Friday, December 28, 2007

And Then It Was Teatime

Tea, reading, and conversation go so perfectly well together in literature and real life that teatime has become just another term for get together. And if that sounds a contrivance, take an enjoyable walk across the sundry scenes of teatime depicted in some of the much celebrated works of English literature, as compiled by Laurie Nienhaus in her latest book And Then It Was Teatime (Gilded Lily Publishing, Florida, 2007).

And Then It Was Teatime includes a collection of choice excerpts from literary works along with several sketches, illustrations, and vignettes that produce the ambience of timeless classicism. The scenes painted in the words of famous authors relate to tea-its making, serving, effect, taste, aroma, and its place in one’s very sensibilities. Through the common flair of this universal drink, the author connects her readers to the history of ideas and the view and norms of our past. A remarkable job of its own kind!

In the pages of this book, one finds an appeal to a more peaceful demeanor: teatime had and still has its set of manners to be observed by men and women. It is a social platform for conversation and, as one writer points out, teatime signifies a time of peace. The cup of beverage cherished by millions of people around the world is a powerful therapeutic means for dissipating their worries, anxieties, apprehensions, and bitterness. And Then It Was Teatime instantiates this quality of tea in only 100 pages.

Laurie Nienhaus’s book renovates the passion for two fine things in its readers: a nice cup of tea and fine literature.


Author Website

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Physical and emotional traumas inhibit the normal psychological development of many victims. However, some people emerge more confident and beautiful after the hardest of physical and emotional crises; the latter include individuals like Kat Hibbard, author of the recent autobiographical book Bullets: Growing Up in the Crossfire (Bridgeway Books, Texas, 2007). In her short but brilliant book, she relives the traumatic experiences of growing up as an abused child who does not lose her path to a normal life despite every chance of being led astray by the troubled waters of her existence.

Born of and living with an abusive father, Kat tells the story of her life from an accidental birth to the helpless web of threads that she fumbled at in the hope of seeing a better day. Drugs, sexual harassment and abuse, and juvenile delinquency, all occupied the center of her life’s stage while she kept looking for the innocent joys of trust and friendship that her situation denied her as a child. After years of coping with fear and stress, Kat gradually came out of the horrible environment of her family house and devoted time to share her story with other people, aiming at preventing future traumas to children.

Bullets is a poignant account of the author’s life story, though she attains a prodigious way of narrating the painful memories in a way that absorbs much of the emotional shock of those unbearable events. At the same time, it is a book that performs an autopsy of drug abuse and delinquency to unmask the factors responsible for unhealthy behavior among children and teens of our modern societies. The inference is so cogent and heart winning: the bad ways will not be there for a child if he/she is loved and cared for in a proper way.

Most insightful, perhaps, is Kat’s experience of having ‘no personality’ when it came to her choice of things; abuse and trauma can kill the real person in you and let your remains wandering around for putting on some face. Still, those remains have the power to grow into a more beautiful and more mature form of life and the author demonstrates this fact by her own example. As she ultimately got over the fears of her earlier life, pursued education, brought up two kids of her own very lovingly and caringly; she grew once again along with her kids and is now an inspirational figure for all people, especially women, whose lives have been touched by abuse and trauma. Her book Bullets is a gift to every individual who cares about love, trust, and peace in life.

ISBN: 978-1-933538-82-2


Author Website

Monday, October 29, 2007


Linda Benninghoff’s departures (March Street Press, North Carolina, 2004) is a chapbook of 19 poems, along with some images, that are themed on the feelings connected with the act of ‘leaving’. Some of the poems address those who are no more but whose memories still ache in the heart and mind of the poet. Other poems focus on people, places, things, and animals that have been part of a lasting memory but that have left the author behind, or have been left behind the by author, and are now being missed since life has moved on.

The most inspiring quality of all the poems in departures is the respect with which the poet treats her referents. Not only people but also pets, places, and simple and seemingly unimportant objects are held as something worth loving. Since one has to move on as a necessity of life, holding things and people in respect allows leaving with good memories. This positive way of looking at things is a great attribute that we need to improve in our lives; departures achieves it in only 39 pages.

The smooth and unaffected poetic style of departures carries well-known eternal codes of hope, fear, memories, family, love, friendship, and above all-respect. The mode is dominantly nostalgic and an aching sweetness caresses the reader’s heart in several sets of lines. In There Is No Stillness, we read:

‘You said then
you once made
A vow to be silent
till the world changed
and only broke it,
When you came up with a better idea.’

ISBN: 1-59661-011-5


Author Bio

Friday, October 19, 2007

E-Mails From Hell

The Internet is our day’s most precious technological gift, both for communication and for wasting our precious time. David Earthman’s latest humor book E-Mails From Hell (Synergy Book, Texas, 2007) takes up the latter aspect of online communication via e-mail. Through a series of biting e-mails and their replies, Earthman’s book makes a light-hearted spoof on the abuse of Internet correspondence for commercial purposes.

The subtitle of Earthman’s book ‘The Wrath of William Wyndell’ points to the book’s central e-mail bugger William Wyndell whose first messages start with greetings and final ones with abuse. This guy is a nutty Internet user who has nothing better to do than pestering others of his kind. So this craziness turns out to be fun!

The language of the E-Mails From Hell goes adult at a few places but doesn’t reach extremes of obscenity. Not all the 11 chapters sound equally witty; a few are really hilarious and some rather dull. The book as a whole is not very disappointing and for fans of humor books with a satirical tone, E-Mails From Hell can be an enjoyable read.

ISBN: 1-933538-45-7


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sleep Before Evening

In her debut novel Sleep Before Evening (Bewrite Books, United Kingdom, 2007), Magdalena Ball probes into the psychic maze of teenage delinquency. The book shows the angst of the heroine Marianne Cotton, a 17-year old girl of artistic aptitude, who grapples with the emptiness of life by resorting to drugs and ends up close to death. From the death of her affectionate grandfather to the nearly fatal drug overdose, Marianne’s life instantiates the pattern of disrupted attachment that underlies most (if not all) cases of juvenile delinquency. It is a fictional but thoroughly investigative case study of the tenderest age of life and the elements that render its disintegration.

Set in the year 1982, Sleep Before Evening is a an engaging character-driven narrative, focusing on the images, speech, feelings, and dreams of Marianne, turning the inside of her mind out for the readers to explore. The emerging talent of her artistic spirit is checked by the death of her mentor-her grandfather-and her mother’s failure to provide the necessary love and care. Soon Marianne’s quest for peace and human attachment begins, carrying her astray like a detached leaf in a wild wind. The author’s control of the story is masterly; her insight combining with her exceptional narrative skills to write a story that presents the case of millions of young drug addicts, right here amidst us.

Sleep Before Evening is certainly more than a novel. It is an honest piece of commentary on familial and societal elements that tear apart the tender fabric of innocence off youngsters’ lives. Marianne comes to the readers as the true picture of loneliness, her survival resting on the development of a human connection. Yet, her failure to find one in a crowded city because people are insecurely and frantically looking for career, fame, and money, is a thought-provoking tragedy. Whether or not she comes out these tempestuous waters is a separate issue; the need to understand her, look for her in our homes and lives, and help her out of her throes is crucial to our own survival as humans on this planet.

ISBN-10: 1904492967
ISBN-13: 978-1904492962


Author Website:

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mindful of Madness

Ida-Rose Mead’s humorous fantasy Mindful of Madness (Outskirts Press, Colorado, 2007) has all the idiosyncrasies of a literary work that results from out-of-the-box thinking of a creative writer. In both language and thought, Mead exhibits her highly developed creative imagination.

Mindful of Madness is the unusual story of Conrad Buncombe whose continual dream about a sapphire-eyed beauty leads him into an egoistic quest for finding the means to master his desire. While he takes to tapping and encounters a number of fantastic characters, his desire for tapping turns out to be a self-defeating quirk. The author’s fancy is on high grounds here!

With all its novelty of thought and freshness of language, Mindful of Madness does not have a grand plot to offer and will best suit readers who enjoy ‘the moment’ in humorous readings. It is a different sort of comedy, very unconventional, with a heavy bent on figurative characterization. Mead’s book is for the readers who are ready to experiment with reading. For one quality, though, it is highly recommended: thinking beyond the usual limits of imagination.

ISBN-10: 1598001590
ISBN-13: 978-1598001594


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Langenscheidt Pocket Phrasebook of Italian

If you are planning a trip to Italy for the first or perhaps second time, one thing you’d need is a good guide. In the form of Langenscheidt Pocket Phrasebook of Italian, accompanied by an audio cassette that runs an hour, Langenscheidt Publishers (New York) provide you with the best companion you may carry in your pocket on your trip to Italy. The glossy phrasebook of Italian, over 250 pages, teaches you how to communicate in Italian by including essential words and phrases for you to travel in Italy without any problem of basic verbal interaction. You can introduce yourself at the airport, find yourself a suitable accommodation, travel through the county and shop, dine, and get back to your residence-all without any snag by taking along your Langenscheidt’s Jiffy Travel Pack. The colorful illustrations and short dialogues let you have a fun-to-learn practice of Italian language.

The phrasebook has an English-to-Italian dictionary of all the important words and phrases at the end of the book. The really wonderful feature of this phrasebook is that it carries transliteration of all the important words you’d need to use in communicating with someone who speaks this language. Listening to the cassette will reinforce the sound patterns you learn from the book. So there is no problem of correct pronunciation. If you know English, Langenscheidt’s Jiffy Travel Pack will readily teach you Italian. The phrasebook includes an alphabetic index of important words. A guide to Italian grammar and conversion charts check your mistakes. So you go perfect with your Italian!

ISBN: 1-58573-509-4