The Invisible Struggle

Faye Farnsworth

Xlibris, NULL pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781450014021
(Reviewed: September, 2011)

In The Invisible Struggle, Faye Farnsworth uses fantasy tropes to tell a story of the battle between good and evil in the lives of contemporary teens. At the same time, she tries to reconcile God’s seeming indifference to the horrors that take place in the lives of innocent people.

High school sophomores, Larry and Dave, […]

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The Yoder Incident

Mark Alexander Smith

Xlibris, NULL pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781456888299
(Reviewed: September, 2011)

Mark Alexander Smith’s bio notes that he is a writer and educator who has taught all over the world. Considering Smith’s professional achievements, his debut novel, The Yoder incident, is a surprising disappointment. His story is filled with implausible plot twists and other storytelling distractions.

Jaegan Yoder is a high school English teacher in Saskatoon, […]

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Murder by Accident

Ken Austin

Xlibris, 191 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781456866044
(Reviewed: September, 2011)

Despite its title, Ken Austin’s Murder By Accident downplays murder and instead focuses on two families in the wake of a fateful car accident. There is a murder — an innocent woman is killed instead of an intended target — and there is a tragic death from the accident — the daughter of the main […]

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Billy Jo and the Monsters of the Moat

Bill Thomas

Xlibris, 32 pages, (paperback) $21.99, 9781462860791
(Reviewed: September, 2011)

Bill Thomas was ten years old when he suffered a traumatic head injury causing severe brain damage. His teachers and friends began teasing him as learning and memory difficulties overwhelmed him. Billy Jo and the Monsters of the Moat is based on Thomas’ real life experience.

The main character, also named Billy, is friendly until […]

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Hand of the Omega

Katherine Whitley

Xlibris, 601 pages, (paperback) $23.99, 9781456887131
(Reviewed: September, 2011)

Although appealing to mainstream fiction readers, Katherine Whitley’s Society trilogy (Society Rules, Knights of Redemption, and the recently released Hand of the Omega) is a subtle fusion of many genre fiction elements: paranormal romance, allegorical fantasy, science fiction, and apocalyptic thriller. The character-driven storyline — which revolves around a quartet of thoroughly developed and endearing […]

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The Scent of the Armoires

Celeste A. Mansylla

Xlibris, 361 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781450016070
(Reviewed: August, 2011)

The personal armoires popular in our ancestors’ time held important fragments of each family member’s life. “They were works of art,” writes Celeste A. Mansylla. “. . . Every armoire had its own smell according to the wood that had been used to make it and, with time, it acquired the scent of the person […]

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Take a Walk with Me

Rudy Calzada

Xlibris, 62 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781456834654
(Reviewed: August, 2011)

In Take a Walk With Me, Southern Californian Rudy Calzada, who retired after working for 43 years with the United States Postal Service, writes about the moods and memories of his personal life without ever getting too personal. The result is a jovial and generous collection.

Framed by two poems that elaborate on the title, […]

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Poetry, Transcendence and the Search for Wisdom

George Lysloff

Xlibris, 225 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781462865369
(Reviewed: August, 2011)

Author George Lysloff is a thoughtful man who misses his wife who has passed away; loves his children; has dreams and thoughts he wants to share with the world. He is, in his own words, “one of those that [sic] will try to cultivate familial relationships, possible with exaggerated persistence or assiduity, maybe for the […]

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Passion in Paris: Directions of the Heart

Rusty Blackwood

Xlibris, 343 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781456842314
(Reviewed: August, 2011)

This sequel to Passion in Paris: Connections to the Past begins as the grandchildren of recently deceased Canadian Joy Wychmere discover shocking revelations about their grandmother’s romantic past in diaries and a manuscript left behind. Her story begins dramatically as the married woman, along with her lover, Irish actor Cullen Malone, are being held captive […]

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Ensnared

Peter Lewis

AuthorHouse, 256 pages, (paperback) $17.09, 9781456774431
(Reviewed: August, 2011)

Author Peter Lewis’s novel Ensnared follows one man’s dramatic life as a bus driver caught in the snare of a terrorist smuggling ring. Lewis’ main character, also named Peter, secures a dependable job as a bus driver for an English touring company. At first, the position allows Peter to see the English and Irish countryside […]

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