Here are the latest offerings by Pipe Dream Books. Click on the pictures for more information. These stories are available in both printed and ebook form, and most are available as an audio book.
My blood kills
Yep, you read that right. The big bad C word that scares just about everyone these days. My blood kills it. Dead. Dead Kennedys’ invitation to the White House dead. Disappointed George Romero dead. Doesn’t matter what type of cancer. It quickly finds itself outmaneuvered, surrounded, and mercilessly crushed by an iron-red phalanx. Just a few drops of my blood—drops mind you, and miracles start happening.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Kidnapped: The Phalanx Blood Series, Part I is a science fiction novella written by Bruce E. Arrington. Bernard lived a fairly comfortable life; one you might expect to enjoy when your family is comfortably middle class, and your parents are both professionals. His parents thought they were teaching him to give back when they began pushing for him to give blood. They even hosted a blood drive in his honor on his sixteenth birthday, making it pretty darned difficult for him to avoid donating himself. That's when the problems started. First, his mom told him that Doc Brown was sending his blood out for special testing. Then the pharmaceutical companies learned that Bernard's blood killed cancer cells, and Bernard's life began to get very complicated.
Bruce E. Arrington's science fiction novella, Kidnapped: The Phalanx Blood Series, Part I, posits the terrifying implications that having blood more valuable than gold can have for its unlucky possessor. Bernard is a marvelous main character, and I found myself wishing I could be privy to the waterfall world he creates on his virtual reality gear. Liking him as much as I did, I couldn't help but feel concern over the quality of his life when there are any number of unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies thirsting after part, if not all, of his blood. Arrington's plot is clever and well-developed, and his characters are complex and authentic. I'm looking forward to the second book in this series. Kidnapped: The Phalanx Blood Series, Part I is most highly recommended.
For ages 6 & up. Enter a world where you can ask for whatever you want for your birthday! Available in English and Spanish.
The Seventh Birthday Wish Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Seventh Birthday Wish is a children's picture book written by Bruce E. Arrington and illustrated by Florence Jayne. Wesley was incredibly excited about waking up that morning. He was finally seven years old, and the magic door would open for him at last. He had wondered what was on the other side of that door ever since it first appeared when he turned four. Now, he could see the handle; it was golden and, when he turned the knob, the door opened with a rush and a sound that seemed like a roar. His mom knew that Wesley would be having a special adventure, and she had his pillow and a packaged lunch all ready and waiting for him. And while she would have preferred that he sit and have some breakfast before his day began, she understood that her young man had an important day ahead of him.
Bruce E. Arrington's children's picture book, The Seventh Birthday Wish, is a moving fantasy story about a small boy's rite of passage as he turns seven, and one can't help but get excited for him as he surveys the new and limitless world that awaits him. I especially liked the choices Arrington gives young Wesley, and the boy's subsequent decision to interact freely with the wild and flying horses he discovers. Florence Jayne's illustrations are marvelous! Each panel is brightly colored, and her use of watercolor washes gives dimension and vitality to the scenes she creates. The expressions on the faces of the flying horses are wonderful, and the open vistas that unroll before Wesley's eyes are memorable indeed. This tale celebrates a child's first rite of passage and illustrates most eloquently why force is never the solution, even when you really desire something. The Seventh Birthday Wish is most highly recommended.
Weaved in YA/teen fantasy with elements of action and comedy, the Josh Anvil Series captures the trials of a high school freshman with powerful abilities at his command.
Josh Anvil And The Cypress Door Review By Erin J. Munz
While this is not the genre I usually
read, I got swept up completely in Josh Anvil's adventures.
As this story of a not-so-ordinary-anymore teen unfolds, Arrington's wonderful description really transports you to all the places that Josh goes: the swamp, East Eagles High, the island that he creates. Because the description is so strong, the story is something that you could easily see playing out on some sort of screen.
I thought the main set of characters in the book -- Josh, his parents, sister and friend Troy -- were all extremely well-written characters. The relationships between characters -- in particular Josh and his dad, Josh and his best friend, and Josh and his little sister Candace -- were all very believable.
In addition to the fantasy and adventure elements of this book, the story hit on a lot of topics that many kids today face: being bullied/picked on, parents getting separated, struggling in school and wanting to drop out. To me, Josh was kind of the perfect teen hero after he got his powers. He still wanted his crush to notice him. He still wanted to be popular. He still struggled with his dyslexia. One of my favorite lines was after Josh got a note from his crush that he couldn't read and he said: “Why can’t my … powers … heal what’s wrong with me?” It just showed that even though he had powers and could do all these incredible things, he was still just a regular kid with problems of his own.
The one thing that I found to be a little silly were the teachers' names: Ella Vader, Pepe Roni, Miss MacBeth, Justin Hoop. I thought they seemed a little juvenile, even for an audience of middle schoolers/preteens.
I'm clearly not the target audience for this book, but I found it very entertaining. I think members of Arrington's target audience will want definitely want to go on an adventure with Josh Anvil.
(Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
Follow the adventures of Beon, a forsaken prince in a castaway land.
The Legend of Skaluni
Review By S. Morris
The Legend of Skaluni was one of the most original short stories I have read in a long time. It's about a boy who become an outcast at an early age and what happens to him as he grows up. It contains themes about kindness, and responsibility in the face of unkindness. The writing flows easily and is very readable. If there were editing errors I did not notice, because I was too wrapped up in the story. It appears to be aimed at a young age group, but like any good writing, it can be enjoyed by everyone.