With harrowing suspense and an ending that is as satisfying as it is haunting, this seaman’s odyssey will leave readers...

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THE ODYSSEY OF ART O'HARA

A riveting tale of a World War II Navy man’s survival at sea, based on the true account of the USS Indianapolis.

Radioman 3rd Class Art O’Hara, a brash radioman who’s always toting a cigarette on his lip, wakes in a seedy San Francisco motel room. Realizing he’s AWOL, he makes a mad dash to catch his ship just before it heads to sea. Readers ride pillion on this rapid-fire opening to a novel that gains momentum with every page as O’Hara and his fellow sailors embark for the Marianas aboard the USS Atwood. At the outset, life aboard ship doesn’t seem too onerous: O’Hara finds opportunities to shirk work, badger underlings, ponder the mysterious crate in the cargo hold and watch newbies vomit over the railing. Within days of delivering its cargo, the Atwood leaves for the Leyte Gulf. It never reaches its destination. Just after midnight, two torpedoes strike, swiftly sinking the Atwood as men grab life jackets and jump ship. Ocean currents and confusion about whether the distress signal went out leave the survivors wondering if they’ll be rescued, while treading water under a merciless sun. With each day that passes, more men die from their wounds or get picked off by ever-present sharks. Delusions set in: Some men bargain with the Almighty, while others retreat into their imaginations. O’Hara’s fantasy of driving to Montana with his parents gradually merges into memory, and we learn of his love for Atsuko, a young Japanese woman whom he’d met at a dance—a poignant subplot that encapsulates conflicted American attitudes in 1945. Author Loranger, a former Navy man, presents his fictionalized history of the USS Indianapolis with meticulous detail, rich naval lore and bantering humor, and he infuses it with a poetic beauty. Swimming toward warmth, O’Hara thought “he could swim off the edge of the earth and float into the solar surface,” even while dorsal fins circled the “ivory whiteness of his feet...and he did not fault the sharks for coveting them.” After four torturous days in the water, the acceptance of death brings forgiveness, even to predators.

With harrowing suspense and an ending that is as satisfying as it is haunting, this seaman’s odyssey will leave readers pondering their own life choices and courage.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-1479724147

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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