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Review: Fabulous in Flats

Fabulous in Flats, by Mary T. Wagner, iUniverse, is availabe at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

Review by Serena Wadhwa 

As a therapist, I spend many hours listening to the stories of others. I'm passionate about the stories we tell, as it gives me information about how one of my clients make sense of their life and what clinical struggles to work with.  

When the request came to review Fabulous in Flats by Mary T. Wagner, I was delighted. An opportunity to walk with someone in their story without analyzing it.  Another passion. I was eager to read this collection of personal essays, Wagner's third, following on the heels of Heck on Heels and Running with Stilettos

With keen observation, wit and a space to be vulnerable, Mary relates ordinary experience that provide information about her strength, courage and human experience. 

Wagner captures ordinary events and creates the experience of what it's like to walk in her shoes, flats mostly, in this collection. With keen observation, wit and a space to be vulnerable, Mary relates ordinary experience that provide information about her strength, courage and human experience. She explores the diverse experiences of divorce, raising children, trying new things and rediscovering yourself at any age....with various kinds of shoes. 


Review: Ghosts in the Yew

Ghosts in the Yew by Blake Hausladen, Rook Creek Books, is available at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

Reviewed by Ophelia Julien

Do not make the mistake that I did by starting to read Blake Hausladen’s Ghosts in the Yew without enough time to finish the book in one large satisfying bite, or at least in consistent tasty nibbles on a daily basis. Though the set-up takes a little time, and rightfully so since this is a complex tale told from the points of view of four main characters, once the story begins to unreel there is no option of putting the book down.

The story is set in the unhappy and decaying kingdom of Zoviya.  The ruling family has been in power for two generations and their government cares little for the kingdom’s citizenry beyond the labor and taxes that can be squeezed from them. Nearly equally powerful is the Church of the god Bayen, whose priests have the power to heal with a warm blue light but who are also rigid, autocratic, and unforgiving.

Prince Barok, one of the Lord Vall’s

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Review: The God's Wife

The God’s Wife; by Lynn Voedisch; Fiction Studio Books; 2011. Available at Amazon. com and b&n.com 

Review by Kent McDaniel

The God’s Wife juxtaposes and intertwines the stories of two young women separated by time and space. In ancient Egypt, sixteen-year-old Neferet is a priestess in training and the Pharaoh’s daughter, whose half-sister Maya has just been discovered strangled inside the god Amun’s ceremonial chapel. Maya had been the God’s Wife of Amun, the most important god in the Egyptian pantheon, his wife theoretically second in power to the Pharaoh. Her corpse was discovered in broad daylight in a chamber, the door to which only she could’ve opened. 

Later, that night Neferet is called to a meeting with her mother, Meryt, the Great Wife of the Pharaoh. Meryt is a beautiful but forbidding woman, whom Neferet fears and dislikes. To Neferet’s surprise, Meryt offers Neferet the role of the God’s Wife. Though Neferet agrees to accept the honor, she feels a welter of mixed emotions: Becoming The God’s Wife of Amun will make her the most powerful woman in Egypt, but will put her in the center of political intrigue. And, as Maya’s fate showed--danger. 

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Review: ETA - Estimated Time of Arrest

ETA: Estimated Time of Arrest, by Delphine Pontvieux, Miss Nyet Publishing, 2009, 334 Pages. Available at Miss Nyet Publishing and Amazon.

Review by Dan Burns

In addition to being an avid reader, I am a lover of books, and when I first held the hardcover edition of ETA: Estimated Time of Arrest in my hands, I felt I was in for a special treat. The dust jacket immediately piqued my interest with a professional design, color scheme, and finish that truly sets it apart on the bookshelf. Underneath the dust jacket (and you must look) is the beautifully appointed front board, with the title, author name and elaborate graphics emblazoned in gold. Imprinting of the front board is an often-overlooked detail in the publishing industry today, as publishers continue to trim their expenses, and they tend to limit the printing of the hard cover simply to the spine. I figure they assume that most readers won’t look under the dust jacket, and that is unfortunate. I still think the details matter, and the quality of this book is better as a result of the details the author, Ms. Pontvieux, insisted upon.

The story of ETA opens in Mexico City with the introduction of Rafael Vargas, a young man with a unique eye condition, heterochromia iridium, which has graced him with a pair of eyes where one iris is a different color that the other. At first, I took this particular medical condition as just a defining character trait for Rafael, which can be seen in the dark and mysterious eyes looking out from the dust jacket of the book. However, after reading the story, I realized that the different eyes held much broader metaphoric meanings for me, including: the merging of the past and the present, the marriage of new and old, what is known and what is left to interpretation, the struggle of right vs. wrong, and the details we share with others and those that are better kept secret. I was intrigued and surprised that a single pair of eyes could convey so much meaning in a story.

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Review: "Remembering Gage Park"

Remembering Gage Park by William P. Shunas; self-published through Xlibris; copyright 2010. Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and at www.Xlibris.com/Bookstore

Paperback $15.00-20.00. Kindle edition $7.69

Review by Kent McDaniel

A fictional memoir, Remembering Gage Park  begins: “I was eight years old when I met Connor. That was they day he nearly put out my eye. You would’ve thought I’d have learned something that day, but not me.” That hook imbedded, Shunas pauses to describe Chicago’s then-unpaved alleys, Gage Park’s turf protocols for eight-year-olds, and the workings of the Chicago Democratic Machine, before returning to his narrator’s fateful meeting with Connor. Intriguing stuff, and for the rest of the book Shunas continues to intersperse tense scenes with sharply-etched description of Gage Park: the streets, homes, gardens, stores, vacant lots, the people and their culture, the politics and economics. He tells all this through Mike Staron, a semi-tough Gage Park kid who grew up, got through college and did okay. Looking back now, Mike wastes few words and evinces an eye for detail and a hard-edged poetry to his voice. For some of us, our childhood neighborhood has a homely kind of magic, and Mike Staron’s description of his grade-school years beautifully nails that feeling. It’s similar to what Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine did for Waukegan, minus the sugar coating. 

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