SiP (The SiP Saga)…A Brief Synopsis

When an enormous red and white striped drinking straw appears in the Atlantic Ocean and sucks up his dad’s naval battleship, twelve-year-old Jim Moss is left with no choice but to face his fear of water and search for his father.
Teaming up with his wacky inventor uncle, a bunch of fishermen (who think they’re pirates), and a group of bizarre alien castaways, Jim’s incredible journey takes him from a sleepy village in Portsmouth, England across the Atlantic and into the very edge of space.

If that wasn’t enough, the President of the United States is trying to stop everyone from blowing the straw to pieces, while the Earth could well be doomed if Jim can’t convince the mysterious presence in orbit that the world is worth saving.
SiP by Marius Trevelean. The last straw for Planet Earth.

SiP is a science fiction mystery adventure for tween girls and boys thirsty for new and exciting books to read. Suitable for middle school kids ages 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 and even parents, teachers, grown-ups with a sense of humor, your Gran, anyone who loves adventure stories, science fiction, and funny books! All content is good, clean fun, and age-appropriate for school grades 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th.

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The Anomalous Isle

Anomalous Isle…A Brief Synopsis

Lonely nine-year-old MARVIN only recalls the last three years of his life in a run-down orphanage because of amnesia. A day escape takes the orphans to The Grand Anomaly, a wondrous and traveling circus/carnival.

The two dozen Grand Anomaly entertainers—who exile on Anomalous Isle in a distant galaxy— arrive through the secret portal to Earth. DALISAY, a teenager forbidden to join because of her heritage, longs to see Earth and finally sneaks through the portal.
Dalisay encounters the orphans who unknowingly follow her return and scatter to explore Anomalous Isle. LUCAS and his small entourage, residents against The Grand Anomaly, discover the orphans—except for the lost explorer Marvin—and worry the uninvited kids will expose their hidden world. Lucas desires portal closure, which the entertainers won’t allow. Lucas needs strength, so he forces the kids on a dangerous journey across the island to retrieve the powerful Crimson Stick that allows control of the lion-like beasts who guard it.
Lucas acquires the magical Crimson Stick, but a chain of events transforms the lion-like beasts to rabidly attack everyone on the island.  Dalisay disobeying her forbiddance finally catches up—the release of a catastrophic fire-breathing flying monster determined to leave the island and trapped inhabitants to ashes.
Marvin surprisingly emerges and mysteriously leads the beasts to capture the flying monster. Marvin’s locked memories gradually return to reveal he is Dalisay’s brother, who supposedly had died. The siblings set off to learn the truth about Marvin’s disappearance and his unique connection to Anomalous Isle.

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The Jake Matthews Saga:  Ascension

The Jake Matthews Saga: Ascension…A Brief Synopsis

Jake Matthews is bored out of his mind. A blind, teenage boy with no purpose, no motivation, and relative peace and quiet surrounding him.

One night, Jake is dragged away to another dimension to a planet known as Figueroa. On this planet, he meets The White Figure General, X-Otropolis, who tells Jake he’s been chosen to stop The Great Figueroan War and defeat The Black Figure.

Jake finds himself learning swordplay and developing his might to save a planet that is more connected to Earth than he thinks as The Great Figueroan War spreads across dimensions, where Jake not only has to save two worlds, but enlist help from unlikely allies including Thalia, the girl he thought was lost to him forever.

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Mercy…A Brief Synopsis

A century of political turmoil, military upheaval, cultural ferment, and Great Men, ultimately people of the 19th century call it The Century of Progress. Armies more massive than ever before march across continents and groups of refugees more numerous than ever before leave their homes, many losing loved ones. Some ancient values may change, perhaps disappear, some ancient evils may survive, perhaps thrive. Russians eye lands around the Black Sea, and enviable peace reigns in the Holy Land.

A Russian boy named Fyodor tries to make sense of his life in his village and of the larger world in that progressing century as he grows into young manhood, middle age, and older. He tries to maintain dedication to family, community, humor, and conscience. Fyodor suspects the greatest challenge a person has in life is to believe in the goodness of life but he struggles against mere blind faith in that goodness and against the heavy if not intolerable burden of the alternative.

And who is following him?

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Immortal…A Brief Synopsis

Ellie and Brandon are two detectives at the Porting City Detective and Vampire Hunting Agency who happen to run into Vanguard, an immortal and owner of the agency, one night while hunting a vampire.

The three meet formally the next day and Ellie and Brandon’s world change completely. Ellie finds out Brandon is not who she thinks and, hurt by his betrayal and lack of trust in her, seeks the truth which is far darker and uglier than she thinks.

Brandon, a man bent on revenge for the death of his parents, lives in Consumer Central where vampires reign in the night and hunts them down to find his parents’ killers ends up letting his thirst for vengeance endanger the only person alive he cares about and has to work with Vanguard and others to make things right before it is too late.

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My Father's Suitcase

My Father’s Suitcase…A Brief Synopsis

A gripping tale of resilience and survival that offers hope to others who have experienced family violence and suffered at the hands of a sibling.

A deeply personal and heartbreaking memoir that explores the
troubled relationship between Mary Garden and her younger sister, Anna. (Anna died in 2023, after a short illness.)

Mary unpacks her life of growing up in New Zealand in the 1950s and 60s, before making Australia home. She reveals complex layers of intergenerational trauma, including the baggage of her eccentric, deeply flawed father and the secret her mother kept from all of them, revealed only after her death. Mary deals movingly with her sister’s long battle with mental illness and how she once saved Anna’s life.

As she unravels these narratives, Mary touches on the guilt and shame familiar to anyone who has had to deal with secrets, violence and ‘madness’ in their family. She also shines a light on sibling abuse, the most common form of abuse in the context of family violence ‒ occurring up to five times as frequently as spousal or parental child abuse ‒ although it is often dismissed as ‘sibling rivalry’. This form of abuse causes far-reaching, long-lasting harm and trauma.

‘Writing with insight, restraint and compassion, Mary Garden shines a clear, unflinching light on her own family, and herself.’ – Maurice Gee

‘Mary Garden roars against injustice … a raw and unguarded account of a reckoning, a story a lifetime in the making.’ – Michelle Tom, author of Ten Thousand Aftershocks

‘With searing honesty, Mary Garden combines memoir and deep research to explore the complex nature of sibling relationships.’ – Nicole Madigan, author of Obsessed

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Leave No Choice

Leave No Trace…A Brief Synopsis

In a daring, brutal act of terrorism, an explosion rocks and topples the Statue of Liberty. Special Agent Michael Walker of the National Park Service is awakened by his boss with that news and sent to New York as the agent-in-charge. Not long after he lands, he learns two things – one that Gina Delgado of the FBI has been placed in charge of the investigation as the lead of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and two, that threats of a second terrorism attack are already being called into the media. While barred from the meetings of the Joint Task Force for his lack of security clearance, Walker finds a young boy among the survivors with a critical piece of information – a video linking the attackers to the assault.

As a radical domestic terrorist group, led by a shadowy figure known only as Jeremiah, threatens further attacks against America’s cultural symbols, powerful forces within the government are misleading the investigation to further their own radical agenda.

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Regaining Paradise

Regaining Paradise…A Brief Synopsis

Human greed and the need to dominate have moved the Doomsday clock ever-closer to midnight, the point where the world will be on the razor-thin edge of destruction. Despite it all, many of us are still searching to fill an inner emptiness. The worldview that’s described in Paul Corson’s Regaining Paradise responds to that emptiness and more. This worldview was inspired by three vision experiences that have been found credible by Gregory Alles, a former chairman of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Western Maryland College and Sister Margaret McKenna with a PhD in divinity from the University of Pennsylvania The Sister called Corson a “modern-day prophet.”

Using reason and science as its basis, the book addresses the Big Questions that have bedeviled thinkers since the earliest times: What happens to us at death? What is heaven like? What is the basis for the reward or retribution that will be meted when we pass on? And the question of questions: what is the source of God’s creative powers? Gaining knowledge of this ultimate question enlightens readers so they understand who they truly are:  this knowledge is the lynchpin which provides the answers to the other big questions. This knowledge was provided to Corson in a vision that is developed systematically over the course of the book. Moved by this knowledge, readers can enter the mind state of Paradise we experienced at birth. We find inner peace and fulfillment, leading us to nurture Earth and others.

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A Time for Murder

Murder, She Wrote: A Time for Murder…A Brief Synopsis

In the fiftieth entry in this USA Today bestselling series, two timelines converge as Jessica Fletcher returns to high school to investigate the murder of an old colleague, while we meet Jessica as a young teacher solving her very first murder…

Young Jessica Fletcher’s life couldn’t be more ordinary. She teaches at the local high school while she and her loving husband, Frank, are raising their nephew Grady together. But when the beloved principal dies under mysterious circumstances, Jessica knows something is off and, for the very first time, investigates a death.

Present-day Jessica returns to high school for a colleague’s retirement party and has fun seeing familiar faces. That is, until the colleague winds up dead–and his death has mysterious links to Jessica’s very first murder case.

With nothing but her own instincts to guide her, Jessica embarks on a quest to find out what really happened all those years ago and who’s behind these murders. Because time is running out to catch this killer….

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Blood Moon

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

Book Reviewed by Russell Ilg


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.