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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 4 April 2019 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Money/Finance Shelf
Business Shelf Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Self-Help Shelf Biography Shelf
Travel Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Science Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Relationship Shelf Political Science Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf


Reviewer's Choice

Non-Profit Legends
Hank Moore
www.hankmoore.com
Morgan James Publishing
www.morganjamespublishing.com
9781683501602 $40.95 hc / $9.87 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: Non-Profit Legends is a comprehensive overview book on serving communities and motivating leadership for non-profits. Author Hank Moore has worked with and advised hundreds of non-profit organizations, including charities, educational institutions, public sector entities, associations, and corporate citizenship programs. In Non-Profit Legends Hank uses his experience and teaches readers to embrace the past, with direct relationship to the future. Inside you will find extensive information about history, cultural enlightenment and community leadership knowledge, all rolled in one, plus a dynamic panorama of humanitarian contributions to society.

Hank Moore is the highest level of business overview expert and is in that rarified circle of visionaries such as Peter Drucker, Stephen Covey and W. Edwards Deming. The Business Tree(TM) is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. He advises companies about growth strategies, visioning, planning, leadership, futurism and Big Picture issues. He has written a series of business books. This is the third book in his Legends series, paralleling pop culture, history and innovative strategies. He has won lifetime achievement awards for leadership. Hank Moore's Legends books embrace history, cultural phenomena and strategies for success.

Critique: Non-Profit Legends For Humanity & Good Citizenship: Comprehensive Reference on Community Service, Volunteerism, Non-Profits & Leadership lives up to its title as an informative, practical-minded resource all about running an effective non-profit organization. Chapters discuss fund raising, putting on special events, the art of community relations, public service announcements, board development, ethics including corporate sustainability and governance, and much more. Anyone considering involvement, employment, or even making large donations to a non-profit organization would be well served to read Non-Profit Legends For Humanity & Good Citizenship for its "under the hood" insights. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Non-Profit Legends for Humanity & Good Citizenship is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.87).

Embracing Life as It Is
Alan Gettis & Carl Genjo Bachman
Goodman Beck Publishing
PO Box 253, Norwood, NJ 07648
www.goodmanbeck.com
9781936636013, $14.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In haiku poetry, we pay attention to the moment without embellishment. We embrace the moment as it is, not how we would like it to be. Just this, right here, right now.

Wabi-sabi is valuing imperfection, impermanence, and the natural devolving of everything born or made. Just this, right here, right now, as is.

Zen also teaches us to pay attention. The past is gone. The future is unknown. The only thing we have is this present moment. Meditation helps us to mindfully attend to this moment, just this breath, right here and right now. We learn to be where we are completely.

The premise in "Embracing Life as It Is: Lessons from Wabi-Sabi, Haiku, and Zen" by clinical psychologist Alan Gettis and Carl Bachmann (who received Dharma transmission from Roshi Robert Kennedy in 2010 and obtained the White Plum Asanga title of sensei. He took the dharma name "Genjo," meaning "original silence") is that wabi-sabi, haiku, and zen all provide important lessons in many things, including selflessness, acceptance, non-discrimination, compassion, and self-compassion.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Embracing Life as It Is: Lessons from Wabi-Sabi, Haiku, and Zen" is an ideal introduction to the practical application of these Eastern practices to modern daily life in the West. Of special note is the illustrative and evocative images by fine art and nature photographer Cyndi Goetcheus Sarfan. "Embracing Life as It Is" will prove an enduringly welcome addition personal reading lists and community library collections.

Lynne's Last Christmas
Donald Hricik
Independently Published
9781790751402, $5.38, PB, 60pp.

https://www.amazon.com/Lynnes-Last-Christmas-Battle-Dementia/dp/1790751403

Synopsis: There could be no more poignant summary of "Lynne's Last Christmas: A Battle With Dementia" than that penned by her beloved husband Donald Hricik who writes:

"My wife, Lynne, died from complications of severe dementia at the age of sixty-four. She was very ill for the last year of her life but suffered from memory loss, weight loss, and frequent falls for more than fours years prior to her death. In this memoir, I tell the story of her malady and try to capture the impact of her illness and death on my children, other family members, and friends. It is a sad story, but I hope it provides solace to others who have interacted with or cared for loved ones with dementia."

Critique: "Lynne's Last Christmas: A Battle With Dementia" is the moving and decidedly personal story of a loving couple who must deal with the medical scourge of dementia that is plaguing the 'Baby Boom' generation in numbers that are dramatically increasing year by year as that generation continues to age into Senior Citizen status. It is a personal story that will be of 'real world' positive benefit for anyone else having to deal with the impact of dementia within their own family or among their own friends. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lynne's Last Christmas: A Battle With Dementia" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Social Issues Shelf

Chicano Homeland
Louis R. Negrete
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.ChicanoHomeland.com
9781519355263, $14.99, PB, 148pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: With "Chicano Homeland: The Movement in East Los Angeles for Mexican American Power, Justice, and Equality", Louis R. Negrete (who for thirty-five years was the Professor of Chicano Studies at California State University at Los Angles) tells the dynamic story of the movement for the rights of Mexican-Americans with a special focus on the Chicano movement at its epicenter in Los Angeles.

Professor Negrete brings to life the issues that triggered this wide-ranging civil rights movement that includes such critical community issues as police brutality, institutionalized poverty, demands for better schools, opposition to the war in Vietnam, and defense of undocumented immigrants.

Professor Negrete deftly blends his own personal experiences and eyewitness accounts with stories of the many leaders, organizations, and successful political strategies. In doing so, Professor Negrete provides a vision of how a new generation of activists (who represent the largest minority voting block in the country) might revive this crucial human rights movement.

Editorial Note: Louis R. Negrete is himself a Chicano who was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has served as Director of Project Head Start for the Council of Mexican American Affairs and then as a founding faculty member of the new Chicano Studies Department at California State University, Los Angeles.

Critique: Impressively informed and informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Chicano Homeland: The Movement in East Los Angeles for Mexican American Power, Justice, and Equality" is a timely study and an outstanding contribution to the growing body of literature on the Chicano experience and contributions of contemporary American society, politics and culture. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, social activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Chicano Homeland" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Shattering Black Male Stereotypes
Michael Taylor
Creation Publishing Group
https://creationpublishing.com
https://shatteringblackmalestereotypes.com
9780996948746, $15.99, PB, 210pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Discrimination on the basis of race is endemic in this country and under the Trump administration race-based bigotry is experiencing a new resurgence.

Practical, illustrative, and informative, "Shattering Black Male Stereotypes: Eradicating The 10 Most Destructive Media Generated Illusions About Black Men" is packed from cover to cover with proven solutions and techniques to help the average black man overcome the stereotype mindset and also live above the generic media illusions about the Black race.

Having conquered discrimination, homelessness, divorce, and several other acts of inhumanity in his life-time, renowned coach and expert speaker Michael Taylor deems it fit to share his story, teaching Black Men how to live a better life and achieve exponential success.

As a high school dropout who also overcame racism, foreclosure and depression, he recognizes the unique challenges facing black men in America today. If he can overcome these challenges to become an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, radio & TV host he is certain he can coach other black men to be successful.

A must-read for every black man who wants to live a purposeful and extraordinary life. "Shattering Black Male Stereotypes" provides every black man with the vitality, insight, and inspiration to transform his life for the better and live more soulfully.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Shattering Black Male Stereotypes: Eradicating The 10 Most Destructive Media Generated Illusions About Black Men" is as thoughtful and thought-provoking and it is real-world practical and ultimately inspiring. While especially recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Social Issues collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Shattering Black Male Stereotypes" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Breaking Bitch
J. R. Baker-Flowers
The Unlearning Project, LLC
9780692940754, $39.00, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The word "bitch" has become perhaps the most widely used and acceptable slur in the North American English language. In the last twenty-five years, our society has witnessed the meteoric rise of bitch's visibility in virtually every institution that fuels this civilization.

There has been a significant increase in the word "bitch's" appearance in countless television programs and films. There has been the emerging "trendiness" and "fashionability" in which the word "bitch" has been adopted in the spaces of digital media, retail production and the commercialization of alcoholic beverages and other commodities. There has been an escalating number of people in our society using the word "bitch" as a source of self-identification, as well as a "term of endearment" to friends, while also using the term as a defamatory insult.

In "Breaking Bitch: Dismantling the Lies to Reclaim Your Truth" social activist and documentarian J. R. Baker-Flowers, (who is the founder and creator of The UNLEARNing Project LLC), boldly addresses and penetrates the longstanding "culture of bitch" and offers a fresh voice to this pervasive sociocultural crisis.

Keenly identifying the intersecting macro institutions, (i.e. Judeo-Christian patriarchal ideologies and mass media) and micro institutions (i.e. internalized sexist belief systems and Personal Purchasing Power,) that have designed, maintain and routinely profit from the systemic oppression this word holds, "Breaking Bitch" unearths the destructive reality of the word "bitch," our society's most overlooked form of oppression.

Presenting a remarkably comprehensive, yet approachable body of work, "Breaking Bitch" combines scholarly research, wit, unapologetic truth and introspective-mindfulness, takes the reader on a revolutionary journey of consciousness, healing, self-empowerment and liberation.

Critique: A timely and insightful study in this #METOO era, "Breaking Bitch: Dismantling the Lies to Reclaim Your Truth" is an extraordinary and seminal work that is especially recommended for both community and academia library Contemporary Social Issues collections in general, and the personal reading lists of social activists and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject in particular.

My Blood Divides and Unites
Jesmane Boggenpoel
Independently Published
https://myblooddividesandunites.com
9781928455288, $13.95, PB, 158pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Born into poverty and state-mandated third-class status, Jesmane Boggenpoel was weighed down by self-doubt, feelings of inferiority and shame even though she was at the top of her class and showed great promise.

After graduating from a prestigious South African university, earning a master's degree at Harvard University and becoming Head of Business Engagement for Africa at the World Economic Forum, Jesmane continued to wrestle with internal conflicts and contradictions stemming from her past.

"My Blood Divides and Unites: Race, Identity, Reconciliation" is a touching memoir in which Jesmane and various South African colleagues explore their early lives, embrace the crippling contradictions forced upon them by apartheid, and craft new narratives for themselves, narratives of acceptance, inclusion, and boundless possibilities.

As a mixed-race (colored) woman, whose genes connect her with all parts of Africa, as well as East Asia, South Asia, Germany, Wales, Netherlands, and other parts of the world, Jesmane is a microcosm of nations riven by internal strife. She reconciled with herself by deliberately turning to the conflicts and contradictions within. Doing so forced her to explore her past, grapple with lingering emotions, and come to a new understanding of herself, to a new healing.

Our world today, divided and fractured, would benefit from a similar process of self-reconciliation, of exploration of national and individual stories, followed by the embrace of contradictions and the crafting of new narratives of acceptance, inclusion, and boundless possibilities.

The stories Jesmane tells in "My Blood Divides and Unites" is her story, as well as those of people from around the world spanning from US, Mexico across to India, Pakistan, Nepal and to Rwanda. These are stories that can bring healing and inspiration to all.

Author Jesmane Boggenpoel is an experienced business executive and a former Head of Business Engagement for Africa at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. She has served on the boards of various South African and international organizations. She is a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) and holds a Master's degree from Harvard University's JFK School of Government. Jesmane was honored as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and is a Harvard Mason fellow.

Critique: An inherently engaging, insightfully candid, and an exceptionally well presented combination personal memoir and social commentary, "My Blood Divides and Unites: Race, Identity, Reconciliation" is an extraordinarily, thoughtful and thought-provoking read that is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "My Blood Divides and Unites: Race, Identity, Reconciliation" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).


The Money/Finance Shelf

Redesign the Reality of Your Finances
Marc Barlow
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781985316539, $12.99, PB, 178pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Financial management expert and educator Marc Barlow's "Redesign the Reality of Your Finances: Understand the Why to Change the How of Your Spending" assists people in understanding the 'why' in order to change the 'how' of their spending.

Discussing topics such as the growth mindset, the power of grit, trauma, and gratitude the reader will better understand: Voids in their lives; How they try to fill such voids (possibly with the purchasing of things); How to live within one's means after learning to be grateful.

Once these concepts are explored and used as the foundation, "Redesign the Reality of Your Finances" then provides effective strategies on how to cut back on spending, eliminate debt, and invest in the future in order to get out and stay out of debt.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presented, "Redesign the Reality of Your Finances: Understand the Why to Change the How of Your Spending" is a complete course of do-it-yourself instruction on creating stable personal finances and getting the most out of what you have and could have. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Money/Finance instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Redesign the Reality of Your Fiances" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Employee Millionaire
H. J. Chammas
Partridge Publishing Singapore
https://www.partridgepublishing.com/Singapore/Books/bookdetail.aspx?bookid=BK180100
9781543744941, $24.07, PB, 360pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: H. J. Chammas is a self-made millionaire who achieved his financial success by investing in rental properties throughout Asia and Europe. In "The Employee Millionaire: How to Use Your Day Job to Become a Millionaire with Rental Properties" he draws upon his years of experience and expertise to provide other aspiring entrepreneurs with a no-nonsense real estate investment instructional guide and manual designed specifically for the employee side hustler tired of the 9-5 looking for a practical step-by-step process to build wealth while they work.

The financial crisis that erupted in 2008 throughout tens of thousands of people out of work and derailing their careers was a wake-up call for Chammas with respect to the financial uncertainty of living a paycheck to paycheck struggle as an employee of someone else

In this detailed guidebook to buying, owning, and managing rental properties, aspiring entrepreneurs can work through step-by-step processes for planning a real estate investing strategy. Instead of promoting foolish risks, "The Employee Millionaire" shows how to leverage a position as an employee to achieve personal financial freedom.

"The Employee Millionaire" shows how to: Evaluate the current state of your finances; Overcome limiting beliefs about money and investing; Set personal objectives to achieve financial freedom; Think and operate like a seasoned real estate investor.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Employee Millionaire: How to Use Your Day Job to Become a Millionaire with Rental Properties" is thoroughly 'user friendly' and real world practical, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Contemporary Business Management collections in general and supplemental studies lists on the buying, renting, and selling of an investment properties in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of business students, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Employee Millionaire" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.19).


The Business Shelf

Go/No Go.: Is Your Business Idea Ready to Launch?
Lauri Harrison
Twenty Steps Press
https://20stepspress.com
9780692189238, $12.95, PB, 142pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Why do over 50% of small businesses fail in their first year of operation? Before investing money into a business venture of your own or someone else, first invest your time into understanding the market so you can gauge willingness to buy.

Lauri Harrison started her career with MapQuest and currently works for Google guiding customers on their digital transformation journey. She has helped small business start-ups define their marketing and product strategies for nearly two decades and has seen too many small businesses make the same mistakes over and over.

In "Go/No Go.: Is Your Business Idea Ready to Launch?" Lauri walks you through the crucial steps needed to evaluate your business idea. You will learn how to: Make a decision with your eyes wide open; Save time, money, and human resources; Create and deliver value to the marketplace from day one; Collect information, then use tools and templates to make a rational "go/no go" decision .

Critique: Lauri wrote "Go/No Go" to explain the basics and so budding entrepreneurs can put their time, money, and energy toward success. She has fully succeeded in doing so, making "Go/No Go" an invaluable and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Business Management instructional reference collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of aspiring entrepreneurs and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Go/No Go" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Interconnectivity, Flow, and Balance
Yvette Bethel
Organizational Soul
9780578202662, $19.99, PB, 440pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Everything in an organization operates within an interconnected social and cultural ecosystem. This connectivity supports communication, productivity and other types of flow that have a personality and tempo of their own. In dynamic workplaces, interconnectivity and flow are enhanced by the process of balancing multiple tensions which is an important pre-requisite organizational adaptability and sustainability in an unpredictable, complex environment.

In "Interconnectivity, Flow, and Balance: A Values-Based Framework for Reinventing Leadership in Uncertain Times" Yvette Bethl offers a kind of follow-it-yourself road map to both self-transformation and cultural change. It introduces ideas that translate into practical models which can be applied to simple and complex workplace challenges.

Readers can use these models to: Enhance their culture by improving trust and engagement levels; Achieve healthy flow when communicating, producing output or even planning succession; Explore the potential for changes within their organization which can help to sustain balance; Maintain a state of balance that supports organizational sustainability.

Editorial Note: Yvette Bethel is a Fulbright Scholar and author of "E.Q. Librium: Unleash the Power of Your Emotional Intelligence" and the USA Best Book Award winning activity book, "Getting to E.Q. Librium". She is an HR and cultural change consultant with wide-ranging experience with government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and non-profit organizations. For more information about IFB products, she has a website at www.ifbcentral.com.

Critique: A complete course in organizational structure, development, and leadership, "Interconnectivity, Flow, and Balance: A Values-Based Framework for Reinventing Leadership in Uncertain Times" is exceptional in its organization and presentation, making it unreservedly recommended for corporate, community, and academic library Business Management collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for business students, academia, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers that "Interconnectivity, Flow, and Balance" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Fiction Shelf

Debt Collectors In Love
John Sandman
Whole Bean Books
9780692167731, $9.99, PB, 257pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The time is 2011, the place is New York. Kay Pigeon is a reporter for a Wall Street trade paper which is struggling with print journalism's transition to digital content. The newspaper on the verge of folding. The is the context in which defining experiences of two generations as portrayed in author John Sandman's novel, "Debt Collectors In Love".

Kay's estranged daughter is struggling with her student loan, which Kay co-signed, while her editor is struggling with an Alzheimer's diagnosis.

Kay takes over the payments which are being applied to the wrong loan and she can't find out why as it goes further into arrears. She is hounded by the loan servicer until a call center rep tips her off to corruption at the call center and offers to help Kay get to the bottom of it. Her daughter's student loan represents one kind of debt. The debt she owes her editor, whose demise is unexpected, amounts to a different kind and is one she can't repay.

The novel takes a three-day trip through Millennial debt, Atlantic City casino gambling, volatility on Wall Street, the impact of social media on journalism and gender conflict in the workplace. Kay enters a place where things she once counted on are no longer viable or are beginning to collapse, threatening her and the well being of people around her.

Critique: With a storyline that will especially resonate with readers experiencing the travails of how their own lives have become subjected to the impact of significant debt, "Debt Collectors In Love" is a compelling read from first page to last by an author with a genuine flair for narrative driven storytelling. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Debt Collectors In Love" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Love You S'more
Beth Merlin
Firefly Hill Press
https://www.fireflyhillpress.com
9781945495038, $14.99, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Having successfully designed the wedding gown of the century, Gigi Goldstein is on top of the world -- that is until it all suddenly comes crashing down around her.

When the paparazzi captures her and Perry Gillman in a compromising moment the night of the royal wedding, she finds herself entangled in a scandal of global proportion. Convinced her carelessness has ruined every relationship in her life, she's surprised and moved by her boyfriend, Gideon's, sudden proposal of marriage and accepts it without a second thought.

Four months later, Gigi's living at Badgley Hall contemplating an entirely new kind of life, while guilt, regret, and obligation keep calling her back to her old one. Will Gigi stay in South Gloucestershire, marry Gideon, and become the Countess of Harronsby? Or, will unfinished opportunities and an old flame bring her back across the pond to confront her past and reclaim her future?

Critique: A deftly crafted and riveting read, "Love You S'more" showcases author Beth Merlin's impressive flair for originality, exceptional narrative storytelling skills, and thorough mastery of the contemporary romance genre. With more plot twists and turns than a Bavarian pretzel, "Love You S'more" is unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated romance fans that "Love You S'more" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Gabrielle, Lost
Lynn Case
Westwood Books Publishing
https://www.westwoodbookspublishing.com
9781643614106, $12.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Gabrielle Grimaldi, the former party girl from Fears Revenge, thought she had finally found the right man, Frank, to settle down with. Her career in the fashion world was beginning to take off.

That is, until she gets the opportunity to do some training in Italy and meets Giada Rosso, a wild Italian, fast driving, hot tempered fashion house maverick that would be her trainer. The two women have an instant connection. Then Gabrielle meets Antonio, Gia's brother and tensions begin to rise between the three of them. She finds herself reverting back to her wilder ways.

Gabrielle soon discovers that her new found friends have a questionable family business on the dark side of the law. She finds shipments in the family vineyard wine bottles hidden amongst fabrics for the fashion house.

Soon she must decide between her boyfriend in America and her new friends in Italy. Confusion and tension rise as emotions continue to run high as kidnaping and sexual encounters ensue.

Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently riveting read from first page to last, "Gabrielle, Lost" by Lynn Case will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gabrielle, Lost" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1643614090, $7.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.03).

Moore, Than A Pretty Face
Ashlee Wynters
Balboa Press AU
9781504313896, $14.99, PB, 206pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ella Jade Moore is young, beautiful, career driven, and happily married -- or is she? She loves her husband. The more she thinks about it, the more she wonders if other people fake happiness, too.

The struggle between playing the good girl and embracing her dark side now begins to threaten Ella's adult existence. Ella has completely forgotten who she is. She must decide what she wants and whom she wants to be, and a promotion at work might help her make that decision, and help her find herself again especially when she meets her new boss.

Ella has always been beautiful, catching the eye of people around her. As a true believer in karma she must consider where does her reality start and fantasy end. Acutely aware of her actions, is she riding the wave of life, or is this the calm before the storm?

Critique: A deftly compelling psychological thriller of a read from beginning to end, "Moore, Than A Pretty Face" by Ashlee Wynters is an absorbing page turner by an impressively talented author and very highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Moore, Than A Pretty Face" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Soul Suites
Hulden Morse
Book Baby Publishers
www.bookbaby.com
9781543941784, $20.00, PB, 394pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Homeless people are vanishing from the streets of Chicago. But no one gives the disappearances a second thought, until a powerful CEO, Charles Pearson, pretending to be homeless in order to gather information for his company, is found to be one of the missing individuals.

A local search ensues, which leads to the discovery of extensive wrongdoings within Pearson's company. The local search quickly becomes a nationwide investigation that begins to turn society on its end, pitting large corporations against each other and leaving a frantic government to uncover the reasons behind an increasing number of missing people.

Meanwhile, the CEO awakens in an unfamiliar room, strapped to a metal table, incapable of even the smallest movement while emotionless strangers attach him to whining machines. The mysterious man placing electrodes to Pearson's chest is supposedly a doctor with good intentions, though his actions become increasingly perverse, increasingly violent.

The investigation into numerous disappearances, and the CEO's incarceration in a strange, dangerous facility, converge in the most unexpected way as the world discovers the truth behind Soul Suites.

Critique: Showing a genuine flair for originality, the crafting of memorable characters, more twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, and a thoroughly reading engaging narrative storytelling style, "Soul Suites" by Hulden Morse is a very highly recommended addition for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Soul Suites" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.82).

A Hairpiece Named Denial
S. Sal Hanna
Pelekinesis
9781938349959, $22.95, PB, 388pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: An elderly widow with no heirs and who had kept her wealth a private matter, Alice is a writer of comic prose. Now she has come up with a unique plan to give away seven million dollars. Set in a small town on the Great Plains in the 1980s, "A Hairpiece Named Denial" fully captures Alice's offbeat humor as she interacts with a young man who holds a BA in Philosophy and wears an Elvis-pompadour hairpiece. All the more impressive when considering that "A Hairpiece Named Denial" is the debut novel of Sal Hanna, this is a delightfully entertaining comic work that also harbors serious insights into the human condition.

Critique: While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Hairpiece Named Denial" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95).

Moon Flower
Neil Perry Gordon
Independently Published
9781732667723, $13.99, PB, 361pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It's the year 1675. Eighteen-year-old Lukas Pietersen is about to consume the ceremonial substance, known as Moon Flower.

The potent seeds from this nighttime blooming plant, as prepared and administered by a shaman, will cause Lukas to lose his memory and begin his quest to become a warrior of the Pequawket tribe.

"Moon Flower" by Neil Perry Gordon is an epic tale that follows Lukas, a young boy in the Dutch controlled territory of New Amsterdam, as he meets chiefs, shamans, warriors, and the English army on his quest to seek a connection with the Great Spirit.

From the New World to the city of Amsterdam, down to the slave coast of West Africa, and across the Atlantic Ocean to the slave mart of Charles Town, "Moon Flower" tells the story of Lukas Pietersen's adventures and his battles with a fearsome evil spirt known as the Wendigo.

Critique: A seventeenth century tale of a young man's search for the Great Spirit, "Moon Flower" is an impressively crafted and entertaining read that showcases author Neil Perry Gordon's genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Moon Flower" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Conversations at the Redwood
James Baar
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781546580492, $11.99, PB, 217pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Conversations at the Redwood: The Portraits Speak" by James Barr is a fictional historic romp of more than 60 famous and near-famous Americans whose famous and near-famous portraits crowd the walls of the 250-year old Redwood Library in Newport, Rhode Island.

They gather there in groups to talk in the early hours before dawn. Conversationalists include U.S. Presidents and would-be Presidents, colonial governors, merchant princes, Indian chiefs, doctors, lawyers, writers, military heroes, and aristocrats among others including a Common Reader.

They discuss 21 matters of universal interest such as war and memory; law, medicine and art; the written word and religion; dynasty and aristocracy; being in second place and unintended consequences.

Barr advises that all conversations were recorded on discs at the insistence of several former Redwood librarians whose portraits share the library's walls. All of the conversations now published for the first time were selected by an independent Editorial Committee and appear unredacted.

Critique: A simply fascinating, entertaining, and thought-provoking read, "Conversations at the Redwood: The Portraits Speak" is a unique and highly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Conversations at the Redwood: The Portraits Speak" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Promise of Us
Jamie Beck
Montlake Romance
http://www.montlakeromancemediakits.com
9781503905245, $12.95, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Claire McKenna knows about loss. The bullet wound that ended her promising professional tennis career drove her to make a quiet life for herself working with fabric samples, chatting with her book group, and spending time with her parents in her sleepy coastal Connecticut hometown.

Then there was the boyfriend who dumped her to pursue her adventurous childhood friend. Now, Claire's business has hit a financial snag, but she's up to the challenge. After all, she can survive anything. At least she thinks so...until her teen crush, Logan, returns to town with his sister, Claire's traitorous friend.

Photographer Logan Prescott is more playboy than homebody. But his sister's illness teaches him that there's more to life than chasing the next thrill. Bent on helping her win Claire's forgiveness, he turns his charm on Claire and offers her big bucks to renovate his multimillion-dollar New York City condo.

After years of playing it safe, Claire must now take some risks. The payoff could be huge, but if it all falls apart, can her heart recover from another loss?

Critique: A fully absorbing and unfailingly entertaining read from an author with a genuine flair for originality and an engaging narrative storytelling style, Jamie Beck's "The Promise of Us" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Promise of Us" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781721358182, $14.99, MP3 CD).

The Victory Garden
Rhys Bowen
http://rhysbowen.com
Lake Union Publishing
9781542040129, $24.95, HC, 353pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a "land girl," tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It's here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily's lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified -- and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.

As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny.

Critique: Set in the turbulent era of World War I, "The Victory Garden" is a deftly penned novel by an author with a distinctive flair for originality and an entertaining narrative storytelling style that will hold the reader's rapt attention from beginning to end. While "The Victory Garden" is especially recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Victory Garden" is also available in a paperback edition (9781542040112, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Spaces in Between
Count Collin Van Reenan
RedDoor Publishing
www.reddoorpublishing.com
c/o Trafalgar Square Books (dist.)
www.trafalgarbooks.com
9781910453483, $14.95, PB, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The year is 1968 and in Paris a man named Nicholas finds himself broke, without papers, and on the verge of being deported back to England.

Seeking to stay in France, he takes a three-month contract as an English tutor to the 17-year-old Imperial Highness Natalya. It is the perfect solution; free room and board, his wages saved, and a place to hide from police raids. All that is asked of Nicholas is to obey the lifestyle of the Victorian household and not to leave the house's grounds.

It should have solved all his problems.

"The Spaces in Between" goes on to detail the experiences of Nicholas as he finds himself an unwitting prisoner within an aristocratic household, apparently frozen in time, and surrounded by macabre and eccentric personalities who seem determined to drag him to the point of insanity.

Much deeper runs a question every reader is left to ponder -- if this tale were fact and not fiction, then what motivation could have driven his tormentors?

Critique: A unique, compelling, deftly scripted, and at times a simply riveting page-turner of a read, "The Spaces in Between" is an extraordinary novel crafted by an author with a genuine flair for originality and distinctively entertaining and thought-provoking narrative storytelling style. While Count Collin Van Reenan's "The Spaces in Between" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Spaces in Between" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Antidote: To The T-Rump Show
Robert Blackman
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781533393296, $9.99, PB, 103pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Manhattoes, original natives of Manhattan (renamed Spamerica) have been displaced from their land, at the southern end of the island and have been relocated to the northeastern tip of the island to a shanty town called, Albya.

El Presidente "Crooked Don" Don T-Rump is not only building a wall along the northern border with Canadastan, he is also building a wall along the southern border with Mexiraq.

Through the courts, claiming eminent domain, he has had the Manhattoes removed from their sacred lands. The unsung heroes, coming out of nowhere, showed up at ground zero, where the twin towers once stood.

They will represent the native people, the Manhattoes, filing a class action lawsuit, demanding the rightful restoration of Manhattoes native lands.

Critique: A deftly crafted satirical spoof on the current political shenanigans of our own President Donald J. Trump, is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. Sometimes the only antidote to aspiring tyrants is laughter -- the kind you'll find in reading"The Antidote: To The T-Rump Show". It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Antidote: To The T-Rump Show" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Dexxman
Robert A. V. Jacobs
Lulu Publishing
www.lulu.com
9780244135638, $29.95, HC, 262pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When the body of the British Home Secretary's son is found in an alleyway where he had been battered to death, Larry Dexxman, a seventy-five year old private detective, is thrown into the middle of a political minefield that could easily cost him his life.

His only protection is Sally, a tiny Shih-tsu/Yorkshire terrier cross, Penny his twenty-four-year-old assistant, and his own combat experience gained in the armed forces fifty years ago.

Narrowly surviving several attempts on his life, Larry must try to protect those around him while, at the same time, keeping his promise to the murdered boy's girlfriend that he would find out who was responsible and see that they are brought to justice.

Then when the Director General of MI6 is murdered, his daughter Hayley fears for her own safety, and turns to Larry and Penny as the only people that she can trust.

Critique: "Dexxman" is a deftly scripted thriller of a suspense mystery that has more plot twists and turns that a Coney Island roller coaster. An inherently riveting novel from beginning to end, "Dexxmann" showcases author Robert A. V. Jacobs genuine flair for originality and mastery of the genre. While very highly and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Dexxman" is also available in a paperback edition (CreateSpace, 9781493702626, $11.50) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Blood
Maggie Gee
Fentum Press
http://fentumbooks.co.uk
9781909572126, $15.95, PB, 296pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When a corrupt, brutal dentist, Albert Ludd, is found battered and bloody after failing to attend a memorial party for his youngest son, suspicion falls on the dentist's other children. Especially on the middle daughter, 37-year-old buxom bruiser Monica Ludd, who was heard 'uttering threats' against her absent father. How come her car is found outside Dad's house? Why did she buy a large axe? And yet, Monica's a deputy head teacher.

"Blood" is a Gothic black comedy seen through the eyes of six-foot Monica, who cannot help speaking her secret thoughts aloud and who has been banned by the principal of her school, from using social media.

Set in an angry, anarchic, Brexit-ing Britain where terrorism has become routine, "Blood" also raises serious questions about modern life: What can we do with the brutal men who bully women and the weak? Can we wait for a world of order and justice? If we hit back, can the circle of violence ever be broken?

Critique: An extraordinary and deftly crafted novel of considerable complexity, "Blood" by author Maggie Gee is an inherently compelling read from beginning to end -- one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after that book has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Blood" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.42).

Losers Gallery
G. J. Prager
JV Books
9781795512817, $10.95, PB, 238pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Robert Klayman, a former Los Angeles private investigator, is out of prison after doing time for gunplay on his last P.I. job. Black-listed and broke, he falls in with a gangster who sends him to Ukraine to move a stolen Rembrandt out of the country. Klayman is offered a bonus, too - a hit job on a suspected war criminal. Each step of the way, Klayman must operate under the watchful eyes of the Russian mob, and has to choose his conscience or the laws of the jungle while chasing a dream that is soaked in blood at every turn.

Critique: An impressively crafted and riveting read from beginning to end, "Losers Gallery" showcases author G. J. Prager's genuine flair as a novelist for originality and an entertaining style of narrative storytelling. "Loser's Gallery" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.

Countdown America
M. C. Fox
Independently Published
9781732914421, $19.99, PB, 303pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After the loss of her husband, CIA agent Isabella Bendel accepts a promotion to Chief Supervisor (a much less dangerous position than what she's accustomed to) so she can raise her two children without fear of leaving her children without any parents. But any illusions of safety are shattered when, while on her Sunday morning jog in a Washington, DC park, Isabella survives a brutal assassination attempt.

She hauls her assailant into CIA headquarters, confident she can get to the bottom of why he was after her. Her blood runs cold when she learns the truth... as he was trying to take her out, armed terrorists abducted her children and mother right out of her home.

Pushed to the brink of what any mother can endure, Isabella calls on all of her training and deadly skills to get her family back. During this mission, she fights her way through assassins, cyber-terrorists, and duplicitous fellow agents, leading her to uncover a Russian threat that is hell-bent on destroying the United States.

Critique: A deftly written and inherently riveting suspense thriller of a novel by an author with a special and effective narrative storytelling style, "Countdown America" is an extraordinary and riveting read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Countdown America" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Man in the Cellar
Palle Rosenkrantz
Kazabo Publishing
PO Box 2127, La Mesa, CA 91943
www.kazabo.com
9781948104135, $10.99, PB, 188pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Holger Nielsen just wanted a quiet London vacation when he rented 48 Cranbourne Grove. But the rental agent forgot to mention he'd be sharing his new home with a very hungry cat and . . . the man in the cellar.

When Holger Nielsen stumbles on a murder, the obvious thing to do is report it to the authorities and get on with his life. But as the crime unravels, it isn't clear whether it's worse to be an accessory to murder or an accessory to justice. "The Man in the Cellar" is more than just a great mystery. It's an insider's tour of turn-of-the-century London and Denmark. But beware. Scandinavia hasn't always been IKEA and Legos.

Editorial Note: Baron Palle Adam Vilhelm Rosenkrantz, (1867-1941), is the father of the Danish mystery novel. In the early part of the 20th century, he was one of the best-selling authors in Scandinavia and Germany. To this day, the Palle Rosenkrantz Prize is awarded annually to the best crime novel published in Danish.

Critique: Ably translated into English for the first time, "The Man in the Cellar" by the late Palle Rosenkrantz is a deftly crafted novel by an author who was not only a master of the mystery/suspense but basically launched the genre to a Danish readership. An inherently riveting, page-turner of a read from first page to last, "The Man in the Cellar" is unreservedly recommended for community Mystery/Suspense shelves, as well as academic library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "The Man in the Cellar" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

The Killer Collective
Barry Eisler
https://www.barryeisler.com/index.php
Thomas & Mercer
9781503904262, $24.95, HC, 401pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When a joint FBI - Seattle Police investigation of an international child pornography ring gets too close to certain powerful people, sex-crimes detective Livia Lone becomes the target of a hit that barely goes awry -- a hit that had been offered to John Rain, a retired specialist in "natural causes."

Suspecting the FBI itself was behind the attack, Livia reaches out to former Marine sniper Dox. Together, they assemble an ad hoc group to identify and neutralize the threat. There's Rain. Rain's estranged lover, Mossad agent and honeytrap specialist Delilah. And black ops soldiers Ben Treven and Daniel Larison, along with their former commander, SpecOps legend Colonel Scot "Hort" Horton.

Moving from Japan to Seattle to DC to Paris, the group fights a series of interlocking conspiracies, each edging closer and closer to the highest levels of the US government.

With uncertain loyalties, conflicting agendas, and smoldering romantic entanglements, these operators will have a hard time forming a team. But in a match as uneven as this one, a collective of killers might be even better.

Critique: A deftly crafted suspense novel of betrayal and revenge, "The Killer Collective" is a page turner of a read that showcases the author's originality and impressive narrative storytelling style. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Killer Collective" is also available in a paperback edition (9781503900950, $15.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Dragon's Heir
Glenn Parris
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781984541505, $34.99, HC, 432pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Efilu archeologist, Vit Na, is a misfit among her crew. En route to Fitu, their planet of origin, the Efilu research vessel, ReQam's important jobs have been assigned to specialists, scientists and soldiers. Were it not for her intimate relationship with High Commander Tur, her Synesprit, she would not have been on this expedition at all. The ship's complement arrives to a world they never expected, a world no longer their own.

When the invincible ReQam is crippled by the new inhabitants, Tur's crew is stranded thousands of light years from home. As far as anyone knew, all Fitu's abandon, indigenous life forms perished 65 million years ago along with The Keepers, followers of the ancient mystic, Dragon. Due to her petite size, for she is nearly as small as the biped mammals they contend with, Vit Na is conscripted as in infiltrator, and deployed among the hostile mammals who have evolved to resemble the Efilu.

It soon becomes clear that the vital resource for which Tur's seeks was intentionally tainted to draw the Efilu back of this strange world. Vit Na finds herself uniquely prepared to serve as desperately needed advocate to the crafty mammals who filled that vacant, Efilu niche and are now in jeopardy. Who would have guessed that a daughter of noble house Kemit would be destined to defend vermin, long believed extinct after the Efilu Exodus from a world now called Earth?

Critique: A deftly written and fully engaging novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and a distinctive narrative storytelling style, "Dragon's Heir: The Archeologist's Tale" by Glenn Parris is a thoroughly entertaining read from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated SciFi buffs that "Dragon's Heir: The Archeologist's Tale" is also available in a paperback edition (9781984541512, $23.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.03).

Challenges of the Gods
C. Hofsetz
The Wild Rose Press
https://www.thewildrosepress.com
9781509224326, $16.99, PB, 374pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After Mike goes through a gut-wrenching betrayal by his fiancee, he finds himself in what he thinks might be the afterlife. But this is no heaven. The gods made a mistake and created another Earth in a parallel universe, putting both universes in peril. They need someone from his planet to destroy the alternate, and Mike is randomly selected for the job.

Trapped in an impossible choice, Mike accepts his mission and is returned to an Earth (and a body) so unlike his own. There, he meets Jane, who is (unbeknownst to him) the secret leader of an organization bent on tracking down Earth's saboteur.

In the face of her passion for humanity, Mike's resolve falters. If Mike won't complete his mission, the gods will.

Critique: Showing a genuine flair for originality, narrative storytelling, and the crafting of more plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, C. Hofsetz's "Challenges of the Gods" is a riveting great read from beginning to end and certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the persona reading lists of dedicated science fiction fans that "Challenges of the Gods" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Dreamcatch
Emma Berg
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
www.xlibris.com
9781543465310, $34.99, HC, 440pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Joseph Archer has been spending his days as a live-in servant for the family who bought his family's ancestral home, and he is living peacefully. But his uneventful days come to an abrupt end when he meets a Catcher named Madeleine, who has come to catch the dreams of young master Thomas.

In a fit of temper, Joseph touches the Catcher's hood, which begins his own transformation into being a Catcher. Through his travels, Joseph tries to understand his new world, learning the secrets of the Catcher's trade and the motivations of Madeleine, who is hell-bent on finding a cure for her affliction.

Critique: An enduringly entertaining saga of a novel, "Dreamcatch" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Emma Berg's debut as a novelist. Deftly crafted with more plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, "Dreamcatch" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dreamcatch" is also available in a paperback edition (9781543465327, $23.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Ten Thousand Thunders
Brian Trent
Flame Tree Press
https://www.flametreepress.com
9781787580183, $24.95, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Having just been killed in a mysterious shuttle explosion (in the year 322 death is just a passing inconvenience), Gethin Bryce is back to uncover what happened. An unusually gifted investigator with the InterPlanetary Council, Gethin is tasked with seeking out the truth behind unexplained anomalies that lie outside IPC control.

His investigation takes him from the luxurious enclaves of Earth's elite, to the battered Wastelands beyond civilization's protective thrall. Linking up with an inquiry team from a planet-spanning corporate powerhouse, he also befriends a grim and reluctant outlander who has an important piece of the puzzle -- evidence of a sadistic entity which threatens not just civilization, but all life.

Critique: An inherently compelling and entertaining read from first page to last, "Ten Thousand Thunders" by Brian Trent reveals the author's impressive talent for originality, an exceptionally engaging narrative storytelling style, and a mastery of the science fiction genre. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated SciFi fans that "Ten Thousand Thunders" is also available in a paperback edition (9781787580169, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.29).

The Book of Spells
John J. Miller, M.D.
KOKR Publishing
9781732638006, $13.99, PB, 212pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Transporting the reader back to Southern England into the midst of the seventh century, "The Book of Spells" by Dr. John Miller takes readers to the mystical Kingdom of Vilgar which is governed by a generous king in whose household an evil wizard has positioned himself.

Convincing the king that his powers of magic and premonition will benefit the kingdom, Malecar becomes the court wizard, surreptitiously studying the dark arts in his quest to rule over the kingdom. When Martir, a kind and gentle wizard arrives, he is appointed Malecar's apprentice and becomes a close friend and confidant of the king's son, Audric.

The forest bordering Vilgar is a refuge to three witches. The women are in possession of a book they cannot open. Dabbling in the dark arts so that they might protect themselves, they realize that the book may contain the darkest of spells. Confronted by Malecar, the sisters give him access to their book of spells, and the evil within him allows him to open it.

What happens when an evil wizard has access to powers beyond his wildest desires? Or when a gentle wizard becomes his nemesis and the only protection for the Kingdom he serves?

Working its magic on young and old alike, "The Book of Spells" will carry readers to a time and place where magic is the norm, where good and evil are at odds, and where the gentle are stronger than they ever imagined they could be.

Critique: An inherently engaging, unfailingly entertaining, and deftly written fantasy novel by a master of the genre, Dr. John Miller's "The Book of Spells" is an extraordinary read and certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections -- and is a 'must' for the personal reading lists of all dedicated fantasy fans!

Rise Of Prophecy
Abdur R. Mohammed
Independently Published
9781732475335, $14.99, PB, 348pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Prophecy says ancient visitors from the stars shall return at the end of this age to pass judgment on the world. Peace will usher in prosperity; war promises annihilation. They rest in-stasis, hidden away with terrible weapons of mass-destruction. The Empire of Atlantis seeks the power of the ancients to conquer all through vehement war.

Humanity's fate rests with a group of misfits, led by a mysterious figure with an ancient bloodline. A race begins, with opposing sides locked in a deadly quest to find the mythical land of the ancients.

One mantra holds true for those amidst the unfolding of the prophecy -- "Fight the future."

Critique: A riveting page-turner of a read from cover to cover, "Rise Of Prophecy" showcases Abdur R. Mohammed's genuine flair for originality and a distinctive narrative storytelling style as a novelist. The first volume in the author's 'Anuk Chronicles' series, "Rise Of Prophecy" is very highly recommended, especially for community library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated SciFi fans that "Rise Of Prophecy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Two Skies Before Night
Robert Gryn
Robert Omeljanivk, Publisher
9781942392088, $15.95, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In a city that crosses all realities, everything is possible, and everything is complicated. A murder of two lovers seems simple, but when the man is from Above and the woman from Below it's anything but.

Detective Lang hunts for the killer. The chase takes him from the decrepit neighborhoods of Below to the highest towers of Above. And somewhere in between, he finds himself in a game between ambition and betrayal, whose stakes are not life or death, but only his soul.

Critique: A deftly blended mix of detective mystery combined with science fiction/fantasy, "Two Skies Before Night" is an inherently fascinating and riveting read from beginning to end by an author with a genuine knack for an entertaining and distinctive narrative storytelling style. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections, it should be should be noted for personal reading lists that "Two Skies Before Night" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).


The Self-Help Shelf

Track Your Truth
Puja A. J. Thomson
Roots & Wings Publishing
P O Box 1081, New Paltz NY 12561
https://www.rootsnwings.com
9781928663102, $17.95, PB, 172pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Puja A. J. Thomson, director of Roots & Wings in New Paltz N.Y., offers holistic counseling, interfaith ceremonies, and workshops on various health, wellness, and spirituality topics throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley.

In "Track Your Truth: Discover Your Authentic Self ", by Puja offers the tools to discover your inner wisdom in order to live a life of personal integrity. It is easy to be distracted in our fast-paced world, if you listen to others but not to yourself. You may even lose touch with your own core values. In order to have a life of integrity, it has to be fully your own.

Rather than looking outward to find truth and understanding, "Track Your Truth" shows how to become a detective of what works and what doesn't in your life when you pay attention within. You can learn to recognize and follow the clues that your body, mind, emotions and spirit give you, that you may have ignored.

This warm clear encouraging guide is filled with practical tips, research-based information, stories and explorations to help you gain access to the wisdom within. While each chapter is designed to build on the previous one, each person's journey will be different. Thus those with specific interests may delve in at any point to whatever resonates with them.

Critique: Offering a potentially life changing, life challenging, life enhancing, yet 'real world practical' instructional guide and manual, "Track Your Truth: Discover Your Authentic Self" is an extraordinary read from cover to cover and very highly recommended for both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be note for personal reading lists that "Track Your Truth" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Book of Don
Donald E. Lewis
Catchfly Press
https://catchflypress.com
9781732634107, $24.00, PB, 514pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Book of Don" by Donald E. Lewis showcases 693 principles of personal and business success that will improve reader's personal lives significantly.

Life-changing, life enhancing, life-fulfilling, "The Book of Don" is a 'real world practical" manual for creating a successful life regardless of whatever the reader's current personal conditions are.

A timeless compendium of powerful tools that are applicable for everyone from a street urchin in Mumbai tomorrow to a Fortune 50 CEO in Manhattan a thousand years from now, "The Book of Don" is an ideal read for anyone progressing from one stage of their life to another.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Book of Don: 693 Principles of Personal and Business Success" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement instructional reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Book of Don" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Biography Shelf

Good Afternoon Vietnam
Gary L. Wilhelm
Independently Published
https//frugal-engineer.com
9780692999905, $23.00, PB, 108pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A true story of adaptation, survival and the life perspective war can bring, "Good Afternoon Vietnam: A Civilian in the Vietnam War" is the personal account of a civilian technology engineer who worked with the Marines in DaNang, Vietnam, in 1968 and 1969.

Gary Wilhelm arrived in a blue suit and tie from a military chartered plane and finally found his back way to the USA for a company that resisted ending his work term and allowing him to come home. His stories are a first-person account with several being quite humorous.

Being in an active war zone Gary's position was working with the computer technology of the time and the US Marine Corp. No one else from his company who had previously gone to Vietnam was available to tell him what he could expect. No one was even there to meet his plane!

Gary's memories include the night sky being alive with planes circling the base, listening to a bamboo band play American military songs, learning first-hand how difficult holidays are in a war zone, whereas a civilian he was not allowed to carry a weapon. His volunteer position as a substitute English teacher for the South Vietnamese was protected by Marines with shotguns and side-arms.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and inherently fascinating, "Good Afternoon Vietnam: A Civilian in the Vietnam War" is an extraordinary account and one that is very highly recommended for community, college, and university library Vietnam War collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Good Afternoon Vietnam" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Warrior CEO
Mark Taylor
Taylor Publishing LLC
www.warriorceobook.com
9780998021904, $49.95, HC, 150pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the profusely illustrated pages of "Warrior CEO: The Remarkable Journey of Milan Panic and ICN Pharmaceuticals", author Mark Taylor chronicles the colorful and fearless business exploits of ICN Pharmaceuticals' MilanPanic, one of the drug industry's longest-reigning founders and CEOs. Panic's deals in the industry were legendary. Over four decades, the one-time Yugoslav bicycle champion built from scratch one of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Panic defected to the United States in 1956 in search of the American dream. His unique business journey included becoming prime minister of war-torn Yugoslavia in the '90s, one of the few American citizens ever to run a foreign country.

A consummate negotiator, Panic acquired more than 75 companies and raised more than $5 billion during his 42 years at the helm of NYSE-traded ICN. Using a "take no prisoners" style of leadership, he competed in pharmaceutical markets all over the world. The ultimate risk-taker, he once acquired 7.3% of the voting stock of F. Hoffmann-La Roche.

Critics forever challenged his tactics, called him a rogue, and even tried to unseat him in proxy fights. Yet Panic seemed to always prevail, and his companies grew bigger and more valuable along the way. "Warrior CEO" is his inspiring story.

Critique: A simply fascinating, exceptionally well written, deftly organized, and impressively informative biography, "Warrior CEO: The Remarkable Journey of Milan Panic and ICN Pharmaceuticals" would well serve as a template for the professional life story of other significant corporate leaders and is an unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary Biography collections.

The Best Seven Years of My Life
George Shannon & Chad Patrick Shannon
Independently Published
9781732645530, $29.95, HC, 154pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: With retirement approaching and his marriage on cruise control, George Shannon left for a much-needed vacation with his wife Carol. Their lives changed forever on their final night in Cabo San Lucas, when George awoke to find that Carol had suffered a debilitating stroke.

As they rushed back to their hometown of Pittsburgh, questions, doubts, and fear consumed George's mind: Would Carol survive? What level of care would she need? Would George be up to the task of serving as her caregiver -- a role he knew nothing about?

During the next seven years, George and Carol would face a series of medical and personal challenges that would relentlessly test their resolve. Every day George would help Carol meet her needs, and every night, he would go to bed wondering whether he had done enough.

He soon discovered that the caregiver role comes with unexpected rewards -- gifts that would leave him a better, happier, and more fulfilled man. "The Best Seven Years of My Life: The Story of an Unlikely Caregiver" is the personal memoir of an unlikely caregiver, a journey to rediscovering humility, and the story of a man blessed with the amazing chance to fall in love all over again.

Critique: Impressively candid, informative, and ultimately inspiring, "The Best Seven Years of My Life: The Story of an Unlikely Caregiver" is an extraordinarily personal account that is especially recommended reading for anyone who finds themselves with cargiver responsibilities for a loved one. While unreservedly recommended for all community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Best Seven Years of My Life" is also available in a paperback edition (9781732645547, $17.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Two Years of Wonder: A Memoir
Ted Neill
CreateSpace
9781546581888, $14.99, PB, 280pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: On September 25, 2012, Ted Neill picked up a knife to cut his wrists open and kill himself.

Post hospitalization and treatment for major depressive disorder, he wrote "Two Years of Wonder", a memoir based on his journey towards recovery. In it, he examines the experience that left him with such despair: living and working for two years at an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS in Nairobi, Kenya.

Neill interweaves his story with the experiences of Oliver, Miriam, Ivy, Harmony, Tabitha, Sofie, Nea, and other children, exploring their own paths of trauma, survival, and resilience. In prose that is by turns poetic, confessional, and brutal, Neill with the children he comes alongside, strive to put the pieces of their fractured lives back together as they search for meaning and connection, each trying to reclaim their humanity and capacity to love in the face of inexplicable suffering and loss.

Editorial Note: In addition to his time living in Kenya, Ted Neill has worked for CARE and World Vision International in the fields of health, education, and child development. He has written for The Washington Post and published multiple novels. His share of proceeds from Two Years of Wonder are donated to the children featured in its pages as well as other Kenyan based organizations that support vulnerable children and youth.

Critique: A thoughtful and candid account of a hard life lived out in hard times, "Two Years of Wonder: A Memoir" is a riveting read and one 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. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Two Years Of Wonder: A Memoir" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Wait, It Gets Worse
Lydia Slaby
Disruption Books
http://disruptionbooks.com
9781633310285, $17.00, PB, 276pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Lydia Slaby was 33 years old and had everything she believed would make her happy: three fancy private school degrees, a successful husband who was in the inner circles of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, a high-paying job as an attorney -- even an enviable yoga practice.

But under the surface Lydia's life was in free fall. Her new marriage was one argument after another, she had a job she never wanted, and for some reason she had begun to rapidly lose weight, eventually turning a strange shade of yellowish-green.

When she made a doctor's appointment to talk about the toll of extreme stress, she was instead admitted with a diagnosis of lymphoma. As a cancer survivor, Lydia tries to piece back together her marriage, her career, and her own worth. It's an imperfect rebirth, but perfection is something she must abandon if she is to find a new, calm, healthy life.

Critique: Impressively candid and ultimately inspiring, "Wait, It Gets Worse: Love, Death, and My Transformation from Control Freak to Human Being" is a deftly written memoir that especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections and a 'must read' choice for anyone who is struggling with their own medical problems. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wait, It Gets Worse" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.39).

The Dr. Erica Miller Story
Erica Miller
Best Seller Publishing, LLC
9780984229857, $24.95, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Dr. Erica Miller Story: From Trauma to Triumph" is the personal memoir of Erica Miller told with no holds barred.

She takes her readers from her childhood in Rumania, to her life under a brutal Nazi regime, to her emigration to Israel, and then to her eventual emergence as a dedicated mental health professional in America.

Facing obstacles that would daunt most of us, Dr. Miller inspires with her perseverance. Her focus on the task at hand is a lesson to be taken to provide an inspiration for all and to share a very special life legacy for those will come after her.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, deftly candid, inspired and inspiring, "The Dr. Erica Miller Story: From Trauma to Triumph" is an extraordinary story of a woman who has lived her live under extraordinary circumstances in extraordinary times. While very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Dr. Erica Miller Story" is also available in paperback (Best Seller Publishing, 9781946978462, $24.99, 322pp) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Travel Shelf

The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book
William A. Gordon
North Ridge Books
http://nrbooks.com
9780937813089, $16.95, PB, 286pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The self-guided tours comprising "The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book" will enable travelers discover where today's Hollywood stars live and work. This nicely illustrated and specialized travel guide covers a little of everything: celebrity homes and haunts; locations all over greater Los Angeles where popular and classic motion pictures and television shows were filmed; the studios; sites of infamous Hollywood scandals, murders, and suicides; and other sites where entertainment history, including sites that inspired songs.

"The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book" is updated annually and covers 17 different areas of greater Los Angeles (from Pasadena to Malibu and the northern San Fernando Valley to the South Bay.) Readers can also ask the publisher to send them e-mail updates.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book" is as fascinating and informative to browse through as it is to plan day trips and sight-seeing tours with. While highly recommended for community library travel guide collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).


The Christian Studies Shelf

The Quest for Wisdom
Patti Hanni
Pearson Jagoe Publishing
www.pearsonpub.us
9780984332656, $30.00, PB, 174pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Patti Lynn Hanni is a Cherokee Indian born into a family of 14 children. She and other siblings were adopted to separate families and eventually Patti was sent to live in the Baptist Children's Home. At the age of 23, she was successful in locating all the members of her biological family and hosted a joyous reunion for all.

1988, Patti met her soul mate, Ernest (Curly) Hanni and they have been married for almost 30 years. In 2010, the two joined the Kings Trail Cowboy Church and in 2011, Patti became Team Leader of the Silver Spurs Ministry at Kings Trail, for those over the age of 50. She served in this capacity for three years and during that time, organized the church Christian Video Library.

In 2014, Patti became the Administrator for Hands of Faith Ministry, and she stepped into the Team Leader role for Hands of Faith in 2018. Patti has organized a variety of Outreach Projects at Kings Trail; all of which, she says, have been God-breathed. These projects include Prayer Warrior outreach, Encouragement Cards, Hospital visitation, Nursing Home, Rehabilitation Home, Crisis Center, Homeless Shelter, Prison Pen Pals, and The Next Step (for the newly Baptized).

Fall of 2015, saw a new chapter open for Patti as she began to write a series of daily devotional books which she is now compiling into a 365-day devotional.

"The Quest for Wisdom" by Patti Hanni provides discerning interpretations of several Books of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible which contain the stories of some of the minor prophets. These Books include Ecclesiastes, Hosea, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, and Haggai. Maps of the Holy Land show the reader where the events of each Book occur. The beautiful photographs taken by Patti provide an illustration of the mood of each of the Books. The reader will come away with a new understanding of each Book and how the message of each applies to modern life.

Critique: Informed and informative, beautifully illustrated, inspired and inspiring, "The Quest For Wisdom" is an impressive and ideal introduction for Christians to the minor prophets of the Old Testament. Suitable for Old Testament individual reading lists or group studies curriculums, "The Quest For Wisdom" is unreservedly recommended for all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations.


The Science Shelf

Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of Our Planet
Joel Simpson, et al.
www.joelsimpsonart.com
JSS Books LLC
www.earthforms.net
9780578211220, $45.00, HC, 168pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The "geological photography" of Joel Simpson embraces more than just landscape imagery in the pages of "Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of Our Planet". This unique volume treats the reader to striking large-scale views, as he creates photographic art out of rare mineral configurations on scales both medium and small.

Simpson deploys unusual perspectives and intricate compositions in far-flung locations that invite serious viewing, often evoking surrealist or abstract expressionist art. For example, among the 123 geo photos comprising "earthforms", are the toothed Ordovician strata of Llangranog, Wales; an ice canyon in the fog at Yolyn Am, Mongolia; the cotton-wool-like calcium carbonate "frostwork" in a cave at Is Zuddas, Sardinia; varieties of honeycomb-like tafoni juxtaposed with a phantom humanoid puddle on Gabriola Island, British Columbia; the ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle of the littoral reef in Doolin, Ireland; and mud mosaics that project back virtually in time in Bisti Wilderness, NM.

The large-scale landscapes that buoy the image-flow of "Earthforms" are often dark or moody, such as an otherworldly cave scene in Vietnam, where daylight pouring in from the exit reveals the humid inside atmosphere as a cloud, or the dark line of Mono Lake's tufa towers and their reflections framed by the ocher of dawn, or the unmistakable silhouette of Monument Valley after dark, punctuated by a lone headlight.

Though the primary appeal of "Earthforms" is aesthetic, it includes notes on the geological settings of the photographs in the extensive captions at the back of the book, as well as a colorful geologic time-scale in the front end paper that situates the images in deep time.

The images are preceded by essays by public interest lawyer Daniel Sheehan and Lakota attorney Chase Iron Eyes on the confrontation between the Water Protectors of Standing Rock, ND, and the oil company developing the Dakota Access Pipeline. That 2016 clash serves as an emblem of the ongoing struggle to save the Earth.

Critique: Unique, fascinating, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Earthforms: Intimate Portraits of Our Planet" is an extraordinary and very highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary Photography collections in general, and Geological Studies supplemental curriculum reading lists in particular!


The Cookbook Shelf

Mix Match - Make Take
Daniel J. Witherspoon
Make & Take LLC
9781943650811, $29.95, PB, 170pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: With recipes ranging from Grilled Flatiron Steak; Mole Rubbed Chicken Thighs; Italian Wedding Soup; and Traveling Caesar Salad; to Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry; Grilled Lamb Chops; and Brown Rice with Garlic and Pine Nuts, "Mix Match - Make Take: High Energy Food for High Energy People" is a cookbook that is specifically designed by professional chef Daniel J. Witherspoon to not only to help you make fresh and healthy food but also how to mix it up and pack it up for your next day's lunch or the following day's second dinner.

The ingredients required for this compendium of recipes focus on fresh proteins, grains, vegetables and fruit and contain very little gluten, sugar or dairy. These uncomplicated dishes are created for active people who want to eat fresh and healthy but do not have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. You will be astonished how a few simple steps can lead to amazing results.

You can follow the complete menus as planned or mix and match amongst a number of proteins, foundations, vegetables and flavors, selecting your favorite components. These recipes are all designed to easily travel and can be served the next day cold or reheated in the microwave.

Critique: Taking a unique approach to palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, 'make full use of leftovers' that is thoroughly kitchen cook friendly, "Mix Match - Make Take: High Energy Food for High Energy People" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal and community library Contemporary Cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Mix Match- Make Take" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Delicious Medicine: The Healing Power of Food
Tina Martini
https://www.themedicinechef.com
CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
www.createspace.com
9781721895779, $24.95, PB, 102pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina "The Medicine Chef" Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina's Ageless Kitchen. As Chef-Owner, at the Ageless Kitchen restaurant Tina's cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe.

In "Delicious Medicine: The Healing Power of Food" Tina draws upon her years of experience and expertise to create a simply gorgeous cookbook that includes 24 delicious phyto recipes for radiant health.

More than a just another beautifully illustrated cookbook "Delicious Medicine" also provides unexpected insights into the history and healing power of clean eating, along with thoroughly kitchen cook friendly recipes to help reduce the risk of disease and improve overall wellness so that life can be enjoyed to the fullest!

Critique: From an Asian Shrimp Salad; to Mini Street Tostadas with Black Bean Hummus and Citrus Salad; to Gluten Free Flax Crackers; to Buttermilk Dumplings with Warm Blueberry Compote; to Chia Hot Chocolate with Coconut Whipped Cream and Coconut 'Bacon' Sprinklers, "Delicious Medicine: The Healing Power of Food" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal and community library Contemporary Cookbook & Dietary Health collections.


The Relationship Shelf

Finding Hope in the Crisis
Maura A. Matarese
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
www.balboapress.com
9781982204433, $30.95, HC, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the age of modern love, where people value and long to live authentically, many find themselves in a crisis of lost love. Whether they are going through a divorce, dealing with infidelity, trying to manage a manipulative partner or find themselves alone again and starting over, there is an anchor of hope inside of them and creative solution to their crisis.

Utilizing the age old art of storytelling, "Finding Hope in the Crisis: A Therapist's Perspective on Love, Loss, and Courage" by author, speaker, and psychotherapist Maura A. Matarese shows the reader through clinical case studies, historical stories, mythology and even sporting events, how psychotherapy can help them find their inner hope and courage, so they can take a U-turn off the road of Loves Labors Lost and travel down the road of Loves Labors Won.

Critique: Offering extraordinary insights that are both thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Finding Hope in the Crisis" is inspired and inspiring, yet 'real world' practical and accessible for the non-specialist general reader with no particular background in psychology or crisis management. Especially recommended reading for anyone having to deal with the emotional aspects of human attachments (especially when the go sour), "Finding Hope in the Crisis" is impressively well written, organized and presented. While very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Finding Hope in the Crisis" is also available in a paperback edition (9781982204426, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.15).


The Political Science Shelf

American Politics on the Rocks
Rich Rubino
Independently Published
9780692156001, $25.00, PB, 312pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: These days the presidency of Donald J. Trump operates like a kind of reality tv show complete with good guys, bad guys, and a whole lot of drama on a daily basis. One of the unintended consequences seems to be the engaging of attention by whole sectors of ordinary citizens that never paid government that much attention to politicians and politics between elections.

Enter "American Politics on the Rocks: The Bizarre Side of American Politics" by Rich Rubino who takes his readers on a roller coaster of a ride tour through the bizarre back streets of American politics.

"American Politics on the Rocks" is a compendium of politically humorous and obscure political information that will enable even the most political novice to make a political conversation fun, intelligent.

Major topics covered in "American Politics on the Rocks" includes: unusual presidential facts, feisty first ladies, family feuds, debate debacles, White House rats, diabolical dirty tricks, embarrassing hot microphone moments, inflammatory insults, White House ghosts, and humiliating bloopers.

Critique: Whether viewed from the political left, the political right, or the every shrinking political middle, "American Politics on the Rocks" is the perfect book for our contemporary politics. A 'must read' for all dedicated political junkies, "American Politics on the Rocks" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental studies reading lists.


The Audiobook Shelf

An Outlaw Makes It Home
Eli Jaxon-Bear
New Morning Books
https://www.outlawmakesithome.org
9781732952317 $35.00 amazon.com

Synopsis: Can drugs, sex and revolution lead to lasting fulfillment and love? This memoir by Eli Jaxon-Bear, framed as a teaching story, using Joseph Campbell's model of the hero journey, answers this question in an exciting, funny and deeply personal memoir.

From being attacked by possemen on a civil rights march in Alabama to becoming a federal fugitive in a cabin in Colorado, Jaxon-Bear's life then leads us to the uncharted Andes, a Zen Monastery in Japan and a Sufi initiation in Morocco. We are taken on a roller coaster adventure of discovery in the search for freedom and finally finding true love and fulfillment. We see the tests and challenges that confront all of us as we navigate through life in the search for happiness.

Critique: An Outlaw Makes It Home: The Awakening of a Spiritual Revolutionary is the audiobook rendition (7 CDs) of a true-life memoir of one person's quest for fulfillment and enlightenment. Filled with captivating stories of travel, adventure, and "school of hard knocks" learning, An Outlaw Makes It Home is utterly captivating from beginning to end. It should be noted for personal reading lists that An Outlaw Makes It Home is also available in hardcover (9780692599877, $24.95), paperback (9780985691158, $TBA) and on Kindle ($9.99).


The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

These are the Voyages
Marc Cushman
http://www.thesearethevoyagesbooks.com
Jacobs Brown
www.jacobsbrownmediagroup.com
9780999507872 $39.95 amazon.com

Synopsis: These Are the Voyages: Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek in the 1970s, Volume 1 (1970-75), in hardback and 763 pages in length, with hundreds of pictures, is the first in a two-book set chronicling the period in Star Trek history spanning the cancellation of the original series and continuing through the making and release of 1979's Star Trek - The Motion Picture. In between these two events, Star Trek became a worldwide phenomenon. Factors in this renaissance were a boom in syndication, the coming of the conventions and fanzines, and an unparalleled expansion in merchandising. As the number of fans multiplied in massive proportions, and the reruns of the "Classic 79" episodes topped the ratings for their time slots in cities across America and around the world, curious developments were taking place behind the scenes.

Volume 1 opens with a foreword by the legendary D.C. Fontana (Star Trek writer extraordinaire, Original Series story editor, and Animated Series associate producer). It focuses on the first half of the decade, including Roddenberry projects Pretty Maids All in a Row, Genesis II, The Questor Tapes, Planet Earth, Strange New World, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and much more. Volume 2 (scheduled for Summer 2019) picks up the story with the second half of the 1970s. It will narrate Roddenberry's final pilot film of the decade, Spectre, plus the aborted "Phase II" Trek series, the numerous starts and stops for a movie version, and, lastly, Star Trek - The Motion Picture. No stone is left unturned.

Critique: The first volume in a two-volume set, These Are The Voyages: Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek in the 1970's, Vol. 1 (1970-1975) is a resource and reference compendium for Star Trek fans and pop culture scholars alike, extensively detailing the Star Trek sci-fi franchise and Gene Roddenberry's storytelling in the years between the original television series and the phenomenal release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. (Not all of the projects analyzed take place explicitly in the Star Trek universe, but Roddenbery's creative genius is their common connection). Extensive plot summaries, behind-the-scenes anecdotes from a wide variety of people who contributed to making the historic series, and much more fill this connoisseur's dream. Among the side materials examined in depth are Star Trek: The Animated Series; "The Questor Tapes", a made-for-TV sci-fi drama conceived by Roddenberry and credited as inspiration for the character Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the "Planet Earth" sci-fi TV movie set on a post-apocalyptic future Earth, and more. A wealth of black-and-white photographs and screenshots round out this "must-have" for dedicated fans of the classic series, highly recommended.


The Health/Medicine Shelf

Crack The Code
Louis Bezich
https://50plusmen.com
Somo Press
9781732552807, $19.99, PB, 302pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Crack The Code: 10 Proven Secrets that Motivate Healthy Behavior and Inspire Fulfillment in Men Over 50" by health care executive and professional Louis Bezich presents an unconventional, motivation-based approach to health.

Ten strategies for creating and maintaining inspiration for a healthy lifestyle are advanced from a platform of survey research, interviews and the author's personal experiences.

Asserting that without motivation no diet, exercise program, technology or other strategy will produce sustained results, "Crack The Code" describes how healthy-living men, one of the most health-challenged segments of the American population, exhibit a strong cognitive association between their life's priorities and their behaviors; a catalytic awareness in which men often integrate their valued relationships into their health behaviors (they take walks with their wife).

The principle focus in "Crack The Code" is on motivation and the psycho-social underpinnings of behavior fills a gap in a market dominated by publications on traditional diet and exercise. By digging deeper and using everyday men as a source, "Crack The Code" breaks new ground for a burgeoning segment of the baby-boomer population that is in desperate need of help.

Critique: Impressively informed and informative, "Crack The Code" is exceptionally well written, organized and presented for the benefit of non-specialist general readers including men over 50, their wives, partners, children and grandchildren. Additionally "Crack The Code" will be of immense interest and value as an informational resource for health care providers, insurers, policy makers. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Health & Medicine collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Crack The Code" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


James A. Cox
Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
e-mail: mwbookrevw@aol.com
http://www.midwestbookreview.com


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