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May 16, 2008 Edition

Rescuing Sprite, by Mark R. Levin

Levin, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, first introduced his dog Sprite to his listeners in 1998, when he welcomed Sprite into his home. Sprite quickly endeared himself to the family and became inseparable from Pepsi, the family’s Border Collie/Cocker Spaniel mix. But all was not well: within a few weeks Sprite had collapsed and been rushed to the veterinarian. What followed was a 2 year struggle to give Sprite the best care and happiest life possible despite the fact that no one really knew what was wrong. For Levin and his family, however, the pain of losing Sprite was completely offset by the joy the Spaniel mix brought into their lives.

Secret Societies, by Sylvia Browne

Browne, a world-renowned psychic, gives an overview of various secret societies with the aid of her spirit guide, Francine. Written for those who’ve done little reading on the topic, Browne covers the basics of secret societies, including their origins and goals, and leaves readers wanting more. Happily for those who are intrigued by her information, she lists books she’s found well-written and well-researched. Browne covers political societies, like Skull and Bones, the Trilateral Commission, and the Freemasons; religious organizations like the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucian Order, and Opus Dei; and even throws in what she calls “the dark side of secrecy”: the Illuminati, the New World Order, and even something she calls SCAN.

Salt River, by James Sallis

John Turner is a man with a lot of ex- titles: convict, policeman, combat veteran, therapist, and lover. Now he’s added one more title, sheriff, but that doesn’t stop his friend Elton from contacting John when he’s in need. Elton thinks he may have killed someone, and indeed, there’s a body. But there are plenty of questions and no easy answers in Turner’s sleepy (even dying) Tennessee town, a microcosm of life’s dark side, full of death, mystery, and betrayal in this thoughtful and compelling novel.

The Morcai Battalion, by Diana Palmer

Originally written as a novella, this has been revised and expanded into a more substantial novel. Palmer’s fans who are looking for a little space warfare with their romantic entanglements will find this an exciting change of direction. When a Rojok ship reduces the experimental colony on Terramer to dust, it looks grim for the fragile peace treaty holding the galaxy’s over 100 alien races together. Holt Stern steps forward to try to keep the peace, with medic Madeline Ruszel and Dr. Strick Hahnson at his side.

Breakfast with Buddha, by Roland Merullo

Otto Ringling’s long drive cross-country to settle his parents’ estate gets longer when his sister declines involvement and sends her guru, Volya Rinpoche, in her place. Otto is quick to inform Rinpoche, a Skovorodinian monk in red robes, that he doesn’t do New Age or Buddhism, but after a few days finds himself intrigued by this solidly wise man and his zen-like answers to Otto’s questions. At times, though, Otto is prickled by moments of irritation which he can’t explain and feels like Rinpoche has mistaken him for someone else, a good person who actually understands the earnest answers he’s given. This classic road story is complete with deep conversations over good food, new experiences, light-handed philosophical musings, and of course, an awakening at the end.

Bitter Sweets, by Roopa Farooki

On his wedding night, Rashid discovers that the bride he believed to be the educated 17-year old daughter of a wealthy family is really an illiterate 13-year old shopkeeper’s daughter who chose marriage over schooling. Even at 17, when their marriage is consummated, Henna is immature and self-centered, unwilling to care for her daughter Shona, who grows up in a household swathed in lies and half-truths. When Shona is old enough, she elopes with a secret lover and raises her sons in London, where her father has met the love of his life. Secrets span continents and generations in this drama-filled novel.

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