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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 14, Number 9 September 2019 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Cookbook Shelf Biography Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf General Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Psychology Shelf Art Shelf
Crafts Shelf Aviation Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Antiques/Collectibles Shelf Photography Shelf
Gardening Shelf Woodworking Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Business Shelf Computer Shelf Education Shelf
Railroading Shelf Civil War Shelf Parenting Shelf
Fishing Shelf Self-Help Shelf Humor Shelf
Political Science Shelf    


Reviewer's Choice


Among the Wonders of the Dells
J. Tyler Friedman
University of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe Street, Third Floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299324049, $34.95, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Wisconsin Dells is a city in south-central Wisconsin that straddles four counties: Adams, Columbia, Juneau, and Sauk. The city takes its name from the Dells of the Wisconsin River, a scenic, glacially formed gorge that features striking sandstone formations along the banks of the Wisconsin River. Together with the nearby village of Lake Delton, the city forms an area known as "the Dells", a popular Midwestern tourist destination. (Wikipedia)

More than four million visitors travel each year to the Wisconsin Dells, making it the most economically significant tourist destination in the state. After the first non-Native settlers arrived in the late 1830s, photographers began capturing images of the region. H. H. Bennett marketed his iconic images, some of which exploited the image and history of the Ho-Chunk tribe living in the region, to travel agents who sold them across the United States, encouraging early tourism in the area focused on the untamed nature of the frontier. In the next century, this continued desire for adventure was built into exotic hotel names, water parks, and amusement rides.

"Among the Wonders of the Dells: Photography, Place, Tourism" provides the first comprehensive photographic history of the Dells, contextualized in essays by celebrated Wisconsin historians. Spanning the earliest extant photos of the area to the works of contemporary photographers, these representations depict the stunning natural landforms, document the development of the area, and explore public perception of the place. Many new and never-before-seen photographs present the interplay of art and tourism that has made the Dells what they are today -- which is certain to delight history enthusiasts and seasonal vacationers alike.

Critique: A joint publication project of the Museum of Wisconsin Arts and the University of Wisconsin Press, "Among the Wonders of the Dells: Photography, Place, Tourism" is expertly compiled and deftly edited by J. Tyler Friedman (Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Wisconsin Art). A simple delight to browse through and impressively informative with respect to the history of the Dells, "Among the Wonders of the Dells" should be considered a 'must' for all Wisconsin school and community library Wisconsin History collections -- and the perfect souvenir selection for anyone who has ever experienced and enjoyed what the Dells have to offer its visitors!

100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die
Jenna Kashou
Reedy Press
PO Box 5131, St. Louis, MO 63139
www.reedypress.com
9781681061795, $16.99, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with its beautiful four seasons, fully lives up to its nickname: A great city on a Great Lake. And with enough cultural and sports attractions to rival cities twice its size, it's hard to know just which activities to explore! Now in a fully updated and expanded second edition, "100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die" is the ideal companion and guide to discovering or re-discovering this Midwestern gem.

Tour a few (or all!) of the many craft breweries throughout the city. The Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks, also serves as a sprawling entertainment complex that has reinvigorated the west side of downtown. Don't miss the Milwaukee Art Museum and a chance to take a photo in front of its expansive white wings. Looking for live entertainment? The opulent Pabst and Riverside Theaters bring in top-notch comedy and musical acts. Whether you re in the mood for fine dining or a more casual meal, recommendations like Lake Park Bistro and the Milwaukee Public Market will not disappoint.

A Milwaukee native, author Jenna Kashou loves exploring and writing about the people and places in her ever-evolving hometown. With her insider's perspective, "100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die" is an indispensable guidebook will help you navigate Milwaukee's nooks and crannies, new hot spots, and iconic sites -- so don't leave home without it!

Critique: Impressively and comprehensively informative, thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die" is a pleasure to simply browse through and ideal for planning Milwaukee bound day trips with. While unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Travel Guide collections, it should be noted for personal reading and reference lists that "100 Things to Do in Milwaukee Before You Die" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Beyond The Bizarre!
Ripley's Believe It Or Not, compiler
Ripley Publishing
www.ripleys.com
9781609912420, $28.95, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Beyond the Bizarre!", the 16th volume in the bestselling series from Ripley's Believe It or Not! annual series and is filled from cover to cover with all the unbelievable stories, incredible facts, and images that Ripley's is known for.

"Ripley's Believe It or Not! Beyond the Bizarre!" is filled with thousands of strange stories, unusual feats, and hair-raising oddities from around the world. Readers will discover how one man lived in a sand castle for 20 years, read about the cat with 28 toes, the piano bed, frozen beards, a bicycle graveyard, and so much more that is all weird and all true!

Critique: Bursting with vibrant and eye-catching photos, as well as submissions from our dedicated readers, "Ripley's Believe It or Not! Beyond the Bizarre!" is a must-have for every Ripley's fan and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, school, and community library collections.


The Cookbook Shelf

The Little Local Maine Cookbook
Annie B. Copps
The Countryman Press
c/o W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
www.countrymanpress.com
9781682684177, $14.95, HC, 80pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Annie B. Copps is a food writer, cooking teacher, and former chef. Annie has worked as a food editor for Boston and Yankee magazines. She teaches cooking classes all over the world and is the author of "A Little Taste of Cape Cod.

In her newest cookbook, "The Little Local Maine Cookbook" she draws upon her years of culinary experience and expertise to showcase thirty classic Maine recipes.

The Little Local Maine Cookbook brings the essential flavors of Maine to the family table with dishes that range from lobster boils, rolls, and bakes; to whole roasted fish with fresh farm-stand corn; to blueberry-sauced crepes and homemade pie. Also included are traditional recipes that celebrate the state.

Critique: With nicely presented illustrations throughout, "The Little Local Maine Cookbook" is a pleasure to browse through and inspiring to plan menus with, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and community library regional cookbook collections. It should be noted that "The Little Local Maine Cookbook" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.97).

Food and Fire
Marcus Bawdon
Dog n Bone
c/o Ryland, Peters & Small
341 East 116th Street, New York, NY 10029
www.rylandpeters.com
9781911026884, $19.95, HC, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Cooking meals over a fire is about as primal as it gets. There is nothing simpler (no metalwork, no fancy gadgets, just food and flame) allowing the cook to take the most basic of culinary ingredients and turn them into something special. Cultures across the globe have cooked in this way, developing their own innovative methods to combine heat and local flavors.

In "Food and Fire", author and outdoor cooking expert Marcus Bawdon takes the best of these global artisanal techniques (ranging from searing directly on the coals, to rotisserie, to wood-fired ovens, to cast-iron grilling, and plenty more) and showcases 65 specific dishes to cook outdoors and share in front of the fire with family and friends.

Critique: With recipes that are beautifully illustrated in full color, the dishes comprising "Food and Fire" range from Scallops on a Silver-Birch Log; Saute Potatoes with Padron Peppers and Chorizo; Grilled Eggplant Steaks with Miso and Honey Glaze; Japanese Barbecue Beef Skewers; and Chili Marmalade Glazed Checken Lollipops; to Slow-Smoked Lamb Rack with Chimichurri Rojo; Wood-Fired Rainbow Trout; Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Miso and Sesame Sauce; Grilled Pears with Honey; and Plancha Pineapple with Charcoal-Melted Maple Butter. A culinary delight to browse through and inspiring to plan meals with, "Food and Fire" is a unique and very highly recommended addition to family, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Food and Fire" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.29).

Binging with Babish
Andrew Rea
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
3 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.hmhco.com
9781328589897, $30.00, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The internet cooking show Binging with Babish has taken YouTube by storm with an astounding 5 million fans and views as high as 12 million per episode. For each video, Andrew Rea, a self-proclaimed movie and TV buff, teaches a recipe based on a favorite TV show or film, such as the babka from the classic Seinfeld episode, the beef bourguignon from Julie & Julia, or the timpano from Big Night.

"Binging with Babish: 100 Recipes Recreated from Your Favorite Movies and TV Shows" is lavishly illustrated cookbook that includes these and other fan-favorite recipes. Some are so delicious that you'll want to make them for dinner right away, like Bubba's shrimp from Forrest Gump, while others can be saved for impressing a loved one -- like the chocolate lava cake from Jon Favreau's Chef, which the actor/director asked to make during a guest appearance on Rea's show.

"Binging with Babish" also features inherently fascinating behind-the-scenes stories and answers to frequently asked fan questions.

Critique: A delight to simply browse through, and inspiring to plan menus with, "Binging with Babish: 100 Recipes Recreated from Your Favorite Movies and TV Shows" is a unique and extraordinary addition to personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Binging with Babish: 100 Recipes Recreated from Your Favorite Movies and TV Shows" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).


The Biography Shelf

Neither Bomb Nor Bullet
Andrew Boyd
Lion Hudson
c/o Monarch Books
www.lionhudson.com
9780857218438 $16.95 pbk / $10.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: In the warzone that Nigeria has become, Archbishop Ben Kwashi has survived three assassination attempts. A brutal assault on his wife, Gloria, drove him to his knees - to forgive and find the strength to press on. Islamist militants have Nigeria in their sights. These are the terrorists who kidnapped hundreds of Christian schoolgirls - who have vowed to turn Africa's most populous nation into a hard-line Islamic state. Their plan is to drive the Christian minority from the north by kidnapping, bombing and attacking churches. Plateau State is on the frontline.

Holding that line against Boko Haram, and standing firm for the Gospel, is Ben Kwashi, the Anglican Archbishop of Jos. In Jos, churches have been turned into fortresses and Archbishop Ben now conducts more funerals than weddings and baptisms put together. Yet his faith grows ever more vibrant. He has adopted scores of orphans who live in his home, including many who are HIV positive. And the challenge of his message - to live for the Gospel even in the face of terror - has never been so timely.

Critique: Neither Bomb Nor Bullet is the biography of an extraordinary man of faith. Archbishop Ben Kwashi is a devout Christian in Nigeria, a land riven by religious violence. Yet despite the threat of armed Islamist militants who seek to transform the nation into an Islamist state ruled by Sharia law, Kwashi professes that neither bomb nor bullet can separate one from the love of God. In addition to Kwashi's courageous life story, Neither Bomb Nor Bullet offers Kwashi's open letter to the world, and of a pathway discipleship. A profound testimony from a devout Christian who places his life on the line for his faith every day, Neither Bomb Nor Bullet is highly recommended, especially for church library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Neither Bomb Nor Bullet is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

Magic Journey
Kevin P. Rafferty
Disney Editions
c/o Disney Book Group
https://books.disney.com
9781368020480, $24.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In his forty-year storied career that began in the dish room at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland, Kevin Rafferty has conceived, designed, written, and overseen the creation of some of the Disney parks most memorable attractions including Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks, Cars Land, Toy Story Mania, Test Track, Tower of Terror, MuppetVision, and many others, including the first-ever Mickey and Minnie Mouse attraction set to debut at Walt Disney World in 2019.

For a young man who began studying for the priesthood at a seminary, the journey to halls of Imagineering has truly been a magical one. A master storyteller, in "Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career", Kevin chronicles his unimaginable career with great humor, honesty, and heart.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, exceptionally well written, and thoroughly absorbing read from cover to cover, "Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections -- and a 'must read' for anyone who has every enjoyed themselves at one of the Disney theme parks!

Crazy Man, Crazy: The Bill Haley Story
Bill Haley Jr. & Peter Benjaminson
Backbeat Books
c/o Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group
33 Plymouth Street, Suite 302, Montclair, NJ 07042-2677
www.halleonard.com
9781617137112, $29.95, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: William John Clifton Haley (July 6, 1925 - February 9, 1981) best known to the public as Bill Haley was an American rock and roll musician. He is credited by many with first popularizing this form of music in the early 1950s with his group Bill Haley & His Comets and million-selling hits such as "Rock Around the Clock", "See You Later, Alligator", "Shake, Rattle and Roll", "Rocket 88", "Skinny Minnie", and "Razzle Dazzle". He has sold over 60 million records worldwide and has been described as the greatest musical pioneer of the 20th century. (Wikipedia).

Bill Haley, the man who brought rock 'n' roll into the mainstream beginning with his song "Crazy Man, Crazy" that the first rock 'n' roll song to break the Billboard Top 20 in 1953, is often overlooked in the story of rock 'n' roll, overshadowed by others who followed him, from sex symbol Elvis Presley to wild man Jerry Lee Lewis and forever-young Buddy Holly.

But Haley's lack of visibility was in part his own doing: he had conflicted feelings about fame, was extremely private, suffered chronic alcoholism, and troubled relationships with multiple wives, which yielded ten children who he struggled to support. Though he managed to carry on a successful touring career, his demons eventually eroded his health, and in 1981, at the age of only 55, he passed away.

"Crazy Man, Crazy: The Bill Haley Story" is written by biographer Peter Benjaminson and Bill Haley Jr. -- Bill Haley's son who is himself a musician himself and tours the world paying tribute to his father's music. Culled from interviews with insiders - from ex-wives to the Comets, recorded conversations with Haley Sr., official documents, diaries, and more, "Crazy Man, Crazy: The Bill Haley Story" not only charts the happenings of Haley's career but gives insight into the Haley behind the curtain and some of the other trials he faced, from the dark side of the music business to ties with Mafia.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively candid biography of a music legend that is enhanced for the reader's benefit with a collection of rare and historic photographs, "Crazy Man, Crazy: The Bill Haley Story" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library 20th Century American Music History -- and is a must-read for the legions of rock 'n' roll enthusiasts in general, and Bill Haley fans in particular.

All Heart: The Baseball Life of Frank Torre
Cornelius Geary
Henschel Haus Publishing
https://henschelhausbooks.com
9781595987310, $26.95, HC, 250pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Milwaukee Braves' first baseman Frank Torre won a World Series Ring in 1957, 39 years before his Hall of Fame brother Joe Torre earned his.

"All Heart: The Baseball Life of Frank Torre", is Frank's story in his own words, as told to Cornelius Geary in a series of interviews. This is a timeless, first-person account of a baseball life at the peak of one of the great franchises in baseball history, the Milwaukee Braves.

"In All Heart", Frank recounts the Braves' glory years with game-by-game accounts of the 1957 and 1958 World Series, tells what it was like playing with Henry Aaron, Ed Mathews, Warren Spahn, and Lew Burdette, and shares his heartbreak as the Braves' dream ends almost as quickly as it began.

With dozens of photos, "All Heart, the Baseball Life of Frank Torre makes an important contribution to the history of the Milwaukee Braves as the savvy veteran reflects on many of the great players of his time, including Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Koufax, Musial, and Hodges.

Critique: An absolute 'must read' for all baseball fans in general, and Milwaukee Braves fans in particular, "All Heart: The Baseball Life of Frank Torre" is an inherently fascinating and informative read from cover to cover. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "All Heart: The Baseball Life of Frank Torre" is also available in a paperback edition (9781595986979, $16.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Needlecraft Shelf

Sewing 101
Quarry Books Editors
Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
www.quartoknows.com
9781631597572, $16.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Dedicated to serving creative makers at all levels of skill and experience, The editorial staff at Quarry Books empowers creativity, providing inspiration and expertise with beautiful, hands-on content, igniting readers' passion, enriching their experience, and cultivating their craft. One of their latest needlecraft projects is "Sewing 101: Master Basic Skills and Techniques Easily Through Step-by-Step Instruction", a comprehensive and instructive compendium into the basics of sewing that is profusely illustrated throughout.

"Sewing 101: offers essential guidance for using a sewing machine, as well as for fabrics, patterns, and supplies. Projects are arranged progressively, from simple garments like T-shirts, skirts, and aprons, to more challenging home decor items such as a blankets, tablecloths, and Roman shades. Each individual project introduces and explores new sewing skills in depth. Variations will inspire the create personal designs.

Of special note for beginners are the links offered to accompanying online videos that present the techniques in action an invaluable resource.

Critique: Absolutely 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Sewing 101: Master Basic Skills and Techniques Easily Through Step-by-Step Instruction" is the ideal textbook for highschool economics class curriculums and any adult wanting to learn how to sew but unsure as to how to go about it. Simply stated, "Sewing 101" is wholeheartedly recommended for personal, highschool, and community library Needlecraft instructional reference collections.

Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits
Barbara Benson
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
www.stackpolebooks.com
9780811737876, $24.95, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Lace has traditionally been knit in finer weight yarns to create airy, delicate designs. But when knit in bulky yarns, lace becomes bold, graphic, and dramatic. Working with thicker yarns also makes the projects move along more quickly and the lace repeats shorter, so it's easy to learn new stitches and techniques.

For those new to bulky yarns, in the step-by-step illustrated instructions that comprise "Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits: 20 Shawls, Hats, Ponchos, and More in Bulky Yarn", Barbara Benson shows how these yarns work best in lace designs and provides tips and tricks for reading and executing lace patterns.

Gorgeous photography by Gale Zucker show the pieces to their full, stunning effect.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits: 20 Shawls, Hats, Ponchos, and More in Bulky Yarn" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Big Yarn, Beautiful Lace Knits" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.49).

Editorial Note: Barbara Benson is an independent designer, knitting instructor, and the author of "Mosaic & Lace Knits". Her designs are available online as well as in various books and publications. She teaches at both local yarn stores and national venues such as Interweave Yarnfest. Her love for teaching and talking about knitting can also be seen in the hundreds of videos on her popular YouTube channel "WatchBarbaraKnit."

The Weekend Quilter
Rosemary Wilkinson, editor
Landauer Publishing
c/o Fox Chapel Publishing
1970 Broad Street, East Petersburg, PA 17520
9781947163294, $19.99, PB, 192pp, www.landauercorp.com

Synopsis: Compiled and edited by Rosemary Wilkinson, "The Weekend Quilter" is an profusely and beautifully illustrated compilation of master quilters' ideas for quick and easy quilt projects that presents step-by-step instructions for twenty-six quilts, along with photographs of finished quilts and a wealth of troubleshooting tips.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Weekend Quilter" is an inspiring resource for aspiring quilt makers whether they are novice beginners or are experienced and seasoned veterans of the art and craft of quilt making. A beautifully presented compendium of quilt making ideas, examples and instructions, "The Weekend Quilter" is very highly recommended for both personal and community library Needlecraft instructional reference collections.


The General Fiction Shelf

All the Flowers in Paris
Sarah Jio
Ballantine Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
www.randomhouse.com
9781101885055, $27.00, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When Caroline wakes up in a Paris hospital with no memory of her past, she's confused to learn that for years she's lived a sad, reclusive life in a sprawling apartment on the rue Cler. Slowly regaining vague memories of a man and a young child, she vows to piece her life back together -- though she can't help but feel she may be in danger. A budding friendship with the chef of a charming nearby restaurant takes her mind off her foggy past, as does a startling mystery from decades prior.

In Nazi-occupied Paris, a young widow named Celine is trying to build a new life for her daughter while working in her father's flower shop and hoping to find love again. Then a ruthless German officer discovers her Jewish ancestry and Celine is forced to play a dangerous game to secure the safety of her loved ones. When her worst fears come true, she must fight back in order to save the person she loves most -- her daughter.

When Caroline discovers Celine's letters tucked away in a closet, she realizes that her apartment harbors dark secrets and that she may have more in common with Celine than she could have ever imagined!

Critique: An inherently fascinating and compulsive page turner of a novel from cover to cover, "All the Flowers in Paris" is an emotional roller coaster of a read from beginning to end. Showcasing an author with a distinctive and effective flair for the kind of narrative storytelling that holds a reader's interest from cover to cover, "All the Flowers in Paris" by Sarah Jio is unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "All the Flowers in Paris" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

A Beggar's Kingdom
Paullina Simons
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
9780062098177, $19.99, PB, 656pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Is there a fate beyond the fates? Julian has failed Josephine once. Despite grave danger and impossible odds, he is determined to do the unimaginable and try again to save the woman he loves.

"A Beggar's Kingdom" is a love story like no other as the doomed lovers embark on an incredible adventure across time and space. Racing through history and against the merciless clock, they face countless dangers and deadly enemies.

Living amid beauty and ecstasy, bloodshed and betrayal, each time they court and cheat death brings Julian and Josephine closer to an unthinkable sacrifice and a confrontation with the harshest master of all...destiny.

Critique: The second and deftly crafted novel in Paullina Simons's simply outstanding and original 'End of Forever' saga, "A Beggar's Kingdom" continues the heartbreaking story of Julian and Josephine, and a love that spans lifetimes. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Beggar's Kingdom" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (HarperCollins, 9781982696061, $39.99, MP3 CD).

Novum Orbis Regium: The New World Realm
William A. Holdsworth
Adelaide Books
www.adelaidebooks.org
9781950437436, $23.30, PB, 382pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In 476 CE,. it's been nearly seventy years since Rome abandoned Britain and war with the Saxons began. Mons Badonicus is under siege by the warlord Oesc of Kent while Arthur's cavalry holds the high ground. After a fortnight of stalemate, a heavy mist rolls into the valley in the early morning hours and blankets the Saxon camp. The chance has come for Arthur to end three generations of war and turn his isle of woes into a light for the world, a Camelot to be dreamed of by generations to come.Modern Day.

For fifteen centuries, the Clan Camulodunum has kept Arthur's bloodline from ending in hopes of one day bringing a new Camelot to the world, a Novum Orbis Regium. William "Mac" MacCrarey, Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, has called for a Charter Amendment Conference where he plans to shift the power monopoly of the Security Council to the General Assembly, and announce his candidacy for Secretary-General. By empowering the General Assembly and becoming the leader of the UN, Mac hopes to create a foundation for the first world-wide democracy that can serve as a light of hope for everyone.

Critique: Showcasing William Holdsworth's genuine flair as an author for originality and a distinctive narrative storytelling style as a novelist, "Novum Orbis Regium" is an inherently interesting and deftly crafted read from first page to last. While certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library general fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Novum Orbis Regium" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.77).

The Oysterville Sewing Circle
Susan Wiggs
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
9780062425584, $26.00, HC, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It's at the break of dawn when Caroline Shelby rolls into Oysterville, Washington, -- a tiny hamlet at the edge of the raging Pacific. She's come home to a place she thought she'd left forever, the home of her heart and her memories -- but not her future.

Ten years ago, Caroline launched a career in the glamorous fashion world of Manhattan. But her success in New York imploded on a wave of scandal and tragedy, forcing her to flee to the only safe place she knows.

And in the backseat of Caroline's car are five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick -- two children who were orphaned in a single chilling moment. She's now their legal guardian. A role she's not sure she's ready for.

But the Oysterville she left behind has changed. Her siblings have their own complicated lives and her aging parents are hoping to pass on their thriving seafood restaurant to the next generation. And there's Will Jensen, a decorated Navy SEAL who's also returned home after being wounded overseas. Will and Caroline were forever friends as children, with the promise of something more . . . until he fell in love with Sierra, Caroline's best friend and the most beautiful girl in town. With her modeling jobs drying up, Sierra, too, is on the cusp of reinventing herself.

Caroline returns to her favorite place: the sewing shop owned by Mrs. Lindy Bloom, the woman who inspired her and taught her to sew. There she discovers that even in an idyllic beach town, there are women living with the deepest of secrets. Thus begins the Oysterville Sewing Circle -- where women can join forces to support each other through the troubles they keep hidden.

Yet just as Caroline regains her creativity and fighting spirit, and the children begin to heal from their loss, an unexpected challenge tests her courage and her heart. This time, though, Caroline is not going to run away. She's going to stand and fight for everything and everyone she loves!

Critique: A deftly woven and thoroughly engaging story from first page to last, Susan Wiggs newest novel, "The Oysterville Sewing Circle", is a truly memorable and compulsive page turner of a read that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Oysterville Sewing Circle" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Deep Past
Eugene Linden
RosettaBooks
125 Park Avenue, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10017
www.rosettabooks.com
9781948122375, $25.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A routine dig in Kazakhstan takes a radical turn for thirty-two-year-old anthropologist Claire Knowland when a stranger turns up at the site with a bizarre find from a remote section of the desolate Kazakh Steppe. Her initial skepticism of this mysterious discovery gives way to a realization that the find will shake the very foundations of our understanding of evolution and intelligence.

Corrupt politics of Kazakhstan force Claire to take reckless chances with the discovery. Among the allies she gathers in her fight to save herself and bring the discovery to light is Sergei Anachev, a brilliant but enigmatic Russian geologist who becomes her unlikely protector even as he deals with his own unknown crisis.

Ultimately, Claire finds herself fighting not just for the discovery and her academic reputation, but for her very life as great power conflict engulfs the unstable region and an unscrupulous oligarch attempts to take advantage of the chaos.

Critique: Eugene Linden is an award-winning journalist and author on science, nature, and the environment. In "Deep Past" deftly draws upon his years of experience and expertise to deftly craft a simply riveting read that blends fact and fiction into an original and inherently fascinating novel that will be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Deep Past" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982633714, $29.95, CD).

Drawing on Eugene Linden's celebrated non-fiction investigations into what makes humans different from other species, this international thriller mixes fact and the fantastical, the realities of academic politics, and high stakes geopolitics - engaging the reader every step of the way.

The Line Between
Tosca Lee
Howard Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com
9781476798622, $26.00, HC, 384pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she's been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she's feared all her life -- until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there's something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.

Critique: A deftly crafted dystopian novel showcasing author Tosca Lee's impressive flair for blending conspiracy and romance with action and paranoia level scepticism in an all too believable near future, "The Line Between" is one of those exceptional works of literature that will linger in the mind, memory, and nightmare dreams of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Line Between" is also available in a paperback edition (9781501169090, $17.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

The Glass Eye
Yolanda Gallardo
Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
www.artepublicopress.com
9781558858787, $17.95, PB, 158pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Dona Amada can see more through one eye than most people can see with two. She can see the past and the future, in spite of the shiny marble serving as her second eye, which was ripped out by her husband's jealous lover.

Gossip and speculation about the mysterious disappearance of Amada's rival swirl around the neighborhood. Rumor has it her remains are buried, scattered in parts of Westchester County. Others swear they have seen her ghost (having collected all her essential parts) swimming in the river, trying to make her way back to the Bronx.

Critique: A deftly crafted comic novel about a Puerto Rican community and unreservedly recommended for community library general fiction collections, "The Glass Eye" showcases author Yolanda Gallardo's genuine flair for originality and is one of those fascinating stories featuring characters that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book has been finished and set back upon the shelf.

Mother Knows Best
Kira Peikoff
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781643850405, $26.99, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Claire Abrams's dreams became a nightmare when she passed on a genetic mutation that killed her little boy. Now she wants a second chance to be a mother, and finds it in Robert Nash, a maverick fertility doctor who works under the radar with Jillian Hendricks, a cunning young scientist bent on making her mark -- and seducing her boss.

Claire, Robert, and Jillian work together to create the world's first baby with three genetic parents -- an unprecedented feat that could eliminate inherited disease. But when word of their illegal experiment leaks to the wrong person, Robert escapes into hiding with the now-pregnant Claire, leaving Jillian to serve out a prison sentence that destroys her future.

Ten years later, a spunky girl named Abigail begins to understand that all is not right with the reclusive man and woman she knows as her parents. But the family's problems are only beginning. Jillian, hardened by a decade of jealousy and loss, has returned -- and nothing will stop her from reuniting with the man and daughter who should have been hers!

Critique: A true and compelling page-turner of a suspense thriller from cover to cover, "Mother Knows Best" by Kira Peikoff is a compelling and highly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mother Knows Best" is also available a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

City in a Forest
Ginger Pinholster
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
www.blackrosewriting.com
9781684333189, $18.95, PB, 210pp, www.amazon.com

Hidden in the heart of Atlanta, a pristine forest shimmers with magic, but an unscrupulous developer plans to flatten Silver Park -- unless two brave women can stop him. Arden Collier risks losing her home. Parker Gozer owns most of Arden's secret forest, which is rooted in Atlanta's rich African-American history.

As Arden struggles to reclaim her artistic voice, Parker confronts the man who once preyed upon her - and now wants to spoil a rare urban oasis. Both women fight to protect the place that has tangled itself around their hearts like flowering kudzu vines, achingly sweet as a beloved child.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "City in a Forest" is author Ginger Pinholster's debut as a novelist, this deftly crafted and original story showcases her distinctively reader engaging and inherently entertaining narrative storytelling style. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "City in a Forest" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

All City
Alex Difrancesco
Seven Stories Press
140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013
www.sevenstories.com
9781609809393, $17.95, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In a near-future New York City in which both global warming and a tremendous economic divide are making the city unlivable for many, a huge superstorm hits, leaving behind only those who had nowhere else to go and no way to get out.

Makayla is a twenty-four-year-old woman who works at the convenience store chain that's taken over the city. Jesse, an eighteen-year-old, genderqueer, anarchist punk lives in an abandoned IRT station in the Bronx. Their paths cross in the aftermath of the storm when they, along with others devastated by the loss of their homes, carve out a small sanctuary in an abandoned luxury condo.

In an attempt to bring hope to those who feel forsaken, an unnamed, mysterious street artist begins colorful murals of graffiti along the sides of buildings. But the castaways of the storm aren't the only ones who find beauty in the art. When the media begins broadcasting the emergence of the murals and one appears on the building Makayla, Jesse, and their friends are living in, it is only a matter of time before those who own the building come back to claim what is theirs.

Critique: A near future dystopian novel that is all the more plausible given today's documented trends associated with Climate Change, "All City" by Alex Difrancesco is an inherently riveting novel that is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "All City" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

The Tea Chest
Heidi Chiavaroli
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
www.tyndale.com
9781496434777, $24.99, HC, 242pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Boston, 1773 -- Emma Malcolm's father is staunchly loyal to the crown, but Emma's heart belongs to Noah Winslow, a lowly printer's assistant and Patriot. But her father has promised her hand to Samuel Clarke, a rapacious and sadistic man. As his fiancee, she would have to give up Noah and the friends who have become like family to her -- as well as the beliefs she has come to embrace.

After Emma is drawn into the treasonous Boston Tea Party, Samuel blackmails her with evidence that condemns each participant, including Noah. Emma realizes she must do whatever it takes to protect those she loves, even if it means giving up the life she desires and becoming Samuel's wife.

Present Day -- Lieutenant Hayley Ashworth is determined to be the first woman inducted into the elite Navy SEALs. But before her dream can be realized, she must return to Boston in order to put the abuse and neglect of her childhood behind her. When an unexpected encounter with the man she once loved leads to the discovery of a tea chest and the document hidden within, she wonders if perhaps true strength and freedom are buried deeper than she first realized.

Two women, separated by centuries, must find the strength to fight for love and freedom.

Critique: A uniquely crafted novel by an author with an impressive literary skill in terms of a narrative driven storytelling style, "The Tea Chest" is an extraordinary and inherently riveting read from cover to cover. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly appreciated addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Tea Chest" is also available in a paperback edition (9781496434784, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).

Impossible Children
Robert Yune
Sarabande Books, Inc.
822 E. Market Street, Louisville, KY 40206
www.sarabandebooks.org
9781946448408, $16.95, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Impossible Children" is an anthology of author Robert Yune's inventive short stories featuring an impressive variety of memorable characters who must navigate an impossible world -- America as we know it today.

Two estranged brothers on a road trip attempt to reconcile but end up at a Revolutionary War reenactment camp; a young woman moves in with her boyfriend and discovers an eerily personalized seduction manual on his bookshelf; a middle-aged Korean-American father attends college courses and is either blessed or haunted by the presence of Edward Moon, an eccentric billionaire who also happens to be "the most successful Korean in America."

Critique: Touching upon diverse genres including science fiction, the fairy tale, and the Gothic tale, the interconnected short stories comprising "Impossible Children" are impressively and deftly crafted literary gems. The collective result is compilation of stories that are unreservedly endorsed and wholeheartedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

The Duke Is But a Dream
Anna Bennett
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250199485, $7.99, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Miss Lily Hartley is the anonymous mastermind behind the ton's latest obsession: The Debutante's Revenge, a tell-all advice column for young ladies. To keep her identity hidden, Lily delivers her columns disguised as a boy which is well and good, until she lands in the middle of tavern brawl. As luck would have it, a devastatingly handsome duke sweeps in to rescue her.

Eric Nash, Duke of Stonebridge, discovers there's a beautiful woman hiding beneath a lad's cap, and, before long, he's falling for the delightfully clever stranger recuperating in his house. He vows to help her find her home, even though he's reluctant to part with her. There's only one problem!

Lily has no idea who she is. She could be a duchess or maid. Betrothed or married. There's only one thing she does know -- that her attraction to Nash is more than skin-deep, and it grows stronger every day. While Lily and Nash search to find her true identity, they just might lose their hearts to each other.

Critique: A finely crafted historical romance novel and a wonderfully entertaining read from cover to cover, "The Duke Is But A Dream" is the latest novel in author Anna Bennett's 'A Debutante Diaries Novel' series and unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated romance fiction fans that "The Duke Is But A Dream" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Underestimating Miss Cecilia
Carolyn Miller
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825445903, $15.99, PB, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Cecilia Hatherleigh has many secrets in her shy, sweet heart -- but none bigger than her unrequited love for Edward Amherst, the earl's son next door. Her love has persevered over many years, even when he grows to be a bit of a rake. Yet despite his fondness for females, he never seems to see her as anything more than the quiet younger sister, and nothing Cecy does has changed that. Rather than pining after his perhaps unworthy love, she decides to turn her focus toward living out her newfound faith. Now she's determined to follow God's leading to make a better world for the poor and dispossessed around her.

A London riot awakens Edward to the responsibilities due his family name. It's time to turn his life around to please his noble father -- and that means restoring his abandoned legal career and making a marriage of convenience. Neither will be easy, given his past and the prejudices of the upper echelons of society to which he belongs.

When misadventure strikes at a house party, these two are thrown together even as their lives are upended. If Cecy can't trust God, overcome her shyness, and find her inner strength, the good work they've both done may be for naught-and neither will ever find true love!

Critique: A part of the new historical romance series 'Regency Brides' series by Carolyn Miller, "Underestimating Miss Cecilia" is another deftly crafted and wonderfully entertaining reads by a master of the genre. While unreservedly recommended as an enduringly popular addition to community library romance fiction collections, it should be noted for the legions of Carolyn Miller fans that "Underestimating Miss Cecilia" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Glitter of Gold
Liz Johnson
Revell
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800736262, $29.99, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When pirate wreck tour guide Anne Norris finds evidence of an undiscovered shipwreck, she seeks the help of museum director Carter Hale to uncover the truth and treasure that could save her business. But can she trust him with her secrets and her heart?

Critique: "Glitter of Gold" is the second volume in author Liz Johnson's 'Georgia Coast Romance' series and showcases her genuine flair for originality and a style of narrative storytelling that keeps her reader thoroughly engaged from first page to last. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists of all Liz Johnson fans that "Glitter of Gold" is also available in a paperback edition (9780800729417, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.48).

How To Love A Duke in Ten Days
Kerrigan Byrne
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250318848, $7.99, PB, 448pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past -- and it's one that she is paying a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire's most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.

Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady's hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.

Critique: A deftly crafted historical romance novel by an author with a genuine flair for narrative driven storytelling and a master of this particular genre, "How To Love A Duke in Ten Days" is an impressive and compulsive page-turner of a read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Historical Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists that "How To Love A Duke in Ten Days" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me
Julie Wright
Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
www.shadowmountain.com
9781629726076, $15.99, PB, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Charlotte Kingsley loves to write and dreams of having her reimagined fairy tales published, but she keeps getting rejected over and over. And to top it all off, her best friend, Anders, gets engaged, making her realize she's going to lose the Prince Charming who lives next door. After another rejection letter from a New York publisher, Charlotte decides to switch gears. What if she wrote a book about celebrating women for who they really are instead of trying to create a fantasy world for them to visit? She could call it The Cinderella Fiction, fill it with practical advice for living authentically, become ridiculously successful, and then find the confidence to tell Anders how she feels before it's too late.

Encouraged with her plan, Charlotte's new book practically writes itself and incredibly a small boutique publisher makes a quick offer to publish it. Though the publisher is well-known, it is a small company with limited resources. Charlotte worries about the book being successful and decides to sink her entire advance into hiring a premier publicity firm to make her book a bestseller. She also discovers that Anders has called off his engagement, and wants to try a relationship with Charlotte. Suddenly her fairy tale dreams seem to be coming true.

However, Charlotte's publicist has very specific ideas about how to market the book and the author. Which means Charlotte with her average looks, cluttered apartment, and penchant for raspberry fudge ice cream will need to undergo a total transformation in a social media makeover which will have to exclude her best friend Anders. After all, people who see Charlotte's perfect imperfections through a carefully curated Instagram account will relate and naturally want to buy her book.

The toll of her new life soon proves exhausting and in the end, Anders feels like his relationship with Charlotte is just another one of her carefully curated images, a side-note even, and he decides to head home to his native Finland. Though she tells herself he ll come around eventually, Charlotte needs to decide what she believes in: the fairy tale persona, or the woman Anders has always loved before he's gone forever.

Critique: A new, unique, and deftly crafted variation on the Cinderella theme, and one that will resonate with legions of her readers, Julie Wright's "Glass Slippers, Ever After, And Me" is an extraordinary and inherently entertaining read that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book is finished and set back upon the shelf. While absolutely recommended for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Glass Slippers, Ever After, And Me" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.19) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (9781094067025, $29.95, CD).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

An Unwanted Guest
Shari Lapena
Pamela Dorman Books
c/o Viking Books / Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com
9780525557623, $26.00, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It's winter in the Catskills and Mitchell's Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing (maybe even romantic) weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity (and all contact with the outside world) the guests settle in and try to make the best of it.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead--it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic. Within the snowed-in paradise, something (or someone) is picking off the guests one by one. And there's nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm -- and one another!

Critique: A simply riveting read from cover to cover, "An Unwanted Guest" showcases author Shari Papena's master of the suspense laden thriller mystery genre. A truly compulsive page turner of a novel, "An Unwanted Guest" is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "An Unwanted Guest" is also available in a paperback edition (Penguin Books, 9780525557647, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

The Truth Behind the Lie
Sara Lovestam, author
Laura A. Wideburg, translator
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.minotaurbooks.com
9781250300072, $26.99, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: When a six-year-old girl disappears and calling the police isn't an option, her desperate mother Pernilla turns to an unlikely source for help. She finds a cryptic ad online for a private investigator: "Need help, but can't contact the police?"

That's where Kouplan comes in. He's an Iranian refugee living in hiding. He was forced to leave Iran after news of his and his brother's involvement with a radical newspaper hated by the regime was discovered. Kouplan's brother disappeared, and he hasn't seen him in four years. He makes a living as a P.I. working under the radar, waiting for the day he can legally apply for asylum.

Pernilla's daughter has vanished without a trace, and Kouplan is an expert at living and working off the grid. He's the perfect PI to help... but something in Pernilla's story doesn't add up!

Critique: A deftly crafted and immediately absorbing read from first page to last, "The Truth Behind the Lie " is ably translated into English for an American readership by Laura A. Wideburg. This extraordinary novel fully showcases author Sara Lovestam's impressive flair for a plot twisting suspense thriller that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Truth Behind The Lie" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974959075, $29.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Sweden, Sara Lovestam is an award-winning author who specializes in novels that center around a sense of self. Her novels have been translated into multiple languages.

Haunted House Murder
Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross
Kensington
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21, New York, NY 10018-2522
www.kensingtonbooks.com
9781496719966, $26.00, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the "Haunted House Murder" by Leslie Meier, newcomers to Tinker's Cove, Ty and Heather Moon have moved into a dilapidated house reputed to be a haven for ghosts. Now strange noises and flickering lights erupt from the house at all hours and neighborly relations are on edge. And when a local boy goes missing near the house, it's up to Lucy Stone to unravel the mystery of the eccentric couple and their increasingly frightful behavior.

In "Death By Haunted House" by Lee Hollis, for the past two years, the house next door to Hayley Powell has sat abandoned after the owner died under mysterious circumstances. The Salinger family has recently taken possession of the property, but the realtor behind the deal has vanished -- after a very public and angry argument with Damien Salinger. If Bar Harbor's newest neighbors are murderers, Hayley will haunt them until they confess.

In "Hallowed Out" by Barbara Ross (with its history of hauntings and ghost sightings), Busman's Harbor is the perfect setting for Halloween festivities. But when a reenactment of a Prohibition-era gangster's murder ends with a literal bang and a dead actor from New Jersey, Julia Snowden must identify a killer before she ends up sleeping with the fishes.

Critique: Three simply outstanding and 'Halloween themed' short stories by three masters of the mystery genre, "Haunted House Murder" is an impressively entertaining read that is fully commended for all community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Haunted House Murder" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

The Whisper Man
Alex North
Celadon Books
120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271
https://celadonbooks.com
9781250317995, $26.99, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed "The Whisper Man," for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter's crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window!

Critique: A superbly crafted and intense thriller of a read from cover to cover, "The Whisper Man" by Alex North is one of those books to be read with the lights full on! Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Whisper Man" is also available as a complete and unabridged audio book (Macmillan Audio, 9781250222510, $39.99, CD).

Treacherous Strand
Andrea Carter
Oceanview Publishing
1620 Main Street, Suite 11, Sarasota, FL 34236
www.oceanviewpub.com
9781608093045, $26.95, HC, 368pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: A woman's body washes up on a remote beach on the Inishowen Peninsula. Partially clothed, with a strange tattoo on her thigh, she is identified as Marguerite Etienne, a French woman who has been living in the area.

Solicitor Ben (Benedicta) O'Keeffe is consumed by guilt: for the second time in her life Ben has failed someone who needed her, with tragic consequences. When local sergeant Tom Molloy dismisses Marguerite's death as the suicide of a disturbed and lonely woman, Ben cannot let it lie. Ben uncovers Marguerite's strange past as a member of a French doomsday cult, which she escaped twenty years previously, but not without leaving her baby daughter behind.

Disturbed by what appears to be chilling local indifference to Marguerite's death, Ben pieces together the last few weeks of the French woman's life in Inishowen. What she discovers causes her to question the fragile nature of her own position in the area, and she finds herself crossing boundaries (both personal and professional) to unearth local secrets long buried.

Critique: "Treacherous Strand" by Andrea Carter is the second in the author's 'Inishowen Mystery' and is set in the fictional town of Glendara on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal and featuring amateur sleuth and solicitor Ben O'Keeffe. While particularly and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Treacherous Strand" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.49).

The Bone Fire
S. D. Sykes
Hodder & Stoughton
c/o Pegasus Books
148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018
www.pegasusbooks.com
9781473679993, $25.95, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the year1361, plague has again returned to England some thirteen years after the devastation of The Black Death. As destruction advances towards his estate in Kent, Oswald de Lacy leads his family to the safety of a remote castle in the marshes -- where his friend Godfrey is preparing a fortress to survive the coming disaster.

The rules are clear: once the de Lacys and other guests are inside the castle the portcullis will be lowered and no-one permitted to enter or leave until the Pestilence has passed. And then a murderer strikes!

Oswald is confronted with a stark choice -- leave and face the ravages of the plague, or stay and place his family at the mercy of a brutal killer. With word of his skills as an investigator preceding him, it falls to Oswald to unmask the murderer in their midst. Host, guest, or servant -- everyone is a suspect in this poisoned refuge of secrets, deceit and malice.

Critique: A brilliant conceived and deftly scripted medieval mystery of the first order, "The Bone Fire" by S. D. Sykes is an inherently fascinating and compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover. Unreservedly and especially recommended for community library Historical Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "The Bone Fire" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

The Retreat
Sherri Smith
Forge
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.tor-forge.com
9780765386731, $26.99, HC, 352pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait "Where Are They Now?" articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother's too-good-to-be-true fiancee invites her to a wellness retreat upstate.

Together with Katie's two best friends (one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship) Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide.

Critique: "The Retreat" by Sherri Smith is about four women, four secrets, and a weekend that will change them forever -- if they survive. A deftly crafted suspense thriller with more plot twists and turns than a carnival roller coaster, "The Retreat" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Retreat" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781721383535, $24.99, CD).

Murder in Plane Sight
Julie Holmes
Camel Press
6524 NE 181st Street, STE #2, Kenmore, WA 98028
www.camelpress.com
9781603817547, $15.95, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As an aircraft mechanic, Sierra Bauer is a woman in a man's world. There are few things more satisfying to her than the challenge of working on multimillion-dollar turboprops at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, especially now that her life has returned to normal after losing her brother in a plane crash, and almost losing her career in the FAA investigation that followed.

Normal is pitched into a tailspin when she finds a frozen body in a plane she is inspecting.

Detective Quinn Moore is certain Sierra's discovery is happenstance until he learns the victim, Tori Hjelle, is the woman Sierra blames for her brother's death. Despite his attraction to her, he must consider Sierra a prime suspect.

Efforts to prove her own innocence are jeopardized when Rune, her ex-boyfriend, returns after a five-year stint in state prison for stalking and attempting to kill Sierra. Things get complicated when Quinn finds evidence linking Rune and Sierra to Tori's murder, not to mention the counterfeit aircraft part discovered in her possession. He starts to doubt his belief that Sierra is innocent.

When Sierra figures out Tori discovered the key to unraveling a tangled web of conspiracy that threatens the aviation world, she's forced to change everything she thought she knew about her brother's death. That knowledge comes with a price. She and Quinn must expose a network of money, deceit, and murder before Sierra becomes the next casualty.

Critique: A deftly crafted mystery with more plot twists and turns that a carnival roller coaster, "Murder in Plane Sight" showcases author Julie Holmes originality and impressive narrative storytelling skills as a novelist. An inherently riveting read made all the more plausible given the corporate corruption surrounding the Boeing 737 in the world today, "Murder in Plane Sight" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Murder/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Murder in Plane Sight" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (HighBridge Audio, 9781684571284, $29.99, CD).

The Bouncer
David Gordon
The Mysterious Press
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
154 West 14th Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10011
www.groveatlantic.com
9780802128003, $26.00, HC, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Joe Brody is just your average Dostoevsky-reading, Harvard-expelled strip club bouncer who has a highly classified military history and whose best friend from Catholic school happens to be head mafioso Gio Caprisi.

FBI agent Donna Zamora, the best shot in her class at Quantico, is a single mother stuck at a desk manning the hotline.

Their storylines intersect over a tip from a cokehead that leads to a crackdown on Gio's strip joint in Queens and Joe's arrest -- just one piece of a city-wide sweep aimed at flushing out anyone who might have a lead on the various terrorists whose photos are hanging on the wall under Most Wanted.

Outside the jailhouse, the Fed and the bouncer lock eyes, as Gordon launches them both headlong into a nonstop plot that goes from back-road gun show intervention to high-stakes perfume heist and manages to touch everyone from the CIA to the Flushing Triads.

Beneath it all lurks a sinister criminal mastermind whose manipulations could cause chaos on a massively violent scale.

Critique: An inherently compelling and compulsive page turner of a suspense thriller novel by an author with an impressive narrative storytelling style that keeps his readers total and rapt attention from first page to last, "The Bouncer" by David Gordon is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Bouncer" is also available in a paperback edition (9780802129673, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.04).

Girl Gone Missing
Marcie R. Rendon
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
www.cincopuntos.com
9781947627116, $15.95, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Her name is Renee Blackbear, but what most people call the 19-year-old Ojibwe woman is Cash. She lived all her life in Fargo, sister city to Minnesota's Moorhead, just down river from the Cities. She has one friend, the sheriff Wheaton. He pulled her from her mother's wrecked car when she was three. Since then, Cash navigated through foster homes, and at 13 was working farms, driving truck.

Wheaton wants her to take hold of her life, signs her up for college. She gets an education there at Moorhead State all right: sees that people talk a lot but mostly about nothing, not like the men in the fields she's known all her life who hold the rich topsoil in their hands, talk fertilizer and weather and prices on the Grain Exchange. In between classes and hauling beets, drinking beer and shooting pool, a man who claims he's her brother shows up, and she begins to dream the about a missing fellow student calling out to her for help.

Critique: The newest addition to author Marcie Rendon's 'A Cash Blackbear Mystery' series, "Girl Gone Missing" is a deftly crafted and fully engaging read from cover to cover that is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Girl Gone Missing" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Word to the Wise
Jenn McKinlay
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
www.penguin.com
9780593100035, $26.00, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Lindsey Norris is finally getting married to the man of her dreams - but it's not all roses for Briar Creek's beloved library director, as gardening enthusiast and town newcomer Aaron Grady gives the term "book lover" a whole new meaning. Inappropriate looks and unwelcome late-night visits to Lindsey's house have everyone from the crafternooners to Lindsey's fiance, Sully, on edge.

When Grady's dead body is found staged outside the library and all the clues point to Sully, Lindsey knows it's up to her to dig through the hidden chapters of Grady's previous life to find the real culprit and clear Sully's name. But becoming a thorn in the killer's side is not without its consequences, and the closer Lindsey gets to the truth, the more determined the murderer is to make her just a footnote.

Critique: The newest addition to author Jenn McKinlay's 'A Library Lover's Mystery' series, "Word to the Wise" is another superbly crafted mystery novel by a true master of the genre. An inherently fascinating and compelling read from cover to cover, "Word to the Wise" is very highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Word to the Wise" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974969425, $29.99, CD).

Under Attack
Edward Marston
Isis Large Print
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print (USA), Inc.
PO Box 1230, West Seneca, NY 14224-1230
9781785417405, $34.90, HC, Large Print, www.ulverscroftusa.com

Synopsis: In 1916, while German Gotha bombers raid London from above, a man's body is fished from the Thames below. The man had been garrotted and his tongue cut out before he was left to his watery grave, and as the killer had taken care to remove identifying items and even labels, Inspector Marmion and Sergeant Keedy struggle to name the victim before they can begin properly with their investigation. As family and business associates are found, the list of suspects grows ever longer; and as Marmion wrangles with the case, he and his family must also contend with their anxieties for his now-missing son, Paul. With great care, Marmion must pick his way along a twisting path that will lead him towards the killer.

Critique: A carefully crafted mystery by a master of the genre, Edward Marston's "Under Attack" is an inherently absorbing and compulsive page-turner of a read from beginning to end. This large print edition is unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections in general, and the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs in particular.

Elevator Pitch
Linwood Barclay
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
9780062678287, $26.99, HC, 464pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world (and the nation's capital of media, finance, and entertainment) is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it's working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city's newest, and tallest, residential tower has its ribbon-cutting on Thursday.

Critique: An inherently riveting and original story of compelling psychological suspense, "Elevator Pitch" by Lindwood Barclay is the stuff of which block buster movies are made. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Elevator Pitch" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

A Dangerous Engagement
Ashley Weaver
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.minotaurbooks.com
9781250159779, $27.99, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As they travel by ship to New York for her childhood friend Tabitha's wedding, Amory Ames gazes out at the city's iconic skyline, excited by the prospect of being a bridesmaid. Her husband Milo, however, is convinced their trip will be deadly dull, since Prohibition is in full swing. But when a member of the wedding party is found murdered on the front steps of the bride's home, the happy plans take a darker twist.

Critique: Deftly set in New York in the 1930s, "A Dangerous Engagement" is an inherently absorbing and original mystery by Ashley Weaver who once again demonstrates her compelling narrative storytelling style that firmly engages the reader's rapt attention from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "A Dangerous Engagement" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974969531, $29.99, CD).

The Tower of Songs
Casey Barrett
Kensington
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21, New York, NY 10018-2522
www.kensingtonbooks.com
9781496709745, $26.00, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Embracing an improbable stretch of sobriety, unlicensed P.I. Duck Darley has proven himself stronger than the temptations that loom in the shadows of New York City. But the familiar pull of self-destruction lingers like garbage in July when Layla Soto, a sharp-tongued Park Avenue teenager with a family as screwed up as his own, presents a twisted missing-persons case he can't refuse.

Layla saw video evidence of her billionaire father being abducted from their home -- at the top of the tallest residential tower on earth. She suspects her grandmother, a Chinese social climber on husband number three, orchestrated the act to silence her only son. Duck agrees to investigate the hedge funder's disappearance, if only for the rush of a new thrill -- and an excuse to reconcile with Cass Kimball, his leather-clad sometime partner who nearly got him killed!

As the unlikely duo become immersed in a high-stakes ransom linked to the international drug trade and the delicate relations between the two most powerful nations on earth, survival means trusting no one. Because when confronting absolute power, certain forces will stop at nothing -- especially murder.

Critique: A superbly crafted and original thriller of a read from first page to last, "The Tower of Songs" showcases author Casey Barrett's distinctive storytelling style in a novel with more unexpected twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster. While especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Tower of Songs" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.26).

Remembering the Dead
Elizabeth J. Duncan
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781643851136, $26.99, HC, 296pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Artist and spa owner Penny Brannigan has been asked to organize a formal dinner to mark the centenary of the armistice that ended World War One. After dinner, the guests adjourn to the library for a private exhibition of the Black Chair, a precious piece of Welsh literary history awarded in 1917 to poet Hedd Wyn. But to the guests' shock, the newly restored bardic chair is missing. And then Penny discovers the rain-soaked body of a waiter.

When Penny learns that the victim was the nephew of one of her employees, she is determined to find the killer. Meanwhile, the local police search for the Black Chair. The Prince of Wales is due to open an exhibit featuring the chair in three weeks, so time is not on their side. A visit to a nursing home to consult an ex-thief convinces Penny that the theft of the Black Chair and the waiter's murder are connected. She rushes to Dublin to consult a disagreeable antiquarian, who might know more than he lets on, and during the course of her investigation confronts a gaggle of suspicious travelers and an eccentric herbalist who seems to have something to hide. Can Penny find the chair and the culprit before she is laid to rest in the green grass of Wales?

Critique: Another deftly crafted Penny Brannigan mystery by author Elizabeth J. Duncan, "Remembering the Dead" is a 'whodunnit' mystery lover's delight and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Remembering the Dead" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Fatal Cajun Festival
Ellen Byron
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781643851297, $26.99, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Maggie Crozat, proprietor of the Crozat Plantation B&B, plans to be in the cheering section when her friend Gaynell Bourgeois takes the stage with her band, Gaynell and the Gator Girls who are playng in the Cajun Country Live! music festival.

The festival's headliner, native daughter Tammy Barker, rocketed to stardom on a TV singing competition. She has the voice of an angel...and the personality of a devilish diva. But Maggie learns that this tiny terror carries a grudge against Gaynell. She's already sabotaged the Gator Girls' JazzFest audition. When a member of Tammy's entourage is murdered at the festival, Tammy makes sure Gaynell is number one on the suspect list.

Gaynell has plenty of company on that list -- including every one of Tammy's musicians. Posing as a groupie, Maggie infiltrates Tammy's band and will have to hit all the right notes to clear her friend's name.

Critique: The fifth addition to mystery author Ellen Byron's 'Cajun Country Mysteries', readers are once again transported to an entertaining dose of a 'whodunnit' mystery (southern style) in the pages of "Fatal Cajun Festival". Of special note are the inclusion of recipes! While also available in a digital book format for personal reading lists, "Fatal Cajun Festival" is especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

Buried in the Stacks
Allison Brook
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781643851389, $26.99, HC, 313pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In winter, the Haunted Library is a refuge for homeless townspeople. When a group purchases a vacant house to establish a daytime haven for the homeless, Carrie offers the library as a meeting place for the Haven House committee, but quickly learns that it may be used for illegal activities.

As the new Sunshine Delegate, Carrie heads to the hospital to visit her cantankerous colleague, Dorothy, who had fallen outside the local supermarket. She tells Carrie that her husband tried to kill her -- and that he murdered her Aunt Evelyn, the library's resident ghost, six years earlier.

And then Dorothy is murdered by being run off the road as soon as she returns to work. Evelyn implores Carrie to find her niece's killer, but that's no easy task: Dorothy had made a hobby of blackmailing her neighbors and colleague. Carrie, Evelyn, and Smoky Joe the cat are on the case -- but are the library cards stacked against them?

Critique: The third titles in author Allison Brook's unique and very special 'Haunted Library' series of 'whodunnit' mysteries, "Buried in the Stacks" is a thoroughly delightful and entertain read from cover to cover. Clever scripting and the deftly creation of memorable characters showcase Brook's impressively storytelling skills, making "Buried in the Stacks" unreservedly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Buried in the Stacks" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Wonton Terror
VivienChien
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
www.stmartins.com
9781250228345, $7.99, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Lana Lee is all smiles when the first evening of Cleveland's Asian Night Market kicks off the summer. The weekly festival is always good for business, packed with locals and tourists, and this year, some stiff new food-truck competition. Wonton on Wheels, run by old friends of Lana's parents, promises to have customers lining up for their delicately wrapped delights -- until the truck blows up at evening's end!

Lana's boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau, had been planning a birthday getaway for the two of them but, lo and behold, Lana must assume the role of amateur sleuth yet again. With one proprietor of Wonton on Wheels dead, it's beginning to look more like murder and less like an unfortunate accident. And as they begin to unwrap layers of disturbing secrets, Lana's own family erupts into new drama. Will Lana be able to solve this crime -- or has she jumped from the wok right into the fire?

Critique: The fourth volume in Vivien Chien's 'A Noodle Shop Mystery' series, "Wonton Terror" is a genuine treat for all dedicated mystery buffs and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted that "Wonton Terror" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Above the Ether
Eric Barnes
Arcade Publishing
www.arcadepub.com
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
www.skyhorsepublishing.com
9781628729986, $24.99, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Above the Ether" is the prequel to Eric Barnes's acclaimed sci-fi novel "The City Where We Once Lived" and finds six sets of characters move through a landscape and a country just beginning to show the signs of cataclysmic change.

A father and his young children fleeing a tsunami after a massive earthquake in the Gulf. A woman and her husband punishing themselves without relent for the loss of both their sons to addiction, while wildfires slowly burn closer to their family home. A brilliant investor, assessing opportunity in the risk to crops, homes, cities, industries, and infrastructure, working in the silent comfort of her office sixty floors up in the scorching air. A doctor and his wife stuck in a refugee camp for immigrants somewhere in a southern desert. Two young men working the rides for a roadside carnival, one escaping a brutal past, the other a racist present. The manager of a chain of nondescript fast-food restaurants in a city ravaged by the relentless wind..

While every night the news alternates images of tsunami destruction with the baseball scores, the characters converge on a city where the forces of change have already broken (a city half abandoned, with one part left to be scavenged as the levee system protecting it slowly fails) until, in their vehicles on the highway that runs through it, they witness the approach of what looks to be just one more violent storm.

Critique: An all too plausible extrapolation of the kinds of natural catastrophes currently identified with runaway climate change, Eric Barnes' "Above the Ether" is a multilayered and deftly crafted dystopian novel that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Above the Ether" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Witchy Kingdom
D. J. Butler
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
www.baen.com
9781481484152, $25.00, HC, 624pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: An encounter with her father's goddess has not turned out to be the end for Sarah Elytharias Penn. Now, with the Imperial fist tightened around her city of Cahokia and the beastkind of the Heron King ravaging across the river, she must find a way to access the power of the Serpent Throne itself -- a feat, she has learned, that her father never accomplished.

To complicate her efforts, Cahokia's Metropolitan, a beloved and charismatic priest who despises the goddess as a demon, returns from a long pilgrimage and attempts to finalize the Wisdom eradicating reform that dogged Sarah's father when he was king.

Meanwhile, Sarah's brother Nathaniel and her brilliant but erratic servant Jacob Hop find their steps dogged by the Emperor's Machiavel, Temple Franklin, as they hunt in New Amsterdam for the third Elytharias sibling.

As Simon Sword's destroying storm threatens from the south and west, and New Orleans is thrown into deadly turmoil when a vodoun priest and mameluke assassins contend for ultimate power and control of the Mississippi, the chance for a unified New World teeters on the brink.

Sarah Penn understands she may face a hard fate in the final reckoning. But she also knows that only she can access the power of the Throne -- if she can find the Wisdom inside to unlock it.

Critique: D. J. Butler once again showcases an impressive talent for a narrative storytelling style that will keep the reader's rapt attention from cover to cover with "Witchy Kingdom", the third volume in a fantasy adventure series that includes "Witchy Eye" and "Witchy Winter" is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Witchy Kingdom" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Iron Gods
Andrew Bannister
Tor Books
c/o Tor/Forge Books
120 Broadway, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10271
www.tor-forge.com
9781250179203, $18.99, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the depths of space, a beacon has awakened. And an ancient technology has begun to stir. As its memory returns, with it comes a terrifying knowledge -- a grave warning about the future of the Spin that has been concealed for ten thousand years.

Ten thousand years after the events of Creation Machine, the Spin is in decline and the beleaguered slave economy of the Inside is surrounded by rebel civilizations. A group of escapees from the vast forced-labor unit known as the Hive have stolen the last of the Inside's ancient warships and woken it from an enforced trance that had lasted for millennia. And someone has destroyed a planet that didn't exist, and halfway across the Spin, something has gone wrong with the sky.

Critique: The latest addition to science fiction author Andrew Bannister's 'The Spin' series, "Iron Gods" is an inherently fascinating and deftly crafted novel that is a compulsive page-turner of a read from cover to cover. While certain to become an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fictions collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated SciFi fans that "Iron Gods" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Christian Studies Shelf

When to Walk Away
Gary Thomas
Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
www.zondervan.com
9780310346760, $24.99, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: 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 always 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. It's only when we learn to say no to bad patterns can we say yes to the good God has planned for us.

In "When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People", 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 difficult people in our lives. Each chapter includes insightful take-aways that you can apply right away.

Christian readers will discover how to: Set healthy boundaries to protect their life's calling; Find refuge in God when they feel under attack; Discern when to walk away from a toxic situation; Keep a tender heart even in unhealthy relationships; Love and serve difficult people by resisting their control; Grow their inner strength and invest in reliable people.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People" is a unique and highly recommended addition to personal, church, and seminary library Christian Living, as well as Family & Relationship collections. It should be noted that "When to Walk Away" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781799711506, $29.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Gary Thomas is a writer in residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on spiritual formation at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and Houston Theological Seminary in Houston, Texas. He is the author of 19 books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Cherish, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning Authentic Faith. He has a master's degree from Regent College, where he studied under Dr. J.I. Packer, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity from Western Seminary. Gary has spoken in 49 states and 10 different countries. He has appeared numerous times on various national radio and television programs, including CBN, Focus on the Family and Family Life Today.

Practicing the Present
John Koessler
Moody Publishers
820 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60610
www.moodypublishers.com
9780802418685, $14.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The present is more than a place where the past comes to rest. It is more than a staging ground for the future. The present is where God shows up.

We live our lives in the present, but often our minds are racing toward the future or overwhelmed by the past. We want to change the past and control the future, but usually all we really do is exhaust ourselves in the here and now. Writing especially with church leaders in mind, Dr. John Koessler, teaches how to evade the tyranny of past regrets and future plans and meet God right where you are, in the present.

Critique: As thoughtfully insightful as it is impressively inspiring, "Practicing the Present: The Neglected Art of Living in the Now" is unreservedly recommended for community, seminary, church, and academic library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Practicing the Present" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Amish Voices
Brad Igou, compiler
Herald Press
P.O. Box 866, Harrisonburg, VA 22803
www.heraldpress.com
9781513805849, $28.99, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Strong families. Caring communities. The nearly nine in ten youth who join the church. How do the Amish do it?

In "Amish Voices: A Collection of Amish Writings", Amish writers share news and advice from their communities and reflect on their daily lives, work, and faith.

"Amish Voices is compiled by Brad Igou, publisher of Amish Country News, and gives readers a kind of behind-the-scenes tour of Amish life by compiling writing from Family Life, a popular monthly magazine that thousands of Amish people read.

Interested readers will learn about how the Amish began and what they value. Hear what they think about technology, happiness, community, obedience, success, and change. Listen in as they discuss shunning and rumspringa and forgiveness. Find out what sustains them in difficult seasons, and how they try to trust God in all things.

Why learn about the Amish from outsiders when you can learn from the Amish themselves? And why just learn about them when you can learn from them?

Critique: An impressively and diversely informative compendium of illustrative commentaries, "Amish Voices: A Collection of Amish Writings" offers a wealth of insights into the Amish community, Amish beliefs, and Amish practices. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Amish History & Culture collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Amish Voices" is also available in a paperback edition (9781513805832, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Brad Igou first became interested in the Amish of Lancaster County as a tour guide and came to know some Amish personally. He spent three months living with an Amish family as he studied for his sociology-anthropology major at Ithaca College, New York. Brad was an English teacher in Japan for eight years. Back home in Lancaster, Brad was employed by Amish Country Tours and started compiling writings from the Amish periodical Family Life. He has become vice president and co-owner of the Amish Experience, a center interpreting Amish culture to visitors.

I Was Hungry
Jeremy K. Everett
Brazos Press
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.brazospress.com
9781587434433, $29.99, HC, 178pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Hunger is one of the most significant issues in America. One in eight Americans struggles with hunger, and more than thirteen million children live in food insecure homes. As Christians we are called to address the suffering of the hungry and poor: "For I was hungry, and you gave me food..." (Matthew 25:35). However, the problems of hunger and poverty are too large and too complex for any one of us to resolve individually.

"I Was Hungry: Cultivating Common Ground to End an American Crisis" by Jeremy Everett (who is a noted advocate for the hungry and poor) offers not only an assessment of the current crisis but also a strategy for addressing it. "I Was Hungry" is a clarion call for Christians to work intentionally across ideological divides to build trust with one another and impoverished communities and effectively end America's hunger crisis.

Everett was appointed by US Congress to the National Commission on Hunger. He founded and directs the Texas Hunger Initiative, a successful ministry that is helping to eradicate hunger in Texas and around the globe. In "I Was Hungry", Everett details the organization's history and tells stories of its work with communities from West Texas to Washington, DC, helping Christians of all political persuasions understand how they can work together to truly make a difference.

Critique: A timely and much needed contribution to our on-going national dialogue over the growing numbers of Americans (especially children that go to bed hungry every night and the Trump administrations efforts to reduce, curtail, and remove people from the federal food assistance programs, "I Was Hungry: Cultivating Common Ground to End an American Crisis" is a very highly and desperately needed addition to community and academic library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all members of the Christian community and anyone else who is concerned about the problems of hunger in America that "I Was Hungry" is also available in a paperback edition (9781587434242, $16.99), and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

ChurchMoney
Michael White & Tom Corcoran
Ave Maria Press
PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556
www.avemariapress.com
9781594719127, $16.95, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Money is always a touchy subject in Catholic churches: Pastors don't want to ask for it and parishioners don't want to hear about it. But it takes money (the love of which is ascribed to as the root of all evil) to run a thriving parish.

In "ChurchMoney: Rebuilding the Way We Fund Our Mission", Michael White and Tom Corcoran (award-winning authors of the Rebuilt Parish series) share stories of success and failure. They tell us what they learned to meet the real financial challenges of their mission. They offer the practical wisdom and inspiration you need to tackle the thorny matter of raising money in your Catholic parish.

White and Corcoran know from twenty years leading Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland, that it's no fun working in a parish struggling to pay the bills. Without money, you can't hire staff to provide the programs you want to offer. You constantly have to beg parishioners to give. You grow frustrated and angry when they fail to respond. -- Does this sound familiar?

In "ChurchMoney" clergy and parishioners will learn the basic skills needed to discover that true success in raising funds comes from the incredibly freeing approach that connects giving to discipleship.

White and Corcoran share lessons learned, facts discovered, habits formed, and great ideas they've implemented from some of the most successful and vibrant churches in the United States. ChurchMoney offers a field-tested and proven plan for raising money in parishes. It's readily adaptable, firmly rooted in the reality of leading a Catholic parish, based on the Bible, and finessed with the best advice of communication professionals.

Here are 'real world' stories of embarrassing failure and exhilarating success in tripling a budget and running three extraordinarily successful capital campaigns over a ten-year period including their most recent campaign leading to the construction of $16 million sanctuary built debt free. They have increased staff fourfold and significantly raised salaries and increased staff benefits while expanding mission outreach both locally and internationally.

Critique: A unique instructional guide and 'how to' manual, "ChurchMoney: Rebuilding the Way We Fund Our Mission" is unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the Christian community charged with the responsibility for the raising of funds to carry out the mission of the Church to bring the Gospel of Jesus to all the world. While especially recommended for church and seminary library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "ChurchMoney" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.10).

On the Dormition of Mary
Brian J. Daley, translator
SVS Press
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707
www.svspress.com
9780881411775, $22.00, PB, 269pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Since the time of the early Church, Orthodox Christians have honored Mary, the Mother of God, with special solemnity on August 15. From the sixth century on, that celebration has been explicitly associated with her death, as the culmination of a human life uniquely "full of grace," uniquely involved in the Mystery of our salvation and transformation in Christ.

Translated into English by Brian J. Daley, S.J. (who is the Catherine F. Husking Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame), "On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies" brings together the earliest attempts by Greek theologians and preachers to interpret Mary's Dormition, or 'falling asleep' in the Lord, in the light of the whole Paschal Mystery. The collection includes the sermon of Bishop John of Thessalonica, the earliest "official" retelling by an Orthodox bishop of the traditional narrative of Mary's entry into heavenly glory, and eleven other homilies from the seventh and eighth centuries, as well as a metrical translations of St John of Damascus' canon for the feast.

All of the works gathered here represent profound and original efforts to integrate the celebration of Mary's death into the wider context of the Christian theology of redemption. Most of these works have never been translated into English before, and some are not available in any modern language. They offer Christian readers of all Churches an unparalleled new glimpse of Mary's central importance in Christian faith and spirituality: as the one in whom God's Word has become human, and in whom the community of Jesus' disciples sees the first full realization of its own share in the risen life of Christ.

In the event and the liturgical celebration of her Dormition, these ancient preachers offer to us a kind of icon of Christian hope for the transfiguration of our common humanity, both at the time of our own "falling asleep" and at the end of history.

Critique: As impressively informative as it is inspired and inspiring, "On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies" is a unique and valued contribution to the study of Christian theology and history with respect to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Exceptionally well organized and presented for the benefit of both clergy and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, ""On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies" is very highly recommended for church, seminary, and academic library Christian Theology collections.

Dear Church
Lenny Duncan
Fortress Press
P.O. Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440-1209
http://fortresspress.com
9781506452562, $16.99, PB, 138pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Lenny Duncan is the unlikeliest of pastors. Formerly incarcerated, he is now a black preacher in the whitest denomination in the United States: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Shifting demographics and shrinking congregations make all the headlines, but Duncan sees something else at work -- drawing a direct line between the church's lack of diversity and the church's lack of vitality. The problems the ELCA faces are theological, not sociological. But so are the answers.

Part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, "Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US" offers a bold new vision for the future of Duncan's denomination and the broader mainline Christian community of faith. "Dear Church" rejects the narrative of church decline and calls everyone (leaders and laity alike) to the front lines of the church's renewal through racial equality and justice.

It is time for the Christian church to rise up, dust itself off, and take on forces of this world that act against God: whiteness, misogyny, nationalism, homophobia, and economic injustice. Duncan gives a blueprint for the way forward and urges us to follow in the revolutionary path of Jesus.

"Dear Church" also features a discussion guide at the back--perfect for church groups, book clubs, and other group discussion.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, inspired and inspiring read from beginning to end, "Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US" is unreservedly recommended and worthwhile reading for all members of the Christian community regardless of their denominational affiliations. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dear Church" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

If You Love Me, You Will...
Michael Gonzales
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
www.westbowpress.com
9781973650423, $30.95, HC, 162pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the pages of "If You Love Me, You Will... Learning to Love God With All Your Heart, Soul, and Mind and Others As Yourself ", Michael Gonzales insightfully examines how the Bible defines love and applies that understanding to human behavior-and especially to Christians.

Gonzales shares true stories from his life to illustrate the theme of love and provide examples that all of us can appreciate and relate to. Those who have been confused by the world's definition of love will find much illumination for their relationships with God, those around them, and even themselves. Men and women alike will benefit from the principles contained in "If You Love Me, You Will..." for the good of all their relationships.

Critique: An absorbing, thoughtful, and ultimately inspiring read, "If You Love Me, You Will: Learning to Love God With All Your Heart, Soul, and Mind and Others As Yourself " is especially recommended to the attention of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "If You Love Me, You Will..." is also available in a paperback edition (9781973650416, $19.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.03).

Heavenly Rewards
Mark Hitchcock
Harvest House Publishers
www.harvesthousepublishers.com
9780736976534, $14.99, PB, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: It's difficult to imagine eternal life. But when you've got only one life and you know there is coming a day when you will stand before God, it's important to consider whether you're living each day like your life depends on it.

For dedicated Christians, the good news is God's judgment isn't about determining our salvation - - it's about rewarding our faithfulness. Salvation cannot be earned because it is already ours!

In "Heavenly Rewards: Living with Eternity in Sight", author Mark Hitchcock reveals fascinating truths about how the life you live today determines your life in eternity. "Heavenly Rewards" shows: Tangible ways to please the Lord in our everyday living; That our labor and sacrifices are never in vain because God is a faithful rewarder; The benefits of living faithfully and enduring through even the most difficult times; That our faithfulness will be rewarded because God knows the smallest details of our days, and He wants to acknowledge our every act we have done for Him.

The underlying message throughout "Heavenly Rewards" is that for Christians, living well with an eternal perspective really can change our life for good!

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, counsel, insight, and inspiration, "Heavenly Rewards: Living with Eternity in Sight" is unreservedly recommended and endorsed for all members of the Christian community. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Heavenly Rewards" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.49).


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Understanding Tarot
Liz Dean
CICO Books
c/o Ryland, Peters & Small
341 East 116th Street, New York, NY 10029
www.rylandpeters.com
9781782497257, $14.95, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Tarot is a secret system of ancient symbols that has been used for almost 600 years, and is becoming increasingly popular today as people look for meaning and reassurance in our ever-changing and chaotic world. This form of spiritual counsel can be used to seek answers to life's key questions: "Will I find success in my chosen career?", "Will I find true love?", "What does the future hold?", and "Will I be happy?".

Liz Dean teaches at Psychic Sisters within Selfridges department store in London and is the author of several tarot decks and books, including the official HBO Game of Thrones Tarot, The Magic of Tarot, and The Golden Tarot. Liz's work has been featured in the Daily Mail and the Express online, as well as the magazines Spirit & Destiny, Kindred Spirit, and Fate & Fortune. She lives in Sunderland, UK.

Now in "Understanding Tarot: Discover The Tarot And Find Out What Your Cards Really Mean" she empowers the reader by revealing the knowledge that each individual card brings, and how each reading can give a dynamic understanding of events, personalities, and relationships. With ten specific spreads to follow, along with sample readings and an extensive interpretation for each card, Liz Dean gives the aspiring tarot reader and student the confidence to approach the cards holistically. Freed from concentrating solely on the meaning of individual cards, tarot readers will begin to see them as a story or journey of life that gives them a clear picture of the past, present, and future.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Understanding Tarot" is impressively 'user friendly' in its instructive commentary. Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Understanding Tarot" is an ideal and comprehensive reference that will be an immediately and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, and community library Metaphysical Studies collections in general, and Tarot Reading instructional reference lists in particular.

Celebrity Ghosts and Notorious Hauntings
Marie D. Jones
Visible Ink Press
43311 Joy Rd., #414, Canton, MI 48187-2075
www.visibleinkpress.com
9781578596898, $19.95, PB, 400pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: From old Hollywood silent film stars to rock stars to athletes, past presidents, and famous generals, celebrated individuals sometimes become 'celebrity ghosts', and they haunt their homes, workplaces, and even burial places. In turn, those places become famous, even notorious, thanks to the ghost that is haunting it!

Compiled by Marie D. Jones, "Celebrity Ghosts and Notorious Hauntings" looks at many famous ghosts -- dead celebrities that haunt old Hollywood locales, famous generals that appear to witnesses at great battlefields, and noted politicians that roam the hallways of courthouses, statehouses, and even the White House! Plus, this fascinating frightfest examines the famous haunted locations themselves, such as the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the Hotel del Coronado, Gettysburg, the Stanley Hotel (which inspired Stephen King's The Shining) and so many others that claim the supernatural as part of their heritage and history.

This compendium of the unexplained also investigates movie lore, including the unsettling incidents on the Amityville Horror set; "The Dark Knight" curse that includes on-set accidents from the horrible death of Heath Ledger, who played the Joker, to the mass shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises; the deaths and curse surrounding The Matrix; the Infamous Stage 28 at Universal Studios; and Paramount Studios' long history of hauntings and strange goings-on.

Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, and Hank Williams. Presidents John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, and Harry Truman. Henry VIII, beheaded Sir Walter Raleigh, and Prince Edward V. Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Marilyn Monroe, and "Superman" actor George Reeves. Houdini, Redd Foxx, Liberace, and serial-killer Ted Bundy. They all lurk in this chillingly riveting book. Haunted graveyards (of course), haunted historical landmarks and battlefields, plus haunted libraries, courthouses, ships, submarines, lighthouses, hotels, roadways, byways, bridges, prisons, and hospitals are all gathered together in this comprehensive look at the ghastly afterlife of the renowned. From famous faces to famous places, if it involves fame and celebrity, fortune and notoriety, legend and lore, it will be found in the pages of "Celebrity Ghosts And Notorious Hauntings".

Critique: A deftly organized and simply fascinating read from first page to last, "Celebrity Ghosts And Notorious Hauntings" is enhanced with a profusion of black-and-white photographs. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library collections, it will be of special and particular interest to both students of the afterlife and movie buffs alike!

Herbal Magick
Gerina Dunwich
Weiser Books
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
www.redwheelweiser.com
9781578636853, $16.95, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The art, craft, and practice of herbal magick is an ancient tradition that is rooted in the pagan lore and tradition of antiquity. In "Herbal Magick: A Guide to Herbal Enchantments, Folklore, and Divination", Gerina Dunwich (the author of dozens of books on Wicca and witchcraft) shows how to use the roots, flowers, leaves, and bark of common plants for practical magick.

"Herbal Magick" also reveals the well-guarded secrets of herbal enchantments and the history of herbal folklore, along with a satisfying easy-to-follow guide to herbal spells for many purposes.

Critique: Both a herbal manual and a wiccan grimoire, "Herbal Magick: A Guide to Herbal Enchantments, Folklore, and Divination" is an invaluable and expertly organized and presented reference that is ideal for the beginner and offers a great deal to advanced students of the magickal arts as well. While unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Herbal Magick" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Psychology Shelf

Autism Is The Future
Marlo Payne Thurman
Future Horizons, Inc.
721 West Abram Street, Arlington, TX 76013
www.fhautism.com
9781941765890, $16.95, PB, 150pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Most recently, Marlo completed a landmark study proposing an alternative sensory-cognitive difference theory based on her extensive discussions and interactions with diagnosed adults. This research was the foundation for this book. Marlo lives in Johnstown, Colorado. In addition to several "quirky" close friends and family members, Ms. Thurman credits her two adult children for teaching her about the value and beauty of being "different-minded."

With the publication of "Autism Is The Future: The Evolution of a Different Type of Intelligence", Marlo Payne Thurman proposes that sensory and cognitive development have evolved together into a very different form of intelligence in those with ASD, and it should be viewed not as a disability but instead as a difference to be celebrated and followed.

Thurman began working with children diagnosed with ASD in 1986. With group home management and intensive ABA therapy in her early career, she developed a special interest in meeting the unique needs of those individuals who were asynchronously developed into the realms of the "ASD savant".

Most recently, she completed a landmark study proposing an alternative sensory-cognitive difference theory based on her extensive discussions and interactions with diagnosed adults. This research was the foundation for "Autism Is The Future".

Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of an eight page Glossary and a twenty-eight page bibliographic listing of References, "Autism Is The Future: The Evolution of a Different Type of Intelligence" is a seminal work of groundbreaking scholarship and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Psychology collections in general, and Autism supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academics, the parents of autistic children, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Autism Is The Future" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.98).

Editorial Note: Marlo Payne Thurman Marlo has been recognized for her work by People magazine, The Special Educator, ADDitude Magazine, The New York Times, and National Public Radio as well as numerous local venues.


The Art Shelf

Korean Metal Art
Komelia Hongja Okim
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
www.schifferbooks.com
9780764357794, $65.00, HC, 256pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Komelia Hongja Okim has presented more than 130 lectures and workshops on Korean metal techniques internationally and has taught for over 40 years. She received three Fulbright grants. Her works are in collections at several museums, including the Museum of Arts & Design, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Renwick Gallery.

In "Korean Metal Art: Techniques, Inspiration, and Traditions" Okim draws upon years of experience and expertise to offer the reader not only detailed examples and history, but step-by-step instruction on the legendary metalworking traditions of Korea.

These techniques, with beginnings in the 3rd century, are legendary in the art world, but information on how the breathtaking effects are created in the studio has been difficult to find until now. Crafted gold, silver, jade, and other materials are brought to life in 400+ photos, including Korean pieces (now in museums) that have through the centuries expressed the pinnacle of each method.

Each individual chapter also focuses on works produced from 1980 through 2017 by modern metalwork experts, including artists from North America, showing how they incorporate traditional methods with modern working methods. Includes instructions for 15 techniques, including 24K gold overlay on silver (keum-boo or geumbu), line inlay on iron and copper works (kkium ipsa), chasing and repousse (tachul), enameling (chilbo), jade nephrite carving and inlay (oak ipsa), and many more.

Critique: Unique, exceptionally informative, profusely and beautifully illustrated throughout, "Korean Metal Art: Techniques, Inspiration, and Traditions" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly appreciated addition to personal, professional, community and academic library collections -- and should be considered mandatory reading by anyone with an interest in working out and crafting their own metal art projects.

Inspired Artist: Draw Every Little Thing
Flora Waycott
Walter Foster Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
www.quartoknows.com
9781633228016, $19.99, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Inspired Artist series from Walter Foster Publishing invites art hobbyists and casual art enthusiasts to have fun learning basic art concepts, relaxing into the creative process to make art in a playful, contemporary style. "With Draw Every Little Thing" is the first book in this new series and is specifically designed to teach aspiring artists how they can draw and paint their favorite everyday items. From learning to draw and paint plants, flowers, and bicycles to the neighborhood cafe and the contents of the kitchen cabinet, "Draw Every Little Thing" is a contemporary drawing instructional guide and manual that demonstrates, step-by-step, just how easy it is to render any item with little more than a pencil, paper, and paint.

Following a brief introduction to the joys of simplistic drawing and painting, this aesthetically pleasing book familiarizes you with a range of drawing tools and materials, including graphite pencil, pen and ink, colored pencil, and gouache, before offering a quick overview of basic color theory. Each subsequent chapter is then devoted to a specific theme (kitchenalia, hobbies, neighborhood haunts, and much more) and packed with simple step-by-step drawing projects.

Fully accessible, "Draw Every Little Thing" encourages jumping around and drawing what immediately inspires the aspiring artist. Interactive prompts, creative exercises, and inspiring ideas make the process fun and engaging. Easy techniques and helpful instructions show how to develop a personal style, as well as add color to drawings using gouache and colored pencil. Crafty projects round out the book, allowing the use of newfound drawing and painting skills.

Critique: Fun and appropriate for any and all aspiring artists, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in its organization and presentation, "Draw Every Little Thing" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended do-it-yourself 'how to' instructional book for personal, art school class, and community library collections.


The Crafts Shelf

Bead Jewelry 101
Karen Mitchell & Ann Mitchell
Quarry Books Editors
Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
www.quartoknows.com
9781631597596, $16.99, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Profusely and beautifully illustrated throughout, "Bead Jewelry 101: Master Basic Skills and Techniques Easily Through Step-by-Step Instruction" teaches the reader everything he or she need to know to create beautiful jewelry with beads.

The Basics walks you through all the tools, materials, and basic construction techniques you'll use for the projects. The Projects are organized by various findings, or jewelry elements, so you'll learn new techniques and build new skills with every piece you make. Beautiful variations will inspire you to create your own designs.

Of special note are the links to accompanying online instructional videos that fully capture the bead jewelry making techniques in action.

Critique: "Bead Jewelry 101: Master Basic Skills and Techniques Easily Through Step-by-Step Instruction" by the team of bead jewelry experts Karen and Ann Mitchell, is an ideal instructional guide and manual for anyone who has wanted to try jewelry making but are not sure where to begin. While unreservedly recommended for personal, professional community, college, and university library Crafts/Hobbies collections in general, and Bead Jewelry Making supplemental studies lists in particular, it should be noted that "Bead Jewelry 101" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.54).

Bead Stitching Handbook
Bead & Button Magazine
Kalmbach Books
21027 Crossroads Circle, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612
www.KalmbachHobbyStore.com
9781627005531, $19.99, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Beadwork is the art or craft of attaching beads to one another by stringing them with a sewing needle or beading needle and thread or thin wire, or sewing them to cloth. Beads come in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes. Beads are used to create jewelry or other articles of personal adornment; they are also used in wall hangings and sculpture and many other artworks. (Wikipedia)

Bead stitchers looking for information and instructions for the major bead stitches will find it all in "Bead Stitching Handbook", a complete and comprehensive reference to bead stitching techniques and includes clear, step-by-step illustrations and instructions for 15 different bead stitches, plus variations and lots of tips.

Ideal for advanced beginners and experienced bead stitchers looking for accurate, in-depth information, this all-in-one resource also covers other stitching-related techniques like bead embroidery, soutache, and loomwork. Finally, the "Bead Stitching Handbook" includes information on beading materials, beads, thread, tools, weaves, knots, and much more.

Each stitch is demonstrated with easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations, then demonstrated in a sample project so bead stitchers can see and understand how each stitch is applied. All instructions and projects are written by the contributors and editors of Bead&Button magazine, the original and most comprehensive beading magazine available today. This well-organized, 128-page, 7.25" x 9.4" reference manual is the perfect size for beaders to keep in their workspaces.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, the "Bead Stitching Handbook" is impressively 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, making it an ideal addition to personal and community library Crafts/Hobbies collections in general, and bead stitching instructional reference reading lists in particular. It should be noted that "Bead Stitching Handbook" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49).

Papercutting
Patricia Moffett
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
www.schifferbooks.com
9780764358081, $24.99, PB, 128pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Patricia Moffett is a designer and illustrator focusing on technological and time-based media. Her work ranges from prize-winning surface pattern design to work on the West End musical adaptation of Bend It Like Beckham.

In "Papercutting: Geometric Designs Inspired by Nature", Moffett draws upon her years of experience and expertise to showcase 25 papercuttng projects which show how ammonites, lichen rosettes, honeycomb, and other natural forms can help you apply the rules of mathematics to create complexly beautiful works.

Clear, illustrated, paper-art-focused explanations teach you the principles of mathematics we see in nature, including the Golden Section and Golden Angle, Fibonacci numbers, and symmetry. Learn about using flaps and piercings with various projects, including "A Murmuration of Starlings." Benefit from lessons in the Japanese art of kirigami and geometric principles, with projects such as "Kirigami Cascade" and "Rotational Symmetry." Tesselations and 2-D weaving, 3-D form assembly, woven 3-D forms, and stacked layers come into play for projects such as "Radiolarian" and "Sea Urchin."

The role that display plays in your work is covered too, including flexagons in the "Undersea Frieze," black light in "UV Jelly Fish," and light-box effects in "Art Deco Scarab" and "Diatoms through the Microscope." Art really does mirror nature, as these fascinating cut-paper sculptures show.

Critique: An ideal and unreservedly recommended introduction to the art and craft of papercutting, this beautifully illustrated, expertly presented, and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide and manual, "Papercutting: Geometric Designs Inspired by Nature", is unreservedly recommended and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, community, college, and university library Crafts/Hobbies collections.

Making Marbled Paper
Heather R. J. Fletcher
Fox Chapel Publishing Company
1970 Broad Street N., East Petersburg, PA 17520
www.FoxChapelPublishing.com
9781497100435, $19.99, PB, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As a young child she viewed the world through art, fabrics, and imagination, Heather RJ Fletcher had no clue about her artistic ability until her first drawing class in college at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Post-graduation she experimented with several career paths: award-winning documentary filmmaker, retail manager, interactive commercial business manager, mermaid model, and even a home shopping television producer. Then one day, she took an art licensing workshop at MCAD with Lindsay Nohl. It was during Lindsay's class where she learned to connect the dots of her artistic career. HRJ is now licensing her art work, making patterns, illustrating, and showing in galleries. She happily works from her studio in MCBA.

In "Making Marbled Paper: Paint Techniques & Patterns for Classic & Modern Marbleizing on Paper & Silk" she draws upon her years of experience and expertise to help aspiring papermakers to get started in the exciting art of marbling paper. The patterns range from ancient suminagashi to modern nail art. Marbling paper for book productions has been in use since the 11th century, and can be found in all sorts of mediums today.

Herein compiled are more than 30 different patterns to create and a step-by-step interactive workbook to encourage practice. As part of the publishing process, aspiring papermakers learn all the modern and traditional marbling techniques, from chevron and feathering to stone and scallop.

From foundational to advanced skills, "Making Marbled Paper" shows how to float paint on water, create intricate patterns and unique designs with unusual tools, lay paper on various materials to transfer beautiful artwork, and so many more marbling methods!

With guidance from Heather Fletcher (herself a professional artist who has traveled the world studying these distinctive methods and learning from the world's leading marbling masters), even the most novice of beginners will gain an understanding of the origins and evolution of this reemerging art form.

Whether you set up in your garage or at your kitchen table, anyone can get started using everyday household items to create colorful works of art. Beginning with the four foundational patterns (stone, chevron, getgel, and nonpareil) "Making Marbled Paper" features step-by-step, photo-illustrated directions will show everything necessary to know in order to successfully accomplish every design.

With room to paste a sample of work for each main pattern, "Making Marbled Paper" then progress into 30 more advanced patterns. Also included are six marbled paper project ideas, such as gift wrap, bookshelf liners, framed art, and more! There are a wealth of practical tips for troubleshooting as well as information on how to marble fabric. A list of resources for marbling tools and supplies, classes, and marbling artists is also included.

Critique: Profusely illustrated, expertly organized, accessibly presented, "Making Marbled Paper: Paint Techniques & Patterns for Classic & Modern Marbleizing on Paper & Silk" is an extraordinary, comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction guide and manual that is unreserved recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library collections.

Creative Candle Making
Meredith Mennitt
Becker&Mayer! Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
www.quartoknows.com
9780760366158, $21.99, PB, (Boxed Set), 48pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Creative Candle Making:12 Unique Projects to Make Candles for All Occasions - Includes Materials to Make 4 Candles" by Meredith Mennitt is a hobby craft boxed set that comes with complete, step-by-step instructions and all the materials needed in order to make all-natural candles at home.

The beautiful instruction book leads the aspiring candle maker through 12 candle recipes as well as discussing the benefits of different waxes, wicks, molds, and a discussion of aromatherapy and candle craft history. The materials in the kit allow do-it-yourself candle makers to create a variety of candles ranging from sweet floating candles to modern cement pillar candles.

The attached "Creative Candle Making" box contains: Mounted cotton wicks; Soy wax chips; Floating candle molds; A sheet of all-natural beeswax; Candle fragrance.

Critique: Providing hours and hours of practical fun, "Creative Candle Making" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, making it an ideal and very highly recommended introduction to the entertaining and useful hobby of candle making at home.


The Aviation Shelf

Navigating the C-124 Globemaster
Billy D. Higgens
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
https://mcfarlandbooks.com
9781476677637, $35.00, PB, 219pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The C-124 Globemaster was a U.S. military heavy-lift transport in service 1950 through 1974. Barreling down a runway it was an awesome sight. The aircraft's four 3800 hp piston engines (the largest ever mass-produced), mounted on its 174-foot wingspan, could carry a 69,000-pound payload of tanks, artillery or other cargo, or 200 fully equipped troops, at more than 300 mph.

The flight crew, perched three stories above the landing gears in an unpressurized cockpit, relied, like Magellan, on celestial fixes to navigate over oceans. With a world-wide mission delivering troops and materials to such destinations as the Congo, Vietnam, Thule, Greenland and Antarctica, the Globemaster lived up to its name and was foundational to what Time magazine publisher Henry Luce termed the "American Century."

Drawing on archives, Air Force bases, libraries and accident sites, and his own recollections as a navigator, the author, Professor Billy D. Higgens (an aviation enthusiast who teaches history at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith) details Cold War confrontations and consequent strategies that emerged after Douglas Aircraft Company delivered the first C-124A to the Military Air Transport Service in 1949.

Critique: Enhanced for academia with the inclusion of a five page Bibliography, eleven pages of Notes, and a four page Index, "Navigating the C-124 Globemaster: In the Cockpit of America's First Strategic Heavy-Lift Aircraft" is an extraordinarily informative history that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library 20th Century American Aviation collections and supplemental studies reading lists.


The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Monologues for Headspace Theatre
Michael Bigelow Dixon, editor
Smith & Kraus Publishers
177 Lyme Road, Lyme NH 03755-6610
www.smithandkraus.com
9781575259369, $17.95, PB, 167pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Headspace Theatre is a small space for big ideas, and the 27 monologues comprising "Monologues for Headspace Theatre: Radical Thinking Inside a Box" in this collection compiled and edited by Michael Bigelow Dixon demonstrate the ingenuity and insight of American playwrights, as they expand the possibilities of performance in a box by featuring the humorous, the absurd, and the political. While these plays shine in the Headspace, they can also be performed on more traditional stages.

Also included are acting tips from Jon Jory and a critical perspective on the historical relevance of Headspace Theatre. A form of theatrical performance that is not for the timid or weak of heart, but then what exciting theatre is?

Critique: A unique and unreservedly recommended collection of monologues compiled and edited by former Actors Theatre Literary Manager Michael Bigelow Dixon, "Monologues for Headspace Theatre: Radical Thinking Inside a Box" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Theatre/Acting collections, as well as the personal reference shelf of anyone who aspires to act in either community theatre or professionally in both off- Broadway and Broadway theatrical productions.


The Health/Medicine Shelf

When Food is Your Frenemy
Jacob F. Bustos
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
www.morganjamespublishing.com
9781642793376, $17.95, PB, 142pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Jacob F. Bustos is a chef, cooking coach, and food enthusiast who has been in the food business for twenty-four years. He beat his own battle with morbid obesity after undergoing a life-saving bariatric procedure that began his 160-pound weight loss journey and has set out to make a positive impact on others by emphasizing how important healthy food choices are. Jacob began his career in the fast food business and earned various awards for great customer service, even receiving Congressional recognition for his charitable work. In 2002, he left the fast food business and currently runs a number of fast-causal Cafes in Southern California.

In "When Food is Your Frenemy: From Obesity to Restored Health", Bustos draws upon his experience and expertise to help those who are morbidly obese or who struggle with self-image make the necessary changes to live full and healthy lives.

"When Food is Your Frenemy" is also a cookbook to promote healthy eating with recipes that are not only healthy, but that also transform ordinary foods into healthier versions of themselves.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "When Food is Your Frenemy: From Obesity to Restored Health" is as inspiring as it is 'real world practical' in application. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Healthy Living collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Biofeedback and Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Inna Khazan
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
www.wwnorton.com
9780393712933, $22.95, PB, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Biofeedback is the process of training your body to control its involuntary actions, such as breathing and heart rate. Minor changes to these actions can significantly improve physical and emotional well- being. In "Biofeedback and Mindfulness in Everyday Life: Practical Solutions for Improving Your Health and Performance", Inna Khazan (who holds a faculty position in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and trains professionals in biofeedback) pairs biofeedback techniques with mindfulness practice to address some of life's most common ailments ranging from anxiety and fear, to stress and insomnia.

Professor Khazan begins with a description of basic physiological information, explaining concepts such as breathing and overbreathing. In Part Two she dives into the practice of mindfulness. And in Part Three she zeroes in on applying this mind-body approach to an array of common problems.

Professor Khazan's approach outlines simple solutions for readers who want to improve the way they respond to challenges. She guides them through increasing their resilience and emotional flexibility while empowering them to take back control of their overall health.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented for both biofeedback students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, "Biofeedback and Mindfulness in Everyday Life: Practical Solutions for Improving Your Health and Performance" is a seminal work of meticulous scholarship that is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Health/Medicine collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and biofeedback enthusiasts that "Biofeedback and Mindfulness in Everyday Life" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (HighBridge Audio, 9781684574896, $39.99, CD).


The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

Rare Watches
Paul Miquel
Conran
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
www.octopusbooksusa.com
9781840917833, $50.00, HC, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Compiled with commentary by Paul Miquel, "Rare Watches: Explore the World's Most Exquisite Timepieces" features more than fifty of the most unusual watches in the world, including incredible one-off models and collector's editions. From watches that have set new records in auction houses, to feats of modern technology and engineering, via iconic models worn by figures such as Elvis and James Bond, the photography visually showcasing each individual watch was organized in collaboration with Christie's auction house.

Critique: A large (10.4 x 1.5 x 13.8 inches) coffee table style volume that is beautifully and informative laid out from cover to cover, "Rare Watches" will have a very special appeal to professionals, collectors and amateurs alike -- and would make a valued and enduringly appreciated Memorial Fund acquisition for community and academic library Antiques/Collectibles collections.

Miller's Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2020-2021
Judith Miller
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Books
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
www.octopusbooksusa.com
9781784726102, $45.00, HC, 600pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Miller's Antiques Handbook & Price Guide series remains the essential and trusted guide to the antiques market for professionals, as well as the general public. It has earned the reputation of being the book no dealer, collector or auctioneer should be without. Compiled by Judith Miller, world-renowned antiques expert and co-founder of the book, this 40th anniversary edition for 2020-2021 features more than 8,000 antiques.

Comprehensive sections cover ceramics, furniture, glass, silver and metalwares, jewellery and objets de vertu, clocks and watches, books, Oriental antiques, textiles, toys, decorative arts and to value an item and teach you to be your own valuer.

Biographies of designers and factories give the background information you need to help date and value objects, while special 'Judith Picks' sections give fascinating background and valuation details for particularly interesting or unusual objects.

Critique: With beautifully illustrated full color photographic illustrations on every page, the "Miller's Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2020-2021" is an absolutely essential reference for professionals, and is an inherently fascinating browse for the non-specialist general reader simply wanting to check out a possible antique of their own. This newest edition of an antique market standard reference is unreservedly recommended for professional, community, and academic library Antiques/Collectibles reference and assessment collections.


The Photography Shelf

Tales from the Roads Less Traveled
Pie Aerts, photographer
teNeues Publishing
350 Seventh Avenue, Suite 301, New York, NY, 10011
https://books-teneues.com
9783961711970, $75.00, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the past few years, Dutch photographer Pie Aerts has traveled to some of the most remote corners of our planet. From the deep jungles of West Papua to the high plains of Bolivia, from the tiniest Himalayan mountain villages to the beating heart of the Okavango Delta, Pie ventures well off the beaten track to capture real people and everyday experiences in extraordinary habitats around the globe.

An avid Instagrammer, Pie now presents his best travel photographs in "Tales from the Roads Less Traveled". Featuring vibrant images alongside first-hand travel anecdotes, the book invites Pie's many fans to join his photographic world tour, together with his girlfriend and favorite model, Jessica Wintz. Page after page brings viewers face-to-face with astonishing landscapes, captivating characters, and some of the most awesome and endangered animals.

With Pie's unique view on people, wildlife, and nature, "Tales from the Roads Less Traveled" provides a unique view on our beautiful planet, as well as a new sense of belonging and community around the globe.

Critique: With its beautifully reproduced images, "Tales from the Roads Less Traveled" is a superbly crafted, coffee-table style (9.2 x 1.2 x 12.8 inches) volume that would grace any personal, professional, community, or academic library Contemporary Photography collection. Of special note is that the commentaries by Jessica Wintz are presented in English, German and French. "Tales from the Roads Less Traveled" would make an excellent Memorial Fund Acquisition selection for libraries.


The Gardening Shelf

Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine
Kim Pezza
Hatherleigh Press
c/o The Hatherleigh Foundation
62545 State Highway 10, Hobart, NY 13788
www.hatherleighpress.com
9781578267996, $5.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine" by Kim Pezza is specifically designed and intended to be a complete and comprehensive instructional guide for aspiring gardens seeking to successfully grow and utilizing herbs in their life.

Especially intended to serve as a comprehensive primer for first-time gardeners, "Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine" features detailed illustrations and informative photographs help to eliminate confusion and ease new homesteaders into the world of backyard farming. It includes not only instructions on planting, but goes into detail the many different kinds of ways to use herbs such as marinades and garnishes for meals or as natural remedies and medicinal cures for numerous ailments.

Critique: Comprehensive, illustrated with black-and-white photos, exceptionally 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine" is an ideal choice for the novice gardener and unreservedly recommended for community library Gardening instructional reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Woodworking Shelf

Woodland Whittling
Peter Benson
GMC Publications
https://www.thegmcgroup.com
c/o The Taunton Press
63 South Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470
www.taunton.com
9781784945091, $14.95, HC, 144pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The gentle art of whittling is a relaxing and absorbing hobby that can be enjoyed almost anywhere from round the campfire to in a cozy armchair at home. All that is needed is a good pocket knife, a piece of wood and your imagination.

Projects can range from the delightfully simple to impressively intricate as "Woodland Whittling" by Peter Benson guides the aspiring whittler through the basics explaining what equipment is required, how to hold the knife, and what timber to use.

The projects are then all described in detail with clear step-by-step photographs and include: a letter opener, a thumb stick, a ring tree and an egg cup, and so much more!

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Woodland Whittling" is an ideal introduction to the ancient art of whittling and will prove to be the basis for hours and hours and hours of a peaceful release from the ordinary pressures of everyday life -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended acquisition for personal and community library collections.

Editorial Note: Peter Benson set up the Essex School of Woodcarving in 1996. He is often traveling and runs many workshops overseas as well as judging competitions around the world. He also writes regularly for woodcarving journals. Peter's passion is centered on carving miniature objects, especially the carving of netsuke, on which he has written a book which is also published by GMC.


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Pigs
Johanna Stoberock
Red Hen Press
P.O. Box 40820 Pasadena, CA 91114
www.redhen.org
9781597090445, $16.95, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Four children live on an island that serves as the repository for all the world's garbage. Trash arrives, the children sort it, and then they feed it to a herd of insatiable pigs: a perfect system. But when a barrel washes ashore with a boy inside, the children must decide whether he is more of the world's detritus, meant to be fed to the pigs, or whether he is one of them.

Critique: A superbly crafted and thoroughly reader absorbing novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the use of evocative use of language, "Pigs" by Johanna Stoberock threads her superbly shaped prose with subtle questions about environmental responsibility and the innate nature of human beings. A singularly memorable read, "Pigs" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists as well as both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.

Dan Dare: The Evil One
David Motton, author
Keith Watson, illustrator
Titan Comics
https://titan-comics.com
9781785862939, $39.99, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In the pages of Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future -- The Evil One", Dan Dare and Digby, defend Earth from a series of threats that see them rocket from one action-packed adventure to the next! From the depths of outer space, and the threat of a race of intelligent giant, mind-controlling spiders, hell-bent on global domination - to the secret, underground hideout of an intergalactic evil genius buried beneath the pleasure beach of Blackpool, an unquenchable, out-of-control fireball, and a race of malevolent, ruthless flora!

Critique: A truly memorable classic work of newspaper serialized science fiction, and a part of the now legendary Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future series, "The Evil One" by the team of author David Motton and illustrator Keith Watson is superbly re-published by Titan Comics and is a nostalgically entertaining read and an ideal introduction for a new generation of appreciative science fiction fans. While the illustrations are in the original black-and-white, of special note is an introductory page drawn by artist Keith Watson as a unique kind of resume and application to become an artist on this series. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Graphic Novel collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated SciFi fans that "The Evil One" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $34.99).

Editorial Note: After finishing his national service, David Motton began his 30-year career in comics as a freelance writer working on the Fleetway title The Sun Comic, a title he would become the editor of in its final year. He went on to edit both Knockabout and Film Fun. His writing credits prior to Dan Dare included: Jet-Ace Logan, Max Bravo -The Happy Hussar, Desperate Dan as well as strips for the comics Wizard, Hotspur, Valiant, Mandy, Bunty, Debbie and Judy.

Keith Watson first started working on the Dan Dare strip back in 1958 when he joined the Frank Hampson studio. However, he left after a year to draw Captain Condor for rival comic Lion. In 1962 Keith returned to Dan Dare and became the sole artist. Keith would go on to draw the strip for longer than any other artist, until the comic's demise in 1969. He went on to draw Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 for the Gerry Anderson themed comics TV Century 21, Joe 90 and also Battle of the Planets for TV21. In the 1970s Keith worked for the Dutch comic Eppo on the football strip Roel Dijkstra. In 1989 he returned to Dan Dare once again, when Eagle comic was revived and continued to draw the adventures of the Dare's grandson also conveniently called Dan.

Snowpiercer: The Escape
Jacques Lob, author
Jean-Marc Rochette, illustrator
Titan Comics
https://titan-comics.com
9781782761334, $19.99, HC, 110pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In a harsh, uncompromisingly cold and near distant future where Earth has succumbed to treacherously low temperatures, the last remaining members of humanity travel on a train while the outside world remains encased in ice -- the result of a deliberate sabotage campaign using nuclear reactors around the world to create a Nuclear Winter that will decimate the human population in order to 'save' the planet Earth itself.

"Snowpiercer: The Escape" is the enthralling and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic graphic novel in a series by author Jacques Lob and illustrator Jean-Marc Rochette that inspired the critically acclaimed movie of the same name starring Chris Evans. Originally published in French, this new edition by published by Titan Comics is the first time that "Snowpiercer: The Escape" will be available in English.

Critique: An absolutely fascinating read from cover to cover, "Snowpiercer: The Escape" is one of those dystopian science fiction stories that is all too plausible given today's political polarization, increasingly rapid climate change, and humanities undeniable contribution to the increasing extinction rates of flora and fauna species globally. While "Snowpiercer: The Escape" is very highly recommended community library Graphic Novel collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a paperback edition (Titan Books, 9781782761433, $9.20, Amazon.com).

The Route List: Illinois
Eric Stalner
Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
www.nbnbooks.com
9781849184298, $11.95, PB, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: In a state of utter grief, Alex Poliac buries his wife Alice. That same evening, he and his son must flee their home. Not because he is a suspect in Alice's death, but because a serial killer called The Clown is prowling the state -- and Alex knows how he picks his victims. A rough meeting with Laura, a friend of his wife, brings more questions: was Alice hiding something, with her mysterious phone calls and unexplained absences? Was her death really an accident?

Critique: Set in 1961 Illinois. "The Route List: Illinois is the debut title in a new graphic novel series by author and artist Eric Stalner that involves a desperate life and death chase along the fabled Route 66 and involves the FBI, a sleeper network of Russian agents, and a confusion over who are the good guys and who are the villains. A simply riveting read from first page to last, "The Route List: Illinois" will leave its fully entertaining readers looking eagerly toward the next graphic novel entry into this suspense thriller of a series. While highly recommended for community library Graphic Novel series, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Route List: Illinois" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Sons of Chaos
Chris James, author
Ale Aragon, illustrator
IDW Publishing
2765 Truxton Road, San Diego, CA 92106
www.idwpublishing.com
9781684054794, $39.99, HC, 192pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The collaborative work of author Chris James and illustrator Ale Aragon, "Sons of Chaos is a vivid presentation of the story of how in 1821 Marcos Botsaris, the son of a respected Greek leader was taken prisoner as a child and raised within the dungeons of history's most infamous Ottoman Pasha, known as the "Napoleon of the East"-- Ali Pasha of Ioannina. Over the next ten years, the bond formed between them would define history.

The Greek War for Independence was a conflict that quietly influenced the entire world and participants ranged from the London Stock Exchange to celebrities such as Lord Byron, as well as average impassioned Americans willing to transport themselves across the Atlantic to fight alongside the Greeks.

This conflict was the pinnacle of what we now know as the Romantic Period and yet, it's a war that few know ever existed outside of the Greek and Turkish cultures; a war that stimulated the fall of the Ottoman Empire and shaped Western Civilization as we now know it, and in a sense is being fought today under a different heading amongst today's political world leaders.

Hundreds of years of Ottoman rule gave the Greeks a reason to fight. Marcos Botsaris gave them a leader.

Critique: A coffee table sized book, this panoramic graphic novel exposes the quiet agenda of the Ottoman Empire's most brutal dictator, and his fascination with a young Greek that would define the Western World. An inherently compelling and truly memorable read from cover to cover, "Sons of Chaos" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community library graphic novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sons of Chaos" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.99).

Zombillenium: Royal Witchcraft
Arthur de Pins
NBM Publishing
160 Broadway, Ste. 700, East Wing, New York, NY 10038
www.nbmpub.com
9781681122199, $16.99, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Zombillenium Park has never been better. Its popularity reaches new heights following demonic reforms by Behemoth, who then decides to play his property in a very special competition: a witches' Sabbath!

Gretchen, Aurelian, and Von Bloodt, meanwhile, have set up an underground escape network in order to offer the damned the chance for reconversion, far from the nine circles of Hell -- a dangerous secret operation not appreciated by the park's board of directors.

Determined to clean this out, they hire the services of a formidable enchantress who will turn into an arch rival of Gretchen. Underground as in the air, the fight promises to be epic!

Critique: The fourth volume of Arthur de Pins's Zombillenium series, "Royal Witchcraft" reveals Gretchen's true intentions, if the undead succeed in asserting their rights, and who will be the future happy owner of the Zombillenium Park! A 'must' for the legions of Arthur de Pin fans, this coffee-table size (9 x 12 inches) NBM hardcover edition of "Zombillenium: Royal Witchcraft" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal and community library graphic novel collections.

Bezimena
Nina Bunjevac
Fantagraphics Books
7563 Lake City Way, NE, Seattle, WA 98115
www.fantagraphics.com
9781683962090, $29.99, HC, 248pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: "Bezimena " by Nina Bunevac is an graphic novel inspired by the myth of Artemis and Siproites, in which a young man is turned into a woman as a punishment for the attempted rape of one of Artemis' virgin cohorts.

Bunjevac's retelling of this mythological story follows Benny, who, when he comes across a former classmate, concocts a disturbing rape fantasy. In her stippled, illustrative, black-and-white style as an artist, Bunjevac deftly crafts a gripping noirish, Nabokovian tale, by turns sensual, surreal, and harrowing, that turns the male gaze inside-out.

Critique: An inherently fascinating read from first page to last, "Bezimena" will prove to be of immense interest for both the style of its artwork and the content of its story, making it a prized addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library graphic novel collections for mature readers.

BTTM FDRS
Ezra Clayton Daniels, author
Ben Passmore, illustrator
Fantagraphics Books
7563 Lake City Way, NE, Seattle, WA 98115
www.fantagraphics.com
9781683962069, $24.99, HC, 288pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Once a thriving working class neighborhood on Chicago's south side, the "Bottomyards" is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home.

The collaborative work of author Ezra Clayton Daniels and illustrator Ben Passmore's "BTTM FDRS" (pronounced "bottomfeeders") is a uniquely striking graphic novel that offers a vision of horror that is gross and gory in all the right ways.

At turns funny, scary, and thought provoking, "BTTM FDRS" unflinchingly confronts the monsters (both metaphoric and real) that are displacing cultures in urban neighborhoods today.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, compulsive page turner of read from first page to last, "BTTM FDRS" is an extraordinary, memorable, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Contemporary Graphic Novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "BTTM FDRS" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).


The Audiobook Shelf

Vendetta in Death
J.D. Robb, author
Read by Susan Ericksen
Macmillan Audio
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
www.macmillanaudio.com
9781250231024 $39.99

Synopsis: Lieutenant Eve Dallas must keep the predator from becoming the prey in Vendetta in Death, the newest thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb.

She calls herself Lady Justice. And once she has chosen a man as her target, she turns herself into a tall blonde or a curvaceous redhead, makes herself as alluring and seductive as possible to them. Once they are in her grasp, they are powerless.

The first victim is wealthy businessman Nigel McEnroy. His company's human resources department has already paid out settlements to a couple of his young victims but they don't know that his crimes go far beyond workplace harassment. Lady Justice knows. And in one shocking night of brutality, she makes him pay a much steeper price.

Now Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, are combing through the evidence of McEnroy's secret life. His compulsive need to record his misdeeds provides them with a wide range of suspects, but the true identity of Lady Justice remains elusive. It's a challenging case, made even more difficult by McEnroy's widow, who reacts to the investigation with fury, denial, and threats. Meanwhile, Lady Justice's criminal crusade is escalating rapidly, and if Eve can't stop this vigilante, there's no telling how much blood may be spilled...

Critique: Vendetta in Death is the unabridged audiobook rendition of a shocking thriller about grim vigilante justice. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is locked in a race against time to stop the predations of a female seductress who wreaks horrifying revenge on wealthy and powerful men. Lady Justice's victims are not innocent, but do they truly deserve the full brunt of her brutality? Superbly performed by Susan Ericksen, Vendetta in Death is mesmerizing to the very end, and a "must" especially for connoisseurs of the genre and public library mystery/thriller audiobook collections. Highly recommended. 10 CDs, 12.5 hours.

Nothing Ventured
Jeffrey Archer, author
George Blagden, narrator
Macmillan Audio
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
www.macmillanaudio.com
9781250240132, $39.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: William Warwick has always wanted to be a detective, and decides, much to his father's dismay, that rather than become a lawyer like his father, Sir Julian Warwick QC, and his sister Grace, he will join London's Metropolitan Police Force.

After graduating from university, William begins a career that will define his life: from his early months on the beat under the watchful eye of his first mentor, Constable Fred Yates, to his first high-stakes case as a fledgling detective in Scotland Yard's arts and antiquities squad. Investigating the theft of a priceless Rembrandt painting from the Fitzmolean Museum, he meets Beth Rainsford, a research assistant at the gallery who he falls hopelessly in love with, even as Beth guards a secret of her own that she's terrified will come to light.

While William follows the trail of the missing masterpiece, he comes up against suave art collector Miles Faulkner and his brilliant lawyer, Booth Watson QC, who are willing to bend the law to breaking point to stay one step ahead of William. Meanwhile, Miles Faulkner's wife, Christina, befriends William, but whose side is she really on?

Critique: Debuting his new 'William Warwick' mystery series, veteran author Jeffrey Archer once again showcases his genuine gift for a distinctive narrative storytelling style that keeps his readers' rapt attention from first page to last. This flawlessly produced, complete and unabridged audio book edition is ably narrated by George Blagden and is unreservedly recommended for both personal and community library audio book collections. (8 CDs, 9.5 Hours).

At Death's Door
Sherrilyn Kenyon, author
Holter Graham, narrator
Macmillan Audio
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
www.macmillanaudio.com
9781250223159, $39.99, CD, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Valynda Moore was born cursed. So when she dies as the result of a spell gone wrong and is trapped in the body of a voodoo doll, she expects nothing else from her messed up life. Until Thorn, leader of the Hellchasers, offers her a chance at redemption and a new life.

But nothing has ever gone her way, for the Malachai, the very beast she and her crew of Deadmen have sworn to keep locked away, has risen. And this time he's taken prisoners. Valynda must keep her wits about her or be denied her salvation and forced to watch as the entire world falls into the hands of absolute evil.

It's a demon-eat-demon world where the stakes have never been higher and either redemption or the ultimate betrayal waits for her At Death's Door.

Critique: The latest addition to author Sherrilyn Kenyon's 'A Deadman's Cross Novel' series, in this complete and unabridged audio book edition of "At Death's Door" which is superbly narrated by Holter Graham, is an extraordinary entertainment that will be especially appreciated by all dedicated fantasy fans and certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both personal and community library audio book collections. 8 CDs, 9.3 hours.


The Music CD Shelf

Acorns
Ben Winship
Hearth Music
hearthmusic.com
$18.98 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Acorns is an Americana/country-rock music album written and arranged by Ben Winship, and performed with contributions from a variety of fellow artists. Inspired by the joy of jam sessions with friends and comrades, Acorns is a shining original creation, highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre along with its companion music album "Toolshed" (sold separately). The tracks of "Acorn" are "A Little Goes a Long Way", "Shakin' Down the Acorns", "Pilgrim", "I'll Live On", "Phoebe's Rest", "Cherry Tree", "Katy Bar the Door", "Turtle Dove", "Fit to be Tied", "New River Train", "One-Eyed Dolly", "Lily Green", and "Kennedy Rag".

Shell of a Girl
Sunny War
Hearth Music
hearthmusic.com
$15.00 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Shell of a Girl is an original music album by Sunny War (except for "The Place", which was co- written by Sunny War and Edith Crash) that draws directly on Sunny's difficult life. She used to be homeless, living on food stamps and train hopping to travel. She looks back on those times with mixed emotions - though she remembers experiencing happiness and freedom, most of her traveling friends have since perished from drug overdoses or liver failure. Shell of a Girl is raw, honest, profound, exquisitely punk, and utterly unforgettable. The tracks are "Shell", "Where the Lost Get Found", "The Place", "Drugs are Bad", "Love Became Pain", "Off the Cuff", "Soul Tramp", "Rock n Roll Heaven", "Got No Ride", "The Likes of You", and "XO".

The Love
Alphabet Rockers
alphabetrockers.com
School Time Music
$15.00 CD / $9.99 digital amazon.com

Grammy-nominated group Alphabet Rockers present The Love, an intergenerational hip-hop album promoting understanding, tolerance, self-love, and justice, especially for trans and gender non-binary youth and adults, as well as anyone who wants to be an ally for trans or non-binary friends and family. Songs in The Love emphasize the importance of making the world a safe, free, and just place for all people, denouncing violence and praising those who take a stand against hatred. Socially conscious and deeply moving, The Love is highly recommended. The tracks are "This is Ohlone Land (Introduction)", "We Royal", "Until You're Free", "Live Your Life", "They/Them", "I Am Enough", "Be Strong", "You (Interlude)", "Black Gxrl Magic", "#100kMasks", "I Know You See Me", "Us (Interlude)", "Just Be", "Not Alone", "We (Interlude)", "Someday", and "The Love (Outro)". 42 min. 37 sec.

Missing Chapters
Moken
MoodSwing Records
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Cameroonian-born, Atlanta-based music artists Moken presents Missing Chapters, his latest original album drawing upon a wide range of African musical styles. The title refers to the missing chapters of life, and the songs reflect the perseverance to survive and create in spite of immense hardships. Moken's immense vocal talent shines; his voice has a multi-octave range, and his mastery of acoustic guitar drives the vividly creative songs. Missing Chapters is highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are "Your Sun is Rising", "Sometimes", "Yen nin", "Machine man", "Walking man", "Mi amor", "U nia", "Everybody wants to rule the world", "Retro Africa", "Hiki mut", "Tequilasong", and "Sing the song".

A Presence of Three Minds
Holland Phillips
http://www.musicbyholland.com
Ageless Records
$10.22 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

A Presence of Three Minds is an instrumental, new age album by Holland Phillips, combining piano, keyboard, guitar, and flutes into tracks that take the mind on a transcendental journey. A beautiful, flowing audio experience that inspires reflection and insight, A Presence of Three Minds is highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. The tracks are "From the Depths", "Oceanside", "The Order of Things", "Last One Home", "Finding Pixies", "Seeking Sanctuary", "Alone in the Crowd", "In The Queen's Court", "Aftermath", "Arendell Rising", and "To The Heavens".

Sacred Lullabies
Camille Nelson
Heart Dance Records
www.heartdancerecords.com
$TBA CD / $14.49 MP3 amazon.com

New Age Folk guitarist Camille Nelson presents Sacred Lullabies, showcasing extraordinarily beautiful and soothing songs, six of which have vocal tracks, as well as memorable contributions from guest artists and an atmosphere of gentle relaxation. A strong, reverent sense of faith in God is also present throughout the music. Sacred Lullabies is highly recommended for connoisseurs of acoustic fingerstyle guitar. The tracks are "I Am A Child of God", "Abide With Me", "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus (feat. Kimberly Knighton & Britney Holman)", "Redeemer of Israel", "Our Lullaby (feat. Madilyn Paige)", "A Child's Prayer", "Not for a Moment (feat. Stephanie Madsen)", "Paris Lullaby", "Into the West (feat. Alex Sharpe)", "Edelweiss", "New World (feat. Matthew John Nelson)", "Dreaming", "We'll Bring the World His Truth (feat. Kimberly Knighton & Britney Holman)", "For the Beauty of the Earth", "Pie Jesu (feat. Catherine Bohman)", and "Where Can I Turn for Peace".

The Paradise Collection
Joey Curtin
www.joeycurtin.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

The Paradise Collection: Piano with Strings and Things features the new age music of Joey Curtin. Certain individual piano tracks are enhanced by contributions from Patrick Cutrin on guitar, David Curtain on guitar and electronics, Jasmine Kinney on flute and violin, Maxwell Beckman on double bass, Garth Webber on guitar, or David Landon on bass guitar. Ranging from a re-imagined Irish folk tune to a spiritual melody once sung by slaves escaping to the north during the Civil War, The Paradise Collection is beautifully stirring, profound, and highly recommended for both personal and public library music collections. The tracks are "Chrysalis", "Be Thou My Vision", "Pool of Bethesda", "In the Twinkling of an Eye", "Evening in Eden", "Wade in the Water", "Blossom", "Tear Drop Piano", "El Viento", "A Thin Place", "Hide Me", and "Song of Zion".


The DVD Shelf

Straight Forward
Starring Cecilie Stenspil
Acorn Media
c/o RLJ Entertainment
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$49.99 www.acornonline.com

Straight Forward is a thrilling crime drama about revenge spanning the globe. Danish con- woman Sylvia Petersen (played by Cecilie Stenspil) vows revenge when her father is cut down in cold blood. She sets her sights on crime kingpin Ravn, but when her plan fails, she is forced to flee to New Zealand, leaving her mother and daughter behind. When Ravn targets Sylvia's family, how is she to protect them from the other side of the world? Harrowing and suspenseful, Straight Forward is a "must-see" for connoisseurs of the genre, highly recommended. It should be noted that Straight Forward contains strong language, violence, sexual situations, and brief nudity, and is therefore recommended for mature viewers. 8 episodes on 2 DVDs, 367 min., SDH subtitles.


The Business Shelf

Workplace Warrior
Jordan Goldrich
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781626346512, $21.95, HC, 232pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Most authors and speakers who deal with the subject of corporate leadership refer to them with demeaning names because of assumptions that they needed to be more respectful of their subordinates. But in "Workplace Warrior: People Skills for the No-Bullshit Executive", Jordan Goldrich challenges this irony (or perhaps hypocrisy) by recognizing that, in reality, such leadership needs to possess a kind of warrior spirit, one that is crucial to the success of business organizations in our current volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) socio- economic environment.

Goldrich acknowledges that (just like himself) these leaders are imperfect human beings whose leadership or communication styles can sometimes create a negative impact. But he also acknowledges an important truth -- that they bring unique value to the workplace and to society.

His challenge is to his readers to become a better leader by measuring themselves against the greatest warriors on the planet: the Navy SEALs, the Green Berets, and the rest of the special operations community -- because a corporate executive has something in common with them with respect to sharing an uncommon desire to succeed and are committed to taking charge, as well as being are focused on accomplishing the mission. In addition, they commit to humbly serve and to place the welfare and security of others before their own.

"Workplace Warrior" shows how to do the same.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, and very highly recommended for community, corporate, and academic library Business Administration collections, "Workplace Warrior: People Skills for the No-Bullshit Executive" is an ideal instructional guide that would prove to be of immense and particular value for anyone charged with corporate leadership responsibilities at any level. Of special relevance, "Workplace Warrior" is unreservedly recommended to the attention of human resources executives, executive coaches, and people who work with and for leaders labeled as abrasive or bullies so as to effectively build collaborative relationships with their colleagues.


The Computer Shelf

Microsoft Excel 2019 Programming Pocket Primer
Julitta Korol
Mercury Learning
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
www.styluspub.com
9781683924128, $35.95, PB, 260pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: As part of the simply outstanding Mercury Learning Pocket Primer series, "Microsoft Excel 2019 Programming Pocket Primer" was specifically designed by Julitta Korol (who has completed professional certifications by Microsoft Corporation and the Computing Technology Industry Association) for those who need to master Excel programming fundamentals without spending too much time.

Comprised of everything necessary to operate Excel 2019 Programming, this thoroughly 'user friendly and succinctly written instruction manual is ideal for getting started. It shows only the things needed to know in order to feel comfortable with VBA.

What is taught in this exceptionally well organized and presented instructional on Excel programming will also apply to Access programming. Divided into nine chapters that progressively introduce programming Microsoft Excel 2019, this handy manual includes a companion disc with all of the "Hands-On" files needed to complete the chapter projects and all the images from the text and introduces aspiring users to programming with Microsoft Excel 2019.

Critique: Enhanced with the inclusion of a disc featuring all the 'hands-on' project files and images from the texts (including 4-color images), "Microsoft Excel 2019 Programming Pocket Primer" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Computer Software instructional reference collections in general, and Microsoft Excell 2019 supplemental studies lists in particular.

Murach's MySQL, third edition
Joel Murach
Murach Books
4340 N. Knoll Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722
www.murach.com
9781943872367, $57.50, PB, 628pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Now in a fully updated and expanded third edition to include MySQL 8, "Murach's MySQL" shows how to code all the essential SQL statements for working with a MySQL database. Developers use these statements every day to have MySQL do more of their work for them.

But beyond that, this new edition of "Murach's MySQL" shows how to work with classic MySQL features that take the user to new level, such as summary queries, subqueries, functions, views, transactions, stored procedures, triggers, and security. It also shows how to take advantage of newer MySQL features such as window functions, Common Table Expressions (CTE), and roles for database security. Plus, it shows how to design a database, including how to use MySQL Workbench to create and implement the design.

It even presents a starting set of skills for a database administrator (DBA) for those who are interested in that career path or if they need to be their own DBA.

Critique: Comprehensive, exceptionally organized and presented, and a 'must-have' guide for anyone who works with MySQL, beginning and experienced developers alike, this new third edition of "Murach's MySQL" is an ideal curriculum textbook for school, community, and academic library Computer Software collections, and an enduringly valued reference of all MySQL users.


The Education Shelf

The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition
Robert Franek, et al.
The Princeton Review
c/o Random House Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
www.PrincetonReview.com
9780525568421, $24.99, PB, 880pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: The Princeton Review's college rankings started in 1992 with surveys from 30,000 students. Over 25 years and more than a million student surveys later, they stand by their claim that there is no single "best" college, only the best college specifically for a particular student. And the designed this 2020 Edition of The Best 385 Colleges to help that student find it!

"The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition" features 385 in-depth school profiles based on candid feedback from 140,000 students, covering academics, administration, campus life, and financial aid, as well as insights on unique college character, social scene, and more.

"The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition" lists of the top 20 colleges in 62 categories based on students' opinions of academics, campus life, facilities, and much more. Also included are ratings for every school on Financial Aid, Selectivity, and Quality of Life.

Offering detailed admissions information, "The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition"includes the "Inside Word" on competitive applications, test scores, tuition, and average indebtedness, as well as comprehensive information on selectivity, freshman profiles, and application deadlines at each school.

Of special note are the free access to 2 full-length practice tests online (1 SAT and 1 ACT) to help students prep for the important admissions-exams part of their admissions journey.

Critique: A core college assessment and selection resource, "The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition" should be a part of every highschool counselor's reference collections, as well as being unreservedly recommended for community library collections for students and their families to have access to. It should be noted for students and their families that "The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Railroading Shelf

British Railways in the 1960s
Geoff Plumb
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781473823945, $60.00, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: After the Second War, Britains railways were rundown and worn out, requiring massive investment and modernisation. The Big Four railway companies were nationalized from 1948, and the newly formed British Railways embarked on a programme of building new Standard steam locomotives to replace older types. These started to come on stream from 1951.

This program was superseded by the 1955 scheme to dieselise and electrify many lines and so the last loco of the Standard types was built in 1960 and the steam locomotives had been swept entirely from the BR network by 1968.

The newest addition to the Pen & Sword Books' 'The Geoff Plumb Collection' series, "British Railways In The 1960s: London Midland Region" is a photographic account of those last few years of the steam locomotives, their decline and replacement during the transition years.

Critique: Profusely illustrated and providing impressively informative commentaries throughout, "British Railways In The 1960s: London Midland Region" is superbly organized and presented from cover to cover, making it an enduringly valued and prized addition to personal, community, and academic library British Railroading History collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted that "British Railways In The 1960s: London Midland Region" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.99).


The Civil War Shelf

The Meanest and "Damnest" Job
Michael P. Rucker
NewSouth, Inc.
105 South Court Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
www.newsouthbooks.com
9781588383822, $28.95, HC, 320pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Most Civil War histories focus on the performance of top-level generals. However, it was the individual officers below them who actually led the troops to enact the orders. Some of these were remarkably effective. One such officer was Edmund Winchester Rucker.

As a Confederate officer, Rucker was a force to be reckoned with, both during the Civil War and in his post-war business ventures. He was courageous, tough and resourceful, and achieved significant results in every assignment.

During the campaign by the United States Army to capture the upper Mississippi River, Rucker and his faithful Confederate artillerists, with only three operable cannons, held off the entire Federal fleet which possessed 105 heavy guns. Later, in East Tennessee, Rucker's duties included punishing saboteurs and conscripting unwilling local citizens into the Confederate Army. He described these assignments as: "The meanest and damnest [sic] duty a soldier had to perform."

Following the battles for Chattanooga, he served with General Nathan Bedford Forrest as a cavalry brigade commander, earning high merits for his performance. Rucker's leadership was a major factor in the Confederate victory in the Battle of Brices Cross Roads, which has been called "History's Greatest Cavalry Battle."

Subsequent to the Battle of Nashville, Rucker was wounded and captured; although his left arm was amputated, this did not impede his future achievements. After the war, Colonel Rucker and General Forrest became business partners in a railroad-building project. Rucker did well from this venture and became one of the wealthiest early entrepreneurs in Birmingham. In recognition of his many accomplishments, Fort Rucker Alabama was named in his honor.

Critique: The Meanest and "Damnest" Job: Being the Civil War Exploits and Civilian Accomplishments of Colonel Edmund Winchester Rucker During and After the War by Mike Rucker is an extraordinary and detailed biography that is a seminal and unreservedly recommended addition to the growing library of Civil War Histories & Biographies. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and Civil War history buffs that The Meanest and "Damnest" Job is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).


The Parenting Shelf

The Single Parent
Linda Ranson Jacobs
Bethany House Publishers
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301
www.bethanyhouse.com
9780764232848, $14.99, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Whether you became a single parent through divorce, death, adoption, or some other situation, you've probably wondered what the future holds for you and your children. Will you be able to provide the emotional, financial, and spiritual support your family needs?

"The Single Parent: Confident and Successful" by Linda Ranson Jacobs will encourage you in your journey and help avert problems before they arise. It is filled with wise counsel, biblical truth, and real-life stories -- the author's own as well as those of the many single moms and dads who have come across her path through the years.

"The Single Parent" will help you bolster your abilities in such areas as: Improving your child's behavior; Negotiating boundaries; Graciously seeking and accepting help from others; Trusting God in the process.

God cares for the single parent and will provide for you and your children. Let "The Single Parent" give you the tools you need as you walk with him in this journey.

Critique: Presenting a Christian perspective in an impressively well presented instructional guide for single parents want and needing to do right by their children, "The Single Parent: Confident and Successful" is an especially recommended addition to personal, church, and community library Parenting reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Single Parent: Confident and Successful" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.49).

Editorial Note: Linda Ranson Jacobs is one of the foremost leaders in single-parent ministry. Having been both divorced and widowed, Linda knows first hand the emotional and support needs of single-parent families and has a passion to help hurting families. As a children's ministry director, speaker, trainer, and therapeutic child care center owner, Linda has assisted countless single-parent families and their children. In 2004, Linda created and developed the DivorceCare for Kids program, a ministry tool designed to bring healing, comfort, coping, and communication skills to children of divorce.

Boy Mom
Monica Swanson
WaterBrook Press
c/o WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
10807 New Allegiance Drive Suite 500, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com
9780525652717, $15.99, PB, 240pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Monica Swanson knew she'd tapped a heartfelt concern when nearly two million readers shared her blog post "What a Teenage Boy Needs Most from His Mom." In the pages of "Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You", she takes mothers deeper into the insights they need for the boy-raising journey, covering topics from dealing with the daily influences of friends and technology to helping a boy grow to be physically, spiritually, and emotionally healthy.

She also addresses learning and finding passions, perspectives on relationships and dating, and work ethics and money management. Each individual chapter features relatable stories, handy checklists, and practical advice based on a combination of research, experience, and biblical truth to guide and equip a mom in helping her son achieve his God-given potential.

Critique: Insightful, thoughtful, inspirational, exceptionally well written and 'real world practical' in application, "Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You" is especially recommended reading for every mother with sons to raise. While highly recommended for community library Contemporary Parenting collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Boy Mom" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).


The Fishing Shelf

Sight Fishing for Trout
Landon Mayer
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
www.stackpolebooks.com
9780811705516, $34.95, HC, 208pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: Landon Mayer is a fly-fishing instructor, guide, and writer with nearly two decades of experience. He is a contributing writer for Fly Fisherman and High Country Angler, and his contributions have also been featured in Field & Stream, Fly Rod & Reel, American Angler, and Fly Fisherman magazines. Landon's previous books include Sight Fishing for Trout, Colorado's Best Fly Fishing, and How to Catch the Biggest Trout of Your Life.

"Sight Fishing for Trout" is Mayer's comprehensive book showcasing all of the tricks and skills anglers need to master when fishing for trout. Mayer deftly reveals his knowledge of trout and trout water, learned through years of fishing and guiding on prime trout waters.

Hunting for large trout with lightweight fishing equipment is what Landon does best. With detailed instructions on how to cast into tricky spots, how to present the fly whatever the conditions, and how to read the rise, he gives aspiring anglers the extra edge they need to find and catch more and larger fish. He reveals where to look for the trout, how to rig a line, how to retrieve the fish when getting a strike, and how to use the buddy system for a more productive day on the water.

Simply stated, sight fishing is intriguing, fun, addictive, and best of all, it gets results-more and bigger trout.

Critique; Now available to a new generation of aspiring trout anglers in a paperback edition (9780811737661, $29.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.65), "Sight Fishing for Trout" is profusely and beautifully illustrated in full color throughout, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Hunting/Fishing instructional reference collections.


The Self-Help Shelf

The Warrior's Book of Virtues
Nick Benas, Matt Bloom, Buzz Bryan
Hatherleigh Press
c/o The Hatherleigh Foundation
62545 State Highway 10, Hobart, NY 13788
www.hatherleighpress.com
9781578268078, $18.00, HC, 224pp, ww.amazon.com

Synopsis: "The Warrior's Book of Virtues: A Field Manual for Living Your Best Life" is a compendium of time-tested principles for succeeding in life through the understanding and development of character, virtues represent the moral excellence of a person. From discipline to prudence, fortitude to faith, the warrior virtues presented in these pages are guaranteed to transform your life to one of meaning and purpose.

"The Warrior's Book of Virtues" uses the battle-tested principles of the United States Marine Corps to help everyone live their best life in easy and practical ways.

Don't settle for less, and don't make excuses for yourself. Become inspired to achieve your full potential and complete every objective you set. Adapt and overcome.

Critique: Offering a unique and effective approach, "The Warrior's Book of Virtues: A Field Manual for Living Your Best Life" is an unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Warrior's Book of Virtues" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Nick Benas, USMC, is a former United States Marine Sergeant and Iraqi Combat Veteran. He's the author of Mental Health Emergencies and Tactical Mobility. He travels around the United States training individuals on how to recognize a developing mental illness and how to prevent someone from slipping into a crisis. Nick attended Southern Connecticut State University for his undergraduate degree in Sociology, and for his M.S. in Public Policy. He has been featured by more than 50 major media outlets for his business success and entrepreneurship, including Entrepreneur Magazine, Men's Health, ABC, FOX, ESPN, and CNBC.

Matthew Bloom enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves where he spent eight years and did two combat tours to Iraq. During this time he worked at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility as a counselor and assistant therapist for incarcerated offenders. Matt then worked as law enforcement at the Department of Veterans Affairs. After getting his Masters in Social Work, he then worked five years as a licensed social worker. Matt is currently a police officer in Pittsburgh, PA. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, he attended Penn State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

Richard "Buzz" Bryan is currently the Outreach Coordinator for the West Palm Beach VA medical center. He previously served as the OEF/OIF Transition Patient Advocate (TPA) for the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN4) based in Pittsburgh, PA for ten years, working specifically with Iraq & Afghanistan veterans. Buzz was a member of the Navy/Marine Corps team and retired from the United States Navy in July 2011 after 22 years of honorable service as a Fleet Marine Force Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman.


The Humor Shelf

Bears Don't Care About Your Problems
Brendan Leonard
Mountaineers Books
1001 SW Klickitat Way, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98134-1161
www.mountaineersbooks.org
9781680512700, $18.95, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com

Synopsis: If you've ever considered the absurdity of sleeping on the ground in a place where bears live, pooping in a bag on a glacier, or trying to teach someone you love a sport that scares them to the point of loudly threatening to kill you in front of strangers, "Bears Don't Care About Your Problems" will make you laugh out loud -- not just once or twice but over and over and over again.

Author Brendan Leonard is part Dave Barry, part Gary Larson, and 100 percent twisted in his own unique fresh way and showcases his genuine flair for originality in accounts unexpectedly arising from Everyman and Everywoman adventurers.

Critique: A fully absorbing, inherently fascinating, and laugh out loud funny, the 86 essays comprising "Bears Don't Care About Your Problems" is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Humor collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of anyone who has every enjoyed or deplored an outdoor experience that "Bears Don't Care About Your Problems" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.95).


The Political Science Shelf

A Crisis Wasted
Reed Hundt
Rosetta Books
www.RosettaBooks.com
9781948122313 $27.50 hc / $15.99 Kindle amazon.com

Synopsis: This book is the compelling story of President Obama's domestic policy decisions made between September 2008 and his inauguration on January 20, 2009.

Barack Obama determined the fate of his presidency before he took office. His momentous decisions led to Donald Trump, for Obama the worst person imaginable, taking his place eight years later.

This book describes these decisions and discusses how the results could have been different. Based on dozens of interviews with actors in the Obama transition, as well as the author's personal observations, this book provides unique commentary of those defining decisions of winter 2008 - 2009.

A decade later, the ramifications of the Great Recession and the role of government in addressing the crisis animate the ideological battle between progressivism and neoliberalism in the Democratic Party and the radical direction of the Republican Party. As many seek the presidency in the November 2020 election, all candidates and of course the eventual winner will face decisions that may be as critical and difficult as those confronted by Barack Obama. This book aims to provide the guidance of history.

Critique: A Crisis Wasted is a close study of President Barack Obama's defining decisions - specifically, those made in the months prior to his inauguration on January 20, 2009. At the time, the Great Recession was omnipresent, and both political parties were at an ideological crossroads on how to respond. Chapters focus on the actions and ideas that would become the Obama administration's economic stimulus, bank bailouts, and focus on healthcare reform. The Obama administration, beginning with these early decisions, would eventually lead to the rise of President Donald Trump. Author Reed Hundt, a member of the transition teams for the Clinton and Obama presidencies, does not hide his critical disappointment concerning Obama's choices: "Going forward, all the problems that needed solving in 2008-2009 are for the most part still begging for good governmental policies." Whether one agrees or disagrees with Hundt's perspective, A Crisis Wasted is an invaluable scrutiny, extensively researched and presented with clarity. A Crisis Wasted is highly recommended, especially for public library and college Political Science collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that A Crisis Wasted is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.99).


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


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