Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Cadence of Gypsies

In this realistic fiction novel, protagonist Carolina Lovel learns on her eighteenth birthday that she was adopted, her birth mother having written her a letter in a foreign language. Following a few years of research, she ventures to Italy to discover the truth about her heritage, with three talented but defiant students, termed Females of Intellectual Genius, or FIGs, from the Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy of Young Women, joining her. The girls attempt to use their abilities to make sense of the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript, , written in a language similar to that of Carolina’s birth mother’s letter. Their journey takes them through a world of gypsy sorcery and tradition, which proves exciting and dangerous.

The novel opens with a Croatian quotation about where gypsies will go other than alongside their own kin, and brief prologue, the latter an excerpt from Charles Godfrey Leland’s 1891 book Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling, the citation indicating that sorcery is commonly associated with gypsies. The main chapters begin with gypsy women gathering plant parts for potions, the first also introducing Jimmy Bob Doake, a North Carolinian who was the only sibling among eleven to reach the eighth grade, and detests change. The initial chapter further highlights three FIGs from the mentioned Orphanage and Academy who at night snip a plant part they likely jokingly term Peni erecti.

The novel regularly uses gypsy terms such as choovihni, which is a wisewoman, an exalted position among them, with protagonist Carolina called to the headmaster’s office for the described infraction by the FIGs for whom she is held liable. The events ultimately culminate in a trip by Carolina and her star pupils to Italy to discover more about her heritage, accounting for an entertaining story. The author does use a bit too much gypsy jargon at times, and there are a few references to the Methodist Church instead of United Methodist Church, making ambiguous the book’s timeline (the UMC founded in 1968), but it’s still a recommended read.

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2014 Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction.

​Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author:  Website

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The War of Words

In this young adult fantasy novel, a wicked magician fights battle with strange shadows and desires authority with his capability to confuse citizens as to what is true and what is not. Two heroes, however, stand in his way: Kelsey, who searches the kingdom in want of a special strategy to win the conflict against the dark spellcaster, and an aspiring magic user named Nicholas, receiving instruction to master his abilities. The book opens with a quote by Ralph Ellison about good fiction comprising of what is real, with reality allegedly hard to encounter.

The story opens with Kelsey finding that shadows, while not impossible to fight, do require one’s full attention. Nicholas is quickly introduced, as well, exploring the old Academy where he studied for two years. The novel alternates between serious portions, with Kelsey exhausted from constant participation in battle, and some humorous segments, such as Nicholas’s teacher attempting to shorten his robe through incineration of its bottom. Words play a significant role in the narrative, with a diagram partway through the story depicting the process of words mutating into something different.

The novel is generally enjoyable, with some insightful philosophy as to the nature of words, not to mention light and darkness, although there are a few occasional references to Bunsen burners that are anachronistic in this fantasy story allegedly occurring in an alternate reality from our own. Even so, Neftzger’s novel remains engaging throughout, and is very much recommended to its target young adult audience. Grownups too can enjoy the story, and despite its occasional shortcomings, most will be treated to a thought-provoking narrative that highlights potential philosophy in things we take for granted such as words.

Amy Neftzger is the author of fiction books for both adults and children. She has also been published in business and academic journals, as well as literary publications.

A few of her favorite things include traveling, books, movies, art, the Oxford comma, and gargoyles.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Berlin Package

In this sequel to Murder on Safari, an unlikely trio including a movie producer, a film star, and an African tour guide must protect themselves and the world from a dangerous terrorist nuclear trade. Pero Baltazar is the aforementioned film producer, thinking initially he is taking a film assignment in the German capital of Berlin and is attempting to get his career back on track that experienced a turnaround due to a life-endangering experience in East Africa where the terroristic al-Shabaab attacked his convoy. However, he again is reluctantly thrust into the world of danger when the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency give him a secret assignment, its contractors ready to eliminate him if he doesn’t succeed.

Baltazar thus seeks help from friends and allies to uncover the mystery of the package, with potential connections to Nazi concentration camp gold that the United States Treasury Department recently sold. He must also help thwart the head of a prominent banking group that once served as the head of the deceased East German Ministry for State Security, or Stasi as it was commonly called during the Cold War. Pero thus summons his old friend, the African tour guide Mbuno, to help track the moves of his adversaries as though they were animals, and race to rescue a kidnapped film star and director.

The novel itself commences with an airplane having troubles over the Atlantic during a night in March, aboard which protagonist Pero Baltazar is, and is effective in rectifying the aircraft’s engine problems, and is lauded for a safe landing. He’s ultimately recruited by police for a dangerous mission that takes him to European locales such as Switzerland, with this sequel overall being an enjoyable one, having an agile pace and never becoming boring or repetitive as can be the case with subsequent novels in franchises. Overall, this reviewer would very much recommend this book to those that enjoyed its predecessor.

Peter Riva has spent many months over 30 years travelling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books. He lives in Gila, New Mexico.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

5 Must-Read Books If You Love Harry Potter

5 Must-Read Books for Harry Potter Fans

Harry Potter is one of the most popular book series ever written!

Its whimsical characters and magical adventures have captured the hearts of millions. If you’re a Potter Maniac, you probably think that no story can compare those of the mystifying Hogwarts and the boy with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. But have you read these spellbinding masterpieces?
***Attention Harry Potter Lovers: In honor of J.K. Rowling being named the Top Followed Author on Reader’s Legacy in 2015 we’re holding a 1 week sale on ALL of her books. From April 25th-30th, 2016 any Rowling book is 20% off AND double the LitCoins will be loaded into your account just for purchasing. Click the link to check out this limited time offer!***

1.    The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Like Harry Potter, this series comes in 7 installments and features a secret world full of wonders, its magical inhabitants, and the child-heroes who must save it from destruction.

2.    The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

A prequel to the famed “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, this delightful classic takes readers far from reality as it follows a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins on an unexpected and perilous quest to help his friends reclaim their home, which has been taken over by a gold-loving dragon.

3.    The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Told in 3 parts, this is the story of Bilbo Baggins’s nephew Frodo who, with the help of some unlikely allies, must travel to the ends of the earth to destroy an ancient ring, before its evil power brings his world to ruin.

4.    Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

This endearing story tells of an imaginative young girl who falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a world full of whimsical (and more-than-slightly backwards) characters, where nothing is practical and anything is possible. Alice and her topsy-turvy friends return in the sequel, Through the Looking Glass (

5.    The Inheritance Series (Eragon) by Christopher Paolini

4 fantastic novels tell what happens when a farm boy named Eragon finds a mysterious dragon egg, it hatches, and his life is eternally changed as he becomes the last known Dragon Rider…and the primary target of a rising evil empire.
These are just some of the countless wonderful fantasy novels out there. By expanding your literary horizons you will gain a deeper love of reading, and acquire a tasteful appreciation for other authors/genres – even ones that may not be your favorite. Check out these books, or one of your own finding, and tell us what you think!
As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th –
The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy around the world is 100% possible, and with the help of reader’s on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE.