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The Chosen
Tony Arthur
Llumina Press
ISBN 9781595269867
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt

In “The Chosen,” a man named Gabriel is awakened from a horrific dream in which he knows he must flee his home. He contacts his siblings and also directs them to pack up and run. As he is running away, he encounters an alien, the dark angel Valkyrie. She is also known as the Scourge of Worlds. She has come to earth to conquer it for her queen. When Valkyrie meets Gabriel she seems to be touched by his humanity, and something within her begins to change. Realizing that her mission is no longer what she wants, Valkyrie destroys her alliance with her queen, Seraphane. She is also referred to as Armageddon.

Seraphane reacts to Valkyrie’s betrayal by taking Gabriel away from her and claiming him for herself. Gabriel finds himself being torn between the two women. They both have begun some changes since connecting with him. At that time, they are unaware that a more ancient power is at work. Gabriel has to find a way to help the two women realign themselves, because their own safety is at stake with a battle that is taking place off of earth. He also needs to decide how he is going to fit into their worlds.

“The Chosen” is an absolutely fascinating book to read. Tony Arthur has created a novel that will take you outside of the typical science fiction genres. I was really intrigued by his creative plot. He made me look at heaven and hell in a different light. He also managed to create characters that are filled with darkness, yet not truly evil. I got swept into the lives of the characters in the story. In spite of the fantasy background, their emotions and dilemmas felt very real. This is one of those novels that leaves you feeling very affected by having read it. I highly recommend it for science fiction and fantasy fans.


The Boss
Andrew O’Keeffe
Greenleaf Book Group
ISBN 9781929774890
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson

In the preface to “The Boss” the author, Andrew O’Keeffe, explains why he decided to write this book and in doing so, lists some statistics. According to the Human Synergistic study, ninety percent of the people work in a negative culture of blame, indecision, or conformity. If they could, thirty percent of people would sack their boss. Of people who choose to change jobs, some eighty percent do so because of their manager.

It has been a while since I’ve been employed in a corporate environment and had to deal with a “boss,” but when I took a little trip down memory lane, I had to agree with the importance of a safe and friendly work environment and the impact one’s “boss” has on that. Therefore, I wholeheartedly support any efforts to educate the managers; and I found Andrew O’Keeffe’s approach to this endeavor, through a fiction book, to be quite interesting.

Lauren Johnson’s boss is toxic – Deadly Di as a nickname suits her real well. She drives Lauren to unbelievable depths of misery, so Lauren’s decision to look for another job comes as no surprise. After a relatively brief search she’s approached by a headhunter and recruited for a position that sounds real good to her. Best of all, it will give her a chance to work with Meg Montgomery, who has a stellar reputation in the professional circles. After meeting with Meg, Lauren wants the job even more, realizing what a nice change it would be to work with a different kind of a manager.

Having been offered the position, Lauren accepts it gladly and is looking forward to her new career. But bad news hit on her very first day on the job. Obviously, Lauren’s days with lousy bosses are far from being over. In fact, it seems that her saga has barely begun.

Although a novel, “The Boss” by Andrew O’Keeffe is based on true stories from real corporate environment and as such could and should serve as a teaching tool for aspiring as well as current managers. One of my favorite parts was the fables, which the author cleverly incorporates in the narrative to draw parallels to the events described in the book. Overall, I found the book well written, believable and insightful. While I could not really call it funny – it is a bit too scarily real for that, it certainly made me chuckle in amusement a few times.
 


Who Owns the World?: The Parable of Tehya
Darby Checketts
iUniverse
ISBN 9780595528042
Reviewed by Danelle Drake

“This is a story of fear and love…of conflict and cooperation…of scarcity and abundance…of prejudice and peace.” Darby Checketts, in my opinion, puts the conclusion back on humankind. The parable of Tehya tells us the tale of a single child long ago. Tehya is a child with a strong father and a strong mother and the insight to see the world as a much better place. Long ago is the setting, but it is also today.

I wholeheartedly believe that this simple tale could spark, if read by those with influence, to create change. Change needs to come, and it needs to come quickly. Our country, at this time, has set itself up to begin the change. Change is in the air, and it now needs to be in our actions.

Darby tells us in the epilogue: “Never in all of history has there been the combination of technologies, resources, and know-how that could so positively alter the course of human events. We have the potential to eliminate poverty, ignorance, devastating diseases, and political oppression. Our opportunity is unprecedented and astonishing. We cannot afford distractions. It is time for a conversation about what is best for our children.” If everyone, everywhere would take this simple statement to heart the world would be a much, much better place. It has begun with Darby Checketts with the writing of this book, “Who Owns the World?,” and our task is to spread it throughout the world.


Second Thoughts: A Romantic Comedy
Bobbie O’Keefe
Five Star Publishing
ISBN 9781594147722
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer

Author O’Keefe has given readers a book that is humorous yet has a serious side. The story revolves around a pre-WWII Steel Man comic book that is bought by a scoundrel from a mentally-challenged adult for $10, when the true value is more around $5,000.

When Petey’s brother finds out the comic was sold for $10 he decides to get revenge and get the comic book back. With the help of Moose, a friend, the three rob a convenience store three times in two days. Although the robbery is a serious intent to threaten the owner, the antics of the three turn it into a Laurel and Hardy comedy.

In the meantime, Derek O’Reilly is trying to figure out how to get his ex-wife back in his good graces. His plan is to invite his ex-wife, his five-year-old nephew and twins on a fishing trip. Having not put a good plan into place for the trip, the group runs out of gas and has to walk to a nearby house to get help; little did they know that inside the house were the three bandits. What turns out to be a kidnapping of the group ends up a series of comical errors as they all become friends and now the larger group is scheming how to get the comic book back.

This is a fun, light-hearted read that is fast-paced and readers will need to throw all logic out when reading it. The characters are entertaining, yet serious in their own way. You will laugh, cry and root for the underdogs in “Second Thoughts” by Bobbie O’Keefe.
 


Cemetery Dance
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Grand Central Publishing
ISBN 9780446580298
Reviewed by Irene Watson

Best selling authors, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, did it again! “Cemetery Dance” is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time. I found myself holding my breath as I kept reading, and my heart kept beating faster. That to me is fantastic writing.

Preston and Child bring Pendergast, a special agent, to New York City to do a murder investigation on a couple, William Smithback and Nora Kelly. Smithback was a NY Times reporter and Kelly was an archaeologist with the Museum of Natural History and lived in an apartment in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The murder was atrocious and vicious.

Residents of the apartment claim the murderer was a neighbor. In fact, the security camera confirms the same accusation; however, the problem is that the neighbor has been dead for almost two weeks. Pendergast and Lt. D’Agosta decide to investigate the murder on their own which takes them to a secretive cult where it is known that no one, especially impostors or intruders, ever escape. And….that’s all I’m going to tell you.

“Cemetery Dance” is well written with a curious plot. Preston and Child’s character development is so clear that the reader is able to place themselves along with them. If you want to read a page-turner, this is it.


I Believe in Guardian Angels: A Memoir
Virginia Merrill
iUniverse
ISBN 9780595444205
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer

In a small, yet powerful book, author Virginia Merrill reminds readers to look for the good in others and remember someone is watching over you.

Virginia grew up in a home where money was tight and frequent moves were not unheard of. She never had the chance to really develop friendships or explore her world like other children did. She always felt her mother loved her brother more. Yet the one strong person in her life always was her grandmother. Her grandmother had the inner-peace that Virginia wanted- God in her life. She gave Virginia the inner-strength and taught her about the world, love and people - through her words and actions.

Throughout Virginia’s life when obstacles came, someone would come into her life that would make a difference to her and what was going on. She called these guardian angels. They will come when you least expect them and impart wisdom and love on you. They are always watching over you. It was through the help of her grandmother and these guardian angels that Virginia was able to be successful in school when others said she couldn’t. It was through her writing and poetry that she found her most creative outlet.

As readers go through “I Believe in Guardian Angels,” by Virginia Merrill, they will hear the author’s passion and excitement in her words and characters. They will go through each struggle with her and learn to build on their assets and love to be the person they are today.


At Home Abroad
Nancy Henderson-James
Plain View Press
ISBN 9780911051674
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson

Nancy Henderson-James had a childhood most of us could only imagine. Growing up in Portugal, Angola and Rhodesia as a child of missionaries, she moved back to USA during her teenage years. Having considered Africa her home as a child, the adjustment was not an easy one. What complicated the matters further was the fact that Angola, the country she seems to have felt the closest to, went through a protracted war, which lasted some 40 years, and as such was out of bounds and impossible to return to. Living in a country different from the one that you grew up in is always a challenge, as I’ll readily admit myself any day. Not having the choice or a possibility to return there is just too heartbreaking to think about.

I’ve greatly enjoyed Nancy Henderson-James’s “At Home Abroad” and I found it to be a deeply wise and courageous book. Written many decades after any and all of the described events have happened – we are talking a period during 40s to 60s here – the author used the distance to the best advantage. While it’s easy to be judgmental about people whose values and upbringing differ from our own, Nancy Henderson-James learned a valuable lesson and she does not mind sharing it with the reader. If we think the people in the “new” country are different and strange, that does not make them better or worse. And as scared we might be of them, and as unsure we feel around them, they probably look at us the same way. Being different is never easy, and finding the way to fit in is and will remain a challenge.

The author’s love of Africa shines in all the little scenes of everyday life she writes about. She truly brings the land and its people to life, and make one yearn for simpler, if not always gentler times. Without preaching she brings to the surface the harsh realities of a struggling continent, all the big and little inequalities and injustices we like to pretend we know nothing about. And she’s not shy about admitting her own, very personal struggles – not only being transplanted at an age which tends to be difficult for every young person, but also growing up with emotionally quite distant parents, some of whose values she no longer shared as a teenager and a young adult. Seeing America and her American relatives through the eyes of a child who grew up in a very different culture was a great discovery. As for Caldo Verde and the rest of the recipes, they are sure to find their way on my menu shortly.
 

Courtesy: Book Worm