to be to is to was

Stephen C. Bird

Hysterical Dimensia, 193 pages, (paperback) $14.00, 9780692069462
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

Stephen C. Bird’s to be to is to was is a stylish, imaginative collection of interrelated short stories deploying postmodern narrative techniques to dissect the landscape of media, identity, and politics in the current age. Although most stories can stand alone, all of them reference others (whether through characters, settings, or simply through themes […]

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Fortuna and the Scapegrace

Brian Kindall

Diving Boy Books, 317 pages, (paperback) $12.99, 9780999456941
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

Throughout this captivating, darkly comic, often absurdist novel, the narrator and central character takes on multiple identities with the ease of a chameleon changing its colors.

When first met, our protagonist is down and out in San Francisco in the mid-19th century, desperate “to be rid of Erstwhile Me,” a wish granted sooner than expected […]

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Terrible Omens: Happiness Is the Other Way

Alane Gray

Thinktorium Books, 365 pages, (paperback) $16.00, 9781937258207
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

Author Alane Gray’s wicked, self-deprecating sense of humor turns the tale of her doomed marriage into a raucous, page-turning ride in Terrible Omens: Happiness is the Other Way.

Gray married “Darren Danky” (not his real name) one day after her 28th birthday. After briefly basking in the hormone-induced joy of their recent matrimony, their relationship […]

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Dig Down

Damian Myron

Madman Irony Press, 133 pages, (paperback) $7.99, 9781733547116
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

Damian Myron’s Dig Down is a fast-paced thriller about a man trying to evade capture by his many enemies, including the FBI.

In this novella, Rob Moore is on the run, accused of insider trading, prostitution, bribery, stock manipulation and drug smuggling. The story is told in two time frames. In the first, Rob arrives […]

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The Fifth Dimension: A Story Of Courage Through Faith

Ramma Kher

Xlibris, 458 pages, (paperback) $18.99, 9781543425413
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

Ramma Kher has drawn upon her own culture and life travels to create her debut novel The Fifth Dimension: A Story of Courage.

When bright-eyed young Meera marries handsome Mojit and moves with him from India to Canada, she expects the life of a typical Indian immigrant’s wife. Soon, however, Mojit is tragically killed, and […]

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Painless

Marty Thornley

Marty Thornley, 276 pages, (paperback) $14.95, 9781979851206
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

In Painless, Marty Thornley crafts a horrific tale of a medical trial gone awry.

The novel’s protagonist, Greg Owens, is a construction worker who injured his back badly in a fall. His attempt to manage his chronic pain through the use of illicit medication costs him his marriage. To get his life back on track, […]

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Teachers Have 9 Lives: An Underground to Surface Exposure

Hannah Hope

Outskirts Press, 306 pages, (paperback) $25.95, 9781977204417
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

Teachers Have 9 Lives: An Underground to Surface Exposure, by Hannah Hope, is a sort of slipstream/postmodernist novel lauding the value of teachers in a decaying world and written in a mixture of poetic and literary experimental styles.

The first two-thirds of Teachers Have 9 Lives takes place in an unknown time and space, through […]

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Reframing Poverty: New Thinking and Feeling About Humanity’s Greatest Challenge

Eric Meade

Canyon House Press, 209 pages, , 9780578426921
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

In Reframing Poverty, Eric Meade offers a nuanced and scholarly perspective on poverty that reframes the debate over its antecedents and its resolution.

In Part I of his work, Meade declares, “[p]overty…is an emotional construct,” and our emotive response should play a significant role in its definition. Meade applies this argument to four explanations of […]

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Midtown Madhatter

Mateo Monda

Classic Day Publishing, 283 pages, (paperback) $16.00, 9781598492552
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

Mateo Monda’s novel, Midtown Madhatter, centers on the life of Peter “Petey” Walsh, who reconnects with his childhood buddies after a decade spent in Mexico.

Petey hasn’t seen his partners in crime since he left Seattle to forget about a girl— then found another girl and married her. A chance to reconnect arrives when his […]

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The Art of Teaching

Bryce Hess

Bryce Hess, 26 pages, (ebook) $0.99, 9781644674796
(Reviewed: January, 2019)

Education is understandably one of the prominent social issues of our day. In this book, Bryce Hess presents his approach to the practical matter of educating students.

After presenting brief reflections on the teacher/student relationship, Hess begins by exploring broad concepts, like “Truth” and “Knowledge” and works down to less abstract matters of education. Each […]

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