welcome dose of
will captivate and entertain new and seasoned pet owners alike.
prominent place in any collection strong in pets, family life, or humor
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978-1-953910-44-8 $12.99 Print/$4.99 ebook
and memoirs are written to change the world or elevate the author's
then there are revelations like The Bitchographies: Random Commentaries About
Life, Love, and Knock-off Christian Louboutins, which eschew loftier ambitions for a more
down-home description of life, embodying humor and a form of rare
self-examination that hits the funny bone of wry observation.
This special mix is apparent
right from the start, with
chapter headings like "Me Thinks I Have the Skills to Write a Quirky
Witty Ditty!" The birth of this memoir against all odds is revealing: “Think about it, though; I could write a
book with all my random thoughts and commentaries that normal, everyday
can relate to. Isn’t it nice to know that most people are in similar
situations? Isn’t it great to laugh at our misfortunes from time to
Although her best friend
wasn't impressed by her idea at
the time, thankfully, Vivienne
Vuitton followed through on her impulse, birthing the humor and sense
irony that comprises The
Herein lies an example of
how self-depreciation merges
with Vuitton's innate inclination to rebel against
very format of the memoir genre: "Since when have I ever done
and pedestrian? Ugh, no thanks…"
remains true to her unconventional impulse in The Bitchographies, resulting in a close inspection of her life
that also critiques and reveals the ironies and challenges of social
business norms: "As I got older and
achieved more personal success, I quickly became stifled by the
every huge conglomerate that hired me. But, over and over again, there
consistent problem. And whenever I saw something not working the way it
should—a plan, method, or strategical action—and tried to voice my
about it to the guys upstairs, I was immediately hushed. 'Don’t rock
and you’ll fit in just fine,' they’d say from beneath their furrowed
concentrated stares. And although the message was subtly crafted, the
between the lines were clear; the patriarchal infrastructure is not
change its ways for anybody."
By now, it should be evident
that readers who choose this
memoir for its humor alone should be prepared for an equally strong
social inspection that pulls no punches as it probes the "informational
bullshit" of daily living.
refreshingly original voice as she navigates the murky waters of
family, relationships, and the "inability of people to grasp the
delightful surprise as Vuitton traverses her world and brings readers
for a different, more honest form of inspection than most memoirs
which maintains that it's not only okay to be a "bitch," on occasion,
but which is also equally fun and eye-opening, romping through a "sassy
journey through my petty indifferences and quirky insights."
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Evelyn M. Leite, MHR, LPC
Living With Solutions
9781733540988 $12.95 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Dance Like There's No Tomorrow is a
personal story of family abuse
that asks a key question: How does a loving father turn into a verbal
healing are outlined in a manner that will be more than familiar to
raised under similar conditions; but the difference in this memoir lies
focus on how Evelyn Leite chooses to survive her circumstances and rise
perception of both of her parents is one of the highlights presented as
grows older: "I just look at them,
my parents, so far removed from the reality of my life, so unaware of
aching, agonizing, humiliating pain I live with...so unbelievably
some of the same patterns and pitfalls as her parents, but figures ways
forward, readers receive more than a story of abuse. It's a chronicle
search for love and a different kind of life that embraces past,
future possibilities; and it acknowledges the choices and consequences
just flawed parents, but children who grow up with blinders on, who are
able to evolve to see life differently.
Dance Like There's No Tomorrow mirrors
many accounts of family
alcoholism and abuse, but injects an emphasis on finding joy and a
sense of purpose that helps the narrator revise her life story and
celebratory tale of survival that will reach readers on many different
and is highly recommended for self-help, memoir, and psychology
strong on chronicles of family dysfunction, survival, and success.
Return to Index
9781735999609 $25.00 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Viscount Chateaubriand and the Irish Girl is at once a
romance, a memoir,
and a genealogical mystery. Author Daniel Fallon inherits letters
his great-great-grandfather, written in the summer of 1817 by noted
writer François-René de Chateaubriand.
inheritance wasn’t just ephemera.
He also acquired a family oral history about his
great-great-great grandmother, a woman named Mary
Neale, the Irish
girl who becomes a focus of his detective work. The tale,
through five generations, placed the inherited letters in context.
Because Fallon’s career surrounded him with scholars who were
solving puzzles of the past, he was in the perfect position to
Chateaubriand and his ancestry.
Readers who know something
about Chateaubriand will be
the perfect audience for this survey, but newcomers to the man—those
genealogical searches, memoirs, and literary mysteries—will require no
familiarity with him in order to find Love's
Legacy a captivating read.
a review of
Chateaubriand's life and
to how Fallon solves many questions that reveal more about his family
readers receive a lively probe that embraces both facets: "Several
items of evidence passed down in my family, however, offered
perspectives. One was a document that had survived over generations and
up in my father's files, which led me to believe, in contrast to
that Thomas had remained at Amiens for a four-year term."
Love's Legacy is more than a love story or a family history. In
charting how family
memories, inherited documents, and information can revise history and
knowledge, readers are encouraged to take more seriously the papers and
that are often handed down between generations.
comes at an especially timely point in history because many modern
eschew inheritances of papers as being fairly useless.
nothing else (and, it does many things), Love's Legacy
educates, and is an especially revealing, good read highly recommended
wide audience; especially literature and history buffs with a penchant
stories of the past and how they often parallel and explain events in
Return to Index
Evelyn M. Leite, MHR, LPC
Living With Solutions Press
To Be Somebody: A Tale of Love, Heartbreak and
Hope is the second book in the
"Blood, Sex and Tears"
memoir series following author Evelyn M. Leite's recovery from the
personal story of pain, faith, healing, and questions about marriage,
codependency, love, and insanity, but it's a hard-hitting account that
that readers have the ability to absorb the details of self-destructive
and behaviors and how they can be transcended.
changing and you damn well better change with it," Leite acknowledges.
process of that change involves seeing and acknowledging the habits and
perceptions that serve as obstacles to successful relationships not
between spouses and friends, but with God.
these life changes and moves towards coping and recovery, readers
insights about the process that will help them in their own journeys
dysfunctional behavior patterns, whether they're inherited from family
prevalent in a marriage, or stem from within.
present the kinds of scenarios and marital interactions that conflict
healthy perceptions and choices crystallizes that process for anyone in
circumstances, while those who operate in family or support roles will
many enlightening moments candidly revealed that reflect common
ways of avoiding them.
book, To Be Somebody is an ongoing
probe of the road to recovery that embraces spiritual and psychological
transformations alike, rooting both in descriptions of experiences that
beyond one counselor's efforts to teach others by example.
and spirituality collections alike will find To
Be Somebody a potent testimony to the power of recovery and
Return to Index
typically attracted to biography compilations will find Trailblazers,
Women Who Helped Make America Great, American Firsts/American Icons
a depth unequalled in the arena of black women achievers, making this
volume in a six-book series a top recommendation for judicious
on activism, dance, and sports; and offers profiles separated into
covering these three areas. The profiles range from the familiar
Truth, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks) to names which deserve attention,
but may be
less recognizable (Pauli Murray, Betty Shabazz, Leah Penniman).
is also presented with information that ties each iconic woman to
their social contributions. Leah Penniman, for example, receives
links her efforts to an evolving community purpose: "Leah
Penniman is a
farmer, educator, author, and food sovereignty activist. She is the
and co-director of Soul Fire Farm, in Grafton, New York, an
Afro-Indigenous-centered community farm committed to uprooting racism
seeding sovereignty in the food system. They teach farming skills and
distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid."
to more than the typical biography sketch of individual achievement,
a series of powerful links to the combined effort to change black
around the world.
also takes into account the forces on all sides which kept women
their achievements lesser-known even within the civil rights community:
all their work, Black women made little progress in convincing their
counterparts of their right to exercise full leadership within the
biography explores the history, the attitudes of community and each
and how their work and social experiences led to revolutionary changes
contributions, it becomes evident that Trailblazers
offers far more
depth and a wider-ranging approach your typical biographical anthology.
flagship programs, cooperative and individual efforts to effect
changes, and personal ambition leading to broader social changes is
unparalleled in its details: "Miller put the spotlight for
basketball onto the court and above the rim. With tremendous grace and
dexterity, she established a legacy from her brief high school and
career that remains unparalleled. Miles ahead of most female players in
generation, Miller helped make the case for the WNBA before it existed,
inspired the next evolution of college women’s basketball that we are
ages need this survey because, unlike other biographical collections,
in the blanks that connect individual lives and achievement to
changes within communities.
overviews for each section, written from the viewpoint of African
women, also offer powerful guidelines for change that are not just
Women Who Helped Make America
Great, American Firsts/American Icons
is highly recommended for collections strong in women's issues,
history and social change, and biography alike. There's nothing in
holds the same depth of historical and social analysis, the attention
researched, footnoted facts...or the same ability to inspire.
Return to Index
Edward W. Hudson
Wanderer: The Story of Sgt. Wesley Foster is a World War I
biography that should be in military collections and on the reading
anyone who would absorb the history of this conflict from eyewitness
Wesley David Foster was Edward W. Hudson's
great-uncle. The letters he left behind represented a family mystery
resulted in a genealogical exercise as Hudson probed his experiences
roots—but when details were vague, Hudson added fictional
make The Wanderer more free-flowing and attractive
The blend of World War I history, personal
narrative, and fictional additions that build on fact to smooth the way
a nicely paced, appealing novel that will attract not just history
those interested in memoirs and genealogical backdrops.
Hudson provides an astute recreation of
times, as American was becoming urbanized and world patterns of
power were changing.
Wesley's emotions and observations are the
themes of the story, but these inspections prove more wider-ranging
might anticipate as he moved from riding the rails across America to
participating in World War I in France, on the Western Front.
The first sections use flashbacks to capture
early years, then resort to the immediacy of war experiences, capturing
during the process: "The psychological strain on the young
enormous as they are hardened into soldiers. Under the relentless
many require added coaching and private talks, which Wesley is only too
The juxtaposition of Wesley's feelings as he
prepares for war, faces the death of friends and comrades, and
kinds of environments in which battle challenges combine with
different physical milieus makes for a hard-hitting story. It
plenty of World War I background history for readers who may lack such
The result lies somewhere between memoir,
and fiction. Dramatic embellishments and powerful descriptions enhance
firsthand observations, while many historical details outline not just
strategies and military approaches, but the psychological challenges
experienced by all.
Wanderer's multifaceted approach sets it apart from
World War I surveys that are either memoirs or histories alone, making
highly recommended reading for those looking for a satisfying blend of
experience, fiction, and history.
Return to Index
Who Could Have Imagined … Change Your
Perspective, Transform Your Destiny
Dr. Aliette St. Hilaire, CRNA, APRN
Radiance Words Press
978-0-578-93588-1 $14.95 Paper/$.99 ebook
who look for stories of adversity, transformation, and immigrant
will find all these elements and more in Dr. Aliette St. Hilaire's Who
Have Imagined … Change Your Perspective, Transform Your Destiny.
It's hard to
less of an early path to the success that evolved: thirteen-year-old
Allie became pregnant and yet grew to become not just a doctor, but a
successful mother and wife.
about personal achievement, however. It's about cultivating a mindset
leads to revised options and better possibilities. She presents the
"how" of this approach as she traces a different path chosen after
her early decisions involved marrying the father of her child, who was
her age, and convincing a court that this was a good idea.
this memoir is its candid reveal of the emotions that ran through the
mind even at the age of twelve: "Imagine
being twelve years old and pregnant. Imagine going to school the day
found out you were pregnant, unable to tell anyone what had happened to
Now imagine not knowing how your family would react to the news. I had
if I was returning home to face open arms, a beating, or a closed door.
no idea what my father would do. Michelange had promised to help
pregnancy, but I still did not know how much I could trust anything he
because when things happened in my life, people had a way of blaming me
leaving me to deal with the aftermath."
insights explain both the logical and emotional roots of her decisions,
as the foundation for understanding how this critical thinking process
influenced early on in life, and how it began to change.
social elements come into play, Allie's story of renewal and growth
takes on a
different tone as she matures: "No
matter how many times I tried to get into a comfortable routine,
unexpected would happen that would force me to reconsider my life. Of
not all these unexpected changes were bad."
influences represent some of the wellsprings of her transformation as
travels the world and becomes involved in HOPE Worldwide, an
helps the poor across the globe.
learning about the juxtaposition of challenges and opportunities that
influenced not just Allie's course, but her perspective on life, will
Could Have Imagined far more
a memoir alone.
It's a blueprint to cultivating a more aware
lifestyle that leads to real change and better living, and deserves a
any inspirational, self-help, or memoir collection as a testimony to
strength of belief and the power of perseverance, as well as how to
"...open your heart to a whole new way of seeing the world."
Return to Index
Cresting Wave Publishing, LLC
978-1-956048-00-1 $17.95 Paper/$1.99 ebook
follows author Ryan Casseau's journey to an area about as far from the
States as one can get: to a small, remote Papua New Guinea island where
memoir opens) he struggles with malaria and primitive treatments and
how he arrived at this point in his life.
in Papua New Guinea as a researcher to study medicinal plants for
he drifts into unconsciousness, Casseau wonders: "I’ll wake
right? In between, the space is filled with cyclic brooding over what
I was going to do, why the hell this was happening, and how the hell I
gotten here." The answers to these questions form the
of Wild Happy, a blend of travelogue and search for
Casseau cultivates a reflective piece that explores how a middle-class
arrives in this jungle world. The first section covers his privileged
and acknowledges its lack of real strife: "We never know
we’re formed, how the billion pieces of life come together to make us
are in an exact moment of time. What I’ve learned, what I know, is that
needs to be a mix. Some good, some bad, some happy, some sad. Malcolm
upbringing was nowhere near as cushy as mine, said, “There is no better
than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains
seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”
this, in its own disturbing way, was the problem."
as a child, Casseau was able to "see behind the curtain of my easy
life," and resolved to pursue the kinds of life experiences that
from any set path towards an easy life with predictable outcomes.
led to his
journey, at age 24, to Papua New Guinea to study medicinal plants from
in the jungle. And to his encounter with malaria, and ultimately
receive humor, self-awareness, and growth under one cover, but Casseau
cultivates this tone in a way that makes Wild Happy
as fun a read as it
through his research and cultivates a type of wisdom his elders
anticipated, he imparts these forks in the road and the reality versus
childhood imagination in a manner that draws readers into making the
alongside him (albeit via armchair).
insights are just as powerful as he crafts descriptions of research
and interpersonal relationships alike: "I’m still learning
how to get
things done here. For example, I learned you have to ask and confirm
planning details three or four times in order to get to the truth
one ever gives you a straight answer. They always lie to make the
sound easier and better, because they don’t want to admit that in PNG,
are always slow and will take five times longer than planned.
They don’t see it as lying though. It’s
just the way
everyone handles things."
a blend of travelogue, self-awakening, and a sense of joie de
resonates in heart and mind will find Wild Happy a
celebration and a
revelation, all in one.
strong in health, self-help, and travel alike will find it a strong
offering insights that translate into ideas for "not living life
superficially," but with the wild, happy abandon of unpredictability.
Return to Index
Indigo Dot Press
978-1-7328541-8-5 $13.99 Paper/ $3.99 ebook
Oris who enjoyed Carrie Rubin's portrait of him in The
Bone Hunger will find his return in The Bone Elixir to be an exciting
event...especially since it opens with a family inheritance that both
and attracts the young orthopedic surgeon with a family legacy.
in a coma, and he's tracked down her estranged family to let them know.
this...a hotel has been bequeathed to him by a great-aunt he never
mystery involves a journey that seems to take him away from the medical
that evolved his past challenges, but Ben finds that, actually, medical
conundrums lie at the heart of this mystery to bring him into quite a
world, albeit with many too-familiar trappings.
burial ground and a ghost from the past in a mirror to the inn's
energy which rises the dead and gives Ben more to think about than
challenges, The Bone Elixir excels in a haunting
series of events that
draw Ben into the past and lead him to reconsider its relationship to
a master at blending medical and personal issues into a mystery that
problem-solving abilities on both sides. Her character, Ben, is
inquisitive, while the atmosphere of intrigue surrounding him is
detailed: "He swore and shuffled his feet forward, using the
beam to guide him. Although he was aware Jake’s cries were muted inside
workroom, he felt compelled to search it. The concrete cave had torture
written all over it. The room’s frigid air smelled like soot and paint
chemicals, and above them the exposed pipes clunked. Up ahead, the sump
gurgled. When Laurette grabbed Ben’s hand, he jumped from the
contact. He squeezed hers back and told her to stay close."
stories about ghosts, medical mysteries, and family issues alike will
three facets wound into an intriguing story of spells gone awry and the
consequences of decisions that lead dead Claxwells to return to life.
enjoyed Ben's approach in The Bone Hunger will find
that The Bone
Elixir takes quite a different turn, but ramps up the plot's
paranormal portions to
who enjoy a mix of spirits and intrigue.
will be an ongoing audience for Ben's exploits, newcomers, too, will
find it a
very accessible, stand-alone story that needs no prior introduction to
just as immediately gripping as its predecessor.
collections and readers who enjoy supernatural overtones in their
find The Bone Elixir a compelling foray into
spiritual drama, struggles
with faith, and the legacy of family choices.
Return to Index
The Kingmaker's Redemption
BQB (An imprint of Quality Books)
978-1-952782-16-9 $18.95 Paper/$8.99 ebook
Redemption is recommended reading for political intrigue
high-octane action, and provides a story of winners, losers, and
steeped in the power, money, and processes of the American political
Departing from the status
quo and prior precedents comes
with its problems, as Jack McKay discovers when he decides to support a
candidate he really believes in rather than the party he's usually led
victory. His business is winning elections, but it's about to become
of a whirlwind of controversy when Jack lends his considerable
influence to a
campaign for an Opposition candidate against the Party.
Liberty Party leader Randall Davies knows what McKay's decision means to
his chances. Forces
that operate behind the scenes contrive to implicate McKay in a crime
sully his reputation and limit his ability to be a political influencer.
conspiracy gains momentum in the courts, McKay and his team are drawn
their original objective and into a trial that leaves him fighting for
than his reputation, even as he learns new things about the process and
people behind it: "Jack was getting a real insight into what
prosecution was likely planning to present. He might have actually
education had his life not hung in the balance."
Harry Pinkus crafts the
perfect intersection between
legal and political thriller, cementing action with strong characters
operate on both sides of the election process, with special interests
influencers on all sides.
The personal challenges
McKay faces as his choices affect
family relationships and career are as much on the line as the question
will win the election.
More than just a story of
innocence and guilt, Pinkus
calls into question motivation, political and legal processes, and
relationships changed by new realizations.
Redemption is as much a story of survival, enlightenment, and
interpersonal connections as it is a political legal thriller.
enjoy investigative mysteries operating at high levels of political
will relish a story that winds through drama and action, adding a dash
romance as icing on the cake of intrigue.
Return to Index
The Manhattan Swindle
East River Books
9781736468036 $3.99 ebook
Manhattan Swindle represents Book 2 in the One
of War historical thriller series. It takes place in the 1970s and
Washington, DC, where the Kingsley clan is butting heads over the
Senator Temple and others keep oil kingpin and
criminal Jared Sanders from
controlling the White House, but there are other forces at work, both
domestically and internationally, that will sway the course of not just
American, but world politics.
Jay Perin cultivates an intriguing blend of interpersonal interactions
family dynamics and political and criminal clashes. Sanders faces
adversaries in the form of three powerful, diverse individuals, but he
holds a powerful card in the way of family secrets that could ruin all
Perin's story is not your usual thriller genre
read. His ability to twist the tale with words that are powerful and
this story apart from any anticipation of a staid progression of
world was in chaos. Truth and untruth were constantly at war, the moral
the immoral, and few were willing to take up arms on behalf of that
good. Somewhere, the chronicler of humanity’s story must’ve despaired
selfishness and shameful cowardice, but he didn’t possess the power to
Here was Lilah being offered the chance to rewrite a small part of the
Did she have the strength in her spine to battle evil, faith enough in
heart to see it through? She’d have to end her life as she knew it."
Special interests range from the adopted (yet
pedigreed) aristocrat Lilah (Delilah
Sheppard Barrons) and her forceful influence on the people around her
involved in a conspiracy that traverses the globe. There are many
that clash in the arena of contracts, interpersonal relationships, and
struggles for power as the story moves from the 70s to the 80s,
national influence and the interpersonal relationships and politics
Perin's ability to wind all these characters
story filled with struggles over rightful legacies, slaughters, and
reputations makes for a fast-paced tale that is hard to put down.
It should be noted that The Manhattan
is not a read recommended for casual thriller audiences interested in
alone. It is steeped in multifaceted political and interpersonal
evolves in a myriad of characters and influences, and requires of its
astute attention to detail even as it weaves these events into a
engrossing feature filled with twists and turns.
Thriller readers looking for depth, complexity,
historical foundations (the novel is replete with references to
history) and satisfying surprises as three dynasties embark on
struggles will find The Manhattan Swindle akin to The
in its ability to bring to life the influences and evolving politics of
under siege both from internal and external forces.
Social issues ranging from rape to power plays
for a backdrop that is thought-provoking throughout, elevating The
Swindle beyond the usual thriller read and lending to its
appeal to history
and social issues audiences, as well.
Return to Index
Boyarsky's Nicole Graves mysteries will find Nicole's latest challenges
Moscow Affair to be just as compelling as her prior
Russian intrigue when she accepts a short-term assignment working for
British government MI6. Her task is to observe fellow passengers for
on a luxury cruise up the Volga, reporting back to MI6 about their
without involving the Russian police or any other elements that may be
interested in her findings.
ship changes everything and places Nicole in the middle of a swirl of
controversy and special interests, challenging her to uncover the truth
surviving the process of its investigation.
heats up, Nicole gains a new identity as Slovak woman Nicola Pavlikova
Antonovich, and struggles with events that come to threaten her
purpose on the Queen of the Volga. Her friend Abby recommends her to
has heard of the American tourist wanted for murder, and wants to help
skills are challenged by her need to maintain her realistic persona as
"just another American on vacation," readers are treated to a story
of murder, subterfuge, and as cat-and-mouse games between criminal and
political entities trap her in the maelstrom of danger.
the time to thoroughly describe the sights, sounds, culture and
Russia: "The living room was in amazing shape compared with
the rest of
the building. Its décor included a huge chandelier and a large
mirror that reflected itself over and over in an identical mirror on
opposite wall. The rest of the room featured panels of verdant
appeared to have been applied directly to the walls. The furnishings
had a pink
and white motif: white walls and carpeting with one pink sofa flanked
white ones. Three white stools stood in front of the couch arrangement,
topped with a fuchsia cushion."
observations compliment the action as Nicole tries to leave the country
whatever means are available to her, hampered by her lack of knowledge
Russian language and her inability to discern who is on her side and
fiancée, the secretive Ronald Reinhardt, and the possibility of seeing
again to the action, and it's evident that the personal touches
to the murder mystery and political intrigue work together to create a
will enjoy depictions of Soviet culture, the backdrop of Russian
and a story of intrigue that circles around the murder of a tourist on
Russian cruise ship. The plot twists and turns as Nicole navigates
territory and matters of the heart alike.
The Moscow Affair will also cross over to thriller fans, with its
astute examination of
love, death, politics, and mystery.
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David E. Feldman
978-0578951850 $11.95 paper/$4.99 ebook
Author Website: https://www.davidefeldman.com/books.shtml
is Book 1 in the Dora's Rage mystery series. It presents a physically
mentally strong woman who is first drawn into MMA fighting by her
partner, Beach City Police Lieutenant Francesca Hart; then
political and murder milieu fostered by political special interests
Dora's inherent determination to fight bullies.
opens not with a determined perp, however, but with an accidental
young lovers involved. The first chapter sets the stage with a
caller who informs Detective Hart that widespread corruption in City
from an accidental death's cover-up that has spread a cancer through
character, Deborah “Dora” Ellison, doesn't enter the picture until some
paragraphs later; but when she does, it's with a bang. The bang of
garbage cans in a job where her super-strength is an asset (obviously
set in an
era before more automated garbage trucks began to roam the streets,
portrayed as a physically large, confident woman. Her stature and
nonetheless challenged when she's drawn into a scenario more in the
her partner's expertise than her own experiences with garbage cans,
and weight lifting.
is everything. This and many other concepts she's held close are tested
course of a vivid story that immerses this outsider in murder and
affairs where her determination and strength are the only assets.
Feldman's choice of an unusual protagonist who is anything but a murder
investigator, and his deployment of personality traits that lend to
successes and failures in many different arenas, creates an
filled with surprises and satisfying twists.
assets lies in a familiarity with city processes that is challenged as
unfold. Feldman does a great job of capturing her revelations as she
alongside others who manipulate and gain access to a playing field
fully worked: “Really!” Dora said, impressed. “I’m surprised
the city was so
open. I’ve worked there most of my life, and open is not how I’d
murder investigation, political corruption, tragedy, recovery, and
and fights operate on different levels between personal and political
experience, growing both the characters and the milieu in which they
and revealing how they perceive and act upon their roles and morals.
these complicated connections are, the revelations that come back to a
event are especially well drawn and unexpected, leading readers on a
from individual responsibility to long-term political impact.
result is a
story that grips and compels on many levels, moving from personal to
experience in a reasoned yet unexpected manner that draws a myriad of
characters, special interests, and decisions into a thought-provoking
anticipate a murder mystery alone should be advised that, in fact, Not
Today! is so much more. Its special brand of inspection will
seeking more complex, enlightening stories of survival, choice,
and change—all powered by the dynamic Dora and her changing world.
Return to Index
Once Upon a
Red Skye Press
ISBN: 978-0-9907102-6-4 $3.99
killer on the loose who is targeting young mothers and seems about to
to their babies and toddlers. Also being targeted is the outpatient of
hospital who has professed anger towards his mother.
fine story of intrigue and delusion not just on the part of a killer on
loose, but a police department charged with resolving the murders
the small community panics.
center of a
vortex of controversy lies a group of nurses who must face the idea
that one of
their patients is likely to blame.
maelstrom is a young man who professes innocence while all evidence
interact with one another and begin to move outside their hospital
zones to address a rising tide of community anger and fear, solving the
seems the only way they can preserve both the future of their patient
point of view from a group of nurses who each grapple with their own
backgrounds, and convictions in order to rise above their stations,
creates a compelling murder mystery that cultivates a winning
moral, ethical, and professional conundrums.
depiction of how
these forces evolve elevates the mystery from a simple whodunit to one
examining the inherent fears and prejudices over mental health
group of nurses untrained in police procedures but more than
about mental illness can forge new paths where police fail creates the
to a fine story. Once Upon a Murderous
Delusion is as much about the challenges and assumptions of a
a medical facility as it is about a clever murderer's modus operandi.
find the added element of psychological inspections and delusions which
beyond the mentally ill provide just the right touch of intrigue and
unexpected to a appeal to both murder mystery readers and those who
powerful psychological and group dynamic inspections.
murder mysteries and fiction revolving around health and healing alike
find Once Upon a Murderous Delusion
worthy addition. It will appeal to a much broader audience than the
Return to Index
Lorie Lewis Ham
979-8544783145 $12.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
Author Website: www.mysteryrat.com
readers who enjoy female sleuths; stories of animal rescue with pet
and pit bulls; and a woman tired of failure who wants to come out on
once will find One of Us a mystery that features
Lewis Ham surrounds her protagonist with a healthy dose of change as
middle-aged children’s book author Roxi Carlucci's relocation to
California and the events that emerge from her move into the city's
District to live with her PI cousin Stephen Carlucci, who involves her
investigative California world.
doesn't have many choices left in life...and she's tired of feeling
called upon to help out in an animal rescue fundraiser, Roxi finds that
volunteer contribution becomes personal when a murder drags her and
into a search for the truth that traverses the theater community and
uncommon threat to normally-staid Fresno residents.
social media, the demise of a seemingly "invisible" woman whom nobody
knew very well, and a motive that might turn friends into enemies, she
a host of possibilities that brings her and Stephen into different
romp through cultural norms and murderer intentions takes a dangerous,
turn. This tests her newfound sleuthing abilities as well as her
stay alive long enough to uncover some close-held secrets.
brings many elements to life; from Fresno's cultural milieu to modern
as Roxi seeks respite in watching Star Trek as she
cultivates lists of
weave this cultural backdrop into a story replete with satisfying
animal issues, and intrigue in a whodunit that takes many personal
for a story that is firmly grounded in both compelling characters and a
readers who hold affection for animals and intrigue will find One
a close inspection of a murderer's profile and how an investigator with
degree in criminology and
manages to reveal truths that others have missed.
contemporary story juxtaposes bookish fun with a tale of how Roxi
life in unexpected ways, and provides just the ticket for an involving
Return to Index
Michael David Urban
978-0985359942 $18.95 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
Skull: A Zach Colt Adventure
pairs an alternate history premise with high-octane thriller elements
provide readers of both genres with an absorbing adventure story.
scenario, Osama bin Laden was kidnapped and hidden in Poland, where he
Forces on both sides covet his skull as a souvenir, but there's more
opens in 1917 Oklahoma, where Prescott Bush's actions result in a crime
present-day Boston, where Zach Colt's reputation for confronting
results in not only fame, but new clients who desire his services. The
being an American hero comes with a price, because his new clients
bring on a
sniper attack that brings Zach into a new milieu of world-hopping
expect this story to center on Zach alone, but a host of other
special interests, and political and military forces interact on a
playing fields to keep it action-packed and unpredictable.
will find Zach's involvement not peripheral, but directed, on different
by his objectives and secrets, which come to light as competing
for control and the ultimate prize.
Michael David Urban excels at outlining these
special interests, intersecting them in a manner that keeps the story
fast-paced and compelling. Thriller fans and alternate history readers
especially appreciate the blur between truth and fiction and the
scenarios which emerge to keep not just Zach, but all the players on
Readers who like their stories satisfyingly
and different will appreciate the character interplays, the grey area
good and evil, and the forces which keep Zach and his audience guessing.
Think a blend of Indiana Jones combined with
Clancy as the terrorism and confrontation emerges to give readers a
ride through possibilities that revolve around and beyond gaining
Return to Index
Black Rose Writing
978-1-68433-768-2 $19.95 Print/$2.99 ebook
Stolen Lives represents an exciting probe
of abduction and unusual
connections between fourteen-year-old victims, and is recommended
thriller and intrigue fans who enjoy stories that focus as much on
victims as it does on the perps.
of FBI agents face multiple challenges in a series of events that have
unresolved for years. Witnesses tend to be murdered before they can
further clues, and the four young victims' lives themselves prove
hard to trace or fathom.
should be mentioned that this book is first in a projected trilogy.
look for complex stories of murder, kidnapping, and ongoing
be satisfied by a tale that introduces the setting, but holds the power
attract and remain unresolved over multiple scenarios and books.
Tokay may hold the clue that has eluded Kelliher and his people for
only problem is—George has no idea what this special knowledge is. All
is that he's witnessed a puzzling execution. And he feels compelled to
forces with the investigators to resolve this case: "The
Navajo boy of fourteen, who stood facing the death scene, was
afraid of the dead boy’s chindi.
But George reasoned that if he were to help find the dead boy’s killers
bring them to justice, the chindi would
be satisfied and leave his family’s land. The worldly boy of fourteen,
wanted to join the tribal police like his cousin, was simply curious.
this as an opportunity to win respect and admiration from his family,
grandfather, in particular."
relationships and Navajo ways to Jamie Graff, a policeman working with
who makes new inroads to discovery, only to unearth more puzzles
the kidnappings and police relationships, Joseph Lewis builds a
filled with satisfying twists and turns.
As the boys
to survive and the police attempt to find answers and hope in a
impossible situation, readers are treated to a scenario firmly rooted
author's research into child abduction and real-world events that
well to thought-provoking fictional milieus.
murder are difficult issues to tackle, yet Lewis does so with astute
psychological, and investigative insights that keep his story
involving, and unpredictable.
Even though Stolen Lives is part of a trilogy, it
ends on a satisfyingly complete note, which makes it highly recommended
stand-alone story for readers who typically eschew series titles.
social issues, mystery and intrigue, and novels of survival tactics
will find Stolen Lives a fine
Return to Index
Up is a Murder on the Rocks mystery that revolves
around Jude Dillane, who
remains caught in the
dangerous crosshairs of serial killer Art Bevins, who has targeted her and is still on the
doesn't open with Jude, however, but introduces the character of
Castel, who is flying to New York in style, and plotting her next move.
plays a key role in Jude's life because she rents an apartment from her
and landlord Sully, who has fallen for the new renter in a big way.
say that Dolores is trouble. How big a heartache this trouble will
her life evolves as a series of clashes emerge to test Jude's
perseverance, and ability to survive more than a serial killer's
excels in crafting a story which holds many satisfying twists and
chapters shift between the third-person Dolores's perspective and the
first-person experiences of Jude, which easily clarify the two points
and adds an extra dimension to a story that shifts between Dolores's
Jude's judgment calls and experiences.
With Sully acting weird and Dolores facing her
grief over the past and changing motivations for addressing her future,
Up incorporates many different shifts in life approach and
as the characters confront their past, present, and future roles.
As surprising connections build between Jude,
Dolores, Art, Sully, and Diego, readers will find the story
replete in changing events and threats that eventually reach out to
Each character and their special interests come
life in a story filled with revelations about friendships, adversity,
nightmare of a serial killer's relentless obsession.
Especially astute and compelling is the process
which friendships become shaken and questionable as threats emerge and
Soler's ability to bring emotional connections
life, giving them a twist to keep her characters growing and changing,
Up a fine story of growth that will keep even seasoned
involved and on their toes.
It deserves a place in any mystery library as
involving story of traps which emerge not just from perps, but victims'
Return to Index
Raked Gravel Press
978-1942410256 $24.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook
Tokyo Zangyo adds to the Detective
Hiroshi series set in Tokyo with
another story of intrigue that both adds to the others while standing
its own, for newcomers.
Hiroshi investigates the death of a top manager in a Tokyo company. And
where Michael Pronko's own familiarity with Japan's culture comes into
because the story's ability to capture the milieu of corporate life and
business concerns excels in creating realistic backdrop that brings not
Hiroshi's efforts, but his world to life.
economic concerns blend into the investigative focus to inject a
to the story: “If we can’t get all the
information on Onizuka, our investigation could drag on for longer,
interfering with PR for your overseas expansion. We want this case
much as you do,” Hiroshi said."
interactions within the company and between different layers of
Hiroshi's personal involvement with Ayana, a woman who tries to support
keep him together, Pronko excels in dialogues and interactions that go
investigative circles alone: “Big
a huge ad agency dove off his company building. Turned to mush.” Ayana
on the edge of the sofa with the pitcher and glass. “I thought
working on cryptocurrency? Nice, clean online numbers in your
“Chief yanked me off of that.
He’s a fucking asshole.” Hiroshi used the English."
social, and political interplays keep the story unpredictable and
as events play out to challenge Detective Hiroshi on more than one
are also atmospheric references that bring Tokyo's backdrop to life: "Hiroshi looked away at the lights of
Tokyo spreading like fallen, cooling stars all the way to the horizon.
Overhead, the skyglow that hung over Tokyo blocked the real stars."
homicide investigation, readers who enjoy learning about Japanese
influences and processes receive a wealth of insights that are neatly
into the intrigue: "On the global
stage, we Japanese have to work harder than everyone else. What we lack
creativity, innovation and critical thought, we make up for in
perseverance, and attention to detail. What we lack in global vision,
up for in solid traditional values. The government is pressured by
forces to make overtime a crime. Harassment is an unfortunate side
effect of a
hardworking corporate culture. It’s my job to bring the best out in
keep the company on pace toward continued success.”
between characters, a sense of place, and a murder mystery that plays
out on an
especially involving stage will keep both prior readers and newcomers
Detective Hiroshi's world thoroughly engaged and guessing to the end.
Pronko is masterful at bringing all these elements to life in the richly depicted Tokyo Zangyo. This makes it not just highly recommended for mystery readers, but a standout in the genre. Its added value of social inspection and Japanese business pressures will educate readers about that nation's perspective even as it builds a blossoming, compelling mystery.
Return to Index
Versus the Left-Handed Girl
The Sager Group, LLC
$28.69 Hardcover/$14.99 Paper/$9.99 ebook
reading a popular novel, only to find that it was something you wrote
ago, in college, and shared with a fellow student. Envision having a
head injury from Army life that reduces your abilities and credibility.
consider pursuing the truth after decades, when nobody will listen to
The Allergic Boy Versus the Left-Handed Girl
is a study in wry
humor, ironic losses, and disability and courage. It tells of a war
faced with yet another affront to his life as his most creative,
successful effort is plagiarized.
Note" that opens the story provides a fine background and setting for
notes of one Jimmy Nail, who writes at different times between 1982 and
and whose reflections include hilarious footnotes and insights that
attention from the start, as in the introductory title page that
controversial subtitle ("A
Story of Grace and Mercy (But Also of Theft, Injustice and a Fucking
the Side of My Fucking Head)") and an intriguing
reference to a future publisher: "A
note to the editor: I ask kindly that you not remove “fucking” from the
title. Except if you need to do so for copies sold through the Book of
Month Club. I understand they can be prickly and may have a distaste
profanities. The same for publications in any countries that have laws
forbidding the use of profanities. Israel perhaps? Hong Kong? Nova
(Although Nova Scotia may not be a country. That is probably worth
tale moves to an absorbing introduction and chapters which open with a
morning newspaper delivery in June, when the narrator is between junior
senior high schools.
Think Catcher in the Rye, with 'wry' being the
operative word of the young observer in this piece, as he comes of age.
may make his point in sometimes-run-on sentences filled with
verbosity, but his world comes to life under Michael Kun's hand as
describes everything from bigotry and prejudice to how he views the
world: "The first thing a bigot will tell you
is that he’s not a bigot. And he will preface his comments by
saying, “I’m not a bigot,
but,” followed by something that is undeniably offensive. No one has
something innocuous like, “I’m not a bigot, but I like iceberg
lettuce.” Let me
be the first: “I’m not a bigot, but I like iceberg lettuce.” There.
It's rare to
numerous footnoted references in a novel are a big plus to the story
Authors who have attempted such usually only succeed in cultivating
Not so The Allergic Boy Versus the
Left-Handed Girl, which employs these references with such
skill that their
impact becomes one of literary power rather than just informational
an attraction in themselves.
strength of this story. Jimmy Nail's voice is powerful, ironic,
thought-provoking, and fun, all in one. Kun's ability to capture the
his life, his approaches to justice and injustice, and Jimmy's process
navigating everything thrown at him makes for a humorous play not just
words, but on life.
censorship and critical considerations of The
Allergic Girl to the elusive fictional character he created
that brings him
into court proceedings and conflicts, Jimmy's coming of age, social and
literary inspections, and the revolving door of past and present
makes for a story that is vivid, unexpected in its twists and turns,
in its impact.
The Allergic Boy Versus the Left-Handed Girl
is a literary study in
love, growth, social challenges, and achievement. It's a compelling
holds the ability to attract audiences with a wry observational tone,
the stage for considerations of reality and illusion that will keep
involved in the story of Poppy, Jimmy, and everyone around them.
recommended; especially for readers who enjoyed Catcher
in the Rye, and who want a contemporary growth story that
goes above and beyond Holden Caufman's world.
Return to Index
Blind Man's Labyrinth
Paper Stone Press
$3.99 eBook; $12.95 Paperback; $23.95 Hardcover; $23.95 Large Print Hardcover; $21.95 Audiobook
Author Website: www.darylpotter.com
Historical fiction readers interested in a
story of ancient times set in 92 BCE will find Blind Man's Labyrinth
inviting, detailed read about a Jewish civil war that test Haim's
survive into adulthood.
Haim is not
of the dye maker, his mother’s non-Jewish husband who died years before
birth. His mother, however, is Jewish and Haim is cursed, at this time,
a lineage. After the dye maker's death, the Tyrant of Dora enslaves his
until forces rise up to kill the Tyrant and make the region Jewish
again...including his mother. Haim's story begins here.
of power struggles between Jewish and Egyptian forces affects his
his widowed mother and an old scribe, who also struggle against the
take of the politics, tyrants, and trials of this ancient world.
The boy is
just for food, but "something that he cannot name." Touched by
poverty and prejudices held by all sides, Haim's world come alive under
Potter's hand as he encounters new ideas that lead him to question the
foundations of his various beliefs about himself and the world: "Do you Jews think that in other
countries we don’t have our own customs? No laws of our own? No manner
conducting ourselves?” He crouched down, still staring at Haim. “Are we
animals to you Jews?” “No,” Haim said. “We were just trying to escape
change his internal dialogue, readers also receive a health dose of
self-inspection surrounding the logic and brutality of the times,
poetic observations that are moving metaphors of transformation: "He was as deeply enmeshed in the art
of ruin as these men were in the particulars of making pots. Their
clay and kiln. His tools were sling, knife, fist, and somehow finding
befriending poisonous people. The betrayal of innocents. A forest of
Those were his tools, and his harvest was always rich."
the truth about his father, his legacy, and his decisions to either
reject it makes for a powerful story of struggle, self-inspection, and
undercurrents and waves of a changing world and, through its events,
mercurial sense of self and purpose.
that brings these ancient times to life and examines the motivations,
influences, and choices faced by individuals who navigate its murky
message of all lies in Potter's portrait of a spiritual journey of the
that examines not just the foundations of Haim's teachings, but the
bring it into his world as logical perceptions of his place in it: “Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve found
corruption, and I’ve taken corruption with me from place to place and
to the corruption that was already there. I’ve come much farther than
I’ve travelled for twenty‑six
years on the road behind me. I
want to know how to be clean of everything that is.”
rise above their heritage, teachings, and lives to transform in an
way? Haim's journey is that of "everyman" and will resonate even with
readers not normally attracted to historical fiction, or who have
grounding in the era under consideration in Blind
history, spirituality, and philosophy readers alike, the story is
its juxtaposition of orphans struggling to uncover meaning in a world
and brings the times to life in a manner that will appeal to a wide
Return to Index
Rosewind Books, An imprint of Vesuvian Books
978-1-64548-053-2 $14.95 Paper/$4.99 ebook
enjoy Hallmark-style stories of unexpected love will relish the
and evolving tale of Holly and Nick, who are on different trajectories
lives when they find each other after a near-accident in a small town.
Christmas in Silverwood cultivates a
sense of discovery and
recovery set against a snowy Christmas season backdrop, and explores
changed by interpersonal relationships and new opportunities.
From a small
obsession with an annual holiday tree-decorating contest to broken
lonely individuals who find in each other unexpected solutions to life
problems, Dorothy Dreyer paints a compelling portrait of love that
time to spice its presentation with atmosphere: "It
was like a cloud of serenity surrounding Holly as the aroma of
the food reached her nostrils. Marcus took great care in making sure
they’d ordered was placed neatly on the table. Holly’s mouth watered as
dish was put before her. Presentation alone was making her want to give
place five stars on every restaurant review site."
interact, from those who embrace the Christmas spirit to others who
be alone, Dreyer builds scenic beauty, evolving romance, and moments
encourage inspiration: “Now, I don’t know
how inspiration works from a technical point of view,” Nick said as he
his skates, “but I’m a big believer that feeling good can lead to being
The crux of
Nick's experiences and evolving relationship stem from a simple
observation: “Sometimes we’re disappointed
because we’re looking at them the wrong way.”
Christmas in Silverwood explains how a
set course in life can be
turned upside down to create a different approach and perspective. In
course of exploring romantic and interpersonal connections, it creates
heartwarming read about change and flexibility to make for not just a
satisfying holiday read, but an affectionate insight into the origins
readers will find Christmas in Silverwood
just the ticket for a cold night's read by a roaring fire.
Return to Index
John W. Feist
Winter Wheat Press
The Color of Rain:
A Kansas Courtship in Letters
takes historical romance to a different
level in choosing the form of correspondence to cement its story of an
love between a handsome banker widower and a schoolteacher who lives
distance from him.
story even more compelling is that it is real. The letters are
this saga (including envelopes with dates that reinforce their
roots), and are presented in the form of fiction reinforced by John W.
research into newspaper and photography archives and his discussions
letter writers’ descendants.
Irene's story evolves, so does the reinforcing presence of writings
them and a death that sparks the rebirth of love and correspondence.
deeply in love with his former wife Allie, and has no desire to enter
marriage again, even though he's now a coveted eligible bachelor.
that Allie was her ideal of "all that is pure and womanly and good."
As she learns truths about Allie, Frank, and the ties that lead her to
him a dear friend worthy of candid correspondence and emotional
readers absorb the lives of each and the 1800s Kansas backdrop that
move between letters and fictional narrative is particularly well done.
ability to create a blend of interactive communications in a fictional
succeeds in bringing to life the times, the issues facing the two as
long-distance friendship evolves, and the kind of correspondence that
into realms of greater intimacy and even love, against all odds.
headings are also particularly notable as they sum up the changing
circumstances of each writer (i.e. "I Am Rather At a Standstill to Know
What To Do").
evolves, the combination of historical backdrop, emotional growth and
interactions between Irene and Frank, and the impact of their
efforts nicely supplement the attention Feist gives to capturing
stood at the window looking out at the pear tree. Rose stems had
the yard in the wind, their flowers shattered. Brown petals curled in
the bark of the tree. This is not dreary, she thought. It’s actually
this were a novel—really, Irene, a novel of Nortonville—well, then a
symbolism would be unmistakable. Death and decay. Shattered hopes.
romance. But actually,
what she saw
cheered her. To Irene the roses spoke of love."
roots, evocative questions, and richly presented descriptions, these
evolve a romance that will delight readers looking for stories not just
interpersonal relationships, but recovery from grief and new
wound into a history of 1890s Kansas.
and white photos of the letters and family involved are the icing on
of historical accuracy that cements a delightful story of developing
Return to Index
Time is Dear
Cathy Burnham Martin
Quiet Thunder Publishing
978-1-939220-57-8 $15.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
Historical fiction readers who choose Destiny of Dreams: Time is Dear for its story of family heritage and Armenian experience will find these elements and much more in a story of diaspora that follows an American girl's discoveries about her past.
account seems particularly realistic is that it's firmly rooted in
reality—Cathy Burnham Martin's family legacy. She used the stories and
experiences of several generations of her own tale, but filled in the
characters and dialogue to expand its interest and attraction to
fiction readers. Armenian names, however, (despite their challenge to
non-Armenian readers) were represented without alteration, lending the
full flavor of ethnic experience throughout.
entwine seamlessly in a saga set largely in the early 20th century. It
be noted, at this point, that a degree of violence is candidly
forewarned and explained in the preface: "My
apologies for both the detailed and suggested acts of inhumanity in
some of the
scenes, but I cannot change, nor will I sugarcoat actual historic
No attempt was made to vilify the Ottoman Empire. However, when people
through something, their eyewitness testimonies offer a distinct and
refugee experiences to a weary family's journey through darkness into a
world and life still burdened by their memories, Martin recreates past,
present, and feelings about the future using realistic descriptions
not just these different time periods to life, but the sentiments and
of those who lived through them.
and understanding could likely not have been accomplished by a writer
relied on research alone. The family memories that drive this story
for readers, lending to a history that is vivid and compellingly
fictional drama and added embellishments make the story accessible in a
that nonfiction alone could not have achieved.
As Destiny of Dreams: Time is Dear unfolds,
matters of survival, refugee experience, hearts broken and ruggedly
new opportunities come to life in a compelling history. Events evolve
some surprising gripping parallel ties with the past.
How do you
and inject the tragedies, perspectives, ethnic heritage, and struggles
generations for future ones? You write a book like Destiny
of Dreams: Time is Dear.
roots (and those who want to learn more about their trials and lives)
Destiny of Dreams: Time is Dear a
thoroughly engrossing story that brings the past to life. This, in
transmits newfound responsibility and possibility to future
"Cassie brimmed with history and family and emotion."
Destiny of Dreams: Time is Dear is
especially notable because
relatively little detail about Armenia's diaspora and history is
readers, and because Martin's family experience both cements and
the facts and makes them understandable and revealing to modern
may eschew the dry tendency of nonfiction, but will thoroughly absorb
emotional impact, here.
Return to Index
Susan K. Hamilton
9781950301201 $18.99 paper/$5.99 ebook
The Devil Inside is a paranormal romance about angels, devils, and
connections between them. It portrays Mara Dullahan as she follows her
roots and knack for finding corruption in others.
simple: to become Hell's highest Sales & Acquisitions devil.
nefarious mission is when she unexpectedly falls in love with an angel
his life, and begins to act in a manner unbefitting of a devil
special abilities prove to be obstacles to her success in the
readers embark on a journey that ripples through human and
alike. Mara is adept at identifying the intentions and hearts of others
annoyed as she was, Mara could smell the waves of discontent rolling
him."); but, as savvy as she is, she has spent centuries
confronting the fallacies and follies that reside in her own heart.
changes as a result of her illicit relationship and choices. As she
listen to quite a different message, Mara finds her feelings are
not just her life's work, but its devilish philosophy and belief system.
Hamilton creates a fine story that juxtaposes not only issues of good
but affairs of love and the soul.
scenes are vividly portrayed—but so are the emotional connections that
represent a sea change for Mara, testing her options and future alike: "He’d
never pushed her, never asked for anything she wasn’t willing to share,
there was something deep inside her, a crystal pinpoint of light, that
resonated when she touched him."
will find the philosophical and ethical considerations of Mara's
a more complex story than the usual paranormal or romance tale,
tongue-in-cheek humor into the mix as Lucifer gets wind of these events
must craft his own responses to her newfound relationship.
Inside evolves a special set of conundrums, romance and
will find its involving story of angels and devils who are challenged
something that lies in the gray area of their experience and
be satisfyingly unexpected: "There was shuffling and
whispering as the
angels began to disperse, and on the other side there was just as much
whispering as the devils tried to figure how to process what had
playful consideration of an illicit affair that changes more than its
players is not recommended for religious believers without a flexible
humor, The Devil Inside will prove delightfully fun
and intriguing for
those who enjoy interplays between good, evil, and the forces that lie
Return to Index
9781736720271 $28.00 Hardcover
to a quirky travelogue with the atmosphere of Kerouac's classic On the Road paired with a spiritual
component will find Driving Jesus to
Little Rock just the ticket for a rollicking journey into
Valpolicella is on his way from Massachusetts to Arkansas to give a
his book when he picks up a hitchhiker destined to change his
life with a single contention. The stranger claims to be Jesus. And he
have the skill sets that proves it.
raised a devout Roman Catholic. This background and his own questions
story of Jesus lend to a modern-day tale that begins with a healthy
skepticism about this hitchhiker's past: "Nothing,
no part of it, made sense."
generosity and his initial rejection of this modern Jesus leads quickly
self-inspection as he questions not just the truth of his passenger's
but his own motivations for accepting or rejecting the man's words: "A thin filament of guilt was
unspooling behind me as I drove, as if my thoughts were spilling out in
black line. Either So-Called Jesus was dangerously unhinged, or he
he was, I should have notified the police. If he wasn't, I should have
word and given him a ride. For one day. On and on it went, this
interior dialogue, the chirping of an overactive conscience. I wanted
good in the world."
and spiritual reflections permeate the road trip and spice the
between Eddie and Jesus as various conundrums challenge both.
a nice sense of subtle, wry humor at various points of the encounter: "Jesus seemed slightly uncomfortable
with the package. He set it down at his feet, out of my view, and did
eye contact with me. "You're an angel," he said to Anton."
intrigue, and a host of unexpected characters evolve and interact (from
a deer hunter
to a Russian businessman) against backdrops as diverse as an urban
and a rural monastery, readers will especially appreciate the variety
special interests, characters, and unexpected social and cultural
that evolve along the way.
Truly, Driving Jesus to Little Rock is a
multifaceted journey that doesn't neatly fit into a given fictional
Blending spiritual with social inspection, flavoring all with an icing
humor, and making the backdrop a road trip to remember, Merullo creates
engaging pendulum swing of action and reflection that holds the power
entertain and enlighten.
original voice and inspections make Driving
Jesus to Little Rock a highly recommended pick for a diverse
those who like physical journeys to readers who especially appreciate
contrasts in spiritual and philosophical inspections.
Return to Index
978-1-953910-76-9 $16.99 print/$3.99 ebook
Drumossie presents the first book in the
Echoes in Time series, and
opens with a preface set in 1746, during the aftermath of a battle. A
Highlander awaits his demise on the battlefield on Drumossie
Moor. But, he's destined to survive this living hell, and
this will affect generations to come.
present-day Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island, where
Fiona's dreams of terror have just awakened her—for the third time.
used to suffering such vivid dreams, especially of murky threats that
smells and sensations she's never been exposed to. And somewhere in
is a memory of one who meant something special to her...someone she
never encountered in real life.
As the story
M MacKinnon injects history into the story that follows battles,
reawakening, and impacts on future generations. The history of Scotland
to life under her hand as Fiona finds the past not as distant as she'd
and faces a force that changes her present-day world.
As the lives
eighteen-year-old Eilidh MacLean and twin brother Rory (her "partner in
all things") are also explored, M MacKinnon's ability to juxtapose
different people, history, and cross-purposes makes for a moving
is vividly portrayed and hard to put down.
Part of what
these stories come alive is M MacKinnon's descriptive turns of phrase: "Eilidh fell into the chair like a
marionette whose strings have been cut." As Eilidh is
preventing the murder of Prince Charles and other events that will
her world, Fiona finds herself in present-day Scotland, at a gloomy
a body in the cemetery. This portends an investigation of the past that
change everything—especially the isolated life of Ewan MacArthur.
Battle of Culloden echoes through time, and a mystery and an evil force
resurrected that carry four characters into new peril and dangerous
in a bid for freedom that moves from the killing fields of Drumossie Moor to the impact of Eilidh's
choices. These bring love and healing to Scotland's descendants even as
evil awakens with a thirst for revenge.
cultivates the strong ability to smoothly intersect events of past and
juxtapose evolving love with growing evil threats, and present all four
characters in three-dimensional form that lends each a realistic flavor.
choose this title for its murder mystery, romance, or historical
each genre fan will be attracted to and entranced by Drumossie's
vivid story, which pairs well with the psychological
and historical details.
Return to Index
Big Table Publishing Company
Gently at Twilight is a prequel to The Wanderers,
and is a story of chance, love,
interracial friendship, and a ghostly intervention that links two
two families, and two young people.
opens in 1990
Illinois before moving to pastoral Kentucky's Thoroughbred horse world,
offering a focus on the lives of black people in this white-dominated
Black teen Darrell Thomas, whose father works on a Thoroughbred
in Kentucky, is secretly raising an unwanted foal. While he is focused
horse-rearing efforts, his parents are concerned about imparting
skills of how to navigate the white-dominated milieu around them.
contrast is the life and aspirations of Sarah, a 16-year-old white girl
northern Illinois who dreams of owning and showing her young American
different lives and two very different worlds, both connected by a love
horses, receive a fine contrast in Gently at Twilight.
Stewart unfolds the different layers of these worlds, readers are drawn
the lives, objectives, and perspectives of horse-driven families and
individuals who view their legacies in different ways, as well as those
family legacies aren't as structured or fortunate. Many blacks
the horse world in meaningful ways that are under-represented or rarely
discussed; one example being that of Tom Bass, the black horse trainer
19th century story of Rex McDonald.
attraction to David, who thinks that, because of their disparate future
courses, they shouldn't pursue a romance; his request for her to wait
for a year, when their lives will be more settled and determined; and
Quaker community milieu which supports them all comes to life under
important are the challenges to faith (both in the Black church and
community) which lead to uprootings, community changes, and reflections
racism: "God was everywhere. She knew what he meant. She’d
layered hills and the way their colors and shadows changed by the hour
the season. She’d miss the quiet narrow roads she took on her way to
houses for well-off folks in town. She’d even miss a couple of them,
nicer ladies who treated her like an equal. But the truth was, it was
of them, even the nice ones, that she and her family had to tear their
by the roots and move away. Because of white people, her husband and
had to live every minute of their lives like they’d done something
were about to get caught. They were born black, that’s what they’d done
ability to layer and depict these very different peoples and
are part of a greater whole and a broader series of social and personal
concerns makes Gently at Twilight come to life.
reflections on this history connect past and present choices and their
consequences in an enlightening, thought-provoking manner. Zennia
Thomas says: "When
our people figured out they shouldn’t have to be slaves after all—and
white folks agreed with them—well, then, we had this Civil War. And
then, white people just don’t quite know what to do about us. They been
us off on a Trail of Tears ever since. But it’s a different trail. It
all over the country. Big northern cities, little ol’ towns down South
where nobody cares what’s going on, street corners, back alleys,
lots…anyplace they think we got no right to be.”
character maintains connections to the past and considers present-day
readers are drawn into a changing world that rests firmly on the
horses, the Thomas family's true inheritance, and a literal, physical
where the Thomas clan makes a decision that will forever change the
past and present and experiences that haunt black and white worlds
thought-provoking, as is the notion that love proves a solution to
and as well as an impetus for change, acceptance, and, ultimately,
Gently at Twilight is the perfect contemplative story for those
interested in a candid
look at evolving race relationships: "At times Dewayne seemed
their white friends, but always with the same reservations, the same
“They’re not stupid, Darrell. And they like to do things right, just
do. It’s just…” He rubbed his face, closed his eyes. “…it’s
They’ve been believing their own shit about black people so long—that
lower IQ, can’t handle responsibility, or we just got it in us to be
criminals—they got us believing it too. Don’t you fall into that
bright, involving sense of community connections and history and how
descendants are influenced by past perspectives makes for a fine saga
town life, prejudice, and recovery. It will linger in the mind long
Return to Index
The narrator, who could be a "Ronnie Kray
reincarnate," opens the story by holding another man hostage at
in the opening salvo of The Grifter. The timeline
then quickly moves to
three months prior, when the narrator is more an observer than one
action: "Time doesn’t matter
much anymore, ’cept for when
I watch him. No matter how much the police move me on, I have to be
sittin’ in this very doorway every morning. Can’t help it. I don’t
fancy him or
nothin’. Not that there’s nowt wrong with that. But I want what he’s
want the money, the posh suit, my own business, even my own skyscraper
emblazoned with my name in twenty-foot-high letters. I wish it were me
blabbering away on the blower non-stop while I smoke my morning
Important. That’s what he is. People pay attention to him. He’s
busy man. Why else would he need to spend his morning break glued to
iPhone? Funny thing is, in another life, I could’ve been him. We even
same brand, ’cept I had the good sense to give ’em up twenty years ago.
that it helped much. Can’t be Mr Healthy when you’re in my condition."
This early passage perfectly captures the
sense of intrigue and perspective in the voice of a down-and-out
experiences cruelty and promises revenge—only one of the perspectives
cultivated in The Grifter.
When lowly schoolteacher Kent Bancroft fell into a fortune, cruelty
was cultivated alongside his success. Less evident was the kind of
gives rise to generosity and any sense of understanding about the lives
those less fortunate—which is ironic, in this story, in many ways.
trading prowess leads him into dangerous moral, financial, and personal
territory, readers receive a vivid account of blackmail; past, present
future possibilities; and a Machiavellian problem that weaves tendrils
uncertainty and dilemmas into virtually every facet of Kent's personal
Sean Campbell & Ali Gunn cultivate many
surprises in the course of their exploration, which toes the line
thriller, a mystery, and a story of justice and redemption.
Their ability to bring to light different
and possibilities against the evolving scenario of a blackmail scheme
changes everything creates a satisfying interplay between intrigue and
and ethical conundrums. These keep readers not just guessing and
second-guessing, but inspecting their own ideas about justice and
behaviours in financial and personal worlds alike.
Is it enough to get even? To get ahead? Or to
away, escaping into a new life powered by another's financial gain?
Readers who choose The Grifter will
tension exquisitely drawn; its action swift; and its psychological and
concerns a compelling piece of the puzzle. The juxtaposition of other
characters as well as Kent and the grifter are particularly solid
that keep readers thinking about what's worth fighting and dying for.
Return to Index
$23.99 Hardcover; $13.99 Paper; $3.99 ebook
satirical literature and multicultural experience will find the
combination in Lashes
of Lightning makes for a different kind of read. The story
injustices and racism in America from the viewpoint and life of Bijli
an Indian Himalayan girl.
recalls her childhood and the world she came from. It's both a world of
celebration and one in which a polygamous wife abuser and sex maniac's
leads a relative to rescue her and her mother from their home, where
taken to San Francisco to absorb a very different cultural milieu.
maternal uncle and rescuer, Gunanand, passes away, the writings he
behind will supercharge a generation in this story of abuse, recovery,
emerging desire for revenge.
"Gunanand was determined to teach the relative a lesson without any
violence." Sometimes choices towards violence seem the only option, as
Bijli comes to recognize her own rage and decides to direct it as she
creates a compelling novelette that injects Indian and Pakistani
culture into the story of a girl who considers the folklore of her
the spiritual connections it carries, and the influences it brings into
inspections are astutely presented as she cultivates a form of
departs from her upbringing, yet comes full circle to reflect it in
ways: "Bijli encouraged Chaiti, “Just ignore your critics.
You have the
right to free speech. You have the right to debunk religion. Otherwise,
reforms are possible if we don’t protest. Tell them to send their girls
school. Teaching girls how to pray is not going to improve their
Reading, writing, and science would.”
into social inspection in a satisfying manner as readers absorb Bijli
characters who reflect their heritages in different ways.
result is a
compelling story of cultural change, family dynamics, and the struggle
freedom and recovery both within and outside of India that is highly
recommended reading for fiction enthusiasts looking for psychological
social depth from their stories.
Return to Index
Lystra Books & Literary Services, LLC
978-1-7336816-9-8 $15.95 Paperback/$6.99 ebook
challenging to start (or restart) a romance in one's seventies, but Ace
Sinclair attempts the seemingly impossible in The Last First
he invites his former high school sweetheart, J’nelle Reade, to visit
his beach home.
Pam is long dead, and as the story opens, he awaits J'nelle's
uncertainty and trepidation over his intentions and the visit's results.
married. Her husband vanished and is presumed dead. Email communiqués
them renewed connections long dormant, which now appear set to move to
creates a story of new possibilities, angst stemming from past and
experiences, and the evolving late-life relationship of individuals who
are keeping secrets not only from each other, but from themselves.
enjoy razor-sharp inspections of truth and consequences and the impact
decisions on present-day circumstances will especially appreciate the
Bennett takes to allow each character to bare their souls to the other:
was such a believer, so chock full of moral certainty.” “You were
was an arrogant shit, another version of that intellectual arrogance I
in high school. It was a cover.” “For what?” She drops her fork and
her plate. “Insecurity, uncertainty, fear of something, sort of like
I told you about in high school before I met you.”
about the past connect these two disparate lives, each finds within the
reason for better understanding the choices made during socially
times, and for keeping secrets that finally blossom into present-day
anticipate an easy romance will be surprised by the depth and
of this relationship. It also delights in employing the same elements
beyond a traditional romance story to entwine the experiences of two
different individuals facing advanced years in different ways.
broader philosophical reflections on end-of-life and these choices is
revealing and unexpectedly satisfying: "...he was scared—he
well admit it—but it was not of death so much, it was of defeat, an end
desperate illusion that he could escape a reckoning with the great
result is a
powerful novel about endings, new beginnings, and forays into the past
provides a literary examination of hurricanes that batter both the
and the inner souls of those who live in the eye of the storm.
inspection of survival that is vivid in its realistic portraits, and
both the "cling of the past" and the promises of redemption.
contemporary fiction readers will find The Last First Kiss
thought-provoking and evocative.
Return to Index
Bucket Line Books LLC
978-1736346358 $13.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
follows the life of Monica Beresford Wichfeld, who has always lived on
terms. The story cultivates a vivid world of the rich and famous in
where she proceeds to both raise a family and foster an ongoing affair
neighbor—with her husband's approval.
main act to defy convention is still to come: when the Nazis invade her
country, she turns her home into a pivot point for the Resistance and
to allow them to intimidate her or infect her world.
is revealed in a refreshingly candid manner: "There are times
having lived an entitled life prepares one for situations such as
this—situations where others believe they are in control. At such
natural reaction of someone like me is to be momentarily stunned by
daring, followed by getting immediately to the business of reminding
she makes a
conscious decision to stay and fight rather than flee, Monica evolves a
of responsibility motivated by visions of her children's' futures,
her role as an individual who can make a difference against all odds.
is one of
the strongest messages embedded in Monica's War as
confrontations play out and she continually circumvents disaster while
conscious decisions to remain a key player, resisting their powers.
is a war
truly won? Jo Horne encourages readers to think about this and other
revolving around courage, choice, consequence, and the preservation of
moral and ethical compass during periods of conflict and
the reasons why this story feels especially vivid is that its fiction
firmly upon facts about the life of the real Monica Beresford Wichfeld.
Jo Horne adds extrapolations about what her thoughts and feelings would
been, the background of this world and its challenges are all too real.
Wichfeld's courage and efforts are well documented.
for stories of resistance, survival, and personal perseverance against
will find much to relish about Monica's War and its
saga deserves a spot in a wide range of collections; from historical
those that revolve around World War II Nazi resistance techniques.
account that assures that Monica Beresford Wichfeld won't be forgotten.
Return to Index
9781737560012 $16.00 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
More Than the Game is a sports romance centered upon two things: love
Readers who love the sport and also appreciate romance tales will find
story explores female Olympic athletes and their challenges as well as
arena of relationship-building.
Beth Evans settles down to what she thinks will be a quiet small-time
only to find there's more to the game than retirement. Her story opens
the ball field, but with a Twitter blow-up as her late husband's
return fire over an accusation her father has made on social media.
doesn't really use Twitter, but the fallout of these ill-made postings
her anyway, and affects her life.
mother of two has enough on her hands, but life is about to get more
complicated. Beth is drawn into scandal during an unexpected encounter
Twitter bad boy Marc (also an ex-athlete, whose sordid reputation
getting a job in the sports industry).
two seem the
most unlikely to succeed. But, each has cultivated a determination and
strength that attracts the other.
without her husband has helped build her courage and convictions: "It’d
been four years since she buried him; four years since she had been
hide behind the man who protected her. He’d been everything her younger
needed. It was more comfortable, more normal, being Bob’s wife—Beth
it was to be her father’s infamous daughter, Elizabeth Campbell."
enters into a new arena with Marc, lit with fiery encounters and lost
filled with hate, Beth faces yet another struggle to meld her newfound
independence with another's goals.
creates an intricate dance between sports and interpersonal
will satisfy romance readers seeking more action than an evolving
alone. She considers relationships born of obligation that move into
more, the challenge of changing bad images through good intentions, and
influence of role-playing, which brings an extra charge into the
world revolves around these developments and maintains a strong
Marc and Beth let their pasts and future play out. Forced, once, to
what they loved for the sake of romance, each must find a new way to
all their passions, this time around.
of sports into the equation of commitments and sacrifice creates a
excels in emotional and sexual passion. More Than the Game's
inspections of relationship-building and an evolving new sense of self
satisfy romance readers who are also interested in sports and career
Return to Index
Nermina's Chance is a novel of war, violation, and women's lives
during the Balkan War
in the 1990s. It is a stark portrait of survival which brings to mind
shocking circumstances of women's lives in the hard-hitting classic
Women, in which actress Sophia Loren portrayed a woman
protect her vulnerable daughter during a 1940s siege in Italy.
Nermina's Chance, where refugee and survivor Nermina
brutality and atrocities that destroy everything she's loved, and she
to survive both physically and mentally.
As past and present experiences coalesce, Nermina makes her way through a new world and faces different opportunities affected by the traumas she's endured as she strives to keep her daughter, Atika, safe after fleeing her homeland.
the results of her drive for independence and the choices she's made on
of her young daughter, revealing the foundations of her quest to build
life she can even as ghosts of the past haunt her: "Her
from the soapy hot water and her mind re-traces her rationale for
on her own—her choice, she maintains—to stay single all these years.
Just as it
had been her choice to leave Carl out of the equation from the start.
his choice, it seems, to be a father to Atika. Even now. And this is a
thing, a sweet thing like this cake baking in the oven."
classic movie Two Women was a story that focused on
brutality and nodded
to its aftermath and impact, Nermina's Chance
focuses on the survival
and recovery process that affects several generations and results in
that lead to both sadness and happiness.
builds the foundations of family upon the ashes of brutal experience
a compelling story that should be in the collections of any fiction
interested in accounts of survival and the elusive, tricky nature of
to love and trust again.
Return to Index
Readers of World War II history and biographies well know just how much literature competes in this category. But the reason why One Star Away differs from many others lies in Imogene Salva's ability to translate her family's stories of fleeing wartime Poland into a compelling story that juxtaposes family adversity and struggles to survive with the inherent kindnesses of others who allow them to do so.
This is most assuredly not your typical World War II story. Salva unfolds a little-known piece of history through the eyes of her mother Ziuta, who was 8 years old when her WWII odyssey began. The story of Ziuta’s family's arrest and deportation from Poland to prison camps in the Soviet Union and the tale of India's role in refugee politics, a kindly Maharaja's interjection in saving children from far-away Poland, and how a Hindu prince becomes involved in overseas struggles is one that does not appear in most World War II accounts.
While this novel is based on family experience and history, Imogene Salva chooses a format that will gain it a wider audience, building upon the dramatic "you are there" feel of fiction to incorporate all the facts into a story based not just on facts, but on the emotions, responses, influences upon, and values of people in different countries, of all ages and races.
As readers move through a chronological exploration from 1922 Switzerland to 1942 India, there are plenty of tools to help even those with marginal history knowledge with the milieu of these struggles, from maps and a recap of history to a list of characters and a Polish pronunciation guide. All these appear before the prologue in a succinct set-up that places history buffs on even ground with newcomers to these events, places, and peoples.
Kind gestures and religious sentiments blend with teachings about how "The world can be a sad place...greed and desire live in the hearts of many men." In the end, good triumphs over evil in the benevolent gestures of the Maharaja who gives refugee children a safe harbor despite political and social pressures against it, the effects of kindness as a ripple reflected in others is portrayed as a powerful force for change.
This is not just a story of survival. It's a tale of hope, kindness, and the ultimate effects of risk-taking and moral and ethical convictions, all blended into a heartfelt spiritual and social journey that strays far from any anticipated World War II tale of survival.
One Star Away doesn't just deserve a
spot in any World War II
history or memoir collection. It demands it,
prospective and a backdrop largely unexplored elsewhere. It fills in
while providing a fine, engrossing read that captivates on many levels
entertains while delivering its heartfelt messages.
Return to Index
Good Weather Suicide Cult
the sole survivor of a massive suicide cult. You'd think his survival
recovery would be something to applaud; but think again. Tom's been
masterminding these deaths. And there's nobody left alive to defend him.
Reunion of the Good
Weather Suicide Cult is a vivid
story probing the fictional Good
Weather Community and its ultimate statement, but goes beyond the
of one spiritual cult's final message to consider what it leaves behind
way of shattered lives, shocking perceptions, and a survivor's vastly
through the shocking news of the Jim Jones story will find much
this story; but many new insights emerge from it, as well.
include survivor guilt and recovery processes; contrasts between belief
systems, truth, and lies; the motivations behind joining or leaving
communities; and how men become prophets to lead followers down
that ordinarily would seem false, if common sense were applied to the
details Tom's survival process on many different levels; from physical
spiritual and psychological.
investigative detective force certain of his guilt and determined never
until this is revealed and proven, to trips down memory lane, murder
sacrifices, and cruelty, McCord
Tom's multifaceted journey with an astute eye to social inspection and
processes of judgment and redemption alike.
faith at its
best and worst are closely examined, readers receive a
in perspectives and survival traits that contrasts individual and group
decision-making processes and the psychological impacts of both.
interested in spiritual communities, murder mysteries, recovery
group dynamics alike will find Reunion of the Good Weather
hard to put down.
it is in its portrait of Tom's challenges and recovery, it's equally
thought-provoking in its depiction of cult attitudes, social and
response systems, and how survivors and cult members are judged both
that system and outside of it.
reasons and more, Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult
from other fiction about cults as an astute, revealing, and highly
Return to Index
Herbert J. Stern and Alan A. Winter
978-1510769427 $29.99 Hardcover/$19.99 Kindle
Sins of the Fathers represents historical fiction at its best,
revolves around World War
II events, and tells of the efforts of German leaders to engage
in bringing down Hitler in 1938.
that opens in 1936 reviews prior the events in the novel Wolf,
a seamless backdrop for the story that evolves here, as general
pursues the truth: that Hitler is a psychopath, and his rise to power
a disaster that only he may be able to stop: "The French are
Hitler. Half the British Lords support him. The Americans bury their
heads in the sand believing they are protected by two great oceans. And
Jews. My people are crushed between a tyrant determined to force them
and the indifferent world that refuses to accept them. Friedrich, when
comes—and we both know it will—there must be someone inside to help
who can be saved, to help defeat Hitler anyway we can. If not you, then
in 1934 Berlin, readers are carried into a world poised for a coup that
change everything. It takes one prime minister to thwart this coup,
a disaster that comes to life with first-person experiences of an
lives in two very different worlds: "Simultaneously being a
Hitler’s inner circle while working behind the scenes to stop his march
war caused me many sleepless nights. Christmas dinner provided a
and Alan A. Winter take a lesser-known incident of World War II history
politics and uses it to explore the changes and events that affected
outcome of Hitler's rise to power. History buffs will find the use of
person lends authenticity and immediacy to the story, as does the care
capture the atmosphere (both personal and political) of the times.
and lies to betrayal, subterfuge, and the perspectives that paved the
war, Stern and Winter provide a chilling portrait of both military men
leaders and ordinary individuals caught up in a series of events that
lead to a
most World War II books about Hitler's rise to power, Sins of
takes an especially hard look at the social, legal, and political
that contributed to Hitler's rule. Long before the Holocaust actually
there were plenty of warning signs and deliberate decisions made
them. Germany's national physical assault on Jews began on a
social level long before these moments. Sins of the Fathers
outstanding job of documenting these early indicators and influences.
is a story
that should not only be in any World War II collection, but assigned
classes as a prime example of the thought processes and inclination to
dehumanize people to justify genocide that became such a big part of
formula for disaster.
debate, discussion, and deeper insights, Sins of the Fathers
recommended reading as the perfect example of how historical fiction
opportunity for readers to dig further under the emotional layers of
responsibility that led to devastating social consequences for all.
Return to Index
C. K. McDonough
D.X. Varos, Ltd.
978-1-955065-10-8 $3.49 ebook
will attract readers who enjoy historical novels featuring strong women
decisively to build lives and careers for themselves and generations to
The prologue opens in a coal
mining town in Pennsylvania
in 1909, when young Martha and Frederic are exploring their
heritages. C.K. McDonough draws readers into the social and cultural
these times through these young eyes: “Why
don't you like sauerkraut?” Frederic asked. Martha shrugged. “I like
said. “But not every day.” “Would you rather eat potatoes every day?
McMurphy's? Or the Doyles?” Frederic lifted his chin, tented a hand
eyes and looked towards the apex of the street, the steepest section of
patch where the houses were nearly stacked on top of each other. The
This ability to set the
stage with an atmospheric
observation of environment and social norms succeeds in cementing the
influences and attitudes of the first generation that McDonough
this sweeping story.
The second chapter, set nine
years later in 1918 Webster
Hill, Pennsylvania, moves Martha Kraus into adulthood. Here, she
marriage to beau Peter Doyle, whom her father considers a scoundrel.
faces becoming a single mother devoted to her daughter Frances, whose
follows a path that too closely mirrors her mother's mistakes.
McDonough's ability to move
through time to capture and
juxtapose these very different lives makes for a sweeping, yet smooth,
that easily traverses time and place. Her approach brings readers into
different eras in which two women and their families pursue new lives
develop revised perspectives.
Her ability to take five
decades of change and
incorporate them into a story that is satisfyingly filled with social
political observation, yet firmly rooted in the choices and challenges
who evolve into their strengths and roles as influencers of their
From struggles with loss,
grief, and social and legal
challenges to how women become pioneers and trailblazers as social
changed, McDonough crafts a story that is a powerful testimony to
and the ability of hearts to heal and change with the times.
As characters that were "not
raised that way"
rise to the challenges and calls to change their lives and perspectives
propriety and justice, Stoking Hope
moves through and between worlds changed by adversity and courage.
The final message imparted
by women who "never give
up" and never let go of hope is stunningly represented in the
of a story that will delight readers who enjoy American history epics
psychological growth, revelations, and changing lives.
Historical fiction and
women's literature libraries will
find Stoking Hope an attractive
Return to Index
Tides Beneath Unshattered
Unshattered Love: Paris, psychiatrist
Alexandria Belmont well knows the challenge of
traits. Her struggles with the albinism that runs in her
family is part of
not only her life, but the reason why she became a psychiatrist.
A new chapter opens in that
life when her best friend
invites her to join her on a Paris vacation, and she is set to enjoy
experiences. But when Samantha backs out at the last minute and leaves
Alexandria on her own, she enters uncharted waters that test her
resolve to try
something new, as well as challenges to her friendship with Samantha.
The holiday that was
supposed to offer a respite from her
recent divorce becomes a trial in and of itself as Alexandria faces
about not just the solo trip, but being newly single.
She misses her ex-husband,
who was a steady rock in her
life since high school. She also recognizes that she would have bailed
trip were it not for the very person who is bailing on her with the
of "Ms. Unapologetic takes no crap."
However, Samantha is not out
of her life yet. As she
learns new truths about her friend and herself, Alexandria's life
introducing readers to past secrets and new future opportunities.
L.C. Renie is adept at
weaving accounts of intrigue,
identity crisis, romance, and new developments into a story replete
character fragilities and strong commitments.
Readers receive more than a
light development of love in
Paris. It's a tale that considers Alexandria's own well-built barriers
she comes to reveal more of herself to others and herself in unexpected
she becomes much more of a risk-taker than she ever has in the past.
The process by which
Alexandria overcomes many engrained
fears and preconceptions of who she is and her future makes for
involving reading...perhaps as compelling as the head-over-heals
finds herself entwined in.
Unshattered Love: Paris is a powerful probe of matters of the
heart and psyche.
Its ability to take a psychiatrist's growth and evolution to the next
beyond a romantic interest alone lends it a three-dimensional heart
appeal to romance readers looking for more depth than most genre
Return to Index
War II fiction will find War Story a compelling
novel because, unlike
most such fiction which takes place either on the home front or on the
battlefield, this story juxtaposes the changed lives and perspectives
very different characters during the war.
characters are from New Haven, Connecticut. They are a nine-year-old
recalls growing up during the war; an aviatrix who transports war
Allied forces; and an engineering graduate from Yale who foregoes his
become an Army officer, traveling to Britain to become involved with
code and the OSS.
character is a German tank commander captured in North Africa and sent
to a POW
camp in Mississippi.
people from different age groups and walks of life find their purposes,
training, and trajectory changed by a war which leads them to encounter
other in ways peacetime never could have brought about.
very vividly portrayed, lending a "you are here" feel to the story
line: "The peacefulness of the scene ended as a brilliant
explosion shattered the mid-section of the ship opposite them,
of steel into the air. The ship shuddered, then slowed. Horst saw a
hole at the waterline amidships, but all was quiet, as though the
shocked the world into stillness. Then another explosion shook the
flames and thick greasy smoke poured from the deck hatches. The ship
its damaged side, and men clambered to the railings opposite. Horst
explosions like corn popping and blaring horns of the destroyer as it
eastward, making smoke.
is also adept at twists and turns of plot bringing these disparate
into contact with one another, introducing elements of romance and
transformation that requires each to rely on their training,
abilities to not just survive, but contribute to their causes.
humor that peppers these encounters is unexpected and subdued, but
additional surprises in the course of a story that embraces World War
political, personal, and technological challenges.
than most in its genre, is a multifaceted, appealing read that utilizes
characters' very different perspectives and objectives to contrast the
evolution and outcome in realistic, diverse ways.
fiction readers with a special interest in the times, as well as those
appreciate a strongly rooted wartime story, will find War
standout for its depth, contrasts, and ability to mine the field of
for deeper underlying influences and messages.
Return to Index
White Star in
a Red Sky
9781736620304 $19.99 Paper/$7.99 ebook
fiction readers interested in stories that revolve around women's
efforts during World War II will be pleased to learn that A
White Star in a
Red Sky presents women in active combat roles in a story that
the usual depiction of nurses on the front lines.
adds extra dimensions of depth in presenting the unlikely, evolving
of two very different female fighters: 19-year-old Angela Moretti, a
pilot charged with bringing equipment into Alaska for Russian pilots to
into battle; and her Russian counterpart Katya Leonova, a Red Air Force
shared circumstance of both their opposition efforts and the fact that
family members have been killed by the Nazis, Angela and Katya embark
journey that places them in the center of battles on land and air.
first women to fly military aircraft, this story of how these two
strike up a
friendship and join forces above the Eastern Front focuses on gripping,
action-packed descriptions that typically are regulated to male
come to life through their eyes.
with the new-aged Angela's vivid 1992 flashback memory of an air battle.
mother, grandmother, and wife. 49 years later, she's flying back to
Russia in a
very different manner than when she left it. Her memories and
a vivid reenactment of events from a woman's perspective that reviews
source of her rage over the death of her brother at Nazi hands and her
determination to become not just an effective fighter, but one not
his yarn, his background in military history helps satisfy readers who
their characters set against a realistic backdrop. His ability to
woman's heart and mind might seem questionable, at first, coming from a
writer; but the perspectives and insights are impeccable, blending
and overlays into a history that is vibrant and thoroughly engrossing.
Kursk is a historical fact, and Berman is quite clear about separating
fiction from actual events and controversies that still swirl around
historical depiction today. An Afterword proves just as compelling in
roundup as the story itself, providing information many readers won't
previously absorbed elsewhere.
War II stories hold the same themes, familiar-sounding characters, and
descriptions. The women involved in this effort are usually regulated
supportive roles in combat, so it's especially refreshing to see an
action-packed scenario led by women and powered by their friendships,
reactions, motivations, and, especially, their strengths.
factors set A White Star in a Red Sky apart from
the usual World War II
story, incorporating history and fiction in a seamless, compelling
delight readers of military strategy, World War II history, and women's
Return to Index
Days, 900 Photos and Counting
Cresting Wave Publishing, LLC
1 Facebook Post, 7 Days, 900 Photos and Counting
is rich with Chris
Maltby's black and white photos and tells stories in a series of black
white images that reflect Maltby's passion for the medium.
that came through his Facebook feed (to post seven black and white
seven days—images that held no people and came with no explanations)
led to an
unexpected creative effort that resulted in far more than Maltby
be a piece of cake turned into a passion that solidified his attraction
black and white photography: "Black
and white pictures spoke; color pictures objected."
But, 1 Facebook Post, 7 Days, 900 Photos and
Counting is more than just a photo collection (although this
forms the foundation
of the presentation). It's also an artist's notebook explaining how he
take these photos. Herein lays the nuggets of inspirational wisdom that
this production a standout: "If you
ask me, stairs are the most critical part of a building. A ranch house
but a four-story townhouse is fantastic. And a set of sweeping spiral
is…Well, if nothing else, they’re the reason I took this shot the
second I saw
architectural scenarios to a cathedral in Florence on Day 738, Maltby's
observations and insights are creative forces that move beyond
celebrate the reasons why the image stood out and deserved to be
captured: "My silence screams humility. When
looking with stunned eyes. At the magnificence of this cathedral."
powerful synthesis of written word and black and white art that delves
sense of place, purpose, and creative efforts to capture atmosphere and
a speeding car in Oakland, a horse mobile at the San Francisco Airport,
surprising geometry of the Life Sciences Building that is the Annex of
University of California at Berkeley, these artistic representations
delight contemporary artists and enthusiasts of the black and white
Ansel Adams and others who have devoted lives and art to black and
contemporary works of Chris Maltby are not to be missed. 1
Facebook Post, 7 Days, 900 Photos and Counting should be in
contemporary arts library, and should also be considered a foundation
students of modern black and white photographic art.
Return to Index
Chaos: Through Birth and Burnout
Dr. Christy Matusiak
978-1-9772-4379-9 $22.95 Paper/$2.99 ebook
you're a new
parent, welcome to mayhem.
to new parents through baby showers, but there is perhaps no better
provide a mother new to parenting and babies than Coordinating
Through Birth and Burnout, which reviews the survival tactics
key to a
mother and child's survival of the early years of life, after birth.
Matusiak, herself a mother of three, is a holistic physician who has
many a parent for exhaustion. She has developed tried-and-tested,
techniques for returning physical, mental, and spiritual
equilibrium to stressed-out new parents.
ideally will be absorbed before the birth of a
baby, but can be read any
time there is a moment to comprehend their applications and importance.
a system called Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), which "helps
the stress from your past and subconscious beliefs from your body," to
tips and techniques that directly address a mother's physical ability
for her child.
From handling over- and under-supply of milk during breastfeeding to considering homeopathic remedies for common childhood ailments and establishing a good foundation for the successful transition from milk to solid food that is nutritional and well-balanced, Dr. Matusiak addresses and resolves many of the common problems of early child-rearing which tend to contribute a sense of chaos and confusion to new parents.
this book's solid advice on how to care for the entire family to make
chaotic feeling dissolve into one of loving nurture and purposeful,
child-rearing actions that support everyone involved with the new
Chaos should be the gift of
choice at a wedding shower, on the shelves of
health and parenting libraries, and on the radar of new moms interested
making a smoother transition into parenthood.
Return to Index
Starr Regan DiCiurcio
978-1-953910-94-3 $15.99 Print/$5.99 ebook
Interfaith Wisdom for a Postmodern World gathers wisdom from
world's faiths to address a wide audience of both spiritual readers and
who lack such foundations. It is designed to be a far-reaching
appeals to all seeking to identify what is good and beautiful in the
Her book reaches into these
different faiths with an
embracing vision of what elements go into creating a welcoming,
community and a blossoming attitude about being part of this world.
While readers expect (and
receive) a spiritual education,
there are also many connections made to choice, opportunity, and the
of living a more aware lifestyle: "As
adults, our consciousness evolves, and we come to understand that we
inextricably part of the cosmos. We recognize that we bear
our planet...We may begin to choose more responsibly sourced meats,
produce, more vegetarian meals, and vegan options. As we make choices
promote environmental well-being, we nourish our own inner peace, and
arises. It is important to make any small step in the right direction.
steps keep mounting, and the impact of our footprints on the earth
These pair nicely with Starr
Regan DiCiurcio's own
experiences as she visits monasteries and religious communities,
teachings and meditations in many different ways, and comes to realize
wellspring of spiritual thinking and mindful actions stem from new
opportunities to "educate, exchange ideas, support, and encourage."
Sparks represents the pursuit and absorption of these
wide-ranging goals of
living better and being more connected to the divine spirit, teaching
by example, how they can identify their own lessons and connections
Whether the goal is bringing
your days into greater
balance or undertaking a pilgrimage, DiCiurcio paves the way towards
enlightenment in a manner designed to prove accessible and familiar to
from all walks of life and religious belief systems.
appear in new age collections, certainly, but it would be a shame to
audience comes from this segment of population alone. Ideally, Divine Sparks will show up in self-help,
new age, and all manner of faith collections, even in holdings pursued
agnostics or atheists.
Its message is that
far-reaching and that effective,
closely linking life choices and trajectories to objectives for the
Return to Index
$27.00 Hardcover/$17.00 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
Happy Here and Now:
Lasting Happiness You Can Count On
is a basic primer on finding happiness that
delves into how happiness is defined, recognized, and incorporated into
Many books have been written on the subject, but Matt Tracy's differs
with an examination of "where you are now." Without this reference
point, it's difficult to identify, define, and progress to locating
This process acknowledges some of the special challenges involved: "One
problem you might encounter when reading this book is that what works
happiness might sound wrong the first time you hear it. It may go
you’ve been told about success and happiness. What’s true is that the
things that seem like they should make you happy instead make you
things that seem like they will only make you poorer make you happier."
requirement for the successful enactment of Tracy's tips are to keep an
mind and take small steps. His advice traverses how to choose and
life and goals to add a sense of control where there is currently
none, drawing connections between beliefs and action.
how bad and
good experiences are described and identified to learning how to
meaning from life, Tracy takes readers through a host of underlying
affecting the identification and experience of happiness.
from his own life and cements this journey with ideas on how to
important concepts and separate them from less positive words and
result is a
treatise that will best be appreciated by self-help readers willing to
first step towards self-empowerment and cultivating a happier
there is no reaction or change.
to put in the work to self-examine and make these effective transitions
find Happy Here and Now an intrinsic guide to a
process that ideally
needs a roadmap—this book—in order to streamline the goals.
Return to Index
Was Our Man
978-1789043310 $29.95 Paper/$20.99 ebook
He Was Our Man in
Washington: A History of the Obama
Years joins a host of other books
about the Obama era, but offers a difference—it narrows its inspection
key struggles and actions which marked Obama's legacy. Thus, it holds
opportunity to provide in-depth insights where more general Obama
only lightly touch upon these issues.
six areas of
focus are the War on Terror; the legacy of the recession of 2007;
group struggles; the Affordable Care Act; climate change; and
peoples' struggles. Each issue receives its own section and numerous
which outline various aspects of these concerns, often criticizing the
and effects of presidential choices and approaches to the problems: "Obama’s
policy in Libya was the loudest example of a typically quiet approach.
the African continent, AFRICOM spent the two terms of the first black
dotting the landscape with outposts, bases, forward supply positions.
airfields allowed US spy drones to operate, local troops made use of US
equipment and training to hunt down their enemies (or topple their
as was the case with Mali), and US special forces spread themselves
Africa, engaging in some 546 “activities” over the course of 2013
alone, a 217
percent increase from 2008. The sustained expansion of this battlespace
the course of Obama’s presidency, occurring as it did almost entirely
the public’s view, bodes ill for the future."
anticipating a one-sided laudatory review may be stymied by this
treatise, but those who want a more even assessment of not just the
the cons of this administration's decisions will find He Was
Our Man in
Washington offers much food for thought.
important fact is that this book comes heavily footnoted with research
supporting both the history and the author's analysis. This attention
provides not just facts, but more materials for further reading, for
would pursue source materials and statistical references.
result is a
fine, in-depth survey of a wide range of topics, from civil rights to
environmental and political issues which received decisive action and
from the Obama administration.
science readers who would go beyond surface reports to truly understand
political process and influence will find He Was Our Man in
well-researched and thought-provoking analysis, especially well suited
classroom discussion and debate, as well as individual study.
Return to Index
Michael D. McGee, MD
Heal the Hurt: 20
Ways To Ease Emotional Suffering
is a testimony to the power of individual
purpose in the healing process, and discusses the treatment and various
approaches involved in addressing psychological trauma.
cultivates a three-step program that anyone can embark upon, offering
for mitigating past, present, and future emotional pain and its
influence on engrained
responses to life.
sources of emotional pain, but most struggles come from a combination
circumstance and personal response. While many concepts and approaches
outlined here, the foundation of McGee's discussion lies in the
"...all of us suffer from what I call a “Love Wound”—even the
fortunate among us. The only differences between us are the specifics
degree of our individual trauma. This is a wounding of our sense of our
goodness, our interconnectedness to others, and our sense of living in
Universe that has our back. It’s also a wounding of our capacity to
ourselves and others. This Love Wound is the source of tremendous
the world, and only through healing it can we ease our emotional pain."
reveal the connections between these 'Love Wounds' and self-esteem,
support the idea that suffering can lead to strength and a better life
revised attitudes, approaches, and self-inspection. But, this is only
if readers undertake the journey outlined in Heal the Hurt.
anticipate the focus would be on preventing such
hurt, but Dr. McGee
promotes a transformative process that shows how to heal from pain in a
positive manner that doesn't just translate the pain to harmful actions
self and others: "...our harmful actions don’t make us bad
make us harmful people. That’s something that can change with
effort, and support."
on the processes and impact of harming either self or others is covered
chapters which offer the surprise of moving from a self-centered focus
concern for others. This brings readers into an area defined more by
responsibility than self-healing efforts alone.
ourselves, we each have the opportunity to transmit these positive
the world at large. The onus is on the reader to adopt many of the
Dr. McGee covers here; from lovingly holding people accountable to
a sense of unconditional kindness and acceptance and "starting each day
with an intention to love."
ultimate message in a self-help book that will make a difference not
the approaches of readers, but for the greater good. This is the reason
the Hurt is recommended above others: it offers a broader
the experience, purpose, translation, and reflection of pain on both an
individual and social level.
Return to Index
Healing the Stormy Marriage
R. Christian Bohlen with Helen M. Bohlen
Carpenter's Son Publishing
Healing the Stormy
Marriage: Hope and Help for YOU When Your Loved One Has Mental Health
Addiction Issues is highly recommended reading for
insights on successful marriage and family life. It reviews the kinds
marital situations revolving around mental health that can lead to
doubt and interpersonal conflicts.
If this sounds like the book
is another general marital
advice guide, be advised that Healing the
Stormy Marriage narrows its focus to the addiction and
mental health issues
that affect relationships rooted in
belief, in particular. This different
focus is refreshing: "Most adults with mental
illness are in a
close relationship with a loved one—someone like you. This book is
for you, their spouse."
thesis of the book is clear: "If spouses of the mentally ill
addicted can be spiritually strengthened and learn practical things
they can do
independently, more marriages can be saved."
Another big plus is that the
authors have lived through
these experiences and lessons, and inject their different perspectives
individually and in their own marriage) into the case history examples.
perspective supports psychological and spiritual approaches to
adding an authoritative note that backs statistics with personal
validate the applications of the psychological and spiritual principles
The authors advise taking in
the first chapter, then
skipping around the book, choosing subjects that resonate from such
headings as "My Hopes for My Life Are Unraveling" and "My Needs
Are Not Being Met."
Those who live with mentally
ill spouses well know that
each heading represents a main topic of concern and struggle. This
will welcome admonitions that embrace the realities and spiritual
Take the insights about
boundaries, a common
psychological discussion, for example. This is neatly wound into
beliefs in a way that psychological perspective alone can't fully
address: "Setting boundaries is one of the
hardest things you will have to do, but it’s also what God does with
us. It is
right and it is necessary. When the people of Israel went too far, God
significant consequences. When His people failed to establish
their neighboring nations, they ended up in dire straits, felt
were ultimately destroyed. I promise you that if you will set and
boundaries with love and do your best to apply flexible judgment with
of the Holy Spirit (not based on whims and bad moods), you will
order and stability enter your relationship—or it will become clear
The added value of Biblical
quotes, spiritual discussion,
and Christian analysis melds nicely with the traditional advice that
marital analysis and different communication avenues. All this offers
inspiration to Christians who seek faith-based solutions to their
Christians who want a very
different form of marital
advice guide that embraces the special challenges of mental illness and
communication issues will find Healing
the Stormy Marriage a unique discussion. It addresses topics
general marital advice books often fail to consider.
Return to Index
Hold My Place
Black Spot Books/Vesuvian Media
9781645481003 $15.95 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
Horror fans who enjoy
novellas and shorter works that
pack a punch with fewer words than many will find Hold
My Place a satisfying blend of romance and ghost story. It
holds the appeal of the classic Rebecca,
but is entwined with an unexpected sense of wry humor and observation.
The first-person narrator is
a librarian. And before you
think "dull," keep in mind that Sigrun cultivates an interest in the
paranormal that defies the usual image of the mousy, shy librarian
"I have a weakness for paranormal
romance. So what? Librarians have the most degenerate taste in
is. Why do you think we’re forever trumpeting the cause of banned
Sigrun is deeply attracted
to a beautiful man and
initially redirects her passion into a gourmet cooking class, where "Here I am, two weeks later, abusing
beignet dough in a class of nine other no doubt equally infatuated
Despite all her reading of
paranormal literature, she
never anticipated that this man's entry into her life would bring with
threat that rivals any of the reading she's done on the subject.
As readers move into the
events that unfold during the
course of this ill-fated romance, they will find Cassondra Windwalker a
opponent to the genre's often-formula productions. Hold
My Place is anything but ordinary or predictable, despite its
firm roots in the horror world.
Part of the reason why this
works especially well is Windwalker's
creation of a feisty character unafraid to expression her passion in
ways, already savvy in the possibilities of the paranormal world, and
vulnerable to its lure and challenges.
This flawed hero brings all
the events to life using a
brevity of words and nicely paced action that draws readers in, leaves
laughing at unexpected descriptions, and creates a compelling story
Readers who look for well-balanced blends of horror, passion, and unexpected humor will find that Hold My Place cultivates a sassy sense of fun that is a satisfying alternative to more staid and predictable genre reads: “So let me see it,” he insisted as soon as we’d put our lunches away and switched on the lights. For a second, I stared at him blankly, wondering how he could have known about the photo book in my bag. “The ring,” he exclaimed impatiently. “Come on. It can’t be like you’ve had many chances to show it off. I still can’t believe you up and got married to a stranger I hadn’t approved of during quarantine. You do know everyone else is getting divorced, don’t you?” I shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a strict nonconformist.”Hold My Place
Return to Index
I Quit! The
Life-Affirming Joy of Giving Up
New Degreee Press
$29.99 Hardcover/$19.99 Paper/$9.99 ebook
raised with the admonition to not be a quitter in life; but I
Life-Affirming Joy of Giving Up presents a different
viewpoint as it
illustrates how, sometimes, giving up is actually the best thing to do.
associate the call to quit with work, but Coonoor Behal extends the
to habits, self-identity, relationships, and goals and aspirations to
broader view of what it means to re-assess one's direction and choose a
different, better path.
change or question their set course may find many of these concepts
It's not in the nature of most to reconsider their trajectory once a
been set and time and effort put into staying the course.
provides many keys to understanding definitions of achievement and
pointing out when it's time to quit and make a change, and how to
unfold, they provide a blueprint for this reconsideration process with
case histories that reinforce the idea that "Sometimes our
endure failure is much larger than we know." She also links
concepts to white supremacy cultural edicts. This approach offers much
thought for not just self-help circles, but social and cultural issues
culturally inclusive focus embraces and contrasts the experiences of
different cultures. One example is her survey of family relationships
and what these
mean in different ethnic groups, and how "dysfunctional normal" is
different not just in families in different cultures, but from friends
provide far more depth than the usual psychological survey, giving
insights about the process of not just re-envisioning life, but
the underlying cultural and social prejudices that dictate a belief
course, or the definition of what constitutes success.
I Quit! The
Life-Affirming Joy of Giving Up
should be digested slowly. It's a much
wider-ranging survey than most will anticipate, and provides
of Western traditions and concepts that should be part of any
values, cultural differences, and the importance of quitting
routines to take risks that lead to better outcomes.
Return to Index
978-0-85719-899-0 $29.95 Hardcover/$18.95 Kindle
The Untold Story of the World's Biggest Con is not
travelogue, but a financial review that ideally should be in any
international business or economics collection. It explores the
history of Iceland's 2008 financial collapse that took down the
economy, and the author, Jared Bibler's, livelihood. It almost
Secret was able to be published to expose an underlying con
game in its
entirety is testimony not only to the perseverance of Bibler in
truths and facts, but to a writer who captures not just the financial
social, political, and cultural milieu of the nation and its responses:
"The national political mood has also
hit rock bottom during these past months. The politicians in power
run-up to the crisis at first refused to step aside and call for new
The heads of the central bank and the FME itself similarly refused. But
mobs gathered daily in the frigid cold of downtown Reykjavík all winter
They banged loudly on pots and pans, carrying banners and chanting
front of the Alþingi (parliament),
every day for months."
Even more absorbing than the
financial secrets themselves
are the reactions of Iceland's people and government to the biggest
crisis in its history. These elements support a story that is
revealing, adding the personal touches needed to make it accessible and
appealing even to readers without any prior understanding of the 2008
From stock market
manipulations to Bibler's personal
involvement in a high-profile investigation, readers receive an
tempered by the reactions of citizens and officials around him.
These elements contribute to
that is powerfully presented and
tailored to appeal to a wide audience; especially those involved in
circles, whether they trade in the stock market, are involved in
regulations and processes, or are facing moral and ethical
Secret is recommended for financial collections, anyone
interested in Nordic
modern history and affairs will find it an exceptional read. Unlike
business books, it's very accessible to the lay reader and even
sense of intrigue and action that makes it a top recommendation for
general-interest collections, as well.
Return to Index
Kicking Ass in a Corset
University of Iowa Press
Ass in a
Corset is a leadership guide that stands out from the crowd
with a focus
that uses the women of Jane Austen's most popular novels as examples of
It outlines six core
personality strengths (confidence, pragmatism,
diligence, integrity, playfulness, and humility) demonstrated by
characters and links them to such leadership attributes as choice,
determination, perseverance, and flexibility.
Readers might think that a
prior familiarity with Jane
Austen's books and characters would be a prerequisite for appreciating
approach, but Andrea Kayne assumes no such grounding, revealing the
between leadership and personality traits with a survey that explains
everything and leaves nothing to doubt.
The question "What would
Jane do?" under
various common leadership challenges is steady throughout the book as
of her heroines are juxtaposed with portraits of typical leadership
Even more importantly, women
receive a modern vision of
the empowerment process that guides them from their innate female
life to revised, better approaches to adversity that are grounded in
feminine instincts and the real world.
The process and
characteristics of developing resilience
and perseverance, and how Austin's characters reflect this in the
their confrontations, growth, and changing lives, serve as powerful
how these evolutionary processes translate to modern mindful approaches
and leadership alike.
Case history examples of
these transformations accompany
specific, clear instructions on how to incorporate these traits into
existing lifestyle and problem-solving: "In
order to put more (humble) Emma in your life, constantly be willing to
from an internal place of openness and humility rather than project and
misbelieve fixed perfection. Admit that you could be wrong, and don't
have the answers, and be open and willing to learn from those around
There's also an added bonus,
for literature readers: Jane
Austen's works can be viewed, discussed, and written about in quite a
light than the usual literary analysis offers.
The result is recommended
for business and leadership
self-help readers...and should also be included on the reading lists of
studying Jane Austen's works and characters. This different approach to
writings will be thoroughly appreciated, and their link to modern times
dilemmas opens new opportunities for reflection and discussion.
Return to Index
Make a Difference with
Mental Health Activism
Terri L. Lyon and Trish Lockard
Life At The Intersection Books
Many situations in life seem
to hold no promise of change;
but Make a Difference with Mental Health
Activism presents a different view. The book advocates for
power of engaging with community to make a real difference in peoples'
influencing social issues.
Because America's mental
health system is currently a
mess doesn't mean that empowerment and change aren't possible. Indeed,
foreword by journalist and mental health activist Pete Earley, the onus
change is placed squarely on the shoulders of the reader: "There should be no shame in having a mental
illness, only shame
in not helping someone who does."
Terri L. Lyon and Trish
Lockard's audience can be those
with mental health conditions themselves, friends and loved ones, or
caregivers. Anyone cognizant of the issues involved in mental health
and management will find book inspiring and a call to action: "Activism could be the difference
between continued stigma, lack of parity, and shame of those with
disorders and advanced awareness, increased services, and emotional
The time for change may be
now, but the question remains
as to how that change can happen. The authors address this central
presenting profiles of ordinary people who used their diverse abilities
a difference in mental health care.
In one example, video
producer and comedian Christina Wolfgram
used her abilities to
transmit messages and empower others while struggling with her own
other cases, a crafter sold products and donated to a cause. The book's
is that anyone - including actors, musicians, and a range of creators
their skills to contribute to mental health advocacy. You don't have to
policy wonk. Make a Difference
with Mental Health Activism demonstrates that there is no
single route to
How much can you make a
difference? You'd be surprised.
From understanding change is achieved from specific actions to
overlooked or under-utilized activism methods for the greatest
this is not just an idealistic presentation, but a pragmatic analysis
efforts which can really work, given the right insights, backgrounds,
attention to detail.
This presentation is
concise, but powerful. It also
proves one needn't have a weighty tome of contacts or an advanced
order to make a difference.
A proverb says, "Better
to light one candle than to curse
with Mental Health Activism offers that guiding light of
analytical acuity, and positive perspective that encourages readers to
responsibility for transmitting mental health messages to the world,
includes plans on how to stay motivated, engaged, and empowered during
No social or political
issues collection (as well, of
course, as those strong in psychology) should be without this book,
provides an opportunity to hone personal empowerment in the face of a
social and health conundrum in modern America.
Return to Index
Kimberly V. Dwyer, Ph.D.
Dwyer Psychological Services, PC
978-1-7373253-1-4 $9.99 Kindle
Transforming the Everyday to Claim Calm and Reduce Stress is
reading for new age and self-help audiences who want specific
reduce daily stress and develop a mindful approach to living in a
world. It offers keys to adding meditation into daily routines with the
purposeful goal of "claiming calm."
It's that simple...and, as
Dr. Dwyer points out, it also
can be that complicated to achieve without a road map for success, one
strengths of Mindful Mondays.
Herein lays a guideline for
success that goes beyond
teaching how to meditate, outlining what can be absorbed during that
process: "Sitting with feelings may also lead
the realization that some of our feelings, especially anger, can be
and not reflective of our soul’s deepest longings."
The tools for achieving a
more mindful state are
juxtaposed with analysis of the possibilities inherent in this
help direct readers towards a new response to stress.
Each chapter outlines the
"what and the why" of
the process. Each considers the definition of goals, success, and their
ultimate impact on one's life perception and trajectory. Each also
outlines how to get to these places using exercises to help readers
connect with their values and priorities in life.
Even more importantly, Mindful Mondays takes the guesswork out
of developing clear
intentions, moving beyond the concept of mindfulness alone to consider
opportunities apply to and appear in everyday living.
More so than most books
about either mindfulness or
meditation, Dwyer's specific approaches represent keys to understanding
to important takeaways. Fill-in pages for action, implementation, and
realization invite hands-on self-help readers to journal their progress
feelings in a logical progression of self-assessments throughout the
The result is a collection
of strategies synthesized into
small chunks of achievable goals that will lend to even the busiest
will reach both newcomers to meditation and mindful concepts and those
seasoned, who want a game plan accessible to a busy lifestyle. It
should be in
any new age, self-help, and psychology collection as a solid game plan
positive directions and growth-inducing habits.
Return to Index
Thales of Argos
$19.99 Hardback; $12.99 Paperback; $3.99 ebook
The Mystery of
Christ: The Life-Changing Revelation of
the Great Initiate will reach
Christian and new age spirituality readers alike with its travel
and experience, translated
Russian by Alexander Gerasimchuk, with John Woodsworth.
"born in the period after the 1917 Russian revolution in the city of
Odessa, Ukraine," holds powerful meaning for modern audiences as it
traverses the world of Thales, the Great Initiate of the Theban
whose experiences chart a foray into mysticism and spirituality that
might initially dismiss as fantasy.
past these initial fantastic reflections ("I, Thales of
Argos, was left
alone with my Wisdom. I delved into my past, I remembered everything
in the Great Atlantis. I bravely soared to the Highest Planes of
audaciously set out to fathom all the secret teachings. I knew that if
not call the Goddess, I would never make my way out of this temple,
those who had descended here before me had failed to escape.")
for a treat, because Thales offers a blend of mysticism, Christian
philosophy and spirituality that is vividly portrayed and unique.
experiences of those who saw Christ with their own eyes? This story
deeper questions of belief, responsibility, and choice: "You
now been abandoned by your protector and left face to face with your
alone, must find your own way out of the situation. Though the Great
of the Theban Sanctuary, Thales of Argos, has comprehended Truth
cannot convey it to you, for Truth is not something that can be
imparted — it
must be comprehended."
mystery are unparalleled and provide Christian and new age readers with
glimpse into the past as it discusses the enigma of Jesus the Nazarene,
ancient spiritual texts and experiences, and narrates the Crucifixion
Resurrection using poetic, evocative language unequalled in any other
observations of Thales of Argos and his reflections on spiritual
past lives, and Christian connections to some of the greatest questions
times creates a powerful account that should be considered a mainstay
Christian literature, history, or spirituality collection.
experiences of Thales of Argos are especially recommended for
debate and discussion groups, where their interpretation and
promise a lively discourse, indeed.
Return to Index
Fast Company Press
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
Capitalism: Rethinking Money to Reshape
Society and Pursue Purpose draws
important connections between the pursuit of money and financial
the concurrent lack of time to consider bigger-picture thinking such as
life purpose. It should be included in college-level classroom
economic and social issues.
standards on how money is generated, allocated, and used come under
scrutiny in a book that promotes giving money's power back to the
different ways that afford more time for addressing societal issues and
challenge of better living for all.
a startling contention to support, here—that the capitalistic model has
outgrown its usefulness, and needs to be transformed.
challenge and stymie those accustomed to traditional economic arguments
supporting capitalism's longevity and meaning, Dondi then undertakes
daunting task of identifying issues ranging from how money flows from
and banks to move through consumers' hands, to what can be done to
and make the process more effective.
illustrates that our current system is simply too cumbersome. He puts
practical ideas for a more agile and nimble way to allocate money: "Monetism
is a much more present response, with its injections of permanent money
counter-inflation taxes. It lets us better manage the economy with
nudges, like changing counter-inflation taxes on specific products,
blanket, preventive moves like raising interest rates. Put differently,
are piloting a boat at night and have only a hand-torch to light your
would you rather be in a responsive motorboat or the Titanic?"
than maintain that money is being grossly mismanaged. He provides the
concepts, and blueprint for alleviating these problems at many
general-interest readers, from consumers to high school students,
will benefit from Dondi's examination,
it's the economics student who stands to gain the most from this
book...especially those involved in discussion groups and debates on
needs Outgrowing Capitalism.
paves the way
towards new opportunities based on new ways of thinking about monetary
allocation, use, distribution, and systems supporting all levels of
and does so in a way that blends history, economics, and social issues
inviting, revealing, refreshing and bold manner.
Return to Index
Two Fine Crows Books
9781736525814 $7.99 Kindle/$20.00 Paper
Quickwater Oracles: Conversations and Meditations
is not a series
of life admonitions, as is usually the case with meditative literary
a poetic channeling of intuitions and experiences into creative
introspection, and broader understanding.
these experiences to delve into many issues of life, from explorations
unconditional love to the process of becoming a writer and capturing
truth and wisdom.
through nature, self, and philosophical contemplation, Thompson brings
a vivid set of memories in words that will resonate with readers.
typical imaginings or explorations. Thompson offers many surprises, as
piece narrated from the point of view of horse Lucky: "Here
is this place, this air, the smells of this particular time,
and I Lucky am merged too with this. It’s the wind here now. Wind
much land. And smell of grass. New grass. And it goes forever. We can
forever. And we, we, we enjoy this sun. It was hard in winter with ice
but now, now is best time! All of us around all of us. And there is
than horse. We are cloud and cloud shadow moving and we are all the
all colors, smells. We are smells. It is much space here. Water too
quick water. I Lucky am not wanting to talk. I am liking the wind and
moving and the wind blows the bugs away. But I am not joy in having you
anyone on my back! Yes, it is a bonding when a horse and a person know
another for a long time, but that is a different thing."
illustrates that Thompson's choices of language and punctuation in this
may not always embrace the usual literary precision of form and
accuracy, but often set aside more staid choices in the interest of
freer-flowing form of expression.
you" is one of the many messages Thompson imparts about the creative
process. Her admonitions and insights support every writer's effort to
not just others, but especially themselves: "There
is nothing wrong with enjoying that feeling of creating, expressing,
connecting — having your creative work be transformative, magical,
There is an “Aha!” when someone reads your words, or when they hear and
experience through your presence. There is nothing wrong with wanting
your work connect with those who are in affinity with it. That is fine!
say, just release what is finished and let it go. And turn
back to doing
what gives you joy."
While Quickwater Oracles should be considered
for literary collections, this added value makes it a recommended pick
philosophy, self-help, and creative writers and readers, as well.
voice, the unconventional pieces that eschew propriety for passion, and
many insights into personal power and integrity that support these
are poignant, revealing, and powerful.
Oracles will reach a wide,
diverse audience with its rich, joyful channeling of nature, purpose,
spiritual, spirited reflections.
Return to Index
Raising Humans With Heart
Isabella Media Inc.
Heart: Not a How-To Manual lives up to its name, providing a
parents of toddlers to teens which illustrates the concept of having heart and connects it to leading
a good life.
Many an adult will find this
holds surprising lessons for
them; not just about past childrearing pros and cons, but in its
human development: "Decades later,
we still haven't figured out what kind of parenting leads to optimal
development, but we're getting closer and know that connection and
Sarah MacLaughlin explores
different parenting styles,
their impact on the entire family, and how kids feel and process
discussions about creating inclusive communities, subconsciously
relationships and teachings, and normalizing gender and sexuality
provide thought-provoking inspections of conscious and unconscious
either lend to or detract from building big-hearted kids.
From identifying and
acknowledging stories of
victimization and powerlessness and changing them, to developing a more
conscious perspective of what it means to have a heart, MacLaughlin
the nuts and bolts of embracing diversity and gratitude. This will
only a child's training, but the entire family's interactions.
Perhaps this is the greatest
difference between Raising Humans With Heart
books appealing to parents. It's not a "parenting" book, per se, but
an inspection of the intrinsic belief systems and approaches to life
us better humans.
Those seeking an
instructional guide to better overall
living and social interactions, beginning with kids, will find Raising Humans With Heart the perfect
starting point for fostering a better world.
Return to Index
been written about the challenges of recovering from brain injury, but TBI
or CTE: What the Hell is Wrong with Me? takes a different
comes from an ordinary guy who tackles the results of a deteriorating
the result of his history of sports concussions.
books outline the physical challenges of brain injury's effect on
functions, Tullius provides a different focus on the mental effects of
injury, from addiction to emotional instability and depression. He
identifies, and overcomes all these challenges, and this approach
health inspection that stands out from the many brain injury books
the market today.
follow his journey, one early standout statement is that his issues
immediately connected to a particular injury. Indeed, tests showed
initially at least, he quickly recovered from head trauma in his youth:
when I was fighting and playing football, I worried about weeklong
and speech problems, but I seemed to bounce back from all of them. The
to my head had been in 2004 and I felt fine, my high scores on the
brain-training app Lumosity proof enough that somehow I’d made it
The fact that these old injuries have lasting
impact that changed his life, psychology, and abilities is only one of
hard-hitting truths revealed in the course of his life.
If there's one book that should be read about brain damage in football players and MMA
fighters and its long-term impact, it's TBI or CTE: What the
Hell is Wrong
with Me? It emphasizes aspects of the issues that are
brain injury sports coverages that only consider the immediate
researches not only the issues, but what he can do to improve his
life, readers receive many thought-provoking assessments of the lasting
of sports injuries: "The cumulative brain trauma makes me a
candidate for dementia and was likely responsible for my spotty memory."
As he reviews poor and good choices and anger
issues, exposing and exploring correlations
between traumatic brain injuries and cognitive and behavioral problems,
receive much insight into the effects of these injuries which hold
ramifications not only for those with a history of sports involvement,
anyone who has suffered brain trauma.
important are the techniques Tullius pursues to mitigate or alleviate
lifelong impact of his early activities.
an autobiography about martial arts or mental development, TBI
or CTE: What
the Hell is Wrong with Me? is essential reading for anyone
brain health and recovery processes.
road map of experience that is unparalleled in health literature,
thought-provoking assessments and hope to all ages who either
sports or are recovering from head injury. It should be in any health
collection, as well as in libraries strong in memoirs containing deep
Return to Index
This Is How You Vagina
Nicole E. Williams, MD
Greenleaf Book Group Press
Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You
Shouldn't Call it That should be
in every women's health library as a unique blend of medical history,
and discussions of vagina health.
older may well recall Our Bodies, Our Selves, the
women's health information which appeared decades ago and become a
Is How You Vagina takes women's health
information a notch
further in considering modern concerns against the backdrop of past
From changing ideas about what treatments and approaches are useful to
vaginal health to common conditions and concerns that range from moles
itching, birthing, and orgasms, this book covers any subject related to
vaginas. It provides an easy juxtaposition of historical treatments and
From self-exams and understanding abnormalities
versus normal differences to pharmacological
treatments for various conditions and considering racial differences in
health quality, This Is How You Vagina leaves nothing to
wonder; whether it's the political impact of women's health decisions,
Dr. Williams provides particularly astute
observations of these approaches which will reach health discussion to
issues classes with thought-provoking, bigger-picture-thinking
White and Black women alike are afflicted by anxiety and depression
subjugated for centuries, Black women deal with the added indignity of
seeming to care or even believe we are in pain. So when we present with
symptoms of anxiety, depression, or pain, we receive a different
White women. Why? Vaginalisms that have developed throughout the
solidified our otherness into easy to quantify categories and thus
our very humanity."
references and research notes linked to each chapter at the end of the
provide plenty of supportive background material for further reading,
political and social messages embedded in it provide invaluable keys to
reconsidering many myths and points of misunderstanding about women's
and how they function.
Readers expecting another medical approach
will find This Is How You Vagina far wider-ranging,
which is why it
deserves a place not just in medical and women's health holdings, but
collection addressing the social issues surrounding women's bodies,
well-being, and the history and politics affecting them.
Return to Index
Steve Fredman, MD
9780578883175 $14.95 Paper/$11.99 ebook
there's a reasoned history of modern health care processes and how we
at this tipping point of modern times, in Understanding
Modern Health Care: The Wonders We Created and the Potholes We Dug.
The coverage comes from a
physician who reviews the
challenges of building a healthcare system that addresses a wide range
and needs. It begins in the late 1700s with discoveries that would
foundations of healthcare promises and challenges.
At each step of the history,
Dr. Fredman covers how
initial concepts were fostered, promoted, and came to be interpreted in
in general; as well as the political, economic, and medical forces that
the crux of healthcare manifestos.
From an early dentist who
introduced anesthesia, to
patents covering treatments, discoveries are explored and dovetail with
Fredman's own process of becoming a doctor and navigating modern
From Holland and Russia to
the formation of the World
Health Organization, Medicare, and other entities, Dr. Fredman
history, his own experiences, and the changes which advanced another
healthcare regulation into moral and ethical considerations over how
people were and are treated.
From hormones to transplants
to the development and
deployment of medical devices, the entirety of this historical
sounds extensive and daunting...but, off-putting it is not.
Modern Health Care's weave of personal encounters with
medical options and
bigger-picture thinking about the history and choices that went into
systems and their availability creates a memorable and informative
clearly documents both the achievements of the industry and the
fallen into along the way.
Readers who want a well-reasoned history combined with an assessment that is accessible and thought-provoking will find Understanding Modern Health Care essential reading.
It provides the first step
in understanding the
influences on the system we navigate today, as well as an overview of
modern medicine developed. Its historical connections to real-life
promote an understanding that is needed among not just healthcare
Return to Index
father as a quiet, unassuming man. What he didn't know was a
only emerged 20 years after his father died and he began uncovering
documents that revealed quite a different alter ego.
They Didn't Burn: Uncovering
My Father's Holocaust Secrets is
eye-opening, to say the least. Its different Holocaust story portrays a
shaken by Nazi secrets uncovered as a black legacy which are, now,
with the world in a book that belongs in any definitive collection of
The Nazis burned everything,
to bury this world. And, "When they couldn’t
burn any more
people, they set about burning the records and documents to hide their
What they didn’t burn was a paper trail that tracked the man’s journey
ghettoes, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches, and more.
burn the hidden records that revealed surprising and painful incidents
never talked about—at least not to me, his son."
That Laytner saw fit to
bring these buried papers to
life, adding to the world's record about camp life and survivor choices
experiences during the Holocaust, is testimony to a strength of
resolve that gives the world more information and insights on that
survival and the legacy of truth passed between generations. Truths
are still coming to light through revelations and sharing.
Laytner embarked on a
personal investigative journey to
prove his father's unlikely stories authentic. This quest led him to
revelations about his father and the choices he made.
The Nazi documents were
uncovered by Laytner, many
from musty town hall and museum archives in Poland, Germany, Israel and
Readers might wonder at the
need for exposure now,
generations after Holocaust events. No other author explains this
effectively as Laytner, in his introduction: "After
Dad’s death, and especially after my mother’s passing seven
years later, I felt their stories fading like family snapshots in a
Our children may know who they are, intellectually. However, they will
speak Yiddish, the lingua franca of my parents’ generation. They will
have a Grandpa Joe or a Grandma Helen as links to a world long gone.
very important was being lost."
It helped that Laytner was a
former journalist. This
provided him with the research background and keys to embarking on his
expedition, and also made the evidence he uncovered more of a vetted
As he seeks corroboration and truth, readers become immersed in a
combines a family probe, a memoir, and a historical review under one
Black and white sketches,
photos, and copies of the rare
documents themselves pepper the narrative, which is often painful: "A dull weight compresses my sternum,
making it hard to take in air. I study the Gothic typeface legalisms,
boxes and fill-in-the-blank spaces, the multiple signatures and
approvals, all the bureaucratic gloss to whitewash utter barbarity. Dad
spoke of this official torture. Yet again, I realize I know more about
camps than the man."
Much Holocaust literature
assumes familiar scenarios,
events, and insights. It's refreshing to see a coverage that takes
different turn as a reporter son's investigations return more
details about Nazi camp management, politics, atrocities, and impact
own father could have realized.
This depth, authentic probe,
and its special form of
presentation which embraces the author's emotions at uncovering these
evidence create a memoir and history like no other Holocaust story.
They Didn't Burn: Uncovering
My Father's Holocaust Secrets is
essential for any collection that seeks a different perspective on
events. More so than most books on the subject, it juxtaposes the
the political, psychological, social, and moral and ethical issues
survivors and Nazi executioners alike.
Its eye-opening impact makes
unparalleled, powerful, and essential reading that will ideally prompt
and group studies about Holocaust survivors and Nazi experiences.
Return to Index
9781948221153 $26.99 Hardcover/$12.99 ebook
You've Got Red On
You: How Shaun of the Dead Was
Brought to Life is a highly
recommended read for horror film enthusiasts in general, those
British productions, and Shaun of the Dead viewers
clear history of the making of this film and its unexpected meteoric
fame against all odds: "The chances that the movie would get
alone be a success, were slim. There was no guarantee that Pegg’s
fame would translate into box-office takings, and Wright’s sole
the comedy-Western A Fistful of Fingers, had been released for just one
a single London cinema almost a decade earlier. British horror films
rarity at the time, and zombie movies had long fallen out of fashion."
the film was an out-of-the-box production that defied all rules; from
notion of what made a best-selling horror production to the budget
such a venture. Interviews with director Edgar Wright, the cast of
others involved in scripting and production lend an insider's depth to
story, which traverses not just the making of Shaun,
but the milieu of
the British film industry of the times.
choreography and music to rehearsal experiences, Clark Collis lends a
"you are here" flavor to his coverage, which is backed by the
strength of its interviews: "Hewitt-Davis spent a day at
Tim Chipping and some of the other actors playing zombies, working out
undead should fall down in the film. 'We hadn’t quite figured out how
would react to being shot,' says Chipping. 'We had a big empty studio
a huge crash mat in it where we could just fall continually. There was
attempt to have us do spectacular falls. In the end, it was like, no,
funny about them is [that] they just crumble; they don’t know they’ve
shot. So each of us then had a workshop of how we would fall when we
It was like a really good drama lesson with everyone taking a very
seriously, where you go, ‘Maybe you would be more floppy.’”
photos from the movie and behind-the-scenes production liberally pepper
account, bringing it to life with visuals that capture its nuances,
lies in its candid portraits of problem scenes, creative solutions, and
interactions between production members: "David Dunlap argued
the shot, believing that it would eat up too much time and not benefit
film. 'To sustain that shot for as long as was originally intended, it
just die on the screen,' says the cinematographer."
prior interest in horror filmmaking and Shaun of the Dead
requirement for complete enjoyment of this title. Readers with such an
affection, as well as media studies and filmmaking students, will find
depth and details both educational and satisfying, making You've
Got Red On
You highly recommended not just for individual enthusiasts,
but any film
studies library collection.
Return to Index
978-0-578-94488-3 $12.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
Ambrielle faces "veiled monsters" in her mind in the opening
sentences of Bewilderness—but the real problem is
that she doesn't
recognize her surroundings, has no idea where home is or how to find
must take the risk of leaving what appears to be a safe haven if she is
regain her memory and sense of place and purpose.
isn't hers. It's a label given to her by the alien who discovers her in
desolate world of sand dunes and oddities.
must be a
dream. But, it's not. As Ambrielle slowly pieces together the many
pieces of her life and begins to understand her new environment,
receive an engrossing sci-fi story set not just in one world, but
ones, as she embarks on an extraordinary journey of discovery.
fantasy and sci-fi fans will relish the clues that fall into place as
encounters a variety of aliens, learns whom to trust and what she has
confront, and faces the elusive Whisperer in her mind, who drives her
provides an engrossing story that captivates from the start, from the
of a young girl's missing memories to how she arrives at her past and
including emotional reflections and insights during the course of this
"Why do I feel afraid? I need to go toward it. This could be
answer, the way home. It could be something better. An end to this
Pain and sadness are no more . . . in The Hollow."
difference between her own thoughts and the whispered influences in her
memories which surface and new friends who help her, Cox moves his
nicely, from a tabula rasa of vanished connections to a tale in which
connections evolve from a wide range of unexpected sources.
ability to tap her powers to navigate these many worlds and challenging
situations are complimented by touches of philosophical inspection
bigger-picture thinking into her adventures: "After
lived through, did it ultimately mean nothing? She liked to imagine
she finally died, she would be satisfied knowing all the answers to the
mysteries of the universe, to the meaning of life. If this was the
life meant nothing."
sci-fi fans who look for elements of mystery and psychological growth
adventure reading will find Bewilderness a
compelling introduction to a
series. Ambrielle is a formidable, capable young protagonist as she
with friends and gains new knowledge.
noted that a cliffhanger conclusion paves the way for further
as it resolves her first dilemma.
Return to Index
Kimber Fox Morgan
Creative, Simple Wonder Press
978-1-7370386-0-3 $5.99 ebook
Chipper Makes Merry opens with a bleak, especially harsh winter faced
by the animals of
the Arctic. There is little to celebrate...which is why Chipper Fox
inject some of his own homemade joy into a weary world burdened by
so he does.
Morgan's lively rhymes are complimented by fine drawings by Kim
capture the Arctic animals, from the positive-thinking Chipper to
Chipper finds that his "day of mischief filled with good" turns bad
for many he tries to help, young picture book readers will readily
this story of good intentions gone awry.
is the depiction of the effects of winter on various creatures, from a
loneliness to an otter's chilly abode and a hungry walrus who just
wants a nice
parents will find the combination of alluring images, rollicking rhyme,
thought-provoking discussions of seasonal affective disorder and good
intentions the perfect remedy for a cold winter's night, best treated
snuggly bedtime story.
conclusion reinforces the idea of sharing joy and offers young
opportunities to consider ways in which they can empower the world
revised attitude and different approach to facing life's adversities.
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Daddy's Time Out
Rachel Nee Hall
Cresting Wave Publishing
joins a three-book trilogy about incarceration of family members,
picture book story for the very young that embraces themes of
redemption, and transformation.
Its ability to approach
these very adult subjects from a
child's perspective and encourage the kinds of dialogues and
promote and support family interactions during this difficult period
an important guide. Adults should consider it essential for any
collection strong in social issues, psychological understanding, and
about choices, consequences, and recovery.
Nibblit the rabbit likes to
play catch with his
daddy...but his father no longer lives with them.
As Nibblit considers this
loss and his revised role in
the family, kids receive a warm story that embraces a mother's love for
child and her explanation about how the father is paying the price for
Rachel Nee Hall's use of a
'time out' concept kids
already likely understand well allows them to receive adult information
manner they can relate to.
The strength of all three of
these books, even though
their structure is very similar, lies in their ability to help kids
bigger pictures of crime, punishment, and good and bad behaviors, as
their own loss.
Individually, the books are
important, as they apply to
different family incarceration scenarios. Together, the trilogy forms a
foundation of better understanding that adults can use to help the very
adjust to a family member's incarceration.
All are essential stories
that should be given to any new
prisoner's family where small children are involved.
Return to Index
Eudora Space Kid: The Great
Engine Room Takeover
978-1-7366774-0-7 $4.99 Paperback
Room Takeover pairs engaging art by Talitha Shipman with an
equally-captivating story for elementary-level chapter book readers
follows the adventure of a young space-faring hero who lives on an
with "lots of weapons and five swimming pools."
It's unusual to see humor
blend into a space adventure
for this age group, but David Horn provides both with healthy doses of
that keep kids engaged and laughing. The story opens with a bang of
refreshingly original first-person observation: “Ouch!”
Lootenant (I’m not sure how to spell it, but this looks right)
Londo screamed as he bent down to look at his toe, which I had just
He is the AstroLiner Athena’s
biggest, strongest officer. More than big,
he’s not even human."
What has hurt the monstrous
Londo? Third grader Eudora
Jenkins, "the all-around most awesome girl on the Athena," has stepped on his foot in an effort to
provide a distraction for the narrator's goal—reaching the plasma
Shipman keeps up nicely with black and white drawings that also add
humor, as in her portrait of the spaceship bridge, which shows a crew
piloting the craft with one hand while sipping a drink.
The third-grade class that
resides on the ship is on a
rare tour of the bridge. But, the young narrator wants more: "Captain Jax just doesn’t realize how I
absolutely need and cannot live without actually firing the Athena’s plasma cannons."
the first-person narrator and adventure to be thoroughly engrossing,
many capricious moments that stray, in a satisfying manner, from the
sci-fi adventure scenario.
an unpredictable read that keeps young readers guessing as trouble
the juvenile heroes.
incidents" to encounters with young officers, the story's whimsical
aspects are simply delightful.
parents and elementary grade to early middle school readers will find The Great Engine Room Takeover the
perfect ticket to outer space encounters and adventure. It's couched in
of humor that invites them to laugh and better understand the use and
comedy in creative writing as young troublemakers learn from their
become more savvy about the rules...and when to break them.
Return to Index
978-1684630677 $16.23 Paper/$8.49 Kindle
look for Christmas and sci-fi chapter books will find Gobbledy
appealingly different in both its subject and adventure.
Gobbledy is an alien found by eleven-year-old Dexter Duckworth and his
Dougal. He was hatched from a rock, and is lost on Earth.
for adventure." He admits: "Mom
said space is full of magic, but there isn’t much magic since she left."
illustrations by Rich Powell pepper a story of children who stumble
adventure that takes them away from the grief of missing their deceased
As the hole in their lives left by her absence and imagination is
filled by the
little alien's penchant for attracting trouble, young readers receive a
story of an alien who 'gobbles' (thus, the children name him
way into confrontational situations with adults and the mysterious
Society who would capture him.
embraces many different themes, from aliens and holidays to grief,
and adventure. Lis Anna-Langston creates an engaging and action-filled
that rests on the shoulders of two realistic kids who find their good
intentions constantly thwarted as they attempt to save Gobbledy and his
Gobbledy is evocative and unexpected in
its twists and turns as
Dexter, Dougal, and friend Fi learn about the kinds of magic that stay
heart forever, even when everything seems to end.
and adults who encourage reading through choosing lively
stories that hold underlying messages about adaptation, courage, and
find Gobbledy a fine leisure read.
Return to Index
Jesús, Mary, and Joseph is a fine
children's picture book for
holiday pursuit, and opens with a child's prayer to God.
name as God's son, so he's hoping this personal connection will help
with his special wish to receive a key part in his school's holiday
When he wins
of Innkeeper #2, his mother is proud. But, now he needs God to help him
his part in the play...and when he messes up, he wonders why God hasn't
his role easier.
drawings enhance Kathleen Pelley's message, providing a simple yet
visual embellishment to a school play's challenges and achievement.
the course of
appealing to God to help him in his efforts, Jesús learns more about
presence in everyday life, year-round: "Christmas
is not just a long ago story. She says every time we love a lot, Jesus
again in our hearts."
Adults seeking to
impart spiritual lessons in a manner familiar to the very young will
Jesús, Mary, and Joseph's ability to
bring the Christmas experience to life in a very different manner. It
Latino family interactions, school events, and a holiday effort that
the spirit of Christmas, making Jesús,
Mary, and Joseph a highly recommended pick for multicultural,
and holiday picture book holdings alike.
Return to Index
Pisgah Press, LLC
Literally the Coolest Book reaches ages
4-8 with a picture book
celebration of English language idioms. Colorfully illustrated by
duCharme-Hill, this approach provides parents and educators with an
opportunity to review the quirks of English in a delightfully amusing
adult) who choose this book for its thought-provoking language
receive a fun series of contrasts between phrases and their
range from "wild goose chase" and "knock your socks off" to
what it means to "have a ton of friends."
and descriptions will already be familiar, but Plesset's ability to
readers differentiate between metaphor and language interpretations
the difference between figurative and literal speech.
contrasts between descriptions come alive with colorful drawings by
duCharme-Hill, which add interest and emphasis to these wordplays and
who want to teach kids more about language usage, words, and
find Literally the Coolest Book is
quite literally the clearest interpretation of metaphors and meanings
for the young picture book reader and English language learner.
Return to Index
Enchanted Tales for All Ages is a
collection of spiritual parables
recommended not just for all ages, but as adult read-alouds to the very
It provides children with warm stories that hold messages about belief,
understanding, experience, and love.
born into the world "alone and alienated." Through a series of life
encounters and lessons, he learns about kindness, the influence of life
experiences, and the magical allure of wisdom and working for the
emphasizes a spiritually-centered journey as Little Garlic grows. When
enters his life and introduces elements which result in a series of
transformations, adults have much opportunity to gently guide young
to the deeper aspects of Little Garlic's experiences.
who truly listens to and cares about him changes Little Garlic's life
perception of himself.
absorb the underlying messages of his journey will find Little
Enchanted Tales for All Ages excels in stories replete with
the allure and
elements of magic, but equally strong in the philosophical and social
friendship, Lotus Blossom's wisdom, and hopefulness and love stem from
Little Garlic grows under the comforting affection of his
yourself comfortable, close your eyes and feel all the beauty and
experienced today. Feel it in your heart and in your wings."
for a gentle read-aloud series of stories, and young readers able to
on their own, will find much to like about Little Garlic's life
changing perception of life friends, and his role in and influence on
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Christmas Tree enjoys colorful
holiday illustrations by Agus Prajogo as it tells of
the Miller family, who delight in the ritual of tree-decorating in
differs once the tree is assembled and everyone goes to bed, though,
the living Christmas tree is truly an embodiment of life itself, with
unpredictability and joy. The ornaments hold unique powers and
that come to life in the quiet of night and the holiday season.
receive a different kind of read-aloud story that embraces magic and a
beyond human ken. A challenge evolves for the yearly ornament
curious little Hannah is too excited to sleep, and decides to get up in
middle of the night to search for Santa.
her brother William make new friends and absorb new realizations about
they also face a post-holiday trauma and change.
to reflect the magic of the season and teach about change and hope for
future will find The Living Christmas Tree a
delightful fantasy about
the power of magic and friends, and how seasonal rituals reflect new
opportunities. It's a lovely holiday picture book read that offers a
twist, and will encourage discussion and insights from all ages.
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Mama's Time Out
Rachel Nee Hall
Cresting Wave Publishing
introduces Butters, an otter who loved to go fishing with his
suddenly, one day, she doesn't live with them any longer.
"Has this happened to you?"
the young Butters
wonders as he addresses young readers, inviting them to connect with
Butters is often sad, and
cries because he "doesn't
understand why she isn't with me." The good times are gone. Is it his
An understanding grandmother
explains that his mother
broke the rules and needs a "time out" in prison. Shoplifting fish at
the market comes with a price tag!
As Butters considers rules,
the concept of time out, and
the need for better choices, kids receive more than a story of loss and
It's an account of poor choices, learning from mistakes, and moving on.
By story's end, youngsters
will be ready to understand
not only absence, but the impact of breaking rules, parental absence,
and how mistakes
don't translate to loss of love on either side.
Kids with incarcerated
parents need this message...and an
adult reading this picture book story, to invite open discussions.
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Monologues for Kids
and Tweens II: 100 New Comedy and
Drama Monologues for Young Actors
will prove a treasure trove of opportunities for drama teachers seeking
monologue exercises for the young, aspiring actor.
wealth of scripts that young performers can utilize to improve their
skills, using rich and diverse scenarios and material that can serve as
for either auditions or drama class tutorials.
is inviting, which addresses the usual problems all ages have with
the monologue format. Mike Kimmel believes the process of selecting and
performing the monologue is one that needs to be "embraced" as much
as any full-cast production. These selections are designed to
strength and possibilities of the monologue for a wide age range of
tweens—those who often struggle to find age-appropriate examples.
Secret of Their Success," which addresses parental relationships from a
child's viewpoint, to "I'm Tough On Myself," which reveals the feelings
of a young perfectionist, each monologue goes beyond dramatic teaching
provide insights into the emotions and social issues affecting young
a variety of settings, from home to school and interpersonal
moving from history to self-control experiments, reflections on talking
thinking, and discussions of adult jobs and their meaning and impact,
monologues go beyond illustrating acting devices alone.
youngsters thinking about bigger issues in life and provide broader
of emotional maturity.
for Kids and Tweens II is recommended not just for the young
audiences and their teachers, but anyone working with these age groups,
look for short pieces reflecting on life and psychological growth.
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9781737233909 $7.99 paperback; $4.99 ebook
1 of the
series The Munchkins introduces a rather large, magical family of
outside a children's home. Capricorn Munch and her twelve siblings are
mystery. At ten years old, each stops aging and develops extraordinary
Capricorn provides the first-person story of their lives, which have
completely changed. The story opens with a tragic outcome of this
Capricorn rewinds her memories to provide readers with what she can
their mysterious origins and how she came to be in a cage, imprisoned
review their story and how they fell into the hands of a psychopath
their adoption, their magical abilities, and their lives. This provides
adults with all the information needed to enter their world.
Boss is dangerous. He seems intent on dividing their family with
threat, and as Capricorn observes his influence, little does she know
these devices of division are only the beginning of the end for her
appeal to middle grades and older; but because of the references to
psychopathic behaviors, cruelty, and other psychological insights,
grade readers will ideally be more mature, and capable of handling the
that The Munchkins probes.
injects reflections on growth and problem-solving into her magical
that often give satisfying pause for thought: “Chase, stop
dumb. You’re not dumb. You know, you should really work on your
issues. It’s okay. I know you don’t always see how serious things are.”
struggle to confront a growing evil and support one another, readers
into a tale replete with magic, insight, and unexpected twists and
woven into an adventure of connection and evolving abilities.
Munch children face endings and new beginnings, Zee leaves the door
for another adventure, with a cliffhanger.
stories of family relationships, changing abilities, magic, and
find all these elements and more in The Munchkins.
story is more firmly rooted in family and interpersonal connections
and creates a satisfying adventure as siblings fight to preserve their
strong in stories of magic and family evolution will find The
a fine addition.
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9798500067159 $9.00 print/$4.99 ebook
Of the Lilin
is the first book in the Sage Chronicles about Sage Frankle, who is
by the loss of her mother and her stepfather Warren's mental breakdown.
she is sent
to live with an aunt to recover from these dual blows, Sage instead
deeper into darkness, entering a fantasy realm that might reflect her
mental illness. When her choices result in the death of Warren's best
David, Sage is forced to consider the real nature of reality and
this fast-paced story, which opens at David's funeral. Even her father
to believe she had something to do with David's heart attack.
compelling opening, Paulette Hampton moves the story to the beginning
this scenario came to be—after her mother's death, as Sage is sent to
her Aunt Madeline in Kennard, Vermont.
is having her own mental breakdown when she hears Aunt Madeline's
Lily's thoughts, and considers the far-fetched possibility of moving in
her friend Will to avoid going crazy.
a series of encounters in which Sage slowly comes to realize that what
happening around and within her are just as real as her everyday life,
seems to have vanished under a cloud of grief.
crafting scenarios in which Sage tackles her emotions with therapeutic
from Dr. Waver, the first psychiatrist with whom she finally feels a
connection: “Well, I feel sad and depressed, but not like I
should.” “Who says
that?” “Society, I
sucks,” she said with a grunt. “So,
how do you feel?” “Actually,
that is beginning to overshadow the sadness and depression is fear.” “Of what?”
“Myself,” I said. “I don’t trust myself.”
unfold, Sage confronts not only her own loss and emotional fragility,
search for something she's lost which somehow involves Lily, who is not
she initially appears to be.
Sage and head
restaurant chef Cameron Winters's son Thomas face an emerging evil
begins to realize that everything she'd taken for granted about her
her role in it is changing.
an excellent young adult fantasy firmly grounded not just in
elements and powerful forces, but a fragile teen's grasp on her mental
condition and her place in the world.
characterization drives a story that offers a compelling examination of
heredity, purpose, and power. As rituals and opposing forces clash,
make the kinds of decisions that embrace not just her power, but her
ends in a cliffhanger, paving the way for further Sage adventures.
young adult readers will find the strong focus on Sage's mental
convincing draw that keeps her character three-dimensional and the
compelling from beginning to end as it creates and builds upon mystery,
illness, recovery, and struggles.
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Of Love and
eBook: $2.99; Paperback: $14.99; Hardcover: $19.99
Ordering link: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Deception-Tainted-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B07N77WQCT
coming of age stories will find Of Love
and Deception a testimony to the power of adaptation and
follows eighteen-year-old college student Sarah
trajectory when her studies become compromised by an online romance.
Book 1 in
Love Saga series introduces the young aspiring woman's changing course
as she becomes more and more involved in an addicting allure to a
begins to feel dangerously familiar.
transactions begin to take over her life and alter her ambitions, Sarah
herself increasingly questioning her goals, attitude, and studies.
excellent job of capturing the backdrop of Sarah's contemporary world,
music and books to the types of connections she values in life (and
she's found in Bruce Spencer).
depicts Sarah's move away from warning signs and solid advice into a
which she is codependent and increasingly vulnerable to Bruce's allure: "I
don't care what they think. It's my life. They'll have to come around
eventually." He sighed. "I don't want to cause problems between you
and your parents, though, Sarah." "You're not causing problems. They
are." "What if they never come to accept it?" "They
will," I affirmed again. "I know they will." He glanced away
from me and shook his head again. "And if they don't, I don't
care. I still want to be with
you." I rushed on with, "I won't let them tell me how to live my life
– who I can be with, who I can't." The thought of losing him after how
close we'd gotten...I couldn't bear to think of it. Then I thought that
he wanted to leave. Maybe he didn't think I was worth the aggravation
dealing with my parents. I looked down as this new thought settled over
attraction is based on all the interests they seem to share, but it is
with dangerous assumptions about these connections: "The
way I saw it, any man who truly loved the tale of the Phantom
of the Opera had to be deeply compassionate and romantic."
attraction is the lessons it provides and opportunities to meet and
with different types of people. But, nobody has prepared Sarah for the
emotional conundrums of romance, or the signs of an abusive
winning lesson in both as they absorb Sarah's move from blossoming
to limiting codependence, and will find her story realistically drawn,
the allure of online worlds and the reality of face-to-face encounters.
As much is
this is a
tale of evolving danger, it's an account of changing relationships
parents and their almost-adult children. Both interact in a moving saga
feels realistic and deeply impactful as Sarah navigates a strange new
love and danger.
interested in stories about romance, ideals of relationships, and
paths will find Sarah's story compelling and hard to put down. The
couched in a very realistic scenario that will resonate with those who
the deep connections of love, but don't know how to identify the
warning signs of abuse.
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Peanut's Time Out
Rachel Nee Hall
Cresting Wave Publishing
is a picture book story about parental incarceration, and provides the
young with an accessible explanation of events that will help them
The story is introduced by
dog Junebug, who presents a
cheery welcome as he explains the absence of his beloved littermate
Peanut, who can't be with him for an extended period of time.
The focus is on how Junebug
understands and handles this
absence. The story rests upon an interactive series of questions
help young ones engage with the tale to better understand and express
As the story progresses, the
emotions of sadness and
loss, the expressions of crying and anger, and the deeper consideration
whether Peanut's absence is Junebug's fault helps young readers work
their own emotions about a loved one's absence.
As the savvy pup's mother
says that it's ok to be sad
sometimes, more details are provided about the events that led Peanut
his family, which involve a stolen bone that leads to a puppy prison
Adults who choose Peanut's
Time Out for the very young have a rare opportunity to help
this age group
process their reactions to (and foster their understanding of)
It's a fine story that links
this unique loss to better
understanding, and is highly recommended for families facing a family
absence due to crime and a child's confusion and responses.
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and Portals will reach advanced elementary to middle grade
readers who enjoy fantasy tales of time travel and adventure. It opens
1800s in the Ohio River Valley, where nineteen-year-old Kinjeino is getting ready to offer help to
present-day Maryland, where twelve-year-old Amy Yellow Horse is finding
from her past time-travel adventure in the ordinary task of babysitting.
anything but typical, however, when a girl shows up with technology
future, bringing Amy and her friend Will into another adventure and a
that tests them both.
Loralee Evans does a fine job of summarizing
events so that newcomers receive a smooth transition to this story,
fans won't be stymied by too much detail about what they might already
the events from prior time travel adventures.
Will and Amy's struggle to help a girl from the
future get back home and a mischievous puppy's ability to pull them all
time-travel conundrum gives young readers a fun story of talking dogs, Kinjeino's attempts to save these visitors,
and the intersection of past and present-day technologies which
communications and create new problems.
find a toddler and dogs involved in a time travel tale, but Evans
participants in an atmosphere of discovery and struggle that gives
children, and babies equal time.
and Portals excels in a special blend of non-stop action,
surprising twists of plot, and discoveries made by a diverse circle of
characters of all ages. Part of the story's realistic feel comes from
that some of its characters are based on real people, from kidnappers
Americans. Another draw lies in the story's evolving friendships as
Amy and Leah join forces in unexpected ways.
The result will delight young time travel
with a multifaceted adventure that romps through kidnappings,
between past and future worlds, and memories that might fade with the
travel experience, but result in lasting connections.
Collections strong in time travel stories for
will find Puppies and Portals an appealing mix of
satisfyingly unpredictable action.
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Rhythm of the Beach
Rhythm of the Beach provides picture book readers
celebration of the seasonal changes of a beach, from Spring's herald of
hooded plovers that "return
from far away winter homes" to summertime, when "Terns dive like jet
fighters, feasting on the bait balls of small fish."
cement the beach's rhythms as Russell Irving follows their changes,
arrival to nest-building, rearing young, and coming full circle; but a
other changes take place on the beach and are included in this story.
More than just a natural history of the beach,
Russell's book provides kids with observations that encourage them to
appreciate how the beach environment changes with the seasons.
Even more importantly, it advocates linking
sense of rhythm and purpose to a more mindful approach to experiencing
rambling walks in nature with no outcome in mind. Find time and rituals
observe your daily and seasonal rhythm."
The result goes beyond the usual focus to
kids to life rhythms and how their own choices and experiences
and affect the environment.
Adults who want youngsters to feel more
to and engaged with this world will find The Rhythm of the
simple nature drawings and its survey of selected beach creatures
that rhythm in print and art for picture book audiences. This lends to
picture than is usually presented to the young.
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Dancing Horse Press
historical fiction readers will find The
Sand Pounder an intriguing story. It follows a young
equestrian who wants
to join the U.S. Coast Guard-enlisted horsemen who patrolled the
beaches of the
West Coast on horseback to watch for an invasion by sea during World
her, seventeen-year-old Jane is concerned about the war and its threat.
to grow up early when her parents both died of polio two years earlier,
and her brother Luke live in the family's home in the Tillamook Valley
Oregon. Though Hawaii seems very far away, Pearl Harbor's bombing
war too close to home. How can she help?
riding skills and her beloved horse Star to help patrol the beaches,
there's one problem—women and girls are not normally part of this kind
effort. There's only one solution.
with her new role and secret identity as John Morris, she must make
adjustments to support her new persona: "Pushing
down her natural response to express concern, Jane tried to respond as
a man would. “Whoa, cowboy! Is that how you were taught to ride?” Jane
she ran over to him."
When she and
Sand Pounder Stephen Peters come upon a man who claims to be an
citizen escaped from a Japanese sub, their choices become even more
complicated...as does their friendship, which moves from being comrades
infatuation and something more, on Jane's part.
life, as do women's issues and roles during World War II, as Jane
with her revised role and its consequences.
excellent job of winding the era's history and the lesser-known job of
Pounders into a realistic story of a mature teen's determination to
difference in her world.
illustrations by Hasitha Eranga and
Gaspar Sabater support the story with visuals peppered throughout.
realistic historical fiction that is fast-paced, well written, and
character-driven by a strong young woman and her dual passion for
her country will find The Sand Pounder
an inviting read.
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Tricia D. Wagner
The Star of Atlantis joins other books in the series of the same name,
adult audiences with a riveting adventure story that both stands well
own and supports the series as a whole.
opens with a
recap of eight-year-old Swift and his best friend Ash, neatly
relationships, past events, and deeper insights from prior adventures: "Sometimes
it felt like this game of swordplay—Ash perpetually losing—was his
keep Swift, tiring of always trailing behind, from shaking him off."
uncanny ability to absorb different languages to his proficiency at
Tricia D. Wagner nicely sets up the scenario of adventure that makes The
Star of Atlantis a worthy read for middle grade and young
looking for attention-grabbing action.
encounter drags Swift into a strong current of danger to a search for
elusive Star of Atlantis (the most renowned lost sea relic in Wales),
brothers find themselves on a nautical treasure hunt nicely steeped in
nautical world: "Swift studied the open sky with its eastern
deepening, and the sun in its western hemisphere swelling with the
hours. The idea of night falling on these deep waters agitated the
he’d been suffering all afternoon, watching Caius at the sails
against wind. And the ache in his own body, more keen now at the end of
heightened the sense of exposure to the sea and its strength."
juxtaposing mystery with philosophical and interpersonal observations
brothers are tested and changed by their adventures, and by a sense of
and desperation that grips them during their pursuits.
dinghy of previous story brings them into and out of trouble once again
Swift finds a Sunstone ("Bits of crystal ancient Norse sailors
navigate. Something special about them. They show the way when the
plain.”) and comes to feel that even the object of his
legendary Star of Atlantis, won't be able to solve all his problems.
intrigue, supernatural influences, and the dilemma faced by Swift as he
to save his brother Caius highlights a journey far from home that might
bring him back.
particularly fine job of portraying shifting friendships as Swift comes
that his friendship with Ash is changed by the Star of Atlantis. These
underlying probes of the impact of an adventure add a dimension of
psychological introspection to the story that places it more than a
the usual action story.
seeking a thought-provoking blend of adventure, mystery, and
relationship changes will find much to like about The Star of
whether it's read as a stand-alone story or in conjunction with the
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provides picture book readers with a primer about Type 1 diabetes and
playful puppy (cunningly depicted through illustrations by Emma Latham)
present a "paws-itive" view of diabetes and its management.
want to choose Teddy's lessons as a read-aloud to help explain and
medical facts imparted in this fun story, which lends to interactive
and leisure read enjoyment alike.
Emma, is a Type 1 diabetic. Teddy is a Diabetic Alert Dog who joins her
regimens, supporting her with play and reviewing health routines for
readers that not only outline methods, but help explain the complexity
diabetes in terms that kids can easily understand.
importantly, there's an underlying message about maintaining healthy
with the end goal of health being a better life with more opportunities
play and achievement.
and the fun approach of a service dog's observations of his young
diabetes management processes, makes Teddy Talks an
recommended picture book for parents seeking to help their young child
understand not only the disease and health regimens, but the role of a
dog in supporting its young charge.
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Tim and the
Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge
Read by David Deighton
Beneath Another Sky Books
ASIN: B08MKJT2YH $8.99
A Christmas Carol is such a classic that one might initially wonder
at the need for a
sequel, but there is so much more happening in Tiny Tim and
the Ghost of
Ebenezer Scrooge that this interactive audio edition for
young listeners is
highly recommended as a companion piece to the original. It should
seasonal classic, in its own right.
carols accompany an audio narration directed to listeners who receive
of a now-grown Tiny Tim, who faces his own ghost of Christmas past in
of Ebenezer Scrooge.
sound bring to life the story of Tiny Tom's reminder of what the
entails, adding sound effects as well as music and narration to engross
young readers and adults who work with them. These lively
reinforce the underlying message of this story.
book holds lovely full-page, artistic color illustrations by
delves more into Tiny Tim's interactions at a young age versus his
adulthood, and traces the steps of his emotional growth and challenges.
is also a
religious message in his growth as he enters adulthood "Strong in faith
that he was part of God's plan." This will please adults who want to
reinforce the spiritual aspects of the holiday season as the story
now-adult Tim's romance tragedy, his choice to blame God for his loss,
the lessons of Mr. Scrooge about giving and loving begin to fade over
seem fairly adult themes for ages 4-10, the rhyming nature of the
simple presentation, and its musical embellishments allow it to reach
ears than might be expected; especially with parental input and family
appearance as a ghost brings lessons for Tim and an audience of all
equating Christmas with kindness, tolerance, and love as it follows
progression into darkness and back again.
an interactive experience the entire family can enjoy, backed with
music, and a compelling lesson on kindness, will find Tiny
Tim and the Ghost
of Ebenezer Scrooge just the ticket for a follow-up to the
reinforces its basic intentions through word, rhythm, and sound.
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$22.95 Hardcover/$13.95 Paper/$2.99 ebook
You is a
spiritual children's picture book that provides early readers with an
introduction to the idea of God and universal presence and connections.
especially recommended for parental read-aloud use, as discussions
from these insights will expand Jacquie Anter's positive message.
encouragement of a child's place in this universe is represented
two-line rhymes that are accompanied by lovely drawings: "As
spreads its wings to fly,/you, too, are destined to soar high!"
facet of this wide-ranging story is that scenes of nature are wound
into the tale
to provide a grounded sense of connection to the spiritual components
who uses You as a read-aloud will find many
opportunities to start
dialogues with the very young on how they are connected to the
nature, and to God: "As horses run free and wild,/your Spirit
limitless, my child!"
to instill a feeling of opportunity and positive connections at an
than most such coverages offer will find You the
perfect starting place
for cultivating a sense of place, purpose, and perspective.
The gentle rhymes and accompanying colorful nature-centric visuals reinforce lessons about how everyone is connected.You
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