Great Books, Great Reads, Great Gifts!

Spirited but Offbeat, Melissa & Kasho makes a perfect holiday gift along with some other fun books for those cold, dark winter nights!

It’s less than a month to Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, and the vicissitudes of 2020. Snow is in the air, it’s getting dark earlier, and sometimes you need a break from all the holiday cheer! What’s better than cozying up to a good book with a cuppa, and escaping into a whole new world?

MELISSA AND KASHO BY CAMILLA CHANCE

This award-winning book is a must-have for young women in your life! Melissa & Kasho! (soon to be an audio book as well!)

This paranormal romance is also a girl’s coming-of-age story. Taking place in the transitional year of 1959, Melissa and Kasho touches upon issues — bullying, parental abuse, sexual abuse, suicide — that young adults face today.

It is also a love story that transcends time and space, between Melissa, a shy 17-year-old, and the spirit of Kasho, an indigenous man from another world. Through their eternal connection, Kasho assists Melissa in learning about who she is and what she wants from life. She feels lost in a transnational high society world that drives her to the depths of despair. But Kasho offers her snippets of philosophy to impart that eventually enable her to develop her strengths and realize her self worth. He provides her the means to escape the harsh realities set by her parents and society, and become her own woman.

Melissa’s realistic story traverses class, gender, and power dynamics. She is bullied into taking a certain path required of her class, including marrying a certain man. Although her parents would be appalled, she finds a new best friend in an American girl, Daisy. However, it’s through her love of Kasho that she finds a kindred spirit who truly sees her. The only problem is, he’s worlds and times apart.

In an age of bullying and teen suicide, the resonating lesson throughout the story is, “There is always a way of making your life better.” But how will she and her best friend, Daisy, find it?

Camilla Chance was born in Reading, England, and came to Australia in 1946. She worked as an editor at Faber and Faber, an English teacher and a book reviewer, and now lives in Warrnambool. Her bestselling book “Wisdom Man” was based on her 27-year interview-conversations with Banjo Clarke, an Aboriginal leader convinced that traditional Aboriginal values could help the world counter greed, conceit, and lack of human caring. In Melissa & Kasho, Chance has taken those same Aboriginal values and applied them.

Melissa & Kasho has stood at #1 on Fupping.com’s 9 Books That Every Real Modern Feminist Should Read for several months.

Book Review Directory wrote of this excellent YA read:

A coming of age story with a twist, readers looking for a little something different will enjoy Camilla Chance’s own spin on a well-known plotline. It stands out from the run-of-the-mill young adult novels with its depth and insight into the journey that every young girl travels on her way to adulthood. A dash of romance, a hint of fantasy, and a whole lot of entertainment, this book will be welcomed by fans of the genre and by anyone who is simply looking for a good story.

Melissa & Kasho is available from Amazon.com, Booktopia, from Australia, Target.com, KOBO.com, lberiauniversitaria.it from Italy, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, and fine bookstores everywhere.

 

Thrilling and Complex — THE COMPANY OF DEMONS BY MICHAEL JORDAN.

What if Cleveland’s worst nightmare returned for one final act of vengeance? And the thrill of those nightmares is back in Michael Jordan’s award winning book The Company of Demons

Awards Featured on Michael Jordan Books

What can we say, multi-award winning The Company of Demons is a tightly-written, escalating thriller that journeys into the affects that Cleveland’s first serial killer had on the lives of those who tried to bring him to justice. The characters, even minor ones, are well developed and true to life — with all their flaws, foibles, prejudices, and talents — and on full display, which helps move the story along through some interesting twists and turns. Cleveland itself becomes a character within the book, as the protagonist, Attorney John Coleman, moves through its environs — from the West Side and its strong Irish tradition to upscale Shaker Heights, and other spots that reveal the strong ethnic and racial diversity of Cleveland.

The brutal murder of a friend by the Butcher not only brings back the terror of his youth but entangles him with the victim’s daughter, Jennifer, as he tries to settle her father’s estate.

“The Company of Demons” is a 5-star read, especially for those who like a book that builds to a stunning conclusion with enough suspense and intriguing plot points to satisfy even the most observant reader. Even when you are guessing what’s about to happen, the author takes you in a new direction.

In Jordan’s non-thriller writing life, he is an attorney and arbitrator. His fascination with the Torso Killer began when he returned to Ohio (he attended Ohio Wesleyan University for his undergrad) to practice law. While waiting for a deposition to begin, he was looking at some old photos on the wall. An older attorney told him the image was of Kingsbury Run, where the Torso Murderer was known to leave some of his victims. After that, he was hooked on the tale and learned how it destroyed Eliot Ness’ career as Cleveland’s safety director. Detectives even went to California to see if the infamous Black Dahlia murder was related to The Torso Murderer. That’s when he started to ask himself that fateful “what if” question, resulting in “The Company of Demons.”

From Medium.com review by Paola M Kalamaras & Paul T. Kraly https://medium.com/@paulakamaras/the-company-of-demons-by-michael-jordan-a-must-read-thriller-b6dff34690ce

Book Review Directory Wrote:

Jordan’s natural ability to mimic fear, pain, and death will keep readers on the edge of their seats as his characters discover the dark reality of their city. The Company of Demons is a thrilling ride ridden with gruesome murders that will haunt even those with the strongest stomachs. This crime thriller will remind readers how difficult choices in life can be a wake-up call to the blessings we take for granted, and, for these characters, the gateway to freedom.

The Company of Demons is available at your local booksellers, Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble IndieBound Greenleaf Book Group Books-A-Million,
800CEOREAD, iTunes (Audio), Google Play (Audio), Nook (Audio), Audiobooks.com (Audio), Playster (Audio), Amazon (Audio), Audible (Audio).

 

THE STUDENT WITHIN: The Art and Science of Easier Learning by Mike Pfaff

The award-winning The Student Within by Mike Pfaff is a must- have book for all the high-schoolers you know! In a fun anecdotal and yet well researched book, based on his own teaching experiences, Mike Pfaff offers teens and their parents and teachers a guide to easier learning and personal fulfillment. This book helps make it easy enough for everyone to uncover their unique intelligence.

Pfaff provides students and parents with a readable, comprehensive guide to learning as he shares anecdotes from his experiences as a science teacher, athlete, and actor. Inspirational and entertaining, Pfaff will tease out of his readers the secret to finding their student within.

Mike Pfaff believes that there are many approaches to being a better student in the classroom of life. “The Student Within” helps the reader or listener find his or her unique learning style, making it easier to understand and retain information, and drawing them closer to a path of endless motivation they ultimately can lead.

It has a teacher/parent guide so that the students and their parents or teachers can discuss Mike Pfaff’s takeaways and important lessons.

It’s an easy read and suitable for high school students.

Also, visit his YOUTUBE channel for more insights.

 

Intriguing Family Saga Begins — Franco and Anna Gennusa: Their Journey by Mary B. Patterson

Mary B. Patterson has taken the story of her family and transformed it into the first book of a multi-book saga Franco and Anna Gennusa: Their Journey.

Set in the waning days of World War 2, the saga follows the trials and tribulations of the Gennusa family as they attempt to survive the war and its aftermath. Anna and Franco Gennusa are raising six girls in Sicily and struggling to farm their olives and staying out of the way of the German soldiers stationed in their small Sicilian village.
A turning point in their happy family life is when Anna gives birth to their sixth and final daughter, Maria. As she recovers from a life-threatening delivery, Anna relies on her older daughters to help raise the younger girls, as Franco grows increasingly desperate to protect his family.

Franco works with other members of the village in secrecy to form a resistance. While his part in the Resistance Party protects his wife and daughters, the war, financial stress, and his drinking problem may be more dangerous than the German soldiers for the Gennusa family. It leads to an unforeseen circumstance that creates a division between Anna and her husband.

Once the war is over, Franco decides to take advantage of Anna’s American citizenship and move the family to New York City. However, a voyage across the ocean to the United States may be more than any of them can handle.

The Writing Life: Mary B Gennusa Patterson
Author of the novel Franco and Anna Gennusa:Their Journey, artist, poet, answers the Proust Questionnaire, and the…

Franco And Anna Gennusa: Their Journey is available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Kobo.com and other sites and retailers.

 

Sherlock Holmes at his best, yet! The Devil’s Due by Bonnie MacBird

In her third Sherlock Holmes Adventure, ( Art in the Blood and Unquiet Spirits,) Bonnie MacBird’s Holmes and Watson, written in the tradition of Conan Doyle himself, return to face Holme’s worst adversary in The Devil’s Due.

It’s London, 1890. After a series of diabolical murders of philanthropists with shady pasts, with suicides following closely after that, Holmes and Watson face a dangerous hunt that involves radicals and royals, mudlarks and musicians, playwrights and hostile policemen. Racing through the fog of a London winter, trying to stop the carnage as a mysterious “Lucifer” draws closer to home. Even though he is fighting Scotland Yard and a critical press, Holmes continues to investigate these crimes. Then his brother Mycroft disappears, apparently the victim of murder, and those loyal to Holmes begin to wonder if Holmes has a date with the devil?

Bonnie MacBird attended Stanford University, earning a BA in Music and an MA in Film. Her career includes four years as a feature film development exec at Universal, the original screenplay for the movie “TRON”, three Emmy Awards for documentary writing/producing, eleven Cine Golden Eagles for scripted and documentary work, numerous produced plays and musicals, and theatre credits as an actor and director. Bonnie is a regular speaker internationally on writing, creativity, and Sherlock Holmes. She is married to computer scientist Alan Kay and splits her time between homes in Los Angeles and London.

 

Feeling Mobbed up? A Reckoning in Brooklyn by Michael O’Keefe

The new book by Michael O’Keefe, author of Shot to Pieces and 13 Stories: Fractured Twisted and Put Away Wet and a novella Not Buried Deep Enough, takes us to Bushwick Brooklyn in the 1970s. This cesspool of drugs, violence, and depravity is infected by the Mafia. A survivor of Bushwick’s mean streets, Butchie Bucciogrosso is now an Italian cop who detests the Mob. After he returns from Vietnam he finds Bushwick in ruin. His partner, Fast Eddie Curran, had to kill his way out of Belfast.

They are the only cops with the courage to take on the Mob, becoming a deadly nuisance trying to win back their streets. Only the Mafia, their own dirty Department, and a corrupt federal justice system stand in their way. With themselves and their loved ones squarely in the crosshairs, can they destroy the Mob’s criminal empire before they are killed? Can they outwit a crooked Department of Justice before they are framed and imprisoned? The clock is ticking with Bushwick’s survival in the balance.

Michael O’Keefe is a retired 1st Grade Detective from the NYPD. For twenty-four years, he worked in the toughest neighborhoods in New York, specializing in investigating Homicides and other violent crimes. He was born and raised on the mean streets described in his fiction. His characters and settings are drawn from the people he encountered there — on both sides of the law. He lives on Long Island with his family, where he writes a little, and practices the ancient martial arts of lawn and swimming pool maintenance — when he is not coaching football. He is also an award-winning poet, despite swearing to everyone he is not a poet!

That’s it for a bit. We’ll have more recommendations to share after we get our own holiday rewards! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Paola & Paul

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