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Eva Ritvo, MD
9780999415108, $19.95, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Kindness is vital to our relationships and health. It uplifts us and makes us more optimistic about humanity.
Dr. Eva Ritvo is the former Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the former Vice Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. She's a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatry Association. She serves on the board of United Community Options. In 2015, she was recognized as their National Volunteer of the Year.
In "Bekindr" Dr. Ritvo showcases 64 stories of how people from across the United States and three other countries whose lives were changed by the kindness of strangers. "Bekindr" also features the author's research into the science of kindness, her actionable top tips to help you to Bekindr, and dozens of inspirational quotes.
It is of interest to note that "Bekindr" was inspired by the Dr. Ritvo's father, who was the beneficiary of awe-inspiring kindness: He received a heart transplant.
"Bekindr" features heart-warming, soul-filling stories, such as a remarkable love story that emerged out of the darkest of times and love story that's so unusual it became the subject of a Broadway show.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Bekindr" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bekindr" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Organizing Your Home With SORT and Succeed
Blue Tudor Books
9780983372325 $15.00 pbk / $4.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Organizing Your Home with SORT and Succeed - Five Simple Steps to Stop Clutter Before It Starts, Save Money and Simplify Your Life is the organizing book for people feeling overwhelmed by their stuff. This master plan from a professional organizer is the only organizing solution you need to declutter at home. This proven organizing system with five simple steps will get readers working quickly on their own real life organizing projects. Anyone can implement this clutter-free system, with clear and easy instruction. Darla DeMorrow is a Certified Professional Organizer(R) with more than a decade of practical experience helping individuals, families and small business owners who need a better way to organize their life without feeling guilted into impractical minimalism, unattainable Pinterest-fantasy or pricey organizing gadgets.
In this book she has created an efficient way of organizing that works for people who are mostly organized already, and is do-able even for people who are disorganized. Whether you are downsizing your home, looking for organizing solutions for people with ADHD or want to save money organizing, this home organizing book will take just about an hour to read so you can get started and stop clutter from stealing your life. Getting organized is one thing. Staying organized is another. Learn how to do both using this proven system and guiding principles used by HeartWork Organizing's clients since 2005. Purging your stuff doesn't have to be painful, because the focus isn't on tossing stuff, but on finding your treasures. Decluttering becomes second nature when you learn how to stop clutter before it even starts.
This system goes well beyond organizing at home and is applicable to time management, paper filing, information management, money management and staying organized with lasting changes. These five simple steps will transform how you organize everything in your house or apartment. Change your life with these simple steps to organize your space, learn neat ways to save money and simplify your life.
Critique: Organizing Your Home with SORT and Succeed is a guide to reducing and preventing clutter, saving money, and streamlining one's life in order to better focus on one's most important goals and dreams. Practical, reader-friendly advice makes Organizing Your Home with SORT and Succeed invaluable. "Organizing doesn't have to be all or nothing, perfect or not at all, throw everything on the front lawn like you've seen on TV. There is a better way, and it's by going through the SORT and Succeed system in projects that take you less than four hours each so you get from start to finish all in one attempt." Highly recommended, especially for people short on space!
The Education Shelf
Blended Learning & Flipped Classrooms
Patricia Adams & Happy Gingras
The Part-Time Press
9780940017146, $20.00, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Flipped classrooms combined with blended learning strategies and techniques allow teaching faculty to combine their own creativity with technological tools that can make all of these wishes (and more) come true. Students in flipped and blended courses are more engaged, prepared and excited about the course materials classroom instructors are eager to teach.
Patricia Adams has been teaching in the community college and university classroom for more than a decade, holds a masters degree in clinical psychology from East Carolina University, and maintains a psychology practice in addition to her teaching, and provides regular professional development and consultation on flipped and blended learning.
Happy Gingras is a the Director of Teaching and Learning at Pitt Community College and worked for sic years as an instructor of Sociology.
Together Patricia Adams and Happy Gingras are faculty members who have been teaching flipped and blended college courses for over a decade and in "Blended Learning & Flipped Classrooms: A Comprehensive Guide" draw upon there years of experience and expertise to take their readers step-by-step through the process of flipping and blending a course.
Of special note is what they have to say on the subject of 'Copyright Fair Use Guidelines for College Faculty'.
Critique: Enhanced with the inclusion of a nine page listing of References and a seven page Index, "Blended Learning & Flipped Classrooms: A Comprehensive Guide" is an impressively written, organized and presented instructional guide that is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, school district, college, and university library Teacher Education collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
The Parenting Shelf
Mom Life: Perfection Pending
Absolute Love Publishing
9780999577318, $15.95, PB, 158pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Out-parented at PTA? Out-liked on social media? Wondering how your best friend from high school's kids are always color-coordinated, angelic, and beaming from every photo, while your kids look more like feral monkeys? It's okay. Imperfection is the new perfection!
In the pages of her "Mom Life: Perfection Pending", readers will join Meredith Ethington (who is "one of the funniest parents on Facebook" according to Today.com), as she relates encouraging stories of real-mom life in her debut parenting humor book.
Whether buried in piles of laundry, packing your 50th sack lunch for the week, or almost making it out the door in time for school, Mom's everywhere will laugh along with stories of what real-mom life is like -- and realize that sometimes simply making it through the day is good enough.
An uplifting yet real look at all that is expected of moms in the 21st century, Mom Life: Perfection Pending is so relatable you'll find yourself saying, "I guess I'm doing okay after all."
Critique: A delightful, identifiable, and entertaining read from cover to cover, "Mom Life: Perfection Pending" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community library Parenting collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mom Life: Perfection Pending" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
The Business Shelf
California Coastal Publishing
9781732046986 $9.95 pbk / $2.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: They were untouchable. They were blue chip corporations, legends in world business and everyone believed they were indestructible: Those icons of industry would last forever. Or so we thought. Kodak, King of Hollywood and Everyman's photo world. Who would have predicted their demise? Same with Blockbuster, Tower Records, Schwinn Bicycles, Studebaker, Eastern Airlines, Zenith Electronics, American Motors, Pan Am. All gone. The unbelievable fact is that today just 12 percent of the Fortune 500 companies that were the bell weather indicators of American global power in l955 are still listed on the S&P. Most of them crashed and burned - dead and buried. What caused this catastrophe in companies that seemed guaranteed of their place in history - safe in predictions for the future and displaying the stability of the Statue of Liberty or the Rock of Gibraltar.
In "Corporate Homicide?" veteran business writer Jerry Feingold delivers a scathing and expert autopsy of what really happened to those giants of industry. And what led to their stunning demise. And he offers up the answer to the burning question: How was it allowed to happen? And above all he pinpoints who was really responsible for this unthinkable state of affairs? Feingold meticulously details how in each case the CEO of these companies, those so called "Captains of Industry", led their army of employees - like suicidal lemmings - to their inevitable death.
These companies didn't disappear overnight. Their death took a while. Feingold explores the questions, "What were these guys thinking?" and what specific mistakes did they make. Corporate Homicide? describes lost opportunities, how to recognize the potential danger a capricious decision might cause and most important - how to avoid and overcome these dangers.
Critique: Corporate Homicide traces the downfall of multiple successful businesses such as Blockbuster, Tower Records, Schwinn Bicycles, Eastern Airlines, Zenith and more. What mistakes did these giants make? What lessons can be learned from their missteps? Corporate Homicide is edifying, fascinating, and a "must-read" for business executives everywhere. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Corporate Homicide is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).
Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work
Dream Big Imprint, LLC
9780998646503, $19.95, HC, 186pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: School teacher-turned-animator Piyush Patel founded Digital-Tutors, the foremost digital animation training company for the film and gaming industries with clients such as LucasArts, Pixar, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, and Disney. After turning $54 into a multi-million-dollar exit, he now works with company leaders to create cultures that matter
In the pages of "Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating a Culture that Matters", Patel draws upon his years of experience and expertise to offer an insider's perspective on how to unify a team around a common purpose by uncovering core values and thereby transforming a business culture.
Piyush had discovered that while leaders can provide opportunities, real culture comes from the heart. Using real-life examples and practical takeaways, "Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work" is the ultimate guide to creating a tribe to lead and a workplace you love.
Piyush challenges his readers to rethink their current paths, unveiling: The business-owner wake-up call: How to tell when your company culture is failing and what to do to fix it; The key to employee retention is BAM--Belonging, Affirmation, and Meaning; Secrets to successful onboarding: How to make new employees feel like they already belong; Constructive ''uncomfortable'' conversations: Tips for getting positive results from conflict; Four questions to ask your employees to get a pulse on your company's culture; When successful businesses happen to poor leaders: Identify negative initiatives and reshape your company before it's too late; How to spot the difference between 'real' and 'faux' culture: Why a company with perks can still be toxic.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating a Culture that Matters" is impressively informed and informative. A unique, 'real world practical', and thoroughly 'reader friendly' instructional guide and reference, "Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work" is unreservedly recommended for community, corporate, and academic library Business Management collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of entrepreneurs, managers, business students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Talent Brand
9780998727813, $29.95, HC, 254pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The hallmark of a truly successful talent brand is when the hearts and minds of an organization's employees are fully aligned with their product brand. Talent branding is the fulfillment of a promise of the employee experience. It is informed with every interaction by employees in the organization, from pre-employment vetting to post-employment separations. It is the dialogue of that experience, owned by every past, present, or potential employee, and visible everywhere.
Jody Ordioni is a keynote speaker, author, founder and chief branding officer of Brandemix -- a New York-based branding and communications agency that solves challenges through defining and marketing organizational culture to the people who drive business forward.
In "The Talent Brand: The Complete Guide to Creating Emotional Employee Buy-In for Your Organization" she draws upon many years of experience and expertise as the founder and chief branding officer of Brandemix to outline the process for creating the key framework for a talent brand architecture.
"The Talent Brand" guides the reader through Brandemix's carefully constructed process, providing complete access to branding tools, brainstorming templates, and learning resources. A company only gets to have one reputation. "The Talent Brand will show precisely how to create the kind of reputation that will successfully and consistently drive desired business results.
Critique: Impressively informed and informative, thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "The Talent Brand: The Complete Guide to Creating Emotional Employee Buy-In for Your Organization" is an invaluable instructional guide that is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of entrepreneurs and corporate executives, as well as a critically important addition to corporate, community, and academic library Business Management collections and MBA supplemental studies reading lists.
9781682615232, $25.00, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace" by entrepreneur, pastor, speaker, author, and CEO and founder of Vanderbloemen Search Group, William Vanderbloemen is a practical yet challenging modern guidebook for business and civic organizations that want to own the future. Its firsthand insights into building a contagious culture will drive sustainable growth and innovation for any organization. You will build a healthy workplace, increase revenue, and change the world with the lessons you'll learn. Stop losing employees, grow your team, and build a contagious company culture that outlasts the competition.
There are books on general team building, there are books on workplace best practices, and there are books on leadership, but "Culture Wins" by that shows forward-thinking leaders how to integrate it into today's new job-hopping culture. Vanderbloemen uses his company's proven experience in staffing and organizational consulting to provide a global perspective of effective, thriving cultures -- and how to create them.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, 'real world' practical, accessibly organized and presented, "Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to corporate, community, and academic library Business Management collections and MBA supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of business managers, MBA studies, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Culture Wins" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781538542811, $29.95, CD).
Trapped in the Family Business
Michael A. Klein
MK Insights, LLC
9780984949205, $17.95, PB, 156pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: How do individuals get trapped in their family business? What are their options? Why don't they just leave?
Michael Klein has over twenty years of experience consulting with businesses and coaching individuals. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology (PsyD) and is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology (SIOP). Dr. Klein's work focuses on maximizing professional performance and satisfaction at work, as well as the selection and development of organizational leadership.
Based on interviews with family business members, owners, and their advisors, "Trapped in the Family Business: A Practical Guide to Uncovering and Managing This Hidden Dilemma" by Michael Klein draws upon his years of experience and expertise to shed light on this common yet unexplored issue and offers solutions for how to manage it.
Critique: Impressively informative and 'real world practical', "Trapped in the Family Business" is exceptionally and succinctly well written, organized and presented, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Business Management collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
The Fiction Shelf
Locked Gray / Linked Blue: Stories
Kem Joy Ukwu
c/o Brain Mill Press
9781942083979, $15.95, PB, 262pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Locked Gray / Linked Blue" is glinting and razor-sharp collection of linked short stories draws power from Kem Joy Ukwu's crystalline characterization and a voice that is as singular as a champion slam-poet's.
Family dynamics, bad romance, first-date tension, work, and money haunt the New Yorkers in these stories as they nevertheless triumph. A sister is faced with the individual, human reality of the Nigerian diaspora; a daughter navigates her difficult mother's wedding-day crisis; an unexpected proposal from a neighbor represents hope and resignation in equal measure.
These stories invite readers into the most private of hearts with clear, forceful, and memorable prose. Ukwu wields the constraints of the short story as if she had invented them expressly to connect us to each other.
Critique: Riveting, thought-provoking, entertaining, deftly crafted, the stories that comprise "Locked Gray / Linked Blue" showcase Kem Joy Ukwu's originality and literary expertise. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Locked Gray / Linked Blue" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781495193088, $20.00, PB, 342pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Drapers Forge" by Richard Sims is a pre-Revolutionary War action adventure tale set in Eastern Kentucky. The tensions of the pre-revolution years are building to an exciting climax, with the survival of the settlement at stake in the battle of wits and firepower that ensues. The British Regulars allied with Shawnee Indians strike fear into all gathered together, forcing them to resort to ingenuity to gain the upper hand.
Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently compelling work of historical fiction, "Drapers Forge" reveals novelist Richard Sims' genuine flair as narrative driven storyteller. A solidly entertaining and truly memorable read, "Drapers Forge" is an especially recommended addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Drapers Forge" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
As Far as the Eye Can See
9781939434654, $24.00, HC, 208pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "As Far as the Eye Can See" by Simon Sitwell is a kind of autobiography in the form of a novel of the last Sitwell family to live in the border castle of Barmoor. Military medals define the men; politics and spiritualism the women.
But the treasures of generations of the Sitwell family, including the campaign medals themselves, are in danger of bring lost as the estate diminishes, unless the younger son can possess and protect them from the predatory international actresses piloting his older brother to disaster and ending both the estate and the family legacy.
Critique: Unique, original, deftly crafted and an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "As Far as the Eye Can See" is an extraordinary novel drawn from his life by Simon Sitwell. While very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "As Far as the Eye Can See" is also available in a paperback edition (9781939434661, $15.99).
In The Flesh - My Story
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781979417297, $13.95, PB, 370pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "In The Flesh - My Story" by Michael Gabriele presents to the reader the experience Jesus' life through HIS eyes in a compelling, first-person novel that holds true to the Gospels -- but from the perspective of Jesus himself.
Prepare to walk in the sandals of a life you never completely contemplated. Dare to endure a sacrifice you never ventured to appreciate. Savor a love you will never fully fathom.
Relive the greatest story ever told through the eyes of the one who cured the incurable and walked on water ... who challenged both religious and political establishments ... who suffered all the brutality of a Roman crucifixion ... and who victoriously abandoned his tomb.
Let Jesus lead you through a riveting adventure that deeply explores his personal thoughts, joys, fears, frustrations, even his most profound prayers as he walked this earth in the flesh - fully divine and fully human, on a mission to save mankind.
"In The Flesh - My Story" transcends the conventional to uncover a raw, unrestrained, fast-moving exclusive - the most influential figure in human history personally telling his side of the story.
Critique: A unique literary approach to a first person memoir style, "In The Flesh - My Story" is an extraordinary and compelling read from cover to cover. One of those New Testament based works of works literary fiction, "In The Flesh - My Story" is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book is finished and set back upon the shelf. While "In The Flesh - My Story" is unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Honor Among Outcasts
9781946920317, $16.99, PB, 252pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Honor Among Outcasts" is the sequel to "The Lies That Bind" (978-0692591888, $16.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 270pp) in author Ed Protzel's outstanding 'DarkHorse' trilogy set in the American Civil War.
After their harrowing escape from Mississippi, abolitionist Durksen Hurst, his fiancee Antoinette DuVallier, and their friends (a group of undocumented slaves) land in guerrilla-infested Civil War Missouri, the most savage whirlwind of destruction, cruelty, and death in American history. Trapped in a terrifying cycle of murder and revenge, scarred by Quantrill's cold-blooded Lawrence massacre and the Union army's ruthless Order Eleven, Durk and everyone he cares for soon find themselves entangled in a struggle for their very survival.
In "Honor Among Outcasts" Protzel takes readers on a pulse-pounding journey of desperate men and women caught up in the merciless forces of hatred and fear that tear worlds apart, and the healing power of friendship to bring them together.
Critique: Written by an author with a genuine flair for narrative storytelling, "Honor Among Outcasts" is a simply riveting read from first page to last -- and will leave enthralled readers looking eagerly toward the concluding volume "Something in Madness". While highly recommended and certain to become a popular addition to community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Honor Among Outcasts" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Send Him an Angel
9781892986108, $22.00, HC, 143pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: At seven, James Smith realizes his life is different than other boys his age. He lives in a rat-infested shack in a poverty-stricken slum with his mentally-deranged mother, crystal smith, who thrives on cruelty and hatred. He is subjected to verbal and physical attacks so often he believes this is the normal way of life. And just when he feels there is no hope left in life and his survival is remote, his mother informs him they are moving to the tiny island of St. Croix in the Caribbean to reunite with his long-lost father. The little boy is ecstatic he is embarking on a new life and believes his grief, misery, pain and torment are all in the past. But the nightmare is only beginning...
Critique: A deftly crafted, inherently compelling, and impressively original novel by an author with a genuine flair for engaged and engaging narrative storytelling, "Send Him an Angel" by James Haddad is a compelling read and very highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Send Him an Angel" is also available in a paperback edition (9781892986061, $13.95).
9781786127525, $14.95, PB, 452pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: What happens when someone meets their soulmate? The answer should be simple -- you live happily ever after. Right? What if you both are married to other people, and have responsibilities that cannot be ignored?
Vicki is a Medium and has been told that something will happen when the purple Michaelmas flowers, exactly what she doesn't know, but she knows it will bring great happiness but also heartache in equal measure, for everyone knows that for every moment of pleasure has to be paid for with one of pain.
Is she strong enough to weather the storm the purple Michaelmas brings, or will it be her downfall?
Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is engaging and entertaining, "Purple Michaelmas" is an extraordinary novel by an author with a genuine flair for narrative driven storytelling, While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Purple Michaelmas" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.12).
9780998465739, $12.95, PB, 228pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: After trailing spouse Marah Lenaerts suffers her third miscarriage in as many years, her husband Eden surprises her with a vacation to Malaysia, hoping it will lift her spirits. And it does, as they enjoy trading the bustle of their Shanghai life behind for the idyllic tropical paradise. But while on a diving excursion, they're taken hostage by a group of terrorists, who take them to a remote island and hold them there for ransom. The longer that time drags on, though, the more doubts Marah begins to have about their captors' true motivations.
Critique: "The Depths" by Kirk Kjedlsen is a deftly crafted thriller of a novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and impressively skilled narrative driven storytelling that engages the reader's total attention from beginning to end. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Suspense/Thriller fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Depths" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
Courage in the Face of Evil
9781633571198, $18.95, PB, 263pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: For Vera Konig, a Christian German nurse, the decision is clear: She must risk her life and that of Andrea, an orphaned Russian girl she is hiding at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp by trusting the enemy -- a Nazi prison guard who may save Andrea or parade them both before a firing squad.
Based on a true story, this daunting scenario sets the stage for Mark Shaw's "Courage in the Face of Evil", an inspiring novel of faith, redemption, and the blur between good and evil where three people's lives are transformed. Through Vera's eyes, we are reminded that love may be universal when human survival is at stake. At one point Vera dumfounds Nazi captors by organizing a Christmas party where children from 23 countries sing "Silent Night" bringing joy to those like Andrea facing transport to Auschwitz or extermination the next day.
Critique: Very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, "Courage in the Face of Evil" is an inherently gripping read from beginning to end that is ultimately inspiring and one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf.
Laurel Highlands Publishing
9781941087374, $16.95, PB, 346pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Ingrid always loved to sing. Auditioning for a summer job after high school shattered her dreams. She fled to Detroit where she married with the hopes of starting a family. When hope crumbled, she attempts to sing again. Will singing bring the life Ingrid always desired, or will her mutilated soul lose her everything?
Critique: A deftly crafted, imaginatively original, impressively engaging, and reliably entertaining, "Burying Leo" showcases author Helga Gruendler-Schierloh's definitive and distinctive flair for narrative storytelling. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Burying Leo" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Divining Another Dream
9780692047477, $24.00, HC, 216pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Nine-year-old Laiza Wendel can't remember anything because her memory consists only of events in her future. But for her, the future suddenly begins to look -- short. She believes it means she will die soon, but she can't see how.
Her teacher and friends want to help her overcome her new and unusual fear of getting hurt, but Laiza knows that they can't help unless she shares the secret about how she sees. Will she be able to determine what's wrong before her world falls apart?
Critique: Published in an easy-to-read large print edition, "Divining Another Dream" is a completely engaging and unfailingly entertaining read from cover to cover -- and one that clearly showcases author Bernadette Davis' genuine flair as a novelist for originality and narrative driven storytelling. "Divining Another Dream" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community library Contemporary General Fiction collections.
World Castle Publishing
9781629899145, $21.99, HC, 264pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Bella and Jimmy, long lost soul-mates, re-discover each other in a chance encounter that forever changes their lives. Jimmy, however, is already engaged to marry Bella's sister, Veronica.
Heart-broken, they continue along their destined paths in life, journeys that flow from the shores of historic Galveston Island on the Gulf of Mexico to the icy depths of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. Along the way, life confronts them with devastating losses - and experiences that defy explanation.
Bella seeks solace through her spirit guide and visits to the other side of life.
The sisters, torn apart by their love for the same man, spend many years locked in a cycle that fluctuates between feuding and estrangement. It is only after Jimmy's death that they begin to discover secrets buried within a past life they once shared. Secrets that may help them to unravel this bizarre love triangle.
Can they find a way to heal, to forgive, and to break free from the karma that has haunted them for an eternity? Or, is it too late to penetrate the veil separating the world of the living from the land of the dead?
Critique: With a genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling, author Janey Kay has written a fully engaging and unfailingly entertaining novel. "The Sisters" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Sisters" is also available in a paperback edition (9781629899152, $11.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Love is the Punch Line
Moonshine Cove Publishing
9781945181337, $13.99, PB, 268pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Middle-aged stand-up comedian Josh Steinberg, formerly the star of his own popular TV series, finds himself struggling to keep his career alive, playing seedier and seedier clubs. Plump, balding, and plain-looking, he has never had much luck with women. That is, until Josh meets Holly Brannigan while performing his stand-up act in a comedy club. Holly, an attractive, intelligent, and divorced 50-year-old businesswoman, becomes instantly smitten with Josh and even finds his unconventional looks wildly sexy.
Critique: A wildly entertaining read from beginning to end, "Love is the Punch Line" showcases author Kathleen Jones as a novelist with a genuine flair for originality and narrative driven fiction. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Love is the Punch Line" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
Life During Wartime
9781936196869, $18.00, PB, 226pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Post-9/11 America is an uneasy place where soldiers and civilians try to find their way through a fallen world of personal trauma and social disconnection.
Twenty-one-year-old Nina Wicklow, untethered after a tour of duty in Iraq, has gone missing outside Los Angeles in the small mountain town of Sierra Madre. An ad hoc search party of damaged family and friends assembles to look for her.
The anxious pursuit to find the missing soldier, before she comes to harm, plays out against a backdrop of global financial near-collapse and raging wild fires, and becomes, for the walking wounded, a quest for meaning and a way to live during wartime.
Critique: A vividly written and intensely gripping read from first page to last, "Life During Wartime" by Katie Rogin aptly showcases an author with a genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling. An inherently entertaining novel, "Life During Wartime" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections.
...and Theodore Begot Theodore...
9780692103364, $14.99, PB, 324pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Scientists hover over their microscopes in Unitecs' state of the art lab, cloning cells and perfecting therapies that are destined to be the future of medicine. In a corner of that glass and stainless steel sanctuary, Theodore Redmond is partnering with Alistair Quigley, the top cell scientist in the world, on a secret program to correct genetic defects in human eggs, and Theo is wondering how far he and Alistair will go with the cloned embryos thriving in those petri dishes.
Critique: On a subject that could easily be torn from today's biology science journals or tomorrow's newspaper headlines, "...and Theodore Begot Theodore..." by Cartyer Dreyfuss is a deftly crated novel from first page to last. A simply riveting read that is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, "...and Theodore Begot Theodore..." showcases author Carter Dreyfuss' genuine flair as a novelist for originality, narrative storytelling, the creation of memorable characters, and the skillful inclusion of unexpected twists and turns leading to an unanticipated conclusion.
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Ghosts in the Flesh
Roger E. Carrier
9781543434170 $19.99 pbk / $3.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Late one night in a tragic twist of fate, Dan Peterson is murdered after witnessing a man leave an apartment complex. This serial killer feigns a heart attack and slashes Dan's throat when the Good Samaritan runs to help him. Dan dies a silent, gurgling death, but after a flash of light, Dan wakes up on a park bench next to a statue of Mark Twain.
It is spring, and fifty-three-year-old Dan is young again. The only problem is that nobody can see him, and he cannot interact with any person in the park. In panic, Dan believes that he is dying in a hospital bed and his experience is the result of a drug-induced vision. Soon after, Dan meets Hannah, who also awoke from death on the Mark Twain bench. The murdered Hannah and Dan are solid and real to each other, but invisible to the outside world.
At last, the two unconventional ghosts set out to find their killer and seek revenge. The first problem they must solve is to find a means of communicating with the police.
Critique: Ghosts in the Flesh is an unconventional murder mystery with a dash of the supernatural. Twists and turns in the riveting plot make Ghosts in the Flesh all but impossible to put down. Highly recommended, especially for connoisseurs of the genre! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Ghosts in the Flesh is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).
Beasts Shall Reign Over the Earth!
Michael D'Agostino & Danny D'Agostino
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781717247896, $9.99, PB, 226pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The year is 2018. It's August. New York City is sweltering, baking under unrelenting heat and humidity. Added to this misery is a wave of grotesque maulings of dogs in Lower Manhattan. Rookie Detective Teresa Rodriguez of the 5th Precinct and her partner and soon-to-retire mentor, Detective Morgan Jackson, set out to solve the mystery. To their shock, they uncover a mutation so grisly, so savage that it threatens all New York City, plunging the city into a reign of terror.
Critique: An inherently riveting read from first page to last by the team of Michael and Danny D'Agonstino, it should be noted that "Beasts Shall Reign Over the Earth!" is a deftly crafted detective thriller that contains graphic scenes of horror that some readers may find disturbing. It should also be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Beasts Shall Reign Over the Earth!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781981190973, $13.50, PB, 262pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Private investigator and amateur magician Jolly Lomax finds himself in over his head when he's hired by a rich widow to stop her daughter from pilfering funds from their shared bank account. The complication? The girl's been dead for over a year and the woman believes it's her daughter's ghost who's responsible for the withdrawals. Against his better judgment Jolly takes the case, little knowing that following the dead daughter's trail will lead directly to a villainous plot that may well threaten the safety and security of the entire world.
Critique: An original, compelling and deftly crafted mystery from cover to cover, "Dead Money" showcases author Dan Gilvezan's genuine mastery of the genre. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Dead Money" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
Eye of the Moon
9781947780002, $27.99, HC, 554pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Johnny's legendary socialite Aunt Alice mysteriously died while reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead when he and Percy were ten. They have been kept in the dark about that night ever since. Twenty years later, they are reunited, along with family and guests, for a weekend house party at Rhinebeck, the sumptuous estate once owned by Alice. But Rhinebeck holds more than just childhood memories. From the family butler, they learn that Alice's story is far darker than anticipated, and will impact all their lives, particularly Percy's, before the weekend concludes. All who attend are ensnared in a surprising web of mystery, Egyptian occultism, sumptuous elegance, and intrigue, where family members, guests, and even the servants have their own agendas, and nothing is what it seems.
Critique: A deftly crafted and simply riveting gothic mystery by a master of the genre, Ivan Obolensky's "Eye of the Moon" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Eye of the Moon" is also available in a paperback edition (9781947780026, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
Richard L. Mabry, MD
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781979534284, $6.99, PB, 126pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Dr. Ben Merrick and his fiance, Rachel Gardner, can't get her divorced parents to stay in the same room, much less attend their wedding together.
He is already looking over his shoulder expecting more trouble from a very senior surgeon who has shown he is still smarting from a previous dust-up, but Ben doesn't know if a series of mishaps and accidents are caused by a disgruntled patient's relatives or represent more from the older surgeon.
Complicating it all is the question of whether Rachel's father is back doing drugs.
Then, when people start dying, Ben and Rachel wonder if they can escape unscathed -- and alive!
Critique: An unfailingly entertaining and inherently riveting read from first page to last, "Surgeon's Choice" showcases author Richard Mabry genuine flair as a novelist for original and narrative driven storytelling. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Surgeon's Choice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
Death and Taxes
9780971237483, $29.99, HC, 228pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Death and Taxes" follows Mark Douglas, an ex-Marine turned IRS agent, who, along with auditing the weird and the profane, also spearheads weekend raids with his locked-and-loaded gang of government-sanctioned revenuers, merrily gathering back taxes in the form of cash, money order, or more often than not, the debtor's most prized possessions.
Things turn ugly when Mark's much-loved boss and dear friend Lila is tortured and killed over what she finds in a routine set of 1040 forms. Enlisting his IRS pals - Harry Salt, a 30-year vet with a quantum physical ability to drink more than humanly possible; Wooly Bob, who's egg-bald on top with shaved eyebrows to match; Miguel, an inexperienced newbie with a company-issued bullhorn and a penchant for getting kicked in the jumblies.
Mark hunts down the eunuch hit man Juju Klondike and the deadly Mongolian mob that hired him as only an angry IRS agent can. There will be no refunds for any of them when April 15th comes around. There will only be "Death and Taxes"!
Critique: A deftly crafted and thoroughly riveting read from first page to last, author Mark Zalove demonstrates a genuine flair for narrative driven storytelling and the creation of distinctively memorable characters. While "Death and Taxes" is very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of mystery buffs that "Death and Taxes" is also available in a paperback edition (9780971237469, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Sunny Side Up
c/o Linden Publishing
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721-9875
9781610353113, $12.95, PB, 214pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: For twenty-year-old Li Johnson, a job as a cruise ship waiter was supposed to be a way to get over his father's death and earn enough money to go back to college. Instead, Li is struggling to maintain his sanity while coping with the demands of a sadistic maitre d' and a boatload of entitled rich jerk passengers.
Li just wants to keep his head down and survive his job from hell, but when he finds a passenger sunburned to a crisp on the Sunbathing Deck, something about the scene just doesn't add up. Before he knows it, Li is on the track of a murderer and if Li doesn't find the real killer soon, he might just get framed for the crime -- or worse, lose his crappy job.
Critique: Author Daniel Stallings' love of Golden Age detective fiction by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Raymond Chandler, and Rex Stout inspired him to bring the style of the classic murder mystery to contemporary audiences in a modern voice.
A brand-new classic in the amateur detective genre, his "Sunny Side Up" is a traditional murder mystery with a glamorous setting, a gallery of suspects, clues that will keep readers guessing to the last page, and a delightful new hero in Li Johnson, the millennial minimum wage manhunter, who brings sleuthing to the service economy. A deftly crafted novel by a master of the genre, "Sunny Side Up" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Sunny Side Up" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Packard Island Publishing
9780978618476, $24.95, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: NASA rocket explosions and a series of unsolved murders disrupt the idyllic calm of Chincoteague Island, a quiet barrier island on Virginia's east coast better known for its annual pony swim.
Put-in-Bay investigative reporter Emerson Moore's relaxing fishing vacation to Chincoteague Island is interrupted when he becomes embroiled in deadly international intrigue affecting NASA rocket launches.
Assisted by the sultry director of nearby Wallops Island's NASA facility, the sarcastic head of NASA security, the charming owner of Captain Bob's Marina, and a mysterious loner, Moore works his way through a maze of suspects, including some local troublemakers and rocket experts from Russia, China and Europe -- any of whom might be motivated to sabotage the U.S. space program.
Bodies start dropping faster than horses running from a wildfire while Moore is still knee-deep in identifying who's behind all the chaos, treachery and deception. Lives can be saved if only Moore can discover who is sabotaging the U.S. space program and all while preventing himself from becoming a victim.
Murder, cross and double cross. Who's telling the truth?
Critique: Another deftly crafted gem of a mystery novel by an author with a genuine flair for truly riveting narrative storytelling along with the creation of impressively memorable characters, "Chincoteague Calm" by Bob Adamov is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs and certain to be an enduringly popular acquisition for community library Mystery/Suspense collections.
Between a Rock and a Dark Place
9781732018938, $12.95, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Daniel Perrault, a flashy French entrepreneur, moves to a rural American county believing his refined taste will transform the beautiful but backwater region into a cosmopolitan destination. When his body is found, the suspect list is long, but the circumstances are peculiar. Who wrapped his body in a sleeping bag, leaving it roadside in the middle of the night in quiet, insular Wayne County? And why did the killer want the body found, and identified, quickly?
The victim's brash style rubbed many the wrong way, and the investigating sheriff, Spike Stryker, soon compiles an eclectic list of possible suspects: his unpaid contractor, a resentful neighbor, his bipolar chef, a bitter businesswoman, his teenage biracial mistress, his wife. And behind the county's pastoral veils, a suspicious, clannish population inhabits the forested hollows. Each interview the sheriff conducts slowly reveals the story behind the rise and fall of Daniel Perrault and leads to a motive and the killer. A twist at the end, however, makes clear absolution will never occur, for anyone.
Critique: A beautifully crafted novel from first page to last, "Between a Rock and a Dark Place" is as clever as its title and showcases author Suzanne Schiffman total master of the mystery genre and impressive flair for narrative storytelling. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Between a Rock and a Dark Place" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
A. M. Wilson
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781985066755, $14.95, PB, 374pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: the America of 2151 finds that New York, Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles have all been wiped out from nuclear blasts. The New United States of America is centered in Omaha, where the Leviathan Corporation provides a muted, controlled existence for its populace. Synthetic drugs keep them sane. The people are safe (for now) from the threats on the outside.
Summoned to the president's office, unlikely hero Thomas Ignatius Stout receives an extraordinary mission: Hunt down and return, dead or alive, the vicious killer responsible for destroying the lives of millions and millions of Americans, Joe Ikowski, who remains a thorn in the government's side. Tom accepts his burden and leads an expedition past Omaha's protective barrier and into the great unknown.
That's when Tom's journey really begins. Taking him from Kentucky to Arizona to Mexicali and the Rocky Mountains, Tom finds far more than he is searching for -- and starts to learn the deeply complicated, disturbing truths of his own identity and a world in which he had only before scratched the surface.
Critique: With this novel that blends dystopian science fiction with action packed political suspense, "Populace" showcases author A. M. Wilson's genuine flair for original and narrative driven storytelling with chillingly plausible extrapolations from today's political climate in America. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists of dedicated dystopian science fiction fans that "Populace" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99).
Wordfire Press LLC
PO Box 1840, Monument CO 80132-1840
9781614756804, $27.99, HC, 250pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Monsterland Reanimated" is the sequel to author Michael Okon's original and riveting fantasy novel "Monsterland" (9781614756316, $27.99 HC; 9781614755944, $14.99; Kindle $6.99).
After Monsterland has been destroyed, the entire world is thrown into chaos. Wyatt Baldwin and his friends must go beyond the boundaries of their small town to reestablish contact with the outside world. During their journey they discover a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park. The danger of werewolves, vampires and zombies pale in comparison to an army of relentless mummies, in the form of Vincent Conrad's reanimated monster and the menace of a life-sucking ooze they call The Glob.
Will Wyatt and his friends survive when they reenter the scariest place on earth?
Critique: Another true gem of dark fantasy action/adventure by a master of the genre, Michael Okon's "Monsterland Reanimated" is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Monsterland Reanimated" is also available in a paperback edition (9781614755944, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
The Embers are Fanned in Cruachan
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781981700967, $19.95, PB, 452pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Peace has reigned in Cruachan since Seamus, the first High King, united the three kingdoms into a Confederation and, with the assistance of the dwarfs from the Sawtooth Mountains in the north and the elves from the Tangled Woods in the east, drove the occupying Northmen from the island nation. Yet there is an undercurrent of unrest.
Some Cruachanians fought for independence, thinking that the hereditary system of government with its shire chieftains and provincial kings would be replaced by a republic. Others, who profited handsomely under the occupiers, still dream of yesteryears' wealth.
Padraig has graduated from the Academy for the Spiritually Gifted as an Apprentice Wizard in a little less than eight years. After spending a month with the journeyman wizards in each of the seventeen shires in the Kingdoms of the Western and Eastern Shires, he now sets out for a five-month stint in the Northern Shires, assigned to an oblate wizard who lives in the middle of nowhere in the foothills of the Sawtooth Mountains.
When Padraig ventures out to investigate reports of some suspicious goings-on up at North Head, he finds himself drugged and imprisoned, with no one knowing his whereabouts. However, his former love and classmate, Mairead, also an apprentice wizard, senses his presence, and sets out to help him escape and attempt to save the Confederation of the Three Kingdoms from an impending insurrection.
Critique: "The Embers are Fanned in Cruachan" is the second book of writer, playwright, and part-time actor Bill Stackhouse's fantasy tetralogy 'The Chronicles of Padraig' whose first volume is "A Spark is Struck in Cruachan" (9781514244609, $19.95 PB, $6.95 Kindle, 374pp). Continuing to showcase the author's genuine flair for originality and deftly crafted fantasy action/adventure, "The Embers are Fanned in Cruachan" is an inherently engaging and unfailingly entertaining read from beginning to end and very highly recommended for community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fans that "The Embers are Fanned in Cruachan" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95).
The Measurements of Decay
K. K. Edine
9781732062238, $34.38, HC, 588pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the far future, Earth's nearby star systems have been colonized. Outfitted with a device that allows them to escape into hallucinations at will, people spend most of their time withdrawn into their own minds. Tikan Solstafir, a renegade who refuses the illusory life enjoyed by others, lives in self-imposed exile on a starship. When a mysterious enemy attacks the ship, Tikan embarks on a mission to destroy the galactic tyranny and liberate humanity from its own dreams.
Meanwhile, in the 21st Century, a disillusioned philosopher believes that humanity's collective misery originates in people's failure to communicate with others and make sense of the world. Growing increasingly misanthropic and monomaniacal, he proceeds on a hermetic quest to save humanity from itself, while also succumbing to his own moral decline.
As these stories intertwine, a young girl reappears through various epochs, fleeting through Ancient Greece, Medieval Norway, Bolshevik Russia, among others. Unbound by time, Sielle has formed few attachments. Eventually thrust into Tikan's world, she becomes unwillingly entangled in a political scheme spanning centuries.
Critique: A science fiction saga by an author with a true mastery of the genre, as well as a genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling, "The Measurements of Decay" is an extraordinary read from first page to last. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated science fiction fans that "The Measurements of Decay" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1732062207, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).
The Brede Chronicles
P. I Barrington
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781497340831, $12.99, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Half-human Alekzander Brede is a law unto himself -- or so he thinks. Elektra Tate, the street orphan who loves him has other ideas. When she betrays him for no apparent reason, he vows to punish her one way or another. Taking the one thing she treasures most (their son) Alekzander begins a cat and mouse relationship spanning two planets and costing possibly his life. Elektra will stop at nothing to save her son but can she overcome Brede's twisted idea of vengeance?
Critique: An original and unfailingly entertaining science fiction story by a master of the genre, "The Brede Chronicles" is an inherently compelling read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended, especially as an addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated science fiction fans that "The Brede Chronicles" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
9781980894308, $12.99, PB, 331pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Who can you trust? In the summer of 1750, Eric Grayson discovers his wife of ten years is a faery spy, a member of a treacherous race the British (and the Grayson family in particular) have hunted and reviled for many years. As his dark family secrets unravel, will Eric ever break the cycle of death and madness that haunts him?
Lady Theodora is caught in a desperate situation of her own. In order to fend off a monster from her past, she must completely destroy the man she loves. Who can you trust? Not Amalric, the deranged alchemist. Not Redthorne, the seductive faery assassin. Not Draven 'The Raven' Ketch, a mad pirate. And certainly not Meadowlark, Theodora's vengeful faery ex-lover.
Critique: "Lady Changeling" by Ken Altabef is a satisfying mix of high fantasy and gothic romance with a just a touch of Lovecraftian horror. A deftly crafted fantasy by a master of the genre, "Lady Changeling" showcases Altabef's genuine flair for originality and mature storytelling. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fiction fans that "Lady Changeling" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).
Joe and the Halloween Mystery
John Teofilo Padilla Jr.
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480857865, $30.25, HC, 166pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A thousand years after a dark event that altered history, Joe wakes from a nightmare on Halloween. Joe isn't an average guy. He has the fighting skills of a Samurai along with a divine sword that protects him from evil forces. As a dedicated follower of God, he knows Satan is out to get him, so he readies himself for a battle that will echo through eternity.
Living in Beverly Hills, California, Joe is used to strange things, but nothing prepares him for zombies, witches, and vampires. He finds unexpected allies in knights and military heroes but the final battle is Joes alone as he uncovers an ancient Halloween mystery. Thankfully, he has Herbie, his devoted parrot, to keep him company.
An exciting story of good versus evil, Joe finds himself embarking on an action packed, spiritual journey as he searches for his own happy ending. First, though, he must go up against the spooky creatures of a haunted night and fight deadly demons.
Critique: An unfailingly fun fantasy read from first page to last, "Joe and the Halloween Mystery" reveals author John Padilla's genuine flair for originality and reader engagement. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fans that "Joe and the Halloween Mystery" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480854901, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Self-Help Shelf
Relationships Are Value Propositions
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781524652814, $26.99, HC, 226pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: People should be familiar with the realities of life and not dwell in utopian fantasy. Nothing comes from nothing. While we may assume every relationship is important, not all relationships indeed are or contribute equally to one's objective.
Relationships also breed challenges yet being together is better than being right as author Sam Egube affirms in "Relationships Are Value Propositions". He argues that right is an illusion of time and knowledge; what is true today may be wrong tomorrow with more knowledge.
Without doubt, Sam Egube advocates that relationships are God's gift to mankind -- vehicles for achieving production, reproduction, and the source of all influence and leverage.
"Relationships Are Value Propositions" uses tested principles to explain relationship acquisition, drawing from both romantic and business scenarios. "Relationships Are Value Propositions" also contends that relationships are sustained only by the value they bring and are driven by the objectives for which they were acquired in the first place.
Just as ground left uncultivated yields weeds, relationships left uncultivated yield undesired outcomes. Readers are urged to be deliberate and strategic about relationships.
Critique: Informative, insightful, astute, "Relationships Are Value Propositions" is an extraordinary and potentially life changing read solidly based on the premise that human beings are social animals by their very nature. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Relationships Are Value Propositions" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Relationships Are Value Propositions" is also available in a paperback edition (9781524652807, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
The Health/Medicine Shelf
Reducing Your Cancer Risk
Carl O. Helvie
9781634923699, $24.95, HC, 174pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The latest statistics show one of every two adults will have cancer and about half of these are preventable. For example, research shows that 30 minutes of exercise daily could reduce cancer risk by 50% and proper nutrition could reduce it 35%. Mental/Spiritual aspects are also important. One study reported those who expressed gratitude had stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and fewer symptoms of illness, slept better and were better able to tolerate aches and pains.
"Reducing Your Cancer Risk: An Holistic Approach" by Carl O. Helvie (who is a registered nurse who also holds a doctorate in public health and wellness, and has 60 years experience as a nurse practitioner, educator, author, and researcher, receiving national recognitions including the Distinguished Career in Public Health Award from the American Public Health Association) features a theoretical framework that provides an overview of factors that are carcinogenic and when avoided can reduce your cancer risks including electromagnetic frequencies, selected carcinogenic chemicals and metals, and ultraviolet rays.
"Reducing Your Cancer Risk" also includes things you can do to strengthen your mind/spirit/body against carcinogens including 1) physical things such as exercise; fluids; nutrition; vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements; immune builders; sleep; smoking cessation, and music, and 2) mental/spiritual activities including affirmations, compassion, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, meditation, optimism, prayer, relaxation, serving others, social support, stress reduction, and visualization.
Of special note are the research based ways to avoid or become stronger against carcinogens, and interviews with over 40 national leaders on these subjects are included in this holistic approach to cancer prevention.
Critique: Impressively informed and informative, "Reducing Your Cancer Risk: An Holistic Approach" will prove to be of special and enduring value for both medical students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. While very highly recommended for community and academic library Health & Holistic Medicine instructional reference collection in general, and Cancer Treatment & Risk Management supplemental studies lists in general, it should be noted that "Reducing Your Cancer Risk: An Holistic Approach" is also available in a paperback edition (9781634923682, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Emanuel Frank, MD, author
Maiah Pardo, illustrator
9780996761703, $15.95, PB, 280pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Dr. Emauel Frank is a child and adult psychiatrist who has practiced in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2004. Dr. Frank integrates nutritional interventions with pharmacotherapy and takes a predominantly psychodynamic approach in psychotherapy to help create significant and enduring change in clients' lives.
In "Nutrient-Based Psychiatry: A Nutritional Prescription for ADHD" Dr. Frank draws upon his years of experience and expertise to provide parents and caregivers detailed information on the integration of nutritional approaches into the treatment of psychiatric conditions, with a special focus on ADHD.
"Nutrient-Based Psychiatry" is the first in a truly unique book series written for patients and health care professionals alike and has been extensively researched and peer reviewed by child psychiatrists, offering deep insights into nutritional approaches to treating ADHD.
Specific and detailed information required to make informed decisions about the treatment of ADHD are included with respect to: causes and comorbid conditions, lab tests, how and when to use dietary modifications and supplements, and when it's appropriate to consider the use of prescription medications
Critique: An essential and core read for anyone struggling with this diagnosis within themselves or a child, "Nutrient-Based Psychiatry" is impressively informed and informative, as well as exceptionally well written, organized and presented, making it unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Health/Medicine collections in general, and ADHD supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of medical students, academia, parents, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Nutrient-Based Psychiatry" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Key to Prostate Cancer
Mark Scholz, MD
9780999065211 $24.95 / $15.99 amazon.com
Synopsis: A Guide to Personalized Care. Patients face a real dilemma when selecting among so many treatments with potentially irreversible consequences. Studies show that treatment choices based on partial information often lead to regret.
When initally diagnosed with prostate cancer, the first step is to seek information. Patients struggle to pinpoint correct knowledge amidst a deluge of data overload. The "Paradox of Choice" can be diminished by staging the cancer accurately. The pathway leading out of this confusion is to know your Stage of Blue. With a short, self-administered prostate cancer staging quiz, Key directs readers to targeted information that is stage-specific.
This book directs patients to understand options and educate them about treatments specific for their stage of prostate cancer.
A short STAGING QUIZ directs patients to their correct stage and which of the seven sections of the book to read.
The book is divided into seven sections written by experts in prostate cancer. Five of the ections cover the FIVE STAGES OF BLUE.
The average reader will only need to read three sections: Section I, which covers PSA, Gleason score and body scans, Section VII, which covers lifestyle and general health and only one of the additional sections - one that is related to that patient's prostate cancer stage.
Written by 30 leading experts and edited by a prostate oncologist, Key is a welcome antidote for an industry dominated by surgeons. This book helps patients and doctors work together on a level playing field to intelligently discuss the latest options.
Critique: A disclaimer at the beginning of The Key to Prostate Cancer: 30 Experts Explain 15 Stages of Prostate Cancer warns that it cannot be used directly as advice for any specific patient, but rather exists to provide information to patients dealing with the tough choices of a prostate cancer diagnosis. Although surgical removal is a common treatment for prostate cancer, surgery risks devastating, permanent consequences such as impotence or incontinence. For some patients the better life option may be to keep their prostate. Author Mark Scholz, MD, has been treating men with prostate cancer since 1995 and is the founder of "Keep Your Prostate", a movement about non-surgical prostate cancer treatments. The Key to Prostate Cancer is an invaluable reference and resource, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Key to Prostate Cancer is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.99).
The Christian Studies Shelf
Prayer is Good
Prayer Is Good, LLC
9780692062852, $14.95, PB, 118pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the pages of "Prayer is Good: A Path from Grief to Peace", Brette Petway invites her readers to move through the grieving process in a new way. Through her own story of grief and loss, Brette deftly and movingly shares interactive ways to pray and experience a personal conversation with God, and thereby feeling the healing miracle of prayer and nurture of our beautiful selves through our senses.
Grief leaves no one untouched. "Prayer is Good" invites us all to take a prayerful journey with our head, heart, and hands in order to successfully move from grief to peace.
Critique: Prayer is Good speaks directly to the heart and soul of the reader, and speaks openly of God's comfort in the most trying of times. Inspired and inspiring, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Prayer is Good" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
The Biography Shelf
Excuse Me While I Slip Into Someone More Comfortable
9781948122047 $24.99 hc / $12.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: In the great tradition of David Sedaris, David Rakoff, and Augusten Burroughs, memoirist Eric Poole recounts his quirky childhood years in utterly hilarious and painful detail.
In 1977, Eric Poole is a talented high school trumpet player with one working ear, the height-to-weight ratio of a hat rack, a series of annoyingly handsome bullies, and a mother irrationally devoted to Lemon Pledge. But who he wants to be is a star...ANY star. With equal parts imagination, flair, and delusion, Eric proceeds to emulate a series of his favorite celebrities, like Barry Manilow, Halston, Tommy Tune, and Shirley MacLaine, in an effort to become the man he's meant to be - that is, anyone but himself.
As he moves through his late teens and early twenties in suburban St. Louis, he casts about for an appropriate outlet for his talents. Will he be a trumpet soloist? A triple-threat actor/singer/dancer? A fashion designer in gritty New York City?
Striving to become the son who can finally make his parents proud, Eric begins to suspect that discovering his personal and creative identities can only be accomplished by admitting who he really is. Picking up at the end of his first acclaimed memoir, Where's My Wand?, Poole's journey from self-delusion to acceptance is simultaneously hysterical, heartfelt, and inspiring.
Critique: Excuse Me While I Slip Into Someone More Comfortable continues the autobiographical memoir saga of author Eric Poole, and his search to find the right identity during his coming of age. Wry, witty, and insightful, Excuse Me While I Slip Into Someone More Comfortable is thoroughly enjoyable from cover to cover. Also highly recommended is Poole's previous memoir, "Where's My Wand?". It should be noted for personal reading lists that Excuse Me While I Slip Into Someone More Comfortable is also available in a Kindle edition ($12.99).
Going Our Way
Becky Perry Brown, author
Roxanne Atwood, author
9781948484008, $19.95, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Becky Perry Brown was married for fifty-four years to country music legend, Jim Ed Brown, member of The Grand Ole Opry for over fifty years, and a member of The Country Music Hall of Fame. While he followed his dream, her dream was to be a professional dancer. She was a model, taught self-improvement and dance classes.
Eventually, she followed a dream and opened her own dance studio. For forty-six years, young people came and went through those doors, learning ballet, tap, and interpretive dance. They became a part of the story and Jim Ed and Becky were a part of theirs.
By writing this personal memoir, Becky has shared some of the good times, some of the bad times, some funny stories, some lessons learned, and set straight some rumors.
She had her doubts at times, but God has never failed her. His grace is sufficient always. He truly sent Jim Ed her way, and they had a wonderful journey.
Critique: "Going Our Way: My Life with Jim Ed Brown, Grand Ole Opry Legend and Member of the Country Music Hall of Fame" by Rebecca 'Becky' Perry Brown (and written with the assistance of Roxanne Atwood) is the personal and candidly told story of living with a gentle country music giant, a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Jim Ed Brown was kind, generous, and very slow to anger. Above all else, "Going Our Way" is a story about love, perseverance, and how love conquers all. A deftly written and inherently engaging read from cover to cover, "Going Our Way" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library American Biography collections. A simply 'must read' for the legions of Jim Ed Brown country and Grand Ole Opry fans, it should be noted that "Going Our Way" is also available in a paperback edition (9781948484015, $14.95).
The Travel Shelf
100 Things To Do In Detroit Before You Die, second edition
Amy S. Eckert
9781681061429 $16.00 amazon.com
Synopsis: Detroit enjoys a rich history, having forged the American landscape with sexy muscle cars and the toe-tapping rhythms of Motown. But there's more to love about Detroit than merely its history. And there's never been a better time to explore, as The D buzzes with a spirit of renewal. This second edition of 100 Things to Do in Detroit Before You Die paves the way to a rediscovery of this great Midwestern city.
You'll find in these pages a Detroit brimming with the spirit of rebirth, where young chefs innovate with urban farm-grown food and where manufacturing know-how crafts Shinola watches and Detroit Denim. You'll read about exciting new developments like Little Caesars Arena, the QLine, and the newly restored Detroit Foundation Hotel. And since oldies really can be goodies, you'll revisit classic sights like the Detroit Institute of Arts and the North American International Auto Show. Whether you've lived in Detroit all your life or you're a traveler eager to discover the city for the first time, 100 Things to Do in Detroit Before You Die will help you create and complete your very own Motor City bucket list.
Critique: Now in an updated second edition, 100 Things To Do In Detroit Before You Die lives up to its title as a highlight of exciting, enriching, must-see and must-go places in the American city of Detroit. From "Rock-n-Bowl with Live DJs at Garden Bowl", to "Look Up at the Fish at Sea Life Michigan Aquarium", to "Explore the Murals at Eastern Market" and more, 100 Things To Do In Detroit Before You Die is a "must-have" supplement to any Detroit-bound traveler's itinerary. Highly recommended!
The Humor Shelf
Prodigy Gold Books
9781939665447 $9.99 amazon.com
Synopsis: Do you often wonder how other households and other mothers manage to deal with their busy routine? Enter Mommyville, a story about the much loved wacky mum who endures wonderful chaos that seems to follow her where ever she goes. Sounds familiar, right?
Meet the cast:
Firstly, meet the sensible Tim, the other parent. Simply amazing how he handles the many parenting challenges and mishaps that occur in the household. This story wouldn't be possible without the lively characters, Patrick and Emily, who keep Tim and Clare on their feet. And up all night!
The true star of the show, though, Claire. See how she gets herself into some unlikely situations and the fun she has getting out of them. Sharing hilarious experiences, Clare invites readers into her home, to enjoy her brazen child raising duties and soccer-mom-like issues that come with it. Inside find highly reflective comments on her own behavior, as this adorable mother gives you food of thought about raising your own kids in the most painless and successful way, for you and for them. Walk in Clare's shoes and see through her eyes. The daily issues that she faces may soon knock on your door and Claire is ready to help you welcome them with open arms.
If you already a master degree in parenthood, it's time for the Ph.D.Class is in session!
Critique: Mommyville is salaciously satirical and thoroughly entertaining from cover to cover. Although the humorous themes will especially resonate with parents, Mommyville will delight readers of all backgrounds. Highly recommended, especially for anyone in need of a good chuckle.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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