Appalachian Child

Bea B. Todd

iUniverse, 236 pages, (paperback) $19.95, 9781450201483
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

In this well-written memoir, Bea B. Todd documents her childhood growing up with an abusive father who regularly beat his wife and children.

Todd, a pseudonym, recalls being kicked, slapped and whipped almost daily while a child in an impoverished area of the Appalachian Mountains in the 1940s and ’50s. She lived in fear of […]

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The Merlin Compass

Frank Nightingale

Xlibris, 171 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781453583616
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

Frank Nightingale’s The Merlin Compass pays homage to 1930s America, where technology still seemed magical and the world was headed to war.

Our teenaged protagonist, Andy Justice, stumbles onto a Nazi conspiracy when David Spaulding, his beleaguered schoolteacher and former physicist, enlists him to hide a special compass that can lead its user to virtually […]

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The Resurrection Factor

Wade Powers

AuthorHouse, 576 pages, (paperback) $26.95, 9781468540529
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

John le Carre’s writing has clearly left its influence on Wade Powers’ Resurrection Factor, an espionage tale in which the author explores themes of loyalty, betrayal and belonging.

As the story begins, CIA pilot Tim Lazarus witnesses aspiring presidential candidate Macon Graves shooting to death a terrorist held in custody. Lazarus is shot himself when […]

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Four Women in Need

Carol Houston

Xlibris, 207 pages, (paperback) $29.99 AUD, 9781453524633
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

As the title indicates, Carol Houston’s novel focuses on four characters, each in turmoil. Avril’s husband is convicted of fraudulent business practices and dies in jail; veterinarian Katie’s pilot husband cheats on her and she miscarries; Ph.D. candidate Susan unknowingly plagiarizes her thesis research and is dismissed from the university; and physician Justine shoulders unjustified […]

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The Breaks

Avis R. Anderson

Xlibris, 108 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781469185422
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

A grown man and his mother shot execution-style over breakfast in an isolated Montana ranch. Toughs in leather jackets flashing wads of cash. A taciturn survivalist with no compunction about taking the law into his own hands.

Given the circumstances and the cast of characters, Alvis R. Anderson’s The Breaks seems to demand one tough […]

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Words From Within

Adriana Baldari

Xlibris, 84 pages, (paperback) $49.99 AUD, 9781465301413
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

Words from Within, a book of verse and photographs on slick, 8.5” x 11” pages, celebrates eclectic moments of joy and extends sympathy to those suffering from the adversities and injustices of this world.

Writing in free verse with some rhyme and repetition, Baldari’s poems are divided into seasons – winter, spring, summer, autumn – […]

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Living Arrows

Hildagarde Spielbauer Brooks

Xlibris, 359 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781441593672
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” Author Hildagarde Spielbauer Brooks quotes Khalil Gibran as she dedicates her book to the future generations of the Spielbauer family.

Living Arrows tells the touching story of her family’s life in a small Iowa town, spanning 50 years from the early […]

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Reaching the Heights

Dr. Iwasan Kejawa

Xlibris, 103 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781462872879
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

Iwasan Kejawa is a career educator with a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale. In Reaching The Heights, he extolls the virtues of education – especially adult education – and offers his thoughts on learning, which he maintains should not end with a person’s success in life. “Educating the mind is […]

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A Bronx Story “From Hate to Hope”

Salvatore Sarate

Xlibris, 50 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781465308399
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

Salvatore Sarate doesn’t have to look to Romeo and Juliet for his Westside Story. He lived a version of it while growing up in the Bronx in the 1930s and ’40s. He was a Depression-era baby born into a hardscrabble life with a brutish father and doting mother and the mean streets of the neighborhood […]

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Dak’s Country Visit: The Painter and His Cat

Hal Schulz

Trafford, 32 pages, (paperback) $14.51, 9781426967436
(Reviewed: June, 2012)

Hal Schulz has written and illustrated a picture book for young children that proves that you can take a cat out of the city but you can’t take the city out of a cat.

Dakota – Dak for short – is a friendly, gray tomcat. When he joins his friend Moon, an aging house painter, […]

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