Quicksand Paradise by Mary Keith

December 6, 2014

An extraordinary read about a horrific era in America.

A family of misogynists passes on their gruesome views to their sons. Louis desperately tries to brainwash these revolting beliefs to his son, Charles. Despite his twisted efforts, he is unsuccessful and the circle of hatred ends.

The author places her readers in Louisiana between the 1950’s and 60’s. The affluent Abellard family of men is vicious and cruel members of the KKK. The decade in history is brutal, and if the author’s purpose was not to sugar coat the period, she succeeded.

Quicksand Paradise contains all the elements of an evil family and community, while including an accurate account of history.


His Name was Ben by Paulette Mahurin

October 31, 2014

Ben, a forty year old man, loses his battle with cancer. During the last year of life, he meets Sara, a cancer patient and woman of his dreams. Uncertainty of time drives their appreciation of every precious minute.

The author accomplishes two major tasks: describing the ugliness of cancer, while writing a beautiful story of human emotion. Ben and Sara fight their disease with extraordinary courage. Friends and family issues come to the surface, resembling real life.

His Name was Ben by Paulette Mahurin is a book for all ages. Covering the hard knocks of life and the importance of compassionate relations create for a satisfying read about an unpleasant topic.

Noah: A Wordless Picture Book by Mark Ludy

September 30, 2014

Outstanding illustrations presented throughout this wordless picture book. Because of the incredible artwork, children will be able to understand the story of Noah throughout their childhood. This book offers young readers the opportunity to recognize fresh elements of the story each time he/she studies the sophisticated images.

Each page remained creative with Mark Ludy’s choice of animals for the ark. There’s no doubt the intensity of the story will take many readings for the young reader to experience the full impact.

While the author’s interpretation of Noah and his wife’s age differed from mine, it nevertheless told Noah’s story.

Jojo’s Stinky Day: A story about an elephant who doesn’t want to bathe by Sujatha Lalgudi

September 28, 2014

Jojo’s Stinky Day is a helpful story to motivate young children for bath time. Written in a practical, yet playful way for the targeted age group, the message that Jojo ‘stinks’ is one a child does not want to experience.

The fun characters get the point across with ease, explaining the reason to keep clean.

Less is more regarding the length. While the author did a fantastic job with illustrations, children would also enjoy a colorful book version of Jojo’s Stinky Day.

When the Shoe Fits…: Essays of Love, Life and Second Chances by Mary T Wagner

September 9, 2014

Intrigued by the synopsis of When the Shoe Fits, I anticipated reading Mary T Wagner’s essays. Relating to Mary’s life in so many of her stories, having experienced similar second chances of my own, I found the narratives entertaining.

Regardless of subject matter, each essay kept me engaged with the author’s comedic skill, while presenting real life scenarios that embraced a variety of emotions.

Mary T Wagner sprinkled wisdom throughout her essays, leaving pearls to ponder. I enjoyed reflecting on my life only to discover new avenues still available to test.

Lucas The Lion & The Pirate Ship (Jungle Juniors Storybook Book 1) by

August 7, 2014

Lucas the Lion & the Pirate Ship is the perfect story to deal with a child’s fear of water. Appropriate in length and illustrated to enhance the words, Rachel Michaels knack for storytelling is flawless.

Lucas the lion reveals his secret to his friends but overcomes his fear when faced with a lifesaving challenge to save their lives. He rises to the occasion and all ends well.

Children will see Lucas’s courage as encouragement to deal with fears of their own.

Onto yourself Collection: (Cut-up Poetry Inspired by David Bowie and RadioHead) by Rob Manary

July 1, 2014

Before reading this collection, I had to research cut-up poetry. Here’s the best way to describe it by the Dadaist writer Tristan Tzara, who wrote “dada manifesto on feeble love and bitter love,” [which included a section called “To Make a Dadaist Poem,” and it gave these instructions:
Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next, carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next, take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are – an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.]

In case you don’t know, as I did not, a Dada is a European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity. (Thanks Farlex)

As you can see, before I began reading Rob Manary’s cut-ups, I had learned a great deal.
Once I understood the concept, I was ready to read the poetry. Since learning David Bowie and William S. Burroughs made this method popular, I was intrigued. I was already wearing my 2004 Bowie tour tee shirt because I had just read the short story, Hang Onto Yourself . . . David Bowie, by Diane Lebow.

I had a much better understanding of the cut-up method of poetry when I read track1: “groupie.” Its origin was from the story, Hang Onto Yourself. . . David Bowie. It was amazing.

Continuing with the book, the other cut-ups are just as remarkable. I found the concept surprisingly simple, yet at the same time complex. The content of a number of poems is personal to Rob Manary, while the others are about personal love from other experiences.

I can see how Bowie linked up with the Beat Generation writer, William S. Burroughs, and with RadioHead’s the bends.

I applaud the author, Rob Manary, for his dedication and expertise in writing this cut-up poetry book for readers to enjoy.

I appreciated the education and the entertainment after reading, Onto Yourself Collection: (Cut-up Poetry Inspired by David Bowie and RadioHead). I highly recommend taking a few minutes of your day to enjoy the cut-ups.

Hang Onto Yourself . . . David Bowie by Diane Lebow

July 1, 2014

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the rock star’s name, David Bowie? Ziggy Stardust, of course! Do any of his fans know what really happened to Bowie’s alter ego?

In this science fiction short story, the year is 1973, and Bowie gave up the ghost of Ziggy without notice. While we may never know the truth, Diane Lebow decided to make up a reason of her own.

Is she close to the truth? You decide after reading, Hang Onto Yourself.

It’s a fun, quick read, whether or not you are a fan of David Bowie. I am a big fan, so I found my Bowie 2004 tour tee shirt in the back of my closet, put it on, and read the story of a true Bowie fan traveling back in time to a 1973 concert. She and her friend make a very cool discovery.

Read it to find out what they discovered.

The Cost of Crude by Inge-lise Goss

June 26, 2014

A mystery thriller, jam packed with action in every scene, and a touch of romance to keep it interesting describes The Cost of Crude. The story is well paced, full of unexpected twists and turns that involve the Wilton Oil & Gas Company.

The main protagonist, Gwynn, is a strong, solid female character, able to handle each new dangerous situation with flying colors. She is a loyal friend, determined to solve the murder of her best friend.

Inge-lise is a talented author by far, able to hold her readers attention through plots and sub-plots. Her characters are many, and they become real with her skill of creating in depth personalities.

I recommend The Cost of Crude to readers who enjoy well written murder mysteries.

Curious Creatures: 4 Books in 1 (Made By God) by Zondervan(Author)

May 1, 2014

Curious Creatures is a Level 2 I Can Read book about Rain Forest Friends, Jungle Beasts, Polar Bears, and Curious Creatures Down Under. The format is conducive for the young reader. It defines terms in easy language using bullets and easy to read fonts. The illustrations are big and bold, suitable for eye catching children’s interest.

Sprinkled throughout the book is a Christian theme. For example, if people do not start taking care of God’s world, the Bengal tigers might not survive.

Highlighted facts about awareness for endangered species are included. For example, Logging, hunting, and habitat destruction have made the spider monkey an endangered species.

Integrated throughout Curious Creatures are common facts a young child would ask. For example, a toucan’s bill can measure up to 8 inches in length.

The child learns new vocabulary words in a stimulating manner using quotes. For example, if a jungle is “tropical”, it is usually hot and humid and can be very wet too.

The animals in their natural habitats are clear and vibrant, displaying their diet as they eat.

Curious Creatures is a wonderful learning experience for children.

Individual maps indicating the geographic location of the animals’ habitats would have enriched the book.

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