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The Book of Squidly Light: The Continuing Chronicles of Halycon Sage

Karima Vargas Bushnell

Delirious Walrus Press, 248 pages, (paperback) $14.99, 9781733428828
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

Karima Vargas Bushnell’s The Book of Squidly Light is an eclectic, genre-bending novel exploring spiritual messages with tongue-in-cheek comedy.

The first book, The Life and Times of Halycon Sage, introduced the eponymous Sage, an amnesiac and celebrated author. Here, we find him just where he left off: dwelling in a world recently purged of modern […]

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Rolling Thunder: The Golden Age of Roller Derby and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. T-Birds

Scott Stephens

iUniverse, 382 pages, (paperback) $20.99, 9781532084720
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

A key component of American “sports entertainment” culture, roller derby has had its ups and downs. It was relegated to niche interest for much of the 1980s and 1990s; its widespread resurgence in the early 2000s was powered by a wave of all-female leagues. It has since regained popularity with players of both genders in […]

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The Growth and Collapse of One American Nation: The Early Republic 1790-1861

Donald J. Fraser

Fraser and Associates, 636 pages, (paperback) $24.95, 9780997080520
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

This book subscribes to the storytelling tradition of historical analysis and continues chronologically from the author’s first book (The Emergence of One American Nation, 2016). While the previous book outlined what makes one an American (i.e., those that share the uniquely American ideal), this explores who can be an American (relating to ethnicity, religious belief, […]

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My Friend Gideon

Heather S. Lonczak

Heather S Lonczak, 44 pages, (hardcover) $16.00, 9780578515496
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

A girl learns to appreciate nature in its natural habitat in Heather S. Lonczak’s children’s picture book My Friend Gideon.

Six-year-old Rebecca wants a pet like her friend Maria’s bulldog. But, inspired by a nearby zoo, her ideas for a pet are outside the norm: She mentions a kangaroo, monkey, or peacock as possibilities. Her […]

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Penelope Windpipes Learns the Power of Staying Calm

Heather S. Lonczak

Heather S Lonczak, 40 pages, (hardcover) $16.00, 9781734468724
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

In this engaging and instructive story, a little girl prone to tantrums changes her ways with the help of a new friend and a well-timed case of laryngitis.

Penelope is notorious around her neighborhood for screaming whenever she’s upset—especially when her brother, Miles, teases her. Her screams are so loud that loved ones, strangers, and […]

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Gus Becomes a Big Brother: An Adoption Story

Heather S. Lonczak

Heather S. Lonczak, 44 pages, (hardcover) $16.00, 9780978609382
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

Gus Becomes a Big Brother aims to help children navigate the complex feelings they might encounter when welcoming a new sibling—adopted or otherwise—into their home.

The book starts when the title character Gus (an anthropomorphic dog) learns that his parents (also dogs) plan to adopt a new puppy. Their excitement is infectious, and Gus is […]

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From Wild to Mild: A Dog in Two Worlds

Sunny Weber

Pups and Purrs Press, 181 pages, (paperback) $15.00, 9780996661270
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

Sunny Weber’s middle grade novel, From Wild to Mild, is the delightful, unique coming-of-age story of an Australian Shepherd named Kaya.

Narrated in Kaya’s clear, reflective voice and illustrated in endearing black-and-white pencil sketches, the novel begins when coyote Maka kidnaps Kaya and brings her to his family’s den to be eaten. Taina, his mate […]

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Briggsy’s Time to Shine

Linda McKinley

Xlibris, 44 pages, (paperback) $21.99, 9781796076592
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

In Briggsy’s Time to Shine, Linda McKinley delivers a quirky story about musical instruments, bullying, and finding pride in yourself.

The book opens on the first day of a kindergarten music class. Each student gets to choose an instrument, which are all anthropomorphic. The instruments introduce themselves, and readers learn about the smooth French horn, […]

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Mr. Moonbeam and the Halloween Crystal

Ryan Cowan

Ryan Cowan, 176 pages, (paperback) $7.99, 9781097952779
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

In Ryan Cowan’s exciting children’s book, Mr. Moonbeam and the Halloween Crystal, a group of witches and sorcerers quickly work to stop a powerful dark sorcerer from taking over two worlds.

Noir, a vicious evil sorcerer, is after a crystal that is crucial to his quest of ruling both the magical and non-magical worlds. Meanwhile, […]

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Waking Pontmercy

Patrick Kona

iUniverse, 448 pages, (paperback) $28.99, 9781532069673
(Reviewed: March, 2020)

Waking Pontmercy is a historical novel inspired by Victor Hugo’s classic, Les Miserables. Author Patrick Kona takes up the story of lovers Cosette and Marius, following their ups and downs of love, life, work, marriage and parenthood.

Cosette, the adopted daughter of Jean Valjean, knows little of her background, beyond faint memories of her birth […]

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