Chicken Hill Chronicle

Norman B. Cohen and Lawrence E. Cohen

Xlibris, 313 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781456874353
(Reviewed: May, 2011)

Frail at age 82, retired shoe store owner Norman B. Cohen seemed an unlikely candidate to write a memoir. Then, at a family Labor Day picnic, Norman snapped when his sister referred to their deceased father Abe, also a shoe store owner, as a “good businessman.” Angry at the apparent myth that Abe had run […]

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grydscaen: retribution

Natsuya Uesugi

Xlibris, 273 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781453564158
(Reviewed: May, 2011)

This episodic novel jumps right into the action some time in the future as an underground rebel force with psychic powers called the Packrats uses guerilla warfare against an established military, the Psi faction, comprised of soldiers who also have psychic powers.

Although the author provides a cast of characters at the beginning, grydscaen: retribution […]

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Wally the Worm’s Adventures on the Farm

Jim Rinaldo

Xlibris, 26 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781456891022
(Reviewed: May, 2011)

In this engaging children’s picture book, Wally is a worm with big plans for his morning: he wants to wiggle all the way across the barnyard to the apple trees, where he aims to munch into “a big juicy apple for breakfast.” That may sound simple enough, but when you’re a worm, the mission presents […]

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The Golden Heart

Emil Kackos

Xlibris, 105 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781453576731
(Reviewed: May, 2011)

Young readers (ages 8-11) with a love of action over character development will have fun with this tale of fire-breathing dragons and magic spells. Emil Kackos’s The Golden Heart pits a small gang of multi-specie tweens against an evil wizard determined to take over the world. Good-hearted and fearless, the new friends rise to the […]

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The Sphere

Cormeel Booysen

Xlibris, 243 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781456857325
(Reviewed: May, 2011)

The people and places in The Sphere are as elusive as the “Light Gray, Almost White, Almost Silver” of the subtitle. Characters have only first names. Countries — the protagonist, Victor, is from Azania — are unfamiliar. Even the time frame — travel is by horsecart and sailing ship, streets are cobblestone, yet mysterious “spheres” […]

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Why Did He Kill?

Jack Stahl

Xlibris, 269 pages, (paperback0 $19.99, 9781456884055
(Reviewed: May, 2011)

Jack Stahl uses the case of Klaus Schmitt, a depraved Viennese finance heir, to pose his novel’s title question. Klaus’ successful father, Conrad, plans to groom him for a career as prestigious as his own. Klaus, however, fails to meet his father’s expectations and, as a teenager, robs and kills a man for thrills. Klaus’ […]

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The Other Side of Innocence

Gerald Myers

Xlibris, 340 pages, (hardcover) $32.99, 9781456862961
(Reviewed: May, 2011)

Mystery author Gerald Myers changes course with The Other Side of Innocence, a coming-of-age novel that contemplates whether or not the past can be forgotten.

Kelly Masters has a successful career and a happy marriage, but an invitation to his 40th high school reunion unearths buried memories. As Kelly recalls his senior year during the […]

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Drink, Dear Boy?

Alwyne Chappell

Janus Publishing Company, 349 pages, (paperback) £11.99, 9781857567069
(Reviewed: April, 2011)

The usual guidelines for an Englishman recounting his adventures abroad begin with first establishing his qualifications as a rank amateur, then describing, with becoming modesty, his surprising competence. Next, he should suggest that, whatever his qualifications, he is vastly more capable than any supposed expert in the vicinity, especially if that expert is not English […]

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Open Source

M. M. Frick

Matthew M. Frick, 336 pages, (paperback) $12.95, 9781453719985
(Reviewed: April, 2011)

M.M. Frick, an active duty Naval officer who has traveled the world’s geo-political landscape, has written an enjoyable thriller from an unconventional perspective. The main characters are a vending machine stocker in Savannah, Ga. — a self-described “nobody” — and a sharp intelligence analyst working for a high-powered consulting firm in New York City.

The […]

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Whistleblower Doctor: The Politics and Economics of Pain and Dying

David K. Cundiff, MD

David K. Cundiff, MD, 219 pages, (ebook) $5.00, 9780976157137
(Reviewed: April, 2011)

Dr. Cundiff’s recounting of his work at the Los Angeles County Department of Health and the University of Southern California Medical Center from 1979 to 1998 focuses on his experiences dealing with hospice care and the terminally ill and emphasizes his ongoing attempts to reform care for those in pain and/or terminally ill. These patients, […]

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