Posted in reviews

In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young girl with dreams of becoming a musician must contend with parents who have their own dreams for her life, complex friendships and struggles in school and her journey to discover her place in the world in author Natasha Deen’s novel “In the Key of Nira Ghani”. 

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The Synopsis

Nira Ghani has always dreamed of becoming a musician. Her Guyanese parents, however, have big plans for her to become a scientist or doctor. Nira’s grandmother and her best friend, Emily, are the only people who seem to truly understand her desire to establish an identity outside of the one imposed on Nira by her parents. When auditions for jazz band are announced, Nira realizes it’s now or never to convince her parents that she deserves a chance to pursue her passion.

As if fighting with her parents weren’t bad enough, Nira finds herself navigating a new friendship dynamic when her crush, Noah, and notorious mean-girl, McKenzie “Mac,” take a sudden interest in her and Emily, inserting themselves into the fold. So, too, does Nira’s much cooler (and very competitive) cousin Farah. Is she trying to wiggle her way into the new group to get closer to Noah? Is McKenzie trying to steal Emily’s attention away from her? As Farah and Noah grow closer and Emily begins to pull away, Nira’s trusted trumpet “George” remains her constant, offering her an escape from family and school drama.

But it isn’t until Nira takes a step back that she realizes she’s not the only one struggling to find her place in the world. As painful truths about her family are revealed, Nira learns to accept people for who they are and to open herself in ways she never thought possible.

A relatable and timely contemporary, coming-of age story, In the Key of Nira Ghani explores the social and cultural struggles of a teen in an immigrant household.

The Review

What a remarkable and moving coming of age novel. The author has expertly crafted a narrative that blends the hardships and struggles many young adults face growing up while also incorporating the added element of being in an immigrant household, showcasing the added pressures of having parents with a determined path for their future. 

Character growth is the shining star of this narrative. The author’s ability to create realistic, memorable, and relatable characters is truly incredible. The relationships between Nira and the supporting cast are enough to get the reader invested, but the emotional core of this story is between Nira and her grandmother, two kindred spirits who must navigate the journey of living out one’s dreams. Nira’s evolution as a character is fascinating to see unfold and is reflective of the true nature of a coming of age novel like this one. 

The Verdict

Beautiful, emotional, and well-written, author Natasha Deen’s “In the Key of Nira Ghani” is a must-read YA, coming of age novel. The story is lengthy yet engaging, keeping the reader invested wholly and completely. The shocking conclusion to the story and the journey of Nira makes this novel a one of a kind read, so if you haven’t yet been sure to grab your copy of this amazing book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Natasha Deen’s family moved from Guyana, South America to Canada to escape the country’s political & racial violence. She loved growing up in a country of snow & flannel, but often felt out of place. Thank goodness for books that showed her being different could also mean being awesome. Natasha lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her family where she spends A LOT of time arguing with her cats and dogs about who’s the boss of the house. Visit her at www.natashadeen.com.

Posted in reviews

Togwotee Passage by L.G. Cullens Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man escaping an abusive household finds a journey of self-discovery in the midst of the natural world clashing with man’s world in author L.G. Cullen’s novel “Togwotee Passage”. 

The Synopsis

Togwotee (toe’-ga-tee) is the name of a challenging mountain pass in the Absaroka Mountains of northwest Wyoming. In the title of this fictive tale it’s a metaphor for the main character’s physical and cognitive passage through the seasons of life’s chaotic landscape.

The story begins with a dysfunctional family life in the 1940s that stains Calan’s outlook. When the abuse escalates to life-threatening, an intervention introduces him to wilderness on a grand scale, as well as a Shoshone friend with a differing perspective of life. This but fledgling steps in a life of unexpected twists and turns.

With off-the-beaten-path experiences and intimately relatable characters, this tale is a thought kindling journey of mind and spirit, complemented with expressive illustrations.

Literary Eco-fiction, Adventure, Nature

The Review

A well-written coming of age meets literary adventure story with a theme focused on nature and it’s placed in man’s growing world, “Togwotee Passage” is a fantastic read with a full cast of characters readers will instantly connect with. The sad yet familiar story of a young child growing up in an abusive environment and forced to begin anew after a particularly explosive event hurls the readers into a new chapter of the protagonist’s life that changes their interaction with the world from that point on. 

The friendship between Calan and Derek throughout their expanding lives gave a deeper sense of connection with the overall theme of the novel as well. The emotional growth of these two characters as they took on life and watched as the world of man began to encroach on the natural world as a whole, perfectly illustrating the personal journey the protagonist underwent as a whole.

The Verdict

A heartfelt evenly paced read, author L.G. Cullen’s “Togwotee Passage” is a must-read novel. A story of overcoming hardship, discovering your place in the world, and forming lasting bonds takes center stage as the characters grow and take a fully realized journey that is not to be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

L. G. Cullens was born and raised in 1940’s Wyoming with Shoshone friends (his naturalist grounding), served in the military, and pursued careers first in civil engineering, then computer sciences, and finally, in his fifties, woodworking decorative arts. Since, with diminished dexterity he’s turned to writing. A natural sciences passion throughout his lifetime is evinced in his art and writing.

Additional writing by the author and others as well as book reviews and artworks, all on a natural world theme, can be found at https://lgcullens.com along with a contact form.

Posted in reviews

Remember, No Matter What; Chin Up, Tits Out by Miranda Oh Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman in love undergoes a life changing journey in author Miranda Oh’s “Remember, No Matter What; Chin Up, Tits Out”.

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The Synopsis

18 year old Hadley has led a charmed life, always knowing exactly what she wanted from it. She’d had her life distinctly mapped out in her head for as long as she remembered, but a chance meeting sends her into a tailspin…albeit a sensationally delicious one.

As she travels halfway across the world to fight for what’s hers, she stumbles time after time. It’s a journey of love, tears and learning; as she fights and attempts to overcome multiple hurdles standing in her way. 

The Review

This short and fast-paced read was engaging and dynamic from the very beginning. The author creates a unique coming of age story about a young woman who has a chance encounter that leads to a love story filled with ups and downs. The character dynamics and growth of the protagonist keep the readers entertained throughout the entire tale. 

While there is some crude language that would make this book more suitable to adults, this only enhances the character development of the protagonist overall. However, the only criticism I would have is in regard to the immigration process and the race relations of South Africa the author touches on. 

While the author does a good job of delving into this touchy subject in the background of the overall story, I would have liked to see a more rounded exploration of the subject from both points of view, to show there is a complex situation in South Africa and no one side is 100 percent right or wrong. However, this is just a minor thing that I personally would have liked to see play out in the larger narrative. 

The Verdict

A fast-paced and whirlwind coming of age story, author Miranda Oh knocks it out of the park with “Remember, No Matter What; Chin Up, Tit’s Out”. The story is unique and showcases the author’s unique tone and voice for storytelling, making this a must-read. Be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author

Author Miranda Oh Is your typical girl: She loves the sunset, loves long walks on the beach, world travels, and When not playing the corporate part she can be found sipping wine and spending all her hard-earned money on shoes.

Among her friends and family, Miranda Oh is known to be the storyteller of the group, always recapping crazy life stories and situations. Her personal experiences, emotions and fantasies are the inspiration for most of her books, so there is a little bit of her in every story.

“Remember, No Matter What: Chin Up, Tits Out” is the first of many novels you’ll be seeing from Miranda Oh.

Miranda’s work is sincere and heartfelt, sure to keep you up at night in more ways than one.

Make sure to click “Follow” on Miranda’s author page to follow her new releases.

Happy Reading!

XO

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, book launch, Book Promotion, reviews

The Beginner’s Guide To Winning An Election by Michael R. French Review & Author Spotlight

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One young woman’s goal of learning as much about politics as possible leads her down a path of betrayals, lies and shocking revelations that leads her to take on the establishment in author Michael R. French’s “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning An Election”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

In 2025, the “youthification” of democracy has inspired younger candidates to challenge the ineffective and hypocritical gray-hairs in Congress. Running for student body president at an Indiana high school, political novice Brit Kitridge takes on incumbent Matthew Boltanski, who, with help from a mystery backer, already has his eyes set on Washington. Brit gains courage and insights from a wise history teacher on how to win, but ultimately finds a maze of deceit and corruption in her school. Is exposing the truth enough to win the election?

The Review

This coming of age YA drama was a fantastic exploration of the political system. Exploring a near future that sees backroom deals, corruption and scandal make its way from the halls of Washington all the way to a small high school in Indiana, the author expertly showcases the struggle to retain your morality and principles when fighting against money and power. In an age in which we now see more and more lies and corruption within our own government coming to light, this novel does a fantastic job of bringing the delicate nature of politics and intricacies of not only running for office, but holding office as well to younger generations, especially those who will be in a position to vote in just a couple year’s time. 

The story itself is powerful, not only blending these themes and moral quandaries to the reader, but creating a narrative that is nearly cinematic in its approach. The characters are realistic, intriguing and hold the readers attention throughout the entirety of the novel. Yet it’s the powerful imagery used by the author to not only showcase the natural setting of the school and city this book takes place in, but to build an image of the emotions and complex state of the students and main characters as they go through this election, that really shines brightly throughout this book.

The Verdict

This is a must read YA, coming of age novel in 2019. An important message followed by a powerful narrative and memorable characters, author Michael R. French has created a stand-alone novel that grabs the reader’s attention and manages to wrap up the character’s stories beautifully, all the while allowing the reader to bond with these characters enough to ponder their fictional futures. If you enjoy a good YA novel with themes of politics, corruption and fighting the good fight, then grab your copy of The Beginner’s Guide to Winning today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author Spotlight

Michael R. French graduated from Stanford University where he was an English major, focusing on creative writing, and studied under Wallace Stegner.  He received a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.   He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur,  and starting a family.  

In addition to publishing over twenty titles, including award-winning young adult fiction, adult fiction, biographies ad self-help books, he has written or co-written a half-dozen screenplays, including Intersection, which has won awards in over twenty film festivals.  He has also had a long business career in real estate, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  His passions include travel,  collecting rare books, and hanging with friends and family.   He describes his worst traits as impatience and saying “no” too quickly; his best are curiosity, taking risks, and learning from failure.

French’s work, which includes several best-sellers, has been warmly reviewed in the New York Timesand been honored with a number of literary prizes.

Endorsements

“Michael French has penned a fascinating, fast-paced, futuristic story about a determined high school senior named Brit who runs an against-all-odds campaign for student body president. There are scenarios that bedevil the imagination: dirty tricks, cyber and other tech attacks, love intrigues, and a picture of how the personal  growth of one individual can shape a collective future. As a politician with several elections under my belt, I couldn’t put the novel down.”            
–Governor Bill Richardson
Former member of Congress, US Ambassador to the United Nations, US Secretary of Energy, and Governor of NM
 
 
“Politics and kids. Michael R. French knows them in everyday life and in high school. Politics squeeze the kids, and the kids squeeze back. What happens matters in the hearts and minds of young people as well as in the larger world that shapes us all. This is a smart novel with vision, and a story full of feeling.” 
—Frederick Dillen 
Author of Hero, Fool, and Beauty,Wall Street JournalFavorite Book
 
 
“If you like cheering for an underdog and savor a complex, exciting story that seems to spring from today’s events, you’ll love The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election. We could use more real heroes like Brit, the leading character in Michael R. French’s newest novel. She’s a young woman with tremendous tenacity and a strong moral compass who rises above her innate shyness to make a difference in her world.”
—Anne Hillerman
   Author of the New York Timesbest-selling Leaphorn/Chee/Manuelito mystery series
 
 
 
“Michael R. French weaves a frighteningly plausible tale of political and educational corruption and gives us a heroine worthy of exploring, uncovering, and confronting it.  Like all great heroes, she stumbles into her quest but then grows into knowing the power of honesty, principles, truth, and teamwork in pursuing it. This is a novel for anyone who honors history, idealism, and courage in the face of our country’s current political, economic, educational, and moral challenges.”
—Marc Talbert
Author of Dead Birds Singing, A Sunburned Prayer, and Heart of a Jaguar
 
 
 
 “A wise, provocative novel about an Indiana high school student body election in a 2025 post-Orwellian universe. A political novice, a science whiz named Britain, is surprisingly motivated to take on the establishment favorite, who may not be who he claims to be. Here Michael French, one of today’s greatest writers for young adults, gives us a realistic page turner with complex themes that intrigues adults, too.”  
—Barbara Beasley Murphy
Award-winning author of Ace Hits the Big Time and
Miguel Lost & Found in the Palace
 
 
The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election, a captivating novel, follows the story of Britain, a senior in high school who runs a daring campaign for student body president in the year 2026. The brilliance of this work is that wrapped into its easy-to-follow and easily relatable narrative are deep political and socioeconomic messages that can be foundational in understanding politics and also offer new perspective on the current status of US politics. I recommend this incredibly engaging book for readers thirteen and up, and even schools that wish to teach students more about the high privilege and honor it is to be able to vote and have a political voice in our country.”
—Gerry Orz
Award-winning filmmaker, youth activist, and author of Lucky or Not, Here I Come
 
 
“For high school history, civics, and political science teachers who want to help their students understand the political process on a much larger stage, this highly readable page turner has it all—candidate messaging using social media, hidden agendas, opponent bashing, fake news, and even dark money. I highly recommend this compelling book as an effective teaching tool.”
—Leslie Carpenter
Former teacher, principal, and superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools
 

 “An inspirational novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election examines America’s broken political system through the lens of a student body presidential election at a midwestern high school. From the issue of dark money’s influence on our elections to convincing the habitual nonvoter to vote, author French weaves an emotional tale of an underdog’s efforts to win the election and save her school’s integrity. For those losing hope in America, this book is a must read.”
—Bruce Berlin, JD
Author of Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America and 
president of New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics
 
 
“The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election is a heartfelt and moving story with vivid characters and a realistic, near-future setting. I highly recommend this novel of courage, honesty, duplicity, and the corrupting influence of private interests in public education—a wonderful book that deserves a wide audience.”
—Douglas Preston
#1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God
 
“We have a saying at our high school’s model legislature: ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport.’ Michael R. French’s poignant new novel demonstrates that adage through Brit Kitridge, a high school senior who finds her political voice and clarifies her future by challenging her school’s beloved principal. I hope this book inspires more students to get involved in politics and public service by doing the same—speaking up.”
—Meredith Tilp
High school AP government and politics teacher, and 
co-sponsor of Model Legislature/Youth in Government
 


Find Michael Online:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Michael-French/e/B001ITYVES/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelRFrenchAuthor/?fref=nf

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mfrenchauthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mfrenchrt66/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrfrenchbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/287338.Michael_French?from_search=true&search_version=service

 Website: http://www.michaelrfrench.com/

Blog: http://www.michaelrfrench.com/blog

Book Details: 

·         Paperback: 272 pages

·         Publisher: 2018907650 (November 25, 2018)

·         Language: English

·         ISBN-10: 1732511705

·         ISBN-13: 978-1732511705

Amazon Link:   https://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Guide-Winning-Election/dp/1732511705/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

40% Off Select Collectibles

Blog Tour Dates

Launch Day – February 25th

Michael R. French returns to WOW! Women on Writing for his tour of “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” with an interview and giveaway at the Muffin!

Tuesday, February 26th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro

Linda Appleman Shapiro reads and reviews the latest bestseller by Michael R. French. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!

http://applemanshapiro.com/category/book-reviews/

Wednesday, February 27th @ Bring on Lemons with Carmen Otto

Middle Schooler Carmen Otto offers her thoughts after reading “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Readers won’t want to miss this chance to hear from Carmen and learn more about this excellent YA novel!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 28th @ Bella Donna’s Books with Dawn Thomas

Dawn Thomas reviews “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” for readers of Bella Donna’s Books. You’ll delight to learn more about Michael R. French and his exciting new work!

http://belladonnasbooks.com/

Friday, March 1st @ Fiona Ingram

Fellow author Fiona Ingram spotlights the latest novel by Michael R. French. Readers will delight to learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!

http://www.fionaingram.com/

Saturday, March 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina

Author Anthony Avina has fellow author Michael R. French in today’s spotlight with a guest post by French and more information about the bestseller “The Beginner’s Guideto Winning an Election”.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

Tuesday, March 5th @ Breakeven Books

Today’s Author Spotlight at Breakeven Books is a bestseller by Michael R. French. Readers will delight as they learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!

https://breakevenbooks.com/

Wednesday, March 6th @ Coffee with Lacey

Lacey reviews “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Grab a cup of coffee and join Lacey for an enjoyable review of this delightful novel!

https://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com/

Thursday, March 7th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith

Sreevarsha reviews Michael R. French’s latest novel – a YA work titled “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”. Don’t miss Sreevarsha’s insight and thoughts!

https://sreejithsreevarsha.wordpress.com/

Friday, March 8th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples

Madeline Sharples reviews the enjoyable YANovel “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Readers and Choices won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear what Madeline thinks about this book.

http://madelinesharples.com/

Tuesday, March 12th @ Book Santa Fe with Crystal Otto

Crystal reviews “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Readers at Book Santa Fe love Michael R. French and are sure to love his latest YANovel!

http://booksantafe.com/

Wednesday, March 13th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker

Cathy interviews Michael R. French about his latest novel “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”.

https://www.sellingbooks.com/

Tuesday, March 19th @ Bring on Lemons with the Hansen Girls

Cathy Hansen along with her two teen daughters offer their thoughts about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 21st @ World of My Imagination

Nicole Pyles loves YANovels and is excited to share her review of “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French.

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

Posted in reviews

Leaving Jackson Wolf by P.A. Kane Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One young man’s chaotic journey through high school, a troubled home life and racial bias on the rise make this coming of age story not only relevant, but important and emotional in author P.A. Kane’s novel, Leaving Jackson Wolf. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

Passing through the transition hallway at South Park High School was as mundane a task as passing along a text message. But not for Jackson Wolf and James McDougal. One spring day bullies randomly target them—teenage fists are thrown and suspensions are issued.

After school, Jackson is indifferent to McDougal’s overtures of friendship until the whiz-kid proposes they jam the security cameras of a local drug store with his iPhone and steal some beer. From there the two fringe boys, biracial Jackson and undersized McDougal, become fast friends. Together they combat bullies, their alcoholic fathers and bond over the beautiful—Syd and Lexi, indie music and extreme biking.

But as the boys grow in strength people start to exit from Jackson’s life, leading to him to question his choices and believe forces in the universe are conspiring against him. With the help of McDougal and the stunningly competent Jessica Lee, Jackson learns that he must draw on his own power and goodness as he confronts the possibility of his greatest loss yet.

The Review

This was an incredible read. Set against the backdrop of the 2016 US Presidential Election, the author explores what it’s like for a biracial young man living in an age where people feel empowered to showcase their darkest, most biased opinions, whether they be racist, sexist, or anything else in that realm. When your alcoholic and abusive father is also racist and a Trump supporter, what kind of mental state would that leave a teenage kid in that setting?

The story also explores themes of abandonment, friendship and the discovery of who we are as people and what we are capable of becoming. While the racial bias and election are the backdrop, the true story lies in the unlikely friendship that develops between Jackson and McDougal. These two unlikely friends fine common ground and push each other to be the best versions of themselves they can be. In that journey they not only discover true friendship, but a bond of brotherhood and family neither one of them knew they needed in their lives.

The writing here is amazing. A quick read, the story flows smoothly as we explore Jackson’s life at home and with his friends. We see young love blossom, tension rise as terrible parental figures weigh heavily on the minds of these young people, and the author’s use of setting really helps bring the characters to life in a real and profound way, making the situation feel like it could easily be non-fiction rather than the coming of age fiction that it truly is.

The Verdict

Overall this was a phenomenal, must read novel. This coming of age YA read was relatable and impactful as we live in a post-election era of Trump and the violent and racist upheaval that has followed that election. The author captures the raw emotions of both sides of the political divide while also showcasing the mindset of young people today and how they are often caught up in the sins of their fathers, both literally and figuratively. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Leaving Jackson Wolf by P.A. Kane today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HSM5V32/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07HSM5V32&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

About the Author

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Growing up in a three bed/one bath house with nine siblings in Buffalo, New York was a just the facts, assembly-line type of childhood. However, one day in the late seventies, well into my clamorous teen years, that all changed when my exhausted mom uncharacteristically asked several probing questions about how I was doing, what I wanted of life and how I was going to get there… totally confounding me.  She was supposed to dish out commands and make declarative statements: …take out the trash …don’t come home unless you’re bleeding; …every time you masterbate it’s a hundred-years in purgatory. Not ask me to articulate inward looking, reflective questions about myself. Self-examination and contemplation, was light years beyond my transactional existence.

 Eventually, though, due to a certain amount of aimlessness and failure I did come to consider my mom’s questions and many more of people, time, place and heritage, which have become the basis of the novel “Written In The Stars: The Book Of Molly.” Seen through the eyes of young Molly Shea it is an exploration of the ways and means of 1979 Irish-Catholic, South Buffalo and an evolving girl’s place in that world.

Presently I am one neighborhood removed from South Buffalo in West Seneca, New York where I live with my wife, three college age children and a cat that hates me. I have a State University of New York background in English and I love trade paperbacks, quiet black mornings and The Ramones.

https://www.facebook.com/pakane14220/

https://twitter.com/PAKane14220

http://www.pakane.net/

http://buffalomud.com/