Sunday, September 26, 2010

Leaving Yesler

By Peter Bacho
Pleasure Book Studio
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-929355-57-0
286 pages
Fiction – Young Adult

Growing up in the 60s in Seattle, Washington is a special challenge especially when you are a biracial
teenager living in the projects and your older brother just died in the Vietnam War. Bobby Vincente
was different from his older brother in that he was the pretty one, the one who was sent to a private
school, the one who just didn’t fight and preferred the quiet life of reading rather than fighting.

Being the surviving son living alone with a father who recently lost his wife to cancer, enabled Bobby to
develop his cooking abilities. Dad though missed his favorite son who was most liked him. The
deceased son was the one who would fight for Bobby, protecting him, teaching him to be a man.
Naturally, now that no one can defend Bobby, his father decided it was time for him to learn
how to box. Surprisingly though, Bobby was a natural. He appeared thin and weak, but quickly he
discovered that he was a fast sparring partner who threw a powerful punch.

In order to stay out of the draft, Bobby hopes to attend the local community college but first he has to
pass his test for his GED. Then he discovers the love of his life, or so he believes.

Much of this novel involves Bobby’s communication with his brother who seems to be a ghost intruding
on Bobby’s life and guiding him lovingly towards success. These events were what added a sense of
personal depth of each character. This bizarre communication with ghostly dreams is
what makes this special and allows the characters to show care for each other.

Peter Bacho has won a variety of awards including an American Book Award for CEBU, a Washington
Governor’s Writers Award, and The Murray Morgan Prize. He is proud of his heritage as a Filipino
American writer and expresses this through the character of Bobby. He teachers at The Evergreen State
College in Tacoma, Washington.

LEAVING YESLER is about dreaming and allowing the dreams to be motivating by being open to changes
that you never imagined. The story is hypnotic and engrossing. This is one of those novels that you
can’t put down. Ideally the readership should be upper high school readers through adults. Everyone
deserves a chance to enjoy and live through Bobby Vincente.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Disappearance

by Bentley Little
ISBN: 978-0-452-23103-1
400 pages

Gary is successfully enjoying being a student at U.C.L.A. living far away from his native Ohio. He views every choice now as one step up the ladder to a future life in California. He even has the girl, granted it has only been a few weeks, but he has the feeling that this is the one person for him, Joan.

With their friends, Gary and Joan decide on an adventure at a Burning Man Festival. When they arrive, the festival is just beginning its climatic events. The actual events after this are a little confusing because the group discovers that they were drugged and now Joan is missing. With little assistance from the local law enforcement, the friends return to U.C.L.A. to discover that any records of Joan at the school have now disappeared.

Gary has to make the decision of whether to focus his energy on searching for Joan or to just continue his life on campus. He knows that she is the one for him so he begins to investigate. He attempts to contact her parents but it appears that they left their home in a hurry. Joan’s roommate doesn’t know what happened to her, but then she disappears. The girl in the dorm room next to the two wants to be helpful but she is killed by a hit-and-run driver. Why all the mystery? Where is Joan? Added to this, now Gary’s record at U.C.L.A. does not exist.

The characters are quite realistic and visual. The intensity of the storyline is tremendous and moves quickly. As to organization, THE DISAPPEARANCE is well-planned and leads to an unusual climax. This story is fast-paced. The story is not a thriller, or a horror novel, but one that puts you as one with the main character and feeling his fear.

Bentley Little has won the Bram Stoker Award for his previous short stories and novels. He has had a variety of work experiences that has helped him in the development of his characters. He currently resides in Arizona.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rich Boy

by Sharon Pomerantz
Hatchette Book Group
August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-446-56318-5
528 pages

There will also be the “haves” and the “have-nots” in the world. There seem to be those people who even though they were not born into a wealthy family appear to be destined for better things.

Robert Vishniak was born into a middle class Jewish family in Philadelphia after World War II. His father was employed as a mailman with his mother, naturally, being a stay-at-home to care for the family. It took a few years but finally the family of four found their own house and being that they lived in a large city, they had no need to own an automobile.

By going away to college, Robert discovers that his roommate is from a wealthy family that has multiple homes and cars. Being naturally handsome, he discovers that it is easy for him to develop the friendship with his roommate and the circle of wealth that surrounds him and exposes Robert to a world that he never knew existed.

RICH BOY is the saga of Robert and his family through the changes of American culture in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Their reactions, adapting, and attempts to further their lives with the challenges of the times including the draft, drugs, sexuality, the real estate boom, and the stock market and commodities trading, greatly influenced this family.

RICH BOY is the showing of differences between the middle class of the 1950s and the changes in personal wealth and education during that time period. It was common in the 50s and 60s for a family to have the father in a civil service job with one income and the mom staying at home to raise the children and economize by saving green stamps.

Robert’s natural gifts of ambition, intelligence, and looks gave him advantages. His friendships with the ultra-wealthy were the perfect mix for his success. The main problem he had was the feeling of not belonging with his job, his family, his sexual partners, and his friends.

The vulnerability of Robert’s first love and that of his daughter, contrasted the public vision of him. Also, his awkward relationship with his mother made this memorable. This contrast of his daily relationships is what made this story forceful and realistic.

RICH BOY is Sharon Pomerantz’s debut novel that took ten years to write. She has won various awards for writing short pieces and teaches at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

This is one book that becomes an inner part of your thoughts and you don’t want it to end. The experience of reading RICH BOY is truly memorable, thought-provoking, and moving. I hope that it doesn’t take another ten-years for the Sharon Pomerantz’s next novel.

Teri Davis September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Staying Fit After 60

Author: Calvin Hill
Copyright 2010
Hillcrest Publishing
Hardback $ 24.95
ISBN: 978-0578037608
158 pages

Who would be the most likely person for writing a fitness book than someone who is a living example of a particular program?

Calvin Hill realized as he was approaching the age of sixty, that he was not living a healthy lifestyle. Determined to live life to the fullest, he developed his own fitness program for people who are not planning to spend immense amounts of money on equipment or a health club.

For the past seventeen years, Calvin Hill has been the walking billboard for his program. He is his best endorsement for this particular series of exercises for keeping fit mentally and physically

As Hill approached the age of sixty, he began exercising and started to search for simple activities that would strengthen every muscle and bone group in his body. The results were the loss of thirty pounds, feeling more mentally alert, and discovering less stress on his joints resulting in less pain.

The positive aspects of his program include simple exercises and directions. A DVD is also available of his program.

This short novel is interspersed with his personal poetry surrounding his life style philosophy and the actual exercises. The actual exercises are not difficult and do not require any special equipment. The repetitions for each exercise do seem large usually fifty or more repetitions.

One exercise did concern me that was the “brain bounce”. In this particular exercise you rotate and bounce your head while lying on the floor. This is to increase the circulation of the blood through the brain. How can bouncing your head slow down or stop Dementia or Alzheimer’s? This former boxing enthusiast is convinced that the increased circulation is the reason.

For Calvin Hill this program works. If you are considering trying his system, consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program and start slowly.

STAYING FIT AFTER 60 by Calvin Hill is a self-published book.

Calvin Hill was born in Michigan and received training in mechanical engineering. He found success in the world of selling and marketing through much of his life. He has previously written THE ART OF POWER AND CONTROL SELLING.

Further information about this program is available at