“Over the Fence” by Debbie Schrack

Over a decade ago, six-year-old Katie Figg was abducted outside her home, never to see her family again. Now at seventeen—forced to go by the name Eve Anderson—she endures torture daily at the hands of “Papa,” her captor. The tortured girl lives with Papa and his partner “Mama” in a dilapidated house infested with cockroaches, bars covering the windows, and a tall, impenetrable fence shutting her from the outside world. Eve’s sole reason for surviving is to care for Honey, the four-year-old daughter she had with Papa. … More “Over the Fence” by Debbie Schrack

“Beyond the Sea” by Nina Purtee

After a recent tragedy that sends Annie into a cycle of guilt and uncertainty, her grandfather offers her the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail his ship on an exciting voyage. Her grandfather insists that this is exactly what Annie needs to lift her spirits and provide a renewed sense of direction in her life. So naturally, she relishes her voyage’s idyllic sights and culture; Annie even finds time for two romantic suitors! She is pursued by a handsome matador, Ramone, and a gentle Morrocan man with mesmerizing eyes, El Amir. Still, swooning aside, Annie wonders if she is letting romance distract her from the real reason for her adventure—searching for news on her diplomat father, who has been missing for two years. … More “Beyond the Sea” by Nina Purtee

“Mage World” by Matti Silver

“Mage World” is the first book in the series of the same name by author Matti Silver. It’s a fantasy that takes the readers to worlds unimagined before, through the eyes of mages hungry to know more about the world and all its inhabitants.

Born in the clouds, with warnings of life down on the land being deadly and dangerous, young mage Silvanus cannot help but feel that there is something more out there. His people once lived on the land, but retreated to the clouds after a huge war. His people, however, are amazing. They can control the wind and fly, yet Silvanus still yearns for the unknown. A potentially deadly fall gives him a chance to find out, and he finds the earth is an amazing place full of color, delicious food, interesting people, plants, and fauna… … More “Mage World” by Matti Silver

MEET THE AUTHOR! Getting to Know Linda Buzzeo Best, Author of Antonio’s Story: Coming of Age on the Battlefields of WWII

Dr. Linda Best, Professor Emerita of English/Writing at Kean UN, NJ, has written and published in many genres, from Academic Writing to Non-Fiction and Fiction, and continues her work in the field as a writing coach, editor, and instructor of Writing Memoir. … More MEET THE AUTHOR! Getting to Know Linda Buzzeo Best, Author of Antonio’s Story: Coming of Age on the Battlefields of WWII

“Paladins: A Phantom Pilot Comes of Age” by Thomas Shaw

Thomas Shaw, a former Marine Corps Phantom and Hornet Pilot, uses his experiences in the field and in life to pen his debut novel, “Paladin’s: A Phantom Pilot Comes of Age.” It’s a thrilling, coming of age story of as a young man navigates love, life, and his service in the military. … More “Paladins: A Phantom Pilot Comes of Age” by Thomas Shaw

“Alone to America” by Maria Vezetti Matson

Gennie receives news that her big brother, Emilio—who lives in Michigan, USA—needs her to travel to America in order to help him and his wife with the arrival of their baby that is on the way. This is not good news for Gennie. The thought of leaving her precious farm and enchanting small Italian village to live in a completely unknown place is absolutely terrifying and saddening for her. But thinking about the adventurous travels to another country and how much fun she will have during the trip has her jumping for joy. That is until her parents drop another bombshell on her: none of her family members will be accompanying her. She has to travel alone. But she is just 14 years old. And she is mortified that her own parents are requesting her to travel all alone to a foreign country. To make matters worse, she is not even allowed to bring along her favorite kitten, Meeshee. This is just downright heartbreaking for her. … More “Alone to America” by Maria Vezetti Matson

“Secrets in the Mirror” by Leslie Kain

“Secrets in the Mirror” by Leslie Kain is an immersive psychological coming-of-age book highlighting the peril of mental illness, particularly the generational type—deeply embedded within families and has mainly gone undiagnosed. Told from the third-person perspective and following Gavin DiMasi, the teen faces an ongoing inner battle between feeling responsible for his twin and being imprisoned by his cruel torment. … More “Secrets in the Mirror” by Leslie Kain

“Seeking Forgiveness” by Lea Rachel

“Seeking Forgiveness” is the journey and coming-of-age of one woman’s only wish- to become a mother, no matter the cost. Rachel Zames finds this obtainable after checking off the boxes of meeting the man of her dreams, albeit later in life, and having the breathing room to settle down. Marrying later in life comes with its potential problems, one being the struggle to conceive; being a problem-solver, she’ll figure this out. When a child becomes available to adopt, Rachel jumps at the opportunity to be the mother she has dreamed of – the skin and ethnicity of the child shouldn’t matter, right? … More “Seeking Forgiveness” by Lea Rachel

“Escape Route” by Elan Barnehama

Teenage Zach has two obsessions—major league baseball and the Vietnam war. The more stories his parents and grandfather share about surviving the Holocaust, the more his war preoccupation grows. His friends Jonah and Tony want him to stop being such a buzzkill. Still, Zach cannot stop himself from keeping a running tally of the war-torn American soldiers perishing every hour. He fears it will only be a matter of time until they abduct him and his Jewish relatives and unleash their tortuous actions like they did in the Holocaust. … More “Escape Route” by Elan Barnehama

“A Recycled Marriage” by Rosemary Mairs

There is an art to writing a good short story as the limits presented by the form mean that a lot, and I mean a lot, needs to be crammed into a much shorter word count – characterisation, suspense, sense of place. And there is no doubt that Rosemary Mairs is good at this.

I devoured “A Recycled Marriage” in practically one sitting and found much to enjoy in these pages. Personally and generally, I think the short stories that are the best are those that are darker in content, where the intents of the characters are revealed by degrees, the delivery of the twist shocking and unsettling. All of that was present in Mairs’ stories. Like the short story master himself, Roald Dahl, you are led into a world where you sense that all is not right, preparing yourself ultimately to be confronted with this but just not knowing exactly when and what form it will take – a confession, a killing, a submission, a revelation, a confrontation. And we are in the world of ordinary people throughout, living their everyday lives for the most part. Mairs shows us relationships and friendships and also discusses political influences on her characters who have become involved in the sectarian violence which was such a big part of Northern Ireland’s history.
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