10 Suggestions for Young Male Readers

By Sean Frankel

The struggle is real when it comes to finding books for the young male reader. They have these stipulations that it can not be too girly, or they don’t want to be seen with a pink book. So, we decided to come up with a list of books that we suggest they get in to outside of Rick Riodan, John Green, Dav Pilkey and Erin Hunter’s books.

1. A Place of Shadows by Dave Lafferty

This book is incredibly captivating. Dave has this very unique writing style that grabs you back in to the book every couple of pages. It has some very chilling moments, but what do you expect from a ghost mystery thriller?! I highly recommend this book.

2. Scythe, Thunderhead, and Dry by Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman writes some really fantastic books. His Arc of Scythe series is only three books in, but they are so incredibly written. The concept of the storyline is that people can not die on their own, and the only people who can take a life is a ‘Scythe.’ Dry is a novel that is basically about the California wildfires before they happened. His book is obviously more dramalized and fictional, but it is ironic that it takes place in some of the areas that have been on fire around the same time the book was released.

3. James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard series

Being stripped of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit to be a normal teenager; two teens are stripped away from the life they had by the “New Order” and stuck in a prison. Only to find out they have some kind of magical powers.. This series is very fast paced and very captivating. James Patterson did a really good job at giving us another great series that anyone can enjoy. I am still wondering why it hasn’t hit the big screen yet…

4. Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl

Speaking of books that had yet to hit the big screen. Artemis Fowl is going to be a major motion picture coming August 9th of this year. To be honest, I don’t know why it took this long for the books to hit the big screen. It should almost be a kid’s classic because the books are extremely well written, fast paced, captivating, and the character development is beautiful. Maybe Eoin Colfer was a little before his time, but hey, he finally got on the big screen!

5. Jason Reynold’s Track series

This is a very strong series about self discovery, resilience, and learning how to forget the past. Each book really follows each individual main character on the track team. Telling us more about who they are and what they are all about. Each book expands the story line and develops the characters more and more in each book. Which leaves you WANTING MORE with each cliff hanger!

6. Margaret peterson haddix’s shadow children series

Being the first child was the best thing that could ever happen to you, but being the second was a life sentence. In Haddix’s incredible series, she creates a world with population control laws that state each family is only allowed to have one child. Every child after this is considered illegal and treated like an abomination and a waste of space. The main character is unfortunate to be a second child hiding in the attic –until he is found out and taken away. This thrilling series follows a captivating timeline of rebellion, post-apocalyptic society, and freedom. Haddix does such a wonderful job writing these books that you almost can not put them down.

7. Obert Skye’s Levin Thumps series

Just another book about a fourteen year old trying to save the world. A boy who lost his parents, and lives with his horrible aunt and uncle–no, no it isn’t Harry Potter, promise. But this is a good mix of everything you love about books like the Golden Compass, Harry Potter, and Narnia. It really packs in to a magical world that anyone would enjoy.

8. Holly black & tony diterlizzi’s spiderwick series

Okay we could not leave these out. Spiderwick is such a beautiful fantasy world, and when it was brought to the big screen –I was in awe. All of my imagination was on the big screen because the vivid imagery this book has is incredible. Not to mention the intense story line and how fast paced the series is.

9. Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events

Fantastically written books with an amazing story line mystery. Following the grim tale of three orphans and their horrible uncle. I highly recommend this series as the twists, turns, and imagination in these books are incredible. Plus, who doesn’t love reading about an self-absorbed uncle?

10. Sarah J. Maas throne of glass series

So is Lara Croft a descendent of Celaena Sardothien or what? This series is about another powerful female character who kicks butt and takes names. Following through this very thrilling story line that never misses a beat, and has one of the greatest cliff hangers of all time. It also has very strong character development, and a lot of action. Even Drizzt Do’Urden can’t keep up.

Independent Book Store Day

By Sean Frankel

A national celebration for readers everywhere to go out and have a party. Independent bookstores almost went away at a point –with bookstores closing left and right across the country up until 2009. After that, a facade ideology that indie bookstores are going extinct swept the country. But according to the statistics indie book stores have been opening up in the masses since. In 2009 there were only 1,651 indie book store locations operated by 1,401 companies. As of 2018, there are now 2,470 indie book store locations being operated by 1,835 companies. That is some huge growth! So to celebrate the fact that indie bookstores are still around –we celebrate!

So why are indie bookstores important?

Independent bookstores are becoming the center of their local communities more and more. By getting involved in every which way possible,e.g, hosting events, supporting schools, volunteering in community events, and much more. Indie bookstores are a home away from home for the avid reader. A place of inspiration that anyone can get lost in for hours. Not to mention, independent bookstores are the gateway(s) to the reading community. The staffs are always way more knowledgeable, passionate, and personable about everything book related. It is just a different experience than anything else in the world because they are growing and expanding for you!

How do I participate in Independent Bookstore Day?

Well it is quite easy. All you have to do is find all of your local independent bookstores and head out to them. Some cities and stores organize bookstore crawls that you can show up and be a part of. It may require some travel to go from one city to the next for book crawls, but you will definitely get to meet some people. A lot of stores are going to be hosting author signings, book launch parties, holding big sales, and potentially doing giveaways. This will definitely be a fun way to connect and make some new friends!

What can I do to support my local indie bookstore YEAR ROUND?

Share them with your friends, show up to some author signings, and spread your love for your local indie bookstore all over social media. By getting the word spread about your local indie bookstore you are helping them grow, and helping them grow your local community. I am sure everyone has suggestions too for their local indie bookstore, so help them out by sending them notes and sharing your thoughts with them. I am sure they would love to hear how they could better service YOU!

What else?

Bookstores are going to continue to thrive because they do for the reader what Amazon and other big box retailers can not do. That is being there to personalize your experience and help you out on your reading adventures. So make sure to go out make some new book worm friends and get involved in an amazing community of book addicts that will blow your mind.

Our Favorite Books Published April 2019

By Sean Frankel

We had so many amazing books released this month that we just had to share some of our favorites!

1. “Shout” by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book is powerful in its own right. An amazing poetic memoir that is just captivating. Laurie is telling her story, the truth of what she went through, and the inspiration behind her novel “Speak.” I 10/10 recommend picking this book up. Especially if you want to know more about what Laurie, a sexual assault victim, has gone through in the last 25 years.

2. “Descendant Of The Crane” by Joan He

This book has been on my personal radar since the beginning of the year. The book is definitely based on a traditional plot, but Joan knows how to freshen it up and recapture the readers attention with his creativity. This book is a page turner where you are almost yelling out loud about what is happening next. Keeping you up until almost 3 AM when you have work in an hour because you have to figure out what happens next.

3. “Iola O” by G.M. Monks

Two words; MUST READ. This book grabs you in every which way and will have you laughing out loud at some points. This book is all about self discovery and self resilience. The plot has so many twists and turns you can never predict what will happen next. I can honestly see this being a sitcom or movie someday.

4. “The Red Scrolls Of Magic” by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu

This is the start of a new amazing trilogy continuing the shadow hunter series. The book takes place after the Mortal War, which; follows familiar characters Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. This book continues an epic story-line and gets you to fall in love more with characters you didn’t love before –or know much about.

5. “The Binding” by Bridget Collins

Unique, creative, and breathtaking. This book adds value to what it means to be able to write or read a book, or to just share your experiences on a written page. It takes you on an adventure in a world where books are used to capture memories that need to be locked away in the past. But this also a world, where someone could just reach out and winch a memory from you entirely. This is another page turner that will totally have you captivated throughout the whole read. 10/10 recommend it.

Share with us your favorite book released in April of 2019!

THE SIXTIES – NOT THAT GOOD AND NOT THAT BAD – AND WHAT THEY CAN TEACH US TODAY

by Jim Wilson

The sixties today are more the stuff of legend than history. I graduated high school in 1966. One of my close friends demonstrated such heroism and leadership on a Vietnam battlefield he was field promoted from corporal to lieutenant; yet he left his idealism forever behind when he came home. Others are mere names decorating the national Vietnam Memorial. Many still carry the scars of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from fifty years back, earned in the war that gave the condition its name. Many marched for justice, to end a war America never intended to win, and – in Peace Corps – offer the poor a better life. Yes, there was sex, drugs and rock and roll, but that is only a portion of the whole story.

Contemporary studies and sociological treatments lauded the Boomers as possessed of a generational servant heart precisely because of service rendered through the Peace Corps, Vista, the hippy Diggers – feeding poor people in parks before it became mainstream – and their military service. The Jesus People erupted in 1967 and gave both scope and purpose to such impulses. Yes, there were the druggies and the drug dependent – I spent time living in a one-bedroom apartment with nine people; only two of us had jobs and supported the rest – but we had each other’s backs to an uncommon degree.

Later we would be vilified as the most self-centered generation in history, and that label endures today. We would be depicted as a bunch of draft dodgers because we challenged the lies our government told us about the war. We would be painted as ungrateful because we demanded authentic equality of opportunity, and sexually reprobate because we used the oral contraceptives and access to abortion our parents’ invented, secured, and used extensively while we were still children ourselves.

Although Generation is a thoroughly fictionalized account of the period and its people an author writes of what he knows. I personally made a trip to UCLA to hear an address by McGeorge Bundy, major league strategist under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, in which he all but admitted we had no intention of winning in Vietnam; our commitment was merely to not lose. This incident is fictionalized in Generation as involving two of the characters. There are other incidents depicted that are reality based and the whole book tells truth in ways that sometimes transcend mere facts without distorting them. At the end of the day the characters in Generation have one asset – and only one – that eludes all those willing to settle for the hand they are dealt. Faced with the unexpected death of loved ones, parents and teachers who tell them what they wish were true and scapegoat them when it doesn’t pan out, and the nightmare of unraveling families, they commit to seeking not just what is real but what one of them describes as “the really real.” For a quest this one wears unusually well as they wade through Klan violence and race riots, protecting one another from abusive authorities, making decisions about war and peace no one their age should be required to make. The Boomers impacted the culture with a renewed vision of family, grassroots approaches in public and private spheres, and a romanticized notion of a just society. The advent of the Jesus People offered a faith that moved mountains and gave our culture the modern recovery movement, sowed authentic social respect across ethnic lines, and popularized coloring outside the lines to a pragmatic end. It was the older generation that flew the missions to the moon, but it was young people who got them there and home again when the wheels came off. Later they invented the internet and modern mass communications because – to oversimplify – an article of faith was if old people could imagine Star Trek communicators young people could create them. Sex, drugs and rock and roll snuffed out many lives and ruined many more. Planned Parenthood and others of its ilk predate the Boomers by decades, but Boomers made it the juggernaut it is today. The sixties were not that good. But the spirit of self-sacrifice, innovation, and cultural integrity for which we were lauded back then was real and the quest for the really real was widespread to an unprecedented degree. The sixties were not that bad. Reality is the people coming of age in the sixties – a time of burgeoning hatred, national division, and self-sacrificing love that is amazingly similar to today – have a lot to teach us in this season. It is high time their story – their whole story – was told.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

YET ANOTHER ATTACK ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FAITH

By James Wilson

The House of Representatives is considering HR5, nicknamed The Equality Act. If enacted into law it will constitute one of the greatest examples of legislative over-reach in history. The proposed law aims to protect LGBTQ people from the dangers of what it calls “discredited” conversion therapy, mandates the use of bath and shower facilities according to their perceived gender, and punishes any who might disagree based on their faith convictions. Essentially it would force speech and faith into conformity with its agenda. This bill is a threat to our constitutional republic and must be defeated.

HR5 could better be described as the inequality act; it enshrines a preference for those in pain over their sexuality against those who accept the way they were born. By elevating them to protected status equal to that accorded race it hopes to protect what it considers a persecuted minority. In reality the bill bullies the overwhelming majority – especially women and girls – to accommodate the feelings of less than two per cent of the population without in any way actually helping that minority. Let us remember the people HR5 claims to help make up less than 2% of the population – gays – and less than half of one per cent – transgendered – respectively. It is at best a cure seeking a disease and at worst an abuse of the many by the few for the sake of political correctness.

This bill fails even to protect the few, despite its claims. It cites no evidence – because there is none – that science backs its effort. There are no studies showing – for example – that permitting biological men to use women’s toilet and bath facilities does anything to ease their pain, while evidence of the harm done to women being accosted by men in these facilities is abundant. There are no empirical facts to indicate reparative therapy is harmful to people who request it. Reality is this therapy is offered only to those who request help – contrary to days gone by – and it works about as often as other proven therapies for addictive conditions. There is not enough documentation on non-invasive efforts to help gender dysphoric people for conclusions on effective treatments but the jury is in on invasive (hormonal or surgical) procedures and the consequences – both mentally and physically – are severe.

The most important thing to consider is that state laws of this type have already failed constitutional muster before the Supreme Court. It is one thing to ban discrimination in business enterprises; it is quite another to force involuntary association in the most intimate of environments and still another to mandate how a mental health professional may treat or even address voluntary clients. It is perfectly appropriate to provide unisex bathrooms for individuals; it is a bridge way too far to insist men and women share rooms and showers because someone says it will make transgender people feel good about themselves. But the real rub that should never pass judicial review is that yet again progressives are threatened by expressions of faith that do not match their pseudo scientific prejudices. HR5 is yet another attempt to silence opposing speech and faith by law. Reasonable people – whether of faith or no – should first shudder at the arrogance of the over-reach and then recognize unconstitutional bullying for what it is and respond accordingly and resoundingly. There is good news in the cauldron. Reality is gay and transgender people are in serious pain; progressives did not make that up. The larger reality is the God we Christians worship and seek to serve loves people in pain of all kinds; this is why He came to earth to bear our pain. Once we get past nonsense – dangerous nonsense – like yet another effort to silence speech some find disagreeable we might actually have a serious dialogue about how best to relieve this pain. We can begin with a commitment to authentic respect for all viewpoints and compassion for all who have a stake in its outcome. We can turn – if we choose – to the one who loves each of us without limit and wrote the manual for us because He is the ultimate designer. We can rely on this process to produce evidence based answers that will help without hurting and address each of us at a deeper level than our need for instant feel-good gratification. But first we need to accept the radical idea that encouraging speech rather than inhibiting it is the good thing. That leaves room for the authors of HR5 at the table. However, it leaves no room for this kind of misbegotten bill.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

FIRST MAN By James Wilson

I got to see First Man, the bio pic about Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon. The film is based on the James Hansen biography of Armstrong – I recommend the book for telling a larger story film can – but its vision is wholly that of its director, Damien Chazelle. It presents a well known story from a very different perspective. In presenting a side of the story not told before Chazelle is no more able than anyone else to capture the whole epic of man’s first visit to another world, but he presents an essential new dimension. It is well worth seeing.

The film has generated controversy over its alleged lack of patriotism. Some American leaders, – whom I respect – have slammed the film for omitting the planting of the American flag on the moon. Apparently these leaders did not see the movie before they spoke. Star Ryan Gosling muddied waters with a lame defense, saying it was really about how we came for all mankind. Reality is the flag is prominently displayed on the moon event though the planting itself is omitted; to show it – with the problems encountered setting it up – would have eaten screen time without adding to the story film-makers were meaning to tell. The plaque Armstrong left saying, “We came in peace for all mankind,” is never shown.

I get the dismay. It was American taxpayers who paid for Armstrong’s trip to the moon and American people who risked and sometimes gave their lives in the effort – not the world. That said, critics need to see the movie before judgment; they are wrong.

Chazelle set out to tell a subjective story of who Armstrong was as a human being, along with others in his life who endured much and contributed more. He tells it well. The story begins and – in a way – ends with the illness and death of his little girl, Karen, followed closely by his application and admission to the astronaut program. Asked in the interview process if he thinks that death will impact his participation in the space program, Armstrong – always buttoned up and self-contained emotionally and spiritually – answers dryly that it would be illogical to imagine otherwise.

The rest of the story features a man so armored he is unable to share himself fully with his wife and two sons. That feature of his personality is all that saves his life and his crewmate on at least two climactic occasions for himself and his country. It is his superpower, but also his personal Kryptonite.

Armstrong commanded Gemini 8, the first spacecraft to dock with another vehicle in space, an essential step toward the eventual moon landing. He was chosen for his coolness under pressure; that coolness saved his life within hours of the successful docking. A directional thruster on his ship began firing randomly, sending the craft into an uncontrollable and escalating tumble. Armstrong was able to analyze and isolate the problem in the seconds remaining before he would have lost consciousness and life – for himself and crewmate Dave Scott. A similar crisis erupts on Apollo 11 – the moon flight. When a radar goes out and a boulder free landing site is elusive Armstrong remains cool until he is able to land with less than two per cent of his fuel remaining. He and Aldrin are dedicated to landing – after all the lives and treasure sacrificed to get them there – and so an abort is virtually unthinkable. Armstrong is much more temperamentally suited to saving their lives and the mission than the much more volatile Aldrin.

What neither the film makers nor Armstrong understood (at the time) was the Kryptonite element of his character. His inability to be vulnerable – poignantly illustrated in scenes with his wife, sons, and a backyard non-conversation with his close friend, Ed White – will become more than Janet Armstrong can bear and they will divorce some years after the historic flight. His analytic gift was part of the personality God gave him at birth; yet exercised apart from a relationship with the Giver, all gifts lead only to destruction of one kind or another. Neil Armstrong gave his heart to Jesus Christ some years later and – presumably – learned how to become all of himself only then. This is mentioned in neither book nor movie, but my source is his guide on a pilgrimage he made to Israel late in life. Re-married, one hopes he was enabled to love his family as they deserved while remaining Armstrong.


Critics of First Man can fault it – if they will – because, for example, it omits the conflict with Buzz Aldrin over who would take the first step. It paints Aldrin as the abrasive character he is, while omitting the force of an abusive father that drives him; it omits the Lord’s Supper served by Aldrin on the moon, and gives him no credit for essentially inventing the math that enables docking in space. The film is not about Aldrin the person, but rather about Armstrong the person. That said, it does humanize Astronauts Elliot See and Ed White – two of the men who lost their lives in the race to the moon – because they were close to Neil Armstrong as Aldrin was not. Both choices fit with the mission of the film makers.

The film captures – beautifully and fearfully – the claustrophobia, the pressure, and the titanic explosiveness of space launch and flight as no other treatment has done. As elegantly as the launch and flight sequences are handled in Apollo 13, for example, it seems as though the rockets are blasting out of hell in this one. This film is a critically important counterpoint to earlier treatments. It is well worth seeing, pondering, and praying over.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com.

Happy Birthday Bounty Books Founder!

Today Darlene Frankel, Owner & Founder of Bounty Books, turns 65 years young. We are very appreciative of all the sacrifices made and work done to give Vacaville such an amazing bookstore.

Darlene has been a huge part of this community for many years sitting on a multitude of organizational boards, committees, and events. She has a huge heart and she gives back as much as she can.

Recent article that Darlene was featured in.

Darlene is starting to phase out of the book store to start enjoying life outside of the book store and is bringing in her son, Sean Frankel, to take over. Darlene has definitely created a legacy within this community. A legacy that will be continued by her son for many more years to come.

She is going to be spending a lot of time with her grand children and obviously reading LOTS of books!