Jenell and the Berry Thicket Village

Carol Fenwick

AuthorHouse, 36 pages, (paperback) $15.75, 9781463450168
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

Jenell and the Berry Thicket Village is a charming and delightful surprise: it is a well-written, warm-hearted chapter book disguised as a picture book for preschoolers. Carol Fenwick is a thoughtful and generous storyteller with a keen eye for the small details that breathe truth and humor into fiction.

Berry Thicket is a perfect country […]

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Do You Know Where the Bus Driver Will Go?

Sandy Shaw

Xlibris, 20 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781477121078
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

Sandy Shaw has written an engaging and lively picture book that answers that timeless question of childhood: where does the bus driver go while all the children are at school? Brought to life with imaginative glee and a generous and lively sense of possibility, Do You Know Where the Bus Driver Will Go? is an […]

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Mi Mochito Sephardim from Northern New Mexico

Jo Roybal Izay

Trafford, 237 pages, (paperback) $16.67, 9781466933415
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

Written as a series of connected vignettes, Mi Mochito Sephardim tells the story of a sprawling family of Sephardic Jews living in northern New Mexico, where their ancestors went to escape the Inquisition. The family has taken in El Mochito, a charming, if batty, man whose many transgressions are explained away as the acts of […]

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Love, War and Ice Cream

M.Z. Fairtlough

iUniverse, 366 pages, (paperback) $24.95, 9781462093113
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

Harry Fairtlough grew up in the tiny village of Blandford St. Mary, England, the son of a British army general who died before Harry could know him. Harry attended private schools and lived in a manor house with his mother and three older siblings.

Marina Campo was raised in the sunny seaport of Cadiz, Spain. […]

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Evolution in Reverse: Demystifying My Epilepsy

Jan Johnsson

AuthorHouse, 154 pages, (paperback) $22.88, 9781456784294
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

This is Jan Johnsson’s chronicle of his lifelong struggles as an epileptic and neurotic. The title of the book is drawn from Dr. Art Janov, a U.S. physician who pioneered primal therapy, which, as the name suggests, uses the birth process as a means to evaluate, diagnosis, and cure ailments like epilepsy. In Johnsson’s words, […]

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Colonial Downs and More

Francis Marion Bush

iUniverse, 184 pages, (paperback) $16.95, 9781462055746
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

Devotees of horse racing in Virginia–especially the ones wearing suits and ties or cocktail dresses– will find information to savor in this no-nonsense history, directory and record book. Francis Marion Bush, a Kentucky-born horse owner and longtime member of the Virgina Thoroughbred Association, has taken pains to compile all manner of fact and minutiae about […]

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Charlene’s Dream

Emerson Collier

AuthorHouse, 363 pages, (paperback) $21.95, 9781467042109
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

In Charlene’s Dream, Charlene, the novel’s main character, reveals early on that she has suffered her share of tragedies, beginning with the death of her high school sweetheart, Steve, with whom she had made life plans. Despite her sorrow, she eventually meets Joe, who has experienced his own family hardships from the death of a […]

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Patriot Son

Gary Smith

Trafford, 182 pages, (paperback) $15.04, 9781426993350
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

Gary Smith’s candid memoir of his Army career is a smooth, vivid and at times nailbiting read — a fascinating, personal look at military life that, given a few tweaks, has the potential to capture a wide audience.

Longing to fight in Vietnam, Smith enlisted in the Army but was never sent to ‘Nam. During […]

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The Sound of War

Chideru Duru

AuthorHouse, 368 pages, (paperback) $23.95, 9781467880251
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

It’s astonishing that a 19-year-old Nigerian college student could produce a 360-page novel over the summer following his sophomore year. It’s less surprising that Chidera Duru’s writing needs work. The Sound of War is rife with misspellings, grammatical errors and bewildering prose: “Most of the chiefs wore their faces like excreta that had been beaten […]

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Winkiedough Twinkletoe

Wendy Buxton

AuthorHouse, 36 pages, (paperback) $20.99, 9781468530506
(Reviewed: August, 2012)

This bright, boldly illustrated picture book is the perfect goodnight treat for a preschooler who is afraid of the dark.

Owen is a blond and bubbly toddler frightened of the dark. When his much-loved Mommy comes to tuck him in for the night, he wonders why nighttime can’t be the same as daytime. Mommy wishes […]

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