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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 12 December 2013 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christmas Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Self-Help Shelf Parenting Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Architecture Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Business Shelf World History Shelf Crafts Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Relationship Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
African-American Studies Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf
Social Issues Shelf    


Reviewer's Choice

My Grandparent
Dick Edwards & Korinn S. Hawkins
Amber Skye Publishing
1935 Berkshire Drive, Eagan, MN, 55112
www.amberskyepublishing.com
9780989400312, $14.95, 102 pp, www.amazon.com

A superbly organized 'fill in the blank' style workbook, "My Grandparent: A Life and Times Journal for Grandchildren of All Ages" is ideal for children wanting to make a memorial history of the life, times, and accomplishments of their grandparents. Very nicely organized into four main sections (Growing Up Years; Work Life & Family Years; Grandparenting & Retirement; Looking Back - Looking Ahead). Of special note are the instructions on how to use "My Grandparent: A Life and Times Journal for Grandchildren of All Ages" and a place for basic family facts to be recorded. The three concluding sections (A Letter to My Grandparent; A Letter from My Grandparent; Family Recipes and Photographs) round out this excellent do-it-yourself information gathering project. "My Grandparent: A Life and Times Journal for Grandchildren of All Ages" is very highly recommended, especially to those with an interest in introducing their children to genealogy and creating life-time lasting memorials.

A Commonplace Book of Pie
Kate Lebo, author
Jessica Lynn Bonin, illustrator
Chin Music Press
2621 24th Ave W., Seattle, WA 98199-3407
9780985041670 $17.95 www.chinmusicpress.com

A Commonplace Book of Pie features a handful of recipes for making beloved favorite pies, such as Mumbleberry, Cherry Rhubarb, Peach Ginger, and "master recipe" basics that can be adapted to one's own culinary creations, yet it's only partly a cookbook. The majority of A Commonplace Book of Pie is devoted to vignettes, history tidbits, and musings about different types of pies, including what one's favorite type of pie may communicate about one personally, interspersed with earthy color illustrations. "Pecan: Only those who will live longer than they expected to can truly love pecan pie, which doesn't explain its status as death row's most requested last dessert, or why chopped pecans, corn syrup, directions from the Karo bottle's cherry-red side are what mercy tastes like to some..." A most delightful pie-lover's giftbook, ideal for the holiday season!

The Backstory of Wallpaper
Robert M. Kelly
WallpaperScholar.Com
9780985656102 $29.95 WallpaperScholar.com

The Backstory of Wallpaper: Paper-Hangings 1650-1750 is a unique, scholarly treatise examining the phenomena of wallpaper, especially during America's colonial days. The concept of wallpaper became popular enough to span an ocean from Europe to America, but its earliest days, was it truly only for the wealthy? Who bought, sold, and installed it? How expensive was it at the time? The Backstory of Wallpaper explores all these questions, and compares wallpaper to other options for decoration. A handful of black-and-white illustrations enhance this methodical, heavily researched and carefully documented scrutiny of an often-overlooked aspect of everyday art, decoration and culture. Highly recommended, especially for scholarly or historical library collections.


The Christmas Shelf

A Better December
Steven Estes
New Growth Press
PO Box 4485, Greensboro, NC 27404
www.newgrowthpress.com
9781936768677, $12.99, 96 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "A Better December" applies Solomon's Proverbs to holiday stresses. Playful and tiny, this illustrated work would be a good gift for your unbelieving friends as it gently introduces Jesus during a month when they are more receptive. For All Who Long for True Comfort and a True Home. Combining true, heart-warming stories with pen-and-ink illustrations, the book uncovers and answers our December longings. Beginning with bite-sized chapters of Solomon s advice to frazzled, lonely people at Christmas, Steven Estes presents the ancient sage as penning his blockbuster Proverbs to help future readers through holiday stress and even sadness. Meant to be shared with all who long for a better December, it points the way to true comfort and a true home. "A Better December" is an ideal gift book for non-Christian friends and neighbors with a gradual, non-threatening introduction to the gospel.

Critique: A pure delight to browse through, "A Better December" is as inspired as it is inspiring, making it especially appropriate reading during December's holiday season -- along with a great deal of value for the rest of the year as well!


The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Sets, Lights & Lunacy
Lloyd Burlingame
Design Adventures
c/o MM Publicity
2817 West End Avenue, Suite 126-274, Nashville, TN 37203
9781489587527, $25.99, 210 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Sets, Lights, and Lunacy, A Stage Designer's Adventures on Broadway and in Opera", chronicles the bright sunset of 'The Great White Way.' Focusing on the 'sixties and seventies,' it illuminates a unique link in the long chain of theatre history. As a Broadway stage designer during the great heyday of prolific producer, David Merrick, Burlingame enjoyed more than his share of the spectacular ups and downs, hilarities and epiphanies of a theatre career. Collaborating with a variety of directors, including Franco Zeffirelli, George Abbott, Peter Brook, George Roy Hill, and Peter Hall, made for a wide spectrum of experiences to share. When he moved from the world of theatre to the realm of opera, he had the rare opportunity to design new productions for divas Beverly Sills, Martina Arroyo, Joan Sutherland, and Leontyne Price. The reader is invited to join him backstage to meet a colorful cast of characters, and to experience the roller-coaster ride of a show business career.

Critique: Nicely illustrated with occasional full color images of stage sets, Lloyd Burlingame's "Sets, Lights, and Lunacy, A Stage Designer's Adventures on Broadway and in Opera" is an informative and fascinating insider's story from behind the scenes as to what it is like for a stage designer to put on Broadway theatrical shows and first class productions of operas for a discerning audiences and demanding directors. The anecdotal stories are especially fascinating reading, making ""Sets, Lights, and Lunacy, A Stage Designer's Adventures on Broadway and in Opera" highly recommended reading for theatre students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in contemporary performing arts productions. A welcome addition to academic and community library Theatrical Studies collections, it should also be noted that "Sets, Lights, and Lunacy, A Stage Designer's Adventures on Broadway and in Opera" is available in a Kindle edition ($7.99) as well.


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Six
Joseph Selbie
Protectors Press
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9780989805209, $14.95, 274 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Protectors Michael and Elle are thrown into an all-out search to find and stop a shadowy group that is on the brink of controlling the world's money. Joined by super-hacker Xu, and newly Awakened East End bank bandit, Fiona, Michael and Elle pose as colossally rich bait to lure the Six out of deep cover. Finding their quarry proves deadly dangerous and sets Michael and Elle racing around the globe, desperately seeking a way to stop the Six before their leader, Asher, destroys their minds. . . .

Critique: "The Six" is the second volume in Joseph Selibie's superbly written science fiction series "The Protectors Diaries" and continues to document Selibie's singular talent as an imaginative writer able to combine memorable characters with a deftly woven, complex, and original story. "The Six" is one of those relative uncommon occurrences where the sequel is as exciting and entertaining as its prequel "The Fifth Force" (9780615501376; PB $16.99; Kindle $4.99). Solid entertainment from first page to last, "The Six" is highly recommended for personal scifi fan reading lists and community library science fiction collection. It should be noted that "The Six" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

Armageddon And The 4th Timeline
Don Mardak
Grand Circle Publications LLC
16901 West Glendale Drive, New Berlin, WI 53151
www.donmardak.com
9780964422810, $18.95, 320 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Armageddon and the 4th Timeline" is a mystical fantasy with three interweaving themes. First, it is a fast-paced adventure about the war on terror and the potential nuclear holocaust that the world is now facing. Second, Armageddon is a mind-bending odyssey through time and space, as one young man named Eric makes three journeys back in time in an attempt to alter some important event that might change the future. New-age spiritual principles are mixed in throughout this riveting page-turner, giving the reader much to think about life, spirituality, and the future of mankind.

Critique: "Armageddon and the 4th Timeline" documents Wisconsin author Don Mardak as a singular talent as he deftly weaves a seminal, complex, action adventure science fiction fantasy that will hold the reader's rapt attention non-stop from beginning to end. Especially recommended for scifi enthusiasts, "Armageddon and the 4th Timeline" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted that "Armageddon and the 4th Timeline" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).

Kinship: The Covering
Maria Watson
WriteLife Publishing
2323 South 171 Street, Suite 205, Omaha, NE 68130
www.writelife.com
9781608080847, $9.99, 212 pp., www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Kin live in a peaceful covering, far from the evil of plotting elves. That all changes when a fireball streaks across the sky and slams into the forest. Somewhere in the burnt trees, between Kin territory and the enemy stronghold, lies a broken and distressed ship. The Kin need to decide - is this an elf trick, staged to lure them out for capture, or is someone really in need of help? What they find changes everything.

Critique: The first volume in what promises to be an outstanding series by author Maria Watson, "Kinship: The Covering" debuts the arrival of a singularly gifted author with a firm grasp of storytelling skills that grip the reader's total attention from beginning to end. A solid entertainment, "Kinship: The Covering" is highly recommended for the personal reading lists of scifi fans and will leave them looking eagerly toward the next volume of the promised Kinship series. It should be noted that "Kinship: The Covering" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

Lonely In The Heart Of The World
Mindi Meltz
Logosophia, LLC
90 Oteen Church Road, Asheville, NC 28805
www.logosophiabooks.com
9780981575742, $29.00, 832 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Lonely In The Heart Of The World" begins with the unseen princess named Lonely by the wind of a City whose people have forgotten their bodies, hearts, and souls; as she escapes from her illusory tower to search for the mysterious prince who never showed up. Guided in her journey by wilderness outcasts, gods, and wise animals, she gradually becomes human; discovering her first desire with a tortured dragon god of the desert, and awakening to the cycles of earth and family on a humble mountain farm. At last she soars to spiritual heights with her ghost-prince above the clouds, only to lose him again, falling backward into the painful truth of her own past as the polluted river goddess carries her to the City at the Heart of the World. Long ago, Lonely's own father built the City on top of a mystical swamp, displacing her prince's people and forcing them to transform into shape-shifting dream gods. Now her search for her beloved intertwines with that of the dragon god, a seductive huntress haunted by her past, an abused child who in her madness hides her soul in the form of a unicorn, and the witch who cursed Lonely but who paradoxically holds the key to her salvation. Battling the inner demons of rage and pain, all must find the courage to reclaim their own identities, wildness, and divinity in order to save the City and themselves from cataclysmic destruction.

Critique: An epic saga of the first order, "Lonely In The Heart Of The World" establishes author Mindi Meltz as an outstanding literary talent able to deftly weave a complex novel replete with plot twists and memorable characters with a prose that at times approaches a kind of poetry. A contemporary approach to a kind of fairytale mythology, "Lonely In The Heart Of The World" is a completely entertaining work that would grace the shelves as an enduringly popular addition to any community library collection.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

To Sleep... Perchance To Die
Donald R. Grippo
Turn The Page Publishing
c/o Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
PO Box 421156, San Diego, CA 92142
9781938501128, $24.99, 232 pp., www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "To Sleep... Perchance To Die" is a sexy, psychological thriller in which Eurasian beauty Mai Faca plots to marry Jake Warden, a successful oral surgeon forbidden to her because of family honor. In an unheard-of scheme, fellow surgeon, Bret Manley, falls victim to Mai's seduction as she and Jake play a cruel trick to be together. Jake acts with surgical precision to clear the path to Mai's happiness, threatening lives including his own. In a wake of turmoil and destruction, Bret's uncle and well-known criminal attorney Hubie Santos attempts to find out if a surgeon would use his knowledge to kill.

Critique: "To Sleep... Perchance To Die" is the debut novel of author Donald R. Grippo and clearly establishes him as an especially gifted writer able to weave a complex plot while populating his imaginative story with memorable characters and unexpected developments. Highly recommended and entertaining reading, it should also be noted that "To Sleep... Perchance To Die" is available in a Kindle edition ($7.99) as well.

The Black Owls
Alan Thompson
A-Argus Books
9001 Ridge Hill Street, Kernersville, NC 27285
9780615863870, $17.99, 324 pp., www.amazon.com

Synopsis: An ocean liner is destroyed and the ruins of an old church blown up, and other parts of England are menaced by unknown "terrorists." The University of Oxford is threatened with a bomb, and the Duke of Aylesbury - Tony Markham to his intimates - calls on Georges St. Cyr, formerly one of America's most ruthless intelligence agents, for help. The Muslim diaspora in London, higher-ups within the University itself, even the government, are suspected, and the two old friends have seven days to avert disaster. It's immediately apparent that the British government, despite acquiescing in St. Cyr's investigation, is engaged in a cover-up. Whitehall's hand-picked Chancellor at Oxford, John Cromwell, comes under suspicion. Other clues point to Ahmed Zhev, Chief of Pakistan's notorious Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence. England is in turmoil, its most venerable institution threatened and, as time runs out, the future is in the hands of a single man.

Critique: "The Black Owls: An Oxford Nightmare" marks author Alan Thompson as a decidedly talented storyteller with an ability to hold his reader's rapt attention with a thriller of a plot will all manner of unexpected twists and turns. A first rate and deftly written novel, "The Black Owls: An Oxford Nightmare" is highly recommended reading and a solid choice for community library fiction collections. It should be noted that "The Black Owls: An Oxford Nightmare" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).


The Fiction Shelf

The Guns Of Mestonville
John A. Messmer, Jr.
Tate Publishing
127 East Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
www.tatepublishing.com
9781679943985, $24.99, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In 1875 Mestonville, Kansas, the law is in conflict with the most powerful and influential man in the area. When Luke March's son is killed, his obligation is to protect his status and family. The Sheriff is torn between duty, Luke, and the members of the city council who are benefiting from the growth of the town with improper rules. Many want the status quo but others are settling in the area with different morals. Tensions rise as the conflict increases with misunderstandings and secrets, which are revealed. The survival of the town depends on the result of the conflict. The cost may be too high for everyone in either case.

Critique: John A. Messmer Jr. is a skilled and imaginative writer whose "The Guns Of Mestonville" is an extraordinary western that grips the reader's total attention from beginning to end. A satisfying and entertaining read, this is the kind of novel that Hollywood's blockbuster western movies used to be based upon. Highly recommended for western novel enthusiasts, it should be noted that "The Guns Of Mestonville" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99). Also highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library fiction collections is Messmer's World War II novel "The Golden Lions: The Battle of the Bulge" (9781629944005, $24.99); his two science fiction novels "Before Yesterday Comes Tomorrow" (9781629944012, $21.99) and "Within the World of Forever" (9781629944029, $29.99); and his contemporary fiction novel "Ten on a Skillet" (9781629943992, $29.99).

Caught In The Current
Daniel Hryhorczuk
Langdon Street Press
www.langdonstreepress.com
9781626522688, $15.95, 294 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Caught in the Current takes the reader on a magical mystery tour of Eastern and Western Europe during the summer of 1970, a tumultuous period of free love, equal rights demonstrations, and Vietnam antiwar protests in America, but an equally revolutionary period in Alec's life. Raised in Chicago as Ukrainian, Alec is caught between identities--is he American or Ukrainian? His personal beliefs are pushed to the limit as he undertakes a risky mission to learn about political dissidents in Soviet-dominated Ukraine. Detained, interrogated, and finally deported from the Soviet Union, Alec seeks refuge in earthquake-ravaged Banja Luka where he begins to see the world from a different perspective. Questioning himself and his values, Alec finally finds his anchor in Stefi, his girlfriend from Chicago, who helps him discover his true identity.

Critique: Simply stated, "Caught In The Current" is one amazing read and decidedly establishes Daniel Hryhorczuk as a talented author of wit, imagination, and a fundamentally gifted storyteller able to draw upon his own first-generation Ukrainian-American background to create a semi-autobiographical novel that never fails to entertain the reader from first page to last. Highly recommended reading, it should also be noted that "Caught In The Current" is available in a Kindle edition ($9.99) as well.


The Christian Studies Shelf

Joshua's Way
Robert L. Wise
Leafwood Publishers
1626 Campus Court, Abilene, TX 79601
www.leafwoodpublishers.com
9780891123378, $14.99, 224 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Joshua's Way offers ten principles that allowed a small, insignificant Israeli army to become the major force in their time. Each principle is vital for success in living the Christian life. Contemporary Christians are living in a time when the church often forgets the importance of divine directives for the battle with evil. Nevertheless, a war is currently being waged in which following the right direction is a matter of life and death. Satan has not slacked off. Once again, Joshua has important instructions for God's people.

Critique: An accomplished and talented author, Robert L. Wise is able to deftly communicate in a way that is both inspired and inspiring with "Joshua's Way: Spiritual Warfare Lessons For Today's Battles". As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Joshua's Way" is very strongly recommended reading for all Christians regardless of their denominational affiliation. It should also be noted that "Joshua's Way" is available in a Kindle edition ($9.99) as well.


The Self-Help Shelf

Path Of The Novice Mystic
Paul Dunion
River Grove Books
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
www.pauldunion.com
9781938416392, $14.95, 270 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Path of the Novice Mystic" provides a unique look into the world of secular mysticism. Dr. Paul Dunion suggests that peace comes when we accept the world's inherent uncertainties and begin to approach life with elevated curiosity and enthusiasm. Dunion guides you toward maintaining a heightened level of mindfulness in everyday life. He shows how the simple act of being fully present and cultivating a soul practice opens the gates to unity-the essence of the novice secular mystic and the key to finding depth and meaning in life. "Path of the Novice Mystic" unique blend of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality.

Critique: A seminal work, Dr. Dunion draws upon his many years of experience and expertise to write a compellingly informative and thoughtful work that is especially recommended for non-specialist general readers with an interest in improving their lives by improving their responses to life. Inspired and inspiring, "Path Of The Novice Mystic" is a highly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library Self-Help instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Path Of The Novice Mystic" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).


The Parenting Shelf

Raising Teens With Diabetes
Moira McCarthy
SpryPublishing, LLC
2500 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
www.sprypub.com
9781938170201, $15.95, 272 pp., www.amazon.com

Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), and polyphagia (increased hunger). Adolescence can be a particularly difficult time for diabetics because of the body's developing hormones, physical growth spurts, and inevitable mood swings all exacerbated when combined with blood sugar problems. Diabetic teen years presents parents with health problems that non-diabetic children are not heir too. "Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents", by diabetes mom, author, and advocate Moira McCarthy, is a compendium of 'real world' observations, advice, information, and encouragement that is exceptionally well written and presented. Very highly recommended, "Raising Teens With Diabetes" should be required reading for the parents of diabetic teenagers and will prove to be a significant addition to community library Health, Medicine, and Parenting reference collections. It should be noted that "Raising Teens With Diabetes" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Spookiest Lighthouses
Terrance Zepke
Safari Publishing
9780985539856, $9.95, 138 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: SPOOKIEST LIGHTHOUSES reveals the most haunted lighthouses in America. Paranormal activity ranges from the frequent smell of cigar smoke to piano music heard inside abandoned lighthouses where there is no piano or radio! Most of these historic sites are open to the public and some even offer ghost tours and investigations. In addition to the paranormal discussion, a brief history, photographs and detailed visitor information are included in every chapter.

Condemned prisoners were executed here...their anguished screams can still be heard at Execution Rocks Lighthouse (New York). The spirit of a murdered keeper still lingers at St. Simon's Lighthouse (Georgia). He climbs the tower stairs every night still trying to perform his duties. Every night the tower door is locked and the alarm system activated at St. Augustine Lighthouse (Florida). Every morning the door is found unlocked, yet the functioning alarm never goes off and no human presence is ever discovered. Thousands of Confederate soldiers died while imprisoned at Point Lookout Lighthouse (Maryland) during the Civil War. A paranormal investigation captured twenty-four different voices cursing, moaning, and saying things such as "Help!" and "Bad Shape!" on digital recorders. When a keeper's wife ran away with a local ferry captain, the keeper at New London Ledge Light (Connecticut) killed himself but many believe that his spirit is still here. The paranormal activity at Port Boca Grande Light (Florida) involves a pirate and a princess.

Critique: "Spookiest Lighthouses" is an impressive effort and documents Terrance Zepke as an accomplished writer able to quickly engage the interest of his readers and hold that attention until the last line of the final page. "Spookiest Lighthouses" is very highly recommended reading for lighthouse enthusiasts in general, and students of Metaphysical/Paranormal Studies in particular. It should be noted that "Spookiest Lighthouses" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).


The Architecture Shelf

Ancient Wisdom and Modern Knowhow
Robert Maxwell
Artifice Books on Architecture
c/o Lakewood Art & Architecture
575 Prospect Street, Suite 301, Lakewood, NJ 08701
9781908967145, $39.95, 192 pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Adept at moving between the examination of modern and contemporary architecture, art, literature and music, Robert Maxwell is a respected scholar whose critical writings articulate the role architecture plays in contemporary culture. In Ancient Wisdom And Modern Knowhow, Maxwell considers the notion of doubt encountered by the modern architect. In ten chapters that draw upon writers and topics as diverse and engaging as Andre Malraux and his concept of the Musee Imaginaire, Colin Rowe and his exploration of Mannerism in Modern Architecture as well as Rowe s book with Fred Koetter, Collage City, and examining works by artists including Albrecht Drer, Picasso and Duchamp and architects including James Stirling, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind, Maxwell steps effortlessly through a range of ideas and concepts, to create an engaging and provocative thesis.

Critique: Erudite, articulate, impressively encompassing, and a complete course of instruction under one cover, "Ancient Wisdom and Modern Knowhow: Learning to Live With Uncertainty" is an impressive work of seminal scholarship in the field of architecture that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Also very highly recommended for academic library collections is Robert Maxwell's earlier work, "A Few Years of Writing: Interspersed With Some Facts of Life" (9781908967077, $29.95, 192 pp).


The Cookbook Shelf

The Paleo Slow Cooker
Arsy Vartanian
rubiesandradishes.com
Race Point Publishing
c/o Book Sales, Inc.
276 Fifth Avenue Suite 206, NY, NY 10001
c/o Dalyn Miller Public Relations
9781937994075 $27.00 www.racepointpub.com

The Paleo Diet is a dietary and exercise regimen that seeks to recreate how humans ate in prehistoric hunter-gatherer eras, excluding such agricultural products as grains, lentils, soy, and dairy that were not part of a neolithic diet. Proponents believe that gluten, lectins, and other hard-to-digest dietary components depress one's digestive health, and therefore one's overall health. Whether or not one agrees with the philosophy behind the Paleo Template (a term author Arsy Vartanian prefers, since no one diet is going to perfectly suit all people), the health value of nutrition-rich Paleo meals of made entirely of natural ingredients is undeniable. Packed with full-color photography, The Paleo Slow Cooker: Healthy, Gluten-Free Meals the Easy Way is a methodical guide to making the most of one's slow cooker, and includes such delicious recipes as Spicy Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Prunes, Slow-Cooker Chicken Pesto with Macadamia Nuts, Persian Mixed Vegetables, Roasted Beets with Bacon, and much more. Highly recommended for anyone seeking to take advantage of their slow cooker to prepare healthy, easy-to-make meals!


The Business Shelf

Pick Up The Damn Phone!
Joanne S. Black
Booktrope Editions
336 Bon Air Center, #399, Greenbrae, CA 94904
www.nomorecoldcalling.com
9781935961468, $16.95, 216 pp., www.amazon.com

The art of the sale, with its myriad of variables, is a very human process of personal communication and one that simply cannot be automated. Fundamentally, a successful sale derives from 'real conversations with real people'. In "Pick Up the Damn Phone! How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal", Joanne Black draws upon her many years of experience and expertise with respect to 'referral selling' and details why anyone involved in sales, regardless of the product or service being marketed, should be tweeting less and talking more to the customers and contacts who really matter. Informed, informative, and thoroughly 'user friendly', "Pick Up the Damn Phone! How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal" is strongly recommended reading and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to professional, corporate, and community library Business Studies instructional reference collections. It should also be noted that "Pick Up the Damn Phone! How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.95).

Hiring Geeks That Fit
Johanna Rothman
Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.
38 Bonad Rd., Arlington, MA 02476
9780985482039 $29.95 jrothman.com

Hiring Geeks That Fit is a guide written especially for businesspeople and personnel managers in charge of hiring knowledge workers ("geeks"), particularly in technical and computer fields. Chapters discuss effective hiring strategies, how to create the right style of "help wanted" advertisements in social media, phone-screens, in-person interviews, evaluating references, creating a great first-day hire experience and much more. Although Hiring Geeks That Fit is especially tailored to knowledge worker recruitment, it's packed with tips, tricks, and techniques valuable to those tasked with hiring people in any field. "Don't promise a promotion in the future, especially along with an associated salary increase... Your company might merge, miss earnings, or have layoffs. Instead, promise the candidate that a formal performance review will be held at the end of three months (or six months, or whatever time frame you prefer)." An invaluable resource for large and small businesses alike!


The World History Shelf

The European Theater Anthology of World War II
Kenneth C. Weiler
Ostfront Publications
PO Box 453
Hanover, PA 17331
www.weilerpublications.com
9780982577936 $24.99 www.ostfrontpublications.com

The European Theater Anthology of World War II is coffee-table hardcover compendium filled with information about the lesser-known aspects of World War II in Europe. A basic familiarity with the events of World War II is presumed, but the text is reader-friendly and thoroughly accessible. "The most dreaded German weapon, very familiar to all Allied infantrymen who faced it, American, British and Soviet, was the Maschinengewehr 42 (machine gun) or, more familiarly, the MG 42... Some Allied soldiers also said it sound like a giant tearing paper when fired." Occasional black-and-white as well as some color illustrations enhance this repository of oft-overlooked facts, created especially for historians yet fascinating for readers of all backgrounds to browse. Highly recommended, especially for public and college library World War II collections.


The Crafts Shelf

Mixed Media Masterpieces with Jenny & Aaron
Jenny Heid & Aaron Nieradka
Page Street Publishing Co.
27 Congress Street, Suite 103, Salem, MA 01970
c/o The Trina Kaye Organization (publicity)
9781624140280 $19.99 www.pagestreetpublishing.com

Mixed Media Masterpieces with Jenny & Aaron: Create Incredible Art Journals and Handmade Mixed Media Treasures with Two Master Crafters is a wonderful compendium of hands-on projects by the creators of the crafting blog "Everyday is a Holiday". Projects involve basic crafting materials such as acrylic paints, Crayola air-dry clay, magazine images, decoupage medium, all-purpose glue, watercolor paper, etc. Although many of the suggested creations (photographed in full color!) have an old-time theme, creative crafters can easily alter the chosen designs to personal taste! The result are memorable, hand-made gifts and decorations, ideal for the holiday season. Mixed Media Masterpieces with Jenny & Aaron features twelve general projects, from cute faux doughnuts to turning a wedding photograph into a timeless work of art, to unforgettable journals. Highly recommended as a font of inspiration for mixed-media crafters and hobbyists of all skill and experience levels!


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Shifter
Brian Haberlin and Brian Holguin, authors
Brian Haberlin, Geirrod Van Dyke, Kunrong Yap, and Chan Hyuk Lee, illustrators
Anomaly Productions
c/o Goldberg McDuffie Communications (publicity)
Bing Communications Group (publicity)
9780985334215 $29.95 www.experienceshifter.com

Co-written by Brian Haberlin (award-winning creator of the comics "Witchblade" and "Aria") and Skip Brittenham, Shifter is an astonishing science fiction graphic novel that uses the Ultimate Augmented Reality (tm) technique to seamlessly integrate its nigh-photorealistic, full-color illustrations into an extraordinary saga of one man's struggle against a fiendish corporate evil. Noah is an ordinary civil servant who suffers an unexpected mishap while hiking - and stumbles upon a discovery of galactic proportions. It appears to be an ancient machine, governed by a sentient artificial intelligence, and it has preserved intact an unknown number of animal species for countless eons - including a strong-willed Celtic woman from the era of the Roman Empire! As the machine's operator, Noah has the ability to enter the mind of any creature and wander the present day, seeing what it sees, knowing what it knows. He even has the power to take control of living creatures or people outside the machine, but at what moral cost? His quandary becomes worse when he learns that his co-worker has been murdered and he's been framed for the crime. A corporate conspiracy is afoot to spread murder and destruction across America; Noah is the only person with the knowledge and the ability to stop it! Action and intrigue blend to a fine froth in this exciting saga. The Shifter graphic novel also comes with a free app for iOS and Android, so that readers can use Ultimate Augmented Reality to view more than twenty 3-D models. Highly recommended, especially for fans of quality science fiction.

Von Herling, Vampire Hunter
Max West
Different Mousetrap Press LLC
PO Box 1321
Greensboro, NC 27402
9780989069618 $16.99 maxwest.wordpress.com

Von Herling, Vampire Hunter is an original black-and-white graphic novel, featuring anthropomorphic canine, feline, and vulpine characters. The story is a chilling horror tale about the depredations of a murderous vampire; Von Herling has tracked the undead monster across continents, to a small town in the American South where vampires are dismissed as myths to frighten children. Von Herling must present himself to the townspeople as a practitioner of "holistic medicine" to justify carrying garlic! Author Max West is a connoisseur of classic horror movies and novels, in which vampires were a menace to be rightfully feared, and it shows in this excellent tale of suspense. Von Herling, Vampire Hunter is recommended for older readers due to violence and some profane language. A Von Herling sequel is forthcoming; fans of Max West's work can also enjoy "Sunnyville Stories Volume 1" and "Sunnyville Stories Volume 2", both of which are more lighthearted and suitable for all ages.


The Relationship Shelf

The Geek's Guide to Dating
Eric Smith
Quirk Books
215 Church Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781594746437 $14.95 quirkbooks.com

The Geek's Guide to Dating is a solid guide to meeting and going out on a first date with a significant other. Although written especially for people who adore geekery such as sci-fi TV and video games, beneath the barrage of pop-culture jokes and references is extremely savvy and practical-minded advice that anyone in the relationship game will find useful. From ways to meet people of the opposite sex (outside of one's hobby circles, there's also volunteer work, computer stores, museum exhibits, flea markets/antiques stores, and much more), to preparing oneself physically and mentally for a first date ("...selecting your wardrobe for a date is less about establishing geek cred than about proving yourself as someone she can see herself hanging out with in public"), to pursuing a long-lasting relationship, or even handling a breakup, The Geek's Guide to Dating is an absolute "must-read" social skills primer. Highly recommended!


The Needlecraft Shelf

Cut It, Sew It, Stow It
Ebony Love
Annie's
9781596357532 $12.95 www.annies-publishing.com

Cut It, Sew It, Stow It: Organizers for Your Home is a hands-on pattern book of ten easy-to-make sewing projects; the finished items are practical, efficient organizers for one's home or offers. The projects include wall organizers, hanging buckets, a bedside saddlebag, a stowaway pillow cover and more. Step-by-step instructions illustrated with full-color photography throughout makes Cut It, Sew It, Stow It as accessible as can be. An excellent resource for creating useful, memorable, handmade holiday gifts!

Learn to Make Pintucks, Pleats & Ruching
Laura Estes
Annie's
306 East Parr Road
Berne, IN 46711
9781596358065 $9.95 AnniesWSL.com

Learn to Make Pintucks, Pleats & Ruching is a flat-spined, hands-on needlecraft guide to 11 techniques that enrich sewing projects with distinctive cloth textures. Sample projects such as a hot pad, a table runner, pillow sham, flower-embellished tote bag, spring tulip wreath (made of fabric tulips) and more encourage needlecrafters to practice their skills on unique and beautiful creations, perfect for holiday gift-giving! An excellent, inexpensive resource to broaden one's sewing repertoire, highly recommended.


The African-American Studies Shelf

To Raise Up a Nation
William S. King
Westholme Publishing, LLC
904 Edgewood Road
Yardley, Pennsylvania 19067
9781594161919 $35.00 www.westholmepublishing.com

Also available as an ebook, To Raise Up a Nation: John Brown, Frederick Douglass, and the Making of a Free Country examines the American Civil War with particular emphasis on the role that African-Americans played in changing public sentiment against slavery. From the interconnected lives of John Brown and Frederick Douglass, the rise of antislavery sentiment in the North, to disputes within the African-American community as to whether mass emigration was the best choice, to men of color who chose to serve in the U.S. Army, and much more. Notes, a bibliography, and an index round out this seminal addition to Civil War and African-American studies shelves, highly recommended especially for public and college library collections.


The Health/Medicine Shelf

A Clinical Guide to Nutrition Care in Kidney Disease, second edition
Laura Byham-Gray, PhD, RD; Jean Stover, RD, LDN; and Karen Wiesen, MS, RD, LD, editors
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
9780880914703 $65.00

Now in its second edition, A Clinical Guide to Nutrition Care in Kidney Disease is a manual especially for health care professionals and renal dietitians, whether working with adult or pediatric patients. Thoroughly researched and emphatically practical, A Clinical Guide to Nutrition Care in Kidney Disease covers alternative treatment options such as nocturnal home dialysis, acute kidney injury, mineral and bone disorders, nutrition management for kidney transplant patients, medications commonly prescribed for chronic kidney disease, managing anemia, and much more. "[For child kidney transplant patients] Previous recommendations for higher protein requirements in the immediate post transplant period to compensate for adverse consequences of surgical stress and high-dose corticosteroid therapy... are no longer considered appropriate because children typically recover from successful transplant surgery very quickly, and many centers have switched to protocols in which steroids are tapered rapidly or not used at all." Highly technical at times, A Clinical Guide to Nutrition Care in Kidney Disease nonetheless supplements its education with sample meal plans for patients in specific circumstances. An absolute "must-have" reference and resource for dietitian professionals and medical college libraries.


The Writing/Publishing Shelf

What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes?
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
SkipJack Publishing
PO Box 31160
Houston, TX 77231
9781939889089 $12.95 www.SkipJackPublishing.com

Award-winning author Pamela Fagan Hutchins presents What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes? And How Can I Be One Too?, a no-nonsense, practical-minded to writing, publishing, and marketing one's own book, in print or ebook format. What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes? lays out its points in plain terms, accessible to aspiring and practicing authors of all skill and experience levels. "Do everything you can to ensure that the Kindle e-books you purchase (or others purchase) for others are sent to people who actually download them. Only when they are actually downloaded from the link does Amazon count them as a royalty-worthy sale." An absolute must-read for anyone considering the publishing business, especially in the modern era when independent publishing (or e-publishing) is a more attractive option than ever!


The Social Issues Shelf

Celebrate Diversity!
Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D.
International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
PO Box 3920, Albany, NY 12203
9780970946119 $16.99 www.humanempowerment.org

Celebrate Diversity! A Guide for Community, School & Organizational Empowerment is a helpful resource of thoughts, advice, suggestions, and practical ideas for promoting tolerance, acceptance, and celebration of differences in one's school or organization. Pages are filled with inspiring verses, tested strategies, soul-searching questions, and other thought-provoking inducements to break out of closed-minded habits. For example, a list of sixteen suggested activities for "International Unity Day" includes "Have an Old Timers Day for the community. Encourage storytelling, dancing, old records, and other items of personal history to be shared with old and young" and "Have a writing contest on the topic of Peace and Unity. Allow the winners to read their winning compositions on local television. Or have a statewide congress of students and adults talking together on the topics of Peace and Unity." (Author Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D. encourages the annual community commemoration of September 11 as "International Unity Day", as an antidote to divisive hate- and fear-mongering over the tragic September 11 attacks.) Highly recommended.


James A. Cox
Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
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