Journey’s End, Part 1: Heartfelt Stories of Death and Dying

Victoria Brewster and Julie Saeger Nierenberg

Stratton Press, 350 pages, (paperback) $12.99, 9781648955884
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

With Journey’s End, editors Victoria Brewster and Julie Saeger Nierenberg offer a valuable sourcebook on death and dying.

The editors begin by offering context to the subject, with chapters discussing: how people experience the process of death, hospice and palliative care, what constitutes a “good death,” and the COVID pandemic.

These are followed by essays […]

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Wand

Chuck Champlin

Authors Press, 174 pages, (paperback) $8.99, 9781643146751
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

It’s hard to place this novel in the literary firmament. Written in 1980, it’s set in 1991 and was published this year, when the technological advances it trumpets are now everyday conventions.

The plot is similarly convoluted. Chris Walkman, having faked a workplace accident to claim disability, is lounging in his Los Angeles apartment when […]

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Train from Thompsonville

Dolores Chernoski Moses

DCM Publishing, 426 pages, (paperback) $10.99, 9781955243124
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

D.C. Moses’s Train from Thompsonville is a coming-of-age novel that follows a young American Catholic girl of Polish descent.

Growing up during the bleak period of the Great Depression and WWII, Joanna Ludak’s parents Joe and Bertha attempt to make ends meet. Joe works at a shoe company where he faces prejudice, while Bertha tries […]

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Letters from Mr. J B Fact Finder

Joe W. Boyd

Joe W. Boyd, 118 pages, (paperback) $8.99, 9781953904898
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

In Letters from Mr. JB Fact Finder, Joe W. Boyd provides whimsical observations and little-known facts about familiar persons, places and things.

Boyd offers a folksy narrative introduction to each of his topics, generally followed by bulleted lists of related facts. He covers subjects as diverse as the origins of Valentine’s Day to the history […]

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Based on A True (Traumatic) Brain History: A Short Memoir

Mark Allen

Xlibris, 258 pages, (paperback) $17.99, 9781796097320
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

If you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at a relatively young age, what would life be like going forward? How would you work, develop friendships, date, and find meaning and purpose? Mark Allen provides his answers to those questions, and many more, in Based on a True (Traumatic) Brain History: A Short Memoir.

Allen […]

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Midnight Blue: The End of Fear

Margaux J. Detterer

Partridge, 68 pages, (paperback) $4.99, 9781543701463
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

Midnight Blue: The End of Fear by Margaux J. Detterer is a poetry collection that explores the struggle to banish self-doubt and live in the present moment, trusting in one’s own feelings and choices.

Detterer’s speakers often have a wise and accepting tone, as in “Release the Storm,” which begins: “Choose what is right, choose […]

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Flowers Grow on Broken Walls

Farena Bajwa

Ingram Sparks, 238 pages, (paperback) $12.99, 9783000707506
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

Farina Bajwa’s Flowers Grow on Broken Walls is a poetry collection reflecting the concerns and candid confessions of an adolescent speaker. “How can you feel so much/ and nothing at the same time?” she asks in one poem, “-my hormones must be ruined.”

The volume is comprised of seven, untitled, free-verse poems along with the […]

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The Holy Grail War: Hedgehog

Armanis Ar-feinial

Holy Grail Publishing, 422 pages, (paperback) $16.99, 9780578956374
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

The first installment in Armanis Ar-feinial’s Holy Grail War saga is an ambitious—albeit convoluted—amalgam of science fiction, military thriller, and Arthurian legend that follows a mysterious black ops soldier’s painful journey of recovery after the government that (seemingly) created him and employed him attempts to kill him and his entire elite task force.

In the […]

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Brayden the Great Warrior

John Livingston

Xlibris, 24 pages, (paperback) $18.99, 9781664166981
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

Brayden learns what it takes to become a great warrior in this touching, faith-based children’s picture book.

While playing in a fort he made on the beach one day, Brayden declares himself a “great warrior.” But then he realizes: “I don’t have a sword. I don’t have a shield. I don’t have armor,” and he […]

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Thunder Peak: Tamm Chronicles, Book I

Trae Stratton

Trae Stratton, 212 pages, (paperback) $9.99, 9798555928115
(Reviewed: December, 2021)

In Trae Stratton’s superb, young adult, fantasy/adventure novel, a teenager learns her true identity and embraces the magical powers of her birthright.

It’s 1885. Fourteen-year-old Casey Tamm lives with her adoptive father, Jonas, in the valley of Thunder Peak, a mysterious mountain in the Arizona Territory where anomalous weather and hauntings are legend.

Casey’s world […]

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