Tuesday Book Review: “Let There Be Spring”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

let there be spring lofty basta

Let There Be Spring

by Lofty Basta

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478768777

Synopsis*:

What happened to the “Arab Spring”? Was its derailment inevitable? What is the likelihood that Egypt will recover from her recent travails? Dr. Lofty Basta, now an American citizen, was born and raised in Egypt. Keen on keeping up with current events in his native country, Dr. Basta began documenting his reflections on Egypt’s uprising and political turmoil in 2011, in the form of over fifty articles which he shared with opinion makers in America, Canada, Europe, Egypt, and many others connected to social media. He also conveyed them to Egyptian political leaders, heads of political parties, and ministers in government. Let There Be Spring is a compilation of these articles in their original form, representing the author’s reactions and interpretations of events as they took place. Understandably, Egypt’s citizens are anxious to see the fruits of their uprising, but a new chapter is being written and the story is by no means complete.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Let There Be Spring: Trump is Not the Future of Egypt by Dr. Lofty Basta is a compilation of essays and articles that provide critical insight into the “Arab Spring” revolution in Egypt. It contains the unique observations of a native Egyptian, now an American citizen, with a very keen intellect. These letters follow every major event in the Egyptian people’s struggle for a government that represents their interests and rights. As a member of an Egyptian minority himself, he addresses the need to protect the rights of all people, especially minorities. Dr. Basta clearly illustrates what has happened in Egypt and what the ramifications are for each major event. He presents these in the order that they happened and in a way that everyone can clearly understand.

Dr. Lofty Basta’s Let There Be Spring is a fascinating analysis of the ongoing Egyptian revolution. He has vividly described the reality that nation building is neither a fast nor an easy process. He also cautions the world to be patient and reminds us of the rough road the United States had to traverse on its way to the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Let There Be Spring was written by a true patriot who knows and loves Egypt and its people. He also has faith that a nation, that has been for thousands of years the heart and soul of what we now know as the Arab world, will develop into the model for universal human rights. Anyone wanting to clearly understand Egypt and the Arab Spring needs to read this book!

Reader’s Favorite reviewer Robert Kirkconnell

Other Reviews

A different perspective from an Egyptian American author closely and personally familiar with the dynamics of Egyptian politics and the Arab Spring. Provides an alternative view to what has been covered in the American media with a call for a path forward to a new hope which is sorely needed. Highly recommend this book.

– Amazon reviewer Nadia Bishai

The book shows how t he so-called “Arab Spring” turned into a nightmare for the Egyptians, particularly the Christians among them. They saw their homes and churches burned. This caused great numbers. of Christians to flee the country.

Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brother, who became President of Egypt, appointed his cronies to all the important positions in the country, changed the constitution to an Islamic one, and was taking the country into the darkness of hatefulness and regressing all aspects of life.

This book is easy to read, The author has depicted the events accurately and faithfully. Excellent job!

– Amazon reviewer Amazon Customer

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Tuesday Book Review: “Church Plays”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

church plays fran shaw

 

Church Plays

by Fran Shaw

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478773702

Synopsis*:

Church Plays is a God given book which is comprised of 21 short plays and skits. Each play is ministering and entertaining while delivering a profound message. It will make you laugh and cry. This book will bless the readers, performers and the directors. You won’t be able to put it down and will never be the same. A few of the titles are ‘You Had Better Praise Him] (A young man with a drinking problem at the end of his rope is visited by the Devil), ]Pearls] (A single lady is beguiled by Mr. Casanova later finds out she is pregnant and HIV+), ‘God I Ain’t Mad At You’ (A mother loses her child to cancer), and ‘The Christmas Star’ (An old homeless bag lady brighten Christmas for a mother and her three children). Although this book is titled Church Plays, any audience will enjoy these delightful heart felt plays. These plays are a must see and the book is a must read.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Reviews

A favorite! Ms. Shaw’s plays were very inspiring and had a realistic perspective on matters that we are currently experiencing. There were a variety of plays that could easily be used not only in churches, but in various settings. A great read!!!

– Amazon reviewer April Moses

The book was written by a God-fearing woman ms Fran Shaw Who poured her heart into it you will be blessed by this book because the stories in it can be applied to every day life situations

– Amazon reviewer Linda Howell

OMG! This book is phenomenal! Glad I discovered, this hidden jewel! Look forward to seeing what else the author has.

– Amazon reviewer LadyShaw08


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Tuesday Book Review: “After the Chisholm”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

after the chisholm george rhoades

also winner of:

The Reader Views Reviewer’s Choice Literary Awards for

Poetry (1st Place) and

the Inside Scoop Live Award for the Most Innovative Book of Poetry

reader views award

After the Chisholm

by George Rhoades

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478751908

Synopsis*:

This wide-ranging collection of poems focuses on farm and cattle country after the Chisholm Trail closed, on cowboys and cowgirls, on memories of rural life and other reflections and recollections. The Chisholm Trail ceased about 1890, and the cattle drives from deep in Texas, across the plains of Oklahoma to the cow towns in Kansas, were no more. Fences, settlers, highways, towns and cities now fill what was once open country for a thousand miles.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

George Rhoades owns a hay farm in Stephens County, but his book of poems, “Along the Chisholm Trail” (Outskirts Press, $9.95), offers a broad picture of life, past and present, on the plains of Oklahoma and West Texas.

His several careers — soldier, printer, rancher and journalist — are reflected in some of the poems, but the majority paint a picture of bygone days on the plains. In the nostalgic opening, on the hardships and joys of the cattle drives, he sets the stage in the first two of 22 verses:

The cowboys who came up the trail,

Dusty, grimy, gritty, sweatin’,

Drivin’ the long, windin’ herds,

Didn’t know they were creatin’

A myth, a legend, shapin’ a dream

For a nation and ridin’ into history;

Epics, icons, symbols, heroic images

Emerged later to build the story.

Danger on the trail is covered in “Crossing the Red,” in which animals and cowboys are lost when they pick the wrong place to ford the river. “Farm for Sale” and “Dyin’ Small Towns” tell of tough times, while “In Troubled Times” encourages folks to follow the cowboy’s way of meeting adversity.

“Maggie Belle and the Yeller Moon Saloon” shows how trail riders relax and sometimes get in trouble. There is humor, too. In “Anger,” the poet vents about the driver of a shiny new Lexus who cut him off from a parking spot. A six-line verse “At Wal-Mart” observes the comings and goings of shoppers.

And in “How Hot and Dry Was It?” a group of cowboys “settin’ around the campfire” come up with competing versions of the worst summer ever. Some of their comments might be appropriate today in Oklahoma.

Rhoades provides the reader with some easy-to-read history of his native state in an enjoyable book.

– reviewed by Kay Dyer of The Oklahomian/NewsOK.com

Other Reviews

After the Chisholm by George Rhoades is a collection of poetry focusing on cowboys and cowgirls, and the countryside after the Chisholm trail was closed in the 1890s. Many of the poems, especially in the beginning, focus on the clash of cultures between what the land was and what the land is becoming. In the very first poem there is a line, ‘The Chisholm Trail lives now in myth and memory,’ and it sums up a lot of the conflict in these poems. For example, in the poem “Boots,” it discusses a boot factory that the town tried really hard to keep going, but it just couldn’t survive
the changing times.

I found the poems to be well-written with an appeal based on the sheer lamentation of the way things are changing. I think everyone over the age of thirty will find something relatable in this, because even if you strip away the cowboy and cowgirl aspect, it is essentially about the feeling of separation between a person and culture as times change. Some of the poems are more playful than others, like “Shovelin’ Out The Cowlot,” which points out that milk isn’t the only thing you get from a cow.

I think my favorite poem was probably “Sky,” because it contains a lot of brilliant and evocative imagery that helped bring the climate and circumstances to life. It isn’t very long, but it is very clever and enjoyable. Definitely, the one that sums up the volume, however, is “Unintended Consequences,” which talks about how every development brings with it unintended consequences, like cigarettes being considered healthy, cars and pollution, etc. Great poems. I love the imagery and the blending of old with the new. After the Chisholm by George Rhoades is an excellent volume, and I think anyone who picks it up will find something heartily relatable
inside.

– reviewed by Ryan Jordan of Readers’ Favorite Reviews

George Rhoades‘ Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems is a rather interesting collection of poems, divided into two very distinctive and extremely different parts.

Part One deals with the cowboy life, and life along the Chisholm Trail. The author’s voice here is very distinctive, and the poems encompass all facets of such life, which is definitely epic. As the author put it so well himself:

“No wonder the cowboys rode
Into the hearts and imagination
Of the world, and shaped forever
The endurin’ character of this nation.”

The range of emotions expressed in the poems in Part One is very wide, and the author deals with the subjects with a lot of dignity and respect. It would have been quite easy to depict cowboys as somewhat cartoonish, but that did not happen even in the most light-hearted of the poems in this collection. While this way of life is not familiar to me in the slightest, I greatly enjoyed reading about it.

Part Two is less homogeneous, and much more contemporary, and deals with all kinds or ruminations on life, many of which are truly thought provoking. Some are sad, some are wistful, some downright hilarious, and of all of them my favorite happened to be one of the shortest poems in this book. “At Wal-Mart” has barely thirty-something words, yet it perfectly captures so much of what one sees there. While I laughed out loud at first after reading it, I felt compelled to re-read it later, and discovered that it was actually quite serious.

George Rhoades’ Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems was quite a departure from what I usually read, but I am glad I took the time to read it. It opened my eyes to a world that was completely new to me, and also reminded me of many everyday things to cherish and remember.

– reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of blogcritics.org (found on SeattlePI.com)

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “The Jar Puppies” (an overlooked gem!)

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

the jar puppies thomas james

The Jar Puppies

by Thomas James

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478758075

Synopsis*:

There are miracles around us every day. Some we see, and the most of us don’t ever notice. Then there are other miracles that should remain silent. There are dangers around that some may use the miracles for financial gain. To exploit these miracles and perhaps even hurt a child in the process. They must be protected at all cost from those that may harm what is pure and innocent. There is nothing more remarkable than a miracle in a child’s arms as the two of them combined should be admired and adored, and never taken advantage of. Then there is nature. Something that is beautiful and precious. When combined with a miracle you have heaven. How and why should man be allowed to destroy what was meant to be something special on earth. Those that will fight to protect its secret from harm, even at the cost of a life, should be thought of highly. Then when nature steps in with a fury to protect its own. Even man cannot stand in its way, and must retreat. There are miracles in this world that must be recognized as beautiful as life itself, respected for what they are, and should be left to be. We should never even think of damaging something so precious, and perhaps lose it forever. Look around. What miracles do you see? Would you ever think of doing something to it so that you may never see it again? This book is filled with love, joy, excitement, humor, and sadness. It is for those that are pure and innocent, and know the difference between right and wrong. For those that really care about precious gifts from above.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Publisher’s Summary

An old glass maker, tired and looking for new inspiration, is led to a special beach where the sand has properties he has never seen before. He takes some of the sand home, and makes a series of jars, which have a gift that is so precious it can be shared only with a few loving and trustworthy children. But the pure joy given to the children is threatened as others watch, thinking only of how the gift can be turned to profit. The children learn priceless lessons about friendship, loyalty, and the importance of protecting what is precious and unique. The Jar Puppies and Miracle Beach is a unique and beautiful story that you and your children will treasure.

Featured Review

The Jar Puppies made a splash at the 2016 CIPA EVVY Awards for good reason, and it definitely qualifies as one of our most beloved and most overlooked children’s books of the last couple of years! Here, Thomas James takes a story he first received as a dream and later told to his loved ones and translates it into written form. And not just that–he had it beautifully illustrated! This is a sweet narrative rich in potential as both a teaching tool for younger children and as a source of entertainment. One of our favorite elements of this book is that children are given very real agency–that is, they’re given active roles in shaping how events play out, and they take those roles very seriously. Not many children’s books take that sort of approach! We highly recommend you check out this book … and yes, review it on Amazon or Goodreads! It is criminally under-recognized for its excellence.

– reviewed by us here on Self-Publishing Advisor!

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Tuesday Book Review: “The Women of Harrington Hall”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

The Women of Harrington Hall by J Alec Keaton

The Women of Harrington Hall

by J. Alec Keaton

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478761013

Synopsis*:

Harrington Hall at Beaumont University might have been any other women’s residence hall at an institution of higher learning. The women who lived in Harrington Hall might have been any other coeds at a prominent university-and most of them did follow the typical pattern, attending classes, gathering at social functions, making new friends, and relishing the freedom of living away from home. For others, however, the college experience was not at all what they anticipated it would be. Heather falls in love, gets pregnant, and marries her soul mate . . . but she later learns a secret that sends her life into a tailspin. Song Kim seems painfully shy but is hiding a dark secret of her own. Karen, desperate to find a way to earn money for tuition, agrees to become part of an exclusive escort service and then realizes she’s committed to more than she’d bargained for. And Cathy, beautiful and virtuous, gets involved with a boy who has a reputation for using women, leading to a tragedy she never could have imagined. J. Alec Keaton’s The Women of Harrington Hall is filled with happiness and heartache, poignancy and punch. Harrington Hall’s women, genuine and true, are seemingly ordinary college coeds-you might say, “I knew someone like that”-but the twists and turns in each woman’s journey are anything but ordinary. And the telling of their tale will keep you riveted and wanting more.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Reviews

As I got to know each of the characters, the book was hard to put down, needing to know what came next. With twists and turns in every angle, the ending was very satisfying. I thought this book was better than “Girl On The Train”.

– reviewed on Amazon by Kathy H.

This story captivated me from the start. The twists and turns just kept coming. The characters were very real. My only complaint was that I could not stop reading so was up late. Really good book!! I was given this book for an honest review by NetGalley.

– reviewed on Amazon by Annette H

I liked the characters and plot of the novel. The modern day-setting brought the characters alive and you rooted for them through-out the book. I agree with the other reviews that once you started reading you didn’t want to put the book down.

– reviewed on Amazon by JJ

A great story, very distinguishable and interesting characters. Easily read, with suspense at every turn. Hard to put down.

– reviewed on Amazon by Joanne

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “The Tangled Trail”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

the tangled trail shirley meier

The Tangled Trail

by Shirley D. Meier

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478757566

Synopsis*:

Werner Baumann, a widower, looks for his rebellious run-away son, Otto. The trail leads him from Germany to St. Louis, Missouri and then to Dakota Territory. Along the way, he is helped by a newspaper man and is captivated by his niece, the spirited Elizabeth Frank. But their paths separate as Werner’s adventurous search takes him into the far wilderness and lonely Elizabeth, hearing he perished, marries and they join her ambitious father starting a cattle ranch. However, Werner unexpectedly returns and their secret entangled love engulfs them all in a struggle between loyalty and passion. With a rich backdrop of the area’s historical events, their hardy pioneer life mixes with the issues of infidelity, guilt and family responsibility until a surprising resolution emerges.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review: “This book covers a much-neglected era of our Western history…,”

This book covers a much-neglected era of our Western history…..the settling of the Dakotas by early German immigrants. We follow their stories from ‘the old country’ through their introduction to life in the new world, and the family tribulations they endured. The author, Shirley D. Meier, is herself part of of one of those families, and writes tellingly of their experiences. While much of our literature has dealt with Eastern and urban immigration, this book brings to life another facet of the development of our country, and the strengths which were brought to it by these early families. This is a fascinating read for anyone interested in our early history, and particularly of the high plains of the Dakotas.

– reviewed on Amazon

Other Reviews

I love family drama and the early family situation of this book pulled me in. The compelling story of why the son Otto, left for America is shocking and begs the reader to ponder what will happen next as his a-bit-too-perfect father Werner, searches for him. This book is fitting for anyone who likes historical fiction, has Euro roots, and understands the vibe and complexity of the early west.

– reviewed on Amazon by TMC

I found the The Tangled Trail an interesting saga of one man’s search for his son in a new country. He travels across the ocean, across the land of America all the while meeting people who have heard of his son or who have met him. I thought the characters were real and interesting and the historical events accurate. I hope there is a sequel to this book.

– reviewed on Amazon by Shetland Pony

I thoroughly enjoyed “The Tangled Web” and would highly recommend it. It kept your interest through the entire story with its twists and turns of an immigrant journey from Germany across to the mid-western United States when a father attempts to find his estranged son. The author’s knowledge of mid-western life and history is to be commended.

– reviewed on Amazon by James H. Allison

 


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Tuesday Book Review: “Ancient Guardians: The Hawaiian Legend of Sharktooth and Hawkeye”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

Ancient Guardians: The Hawaiian Legend of Sharktooth and Hawkeye by Kanani Hurley

Ancient Guardians: The Hawaiian Legend of Sharktooth and Hawkeye

by Kanani Hurley

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478759240

Synopsis*:

The Secrets of an Ancient Legend Come Alive! Adventurous, imaginative, and brave, Kawehi has enjoyed her life on the island of Kaua‘i, and she especially loves the time she spends with Kahoku, her older brother. But when a shocking event unexpectedly turns her world upside down, Kawehi will find herself facing unimaginable truths about her family and the people around her, as she is catapulted headlong into a world of mystery and myth. Although Kawehi’s gentleness and innocence are powerful talismans against the evil she will confront, the strength of her character, and the amazing gifts she never knew she had will allow her to rise to heights of achievement that her family could never have dreamed of. Beautifully written, rich with the culture, surroundings, and native legends of Hawai‘i, Ancient Guardians: The Hawaiian Legend of Sharktooth and Hawkeye introduces a unique heroine and her family, whose adventures you will be excited to follow in this inventive and compelling new series.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review: “Ancient Guardians” By Kanani Hurley

In “Ancient Guardians” by Kanani Hurley, we meet Kawehi, a young girl growing up on the idyllic island of Kaua’i. Kawehi’s life is suddenly thrown off kilter when a serious tragedy occurs that affects her whole family. As the family struggles to process what happened, they discover there is more to the situation than meets the eye. The entire family draws closer together to try to stop potential future events. As the family gathers, Kawehi learns much about the history of her people, and realizes that she will have to fight evil to save the future of her family.

As the adventure progresses, Kawehi discovers that she and her family members all have very special gifts. They must use these talents to defeat the people who are trying to destroy them. The author takes us back in time so that we can see how the drama began. Going forward in time, there are still people from the past that must be dealt with. For Kawehi, this experience helps her grow up very quickly and she soon finds herself becoming the heroine of the story.

I really enjoyed reading “Ancient Guardians.” Even though the heroine is young, the book is written at a level that both teens and adults will be able to enjoy. The subject matter is age appropriate for preteens and teens. This would be the perfect story to have on a summer reading list. The unique setting of being on a Hawaiian Island while trying to solve the mystery of an ancient legend makes the book magical. It quickly captivated me. I loved that the family members had such a tight connection with each other. This helped strengthen their gifts. It is also refreshing to find family members that like each other in a novel for youth.

“Ancient Guardians” by Kanani Hurley is highly recommended reading. This would make a great gift for a young avid reader.

– reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

Other Reviews

A great read that takes you on a journey between modern Hawaii today and the folklore of ancient Hawaii. A tale about a typical modern Hawaiian family except that they have a special spiritual connection to the past. I enjoyed traveling seamlessly between both worlds. With inspiration coming from a real life tragedy, I couldn’t help but become emotionally involved in the life and death and rebirth of Kahoku. It was moving, it was interesting and it was fun. Also, I’ve noticed that there are many Hawaiian fiction books for younger kids but not so many for intermediate school or above. I will be sharing my book with my teenagers next. Thank you.

– reviewed on Amazon by Charles T. Holt

This tale draws you in as soon as you begin reading. The storyline is captivating and I felt as though I was in a movie theater watching all of it unfold. I felt a connection with the characters and became “emotionally invested” throughout the story. As an avid reader, I gauge the quality of a story on its ability to evoke an emotional response. Ancient Guardians: The Hawaiian Legend of Sharktooth and Hawkeye did just that!

– reviewed on Amazon by Todd S Wataoka

A vivid and poignant story that sends you on a thrilling adventure as you navigate the world of the mano and pueo; you feel as if you are there with Kawehi – watching through her eyes as this mystical world unfolds before her, feeling her love, fear, pain, and strength. This is an amusing, mesmerizing, and sweet story that you will not regret reading.

– reviewed on Amazon by A. Kanakaole

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