This is a fairy tale like no other I have ever read. It has a
lot of sophistication and real life lessons, ones that we can all
take back with us into our lives.

Walsh’s story is about empowerment and self-expression. There
are elements of the magical and mystical woven right into the story.
It is a masterpiece that is not often seen in adventure fairy tales.

Each episode in the book exemplifies a law of the universe. The
story also has a very positive philosophy one that we need to
appropriate into our time and that what we see in others is directly
linked of how you perceive these people and what is contained in
you. This is a great message for the younger person as well, given
our difficult cultural times.

As the reader explores these universes with Ellyn and the
people who travel with her, we can all make similar discoveries
about ourselves. We too can also follow their example and be the
best version of ourselves.

This story can be read by the younger reader and also it can be
enjoyed by the older reader. There is so much to take in between the
pages of this wonderful story. The pages of the book are also filled
with stunning artwork from John S. Atkinson. These pieces of artwork
will move the reader to a place of thought and reflection.

I really enjoyed the metaphysical overtones in the story being
a philosopher. I will definitely recommend this book to people in
my immediate reading circle of friends.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


A wonderful picture book for kids about Latin foods

Latin American Foods
By Terry Padilla
Illustrated by Tony Mendoza
     This is a wonderful picture book for kids about Latin foods and how people celebrate with foods even in the most difficult circumstances.
     It’s been long known that food brings people together and it helps them to overcome obstacles. This picture book alludes to the devastation that Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused in Puerto Rico. The two Hurricanes were one week apart, and they caused so much devastation that the Garcia family had to leave their homeland.
     When the Garcia family relocated to Orlando, Florida, they found new solace cooking native Latin foods. The foods sound delicious. They are simple recipes that kids may urge their parents to cook. Cooking helped the Garcia family to cope with the relocation by celebrating their Latin roots.
     The illustrations also bring the Latin foods to light for the young reader. They are colorful and look delicious. Kids of all ages will be inspired to try some of the recipes.
     I love any book about food, and this one didn’t disappoint. Latin food is something that I will be trying to cook more of.
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

What does it mean for you to win?

Winning means different things to different writers.

For some of us, it means getting published. For other writers, it means having a lot of publications and to have a following of readers.

Still other writers think winning means getting awards for their books.

But is this all what it means to win for a beginning writer?

I don’t think so!

What if I said to you that winning is so much more than those outside achievements?  What if I said that winning meant to feel like you are a winner from the inside out, regardless of whether you are published or earned an award for your book.

Well, for me winning is something that we achieve from the inside out.

So, here are a few characteristics of what it means for me to win in my writing career:

  • I feel good when I’m writing.
  • I write often–daily for an hour or two.
  • I write in flow–undistracted.
  • I don’t have a voice in my head that tells me that I am not a writer just because I had no publications.
  • I can write anywhere because I just love writing.
  • Writing is not a chore for me but a vocation.
  • I feel whole when I write.
  • I feel content when I write.
  • I love researching about the topics I write about.
  • I look forward to getting to my desk and writing every day.
  • Writing has intrinsic worth for me.

Now you must admit, this is not how the world views winning as a writer, does it now?  Well, no it doesn’t!  But are all of those outside markers of winning that I mentioned above really worth pursuing for a beginning writer when your self-esteem is battered to smithereens?

I don’t think so, and I will tell you why?

When you begin writing, you have to build your self-esteem and self-confidence as a writer from the inside. And you can only do this by developing your inner strength so that you can cope with rejections and all the other hardships that the world will throw on you as a writer.

So, enjoy developing your self-confidence as a writer from the inside out, and know that you can be a winner even without publishing.  And that is the best kind of winning that I know of for a beginning writer.

To your Success!

Irene S. Roth

A Wonderfully Written Picture Book

Forever Evergreen
By Kay Roberts
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle
This is a wonderful picture book that is enchanting yet has important lessons about kindness, forgiveness, and how our actions certainly have a huge impact on others.

This story is about Red, a curious cardinal who wants to move past his every day mundane life. So, one day, he decides to leave his friends and fly off to a place far, far away where he can explore his environment.

As he travels, he runs into danger and gets hurt. Red is injured and has no idea what to do. He feels sorry for himself. But then something almost magical happens. Mother Nature comes to his rescue! She shelters Red in a pine tree in a beautiful garden until he recovers from his injury.

In that comforting garden, he feels secure. He learns a lot of important lessons from Mother Nature too. He learns that Mother Nature helps kind and good-hearted beings. Immediately Red feels good about himself. And he is able to take this feeling back to his friends.

The illustrations are magical and will transport the young reader into a world that is inspiring and enchanting. The colors are bold and have a sparkly quality to them.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

A breathtaking book about nature and an artistic re-imagination of its colors

Mother Nature’s Altered States
By Bill Kalnes

This is a wonderfully imaginative book that showcases the glorious scenes and colors of nature, artistically enhanced by the author to match the vision of a young Mother Nature during a rebellious stage in her life. The eighty-five photos in the book are supported by the story of Mother Nature’s sojourn in to her altered states, to bring more color and flamboyance to her creations.

Kalnes is an artist par excellence! The five sections of the book, with their introductions by Mother Nature, have allowed his imagination to capture the colors of nature like no other book that I have ever read. What a treasure trove of color and majesty! Every photograph in the book can easily be a painting that we would put up in our living rooms. The combination of colors in each of the photographs will transform the reader’s perspective of nature and let them see nature in a completely new way.

Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

A GREAT Story which is Endearing and Intriguing

Li Bai’s Shadow
By Lee J. Marvin

This was an amazing read! Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading and pondering it. It is a book that I will read and probably re-read in time.

The book is about a young girl, Caitlin Wang. The heart-warming tale follows the child of this young girl with OCD. She has an imaginary friend, Li Bai. He only exists in her mind now. But she clearly sees him in her dollhouse.

Li Bai is not a complete imaginary figure though. He did exist in 700 AD. So, despite the fact that Li Bai is not really in her dollhouse now, it is not a completely unrealistic tale.

Caitlin is a lonely child, and trusts Li Bai with all of her secrets, longings, hopes and dreams. She communicates with him and shares things that no one else knows. Her mother was dead and her father didn’t take her seriously. He doubted her and she was always second-guessed by her father.

Once she reaches the age of 18, Caitlin runs away to Shanghai, China. The details of this are wonderful and are captured vividly by the author as he describes Caitlin to be exploring a new place. It is almost a magical description.

Marvin writes this book in a poetic manner. It is a book that is as intriguing as it is interesting. It is a book that can be read by adolescents who have lost a parent and who have always have the urge to run away from all that is familiar and painful.

The storyline with Caitlin switches between her fantasy and the real-world, but in the end, it comes together with a respect for new newfound independence.

I loved the book from beginning to end! I will recommend it to all adolescent girls that I come into contact with in my community.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Brad Kuechler, MA. – A GREAT Writer For Our Times

Escape From Solomon’s Church:
An Epic Love Story Into the Heart of God
By Brad Kuechler, M.A.

Tagline: This is a life changing epic love story that will transform our lives

This is a life changing epic love story that will capture our hearts and transform our lives. It is a story that will move each reader to action and show him/her a better way to find happiness, peace and a fulfilled life.

The Song of Solomon is in many ways a book that has been forgotten or misunderstood by much of the church. Yet it is a book that is crucially important for our times. Our culture is obsessed with materialism and prestige. The more we have the more we want. This culture has also influenced much of the church and has caused many to strive for the wrong fruit.

In the Song of Solomon, we will discover that we can find rest in the arms and presence of God and find all we need for life. According to Kuechler, this is what Jesus desires from us. He wants us to take His “yoke” of learning His ways upon us. It is when we take God’s yoke upon us, He will bring us rest and help us overcome the heavy burdens we carry. We don’t have to pull life’s burdens ourselves.

A wonderful aspect of this book is that all of these lessons from the Song of Solomon are told through an epic love story. It is a story about a beautiful, poor shepherd girl who was about to marry a man she really loved. However, her dream was crushed when King Solomon stole her away to make her his wife instead. What we quickly learn is that her beloved loves her so much that he will not let her go. In fact, he tries to rescue her and restore their love.

However, there is a problem. King Solomon tried to convince her to stay with him by offering her a culture that was filled with prestige, power and wealth. This was very appealing and tempting to the poor, shepherd girl. Why? She would love to be comfortable and have all that Solomon offered. However, she would have to compromise and let go of the love of her life in order to settle for the love of King Solomon who had many wives. She would be just another wife in the house of Solomon’s palace.

It is under this backdrop that Kuechler retells the story of the Song of Solomon and presents many insights as well as deep revelation from the Song of Solomon to help us recapture our love for God. Kuechler also helps us clearly understand how Solomon’s intoxicating culture still influences the church of today and how to avoid its many pitfalls.

Escape From Solomon’s Church is the first volume and covers Chapters 1 and 2 of the Song of Solomon. The remaining volumes in the series will cover Chapters 3 through 8 of Song of Solomon. This entire series will help us develop a deeper revelation of God and captivate our hearts to love Him more. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth