A friendly, quirky book with a slow, steady rhythm all its own.

How the Dog Came to Live at the Z House

Zanville (How BJ Diana Came to Live at the Z House, 2012, etc.) offers a warm, realistic picture book about getting a new pet.

Noah’s mom has promised him that they can think about getting a dog when he turns 6. Like most little kids, however, he assumes “thinking about” means doing; like most parents, his mom hopes she can put off making a tough decision by using the old standard, “I’ll think about it.” But when the day inevitably comes, Noah is still excited about getting a dog. Again, Mom Z tries a very familiar parenting tactic: They can go look at the shelter, but she makes no promises on whether they’ll actually come home with a dog. Of course, a perfect little black dog with a gentle disposition is waiting for them there. The only problem is that another family has already signed papers to adopt him. A long wait begins to find out whether the little black dog will come to live at the Z house or not. Zanville’s story follows its own rhythm, without a traditional narrative arc or climax. Mama Z and Noah take each step as it comes, and there’s little drama or suspense. Indeed, it’s a lot like the rhythm of real life, and that becomes problematic at times: All good real-life tales need a little editing—a few details left out or elided—to make a good story on the page. As a result, this story’s level of detail makes it drag at points, but Zanville’s sentence structure and word choice—carefully targeted to an early-elementary reading level—help keep things moving along. Stommel and Czekalki’s illustrations perfectly bring big-eyed little Noah and his caring, approachable mom to life and provide just the right amount of humor.

A friendly, quirky book with a slow, steady rhythm all its own. 

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479365838

Page Count: 44

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2014

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.



A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012


Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.


Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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