Maddie May and the Tea Trouble – Book Review

Aug. 6, 2020

Book Summary
An amusing girl, a bully, a terrible prank, and God.
Eight-year-old Maddie May is afraid to speak to people she doesn't know well. She prefers to stay quiet and avoid all unnecessary attention. She finds herself in an almost impossible situation when she sees the class bully pull an awful prank on the teacher and then blame someone else. Maddie May is the only witness, so she must decide if she can speak up or if she is too afraid. If she stays quiet, an innocent boy will be punished. If she tells what she knows, she may become the bully's next target. She remembers from Sunday School that God promises to be with us, but her fear is so big! Will God really help her do something so scary and hard?
Meet Maddie May in this beginning chapter book, a moral story with Christian family values and wholesome characters. Skilled readers ages 6 to 9 can read about Maddie May’s dilemma alone, or you can enjoy with your child by reading aloud and discussing ideas such as whether faith is relevant to our daily lives and if God always keeps His promises. Other points to consider are how fear, anxiety, or peer pressure can keep us from doing what we should and how we all can make a difference.


Maddie May and the Tea Trouble by Gina Hutcherson is a short but inspiring children's story that touches on significant subject matters like bullying, standing up for oneself, and doing the right thing.

Maddie May is shy and reserved; she talks very little and is teased for it. On this particular day, Maddie May witnesses an unfair treatment and false accusation of a quiet child like her, and she felt she couldn't keep silent on this one - she knew she had to do something. With a little advice from her friend Evie, who reminded her of the Bible verse they’d learned at Sunday School, Maddie May finds the courage to speak up for the little boy.

Simplicity is what jumps out of my mind with this book -- so simple yet so profound. Sometimes we look at Scripture and unknowingly assume the words of wisdom and advice only apply to grown-ups caught up in grown-up situations, so I thought it impressive how the author incorporates Scripture in the book in the simplest way for any child to understand.

Bullying is an unfortunate occurrence that most children are bound to face at some point in their childhood, and it’s important to show them -- the way this story does -- that they’re valuable and can stand up for themselves and for others, even if they're shy and reserved like Maddie May is. They may not feel like they can do it on their own, but they can count on God's help, who clearly said in His Word to "be bold, be courageous […] for I will be with you wherever you go (Josh. 1:9). 

I would have loved if the story had been a bit longer. I wanted to read more of Maddie May, so I’m hoping the author could perhaps put together some sort of collection of stories about Maddie May and how she navigates various challenges in her childhood with the help of Bible verses. I think that would be splendid.

All in all, I say kudos to the author for an impactful book!

GENRE: Children/Christian fiction
MATERIAL CONNECTION: Given to me by author in exchange for review


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Interview with Rick Zazueta, Author of 'Baja Air & Sea'

July 9, 2020

I had the priviledge of interviewing Author Rick Zazueta to discuss his latest book Baja Air & Sea and the inspiration behind it. Enjoy! 


What is your book about?
Baja Air & Sea is a novel about a stolen yacht and the adventures that happen aboard this vessel. The book, like everything in this world, is about the human condition.

Big Money. Big Yachts. Big Adventures.

Behind every great fortune there is a great crime. Julian Mayorca wasn’t always a billionaire. At one point he was an honorable port captain and legendary yachtsman, but a single temptation—a crime of opportunity—leads him down a path of betrayal, passion, power, and the sea.

Baja Air & Sea, a high end crime-thriller set in La Paz, Mexico, begins with the story of Julian Mayorca. As a port captain, he manages the harbor and oversees a fifty-million-dollar budget. His only mistake? Being incorruptible.

On a sunny day, his cousin, Alex Cuevas, who works for a notorious criminal, holds a gun to Julian’s head and forces him to sign resignation papers. A series of questionable decisions cause Julian to transition into the entrepreneur he never set out to be. What follows is six years of Julian’s life; his voyages, romances, mishaps, and how a need for revenge leads to immense fortune and adventure he never thought possible.

It sounds like quite an adventure. What inspired the plot?
I was a yacht steward aboard a luxury yacht on the Sea Cortez. I met so many characters and had so many adventures during my time at sea. But it wasn’t just the life at sea that inspired me, it was living in this “other Mexico” that made it all the more interesting. There are two Baja Californians, the expat community and the locals, and as a Mexican-American bilingual person, I was able to seamlessly navigate these two worlds that seem so different. After some time, I began to realize that other than the language barrier, the two Bajas are essentially the same. So I started thinking about blending the two cultures and writing a book in that tone.

Why did you choose to have the story take place in Baja California?
I love Baja California. I’ve always been completely passionate about it. It’s a land so unique and so full of tales that I wanted to be a part of its folklore. The story only makes sense in Baja California, because of many factors; its proximity to the US, and the influence it directly has on Mexican culture, the climate, the sea, the desert, the tourism, the corruption, the food and lifestyle, for me it was just a perfect pot to stir.

You have a lot of colorful and creative characters. Did you think them up from scratch or were they inspired by people you know?
Stephen King said that all characters are a combination of three people; Somebody you know, yourself, and somebody you imagine. So, yes all characters are a play on that. I have always been a curious person and I’ve always been more interested in people than in anything else, so I like to observe human beings, how they are, how they react, their sense of humor, their sense of style, I can be a big extrovert, so I meet a lot of people and pay attention to their lives.

What are some of the more powerful themes that your characters struggle within the book?
Lust, revenge, selling out, greed, faith, love, and destiny. The characters I write are real people to me. I treat them with respect and I try to get to know them. I am aware that they have complex lives and I am grateful that they let me in to see what’s going on in their world.

What type of reader would enjoy this book?
I wrote this book to inspire people with a tale of adventure, passion, desire, and the sea. If life has gotten too predictable, if you need an escape into a tangible world of excitement and want to get completely lost in the waves of the ocean and in the luxury of big yachts and Eurocopters, then this book might be for you.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?
Writing a novel is a long journey, and I learned not to judge myself more harshly than I would others. I learned that if I treat these characters with respect, I have to treat myself and those around me with that same respect. So if I commit a mistake, I just erase it and continue.

Who is your favorite character and why?
Papa Fabio is the money man; he doesn’t get as much attention as he deserves, but for me, this guy is a huge success story. Born to a family of miners in the small town of El Triunfo, developed into a mathematical genius from a young age, got a scholarship to La Paz Technical Institute, and then a masters degree from MIT. Now an adviser to the UN on international tax code, a great financial analyst, rogue investment banker, and CPA.

Do you have any more books in the works?
I have begun plotting Baja Air & Sea - Book II, which will be titled Offshore.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I believe everyone is entitled to their honest opinion and I appreciate constructive feedback.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me through my website: or Instagram: or Twitter:

Any additional comments?
Every good book deserves an audience. I encourage everyone to pick up a book from an author they've never read and give it a go. You might just find your new favorite author.


Rick Zazueta resides in Baja, California, alongside his wife, Geraldine and their two kids; Maximo and Larissa. When away from his duties, he plays professional croquet as a member of the Mexico national team. Baja Air & Sea is his first novel.

Interview with Dain Rohtla, Author of 'The Sustainability Handbook'

June 22, 2020

I was privileged to invite Dain Rohtla for an interview with BooKecCenTric to discuss his latest book The Sustainability Handbook and the inspiration behind it. Enjoy!


What's your book The Sustainability Handbook about, and what inspired you to write it?
The Sustainability Handbook is meant to be a textbook about sustainable development - general issues about sustainability, how YOU can be more sustainable, political agendas to fight climate change, and my overarching thesis that sustainability is not dependent on technology, but rather economics and people's unwillingness to change. Greta Thunberg is the most well-known environmental pundit yet she does not really proffer tax agendas, she complains, and I would rather people focus on solutions than problems.

I was inspired by debating my friends about the benfits of hunting. I told them not to think about 'killing bambi,' take the emotions out of it because A) the money spent on hunting saves more animals than you kill, and B) animals die more gruesome deaths in the wild if they are not killed by hunters. This inspired me to do more reading about it. I had already taken sustainable development classes and was decently in-tune politically so I just wanted to put my thoughts together for myself.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?
This is best suited for those of high school age and above who are interested in politics or the environment. This should appeal because it offers a bipartisan take on combatting climate change, a narrative which is dominated by left wing thinkers who Greenwash the issue to advance socialism policies. Many right-wing people support the environment but do not want to hear congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez or Greta Thunberg so this argues brings more context to the issue.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?
Environmental degradation is worse than you think; its not just a slight rise in temperature, its trash pollution, marine life decline, terrestrial life decline, deforestation, everything and it affects everyone.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?
I care more about the environment than when I started! I did not care that much originally, it seemed quite intangible, but now I see it as ever-present, I notice the massive plastic wrapping everywhere, the abundance of beef, and it makes me want to change things.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?  
I like traditional books, it feels good to hold paper, scrunch the book on my lap, flip through the pages, and see it on my bookshelf.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?
I like environmental economics; I write a lot about it on my society's website as well. If not this I would write fantasy, when I was in 6-8th grade I wrote a 250-page fantasy book that was probably horrible and has since been mysteriously deleted.

Why do you care about the environment?
Growing up in the suburbs instilled a love of the outdoors when I was young. I was am an Eagle Scout and I love carp fishing most of all. No matter how much time I spent on other aspects of boyscouts like knot tying, or other hobbies like soccer, I always came back to carp fishing. At university in Scotland I took Sustainable Development classes because they were apparently easy, but it taught me alot. I learned about how important marine life is for my hobbies and the world but that it was dying excruciatingly quickly. I wanted to help the environment because it gives me so much joy.

What books and authors have most influenced you?
I am a huge fan of Ernest Hemingway, more as a person than a writer. I love his attraction to hunting, fishing, skiing, all these wonderful adventures. My favorite of his books is Green Hills of Africa which is a non-fiction account of his hunting in Africa and it instills the sense of love, of the journey, not only the goal, and the true simple pleasures of life, like a Michigan sunset or whiskey at the end of a hard day of hiking.
Other than Hemingway, I read a wide selection, mostly older works. I love F Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night and The Great Gatby which I have reread several times.

Why is your finance background pertinent in a discussion about ecology? 
To many ecologists and 'treehuggers' get caught up in feelings and morals. Too many people don't react to that, especially if they don't spend time hunting, hiking, and fishing. Eating vegan or riding a bike to work is difficult, so we need to educate people on how climate change affects them, and incentivize them to act cleaner. If we say its because polar bears are dying or because insects are going extinct in the Amazon, that doesn't hit home.

Any additional comments?
Regarding the organization, I think they create a false narrative. The premise is that we need to bring the atmosphere's CO2 PPM down to 350 (and its now nearly 420) to stop global warming, and we do this by divesting from those greedy bastard fossil fuel companies. I think those greatly overemphasizes the importance of divestment. We should not focus on tearing down something we need, thats just hypocritcal and dangerous. There is no way we can operate without fossil fuel so stop acting like divestment will make them go bankrupt and save the planet. Secondly, if the goal is to bring down PPM to 350 lets actually focus on that. If we want to reduce CO2 we need to focus on aforestation: planting trees through initiatives like the Great Green Wall, and restoring seagrass which is great for carbon sequestration. Other than this, we should be INVESTING in renewables and particularly carbon capture storage technology companies like Climeworks. We should heal the environment by building helpful institutions not creating a socialist economy devoid of fossil fuels.

Do you have any more books in the works?
I want to write a fishing diary / Florida-policy specific piece. I love Florida, I recently tarpon fished down there but it has experienced great degradation lately. Fish populations are going down, seagrass is torn up, bad water from Okeechobee flows into saltwater estuaries, its a mess, and they rely on the outdoors for the economy!

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
Follow me on Twitter @economicsmussel


Dain Rohtla is a University of St Andrews Management student from America. At school he is Head of the Economic Policy Research Group and President of the international society, Roosevelt Group. He plans on going into the finance field but thinks sustainability will be of increasing importance in business. This is his first book but plans to write others. Follow him on Twitter @EconomicsMussel