Sunday, January 1, 2012

New releases bring in New Year

            I’m ringing in the New Year with two young reader reviews from my 18-year-old son, Taylor, a freshman at UL in anthropology but a lover of imaginary literature. Here, he reviews Claudia Davila’s “Luz Sees the Light” and Ashley Spires’s “Blinky Under Pressure.”
             “Claudia Davila’s ‘Luz Sees the Light’ is about a young girl named Luz who works with her friends Anika and Robert to save the environment,” Taylor writes. “In Luz’s neighborhood blackouts are common. When Robert, a new neighbor moves in, he becomes nervous and worries the blackouts will disconnect him from his technology. Luz and Anika are hooked on shopping, shoes, ice cream and going places. Luz’s mom is how Luz gets around and with the gas prices being so high and groceries costing a fortune, Luz and her family realize it’s time to cut back and switch to no electricity, just the sun and its power. Luz and the community work together to create a park out of an abandoned lot in the neighborhood. It is Luz’s idea and it turns out to be a great way to save energy by growing crops for their own food, walking, not driving, enjoying fresh air and using a compost to create soil.
             “Ashley Spires’ ‘Binky Under Pressure’ is about a retired space cat named Binky who is living with a family of humans,” Taylor continues. “He guards his space station (owner’s house) from the aliens (bees) every day and gets into a routine until another cat shows up at the ‘station.’ Gracie turns out to be Binky’s boss and so monitors him as he is put through tests to keep his title as space cat. He fails the first few tests and blames it on minor things like, ‘The sun was in my eyes’ or ‘I didn’t have lunch.’ Binky then takes it up a notch and shows Gracie who he really is. The ‘aliens’ end up invading the space station and Binky kicks butt to keep his family and his boss safe. Binky keeps his title but also gets promoted to ‘Binky – Space Cat Extraordinaire.’ The space cat is back.”

New releases
            Here are a few new releases that came out at the end of 2011 or will be released this week. Future columns will have more lengthier reviews of these and other new releases.
            Award-winning West Monroe author Beth Cornelison has released her first independent published novel, “Trust in Me,” a small-town contemporary romance with a twist on the classic Cinderella story. “Trust in Me” is available to download through Kindle, Nook and other ebook retail sites. For more information, visit
            Retired Monroe college professor and author Dr. O.K. has published “…Happens,” the story of Alfred S. Smith who has “an uncanny knack for ending up in uncomfortable and unfortunate situations,” according to the publisher’s press release. For more information, visit
Dennis Hamilton offers an illustrated biography of the 77-year-old Louisiana-born Texan Samuel E. Wyly in “Beyond Tallulah’: How Sam Wyly Became America’s Boldest Big-Time Entrepreneur.”
Cookie Tuminello offers a guidebook for success for women in “Climbing the Ladder of Success in High Heels Without Stepping on Your Values.” The book is available at
            Neil White, author of “In the Sactuary of Outcasts” about Carville and the National Hansen’s Disease Center, has edited “Mississippians,” published by Nautilus Publishing.
Biologist Camy Tang has written “Protection for Hire,” a romantic suspense series starring an ex-Japanese mob enforcer and a transplanted Louisiana lawyer.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at