Circuits and Bumps

Philip Condon

Trafford, 482 pages, (paperback) $33.48, 9781412099301
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

P.A. Condon’s literary gem of a memoir, written at age 80, shares sensitive details of his hard-scrabble life with the deft story-telling of Frank McCourt and a healthy dose of Julian Barnes’ keen wit. His reminiscences uncover an emotionally vulnerable childhood and a deep love of family, books, music, mountains, flying and teaching.

The book […]

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The “Tell Me a Story” Book

S. Steele

AuthorHouse, 116 pages, (paperback) $13.99, 9781425979935
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

Here’s a book that sounds promising: a former YMCA camp director shares a dozen suspense stories to read aloud around a campfire or at bedtime. Unfortunately, S. Steele’s premise is flawed by poorly crafted stories that are far too graphically violent to read to children.

Steele sells the book on the back cover as a […]

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Kingdom Come

Rob Murphy

AuthorHouse, 500 pages, (paperback) $15.47, 9781456782115
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

Kingdom Come is a speculative thriller that exploits ideological fault lines within the United Kingdom. In 2015, an increasingly conservative Britain has stumbled into potential economic prosperity by discovering oil off the coasts of Scotland and Wales, but the leaders of those regions see it as a way to seek independence from the UK. The […]

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The Adventures of Big Dog: Troubles and Triumph

Donald Draayer

Xlibris, 44 pages, (paperback) $21.99, 9781465348951
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

Donald Draayer’s children’s chapter book centers on two children, their parents and the loveable but sometimes infuriating dog next door.

Dirk and Dawn, especially Dirk, constantly beg their parents for a canine addition to the household. When their neighbors ask the family to care for their golden retriever known as Big Dog for two days, […]

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Hitler’s Silver Box

Allen Malnak

Two Harbors Press, 316 pages, (paperback) $16.95, 9781937293369
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

In his mystery and suspense debut novel, Allen Malnak fashions a compelling story that opens in the present but has roots in world events 50 years past.

As the chief ER resident at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, Dr. Bruce Starkman is consumed with his career. While taking some hard-earned time off, Starkman receives devastating news: […]

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The Tangled Web of Patent Number 174465

Russell Pizer

AuthorHouse, 368 pages, (paperback) $17.99, 9781438984025
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

This intriguing study explores the controversy surrounding Alexander Graham Bell’s 1874 patent for the telephone. As author Russell A. Pizer details in his book, on the same day that Bell applied for his patent (the #174465 of the title), a rival inventor, Elisha Gray, applied for a less expensive type of patent called a “caveat” […]

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Evil Eyes

Cherylann Thomas

Xlibris, 300 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781465335920
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

It’s no wonder Cherylann Thomas grew up to be hard-drinking, pill-popping, and promiscuous. As described in her memoir, Evil Eyes, her father, in and out of prison, is nearly a nonentity; her mother is at best neglectful and casually cruel, and her stepfather is a molester. Thomas runs away as a teenager and flits among […]

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Early Childhood Scientific Brain Connections

Clementine T. Fordham

Xlibris, 164 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781441559234
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

As American children continue to lag behind their global peers in science and math, educators and policy makers alike worry they will be ill-equipped to compete on the world stage. It is into this educational void that educator and author Clementine Fordham wades in, with mixed results.

A teacher of three decades, Fordham states that […]

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If Only God Used His Brain Ahead of Time

Snofla Sacul

Xlibris, 240 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781465335654
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

The Judeo-Christian tradition is filled with contradictions and paradoxes. God issues the commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” Yet, two of Judaism’s greatest leaders, Moses and David, were both murderers. Another disciple, Peter, betrayed Jesus, not once, but three times, only to become the first pope. Go figure. As they say, the Lord works in mysterious […]

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2nd Son

Lonnie Phillips

Xlibris, 111 pages, (paperback) $20.99, 9781401091088
(Reviewed: November, 2011)

He grew up black in Arkansas with tough parents and a tender heart. So aspiring poet and writer Lonnie Philips took to pen and paper to make sense of life and living. The result is this book, an earnest mix that is part poetry, part autobiography and part scrapbook (including copies of letters to and […]

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