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Featured Book Reeviews


Rhythm in Verse


Bejeweled Poetry: Revelations Sensations Creations
by M. Jewel H.
Trafford Publishing

"Sensations romanticizing every tenuous extended fingertip to the endearing touch enough to grasp the entire beings embodiment."

In Bejeweled, the speaker has a knack for tackling one of the most difficult aspects of writing poetry: transferring the wave of emotion and feeling from the mind and the heart into words that will stir the individual. Filled with strong, sensuous details, each poem in the compilation takes on a life of its own. Jewel H's collection uses short, crisp stanzas that flow well. The reader is rarely trying to figure out what the speaker means; instead, he or she is able to enjoy the potent word choice and vivid imagery that infuse the poem with energy. ... (read more)

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A Life Worth Remembering


Loving Andrew: A Fifty-Two-Year Story of Down Syndrome
by Romy Wyllie

"...Andrew touched the lives of many, helping them in his special way become better people."

In today's world of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it can be unfathomable to imagine a time in which babies born with disabilities were routinely separated from their parents. Yet, a mere five decades ago, it was commonplace. Often, mothers were not even told that their babies had survived the delivery. Instead of reconnecting mother and child, the doctors would whisk the child away to an institution, where he would live a grim existence and would often be sterilized against his will. Andrew Wyllie, the subject of this book, would have suffered the same fate had it not been for the love, determination, and perseverance of his parents. ... (read more)

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This Actor's Life


North of Hollywood
by Rick Lenz

"If the audience could see inside me—at least as well as I can see out the window in the extraordinary light—they might realize that I’m youthful and charming…"

Rick Lenz is an actor.  Most people don't know the simple truth that he reveals in this captivating autobiography: Actors are real people, and acting is a real job. Tall and handsome but not "pretty" he was able to morph into a villain, a troubled teen, or the occasional edgy lead. Durable actor Lenz, who once aspired to be a doctor or a lawyer, appeared in numerous movies (notably Cactus Flower with Goldie Hawn), TV shows (Murder, She Wrote), and every sort of stage production from summer stock to Broadway to off-off Broadway, to state fairs and just about anywhere he could make a living. ... (read more)

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Life As We Know It


by Thomas Biel
Three Towers Press

"I wanted my own bed and my own ceiling, something confined, not the vastness of the stars, the puzzle of endlessness. I wanted to go home but I couldn't move."

Some writers have mastered the art of spinning fantastic tales, trotting out lies of mystery, romance, and high adventure that while barely believable still manage to entertain us. Others choose to cut closer to the bone of truth, making us turn to the author's blurb at the back of the book to see whether or not what we are reading is fiction or fact. Biel falls into this latter camp with his debut collection of linked stories, episodes from the life of his youthful protagonist, Matthew Davis, that seem too painfully real to be imaginary. ... (read more)

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A Life Well-Traveled


Like a Lily Among Thorns
by Inno Chukuma Onwueme

"It was time for me to pay up. Flogging happened. Even I felt that I deserved it. But what else do you do with a careless frisky kid?"

The generation gaps that separate parents from their children and grandchildren can seem vast in a society that changes as rapidly as our own, but the expanse is widened exponentially when the parent comes from a radically different culture than the one his descendants have grown up in. To help rectify the problem in his own family but to also chronicle a land and way of life that have also altered greatly over the last several decades, the author has written an excellent memoir of his early years that is as informative as it is entertaining. ... (read more)

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Twilight of the West


by Hal Shearon McBride, Jr.
Virtualbookworm Publishing

"Crook knew Gatewood had no peer in his knowledge of the Apache and he was a proven military commandant."

Blending American history with believable fiction, this pseudo-biography follows the adventures and exploits of Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood, who helped tame the west in the decades following the American Civil War. Through a willingness to listen and learn, and a strong moral compass and belief in human rights, Gatewood is able to earn the trust of the Native scouts that make up the bulk of his unit. Unfortunately, these same attitudes that make him popular among his men cause problems for the advancement of his military career and his relationships with his own superiors.  ... (read more)

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A Lush Tale


Nelson's Castle: A Bronte Fairy Tale
by Susanne Petito-Egielski
Amuninni Press

"Justice. That's what burns in all our eyes. That's what brings us hope. That's what we live for. That's how we die."

It's easy to get lost in the multi-faceted draw of Susanne Petito-Egielski's novel. Rooted in the history of her own grandmother's hometown of Bronte, the author entertains readers with a captivating mid-19th century fairytale, ensconced in the tradition of castles, hierarchy, forests and beasts, a peasant heroine, magic, and madness. ... Against the backdrop of Mt. Etna, aka "Mungibellu," the one-eyed monster, the bewitching peasant girl Gratia Maria Saitta, yearns for her mother Agata's love. The woman is hardened by the loss of her husband, Alfiu. ... (read more)

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A Christian Commitment


All of Me Wants All of You
by J Z Howard

"Regardless of how lonely and disconnected it felt,... the dream of sexual enjoyment and intimate connection with Kate remained dim."

This is an intricate story about love—between men and women, between people and God. Seasoned author J. Z. Howard has taken a running leap at an unusual subject: how people whose lives are grounded in Christianity deal with, or don't, problems of marriage and faithfulness. Kate and Dean are trying to regain their wedded bliss in the face of encroaching middle age, while single mom Larissa is looking for some quick solace as she despairs of raising her teenage son. When Larissa and Dean meet, it looks as though things will take a conventional turn: lonely man whose wife's affections have grown cold bedding a charmer who has always had sex first and love later. ... (read more)

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A Timely and Intense Message


Said I Wouldn't Tell It... But I Just Can't Keep It To Myself
by Tameka Hicks
Christians Soulseeking Book Publishing

"...this book is not written to expose my life, but to unveil the greater message that God spoke in and through me."\"

In Tameka Hicks' debut inspirational book, she states, "I know God didn't call me to quit and give up because things get rough – He called me to stand as a witness for Him." And indeed, there were many times when she could have easily given up when things got rough. Placed into foster care soon after her birth and a victim of emotional, physical, mental, and (in her college years) sexual abuse, Hicks became emotionally crippled. In spite of the fact that she was eventually adopted into a safe and secure family setting, it didn't erase the ill effects of her past. Yet amid the trauma, it took a crash that totaled the car she was in to get Hicks' attention. As stated by the doctor, "You shouldn't be alive! God must have His hands on you." It was then and there that she realized that God had a plan for her life and that her suffering was not in vain. ... (read more)

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Thoughts of a Proud Father


No Fear, No Doubt, No Regret: Investing in Life's Challenges Like a Warrior
by Robert Omilian
Ferne Press

" is not what happens to us but how we respond that defines who we are and influences what happens next."

The word insight is defined as penetrating discernment, intuition, or a sudden awareness. With this in mind, Robert Omilian has written a book that goes far beyond an ordinary memoir of a father relating his son's struggle with a debilitating condition. Rather than focus on the physical pain and limitations imposed by Alan's muscular dystrophy, the author purposefully highlights nine noteworthy insights that proved beneficial in helping the family deal with and triumph beyond the precarious circumstances of Alan's health situation. Clearly Alan was an inspiration, not only to his immediate family, but also to friends, fellow students, teachers, and even strangers. He loved politics, enjoyed a good debate, and constantly drew strength from anticipating new goals and projects. But beyond the scope of reflecting on his son's achievements and ever-positive outlook, Omilian gives us a story with universal appeal, and offers insightful lessons applicable to both personal and professional aspects of life. Here, consider that despite his own confines and private struggles, Alan always cheered his father's business expansion. ... (read more)

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