L. M. Elliot’s ‘Walls’ and the Wall of Oppression

Walls by L. M. Elliott

Throughout the history of humankind, The Wall has most often been a symbol of alienation and separation, of hostility and rage, of the stubborn and destructive refusal to recognize the oneness of our race. L.M. Elliot’s latest young adult historical novel, “Walls,” deftly deals with the story of one twentieth century wall whose function, whose purpose, was to ensure that those negative and cruel human characteristics would be clearly demonstrated: the Berlin Wall was erected in August of 1961 for the primary purpose of keeping the virtually imprisoned residents of East Berlin from escaping to freedom in the West — an escape attempted by thousands and achieved at great risk by only a lucky few.

Continue reading

‘Life Glows On: Reconnecting With Your Creativity to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life’ by Claire Cook is perfect for jump-starting your creative juices

Life Glows On by Claire Cook

“Life Glows On: Reconnecting With Your Creativity to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life” is yet another terrific piece of non-fiction by popular and prolific women’s lit author Claire Cook. It’s one that happily invites re-reading — several times — to thoroughly dig into Cook’s many thoughtful ideas about creativity. In her first nonfiction book, “Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention,” Cook shares her story of reinvention. And regarding her subsequent nonfiction book, “Shine On: How to Grow Awesome Instead of Old,” I said, “….we are fortunate enough to be served double and triple helpings of good and wise advice, humor-filled entertainment, lovely and touching memories of events from the author’s very full life, and dollops of her unique ability to communicate ideas for helping “forty-to-forever” women face the challenges and vagaries of advancing age. And to become more awesome to boot.”

Continue reading

‘Lights Out in Lincolnwood’ by Geoff Rodkey is a “what if” nightmare about life after an end-of-life-as-we-know-it event

Lights Out in Lincolnwood by Geoff Rodkey

In the world of children’s books, author Geoff Rodkey’s books stand out as quirky and filled with fascinating characters. His adult novel, “Lights Out in Lincolnwood,” is filled with characters who are not quirky or comical, but rather all-too-real and all too relatable. The Altman family seems to have it all. Dan was a very successful attorney, a partner at his firm, when he chucked it all to take a gamble writing for a television series. Luckily, he was successful at that, but when we first meet him, he’s struggling to think of new ideas for the show. We also meet Jen, his wife. She was once also very successful, but for several reasons decided to stay at home and raise their two children. Max and Chloe, those very children, are also successful in their own rights. Chloe is a talented tennis player, applying to impressive schools, but her anxiety is commensurate with her application to top schools, her upcoming semi-finals in tennis, the essays she needs to write for early admission to a top college. Max, on the other hand, is not athletic at all. He shows great promise because of his creativity and at his summer camp created a film that was a hit. However, Max is being bullied and has become addicted to vaping. Addiction runs in the family makeup. Jen is coming to the unpleasant realization that she is an alcoholic, something she has kept from Dan, but which the kids are completely aware of.

Continue reading