“Pigeon” by Daniel Zadow


Daniel Zadow
Xlibris (2017)
ISBN 9781543402551
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (2/18)

“Pigeon” by Daniel Zadow is the intricate tale of Simon Parsons, and his journey of self discovery, or rather – rediscovery, as he weaves his way through the memories of lives and events buried deep within the essence of his being. Convinced destiny holds a special place for him, Simon steps out of his inertia in search for what is real. Prompted by a visit from the spirit of a pigeon, (who had crashed into the window of his cottage and died), Simon rummages through the depths of his mind, removing the layers of masks that bind him. On his quest, Simon uncovers secrets of great magnitude, tracing his roots back to Erwin Schrodinger, the Nobel Prize winning Austrian physicist who developed the basis of wave mechanics.

A relatively short read, at just under 150 pages, “Pigeon” is not a book to be consumed in one sitting.  It is evident Zadow is a skillful writer as his prose is intellectual and demanding, with a unique voice that pervades each page.  However, though elegant in distinction, much of the uncommon complex vocabulary used throughout the text feels a bit dated and could be off-putting to the casual reader.

The turbulent journey through the layers of Simon’s consciousness, the multiple personas engaged, and the travel through parallel worlds and time periods is complicated in that the way the story flows requires an almost meditative setting in order for the reader to focus. I was actually pulled out of the story several times, having to re-read sections to fully grasp the intention.  I can certainly appreciate the challenge stimulating deeper thought and reflection, though I often found myself wishing I had taken notes to keep things straight.

It is my opinion this book will generate a divided response from its audience. Readers will either love it – or not. Those reading for relaxation and entertainment might find it cumbersome. For those wanting a story that probes into what-if scenarios, digs deeper into the human psyche, and illuminates the possibilities of otherworldly parallel experiences, “Pigeon” by Daniel Zadow is the perfect choice.

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“Nickerbacher” by Terry John Barto


Terry John Barto
TJB Kids 2016
ISBN 9781944878276
Reviewed by Paola Belloso (age 10) For Reader Views (2/18)

“Nickerbacher” by Terry John Barto is the story of a dragon whose job was to protect the life of the princess, like every dragon. But Nickerbacher was different than all the other dragons around. He was very friendly and nice, and close to Princess Gwendolyn. They both loved to watch the late-night show, and Nickerbacher had a dream to be a comedian. One day he heard that auditions were available and he just had to apply for it. Nickerbacher was really excited and really hoped to do it.  His dad was not happy with the idea of him being a different dragon, he wanted Nickerbacher to be scary and mean to humans.

After many attempts of Prince’s coming to the tower to rescue Princess Gwendolyn, this time Prince Happenstance showed up and helped Nickerbacher start his journey. Join Nickerbacher the dragon, Princess Gwendolyn, and Prince Happenstance on the adventures in La La Land! Will Nickerbacher’s dream come true?

People think that dragons aren’t funny and Nickerbacher wants to prove to his dad and the world that dragons can get along with humans and be funny. I liked that he worked hard with the help of the prince and princess and prepared himself for the challenge.

I love the message of how we could all get along, accepting each other, and that we must work on our dreams and try to reach them.

“Nickerbacher” by Terry John Barto is a great story for all kids to believe in ourselves and work for what we love.  I also love the illustrations.

A note from mom:

“Nickerbacher” provides an excellent lesson in life. I loved how he shows that being unique and different is ok. Hopefully kids will learn to follow their dreams, and live happily ever after when their dreams come true.

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“Pirates Attack: A Knookerdoodle Adventure” by Laura Henderson


Laura Henderson
1105 West House (2017)
ISBN 9780997617221
Reviewed by Paola Belloso (age 10) for Reader Views (2/18)

“Pirates Attack: A Knookerdoodle Adventure” by Laura Henderson is a great story full of excitement for kids of all ages.

It was almost time for the fair that was every Fall in the town of Strathy Hall. It was a big event full of games, contests, food and much more. Peanut and his best friend Tennyson are excited and planning to go and be part of the costume contest.  Of course, they chose to be pirates and are hoping to be the only pirates so they can win.

That day of the fair came as one regular morning. Peanut woke up thinking of his dream with Applesauce, a pirate who rescued Peanut once when he got lost searching for treasures. Applesauce gave him a golden medallion that he hides under his pillow. Since then Peanut can’t stop thinking of anything else but Pirates and the magical ball that he gave to his sister Belle that later got lost too.

Meet Belle, Goldilocks, Baby Buttercup, and Tennyson and enjoy with them this wonderful story full of adventure. As well as many others like Victoria, Wendy Whimbleton and Chubby Chipmunk. Discover who won the contest and if they were the only pirates at the fair? Find out who else got lost and if Peanut found the wishing magic ball? Were they the only ones who knew about the magic ball?

What I most like about this story is how the Knookerdoodle’s always take care of each other and no matter what, they are friends and family, and how kindness always wins. It is a fun book that you read and can’t leave it alone.  At the end of each chapter the story leaves you hanging and wanting to read the next one. I really liked the font and the illustrations.

I recommend “Pirates Attack: A Knookerdoodle Adventure” by Laura Henderson because it is full of fun, action, and is very entertaining. I can’t wait to read the third one.  This is definitely a great book.

A note from mom:

A very enchanting story that will keep you always entertained. Paola and I both enjoyed it very much.

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“Tears Before Exaltation” by Fidelis O. Mkparu


Fidelis O. Mkparu
Harvard Square Editions (2018)
ISBN 9781941861608
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (02/18)

“Tears Before Exaltation” by Fidelis O. Mkparu is an extraordinary literary medical thriller that tells the story of young medical student, Ben Ava.

Having lost both parents, Ben suffers their losses and struggles to finish his education on his own. He is excited to discover that he has been awarded a scholarship, which requires him to move to Memphis. While this move causes him to lose his girlfriend, it also means that he will no longer have to work two jobs. Shortly after he arrives, Ben discovers that an old friend and classmate of his, Brenda, with whom he was once close, has been awarded the same scholarship. Ben learns that Brenda is suffering from severe emotional issues and, having to share a suite with her, quickly recognizes that she despises him. Ben is also dismayed when he realizes that the doctors directing his education are pompous and egotistical. One doctor goes after Ben because he is interested in Ben’s latest romantic interest Rita.

For someone trying to survive medical school, Ben has a lot of other issues on his hands. He is especially affected by the women in his life who are suffering from emotional damage caused by family members who betrayed them when they were young. Using compassion and determination, Ben does everything he can to help them heal and move forward with their lives while continuing to pursue his own dream.

“Tears Before Exaltation” is a stunning literary drama that combines key elements such as romance, suspense, and psychological intrigue. The author immediately caught my attention by creating a likable, compassionate hero who rules his life by acting with integrity. He is surrounded by several key players who do not share his ethical standards. The hero often suffers because the people surrounding him are damaged by things that happened in their pasts. While Ben came from a normal, loving upbringing, he still carries the ability to try to understand and help his friends. It is interesting to watch his character evolve and mature throughout the story. The other characters in the story are well developed and most of them are not always likable. This aspect adds even more to the drama because they rarely act in ways that help improve the protagonist’s life.

The writing is contemporary and compassionate, tackling highly relevant social issues such as mental illness, including alcoholism and depression.  The story has an engaging pace that makes it hard to put down with twists and excitement that will leave you wanting more.

Readers who enjoy intrigue, drama, and romance set in the medical field, will quickly find themselves immersed this novel. I highly recommend “Tears Before Exaltation” by Fidelis O. Mkparu!

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“Bipolar Sagacity Volume 3” by Thomas D. Sharts, M.ED


Thomas D. Sharts M.ED
Xlibris (2017)
ISBN 9781543439588
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (1/18)

Through our lives, we have a tendency to accept, question, rebel and sometimes live a role that is not our true self. Thomas D. Sharts, M.ED, reinforces these ideas in his 3rd volume of “Bipolar Sagacity,” where he provides “those sayings” that many of us have experienced or thought about.

What is different about his presentation of this book is he just jumps right in with his thoughts. There is no introduction as to why he chose to write this or the way he did. There is very little about him on the internet other than he is Department Chair of Social Sciences and Fine Arts with Northern Marianas College, and he has written numerous books.

As I read through this for the first time, my initial thoughts were these would be some great discussion questions for philosophy or psychology classes. However, upon my second reading through the text, my thoughts changed to the opinion that there is a lot of anger, and negative thoughts throughout these pages. Granted there are several thoughts such as, “If you don’t push, things will remain the same as long as they are allowed to.” Or, “There’s nothing dignified about sitting in a socially-imposed prison of a life because of bigotry, hate, untruth and injustice,” that ring true for many readers. This latter one is one we see all the time on the news, in politics or outdated beliefs today.

Overall I think that readers will be able to relate to many of the thoughts provided by the author, depending on where they are in life and prior experiences. He provides many areas to ponder and a variety of topics. Sometimes seeing thoughts written in black and white often trigger a change. I’m a firm believer the more unhappy you are with your life, the more negative your thoughts.

I will admit that the one area that found most off-putting was the cursing. I personally just don’t find it beneficial in this type of book. I also prefer a bit of introduction as to why the book was written and what the author wants readers to get out of it. However, if you like a challenge and are willing to slowly read and ponder many of these thoughts, “Bipolar Sagacity Volume 3” by Thomas D. Sharts, M.ED, is for you.

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“#FMJ Trust Transition Trade” by Jane Gallina


Jane Gallina
Jane Gallina (2017)
ISBN 9781773028873
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (1/18)

There is a lot of money to be made in trading, but like anything in life, you have to learn to develop your skills and take responsibility. I will admit I know very little about trading, other than what I see on the news. Gallina’s book, “#FMJ Trust Transition Trade” is one that is informative and encouraging for those of us, especially women, who want to start trading.

“#FMJ Trust Transition Trade” is a series of interviews/biographies of several women who became day traders from scratch, and through trial and error live financially independent today. Through the help of Timothy Sikes, the author learned about the pros and cons of day trading, what to look for and most of all be optimistic and learn all you can by watching the market, attend workshops and network with other traders.

Many of the women in this book state that you have to learn about trading on a daily basis and be willing to take a risk and develop a strategy. I also found that you need to be willing to trade on a weekly basis, find time to watch the market and set aside money specifically for trading. Interestingly enough, but not surprising, there are very few women day traders, although that is changing. Part of the problem is that there is no one place where women traders can connect and discuss strategies, market ups and downs, or receive positive support from each other.

“#FMJ Trust Transition Trade” is easy to read and provides great suggestions about some early low risk trading — and don’t rely on friends for stock tips. One of the most important tips is you have to know yourself and don’t let negativity get you down.

One of the cons for me while reading is there were some terms I didn’t understand and therefore didn’t comprehend what the author or women were talking about. I think it would have been a good idea to include a glossary on some of the basic terms. The author did include sections on Free Trading Tools, Recommended Books and You Tube channels to watch.

Overall I found the book very informative and well written. If one is interested in learning more about day trading, “#FMJ Trust Transition Trade” by Jane Gallina is a great read.

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“The Controversial Mayan Queen: Sak K’uk of Palenque” by Leonide Martin


Leonide Martin
Made For Wonder Publishing (2017)
ISBN 9781613398814
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (1/18)

“The Controversial Mayan Queen: Sak K’uk of Palenque” by Leonide Martin is a fictional story within Mayan history.  The story follows the life of Sak K’uk, the first woman to rule the Mayan empire. The story begins with Sak K’uk’s brother, Aj Ne, a ruler who is criticized by Sak K’uk’s husband for being a pacifist, neglecting the army training, and having no concerns for being prepared for war should that time come, even though they were at peace. Sak K’uk agreed with her husband, but could not do much about it as her advice was not being heard. Instead, she focused her time into getting her young son, K’inich Janaab Pakal, prepared for ruling at his young age of five, as she believed he had the same special talents of foreseeing the future as his Grandmother, and she was convinced he was able to talk with the gods. She convinced the High Priest of Lakam Ha to begin young Pakal’s training, without knowing that there were enemy plans to attack their kingdom. She had not foreseen all the struggles she would have to face to secure her son’s future as ruler, and to re-build her kingdom.

Leonide Martin’s knowledge of the Mayan culture is impressive. She uses her understanding to create a real picture of the story’s setting. Her amazing plot building skills are evident as well, as I kept reading, finding it hard to put the book down.  Having said that, I did find the story to be a difficult read, especially in the beginning, due to the unusual character names and places. Even with the characters, place, and politics information presented at the beginning of the book (which I believe it to be essential to read before starting the actual story in order to enjoy the book) there was so much information presented in the first chapter that I had to go back and forth in order to be able to follow along.  As I read more and more, though it did get easier, and I got used to the Mayan language names and references.

I did feel the dialogue felt too formal between the characters, and that Pakal, the son, spoke more like a grown up instead of a child when it came to his vocabulary (although he was special, I believe he still would have spoken like a child even if smarter than his years). So the dialogue kind of put me off a little sometimes, yet, Leonide Martin’s storytelling skills would grab my attention with her wonderful narrative voice, amazing descriptions, and captivating plot.

Overall, “The Controversial Mayan Queen: Sak K’uk of Palenque” by Leonide Martin is an awesome read if the reader sticks to it through the first couple of chapters to get used to the Mayan vocabulary.  I recommend it to all readers lovers of historical fiction in the Americas!

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