The Pulse

The Pulse: Book 1 by Owen Garratt

Book Reviewed by Daniel Ryan Johnson

The Pulse is the first novel in an epic post-apocalyptic series chronicling the quest of Jack Broderick. The novel tells the story of a man struggling to get back to his family on the other side of the United States after a solar storm destroys all electronics on earth. Unlike your standard end-of-the-world novel of today, there are no zombies standing in his way. Instead, the only monsters he faces are other survivors of the pulse.  Purchase Here.

 Owen Garratt’s tale of the fall of civilization in the days after a global catastrophe is both shockingly brutal and refreshingly realistic. He is able to convey myriad responses to this tragic event that all ring true. The characters in the novel are down to earth and believable, even with Jack Broderick’s ability to survive bordering on the supernatural. The Pulse feels like a genuine portrayal of a tragic event, with the characters enjoying moments of tranquility and humor that help protect them from being overwhelmed by the grief and horror of their situation.

 Owen Garratt’s writing is stripped down and vivid all at once. When reading, you are fully submersed in the scenario playing out on the pages without being bogged down by too many overly descriptive disruptions to the flow of the story. Jack Broderick’s history of growing up in rural America and later working as a health and safety professional gives him a near encyclopedic knowledge of how to manage in the new world into which he has crash-landed. 

 Jack is easy to like, and you find yourself rooting for him right away. Despite all the potential dangers he encounters on his journey to reach his family, the biggest obstacle he will face on the road may be himself. Jack’s savior complex gets him in trouble before the pulse hits, and continues to put him in harm’s way throughout the novel.

 The Pulse is an action-packed page-turner, with Jack Broderick constantly jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Upon completing the novel, you will likely find yourself searching the internet for news of when the next installment of the series will be available so you can continue the journey across a burning America with this broken man who can’t help trying to fix everyone else.

 Click Here to View the trailer for The Pulse

 

 

Dark Dweller

Dark Dweller by Garith Worthington

Book reviewed by Lilly Andrews

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.”― Robert Greene.

So it is with “Dweller”, written by Gareth Worthington, a multi-award storyteller. Here, a helium mining mission to Jupiter by a team of explorers and scientists from the Earth is on course. Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe but it’s interestingly so scarce on the Earth. The team understands that acquiring it means getting rich as proved by the many scientists who have become billionaires after such operations.  Purchase Here.

Unlike what they expected, Jupiter’s orbital path seems altered and an escape pod revolving towards their vessel seems to not only jeopardize the mission but their lives seem threatened. The team suddenly stands mesmerized at the site of a young girl trapped in the pod. Her strange demeanor and fearful words are both scary. Who is she? A plan decades in the making is almost being ruined. Is she in danger or is she a danger to the mission?

A new assignment to pick a research scientist in Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons is about to derail their dream further. They are literally balancing on a knife’s edge. Aggravating challenges like gravitational shift, rapid temperature change, extreme nausea, radiation, and unimaginable cold atmospheres tear the team apart. It is now the survival of the fittest.

This ode boasts strong lucid language and solid action that will make you clench your fists and heave your chest in anticipation and thrill. Further, the oeuvre is peppered with an intense emotional atmosphere as exhibited in the outspoken and radical nature of the characters. Like a medieval troubadour, the sceneries careen through an array of emotions that are by turns poignant and vibrant. This leaves readers searching and hoping that the next chapter will introduce a ray of light to the already intense narrative.

This is a solid visceral read for everyone with an interest in knuckle-hard science fiction from one of the literary giants of our time. It is irrefutably several notches above what you usually get in any fiction work.

 

 

The First Assignment

The First Assignment by Billy Kramer

Book reviewed by Timea Barabas

What happens after death? This is one of the greatest questions. While there are numerous theories and visions of the afterlife, there seems to be no absolute universal certainty of what lies beyond. Billy Kramer joins the ranks of wonderers by offering a cohesive and immersive narrative of the afterlife and life in The First AssignmentPurchase Here.

This young adult fantasy novel opens the gates to a gripping tale of self-discovery, becoming, and the interconnectivity between people. The tale, characters, and events evoke a strange familiarity in the reader. Some elements seem like a distant memory lost in the fog of time or a dream that dissipates at first light.

The First Assignment centers on life after death following the experiences of seventeen-year-old Shawn Turner. After waking up under strange circumstances, Shawn finds himself transported to a brave old world. Alone among strangers, his survival instincts kick in while he tries to understand his new reality.

Shawn is just one of many recently deceased who were chosen to join Wayward Academy. An academy of the dead in service of the living. This complex institution is a learning center, work center, and living space for those enrolled. While reapers seem to take the center stage, this is merely one of the groups that animate the space.

Bombarded with new experiences and concepts, pulled down by the weight of the unknown, Shawn soon finds comfort in the familiarity of new friendships. He soon builds a connection with a few other first-year students at the WA. Through shared experiences, whispered secrets, and knowing glances, Shawn begins to gain strength.

After being subjected to a series of intellectually, emotionally, and physically challenging tests, the new students are assigned to their respective jobs. Then, Shawn receives his first assignment. Waiting for someone to die offers Shawn ample space for introspection. Bound by strict regulations and under supervision, he sees a glimmer of hope to break through the chains and make a difference. However, taking this path would mean silencing his survival instinct.

Billy Kramer creates a magical universe caught in a mystical realm somewhere between life and darkness. The First Assignment builds the foundation of a new worldview that invites further expansion. While Book 1 may be finished, Book 2 lingers on the horizon.

 

Blood Moon

Blood Moon: The Rising Series: Book 2 by Heather Graham and Jon Land

Book Reviewed by Russell Ilg

APOCYALPSE POW!

Those who thought the notion of teenagers saving the world ended with this season’s “Stranger Things” need to think again. Heather Graham and Jon Land go that great television series one better in the equally great BLOOD MOON, a riotous, rollicking, roller-coaster ride that makes us feel like kids again.  Purchase Here.

The book is actually a sequel to “The Rising,” the name now born by the series as a whole. For those unfamiliar with how the journey started, that prequel introduced us to high school All-American football player Alex Chin. Alex is the ultimate illegal alien because he’s actually from another world, smuggled to Earth in possession of a secret that’s the only thing that can prevent the total destruction of our, and now his, world.

We found out near the end of “The Rising” that the secret in question is actually an organic computer chip implanted in Alex’s brain. And, while it may be the only thing that can save humanity, it’s slowly killing him. BLOOD MOON pretty much jumps off from that point, with Alex and his former tutor, and current love interest, Samantha Dixon on the run from enemies both human and otherwise. They’re once again aided by Raiff, an adult refugee from Alex’s world whose own emotions are thrown into a tizzy when Elaina, the woman he has loved from afar since he was a boy himself, appears up close.

Elaina is Alex’s birth mother who sent him across the spacebridge, kind of a wormhole on steroids, with Raiff when Alex was a mere infant. Only Elaina understands the significance of the four mysterious keys Alex and Sam are chasing around the world, following cryptic clues outlined in an ancient manuscript written in a language only Alex can decipher. Having relied on Sam’s tutoring to survive high school, he now finds himself imbued with new skills and knowledge as a result of that leaky computer chip, and BLOOD MOON is as much a race to save Alex as it is to save the entire world.

Don’t let the science fiction label dissuade you from digging in. Graham and Land give us only what we need to know and not a shred more. That makes the sometimes fearsome, and sometimes throwback, technology accessible for even the least geeky among us. And readers will especially enjoy both the eerie origins of the Golem legend brought literally to life, as well as a brilliant homage to the skeletal swordsmen featured in the original “Jason and the Argonauts.”

Graham and Land have concocted an action-adventure tale of rare pathos and heart, layering emotion atop a constant stream of escalating set pieces that turn BLOOD MOON into one long, unabated chase scene that goes from zero to sixty in a nanosecond. The book’s relentless pacing leaves us even more breathless than our young heroes as we race alongside them, cheering every step of the way. This is storytelling at its absolute best, a smooth and savory blend of “Terminator” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” blended with the best from the old “Outer Limits” TV show. Tumultuous and terrific, BLOOD MOON is an instant classic that’s a masterpiece of form, function and fun.

Abigail and Sega's Magical Train Ride

Abigail and Sego’s Magical Train Ride by J.A. Kundert

Book reviewed by Teri Takle

The year 2026 is almost upon us.  What does that mean?   That will be the 250th birthday of our country.

What could prepare you for this event?

A unique book about the 200th birthday with a multitude of historical events which strongly shaped our country and culture would be perfect.

It is 1976 in Chicago.   Eleven-year-old Abigail Stromberg has a challenging Bicentennial Assignment for school.   The project focuses on how her ancestors contributed to the country between 1776 and 1976.   For Abigail, her father’s Swedish ancestry is clear and straightforward.  Abigail has straight dark hair and does not resemble her father.   Why won’t her mother talk about her past?  However, her mother is evasive about her background.  What secrets is she withholding?

How can Abigail complete the assignment with only one side of her family?  Purchase Here.

Abigail and Sego’s Magical Train Ride is a time warp story roller-coasting throughout the Transcontinental Railroad to the present time of 1976 while intermixing lifestyles, events, and influential people of both times.  Adding supernatural assistance helps to explain the past in their current time while fulfilling a family’s lifelong dreams.

Abigail and Sego’s Magical Train Ride is a delightful romp for those of us over the half-century mark.   Numerous references to people and events of a prior time are enjoyable to remember, such as Nancy Drew books, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Polar Express Line, Ted Nugent, Moon River, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and many references to our country’s western expansion.

The reading level of this book is perfect for tweens, and I highly recommend they make a list of references they don’t understand and either research them or discuss them with an older adult.

Abigail and Sego’s Magical Train Ride is a perfect intergenerational story for a family to share.   There is a multitude of historical references to both people and places that require a little background for most teenagers.   As a stand-alone novel, the author could also add author notes explaining the importance of these people and places.    Also helpful would be a preface explaining life in Chicago during 1976 explaining the Navy Pier, the Gold Coast, and places unique to the area, including the Chicago L train.

All in all, Abigail and Sego’s Magical Train Ride is an enjoyable romp through time.

 

Dak Ackerthefifth and the Ethics of Heroism

Dak Ackerthefifth and the Ethics of Heroism by Joshua Joseph

Reviewed by Ray Palen

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” – The Dark Knight
Purchase Here.

That quote from filmmaker Christopher Nolan resonated with me as I read this complex and extremely satisfying novel from Joshua S Joseph. The protagonist in this, a young Indian man with the unique name of Dak Ackerthefifth — a name blamed on the same slip of the entry pen used on Ellis Island while in-taking droves of new American citizens to our country.

DAK ACKERTHEFIFTH AND THE ETHICS OF HEROISM is more of a spiritual journey than a work of fiction and the reader is privileged to go along for the ride. Throughout Dak’s life he seeks to understand the precept of what it means to be a hero. We understand that for one to be a hero you must pick a side — hero or villain — but we also learn that life is not that black and white and often times it is not clear as to which side you are on. The story begins with the death of his parents, Richard and Rudy. Our narrator indicates that the death of parents is the way every good hero story starts — but be mindful, this is no Disney tale.

Richard Ackerthefifth was a ballpoint pen magnate who allegedly died during a business trip to the Congo — or so Dak’s mother told him. Rudy was left to raise 8-year-old Dak and his younger sister, Emily. Regrettably, or in keeping with the hero plan, Rudy passes away when Dak is 14. Her death is blamed solely on Crazy Uncle Ji. He was not an actual ‘Uncle’, but was given that honorific title by their mother. Shortly after Rudy was diagnosed with cancer, Crazy Uncle Ji gave her a cocktail of various supplements which initially helped her but then quickly pushed her into a physical nosedive that she never recovered from.

Now, young Dak is sent to Boarding School while Emily is placed into foster care. It is while attending the Ellsworth School that Dak had his first taste of heroism. Initially, Dak thought this came from the altercation he got into with another student over the death of one of their classmates. Actually, his heroic act took place on a class ski trip. A smaller classmate, Pard, was partnered with Dak on the trip and he slipped from the chairlift while it was climbing up the mountain. Dak grabbed Pard and held on until it was safe to let go, essentially saving Pard’s life.

The next chapter in Dak’s journey involved his moving in with his Aunt Rhoda once he was ‘done’ with Boarding School. She lived in Manhattan, which ended up being the ideal testing ground for Dak’s theories of heroism. The trouble was that Aunt Rhoda was a ‘hideous human being’ who was taking care of Dak more for the benefits she received from the Foundation his father had left behind than out of any sense of familial responsibility. At one point, his sister Emily comes to stay for a short visit. Emily implores her brother not to let her be taken back to foster care again, an experience that has included a number of different families each ending with her being sent back into the system. Unfortunately, Dak is not old enough yet to make such a decision and his Aunt Rhoda explains that foster care is what Emily needs as she suffers from various mental issues that require constant supervision.

As Dak is experiencing the world as a young man he continues to question everything and put all his experiences through various philosophical and ethical filters. He ponders on the concept of Interaction versus Isolation. The philosopher John Paul Sartre stated ‘Hell is other people’. To feel Sartre’s Hell, one must feel isolation while being amongst other people and not feeling saved by any interaction with your fellow man. Dak gets his best opportunity to truly interact with human nature when he takes on his first job. He is hired to do odds and ends at a management office that handled various tenant buildings around the NYC area. His boss was a Jew, Mr. Frank, a fact that allowed Dak to further explore the differences between his own Roman Catholic upbringing and other religious precepts.

Eventually, Dak is utilized by Mr. Frank because he is not one of the ‘Jewish tribe’ to collect back rent from various tenants who are in arrears. It is here where he meets Esther, a young woman who play a pivotal role in Dak’s journey. In his initial meeting, where he is attempting to collect overdue rent, Esther gives Dak quite an earful. She was the tenant from hell and a professional problem for him to solve. Subsequent visits find Esther warming towards the unassuming Dak and she becomes a font of good stories and advice. For instance, she tells Dak how fortunate it is that both his parents died when he was young as he never had to experience taking care of them when they were older and physically/mentally wasting away. It is also with Esther that Dak has his first sexual experience.

Dak focuses on the concept of approval and recognizing that, as a physical being not in isolation, we are ever seeking out the approval of ourselves from other people. This leads him to his next serious interaction with another tenant named Lissa. He will have a physical relationship with her and also spend some time living with her as well. Dak looked at his time living with Lissa as a vacation and understood that even the most satisfying vacations had to eventually end. On the home front, Emily had now graduated from foster care and is taken in by Aunt Rhoda. The three of them are all at a point where they abhor the presence of one another and bounce around the home like solitary electrons failing to make contact with each other.

One day, Dak finds Aunt Rhoda unconscious on the floor of their apartment — a situation that Emily had not even noticed. He rides in the ambulance with her to the hospital. Even though everything is tried to save her, Aunt Rhoda eventually succumbs to her malady and passes away. While in the hospital, Dak ponders that idea that real heroes are practitioners of medicine. However, he cannot truly buy into this idea as so many of those in the medical field do not actually care about the people they are treating. It is not long after Rhoda’s passing that a face from the past returns, Uncle Ji. Ji now is able to speak to Dak, adult to adult, and explains that the facts behind each of his parents deaths were not what Dak had been led to believe. He also provides Dak with some information, a ‘gift’ as he refers to it, that he can use as political leverage against his employer, Mr. Frank. Unfortunately, that gift backfires and Dak is fired from the only job he ever had.

Dak rebounds into his next serious relationship, this time with Esther’s sister, Dina. Now unemployed, Dak moves in with Dina and it is there where he meets with my favorite character in the novel, Abe. Abe is Dina’s brother and he is an extraordinary thinker and debater of concepts, both religious and otherwise. His first interaction with Dak begins with a diatribe on the Jewish and Palestinian conflict and how that arose. Abe likes to hear himself talk and he also likes someone who will question and challenge him, which Dak provides for him. If you have ever seen the Richard Linklater film, Waking Life, in which pairs of characters converse philosophically with each other on a myriad of subjects, you will understand my feelings about the scenes between Dak and Abe. There are a few chapters involving the two of them together and it provides the best dialogue in the novel.

At one point in a Sushi restaurant, Dak, Dina, Abe and his lover Katie are chatting — or, more to the point, listening to Abe speak — when Dina finally calls him out for his cynical banter. She shares with Dak a quote from Tom Robbins that makes him think: ‘We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love’. On another occasion, Abe asks Dak how he would feel if he were able to shut society down. Unhook the world from their wireless devices and disconnect everyone from everything they utilize to get them through their lives. Dak indicates that this would finally make him a hero. It is at this point, towards the end of the story, where Abe provides Dak with just such an opportunity and it opens everything up all at once for Dak, finally providing him with answers he has spent his life searching for.

DAK ACKERTHEFIFTH AND THE ETHICS OF HEROISM was both and exhilarating and exhausting read as it provides so many various concepts that require the reader to disengage from our current culture and seek to find true meaning in our lives. It is a participatory novel requiring the reader to think and dive in deep along with our ‘hero’. Dak is the ideal figure to go on this journey and I was sorry for that ride to come to an end. I give much credit to author Joshua S Joseph, who refers to himself as an author, philosopher and consumer of shadows. He is definitely someone that would be interesting to chat with.

The Offspring

The Offspring by Bill Pinnell

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Offering a read that simultaneously compels, repels, and excites, author Bill Pinnell’s The Offspring, peers into the dark side of human nature via family relationships, secrets, and racism, shown through a multi-layered, multigenerational, multi-perspective lens bringing together a set of characters whose lives intersect in interesting and at times intense ways. Purchase Here.

First, the curiosity is piqued by an intriguing prologue which fundamentally sets the tone of this complex character-driven story, as a vivid memory quickly turns from pleasure to horror, within the mind of a character seemingly beguiled by scenes from the past. Next focus moves to the backstory of the romance between Lemuel Decker and Irene Baxter. Both are students at Logan High School during the 1940s in rural Nebraska. Set apart by an age gap and personality the two almost seem to be polar opposites while Lemuel is a shy athletic farm boy, Irene is pretty, popular, and outgoing. Because of the difference in age in school their paths rarely directly cross. However, once they do each makes an impression on the other not soon to be forgotten. Shy farm boy Lemuel holds a soft spot for the pretty and friendly Irene, but his timid demeanor continues to keep him seemingly hopelessly infatuated and at a distance.

However, after Lemuel graduates, fate comes into play creating a set of circumstances combining love and chivalry that would bring the two together to build a life as a family but with Irene pregnant, leaving a cloud that hangs over the relationship, an unspoken secret within the family dynamic. Moreover, as time goes on, the happiness fades as life for the Decker family dissolves into dysfunction with life becoming increasingly difficult for the couple as the financial stressors of managing a farm and a family lead to arguments and tension which clouds the atmosphere of the once happy couple. Also, at play is the way the sons are raised with son Tommy (the oldest) always at odds with the preferential treatment that brother Hughie always seems to get especially from their father Lemuel. Consequently, life takes a turn for the worse as things deteriorate when Irene, longing for a different life away from the farm, leaves the family. The Decker boys wind up growing into very different people without their mother and stuck with an irascible father.

Next, the story focuses on Harold Simpson, the sheriff in Milrose county. He is one wicked racist son of a gun. His backstory, although somewhat sad, leaves no room for excuse for his wicked, self-satisfying antics and interactions with the people he is supposed to protect. As the story progresses, his presence stimulates a deep desire to see him get his just desserts as he terrorizes the people within his jurisdiction essentially, he is the town bully with a badge and a gun.

Moving on the narrative brings into view the Lake family, Joseph and Audrey, and sons Kenny and Sammy. Originally from Chicago, the family gets the opportunity to move from city life to a farm in Nebraska; however, they are the only black family within a hundred-mile radius and are neighbors to the Deckers. The Deckers are friendly to them with an amicable relationship ensuing between the two families, especially for sons Hughie Decker and Kenny Lake, who become quite close and what follows after is a journey through self-discovery, for the boys which culminates into a longtime friendship and holding onto a secret that remains submerged in the murky waters of the past.

Altogether, I enjoyed The Offspring. It was a read that held my interest until the intense finale. I enjoyed going through the layers of this intriguing tale, replete with well-developed characters, and an interesting storyline written with a crisp, eloquent style that keeps you engaged. This would make a great summer read and I look forward to more works by this author.

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Bird in a Snare

Bird in a Snare by N.L. Holmes

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Bird in a Snare is the foundation stone of The Lord Hani Mysteries, a historical series that plays out in Ancient Egypt. N. L. Holmes masterfully resurrects from the sands of time a tale of a humble diplomat and a proud family man, who finds himself adrift in the whirlwind of changing times. Purchase Here.

This is a story about the life and adventures of Hani, a diplomat serving under the rule of Akhenaten. As a new horizon slowly creeps upon the land, Hani is sent to the distant realm of Syria to uncover a murder with grave political repercussions. During his mission to solve one murder, he encounters only more death, political corruption, and a fragile net of relationships between leaders. But before coming to any conclusions, he must return to his home, mid-investigation. The sun has set. And soon a new sun will shine over the kingdom. The successor who rose to the throne seems to depart from the comfort of the old ways, into a new territory; a new direction that does not seem to meet with Hani’s set life course. But, nevertheless one must adapt and above all, survive.

Bird in a Snare is well documented and offers a historically convincing depiction of what once was. N. L. Holmes world building skills melt together fiction and historical facts, in her reimagined set of events. She addresses Ancient Egypt from a macro level – mainly through state and religion – and the micro level of everyday life. But what is more, she unites these two spheres through the main character, Hani. Although the story revolves around a central figure, he is constantly surrounded by a colorful bouquet of characters, be that pharaohs, his scribe Maya, or members of his family. This psychological attention to character development is what truly animates the pages of the book.

Under the penname of N.L. Holmes, an archeologist and university professor by trade, brings her in-depth knowledge to the realm of historical fiction. The abundant knowledge of the author seeps into the text in a natural way and brings color to historical details. For all those who love to dive into historical fiction, keep an eye on Bird in a Snare and other writings by N.L. Holmes.

Greezers

GREEZERS: A Tale of Establishment’s Decline and Fall by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Henrietta, a former newspaper reporter, answers a want ad and is given the opportunity to play amateur sleuth when she is hired by erstwhile lawyer Leroy “Lero” O’Rourke to help in his surveillance case involving the prominent DeGrasso family. What starts out as a simple case turns complicated when Henrietta and Lero find themselves in the middle of a high-stakes competition. The race is on as to who might take over the reins of the family owned lube business when the ninety-five-year old family matriarch, Nanette DeGrasso, gives up her position of leadership either due to retirement or death. There are two main contenders for assuming control of the Oklahoma City based company. Charles DeGrasso, Nanette’s son, considers himself not only ready to undertake the role of Chief Executive Officer but also firmly believes that he has been the rightful heir apparent for decades. However, Joe DeGrasso, Nanette’s nephew, is of the opinion that he is a better choice as the successor, and he has already launched a business venture that could impact the company’s bottom line if customers embrace it. With the venture off to a disappointing start, will sales revenue increase? What risks, both personally and professionally, are the two competitors willing to take in order to achieve their dreams of running the family business? As Henrietta and Lero get pulled deeper into the intense family rivalry, how much will the stumbling blocks they encounter hinder their efforts to bring the case to a satisfying conclusion? Purchase Here.

Anyone who has read a story penned by Simon Plaster will recognize his unique writing style and how each of his exceptional stories is imbued with its own unmistakable personality. In Greezers: A Tale of Establishment’s Decline and Fall, the focus is on the effect greed and a sense of entitlement have on people to obtain what they desire and how far legally and ethically they will go to make it happen. Plaster does an excellent job of showing the discord caused by external and internal pressures, in both serious and humorous ways, which occurs between individuals faced with life changing events. The skillful use of literary devices and sensory language help readers connect with the characters and the world they inhabit. All of the characters are true to real life, and each one has their own distinct personality type. Also, readers get an inside look into the behavioral reactions of the characters to the situations in which they find themselves.

Plaster has once again written an intriguing and captivating story involving human interest topics that pull readers in from the beginning and hold their attention until the last page. Readers will appreciate the “Grease Monkey Business” bulletins that tie in wonderfully with the story and keep readers apprised of the public’s view of the DeGrasso family members and their owned and operated business. One of the many engrossing scenes, which reference works of literature, movies, and noteworthy individuals and are pertinent to the storyline, is one in particular where Plaster compares the romantic and competitive relationships between some family members in the novel to the roles people played in a medieval work of literature. The scattering of musical interludes harmonizes with the story in a befitting manner. Greezers is a terrific addition to Plaster’s collection of works.

The Bubble

The Bubble by Joseph Patenaude

Reviewed by Teri Takle

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience the freedom of complete weightlessness and to float on gentle wind currents? Unfortunately, to experience total relaxation as if you were a bubble can only be imagined if you were a bubble. The Bubble is that story. Purchase Here.

Blowing bubbles is a delight for people of all ages. It is hypnotic to follow their paths as they maneuver through the air. This thought captured Joseph Patenaude’s thoughts as he observed his children blowing bubbles and developed those memories into a children’s book, The Bubble.

The Bubble is a read-aloud book for children aged two to eight. The basic setting is a coastal environment, so it is an excellent opportunity to enrich different types of places people live.

Lush illustrations match each text word perfectly, emphasizing the environmental settings such as autumn leaves, new springtime life, mountainous regions, stormy seas, colorful marine life, forests, lakes, and fields.

For example, as a storm approaches, the reader experiences the sheer fear of being a bubble encaptured inside its surroundings, being pushed by the wind, crashing into waves, and even hiding in the water. This picturesque perspective is an illustration of the story.

There are numerous opportunities for vocabulary development with terms such as shimmering, currents, gusts, seafoam, swelled, and crest. Many of the sentences begin with prepositional phrases and complex sentence structure, with longer sentences, enriching language growth opportunities.

Even though the intended audience is young children, teachers and parents could easily use this book for older children due to the vocabulary level, longer sentences, and illustrious language.

Also, for older children, The Bubble could be an example book for perspective since the entire story is from the bubble’s point of view.

The author, Joseph Patenaude, is from Vancouver, British Columbia. He is an I.T. professional and the father of two children who were his inspiration for this book.

Mauro Lirussi beautifully illustrated this short book with beautiful scenes that appear to be watercolors to match and illuminate the story perfectly.

The Bubble is a book that parents and teachers can often reread to assist the listener in picturing the rich text and the picturesque details in detail.