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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 6, Number 2 February 2007 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Travel Shelf Biography Shelf
Poetry Shelf Fiction Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

The Circle Of Olympians
Sonya Haramis
Peace of the Dreamer
PO Box 915, Marina, CA 93933
AtlasBooks, distributor
30 Amberwood Parkway, Ashland Parkway, Ashland, OH 44805
0976224712, $14.95 1-800-247-6553

In "The Circle of Olympians" by Sonya Haramis is an original and engaging story of Greek myth played out in contemporary circumstances by modern characters. Set in California and in Greece, Calliope is a young woman who doesn't realize the odyssey that awaits her when she journeys to Greece to spend the summer with her beloved Grandmother. In the course of this deftly written novel, Calliope becomes aware of some amazing family secrets and meets ancient Hellenic gods who materialize from Olympian legend and lore to compel Calliope to utilize her training in metaphysical and battle arts as part of a spiritual journey culminating in a life-and-death confrontation with her family's despised enemy. Highly recommended for students of Greek mythology, New Age metaphysics enthusiasts, and the non-specialist general reader who enjoys a well crafted novel of magic, myth and spirituality, "The Circle of Olympians" would prove an enduringly popular addition to community library fiction collections.

The Travel Shelf

A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls
Johnny Cheng
Story Nature Press
PO Box 1121, Artesia, CA 90702
0976955199 $24.95

Nature enthusiast Johnny Cheng presents A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls, an absolutely stunning trail guide written especially for nature hikers desiring to see the pristine beauty of New Zealand's glorious waterfalls firsthand. Packed with gorgeous full-color photographs, maps, extensive text directions, an at-a-glance rating system for the different hikes categorizing them according to scenic value, hiking difficulty, and driving difficulty. A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls is very tightly focused on its subject matter and does not have any information about hotels, restaurants, and the like; little more than a brief glossary, a one-page summary of English in New Zealand, and an index round out its coverage of waterfall hikes. A truly stunning guide, unmatched in its coverage of waterfalls and filled with breathtaking photographs for the armchair traveler.

The Biography Shelf

Austin Lunch
Constance M. Constant
Cosmos Publishing
PO Box 2252, River Vale, NJ 07675
TurboDog Communications
12036 Goshen Avenue, Suite 1, Los Angeles, CA 90049-6328
1932455086 $23.95

The debut book of Constance M. Constant, Austin Lunch: Greek-American Recollections is the heartfelt of growing up and adapting to the shock of immigration, the hardship of the Great Depression, and seeing the determination and drive of one's parents in action. The family's simple restaurant on Chicago's historic but problematic Near West Side, Austin Lunch tells of the mother's defiance of 1931 conventions to work in the restaurant, and the diverse assortment of inner city characters who dined there. Above all, Austin Lunch is a tribute to an industrious mother and father, and the strength of a close-knit family. An empathetic and involving true story of family values.

The Poetry Shelf

The Elephant's Child
Steve Orlen
Ausable Press
1026 Hurricane Road, Keene, NY 12942
1931337284 $16.00

The sixth collection by award-winning poet Steve Orlen, The Elephant's Child: Selected Poems 1978-2005 gathers nearly forty pages of new poems along with carefully chosen favorites from each of the author's five previous collections, bound by a common theme of reminiscence and tales from life experience. The free-verse flows with a nonchalant eye for detail, deftly capturing human lives, settings, and struggles in the flash of an instant. "The City of Poets: 1966": The young poet didn't have a nickel to his name, but when / He sat down for supper in the communal kitchen / With a pizza ordered from outside and Help, / The latest Beatles album, and a coil of rope in a sack, / No one thought to ask him, What's your plan?

Vincent Carver Gilliam, Ph.D.
Pillars Publishing Inc.
991-C Lomas Santa Fe Drive, #343, Solana Beach, CA 92075
1599140012 $34.95

Poet, writer, and scholar Vincent Carver Gilliam presents Optics: The Mystical Poet's Guide to the Science of Inner Sight, an insightful collection of lyrical and mystical poetry written to inspire and enlighten the reader. Religious and spiritual themes intertwine with the refreshing wonder of simply being alive, and the deluxe version includes an enhanced audio/multimedia CD featuring readings of selected poems compatible with all CD players and Windows PC computers. An emotional and spiritually evocative anthology. "The Kiss": The first time / God kissed me, / I was so surprised / That I became distracted / By the event, / Wanting to appreciate / Its every dimension. // Now, many times later, / I only revel / In the reality / That I am being kissed / And by Whom.

The Fiction Shelf

The Cardinal's Snuff-Box
Henry Harland
Idylls Press
PO Box 3566, Salem, OR 97302
159597010X, $14.95

Original published in 1989, "The Cardinal's Snuff-Box is the first of Henry Harland's ‘Catholic' novels after his conversion to the Roman Catholic Church in 1897. Set in Italy, this is the story of English novelist Peter Marchdale who takes up residence in a small villa amidst the Lombard countryside. Intending to get some writing done, Marchdale finds himself distracted by his lovely young landlady whom he discovers is actually the Duchessa di Santangiolo, an Anlo-Italian widow that he has been secretly in love for years. The problem facing Marchdale is that she is wealth and far above him in social station. Fortunately for him, the lady's uncle is a Roman cardinal whose fondness for snuff is equaled by his flair for matchmaking! This new edition of "The Cardinal's Snuff-Box" from Idylls Press is a true ‘time lost' literary treasure that is once again made available to a whole new generation of readers and will serve to re-introduce Henry Harland as a gifted novelist deserving rescue from obscurity.

Whistling in the Wind
Camey Brooks
7290 B. Investment Drive, Charleston, SC 29418
1419615297 $15.99

The debut novel of Camey Brooks, Whistling in the Wind is the story of two friends' struggle to cope with the devastating setback of an unexpected layoff. Yet even as they work to make ends meet and rebuild their lives, they gradually rediscover the importance of finding hope through God and being grateful for what they have. Sudden plot twists and an inspirational bond with a young girl with the unique gift of connecting with people's hearts distinguish this sweeping story, about the challenge of navigating the crises that afflict ordinary life.

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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