Fiction

The Daughter Bond

C.P. Florez (Iridium)

| Reviewed by Bertin Drizller

The Daughter Bond by C.P. Florez is a poignant exploration of generational trauma, buried secrets, and the unexpected dimensions of love. At the heart of this evocative narrative is Latina psychologist Irene Míral, who struggles with the unsettling legacy left by her mother, Alma. Haunted by her mother's experiences of abuse and loss, Irene's journey to healing is equally professional and personal. The story interweaves Irene's ongoing struggle to establish a successful women's PTSD unit at Lakeside Hospital with haunting memories from her...

Not Your Shoe Size: A Novel About Acting Your Age (or not!)

Jennifer DiVita (Hummingbird Book House)

| Reviewed by Cristina Prescott

Not Your Shoe Size by Jennifer DiVita is a delightful exploration of the aging problem, a tale of friendship and self-acceptance. The novel follows the lifelong friendship of Julia and Colette, two women who couldn't age more differently. Julia gracefully embraces her gray hair and wrinkles while Colette relentlessly chases after youthfulness. Despite their differing approaches to aging, their fierce loyalty and shared experiences—from puberty to menopause—form the foundation of their enduring friendship. The book nuancedly explores interg...

New Liberty

George Cramer (Russian Hill Press)

| Reviewed by Kim Calderon

New Liberty by George Cramer plunges readers into the heart of a gritty urban landscape where gang warfare simmers with brutal intensity and law enforcement struggles to maintain order amidst the chaos. This police procedural offers a harrowing glimpse into the intersecting lives of cops and criminals, weaving a narrative that is as raw as it is compelling. Set in a fictionalized Arizona city, the novel thrusts readers into the violent clash between two rival gangs: the Black 4-Aces and the Latino Los Scorpios Locos. Cramer's portrayal of these...

East of Everywhere

Susan Pogorzelski (Brown Beagle Books)

| Reviewed by Bertin Drizller

East of Everywhere by Susan Pogorzelski is a mesmerizing journey through the trials and triumphs of a young girl's quest for belonging and redemption in the aftermath of tragedy. Set against the backdrop of the mid-1950s, the novel follows 17-year-old Janie Emery as she faces homelessness and loss and embarks on the search for identity in the small town of Montours City. The story begins with Janie's desperate flight from a children's home, fueled by the hope of reuniting with her beloved brother Brayden. Pogorzelski crafts a spellbinding inter...

Rem's Chance

Dave J. Andrae (Kaji-Pup Press)

| Reviewed by Eugene Lasha

Amid a post-pandemic slump, forty-six-year-old Rem Bruxvoort finds himself stuck in Florida with his ex-fiancée and in a rocky relationship while trying to move forward. When a chance encounter reunites him with former bandmate Gene, they seek to revive the past, sparking a quest to locate their lost master tapes. Meanwhile, Julie, Gene's sister, escapes her mundane life to join them, reigniting old friendships and exploring new possibilities. Little do they know that a mysterious figure lurks in the shadows, harboring dark intentions. He is na...

INFINITE STRANGER

Wendy Skorupski (Wendy Skorupski)

| Reviewed by Bertin Drizller

Infinite Stranger by Wendy Skorupski is a poignant exploration of love, longing, and the intricate dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship. It begins on a snowy February morning in 1978, following eighteen-year-old Leah Cavanagh as she embarks on a transformative journey during a retreat at Greystones Abbey. Here, she meets Brother Matthew Haddon, and a connection that resonates deeply with Leah and her single mother, Molly, is ignited. Her mother is still haunted by the tragedy of her past and a loss that is etched deeply in her heart. Leah...

Indies Inferno

Edward Hochsmann (Haldago Bay Studio)

| Reviewed by Matthew Novak

Indies Inferno by Edward Hochsmann takes readers on an exhilarating journey into the heart of maritime security, blending action-packed suspense with compelling character dynamics. Set against the backdrop of escalating environmental extremism and a volcanic eruption, this novel delivers a riveting narrative that is as thought-provoking as it is immersive. The story kicks off with a gripping portrayal of the Coast Guard Cutter Kauai's encounter with eco-terrorists plotting a deadly attack on an oil tanker. Hochsmann examines the stakes of terro...

A Normal Boy: Living in an Asylum

Jan Keating (Independently Published)

| Reviewed by Matthew Novak

A Normal Boy: Living in an Asylum by Jan Keating is a poignant exploration of a young boy's harrowing journey through abuse, abandonment, and the disturbing realities of the Dirty Thirties in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. It is the story of Donald, an eight-year-old boy, who tragically loses his father, setting off a chain of events that leads to his placement in a mental hospital. Donald’s father has been a symbol of hope in his life and the strength of the family, but after his death, Donald’s mother decides to marry Frank, the hired hand to save th...

DOGMATIC

Gerry Burke (iUniverse)

| Reviewed by Cristina Prescott

Dogmatic by Gerry Burke is a delightful collection of humorous and heartwarming short stories that will captivate both dog lovers and those who appreciate clever storytelling. In this charming collection, Burke takes readers on a whimsical journey into the lives of various canine companions and their human counterparts. The stories are infused with humor and imagination, offering an entertaining exploration of the extraordinary adventures of dogs with unique personalities. Each tale is brimming with witty narratives and unexpected twists that k...

The Reluctant Criminal

Jan Jongstra (JanJongstraBooks)

| Reviewed by Bertin Drizller

Frank is a seemingly unassuming data entry clerk in a Toronto import/export company. His life takes an unexpected turn when he is promoted and relocated to Amsterdam, where he becomes the company's agent responsible for clearing containers. He is committed to his job and loves it. But as days go by, Frank becomes suspicious about the company's activities. He is torn between the allure of his dream job in Amsterdam, complete with a generous salary, a free apartment, and the chance to explore Europe, and his growing awareness that he has unwittin...

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