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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 14, Number 11 November 2019 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Christmas Shelf
Education Shelf Science Shelf Biography Shelf
Travel Shelf General Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Political Science Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Business Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Parenting Shelf
Military Shelf Cookbook Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Woodworking Shelf Fishing Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Railroading Shelf American History Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Art Shelf
Sports Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf International Studies Shelf
Photography Shelf Humor Shelf Wisconsin Shelf


Reviewer's Choice

One Day
Gene Weingarten
Blue Rider Press
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
www.us.penguingroup.com
9780399166662, $28.00, HC, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: On New Year's Day 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize - winner Gene Weingarten asked three strangers to, literally, pluck a day, month, and year from a hat. That day (chosen completely at random) turned out to be Sunday, December 28, 1986, by any conventional measure a most ordinary day. Weingarten spent the next six years proving that there is no such thing.

That Sunday between Christmas and New Year's turned out to be filled with comedy, tragedy, implausible irony, cosmic comeuppances, kindness, cruelty, heroism, cowardice, genius, idiocy, prejudice, selflessness, coincidence, and startling moments of human connection, along with evocative foreshadowing of momentous events yet to come. Lives were lost. Lives were saved. Lives were altered in overwhelming ways. Many of these events never made it into the news; they were private dramas in the lives of private people. They were utterly compelling.

"One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America" asks and answers the question of whether there is even such a thing as "ordinary" when we are talking about how we all lurch and stumble our way through the daily, daunting challenge of being human.

Critique: A brilliant concept deftly researched and presented in the pages of "One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America", this unique study is an inherently fascinating read. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, and an excellent template for similar studies for other randomly chosen 24 hour time frames, "One Day" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library American History collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "One Day" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Black Indian
Shonda Buchanan
Wayne State University Press
4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309
http://wsupress.wayne.edu
9780814345801, $19.99, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, drunks, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan's memoir, "Black Indian" is an inspiring and intensely personal story that explores her family's legacy of being African Americans with American Indian roots and how they dealt with not just society's ostracization but the consequences of this dual inheritance.

Buchanan was raised as a Black woman, who grew up hearing cherished stories of her multi-racial heritage, while simultaneously suffering from everything she (and the rest of her family) didn't know. Tracing the arduous migration of Mixed Bloods, or Free People of Color, from the Southeast to the Midwest, Buchanan tells the story of her Michigan tribe -- a comedic yet manically depressed family of fierce women, who were everything from caretakers and cornbread makers to poets and witches, and men who were either ignored, protected, imprisoned, or maimed -- and how their lives collided over love, failure, fights, and prayer despite a stacked deck of challenges, including addiction and abuse.

Ultimately, Buchanan's nomadic people endured a collective identity crisis after years of constantly straddling two, then three, races. The physical, spiritual, and emotional displacement of American Indians who met and married Mixed or Black slaves and indentured servants at America's early crossroads is where this powerful journey begins. Black Indian doesn't have answers, nor does it aim to represent every American's multi-ethnic experience. Instead, it digs as far down into this one family's history as it can go sometimes, with a bit of discomfort. But every family has its own truth, and Buchanan's search for hers will resonate in anyone who has wondered "maybe there's more than what I'm being told".

Critique: An inherently fascinating, deftly written, thoughtful and thought-provoking memoir of an extraordinary woman and her extraordinary family, "Black Indian" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections, as well as Black Studies and Native American studies supplemental curriculum lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Black Indian" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Rut-Busting Book for Authors
Nancy Christie
www.nancychristie.com
Mill City Press
www.rutbustingbookforauthors.com
9781545673386, $14.99, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A successful writer, speaker and blogger, Nancy Christie wrote "Rut-Busting Book for Authors" specifically for the benefit of anyone who is thinking about writing a book but can't seem to get started, or having got started is unsure of their next move.

"Rut-Busting Book for Authors" will prove to be of practical value for anyone who is unsure how to get started -- or keep going; who are wondering what publishing option to choose: traditional, hybrid or indie?; Are confused about how best to market their book and reach their readers?

"Rut-Busting Book for Authors" presents useful 'real world' advice from more than 60 authors and industry experts including: literary agents and attorneys, publishers and publicists, book editors and book reviewers.

"Rut-Busting Book for Authors" provides information on the three stages involved in writing, publishing and marketing a book: The Process--what it takes to turn your book idea into a publishable manuscript; The Publication--what publishing methods are available; The Promotion--what strategies will work best for you to create a "book buzz".

If you want to write, publish and market a book, "Rut-Busting Book for Authors" effectively showcases the process from concept to completion!

It should be noted that the Midwest Book Review is one of the resources listed in Book Review Listings on page 203.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Rut-Busting Book for Authors" offers a wealth of practical information, insights, advice, and specific things to do that will be of immediate benefit to anyone seeking to write, get published, and/or marketing their book regardless of its genre or subject matter. While unreservedly and especially recommended for community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of aspiring authors that "Rut-Busting Book for Authors" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).


The Christmas Shelf

A Mrs. Miracle Christmas
Debbie Macomber
Ballantine Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
www.randomhouse.com
9780399181399, $20.00, HC, 272pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As the holiday season begins, Laurel McCullough could use some good news. She and her husband, Zach, have been praying for a baby that seems more and more like an impossible dream, and they've had to move in with her beloved grandmother, Helen, who's having trouble taking care of herself. But when Laurel contacts a local home-care organization for help, there are no caregivers available.

Then Mrs. Miracle appears at the door. No stranger to lending a helping hand to a family in need, Mrs. Miracle reveals herself to be nothing short of a godsend. Helen's even convinced she's an angel! And Laurel can't help but notice that with Mrs. Miracle's companionship, Helen is noticeably happier and more engaged, decorating the family Christmas tree and setting up the nativity. In the meantime, Laurel and Zach encounter curious signs, all pointing toward the arrival of a special baby.

As Christmas approaches, there appears to be even more to Mrs. Miracle than meets the eye. In a classic tale of Debbie Macomber's signature seasonal magic, Laurel, Zach, and Helen experience a holiday of heavenly proportions!

Critique: Another gem of a novel by a master of the storytelling arts, Debbie Macomber's "A Mrs. Miracle Christmas" is an extraordinarily entertaining and smile inducing read from cover to cover. While absolutely and unreservedly recommended for all community library collections, it should be noted for the legions of Debbie Macomber fans that "A Mrs. Miracle Christmas" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).


The Education Shelf

Paying for College, 2020 Edition
Kalman Chany
The Princeton Review
c/o Random House Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
www.PrincetonReview.com
9780525568797, $22.99, PB, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Financing a college education is a daunting task no matter what a student and their family financial circumstances are. With line-by-line instructions for filling out the FAFSA and consumer-friendly advice to minimize college costs, this new 2020 edition of "Paying for College" helps to take control of financing a college education by showing how the new tax law affects financing your college education.

Also covered are how to: Maximize your financial aid eligibility; Explore long- and short-term strategies to reduce college costs and avoid expensive mistakes; Complete every question on the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms to your best advantage; Compare aid offers and learn how to appeal them if necessary; Plan strategically as a separated/divorced parent, blended family, or independent student.

Critique: Comprehensive, thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Paying for College, 2020 Edition: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College" is an essential and core addition to school district, college admissions department, and community library collections -- and an indispensable resource for families seeking a college education for their children.

Coherent School Leadership
Michael Fullan & Lyle Kirtman
ASCD
1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
www.ascd.org
9781416627906, $23.95, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: While leaders may desire or have been told that they must put certain structures into place in order to enhance their leadership capabilities, they may not know exactly what structures are needed, or the skills that are required for implementation. In the pages of "Coherent School Leadership: Forging Clarity from Complexity", authors Michael Fullan and Lyle Kirtman go beyond simply telling you what you need to put in place to enhance leadership -- they also detail the route to successful leadership.

"Coherent School Leadership" shows how to combine the components of Fullan's Coherence Framework (the Framework) with Kirtman's 7 Competencies for Highly Effective Leaders (the Competencies) to drive coherence (the shared depth of understanding about the nature of the work and how it impacts the results desired for student achievement) to change the culture in schools from reactive to proactive.

Fullan and Kirtman, whose work is based in practice, will: Show how to use specific competencies to drive coherence; Provide examples that show how other leaders have successfully created coherence; Guide the reader through the day-to-day distractions/stresses so that they can stay on course; Show how to use the Competencies in relation to the Framework.

Taking a world view of the forces that could destabilize education and the work of coherence, "Coherent School Leadership" will show how proven frameworks such as the Framework and the Competencies can help administrators and educators to cope with even the most complex scenarios.

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "Coherent School Leadership: Forging Clarity from Complexity" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to school district, college, and university library Education Administration and Teacher Education collections and supplemental studies curriculums. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of student teachers, classroom instructors, and education administrators that "Coherent School Leadership" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.50).

Curriculum: Athena Versus the Machine
Martin Robinson
Crown House Publishing
81 Brook Hills Circle, White Plains, NY 10605
www.crownhousepublishing.com
9781785833021, $19.95, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Martin Robinson worked for 20 years in state schools in London as a teacher, a leader and an advanced skills teacher. Now an education consultant, he works with schools and other institutions on curriculum development and a wide range of other issues. He is a regular on the conference circuit both in the UK and internationally.

In "Curriculum: Athena Versus The Machine" he draws upon his years of experience and expertise to explore the educational value of a curriculum rooted in the pursuit of wisdom and advocates the enshrinement of such a curriculum as the central concern of an academic institution.

Rather than being seen as a data-driven machine, Robinson believes that a school should be viewed as a place that enables children to develop thoughtful perspectives on the world, through which they can pursue wisdom and be free to join in with the ancient and continuing conversation: What is it to be human?

Teachers need to be liberated from policy-led prescription in order to design curricula which bring the subjects being studied, rather than the blind pursuit of measurable outcomes, to the foreground of the school's teaching and learning agenda. In "Curriculum", Robinson explores how this can be achieved.

Critique: Impressively thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Curriculum: Athena Versus the Machine" is especially recommended reading for classroom teacher, school administrators, and school board members. While highly recommended for school district, college, and community library Education Studies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Curriculum: Athena Versus the Machine" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.49).


The Science Shelf

When the Earth Had Two Moons
Erik Asphaug
Custom House
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway, New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
9780062657923, $28.99, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In 1959, the Soviet probe Luna 3 took the first photos of the far side of the moon. Even in their poor resolution, the images stunned scientists: the far side is an enormous mountainous expanse, not the vast lava-plains seen from Earth. Subsequent missions have confirmed this in much greater detail.

How could this be, and what might it tell us about our own place in the universe? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Fourteen billion years ago, the universe exploded into being, creating galaxies and stars. Planets formed out of the leftover dust and gas that coalesced into larger and larger bodies orbiting around each star. In a sort of heavenly survival of the fittest, planetary bodies smashed into each other until solar systems emerged. Curiously, instead of being relatively similar in terms of composition, the planets in our solar system, and the comets, asteroids, satellites and rings, are bewitchingly distinct. So, too, the halves of our moon.

In "When the Earth Had Two Moons", esteemed planetary geologist Erik Asphaug takes us on an exhilarating tour through the farthest reaches of time and our galaxy to find out why. Beautifully written and provocatively argued, When the Earth Had Two Moons is not only a mind-blowing astronomical tour but a profound inquiry into the nature of life here - and billions of miles from home.

Critique: Erik Asphaug is a professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona, a member of the faculty of the world-renowned Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, and was part of the team behind NASA's successful Galileo and LCROSS missions. A winner of the prestigious Harold C. Urey Prize from the American Astronomical Society, recognizing outstanding achievements by a young planetary scientist, his areas of expertise include the geology of comets and asteroids and the giant impacts that formed the planets and moons. He was also a professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

In "When the Earth Had Two Moons: Cannibal Planets, Icy Giants, Dirty Comets, Dreadful Orbits, and the Origins of the Night Sky" planetary geologist and academician Asphaug draws upon his years of research and expertise to provide the reader with a truly wondrous and surprising exploration of planet formation and the origins of life.

A meticulous and expertly presented work of science, "When the Earth Had Two Moons" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Science, Astronomy, and Planetary Geology collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "When the Earth Had Two Moons" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982663087, $39.99, CD).


The Biography Shelf

Troublemaker for Justice
Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, Michael G. Long
City Lights Publishers
261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133
www.citylights.com
9780872867659, $13.95, PB, 172pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Bayard Rustin (March 17, 1912 - August 24, 1987) was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights.

Rustin worked with A. Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement in 1941 to press for an end to racial discrimination in employment. Rustin later organized Freedom Rides and helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to strengthen Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership, teaching King about nonviolence and later serving as an organizer for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

After the passage of the civil rights legislation of 1964 - 65, Rustin became the head of the AFL - CIO's A. Philip Randolph Institute, which promoted the integration of formerly all-white unions and promoted the unionization of African Americans. During the 1970s and 1980s, Rustin served on many humanitarian missions, such as aiding refugees from Communist Vietnam and Cambodia. At the time of his death in 1987, he was on a humanitarian mission in Haiti.

Rustin was a gay man who had been arrested early in his career for engaging in public sex. Due to criticism over his sexuality, he usually acted as an influential adviser behind the scenes to civil-rights leaders. In the 1980s, he became a public advocate on behalf of gay causes.

Later in life, Rustin shifted ideologically towards neoconservatism, for which President Ronald Reagan posthumously praised him after his death in 1987. On November 20, 2013, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Critique: "Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington" by the team of Michael G. Long (Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Peace and Conflict studies at Elizabethtown College); Walter Naegle (the former partner of the American Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin and is the Executive Director of the Bayard Rustin Fund, which commemorates Rustin's life, values, and legacy); and author Jacqueline Houtman is a definitive account of the life and work of one of America's key figures in the struggle for Civil Rights for blacks and gays. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers that "Troublemaker for Justice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.44).

These Boys and Their Fathers
Don Waters
University of Iowa Press
119 West Park Road, Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
www.uiowapress.org
9781609386795, $17.00, PB, 230pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In 2010, Don Waters set out to write a magazine story about a surfing icon who he knew as his absentee father. It was an attempt to find a way of connecting to a man he never knew. He didn't imagine that the story would become a years-long quest to understand a man who left behind almost nothing except for a self-absorbed autobiography for his abandoned son.

"These Boys and Their Fathers: A Memoir" touches on Waters's early life with his single mother (and her string of dysfunctional men) and his later search for and encounters with his father, but it quickly expands into a gripping account of the life of a 1930s pulp writer, also named Don Waters, with whom Waters becomes obsessed. This wildly original book blends memoir, investigative reporting, and fiction to sort out difficult aspects of family, masculinity, and what it means to be a father.

Critique: A thoroughly absorbing and deftly crafted read from cover to cover, "These Boys and Their Fathers: A Memoir" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "These Boys and Their Fathers: A Memoir" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.59).

Portrait of an American Businessman
Carl Ware
Mercer University Press
1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, GA 31207-0001
www.mupress.org
9780881467154, $29.00, HC, 308pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Carl Ware is an American success story. Born in 1943 to humble Georgia sharecroppers, he faced hardship while growing up black in the Jim Crow South. His father made history as the first black man to vote in Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since Reconstruction. Ware worked his way through college, taking part in the Atlanta Student Movement.

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he rose to become one of the most influential business leaders and philanthropists of his generation. Ware was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1973 and later served as its first black president from 1976 to 1979. In 1979 he was named vice president of Special Markets for Coca-Cola USA. He founded the Coca-Cola Foundation and became known as the company's "Daring Diplomat."

As the highest-ranking African American executive at the Coca-Cola Company, Ware would become the architect of his employer's South Africa disinvestment and the first American businessman to meet with Nelson Mandela after his release from prison in 1990. During this time, Ware proved instrumental in the fall of South Africa's brutal system of apartheid. In 1991 he was appointed deputy group president of Coca-Cola's Northeast Europe Africa group. In 1993 he became the company's first black group president, heading the Africa operations.

Retiring from Coca-Cola in 2003 as head of global public affairs and administration, Ware served on the boards of Georgia Power, National Life of Vermont, Cummins, Chevron, and PGA Tours Golf Course Properties, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and as chairman of the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Now, for the first time and with the assistance of Sibley Fleming, Carl Ware shares his incredible and inspiring story and how he rewrote the rules for power sharing in America.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, inspiring, and impressively informative autobiography, "Portrait of an American Businessman: One Generation from Cotton Field to Boardroom" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Carl Ware's life story is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.00).

Sheeran: A Biography
Sean Smith
Diversion Books
443 Park Avenue South, Suite #1004, New York, NY 10016
www.diversionbooks.com
9781635766516, $16.99, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Edward Christopher Sheeran, MBE (born 17 February 1991) is an English singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actor. In early 2011, Sheeran independently released the extended play, No. 5 Collaborations Project. After signing with Asylum Records, his debut album, + (pronounced "plus"), was released in September 2011. It topped the UK and Australian charts, reached number five in the US, and has since been certified eight-times platinum in the UK. The album contains the single "The A Team", which earned him the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. In 2012, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. "The A Team" was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards, where he performed the song with Elton John. (Wikipedia)

Now a grammy-award winner, Ed Sheeran strikes chords in millions of listeners worldwide -- a feat all the more staggering given that he couldn't even carry a tune until the age of fifteen. At thirteen, then just a guitarist in a school rock band, today's most successful solo star decided he would fly far higher than hometown fame. Within a year, he had recorded an album in his bedroom.

In "Sheeran: A Biography" Sean Smith traces the astonishing journey of the shy little English boy with a stammer who, avoiding flashy showmanship, grew up to become a global phenomenon. With compelling new research and interviews, Smith delivers the story of Sheeran's remarkable parents, who supported their son's dream long before it seemed achievable; the friends and mentors who encouraged his raw talent; and the lovers who inspired his most famous songs.

Smith describes the setbacks Sheeran faced before his fortunes were transformed by Elton John's management company, a record deal, and a song that changed everything...with some help from Taylor Swift. Now Sheeran has sold 150 million records worldwide, earned $432 million touring in 2018 alone, and broke records with his 2018 UK tour but still made time to play for just 400 people at a charity night to raise money for the homeless last year. As this captivating book reveals, there's no one quite like Ed.

Critique: An absolutely 'must read' biography for the growing legions of Ed Sheeran fans, "Sheeran: A Biography" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that this impressively informative and exceptionally well written study is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

De Kalb One of the Revolutionary War's Bravest Generals
John Beakes
Heritage Books
www.heritagebooks.com
9780788459009, $37.50, HC, 488pp

Synopsis: People who saw Major General Johann de Kalb's heroic actions at the battle of Camden, South Carolina on August 16, 1780, never forgot it. A soldier who fought there wrote fifty-three years later that de Kalb was "...perhaps the bravest man that ever lived."

Bleeding from eleven wounds, de Kalb died three days after the battle. British officers attended his funeral to respect an honored foe. American leaders spoke and wrote of their high regard. Congress authorized a memorial statue in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, whose sons he had led in battle.

"De Kalb One of the Revolutionary War's Bravest Generals" by John Beakes is military biography deftly chronicles the life and legacy of this fine military leader.

Critique: Meticulously researched, deftly written, organized and presented, "De Kalb One of the Revolutionary War's Bravest Generals" successfully rescues from obscurity one of the American Revolution's most impressive patriots. Impressively informative, "De Kalb One of the Revolutionary War's Bravest Generals" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library American History collections in general, and American Revolutionary War supplemental studies reading lists in particular.


The Travel Shelf

Lonely Planet Europe
Lonely Planet Publications
www.lonelyplanet.com
9781787013711 $26.99 pbk / $15.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: Lonely Planet's Europe is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Raise a glass of champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, marvel at the number of masterpieces at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, and explore Prague's neighbourhoods, galleries and bars - all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Europe and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Europe:

Full-colour maps and images throughout

Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests

Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots

Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices

Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sightseeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss

Cultural insights provide a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, art, food, drink, sport, politics

Covers Britain, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, Scandinavia and more.

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet's Europe is our most comprehensive guide to Europe, and is perfect for discovering both popular and off-the-beaten-path experiences.

Critique: Up-to-date with the latest research as of 2019, Lonely Planet Europe is an absolute "must-have" for any tourist, business traveler, or visitor to Europe. Filled with over 1200 pages of survival guides, recommended lodgings and restaurants, maps, language basics, regionwide itineraries, and more covering every European country, Lonely Planet Europe is the quintessential, definitive travel guide, enhanced with an easy-to-use index. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Lonely Planet Europe is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.99).

Southern Ontario's National Parks
N. Glenn Perrett, author
Lynn & N. Glenn Perret, photographers
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
www.fitzhenry.ca
9781554553976, $34.95, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Southern Ontario is one of the most developed areas in Canada. It also has North America's busiest highway - Highway 401. But in amongst this largely urban area are to be found six gems in Canada's national park's system: Point Pelee National Park; Bruce Peninsula National Park; Fathom Five National Marine Park; Georgian Bay Islands National Park; Rouge National Urban Park; and Thousand Islands National Park.

These parks not only protect some of the most spectacular wilderness left in this part of the province, but they offer incredible nature experiences -- everything from hiking, camping and canoeing to boating, bird watching and swimming. In Southern Ontario's National Parks, N. Glenn Perrett showcases these special places and why nature is important. He then takes the the armchair traveler on some wonderfully entertaining eco-adventures!

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout with color photography, "Southern Ontario's National Parks" is an extraordinarily informative, deftly organized and presented introduction and guide to six scenic wonders, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal and community library Canadian Travel Guide collections.

Editorial Note: N. Glenn Perrett is a writer and environmentalist who lives with his family in Mulmur, Ontario. Glenn enjoys canoeing, hiking and spending time in nature. His interests include protecting animals and the environment and living lightly on the planet and these beliefs are reflected in Southern Ontario's National Parks.

Hiking Southwest Canyon Country
Sandra Hinchman
Mountaineers Books
1001 SW Klickitat Way, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98134-1161
www.mountaineersbooks.org
9781680511468, $24.95, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Now in a fully updated and expanded fourth edition, "Hiking Southwest Canyon Country" by Sandra Hinchman, anyone easily plan an itinerary to visit pueblo ruins, admire striking arches, stroll through impressive river canyons, soak in rock art, take a backpacking trip, and more.

From national parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Petrified Forest, Capitol Reef) to national monuments (Natural Bridges, Canyon de Chelly, Bandelier, El Morro, Colorado, Dinosaur, and Bears Ears) to several state parks and more -- the Four Corners region offers endless opportunities for explorers.

"Hiking Southwest Canyon Country" has been helping visitors and locals plan for nearly thirty years! Beyond details on hikes and sights, author Sandra Hinchman shares helpful background on geology, climate, flora and fauna, Native cultures, and much more. For many hikes, notable nearby destinations offer even more choices for expanding your itinerary.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, nicely illustrated throughout with color photography and maps, this new fourth edition of "Hiking Southwest Canyon Country" is unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library collections. It should be noted that "Hiking Southwest Canyon Country " is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.95).

100 Things to Do in Springfield, IL Before You Die
Penny Zimmerman-Willis
Reedy Press
PO Box 5131, St. Louis, MO 63139
www.reedypress.com
9781681062204, $15.99, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: There may be a city called Springfield in many states, but only one of them is a state capital: Springfield, Illinois. Within the pages of this newly updated second edition of "100 Things to Do in Springfield, IL, Before You Die", however, you ll find out that Springfield is much more than Abraham Lincoln's hometown and Illinois's capital. Those highlights may have put Springfield on the map in a way few other cities of its size can match, but this unique travel guide reveals hidden gems that even the locals might not know about.

Explore the parks and nature preserves, war memorials, and museums. Visit one of Frank Lloyd Wright's greatest designs at the Dana Thomas House, or hear the beautiful melodies of one of the world's largest carillons at the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon. In the pages of this new edition of "100 Things to Do in Springfield, IL, Before You Die" both out-of-town tourists and local residents alike will find insider tips on where to find the best horseshoe (Springfield's signature sandwich), the best canoeing (down the Sangamon River), pick fresh blueberries, and see live theater under the stars.

In "100 Things to Do in Springfield, IL, Before You Die" longtime resident Penny Zimmerman-Wills shares her lifetime of expertise and experience in Central Illinois. With this book as your guide, she ll help you make your own lasting memories in Springfield, Illinois.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, impressively informative and thoroughly 'user friendly in tone and commentary, this new second edition of "100 Things to Do in Springfield, IL, Before You Die" is a pleasure to browse through and will prove to be an indispensable resource for planning a memorable day trip or an extended vacation in the Illinois state capital.


The General Fiction Shelf

Eastbound from Flagstaff
Annette Valentine
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
www.morganjamespublishing.com
9781642793352, $39.95, Library Binding, 334pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Simon Hagan is running from a lie, intent on believing his own efforts and perseverance can overcome anything. He abandons roots that are his foundational strength and hides behind his charm, living every moment as if life's daring him to fail -- again. He's reckoning with his father's God who could have delivered better outcomes but didn't.

Simon's return to the notion of forgiveness is the catalyst for a new beginning as it reunites Simon to the place he once thought was the impossible dream. The answer for Simon isn't blowing in the backwinds of his dream chase; rather, it unfolds in the outstretched hand of a villain.

Critique: "Eastbound from Flagstaff " is first installment in an epic trilogy by Annette Valentine (and based upon the author's father) that begins in the 1920's, unique in its purposeful illumination of the human condition and its ideological indifference to God, asks the question: "Why was God silent when I needed him?" While unreservedly and especially recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Eastbound from Flagstaff" is also available in a paperback edition (9781642793345, $18.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).

Knower of the Field
Phalgun Prativadi, M.D.
Dog Ear Publishing
www.dogearpublishing.net
9781457570520, $14.95, PB, 290pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Dr. Arya Krish is a brilliant physician and philanthropist, and the head of Beacon Medical Institute. The ground breaking technology developed there, through the Panacea Project, will usher in the new age of genetics that will change the world we live in.

Krish's vast ambition at home and abroad leads to entangled alliances with industry juggernaut Alpha Corp, as well as the US government. He is forced to confront cut-throat corporate corruption, government encroachment, and a haunting family history. The ends must justify the means, which give rise to the bad blood within. Arya Krish has to make peace with it, to become a true knower of the field.

Critique: With a deftly scripted plot that could well be ripped from tomorrow's headlines with respect to advances in the genetic sciences and technologies, "Knower of the Field" by Dr. Phalgun Prativadi is an inherently compelling read from first page to last. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Knower of the Field" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Timepiece
Beverly Lewis
Bethany House Publishers
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301
www.bethanyhouse.com
9780764233258, $22.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As the only daughter, Sylvia Miller always held a special place in her Old Order family, one Adeline Pelham jeopardizes when she shows up at the Millers' Hickory Hollow farm. It isn't that Adeline means to be a threat, but her very existence is a reminder of the painful secret that has so recently upended the Miller household. And with Sylvia and her mother still struggling to come to terms with that news, this is a challenging time to welcome an Englisher (especially this Englisher!) into their midst.

Despite the Millers' unexpected hospitality, Adeline is well aware that she's treading on Sylvia's turf, and she feels guilty about doing so when Sylvia is grappling with issues of her own. Not only is Sylvia trying to rebuild her trust in her father, but she's uncertain what to make of her once-promising engagement to Titus Kauffman, who hasn't pursued her since she confronted him. Adeline wishes she could help Sylvia, but she's not sure that either she or Sylvia is ready for that level of closeness in their relationship.

Can God make something good come out of the mistakes of the past? Or does Adeline's
arrival mark one too many surprises for the Millers and their Amish community?

Critique: Another deftly crafted and especially entertaining novel from the pen of Beverly Lewis, "The Timepiece" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the author's legions of fans that "The Timepiece" is also available in a paperback edition (9780764233074, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Nugget
P. T. Deutermann
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250205889, $27.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Lieutenant Bobby Steele, USN, is a fresh-faced and eager naval aviator: a "Nugget," who needs to learn the ropes and complex procedures of taking off and returning safely to his aircraft carrier. A blurry night of drinking lands him in an unfamiliar bed aboard the USS Oklahoma; later that day, the Japanese destroy Pearl Harbor. After cheating death and losing his friend in this act of war, the formerly naive Steele vows to avenge the attack.

Flying sea battle after battle, Steele survives the most dangerous air combat in World War II, including Midway, is shot down twice, rescued twice, and eventually leads a daring mission to free prisoners from a secluded Japanese POW camp.

Critique: Packed from cover to cover with authentically presented military action on land and at sea in the Pacific Theatre of WWII and featuring a memorable protagonist based on a true-life hero, "The Nugget" is a first-class adventure novel by P. T. Deutermann -- a former commander whose family served in the Pacific. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Nugget" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982631772, $29.95, MP3 CD).

A Single Light
Tosca Lee
Howard Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com
9781476798646, $27.00, HC, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Six months after vanishing into an underground silo with sixty others, Wynter and Chase emerge to find the area abandoned. There is no sign of Noah and the rest of the group that was supposed to greet them when they emerged -- the same people Wynter was counting on to help her locate the IV antibiotics her gravely ill friend, Julie, needs in order to live.

As the clock ticks down on Julie's life, Wynter and Chase embark on a desperate search for medicine and answers. But what they find is not a nation on the cusp of recovery thanks to the promising new vaccine Wynter herself had a hand in creating, but one decimated by disease. What happened while they were underground?

With food and water in limited supply and their own survival in question, Chase and Wynter must venture further and further from the silo. Aided by an enigmatic mute named Otto, they come face-to-face with a society radically changed by global pandemic, where communities scrabble to survive under rogue leaders and cities are war zones. As hope fades by the hour and Wynter learns the terrible truth of the last six months, she is called upon once again to help save the nation she no longer recognizes -- a place so dark she's no longer sure it can even survive.

Critique: "A Single Light" by Tosca Lee is a deftly crafted dystopian novel that is a simply riveting read from first page to last. While unreservedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Single Light" is also available in a paperback edition (9781501169083, $17.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Stealing Kisses in the Snow
Jo Mcnally
HQN
c/o Harlequin Books
https://www.harlequin.com
9781335041487, $7.99, PB, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Single mom Piper Montgomery's plate is full. Between her two adorable kids, two jobs and a fixer-upper house, she's so busy she can hardly see straight. But when rugged biker Logan Taggart strolls into the inn where she's working, she can't help but stare. He has bad boy written all over him. And with two kids relying on her, that's the last thing she needs this Christmas.

Rendezvous Falls is nothing but a pit stop for Logan. Once his grandmother is back on her feet and ready to reclaim the inn, Logan can get back on the road. It's where he belongs, even if his grandmother's matchmaking book club try to convince him otherwise. Still, there's something about beautiful spitfire Piper that makes him wonder if family and forever might just be what he needs after all.

But as the holidays draw ever closer, so do Piper and Logan. Could these polar opposites find that all they want this Christmas is each other?

Critique: Another deftly crafted romance novel by a master of the genre, "Stealing Kisses in the Snow" by Jo McNally is unreservedly recommended reading for all dedicated fans of true love and happy endings. While especially appropriate for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted that "Stealing Kisses in the Snow" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781094003771, $39.99, CD).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Murder in Tranquility
J. D. Griffo
Kensington Mystery
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21, New York, NY 10018-2522
www.kensingtonbooks.com
9781496713964, $7.99, PB, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Ever since Alberta Scaglione inherited her spinster aunt's Cape Cod cottage, she's been enjoying the good life in Tranquility, New Jersey, with her black cat, Lola. But since things are mostly quiet in this town, she finds other things to do -- like joining Jinx for morning jogs in Tranquility Park.

She has to do something to stay healthy, as long as it doesn't involve Jinx's healthful tofu sausages and gluten-free pasta. But when they stumble across a treehouse hidden in the trees, and a dead body underneath it, they take a detour into solving a murder. Now the Ferrara ladies will have to exercise extreme caution to avoid a permanent decline in their health . Of special note is the inclusion of Italian recipes from Alberta's kitchen!

Critique: Also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.17) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9781515937845, $29.99, CD), "Murder in Tranquility" is a cover to cover treat for all dedicated whodunnit mystery buffs and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections.

The Books of the Dead
Emilia Bernhard
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781643851570, $26.99, HC, 309pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When American sleuth Rachel Levis stumbles upon an employee of the French national library strangled in the bathroom of a cafe, she's not surprised to be asked to help with the investigation by her old acquaintance Capitaine Boussicault -- after all, she and her best friend Magda solved a tricky murder only eighteen months before.

But right from the start, this case proves to be tres difficile. When Rachel goes undercover as a librarian to determine which of his book-loving colleagues loathed the man enough to kill him, the library is rocked by more bad news: a priceless antique book has been mutilated. And the very next day, her favorite suspect for the murder is found dead in the stacks.

Just as the case is heating up, Boussicault pulls Rachel from the investigation. Undeterred, she and Magda decide to forge ahead with their own investigation -- even if it could put them at odds with the police and in serious danger. With evidence and suspects piling up, it will be up to them to find the culprit -- and stop more innocent books from being harmed--before anyone else checks out for good!

Critique: Another deftly crafted 'A Death in Paris' mystery from the pen of Emilia Bernhard, "The Books of the Dead" is a riveting read from cover to cover and highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "The Book of the Dead" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

A Legacy of Murder
Connie Berry
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781643851549, $26.99, HC, 327pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It's Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent's tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.

Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman's work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman's death connected?

Kate learns that Lady Barbara's son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara's son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It's up to Kate to clear her daughter's name!

Critique: Also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99), "A Legacy of Murder" is author Connie Berry's second Kate Hamilton mystery and a veritable treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries and one that is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery fans and community library Murder/Suspense collections.

Galway Girl
Ken Bruen
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
154 West 14th Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10011
www.groveatlantic.com
9780802147936, $26.00, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Jack Taylor has never quite been able get his life together, but now he has truly hit rock bottom. Still reeling from a violent family tragedy, Taylor is busy drowning his grief in Jameson and uppers, as usual, when a high-profile officer in the local Garda is murdered. After another Guard is found dead, and then another, Taylor's old colleagues from the force implore him to take on the case.

The plot is one big game, and all of the pieces seem to be moving at the behest of one very dangerously mysterious team: a trio of young killers with very different styles, but who are united their common desire to take down Jack Taylor. Their ring leader is Jericho, a psychotic girl from Galway who is grieving the loss of her lover, and who will force Jack to confront some personal trauma from his past.

Critique: A deftly crafted and riveting read from cover to cover, "Galway Girl" showcases author Ken Bruen's total master of the suspense/thriller genre, as well as a genuine flair for originality and a distinctive reader engaging narrative storytelling style. While especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Galway Girl" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974983773, $22.99, CD).

Strangers She Knows
Christina Dodd
HQN
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3B 3K9
https://www.harlequin.com
9781335016614, $27.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Living on an obscure, technology-free island off California means safety from the murderer who hunts Kellen Adams and her new family. Or does it? Family time becomes terror-time, and at last, alone, Kellen faces a killer playing a cruel game. Only one can survive, and Kellen knows who must win -- and who must die.

Critique: A simply riveting suspense thriller of a novel with more unexpected plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, "Strangers She Knows" showcases author Christina Dodd's complete mastery of the genre and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Suspense/Thriller Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Strangers She Knows" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1335468338, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Passport to Death
Yigal Zur
Oceanview Publishing
1620 Main Street, Suite 11, Sarasota, FL 34236
www.oceanviewpub.com
9781608093649, $26.95, HC, 209pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Dotan Naor, an Israeli private investigator, ousted from Shin Bet (Israel's internal security service) goes to Thailand to find Sigal Bardon, a beautiful young girl from a wealthy Israeli family.

Sigal has disappeared in Bangkok -- completely. Dotan has connections in Thailand and he's familiar with Bangkok's dark side, including the narrow alleys with bars and hookers, trenches of stagnant water, hotel rooms with illicit activity. This is where he intends to start his search. But when the passport of the missing Israeli girl ends up in his hands during his first taxi ride in the city, he's suspicious that someone is playing him. But who? And why?

As Dotan searches for Sigal, police corruption blocks his every path. Every lead he pursues draws him closer and closer to a black hole in his "own" past (one intertwined with his pursuit of Sigal) one that leads him to Reuven -- and the haunting failure that led to the dismissal of both of them from Shin Bet. The wound between Dotan and Reuven is raw and deep, but Dotan realizes it must be healed in order to save Sigal.

Critique: An original and deftly crafted suspense thriller of a read from cover to cover, "Passport to Death" showcases author Yigal Zur's impressive and thoroughly reader engaging narrative storytelling style. While certain to be a popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Passport to Death" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.95).

Rage
Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin's Griffin
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250303578, $18.99, PB, 464pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A small island off the coast of Korea is torn apart by a bioweapon that drives everyone (men, women, and children) insane with murderous rage. The people behind the attack want Korea reunified or destroyed. No middle ground. No mercy.

Soon Japan, China, and the United States are pushed to the brink of war, while terrorists threaten to release the rage bioweapon in a way of pure destructive slaughter. That's when Joe Ledger leads his newly formed band of international troubleshooters in their first mission to stop the terror cell, fighting alongside agents from North and South Korea.

With the lives of billions at stake, Ledger is willing to bring his own brand of terror to this frightening new war.

Critique: Launching a new series by a master of the Suspense/Thriller genre, "Rage" from the imaginative pen of Jonathan Maberry is a deftly crafted and simply riveting read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted that "Rage" is also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Changed Purpose
Paula Jean Henry
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
www.westbowpress.com
9781973645559, $35.95, HC, 252pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Twenty-eight-year-old Sarah Louise Gordon is a Civil War history expert who loves the Lord and believes in respecting God-given freedoms. Although she lives in modern-day Philadelphia, Sarah wishes she could travel back in time and change history to save General Stonewall Jackson's life. Sarah has no idea she is about to discover that wishes do come true, sometimes in the most unlikely of places.

After she quits her job on a whim and moves to Stone Mountain, Georgia, to be closer to her brother and his family, she decides to tour the Antebellum Plantation. But when she unexpectedly finds herself separated from her family, Sarah soon realizes that she has somehow traveled back in time to 1863. She is left to contemplate whether she really has the persuasive power to save Stonewall Jackson and avoid being arrested and hung for treason in the process. As Sarah embarks on a passionate and courageous mission to transform the outcome of the Civil War, she must place her trust in God and embrace that this is her new purpose.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, engaging, and unique time-travel science fiction novel, "Changed Purpose" by Paula Jean Henry is a truly intriguing, deftly written, and original tale of a young Christian historian who journeys back in time in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Civil War and alter history forever. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Changed Purpose" is also available in a paperback edition (9781973645566, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

The Last Road
K. V. Johansen
Pyr
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
www.prometheusbooks.com
9781633885547, $18.00, PB, 518pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When even the gods are dying, the hope of the world may lie in its most feared enemies. A new god proclaimed as the All-Holy has arisen in the west and leads an army eastward, devouring the gods and goddesses of the lands between, forcibly converting their folk and binding their souls to himself.

The very fabric of the world appears threatened by forces beyond the understanding of scholars and wizards alike. Even the great city of Marakand, where the roads of east and west converge, seems powerless to resist the All-Holy, though the devils Moth and Yeh-Lin and the assassin Ahjvar, undead consort of the god of distant Nabban, have come to stand with it. That may avail Marakand little, for the shapeshifting Blackdog, once a champion of the gods, follows obediently at the All-Holy's heel and Lakkariss,

Critique: The fifth title in author K. V. Johansen's 'Gods of the Caravan Road' saga, "The Last Road" is a superbly crafted action/adventure novel by a master of the heroic fantasy genre. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fans that "The Last Road" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Forever and a Doomsday
Laurence MacNaughton
Pyr
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
www.prometheusbooks.com
9781633885561, $18.00, PB, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When insidious spirits from beyond the grave try to get their clutches on the apocalypse scroll, Dru Jasper and her misfit friends are the only hope for stopping doomsday. Crystal shop owner and up-and-coming sorceress Dru Jasper is the unwilling guardian of the apocalypse scroll, an ancient instrument of destruction held in check by the last of seven wax seals.

If the forces of darkness manage to break the final seal, the world will come to a fiery end. It's up to Dru to keep the scroll safe. No pressure or anything. When a chilling cohort of soul-devouring wraiths breaks free of the netherworld to get their ghostly fingers on the scroll, it's up to Dru and her friends to stop them.

These freakishly evil spirits can kill with just a touch. To fight them, Dru needs a rare crystal older than the Earth itself. Her only hope of finding it is to race to a meteorite crater deep in the desert, with the wraiths right on her tail. But as her friends lose their magical powers to the life-draining evil of the wraiths, the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

The only chance to stop doomsday is for Dru to descend into the depths of the netherworld. There, she must unearth the secrets of a lost city and overcome a long-lost enemy from her past. Can she find a way to save her friends and safeguard the scroll forever -- before the wraiths break the seventh seal and bring on doomsday?

Critique: A deftly penned, original, and fully entertaining fantasy novel by a master of the genre, "Forever and a Doomsday" by Laurence MacNaughton is a riveting read from cover to cover and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated fantasy fans that "Forever and a Doomsday" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

City of Beasts
Corrie Wang
https://www.corriewang.com
Freeform Books
https://freeform.go.com/books
9781368026628, $17.99, HC, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: For seventeen years, fees have lived separate from beasts. The division of the sexes has kept their world peaceful. Glori Rhodes is like most other fees her age. She adores her neighborhood's abandoned Costco, can bench her body weight, and she knew twenty-seven beast counterattack moves by the time she was seven. She has never questioned the separation of the sexes or the rules that keep her post-nuclear hometown safe. But when her mother secretly gives birth to a baby beast, Glori grows to love the child and can't help wondering: What really is the difference between us and them?

When her brother, at the age of five, is snatched in a vicious raid, Glori and her best friend, Su, do the unthinkable -- covertly infiltrate the City of Beasts to get him back. What's meant to be a smash-and-grab job quickly becomes the adventure of a lifetime as the fees team up with a fast-talking, T-shirt cannon-wielding beast named Sway, and Glori starts to see that there's more to males, and her own history, than she's been taught.

Glori, Sway, and a motley cohort of friends will go to the ends of the earth to find her little brother. And maybe save their divided world while they're at it.

Critique: An impressively original, exceptionally well written and inherently riveting novel by an author with a distinctive and reader engaging narrative storytelling style, "City of Beasts" by Corrie Wang will prove to be an immediate and highly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated SciFi fans that "City of Beasts" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).


The Political Science Shelf

United States of Distraction
Nolan Higdon & Mickey Huff
City Lights Publishers
261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133
www.citylights.com
9780872867673, $16.95, PB, 248pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The role of news media in a free society is to investigate, inform, and provide a crucial check on political power. But in the age of a Donald Trump presidency does it still?

It's no secret that the goal of corporate-owned media is to increase the profits of the few, not to empower the many. As a result, people are increasingly immersed in an information system structured to reinforce their social biases and market to their buying preferences.

Journalism's essential role has been drastically compromised, and Donald Trump's repeated claims of "fake news" and framing of the media as "an enemy of the people" have made a bad scenario worse.

Written in the spirit of resistance and hope, "United States of Distraction: Media Manipulation in Post-Truth America (And What We Can Do About It)" by the team of Nolan Higdon (Professor of History and Communication at California State University, East Bay) and Mickey Huff (Director of Project Censored and the President of the Media Freedom Foundation) offers a clear, concise appraisal of our current situation, and presents readers with action items for how to improve it.

Critique: Meticulously researched and documented, "United States of Distraction: Media Manipulation in Post-Truth America (And What We Can Do About It)" is a clarion call of alarm that has the added value of presented 'real world' effective responses that ordinary citizens can employ to promote and defend the Constitutional role of a free press in our American style democracy. While unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, journalists, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "United States of Distraction" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Health/Medicine Shelf

A Deeper Yoga
Christina Sell
Hohm Press
PO Box 4410, Chino Valley, AZ 86323
www.hohmpress.com
9781942493457, $19.95, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Christina Sell has been exploring body image & yoga since 1991 when, as a recovering bulimic, she found the practices & principles of yoga. She has a BA in Counseling, an MA in Integrative Education, & has been teaching alignment-oriented yoga since 1998. She is certified in breath & massage therapy. Known for her no-nonsense teaching style, Christina enjoys helping people of all ages, sizes & abilities find courage, strength & hope through yoga practice.

In "A Deeper Yoga: Moving Beyond Body Image to Wholeness & Freedom" Christina draws upon her years of experience and expertise to provide an instructional guide and manual that is uniquely aimed at practitioners who initially found help from yoga, but who are now experiencing impatience, discouragement or even disillusionment. Christina leads the reader to yoga's more esoteric teachings, using language without jargon or unnecessary details. The tone is compassionate, yet strong and authoritative inviting us to empower our own deeper knowing, yet without watering down the traditional teachings.

Topics of body image, self-hatred, eating disorders, addiction and emotional imbalance are considered throughout as Christina skillfully dismantles the illusions and early conditionings that lead to unrealistic norms of perfection and empower a media-driven standard of beauty and offers an alternative view of genuine beauty.

Critique: Impressively informative, inspirationally thoughtful and thought-provoking, "A Deeper Yoga: Moving Beyond Body Image to Wholeness & Freedom" is an extraordinary and thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone and commentary style, making it unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Health & Medicine collections in general, and Yoga supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Deeper Yoga" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.95).

The Rejuvenation Solution
Robert D. Willix, Jr., MD
Health Communications, Inc.
3201 S.W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8190
www.hcibooks.com
9780757322877, $15.95, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: While aging is inevitable, physical, mental, and spiritual declines often associated with the aging process doesn't have to be. With a focus on prevention instead of prescriptions, of empowering the patient to discover the body's own healing intellect, in "The Rejuvenation Solution: Age in Reverse--7 Proven Medical Breakthroughs That Prevent Disease and Make You Feel Years Younger ", Dr. Robert D. Willix offers a comprehensive plan that will completely revamp your health, making you look and feel years younger no matter what your age.

A board-certified cardiovascular surgeon from the University of Michigan Medical Center who pioneered open heart surgery in South Dakota in 1977, Dr. Willix is also an avid athlete who competed in the Ironman World Championship, and spent his life researching the root causes of aging and integrative medical techniques that would halt the aging process in its tracks.

Knowing that once his patients reached his surgery suite it was often too late to radically change their course, Dr. Willix left his surgical career behind to become a leading expert on natural healing techniques. While many physicians may not even know these latest developments, he distills cutting-edge research from many disciplines so that anyone can age-proof their health with these 7 keys:

Geroprotectors: These are the next-generation antioxidants - learn how to harness them through foods and supplements.

Inflammabots. Body-wide inflammation is known to be the source of nearly all diseases of aging, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. Learn how to control inflammation for the long haul.

Hormone-Peptide Connection. Avoid age-related hormone decline by maintaining this delicate balance.

Telomerase Activators. Telomerase is The Energizer Bunny enzyme that keeps cells youthful. Discover how to keep your telomerase functioning optimally.

The Muscle of Youth. Exercise is one the best anti-aging medicines of this century if done correctly. Don't waste hours on a machine - learn how to rev up the powerful anti-aging gene known as FOXO.

Rejuvenation Nutrition. Rejuvenate your body from the inside out in visible and in medically measurable ways.

Age-Defying Stress Management. Learn how proper relaxation helps produce antioxidants, lowers the damage from oxidation, and lengthens telomeres.

"The Rejuvenation Solution" enables the non-specialist general readers to be in the driver's seat when it comes to their health -- anyone can accelerate aging or can put these habits into practice and decelerate aging starting today, enjoying abundant health and the many benefits it brings for many years to come.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Rejuvenation Solution: Age in Reverse--7 Proven Medical Breakthroughs That Prevent Disease and Make You Feel Years Younger" is one of those instructional health guides and medical manuals that will enable the reader to extend both the length and the quality of their life. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Health/Medicine collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of medical students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Rejuvenation Solution" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).


The Christian Studies Shelf

Worship Wars
David Waddell
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
www.westbowpress.com
9781973623182, $35.95, HC, 282pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: David Waddell teaches Recreation Administration at the University of Mississippi. This position followed a twenty year career in ministry leadership with local churches. He has witnessed God's grace in his life and the life of others. He enjoys writing about the topic of grace, forgiveness, and second chances.

How do you worship? Where do you worship? Do you believe worship should be traditional, solemn, and reverential, or should worship be contemporary, lyrical, and lively? These questions about the proper venue, style, or manner in which we worship seem to never go away in Christianity. But is there a right answer?

In "Worship Wars: The Kings Lead the Battle to Spirit and Truth", Waddell explores this question by going beyond style and taking a more personal view of worship. With both humorous and earnest reflections on his own flaws, faux pas, and failures in worship, Waddell looks to the Bible and to the kings of Israel and Judah, where he reveals an order of worship using the stories of the kings as examples to teach better worship practices.

No one is perfect in their worship habits and patterns, but the Bible offers a way for worshipers to have the freedom to worship in spirit and in truth, regardless of the style. Whether our individual acts of worship are traditional, contemporary, or a combination of each, we can all discover a lifestyle of worship in spirit and in truth that will please God and bring us all closer to Jesus.

Critique: Deftly written, insightfully informative, and impressively inspiring, making it especially recommended for church, seminary, community, and academic library Christian Theology & Spirituality collections and the supplemental studies reading lists for all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations, it should be noted that "Worship Wars: The Kings Lead the Battle to Spirit and Truth" is also available in a paperback edition (9781973623175, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Until Every Child Is Home
Todd R. Chipman
Moody Publishers
820 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60610
www.moodypublishers.com
9780802419064, $13.99, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: All Christians are commanded to look after the children of their communities. But trying to convince people to do foster care or adoption can feel like just another daunting, impossible task. It's hard enough to get volunteers for the nursery, much less volunteers to foster or adopt a child!

But what if we're thinking about it the wrong way? What if orphan care actually increases your church's capacity to do ministry? What if this one ministry opens doors to many others?

In the pages of "Until Every Child Is Home: Why the Church Can and Must Care for Orphans" the reader will discover how orphan care transforms 6 key aspects of their Christian ministry, meet dozens of families and churches who have experienced the transformative power of orphan care, and learn how to get involved even if you're not ready or presently in a position to foster or adopt.

Critique: Specifically addressing one particular (and universal) need of every Christian community, "Until Every Child Is Home: Why the Church Can and Must Care for Orphans" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended read. It should also be noted that "Until Every Child Is Home" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Ecclesiastes: An Introduction and Commentary
Knut Martin Heim
InterVarsity Press
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426
www.ivpress.com
9780830842650, $19.00, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes is probably best known for its repeated refrain that "everything is meaningless," or "vanity." However, a thorough reading demonstrates that this is not its final conclusion.

Knut Martin Heim is professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary. Previously he taught at The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education (University of Birmingham, UK) and at Trinity College Bristol, UK. In "Ecclesiastes: An Introduction and Commentary", his Tyndale commentary shows that Ecclesiastes is intellectually sophisticated, theologically rich, emotionally deep -- and full of humor!

While it is realistic about life, it is life-affirming and immensely practical. It is also politically engaged, presenting its critique of a repressive foreign regime in an entertaining and thought-provoking way.

As an addition to The Tyndale Commentaries (which are designed to help the reader of the Bible understand what the text says and what it means), this introduction to "Ecclesiastes" gives a concise but thorough treatment of its authorship, date, original setting, and purpose. Following a structural Analysis, the Commentary takes the book section by section, drawing out its main themes, and also comments on individual verses and problems of interpretation. Additional Notes provide fuller discussion of particular difficulties.

Critique: An ideal textbook for study groups, seminary curriculums, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, "Ecclesiastes: An Introduction and Commentary" is unreservedly recommended. It should be noted that this informed and informative study is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Dear Joan Chittister
Jessie Bazan, editor
Twenty-Third Publications
1 Montauk Avenue, #200, New London, CT 06320
www.23rdpublications.com
9781627854863, $18.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As Christian women, where can we find communities in this secular world who will accept us fully for who we are? Where do we find the courage to walk forward, often alone, and proclaim the truth?

It's an experience many women share: they are well-educated, talented, and passionate about discipleship and ministry, but they serve a church that puts limits on their participation just because they are women and often seems to wish they d just remain silent. Who can they turn to for wisdom, inspiration, and courage?

Compiled and edited by Jessie Bazan, "Dear Joan Chittister: Conversations with Women in the Church" is groundbreaking book in which ten young women who are active in ministry share their thoughts, aspirations, questions and desires with Sister Joan Chittister, a spiritual master and prophetic visionary who has long encouraged the gifts and voices of those too easily dismissed. The conversations unfold in a series of letters. Each letter writer shares an experience from her life or ministry, and Joan then responds with affirmation and challenge, sharing her wisdom, inspiration and courage with those vitally committed to the church.

The result is a powerful message that needs to be read by women and men alike. "Dear Joan Chittister: Conversations with Women in the Church" confronts current realities, buoys future hopes and refuses to accept the status quo for a church called to embody the gospel message for a new generation.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Dear Joan Chittister: Conversations with Women in the Church" is inspired and inspiring reading that is unreservedly recommended for all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dear Joan Chittister" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).

Rings of Fire
Leonard Sweet
www.leonardsweet.com
NavPress
www.navpress.com
c/o Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
www.tyndale.com
9781631463945, $17.99, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Regardless of denominational affiliations, what lies ahead for Christians around the world is a topic of perennial interest to everyone.

Those who follow the works of bestselling authors Malcolm Gladwell, Faith Popcorn, Daniel Pink, and other trend forecasters, will appreciate learning about over 25 rings of fire that lie ahead for Christians around the world in "Rings of Fire: Walking in Faith through a Volcanic Future" by Leonard Sweet.

In the pages of "Rings of Fire", Len maps the future for the Christian church in a sweeping survey of the twenty-first century. In the face of eruptive and disruptive culture changes from economics and communications to bioethics and beyond, how do we fight fire with fire, not only catching up to our culture but leading our friends and neighbors toward the feet of Christ? No one has done more to startle the church from its slumber than Len Sweet, and no one has equipped the church as effectively.

While "Rings of Fire" is a benchmark book from a seminal leader of the modern evangelical movement, of special note are the incisive questions to stimulate creative thinking for individual or group study by Mark Chironna and an informative afterword that ties Len's expansive work together and sets us on the right course

Critique: Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, iconoclastic and insightful, "Rings of Fire: Walking in Faith through a Volcanic Future" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as seminary, community, and academic library Contemporary Christian Studies collections. It should be noted that "Rings of Fire" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.09) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781640913226, $14.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Len Sweet (www.leonardsweet.com) was born of a mixed marriage: his mother was a fiery Pilgrim Holiness-ordained preacher from the mountains of West Virginia and his quiet father a Free Methodist lay leader from the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. After a de-conversion at 17, Len became an atheist intellectual and scholar dedicated to exposing the nincompoopery and poppycockery, if not tomfoolery and skullduggery of all religions. After this seven-year period of liminality, Len came back to the faith of his ancestors, where he has been ever since, exploring the "interstices" and "semiotics" of religion, culture and history.


The Self-Help Shelf

When to Walk Away
Gary Thomas
Zondervan Publishing House
www.zondervan.com
9780310346760 $24.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: Your life's calling is too important to let toxic people take it away. In When to Walk Away, Gary Thomas--bestselling author of Sacred Marriage--draws from biblical and modern stories to equip you with practical insights to handle toxic people in your life and live true to your God-given purpose.

As Christians, we often feel the guilt and responsibility of meeting the needs of unhealthy people in our lives. Whether a sibling, parent, spouse, coworker, or friend, toxic people frequently seek to frustrate our life's calling. While you're seeking first God's kingdom, they're seeking first to distract your focus and delay your work.

Instead of attempting the impossible task of mollifying toxic people, it's time we dedicate our energy to the only worthwhile effort: completing the work God has given us by investing in reliable people. It's only when we learn to say no to bad patterns that we can say yes to the good work God has planned for us.

Bestselling author of Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas looks at biblical examples from the lives of Jesus, Paul, and Nehemiah. Drawing from years serving as a pastor, Thomas shares modern stories and practical examples for dealing with the toxic people in our lives. Each chapter includes insightful takeaways that you can apply right away. You'll discover how to:

Learn the difference between difficult people and toxic people
Find refuge in God when you feel under attack
Discern when to walk away from a toxic situation
Keep a tender heart even in unhealthy relationships
Grow your inner strength and invest in reliable people

We can't let others steal our joy or our mission. It's time to strengthen our defense, learn to set healthy boundaries, and focus on our God-given purpose. It's time to know When to Walk Away.

Critique: Although When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People is written from a Christian perspective, and especially for a Christian audience, its core message is crucial for readers of all religious backgrounds. Chapters discuss how to understand the difference between difficult people (who can be negotiated with) and toxic people (who will not negotiate in good faith, and actively seek to cause harm), as well as the importance of knowing when to walk away from truly toxic individuals. When to Walk Away is an invaluable resource for personal, church, and public library collections, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that When to Walk Away is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

I Wanted Fries with That
Amy Fish
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
www.newworldlibrary.com
9781608686193, $15.95, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: At some point in our lives, we've all experienced an injustice, large or small (such as a restaurant botching our lunch order or a boss who isn't following the guidelines for workplace etiquette) and suffered in silence for fear of offending anyone. When we fail to speak up, however, we shortchange ourselves.

As ombudsman at Concordia University in Montreal, Amy Fish resolves complaints from students, faculty, and staff. She has written for the Huffington Post Canada, Reader's Digest, and the Globe and Mail and appeared on CBC Marketplace and CTV News.

In "I Wanted Fries with That: How to Ask for What You Want and Get What You Need", Amy encourages standing up for yourself (and others) by complaining effectively. Her suggestions will appeal to anyone who wants to speak up and isn't sure where to start, including managers navigating workplace disputes, couples who argue about the same things over and over, and even someone with a friend with bad breath. Illustrating her points with funny real-life stories, Amy reveals pragmatic methods to redress grievances with civility, honesty, and fairness for everyone involved -- whether you're trying to right the wrongs of the world or just claim the french fries you ordered.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, real world practical in commentary, exceptionally well organized and presented, "I Wanted Fries with That: How to Ask for What You Want and Get What You Need" is a 'quality of life enhancing' read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Wanted Fries with That" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.76).

Start Finishing
Charlie Gilkey
Sounds True
PO Box 8010, Boulder, CO 80306
www.soundstrue.com
9781683642633, $24.95, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done", Charlie Gilkey presents a 9-step method for converting an idea into a project by addressing the challenges you'll face and getting the project on a reality-based schedule.

"Start Finishing" will teach you how to: Practice the five keys that lead to self-mastery; Build your success pack of supporters, guides, peers, and beneficiaries; Keep working through the thrashing that comes with any project that matters to you; Chunk, link, and sequence your ideas down to doable parts; Use the Five Project Rule to prioritize your daily schedule and be at peace with the work you choose not to do; Fly through drag points how to deal with head trash, no-win scenarios, and other people's priorities; Heatmap your schedule so you do the right work at the right time; Overcome cascades, logjams, and tarpits the three ways projects routinely get stuck; Finish strong -- celebrating, reviewing, and riding the momentum to your next goal.

The underlying message of "Start Finishing" is that no one is incapable, that we are all wired to struggle, that we are able to get our act together. With a few key steps, anyone can change the way they show up, how they plan, and how they respond when things get tough.

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, "Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done" is a unique, extraordinary, effective, and 'user friendly' instructional guide that is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Self- Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Start Finishing" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Sounds True Audio, 9781683643906, $29.95, CD).

Everything Begins with Asking for Help
Kevin Braddock
Kyle Books
https://www.kylebooks.co.uk
c/o Octopus Publishing
www.octopusbooksusa.com
9780857836762, $12.98, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A mental health manual for the modern age, "Everything Begins with Asking for Help" by Kevin Braddock is an honest guide to depression and anxiety, from rock bottom to recovery, from someone who has been through it and come out the other side.

"Everything Begins with Asking for Help" is a frank, insightful and thought-provoking extended conversation on mental health that draws on Kevin's own personal experience of a severe mental breakdown and sharing the recovery tools he has developed in partnership with various medical professionals and mental health experts.

Kevin shares his own story to give "Everything Begins with Asking for Help" a vital human element, explaining how his fast-paced life in Berlin as a successful magazine journalist was brought to a sudden halt by a major depressive episode. In this dark time, Kevin reached out to friends for help and it was that act (asking for help) that set him on the long road to recovery.

Building on this narrative, Kevin leads the reader through the stages of asking for help, learning to listen, the physical, emotional and mental elements of recovery, and how to maintain stable mental health at home and at work. Written with warmth, honesty and compassion, "Everything Begins with Asking for Help" is a valuable resource for anyone who needs help and doesn't know where to begin.

Critique: Unique, inspiring, and potentially life changing, life healing, life enhancing read that is thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "Everything Begins with Asking for Help: A Mental Health Manual For The Modern Age" is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Everything Begins with Asking for Help" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).


The Business Shelf

The Leader You Want to Be
Amy Jen Su
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
http://hbr.org/books
9781633695917, $28.00, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Leader You Want to Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self--Every Day" by Amy Jen Su was written specifically for anyone finding themselves wishing they had more hours in the day, wanting to do more, yet feeling they just can't add another thing to their plate without being overwhelmed by stress or compromising their health, relationships, and integrity.

The answer as underscored by "The Leader You Want to Be" is more than just a time management system or a silver-bullet solution for changing routines. In its pages leadership expert and coach Amy Jen Su helps readers discover that the answer lies within. By focusing in specific ways on five key leadership elements of Purpose, Process, People, Presence, and Peace anyone can increase their time, capacity, energy, and ultimately their impact -- and with less stress and more equanimity.

Drawing on rich and instructive stories of clients, leaders, artists, and athletes, as well as on research by experts, "The Leader You Want to Be" brings together the best of both Western management thinking and Eastern philosophy to provide a holistic yet hands-on approach.

Critique: An indispensable, deftly crafted, real-world practical, and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide to helping the reader to tap into and expand their leadership capacity so that you can sustain your optimal level of performance and thrive as a leader, "The Leader You Want to Be" is unreservedly recommended for community, corporate, and academic library Business Management collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Leader You Want to Be" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.39).


The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Harry Potter Film Vault Volume 1: Forest, Lake, and Sky Creatures
Jody Revenson
Insight Editions
PO Box 3088, San Rafael, CA 94912
www.insighteditions.com
9781683837466 $16.99 amazon.com

Synopsis: Discover the filmmaking secrets behind the magical creatures of the Forbidden Forest, the Black Lake, and beyond.

From centaurs to merpeople and horn-tailed dragons, magical creatures and terrifying beasts are key characters in the Harry Potter films. Harry Potter: Film Vault: Volume 1: Forest, Lake, and Sky Creatures features illustrations and behind-the-scenes photography that give fans an in-depth look at the development and creation of the magnificent creatures seen throughout the movies.

The Film Vault compiles the filmmaking secrets and visionary artistry behind the Harry Potter films into a series of twelve deluxe collectible volumes. Intricately designed and packed with gorgeous concept art and unit photography from the Warner Bros. archive, each volume in the series gives fans striking insights about bringing the Wizarding World to the big screen.

Included in each book is a collectible art print, making this series a must-have for all Harry Potter fans and collectors everywhere.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated with full-color artwork and photography throughout, Harry Potter Film Vault Volume 1: Forest, Lake, and Sky Creatures is the first in a twelve-volume series showcasing how the magical world of the cherished Harry Potter fantasy novels was adapted to the silver screen. The text of Volume 1 describes in exquisite detail how fantastic creatures including centaurs, Buckbeak the hippogriff, Aragog the giant spider, merpeople, and a variety of dragons were brought to unforgettable life. The Harry Potter Film Vault series is a treasure for fans of the films, a joy to browse from cover to cover and highly recommended.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Steven Jay Schneider & Ian Haydn Smith, editors
B.E.S. Publishing
www.bes-publishing.com
9781438050751, $35.00, HC, 960pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: This brand-new eighth edition of "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" now covers more than a century of movie history. Selected and authored by a team of international film critics, every profile is packed with details, plot summaries and production notes, and little-known facts relating to the film's history. Each individual entry offers a fresh look at some the greatest films of all time.

Movie fans and cinema students can learn the complete history of filmmaking, from silent-era sensations such as D. W. Griffith's controversial The Birth of a Nation to recent Oscar winners like A Star Is Born, BlacKkKlansman, and Roma. In these pages they will discover little-known facts about Hollywood's most memorable musicals, greatest dramas, noteworthy documentaries, screwball comedies, classic westerns, action and adventure films, and more.

Movie lovers of all stripes will thoroughly enjoy this must-have compilation.

Critique: With this fully updated eighth edition, "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" is an impressively organized and informative must-have reference for all movie lovers ranging from casual movie-goers to dedicated film connoisseurs. "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" is very highly recommended for personal, professional, community and academic library Film & Cinematic History collections. It should be noted that in this era of Epix, TCM, Amazon, and other movie oriented commercial sources that most of these films can be readily obtained for the interested viewer.

Dynamic Dames
Sloan De Forest
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
www.runningpress.com
9780762465521, $23.00, HC, 248pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: From Scarlett O'Hara to Thelma and Louise to Wonder Woman, strong women have not only lit up the screen, they've inspired and fired our imaginations. Some dynamic women are naughty and some are nice, but all of them buck the narrow confines of their expected gender role -- whether by taking small steps or revolutionary strides.

Through engaging profiles and more than 100 photographs, "Dynamic Dames" by Sloan De Forest showcases fifty of the most inspiring female roles in film from the 1920s to today. The characters are discussed along with the exciting off-screen personalities and achievements of the actresses and, on occasion, female writers and directors, who brought them to life.

Among the stars profiled in their most revolutionary roles are Bette Davis, Mae West, Barbara Stanwyck, Josephine Baker, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Joan Crawford, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Dorothy Dandridge, Katharine Hepburn, Pam Grier, Jane Fonda, Gal Gadot, Emma Watson, Zhang Ziyi, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lawrence, and many more.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, and drawing from the Turner Movie Classic film library, "Dynamic Dames: 50 Leading Ladies Who Made History" is an inherently fascinating, impressively informative, expertly organized and presented cinematic history and survey that is a 'must read' for all dedicated movie fans and film buffs. While certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community and academic library Theatre/Cinema/TV collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Dynamic Dames" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Editorial Note: Sloan De Forest is a writer, actress, and film historian who has written about film for Sony, Time Warner Cable, and Bright Lights Film Journal, among other outlets. She is the author of "Turner Classic Movies: Must-See Sci-Fi", as well as a contributing author of "Natalie Wood: Reflections on a Legendary Life" and "Grace Kelly: Hollywood Dream Girl".

The Simpsons' Beloved Springfield
Karma Waltonen & Denise Du Vernay, editors
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
https://mcfarlandbooks.com
9781476674551, $39.95, PB, 280pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: First aired in 1989 and still going strong today in 2019, The Simpsons has become America's most beloved and longest running animated show on television.

An offshoot of the Tracey Ullman television series, The Simpsons went on to change the world of television, bringing to the screen a cartoon for adults, a sitcom without a laugh track, an imperfect lower class family, a mixture of high and low comedy and satire for the masses.

Collaboratively compiled and co-edited by Karma Waltonen and Denise Du Vernay, "The Simpsons' Beloved Springfield: Essays on the TV Series and Town That Are Part of Us All" is an impressively informative collection of new essays that explores the many ways in which The Simpsons reflects everyday life through its exploration of gender roles, music, death, food politics, science and religion, anxiety, friendship and more.

Critique: An absolute 'must read' for the legions of Simpsons fans, this comprised of an 'Introduction: Putting the Spring in Springfeld' and 'The Simpsons Timeline (Forever Incomplete)' as well as nineteen erudite and insightful essays. Of special note is the inclusion of a listing of the contributors and their credentials. A unique and original body of impressively presented scholarship, "The Simpsons' Beloved Springfield: Essays on the TV Series and Town That Are Part of Us All" will be an especially popular and appreciated addition to community, college, and university library Theatre/Cinema/TV collections in general, and The Simpsons supplemental studies in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists that "The Simpsons' Beloved Springfield" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Parenting Shelf

The Board Game Family
Ellie Dix
Crown House Publishing
81 Brook Hills Circle, White Plains, NY 10605
www.crownhousepublishing.com
9781785834332, $18.95, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Today it is all to common to find parents feeling as if they are competing with screens for their children's attention. As their kids get older, they become more distant leading parents to worry about the quality of the already limited time they share. They pine for tech-free time in order to reconnect, but don't know how to shift the balance.

A teacher and educationalist, and previously the co-owner and director of Pivotal Education, Ellie Dix has been obsessed with board games from an early age. Ellie firmly believes that board games have positively influenced her ability to solve problems, manage failure and experiment with multiple paths to success and she now puts her teaching skills, understanding of behavior and experience with gamification to use by helping parents to introduce board games to family life.

In "The Board Game Family: Reclaim Your Children From The Screen", Dix seeks to help parents with this issue by inviting them and their families into the unplugged world of board games. The benefits of board games are far-reaching. Playing games improves memory formation and cognitive abilities, boosts critical thinking, develops interpersonal skills and refines our problem-solving and decision-making.

With these benefits in mind, Dix explains how parents can unleash the potential of those dusty boxes at the back of the cupboard and become teachers of outstanding gamesmanship equipped to navigate the unfolding drama of competition, thwart the common causes of arguments and tears, and bind together a happier, more social family unit.

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, "The Board Game Family: Reclaim Your Children From The Screen" is a practical and comprehensive instruction guide that offers a genuine and 'real world practical' solution to an increasingly relevant problem in our present age of social media and computer-based gaming. While unreservedly and especially recommended for community library Parenting Skills instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Board Game Family" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.49).


The Military Shelf

Girl With A Sniper Rifle
Yulia Zhukova
Greenhill Books
c/o Pen & Sword Books
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781784383985, $32.95, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Luliia was a dedicated member of the Komsomol (the Soviet communist youth organization) and her parents worked for the NKVD. She started her military training at the sniper school and eventually became a valued member of her battalion during operations against Prussia.

She persevered through eight months of training before leaving for the Front on 24th November 1944 just days after qualifying. Joining the third Belorussian Front her battalion endured rounds of German mortar as well as loudspeaker announcements beckoning them to come over to the German side.

In "Girl With A Sniper Rifle: An Eastern Front Memoir", Luliia recounts how they would be in the field for days, regularly facing the enemy in terrifying one-on-one encounters. She sets down the euphoria of her first hit and starting her "battle count" but her reflection on how it was also the ending of a life.

These feelings fade as she recounts the barbarous actions of Hitler's Nazi Germany. She recalls how the women were once nearly overrun by Germans at their house when other Red Army formations had moved off and failed to tell them. She also details a nine-day standoff they endured encircled by Germans in Landsberg.

Regularly suffering ill-health she took a shrapnel injury to her knee and had to be operated on without an anesthetic. She would eventually see the end of the war in Kongsberg.

Like her famous counterpart Pavlichenko, she gained recognition but struggled to come to terms with war service. Haunted by flashbacks she burned the letters she sent home from the Front. She later discovered that of the 1885 graduates of her sniper school only 250 had died in war.

"Girl With A Sniper Rifle" is a powerful, firsthand account in of coming up close to the machinations of the NKVD (the secret police) as well as the grueling toll of war and the breathtaking bravery of this female sniper.

In this vivid firsthand account we gain unique access to the inner workings of Stalin's Central Women's Sniper School, near Podolsk in Western Russia. Additional material includes notes by John Walter and an introduction by Martin Pegler.

Critique: Providing an absolutely fascinating, impressively informative, deeply personal account, "Girl With A Sniper Rifle: An Eastern Front Memoir" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community and academic library World War II Military History & Biography collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, military buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Girl With A Sniper Rifle" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).


The Cookbook Shelf

Pizza
Pippa Cuthbert & Lindsay Cameron Wilson
CompanionHouse Books
c/o Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
www.FoxChapelPublishing.com
9781620083741, $19.99, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Pizza is a weekly staple dinner simply because it's delicious, easy, and fun to personalize, no matter personal or familial food preferences might be. The ultimate DIY guide to making pizza at home, pizza experts Pippa Cuthbert and Lindsay Cameron Wilson's "Pissa" is an extraordinary recipe book that provides step-by-step instructions for more than 70 creative topping and crust ideas ranging from traditional favorites to new flavor combinations that are perfect for meat-lovers, vegetarians, fish fanatics, and the kids!

Critique: Beautifully illustrated throughout and thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' in organization and presentation, "Pizza: Over 100 Innovative Recipes for Crusts, Sauces, and Toppings for Every Pizza Lover" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections and should be considered a 'must' for every pizza loving 'make it yourself' enthusiast!

Mezcal: The Gift of Agave
Nancy J. Hajeski
Imagine Publishing
c/o Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
https://www.imaginebooks.net
9781623545253, $16.99, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: What has long been a local Mexican secret, Mezcal is now enjoyed throughout the world for its smoky, exotic flavor and excellent base in cocktails. Compiled by Nancy J. Hajeski, "Mezcal: The Gift of Agave" is detailed and colorfully illustrated guidebook that includes mezcal's deep history, details its artisanal production in remote Mexican villages, and explains the proper ways to serve and drink this distinctive liquor.

Of special note are the tips for locating the top mezcals on the market and selecting varietals that best suit particular tastes, as well as suggestions for mezcal pairings with dishes over meals. There is even a chapter showcasing twenty of the best commercial distilleries including recommended examples of young jovens, lightly aged reposados, and aged anejos.

Finally, "Mezcal: The Gift of Agave" offers easy-to-follow recipes for unique mixed drinks and zesty mezcal-based dishes.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for mezcal enthusiasts, "Mezcal: The Gift of Agave" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library collections. Exceptionally well organized and presented, it should be noted that "Mezcal: The Gift of Agave" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Leon Happy Curries
Rebecca Seal & John Vincent
Conran
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
www.octopusbooksusa.com
9781840917970, $19.99, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Curry (plural curries) is a variety of dishes originating in the Indian subcontinent that use a complex combination of spices or herbs, usually including ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fresh or dried chilies. Curry is generally prepared in a sauce. Curry dishes prepared in the southern states of India, where the word also originated, may be spiced with leaves from the curry tree. (Wikipedia)

Leon is the home of naturally fast food, and now they have turned their hand to creating a collection of curries in "Leon Happy Curries", a cookbook that showcases more than 100 new recipes inspired by dishes from Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Burma, as well as Kenya, Somalia and the Caribbean.

Kitchen cooks can now find fiery, speedy, warming or creamy curries, plus everything they might want on the side, from fluffy flatbreads and perfect rice to crunchy relishes, garlicky greens and tangy pickles. Wither fast fixes with easy wins from a supermarket, or something more fancy for when you have a little more time, "Leon Happy Curries" have them, including Sri Lankan jackfruit and vegetable curry, Kashmiri lamb rogan josh, Skinny salmon and coconut curry and Katsu chicken curry as well as tasty side dishes and tips.

Critique: With beautifully illustrated dishes pictured throughout, "Leon Happy Curries" is a delight to browse through and inspiring to plan menus with. While strongly recommended for personal, professional, family and community library cookbook collections, it should be noted that "Leon Happy Curries" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Sourdough on the Rise
Cynthia Lair
Sasquatch Books
1904 Third Ave, Suite 710, Seattle, WA 98101
www.sasquatchbooks.com
9781632172136, $19.95, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast. Sourdough bread has a more sour taste and better inherent keeping qualities than breads made with baker's yeast, due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.

With "Sourdough on the Rise: How to Confidently Make Whole Grain Sourdough Breads at Home" even the most novice will learn how to make delicious whole grain sourdough breads ranging from Danish rye seed bread and English muffins, to focaccia and flapjacks with recipes designed to build confidence and skill in home cooks.

Home cooks will begin by creating their own unique starter using flour, water, and warmth to attract wild yeast which develops into a dynamic, living ingredient for bread baking (detailed instructions on how to keep your starter lively for many years are included). Once the starter blossoms, the home cook can begin baking a variety of internationally inspired breads.

Fermented breads are remarkable for both their digestibility and health-giving properties. With recipes for twelve high-fiber, whole-grain sourdough breads, there are another two dozen recipes to accompany them. Slather a buttermilk biscuit with homemade Creme Fraiche Butter with Sea Salt or enjoy the naan you've just baked with Indian Spinach with Fried Paneer. Use your sourdough starter in the morning to whip up yogurt flapjacks served with Lemon Blackberry Sauce, or take an orange, pecan, and fig loaf and make Figgy French Toast.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated throughout, "Sourdough on the Rise: How to Confidently Make Whole Grain Sourdough Breads at Home" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sourdough on the Rise" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Fried Rice
Danielle Centoni
Sasquatch Books
1904 Third Ave, Suite 710, Seattle, WA 98101
www.sasquatchbooks.com
9781632172297, $19.95, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Infinitely customizable, cheap to make, and downright delicious, fried rice is one of the world's most popular comfort foods. "Fried Rice: 50 Ways to Stir Up the World's Favorite Grain" is a compendium of delicious recipes that draw inspiration from all over the globe, and will expand the home cook's fried rice repertoire well beyond the usual Chinese takeout staple.

In addition to standards like spicy-funky Indonesian Fried Rice and classic Chinese Fried Rice with BBQ Pork, you'll find inventive takes on worldly flavors. Think Fried Cauliflower Rice with Turkey Kofta, Mint, and Feta from the Middle East, and Huevos Rancheros Fried Rice from Latin America. These satisfying dishes reveal just how versatile fried rice can be, and most use pantry staples or whatever you have in the fridge. Others, such as Duck Confit Fried Rice with Fennel, Mustard Greens, and Pickled Raisins, elevate the humble dish into entertaining-worthy territory, proving there's no limit to this globe-trotting grain.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated with full color photography throughout, and ideal for planning menus with, "Fried Rice: 50 Ways to Stir Up the World's Favorite Grain" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted for the home cook's personal reading lists that "Fried Rice: 50 Ways to Stir Up the World's Favorite Grain" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Milk Street: The New Rules
Christopher Kimball
Voracious
c/o Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
www.hachettebookgroup.com
9780316423052, $35.00, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Christopher Kimball's Milk Street is located in downtown Boston (at 177 Milk Street) and is home to a cooking school, a bimonthly magazine, and public television and radio shows. They are the authors of Milk Street: The New Home Cooking, Milk Street: Tuesday Nights, which won both the IACP and James Beard Awards for General Cooking

Now with the publication of "Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook", Christopher Kimball defines 75 new rules of cooking that will dramatically simplify your time in the kitchen and improve your results. These powerful principles appear in more than 200 recipes that teach you how to make your food more delicious and interesting.

Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, the recipes ranges from Charred Broccoli with Japanese-Style Toasted Sesame Sauce (Rule No. 9: Beat Bitterness by Charring); Lentils with Swiss Chard and Pomegranate Molasses (Rule No. 18: Don't Let Neutral Ingredients Stand Alone); and Bucatini Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Sage (Rule No. 23: Get Bigger Flavor from Supermarket Tomatoes); to Soft-Cooked Eggs with Coconut, Tomatoes, and Spinach (Rule No. 39: Steam, Don't Boil, Your Eggs); Pan-Seared Salmon with Red Chili-Walnut Sauce (Rule No. 44: Stick with Single-Sided Searing); and Curry-Coconut Pot Roast (Rule No. 67: Use Less Liquid for More Flavor).

Both novice and seasoned kitchen cooks alike will enjoy learning how to: Tenderize tough greens quickly; Create creamy textures without using dairy; Incorporate yogurt into baked goods; Trade time-consuming marinades for quick, bright finishing sauces, and more

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook" from Christopher Kimball will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, family, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted that this unreservedly recommended cookbook is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

New York Christmas Baking
Lisa Nieschlac & Lars Wentrup
Murdoch Books
www.murdochbooks.co.uk
9781760634681, $26.99, HC, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "New York Christmas Baking" by the culinary team of Lisa Nieschlac and Lars Wentrup is packed from cover to cover with enticing recipes for cakes, cookies and treats for the most wonderful time of the year, in the most magical city in the world.

Following the success of "New York Christmas" (which is also published by Murdoch Books) Lisa and Lars have now created "New York Christmas Baking", a profusely illustrated cookbook that is comprised of New York's best baking recipes for the Christmas season.

With each chapter dedicated to different types of confectionary, New York Christmas Baking" is filled with enough delicious recipes to make every day feel like Christmas. Chapter one focuses on sweet Christmas cookies, whoopie pies and snickerdoodles. Chapter two on holiday cakes, pies and cupcakes. And chapter three on Christmas breakfast, bread, muffins and buns. With "New York Christmas Baking" even the most novice of kitchen cooks and their families can enjoy sour cream snowflakes, gingerbread cookie cups, apple crumble muffins and much more.

Critique: A unique and very special cookbook, "New York Christmas Baking" is a family friendly compendium that is a pleasure to browse through and inspiring to plan a holiday menu with -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and community library cookbook collections!

Cousin Rick's Game and Fish Cookbook
Rick Black
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
www.stackpolebooks.com
9780811738248, $19.95, HC, 200pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Rick Black is passionate about hunting, fishing, and cooking wild game and fish, and has spent a lifetime collecting and testing recipes for every kind of fish, fowl, and game, both large and small. Now in the pages of "Cousin Rick's Game and Fish Cookbook" he shares more than 250 of his favorite recipes for deer, elk, antelope, caribou, moose, bear, buffalo, squirrel, rabbit, beaver, raccoon, trout, bass, salmon, and panfish.

In addition to the recipes themselves, Rick also includes chapters on rubs and marinades, cooking with beer, and how to cook for wild game banquets. Great tasting wild game starts with savvy field dressing, and Rick shares plenty of tips and helpful info on how to best and safely prepare game and fish before you get to the kitchen.

Rick knows that cooking game should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience so, in typical Cousin Rick style, he includes a dollop of down-home humor too!

Critique: An inspiring pleasure to simply browse through, page by page, and a 'must' for the dedicated hunter and fisherman, "Cousin Rick's Game and Fish Cookbook" will prove to be a unique and treasured addition to personal, professional, and community library collections.


The Needlecraft Shelf

Free-Motion Quilting 101
Ashley Nickels
The Taunton Press
63 South Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470
www.taunton.com
9781641550024, $24.95, PB, 112pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It is common that quilters wanting to finish their quilts will employ machine quilting in order to do so. In "Free-Motion Quilting 101: Techniques & Patterns for Beginners", needlecraft teacher and quilter Ashley Nickels provides in-depth instruction on learning the technique of free-motion quilting, combined with simple small projects that reinforce the technique. Quilters will have fun while learning the necessary steps to complete a quilting project.

"Free-Motion Quilting 101" is deftly divided into three parts -- workbook-style practice; project session and in-depth reference for finishing a quilt. It also features 15 foundational designs; 3 simple projects; and 1 larger project that is a culmination of the techniques learned in this instruction manual and guide.

Free-Motion Quilting 101 is squarely on mastering the technique on a regular home sewing machine and will be the treasured and appreciated resource enabling new quilters pick up first to learn how to free-motion quilt successfully.

Critique: Profusely illustrated, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Free-Motion Quilting 101: Techniques & Patterns for Beginners" is the ideal introduction for the novice quilter and will prove invaluable as a 'refresher' for the more seasoned quilter, making it very highly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft instructional reference collections.

Fat Quarter: Vintage
Susie Johns
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784944216, $19.95, PB, 152pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Living in London, England, Susie Johns is an artist and designer who has written dozens of craft books, mostly on knitting, crochet and sewing, including Knitted Pets, Knitted Woodland Creatures, How to Embroider and Fat Quarter: Bags & Purses (GMC Publications).

In "Fat Quarter: Vintage" she showcases 25 needlecrafting projects made from short lengths of fabric. The projects comprising"Fat Quarter: Vintage" are separated into five decades, from the 1930s to the 1970s, with each individual chapter containing five projects using fat quarter fabric or scraps that reflect the era.

The individual projects have clear step-by-step instructions and beautiful accompanying photography; include a useful tools and technique section for those who are new to sewing; are perfect for using the leftover remnants of fabric; and make great gifts!

The showcased DIY projects include: 1930s pin cushion, 1940s flower brooch, 1940s sewing machine cover, 1950s apron, 1950s sunglasses case, 1960s child's dress, 1970's draft stopper, 1970s shopping bag.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, and will prove to be of immense interest and value to novice and seasoned needlecrafters alike, "Fat Quarter: Vintage" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft instructional reference collections.

Colorful Knit Soxx
Kerstin Balke
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
www.stackpolebooks.com
9780811737937, $24.95, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Kerstin Balke learned knitting at the age of six from her grandmother. She has made pullovers, jackets, scarves, hats, and even fine tablecloths over the years, but her true passion is the knitted sock For several years she has been designing her own patterns under the name Stine & Stitch.

In "Colorful Knit Soxx: 26 Sock Patterns for Warm, Happy Feet" she draws upon her years of experience and expertise to provide a profusely illustrated instructional guide and manual showcases twenty-six sock patterns.

Critique: Ideal for the novice knitter while of immense value for the seasoned knitter as well, "Colorful Knit Soxx: 26 Sock Patterns for Warm, Happy Feet" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal and community library knitting project collections.


The Woodworking Shelf

Woodworker's Handbook
Roger Horwood
Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
www.FoxChapelPublishing.com
9781497100657, $17.99, PB, 168pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Roger Horwood started woodworking at school in High Wycombe, England (the center of the British chair-making industry). In 1969 he moved to South Africa, where he has continued to work with wood, building just about every type of freestanding furniture - both modern and period pieces - in a variety of soft, hard, and exotic woods. Horwood is also the author of Step-by-Step Wooden Toys.

In "Woodworker's Handbook: The Beginner's Reference to Tools, Materials, and Skills, Plus Essential Projects to Make Beginner-Friendly DIY Guide with 5 Step-by-Step Projects" Horwood draws upon his years of experience to create an ideal and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide and reference for the novice woodworker.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, and ideal for the DIY woodworking beginner, "Woodworker's Handbook" is unreservedly recommended, especially as a highschool or technical college woodshop curriculum textbook -- and should be a part of every community library's woodworking instructional reference collection.

Chip Carving
Tatiana Baldina
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784945466, $24.95, PB, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Chip Carving is the art of removing small sections of wood from a single piece of timber, usually to form geometric patterns. Finished pieces can be very intricate and complex but amazing results can be achieved surprisingly easily with the right guidance. Unlike many types of woodworking, chip carving requires very few tools, usually just two knives, and is a wonderful way too decorate all manner of existing objects including boxes, plates and furniture.

Tatiana Baldina is a professional woodcarving artist who lives and works in Russia. She specializes in chip carving and chose to study the subject as part of her Applied Fine Arts degree at the Volga Regional State University. After graduating, Tatiana went on to create many of her own original pieces, she also worked for several companies producing carved boxes and other items for the home. Tatiana is a Laureate of The International Association of the Creative Professions, Vatikam, France. She has worked as a freelance woodcarver since 2014.

In "Chip Carving: Geometric Patterns to Draw and Chip Out Of Wood", Baldina draws upon her many years of experience and expertise to guides the reader through the process of creating 15 distinctive projects. The necessary stages are explained with the use of detailed step-by-step photographs and accompanying text. Baldina also explains how to go about planning and designing each project in preparation for the actual carving process.

Critique: A unique, profusely illustrated throughout, and thoroughly 'user friendly' DIY instructional guide and manual, "Chip Carving: Geometric Patterns to Draw and Chip Out Of Wood" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Woodworking & Crafts/Hobbies collections.


The Fishing Shelf

Surfcasting Block Island and Cuttyhunk
D. J. Muller
Burford Books, Inc.
101 East State Street, #301, Ithaca, NY 14850
www.burfordbooks.com
9781580801898, $16.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Surf fishing is the sport of catching fish standing on the shoreline or wading in the surf. A general term, surf fishing may or may not include casting a lure or bait, and refers to all types of shore fishing - from sandy and rocky beaches, rock jetties, or even fishing piers. The terms surfcasting or beachcasting refer more specifically to surf fishing from the beach by casting into the surf at or near the shoreline. With few exceptions, surf fishing is done in saltwater. (Wikipedia)

"Surfcasting Block Island and Cuttyhunk" by D. J. Muller is a detailed guide to two legendary surfcasting destinations, home to some of the best striped-bass angling in the world. Block Island, just off the coast of Rhode Island, boasts a rich variety of surfcasting venues, from sand beaches to rips to boulder fields. Muller has fished the island extensively and takes the reader on a step-by-step tour around Block, explaining in detail where and how to fish each area correctly. Rods, reels, and lures for the surfcaster are explained in depth.

Some 35 miles northeast of Block Island is Cuttyhunk, the last island in the Elizabeth Islands chain. It was here in the latter half of the 19th century that surfcasting was born, and although much of the opulence of the gilded-age surfcasting clubs is gone, the angling remains as interesting and as challenging as ever. Again Muller takes the reader on a detail-rich tour of this small but fascinating island, pinpointing where and how to surfcast for bass.

For any surfcaster, beginner to advanced, who is looking for fresh and exciting fishing opportunities, "Surfcasting Block Island and Cuttyhunk" will become the indispensable reference.

Critique: Impressively informative, deftly written, expertly organized and presented, "Surfcasting Block Island and Cuttyhunk" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Fishing/Hunting collections in general, and salt water fishing supplemental instructional references lists in particular.


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Morrigan
Courtney Weber
Weiser Publishers
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
www.redwheelweiser.com
9781578636631, $16.95, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Morrigan is one of Pagan Ireland's most famous (and notorious) goddesses. Her name translated as "phantom queen" or "great queen". The Morrigan is famous for being a goddess of war, witchcraft and death, protection and retribution.

Courtney Weber is a Wiccan priestess, writer, tarot advisor, metaphysical teacher, and social activist. She is the author of "Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess", "Tarot for One: The Art of Reading for Yourself", and the producer and designer of Tarot of the Boroughs.

In "The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might", Courtney also explores the goddesses patronage of motherhood, healing, shapeshifting, and the land. Classified among the Sidhe (fairies), the Morrigan dates back at least to Ireland's Iron Age, but she is as modern as she is ancient -- enjoying a growing contemporary and global following.

Courtney also provides a guide for the modern devotee of this complex, mysterious goddess that encompasses practical veneration with modern devotionals, entwined with traditional lore and Irish-Celtic history.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, and deftly written study that is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.63), "The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Celtic Mythology & Magick supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Divination Conjure Style
Starr Casas, author
Josef Bailey, illustrator
Weiser Publishers
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
www.redwheelweiser.com
9781578636693, $18.95, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In "Divination Conjure Style: Reading Cards, Throwing Bones, and Other Forms of Household Fortune-Telling", professional conjure woman Starr Casas shares the secrets of conjure-style divination that she learned at home and that, until very recently, were family secrets that were only transmitted orally.

Traditional conjure is the domain of the poor and disenfranchised, living in regions that were (and remain) unfriendly to esotericism and the occult. Thus, conjure divination relies on inexpensive tools that are not exclusively magical: playing cards, rather than tarot cards, or scrying with blue water instead of a crystal ball.

The primary focus of "Divination Conjure Style" is playing-card divination, but other methods covered include bibliomancy, pyromancy, pendulums, and throwing the bones. Starr discusses the history of these methods and also offers practical information so that the reader can master these techniques for themselves.

Of special note is that Josef Bailey, a young New Orleans artist, has created illustrations of conjure-style playing cards to Starr's specifications.

Critique: Impressively original, extraordinarily informative, exceptionally well organized and deftly presented, "Divination Conjure Style: Reading Cards, Throwing Bones, and Other Forms of Household Fortune-Telling" will prove to be an immediately popular and enduringly valued addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Divination Conjure Style" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Russian Black Magic
Natasha Helvin
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781620558874, $16.99, PB, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Born in the Soviet Union and descended from a matrilineal line of witches, in the pages of "Russian Black Magic: The Beliefs and Practices of Heretics and Blasphemers", Natasha Helvin offers a rare look into the secret practices of Russian black magic, passed down from teacher to disciple for generations both orally and through their grimoires bound in black. Drawing from her own experience, Helvin provides insight into the fundamental ideology of black magic practitioners, from the universal laws of magic to the principles of morality. She explains a mage's view on fate and predestination, how the world was created, and their relationship with the demons that grant them their power. She examines the demonic pantheon as well as how a black sorcerer is able to influence the forces in the universe and pass on his or her powers and knowledge to further generations.

Exploring the history of occult practices in Russia, including how Christianity had a profound effect upon magic and witchcraft, Helvin shows how attempts to forcibly convert the Russian population to the Christian faith were widely resisted, and instead of these ancient pagan practices disappearing, they blended with Christian belief. Authorities repainted old pagan gods as demons in order to eradicate ancient traditions. Black magic became labelled as defiantly anti-Christian simply for preserving the old ways, and as a result, some branches of black magic evolved as a reaction against enforced Christianity and practitioners proudly accepted the label of "blasphemer" or "heretic."

Through "Russian Black Magic", readers can explore the Left-Hand path of Russian magic and its spells and rituals. Author Natasha Helvin deftly explains about cemetery magic, sacrifices, the creation of Hell Icons, and places of power, such as crossroads, swamps, and abandoned villages, as well as the best times to practice black magic, how to choose the best grave for your spell, and how to summon demons. Providing many concrete examples of spells, Helvin demonstrates the broad range of what can be accomplished by those who practice the black arts, if they commit themselves to the craft.

Critique: A unique and expertly presented study, "Russian Black Magic: The Beliefs and Practices of Heretics and Blasphemers" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Russian metaphysical supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for students of the occult, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Russian Black Magic" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).


The Railroading Shelf

Great Northern Railway Gallery
Michael A. Vanns
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781473882072, $49.95, HC, 184pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Great Northern Railway was one of 120 companies that ran trains in Britain during the Victorian and Edwardian period. Formed in 1846, it traded independently for seventy-six years until absorbed into the London & North Eastern Railway on 1 January 1923. Operating a network of nearly 700 route miles it ran trains between King's Cross, London and York, into the Eastern Counties and the East Midlands, the West Riding of Yorkshire, into Lancashire and even south of the Thames.

It developed distinctive characteristics, both in the way it managed its affairs and in the appearance of its trains, stations, signals and signalboxes. Numerous photographs were taken, particularly from the 1890s onwards, by dedicated amateurs attracted to the lineside by the sight of speeding steam locomotives in apple green livery, hauling polished teak carriages. Goods trains and the endless procession of coal trains were not such popular photographic subjects, but by searching out these and images of staff, stations and signalboxes, "Great Northern Railway Gallery: A Pictorial Journey Through Time" by Michael A. Vanns aims to capture something of the spirit of a once-great organization in the heyday of Britain's steam railway systems.

Critique: A simply fascinating and impressively informative illustrated history that is also available for dedicated railroading history buffs in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.99), Michael Vanns' "Great Northern Railway Gallery: A Pictorial Journey Through Time" will prove to be an enduringly appreciated and popular addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library British Railroading History collections.

Great Western, Pannier Tank Classes
David Maidment
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781526734518, $80.00, HC, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Great Western, Pannier Tank Classes: An Overview of Their Design and Development" is the tenth book by David Maidment in the Pen & Sword Books' 'Locomotive Portfolio' series and covers the large number of designs from 1860 onwards of 0-6-0 saddle tanks built for both the Great Western Railway and the independent railway companies in South Wales, most of which were converted to pannier tanks in the Churchward and Collett eras as they were reboilered with raised Belpaire fireboxes between the early 1900s and the late 1920s.

As well as the Armstrong and Dean engines, the book goes on to describe the design, construction and operation of the largest class of steam engines built in the UK in the last century - Collett's familiar 57XX class, examples of which were still being built after nationalization. Collett also designed pannier tank engines for branch passenger and freight work - the 54,64 & 74XX series, and Hawksworth continued the GW tradition with a tapered boiler version, the 94XX, after the Second World War as well as the light 16XX and the outside cylinder Walschaerts valve geared 15XX.

Critique: A very comprehensive volume covering so many classes, valuable for the modeler, and featuring more than 400 photographs (of which over 50 are in color), "Great Western, Pannier Tank Classes: An Overview of Their Design and Development" will prove to be an welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to personal, community, and academic library railroading history collections. It should be noted that "Great Western, Pannier Tank Classes: An Overview of Their Design and Development" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99).

Editorial Note: David Maidment was a senior manager with British Railways, with widespread experience of railway operating on the Western and London Midland Regions culminating in the role of Head of Safety Policy for the BRB after the Clapham Junction train accident He retired in 1996, was a Principal Railway Safety Consultant with International Risk Management Services from 1996 to 2001 and founded the Railway Children charity (www.railwaychildren.co.uk) in 1995. He was awarded the OBE for services to the rail industry in 1996.


The American History Shelf

Marooned
Joseph Kelly
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
www.bloomsbury.com
9781632867773, $32.00, HC, 512pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Every school aged child is taught that the great American origin story begins with an exodus. Fleeing religious persecution, the hardworking, pious Pilgrims thrived in the wilds of New England, where they built their fabled city on a hill. Legend goes that the colony in Jamestown was a false start, offering a cautionary tale. Lazy louts hunted gold till they starved, and the shiftless settlers had to be rescued by English food and the hard discipline of martial law.

But in historical fact neither of these stories are true. In "Marooned: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and a New History of America's Origin", Joseph Kelly (Professor of Literature at the College of Charleston, South Carolina) reexamines the history of Jamestown and comes to a radically different and decidedly American interpretation of these first Virginians.

In this gripping account of shipwrecks and mutiny in America's earliest settlements, Professor Kelly argues that the colonists at Jamestown were literally and figuratively marooned, cut loose from civilization, and cast into the wilderness. The British caste system meant little on this frontier: those who wanted to survive had to learn to work and fight and intermingle with the nearby native populations. Ten years before the Mayflower Compact and decades before Hobbes and Locke, they invented the idea of government by the people. 150 years before Jefferson, they discovered the truth that all men were equal.

The epic origin of America was not an exodus and a fledgling theocracy. Rather it is a gripping tale of shipwrecked castaways of all classes marooned in the wilderness fending for themselves in any way they could -- a story that illuminates who we are today.

Critique: An extraordinary and seminal work of original and meticulously detailed scholarship, "Marooned: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and a New History of America's Origin", although a work of painstaking and documented research reads with all the reader engaging style of a deftly penned novel. This collective saga of the founding of America is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library American History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Marooned" is also available in a paperback edition (9781632867780, $22.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Graphic Novel Shelf

MediEvil
Chris Sorrell, author
Jason Wilson, illustrator
Titan Comics
https://titan-comics.com
9781787734197 $12.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: Created by MediEvil's original co-creators, this brand-new original comic story offers a whole new perspective on the world of Gallowmere and Sir Daniel Fortesque. Beautifully illustrated and full of surprising revelations, it is sure to be a joyful surprise for fans of the classic PlayStation game.

MediEvil: The Comic Prequel tells the story of Sir Daniel Fortesque after the ending of MediEvil 2. Traveling back in time Sir Dan encounters his original, living self and (re)experiences the events leading up to the legendary battle in which he first lost his life. He must work with some old friends and battle some old foes if he is to save his kingdom and seal his status as the Hero of Gallowmere.

Critique: Crafted by original co-creators of the popular action-fantasy-undead-parody video games "MediEvil" and "MediEvil 2", MediEvil is a full-color graphic novel featuring an original story that is both a sequel and a prequel to the games. (Time travel is funny like that.) The gleefully irreverent humor that distinguished the games is evident on every page, as the undead warrior Sir Daniel Fortesque must visit a critical moment in the past. This is the junction in time when Sir Dan's younger, more vain, and more cowardly living self had to save the kingdom from a horde of rampaging undead... a task only possible with the aid of Sir Dan's older, wiser, more courageous, and thoroughly skeletal current self! Fortunately, Sir Dan is not alone in his quest; the resourceful archer with a secret Canny Tim and the freewheeling fairies Griff & Noreen offer crucial assistance, and Sir Dan's true love Princess Kiya supports him from beyond the depths of time. A brief, wittily written Introduction to MediEvil ensures that the reader does not need any knowledge of the video games to fully enjoy the wild fantasy-zombie-comedy ride! Highly recommended, especially for connoisseurs of the laughably bizzare. MediEvil is a treat that readers of all ages will enjoy, though there is some cartoony blood and gore (monsters and undead aren't known for playing nice)!

Gramercy Park
Timothee de Fombelle, author
Christian Cailleaux, illustrator
IDW Publishing
2765 Truxton Road, San Diego, CA 92106
www.idwpublishing.com
9781684055500, $19.99, HC, 96pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: New York, 1954. On the roof of an apartment building, a young woman patiently tends to her beehives and seems to be longing for someone or some thing. In the building across the street lives a kingpin of crime, isolated from the world, except for one mysterious weekly outing. They don't know each other, but they can see one another. Between them: the void, a police car, and a private fenced-in park under lock and key.

Critique: An inherently absorbing and deftly crafted graphic novel, "Gramercy Park" is one of those rare and original stories that defies the obvious and cliched, allowing the reader the freedom to wander in this mysterious adventure and get lost in the poetic script of author Timothee de Fombelle and embrace the delicate drawings and muted colors of illustrator Christian Cailleaux. While unreservedly recommended for both community library Graphic Novel collections, and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gramercy Park" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).


The Music CD Shelf

Bach Side of the Moon: Baroque Adagios Reimagined
Piers Adams and Larry Lush
bachsideofthemoon.com
Red Priest Recordings
www.redpriestrecordings.com
$18.99 CD amazon.com

Recorder virtuous Piers Adams and electronic music master Larry Lush present Bach Side of the Moon: Baroque Adagios Reimagined, a CD that reworks and reimagines 18th century compositions by Bach, Albinoni, Vivaldi, Sammartini, Handel, Purcell, and Gluck into 21st century "chill-out lounge" music. A transcendental, new age way to experience beloved classics, Bach Side of the Moon is a treasure for connoisseurs, and makes an exceptional gift! Highly recommended. 56 min., 50 sec.

Paris Cafe
Putumayo
www.putumayo.com
9781587594359 $13.69 CD / $8.99 MP3 amazon.com

Performed by a variety of talented artists, Paris Cafe is a collection of classic pieces of French music, evoking the atmosphere of bistros, cafes, and cabarets of 1950s Paris. A wonderful, enriching experience, Paris Cafe is enthusiastically recommended especially for international music collections, and also makes an excellent gift. The tracks are "Douce France", "C'est Magnifique", "Un Gamin de Paris", "Sweet Joy", "Sous Les Ponts de Paris", "La Mer", "La Complainte de la Butte", "Flambee Montalbanaise", "Quelqu'un M'a Dit", and "Vous Qui Passez Sans Me Voir".

Into The Unknown
Harrison Edwards
www.harrison-music.com
Privately Published
$14.98 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

The fifth album of original music by Harrison Edwards, Into The Unknown is an instrumental, New Age album crafted from keyboards, digital pianos, sound modules, and "soft-synths" (synthesizers that are entirely software based). The sweeping music brims with the hidden wonder of the next great discovery, near or far. Into The Unknown is beautiful, inspirational, and highly recommended especially for New Age connoisseurs. The tracks are "First Light", "The Awakening", "The Dawn Land", "Into The Unknown", "Discovery", "Revelation", "Finding Peace", "The Arrows of Time", "Into The Light", "Reawakening", "On Heaven's Shores", and "The Great Mystery".


The DVD Shelf

Ms. Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries, series 1
Starring Geraldine Hakewill
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$49.99 www.acornonline.com

Available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats, Ms. Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries is a successor to the tremendously popular Australian mystery series. The titular heroine Peregrine Fisher (played by Geraldine Hakewill, also known for her role in "Wanted") inherits her aunt Phryne's estate after Phryne disappears during a case. Peregrine decides to follow in her aunt's footsteps as a detective, and sets to work solving mysteries in 1960s Melbourne! Though Peregrine has never personally known her famous aunt, she finds guidance from The Adventuresses' Club, a group of extraordinary women who cherish Phryne as a member. Upbeat, delightful, and toally groovy, Ms. Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries is a treat for connoisseurs! Bonus materials include an 11-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. 4 feature-length mysteries on 2 discs, 353 min. plus bonus, SDH subtitles. Also highly recommended for fans of the series is "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Holiday Pop-Up Collectible" (55 min., $24.99).

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Holiday Pop-Up Collectible
Starring Essie Davis
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$24.99 www.acornonline.com

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Holiday Pop-Up Collectible is a limited edition, holiday episode from the second season of "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" presented in a delightful 3D package - the DVD case opens into a pop-up display of Miss Fisher. In 1920's Melbourne, Miss Phryne Fisher is an independent woman in a male-dominated world, who solves crimes with a pistol in one hand and often a paramour in the other, with assistance from her maid Dorothy "Dot" Williams (played by Ashleigh Cummings). In this episode, Miss Fisher visits a chalet to celebrate "Christmas in July", only to find one of the residents has been electrocuted while hanging the festive lights. Miss Fisher suspects foul play, and must race against time before another victim is targeted! Bonus materials include a two-minute season's greetings from the cast. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Holiday Pop-Up Collectible makes an excellent gift for connoisseurs of the genre, as do the other Holiday Pop-Up Collectibles showcasing Christams episodes: "Midsomer Murders: Holiday Pop-Up Collectible" and "The Brokenwood Mysteries: Holiday Pop-Up Collectible". 1 DVD, 55 min., SDH subtitles. Also highly recommended for fans of Miss Fisher is the successor series featuring her sleuthing niece in 1960's Melbourne, "Ms. Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries, series 1".

Queens of Mystery
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$39.99 www.acornonline.com

An Acorn TV Original Series now available on DVD, Queens of Mystery is a contemporary saga about three crime-writing sisters and their niece, Detective Sergeant Mattie Stone, who apply their knowledge of both fictional and real-world crime to solve murders in the beautiful English region of Wildemarsh. Though they are skilled sleuths, the answer to one, deeply personal mystery eludes them - the unexplained disappearance of Mattie's mother, 25 years ago. Witty and laced with humor, Queens of Mystery is a worthy spiritual successor to the classic "Murder, She Wrote" series, and highly recommended to connoisseurs of the genre. Bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes featurette (61 min.) and Easter Eggs (10 min.). 6 episdoes on 3 DVDs, 284 min., SDH subtitles.

Taken Down, series 1
Chad Campbell
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$39.99 www.acornonline.com

Taken Down, series 1 is a six-part Irish crime series on DVD. In Dublin, a young Nigerian girl is found violently murdered. The investigation into her death leads Inspector Jen Rooney and her team to a Direct Provision Centre for asylum-seekers. Another girl from the Direct Provision Centre has disappeared, and Rooney must scour the city's vile underworld of criminals and traffickers to find her, before she suffers a cruel fate! Taken Down is a gripping, timely crime drama, and a "must" for connoisseurs of the genre. Highly recommended. Bonus materials include 45 minutes of cast and crew interviews. It should be noted that Taken Down is recommended for mature viewers, due to strong language, violence, drug use, sexual situations, and disturbing images. 6 episdoes on 2 DVDs, 320 min. plus bonus material, SDH subtitles.


The Art Shelf

The Ultimate Fluid Pouring & Painting Project Book
Jane Monteith
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
www.quartous.com
9781631597633, $22.99, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Fluid pouring and painting can result in beautiful, organic, and abstract designs that can be captured on special papers, canvas and board substrates, used to make gorgeous lampshades, poured into molds or dishes to create coasters, geodes, and agate slices, and can even be formed into vases, vessels, and bowls. In the pages of "The Ultimate Fluid Pouring & Painting Project Book: Inspiration and Techniques for using Alcohol Inks, Acrylics, Resin, and More" aspiring artists can join mixed-media artist and international instructor Jane Monteith (a master of the fluid artforms and creator of the stunningly beautiful and popular paintings called MOD Minis), in this wildly popular new art form.

For both novice and experienced artists, this expressive instruction manual and guide shares detailed, comprehensive techniques for working with high flow inks and acrylic paints. "The Ultimate Fluid Pouring & Painting Project Book" guides the enthusiastic artist through a variety of different fluid projects, from fluid-painted collage to resin-poured paints on different substrates.

"The Ultimate Fluid Pouring & Painting Project Book" shows how to: Use various tools and solutions to create beautiful colors and textures on paper; Work with resin and avoid common mistakes to produce a flawless finish; Gain an understanding of basic color theory and which color combinations go hand in hand to create elegant designs; Become knowledgeable on what types of products to use to create various effects; Understand how to seal and protect a work for years to come.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "The Ultimate Fluid Pouring & Painting Project Book: Inspiration and Techniques for using Alcohol Inks, Acrylics, Resin, and more" is as ideal curriculum textbook for art school classes, and is a thoroughly 'user friendly' DIY instructional that is highly recommended for personal, community, and academic library collections.

Truth and Beauty in the Canadian Rockies
Lisa Christensen
Fifth House Publishers
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
www.fitzhenry.ca
9781927083581, $50.00, PB, 148pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Walter J. Phillips was born in Lincolnshire, England, and immigrated to Canada in 1913 at the age of 29, after spending considerable time studying abroad in South Africa and Paris. Today, he is considered one of the most accomplished watercolorist artists Canada has ever produced. In 1941, he became resident artist at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and played a vital role in the development of that institution's visual arts program.

Phillips' career spanned from the early 1900s through the late 1950s, when the increasing frailty of his eyesight caused him to stop painting. Phillips' work has been widely exhibited throughout North America and Great Britain. His topics ranged from the Canadian prairies to the Rocky Mountains.

"Truth and Beauty in the Canadian Rockies: An Explorer's Guide to the Art of Walter J. Phillips" is the fourth volume in Lisa Christensen's highly acclaimed Hiker's Guide to Art of the Canadian Rockies series, which "takes the art off the wall and presents it in the context of the magnificent locations that inspired its creation."

Critique: Living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Lisa Christensen is a former curator and auction house director, a prolific freelance writer, an art historian, and the Associate Curator of Art at the Glenbow Institute. Combining beautifully reproduced images of Walter J. Phillips artworks with an impressively informative and detailed commentary, her newest publication, "Truth and Beauty in the Canadian Rockies: An Explorer's Guide to the Art of Walter J. Phillips" will prove to be an extraordinary, welcomed and appreciated addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library 20th Century Canadian Art History collections.


The Sports Shelf

The NFL 100
Craig Ellenport
Triumph Books
https://www.triumphbooks.com
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
www.ipgbook.com
9781629377452, $29.95, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Craig Ellenport is a veteran sportswriter who has covered the NFL for more than 30 years. He has written several books about the NFL for kids and young adults. During his 12 years as senior editor at NFL.com and director of NFL Publishing, he oversaw production of all NFL publications, serving as co-editor for The Super Bowl: An Official Retrospective.

In "The NFL 100", Ellenport celebrates the NFL's monumental 100th season with a vivid retrospective that pays full tribute to America's game in spectacular fashion. The superstars, the dynasties, and the most heartstopping, unbelievable moments are all here.

With incisive writing and hundreds of the finest historical photos, NFL fans can relive a century's worth of the greatest games and personalities that have captivated football fans everywhere. "The NFL 100" takes the reader on a truly memorable journey through the 100 most essential, influential, and amazing moments in the league's history in breathtaking fashion. Simply stated, this is a pictorial journey no fan will want to miss.

Critique: Profusely illustrated with an accompanying and knowledgeable commentary, "The NFL 100" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library American Sports History collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated NFL fans that "The NFL 100" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99).


The Environmental Studies Shelf

We Are Puget Sound
David L. Workman, et al.
Mountaineers Books
1001 SW Klickitat Way, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98134-1161
www.mountaineersbooks.org
9781680512588, $29.95, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Puget Sound is a magnificent and intricate estuary, the very core of life in Western Washington. Yet it's also a place of broader significance: rivers rush from the Cascade and Olympic mountains and Canada's coastal ranges through varied watersheds to feed the Sound, which forms the southern portion of a complex, international ecosystem known as the Salish Sea.

A rich, life-sustaining home shared by two countries, as well as more than 50 Native American Tribes and First Nations, the Salish Sea is also a huge economic engine, with outdoor recreation and commercial shellfish harvesting alone worth $10.2 billion. But this spectacular inland sea is suffering. Pollution and habitat loss, human population growth, ocean acidification, climate change, and toxins from wastewater and storm runoff present formidable challenges.

"We Are Puget Sound: Discovering and Recovering the Salish Sea" amplifies the voices and ideas behind saving Puget Sound, and it will help engage and inspire citizens around the region to join together to preserve its ecosystem and the livelihoods that depend on it.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "We Are Puget Sound: Discovering and Recovering the Salish Sea" is an impressively informative, deftly organized, and accessibly presented study that should be a part of every community, college, and university library Contemporary Environmental Studies collections in general, and Salish Sea supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

A New Coast
Jeffrey Peterson
Island Press
2000 M Street NW Suite 650, Washington, DC 20036
www.islandpress.org
9781642830125, $45.00, PB, 408pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Climate change is causing more severe storms and rising seas that will inexorably push the American coastline inland with profound impact on communities, infrastructure, and natural systems. In "A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas", Jeffrey Peterson draws a comprehensive picture of how storms and rising seas will change the coast. Peterson offers a clear-eyed assessment of how governments can work with the private sector and citizens to be better prepared for the coming coastal inundation.

Drawing on four decades of experience at the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Senate, Peterson presents the science behind predictions for coastal impacts. He explains how current policies fall short of what is needed to effectively prepare for these changes and how the Trump Administration has significantly weakened these efforts.

While describing how and why the current policies exist, he builds a strong case for a bold, new approach, tackling difficult topics including: how to revise flood insurance and disaster assistance programs; when to step back from the coast rather than build protection structures; how to steer new development away from at-risk areas; and how to finance the transition to a new coast.

Key challenges, including how to protect critical infrastructure, ecosystems, and disadvantaged populations, are examined. Ultimately, Peterson offers hope in the form of a framework of new national policies and programs to support local and state governments. He calls for engagement from the private sector and local and national leaders in a "campaign for a new coast."

"A New Coast" is a compelling assessment of the dramatic changes that are coming to America's coast. Peterson offers insights and strategies for policymakers, planners, and business leaders preparing for the intensifying impacts of climate change along the coast.

Critique: A comprehensive and impressively informative study, "A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas" should be considered a core addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Political Studies, Public Policy, and Contemporary Environmental Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists. It should be noted for students, academia, environmental activists, governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "A New Coast" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $42.75).

Editorial Note: Dr. Jeffrey Peterson has 40 years of experience in environmental policy development and program management, particularly focused on water issues. Most recently he was Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Water responsible for climate change policy. In that capacity he co-chaired the EPA Sea Level Rise Workgroup and was a member of the Federal Interagency Sea Level Rise Workgroup. He also worked for almost four years at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) during the first Obama term. At CEQ, he co-chaired the Interagency Water Resources and Climate Change Workgroup and authored the first national plan addressing water resources management and climate change. Returning to EPA in 2012, he chaired the National Water Program Climate Change Workgroup and served for five years as the Federal co-chair of the Climate Change and Water Workgroup of the Federal Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI).


The International Studies Shelf

Saudi, Inc.
Ellen R. Wald
Pegasus Books
148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018
www.pegasusbooks.com
9781643132259, $17.95, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Saudi Royal family and Aramco leadership are, and almost always have been, motivated by ambitions of long-term strength and profit. They use Islamic laws, Wahhabi ideology, gender discrimination, and public beheadings to maintain stability and their own power. Underneath the thobes and abayas and behind the religious fanaticism and illiberalism lies a most sophisticated and ruthless enterprise. Today, that enterprise is poised to pull off the biggest IPO in history.

Over more than a century, fed by ambition and oil wealth, al Saud has come from nothing to rule as absolute monarchs, a contrast with the world around them and modernity itself. The story starts with Saudi Arabia's founder, Abdul Aziz, a lonely refugee embarking on a daring gambit to reconquer his family's ancestral home -- the mud-walled city of Riyadh. In "Saudi, Inc.: The Arabian Kingdom's Pursuit of Profit and Power", author Ellen R. Wald then takes readers almost to present day, when the multinational family business has made al Saud the wealthiest family in the world and on the cusp of a new transformation -- as al Saud and its family business, Aramco, are embarking on their most ambitious move: taking the company public.

Critique: Given the manipulations of the current presidential administration by the Saudis, "Saudi, Inc.: The Arabian Kingdom's Pursuit of Profit and Power" will prove to be an essential and core addition to community, college, and university library International Studies collections in general, and Contemporary Saudi Arabia supplemental studies lists in particular. Featuring 16 pages of color photographs, two pages of Notes on Sources, twenty-five pages of Notes, and a seven page Index, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, government policy makers, corporate executives doing (or considering doing) business with the Saudis, as well as the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject that "Saudi Inc." is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Ellen R. Wald, PhD, is a widely cited consultant on geopolitics and the global energy industry. She earned her doctorate in history at Boston University and an AB in history, Near Eastern studies, and creative writing at Princeton University. She teaches Middle East history and policy and has appeared on TV and radio on three continents.


The Photography Shelf

Ira Cohen: Into the Mylar Chamber
Edited with text by Allan Graubard
Text by Ira Cohen, et. al.
Fulgur Press
c/o Distributed Art Publishers
www.artbook.com
9781527236332 $49.95 amazon.com

Synopsis: Between 1968 and 1971, in a loft on New York's Jefferson Street, the poet, photographer and filmmaker Ira Cohen created some of the most mythic images of the late 1960s. Inspired by his friends Jack Smith and Bill Devore, Cohen's initial experiments with black light developed into an experimental ritual space he termed the Mylar Chamber a simple room of hinged boards hung with reflective Mylar film. Through his extended network, and with the support of artist and set designer Robert LaVigne, Cohen invited visitors to play another self within this small theater, among them Jimi Hendrix, William Burroughs, Vali Myers, Jack Smith, Angus MacLise, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Lionel Ziprin, Ching Ho Cheng, Petra Vogt, Charles Ludlam, John McLaughlin and the rock group Spirit.

In December 1969, in a summary of the past decade, Life magazine declared that "few came as close to explaining the euphoric distortions of hallucinogenics" as Cohen through his Mylar Chamber photographs, but the full story draws upon much deeper ideas surrounding identity and the power of the image.

This is the first book to explore Cohen's iconic Mylar Chamber photographs. Published on the 50th anniversary of the Life magazine feature, and with several gatefolds, it includes more than 70 images from this intensely creative period, each digitally restored from the original negatives by Cohen's friend and collaborator, Ira Landgarten. It also includes an interview with Cohen, excerpts from his poetry, critical writing from Allan Graubard and Ian MacFadyen and further reflections from Timothy Baum, Alice Farley and Thurston Moore.

Critique: Into the Mylar Chamber showcases Ira Cohen's extraordinary photographs, taken in a "Mylar Chamber" set up with reflective Mylar film. The extensive text describes the creation of these stunning, unusually warped images, as well as delving into the connections Ira Cohen and the (often famous) guests who agreed to be photographed. Captivating and extraordinary, Ira Cohen: Into the Mylar Chamber is utterly unforgettable, and highly recommended for public and college library photography and art collections.


The Humor Shelf

I Don't Like Your Kids (And Other Things I'm Afraid to Admit)
Laura LeBrun
Austin Macauley
www.austinmacauley.com
9781528915267 $8.95 pbk / $4.29 Kindle amazon.com
9781528961172 $4.50 ebook

Synopsis: Ever wonder why Mormons have extreme road rage or why dating a cop is like playing Russian Roulette? Perhaps you are confused as to why you need to shave your butt or how viewing pornography will turn you into a serial killer. Luckily for you, Laura LeBrun answers all this and more with the wisdom of a woman who has been there and has your back! Not for the faint of heart, this book was written to make you laugh while educating you on the horrors of everyday life.

Critique: Laura LeBrun presents I Don't Like Your Kids (And Other Things I'm Afraid to Admit) an utterly hillarious blend of memoir and comedy, as well as an irreverent and scathing indictment of the bizarreness of everyday life. Le Brun openly confesses her personal travails (such as falling in love with a con man who literally stole thousands of dollars from her) with a refreshing candor that makes one want to laugh, then cry, then laugh again. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that I Don't Like Your Kids is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.29).


The Wisconsin Shelf

Long Way Round
John Hildebrand
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299324803, $26.95, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Inspired by tales of a mythic Round River, a circular stream where "what goes around comes around," in the pages of "Long Way Round: Through the Heartland by River", author and educator John Hildebrand sets off to rediscover his home state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is in the midst of an identity crisis, torn by new political divisions and the old gulf between city and countryside. Cobbling rivers together, from the burly Mississippi to the slender wilds of Tyler Forks, Hildebrand navigates the beautiful but complicated territory of home. In once prosperous small towns, he discovers unsung heroes (lockmasters, river rats, hotelkeepers, mechanics, environmentalists, tribal leaders, and perennial mayors) who are struggling to keep their communities afloat.

While history doesn't flow in a circle, it doesn't always move in a straight line either. Hildebrand charts the improbable ox-bows along its course. "Long Way Round" shows us the open road as a river with possibility around the next bend.

Critique: A fully absorbing, entertaining, insightful, deftly crafted and thought-provoking read from cover to cover, "Long Way Round: Through the Heartland by River" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community and academic library Wisconsin History, Wisconsin Culture, and Wisconsin Travel collections and personal reading lists.

Editorial Note: John Hildebrand is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Mapping the Farm: The Chronicle of a Family and The Heart of Things: A Midwestern Almanac. His essays have appeared in Harper's, Audubon, and Sports Illustrated. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


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