Five Stars for a Five Star Western: Saddle Up!

Along  the Fortune Trail

By Harvey Goodman

This novel will make you want to turn on your television and watch a western and go back in time to the old west. Indians trying to get the white man. The white man trying to get the Indians. No one getting along and each one trying to make a stake of their own Along their own Fortunes Trail. This book will turn up the excitement for you and make you want to grab a horse, canteen and your gear and saddle up. But, wait until you read about the journey of one man, Sammy Winds and decide if going off on your own like he did is right for you!

Three men decide to highjack and rob a train filled with money. They planned the heist and thought that nothing would go wrong. Forcing people on this moving train to jump off or be killed and then murdering the engineer, Lonny Ballantine, Derrick and a man called Bones thought they would be home free. But, often the best-laid plans can go astray when you least expect it.

Robbing the train and making off with the money, Lonny winds up in the same town as Sammy Winds and that’s when he gets what he certainly deserves. Little does Sammy know that this chance, but tragic encounter, would not only rid the world of one criminal that no one would miss, but would make him filthy rich.

Sammy was orphaned at a young age and lucky enough to be taken in by the owners of the Twin T Ranch and taught how to herd cows, spit tobacco juice, live the ranch life and more. But, when fortune strikes and he has the chance to strike out on his own, Sammy sends caution to the wind and travels a long and hard road to Denver to claim his fortune and money for killing the man who robbed the train and who severely injured him.

Recuperating and making sure he was fit to travel, Sammy and his friend Blaine plan their trip out step by step using a map and creating a set journey to get them to Denver safely. But this would be one trip that no one would ever forget, especially Sammy and Blaine.

Starting out together they enjoy the first few days and have a slow but uneventful trip. Enjoying sleeping under the stars and discussing science and map skills these two men bond in a special way. But, what happens next will remind the reader just how dangerous travel was in the 19th century and how limited train travel was due to the lack of tracks going through many towns.

Leaving the woman he loved and the people that were closest to both of them they set out only to find that this trip might possibly be someone’s last.

The author creates suspense in every incident he describes and takes the reader on a bumpy, dangerous and exciting ride through many canyons, caves, towns and more before all is said and done.

Sammy Winds is not just a man on a quest nor is Blaine. Coming to the mouth of Coyote Canyon they spot some Indians in pursuit. Making their way down the corridor of the cave they spot an Indian and several women that were being held captive. But, Sammy and Blaine rescue these women, take care of the Indians and hopefully will return the women safely to their families or their homes. But, Blaine is seriously injured and needed medical attention, which was not available. Resourceful, intelligent and women that will make you proud and who were strong, took action and worked as a team to make sure that Blaine’s injury was attended to until he could get medical care. Three amazing women: Emily, Margaret and Claire worked, as a unit to make sure that Blaine would survive.

Sometimes you can tell by the person’s face, mannerisms or your own sixth sense that you can trust a person with your life. Sammy Winds was an amazing man who never faltered and whose main concern, was not the fortune or reward that he set out to get, but the safety of others and justice being served on the guilty.

The author describes the journey of these two men, their encounter with the Indians and the struggle that Blaine had in order to survive so vividly and expertly that you could picture each scene and event as it happened. The description of the towns, the hotels, the people that they met and the places that they passed on the way help make the old west come alive as you read  every page.
Learning about a serious painkiller, laudanum used by doctors to sedate patients during operations and to alleviate severe pain, the reader learns a lot about medicine in the 19th century and how far we have come today. Addiction is not a thing of the present and the author so aptly describes what happens when Blaine becomes too accustomed to the use of laudanum and whether he decides to stop taking it.

The author’s description of how Sammy removed the bullet from his friend’s leg was so graphic and clearly described you could feel the pain he endured and picture it in your mind. Teaching Margaret and Claire how to care for the wound and creating the poultice paste was interesting and helped the reader understand how difficult it was for Sammy to try and save his friend’s life. But, he would not give up.

How many women would have cowered and have been too afraid to stand up and take action as these three women did in order to protect each other and feel confident in taking help from a total stranger? Instinct sometimes plays an important part in a person’s survival and there are many incidents described in this book that you would have to read where instinct played an important part in the lives of all of these people.

Emily finally returned to her family. Claire, Margaret, Blaine and Sammy to Sante Fe where Claire lived and Margaret would remain with her. But, the adventure does not end there. Blaine has not decided what he will do when he is fully recovered. Will he remain with Claire or find his way to Denver?

Sammy leaves and heads for Denver and hopefully will receive the reward he so justly deserves. But, he gets bushwhacked on the way, stops at many hotels and meets some very colorful people. He even spends an evening with a local girl named Annie and spreads his warmth and kindness along the Fortune Trail as he makes his way for Denver.

What does happen when he reaches Denver? Who has does he inflict his brand of justice on? Does he get the reward and what will happen when he does? Does he return home to Jenny and to Homer and Reuben at the Twin T? Only his horse Dobe knows for sure because he was with him the entire way and he is not going to tell you the outcome of the story. Read this interesting and exciting novel to find out just how dangerous the old west was and how Sammy Winds would not let anything stop him from getting to his final destination and his fortune. A story of loyalty, friendship, and kindness and heartwarming, Along the Fortunes Trail is one of my best picks for 2010.

What will happen next will depend on whether the author brings him back for a sequel.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer and author of the Bertha Series of Books, Memories are Precious and Book Reviewer.

Great Review by Martha Cheves

Memories Are Precious, Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story – Fran Lewis, Author

2:59 PM Posted by MAC


Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

This Recipe is for Ruth

1 pkg (18.5 oz.) double chocolate muffin mix

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

1 pkg (6 serving size) chocolate fudge pudding and pie filling (not instant)

3 cups very hot water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix muffin mix, oil, 1/2 cup water and eggs in a 3 quart casserole dish. Stir with spoon until blended. Mix pudding mix and 3 cups of very hot water. Carefully pour over muffin batter. Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes or until pudding bubbles around the edges of the casserole dish. Great served with ice cream.

Memories are Precious – Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Alzheimer’s is a deadly disease and does not discriminate. It is not a disease of the poor, the rich, the famous or the indigent. It is a disease that anyone can get at any time. It knows no boundaries and it does not care whether you are white or black or of any other race, religion or creed.’

Imagine going to sleep, waking up and finding yourself in a strange place. You have no idea where you are nor how you got there. You don’t even know what you may have done after you arrived. This is the way I picture Alzheimer’s Disease. It can only be like being in a “walking coma.” You can move around but in a trance type stage. You can’t remember where something as simple as a drinking glass is kept, even though you’ve kept them in the same place for years. You sit face to face with your own children or spouse and have no clue as to who they are. These have to be horrible, scary feelings.

In Memories Are Precious Ruth herself talks about her feelings and experiences in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Her first indication that something was wrong was when she started forgetting things. She couldn’t remember what she had just eaten. She couldn’t balance her own checkbook because she couldn’t remember how to add and subtract. She went to the store, didn’t remember going there and ended up getting lost going home.

Ruth talks about the things she had to give up… After driving the wrong way down a one way street, her car keys were taken away and eventually her car had to be sold. One day she took a second dose of her medicine because she didn’t remember taking the first dose. This resulted in her not being allowed to dispense her own medicine. As the disease progressed, Ruth lost the two things that matter most to all of us. She lost her independence and her freedom.

In Memories are Precious, Fran Lewis talks about the responsibilities of being a caregiver to an Alzheimer patient. Her research on this deadly disease, and more importantly, her experience from being a caregiver for her mother has given her the ability to write Memories are Precious, filling it with tips on subjects such as safety, changes, how to find help and how to take care of your own stress levels. She discusses the role change of the child becoming the parent and the parent becoming the child and helps us understand those changes, offering advice that will help make the role change easier for the caregiver. She also talks about the importance of other family members and friends becoming involved with the patient.

As I read Memories are Precious, I found myself understanding this disease and the stress that is put on the family. This is one book that I feel should be read by everyone of all ages. As Fran Lewis says “It is a disease that anyone can get at any time.” There is no way of knowing who will be next.

Labels: Alzheimer’s Journey, Alzheimers, Book Reviews, Fran Lewis, Martha A Cheves, Memories Are Precious, Ruth’s Story, Stir Laugh Repeat

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at

Campaign of Fear: Listen and Watch

Title: Campaign of Fear

Author: Wayne Pletcher

ISBN: 9781934938836

Publisher: Bascom Hill Books

Campaign of Fear is not about getting votes for an election it is about a dangerous man named Omar Kharif who has set his sites on obtaining everything that the American’s have at their finger tips related to Acoustical Technology. Dr. Brad Tully decides to leave his company and take with him what is called his Bounce Back Technology, which deals with the detonation of explosives using acoustical sound waves. How are these two men linked, you are about to find out that and more to make you understand why Campaign of Fearis one of the eye opening books that everyone needs to read. What happens when we listen but not observe? What happens when money is a primary incentive for getting involved in the transport of items and use of software that you think will help your company thrive but its purpose is to monitor what we are doing and track it. You will surely find out.

Sam Elson has been named the Director of the DoAt or Director of Acoustical Technology for the new president of the United States. He approaches Dr. Brad Tully to become one of his directors in the area of Protect in order to make sure that much of the technology needed to protect our government and the American people will be handled by someone who is aware of what needs to be done and more. But, unbeknownst to Brad Tully his meeting with Omar Kharif the head of TCM Corporation is really a ploy to take over his project and destroy the United States and more.

But, Omar Kharif has another agenda, one that will definitely not benefit the United States or our technological companies that he has managed to befriend in a deceptive way. Under the guise of trying to learn and help with anything his company can do, he sets up meetings with heads of many corporations in order to infiltrate and learn more about America’s advancement in acoustical technology and their military and government contracts. Enlisting the help of a naïve but in need of money head of Logistics Director of Central Management Technology, Omar Kharif entices this man to use some of the technology and advances developed in his company to test how well they work and more. When people get greedy and others do not pay close attention, bad things will happen.

Brad Tully and his team want to develop a defense system that would stand up against that of the jihad and make sure that America is protected. But, can he stop what they call their Campaign of Fear against us before it is too late?.

When  TIC head Omar Kharif convinces logistics director Kramley to test some new RFID software technology that would help track the product during it shipment to Israel the end result proves catastrophic. CMT is linked closely to TIC and an American company called Advanced Technology Products. The government figured out that TIC might be suspicious and related to the thieves trying to steal the packages and the technology being transported to Israel. CMT made detonation technology products and one of the tests of a new acoustics product was the one that went wrong. Even worse, is the fact that the head of Advanced Technology Products, Chad Bramley lost the notes that outlined the products his company was working on and had a sketch of the new technology on it?

Gathering the team and all of the major players together, the Director informs everyone that TIC had penetrated CMT and planted a mole to steal top-secret acoustics technology. Since TIC was not the top investor in Tully Research Inc and they have managed to penetrate Advanced Technology Products and CMT, the team, Brad and his partner, Zen need to race against time to stop what the author so aptly puts as their Campaign of Fear. But, can they be stopped now that they now who the major players are? What would happen if the terrorists had the capability of creating software able to do data augmentation and embed this into a corporate intranet system and be able to take over the company?

Author Wayne Pletcher in his premiere novel brings to light what everyone fears: Technological takeover by Al Qaeda. Added to that one of the investigative team members is working both sides of the fence and hopefully will be stopped. With twists, turns, murders, bombing and espionage at its best, our author keeps the reader on edge until the last page and wait to you read what happens. Called Tchnoliberatat the company went from human development and freedom to technology for evil. Can Homeland Security and Brad and his team stop them? You won’t believe the ending it will leave you guessing and wanting more. Definitely a must read.

Captain Bob: Enjoy Your Cruise

Captain Bob: Author Robert Stockel

Our author Robert Stockel takes the reader on a humorous and exciting journey on his boat the Dulcinea. With many ups and downs described about his life and his sailing career, the reader gets enveloped in the excitement and can sit back, take part each event described and fortunately, not get seasick, which I do on all types of boats, water rides or rowboats.

The author’s description of how he and his first mate Rita, weathered their first journey, to going in the wrong direction and winding up in Puerto Rico and not St. Thomas, our illustrious Captain lets us know who is in charge and that “The Captain is always right,” keeps on course and sometimes might even make a mistake, but not want to admit it.

Deciding on anchoring and remaining in St. Thomas he finds his niche and gets hired as a salesman then manager of Anchor Marine, a company that sold nautical products and more. After a while he becomes quite enterprising and joins in a three-way partnership in a half-day or daily cruising business called Windsong Cruises. . My sister loves to cruise and she adores yachts, fishing and boating. She would love to read about your experiences and more before going on a two week cruise in May.

As the author described his experiences during Hurricane Hugo and the terrible devastation that occurred I could not help but empathize with Donna and how afraid she felt during that entire experience. Unfortunately, it was not the Captain’s fault that this happened, and not his fault that she left either. It is not hard to understand how she felt and she did not to experience this anymore. The wedding pictures, their courtship and their life together seemed picture perfect like a perfect couple on a permanent honeymoon that would never end. Maybe, someday you will reconnect. You truly do belong together.

I really loved the jokes you told and your adventures during your trips. In Hugo’s aftermath everything changed for many people. A trial lawyer, Assistant Attorney General, salesman, manager, husband, sailor and more, Robert Stockel’s story is one that everyone should read and learn from. Good hearted, good natured and quite stubborn when running his ship and training his crew, he weaves an exciting story that brings the reader along for a very bumpy and choppy ride. After traveling to Norfolk and arriving at Annapolis he decided to resume his life as a government attorney for the General Litigation Division D.C. Corporation Counsel’s office. But, his real passion of sailing still burned within him and despite the mistakes, mishaps, disasters and narrow encounters with death, he felt a and still feels a pull sailing and the sea.

Surviving a hurricane, strong storms, unsettling seas, navigational mistakes, wrong turns and rocky relationships, Robert Stockel has never lost focus with what really matters to him nor his strong sense of pride and humor.

Women are not the easiest to get along with and many of us do not like sharing our special man with anyone. Some are jealous, some hide their feelings and others let it all out in rage and anger. Some just give up and leave without ever looking back. But, the one woman in his life, his Dulcinea has always been true to him throughout it all, maybe showing her green streak of envy at times, but you will have to read that for yourself. This is a great book to read and learn about the beauty of the seas, freedom of sailing on the ocean and the wonderful friendships you can make.

I never give stars when I rate a book that I truly feel is noteworthy. I give our Captain Bob: Five Loyal and Jealousy Free: Dulcineas

Tungee’s Gold

Tungee’s Gold: The Legend of Ebo Landing

Author: Tom Barnes

Greed makes people do many things that often go against their principles and beliefs. Taken further, greed can force a person to enter into a deal with the devil, even if the end result would cause harm or injury to others. Tungee’s Gold: The Legend of Ebo Landing is a unique story about a man who wanted to make his fortune by panning gold during the Gold Rush like so many other people. It is the story of a man who not only made his mark and his fortune but also as a result became embroiled in a dangerous plot that might cost him his life, the lives of others and, his integrity.

The time period is the late 1800’s. This historically based novel brings the California Gold Rush and us back to 1851. Finding gold and staking their claims meant a person could create a life for themselves wherever they wanted. In 1851, Gold was discovered in Greenhorn Creek, Kern County leading many people to flood the area.  Wouldn’t you want to be part of this great hunt for Gold?

Depositing the gold in the bank in San Francisco should have been the right decision for Tungee Cahill. But, was it? How and why did he become the primary target of an assassination plot? Who planned the attack and who was behind it? The reasons will become clear and the facts revealed as you read this novel by author Tom Barnes and try to figure our where all of the characters fit and how.

Tungee Cahill wanted to find his fortune and he did. But, what happens as a result will surprise the reader and compel you to read on in order understand that this book is not just about finding gold, but much more. Depositing the gold in the bank in San Francisco should have been the right decision to keep the gold safe. But, was it? Then how and why did he become the prime target of an assassination? Who would have planned the attack and who was behind it? The reasons will be clear and the facts revealed as you read this novel by author Tom Barnes and try to figure out where all of the characters fit and how.

Stopping off at a local restaurant before returning to his hotel, Tungee learns about a group of Aussie’s called the Ducks who caused major problems in the area. Little did he know that he would soon learn more about them and their true mission. Meeting several captains of several ships Tungee learns that there is a shortage of manpower to work on them. But the biggest surprise is yet to come. Walking back to his hotel he is shanghaied. Waking up in a locked cabin on a ship with two other men, he learns his fate. None other than Gideon Foster, the sea captain, he saw at the restaurant that evening, was the cause of his new working and living arrangement.

But, the worst has yet to come, and his keen sense and with the aide of some of the other crewmembers he learns about a possible mutiny aboard ship.  Tungee decides to aide the captain and his crew to foil the mutiny but at what cost? Learning that the name of the ship was also changed beforehand, sends up a red flag and no one has the answer as to why.

The real reason for Foster’s trip to Liverpool has not been revealed and the cargo that will be picked up and delivered will astound the reader and remind you of how difficult it was for some people to survive because of their race.

Slave trade began in 1440 when Portugal started to trade slaves with West Africa. By the 16th century, there was an organized system for slave trade was in place. But, many incidents of slave trade and what could go wrong, as the captives often try to escape are related in this novel.

Jefferson Randolph, a primary character in this book and an ally to Tungee, describes how he felt when he regained his freedom and the fear of the unknown. What happens when you are enslaved and you are no longer bound to a master? Where do you go and what are you going to do? In his case he ran and kept running, but not far enough.

After leaving St. Katherine’s Island the captain informed the crew of their real destination and their new cargo. Informing them that they would unload the grain and pick up 350 slaves created quite a stir and remarks that only prove that prejudice is not a thing of the present but the past.

The fact that they were now a slave trading ship made matters worse for the crew. The possibility of another mutiny was not out of the question. Dobbs, Jefferson and even Tungee would have to decide whether to compromise their way of thinking and go along with the captain or remain in West Africa and hope for the best. In Jefferson’s case he might even be thrown back into slavery.

Captain Foster was faced with an insurmountable task and a difficult decision. He needed Tungee’s help and the help of his crew in order to transport the 350 black slaves to their destination. But, convincing them would not be easy. Tungee, Jefferson, Dobbs and many of the other crewmembers believed and voiced that slavery and slave trade went against their moral beliefs and thought twice before agreeing to help the Captain. But, money talks and morals in this case walked when going along with what you are against might be the lesser of two evils and bring you to safety at the end of the voyage.

Slavery is wrong no matter how you turn it. Treating people like cattle or subhuman is reprehensible. But, there are those that would disagree. The Ebo Tribe has been enslaved on the ship and their King has voiced that he would never become a slave. A young child is groomed and trained as the new messenger of the tribe and the end result of his plan will shock the reader and help you understand why selling someone into bondage for greed in the form of money was wrong. This tribal king encourages his people to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to escape their predetermined fate.

Their ship gone and their journey over Tungee, Jeff, Dobbs and Blakely had to decide on what to do next. Being born a slave and having his papers and not doing anything to help his people, Jeff decides to part ways with the rest and go to Boston. Signing on with another ship Tungee hoped to reclaim his stake and money in San Francisco.

Remember that Tungee was the target of an assassination and the Ducks were not going to give up. This story is about to come full circle when he returns to San Francisco and wants to regain what he left behind.

How this ends will renew your faith in trust, loyalty and friendship. With the help of an Australian Police Inspector and the Vigilance Committee, Tungee is able to right many of the wrongs that not only were inflicted on him but others too. What does happen and what twists and turns the author created at the end will surprise the reader. Is justice served? Who was really behind the plot to kill him? Will he get what he left hidden behind?

Author Tom Barnes weaves a web of deceit, hate, deception and neatly ties up all of the lose ends. “ I  might be a prisoner, but I will never become a slave,” said King Kumi the king of the Ebo tribe. The Ebo Tribe is a group of people that are stubborn, bullheaded and would not allow, anyone to act superior over them. They are their own masters. The sea brought our brave King and his followers and the sea brought him home.

May freedom ring for all and where it does not we need to fight and change it. This book is a must read for everyone and my pick for a number one book for 2010.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and the author of the Bertha Series of Children’s books and Memories are Precious my Alzheimer’s book.

Take the Challenge and Lose the Weight

Obesity Free Forever

Author: Georgene Dana Collins


Publisher: Collins Information Services

Obesity Free Forever is not about a diet, it is about making positive changes in your life and creating your plan to lose weight. But, first you need to follow the important steps set out by the author and answer the many questions at the start of this great book that will definitely help you to kick start a better and healthier you.

The book begins with the author telling the reader about herself, her experiences as a child and the reasons behind why she decided to take herself in hand and lose weight. Society judges people by their outward appearance. Adults and children are often victims of weight discrimination, social discrimination as well as employment and wage discrimination. Although this is wrong and needs to be addressed and not ignored, it is still a fact the employers would rather have someone working for them whose outer appearance meets what they feel it should be.

How did she start and what are the tools that you will need to begin losing weight from the Inside Out? Here we go! Remember, as the author states, you will not lose the weight overnight.

Here is the overview Five Step Process

  1. Understand your current situation
  2. Visualize the new you
  3. Develop a healthy lifestyle plan
  4. Work the plan
  5. Measure and evaluate your progress daily.

In order to understand what your current situation is the author states that you must fully understand what being overweight and obese means. Everyone at some time in his or her life makes the decision to go on a diet and lose weight. But, as I have just lost a lot of weight, I learned that the diet is only the small part of the weight loss process as the author states and I agree with. Read the research in this book and you will learn more about the many health issues that often come along and will need to be addressed by you if you are overweight.

These are the tools you will need to get started:

First you will need two journals: one to write your food intake and log it daily, the second to write your feelings and reflect on how you are doing. Next, you will need one scale to weigh yourself and one to measure your food and don’t forget measuring cups, spoons, and a calorie counter resource which can be purchased in the bookstore or you can access online. These are the materials you need to gather.

The second step is to prepare you to begin losing weight. Using a notebook or a log you need to ask yourself several questions starting with what your goals are and what is your target weight? You might even list what problems or roadblocks you faced when dieting in the past and what you think worked and what did not. There are many other questions that the author feels you need to address that you will learn when you read this book. One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is why you should change and of course if you are ready to make that move to a better and healthier you.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter and learn just how the author lost 140 pounds and kept it off.

She used the method of counting calories. She created her own personal weight loss plan. But, this took time, energy and persistence. First, you have to understand current your situation, then you have to identify the motivation or reason you want to lose the weight, know your ideal body weight and develop a plan to get there. Using your Daily Food Intake Journal will help you to see what you are eating daily. Decide which foods you can do without and using your reflexive journal list healthy foods that you like and your feelings about how you are doing on a daily basis. Picture the new you and find a picture of what you would like to look like as a motivation and paste it on your refrigerator. Next, you need to devise your own plan and the author found that counting calories along with keeping close track of her activity worked for her and aided in her weight loss.

Every weight loss plan needs an exercise program to succeed. Whether you walk, jog, run or go to the gym you need to exercise in order to help boost your weight loss. The author shares her 25 weight loss tips with the reader and the most enlightening part of course was reading her personal journal that led to her success. Use her forms to help you get started and read her journey to success and don’t give up.

Remember: Obesity Is Out and Weight Control and a Better You Is In!

Daughter of the Forest by Ray Shoop

Daughter of The Forest

By Ray Shoop

What would happen if the world became overcrowded and you had to live on another planet? What would happen if you had to find a place to live there and did not have any of the convenience that we do today? How would you survive without a grocery store, stove, department stores and many other things that we take fore granted? What if your new home was no longer in the city but in the forest and you had to learn to hunt food, plant seeds, grow herbs, make your own hammock and build your own shelter? You would learn about the world created by author Ray Shoop in a novel that brings to light what happens when things change, people need to uproot their lives and danger lurks just around the corner. You would be part of the forest people in the novel Daughter of the Forest.

A little girl wanders off into the forest to explore. She trips and hurts her ankle and is in pain. Falling asleep and losing track of time she becomes ill and finds herself disoriented. A group of people find her and snatch her away form her family and create a whole new life and identity for her. Fearing for her survival and her life she learns their customs and ways in order to become part of their society.

Traveling through time and space with her family she comes to live in a new land in order to plant a seed colony- a project that was made necessary due to overpopulation in their Home World.

While her mother and a group of woman are working together they are captured and taken to live in with another tribe against their will. A group of diggers from the Dumeasets are out to destroy the Fumalesets by stealing their women and killing the men. With the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other countries, Ray Shoop brings to light an issue that has plagued the world, hate. In all of these countries groups of people are trying to kill and eliminate others for religious reasons or more. In our novel the author created the Dumeasets to let us know that even in a world that is supposed to be peaceful there are those that would rather pillage, kill and hurt others just for their own reasons. In this case they want their women to live and work among and breed since many of theirs are barren. Taking the lives of their men and transporting them to live amongst their people, is equal to kidnapping and enslavement.

Arlene and several other women from her tribe are now part of the Dumeasets. They work and live together as part of the women belonging to one of their leaders, Ram. Guarded wherever they go, they are made to conform to the ways of these cruel and inhumane people. Added to that Arlene does not know what has happened to Laura, our young child who got lost in the forest.

Thieving, slaughtering and killing is their trademark. Each cycle, or year, they force groups of forest people to uproot their lives and move away in order to avoid their carnage. But, they seem to focus on only the Fumalsets and not any other people who live in the forest. The Palasets, Aquasets, the Vanquesets do not suffer at their hand but still move around to avoid these people. People of different backgrounds, each tribe with their own specific physical characteristics, skills and ideals, author Ray Shoop reminds us that prejudice lives on even in the forest.

Laura now lives with the Fumalsets and has to pass many tests and stringent scrutiny before she is allowed to become part of this new tribe. With a new mother and new father and a new name, Nu-Del she learns that life, as she knew it would never be the same. But, Laura has a special gift that no one knows about. She can read the thoughts and minds of others and uses it to help her learn about her new family, new tribe and alert them is the Fumalsets are about to raid their village. But, with anything new, everyone is skeptical and until they learn the truth the hard way, no one really trusts her or what she tells them.

Becoming part of their tribe, but not a welcome member, she assimilates quite well and is now called Nu- Del. Her adopted parents Sel and Cordac expect her to do her fair share of work just like the rest of their children. In a society that allows men to have more than one mate, Nu-Del learns a lot about the culture and ways of all of the tribes she encounters. Not so different from some other countries that still have concubines and first mates and more, she learns how the mating process and more.

Dom, who is from a different tribe whose whole family has been killed and whose mates have been kidnapped by the Fumalsets to live among them and work, has to find a new tribe and ask acceptance for himself and his family. Learning about these people and the different traditions and customs was quite interesting and allows the reader to learn how difficult Nu-Del and others that are treated at times like outcasts feel. But, Dom is finally accepted and proves he more than worthy to live among the Pidar tribe and is now called Transoni meaning Traveler, which he does.
Nu-Del loves to learn languages and wants to be able to understand the language of every tribe especially the Fumalsets. How this will help her and her tribe you will have to read for yourself. What is does do is bring her and Transoni closer and they form a strong bond as father and daughter, which will also change at the end in a surprising way.

When Nu-Del’s senses that there is danger will she use her special gift to safe her tribe? Will they listen and protect themselves and fight back even though they are not a tribe that fights and kills? Who comes out ahead? Who does hot? What strange voice is calling her at the end? Does she ever get acceptance by her adopted father and a sense of belonging?
These questions and mysteries will only be answered if you read this book about a young child who you will love, respect and will endear you for Nu-Del/Laura is quite special.
Differences in appearance are often shunned and people are made to feel inferior or told they are ugly. Laura/Nu-Del and many of other woman or mates in this amazing novel understand how that feels and more. If you learn anything from reading this book learn that judging a person on the outside limits what you need to learn about them on the inside. Like a great book, as this one is, you miss what is between the pages and you lose out.

I give this book 5 Nu-Dels to teach everyone planting, herbs, healing and tolerance and unconditional love.

Fran Lewis: reviewer and author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious