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55 Reflections of a Searching Skeptic
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781728312361, $38.95, HC, 168pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Comprised of an impressively personalized poetic commentary that embellishes a wide variety of readings, In "55 Reflections of a Searching Skeptic: Scanning the Depths of Spirituality and Mental Health" Richard Melcher deftly integrates spirituality, mental health, and self-enrichment with an honest and poignant memoir. The reader will enjoy the eclectic offerings of hope and enlivenment showcased in "55 Reflections of a Searching Skeptic" and vicariously experience many moments of stunning openness and helpful insight.
Critique: Offering memorable insights and thought-provoking reflections that stimulate the mind and comfort the soul from pointed commentary on the Gospel of John, to personal expression about the challenges of living with bipolar disorder-to encouraging motivational strategies, "55 Reflections of a Searching Skeptic: Scanning the Depths of Spirituality and Mental Health" is an inherently interesting and ultimately inspiring volume that is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Religion & Spirituality collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "55 Reflections of a Searching Skeptic" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781728312347, $29.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Computer Shelf
A Programmer's Guide to Computer Science, Volume 1
William M. Springer II, PhD
9781951204006 $29.04 pbk / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: You know how to code... but is it enough?
Do you feel left out when other programmers talk about asymptotic bounds? Have you failed a job interview because you don't know computer science? Don't let the lack of a degree hold back your career. Dive into this book now.
Volume one covers the most frequently referenced topics, including:
Algorithms and data structures
The author, a senior developer at a major software company with a PhD in computer science, takes you through what you would have learned while earning a four-year computer science degree. When you finish this book, you'll have the tools you need to hold your own with people who have - or expect you to have - a computer science degree.
Critique: A Programmer's Guide to Computer Science: A Virtual Degree for the Self-Taught Developer, Volume 1 lives up to its title as a practical guide for programmers who are skilled at coding, but unfamiliar with the terminology, theories, and techniques taught in a four-year computer science degree. Volume 1 covers some of the most commonly used concepts in the programming career field. Written by a computer science expert, for computer science professionals who are fully capable of honing their knowledge without spending four years and thousands of dollars on college courses, A Programmer's Guide to Computer Science, Volume 1 is absolutely invaluable and highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reference lists that A Programmer's Guide to Computer Science, Volume 1 is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
The Self-Help Shelf
The Road to Happiness
Indie Books International
9781947480803, $20.00, PB, 133pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: People are searching for happiness, but how is it best defined? Is it success? Achievement? Hitting your goals? Is it a feeling?
In over thirty years of corporate, executive, and professional coaching, David Goldman has found that what his clients thought they wanted most wasn't always the thing that truly made them happy. Along the way, each one found something they wanted that was even more valuable. They found the key that unlocks the vault which contains their ultimate desire. Through the stories and tips in this book you too can find a key that helps to unlock your vault of happiness.
In the pages of "The Road to Happiness: How to Get What You Really Want" Goldman has compiled and distilled his years of experience and expertise in the form of a DIY course of instruction that is as 'real world practical' as it is inspirationally motivating.
Critique: Expertly written, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Road to Happiness: How to Get What You Really Want" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted that "The Road to Happiness" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: David Goldman is the founder, owner, and president of Goldman Organization, for the purpose of elevating and accelerating results for professionals and executives. Since November 1989, he has worked with professionals (accountants, attorneys, and financial advisors) who want to bring in more business, and executives who want to be more effective and move up in their organizations. He consults, coaches, and teaches them to communicate more effectively so that they get the results they really want. David also speaks to groups on various topics that get them to think, take action, and perform at a higher level.
The Biography Shelf
1964-1974: A Decade of Odd Tales and Wonders
Travis Edward Pike, author
Harvey Kubernik, author
Otherworld Cottage Industries
9781892900043, $22.95, PB, 376pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "1964-1974: A Decade of Odd Tales and Wonders," a memoir of the early career of Travis Edward Pike. As a singer-songwriter, his biography (written with the assistance of Harvey Kubernik) features more than 170 photos and artifacts, and complete lyrics and rhymes from the CDs.
Travis discusses writing the title song for 1964's "Demo Derby," his father's 28 minute action featurette that played on thousands of screens across the USA with the Beatles "Hard Day's Night," at the onset of the mid-1960s British music invasion. He also addresses starring in Pike Productions' 1966 Boston-based feature film "Feelin' Good," the ten songs he wrote for it, and the eight he performed on screen in that movie.
The Montclairs, a racially mixed group, winners of the First Massachusetts Jaycees Battle of the Bands, performed Travis's title song on screen, but his readers and fans will learn that an innocuous scene of the Montclairs sharing a pizza during that volatile period of civil rights activism, restricted the film's bookings in Southern theaters.
Travis also recounts how following the January 1968, Tet Offensive, even after CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite spoke out against continued American involvement in Vietnam, its escalation continued, and the number of American draftees rose, inspiring Travis, a Navy veteran, to compose his only anti-war song, "Don't You Care at All?"
As Travis writes, "People, whether engaged or detached from the events that shape their world, are nevertheless compelled to experience the effects of their nation's histories, economically, politically, psychologically, and spiritually, and the ramifications of events in 1968 still shape our lives."
In 1973, Travis's music underscored the Golden Globe Awards nomination for Best Documentary Film, "The Second Gun," about the 1968 assassination of Democratic Presidential Candidate, Robert Kennedy. Travis posted music sequences from that 1966 movie "Feelin' Good" on Youtube in 2016. The "Watch Out Woman" and "Way That I Need You" video clips led to a 45 rpm soundtrack recording released by State Records (U.K.), and subsequently rated number three in Shindig! magazine's Best of 2017 December issue.
Critique: An inherently fascinating read and a 'must' for all Travis Pike fans, "1964-1974: A Decade of Odd Tales and Wonders" is a very special and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "1964-1974: A Decade of Odd Tales and Wonders" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: A native of Boston, Travis's original songs, performed live in coffeehouses, clubs, and concert halls across New England, Northern Germany, and Southern California are now available on CDs.
Harvey Kubernik, author of 14 music-related books including this year's "The Doors Summer's Gone," published by Otherworld Cottage Industries, wrote the Afterword to Travis's memoir, revealing the current impact of Travis's early works.
9780990619420, $20.00, PB, 310pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Esther Amini grew up in Queens, New York, during the freewheeling 1960s. She also grew up in a Persian-Jewish household, the American-born daughter of parents who had fled Mashhad, Iran. In her memoir, "Concealed", she tells the story of being caught between these two worlds: the dutiful daughter of tradition-bound parents who hungers for more self-determination than tradition allows.
Exploring the roots of her father's deep silences and explosive temper, her mother's flamboyance and flights from home, and her own sense of indebtedness to her Iranian-born brothers, Amini uncovers the story of her parents' early years in Mashhad, Iran's holiest Muslim city; the little-known history of Mashhad's underground Jews; the incident that steeled her mother's resolve to leave; and her parents' arduous journey to the U.S., where they faced a new threat to their traditions: the threat of freedom. Determined to protect his daughter from corruption, Amini's father prohibits talk, books, education, and pushes an early Persian marriage instead. Can she resist? Should she? Focused intently on what she stands to gain, Amini comes to see what she also stands to lose: a family and community bound by food, celebrations, sibling escapades, and unexpected acts of devotion by parents to whom she feels invisible.
Critique: Written with an entertaining wit, exceptionally candid and impressively informative memoir of Jewish life and family values, In "Concealed" Esther Amini ably documents with keen eye, quick wit, and warm heart how her family members built, buoyed up, occasionally wounded, and ultimately saved one another across the generations; how her life and the lives of her family members were shaped by the demands and burdens of loyalty and legacy; and how she finally rose to the challenge of deciding what to keep and what to discard. An extraordinary an inherently fascinating life story, "Concealed" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as both community and academic library Contemporary Biography collections.
The General Fiction Shelf
In Mysterious Ways
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781977220059, $19.95, PB, 222pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: During a stormy festival at a mountain lake, a retired sergeant on a painful quest to find a daughter he never knew he had joins forces with two cattle ranchers (a retired Fed on assignment and a lovelorn musician/part-time deputy) as they find themselves tangling with an eclectic collection of characters: a murderous con man who will stop at nothing, a widowed young mother with no history, and a wealthy family with a shameful secret. A thrilling chain of events comes to a startling conclusion as the storm rages on above the Western plains!
Critique: "In Mysterious Ways" deftly showcases author Lee Martin's genuine flair for originality and a distinctive, entertaining, reader engaging narrative storytelling style. Of special note is that 'In Mysterious Ways" is based on a Dear John letter to a soldier who twenty-five years later finds a daughter he didn't know he had. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "In Mysterious Ways" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Planet Earth Trumped: A True Fable
Dennis A. Barry
9781951697006, $14.99, PB, 380pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Marcus' life is upended on election night, 2016. Through the counsel of the "Orange-tent-guy," a homeless man, he slowly finds peace even as his life unravels in a world predicated by lies.
Marcus, like many in today's political climate, is battling group-think, confirmation bias, and cognitive dissonance. The more time he spends with the Orange-tent-guy, the more he questions reality. Who is his wife, really? Is she connected to the Russian government? Can his Hispanic friend, Jesus, multiply the sandwiches for the homeless? And what about Michelle, formerly known as Michael? Is she/he a closet conservative and if so will "they" be excommunicated from the LGBTTQQIAAP community? And then there's Luke. Can he and his Antifa comrades save the world from fascism? And what about Adara, their Muslim friend? Can she survive with "Twitler" as president?
To complicate matters, Marcus must save the world from runaway climate change both in our time and in the future -- where Al Gore has left secret clues to saving the planet, a twist that leaves the reader astonished. And, in the future, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become president and is running for her second term against Candace Owens who, if she wins, will be the first black, female president.
Critique: Iconoclastic, inherently fascinating, and a 'must read' for all political activists whether they be of the right or the left side of the spectrum in American today, "Planet Earth Trumped: A True Fable" does what a good fable is designed to do -- entertain while messaging something of importance. While especially recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Planet Earth Trumped: A True Fable" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: While "Planet Earth Trumped" is a work of historical fiction, all of the dialogue is based on actual recent events that many will find hard to believe. But, if there's ever a doubt, links to each actual event are included so the reader can see for themselves. Truth is stranger than fiction in these rapidly changing times.
Shakespeare's Younger Sister
Golden Antelope Press
9781936135844, $19.95, PB, 316pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the novel "Shakespeare's Younger Sister" by Geoffrey Craig, when eighteen-year-old named Constance Shakespeare joins her brother Will in London in 1592, she's hoping for opportunities not easily available under her father's roof in Stratford, especially not for young women!
Naturally confident, Constance relies on a strong sense of independence as she walks through muddy lowlands and shares a carriage with dour and charming men, two giggling girls and one judgmental matron. Once arrived, she learns to navigate a city whose characters range from aristocrats to common folk, from highly educated to illiterate, from plain honest to con artist.
She also learns to cope with her brilliant (but stubborn and occasionally narrow-minded) brother, and to understand the qualities which give a play value. She learns to judge and to appreciate the butchers and bakers, the shopkeepers and boatmen, the pregnant women and antsy toddlers, and those who have power over them.
In Queen Elizabeth's London, Constance Shakespeare finds friendship, purpose, and love -- though the paths she travels sometimes take her outside the conventions of Elizabethan society.
Critique: Original, imaginative, deftly scripted, and inherently fascinating from beginning to end, "Shakespeare's Younger Sister" showcases novelist Geoffrey Craig's impressively skilled and reader engaging narrative storytelling style. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Historical Fiction collections, "Shakespeare's Younger Sister" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists.
The Defender of the Faith
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480873452, $44.24, HC, 482pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Almost everyone in the Shirodkar household knows Shyam is a doomed child. The family astrologer, who is never wrong, has predicted that Shyam will encounter three, near-death accidents and will not survive the third. The question is not if but when the event will happen.
As he grows up motherless in central India, Shyam is treated like a stepchild. While fearing he will be starved, branded, and sent to an orphanage, Shyam matures within his small, poor family while the political and social upheavals of the century threaten to destroy all of them. As Shyam's life journey leads him to a missionary college in Nagpur, he embraces Western influences that prompt him to question traditions and wisdom acquired through centuries.
While Europe heads toward war, Shyam and his orthodox Hindu father become immersed in a moral struggle that erupts from a volcano of religious fanaticism and age-old traditions. Can the two men ever reach a resolution or will Shyam be left with more questions than answers and a void he will never be able to fill?
Critique: A deftly crafted and inherently fascinating saga of a novel, "Defender of the Faith" by Prakash Lothe is a rivetingly powerful story of love, loss, resilience, and hope as an Indian boy comes of age and embraces Western values that cause friction between his father and him. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Defender of the Faith" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781480873476, $28.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Perfect Match
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480877504, $24.95, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Nick Seratino is a vibrant, handsome young man starting college when he receives a terrible diagnosis. He has end stage renal disease, requiring dialysis and ultimately a new kidney, and is placed on a transplant waiting list.
Emilio Seratino is not willing to watch his son waste away. There are "many options" for a new kidney, and Emilio plans to utilize them all. When patients ahead of Nick on the waiting list start mysteriously dying, the authorities are called in to investigate. Meanwhile, Nick's condition digs up family secrets better left buried.
Much as John Grisham educates readers about legal topics, Dr. Dennis Ross showcases his medical knowledge in "The Perfect Match", teaching readers about kidney failure with many a thrilling twist and turn up to the final bloody crescendo.
Critique: An especially well crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality, attention to detail, and a narrative storytelling style that keeps his readers riveted attention from beginning to end, "The Perfect Match" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library suspense/thriller collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Perfect Match" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781480877528, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.39).
Redlined: A Novel of Boston
Richard W. Wise
9781951214685, $27.10, HC, 338pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The year is 1974. Boston's Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood under siege skating along the razor's edge of decline. The banks have redlined Jamaica Plain, causing the housing market to crash, wiping out local homeowner's lifetime investments and opening the neighborhood to blockbusters and slumlords.
Now, someone is systematically torching abandoned buildings and the charred body of Sandy Morgan, a dedicated young neighborhood organizer, has been found among the ashes. Why? Who stands to gain?
Community organizer and Marine combat veteran, Jedidiah Flynt and Alex Jordan, his beautiful Harvard educated researcher are determined to stop the redlining and and bring the arsonists responsible for Sandy Morgan's death to justice. Their search will lead them through a labyrinth of corrupt politicians, Asian gangsters and bent churchmen.
Critique: An original and simply riveting novel by an author with an impressive narrative storytelling style, "Redlined" by Richard W. Wise will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections. The kind of novel that movies are made out of, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Redlined" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781950437245, $19.60) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Holly Banks Full of Angst
Lake Union Publishing
9781542014069, $14.95, PB, 377pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Holly Banks could not have made a worse first impression on the seemingly perfect moms in her new affluent community, the Village of Primm. Turns out wearing pink piggy pajama bottoms while dropping off her kindergartner late to the first day of school wasn't her best look.
Not to mention Holly's worried her husband may be having an affair, she can't get her daughter to stop sucking her thumb, her hard-won film degree is collecting dust, and to top it all off, the power-hungry PTA president clearly has it in for her!
To make matters even worse, Holly's natural eye for drama lands her smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood mystery -- right as her own crazy mother shows up in Primm "to help". Through it all, Holly begins to realize her neighbors may be just as flawed as (and even wackier than) she is, leaving her to wonder: Is there such a thing as a perfect mom?
Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Holly Banks Full of Angst" is author Julie Valerie's debut as a novelist, this original, deftly crafted and inherently reader engaging story will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Holly Banks Full of Angst" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781978672338, $14.99, CD).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Betrayal In Blue
C. R. Downing
9781686141041, $21.99 PB, 512pp
Synopsis: In the late 1970s, a police officer in a city in the western United states was part of a task force against a violent criminal gang. The summary report from that task force to the police department was five pages long. The first four pages were a narrative of the task force's actions and results. It was released to the media for their use.
The fifth page was a list of task force members with annotations of their specific contributions. It remained in-house -- at least it was supposed to remain in-house.
Somehow a copy of that fifth page found its way out of police headquarters. Several task force members and their families became targets of anonymous threats, vandalism, and drive-by shootings. One member of the task force was directed to leave the city and his career in law enforcement after his family home and personal vehicles were riddled with bullets. The police department could not guarantee his family's safety.
That incident is the inspiration for C. R. Downing's new novel, "Betrayal In Blue".
Critique: This basic true life event was recounted to author C. R. Downing by a former copy who was involved in the incident. Downing has taken that account and with a deftly crafted and impressively reader involving narrative storytelling style has made an inherently fascinating novel that vividly tells the complex and roller-coaster of a ride story of how those 'brave men and women in blue' ultimately solved the problem of departmental leaks that wrecked havoc on their station and their lives. "Betrayal In Blue" is the stuff from which block-buster movies are made, and while especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Police Procedural Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Betrayal In Blue" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: A retired science teacher, C. R. Downing is the author of 8 novels, 3 nonfiction titles, and has contributed stories in two anthologies.
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781645305286, $18.00, PB, 246pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: How would those immortal beings called vampires react if they had to suddenly come to terms with a mysterious disease that could kill them? In a unique vampire novel author Cynthia Helton reveals that no one is okay with dying, not even a being who regularly brings death as a means of sustaining their lives. Readers will feel that they can feel the pull of family ties within a vampire community as they travel with the vampire Doneele into both her past and her future.
Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Cousins" is author Cynthia Helton's debut as a novelist, this unique take on the vampire novel is truly extraordinary and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections, as well as the personal reading lists of all dedicated vampire genre fans.
Onco III and a Half: The Monster is Unmasked
Folioavenue Publishing Service
9781951193355, $30.67, HC, 96pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The planet is running out of food. In an attempt to end world hunger, a group of scientists have developed a product that is in itself alive. Though fully capable of fulfilling its designed purpose, this product (dubbed the Creature) is becoming intelligent and dangerous. Even worse, the government now sees its potential use as a biological weapon.
Colleen Sans, the scientist in charge of studying and training the entity as it evolves, has developed a strange relationship with Creature behind the walls of a secret government research facility. When she and security officer Frank Vagyoczki learn the government wants to use Creature for military purposes, they escape and take Creature to an undisclosed location.
Now Colleen and Frank must not only deal with their personal attraction to each other while defending against military offenses, but also must work to discover the true nature of Creature. But will they find a way to stay one step ahead of their pursuers and keep Creature from becoming a tool for destruction before it is too late? A scientist and security officer must do everything in their power to save a living organism from becoming a weapon of destruction in the hands of the government.
Critique: An impressively original, deftly written, and inherently fascinating story by Anthony Janicksa-Boross, "Onco III and a Half: The Monster is Unmasked" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to the personal reading lists of all dedicated science fiction fans and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted that "Onco III and a Half: The Monster is Unmasked" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781504317436, $8.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Social Issues Shelf
9781544506616, $14.99, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Each year, over a million people immigrate to America. While illegal immigration is hotly debated, serious gaps in our legal immigration policies are hurting America. As a former United States diplomat and immigrant to America, Dr. George Farag knows this firsthand.
In "Pro-American Immigration: Common Ground in our Immigration Strategy" and having lived on both sides of the immigration process, George brings clarity to issues surrounding immigration that the American people should know about.
In "Pro-American Immigration", George shares his personal story and professional knowledge to bring you into the world of immigration. You will explore how people legally come to America, discover five gaps in our immigration policies, and learn about practical solutions to close these gaps. Finally, you will be equipped to take action to implement pro-American rules that reinforce our immigration laws.
Critique: Exceptionally informative, impressively written, organized and presented, "Pro-American Immigration: Common Ground in our Immigration Strategy" provides a fresh, timely, and practical perspective on immigration. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Social Issues collections in general, and Immigration Policy supplemental curriculum studies reading lists in particular, it should be noted for students, academia, governmental policy makers, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Pro-American Immigration: Common Ground in our Immigration Strategy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
Editorial Note: George Farag is a former US diplomat and consul who immigrated to America. After the attacks of 9/11, George joined the diplomatic corps to serve his country. In that role, he decided on thousands of visa applications from people seeking to come to America. He was on the Consular Affairs Crisis Response team that evacuated 15,000 Americans during the 2006 Lebanon War and was among the first US diplomats to enter Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. George is the recipient of the Department of State's Superior Honor Award, the Meritorious Honor Award, and the George P. Schultz Consular Certificate. He also maintains an informative website at www.georgefarag.com
The Political Science Shelf
War for Your Worldview
Timothy Wade Corder
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480876910, $33.95, HC, 228pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "War for Your Worldview: What Every American Needs to Know in the Age of Fake News, Social Engineering, and Mind-Controlling Propaganda" by Timothy Wade Corder is based on the insights gained through twenty years of the author's intense investigative research.
Although a great deal has been written in recent years about globalism and the infamous New World Order, much of it provides only scant evidence along with endless conjecture, requiring readers to take giant leaps of faith. "War for Your Worldview", however, is different. Corder disregards folklore and presents only the shocking, incontrovertible evidence that proves the existence of the Deep State, showcases the corruption that controls our news and entertainment media, and exposes the elite cabal's insidious, century-long plot to undermine the founding principles of The United States of America.
Critique: Thoughtful and thought-provoking from cover to cover, "War for Your Worldview: What Every American Needs to Know in the Age of Fake News, Social Engineering, and Mind-Controlling Propaganda" is an especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections in general, and Propaganda & Political Psychology supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "War for Your Worldview" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480876927, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Christian Studies Shelf
The Missing Link
High Bridge Books
9781946615435, $16.99, PB, 305pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "The Missing Link: Your Journey With Peter From Self Power to Holy Spirit Power" by Sam Hunter was written specifically for anyone who is trying to follow Jesus, but feel like they are falling short, are feeling discouraged, fatigued, and feel like they just going through the motions, as well as those who perhaps feel good about their relationship with Jesus, but deep down know there is something missing, that there has to be something more!
So many Christians are trying to follow Jesus but are feeling lost or lukewarm along the way. They read about the Holy Spirit, and about the miracles recorded throughout the New Testament Book of Acts. They read and hear about Jesus, or Paul, or Peter talking about a new power, but are bewildered by what this power would or could actually look like in the day-to-day details of their daily lives.
Many Christians feel as if there is something missing in the relationship with God and that perhaps that "missing link" is the Holy Spirit.
In "The Missing Link", the reader will follow Peter daily as he learns to live with this new power following Jesus' return to Heaven and will comprehend the Holy Spirit in a whole new light. They will learn to appropriate and live with this new power Jesus promised.
Critique: With an eloquent and inspiring commentary, "The Missing Link: Your Journey With Peter From Self Power to Holy Spirit Power" is an uplifting, motivating, informative, life changing, life enhancing read that is especially and unreservedly recommended for church, seminary, and community library Christian Spirituality collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations that "The Missing Link" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Become a Provider
9781694305282, $12.99, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: One routine Monday in March 2017, Justin Thomas got the phone call everyone dreads: his father had passed away suddenly. A young father himself at the helm of a thriving startup, Justin had to find his place in a world without his model provider. Inspired by the legacy his father had left behind, Justin set out to train other men to bless and protect the people in their lives.
What he learned along the way, however, forced him to take a hard look at his own life. Was he enjoying life the way God intended? He found that blessing and protecting could be broken down into 8 habits that required intentional and regular exercise. Justin's journey to becoming a provider has been as grueling as his mountain relay races and special forces (inspired ruck challenges) and just as rewarding at the same time. He knows what it is to want to quit and be carried, and he has learned how to carry others in the strength of the ultimate provider, Jesus Christ.
Through reflecting on his father's life, leaving a successful career behind, and almost passing out in crazy endurance events, Justin learned that life is better when you provide for others.
Critique: An inherently fascinating, informative, and ultimately inspiring read from a Christian perspective, "Become a Provider: Discover the Joy of Blessing and Protecting Others" (which is also available in a digital book format: Kindle, $5.99) is a very highly recommended addition to personal, community, and church library collections. It is interesting to note that all proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to The CL Thomas Fellowship to equip people on their provider journey.
Editorial Note: Justin Thomas is the co-founder of the CL Thomas Fellowship, a nonprofit that coaches men and women to become providers based on a biblical world view. He is a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach and is COO of EHOP Health, a chronic disease reversal company. He maintains a website at www.clthomasfellowship.org.
The Business Shelf
The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising
9780999308424, $39.95, PB, 343pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: There are some 2.3 billion potential customers that are on Facebook, Instagram & Messenger. Now in a fully updated edition for 2020, "The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising" provides easy step-by-step instructions for creating commercially effective Facebook ads. Aspiring entrepreneurs and corporate executives will find a wealth insider tips and tricks to improve their ROI.
Brian Meert is the CEO of AdvertiseMint, the leading advertising agency specializing in Facebook advertising and draws upon his professional experience and expertise in "The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising" to bring a fast paced and simple learning approach to digital marketers looking to learn more about social advertising.
Whether new to Facebook ads or an expert at digital marketing and paid social media, "The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising" shows how to select the correct objective, target the perfect audience and create ads that make a connection with a specific audience.
"The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising" covers such topics as: How to set up your Business Manager, Facebook and Instagram accounts; How to create your ad campaigns on Ads Manager; How to create different ad formats such as Instant Experience and Dynamic Product Ads; How to create marketing funnels, the high target audience and successful ad creatives; How to read Facebook reports and choose the right bidding type.
Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising" is an ideal and comprehensive introduction to social media advertising and is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, corporate, and academic library Business Management and E-Commerce instructional reference collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of business students, corporate executives, and entrepreneurs that "The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $35.96).
Dancing in the Cave of the Dragon
How to Sell the Plague
9780988876415, $19.95, PB, 220pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The third volume in author Richard Plinke's unique and simply outstanding 'Dragon' series, "Dancing in the Cave of the Dragon: Adventures in the Wonderland of Sales" continues the journey of our intrepid slayer of sales dysphoria. Plinke uses his entertaining storytelling style to illustrate his distinctive perspective on the art of selling; or, more accurately, the art of living in a world of other opposable-digited hominids.
Critique: With an impressively effective storytelling style, "Dancing in the Cave of the Dragon: Adventures in the Wonderland of Sales" is ultimately a thoughtful and thought-provoking read that will be of particular and special interest to anyone involved in the marketing of goods and services in an increasingly volatile and competitive marketplace whether it be local or international. Also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95), "Dancing in the Cave of the Dragon: Adventures in the Wonderland of Sales" is unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, corporate, community, college, and university library Business Management & Marketing collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
Editorial Note: The other two volumes comprising this simply outstanding series are: "From The Jaws Of The Dragon: : Sales Tales and Other Marginally Related Stuff" (Booklocker.com, 9780988876408, $19.95 PB, $9.99 Kindle) and "More Droppings From The Dragon: A Hitchhiker's Guide To Sales" (Booklocker.com, 9781634904155, $19.95 PB, Kindle, $9.99).
The Amazon Management System
Ram Charan & Julia Yang
9781646870042, $25.95, HC, 178pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Under the leadership of Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com has become the ultimate digital engine that created both unprecedented growth and shareholder value creation by initially sacrificing shareholder dividends for larger and larger market shares of commerce that began with books and now includes an impressive variety of goods and services ranging from computer cloud security to space exploration
"The Amazon Management System: The Ultimate Digital Business Engine That Creates Extraordinary Value for Both Customers and Shareholders" covers Amazon's self-identified Customer-Obsessed Business Model; their Continuous Bar-Raising Talent Pool concept; an AI-Powered Data & Metrics System; a Ground-Breaking Invention Machine; High-Velocity & High-Quality Decision-Making; and their unique 'A forever Day 1' culture.
From their high-velocity decision-making to their top talent hiring practices, the insider secrets behind Amazon's success are revealed in a 'block by block' format.
Critique: An absolutely essential read for novice and established CEOs alike. "The Amazon Management System: The Ultimate Digital Business Engine That Creates Extraordinary Value for Both Customers and Shareholders" is concise and actionable instruction guide and manual will help any entrepreneurs business succeed in this new digital marketing era that demands nonstop innovation to prosper and grow. While unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, corporate, community, and academic library Business Management and E-Commerce collections, it should be noted that "The Amazon Management System" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).
Editorial Note: Ram is a world-renowned advisor to CEOs, business unit managers, and boards of directors who value his practical solutions to complex business problems. Dr. Charan earned MBA and doctorate degrees from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with high distinction and taught as a faculty member. A noted expert and award-winning teacher of business strategy, execution, building a high-performance organization, 21st century leadership, corporate boards and succession, he has worked with leaders of some of the world's most successful companies, including Bank of America, Verizon, Coca-Cola, 3M, GE, Merck, Amgen, Novartis, Aditya Birla Group, and Tata Group.
Julia Yang is a trusted advisor to entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs and executives. She was previously a consultant at McKinsey and a private equity investor at Bain Capital and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She serves on the faculty of the joint MIT-Tsinghua MBA program.
The Poetry Shelf
Dancing with Dali
9781942371816, $15.95, PB, 66pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Dancing with Dali" is comprised of forty-seven poems by Maureen Sherbondy and respond to the often- surreal world of Dali, Kahlo, Van Gogh, Magritte, and others. Artists become characters in Sherbondy's poems. For example, Picasso works at the mall food court, Dali creates his own television network, and Van Gogh's ear floats out to sea.
Through these off-beat, entertaining, and iconoclastic poems, Sherbondy deftly paints with words her own interpretations of fine art paintings and the artists who create them in verses that will especially resonate with those who appreciate 19th and 20th century painters in particular, and art movements in general.
Critique: A unique, engaging, entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking poetic exploration of art and artists, "Dancing with Dali" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary American Poetry collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dancing with Dali" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Education Shelf
Vocabulary for Champions
9780970973436, $24.95, PB, 276pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A good vocabulary is the key to success in school and in the professional world, especially in today's competitive, fast-paced, global society. With study after study showing the correlation between an extensive vocabulary and higher socio-economic status, the need for a strong vocabulary has never been more important.
With core subject-area vocabulary and advanced reading vocabulary, "Vocabulary for Champions: Over 2,000 Words and Activities to Improve Your Reading, Writing, Speaking, Test-taking, and Resume-building Skills" by Joe Oswald is perfect to prepare for school-based exams as well as the SAT,(R) ACT,(R) and GRE.(R) In addition, this book contains economics and personal finance vocabulary, resume-building vocabulary, Greek and Latin Roots, common Latin expressions, and commonly misused words.
Whether it's getting into a good college, landing that dream job, getting a promotion, or just being a more-informed person, "Vocabulary for Champions" is specifically designed to help unlock potential, provide an edge over the competition, as well as become a champion in whatever endeavor is embarked upon.
Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "Vocabulary for Champions: Over 2,000 Words and Activities to Improve Your Reading, Writing, Speaking, Test-taking, and Resume-building Skills" offers dozens of quizzes and word puzzles to enforce the meaning and spelling of words, making it ideal for use with middle school students, high schoolers, and adults, and a valued addition to personal, school, and community library Education & Vocabulary Building collections.
Editorial Note: Joe Oswald is a teacher with over twenty years of experience in teaching history, reading, writing, and standardized test prep, this book contains over 2,000 words and activities to help students, adults, and English language learners master important vocabulary.
Honors of Inequality: How Colleges Work for Some
Joseph H. Wycoff
9780999678886, $24.99, HC, 279pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Honors of Inequality: How Colleges Work for Some" by Joseph H. Wycoff is an historical analysis of the origins and key contributions to the scholarship about American higher education authored by tenured faculty and professional scholars during the last half of the twentieth century.
Higher education as an organized discipline or field of study is a relatively recent invention in the history of colleges and universities. Historians trace the origins of the modern university to the medieval era in Europe about 1,000 years ago. The professional associations of the modern disciplines for historians, economists, sociologists, and other social scientists first organized in the late 1800s, or about 150 years ago. By comparison, the academic study of higher education as an institutional or cultural phenomenon is much more recent, arguably the 1950s. More exactly, the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) formed less than fifty years ago, 1976.
Simply put, the origins of the university and the modern professional associations for the social sciences differ markedly from the origins of higher education as a field of study and an area of scholarly expertise. The historical dating alone suggests that the formal organization of higher education as a field of study has little to do with the general principles of higher learning cultivated by universities over centuries and the investigation of the human condition advanced by social science paradigms over the one-and-one-half centuries.
Why, for instance, did universities neglect to study the nature of higher learning as a distinct branch of the liberal arts or as a discipline akin to medicine, law, or theology during the first several centuries of their existence? How did the social scientists and scholars who first organized professional academic organizations in the late 1800s overlook higher learning as a foundational social and cultural phenomenon akin to history, economics, political science, and sociology in the human condition?
It is no accident that higher education as a field of study emerged in the decade following the professional organization of administrative researchers, the implementation of the 1960 California Master Plan, and the student unrest on American campuses during the 1960s. The power to define what is and is not scholarship about higher education as a field of study presented a welcomed opportunity for faculty to exercise their profound influence over the direction of college and university administration after 1970.
"Honors of Inequality" offers a critical history of this new field of study, uncovering the ideological, political, social, and cultural values motivating early scholars. Its historical account of campus politics offers insights to college-goers, parents, faculty, administrators, policymakers, legislators, and the many other stakeholders in higher education into the reasons that colleges remain powerful instruments for shaping social and economic inequality in the twenty-first century.
Critique: An inherently fascinating, iconoclastic, thoughtful and thought-provoking study, "Honors of Inequality: How Colleges Work for Some" is an impressively organized and presented work of seminal scholarship that is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Higher Education Institutional Studies collections. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Honors of Inequality" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: After completing his BS and MA at Arizona State University, Joseph H. Wycoff earned a doctoral degree in US History from the University of Washington with an emphasis on business and consumer history. He has worked as a higher education administration and research professional for over twenty years. During his career, he worked as an institutional research and effectiveness officer in three different sectors of higher education: a community college, a private nonprofit, and a public Research I university. His first book, Outsourcing Student Success, offers a critical analysis of institutional research scholarship from the past one hundred years and delivers his personal insights into the barriers to student success at American colleges and universities.
As an independent scholar, Joe continues to study and practice the art of historical analysis. In 2009, he began a project to craft a historical narrative about a magical place from the distant past that fascinated him as a young adult. Nearly ten years in the making, his second work, Arcane Cage, explores the discovery of humanity's native powers to master elemental forces, as documented in several archives around the globe, while his larger story invites readers to enjoy the fantastic exploits of a small group of individuals who put those powers to use to change the course of world history. Through the prism of his account of a cleric and her party of adventurers at the forefront of early civilization, his book considers how a new culture dedicated itself to higher education in the classical powers and in so doing refashioned the everyday life of human civilization as we know it today.
The LGBT Studies Shelf
Overture And Beginners
Green Cat Books
9781916276604, $11.57, PB, 258pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Overture And Beginners: The Actor, The Painter and the Little Brown Dog" by Betty Valentine is the story of James Porter, a man known best to the world as Allan. A gay man whose sexual orientation is of no pressing concern to himself. His attitude is that if anyone else finds his homosexuality awkward then that is their problem, not his!
A short, tubby little actor who won't see sixty again, Porter is famous. It's been a few years since he entertained his last younger lover although at the time many of them used their connection to him as a kind of springboard to higher things -- treading on him in the process. That's why he decided to stop looking for 'the one' and to keep his relationships on a more casual basis.
Of course when he stopped looking he found that special one -- and in a place never even considered. "Overture And Beginners" is that story.
Critique: A deftly crafted and original novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that is as intimate as it is reader engaging, "Overture And Beginners: The Actor, The Painter and the Little Brown Dog" is unreservedly recommended for contemporary LBGTQ fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Overture And Beginners" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.50).
The Needlecraft Shelf
Zero Waste Sewing
Elizabeth M. Haywood
9780646808024, $34.99, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Zero Waste Sewing: 16 Projects To Make, Wear And Enjoy" is specifically intended for those needlecrafters who are looking for a new sewing adventure. Patternmaker and sewing teacher Elizabeth Haywood offers 16 wearable projects, cleverly designed to use 100% of the fabric, with no scraps or waste.
Zero waste patternmaking is one strategy for making fashion more sustainable and can also result in innovative garment shapes. "Zero Waste Sewing" presents a variety of zero waste cutting themes, some new, some historical, but all influenced by the cloth itself. Follow the clear step-by-step instructions to maximize fabric usage, grow in confidence and create versatile garments you'll enjoy wearing with "Zero Waste Sewing.
Critique: Featuring fully illustrated, step-by-step project instructions, "Zero Waste Sewing: 16 Projects To Make, Wear And Enjoy" will prove to be a prized and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft collections.
Editorial Note: Elizabeth Haywood trained as a patternmaker, combining her love of maths, drawing, fabric and stationery. She was fortunate to find something she loved doing early on in adult life and remained passionate about pattern making over a twenty year career in clothing manufacture. She now writes and teaches sewing, and is the author of the award-winning The Dressmaker's Companion: A Practical Guide To Sewing Clothes. Needlecrafts can read her sewing and fashion blog at www.lizhaywood.com.au
James A. Cox
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