Mountain climber, investment banker and entrepreneur Fejtek, born with a condition that resulted in a partial paralysis of his right arm, writes of his quest to conquer the highest mountain on each continent.
With his wife and climbing partner, Denise, Fejtek spent eight years on a quest to reach the summit of seven of the world’s highest peaks and bring attention to athletes with physical disabilities. Starting with Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and ending with Mt. Everest on the border between Nepal and Tibet, the Fejteks overcame physical disability, brutal weather, life-threatening avalanches and illness to accomplish a feat only 65 other people at that time had achieved. Along the way, the author realized that the steps he took to prepare himself had relevance in his everyday life and business experience. Fejtek’s story is cleverly and succinctly told in 15 steps that encompass his philosophy for finding success in life and in particular as a businessman and athlete. Fejtek not only uses his steps to carry him over the finish line in Ironman competitions but also in business transactions. As he points out, steps such as “Have a Little Faith,” “Move Fast,” “Just Breathe” and “Never Give Up” can be applied to many large and small challenges. The author demonstrates most of these steps in his story of climbing Mt. Everest, an endeavor that has claimed the lives of hundreds of well-prepared climbers. The mountaintop was elusive, but the Fejteks made it to the top of the world; they also brought 23 of their friends to Everest’s base camp (at an altitude of more than 17,000 feet) in a project called Everybody to Everest. The project helped raised money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a group whose members were instrumental in inspiring and helping Fejtek achieve his lofty goal. (All the profits from the sales of this book will go to the CAF.)
An inspirational book about how to achieve one’s goals, wrapped in an adventure tale.
Tragedy turns into triumph in Carlson’s debut novel about a young woman who regains her self-confidence after multiple losses and years of dejection.
Before readers meet 28-year-old Jamie Shire, she has already hit rock bottom. Jobless, she drinks away her days on her best friend’s couch as she wallows in loneliness. Among Jamie’s troubles: Her mother died when she was a child, the only man she ever loved wouldn’t reciprocate, her unborn daughter died, and she continuously feels rejected by her father and brother. After a chance encounter with a wealthy woman at a coffee shop, Jamie accepts a live-in job researching philanthropic causes at Fallow Springs Estate. Reaching out to the house staff and eventually working with Darfur refugees afford Jamie some valuable context for her own pain; she’s able to gain confidence as she learns to stop fearing rejection and start pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, the author skillfully creates mood. In the beginning, when Jamie borders on depression, her emotional touchiness and oversensitivity will create an uneasy feeling in readers. But as Jamie slowly regains confidence, readers will also feel increasingly optimistic. Alongside the main character’s emotional struggle is the struggle faced by Darfur refugees, although this plotline doesn’t advance too far; yet details from Jamie’s trip to the refugee camp in Chad—the types of beer served at the aid workers’ bar or a depiction of a young refugee sitting blank-faced and tied to a pole because he might run away—effectively transport readers to faraway places. Jamie’s story will interest readers, but, with a weak ending, the story leaves many unanswered questions. Who is Jamie’s wealthy employer? Does Jamie’s work in Chad help anyone but herself? And what of the conflict Jamie feels between herself and the refugees, between the haves and the have-nots?
With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the destination.
Pirates, magic and a secret society collide in this fantasy middle-grade novel.
This fast-paced novel follows best friends Cameron and Miguel, who are looking for adventure while cruising through their Arizona town on a tandem bicycle. They find it when an enchanted pirate ship flies overhead and lands in a convenience store’s parking lot. The ship sets up as a shop, which uses an intoxicating mist to trick customers into buying overpriced sea-themed merchandise, while simultaneously making them defenseless against pickpocket pirates. Cameron has bigger problems when Blackbeard, the ship’s intimidating captain, decides that the tween has stolen a powerful ring that would allow him to shape-shift into any person he imagines. Raising the stakes, the pirates kidnap Miguel and force him to perform grunt work with no chance of release. Cameron enlists the help of his best gal pal, Marcella, to free Miguel, but their mission takes a surprising turn when they discover a secret society protecting an underground gold mine. Author Loge keeps the action coming as the trio encounter a nasty doppelganger, a sinister talking parrot and a gang of violent pirates. The breezy writing ensures that the story doesn’t get stale. With so many quick twists and turns, young readers could get lost along the way, but Loge clearly explains all the unexpected changes to keep his audience on track. In addition to a sprinkling of black-and-white illustrations, Cameron’s easy friendship with Miguel and Marcella keeps things light and youthful when the tale could have been bogged down with one too many odd, mystical events. The heart of the book—a young boy as the chosen one who must defeat an evil enemy—has been a common YA plotline in recent years, but Loge’s energetic style makes the theme seem fresh.
A fun adventure for anyone who’d love to see a few spunky kids trick some bad-news pirates.