Mother’s Dawn, Black Swamp

Soonja Kwon

Xlibris, 87 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781465356116
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

Divided into four parts, Soonja Kwon’s third poetry book is a mature appreciation of a mother and father’s struggles to raise a family in a South Korean fishing village. Part I focuses on the mother, at times an abstract conception, at other times a specific individual. In “Rubber Gloves,” Kwon plays with the imagery of […]

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The Adventures of Anna and Andy Hummingbird

Linda P. Young

Xlibris, 42 pages, (paperback) $21.99, 9781456895686
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

Linda P. Young has written a warm series of adventures starring two young hummingbirds named Anna and Andy. With help from the “Nice Lady” and her husband, who tend their feeders, these curious little birds thrive and grow.

This picture book is actually a series of five, short, interconnected adventures. In the first story, we […]

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Life Can Be Positively Different: A Positive Approach to Fulfilling Relationships

Virginia Colin

Trafford Publishing, 102 pages, (paperback) $17.37, 9781412076777
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

Reinvention and resolution are the bread and butter of all self-help books. As the calendar turns, either at the start of a new year or as a birthday approaches, readers clamor for advice in shedding pesky pounds, habits or relationships. But what if this time the goal is simply to be happier?

Helping people swap […]

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Speed Trap

Mark Alan Stowent

Xlibris, 129 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 9781465341365
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

Speed Trap is a novel based on the author’s experiences as a police officer in a large U.S. city. It is billed as a series of “war stories” from the front lines of police work. The unnamed protagonist, presumably a loosely fictionalized version of the author, tells readers he will skip over the “detail stuff […]

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The Knowing of Thomas James

Alan James

Xlibris Australia, 462 pages, (paperback) $39.99 AUD, 9781465358653
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

In May, 1906, in the small Australian city of Albany, a telegram arrived informing the family of Reverend Thomas James, a respected leader of the Methodist Church, that he had drowned in a boating accident off Sydney.

He hadn’t. What really happened involved deceit, betrayal, scandal, mystery and hardship on two continents told here in […]

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Shadowman

Aaron Dennis

Xlibris, 100 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781465376671
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

He can move between the visible world of the living and the ethereal realm of the spirits, changing from man to animal as he skips between dimensions.

Those are the extraordinary powers of the protagonist in Aaaron Dennis’ slim debut work Shadow Man, a story that incorporates voodoo magic, spirit guides and the hoodoo traditions […]

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Enduring Relations

Jane Hyatt

AuthorHouse, 242 pages, (paperback) $15.99, 9781420897357
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

Enduring Relations is the story of a family as they gather for a funeral and a wedding, told chapter by chapter in the alternating voices of each of the women characters. Each woman reveals her secret thoughts about the rest of the family, weighing and measuring them against her own happiness or disappointments, often with […]

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Skip the First Amendment

Marlowe J. Churchill

Trafford Publishing, 290 pages, (paperback) $18.50, 9781426965852
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

Marlowe J. Churchill’s noir crime novel, Skip the First Amendment, opens with Skip Easley, a jaded crime reporter at a newspaper in Seattle, working on a story about a murdered topless dancer. But he soon gets himself fired, and the novel then follows Easley to a newspaper in Riverside, California, a dusty, small, college town […]

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Angel in Black: A Musical Life in Letters

Beverly Shaffer Gast

Trafford Publishing, 204 pages, (paperback) $13.66, 9781426974854
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

Part-memoir, part-biography, part documentary record, Beverly Shaffer Gast has put together a moving record of her sister, Elaine Shaffer, the world’s first concert flutist, whose life was cut short by lung cancer.

Elaine Shaffer grew up in a depression-era family that could just about get by as far as essentials were concerned but had no […]

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The Further Adventures and Life of Jack Dawkins, Also Known as The Artful Dodger

Alan Montgomery

Trafford Publishing, 209 pages, (paperback) $17.95, 9781426931000
(Reviewed: January, 2012)

In his debut novel, author Alan Montgomery imagines the life of Jack Dawkins –the character in Dickens’ Oliver Twist who is also known as “the artful dodger” – after he is deported to the U.S. for his crimes as a pickpocket.

The story begins as a frightened Dawkins awaits transfer from his jail cell to […]

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