Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bruce L. Thompson's The Handbook of Love

The Handbook of Love: A Guide to Your Love Life by Bruce L. Thompson, Jr. teaches readers how to give love, receive love, and grow in the power of love. By sharing insights and wisdom from his own failures and successes at love, Thompson provides readers with an uplifting and emotionally nourishing message.

Thompson presents various lessons of love in a poetic format, using evocative language and a unique format to explicate the nature of love and give readers instructions for unlocking and accepting love into their lives. Among the various lessons and thoughts on love are the freeing nature of love, the power with which love provides us, how to overcome our weakness, how love take us up in its "whirlwind of nonstop change," and the fulfilling nature of love. Thompson characterizes love as a "battlefield," a "dream," a "fire," a "crime," a "door," a "choice," and a "highway." The author illuminates the various aspects of love, which is a multi-faceted emotion that often confuses us with its changing nature and ability to take on many different characteristics.

Through Thompson's words, readers are able to "start a revolution of love" in their own lives and the lives of those around them. The Handbook of Love is a beautifully written book, whether we are looking for love, struggling with our relationships, or fulfilled in love, a true testimony to love's many characteristics.

Thompson helps readers to open their hearts and their minds, and to accept love for the chameleon that it is, inspiring them to find fulfillment within it. His dedication "To All Mankind" is an appropriate summation of his work, offering his touching message to the world, addressing a topic that is relevant to all of humanity, in that it helps all of mankind to let love in, and offers themes that are resonant to every reader. It is an unforgettable book, aptly fulfilling its aim to "bring you into an experience of love that is unforgettable."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hillary Hujanen's Pomegranate Blues

Hillary Hujanen’s Pomegranate Blues chronicles the story of Persey Green, a teenage girl who tries desperately to go through life average and unnoticed, even attempting to skew her grades so as not to stand out.  In a society with vampire stories abound, Hujanen provides readers with a refreshing style of teenage fantasy fiction in this page-turning story of Greek gods and the Underworld.

While Persey struggles to deal with adjusting to the culture shock of life in Montana after relocating from California, her sister’s death, and a mother who only want to parent when it is “convenient”, working nights and barely noticing Persey’s existence, her average life of average teenage travails takes on an entirely new dimension.  Persey begins to notice some curious afflictions, plagued with allergies to cold weather, developing migraines whenever it snows.  A handsome and peculiar Greek exchange student, Aides, makes Persey’s heart “beat furiously” and distracts her from her problems and her unanswered questions in life.

As Persey’s illness worsens, her mother tells her the secrets of her past, explaining her sister’s mysterious death, her illness, her dreams, and her attraction to Aides.  She discovers that she is the re-born Greek goddess of the Underworld, Persephone, and that her magnetic draw to Aides is her fate, as he is the human embodiment of Hades.  Each day that Persey remains on Earth threatens to be her last, as her aversion to the cold grows deadly and a walk on a mild winter day almost claims her life.

As she faces the prospect of an eternity in the Underworld, Persey must struggle with her fate, choosing between love and sanity.  Hujanen seamlessly fuses Greek mythology, the trials of teenage life, a story of fate, and a girl faced with a critical decision in an absolutely spell-binding way, keeping readers riveted from beginning to end.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

First Contact: Digital Science Fiction Anthology

First Contact: Digital Science Fiction Anthology 1 is the first in a monthly series of science fiction anthologies, carefully selected for stories that fused a compelling plot with genuine literary quality. The first issue featured ten short stories, each one a solid selection by the collaborative team of anthologist Michael Wills, Managing Editor, Stephen Helleiner, and Editor, Jessi Hoffman. The stories are written by authors from around the world, including: "How I Lost Eleven Stone and Found Love" by Ian Creasey, "Biting a Dead Man's Hand" by Ed Greenwood, "The Caretaker" by Ken Liu, "Masks" by Jennifer R. Povey, "Hera's Tempest" by Rob Jacobsen, "Roanoke, Nevada" by Edward J. Knight, "Nectar of the Gods" by Jessi Rita Hoffman, "The Tortoise Parliament" by Kenneth Schneyer, "Black Sun" by David Tallerman, and "Pop Quiz" by Curtis James McConnell.

The stories each offer a unique plot, providing readers with a truly spellbinding collection. "Roanoke, Nevada" tells the story of an epidemiologist who is summoned to Nevada by the military to investigate the cause of epidemic disease in an alien colony, ending with a powerful and unexpected to human history, making the story resonate with evocative themes. In "Hera's Tempest", a mission to conquer Hera's tempest gone bad leaves one man to wrestle with his inner demons as he faces off against a half-man/ half-machine who can root around inside his thoughts, reading his mind and his soul. These and other stories truly fulfill the aim of Digital Science Fiction: to compile stories that "not only entertain but offer something extra as well: an aesthetic pleasure, a beauty, or a thought-provoking quality that renders them timeless."

Throughout the stories, readers are kept at the edge of their seats, breathless with the many plot twists and the mastery of suspense that the authors exhibit. Each of the stories are deftly written, transcending the mere creation of a plot and maintaining genuine literary quality, a rare combination in modern writing. After reading First Contact, science fiction fans are inevitably anxious for the next release from Digital Science Fiction, eager for the next installment of riveting and literary stories.Sci

Friday, June 17, 2011

Avraham Azrieli, The Jerusalem Inception

Avraham Azrieli's The Jerusalem Inception is a stunning literary work that seamlessly fuses the riveting plot of a spy thriller with romantic entanglements and the story of a nation. While the overall tone of the book is that of a great espionage thriller, Azrieli's work is striking in its strength of themes, subplots, and sub-genres, tying Israeli history into a story of jilted lovers, revenge, religion, intrigue, suspense, and espionage. The Jerusalem Inception, Azrieli introduces readers to Jerusalem "Lemmy" Gerster, a young member of the IDF.

The novel chronicles significant events in the history of Israel, beginning at the end of WWII, when Abraham Gerster and Elie Weiss both fall in love with Tanya Galinski. Two decades later, on the eve of the Six Day War, Lemmy Gerster is on the path to rabbinical study, following in the footsteps of his father, now Rabbi Abraham Gerster, when his life is irrevocably changed. Tanya has returned to Israel from living in Europe and, upon being rejected by Rabbi Gerster when she attempts to rekindle their romance, she begins to pursue Lemmy, who falls in love with her and decides to forge his own path, enlisting as a paratrooper in the IDF. Meanwhile, Elie Weiss plots a revenge of his own, jilted by Tanya, as she has been jilted by Rabbi Gerster. Lemmy embarks on a dangerous mission, with the fate of Israel resting on his young shoulders. While young Lemmy fights for his country, there are dark intentions and intrigues at play, involving those to whom he is closest and from whom he takes orders.

Azrieli's exacting historical research and own experience in the IDF, leaving his own rabbinical destiny to join in the fight for Israel, lend to the novel's strengths, interweaving real facts and experience with a thrilling plot and well-written and developed characters.

In writing The Jerusalem Inception, Avraham Azrieli transcends the creation of a story, creating a piece of literature, interweaving an intriguing plot with the evocative themes of religion and the history of Israel. Indeed, The Jerusalem Inception inevitably leaves readers anxious for the next installment of the Jerusalem Gerster series.

Jade Writing (First English Translation of Yellow Court Classic) by Imios Archangelis

Imios Archangelis has provided readers with the first English translation of the ancient Taoist text, Yellow Court Classic, bringing the classic and widely studied third century work to a new generation and culture of readers. Archangelis's translation, Jade Writing, is focused on translating the text in such a way that it is accessible to modern readers, taking scientific views of the Universe into account, making it more relevant to modern practitioners. While the original Yellow Court Classic has been studied at length in China, English audiences have only had selected passages available to them in the past, Archangelis has finally provided them with a complete translation, renewing interest in the text and filling the significant gap left in the English-speaking study of Taoist history by the exclusion of this text from translation.

Archangelis has been a practitioner of the Complete Reality lineage of Taoism for over 30 years and wrote the new translation to share insights from his own study and to promote overall peace and prosperity. The insights that are provided from his own practice, wisdom, and knowledge help readers to improve their study of Taoism in a foreword that helps us to understand the ancient text, footnotes that help us to understand its somewhat mystifying words while we are reading, and a glossary that provides us with the meanings of essential words and symbols. Throughout the book, we are provided with the original text transliterated into English, followed by the page that has been translated to flow better and be more comprehensible, showing readers how firmly rooted in the original reading the text is and allowing them do their own research to verify and make their own inferences, if desired.

Through this text, readers are able to gain ancient insights, backed by modern science, to meditation and visualization to promote longevity and health. This compelling translation helps readers to understand the text and brings it to a new culture and generation of readers. Whether you are looking to improve your life and health through Taoist teachings or advance your already developed practice, Archangelis is the ideal guide to lead us down the path to total health of the mind and body.

Leo J Battenhausen,Defeating Depression: The Calm and Sense Way to Find Happiness and Satisfaction

Leo J. Battenhausen uses his expertise honed through over two decades of work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Licensed Clinical and Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Certified Relationship Specialist and Certified School Social Worker to guide and help readers through troubling times in Defeating Depression: The Calm and Sense Way to Find Happiness and Satisfaction. For anyone who is tired of medications, failed treatments and feeling down all the time, Battenhausen helps to uplift the spirit through a logical, simple approach that changes lives by changing perspectives.

Battenhausen uses a "calm and sense" approach to teach readers how to "remain Calm and make Sense of all the adverse and unpleasant situations and people you encounter." For readers who struggle to find calm and the serenity of inner peace, Battenhausen serves as a guide for discovering our "Emotional Invincibility" in which "we are in control of our emotions and don't hand control of them over to people or circumstances." The second key to the approach, sense, helps readers to find self-acceptance, take control of their own destinies, and take responsibility for their own happiness, rather than waiting for external people and events to create happiness for them.

By guiding readers through the applications of Calm and Sense, Battenhausen helps them to first mend their own lives, then to move on with a renewed and complete sense of self. In so doing, readers are able to mend their relationships, enhance their careers, as well as other aspects of their lives. The author shares real-life stories, showing readers that they are not alone in their struggles, and to realize how the teachings are applicable in real-life scenarios.

Battenhausen systematically dismantles all of the hurdles that people create for themselves, preventing true happiness. These hurdles present themselves in a number of ways, from failure to attain financial success or to failure to find a relationship. By overcoming such mindsets as feeling owed by the world or even trying to change others, readers can learn to overcome depression through acceptance and a renewed joy in life.
Defeating Depression motivates introspection, asking readers if they need an "emotional makeover," and equips them with the tools for defeating the "demons" that are emotionally holding them back from improving the overall quality of their lives. It is a truly inspirational work by an author who takes a realistic and simple approach that does not rely on anyone, save the readers themselves and their own willingness to change and create a lasting happiness.

Diane Louise Smith's Eye of Leomander

Diane Louise Smith’s debut novel Eye of Leomander establishes her as one of the premiere fantasy writers of our generation.  The story begins with innocuous and incredibly realistic circumstances, segueing into a fantastical world of magical orbs, a talking mouse, and an owl who can turn the color of his eyes flame red.  By rooting the story in reality, centered around three normal teenagers who accidentally stumble upon a mystical world, the story appeals both to fans of fantasy fiction and fiction readers.

Tammy Drinkwater and her brothers decide to spend some quality time with each other before her oldest brother, Fred, goes off to college.  Their mother, whose traditional values mandate that they spend their summer vacation visiting family, protests their chosen destination; however, Tammy’s father persuades their mother to allow the children to go.  When the weather turns threatening, they must take refuge in Werifer castle, a fabled haunted castle about which Tammy has recently read.  Although they have a vague sense of foreboding, having been forewarned not to enter the castle by their bus driver and Tammy’s knowledge of the castle, having read that “unusual things happened” inside, the trio is left with no other choice.

Once inside, Tammy discovers the Eye of Leomander, a mystical and supernaturally powerful object.  Tammy quickly becomes aware that she is not the only person who has interest in the Eye of Leomander, as her brothers are taken prisoner by the man who is seeking the orb for himself, leaving her to save them with the aid of the castle’s magical inhabitants.

Smith’s accessible language and style makes it an appropriate read for young adults and adults alike.  Innumerable plot twists and turns keep readers spellbound as curious circumstances befall Tammy and the danger heightens.  Eye of Leomander is a unique twist on the classic coming of age story, as Tammy must make difficult decisions, summon her courage, and use values to guide her through a world unlike any modern teenager has ever imagined. A must-read, deftly written by an emerging author whom readers will certainly come to follow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Margaret Komly's Mental Idols

Margaret I. Komly's Mental Idols: A Journey to Total Freedom in Jesus Christ is an uplifting and inspirational message helping readers find victory and total freedom in Jesus Christ. Komly offers her Godly, spiritual experiences as a guide for reaching this freedom from false gods. It is her "hope and prayer" in writing this book "that you, the reader, will focus on reaching this freedom that Almighty God our Heavenly Father has provided for all His children and that this true-life account will prove helpful for reaching that goal."

Total freedom in Jesus Christ is a two-step process. While many people believe that total freedom in Jesus Christ is only accomplished through successful deliverance from demons, there is a second step that "most people in the deliverance ministry fail to recognize; don't want to tackle; or, simply have no awareness of its existence." Deliverance from demons (the first step) is "easy" compared to the second step: "The Flesh." "Understanding the real problem," "concentrating on the real and lasting solution," and "understanding the enemy" are necessary details "toward determining the strategy for winning the war."

Komly highlights the stumbling block that many of us have in successfully running the race and reaching the prize of freedom. "We human beings mentally nurture and mentally worship pride (mental idol), as well as other false gods, in some degree and form every day. Where there is mental worship, there is a god-mental idol." Although we are commonly reminded of some of the "obvious" false gods (pride, love of money, and our jobs), Komly illuminates that there are other, seemingly innocuous, false gods that we allow to persist.

By asking Almighty God to show her any false gods in her life, Komly was able to pray against the false gods called Passivity of Mind, the Interrupter of Sleep, the Proud of Heart, and the Fear of Becoming Unsafe. For Komly, (in this particular case), many of her mental idols were related to an unhealthy sleep pattern; for example, the false god called Fear of Becoming Unsafe kept her awake to "keep watch". Pride and lying fear will prompt the individual to think that one's own power is the only way to guarantee an individual's safety. Thus, this individual must stay awake to remain safe. This prompting leads to worshiping the false god of Fear of Becoming Unsafe. Searching the scriptures and using the power of Almighty God's Word, Komly realized that "It's okay for me to sleep. I don't have to watch out for anything. Almighty God is in control. He is my protector." In her book, Mental Idols, which includes a chapter on the "Prayers of Freedom," Komly teaches readers how to become free of their own mental slavery to Satan.

For Komly, the Godly revelation of mental idols and their "attachment" to the flesh (the old sin nature/ungodly self) was truly a "discovery of the century"! In showing readers how she won her own spiritual war and that total freedom in Jesus Christ is possible for everyone, Komly nourishes the souls of her readers. Mental Idols is a breath of fresh air and will irrevocably transform the lives of all those who are struggling for their own mental freedom.

R.R. Sherman's A Parliament of Owls

R.R. Sherman's A Parliament of Owls is the first installment in what promises to be an absolutely riveting series, The Samuel Sword Mystery Trilogy. This page-turning story of archaeologist, astronomer, and attorney, Samuel Sword, will keep readers riveted from cover to cover.

Sherman's prowess for suspense is clear from the first page, opening with a murder trial on which Sword is working, the conclusion of which immediately segues into a nail-biting story involving his legal assistant and investigator, Crystal Cross, who witnesses a grotesque murder on her way home from a dance club. Sherman has a gift for teasing his readers, offering them a brief chapter on an inexplicable murder and then pursuing other storylines while the reader anxiously clamors after the details and conclusion of the subplots. As the murders pile up, it all appears to be some kind of "big jigsaw puzzle" for which there is no clear answer; "We have all the pieces that surround a hidden picture, but we are lacking those in the middle." Tensions mount as Samuel Sword and a group of wedding guests are stranded at a privately owned island twenty miles away from Eastern Cape Cod, as the winter weather turns vicious, stopping all transportation to and from the island, and several guests failing to arrive.

A Parliament of Owls is yet another captivating offering from R.R. Sherman, the author of The U.S. Supreme Court: The First Hundred Years and In the Right Place at the Right Time: Twenty-Six Prominent Americans, proving that, as he enters a new genre, he has an undeniable prowess for fiction. Using his social awareness and knowledge of history honed in his previous books, the final implications of the book are far-reaching and socially significant.

To be sure, Sherman keeps readers on the edges of their seats throughout this spellbinding story that concludes with a shocking and unsettling denouement, inevitably leaving all anxious for the next installment of the Samuel Sword Mystery Trilogy, A Murder of Crows.

Wentworth M. Johnson's Damp Graves

Damp Graves by Wentworth M. Johnson is the fourth installment in the wildly popular Bill Reyner Mystery Adventure series, reprising the beloved characters of Bill, Newf, and Gran for another adventure. When Jean Williams, a chocolate heiress, goes missing, her father offers a $1 million reward for information leading to her whereabouts. Despite Bill's initial misgivings about pursuing the case, and even about continuing to be a detective at all, Newf persuades him to search for the missing Williams girl.

Jean is not the only disappearance; several others have seemingly vanishing into thin air, and it is up to Bill to uncover the fate of the missing girls, in spite of the challenges posed by Jean's temperamental father, who is curiously reticent in providing him with any information. Bill is thrust into the center of another riveting mystery that is certain to keep readers spellbound throughout the suspenseful plot, filled with twists, turns, and challenges to Bill's investigation. As he gets deeper into the investigation, he realizes the truly diabolical nature of his opponent, who manages to outwit him at every turn; the plot simultaneously grows more intriguing and more dangerous for Bill.

Johnson is a master of suspense and once again showcases his prowess for interweaving the comical with a compelling plot, as Bill flashes his library card when on "official business," muses about how much he likes to keep Newf around to make him feel superior, and Gran's sarcastic chastisement. As the story progresses, readers are left biting their nails and sitting at the edges of their seats, completely engrossed throughout Johnson's work. Readers who enjoyed Fiend's Gold, Mania, and Edinburgh Cuckoos, as well as readers who simply enjoy a good mystery adventure, will find Damp Graves to be utterly compelling. This story inevitably leaves readers anxious for the release of the next Billy Reyner novel, Lions and Christians.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tess and the Dog Star by Gene and Iris Rotberg

Tess and the Dog Star by Gene and Iris Rotberg is an utterly charming story that is certain to become an instant children's classic. The young girl around whom the story centers, Tess, decides to hold a contest for the best-dressed dog, inviting dogs from all over the world to compete. The dogs come in droves to show off their costumes, travelling by car, airplane, skateboard, train, bus, horseback, parachute, tricycle, and motorcycle from all corners of the world to Tess's house in Colorado.

Each of the dogs' outfits represents their culture or their breed; among some of the contestants are: a French Poodle, "dolled up in the highest fashion--in lipstick and high heels--very elegant", a Scottish Terrier in a kilt and playing the bagpipes, and a German Shepherd wearing lederhosen. The international contestants provide parents with a fun way to teach children about different cultures in a manner that is accessible and entertaining to them. All of the dogs have outfits that represent them so well that Tess has a difficult time choosing a winner and children enjoy attempting to pick their favorite before the winner is revealed. The ending is a surprise for parents and children alike, with a truly unexpected winner of Tess's contest.

Bryn Barnard's beautifully rendered illustrations truly bring the story and the dogs to life, portraying the dogs with such expressive and comical facial expressions that they become almost human and take on unique personalities. The illustrations make for a truly stimulating visual feast of color and whimsical fun. Families will delight in reading this story together, laughing at the comical pictures of the dogs in their outfits and enjoying story-time with a tale that will become one of your child's most treasured storybooks. Tess and the Dog Star is a fresh story for children and is an excellent addition to any young reader's collection.

How Emma Stopped the World by Gene and Iris Rotberg

How Emma Stopped the World by Gene and Iris Rotberg, the authors of the beloved story, Tess and the Dog Star, is a charming story for children that teaches them about the domino effect of their actions in a comical and accessible manner. There are many layers of meaning that can be inferred from the story of Emma and her lost blanket.

On the surface level, children enjoy the story that, much like children's classic, Because a Little Bug Went Ka Choo, illustrates the deeply resonating effects of a seemingly isolated incident. Emma's search for her lost blanket causes a chain reaction of events, with her single action having reverberating effects that are felt around the world. Emma is so upset about her lost blanket that she cannot be at peace until it is found. Despite her grandmother's protests about traffic, Emma is insistent that they search for the blanket. Her grandmother, Iris, must stop the car in the middle of traffic so that they can retrace their steps, searching for where Emma may have left the missing blanket.

As Iris and Emma search all over town, they are oblivious to the traffic jam that forms, stretching far and wide. Eventually, trucks are unable to get to the dock to pick up the cargo that is being unloaded, so the ships become backed up around the world. Emma's insistence on searching for her blanket causes trade to stop all over the world, threatening the livelihood of people from all corners of the world, from China to South Africa.

How Emma Stopped the World is a great way to teach children about the consequences of their actions and gives them a chance to reflect on how they affect others. The other overarching themes take incredibly complex systems like chaos theory, globalization, and trade, and bring them down to a child's level, helping them to understand principles that will later serve them well in life. It is a charming book that will keep young readers laughing throughout the story, completely unaware that they are learning while they are having fun.

Star Base: The Rockets by J.T. Starr

J.T. Starr's Star Base: The Rockets literally launches readers into the middle of an exciting plot from the opening page, beginning with the aptly named Texan rock band, The Rockets, stowing away on a NASA space freighter headed for the space station Star Base, in another universe, intent on becoming the "USO Show to the Stars." Charlie, the drummer and bass player, lets Suzie and Vanita in on the information that the men will be easy pickings for them on Star Base, as the planets Tyre and Thorr are composed of about seventy percent gay and bisexual women. Cassie, the lead guitarist, vocalist and central character, informs her friends that she is gay; she has already told her boyfriend, Charlie, but he is "cool" with it, assuming that it means they will continue to date with threesomes.

The astronauts have miscalculated, unaware that they have failed to account for the expansion of the universe and time warp, drifting into Tyrian orbit space. When everyone aboard the ship is taken before Julia, the Czar of Tyre, Cassie is immediately attracted to the "gorgeous redhead." Julia senses the "strong vibes of interest" from Cassie, who she finds "intoxicating," noting that she is "one of the most beautiful women she'd ever seen." After a private concert, Julia decides to keep the band around for a while for her "entertainment," commencing a steamy love affair between Cassie and Julia. After Cassie's first sexual encounter with a woman, she is convinced that Julia is "the one."

With Julia's help, The Rockets become an overnight sensation. They quickly begin to enjoy the indulgent debauchery and lifestyle of the planet, which represents a consequence-free environment of sexual encounters, drinking, drugs and experimentation. Although Cassie is initially jealous when she first discovers that monogamy is a foreign concept on Tyre and finds Julia with another woman, she quickly begins enjoying the free-loving lifestyle of the planet, becoming conceited with the number of women who want her. When it comes time for The Rockets to leave Tyre and head to Star Base, Julia dismisses her strong feelings for Cassie, as it "wasn't considered normal for a Tyrian to care for only one person."

On Star Base, Cassie becomes interested in the "hauntingly beautiful" Major Brianna Thorr, the "ice princess" who is immune to her charms; "Looks like you finally found a heart you can't melt," Charlie remarks. After Julia visits Star Base to rescue The Rockets from deportation back to Earth and a jail sentence, she senses sexual tension between Cassie and Brianna. Knowing that Brianna is Thorrian, and that most Thorrians are monogamous, she determines that the best thing to do is let Cassie get Brianna out of her system: "One night with that boring Major - and Cassie will be through with her." Julia's plan backfires, as Cassie finally wins Brianna over, sparking a relationship that transcends the physical, joining their spirits. However, Julia isn't about to stand by and let Brianna take Cassie away from her.

A love triangle that will involve marriage, jealousy, divorce, blackmail, and murder ensues, taking readers on a spell-binding journey. J.T. Starr's novel speaks to a new generation of sexually open women and the increasing number of openly bisexual and lesbian women, fulfilling the literary need for authors who take bisexual and gay stories into new genres, fusing fantasy, steamy love scenes, and a love triangle into one completely riveting story.

Satan's Best Friend by Darlene Eichler

Satan’s Best Friend by Darlene Eichler is an evocative exploration of cults, cult mentality, and how easily on which the young and impressionable are preyed by manipulative leaders.  Eichler chronicles the tale of Maggie, a girl who is unmarried and pregnant in the still largely conservative society of the 1960s, after a devastating turn of events on her wedding day. Left with nowhere to turn, she becomes a part of Preacher Pat’s cult, where she remains for a decade; time lost that will later torment her soul.

Although Maggie is only looking for “a special place to go and get my mind and my spirit back” feeling “completely empty” after being abandoned by the man she loves and is forced to make a difficult decision, she is inculcated into the cult of Preacher Pat, whose deceptive nature skillfully twists scripture and skews reality.  One of the true strengths of the novel is its presentation of cult life from all perspectives, telling the story not only of Maggie, but also of Preacher Pat, and how Maggie’s family is affected.  Eichler chronicles the events that led Preacher Pat to become a cult leader, using a fictional   medium to treat the topic of the frequently troubled childhood of cult leaders as well as the typical characteristics of egoism, manipulation, and a prowess for storytelling.  Although Maggie attempts to convince the outside world that she has control, in reality, she is incapable of independent decision-making.  The anger of family members who feel forsaken by the cult member is heart-wrenchingly portrayed in a letter from Maggie’s mother, telling her that, while she loves her; “Sometimes I don’t think I like you because of your absence from me.”

Eichler’s personal experience in losing her son to a cult for twenty years, where his family remains, adds many layers of depth and inner knowledge to the workings of the cult, cult leader, cult members, and the families of those who have lost loved ones to a cult.  By examining the cult from every possible human angle, readers are shown the reverberating and far-reaching effects of cults, which have the power to destroy the lives of many people through a single convert.  Satan’s Best Friend moves readers to their very cores, raising awareness about the destructive nature of cults by interweaving meaningful themes into a compelling and artfully written plot.

The Man with the Silver Mustache by Michael Scanafi

Michael Scafani’s The Man with the Silver Mustache chronicles the Nick Falconi, an insurance investigator, as he investigates his first murder.  Interwoven into the page-turning story are themes of retribution, the morally reprehensible hiding behind respectability, the compassion and bond for which those shunned by society can feel and with each other, and the morally ambiguous still knowing right from wrong when it comes to life, death, and justice.

A young woman named Tanya comes to Falconi’s office, beseeching him to investigate the murder of her friend, Jenny Woodson, a prostitute whose body was found three months earlier in a lake near Marin County.  Tanya is insistent that he investigate the murder of her coworker despite his protests that he has no previous experience in this area. Tanya persists, as she has heard that he was “honest and hard working,” which “fit the bill,” far more than do the efforts of the police department, who treated her dismissively, telling her that no one cares about a murdered “whore.”

Nick is left floundering for suspects and leads, relying on instinct alone.  As the tension builds and stakes mount, Falconi is left feeling as though he has failed at his assignment, giving him a renewed dedication to finding justice; “…by God, I’d find out who murdered Jenny.”   Although he feels as though he is finding only dead-ends, his pursuit of the case as he circles in on the killer proves to be dangerous for him, and he is finally led to an unlikely murderer and a shocking denouement.  Scafani has a unique gift for surprising readers and destabilizing their assumptions throughout the story, presenting them with twists that will undoubtedly catch them off-guard.  The Man with the Silver Mustache is certain to entertain, surprise, and keep readers riveted from cover-to-cover.

Twitter for Authors: Book Marketing and Publicity with Social Media by Todd Rutherford

In the confusing and often mystifying world of Twitter, some of us need a helping hand. Todd Rutherford helps authors to develop their Twitter presence and fan base, increasing their readership. Although it may seem confusing at first, through Rutherford's step-by-step approach, authors are finally able to comprehend Twitter, get the most out of their account, and finally attain their seemingly elusive goal: having a social media presence.

Wretched Land by Mila Komarnisky

Mila Komarnisky's Wretched Land is the evocative tale of a family that survives the odds and relies on love to carry them through the horrific events of 20th century Ukranian life. It is the story of a nation, told through the riveting and remarkable love story of a couple that faces insurmountable odds and tragedy.

Dmytro Verbitsky is an impoverished aristocrat who marries Khrystina, whose wealthy, land-owning family disapproves of her marriage, having previously arranged a marriage between Khrystina and their selection for her husband, the wealthy Pylyp Pokotailo, believing her to be "too young to make decisions" about her life. Khrystina tells her family that she is prepared for a life of hard work and refuses to dissolve her marriage, which they believe to be a mistake. Her family disowns her, telling her that she no longer has a mother or a father and sends her away. After her family's betrayal, Dmytro embraces Khrystina's shoulders and tells her, `Do not cry, my love. I am your family now and forever.'" It is this indivisible union that epitomizes their relationship and will guide them through the trials of marriage.

Through it all, their remarkable and passionate love buoys them and withstands every possible test and heartbreak, as Dmytro holds true to his promise to be her family forever. The couple faces World War I, Civil War, World War II, and Stalin's regime, among other tragic circumstances; however, Dmytro remains "strong-willed... so long as he had Khrystina by his side." In cold and harsh times, they raise a family that is filled with love and compassion, maintaining their hope for a better future for the Ukraine and for their family.

Komarnisky provides readers with a truly great literary work, inspired by history, interwoven with a tapestry of deeply moving themes, unparalleled in our generation--for this is the creation of literature rather than the mere creation of a story. Wretched Land is heart-rending, moving, impossible to put down, and even more impossible to forget.

Pursuit by Jason Garrett

Jason Garrett's Pursuit: A Tale of Bishop's Island is a page-turning thriller, chronicling Ryan Rayburn in his pursuit of his wife Aryn, after she is abducted. Pursuit poses the question: "How far would you go for the one you love?" The limits of love are tested through Ryan's boundless devotion to his wife in his quest that takes him across Bishop's Island, an island shrouded in mysteries from the past, and on an investigation that threatens his life as he seeks his beloved wife and redemption for the wrongs he has done to her previously.

Garrett presents two compelling characters at the core of the story, characters that inspire a genuine care and concern in the reader for their well-being, how their misfortune, and ultimately how their marriage will play out. They are diametrically opposed in every possible way: where Aryn is faithful, Ryan is cynical; where Aryn is immutable and tough; Ryan is filled with flaws and regrets. Despite their many differences, Aryn and Ryan share an underlying love for each other that is tested through both separation and extreme circumstances. As a historian and descendant of one of the families responsible for the overthrow of Nathaniel Bishop's Pacific Northwest Empire, Aryn's knowledge is the key to uncovering the treasures and secrets of the island, secrets, which, if revealed, could threaten everyone she loves, including Ryan. As Aryn's life and relationship are tested, her faith, the stabilizing core of her life, is tested throughout her trials; "She had been faithful, she had believed when there was no reason to hold on."

In Ryan, readers are offered a flawed man; although he has made his share of mistakes, he deeply loves Aryn and has a genuine desire to mend their relationship; "For a man who made a living fixing other people's problems, it was unsettling that he could not repair the one relationship he treasured most." When he discovers that Aryn is missing, Ryan's world stands still and, despite their separation, "Once he had vowed never to fail her, never to let her endure any suffering alone... He had to turn his life around, he had to become the man Aryn deserved, the man she needed him to be."

Ryan embarks on a quest to save his beloved wife and restore their marriage, illustrating that for true love, there is no limit to how far one will go. Garrett's gift for story-telling draws readers in, riveting them from cover to cover, as adventure and secrets unfold. It offers a powerful underlying message of redemption and faith woven into the compelling plot, both inspiring and entertaining readers.