Book Spotlight: Ezekiel J. Walker’s “The Madea Factory”

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Who is left to best tell the story of any community or gender? The people within it, or outside forces who shape the narrative to their liking.  The fundamental question of this ownership of “story” and the manipulation of cinematic art is the premise of a new book that everyone should read, Ezekiel J. Walker’s “The Madea Factory.” This year has been the break out year for African American leads for highly rated television shows like FOX’s “Empire” with their finale being the highest rated TV show of the week. Anchored by powerful performances from Oscar nominees Taraji P. Henson […]

Spring Break Good Book List For 2015

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Spring is officially here, and we have collected an array of fantastic reads for you to consider popping in your suitcase or picking up at the local bookstore for the beach or for a stay-cation nearby. Smart reads for people, young adult to adult, who are interested in non-fiction and fiction new titles.Make sure to check out: How do you cope with parents who get drunk and fight? How do you deal with being bullied by one glaring, stomping sister while watching the other, beloved sister turn into a wild stranger? How do you find happiness in a family torn apart by […]

Spring Break Page Turner: Stacy Robinson’s ‘Surface’ One To Pack

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Looking for beach blanket book or a poolside page-turner you can dive headfirst into while you’re away on a Spring Break getaway?With a mix of classic romantic novel themes, a touch of a thriller wrapped in thoroughly modern fiction, we’re finding a winner in newcomer and bestselling author, Stacy Robinson’s debut novel.The Stanford grad knows a thing or two about the world her protagonist Claire inhabits.  In this powerfully written and insightful novel, author Robinson explores the consequences of flawed choices, the complex nature of betrayal and forgiveness—and the intriguing possibility of second acts… Make sure to grab this book […]

2015 PEN Literary Awards List Of Winners

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PEN American Center today announced the longlists for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards, including titles by writer and photographer Teju Cole, debut novelist Phil Klay, journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, poet Claudia Rankine, and many more.  This announcement comes earlier this year than in recent award cycles so as to bring more immediate attention to a wide array of deserving titles published in 2014, representing a diverse spectrum of talent.“For some writers, being recognized on PEN’s longlist can be a catalytic event, sparking attention and awakening audiences to a new and important voice,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN American Center. […]

25th Anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 92Y Event March 2, Details

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To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, NY1’s Pat Kiernan, “Sesame Street’s” Roscoe Orman (“Gordon”), MSNBC’s Abby Huntsman, best-selling children’s author R.J. Palacio and Seussical The Musical’s David Holcenberg visit 92Y on March 2 at 10:30 am to read the beloved book and other Dr. Seuss favorites to approximately 900 NYC public students (ages 5-7), and via free, live webcast at www.92y.org/livecast.March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, as well as Read Across America Day, an NEA initiative. The students have been invited to come dressed as their favorite Dr. Seuss characters; and a Dr. […]

European Resistance in the Second World War Review

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European Resistance in the Second World War by Philip Cooke  & Ben H. Shepherd Everyone knows of the role of the French Resistance in the fight against Hitler – what is far less well known is the role of other nationalities who were equally active in attacking the Nazis be it underground, partisans or guerrillas or simply non-cooperation. The Nazi’s actually faced fierce opposition in many occupied countries, none more so than in Greece where the German attempts to capture Crete proved to be a decision they bitterly regretted.  The Cretan warriors were determined not to give in and caused […]

X, A Novel Author Ilyasah Shabazz Book Signing, Feb. 6

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Book and author spotlight: X, A Novel Author Ilyasah Shabazz Book Signing, Feb. 6 in Los Angeles.  Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of famed civil rights activist Malcolm X, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of her father’s assassination with an appearance at Loyola Law School where she will discuss her father’s life and sign copies of her new book entitled X, A Novel, Friday, February 6, 2015 at 12 pm. The event will be attended by Loyola students, faculty and community leaders.BackgroundMalcolm X was assassinated at the age of 39 by three gunmen at point blank range on the evening of February […]

Steampunk Soldiers Review

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Steampunk Soldiers: Uniforms and Weapons from the Age of Steam by Philip Smith and Joseph McCullough Imaginative, entertaining and brilliant illustrations combine to create a book that is positively stunning. Steampunk is one of the fastest growing sectors within the fantasy genre and this is a fascinating example which everyone who likes fantasy or art will adore.  The book purports to deal with the art works of Miles Vandercroft who travelled around the world between 1887 and 1895.  During his travels he sketched soldiers in the many countries through which he passed, and made illuminating comments on their gear, clothes […]

Author Interview: Could the Super Bowl become the Ultra Bowl?

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  Book spotlight: Award-winning author I.J. Weinstock’s new book Ultra Bowl is a young adult, sci-fi novel that speculates on the future of football and the dangers of our digital age. Taking place 100 years in the future, Ultra Bowl is an adventure fable that connects the recent scandals that have plagued the NFL with the possibility that professional football will one day be played by robots. M&C spoke to author I.J. Weinstock about his new book:Why did you focus on football as the sport or activity that will one day be infiltrated to this extreme by technology?I.J. Weinstock: A […]

Written in the Blood Review

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Written in the Blood by Stephen Lloyd Jones Sci-fi, paranormal and mystery all mixed together in one fell swoop – and it is not easy reading either. This is a door stop of a book totalling nearly 500 pages. It is a story which demands all your concentration in order to keep track of the characters, story lines especially given the way it jumps back and forth through a couple of hundred years of history. Leah faces one simple question throughout this book – who do you trust? And when it is her life, and those of others at stake, the […]

The Coniston Case Review

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The Coniston Case (Lake District Mysteries) by Rebecca Tope A good relaxing read, with characters that you feel you know, that you can imagine meeting in the street or in the shops. These are people that live and breathe. An entertaining plot line which kept my interest throughout, leaving me wondering just what would happen at the end. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next in this fascinating series set in the Lake District. Persimmon Brown is a somewhat unlikely heroine, being the owner of a flower shop close to Lake Windermere. Still recovering from nearly being killed […]

The Great Game: A Professor Moriarty Novel Review

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The Great Game: A Professor Moriarty Novel by Michael Kurland An offshoot of the Sherlock Holmes universe, this is a pastiche focusing on Professor James Moriarty. It is the latest in a series of novels written by Kurland dealing with the Professor’s adventures, and putting him an entirely different light to that portrayed by Conan Doyle. Strict Sherlock Holmes fans will not like it – but anyone who enjoys Victorian mysteries undoubtedly will! When an unexpected visitor is shot by a crossbow bolt, while standing on the doorstep of Moriarty’s home, Moriarty starts to investigate. At the same time, his […]

The Art of Total War Published

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Games artwork book The Art of Total War was released this week.The hardback features images plotting the 15 years that the Total War franchise has been preoccupying budding generals all over the world. The book features images from Shogun, Medieval and also includes a look at Attila and Arena.Journalist Martin Robinson penned the book and as well as the art work it has interviews and commentary from the art team who produced the work.There is a limited edition version of 500 copies. It has a different cover, a premium slipcase and includes a signed print but Rado Javor, who worked […]

The Slow Regard of Silent Things Review

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The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss Set in the Kingkiller fantasy universe, this is a short novella focusing on the tale of the mysterious girl, Auri. It tells the tale of Auri’s life and what makes her tick, what has made the character she is.  She lives in a strange world of dark places underneath the University, tucked among sprawling tunnels. It is a forgotten place, and Rothfuss has created a very atmospheric tale bringing this place alive.  The wonderful black and white illustrations are a delight, helping the reader to envisage this strange world.  But I […]

Dead of Winter Review

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Dead of Winter (DCI Andrew Fenwick) by Elizabeth Corley When a girl goes missing from boarding school in the dead of winter, the police find their attempts to find her hampered by unhelpful teachers and pupils. Convincing them of the urgency of the situation takes more time that Superintendent Andrew Fenwick would have liked, especially since it means stepping on the toes of the local police force into the bargain.  But when high profile families are concerned, anything can happen.  It soon becomes apparent that the situation is much more complex than anyone could have imagined.  Hints of an abusive […]

Crooked Herring Review

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Crooked Herring by L.C. Tyler This is a cozy mystery story involving a crime writer as the detective. Elthelred Tressider is a somewhat reluctant sleuth, he would much prefer to concentrate on writing his novels (even through they are getting trashed by a reviewer).  Then Henry Holiday contacts him and asks for his help.  Holiday is worried, he thinks he has killed someone but cannot remember where or when.   It might just be linked to the disappearance of Crispin Vynall, a crime writer with whom Holiday had been out drinking on New Years Eve. To make the situation worse, Tressider […]

Watercolour Flower Portraits Review

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Watercolour Flower Portraits by Billy Showell An extremely well written, well illustrated book which will help any aspiring botanical artist to create brilliant flower portraits in watercolour. Billy Showell has developed a deep interest in flowers and is able to bring the flowers alive on the page.  Although watercolour lacks the lustre of oils and acrylics, Billy’s watercolour illustrations have a depth and shading which is quite unusual.  By working through this book, you can acquire all the basic skills that any flower illustrator would need.  Apart from covering items like light and shade, techniques and creating composition, she focuses […]

Bad Blood Review

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Bad Blood (DI Marjory Fleming) by Aline Templeton When Marnie was 11 years old, her world changed dramatically. Her mother disappeared, leaving her alone in the house suffering from a head injury. Now an adult living in London, Marnie wants to know just what did happen that night many years ago.  Marnie can remember nothing of the events beyond waking up bleeding. But her search for the truth is an unwelcome one. Her return to the Scottish village where she had lived until that fateful night opens up a can of worms that many would prefer lay hidden permanently.   Innocent […]

Restless in the Grave (Kate Shugak Mysteries) Review

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Restless in the Grave (Kate Shugak Mysteries) by Dana Stabenow I have read one or two of Dana Stabenow’s books in the past and have never been quite sure whether I liked them. This one was really gripping.  It caught my attention from the very beginning, and I found I just could not put it down.  An Alaskan billionaire dies in a plane crash and suspicions arise that it might not have been an accident. He was not one of the most popular people in the neighbourhood and as soon as Kate Shugak begins to investigate, it is easy to see […]

Truth and Fear Review

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Truth and Fear (The Wolfhound Century) by Peter Higgins Set in a Russian style fantasy land, this is an intriguing concept. State control is all encompassing, people fear the state police. You do need to read the earlier volume – Wolfhound Century – first, otherwise the plot does not make sense.  It would help if a short summary was given at the beginning as to what had happened earlier. Vissarion Lorn (a former state police officer) and Maroussia Shaumian are now on the run from the Secret Police. They are also hunting the truth about the Angel.  Who and what is […]

The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle) Review

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The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle) by Miles Camero One of the best fantasy stories I have read for a long while. The Red Knight is a mercenary, leader of a company that has already proved itself in war. Hired to protect an Abbess and her convent from creatures of the Wild, it is just another job (or is it?).  He does begin to wonder when faced with wyverns keen to rip heads from shoulders. It also becomes clear that the situation is not as simple as it at first seems. Twenty eight florins a month – is it really […]

Miami Graffiti Art Review

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Miami Graffiti Art by H. Love From the 1980’s onwards, towns and cities worldwide were targeted by the growth of Graffiti artists. This is one of the most controversial styles of art. Some regard it as defacing the environment, creating unsightly images on the sides of buildings and underpasses; while others regard it as urban art, a way in which youngsters can have their say.  This book deals with the emergence and growth of graffiti art in Florida, particularly in Miami.  It is a massive collection of images, showing the development of this form of artwork since the 1980’s, up to […]

How to Draw Flowers & Trees in Simple Steps Review

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Trees fascinate landscape artists.  From Constable right through to Tolkien, trees have been magical, dreamy creations. Trying to recreate the trees that you see in the forests and fields is another matter, which is why this book will be welcomed by artists of all standards.  Using a selection of images, sketches and step by step instructions, he shows artists how to draw trees, leaves and seeds.  Techniques such as how to create a pattern of lights and darks; measuring angles and getting proportions right; as well as illustrating the grooves and patterns of bark are clearly explained. A particularly useful  […]

World of Fire Review

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World of Fire (Dev Harmer Mission) by James Lovegrove Perfect for Sci-fi devotees, this story is action packed and imaginative. Set in the world of Alighieri, Dev Harmer is a reluctant ISS agent. When he wakes up on a new planet, he never knows quite what form he is going to have.  His cloned body on this occasion is certainly not what he would have chosen himself.  (Nor would he have chosen to come to Aligheri!)  It is an infernal world, with temperatures averaging 1,000°C that turn rock quickly into lava. Unfortunately it is also a very valuable planet, rich […]

River Cruising in Europe Review

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River Cruising in Europe by Douglas Ward If you want to know anything about taking a cruise along a river in Europe – this is definitely the book for you. It is positively essential reading for anyone who has never been on a river cruise and is considering that option. There can be little doubt that river cruising is an extremely attractive holiday option as you can travel very close to the centre of major cities, moor alongside and enjoy exploring heritage locations without any problems of driving in strange areas. A cruise of only a few days can mean […]