Category Archives: Literature Reviews

George

george-smallGeorge
Alex Gino

This is about George, a young child who is born a boy but knows he is actually a girl.  It’s the story of her discovering bravery and confronting her family, her friends, and her own heart to debut in the world exactly the way she was meant to.

I started this book ready to love it—trans-child as a main character by an author who didn’t seem like they were using the trans-community to make a quick buck?  Yes, please!  Regardless of how ready I was to read about a little girl waiting to be seen, I was still nervous that I was going to be disappointed.

Overall, I really liked this book—it proved to be just a plain ol’ story, which was a huge relief.  Sometimes when a book comes out about a hot topic or featuring a character that’s not white/straight/CIS, so on, there tends to be a lot of explaining regarding what it’s like to exist as them.  While this book did that, I don’t think it was over-the-top or condescending.

My favorite character in the book (besides Melissa, of course) was her best friend.  We all need a Kelly in our life, and her character really helped to settle the tense moments when adults said or did the wrong thing.

And that’s another thing—the reactions of the adults in Melissa’s life felt very real.  Not every adult gets it, or can keep up with a trans-child’s needs during their transition.  Sometimes they say the wrong thing, even if they have good intentions.  In this book, there’s a lot of push back and a lot of confusion.  Reading the parts where her teacher said silly things, or the anger and denial of Melissa’s mother awoke a protective fierceness in me.  I think that’s an important thing to read and to feel.

And so—if you’re looking for a sweet book about a little girl who want to play Charlotte in her school’s production of Charlotte’s Web, grab this one.  I rate it 4/5 stars.

PS: Alex Gino’s website is one of the happiest author sites I’ve seen in a while.  Look them up, they’re awesome.

Unexpected: Short Stories From Around the World

captureFans of short stories with a sting in the tail, are in for an exiling treat when the new book, Unexpected, is launched in October.

Unexpected – Short stories from around the world

Written by PF Citizen One, Unexpected is a collection of true life short stories inspired by the author’s travels around the world and the people he has met. The book features seven thought-provoking, humorous and engaging stories that end with the most unlikely twist.

In one of the stories, The Wedding Contract, the author tells the story of a man who was forced to sign a pre-nuptial agreement simply because his wife was wealthy and he was considered poor. As time went on, fortunes changed and the man became far wealthier than his wife. His wife and friends dreaded the worst from him because of his new financial position but what he did next was shocking.

Working as a Petroleum Engineer has enabled Citizen One to travel to many different countries.  As a result, the stories feature characters from different cultures and nationalities- an element that adds excitement and variety to the stories.

When asked about his motivation to write the book,  Citizen One explained: “I have learned a lot about life from listening and being kind to people, as well as from stories others have shared with me. I actively listen, and often feel like I’ve heard these stories many times before, until I realize that each story is unexpected and instructive. These experiences have inspired me to write. I wanted to write the type of stories that I would enjoy reading: true life stories. At first, you feel like you’ve heard these stories many times before, until you read the ending. This is true life—unexpected.

Love, injustice, friendship are central themes throughout the book. Each story is unique and helps readers to be aware that regardless of what is going on in their lives, at any given time, something unexpected (good or bad) could completely change their life.

Unexpected will go on sale on October 7 and will be available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.  For further information visit: http://c1unexpected.com.

To purchase the book, click here.

To follow on Facebook, click here.

Alibi Interrupted

BCPattisonAlibiAlibi Interrupted

J. L. Pattison

TIME TRAVEL ALWAYS HAS ITS CONSEQUENCES

When Stewart Hudson travels back in time to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President Kennedy, he not only becomes Oswald’s alibi, but he also finds himself stuck in 1963.

To ensure Stewart gets it right this time, the wife of his future grandson confronts him before he leaves for 1963, and she quickly learns that meddling in the affairs of the past always has its consequences.

****************************

Alibi Interrupted is the perfect blend of two tales of speculative fiction intricately woven into one masterpiece of suspense that not only entertains, but also causes you to reflect on how the decisions we make in life can profoundly affect the world around us and the people we love.

To buy the book, click here.

Illustrated Kama Sutra

bookOriginally the Kama Sutra was meant to educate the people on the true essentials of balancing and preserving the Dharma (religious merit, virtue), Artha (worldly Wealth) and Kama (pleasure, love, sensual gratification). The only focus modern society places on now is the last of these three essentials. The Kama Sutra is in fact a distilled compilation of thirteen different books each written by a different person.

This is a beautifully illustrated edition of the kama sutra which takes on subjects that could be sensitive and presents them with prose in a truly poetic way. Although there are graphic illustrations, to those with a sense of sexual sophistication, they are still tasteful.

There are segments dedicated to biting, kissing and scratching. Couples are encouraged to express their pleasure, indulged in foreplay, use sex toys and role play during their sexual encounters. The thing that is surprisingly discouraged is oral sex.

There is a segment dedicated to romance and marriage. A tad nauseating is the list of what is expected of a bride to and not to do, a part which will have feminists protesting with indignation. If for example a husband is not pleased with his wife, it is her duty to encourage him to find another wife, a younger wife. Ten days must go by before a groom can initiate sex, however they are provided with instruction on seducing a woman prior to marriage.

There are segments that provide specifications on how to be a womanizer as well as how to be a courtesan. Tips on concocting disgusting aphrodisiacs are also provided such as the intake of milk that has been boiled with a goats or rams testicles and had sugar added to increase the sexual stamina. That being said, the brutish descriptions on how the orifice of the phallus or the phallus itself can be enlarged may cause female readers to cheer.

Some riveting insights into sexual practices are offered by the Kama Sutra, mainly that sex goes beyond being a bodily function. It makes for an interesting read, however this book was originally written somewhere between the first and sixth centuries A.D. is not recommended for those who are sexually squeamish or those who find the suggestion of subjugation of women to be morally offensive.

The Genesis of Quave

Quave_ebook_CoverThe Genesis of Quave
John E. Parnel

NEW YORK, July 2016 — Easley, SC resident, John E. Parnell, is delighted to announce the release of his fantastic novel, “The Genesis of Quave” which is already hitting the bookstores everywhere. The all-new book, the first of an anticipated trilogy, “The Genesis of Quave” tells the story of a new and hyper-advanced virus (a Quasi-Autonomous Viral Entity) which is used experimentally by a politically-motivated hacker group, who target a bank.

John, the author, is a retired teacher who holds teaching certification in physics, chemistry, biology, general science, mathematics, and business. He published his first book — “Computer Science Advanced Placement Guidebook,” in 1985, after which he wrote for McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and others.  With great enthusiasm and love for stories, he meticulously wrote the fascinating novel which features thrilling suspense that is sure to delight readers.

John provides a summary of “The Genesis of Quave” and how readers will fall under its spell:

The story of the titular ‘Quave’ concerns a group of politically motivated hackers work out of a converted apartment in Queens, New York, and after failing to hack a bank with a traditional virus, decide to create something entirely new. The result is a virus which becomes more than just a virus – a virus that becomes its functioning entity.

“Over the course of the novel, Quave grows stronger. It has the potential to solve global warming, cure cancer, but it has equal potential to destroy mankind. The group of hackers must decide whether to let Quave continue to run free or destroy their creation. Which leads to another, more terrifying, question – at this point, do they even have the ability to destroy it?” stated John.

“The Genesis of Quave” is available in print format (perfect bound – both “normal” and large print editions, and hardbound), as well as audiobook and ebook, through online stores and brick-and-mortar retailers.

To purchase the book on Amazon, click here.

For more information about John Parnell and his fantastic novel, “The Genesis of Quave”, visit www.TutorTurtlePress.com


About John Parnell

John E. Parnell is a retired john_parnellmath/science/computer science teacher who holds teaching certification in physics, chemistry, biology, general science, mathematics, and business. Over the course of forty years of teaching, he has taught students from the sixth grade through graduate school. Also, Mr. Parnell has taught for the New York State Research Foundation preparing students for the SAT exam in mathematics.

Hyphened-Nation

hypnenednation_BannerHyphened-Nation

Nicole Draffen

The days of ethnic minorities being labelled as an Latino-American, African-American or Asian-American may soon come to an end following the launch of the social movement, Hyphened-Nation.

There is no doubt that hyphenation creates separation and many problems for individuals placed in these categories. In fact, it was former American President, Theodore Roosevelt, who said: “A Hyphenated American is not an American at all.” But Hyphened -Nation is on a mission to change all that.

The movement was founded by Nicole Draffen and was inspired by her travels overseas. She said: “Living abroad was an eye opening experience. I grew to understand certain aspects of American culture better, the longer I lived overseas. The differences were startling, and lead me on a journey to understand why the United States is one of the only, if not the only country, that hyphenates its citizens by ethnicity before nationality.”

Several movements have been formed advocating for equality of different minority groups. But Hyphened-Nation is one of the few social movements fighting for equality for all ethnic minorities in America. Launched on April 20, 2016, support for the movement is growing rapidly. To date Hyphened- Nation’s Instagram page has more than 8,329 followers and 5226 Twitter followers.

Members of Hyphened-Nations are encouraged not to check the box on applications that ask for their ethnicity, wear a unique wristband and contact their state representative to support the efforts to end ethnic minorities from being miscategorized as Hyphenated Americans.

The movement also inspired the book, Hyphened-Nation: Don’t Check the Box. This dynamic book is about the author’s insights while living in the UK and her experience of being treated as an American, rather than as a hyphenated one. It also focuses on ways the U.S. and Europe differ culturally via media, and how a bridge might be created.

Draffen writes in her book: “The hyphenation of your nationality minimizes your standing in the nation. The hyphen might as well act as a minus sign. Both are represented by the same symbol, and have the same consequences. Just as a minus “takes away” a numerical value, its counterpart hyphen lessens the value of your nationality.”

Hyphened-Nation: Don’t Check the Box is available in Kindle format on Amazon.com for a retail price of $3.99. To buy the book, click here.

For further details or to join the movement, visit: http://hyphened-nation.com.

The Kitty Cat Pirate and the Yummy Treasure by Benjamin De Ridder

51opK445RnL._SX331_BO1,204203200_The Kitty Cat Pirate and the Yummy Treasure

Benjamin De Ridder

About the Book:

A long time ago, the very first Pirate Kitty made his base on a legendary island hiding an amazing kitty treasure. Kitty-Cat Pirate and his best friend Charlie are on the hunt for said treasure. They always laugh and have a great time together. From the mind of 6 year old author Benjamin De Ridder comes an adventure that will spark imagination and laughter in your child. The story of the Kitty-Cat Pirate captures the spirit of adventure. Rediscover the world through the eyes of a child, and share the joy of reading with your child. The Kitty-Cat Pirate and the Yummy Treasure is a fully illustrated book that can be enjoyed as a bedtime story for ages 5 and up. To read it independently, your child might be 3rd grade and older. To enjoy the story, you are never too old! Join the Kitty-Cat Pirate and Charlie today on their great adventure!

About the Author:

Benjamin De Ridder is a talented young creator. In kindergarten, he won the art awards. He has a big imagination, and loves drawing and crafting. A Houston native to Belgian and Peruvian Parents, he travelled all the way to Europe in 2015 to spend first grade in a Flemish school in the beautiful medieval city of Bruges. One day he crafted a book to surprise his dad. It featured a front-cover and back-cover drawing of the Kitty-Cat Pirate, and what looked like a narrative written in a secret cat-language. So Benjamin came to narrate the story of the Kitty-Cat Pirate and his best friend Charlie on the hunt for Kitty Treasure for the very first time.

To buy the book, click here.

To visit the author’s website, click here.

Review: House of Leaves

House_of_leavesHouse of Leaves

Mark Z. Danielewski

I bought this book in 2006 and intended to read it but never did.  The main reason was that it was so damn big and too damn heavy.  However, my book club chose it as the newest read and I finally ran out of excuses (it’s too heavy for the subway!) to not read the book.

The book is about a man, Johnny, who finds a manuscript written by a dead landlord he also found.  The manuscript is about a documentary created by a famous photographer as he moves his family into a brand new house in Virginia.  The house’s internal structure changes on its own to serve the house’s secret purpose, though the book explores a ton of other theories about what is actually going on.  I mean, the house is in Virginia.  It’s not really a spoiler to think it’s most likely evil.  Have you seen the speed traps in Virginia?  It’s the State of Evil Things.

Anyway, the book is filled with footnotes, references to bonus material at the back of the book (which may or may not be there), sections of labyrinth-like reading challenges, and in-text breaks from the main plot.  I’ve named those breaks: “What the tangent?!”

Overall, I thought the book was brilliantly constructed.  It takes on the feel of a maze nearly perfectly, exactly at the points when it needs to, and the extra material was a great way to find out more about characters in subtle ways.  However, the huge pockets of references and the times when Johnny interrupts the documentary were just too hard for me to get through.  I always wanted to skip his footnotes, and reading them felt like I was struggling through required reading in college.  I greatly disliked him as a character and by the end of the book, I was praying for his sweet, sweet demise.

I did love reading all the parts about the Navidson family, even the parts going into the background of the family members and their relationships.  That’s the only thing that kept me going until the end.

My final verdict?  If you’re looking for a challenge with mostly interesting characters, then grab this one.  Just be warned: It’s a doosey and it goes on for 250 pages too long.  And the narrator is a chump.  Oh, and you have to have the actual book.  I heard rumors that the formatting doesn’t allow it to translate to e-book (Score!).

The Little Brahman

the little brahmanThe Little Brahman

Mariah Clark

An amazing new children’s book just hit Amazon’s virtual shelves. The Little Brahman is a charming re-telling of the ancient Indian fable, The Brahman, the Tiger, and the Jackal. This book explores the dynamics between kindness and betrayal while staying light hearted and fun.

Here is the synopsis:

Little Brahman is wise beyond his years. But, does he know the answer to a very simple question? Is life fair? Little Brahman is desperate to find the answer in order to save himself from the ever so frightening tiger, Bagha. So, come read and join Little Brahman in the deep jungles of India to help him find the answer! Learn about India in this adventurous adaptation of an ancient Indian fable! 100% proceeds go to Bookwallah Organization, a U.S. based non-profit.

Enjoy the first 2 pages:

page 1 little brahmanpage 2 little brahmanBuy the hardcover or Kindle version here on Amazon.

Aside from being a beautifully illustrated and fun book, The Little Brahman is helping to save lives. As the first book published by the Bookwallah Organization, all proceeds will go towards funding libraries and safe spaces for orphans with trauma in India and Indonesia (and soon in Ghana). The Little Brahman was created with a dual purpose: 1) To spread Indian tales, history, and culture throughout the world; 2) To help give the Bookwallah Organization fund itself as opposed to relying so heavily on pure donations from the public.

To learn more about Bookwallah and the ways you can help, please visit www.bookwallah.org

Piper, Once and Again

piper once and againPiper, Once and Again

Caroline E. Zani

Longing for something just beyond her grasp… A successful equine insurance agent living in 21st century Massachusetts, Piper struggles with relationships, patience, scents, and living in 19th century France. Follow Piper on a journey. . . through time, unconditional love, unbearable loss, unbelievable discovery, and a question of forgiveness, as she instinctively learns to see, smell, and feel the messages all around her. Only through tragedy does she begin to learn the lesson she needs to help her uncover the truth – the reason she is Piper, once and again.

piper once and again reviews

To buy the book, click here.