Succeeding in High School: A Handbook for Teens and Parents plus A College Admissions Primer

Joseph Adegboyega-Edun

Succeeding in High School captures the essence of what matters to high school teens. It teaches students coping skills, study skills, organization skills, test preparation skills and more


What happens when a high school student finds himself in another school district a thousand miles away from where he schooled last year? Expected and unexpected challenges develop. First of all, the student’s parents need to understand that they are not the only ones dealing with the stress due to relocation.


Their high school teenager is dealing with different types of stress, for example, the friends he no longer has around him, a different neighborhood and a seemingly alien school environment. What will this new school be like? Can he fit in? If he plays sports, will he get on the team?


If he doesn’t play sports, how does he gain new friends? If he experienced any bullying in his previous school, he would be concerned about bullying at this new school. His parents would want to know how the school handles bullying and related issues. To make friends, a new student can look for interest clubs on the school’s website to see which one suits him. He can write an email to the club sponsor for more information or to become a member. Joining an interest club opens an avenue for him to make new friends.

Parents of and students from international countries get step-by-step information on what they need to know and what such students need to do to adjust to an American High School. Students from international countries where the first language is not English need to be ready to take a placement test in English. Initially, they might or might not experience some difficulty in subject areas requiring extensive reading and writing. After that initial period of adjustment, they will find that the rest of their high school journey is much easier. It is always important to ask school personnel questions whenever parents suspect that their student is experiencing difficulties at school. It always helps to do this earlier than later.


The four years of high school are the foundation for what happens next. There are several options open to students after a successful completion of their high school education. Some take a gap year, others go to college while others may join the armed forces. A gap year may include travel abroad, work, or volunteer service prior to attending college. The college application process is competitive and requires student’s undivided attention because of its many components. It includes a college search, the application and financial aid research. Students interested in the armed forces may apply to  the military academies or seek to enlist in a branch of the armed forces of interest to them. Others may seek admission to a university with an ROTC on campus. A student who reads this book will find, as one of its reviewers has written, that it is a roadmap for college and for life.




Book Deals Day!

Hannah Jenkins

To coincide with Bastille Day this week we thought we would bring you the best book deals day!


Looking for a new read? We have suggestions from every genre for you!



Not sure what to read? Why not let our matchmaker decide for you?




Thriller & Mystery



FYI: An Unintended Consequence, by Patricia E.Gitt – New Release!!


Fake news terrorizes Taryn Cooper Walsh, managing partner of 4G Investments. Each mysterious mailing contains increasingly viscous lies all suggesting that Taryn is running a highly unethical firm. Supported by her husband, business partners, and friends, Taryn searches for the source of these fallacious clippings before they are leaked and destroy her reputation along with the trust of investors in her firm.





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Dark September, by Brendan Gerad O’Brien

When Germany invades mainland Britain, Irishman Danny O’Shea’s house is bombed and his wife killed. His young son Adam has learning difficulties and is terrified what the Nazis will do to him. Dannymust get Adam to neutral Ireland.


On an isolated Welsh, road they witness an attack on a German convoy carrying the blueprints for a new weapon that was discovered in a secret laboratory near Brecon. German Captain, Eric Weiss, is responsible for the blueprint’s safe transfer to Berlin. He knows his job, even his life, depends on getting the blueprints back.


It’s following a major disagreement amongst the insurgents, the blueprint disappears. Danny goes to the aid of a dying woman–both the Germans and the insurgents believe she’s told Danny where the blueprints are.


When Danny is separated from his son, he’s catapulted into a world of betrayal and brutal double-cross. Pursued by both the Germans and the insurgents, his only concern is to find Adam and get him to safety.


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The Iguana Project, by Dale Arden

Lawyer Patrick Brádaigh had it all—the perfect life, wealth, beautiful wife, and children—until he got involved with the mafia. By the time he realizes his mistake, it’s too late. There is no going back, and he’s been warned: if he makes a misstep, he’ll be paying in blood. With the hopes of keeping his family safe, he starts compiling secret records of all the mafia’s dirty dealings in his safe at home.


Patrick’s wife refuses to hand over the documents and ends up brutally murdered. Years pass before he sees his chance to exact revenge. While on vacation, he meets a marine biologist who explains she is conducting cutting edge research on iguanas for NASA. The iguana has the unique ability to stay underwater for an extraordinarily long time, and NASA hopes to harness a similar technique to send astronauts into deep space.


Now, Patrick knows what he must do. Somehow, he must lure mafia members into seclusion, where he will induce iguana-like hibernation—indefinitely.


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Shattering Time: Book 2, by K J Waters


Ronnie Andrews returns from eighteenth century London shell-shocked from her first terrifying time travel encounter. Her boyfriend, Jeffrey Brennan, casts doubt on her sanity leaving Ronnie wondering if she went back in time or is having a mental breakdown.


To add to the tension, Hurricane Francis, a storm the size of Texas, is barreling towards Florida and her fears of a repeat time travel experience mount. Ronnie’s best friend Steph, along with her friend Nick and Steph’s younger brother Ian, shield Ronnie from the dangers of Francis but cannot save her from traveling back in time. Unfortunately, their meddling brings Ronnie to the brink of destruction as they are caught in the throes of the hurricane’s wrath.


Once again, Ronnie is transported to dangerous places and plagued with desperate situations, while experiencing perilous cultures including one of America’s first mysteries — the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island.


A stunning conclusion brings Ronnie face to face with a dangerous ally who may hold the key to her past while offering salvation for her future.


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The 9th Hour, by Claire Stibbe



Everyone has secrets. Some more deadly than others.


When the ninth young girl falls into the clutches of a serial killer, maverick detective, David Temeke, faces a race against time to save her life.


The Duke City Police Department in Albuquerque, New Mexico is no stranger to gruesome murders, but this new serial killer on their block keeps the body parts of his eight young victims as trophies and has a worrying obsession with the number 9.The suspect is incarcerated in the state’s high security penitentiary but Unit Commander Hackett is faced with a dilemma when another teenage girl goes missing.


Detective Temeke and his new partner, Malin Santiago, are sent to solve a baffling crime in the dense forests of New Mexico’s Cimarron State Park. But time is running out. Can they unravel the mysteries of Norse legends and thwart the 9th Hour killer before he dismembers his next victim?


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Hardin Farm, by Jean Kipfer


In 1921 Hardin Farm is a prosperous but unhappy place. Paul and Anna Hardin are uniquely attached, as only those siblings can be who are raised without their mothers. Sam Hardin’s three wives are buried side by side in the cemetery by the lake, and he sees no reason to find another. Anna keeps the house clean and is a good cook, and since she’d gotten older, he’s thought of even more things she can do for him. Strangely, Sam Hardin disappears never to be found and Anna falls into a strange sleep from which she cannot be awaken. The Church folk put Anna in the care of two doctors in Chicago, practitioners of the new science of psychiatry. But Paul is left to wallow in the mystery of their father’s disappearance until many years later when the two siblings meet again on Hardin Farm.



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Past is Prologue, by M Karpin

Nightmares and Murder

A woman is dead. Or is she?

One father, three brothers, and one sister comprise the members of the Carter family of California, visiting New York. While Rose, the third daughter of the Duke of Sutherland slips into New York City incognito.

Can James Nathaniel Walker – shell shocked veteran of the Great War – sort it all out while dealing with his own issues?

Past is Prologue – a picture of ladies and gentlemen and murder set in the Jazz Age of the 1920’s.




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The Trial: Dark Urban Scottish Crime Story, by John Mayer

When Glaswegian Brogan McLane completes many years of university education and legal training he crosses that great divide from Glasgow to Edinburgh. ‘Called’ to the Bar of the Scottish Supreme Court, he becomes a member of the most prestigious club in Scotland; The Faculty of Advocates in Parliament House.


When High Court Judge, Lord Aldounhill, is found dead after a transvestite party in his sumptuous home, those who know the killer close ranks and need a scapegoat – who better than ‘outsider’ Brogan McLane?


Out on bail with his career on hold, McLane and his band of blood brothers in the Calton Bar in Glasgow need to get ahead of their enemies or McLane will go down for life after Trial. But every time they discover a piece of evidence, it seems there is a mirror image to contradict it.


Through the murky world of Russian controlled transvestite hotels and with some unexpected police and judicial help, McLane battles against ‘Low Life in High Places in the Old Town’ until the killer is found.


But well protected and knowing all the tricks, will the killer ever stand trial in Parliament House



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The Eden Legacy, by Harold Gershowitz

June 4, 1967, was supposed to be a high point in Noah Greenspan’s year. It’s the night before the grand opening of Potomac Centre, the urban development project he spearheaded in the heart of Washington, DC. But the outbreak of the Six-Day War in the Middle East eclipses the event.


In the aftermath of the short, bloody war, Noah’s fiancée, Palestinian American journalist Alexandra Salaman is assigned to Israel to cover the political implications for Israelis and Palestinians alike. It’s a dangerous task, partly because Alexandra was, years earlier, instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack and partly because she’s a Christian Arab engaged to Noah, a Jew. Such a marriage is certain to arouse anger from either side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

As Noah deals with legal and financial challenges to Potomac Centre, he and Alexandra find their relationship challenged by her insistence on staying in Israel to do her job—and by reunions with old lovers.

Neither knows that a figure from Alexandra’s past, the terrorist Omar Samir, plans to strike deep in the heart of the American capital. His target? Potomac Centre.


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The Pharm House: A Harding Family Story, by Bill Powers


The Pharm House is a foreboding and darkly suspenseful medical thriller set in the hidden underworld of the global pharmaceutical business. Even though The Pharm House is set in a pharmaceutical company, it is really a story about family. It’s about Nicholas Harding, a young scientist/executive at Marshall Pharmaceutical. Nicholas is a regular guy- a single Dad trying to raise a precocious 11-year-old daughter while clawing his way up that ever so slippery middle management ladder. But unknown to Nicholas, there are dark forces inside Marshall Pharmaceutical and he is about to be drawn into their plans and finds himself fighting for his career, his family and perhaps even his life.

In this suspenseful thriller, Bill investigates the underworld of the international pharmaceutical industry, which includes unscrupulous activities at the hands of corporate lieges traversing the planet and seducing young women while soliciting, marketing, manufacturing and selling legalized addiction under the guise of medicinal purpose. The scenes are seamy and torrid as well as realistic and matter of fact.

Do you ever wonder how drugs get in those little brown bottles? Read The Pharm House and you may give it a second thought.



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First Friday: How virginity almost killed me, by Tony Hartmann


Winner of the Independent Press Award! Agnes Anne O’Neil, 28 and still living at home, mounts a five point plan of escape from her ultra Catholic parents. Thwarted by bad memories of a high school attack by the guy who became her brother-in-law, she is plagued by a stutter, an unfortunate nose, and low self-esteem. Nevertheless, her brother-in law is besotted. He now claims he married the wrong sister. Ignoring Bruno’s advances and his fixation with her virginity, Agnes prays to the Virgin Mary for guidance and strength and bravely works toward her goals. But after each part of her plan is enacted and she becomes better looking, the harassment gets worse. And when she begins to date a nice Jewish accountant, her parents explode and lecherous Bruno can’t control his jealousy. We applaud Agnes’ transformation, but can it happen fast enough to save her from her scheming brother-in-law?



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SciFi & Fantasy



Lashback: Devil’s Chair Island, by Frank Maguire


Devil’s Chair Island is a fictional island off the Kerry Coast of Ireland, and it is reached by the equally fictional Gorney Peninsula. Apparently, the huge head of the devil can be seen reclining on his throne from halfway along the Gorney Blade-so called because it is an extremely narrow sandstone spit, 2500 feet high. The local police, represented by Andy Buggy, have for various reasons, incurred the wrath of the villagers of Oughtnamadra. Every Tuesday morning, Andy Buggy, the local guard, must drive across Knuckle Strand to collect the social security papers known as dole chits from the villagers of Oughtnamadra. Sayvile Crummy, who lives there and is almost an idiot savant, discovers that he has the power to move things with the power of his mind and that he can make use of the idle power that exists in his neighbours. Now, because of a stupid and unfeeling remark made by a Dole cop, he has decided to send any cop who comes to the village for any reason to the moon. This is called lashing the cop up to the moon, and after a year of trying it works. The cop goes there but comes back almost instantly: this is called Lashback. The villagers are using a power of which they have no understanding.


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The Rogue – Planets Shaken, by Lee Brainard


When rookie astronomer Irina Kirilenko discovers a planet-size comet in the Kuiper Belt on a collision course for Mars, she first faces stonewalling from the Minor Planet Center, then coercion and stricture from NASA. They press her to embrace an ingenious reinterpretation of her discovery and ban her from talking about it.


It slowly dawns on her that the government is fostering a massive conspiracy to keep the public oblivious to the truth—Earth is facing an existential threat. Unwilling to be silenced, she recruits fellow astronomer Ariele Serrafe to evaluate her discovery, placing both in the crosshairs of government agents.


Set in a dystopian vision of the near future, The Rogue, the first volume of the Planets Shaken series, weaves the threads of biblical prophecy, ancient history, government conspiracy, and electric universe theory into a thought-provoking, tensely plotted thriller—one that asks us to reconsider the nature of the universe and the destiny of the world.

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The Fantastic Phantasmic Detective Agency: And the Rebel Realm, by D.L. Dugger

Abby, Toby, and Billy are ordinary detectives with extraordinary clients: G-G-Ghosts!


It’s just another summer day of hunting frogs for twelve-year-old Billy, Abby, and Toby, when they stumble upon a deserted lake cabin and meet Mary, a real live ghost, searching for her lost locket. The trio offer to help her find it and the Fantastic Phantasmic Detective Agency is launched.


But when the youthful sleuths enlist the help of the grumpy medium, Mr. Monsento, to help them with their second case, locating a ghost’s missing ghost brother, a mysterious visitor from the UnderWorld appears. Soon the agency is entangled in a conflict between rebellious spirits, undead Realm Walkers, officious OtherWorld Bureaucrats and traitorous UnderWorld Demon Ambassadors.


If you like your ghost stories with a twist and a dash of humor, you’ll enjoy this book.


Available Now!




The Witching Hour Strikes Midnight, by Harold Bloemer

Cassandra Exodus and James McAllister were once madly in love. As two of the most powerful sorcerers of the modern era, they founded a secret school where young witches, wizards, vampires, werewolves, and other magical creatures could hone and control their unpredictable, deadly powers. But a slowly evolving difference in philosophy has turned these two former lovers into bitter adversaries. Cassandra and James will have to learn to coexist, however, if they are to overcome an existential threat that threatens to swallow their world in shadow: paranormal genocide.


After a slew of deadly witch-on-human attacks, the United States has started a policy of incarcerating all unregistered magical creatures. And those who refuse to cooperate are promptly hunted down and executed by an army of highly-advanced robots called Paranormal X-Terminators. Can Cassandra and James cast aside their virulent animosity and work as a team to save their fellow witches and wizards from extinction? Or will their destructive relationship lead to the annihilation of all magical creatures… and perhaps the entire world?



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Secrets of the Home Wood: The Sacrifice, by Julie Whitley


For Jonathon, the Home Wood that borders his grandfather’s farm has always been a source of mystery and dread. Strange half-heard rumours passed among aunts, uncles and cousins never quite add up.

More than twenty years ago, his father—when he was Jonathon’s age—was swallowed up by the Home Wood for more than a day and came back badly injured. That was when his grandfather forbade any family member from venturing back there.

And so when, from his bedroom window one morning, Jonathon sees his father once again cross into the Home Wood, he knows something is very wrong. Deceiving his grandfather, Jonathon sets out after his father and makes his way, for the first time in his life, into the woods.

What he finds there is beyond even his wildest imagination.




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The Abduction, by Ester Lopez


On a lawless moon of Plexus, a resourceful loner struggles to escape his alien, slave-trading father with the help of a beautiful bounty hunter who he realizes is worth more than his ticket back to Earth.








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Amazing Americans, by Charles Margerison


Would you like to have met Abraham Lincoln and had a discussion about his life and career? Can you imagine what George Washington would have said if he was interviewed about his achievements? Would you like to explore how Amelia Earhart, the famous aviation pioneer, broke many speed and travel records and so inspired people around the world? Amazing People Worldwide® gives you the opportunity to experience these and other inspirational stories in ‘Amazing Americans’. Be motivated by some of the amazing people who helped shape the United States. The life stories of characters including Thomas Edison, Madam Walker, Anne Burras, Percy Julian, Benjamin Franklin and Harriet Tubman come alive in a unique way through BioViews. A BioView is a short biographical story, similar to an interview. These unique stories provide an easy way to learn about amazing people who made major contributions and changed our world.



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Mistress Suffragette, by Diane Forbes


A young woman without prospects at a ball in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island is a target for a certain kind of “suitor.” At the Memorial Day Ball during the Panic of 1893, impoverished but feisty Penelope Stanton draws the unwanted advances of a villainous millionaire banker who preys on distressed women—the incorrigible Edgar Daggers. Over a series of encounters, he promises Penelope the financial security she craves, but at what cost? Skilled in the art of flirtation, Edgar is not without his charms, and Penelope is attracted to him against her better judgment. Initially, as Penelope grows into her own in the burgeoning early Women’s Suffrage Movement, Edgar exerts pressure, promising to use his power and access to help her advance. But can he be trusted, or are his words part of an elaborate mind game played between him and his wife? During a glittering age where a woman’s reputation is her most valuable possession, Penelope must decide whether to compromise her principles for love, lust, and the allure of an easier life.


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Love Pour Over Me, by Denise Turney

‘Love Pour Over Me’ is a powerfully moving, inspirational story. This remarkable, inspirational story recounts African American track and field star, Raymond Clarke’s tumultuous, yet amazingly triumphant life.

Malcolm, Raymond’s father, struggles with untreated alcoholism. Raymond’s mother, a starry-eyed dreamer, abandoned Raymond when he was only two years old. Raymond’s track and field successes make him one of America’s top middle-distance runners, earning him a scholarship to a prestigious university.

But, it’s at college, where Raymond’s life is supposed to take off, that things really start to get dicey, frighteningly mysterious. Right away, Raymond meets a motley sort of friends, each with a hard-to-believe story of his own. The men enter a lifelong bond. They also make a pact to keep their involvement in a murder secret.

Raymond becomes witness to the murder upon his arrival to college. His desperate attempts to avoid love threaten to keep him from the only woman he’s ever truly loved, the woman he was born to love. Anyone who has ever been hurt may absolutely treasure ‘Love Pour Over Me’.

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Heartbeats (4 Book Series), by Lorana Hoopes


From Book one:

Unplanned pregnancy? Hopeless? True Love? Happily Ever After?

Callie Green thought she had her whole life planned out until her fiance left her at the altar. When her carefully laid plans crumble, she begins to make mistakes at work and engage in uncharacteristic activities.


After a mistake nearly costs her her job, she cashes in her honeymoon tickets for some time away. There she meets JD, a charming Christian man who, even though she is not a believer, captures her interest. Before their relationship can deepen, Callie’s ex-fiance shows back up in her life and she is forced to choose between Daniel and JD. Who will she choose and how will her choice affect the rest of her life?




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David Janssen: Our Conversations: The Final Years, by Michael Phelps


Despite their on-again, off-again courtship and his desire not to get married, David allowed Dani Greco to take control of his finances. In his professional life, he becomes Harry O – interjecting a lot of his own real-life eccentricities, endearing him to his fans even more. He went on to assume various roles in 12 Made-for-Television films and 6 Feature films between 1974-1979. We are introduced to Carol Connors, a singer and songwriter David met while collaborating on the song, ‘My Sensitive, Passionate Man,’ during a lengthy separation from Dani. He seemed to have found true happiness and had no interest in hiding his relationship with Carol. However, Dani controlled his finances, causing him to feel trapped. Living alone in his Malibu Beach home, David quietly explored the cost of a divorce and learned he would not lose everything. At a time when he likely felt the greatest sense of inner peace, the huge hand of fate brought everything to an end. “DAVID JANSSEN ~ Our Conversations is a heartfelt tribute to a beloved Star, still adored by millions of fans around the world today.”


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Golden Keys to Open Doors: About spiritual cotton candy, by Harry Meier


The Japanese have an old saying: “If you see Buddha on the road, kill him.” It’s a reminder we all take our own path to enlightenment—a lesson the modern spirituality marketplace has conveniently forgotten.

Modern spirituality is big business, with gurus, shamans, spiritualists, and others plugging feel-good phrases and recycled, simplistic ideas. The marketplace holds out the promise of a trouble-free life, paradigm-changing insights, and simplified secrets of enlightenment—all for a modest fee, of course.

Harry Meier has traveled through the morass of modern spirituality for forty years—and killed his share of Buddhas along the way. Meier argues the industry sells spiritual junk food that is designed to make you feel good but ultimately lacks any real nourishment.

To truly advance, Meier believes we must abandon the pleasant but unhelpful comfort zone of mass-market spirituality and forge our own paths.

The enlightenment industry sells pretty golden keys to doors that are already standing wide open. It’s time to throw away the keys and start your own journey. And should you meet Buddha on the road, well…

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Always Connected, by Genevieve Frenes


Nicholas Aldana, a married man and the father of four children, finds his life is upended when he discovers he has a daughter, Sarah, about whom he has been unaware. Nicholas must inform his wife, Sophia, and his children about this discovery. The revelation brings heartache and uneasiness and threatens to shatter the family. Will Sophia allow Sarah into to be part of their lives? Does Sarah want to know her birth father? How will the news change their family dynamic?

Inspired by real events, “Always Connected” is a compelling story about love and faith and one family’s discovery of God’s plan for their lives.




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The Egotist: Finding Yourself by Overcoming Self-Interest, by Jesse Bogner

We are compelled to both escape from and find meaning in the emptiness stirring inside of us. Unfortunately, without a method to channel these frustrations, we will not find an escape.”

Have you ever asked yourself the famous question, “What is the meaning of my life?” Maybe you sensed the world as it appears in your senses is lacking something. A spiritual world that is blind to most people awaits you. In it you will find your true self.

The Egotist’s author, Jesse Bogner, felt the same need to search for something beyond what he could see with his own eyes. His earth-shattering debut tracks his development from a hedonistic New Yorker whose only solace from suffering comes in the form of aesthetic pursuits, drugs and alcohol to a Kabbalist on a path to find the meaning of life. Holding a mirror to the nature of the world and to his own life, Bogner illuminates the world in a state of crisis in need of redemption. This book offers a glimpse into the misunderstood world of Kabbalah and how the collective plea of Kabbalists has the power to correct the egos of individuals and the world at large.


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On Second Thought, by Rory Goodwin


Oswald ‘Ozzy’ Metzger is faced with the turmoil of whether his wife, Monica, will ever fully accept who he is.


He questions everything he thought he knew, everything that makes him who he is.


Now he is confronted with his own hatred, without control, he has to fight to keep himself within the boundaries of his own rules, his own code.


When his past comes back to haunt him again, he fights to maintain control.


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Revenge of The Damned, by L.J Martin


A lie can be a lynchpin for a hell of a lot worse…at times it can end in a lynching! When Linc Dolan returns from the Civil War to find his former commanding officer has lied to his intended about his death in battle, and then married her, it’s hell to pay. When a freak early-winter storm finds Linc wounded and sheltered in the cabin of a recently widowed homesteader and her young son, all should be fine…if he wasn’t on the run from the law. Now, Bama, a black mule skinner; Twodogs, a Crow tracker; and Dolan, find themselves an unlikely gang. Damned by decent folk, hunted by the law, and pursued by Montana’s most deadly man-hunters, they all three are wronged and seek bloody revenge.



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Audio Books: Yay or Nay?


Some say it is cheating to listen to (read) an audiobook. Others say audiobooks are the only way they will ever read a book again. Personally, I am somewhere in between. I love the convenience and portability of the audiobook, but there is no substitute for curling up next to the fire on a rainy day with a well-loved paperback. With there being benefits and drawbacks to both arguments, here are some of the main concerns:


Do you get the same experience?

While you obviously are not holding a physical book, all the words are the same in the end, right? But do you still experience the story the way the author intended? While there are many variables to consider, University of Virginia psychologist Daniel Willingham argues, if you take the question from the perspective of cognitive psychology — the mental processes involved — there is no real difference between listening to a book and reading it. I am inclined to agree with him.

The sharing of information verbally has been around much, much longer than the written word. Even after books were invented, we still had the invention of the radio drama. Oral storytelling goes back many, many generations, and is still a part of many cultures to this day. New isn’t always better and old isn’t always bad.


Absorption, Retention and Recollection

Literary critic Harold Bloom proclaimed that audiobooks don’t allow for the “deep reading” that’s needed for learning. Optimal comprehension, he said, “demands the inner ear as well as the outer ear. You need the whole cognitive process, that part of you which is open to wisdom. You need the text in front of you.” While I wholeheartedly agree that optimal learning is done by both listening to and reading, I don’t think that level of comprehension and retention is necessary for the average reader. If you are reading for pleasure, as most of us do, then an audiobook will more than suffice.

Additionally, most people seem to forget that the average reader listens to an audio book while doing other things. When reading a physical book, it is practically impossible to do anything else, even eating or drinking is a challenge…at least in my experience. Multitasking is a great thing, but even the most remedial task can distract the mind. While multiple studies have been done over the years, almost all of them come to the same conclusion; for general consumption, audio books are the same as the physical books regarding absorption, retention, and recollection.


Unexpected benefits!

How do audiobooks help those with physical or intellectual disabilities, such as blindness or dyslexia? There are dozens of studies showing the benefits of audiobooks with all types of conditions. There are also several studies which claim audiobooks have a calming or lulling effect on insomniacs. There is even one study, showing how audiobooks have helped people recovering from strokes. Like listening to music, audiobooks can stimulate parts of the brain associated with attention, memory, language and mood. While an audiobook may not be right for you, they can definitely be beneficial to others.


Does genre preference play a role?

Yes! It plays a big part in the amount of information taken in and how much is retained. If a person doesn’t enjoy, or even strongly dislikes, the genre or style of the book they are reading, it will obviously affect the way they read, not to mention the amount of information they retain. They will either deem the information unimportant and retain very little or they will dislike it so much that they retain a great deal in order to express their dislike.


Who’s narrating your audiobook?

If the author is the one narrating the audiobook, then you have nothing to worry about –assuming the author is good at reading aloud. Unfortunately, it is not terribly common to have an author narrate their own audiobook. Therefore, when another person reads the story aloud, they will inevitably put their own spin on it. The narrator may read faster or slower than you would or they may pronounce words differently. Not to mention, the way they may emphasize or de-emphasize phrases or even entire events in the book.

Having dealt with many of these issues myself, I have found a solution to only one of them. The speed at which an audiobook is played can be altered to go faster or slower. Unfortunately, the pronunciation of words is something that cannot be altered. In the end, you really only have two options; you can choose to read the physical book, or you can just deal with the quirks of the narrator.


In the end, it all comes down to a reader’s preference. I hope that the world can find a balance between the two, as I have. Amazon clearly has embraced the idea of balance, as they now have the Audible/Kindle combo available. Who knows what other kinds of inventions could spring from such a harmony between new and old. I can’t wait to see what comes next.


Happy Fourth of July!

Hannah Jenkins


In 1776, about 2.5 million people lived in the newly independent United States, according to the U.S. Censure Bureau. In 2017, 326.4 million Americans will celebrate Independence Day!


Are you looking for a new book this Fourth of July? We have come up with a list of good reads for you!


Not sure which book to pick? Why not leave it up to our Matchmaker to decide for you. Simply press play on the video below, and pause it at any point.








Breathe In, by Michelle Bellon

Breathe in. Breathe out. This mantra gets Tessa Benson through the day. The man she loves walks all over her, and she just wants to get by without her heart shattering to pieces. If she could find her voice, she’d scream. Everything changes in one night, when she’s snatched from the streets and tied to a bed, a camera set up to capture her dying moment. And the person who paid to watch her die…is still out there somewhere. Tessa prowls dark neighborhoods in a quest for justice, but she doesn’t find the killer. Not until they strike again…in the place Tessa is least expecting, and where it hurts worst.




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Last Seen: A Dr. Pepper Hunt Mystery, by J.L. Doucette

Psychologist and police consultant Dr. Pepper Hunt, struggling to deal with the murder of her husband, leaves the private practice they shared and relocates to Wyoming. There, in the stark landscape of the high desert, there is nothing to remind her of everything she lost and left behind. Then her new patient, Kimi Benally, goes missing in a Wyoming blizzard after her last therapy session—making Pepper the last person to see her. She knows the secrets Kimi shared in therapy hold clues to her mysterious disappearance, and she joins forces with Detective Beau Antelope to try to discover what’s happened to her. But as she follows the trail of Kimi’s obsession with the past, Pepper begins to fear the worst for her missing patient—and her own haunted memories surface.




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Hardin Farm, by Jean Kipfer

In 1921 Hardin Farm is a prosperous but unhappy place. Paul and Anna Hardin are uniquely attached, as only those siblings can be who are raised without their mothers. Sam Hardin’s three wives are buried side by side in the cemetery by the lake, and he sees no reason to find another. Anna keeps the house clean and is a good cook, and since she’d gotten older, he’s thought of even more things she can do for him. Strangely, Sam Hardin disappears never to be found and Anna falls into a strange sleep from which she cannot be awaken. The Church folk put Anna in the care of two doctors in Chicago, practitioners of the new science of psychiatry. But Paul is left to wallow in the mystery of their father’s disappearance until many years later when the two siblings meet again on Hardin Farm.





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The Eden Legacy, BY Harold Gershowitz

June 4, 1967, was supposed to be a high point in Noah Greenspan’s year. It’s the night before the grand opening of Potomac Centre, the urban development project he spearheaded in the heart of Washington, DC. But the outbreak of the Six-Day War in the Middle East eclipses the event.

In the aftermath of the short, bloody war, Noah’s fiancée, Palestinian American journalist Alexandra Salaman is assigned to Israel to cover the political implications for Israelis and Palestinians alike. It’s a dangerous task, partly because Alexandra was, years earlier, instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack and partly because she’s a Christian Arab engaged to Noah, a Jew. Such a marriage is certain to arouse anger from either side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

As Noah deals with legal and financial challenges to Potomac Centre, he and Alexandra find their relationship challenged by her insistence on staying in Israel to do her job—and by reunions with old lovers.

Neither knows that a figure from Alexandra’s past, the terrorist Omar Samir, plans to strike deep in the heart of the American capital. His target? Potomac Centre.



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The Piper’s Promise, by Alex Breck

When his best friend Thad is arrested for a series of murders he didn’t commit on the wrong side of the planet, the young Scottish adventurer, Ridge Walker, must find the real killer in order to prove his innocence. But as Ridge crosses swords with a merciless adversary and the savage ethos of centuries of warrior culture, the death toll speeds up and the seemingly random slayings take on a laser-sharp accuracy slicing ever closer to those he loves.

Two worlds collide in this race against time. As he sinks deeper into the macabre quagmire of a sick and vengeful mind he begins to realize the full horror that awaits him.

They say ‘the apple never falls far from the tree’ and it’s going to be a bitter harvest this season.



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Splintered Lives, by Joseph Lewis

It began on the Navajo Indian Reservation when a fourteen year old boy, George Tokay, witnessed and reported the murder of a Caucasian boy his own age. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents solved that crime, which led to the freedom of thirty boys who were abducted off safe suburban streets and held in captivity, some for more than two years. The FBI thought the boys were safe and so did their parents. After all, arrest warrants were served and members of the human trafficking ring were arrested. That is, except for three dangerous men with absolutely nothing to lose.


These three men arrange for a handsome reward if fourteen year old Brett, one of the boys who had been held captive, is killed. Brett has no idea that he, his younger brother, and his friend, another former captive, are targets. But more than anyone else, these three men vow revenge on George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and go into hiding. What was to be a fun-filled vacation with his newly adopted family, turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Indian Reservation high up on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather.



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Black Hearts White Bones, by William Charles Furney

Peg Brennan hasn’t held a sword since the day she was captured at sea and imprisoned ten years earlier. But as her fingers slide around the hilt of the rapier laying in the dirt beside her, she knows that the quiet life she has created for her bastard son in Bath is about to change for the worse – and still she cannot stop herself. What she doesn’t know is that an even darker threat will soon arrive to drag her back into the blackness that can only exist in a pirate’s heart.


Sailing toward the port town in the Carolina colony is Mary Read – the woman Peg left behind to die in Jamaica nine years earlier. Her life has been as hard as Peg’s has been mundane, providing bitter sauce for the cold revenge she intends to serve her former love. When they come face to face, Mary Read plans to kill Peg – the woman who is really Anne Bonny – as payment for her suffering. But fate seldom adheres to the plans of men, and even less so for women who have tasted forbidden fruit.



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White Jade, by Alex Lukeman

WHITE JADE spins a web of deceit and murder across the globe, against the backdrop of a deadly international power game.


Former Recon Marine Nick Carter is a man with a dark history of emotional and physical scars. He works for the PROJECT, a covert counter-terrorism unit reporting to the President. Selena Connor is a beautiful, strong and skilled linguist. When her wealthy uncle is murdered by someone looking for an ancient book about the elixir of immortality, she’s thrown into Nick’s dangerous world.


Nick is assigned to protect Selena and help her recover the missing text. It’s the beginning of a life and death adventure reaching from San Francisco to Beijing, from Washington to the hidden chambers of Tibet. Someone is determined to take over China and attack America–and Nick and Selena are right in the line of fire.


International intrigue, terrorist acts and the threat of nuclear war form the core of this fast-paced thriller, the first volume in a series featuring Nick, Selena and the PROJECT.



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No Pit So Deep: The Cody Musket Story by James Nathaniel Miller II

Cody Musket, a decorated US Marine, has blocked all emotion. Haunted by his dark military past, he feels nothing — no love, no hate. His big-league baseball career is the only thing that makes him feel alive. But when he witnesses a brutal assault upon a beautiful young woman, his trapped emotions explode, releasing the hidden rage in his soul.


Brandi Barnes, a gutsy investigative journalist and single mom, has exposed a child-trafficking ring and has become their target. When Brandi is attacked right before Cody’s eyes, he swiftly subdues her three attackers, but the incident unlocks the malignant demons of his past.


Brandi makes it her mission to save Cody from himself. What happened to him after his F/A-18D went down in the Afghan desert? What events are the generals and politicians hiding? She must uncover the truth or lose Cody forever.



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Huntress Moon, by Alexandra Sokoloff

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.

Roarke’s hunt for her takes him across three states…while in a small coastal town, a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach and strike up an unlikely friendship without realizing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.



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The Child on the Terrace, by Virginia Winters


 Anne McPhail, retired pediatrician, shattered by her experience in Bermuda, rents a tiny house in Setenil, Spain, hoping to reconcile what she learned about herself and Thomas after the gunfire in that dark room on the island.

But she sees a child on the terrace of the local cafe who doesn’t seem to belong to her minders and then Ari, the Mossad agent who saved Anne’s life, seeks her out with a plan to rescue the child from kidnappers. Should she trust him? Three days later, she is on the run with Ari and the little girl, with killers Esti and Sergio on their trail. She glimpses a man she thinks is Thomas. Is he, too in Spain? And why?

How far will Anne go to save Naomi?

From Spain to France to Italy, this is Anne’s most dangerous journey.



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Emma Beware, by Michelle Iden

Every so often, betrayal and love go hand in hand.


Fourteen-year-old standout athlete and student, Emma Mae Davenport, previously stalked through mysterious texts-vanishes-time’s ticking. Four of her friends dubbed, “Warriors for Emma,” armed with cyber-techno skills unravel clues and discover the unthinkable. Will she be in attendance at her 15th birthday celebration, or her funeral, or will she remain missing?

Intended for the teen reader, this innovative story will also delight the Millennial and Adult audiences.

In this debut novel, Emma’s tale weaves intrigue, suspense, betrayal, friendship, faith, mystery, love, and sprinkled with humor, captivates the reader to keep turning pages.



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The Long Road Home, by Carolyn M. Bowen


Kate’s life was in turmoil after the death of her parents. She’d always been protected and sheltered by them. Suddenly she finds herself with a conniving fiancé living under her roof, a powerful businessman with terrorist ties from across the ocean trying to kill her and more family secrets than most American politicians. She was also unaware that a half-brother she knew nothing of was about to enter her life. Her situation was getting precarious right at the moment she was least able to cope with it.





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Heads Will Roll by Joanie Chevalier

What if, in the near future, we could choose the body we wanted? We could visit a store front, much like a neighborhood mom-and-pop shop, and we’d see all the available bodies lined up in a glass-enclosed case. We’d be able to choose the body we wanted, purchase it, have an operation, and wham bam! wake up with our new body.

Dr. Farkis begins his head transplant operations in secret in Oakland, California and Tokyo, Japan. When news filters out about his revolutionary surgery, individuals from all walks of life come forward, desperate for a new body and an improved life that only Dr. Farkis can offer. We meet: Barry, so frantic for a new body, he stalks the doctor and bargains with a menacing ultimatum; Aiko, father of 19-year-old Kaneko, who demands that she undergo the operation to become more attractive to snag a husband; and finally, Baby, who finds out the hard way that demanding a new body may end up being fatal.

Choosing the perfect physique from a smorgasbord of available bodies seems like a dream . . . or is it a nightmare?



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The Awakening of Magic, Book One of the Wereding Chronicles, by Christian Boustead


“The wolf looked up at her with those great yellow eyes and Rose saw within their wild storm of primitive emotions a spark of more than animal intelligence. She realised that she still had a sense of the man that had cared for her.” Vivid fantasy adventure









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Masquerade, by Mallory Kane

You are invited to the annual Masquerade Ball at Castle Amhrán Oiche to celebrate the anniversary of Devlin & Elsbeth Kilmartin. Choose your mask & enjoy an enchanted evening among faeries, time- travelers, the cursed one, vampires, psychics, and other magical creatures. Participate in games, behold new steam-driven inventions, and partake of the Spring Nectar for a magical night. Oh, and those may not be masks.







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30th Century: Escape, by Mark Kingston Levin


Which side will you be on? The side of the Syndos, genetically-altered humans, or the side of the Naturals.


Captain Jennifer Hero is leading a task force from the thirtieth century on a one-way trip to the Diversion Point. Their goal is to plant a virus that will disrupt the genetic tendency toward sociopathy among the Syndos. After an intense attack on their remote South Pacific island base, Jennifer sends her colleagues back 300 years. But she does not go with them, opting instead to travel alone back to 2015 to grieve the loss of the love of her life, the time machine’s inventor, and to find herself.


After months spent alone on the radioactive atoll of Moruroa, Jennifer is rescued by an amphibious aircraft, piloted by a marine biologist and his crew. History sources she studied left out much about twenty-first century culture, causing culture shock and conflicts. She struggles to hide her superior intellect and nanotech-enhanced abilities.


Among these ordinary humans she is as alien as the Syndos are in her native century. Her attitude toward sex diverges totally from theirs, for a start. So much so, it raises a question mark over whether she can even survive in 2015.


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That Woman: Beating the odds in colonial New York, by Wayne Clark

Illness suddenly deprives 17-year-old Sarah Da Silva and her older brother Jacob of a mother. Before Sarah has come to terms with that loss, her merchant father grows frail and increasingly desperate in the face of impending bankruptcy. On the rainy night their father scours the docks of Bordeaux, France, to make his final bid to save his family, his children are kidnapped and forced onto a ship bound for New York City where they’ll be separated and sold to the highest bidder as indentured labor.


Purchased by a grotesque merchant whose wealth, backed by a team of henchmen, allows him to dominate the chaotic East River docks, Sarah strikes back the only way she can. Vowing to never allow him to put his hands on her again, she presses a knife to his fat neck. She demands her freedom, a roof over her head and the means to start a business. Her leverage? Knowledge obtained on the voyage that would bring the big man to his knees forever. He yields to her demands but privately swears to become her worst nightmare.



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The Red Wolf’s Prize, by Regan Walker


 He would not be denied his prize

Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed Lady Serena, the heiress that goes with them.

She would love him against her will

Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord. Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart?



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Twisted Fate, by Mel Evers

What is love at first sight? Racing hearts? Bated breath? The beginning of happily ever after?

Not for these two women.

Sage wants the raw messy connection of true love so, she ignores reoccurring dream that depicts her certain death by an unknown vampire, and escapes the comfortable quaint town she lives in, to move to the impulsiveness of a noisy, vampire speckled city.

Dr. Melissa Craft, a two hundred and fifty-year old vampire exists to help others navigate the treacherous paths of other people’s lives and nothing else. She loved once, but that ended after she was turned into a monster and her lover was murdered. When Sage and Melissa meet for the first time, it’s love at first sight.

A heart looking for love, races and a heart, long dead, feels again.


Reality gets in their way.



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Back from 44: The Sacrifice and Courage of a Few – A Story of Heroism in the Skies Over Western Europe, by Nick Cressy



Back from 44 – The Sacrifice and Courage of a Few. A B-26 crew struggle to return back to base in a severely crippled plane. The story is fiction based on a real person and events. The main character’s 44th mission is described with flashbacks to his enlistment in the U.S. Army Air Force to joining the 320th Bomb Group at their Sardinia, Italy air base. He recalls the memories of basic training, advanced flight engineer training, gunnery school, saying goodbye to a new wife, and travel across the Atlantic to Sardinia. Mission experiences are highlighted in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of Operations. Missions were not always “Milk Runs”; they included enemy flak, German fighter attacks and the emotional impact of losing close friends.




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Golden Keys to Open Doors: About spiritual cotton candy, by Harry Meier


The Japanese have an old saying: “If you see Buddha on the road, kill him.” It’s a reminder we all take our own path to enlightenment—a lesson the modern spirituality marketplace has conveniently forgotten

Modern spirituality is big business, with gurus, shamans, spiritualists, and others plugging feel-good phrases and recycled, simplistic ideas. The marketplace holds out the promise of a trouble-free life, paradigm-changing insights, and simplified secrets of enlightenment—all for a modest fee, of course.

Harry Meier has traveled through the morass of modern spirituality for forty years—and killed his share of Buddhas along the way. Meier argues the industry sells spiritual junk food that is designed to make you feel good but ultimately lacks any real nourishment.

To truly advance, Meier believes we must abandon the pleasant but unhelpful comfort zone of mass-market spirituality and forge our own paths.

The enlightenment industry sells pretty golden keys to doors that are already standing wide open. It’s time to throw away the keys and start your own journey. And should you meet Buddha on the road, well…


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Buddha, Christ, and the Eagle: Finding Happiness, by Dr. Frances Rinaldi

They used to tell stories about Shangri-La, a land of peace and prosperity hidden in the heights of the Himalayas. In the adventure that lies ahead, Janet Locke doesn’t find the mythical city, but she does find a new, joyous existence up on the roof of the world.

It starts with phone call. An old friend wants to know if Janet wants to join her on a bicycling trip through Bhutan. Janet knows absolutely nothing about the small, central-Asian country. When she looks it up on the Internet, she learns that its gross national product is happiness. Janet, frustrated with life’s challenging moments, decides that this sounds delightful.

After a quick stop in Thailand, Janet is on to Bhutan. She falls in love with the charming country. As Janet ventures out into the wilderness surrounding the awe-inspiring Himalayas, she learns lessons about the many worries she carries. Like so many others, this journey will change her life.

In Janet’s adventure, author Dr. Frances Rinaldi mixes several spiritual traditions, including Buddhism, Catholicism, and Algonquin and Lakota spirituality. Together, they inspire Janet to let go of her worries and be happy and free.



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Achieve Maximum Longevity and Enjoy Optimum Health Along the Way, by William Wilburn

Achieving Maximum Longevity and Enjoying Optimum Health Along the way is certainly possible. This book contains eight chapters which focus upon lifestyle behaviors that maximize longevity and health. These subjects are covered: human longevity, enhancing eyesight, heart health, the benefits of running, the health enhancing benefits of coffee, a new treatment for diabetes, protection against cancer, and optimum brain health.







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Top 10 Reasons Vacations Keep You Healthy, by David J. Nozar

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It can also make you tired, depressed and affect your physical health. This is a common mentality with today’s workforce, but it’s time to break through this mindset to create a healthier, happier you. The solution? A Vacation. It may seem simple, but studies have proved that getting away from it all can reduce stress, improve productivity and change your life for the better. Not enough Americans take their designated vacations and this needs to change. This short guide will show you the benefits of taking that much-needed Vacation.



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Sucks to be You!: The Shaping of American Society, by Nejha Mason

A commentary on American society with an attempt to separate truth from fiction. Written to make us think and start a discussion on things that really matter to all of us..









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Furlasia Travel Brochure

Michael VanderLoon




Located in the eastern hemisphere of the planet Daulest, lies a region filled with spectacle, beautiful scenery, and of course a touch of the unusual. Furlasia is a region consisting of many different species. In the north of Furlasia there are the men, to the west of are Terrians, smack dab in the center are the Arnouts, to the far east, in the murky waters of Neveraus are the Akordans and north of that are the Delopars. Each of these unique species is desperate to make it’s presence known in the world, especially the Akordans. Akordans are very similar in appearance to alligators. They are muscularly built and stand typically over six feet tall. They are a unique race and due to their appearance and aggressive nature, they are not normally well accepted.


Arnouts dwell in the city of Cristol. They are late descendants of the Goddess Pomari and traveled to Furlasia around a hundred years ago after their home land of Tandorne was covered in plague. They are truly special indeed, apart from being able to fly, they can also summon energy from The Echo, as well as travel in and out of it at will. They also have been known to be telekinetic and telepathic but not all Arnouts display this trait.


There’s not much to be said about the men and women of Morlay other than the fact that they are quite keen on industry and moving forward technologically. They are the sole pioneers of steam technology and have kept the unique tech pretty close to the chest. The same can be said of the Terrians. They too are quite proud of their technology and although in all other aspects they are living in the medieval age, they have constructed riffles that use energy to inflict maximum damage. Just as with the men of Morlay, this technology has been kept to themselves. Terrians are emotional beings with elongated, fine pointed ears and a natural inclination for drama, a trait which is quickly noticeable to outsiders.


The Delopar are cat like creatures with brown spots. They are extremely agile and short tempered, as well as expert fighters. Their home has been left mostly in ruins after a harsh war with a necromancer, which has left them living a mostly nomadic existence.


Furlasia has seen some fantastic moments, as well as some truly heinous ones. There have been attacks from giants, angry beasts and even a necromancer named Agavordis. Luckily for everyone, the wizards, led by Kunklestick, have been there to help in all of Furlasia’s most dire needs. Among Furlasia, the wizards are the peacekeepers and Kunklestick, although flawed and tortured by mental anguish, continues his quest to do the right thing. It is he who predicted that the war with the necromancer would return, and he who has decided that the wizard from his visions must be found and trained, so that when that darkness returns, Furlasia will stand a fighting chance.


On the surface, one could be forgiven for seeing Furlasia as a hostile land filled with violence, but it’s in the quiet moments that it really shines. Take a stroll through the forest and listen to the birds and the primates playing under the beating sun. Go north a bit and you can climb mountains covered in beautiful green grass that produces a pleasant aroma when blown in the breeze. There are desert regions and even ice-covered ones. Furlasia really is an around the world experience. So, whether you’re interested in learning a bit of magic, watching the phoenix’s gracefully glide, swimming in the glistening waters of Cristol or surfing the waves of the Peridan Sea, there is something here for everyone. So, don’t delay, stop by Furlasia today!

3 Tips for Creating a Hard-Core Hero

Natashia Thewes


If your hero is a real person that preforms real actions, then they will get real reactions from readers. The oxford English dictionary defines a hero as “a person, typically a man, who is admired for his courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” Your standard hero is all well and good, but a hard-core hero is better. So, how then do you create a hard-core hero? Below are three helpful tips to perfecting a hard-core hero from beginning to end.



A Perfectly Imperfect Personality

Courage, dedication, perseverance, compassion, determination, virtuosity, wisdom, fortitude, conviction, these are the qualities of a perfect hero. But is that really what your readers want? The perfect hero is infallible, making them unbelievable, or worse, unrelatable.

A hard-core hero is perfectly imperfect, like Superman and kryptonite, or Wonder Woman and her bracelets. They are someone that can be idolized, but also seen as relatable. Thus, your hero needs to have a flaw. It doesn’t have to be a tragic flaw, like an Achilles Heel, but it should bring them off the top pedestal most old school heroes are placed on.

A flaw or imperfection often turns out to be what we love most about our favorite heroes. Even though most readers don’t particularly like the rude, self-indulgent part of Sherlock Holmes’ personality, they still love him as a character. At the end of the day, he is 100% dedicated to doing what is right and obtain justice for those who have been wronged, even if he breaks a few laws to do so. Readers connect with a hero not only because they aspire to be like them, but because they identify with their humanity – even if the hero isn’t human.



Appearance and Abilities

Your hero’s appearance and abilities are almost as important as their personality. The wrong look or lack of superior skills set can take your character from a hero to a herno. Picture your favorite hero. What do they look like, how do they dress, what skills do they have? Now why do you think they were written that way? Once again, a hard-core hero needs to be someone that can be looked up to. While this can mean or look like many different things, depending on the type story you are writing, one fact remains the same – your hero must be superior in either looks or abilities…possibly both.

When designing a hard-core hero, you will most likely want them to have some sort of superior skill in things like hand to hand combat, sword fighting, martial arts, or the use of firearms. While that is highly recommended, be sure you don’t go overboard. Remember, you need your hero to be relatable. Additionally, it is advisable to give a back story to this obtained skill. For example: martial arts – he has been training with his guardian since he was a young boy.

Some of the best hard-core heroes are stunningly handsome or have a killer wardrobe, but most of our favorites have a single attribute or totem that makes them stand out or endears them to us.  For example, Thor has his hammer, Elizabeth Bennet always has a book, even Harry Potter had his perpetually broken glasses and his scar, of course. If all else fails, you can give your hero that extra oomph by giving them only one name. Namely, heroes like Hercules, Lolita, Blade, or Batman. While they likely have full names, we don’t know what they are, and definitely don’t use them!



A Purpose in Life

Your hero needs to have a dream, a goal, or a quest. This will give the reader something to root for. Just be sure that your hero’s purpose is a valiant or pure one. If he/she is on a mission of a questionable nature, it will likely negate all the hard work you put into perfecting his/her character. Like the hobbits from Lord of the Rings, they are on a noble quest, but who or what will they become in the process. Your reader wants (needs) a full or well-rounded hero. They need to know that your hero can take on any manor of challenges and come out the other side a better person for it.

A couple suggestions might include giving your hero a personality quirk or a skewed perception of reality, so they can face their downfall and experience personal growth or change. Better yet, if your hero lives by a code, they could face a situation where this code is called into question, and they must learn that the world is not as black and white as it may seem. Really, the possibilities are endless!

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