My Dog Romeo
By: Ziggy Marley - Tuff Gong Worldwide/Akashic Books, $16.95
Description: Ziggy Marley’s ode to his four-legged friend Romeo becomes a picture book that is sure to touch the hearts of dog lovers everywhere.
Verdict: My Dog Romeo - a single on More Family Time, the follow-up children’s album to the GRAMMY Award-winning Family Time - is a playful and endearing tribute to Ziggy Marley’s beloved pet dog Romeo.
Containing the beautifully colorful and ornately lush illustrations by Ag Jatkowska - illustrator of Marley’s debut picture book, I Love You Too - My Dog Romeo opens on with kids running gleefully alongside their pet dog Romeo.
Holding a stick in his mouth, as we turn the pages we learn that’s not all he chews on as when the kids strike up the band, Romeo is chowing down on the mic stand too!
Throughout this vibrantly drawn, colored and verbally expressed book, Marley sings of his great love and friendship with his four-legged friend, Romeo.
He even goes on to describe Romeo, his walking habits (both on and off the leash), and the fact that he wakes up his owner at six o’clock sharp every day, so that he can be let out for a morning potty break and a roll in the grass!
As it continues on, it is very clear that this quite magnificent book is a loving ode to Romeo and that life just wouldn’t be the same without him in it.
Indeed, and as aforementioned, it is the most perfect accompaniment to Marley’s charming children’s album, which ensures that My Dog Romeo is sure to be a big hit among young, old, and, of course, our furry friends!
About the Author ZIGGY MARLEY is an eight-time GRAMMY Award winner, Emmy Award winner, author, philanthropist, and reggae icon. He has released thirteen albums to much critical acclaim, and is the author of the children’s books I Love You Too, My Dog Romeo, Music Is in Everything, and Little John Crow (with his wife, Orly Marley); as well as the Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook.
His early immersion in music came at age ten when he sat in on recording sessions with his father, Bob Marley. Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers released eight best-selling albums that garnered three GRAMMYs.
Ziggy’s second solo release, Love Is My Religion, won a GRAMMY in 2006 for Best Reggae Album. His third solo studio album, Family Time, scored a fifth GRAMMY award for Best Children’s Album.
2016 marked the release of Marley’s self-titled album, which earned his eighth GRAMMY. Marley’s children’s album More Family Time was released in September 2020 via Tuff Gong Worldwide.
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Burn, Beautiful Soul
By: William J. Donahue - Cosmic Egg Books, $19.95
Description: Basil the demon king has come to a crossroads. He has grown tired of life underground and regretful of the atrocities he has committed to maintain his hold on power.
Wanderlust leads him to the surface, to live freely among humans.
Considering the state of the world, most humans seem unfazed by his arrival - but not all.
A religious zealot with murderous intentions and a vengeful biker gang seek his end!
Verdict: Wow! Simply wow! Burn, Beautiful Soul is a book that not only reads well, but lends itself to providing the readers mind with some rather vivaciously described levels of detail; ones that not only provide said reader with a vivid picture of what is happening on the page, but instills it into the psyche so that they stay with you throughout the thoroughly engrossing read.
Chock full of gorgeously created, all be they horrific demons living in the underworld just below us ordinary, everyday folk, the life in the small town up above where Basil, the Demon King, escapes to for a short break from his boredom is (much like us mere human mortals) same shit, different day!
Donahue’s portrayal of darkness and the horrible and sheer horror that exists below us at all times, lay in deep contrast with the very normal, uber mundane day-to-day living that the town of Beak, NE is noted for.
Sure, I understand that for the detailed analysis of shock and awe to exist when talking about both states, that some form of pure perfection has to co-exist for both sets of entities (albeit that one is unknowing of the other), but here Donahue separates the two to picture perfect perfection.
Not to give too much away, but now that Basil has joined the living, so to speak, and many of the human characters he now interacts with are brought to the fore of the narrative, is it going to be possible that such a horribly demonic entity could become somewhat likable, to both the townsfolk and the readers alike?
I mean, maybe, just maybe he’s not that much more different than the rest of us? That said, the author also does a splendid job of coloring in some of the human characters so hazily that you might start to despise a few of the much more than the actual real demons!
About the Author: When he’s not writing fiction, entertaining his cats, or wandering quietly in the woods, William J. Donahue works as a full-time magazine editor and features writer. He lives in a small but well-guarded fortress somewhere on the map between Philadelphia and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
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Harvest: The True Story of Alien Abduction
By: G.L. Davies - 6th Books, $16.95
Description: In 2009 one woman from Pembrokeshire believed she was abducted by aliens.
What followed was a terrifying ordeal of alien visitation, nightmarish visions, encounters with terrifying creatures, a connection to the past and a prophecy of destruction on the scale never before seen in Pembrokeshire’s peaceful history.
Should these events be true, then no one is safe. The harvest has begun!
Verdict: G.L Davies invites you to join him on his most terrifying investigation yet, is what we are informed going into this book and by golly if that statement isn’t one of the truest ever given!
Not exactly a true believer, as they say, but neither one who shuns the possibilities, thus fence-sitter entered unto this all-too-short book and never let it go until it was read in the one complete sitting!
Harvest is the tale of a young woman from West Wales, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom, who believes she was the victim of visitation and abduction by aliens with, as she herself labels them, inhuman designs; those turning out to be the harvesting of her human body parts and organs.
Although we never get to know the true identity of the woman in question, we are given her name as just Susan (real or unreal, we will never know), and her story is told mainly through her own words, recalling each and every detail of the abduction moment by moment.
Having now read the book straight through, my guess is that Susan is a medical student of some kind, because her recounting of these highly in-depth alien encounters tends to veer occasionally into rather medical-eze territory.
From start to finish, Harvest captured my imagination and held my attention, the way the writer writes a pure, unadulterated joy to behold on the page.
Chock full of crackling imagery and investigative ideas and theories, al balanced out by the facts of the event and what came thereafter, Harvest is all filling, no fluff, that’s for damn sure!
At times Susan recalls her alien encounters having taken place in her own home, sometimes via some horribly vivid dreams, as she puts it, visions of Armageddon-like destruction all around her, whilst at other times she becomes somewhat of an informercial, linking alien abductions to the disappearance of thousands of people, especially females, who go missing every year.
Presenting the layered investigative groundwork upon a blanket of commonalities in alien-inhabited dreams, visions, and general experiences much akin, is an interesting angle to come at this case, albeit one that has be ridden before, just perhaps not so as assuredly than here.
About the Author: G. L. Davies is the author of the worldwide bestselling A Most Haunted House, and the creator of theparanormalchronicles.com.
With over 25 years in Sales and marketing, he prides himself on the work he does with his authors as marketing manager for John Hunt Publishing.
He has an abundance of positive energy and motivation to bring writers’ dreams to reality. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and studies hauntings in 19th century literature.
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By: Jacob Steven Mohr - Cosmic Egg Books, $12.95
Description: Kait’s volcanic temper has already scared most of her friends away, and a bad breakup with her college boyfriend Lutz has left her crippled by guilt and painful memories.
So, when she learns that her best friend Alice is planning a three-day sabbatical in a secluded mountain cabin, Kait jumps at the chance to tag along, convinced that rekindling their fractured friendship is the key to fixing whatever’s breaking down inside of her.
She should have known ... Lutz would never let her go so easily!
Verdict: To say that The Unwelcome is a page turner of the highest order is doing it a disservice as Mohr’s book is as engrossing and as succulently addictive as any I have had the pleasure to read this year!
Combining a quietly rural, yet heaving ornate setting together with some rather overly strained relationships, adding in the threat of imminent danger all around, and with a dash of the unknown thrown in for good measure, The Unwelcome beautifully unveils itself page after page; whilst unknowing the reader is moved to their very edge of their seat!
Having to know what happens next is the epitome of a page-turner, sure, but the pure fact that the writer has created prose that lead you seamlessly from chapter to chapter, as if you had no real sense of it being your choice, is just magnificent.
Embodying some dark, heavy themes along the way, the robust and visceral characters are aplenty and the writers distinct writing style abounds crisply on each and every page.
OK, sure, The Unwelcome does follow along the most well-loved horror setting tropes, but as you read deeper, and as things start to swerve slightly from where you assumed they would, should even, go, you quickly realize that this is far from your usual cabin in the woods, teens get slayed for no good reason story!
About the Author: Don’t buy the hype: Jacob Steven Mohr was not raised by wolves. Feral children are capable of many things, but weaving wild words into flesh and fantasy isn’t one of them!
Lucky us. If it were, we’d all be speaking Wolf. Mohr’s work has previously appeared in Outrageous Fortune, Aurora Wolf, Liquid Imagination, and Body Parts Magazine, as well as on the stage of the Browncoat Theater in Wilmington, NC. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.
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We, The Wanted
By: Matthew Schultz & Jordan LePore - Cosmic Egg Books, $13.95
Description: When famine emigrant Patrick Gallagher, secures passage aboard a transatlantic coffin ship from County Cork, Ireland, to the Grosse Île Quarantine Station, Canada, he finds himself prey to a very different sort of hunger.
Meanwhile, Angèle Paris D’Arcantel, a Vodou priestess, flees slavery and impending Civil War in New Orleans. She rides the Underground Railroad north along the Mississippi River to an abandoned lighthouse forsaken in the remote Adirondack wilderness at the brink of a vast, cursed forest and the harrowing bluffs of Lake Champlain.
Verdict: We, The Wanted is a sparingly illustrated novel charting the unverified and unverifiable mythologies of seemingly disparate folklores: Irish, Haitian, and Native American, that converge beneath the beacon of the Split Rock Lighthouse as a way of exploring the contemporary phenomena of disenchantment.
Shining a light upon the mysterious and tragic history of the American Northeast and across the tortured generations who weathered its storm, We, The Wanted is a gothic tale of grim isolation, the consequences of (dis)belief, and the monsters that continue to lurk beyond the pale of civilization hoping to lure us into their darkness.
Set in 1847, this quite breathtakingly vivid story combined with some rather fantastic illustrations brings forth the story of Patrick Gallagher, a stocky Irishman who sets sail aboard a ship bound for America.
As we now know, his journey does not go according to plan for instead of trying to make his way to New York City to secure work with a distant relative of his, he soon finds himself in a forest full of mythical creatures (as you do!)
Hitching a ride with another group of travelers who have had their own brand of unforsaken encounters with such creatures, and worse, up until that point, the newcomers band together for safety in numbers.
In a story that plays out like a reading of historical accuracy layered with dense mythology and sprinkled with gloriously created fables just for the prose, We, The Wanted tells the fascinating tale of a group of outsiders risking their very lives, in the hope of securing freedom for all.
About the Author: Matthew Schultz is the Director of the Writing Center at Vassar College where he teaches courses on literature and writing.
He earned his B.A. and M.A. in English Literature at John Carroll University and his Ph.D. in Literature from Saint Louis University. His previous novel, On Coventry is available from Harvard Square Editions.
Matthew lives, teaches, and writes in the Hudson Valley, New York, with his wife, son, and Great Dane.
Jordan LePore received his MFA in Visual Arts degree from Lesley University in June of 2017. He currently resides in New York City, USA.
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By The Feet of Men
By: Grant Price - Cosmic Egg Books, $18.95
Description: WANTED: Men and women willing to drive through the valley of the shadow of death.
The world’s population has been decimated by the Change, a chain reaction of events triggered by global warming.
In Europe, governments have fallen, cities have crumbled and the wheels of production have ground to a halt. The Alps region, containing most of the continent’s remaining fresh water, has become a closed state with heavily fortified borders.
Survivors cling on by trading through the Runners, truck drivers who deliver cargo and take a percentage.
Verdict: A road trip akin to Mad Max, this expertly well written, and graphically detailed post-apocalyptic novel may well run deep with a thick vein of hopelessness (for both the characters and the reader), but do not let that bog you down in what the underlying content has in store for you.
Our lead character here is Cassidy, a Runner who embodies this new landscape and its now-created direction for a civilization that has not come to terms, in the slightest, with what the entire world has suffered.
As with all post-apocalyptical scenarios, it is a scary world out there, boys and girls, complete with the prerequisite scarce amounts of food, water, gasoline, and finding reliable transport is as an ambitious task as just staying alive!
Anyway, as Cassidy himself knows, Runners do not last long in this world, but with some wits about them together with a whole lot of luck, they can proceed and get to strive for a little while longer.
The crux of this, and Cassidy’s story is that he and a handful of other runners must join together to transport vital cargo far beyond where they have ever traveled before, to a place that might not even exist!
Price writes the ensemble in such a way that you not only get to know each member of this group, but start to care about certain ones, hoping that they can at least make it to the end.
None of the are superheroes, but it will take a superhuman strength and endeavor to fight their collective way to survival on this most deadliest of terrains.
About the Author: Grant Price (b. 1987) is a British-German author currently living in Berlin, Germany. After spending years translating texts and writing copy, he made the switch to writing fiction full time in 2015.
His work has appeared in The Daily Telegraph and a number of magazines and journals. His first novel, Static Age, appeared on Kindle in 2016. His second novel, By the Feet of Men, is due to be published by Cosmic Egg Books in September 2019.
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The Scars of Eden
By: Paul Wallis - 6th Books, $14.95
Description: Do our world mythologies convey our ancestors’ ideas about God? Or are they in reality ancestral memories of extra-terrestrial contact?
How do ancient stories of contact, adaptation and abduction relate to people’s experiences around the world today?
The Scars of Eden will take you around the world to hear first-hand from ancestral voices alongside contemporary experiencers and world-renowned researchers.
Recent revelations from US Navy, the Pentagon, and French Intelligence bring the reader right up to date in examining what has been forgotten and remembered, hidden and disclosed.
Verdict: If world mythologies, including the Bible, have confused the idea of God with ancient ET visitations, what difference does it make? How does it impact society today? And why is this cultural taboo so widespread and, for the author, so personal?
OK, for my money, Paul Wallis is an exceptionally talented writer and this new book, The Scars of Eden is a majestically written work of literary art, for sure, but that all said, the book will most definitely not be for everyone; especially the closedminded, shall we say.
For yes, an open mind what is needed here, for as much as Ufology can be seen plainly evident throughout our history, those who are not welcoming of the evidence can, to say the least, poo-poo such books and their collective findings.
That said, moving on and this follow up, of sorts, to his Escaping from Eden book, does the right thing from the off in challenging the readers to broaden their understanding of our world mythologies.
Never one to lay it on too thick, always allowing us to feel comfortable at our own investigatory pace, so often we like our world to exist in a neat box, but the real world is anything but that.
Indeed, we hold on to beliefs because they make us feel safe, and sometimes we do so at the expense of truth. That is how Wallis details such posturing and goes into more detail about how we can look outside the box, so to speak.
Trust me, when a person having spent 30 years as an Anglican minister and teacher of Biblical text, and it’s interpretation, and who also studies world mythologies asks you to seek truth, seek understanding, ask difficult questions and be open to receive the answers, you do as you are asked!
About the Author: Paul Anthony Wallis is a researcher, speaker and author on spirituality and mysticism. He is a healing practitioner and has worked as a theological educator and as an Archdeacon for the Anglican Church in Australia.
Paul researches the world’s mythologies for how they speak to our origins as a species and our potential today as human beings. He lives in Canberra, Australia.
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Mission From Venus
By: Susan Plunket - Cosmic Egg Books, $18.95
Description: Higher dimensional light beings from Venus incarnate as humans to save Earth from a takeover by the Dark Lords of Orion.
The dark side has infiltrated many governments and much of the world of finance. The mission from Venus threatens their planned takeover of Earth.
Failing a takeover, the dark lords will cause the planet’s destruction through nuclear war, to prevent Earth from ascending to the fourth dimension on the path of light.
The volunteer wanderers are all that stand in the way.
Verdict: As it seems that the Earth is in grave danger, the beings of Venus cobble together a directive mission to send a group of wanderers to Earth to present a game plan to stop it from being destroyed and the entire population annihilated.
You see, Venus has the power to enable one to see and feel differently than we do here on Earth and these aforementioned wanderers are fifth dimension beings.
I hope you are keeping up with all this, as when these beings from Venus find themselves living on Earth, much of their powers will no longer be within them and they will be reborn as humans living as infants and experiencing life; from child through to adult ... as a human!
Furthermore, their collective memories will be erased, their so-named inner twin will be removed and their goal to hopefully find their twin and somehow reunite on Earth becomes their one and only prime directive.
All this is considered as the only hope to increase the positive energy on Earth for its population and eliminate the forces of the dark side as they progressively smoother the Earth.
For the most part, after being asked to join the mission, but warned of the pitfalls that they might befall, each character is paired at the beginning for what is, in all truth, nothing short of a very spiritual journey.
In short, along the way, they must fight battles and learn how to deal with humans, understand and help realign their collective faults, reboot and enhance their good qualities and oh-so much more!
Mission From Venus (of course, written by a clinical psychologist) is a quite glorious, page-turning, vividly descriptive, but also spiritually illuminating opus that brings us the story of whether or not these intrepid beings will be able to infuse the humans with love and positive energy, culminating in all of them finding their way back to each other come the end.
About the Author: Susan Plunket is a science fiction writer and psychologist. She received her doctorate at The New School for Social Research in 1989 has been in private practice in New York City for 31 years.
Her favorite part of her work is interpreting dreams using a Jungian approach. For the past ten years she’s been writing science fiction in which she explores the worlds of the 5th and 6th dimensions.
Her particular interest in is wanderers, higher dimensional beings who volunteer to come to Earth and incarnate as human to help us awaken to the reality of our own superpowers, our own divinity and oneness with all beings.
She is currently working on book three of her science fiction trilogy, Mission From Venus.
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Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest
By: G.L. Davies - 6th Books, $18.95
Description: Blissful beginnings for a young couple turn into a nightmare after purchasing their dream home in Wales in 1989.
Their love and their resolve are torn apart by an indescribable entity that pushes paranormal activity to the limit.
Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest is the prequel to the bestselling A Most Haunted House.
Dare you step inside ...?!
Verdict: For all intents and purpose, Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest is an account of a true haunt, with several people telling what happened to them during their stay in the house.
A majority of the text is written in interview format, which may give the account more credibility, but for some reason, fell a little flat for me, personally.
That is not to say that I wasn’t enthralled to keep reading along, it just made for slightly more literary reading pitfalls along the way.
I can see, and for the most part understand Davies kept it in this format, especially given his other books of the same ilk, but I just couldn’t get it to flow when silently reading it, as much as I would have liked, that’s all.
Anyway, moving on and it seems, via the related stories that what happened to these couples in the house was indeed very terrifying and for that alone this book kept my attention!
For, and as they are revealed to be, the unholy spirits that haunt this house are most definitely pissed at something, or someone, of course!
Now, in truth, Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest is a very intriguing book, chock full of spiritual wonderment and ghostly possibilities, but you will either be of the mind to run through it in the one sitting, or read bite size chapters each or every other day (it works both ways, trust me).
Embedded with working theories that delve into what could have happened in the house, ranging from mold to psychological to psychedelics and, of course, never leaving the possibilities of aliens to far out of the spectrum of possibility, the book takes you slowly down rabbit holes without you even realizing!
Sure, the research was most definitely done in trying to understand the possible haunting, but whether a genuinely satisfying, perhaps even believable conclusion is ever reached, well, I’ll leave that down to you to determine.
About the Author: Born in 1975, G.L. Davies lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is the author of A Most Haunted House and Ghost Sex: The Violation.
He is the creator of theparanormalchronicles.com and his reports and investigations into the paranormal and the unexplained have made national and international news.
He is also the founder of the webcast The Paranormal Chronicles Network, on YouTube, presenting shows with Dave Dominguez on a number of paranormal subjects.
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By: John Gastil - Cosmic Egg Books, $16.38
Description: Can the digital networks that record our footprints hold us steady when dementia threatens to push us off the path?
This question has real stakes for data analyst Charlie Sanders. His best hope for a father succumbing to Alzheimer’s comes from assistive technology that Charlie helps design for a scrappy startup.
Despite early successes, Charlie has growing doubts about the motives of each of his colleagues - the eccentric CEO in Seattle, the call center guru in India, and the Trump-loving Aussie transplant who keeps the books.
His worries grow when the company takes on a clandestine client who occupies the Oval Office. Will Charlie keep his father and his country on track, or turn a whole generation into glitches?
Verdict: As you may well be able to immediately ascertain from the title of this riveting book, author Gastil writes about our brains, or moreover, how they begin to fail us and come the end (much like the opening of the story being told) how aging has us seemingly focused only on where are youthfulness went, the upcoming pine box, and who we really were and are now.
From the off we see things through Barry, Charlie Sanders’ fathers eyes and still-cognate, for the most part, sometimes, mind. The son works as a data analyst for his own lowbrow startup company whose internet algorithm The Loop contains a newly-created app called The Walker Talker, and which is proud to state that it can help aging people suffering from dementia.
But trust me when I say that Gray Matters is oh-so much more than simply that, for it encompasses a collective myriad of other subject matters, that, if listed in full now, you would swear blind couldn’t ever become so connected to the throbbing nerve story line of a cure-all pill for dementia.
But that’s the beauty of this technological and political allegory-strewn book, for Gastil leads you graciously by the hand down each and every neural pathway, stopping only to open a door into a seemingly tangential subject matter, acting as if to close it, yet leaving it tantalizingly ajar, and then moves forward with the main plot thread; always knowing that a door subplot left ajar can, most always, in books at least, provide some elegantly crafted layers of prose to the subject matter at hand.
As we read on, we learn that so-called “smart devices” are connecting those entwinned with the startup (both receivers and suppliers) to a network that they can easily navigate through the plethora of seemingly endless choices and decisions, whilst providing acute personal guidance on what a person is supposed to do based on their medical history, of course.
But as we quickly discover, there is a glitch in the system, let alone within one of the main components of all this new technology, a chip called The Compass and which controls those very same devices, that ends up actually performing a form of brainwashing to those who use them.
A manmade algorithm that was built to supposed predict how people will think, act, and react, well, as they say, now has a ghost in the machine and without freedom of thinking, without self-awareness, what happens next?
Given that we actually do have those things, currently, Gray Matters will have you thinking What if? for quite a while after you have finished with it, and will, much like it did me, have you re-reading it to pull together the collective warning signs that life within the story had made clear; and that nobody had paid heed to.
Sure, it can be a little overwhelming at times, as Gastil goes deep within certain chapters to ensure that the reader is, quite literally, on the same page as the knowledge that he is himself trying to impart, but nonetheless, Gray Matters is a quite fascinatingly poignant read and will have you interested in reading seamlessly between chapters, the subject matter not only sweeping through you as you turn each page, but infiltrating your mind to make you yourself become more, well, self aware.
About the Author: John Gastil is Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Communication Arts and Sciences and Political Science at Penn State University, where he also serves as Senior Scholar at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy.
He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but is now a loyal Nittany Lion. The National Science Foundation has supported numerous large-scale research programs in which Gastil served as a principal investigator, including work that led to the publication of Hope for Democracy (2020), The Jury and Democracy (2010), and dozens of peer-reviewed articles.
Gastil has worked on campaigns for federal, state, and local office in California and New Mexico, but his research and writing focuses on improving democracy, not winning elections.
In 2020, UK imprint Cosmic Egg Books published his debut novels, Gray Matters and Dungeon Party (available in all formats). Gastil resides in State College, PA.
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In The Shadows of Enigma
By: Alex Rosenberg - Top Hat Books, $19.95
Description: In this standalone sequel to The Girl From Krakow, the greatest undisclosed secret of the Second World War haunts the lives of four people across three continents and fifteen years.
Verdict: The only Second World War secret not revealed soon thereafter was that the Allies had broken the German Enigma codes.
This secret was kept for 30 years after the war. In the Shadows of Enigma is a 15 year-long narrative of how knowing the secret changed the lives of four people: Rita Feuerstahl, who learned that the German Enigma had been deciphered by the Poles just before she escaped a Polish ghetto, Gil Romero, her prewar lover whom Rita marries after the war, Stefan Sajac, the infant son Rita had smuggled out of the ghetto and lost track of, and Otto Schulke, the German Gestapo detective who apprehended Rita during the war and suspected that she knew the secret of the Enigma’s decoding.
Not to give too much away, but there are two secrets in In The Shadows Of Enigma. The first, hinted at by the title and then explained in the preface, is that Germany’s secret Enigma code had been cracked by the Polish intelligence service in 1942 and given to the western allies; but not announced for almost thirty years, leaving the Russians to assume, after they’d captured the code in Berlin, that it was still usable.
The second secret is that Rita, the novel’s primary protagonist, in 1947 found her son, Stefan, who she’d given to a woman in 1940 to save him from the Nazi roundup of Jews, and that Rita chose not to reveal that she had survived the Nazis, which would have led to Stefan’s return to her, his birth mother.
Luckily for the reader, Rosenberg expertly weaves together a complex plot involving its many characters and locations. During the years through which the story moves, many historical events are carefully included, such as the Hungarian uprising against the Russians, the Suez Canal conflict, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which add an element of authenticity to the well-crafted plot.
Inclusive of wartime flashbacks, the plots and the characters cross paths repeatedly, but never confusingly, and their interspersed time lines develop an excellent suspense to the story.
Thus, and in conclusion, the characters here were all rather intriguing and well fleshed out, their lives and pulse-rousing predicaments enough to have you page-turning, which makes this a great spy novel for all fans of the genre and ilk.
About the Author: Alex’s last novel, The Intrigues of Jennie Lee explores the febrile history of 1930s Britain through the experiences - personal and political of a young woman elected to parliament at the age of 24 - five years too young even to vote for herself. It takes a real woman and slightly twists her life into a world changing thriller.
Alex’s first novel, The Girl From Krakow, explores how a young woman and her lover navigate the dangerous thirties, the firestorm of war in Europe, and how they make sense of their survival.
His second novel, Autumn in Oxford is a murder mystery/spy thriller set in Britain in the 1950s that takes the reader back to New York in the ’30s, the American south, France and Germany during the war, through cold war America to post-austerity England.
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By: Bridget Finklaire - Roundfire Books, $19.95
Description: Katy is a career mum in her 40s who is stressed out, time-starved, and disenchanted with her successful life!
She has a handsome husband, a house in London, and two teenage children. Her therapy practice in Harley Street is thriving, but she feels empty and lost.
She has forgotten who she is and what makes her tick. An impulsive decision sets in motion a domino effect that changes her life.
However, a series of events, a meeting with someone from the past, and a sequence of numbers, send her on a rollercoaster ride to finding herself.
With some trepidation, Katy embarks on a path of spiritual awakening and embraces a new way of thinking.
Verdict: In what is, quite easily, one of the most pleasingly quick-witted, funny, highly intelligent, and even spiritually insightful books to come out for many a year, Bridget Finklaire’s Red Dress is a book that perfectly embodies the phrase “page turner.”
A story that lends itself unerringly well to a lot of us these days, even more so than before due to the world we currently live in, Red Dress is an elegantly, free flowing tale of a woman feeling trapped within her expansive set of hourly and daily responsibilities.
Whilst also trying to figure out how to extricate herself from a bad marriage (albeit one spent with an admittedly handsome husband), our lead character Katy - a career mum in her 40s, supportive, as best she can be, of her two teenage children - has a thriving therapy practice in the prestigious London area that holds forth Harley Street.
I won’t give away the impulsive decision that she makes to suddenly set in motion a domino effect that changes her life forever, but what I will say is that if Katy can do it, and even details her road map (complete with pitfalls) here for you within this book, perhaps it could now become all the more easier for others (in the real world) to follow suit?
For that’s just how good Finklaire’s prose is, for it allows the reader to not only get within the layered textures of Katy’s unfolding, and at times unraveling life, but to learn along the way more about how they themselves feel; and possibly even match up in similar mannerisms alongside her.
Embedded throughout, for the most part, with a sense of spiritual development and self-awareness, Red Dress is an honest and extremely relatable book that breaks the, at times, spiraling tension with perfectly placed pockets of both wisdom and humor.
Trust me when I say that if you are anything like me, you will quickly become immersed in Katy’s life, her struggles, her bouts of self-evaluation, her search, coming out the other end with her as a changed, fresher, more confident and self-approved loving version of yourself also.
About the Author: Bridget Finklaire is an author, teacher and facilitator for change. She has a background and training in psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and healing.
Bringing together the threads of her spiritual and professional journey, she created "The Bone Circle" (c) - a training for women to access their highest potential and support each other in creating the lives they’d love.
As of 2021, The Bone Circle will be open to both men and women. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
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By: John Gastil - Cosmic Egg Books, $24.95
Description: When longstanding personality conflicts erupt, the volatile Randall Keller secedes from Alan Crandall’s gaming group. In pursuit of a coveted prize at an upcoming convention, Alan replaces Randall with two female recruits who reinvigorate the campaign.
Randall chooses a darker path by spreading infectious cynicism through the gaming community while plotting his revenge. When the Middle Mirth convention gets underway, Alan’s group must stop Randall and his avatar before they devastate worlds both fictional and real.
Verdict: In truth, I had zero idea what I was getting into here, as I picked the book up, loved the title and the intriguing cover art and simply settled in for whatever ride was forthcoming!
Little did I even come close to guessing that, and for all those others also unaware, Dungeon Party links a fantasy world and the people playing in it!
Now I have finished it, and taken a step away from it, I can say, hand on heart, that Dungeon Party is overwhelmingly and oh-so highly recommended for gamers, of course, but not just gamers.
For running through its prose of veins is a brilliantly layered, and cultured, sensitively of a book on friendship and how people grow apart, grow up, and make an even better community for themselves outside of the game.
Also managing to factor in a rather biting critique of some of the toxic elements that have made some gaming communities resistant to those changes, that said, it never shies away from also being a mighty fine celebration of why roleplaying is thriving in spite of those elements; helping us survive and improve.
In closing, and sure, some level of D&D/Tolkien style adventure playing is best to have on board before entering into this world - something I myself did not have, obviously, and thus found myself floundering at times in a mystically, mythical realm - but the hand-written sequences here by Gastil are beyond gripping and thoroughly enthralling (especially the last act!)
About the Author: John Webster Gastil is a professor at Pennsylvania State University who studies group behavior and has spent a large portion of his life playing games at tabletops and online.
His nonfiction includes Democracy in Small Groups and The Group in Society.
Dungeon Party is his first foray into fiction, and his second novel, Gray Matters, is also forthcoming from Cosmic Egg Books. John lives in State College, PA, USA.
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By: Mariel Forde Clarke - 6th Books, $18.95
Description: Where do our loved ones go After they die? This is the question that has traversed the universe for centuries and is considered one of life’s greatest mysteries.
While many of the world’s renowned philosophers, scientists, theorists, doctors, and great mystics endorsed the existence of the afterlife, no one book has been available to explore it all, until now.
Mariel Forde Clarke asserts that whether you believe in God or heaven, you can be comforted by the sense that an afterlife exists beyond the realm of one’s physical comprehension.
Drawing on the findings of patients who have had near death experiences and visions, and on those of renowned scientists and doctors, Clarke helps the reader chart the journey of the soul and navigate their grief.
Verdict: Simply put, Where After: Where Do Our Loved Ones Go After They Die? is a journey that will compel readers to view life after death in a completely different way.
With an opening Preface that quotes the old Irish cliché, Life is a bitch and then you die, from the off Forde Clarke ponders the thought that surely there has to be more to it than just that.
Forde Clarke’s very own quest for reasoning about why we are born, who we really are within the world and what happens when we die, began back in 1992 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Facing her own mortality, she actually died on the operating table, and found herself floating up into a most magnificently light-filled space.
She relates that she had no fear and that all around her all she sensed was peace and tranquility as a Godhead energy of total bliss surrounded and then enveloped her.
Afterward, her surgeon told her she was one lucky lady to her survived such a (as it turned out) complicated surgery and that she must have had someone looking out for her, watching over her.
Thus, and ever after, Forde Clarke has dedicated her being to discovering more about a (possible) promise of a place to reside within after our time here on this mortal coil has ceased, a heaven (or spiritual haven) for our souls to then call Home.
Thus, Where After is one persons deeply meaningful and wholly heartfelt journey into having become a seeker of knowledge within these noted realms.
As the book unfolds, seamlessly moving from chapter to chapter, each more engrossing than the last with its ever expansive, and at times even exhaustive outreaches, we learn that her explorations also took her deep within different cultures - Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and many more - in an effort to truly peel back the layers of this spiritual onion.
From beginning to end, here After: Where Do Our Loved Ones Go After They Die? shares not only the human stages of grief in such a way as to allow you to open up your mind more to the possibilities within our own psyche, but also provides powerful affirmations.
Complete with most chapters also showcasing exercises intended to bring you closer to the world of spirit, in a calming, gentle way, it is obvious that Forde Clarke wrote this book to convey a new approach to thinking about death.
Interjected with scientific evidence to support the theory of an afterlife and to enrich the inner sweetness of our souls along the way, I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough.
For it is, quite easily, one of the best books written on the subject that I have personally read within the past few decades.
About the Author: Mariel Forde Clarke qualified as a serologist in veterinary science many years ago, assuming this was her career for life.
All that changed in 1992, when she was faced with her own mortality and upon surviving, changed the direction of her life towards a more holistic and spiritual pathway.
She is certified in many healing modalities, from hypnotherapy, Reiki, crystal healing, shamanism, integrated energy healing, light body healing, mediumship, angel and ascension teacher, and spiritual counselor.
She runs a private practice where she lives in Galway, Ireland.
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Forever in My Veins
By: Lionel Friedberg - O Books, $31.95
Description: Emmy Award-winning producer and New York Times bestselling author Lionel Friedberg has spent 50 years making films as diverse as full-length theatrical features and television documentaries.
After growing up in South Africa during the troubled era of apartheid he began his career during the dying days of colonialism in Central Africa.
He eventually settled in Los Angeles where his work took him to the sound stages of Hollywood and to the most remote regions of the Earth.
His career exposed him to the extraordinary wonders of our planet and brought him into close contact with many unforgettable personalities from maverick scientists to politicians, and people who survived near-death experiences.
Verdict: His observations have taught him that life is far more complex and infinitely stranger than we can imagine. When he was struck by an unexpected life-threatening illness his efforts to find a way to save his life took him back to Africa where he encountered the age-old rituals and powerful healing methods of African shamans.
Their mysterious ways have much to teach us and are as relevant today as they were in ancient times.
Emmy Award-winning producer, and New York Times best selling author Lionel Friedberg’s new book is a quite mesmerizingly ornate memoir that encompasses the gripping, and wholly unforgettable story of his quest for healing that led him back to his childhood origins in Southern Africa.
Within Forever in My Veins, Friedberg recounts riveting and mysterious accounts of rituals he undergoes with Shamanic healers, and their various predictions.
Part exceedingly rich and wonderfully detailed autobiography and part meditation on the power of the spirit, if you, the reader, do not come away from finishing this book with a sense of having been lovingly dazzled by the sheer quantity of unusual and profound life experiences that are showcased here, well you need to read the book again!
Bringing a unique and ultimately heartfelt string of thoughtfulness and and honesty, all bonded together with a deeply probing perspective to all these experiences, the book also details the early history of South Africa, the events and political turmoil of the Apartheid era, and the author’s interesting life and career curve that took him to the four corners of earth.
A page-turner of the most distinctive highest order, Forever in My Veins will have you (or at the very least, should have you questioning our very existence on this planet we call Earth.
About the Author: Lionel Friedberg is an Emmy Award-winning Film and TV producer and writer. Lionel grew up in South Africa, and he began his career at the first TV station in Central Africa; Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, in 1961.
He has produced work for National Geographic, PBS and national broadcast networks and cable networks including the Discovery Channel, A&E and The History Channel.
He is based in Los Angeles, California.
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Bea’s Witch: A Ghostly Coming-Of-Age Story
By: Daniel Ingram-Brown - Lodestone Books, $13.95
Description: On the eve of her twelfth birthday, Beatrice Crosse runs away from her adoptive home only to encounter the ghost of England’s most famous prophetess.
The witch offers her treasure, but can she be trusted? Bea must wrestle her past to discover the witch’s secret and find her way home.
Verdict: This completely enthralling, literal page-turner of a book, complete with it wholly naturalistic writing spins a tale that is both highly enjoyable and yet at the same time deeply gripping.
With a tale that brings forth the story of the central character Bea and her adoptive mother, Denise, soon thereafter (and on the eve of her twelfth birthday, none the less), Bea runs away, only to encounter the deep, dark maleficence known as The Witch.
In truth, this dexterous blending of historical fantasy along with contemporary fiction, complete with a mysterious wishing well and the aforementioned Witch, has not just the one story to tell within its vividly drawn pages.
For it also addresses the adoption process - seen through the eyes of a twelve year-old - and thus allows the reader (of any age) to instantly become at one with the character and begin to understand her, her motives, her misjudgments and such, in what turns out to be a very enjoyable read.
Add to that some spooky, magical moments along the way, complete with personal trauma, reimagined forethoughts, and some highly impactful, and skilled prose (that pertains to the core of this rather heartwarming coming-of-age story), and author Ingram-Brown’s Bea’s Witch is a touching tale that you will find oh-so very hard to put down.
About the Author: Daniel Ingram-Brown is a First Story writer-in-residence for secondary schools in Yorkshire. He has a Masters in Creative Writing and Drama in Education, and is currently studying for a PhD exploring adoption through creative writing.
He is also a playwright and is Artistic Director of Suitcase and Spectacles Children’s Theatre. Daniel’s passion lies in writing stories which inspire readers and audiences to think and wonder.
Daniel is the recipient of the Taner Baybars award for original writing in the field of science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, awarded by the Society of Authors Authors’ Foundation. He lives in Yorkshire, UK.
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