WHat do you use to help your body? my review

What do you use to help your body?

By Jewel Kats


Illustrated by Richa Kinra


Maggie and her mom would like to take you on a tour of their neighborhood to meet some of the interesting people that live there. Each of the people they will introduce you to use a special device to aid them in their lives. People with disabilities need various things to aid them when working, going shopping or just relaxing. On today’s walk Maggie will learn different things that people use to help their bodies and hopefully you, the reader will learn more about how these devices help others and why we need to understand that disabilities occur in every culture, what these devices are that the people in our neighborhood use, what they are called, their purpose and how therapists can use this book to help motivate patients and both young and older when dealing with their specific disability.


Let’s walk down the block and meet Liz who sells flowers as she explains to Maggie that she uses a Hearing Aid to help her listen to and understand voices. Look at the colorful illustration on page 7 that highlights what she is learning. Next, we meet David who is getting off one of the transit buses and he tells Maggie to help his body he uses a wheelchair. This chair helps him move around, zoom and get home faster. Maggie and her mom see Justin who teaches hip-hop and uses an artificial leg to stand, walk and hop. How amazing is that as you look at the illustration on page 11 to see how this leg helps Justin.


Mrs. Ali writes poetry and needs to rest at times under the trees. Using a walker, which has a seat, is one way she can sit down and rest her feet. There are some people whose speech is impaired and have trouble expressing themselves. A special device called a communication board helps them. To learn more read page 14 and meet Yan, who loves to paint by the lake and uses this special machine to communicate with others. See what the machine looks like on page 15. Dr Sharma is next and he uses a Cane to help him walk and balance himself and Todd has something special to guide him because he is blind. Guide dogs are trained and need to pay attention in order to protect the person that is blind.


Crossing guards are there to make sure that children cross the street safely but Katrina needs to wear a brace on her arm in order to make it easier for her to bend her elbow. But, Maggie needs a special device too in order to help her to be able to do something. To find out what “assistive device,” she uses read page 24 and see the device on page 25.


Having a disability does not mean that you cannot lead a productive life, get around on your own. This is a great book to help children that might need a cast on their leg, wear an arm brace, or older people that need to use walkers to get around to know that these assistive devices are made to help you lead your life the way you want. This is a great book for teachers to read in class to help children understand other children that might have special needs. Some children even visit homes where people might use these devices and or visit a grandparent in a home and with the help of this book they might understand more about someone using a walker, a cane or even a hearing aid. Children that have problems with their hearing will understand the importance of a hearing aid. Children that have back problems might need to wear a back brace. This book is so outstanding. The illustrations are perfect and the story will encourage other children to understand that disabilities do not define a person they help them. Maggie and her mom hope you enjoyed your walk and invite you to take it again any time you want.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer


Hollow Vengeance: my review

Hollow Vengeance: my review.

Hollow Vengeance: my review

Hollow Vengeance: Jan Richmond


There are people in this world that are unable to forgive others when they feel an injustice has been committed whether to them or someone else. Many fall prey to their own failings and often enact violence on those they feel wronged them. When someone without any character or substance goes after another person harming him or her with violent revenge we can say that they finally avenged those that have been killed or wronged. But, what happens when one army Lieutenant falls prey to his own temper, anger and shortcomings and decides that the only way to get retribution for the deeds committed by others was to do it himself.


A chance meeting at Ft. Walton Beach would bring Lieutenant Frank Barrett and Ramsey Davis together. A short courtship and instant chemistry and these two young people decided on marriage and a life together. Within the prologue the author presents a shortened version of their meeting, their wedding and their hopes for the future as Frank’s stay would be short being called up to serve his country. Within the first chapter the author relates Frank’s experiences as an air force pilot, introduces his squadron, commanding officers and allows readers to understand his mission and what he and the newly formed 555th squadron would be expected to do. Listening to Captain Young, his commanding officer relate his instructions, explaining how they would interact with the enemy and learning how to deal with missions the reader begins to understand just how important these men were to winning the War in Vietnam. Within Chapter 2 and 3 the author allows the reader along with Frank and the other pilots to engage the enemy in battle, understand what happens when the radar and missiles were unreliable and the need for better weaponry would have saved more lives. Learning the terminology, fighting and coming up against MiG’s Frank and his squad fought hard, made a plea to the brass for better weapons and hoped before all was said and done they would complete what they were there for and more. But, each mission was dangerous and you could feel the tension mount, their hearts beating and the enemy closing in as lives were lost, missions were won and SAM’s were downed. But, with so much at stake and the war in full swing Frank was grateful to make is home for Christmas and here is where our story takes a different direction.


Returning home to his wife was the highlight of his life and wanting to make her happy his goal. Forming a tight relationship with another fighter pilot named Chad helped him to not only survive but would ease the transition between home and Vietnam as some harsh realities come to light when Ramsey begins to unravel. Wanting more out of life and a better place to live she gets drunk becomes depressed and Frank needs to work some magic on her to bring her around.


Nicknamed “Bee Sting,” Barrett his stinger during the war was quite sharp but not as sharp at the one he uses when fate takes her stab at him and turns his life into shreds. Within the docks of Port Tampa lives the mafia. As Little Eddy makes his way to a Panamanian registered ship his mission is clear. Hand over the money and get the drugs. Simple enough you would think. Little Eddy is cruel, unfeeling and often too strung out to know be aware of his surroundings, handle a deal or even communicate at times. But, entering the cabin of Captain Diaz he manages to complete what he came for but what happens next will change the complexion of not only his life but others too.


Ramsay and Frank were blessed with Chad’s friendship and meeting his wife Peggy made it even more special. Hoping that they would settle nearby as Pan Am was employing Chad and so much Peggy, they became more than just fast friends. But, one rainy evening would change it all for Frank. But, first let’s meet Santo Bonocante and join him for his meeting with his henchmen and find out what happens when the Mafia is involved. Enter Little Eddy and learn what will happen if he encounters the wrath of this man. Frank enters his home and finds Ramsey strung out on her bed crying. Unhappy with their life what will it take to make her smile? Hoping that buying a home, continuing their friendship with Chad and his wife would endear her to him. But, one swift movement of a car, one false move as Ramsey, pregnant and having trouble moving runs after their dog in the dark and gets hit by a car. Happening in a split second and not really understanding the end result at first, Ramsey waddles after the dog to capture him, finding herself lying in a heap on the wet pavement. But, Little Eddy did not stop and knew that the right judge could be bought and what happens next will embroil the reader in a story of murder, mystery and intrigue. The dialogue at times seems quite different as the character addresses the reader, a narrator and then a commentary at times. Told in the third person for most of the novel the character’s actions are described as the many incidents occur. Throughout chapters 10- 11 we learn more about her condition, her dramatic letter and message to Frank and then her death. But, the end is far from near as the culprit is caught but the sentence he gets will not only anger Frank but the reader too. A judge that was on the take and a man who was deported to Panama instead of sentenced on some type of murder charge inflaming Frank and putting into action a chain of events that would change his life, make you question his morals and put his friendship with Chad on the line.


Frank makes his way to Panama in order to take care of Little Eddy with the help of Chad but along the way he meets Toni. Thinking he is home free and will be able to avenge his wife’s death he befriends her but with caution. Finding out where Little Eddy was proved not too difficult, as he was able to convince some of the locals that he was there for other purposes. But, what he does will surprise readers and leaving him for dead might be his downfall. Frank has anger issues and cannot seem to control his rage when he feels an injustice has been done. No one seemed to realize the change in his personality and his determination to right wrongs in a violent way.

Vengeance can be defined as a “downward spiral of pain and betrayal.” When one person decides to take action against another and hurt them you might say they are enacting some type of vengeance. But, Frank’s manner is so intense that at times he seems irrational and unfocused whereby becoming one and the same with his rage devoid of realizing what he is doing or where he is going. As he follows a downward path he decides to go after the judge next but with an unsuspecting helper. Getting to know Toni he finds out that her father is a retired General and uses her friendship to foster his plans against the judge, which leads to disaster.


With Frank thinking Little Eddy is out of the way and enacting his own form of retribution on the judge he begins training for his second tour in Vietnam. Promoted to Major and asked to remain to train newer troops, Frank things he’s about to start a new life making sure he keeps his promise to Ramsay and make it worthwhile. The author continues to explain the many facets of training a fighter pilot, the missions but Frank is not that lucky the last time and winds up captured and placed in a POW camp. The graphically depicted scenes will help readers understand our military men had to endure at the hand of the enemy. But, when freed and meeting someone that might change his life what he does should make everyone realize that he needs some type of help but will it? Someone cuts him off a chase begins and Frank is in heavy pursuit of an unknown driver. What happens at the end will surprise readers and let you know that this is just the beginning for Frank. Someone new is in his life but will she remain? Will he keep his promise to Ramsay and create a life that is worthwhile? Will what happened to him in Vietnam haunt him forever? What will happen if he faces off with Little Eddy? Will the judge come after him? Just what will he get from enacting revenge on so many? Hollow Vengeance: Hollow: an empty cavity with nothing in it. A place where that is lower than the area around it or in this case a man whose spirit and anger has taken control of him so deeply he has no place to go but down. Will Frank feel victorious or will it be a hollow victory achieving his goal but losing something important along the way? A mystery that unravels the within the mind of one man as Frank takes us deep within the jungles of Vietnam, to the docks of Panama and back to Florida trying to console his anger, live with his deeds and find a way to redeem himself for his actions. But, does he and will he? This is the first of many Frank Barrett mystery/thriller novels. Using his knowledge of the Vietnam War and research added about fighter pilots and the weaponry and plans used author Jan Richmond takes us back to a war that most have forgotten.



This book gets four stars.






A Different Alchemy

 A Different Alchemy



Devolution, de-evolution or backward evolution: when species can change into more primitive forms over time. Evolution means progress to more advanced organisms. Each organism becomes more complex in structure and function over time. Evolution is thought or supposed to make species more advanced not primitive. But, some modern species have lost some of their more complex functions that were indicative of their ancestors or forebears and have or might be degenerated forms.  The term  “devolution according to dictionary.com is defined as going from an advanced state to a less advanced state or an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting would define the term alchemy or any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance usually of little value into a substance of great value. But, what happens when the opposite occurs? What happens when something strikes normal, healthy infants, children and turns them into non-responsive humans incapable of showing emotions, movement or any type of communication? What happens when the world refers to these children as Blocks and parents throughout the world find themselves caring for children that are not disabled in the normal sense but are not there but have no idea why. In a world that is diminishing, where fires have destroyed much of the landscape and structures,

When mankind gives up and shows no sign of up what happens will be revealed within the pages of this novel. From the author of The Man Who Watched the World End comes a novel that will make you wonder: Can this really happen? What happens to people when things go wrong? When panic strikes why do we often get violent, give up home and forget whom we are? When the world becoming devoid of people and those that are left begin to travel south what you will see as the author describes the devastation, despair, ruin and abandoned cities is a graphic depiction of a world that had decayed. Close your eyes: Can you small the fresh air? Do you see the beautiful flowers in a garden? Can you see the children playing the schoolyard or having fun shooting hoops? Can you see the beautiful highways lit up with the lights that help drivers see? Do you see the amazing houses, villages, stores and towns with their wares in the window? Open your eyes to reality: It’s all gone. Cities hunger for people, cars are left abandon on highways, and people are violent and will kill for just a tank of gas of a new tire. Mankind has become wanton, unfeeling, desperate, deceitful, and violent: of have they always been that way and we have not taken the time to notice?

This is the story of Jeffrey, Katherine and Galen. A story filed with hope, love, despair, frustration and anger. Nothing could be more powerful or painful than losing a child. What happens when your child receives so much love and care but cannot respond to the world around him? Within the pages of this novel you will hear the word Block. Blocks are children born after a certain time period unable to cry, scream, yell, walk, eat, talk, walk or do anything that would show that they are part of this world other than being able to breathe. Some feel that it was a great illness that caused children to be born this way. Others have no idea what the reason and found using them as scapegoats a fun pastime, blaming them for the shortages of food and other important life sustaining supplies their out. Others felt that would be a burden on the state. But, when cities were evacuated and homes left vacant why did their former owners burn them? The loss of a son that might have been avoided had his wife not fallen prey to false promises and dreams that their son would be okay if she left him with others at a stadium and somehow he might be okay. But, when the harsh reality of what she had done comes out and the fact that not only did the stadium burn but those within it too, Jeffrey finds it hard to ever face Katherine again and decides to leave his old life behind and instead of heading south like everyone else, he goes north. A Block Son but Jeffrey’s love is unconditional and at times we the author brilliantly shares conversations within this character’s mind with his son. Treating him as if he understands make him feel whole. Letting him know that he will always protect him despite the fact that he does not understand the mark of a dedicated parent. So, how can he forgive Katherine? The volatile nature of the public, the many newscasts, the flashbacks to where it all began as he reminds himself of why Galen might have become a Block blaming it on the timing of when they decided to have a child. But, is that the real reason? Scientists did not even fathom a solid guess and thought it was a strange illness that caused it and never worked on a vaccine or cure. It was easier to eliminate these children or adults by setting them on fire, leaving them in a shelter, leaving them behind so that they could justify fleeing to another town. As the author allows us to hear Jeffrey’s thinking, logic and sometimes rants we meet other survivors whose only goal is to find a way to the south, north or anywhere not caring for others or willing to help anyone along the way. Mankind became hard, unfeeling, distant and selfish as some had the implements needed to travel why others went in directions that would cause their deaths.

The author cleverly flashes back to discussions between Jeffrey and Katherine including arguments they had, the blame each one puts the other for Galen and the end result that caused his death. Author Chris Dietzel’s vivid descriptions of the decayed landscape, the fallen cities, the broken fences, the brown grass, the dead bodies strewn all over the streets, highways and cities and the smell of death all around brings to story to life for readers. Each chapter fosters memories of things that happened within this small family, things that he wished could have happened and the hopes and dreams he had for his son that he knew would never come to pass. The baseball games he would never play. The girls he would never meet or date and the fun getting drunk for the first time as a teen. How can Jeffrey forgive Katherine when he cannot forgive himself? In the military at Fort Dix the soldiers and those in charge do not report. Many of the officers just left and have not returned. Security has been eliminated and the airwaves had all of the spies from different countries divulge their hidden secrets. Wouldn’t that be interesting if that happened today and everyone worked together?


There are many major issues or themes revealed within this novel. Many feel that because of their inability to communicate or take care of themselves that block children or people have no value. Blocks cannot have children. The population might never grow unless something happens. The Great De-Evolution: Will this really happen if we are not careful?

The setting takes place in Philadelphia as those living there have abandoned their city and his wife caused him what he thinks is his son’s death. Putting thousands of these children in danger in a stadium and allowing it to burn was just where the chain of horrific events began with the justification that you might say but was left unsaid was for the greater good.

Meeting a man on the road enrages him as she realizes that he had something to do with the death of his son and the other Blocks. The rafe is real, the fire lingers in his mind and as his knuckles crack after hitting the side of the man’s skull you would think he would stop, rethink what he’s doing but he does not. Hoping that the man would take his last breath he leaves to wallow in his own blood and finds a grocery store to stop up on supplies as if nothing major happened and the fact that the man might be dead did not affect him in the least. What if he had left years ago? What if they had tried to have a child when they first married? What if the tank he us traveling in gives out? Imagine this as a movie more powerful than others depicting the decline of the world and its population. Reading the Road and seeing the movie this book presents many of the same issues of survival, greed, anger, violence and revenge but the powerful hope of forgiveness makes this one stand out even more. Taking books from bookstores or libraries, providing himself with sustenance and the what he needs to survive the pictures that the author relate4s as he thinks of Katherine driving their son to the stadium, flesh burning, the screams that would never be heard and the despair of a parent who would never see his son again. A man, bloody broke and dead in front of his tank did not bring any emotional response form Jeffrey. His swollen eye and purples did not matter to him. The man was a thief who wanted to steal his tank and prayed and begged for his own death. What did the world look like before the Blocks and the decline of the human race? What would have happened if people just accepted them and did not panic? What would have happened if they had stayed put? Imagine this world where food processors can do anything and generators never give out. Traveling from Philadelphia to cities across the country and stopping to find food, and using what others left behind, running water, the internet working and gangs trying to kidnap the blocks, what kind of world do we live in and would the same thing happen if this were reality today?

Bombed out cities that looked like they had never been rebuilt, stores City Hall and the Statue of Liberty falling apart, the smell of dead animals, the burning flesh of the Blocks and the forgotten homes and people he meets along the way will haunt Jeffrey and readers as the author brings the story to a dramatic close. People that traveled to Washington and were turned away. Using his food processor preparing meals for himself and strangers he met. The final chapters bring back the last days when he was on his military base, saying goodbye to friends, convincing others that their block children would be okay as the author flashes back to when some had hope before the siren blared and reality set it. Then he replays the beginning in his mind hoping that the end result will not be the same as Katherine states that the man on the TV said to bring all of the blocks to the stadium. An ending that will keep you wondering what is next for Jeffrey and where will he wind up. Will he continue until he runs out of land or will he finally find peace and settle somewhere? Will the author continue the story until we learn what the end result is for everyone? This is a powerful story that will keep you thinking about how we treat others, why people do the things they do, their actions and the fact that forgiveness is powerful but can he forgive himself first?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer


Five Golden Hugs For Galen



Rachel’s Folly

Rachel’s Folly.

Rachel’s Folly

Rachel’s Folly: Monica Bruno



Within the minds of many there are fears, hopes and needs. Sometimes many will act foolishly and show a strong lack of good sense of judgment causing them to commit an act that they would normally never do. Rachel Richards spends an evening with the husband of a friend and has too much to drink. Knowing that this man was going to marry her best friend should have deterred her from doing what seemed to come natural to both. Liquor can make you do many things and within this intricately crafted plot titled “Rachel’s Folly,” she is not the only voice we hear nor is she the only one that commits a senseless act. Lies, betrayals, revenge, despair, depression and hate are just some of the issues the author brings to light when two people decide to commit on act and one woman’s life becomes a tangled web that no one can unwind.


Nightmares, dreams, visions of what happened and depression set in as Rachel comes to grips with what she does but can she forgive herself for this indiscretion? But, guilt, fear of being found out and the thought that her best friend was going to marry a man who seemed to have a checkered past but what exactly was he hiding was unknown, Rachel ventures out to tell Elena but does not. With her brother, Ben coming off of a broken relationship with his male partner, and her son Jacob so attached to him, her trust in her brother out wins her telling her friend and the end result will surprise you. The reaction she gets from her brother is not what she expects and the words spoken between them cannot be taken back.


One moment of passion and many lives are changed as Rachel copes with her guilt and what happens next is another voice that relates his feelings and the story continues. Jack Spencer is a man of many faces and when approached by Ben to come clean with his actions he denies them. The mystery surrounds what happens between Ben and Jack, the evil that comes through as you hear his sneers, his voice and his sinister grin as bad things happen but to whom you won’t believe and the end result is shocking.

Author Monica Bruno takes readers inside the minds of both Rachel and Ben as Ben’s boyfriend Paul comes back into his life and he has to decide whether to allow him into his heart again. Monica Bruno’s writing style makes the reader feel as if each character is speaking directly to them as they take you along on their downward rides before the crash landing at the end. Edward Richards, Rachel’s husband has no idea why she is so depressed nor any idea what happened between her and Jack. Drinking too much and then having an affair with another man if the truth is revealed will he forgive her? What about Elena? But, Rachel has a conscience and cannot seem to live with herself unless she repents you might say or confesses to her sins.


Sara Dishner is Rachel’s patient. Rachel is a family therapist. When Sara relates information about her relationship with a man named James and shows Rachel his photo it sets off more than just fire alarms, gongs and loud whistles as another harsh reality comes to light. But, Sara is naïve and has no idea who this married man is that she is having an affair with. A cover so haunting you will see it when you close your eyes as the face is compelling the earring quite memorable and the back cover shows the fate of the second one. A present given to Rachel from Elena and a friendship that would be shattered.
Next, we hear Sara’s voice as she decides to take control of her life but not in the way you’d expect. Revenge is sometimes sweet but closure does not always allow you to free yourself of your burden of guilt. Not wanting her parents to learn about what she has done nor her efforts to take matters into her own hands, she befriends Ben but not before another twist in the plot takes place.


Just how far will someone go to avenge their guilt? Just how overpowering is this guilt that it consumes your every waking hour and might ruin not only your life but your family’s too. How can a brother turn on his sister knowing that she needed his support? Just what guilt does Ben bear as the final outcomes are revealed and the plot takes an unusual turn.

Ben’s dog Homer is precious and plays a special role in this story as he loves little Jacob his nephew. The closeness between them spills over in many scenes and the many different voices that we hear including Ben’s and his ex-partner’s Paul, are quite compelling.

Character flaws, character personalities that change from start to finish, psychological and almost a gas-lighting effect as the fate of so many is made to look as if it never happened and the truth behind the events imagined. The author ties all three characters together but not in the way you think. Rachel and Sara having an affair. Each one dealing with it in a different way. One seeking absolution and forgiveness within herself first and the other seeking revenge. While Ben faces his own demons, past and has to decide whether to allow Paul to remain in his home, his heart is just start afresh.

Creating your own portrait of how you want you life to be pictured sometimes requires refinishing before the canvas is completed. Three faces: Rachel, Ben and Sara each one taking one third of the canvas and each one with their own story told in a special narrative created by this talented author. When the canvas is completed and Rachel’s third is filled in we see Edward her husband, Jacob her son, Rachel and a dark shadow that seems to have overtaken her face. With Ben we see Homer, his dog, his apartment and his writing. Finally, Sara her face, her anger, her job as a vet’s assistant and a dark shadow that overtakes her face as her persona becomes quite apparent. Anger, revenge, guilt, fear and hate can be seen in her face almost like what happened to the portrait of Dorian Gray before his end. Jack might take up another quadrant if the portrait is divided in four. Within his quadrant you would see the computer salesman, his smooth smile, his perfect attire, Elena, their wedding, both Rachel and Sara on opposite sides. But, hanging over his head a dark ring filled deceit, lies, hate and manipulation.

When the final pieces of the portrait are in place and the picture is hung up just whose face defines the word Folly and is responsible for what lies beneath the pages of this intense, well written and frightening true to life novel? How far would anyone go to have one quick fling? Would you be able to handle it? Would you wonder if you might be found out? Read Rachel’s story, then Ben’s and finally Sara’s. You decide! If anyone thinking of having an affair you might think more than must twice about doing it after reading this novel. For teens that get mixed up with older men or married men, this will convince you to rethink your options and use your common sense.


Fran Lewis: Reviewer

An Outcast Life

An Outcast Life.