An American Holocaust: The Story of Lataine’s Ring by Kerry Barger

75 years ago on March 18, 1937 around 3:17 pm, one of the most modern public school buildings in America exploded in a rural Texas community decimating the student population and destroying innocent lives. Considered the worst public school disaster in American history, controversial theories surrounding this tragedy are still debated to this day. The event sparked changes that soon reverberated around the world and continue to affect each of us in our homes, schools, businesses and places of worship. “An American Holocaust” is a story that begins with the giving of a child’s Christmas gift in 1936. The explosion took place at the London School in New London, Texas in 1937. The story relays more than simple facts. It is a personal account of unprepared loss and shattered dreams, followed by unfathomable grief. It describes the feelings of those who died in their innocence and of those who witnessed horror and lived through the aftermath. An unresolved silence persisted for forty years among the entire community of scarred survivors. For those who spoke out, their stories have been told and re-told for three quarters of a century, but most people have never heard them. Although the innocent still suffer from the ignorance and indifference of a few, especially those we should be able to trust with the lives and safety of our children, this is also a story of hope. Countless lives have been saved by bold actions that were taken in the wake of this unanticipated sacrifice of so many children who were literally consumed by fire. It was truly an American holocaust. The following is an editorial review by John E. Roper, The US Review of Books: “I remember being thrown up in the air like a toy… I keep turning and spinning. Then darkness.” The attack on the World Trade Center in New York claimed almost 3,000 lives and changed America forever. A little-remembered explosion of a school in the 1930s resulted in just over 300 deaths, yet it, too, had a tremendous impact on society. Barger revives the story of one of the nation’s most poignant tragedies in his highly-moving tale. The school in New London was considered one of the most modern facilities in the state for the time period, and the residents of the small East Texas town were extremely proud of it. Like in many of the small towns near the oil fields, school officials had decided to tap into the natural gas lines to cut heating costs at the facility. What they never realized was just how dangerous that practice could be. On March 18, 1937, a spark in the wood shop ignited the cloud of invisible and odorless gas that had slowly permeated the school. The resulting explosion killed children and teachers alike, littering the area with body parts and completely devastating a community. The catastrophe led Texas to mandate the inclusion of an additive to natural gas that would enable people to smell it. The nation and then much of the world soon followed suit. Barger’s book follows the lives of several families affected by the tragedy, including his own. By giving the reader glimpses into the hopes and dreams of individuals like his cousin, Lataine, he builds a literary memorial to those who lost so much to make others safe in the future… it stands as a much-needed reminder of an event that should never be forgotten.

Author: Kerry Barger

Rating: Rating: 4.50 / 5
90 reviews

Chocrotes and the World Without Question by Steve Berkowitz and Bjorn Minde

In a world of chickens, one chicken fights for the right to question.The setting for this book is a fantasy world inhabited strictly by Chickens. In this far off world, the Chickens live in fear of an evil King: Doodle Doo. This evil king, having usurped the throne from a Queen and King who believed in the power of questions and love, Doodle Doo turns the Chicken world upside down and destroys thousands of lives in the process. Chocrotes is born during Doodle Doo’s reign and is raised by a scientist and professor of roostory, who believe in the power of questioning. Chocrotes believes strongly that his peaceful world has been uprooted by a fascist regime. Throughout his life Chocrotes asks questions, even though he is warned not to. This is his story.

Author: Steve Berkowitz and Bjorn Minde

Rating: Rating: 4.70 / 5
11 reviews

Emerald Green (Murder in Savannah Book 1) by Lindsay Marie Miller

On a chilly December night in Savannah, Georgia, seventeen-year-old Addie Smith dreams of an alluring young man, too mysteriously handsome to be real. When spring semester commences the following week, at Maple Creek High, a new student, named Tom Sutton, arrives, bearing a striking resemblance to the beautiful stranger from Addie’s dream. Addie feels inextricably drawn to Tom, and his rare, unwavering resiliency, as the enchanting nature of first love takes hold. But when a cold-blooded criminal returns to Savannah, in pursuit of a long-forgotten possession, Addie must confront the darkest secrets of an elusive, hidden past that threaten to destroy her future.

Author: Lindsay Marie Miller

Rating: Rating: 4.10 / 5
95 reviews

Maisy and The Missing Mice (The Maisy Files Book 1) by Elizabeth Woodrum

Dive into Maisy’s world of mystery and lollipops!Maisy Sawyer is not your average fourth grade student. She is a detective with a special skill for solving mysteries. She loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. When a thief known as The Black Boot steals the school’s mascots and her lollipops, Maisy sets out to solve the case. Can she help return the mice to their home in the science lab? Will she ever see her beloved lollipops again? Find out in the first book in The Maisy Files series.

Author: Elizabeth Woodrum

Rating: Rating: 4.60 / 5
57 reviews

Harry The Happy Mouse: Teaching Children To Be Kind To Each Other. by N K and Janelle Dimmett

Harry The Happy Mouse is a cheerful, traditional story about a Mouse called Harry who lives in the colorful English countryside.

Harry helps a Frog, but asks the Frog to repay the kindness to someone else. We follow the good deed as it moves through other characters, who each selflessly help someone else, making themselves feel happy in the process!

We learn that a little bit of happiness can go a long way!

Harry The Happy Mouse is illustrated by the award winning Janelle Dimmett, bringing the beautiful story to life.

Harry the Happy Mouse is 32 beautifully illustrated full colour pages.

Author: N K and Janelle Dimmett

Rating: Rating: 4.70 / 5
155 reviews

Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story (Gallagher Girls) by Ally Carter

Macey McHenry—Glamorous society girl or spy-in-training? W.W. Hale V—Heir to an American dynasty or master thief? There are two sides to every coin. Whether these two can work together is a tossup. Born into privilege, Macey and Hale are experts at mingling with the upper class. But even if they’ve never raised an eyebrow at the glitz, neither teenager has ever felt at home with the glamour. When Macey and Hale meet at a society gala, the party takes a dangerous turn. Suddenly they’re at the center of a hostage situation, and it’s up to them to stop the thugs from becoming hostile. Will Macey’s spy skills and Hale’s con-man ways be enough to outsmart a ruthless gang? Or will they have to seek out the ultimate inside girl to help? The worlds of Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls collide in Ally Carter’s fast-paced, high-stakes and tantalizing new novella. Get a behind the scenes glimpse as Ally delivers an irresistible thriller that is full of her signature style and savvy twists.

Author: Ally Carter

Rating: Rating: 4.40 / 5
403 reviews

Ordained Irreverence (Elmo Jenkins Book One) by McMillian Moody

With over 275 “Five star” reviews.Elmo Jenkins is about to graduate from seminary with a masters degree in religious education and a minor in cynicism. When he lands an internship at a large metropolitan church, he quite literally stumbles his way through as he learns to baptize and bury, visit and marry the faithful flock. Think Ferris Bueller Goes to Church with a side of Holden Caulfield thrown in for good measure. The cast of characters filling the pews at First Church keep him on his toes and more than a little bewildered at times. The salty widow who serves up a homemade pie with a surprise ingredient. The quirky single adult with a heart as big as Elvis who deems himself quite the ladies man. The larger-than-life music minister who pulls more than a few punches along the way, and even an old church janitor with a few ancient secrets of his own. Woven throughout Elmo’s adventures is a hundred-year-old mystery he’’s determined to solve and even a chance at true love along the way. Elmo’’s story pulls back the sacred curtain and allows the reader to examine the inner workings of a mega-church with all its warts and wonders. Ride along and watch as Elmo’s cynicism slowly transforms into hope.McMillian’s Moody fast-paced novel will bring a smile to even the most backslidden amongst its readers.

Author: McMillian Moody

Rating: Rating: 4.50 / 5
975 reviews

Undertow by K.R. Conway

Eila Walker’s new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 160 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother, Elizabeth, vanished, the town legend declares that she drowned . . . or was struck by lightning.Unbeknownst to the town and Eila however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth, and he has returned, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence. A soulless killer himself, Raef will attempt to keep Eila safe from his own kind who murdered her grandmother so long ago. But what starts out as a quest for redemption evolves into something more, and soon Raef is forced to reveal the truth to Eila. As hidden secrets about their warring families come to light, Eila begins to realize she may be their best shot at survival . . . even if it means following in her grandmother’s fearless footsteps to save her dangerous bodyguard.~Publisher’s Weekly~“Conway’s debut shows promise . . .”~Indie Recon Live Nominee~ Best Opening Line, Best Book Boyfriend, Best new YA~Girls Life Magazine~Cool Winter Reads, Christmas 2014~ Teen Ink Magazine ~“Four Stars! The supernatural aspect of Undertow was something that I haven’t read before – definitely a good read that keeps you interested and the storyline never gets boring. Can’t wait for the next one!”“Undertow is a thrilling romance that will pull you in so fast you wouldn’t have seen it coming.” – Book Beasties“With clever plot construction and a great cast of characters, this book has all the makings of a great YA novel.” – BookNut“Fiercely original. Unlike anything I’ve ever read before!” – She Reads She Blogs

Author: K.R. Conway

Rating: Rating: 4.50 / 5
136 reviews

Hawthorne & Heathcliff by R.K. Ryals and Regina Wamba

Two names that didn’t belong to us. Two shoes that did.Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She’s felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.Until she meets his shoe.Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she’d learned to stay outside of.His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, he’s Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they’ll hold up.

Author: R.K. Ryals and Regina Wamba

Rating: Rating: 4.70 / 5
171 reviews

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

First published in 1854, Walden recounts American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. The book is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and, ultimately, manual for self-reliance.Walden enjoyed some success upon its release, but still took five years to sell 2,000 copies, and then went out of print until Thoreau’s death in 1862. Despite its slow beginnings, later critics have praised it as an American classic that explores natural simplicity, harmony, and beauty. The poet Robert Frost wrote of Thoreau, “In one book … he surpasses everything we have had in America.”

Author: Henry David Thoreau

Rating: Rating: 4.20 / 5
1883 reviews