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Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two is a collection of animal-themed rhymes aimed at children. With a diverse vocabulary and introducing animals that are popular, as well as those who are hardly known to any, Anil conveys a message that is bound to raise nature lovers and animal protectors. In this enchanting book, young readers will meet Ross the Albatross, a love triangle between species, ants that face a grim demise, and other unexpected companions.

Two personal favorites of mine were Racial Harmony, and Wake Up, Sleepyhead. Racial Harmony features a cow and a sow that share their meals in the Taoist communion concept of ‘Tao.’ Wake Up, Sleepyhead, is about a sea snail Periwinkle, constantly tired and sleepy, is warned by the author not to let sloth get the better of them, lest they face the same fear as Rip Van Winkle.

Anil beautifully mixes child-friendly themes with more in-depth zoological knowledge which students from elementary to high school can enjoy. This approach transcends the narrow audience of most children’s books. Examples of concepts introduced in this book are those of metazoa, protozoa, and extinct animals. The author starts out each section with a cute poem, with only one rhyming sound per poem. After the poem, there is detailed biological information that is fascinating and not the kind of information you expect to find in a children’s book. This is a wonderful book for opening discussions with children and encouraging the desire to dive into the sciences. Combined with the brilliant and detailed illustrations by Kalpart, this magical book will entertain the entire family.

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two is a poetry picture book written for children but can be loved by all. This children’s book is not just poetry, but fun science facts and information that will appeal to older readers making this a book that can be loved and read for many years.

Pages: 95 | ASIN : B09NJP9XV3

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Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective 

Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective, is an intriguing novel about a blind detective and a near-future world of enhanced dogs, chimps, and flying cars. The story primarily takes place in northern Alaska and Canada and follows Peter Shaw and his assistant, Watson, an intelligently-augmented talking golden retriever. With the help of the Canadian Mounties, they investigated a series of gruesome crimes committed against the native Inuit people of the region. Intertwined with this story are the happenings of the Integrated North American Space Force, where a seemingly unconnected tragedy has a far-reaching impact on the Inuit people and the world itself.

Author Shawn Adair Johnston uses shifting points of view as he flows through his narrative. We experience this new futuristic world through the eyes of many characters, including the naive and innocent Watson, the truly detestable Lt. Colonel Rex Trantor, and the slow-rolling existential crisis that is Sergeant Aristotle Jones (an intelligent chimp who works for the Mounties). We see them through shifting inner monologues and consciousnesses, where many characters explore what it is to “be,” including their ideas of right from wrong and even their pondering on whether on not they have a soul.

I feel that this narrative structure is a bit jarring at first. The point of view changes abruptly from man to man, dog, chimp, antagonist, and possible new antagonist. However, seeing the points of view of particular characters really enhances the suspense at times and providers some much-needed information to follow the clues of the mystery.

Much of the story is told and not shown, as actions and events are expressed to the reader through the characters listing a series of things that happened or will happen. I feel that more dialog between characters would have enhanced the storyline more than reading their own thoughts on what they were experiencing and what that meant to them. However, the internal dialog of the characters did provide a unique perspective given the diversity of the characters in this story.

Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective, is a captivating story that is not too overpowered by the technological marvels of the sci-fi setting while incorporating humor from the characters. In addition, the fantasy elements brought in add an intriguing aspect to the plot that blends the two genres into a fantastic read.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B09QD6SVNG

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A Better Heart

A Better Heart by Chuck Augello follows Kevin Stacey, who is trying to make it in the film industry. His friend and coworker, Veronica, is with him when his actor father, George Gringo suddenly steps back into his life. One day in the middle of a shoot, George shows up with a mysteriously disheveled capuchin monkey, a bundle of cash, and a gun. Henry, the capuchin monkey, has been stolen from a research laboratory by animal rights activists and is supposed to be dropped off at a sanctuary. But, before that can happen, the authorities catch onto the plan. From there, a fateful journey begins where during a road trip, Kevin faces several moral dilemmas. He is torn between helping Henry and risking his father’s freedom or helping arrest the activists. During all this, Veronica finds herself in the ethical crossroads as well, between wanting to make a difference in the fight against animal cruelty and the indifference towards animals she grew up with.

This humorous story follows the bond between a father and son, the rebuilding of personal ethical philosophies in a young woman, and a question into how much an animal’s life is worth compared to a human one. The author uses a slow-burn style to start the novel in order to introduce all the characters and their backstories. The background information allows readers to really understand how the characters got to where they are and why the tension builds so strongly between them.

Chuck Augello’s writing is incredibly creative; his writing style is realistic and engaging. The characters come alive with his ability to capture their captivating personalities, humor, and self-reflective thoughts. The characters are the type of people that most readers will identify someone like them in their own lives, making the story more relatable and personal.

A Better Heart is a riveting comedy based around moral decisions and a family drama. Building relationships and discovering personal values are mixed with humor as people come together to save Henry, the rescued lab monkey.

Pages: 257 | ASIN : B09C2S6P78

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Stupid Love 

Stupid Love by Danielle Dexter is a fun, emotional and relatable tale of starting over, in life and love, following a difficult break-up. The lovable main character, Rachel Parker, finally finds the strength to leave a toxic relationship after years of gaslighting and endless broken promises of change. Readers get to join her on her journey of moving back to her hometown. Everything is new, her own apartment, a new job, the new dating scene- but she has a wonderful group of old friends that keep her uplifted and grounded as she navigates everything that comes with her new beginning. 

We follow Rachel and her friends as they experience love and heartbreak while hoping to find ‘the one’ and live happily ever after. They are there for each other as they learn the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of dating and work to find lessons and growth through the hurt they experience. Rachel takes her pain to the page and starts an anonymous blog revealing her experiences, thoughts, and feelings on love which allows readers an even deeper view of how everything she goes through affects her. We watch as she starts to date again, makes questionable choices, loves the wrong men, and ultimately discovers what she really wants and needs from both herself and her partner in a relationship.

This was such a fun read, and I think absolutely every girl can relate to how ‘stupid’ love can be. Dexter writes in a way where you feel she is talking right to you as if she is your best friend telling you about her life. She is genuine, vulnerable, and relatable- writing the thoughts we all have felt in a way that ensures the reader that they are not completely senseless, and definitely not alone, in choosing the wrong men even when they know better.

Stupid Love is a heartwarming story of healing and self-discovery, with the ultimate quest of happiness in love. This is an amazing book for anyone who finds themselves scared to start over or wondering why love is so very complicated.

Pages: 400 | ASIN : B09QK62Z7P

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POWERBALLS

Powerballs Be careful what you wish for by Jimmy Clifton is a story about a middle-aged couple who unexpectedly wins the lottery and find themselves in a very different world, offering them a life vastly different from their challenging careers and financial struggles. Henry Ball, an accountant in a progressive firm, fantasizes about living a more exciting life, fantasies about his younger female coworkers and greater recognition at work. Likewise, Henry’s wife, Rose Ball, dreams of a luxury lifestyle that she sees her friend enjoy.

As the couple dreams about their ultimate life, they suddenly realize their most fantastic fantasy, winning the Powerball lottery. Quickly though, they learn how this transformation will create a new set of challenges for each of them. Things are not what they seem as they dive into this extravagant world. This growing tension and realization of their newfound financial freedom becomes a journey that leads them on separate paths. The couple’s new adventures lead to many exciting and humorous encounters that give them a changed perspective on life, but not without a few shocking lessons and opportunities.

Readers will enjoy this light and funny read that details the struggles of a couple’s journey from mediocracy to luxury and how they trade one set of tension and challenges for another, with higher risks and experiences. The author narrates a well-paced, lively tale that creates a sense of hope and adventure for a couple struggling with mid-life identity and goals while transitioning into the extravagant world of billionaires and how they transform into this world of privilege.

Powerballs Be careful what you wish for is a riveting, enjoyable read that’s quickly absorbed. It’s a fun page-turner that readers will find entertaining and witty, with brilliant character development, lots of action, and a well-structured story filled with drama. Readers looking for travel fiction or contemporary American fiction will enjoy this humorous, fast-paced read.

Pages: 250 | ASIN : B094DTBRPX

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Tales of the Elder Statesman

Tales of the Elder Statesman by Edward Faith is a series of short stories involving the Elder Statesman character, although not necessarily from his point of view. All the tales are set in the fictional town of Rough Edge, Alabama. They feature an interesting cast of characters, including the Elder Statesman’s wife, Lillian, and a host of their friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. The highly original short stories are all no more than two or three pages each. The tales are concise and typically do not follow the format of having a beginning, middle, and end. Rather than stories, they are brief snapshots of life in rural Alabama.

The structure makes more sense when reading about Faith’s intention with this book to record the funny stories he collected from several old gentlemen of his youth. The tales are amusing, and readers will especially find the story of Mrs. Swaf to be the most entertaining. It is about a woman called Nancy who frequented a fabric shop in a nearby town. The shop had many features to recommend, including a warm and helpful shop owner, Mrs. Swaf, whose name was above the door. However, after many visits over the years, Nancy is finally informed that the owner’s name is not Swaf; in fact, the SWAF at the front of the shop is an acronym for ‘Southwest Alabama Fabrics.’ This story is hilarious in the telling, and the author portrays his sense of humor in his writing. However, the author does have an amusing turn of phrase from time to time, such as “a managerial group severely infected with inflamed bottom line mesmerism.”

Tales of the Elder Stateman are entertaining and a quick read. This fictional collection of humorous short stories will delight readers of all kinds looking for humor in their life.

Pages: 161 | ASIN : B08ZRYK7PH

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The Importance of Being Earnest Enough

Paying homage to Oscar Wilde, Tom Beattie has written a one act play, The Importance of Being Ernest Enough. Fans of Oscar Wilde’s original will be won over with this modern-day rendition. In this clever tribute to Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Beattie re-imagines the 19th century upper-class social sphere of Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing and the women they are intended to marry. But there’s more than one twist in this tale; this caricature of upper-crust Britishness is set in the US and the characters have mobile phones, Facebook and instant access to rampant gossip. What’s more, all the main characters are gay with no intention of marrying their opposite sex intendeds.

Tom Beattie’s extraordinary and comical production will have readers entertained with scenes that have humor permeating every aspect of the production from dialogue to stage directions. The dialogue is confident and quick-witted with a dizzyingly fast pace. The puns and double-entendres are smart and hilarious, worthy of Wilde himself. This original work is unpredictable and rich with plot twists as the characters are rousing and imaginative. The stage direction notes give readers the chance to visualize how this production would look being performed by a full cast.

This play came with a bonus short scene in which the author is trying to teach his husband, David, how to meditate. Readers will laugh at the antics and back and forth banter between the two. It’s entertaining and amusing with Wildean nods to the political environment and the inevitability of aging.

The Importance of Being Ernest Enough is a fresh take on the classic by Oscar Wilde. Beattie’s version is modern, smart, engaging and hilarious and well worth a read. Those that have a passion for stage production or classics like Oscar Wilde will find something to laugh about and love in this play.

Pages: 121 | ASIN : B09LD1WRM9

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Holy Fruit Toots Rosie!

Holy Fruit Toots Rosie! is about a curious dog named Rosie that loves to try new foods, especially foods that are not her dog food. Unfortunately for Rosie, she learns the hard way that she has an allergy to Fruity Toot cereal. The house is soon filled with the smell of fruit toot toots every time Rosie sneezes. After a call to the vet the family learns what to do and spends the day helping Rosie with her fruity toot tooting issue.

Dogs provide families with love, affection, entertainment, and sometimes worries. Thankfully in this picture book written by Christine Logan, Rosie had a mild reaction to eating something she was not supposed to have. Humor permeates this fun story as even the cat is upset by the smell coming from poor Rosie. Children will love the ridiculous images that accompany the hilarious narrative of Rosie passing gas with every activity she does. Children will be laughing all the way through this entertaining story.

Logan does a great job explaining the serious nature of allergies in animals and what to do for them, while infusing humor into the information. At the end of the story the author includes a pictorial checklist of what is safe and not safe for dogs to eat, play with, and what their poop should look like if healthy. Also included is a list of things to look for if you think your pet is sick and a reminder to call the vet if you think they are.

This comical picture book is brought to life through the fantastic illustrations of Gayatri Ray. Their rendition of the fruity toot toots will have readers doing a double take and then laughing at the fruit rings flying out of Rosie. The artwork makes this picture book come to life while allowing Logan to pass on a serious message about pet care.

Holy Fruit Toots Rosie! is an extraordinary and lighthearted picture book that children and toddlers will find entertaining and unforgettable. The important information on taking care of animals that is included is presented in an effective matter that will be remembered by children and adults.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B09HW541G6

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