Good Morning Diego Garcia

Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Voyage of Discovery (Journeys) (Volume 2) by Susan Joyce

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Kat and the Bone

Cat and the Bone by Tom Hoch

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Forests of the Fae: Devlin's Door

Forests of the Fae: Devlin’s Door by K. Kibbee

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Sunborn Rising

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff

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James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by Colm McElwain

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City Times and Other Poems

City Times and Other Poems by Vihang A. Naik

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Boobs: A Tale of American Politics and a Girl

BOOBS: A Tale of American Politics and a Girl

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Boss by Jennifer Paige

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Trauma, Shame and the Power of Love

Trauma, Shame and the Power of Love: The Fall and Rise of a Physician Who Heals Himself by Christopher E. Pelloski, MD

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Ends of the World

Ends of the World by Matthew Waterman

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Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Voyage of Discovery (Journeys) (Volume 2) by Susan Joyce

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Good Morning Diego GarciaWith Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Journey of Discovery (Journeys – Book 2), talented author Susan Joyce relates her further memoirs, which she began in The Lullaby Illusion: A Journey of Awakening (Journeys – Volume 1). The result is a fascinating book, combining the genres of memoirs and travel books, relating the author’s further adventures, when she and her husband, Charles, are invited by friends to travel in a yacht they are breaking in on its maiden voyage, and they travel to many exotic locations. Like in the first book, the author undergoes an internal journey of self-discovery as well as experiencing the journey of a lifetime places many people only dream of seeing.

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Good Morning Diego Garcia begins with the narrator and Charles back in Ojai, California, after having spent a tumultuous time in Cyprus, living through the 1974 coup and war there. The couple are settling into a house they have rented, with Charles waiting on his old job to call him back and let him know work is available for him. They do not seem to be worried about financial matters very much, as Charles has money socked away in at least a couple of bank accounts for them to get by on.

Kat and the Bone by Tom Hoch

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Kat and the Bone“In order for your circumstances to change, YOU must change.”

Bullying is a common problem facing schools and neighborhoods. Unfortunately it usually does not end at graduation and carries into adulthood. How can anyone stop it?

Fortunately retired teacher Tom Hoch has written a fictional novel utilizing his years of experience in coaching and teaching social studies to offer a slightly different perspective that exhibits wisdom every person can value.

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Jim Snertzbaum has been bullied for years. His parents died in a car accident forcing Jim to live with his grandfather. His new parent is concerned but is seldom home since he works as a trucker. Jim was bullied at his old school. Now in addition to losing his parents, he is a new student with a strange last name. He already was not very athletic due partially to being overweight. With few friends and no adult support, he is an easy target for the bullies. Jim quickly learned to ignore those who made fun of him and the putdowns but he did remember them, reflecting on those comments during his frequent loneliness.

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Sunborn RisingBreaking into the world of fantasy with a meaningful contribution is not an easy task, but Aaron Safronoff managed to do just that with Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall. Actually, this is only the first book of the series and it’s the key to the gates of a magically fresh universe. This YA fantasy thriller is but a part of the Sunborn Rising experience, which stretches far beyond the colorful pages of the book.

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A world that bares a slight resemblance to ours is on the verge of darkness. At the center of all there is a sun floating in an ocean and this is the spring of life for the floating tree islands covering the planet. But there is a disturbance in the flow of life and the world is at risk of falling into darkness. Salvation is uncertain and in the paws of the most unlikely of heroes.

Our main guides to this world are Barra – a young Listlespur, a catlike humanoid – along with her two best friends Plicks – a Kolalabat, resembling a bat – and Tory – a Rugosik, a puppet like humanoid. Barra starts out by wanting to learn more about her deceased father and so she sneaks into his study and finds his hidden journal. But his writings not only strengthens the father-daughter bond, but also propels Barra and her friends on the adventure of their lives. They learn that their existence is threatened by darkness and driven by curiosity they set out to explore the uncharted territories of the Middens surrounding their Loft. But things do not go exactly as planned and they fall from the comfort of their leafy bows to the muddy root. There a new unfamiliar world unfolds before them, filled with dangers, enemies but also allies and wonders. But now they struggle to find their path to the Loft and also to bring back the light to their home.

The Sunborn Rising series is clearly aimed at a younger audience, so the occasionally simplistic narrative serves its purpose. The black and white pages are sprinkled with colorful images vividly portraying scenes from the magical realm. Actually, these pictures are a valuable support for the imagination of the reader, as some creatures and plants are quite different from our reality.

In fact, Aaron Safronoff did a lot more than just start a fantasy book series; he set the grounds for a complex Sunborn Rising experience. So, the readers can also immerse themselves in music and art. But more dimensions are about to be added. Games and animated media are in the development stage. One thing is for sure, there is a lot to explore and even more to come.

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by Colm McElwain

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

James Clyde and the Diamonds of OrchestraAn exciting adventure in fantasy reading for tweens, Colm McElwain’s, James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra, brings readers along on a heroic young man’s journey into the enchanted land of Zara, a world imbued with sorcery, diamonds, evil beings, bravery and for James, self- discovery.

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11 year old James Clyde is an orphan, he has an affable nature, but is no stranger to odd or harsh circumstances. Adopted by the seemingly overly strict Anne Brown, James and his other adopted siblings Ben and Mary live together struggling for comfort. However, despite circumstances, there is one ray of solace for the kids, and that is their visits with Wilmore, Jame’s grandfather. Wilmore’s house is a palatial estate that holds comfort, affection, and for James holds much, much more. For James it holds the key to a legacy of magical diamonds, super powers, kingship and self-realization.

City Times and Other Poems
by Vihang A. Naik

Reviewed by Ronnie Alvarado

City Times and Other PoemsVihang A. Naik’s compendium of poetry, entitled City Times and Other Poems, is a delightful selection of delectable poems written in free verse. This collection is brief, yet profound and provides the reader with a thought-provoking and enchanting manner is which to spend an hour or two.
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City Times and Other Poems is divided into six sections that all feature a similar theme. The first section, “Love Song of a Journeyman,” acts as the prelude to the rest of the collection. Each piece in this particular section speaks to the rather fleeting nature of many of the most profound moments in one’s life, whether those particular instances are filled profound joy, intense melancholy, or a deject apathy. A soulful reader will find commiseration in this section, as he or she will be able to reflect on the sparse beauty of the poetry and inflect his or her own respective emotions into the words.

BOOBS: A Tale of American Politics and a Girl by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Ronnie Alvarado
boobsA biting, unapologetic, and at times hilarious satire of modern American culture and society, Boobs: A Tale of American Politics and a Girl by Simon Plaster, is a witty read for anyone who is fed up by the at times oxymoronic particularities of the current culture.

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The protagonist of Plaster’s satirical work is the tireless Henryetta Herbert, a newspaper reporter and life-long denizen of the small town of Henryetta, Oklahoma. The unconventional spelling of Henryetta’s name has long been a thorn in her side, and has often led her to question her true sexual orientation. Adding even more uncertainty to her sexual identity is the recent “coming out” of her high-school boyfriend, Dallas Cowboy Gaylord Goodhart to his team mate Billy Ray Williams. Adding insult to injury, Gaylie has now even asked Henryetta to be his best man, complete with a tuxedo.

Boss by Jennifer Paige

Reviewed by Timea Barbaras

Boss“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.” Is the opening line of the Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed”, but it is also fitting for this book. “Boss” unfolds in the micro universe of New York’s projects and describes its strong gravitational pull over people.

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Jennifer Paige introduces the reader to several characters whom – like planets – are caught up in the gravitational pull of the projects. Only the light of this sun is rather dark and toxic, so people either inhale its toxicity in order to thrive in that environment, or struggle to break free. The main characters of this book fall into the second group, but whether their attempts were successful or not, remains for you to discover.

Trauma, Shame, and the Power of Love: The Fall and Rise of a Physician Who Heals Himself
by Christopher E. Pelloski, MD

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Trauma, Shame and the Power of LoveAlthough sexual abuse and pornography of children is nothing new within this society, each time it is discovered and reported there is an accompanying knee jerk reaction of anger, disgust and distrust that follows so much so that it becomes hard to see the many facets of the whole truth about the situation such was the case with Christopher E. Pelloski M.D. In his book, Trauma, Shame and the Power of Love, which is a biographical work, he bares his soul and shares his experiences from arrest to trial as a non-productive participant of child pornography.

Ends of the World by Matthew Waterman

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Ends of the WorldAuthor Matthew Waterman treats readers to a unique reading experience with his debut thriller, Ends of the World; an interesting read that slickly captures reader’s attention by virtue of it’s distinctive characterizations and creative storyline.

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Author Waterman weaves a stimulating tale fraught with mystery and elements of fiction and reality that are both intertwined and apposed. Matt (the author) is also the story’s protagonist; however, this story is not quite a biography as there are strong fictional elements woven throughout the story.

Sorrows & Songs by Janice Wood Wetzel

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

Sorrows & SongsPoignant and profound, Janice Wood Wetzel’s memoir Sorrows and Songs recounts the author’s decidedly moving life. From a fraught childhood, to a complicated marriage, to a single life as an educated and highly successful career-focused woman, Wetzel’s life-story will both inspire and amaze readers in its fantastic life-story with a humble telling.

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Sorrow and Songs begins with Wetzel’s recollections of her childhood and teenage years, and her understatedly complicated relationship with her parents. At varying times loving and physically/mentally abusive, alternatively admired, loved, and feared each of her parents. Moving across the country upwards of a dozen times before she was seventeen, the chapters that reflect Wetzel’s childhood, told in honest and straightforward prose, are moving and riveting for their emotional tenor. Of these chapters, perhaps the most moving is the author’s account of her teenage pregnancy, and her parents’ support, and then outrage, at their daughter’s behavior.

His Right Hand (A Linda Wallheim Mystery) by Mette Ivie Harrison

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

His Right HandLinda Wallheim, first introduced in The Bishop’s Wife, returns giving readers another peek behind the walls of the Mormon Church. While Kurt the Bishop deals with situations with in their church ward on a liturgical basis, it seems to fall to the Bishop’s wife to apply a more practical hand to things affecting people in the community. This sets up a perfect scenario for her to become a bit of a sleuth.

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Carl Ashby, a pillar of the community and a leader with in the church is found murdered in a church meeting room. While that in and of itself is a bit unexpected, the real shock comes later. When the autopsy is performed, it is discovered that Carl was actually a woman. The fact that he was married and had two adopted children adds to the puzzle. His wife refuses to accept that Carl was not a man, but Linda has to wonder, is she in denial or is she hiding something?

Flourless to Stop Him (A Baker’s Treat Mystery) by Nancy J. Parra

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

Flourless to Stop HimIt’s a busy time for Toni at her gluten free bakery. It’s Christmastime and she is trying her best to get the holiday cookies baked on time. Toni is visiting with her best friend, Tasha Wilkes, who runs the Red Tile Inn. Maria, the maid, came rushing in and informed Tasha that she found a body in one of the rooms. It turns out that the room is registered to Tim who is Toni’s brother. The body is identified as Howard Petry who was a good friend of Tim’s.

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In the meantime, Tim is staying over Toni’s house. The police obtain a search warrant and find cocaine hidden in Toni’s garage. Tim insists he had nothing to do with the murder of Howard or with the cocaine. Was someone trying to frame Tim?

The Enemy Inside: A Paul Madriani Novel by Steve Martini

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The Enemy InsideA car crash on a lonely California highway results in the death of a prominent D.C. lawyer, Olinda Serna. The driver of the 2nd car, Alex Ives, claims to have no memory of the accident; the last thing he remembers is being at a party he was invited to by an attractive woman he met by chance and whose name he can’t remember. Paul Madriani’s daughter knows Alex and asks her father to help him. There is much more at stake, however, then simply a young man’s freedom, as Paul discovers that Serna may, literally and figuratively, know where the bodies are buried regarding malfeasances committed by some of D. C. highest ranking public figures. Thus begins a race against time save Alex Ives from a murder conviction and to find out the identity of whoever is willing to kill to keep the secrets known by Serna from being made public.

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The Enemy Inside by Steve Martini is part of a series that should be compared in quality to John Grisham’s work. Martini has created a cast of recurrent characters that have generally worked well for him and he excels at novels where the majority of the action centers around the courtroom. In this case, however, I’m forced to agree with other reviewers in that The Enemy Inside started off strong and ended going off on multiple tangents, which created a lack of cohesiveness. With that in mind, I can only give this book 3/5 stars.

The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Evening SpiderArsenault is a favorite author of mine and her new book, The Evening Spider does not disappoint. The book is told from the point of view of two women living more than a century apart.

Abby Bernacki , her husband and infant daughter have moved into an old house in Haverton, Connecticut. When Abby hears what sounds like a voice “shhh” coming from the baby monitor she becomes concerned. When her daughter has unexplained circular bruises appear after being in her crib, Abby begins to notice other odd things that seem to happen in their new house-especially in her daughter’s bedroom. Abby decides to research the house and the Barnett family who lived in it for generations.

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It’s a Long Story: My Life by Willie Nelson with David Ritz

Reviewed by Allen Hott

itsalongstoryAnother book by Willie! This one is the story of his life as he tells it. And since he is now 82 years old I guess we would all agree It’s A Long Story. But it is also very interesting as he recounts his younger years in Texas and how he went from being a farm boy to becoming a musical icon.

He played his guitar and sang in bands all around Abbott Texas at first but then began moving out into the bigger cities. Basically he played in small bands that performed primarily in bars. Even at a young age he not only was around liquor but began partaking of it at that young age.

The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl and Sabastian Stuart

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The NewsmakersAre news stories ever planned? Can a race to have the “exclusive” story of a disaster be planned to promote a particular broadcasting station or the career of a reporter? When a news crew happens to be at the right place at the right time, can it really be coincidental? Even if this would happen once, could it logically happen twice? Would anyone be suspicious?

How many of us are just pawns in a master scheme?