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Maverick, by Fernando Rover Jr., presents its purpose upfront in a crisp, cohesive, and certain manner—a moment of pre-contextual deliberation before readers are asked to take the plunge into this elaborate body of work.

Plain, generic titles served alongside poems constructed with intensity and intricacy serve as self-portraits of the complex human crushed beneath the burden of their role in corrupt society—the consequence of what occurs when a person is made to be seen as a laborer first and a human second.

The theoretical backdrop of this book, use of monochrome and modern design, and ability to blatantly state its arrival, presence, and pursuit is among the numerous elements that make Maverick worth reading. The specifics of its contents are powerful and thought-provoking. The stanzas and line breaks are phenomenal tools for allowing the breath of a poem to speak for itself.

Maverick isn’t a text of trickery, nor one of intellectual flexing and self-gratification. It isn’t written or compiled to impress the sea of nameless, faceless coffeeshop hipsters contemporary artists are pressured to indulge. Rather, it’s monochrome. It’s black, and it’s white. It’s text, and it’s art. It’s graphic design. It’s multimedia. Most of all, it is a calling out of capitalism, as well as all the ways in which we, as humans, are not only forced to survive under it but have actually become so accustomed to its vile lore that we have forgotten our own.

Maverick is an extraordinary work of poetry and art that gives the reader a chance to look into themselves and experience the message the author is presenting. In capitalistic fabrication, we lose our own authenticity — and that, in its most genuine essence, is what Maverick exists to call out and rebel against. I highly recommend this stimulating read for those who are looking for a creative outlet.

Pages: 100 | ISBN : 0578378868

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Rocky Mountains – A Self-Portrait

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It isn’t often that we get to sneak a peek into the hows and whys of the jobs and hobbies around us. Assumptions are easy to make, and it takes very little to make a guess as to what causes a person to become drawn to a career. Photography is one of those interests. There is much more to taking photographs than most of us will ever realize. This endeavor requires a great deal more than just a love of being behind the camera.

Photographer and author, Kent Gunnufson, shares his lifelong love and dedication to creating artwork with the camera in his autobiographical book, Rocky Mountains: A Self-Portrait. Gunnufson’s book is filled with the most amazing landscape images from his time spent in the Rockies. In addition, he has included photos of people and objects that seem to defy all logic in their beauty. The purpose of the author’s work is to share the story behind his career and his love of photography and his subjects, but the stunning imagery he has captured will be, without a doubt, what fascinates readers from cover to cover.

Gunnufson’s story is compelling and is a must-read for those interested in photography. There is a story behind each of the images he has taken, and they are all fascinating. He not only relays to readers how he found each subject, but he explains in detail the intricacies of the composition of each photo. This is something I found especially interesting as I read. Taking photographs seems, at first glance, like a simple task. Gunnufson, however, explains in language all readers will understand exactly how much thought and preparation goes into each one of them.

I have always been drawn to black and white photography whether it be nature or portraits. Gunnufson provides wonderful insight into the history of black and white photography and how it compares with color imagery. It really is a treat to see this side of photography and hear directly from the artist himself about the ins and outs of the process.

Rocky Mountains: A Self-Portrait is an astonishing look at the life of one photographer. Photographers and students of the art will appreciate the advice, insight, and history provided by the author. I cannot say enough about the beautiful images Gunnufson has created. There is a softness to his work that readers will find absolutely riveting. I highly recommend Gunnufson’s book for both his enchanting images and the heart he has poured into his personal narrative.

ISBN: 978-0-9605366-4-1

Promise Of The Visitor

A pair of police officers are called to the residence of Jacob, Amy, and their artificial intelligence alien that resides in a golden sphere called “Arcon.” They all have to muster up the courage to explain why Jack Markham is unconscious on their floor. They discover he is an international criminal. In a battle of self-defense, Jack was rendered unconscious.

After the ordeal, this novel skips ahead. Readers are taken to a cold night in November, where all three stand on the beach awaiting a space shuttle. The shuttle is operated by an alien woman who comes to them for rescue after her own home is destroyed by enemy forces. However, she didn’t just bring new technology to earth in her escape but also managed to get the enemy to their doorstep. So it is now their job to save their world from a similar fate to the alien woman’s home planet.

Author David Gittlin’s world-building skills are excellent and bring the readers right into the action, experiencing everything the characters do. With under 200 pages, this is a short quick read filled with thrilling action. Since this is book 3 of the series, I recommend readers have read books one and two as the author dives right into the action of book three, assuming that the reader knows of the character’s history. Gittlin expertly develops the characters in the story, and I grew fond of the AI that assists Jacob and Amy. The back and forth banter and the humor sprinkled into the dialogue made this book hard to put down.

Promise of the Visitor is a fast-paced, exciting novella that will have you hooked from the turn of the first page. I highly recommend this quick read to those who are looking to go on an entertaining journey through space.

Pages: 142 | ASIN : B09Y2FHL5R

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Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs

You may never understand the beauty of photography until you read Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs by Carl-Evert Jonsson. Carl-Evert Jonsson writes extensively on photography, focusing on Japanese paper for the digital printing of photographs. The author is intentional in his explanations and describes every detail for those not familiar with Washi.

The images in Carl-Evert Jonsson’s book tell a compelling story. The pictures are stunning, distinct, and aesthetically pleasing. The photos are classed into four groups; Places, Persons, Varia, and Mixed. Each of these categories tells a unique story that the reader connects with. I loved going through the images under Persons as one can see the different features in humans and how individual people are. Images of places are striking because of the locations the author drew his inspiration from. Varia and Mixed pictures are also eye-catching and impactful.

One of the best things about this book is that the author uses few words in the description and leaves the reader to form an opinion on the images without being influenced. Under the Mixed category, the image displaying the Notre Dame de Paris and the Vehicle. Brown ochre, primary blue was my favorite. Varia had a lot of impressive figures, but the image displayed Egg oil x1. Underneath: yellow ochre subjects were my best. The sense of illusion when one looks at the picture is satisfying. It feels authentic for a minute, then one feels a certain sense of imagination the next minute.

Carl-Evert Jonsson shares a personal touch throughout the book. Anyone reading this book will appreciate the author more as they keep flipping the pages. I loved reading the preface as the author gives a little background information about himself and the book. Carl-Evert Jonsson’s story is fascinating and increases one’s interest in photography. The author also enlightens the reader on techniques for digitally printing photographs on Japanese paper in the introduction. The short text was helpful, especially to readers that may not have been familiar with different photography techniques. The modest way of expounding on concepts and creativity displayed by the author is inspiring enough for one to delve into photography and related subjects.

Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs is a captivating book that photography students, lovers of nature, and individuals who fancy capturing objects and printing them will love. Any photography enthusiast will appreciate this work, especially the content under Places and Persons. Every image under this category was unique in its own way.

Pages: 54 | ASIN : B0998MKMTD

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Using Our Combined Passions

Author Interview
Brian Paglinco & Michael Pace Author Interview

Midnight Light, A Unique and Spooky Journey! is a collection of poetry and photography that shows how creepy things can be beautiful through a different perspective. What inspired you to create this book?

BP: The first photo that you see in Midnight Light is what inspired me to create this project with Michael. A colonial era crypt in the side of a hill. It’s façade green with mold, it’s iron doors brown with rust. A cluster of trees on top, stretching high in the air. It was hauntingly beautiful. Such images combined with Michael’s poems, I thought it was possible to bring a reader to that place and time. That is what I wanted to accomplish.

MP: My future wife and I started having get togethers at our home in 2010-2011 and we began to have certain themes like tv events or cocktail jazz parties, etc.. Brian would attend and at one event we began talking about his passion for photography. He said that he would like to shoot some pictures at a local cemetery and asked if I would like to join the next morning. After that morning we began talking about adding my poetry to his pictures and creating a book. For me, the project’s goal developed into something greater than finishing the book; it became a means for Brian and I to evolve our friendship and use our friendship to create a work of art using our combined passions of photography and poetry.

I loved the image accompanying the poem ‘Resting Star/Nesting Star’. Do you have a favorite or stand out image from the book?

BP: Well besides the first photo of the crypt, which is my inspiration for Midnight Light, I would choose the angel from “As Dead”. I go and visit that cemetery fairly often, and I always get a new perspective of it every time I visit.

MP: One of my favorites is Underneath Icicles and its photo on page 32. I can remember as a kid during the winter playing in my backyard. Against my house the daytime melting snow water would drip from the gutters and create ice drip castles on the ground when the water would refreeze. I remember thinking that they were emerald cities within the ice. These cities were perfect, almost heavenly. I would sit there and imagine living inside under the drips. Later I wrote Underneath Icicles thinking of those ice drip castles and dancing with my lost love inside them. The image on page 32 reminds me of me as a child looking into the emerald city and watching myself and the girl it was written for dancing inside the paradise, complete with our smiling blue lips…

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

BP: I really enjoyed exploring and taking photos for Midnight Light. But the ones we had chosen always had the themes of Michael’s writing in mind: Love, Death and Redemption.

MP: Love, death and redemption are the main themes in this book.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

MP: We have a second volume of Midnight Light that hopefully we will begin to talk about bringing to life in 2022.

Book Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Perfect read for the Halloween and Day of the Dead Season! A Unique and Interesting Journey…
Poetic tales of Love, Death, and Redemption, each paired with an artistic photo of a final resting place. This is Midnight Light, an artbook created in the crossroad of perspective. A modern Gothic literature piece. What is Dark and Creepy to Some, is Beautiful and Inspiring to Others. Come join us! Cheers!

Italians of Lackawanna County

Going through this book is akin to being virtually in touch with the Italian culture and customs. The author compiled text and images which show how beautiful the Italian community in America is and how wonderful the people are as they co-exist with others. Stephanie Longo tells the story of Italians of Lackawanna in a distinct and brilliant way that can’t help but admire the way of life of the Italians. The author starts by narrating the history of Italian immigrants who first moved to the county. The immigrants had to do menial jobs like farming, mining and other works that required hard labor. The first wave of Italian immigrants knew that only hard work would help them fend for their families. This notion was passed through different generations of Italian Americans as everyone had to work to survive.

The author shows the deep connection between Lackawanna county authorities and the Italians who live in the county. With pictures, the author talks about Italian-American themed events that happen throughout the county, the close ties between Pennsylvania administration and Italian officials in Sicily, the Lackawanna County Library System which promotes Italian American events throughout all nine of its branches, and the heritage and Italian pride witnessed in the county among other things. The author also highlights the monuments and buildings which were made in honor of Italian heroes and legends. They include the Gino J. Merli Veteran’s Center, The Christopher Columbus statue on Scranton’s Courthouse Square and the statue of Dante among others.

I absolutely loved the images Stephanie Longo shared of the La Cosra dei Ceri festival. The pictures were colorful and everything seemed perfect. La Cosra dei Ceri is a festival I would want to be part of if I ever get to be in Lackawanna County around May. I appreciate the author’s effort to explain in detail what the festival is about, and what each family does in honor of their patron saints. Religion and by extents Catholicism is a huge part of Italian living. It is beautiful how religion brings the masses together as they worship and celebrate life as one people.

Italians of Lackawanna County is about 70% images and 30% text. This is one of the things that made me enjoy reading this book. Pictures tell a lot and one can easily and quickly understand the content without having to read a bunch of words in a paragraph. I loved reading this book because the author shared a little history of the Italians in the county and how Italy is. Italians of Lackawanna County is a great educational read that I would recommend to everyone who wants to learn more about Italian-American culture.

Pages: 98 | ISBN: 1540228266

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The Three Lives of One

The Three Lives of One by [Mooney, Lesley]

A massive tsunami destroys the island home of a little girl. Left without a family, she is rescued by missionaries who name her ‘Patchula’ or ‘Patches’ and take her to Darwin, Australia. What follows is a story of misfortune and tragedy; adoption, death, abuse, forced prostitution, but also of hope as Patches finds joy and meaning, especially in her talent for photography and singing, in spite of the pain. Spanning Australia, America and Japan The Three Lives of One by Lesley J. Mooney is a sweeping tale which carries us across time and continents in search of love and fulfillment.

The book is written in beautiful yet un-flowery prose which is at times poetic. Mooney conjures up place incredibly well, and I found the movement between different continents particularly fascinating –the depiction of the sights, sounds and geography of these places gave me total wanderlust! The description of the tsunami and the wreckage and devastation that follows is extremely affecting and pulled me into the narrative immediately. Mooney is also skilled at portraying her time periods, which begin in the 1920s and move to the 1980s, and the changing biases and turbulent politics of the times.

There are many themes running through the narrative including womanhood, nature and environment, religion, the importance of family, and the value of keeping faith and resilience in times when despair seems never-ending. Although many terrible events occur in Patchula’s life, the book is ultimately about hope in the face of the unknown and what we can achieve if we have the strength to carry on.

Mooney has written a large and diverse cast of characters, and the world she has developed seems utterly real. Patches in particular leaps off the page as a fully-formed individual. Some of the mistreatment she endures is quite harrowing and difficult to read, but it feels very honest. Her hardships elicit great empathy in the reader; I was constantly rooting for her to overcome all of the tragedy in her life and felt completely invested in her development. The more peripheral characters are also well-drawn and prove to be quite emotive, some invoking feelings of intense anger!

One aspect of the book that bothered me slightly was the pacing. We are introduced to Patchula’s predicament, and the narrative subsequently moves very swiftly through the first part of her life and I would have liked this introduction to the story to be slightly more drawn out. Despite this, the rest of the book has a really good tempo, and because there are so many unexpected twists and turns I was always eager to find out what would happen next in Patches’ story.

This book moved me to tears, but it also gave me a great sense of hope. I finished it feeling as though I had been on a long journey–and an extremely rewarding one at that.

Pages: 361 | ASIN: B074M3LW12

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Never a Choice but Always a Gift

Never a Choice but Always a GiftMax Kristoff, a man in his thirties who is living in New York, is about to come face to face with his past. When he walks into a house in Brooklyn, trying to connect with a person from that very past, he is plunged into a haunting situation. This situation sets him on a journey that will reveal—not only his character—but what lies in his heart and soul.

Will Max find what he is searching for?
Will he ever find closure?
Will he find himself along this journey?
Or will he die without every knowing the answers he’s always been seeking?

3 Stars

Never a Choice but Always A Gift By Adam Que is a book about change. Que takes you on a journey of Max’s life. Max was born and raised in the Bronx and currently living life with no real thought of tomorrow. After receiving some surprisingly unsurprising news, his life is bound to change.

Trials and tribulations surround Max and his long time friend, Bibby. Love, sacrifice and pride are challenged throughout the story. Memories are always with us. Can these two forgive and forget, or will they live the remainder of their lives holding a grudge?

Que’s use of vocabulary helps the reader relate to the different characters and really help you feel the emotions. The reader is lead along an easy to follow narrative that is sure to stimulate emotional response. That being said, there are times where the vocabulary becomes redundant and phrases are repeated which disrupts an otherwise sentimental novel.

Max is a well developed character and the story is gripping, but I felt that his thoughts in the beginning of the novel were constantly interrupted by tangents, side stories and information dumps which caused the story to lose focus. But when Max meets his love interest Celeste the background information is given in a less dense format and the novel flows easily and keeps the readers attention.

This novel is one of the more unique one’s I’ve read in 2016. Story detail is revealed through the use of double narrative. Things that Max is not willing to tell the reader is revealed through Bibby’s perspective. The switch of perspectives results in a change of language and tone which truly captures the feel of a new narrator. Few books I have read with a similar method of perspective change have lacked that quality.

I recommend this book to people going through hardships. Hope and unconditional love are cornerstones in the characters relationship. Never a Choice but Always A Gift is about a journey, but not the kind where characters trek through exotic locales. It’s a journey through life, to find love.

Pages: 266 | ASIN: B01EYS4Z9U

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