Articles for the Month of September 2013

ANTics by Dakota Douglas

A captivating children’s story.

Cover for 'ANTics'

About the book: Three young ants are chased by the world’s craziest, smelliest spider – an evil monster with magic powers who has vowed to turn them into ant soup. One is a fun-loving scamp, one is clever and the third is scared of his own shadow. Can they outwit the beast and save themselves, their families and friends? An exciting fantasy adventure for 7-11-year-olds in ebook and print. ANTics is a fun way for children to learn about ants with some interactive suggestions at the end. It’s a story of courage with lessons about the importance of friendship and teamwork. As well as lots of funny moments, the story is a good way for young readers to learn new words, as all the characters have names that describe their personalities and end in ANT

Review by Susan Keefe

Everyone knows that ants are everywhere; they are industrious, clever, work as a team and live in anthills, however, have you ever really thought what life is like for them?

ANTics  is a brilliant adventure story which will capture your imagination and ensure that you never look at ants in the same way again.

Set in a world literally at your feet, ant cadets Zube [ExuberANT] and  Brill [BrilliANT] decide to try and pass their  foraging flag and they agree to take the timid HesitANT with them.

However, their adventure is fraught with unforeseeable dangers, both from the giant two legs world above them, and from some of the other wildlife around them. Together, the intrepid explorers find themselves escaping dangers, overcoming challenges, vanquishing foes and making new friends in this captivating and educational book.

This delightful story, with brilliantly devised character names, not only gives children an insight into the world of ants but most importantly, they are taught through an engaging story about the importance of qualities such as loyalty, teamwork and respect.

About Dakota Douglas: Dakota Douglas is a former newspaper reporter from the North East of England, following her childhood dream of being a novelist. As a kid she read books under the bedclothes by torchlight. Now she dives under the covers, torch in hand, to scribble down conversations between her book characters in case she forgets them in the morning. She has written stories since she was about eight years old. She wrote them on a toy typewriter and her dad did the illustrations. When she wasn’t pounding on her typewriter, she was found smashing a tennis ball against the brick end of a block of garages beside her home. For hours on end she perfected her lob, backhand and forehand shots – all the time spinning stories in her head.

Website: http://www.dakotadouglas.co.uk/

ANTics is available:

from Amazon here in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/ANTics-Dakota-Douglas/dp/1477696709/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380542048&sr=1-1&keywords=antics+by+dakota+douglas

on Kindle here http://www.amazon.com/ANTics-ebook/dp/B008EKVXB8/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380542048&sr=1-1&keywords=antics+by+dakota+douglas

and at Smashwords here http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/165122

Robby’s Quest: Thrills and Chills by D. C. Rush

A beautiful children’s story

Robby's Quest: Thrills and Chills

About D. C. Rush: We actually began writing our first children’s book about 2 years ago. Cathy and I would often sit outside watching the birds. We fed the birds daily. They were very clever and fun to watch, especially when the little birds kicked seed to the ground for the larger birds. It seemed the birds had some group structure and displayed very effective teamwork. We thought it would be interesting to write a book about birds flying south for the winter.
The finished book sat on our computer hard drive for over a year before my brother and sister-in-law convinced us to self-publishing. I never thought we would actually publish our work. However, the birth of our grandson Rylie gave us some added incentive to get the book out there, and we decided to dedicate the book to him. We thought it would be nice to leave something behind for our children and their children. So we had the book proofed, edited, illustrated then self-published it ourselves at Amazon.com.
Cathy and Don currently live in Arizona with their cats, Nomi and Hershey. Cathy is a homemaker and Don is a retired Manufacturing Manager and former Elementary School Governing Board Member.

About the book: The world is a very big place when you’re a little bird, but Robby and his flock of Robins, Mourning Doves, Sparrows and a lone Blackbird are determined to see as much of it as they can.

Their latest trip takes them up the coastline from San Diego to San Francisco. This means that their friend Wanda the Whale can follow along too, bringing her new friend, Wilma the Whale with her. Those aren’t the only friends the birds have. They also meet Rhonda the Red Fox, Ollie the Owl and Ellie the Eagle who all play a very important role when two baby Robins from Robby’s flock are kidnapped by a Hawk.

The birds see some amazing sights on their travels, such as Muscle Beach, giant Redwood Trees in Big Sur, Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. They also get to ride on roller coasters, cable cars and do bird bungee jumping!

This is another enjoyable and educational children’s story from D.C Rush about friendship, loyalty, excitement and adventure with some unusual but charming heroes and heroines.

Review by Susan Keefe

In this fourth book, we join Robby the Robin and his ever growing flock of mixed species birds as they decide to travel again, this time their adventures are to take them down the coast and they are joined by their seafaring friends  Wanda the Whale and her friend Wilma.

During their adventures, they have fun visiting lots of new places and meeting new friends, soon discovering that the tales of their previous escapades have spread far and wide.

However, at a resting place in a Redwood forest disaster strikes the flock in the shape of another bird – an evil Hawk.

In this book, as in the others of this series, children through an engaging story which is really beautifully illustrated,  learn about important qualities, such as obeying their parents, consideration for others, loyalty, friendship and trust.

I think that an added bonus is that, whilst sitting watching the birds feed with the children I found myself showing them the different bird species, and we had great fun comparing them to the Robby’s Quest characters.

Available from Amazon on Kindle here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F9IJMQG 

and Createspace in Paperback here https://www.createspace.com/441477


 

The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter written and illustrated by Randa Handler

NEW RELEASE

The true meaning of Thanksgiving.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving has just been announced as a holiday in the US and eight-year-old little American-Japanese girl Takari is very excited. Her father is still in Japan however, all her other relatives in America are coming over and Takari wants to help her mother with the preparations. 

They have in America her Grandma Toshi’s very special platter, which is traditionally used for the celebration. Takari’s  mom explains to her all about the Japanese Thanksgiving day which has a different name Kinro Kansha no Hi. Little Takari wants to help, and her mother reluctantly agrees, however, an accident happens and her mother is very angry so she goes to play with her friend Little Sparrow.

When Takari, and Ruffles her dog arrive at his house they find him making cornmeal, which he tells her he is making in the traditional Wampanoag Indian way, with a wooden pestle and mortar, just as it was made it at time of first Thanksgiving. Sadly, she tells him all about her accident and his father offers to help her.

The children make cornbread together discussing their different ways of celebrating Thanksgiving, and then Takari discovers that Little Sparrow is taking the cornbread to the Veterans Hospital. Thanksgiving is about helping others as well as giving thanks for what you have, he explains to her, and so she joins him and discovers for herself the pleasure which can be gained by helping others.

This is a lovely multi cultural story with bright illustrations. The author has managed to gently open children’s eyes to the wider world, teaching them not only about the history behind American Thanksgiving Day but also explaining that many countries around the world celebrate their own kind of Thanksgiving days, perhaps with different names, but they all have nearly the same meaning.

Available at Amazon here http://www.amazon.com/The-Thanksgiving-Dinner-Platter-ebook/dp/B00F8IMBKG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379947096&sr=8-1&keywords=the+thanksgiving+dinner+platter

and Barnes & Noble here http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-thanksgiving-dinner-platter-randa-handler/1116961561?ean=2940148754091

The Boy Who Spoke to God by Randa Handler

NEW RELEASE

The Boy Who Spoke to God

Written and illustrated by Randa Handler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book: Unable to agree on their ideas about God and religious celebrations, four different ethnic tribes—Greeks, Chinese, Zulus, and Mayans—who live together harmoniously most of the year, combining aspects of each of their cultures to make their kingdom strong and prosperous, suddenly become divisive when religious holidays approach. During such times, they cannot agree on the timing or manner of religious traditions, and they each have their own god who looks and dresses as they do. When Niko, a young Greek boy, has several dreams of God, each tribe interprets the various details of his dreams according to its own view of God, further emphasizing the tribes’ differences in beliefs. Subsequently Niko is shunned for having created even more disharmony and for lying to the tribes, or so they think, as no one believes he dreamed of God. To clear up all the confusion and arrive at the truth, Niko begs God to manifest in one final dream. This time God shows him that the tribes’ beliefs are actually different expressions of the same god. Niko concludes that God is like colorless and formless iridescent light and the beliefs of all tribes about their gods are correct as these gods are like colors of the rainbow that derive from white light.

 

Review by Susan Keefe

A school library essential in every language!

In this modern world, in many countries, schools contain children of mixed races, cultures and religion; these are the future of this world. It is for this reason I believe this inspired book should be available everywhere in all languages for children.

It is written in a fairytale way, and this beautifully refreshing story is set in a wonderful magical kingdom where Greek, Chinese, Zulu and Mayan tribes live happily together, combining their skills, under the rule of King Dareios.

However, one thing causes unhappiness – they cannot agree on whose religious beliefs and holidays are right, it upsets everyone, especially the children. Niko, a Greek boy and his friends talk about this and they decide that they want it to change, so that night Niko prays…

God appears to him in a dream and reveals, “Happiness has as many colours as the rainbow. All my children can find happiness when their beliefs and actions do not hurt others.”

Full of excitement, Niko thinks he has found the solution and tells everyone all he has seen and heard. However, instead of joy the news causes discontent, the people are unhappy, tribes divided and the kingdom suffers. So, Niko, needing guidance, prays again to God for help in finding a solution.

God listens, and that night visits him once more in a dream, giving Niko the vision to understand the true meaning of his words, and the ability to explain them in a way the people can understand. Once again, happiness is restored to the kingdom, and the king makes a special proclamation to celebrate, but to discover what that is you will have to read the book…

The storyline gently and inoffensively gives parents an ideal opportunity to promote racial harmony and tolerance of others religious beliefs to their children. There is also offered a well thought out answer as to the question, what does God look like?

Available here:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Boy-Who-Spoke-ebook/dp/B00F8J6F02/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_imgnr_1

and Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-boy-who-spoke-to-god-randa-handler/1116961568?ean=2940148754121

Extraction by Gerald Patrick

An action packed adventure.

Extraction cover

About Gerald Patrick:

Coming of age in tumultious times, Gerald Patrick has mixed life’s experiences with an imagination and actuality to spin a tale of intrigue fullfilling a challenge to himself.

Conscripted into the United States Army in 1969, Gerald relates trials of being an infantry soldier from the jungles of Vietnam, to the post war street drugs that continue to plague our society today.

Raised by a single parent in Detroit, he credits the never quit attitude of the working class to move himself through life and strive to always do more.

Privatized into leaving a 28 year career as a public school maintenance woker, he began this personal endeavor while relocating to rebound from a career change.

As with true life’s events, Gerald takes us through harrowing times of his characters and proves love and work combine to overcome the worst of times living presents.

 

About the book:  Inside the unforgiving jungles of the Amazon rain forest a Bolivian drug lord and human trafficker, Eduardo Enrique, adds the daughter of a United States Congressman to his “collection” of women. Major Dominic Lopez, is tasked to lead a unique squad of Special Forces into the the mercenary protected jungle to extract the women from his clutches and end the tyranny perpetrated on the souls of innocent lives. Even when it appears the forces of nature turn against the commander, he finds the means necessary to assure the mission’s success.

 

Review by Susan Keefe

 

The book opens with Captain Lopez, U.S. Special Forces hiding deep in the Amazon jungle, watching – the object of his observations is Eduardo Enrique, Bolivian drug lord and human trafficker.

Eduardo is a self-made man, a man who has learnt his lessons in the school of life and hard knocks. Having built up his empire with the help of his lifelong friend Benito, he is now rich, living the life of a playboy feeling secure in the knowledge that he’s surrounded by loyal staff and mercenaries, after all, is there anything money can’t buy?

With the scars of his life visible for all to see, and never having been a handsome man, he learns the hard way that women will use him, take advantage of his money, but in the end, they leave. However, a man with his extensive resources at his fingertips is not going to let this interfere with his fun, there are ways round everything, you just have to apply your mind and eventually a solution becomes apparent.

Then a U.S. Representatives daughter, celebrating her graduation with friends goes missing on holiday in Cancun, Mexico, her disappearance draws the attention of those in high places and her name is added to an existing list of missing women.

Politics is a clever game, politicians are always looking for opportunities, never missing the chance to shine as a hero to the American people, to stand out and be remembered for doing good. This is one such occasion, and combined with the added accolade of being seen to make a stand against the world of drug smuggling, its importance cannot be missed. Soon those who are in charge are making plans and the newly promoted Major Lopez, a man who is already up to speed with the subject, is given the task of handpicking a team of top Special Forces operatives to join him in this mission.

Soon the team find themselves deep in the heart of Bolivia, far into the Amazon rainforest, their mission underway, aware that they will be facing danger, both from nature and the powerful drug lord whose domain they are about to enter…

Written by an ex soldier, the military detail in this book is extensive and fascinating. I found myself transported deep into this dangerous world by the author’s highly descriptive writing and absorbing storyline in this action packed exciting epic novel.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback and eBook at

Friesen Press http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000003459954

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Extraction-ebook/dp/B008VDMB1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379519630&sr=1-1&keywords=extraction+by+gerald+patrick

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/extraction-gerald-patrick/1112511509?ean=9781770977471

Ebookpie.com https://ebookpie.com/ebooks/459713-extraction#

 

Safe Haven by Steve Byrne

Excellent short horror story.

Product Details

 

Lost in the jungle, seperated from his unit, Nguyen Van Khue, a North Vietnamese soldier thinks he has found heaven on earth when he follows a grey figure to the village of Mau Giang.

The tribespeople and monks are very friendly, welcoming him warmly, however all is not quite as it seems and soon the secrets and horrors of this seemingly idyllic community are unveiled…

This book has a captivating storyline, and the author’s ability to describe scenes and emotions so vividly makes it a really great read.

 

Available on Amazon Kindle here http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Haven-ebook/dp/B00C9QBS0O/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1379505600&sr=8-6&keywords=safe+haven

Dark Lullaby by Mayra Calvani

A spine chilling horror story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Mayra Calvani Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

She lives in Belgium with her husband of 25+ years, 2 wonderful kids, and her two beloved pets. When she’s not writing, reading, editing or reviewing, she enjoys walking her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Visit her website at www.MayraCalvani.com. For her children’s books, visit www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com.

About Dark Lullaby  At a tavern one Friday night, astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz meets a mysterious young woman. Captivated by her beauty as well as her views on good and evil, he spends the next several days with her. After a while, however, he begins to notice a strangeness in her…especially the way she seems to take pleasure in toying with his conscience.

The young woman, Kamilah, invites him to Rize, Turkey, where she claims her family owns a cottage in the woods. In spite of his heavy workload and the disturbing visions and nightmares about his sister’s baby that is due to be born soon, Gabriel agrees to go with her.

But nothing, not even the stunning beauty of the Black Sea, can disguise the horror of her nature…

In a place where death dwells and illusion and reality seem as one, Gabriel must now come to terms with his own demons in order to save his sister’s unborn child, and ultimately, his own soul.

Dream Realm Awards Finalist!

Review by Susan Keefe

Tumbling into a second relationship straight after finishing one, is not a good idea, however who could have known that Gabriel Diaz, relaxing in a bar with an ex-girlfriend, would have his world turned upside down when the beautiful, mysterious Kamilah comes over and introduces herself, or could have foretold the incredible repercussions which were to follow.

From that night, they are inseparable, Gabriel is infatuated with Kamilah, and in turn, she seems fascinated by him. Although he is due to visit his sister for the birth of her baby, when Kamilah announces that she’s decided to visit her homeland, Turkey, Gabriel decides to go with her.

When they arrive in Rize, Gabriel discovers another world, where things are not always what they seem, superstitions and folklore are rife and the locals appear strange and aloof, perhaps afraid…

They hike to Kamilah’s remote cottage, high in the mountains, looking forward to a romantic holiday away from the world, but soon Gabriel discovers that things are not as they seem, the forest holds dark secrets. As the story unfolds, he finds himself doubting what he hears, or sees with his own eyes, even his sanity.

I loved this story, which started as a romance, then quickly evolved into a spine chilling horror, transporting you back to a land where folklore legends, based on truth are alive, and unimaginable creatures walk the earth.

Available from Amazon here http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Lullaby-ebook/dp/B005UI7FOG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379419977&sr=8-1&keywords=dark+lullaby+by+mayra+calvani

and Smashwords here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94529

Debbie by Conny Manero

 

Picture

Debbie is a ferret, who is adopted by Andrew from the pet shop. Arriving at his 15th floor apartment, she soon discovers that Andrew has provided her with a lovely cage, plenty of attention and a friend to play with in the form of a cat called Charles.

Through Debbie, in this captivating story we learn a lot about ferrets and gain wonderful insights into this not very well known pet. Anyone who owns and loves animals knows they are very intelligent and do communicate, both with each other and interspecies, this enchanting, cleverly written book illustrates this wonderfully.  As I read it, I found myself reading out parts to my husband, laughing at the antics of these very intelligent animals. Given the freedom of the apartment whilst Andrew is at work, Debbie is soon learning new and interesting things from Charlie, including the rules of being an animal in a human’s world.

Whether you are a ferret fan or not, old or young, this book is a very enjoyable read, amusing and brilliantly written with lovely illustrations by Nancy Matson.  

Available here http://www.rockinghorsepublishing.com/debbie.html

Cornered by Alan Brenham – soon to be released!

 Cornered, a gripping crime thriller set in Temple, Texas is soon to be released by award winning author Alan Brenham.

Picture

In Temple, Texas, Police Detective Matt Brady, assisted by FBI Special Agent Steve Casani, is investigating the disappearances of five beautiful women. Desperate, with no leads and the number of missing women growing at an alarming pace, Matt is desperate for answers.

Everyone knows that the person we become in life can be affected in a moment, by a word, or circumstance. The paths we take as a result and their consequences are sometimes, only discovered after the passing of time. These life-changing moments or words, for some people are stamped in their mind forever, silently festering and waiting to emerge, bringing back memories, which cloud the present.

This book is even more enjoyable because, whilst writing it, the author has been able to draw from his wealth and variety of personal experience in police and law, among which is his time as a Temple patrol officer and, Assistant General Counsel for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

A brilliantly written compelling thriller, action packed, clever and with twists and turns which are guaranteed to keep the reader guessing until the very end.

Watch this space for release date information!

 

PRICE OF JUSTICE – Alan’s previous book has been aquired, and will be re-released on 30th November 2013 by Black Opal Books, it has already received the following awards:


1st Place Winner      Police/Crime Fiction     Texas Association of Authors   2012-2013

Finalist      Thriller Category    Beverly Hills Book Awards     2013

Honorable Mention     Thriller Category    Global Ebook Awards    2013

Honorable Mention       Paris Book Festival    2013

Honorable Mention       New England Book Festival   2012


The diary of a single parent abroad by Jill Pennington

 

 

The diary of a single parent abroad

 

 

About Jill Pennington: My name is Jill Pennington, I am a ‘Britalian’ originally from Yorkshire (England) and now living in Italy. I have three teenage children and a small farm in Emilia Romagna. I have written about life in the Italian mountains and have a follow up blog on facebook.

Facebook blog – http://www.facebook.com/TheDiaryOfASingleParentAbroad

About the Book: When Jill and her family moved to Italy she expected life to change but she had no idea how massive that change would be. Shortly after the move, she discovered her husband had been having an affair and had no intentions of staying in Italy.

Despite being in a foreign country with no income, limited language skills, a house that needed rebuilding and three young children to care for, she never once considered returning to the UK. With strength and determination she accepted any challenge, dismantling a derelict house to ground level, digging out a three metre deep well with her hands to get free water and overcoming her fear of the chainsaw to cut the winter wood. When there was very little money for food she made risotto with nettles collected from the roadside. She overcame many problems, learned new skills and discovered that money is not important, the only things in life that matter are health, happiness and her children.

Jill’s story is delivered with an ever present hint of humour because, as she says, ‘Without laughter life wouldn’t be funny’.

 

Review by Susan Keefe

 

I have to say first off that I loved this book.

I don’t honestly know whether it’s because I am English living in France or because I can relate to some of the situations Jill has had to deal with, or just because it is a really good story brilliantly told.

From a mother who enjoys renovating in the UK, to a single parent managing to settle her children and herself in a foreign land whilst coping with a tricky marriage split between two countries, I found her adventures entertaining and her portrayal of them no holds barred.

As the book progresses she gives a realistic glimpse of what it is really like to live in a different country than your homeland, especially when they speak a different language and really cannot understand you. Many books on renovating abroad are written as if money is no object and it is refreshing to read an account of what it is really like when you don’t have a lot of money yet still love where you have made your home. I also loved the way she so honestly describes how friendly the local neighbours can be in small communities, willing to offer help and support after they get to know you.

A really good story and I hope we get to hear more of Jill’s adventures.

 

Available at Amazon in Paperback here http://www.amazon.com/Diary-Single-Parent-Abroad/dp/1782996419/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378305322&sr=1-1&keywords=the+diary+of+a+single+parent+abroad+by+jill+pennington

 

and on Kindle here http://www.amazon.com/diary-single-parent-abroad-ebook/dp/B00871I0XS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1378305322