Cold Dry Biscuits
by Billy Jones
Genre: Poetry
ISBN: 0-9728195-0-9
Pages: 183
WideThinker Books

A Review By Sharon Katz

COLD DRY BISCUITS is the type of book that any writer with lots opinions would hope to write. Author, Billy Jones, put pen to paper and sets down his opinions, adds a bundle of his poetry, and compiled them into this book that is uniquely his own.

On the surface, Billy Jones' writing seems light and humorous, you'll be sure to grin or even laugh out loud at some of his more fanciful ideas. But on continuing to read this collection of poems and prose you will see that his work is more than amusing. His stories and poems prove that he is also concerned with political and social issues that face us in our world. This connection to the everyday life permeates his work. Although there seems to be a quaint simplicity and unassuming nature to the voice of his writing, you can't help but admit that he's a very complex thinker.

A truck driving man and a southerner-- who still has very pointed feelings about the outcome of the American Civil War -- Jones is a poet and a folk-humorist with a homespun way of looking at the issues of today. He comments about both the outer world with its politics and social problems, and also the inner world of the heart, dealing with all the sweet joys and bitter shadows that lurk there.

From love poems to the woman of the moment who's the light of his life, to rhymes to the girl who serves him his lunch in a diner, from diatribes against religious fanatics of all denominations, to the man who waters his garden with a fire truck, Billy Jones sets his unwavering judgment upon all he beholds.

Although my life might be diametrically different from Billy Jones' life, I find his opinions thought provoking. He urges his readers to dig deeper into the questions of life that surround them, to look to the larger spiritual nature of living. You don't need to always agree with his opinions - as he says it doesn't mean anything to him, if you have your own opinions write your own book! - but you will find that you can't dismiss his logic.

Don't mistake me; this book is funny, sometimes able to bring out guffaws. The continuing guest character of the adventures of The Vegetable Stalker will tickle your funny bone with its strange and surreal nature. But Billy Jones's musings about the nature of love, lost and hoped for, his very strong opinions on the separation of church and state will also bring a moment's pause to your day.

COLD DRY BISCUITS is a brilliant introduction to Billy Jones and I'll be looking for his first book, CARROT ON A STICK.

Sharon is a staff book reviewer at

The Gods Laughed
by Kaya Casper & Rick White
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 1-59109-423-2
Pages: 151
WideThinker Books

A Review By Sharon Katz

Monica Sanders and Paul Logan find themselves alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas after their plane crashes and kills everyone else on board.Monica is a 22-year-old black woman and Rick is a 62-year-old retired white man. With no other living person around and no one but each other to depend on, the two quickly fall in love.

The couple realizes that they are the perfect match for each other, yet they both feel that their love might be a pipe dream. The only negative tension between them arises with the topic of whether they should compromise their philosophical differences to align with the way the outside world will judge them. They both know that the question of trying to cope in a world where prejudices against race and age still abound is the only matter that will tear them apart. The single conflict between these characters is an emotional one, and it springs organically from the characters' knowledge and experiences of life.

The premise of being the survivor of a plane crash disaster and washed up on a deserted island was used as a stepping-stone to the meat of this story -- a romance. These two people needed to be able to concentrate their thoughts on each other. By separating them from the world they were given the opportunity, and the sense of their unique situation, to take all the time they needed to ponder their weighty thoughts as to the ways of their fellow flawed creatures in the outside world.

The idyllic island cooperated by supplying fresh water, bountiful sources of food, and weather so temperate that it is mentioned only once. No excess heat, or cold, or rain bothers the couple for months upon this island. Paradise made to order for the two people to expound upon their thoughts on all raging issues of the day.

Much of their time on the island is spent bemoaning the fact that Paul, the retired editor, is so much older than Monica. They are so painfully aware that their love is metered out in time, that rather than celebrating that they did find their perfect mate in each other, they permitted their joy to be dampened because of the idea of age. Though many relationships end for varied reasons, they seemed to be unfortunately stuck on the subject of growing old.

Sensuality abounds on this island, but the lovemaking is never taken lightly. It is a physical pairing, yes, but the main union of these two people is a spiritual one.

There's a lot more to this novel than just an everyday romance. This is a love story with a racial diversity of characters. Finally, we get to read about a leading character of color, a woman, and I can only hope that there will be more like this book.

It might have furthered the readers' feelings of a bond with both characters if more time had been spent solely in each person's point of view. No sooner do the readers begin to feel as if they are inside Monica's skin and mind, then they are pulled into Paul's very different viewpoint and background. I would have loved to have spent more time to get to build an intimate connection with each of the leads before going to the other. The occasional lapses into omniscient voice also interrupted the warm attachment between the readers and the couple. And there were times where the two, rather than speak to each other in a conversational tone, lectured the other.

The writers have created wonderful characters. The heroine is someone we identify with and the hero is completely appealing, with only that one fatal flaw - that he has lived so much more of life than she has. These two people learn more about themselves and the nature of love on that island than most people do in a lifetime in the everyday world.

Sharon is a staff book reviewer at

Is It Worth the Wait?
by Jennifer Rankins
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 0-9728195-1-7
Pages: 472
WideThinker Books

A Review By Sharon Katz

Izabelle "Izzy" Carson is working to be a successful journalist. A beautiful young woman, she worked hard in college and landed a good position at the local TV station as an assistant producer, reporter, and co-anchor. Adding to her qualifications was that while she was in college she won the Pulitzer Prize for a wartime photo.

Izzy is looking forward to marrying her long time love, Malcolm Mitchell. The two met while in elementary school and from the start, they knew that they would someday be married.

Malcolm works for The Security Stock Exchange of Schaumburg & Schaumburg, Inc. as a portfolio specialist. Unfortunately, when they were separated in college, Malcolm was unfaithful to her. Although he enjoyed the company of the other woman, to this day he feels guilty that he stepped out on his own true love, Izzy.

Both Malcolm and Izzy grew up in broken families. Malcolm lost his mother when he was seven years old. Izzy and her sister, Eudora lived with their beautiful party girl mother for a while, but spent most of their growing years with their Grandma Rose. With her they learned the essential lessons of life and were taught how important the church was to their spiritual existence.

Although the engaged couple had been intimate for years, their new church's spiritual leader, Pastor Abrams, advised them that their oncoming marriage would be better blessed if, for the remaining month and a half before the wedding, they remained celibate. In that way they could both take the vows of matrimony with a feeling that they were newborn virgins coming together in the blessed state of wedlock.

They both agreed to his counsel. Izzy felt it was just the thing to add to her experience of joining in marriage to the man she always loved. But Malcolm was less certain that he could remain chaste for the six weeks, yet was willing to try to make Izzy happy.

Unbeknownst to them both, a man was watching Izzy. This man had been following her and dreaming of the day that he could have her as his very own bride. Suffering from obsessive-compulsive behavior, the stalker met Izzy when she was in college and had decided she was the perfect woman. After falling in love with her, he had worked diligently towards his plan - to someday kidnap Izzy and convince her to marry him.

As we follow Izzy and Malcolm, and meet the myriad of other people in their lives, author Jennifer Rankins, shows us how they both have an affect on almost every person around them. We see how Izzy and Malcolm's decision about waiting for their wedding night brings about major changes to everyone's life.

In this, her first novel, Ms. Rankins lets each and every character fill us in on their past by using uses long passages filled with memories. Every person, no matter how seemingly small their relationship is to the lead characters, is given plenty of time to tell the readers all about their history and life. The voice used here is a very casual one, almost in an everyday conversational tone.

The story shows how the search for the correct path, with all its trials and tears, is part of the joy of finding your way in life. Malcolm needed to learn the lesson that real freedom comes from turning away from what he only thought he needed. And Izzy had to learn that forgiveness for others who were repentant, was ultimately far more valuable than any job or high lifestyle. And everyone in this book was reminded that there is no limit to God's grace.

Sharon is a staff book reviewer at


By Rick White
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 50
WideThinker Books

A Review by Sharon Katz

UNSTUCK! KICK DOWN THOSE ROADBLOCKS AND FINISH YOUR NOVEL NOW is a small gem of a book. Author Rick White writes in a crisp and straightforward conversational tone. He's very friendly and he seems to understand the traps that catch people and prevent them from writing or finishing their books. You know hes gone through the same things during his career and is now sharing what he has learned.

I found his step-by-step advice on how to tame the fear of writing a complete book by breaking down the work into small sections to be very useful. He encourages the writer to view their novels in small increments and then suggests that they simply string those sections together. When you look at your novel that way it takes the fear out of writing it.

Rick White, an old hand in the writing biz, does more than help you get through a writer's block, he also gives you solid and usable suggestions on how to get your story planned and written. In fact, I'd say that this book is so much more than just a guidebook to getting UNSTUCK, its an overall great handbook for any writer to use at all times in their creative process.

Using quick anecdotes of the way other writers have gotten their stories completed, the author helps us see that all problems can be overcome with a bit of thought.

Rick White reminds us that one of the basic rules of writing fiction is to entertain, and that keeping the reader entertained should be the primary force for telling the story in the first place.

UNSTUCK! KICK DOWN THOSE ROADBLOCKS AND FINISH YOUR NOVEL NOW manages to support and encourage you to get to work and underlines the fact that a writer must always enjoy the task of writing. If you want others to enjoy your book you must enjoy it as well.

This is a wonderfully helpful book, and I suggest that every writer have a copy of it in his or her own library. I'm sure they will want to take it out and read it again and again. I know that's what I'll be doing.

About Sharon Katz:

I was born in Brooklyn, New York a half a block from the beach and a mile from Coney Island. Some 22 years later I received a degree in English at Brooklyn College. For over 20 years I worked on Wall Street as an editor of Municipal Bond reports. Boring! I used to write articles for an online e-zine about health issues until that e-zine closed down. A couple of years ago I found a job at a large women's website. At this job I interviewed authors like Patricia Cornwell, Frank McCourt, Shirley MacLaine, Deborah Norville, Carolyn Hart, Tamar Meyers, Dana Stabenow, Julie Smith, Diane Mott Davidson, Nevada Barr, Lawrence Block, and hundreds of others.

My first love is reading. At the age of 8 my mom found me reading EXODUS. I now love mystery books and books by southern authors but that doesn't mean I won't read just about anything. I talk about my love for books all the time and review books for various online sites. I love words and love seeing what can be done with them. There is such talent in this world. I'm also a freelance writer and a freelance editor for a legal publication.

Sharon is a staff book reviewer at

She can be reached at:

Kaya Casper, Director of Operations
WideThinker Books
PO Box 30144
Philadelphia, PA 19103


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