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Souvenirs Of Suffering: A Child's Memoir of Surviving Cancer
Prairie Stone Press
9781733293020, $15.95, HC, 172pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Through the eyes and voice of a child, Dazhoni Green in the pages of "Souvenirs Of Suffering: A Child's Memoir of Surviving Cancer" recounts her battle with brain cancer, wrestling with the debilitating effects of its initial symptoms, the diagnosis and ensuing treatment. These experiences, doubts and fears, were a prelude to a lengthy and arduous recovery.
"Souvenirs Of Suffering" is a candid account that will find the reader cheering Dazhoni on, sometimes with tears, at every obstacle on her way to become the compassionate, energetic young woman she is today. The champions in the story are friends, family members, teachers, hospital staff and camp counselors who patiently and lovingly supported her and other children struggling with debilitating diseases. These children are the real heroes, each and every one.
Having cancer as a child changed Dazhoni's view of life, something the reader will sense as she portrays each milestone along the way.
Critique: An inherently reader compelling and candidly detailed account, "Souvenirs Of Suffering" is a deftly crafted memoir that is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography and Contemporary Health/Medicine collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Souvenirs Of Suffering" is also available in a paperback edition (9781733293006, $9.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
Editorial Note: Dazhoni Green lived on the Navajo Indian Reservation until she was five years old. She attended grade schools in Minnesota and Tianjin, China, and then continued her middle school education at Qingdao International School, Shandong Province. She then earned her AA Degree at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Over the past several years, Dazhoni has worked as a professional dog groomer.
The Education Shelf
How To Teach: English
Chris Curtis, author
Phil Beadle, editor
Independent Thinking Press
9781781353127, $24.95, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Specifically written by Chris Curtis to benefit the classroom teachers, "How to Teach: English: Novels, Non-Fiction And Their Artful Navigation" is jam-packed with enlivening ideas to help teachers make the subject of English more intellectually challenging for students ages 8 to11-- and to make it fun too!
This insightful interpretation of what makes excellent secondary school English teaching is the work of a man whose humility fails to hide his brilliance and provides educators with a sophisticated yet simple framework upon which to hook their lessons. Covering poetry, grammar, Shakespeare and how to teach writing, Curtis has furnished every page of this instruction manual with exciting ideas that can be put into practice immediately.
Each chapter presents a store of practical strategies to help students in key areas (providing apposite examples, teaching sequences and the rationale behind them) and has been accessibly laid out so that teachers can pinpoint the solutions they need without having to spend an age wading through academic theory and pontification.
"How To Teach English" explores the wealth of learning opportunities that can be derived from both classic and more contemporary literature and offers expert guidance on how teachers can exploit their own chosen texts to best effect with their students. Furthermore, it is replete with ready-to-use approaches that will help teachers upgrade their lesson planning, enhance their classroom practice and ensure that the content they cover sticks in their students heads for months and years afterwards.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "How To Teach English: Novels, Non-Fiction And Their Artful Navigation" is an innovative and thoroughly 'user friendly' choice as a school district in-service teacher education curriculum textbook, and is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to college and university library Teacher Education instructional reference collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of practicing classroom teachers, student teachers, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "How To Teach English" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.99).
The Health/Medicine Shelf
The Art of Healthcare Innovation
Christina D. Warner
Sheridan & Madison Press
9781733149617, $14.99, PB, 229pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: With respect to both public and private health care and health care systems, we must all accept that change is inescapable. In the pages of "The Art of Healthcare Innovation: Interviews and Industry Insights from 35 Game-Changing Pioneers" columnist and health care specialist Christina D. Warner shows how healthcare changes will impact you, your family, and your career.
As a healthcare innovator and marketing strategist, Warner has conducted over 200 interviews. In this remarkable compendium she showcases candid answers from global giants, pioneers, leaders and innovators. Most were scientists, physicians, inventors, thought-leaders, cofounders and executives. It is their fascinating and shocking discoveries that will shape and create Healthcare 2.0 into the next decade.
Critique: Given that healthcare coverage reforms and technological advances are one of the key political issues in our national discussion today, "The Art of Healthcare Innovation: Interviews and Industry Insights from 35 Game-Changing Pioneers" should be a core addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary Health & Medicine Issues collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, social activists, governmental policy makers, members of the medical community, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Art of Healthcare Innovation" is also available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).
Editorial Note: Christina D. Warner is a healthcare innovator, marketing strategist, and global connector. Christina joined a top Fortune 100 in 2018, and plays a critical role in tactical marketing with disease states such as neurology, multiple sclerosis, gastroenterology, pulmonary and bleeding disorders. Prior to the Fortune 100 company, Christina joined Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and worked in partnership with Michael J. Fox Foundation on clinical trial initiatives for Parkinson's disease. Christina also worked in an international trading firm, splitting her time equally between Taiwan and China. Christina is a regular columnist for Authority Magazine and Arianna Huffington's Thrive Global. Her writing has been featured in Apple News and Buzzfeed, and she has been quoted in many national publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, U.S. News & World Report and Ivy Exec. Christina received her MBA at The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, where she earned a concentration on healthcare sector management (HSM).
The Sober Journey
9781642378597, $18.24, PB, 164pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Being sober and being healthy are often different things. Addiction can cause serious damage to your body. It's important for you to find a way to recover your health in sobriety. Based on his own experience with addiction, in "The Sober Journey: A Guide to Health, Nutrition and Fitness in Sobriety" Dirk Foster offers a simple, effective, and easy plan for getting fit and healthy, one day at a time.
Sobriety is difficult for anyone. If you're new to sobriety, or have been sober for years, there are unique challenges to face every day. What you eat, how you exercise, and how you treat yourself spiritually and mentally are crucial if you want to live a happy and productive life. Written with many examples from Foster's own life, and offering an easy guide to follow, "The Sober Journey" is for anyone seeking to develop a healthy body, mind and spirit.
"The Sober Journey" covers: How Addiction Harms Our Body; Simple Nutrition Guides and Tips; Easy Exercise Routines and Ideas; Spiritual Development Tools; Women in sobriety; Men in sobriety; Teens in sobriety; Young people in sobriety; People struggling with Depression; People interested in self help treatment and solutions.
"The Sober Journey" will prove invaluable and relevant to: Anyone who wants to stop drinking alcohol; Anyone who has stopped drinking alcohol; Anyone who is recovering from drug addiction and substance abuse; Anyone who practices AA morning Prayer and meditation; Anyone who has taken or wants to take the steps to recovery from addiction; People in relationships and in recovery from addiction; Anyone who wants to make lifestyle changes for addiction; Anyone trying to improve their health; Anyone who is in sobriety or trying to get sober.
Critique: Written specifically for recovering alcoholics and addicts, "The Sober Journey" offers a wealth of practical insights and is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation. The result is an easy and 'real world practical' guide for anyone living a sober life, making it an unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as both community and academic library Health/Medicine collections.
Editorial Note: Dirk Foster is a writer, public relations consultant, and recovering addict. He has spent many years studying and practicing various techniques for long term sobriety, which he shares on his blog (www.thesoberjourney.com).
The Pets/Wildlife Shelf
9781733451338, $24.99, HC, 234pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Milagro was a broken-down horse tied to a fence in the sweltering heat of the Baja sun. He pulled at Christie Bonham's heartstrings the first time she laid eyes on him. Left to fend for himself along with his herd, something in his soulful eyes resonated in her. She felt as though she knew him. She felt his spirit; she recognized his resilience and his character.
Living abroad had not been easy for Christie. A sudden move south had been necessary as the Great Recession pushed her husband Keith to move his job, and their lives, to Mexico. There, Christie begins to struggle with her health, and finding her footing in this new place.
As fate would have it, she and Milagro meet in a way that only destiny could explain, and they form an eternal bond that will carry them through life's ups and downs. And as Christie and her husband decide to make their way back to the mountains, they face a daunting task: how to bring Milagro with them.
Life is chock-full of surprises as the journey unfolds to get this family back to Utah. Along the way Milagro shows Christie the value of living life in the moment and the importance of letting go.
Critique: A heart warming, life celebrating, and ultimately inspiring read, "Hooked: Lessons of the Heart From a Little Horse in Cabo" is a deftly written, truly extraordinary, and deeply personal story that will resonate in the hearts and minds of all animal lovers. While especially and strongly recommended addition to all community library Pets/Wildlife collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hooked: Lessons of the Heart From a Little Horse in Cabo" is also available in a paperback edition (9781733451307, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Business Shelf
Your High Vibe Business
Laura Di Franco & Donnie Boivin
Brave Healer Productions
9781733073844, $19.97, PB, 142pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Your High Vibe Business: A Strategic Workbook for Badass Entrepreneurial Success is comprised of sixteen chapters of actionable exercises, beginning with crafting your business vision all the way to researching speaking gigs. The two expert authors, Laura Di Franco and Donnie Boivin behind this collection of badassery have made the mistakes so you don't have to. The collaborate in sharing the short cuts and secrets to business development it takes most people decades to master. Any one of the instructive and inspiring chapters is likely to move you forward in your business in a big way. The message the authors advocate is that their readers should follow what they've written from start to finish -- and then get ready for a significant and unexpected transformation with respect to their entrepreneurial enterprises.
Critique: As informed and informative and it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Your High Vibe Business: A Strategic Workbook for BADASS Entrepreneurial Success" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, academic, and corporate library Business Management collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Your High Vibe Business" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Leading From the Edge of the Inside
9781733950206, $20.00, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: With the many challenges facing owners and leadership teams of privately-owned companies, trying to lead effectively can a bit elusive. The problems we face as corporate executives often feel complex to get our hands around and our resources seem scarce. Yet the heart felt urge to create something special within our organization remains strong.
"Leading From the Edge of the Inside: Embracing the Heart of Business Leadership" provides a simple path to shifting company leadership patterns and those of your leadership team. It brings to light the invisible patterns that no longer serve you, allows you to see these patterns and offers the structure for you and your leadership team to playfully practice shifting.
Traditional leadership levers are less and less effective. As you practice the essential conversations; value creation, execution, growth, leader effectiveness, management team coherence, collaboration, connection and inner fluency, traction will improve and your ability to scale will simplify. More importantly, the quality of meaning you and each employee experience will become measurable and leading will once again become more fun.
Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Leading From the Edge of the Inside: Embracing the Heart of Business Leadership" is impressively informative and inspirationally motivational. While especially and unreservedly recommended for corporate, community, college and university library Business Management instructional reference collections and supplemental curriculum studies, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of business students, academia, corporate executives, business managers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Leading From the Edge of the Inside" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.29).
Editorial Note: Jim Moats is the CEO of Jim Moats & Associates where his work focuses on shifting the patterns of leadership teams to achieve long-term growth and sustainability. Jim also serves as a Master Chair through Vistage International, the largest CEO membership organization in the world. He has chaired a CEO and Key Executive group for the past twenty years and has been awarded the Chair excellence award eleven years in a row. He has served as the CEO/owner of a software company and as the CEO of an international not-for-profit. Prior to this Jim served in leadership roles in three Fortune 500 companies.
Small Mistakes, Big Consequences
Anne Corley Baum
9781732301627 $10.00 pbk / $6.95 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Small Mistakes, Big Consequences is a lighthearted look at the top 16 business mistakes that people make without realizing the potential consequences. Learn how to identify these common character mistakes that can make or break your relationships. Avoid making these mistakes yourself and learn how to work with and manage these personality types.
Discover how to:
Be perceived as sincere and trustworthy
Empower your team for greater success
Help team members take accountability for their actions
Encourage others to listen to your perspective
Present your best, most professional self
Small Mistakes, Big Consequences is filled with simple, actionable business tips to help you succeed. It's your guide to navigating the speed bumps on the road to the corner office.
Critique: Small Mistakes, Big Consequences: Develop Your Soft Skills to Help You Succeed is a guide created to cultivate interpersonal skills needed for success in business. Chapters describe how to present a professional attitude, and list common yet troublesome pitfalls to avoid (such as being a "table groomer", someone who puts on lipstick, brushes/combs their hair, etc. while dining at a corporate dinner table). Small Mistakes, Big Consequences is a "must-read" of unwritten rules in the business world, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Small Mistakes, Big Consequences is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.95).
The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf
Bingeworthy British Television
Sarah Cords & Jackie Bailey
Citizen Reader Books
9780960048700, $19.99, PB, 287pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Blockbuster British Broadcasting Company (BBC) television programming ranging from Upstairs Downstairs to Downton Abbey are enormously popular with American audiences. In American television, PBS is a reliable source for all manner of BBC productions such as historical romances, mysteries, and sitcoms.
"Bingeworthy British Television: The Best Brit TV You Can't Stop Watching" by the team of Sarah Cords and Jackie Bailey is every Anglophile's companion guide to the best British television to watch right now.. In this guide you'll learn everything about more than 100 of your soon-to-be-favorite programs, like how long it will take you to bingewatch each one, the most noteworthy performances of Brit actors and creators, must-know trivia, and suggestions for related viewing.
There are also insights from across the pond as co-authors Sarah Cords (the Yank) and Jackie Bailey (the Brit), chat over subjects of vital importance, like why British series are so much shorter than their American counterparts, what kind of sports are shown on British TV, and why there seem to be fewer guns in British programs (among many other topics).
Also included are lists of similar programs and a full index. British TV is the best TV -- and it's even better when you watch it with friends!
Critique: An impressively informative, exceptionally well organized, deftly presented compendium of the best of British television programming, "Bingeworthy British Television: The Best Brit TV You Can't Stop Watching" truly lives up to its title -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to the personal reference collections of all BBC fans, as well as an enduringly popular addition to community and academic library Theatre/Cinema/Television history and reference collections.
The General Fiction Shelf
A Perfect Confluence
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
9781684333325, $20.95, PB, 307pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Noah has finally gotten himself under control; he's clean and sober, and carving out a new life. But when he gets involved with a woman from a local crime family, he lets his demons run amok again. He has no other option than to flee in his canoe onto the river.
Along the way, he meets Becca, a mysterious pregnant woman with a burdened a past. As they continue together and through the trials and tribulations of river life, their pursuers continue to nip at their heels. In spite of this, Noah and Becca fall in love.
If they're to have a future together, Noah needs to decide whether Becca is a heaven-sent agent of goodness or the author of his demise. And, whether he knows it or not, he's part of a plan that's been unfurling since the two of them first met.
Critique: Showing a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling skills that keeps his readers fully engaged from first page to last, "A Perfect Confluence" by Peter Bridgford is unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Perfect Confluence" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
James D. Bell
Sartoris Literary Group
9780578560502, $21.95, PB, 354pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Rumors of a legendary treasure trigger a battle over possession of a Choctaw family farm. Two young lawyers, John Brooks and Jackson Bradley, agree to help the family keep their farm. Early legal success prompts the drive-by murder of the patriarch of the family. The grandson chases the suspects whose bodies are found on the farm, scalped.
At the same time clues to a vast treasure are found on the farm. Jackson, pursued by fortune seekers, adventurers, an exotic beauty and a homicidal maniac, follows the clues from a Caribbean reef to the Chiapas jungle. John stays behind to defend the grandson and continue the fight for the farm. His efforts are complicated by arson, murder, race riots, and the realization that he lost his one true love.
Though there is great distance between them, their adventures are intertwined as they rush toward a triple climax that could shake the world.
Critique: A deftly crafted and riveting great read from cover to cover, "Maximilian's Treasure" is a complex saga by novelist James D. Bell. Unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Maximilian's Treasure" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Never Pleasing to the World: A Man And His Slaves
Peggy Patterson Garland
9781480875203, $23.99, PB, 398pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Born into the richest planter family in the Northern Neck of Virginia, Robert Carter III's life is anything but typical. A neighbor of George Washington and the Lees of Stratford Hall, Carter is destined to be a gentleman farmer, slaveholder, and leader in the church, militia, court, and government. Carter has no idea that one day he will rebel against everything he is taught.
While growing up, he spends time with his best friend and personal slave, Sam Harrison, who provides him with a first-hand look into his less than ideal life. After Carter comes of age, he escapes to London where he encounters the Enlightenment. At age twenty-three, he returns home to take over his eighteen plantations and live a productive life. But as a chain of events drives him to chart new territory for his time, Carter is ultimately led to make a decision that shocks and alienates his class and his family and forever changes the lives of over five hundred people.
"Never Pleasing to the World: A Man And His Slaves" is the story of how a child of privilege, influenced by slaves long before the Civil War, creates a community of freed slaves in the most powerful state in the South.
Critique: An eloquently crafted historical novel, "Never Pleasing to the World: A Man And His Slaves" especially showcases author Peggy Patterson Garland's genuine flair for detail and the kind of narrative first person story telling style that perfectly engages the readers' interested attention from first page to last. While especially recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Never Pleasing to the World: A Man And His Slaves" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Sid Balman Jr.
9781684630141, $16.95, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The US and Europe have unraveled since World War II and radicalism has metastasized into every community, tearing away the decency, optimism, and security that shaped those robust democracies for more than eight decades. No place is immune, including the small West Texas town of Dell City, where four generations of an iconic American family and a Syrian Muslim family carve a farming empire out of the unforgiving high desert.
These families' partnership is as unlikely as the idea of a United States, and their powerful friendship can be traced back to a bloody knife fight in a Juarez cantina just after World War II. The bond forged that night between Jack Laws, an Irish American who staked his claim in West Texas after the war, and Ali Zarkan, whose great-grandfather sailed from the Middle East to Texas in the mid-1800s as part of President Franklin Pierce's attempt to create the US Army Camel Corps, shapes each generation of the families as they come of age and adapt to shifting paradigms of gender, commerce, patriotism, loyalty, religion, and sexuality.
From the beaches of the Western Pacific to the battlefields of the Middle East and from the lawless streets of Juarez to the darkest corners of the Internet, the two families fight real and perceived enemies -- journeying, as they do, through the football fields of Texas and West Point, the hippie playgrounds of Asia, the music halls of Austin, the terrorist cells of Europe and the political backrooms where fortunes are gained or lost over the rights to Western water.
Underlying their experiences is the basic question of what constitutes identity and citizenship in America, or in Texas, a land over which six flags have flown. The seventh flag, ultimately, is not one of a state or a nation, but of a mosaic of cultures, religions, and people from every corner of the world -- all struggling to define what it means to be unified under an ambiguous banner.
Critique: A novel whose subject matter is drawn from a very real history and contemporary cultural/political conditions in Texas, "Seventh Flag" by Sid Balman is an impressively extraordinary and deftly compelling read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Seventh Flag" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).
Scattering the Ashes
Paul Russell Semendinger
9781932926781, $27.95, HC, 278pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Sam Holmes is a young, enthusiastic school teacher living an uneventful, albeit pleasant life - even if he won't admit to himself how lonely he is. Dedicated to teaching, and inspired by the kids passing through his 8th grade history class, Sam is energized by the end of the school year. Now he has the time to dedicate himself fully to training for his first run in the historic New York City Marathon.
But Sam's simple life is radically changed when his father suddenly passes away and the Last Will and Testament are read to him. Sam learns that his father's final wishes are unique, and as such special burden has been placed solely on Sam. To earn his inheritance, Sam's father is sending him on a quest; to travel to the places that had been significant and scatter his father's ashes at these destinations. Now, instead of a pleasant summer, Sam is thrust into a journey he neither wanted nor asked for.
While fulfilling is father's wishes Sam meets Rachel Parker, a young woman who brings direction, clarity, and companionship to Sam's lonely life. As he faces the struggles of a contract dispute at work, a budding romance, and running in his first marathon, Sam Holmes must make the critical decisions that will impact the rest of his life.
Critique: A thoroughly 'reader engaging' and deftly crafted novel from first page to last, "Scattering the Ashes" showcases author Paul Russell Semendinger's genuine flair for originality as well as an especially distinctive and effective narrative storytelling style. While an unreservedly recommended addition to community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Scattering the Ashes" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Shadow of Evil
Rhonda W. Kazmierski
9781892986139, $15.99, PB, 124pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Senator Jack McKenzie had two beautiful daughters. Bella Eileen was married to David Matthew Wright, their favored son-in-law. Charity Faith had chosen, Abdul Fattah, who was a Muslim and questions remained as to who he was and where his allegiance really lay.
This Senator's family, and other important guests, including the President of the United States, were gathering at the Wright estate for their annual Christmas festivities. David learned Abdel Fattah was plotting, with a deadly terrorist, Abdelmalik Khan, to sabotage the celebration with an attack on the family, leading to the assassination of President Toley.
Would this Christmas be their last? Or would they even live to see Christmas? It all depended on David, who stood to lose everybody he held dear to his heart. He vowed to use every weapon at his disposal, and would call on all of the training the United States government had provided him. Nobody threatened his family, or his president, and that included Abdulmalik Khan.
Critique: A vividly written and inherently riveting novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and a thoroughly reader engaging style of narrative storytelling, "Shadow of Evil" by Rhonda W. Kazamierski is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community library Contemporary General Fiction collections.
Gloria H. Felcyn
9781480879881, $30.95, HC, 156pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Titus Miller is a self-made billionaire and CEO of a California company that markets Pollotto, a complex computer game that protects consumers who play the game and are unfamiliar with tax reporting laws by providing their winnings tax-free. As a result, Titus and his company have been the subjects of an intense IRS investigation for many years. So far, the IRS has been unable to penetrate the Pollotto tax structure developed by Titus's army of tax professionals.
The IRS has been trying for years to gain access to the Pollotto technology and US person database, including offering Titus millions of dollars for access, which he has refused. As a last resort the IRS arranges to have conspiracy indictments filed against Titus and his company as a means of putting a stop to Pollotto and getting access to what the IRS wants.
Titus's history with the IRS goes back many years to his childhood when his father, Jacob, was audited by the IRS after failing to report sweepstake winnings due to a lack of understanding tax reporting rules. In the audit, the IRS agent throws the book at Jacob, hitting him with excess of penalties and interest, forcing the sale of the family home in order to pay the IRS, despite the then young Titus's pleads for leniency for his father with the IRS agent, who is currently the head of the IRS.
Titus is determined that Pollotto players will never suffer the consequences that his father went through. Titus's company arranges to provide all winnings to Pollotto winners tax free. The taxes are 100% paid by Titus's company. Winners names are never disclosed to the IRS, which sets off a war between the IRS, Titus and his company. As Titus's past comes full circle, Titus must battle the IRS head who is willing to go to great lengths to getting government access to Pollotto, including divulging a Miller private family secret.
Critique: A simply riveting read from beginning to end, "Pollotto" showcases author Gloria H. Felcyn's impressive flair for originality and a reader compelling narrative storytelling style as a novelist. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pollotto" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480879874, $12.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
Oddball in 3G
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
9781684333462, $18.95, PB, 205pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Robert Krieger's life is quickly falling apart. He's been fired from his job, split with his sexy girlfriend, and has a controlling overbearing mother he feels obligated to call at least once a week. As a result, he's developed a distressing anxiety disorder.
Robert lends money to an acquaintance across the hall in his building, a small-time drug dealer named Skids. When Skids is later assaulted by enforcers working for an inner-city drug gang, the Dragons, he hands Robert a package to hold for him until he either asks for it back -- or dies.
Lonely but determined to find a new girlfriend, while jogging one morning Robert meets the beautiful and willowy Lindsay Marriott, whom he awkwardly begins to romance. Not long afterward, he finds himself in a bloody one-man war with the Dragons, who believe Robert possesses money Skids owes them.
Robert is soon juggling an increasing array of anxiety-heightening issues, which together conspire to wreak havoc on his fragile sanity.
Critique: A deftly written and compelling page turner of a psychological thriller, "Oddball in 3G" showcases author Marc Berlin's impressive flair for originality, humor, and the kind of narrative storytelling that rivets the reader's attention from first page to last. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Oddball in 3G" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
Eileen Harrison Sanchez
She Writes Press
9781631526107, $16.95, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Told alternately, by Colleen, an idealistic young white teacher; Frank, a black high school football player; and Evelyn, an experienced black teacher, "Freedom Lessons" is the story of how the lives of these three very different people intersect in a rural Louisiana town in 1969.
Colleen enters into the culture of the rural Louisiana town with little knowledge of the customs and practices. She is compelled to take sides after the school is integrated (an overnight event for which the town's residents are unprepared, and which leads to confusion and anxiety in the community) and her values are tested as she seeks to understand her black colleagues, particularly Evelyn. Why doesn't she want to integrate the public schools? Frank, meanwhile, is determined to protect his mother and siblings after his father's suspicious death -- which means keeping a secret from everyone around him.
Critique: "Freedom Lessons" is a deftly crafted novel that, although a work of fiction, is based on the author Eileen Sanchez' personal experience teaching in Louisiana in the late sixties. "Freedom Lessons" is heartfelt, unflinching novel, and inherently riveting novel about the unexpected effects of school integration during that time takes on the issues our nation continues to face regarding race, unity, and identity. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library general fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Freedom Lessons" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).
Golden Antelope Press
9781936135820, $21.95, PB, 324pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Deena's house is being auctioned off at sheriff's sale and her marriage is falling apart. As her carefully constructed life unravels, her thoughts return to the New Moon Commune outside Santa Fe where she was born, and to Rain, the lesbian mother she had abandoned at fourteen. No one, not even her husband and children, know about New Moon or that she sat Shiva for Rain in exchange for living in her Orthodox grandmother's house in an upscale suburb of Cleveland.
Deena's story unfolds with empathy and wit as a cascade of disasters leaves this middle aged librarian unmoored from her home and family, penniless and alone on the streets of Sarasota, Florida. "Resurrecting Rain" is populated with deftly drawn characters full of their own secrets and surprises -- from Deena's blue haired freegan daughter who refuses to tell her parents where she lives, to the octogenarian TV writer who believes that crows are the reincarnated souls of Jews lost in the Holocaust. Deena loses her house, but will she find a home? Maybe the crows know.
Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently engaging novel by an author with an impressively reader engaging narrative storytelling style, "Resurrecting Rain" by Patricia Averbach is an extraordinary and unique story. Highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, "Resurrecting Rain" is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Resurrecting Rain" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).
Jericho Lane Publishing
9781916207905, $8.54, PB, 331pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Daredevil cat burglar James Curtis is a modern day Robin Hood, stealing back looted Nazi treasures and returning them to their rightful owners. But when a heist goes wrong, Curtis finds himself at the mercy of Russia's notorious FSB, facing life in a Siberian prison camp -- if he's lucky. But he's thrown a lifeline by the sinister Colonel Arnold Crombie: volunteer for a radical human experiment and his criminal past will be forgotten.
While working on the Large Hadron Collider deep below the Franco-Swiss border, Nobel Prize Winner Dr Ida Schildberg has made an epic discovery fulfilling her life's work: Trans-Animate Displacement. Time travel, with Curtis its first test pilot.
However unknown to Curtis is the project's true purpose -- one with the potential to reshape the history of our world forever!
Critique: An original and deftly crafted science fiction time travel novel that showcases the author's impressively flair for originality and a naturally reader engaging and narrative driven storytelling style, "Freiheit" by Ben Pickering is an exceptional and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated science fiction fans that "Freiheit" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Forgetting Flower
9780578484075, $12.99, PB, 296pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Secrets and half-truths. These litter Renia Baranczka's past, but the city of Paris had offered an escape and the refuge of her dream job. The specialty plant shop kept her busy, but also had brought her to a new friend, Alain. His presence buffered the guilt that kept her up at night, dwelling on the endless replays of what happened to her sister.
All too suddenly, the City of Light seems more sinister when Alain turns up dead. His demise threatens every secret Renia holds dear, including the rare plant hidden in the shop's tiny nook. It emits a special fragrance that can erase a person's memory -- and perhaps much more than that.
As Renia races to figure out the extent of the plant's powers, she's confronted by figures from her past who offer a proposal she can't outright refuse. Bit by bit, she descends into a menacing underworld of black market mobsters, navigating threats and fending off abuse to protect the safe peaceful life she's worked so hard for in Paris. Desperate to outwit her enemies, Renia maneuvers carefully, knows one wrong move will destroy not only the plant, but the lives of her and her sister.
Critique: Deftly written with more plot twists and turns than a Disneyland roller coaster, "The Forgetting Flower" showcases author Karen Hugg's impressive flair for originality and the special kind of narrative storytelling style that keeps the reader's rapt attention from first page to last. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Forgetting Flower" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Talk to Me: Thinking from the End
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781982229993, $35.95, HC, 278pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Talk to Me: Thinking from the End" by Sameer Zahr is an amazing story of two young Wall Street executives who meet in a meditation retreat to sort out their life adversities. Awkward past relationships bring them closer together.
Opportunities arise that oblige one ex-partner to put up big amounts of money. The money is used to start a humanitarian organization dedicated to the treatment of addicts. Ironically, the two ex-partners hook up together, and the couple become close friends.
The two executives eventually quit their jobs and dedicate their time to the growth of the organization that became huge across the nation. Their innovative methods of treatment defy the traditional industry of rehab centers, and their success is known across the land.
This original couple gives a good example to young generations, and they leave behind a unique legacy.
Critique: "Talk to Me: Thinking from the End" by author Sameer Zahr is a very nicely crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that keeps and holds the readers fully entertained attention from beginning to end. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Talk to Me: Thinking from the End" is also available in a paperback edition (9781982230005, $18.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
As Long As It's Perfect
She Writes Press
9781631526244, $16.95, PB, 264pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: To Janie Margolis, "assistant contractor" sounds like the ideal job for a mom whose role raising kids has become routine -- but her perfect plan starts to unravel when she and her husband, Wim, find themselves arguing about everything from money to masonry to man caves.
Then the economy collapses, and it's hard to surmount the reality ahead: they are about to sink their entire savings into rebuilding a new house they can't afford while trying unsuccessfully to sell the one they already own. Will Janie back herself so far into a corner that she'll find herself homeless before she finds herself a home?
From crushes on contractors to frenzied shopping expeditions to the erection of a cupola that looks a little too phallic for her upscale new neighborhood (or really any neighborhood!) Janie navigates the pitfalls of building. Along the way, she deals with a con artist kitchen designer, a construction worker and architect who fight like schoolgirls, and a tile guy who turns her shower into a pornographic work of art, all while struggling to stay out of debt and keep her marriage going.
In the end, she comes face to face with her flaws and learns that dreams can be achieved -- but the only way to authentic happiness is through truth and acceptance.
Critique: A wonderfully creative, remarkably imaginative, and impressively entertaining novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and narrative storytelling, "As Long As It's Perfect" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "As Long As It's Perfect" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).
The Western Fiction Shelf
Gunslingers: A Story of the Old West
Newman Springs Publishing
9781645310792, $20.95, PB, 332pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Joel Thornton is a retired US deputy marshal now living a quiet rancher's life outside the Texas town named in his honor. Days after welcoming his daughter, Elizabeth, home after seven years back east in Philadelphia, an old fugitive attacks the Tilted T Ranch seeking revenge and Thornton's cattle. Wounded in the ensuing gunfight, Thornton calls upon his daughter to find his old partner, former US Deputy Marshal Ben Chance, informing her, "Chance will know what to do."
The young woman's journey leads her on an adventure that exposes her to the dangers of the Old West, including an Indian attack on her stagecoach, where a mysterious gunslinger emerges from the hills and saves the coach. Enchanted by Elizabeth and her quest, the gunslinger joins her in the search for her father's former partner, who unbeknownst to them has been wounded in a gunfight, having been saved by a young brash gunslinger on a secret mission of his own.
Together, the two young gunslingers join the aged former Marshal Chance in the hunt for the outlaws who shot Elizabeth's father and stole his herd.
Critique: A classic western novel by an author with a full mastery of the genre, John Layne's deftly crafted novel, "Gunslingers: A Story of the Old West" is an inherently compelling read from beginning to end. While unreservedly recommended for community library Western Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated western fans that "Gunslingers: A Story of the Old West" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Thomas & Mercer
9781542016544, $24.95, HC, 332pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Jubilee Rathman is a straight-A student and star soccer goalie destined for Princeton until her family is brutally murdered. Twelve years later, she lives in a virtual fortress on Purgatory Bay near Bleak Harbor, plotting revenge on the people she considers responsible.
In her crosshairs is former reporter Michaela & Mikey Deming, who Jubilee believes got her family in trouble with the Detroit mob. As retribution, Jubilee kidnaps Mikey's sister and daughter, and that's just the start in her ruthless quest for justice.
Bleak Harbor police chief Katya Malone, still reeling from her failure to find a kidnaped boy, leads the investigation. She is determined to keep history from repeating, but Jubilee is more cunning than Malone can imagine.
All Mikey and Katya can do is follow Jubilee's dangerous trail of clues. But in Bleak Harbor, nothing is what it seems, and no one can be trusted. As an ominous end draws ever nearer, the women must face the misdeeds of the past to find the kidnaping victims before it is too late!
Critique: An impressively original, deftly crafted, and thoroughly absorbing read from first page to last, "Purgatory Bay" by Bryan Gruley is a compelling and highly recommended novel for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated suspense thriller fans that "Purgatory Bay" is also available in a paperback edition (9781542092883, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Dead Cat Bounce
9781912526598, $13.95, PB, 177pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Old Mrs Bello lived above the family grocery store all her life, she worked hard, was frugal and lived an ordinary life. There was one thing that people knew about Mrs B though - she absolutely didn't trust banks. When she died at the age of 88 there was only one question on everyone's lips -- what happened to the family money? Despite frantic searching from her surviving relatives, not a single cent was ever found and the missing family fortune passed into local legend.
Butchie Parmenter doesn't believe in legends. Experience has taught Butchie not to believe in anything except himself, so when good fortune unexpectedly lands at his feet he grabs the opportunity with both hands, determined not to let go. No matter what. Butchie should have figured that nothing worth having ever comes easy and if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
Critique: A deftly crafted suspense noir style thriller -- but with a number of unexpected but inherently riveting twists and turns, "Dead Cat Bounce" by Robert White is an original and highly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs and community library collections. It should be noted that "Dead Cat Bounce" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The 90s Club & the Mystery at Lilac Inn
Eileen Haavik McIntire
c/o Summit Crossroads Press
9780999156551, $14.95, PB, 308pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Nancy and the able, alert, and active 90s Club at Whisperwood Retirement Village are given a free week at the inn in exchange for finding out who is stealing the hotel's supplies and spreading rumors that the local legendary Green Monster is stalking the inn. Then valuable jewelry belonging to guests is stolen, and the inn's fortuneteller is murdered. This time the club hopes to solve the mysteries with no one getting hurt.
Can Nancy and the 90s Club at Whisperwood Retirement Village solve the mysteries plaguing nearby Lilac Inn before the current guests leave and the inn goes bankrupt?
Critique: The fourth title in author Eileen Haavik McIntire's 'The 90s Club' series, "The 90s Club & the Mystery at Lilac Inn" another deftly written and thoroughly entertaining read that will be especially appreciated by all dedicated mystery/suspense fans. While highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The 90s Club & the Mystery at Lilac Inn" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.95).
Editorial Note: The other three titles in this outstanding and original series include: The 90s Club & the Hidden Staircase; The 90s Club & the Whispering Statue; and The 90s Club & the Secret of the Old Clock.
Fatality at Angelika's Eatery
9781096272373, $15.00, PB, 164pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Angelika's Eatery in Riverdell is a favorite lunch place for activists and small sustainable farmers. One of them is Fred Ainsworth, a man who owns 500 acres and has started a commune arrangement, with ten farmers who have joined him and put down their money for a piece of the property. Then Fred is found dead in the restaurant.
Penny has been coming into the restaurant each week to bake her healthy sweet breads for Angelika. She and her friend Sammie, and the woman detective, Lilly, lead detective in the Shagbark Sheriff's Department, work on solving Fred's death. To complicate matters, they learn from Fred's banker that he spent all the farmers' money to pay back taxes.
In the North Carolina legislature there is a movement, led by the banker, to legalize fracking for the state. Their Shagbark representative Rick Clegg is leading the fight against allowing fracking. The farmers also learn that Fred had sold the fracking rights on his large farm to a fracking company.
Penny and her husband Kenneth are now living in a small black community in the nearby village of New Springs in a green home designed and built for them by their neighbor Arnold, who lost the most money when Fred died penniless, and he is suspected of the murder.
The three women, Penny, Sammie, and Lilly, calling themselves the Cahoots, take on the solving of this murder and interview all the farmers who lost their money and are quite upset and angry. Lilly is eight months pregnant, which worries all the men, including her husband, the Sheriff!
Critique: The eleventh novel in author Judy Hogan's 'Penny Weaver Mystery' series, "Fatality at Angelika's Eatery" is another deftly penned suspense thriller by a master of the mystery genre. With more plot twists and turns than a bakery box of pretzels, "Fatality at Angelika's Eatery" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Fatality at Angelika's Eatery" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
Thomas & Mercer
9781542005906, $15.95, PB, 367pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: On the surface, Rachel Marin is an ordinary single mother; on the inside, she's a fierce, brilliant vigilante. After an unspeakable crime shatters her life, she changes her identity and moves to a small town in Illinois, hoping to spare her children from further trauma -- or worse. But crime follows her everywhere.
When the former mayor winds up dead, Rachel can't help but get involved. Where local detectives see suicide, she sees murder. They resent her for butting in -- especially since she's always one step ahead. But her investigative genius may be her undoing: the deeper she digs, the harder it is to keep her own secrets buried.
Her persistence makes her the target of both the cops and a killer. Meanwhile, the terrifying truth about her past threatens to come to light, and Rachel learns the hard way that she can't trust anyone. Surrounded by danger, she must keep her steely resolve, protect her family, and stay one step ahead, or else she may become the next victim.
Critique: Another riveting novel by a master of the suspense/thriller genre, "Hide Away" continues to showcase author Jason Pinter's genuine flair for originality and distinctively reader engaging narrative storytelling style and literary skill set. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated suspense thriller fans that "Hide Away" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781799708681, $14.99, CD).
Editorial Note: The author of five previous and successful novels, Jason Pinter is the founder of Polis Books, an independent press, and was honored by Publishers Weekly's Star Watch, which "recognizes young publishing professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry." He has written for the New Republic, Entrepreneur, the Daily Beast, Esquire, and more.
The History Teacher
Porter Street Press
9781733082709, $14.95, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: During the blizzard of 1978, a woman is discovered face down at the edge of her Delaware estate, a boxer, half-dead, by her side. Nearby, in a deep ravine, a CIA officer lies buried under two feet of snow. Their secret meeting was sabotaged!
When Emma Quinn gets a call in her Manhattan apartment (your grandmother, out walking her dog, found dead in the snow) she has no reason to suspect foul play. A history professor at Columbia and the sole heir to the Quinn fortune, she heads down to Delaware, where her grandmother's death has triggered a series of unsettling events (a break-in at the estate, an unexpected visit from the CIA and the discovery of a disturbing collection of news clippings in an upstairs study) about hijackings, bombings and acts of terror.
Back in Manhattan, Emma is being followed by a mysterious stranger. Her distress grows when she meets a well-known historian, a Scotsman and Sovietologist named Angus McLearan, who accuses her late grandfather of wrongdoing during the 1930s and '40s.
Determined to clear her grandfather's name and to understand her grandmother's fate, Emma forms an uneasy alliance with McLearan. Together, they head deeper into an intrigue that harks back to the beginnings of the Cold War and the early days of the intelligence community.
As Emma's research and the CIA's investigation into the death of their agent begin to intersect, she no longer knows who or what to believe. And it soon becomes apparent that this isn't just about something that happened in the 1940s. It's about an operation that is still in play in 1978, one that puts Emma (and the broader world) at risk. When a discovery leads her to her family's remote Adirondack cabin, the stranger follows. There, Emma is forced to confront the truth -- about her family and about history as we know it!
Critique: An inherently riveting suspense thriller of a novel by an author with an impressively reader engaging narrative storytelling style, "The History Teacher" by Susan Bacon will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections, It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated suspense/thriller fans that "The History Teacher" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
David Siegel Bernstein
c/o Independent Publishers Group
c/o Small Press United
9781733779340, $14.95, PB, 275pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Caleb Jacobs is a man with a past. After serving on a failed dark ops assignment in Afghanistan, he leaves Marine Corps Intelligence to try to build a new life in Philadelphia as a homicide police detective. Jacobs is happy, for a time, until he is assigned to solve the murder of Shannon Faraday.
During the investigation, he is convinced the evidence points to him as the killer. He knows it is only a matter of time before other investigators see the same. He has no alibi and the clock is counting down. Behind his partner's back, Jacobs hires a private investigator named Lawrence Holmes.
The PI is an irritation to the police, but he is unmistakably brilliant. And, many powerful people in the city owe him favors. Holmes is a bit odd. He insists on calling Jacobs Watson but claims to never have heard the name Sherlock. Jacobs can live with this kind of crazy as long as together they find the real killer.
They quickly link the murder to a series of seemingly unrelated crimes occurring throughout Philadelphia, and Jacobs becomes convinced the murder is related to the truth of what had happened during his time in Afghanistan. -- Old secrets have come back to haunt him.
Critique: An original and thoroughly entertaining suspense thriller of a novel by an author with a genuine knack for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling talent that keeps the reader thoroughly engaged from cover to cover, "Poisoned Pawn" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated suspense/thriller fans that "Poisoned Pawn" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
9781640855618, $28.99, HC, 338pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: World War II has finally ended, but not for Jonathan Preston (the US Army's most successful covert operative) for whom a new mission is just beginning. The US Navy and Preston and his team of intelligence agents race against time to stop two rogue Japanese submarines from attacking the east coast of the US with biological weapons capable of inflicting unimaginable casualties.
While the US Navy frantically attempts to find and destroy the submarines, Preston and his team of counterintelligence agents rush to track down Japanese agents positioned to take possession of the biological agent when the subs arrive off the US east coast. Preston's WWII nemesis, Japanese intelligence agent Asami Nakada, however, has other plans as she evades US operatives and moves to attack Washington DC, and Philadelphia from the land, while the sub's bombers attack New York City.
Critique: A riveting roller coaster of a read from first page to last, "Imminent Threat" showcases author Steve Doherty's genuine flair for originality and an impressively consistent reader engaging narrative storytelling style. While "Imminent Threat" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a paperback edition (9781640855601, $17.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Travis Edward Pike
Otherworld Cottage Industries
9781892900074, $24.95, PB, 270pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Changelings were believed to be troll or fairy children left in place of stolen human babies.
Morgen, an adopted foundling reared in Boston, Massachusetts, now in his mid-twenties, is the charismatic lead-singer and songwriter for Beantown Home Cookin,' a showband featuring the Trashbabies, a troupe of singer-dancers who contribute mightily to the band's growing popularity. After a sensational live BBC broadcast of their May Eve concert, Morgen skips its wrap party to test drive a rented sports car. A squall causes him to skid into a ditch and daybreak finds him seeking help in Morningstone, an isolated village where it seems the storm wiped out communication with the outside world.
In the village pub, Morgen overhears one girl argue that Fates, Muses and Furies represent the denigration of the Mother Goddess, reducing her to a bevy of bickering departmental nymphs. Another suggests fragmentation of the goddess is a device of exposition, used to reveal a crisis dramatically through confrontation between various aspects of her character. According to Fiona, the wise lady at the cottage, song and chant used to mean the same thing, and Morgen, an increasingly popular singer and songwriter, is an enchanter by definition. His songs are spells that once heard, will return, going 'round and 'round in one's head, even when there's no music to hear.
By now in terms of both music and story, "Changeling's Return" has crossed into a supernatural realm where, within the Tomb of Every Hope, Morgen represents humanity, on trial for crimes against Nature. The Furies seek his death. Instead, he receives a sip from the Cauldron of Inspiration, becoming The Fool, "Truth, Reason, and Magic, Harmony of the Carnal and the Mystical-Man."
Is Morgen human, recognizing humanity's dependence and obligation to nature for its survival, or a changeling reared by humans, reawakening to his supernatural origins, and if the latter, what impact will "Changeling's Return" have on the human race? As the Trashbabies sing in their exit song, "Dog, Roebuck, and Lapwing, your nonsense song makes my ears ring. Between the lines I hear you sing."
Critique: A unique literary and musical experience, the paperback edition of "Changeling's Return" can be significantly augmented by an accompanying CD of the same title that is comprised of eighteen original and thematically relevant musical numbers with a total running time of approximately 53 minutes. Adapted from "Morningstone', a screenplay by Travis Edward Pike, "Changeling's Return" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Changeling's Return" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Witch's Door
9781796010022, $24.99, HC, 168pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 1926, a six-year-old boy named Juan Aguilar goes on a camping trip with his family to Questa, New Mexico. He runs into a cursed house, and he is mysteriously transported back in time to 1826. He is taken in by a local family, and he slowly starts to discover why this house was cursed, that many other children have suffered the same fate, and ten years later finds his way back to his family in Albuquerque. When he returns home, no one believes his strange story of Bella the witch and the notorious witch hunter, Luciano del Valle. Years later, as an adult, he writes his story of witchcraft in rural New Mexico.
Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently riveting novel of witchcraft, "The Witch's Door" showcases author Ricardo Martinez genuine flair for originality and an impressively reader engaging narrative storytelling style as a novelist. While unreservedly recommended for community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Witch's Door" is also available in a paperback edition (9781796010015, $15.99), and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
9780972180597, $26.00, HC, 402pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Farya Navurian seems like an ordinary young woman trying to get ahead in the city while struggling with depression. But her depression is anything but ordinary -- it has the power to destroy time and space. Growing up the moody daughter of a space-faring hero of The Greater Anointed Imperial Ohioan Commonwealth, Farya annihilated most of that world and its history, leaving behind the husk-like Buckeye State.
One day at a record swap, she meets Bryan, a divorced telecom CEO. More than record collecting, what they share is that they each carry a howling secret. Bryan's business is a cover for a bigger operation that buys human souls and sells luxury afterlives using shady terms of service in mobile-phone contracts.
The two of them fall in love, and as they start a life together, their secrets back them into a corner where they have to come clean (and take drastic steps) to save themselves, and possibly reality itself.
Ms. Never is a distinctly 21st-century vision of consent, memory, and the ways we create and destroy the world every day.
Critique: An iconoclastic, original and deftly crafted science fiction novel by an author with an impressive flair for the kind of imaginative and narrative driven storytelling that full engages the reader from beginning to end, "Ms. Never" by Colin Dodds is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated science fiction buffs that "Ms. Never" is also available in a paperback edition (9781690788140, $18.18) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Self-Help Shelf
Ignite the Organizer in You
9781946533548, $14.99, PB, 270pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Organizing can be overwhelming. "Ignite the Organizer in You" by Danielle Wurth offers readers powerful insights and demonstrates that truly effective organizing goes beyond matching baskets in a picture-perfect pantry. It is about deeply knowing yourself, your capabilities, and the skills you've not yet mastered.
From making mindful decisions to implementing with intention, with "Ignite the Organizer in You" readers will learn how to think differently about what they own, why past methods led to senseless circles of frustration, and whatto do to overcome it -- all with a dash of humor and hints to motivate you. This innovative approach addresses matters from your heart, mind, and hands to transform any space confidently.
"Ignite the Organizer in You" is specifically designed for everyone seeking more order in their lives -- from people dealing with everyday clutter to those who have varying levels of compulsive addictions. Written in a simple, easy-to-read outline format that is devised to engage readers and not distract them, "Ignite the Organizer in You" is purposely designed to hold easily in your hand or to fit in a purse or laptop bag so you can continue learning on the go.
Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Ignite the Organizer in You" is the ideal and unreservedly recommended DIY instruction manual and guide. While especially recommended for both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ignite the Organizer in You" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Jamie C. Amelio, author
Adam Snyder, contributor
Hybrid Global Publishing
9781948181648, $16.95, PB, 206pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "When's the last time you were bothered?" When philanthropist Jamie Amelio poses this question, she's not talking about being bothered about traffic, spilled coffee, or work deadlines. She's talking about issues and concerns like how you feel when you learn that every day 1,600 children die from diseases directly linked to unsafe water or a lack of basic sanitation facilities. Or the staggering statistics for suicidal children. What did you do with that feeling?
In "Staying Bothered: Find Your Passion, Commit to Action, Change the World", Amelio shows readers that every one of us is capable of affecting real, positive change in our communities and around the world if we just do one thing.
Amelio describes what "being bothered" really means, a term she coined to explain the uncomfortable feeling we all get when we learn about a terrible wrong -- maybe in our neighborhood, maybe across the world. But more importantly, Amelio emphasizes "staying bothered." Because while that initial feeling might motivate us to get involved, finding a way to make it last is the key to making a difference.
"Staying Bothered" also tells the story of how Jamie Amelio overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to positively change her world and the lives of thousands of children and in doing so sparked a movement!
Critique: Combining the enthusiastic idealism of youth with the seasoned mature wisdom that comes from experience, "Staying Bothered: Find Your Passion, Commit to Action, Change the World" is a life-changing, life-enhancing read that is inspired and inspiring. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Staying Bothered" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99).
The New Put Old on Hold
Put Old on Hold Publications
9780966784268, $9.95, PB, 226pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the pages of "The New Put Old on Hold: How You Can Stay Youthful Longer and Live the Life You Really Want -- Even When Tradition Says You Can't (or Shouldn't)", author Barbara Morris offers bold solutions for midlife people and new retirees trapped by outdated cultural norms that are responsible for mental and physical premature decline.
"The New Put Old on Hold" is specifically written for those readers who want more out of their lives in the retirement years than what the typical senior lifestyle currently offers. While it is intended for women, men will benefit as well.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, impressive informative, occasionally iconoclastic, but very 'real world' practical, "The New Put Old on Hold: How You Can Stay Youthful Longer and Live the Life You Really Want -- Even When Tradition Says You Can't (or Shouldn't)" is an extraordinary, unique, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as senior citizen center, community, and academic library collections.
Transformation Through Hypnosis
Mary Beth Battaglia
Indigo Light Publishing
9781733306300, $15.95, PB, 176pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Mary Beth Battaglia is an author, a motivational speaker, and a hypnosis and sound practitioner. She is also the founder of Metro Hypnosis Center and A Path of Peace (www.apathofpeace.com).
In the pages of "Transformation Through Hypnosis: Relax, Clear Your Mind & Step Into Your Power", author Mary Beth shows her readers easy-to-follow steps for clearing their mind, being calm, creating a positive mindset, and living up to your full potential.
Mary Beth also reveals how she used hypnosis to go from feeling hopeless and stuck to healing from loss and pain as she draws upon her experience and expertise to provide an invaluable guide that shows: Why hypnosis is a safe effective and life-changing discipline; Offers practical exercises to help you deal with daily stress, overthinking, and negative thoughts; Shares tips on creating positive affirmations; Explains step-by-step how to develop a confident, loving, and powerful self through hypnosis.
Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Transformation Through Hypnosis: Relax, Clear Your Mind & Step Into Your Power" is a unique, ideal, and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Transformation Through Hypnosis" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.00).
The Wisdom Years
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925820232, $17.99, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: We are now experiencing one of the most significant (but not yet fully understood) revolutions in human life: the dramatic rise in life expectancy. This revolution does not imply, as most people usually think, that we've simply got more years of old age. Rather, it implies the formation of a new period in human life: the Age of Wisdom.
This age is qualitatively different from the adulthood that precedes it and the old age that follows. People who are able to prepare themselves for this new age will be able to enjoy an active, wise and satisfying stage of life, which will enable them to delay their 'old age' to the very end of their life.
"The Wisdom Years: Unleashing Your Potential in Later Life" by Zvi Lanir provides a practical, thought-provoking and life-changing read for both people embarking on retirement as well as younger people who would like to mindfully prepare themselves in advance. Derived from Dr Lanir's lifetime of work experience in identifying mindsets that are no longer helpful or relevant to current reality, it reveals how we can reframe our thought processes and mind set so that we can live life based on our 'functional age' rather than our 'chronological age'.
The result is "The Wisdom Years" -- an instruction manual and guide that carries a unique and inspiring message: life after retirement is to be enjoyed as a new, exciting and uplifting journey of personal evolution.
Critique: An exceptional, unique, informatively insightful, thought-provoking, inspired and inspiring read, "The Wisdom Years: Unleashing Your Potential in Later Life" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to senior citizen center, community, and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Wisdom Years" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Zvi Lanir, PhD, is the founding president of the Praxis Institute which, for over 30 years, has specialised in various aspects of coping with disruptive change in personal, social, economic and strategic domains. During the past 15 years, Dr Lanir has conducted interdisciplinary research to reveal the gaps between the common knowledge on ageing and the new opportunities for living our advanced years differently. Dr Lanir is a graduate of the Israel Defense Forces' Command and Staff College. He has a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has been a visiting scholar at New York's Columbia University.
Brave The Wave
Johnny Cavazos, MD
9781733821315, $9.99, PB, 396pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Providing a poignant and riveting account of his decade long journey of discovery, "Brave The Wave: Discover and Fully Realize Your Authentic Self" by Dr. Johnny Cavazos offers entertaining valuable insights helping the reader to understand and actually appreciate the waves, trials and storms that we all encounter in our lives.
An inspiring narrative of personal experiences will reveal useful and practical approaches to help increase joy, clarity, love and personal peace in life, "Brave The Wave" makes for a fascinating, powerful and uplifting read that inspires the reader to reach for heights never previously thought attainable.
With brutal honesty and humor, Dr. Cavazos uses short vignettes from the medical world and from the captivating world of near-death experiences to take us on a journey that is spell binding, powerful and life changing.
Writing in a comfortable and warm style, "Brave The Wave" takes the reader on an insightful trip into spirituality, faith and the near death experience as he unpacks ideas that will open up an experience of clarity and vision that you didn't even realize existed.
Critique: Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, inspired and inspiring, "Brave The Wave: Discover and Fully Realize Your Authentic Self" is an extraordinary, original, and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Brave The Wave" is also available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).
Editorial Note: Johnny Cavazos is a practicing emergency room physician with over thirty years of experience. Johnny actually started working in emergency rooms as a senior in high school at the age of seventeen. The ER is an amalgam of fascinating experiences that run the gamut of life. These experiences provided a background fertile ground for growth and understanding that transcended the normal daily routine case load in the ER. Because of a series of untoward stumbles and failures, Johnny landed in a world of stress, anxiety and frustration. This lead him to a "decade of discovery". A ten year journey of spiritual discovery, enlightenment, and clarity resulted in the publication of the four books comprising the Authentic Self Series. As he was working through these trials and troubles, he began studying the bible and at the exact same time was introduced to the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) that lead to a 10 year focus on bible study, the Christian faith and the science and spiritual insight provided by NDEs.
His readers can visit Johnny's website at bravethewave.org. They can also download a free PDF file titled "The Top Head to Toe Symptoms That Make Your Doctor Nervous".
CornerStone Leadership Institute
9780960015528, $19.95, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: During the past 30 years, David Cottrell has studied hundreds of successful people in an attempt to understand the secrets to their success. In "Destination: Success! Chart Your Course to Achieve Your Best" he reveals that regardless of profession or personal definition of success, success was not an accidental achievement. There were specific actions that propelled them to extraordinary accomplishments.
The principles provided in "Destination: Success" will provide the encouragement and knowledge so the reader will make the decision to become the person they want to be.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, insightfully informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, impressively 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Destination: Success! Chart Your Course to Achieve Your Best" is an unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Destination: Success!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: David Cottrell is president and CEO of CornerStone Leadership. He is a premier authority on leadership and has worked with many of today's most successful organizations, mentoring leaders to peak performance. Before founding CornerStone, David held leadership positions with Xerox and FedEx and led the successful turnaround of a Chapter 11 company. He has shared his leadership philosophy and lessons with more than 400,000 leaders worldwide. David has authored more than 25 books, including the perennial bestselling Monday Morning Leadership and his autobiography, Grace Upon Grace. His books are available in over a dozen languages and have sold over two million copies worldwide.
The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Tangleweed and Brine
Deirdre Sullivan, author
Karen Vaughan, illustrator
Little Island Books
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing
814 N. Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781910411926, $19.95, HC, 180pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Tangleweed and Brine" by Irish author Deirdre Sullivan is a compendium of bewitched retellings of classic fairy-tales with brave and resilient heroines. In the tradition of Angela Carter, stories such as Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin are given a witchy makeover. This unique collection of tales of blood and intrigue, betrayal, and enchantment are most definitely not for the faint-hearted or damsels in distress. Of special note are the intricate illustrations with black and white line drawings (in the style of Aubrey Beardsley), by the Irish illustrator Karen Vaughan.
Critique: An inherently fascinating, iconoclastic, and exceptionally entertaining anthology of traditional fairytales reinterpreted, "Tangleweed and Brine" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should also be noted for personal reading lists that "Tangleweed and Brine" is available in a paperback edition (9781912417117, $15.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.49), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781799712800, $14.99, MP3 CD).
The Christian Studies Shelf
August Turak, author
Glenn Harrington, illustrator
9781945507946, $19.99, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Engagingly written by August Turak, "Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and the Purpose of Life" is the true story of a meaningful encounter between a man going through a mid-life crisis, and an umbrella-wielding Trappist monk. This magical encounter on Christmas Eve eventually leads the author, and us all, to the redemptive power of an authentically purposeful life.
Uplifting, deeply moving, Brother John is dramatically brought to life by over twenty full color paintings by Glenn Harrington, a multiple award-winning artist. Brother John's moving story takes place at Christmastime, and its inspirational message and rich illustrations are sure to bring the reader back again and again throughout the year.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and the Purpose of Life" is set in the Mepkin Abbey monastery. While especially recommended for all members of the Christian community, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and the Purpose of Life" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: August Turak is a successful entrepreneur and award-winning author who attributes much of his success to his 20-year stint as a frequent monastic guest of the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey. As a monastic guest, he lives and works alongside the monks sometimes for months at a time.
Ancient Examples: St. Justin Martyr and St. Perpetua
DMS Onge Publishing
9781944976149, $39.95, HC, 456pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Two martyred Christian Saints call through the ages for their work to be published -- the Holy Saint Justin Martyr and the Holy Saint Perpetua. This new series, "Ancient Examples: Writings of the Early Christians for Today", is dedicated to the writings of such ancient Christians and answers their ancient prayers.
In the pages of "Ancient Examples: St. Justin Martyr and St. Perpetua", readers will learn how these two early Christians defend the Faith. Experience the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives so you may be enlightened about Christian Faith today.
Critique: "Ancient Examples: St. Justin Martyr and St. Perpetua" features more than 1,200 footnotes and additional commentary by Donna Perpetua who also shares a number of unique experiences involved in preparing this volume, experiences that reflect the power of the Holy Spirit today. Carefully selected epigraphs appear throughout. A unique and invaluable addition to church, seminary, and academic library Christian Studies and Christian History collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Ancient Examples: St. Justin Martyr and St. Perpetua" is also available in a paperback edition (9781944976057, $24.95).
Editorial Note: Donna Perpetua is an Orthodox Christian living in southeast Michigan. She compiled and edited the works of St. Justin Martyr and St. Perpetua, and authored the introductions and supplementary materials for the first volume of the series Ancient Examples: Writings of the Early Christians for Today. It includes the works by Saint Justin Martyr and Saint Perpetua. She has a number of other Orthodox Christian works planned. Donna Perpetua enjoys making pilgrimages to Orthodox monasteries in America. She was pleased to discover an icon of her and her husband's Name Saints at the Holy Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery in Rives Junction, Michigan.
The Islamic Studies Shelf
Sufi Experience Of God: A Seeker's Guide
Ahmad Javid (Sarwari Qaderi), MD, FAAP
Rustik Haws LLC
9781951147211, $7.99, PB, 306pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Sufi Experience Of God: A Seeker's Guide" by Faqir Dr. Ahmad Javid (Sarwari Qaderi) takes the reader through the journey within.
Like long cherished wisdom from a dear and intimate friend, Ahmad Javid with uncanny insight, captures the many forms and stages of love towards God. His poetry like writing mimics the stages of the mystic's path towards God. Filled with personal recollections and experiences of other Sufis, Dr. Javid takes the reader on a journey in which pure love dissolves personal boundaries and human limitations. In this expedition to unearthing the noble truths, the reader is gradually exposed to the universal mysticism encoded in the Qur'an and in the classical Sufi traditions.
"Sufi Experience Of God: A Seeker's Guide" is stunning book, in which Dr. Javid has brilliantly succeeded in capturing the essence of the Qur'an. He is turning out to be one of Islam's greatest poetic and spiritual voices in the West. "Sufi Experience of God" is a dervish guide to life and love in the modern world.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Sufi Experience Of God: A Seeker's Guide" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Contemporary Islamic Studies collections in general, and Sufi supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Sufi Experience Of God: A Seeker's Guide" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Biography Shelf
Echoes of Jerry
Red Giant Books
9781732551411, $14.95, PB, 162pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Growing up in suburban Cleveland, Judah Leblang felt a deep connection with his Uncle Jerry, an orally-educated deaf man who lived an isolated life between the deaf and hearing worlds. Like Jerry, his nephew Judah felt different too, struggling with his sexuality and trying to find his place in society, finally coming out in the mid-1980s.
Many years later, after working in the Deaf Community and later, losing much of his own hearing, Judah goes on a quest to understand his late uncle and to give him a voice -- this man who died of a heart attack at 44, and who remained a mystery to those around him, encased in his silent world.
Critique: A deftly written, inherently interesting, deeply personal memoir, "Echoes of Jerry: One Man's Search For His Deaf Uncle And His Own Voice" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections.
A Salesman!: Reflections on My Life Story
9781480830448, $8.99, PB, 94pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Larry Dickman began his career in direct sales in the 1950s. He became a Saladmaster Cookware dealer in 1965 and was also a part-time pastor. He remains active in Saladmaster as a trainer and motivational speaker with a Grand Master/Elite dealership.
Dickman's story began on a small farm outside of Hammond, Minnesota, where he was born in 1934. When the family moved to Oregon, Larry's mother grew tired of her husband's nonstop drinking. She gave her son a choice: Come with her and his sister or stay with his father.
He made the wrong choice by staying with his dad, but things brightened up at a church social when he met Elaine Rogers, the girl he'd marry after serving a few years in the U.S. Navy.
Becoming a family man meant paying bills, and he stumbled into selling cookware. At first, he made $50 for every set of cookware he sold, and he felt rich. From there, it was on to selling sewing machines and cars before he joined Saladmaster.
"A Salesman!: Reflections on My Life Story" is his memoir in which he shares with his readers critical lessons for sales professionals, including how to: Qualify referrals in tactful ways; Get follow-up appointments; Embrace change even when you like the status quo.
Critique: An inherently interesting and nicely presented read throughout, "A Salesman!: Reflections on My Life Story" is recommended for personal and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted that "A Salesman!: Reflections on My Life Story" is also available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).
A River Could Be a Tree: A Memoir
Fig Tree Books
9781941493243, $23.95, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Angela Himsel was raised in a German-American family, one of eleven children who shared a single bathroom in their rented ramshackle farmhouse in Indiana. The Himsels followed an evangelical branch of Christianity (the Worldwide Church of God) which espoused a doomsday philosophy. Only faith in Jesus, the Bible, significant tithing, and the church's leader could save them from the evils of American culture -- divorce, television, makeup, and even modern medicine.
From the time she was a young girl, Himsel believed that the Bible was the guidebook to being saved, and only strict adherence to the church's tenets could allow her to escape a certain, gruesome death, receive the Holy Spirit, and live forever in the Kingdom of God. With self-preservation in mind, she decided, at nineteen, to study at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. But instead of strengthening her faith, Himsel was introduced to a whole new world -- one with different people and perspectives. Her eyes were slowly opened to the church's shortcomings, even dangers, and fueled her natural tendency to question everything she had been taught, including the guiding principles of the church and the words of the Bible itself.
Ultimately, the connection to God she so relentlessly pursued was found in the most unexpected place: a mikvah on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This devout Christian Midwesterner found her own form of salvation -- as a practicing Jewish woman.
Himsel's seemingly impossible road from childhood cult to a committed Jewish life is traced in and around the major events of the 1970s and 80s with warmth, humor, and a multitude of religious and philosophical insights and is a fascinating story of struggle, doubt, and finally, personal fulfillment.
Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively candid memoir, "A River Could Be a Tree" is an exceptionally well written, thought-provoking, and ultimately inspiring account from first page to last. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A River Could Be a Tree" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
9781794630550, $18.00, PB, 406pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: David Clark is a formerly obese alcoholic and fast food junkie who found a new life in running. Now in the pages of "Broken Open: Mountains, Demons, Treadmills And a Search for Nirvana" and some thirteen years after his transformation, he shares his inspiring story of taking running to the extreme edge of his physical and spiritual breaking points.
Having run more than a hundred races, including the Leadville 100-Mile Trail Run and the Hardrock 100, David has achieved unimaginable success in the ultramarathon world, considering his humble start. From barely finishing his first 5k to running 100 miles in less than eighteen hours, David shatters the notion that the front of the pack is a birthright.
Among his many outlandish adventures, David talks about doing ten epic events in one year to celebrate his tenth year of sobriety. This mind-bending year of running included running the Boston Marathon four times in one day, running 343 laps around a high school track and running 48 hours on a treadmill.
His readers will feel like they are running alongside him as he navigates his vision quest -- all the while hallucinating and breaking from reality in one of the most epic Badwater 135 race experiences ever told.
David's story is raw, honest and pure adrenaline-laden inspiration as he shares his unique brand of Americana and Heavy Metal Buddhism. "Broken Open" has far more to offer and than just miles traveled and mountains climbed. It's about trying to find a way station of balance somewhere in a world of extremes. It's about running to create a legacy and develop the reader's own inner strengths.
Critique: An exceptionally well written and ultimately inspiring personal memoir and account, "Broken Open: Mountains, Demons, Treadmills And a Search for Nirvana" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. Of special interest to marathon running enthusiasts, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Broken Open" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Editorial Note: David Clarke has been featured on CBS, ABC, ESPN, Runners World, Men's Health and many other national media outlets. Amongst his many athletic accomplishments he ran the Boston Marathon four times in one day, 48 hours non-stop on a treadmill and has completed some of the toughest endurance races on the planet.
The Military Shelf
Iwo Jima Monuments: The Untold Story
Rodney Hilton Brown
The War Museum Press
9781733429436, $45.00, HC, 314pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 1945 there was an Original Wartime-Built Iwo Jima monument that was unveiled in front of the old Department of the Navy Building on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC. The flag raising atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima has become one of the most powerful images of the 20th century. A sacred symbol of the U.S. Marine Corps, it is also regarded as one of the most recognizable images in the world.
As military historian Rodney Hilton Brown records in "Iwo Jima Monuments: The Untold Story" -- "Iwo Jima was a volcanic inferno of death and heroism. The battle marked an epic finale of mankind's hand-to-hand combat before two primitive atomic bombs changed the world forever.
Iwo Jima's bloody legacy includes more casualties (26,040) than D-Day/Normandy (10,000+).
One third of all Marines who died in World War II were killed on Iwo Jima. One third of all Marines who fought on Iwo Jima were killed or wounded on Iwo Jima. The Marines took 25,000 casualties 7,000 dead. Most all of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers died there.
The flag raising on Iwo Jima has become our national symbol of the spirit of victory and unity of purpose - both then and now. It is an inspiration for all Americans. The Iwo Jima Monuments are memorials to not only the men who died on Iwo Jima, but a tribute to all those who have served in the cause of freedom and the defense of our nation."
Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Iwo Jima Monuments: The Untold Story" is exceptionally informative, impressively organized and deftly presented, making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Iwo Jima Monuments: The Untold Story" is also available in a paperback edition (9781733429412, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
War Is Personal
Roy Wilkes, author
Elaine Wilkes, compiler
Golden Ratio Publishing
9781733421638, $21.99, HC, Large Print, 188pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The invasion of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest battles of the WWII Pacific theatre. The casualties were monumental. Roy Wilkes, Private, USMC was unfortunate enough to have a front-row seat. He witnessed twenty-three of his friends die in a bombing. True, gripping stories and pictures reveal the mind, heart, and soul of a fighting WWII Marine.
Critique: Ably compiled by Elaine Wilkes, this large print edition of "War Is Personal: Hell, Luck, and Resilience - A WWII Combat Marine's Accounts of Okinawa and China" is an especially informative and unreservedly recommended addition to the growing library of World War II memoirs and histories. While very highly recommended for community and academic library World War II collections and supplemental studies curriculums, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, military buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "War Is Personal" is also available in a paperback edition (9780977428779, $9.59) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Political Science Shelf
Capitalism for Democrats
9781694514721, $19.95, PB, 154pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 2020, Democrats will choose a candidate for President, who may or may not be in favor of maintaining the capitalist economic system in the U.S. Many people do not understand capitalism very well. It has been historically and can in the future be a force for good, promoting economic growth and better living standards. And it can be moral, as well. That good kind of capitalism relies on consumers, through the marketplace, to set prices and allocate resources.
In order for consumers to do that, the system needs regulation to protect consumers and competition. And it needs to be accompanied by an adequate safety net for people who do not succeed and government guarantees of fundamental human needs, such as health care.
"Capitalism for Democrats: Why The Country Needs It Now" by Martin Lowy explains how this good capitalism works, how different it is from some of the capitalism that we have now, and why it is morally superior to systems that rely on elites to set prices and allocate resources.
Critique: "Capitalism for Democrats: Why The Country Needs It Now" was specifically written for the non-specialist general reader with little or no background in economics. It is a timely and informative contribution that is especially commended to the attention of democrats and independents as we engage in the presidential campaign for 2020. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Capitalism for Democrats: Why The Country Needs It Now" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
The Music Shelf
The Perpetual Beginner
Nashville Guitar Guru
9780578520834, $16.95, PB, 156pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "The Perpetual Beginner: A Musician's Path To Lifelong Learning" by Nashville based musician, performing songwriter, and teacher Dave Issaces is part memoir, part musical instruction manual. Relating stories of his experiences as a young musician and music student in 1980's New York, Isaacs describes the key lessons that shaped his musical life and how they can help any aspiring musician at any age.
The title, "The Perpetural Beginner", refers to the average music hobbyist who has more enthusiasm than skill or the time to practice. Many people play for years without developing more than rudimentary abilities, and some become so frustrated by the struggle that they stagnate or quit. The stories in this instructive compendium, and the musical lessons they impart, give these "perpetual beginners" the ideas, techniques, and encouragement that will help them begin to progress again.
"The Perpetual Beginner" also references the Zen concept of "beginner's mind", a way of approaching any endeavor with the openness and zeal of a beginner regardless of experience. Maintaining a beginner's mindset removes many of the self-limiting beliefs and inhibitions that hold many people back, thus enabling the learning process - hence the book's subtitle, "A musician's path to lifelong learning."
Critique: Popularly known as the "Guitar Guru of Music Row", Dave Isaaces "The Perpetual Beginner: A Musician's Path To Lifelong Learning" is impressively informative, inspiringly motivating, and unreservedly recommended reading for all aspiring and practicing musicians. While very highly endorsed for community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Perpetual Beginner" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The African-American Studies Shelf
Black Lives 1900
W.E.B. Du Bois, et al.
9781942884538, $34.26, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: American sociologist, historian, author, editor and activist W.E.B. Du Bois (1868 - 1963) was the most influential Black civil rights activist of the first half of the 20th century. He was a protagonist in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909, and his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk remains a classic and a landmark of African American literature.
At the 1900 Paris Exposition this pioneering sociologist and activist presented an exhibit representing the progress of African Americans since the abolition of slavery. In striking graphic visualisations and photographs (taken by mostly anonymous photographers) he showed the changing status of a newly emancipated people across America and specifically in Georgia, the state with the largest Black population.
"Black Lives 1900: W.E.B. Du Bois at the Paris Exposition"is a beautifully designed book that faithfully reproduces the photographs alongside the revolutionary graphic works for the first time, and includes a marvelous essay by two celebrated art historians, Jacqueline Francis and Stephen G. Hall.
Du Bois' hand-drawn charts, maps and graphs represented the achievements and economic conditions of African Americans in radically inventive forms, long before such data visualization was commonly used in social research. Their clarity and simplicity seems to anticipate the abstract art of the Russian constructivists and other modernist painters to come.
The photographs were drawn from African American communities across the United States. Both the photographers and subjects are mostly anonymous. They show people engaged in various occupations or posing formally for group and studio portraits. Elegant and dignified, they refute the degrading stereotypes of Black people then prevalent in white America.
Du Bois' exhibit at the Paris Exposition continues to resonate as a powerful affirmation of the equal rights of Black Americans to lives of freedom and fulfilment. "Black Lives 1900" fully and expertly captures this singular work.
Critique: Simply stated, "Black Lives 1900: W.E.B. Du Bois at the Paris Exposition" is an absolutely and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college and university library African-American Studies collections and curriculum supplemental reading lists.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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