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California Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 9 September 2015 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Music Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Science Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Biography Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Automotive Shelf Parenting Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Sports Shelf Gaming Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf
International Studies Shelf Art Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Literary Studies Shelf Agriculture Shelf Gardening Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf American History Shelf Computer Shelf
Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf California Shelf Independent Publishers Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

A Journal to Make Humans Smile
Rock Point
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631061196 $14.99

A Journal to Make Humans Smile uses the journal format to provide a hilarious pairing of fun images and snarky humor from Frank, a French Bulldog and the leader of a dog and cat group, and will delight animal lovers seeking a fun adult blend of board book, blank journal pages, and black and white animal picture inlays. More than a journal but less than a book, Frank occupies a special niche in the bookstore that sees interest in inviting, creative journal formats.

The Education Shelf

Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood
Susan Stacey
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605543918 $34.95

Pedagogical Documentation in Early Childhood defines the process of pedagogical documentation and asks what a classroom experience says about a child's ideas and learning process, providing keys to creating the kinds of documentation that help foster and explain children's explorations. References and research blends with an overview that teaches how documentation is applied, analyzed, and how it contributes to both a child's experience and family and educator discussions. Photos and diagrams accompany text instructions to provide specific insights on such documentation, offering early childhood educators all the tools to put such documentation into play and make it work for everyone, making for a top pick for any early childhood reference library.

Challenging Common Core Math Lessons
Margaret Jess McKowen Patti
Prufrock Press Inc.
P.O. Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
9781618214102 $39.95

Challenging Common Core Math Lessons discusses curriculum content for grade 3, offering lessons that follow a set structure and include teacher pages outlining the basic principles, estimated times, key terms and materials, and more. Each lesson offers an activity-based approach to reinforcing math learning for this grade level, pairing practice problems and discussions with assessment keys that teachers will find specific and handy. The result is a handbook highly recommended for any Common Core educator working with this age group.

In It Together
Debbie Zacarian and Michael Silverstone
Corwin Press
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781483316772 $24.00

In It Together: How Student, Family, and Community Partnerships Advance Engagement and Achievement in Diverse Classrooms discusses the process of teaching more effectively in diverse classrooms and provides a book that discusses social and community connections between teachers, students, families and other environments. It provides a range of examples from K-12 educators on how to tap into various resources to improve learning techniques, and follows no single path as it tells how to build support groups, develop positive relationships, and take advantage of partnership arrangements. The result is a 'must' for any educator looking more critically at the diverse classroom arrangement with an eye to improving its effectiveness.

Physics Demonstrations
Julien Clinton Sprott
University of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe Street, Third Floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
9780299304706 $49.95

Physics Demonstrations: A Sourcebook for Teachers of Physics covers basic techniques for encouraging an interest in science in an illustrated sourcebook that describes over eighty physics demonstrations that lend to classroom and outside performance. The physics demo outlines in this book are accompanied by videos available online, which results in a supportive approach for high school physics teachers who want to follow written procedure and see it in action. Arranged in a manner that supports teaching the major s0069 areas of classical physics (motion, heat, sound, electricity, magnetism and light), Physics Demonstrations pairs introductions and discussions with overviews of materials, preparation procedures, potential safety hazards and more, making for an outstanding handbook teachers will welcome.

The Audiobook Shelf

Saint Mazie
Jami Attenberg
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478903819 $30.00

Tavia Gilbert narrates the unabridged novel set in the Prohibition era and telling of Saint Mazie, Queen of the Bowery, who owns a New York movie theater and operates in high spirits. Her past holds many secrets, however, and when the Depression hits, Mazie turns her theater into a refuge for the homeless in an effort to make a difference. Mazie kept a diary of her secrets and her life: ninety years later it was discovered by a documentarian who filled in some of her life. This story is inspired by her life and is historical fiction at its best, enlivened by the vivid style of a six-time Audio nominee, producer, and a reader who employs all her formidable skills to produce an exceptional listen.

The Cookbook Shelf

Pies and Tarts for Dinner and Dessert
Stephane Reynaud
Melville House
46 John Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781612194172 $32.00

Pies and Tarts for Dinner and Dessert comes from a master chef renowned for his cooking style, and presents over seventy of his recipes for savory pies and arts for dinner, pairing them with desserts so that the collection offers a well-rounded focus. From making foolproof pastry at home (along with some 50 photos of the process) or substituting ready-made store doughs to producing a range of pies from a square Espelette Pepper Pie with veal sweetbreads to a section of rabbit recipes as in a Rabbit and Leek Pie, his cookbook pairs full-page color photos with appealing discussions that any cook will find easy to achieve.

The Abundance Diet
Somer McCowan
Vegan Heritage Press
P.O. Box 628, Woodstock, VA 22664-0628
9781941252062 $21.95

Any reader who wishes to try the vegan diet should begin hear: it offers diet plans and a cookbook for any who want to embark on a 28-day program, supporting such with over a hundred gluten-free recipes that can be customized in many ways. From Cheesy-Smoky-Spicy Black Bean Soup to various pancakes and crumbles, this collection pairs attention to flavor with details on a vegan diet plan that helped the author reverse severe ulcerative colitis. Color photos complete the approach for newcomers to vegan cookery.

The Complete Guide to Cheese, Butter, and Yogurt at Home, second edition
Richard Helweg
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781620230077 $14.99

The Complete Guide to Cheese, Butter, and Yogurt at Home: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply appears in its second revised edition to provide dairy makers with recipes and tips for making cheese, butter and yogurt. A centerfold of color photos accompanies explanations of special terminology and everything needed to produce winning products from the kitchen: all that is required is time, interest, a few specialty ingredients, and this guide. Add a dose of history about changing methods for making all three and you have a winner.

Cake Boy
Eric Lanlarol
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784720346 $19.99

Cake Boy offers up a compendium of cakes, muffins, brownies and dessert originals from a Master Patissier who advocates producing simple cakes at home and who employs a variety of methods for achieving these goals. One would expect these tips to be complex in nature; but one of the pleasures of Cake Boy is its focus on simplicity, and thus such creations as a meringue Pavlova, an Apricot and Honey Tart, and a Rocky Road Refrigerator Cake all look complex but are surprisingly easy to produce with a minimum of fuss; especially since color photos of completed cakes are paired with recipes to make them nearly foolproof.

Just One Pot
Lindsey Bareham
Cassell Illustrated
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781844038008 $14.99

Just One Pot packs in over a hundred recipes that can be cooked in just one pot and comes from a cook forced to use just two burners as she had her new kitchen installed. Forced to look at cooking much differently, she created and perfected recipes that could be cooked in just one pot: all of which require minimal preparation, make use of seasonal ingredients easily sound in supermarkets, and all lending to shortcuts busy working cooks will find especially handy. Accompany such dishes as Chicken Pilaf, Moroccan Chicken, Egg and Almond Tagine, and Tuna and White Bean Stew with full-page facing color photos and you have a winning combination that cooks will find accessible and handy, whether or not they're cooking in a small space.

Eat Mexico
Lesley Tellez
Kyle Books
192 - 198 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, England, SW1V 1DX
9781909487277 $24.95

Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City's Streets, Markets & Fondas comes from an author well familiar with Mexico's street foods, and who pairs gorgeous color photos with food images to capture both the culture and the culinary fare of Mexico's streets, from markets to completed dishes. Chile Pasilla Salsa uses chilis and tomatoes in a simple spicy sauce, Mole from the Pot, from central Mexico, is actually a soup and refutes the notion that all moles are thick sauces, and Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas provides a warming dish that can be made ahead. All are delightful recipes that add an extra dimension to the typical Mexican endeavor.

The New Mediterranean Table
Sameh Wadi
Page Street Publishing
27 Congress Street, Suite 103, Salem, MA 01970
9781624140952 $28.00

The New Mediterranean Table: Modern and Rustic Recipes Inspired by Traditions Spanning Three Continents includes recipes from the Middle East, North Africa, Persia, Greece and Southern Spain, among others, and comes from an award-winning restaurateur and spice company founder who grew up cooking and eating Mediterranean cuisine. His cookbook doesn't focus on 'quick' cuisine or even simple dishes; but includes a host of new flavors - some of which require access to a well-stocked market, as Aleppo chile, ramps, oloroso sherry or Manchego cheese is likely not easily located in every supermarket. These notes aside, any looking for an enticing pairing of lovely color photos with innovative and rustic recipes that are health-oriented and require some preparation time will find this an intriguing, different type of approach to Mediterranean fare.

The Music Shelf

Becoming the Beach Boys 1951-1963
James B. Murphy
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9780786473656 $39.95

Becoming the Beach Boys 1951-1963 charts the rise and challenges of the group who almost named themselves The Pendletones or The Surfers, but settled on being The Beach Boys - and surfed to dame on the musical vision of leader Brian Wilson, whose talent for songwriting and blending vocal harmonies lent a distinctive edge to their productions. Plenty of books have covered The Beach Boys, so one might wonder at the need for yet another expose; but this uses original interviews and newly uncovered documents to add to the perspectives already in print, covering the band's early years, evolution, and paradoxes. No definitive rock history collection or Beach Boys fan should be without this reference, which packs in statistics, black and white photos, and insights not available elsewhere.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Whimsical Woollies
Marie Mayhew
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
9780811705646 $21.95

Whimsical Woollies: 20 Projects to Knit and Felt is for knitters at all levels who can easily create the projects in this book. Step-by-step illustrated instructions and patterns come with photos of finished products and range from woodland gnomes and baby chicks to elves, eggs, and more. Holiday themes blend with whimsical woolen toys and accessories that go beyond the usual clothing or play approach to include kitchen items and more. The result is an excellent gathering that lends to not just knitting, but using felting and other embellishments.

Slip-Stitch Knits
Sheryl Thies
Martingale & Company
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604685404 $18.99

Slip-Stitch Knits: Simple Colorwork Cowls, Scarves, and Shawls is for knitters who want to focus on creating different knitted color patterns by purposely slipping stitches. This technique lends to a host of variations and are demonstrated in twelve patterns for accessories and gifts that go beyond the usual single-color creations to slip stitch some innovative creations. From a mazework of salmon and white in a scarf to a reversible shoulder wrap with a sequin fringe, Slip-Stitch Knits offers plenty of ideas for variations in color and theme.

The Science Shelf

Great Calculations
Colin Pask
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633880283 $18.00

Great Calculations: A Surprising Look Behind 50 Scientific Inquiries offers a collection of scientific calculations that are accessible to non-scientists - if explained properly, as is done here. Chapters explore the history of their development, their impact on science, and the different kinds of investigations that gave rise to a special calculation to help solve the problem. From determining the age of the universe to escaping gravity, assessing evidence for the existence of atoms, and beyond, Great Calculations offers a rare opportunity for non-scientists with an interest in scientific history and inquiry to become educated about the actual month supporting such processes.

Geology Underfoot in Western Washington
Dave Tucker
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426409 $24.00

Geology Underfoot in Western Washington will appeal to two audiences: those interested in the geological history of the Western Washington area, and those who would plan a trip to the region based on geologic points of interest. It comes from a Washington resident and geology research associate who provides a step-by-step assessments of Washington's byways and attractions, adding color illustrations and photos to the documentation of the Western region's geologic history. Over twenty chapters of detail provide everything needed for an appreciation of this region and its unique attributes, making it a take-along tote for a traveler or an armchair read for any with a special interest in Western Washington's formation and the lasting evidence of its past.

Collector's Guide to the Amphibole Group
Robert J. Lauf
Schiffer Publishing
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764348709 $19.99

Collector's Guide to the Amphibole Group covers an important, beautiful set of crystals - the amphiboles - and organizes them in such a way that mineral collectors will understand their properties and structural features. While directed to the collector, it's reviewed here because newcomers to this group who are interested in geology will find it an excellent discussion of the chemistry and taxonomy of the group. An entry for each mineral series provides identification photos, discussions about geological process and geochemistry, and collector concerns alike, making for a fine pick for any geology holding.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Return of the Gar
Mark Spitzer
University of North Texas Press
PO Box 311336, Denton, TX 76203-1336
9781574415995 $24.95

Return of the Gar documents the prehistoric alligator gar, a large fish which has been pointlessly killed in its North American range largely because of its size and teeth, and because oil spills and other environmental alterations to its breeding grounds have resulted in further erosion of its number. Spitzer here provides a natural history that blends folklore, science, and fishing stories surrounding the gar, and makes a strong case for the fish's preservation. What ultimately emerges from this seemingly narrowed focus on one fish with a very long history is a case for understanding both the gar and the factors influencing wildlife survival and fish species as a whole.

The Biography Shelf

A Job with Room & Board
John B. Taylor
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426393 $12.00

A Job with Room & Board: Memories of an Early Montana Forester blends autobiography with insights on early environmental awareness as it tells of a summer forestry mapping job undertake in 1907 that was to change John B. Taylor's life forever. The job came with room and board, offered the freedom of over a million of acres of wildlife and wild foods to supplement his rations, and began a journey up the Forest Service ladder as the author served as a ranger, timberman, forest supervisor, and more. His stories capture early Montana culture and forestry issues in a recommendation for Montana history and natural history readers alike.

Terrible Typhoid Mary
Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544313675 $17.99

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America tells of a quiet, hard-working cook who kept to herself and who worked for some of the wealthiest families in New York. When six members of one household almost died, the cook vanished - and thus began a hunt for Typhoid Mary. This biography examines Mary Mallon's life and times, discussing he private and public life and how she came to be one of the most notorious - and still misunderstood - women in American history.

The Rose Hotel
Rahimeh Andalibian
National Geographic Press
145 - 17th Street N.W., Washington, DC, 20036-4688
9781428214790 $26.00

The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love from Iran to America tells of the author's struggle with two violent crimes: a rape avenged by her father, and a murder in which her oldest brother is accused. In stark contrast to the tranquil and luxurious early childhood Andalibian experienced at The Rose Hotel, owned by her father, the years after the 1979 revolution changed the family's life. Even after they fled to California, the author and her siblings struggled with American habits, perceptions, and culture. The Rose Hotel recounts these struggles and challenges and is a powerful choice for any who would better understand the Iranian experience in general and the special concerns of Iranians who come to America.

The Fish Ladder
Katharine Norbury
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781620409954 $26.00

The Fish Ladder: A Journey Upstream tells of how the author was abandoned as a baby in a Liverpool convent, raised by adoptive parents to become a wanderer drawn to the countryside over city surroundings. Later, accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter, Norbury sets out on a journey to follow a river from the sea to its source, in the prospect coming to terms with grief, family, place, and more. Narrated with an evocative voice that takes memory, life, and death and attunes all to nature, The Fish Ladder is a lovely first-person memoir recommended for any who have lost a child, lost a dream, or lost their way.

The Social Issues Shelf

The Real Cyber War
Shawn M. Powers & Michael Jablonski
University of Illinois Press
1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6975
9780252080708 $25.00

The Real Cyber War: The Political Economy of Internet Freedom goes beyond debates of democratic access to and freedoms of the new information technology to consider the political, economic and geopolitical influences on changing internet freedom policies, and considers the latest emerging doctrines covering the internet's regulation and usage. College-level readers in political studies and computer settings can use this to fuel debates, assess the contemporary issues involved in how the internet affects societies, and will find this a thoughtful probe of how such policies have emerged to shape not just the internet, but new regulatory standards around the world.

Beyond the Abortion Wars
Charles C. Camosy
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802871282 $22.00

It should be mentioned, first of all, that Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for a New Generation represents a moral theological approach to the issue and comes from an associate professor of theological and social ethics who considers the spiritual, moral, and social issues surrounding abortion debates. Thus, his 'way forward' of necessity includes consideration of all these influences as he shows how polarization is confusing the issue even more. The way out involves a new public policy that he believes is in sync with the majority of American beliefs, supported by scholarship from both secular and religious sources and considering all sides of the debate. College-level students of theological sociology will find it particularly well-reasoned and thought-provoking.

Mind Wars
Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
9781601633583 $15.99

Mind Wars: Who's Been Watching You From the Shadows? Provides a history of mind control methods, surveillance techniques, and the involvement of government, media and secret societies in private lives, and is a reader for a wide circle, from those who suspect and study conspiracies to social issues readers, new age readers, and beyond. This focus on coercive mind control methods and techniques offers up stories of the history of mind control attempts from ancient to modern times, examining cults, the methods of mental reprogramming, and modern techniques that use drugs and technology. The result is an eye-opening account that will have readers looking over their shoulders with more than a new degree of awareness.

Equal Before the Law
Tom Witosky and Marc Hansen
University of Iowa Press
119 West Park Road, Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
9781609383497 $19.95

Equal Before the Law: How Iowa Led Americans to Marriage Equality reveals behind-the-scenes legal and social events behind the fight for marriage equality in the state, and is a recommendation for legal issues and social issues collections alike. Such audiences will find a discussion by two award-winning reporters, based on discussions with dozens of key figures, research findings, and case history examples of those personally and professionally involved in the marriage equality struggle. From justices who wrote decisions and court rulings to the experiences of six couples who made public their struggles in hopes of publicizing their cause, Equal Before the Law is a history that draws connections between a 2009 decision and current events, and should be in any college-level social issues collection.

Dying in America
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
National Academies Press
500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
9780309303101 $74.95

Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life offers far more than the usual casual approach to strategies and care decisions, examining the latest state of health care for persons of all ages who are approaching the end of life. Unlike many competing titles, this weighty discussion synthesizes health care issues with social, psychological and spiritual concerns, evaluating strategies for integrating care on many levels, considering team-based efforts, patient choices, and physician concerns as well. It makes recommendations based on research, scholarly studies, and recent findings and addresses the concerns of patients, policy-makers and physicians alike. From payment systems supporting end-of-life treatments to advance care planning, this analysis is packed with research and insights and is a 'must' for any involved in the issues.

The Automotive Shelf

Motoring West
Peter J. Blodgett, Editor
The Arthur H. Clark Co.
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780870623837 $34.95

Motoring West V. 1: Automobile Pioneers, 1900-1909 provides a powerful history of the first years of the 20th century, when motorcar travel was a pioneering adventure. Such early motor attempts led to greater exploration, and like many a jungle or world explorer before them, these early motorists kept records of their experiences, publishing them in articles, pamphlets, and books. These writings come together for the first time in one place in Motoring West, which documents the very first years of automobile usage and contributes to a planned multivolume series on the subject. Introductions to each piece place it in historical perspective, so it's not necessary to have a background in transportation history in order to appreciate why these particular writings were so revolutionary.

Tyler Alexander: A Life and Times with McLaren
Tyler Alexander
David Bull Publishing
4250 E. Camelback Road, Suite K. 150, Phoenix, AZ 85018
9781935007210 $55.00

Tyler Alexander: A Life and Times with McLaren is a top recommendation for any reader of auto racing history, and provides an autobiography of a veteran who has some fifty years invested in motor racing. His early days involved working with Revson and Penske, his later years saw him through McLaren's recent Formula One championship with Lewis Hamilton in 2008 - and in between those decades were numerous victories at Indianapolis, experiences with major series and race tracks across the country, and experiences with the major racing teams in the U.S. The result is no light coverage: nearly five hundred pages packed with text and full-page color photos throughout document not just Alexander's life, but his encounters with some of the major figures of auto racing and the sports world. No auto racing collection or reader should be without this!

The Parenting Shelf

Reset Your Child's Brain
Victoria L. Dunckley, MD
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608682843 $18.95

Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time documents the phenomenon of ESS (Electronic Screen Syndrome) and documents the range of psychological and neurological disorders that can be exacerbated or created by screen time on interactive devices. It promotes a 'screen fast' to wean kids from device dependence, it offers a fast program to achieve distance from connectivity, and it supports these programs with discussions of new trends and alarm facts.

Blending Families Successfully
George S. Glass with David Tabatsky
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781629144313 $16.95

Blending Families Successfully: Helping Parents and Kids Navigate the Challenges So That Everyone Ends Up Happy belongs in any collection strong in parenting and family relationships, and comes from a board-certified psychiatrist whose book is directed to parents who want to understand how blended families work and what's involved in making adjustments. He explores common dilemmas and challenges, discusses psychological issues that stem from divorce and remarriage, and comes from years in practice and his own experience as a member of a blended family. Filled with specific advice and case histories, this is a top recommendation for parenting collections.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Calm Center
Steve Taylor
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608683307 $17.00

The Calm Center: Reflections and Meditations for Spiritual Awakening provides spiritual reflections to help readers find their inner calm center, and offers a range of techniques that blend metaphors for thinking with a format that lends to encouraging a revitalizing spiritual energy. These meditative reflections can be used to understand the concept of a 'calm center' and locate it. When used in conjunction with other meditative or spiritual devices, The Calm Center provides opportunity for not just understanding this place and how to best utilize it, but for using admonitions to center and expand the experience itself.

Reclaim the Magic
Lee Milteer
Rainbow Bridge Books
c/o Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9781937907334 $16.95

Lee Milteer's Reclaim the Magic: The Real Secrets to Manifesting Anything You Want provides a treatise on reclaiming internal power through a combination of consciousness shift and an awakening process, and offers readers the opportunity to become a manifestor, using natural abilities to achieve a greater, more authentic state of mind. It maintains that real power is primarily spiritual, and that adopting the role of a deliberate creator offers up choices that can help transform the nature of personal reality to something far greater. New age and self-improvement readers alike will find this an intriguing, revealing and specific program for positive change.

The Witch's Guide to Wands
Gypsey Elaine Teague
Weiser Books
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781578635702 $19.95

The Witch's Guide to Wands: A Complete Botanical, Magical, and Elemental Guide to Making, Choosing, and Using the Right Wand narrows the focus to the witch's iconic wand, source of much magic and power, and tells witches how to find specific types of wands suitable for particular magical goals. It comes from a high priestess who advocates a variety of wands for different spells, and shows how to construct a wand, understand its uses, how to create an interactive relationship with one's wand, and how to apply the wand properly. Highly recommended for any new age collection strong in explorations of magical rituals and tools.

The Sports Shelf

The Women's Guide to Triathlon
USA Triathlon
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820-5076
9781450481151 $21.95

The Women's Guide to Triathlon provides female triathletes with a resource that pairs tips form expert coaches with insights from twenty of the world's top female athletes, and is a recommendation for any female triathlete reader who wants a synthesis of the latest sports and medical research, proven techniques, and advice. Strategies for training and competing in this arena address various issues from injuries to sports demands and outside life, and covers the basics of the many challenges involved in undertaking a competitive lifestyle as a triathlete.

The Gaming Shelf

Word Nerd
John D. Williams Jr.
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780871407733 $25.95

Word Nerd: Dispatches from the Games, Grammar, and Geek Underground blends the memoir format with a history and probe of the Scrabble game, and provides a fun survey of his career as a contributor to Scrabble News, a move that led to a twenty-five year career as the executive director of the National Scrabble Association, where he served as the official spokesperson. It considers tournaments, elements of the game, provides pop culture history, and explores the methods and legends of the greatest Scrabble players in history, and will delight any reader with a prior affection for and familiarity with the game.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

E. C. Blake
Daw Books, Inc.
c/o Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756409395 $19.95

Faces provides the third novel in The Masks of Aygrima series, set in a kingdom where magical people are forced to wear controlling masks from the age of fifteen all that reveal any dangerous thoughts they might have about their ruler. In such a world Mara is gifted with a rare ability only two others share - including the ruler, who is using his ability to keep control of kingdoms. After a deadly battle between the unMasked Army and the forces of the prince, Mara and her survivors turn to the Lady of Pain and Fire for leadership and salvation, and Mara discovers in her a mentor - and further dangers. Familiarity with others in the series will enhance appreciation of this third contribution, recommended for fantasy followers and prior fans.

The Long Utopia
Stephen Baxter & Terry Pratchett
HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062297334 $26.99

The Long Utopia is especially recommended for prior fans of Baxter and Pratchett's 'Long Earth' series, and given Pratchett's demise, possibly concludes the series (unless Baxter can produce more on his own). Set in the mid-21st century, humanity has been changed forever by Step Day, their journey into other worlds, and an AI intelligence now living on a distant world who faces strange new events that could again change history. Lobsang, Joshua, Agnes and all the major players are back in a vivid story that is delightfully unpredictable and which continues humanity's mind-stretching journey into the far reaches of the universe.

The Annihilation Score
Charles Stross
Ace Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780425281178 $26.95

It's hard to easily categorize The Annihilation Score, a 'Laundry Files' novel that skirts the line between thriller, mystery, and fantasy - but for the sake of proper placement, it's reviewed here for its fantasy elements; but not to be limited to the fantasy reader, by any means. Dominique leads a double life with her husband: they seem like average civil servants; but under the exterior of ordinary workers they operate within secret circles working with the nation's occult security service, the Laundry, to defend Britain against supernatural forces. Shades of Torchwood! Only here threats don't come from other worlds; but from within. Mo's latest assignment involves tackling an outbreak of supernatural abilities among the populace: can a dangerous supernatural instrument prove the key to solving this latest problem? A thriller format emerges with many satisfying twists and turns: perfect for all kinds of audiences.

Dark Orbit
Carolyn Ives Gilman
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765336293 $25.99

Dark Orbit tells of a strange new world's discovery, an exoethnologist recruited to watch over an unstable crewmate as a team of scientists journey to a strange inhabitable world, and murder and disappearance that lends more than a dose of mystery to the theme of exploration and discovery. In such a world, Thora is lost and facing both her own demons and the planet's aliens. Under such circumstances, her team is forced to confront their own beliefs and talents and what evolves from this effort is something that will change lives and worlds alike. Dark Orbit blends mystery, psychological introspection, and action in a satisfying sci-fi saga that will reach beyond genre readers to provide something different: an engrossing saga of inner and outer world exploration alike. Highly recommended!

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Cafe Europa
Ed Ifkovic
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464200489 $24.95

Cafe Europa provides a new Edna Ferber mystery set in Budapest before World War I, and follows Ferber across Europe on a journey to visit the homeland of her dead father. Her fascination with the culture of the region is tempered by a shocking murder that involves her in not only detective work, but in the politically and emotionally charged politics of the country. The mystery and surrounding tension are well drawn, making this a top pick for any mystery reader who enjoys a healthy dose of historical background and color added into the mix.

The Fiction Shelf

The Captive Condition
Kevin P. Keating
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780804169288 $24.00

The Captive Condition provides a dark story about a Midwestern college town turned dangerous, haunted by its history of supernatural forces. Edmund is determined to pursue his education there; but numerous threats to his emotional state are just the top of the iceberg when he stumbles on a body which could be murder or suicide, faces down twins possessed by strange powers, and comes to find that sinister forces not only threaten his world and the town, but everyone. A satisfyingly eerie story emerges, perfect for fans of horror/thriller blends.

The Mountain Story
Lori Lansens
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476786506 $26.00

The Mountain Story sounds simple on the face of it, revolving around four lost hikers with different backgrounds who face a mountain of danger; but as in any good story it's the undercurrents and surprises which enable the saga to move beyond the ordinary and into the realm of the extraordinary; and so it is when the diverse group finds that only their connections may save them from death. Mishaps, misadventures, and struggles are predictable at times: what is less predictable and quite satisfying is the healing process between the group members that leads them to not only survive obstacles, but become stronger both as individuals and as a team. The 'how', the 'why', and ultimately the nature of that process is what makes The Mountain Story a compelling saga.

The Hunters
Tom Young
G. P. Putnam's Sons
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399166891 $26.95

The Hunters documents a dangerous aid mission into Somalia, an Arab leader determined to stop it, and the unlikely alliance between a Hollywood actress and an activist who join forces to make a documentary in this scenario. With so much going on it's not surprising that The Hunters promises complexity; but the true delight of the story lies in its more surprising accessibility to thriller readers who want an involved, socially-charged story line that isn't at all difficult to absorb but which is hard to put down. Such an audience will find this a compelling saga documenting soldier psyche and activity, political and social ideas, and the different struggles of very different individuals with different perspectives and goals in the region. Gripping and absorbing, The Hunters is an action-charged read and a standout in the novel and thriller genre.

The International Studies Shelf

North Korea Confidential
Daniel Tudor and James Pearson
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804844581 $21.95

North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors is especially recommended for relative newcomers to North Korean culture and politics, as it presents an overview of what life is like for ordinary North Koreans and uses interviews from diplomats, cross-border traders, and elite political party members alike in the course of tracing these lives. It considers common misconceptions, contrasts myths and realities, and considers the overall evolution of North Korean society as it focuses on individual lives and concerns and explains many of the country's dramatic changes in the last decade. Any who would better understand North Korea will find this one of the keys documenting the country's changes.

Dreams of the Hmong Kingdom
Mai Na M. Lee
University of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe Street, Third Floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
9780299298845 $29.95

Dreams of the Hmong Kingdom: The Quest for Legitimation in French Indochina, 1850-1960 provides college-level readers with a scholarly discussion of the influence of French colonialism and Hmong leadership on the Hmong people's political and social structure, and is a recommendation for those studying either the general subject of colonialism or Hmong culture in particular. Chapters refute the common notion that Hmong history began in the 1960s and 70s and reveals details about their culture and ancient past that are key to understanding their present political choices. Many will be surprised to learn the long-standing history of a people most commonly viewed as relatively recent in their own political organization. With its focus on leadership struggles, its inclusion of research and oral interviews conducted in the U.S., France and Southeast Asia, and its search through archival documents, this is a unique survey packed with many startling revelations essential to any studying Hmong culture.

The China Challenge
Thomas J. Christensen
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393081138 $27.95

The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power uses decades of scholarship and study to argue against the idea that China is becoming a threat to U.S. leadership in Asia and the world. He posits a different vision in which the challenge lies in keeping China from regional aggression while encouraging it to become more active in the global community, and he provides a new assessment of U.S.-China relations that should be key to any studying the presence of China in the world. It documents China's failings as well as its strengths, assesses the choices the nation faces as it grows, and pairs political savvy and insight with analytical scholarship and policymaking details that no college-level student of Chinese history, politics and culture should be without; also accessible to any general-interest readers with some background in China's modern presence.

Desert Diplomat
Robert W. Jordan with Steve Fiffer
Potomac Books
c/o University of Nebraska Press
22841 Quicksilver Drive, Dulles, VA 20166-2012
9781612346700 $32.95

Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11 comes from a man selected by George W. Bush as the ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What led a Dallas attorney with no prior diplomatic experience to be nominated? While clearly it was because of his closeness to the President, in fact Jordan's background led to his hard work developing relationships that helped ensure the two countries worked together at a tumultuous time in history. This is his story of how that happened, and provides a powerful survey of not just how these relationships changed and grew, but of the dysfunction in American foreign policy and intelligence and the evolution of a new Middle East. Jordan is still involved - and that lends a powerful long-term vision to his story of becoming a diplomat in the most trying of times and conditions. While political science majors would seem the most likely to pick this up, it's quite accessible to the general public and any interested in the internal politics behind Middle East headlines and, especially, relationships between nations.

The Art Shelf

Conran on Color
Terence Conran
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781840916850 $34.99

Conran on Color is a special recommendation for collections strong in interior design and fashion, and packs in a blend of home decoration tips and assessments of how color affects the home with insights on the greater use and impact of color in works of art, outdoor visuals, and more. Unlike most interior design titles which focus on placement and indoor impact alone, this wider-ranging discussion offers a resource suitable for home and retail worlds alike as it blends illustrations from modern designers around the world with discussions of what makes color work and what does not. From the pros and cons of clashing schemes to tones and shades, achieving versatility by choosing particular hues, and a color-by-color assessment of what creates intensity and impact, all images of interiors are accompanied by color swatches and in-depth discussions to survey not just recommendations from one designer, but insights into what makes different colors more effective.

The Art of the Con
Anthony M. Amore
Palgrave Macmillan
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001
9781137279873 $26.00

The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries in the Art World considers the history and techniques of some of the most famous art frauds in history, examining the nature of the crimes, the frauds that confused art historians and detectives alike, the museums and companies that fall prey to scams and cons, and more. Other books have covered art fraud but this focus on the nature and effects of the scam process itself adds an extra dimension as it details the history of a centuries-old practice and who either profits or suffers from it.

The Paintings That Revolutionized Art
Claudia Stauble and Julie Kiefer
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791381534 $24.95

The Paintings That Revolutionized Art gathers a hundred of the world's most notable paintings and discusses the reasons why they are notable and famous pieces, drawing on centuries of art, critical reviews, and iconic styles to provide an art history packed with examples of exceptional works. The discussions on the facets - both art history and general history - that make these works standouts are invaluable examples of art analysis at its best, and will reach into general-interest as well as prior art enthusiasts with information key to understanding the art world in general. Now available in affordable paperback, this survey includes lavish duo-page spreads of its art examples, selecting pieces that intrigued, challenged, or even enraged viewers of their times. What a great starting point for understanding art's history, creation and impact!

Celtic Art
Venceslas Kruta
Phaidon Press
Regent's Wharf, All Saints Street, London, England, N1 9PA
9780714845975 $89.95

Celtic Art comes from a renowned expert on the subject, features after 250 masterpieces from Celtic productions through the ages, and is a recommendation for collections strong in European art in general or Celtic art and history in particular. The survey runs the gamut of art productions from sculptures and paintings to pottery, jewelry, and more, and covers the entire Celtic world from Ireland to the rest of Europe. Designed as a summation of the works and history of Celtic productions (not as a presentation of new research or discoveries), Celtic Art is a recommended pick for collections seeking an introductory read for newcomers to the topic. This audience will find the extensive history to be solid; and while the illustrations themselves lack the glitz and appeal of more lavish full-page packed art history tomes, the purpose here isn't to amaze with gloss, but to thoroughly represent the history and flavor of Celtic art. In this, Celtic Art succeeds.

Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley
Valerie K. Verzuh
Museum of New Mexico Press
107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, 87501
9780890136010 $34.95

Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley offers a lovely volume of Bradley's paintings and is recommended for arts and Native American history holdings alike. Bradley is a Minnesota Chippewa who has long explored his identity and world using art to depict both personal and political issues: both of which are captured in a retrospective catalog designed to stand alone as well as compliment an exhibition currently at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, which will run through January 2016. This volume's ability to not just depict Native culture but to incorporate a sense of Indian rights issues and more than a hint of author activist thinking lends to a standout of contemporary art that marries form and creative function to social issues and ideals. A 'must' for any interested in Native issues and culture, as well as modern Native American art forms.

Japan Journeys
Andreas Marks
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805313107 $19.95

Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan gathers woodblock prints that flourished in Japan in the 19th century which reveal insights into Japanese art and culture alike, and is recommended for arts holdings and collections strong in Japanese culture alike. Almost two hundred such woodblock pieces gathered by art historian Marks packs in works from famous woodblock artists. While the smaller format of necessity means that the prints themselves are small-sized, a larger presentation may have made this gathering unaffordable for some, and as an introduction to the subject, it's a fine representation.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

EMS Supervisor: Principles and Practices
Orlando J. Dominguez, Jr., RPM, MBA
Jones & Bartlett Learning
5 Wall Street. Burlington, MA 01803
9780763776435 $95.95

EMS Supervisor: Principles and Practices is for new or would-be EMS officers new to managerial roles, and discusses the basic principles and practices involved in an introduction to creating a successful EMS organization. From building teams and handling common professional challenges to improvement processes, customer service, and the five major business priorities, each chapter takes a major EMS officer consideration and explores it thoroughly. While some of the managerial leadership ideas can apply equally to other disciplines, most here are specific to the EMS practice as a whole and thus the book meets the course outcomes from the National Fire Academy's Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) Emergency Medical services Curriculum Manage of Emergency medical Services course, making this a 'must have' text for any college-level EMS classroom.

Big Yoga for Less Stress
Meera Patricia Kerr
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757004056 $17.95

Big Yoga for Less Stress: A Simple Guide to Reducing Everyday Anxiety teaches the basics of how to use Yoga to find tranquility and hone peaceful mind, and offers specific exercises keyed to reducing stress via Yoga's benefits. Practical information assumes no prior reader familiarity with Yoga and covers basic postures, breathing techniques, and meditations specific to overcoming anxiety and tension. There are plenty of books about Yoga on the market, but this guide's specific focus makes it a recommendation over many others.

Smoothies for Kidney Health
Victoria L. Hulett, JD and Jennifer L. Waybright, RN
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757004117 $16.95

Smoothies for Kidney Health: A Delicious Approach to the Prevention and Management of Kidney Problems and So Much More gathers recipes and health advice from a mother/daughter team and is a recommendation put together by a kidney donor who is an RN, and her mother, the recipient of her kidney. Any who suffer from chronic kidney disease will find the blend of health information, dietary guidance, and recipes to be a powerful self-help blend, taking the latest research and knowledge and tailoring it in a wide-ranging collection perfect for any who want to adopt a healthier, kidney-saving regimen.

The Literary Studies Shelf

In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way
Marcel Proust
Adaptation and Drawings by Stephane Heuet
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9781631490354 $26.95

In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way takes the usual approach of making a full color graphic novel out of Proust's classic work, providing an adaptation designed to make accessible some of the nuances of a classic literary piece that challenges many. This production is translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer and captures the nuances of Odette's love affair with Charles Swann, capturing events in vivid panels that take the story a step further by adding visual embellishments: no easy achievement given the leaps in time, space, and perception typical of Swann's Way. It is recommended that readers have some prior familiarity with the original production to gain a solid appreciation for what was involved in translating its dense literary devices to a visual and verbal treat more accessible to general literature readers. A side benefit: some subtler nuances of the original classic come to unexpected life in graphic embellishment.

The Agriculture Shelf

The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens, second edition
Tara Layman Williams
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
1405 S.W. 6th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
9781620230169 $14.99

The revised second edition of The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply offers updated, in-depth information on how to raise a flock in either city or small farm settings, and discusses different reasons for raising poultry and deciding which ones to breed. No prior chicken experience is required for this basic guide, which appears in a revised second edition to offer the latest information on how to acquire, raise, and manage a new flock. Top chicken farms and experts were consulted for this book, which addresses everything from health and seasonal care to raising different chickens for different purposes.

The Gardening Shelf

Understanding the Flowering Plants
Anne L.D. Bebbington
Crowood Press
The Stable Block, Crowood Lane, Ramsbury
Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 2HR, UK
9781847977588 $45.00

Understanding the Flowering Plants is written not for the gardener so much as the botanical artist and photographers seeking more details on flowering plants to lend to their artistic renditions, and offers advice on techniques, equipment, and the main parts of flower plants that can lend to botanical representations. While this could have been reviewed in our 'arts' section, its wealth of ideas for illustrative projects, insights on plant features and botany, and specific discussions of roots, stems, plant life spans and more isn't just for the artist: it's for any with more than a casual interest in flowering plants and their natural history.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Sacred Grit
John D. Duncan
Austin Brothers Publishing
3616 Sutter Court, Fort Worth, TX 76137
9780990347798 $16.95

Sacred Grit: Faith to Push Through When You Feel Like Giving Up is about developing a grit and tenacity about life and offers up the idea that God uses such grit to soften rough edges, hone human purpose, and impart meaning and growth to individual lives. Sacred Grit offers an opportunity for engagement and change, but it doesn't present a singular path to this wisdom: ancient wisdom, Biblical analysis, and philosophy blend in a discourse that is at once challenging and accessible for all readers. From how agony moves into the soul and a belief in Jesus Christ transforms this to something more to how individuals move from failure to success, Christians will find this a wide-reaching discussion that embraces many facets of love, life, and spiritual thinking.

The American History Shelf

The Notorious Luke Short
Jack DeMattos and Chuck Parsons
University of North Texas Press
PO Box 311336, Denton, TX 76203-1336
9781574415940 $29.95

College-level collections strong in Western history in general and biographical sketches in particular will find much to like about The Notorious Luke Short: Sporting Man of the Wild West. Short's adventures began as a teenager, where he embarked on a career as a cowboy following the trail from Texas to Kansas. This evolved into his work as an Army scout during the Indian wars, and finally to his stint as a gambler around the west, joining forces with Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson to protect his saloon. While Short is best recalled as being a gunfighter in one of the most notorious showdowns in Western history, this survey offers far more insights and comes from meticulous research into archives and historical records to provide the first full biography of the man and his multifaceted life.

The Computer Shelf

Xcode 6 Start to Finish: iOS and OS X Development
Fritz Anderson
Addison Wesley
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780134952779 $44.99

Xcode 6 Start to Finish: iOS and OS X Development is for developers interested in using Apple's Xcode 6 tools to produce exceptional code, and is the only Xcode 6 book that focuses on these tools and how to best apply their latest new features. It assumes some prior familiarity with Apple systems and programming and covers the basics of working with iOS frameworks, identifying common interface and bug issues and fixing them, customizing views and results, and more. Programmers receive everything needed to learn all the Xcode 6 skills to produce exceptional software, and will find Xcode 6 Start to Finish: iOS and OS X Development winning addition to broaden their skill sets!

HDL With Digital Design VHDL and Verilog
Nazeih M. Botros
Mercury Learning
PO Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605
9781938549816 $79.95

HDL With Digital Design VHDL and Verilog provides programmers with the basics of how to design and analyze digital logic systems and how to use hardware description languages to best advantage, and is a recommended pick for those with programming backgrounds looking for detailed technical insights into logic circuits, mathematical models, and applications from AI networks to HDL constructs. It classifies the HDL styles of writing into six groups and then deconstructs them in chapters that consider function, description, and application alike. Detailed, technical, and packed with graphs, charts and formulas throughout, this is a pick for any programmer's advanced reference collection.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Shoot Like Tarantino
Christopher Kenworthy
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932252 $15.95

Shoot Like Tarantino: The Visual Secrets of Dangerous Storytelling comes from a writer, director and producer well versed in the finer art of creating conflict to embed a film production with sizzling action, and offers directors, playwrights and producers top keys to creating and shooting extraordinary works. It's all about how to maximize storytelling features, shoot scenes in such a manner as to extend drama and tension, and understand the basics of contrasting tension devices, using them to build scenes and avoid the sense of predictability that so many film productions contain. The result is a solid collection illustrated by black and white film stills and highly recommended for any performing arts collection.

Time Travel in Popular Media
Matthew Jones and Joan Ormrod, Editors
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9780786478071 $40.00

Time Travel in Popular Media: Essays on Film, Television, Literature and Video Games discusses time travel narratives and the devices by which they appear in literature and in media, offering new essays in a collection that's the first to address time travel as it's represented across media. Another satisfying approach is its range of time-travelers discussed, from television's long-running Doctor Who to the Back to the Future series and beyond. The focus on film and video games is strongest in this discussion, though the addition of print literature is a nice touch and juxtaposes nicely with the film media orientation of the book.

The California Shelf

Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault
David K. Lynch
Thule Scientific
c/o Sunbelt Publications
1256 Fayette Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
9781941384084 $39.95

Field Guide to the San Andreas Fault should see renewed interest given the popularity of the disaster film San Andreas, but is thoroughly packed with science, not speculation or science fiction, and thus makes a nice, realistic compliment to the movie. Here is everything you need to know about the famous fault line that took out San Francisco in 1906; from GPS coordinates for hundreds of locations to road logs for visitors and fault coordinates, geological history and scientific explanations, color, full-page trip maps and sidebars of travel notes, and more. Travel and science collections strong in California history and science will welcome a survey that avoids the usual general discussion of earthquakes and faults to hone in on a single huge fault line and how it can be observed and followed, making this a 'must' for any California or geology collection.

Carl E. Fiedler and Stephen F. Arno
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426386 $20.00

Ponderosa: People, Fire, and the West's Most Iconic Tree is about a venerable Western tree which is synonymous with images of the West: the Ponderosa Pine, and provides a fine survey documenting the long history and recent demise of the historic Ponderosa forest. Heavy logging and fire suppression techniques (fire is key to the Ponderosa's spread) have resulted in forests dominated by smaller trees and vulnerable to pine bark beetles and fire. This history of human activities surrounding the Ponderosa is a vivid story of why the forest has changed and what can be done to save the venerable Western tree. Any who would locate and view the sixty-some places to find Western Ponderosas will appreciate the specific locations, while those who prefer to learn from the armchair will appreciate a natural history punctuated by graphs and charts and color photos.

Edan Lepucki
Back Bay Books
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316250832 $16.00

California fans of dystopian reads that include a sense of place in the state will welcome California, set in the near future where paranoia and corruption run amok and have replaced civil law. Cal and Frida face many dangers in bringing a new child into such a world: they've left ruined Los Angeles behind to journey to one of the few organized settlements left in the state; only to discover it harbors its on great dangers. While not entirely science fiction in nature, California will attract both novel and sci-fi readers with its charged and action-packed story of two individuals lost in a different kind of wilderness which California has become.

Drinking the Devil's Acre
Duggan McDonnell
Chronicle Books
680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
9781452135250 $24.95

Drinking the Devil's Acre: A Love Letter from San Francisco and her cocktails tells of the Devil's Acre, a 1870s and 80s bar-filled block in San Francisco's Barbary Coast that held some of most notorious saloons of its times. Only a few blocks away were drinking establishments that gave cocktails a polished, refined taste, in direct contrast to their neighbors. This isn't just a cookbook recreating recipes from yesterday; it comes from a culinary anthropologist who provides essays blending discussions of spirits and their evolution with San Francisco history and culture. From neighborhood saloons past and present to changing influences on mixed drinks, this is a delicious survey embellished by photos by Luke Aboil and offering up a delightful compendium of facts steeped in San Francisco history and culinary lore.

The Best Team Money Can Buy
Molly Knight
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476776293 $26.00

The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers' Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse examines what it takes to build a major-league baseball team and make it competitive, and tells of how, in 2012, an investment group bought the Dodgers and spent more an two billion dollars in an effort to win back fans, turning the Dodgers into a professional league loaded with superstars. In 2013 and 2014 the Dodgers went to the playoffs but experienced many losses. The inside viewpoint of how a team is made, broken, and how the game is played makes for an engrossing saga of sports, politics, and finance and is highly recommended for not just California readers, but any interested in baseball history and culture.

The Independent Publishers Shelf

Family Changes
Azmaira H. Maker, PhD
Aspiring Families Press
12625 High Bluff Drive, Suite 104, San Diego, CA 92130
9780996194105 $14.95

Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children was designed to help parents, family members and professionals guide young children through the confusion of divorce. It comes from a clinical psychologist who uses the picture book format to help adults understand how divorce may be explained to the very young, with the help of this book.

A host of animals are used to reach kids ages 4-8 years old, with a young bunny at the forefront as she struggles with her family's changes and embarks on an emotional roller coaster ride in the process of exploring her new circumstances.

Because there's a good amount of text (for a picture book), this is not recommended for new young readers. It's designed with the adult/child read-together experience in mind, and will benefit both audiences with its colorful, full-page animal character drawings (by Polona Lovsin) paired with a series of questions on why Zoey Bunny's parents are getting divorced, what that means, and how she feels about life in general.

Based on the typical emotional turbulence a child feels from separation or divorce, Family Changes receives high recommendation as the first title that adults should turn to in the effort to explain, explore, and support a child's feelings in the matter, concluding with a list of 'process questions' which adults can use to further enhance the story line's overall approach.

Behind the Binoculars
Mark Avery & Keith Betton
Pelagic Publishing
PO Box 725, Exeter, EX1 9QU, United Kingdom
9781784270506 $26.99

Behind the Binoculars: Interviews with Acclaimed Birdwatchers interviews many well-known personalities and wildlife experts with a simple purpose in mind: to find out why birdwatchers took up birding as a hobby. The authors, themselves avid birdwatchers and conservationists, gather many startling answers in the course of considering the birdwatching community's members and motivations, examining birdwatching methods, organizations, challenges, and conservation issues alike.

There are many how-to books about birding on the market; but Behind the Binoculars adopts a much wider-ranging approach to the subject with such queries as the best birding locations in the world, the worst places, birders' first bird books and binoculars, rare bird sightings, and personal lives.

These queries draw readers not only into the art and science of birding, but its political, ecological and personal aspects, as well, making for a lively set of insights especially recommended for any reader with a prior avian affinity.

Donal Blaise Lloyd
Pixyjack Press
PO Box 149, Masonville, CO 80541
9781936555581 $19.95

GeoPower: Stay Warm, Keep Cool and Save Money with Geothermal Heating & Cooling covers the basics of why homeowners and home builders should consider geothermal healing and cooling. These audiences may be surprised to learn that all homes can use ground-source heat pumps for free energy - but there's more to it than just buying a pump, as GeoPower explains.

There are various systems choices (each with their pros and cons for different situations), and these options can be confusing. Homeowners and builders can use GeoPower to eliminate this confusion and quickly understand why some options work better in one situation than another.

From basics on how they work to reducing the costs of running such equipment, GeoPower's specifics and easy-to-understand explanations require only an audience interested in the potential of harnessing alternative energy to prove essential. Homeowners, in particular, will want use this primer to consider the possibilities of installing or converting to this alternative resource.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

Diane C. Donovan, Editor & Senior Reviewer
12424 Mill Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
phone: 1-707-795-4629

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