Dealing with sibling rivalry may be a common picture-book theme, but this book’s droll and amusing approach is a welcome...

OH, CHESTER!

A pampered cat narrates his tale of woe when a new baby joins the family.

Hinck (Great Love: The Mary Jo Copeland Story, 2013) nails Chester’s voice from the start. “Hi, everyone! It’s me, Chester. I know what you’re thinking: Wow, that is one handsome cat!” Lemaire’s cat-centric illustrations radiate Chester’s attitude and range of emotions. When Mom, whose head is out of the frame, rubs his belly, he’s shown lolling back with eyes half closed. Chester’s description of his perfect “before” life goes on too long, though the self-absorbed tend to do that. When Mom and Dad announce they are leaving and Grandma is coming, Chester grows uneasy: The text reads, “ ‘I object!’ I said. I flattened my ears out so they would know that I was serious,” while Chester’s speech balloon simply says, “Meow!” Using cats’ actual body language to describe Chester’s feelings is an inspired choice; kids will relate to the jealousy big siblings often feel, and they’ll also learn to read their pets’ signals. Eventually, the parents return home with a “package” Chester believes is a gift to make it up to him—until out comes a “screaming, screeching, bouncing, banging creature! The baby, they called it.” The family is so enamored, “it was like I didn’t even exist. You can imagine the horror.” The indignities build until the family points out that the baby loves Chester, too. “If having my fur pulled out by the roots is love, then I am going to need a lot of therapy.” Just as Chester thumps his tail in protest, the baby giggles, and Chester learns that the baby will fall asleep when he snuggles up and purrs. This gives the rest of the family time to pay attention to Chester, an outcome he finds supremely pleasing: “I win!” School-age siblings will appreciate the wry humor in Chester’s snappy remarks—“No one ever cheers when I poop”—while his discovery that his interactions with the baby can have positive effects may encourage big brothers and sisters to make similar discoveries of their own.

Dealing with sibling rivalry may be a common picture-book theme, but this book’s droll and amusing approach is a welcome addition to the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1492190301

Page Count: 50

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2014

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

NO REMORSE

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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