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The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
1418441031 $18.75 140 pp.
This is a book about a hash smoking assassin, one of the followers of the infamous Hassan El
Sabbah (The Old Man of the Mountain). Sabbah was an entrepreneur of sorts using the assassin
tool to gain political influence throughout the Middle East during the Middle Ages. The story
follows one of Sabbah's assassins through deserts, jungles, and strange enchanted towns, on his
to kill the king of his country. The assassin who is named Anazasi seems fairly oblivious
the book and spends most of his time stoned to the bejesus on hash, weed, blow, reefer, dope,
whatever you want to call it.
This is a book for stoners and college students. If you have never enjoyed a toke before or do not
smoke religiously, you probably will not enjoy this book. The background of the story centers
around the legend of Hassan El Sabbah's Garden of Earthly Delights, which is the carrot dangled
front of the assassins. Sabbah would supposedly allow young men to enter his Garden of Earthly
Delights, which was filled with exotic flowers, luscious fruits, strange animals, and many alluring
naked women. After the young men were satisfied with food, drink, and sex, they were expelled
from the garden and told if they did not carry out Sabbah's murderous wishes, they would never
allowed back. This is the story of only one of his Hashishiyyins (Assassins).
Stop Picturing Your Audience Naked (Beating the Fear of Public Speaking)
Scott Ann Setzer
Setzer & Associates
2580 Sierra Blvd. Suite C, Sacramento, CA 95825
ISBN: 0976825007 $12.95 32 pp.
Bonnie Jo Davis
People all over the world, of various ages and different cultures suffer from Glossophobia (the
of speaking in public.) Seventy-five percent of all Americans including celebrities such as Carly
Simon, Antonio Banderas and Nicole Kidman admit to having a fear of speaking in public.
If you type the phrase "fear of public speaking" into a search engine or on Amazon.com you will
thousands of overpriced books, seminars and unbelievably expensive coaching. Chances are that
unless you know Scott Ann Setzer you will throw away hundreds of dollars and waste hours of
research in the hope of learning to overcome your fear of speaking in public so you can make that
sales presentation next Tuesday.
Luckily you can stop throwing away your hard earned money and save yourself valuable time
because you are about meet Scott Ann Setzer. Despite her own paralyzing fear of speaking in
Ms. Setzer built a career giving presentations to thousands of clients both big and small, for profit
and not-for-profit. One of her most popular presentations loved by audiences worldwide is "Stop
Picturing Your Audience Naked." This presentation has been captured on CDs, DVDs and in a
soft cover book by the same title.
Anyone suffering from a fear of speaking in public (including celebrities) can benefit from reading
"Stop Picturing Your Audience Naked." The size of this charming book makes it clear that good
things do come in small packages that don't waste your precious time and money. As you open
slender book you immediately realize that overcoming your fear is going to be fun and stress free.
Gorgeous colors are used throughout to emphasize text and the hilarious cartoon illustrations.
book opens with facts, figures and anecdotes to educate the reader and help them to realize that
are not alone in their fear.
Clearly laid out throughout the book are the tips, techniques and strategies you need to get ready
your next big presentation. Ms. Setzer covers physical preparation, mental preparation, your
body image, your audience, your presentation and more.
This delightful, funny and helpful book should be in every high school, college and public library.
Entrepreneurs, business owners, management and employees should have a copy of this book on
their desk in order to refresh their memories before they stand up to present. Speaking skills are a
critical success factor in the business world and in other places such as churches and clubs. Buy
book, read it from cover to cover, and take it with you when you need to make a speech. You'll
yourself having fun with your audience while you grow your business or promote your
Also available from the publisher is the book combined with a CD of the presentation by the same
name for $24.95 or the book combined with a DVD for $32.95. These combination packages
make a great gift idea for a colleague, friend or family member.
Kim Grossman Finkel
My Journey Books
P.O. Box 1169, Olney, Maryland 20830-1169
ISBN 097662950X $8.99 143 pp.
"My mom likes to tell me I'm wise beyond my eleven years. 'Billie, you have a keen sense when it
comes to knowing how other people feel,' she once told me. Right now, my keen sense says
trouble in the air."
The first day of any school year is always difficult for eleven-year-old Billie Louise Kramer, but as
she approaches the first day of middle school, her anxiety level is off the charts! Billie not only
the first-day unknowns, but her heart awakens to a mighty crush on a boy in her advanced math
class, she delivers the right answer to the right question at the perfect time, and she mends a
friendship with her best friend Sarah. All of this pales, however, as she realizes something at home
just not right. Doors are closed, whispers are heard, and moods are shifting. Divorce! Billie never
saw it coming.
Finkel, a graduate of Ohio State University's School of Broadcast and Journalism, explores the
and downs associated with divorce and the uncertainties tossed into the mix of familial
By giving Billie a voice through the first-person point-of-view, the author establishes an instant
connection between the reader and the main character. The reader literally feels her foundation
crumbling in a most believable way. Her twinges of embarrassment, her humiliation, and her
overwhelming desire to be understood, all pull the reader into the delicate tangle of her
story. For an even more candid peek into Billie's internal dialogue, Finkel gives Billie an
forum through straightforward diary entries placed at the beginning of each chapter. These entries
reveal the dire unrest in the tornado's spiral and hold nothing back!
The author approaches the issue of divorce with honesty and clarity. The family's disintegration is
true and ominous threat. Billie experiences each and every nuance this unwanted change brings
her life as any other girl her age might in the same situation. Finkel's treatment is especially
to the maturity level of her readership, but she doesn't shy away from the realities at hand. Billie's
emotional turmoil reads like an open wound. The author, however, consistently offers hope by
empowering her main character with forward movement and a charming sense of humor. Her
secondary characters and plot lines work in concert to actively support her heroine's powerful
struggle to make sense of it all. Through this struggle, the reader experiences Billie's remarkable
spirit and applauds her personal victories. In the end, Billie is safe. She learns there is still solace
be found in the loving relationships in her life, that there are lessons to be learned from those who
have been in her shoes, and that her precious inner voice will never lead her astray. With these
realizations, both Billie and the reader discover a new definition of family.
Billie's World, a glowing debut novel written for ages 9-12, would be a sound choice for
discussions about divorce, family dynamics, and emotional coping skills. Finkel, a resident of
Rockville, Maryland, writes with raw intensity, allowing her characters room to feel and express
what boils within. The dialogue is refreshing, and the arc is as strong and determined as Billie's
Random House Canada
One Toronto St, Unit 300, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5C 2V6
1559707453, $24.00, 232 pp.
The reader will be gripped by this story of escalating fright on three levels: severe anxiety felt by
stowaway, worry and trepidation experienced by those who determined to help him putting
themselves in harms way and disquietude encountered by those in authority who wished to
exterminate the perpetrator along with the problems he might introduce. I read it in a very
and exciting two days
The book opens with the cold decision of the captain of a huge cargo ship to put two stowaways
overboard onto a palate hastily fastened to steel drums. The bosun, Rodolfo, is horrified to find
himself ordered to prepare the primitive float knowing full well that the probability of its finding a
welcoming shore in the churning sea miles from land is certainly dim. "Seeing this, the stowaways
drop to their knees and begin pleading in loud, panicked voices." (p13) The remainder of the
crew stare in appalling disbelief as they see the two stowaways being ordered to get onto the
makeshift raft. The crew return to their duties shaken and aware that under the authority of these
brutal men their own lives have little value.
The crew settles down but a few decide they must inform the authorities and set forth on a course
do that by confiding in a priest they met in a seafarers establishment in the port at Houston. They
compose a letter to him and surreptitiously find a way to get it into the mail when the ship pulls
another harbor. All they know is the letter is mailed. They are unsure if it has achieved its
Some months later at the same seaport where earlier stowaways came aboard, two more slip onto
the ship and remain hidden until far out on the ocean. The crew members who discover one of
don't want to experience the same stress the first incident provided; they don't know what to do.
Their indecision allows time for the officers to find the trespasser. Those same begin to assault the
intruder, the four of them pushing him further and further toward the gunwale where they push
unfortunate overboard. The crew watches this terrifying event while peering from portholes and
doorways held slightly ajar and their memories fill them with dread. While recovering from this
episode, Rodolfo comes upon the last stowaway, Daniel. He determines he will hide this one and
save his life. Seven of the Filipino crew agree to help. Rodolfo knows every square inch of the
and finds a suitable place to hide Daniel. "Yet as he (Daniel) follows the sailor down flights of
bypassing all of the container holds, he wants nothing more than to turn back. As they burrow
deeper and deeper the air becomes hot, and stale, and thin, and if there's any place he doesn't want
be it is here, in the tomblike depths of the ship." (p162) The stress on the crew and Daniel
Robert Hough bases his story on real events using the narrative form. His tireless research into
actual facts allows the reader to gain insight concerning life aboard a ship at sea where rule of law
in the hands a few with scant restrictions if those few are without personal integrity and
Openings to Lighten the Way
available from OpeningsUnlimited.com
ISBN 1897107994, $22.95 US, $29.95 Canada 222 pp.
Openings to Lighten the Way is that rarest of finds - a creation so startlingly unusual that it keeps
taking you by surprise, but at the same time so universal that page by page, Opening by Opening,
feels like coming home.
Light enough to take easily to heart and carry wherever you go, each Opening fuses inspiration,
prayer, and poem in just a few charged lines, breathing from the inside out to unfold our own
gifts. Over and over, we come home to ourselves, finding our own power to grow - grow
luminously, boundlessly - from right here and now.
This empowering enlightenment ranges wide as our lives. Over 200 Openings here embrace both
big and the small, from just washing the dishes to taking on our greatest challenges. A colleague
mine even says that the more we face here in this ever more turbulent world, the more this book
lighten our way.
Sometimes crossing the trails blazed by such explorers of the soul as Buddah, Saint Francis, and
Rumi, these Openings always take their own unique turns. Most turns feel as though they have
always pulsed deep down inside us but for the first time here find light. While others may seem
strange at first, these often grow on you the most, opening up even wider inside. Surging with
wisdom we can use every day, this book brings us home to what truly matters, at the same time
casting bright beams away from the beaten track to show a whole world of new paths we can
Critics call author John Sorrell "a master," but mastery here overflows into living mystery. As
Openings reach ever deeper through body, spirit, soul, we breathe them in, lifting closer to
ourselves, each other, and the world without end.
Bursting with not only enlightening but exhilarating empowerment, this book belongs in the hands
us all who reach for the richest life and growth we can know.
P.O. Box 2146, Garibaldi Highlands, B.C. V0N 1T0, Canada
(604) 898-9703 email@example.com
ISBN: 1894942345 $15.00 315 pp.
Judy Nichols' "Caviar Dreams" is a tale of seduction and murder with an element of class conflict
thrown in as a wild card. The story follows the interaction of several people from vastly different
backgrounds, and explores what happens as they each, in turn, attempt to use one another for the
purposes of gaining love or money. The story reaches its first dramatic peak when the spiral of
human emotions gets out of hand resulting in several crimes of passion and greed.
For the first half of "Caviar Dreams" I have to admit that I found the novel quite captivating. The
characters were all extremely real and compelling. Of special note was the character Derek who is
the catalyst for virtually every significant moment of the book. Derek is a handsome drifter and
con-artist, and the best parts of "Caviar Dreams" are when he embarks on one of his grifter
These schemes involve everything from blackmail; to credit-card fraud; to clever ways to make
people pay for your dinner. There is just something delightfully compelling about a character who
so self-absorbed and evil that s/he thinks it is completely justified to rob every innocent party that
happens to cross his or her path.
Unfortunately, at the midpoint of the novel the focus changes dramatically. The book stops being
study of character and social class and descends, instead, to the rather weary format of mystery.
is not to say that the second part of the novel isn't handled well; it is. But in comparison to what
came before, the second act is certainly a let down.
In a way, the second act sabotages itself from the get go. The book is structured so that the
sees the crime in question. It then becomes rather anti-climatic to watch as various police
and other characters arrive at revelations that the reader already knows. A better way to do it
have been to leave the crime scene as a revelation at the very end of the book.
Were I an editor at a major publishing house, I would accept Judy Nichol's work in a heart-beat.
However, this acceptance would be based more on the talent she shows as a writer than on the
finished product "Caviar Dreams," and would require a massive re-write. Her characters are
marvelous and fully-developed, and she constructs believable scenes of true conflict. I would very
much like to see her re-imagine "Caviar Dreams," and focus on Derek as the main character. As it
stands, "Caviar Dreams" is an interesting and compelling novel, and a good read. However, I
Judy Nichols' has the talent to write something truly spectacular.
Waiting for Beethoven
Marsh River Editions
M233 Marsh Road, Marshfield, WI 54449
ISBN 0971890978 $8.00 45 pages
In Waiting for Beethoven, Laurel Yourke composes poems about music, about rooms, about
writing, poems written about sonatas, little love songs filled with the magic that is part, no matter
how difficult, of the world she weaves. There are no barriers in these poems. "Everyone is
at this party." All the reader needs is here:
Don't bother searching under the mat,
behind a bush or somewhere you can't reach.
You need not push - just lean.
This door is always open.
"The Rooms of Poetry" 3
While the title poem suggests the narrator waits for the storm of Beethoven's music to create
her a sure rapture, the rapture for the reader comes from opening the poems' doors, entrances
exits) to rooms in which it is sometimes too painful to stay. In "Walls and Closets," the narrator
plasters her walls thick to create a barricade from what she fears: "The more she fears the wild /
thicker she plasters her walls." Yet in other poems, the narrator confronts the "wild" and enters its
dangerous spaces only to find that in entering, there is deliverance, a release from fear not unlike
Gretel who goes into the woods to pursue her own magic: "Hope drives her deeper into the
searching for a talisman all her own."
The doors to the poems' rooms open to reveal a yellow school bus which discharges two,
angst-ridden teens, a cat hungry for spring and suspended in a canoe high in a garage, and even a
woman who searches for a moon that seems to have gone impossibly missing. There are minnows
and frozen ponds, Casey Stengel and St. Brendan, and the sweet memory of a Jewish girl's wish
of a gift of Christmas from Macy's Santa when she finds what she seeks: "The real gift / is her
Many poems in this collection address gardening and writing, both of which - like opening a door
might be considered acts of faith.
Follow your heart, which can bring you
petals in snowflakes,
bird of paradise plumes of sunset,
acres of carelessly sown star.
"Green Things" 10
Even the act of tending the garden takes on sensuality: "Like a lover / the garden whispers / how
good / a touch / would feel here / and oh here."
In carefully crafted metaphors, Yourke creates poems filled with light and memory and sometimes
loss. These are poems about fathers and mothers and others who occupy the narrator's rooms,
closets, imaginary letters, and even empty glass bottles. The narrator addresses the "empty bottle
[that] guards her kitchen table" and considers the need "to stay ever vigilant" with evil as she
considers the "dangers you create yourself." "He's taught her all she knows of light, bottles, /
emptiness." In another poem the narrator pictures letters filled with praise that she never received
from him. In another, she imagines him sleeping downstairs on a sofa. Yourke chooses words that
contribute to a distinct tone: words of danger: "sunlight stabs her kitchen" and "sky's half-streaked
with blood" and "a sun pale and bitter." In spite of the risk inherent in her word choices, there is
always something hopeful--like the clear decanter, empty save for the light that enters it.
Light is present in these poems; it enters abundantly, leaks into the most unexpected places, as in
chess game where the boy considers that he's been trapped by the master, and to get out his snare
and win, he must understand that: /"You can take all the joy from it / or get all the joy from it.
Simple." /And it is simple, really. In these poems, Yourke's narrators' room are open, the doors
always open. To these small songs, she brings "her insides out," no fancy dresses and no artifice.
matter how difficult, there is always the chance of light from an improbable moon, the possibility
blossom and of music to carry her to ecstasy.
Grown Folks Business
Victoria Christopher Murray
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
ISBN: 0743270975 $14.00 425 pp.
After 17 years together, Quentin Hart, announces to his wife, Sheridan, that he's in love with
someone else - a man. Sheridan is then faced with many obstacles in her life - her 16-year old
rejection of his father, and his fear that he will become gay also, her best friend and parents
to Quentin's announcement, her father's prostate scare, and having to learn how to live without
only man she's ever loved. Through all of this turmoil in her life, Sheridan Hart's faith never fades.
This is a story about love lost, love found, forgiveness, and most importantly, a family's faith in
With or Without You
P.O. Box 1456, New York, NY 10009
ISBN 1888451696 $14.95 280 pp.
"Your eyes found mine and for the brief seconds we connected I felt a series of convulsions
up my legs as if your spirit had invaded my flesh... What happened on that set between us was too
big for the rest of the world. It had to remain between us. For better or worse, till the end of time,
world without end."
Summer of 1987 in New York, Lillian Ginger Speck is waiting in a prison cell for her next appeal,
where she tells her story of puberty, isolation, a neglecting family, struggling with concepts of
friendships, relationships, sexuality, and fitting in. She asks the reader what it truly is to be alone
misunderstood. But most of all, she tells the story of how, on one afternoon in New York, she
murders her one true love; soap opera star Brooke Harrison.
Meanwhile, Brooke's mother Mildred weaves a different voice into Lillian's story, relaying a third
person story all of its own about the life of her daughter. Mildred watches from the sidelines as
Brooke grows up, gains popularity and stardom, struggles to advance into the film industry, and
mourns as her ashes are scattered in the backyard. Through Lillian and Brooke, both sides of the
narrative unfold. They're growing up before the reader's eyes, one beautiful, charming, and
for stardom; the other homely, antisocial, and driven to obsession. Sanders employs two very
distinct voices and styles of writing while she intricately winds the stories of murderer and victim
together, crossing Lillian and Brooke's paths countless times with great skill.
Sanders also has a very powerful eye for imagery, drawing out small details to their fullest extent
be used later in deeper metaphors. She pulls together a net of interwoven strings of these images
metaphors, connecting them all together in their own way as they are repeated throughout the
No detail lingers on the page without its own purpose.
But one thing should definitely be said about Sanders's method; it's very graphic. Her image of
and sex may not be the same as the reader's, but it is the one that will prevail within the novel.
Because not much is left to the imagination during passionate scenes, it may be seen as offensive
the more sexually conservative individual.
Lauren Sanders stunned readers and won a Lambda Literary Award in 2001 with her strange
portrayal of love and sex in her debut novel Kamikaze Lust. But With or Without You draws on a
different illusion of love society has made for itself: obsession. She addresses the many obsessions
our modern age: money, love, status, fame, celebrities, beauty, crime, and even obsession itself.
With two clashing plot lines detailing two very distinct lives, the reader sees the struggles of
existence differ greatly but spawn from the same pool of obsessions. Lillian's apology/love letter
drives the reader's heart to ache for her but at the same time condemn her. Mildred's tale drives
reader to tears as we learn every beautiful detail about her beloved daughter, only to be swept off
our feet at the end. Compelling to the very end, With or Without You pulls from a pool of every
human emotion until we are left dry and tender.
In Lieu of Heaven
ISBN: 1413421865 $30.99 155 pp.
Kevin Archer's first-person allegory of disenchantment with his spiritual journey is an ultimately
enjoyable tale, drawing in the reader with smooth prose and accessible protagonists. Interest is
sustained by thought-filled examinations of biblical precepts all of which are artfully couched in an
entertaining fictionalization of what might be called an atheist's apologetics.
A lone drifter, wandering a parched desert, happens upon an oasis occupied by a single inhabitant
we soon discover is no other than the original Adam. The ensuing conversations between Adam
our drifter become a veritable deconstruction of biblical teaching, Adam insisting all the while that
our drifter's quest to encounter God will never be met, since God is dead. Adam knows; he claims
be the one who killed Him, committing the murder as revenge for His having allowed Eve to
Exactly why Adam never died is not made clear, but the crux of the tale - aside from pointing out
many of the ironies and hypocrisies of biblical teaching - centers around our waiting to have Adam
explain precisely how it was he murdered God.
Enter the book's main flaw, stage left.
Archer's denouement involves Adam and Judas being one, a resolution that had a difficult time
gelling in my brain. Perhaps if Archer's Adam had conspired with Judas and claimed complicity in
the death of Jesus I might have found In Lieu of Heaven slightly more cohesive. Of course,
any manner of speculative fiction requires that the reader applies a hefty dose of what in drama
been dubbed "suspended disbelief." This doesn't mean, however, once the speculative fiction
has established the parameters of her "universe," that she can change them at any turn -- or toss
them wholesale out the window -- without losing the reader's acceptance of said universe.
The other problem is, of course, that we all know Jesus died, but His death has never been
with the death of the triune God. In Archer's work, the concept of the Trinity is not first
deconstructed, as is so much else in biblical teaching, and therefore to accept the death of Jesus as
equivalent to the annihilation of God requires a leap of, shall we say, faithlessness, that Archer has
not wholly prepared us to accept.
He has, however, set us up to accept much, and has done it well. As a former missionary, his
knowledge of the bible would seem fairly thorough, and he footnotes his references (citing
and verse) for the reader's convenience.
I first selected In Lieu of Heaven because I mistakenly thought it was going to be a scholarly
approach to biblical deconstruction; I didn't realize I had ordered a novel. But if anything, In Lieu
Heaven was better than I anticipated precisely because it was a work of fiction. I say this because,
fictionalizing his thoughts, Archer's appeal becomes accessible on multiple levels and his
acuity proven the keener for his approach. And yet by no means is to characterize In Lieu of
as a scholarly work off the mark. Archer knows his subject well and evokes in the reader frequent
and introspective thought-provoking pauses. I suspect this was one of his goals and he achieves it
In Lieu of Heaven is a brief 155 pages that will give readers more than 155 pages worth of
at least for those valuing well-written prose packing a punch that teeters on profundity. Over all
done. Earns three out of five possible stars.
ISBN 0143301969 $14.95
Magdalena Ball, Reviewer
Like all good characters, Wilton has a problem. Not only is he overweight, but he's fallen down
hill and can't get back up, there are terrible storms and everyone seems to be having headaches.
Wilton is no ordinary character though. He's an intestinal worm with an inferiority complex, doing
battle with teasing microbes and dangerous fungus. Despite his lowly status, Wilton is a heroic
worm and, with the help of a tiny parasitic microbe named Algy, goes on a quest to find out the
cause of his world's malaise, and to uncover who he is and where he fits in the overall scheme of
things. In other words, Wilton is the Ulysses of the inner world, and his search no less dangerous,
magical, or arduous.
Wilton is the perfect character for children--he's heroic, despite not fitting in, and kind, despite the
many obstacles in his path. Squeamish parents and teachers may object to the rather graphic
which is the internal workings of one slightly overweight girl named Janet, complete with
bacteria, fungus, and slime--the local name for faeces. At one point, Wilton falls out into Janet's
underpants, and looks over the great hills of her bottom, after fighting his way through a tough
sludge blockage. On the other hand, if you have boys under the age of fifteen, you are probably
fairly used to a fair amount of potty talk, and the setting will help endear this story to children,
encouraging reluctant readers to keep going to see how far Gleitzman will go in his descriptive
setting, or to see whether this little but chubby intestinal worm will be able to save his host.
As Gleitzman points out, children don't generally feel like they are in complete control of their
world, and at places like school, they can often feel strange, singled out, and unimportant, and will
likely identify with Wilton. As a character he is kind, and the story is full of important themes. The
symbiotic friendship between Algy and Wilton provides a positive example. Other important
such as appearances being misleading, judging by character rather than by role or appearance, and
even the importance of good food are all presented in a lighthearted fun way which children will
enjoy. The persistence with which Wilton overcomes his emotional and physical challenges is
inspiring, and his good natured wonder as he discovers his world is a pleasure to follow.
Gleitzman has done his research, and this story will also teach children about the inner workings
their body, and to respect themselves , and to view life in all its layers and diversities from a
of different perspectives. The respect for life, even parasitic life, is obvious in the writing. What is
also obvious is that Gleitzman allows himself to have quite a lot of fun while writing his books.
fun is passed on to the reader, who will also enjoy the underlying exuberance.
'Don't feel bad, Wriggles,' said Algy. 'I understand how much you want to meet your lot. But the
world world's in a mess. We're up to our tendrils in sick sludge and killer fungus and wild storms
headache epidemics. We've got to find out what's causing all this bad stuff.' Wilton wanted to
suggest that as there were two of them, perhaps they could do both th i ngs at once. Meet worms
and save the world. He didn't. Algy obviously felt very strongly about this. Wilton knew friends
were meant to support each other as much as possible, and even though being a friend was a very
new experience for him, he wanted to do it right.(44)
Worm Story is a lighthearted and very easy to read book which is surprisingly pithy in its morality
and its sense of the beauty of life at all levels. This is a lovely, refreshing and enjoyable story
will appeal to everyone but the stuffy, and is highly recommended to encourage reluctant readers
with a love of all things relating to the toilet. Anally retentive adults, however, should steer
Light in the Storm
Steeple Hill Books
233 Broadway, New York, NY 10279 U.S.A.
ISBN: 0373873077 $4.99 251 pp.
38-year-old Beth Coleman is used to serving others. At the age of 19, after her father deserts the
family and her mother dies of breast cancer, Beth raises her three young siblings alone, plus
hundreds of students as a teacher. But now it is her turn, and Beth knows exactly what she wants
do. She plans to throw a dart at a map of Central and South America, and where the dart lands is
place where she will apply for missionary work. The promise of this exciting adventure somewhat
deflects the empty-nest ennui that has settled in after her brother Daniel leaves for college.
But Beth's plans begin to go awry when she meets Samuel, her new minister, a handsome
with three children. Jane, his oldest daughter, is a student of Beth's who is struggling with a
disability. Beth, always caring where others are concerned, offers to tutor Jane, bringing her in
regular contact with Samuel. Awakened by Samuel's evident admiration and attention, Beth sheds
her dowdy clothes as well as the poor opinion she has of her physical appearance. But after all she
has been through, can she, should she, give up her dream of missionary work to marry Samuel
once again take on motherhood and a settled life?
Unlike many novels, Light in the Storm deals in a genuine way with people we could meet any
in the "real" world. Beth Coleman is not 21, gorgeous and willowy, but she is a caring, faith-filled
woman worthy both of love and the reader's attention. Margaret Daley is a teacher and a mother,
and it shows in the lifelike, and not always perfect, relationships children have with their parents
teachers. This is not escapist literature but a warm rendition of good people who must struggle
life's problems and occasionally with their faith.
The story takes place in the fictional town of Sweetwater Lake, and this novel is part of The
of Sweetwater Lake series written by Margaret Daley. Additional novels in this series are Gold in
the Fire and A Mother for Cindy. And although Beth's friends can be snoopy, teasing her and
match-making furiously, their obvious affection for Beth and each other is palpable and
heartwarming. As Beth tells Samuel upon his arrival in Sweetwater Lake, "This is a good place to
forge a new beginning," with friends that will hold onto you with their hands and with their
Light in the Storm is a uplifting slice-of-life story with endearing characters who handle life's
challenges with courage and love; a highly recommended read.
The Loony: a Novella of Epic Proportions
ISBN: 1411624505 $10.00
The Loony Fakes the Moon Hoax
What exactly happened that day in 1969, when a rocket launched three Americans into space and
took them to the moon? Did anything really happen? Did humanity actually visit another
Anyone who has a television, reads, listens to the radio, or goes on the internet knows there have
been questions concerning this seminal event since it was first broadcast into many of our living
rooms more than thirty years ago. It is one of the great conspiracy theories of our time - did the
United States fake the lunar landings of the Apollo program?
If that sounds crazy, welcome to The Loony, Christopher Wunderlee's novella of epic
in which one Doctor Albert Lochner is your guide, and a strange guide he is. And this, the great
mystery, the uncertainty, the points when it just has to be a hoax, when it just has to be true, when
nothing could possibly be true, when maybe everything is true, is the compelling structure behind
Wunderlee's sprawling tome. His unwound prose-style and intimate narrative voice puts readers
the fray so immediately, so perfectly, you emerge in more wonder, as uncertain/certain as you
Wunderlee creates a creepy, almost lingering, atmosphere of doubt - doubt in the events, doubt in
the protagonist, doubt in the world, doubt even in the narrator telegraphing the story. There's
Lochner's version, complete with recruitment and playing a key role in the conspiracy. There are
They of the black government, those peripheral figures invisibly maneuvering events behind the
scenes. There's the love interest, a private/sex spy/ghost named Harris, who remains such a
she conjures up a nearly Dulcinea-like aura. There are the references to repressed sexuality,
hoaxes and conspiracies, there are the holes in Albert's biography, the questions about his
relationship to Harris, the latent paranoia, the psychology of lies and the psychoanalysis of
And, the moments of absolute clarity it just has to be true - Albert helped fake the lunar landings.
But then, there's the official story and Wunderlee ensures we never forget it.
The Loony is a psychological page-turner that epitomizes lunacy, explores perception, our
conspiracy culture, and individual consciousness. How is the world constructed by our own
perceptions of it? Can one live within a world constructed completely out of a unique
How do conspiracy theories play into this personalized world? Are they a universal construct
accepted by a minority to alter the truth into their perception? Or, are they kernels of truth hidden
group-minded world in fear of possibilities that we are lied to, that we don't know
Eventually, the reader must decide. In the end, there is no definite answer.
Wunderlee's writing is fresh, unbound, and stirring, with hints of taunting, and whiffs of erudition.
a short novel like The Loony, it is surprising to find oneself so wrapped up, so perplexed, so
involved. Excellent narrative experimentation is rare, making this novel a potential conspiracy
in and of itself.
In Defense of the Christ: Why Jesus Would Disown Christianity
Shawn Patrick Thornton
Publish America Publishing
ISBN: 1413746136 $19.95 188 pp.
Shirley Roe, Reviewer
Mysticism versus organized Religion! Any theological dissertation must find a balance between
criticism and understanding to be effective. Shawn P. Thornton has succeeded.
Without sympathy and understanding, it would be impossible to adequately explain why people
believe what they do. Without a critical attitude, one would abandon the ability to probe and ask
"why?" In other words, to exercise one's "Free Will."
In Defense of the Christ attempts to explain the reasoning behind organized religion, the needs of
fundamentalist and what can be gained by blind acceptance. Author, Shawn Thornton freely
that he was raised a staunch Roman Catholic. He attended a Jesuit University as a philosophy
and did not begin to question his religious upbringing until his life was threatened by a serious life
The author adopts the point of view of the mystic, touting the belief that man and God are "One"
rather than separate. The book takes the reader chapter by chapter through the doctrines and
teachings of the Bible making several comparisons to Zen Buddhism and mysticism. The doctrines
of the Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian religions are closely examined. Each chapter leads
the reader, intelligently and knowledgably, step by step through the dissertation. The author has
researched his subject well.
As the title suggests, it is the author's premise that Christ would "disown" modern Christianity,
which has wandered far from the original teachings of Christ himself. A Twelve Step program,
Spiritual Confusion Anonymous, fashioned after the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, is laid
in the book as a possible solution to today's religious quandary. The author describes his own
personal spiritual journey towards Nirvana and the realization that man is "One" with God.
An in-depth look at organized religion from the point of view of a modern day mystic, this book
offers some interesting questions. Seekers of "Spiritual Truth" will find the explanations and
scientific/historical arguments fascinating. Recommended reading for anyone searching for
with an open mind.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 USA
ISBN: 0679446265 $20.00 192 pages
Akua Sarr, Ph.D.
Push is the disturbing narrative of Claireece Precious Jones, a sixteen year old, illiterate,
African-American girl from Harlem, New York. When her story begins she is pregnant with a
second child by her father. After years of abuse by her parents and neglect by the educational and
social welfare systems, Precious begins a journey toward literacy and self-understanding when she
enrolls in an alternative school. Journal entries, written in the form of a dialogue with her teacher,
help Precious tell her life story, expose the abuse shes suffered, and come to an acceptance and
of self. The writing process for Precious is a testimony that allows her to transform her private
shame into dignity. Giving testimony is not only a means of transformation but a way in which she
(re)writes her life. Testimony has a double connotation; it contains objective, public aspects, as
as subjective, spiritual, cathartic, and private aspects. Her dialogue discloses intimate secrets to a
confidant but at the same time is a public testimony. Her narrative allows introspection and
self-examination but simultaneously discloses publicly the shame and humiliation inflicted by
dominant others: her mother and father
Themes of violence against black women and girls are apparent in the black male literary tradition,
but always shadow predominant themes of alienated black men and the psychological effects of
racism on the black male psyche. Ralph Ellison's True Blood incident in Invisible Man depicts
incestuous rape, but the novel's primary concern is the male protagonist's quest for self-identity.
Nathan McCall's participation in gang rape in his autobiography Makes Me Wanna Holler is
example, but again, the central focus of the text is a black man's coming of age in America. In
Richard Wright's Native Son, Bigger Thomas kills his black girlfriend Bessie but is neither tried
convicted for the crime. Instead, he is sentenced to death for the murder of Mary Dalton, the
daughter of his white employer. Sapphire's protagonist Precious is a response to Richard Wright's
Bessie. Bessie is killed without us ever hearing her voice or her story. By having Precious write
story, Sapphire responds to Wright's missing narrative of Bessie. The character of Precious
a possible story for Bessie. In this sense, she can be viewed as a re-Wrighting or a revision of
Wright's silent and tragic figure.
Sapphire's first novel Push is controversial because of its graphic language and revelations of
and abuse. She joins Ntozake Shange, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison as she
speaks about the unspeakable: incest, domestic abuse, HIV, prostitution, homosexuality, and drug
addiction. Where this novel differs from this tradition is that it carries a message of hope as
finds salvation through literacy. Writing, or what Precious calls talkin' on paper, enables her to
the dominant male narrative, and define herself.
e-book at http://www.ebookad.com
ISBN/e book ID: 0016, $5.99 pp.119,
Very Highly Recommended
THE HOSTEL is set in London, UK, in the 70s and is about a young student, Nina, who strives
adjust herself to a new lifestyle so different from her own culture's.
The story unfolds in West London, at a nuns' hostel where Nina stays and gets to know her new
friends. Soon a serious dilemma turns up in her life and implications start. Nina falls in love with a
man who is her best friend's dad. She stubbornly refuses to accept him in her life, but nothing
to be easy for her from the moment she meets him. What will happen in the end?
THE HOSTEL is a fresh story full of unpredictable turns that will entertain all ages. The readers
who lived in that era will probably recognize certain events mentioned in the story or even identify
themselves with some of the characters, while, the younger generation will get to know certain
aspects of that time and feel how it is to 'live' in the 70s. It is a novel that includes old fashioned
romance and elements of truth throughout the plot, merged with real events of that time. It is a
successful hybrid of fiction and non fiction that will appeal to a wide audience.
A Call to Faith and Freedom
Shirley A. Roe
Grizzly Bookz Publishing
420 Wal-Mart Way, Suite 136, Dahlonega, Georgia, 30533
ISBN: 0974963445 $12.95 USA, $15.95 Canada 202 pages
Shawn Patrick Thornton, Reviewer
A Call to Faith and Freedom, by master storyteller and poet Shirley Roe, is one of the very rare
books that can be referred to as a 'world-class novel'. The story takes place in seventh-century
Scotland. Invading Christians, using savage and barbaric torture and executions, try to force the
conversion of the native Celts whom these Christians consider as Pagans. And, the Celts fight
to retain their land, their way of life and their religion, which is centered on a goddess.
the book, which is rich in Celtic lore, Shirley Roe demonstrates a detailed knowledge of Celtic
mores, customs, philosophy and religious practices.
One of the qualities that make this book a 'world-class novel' is the ability of its author to hold the
reader totally spellbound from the first to the very last page. She writes from a deep personal
spirituality, a tender compassion, a profound understanding of human nature and with a poetic
grace. I was unable to put the book down. I hungrily devoured it in just over twenty-four hours.
There were battles between knights on horses, deaths, traitor's plots, medieval castles, deep dark
forests with fairies in them and sunny green meadows with clear streams and wildflowers of every
color. There was music and singing, love affairs and feasts with great tables filled with mutton,
game and tankards of ale. There were myths about the Arch Druid and High Priestess rising
magically, mystically out of the early morning sun. Every conceivable human emotion is explored
an ever moving action setting. Only an author with the most vivid of imaginations could conceive
such a rich plot! It's the kind of book that you will want to share with your family and
In conclusion, if you liked the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, or The Good Earth by Pearl Buck,
you will love this book. It holds you spellbound like the Da Vinci police chase in France and
explores every human passion in a simple, lovely pastoral setting; like the old rural China of The
Good Earth. This book is destined to be a run away best seller. My advice is to buy it now so that
you can immediately enter the magic kingdom of Shirley Roe and for 20 or more hours be far
your cares. And, before it is republished as a hardback for $32.50!
Quality of Care
ISBN: 0451214102 $12.95 288 pages
Quality of Care, Elizabeth Letts' debut novel, should come with a warning: do not attempt to
this novel prior to undertaking an important task. I brought the book home one evening, opened it
the first page and stood reading for five minutes, coat still on, dinner unprepared. Then I sat and
read until my son came in and asked if I was going to make his dinner since it was past
Letts takes an irresistible premise - what happens when you are unable to save the life of the
who saved yours? - and delivers a riveting, fast-paced story with compelling characters and
Clara Raymond is an obstetrician. One night a pregnant woman arrives at her labor and delivery
clinic with minor complaints. The woman turns out to be Lydia, a childhood friend who once
Clara's life in a horseback riding accident. Their reunion, however, ends in unspeakable tragedy,
the ensuing days a distorted echo of Clara's unresolved past. Temporarily suspended from her
practice, Clara decides to return to the root cause of the pain in her life - the place of her
and the haunting events she's tried to put behind her.
When Clara arrives at an estate in the coastal California community where she grew up, its
facility throws her back immediately into the world of competitive horse riding. The owner of the
property is wealthy Eleanor Prescott Norton, the dressage judge who disqualified Clara from a
pre-Olympic equestrian trial competition when she was fifteen, as well as being the chairman of
hospital board of trustees who contributed to Clara's father's professional downfall. Eleanor
her for a stable hand applicant and offers her work. When Clara catches a glimpse of a dressage
horse named Benedetto, reminiscent of the beloved horse she once owned, she decides to stay for
Clara's pain and confusion over Lydia's death are further complicated by the fact that Lydia's
grieving husband is Clara's first love, as well. Gordon - orphaned at nineteen, charismatic yet
at the university they both attended, who alone could understand her silent grief, and she, his. A
local memorial service for Lydia has now brought him back. Will their sorrow, loneliness and
electric attraction once again draw them together?
Quality of Care weaves a tapestry of past and present, accident and fate, choices made and their
consequences. Is Clara willing to hear what Eleanor knows about Clara's deceased father's
Is Eleanor as cold-hearted as she appears, or does she care that Clara's fellow stable hand, a
named Jazmyn, is heavily pregnant, her health and security at risk? The story asks the question,
"Where is the line between trying to help the people you love, and letting them go to act out their
own destinies?" Letts, a practicing certified nurse-midwife has a keen eye for detail - both
and physical. Her knowledge of horses and obstetrics makes the descriptions ring with authority,
without ever burdening the reader with unnecessary terms or lingo.
Letts is at her best when describing the coastal scenery ("The hillsides were variegated, some
of tall grass scattered profusely with goldenrod, others a harmonious blend of dense low-lying
chaparral, bluish green to grey, like a natural patchwork") as well as in flashbacks to Clara's
developing relationship with the brilliantly-drawn Gordon ("I was drowning in him, plunging
somewhere deep and fast - on that same speedy trajectory that a car would take when the land
beneath it disappeared, or an icy airplane that decided to drop from the sky"). These stirring,
evocative and sensuous flashbacks with their undercurrents of grief and mystery kept me reading,
hungry to stay inside the story.
Letts delivers her story, much like the nurse-midwife she is - with deft hands, coaxing the reader
with absorbing dialogue and narration; providing them with a protagonist who never succumbs to
excessive sentimentality, which helps the reader follow Clara through her painful journey to the
story's ultimately uplifting resolution. The novel is not perfect - there are a few inconsistencies in
characters' voices, and plot developments often rely on coincidence. The prose occasionally lacks
smooth veneer of a seasoned novelist, but even this works to bring us closer to the flawed but
loveable Clara. Chosen as an alternate selection for the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and
Rhapsody Book Club, Quality of Care is a novel that will appeal to women, to horse lovers, to
anyone who wants to immerse themselves in a powerful, heartfelt story.
Oaklawn, Ballyfin Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland
ISBN 0954869303, $TBA 221 pages
Up to now Pat was better known as a poet and in 2002 he launched his first book of poetry 'From
Thurles to Cuba with Love'. This latest book marks his first foray into prose. It is not so much a
chronicle of Pat's experience of the disease as a personalised guidebook drawing on his experience
and written in his inimitable style, typified by the book's sub-title 'Smiling in the face of adversity
coping with Multiple Sclerosis'. In it, he touches on subjects as diverse as the excellent health-care
provided in Cuba, the role of humour in dealing with disability, Ryanair's despicable attitude to
people with disabilities - if I can insert a personal prejudice, perhaps that phrase should have read
'Ryanair's despicable attitude' - his religious faith, the sexual needs of people with disabilities and
many more. If, as I have said, this is a guide-book it is highly individual one, full of knowledge
personal reminiscence. Above all, it is a book devoid of the self-pity that few could begrudge Pat
he was so minded. As they say, with experience comes wisdom!
There is a convention that when people in full health hear of another's difficulties we claim that 'It
puts everything into perspective'. In truth, it may but we don't. We experience sympathy and then
get back to our own daily worries. To paraphrase a quote used by Pat in the book, we are very
brave with other people's illnesses! This is a book that should not just be read by MS sufferers and
their families. Books that are warm, witty and wise are worthwhile for all to read and are rare
enough to be found. I would describe this one as life-affirming except that Pat would probably tell
me that it makes me sound like a bloody hippy! Sail on Pat.
With publishers falling over themselves to publish trashy novels and vacuous dissertations on the
lives of forgettable 'celebrities', it is a mystery why the big publishing houses did not beat a path to
Pat's door to get their hands on this work.
The Original Country Bob's Cookbook
Country Bob's Inc.
Favorite Recipes Press
ISBN: 0975444107 $22.00 96 pages
Jennifer A. Wickes, Reviewer
"The Original Country Bob's Cookbook" is a wonderful cookbook utilizing the fantastic products
from Country Bob's! The recipes are creative and delicious.
Country Bob's was founded by Bob Edson in 1968. He perfected his steak sauce which began
sold in 1977 as Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce. What came afterwards was a barbecue sauce, a
seasoning salt and employee shares in a company that has continued to grow.
There are some delicious photographs at the start of each chapter, which includes: Appetizers,
Soups and Salads; Grilling; Main Dishes; and Desserts. There are no complicated culinary terms
as this is just great country cooking!
The products available made by Country Bob's were even tested and recommended by Cooking
of America! These products can be found directly at Country Bob's website, or you can go to
site and see which Wal-Mart carries the product. By the way, if you order through Country Bob's,
they will ship for free!
The recipes in this book are easy-to-read and understand. They are creative and tasty. When I
out some of the recipes on my very finnicky family, they rejoiced at me finally finding a cookbook
that they like! The absolutely loved the products! Some of my family favorites are: Grilled
Chicken-in-a-Pocket, Southwestern Black Bean Stew, Slow-Cooker Orange Honey Chicken and
This is a great cookbook and the products were a hit. Go to their site today and order up a gift
it's worth the price!
A Woman in Amber
ISBN: 0140261907 $14.00 288 pages
Being of Latvian heritage myself, perhaps it is impossible for me to read Nesaule's book as anyone
else of a different heritage might. I have grown up on stories that are but variations on a theme to
this one. My first language was Latvian, my first book was Latvian, my own first efforts in
writing were in the Latvian language. Indeed, I have just participated in a literary reading of
authors at the 11th Latvian Song Festival in Chicago, Illinois, where I had the honor of sharing
podium with Agate Nesaule. Is it possible for me to turn the pages of "Woman in Amber" without
deeply ingrained bias? Perhaps not. But I can say that these pages, these words, these memories,
resonated profoundly with me. The war experience in many ways, however, is a suffering and a
horror that crosses all lines of ethnicity, all borders of nationality. For this reason, I believe this is
important account for a far larger audience than just the Latvian reader; I am thrilled that this
was written first in English, then translated into, I believe, seven other languages.
Latvia is a tiny but beautiful country on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The Latvian language is one
the oldest still in existence. The country's history is one of the most war-torn and ravaged of any
country anywhere - although it has existed for many, many centuries, Latvia has been
free of occupation by other armies, for only a wink in time. If this nation can be proud of
can be proud of its ability to survive even the cruelest and most oppressive conditions. This
"Woman in Amber," opens a small window of light shed on how such a people survive. Even
precisely, it gives an account of how a very young girl can survive - losing her home, losing her
family, conditions of hunger, rape, pillage, exile, and the terrifying experience of being a stranger
an immense and completely alien country where the culture and language are all new and strange.
Most memoirs of war and battlefields are written by men. It is particularly interesting to read a
different kind of account, from the perspective of a woman. If soldiers on a battlefield suffer,
a quieter, less evident suffering that happens behind the front lines, and this memoir reveals,
and movingly, the no less violent and scarring battles that happen there.
Agate Nesaule's memoir is a couragous sharing of the experiences she endured - not just during
World War II, but for many years following the war. Long after the sounds of war have died
the wounds are still bloodied and pulsating with pain. Healing can often take a lifetime. My
to this author for sharing her experience, and my hope that it has offered her healing. This is a
I am proud to recommend to both my Latvian friends as well as my non-Latvian friends.
ISBN: 0553587080 $6.99 496 pp.
Haunted by Kelley Armstrong, is another fantastic adventure in the Women of the Otherworld
series. Haunted has a very unusual main character - Eve Levine, Savannah's mother and a ghost.
was a black witch and a half-demon when alive. She believed witch magic had been corrupted and
diluted, as Paige discovers in Dime Store Magic. Eve has done many murky things to gain
and witch spells that she was able to use. This quest for greater power made Eve careless, which
lead to her death before the events of Stolen occurred. While her death was a peripheral plot line
the series, the consequences where far reaching for Savannah. Much of Dime Store Magic was
result of Savannah coming to terms with her mother's death.
Haunted gives a great deal of insight into how Eve and Savannah are so much alike. Eve will not
go of Savannah and spends a great of her time in the afterlife checking up on her. Eve has been
reunited with Kristof, Savannah's father, but will not allow him to be more then a friend. Kristoff
not your average Cabal sorcerer. He has regretted not pursing Eve and Savannah for 15 years and
determined not to make the same mistake a second time.
The Fates, overseers of the supernatural afterlife, have decided to call in the favor that Eve
at the conclusion of Industrial Magic. Eve is being sent on a mission to track a Nix, a Germanic
demi-demon nymph who feeds off chaos. This particular Nix has been jumping from woman to
woman giving them the necessary drive to murder. The Nix feeds off the chaos and anguish these
murders create. Eventually she grows weary of her partner and devises a way for them to be
and create even more chaos. The Fates have sent three previous hunters to catch the Nix and
her to hell. Each has failed leaving the Nix to continue her reign of terror.
The Fates hope Eve, with her unusual talents will be successful is catching the Nix. With the help
Kirstof, an angel named Trsiel, and the infamous necromancer Jamie Vegas, Eve sets out on a
course that changes everything.
Haunted starts out slow and is hard to relate to at first since all the main characters are not
beings. Once the plot with the Nix begins to unfold, the characters transcend death and the
they live in begins to make sense. Kelley Armstrong is author to be lauded. Instead of cranking
another adventure using werewolves, witches, or sorcerers, she has created an entire mythological
inspired afterlife that exists as another layer to the series. The world Eve and Kristoff inhabit is
fascinating to read about. The living and the afterlife are connected, but the dead cannot touch,
or communicate directly (except through a necromancer) with the living. Eve has been desperately
searching for a way to influence and protect Savannah - at the cost of her sense of purpose. The
afterlife is supposed to be a nice retirement of the worries of the living. Eve is definitely not ready
for any sort of retirement.
Haunted is well worth reading. Kelley Armstrong has created an entertaining novel and stretched
wings. Many writers in her position simply rest on their laurels, but Kelley has instead decided to
create something entirely different. And it works as an entreating piece of fiction.
Kelley Armstrong currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her family. She has published five
in the Women of the Otherworld series; Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, and
Haunted. The sixth in the series, Broken, will revisit Elena, Clay, and the werewolves and is to be
released in May 2006. A mainstream novel titled Exit Strategy is forthcoming in 2006. She has an
extensive website at http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/ Her website contains original novellas and
short stories from the Women of the Otherworld series.
Dreams Made Flesh
ISBN: 0451460138 $16.00 448 pp.
Dreams Made Flesh is a wonderful addition to the Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. The four
stories contained in the anthology are "Weaver of Dreams," "the Prince of Ebon Rih,"
and "Kaeleer's Heart."
"Weaver of Dreams" is a brief history of the creation of the Spinner of Dreams, spiders. The
evocative, rich, mythological inspiration for Draca's relationship to the spiders is fascinating to
"The Prince of Ebon Rih" is Lucivar Yaslana and Marian's story. Many of the customs of Eyrien
race are explored along with the intricate love between Lucivar and Marian. This story takes place
the conclusion of Heir to the Shadows.
"Zuulaman" is the story of the lengths Hekatah went to try and control Saetan. We learn a great
about Hayll's Hundred Families and how Saetan became the ruler of the Dhemlan Territories. This
story of treachery shows just how far Hekatah was willing to go to get her way.
"Kaeleer's Heart" is the long awaited story of what happened after the conclusion of Queen of
Darkness. Janelle is healing, but not fast enough for Daemon. The real question is if Janelle wants
be all that she once was. Also addressed is the significance of Twilights Dawn, the jewel Janelle
wears. Many of the vibrant characters seen in the Black Jewels Trilogy make appearances in the
Dreams Made Flesh is a nice addition to the Black Jewels Trilogy. "Zuulaman" explains much of
Saetan and Hekatah. "Kaeleer's Heart" puts a wonderful spin on the ending to the Queen of
Darkness and gives a much more satisfying end to the series. The weakness of this anthology is
is not a stand alone. This book is primarily for fans of the series.
Anne Bishop is the author numerous fantasy books, the Black Jewels Trilogy; Daughter of the
Blood, Heir to the Shadows, and Queen of Darkness. Invisible Ring is set in the same world as
Black Jewels Trilogy. She is also the author the World of the Fae series; Pillars of the World, the
Shadows and the Light, and the House of Gaian. Bishop won the William L. Crawford Memorial
Fantasy Award for the Black Jewels Trilogy. Please visit her website,
for more information.
A Stroke of Midnight
Laurell K. Hamilton
ISBN: 0345443578 $23.95 366 pp.
Cover Artist: Judy York
A Stroke of Midnight is Laurell K. Hamilton's fifth installed in the Merry Gentry series. While the
plot-line moves forward in the series, A Stroke of Midnight is not a strong piece on its own.
At the conclusion of Seduced by Moonlight, Merry and her guards have survived numerous
assassinations, violent encounters with other Fae, and lots of sex. Merry should be ready for sleep,
but instead she is the focus of a press conference. It would appear the media is very interested in
life - each and every titillating tidbit they can glean from Merry herself and those around her.
the press conference, a double homicide occurs - a lesser Fae and a human reporter. Merry insists
that a human investigation be done, and manipulates Queen Andais to this end. The importance of
this investigation is never completely clear, other then as a way for Merry to avenge her father's
A Stroke of Midnight has a great deal going on when the characters are not engaged in sexual
encounters. We learn much about Merry's father and how his death affected her. With each Fae
Merry brings into godhead, the Sithern Farie Mound begins to regain its power and renew life.
story takes place during one night, but the Sithern has altered time so one night lasts a very long
In the scope of the book, A Stroke of Midnight is much stronger then Seduced by Moonlight. The
plot is continued, but much is left out. Too many characters are introduced with not enough time
the reader to become attached to them. The sex scenes are less numerous then previous books,
they are not erotic. Merry is a woman who can do things a Tijuana whore would be unable to do.
While I recognize this is fantasy and hence anything can happen, I wish for a little more realism.
sex acts themselves dominate so much storyline, it is impossible not to wish for more character
development. A Stroke of Midnight will satisfy those Hamilton fans that have embraced the sexual
tone of her recent works.
Laurell K. Hamilton is the St. Louis author of twelve Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series books
four novels in the Meredith Gentry series; A Kiss of Shadows, a Caress of Twilight, Seduced by
Moonlight, and A Stroke of Midnight. She has published numerous short stories and novellas in
various anthologies along with a novel which was recently re-released, Nightseer.
Dead as a Doornail
ISBN: 0441012795 $22.95 304 pp.
Cover Artist: Lisa Desimini
Dead as a Doornail is the fifth installment in Charlaine Harris' dynamic Sookie Stackhouse series.
Sookie, the buxom, blond, barmaid from Bon Temps is once again thrust into things that she
not be. Her psychic abilities make her a magnet for the supernatural world.
At the conclusion of the Dead to the World, Eric has regained his self, but remembers nothing of
time with Sookie. Jason, Sookie's brother has been found, but is now a werepanther. Dead as a
Doornail opens with Jason experiencing his first full moon as a werepanther. Amazingly enough,
Jason embraces his new life and enjoys shifting. As much of a relief as this is for Sookie, trouble is
looming. Someone is killing shifters and Jason is the prime suspect. To add to Sookie's turmoil,
does not remember his time with Sookie, but knows something important happened. In another
twist, Debbie's family is desperately searching for her. This search finds its way to Sookie's
In Dead as a Doornail we get a much clearer picture of the shifter communities - the werewolves
and werepanthers. Sookie is drawn into the political struggles within the werewolf pack structure.
The outcome is not a happy ending for Sookie or werewolves. Calvin Norris, the head of the
werepanthers in Hot Shot continues to attempt to woo Sookie. Another love interest is most
certainly not something Sookie needs in her already complicated love life.
I enjoyed reading Dead as a Doornail immensely. Sookie and her adventures are always a treat.
only drawback to this book is that Sookie and the reader become very disappointed when
knowledge of certain character defects becomes evident within those close to Sookie. All of the
characters, old and new, add flavor to the series and make Sookie's madcap adventures even more
entertaining. On the whole, Dead as a Doornail is a fun read.
Charlaine Harris is the author of four previous Sookie Stackhouse novels; Dead Until Dark,
Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, and Dead to the World. She is also the author of two popular mystery
novel series, the Aurora Tegarden series and the Lily Bard Shakespeare series.
Living In A Locker Room: A Mom's Tale of Survival In A Houseful Of Boys
15115 Why 36, Deadwood, OR 97430
ISBN: 1932279156 $12.95
What reads like a series of newspaper columns, written by one distraught, yet hopeful mom is a
book filled with motherly insight. And not those pretty, painted pictures you're often fed in other
parenting books. Schmitt lays it all out on the line - sometimes serious, sometimes funny - but
Thinking about tackling the role of motherhood? Already a parent, but tired of all the useful
Just want someone to say, "been there, done that. I understand. Here's how it really happens!"
order a copy of Living In A Locker Room.
I Want My Dinner Now!
Hestia Hearth Publishing & Design
PO Box 7059, Kennewick, WA 99336
ISBN: 0976013711 $12.95
Today's busy parents don't have the time, energy, or desire to cook healthy meals. But they long
the family to sit around the dinner table, together. They long for healthy, home cooked meals, and
they long for cost-effective recipes. I Want My Dinner Now! solves these problems and more. In
less time than it takes to drive to a fast food restaurant, order, and bring home a meal, parents can
have a simple, low-cost, nutritious meal on the table!
While I found the recipes simple enough to prepare, I couldn't help but enjoy reading Pottle's
cooking tips. They were like a mini-refresher course on many of the ingredients used in this
cookbook, as well as, actual cutting and cooking tips.
I'd have to say my favorite recipe is the Tamale Pie. Anyone who has ever tried to or has
successfully prepared homemade tamales knows it's not only an all-day affair, but it requires lots
helpers. Now, I don't have to trot off to my favorite Mexican restaurant, I can make them with
- at home!
Alyice Edrich, Reviewer
Catherine de Medici
ISBN: 0753820390 A$24.95 512 pages
A "merchant's daughter"; an Italian duchess without a duchy; a "barren wife"; an "eclipsed
Caterina Maria Romula de Medici was called all of these things but she was a most powerful and
influential woman, Queen of France for eleven years, and Queen Mother, regent and de facto ruler
for thirty more. She was one of the "Monstrous Regiment of Women" against whom John Knox
fulminated in the sixteenth century. And, because of her involvement in the Saint Bartholomew's
Day Massacre in Paris, she came to be know as 'The Maggot from Italy's tomb', 'The Black
and 'Madame la Serpente'.
Leonie Frieda sets out to show that such judgments were mistaken and bigoted and that Catherine
de Medici was, in fact, a remarkably courageous and pragmatic woman whose sole purpose in life
was to ensure "the survival of her children, her dynasty and France". Overall, Frieda succeeds in
Catherine may have been a merchant's daughter, but what merchants! She came from the rich and
powerful Medici family, which traced its ancestors and their banking business back some two
hundred years to Giovanni di Bicci de Medici. Her close relatives were some of the most
secular and religious figures in Italy. And, on her mother's side, she was descended from Louis IX
Catherine may have been a duchess without a duchy, but she did have significant wealth and
property. Consequently, marriage negotiations began when she was a child and she had many
suitors, including at one time Henry VIII's illegitimate son, the Duke of Richmond. Her eventual
marriage to Henry, Duke of Orleans, second son of King Francis 1 of France, was therefore not
Leonie Frieda describes Catherine's route to power, her intense love of her husband, the
three-cornered relationship which soured her marriage, and her occult premonitions of her
bizarre death. Frieda is good, too, at providing curious details to spice the dry historical facts,
as the measures Catherine took in order to become pregnant: prayers, medicine, magical potions
which included draughts of mule's urine and stinking poultices and, finally, spying on the sexual
antics of Henry and his mistress in order to find out what she might be doing wrong. Clearly,
something worked, for Catherine went on to give birth to nine children.
Both Catherine and her husband, Henry (who became King Henry II of France in 1547) had
and traumatic childhoods. Neither enjoyed a normal family life and both were made aware at a
early age of the dangerous power struggles which threatened their lives and those of their families
and friends. Both learned early to dissemble, to hide their true thoughts and feelings, to scheme,
to fight in every possible way for survival.
Catherine lived to see her beloved husband and all but one of her children die. She survived eight
religious wars and continuous plotting against her and her sons' positions of power. She
sought to reconcile the religious differences which were dividing people, states and countries. She
was a formidable negotiator, an astute player of international games of diplomacy and, at the same
time, she loved hunting, embroidery and the latest Italian fashions.
Leonie Frieda has done meticulous research to back up her claims about Catherine and, not
surprisingly, given the number of contenders for power and the turbulent times through which
Catherine lived, there are quite a few dry pages which seem just to be list of plots, people, events
and changes. Nevertheless, the French court under Catherine's influence and, especially during the
reigns of Catherine's sons, was something to be wondered at for its opulence, its decadence and
blatant sexuality of the royal siblings Francis, Henri and Margot.
When Catherine's son Henri was elected King of Poland, Frieda's descriptions of the contrast
between his exotic, cross-dressing, sexually ambiguous gallants and the bearded, booted, macho
Polish gentlemen, and of his clandestine escape from that country when he finally became King of
France, stir the imagination. So, too, does her description of Henri's visit to Venice, where, on his
way home to France to claim his throne, he was given a royal reception and his own lavish
made him "a veritable one-man fillip to the economic life".
She is good, too, in her careful account of the events which led up to the terrible Saint
Bartholomew's Day massacre of Huguenots, and of Catherine's unavoidable part in this
All-in-all, this book is a readable account of the life of a remarkable woman living in remarkable
times. You may not end up liking Catherine, - she was a product of her times and she had learned
hard lessons well - but you have to admit that she was impressive. A gentler, less determined
could never have supported her family through such public and personal dangers and disasters, or
played such an active part in international affairs, as successfully and for as long as Catherine de
Medici managed to do.
There are some nice illustrations in this book, but parts of the index are impossible to use.
Carol Ann Duffy, author
Joel Stewart, illustrator
ISBN: 1405020490 A$26.95 14 pages
Moon Zoo is a delight.
Carol Ann Duffy's humour, her empathy with small children and her versatility as a poet, provide
exactly the right words to stir the imagination. And Joel Stewart's colourful, funny and very
attractive illustrations make this book as much fun to look at as it is to read.
Mr four-year-old, in my family, found the idea of moon baboons flashing their bottoms at the
race suitably rude and hilarious. His six-year-old brother listened and grinned, and tried to pretend
he was too old for this kid's stuff - but he wasn't really.
Carol Ann Duffy, like Ted Hughes before her, clearly believes that children's poetry is important
that they deserve the best. And rightly so, for how else can we foster the imagination, fun and
delight which our children need to sustain them as they grow older?
Moon Zoo gives children a wonderful new world to explore. The zoo-keeper is an eight-armed
who clanks her buckets along the Milky Way. The penguins float about playfully in the Sea of
Tranquility. Polar bears, hippos and elephants are airborne in zero gravity. And space craft zoom
around them all. There are even some strange, nameless creatures lurking behind rocks or peering
over the edges of pages.
Words and pictures - perfect food for the imagination. And not just for the kids, either!
Ann Skea, Reviewer
Laurinda D. Brown
PO Box 1370; Bowie, MD 20718
ISBN: 1593090307; $15.00; 234 pp.
Laurinda D. Brown's novel, UnderCover, tells the story of Chris Desmereaux, a professional
who has recently survived a violently tempestuous relationship. While surfing the net and
to get her life back on track, she meets Amil, a doctor who is soon to marry a successful
entrepreneur. The immediate friendship between these two women begins to develop into
more without their having actually met. Then, when Chris and Amil actually meet by chance at a
business meeting, they realize their attraction goes beyond mere words on a computer screen.
to this event, Chris' friend Nathaniel, a former drag queen, has put his past behind him and now
assumed the role of loving husband to Chris' sister. However, when financial problems arise,
Nathaniel resumes his former occupation and must now come to terms with his sexuality. The
of these people entwine and overlap until, inevitably, each will discover what genuine love,
acceptance, and compassion truly are.
Brown has written an unusual opening for this novel, a scene in a drag club. Nathaniel's lover,
Patrick, has decided to honor a promise to his dying mother and is giving his life over to God.
and confused, Nathaniel accepts this decision and walks away from Patrick and his performing
career. The story then moves forward five years, and the reader is privy to the chat room
conversation between Chris and Amil. These two brief vignettes manage to pull the reader into
plot and definitely makes one want to discover more about these people. It is always rewarding to
see some ingenuity in story construction, and the initial pages of this novel reflect that.
The main characters are well developed and mostly credible in both their actions and dialogue.
can sense the anxiety and uncertainty each has experienced. The winning secondary characters are
also written well, and the reader is easily engaged in their subplots. This reader found the
storyline to be somewhat more captivating. At times Chris tends to over verbalize and display less
than ideal traits, but one can overlook this as it does not affect the storytelling in any major way.
breathe life into the characters on the page, the author must create a dilemma, a problematic
situation which will propel the narrative and thereby create within the reader a need to learn more.
Brown achieves this through the writing of an absorbing and entertaining scheme. Her characters
grow, expand, fail yet again, and accept others and themselves in a credible and intriguing
Both explicit and implicit themes are dealt with in UnderCover. Understanding the importance of
one's past, being true to oneself, tolerance, if not acceptance, of others and their ideologies, and
recognition of both sincere and faithful love are dealt with, not through any proselytizing on the
of the author, but through the actions and nuances of speech. Amil's realization of where her
should be and with whom is conducted in a subtle and affecting fashion.
The tone of this novel is quite different from Brown's previous work, Fire & Brimstone. There is a
maturity of writing and characterization not quite as evident in the latter. The overall story is
more compelling and thought-provoking. The evolution of Chris is well worth waiting for; she is a
much more sympathetic figure here. One can care more deeply about a positive outcome
for her. There appears to be a less vociferous snarl in her attitude and actions. This reader found it
much easier to empathize with a more mature Chris.
UnderCover is a novel which will provide several hours of both entertaining and attentive reading;
is a novel which could certainly provoke serious discussion. Brown has stated that she writes
life and not lifestyles. This novel creates a portrait of people in crisis, of people with real hopes
aspirations, and of people who want to do the right thing even at the expense of others. Isn't that
what life really is?
P.O. Box 10543, Tallahassee, FL 32302
ISBN: 1594930060; $12.95; 215 pp.
Kenna White's novel, Shared Winds, begins soon after the devastation caused by an Oklahoma
twister. Lan Harding's lake marina of the title's name has been completely destroyed, and her
and livelihood are becoming bleaker with each passing day. Unless Lan can find a contractor to
rebuild her business in time for the new season, she will have to give up her dream of the perfect
place to be. Unfortunately, many others have suffered structural and economic casualties as well,
and Lan is not high on the priority list of the already over-extended contractors. Enter Emma
Bishop, the daughter of a prominent local builder, who wants to perform the task Lan needs done
order to validate for her skeptical father that she is indisputably ready to take over the family
business. As these two women begin the task of rebuilding the marina, they begin to experience
feelings that go beyond the usual employer-employee relationship.
Since White's story begins with the aftermath of a tornado, the author must capture in the first
pages the extensive physical devastation to the marina and the emotional upheaval and turmoil
which Lan must now cope. The reader needs to be drawn in as quickly as possible, and White has
achieved this with ease. "Eight years of work and reinvesting every penny into the business now
seemed perilously close to vanishing" (p. 5). The dilemma in which Emma finds herself is written
succinctly and clearly. The reader is shown the problematic situations these two women are
experiencing in a forthright and direct fashion. Much of the narrative maintains that crisp
which makes the novel especially readable. The main conflicts both implicit and explicit have been
clearly determined, and the remainder of the story leads the protagonists toward logical
The setting plays an important role in the book. One must be able to visualize the lake, the
surrounding forest, and the spectacular views as Lan does in order to relate to this woman's
commitment at any cost to re-build and start anew. Although the forces of nature and the heart
be capricious and indiscriminate, both Lan and Emma display the tenacity and self-reliance to deal
with whatever fate has in store for them.
Telling the story through the use of the third person enables the reader to see beyond the
aspects of the personalities of Lan and Emma and into the psyches of these characters. Each
has some vestige of past heartache, and White is able to show that through the use of subtly and
deftly crafted dialogue and realistic interactions. The utilization of humor throughout much of the
novel adds to the overall enjoyment level. Lan's attempt to share her Cherokee heritage with
is done in a lighthearted not heavy-handed manner. This proves to be equally enlightening for the
Kenna White's debut novel, Shared Winds, is a charming and lively story of two determined
who must overcome adversity and self-doubt. Both Lan and Emma are attractive and appealing
characters who succeed in capturing the reader's attention and empathy. It is not difficult to
understand each woman as she endeavors to assert her independence and to establish a productive
livelihood. An agreeable blend of Native American, in this instance Cherokee, philosophy and
appreciation of nature adds veracity to Lan's characterization. It establishes her focal point from
which all her actions radiate, thus making Lan a rather unconventional character archetype. The
narrative is not too complex; the storyline has a leisurely ebb and flow throughout the book. If
looking for tension-filled complicated scenes of character interaction, the reader will not find them
here. However, what the reader will experience and appreciate is a satisfying and restorative novel
that spins an unpretentious and emotive tale of recovery, renewal, and romance.
Bold Strokes Books
1020 Livezey Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119
ISBN: 1933110090; $15.95; 315 pp.
Kim Baldwin's novel, Hunter's Pursuit, Author's Edition, is set during a raging blizzard in the
northern Michigan wilderness just a few miles south of Lake Superior. Living in a secluded
Kat Hunter, an introspective, solitary, and lethal woman who is contemplating retirement from her
job as a paid assassin. Determined to bury the past, she has forsaken her violent world and former
associates. However, her tranquil days of music and photography are interrupted when she
mysterious woman from a serious car accident. Upon bringing the woman back to the bunker, Kat
discovers that the woman has no recollection of who she is. To further complicate the situation,
there are several nefarious and ruthless people who are doggedly pursuing Kat for the
dead-or-alive bounty which has been offered by the one individual who knows Kat all too well. As
the storm rages outside her hideaway, Kat will be tested as never before, and along the way, she
awaken feelings she thought were long dead.
Baldwin has created a gripping, fast-paced, and suspenseful wilderness adventure that reads easily
and enjoyably. The two main characters, Kat and the injured amnesiac, Jake, are intelligent and
appealing. The deft characterization displays the multi-faceted personality of the charismatic
protagonist, Kat. As the reader begins to peel away each layer and proceeds to uncover the events
that have molded Kat into the woman she has become, the reader is subtly made aware that
should be taken at face value. Jake is a character that immediately evokes one's concern and
sympathy, yet Baldwin always manages to keep the presence of mystery and inscrutability in the
forefront. Is Jake who she appears to be? Could she be a ruse perpetrated by Kat's enemies? Does
she know Kat's Achilles' heel? Baldwin has indeed created memorably inventive and compelling
characters. In the hands of an author with a less stylized technique, Kat could have come across as
an extremely unsympathetic character who had committed despicable acts. However, through the
use of fluid substantive dialogue and an impressive narrative depicting the inner conflicts of this
character, Baldwin has succeeded in creating a very realistic portrayal of a woman who displays,
despite all odds, an intrinsic decency and compassion. It is for those very reasons that the reader
genuinely cares for and about her.
This novel has some of the best action sequences this reader has experienced. They are animated,
vigorous, and exciting. The reader can virtually experience the sensory world of the somber
and its uninhabited forest. Baldwin's fast-paced sentence structure effortlessly sweeps the reader
along at practically breakneck speed. The chapter endings make wonderful use of the familiar
cliffhanger technique. Baldwin's chapter conclusions are extremely precise and definitely
The juxtaposition of various plotlines, the evolving focal points of reader interest, and the realistic
dialogue hurtle the reader forward at an ever increasing rate. Hunter's Pursuit is most definitely a
Kim Baldwin's novel, Hunter's Pursuit, Author's Edition, takes the reader on a dangerous,
heart-pounding rollercoaster ride brimming with intrigue, betrayal, deliverance, passion, and
ultimately, self-less love. From the stark setting to the character of the anti-heroine to the
possibilities of redemption, Baldwin has managed to write a novel which is memorable not only
its energetic detail but also for its appealing and perceptive portrayal of a woman conditioned, but
not held captive, by her past.
Soft Skull Press
71 Bond Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
ISBN: 1932360719, $13.95, 224 pp.
Maggie Nelson's Jane is an original approach to the memoir genre. The author has used poetry,
police accounts, dreams, news articles, diary entries, and personal reflections to tell the story of
aunt, Jane, who was brutally raped and murdered in 1969. Although the case was never officially
solved, it was thought to be the third murder during a string of seven serial killings near the
University of Michigan. Although Nelson never knew her aunt, this is her attempt to better
understand her mother's sister, in both life and death. Nelson shares with the reader how this
affected all who knew her aunt as well as family members who came after the crime.
When one first begins reading this book, it is a bit difficult to become acclimated to the use the
poetic structure. However, soon the reader is so fully engaged in the subject matter that the
flows easily from one form to another. The long-term devastation caused by a crime so many
before the author's birth is tellingly reflected through her interactions with family members,
especially her mother. There are examples of irony and the juxtaposition of what was and what
is strikes the reader immediately. The simple lines offered, "Here is just where/ he dumped her, on
night of cold rain/ and where my mother and I stand today, / listening to the birds" (p. 217). So
much heartache in so few words, but they serve to affirm that life does go on. Always reminded
she is so like her aunt, Nelson recalls her grandfather making the same slip of the tongue countless
times. As he stares at her, he states, "Well Jane/ he says, I think I'll have/ another cup of coffee"
Jane is a book that long remains with the reader and causes one, when finished reading it, to think
about those darker elements of life. The gamut of emotions experienced by Nelson vividly comes
life as she endeavors to solve the mystery of her aunt's death and to better comprehend how this
horrific event affected her own psyche. This novel is upsetting as well as inspiring and certainly
not to be missed.
What makes this book especially absorbing is the author's innovative and unconventional format.
brings a fresh insight and an arresting technique to tell the story. The intertwining of prose of
forms and original poetry makes for a compelling read. This is certainly not a feel good book, not
beach read. What it does offer the serious reader with a discerning eye is an in-depth look of a
fragmented life, family, and eventually understanding and reconciliation, if not redemption.
The Kookaburra Gambit
P.O. Box 4371, Los Angeles, CA 90078-4371
ISBN: 1555839045, $13.95, 226 pages
This novel is the second installment in the Kylie Kendall private detective series, and as Kylie
would say, it is certainly bonzer! Having inherited a fifty-one percent interest in her father's
agency, Kendall & Creeling, Kylie wants to become more involved in actual case solving and has
begun her training. When her cousin back in Australia recommends her Los Angeles-based agency
twins Alf and Chicka Hartnidge, Kylie is grateful for the business and for the chance to conduct
investigation under the tutelage of Bob Verritt and the watchful eye of Ariana Creeling, her
partner and object of her unspoken love and passion. The boisterous twins arrive and are about to
embark on a joint business venture with Lamb White, a film company owned by the highly suspect
evangelist Brother Owen. However, it seems someone has been smuggling valuable Australian
inside the Hartnidge brothers' plush toy characters from their popular show The Oz Mob. Unless
Kylie can discover the identity of the culprits, thousands of dollars, the Hartnidges' reputation,
Hollywood's charismatic guru, and jail time may all prove to be the common denominator. This
important investigation is made even more difficult by Kylie's inability to resist the magnetic pull
senses from Ariana, her secretary Melodie's endless acting auditions which leave the office in
and her fractious Aunt Millie who has arrived to drag her niece back to Oz where she
McNab has created a strong protagonist in Kylie Kendall. She is a genuine and captivating young
woman who possesses just enough vulnerability and emotional insecurity with which the reader
readily identify. Through Kylie's speech and actions, we understand what motivates, elates, and
exasperates her. By using a variety of Australian vernacular and sensibility, McNab has
an intriguing opposite for the typical Los Angelino woman. McNab often magnifies the inherent
cultural differences in a most amusing manner. Although Gambit is a mystery, the author has
included a fair amount of wit, humor, and sexual tension which propels the reader along at a fast
pace. The characterizations are deftly drawn and engrossing. Kylie and Ariana are attractive
intelligent women who initially appear to have little more than business in common. However, this
second series book further develops and explores their personal relationship. The reader is well
aware that Kylie finds Ariana to be simply and totally irresistible, and now through the nuances of
word and action, Ariana's veil of mystique is slowly beginning to descend. One evening, upset by
what her aunt may have told Ariana, Kylie fears she is about to cry. "Ariana put an arm around
shoulders I couldn't help it. I leaned forward and kissed her" (p. 128).
There are no corpses falling out of closets, no shoot-outs in dark alleys, no superhero antics. The
Kookaburra Gambit is an entertaining and real depiction of a woman trying to come to grips with
her new home, a challenging job, and inexplicably intense feelings for her enigmatic partner. What
especially satisfying about this novel is the sense of realism surrounding Kylie's attempt to begin
new life with a rather ordinary case which is further complicated by the everyday routines of the
workplace, associates, and family. These are regular people going about their daily lives while
to attain that which will make them ultimately happy and content.
McNab has created in Brother Owen all that embodies the slick exploitative con man operating
under the guise of pious religiosity. One can easily infer parallels with several church groups of
today. His type with his bombastic tenet to believe in him or die has been seen too often on cable
television and in the headlines. The reader has an immediate distaste for this man and his cohorts;
McNab has succeeded in creating an antagonist worthy of that loathing.
The Kookaburra Gambit is a wholly rewarding and satisfying reading experience. Amiable,
appealing, and assertive protagonists, emerging character revelations, and a most compelling and
enjoyable cast of secondary characters keep the reader engaged and immersed. McNab has
an amusing and delightful new series with Kylie Kendall. As an added bonus, there is also
at the end of the book an excerpt from the soon to be released third book in the series. This reader
strongly recommends that you read The Kookaburra Gambit. You too will find it a bonzer
The War Between the Hearts
PO Box 357474, Gainesville, FL 32635-7474
ISBN: 1933113278, $17.95, 292 pp.
Sarah-Bren Coulter's mother asks, "Why can't you act like most other women" (p. 67)? Sarah
responds with "Because, Mother...I'm not like most other women" (p.67). Thus, the thematic
in Nann Dunne's latest novel, an historical romance entitled The War between the Hearts, is
established. The setting is the Civil War, and Sarah desperately wants to do her part rather than
remain at home and help her brother run a factory. She has no doubts that she can pass for a male
given her build, voice, and strength. With an additional bit of costume make-up, Sarah looks very
much like the typical soldier. Because she knows the geographical area so well, she convinces the
commanding officer that spying behind enemy lines would be a worthwhile endeavor. So begins
new career as a Confederate soldier/Union spy. It is not long after that Sarah witnesses the
firsthand. "shooting a man face to face ending his life with my own hand. That's a heavier
burden than carrying messages back and forth. God, I hate this war" (29)! As the story
Sarah suffers an injury and finds herself recuperating in the home of an attractive Union woman,
Faith Pruitt. Unable to reveal her true identity and not quite understanding her attraction for this
young woman, Sarah begins her recovery. However, this quiet interlude is soon interrupted with
capture by a squad of Union soldiers. Believing that Faith has turned her in because she is a
Confederate, Sarah, feeling both angry and completely betrayed, is led away to an uncertain fate.
the title implies, many battles will be waged before these two women can realize what destiny has
store for them.
Dunne has captured this historical period quite effectively. The premise is based on fact; there
many instances, and not just in this particular conflict, where women assumed the male warrior
and fought for what they believed. Sarah is a three-dimensional character and one with which the
reader will empathize and certainly will admire. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary
and Sarah rises to the occasion with bravery, intelligence, and cunning. This woman has set goals
herself, and though they are beyond the mainstream of behavior for the times, she is nonetheless
undaunted in her quest. Sarah's vulnerability is evidenced as she experiences every woman's worst
nightmare at the hands of her own Union soldiers who stubbornly refuse to believe that she is not
enemy. Despite all the trials and hardships Sarah encounters, her spirit, although sorrowfully
at times, never wavers. She makes heart wrenching decisions whose consequences impact her
greatly, but through it all, she has few regrets. Dunne has created a compelling and original
with Sarah. It is particularly arresting and riveting to read the scenes where she and her twin
Scott heatedly discuss her abnormal feelings for the woman she loves. Sarah-Bren Coulter is a
genuinely memorable multi-faceted character
Faith Pruitt is also a well-crafted round character who displays a quietly steadfast and tranquil
demeanor. She is a loving and kind woman who aids Sarah in her time of need. Her unquestioning
willingness to take her in and nurse her back to health has nothing to do with politics. Faith reacts
the individual; it is of no consequence to her if that person be a Union or a Confederate soldier.
There is an immediate conductivity between Faith and Sarah, one with which Faith is familiar,
if Sarah is not. As the storyline progresses, the reader senses that beneath that cool and tranquil
exterior that she presents to the world, Faith is indeed an intriguing and sensuous woman who will
give of herself, body and soul, only to the one she believes to be her true soul mate. There is a
smoldering sexuality about Faith which this reader found to be both captivating and enthralling.
is a self-reliant woman raising a child by herself who knows what and whom she needs and wants
enhance and complete her life, and Faith is willing to risk being profoundly disappointed and
possibly emotionally scarred by rejection.
The War between the Hearts is a wonderfully written tale of suspense, passion, betrayal, and
forgiveness. Original and striking characters take the reader on an unforgettably remarkable and
fascinating journey. The novel is powerful in its depiction of two distinctive and assertive women
who challenge the tenor of the times to pursue their goals and dreams and to establish a niche for
themselves. The War between the Hearts is certainly a commendable contribution to the genre of
The Good That I Should
Gwyn Borcherding & Vincent Nguyen
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63118-3968
0758603924 $9.99 1-800-325-3040 www.cph.org
A picture book adaptation drawn from Romans 7:19, The Good That I Should by Gwyn
Borcherding is the story of a little boy who tries very hard to do the right thing but sometimes
The delightful rhyming text is nicely enhanced with the artwork of Vincent Nguyen. Young
will learn that regardless of how often we fail to do the right thing, we can be forgiven because
took the punishment for all of our sins. So it is always possible to start again, to do the right thing
again, to not give into temptation or misbehave or neglect responsibilities. The Good That I
is a welcome addition to family, Sunday School, and community library picturebook collections
Christian young readers.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
Christopher L. Webber & Preston McDaniels
4775 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17112
081921986X $9.95 1-800-877-0012 www.morehousepublishing.com
In The Lord Is My Shepherd: Psalm 23 For Children, Episcopal priest Christopher L. Wepper
adapts the text of one of most well-known and best-loved religious devotions in the Bible for
preschoolers and early readers. Enhanced with Preston McDaniel's colorful illustrations, this
book rendition of the sacred psalm provides a text of the Psalm that is less abstract than the
commonly read in the Bible while remaining true to the original meaning and accessible to the
and understandings of children ages 3 to 7. Ideal for family, Sunday School, and community
picture book collections, this edition of The Lord Is My Shepherd is ideal for parent-child "read
aloud" bedtime storytelling.
Bless My Child
Ave Maria Press
PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556
1594710147 $9.95 1-800-282-1865 www.avemariapress.com
Bless My Child: A Catholic Mother's Prayer Book by Julie Cragon offers mothers a rich variety of
prayers for every occasion. Herself a mother of six (ages 3 through 16), Julie Cragon draws from
vast treasury of Catholic prayer to create new expressions of many beloved devotions. Offered are
"Novenas for My Child"; "A Rosary for My Child"; and Stations of the Cross for My Child".
to the saints reveals that we are not alone in parenting, while prayers for growth in virtue aid the
realization that the Holy Spirit is always at work in the lives of our children. Bless My Child is
especially recommended for new and expectant mothers within the Roman Catholic communities
Teresa Bell Kindred
Howard Publishing Company
3117 North 7th Street, West Monroe, LA 71291-2227
1582294240 $14.99 1-800-858-4109 www.howardpublishingdealer.com
Mom PhD: 6 Steps To Mastering Leadership Skills For Mom by Teresa Bell Kindred (Christian
author, public speaker, high-school teacher, monthly "Kindred Spirits" columnist for Kentucky
Living magazine, wife and mother of five) is written to assist other wives and mothers to create a
vision for themselves and their families that will inspire to faith by knowing when and how to ask
help, being consistent in decisions and behavior, dealing with teens, requiring respect from others,
setting clear boundaries for family members, instilling courtesy and manners, "catching children at
being good", debunking the "supermom" myth, and tapping into the power of prayer for life
guidance and family problem solving. Wonderfully readable and of immense, immediate, and
practical value, Mom PhD is enthusiastically recommended reading!
Quotable Texas Women
Susie Kelly Flatau & Lou Halsell Rodenberger
State House Press
McMurray Station, Box 637, Abilene, TX 79697-0637
1880510898 $12.95 1-800-421-3378
From pioneer days down to the present day, the women of Texas have had a great deal to say. In
Quotable Texas Women. Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Susie Kelly Flatau and Lou
Halsell Rodenberger, Quotable Texas Women is a collection of several hundred statements by
women on a variety of topics ranging from Electra Waggoner Biggs who recalls her mother's
"to always be able to look at myself in the mirror with no regrets", to Artie Stockton's quip that
good time to lie to yourself is that first look in the morning's mirror." From Molly Ivins opining
"If Texas were a sane place, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun."; to Babe Didrikson Zaharias'
observation that "The formula for success is simple: practice and concentration, then more
and concentration." Highly recommended reading, Quotable Texas Women would also well serve
a template or example of what can be done with recording and showcasing the wit, wisdom, and
observations of women in other states and regions of America.
The Goddess Of Happiness
Inner Ocean Publishing
PO Box 1239, Makawao, Maui, HI 96768
1930722486 $12.95 1-800-916-3308 www.innerocean.com
With Debbie Gisonni's The Goddess Of Happiness: A Down-To-Earth Guide For Heavenly
And Bliss, readers will discover how to make their life increasingly pleasant and personally
at work, at home, and in their relationships. The Goddess Of Happiness is a compilation of
insights, and humor revealing how happiness is a choice and a practice that anyone can achieve
including finding a personal balance, giving up guilt, enhancing self respect, rising above fear, and
much more. Of special note are "The Goddess of Happiness's 10 Steps to a Happier, Healthier
You". If you only have time (and the energy) for one self-help, self-improvement book for
growth, then make it Debbie Gisonni's The Goddess Of Happiness!
Homeschooling the Challenging Child
Christine M. Field
Broadman & Holman Publishers
127 Ninth Avenue, North, Nashville, TN 37234
0805430784 $14.99 1-800-251-3225 www.broadmanholman.com
Former trial lawyer turned homeschool mother Christine M. Field presents Homeschooling the
Challenging Child: A Practical Guide, written especially for parents who turn to homeschooling
because their children cannot thrive in a traditional educational environment due to special,
or emotional needs. Chapters address how to deal with issues stemming from various learning
disabilities, attention disorders, personality clashes, learning styles, discipline problems, managing
stress and discouragement, how to plan a program, the importance of keeping in mind the tenets
God's love and forgiveness, and much more. Hands-on tips for managing a successful home
education program, as well as how to obtain professional help from support groups and other
resources round out this superb guide for home schoolers or would-be home-schoolers of all
persuasions - not just those whose child faces special obstacles.
The Student's Federal Career Guide
Kathryn Kraemer Troutman & Emily K. Troutman
The Resume Place
89 Mellor Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21228
0964702568 $21.95 1-888-480-8265 www.resume-lace.com
Enhanced with an accompanying CD-ROM offering case studies and samples, The Student's
Career Guide: 10 Steps To Find And Win Top Government Jobs and Internships shows students
how to utilize networking to discover the availability of federal jobs, how to identify and locate
relevant federal agency; what internships; federal pay scales; researching federal job listings
writing a federal job oriented resume; writing cover letters showcasing knowledge, skills and
abilities; the federal job application process; tracking and following-up job applications and
interviews; and conducting oneself in the interview process. Of special note is the accompanying
website at www.TenStepsForStudents.org offering samples, internships links, job prospect
information, and tips from actual government agency recruiters. Specifically designed for college
students and recent graduates entering the job market, The Student's Federal Career Guide is also
very highly recommended for men and women of any age seeking a public service career with the
The Complete Idiot's Guide To Quick & Easy Low-Carb Meals
Alpha/The Penguin Press
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
1592573134 $18.95 1-800-847-5515 www.us.penguingroup.com
Packed from cover to cover with easy-to-make, mouth-wateringly delicious, low-carb recipes that
can be prepared by even the most novice kitchen chef in twenty minutes or less, The Complete
Idiot's Guide To Quick & Easy Low-Carb Meals is one of the most "user friendly" cookbooks
anyone could ever hope to encounter on their search for low-carb lunches, dinners, snacks, or
desserts. With ever recipe being accompanied by a complete nutritional analysis (including carbs,
proteins, and glycemic index data), the dishes range from Blueberry-Vanilla Breakfast Yogurt;
Tuna-Stuffed Tomatoes; Curried Pork; and Moroccan Lamb Kebabs; to Sauteed Mushroom
Enchiladas; Ham Steaks with Sweet Mustard Sauce; Lightning Chicken Stew; and Almond
Chocolate Parfaits. Enhanced with a glossary, an extensive list of resources, a glycemic index and
carbohydrate list, and a comprehensive index, The Complete Idiot's Guide To Quick & Easy
Low-Carb Meals is a welcome and highly recommended addition to any and all family cookbook
Betsy L. Hogan
Mary Ann Rodman
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003
In Yankee Girl, Mary Ann Rodman's semi-autobiographical story, eleven-year-old Alice Ann
Moxley and her family move from Chicago to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1964, when her FBI agent
is sent there to protect the Negroes who are trying to vote. At her new school, racial integration is
just beginning. It is not going well. Her father is in constant danger from the Ku Klux Klan. The
popular white girls scorn Alice for not knowing how to treat the Negroes she meets and nickname
her "Yankee Girl". And to top it off, when Ann gets put into a class with Valerie (one of the
girls who have been bussed in under protest), Ann's friendly overtures to the girl are turned
Already bewildered by unwritten rules dealing with proper behavior between whites and Negroes
and wanting to "fit in", she finally decides that the wisest thing to do is to ignore both Valerie and
the cruel things that are done to her by the popular girls. Then, Valerie's father (one of Martin
Luther King's right-hand men) dies in an act of violence, and Alice finds out what following the
crowd really means.
Rodman knows her stuff. Her father was one of the 150 FBI agents who were sent to Mississippi
1964 by President Johnson, to protect the Negroes who were trying to vote. In the midst of those
days, Rodman's mother told her, "You know, someday you'll be glad you lived in this time and
place. You are seeing history in the making. You can tell your children and grandchildren about
Rodman chose to tell a wider audience, though, and Yankee Girl (based on Rodman's own
experiences as well as historical events) tells all of her readers, "I was there, and this is what it
The Silver Crown
Robert C. O'Brien
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10020
Like many little girls, Ellen Carroll likes to pretend she is a queen and she spends many hours in a
wooded park near her home holding court and ruling over her imaginary kingdom. All the
grown-ups in Ellen's life pretend to believe her, except for her Aunt Sarah. Aunt Sarah knows she
isn't pretending. Ellen really is a queen.
When Ellen wakes up on her tenth birthday to find a silver crown on her pillow, she isn't really
surprised. For a real queen, it's the perfect gift. Slipping out of the house while the rest of the
sleeps, she takes it to the park. As she plays, wearing the crown, she notices it makes her feel
different. Smarter. Able to think more clearly. Is it a magic crown? And did Aunt Sarah send it to
her? There was no note with it.
Soon she hears sirens and smells smoke. When she goes to investigate, she discovers that her
has burned to the ground and there is no sign of her family. Although onlookers tell her no one
could have gotten out of the house alive, she senses something odd is going on. Kindly bystanders
keep offering to help her, but each one ends up trying to take her captive instead, and soon she
When she overhears that something called the Hieronymus Machine wants her and her crown in
power, she decides to head for Aunt Sarah's house in Kentucky. Her aunt will believe her and
she'll be able to help. But it's a long way for a ten-year-old to travel alone, even if she is a queen.
Will the followers of the machine catch her before she gets there? Will Aunt Sarah really be able
help? And why does the Hieronymus Machine want Ellen's crown so desperately? Read the book
and find out. You won't be disappointed.
Sir Walter: Walter Hagen and the Invention of Professional Golf
Simon & Schuster.
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020
ISBN 0743204867 $26.00 370 pages
He ushered the game of golf into the modern era, was the first American golfer to top $1 million
career prize money, and battled with amateur Bobby Jones on numerous golf courses throughout
Biographer Tom Clavin writes, "Hagen was the player most responsible for creating the
of professional golfer during the 1920s. Crucial to the explosive growth of golf in America during
that decade, from 1923 to 1930 the Haig played in twenty-one professional major tournaments,
winning seven During the rapid rise of golf in the Roaring Twenties, it was Hagen who carried the
gold torch week after week and year after year, especially in the high profile events."
Before Hagen came along golf was considered a gentleman's game played at posh country clubs.
Taking home the trophy from tournaments like the U.S. Open or British Open brought amateur
golfers prestige but no money.
Professionals who did earn their livelihood on the course were generally looked down upon and
considered just a notch above caddies. This caste system between amateurs and pros began to
down in the 1920s, and the flamboyant and talented Hagen was the first "pro" to transcend the
Beginning as a caddie for ten cents an hour when he was eight years old, Hagen became the head
pro at the Rochester (NY) Country Club when he was nineteen. He seriously considered
professional baseball player but all that changed in 1914 when he won the U.S. Open.
The "Babe Ruth" of golf, Hagen captured the public's attention not only because of his skill on the
links but because of the life he led away from the golf course. He hobnobbed with Charlie
Al Jolson, Warren G. Harding and the Prince of Wales. His playing partners for recreational golf
included Hollywood notables like Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire, and Bing Crosby.
Although his personal life made occasional headlines just like his athletic exploits, Walter Hagen's
enduring legacy is to the game he loved so dearly. A charter member of the PGA, Hagen was
of all he accomplished and how he raised the professional status of the game.
"I think Walter Hagen contributed more to golf than any player today or ever," noted former golf
professional Gene Sarazen. "He took the game all over the world. He popularized it here and
everywhere. Walter was at the head of the class. Walter should not be forgotten."
Sports writer Tom Clavin agrees with Sarazen, hence this entertaining account of Hagen's life.
Drawing on interviews, press reports, and the memories of those who knew Sir Walter, Clavin
brings the great and beloved golfer to life.
A key component of the Hagen story is his battle with amateur Bobby Jones. Clavin contrasts the
personal and athletic styles of both these golfers who shaped the game during the Golden Age of
Here Comes Eloise!
Little Simon/Simon & Schuster
This Lift-the-Flap book finds the indomitable six year old "helping out" all her friends at The Plaza
Hotel in New York where she lives. Whether she's sorting out the boxes in the package room (and
making a mess), lending a hand in the kitchen (and creating chaos) or making the patrons ride in
elevator a memorable one, Eloise always attracts attention. Fortunately, her nanny is there to sort
out things and smooth over any hurt feelings Eloise's antics might have caused.
Lifting the flaps to see what kind of mischief little Eloise gets into will keep the youngster
in the story as mom or dad reads it. With art by Hilary Knight, this picture book is appropriate for
children three years of age and up.
A Chocolate Moose
Aladdin / Simon & Schuster
Children can often take things very literally; hence, certain expressions can be the source of
confusion or, in this case, humor. Fred Gwynne assembles some of these expressions and then has
some fun with them as his illustrations show what a child might think of.
For example, having a "chocolate moose for dinner" is portrayed with picture of a little girl sitting
the table opposite a very large moose. A "gorilla war" shows the large creatures decked out in full
combat gear. Now that you get the idea, imagine what the author has come up with for "the arms
race", "a new wing on the house", "airplane hanger", and "car pool".
This delightful paperback may drive you up the wall (yes, there's an illustration for this too!) but
youngsters love this type of nonsense. Once they get the idea of how the game is played try
up with other expressions not used in the book. You could begin with "cat's pajamas".
In case you wondered, yes, the author is the same Fred Gwynne who starred on "The Munsters"
television series. He was also a very accomplished artist and writer of children's books.
Part of the Stories to Go! series published by Aladdin, this picture book is appropriate for children
ages 4-8. (Actually older children and adults will find it amusing as well.)
Fannie in the Kitchen
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
Subtitled "The Whole Story from Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with
Precise Measurements", this children's picture book features Nancy Carpenter's artwork.
Set in the nineteenth century, the story introduces Marcia Shaw whose mother hires Fannie
because the woman needs help in the kitchen. Resenting the new cook's presence because she was
her mother's helper, Marcia is soon won over by Fannie's kindness. Not only is Marcia introduced
new culinary skills but the reader will also find "Fannie's Hints" sprinkled throughout the
There's also a simple recipe for griddle cakes at the end of the story if the reader feels the urge to
rush into the kitchen and emulate Marcia and Fannie.
Although recommended for children 4 to 9 years of age, "Fannie in the Kitchen" will appeal more
youngsters in the higher end of this range who show an interest in helping out in the kitchen.
Wait! I Want to Tell You a Story
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
068987166X $15.95 www.simonsayskids.com
This quirky tale about a muskrat in danger of being consumed by a tiger illustrates how being able
think quickly on your feet (or paws) can be a lifesaving quality.
When the hungry tiger says, "I'm going to eat you," it appears the muskrat is in big trouble. But
endangered critter responds with, "Wait! I want to tell you a story."
Poor Tiger says, "Okay, but make it quick!" That hesitation or curiosity turns out to be the big
undoing and the muskrat's salvation as you see when you read this delightful story. Aimed at an
audience of children three years of age and up, there's probably a moral here about clever
but don't expect the youngsters to get it. Mom or dad might, though!
0763627429 $6.99 32 pages
Illustrated by James Croft, this paperback for children five years of age and up contains all sorts
information about sharks. The author's non- threatening approach doesn't portray these denizens
the deep as serious threats to mankind. In fact, it is just the reverse. Every year people kill 100
million sharks! Diagrams of the outside and inside of a shark, pictures of the various kinds of
and lots of interesting tidbits make this a book young readers will enjoy. For example, gel-filled
in a shark's nose can detect food while the placement of the creature's eyes allows it to see things
behind as well as ahead.
My Big Book of Stickers
PriddyBooks / St. Martin's Press
0312494327 $12.95 www.priddybooks.com
More than just a book with over 600 stickers, this volume is cleverly designed to help a child learn
to recognize and sort things by color, type, shape and size. The subjects range from animals,
and occupations to nature subjects and various types of structures. Special sticker puzzles show
child one piece of the picture and he has to locate the other three pieces. Each sticker has a
that corresponds to the spot where it should be placed in the book; hence, matching the numbers,
necessary, becomes part of the game.
An interactive book that does work on a number of levels, this is a good way of practicing some
essential preschool skills. The only caveat here is stickers do pose a choking hazard with younger
children. Make sure the stickers stay where they are suppose to - on the page, not in the
The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved For the World
127 Kingston Drive #105, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
156512460X $24.95 320 pages
British journalist Christy Campbell provides a fascinating account of how France's vineyards were
destroyed by an invader from America. In the 1860's tiny aphids began attacking the root
and leaves of grapevines destroying the plants. As the infestation spread throughout the country
to neighboring lands the wine industry was on the verge of total collapse.
Campbell explains the antecedents of this ecological disaster and how, after many false starts, the
vineyards of Europe were eventually rejuvenated in such a manner that the tiny invaders were
Although they often denigrate American wines the fact remains that for over a century all French
wine has been made from vines grafted onto American roots. The reason for this is the subject of
Campbell's compelling narrative.
Anyone with more than just a passing in wine will find this book not only informative but highly
entertaining. Also worth noting is the fact that the threat to the world's vineyards defined by the
author has not disappeared.
The mentioning of "le phylloxera" still sends a shudder through vintners from the Rhone Valley
Bordeux to the Napa Valley.
Take My Breath Away
850 Third Ave, New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 407-1500 FAX: (212) 935-0699
ISBN 0758210787 $14.00 / $20.00 320 Pages
He was there solely to understand survival skills in that climate. Cole Ryder was an ex-Marine so
knew the basics and theories. Yet when shooting a realistic action film, he needed to help from a
survival expert that knew the area. And he wanted the best.
Cole admired her skills. He admired her body. But he could have lived without her uncle
his stay on their island. It was just his luck that Thaddeus Leigh outright stated romancing his
was not allowed. So if this was true why were they being thrown together for three glorious
Nothing made sense. Especially his assistant, Gwen, who sided with his expert concerning the
He was the writer. Shouldn't he be the one writing?
Ariel Leigh had a string of bad luck concerning men. But her uncle refused to give up in finding
a husband. So when she received a call from her uncle asking her to give tips on survival to the
Hollywood types, Ariel reluctantly agreed.
Ariel could not keep her eyes from the man she was suppose to take into the rain forest. Would
three days be enough to teach him everything? He was, after all, someone who would never
understand survival. At least she thought so until her uncle spilled the beans that Cole was an
This sounds like an ordinary story of two opposites being thrown together. Quite untrue. Cole
Ariel are more alike than they would ever admit from the beginning. Yet the sparks really fly when
Ariel starts making changes to Cole's script. Then top it off that Gwen approved every single
Ariel made. Cole thought it had sounded good without a female lead. Besides a pampered
should be able to make his way through a rain forest unhindered without advice from a local.
Not to Ariel's way of thinking. And she sets out to prove she is right by taking Cole on an
of a lifetime through her rain forest.
For a Marine, even an ex-Marine, Cole is wimpy and unbelievable in some of his actions. Not
military types that I know would ever make a woman believe he cannot do something that he had
been trained to do. It is in their blood. Yet Cole does. It is true that it fits in with his Hollywood
character. But it is difficult to believe he would have become so soft after his stint in the Marines.
Especially a section that deliberately goes out and has fun in the field.
Donahue does an excellent job of moving the story along from one point to another to keep the
readers interested in going along for the ride. However, for those who want a speedy race to the
will be disappointed. TAKE MY BREATH AWAY is not one of those tales. It is slow, yet
as Cole continues to heat up on the inside from his attraction while Ariel does everything possible
get Cole to break his vow to her uncle.
Beyond a Wicked Kiss
850 Third Ave., New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 407-1500 FAX: (212) 935-0699
ISBN 0821774174 $6.50
Ria Ashby took her position as headmistress of Miss Weaver's Academy for Young Ladies in
Gillhollow seriously. So when one of her girls came up missing, she went directly to her guardian
assistance since the school governors were determined to brush the matter aside.
This all begins shortly after the death of Evan Marchman's father, the Duke of Westphal. Evan
expected to inherit the title. He was a bastard born on the wrong side of the blanket. It simply had
been his lot in life to be on the outside of Society. But his life was full of mischief and mayhem.
was no slouch. He was right in the thick of things and always got his man as the truth came to
But when his ward came calling, Evan certainly did not want to be bothered. However, the facts
kept adding up and he realized there was much more to the disappearance than met the eye. In
if he was not mistaken, the Society of the Bishops were at the root of the problem. And he was
going to solve it. With the help of his friends, of course.
This series is unique in the fact that Goodman continues the thread with the Compass Club
telling the same story from different angles. Some readers may tire of the same plot line while
will be pleased to find another series on the market. While all members of the Compass Club play
major roles in each book, the heroines are introduced separately which entices further
BEYOND A WICKED KISS bends the rules repeatedly as it is set during the Regency era which
one reason why this particular series is being marketed as historical romances. Yet, it is very true
that Goodman has wrought another fun and lively tale for those who enjoy her work. While this is
definitely a must read for the followers of the Compass Club members, everyone will enjoy this
Brenda Ramsbacher, Reviewer
180 Varick Street, 14th floor, New York, NY 10014
0714845167 $39.95 www.phaidon.com
In Cinema Today, author and movie historian Edward Buscombe explores the cinematic history,
films, people, and technologies of movie making from 1970 to the present day. Beginning with the
rise of the blockbuster in the early 1970s, Buscombe shows how a string of spectacularly
films such as MASH (1970); The Godfather (1972); and Jaws (1975) transformed the economic
climate of Hollywood and the evolution of how movies were made, distributed, and marketed.
first half of Cinema Today covers the "New Hollywood" and the rise of genre films including
Science Fiction, Horror, and Comedy, as well as the rise of such influential directors as Martin
Scorsese, Woody Allen, George Lucas, Spike Lee, and Steven Spielberg. The second half of
Today focuses on the unique style of film output from other parts of the world including
Africa, Indian, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Specially
attention is devoted to the "Bollywood" cinema of India, art house cinema of France, the British
comedy, Japanese crime films, and Mexican horror films, as well as the specific contributions of
directors as Bernardo Bertolucci, Pedro Almodovar, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, and
Enhanced with more than 700 iconic and behind-the-scenes images, as well as a comprehensive
directors' filmography, a bibliography, a chronology, and an index, Cinema Today is a seminal and
strongly recommended addition to professional, academic, and community library Film History
reference collections and Cinematic History Studies supplemental reading lists.
Te Neues Publishing Company
16 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010
3832790306 $45.00 1-800-352-0305 www.teneues.com
Paris Vertical showcases the black-and-white photography of Horst Hamann as he presents a
pictorial tribute to one of Europe's most famous and beautiful cities. Hamann exhibits an artist's
through the lens of a camera with new angles and perspectives offering a fresh approach to classic
architecture and familiar locales. Enthusiastically recommended for students of photography and a
seminal addition to academic collections of master photographers, Paris Vertical documents an
original approach to viewing familiar pieces of sculpture and architectural details with a quite
emphasis on eye-level, vertical framing. Indeed, Paris Vertical could well serve as a template for
similar photography sessions with other cities of distinction and beauty.
Santorella Publications, Ltd.
13 Pleasant Avenue, Danvers, MA 01923
A new series from Santorella Publications is specifically designed to teach beginners of all ages a
complete course of instruction on playing piano jazz and is titled Let's Play Jazz...And More!. The
first title launching this thoroughly "student friendly" series is Primer (TS286, $14.95) written by
music teacher and an expert in writing, composing and arranging, J. Latulippe. The second title is
Book 1 (TS287, $14.95) and is co-authored by J. Latulippe and Sonny Doss who draws upon his
many years of experience and expertise as a performer, as well as a composer and educator. Each
book is accompanied by a CD with full band arrangements making the lesson material accessible
enlivening. Nicely illustrated and with enhancements that include a Music Dictionary, this superbly
organized and presented instructional series also includes Book 2 (TS288, $14.95) and Book 3
(TS289, $14.95). The complete novice beginning with the primer and graduating through the
conclusion of this four volume series will be able to hold their own at the keyboard whether for
personal pleasure or public performance.
Pomegranate Communications, Inc.
PO Box 808022, Petaluma, CA 94975-8022
0764931539 $35.00 1-800-227-1428 www.pomegranate.com
Comprising the fifth volume of "The David C. Driskell Series of African American Art", Keith
Morrison showcases and explores the distinctive style of Keith Morrison, a Jamaican-born artist
became one of the leading figures in the American art world through the early 1960s through
Morrison was a prolific painter as well as a respected scholar. This superbly illustrated monograph
reveals the impact of his paintings on African American art, its critics, and Morrison's personal life
it impacted on his art. More than sixty full-color oil and watercolors depicting Morrison's abstract
and figurative paintings provide the reader with the basis for appreciating the artist's subtly comic,
religious, philosophical, and political viewpoints as depicted in his paintings -- some of which are
included in the Smithsonian Institution and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other prestigious
museums and collections around the country. Of special interest is the informative foreword by
David C. Driskell who was a colleague and a friend of Keith Morrison and provides a uniquely
intimate and personal perspective on the man and his work. Also very highly recommended for
academic library Art History collections are the previous volumes in the David C. Driskell series
African American Art published by Pomegranate Communications: Charles White (2002); Betye
Saar (2003); Faith Ringgold (2004); and Archibald J. Motley Jr. (2005).
Willis M. Buhle
Baseball For Dummies
Joe Morgan & Richard Lally
For Dummies/John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5773
0764575376 $19.99 1-800-225-5945 www.dummies.com
Now in a significantly updated and expanded third edition, Baseball For Dummies by Baseball
of Fame player and ESPN analyst Joe Morgan in collaboration with sportswriter Richard Lally
continues to be the premier introduction to the sport of professional baseball. Readers will learn
to improve their hitting, pitching, and fielding; find a team to play with from Little League on up;
knowledgeably evaluate games stats, players, and records; coach or umpire effectively; and simply
get more fun out of a trip the ballpark. With this latest edition covering new star players, new
stadiums, and new game milestones, no dedicated fan or aspiring player can afford not to have
own personal copy of Baseball For Dummies!
Eastern Arctic Kayaks
John D. Heath & E. Armia
University of Alaska Press
PO Box 756240, 104 Eielson Building, Salcha Street, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6240
1889963259 $45.00 1-888-252-6657 www.uaf.edu/uapress
The collaborative work of the late John Heath (1923-2003) who was an acknowledged expert in
kayaks, and the Canadian ethnologist E. Arima, Eastern Arctic Kayaks: History, Design,
combines informed and informative analyses of form and function with historical background and
illustrations of kayaking techniques that will be of immense interest to recreational users of
as well as academics with an interest in Inuit and Canadian Arctic aboriginal culture. The reader is
provided with a comprehensive overview of the evolution and construction of Greenland kayaks,
supplemented with an illustrated series of rolling and sculling techniques. The definitive text
woodworking tools, construction techniques, and the treatment of skins for the kayak cover.
Superbly illustrated with historic photographs and expert drawings, Eastern Arctic Kayaks is
especially recommended for readers with an interest in the history of watercraft and northern
The Siege of Leningrad 1941-1944
David M. Glantz
c/o Casemate (dist.)
2114 Darby Road, Havertown, PA 19083
0304366722 $14.95 1-610-853-9131 www.orionbooks.co.uk
The Siege of Leningrad 1941-1944 is the incredible true story of the German Army's three-year
assault on Leningrad. A tale of heroism and tragedy, shelling and starvation (nearly 4,000 of the
city's inhabitants starved to death on Christmas Day alone), The Siege of Leningrad recounts the
details of a turning point of World War II. Intensively researched, and enhanced with a handful of
black-and-white photographs, The Siege of Leningrad 1941-1944 is a welcome addition to library
and personal world history shelves and reference collections.
Waging Nonviolent Struggle
Extending Horizons Books
c/o Porter Sargent Publishers, Inc.
11 Beacon St., Ste. 1400, Boston, MA 02108-3099
0875581617 $24.95 www.extendinghorizons.com
Senior scholar at the Albert Einstein Institution of Boston, Massachusetts Gene Sharp and his
of like-minded researchers apply 50 years of history, academics, and practical experience to
Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential, a meticulous
accounting of how nonviolent methodologies can combat dictatorships, war, genocide, and
oppression. Waging Nonviolent Struggle is particularly valuable in its use of logic and close
of specific historical cases of nonviolent struggle to debunk common myths concerning the
Such myths include the contention that nonviolence is ineffective against dictatorships and
or that nonviolent methodologies rely upon an appeal to the moral character of the opponent (in
fact, nonviolent coercive techniques such as economic boycott and social noncompliance have an
impact regardless of the humanitarian stature of the regime in question). The high value of
applied and disciplined nonviolent resistance is demonstrated, in particular because nonviolent
methodologies have the potential to bring successful results at a lower overall mortality rate than
violent methodologies, and uninvolved third parties (a.k.a. "innocent civilians") are less likely to
suffer collateral damage. Scrutinized case studies, overviewed and documented by a variety
researchers, range from a successful protest of German women in Berlin to save their Jewish
husbands (who had intermarried) from deportation and execution during World War II; the 1989
student uprising in China that ended in a tragic massacre; the successful defense of democracy in
Thailand after a long succession of military coups; the successful removal of genocidal dictator
Slobodan Milosevic from power in Serbia; and much more. In addition, Waging Nonviolent
offers a "handbook" concerning how to coordinate nonviolent resistance with an eye on practical
results and success. Written especially to answer the demanding need for realistic alternatives to
violent conflict, Waging Nonviolent Struggle succeeds admirably in its mission and carries the
absolute highest recommendation.
Nea Anna Simone
BET Publications, LLC
C/O BET Books
One BET Plaza, 1900 W. Place NE, Washington, D.C. 20018-1211
ISBN 1583143182 $15.00 325 pp.
Rebirth is the theme for Nea Anna Simone's sequel to Reaching Back entitled Reborn. A powerful
novel that describes the horrors of hate and selfishness and the beauty of letting go and letting
take control. Reborn is told through the eyes of Mignon as she chronicles the lives of the Daniel
family members. From domestic violence to passing for white, Reborn covers just about ever
uncomfortable topic that all African American families have been faced with at some point.
A well written story that is geared towards the mature reader, Simone does a nice job of raising
awareness on issues that have remained taboo in the Black community for far too long. Reborn
reminds us that because of God, tests and hardships in life eventually become testimonies. "It's
a long time coming and a lot of living-but here I am able to exclaim-I have been Reborn."
How I Got By: A Family Saga
Glenna D. Livingston
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, Indiana 47403
ISBN 1418499854 $16.95 270 pp.
What started out as a research project of the Underground Railroad System soon turned into a
remarkable novel about faith and family. Glenna Livingston takes us on a historical journey with
debut novel, How I Got By: A Family Saga. With her research serving as the backbone for this
heroic tale, the intricate details of her studies are prominently displayed throughout the novel and
add credence in establishing the characters as believable and their circumstances as real life
to the reader.
How I Got By is the story of three heroines who collectively tell the story of one family's survival.
Lily Redmond, born into slavery, but her destiny is freedom. When presented with the
her faith and strong will not only paves the way to her being free, but it also becomes the anchor
secures her offspring. Readers are then transported into the 1930's and the life of Violet Porter,
Lily's great-granddaughter. An aspiring writer, Violet desires to become independent of her
iron fist and the responsibilities of running the family business, but a family tragedy forces her to
reconsider the desires of her heart. Finally there is Nikki Alexander, Violet's granddaughter. Nikki
has alienated herself from the family for 15 years both physically and emotionally. But during a
family reunion she learns about her family history and the true meanings of courage, faith, love
Glenna Livingston is the descendant of slaves and her great-great grandfather used the
Railroad to escape slavery in Maryland. Her research project has since been added to the
display at Uncle Tom's Cabin located in Dresden, Canada. Livingston currently lives in West
Bloomfield, Michigan with her husband and son.
When Death Comes A Knockin'
Vanessa Alexander Johnson
Book Haven Publishing
P.O. Box 9, Ama, Louisiana 70031
ISBN 141162470X $17.36 168 pp.
"Death! Just the mere thought or mention of this simple five-letter word, especially used in the
context of the loss of human life, immediately invokes images of something cold, dark, spooky
scary enough to cause the hairs on your neck to stand straight up!" What started out as a
exercise used to cope with the deaths of her mother and infant son, soon turned into a useful
on grieving. Vanessa Alexander Johnson is the author of When Death Comes a Knockin,' a detail
account of her personal losses and experiences with grief.
What makes this book different from the millions of self-help and inspirational literary works
available on the market today is that it is not cold and calculated. Instead, the reader feels like a
close friend whom Johnson has chosen to confide the most intimate and sometimes painful details
the life of a grieving mother. Using the booklet as an opportunity to educate the reader about the
grieving process, Johnson's approach is warm and refreshing about a harsh reality that many of us
have a difficult time accepting and working through, "Getting your head and your heart on the
page is the hardest part in the grieving process you will never forget your loved one, but if you
allow yourself to go through the grief process, you will learn to keep your loved one alive in your
heart." In addition to her personal accounts Johnson also reflects on biblical scriptures and the
of poetry as other sources of encouragement for the reader. When Death Comes a Knockin' is a
good resource for anyone who is struggling with the death of a loved one, especially a child. I
also recommend it for clergy members, counselors and health care professionals.
Johnson resides in Louisiana where she works as a 911 Dispatch Supervisor. She is married to
Welton Johnson and is the proud mother of Haven, Alexis, Johnnel and Jalen (deceased for 10
and for whom this book was dedicated to).
Carey Yazeed, Reviewer
Above All, Honor
Bold Strokes Books, Inc
1029 Livezey Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119
ISBN 193311004X $14.95 190 pages
Being given an assignment that United States Secret Service Agent Cameron Roberts felt was
beneath her she retorts to her superior officer, "I'm an investigator, not a goddamned baby-sitter."
She is after all, a senior agent with ten years of impeccable service and should have a say what her
next job should be. Once the headstrong woman is resigned to the fact that she has no choice but
be the next Agent in Charge of protecting the safety of an equally strong-willed woman, who
happens to be the daughter of the President of the United States, Commander Cameron Roberts is
willing to put her life on the line for those in her care and lets nothing stand in her way in Above
Honor by Radclyffe.
Cameron Roberts thinks she's getting an easy job until she meets the stunning, willful, elusive,
bird, Blair Allison Powell. Cameron's predecessor tells her that, "She's an angry animal in a cage,
you're the new zookeeper." He also informs Cam that the "high-profile subject" has a
lifestyle." Blair's mission is to elude those who are hired to protect her in order to maintain some
sense of freedom. Cameron's mission is to protect her while maintaining her privacy - if
The USSS Agent in charge before Cam steps in and gives the President's daughter an apropos
name: Egret. Blair barhops from one seedy place to another and most of the time she goes
unnoticed. Who would expect the respectable first daughter to be frequenting bohemian gay bars?
She rightfully yearns for a private life, which is virtually impossible, and until Cam Roberts comes
along, nobody has any sympathy for her. She is not only trying to escape her life in a birdcage, but
she has some painful memories of the past that have her haunted as well.
Cam demands respect from those under her command and she gets it. She's shrewd, smart, has
integrity, and strong work ethics - all of which result in glowing performance records. She has
gut instincts, amazing self-control, and is an expert at undercover work. Cam does not tolerate
homophobia on her team. More to her credit, she has no qualms accepting the resignation of any
officer who has a problem with the fact that Blair is gay. Cameron Roberts is an admirable hero
Cam works hard to ignore Blair's advances. While Blair tries hard not to allow Cam to get under
skin. Is it possible for Cam and Blair to find love? According to Radclyffe, the essence of the
Honor series is "the conflict between private and public lives, the balance between duty and love,
and the incredible power of passion between strong-willed but sensitive people."
After reading Above All, Honor, the first in the series of Honor books, you will want to read the
entire series, including but not limited to Honor Bound, Love and Honor, and Honor Guards. I
found Above All, Honor to be extremely fast reading, exciting, titillating, and realistic - especially
the technically correct medical scene that one would expect from a surgeon. She equally and
captures the essence of the secret service/police drama in her finely researched work. Radclyffe is
very talented, prolific, award-winning author who creates a believable and interesting story that
make you happy to become a "part of the team."
One of the things I like best about Radclyffe's writing is that even though she creates sexual
and longing between the two main characters, at least she gives us tidbits - juicy ones I might add
along the way to quench our desire. The build-up is beautifully done and quite delightfully
as is the climatic ending. A truly satisfying experience for all.
Above All, Honor is a five plus star action/adventure/love story that will leave you breathless and
hungry for more.
Have Gun We'll Travel
Lori L. Lake
Yellow Rose Books
PMB 210, 8691 9th Avenue, Port Arthur, Texas 77642-8025
IBSN: 1932300333 $18.95 267 pages
Lori L. Lake's, Have Gun We'll Travel, the first thriller/action-adventure in her Gun series, is an
engaging read that will have you on the edge of your seat rooting for the safe return of heroines,
Desiree Reilly and Jaylynn Savage. Dez and Jay are first introduced in Lake's award-winning
Gun Shy. Their adventures continued in Under the Gun. In Have Gun We'll Travel, the off-duty
Paul police officers are heading for a hard-earned R & R. When the gals set out on a
expedition in the breathtaking Minnesota North Woods with friends Crystal (a fellow officer), and
Shayna (her lover and a civilian), their vacation turns into something far from restful.
Dez and Jay are more committed to each other than ever. Dez has discovered the joys of intimacy
she cherishes and is less fearful of her relationship with Jay. Having battled post-traumatic stress
disorder, Dez is put to the test in every way imaginable. She races against time as she tries to
Jaylynn, after escaped convicts from the Kendall Correctional Facility, located outside Buyck,
Minnesota, abduct her. The State Police are not enough so the National Guard is called in, and
is frantic to save her lover before something terrible happens to her. Can Dez get to Jay in
More than ever, Dez is stronger in matters of the mind and heart. It's wonderful to follow along
Dez's emotional development and personal growth as the Gun series progresses. After she learns
how to cope, she draws on experience in order to battle the trials ahead. Jaylynn is a good role
model for handling crisis and stress. Together they make a good team. Their story is one that this
reader would like to continue exploring and reading about for years to come.
When you pick up a novel written by Lori L. Lake, you are guaranteed a well thought out plot,
characters worth emulating, multi-dimensional villains, and a thoroughly enjoyable story. Lake's
writing makes readers feel like they are living the action and not just reading about it. The sights,
sounds, and smells are vivid, as are the thoughts and feelings the characters experience during
spine-tingling moments. Readers are taken on a thrilling ride of uncertainty, missed opportunities,
and hope that Jaylynn will return to safety. Will good prevail over evil?
With prison escapees and the Russian mob thrown in for good measure, the action seems to have
life of its own as it grabs your attention and doesn't let go until the climactic conclusion. Lake has
managed to pack plenty of action/drama/tension in the third book in the Gun series. Have Gun
Travel is a thrilling and often-chilling five star read. Don't miss this wonderful addition to Lori L.
Lake's amazing collection of literature.
When Evil Changes Face
Bella Books, Inc.
P.O. Box 201007, Ferndale, MI 48220
ISBN 0967775337 $11.95 235 pages
The fourth Brett Higgins' Motor City Thriller by Therese Szymanski, "When Evil Changes Face,"
both gripping and sexy; Szymanski fans will be delighted to join Brett and Allie on yet another
adventure. This time they are going back to high school. . . as students. The interwoven elements
the plot, a writing style that Szymanski is known for, keep the reader guessing, and glued to the
pages. The main theme is evident, but there is much more to discover under the surface in this
fast-paced, action-packed, high school sting.
Something sinister lurks in a small Michigan town outside St. Louis at Alma High School. A
dedicated teacher at the school, Leisa Kraft, is duly worried about her students. Leisa hopes to
out what is going on before someone gets hurt. . . or worse. She enlists the help of her friend
Madeline; together they come up with a brilliant plan. Leisa and Madeline ask Brett, who made
money in organized crime but is no longer in the biz, and Allison, a ex-cop who has experience as
detective, to pose as high school students in order to solve the mysterious change in the students.
Brett and Allie are reluctant to get involved at first but they relent. Madeline and Leisa convince
Brett and Allie to go undercover as brother and sister.
Brett does a very convincing imitation of a delinquent teenage boy and Allie joins the cheerleading
squad. Once enrolled in the school Brett and Allie fit right in-but can a thirty-three year old and
twenty-seven year old really pull off the charade and discover the truth about what is going down
Brett Higgins was twenty-three when she met her lover Allison Sullivan, who was seventeen at
time. Brett and Allie have a wonderful relationship. Allie has no problem when Brett flirts with
women since the bottom line is that Brett is hers-all hers. But for how long and under what
circumstances can even Brett's resolve to be faithful withstand the test?
I highly recommend "When Evil Changes Face" to anyone who enjoys good mysteries, juicy love
stories, and hot steamy sex. It is fun revisiting high school (from an adult's perspective) with all
raging hormones, turf battles, sports, dramas, and teenage angst. The story is more than just
with its multi-faceted plot and complex characters; it keeps the reader guessing all along. The
does an amazing job of tying up the loose ends while setting the stage for the fifth Brett Higgins'
Motor City Thrillers, "When Good Girls Go Bad."
You will not want to miss all six books in the Motor City Thriller series. The sixth title, "When
Corpse Lies (2004)," is the latest addition to the collection. Check out Therese Szymanski's other
selections as well including, "Once Upon a Dyke: New Exploits of Fairy Tale Lesbians (2004),"
which has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in 2005. "When Evil Changes Face" is a
worthwhile read and rates five stars.
Nature's Children, revised and expanded edition
Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Ash Tree Publishing
P.O. Box 64, Woodstock, NY 12498 USA
ISBN 0961462086 $11.95 181 pp.
No doubt giving a child roots from the burdock bush growing in your backyard may raise a few
eyebrows. How about plantain from your front yard for diaper rash? And what would your
mother-in-law think? Would your neighbor call the authorities if they saw you place your
child in a cradle lined with sphagnum moss? You could tell them of course, if their curiosity got
best of them that The New York Unit of Herb Society of America lists this moss as an antiseptic
absorbent. You could also attempt to explain how you're raising your children naturally, providing
lots of fresh air, using what nature abundantly provides. On the other hand maybe people wouldn't
think you so odd after all. It's no secret more people are looking to natural alternatives to healing
and eating. Maybe your best friend will ask for your advice.
One mother who lived her life and raised her children very naturally is the respected elder of
contemporary herbology, Juliette de Bairacli Levy. She's also known as a gypsy and "Nature girl."
Her beliefs, wisdom, and desire to share her knowledge and experiences led her to write this
She wanted to help people looking to heal and raise their own children naturally. Levy guides
readers through the health of a mother, pregnancy, birthing, nursing, raising children, provides a
of simple natural foods, and with the needs of a mother's and children's spirit, soul, and feelings.
author explains how to raise healthy children without drugs and through her experience and the
from many other cultures she learned while traveling throughout the world. Levy in turn is known
over the world for her theories and techniques for the natural care of dogs, goats, horses, and
Written as Levy's children were born and she first found publication in an English edition in
December 1970; then later, in the spring of 1971, and later still, in the United States in 1996.
The tone is like receiving advice from a caring Aunt who is open and tells it like it is. So, the fact
that the book is written in first-person is just right.
Sprinkled throughout the book randomly are delightful black and white photographs of Levy, her
children as they grow, animals, and of different people from various countries.
Levy's opinion: "At the heart of all, for Nature children, there will always remain a core of love
natural life, for the fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains, for the sun and the rain, the moon
and the wind, for snow - and for beautiful things in general, because their bodies and minds were
formed out of such things when in the mother's womb and in infancy and childhood."
Contents of the book include:
Author's Foreword to the Revised Edition
Introduction by Helen and Scott Nearing
3.Birth and Lactation
7.Recipes From Many Lands
Appendix 1: Resources
Appendix 2: Botanical Names of Herbs
Excerpts from the book:
Acne - Treat acne internally with a cleansing diet (page 78). Externally,
bathe the affected skin with a standard brew of meadowsweet or elderblossom,
or with buttermilk. Then apply extract of witch hazel or a standard brew of
meadow marigold flowers.
Headaches - Headaches should be treated internally as well as externally;
use a cleansing diet (page 78). In severe headache give a complete fast for
several days allowing only fruit drinks, and nerve-soothing drinks of lime
blossom (linden) or red clover teas. Strong mint tea should also be drunk,
and cotton cloths soaked in cold mint tea with a little vinegar added should
be bound over the brow. Or a pulp of cucumber can be placed over the brow
and kept in place with a cotton scarf dampened with cold water.
Don't be surprised if while reading Nature's Children you pause long enough
to go for a walk around your yard, suggest a rain bath to your children or
suggest they plant a garden with you. You may wonder later why you didn't
start this years ago. If you long to get your child and self away from the
drugs, food additives, video-games, and out into the fresh air; closer to
nature and natural, this is the book to read. Levy will guide you gently
along the sweet, green path.
Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs
Gail Faith Edwards
Ash Tree Publishing
P.O. Box 64, Woodstock, NY 12498 USA
ISBN 188812301X $13.95 245 pp.
There are numerous herbal books out there, but how many deal with more than physical healing
properties? This one goes into what herbs and plants also are able to do naturally for one's soul.
Readers will finally open their wild heart to the healing herbs and awaken body and soul.
Edward's style is nurturing, informal, and intended for more than a quick fix. She attempts to help
readers think about what their bodies are trying to tell them. One example is looking at pain with
new perspective. Instead of taking two aspirin and going back to work for a hurting foot, she
advises an afforded break - some rest. Her advice is to take time to soak the foot and rub it with
healing oil. Then, when going back to work there will be less pain and at the same time the ailing
person will be refreshed.
Edwards organized this useful reference neatly; making specific information quick and easy to
Her resources are multiple, and varied, and she speaks with confidence and knowledge about the
power of herbs and plants.
There are four interesting and educating sections. Within each are chapters of elaboration.
-the lovely easy to recognize sketchings of herbs and plants (Some are done in black, but most in
-various recipes (candies, salves, juices, medicinal syrups, remedies, dream-pillows, smudging
rose water and more);
-a bit about aromatherapy
-lists of books that make lovely field-guides
-spiritual and magical uses for herbs
-explanations on traditional earth honoring days
-illuminating information on Wise Woman traditions
-how specific herbs and plants taste
-their medicinal properties
-how to use them and for what ailment
A peak into one particular herb, Borage:
Borage leaves and flowers nourish, tone and strengthen the heart. For centuries grandmothers
it to uplift the spirits, dispel depression, and make the mind glad. Borage is loaded with nutrients
good for the heart: calcium, potassium, and B vitamins. Mineral-rich borage builds stamina,
and energy levels. Warning! Seed oil becomes rancid in minutes. Always use only freshly ground
seeds. Grandmothers loved to make candies of borage flowers to decorate cakes and pastries. The
pressed oil from borage seeds is very high in gummalinoleic acid (GLA), omega-6 and omega-3
essential fatty acids (EFA'S).
As the title suggests, this book attempts to get the reader to open their wild hearts and connect to
the natural world. Edwards believes in cultivating spirit in relationship with herbs. She prays
understand herbs are not drugs. These plants carry powers and properties not measurable by
scientific means, and are gifts for the spiritual, emotional, and physical sustenance. Herbs heal
Edward's book accomplishes what it meant to. Readers not only learn about herbs, and gain a
perspective; they'll feel a sense of calm relaxation and find themselves taking full refreshing deep
I enjoyed this warmly written resource because Edwards seems sincere; to care. I also learned yet
even more about how herbs and plants enhance can enhance life.
Christina Francine Whitcher, Reviewer
A Window in Copacabana
Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
ISBN: 0805074384 $23.00 256 pages
The three policemen found shot to death execution-style over the course of a few hot summer
in Rio de Janeiro had more in common than the circumstances of their deaths. Each of the men,
importantly, had had sufficient cash to support a mistress and keep a separate apartment intended
their assignations--a sure sign that the officers had been on the take. Investigating their deaths and
the corruption that may have led to the murders is the unhappy task of Detective Espinosa, chief
Rio's 12th district, a somewhat melancholy character who tries vainly to combat the encroaching
boredom of his increasingly routine work by walking to and from his apartment by different
Given its challenges, Espinosa's latest case provides at least a temporary respite from tedium,
particularly when the mistresses of the dead policemen prove to be in peril themselves. Two of the
three women are murdered at once, and Espinosa undertakes to protect the third. One woman's
death--she falls from a tenth-floor window--is witnessed by a neighbor watching from her
across the street, a happenstance which provides the police with one of their few clues and gives
author Garcia-Roza his book's title.
A Window in Copacabana, translated into English from the original Portuguese, is the fourth
in Garcia-Roza's Detective Espinosa series. The peculiar circumstances of the murders under
investigation and the surprising identity of the killer make the novel a good mystery. But what sets
the book apart is the mood it sets--the languid air of a city in the tropics--and the philosophical,
bibliophilic Espinosa, whose character emerges slowly, without fanfare, as the story progresses.
Mystery readers, and anyone enticed by a Copacabana setting, should give the series a look.
The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska's
ISBN: 0743453131 $25.00 320 pages
Heimo Korth has lived in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for nearly thirty years, eking
a subsistence living some 250 miles from the nearest road. He moved to Alaska at twenty, eager
escape an abusive father and unwilling to submit to the yoke of a nine-to-five job. For six years
Heimo ("HI-mow") lived alone, trapping and hunting and flying out occasionally with bush pilots
sell his furs. But in 1982 Heimo married Edna, whom he met while walrus hunting on St.
Island, and she followed her husband to the wilderness. They have lived together since in this
desolate place where the sun dips below the horizon in November and isn't seen again until
where temperatures range from a balmy 80 degrees to 50 below. They and their daughters live a
semi-nomadic life, moving each spring from one of their three cabins to another so as not to
the animal populations in any one area. Every summer they spend six weeks in Fort Yukon,
population 750, stocking up on supplies and getting a small taste of civilization.
James Campbell, who happens to be Heimo's cousin, visited the Korths several times beginning in
2002. In telling Heimo's story Campbell juxtaposes descriptions of life in the Arctic--the logistics
carving up a dead moose, the efficient reuse of toilet paper as a firestarter--with stories of Heimo's
boyhood in Wisconsin and discussion of the politics of land apportionment in Alaska. The result is
fascinating look at a lifestyle that is impossibly alien yet unexpectedly familiar: Heimo's teenagers
tack Britney Spears posters to the walls of their cabin.
One begins reading Campbell's account with incredulity, wondering why anyone would choose to
live in such an extreme environment and whether the Korths were wise to raise their children
But reading the fascinating, sometimes heartrending story of Heimo and Edna's life one comes to
respect them and their decisions. We are left hoping that Heimo manages to live out his days as he
wishes, growing old in a wilderness few men before him have experienced.
Max Mooth--Cyber Sleuth and the Case of the Zombie Virus
ISBN: 0595333249 $10.95 114 pages
Max Mooth is a socially immature but intellectually precocious nineteen-year-old (he graduated
from college at seventeen) with an inordinate fondness for computers--his favorite things in the
world, with the possible exception of pudding. Indeed, Max is dedicated to tracking down
cyber-criminals, the nefarious disseminators of computer viruses, which he does with the aid of an
impressive array of high-tech gadgetry. The Robin to Max's Batman is Mr. Z, a similarly
eight-year-old who eschews age-appropriate play and views the world with the cynical eye of a
detective. Like any hero worthy of the name, Max is saddled with a nemesis, in his case an enemy
from his Berkeley days, the delightfully over-the-top Xefland Aurcracker. Aurcracker is the
filthy-rich, computer-challenged CEO of a company that produces virus protection software.
Aurcracker intends, with the assistance of a minion or two, to release a devastating computer
frame Max for the crime, and rake in piles of cash by selling the only software capable of
it. At the same time, Aurcracker means to break Max's heart by stealing away the girl he's just met
and fallen for (principally because she is nearly as fond of her iBook as he is of his own numerous
Max Mooth--Cyber Sleuth is not a perfect book. Max punctuates his speech with corny
computerisms--"Feeling downloadable, punk?"--that grow tiresome. Occasional scenes don't
because they strain credibility: climbing a muddy hill, Max is beset by an unlikely number of
he extricates himself from difficult situations with the homemade screwdriver he carries around,
which he fashioned, inexplicably, out of paper clips. Max lives in a retirement home, having been
raised there by a now deceased grandmother. This is interesting in that it adds a further layer to
Max's hesitant relationship with adulthood--the boy/man is more comfortable with children and
elderly than with his own age group. But the implausibility of the arrangement is distracting.
These shortcomings, however, are relatively minor, and they pale in comparison with what the
has to offer: a cast of delightfully quirky characters and some genuinely amusing dialogue and
situations. For example, Aurcracker assembles a team of psychiatrists to ask them how best to
Max's girlfriend from him. "I'm pursuing a woman," he says to them, "mainly to deny a nemesis
having her by completely lying, deceiving and pulling the wool over her eyes. Any ideas how I
Meanwhile, Max, having blocked the door to a certain Mr. Underwood's office with a chair,
frantically searches the room and Underwood's computer while its owner is away:
"Just then, the door hit the chair, blocking it. Max jumped, and quickly turned off Underwood's
computer. He dove over the desk, back in his chair, as Underwood pushed his way in. Max
bored, leafing through his briefcase.
"'What was a chair doing there?' Underwood asked suspiciously.
"'I don't know,' Max said. 'Must've fallen when you left. I'm not a physics expert, Mr.
Stephen Kogon published Max Mooth himself via the online book publisher iUniverse. I'm hoping
the book finds a traditional publisher, as it deserves a wider readership.
The Making of a Bestseller
Brian Hill and Dee Power
Dearborn Trade Publishing
30 South Wacker Drive, Suite 2500, Chicago IL 60606-7481
ISBN: 0793193087 $19.95 256 pages
In preparing their book The Making of a Bestseller Brian Hill and Dee Power interviewed more
fifty authors, agents, editors, booksellers, and assorted publishing industry experts on the subject
bestsellers--how books attain that status, what it costs an author to remain on the bestseller lists,
what role various parties play in the creation of a best-selling book. The responses Hill and Power
received form the backbone of their book, in which interview snippets are arranged thematically
interspersed with explanatory or introductory narrative. The book's eighteen chapters are divided
into three broad sections--The Bestseller, Publishing, and The Author. The topics covered are too
numerous to mention here, but the authors have included discussions of, for example, the various
best-selling lists and how they are compiled; the importance--or not--of print reviews to a book's
success; the influence of agents and editors on a manuscript; how booksellers select the titles they
stock; and the process of adapting bestsellers for the screen.
The Making of a Bestseller is well written and clearly organized, and it is chock full of
about how the publishing industry works. Its authors, in interviewing so many subjects from
throughout the publishing world, show readers a cross-section of the industry with its various
from author to bookseller, laid bare. The book should be of interest to would-be authors looking
scale the heights of bestsellerdom themselves as well as to industry insiders. Fans of the authors
interviewed--among them Dan Brown, Peter Straub, Barbara Taylor Bradford, and Nicholas
Sparks--may also be interested in this behind-the-scenes look at their favorite books.
My Life with Corpses
ISBN: 0151010153 $24.00 319 pages
The corpses of Wylene Dunbar's title are probably not what you think. Her book is indeed
in part by the dead, but her corpses are most often mobile beings, difficult to distinguish from the
living even for someone with a practiced eye, such as Dunbar's protagonist and narrator Oz. Oz
grew up the only living member of a family of corpses, her mother and sister having died before
was born, her father perhaps shortly thereafter. It is difficult, in Dunbar's world, to determine
precisely when the transition from life to death occurs. The process of dying can be a lengthy one,
and besides, corpses tend to retain the characteristics they enjoyed in life: "...a southern corpse
not forget her manners just because she is dead, any more than a midwestern one suddenly learns
how to carry on a charming conversation about nothing at all."
Dunbar's story begins with an appealing mystery: the grave of Oz's childhood neighbor and friend
Winfield Evan Stark has been found to be empty, Oz's own published account of her childhood
among corpses lying in the grave in its place. This discovery prompts Mr. Stark's relatives to
exhume a nearby grave in the hope of finding the missing body, a task over which Oz is for some
reason set as overseer. While workmen dig up the grave, Oz writes a continuation of her earlier
account, in part as a warning to the rest of us. As Oz discovered in adulthood, her family of
was not as unusual as she had supposed. There are corpses everywhere--vacationing in Canada,
publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals, meeting with friends at coffee shops--and if you're
careful you may get the life sucked out of you as well.
Oz's narrative--Dunbar's novel--is punctuated by keen observations and patches of lovely
"He was quite thin and I would say he was tall and lean, but you would think of Gary Cooper in
High Noon when what I mean is that he was a rather beat-up stick; a long, emaciated collection of
bones and skin supporting a large bearded head. Everything about him was that way, even his
which was slicked down and lightly grayed, above a long wolfhound face."
But Oz's philosophizing slows the narrative down, and neither she nor the characters she describes
ever become real enough to make readers care what happens to them. What is maddening about
book, however, is that Dunbar leaves so many questions unanswered: why can people other than
see some corpses but not others? How did Stark "rescue" Oz from her family of corpses, and why
did he bother rescuing her subsequently from her perfectly normal foster family? why is her book
found in Stark's grave? And so on. This is evidently meant to be a thinking person's book,
in us ideas about the loss of spirit that can precede corporeal death, but the imperfections of the
premise around which Dunbar's serious narrative is constructed are too distracting for us to take
book very seriously. An ostensibly absurd premise can be made to work if it is logically
all the loose ends are tied up, but Dunbar leaves too much unexplained.
While My Life with Corpses disappoints, however, Dunbar is clearly a very good prose stylist.
are passages in this book that merit rereading. It will be interesting to see what the author offers
in the future.
Debra Hamel, Reviewer
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
ISBN 0849943736 $21.99 (615) 902-2704
I am a columnist for Faithwriters Magazine as well as the Editor in Chief for Sisters in the Lord
Magazine, and as part of those jobs, I look for good reading material that engages the mind and
challenges the reader to pursue a relationship with our Creator. I ran across Dekker's work two
years ago when I searched for "Christian Fiction" on the Internet. I had tired of the offerings in
market that were touted "Christian Fiction," and I hoped to find good entertainment without
preaching. A couple reviews piqued my interest, and I bought the second book in his "Martyr's
Song" trilogy, titled "When Heaven Weeps.
That first book served to build in myself an obsession to read all of Dekker's books, and I
bought all that were available at the time. I've yet to be disappointed.
Dekker writes for the average individual and targets his books at a secular audience. He's received
both good and bad reviews for doing so. I happen to applaud his courage and insight into man's
psyche and his ability to enthrall even the most jaded reader. Perhaps a reader won't immediately
out and become a born-again Christian, but at all levels, a reader will have his heart touched and a
seed is planted that develops an urge to want more.
Dekker's style in each book is to capture the reader from the first page and not let up until the
So far, all his books have left me gasping at the end and obsessed to seek more.
Since the year 2000, author Ted Dekker has had eleven books published. An amazing
accomplishment by itself, but currently, he also has all three of his Circle Trilogy books on the
Christian Booksellers Association bestseller list.
No one can quite figure out what genre he's writing in, though. Is it fiction, fantasy, science
thriller, mystery, Christian fiction? He's crossed genres in all of his books and perhaps that's what
makes his work so appealing.
Obsessed is Dekker's eleventh book, which combines mystery with a huge dose of suspense;
historical fiction with compelling characters; and a quiet introduction to the true power and
of love. Obsessed has something for everyone.
It begins in 1973 with young real-estate broker, Stephen Friedman, whose mother disappeared
the Holocaust. He's a brilliant moneymaker, living a quiet lifestyle and seems content - until a
call propels him into a madcap race to discover a treasure, his past, and possibly the love of his
Obsessed takes the reader on a journey into two eras with alternating storylines. In 1973,
quest to discover the truth of his past and recover a treasure pits him against villain Roth Braun,
offspring of Gerhard Braun, an SS Officer during the Holocaust.
Scenes from 1944-45 at the work camp Toru¤ (Thorn), in Germany (now Poland) tell the stories
Stephen's mother, Martha, and her friend, Ruth as they struggle to survive and keep their children
alive while under the evil power of Gerhard Braun. Both women are pregnant, a condition that
them in peril. Between them, they are able to ensure the survival of their children: Stephen,
son; and Esther, Ruth's daughter.
The wit and courage of Martha and Ruth reach across a generation and instigate a pursuit to fulfill
the promises of hope and defeat the power of evil on one hand; and on the other, a pursuit to
destroy hope and defeat the power of good.
Stephen discovers that his biological mother, Martha, may have lived near him for many years,
though he never knew her; they were separated after the war, never to be reunited. Her death sets
into motion both Stephen's quest to find one of the treasured Stones of David and recover his
and Roth Braun's mission to recover not only a journal of the torturous games of his father, but
the power he feels has been drained from his family by the cleverness of Ruth and Martha.
Braun is disturbing, perhaps more so than the fictional Hannibal Lecter. He is obsessed with
regaining a power that can only be fueled by drinking the blood of the offspring of the women his
father guarded in Germany almost thirty years ago. Right before he kills them.
As Stephen races to retrieve the stone, his obsession grows to encompass the mysterious Esther.
Could she be alive? Are they meant to be together? Are they the true Stones of David?
Dekker is a master at creating suspense with his creepy villains and boy/girl next-door heroes.
Stephen is not athletic, his reasoning is skewed at times, and his courage is pulled from the depths
his being. As his obsession leads him into dangerous territory, a battle for his life and for others,
questions of exactly how is he going to prevail keeps the pages turning. The touches of humor in
Obsessed are a new device used by Dekker. But it works.
Obsessed explores the question, "how far would you go" to retrieve a treasure? To discover your
past? To find the love of your life? To protect the ones you love? To seek revenge on the ones
The theme in Obsessed mirrors that in many of Dekker's books - the obsessive actions of a person
pursuit of his heart's desire, be that a possession, a person, or a god. Dekker also uses this
compelling storyline to introduce readers to the parallel obsession of God in His never-ending
pursuit of human hearts. At the end of Obsessed another question begs for an answer: How far
God go to woo our love?
Readers who are unfamiliar with Dekker's work can discover more online at his website, which is
complete with trailers, soundtracks, free book downloads and a reader forum.
For a reader new to Dekker's style, I recommend two books to begin the heart-racing journey and
obsession to read more:
Thr3e - A thriller which is under movie contract
When Heaven Weeps - the 2nd book in the Martyr's Song Trilogy. Start with the second book,
read the first, followed by the third.
All books by Dekker:
The Circle Trilogy: Black, Red, White
Blessed Child (with Bill Bright)
A Man Called Blessed (with Bill Bright)
The Martyr's Song Trilogy: Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, The Thunder of Heaven
I had an opportunity to interview Dekker about OBSESSED, and for those interested, it is
online at http://www.handsforhope.com/Obsessed-Dekker-Review.htm.
Firecracker Jones Is On The Case
PO Box 11, Titusville, NJ 08560-0011
www.FirecrackerJones.com (609) 818-1049
ISBN 0972690670 $9.95 116 pages
As a columnist and editor for two online Christian magazines, I am always on the lookout for
reading material to recommend to parents and their children that isn't full of immoral behavior,
death and violence for the sake of violence. In my search, I ran across charming author,
Klim, who began writing for young adults because he was also appalled at the reading material
available for young adults. Firecracker Jones is on the Case is by no means a Christian novel, but
moral base and real-to-life characters is one that should have a place in all homes, including
Firecracker Jones is on the Case is a multi-level adventure book for young adults that explores
friendship, mystery and the jungles of high school.
Our hero, Francis Jones, (he hates that name) known by everyone as Firecracker, or just plain F.,
freshman in high school, and he's funny and tells the story of how he solved the missing friend
F. was born on July 4, and you can guess where his nickname Firecracker comes from. He lives
his Mom, who is passionate about healthy eating - tofu and twigs being two of her favorites. F.
to also deal with being Attention Deficit Hearing Sensitive (ADHS), which translated, means he
hears things most people don't hear, and noises can drive him nuts. At home, he has yellow
to drown out such noisy beasts as the blender, a hammer being used and the vacuum cleaner
Best friend, Chub, is F.'s sidekick and he's the perfect foil for F.'s wisecracks.
Another best friend, Ted, a sophomore football star, suddenly moves, and he doesn't tell either of
friends why or where; and F. smells a mystery he's determined to solve. If only to tell Ted how
But F. and Chub find out something they never expected. Something terrible happened to their
friend, and the family moved to keep it a secret. (You'll have to read the book to find out what the
terrible thing is).
Driven by his need to give Ted something special, F. dreams up a plan to "be" Ted and score the
touchdown of the season - the touchdown Ted needed to break the school record. Chub and a
special girl help F. with the plan.
At times side-splittingly funny, Firecracker Jones tells a timeless story of drawing on one's
the importance of feelings and working them out, compassion, true friendship and
The quirky observations from Firecracker drew me into the story and held me captive until the
page, at which point I read it over again to enjoy the comments F. makes in the narrative, like,
kitchen looked like the cabinets got sick and threw up everything onto the countertops;" and "If
those baked tree limbs "
Life isn't fair, but Klim manages to have this young hero learn this lesson without succumbing to a
Firecracker is a kid I would have fell in love with in 9th grade - a little weird, a lot quirky, curious
and brave, who despite all the problems of being between childhood and manhood, recognizes the
importance of friendship and perseverance, and wears yellow earmuffs (at home, of course.)
Interview with Christopher Klim, Author of Firecracker Jones is One the Case
Dian: How does a guy who worked on space program satellites suddenly decide to pursue not just
writing, but writing books for young adults and teens?
Klim: I grew up dyslexic before they knew what to call it. I couldn't read or write functionally
the 5th grade, but the stories piled up inside my head, mostly as pictures--scenes for stories.
my space program years, I used to work as a stringer--a freelance photojournalist. That's when the
writing began in earnest, and when my first child was born, I stayed home to raise the kids and
pursue my writing career. Today, I visit many elementary schools as a working author. I had FJ in
the back of my mind, and when kids started bringing in my adult novels for me to sign, I thought
that I'd better start writing that kids book.
Dian: Who is your inspiration for Firecracker Jones?
Klim: My nine year-old son had been nagging me for years to read my adult novels. This has been
way for us to connect on a deeper level. I wanted to give him a story that he could read and made
sense to him. Also, I was appalled by the material for juveniles--heavy duty themes of death, rape,
Dian: I must ask: Have you tried the recipes that Firecracker's mother prepares in the book?
Klim: I dated a holistic healer in college. I know of such culinary delights. Hmmm, does that
sentence sound right? Anyway, she cooked up some pretty interesting food. I believe in healthy
food, but I'm not sure man was meant to eat that way.
Dian: How long did it take from idea to final draft with this first book in the series; and what
challenges did you find along the way?
Klim: FJ was the first book contract that I signed on a concept. I brought the cover drawing into
editorial meeting, with a rough idea. Books really don't get sold that way, and then panic set in.
Months passed, and I hadn't written more than a few paragraphs, but the story evolved in the back
of my mind. When I finally sat down to do it, I drafted the entire book during the month of
November, and edited it for three months.
Dian: I'm excited to see that we'll be seeing more of Firecracker Jones. Do you have a set number
books planned for the series, and will our hero remain the same age or grow up in the
Klim: There are at least three books planned, yet that's an interesting question. I can't imagine FJ
growing up. I wanted a boy character who knows what it means to be a boy. In the US, the
of "boy" is in crisis. I wanted to show the artfulness of boys. So for now, FJ remains the 9th grade
detective, straddling childhood and adulthood in that mysterious time when everything is fresh and
we see glimpses of who we'll become.
Dian: Which is more difficult to write: adult or young adult novels, and why?
Klim: They are the same, except for the voice and vocabulary. We come into this world
understanding stories. Watch any kid at story time, and they just seem to know what makes a
story. Adult fiction is a grownup version of the same principles we craved as kids, with more
complicated adult themes in the mix. Stories are as vital to society as food and water. A good
holds a mirror to our lives; a great story can change our lives.
Dian: How do you decide on what mystery Firecracker will attempt to solve.
Klim: As a dyslexic, I'm highly visual. I see the beginning of stories and know that this is where
story begins, and then I investigate what is happening and who's involved. In the first book, I
that his best friend was missing and that he was very important to their community, but I didn't
why. In the second book--Firecracker Jones Gets Mad--someone throws a rock through his front
window, and that's all that I want to say at the moment.
Dian: The additions of the drawings in the book fascinated me (I'm 42, so maybe I shouldn't be
sharing this), but I'm delighted with this character and found myself believing that Firecracker is a
flesh and blood person. What was your process in forming this well-drawn character, complete
his own drawings.
Klim: It's serendipity. I'd doodled his picture in the margins of note pads since college, and I don't
know why. When I went to my publisher to pitch my idea for FJ, I brought a mock-up of what
would eventually become the cover. I never expected the pictures to last. I'd only sketched them
placeholders for the real artist to put them in place, and when my editor (and later the publishing
board) looked at them, they appreciated the rawness of quick graphite sketches. I never expected
them to say, "OK, let's use them." That wasn't my expectation.
Dian: Tell us about some of your other writing projects - what are you working on now?
Klim: This is my most ambitious year as a writer. Not only am I editing a fledgling literary
publication (Writers Notes Magazine), but I'll publish two books: Firecracker Jones and my latest
adult novel, The Winners Circle, which is a pure comedy, a satire about lottery millionaires, the
bittersweet story of a man who wins it all, loses the love of his life, and sets out to recapture her
heart. While promoting these books, I plan to start the next FJ, the next mystery in the Boot
series, and another novel that in itself requires more research than any previous project of mine.
Dian: In promoting Firecracker Jones, do you have any special stories to share?
Klim: It hasn't hit the shelves yet, but a fifth grader picked up my book, read just the last page,
announced, "I don't get it." Kids.
Dian: Please add anything you would like readers and parents to know
Klim: I think we expect boys and girls to be too much like each other. Girls are determined and
brilliant. They are excellent analysts. They are their own worst enemy at times, although their
compassion and generosity knows no limits. On the other hand, there is an unconscious beauty to
boys. This is why they often fly so high. They don't realize people are watching them. They don't
even see the ground. At times, they are dangerous to themselves and others. They dare to succeed
and often fail. We recognize this as courage. But when you take all of humanity into
there is very little difference between men and women. Let's not be so quick to close the gap. The
variety and verisimilitude among race, sex, and people in general is the essence of freedom.
Dian: Thank you for your time. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
Readers, for more information on Christopher Klim, his other books, Firecracker Jones and
visit his website at www.ChristopherKlim.com. Links to much more are found on his site.
Blessed: I'm So Damned Grateful
Raymond M. Saunders and Craig Saunders
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
ISBN: 1418445843 $27.75 564 pages
Once in a blue moon, along comes a book that is made extraordinary by the teller of the tale.
by 94-year-old Raymond M. Saunders, (now 95), BLESSED, I'M SO DAMNED GRATEFUL, is
book every household should have. What better way to experience a century of history than
the eyes of one of its sons. Saunders shares the beauty of life lived simply, with purpose, and with
foresight. Above all, his tale is one that proves the beauty of the celebration of family in its most
Saunders doesn't tiptoe around sensitive issues such as the murder suicide committed by his great
grandparents which left a family of six orphans behind. Nor does he wax eloquent on the
rise and success of his grandfather in the cattle business in Iowa. Rather, he has written a story
penned for his family that begs to be shared in a larger audience.
Throughout the reading of BLESSED, I experienced something that doesn't often happen - that is
"hearing" the author speak. Throughout each page, each era, each memory, running through my
inner mind was the voice of a man who has lived life to the fullest and recognized the lessons we
meant to learn.
Saunders decided to write some memories for his family when his eyesight began to fail in the
1990's, and he introduces each chapter with a vignette into his day on the Iowa farm he still lives
today and grew up on for 95 years. Then, prompted by a memory, he begins a journey into the
that is rich with description.
Especially noteworthy is Saunders' honesty with human foibles. Accepting them, recognizing
and working through them. The world as a whole can learn from this unique historical memoir
documents the wide and varied changes in technology, family values and world events over the
95 years and more.
A unique portion of this special book is the numerous, well-preserved documents and
that illustrate the different events Saunders portrays in his written legacy.
If only all generations had such an engaging, forthright historian willing to share the history of our
immigrant families I believe our country would find deeper value and meaning in our every day
and recognize the importance of living life.
Though I was able to interview both of the Saunders by email, I regret not being able to meet
Raymond Saunders in person. I would willingly sit at his feet for hours and listen to whatever tale
cared to share. A natural storyteller, Saunders has blessed America with this story, and I'm more
than grateful to have had the honor to become engrossed in history made alive through the voice
an Iowa farmer.
Interview with Raymond M. Saunders and Craig M. Saunders, co-authors of Blessed, I'm So
Raymond M. Saunders is now 95 years old, a retired Iowa farmer who still lives on the farm
he was born. He began writing this story in 1989 and completed it in 2003 with the assistance of
son Craig, shortly before completely losing his sight to glaucoma.
An amazing achievement in itself is Saunders' 70+ years of marriage to the same woman. He lists
greatest accomplishments as his four sons and his wife. One of those sons, Craig M. Saunders,
M.D., helped his father complete the memoir after his father lost his sight. Craig now serves as the
Chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Heart Hospital of New Jersey.
Dian: As a student of genealogy, I was thrilled to come across BLESSED. I've had the
to read many memoir/family history books, but nothing quite like this. This book touched so many
chords in me that I plan to keep it around for reference, inspiration and lessons to apply to
The book was released in November of 2004, and at that time, you were 94 years old. Now, at
how are you doing today?
R. Saunders: Doing fairly well, considering I broke my leg just before Christmas, I'm just so
grateful I'm not a horse.
Dian: What projects are going on in your life today after the publication of the book?
R. Saunders: Mainly just visiting, talking and planning with family and friends. The book has put
back in touch with a lot of friends I haven't heard from in some time. But also I need to ensure
anyone in our family who wants to follow in my footsteps on this land, can.
Dian: You have given your family a precious gift in this personal accounting of your family's
as observed through your eyes. For me, history came alive and I felt as if I could hear you
sitting at the kitchen table over apple pie and iced tea. What did you enjoy the most about
documenting your family history?
R. Saunders: Keeping them alive. Spanning the generations. Allowing my great grandchildren a
glimpse into the lives of my great grandparents. It's important that we know of the lives, the work
and the sacrifices others have endured to allow us the life we have today.
Dian: Many of your family's experiences have been both tragic and character building at the same
time. Your mother was a woman of great foresight, and throughout the story, I was struck by the
lessons you learned from her. What is one of your favorite memories of your mother?
R. Saunders: When I was young, I helped more in the kitchen than in the barn. My favorite
would be getting up and helping mother cook or bake cookies but the most important fact was
she was always there with a helping hand. There was never a time I couldn't sit down and talk to
she was always there, right up to that last afternoon.
Dian: If you could do anything differently in your life, looking back with hindsight, what would
R. Saunders: I wish I had learned to dance. I wish I would have taken Trudy dancing . . . she
have liked that. I'll have to wait now and dance with her in heaven.
Dian: It's not often a person is able to live on the same piece of property their entire life, especially
for over 90 years. The family property where you still reside has remained in your family for many
years and it has taken on its own character throughout the book. Living that long in a certain
location must ingrain in your character the rhythms of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the land,
it comes across in your story your respect for the land. What advice would you like to leave for
future generations as they connect with the land of their ancestors?
R. Saunders: Look after it. Tend the waterways and the terraces, make the land better tomorrow
than it was yesterday. Take care of the land and it will take care of you.
Dian: Now that the book has been published, are there any areas you would like to elaborate on;
that you have had a nagging reminder of "oh, I should have put that in?"
R. Saunders: I should have put in more recent items, though it is true our memories increase in
with age, we often fail to see the value and importance of our everyday lives.
Dian: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in your personal life, one that has been
lived long and well and full of hard work and family ties?
R. Saunders: Woody Allen said 80% of life is just showing up. My greatest accomplishment has
been greeting the sunrise every day for 94 years, even though I can't see it now, I look forward to
every day and through it all is my wife of 70 years and four boys. As my grandfather said of his
"I do not think the sun ever shown on four better ones - though it might have on one."
Dian: Though your dream to become a doctor was not fulfilled, please know that your words in
simple volume are expressions to be cherished and learned from, the words of a teacher made
through experience. In your own unique way, you have, with this story, brings understanding to
descendants of children of the Depression era, and that in itself is an indication of the healer heart
Please feel free to leave us with a comment or two or three of life lessons learned that in your
experience could make or break a man and woman and/or his family.
R. Saunders: That's a tough one and comes with lots of responsibility but perhaps one of the most
important things to remember is just as the actions of our ancestors affected who and what we are
today, so our actions today will shape all future generations. We all have that responsibility, daily,
not just Presidents and educators but every single one of us. It is thus our challenge to face these
tasks and to live our lives with as much grace and dignity as humanly possible.
Questions for Craig Saunders:
Craig Saunders, one of Raymond's four sons, did become a doctor, and he helped put together
volume of lasting value for future generations of the world.
Dian: What is the greatest lesson you have learned through your father's recounting of his
C. Saunders: Well, first, I think I have learned that I have become my father. I would take one of
thoughts, write a few pages and read it back to him. He'd slam his fist in his hand and say "Your
damned right." and we would go on. I'm not sure I can tell anymore what he wrote and what I
but it doesn't make any difference, we pretty much agree.
I think, though, the greatest lesson is what he just said. Our actions today are creating the
and affecting the lives of our children and grandchildren. It is an awesome responsibility.
Dian: What plans are in place for the continuance of Cumberland Farm II?
C. Saunders: My brother Doug has taken Dad's place on the farm - he has three sons of his own.
are working now to ensure the legacy can continue.
Dian: Do you have plans to continue this legacy with your own memoir, picking up where your
father left off?
C. Saunders: Well, if I follow my father's pattern I have another 20 years before I have to make
Dian: What legacy do you wish to build to continue the Saunders' family saga?
C. Saunders: Family values.
Closing comments from interviewer:
Thank you for sharing your story with the world. What started out as a legacy set in writing for
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren has become a rich tapestry of a life lived in hard
work, good values and faith in God. The world certainly needs more books of this type and it's
recommend to readers as a guide to understanding the value of family and raising children to
responsible adults. Through shared experience, we can all learn valuable life lessons if we absorb
gift you have left with the world.
In closing, I wish your first dance with Trudy is one of grace and joy and the culmination of a
Dian Moore, Reviewer
The Secret Life Of The Soul
J. Keith Miller
Broadman & Holman Publisher,
A division of Penguin Putnam Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
ISBN 1573223301; $14.00; 280 pp.
The Secret Life of the Soul is a journey of the author's personal struggles and insights into
lives. As a renown Christian counselor whose life fell apart, He explores the unknown part of the
human soul trapped by secret pain and shaming voices from the past, present and future.
As Author J. Keith Miller describes, we build "constructed personalities" to hide shaming voices.
The Secret Life of the Soul is like a two-edge sword that cuts to the core of the mind, the will and
the emotions to instigate recovery. The book is an astounding light of truth to those who live
of curtain of shame and props in their soul. Miller takes you on a journey of Christmas past--in a
Scrooge like story fashion--and exposes the past, present and future soul secrets of men so they
pursue success without baggage. He goes behind the prison bars of the heart to rescue the
self-esteemless man from his personal and private pain. Miller words unfold a life like a napkin
cleans up the aftermath of emotional events that's gone wrong in a person's life and in a soulless
world. This book is for every Christian leader and layperson who wants to be real with themselves
so they can live by the lessons of God's guidance system and not their own. Miller forecasts the
act by going behind the drawn curtain of our hidden lives and battles the tough issues with written
words and vulnerability. If you want light to shine on your dark situation and bring understanding
about how to radiate on life's stage without soul secrets, read The Secret Life of the Soul. An epic
that is sure to change your mindset, helps you focus on your God ordained purpose and lights a
to destiny without emotional masks.
Raising Fences: A Black Man's Love Story
The Berkley Publishing Group
A division of Penguin Putnam Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
ISBN 1573223301; $14.00; 280 pp.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Raising Fences is a gripping true story of one man's journey through life to
find purpose only to get tangled in webs of sex, vices of life, narrowly escaping. It is a book of
struggle with self identity and finding destiny as a man, in the skin of black, wondering who is my
Michael Datcher's book, Raising Fences is real to the core of a man's heat and soul! It's not a tall
but a true poetic story of a black man's trek through youth to adulthood, but not on the Starship
Enterprise. The only enterprise he explores is his personal life that began with a birth certificate
read, "Father's full name: Legally withheld." This gut-wrenching book leaves nothing to the
imagination. As the author of False Roads To Manhood, I can identify with a story that's raw
telling vulnerability. In a time when men hide pain, Datcher throws his life on the table like dice.
There are some books that drag readers through the mud and leave them wondering how to clean
off the mess left in their mind. But Raising Fences doesn't take you by the hand but snatches and
grabs your heart from beginning to end. A story of an educated African-American man
many rites of passage to manhood but ends up on the dead end more than once in relationships.
story is a search for a missing father and him leaning to father but missing in action at times. But
discovers he's been had. If anyone says a black man cannot love, Datcher proves them wrong even
wrong choices while he deals with private pain.
Michael Datcher's book Raising Fences is a brutal and honest story. A story of a boy who grew up
as a loved foster child only to discover he arrived in this world a product of rape and never knew
real father. The book is a tale of tornado twists and turns of a man's roller coaster love story. His
storytelling style of looking back into the past and jumping forward is a writing style that pulls
into his journey as he struggles to define his manhood in the world of women, street wisdom and
religious conversion. The American dream of a house with a white picket fence is what we dream
about but Datcher's dream is a rocky journey of sex, drugs, religious experiences and entrapment
He traveled many roads as an African-American searching for identity as a man through high
college and graduate school. Datcher as a writer, poet and main character of the book, maps out
detailed accounts of his failures and unmasks his struggles. While looking for examples of
fatherhood and manhood in other men who could not find themselves, he fights to rise to become
the man he thinks he should be while longing for a father. Raising Fences is a gritty, raw tale and a
window into the life of man who lays open his life, like a surgeon opens a chest to prepare for
surgery. If you read Raising Fences, prepare to enter a man's world of hurt, pain, anger, love,
struggles and finally marriage at the end of his journey. CAUTION! An off-the-hook book with
language to boot that will offend some. It also contains poetic words that touch the heart. I felt
glued to the book like watching a nail biting movie.
A man who's on the edge of life can learn from this book. Datcher doesn't teach but reveals his
intimate private thoughts, recounting his entrance and settlement with never finding his earthly
father. As a journalist, he could do no better than to journal about his life in the trenches of Los
Angeles and how he survived to become a spoken-word poet with no protective emotional armor
hide behind. Datcher does exit the False Roads To Manhood in the end, but never reveals his
spiritual conclusion, the other half of us all as sons of the Heavenly Father we desperately
Frank Chase, Jr.
Florida Conversations I, II, and III
Edgar John L'Heureux, Jr.
Sabal Palm Press
P.O. Box 756, Goldenrod, Florida 32733
407 696-7222 www.amazon.com
No ISBN $14.95
This is a three-volume set of writings by an author who has constantly amazed me with his range
from writing short story collections to novels and now collections that are not really poetry nor
prose but more a delightful combination genre that should be called poerose. What I also liked
much are the observations of Old Florida before Disney began it famous theme parks in Orlando
changed the entire state.
Three Rivers Press
1745 Broadway, New York, NY10019
ISBN 1400050324 $14.95
I found that Coulter writes page after page with no other function than to clobber liberals. Coulter
has every right to write what she has, and I have the choice to agree or disagree with her because
that is what makes this country so great. I wish liberals and conservatives would quit bashing each
other and tackle the problems of this country. I say this because there are good ideas from both
groups but each is too busy picking apart each other. My biggest problem with TREASON is that
she also likes to talk over her readers' heads by using big words or catchy ones. I see a parallel to
1968 campaign of Eugene McCarthy when he ran for president of the United States. He talked so
far above his audience that he lost many perspective voters.
Baby Step thru Computing for Seniors
Char Wood the Computer Granny
2028 Pine Tree Drive, Edgewater FL 32141
ISBN 0971961352 $19.95
When I first looked at this book I was reminded of what the book series for Dummies is supposed
do; in each volume, make it easier to understand whatever the subject matter. Instead you feel
stupid because you can't grasp anything they say. I'm glad to announce that simply is not the case
here. Char Wood makes it clear that no one will feel dumb and anyone can learn how to use the
computer when they follow her hands on approach that is really the best way for anyone to learn
use a computer. She teaches terms like software, hardware, mouse, right and left clicking. I also
that she is not talking down to her readers. She is stating her information simply and concisely. I
think the biggest reason so many seniors have not learned about computers is because they feel
is something to fear and that computers are so monumental. This book can put to rest anyone's
The Rubber Band Wars
Angela A. Pitenis
ISBN 1413446647 $31.88
I'm simply amazed at the differences in cost for this book all over the Internet I guess, because
never seen such a wide range of prices. I feel readers can look and find a better one than the one
listed by the publisher. That said, I must also say that this YA title really impressed me. Here's
It's a well thought out scenario of a war on the playground that happens with middle school kids
the combatants. The characters are well defined, with crisp writing that zips along to the final
But most of all it is written by a 15 year old. Pitenis writes better than many adult writers works
encountered through the years. I would love to see what she does with her next book.
Voices in St. Augustine
Jane R. Wood
Bluefish Bay Publishing Inc
1093 A1A Beach Blvd Suite 148, St. Augustine, Fl 32080
ISBN 0970726767 $6.99
Joey Johnson hears voices but has no clue who they belong to and why he's the only person to
them. What I liked about this novel in which Joey's quest takes him to St. Augustine, is that all of
the characters here are believable. Joey has a brother he sometimes doesn't get along with, he
a girl he really likes and his mother is always there for her children. But also this is a book for
anyone who wants to know more about the country's oldest city. The author has written a story
moves quickly and has a very nice ending that should lead to a series of novels about these
The Deadly Season
P.O. Box 250792, Holly Hill, Fl 32125
ISBN 1591130824 $12.95
From the first page this is a novel that just gets stranger and stranger until its' shattering climax.
Fifteen-year-old Tommy Bartlett is a kid who has a warped view of the world. After reading a
newspaper story he forms a plan that gets more and more bizarre throughout the novel. He is
to kill someone the same way as the story he read. Matters aren't helped any by the fact his
a lesbian, and a male he trusts has sex with him. Those two aspects of the story help tip him over
edge to carrying out his vicious act of murder.
Tax Sale Tactics
Global Authors Publications
ISBN 0976644924 $8.99
This is a great resource for anyone who wants to know all the ins and outs of tax sales. I
have very little interest because mathematical matters have never been of interest to me, but for
anyone who wants to pick up a home or property this is a great learning tool. The writing I found
be easy enough to follow, and the author talks in simple terms even someone like me can
ISBN 1932672117 $15.95
FBI agent Nick Bellamy tragically is changed when his wife is viciously murdered. From then on
Bellamy seeks vengeance. He finds, though, he is involved in something bigger than just tracking
down his wife's murderer. The story races along with characters that are believable while the
is tense, like reading a Stephen King or Dean Koontz.
Donald E. Westlake
Hard Case Crime
Dorchester Publishing Co. Inc.
200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
ISBN 0843953578 $6.99
For a long time this novel has been out of print. Now for the first time it will attract many new
readers as well as those of us who never got the chance to read this great early novel by one of
best in the business. This is a straight mystery not in the genre of his comic capers that he is best
know for. I like the characters and the hard detective style writing of a service man who returns
from duty only to find his father has been murdered. He now makes it his mission to find out all
details and bring the person to justice.
Stonewall Jackson's Surgeon Hunter Holmes Mcguire a Biography
Maurice F. Shaw
H.E. Howard. Inc
ISBN 1561900478 $25.00
I stumbled onto this very interesting biography and felt more people should know about Hunter
Holmes McGuire and his effect on our society. Author Shaw shows the relationship of Stonewall
Jackson, a very famous general in the Confederate Army, and his physician McGuire at the
beginning of the book. "Strange parallels and contrasts can be noted between Jackson and
One was a professional soldier whose fame rested upon his success as a destroyer, the other as a
physician who devoted his life to healing. One was an austere Presbyterian deacon who practiced
religion fervently. The other was a lifelong Episcopalian who enjoyed the good things of life and
advantages that his aristocratic background made possible. Despite these differences, they had
traits in common. Both were devoutly moral and possessed great leadership abilities. They shared
deep affection for Virginia and the deep sense of kinship so common in the South. They were men
ambition with abundant talent in their chosen fields. They were both young; Jackson was 37 at the
outbreak of the war, while McGuire was 25 when he entered the Confederate Army." Shaw's
biography tells that McGuire was much more than just a doctor of the Confederate Army. Hunter
Holmes McGuire was one of the first doctors in the country to believe doctors need to treat all
patients regardless of color or ability to pay. He used newer techniques he learned on the
for operations. He believed the South should have a college to educate doctors in Richmond as
as a hospital to take care of sick patients. He also believed in many of the practices used in
that were very controversial in this country. Later as president of the AMA he changed the way of
qualifying doctors. "One more important event occurred in the life of Hunter McGuire as he
his 57th birthday on October 11, 1892. He was presented with a proposal for the founding of a
medical school Shortly after the opening of the new school its name was changed to the College
of Physicians and Surgeons and it was as president of the newly named facility that Hunter
in May 1893, proposed that $150,000 of public funds be used to create a charity hospital for the
indigent and the blacks. As president of the American Medical Association, a position he assumed
at the organization's annual meeting in Milwaukee in May 1893, Dr. McGuire proposed a revision
the A.M.A. constitution and code, the formation of medical examining boards to help in the
of qualified doctors and the creation of a National Board of Health."McGuire was a physician
was way ahead of his time. Much of what he wanted in the medical field was instigated while
ideas of his today are debated but not instigated because they appear to be too radical. Maurice
Shaw has done a very fine job of showing that even though the Civil War was one of the darkest
periods of America's history, there was much good that came of it as well, in Doctor Hunter
Guns of the Palmetto Plains
Pineapple Press Inc
P. O. Box 3889, Sarasota, Florida 34230
ISBN 1561640700 $9.95
This is a colorful historical Cracker western that depicts a Florida that could have been a key
element to change the course of the United States. The War Between the States one of the
periods of the country's history is in its last few months. The desperate South is so strapped that it
cannot even feed and clothe its armies. In a last stab effort the Confederacy turns to Florida,
rich in food resources to help keep its cause alive.
Saving the Confederacy from total starvation depends on a man named Tree Hooker who must
travel to the state, find cattle and herd them to the waiting hungry troops. Tree's mission is
complicated by a Union officer named Major Dan Greenly who is determined to stop Hooker any
way he can. Along the trail are quicksand and reptile infested swamps and waters, outlaws who
no allegiance to either side, and others who do not want to get involved at all. This is summed up
very well by one of the cowboys who says" For all I care, Yankees n Rebels can go on killin' each
other from now till the end of time. Just as long as they leave me alone to hunt cattle" Tonyan,
John Jakes did with the American series of novels, brings history alive and makes it interesting to
learn while at the same time he tells a very good story with very well fleshed out characters.
OF THE PALMETTO PLAINS is a big sprawling novel that is a great addition for the series
Cracker Westerns from Pineapple Press.
The Darkness and Dawn Omnibus
George Allan England
Renaissance E Books
P.O. Box 1432, Northampton, MA 01060
ISBN: 1588732967 $4.99 520 pages
Disclosure: I have 5 novels published through Renaissance
England is a Nineteenth Century man writing at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Born in 1877,
had all of the social and cultural baggage of the age. The period also experienced a great burst of
scientific discovery pushing aside many of the superstitions of the past. England called his own
pseudo-scientific and was proud of the freedom and expanse the new genre permitted his writing.
Today's readers will be surprised at the modern feel of much of the plot. They will also be
at how much racism and superstitious thought were still evident in 1912.
Secretary Beatrice Kendrick and engineer Allan Stern wake from a hibernatic sleep thousands of
years into the future. They have survived the chemically induced hibernation because of the
location of the office they were in near the top of a New York skyscraper. A catastrophe has
changed the physical world killing most of its inhabitants. Evolutionary changes have populated
changed world with both familiar and new creatures. Beatrice and Allan have to find within
themselves the strength and the creativity to rebuild the world around them into a better place,
correcting both the mistakes of the past and the chaos of the future.
The world of 'Darkness and Dawn' is a mixture of the fantasy realms of Jules Verne, Edgar Rice
Burroughs and other writers of the period. It is a world of heroic characters and vicious super
antagonists that are both human and non-human. If you can get past the racism to the story
you are transported into the basics of the writing that became the genres of today. The idyllic
is a little stiff but the imagination carries you beyond the facts you know are wrong and into the
story. I recommend 'The Darkness and Dawn Omnibus: The Last New Yorkers, Beyond the
Oblivion, and The Afterglow' to anyone interested in the development of the genre storytelling of
today. It is a great but dated story. The century of time that has passed, since the penning of the
pages of the 'Omnibus' to now, is a little too much for the average reader today.
The Airlords of Han, Buck Rogers #2
Philip Francis Nowlan
Renaissance E Books
P.O. Box 1432, Northampton, MA 01060
ISBN B0000AHEJU $4.00 80 pages
Disclosure: I have 5 novels published through Renaissance
It is easy, during the passage of time, for people to forget. Clancy is considered the originator of
techno-military genre but Nowlan did it first with 'Buck Rogers.' Nowlan's accurate scientific
predictions and solid military action adventure stories exploded into the writing scene at the time
graphic tales and movies needed new subjects. Nowlan's shift to graphic stories and screenplays
only two written 'Buck Rogers' stories. The stories are a sound base to expand on but they have a
feel of being unfinished.
In 'The Airlords of Han' the story started in the first 'Buck Rogers' novella continues. The tale tells
how the American survivors of the Han invasion rise up in a second War of Independence. Buck
Rogers, a man from the Twentieth Century, helps the war with military knowledge lost in the five
hundred years that past while he was in suspended animation. The Han controlled the sky with
powerful floating cities, disintegrator and repeller ray equipped airships, and communication
technology. The new Twenty-fifth Century American technology and the fighting methods
by Rogers wrestle control of the air from the Han but the fighting has just begun as the Han
counter strikes at the Americans.
'The Airlords of Han' has even more technical and detailed information passages than the original
story. This distracts from the narration but adds a richness of speculation that is frequently lost in
modern writing styles. It also corrects some weaknesses found in the first tale. The story brings a
greater understanding of the later writing that borrows from 'Buck Rogers.' Even with the passage
of 75 years, there is a freshness and spark to the dated storytelling. T'he Airlords of Han' is a must
read for those interested in the roots of modern genre writing and is just plain fun for everyone
S.A. Gorden, Reviewer
255 Humphrey Street, Marblehead, MA 01945-1645
0916288242 $18.00 www.micahbooks.com
Bodmin, 1349: An Epic Novel of Christians and Jews in the Plague Years is a work of historical
fiction, set during the Middle Ages when the "Black Death" ravaged Europe. A peasant from
and his wife, who is rumored to be a Jewish "leftover" from the expulsion of Jews from England
1290, struggle to survive in a world seemingly driven mad, decimated by a virulent pestilance so
severely and lethally contagious that disposal of the dead risks the spread of death. Entrenched
heavily with accurate details and documented data of daily life in the 1300's, and society's struggle
adapt the plague, as well as a powerful interplay between Christian and Jewish religious heritage
reflected in the private rift between husband and wife, Bodmin, 1349 is an unparalleled epic
Aharon Golub & Bennett W. Golub
c/o Pitspopany Press
40 East 78th Street, Suite 16D, New York, NY 10021
1932687475 $21.95 1-800-232-2931 www.devorapublishing.com
In Kaddishel: A Life Reborn, Bennett Golub documents the personal history of his father, Aharon
Golub. Bennett's purpose in doing so was to achieve a better understanding of himself and to
preserve his father's experiences for the benefit of future generations. In the process, the reader is
provided a first-hand account of three major historical aspects of Jewish life in the 20th Century:
traditional Jewish life in a Polish town; the horrors of the Nazis occupation and holocaust; and the
formation of the state of Israel. Kaddishel: A Life Reborn reveals Aharon's inner strength that
after witnessing the death of his family members, his resolve was not to rage or hate, but rather
formation of a deep conviction that the Jewish people needed their own homeland and the power
protect themselves anywhere in the world if they were to survive anti-Semitism. Aharon's personal
journey eventual led him to America where he raised his own family and has his own "Kaddishel"
live on and help him tell his story. Kaddishel is a welcome and recommended contribution to the
growing library of holocaust survivor memoirs and biographies.
God Has No Religion
Frances Sheridan Goulart
PO Box 1006, Notre Dame, IN 46556-1006
1893732746 $14.95 1-800-282-1865 www.sorinbooks.com
God Has No Religion: Blending Traditions for Prayer is a collection of prayers from diverse
religious sources, from Mother Teresa to the Holy Qur'an to Gandhi, Native American traditions,
and more. Each individual prayer is represented with options for when it is most applicable,
suggested non-theistic versions, recommendations for focus, reflection, and closing, and a great
more. An introduction offers a brief overview of prayer practices across various faiths, and the
"prayerware" such as the Catholic rosary that go along with them. A deeply spiritual book written
for individuals of all beliefs, written in the passionate conviction that the meaning and spirit of the
prayer itself and the sincerity behind the sentiment uttered is what truly matters far more than the
denomination to which the original prayer is attributed.
Sweet Jesus: Volume Two
A. J. Mattill, Jr.
Flatwoods Free Press
750 Lum Fife Road, Gordo, AL 35466-3357
no ISBN, spiral bound, $7 postpaid 193 pp.
reprinted from Freethought Perspective, January 2005.
Sweet Jesus, volume two, is a compilation of 61 articles about the Christian junior god reprinted
from American Rationalist, Freethought Perspective and elsewhere. The articles make no attempt
evaluate the plausibility of the basic Jesus myth, or ascertain what may have really happened.
Dr Mattill acknowledges that he starts from the assumption, "that the four Gospels attributed to
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do give us an accurate account of his words and deeds." (p. 4) In
other words Mattill intentionally ignores the Jesus of history in order to demonstrate that the
of the gospels is, to put it mildly, not a nice man. The advantage of using such an approach is that
shows that Jesus' official biographies do a far more effective hatchet job on their hero than any
nontheist could accomplish in a hundred volumes.
Mattill quotes Mark 14:35-36, in which Jesus addresses his god as "Abba," an intimate Aramaic
form of address approximating to the English, "Daddy." He extrapolates (p. 5), "For Jesus, then,
for traditional believers ever since, God is a personal, supernatural, supreme, conscious thinking
being, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, an 'Abba' who hears and answers prayers." That
being so, he then asks (p. 6), "Would an almighty Abba create half of all known species as
living on the other half?" In my view, half of all humans (religion-peddlers, talk therapists,
pseudo-medicine pushers, salesmen, lobbyists, entertainment media people who promote fairy tale
concepts as nonfiction because that is what sells, etc. etc.) are parasites living on the other half.
that is not a point Mattill raises.
The fourth gospel, (although Mattill does not mention that only the fourth gospel does so), in
several places puts into Jesus' mouth a claim to be a pre-existing entity who was his god's equal
partner. Mattill points out (p. 8), "Jesus' claim to pre-existence has led some of Jesus' critics to
doubt his mental health." He adds (p. 9), "But his astonishing assertion that he was one with God,
the great 'I am' (Exodus 3:14), is absurd, arrogant and unfounded. It's the claim of an egomaniac
megalomaniac." He adds (p. 18), "In my opinion, Jesus' claim to be one with God (John 10:30),
numerous other words and deeds attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, enable us to conclude He
suffered from delusions of grandeur and simply overestimated himself."
In a chapter on predestination, "God calls all people to repent, but for some reason known only to
himself God predestines only a few to be saved and predestines the rest to everlasting torture."
Jesus of the gospels believed such a doctrine. "Thus when Jesus says, 'Many are called, but few
chosen,' he is teaching the harsh but logical doctrine of double predestination: God foresees and
causes both the saved to be saved and the lost to be lost." (p. 14). "In sum, predestination is a
despicable doctrine, if ever there was one. Yet Jesus endorsed it, lock, stock and barrel." (p.
"It almost goes without saying that Jesus believed all of the Psalms were inspired writings, for he
quoted them more than any other Old Testament book. Since Jesus, then, believed that God had
inspired all of the Psalms, it follows that Jesus endorsed all of the unacceptable ideas in the
including the perfect hatred and heartless vindictiveness of the 'imprecatory' or 'cursing Psalms.'"
20) "Needless to say, anyone who approves of these revolting sentiments is no saint. Such violent
language makes sensitive people cringe." (p. 21)
Mattill cites some of the psalms that Jesus viewed as divinely inspired, psalms that applauded
atrocities worthy of Hitler. "Think of it! God's mercy is proved by his slaughter of millions of
(at least 21,000,000, according to Exodus 12:37; Deuteronomy 7:1-6). An incredible blood bath
proves God's mercy! Does not Psalm 136 prove that God is a cold-blooded, ruthless monster?
Jesus said, 'Imitate God. Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.'" (p. 96)
According to Mattill (p. 69), "Jesus also believed he would rise from the dead." Let me reiterate
Mattill is writing about the Jesus of the gospels, who indeed believed he would rise from the dead.
The Jesus of history believed he was incapable of dying until he had overthrown the Roman
occupation and been crowned king of an independent Judea.
Both the biblical Jesus and the Jesus of history believed in a three-tiered universe, with the sky
above, a flat earth in the middle, and Sheol underneath. "Modern astronomy has done away with
Jesus' heaven located a few miles above a flat earth, a local heaven to which he would
ascend. Jesus, however, could not ascend to a place that doesn't exist." (p. 69)
Dr Mattill does, however, venture into the field of history when he cites my contention that Jesus
was executed for leading an anti-Roman revolution. He writes (p. 82), "Scholarship in general,
however, has concluded that all attempts to interpret Jesus as a revolutionary are failures." Many
competent scholars assert that no such person as Jesus ever lived. But those who conclude that
was a historical person onto whose biography the myths were posthumously grafted, but he was
a revolutionary, take upon themselves the onus of explaining why Jesus was executed by the
Romans for a Jewish crime in which Rome was totally disinterested, by a method used only
insurrectionists and slaves, if he was neither.
On Jesus' alleged perfect knowledge of everything, "The Jesus of Matthew 16:19; 18:18, and John
20:23, far from being infallible, erred in at least two ways: He accepted the biblical picture of a
three-story universe, and he declared his disciples infallible. Hence Jesus himself was not inerrant.
He was fallible like the rest of us!" (p. 73)
Referring to Jesus' authentication of the fable in Exodus in which Moses promised that, if
bitten by a snake merely looked at a bronze caduceus, he would be cured, Mattill observes (p.
"Not only to rationalists but also to many modern believers the idea that looking at a magic
serpent will heal one of poisonous snake bites is pure superstition." He does not cite any cases of
modern cultists who accepted the biblical fairy tales as literal truth, handled poisonous snakes, and
were fatally bitten, presumably because most believers are aware of such incidents and dismiss
as the behavior of fruitcake cultists - as indeed they are. But what makes such cultists fruitcakes is
that they behave as if their bible was nonfiction.
Mattill's chapter, "Worms and Fire: A Double Whammy," (pp. 186-189) pulls the rug out from
under rationalizers who simultaneously maintain, (1) the eternal torture of hell is an obscene
that cannot and does not exist in a universe produced and directed by an omnipotent,
omnibenevolent god, (2) every word spoken by Jesus is inerrant truth, and (3) every word
to Jesus in the gospels was really spoken by him.
The historical Jesus, like the biblical Jesus, did preach the sadistic Hell doctrine that can only be
described as a sadist's dream. It is adapted from the theology of the Essenes, and Jesus was raised
an Essene. But whereas the Essene/Pharisee Gehenna (hell/sheol/purgatory) was an execution
chamber where heretics and infidels were permanently unpersoned by flamethrowers, in Jesus' hell
the torture continued for billions and billions of years. Did Jesus realize that he was inventing the
most repulsive obscenity ever to emerge from a diseased mind, or did he think he was merely
repeating doctrines he had imbibed with his mother's milk? The answer is irrelevant. Anybody,
whether Jesus or a modern fundamentalist, who can believe that an omnipotent god would torture
imagined enemies with flamethrowers for billions of years, but is nonetheless a nice guy, belongs
cage for the criminally insane.
Common Sense Versus The Bible
Oak Hill Free Press
PO Box 61274, Pasadena, CA 91116
no ISBN, spiral bound, $8.90 89 pp.
reprinted from Freethought Perspective, April 2005.
"What should I offer in place of the Bible? That seems to be a favorite question directed toward
skeptics. One might just as well ask, 'What might medical science offer us in place of smallpox?' Is
not enough to sweep the lie from truth's path? Do we really want to replace one crutch with
another? Perhaps this is a good time to learn how to walk." (p. iv)
After that opening, Matson goes on to demonstrate that the Bible is a poorly designed paean to
For example, "What we find in the Bible are endless pages devoted to senseless slaughter.
Common sense tells us that God could not write or direct such a work. You or I, let alone God,
could have easily put that space to better use." (p. 1)
Furthermore, "The Old Testament is afloat in the savagery and cruelty of its primitive god. Many
Christians would dearly love to jettison the whole Testament. Take Noah's Flood, for instance.
Children, babies, pets, and the innocent creatures of nature's realm fall victim to this kill-crazy god
who wipes them out without a hint of mercy." (pp. 1-2)
In the section, "A Supernatural War Criminal," Matson catalogues how the Israelites obtained
land by invasion, genocide, and the mass rape of captured virgins (non-virgins, being incapable of
producing legitimate offspring, were simply butchered). He summarizes, "By modern standards of
morality, the above activities constitute war crimes of the first order." (p. 6)
But the biblical god was an equal opportunity terrorist. "God could be equally brutal to his own
people whenever his temper flared, as it often did." (p. 8) "God kills 70,000 Israelites because
took a census that God had ordered him to take. I guess it's 'damned if you do' and 'damned if you
don't.'" (p. 13)
On the subject of the Christian Hell, Matson writes, "Between the pages of the Old and New
Testaments this god creates a torture chamber of magic fire that neither burns out nor consumes
victims, the place known as hell. He does this knowing that a large percentage of humanity will
up there and suffer for an eternity. Is this not a description of a fiendish monster, a devil?" (p. 19)
"God" conforms to every reasonable definition of a devil. But any sane person who has actually
a bible knows that already.
On slavery: "What a shock it is to learn that God does not oppose slavery. We look in vain for
those bold, uncompromising words, 'Thou shalt not enslave.' ... The answer is profoundly simple;
Bible was written by men who lived in a slave-owning age, not by a deity with a clear sense of
and wrong." (p. 23)
"Yahweh is a god who is deeply obsessed with foreskins. The Egyptians were way ahead of God.
Many of them were doing the foreskin thing as far back as 4000 BC, but that didn't improve their
standing with God. The obsession God has with circumcision is entirely beneath the dignity of an
infinite being, but not unlike the views of primitive societies." (pp. 29-30) So God is an
throwback. So what else is new?
"The Bible has 'manmade' written all over it. One of the obvious giveaways is Yahweh's fixation
one little tribe. That is to say, Yahweh acts no differently than Baal or Dagon or any
of the other chief tribal gods in the neighborhood." (p. 31) He might have continued, "or Bush, or
bin Laden, or Sharon, or Wojtyla," each of whom, while not claiming to be a god, perpetrates
atrocities in the conviction that he is obeying a god.
"A sure reason for rejecting the Bible as 'God's inerrant word' is on account of the silly laws it
contains, laws that God supposedly made for his people. Silly laws are one of the clearest signs of
manmade work." (p. 33) The laws Yahweh allegedly made for testing a wife's fidelity, or for
with leprosy, make "silly" seem too polite. A god who could endorse such nonsense would have
be as scientifically illiterate and ignorant as the Scientologists.
Under, "Does God Need Praise and Glory?" Matson writes, "Human rulers have a need for glory.
It's also easier to rule if you convince the masses that you have God behind you. But what need
has God for glory? A similar situation holds true for endless praise. The god of the Bible sucks
up praise like a vacuum cleaner sucking up dirt." (p. 39) If one was asked to name a public figure
who sucks up praise like a vacuum cleaner, and unleashes his paranoia against anyone who refuses
to kiss his butt, the first name that might come to mind is George W. Bush. Is such narcissistic
egoism a positive quality? If the answer in Bush's case is No, mustn't the answer in God's case
Matson devotes eight pages to "An Ocean of Contradictions." After spelling out the lengths to
which biblical literalists go to rationalize away what they call "apparent contradictions," he
"Under such rules, one could defend the existence of Santa Claus and flying reindeer." (pp.
On the scientific illiteracy of biblical authors, Matson writes, "Many educated people reject the
because of its total ignorance of science, ignorance to the point of making horrendous blunders
that can have no place in a book by God." (p. 49) Specifically, "The story of Noah's ark is not
scientifically absurd, but it makes God look like an idiot. Thus you have two very good reasons
rejecting that biblical account." (p. 63) He might have added that, since the authors who passed
"Noah's ark" as nonfiction were themselves idiots, it should come as no surprise that they
their god on what they saw in the mirror.
Then there are the Bible's innumerable unfulfilled prophecies. "A failed prophecy is one of the
signs of a manmade Bible, for God's prophecy cannot fail. What greater failure can we find than
Jesus' central prediction that the world would come to an end in the first century?" (p. 68) In
summary, "The working brain can only conclude that the Bible is a manmade product, given that
central prophecy by Jesus was dead wrong." (p. 75)
On the last page, Matson points out that, "The Bible denigrates women, indulges in obscenities of
particular value, and is centered around the disgusting idea of sacrifices. Did God really get a kick
out of smelling burning animals, plants, and, on occasion, children? The Bible seems to think so."
84) In short, the Bible touts a moral philosophy of which Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and the
Marquis de Sade would have been proud. Can any person with a functioning human brain believe
that a god inspired such obscenity? To put it another way, can anyone who sees such a god as
admirable be any less evil and insane than the god whose own official biography portrays it as the
epitome of absolute evil?
More than a century of historians have annihilated the bible by textual analysis. But expertise in
documentary criticism is not really necessary. Anyone who reads a Bible with his brain in ON can
demolish it by utilizing nothing more than Common Sense.
10 East 53rd St, NY 10022
ISBN 0380978598, $25.95 310 pp.
Imagine that the Roman Empire never fell, that it ruled the world from the time of the Caesars
the twentieth century and beyond. Imagine that the Hebrews were an obscure linguistic group in
Egypt who invaded Palestine over 3,000 years ago in an attempt to create an independent
state, and failed, with the consequence that the Christian religion was never invented. Imagine that
minor official of the Empire was posted to Mecca in punishment for annoying the Emperor, met
Mohammed, recognized him as a potential threat to the stability of the Empire, and had him
assassinated before his cult could expand beyond his own family. Imagine that the Reign of Terror
occurred not in Paris but in Rome, and involved Consuls of Rome whose Latin names did nothing
diminish their resemblance to Robespierre and Napoleon.
Imagine that, despite centuries of reprisals triggered by their refusal to believe in the gods the
Empire believed in and their intolerant dismissal of their surrounding neighbors as heretics and
infidels, twenty thousand Hebrews survived in Egypt until the twentieth century as an exclusionist
clique that made Basques and Quebec separatists look like moderates. Imagine that, accepting the
priestly fable of an ancient failed "Exodus" as an event from history, they undertook a new
to a distant planet where they could establish the absolute theocracy that had proven unattainable
Earth. And imagine that the Messiah of the new Exodus, like a prototype of 2,000 years earlier,
found that things did not go exactly as he had planned, and instead of freeing his people became a
figurehead martyr in whose name a whole new cult would evolve.
Then turn all of those imaginings into a historical novel containing none of the science fiction
associated with the author, beyond the fact that "alternate reality" is science fiction by definition.
And if you happen to be Robert Silverberg, winner of more science fiction awards than any other
author, the result will be a novel of which S.F.'s Big Three would have been proud. With Asimov
and Heinlein dead, and Clarke apparently retired from the genre (except as a collaborator),
Silverberg is the remaining Giant.
The Habit of Fire - Poems Selected and New
PO Box 42164, Washington, D.C. 20015
ISBN 0915380579 $10.00 104 pp.
The quietness and inwardness of the poems are not resigned acceptance of the course of nature
situation of human life, but rather are a mode of openness to all of the potential and awareness of
limitations of these. In "The Trees in the Peaceable Meadow," trees "founded more surely than
creature" take the "steady rumble of water sliding" and the "original faults" with equanimity,
not indifference. McCombs is the daughter of a geodetic surveyor who grew up in nearly all the
states. Her poems on incidents, experiences, memories, and blood relatives and total strangers
the tones of familiarity, curiosity, and occasionally wonder.
Book Marketing from A-Z
1094 New DeHaven St. - Suite 100, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2713
ISBN 0741424312 $18.95 400+ii pp.
There are other books on devising an effective marketing plan. One goes to this book for its
abundance of tips from writers at all levels of accomplishment and in all fields. The advice related
short paragraphs, many containing a vignette, is divided into chapters on the major areas of
marketing and book marketing tools--e. g., book signings, book covers, contests, Internet,
organizations, media, press kits, speaking engagements. Any writer will surely find any number of
helpful tips in this commendable supplement to the related texts of devising a market strategy. As
this book verifies, there is always some marketing that can be done for a book no matter what
is or when it was published.
Autobiodiversity - True Stories from ZYZZYVA
edited by Howard Junker
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
ISBN 1597140074 $14.95 272 pp.
The 27 true-life, memoir-styled stories delight again and again. Noted editor Junker of his
literary periodical ZYZZYVA has no agenda other than fresh, high-quality writing. As the title of
anthology of selections from the periodical connotes, the pieces reflect the contemporary
multicultural society, especially its West Coast diversity. A number of the writers are from
ethnic backgrounds, a number are women, a number combine the two. In the pages, one finds
creative nonfiction at its best--mostly plainly honest (this is what makes for the freshness), though
sometimes teasingly elliptic, colorful, amusing, comprehensible, enlivening.
Freaks & Fire - The Underground Reinvention of Circus
J. Dee Hill
photography by Phil Hollenbeck
Soft Skull Press
71 Bond St., Brooklyn, NY 11217
1932360522 $24.95 176+xvi pp.
J. Dee Hill is a former bureau chief of Adweek writing about "radical" or "alternative" circus. This
not your familiar Ringling Brothers Circus, meant mainly to drawn families and entertain and awe
children. This radical circus cannot even be compared to a typical, traditional circus. Think the
outrageous performance art you even saw--and then some. The side show has taken center stage.
Although some of the costumes and performances resemble the Mardi Gras carnival festivities of
Rio de Janiero. Zamora the Torture King, Brothers Grim Sideshows, and Bindlestiff Family
are the names of some of the troupes. Hill takes these and a few others one by one with
accompanying photos by Hollenbeck to demonstrate the exotic make-up and dress and the
acts. The book doesn't play up the sensationalistic, sometimes macabre, occasionally repulsive
aspects of such circuses--this is evident enough without any emphasis by the author. The book has
sociological and cultural vein too, with performers telling their interesting stories of what drew
to this field of contemporary entertainment and how they got into it.
The Royal Tombs of Great Britain - An Illustrated History
dist. in U.S. by International Publishers Marketing
22841 Quicksilver Drive, Dulles, VA 20166
ISBN 0715633104 $45.00 248+viii pp.
Surprisingly considering England's attachment to the monarchy, there has been no comprehensive
guide to the royal tombs--until this one. Dodson locates all of the known tombs of Britain and
Scotland's long line of kings and queens of the varied kingdoms before they were united into the
United Kingdom and after they were when there was a single line of monarchs. With this, he gives
notes on the historical background of each monarch, including his or her burial, and on
"post-internment history," which sometimes includes movement of the body to another resting
Surveying the lives and burials of the numerous monarchs, "Royal Tombs..." can also serve as a
guidebook to the burial places. There's just enough material for the historian looking for basic
information and for the curious tourist. A teaching fellow in archaeology and anthropology at the
of Bristol, Dodson has written previous books on the pyramids and royal families of Egypt.
Modern Fishing Collectibles - Volume I, Identification and Guide
Russell E. Lewis
PO Box 3009, Paducah, KY 42002-3009
ISBN 157432277X $24.95 287 pp.
The great variety of fishing lures with the differences in their bright markings and sizes can be
disarming to even experienced collectors. With his 20 years experience as a collector, Lewis
sense of this area of collecting by classifying the lures by their makers, and with introductory
on "Dating Techniques" and the "Modern Era." The chapters with the classifications are more
simple listings of numerous lures. Besides sharp color photos with annotations, these chapters
include information on the manufacture of the respective lures and details of them to look for.
Advertising and promotional literature and displays are shown as aids in identifying different lures
and understanding their design and features. A serious collector or dealer of lures could not find a
better guide than this for what it does cover of this incredibly diverse and constantly changing
Gerhard Richter, Without Color
with essays by Julia Gelshorn, Elke Kania, Doris Krystof, and Reinhard Spieler
Hatje Cantz Verlag
ISBN 3775715835 $40.00 102 pp. English/German text, color photographs.
While Richter's art works without color may not have received the attention as his other works,
make up about one third of this major contemporary artist's work. "The absence of color has
a leitmotif" of Richter's career of more than 40 years. The works without color are more than a
contrast, like a shadow, alluding to primary works. For Richter, colorlessness has its own status
value. Richter remarks, "Gray is the welcome and only possible equivalence for indifference,
non-commitment, absence of opinion, absence of shape." About 40 works of different shapes,
and mediums in various shades of light and dark from a smoke-like gray to a dense, pitch, black
occasional flecks or limited hues of color illustrate Richter's regard of gray. One cannot
Richter's place as one of the foremost contemporary artists nor his intents as an artist without
into account this "motif" of his art based on this regard.
Jackson Pollock, No Limits, Just Edges - Malerei auf Papier
with essays by Susan Davidson, David Anfam, and Margaret Holben Ellis
Deutsche Guggenheim/Guggenheim Museum Publications, New York
Hatje Cantz Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany
ISBN 3775715878 $40.00 142 pp.
The German subtitle translates "works on papers." The three essays in German discuss the tools,
materials, and techniques Pollock used for his art works on paper. The third essay has
of pencils, felt-tip pens, and eye droppers this major modern artist used in creating such works.
Seventy-eight are pictured in color one per page in chronological order in one gallery-like section
this larger, rectangular-shaped book. Pollock's works are familiar, and need no general
The more-focused, particularly revealing artistic theme of the essays is Pollock's liberty with lines,
edges. As the numerous works on paper show, his progress in this technique and impulse gave
unprecedented freedom and novelty as an artist. One follows the expansion of Pollock's liberty
line and corresponding new dimensions of artistic freedom over the course of this time. Early,
roughly representational works and others indicating the probable influence of Miro and de
lead to the more complex, abstract art that is regarded as typifying Pollock. The chronological
presentation and analytic essays (in German) allow one to gain a particularly revealing
of the artistic achievement of this groundbreaking modern artist. The work is the catalog for an
exhibition of these works of Pollock's that was in Germany and is in New York until the Fall
The Contemporary African America Novel - Its Folk Roots and Modern Literary Branches
Bernard W. Bell
U. of Massachusetts Press
PO Box 429, Amherst, MA 01004
ISBN 1558494723 $80.00 ISBN 1558494731 $24.95 490+xxviii pp.
Bell builds on his previous work "The Afro-American Novel and Its Tradition"; whose content is
alluded to in the subtitle for this work. Chapters two thru five of this book are revisions and
summaries of parts of the previous work. What is new to this book are its introductory memoir
Becoming an African American Scholar," its Introduction, chapters one and six thru eight, and the
conclusion. A professor of English at Pennsylvania State U., Bell both expansively and acutely
with the body of African American literature. His knowledge of this field is encyclopedic. While
sharing in the common origin of the folk literature, African American literature nonetheless
broader literary movements such as neorealism, modernism, and postmodernism. Such authors
also had the outstanding talent and creativity to develop distinctive styles and voices. This
voluminous, comprehensive study also ranges to what Bell terms "paraliterature," which might
be called popular literature. This includes pulp fiction, formulaic adventure stories, supernatural
tales, romances, science fiction, mystery and crime, and gay literature. Bell does not force these
greatly diversified genres ranging from the enduring literary works of Richard Wright and Toni
Morrison to the science fiction of Ray Delany and the mysteries of Walter Mosby into a
bed of the folk tale sources of all. Rather, his ingenious linking of them together while doing
to their uniqueness creates a constellation of African American literature which is both a guide to
and inducement for exploration of it.
Mastery's End - Travel and Postwar American Poetry
U. of Georgia Press
330 Research Dr., Athens, GA 30602-4901
ISBN 0820326631 $44.95 288+xiv pp.
Gray--associate professor of English at Seton Hall--suggests an "alternative model" to
from its "unsavory roots" associated with hegemony related to Western imperialism, penetration,
and pollution, to travel as divulging vulnerability, incoherence, disorientation, diminution even.
Modern and postmodern poets with their exceptional openness, familiarity with the contingencies
identity, and cross-cultural recognition and status are especially attuned to how travel affects one's
life and how the modern habit of travel symbolizes essentials of modern life. The poets capture in
words and images of their poems the new, disorienting, etc., qualities of travel. Elizabeth Bishop,
Robert Lowell, John Ashbery, and Derek Walcott are looked to individually for what travel
in the postcolonial era. The Beat poets are treated as a group. Through Gray's original and
readings of poems concerning travel, one learns much about the state of postmodernity.
Trembling Earth - A Cultural History of the Okefenooke Swamp
Megan Kate Nelson
U. of Georgia Press
330 Research Dr., Athens, GA 30602-4901
ISBN 0820326771 $34.95 262+xiii pp.
Nelson coins the word "ecolocalism" for her historical and multi-faceted study of the Okefenokee
Swamp bordering Georgia and Florida--a place that has long held a fascination for the romance
mystique surrounding its wildness. The Okefenokee "provoked people to develop a constellation
competing ideas rooted in beliefs about land use and value and shot through with convictions
race, gender, and class distinctions. These ideas and beliefs determined a particular pattern of
that communities took within swamplands, and thus shaped local cultures." Thus, "ecolocalism" is
the way certain communities develop in relation to a local natural environment. Particular
communities--regional Native Americans, runaway slaves, developers, naturalists (e. g.,
birdwatchers), and indigenous white residents--are all related to the natural environment of the
swamp, but in different ways. This makes for inevitable tensions, between plans for profit and
traditions of local residents, for example, or between environmental sanctuary and tourist
Neslon mostly writes about the tensions between such competing interests; the different activities
pursued by different groups; and how competing interests were often accommodated. In the end,
vibrant, carefully-balanced, but always somewhat tentative culture has been "forged." For now, it
manages to preserve the ecology and unique natural features of the Okefenokee while satisfying
some extent the varied interests of the several groups.
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church - Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
United States Council of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth St. NE, Washington, DC 20017-1194
ISBN 1574556924 $24.95 446+xii pp.
The "concise but complete overview of the Church's social teaching" runs some 225 pages. The
principles of the many facets of Catholic social work are specified "to sustain and foster the
of Catholics in the social sector, especially the activity of the lay faithful." There's no guidance on
the practicalities or pragmatics of realizing the principles; the "Compendium" is not a how-to.
of it are almost theological in tone, e. g., "God's Plan and the Mission of the Church." And other
parts such as those dealing with the "way of love" or alluding to the "new heaven" and the "new
earth" are visionary and inspirational. Half a dozen or more footnotes on every page point to
historical or doctrinal bases for the principles; most of which are found in papal encyclicals. The
family, peace, human rights, work, and politics are major sections. An "Analytical Index" of 150
pages takes one to any particular topic one is looking for. The format is each of the numerous
principles in italics followed by brief commentary in regular type. The "Compendium" is not only
comprehensive new edition gathering Catholic doctrine relating to social work. With recurring
references to moral issues raised by advances in medicine, globalization, and other contemporary
matters, it carries these principles into today's world and its central social developments.
The Last Miles - The Music of Miles Davis, 1980-1991
U. of Michigan Press
839 Greene St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3209
ISBN 0472115014 $35.00 534+xi pp.
Not a biography, "The Last Miles" rather concentrates on the music Miles Davis created and
recorded in the last decade of his career as one of America's leading jazz musicians. Cole is
interested especially in the sources of the music Davis produced in this last period of his prolific
influential career and how each piece was recorded. Such interests are related to Cole's writings as
journalist in the fields of music and technology. The author's keen interest in Davis's place in these
fields extends to answering how Davis came up with the titles for each of his recordings. To
this and other questions, Cole went to musicians who worked with Miles Davis and also the
technicians who recorded his pieces. The business of promoting Davis's albums by Columbia and
Warner is also covered. A singular look into the last stage of Davis's long, somewhat checkered
career gained from varied sources; which at the same time gives a picture of the modern music
The History and Development of the Shan Scripts
Sai Kam Mong
Silkworm Books, Thailand
dist. in U.S. by U. of Washington Press, Seattle, WA
ISBN 9749575504 bibliography $35.00 374+xv pp.
The Shan language is one of those which, like endangered animal species, is in danger of
It is the language of a distinct ethnic group from the middle of Southeast Asia, roughly the
part of Burma and neighboring part of China. But this group has been dispersed by the currents of
history and encroachments of modernity. Mong is a specialist in the history of the Shan people
their language. He follows the development of the Shan language primarily through its
from the probable origins of the Shan alphabet to the present-day threats to its survival. The
language mostly developed naturally, but at times its adherents had to devise strategies to keep it
from fading away. Parts of the book are passages, sometimes fairly lengthy ones, in the Shan
language, especially where the author analyzes changes in it during different stages of its
development. But these passages can be glossed over by the large majority not knowing Shan to
nonetheless still comprehend this book on this historically and culturally significant, yet now
Southeast Asian language.
Poets on Place - Interviews and Tales from the Road
W. T. Pfefferle, with a Foreword by David St. John
Utah State U. Press
7800 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-7800
ISBN 0874215978 $21.95 294+xvii pp.
Asking variations on the basic question of what role place has in the poetry of more than 45
contemporary America poets, Pfefferle elicits a rich and revealing variety of responses. Many of
responses angle into the explicit and implicit influences of the region a particular poet is from,
as Florida, the South in general, or New England. Some poets who have moved to one or more
different places reflect on changes in impressions and attachments to place. Nikki Giovanni, Peter
Cooley, Mark Strand, and Charles Wright are among the poets whose names will be recognized
many. There's snapshots of some of the poets, or a photo of a local scene. And many of the
numerous poets supply a poem illustrating what they have to say about the role of place in their
Art of the Ancestors - Antique North America Indian Art
George Everett Shaw, with Steven C. Brown, Benson L. Lanford, and Bill Mercer
U. of New Mexico Press
MSC11 6290, 1 U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
ISBN 0934324336 $65.00 179 pp.
The 100 Native American artifacts are grouped according to the major geographical areas of the
Plains and Eastern Woodlands; Northwest Coast and Western Alaska; and Southwest and
California. Each section is introduced by an overview of the art and objects of the tribes in the
areas. Collectors, dealers, and the like will appreciate the full-page color photos in this large-size
(13" x 12") book capturing the details of the jars, masks, blankets, garments, masks, carved
kachina dolls, baskets, and other items. The art-book quality along with the exceptional color
and the informative introductory essays make this an especially attractive and useful introduction
reference for Native American art and cultural objects.
Bird Songs of the Mesozoic - A Day Hiker's Guide to the Nearby Wild
David Brendan Hopes
1011 Washington Ave. South - Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55415
www.milkweed.org; 800-520-6455 firstname.lastname@example.org
ISBN 1571312773 $15.95 230 pp.
Besides professor of literature at the U. of North Carolina-Asheville, author Hope is also a
actor, poet, and theater director. He uses his senses, skills, and experiences in all of these in
on nature. He doesn't go looking for nature by trekking into the wilderness or vacationing to
places, for instance. Rather he takes nature where he finds it in the rounds and occasional
of his ordinary life. As he has found, "nature finds us where we are." In addition to the fetching
essays, Hopes wants to impart the lesson that nature is always at hand in some way; and can, and
should be, recognized and appreciated on this basis accessible to anyone at any time.
No Ordinary Place: The Art of David Malangi
edited by Susan Jenkins, with contributions by Nigel Lendon, Djon Mundine, Margie West, and
members of the Malangi family
National Gallery of Australia
dist. in U.S. by U. of Washington
ISBN 0642541795 $35.00 112 pp.
In the transition to public art, aboriginal art usually becomes stylized to some degree, and
becomes plainly commercialized. The kachina dolls of Southwest American tribes are examples of
this; as are the totems of African tribes. But Malangi's Australian aboriginal art has stayed away
from this tendency. The reason for this is not only Malangi's deep attachment to the aboriginal art
and the culture it grows out of, but also his use of natural pigments and other natural, traditional,
materials. Most of his works shown are natural pigments on eucalyptus bark, with others natural
pigments on wood, and a couple using feathers as well. The sinuous, complex shapes and vivid,
intermixed colors for which Australian aboriginal art has gained worldwide notice are retained
practically unaffected in Malangi's art. The many works included are known as recent--from the
1960s to the 1990s--from their lack of wear, but not from any stylization as an influence of or
concession to public or commercial art. Introductory essays with photos in the margins give the
physical and cultural, anthropological, sources of Malangi's art.
Along the Maysville Road - The Early American Republic in the Trans-Appalachian West
Craig Thompson Friend
U. of Tennessee Press
ISBN 1572333154 $42.00 378+xvii pp.
What came to be called the Maysville Road was a 65-mile stretch of dirt road from the Ohio River
to the Kentucky Bluegrass region that had its beginnings as a buffalo trace. Starting in the 1770s,
carried Euroamerican settlers of all groups and classes to what was at the time America's western
frontier. U. S. Highway 68 now follows part of the old Maysville Road; while other stretches have
become parts of farms and woodlands. The Road not only played a key part in the beginnings of
United State's westward expansion, but it was also an early symbol of the freedom, opportunities,
and new beginnings of the American dream. "More than a narrative of regional improvements and
national political personalities...[the book] employs the biography of a road...as a microhistory of
social and cultural change in the Early American Republic." Friend's narrative history focuses on
main types of individuals, families, and groups migrating to the area along the road in different
periods. The first pioneers gave way to gentry from Virginia and other mid-Atlantic states; who in
turn gave way to businessmen and immigrants. The blending and compromising among the groups
led eventually to the formation and "triumph" of the middle class. In 1830, Henry Clay proposed a
Maysville Road Bill for bringing government-funded improvement to the area; but this was vetoed
by President Andrew Jackson. Friend is an associate professor of history at the U. of Central
who has written other books on Kentucky and edits the "Florida Historical Quarterly."
Stomp and Sing - Poems
321 Jackson St., Willimantic, CT 06226
ISBN 1931896151 $12.95 72 pp.
This is Andersen's first volume of collected poems, his "debut" volume. Individual poems have
published in The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Connecticut Review, and the Haight-Ashbury Literary
Journal. Poems of Andersen's have also not surprisingly been published in Blue Collar Review and
The Progressive. For the poet has stayed in touch with his blue-collar, working-class background.
He doesn't write from the stance of the outsider or the rebel, but as one whose status and
are not given by birthright or privilege. He doesn't so much struggle for what he achieves, but
gains it by cleverness and fortune; as when arriving early to a Pete Seeger concert, he finds "all
doors chained or locked but one," which one he goes through, and after making his way down
hallways" comes upon the famous singer, who "waved me over to sit on a folding chair beside
[from "True Story"] By similar combinations of desire, luck, determination, and wit, Andersen
regularly achieves such moments. They come about sometimes in nature, sometimes in a city, and
sometimes in thinking about his father's life or aspects of the past. These moments are not
restorative or epiphanic, as they would be for most poets. Andersen is not a romantic.
he realizes the value of such moments; and he is thankful for them, or else he could not put them
Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes
Colin Wheildon, with additional material by Geoffrey Heard
The Worsley Press
FAP Books, Inc. (dist.)
P.O. Box 540, Gainesville, FL 32602
ISBN 1875750223 $36.95
Type & Layout by Colin Wheildon is an excellent introduction to typography and the readability
advertisements, brochures, and other written communication pieces. This book is valuable to
who creates advertising, direct mail, or graphic arts. It's also useful to authors and publishers who
seek to enhance the readability of their material. And, it's extremely valuable to purchasers of
advertising who wish to be sure their message to their readership is being maximized.
Based upon reader surveys, Type & Layout shows us how easy or how difficult it is to read
type. We learn the percentage of readers who cease reading due to poor design or poor type
For example, when using a Roman font, switching to an italic type for emphasis has roughly the
same readability as the base font. However, switching to a bold type tends to lose half the
readership. We learn that long passages in bold are a definite no-no.
Surveying thousands of readers, it was found that 90 percent of the readers were happiest with
12-point type, set at 13-point leading (12/13). But, at 12/12, only 72 percent of the readers were
satisfied. More leading also created a drop in readability. When averaged over a large number of
prospective readers, these drops in readability greatly affect the number of individuals who receive
the full message. This has significant marketing implications.
Wheildon writes: "Let's set the scene by looking at figure 10a (p. 34), a very simple design. We'll
assume it occupies a page in a mass circulation newspaper or magazine, and that its eye-catching
illustration and thought-provoking headline have attracted the attention of a million readers.
set the body matter in an elegant serif face, say, Garamond (see figure 6, p. 25). The conditions
for comprehension are excellent. The chances are good that the message will be comprehended
thoroughly by about 670,000 of those readers, two-thirds of them. Now let's suppose that we
reset the type in a sans serif face, say Helvetica, reputedly one of the more legible sans serif faces.
Figure 6 (opposite) shows how this looks. The chances now are that the message will be
comprehended thoroughly by only 120,000 of our readers!"
Type & Layout teaches us the way the eye flows naturally across a page and downward and how
interrupting this flow of eye gravity turns off readers. Surprisingly, we learn that justified type is
actually more readable than ragged-right type. Ragged-left text has the worst readability of all.
While 67% of the participants experienced good readability with justified text, a meager 10%
ragged-left text to have good readability.
We also learn how incorporating color in type or in the background affects readability. We learn
how kerning and tracking affect readability.
After studying the lessons in Type & Layout, some of the professionally-created examples of poor
readability design that are given in the book seem downright humorous, with the designs bending
and twisting text and mixing colors like orange and yellow to make readability nearly impossible!
argued that computers may give designers too much ability to do fancy things that distract from
One great example shows how a scripted headline, tilted upward between a strong visual element
and more readable text below, is almost never read in a hurry. Combining text which is barely
readable with misuse of gravity, the headline is unintentionally buried better than the small print in
I highly recommend Type & Layout to everyone who works in advertising, publishing, or graphic
design and who wants to maximize the impact of their materials.
All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan
Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
ISBN 074326987X $24.95
All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan, written by the bestselling authors of The
Two-Income Trap, is a solid book about the basics of financial planning.
The authors tell us there are many good financial planning books on the market, if you already
a great deal of money and are looking to make more, but there are few books written for the
majority of Americans who are struggling financially and who worry about money.
All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan helps average people get their finances in
Harvard law professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren is America's leading expert
the causes of personal bankruptcy in America.
Warren and Tyagi suggest that individuals must get their expenses into balance with their income.
particular, the authors say we should spend no more than 50% of our income on "Must Haves" or
expenses that must be paid no matter what (rent or mortgage, utility bills, health insurance,
taxes, etc.). Then, 30% of our income can be spent on our "Wants" (for example, cable TV,
or, actually, anything you want). The remaining 20% of our income should be saved toward
your financial future. The savings become automatic, if you get your must-haves and wants in
The authors point out that historically Americans only spent about 50% of their income on "Must
Haves." But, today, there is a trend for Americans to commit more and more of their income to
expenses that must be paid, no matter what.
If your "Must Haves" are over 65% of your income, the authors write: "Even the smallest hiccup
can seem like a major disaster because there is no extra money to handle anything that goes
wrong. You need to get your Must-Have spending under control immediately."
To get your money in balance, Warren and Tyagi say you can't worry about saving a little bit here
and a little bit there. Rather, look at your bigger expenses and find ways to save there. "Count the
dollars, Not the pennies," they counsel.
For example, drive a less expensive car. They write: "Buy used, drive it until it falls apart, and
keep driving it. Drive your car until the odometer flips. Drive it until you're on a first-name basis
with your local mechanic. Drive it until you embarrass your kids. And then drive it some more.
laugh all the way to the bank."
The authors show us how to reduce insurance costs, mortgage costs, and other big-expense items.
We learn that many people overpay for insurance and mortgages.
We also learn that, due to changes in legislation, it's easier for people to get into financial trouble
today, than it was in the past. Years ago, when lenders could only charge reasonable interest
lenders needed to be sure people weren't taking on more debt than they could handle. So, if a
couldn't really afford a bigger home, they wouldn't receive a mortgage for it.
But, today, people who struggle to repay their debts are often the most profitable area of lending.
This allows the lender to charge high interest rates and hefty fees.
The authors write: "The truth is, debt peddlers don't want you to think about what happens when
something goes wrong. Their only goal is to sneak that monster [debt] into your living room, in
the quiet hope that something will go wrong in your life and they can make the big bucks. That's
right: Your credit card company wants something to go wrong in your life. Why? Because that's
when they make the most money! That's when the interest piles on, the late fees and over-the-limit
charges balloon, and the bank racks up big profits from your troubles."
So, today, consumers need to learn to limit their own spending. The authors write: "practice
saying something we've heard rich people say a thousand times: 'I can't afford that.' Say it with
anger. Put some real heart into it - loud and furious. Now say it with resentment. Fill your voice
bitterness and envy. Say it with pain. Say it with disappointment. Say it with self-pity. The best
one: Say it with good cheer. Laugh out loud about it."
All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan is a great book for people who want to get
finances into balance and avoid financial disaster.
From the Path: Verses on the Mystic Journey
William W. Simpson
PageFree Publishing, Inc.
109 South Farmer St., Otsego, MI, 49078
ISBN 1589613457, $11.99 118 pages
Meditations From a Spiritual Journey
For me, the best poetry stirs my soul; it awakens my spirit through its clarity and simplicity. Its
purpose is clean, pointing me towards greater understanding of who I am in this world, or, even
better, towards comprehension of the divine that indwells both this world and me. It is this
comprehension, this movement towards the divine, that enables each of us to make this world
as we work for justice and an "acting-out" of the divine's attributes.
Much poetry that is published does not fall into this category for me. I find it bland; I struggle
the lines, struggle to make sense of it, and eventually give up. But every once in awhile I am
rewarded with a rich vein of spirituality comes to me. William Simpson, spiritual master of the
Conscious Living Foundation (www.consciouslivingfoundation.org) has provided this vein for
in his recent book, From the Path: Verses on the Mystic Journey. The poems in this book are food
for the soul, providing both inlet and outlet for contemporary journeying with the divine.
Mr. Simpson is well aware that spirituality is a journey, that one never arrives. Through his long
years of meditation, Simpson has discerned that each of us is here for a purpose. For him, part of
that purpose was to record these sixty-six poems "found" during the course of his summer
meditations in 2004. (He also includes a helpful primer on "first steps," described on the back
as "practical techniques for growth and transformation.")
While he wrote, he struggled with his self - with whether the poems made sense, or how it would
end. This struggle demonstrates the reality of the spiritual life as we move between the two poles
doubt and faith, darkness and illumination.
This struggle is clearly scene, and enhanced for each of us, in several of his poems. For example,
"And So I Sit," Mr. Simpson details the difficulty in maintaining a spiritual practice: "Distracted
enticed by / Flaws and indiscretions / I am pulled away from / Your presence." The joy of
the divine is attested in "To Rest In You," even with the awareness that a glimpse of truth now is
not the end of the journey: "What a relief to rest in You! / To let go of pain. / To let go of
To just let go. / And what of the world? / Terror and war." Finally, we learn in "Another Kind Of
Love" that the path to the divine is learned and lived by love: "There is another kind of love. / One
without an unfulfilled desire. / One that seeks no selfish end. / When the best way / To get it - / Is
to give it - / Purely. / There is another kind of love."
We can thank Mr. Simpson for showing us how to dance. It is up to each of us to follow his lead
and enter into this mystic dance.
Book Marketing from A-Z
1094 New DeHaven Street, Suite 100, West Conshohocken, PA, 19428
ISBN 074142431, $18.95, 400 pages
For beginning authors, book promotion is the key to success. Whether an author self-publishes or
published by a major house, most often that author needs to market her book herself if she wants
there to be any chance at all of it being successful. Large publishing houses are too concerned
promoting the next blockbuster to focus even on mid-list titles, and smaller publishing houses
don't have the resources to commit to marketing their titles. Even worse off are those who
self-publish, because when they receive their books, they are on their own. Any marketing that
happens, happens because of their efforts, and their efforts alone.
What is a new author to do? He can sit back and hope that his book sells somehow, or he can put
money into a marketing plan and hope that plan is successful. But without a marketing
that money can be wasted quickly. As a result, many authors don't market out of fear of loss and
uncertainty, and sell far fewer books than they should.
Into this void comes a wonderful book - Book Marketing from A-Z by Francine Silverman. The
sub-title explains it all: "More than 300 authors share the peaks and pitfalls in promoting their
Silverman hasn't so much written this book as she has edited it. She is the successful author of
books, as well as the owner of a very influential book promotion newsletter
(http://bookpromotionnewsletter.com). Over a couple years of publishing her newsletter, she has
collected marketing success stories from many authors, and, combined with her own expertise,
put it all together into an excellent resource.
This book contains everything a new (or even experienced) author needs to begin marketing.
Authors might be surprised to learn that there are many free things they can do to market their
books! For example, I was surprised at how many authors related that something as simple as
handing out bookmarks or pens stamped with their website and book name resulted in much
publicity and many sales.
The book is comprehensive - arranged alphabetically, Silverman covers such topics as the
importance of good reviews, what to do (or not do) at book signings, how to brand yourself, how
tie-in with holidays or movies, how speaking engagements can help a career blossom, and how to
send out press kits. There are two huge sections on using Internet technology (web sites, ezines,
e-groups, etc.) and newsletters to build a following. In my view, these two sections are the most
informative sections of the book.
Silverman has produced a timely, comprehensive, and very helpful book that new and expert
will return to time and again as they build their writing careers.
Jeremy M. Hoover, Reviewer
Z is for Zookeeper: A Zoo Alphabet
Marie and Roland Smith
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
ISBN: 1585361585 $16.95 40 Pages
A is for Animals
that live in the zoo.
Caring for creatures
is what zookeepers do.
How do zookeepers keep animals in their charge safe and healthy? How do they transport them,
house them and save them from disease and extinction? What's the one sound a zookeeper will
forget? What's an incubator? For the answers to all of these questions and more, parents and
teachers will want to share this delightful book with children. The rhymes are fun and peak
and the sidebars are full of fascinating information. The illustrations, done by Henry Cole, put the
audience right in the middle of a zoo!
T is for Teachers: A School Alphabet
Steven L. Layne and Deborah Dover Layne
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
ISBN: 1585361593 $16.95 40 Pages
T is for Teachers,
forever sowing seeds.
Their hope and prayer will always be
that every child succeeds.
What are the origins of the alphabet? Who began the first kindergarten in the United States?
the difference between a quiz and a test? Who is the first person to arrive at most schools each
morning? Children new to school will get a glimpse of some of what they'll learn about and some
the very special grown-ups that they will encounter. Steven and Deborah Layne draw from their
experiences as longtime teachers to create a great tell-all about the wonderful world of school and
all it has to offer. And like all good teachers, they end this book with a short quiz to see how well
their audience was paying attention!
The Truth About Beauty: Transform Your Looks and Your Life from the Inside Out
Beyond Words Publishing, Inc.
Suite 500, 20827 N.W. Cornell Road, Hillsboro, OR 97124-9808
ISBN: 1582701008 $17.95 361 pp.
The Truth About Beauty: Transform Your Looks and Your Life from the Inside Out by Kat
grew from the author's obsessing to be thin to be beautiful and manifested as a full-blown
compulsive eating disorder that ruled every minute of every day for 12 long years. Even while she
was a successful spokesperson for major cosmetic brands and a TV makeover guru, who
concentrated on making others appear beautiful, she was damaging her own beauty and health. At
age 26, when a liver problem -- arising from her eating disorder -- threatened her life, she began
transformation toward better health.
As she searched feverishly for answers to restore her health, she was appalled at the bias against
useful alternative health care approaches. She boldly explains to newcomers to alternative
that the true motivation of the prejudice the traditional health care industry clings to lies with its
bedfellow, profitability, from patentable synthetics and pharmaceuticals. Nevertheless, she
recognized the inextricable link between health and beauty and strode along a pathway to her
beautiful self. In The Truth About Beauty, James shares her journey and hopes to inspire others
"the incentive and tools" to take control for a better life (p. xix). She names tool number one as
"magic motivation" and defines it with the motto, "Think Health and Beauty Will Follow" (p.
She blames not only herself but also a culture that embraces advertising images that promote the
myth of perfection (p. 14). Her goal is to jump start the efforts of others to feel and look better by
educating her readers to be conscious of and to insist on quality, health-supporting foods, health
care products, and cosmetics instead of embracing nutrient-deficient foods and synthetic products
that have been scientifically documented as detrimental. She encourages readers to think about
they feed their bodies and minds and souls and to read labels and to question and search for
nutrient-dense foods and natural products that can serve their best interests rather than being
into a white-knuckled, never-let-go "brand loyalty" that rewards companies for over advertising
fancy packaging rather than the merits of the foods and products themselves. Rather than creating
feeling of deprivation with new choices, she invites readers to recognize the modifications as
upgrades for a better life.
If brand loyalty is important to you, then this book is not for you; but if you already have begun to
explore to find health-giving natural foods and natural products, then this book will enhance your
efforts. James would be the first to suggest, however, that you not follow her lead blindfolded.
Instead, always continue to read and study and question to find what works best for you. Even
of the companies that she recommends as having natural cosmetics may fall short of your own
when you read the ingredients listed. So make your own choices. James's book includes a hefty
Resources Guide, an extensive bibliography, and a useful index. Find a comfortable place to read
The Truth About Beauty, because Kat James will enchant and engage your interest to such a
that you will not be able to put down the book easily. James's book is a must read if you care
yourself and your loved ones.
Life without Anger
Dean Van Leuven
De Vorrs Publications
553 Constitution Avenue, Camarillo, Ca 93012
ISBN: 0875167896 $16.95 244 pp.
Life without Anger: Your Guide to Peaceful Living by Dean Van Leuven, an esteemed lawyer
has seen anger in its overabundant stress-inducing forms, proposes a noble plan that takes readers
beyond the goals of controlling or managing anger right to the heart of defusing existing,
long-standing anger and becoming aware of the potentially incessant triggering of explosive anger
stop it before it can set its traps.
Van Leuven says that in a more primitive stage of human and social evolution, the "fight or flight"
mode served individuals. In this stage, in which we would be expected to be enlightened, he says
that it is far "more effective to respond intellectually rather than physically to the dangers and
problems the we encounter" (p. 1). Continuing to manifest the more barbaric, warring responses
merely exacerbates stress and ignites anger both of which damage health and well-being not only
physically, mentally, and spiritually for individuals but also models very negatively for
He explains how the brain works, why we experience anger, and what we can do to re-program
ourselves to prevent it from taking hold. Reducing, controlling, and preventing rebelliousness and
anger lies with our efforts to watch for it creeping onto the scene. As we pay attention to
anger, notice how it operates, and understand why we feel it, we can improve our abilities not
to reduce and control it, but also we can apply Van Leuven's techniques to remove anger from
His two granddaughters, Kristin and Amanda, brought the terms "cold prickly" and "warm fuzzy"
his attention. He very aptly uses "cold prickly" to describe demonstratively how the negative,
fear-based feelings of anger feel and "warm fuzzy" to describe the "positive, love-based emotions,
such as joy and happiness" (p. 21). He points out that our emotional responses to events are
a product of our pre-conditioning and our beliefs shaped and fostered by our parents, our friends,
and our anger-based society. The very foundation of Life without Anger is that because we also
train ourselves to question our own beliefs we can choose a carefully thought out response rather
that reacting robotically or automatically. To establish a better habit pattern, Van Leuven
encourages us to think about our own, sometimes tainted, beliefs and to analyze to understand the
words, actions, and behaviors of others before speaking. Before responding always ask if the
response that I am about to give helpful or unhelpful. Do away with "good" and "bad" and "right"
and "wrong" judgments. Instead, empower yourself with knowledge, seek to understand, and plan
choose a positive alternative to anger. Persisting in a rigorous effort to change our limiting beliefs,
our narrow attitudes, and our reactive behaviors to open beliefs, accepting attitudes, and
behaviors, we truly can, with vigilance, free ourselves from anger. His message is clear, and
oftentimes, he repeats parts of his message to drive home his points, knowing that often we must
read or hear an idea or concept numerous times before we can inculcate it into our hearts and
Van Leuven says that "If we could all learn to erase anger from our hearts, war, litigation, and
would all become a thing of the past" (p. 3), a noble goal, indeed. Life without Anger is a must
if you want to free your life of anger, boost your health and the health of your loved ones and
associates, and help to move our society onto a better track for peace in our troubled world. You
may even wish to attend one of his life-changing workshops after reading his book. Between
chapters, Van Leuven poses questions, encourages you to keep a journal, and further encourages
you to remove unhealthy stress from your life by freeing yourself of anger.
Linda Davis Kyle, Reviewer
The Order of the Poison Oak
1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019
ISBN: 0060567309 $15.99 240 pp.
Russel Middlebrook, a high school student readers last met in the novel GEOGRAPHY CLUB, is
near the end of a very traumatic sophomore year. He was outed in the previous book, and he
up to the ramifications of that, some of which continue on in the form of low-level verbal abuse
other students. "I'd put up with this kind of crap ever since we'd gone public with our
Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance, and frankly I was getting pretty tired of it. Yeah, yeah, sticks and
stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. First of all, anyone who thinks that
can't hurt you has obviously never taken sophomore P.E. And second, did it ever occur to
wrote that stupid adage that hurtful words might be a pretty good indication that sticks and stones
are on the way?" (p. 2).
From the start, it's clear that Russel has a good sense of humor and that he is strong enough to
weather the ups and downs of his newly admitted gay status. But that doesn't mean it's easy, so he
glad that summer arrives, and he is heading off to be a camp counselor with his best friends Min
Gunnar. He figures they'll goof off, swim, play games with kids, and generally have a great time.
one need ever know he's gay. What a surprise to find out how wrong he is!
For the first two-week camp session, Russel is assigned a cabin of ten-year-old boys, all of whom
are burn survivors. They go on the rampage almost immediately. At first Russel is inclined to cut
them far too much slack because he pities them, but he quickly loses control. Some of the early
laughs in the book come from his internal musings about what brats they all are and how helpless
feels trying to keep them in line. Pity doesn't help; he has to learn to treat them the same as other
kids and hold them to the same standards.
Meanwhile, he doesn't see that much of Min and Gunnar, but he does meet one of the other
counselors, Web Bastian, who is a real looker. Unfortunately, Min is also enamored with Web,
Russel's friendship with Min could be at risk. In fact, his friendship with Gunnar suffers some
and arrows, too, and Russel is at wit's end. Only Otto, another counselor who attended the camp
when he was younger and is also a burn survivor, is a steadying force for Russel.
The story reads very much like a teenager is narrating it. At the same time, Russel has an intuitive
side to him that is a delight. His strong heart shines through every chapter of the book as he learns
that scars - both internal and external - as well as secrets can bring people together and tear them
apart as well. Hartinger shares the weaknesses in his well-written teenage character as well as his
strengths. By showing the discrimination toward both gay youth and toward the scarred burn
victims, the author makes it clear that any kind of unfairness, any kind of pain is hard on kids, and
only by banding together for support can it be transcended.
This is a funny, touching novel about the continued growth and self-awareness that one young
attains during what should be ordinary summer camp events, but are really quite extraordinary
experiences. Russel is the kind of character you wished you knew in real life, and this is a book
stays with you long after you've finished it. With this third novel from Brent Hartinger, I can see
he is an author who is only becoming more accomplished in his writing style, and I look forward
many years of reading his work. This book is highly recommended for all youth, ages 13 to
Rosemary and Juliet
Alice Street Editions
a div. of Haworth Press
10 Alice St, Binghamton, NY 13904-1580
ISBN: 1560234830 $17.95 265 pp.
In the small California community of Divido, high school student Romey Arden is the only out
lesbian teenage student. The day she came out - with the support of her ex-hippie, heterosexual,
single parent mother - was the day a lot of the kids began shunning her. But not Elliot, the only
other gay student. And not Amina, a straight girlfriend who sticks by her through thick and thin.
Romey still feels isolated, particularly because there are no other lesbian kids to hang out with.
Amina and Elliot are dear to her, but she wonders if she'll ever meet that special young
Julie Wright is unknown to Romey. A gifted singer and student, Julie is home-schooled by her
deeply devout Christian parents. When the book opens, Julie's dad, reverend of the Divido Bible
Church, is at the local school board meeting damning homosexual teachers. Meanwhile, his only
child is at home lying on her bed letting "moonshine in the window and along her body. She felt
liquid sensation, new to her these past months, blushing over her again. She had a private name
it: Yearning" (p. 23). Nearly age 15, she is "old enough to understand what her dad's sermons had
say about her own life. To Julie, the sermon said that this new Yearning was her own special
blessing, chosen for her by Jesus. Its mystery would be revealed in time, or not. Either way, she
would thank Jesus for the inner joy bestowed upon her, welcome Yearning, and protect it" (p.
It is inevitable that Julie and Romey should meet, and despite their youth, they both feel the
"Yearning." At first seeing one another requires only a little sneaking around, but soon they are
facing major obstacles. It doesn't take long before Julie's parents do everything they can to keep
two apart. But the depth of feeling that develops between the two girls can't be denied. Their
set off a string of unexpected events that shock everyone in town and cause change and disaster.
And with so much against them, can the love of these young women survive?
MacLean uses beautiful language and a tight plot that moves along with all due speed toward the
startling denouement. The novel's structure and prose are flawless. One of my favorite scenes
contains this description: "Romey ran into the soft night. With every stride, she sensed the
when both of her feet were off the ground, that moment she was airborne. It was a way to trick
relentless old gravity, which, unlike a parent, never lets its attention wander for even half a
but obsessively keeps you pinned down. Without engine or wings, for moment after moment,
perhaps a fifth of every stride, a minute out of every five, twelve whole minute out of every
hour, she was flying. Gliding on air" (p. 64). The novel is packed full of fine writing. It's by turns
serious and also funny in places. With a fine group of secondary characters, this book has it all:
compelling plot, unpredictable storyline, and a knockout ending.
The mark of a truly fantastic story is that when you finish reading the book, off and on for days
remember the characters and explore alternatives for each person's future. When you are finished
with this expert debut novel, you will find ROSEMARY AND JULIET has left an indelible mark
your memory. Don't miss this one.
Some Writers Deserve To Starve: 31 Brutal Truths about the Publishing Industry
Writer's Digest Books
4700 E. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236
ISBN: 1582973547 $14.99 240 pp.
From the very first entry, "Some Starving Artists Deserve To Starve," Elaura Niles gets straight
the point. She tells about when she was first a novice writer and attended a presentation given at
local library by a literary agent named Carolyn Swayze. Niles was certain that if she could "just
a way to talk to Ms. Swayze privately, tell her my story, I was positive she would want to see the
book. I was so convinced of this that I brought all 487 single-spaced, red-inked, coffee-stained
pages along with me" (p. 16). Instead of a private consult with the agent, by the end of the
Niles realized "I lost my writing virginity and realized I was a 'crackpot writer'" (p. 17). As a
of what she learned from the literary agent, Niles researched the ins and outs of the publishing
business. She realized that she could share loads of information with writers, and this book came
In a clear, often cutting and usually humorous manner, Niles explains why so many writers do not
get published and what they can do to improve their odds. Most of the reasons writers don't get
books in print have to do with the major gaffes they commit. So, for instance, Niles tells us "Many
Writers Fail Because They Are Trying to Sell in the Wrong Markets," and she offers an amazingly
simple solution: Get out of the house and 1) go to the local bookstore; 2) imagine a book like
3) go find it; 4) look around at what section you are in. Quite simply she says, "That's your
Whether providing a list of Pros and Cons about the different types and styles of publishers or
describing what makes a good query letter, Niles is delightfully brief and funny, more to the point
than most other "How-To" books. She writes about the fact that "Hiring A Pro Doesn't
Success" and that "Some Agents are Dishonest from the Get-Go." She often provides resource
information, for instance for organizations such as the Association of Author Representatives and
the Writers Guild of America.
I found myself laughing out loud at times as I read. It's an odd shaped little book, about 6-by-6
inches, but the graphics, sidebars, and quotations are great! I particularly enjoyed the first quote,
from Frank Lloyd Wright: "I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of
Let's start with typewriters" (p. 15).
Having worked slush piles for two publishers, I can attest to the fact that the advice Niles gives is
accurate and insightful. This is exactly the type of book that should be read by any new writer or
anybody having trouble getting work accepted. I know that I wasn't aware of a number of the
"brutal truths" early in my career, and any writer will be helped by reading Niles' no-nonsense
advice. "Truth 6: Writers Are Like Popcorn: Publishers Buy Them by the Bucket and Eat Them
the Handful" (p. 41). If you want to avoid being a temporary popcorn snack - or being passed
for some other treat - read this book.
Lori L. Lake, Reviewer
"Author Day for Room 3T"
Robin Pulver, author
Chuck Richards, illustrator
ISBN 0618354069; $16.00 32 pp.
Author Day in Room 3T is just around the corner and the children are anxiously getting ready.
They've read Harry Bookman's books backwards and forwards. They've drawn pictures to go
with his text. They've even put on a play based upon them for the kindergarteners. They can't wait
meeting the seemingly exciting man who's behind their favorite zany books!
Mr. Topper doesn't want his students to be disappointed, so he tries to convince them that authors
are ordinary people. Of course, they don't believe him for a minute. When it finally comes time for
Mr. Bookman's school visit, two students discover a hairy stranger tapping on the library window.
Thinking it is the author, the students let him in and the school visit begins!
Absolutely fabulous fun from Robin Pulver, author of "Axle Annie" and other humorous books.
hilarious case of mistaken identity will appeal to students, teachers, adults, aspiring writers and
authors alike! Robin Pulver's text sets up zany antics which are well-carried out by talented
illustrator Chuck Richards in stunning watercolor/colored pencil illustrations. "Author Day for
Room 3T" is an excellent book to read, both at home and in the school setting.
Carol Murray, author
Priscilla Burris, illustrator
A Division of Scholastic, Inc.
90 Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
Rookie Reader (Hardback), Level C
ISBN 1516258990; $19.50 32 pp.
Jenny loves socks of all colors and types, but the socks she loves the best provides a twist at the
of this easy-to-read poem.
In this Rookie Reader geared to ages 4-8, poet Carol Murray provides repetitive text with
and consonance that make for easy reading when the reader builds on the words that have come
before. A word-list of the 59 words used to write the poem is included on the last page. Priscilla
Burris' brightly-colored illustrations provide fun clues to help the reader figure out the text.
"My Daddy is a Giant"
Carl Norac, author
Ingrid Godon, illustrator
A Houghton Mifflin Company imprint
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
ISBN 0618443991; $16.00 32 pp.
Ingrid Godon's tender cover illustration done in paint and pastel on textured paper set the tone for
text---a soft, sweet tribute to a boy's father, written by Carl Novac. Told from the perspective of
admiring little boy, these lovingly exaggerated accolades about a father's height, strength and
goodness show just how big a place his father has in his heart. Short and simple, but long on
sentiment---just right for a young child to enjoy again and again. A perfect gift for a father and
to share on Father's Day or anytime.
Lynne Marie Pisano
Not All Of Me Is Dust
University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
1869140583 $14.95 1-800-944-6190 www.isbscatalog.com
Not All Of Me Is Dust is an anthology of free-verse poetry that celebrates the sacred and
acknowledges the relentless onslaught of mortality. Moira Lovell's style emphasizes simplicity to
extreme in verse that fills as much as possible into few words, sometimes only one to four words
line. The result is a stark impression that delivers its message directly to the heart and soul.
"Reason": If God gave / To Man / Reason / He gave to Man / Reason enough / To Reason out /
existence of / God / And having done that / Man is left / Searching / (Godlessly) / For
Stomp and Sing
321 Jackson Street, Willimantic, CT 06226
1931896151 $12.95 1-860-423-5110 www.curbstone.org
Stomp and Sing is a collection of free-verse poetry especially steeped in the daily experiences of
working-class men and women. From the inner demons of alcoholism and domestic violence to
travails of a high school teacher trying to help kids on the edge of life and death make something
their lives, Stomp and Sing resonates with empathy, understanding, and the cutting-edge struggle
survive. "The Real World": This is the real world. // Or at least this is one world, as real / as any
world, more brutal than some, far / less brutal than others, // but real. // Given the resources, I
prove it: / some kind of metaphysical tape measure / strung out and flopping in the space and time
between / my B period class and my F period class / would show them to be as distant from one
another / as any two randomly chosen moons / or their own neighborhoods.
Shadow of the Scorpion
Elizabeth K. Burton
3209 S. IH 35 #1086, Austin TX 78741-6905
ISBN: 1894869974 $22.00 310 pages
Book II of the Everdark Wars
After fifteen years of exile, Perian Dawnstar alt Harbinnen would wish nothing more than live in
peace with her people, the Drevnya nomads. But this is not possible. Together with Randrik, the
man who loves her and whom she secretly loves back yet denies, she is on a quest to find the
of Light and destroy the souleater - Azdrefel, Lord of the Everdark - before he destroys
Their journey faces many obstacles. Not only is Perian pregnant and hiding the truth from
but keeping away from his alluring, powerful touch proves more difficult by the day. They must
murderous creatures sent by Azdrefel, and keep constant guard against Watchers. To make
worse, a price has been put to their heads and this forces Perian to drastically change her
in order to keep incognito.
The Lord of the Everdark has come up with a horrible plan to possess Perian and destroy Randrik
and their unborn child Will he be able to accomplish his wish before they are able to stop
Nominated for an Eppie 2005 Award, Shadow of the Scorpion, the much awaited sequel to
of Darkness, delivers enough romance, suspense, well-drawn characterizations and flawless,
writing style to satisfy demanding readers. The tension between the hero and heroine is explosive
and will keep readers tingling. I was able to transport myself to another place and time and
emotionally involved with these dynamic characters. This is a story that will keep you entertained
hours and will make you want to read more of this talented author's work. A must for your
The Fat Moon Dance
363 Badminton Rd., Nidley, Bristol UK, BS37 5JF
ISBN: 1904224288 $7.19 134 pages,
Delightful, funny and marvellously witty!
In The Fat Moon Dance, Elizabeth Taylor (yes, that's her name) takes us through a refreshing,
totally fun ride through the pre-teen minds of Bayly James and her group of friends.
Bayly James has a serious problem. More than anything else in the world, she wants to go to the
Harvest Moon Dance, where, she dreams, the handsomest boy in her class will ask her to dance.
her mother, who has never allowed her to attend a dance before, is not ready to let her yet. And
Bayly thinks of a plan. She is supposed to hand in a project for her social science class, and
just maybe, if she manages to do a great job and finish it before the day of the dance, she might
convince her mother to change her mind.
So she gathers her best friends and her not-so-great friend to help her with the project. It is as
work as a team that we get the chance to glimpse into their real personalities, and not the "cool"
fa‡ade peer pressure compels them to take at school. Transformation occurs in the way they see
each other, and in the way they see other girls.
Will Bayly be able to go to the dance? What about chubby, unpopular, book-worm Emma, who
suddenly seems to becoming prettier and prettier each day, will she get the chance to dance at all?
And what about the most gorgeous, coolest yet meanest girl at school, Kameko, is she really as
"cool" and carefree as she pretends to be?
The language is so witty I sometimes laughed out loud. The author has done a superb job in
to life this youthful, charming, believable set of characters and make them real with their quirks,
pre-adolescent fears and insecurities. Told with love and sensitivity, this is a story any young adult
and even adult - will enjoy. I certainly look forward to reading more of this talented author's
Kitchen Sink Concert
363 Badminton Rd., Nidley, Bristol UK, BS37 5JF
ISBN: 1904224881 $8.83, 168 pages
At a church party, 16-year old Meredith Stevenson finds herself completely mesmerised with one
the boys. He's tall, handsome and has an air of danger about him, making her feel shy and
After all, she's not one of those popular and gorgeous girls brimming with self-confidence.
Though he seems friendly and down-to-earth, there's one big problem: he's with a group of
terrible-looking Skinheads. Why would a nice guy like that mix with that crowd? Eventually they
meet. His name is Simeon and although he himself isn't in the group, his brother is. This doesn't
completely solve the problem. For one thing, her parents would never approve of a boy with
"Skinhead" family members.
To make matters worse, there's an accident during the party where the kitchen sink totally
and he and the Skinheads become prime suspects. In order to fix the sink they decide to organize
concert to raise the money, and Meredith is put in charge.
Will she be able to handle the responsibility of putting together a good concert? Will she trust
enough to be able to sing? And what about "Prince" Simeon - will she be able to built a stable
romantic relationship with him? But how can they when perfect and attentive Matt is always
Meredith like a puppy starved for love, and Simeon himself declares that they shouldn't see each
other again, that they're simply two worlds apart and Meredith is better off without him?
A story sure to delight young teenagers, Kitchen Sink Concert raises issues with which they'll be
able to identify - boyfriend problems, fitting in, self-doubt. A well-written and entertaining
Gregory Scott Reid
Seven Locks Press
3100 West Warner Avenue, Suite 8, Santa Ana, CA 92704
1933063009 $19.95 1-800-354-5348 www.sevenlockspublishing.com
Positive Impact: Set Yourself On A Collision Course For Success is a compilation of stories
the business world derived from author, radio personality, and inspirational speaker Gregory Scott
Reid's on-line newsletter. Each entry describes a real-life event and presents common-sense
and practical insights. Laced throughout with simple pearls of wisdom on achieve both business
personal success. Positive Impact is a quick and easy read that is by turns thoughtful,
thought-provoking, informed, informative, and occasionally inspiring. Also very highly
recommended is Gregory Reid's early book, The Millionaire Mentor.
Coach Wooden's Pyramid Of Success
John Wooden & Jay Carty
2300 Knoll Drive, Ventura, CA 93003-7383
0830736794 $17.99 www.regalbooks.com
With the assistance of co-author Jay Carty, 94-year-old John Wooden (one of the most successful
college basketball coaches of all time including 10 NCAA national championships in 12 years; an
88-game winning streak, and 4 perfect seasons.) provides a personal, in-depth look at the
he used to achieve victory on and off the basketball court and which he imparted to generation of
students and players in Coach Wooden's Pyramid Of Success: Building Blocks For A Better Life.
Coach Wooden demonstrates how success is built block by block in his "pyramid" where each
is a crucial principle contributing to life-long achievement in every area of life. Such key values as
honesty, hard work, and respect for others make up life's "pyramid of success". Coach Wooden's
determining factor of success is not in winning or in achievements, but rather is to be found in
"self-satisfaction achieved when you know that you did your best to become the best that you are
capable of becoming." If you only have time for one book on self-improvement, self-realization,
make it Coach Wooden's Pyramid Of Success!
The Bigfoot Film Controversy
Roger Patterson and Christopher Murphy
Hancock House Publishers
1431 Harrison Avenue, Blaine, WA 98230-5005
0888395817 $22.95 1-800-938-1114 www.hancockhouse.com
The Bigfoot Film Controversy presents the complete text of Roger Patterson's landmark book
Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist?" along with a paragraph of historical corrections,
and a supplementary update on the famous Patterson/Gimlin Bigfoot film. Black-and-white as
as some color photographs enhance the text, and a general index allows for quick and easy
reference. Patterson's original book describes native american legends as well as details of various
individual sightings and even a horrifying Bigfoot story attributed to Theodore Roosevelt. The
supplement discussing Patterson's film includes enlarged color images and testimonies from a
biomechanics expert, a forensic examiner, and anthropologist, discussion of questions raised
(including issues concerning the anatomy of the creature the whether or not the film featured an
actor in a costume) and more. An excellent resource for anyone looking to investigate the legend
Bigfoot, whether one is a skeptic, a believer, or simply an inquistive-minded individual at
Michael J. Carson
1745 Broadway New York, NY 10019
www.amazon.com, Print and CD format
ISBN: 0375830715 $15.95
Fast Paced Read .. Recommended 4 stars
The narrative opens in Henan Province where the reader finds twelve year old Fu, Tiger,
from the bottom of a terra-cotta barrel. Lying on top of him are his temple brothers Malao, She,
Hok and Long. It is China in the year of the Tiger, 1650 AD. The five orphans raised from infancy
the secret temdple have been hidden by the Grandmaster. The temple is their home; the warrior
monks are their family. Enemy horses are racing up and down, weapons clash. Screams fill the air
warrior monks are toppled. Leading the attack carried out by the emperor's army is sixteen year
Ying, the Eagle, the renegade brother who earlier learned his own fighting skill along side the five
youngsters. Ying is determined to destroy the Cangzhen Monastery, murder the Grandmaster and
steal the sacred scrolls. Cangzhen temple is reduced to a fiery ruin, stolen library scrolls are
and, Fu receives an offer to join Ying. A terrifying new weapon, a tiger pit, a motherless tiger
garbage heap all figure in the narrative. Fu whose fighting style is patterned after the Tiger for
he is named is captured and kept in a cart before he is freed in an unexpected manner. Fu and his
brothers are the only survivors of the attack. When the five brothers are reunited each has a story
tell and they realize their bond is as strong as it might be if they were actually brothers by
Adopted in infancy, writer Stone draws upon his understanding of martial arts and his awareness
the yearning an adopted child may harbor for knowing of his birth parents to craft an engaging
into an ancient account. The narrative of five warrior monks who managed to elude the
century devastation of China's renowned Shaolin Temple is told through the words and actions of
five young boys each of whom is named for an animal whose fighting skill they emulate.
Tiger is the first in 'The Ancestors' series wherein five young warrior monks will learn to deal with
the calamity of losing the only home and family they have known coupled with their search into
hidden pasts. Tiger is not for the finicky. Ying is a fear-inspiring scoundrel; fierce battles are
depicted in intense detail in this narrative filled with savagery, conspiracy, artifice and intrigue.
fleshed characters are portrayed in kid pleasing fashion in this fast paced adventure. Fu's
'act before thinking' nature is something with which youngsters in the target audience of upper
middle grades into high school can readily identify. Tart dialogue between the various players is
believable plus it serves to move the tale along at a steady clip.
Forceful motivations, story line twists, perplexity all flow from the pen of writer Stone in this fast
paced debut anecdote of treachery, betrayal and intrigue.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend for the home pleasure library, the classroom book shelf
the homeschool venue. Tiger will no doubt draw boys especially toward the series.
Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense
Prism House Press
69115 Ramon Road STE 1386 Cathedral City, California 92234
ISBN: 0972395458 $24.95
Intriguing Read .. Recommended .. 4 stars
Going Deeper: How to make sense of your life when your life makes no sense opens with the
introduction. This is where the author indicates that if the reader is saddened by the way humans
treat each other, suffers from allergies, feels a bit alienated from family and friends, likes to gaze
the stars and thinks often of UFOs and are more comfortable with plants or animals than people;
then you too may be one of the seventy million wanderers who are here on earth. These
are here to help with the impending shift or end of the earth as we know it.
The novelized portion of the work begins with Chapter one wherein we meet Larry who has no
and views dogs and their owners with some amusement. A freak tornado in 1999 was to change
Larry's life in many ways. While he was not in Norman, Oklahoma for the F5 incident; events
set in place that would bring Larry and a most unbelieveable dog together. It did not take Larry
to learn that Zeus was no ordinary dog.
Writer Jean-Claude Koven presents one man's spiritual journey tying many New Age concepts in
single work of fiction. Going Deeper: How to make sense of your life when your life makes no
takes place in part in the Joshua Tree National Park, an abstruse, most fascinating bit of desert
under any circumstance.
The physical presentation of the book is not as either novel or other mass reading edition. Going
Deeper: How to make sense of your life when your life makes no sense is set down with an
Introduction, twenty seven specific chapters, Acknowledgments, Suggested Explorations,
Afterword, Glossary and an Index. The book is meant to be read in entirety and then re read as
inclination or need dictates. Chapter titles, glossary and index will serve to guide the reader to
While the book is not presented as either a novel or a self help tome per se writer Koven does
practical advice for attaining better living and understanding. Going Deeper: How to make sense
your life when your life makes no sense is the tale of one man's spiritual search to understand his
true nature and true mission here on earth. With the help of our High Self Writer Koven believes
can learn to live authentically in this interesting, unique and probing read. Koven uses Larry and
Zeus who acts as teacher, guide and guru to explain the nature of self/soul.
Writer Koven presents his theory in clear understandable language, action moves the tale along so
that reader interest is maintained from the opening chapter where we find Larry reading an
newspaper ad, right on to the last pages where we find Larry wondering if it has all been a
The work will have special appeal to the target audience of those readers who may have
some of the experiences Koven set down in the introduction.
Going Deeper: How to make sense of your life when your life makes no sense will make a nice
addition to the home library and to the home office library.
I was sent a hard back copy of the book for review. Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
Apple Pie and Promises: Motherhood in the Real Worlds
Compiled by Linda Hoffman Kimball
925N Main, Springville UT 84663
ISBN 1555178499 $9.95
Entertaining Read .. Recommended 5 stars
Apple Pie and Promises: Motherhood in the Real Worlds is not a story book per se, rather it is a
collection of 'quick reads' meant to be read at those odd moments in the day when readers have a
few moments to turn to something interesting and fun to read. This is a 125 page work comprised
forty plus vignettes authored by a group of women who share their thoughts and experiences as
daughters and mothers. Titles of individual works include: 'The Reluctant Mother' in which Lael
Littke states "I look like a bellicose buffalo" in reference to her pregnant figure. 'Folk Wisdom,'
'Feisty Women,' and 'By Proxy' offer varying views of motherhood and mothering. 'What Mom
Us' in which the writer tells of her mother's quilts touched a particular spark for me: my
grandmother died when I was 4, she too left behind quilts, quilts, quilts. 'The Year of Mothering
Intensely,' 'The Hunt,' and 'Picture Perfect' continue the narratives. 'Just Your Typical Mormon
Family' is a poignant read telling of problems to be found in step parenting and how one family
attempted both traditional and non traditional methods for achieving success in the long run. 'Up
Down and All Around' is a touching recounting of the problems facing those who experience
problems. 'Piece of Cake,' and 'Am I My Mother's Keeper?' recounts the sadness facing those
Mom or Dad experiences serious health issues late in life.
Linda Hoffman Kimball has brought together a delightful series of works in her book Apple Pie
Promises: Motherhood in the Real Worlds. Along with the short stories she adds quotes regarding
motherhood and mothering taken from women and men from all walks of life. Quotes include a
Spanish proverb, comments from John Erskine, Elizabeth Stone and Oprah Winfrey as well as a
Chinese proverb. A verse from The Bible or Book of Mormon regarding mothering can also be
found. A tongue in cheek remark by Mark Twain, an Indian proverb and a quote from Dr. Spock
round out the work. Kimball has added a little something for everyone in her compilation of
ancecdotes. Each of these honest to goodness real world MOM encounters presented on the
of this little volume are worth the read. I like particularly the format: each short anecdote is just
- short, quick reads for busy women to enjoy over a warm cookie or while waiting for the train to
cross the intersection.
While Apple Pie and Promises: Motherhood in the Real Worlds is written by Mormon women the
themes are common to mothers the world over. Apple Pie and Promises: Motherhood in the Real
Worlds is an excellent choice for the home library and pleasure reading for Mormon and non
Mormon alike. After experiencing my own problems during pregnancy I found 'Up and Down and
All Around' a particularly compelling read.
Apple Pie and Promises: Motherhood in the Real Worlds is a good book for a lazy summer
afternoon or for the quick stolen moment when the baby is napping and all is quiet at least for this
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
Parenting the Ephraim's Child: Characteristics, Capabilities, and Challenges of Children who are
Deborah Talmadge and Jaime Theler
Horizon imprint, Cedar Fort Inc
925 N Main Springville UT 84663
ISBN: 0882907735 $16.98
Informative Read .. Recommended 4 stars
Parenting the Ephraim's Child: Characteristics, Capabilities, and Challenges of Children who are
Intensely MORE Is not a story book, this is 279 page work filled with parenting tips explaining
ANOTHER parenting book is needed as well as explaining just what the Ephraim's Child is.
titles include: 'Do You have an Ephraim's Child?', 'Intensity' and 'Persistence'. I particularly
the section pertaining to intensity, how it impacts the Ephraim's Child and how parents may offer
alternatives to emotional overload. 'Adaptability,' 'Awareness,' and 'Sensitivity' are addressed in
separate chapters. The importance of adaptability, giving effective directions and monitoring
emotional stimulation are all addressed with wit and good suggestions. 'Activity,' 'Intelligence,'
'Control,' are presented in chapters 9 - 10 - 11, routine, power struggles and giving choices are all
addressed. 'Independence,' 'Disciplining the Ephraim's Child,' 'When You Don't Like Your
Child,' introduce the areas of obedience, discipline vs. punishment, rewarding the good, and
consistency. 'The Special Occasion Nightmare' when realistic expectations must be realized,
preparing the child for the occasion, awareness of crowd affect upon the Ephraim's Child, and the
gift trap offers much for parents to consider. 'Grandparenting the Ephraim's Child,' and 'Being
to the Task,' round out the work with suggestions to love the child unconditionally, provide
for the parents and enjoying the child.
Endnotes, Bibliography, Appendix, Recommended Additional Resources and an 'About the
round out the 17 chapter book.
Often parenting books present a 'formula' method for dealing with children who are quick to
accept parental instruction and seemingly always do what is expected of them. I don't know any
children like this, and apparently the writers found they were not meeting many either. Authors
Talmadge and Theler write from the viewpoint of LDS women/mothers to explain that Ephraim's
Children are covenant people whose attributes may lead to building the kingdom of god because
their characteristics and not despite them. The nine common characteristics found in these
determined youngsters are addressed in separate chapters. It is the writers' intent to aide parents
toward understanding their children's temperamental traits as strengths needing refinement rather
than as deficits needing eradication.
As a parent who raised what we termed 'the strong willed child' back in the 1970s when my own
oldest child was growing up I found myself smiling, nodding, and at times chuckling with
understanding while reading of the trials and tribulations attendant to raising a child who is, shall
say, 'a bit determined.'
If I were to pick one single chapter as THE one for parents to read it would be Chapter 6 which
addresses the need for parental adaptability when dealing with a child who often resists adapting.
The writers present counsel and suggestions in mother tested, plain language to help parents
understand their child is not simply being resistive or disobedient. The strong-willed Ephraim's
IS resistive because that is his nature, not because he is overtly trying to misbehave or rebel. The
importance of routine in children's lives cannot be over emphasized and the authors are quick to
point out the real necessity of routine in the life of the Ephraim's child.
While the term Ephraim's Child may be more significant to those who are LDS, Parenting the
Ephraim's Child: Characteristics, Capabilities, and Challenges of Children who are Intensely
is a good book for parents whether or not they are LDS. Solid parent tested ideas are presented in
easily understood language. Excellent choice for the home library and therapist library for use
counseling parents in how to deal with determined, Ephraim's Children.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.
90 Day Wonder: Darkness Remembered
Leon Cooper and Don Tait
1st Books Library
2595 Vernal Pike, Bloomington IN 47404
ISBN: 1410728757 $16.95
Absorbing Read .. Recommended 4 stars
The narrative opens with writer Cooper and his wife Alberta enjoying a trip to Washington DC
when Cooper 'flips out' and certain the occupant of a passing vehicle is old nemesis Captain Boda,
tries to open a car door. The account continues with an 'Islands of Valor' tour group visit to the
Solomons, New Guinea, Marshall and Gilbert Islands where Cooper contemplates left behind
armaments. President's economists had said country would be thrown into depression if war
were returned to states at end of WWII. Cooper visits sites where he had seen action during
Cooper suffers recurring problems due to Post Traumatic Stress. Cooper was an engineering
at Illinois, and had interviewed in Washington for job with the government when Pearl Harbor
attacked. The 90-day transformation from civilian engineering candidate to one of eighteen
midshipmen in Columbia University's Midshipman's School soon begins. And in a short time
Cooper is sent to Little Creek, Virginia Amphibious Training Base to be trained to land on
enemy-held beaches. When he met with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Lt. Commander, to discuss a
to another unit, Cooper learned his new assignment would be for 'the Big One', the invasion of
German-held beaches in Europe. With his training completed Cooper boards the U.S.S. Harry Lee
where he meets Cpt Boda. Boda who received a battlefield commission is less than enthralled with
the 90-day wonders being cranked out by the military. During the following months Cooper learns
more than he wants about Captain's Mast, takes part in six invasions including 'Bloody Tarawa',
helps ferry the wounded to a waiting hospital ship, steps on Boda's non musical toes, and is
to stand extra watch. He meets the Captain's son and receives even more duty. Despite inclement
weather Boda orders practice landings leading to predictable disaster and death. The anecdote
continues with a Christmas aboard the Lee, Boda holding up orders, and Cooper gets in hot water
again. The war ends and life goes on. Cooper marries, has a family and continues to suffer from
what was then labeled as 'shell shock.' Finally Cooper loses Alberta to ovarian cancer and writes a
letter to the now Rear Admiral Boda.
Writers Cooper and Tait have produced an enthralling account of a young mid American who is
caught up in the nationwide trepidation following the attack upon Pearl Harbor during WWII. 90
Day Wonder: Darkness Remembered is a tension filled account recounting the four years of abuse
Cooper endured at the hands of an ego maniac captain aboard the U.S.S. Harry Lee. The
flips smoothly from the present to the past and back again.
Accounts of physical combat and mental battles keep the reader turning the pages in this fast
work. The insanity of Boda's heedless commands leading to deaths of Cooper's shipmates is
in stark realism. The antagonism present between Cooper who proceeds from a sense of equity
Boda from one of absolute authority is palpable. The reader comes to understand that during
wartime the military may be compelled to install misfit or just plain madmen in charge of
90-Day Wonder: Darkness Remembered is a riveting tale recounting abuse of power, lunacy,
carnage, retaliation, devotion and atonement. Central to the tale is the fact that sometimes
martinet tyrants are placed in command of men, that this miscalculation often leads to needless
deaths and long-term, post-war psychological problems for the surviving subordinates is
the military has long denied and ignored.
Good book for the history buff and those who enjoy reading 'war' stories. Not for everyone, racial
epithets and expletives are used.
I am a Vietnam veteran's wife who found the read compelling, happy to recommend.
Brand Clout: Maintaining Relevance & Profitability Amidst Constant Change
Dennis C Flynn
PO Box 8006 Hilton Head Island SC 29939
ISBN: 0974414956 $17.95
Informative Read .. Recommended . 4 stars
The narrative is not a story book per se, rather this is an educational or training manual for those
who hope to create a lasting impression for their work or business. Brand Clout: Maintaining
Relevance & Profitability Amidst Constant Change is a 134 page work comprising thirteen
filled with information to guide the entrepreneur toward improving customer relationships and
enhancing customer loyalty. The preface explains the role of the CEO and corporate leadership. In
chapter one the business model is explained. Why brand is important and brand identity and equity
are revealed in chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 8 presents information for understanding how best to
along with customers and employees. Communication and its importance is the focus for chapters
and 10. Continuous relevance is the theme for Chapter 12. Chapter summaries and notes about
author are included in the work.
Filled with graphs, highlights, diagrams and graphics Brand Clout: Maintaining Relevance &
Profitability Amidst Constant Change is a well devised work meant to serve as a training tool for
business owners. Chapters are kept short, writing is crisp, to the point and accomplished.
are devised so that busy business owners can read a chapter at a sitting while waiting for the train
pass the intersection, or at their desk over a quick lunch. Brand Clout: Maintaining Relevance &
Profitability Amidst Constant Change is meant to be read, kept at hand, and re read as needed.
Writer/marketing consultant Dennis Flynn has taken knowledge gained from his own business life
and has turned that knowledge into a work in which chapters are presented with an overview,
explanations of terms or other words used, and easily understood methods and techniques for
achieving success. Definitions of terms, illustrations, bulleted points are all used to help the reader
understand the principles offered. Chapter notes reinforces the key points covered in each
On the plus side Brand Clout: Maintaining Relevance and Profitability Amidst Constant Change
introduces the reader to consultant Dennis Flynn's Sonar Model for brand development. Readers
will learn to create a process for evaluating and identifying technologies needed for achieving
competitive brand advantage, develop new perspectives on existing and upcoming alliance
opportunities for strengthening existing brands, and create increased leverage relating to brand
options for competitive advantage. Flynn discusses future trends in brand marketing along with
importance for using customer feedback effectively. Learning to ask the right questions is
fundamental to success in the opinion of the writer who sets out a model for aiding companies in
designing business models to take them to a solution share position. The Voice of the Customer is
tool designed to be used to glean perspective and intelligence from employees, investors, current,
past and prospects and others who may have a stake in the success of the venture.
Brand Clout: Maintaining Relevance and Profitability Amidst Constant Change is filled with
branding information and useful methods and technologies presented in easily read form. Writer
Flynn's avowed purpose for the book is to help business owners evaluate and reconfigure assets
more powerful business and brand outcomes. Develop new perspectives on existing and
alliance opportunities that can strengthen your brand. Create increased leverage of brand options
competitive advantage. And Create a process for evaluating and identifying technologies that are
will be critical in achieving competitive brand advantage.
Brand Clout: Maintaining Relevance & Profitability Amidst Constant Change is an interesting,
read work sure to please those who are thinking about beginning their own business as well as for
the experienced business owner who may be needing a little helping hand to improve his image
his customers. This book has a place on the home office library shelf as well as on the desk of
business owners who operate in the public sector.
Enjoyed this informative read, happy to recommend.
Molly Martin, Reviewer
12 Charles Hawkins Bay Winnipeg, Manitoba R2G 3K4 Canada
ISBN 097348487X $5.95 53 pages
For a fantastical ride, I'd highly suggest Magic Man by A.P. Fuchs. It's a whimsical journey
comic book imagination with elements of the boogeyman. There is a price that comes with the
Magic Man, and sometimes it's higher than you'd like, but often there's a message and a lesson to
learned. In this chapbook, you get to catch a glimpse of the man behind the name.
In the first story "The Exchange," we're introduced to Barry, a man who has never gotten over
woman he first fell in love with. The Magic Man pays him a visit, with the ability to grant him a
special wish. To what extent will Barry go, to have his wish come true? If one endures anguish
pain along the road of dreams, will one appreciate the outcome more?
The other story, "Little Boy Who Would," centers on an intrinsic game of cards depicting fear,
reason, hope, and wishes. Life itself is a game, and not everyone is a winner all the time.
Also included in this chapbook are striking artwork, poetry, and insightful reflections on the
and thoughts behind the illusive Magic Man.
I think any reader can take something different away from these stories. The messages vary,
depending on what issues you may be facing. We'd all like our dreams and wishes to come true,
where's the line that is drawn? One person's selfishness is another person's glory, but who's to say
one is more deserving? Entering into the realm of Magic Man may very well give you answers, or
ask you to find them out the hard way.
12 Charles Hawkins Bay Winnipeg, Manitoba R2G 3K4 Canada
ISBN 0973484829 $12.95 179 pp.
Reading the eloquent novella April is somewhere between a languid summer day and a moment of
serenity. Told through the poignant voice, of author Peter Fox, it gives a firsthand account of one
man's view into the soulful depth of where love takes him.
Central character Joseph is a struggling comic book writer, with a simple, average life. Routine
works well for him from his work, to where he hangs out, to watching reruns of Seinfeld.
over the course of one particular weekend, his life changes. From the moment the lovely and
eccentric April sits down across from him in the Second Cup coffee shop, something clicks inside,
and he is transformed. The reader is taken on a personal journey of how love can empower with
freshness, and subtle quirks.
The dialogue between April and Joseph is contagious, with true meaning, reminiscent of Before
Sunset, but with a little more human quality to it. Sometimes all we have is a moment, and for
Joseph he is forever changed, and deeply affected from the moment. It is his honesty, his strength,
and his courage to plunge himself into something that may essentially lead nowhere.
As the story unraveled, I found myself cheering April and Joseph on, hoping that they find some
common ground, and make it in the end. That of course is left for you to discover on your
April is not a conventional love story, but unique, with thoughts many can identify with. While
person narratives may put some people off, it works in this novella to give it validity, realism, and
chance to understand the headspace of the character. The length is just right, without drawing out
on each emotion or becoming overly involved. If love were to unexpectedly fall in your lap, just
much would you leave to chance?
All Prettied Up
Naked Snake Publications
6 Rain Tree Lane Pawleys Island, SC 29585
ISSN 15457192 $5.00 30 pp.
All Prettied up is a gritty chapbook, written by rising author Elizabeth Blue, that ventures into the
darkly bizarre. The three blood-soaked offerings, along with imaginative, haunting artwork, will
leave you in a fashionable coat of goose bumps and shivers.
"Cemetery Dogs" serves up a nice, taut storyline of a man expected to pay penance for having a
stranger's dogs frightened, and one shot. Just why does Terrence continue growing hair on his
and finding himself in unfavorable surroundings at night? Vivid descriptions and a solid plot, make
for a disturbing, yet captivating read.
In a more reptilian-like version of Cujo, "The River Snake" will have you squirming, screaming,
battling it out along with the main character Carson. After years of her remembering a story told
her grandfather, of a river snake that fed off little girls, her imagination comes back to bite her in
leg, or so to speak. When something slithers up her walkway, she finds reality is the stuff stories
The final story "Homer and Opaleen," is a no-holds-barred revenge story of sorts with a shocking
twist. After forty years of marriage, a husband loathes his wife more and more. Even her cooking,
the only thing that gave her a redeeming quality, wasn't worth the grief or aggravation.
between a carving knife, a pumpkin, and a collection of books, Opaleen is freed of her wifely
All Prettied Up is an interesting collection of stories, each one unique and a thrill to get lost in. I
would have liked a few more stories, but the chapbook is a comfortable length to peruse in one
sitting. Of the three, I most enjoyed "Homer and Opaleen" for its creative ending. Elizabeth Blue
a refined talent of relating a story, which I hope continues for a long, long time.
Secrets, Fact or Fiction?
Diane J. Newton, editor
Oxcart Press (an imprint of Coscom Entertainment)
12 Charles Hawkins Bay Winnipeg, Manitoba R2G 3K4 Canada
ISBN 0973728256 $10.99 160 pp.
Editor Diane J. Newton, has put together an odd little collection of nine unique stories called
Secrets, Fact or Fiction? fitting somewhere between taut suspense and heartrending. It's difficult
tell by the title and cover, where exactly these stories will take you, but that is of course, part of
enjoyment of reading.
"A Life Interrupted" has a slow, detailed start, with impeccable attention to the characters, so
so that I cared about what happened to each and every one of them. My only complaint is that
such a build up of emotion and tension, the ending was rushed and it left me a bit put off.
In "A Creature of Habit", author Larry Pontius, weaves a fast-paced drama, complete with an
abrupt, but slick twist at the end. His main character was fueled with excellent inner dialogue, and
doing so, brought realism toward the events taking place around him.
The collection gains momentum with "The Apple Doesn't Fall Far..." deliciously written by C.T.
Adams. This was one of my favorites for its flow, conversation, characters, and how the plot
unraveled. It truly made for excellence in storytelling.
Unfortunately, "Crawfish Braud" by Hill Kemp, didn't work for me. Too much information was
provided early on, leaving the plot convoluted and somewhat flat. I didn't find the dialogue
as everyone spoke overtly polite and well mannered. The story did have an interesting concept,
perhaps done differently, would truly shine.
Things quickly slow down - almost too quickly, with "Josie," a must-have hankie story. While a
predictable plot, it was moving and sentimental. Kathleen Strelow, knows how to work the
heartstrings, which means, yes, I got teary-eyed when it came time for the bittersweet ending.
I can understand the concept of its inclusion in this collection because of the secret factor, I'm not
entirely sure it worked for me here.
After such a poignant story, we are thrust back into the hard and heavy with "The Queen's Sin,"
which was thoroughly entertaining literature complete with dynamic storytelling and adventure. If
anything can possibly be found unlikable within this story, it's the placement after such an
one. This was another favorite and I'll be certain to keep my eye out for more creative works by
author C.W. Gortner.
"A Matter of Taste" was charmingly written by Cathy Clamp, and between the sensible character
bantering, and a few hidden goodies, this is a delight to savor. For more reasons than one.
Probably the creepiest story of the lot is "Not There" with its superb tension and ambience.
A.P. Fuchs has it down pat with bringing a reader in, using all of the senses, and letting the
imagination run wild. Just when I knew where it was going, I was taken for a loop and left biting
nails. Equally as important, it stayed with me for days after reading. I would have placed this story
first or last in this collection to give the readers something to chew on.
"The Baby Secret" by talented author Carlene Reed, exudes a nice writing style, with careful
attention to details, but didn't leave me with a lot of emotion. I felt somewhat cheated with its
wrapped up ending, and the complete lack of realism with her main characters, given the nature of
the situation. It also suffers by being toted as the final story, after following several high
Secrets Fact or Fiction? has a lot going for it with imaginative stories and fully developed
The authors involved are talented and skilled in their craft, with a few exceptional stories that
out from the rest. As I mentioned, the order of the stories really threw me off. Just as I had my
blood pumping, I was thrust into a somber mood, only to be thrust back into a hard driving story
and left to ponder the whole collection after a final solemn story. Because of that, I'd suggest
reading one story at a time, to enjoy them on their own merit, rather than reading the book all the
way through. While I was certain the stories would be of a science fiction nature, I was happily
Michael A. Arnzen
Raw Dog Screaming Press
5103 72nd Place Landover Hills, MD 20784
ISBN 0974503126 $12.95 203 pp.
100 Jolts by famed flash fiction author Michael Arnzen, takes every day ideas and meshes them
a condensed, obscure, delightfully deranged view, with all the makings of a winning combination.
Forget short and sweet, think intelligently formatted for your reading pleasure, where each word
counts, delivers a potent image, and leaves you disturbed for weeks.
Right before the first jolt, we get a glimpse into the author's influences and thoughts on creative
authors such as Poe. It's an interesting set up to allows the reader a chance to get up close and
personal. What follows is one tale after another, where you have to laugh, cringe, blink, and
remember to breathe.
There's no way to pick favorites from such a large collection, each story affected me in one-way
another - whether I wanted it to or not. From the Five Mean Machines stories to Nightmare Jobs,
you can devour this as an elaborately coursed meal, or nibble on it one morsel at a time. "Skull
Fragments" starts us off, deservedly so, and leaves a lasting impression. Probably the most
is "The Cow Cafe," which makes me thankful I don't do dairy. "Who Wants to be a Killionaire" is
fantastic knock off of the once famous game show, and "Mother's Haunted Housecoat" was in
twisted. Other stories that I may need counseling over include "Tassels," a new kind of
"Take Out," with its man-made pizzas, and "Stabbing for Dummies," which could be considered
After regaining your composure, the book finishes with an in-depth interview between Michael
Arnzen and Jerry Schatz on writing flash fiction, and how he has made a niche for himself. While
many people assume flash fiction is just taking a story and editing it to death, there is actually an
to it, and not as easy as it seems. Take a stab at 100 Jolts, and let his mind electrify you.
Nancy Jackson, Reviewer
CAFTA and Free Trade: What Every American Should Know
The Disinformation Company Ltd
163 Third Avenue, Suite 108, New York, NY 10003
ISBN 1932857168, $7.95, 96 pages
This book looks at CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the newest attempt to
bring "free trade" to the Western Hemisphere. A companion to the recently released DVD called
"American Jobs," this book shows that the reality of free trade is nowhere near as bright as the
If free trade in general, and CAFTA in particular, is such a wonderful thing, then a few questions
come to mind. Part of the attraction of free trade is that people in Latin America are going to start
buying lots of US-made products, leading to new jobs here in America. How is that going to
when the trend in wages is very much downward, to see who can reach the bottom first? It takes
years, and higher wages, to create any sort of consumer society in Latin America. If high
wages are an "inefficiency" to be gotten rid of as soon as possible, who is going to buy all those
hundred-dollar sneakers and wide-screen TVs? Where are all these new industries for which
American workers are supposed to retrain?
NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and outsourcing in general, has led to a
loss of jobs. In the 21st century, over 3 million American manufacturing jobs are gone, never to
return. According to one estimate, almost 900,000 jobs headed to Mexico because of NAFTA.
Those maquiladora jobs are now leaving Mexico and going to China, where the wages are even
lower. Over 1.5 million Mexican farmers have been forced off the land because of cheap (and
subsidized) American agricultural imports. The same thing will happen in Central America if
comes into effect. None of those displaced farmers are going to head north and illegally enter
This is an excellent book. It doesn't go into much detail (that's not the intention), but it gives the
reader plenty to consider. It is written in easy-to-understand language, so even those who know
nothing about free trade can understand it. Overall, it is very highly recommended.
What Can I Do? An Alphabet for Living
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
P.O. Box 428, White River Junction, VT 05001
ISBN 1931498660, $7.95, 127 pages
Most people want to do whatever they can to make the world a better place and protect the
For them, marching in demonstrations or engaging in direct action is not an option. What to do?
subjects ranging from Air to Water to Food to Global Warming, this book lists many web sites
more information to get the reader involved in protecting the environment.
Perhaps the reader just wants to find out what sort of recycling facilities are in their town. One of
their first stops should be to www.earth911.org. To look for reusable or biodegradable diapers,
www.organicbebe.com. The Wildlife Conservation Society (www.wcs.org) has a very
record in conserving endangered species. For those who have compost heaps, Starbucks will give
you their coffee grounds. Details are at www.starbucks.com/aboutus/compost, or talk to your
A handy wallet card on produce and pesticides called "The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides" (bring
with you when shopping) is available from www.foodnews.org. A good site on global warming is
www.climatestar.org. The Busy Person's Guide to Greener Living can be found at
www.greenmatters.com. Do you have stuff you no longer need that someone else may want?
that trip to the landfill, visit www.freecycle.org. Adopt a lobster (and help ensure a continued
of lobsters) at www.lobsters.org, the Lobster Conservancy.
This is a wonderful book. It's small (it really can fit in your back pocket), it's well laid out, and the
reader can pick their level of involvement. It is very highly recommended. Saving the environment
does not get much easier than this.
50 Facts That Should Change the World
The Disinformation Company Ltd.
163 Third Avenue, #108, New York, NY 10003
ISBN 0972952969, $14.95, 346 pages
Here is another example of the bad job done by the mainstream media in informing Americans
the state of the world. This book presents a number of facts, with accompanying essays, that will
be covered on the evening news.
In 2002, more than 80 percent of the world's executions took place in just three countries, China,
Iran and America. Black men born in the US stand a one in three chance of going to jail, while
men have a one in seventeen chance of going to jail. Because of the Asian preference for male
female babies, and because of China's one-child policy, China has 44 million missing women. Over
one-fifth of the world's population lives on less than one dollar a day. One-third of the world's
people, and over 80 percent of the smokers, live in developing countries.
Did you know that nearly half of Americans believe that aliens have landed on Earth? According
one estimate, there are over 67,000 lobbyists in Washington, which equals 125 for each member
Congress. Ten languages disappear every year. Every year, America spends $10 billion on
pornography, the same amount it spends on foreign aid. More than 70 percent of the world has
never heard a dial tone.
This book also includes sources for each of the essays, and organizations to contact for those who
are inspired to get involved in any of these areas. It is excellent, and I enjoyed reading it. Compare
the subjects in this book to what is shown on the "all-news" channels. To get a very different view
the world, this is a fine place to start.
Capitalist Punishment: Prison Privatization and Human Rights
Andrew Coyle et al (ed.)
3277 Roswell Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30305
ISBN 0932863353, $19.95, 235 pages
Prison privatization has become a major public policy issue over the last few years, in America
around the world. Advocates say that private corporations can run prisons better and cheaper than
the state. According to the contributors to this book, the promise is much greater than the
Prison corporations cut costs as much as possible, affecting things like education and
programs for prisoners, staff salaries and training, which leads to a high yearly turnover of guards.
An obstacle to greater privatization of prisons has been the power of prison guard unions. The
savings don't go to the local government, but to the corporate office, where executives draw huge
salaries. On more than one occasion, the state has had to take back control of a prison from a
corporation, because of deaths in custody, or violations of prisoners' human rights, including
Blacks and Native Americans are in prison in numbers far higher than their proportion of the
population, because prison is a method of social control more than a way to make the streets
Private prisons make little or no attempt to incorporate native traditions, like sweat lodges, into
rehabilitation process. Putting prisons far away from cities, or shipping prisoners to other states,
disrupts the family structure back home, leading to more children growing up without one or both
parents. Women, and people with diagnosed medical conditions, also do not get their needs taken
into account by private prisons.
This is an excellent book. The writing gets rather dry and academic, so it will take some work on
part of the general reader; by all means, stay with it. It is well worth reading, for those involved
prisons and for the general public.
The Warm Wind of Palestine
Scott S. Crye
Queen's House, 2 Holly Road, Twickenham, TW1 4EG, United Kingdom
ISBN 193207757X, $14.95, 253 pages
Jenna Haabeb is a strong-willed young woman living in the middle American town of Springfield.
She is a highly respected doctor and medical researcher working at the local hospital. However,
is also a Palestinian in post-9/11 America, a place of hostility and suspicion toward an unknown
of the world.
She has made many friends, including the Larsens; Catherine works in the same department at the
hospital, while Jack is retired and independently wealthy. They begin to fill the void in Jenna's life
left by the death of her family due to a "mistaken" bombing by the Israeli army.
Jenna is a devout Christian who attends daily Mass, and still dresses modestly, including wearing a
headscarf at all times. There are occasional get-togethers of all the women in Jenna and
department at the Larsen's pool, in which Jenna is encouraged to "let her hair down." An old
of Jenna's from way back, a Frenchman named Paul, comes to visit, and Jenna turns into a giddy
schoolgirl. He invites Jenna and the Larsens on a month-long trip to France.
These bonds are severely tested when Jenna is badly injured in an auto accident. A man running
the police hits her car head on at a high rate of speed. Jack stays at her bedside for several days,
feeling that someone should be there when Jenna wakes up.
This is a pretty "quiet" novel about American cultural misperceptions. It is possible for a cultural
reconciliation amidst fear and ignorance about the unknown. It's an easy read that is very much
worth the reader's time. Check it out.
Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered
P.O. Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705
ISBN 1591295505, $19.95, 142 pages
This is a group of stories about family, and the occasional strangeness that goes along with it. A
sequel to her novel This is The Place, about growing up Mormon in Utah, these stories are part
recollections by older members of the family, and part things that actually happened to the author
when she was younger.
During a drive in the country with her parents, the author got to watch an old-fashioned cow
milking, up close and personal. Another story took place during the Depression, when any scrap
cloth was saved to be made into some piece of clothing. There are stories about this grandmother
that aunt, moving to Utah as a young woman. Included are tales of family secrets passed from one
generation to the next.
Every family has stories like these. I enjoyed reading this book. The stories are very easy to read,
touching, poignant and humorous. If this book gets the reader to start thinking about their own
family history, it will have succeeded. This is well worth reading.
Being Frank: My Time With Frank Zappa
California Classics Books
P.O. Box 29756, Los Angeles, CA 90029
ISBN 187939541X, $15.95, 168 pages
Lennon was your average rebellious teenager in 1960s California, until she discovered a strange
looking album by someone named Frank Zappa at the local record store. She bought everything
could find by him, and wore out the albums due to playing them over and over. A budding
songwriter, she and her boyfriend recorded several songs on reel-to-reel tape and sent them to
Months went by, until the phone call came asking if they could stop by at the offices of Zappa's
record label. That would be enough for most people, but to realize that Zappa actually listened to
the tape was overwhelming. His general opinion was that she didn't stink, but that she wasn't
yet. On thing led to another, and a trip to the Zappa residence led to an invitation to be a
guitarist on his next tour.
On tour, Zappa rarely, if ever, indulged in the alcohol and drugs that are part of any tour, if only
keep that boss/employee distance. He was obsessive/compulsive and a perfectionist who, because
constant stomach problems, drank kaopectate by the gallon. Lennon's time on the tour was rather
short, only a couple of months. Zappa sent her home after word got to Mrs. Zappa that their
relationship wasn't exactly platonic.
Time went by, and after Lennon got thrown out of the house (the relationship with her parents
not good), she was able to crash in the basement of the Zappa residence, on the understanding
she not disturb him while he was composing. He had been seriously injured at a concert in
and, physically and emotionally, things had changed. The arrangement lasted for a while, until
went back on tour.
More time went by, and Lennon attempted to continue her music studies at a local college. She
again ran into Zappa while he was rehearsing a grand, orchestral piece called The Great Wazoo.
tried to be as helpful as possible, while also learning as much as possible. Zappa seemed to
her, more than he actually wanted her around. The relationship between them ends badly.
Zappa fans should read this book. He is shown to be a lot more than just someone with strange
about music. For rock music fans in general, this is a gem of a book.
Raising a Reader: A Mother's Tale of Desperation and Delight
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
ISBN 0312315341, $19.95, 144 pages
Teaching a child to read, and getting that child to like reading, can be one of the most frustrating,
and heartwarming, jobs for any parent. This book looks at one family's journey through such a
One of a parent's biggest wishes for their child is that they find something about which they are
passionate, something on which they can build a life. For the parent, there is a fine line between
passion and obsession, a line that is easy to cross.
It's hard to instill a love of books if the children don't have access to them. Regularly bring them
the local library, and let them take out a lot of books. If Child 2 doesn't progress in reading at the
same rate as did Child 1, don't panic. Everyone progresses at their own speed.
Another way to instill a love of books is to set aside a reading period during the day. While the
reads a book, the parent should sit and read an adult book. The child will probably enter a phase
which they are interested in what the parent considers the children's literature equivalent of trash.
Again, don't panic; they'll grow out of it.
Have faith in your child, especially if they are progressing too "slowly." Encouragement that the
pieces will eventually fall into place is better than pushing. Realize that your children are
with different styles of reading.
Also included is a long list of reading suggestions for children of all ages. This book is a gem. It's
very down to earth, and any parent can identify with it. For those parents worried that their child
isn't reading "fast enough," take a deep breath, then read this book. It's time very well spent.
Frustrated Young Men
762 South Street, Needham, MA 02492
ISBN 0974619604, $14.95, 100 pages
This is a first book from a recent Harvard graduate. These stories deal with real-life subjects, like
depression, love and loneliness. One story looks at parts of growing up and being a teenager
which society has a tendency to forget. Another story is about a man who carries on a
friendship/relationship with a young woman with bulimia, to the displeasure of his live-in
A third story is about a young writer searching for himself. In short, each of these characters runs
smack into this thing called "life." These stories look at how they deal with it.
This very short book belongs in that large gray area of Pretty Good or Worth Reading. There is
nothing "wrong" with these stories, and the writer has lots of potential (I would be interested in
reading his next book), but this book almost reaches the level of Recommended.
Belle Harbor Skeletons
Susan M. Hooper
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403
ISBN 1414013728, $20.75 308 pages
Arnie Kotkin and Barnaby Moss are lifelong friends in the small town of Lawton, NY. Girls were
never an important part of their lives while growing up. Their decision to live together as a gay
couple, while not exactly a surprise, elicits two very different family reactions, the subject of this
The Moss family comes from a lower-middle class background, and always placed the health and
well-being of their children above material possessions, anyway. If Barnaby is happy as a gay
that's all that matters. The Kotkin's live in Belle Harbor, the rich part of town. Thelma, Arnie's
mother, is a social climber with an inordinate interest in what others think of the family. Arnie's
coming out is an absolute disaster, for her, and she lets Arnie know it. She can just imagine the
whispering that will go on around town, now that they have a . . .queer in the family.
A few days later, Arnie is informed that his father has had a heart attack. Rushing to the hospital
with Barnaby, and Helene and Jack Fentnor, Arnie's aunt and uncle who are visiting, they are
confronted by Jimmy, one of Arnie's brothers. He is a medical student at the hospital and very
takes after his mother in being a self-centered jerk. He takes great exception to Barnaby's
and, in front of everyone, takes out a gun and shoots Barnaby, wounding him in the shoulder.
The incident becomes news, jeopardizing Arnie's teaching job at the local elementary school.
Barnaby is released after a couple of days (HMO). Thelma begins to realize that there is more to
than worrying about the opinion of others. A few days later, another tragedy strikes the Kotkin
family. Freddie and Jerry, Arnie's other brothers, were in a car that was deliberately forced off the
road by another car. Freddie escaped with minor injuries, but Jerry was killed. Arnie and Barnaby
decide that they had better do some fast crime solving, because someone has certainly targeted the
Kotkin family. Amid everything else, Helene and Jack let Arnie in on some deep, dark family
This isn't just a good "gay novel," or a good mystery or a good story about family secrets, it's a
really good novel, overall. It moves easily, and will certainly keep the reader involved.
Walking With the Dead
Kids Can Press
ISBN: 1553377087, $16.95, 1553377095, $6.95.
What is more fun than dressing up in a glorious outfit for Halloween? Try chasing down a
corpse needing a gold coin to cross over into the Underworld. The corpse must cross the river
be judged fairly or condemned to an unjust eternity. Alex and best-buddy Freddie, are enlisted to
help when the star of the Oddities museum suddenly wakes from his coffin. The journey has only
begun when Alex and Freddie are mysteriously transported to the river where the ferryman
waits to deliver souls to the Underworld. On the other side is the gate to Hades, a barrier between
eternal torment and a chance to get back home. They cross into the Underworld where they
encounter deliciously evil monsters barring the path. One problem after the other emerges. Are
clever enough to overcome the challenges and will they be able to travel through time and stop a
murder about to take place? A frantic but fun adventure, the storyline advances quickly calling
a child's imagination for detail already gleaned from videos. Brief description and quick moving
action make this feel like a television show. Greek mythology is nicely woven with modern details
providing the reader with an enjoyable book. Grades 4 to 7.
The Hunter's Moon
ISBN: 0810958570, $16.95
In the realm of Faerie lives an evil so great, it holds the entire realm hostage until it is appeased. In
this unlikely romantic adventure, we cross between two worlds, one mortal, and an enchanted
trapped in a brutal game to survive. Parties, merriment, exquisite dress, glorious banquets of old,
and royalty await anyone stepping into Faerie. But when American Gwen travels to Ireland to
time with her Irish cousin, Findabhair, the two find themselves trapped in a game of love and
The handsome and charming King of Faerie enters the dream world to kidnap cousin Findabhair, a
willing bride to be. Only it's the summer of the Hunter's moon and the bride must be sacrificed to
ancient evil demanding payment. It's up to sixteen year old Gwen to resist the challenge of a
powerful magic. Can she lead a force of seven to win the battle for her cousin's life or does
speak true and the evil can not be undone? The story is richly laced in fascinating fairy lore,
evidenced by the author's academic knowledge of the subject. The romance is endearing but teen
girls will feel it was rushed when it comes to Gwen. O. R. Melling does for fairies what Anne Rice
did for vampires. The story is engaging and beautifully teaches the reader about the world of
and an Irish culture both old and new. This is the first book of four in The Chronicles of Faerie.
fully enjoy the story, I recommend referring to the glossary.
A Place for Mike
Illustrated by Mernie Gallagher-Cole
Picture Window Books
ISBN: 1404810129, $18.60.
Mike likes to play. He likes to play at the beach, swim in the water, and fly kites in the yard. Mike
illustrated as a happy child experiencing the joys of a fun life. Young readers will savor scenes of
digging in the sand, of walking in flippers, as well as playing in the water. Large print high
words repeated in a simple language pattern help the emerging reader to recognize words. Each
scenic page displays one sentence, providing the reader with visual imagery as well as text. This is
level one (purple) in a series of Read-it! readers. The Read-it! Series was created to support both
acquisition of reading skills and to foster the love of books. Six different levels ranging from
to orange teach young readers different skills ranging from basic topics and objects to a wide
of ideas and challenging language structures. Formatted as a small hand-held book, it is easily
handled by young hands. Advisors Adria Klein, PhD, California State University, and Susan
Kesselring, M.A., Literacy Educator, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District endorse
reading techniques highlighted in the series. Emergent Reader, Ages 4 to 7.
Robots: The Movie Storybook
Adapted by Kate Egan
ISBN: 0060591137, $7.99
Can you imagine a world of robots where each robot has a distinct look and personality and your
new baby comes in parts through the post office? Welcome to Robots, a technological world
updates are the future. As a young bot Rodney Copperbottom grows up in a loving household
watching his favorite show, The Bigweld Show. Bigweld tells his viewers, "Whether a bot is made
of new parts, old parts, or spare parts, you can shine no matter what you're made of." From this,
Rodney desires to be an inventor. When he becomes a young adult, Rodney leaves Rivet Town to
meet Bigweld personally but Robot City turns out to be a different the kind of world. Corruption
and calamity await the innocent robot and a life threatening adventure ensues. Will Rodney and
new friends uncover the secret and more important, will they be able to stop the evil that lurks?
Meant as a companion to the movie, the text skips across the storyline to highlight key points. If
haven't seen the movie, the story may seem jagged. The extraordinary photographs are worth
studying and pleasing to children. Each robot is uniquely different with body mechanics and facial
movement conveying emotion. Ages 6-10.
Meet the Robots
ISBN: 0060591145, $3.99
Rodney Copperbottom meets some worthwhile friends while trying to save Robot City. Pegged as
Festival Reader, this book is meant to help and nurture a love of reading. Written with a
vocabulary in short sentences, the child is encouraged to follow along as an adult reads. More
confident readers may read the story aloud. The storyline is basic, illustrating small snippets of the
Robots movie. Care has been given to a child friendly format using rhythm and appealing
photographs. "Robot City is an amazing place. It is packed with all types of robots: big robots,
robots, nice robots, and some not-so-nice robots." Pictures and personality descriptions follow.
is a fun book for the kids to read and they'll enjoy some of their favorite characters such as Aunt
Fan, the robot with the enormous bottom, and Fender whose parts keep falling off. Ages 4-7.
Robyn Gioia, Reviewer
Get 'em While They're Hot
Nelson Business, Nashville, TN
Division of Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN 0785208658 $19.99 168 pages
Wisdom and Warnings from a Special CEO
Tony Zeiss is especially well positioned to understand and appreciate the challenges of building a
successful workforce. With years of post-secondary education under his belt, he's one of those
people who has seen it all, "been there, done that," and "when I was your age." Dr. Zeiss is
of Central Piedmont Community College - with 70,000 students, the largest college in North
Carolina. His credentials are impressive, as is his reputation for leadership in the field of
This book is disarmingly short. It looks and feels like a quick read, which will attract more of the
busy executives who need to get this message. As author of thicker books in the field, I commend
Dr. Zeiss for a concise work that wastes no time in conveying the most urgent message of our
The subtitle of the book tells the story: "How to Attract, Develop, and Retain Peak Performers in
the Coming Labor Shortage." Our dilemma is an insufficient supply of workers who are educated
and trained do perform the work that needs to be done. Zeiss begins with a recognition of the
emerging shortage of skilled workers in the United States (a dangerous problem uncovered in our
book, "Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few People.") Digging deeper into the issue, he
reports that "at most community colleges, nearly 70 percent of recent high school graduates
remedial math or English before they can take college-level courses." A majority of high school
students are programmed to go to college, but "only about 50 percent of all university freshmen
graduate with a degree." And a chilling fact: "According to the Associated Press, of 1,000 who
applied for manufacturing jobs at Siemens, only 35 had the skills to be hired."
With this context, it's easy to appreciate the value and timeliness of this book. Zeiss gets right into
his content in his first chapter, going deeper into the trends and the challenges facing employers.
taps his own background and experience, and the work being done at his college, to illustrate his
points. Subsequent chapters concentrate on attracting, developing, and retaining peak
This book is a great how-to guide, presenting accepted knowledge in the field in a focused,
manner. Zeiss' perspectives add extra power to the message, and his credentials suggest that
will be more accepting of the information coming from him. The pages are filled with
thought-provoking ideas that will stimulate readers to mark pages, highlight, take notes, and
According to Kotler
ISBN 0814472958 $17.95 168 pages
Sit at the feet of the guru
If you're in marketing, you probably know the name "Philip Kotler." He's recognized as the
foremost authority on marketing. Lots of awards, recognition, books, etc. Well respected. If
not in marketing, he's still the world's foremost, etc, etc. And from his perspective, we are all in
marketing. So, this book is for everyone in business and then some.
You'll find this little paperback disarmingly short in appearance. First impression is that the book
too short to have much to offer. Surprise! There's an amazing amount of knowledge and insight in
these pages. The format makes the book easy to read - in one sitting or in chunks or even
sporadically as a reference book.
The format is somewhat unusual, which gives a sense of special-ness to the book. Think of a
question you'd like to ask a man like this, if you could have him all to yourself for a few minutes.
OK, good. Now, ask another one. And another one. That's what your experience will be with this
book. Question after question - that people have asked the guru over the years, followed by his
answer. Not long treatises, just short answers like you might get in an elevator encounter.
The questions are organized into major categories and subcategories. The major sections are
Markets and Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Tools, Market Planning, Marketing
Organization, Marketing Areas of Application, and Marketing Excellence. The table of contents
consists of the questions and the page numbers. Just let your finger move down the page and
find questions that draw you in because you're curious about his answer.
Bonus: this book has a comprehensive index that makes it easy to find the answers - and the
questions - you're looking for. Hence the value as a reference book.
Drawbacks include the plight that the answers will often be shorter and shallower than readers
want. So, read his other books for the depth. There is some redundancy, as might be expected as
topics intertwine. All in all, this is a valuable book, perhaps worth multiples of the price to have a
resource for quick, concise, sometimes provocative answers.
The Secrets of Great Sales Management
Robert A. Simpkins
ISBN 0814472389 $24.95 212 pages
Covers the Topic, Easy to Work With
I was pleased with this book. Sales managers - actual and aspiring - will find a tremendous
of information in these pages. And the pages are easy to read. This book is definitely a useful
The volume is organized into three sections: Planning, Preparing, and Producing. Topics include a
current perspective on the changing world of sales management, setting goals and objectives,
communicating expectations to your sales team, and using performance standards in hiring. And
is only the first section!
You'll learn about recruiting and hiring, use of technology, compensation, and danger signs to
for. Measuring and managing performance, coaching and counseling, and a focus on the future are
all discussed in a realistic, comprehensive design that is easy to read, absorb, and apply. Strange
sounds for a book like this, you may find it difficult to put down. Yes, it's that engaging. I found
myself turning page after page before I realized how many pages I'd read!
And the text is supplemented by two appendices: a leadership growth plan and a checklist for
There are a lot of books out there on this topic, but this one is worth the investment of your time.
Advice: read more than one if you're entering this field. No one has all the answers! This is a great
foundation book, covering a lot of topics without going too deep.
World Class Reliability
Keki R. Bhote and Adi K. Bhote
ISBN 0814407927 $39.95 218 pages
Good Insight into the Next Generation of Quality
The quality message has been central to the world of business, particularly manufacturing, for
decades. We've gone from Deming and Crosby's Total Quality Management to Six Sigma. What
Keki Bhote was one of the creators of Motorola's original Six Sigma system and Adi Bhote, a
long-time Motorola employee, is a Six Sigma champion black belt. They know where quality has
been, where it is, and where it's going next. Their emphasis is now on reliability. What is
It "is the key to uncovering and stamping out product failures before they happen in the
To achieve higher reliability, the authors recommend an approach they call MEOST: Multiple
Environment Overstress Testing. It's a non-mathematical model that uncovers the weak points so
they can be corrected before a product goes to market. The low-cost process is said to reduce
failure rates by one or even two orders of magnitude. A huge promise is made in the preface:
book can show companies, mired in miniscule and fading profits, how to really make
And this is an underlying focus of the book, beginning with the topic of Part I: The Challenge for
Industry: Regaining Lost Profits. Next, the authors present what companies should not do, then
move into their MEOST presentation. An appendix, notes, and index supplement the text, adding
If you're in the quality field or have this kind of work woven into your job description, you owe it
yourself and your employer to read this book.
The Art of the Strategist
William A. Cohen
ISBN 081440782X $24.95 239 pages
Back Again With Good Stuff
Cohen is a consultant, speaker, and seminar leader with a PhD and significant military leadership
experience (retired major general, US Air Force Reserve). His books bring helpful information to
focus for leaders of all kinds of organizations.
My first impression of this book is that it is designed well. The text begins with a positioning of
Strategy in the leader's tool kit, then dives right into a listing and explanation of Cohen's ten
principles of strategic leadership.
The first is a no-brainer - or should be: Commit Fully to a Definite Objective. Remember the old
adage: "If you don't know where you're going, any path will take you there." Your focus must be
clear and shared with team members. Next, Seize the Initiative and Keep It. Economize to Mass
Your Resources. The list continues, with a solid chapter on each theme. The presentations are
illuminated by examples and stories that help the reader understand how the principles have been
applied over history. This approach builds interest and variety for the reader, enhancing the value
The third section of the book addresses action steps to put the principles to work. Readers will
how to link their plan to their environment, what to do when things go wrong (you know they will
Murphy is still with us!), and how to apply the universal principles.
This handbook is good reading, and will also be a valuable tool for leaders of any kind of
The Ugly Duckling Goes to Work
ISBN 0814408710 $17.95 193 pages
Philosophy, Interesting Reading.
This book is based on the classic tales written by Hans Christian Andersen. Norgaard, born and
raised in Denmark, presents six of the tales. Each is presented in summary form, then in full
Next comes commentary about what Andersen was saying, including nuances that come from the
Danish text and not from the English translation. In each chapter, the moral of the tale is
Some business context is provided, but not enough that it was clear that this is a management
I found this book to be an interesting read. Taking children's fairy tales and finding lessons for
business in the 21st century is an interesting concept. It's fascinating how the moral teachings of
ago apply in today's context. While the messages are related to business, this is more a book of
wisdom than technique. You'll find the content to be thought-provoking and filled with relevant
teachings. If you want a hard, practical book, look elsewhere.
The Project Manager's Partner
ISBN 0814471331 $24.95 175 pages
Terrific Primer for New Project Managers
Every day, at numerous workplaces, somebody in power asks - or tells - someone to assume
of a project. In some cases, the designee is an experienced project manager. In most cases,
the assignment is given to someone who has little or no knowledge or experience in project
management. Consequently, too many new project managers stumble, flounder, look foolish, and
don't achieve desired project results.
Give that neophyte some help! A partner to accompany the project manager step-by-step with
guidance, advice, forms to use, and answers to the questions that are sure to bedevil you if you
didn't have an expert by your side. The expert - the author - is a consultant and trainer in project
management. His focus is to work specifically with people who do not manage projects as the
principal element of their job, but who want - and need - to learn the techniques to do a great
Your learning will begin with a short introduction about how to use the handbook. This section
build your comfort and help you see the all-important big picture. Part One explores deliverables,
project phases, and life cycles. After a brief time in Part Two, looking at project management
processes, you'll dig right into a treasure trove of action items that take you right through the
The action items tie right back into the knowledge gained in Part Two, so the flow is easy to
Then come the appendices! Tips for Managing Experts Outside Your Expertise. Glossary of
Management Terms. Shortcuts. And even guidelines for deciding when to kill a project. And this
only part of the picture.
Excellent resource for managers and would-be managers in any field.
The Enthusiastic Employee
David Sirota, Louis Mischkind, Michael Meltzer
Wharton School Publishing
Pearson Education, Inc, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
ISBN 0131423304 $26.95 363 pages
This one shouldn't be missed
From time to time, as a book reviewer, I come across a book that could easily slide under the
but should not. This is one of those books.
The book's subtitle is "How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want." For savvy
leaders, this is a no-brainer. However, as a Certified Management Consultant with 25 years of
practice under my belt, I can tell you that an uncomfortably large proportion of managers don't
it. And those who may suspect that they can do more to build their productive relationships with
employees often question whether these ideas are just a lot of fluff and woo-woo.
This book presents 30 years of research with the results of surveys given to over 4 million
employees. This is a huge contribution to the field, particularly when the book contains a
amount of material in the appendix about research methodology.
The real meat of the book will be found in the sections on how enthusiastic workers are motivated
by fair treatment (job security, compensation, respect), achievement (purpose and principles, job
enablement, job challenge, feedback/recognition/reward), and camaraderie (teamwork). Even as
cruise through the table of contents, your mind will shout "duh!" But as you read the pages, you'll
find a meld of academia and real-world that presents a serious handbook into how to gain greater
commitment and results. This is a deep business book, not conversational light reading.
The final section of the text explores organizational culture and what the authors - consultants and
professors - call the partnership organization. Naturally, consultants - internal and external - will
gain quite a bit from this book. Corporate leaders - and particularly those charged with
organizational change and positive cultural reinforcement - will find the book a treasure. Even a
relatively quick read (a scanning for insights and ideas) will stimulate thinking for busy
This is a book that will be scanned, re-read, and referenced by people dedicated to taking our
workplaces back to the foundations that made them strong in days past when people really cared
about their jobs - when they were genuinely enthusiastic employees.
Hiring Source Book
Catherine D. Fyock
Society for Human Resource Management
1800 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314
ISBN 1586440489 $44.95
Comprehensive, Excellent Resource
Hiring is never as simple as it seems. There is a lot involved in the process. It starts with the
development of the job description and continues through the job offer being made and accepted
declined. The process is explained in a flow chart in this book, accompanied by text that details
The hiring process need to be managed. That management task is accomplished through the use
series of forms to be completed by participants in the process. With all laws governing
using the right forms (avoiding the wrong forms!) is essential.
The forms you need are all included in this book. They're ready for you to photocopy and put
to use. While the author recommends you clear use of the forms with your company's legal
just to be extra safe and secure, the originals are all ready to copy from the CD-ROM that
accompanies the book.
Fyock, a nationally-respected authority on hiring, has developed a very valuable tool in the Hiring
Source Book. She starts by examining the hiring process (chapter 1). This information is helpful
the experienced human resources professional, as well as for management people (read: small
companies without an HR department) who engage in hiring new employees. Her next chapter
addresses the actual design of employment applications and how these tools fit into the process.
next chapters on interviewing and evaluating applications provide a broad range of advice and
instruction that will build the confidence of even the most experienced hiring authority.
Hiring involves more than just looking at applications that may come in. Chapter 8 is filled with
techniques that will strengthen the process and your results. Stay out of trouble by following the
legal rules around hiring. They're explained in a way we can actually understand! And, since the
composition of our workforce is changing in the United States, the chapter on hiring Hispanic
employees makes this book particularly timely.
Highly Recommended. If you hire well, employee retention becomes a lot easier! As author of
"Keeping Good People," I've seen that many retention problems arise just because the hiring
done correctly. Read and use this book and save yourself a lot of grief and money.
Roger E. Herman, Reviewer
The Magic Token: A Journey with Alice in Wonderland
2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100, Lincoln, NE 68512
ISBN: 0595332765 $11.95 132 pages
The Magic Token is a journey into the magical wisdom of learning that loving is better than
Emma Thomas, a seventh grader, has lent her most prized coin to her friend. After waiting a week
for the return of her Morgan Dollar minted in 1881, she confronts her friend, Dana, as to the
whereabouts. Dana sheepishly confesses she has spent the coin not realizing its value. Feeling
betrayed and appalled at her friend's actions, Emma is rabid. Dana persuades Emma to accept a
replica of a coin owned by the great writer Charles Dickens.
Dana returns home and while in a conversation with her brother she makes a wish about her most
favorite story "Alice in Wonderland". In a finger snap, her wish comes true. She journeys through
Alice's world learning much needed life lessons. There are lessons about race, judgment, anger,
Emma tries to explain to Alice that Alice lives only in a story and Alice is perplexed by Emma's
being Black. Emma tells Alice, "Everything seems real to you because it seemed real to the writer.
Whatever a writer puts into a story, a reader gets the same out of it".
The author has put the written word to work in an out of the ordinary and first-rate chapter book
filled with good hearted lessons and reminds us all, there is "no place like home".
One Big Hug
1626 Wilcox Avenue, Ste 929, Hollywood, Ca 90028
ISBN: 1933014318 $15.95 32 pages
"How much do you love me" is a question that children and adults alike have fun asking. One Big
Hug is an enchanting and brightly illustrated book. As a grandmother I enjoyed the conversation
between Matthew and his grandmother. He needs to know the answer to the age old question and
the two come up with lots of fanciful answers. Yet, all in all, perhaps one big hug is the best
This delightful book for youths 5-9 has a nice Goldilocks effect - it is just perfect!
Who's Not Asleep?
1626 Wilcox Avenue, Ste 929, Hollywood, Ca 90028
ISBN: 1933014318 $13.95 24 pages
Who's Not Asleep? is the perfect companion to the nighttime ritual of tucking in the young ones.
Little animals are said "goodnight" to one by one, wooing the a child onward to sleepland. Eyes
certainly be heavy with slumber by the end of this tender and pleasingly illustrated book. Who's
Asleep? is a charming book for nighttime reading for ages 2-4.
PO Box 151, Frederick, Maryland 21705
ISBN: 141372650X $19.95 207 pages
The main character, Jamie, asks "Have you ever seen your heart?" This engaging question is in
response to a little girl's difficult life question. This savvy book keenly deals with today's relevant
and most provocative issues. Through Jamie's relationships the reader examines the subjects of
spirits, personal demons, love, wife abuse and sexuality.
.Deeper Grace is written with a smartness and an elegance. A storyline filled with
as well as philosophical depth and yet enough suspense to keep you intrigued to the last line.
With characters posing questions such as "Wouldn't it be something if homosexuality was part of
God's plan for keeping the population in check?" gives this book an optimum "watercooler
Searching for the Waters of Antiquity
Soul Moments Publishing
PO Box 4763, Petaluma, CA 94952
ISBN: 0975519609 $24.95 115 pages
When life has you wobbling like a bobble doll, there is a prescription for health and wellness of
mind, body and spirit. Searching for the Waters of Antiquity is a blissful exercise in truth. As you
learn about the gifts of living, including affection and acceptance, you will find ways to triumph
stress and find inner peace.
Searching for the Waters of Antiquity is a marvelous and delightful navigation through a process
transformation. This simple but affective story follows a little turtle named Tag as he discovers the
gifts for living a radiant life. The book is a 3 part quest for trouncing negative minds and refining
productive thoughts. Shirley Ryan is a dazzlingly illustrator and a clever writer. The swooney
will melt away tension as the captivating story will have you investigating your own
The author has ingenuously lured even a babble brain such as myself into the art of how to quiet
mind. Meditation isn't whimpy, it is much needed in today's society where reclusive temperaments,
hard-shelled mentality, and fluttering thoughts fill our days. Meditation is a skill that I have tried
many times to attain. This book put me on a path to conquering my perpetual mind gibberish. This
a book I will read many times over. The book also comes with an easy to follow guide "How to
Moving From Windows to Linux
Charles River Media
10 Downer Ave, Hingham, MA 02043
ISBN 1584502800 $44.95 590 pages
I am not a Linux geek, but I am an Open Source fan. In fact, I'm typing this review on OpenOffice
Writer. However, I am not a die-hard. What I see is a great operating system that offers a very
cheap alternative to Microsoft Windows XP. Before my computer crashed, I hadn't really tried to
use Linux. Once my laptop decided not to work anymore, I gave a free download of Fedora Core
(distributed by Red Hat) a try.
With knowledge comes power, and to facilitate my use of Linux, I got a hold of a copy of Chuck
Easttom's Moving From Windows to Linux. I've never read a computer book that is so easy to
By the time I had finished the first few chapters, I was able to create and delete files inside what
Windows users refer to as the command-line interface. A few chapters down the road and I was
using OpenOffice writer as proficiently as I had been using Microsoft Word.
Mr. Easttom writes with the beginning and intermediate users in mind, and that's the success of
book. Most average computer users think of Linux as a geek OS that is way above anyone who
hasn't majored in computer science. The truth is that Linux, coupled with a good graphical user
interface, is as good an operating system as the other two major OS's (MS Windows and
OSX). With this book, anyone can use Linux.
Searching for Pearly and Other Secrets
P.O. Box 151 Frederick, MD 21705
ISBN 1413745768 $11.95 85 pages
I immediately fell in love with the characters of Searching for Pearly and Other Secrets, by Donna
Lessard. When I met little Sarah, who was searching for her lost doll, I quickly became fascinated
the story behind her life. Unlike so many horror stories that seek to scare their audience, Ms.
Lessard has actually told a story in the pages of her book that even an adult could enjoy, despite
intended age of the audience. Written for 12 year olds, Donna has created a story of intrigue that
runs the entire length of the story.
Searching for Pearly and Other Secrets has my highest recommendation. I believe that young
will find it an interesting story and adults will enjoy the fact that Lessard doesn't tinker with fright,
gore, or any other Hollywood effect to get her audience into the story. Instead, she actually
develops a plot that will keep the attention of any reader.
Watching Tamara, the main character, juggle her new responsibility to Sarah while managing her
friends and her position in her own family (a separate plot line altogether) is an enjoyable
It's almost like stepping back in time to the Hardy Boys or to Nancy Drew and watching an actual
story unfold. It's been a long time coming, and Donna Lessard delivers. She is a very good story
S. Daniel Smith
Everyone today is asking questions. Not everybody has answers. These four books reviewed here
have both. Some are shocking; others are awesome; a few are provocative; none are boring or
mundane. All four of these books are recommended.
Do Elephants Jump?
ISBN# 0060539135 $19.95 335 pp.
DO ELEPHANTS JUMP? Some questions asked; 'Since Priests Wear Black, Why Does the Pope
Wear White?" "Why is there a Two-Minute Warning in American Football?" "Why are Some
of Our Bodies More Ticklish Than Others?" The answers may surprise you. The book ends with a
23 page 'letters' section of reactions from readers to this author's previous books of questions,
include (among many): HOW DO ASTRONAUTS SCRATCH AN ITCH?, DO PENGUINS
HAVE KNEES?, and WHEN DO FISH SLEEP?
David Feldman, author, lives in New York City and consults and lectures on the media besides
writing this series of questioning volumes that he calls 'Imponderables.'
The Best Time to Do Everything: Expert advice on How to Live Cooler, Smarter, Faster,
ISBN# 1582344876 $13.95 176 pp.
THE BEST TIME TO DO EVERYTHING answers the obvious question, "What is the best time
to... place a sports bet?", "... buy a New Car?" "... deal with the IRS?" "... get married?" Several
the answers are accompanied by related anecdotes. Advice in this book could actually save or
you money, prevent major mistakes or heartches, and/or keep you out of major legal and financial
trouble. Owners of this book should keep it handy by their lawyer's telephone number.
Michael Kaplan, a journalist, writes a magazine column on gambling for Cigar Aficionado. He has
written for many other magazines from his Brooklyn Home.
Mail Call "This Book Takes Q's and Kicks A's"
R. Lee Ermey
ISBN# 1401307795 $17.95 244 pp.
MAIL CALL is based on the similarly named TV show on The History Channel and is authored
the program's emcee, who is known to viewers as 'the Gunny,' short for a Marine Corps Gunnery
Sergeant. Gunny is a term of respect in this branch of the service.
According to the book, Ermey, the author, was, in fact, in the Marines for 11 years and served for
while as a drill instructor. His written commentary is similar to his banter on the TV program,
meaning it's funny and interesting. Segments from the TV program have, seemingly, been
downloaded into this slick paged, profusely illustrated book. Interested watchers of the TV show
write in queries to the Gunny and he gets them answered by military and history experts.
Found in the volume are questions such as "Does the Military ever use Shotguns?" "What Kind of
Rations Did Our Soldiers Eat Before MRE's?" "What is the Fastest Vehicle Used by the Army
Today?" Q&A for all U.S. military services are published within this well illustrated book. Anyone
reading it will no doubt turn on the TV and watch the Gunny do his thing.
R. Lee Ermey, the book's author, has acted in over five dozen Hollywood movies, including
Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, and Leaving Las Vegas. He lives in California.
I Can't Believe You Asked That! A No-Holds-Barred Q&A About Race, Sex, Religion, and
Phillip J. Milano
ISBN# 0399530169 $14.95 272 pp.
I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ASKED THAT! is the most provocative of these four books. A
take-no-prisoners attitude prevails between the volume's covers. Questions in point: "As a black
homeowner in a racially mixed subdivision, I've noticed that my Caucasian neighbors spend much
more time on lawn care. Do Caucasians see lawn care as basic home maintenance, or is it more of
hobby?" "Do Catholics consider oral sex a sin?" "Do women fart? If they do, you'd never know
hanging around with them. When a woman is with her close gal pals and nobody is around, do
just let it fly? Or when a woman is walking through the woods or something all alone, does she let
slide? I mean, I can't imagine anyone holding it in for their entire friggin' lives?" Many of the
questions go way beyond these. Men and women in the street, so to speak, provide the book's
responses. That's followed by professional answers and advice. This book is hard to put
Phillip J. Milano is a journalist and served in a leadership role on The Recruitment and Youth
Development Committee of The Newspaper Association of America's Diversity Board. He earned
journalism degree from Southern Illinois University. With his family, he makes his home in
A. David Bos
The Pilgrim Press
700 Prospect Avenue, East, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100
0829816283 $13.00 1-800-654-5129 www.pilgrimpress.com
Bound Together: A Theology For Ecumenical Community Ministry by A. David Bos (ordained
Presbyterian minister and founder of the Interfaith Community Ministries Network) addresses the
intrinsic relationship between social justice issues and building ecumenical and interfaith
communities of faith. Using an illustrative case examples of African American denominations and
theology of the laity movement, Bound Together explores just how congregations or
of same, similar, and different faiths can combine their resources and cooperatively design a
strategy or program in response to the social needs and economics assets of their particular
communities. Bound Together is especially commended reading for clergy and lay leaders with an
interest in ecumenical dialogue and the redress of social injustices, economic hardships, and
Surprised By Canon Law
Pete Vere & Michael Trueman
28 West Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
0867166088 $9.99 1-800-488-0488 www.AmericanCatholic.org
Surprised By Canon Law: 150 Questions Catholics Ask About Canon Law, co-authored by canon
law experts Pete Vere and Michael Trueman provides non-specialist general readers, Catholic and
non-Catholic alike, a sound and practical guide to the oldest code extent in Christianity. The
straightforward question-and-answer format addresses many issues and concerns regarding
canon law today, such as "Can I attend and be a member of any parish I like?" (quick answer:
"nobody is going to stop you"), "Can a living or non-Catholic person have a Mass offered for him
her?" (while once this would have been an issue, today there is no longer any prohibition against
such), and "What is the annulment process?" (It is a judicial process in which the Church examines
the presumption of validity of a particular marriage). An excellent primer and introduction to the
rules and procedures the Catholic Church sets for both worship and daily living.
Toward A Dialogical Community
James F. Moore
University Press of America
4270 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706
0761828362 $24.00 1-800-462-6420 www.univpress.com
Toward A Dialogical Community: A Post-Shoah Christian Theology is a collection of thoughtful
and thought-provoking essays by James F. Moore (Professor of Theology, Valparaiso University).
These writings offer new approaches to sacred texts, explore different visions for Jewish-Christian
relations, and offer insight into globe-spanning issues. From "The Israel-Shoah Link" to
the European Perspective on Post-Holocaust Theology" to "Christianity after the Holocaust and
the Twenty-First Century" and more, these essays deal with complex theological questions and
issues in a meticulous, and well-reasoned manner, supplemented with excerpts and contemplations
concerning the sacred texts themselves. A welcome and recommended addition to Judeo-Christian
Bait and Switch
ISBN: 0451212479 $7.99 392 pages
Author Larry Brooks continues to hone his craft and in BAIT AND SWITCH, he introduces his
readers to a most interesting and complex male character, former male model Wolfgang
Wolf's love life is in the toilet and his professional career is on the skids, so when a Silicon Valley
billionaire pitches him a win-win deal, Wolf doesn't have to think too hard to seal the deal.
What Mr. Billionaire wants is for Wolf to seduce Mrs. Billionaire so Mr. Billionaire won't have to
pony up some $3 million per month in spousal support because if she lives with Wolf for more
30 days, Mr. and Mrs.' pre-nup is null and void.
In return, Wolf gets a sizeable deposit in an off-shore bank account . . . and a ticket to financial
Once the players are engaged, so to speak, complications come from every angle. Wolf's former
girlfriend reappears briefly. He begins to fall for Mrs. Billionaire. The IRS and the FBI show up at
his door and make him a counter-offer that he CANNOT refuse, if he wants to keep any kind of
How Brooks brings all these angles into play, while keeping the reader from knowing the truth, is
quite a tour de force. There's only one brief hint to the answer we're all looking for . . . and
hides it well.
Wolf is a character I'd like to see again. And I'm glad Brooks has limited his interest in the "dark
arts" to only a few pages this time around.
Well done, Larry. Keep it up.
The Ice Queen
ISBN: 0316058599 $23.95 224 pages
Alice Hoffman: Magical Prose at Its Best
I've been an Alice Hoffman fan since TURTLE MOON. While some of her later efforts have left
a bit flat, THE ICE QUEEN grabbed me and held on until the very last word on the very last
An almost invisible librarian from New Jersey lives an almost invisible life, carefully removing
from any emotional attachments after the death of her mother when she was a young girl.
Her older brother, Ned, is her portal to the outside world. When their grandmother dies, Ned
her to Florida, where's he's a married professor.
One day, in the sizzling heat, the librarian (whose name is never given) survives a direct hit by
lightning. She reluctantly agrees to become part of a study with other lightning strike survivors.
hears of a man named Lazarus Jones . . . nicknamed so because he was apparently dead for 40
minutes after a lightning strike, woke up, and simply walked out the hospital.
Our ice queen is compelled to find Lazarus Jones and hear his side of the story. Jones, it seems, is
still burning (literally) from the strike, while our heroine's world has gone cold and gray
One of the wonderful things about reading anything Hoffman writes is that you must suspend
traditional beliefs and abandon universal truths to completely "get" her stories.
I read the book in one sitting. Mystical. Intriguing. Thought-provoking. Ultimately satisfying.
Yep. That's Hoffman at her best.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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