Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dream Brother by Brian Marggraf

Toxic Combinations
Returning home for Jacob Gavel was bittersweet. Leaving New York and a failed marriage, Jacob reluctantly goes back home to San Francisco only to learn a deep, dark family secret. His parents remained dysfunctional, and became unglued when Jacob read his mother’s journal revealing he had a twin brother who died in her womb. The shocking news added to Jacob’s sad reality of being alone and broke. He accepted a job in a mental health facility, where his mother visited as a patient, but the money didn’t pay as well as his friend’s job offer in the drug world. Jacob’s daily drug use prompted childhood memory dreams and all he wanted to do is find love and seek revenge.

I would call Dream Brother a psychological thriller. The story is full of suspense, which kept me engaged from beginning to end. Without giving away the ending, I must say it was totally unpredictable. Brian Marggraf mastered the skill of storytelling while dealing with complicated issues involving the inner workings of the brain. I appreciated taking the journey with Jacob through his drug induced mania.

Aoleon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga - Part 1 First Contact

As a retired middle school teacher, I can attest that Aoleon The Martian Girl is an incredible science fiction adventure for this targeted age group. The superb writing and exquisite illustrations are more than enough to keep students engaged.

Young teenagers always complain about being bored. Reading and sharing Gilbert Sullivan’s escapades when his boring life changes after meeting a Martian girl named, Aoleon, is priceless. The friendly alien takes Gilbert for a ride in her flying saucer. What student wouldn’t enjoy such a fantasy?

The graphic illustrations not only captivate readers, but vastly enhance the story. The example set for students for writing their own adventures, and creating their own art, is invaluable.

While this is science fiction, the story integrates true science vocabulary along with made up terms. I appreciate Brent LeVasseur included a Glossary; however, to be listed in the table of contents would complement a teacher’s instruction.