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April 23, 2023

In this month’s thematic roundup of BookLife titles, we feature humor and satire. Check out the Indie Spotlight calendar at

Children’s Books

 I Saved the World and I’m Only in 4th Grade

Hiroshi Sosa-Nakata

ISBN 978-1-73323-690-4

Author statement: “This book contains an epic adventure that places three fourth graders in extreme danger! Hiro, Bryan, and Zahra, our favorite Senshi Warriors, are once again saving the galaxy. This time however, they’ve got help from The Teacher’s Pet (and an entire backpack full of enhanced school supplies). Don’t miss their silly adventures, missteps, or weekly class project! Who knew fourth grade could be so challenging? I started writing as a way to share culture and promote diversity in a fun and engaging way. I’ve found my message and offbeat sense of humor have resonated well with others and that laughter truly is the best medicine.”  

Operation Nana

Kelle Lima


Author statement: “Juju has a very special mission. She’s determined to make Miss Rose her nana even though they aren’t connected by blood. This little girl is ready to show the world that to be part of a family, we only need to be connected by our hearts. This is a humorous and perfect read for those who feel they have someone around them who is ‘just like family.’ Through the eyes of a naïve little girl and her fun-loving demeanor, this book shows that we can love people from the bottom of our hearts even though we are all

Too Many Things to Tie Up

H.A. Harper


Author statement: “Too Many Things to Tie Up is a compilation of silly poems for kids, written by a kid. The whole summer before my ninth birthday, I sat at my computer and started to write silly poems. When my dad promised me that he would get an illustrator for my poems if they were good enough, I started to write even more.”


Entitled: Life Isn’t Easy When You’re a Book

Cookie Boyle

ISBN 978-1-77735-340-7  

Author statement: “Entitled follows the extraordinary adventures of an extraordinary book. As it is read, misplaced, loaned, and abandoned, our book, like its readers, discovers love and heartbreak, loneliness and friendship, and ultimately becomes the author of its own journey. I wrote Entitled to provide a unique perspective on objects readers love, namely our books. I had read about one bookstore north of San Francisco that encouraged readers to share books they loved by leaving them on a park bench, on a bus, or in a coffee shop, with a note inside saying: ‘I loved this book, I hope you do too.’ ”

I English U

J.R. Laurence


Author statement: “Serena Young travels the world daily, teaching English online from her living room table. But when the laptop is off, her universe shrinks to her bare-bones apartment. Her dating life’s a void, work barely pays the rent, and her hamster just wrecked her car. Surely a better life exists somewhere on the other side of the webcam. Then Alessandro, a scrumptious olive oil heir, signs up for online lessons, which soon extend into virtual walks under a southern Italian moon. Should Serena toss caution—and her life savings and possibly her job—to the wind and fly into his arms? Not if a Prada-clad vineyard heiress, an annoying geek neighbor, and her oddball students around the world can help it, in this intercontinental romantic misadventure of extra-virgin proportions.”

No Birds Sing Here

Daniel V. Meier Jr.

ISBN 978-1-945448-95-9

Author statement: “No Birds Sing Here is a multilayered novel about a postmodernist America, in which the characters confront a world of distorted intellectualism and overt incompetence. The ‘artistic life’ is not something everyone understands. Many people laugh at those who pursue it. In No Birds Sing Here, I wanted to show the real-life struggle of two young people trying to achieve their literary goals in an increasingly hostile world and their ultimate failure.”

Old Detectives Home

Mike Befeler

ISBN 978-1-64599-343-8

Author statement: “Imagine a retirement home populated with residents such as an aging Hercule Poirot and a dementia-suffering Sherlock Holmes and run by a staff that includes Art Doyle, Dash Hammett, and Dot Sayers. In this lighthearted spoof of the mystery genre, every character is either a namesake of a real person from the mystery writing world or a character from a mystery novel. On anything but a dark and stormy night, a dead body is found. The staff managers find themselves unable to control the unruly old detectives. Mix in clues and red herrings galore as the cast of suspects investigate each other to figure out who done it.”

The People’s Princess of China

Anne Cestors


Author statement: “The People’s Princess of China is an innovative ‘movie-in-a-book’ in which a beautiful rookie journalist from the fictitious China Daily News plans to cover Prince Harry’s royal wedding to the stunning Meghan Markle. By way of an appalling series of events, the assistant editor at the China Daily News has misheard the word ‘royal,’ and accidentally sends her beautiful rookie journalist (in the company of three seasoned photographers, none of whom speak a word of English) to Boyle in County Roscommon, Ireland, where, through an equally appalling series of unrelated events, Irish-American heartthrob Harry O’Toole has been duped into a shotgun wedding.”

Small Stories: A Perfectly Absurd Novel

Robert O’Keefe


Author statement: “Duncan and Maya Small have just relocated to a new town. Again. And almost immediately, Duncan is ready to move on, thanks to a power-obsessed local official who has it out for him. But Maya has ideas of her own. The Smalls soon discover nothing in their new town is as it seems, but one thing is certain—there’s something funny going on. Small Stories: A Perfectly Absurd Novel is a comic tale about life, power, and the last Welcome Wagon, in a quirky little town that’s decidedly off-the-wall, yet remarkably familiar. It’s about power, secret societies, and bake sales. It’s about Duncan Small’s fixation on process and Maya Small’s unforeseen celebrity. It’s about new and unusual friends, who may turn out to be the best kind there are. The idea for my book came from living among the single most absurd species on the planet—human beings.”

Seriously, Murder?

Monica Hoopes


Author statement: “Alice and Don are recent law school grads, and they know what they’re doing. Kind of. But when they’re assigned to their first murder case, they might be in over their heads! And of course, they can’t forget about their other crazy clients. Part romcom, part mystery, this R-rated whodunit is laugh-out-loud fun! I am a small-town lawyer with an MFA in creative writing, and I’ve drawn inspiration from my own practice to write this book. Small-town law is both ridiculous and frightening! I’ve dealt with everything from feuding neighbors and indecent exposure to first-degree murder. As writers, we are taught to write what we know. This is my town and these are my people (with a ton of creative license)!”

Sun City

Matthew Minson


Author statement: “When a group of eccentric, vibrant seniors in a master-planned community are compelled to oppose a corrupt corporation that owns their properties, a widowed old farmer, a genius salacious chef named Betty Crocker, a former CIA operative turned counterculture warrior, and a mob boss in witness protection decide to regain control of their community by making enough money to take over the big business entity. Complicating this titanic struggle between individual freedom and social control is a world populated by clog-dancing Wiccans, feral hogs, and a pesky DHS drone. In the end, however, they all wind up with something far more valuable than money: a sense of community and the ability to help the kids who have no idea what is happening.”

Where the Hell Is Myra Atkins?

Lu Erikson


Author statement: “When Myra Atkins, a life-hardened, aging vamp of a detective, goes missing, her secretary, proper English import Esther Humperstone, is panic-stricken. She enlists new hire Henry, an earnest yet slightly off-center 22-year-old, to help find her beloved boss. What Henry and Esther don’t know is that while they’re taking a crash course in private detecting, Myra, caught up in a midlife meltdown, has actually escaped to Maui with smooth-talker Ray Garnetti for a little sun and romance—and a lot of vodka martinis. The stakes are raised when Gordon Winston, a prominent Sacramento businessman, and the last person Myra saw before she disappeared, turns up dead. When I began writing this story, I wanted to celebrate friendship, and I wanted to do it with humor because I believe we can all use a breather from the ever-present negativity and cynicism that surrounds us these days.”


The Best I Can Do

John Branning


Author statement: “The Best I Can Do is chock-full of observations on topics including politics, marriage, dentists, yoga, food, the mysteries of the English language, and one horribly misguided explanation of bitcoin. The Best I Can Do is a ‘greatest hits’ compilation from more than 10 years of humor writing. My inspirations come from misinterpreting nearly everything I hear, and others misconstruing nearly everything I say.”

Naples Secrets in the Sun

Alan Bianco


Author statement: “Naples Secrets in the Sun is a narrative nonfiction account of my escapades driving the highways and byways of Naples, Fla., as an Uber driver. While this book is ostensibly about Naples and Uber, it is really about people, history, and life in general. Scattered throughout the book are snippets of wisdom called ‘Notes on the Meaning of Life.’ These snippets provide related word definitions, famous quotes, or context-sensitive information on history, geography, social science, films, and Earth science. The book originated after I became an Uber driver at the onset of the Covid epidemic. I found that many of my passengers, as well as many of the stories they told me about Naples and about life, were fascinating!”

Say Anything: Good, Kind, and Non-bullshit Things to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

Fiona Jefferies

ISBN 978-0-645-62841-8

Author statement: “Say Anything is a refreshing and practical guide on what to say—and how to say it. The book covers domestic life, the workplace, friendships, grief and loss, pregnancy and babies, weight, aging, and many other scenarios. You’ll also find advice on when to say nothing, when to listen more than you speak, and what not to say when someone is grieving or stressed. This book was written during Covid times when I felt I was all out of good words. I found myself retreating from conversations or avoiding engaging with others. I was afraid of causing pain, not saying the right thing or sounding like a complete muppet. I wrote this book firstly to help me. I’d have conversations, and later, I’d think, ‘I wish I had a witty comeback or had said something more meaningful.’ I wanted to improve the way I communicated and have better things to say, especially in tricky situations. If you’re feeling the same way, this book is for you.”

Poetry & Short Stories

The Book of IP (Idle Poems)

Chris Courtney Martin


Author statement: “This collection came about after a spontaneous kundalini emergence which caused me to rethink everything in my life, especially my career as a rising screenwriter and producer. The simultaneous disrespect for screenwriters and ravenous appropriation of other forms of writing, as reduced to IP, set off alarm bells. I used this collection as a call-out, call-in, and call to arms for anyone who cares about the written word as more than a property to ‘flip’ for entertainment industry cash.”

Lost Creatures

S.G. Browne

ISBN 978-1-7371590-0-1

Author statement: “Lost Creatures is a collection of 14 short stories of downtrodden luck poachers, lovelorn chemical elements, obsolete villains, disillusioned children, trademarked teenagers, outcast reindeer, victimized zombies, and time-traveling alcoholics—many of them lost and searching for answers. Some of them find what they’re looking for, while one or two discover that childhood dreams can come true. The stories are a blend of dark comedy, social satire, fantasy, science fiction, and fabulism. I’ve always been drawn to humor and satire, and as my writing has developed over the years, I’ve gravitated toward writing dark comedy and social satire, but with a heart. A common thread in my stories has involved the search for meaning or purpose.”