12/10/11

AUTHOR RUSSELL FERRELL

Another review....
Reviewed by: Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS
Rating: 9 out of 10
Title:  Acrocanthosaurus The Bones of Contention by Russell Ferrell.  Subtitled  The True Story of Cephis Hall and Sid Love The Arkansas Hillbilly and the Choctaw Indian Who Outsmarted the Corporation and Saved the Dinosaur (Paperback)

Comments:   After finishing the Russell Ferrell work Acrocanthosaurus: The Bones of Contention (Historical Dimensions, 2011) there is an instinctive desire to mutter a loud, "wow!" 


In 448 pages the author has packed a story whose complexity, importance, and historical value can only be described as 'epic.' In the story of how two intelligent and capable amateurs were finally able to prevail against corporate greed,intimidation, academic short-shortsightedness, research rivalries, and worse is an important lesson for everyone. The author so completely explains the history, processes, and meaning of events that, even a reader without any knowledge of southeast Oklahoma, dinosaurs, fossil hunting, or confusions of legal and political activity- can clearly understand the struggles chronicled. 

Cephis Hall and Sid Love - co-discoverers of the rare find - have to join the ranks of 20th century folk heroes. They battled the Weyerhaeuser Corporation of McCurtain County (OK), elitist academics and false accusations and raids by armed police. It was not an easy battle and it consumed the lives and best years of the main players. It ended finally, after many years, on a positive note but also one with a strong sense of what might have been.

This is a "must have" for anyone who has a scientific bent, anyone who enjoys an exploration of the depths of human stupidity,loves a controversial topic, corporate greed, political and legal shell games, and the hint of academic snobbery. It is a well written and produced softbound work and any library will be enriched by adding this title for its paleontology, Oklahoma history, twentieth century biography, and general 'good reads' collections.


Publisher: Historical Dimensions/Malloy Incorporated, 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-615-43814-6
Cost: $ 15.00 (approx.)
Description:  Softbound, illus., 448 p. 
Available from: Amazon.com

11/20/11

A Review of The Mound



The Mound is an exciting tale about the renovation of an old hotel, which holds many secrets. This haunting story draws you in to each dark corridor, as the spooky building literally comes alive. There were times during my read I found myself holding my breath, fearful of what might jump out around the next corner.


The Hudsons’ have a stimulating writing style, full of thrilling energy and cleverly spun history. Though there were times I found I needed a dictionary for a few of the words, this is only a reflection of my own limited education. This book is brilliantly constructed for those who love a fast paced, chilling story, with exhilarating action.


The Mound has it all, engaging characters, goose bumps, a battle scene and the satisfying sigh that comes at the end of a long journey. The high intensity of this story was impossible to walk away from and when the voyage was over, just like a few of the main characters, I felt changed somehow; victorious and extraordinarily invigorated.


8/23/11

THE MOUND: A Novel

Reviewed by: Ann Brown,         Rating: 9 out of 10
Comments: 

The Mound is a novel about an historic hotel in a sleepy town, mysterious omens, and something that is struggling to awake; intentionally tipping the hat to all their favorite horror authors and settings, The Mound, is a fascinating and fast-paced journey into the imaginations of its authors, Cullan Hudson and Marilyn A. Hudson.  The story of a group of people brought together as they investigate a historic and mysterious old hotel, leads the reader down familiar hallways but then brings some surprising twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.  Interesting characters spring into immediate life, an architect with a past he can’t seem to get away from, a maverick archaeologist, a vindictive journalist, and a policeman turned paranormal investigator.  All strong and engaging, but specially the young psychic, “Shade “ Hoffmeyer.   She literally stalks into scenes in her Goth boots creating memorable moments.  In her character there is a strong indication that this is someone we will be seeing more of, a lot more, if the reader is lucky.  Recommended for readers who enjoy suspense, horror, paranormal and mystery fiction.

Publisher: Whorl Books/CreateSpace
 ISBN: 978-1463755782
 Cost: $18.00 Description: 350 pg.
Available from: Amazon.com

2/6/11

THE BONES OF SUMMER

Another review....

Reviewed by: Ann Brown
Rating: 8 out of 10

Comments: A collection of twenty stories with a chilling theme throughout.  Some stories fall into the 'cozy chiller' category, such as the romantic "Our Dance" or the melancholy, "Homecoming".  Others, have a sharper edge to them and horrific elements of death and gore.   A few are downright spooky.  One is there, obviously, for  sheer tongue-in-cheek fun.  The titles alone are intriguing: Dancing in the Moonlight, Night Lights, Erebus, When Shadows Move, It Came One Night, Runestone, The Fungus, When I'm Stronger, and The Bones of Summer...


Recommend it for older teens to adult readers with a taste for short stories, suspense, paranormal and the macabre. Good high interest title to motivate readers.


Of note are the endorsements on the cover :
" Marilyn uses a darkly poetic writing style to create atmospheric, character driven stories. The result: chills and a need to read the next." Keith Pyeatt, author of Struck and Dark Knowledge.


"[She] has a way of captivating your senses and making you feel the emotions of her characters. The BONES OF SUMMER demands your attention and leaves  you wanting more." Terri French White, author of Tulsa's Haunted Memories.


Publisher: WHORLBOOKS

ISBN:

Cost: $ 15.00

Description: Perfect bound, p.195

Available from: Amazon.com

11/5/09

Those Pesky Verses of Paul


Author Marilyn A. Hudson tackles a topic that has long afflicted many women in the Christian church. For one of the few times, the apparent limitations of women in the life of the church are examined by a woman. The words of the Apostle are balanced by examing the actions of Jesus Christ. Centuries of assumptions and "copycat" commentary are peeled away to reveal a world of new possibilities. The result may surprise some, anger many, and challenge all to reconsider "Those Peskey Verses of Paul."

ISBN: /
Description: 70 pg. ;Perfect bound / Cost: $11.99 / Order : Cafe Press

Endorsements for “Those Pesky Verses of Paul”:
“Marilyn Hudson provides more than an eye-catching title; in this work she delivers corrective to misnomers concerning the biblical portrait of women. Her conclusion that Jesus inaugurated an elevation of women to their proper distinction, and that Paul echoed that practice in the Church, desperately needs to be resounded in our day. With her stroke of a pen and sharp grasp of scripture, history and gender differences, this writer compels both men and women to re-examine ancient texts and contemporary interpretations in a quest to arrive at the truth.” Dr. Terry Tramel, Professor of New Testament
“Marilyn provides much needed balance in her examination of those “pesky” verses. Finally, a woman looks at the scriptures, sees the truth, and communicates it!” – Anna Storm, Renaissance Fire Alliance


“Mrs. Hudson's work explores a subject that has plagued the Christian world for centuries. What role, if any, should women play in the ever-unfolding drama of the church? Rarely has there been unity of thought in this "arena." Her work is informative, innovative and intriguing. It states clearly and succinctly the examples from the scriptures that have been argued many times. She writes to declare truth rather than to "prove a point" or "make a case." Bound by neither time nor culture, she makes her presentation in perspective of both in order that the reader understands more clearly, what the doctrinal precedent is. Christ brought liberty to the captive--even the captive of culture.” – C. Iaquinta, Certified Counselor and Educator


“Marilyn is…a skilled writer and storyteller…It’s so refreshing to have a balanced view of the role of women in the Bible – especially one that is written by a woman!" – Megan Miles


“For the first time I was able to read a woman’s perspective on these most perplexing of scriptures, Marilyn raises the questions that have puzzled, and disturbed me for years. She brings much needed sense and sensibility to the text. She handles them with a strong spiritual depth that preserves Paul’s place in the canon while bringing some much needed fresh air to the murky, bias layered texts…” Mary Brown, Educator

7/14/09

CIRCLE OF SOULS - GATHERS GOOD CHARACTERS

Occasionally a book comes along where you are reluctant to put it down. The story so strong, the telling so powerful that you put your life on hold and enter the magic of the written word.
This novel by new author Preetham Grandhi is such a riveting work of strong and unique characters. A delicate young girl begins to have strange dreams, a horrific killer strikes a peaceful community, and the genesis of a story of love, human corruption, and struggle are revealed with the an artist's touch.

Can the caring doctor help the young girl in his care? Can he make sense of her troubling dreams before something happens to her? More importantly, can he really believe what her dreams seem to mean about the nature of reality and of life and death?

Strongly recommended as a welcome addition to the collection of all lovers of suspense, the paranormal, crime stories, and a good read. Perfect addition to library collections of the same as well.
This is one author to keep an eye on and to wait with eagerness for the next gift from this inventive and sensitive imagination.
Webpage: http://www.acircleofsouls.com/

6/9/09

WHY WAS THAT TREE IN THE GARDEN, ANYWAY?


"'Why Was That Tree in the Garden, Anyway?' is a thought provoking work that, like a rich meal, must be tasted slowly and with much digestion. The author has attempted to explore one of the most written about works of the human endeavor - the Bible. Like a scientist exploring a distant world, he has attempted to divest himself of excess baggage in the form of pre-suppositions, imposed dogma, and tradition. As a result, he notes intriguing connections and explores possibilities not found in the canon of most traditional biblical studies models. Not all will agree with his methodology, not all will agree with his connections, but all will agree this is a book that challenges and expands the horizons of what we think we know about the Bible and its message." --- Ann Brown, reviewer, Review It!



"Why Was That Tree in the Garden, Anyway?" by Stan Robertson is a book that covers many multi-dimensional topics concerning the nature of God, humanity, and redemption. Content includes chapters on "Jesus", "The Mission of St. Paul", "The Spiritual Progress of the Christian", "Heaven", and "Mind, Matter and Christianity." The author reads widely from many philosophies, schools of theology, and even utilizes new theories in quantum physics to provide a re-interpretation of familiar religious concepts within Christianity. It is an enlightening, conflicting, uncomfortable, but ultimately liberating reading of traditional literature. Each reader will find something uniquely individual, a resonating chime, that will haunt and seek out an answering chord in the heart.


One key idea is that the scriptures are more in tune with a more metaphysical interpretation, much like the opening verses of the Gospel of John. The recent discovers from the Nag Haggmadi texts may prove to support many of the ideas expressed by the author and force a re-evaluation of the way we have understood spiritual life and the message of the Christian Bible. The author notes "We are not what we appear to be. We are not fleshly spirit or spiritual flesh. Flesh and spirit are forever spirit. We are born of spirit. We are spirit. We are spirit imprisoned in flesh..." (pg. 360).


As all around people are reaching out and seeking 'something more', reaching past what has always been taught or understood, dissatisfied with things as they have been, sensing that they are on the cusp of some great cosmic awakening, Stan Robertson's book is timely. As all around there is the magnetic pull of change and a growing search for meaning and truth, "Why Was That Tree in the Garden, Anyway?" provides a needed direction in achieving a synthesis of deeper understanding and a vision for future possibilities.

--Marilyn A. Hudson, Review It!

5/11/09

"SOMETHING DESIRABLE" - SHERILYN POWELL



What happens when the best laid plans go awry? That is the challenge of this seductive, engaging and heartwarming tale. Adrienne Baxter is a brilliant young architect who, on the fast track, has a life all planned out. Set to enjoy a life with Brian - Dexter walks into her life...and he was not supposed to happen! As a lovely and intelligent African American woman, she finds she is uncharacteristically weak and unsure as she enjoys the attention of both men. Only one, however, can win....
iUniverse http://www.iuniverse.com/





Another review....
Reviewed by: Ann Brown Rating: 8 out of 10
Comments: Sherilyn Powell debuts well with this winning tale of a smart woman who suddenly finds her self challenged and feeling anything but smart as two men pull on her heart strings. Strong characters and vibrant emotional scenes bring the story to life. The main character is fiesty and strong figure who is soon waging an inner struggle as she is torn between desire and love. A must read for romance lovers and readers looking for strong, yet compassionate female characters. Highly recommeded for library romance and general fiction collections.
Publisher: iUniverse
ISBN: Cost: $ 16.95 (pb) Description: Perfect boundm, 243 p.
Available from: Amazon.com and iUniverse.com

4/5/09

"Dream Share" : Magic-Realism for Younger Readers


Another review....
Reviewed by: REVIEW IT! Rating: 8 out of 10
Comments:

What happens to people in a coma? Can our dreams be real? Do 'alternate realities"' exist?
"Dream Share" is a book for older elementary and middle school readers. It's the story of a twelve year old who accidentally enters the comatose state of his elder brother and the two begin exploring the mystical realms between life and death. Fun soon turns to fear the boys find themselves fighting for their lives in a place where your worst nightmares come true, and each is forced to confront their own demons in order to survive.


Author, Rita Milios, is a licensed psychotherapist, author, and workshop presenter. Rita Milios, known also as The Mind Mentor or The Dream Lady, is an expert in the subconscious mind and in the use of the mind, Rita has been researching and writing about dreams, intuition, meditation, visualization, creativity, and other mind-related topics for more than twenty years.


The book is an engaging and very human story told with energy, understanding of human nature, and sympathy for the real anxieties and fears youth face. The theme of the paralyzing influence of fear is predominant and as the protagonist of the story, Sam, learns to "see more deeply", the boys begin to understand that reality is often what you perceive it to be. This truth is what will lead them safely home.


A bonus section at the back of deals with the the "story behind the story" as the author discusses the real life and real science inspiration for the books paranormal themes: what happens when a person is in a coma? What are "out-of-body" experiences? Do alternate realities truly exist? A special glossary to understanding dreams and a "Dream Journaling" section is included.


Recommended for youth in grades 4 to 9 (may could be used with older readers needing a low level high interest book) and for enriching special collections related to counseling, dreams, fears, the paranormal or alternate belief systems.



Milios, Rita. Dream Share. Rose Heart Publishing/Cypress Imprint (www.roseheartbooks.com), 2009.

ISBN: 978-982233728 Cover Price: $12.95 (U.S.)
Description: Permabound, p.119 (86 pages of story + bonus material)

4/4/09

'GOING HOME TO 'LITTLE DIXIE"


Another review....
Reviewed by: "REVIEW IT!"team member, Ann Brown Rating: 8 out of 10
Comments:
Tennyson once remarked, “I am a part of all that I have met.” That thought comes to mind exploring the southeast corner of Oklahoma as illustrated in Blaine Dixon’s “Going Home to “Little Dixie”: A photo Essay on Southeast Oklahoma”. In this photographic memoir, the author tells his personal journey of returning to his roots in SE Oklahoma, “of getting back together with old friends and of re-discovering a state that I actually knew little about while growing up there.” Along the way, he encounters intimate places, small towns and large communal focal points. Ranch life, rodeo, Powwows, High School sports, weather, Amish Oklahoma, hunting, seasons, and the Civil War re-enactors explored through the camera lens. The journalist has captured the essence of a small corner of one state and how in the 21st century that region continues to reflect its deep southern influences and roots. In the crisp, colorful images a slice of real American life is reflected, celebrated, and honored for its endurance, courage, and humanity.
Publisher: Blurb,
www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/574431
ISBN: 978-1-60743-192-3

Cost: $83.95 +S/H; Hardcover image wrapped $89.95 + S/H; Softcover $70.95

Description: Color, illus. 352p.
Available from: see above or email
blainedix@yahoo.com

RENDEZVOUS ROCK - THE PLACE TO BE


Another quality review....
Reviewed by: "REVIEW IT!", Ann Brown, with Marilyn A. Hudson Rating: 9 out of 10
Comments: There are times – special and rare – when you pick up a book and just reading the first line is such a pleasure you are hooked. “Eric carved, Susan watched, and the rock didn’t care.” From that first sentence, Rickey Bray, proceeds to lead the reader into a rich wonderland of the imagination. While on vacation in the mountains, Eric encounters an unusual and captivating girl with emerald eyes whose destiny is fraught with both magic and mystery. Eric and the girl are plunged into an odyssey where both delight and danger lurk around nearly every corner. Using the rich potential of the language the author develops characters, situations, and ideas that are satisfying on a multitude of levels. The rich, vibrant, often poetic use of the English language is a delight that immediately sets the work apart. The characters are real, well developed, and likable. The situations are constructed to be – even when dealing with the fantastic – immensely believable. A highly recommended addition to any reading collection, especially those who enjoy fantasy, adventure, and romance.
Publisher: Robert D. Reed Publishers, Bandon, OR
ISBN
: 978-1-934759-25-7 Cost: $ 19.95 Description: Permabound, p. 430
Available from:
Amazon.com or
www.rdrpublishers.com

3/28/09

'13 NIGHTMARES' - delivers the Chills


Title: 13 Nightmares Author: Dennis McDonald

Publisher: iUniverse www.iuniverse.com Description: Paperback (permabound), 222 pages

Cost: srp $15.95 ISBN: 978-0-595-53498-2 Reviewer: Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS


Dennis McDonald's recently released story collection, 13 Nightmares, delivers on the chills and thrills scale. A tagline from one of the stories is featured on the back of the book : "Horror is best written in the dark." McDonald was surely in the deepest bowels of subterranean dark when penning these tales because they will satisfy the most supernaturally starved, macabre munching, horror hound around. So sit back - do not try to get comfortable because these will keep you on the edge of your seat - and do read "13 Nightmares". The writing is quality with strong characterizations revealing a deep understanding of human nature and a masterful use of setting to add to the atmosphere of the tales. Highly recommend it for library collections on 'Oklahoma authors', short story collections, and any paranormal or horror reading needs or collections. Find it on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com

2/24/09

RELUCTANT GUEST


BY KENNETH SHELBY ARMSTRONG

nother review....
Reviewed by: Ann Brown Rating: 8 out of 10
RELUCTANT GUEST
Armstrong, Kenneth Shelby (Author)Paperback

isbn 9780979832765 Retail Price: $13.95
Rough Road Books
What happens when life gives you lemons? When you find that your best laid plans have taken a wrong turn? What happens when your life has gone where you never dreamed it would go and how do you make your way back? When the door of the cell slams behind you how do you find yourself? In a collection of finely crafted essays Armstrong explores all of those questions and in the process finds that flowers of humanity can bloom in strange places and that in even the loneliest of times there can be friends. Part personal reflection and part observational essays "Reluctant Guest" shares in sketches of life so real and so insightful that it can take the breath away. Along the way a cast of memorable souls are revealed who demonstrate that there are angels everywhere.

1/5/09

SEVEN-FOLD LIGHT


Another review....
Reviewed by: Ann Brown and Marilyn A. Hudson, Rating: 8 out of 10
Comments: SEVEN-FOLD LIGHT. John F. McAllister has produced a book that looks at seven "foundational truths" for readers interested in maturity in their Christian life. Contents include: First things first!; Fifty Reasons for Speaking in Tongues; The First and the Last: First Principles - Foundational Truths; As He Is - So Are We; Paul's Apostleship - A Pattern; Present Truth. An ordained minister, McAlister has a Masters in Divinity from Western Seminary in Portland, OR. He currently lives in Yukon, Ok.


This book is a good addition to collections looking at contemporary religious movements, Pentecostal-Charismatic studies, Christian life, and the Apostolic Restoration Movement and its collateral groups. For readers coming from the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement this book will be a delight as it explores with great new insight the truths from the pages of the Bible. A book for personal or group study with lots of material for contemplation and thoughtful reflection. John McAllister is a prophet whose teaching will be worthy of the reading. (A.B.)
Description: 110 pgs.; perfect bound; ISBN: 978-1593524142
Publisher: Christian Services Network, http://csnbooks.com/ $19.95

ARMSTRONG'S "ROBIN" SOARS

Another quality review....
ROBIN. Kenneth Shelby Armstrong
ISBN 978-0-979832789
Rough Road Books $14.95
Order: Amazon.com
Reviewed by: Ann Brown & Marilyn A. Hudson; Rating: 8 out of 10

Comments: Oklahoma author Kenneth Shelby Armstrong presents a story of lyrical beauty, deeply felt emotion, thought provoking actions, and lasting inspiration. It often soars to lofty heights as it presents a love story and a story of sacrifice. With an increasingly deft hand the author pulls the reader into a story filled with all too human figures as they struggle through war, life, and all that they find in between. Highly recommend this book for all library collections and for readers who enjoy romance fiction and inspiring stories.
"Robin" is tale that begins in WW2. "On the shores of Lake Biwa near Kyoto, Japan a distinguished bishop laid his head in the lap of a lovely Japanese woman and died. His death opened a secret that he had held since he was a young soldier exploring the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In some ways the secret was more destructive and dangerous than the atomic bombs that he knew so well."

11/2/08

SATURDAY NIGHT COCOA FUDGE. Gloria Teague

Title: Saturday Night Cocoa Fudge.
Reviewed by: Ann Brown and Marilyn A. Hudson; Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Comments: Gloria Teague's book offers up delectable morsels of human comedy as smooth and rich as the convection of the title. With a keen skill she draws the reader into a world that is slightly odd but also warmly familiar. The process opens a dam of memories for anyone who grew up in the past fifty years. Touching, funny, and often mystically insightful, Teague's book is one to enjoy in liesure and a sense of indulgance. It is a story of the world of strong women and the way that they contribute, enrich, and challenge each other and those around them. Each chapter is a sweet dessert of its own to be savored, contemplated, enjoyed and revisited. All in all this is a well written book that balances nostalgia with humor and is sure to be enjoyed by anyone who craves a good read...Saturday night or any night of the week.
Publisher: Roots and Branches
ISBN: 9780937660416
Cost: $ 14.00-20.00
Description: paperpack/perfectbound , 188p.

9/14/08

OKLAHOMA HEARTS ONLINE.COM by Mary McCauley


Reviewed by: Marilyn Hudson Rating: 9 out of 10
Comments: "Oklahoma Hearts Online.com", is a charming and natural story populated by people so real that you just know you have met them yourself. They fill the streets of many Oklahoma towns and cities. In this novel, McCauley begins the journey by leading a group of people from the normal and even mundane everyday world into one of suspense, romance, and friendship. Woven into the tale of one woman's heroic response to a terrifying situation are the struggles, questions, and achievements that fill every life. This is romance in the true sense of the word with deep adventure, virtue, and values. Themes of personal effort, adaptation, and growth are woven throughout the story. McCauley shows promise in fashioning strong character driven tales that are rich in dialogue and in creating situations that ring true to the soul. A perfect addition to any Oklahoma, romance, or light suspense collections. It is especially useful in satisfying the reading needs of customers who desire entertaining romance without excessive sensuality.

Publisher: Publish America, 2008
ISBN: 1-60610-670-8 Cost: $ 21.95 Description: perfect bound, 251 p.
Available from:
www.marymccauley.com; Amazon.com

7/29/08

THE TREASURES OF LIFE: Kenneth Shelby Armstrong

THE TREASURES OF LIFE
Reviewed by: Ann Brown Rating: 8 out of 10
Comments: This delightful biography escapes being narcissistic - as so many autobiographies can sometimes come across to readers - because the author's tongue is firmly planted in his cheek. He is almost an "everyman" sharing insights and experiences that cross time and place to expose the common human experience. Setting the tone are statements such as : "I didn't come along until 1927, but my parents chose an auspicious place for my birth. They chose Skedee, Oklahoma." He strings together with skill and a light touch episodes of life dramatic, silly, and deeply moving. All of which serve to engage and retain the reader's interest. In 1909 his grandfather shot a man in a bar in Kentucky motivating the move into the new state of Oklahoma. That is the starting place as he explores events of life as a pastor-farmer's son, as a person trying to live a life of meaning in a changing world. An excellent and interesting addition to any adult, Oklahoma biography, or general biography collection.

Publisher: Rough Roads Press (Box 7, Fort Towson, OK 74735)
/ Kenneth Shelby Armstrong (http://www.kennethwrites.com/)
ISBN: 978-0-9798327-0-3
Cost: $15.00 (perfect binding) Description: p.264
Available from: www.KennethWrites@me.com

3/29/08

VOICE OF CONSCIENCE By B. Kaya



Another review....
Reviewed by: Ann Brown Rating: 8 out of 10 Comments: "Shows great promise".
Publisher: ISBN: Cost Approx.: $ 26.95 Description: Perfectbound, 356p.
Available from: Amazon.com

Voice of Conscience is an emotional journey from the shadowed heart of painful human experience to someplace that provides hope but without facade. As the reader follows the protagonist through changes, mistakes and wise choices the humanity is real and raw. It is an uncomfortable book because it occasionally makes you stop and think. Even after closing its final pages, questions and ideas continue to haunt. A sometimes lyrical work with an inviting style. A strong start for what will sure to be an important new voice. A definite add to adult collections needing diverse voices and cultural experiences. Universal themes of revenge, hate, anger, memory, grief, struggle, survival, displacement, and forgiveness permeate the book - so it would make an excellent book discussion title. Due to some graphic content (some violence and a romantic interlude) would recommend for mature adult audiences or library collections.

11/23/07

VILLAGE VENGEANCE: THE NOVEL. Ingrid Brown


Reviewed by: Ann Brown Rating: 8 out of 10 Comments: "Shows great promise".
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation; Ingrid Brown
ISBN: 978-1-4257-3283-7 Cost: $10.00 Description: Perfectbound, 84 p.
Available from: Amazon.com, Borders.com, Steve's Books, Tulsa, OK.

Once upon a time in America communities were safe havens for people. Children walked the sidewalks unharmed, doors went unlocked, and people cared about their neighbors. In VILLAGE VENGEANCE, the journey from innocence to awareness begins for the main character Janiece one summer, as the hot days are chilled by the shadow of evil that palls the life of everyone. An unknown monster walks among them raping, beating, and making life a new and uncomfortable realm. The nagging question "who is it?" causes people to retreat, lock doors, and begin to mistrust everyone. In Village Vengeance the victims are the innocent, the guilty, and the ambiguous. The ending challenges and haunts with a multitude of questions about choices, decisions, and when exactly does right becomes wrong. In many ways, Village Vengeance is a lot like the Biblical story of Job and one wanders how much can one person experience before something within them does give up, curse God and die? If the main character acts as metaphor for society - maybe more than we think we can stand. In some ways Brown's story is an urban Homer with a character who is tested, and taunted, by some evil deity bent on the decay of the simple and honest goodness we knew. There are echoes of the classic hero's journey as the main character discovers that evil - first tasted in that terrible loss of innocence - is a part of everything from cheating friends, to abusive neighbors, and threatening children. There is something sorrowfully wrong in the larger world. The dark terror of the early story spirals through the book in crisp, raw first person narrative. There is the primal fear of the "other" and the stranger and the unknown. We walk with the protagonist through the landmines of life recalling our own missteps, bad choices, and wanting to yell "Look out!" at something our own experiences can foresee. Village Vengeance is not a comfortable book, it is not a fun book, but it is a book filled with human experience and from hearing the voices of victims maybe society can find itself - find its soul - once more.

The book is recommended for public libraries adult collections and is suitable for upper middle school to high school young adults. It lends itself well to sociology studies of community, crime, fear, social responsibility and victimization. It is a good addition for African American collections. The type is small so it will not be appropriate for older readers or those with vision problems. Occasionally the narrative is a little passive but other aspects of the story soon pull the reader back into the tale. All in all a strong new voice that shows good promise as she continues to write. Keep your eye out for more from Ingrid Brown.

10/20/07

"THE BASE STEALERS CLUB" by V. Gilbert Zabel


Publisher: 4RVPublishing (PO Box 6483 Edmond, OK 73083; www.4rvpublishingllc.com; 404-820-9640)
Date: 2006
Author: V. Gilbert Zabel (
www.viviangilbertzabel.com)
Review: 9 out of 10 -***Good book!
ISBN: 978-1-84728-220-0 Cost: ?? Reviewer: Mary Ennis Available: Amazon.com

One difficulty that parents, teachers, and librarians face is finding books that can appeal to the older male adolescent reader. During that period from 4th-9th grade when reading problems become apparent ,and fear of peer pressures become a paramount influence, it is often hard to get boys to read. V. Gilbert Zabel has created an engaging story that should appeal to the sports, as well as the mystery, fan. It should also be useful for use with older boys who might be in need of what is often labeled "low skill-high interest" books.

The story should appeal to those boys needing a "quick read" (it is 137 pages). The writing style is simple and casual enough to keep them reading out of sheer enjoyment. The storyline focuses on a team facing some important games, but also become victims of theft, and must solve that mystery in addition to winning heir game series. Hidden in the storyline of a small team with big dreams lurk subtexts, delivered with a subtle touch, about loyalty, believing in yourself, courage, doing the right thing, honesty, and forgiveness. All in all, a good read with a strong, positive message for boys in the age group.

Although an experienced writer and teacher, with past publishing experience, this is Zabel's first young adult novel. Minor problems in characterization and voice in no way detract from the over enjoyment of the book. As this author continues to hone skills and reflect more naturalistic elements, many more enjoyable books are sure to result.

The illustrations, by Zabel and designed by L.K. Polly, are based on photographs of boys in the age range of the reader in a variety of team settings and they are very good with a contemporary look. They are also general enough to appeal to sports fans for a long time and should not date too easily. The cover is rich turf green with a color photo of a team huddle. Perfect bound, the book is about 8x5 inches in size, and appears more than moderately durable for a paperback. Patrons will enjoy the easy to handle size and the type font used is easy on the eye.

This book would make an excellent addition to any school or public library collection for books in upper elementary and middle school, for children who love baseball, or for any parent looking for a book to tempt their upper elementary or middle school son to read.

7/29/07

CODE NAME: PRETTY KITTY - REVIEW

Rating: 7 out of 10 ; M. Hudson
Title: Code Name: Pretty Kitty
Author: Kathryn Thurman and Ravenna Alexander.
Publisher: Raven Guard Press, Del City, OK, 2003.
Description: 45 p.; paper.

The copy reviewed was a test run exploring the potential in a series about a fashion conscience orphaned cat who becomes a spy. The story would appeal to any 2-4th grader who was crazy about cats, fashion, or spies. It could also be enjoyed by younger children as a read-to-me tale. Pretty Kitty was lost in a tornado while traveling through Oklahoma and was taken in by her current family. Through a chance encounter she learns that there is a wide spread and well organized rat conspiracy of world domination. She bravely, and with a fine fashion flair, responds to the call of duty. The character is unusual and there is action with some suggestion of violence. Pretty Kitty is a fun read that, hopefully, will lead to further adventures of this winsome and aware little cat. Construction is simple staple with color cover and images so would not withstand library or classroom use but for personal libraries it will serve very well.

7/28/07

ELEPHANT HIPS ARE EXPENSIVE : REVIEW


Title: ELEPHANT HIPS ARE EXPENSIVE ;Review Rating: 8 out of 10. M. Ennis
Author/Responsible party: Marilyn A. Hudson ; illus. Haley Fulco Publisher: Hudson House Publications, 5658 NW Pioneer Circle, Norman, OK 73072
Date: Release date April 2007 ISBN: 978-0-9778850-2-2 Cost: $8.00 srp
Description: 64 pages, paperback, center staple; an early chapter book
Available: Whorlbooks
A charming story drawn from true events. A group of children join with others across the state in raising money to replace the elephant in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Oklahoma City. They face bullies and overcome obstacles to do their part. It is an inspiring story and the delightful black and white illustrations add a winsome quality kids will love. It is inspired by real efforts of Oklahoma children to raise money to buy what would ultimately be, Judy the Elephant. Perfect for children 1st through 3rd grade and enjoyable by all ages.
Additional review information from the FALL 2007 issue of The Territorial Tattler (used by permission):
Elephant Hips are Expensive
By Marilyn A. Hudson c. 2007 Illustrated by Haley Fulco
Published by Hudson House Publications,
5658 NW Pioneer Circle, Norman OK 73072 email whorlbooks@yahoo.com
Review by Rosemary Czarski, Territory Tattler (review Issue) FALL 2007

“Even the smallest things can realize the biggest dreams” is printed in small letters at the top of the cover of this book. This sentence gives one a clue to the wonderful story inside. Marilyn has taken an Oklahoman story and brought it to life for children in this book. She has told the story of the purchase of Judy the elephant for the Oklahoma City Zoo in 1949 in clear readable text. In the author’s note, she has given the background of how the children of Oklahoma gathered their pennies and dimes to bring a new elephant to the Zoo. Marilyn has given sources for further reading, included language arts, mathematics, social studies activities and fun songs and art activities for most ages through sixth grade. This is a wonderful addition to materials for children on Oklahoma during this centennial year. Teachers will find it an excellent book to read aloud for older elementary age children and a good starting or concluding to a unit on zoos, wildlife protection, Oklahoma, and other curriculum subjects. Storytellers, once they have gotten the author’s permission, will find it a wonderful Oklahoma story to tell all ages. The older adult audiences will be able to “remember when” and the younger adult audiences will find it a wonderful story of the Oklahoma spirit. I recommend this book to all schoolteachers and people looking for easily read stories about Oklahoma.

Strange State: Mysteries & Legends of Oklahoma: Review



Review Rating: 10 of 10 ;M. Ennis ****Excellent book in this field!
Title: Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma, rev. Centennial edition.
Author/Creator: Cullan Hudson
Publisher: Hudson House Publications, Norman, OK 2006, rev.e d. 2007.
Cost: srp $24.00 ISBN: 0-9778850-8-9 Description: approx. 180 pgs., illus. perfect bound.

The first edition of this work was launched at the "Red Dirt Book Festival" in 2005. I first saw it then and was impressed by the scope of the contents. It was encyclopedic in nature and, more importantly, it revealed an inquiring mind. No wide-eyed fanatic of the paranormal. Just someone willing to explore the unknown. He was also willing to discard what could not stand up to examination and consider all possibilities in a reasonable way. Now, in this Centennial edition he has refined the work, and added more detail updating many of the previous stories. He has even added some that may not have been seen since the early 1900's! The result is a strong work that explores all the strangeness in Oklahoma with reason, imagination, and wit. A must for every public library collection. The cover art is edgy and vivid and reveals the background of the author as a contemporary graphic artist as well as a writer. Available: Strangestate Blog (Paypal)

Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma
Written by Cullan Hudson
Copyright 2005, Hudson House Publishing
Norman, Oklahoma
hudsonhousepub@yahoo.com

2nd Review: "I was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Many of my friends, however, are scattered across the country. I am always getting interesting e-mails about exciting and rather spooky happenings going on everywhere but here in Oklahoma. I never had anything interesting to tell them about this state, until I read Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma by Cullan Hudson.

For instance, did you know that Oklahoma had its own mummy? How about those half-dozen lost treasures located throughout the state? Let’s not forget the ghost of Belle Starr or the mysterious lights seen in the skies over several areas of Oklahoma? Did you know that we actually have our own Dead Man’s Gulch and Bigfootville? Interested yet? How about those mysterious tales of Oklahoma’s past?

Strange State details a great many stories and a number of strange places in an easy-to-read format with a few points to ponder scattered through out the book. Cullan Hudson does an amazing job of finding obscure myths and legends (Downtown’s Chinese Tunnels, Edmond’s misplaced Bodies, and the town of Bethsheba) as well as some that are more widely known (The Stone Lion Inn, University of Oklahoma’s Cate Center, and the Skirvin Hotel). The truly interesting point of the book is the scope of it. It ranges from ghostly sightings and hauntings to UFOs and Big Foot. There is even a mention of a unicorn. Yes, I did say unicorn.

Curious about this strange state called Oklahoma, then be sure to check out Cullan Hudson’s Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma. You’ll find a wealth of information gathered by Cullan, as he sought out the truth behind the stories and legends passed down from generation to generation. You won’t be disappointed. Freaked out, maybe, but not disappointed. " ----- Reviewed by Ravanne Alexander

ONE NIGHT CLUB & A MULE BARN: REVIEW

Title: ONE NIGHT CLUB & A MULE BARN: The first 60 years of Southwestern Christian University
Author/Creator: SCU History Committee (Marilyn A. Hudson, Megan Miles, John Chasteen, Terry Tramel, M.W. Murr, Mark Arthur, Gary Burchette, Patty Woodring).
Publisher: Tate Publishing, Mustang, Oklahoma Rating: 8 out 10 M. Ennis
Date: 2006 ISBN: 1-5988690x Cost: 11.99 Description: perfect; p.;141 p. Soon appearing in an audio format as well. Available: Amazon.com

So often history is like sand falling through our fingers; it is here and then simply gone. As Oklahoma celebrates its centennial it is good to see groups in the state begin to record their own past. A small history, One Night Club...,reveals a religious group with roots going back before statehood. A descendant of both the Holiness and the Pentecostal movements, Southwestern, opened in 1946 in rural Oklahoma County. It grew into one of the largest junior colleges in the state before troubles beset it and the junior college closed and the school shifted its educational focus. Proud of its spiritual roots, the book does not bog down and is easily read and understood by anyone - regardless of background. It celebrates its roots, it revels its wrinkles, and then goes on to show that Oklahoma determination that was on the faces of struggling people in the Depression era.. and the oil bust ...and numerous other tragedies of Oklahoma history. It is a story of a family really...and that family's joys, its faith, problems, and ultimately, its survival. It's attractive cover has eye appeal, it has several pages of illustrations, and will be of interest to collections of Oklahoma or religious history. Locales mentioned: Stratford, Oklahoma County, Kingfisher, Shawnee, Seminole, Tulsa, & Monte Ne (Ark).