September 2019 Review Issue
Eugene T. Schurter
Eugene T. Schurter, Publisher
$12.95 print, $3.99 ebook
Genesis II provides an expansion to
Eugene T. Schurter's 'Elastic
Society' theory (introduced in Dark Web
Rising) and opens with an invasion mission conducted by
man Colonel Matthew Brannon. The stage is set for an attack—on
pineapple pickers in paradise. The capture of one Conrad Heit is the
the Marine force. And something is going wrong, even though it appears
to be an
uncommonly smooth, nonviolent operation.
interplanetary colony ship Genesis II is safely on its voyage, over 200
miles away from Earth. A heist has been pulled off to send it on this
and what is left is both satisfaction at a job well done and acceptance
fact that his time is short and the military invasion of this world
shorten it further. Nonetheless, his mission is done, and he's ready
anything. Even death. Or, is he?
are responsible for the ship and a mission that evolves into something
different, the closer they get to their original goal. Charged with
direction, former hero Stewart is now faced with solving problems and
threats to the Genesis II that others have not yet perceived.
are applied and lessons learned, great thinkers both on Genesis II and
home find their boundaries and ideals put on the line by events that
interactions, and unexpected twists and turns of Genesis
II are nicely done, and will especially appeal to prior
readers of Dark Web Rising, which
introduced a group of young adults on the cusp of defiance and success.
returns with further conundrums that tax even his brilliance, the
by stealing the Genesis II continues, and the speculative science
premise of the Elastic Society is even better developed than in the
of struggles for survival and problem-solving efforts lie the ultimate
questions characters ask about their purposes, whether they are really
others' games, and even how to love when the future is uncertain.
absorbing adventure filled with conundrums, questions, and twists and
While the characters are young and new adults, Genesis
II and its predecessor Dark
Web Rising will easily appeal to both young adult and adult
alike. Genesis II is highly
recommended not just for its action-packed adventure, but for
the underlying motivations and perceptions of realistic characters who
devoted to the concept of the Elastic Society and all its revolutionary
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Jonathan Michael Erickson
978-1-948746-06-9 $6.99 Kindle
Labyrinths of Time is the second book in
the Song of Ancients
series, based on an epic song predicting a mysterious woman's fall from
sky, and continues the saga begun in Relics
believed that the ancient relics hold only madness and destruction for
humanity, bending space and time and introducing psychosis in the
journey she undertook in Relics to
protect humans from their influence has left her untethered in time: a
which would bring madness to anyone.
think that prior familiar with Relics
is a prerequisite for enjoyment of this continuing saga (and, indeed,
helps), Jonathan Michael Erickson provides a detailed back-story and
the end of his book, so newcomers will want to turn to the end to learn
the beginnings of Anka's time-bending journey and pick up its strands
in Labyrinths. A chronology of
history is provided in an introduction, which recaps the formation of
Andromeda colonies and the discovery of the relics in the 24th century.
Labyrinths of Time is actually set in the
26th century, when Damon
Aelgon becomes a relic carrier and liberates some 17 of these dangerous
Anka Aelgon is born, and Anka's journey begins.
note that time is fluid in this story, despite the back-story,
and prelude. Erickson pulls off a potentially confusing approach with
clarity, bringing to life the past, present, and possible futures
Anka's choices. This supports the story's vivid variability and
throughout the different environments she moves through.
Part of this
accomplished through compelling descriptions of time and place, which
alien worlds to life: "There was
something pure about the wasteland—it was exactly what it was, and
more. The scent of foreign minerals was intoxicating. She understood
shamanic teaching that the land itself was conscious, expressing itself
who would listen. A place of purity, it was also a place of
would all three of them be changed by this place."
and approaches of not just Anka but shaman Tamreh, old wise woman
councils and cautions Anka about the tradition-defying mission she's
(to carry the relics indefinitely rather than surrendering them to
containment), and other characters add to episodes of burden and relief
continues her impossible mission.
in injecting philosophical and psychological considerations into the
action ("But age no longer meant to her what
once did. Everyone she had ever known were all ages at once, depending
in time she thought of them; outside of time, what did age matter?
not measured in years, but in suffering and joy."), and these
of revelation and insight lend a special depth and empathic connection
to Labyrinths of Time to keep
engaged in more than just a casual manner.
interests, and challenges to reality affect characters and change their
connections and destinies, readers are led into a world where not only
fluid, but hearts, minds, and purposes.
To call Labyrinths of Time a time-travel odyssey
per se is to do it a grave injustice. Wound within this story of fate
heroism is a tale of choice, consequences, and selflessness and
alike, designed to keep readers thoroughly engrossed right up to the
If time is
can decisions hold lasting impact, and what makes life matter?
blessings, and new beginnings create a supercharged story that is just
compelling and hard to put down as its predecessor, and very highly
as a standout read.
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978-1947848153 $13.99 Paper/$9.99 Kindle
ordinary teen with an extraordinary problem: he harbors a swarm of
his DNA—and he can control it.
called 'Mechcraft', and he's the first and only one born with such
abilities already in his DNA (thousands of others have the Mechcraft
but only by undergoing a series of injections)...and thus Jake is a
object for three warring factions who would do anything to get their
"Bex" Flint and Trent Anderson (sixteen and eighteen years old,
respectively) are also charged with the impossible: keeping Jake safe
relentless forces as he evolves into a more powerful being,
story to open with a focus on protagonist Jake, but actually it begins
and Trent, who also have special nano-abilities. Jake actually doesn't
until Chapter 2, after Bex and Trent's new assignment of
"baby-sitting" yet another teen.
As Jake discovers the truth about his condition, Bex and Trent deliver the realistic insights about his changed life and future: "You are an unknown, Jake; unpredictable, maybe even dangerous.” “I’m just a teenager.” “Ha! Maybe you used to be, but not anymore. That life is over.”
evil Sasha, who wants him to be on her team, and learns the truth from
about life with nanotech and how it makes the vulnerable invincible and
everything, he also becomes absorbed in the politics of its
includes him, as host.
Who can he
what path is the correct one to choose? Jake discovers that it's
his mechcraft ability that makes him special, either. This is a
will further challenge his life and its purpose.
level, Mechcraft's young adult
would seem to relegate this sci-fi thriller to teen audiences; but many
adult with an interest in nanotech thrillers will find the action,
characterization, and unexpected twists of plot just as compelling as
in a read
geared to more mature audiences.
ability to craft a nanotech thriller that incorporates the basics of
desire, uncertainty, power, and vulnerability creates a much more
complex read that blends moral and ethical conundrums into the bigger
of a teen finding himself.
audiences will find Mechcraft a
powerful coming of age story that incorporates considerations of new
rising powers, and loss into its fast-paced, action-packed adventure.
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Toki-Girl and the
Sparrow-Boy: The Dragon Sisters
978-1-7339020-1-4 $16.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
In Book 6 of
The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, The Dragon Sisters, set in 1800s Japan,
Dragon-girl Renko's ability to assume human form places her in a unique
while her sister Otohime faces similar conflict about her
the death of her human husband. Where do their loyalties and hearts
lie: with humans,
should be noted that the setting of this fantasy is real. The Dragon Sisters is rooted in Meiji
Era Japan, which took place from
1868 to 1912, when a form of innovative Renaissance thinking
However, this story is set in the World of Make-Believe, where "...there exists a Japan that
incorporates both the objective reality and Japan's colorful,
of the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series, where the Dragon Sisters
challenges to their lives, hearts, and minds.
As Renko and
cope with challenges to their individuality, vast changes in Japanese
and the Meiji era's unique opportunities and dangers, readers are
treated to a
fantasy that at first might seem directed to preteens or young adults,
which holds historical and folklore elements of interest to all ages.
Noriko and Shota, from previous adventures, face new ideas as strangers
overseas become familiar and exotic presences in Japan's ports. Claire
excels in crafting detailed descriptions of the changes Japan faces
time, which reach through society and into individual lives,
descriptions are very precise and involved, which may stymie readers
for a quick fantasy read; but by now it should be evident that The Dragon Sisters is so much more than
a quick leisure choice, holding the depth of description necessary to
understand Japanese culture and society as a whole: "But
here — there were so many different kinds of humans to watch!
The clothes were different, too. There were Japanese clothes, mostly
garments wrapped and tied for universal fit and easy adjustment as more
coverage was required due to outside temperatures. More complex
clothing, that of dressed up business-owners or workers, Samurai,
ladies, appeared here and there. Yuta and Noriko were typical of this
group, with his plain schoolmaster's dark kimono and Noriko's simply
and sashed green one being respectable understated daywear, not
fancy, their status showing only in the beautiful silk fabrics of which
were made. While merchants could now wear silk with the repeal of the
laws, getting fabrics and clothing made for them conflicted with the
manufacture of fabrics for export and for the Western wear that was
increasingly popular among all classes in Japan."
temptation to fudge on description and forego detail in favor of
Youmans never succumbs to this lure and, as a result, The
Dragon Sisters is a multi-faceted fantasy that juxtaposes the
growth of powers and special abilities and the perspectives of dragons,
quasi-dragons and humans with Japan's evolutionary process and history.
both their human and dragon sides, Renko and Otohime struggle for
survival in a world where their lives are entwined and mixed. This
nicely captured in poignant moments of realization and reassessment: "Somehow, for some reason, she was
unable to change. She tried not to panic. She remained a girl. She
as a girl, couldn't she? Why couldn't she change? It wasn't just the
the space — she realized she felt weak. Even when she tottered to the
pond to get a restorative drink, she felt weak. And weaker. She tried
to lift a
rock. She couldn't lift a rock she could normally lift as a girl.
in her. She breathed steadily. She couldn't let herself panic. Yes, it
obvious that her human abilities were normally augmented by her dragon
but this was ridiculous. She slid to the ground."
The Dragon Sisters is a compelling,
involving story that blends
fantasy, Japanese history and folklore, and a different kind of coming
story that reaches well into adult readership. It's highly recommended
wonderful twining of personal and social change that leaves readers not
with a fine adventure which both adds to the series and stands well on
but that transmits the history and cultural identity of Japan to
may be relatively unfamiliar with Japanese peoples and history.
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The Ground You Stand Upon
Joshua and Wilbur Bowe
$15.00 Paper/$25.00 Hardcover/5.99 Kindle
Wilbur E. Bowe lived on the
family farm until he was
drafted in 1965, assigned to serve in the 5/7th Cavalry in Vietnam. He
fellow unit men would become "skytroopers", trained in airmobile
infantry, to be dropped into the Central Highlands of Vietnam to face
Stand Upon: Life of a Skytrooper in Vietnam differs
from many Vietnam
memoirs in that it includes not just Wilbur Bowe's perspective, but
his experience with interviews of former skytroopers who also served in
Alpha Company. It uses their letters, journals, and memories to
daily experience of very young men who became pivot points in many
From navigating forests and
mountain passes to becoming
acclimated to the relentless sounds of battle, the authors capture the
experience of Vietnam's sights, sounds, and people as few other memoirs
achieve. This feel is due, in part, to The
Ground You Stand Upon's strong
attention to detail and approach to juxtaposing the atmospheric
those who, if they survived, often distinguished themselves during
These are the real heroes of
the war: the unsung troops
devoted to duty and their fellow military men who would write home to
Letters, black and white
photos (many in color, but in
the hardcover edition only), and intimate portraits of those who
others who did not) create a warmly involving account that brings the
War to life.
Especially notable in The
Ground You Stand Upon is its attention to how these troops
passed time and
how war's intensity and the will to survive ramped up as their
drew closer: "As they counted down
the days, nature would grow increasingly resolved to break their will,
for its part, the Army was determined to squeeze every last ounce of
their bodies before letting them go."
Readers of Vietnam history
accounts looking for a
"you are there" feel will find no better pick than The
Ground You Stand Upon, which brings
to life a combat tour in Vietnam and the courage of officers and
alike. The letters add further connections between soldiers in the
loved ones at home, expanding the story's scope, approach, and coverage.
Return to Index
Judy Stone, MD
Mountainside MD Press
Dr. Judy Stone is a
survivor, as is her Hungarian family,
which emerged from Auschwitz and Dachau. Resilience:
One Family's Story of Hope and Triumph over Evil is
a story of
resilience, emergence, and family ties. It comes from an infectious
physician who became fascinated with how her parents grew up in an era
pre-antibiotics, riddled with infections that had their real roots in
and social class.
Her connections between
social conditions, disease, and
survival results in more than just another family memoir of surviving
death camps during World War II. It probes the roots of resilience,
hope, kindness, and gratitude in the face of suffering, and weaves
into an inspirational family memoir steeped in lessons on survival in
of great loss.
Dr. Stone's goal in writing
her memoir is both simple and
demanding: "I want people to study
history and to wake up to the parallels between what is happening
globally—to what happened in the 1930s with the rise of nationalism. I
can hold back the tide of divisiveness and autocracy. But this requires
to learn from the past and to care about others and the greater good
just themselves. Studies of the Holocaust and other genocides should be
of every curriculum as well as religious education for all faiths."
Another big difference
between Resilience and
similar-sounding books about Holocaust survival is
that Dr. Stone reviews past experiences, present-day choices, and the
influences that shape personalities and perspectives on how to live
life: "When I was about sixteen, I met Magda
Klein in Detroit. She appeared well-off, with stylish makeup and hair,
different socially from my own family. But Magda had been in Auschwitz
mother and Kati, and then she, too, was transferred to Allendorf. I
asking my mother why we were visiting,
since it seemed she and Magda had little in common. She replied, “She
good to me in Auschwitz.” At the time this made little sense to me. Now
From underlying motivations
to be generous or giving
under the most challenging conditions to the author's relationships
different family members affected by their history ("I
remember being afraid of both Jack and Bözsi when I was a child
and being stunned and hurt by Bözsi’s coldness and lack of sympathy
when my father died. I interpreted her response as “get over it.” Had
inherited her own mother’s coldness and hardness? Kati thinks so."),
Resilience draws important
between events and their generational influence.
Again and again, passages in
Resilience traverse the uncertain
territory of how values and
choices are passed down in families riddled with struggle, strife, and
life-threatening conditions. Differences, similarities, and family
all discussed with an eye to identifying how values systems translate
generations: "One notable difference
among my family members was the degree to which they hid their past and
responded to antisemitism. Their responses ran across the spectrum from
their identities after immigration to being very actively involved in
is highly recommended for any Jewish history collection strong in
autobiographies of Holocaust experience, it would be a shame to limit
audience to this group alone. It holds invaluable lessons for those
in family dynamics, the legacy of survival, adaptation and change, and
ultimately make the world a gentler, more peaceful place.
Return to Index
JK Kelly Consulting, LLC
Paperback: 978-0-9994099-4-7 $12.95
eBook: 978-0-9994099-5-4 $ 4.99
Combine the ongoing fight
against terrorism with a
time-travel story to get a feel for the thriller elements central to The Lost Pulse. It's a gripping sequel
in Time, in which a select group of Marines tested a
top-secret time travel technology in the hope of turning the battle
terrorism in their favor.
nothing to wonder about, for newcomers. Prior events are introduced in
that segues nicely into the story's opening dilemma: "The
raid on Camp David had taken place weeks ago, but to him it
felt like yesterday. The stealth tactics used by the terrorists, who
odorless nerve agent into the air to neutralize the guards at one
and then another and then the next, had worked flawlessly. With the use
sound-suppressed weapons, snipers, and night vision goggles, the highly
invaders held the advantage, this time. With amazing speed and numbers,
terrorists quickly gained ground and within minutes had silently
nearly every one of the Presidential retreat’s security systems and
The use of time
travel as a government tool to change outcomes and influence human
not a new idea; but what sets The Lost Pulse apart from similar-sounding scenarios is its
focus on thriller-style, nonstop action that eschews a focus on
probability alone in favor of exploring the political and social
posed by terrorist actions: "It was
clear to everyone in attendance that under this president, the United
would return to the behavior of its earliest days. They knew America’s
of citizens arming themselves against tyranny and how the cowboys of
West all carried handguns to protect themselves and their property. The
question they would all need to debate was whether or not that needed
implemented globally. Could it be? Would anti-gun cultures like the
Kingdom and France not just allow but accept their citizens bearing
the Germans consider letting their people take up arms ever again?"
of responses to terrorism and their impact on
global freedom are juxtaposed with fast-paced action as the vigilante
travelers face the challenge of just how to affect their future: "But we’re going to not just take out
bad guys, we’re going to get the bomb making stuff off the internet,
going to encourage people who see something to not just say something
pull out their gun and shoot. They know things aren’t working the way
at least some of them are smart enough to realize that. So they need to
down their phones, grow a set, and stand up. The sheep need to wake up
realize the cavalry can’t be everywhere and isn’t coming so they need
the wolf that’s fucking with their flock.” Jackson smiled at his fellow
Marines. “Christy, you know what Michelle’s up to in Italy. We can’t do
alone. Vigilantes can be effective if they’re on the right set of
Readers thus receive
intriguing, thought-provoking action
that gives pause for thought on the mechanics of directing freedom as
absorb a fast-paced, supercharged plot peppered with satisfying
In many ways, The
Lost Pulse is about actively creating a better world. The
who should be in charge of this manipulation—and do the end results
means? Most of all, is any single group of individuals savvy enough to
this power without destructive results?
Faced with such questions as
well as unexpected acts of
heroism and difficult truths from the past, characters charge into the
in a manner that will engage thriller readers right up to the end,
immersing them in the lives of Popes, Presidents, Marines, and
fight for love, family, freedom, and self.
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Joseph E. Henning
978-1733061735 $12.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
Ordering Link: https://www.amazon.com/Adaptively-Radiant-Joseph-Henning/dp/173306172X
follows new adult friends through an adventure that takes place in
Japan, and Southern California during summertime, and captures the
that stem from an unusual inheritance.
Justin grew up in Hawaii,
but lives in California and is
in his second year of college. Kaito is just turning twenty-one, and is
orphan, with a supportive family. He, too, is on the cusp of change.
But what do an old knife and
pocket watch have to do with
their futures and choices? Plenty, because these pieces lead not only
connections, but to a treasure hunt that leads to magical, mystical
that change Justin.
Many books provide stories
of adventurous journeys and
the exacting decisions they require; but few follow up on the life
such experiences often create. Adaptively
Radiant is more than another story of magic and discovery,
but goes on to
probe its lasting impact: "You are
becoming a different person in a way I can’t explain and don’t
feel it in my bones. Please tell me what’s going on. I’m worried about
Justin.” Another tear rolls down her face. “I tried sharing my feelings
your friend Brandon over there, and he thinks I’m crazy. But something
when you were in Japan, and you have not been the same since.”
From hidden gifts and
secrets surrounding them to social
standards and revelations that take place in Hawaii, Japan, and
California, Adaptively Radiant
leads readers on a
transformative journey of hearts and minds.
As destiny, choice, and
ultimate consequences revolve
around friends who must make different decisions about their futures,
will enjoy a powerful saga. Adaptively
Radiant will appeal to mature teen to new adult and adult
readers who like
quest/adventure tales, fantasy stories of magic, and, most of all, an
dose of growth experiences and insights into the evolution of
Return to Index
Jennifer G. Edelson
Bad Apple Books
excels at pulling readers into her paranormal romance from the
the use of the first person to portray Ruby's encounters and psyche to
descriptions of everyday efforts that turn into unexpected
past and present: "Down the aisle,
something flashes. For a split second, I see my mother standing
between two shelves of cereal. Then just like that, she’s gone, phantom
ether. Startled, I shoot up and look around, but the aisle is so empty
hear my own breathing. Pinching the bridge of my nose between my
briefly close my eyes. It’s bad enough you’re stuck
riding out senior
year in the middle of Nowhere, New Mexico. Now you’re seeing your dead
too? Nice, Ruby."
an angry, disfigured teen, Ezra, leads her on an unforeseen journey far
the peaceful refuge of her aunt's home as she explores her inexplicable
attraction to him, the equally mysterious chip on his shoulder that
to hate him, and circumstances which embroil them both in conflict.
Ezra's secrets, the connections between their lives become more obvious
("The forest behind my house feels
hallowed, not threatening, but his answer unnerves me. I did faint. And I did
see my mother, whatever that
means. And Ezra knows a lot more about the pass and its ghosts than I
stare at him, peeling back layers that surprise me."). Trust
something stronger) begins to build between them.
paranormal romance shouldn't be stymied by Ruby's age. Between
Wild and Ruin is a crossover title not limited to young
adult audiences alone, holding adult concerns and themes from love and
emotional confrontations with forces in their lives that both bring
together and threaten to tear them apart: "I
close my eyes. Because how am I supposed to respond? My brain is still
my bedroom, processing. All I know for sure is that I am completely,
irrevocably heartbroken. “When you try, you’re the kindest person,” I
“Whatever mistakes you made we can get through them together."
to Ezra's secret, she begins to realize a horrible truth that changes
everything and reveals why Ezra is lying to her.
Jennifer G. Edelson uses the
first person to its best
advantage, revealing Ruby's descent into situations which
challenge her belief system and love. Ruby's perceptions, concerns, and
are realistic and involving, keeping readers immersed in a compelling
forces both the protagonist and reader to consider exactly why Ezra is
moves at a
nice pace, characterization is strong, and the mystery is well done.
romance readers receive a strong character in Ruby, who follows through
emotional connections and confronts matters beyond her mother's death
mature teen through new adult and adult audiences, Between
Wild and Ruin is a story that lingers in the mind long
after its final revelation.
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978-1944056940 $25/Paper; $35/Hardcover/$4.95 Kindle
Burton Blake is a sweeping historical
fiction epic that will also
interest business novel readers because it focuses on corporate greed,
business involvements, historical conundrums revolving around financial
and business novel audiences receive an astute, compelling story that
a sequel to Robert Tucker's The
Revolutionist, but doesn't require prior familiarity with
that book in
order to prove satisfying.
Elias Blake, fostered the rise of a real estate empire from his
initial efforts to start an international company. At a very young age,
has absorbed the drive for material gains which has helped him create a
legacy for his son, Burton.
to explore the entire dynamic of this inheritance, beginning with the
the financial behemoth in the 1940s, when a lower-class taxi dancer
son who will never know his father. At a very early age, Burton
stepfather's real estate fortune, made in the post war real estate boom
with a price tag, as the usual youthful endeavors are set aside for
pursuits and a drive for financial success and stability that
answers many business challenges and keeps the company on an upward
But what is successfully won comes at a big cost.
only the company, but a wealth of problems. He also cultivates a
awareness about third world peoples and poverty when world travels
into contact with diverse peoples and economic struggles. Thanks to
journeys, he returns to the fold with a revised attitude about life's
In many ways, a company cannot grow and change without the concurrent
of the leader at its helm.
empire-building, inheritances of attitudes and economic strengths, and
personal growth of moral and ethical considerations that come from
family fold and original business focus lends to a compelling saga,
is that Burton Blake assumes no
Subplots about immigrant perceptions and struggles in America,
influences such as the rise and threat of Nazism, and outdoors training
hunting by mentor Web, who teaches Elias how to survive, create a
story that melds the lives of several generations into an engrossing
The road to
corruption and financial greed isn't a linear one, so readers receive a
satisfying juxtaposition of daily living and lifelong lessons, along
insights into how these translate into bigger-picture thinking.
powerful study in generational attitudes, measures of financial and
and the evolution of Burton, who inherits more wealth than he'd
vivid, engrossing story that's highly recommended for readers of
fiction and business stories. These usually-disparate audiences will
the attention to psychological development and evolutionary detail that
place Burton Blake more than a cut
usual historical novel or multi-generational business fiction read.
Return to Index
Raymond Avery Bartlett
Barrel Fire Press
978-0-9889390-5-9 $4.99 Kindle
The road to
paved with good intentions, as young Neil Chase discovers when he
and life to see the world by slow freighter in the 1960s. Celadon isn't an account of worldwide
travel, however, but reveals
what happens when a young man's adventurous spirit lands him in a small
Japanese village where a potter's family provides him with unusual
opportunities and a newfound artistic passion.
about the title, celadon is defined early on for not only its
its connections to the story line: "Celadons
are the filets mignon of
glazes, the best of the best. Yet they are also difficult,
two turn out exactly alike. Some celadons are even as extinct as the
pigeon: the recipes lost, the potters who made them long since passed.
certain parts of Asia a single cup the size of a cereal bowl can cost
as a house. Assuming, of course, that it was authentic to a certain
potter in a
certain place in a certain time, and that the potter is dead."
Celadon doesn't begin with his outward
bound trajectory; but at the
end of his wife's life, when Neil reflects on paradox, rare glazes, and
events that have led him to this unexpected place in time. These events
with a single risk-taking adventure and taught him about love and
giving him vastly revised perceptions about the world and his place in
Bartlett writes with an evocative, almost poetic, philosophical hand.
Thus, Celdaon is not a staid tale,
winding, breathless acknowledgement of the unexpected as he leaves
familiar Boston to enter into another culture containing very different
exquisite reflections from Neil's daily observations of this world: "I stood up and stretched my legs,
staring at the little altar where the flower arrangement was. The
interesting, the bark rough in some places and totally gone in others,
just smooth white wood the color of bone. The little flowers at their
might have been a kind of aster, with bushy purple petals and a yellow
I saw in the arrangement a juxtaposition of young life contrasted with
of love springing up out of heartbreak, of the beauty of spring as it
winter. This was no mere bouquet of cut flowers, Western-style. It was
of poetry, expressed in petals, branches, and leaves."
considerations of not just the influences that brought him to this
the decisions that lead to this revised life, are nicely posed
story line: "Looking at the flower
arrangement and thinking back on the sum of my adventures, I realized
entire chain, the unbroken string of seemingly random links that had
to stand in this very spot, all of it, would not have happened had I
from hindsight's vantage point, Bartlett also provides many
readers to consider not only affairs of the heart and life choices, but
influences on how these develop: "I
find it odd that even now, in the age of emails and texting and saying
be said in seconds, rather than the letters I’d write to Marinne that
weeks to arrive, people still find it so impossible to say what really
and into the vacuums of what we cannot say, we insert our own words,
own reasons, insist that this is actually the truth. We can transmit
we want in milliseconds, yet the contents of the human heart remain as
unfathomable as when Romeo sought Juliet. Cleopatra’s burning kingdom.
hearts are the same. What woos one person scares another. No latitude
longitude chart will map the way to what lies within a person’s soul or
sets a heart on fire. Had we had cellphones and text messaging I’d
as in the dark as I was that day."
and heartfelt on many levels, Celadon
offers a rare gift of cross-cultural inspection and love that will
the mind long after Neil discovers a new a passion as important the
hidden about his heart's desires. The road to hell is paved with good
intentions, but Celadon reveals
it is possible to come full circle.
Return to Index
Gerald Everett Jones
LaPuerta Books and Media
9781733268400 $15.95 Paper/$6.99 Kindle
Klovis is a stroke victim struggling to regain his memories,
personality, and his life. From faith to philosophical discussions,
interacts with the only person who can help him recreate much of his
can him attention, his paraplegic son Jeremy, who embarks on a journey
father to uncover truths about his past through journals, letters, and
significant stroke is challenging at best, and Clifford faces a long
ahead. Reader might think that this exploration of his journey will be
similarly challenging, but Gerald Everett Jones injects humor,
revelations, and psychological tension into this story of recovery.
elements lend a literary, intellectual tone to the experiences that is
absorbing and well-detailed.
that the rebuild process will involve regaining memories alone will be
pleasantly surprised to discover that it also involves a better
of past history, feelings, choices, and their consequences: "Clifford didn’t want to dwell on
guilty thoughts about his first marriage, which occurred fully five
Ruth deserted him. In the interim, he’d experimented in various
relationships, about which he would reflect much more during his
Clifford's stroke and struggle to get back his personality, past, and
lead him on a journey to not just regain memory, but to gain a far
understanding of his psyche.
the introspective examination that Clifford's memories bring with them,
will be pleasantly surprised by the deeper facets of the story, such as
institutionalization experiences, interactions with staff, and the
dilemmas stroke patients face on different levels, as in a special
nurse/patient relationship gone awry: "When
she was about to go, she bent over him, inches from his nose, and said
“If they want to pump you full of the sleepy-time shit, I don’t have to
to you. It’s a fine line. A judgment call could get me written up or
I could always say we heard your son would be coming by. Now, they pay
attention when the relatives come, especially the ones who pay the
people see you bright as a new penny, they’re not inclined to argue
things. They figure what can be done is being done, you’re as good as
going to get. All they can do is hope you’re comfortable. So if there’s
in your cheeks and you don’t mess your pants, you’ll be fine, at least
evolves between nurse and patient, the memories that keep Clifford on
of recovery and regaining some of his past, and the dutiful actions of
now more involved with his father's finances and care than he'd wanted
for an involving story that operates on many levels to provide an
story of family, faith, and questions of comprehension and speechless
revolve around Clifford's inner world, but on the intersected lives of
patients, medical providers, and family alike, all changed by stroke
incapacity, who face questions about cognizance and maintaining life.
romp through much-changed lives and, in the end, comes full circle not
Clifford was, but who he is to himself and others in the present day,
very different circumstances.
readers interested in a deep probe of psychological development will
find Clifford's Spiral an
to easily define or put down.
Return to Index
Muskrat Press, LLC
978-0-9895446-6-5 (paperback) $20.99
978-0-9895446-7-2 (ebook) $ 5.99
world at the turn of the century receives close inspection and serves
historical backdrop for Come the Morning,
a novel about a struggling gallery owner, Ezekiel Harrington, who must
terms not only with financial challenges to his livelihood, but his
of women entering the art world.
adversity cover not just worldly events and their impact, but the
changing prejudices, perceptions, and reactions. Jeannie Burt's Come the Morning falls into this 'best'
category because it deftly considers the evolution of Ezekiel's
ongoing financial struggles, and his paradigm-changing encounter with
unforgettable woman whom he at first despises.
watching his money dwindle. He hasn't become used to finding that his
lies on the opposite side of sound financial decision-making processes.
Burt hones a
ability to capture the process of dwindling returns in not only
and mind, but in Philadelphia's atmosphere and even its environment, as
changing seasons progress: "Late
summer bled into a gentle decline toward fall, days warm and dry at the
of the month, but toward the end of September, cloud and sky warred and
the city drenchings."
touch adds a fine adjunct to a story that delves into not just one
changes, but a society in flux: "Men
like Astor, Carnegie, Cooke, Morgan, Fisk, Vanderbilt, Stanford,
making millions. Reports of their dealings burrowed deep inside him.
was dark resistance to all this as well: labor. Laborers, miners,
steel men, dock workers, the very men whose existence depended on the
industrialists, were beginning to nip at the hands that fed them. They
forming unions, calling themselves “knights.” Authorities pushed back.
ago, the militia had gunned down two thousand Poles in Wisconsin who
striking for eight-hour workdays. In Chicago, a bombing had killed both
and police at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. In Louisiana,
sugar workers were shot when they tried to form a union. Ezekiel had
little attention to it when it began, but now the very idea of labor
business posed a threat: What would happen to him if Hainsworth wanted
money? What would happen if JJ insisted he be paid like his older
if they demanded a higher cut from their sales?"
life struggling and believing there is a better destiny for him. From
generosity towards his family, which enables his aunt and uncle to keep
house, to his shifting relationships and a journey from Philadelphia to
that leads him further into the art community's connections, readers
progression of his heart and soul as they receive historical tidbits
accurate information about his times.
involves realizing the emotional connections he has squandered even as
pinched pennies and struggles. These epiphanies coalesce in a powerful
discoveries that keep readers engaged and involved as he faces truths
life only when it's almost too late to change.
As Henri and
friends and Soap enter and change his life, readers come to recognize
wellsprings of discontent and achievement and the types of encounters
offer opportunities for personal transformation.
reflective, and historically revealing, Come
the Morning does a fine job of dovetailing a sense of self
with a sense of
place and purpose, also revealing the plights of women, artists,
and the circles that both support and defeat them.
moving story of artistic circles and life change will find that Come the Morning operates smoothly and
is compelling on many different levels, making it
a top recommendation.
Return to Index
thyself! David is a successful senior resident physician on the cusp of
when everything is threatened by his positive test for Huntington’s
which sends him on a downward spiral as he struggles with health
his love, and redefining his life.
wrong stems from this test, but just as the diagnosis closes many
opportunities, so new doors open as he encounters others with such
markers to devastating conditions and decides to embark on a new
turn of events, perhaps predictably, introduces him to love again, it
contains many reflections about how he plans on living the remainder of
life. These plans include newfound cautions about how he chooses to
part life story, Dead Man Dreaming
does an outstanding job of capturing the dilemmas posed by advance
the future in general and medical conundrums in particular. Uday
at closely examining confrontation's roots in ideology and clashing
systems: "She still wants to take
the risk of having kids despite knowing she or her partner might carry
genetic disease. She believes in chances. And we don’t.” “Do you think
building a church believes in God as strongly as the priest does? Damn
offered to help and you’re still hesitating? Besides, one day, she
The focus on
predisposition dilemmas is a constant theme affecting everyone involved
fine insights into the dilemmas it poses for all. Mukerji also explores
psychology behind David's decisions and interactions, giving readers a
view of these quandaries and choices, as well: "I
hated the way I had reacted. What was I thinking? I had acted
like a teenage lover. Jessie and her son needed a family, and who was
equipped to fulfill that commitment? Dylan or an HD victim? I felt
embarrassed for my emotional outburst. I didn’t know why, but for the
days, my first instinct was to avoid meeting Jessie. Suddenly, I didn’t
what to say to her anymore. And whenever we met, I sat there quietly,
as if I
was lost for words."
what circumstance gives them—even life-threatening diseases—is one mark
good read if the story is done right. Dead
Man Dreaming is particularly thorough and poignant in its
life, death, and the choices that lie in-between.
absorbing read highly recommended for readers interested in the
choice in navigating the pitfalls of life and medical challenges—one
superbly examines the foundations of good choices that stem from bad
Return to Index
Flying the Talk: When
Passion and Destiny Collide
J. Griffin Van Guilder
9781-57691-023-7 $14.95 Paper/$4.95 Kindle
When Passion and Destiny Collide is an erotic blend of
mystery and romance
and centers on the intersection of edgy sexual fantasies and real love.
find a home with romance readers who eschew the usual formula approach
of something racier, rollicking, and more revealing.
Nicole Vanderkelen has
enjoyed success in career and
love, but when her marriage ends, she returns to Boston a failure in
than one. Everything she once knew, relied on, and believed in is
question—including her sexuality and approach to finding love.
Jean-Paul LaPierre is also
on the cusp of big changes.
He's enjoyed life as a carefree bachelor, but is ready to settle down.
stumbles upon a little black journal lost by Nicole, he becomes
obsessed by its
deeply personal, highly sexual content. His mounting obsession and
its owner is the woman of his dreams, sparks his gut-wrenching search
is driven by emotions and change on the parts of all characters.
find Nicole's story replete with reflections and insights as she
through various points of her life: "As
they finished up their breakfast, Nicole said she had to go take care
business. She was lying because she needed to get away from him to put
feelings about what happened in the last 15 hours into perspective.
Carl was a
nice, intelligent man who had his act together. He was polite,
cultured, and a
good lay. It didn’t feel real."
The process of more closely
examining her passions,
desires, and the wellsprings of her heart lead Nicole on a journey that
her, just as playboy Jean-Paul finds himself an unexpected hero in
crisis: "Jean-Paul barely closed the door of
his rental car before a tumultuous wave of fatigue and angst caused him
vomit in the gutter. Anyone witnessing it, would have pegged him for a
not as for the hero he’d been. As he walked the two city blocks to his
apartment, he could hear DAVID BOWIE singing in his mind, “We can be
just for one day.”
From soul-searching to
unusual and elusive connections in
life, fostered by circumstance and mystery, Flying
the Talk serves up high energy spiced by surprising
possibilities that lead
seemingly disparate personalities to make some important connections at
critical junctures in their lives.
As Nicole, Jean-Paul,
Elizabeth, and Wade forge new
beginnings from the end of familiarity; readers are treated to an
exhilarating, and emotional romp through the heart and soul of
Back Bay in the mid-1990s leading to unusual, winning revelations.
Whether readers come from
mystery, romance, humor or
erotica genres, they'll be in for a pleasing surprise with Flying the Talk's revealing meld of the
best of these approaches.
Return to Index
steeped in facts, but too often focus on a sense of place and events
emotional connections, but Lily Fairchild
stands out from the usual genre work because it goes beyond presenting
embrace this psychological piece, bringing Lily's story to life.
Fairchild was a
1800s Canadian pioneer woman who observed a host of social and
between 1840 and 1919. Changing relationships with Indians and the
railways to open up new vistas; the Underground Railroad; the discovery
and her own personal trials with marriage, children, and a rapidly
world capture these times with solid atmospheric observation and
reflection: "Is this the way it is, the way it’s
going to be? Lily thought. These sudden, powerful, random bondings
the wrenching of separation, bleak rides in the night towards dawnings
not even had time or the wonder to dream of?"
The blend of
observations of rural Canada taking its place in the wider world, and
impact of all these changes on personal lives is particularly well done
rises and sometimes comes into conflict with her prodigy: "On
rare weekends when Bradley came home during his senior year, Lily was
made an honorary inductee and subjected to lengthy expositions of the
First manifesto. His eyes would flash with righteousness and confidence
youth, and there was in them a purity of purpose that frightened her,
amazed and gratified her. Mostly, though, she was inundated. It seemed
people like her were representative of the provincialism, the homespun
that was keeping Canada from taking her place among the senior cultures
world. They held back the natural development of a larger national
more capacious transcontinental loyalty and a more transcendent view of
citizenhood. That, moreover, sabotaged the politically independent
literature and philosophy which were necessary to the growth of
Lily Fairchild is a sweeping story that
deftly considers social
changes and personal transformation as it affects individuals, family,
societal norms. It's a revealing, engrossing read especially
readers interested in Canadian history and the transitions experienced
ordinary people at the turn of the 18th century.
Return to Index
978-0-9993743-6-8 $26.99 hardcover/$9.99 Kindle
novels focus on the heat of battle, survival tactics both physical and
psychological, and military and personal confrontations. Rarely does
battlefield experiences, but The Raincrow
focuses on the first-person observations of Lieutenant Craig Pearce,
the heat of a firefight that leads him to become a survivor in more
missions, company camaraderie, and death are presented, readers of The Raincrow receive a powerful
interplay between platoon operations and how Craig steps into an alien
never could have imagined back home, retaining interest and connections
the past while facing questions about his future survival.
uncomfortable decisions, Craig persists in pursuing a love triangle
dangerously counter to his present-day military experiences, offering
observations that are astute and revealing: "As
my head touched my pillow, I stared outside the tent into the waning
The Plantation, the flash of random stars temporarily visible as
with the trees and the whisper of the wind. It
was a beautiful place, I thought, even with all the hate,
fighting, and deception that each side in this war could heap on one
playing out on the home front to incongruous connections made between
different worlds, described in scenes which are filled with engrossing,
atmospheric reflections and contrasts ("I
sat with my back against a tree, amazed at what I was hearing. There is
place in a combat zone for Dvorak's music, I mused, yet there it was.
it was only on my new, small, reel-to-reel, battery-operated tape
earphones...there it was."), the process of surviving
on more than one level translates to a thought-provoking "you are
the mayhem American soldiers have brought to Vietnam, their place in
and what (if anything) belongs there, he struggles with issues of
murder, handling love and friendship conundrums, and keeping a
political, military, social, and romantic insights and struggles, The Raincrow creates a powerful saga of
transformation and truth that begins with battlefield engagements but
proves to be much more than another 'in country' story.
find The Raincrow astute, packed
realistic scenarios and descriptions, and a cut above most Vietnam War
Return to Index
A Sleepy Hollow Kiss
Bramble House Books
Large Print 978-1-7332261-5-8
Kiss arrives just in time for Halloween, and will appeal to
seeking a dose of small-town love, laughs and horror.
Lane Sharp never quite got
over being lost in the woods
as a child during the Salem Witch Festival, one Halloween, but it feels
ghosts have plagued her life ever since. She's been chosen to help
new horror literature curriculum at the local college, but it's a
holds more than confrontation with old fears when the charismatic and
Miles Hall, a freelance consultant on the horror project, enters her
Miles comes with his own
baggage—a cute little girl and
an aversion to love due to past hurts. All he wants from this small
town gig is
peace, quiet, and no emotional ties.
On its surface, Snowdrop
Valley seems to offer this
refuge; but spunky Lane is a standout in the crowd, and doesn't make it
obtain his goal. Even though she's not 'done fun' in the past, her
in something different leads to maddening meetings with this elusive
who challenges her comfort zone. These experiences bring new
a woman so committed to avoiding her ghosts that she's kept tight rein
brother to keep him at home with her, enmeshing him with a man equally
committed to running from his own past.
Is their goal really to be
alone to avoid the risks that
come from falling in love, and can they ignore the chemistry between
focus on ghosts and literature instead?
Each mulls the promises and
costs of love ("The fleeting attention made
things she didn’t want to feel. Soon Benjamin would have to go to a
school to reach his full potential. She would be alone, no way around
love gained and lost once it turned sour would start the cycle all over
Alone. Better to embrace it than get her hopes dashed."), but
Mayfair's story shows that matters of the heart cannot always be
It's a pleasure to see a
seasonal romance so nicely
steeped in small town atmosphere. The twists and turns of two very
personalities focus on personal growth not just in the romance arena,
many levels. Mayfair takes the time to point out the logic, fallacies,
opportunities inherent in each character's thoughts and emotions, and
approach successfully reflects both evolving identities and the
How does love evolve from
resistance? Mayfair does a fine
job of documenting just this process. The course of Miles and Lane's
lives and attraction is realistic, well done, and filled with
disagreements, and revelations on all sides.
Kiss is good, clean romance perfect for a crisp Fall day, a
and a cup of hot apple cider. As its story winds through the
resistances, and hopes of two characters who both cultivate and eschew
loneliness while forced to work together, readers will gain insights
transformational opportunities of unexpected new love in the most
Return to Index
Michael Kenneth Smith
burned-out farmhouse memory, and a locket are the only things the
wakes up to know about his current situation—that, and that he seems to
newly missing a leg—in The Thin Gray Line,
a Civil War novel that brings conflict to life.
Clyde is the
that brought home to his family a young soldier close to death from his
He's a Southerner whose hospitality and concern for his fellow man has
to this point in time where he helps Luke, a Confederate soldier, not
survive, but recover from devastating injuries that change his life.
was a medic and a scout for Jeb Stuart, but now he's an amputee who
to walk again. His future both within the war and outside of it is
anticipate that The Thin Gray Line
will be filled with battle stories or political insights on Civil War
be surprised to learn that the story takes a far more personal turn,
war as a backdrop to explore issues of injury, recovery, soldier
revised life purposes.
takes the time to explore changing race relations underlying
experience, and as Luke explores this side of the war and uses his
help others, readers receive sharp and detailed impressions of the
reveal the daily hardships of those trapped on all sides: "The sheer magnitude of the misery and agony almost
Luke. As he stood in the middle of the camp wondering what to do, a
who was stirring a pot of what looked like a watery soup, asked, “you a
doctor?”...Luke almost smiled at the little girl, who was probably ten
eleven years old, thinking she had arrived at adulthood. Maybe she had, he thought. “Tell me,
how long have you been here?” “Five or six days...Mastah Manroe owns us
was taken by Yankee cavalry three or four weeks ago. We had nowheres to
go...ended up here...that’s when everybody got sick.”
help; but so do blacks. And he can't help everyone.
More so than
Civil War novels, The Thin Gray Line
successfully captures the dilemmas faced by all sides in the form of
peoples, crumbling communities, challenges to family and faith, and
Luke's forced to face his own choices and their consequences during the
of traversing this much-changed landscape: "Luke
thought about fighting for the South and after seeing the hordes of
slaves and the adoration they had for the man who effectively freed
wondered why he made that decision four years ago to join the South.
went back to that fateful day when his father told him he had to leave.
standing in front of the post office with the two banners, one for the
and the other for the South. Subconsciously he may have picked the
because his father preferred the North. Now he knew he’s made a
and changes are not neglected as Luke becomes just one of the mirrors
which observers can consider not only his actions, but those of famous
people: "A stove pipe hat was slowly moving
the street. Luke moved closer hoping to see what Posey was seeing. The
parted as the tall man continued through then came together again. As
neared Luke, a black man knelt down in front of the visitor as if to
feet. The man who by now everybody knew it was Abe Lincoln shook his
the prostrate black man and said. “Kneel only to your God and thank him
liberty you will hereafter enjoy.” Lincoln continued to walk toward the
of Richmond and the number of negroes increased. Luke watched him
that he would risk his life in that loving way."
typically replete with battle scenes, but this story's focus on
issues, changes, and individual impacts places it a cut above others in
genre. The Thin Gray Line is a
spectacular exploration that Civil War buffs will find revealing and
Return to Index
Deep Down the Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole: The World Is Not What You Think examines such a
host of new age topics (from aliens and cosmic portals to ancient star
past lives, and lost worlds) that a reader might anticipate that it
will be a
confusing compendium of obscure and unrelated facts.
The purpose of Deep
Down the Rabbit Hole, however, is to re-approach much of this
a new openness to redefinitions and historical representation. The idea
consider possibilities largely ignored by mainstream history and
bringing together a seemingly disparate set of facts in an attempt to
reinterpret the roots of lies, truths, and humanity.
All that is required is an
open mind (which may be asking
too much of some circles, but is a perfect match for the new age
a willingness to reconsider the parameters of reality as we know it.
Chapters focus on what is
unknown or questionable in the
realm of science and nature, revealing how inconsistencies in language
perception fostered 'truths' that actually are more mercurial than
and white illustrations and photos of artifacts and relics accompany
discussions which ask readers to consider the foundations of beliefs
to be truths in human history: "Societies
usually describe what they do not know or understand in terms of what
know. This implies putting labels of less advanced objects on more
objects not fully understood. An example of this is how some old
typically described all vehicles and flying machines as chariots. If
cars and helicopters, they would describe them as land and air
this case, the word chariot simply
meant moving vehicle rather than a two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle
specifically. The same can be said of the atlatl; it is both literal
descriptive. It is literally a spear thrower but symbolically
Although the tone of Deep
Down the Rabbit Hole is investigative and scholarly,
readers with no prior background in science or history (or even new age
will find it easily accessible. Between the wealth of illustrations and
examples and the investigative yet almost chatty tone employed by Adin
there is little opportunity for confusion and much potential for
on more than one level.
At many intervals, Kachisi
challenges readers to consider
their own prejudices, preconceptions, and the roots of engrained
which may not reflect the bigger picture, documenting his insights with
references from a wide variety of traditional and new age sources
alike: "Even today, some ufologists take the
position that some of the technology we use today was borrowed from
aliens or a
product of the back-engineering of crashed UFOs. That theory may be
to prove; however, external observation shows a gradual convergence
external appearance of typical UFOs and military aircrafts. For this
many eyewitnesses today have considered that UFOs may
simply be military aircrafts, just like the aerial drone show above
149). Author Jim Marrs sums
up by saying, “People who disregard the subject of UFOs and toss it off
total fantasy and lunacy will never ever figure out what’s happening in
world. This is because they are tossing out a big piece of the
history, UFOs, secret societies, world government, energy, wars, it’s
of the same ball of wax” (Marrs, 2014)."
The result (much more so
than most new age discussions of
any one of these topics) is a multifaceted, well-researched and
thoroughly engrossing exposé that reconsiders not just human history
possibilities surrounding its development, but the roots of the very
perceptions of reality that hold modern human society together in
agreement about the nature of the world.
No thinking reader should be
without Deep Down the Rabbit Hole,
a well-reasoned, questioning study that
challenges convention using many of the tools that science holds dear:
theories, and supporting evidence that's been previously discarded,
under-considered, or even misinterpreted by that same discipline.
Return to Index
How to Save
Paul B. Skousen and W. Cleon Skousen
Izzard Ink Publishing
Hardback: 978-1-64228-052-4 $32.95
Paperback: 978-1-64228-051-7 $22.95
eBook: 978-1-64228-050-0 $ 9.95
Skousen covered the making of this country and many of its foundations;
but How to Save the Constitution is
different. It goes back to the Founding Fathers' original concepts,
how current democratic processes have deviated from these ideals, and
a road map for returning to Constitutional intentions and meaning.
There are a
other books which purport to do the same thing, but what separates and
How to Save the Constitution from
these discussions is an attention to not just the words of the
but the underlying ideals, morals, and perceptions that lead to its
analysis of where and how those concepts have changed or gone astray;
examination doesn't stop here. Paul B. Skousen and W. Cleon Skousen
exact instructions on the seven steps that may be taken to restore
to social and political circles, and advocates connections between
state as one way of restoring them.
readers to look askance at this process. After all, isn't the
church and state one of the cornerstones of American-style democracy?
points out, however, that "Religion
that is founded on the correct principles in the Bible is inseparably
with the Constitution." And he's careful to be all-inclusive
further states that "Any person of
any faith, including atheism, will benefit by living this Bible-based
Code. Aligning with a particular sect certainly helps, and the Framers
encouraged that, but it isn’t mandatory in order to live by these
return to basics by advocating a Bible-Based Moral Code for all
believers to follow, then covers the basics of analyzing liberty
advocating critical thinking beginning in the home, and having common
enter political circles, discussions, and processes to strengthen their
participatory impact and understanding of the basic Constitution.
marketed as an end-all solution. It serves as an important foundation
starting point providing a simple overview of the reasons, principles,
and ideas of a sound democratic government.
'save' freedom and American democracy without this basic knowledge. How to Save the Constitution provides
the key to every America's first steps in the process. It should be
for any high school to adult discussion of politics, Constitutional
objectives, and ideas for restoring American values to its citizens and
political processes—ideas that ultimately begin with we, the people.
Return to Index
Learning What Works
Shanti Regester, LMFT
Izzard Ink Publishing
Paperback: 978-1-64228-033-3 $12.95
eBook: 978-1-64228-034-0 $ 7.99
Works: Discover Your Baby and Your Self is
for primary caregivers of infants who want to apply the latest research
infant development with better strategies for daily care, and comes
Regester's experiences with motherhood, combined with her professional
expertise, derived from years of treating infants, toddlers, and
This blend of personal
experience and professional
background creates a practical mother's helper that bridges the gap
developmental theory and research and an infant's daily needs.
receive a holistic approach that emphasizes developing understanding,
communicating, and building a relationship with a child using simple,
The first thing to note
about this approach is that it
encourages parents to follow their own instincts about their individual
personality and needs as well as established routines, strategies, and
Every child is different; and just as there's no single approach that
so there is much 'wiggle room' for adapting practices for a better
From understanding the
heightened sensory awareness of
babies and adjusting their experience to reduce overwhelming or
(a process as simple as identifying clothing that feels either soft or
to newborn, sensitive skin) to handling sleep issues, Learning
What Works emphases
a caretaker's heightened awareness of a child's individual needs: "When using trial strategies, take note
of what you learn about your child’s temperament (what makes your baby
frustrated, happy, comfortable, scared, sad). How long does it take
to calm down? What motivates him and his activity level? How might you
you learned for other parenting skills? Factor what you have already
into these trial strategies. If your child is sensitive to sound, you
to try reducing sound levels and types of sounds."
Tables of information
include examples of typical
behaviors and responses to help readers understand a baby’s
different stages of their development, while discussions of milestone
achievements, safety concerns, and lessons to be learned from both
and failures provide specific direction and options that can easily be
changed, or fine-tuned to individual personalities and needs.
Works: Discover Your Baby and Your Self would
be a perfect gift for a baby shower,
new parent, or new caregiver working with infants and toddlers. Its
not just the baby but adjusting a caregiver's expectations and
makes it the perfect self-help guide for those who would increase their
involvement, awareness, and effectiveness in any relationship with a
Return to Index
Red Mango Publishing
978-0998761268 $9.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
Marion's 25 is the book to turn to when
you run out of inspiration
for selecting a read practically guaranteed to be a page-turner. It
a professional book reviewer whose recommendations are backed by the
of nine years in the book reviewing business, plowing through mundane
to unearth the gems that make up this compilation.
note about Marion's 25 is that it
selects books across genres. Thus, readers who enjoy all kinds of
from sci-fi and classics to modern fiction (both acclaimed and
are in for a treat, because it's nearly guaranteed that most won't be
with a majority of books on Marion Hill's list of top recommendations,
from the extent of his career.
to see a
classic such as Ralph Ellison's Invisible
Man appear on the same list as Mark Helprin's ethereal Winter's Tale or horror novelist Dean
Koontz's Cold Fire, for example;
but these are solidly compelling literary
giants in their genres, and their books are standouts from the crowd
reasons explained by Hill in the chapters (essentially, book reviews)
through the chapters and learn why each book is exceptional and worthy
they receive a rare opportunity to broaden their typical book
is the unique attribute of Marion's 25.
Hill does more than review the books as individual entities, but often
interrelates them in ways that cross genres and expectations to reveal
readers of one will be attracted to something that at first seems
different: "Hamid creates compelling
characters in Saeed and Nadia but the narrative had a gentle and
quality that reminded me of Station
Eleven, even though those two novels are not alike. I felt
as a reader
that distance to the main issue (immigration and refugee life in this
dystopia in Station Eleven)
a synopsis, an assessment of its strengths and weaknesses, and why the
wound up on Hill's list of 25 top books in almost a decade of reading.
especially recommended for readers looking to branch out from their
comfort zones of genre reads, but who want to pick exciting,
reads that surprise, delight, and promise that the risk taken to expand
repertoire will result in superior choices.
Marion's 25 is well worth the effort, as
well. This reviewer, for
one, will be using it to locate the many exceptional gems missed in the
of more mundane publications.
Return to Index
Sit, Stay, Pray
Lina and Robin Kelleher
Beaver’s Pond Press
ISBN: 978-1-64343-909-9 $16.95
Sit, Stay, Pray - A Dog’s Life with a Difficult Momma is literally written from a dog's-eye view of life, and is a sequel to Lina Unleashed. Lina's return, however, requires no prior familiarity in order to prove satisfying as the four-year-old Toy Australian Shepherd narrates events of a challenging life with a difficult Momma.
Readers seeking a dog story with a difference have plenty to appreciate in this tale. From the beginning, they will be tickled with Lina's narrative style, which blends wry observations of human fallacies with a wicked sense of humor: "From the start, I could tell that Momma was common sense-challenged and that I would pretty much be raising myself. She tries hard but doesn’t know how to care for a dog, is a hopeless shopaholic, doesn’t know a hash-tag from a dog-tag, has almost no social skills and worst of all -- she’s a Republican. I can forgive her for almost everything else."
Lovely color dog photos pepper what turns out to be hilarious slice-of-life observations. For example, Lina, leery of President Trump’s immigration policies, fears deportation to Australia by ICE. She also finds herself frequently assessed by a vet/sitter for poop challenges and dog food mysteries ("Later that month, Momma went on one of her many trips to Florida and my sitter, Dr. Becca, noticed that I was having trouble going poops. Becca surmised this could be a result of the prescription dog food, and suggested Momma get me re-tested. Thankfully, the crystals were gone, and the vet said I could go back to my regular food. The problem was, with all the stuff I’d been on, Momma couldn’t remember what it was").
After wheeling and dealing, Lina is dog tired; but there's no rest for the weary as she romps through an account of her own life and a Momma's journeys with her now-famous pooch.
Delightfully whimsical observations of canine worries and concerns combined with the puzzling circumstances of Lina’s life with Momma create a wonderful laugh-aloud winner that dog enthusiasts will love.
As an added bonus, please note that a
portion of the proceeds from Sit, Stay, Pray will
be donated to Helping
Paws MN and the Animal Humane Society of Minnesota.
Return to Index
When Plants Dream
Daniel Pinchbeck and Sophia Rokhlin
Ayahuasca, Amazonian Shamanism, and the Global Psychedelic Renaissance
follows the journey of the psychedelic ayahuasca plant around the world
its roots in the Amazon to its place in modern drug wars and rituals.
addition to health or social issues collections, When
Plants Dream offers a standout survey of the accompanying
quest for knowledge and transformation that this plant and others
It's important to know the
ayahuasca plant's history,
medicinal applications, and background in order to properly assess its
role in both Amazonian and Western circles. The paired talents of an
anthropologist and nonprofit organizer with the vivid writing abilities
cultural writer and columnist injects a lively, spirited tone to the
make When Plants Dream accessible
just to med students and cultural anthropologists, but to everyday
may be much less familiar with either psychedelics or Amazonian society.
Because no prior experience
with either is presumed,
readers will find this story embedded with important background
from history to definitions: "The
word ayahuasca comes from Quechua, the second-most spoken language in
Amazon after Spanish. It combines their words aya (body, soul, the
and wahska (rope, vine), lending itself to a variety of English
including "vine of the soul" or "rope of the dead."
Readers will thus absorb a
combination of details about
Amazonian history, visionary encounters in general, early European
investigations of the indigenous use of psychoactive plants, and
both ancient and modern applications and personal experience with the
perceptions of the nature of both dreams and reality: "In
2013, the boundary between dreams and reality dissolved one
night while I was drinking yagé with the
Secoya, during a tropical
storm...until sunrise I flicked from dream-memory to dream-memory,
through my childhood dreams, recalibrating the visions and filling in
blanks. Since then, the veil separating my dream and waking words
porous. At times, a sound, a touch or a gesture can transport me back
From medicine to religion,
psychology, and evolving
cultural challenges to political and legal concerns, When
Plants Dream adopts a multifaceted approach to its
examination. Unlike most considerations of psychotropic drugs, this
elevates discussions on many levels and makes the book more than just
Anyone interested in
anything related to the subject of
psychodelics in general and how a plant used in Amazon spiritual quests
around the world to influence other cultures will find When
Plants Dream an outstanding consideration of endangered
ecosystems, humanity's critical junctures, and the latest details in
science and psychedelic research.
Return to Index
The Defenders of
Dembroch: The Age of Knights and Dames
$29.99 hardcover; $3.99 ebook; $19.99 paperback
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-defenders-of-dembroch-patrick-harris/1131557399?ean=9780578482903
Book 1 in The Defenders of Dembroch series, The Age of Knights and Dames, is young
adult epic fantasy writing at its strongest. It portrays the changing
relationships and singular mission of Nick, Meg, Jenn, and Clay who, as
folk, were friends named knights and dames of the Reserves. Twenty
they are the last potential defenders of the remote Timeless Kingdom of
Dembroch, a cursed, isolated realm where magic is dead and threats
epic stories of King Arthur, curses, and grandchildren who seek more of
adventure story than the familiar ones surrounding kingdoms, queens,
of courage and confrontation, will find The
Age of Knights and Dames is satisfyingly original.
grandfather's caution about a dark, new story he hasn't shared with his
grandchildren lest they have recurring nightmares: one which begins
witch's arrival in the kingdom of Demboch. Her power over magic and
makes her a formidable adversary that the four final defenders of the
might not be able to defeat...but that's only one piece of the story.
a tale that quickly moves through the witch's successes, the last
desperate struggles to survive, and the death of magic. He also creates
compelling focus on a kingdom's creation and demise, the many
of its defenders, and how King Arthur, King Richard, and others come to
involved in a cursed queen's fate.
are so deftly woven into the action-packed story that young adult
absorb background seamlessly while remaining immersed in the tale,
between first-person perspectives and third-person observations just as
effortlessly as it provides its background history.
loyalty and fidelity to faith, forgiveness, and issues of honor, The Age of Knights and Dames teaches
young adults some basic values and premises as it follows the hearts
of four young people through the gates of hell.
The adventure component is well-woven; the concept is based on the fact of the world's smallest country off the coast of Norway; and the cliffhanger ending portends more adventures to promise young readers further adventures in a series.
and spiced with a satisfying mix of strong characterization and
fantasy, The Age of Knights and Dames is
a read that young adults aren't likely to set aside or easily forget,
and sets the
stage for a satisfyingly involving series.
Eleventh Grade Stress
Secant Publishing, LLC
Stress offers a high school story with two unusual
attributes: the added
value of input from teachers and students at Lord Botetourt High
editorial touches provided by a team of students in Bruce Ingram's
writing class. Bruce Ingram is a high school teacher who knows students
and this is evidenced by a story that surveys the special stresses of a
when students stand on the cusp of new adulthood and new possibilities.
Several characters and their
educational and social
struggles are outlined to capture different aspects of 11th grade
There's Luke, who struggles with both school and the loss of his
due to her father's hostility; Elly, who is seemingly doing well with
school and romance, but struggles with a hidden abuse problem with her
star boyfriend; Marcus, who seems on the fast track to a sports
is viewing college with new ideas; and Mia, Luke's ex, who faces a
Stress deftly captures both the heartaches and dreams of
teens, using the first person to capture each character's struggles and
interactions: "It’s too cold to take
her fishing on the river. I really wanted to go deer hunting on
Saturday, but I
couldn’t drag her along on that for our first date. Can you imagine her
her girlfriends about how cold she got sitting next to me in the woods
waiting for a deer to come by? And how miserable she was the whole
thought about asking her if she wanted to go on a picnic up in the
go hiking, then stop somewhere to eat lunch, then hike back. But her
probably wouldn’t be too cool with that idea. Leigh, I guess, saw that
confused and started making suggestions. Girls seem to be able to
pretty easy when we don’t seem to know what we’re doing."
The young protagonists seem
astute as they assess themselves and the world around them: "I told Elly I understood that she
couldn’t go out with me. I didn’t try to talk her out of it. Should I
have? Sometimes, I
worry that girls
won’t like me or go out with me because of my dad’s criminal record, or
family always being poor. But America is supposed to be a classless
where anybody can be anything if they work hard enough. Is that true?
Sometimes, I think it’s true; and sometimes, I think it’s crap. That’s
get like this gigantic chip on my shoulder. I get angry at myself and
world. But I don’t want to be like that, feel like that, and live my
angry. That’s how Dad was all the time; he was always bitter and foul.
not going to be like that—like him."
These changing perspectives
are clearly marked by chapter
headings, and Eleventh Grade Stress's
ability to view the same circumstances from different vantage points
multifaceted and intriguing dimension to a story that keeps young
immersed not in a single dilemma, but in a number of interrelated
The result is a story of
growing up, struggles with
relationships with the opposite sex, school and family life issues, and
one's place in the world—a story of 11th graders that will not only
young readers, but enlighten them about the progression of their goals,
and daily life struggles.
Stress is very highly recommended for young readers
interested in making
sense of their evolving feelings and how life-changing decisions are
Return to Index
Pumpus Has a
978-1-7330059-0-6 (Hardbound) $14.99
978-1-7330059-1-3 (Paperback) $12.99
978-1-7330059-2-0 (E-Book) $9.99
Website/Ordering Link: www.boon-dah.com/books
Pumpus Has a Growing Idea! offers a sequel to the prior Pumpus adventure with the picture book adventures of a budding young scientist who, in addition to his two best friends Filbin and Filberta, enjoys experimenting and making discoveries.
Here Pumpus and his friends plant a garden, but the tap has very little water flowing out. How can Pumpus fix this dilemma? By putting together a "trickler sprinkler" that doesn't produce more pressure, but slowly applies what is there directly to the plant's roots, making for a better watering experience.
No sooner does Pumpus solve one gardening dilemma than another emerges; this time around the lack of mulch.
Young picture book readers with good reading skills receive a step-by-step survey of a garden's needs and how to address them; but more importantly, the problem-solving skills employed by Pumpus gives them tools for not just addressing gardening needs, but thinking about the world and science in new ways.
The concepts of irrigation and gardening are presented in the form of an adventure; but the story includes a glossary of terms, an invitation for kids to embark on their own gardening projects with the help of adults, and a discussion of garden safety.
feature, however, lies in a young character's ability to apply basic
for solving everyday problems. This concept and the cute, fun, very
large-size drawings by Heather Forde make for a kids' gardening
like no other; highly recommended for picture book readers just
the worlds of gardening and scientific explorations and applications.
Return to Index
N. Reece Ho-Sheffield
many forms, and God's will and wishes are also reflected in many ways. Reece's Vintage Tales, a collection of
pictorial stories for the young in spirit, is inspired by spirituality
provides an unusually colorful series of folktales that are
creative, and lend to contemplation by all ages.
traditional children's stories, such as 'Little
Green Riding Hood and the Vegetarian Wolf' for ages 9-11,
which offers a very different take on the classic as it tells of a wood
by elephants, who rule that every creature in their forest must be
Their mandate means that predators are banned—except for one clever
claims to be vegetarian in order to get what he really wants.
Hood is visiting her grandpa when the inevitable confrontation occurs,
matters take quite a different turn because of a clever old man and a
who see beyond the wolf's clever disguise.
Then there's 'The Farting Bunny', a tale for ages 9-12,
which tells of a peaceable kingdom of rabbits who face serious danger
form of hungry wolves. Can a lowly rabbit's farts save them all?
whimsical, heroic, fun stories with a message.
Each requires reading and comprehension skills well beyond the usual
book age range, but receive gorgeous, bright color drawings every few
which accent the action. A glossary of terms ends each story with
vocabulary-building definitions, while the fables themselves explore
developing inner strength and resilience; courage; survival skills; and
happiness in life to the darker story of a Japanese master chef, Reece's Vintage Tales is a diverse,
compelling collection of tales highly recommended for readers seeking
pieces that are thought-provoking and lively reads, whether they be
of age or older.
Return to Index
Second-Chance Sam: King of
Dogs and Books
King of the Junkyard is a picture book story illustrated in
color by John Taulli and tells of Sam, an older dog who lives in a
who sees puppy after puppy adopted while he is left behind.
Sam is older and
well-trained, but he also has a gimpy
leg and is continually passed over for healthy, younger pups. One day
man takes him home...but to what kind of home?
Sam's second chance isn't
your typical home-sweet-home
environment, but Sam and young readers will come to appreciate its many
benefits in this warm, bright story of a dog's adoption and the
physical and emotional, to be gleaned from a unusual home where Sam is
Parents who choose Second-Chance
Sam for read-aloud fun will find its rollicking rhyme,
bright drawings, and
appealing story of a lonely older dog who finds his place in the world
for a fine leisure choice. It delivers a number of warm, underlying
about the nature of real treasures in unexpected places.
Return to Index
Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball
Scott Lauder and David Ross
Neem Tree Press
978-1-911107-18-7 Paperback $10.99
978-1-911107-04-0 Ebook $ 9.99
graders to young adults seeking a vibrant blend
of fantasy and thriller receive the right combination of action,
cultural insights, and imagination in The
Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball, which tells of Sara's
confrontation with ancient forces.
visit to the Beijing Palace Museum sets the stage
for cascading events that carry her from present-day China to
the past as a thousand-year-old scroll leads her through perils and
Eventually, she is tapped by ancient Immortals who designate her the
three 'hares' assigned to a mission of vital importance.
Lauder and David Ross excel in creating
atmospheric descriptions of place and people to bring this story to
life: "The swaying camel lumbered to a stop.
Shan Wu looked up to see a great many camels amassed in the narrow
waiting. Across the tawny, shimmering desert plain, the towers of a
rose like fingers amidst the palm trees that filled the oasis. It was
afternoon. The day’s fierce heat had mellowed, the shadows were slowly
lengthening and deepening, and the sun’s rays were growing more slanted
Shan Wu and Sara stumble into quests involving
dragons, powerful elixirs, mercurial mountains and different
finds that Shan Wu's influence holds the power to endanger her life
she is in her world. Sara is facing powers she'd never imagined, and is
entering into a war she never imagined.
is fast-paced, the cross-cultural encounters
are realistic and nicely drawn, and The
Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball holds the added attraction
of making a
potentially complex story line a compelling investigation of other
Sara's quest to find the other two Hares to bring these mysterious
life makes for a vivid, engrossing read that nicely sets the stage for
grade to young adult readers seeking a quest
fantasy that is a serious notch above other genre reads will appreciate
depth, insights, action, and surprising twists and turns that make The Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball a
Return to Index
978-1798111307 $14.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle
The Undoing is young adult dystopian
literature at its best: a
thoroughly engrossing story that will reach from young adult into adult
audiences as it tells of Rebecca, who is forced to climb a mountain and
her fear of heights to find out the truth about the virus that is
village home and everything she loves.
travel, controls news and information, and mysteriously becomes silent
and more people succumb to the illness. They've successfully erected
of a perfect society after The Reckoning, based on strict control of an
individual's life choices, but seem unable to respond to this threat.
brother Jonathan is on the fast track to become part of the Council,
he too succumbs, she realizes that she's now alone and is unable to
rely on her
solid, pragmatic older brother for help. Furthermore, she may be the
able to find a solution to extinction, which lies in confronting the
strategies that have kept them safe all these years.
cusp of uncovering the truth, and he passes the baton to Rebecca to
the true nature of the illness. This involves a journey that would seem
his ilk than her nature.
But how does
escape when all moves are monitored and regulated by a
system? How can Rebecca use Jonathan's last insight and message to
deadly course of events? And how can she overcome her fears, her
and her overseers to defy what seems inevitable?
Desserae Shepston does an outstanding job of
linking Rebecca's psyche, limitations, and growth with background
how the Council evolved after The Reckoning, and how limiting freedom
From revised definitions of safety and
freedom apart from technology's aid to Rebecca's personal quest to live
the impossible task to carry out Jonathan's legacy, chapters follow a
young people who increasingly realize how their ordered world really
works...and have growing questions about its costs. As each character
terms with both personal struggles and society-wide changes, the
story becomes an engrossing read that keeps readers on their toes
only about humanity's outcome, but about each individual's evolving
Readers will find the first book in The
Undoing Trilogy a complex story of social order and disorder,
devastating plan that is attacked by a girl who always believed her
lay in another direction.
Who would dare pick apart the ordered system
that has saved humanity? YA dystopian fiction readers are in for a
treat with The Undoing.
Return to Index
What Wonders Do You
See...When You Dream?
978-1-948124-22-5 (paperback) $7.99
B076B7RDWY (ebook) $2.99
Wonders Do You
See...When You Dream? receives colorful, fun watercolors by
to compliment a rhyming picture book story about day's end, night's
and the possibilities of dreams.
Youngsters and their
read-aloud parents will appreciate a
story that takes a different approach to sleep than the usual bedtime
admonitions, maintaining that sleep is an opportunity for a different
dreamtime adventure that should be encouraged and looked forward to—not
But first, there are
preparations for bed: brushing
teeth, telling the house to "hush hush hush", and locating pajamas.
As kids receive a review of
the lively possibilities that
are unavailable in daytime, they may cultivate a different perspective
sleep is actually desirable from an excitement standpoint.
magical." This very different admonition than the usual
how to become drowsy will help kids realize that sleep is an
opportunity; not a
limiting factor to potential fun.
Even the mechanics of how to arrive at dreamland are covered, making What Wonders Do You See...When You Dream? an outstanding alternative to most sleep books that provides a positive spin on not just getting to bed, but entering and enjoying dreamland.What Wonders Do You See...When You Dream?
Return to Index
Diamonds and Scoundrels
She Writes Press
Print: 978-1-63152-513-1 $16.95
Ebook: 978-1-63152-514-8 $ 9.95
Scoundrels: My Life in the Jewelry Business comes from the
perspective of a female who, in the 1970s, enters a business world
dominated by men. Adrienne Rubin was introduced to jewelry sales
relationship with a man, but persevered through the decades, learning
about jewelry but scams, industry relationships, politics, and more.
From the tricky business of
buying and selling diamonds
to navigating her father's passing and associations with men, Rubin
multifaceted survey of her life both inside and outside of the jewelry
business. What makes her memoir/business examination so absorbing is
value of moral, ethical, and value insights: "Most
of the time I was merely finding items to sell, purchasing
here and offering them there. I had “an eye” for putting together a new
collection every year and figuring out future trends to make a profit.
good at it. But how could this be my purpose in life? I thought a lot
doctors who save the lives of their patients, lawyers who help their
find justice, and teachers who inspire and motivate their students. And
came to the product of jewelry itself, I was baffled by its perceived
a gift, it was a symbol of love. As a possession, it had intrinsic
value. But I
couldn’t imagine why a diamond could cost so much, when other things
much more useful."
Rubin's observations will
resonate with anyone interested
in jewelry on more than one level. This reader will find her survey
with reflections on relationships, family, and the methods of jewelry
appraisal, sales, evaluation, and more. Readers might not anticipate
inclusion of family issues as they relate to jewelry inheritance and
but this, too, pops up in the course of Rubin's expertise and
relationships: "How wise is Stan. He didn’t
trouble with Uncle Mike. “No,” he said. “Let Uncle Mike have someone
it, along with the antiques and the paintings.” I felt a bit slighted,
my expertise wasn’t taken seriously, and my services were free. But
Stan’s family, and if he wanted me to stay out of their business, I
The life lessons Rubin
absorbs from her choices and
business lend to a fine autobiography ("This
is the lesson. Each of us must live the life we create, according to
actions. Every day we are faced with choices. What we choose and how we
will determine our future. As for me, the money did not change my life."),
making Diamonds and Scoundrels of
interest to more than a singular arts or memoir audience.
While readers involved with
jewelry might be surprised at
the inclusion of so much personal insight, these features are what
Rubin's experience from a business exposé to a journal of personal and
professional growth, setting it
apart from other jewelry considerations and placing it in a unique
Scoundrels is highly recommended reading for those who like
jewelry, but stories of personal and professional growth.
Return to Index
The Four Hats of Leadership
Drake E. Taylor
New Insights Press
978-0-9995801-9-6 (print) $9.95
978-1-7338411-0-8 (eBook) $4.95
Four Hats of
Leadership: Be Who Your People Need You To Be refutes
the notion that
great leadership stems from carefully honed behaviors or attitudes,
that it comes from dynamic interactions and approaches to dealing with
whether they be subordinates or equal.
Drake E. Taylor's military
background lends a seasoned,
practical approach to the topic of leadership that will especially
with new managers and organizers as well as those seeking a refresher
From differences between
direct and indirect
responsibilities and the different challenges of handling both to the
simple metaphor 'hats' of
leadership (farmer, drill instructor, psychologist, and self-care),
interested in becoming managers (or better leaders) receive a specific
directions about the process of nourishing growth in those being led.
Taylor hits the nail on the
head with this approach
because too many books on leadership focus on getting ideas across and
that they are enacted according to rule; not encouraging those being
become more engaged in the process, or more creative, themselves.
As each 'hat' is discussed,
Taylor offers specifics on
not only its qualities, but exactly how they translate to the
leadership role. The Four Hats of Leadership is
especially clear in its assessments of the differences between military
civilian leadership challenges: "There
are times in the business world when you need to instill discipline, be
driven, ask people for perfection, and even operate on a tough love
people really like to play the disciplinary role as a leader, and
today, everyone wants to be liked and be known as a fun person. The
world appears to be changing, offering lots of rewards and seldom
punishment. Who wants conflict when you can motivate people with extra
off, bonuses, free lunches, trips to the movies and museums, etc.?"
clear, concise, and easily translatable to civilian as well as military
scenarios. Its examples and insights give potential leaders guidelines
recognizing common obstacles to success and how to overcome them with
routes designed to reinforce both leadership and better outcomes for
In short, The
Hats of Leadership is a very highly recommended survey that
for anyone in a leadership role who wants to do more than cultivate
and command alone.
Return to Index
Kicking Financial Ass
Paul Christopher Dumont
e-book: 978-1-9991326-1-3 $9.99
paperback: 978-1-9991326-0-6 $14.99
Website : www.moneysensei.com
Ordering Link: https://www.amazon.com/Kicking-Financial-Ass-Invest-Future-ebook/dp/B07SQG4WJD
Kicking Financial Ass: Punch Debt in the Face,
Invest for the Future,
and Retire Early! comes from a Millennial author who, like
others of his
generation, struggled with student debt and lack of financial
More so than other books which promise early retirement, Paul
Dumont specifically addresses these seemingly-insurmountable obstacles.
approach offers solutions that bring hope to an entire generation
improbability of ever retiring.
the book illustrates the connection between monetary values and buying
decisions. While happiness cannot be bought, popular culture and the
encourage this concept, steering people into overspending or putting
money into areas which detract from long-term retirement goals.
tackles investing and the value of money: "How
much money do you need to
retire? Why use retirement accounts? Should you buy or lease a car? Is
estate a good investment? This book tackles those questions by
wide breadth of material into simple concepts you can apply in your
Financial Ass breaks down complex financial concepts into
easy to understand actionable takeaways that anyone can use to improve
the importance of increasing your income and how to do it
through salary negotiations, raises, and having a side hustle (“A
exists on how much you can save, but there is no limit to how much you
can earn”) to
the importance of the savings investment vehicles for young people.
Being cognizant of spending
priorities and habits,
understanding the pros and cons of investment vehicles, and maintaining
investment approach that leads to a strong retirement fund are all
easily-accessible chapters that require no financial background from
All that's needed is an
interest in learning how to
develop a successful retirement plan that will lead to a fruitful (and
Plenty of books promise 'get
rich quick' results. Kicking
Financial Ass's focus on reducing debt, making better
and understanding investment, combined with its focus on common
issues, makes it highly recommended over others in its genre.
Return to Index
The Constipation Diet: 4
Yuchi Yang RD
978-1092281713 $12.99 Paper/$7.99 Kindle
Yuchi Yang is a registered
dietician with an important
message for sufferers of chronic constipation: it takes only four very
steps, followed on a regular basis, to regulate this condition and
body to normal.
These four factors may
already be known to sufferers
(adequate water, dietary fibers, oils and fats, and probiotics), but
advocates a management system that begins with water and builds up to
piece of the dietary puzzle only after the reader has absorbed the
approaches of each step, which includes discussions of 'how much' and
providing sample meal choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Many facts are included that
readers may not know: some
75% of adults don't consume enough liquid—and 'enough' translates to 15
liquid (water, soup, other beverages) a day for men and 11 cups a day
women. Suggestions on how to increase liquid intake break down this
daunting-sounding recommendation into routines that begin upon waking
end with a cup of water or milk in the evening, making this
As chapters move through
each constipation-busting tip,
readers will find the goals and their achievement are not only clear,
Tables, charts, and tips on
such goals as how to increase
dietary fiber leave nothing to wonder about and offer adjustments that
as simple as substituting whole wheat bread for white bread in
snacking on avocados.
There are many surprises,
too. One example lies in the
section on fruits, which maintains that bananas may lead to
while papayas are a top remedy; or that increasing dietary fibers
proper hydration can actually make constipation worse. The latter tip
illustrates the importance of tackling these four easy steps in order
they are being done properly before progressing to the next step.
As the population ages, The Constipation Diet will receive more
attention for its important
and easy tips designed to assure lasting gut health. With its extensive
planning tips, keys to more effective shopping, and appendices packed
and research, it's a handbook for an ongoing maintenance routine that
become a dietary lifestyle.
It's highly recommended
above most other books on the
topic for its excellent, balanced blend of research findings and daily
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978-1576910092 $14.95 Paper/$4.95 Kindle
Wellness: Inside the Miracle of Hypnosis is more than just a
survey of how
hypnosis works. It provides a focus on self-healing and growth that can
from hypnotic suggestion, creating a structured learning opportunity to
readers from the idea, enactment, and promises of hypnosis to how it
tied to growth opportunities.
Professionals involved in
hypnotherapy as well as clients
who would better learn its possibilities to change their lives receive
connection between hypnosis and self-improvement based on Julie
well-established experience and findings. The focus on her hypnosis
and applications set Facilitating
Wellness well apart from other treatises which either provide
focus on others' research results.
Specific treatment options
and suggestions for specific psychogenic and psychosomatic
disorders provide much food
for thought and offer clear connections between techniques and positive
outcomes, creating a reference that is results-based and explicit.
Instruction takes the form
of step-by-step hypnosis
sessions which supplement experiences with Griffin's clinical notes on
handled challenging situations within the hypnotic event: "I
believe it is therapeutically beneficial for anyone to re-experience a
event as if it is happening again, so I again employed the safety valve
technique of tapping on her forehead to prevent her from being
This time, I tapped several times in a row. As I tapped on Vicki’s
her physiology slowly quieted down and she became increasingly
Included within these
reflections and approaches are
discussions on how to protect the patient and deal with revelations and
revealed during a hypnotic session: "I took time to ask the
questions, and to make the last statement, to be certain that the
would not inadvertently split Vicki’s personality. Afer posing those
questions, I felt comfortable that she was in touch with reality." Psychotherapists
and those who help clients through hypnosis thus receive a rare
learn from a professional clinical hypnotherapist.
If Julie Griffin's name
sounds familiar, it's because
she's the author of 12 hypnotherapy books, has written dozens of
has audio programs on the subject. The combination of her authoritative
experience, and attention to positive methods of inducing growth and
in her clients makes for a winning approach that individuals and fellow
practitioners can put to effective use.
Wellness should be a part of any new age, clinical
psychology, or self-help
collection as an important key to fostering self-awareness and growth.
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Centerpath Books Publishing LLC
Happiness Through Nature's Designs is more than a book: it's
practice that considers order in nature, how this translates to human
and how nature not only raises harmony, but can be used as a model for
achieving the same throughout human endeavors.
Like its subject, Centerlife
is laid out in an orderly series of discussions on harmony in nature
exactly how this is achieved. The foundation of Nua's contentions lies
fact that everything shares a common, unifying structure; and that this
center-oriented pattern and process transforms randomness to create
from seemingly-random events.
These 'centerfields' are not
just limited to the outdoors,
but are broadcast everywhere throughout the universe, providing an
that orders all life. While this contention may at first appear quite
consider the fact that the idea of a 'Centerpath effect' can be seen in
everything from geometric order in nature to the patterns of galaxies
distributions and vortexes.
Jin Nua excels in linking
microcosm and macrocosm as he
explores the Centerlife thesis. Readers who open the book expecting it
to be a
cosmic engagement will be pleased to note that discussions move from
structures to everyday human affairs: "What
are the control centers guiding our day-to-day routines? There are
are the numerous beginnings and starts of our lives. Such things as new
thoughts, experiences, interactions, and initiatives. They are also
mind related to our needs, wants, and desires. All dew drop-like seeds
universe that once formed, grow into the larger creations of our
relationships, houses, families, the furnishings and products we buy,
destinies, and the memories we form in others. They all reflect the
of their maker—i.e. you. You being who you are deep down inside—what
believe in and what you hold as dear and important."
As discussions move into
cosmic links and perspectives,
readers receive a blend of science, philosophy, and spirituality that
full circle to personal choice, achievement, and perspective: "Thus, when fields interact with their
surroundings, only those things of ‘like’ makeup coalesce about, circle
move inward, connect with, and affix to the originating center. The net
is to create a larger, halo-shaped creation about, and of similar
to, the originating center. In other words, the developing creation is
comprised of the same makeup and character as the originating center.
created indeed reflects the creator! Thus, matter filled stars create
filled solar systems, charged nucleons organize electrons into atoms,
greedy and selfish people create distorted and unhappy lives."
The ideal reader of Centerlife
and its guiding principles will be one interested in understanding more
what drives behaviors and choices. Readers interested in
on scientific evidence about the interconnectedness of the universe
the juxtaposition of the macrocosm of the universe and microcosm of
experience is well done, clear, and inspiring.
Centerlife isn't so much a
philosophy or a spiritual bent
as a journey. Centerlife offers the
connections and keys essential to embarking on this path of not only
understanding, but self-appraisal and change.
The book is very highly
recommended for new age,
self-help, spirituality, and psychology readers alike; especially those
to forge new connections and positive pathways in life.
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Everything Has Karma
Mother Earth Press
Karma: Learning to Embrace Our Interconnectedness is
not a traditional
book about karma's history or meaning, but focuses on the bigger
picture of how
karma connects people, ecosystems, and life.
This approach allows readers to understand karma's active process in daily living in new way. From Madis Senner's perspective, karma is not limited to individual pursuits. It's within every living thing. The circle of webs and entwined lives extends beyond human experience and moves into every ecosystem and interaction. Everything Has Karma is devoted to exploring this expanded view of karma.
It should be noted that Everything Has Karma is not an easy,
quick read. Like karma, it
embraces various disciplines from science and philosophy to psychology,
offering a revised view of history, theory, and events. Discussions
concepts of karmic debt to the larger context of groups and nations,
connections between both individual lives and interrelated social and
out that "We have lost our connection
to Mother Earth." He surveys the fundamental concepts of
consciousness and how these apply to reconnecting systems, people, and
for the successful enjoyment of Everything Has Karma is a willingness to accept ideas of
reincarnation, higher purpose, and purposeful connections between
mental, and spiritual life forces.
Karma is powerfully
well-researched, nicely referenced discussion of the bigger picture of
It is recommended for new age and spiritual readers, whether they have
understanding of karma or are newcomers to the entire concept.
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Jeffrey Reber, Ph.D., LPC and Steven Moody, LCSW
Perfection: How Embracing Our Imperfection Perfects Us is
Christian lifestyle readers who constantly aim for perfection, but just
consistently fall short of their goals. This spiritual reflection
relationship-building and a better understanding of Christ's intentions
perfection, and is a work that should be read and discussed by
interested in developing a better relationship with both Christ and
It would seem like a
contrary dilemma, that embracing imperfection
results in greater perfection,
but as Jeffrey Reber and Steven Moody demonstrate, this process is
achievable—and has been tested by the authors who are, themselves,
perfectionists, and thus in the perfect position to write about it with
It has taken years of work
for them to synthesize their
findings—years of research, editing, and even discussions between them
focus and what was to be covered in this book. The best collaborative
entail give-and-take; but when two perfectionists are involved, this
as challenging as it is enlightening.
Perfection's process is thus mirrored in the very creation of
which was nearly sabotaged several times by the very act of its
assessments of psychological stance and motivation to the pros and cons
perfectionist thinking, chapters focus on honest reassessments, provide
history examples of perfectionist approaches and detrimental results ("Someone once said that a perfectionist
is a person who takes great pains and passes them on to others. I would
given my husband a great pain that evening if I’d discounted his
that’s exactly what perfectionism does: It brings pain and destruction
lives and marriages."), and ultimately come from a place of
understanding and acceptance of self, others, and beliefs.
From a close analysis of the
language of perfectionism
and how it influences every decision and choice in life to Biblical
reveal the heart of interpretations and misunderstandings ("Christ’s commandment to be perfect in Matthew 5:48
is often read
by English speakers as if it was given to individuals who are to each
themselves flawless. But, in fact, the commandment was given to a
to a group of people listening together to Christ teach His Sermon on
Mount. This means that Christ used the second person plural, not the
person singular, when He addressed His audience. If you were to read
in other languages, which use different words for the singular and
of “you,” like Spanish or German, it would be much easier to see this
distinction and to confirm that this commandment to be perfect was
given to the
plural you."), The Paradox of
Perfection offers a fine study in beliefs, interpretation,
Perfection should be part of any thinking Christian reader's
offers many keys to improving daily and social relationships which, in
lead to a closer relationship with Christ, church, and God.
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