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Able Greenspan's Bookshelf
Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy
Anthony M. Annett
Georgetown University Press
3240 Prospect Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
9781647121426, $29.95, HC, 336pp
Synopsis: Economic inequality is skyrocketing. In a world of vast riches, millions of people live in extreme poverty, barely
surviving from day to day. All over the world, the wealthy's increasing political power is biasing policy away from the
public interest toward the financial interests of the rich. At the same time, many countries are facing financial fragility and
diminished well-being. On top of it all, a global economy driven by fossil fuels has proven to be a collective act of
self-sabotage with the poor on the front lines.
A growing chorus of economists and politicians is demanding a new paradigm to create a global economy for the common
good. In "Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy", Anthony M. Annett unites insights in
economics with those from theology, philosophy, climate science, and psychology, exposing the failures of neoliberalism
while offering us a new model rooted in the wisdom of Catholic social teaching and classical ethical traditions. Drawing
from the work of Pope Leo XIII, Pope Francis, Thomas Aquinas, and Aristotle, Annett applies these teachings to discuss
current economic challenges such as inequality, unemployment and underemployment, climate change, and the roles of
business and finance.
"Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy" is an ethical and practical guide to readers of all
faiths and backgrounds seeking to create a world economy that is more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable for all.
Critique: With the current pandemic rapidly expanding the economic inequality gap between the 1% and the 99%,
"Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy" is a timely and clarion call for reform and the
restitution of economic fairness and justice. It would serve the economically privileged well to give "Cathonomics: How
Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy" a careful reading because there is always the example of the 18th
Century French Revolution solution for when the economic inequality gap becomes so wide and so deep that it is
unsupportable and the result is a bloody revolution when the poor rise up against the wealthy -- despite their control of the
politicians, the military, and the police. While a highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community,
governmental, college, and university library Contemporary Economics & Ethics collections, it should be noted that
"Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy" is also readily available in a digital book format
Editorial Note: Anthony M. Annett is a Gabelli Fellow at Fordham University and a senior adviser at the Sustainable
Development Solutions Network. He has a PhD in economics from Columbia University and spent two decades at the
International Monetary Fund, where he worked as a speechwriter to the managing director. He is also a member of the
College of Fellows of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.
Holy Wood: Movies Doing the Bible
9780578636887, $29.95, PB, 530pp
Synopsis: Be forewarned, "Holy Wood: Movies Doing the Bible" by author and humorist Phil Schedit is unlike any book
you have ever read about the movies!
"Holy Wood: Movies Doing the Bible" answers such questions as what if the pharaoh of Egypt could post on social media
using the moniker "@atmakeegyptgreatagain" and he describes his encounters with Moses? What if eighteen characters are
in a movie theater watching dozens of films about Bible stories, and they are free to comment or yell about absurdities and
errors they see on the screen? And for example, in the famous scene of the parting of the Red Sea in the Ten
Commandments what does a drunken defrocked minister yell when it parts from the wrong direction?
What if there is a radio station that has been broadcasting since the time of Noah? "Holy Wood: Movies Doing the Bible"
reveals that there is -- with the exception of the two times it is destroyed and the announcer, The Salty Dog, is killed each
time. First in the flood of Noah and the second time when he is playing the song, Great Balls of Fire as Sodom is being
As you enter this cinematic history be prepared to laugh out loud, as you see how "Holy Wood" has changed Bible stories.
By the time you finish "Holy Wood: Movies Doing the Bible" you will realize you have learned a few things while you were
laughing, and in some cases these things do make a difference.
Critique: Unique, funny, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Holy Wood: Movies Doing the Bible" is a great and
memorable read from cover to cover. A 'must read' selection for anyone who is a movie buff or who enjoys the biblical film
genre, "Holy Wood: Movies Doing the Bible" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and
university library Cinematic History & Contemporary Humor collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that
"Holy Wood: Movies Doing the Bible" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.95).
The Bloody Price of Freedom
Richard D. Heideman
Gefen Publishing House
c/o Storch 255 Central Ave #B-206, Lawrence, NY 11559
9789657023051, $29.95, HC, 296pp
Synopsis: Recent historic breakthroughs have introduced a new hope for peace in the Middle East. Following the lead of the
first two Arab League countries who entered into peace agreements with Israel (Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994) the
United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco each did so in 2020.
Time will tell if the dove of peace will touch down in the hearts and minds of the Arab people across the region and whether
or not these winds of change will result in a further departure from the century-old Arab League mandates of hatred against
The fact remains that since the emergence of the modern Zionist movement in the nineteenth century, the idea of the
reestablishment of the Jewish national home in its ancient land has been under assault. With the publication of "The Bloody
Price of Freedom", author Richard D. Heideman traces the battle the democratic State of Israel has faced for its existence
since its legally sanctioned establishment in 1948.
Heideman deftly analyzes the insidious attacks; maligning worldwide propaganda; economic, academic, and other boycotts;
as well as the misapplication of international law in the United Nations and elsewhere that have been leveraged against
Israel. A special section on the International Court of Justice's 2004 nonbinding advisory opinion on the construction of
Israel's terrorism-prevention security fence includes detailed illustrative maps.
Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Bloody Price of Freedom" is a
meticulously documented volume and essential reading for students, academia, governmental policy makers, and non-
specialist general readers interested in the subject of the demonization of Israel and the continuing antisemitic attacks upon
the Jewish people world wide. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university
library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Bloody Price of Freedom" is also readily available
in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.84).
Editorial Note: Richard D. Heideman is a highly acclaimed attorney in Washington, DC, who represents American victims
of terror and their families. He has been passionately involved in Holocaust-era assets litigation and has submitted amicus
filings in support of Israel and the Jewish people at the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the
Polish Constitutional Tribunal, and the US Supreme Court. Richard's communal leadership has included serving as
President of B'nai B'rith International, Chair of the Institute for Law and Policy at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law,
Chair of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Lawyers Committee, and currently as President of the American
Zionist Movement. His expertise has been widely recognized; he has been invited to testify before the US Congress. Richard
also co-chairs the Israel Forever Foundation.
Diane Donovan's Bookshelf
Under the Great Elm
Yondering Star Press
9781737968405, $14.95 Paper/$24.99 Hardcover/$6.99 ebook
Under the Great Elm, A Life of Luck & Wonder is recommended for literary readers looking for evocative works that
capture life and enlightenment across America.
The great elm is the narrator's "companion through the prairie years" of his Western Springs, Illinois childhood. Its sweeping
limbs of boyhood refuge and structure introduce a vivid story that moves from Illinois to California in a search for "a better
place that would match our expanded spirits."
The author's reflections on the roots of his childhood returns in a different form as his story moves away from childhood to a
theatrical career on Broadway and adult pursuits: "The asphalt world of New York was soul deadening. In the bleakness of
my surroundings, I summoned scenes from the movie Friendly Persuasion and lost myself in a book I'd spotted at an East
Village bookstore, Pleasant Valley. Meadows of clover, clear running springs, lowing cows, and a writer named Louis
Bromfield, turning sod and reclaiming a farm in the Ohio sunshine, sustained me. Whenever I lost my way in these grey
years and forgot what mattered, scenes from Pleasant Valley and its sequel, Malabar Farm, returned me to the land of the
For all its bucolic roots, Under the Great Elm is like an explosion as the narrator moves his experience from rural to urban
roots, encounters military and spiritual challenges that both stymie him and open his eyes to the world, and brings readers
along on a ride that moves from past lives to present and future expectations.
The sea changes and journey move author and readers through spiritual, psychological, and physical changes that shake the
foundations of belief and perception alike as the saga moves from America to India and Europe.
The sense of wonder, enchantment, and growth that accompany these journeys provides armchair readers with a "you are
there" feel of emotional transformations that are engrossing and, often, unexpected.
The result is a literary piece that belongs in a range of collections, from those that feature autobiographical explorations to
others that focus on spiritual or psychological growth opportunities and the search for a place to truly call home.
Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon
Twenty Two House Publishing
9781777908812, $14.99 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon is the whimsical fantasy story of Eli, a "strange yet adventurous creature
who deeply cares for all the animals of the enchanted forest."
From Eli's feathered ears and purple eyes to a beautiful night forest where a mystery evolves ("Strange sugar crystals had
begun coating the forest at night, turning anyone who touched them into hard rock candy."), Eve Cabanel crafts a gorgeous
picture book story packed with magic, from shooting stars and legends to a wise grandfather who may hold the key to a rock
Parents who choose Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon for read-aloud will find plenty of detail accompanying
the lovely illustrations, an adventure that includes sound effects and dialogue between characters, and a dragon whose
sadness may be contributing to the dilemma Eli and her bunny friend Luna face as their friends turn into rock candy.
Fairies, unicorns, and magic...what's not to love? All these trappings of a fine fantasy adventure include plenty of detail to
bring this world to life, cementing it with a mystery that sends Eli and her friends on a journey through different
Success is not a given and not set in stone, and that is is one of the more delightful elements to this story. Added attraction
lies in its depth and descriptions, which lends not to one night's read-aloud adventure, but many.
Kids who choose this book's paragraphs of action and description for individual pursuit and adults who pick it for
read-aloud will find the saga evocative, warm, and thought-provoking beyond its adventure component.
Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon is highly recommended for libraries and adults seeking more depth and
detail from their picture book choices than is usually presented for younger audiences.
This approach, and its exceptionally lovely drawings, make for a standout book that's easy to love.
The Mad Duck Coalition
c/o Big Ripple Books|
Walter Schmerz is a petty officer on a Navy ship, in training in the Philippines at the U.S. Navy Base at Olongapo. What
evolves during this experience turns out to be more challenging than preparing for a military engagement. Walter and his
crewmates find themselves challenged in a moral and ethical arena that leads them to commit crimes neither the Navy nor
they will ever forget.
As he experiences a milieu in which "craziness is the plan of the day," Walter finds his place in the shore patrol team, makes
choices about his actions and faces their consequences, and juggles alcohol and duty, along with his peers.
From combat theater and military tests to radioman challenges and romantic interludes (complete with graphic sexual
descriptions and scenes), Liberty Call covers Walter's training on more than one level, capturing the daily life and
challenges of the Navy environment and juxtaposing it with stories of substance abuse, twisted visions, and lives that teeter
on the edge of control.
Dennis Doherty does an exceptional job of portraying the different levels of trouble and challenge that a Navy man can
experience abroad. From motives and consequences for actions to lessons on life, death, and love, Walter's growth and
dilemmas are detailed in a manner that will especially appeal to military or ex-military readers, as well as general-interest
His descriptions of history and events are vivid: "Things with Iran were hot since the hostages were taken. The volume of
message traffic had bloated. Battle lines were being drawn. More ships into the Arabian Sea, into the Persian Gulf itself.
The Iranians sent P3s and second-hand U.S. destroyers out to recon the fleet, each appearance prompting a flash report from
the forward picket. The Russians accelerated activity and the usual cat and mouse games intensified. Rumors abounded
among officers and crew. Everyone was caught between the dread of battle and the excitement of involvement, secretly
longing for action. But not now, now that it might happen. Contingencies. Al told of the time they were making a simple R
and R cruise from Yokosuka to Pusan and got mugged in Sasebo, where they loaded some spooks and a van on board and
spent the next month chasing a Russian aircraft carrier all over the North Pacific. "Bravo Zulu. Keep charging." Everyone
got gedunk ribbons. Contingencies: Russians, pirates, Boat People, Iranians - mopping up from their nation's previous
adventures. Walter Schmerz juggling it all in the fluorescent hysteria of radio central on the USS Outland, frigate. Looking
ahead, beyond the Philippines to Indian Ocean contingencies. That was a mistake. Heavy weather."
As internal threats from Chief Parma and external forces collide, an eye-opening story evolves that is powerful in its
unexpected developments, made all the stronger for its roots in a real-life story.
Highly recommended for any military reader or collection, but surprisingly accessible to general-interest readers, Liberty
Call is thoroughly engrossing, packed with action and moral dilemma, and is thought-provoking right up to its unexpected
The Back Forty
Darrell W. Gurney
Hunter Arts Publishing
The Back Forty: 7 Essential Embraces to Launch Life's Radical Second Half outlines the basic tenets of an approach to life
that maintains that midlife is a time to revise perspectives to reach for new opportunities for growth and fulfillment. It's a
welcome antidote to the notion that midlife begins the slow slide into inability and retirement from life, providing readers
with an inspirational survey of these opportunities and how they may be realized. Consider it a perfectly timed tool for
reevaluation brought on by "The Great Resignation" occurring in today's world economy.
Making the most of and cultivating these 'back forty' years involves re-evaluating and embracing past experience,
present-day objectives, and future perspectives.
It involves identifying one's gifts, values, and objectives - which means that one of the prerequisites to using The Back Forty
effectively involves the reader's willingness to closely examine their lives and make changes that lead to a new or redefined
purpose in life.
This process is clearly outlined from the beginning: "Just as the term "commencement" is used for graduation ceremonies,
which mark the end of a course of education and the beginning of a next stage, I was at my own commencement in midlife.
It was time for me to begin. Not to start over. Not to be renewed or revitalized. Not to be re-invented. It was clear to me that
I wasn't to be re-anything-ed. I started to clearly see that everything that had come before had perfectly prepared me for this
commencement and that I was entering my own "Back Forty" to be who I came here to be and to do what I came here to do.
Readers should be prepared to write in a Back Forty Freedom Fliers Journal, as this engagement is part of the process of
re-examination and reconsideration. At each point in the step-by-step instructional, Darrell W. Gurney adds his own life's
processes to reinforce direction and new applications: "I'll share my own abbreviated sequence of life events compiled from
my exploration several years ago and then show you how I plotted those onto my own Back Forty Initiation Timeline" (from
"Embrace 5: Your Initiation").
These personal reveals serve as reinforcing examples to the exercises, which are designed to guide readers through their
own self-examination process.
Whether readers are on the cusp of or well into midlife, The Back Forty: 7 Essential Embraces to Launch Life's Radical
Second Half offers many opportunities for not just re-envisioning the second half of life, but creating a solid game plan to
make leading up to it in prior years.
Self-help readers seeking an inspirational program to guide them through negative times and positive possibilities will find
that embarking on the Back Forty program offers many new perspectives to help guide all ages into a better future.
9781950743674, $16.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Reckoning Waves is the second book in the Panic River trilogy, and takes place four years after the events presented in
Having fled from the shooting that involved him, Corey has spent a good amount of time reinventing his life, even changing
his last name as well as his entire life and interests. Only his mother and his best friend Billy bridge his past and present
worlds...that, and the nightmares that return him to everything he fled from, despite his best efforts to forget.
One would think that moving to California and becoming involved in the painting community would be far enough away
from the Midwest, but the past has a way of resurfacing. When Corey finds himself involved in a new love relationship with
a man, he is forced to not only reexamine that past and the truths that brought him freedom and love, but must return to the
Midwest to confront his demons.
Usually, a book sequel requires that readers have familiarity with the ongoing story line; but one of the benefits of
Reckoning Waves is that while it enhances and expands its predecessor, prior familiarity with the story is not a requirement
in order for newcomers to be completely absorbed in Corey's new life and dilemmas.
Elliott Foster crafts a story that focuses on geographic differences between West and Midwest and changing connections and
love relationships, providing insights into how these new steps into a revised world can contribute to a different view of the
past - and the courage to confront it.
As a new murder involves Corey in events that mirror what happened long ago, readers are brought into both mother Ginny
and son Corey's lives as everything changes.
Foster is especially adept at detailing the logic Corey employs, both in changing his identity and life and embarking on new
relationships affected by his decisions. These psychological depth and involvements are solidly intriguing and
thought-provoking, enhancing a vivid tale that moves from past choices to present-day consequences.
From sexual encounters and legal investigations to ethical concerns ("I think that almost everyone can harm another person
under the wrong circumstances. Everyone."), Reckoning Waves juxtaposes a story of retribution, redemption, and recovery
with one of love and revenge.
What can cause the past to melt away, and how can everything turn from hopeful and positive to impossibly challenging, in
Readers won't anticipate the epilogue that concludes this story, nor the forces that work both with and against Corey to help
him create a different life.
While it's a fine addition to its series, Reckoning Waves also stands nicely alone as a thought-provoking story of Midwest
lives, same-sex relationships, and new possibilities for redemption. This focus will attract a wide audience, from readers of
Midwestern fiction and literature to those looking for engrossing stories of evolving relationships and the challenge of
forging a new life.
Flippity Floppity Wing
Hayden K. Billingy
Sugar Apple Books
When Butterfly loses her wing in the picture book tale Flippity Floppity Wing, suddenly everything changes.
She's used to dancing and singing joyously as she flies over the flowers, until one wing becomes stuck on a branch and pulls
away, leaving her crippled.
Hayden K. Billingy explores Butterfly's loss and suddenly-changed life through appealing rhymes: "Oh, my wing! My wing!
My flippity-floppity wing! Where can I go without my wing? Oh, what an awful, awful thing to happen to my
A wise owl offers advice, and other forest creatures try to help her mend her wing and return her to the life she knew, but all
seems lost. Without her wing, she is land-bound and cannot fly or experience freedom.
As the story progresses, young picture book readers receive an astute examination of loss, grief, and growth that helps them
understand both choices in reacting to adversity and different possibilities inherent in changed conditions.
Julia Sarapata de Carvalho's lovely illustrations capture the little butterfly girl's world in vibrant colors, injecting a
multicultural, visual perspective into the story of loss and adaptation.
Parents will find the book's uplifting message, lilting rhyme, and portrait of maintaining positivity and adjusting well to
even the devastating circumstances in life is especially relevant as COVID changes the world.
This unusual opportunity to teach important lessons to young picture book readers should be on the shelves of any library
looking for picture book portraits of positivity and courage.
A Fairy on My Sleeve
620 Herndon Parkway, #320, Herndon, VA 20170
Picture book readers who enjoy stories about fairies will find A Fairy on My Sleeve an attractive tale of magic, with
illustrations by David Gnass bringing the story to life.
Mari Sherkin's gentle rhyme introduces the possibilities of finding magic in the everyday world with an invitation to kids to
observe the world closely: "If you look closely through the green/there are wonders to be seen:/that little glimmer in the
sky/caught from the corner of your eye."
The story is narrated by an adult, who reflects on her childhood belief in magic and her adult decision not to believe in or
read fairy tales any longer...until something happens to change her too-adult perspective.
As she explores a delightful, strange world right under her nose, kids and read-aloud adults receive a charming story of
magic, observation, and an adult's determination to prove something that is considered to be impossible.
A Fairy on My Sleeve is a compelling story that takes a different approach to not just fairies, but the contrasts between
magic, reality, and believing in something different.
The gorgeous drawings highlight the examination of adult pragmatism and the conversion to believing in new things,
bringing a delightful blend of whimsy and thought-provoking wonder to kids and their adult readers alike.
A Fairy on My Sleeve is recommended for all ages (whether they believe in magic or not), and for young reader library
collections seeking a different mix of adult and child perspectives about the world.
An Impossible Life
Rachael Siddoway and Sonja Wasden
The Gap Press, LLC
9781733619493, $19.99 Paper/$9.99 Kindle/$5.95 Audio
An Impossible Life is a rare insider's chronicle of mental illness as seen from two collaborative perspectives: a mother and
Sonja Wasden, a mother of three, was only thirty-five when she was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital by her
husband and her father. A suburban housewife who appeared to have it all, Sonja resisted the possibility of mental illness,
maintaining that the chaos that surrounded her life was not of her making.
Daughter Rachael Siddoway's work in making her mother's experiences and story public is to be celebrated, as is her choice
in capturing her mother's life in a manner that stays true to her mother's perspective. As Rachael puts it in her introduction:
"I may have put in the hours to write this story, but she put in the years and lived it. This story was written in first-person
narrative as Sonja. Writing this book with my mother is my love letter to her."
And, what a tribute it is!
The story's first-person perspective captures the extent of Sonja Wasden's emotions as she falls deeper into the trap of
mental illness: "Well, I do have a somewhat religious question," I admitted.
She nodded and smiled, encouraging me to continue.
"I go to church every week, read my Scriptures, and pray, yet I feel all the punishment of a sinner."
"What do you mean by punishment?"
"You know in the Bible where it talks about the weeping, gnashing of teeth, and being cast out into outer darkness?"
"That's how I feel inside. I feel like I'm in outer darkness."
Sonja's ties to her life, her family, and her world are shaken and examined, and readers receive insights into how it feels to
descend into a mentally challenging place with only one compelling reason to stay the course: "I could disappear from the
earth, but since my children needed me, I remained."
As life goes on and trials and tribulations affect her trajectory, the manner in which Sonja finds the courage to move on, and
the impact of her choices on her family, are brought to life: "I started burying my grief deep, deep in the abyss of my soul,
never to be found. I wrapped my arms tightly around myself and closed my eyes as God gave me strength. I felt pieces of my
soul coming apart; for now, I would use these broken fragments to provide me with just enough strength to save my family,
not knowing if I would ever be whole again."
Plenty of books about mental illness are on the market today. Some are written by family members; some by those who have
emerged from the other side to reflect on their experiences; and some come from therapists who document events from their
side of the couch.
Few hold the dual ability to illustrate both a mother's anguish and struggles and the intersection of faith and recovery which
offers a way out for mother and daughter. More so than most books about mental illness, An Impossible Life: The Inspiring
True story of a Woman's Struggle from Within succeeds in capturing the many facets of life that coexist to influence a
spiraling descent and recovery process alike.
Replete with powerful, vivid inspections of an evolving and devolving world, An Impossible Life should be at the top of
any reading list. Mental illness needs to be better understood on a personal level. This story provides a key to understanding,
enlightenment, and love.
An Impossible Wife
The Gap Press
9781733619448, $19.99 Paper/$5.95 Audio/$3.99 Kindle
An Impossible Wife: Why He Stayed: A True Story of Love, Marriage, and Mental Illness is the second book in Rachael
Siddoway's 'Impossible' series about mental illness. It comes from daughter Siddoway's examination of her mother's mental
illness and its impact on the family, presenting a close inspection of a marriage challenged.
The family's courage in sharing their individual and family insights and experiences is to be commended. An Impossible
Wife goes where few books on mental illness dare investigate, closely inspecting the impact of illness on a marriage and the
factors which influence the relationship's preservation against all odds.
As in the prior book, An Impossible Life, which presented her mother's first-person view of her world, An Impossible Wife
is again a loving tribute crafted by a daughter who captures these events in a manner few other mental illness books reveal.
Her attention to an honest portrayal of events and their foundations in love is outlined from the beginning: "My parents' love
story is not the kind I grew up watching in Disney movies. Their love is a complicated love, and at times an impossible one.
Yet I think their story is worth sharing, despite its absence of simplicity. It's through great struggle that heroes are realized,
and it's through even greater sorrow that two young people can age into one. And that's exactly what happened to my
parents. This is their love story."
And, so it is.
Rachael Siddoway holds the rare ability to walk in another's shoes...in this case, a husband and father who juggled his
family responsibilities and his wife's mental illness.
This piece is narrated in the third person as it observes husband Mitch's quandaries and self-inspection: "How did self-harm
become a part of our life? Mitch thought. Had he been too dismissive of her symptoms? Could he have prevented this if he
had forced her to get individual therapy? He had his fair share of fights with Sonja, but he never forced her to do anything.
Was that the problem here? Was he relying too heavily on her to make choices that would help her get better? He wondered
if he was going crazy along with Sonja. She was getting sicker and sicker, and he was becoming more accustomed to it, like
it was normal."
More so than most stories about mental illness, An Impossible Wife holds the special ability to delve under the skins of the
entire family as they observe, react to, and are buffeted by a mother's mental illness in different ways.
Most of all, the focus on husband Mitch's various coping methods at different stages of his wife's illness makes for gripping,
personal review of the special challenges that mental illness brings to a life partner: "Often, the mentally ill and their loved
ones feel helpless and hopeless. But Mitch knew he needed hope to get through this, so he hoped for the best and prepared
himself for the worst. He took Sonja's name off the house, the cars, his bank account, all his credit cards, and anything that
would provide her a way to access money. During the week that she was in the hospital, he bought a safe where he would
lock all checks, credit cards, and his wallet. Mitch wondered if Sonja would get off that runaway train, and if she did, what
stop they would end up at next."
As a story of mental illness, An Impossible Wife is hard-hitting. However, as a love story, it is especially astute in its
examination of how love is tested but remains alive against all odds.
Any family who has ever struggled with mental illness and any reader who would better understand how spouses cope - and
remain committed and in love - needs this story of inspiration and survival, which should be a top priority for library
collections interested in accounts of mental illness and recovery.
The Winged Child
Creative James Media
9781735392639, $12.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Many have dreamed of flying, in childhood: a memory that rarely surfaces in dreams in adulthood. But, in The Winged
Child, Appalachian girl Millicent McTeer does more than dream. She realizes those dreams when she is forced to create a
new life and identity as politics changes her world.
Flying isn't the only topic in The Winged Child, a tale of magical realism that embraces humans who can be dragons,
machines, and demons.
The story opens not with Millicent's changing world, but with Wendl's dream of walking alone into danger. From the start,
descriptions weave between fantasy and reality as Wendl faces his fear and finds it's actually a device from the real world:
"The vibration swelled and gathered into an audible rumble. The darkness ahead paled into a gray fog, swallowing up the
railbed where Wendl stood. The rails either side of him gleamed in the rising light, and the rumble gathered and grew into a
deafening roar like the voice of a dragon. Wendl turned to behold the blinding and terrible eye bearing down upon him. He
might have taken it for a dragon, but there were no dragons yet among the Fallen. It was only a train, and Wendl was
standing in its way."
From this introductory encounter, it should be apparent that readers are in for a treat. Henry Mitchell's vivid visionary
descriptions and his characters both come to life as characters face the boundaries between reality, fantasy, and threats that
demand they transform on many different levels, both personally and politically.
While fantasy elements embedded within the tale make it attractive to fantasy audiences, it would be a shame to limit The
Winged Child to these readers by pegging it as a fantasy alone.
The story features thought-provoking social, political, and psychological insights to draw and delight readers across genres,
posing questions that even tread lightly into spiritual realms as Millicent finds other travelers on her path and begins to
wonder if her choices, life, and actions are being influenced and directed in some manner.
Lessons come from all kinds of unexpected places: "...the plants had become his prevailing preoccupation, to the extent that
Eric Lee had become, to all who knew him in Laurel, Eric Treetalker. When he was not tending his garden, he was thinking
about it. When he was asleep, he dreamed it. "There's a deeper language in them," he tried to explain to Millicent.
"Something more subtle than the few words we catch. They want to teach us, but we don't have the tools to learn."
From an abiding presence that Millicent taps to the process by which others uncover their own special gifts, the Appalachian
world and that of fantasy blossom and entwine in a compelling saga of journeys, changes, and layers of worlds that coexist
with our own. Peel them away for a profoundly thought-provoking story that holds its roots in both reality and other
"The past is ever within touch, Dry McTeer," he said. "That was your first lesson. The past is as near as the future and the
future is only the becoming of our present unfolding. As there are roads leading us from place to place, so there are ways
between times, that are plain to see if we pay attention to our journey."
"I've paid attention," Millicent said quietly, making a statement rather than an argument. "The times, on closer inspection all
turned out to look the same."
Are You Okay, Elliot Hart?
Kate S. Martin
Creative James Media
9781956183900, $12.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
It's rare that a book title is catchy enough to mention in a review, but Are You Okay, Elliot Hart? grabs the young adult
reader, promising something different, and finishes the job by juxtaposing two disparate lives that embark on a journey
together: a bully and a victim.
Elliot ("Matchstick") has spent the last years of his life "making himself invisible." He's fine-tuned the art of vanishing into
the woodwork, caring for his mother at home and hiding from school bully Josh, who harbors his own secrets and reasons
for acting out.
It seems impossible that these two could set off on a shared experience, given the dance they perform in public, but their
hidden pain and secrets create an unexpected situation when both independently decide to leave for the big city, and wind up
Kate S. Martin explores these disparate experiences and viewpoints in alternating chapters clearly marked with each young
narrator's name, making it easy to move between their experiences and perspectives.
She also creates some intriguing twists, as Josh finds himself the victim much in the way he's treated Elliot: "I prepare
myself for the worst, tell myself I deserve this. For all the crap I've given Matchstick over the years, I deserve this."
Each character taps their hidden powers, reassesses his choices and options, and finds renewed and surprising insights from
the changed relationship with one another. Martin creates an interplay of emotions and experience that provides young
readers with both action and thought-provoking moments as she considers bullies, victims, and their dreams.
Between blossoming romantic interests with girls to Elliot's transformation from a victim to someone with purpose and
courage, teens will find much to relish in Are You Okay, Elliot Hart?
All this gives Elliot the courage to speak out: "Please, next time you look over at the fat kid, the quiet kid, the smelly kid, or
even the mean kid. Please, stop for a moment and ask why?"
Are You Okay, Elliot Hart? features the rare ability to impart understanding that empowers the shy, the victim, and the bully
alike. It is highly recommended reading for young adults who would better understand what lies behind the emotional
responses of those around them.
Bob Van Laerhoven
9798451056851, $14.92 Hardcover/$11.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle
When is the right time to confront corruption, and what happens when that corruption moves from political systems to
influence individual choice?
Musician Alejandro Juron has just been released from prison after his country's dictatorship begins to loosen its grip. To
members of the resistance, this signals hope that he will return to them to contribute to another uprising, but in Alejandro's
Lie, the spark of revolution has changed.
Alejandro's betrayal of his fellow musician and friend, combined with years behind bars to reflect on his treachery, has
altered his heart. The outside world he steps into has also changed. As he faces this new world with music in hand and his
heart newly protected from the passions of inflaming revolution, Alejandro grapples both with the new political milieu
outside and his own aching soul within.
It was his betrayal that led to his fellow musician Victor being tortured to death. Unmoved by his observation of youth who
are determined to "open the doors to democracy" through a defiance that cost him both his friendship and his soul,
Alejandro is no longer inspired to protest, create inspirational music that fans the flames of revolution, or even pursue his
As political, social, and personal forces break through his ennui with new opportunities that even Alejandro can't deny, the
story enters the territory of a thriller, which will delight audiences who appreciate both literary and suspense elements in
As Alejandro moves back into a connected world of passion on many levels, Bob Van Laerhoven captures new
opportunities, observations, and choices that drive not just Alejandro, but those he loves and hates: "You're standing there in
the corner with Pelaron, singing and poking the dragon," he said as he jumped over the ropes of the ring and hopped nimbly
on the springy canvas. "I'm storming wildly towards you because I love Pelaron, and we start fighting. Shall we try that for a
Thriller readers will anticipate the high-octane action that permeates this story, but they may not expect the powerful
undercurrents of guilt, love, treachery and redemption that influence many of Alejandro's decisions. This blend of
psychological and moral inspection and politically charged action explores the Latin American milieu and culture in a
manner that will keep readers thoroughly engaged.
Those who want to absorb the look, feel, and challenges of living under, defying, or bowing down to a military dictatorship
will find Alejandro's Lie a powerful reflection on the forces that oversee average lives. The thriller components evolve into
a heart-touching history to draw important connections between individuals and social conditions.
While thriller readers will be its main audience, Alejandro's Lie is highly recommended as a mainstay of any literary fiction
collection strong in Latin American political, cultural, and social affairs.
9798985095609, $4.99 ebook
Cozy mystery readers who look for more than a light dose of humor that permeates unexpected conundrums will relish the
tone and style of Dead Cereus, which packs a punch with puns, perplexing situations, and plants.
The rare night-blooming cereus plant will blossom at a gala planned to celebrate its opening, but audiences attracted to the
spectacle include a clever killer who challenges Holly's life. Her scholarship at Shellesby College is on the line, but blows to
her reputation and life goals set her adrift as her plot to become Professor Ogletree's intern goes awry.
She joins forces with William Smith, a sexy master gardener who takes care of all the rare plants and woos her with meals,
plants, and passion, but the elusive killer keeps them guessing as the threats mount.
As romance, amazing food, and deadly struggles ensue, readers will find Kira Seamon's sense of humor spices events to
create a spunky, determined, beautiful, amazing character whose close encounters are vividly depicted.
The result is a story that excels in the unexpected, from the twists and turns Holly takes in pursuit of her different goals to
the plant- and food-driven plot which embraces gardening and romance alike.
Readers who like passion, plants, and love stories are in for a treat with a cozy mystery that is both hilarious and
heartwarming. Dead Cereus is also highly recommended for any library interested in a cozy story that operates beyond the
usual small-town depictions.
The Land of Irgendwo
Grayson W. Hooper
River Grove Books
9781632994684, $7.99 ebook
The first book in the Shadebringer series opens with a military engagement that doesn't portend that this story will move
into fantasy realms.
Clyde Robbins is a soldier in the 1960s who confronts the feeling that his life is meaningless by joining the army, where he
discovers that survival in and of itself lends meaning to his efforts...but is something that he also fails to achieve.
However, death is not the end of matters. He awakens in the land of Irgendwo after dying in a firestorm of bullets, and this
is where the action really begins.
The first thing to note is that The Land of Irgendwo is not your usual formula fantasy adventure. The first-person
conundrums of Clyde hold their roots in real-world feelings and events from the start: "If you're so goddamn smart, why
aren't you going to college?"
"Because I'm poor white trash with no way out of here and no hope otherwise, so I figured I'd try my hand at killing
commies rather than my stepfather. Besides, I feel like I owe this county for all my free books." Of course, I didn't give a
rat's ass about the books, but I didn't feel like explaining why my life was otherwise meaningless."
Readers used to the injection of typical fantasy elements will first find that the story is well rooted in real-world scenarios.
They may initially find these elements confusing and too close for comfort as history and characters navigate familiar
territory that is not spiced with fantasy.
But, just wait. The story captures Clyde's gritty life, choices, dilemmas, and finally his death, then moves into other worlds
with a deft attention to detail and surprises which defy any notion of a formula reading experience.
The language is up-front and in your face. This may stymie some, but is entirely in keeping with the characters and events,
and will delight readers who seek a more refreshing tone of realism: "I hadn't even stepped off the bus before a pile of shit
fell in my lap. On our way to the reception station, some fuckhead from New York decided to get froggy, so I split his upper
The military isn't the only force that will "tear you down and rebuild you." So are events entirely beyond Clyde's predictions
or control as he enters a realm in which he faces dark magic, a rabid cult, and the impact of his own decisions, inadvertently
awakening a force that challenges the status quo in this dark world.
Battles, military encounters, and vivid inspections of good, evil, and the struggles between them permeate a story that also
presents solid moral and ethical inspections: "We have learned nothing." I boiled with anger. How could Keats have served
such evil? Why the hell would Jens do business with them? What kind of god would allow that place to exist? I shot a child
dead and went to lunch an hour later. The reminder snuffed my righteous anger. Perhaps I deserved to be there with
As Clyde trains for a very different kind of war and continues to face various demons, he participates in a chess game that
includes beasts, attacks, strange alliances and friendships, and traitors.
Does anyone really have free will?
These and other questions mark a fantasy adventure like few others, that will captivate on many different levels.
While The Land of Irgendwo is not recommended for those who look for clean, circumspect formula fantasy writing, it's a
top recommendation for readers who like their stories action-packed and unpredictable and their characters gritty and
determined. The changing scenarios are compellingly rich with philosophical and moral reflection that adds an extra
dimension to this hard-driving tale of loss, love, and lifetimes of struggle.
The Shadow in the Mirror
9781695221383, $10.25, PB, 421pp
B07ZL22QY2, $2.99 Kindle ebook (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
From the day he was born, Harold's arrival portended a force that threatened humanity. Fast forward to 1980, where Harold
is nine. The Shadow in the Mirror really begins at the moment of his birth, but moves forward in time to capture Harold's
growing awareness of another force in his reflection, a "serpent in disguise."
His own self-awareness of something "off" continues to grow as he realizes that friendships and relationships never evolve
in his life. Everyone around him senses the threat that he represents to the world, even if on a subliminal level.
The problem? The alter ego in the mirror is leading the successful life that Harold has always wanted. Who is evil and who
is the threat, in this scenario? The answers lie in this mirror shadow, two lives, and a destiny that portends changes for both
Roberto Guerra does a fine job of exploring the psychic forces of darkness and light that permeate Harold's world. He paints
these conflicts using vivid imagery that is delightfully evocative: "Harsh gusts of nocturnal wind blew across central
Indiana, whipping the trees into motion, rattling my bedroom window. It was as if I'd shaken everything up by disrupting
whatever was suppressing me. I swore that within that howling wind was an encrypted message trying to reach me."
As action and tension mount to place Harold in a position of realizing the truth about his birth and heritage, readers receive
a powerful supernatural horror story that is satisfyingly complex and hard to predict.
When Harold's dreams and nightmares begin to spill into reality, readers are treated to a tense story of parallel dimensions
and haunting influences that raise new questions. Who is the real Harold, and what is his place in the world?
Readers who look for blends of supernatural horror, psychological suspense, and turbulence from an "internal dungeon" will
find The Shadow in the Mirror replete with discovery and insights that keep changing Harold's perceptions of his life.
Its powerful saga of mental illness, alter egos and warped realities, and destiny will keep readers not only entertained, but
thinking about their own life realities and influences. It's highly recommended for readers of not just supernatural fiction and
horror, but psychological suspense.
Crossing the Pressure Line
Laura Anne Bird
Orange Hat Publishing
9781645382836, $18.95 Hardcover/$12.95 Paper
Crossing the Pressure Line tells of twelve-year-old Clare Burch's loss of her beloved grandfather and how this changes her
world, following her from her Chicago home to rural Wisconsin as she seeks to honor her grandfather's last wishes.
A special component of Clare's loss is that she feels that she should have been able to save Grandfather Anthony. And,
history threatens to repeat itself as Clare confronts her strengths and weaknesses and the possibility that she can't really
rescue much of anything.
As she interacts with Grandma Lulu and faces the fact that her friends are far away, unable to help her, Clare tests her
courage and abilities. She embarks on a journey into unfamiliar territory powered by her grandfather's last wishes and his
Laura Anne Bird gives middle grade readers a multifaceted story that examines a feisty young girl's upward momentum as
she works through her grief and faces new tests and opportunities during a summer that changes everything.
As time passes, Clare begins to set forth goals and solutions to her problems in a methodical manner. This allows her to
process her grief and loss when her grandmother contemplates further changes that will take even more away from their
This realistic account of loss and adjustments stands head and shoulders above most middle grade stories of family grief. It
recounts not just Clare's adaptations and challenges, but those of her family, as everyone makes different, new decisions for
Middle grades receive a richer examination of the ripples caused by a death in the family than most similar reads offer. They
will find Crossing the Pressure Line a compelling story that embraces not one, but the many facets of loss and change. Its
consideration of support systems and how all ages may both offer and use them lends to a story that is thoroughly absorbing
and thought-provoking as it reveals Clare's journey.
Tails From Down Under
620 Herndon Parkway, #320, Herndon, VA 20170
Tails From Down Under is a lively story about Paradise Royale, a girl who lives in Ophelia's Orphanage in Paris. Not the
Paris of coffee and cafes, but the underside of town, where the forgotten reside.
One day, a family comes to the orphanage to adopt her, specifically. And everything changes.
The opening chapter sets the stage for her adoption and move to America, but the heart of this tale actually begins nine years
Young readers will not anticipate the results of Paradise's transformation. She's moved to Los Angeles, barely recalls her
French language and heritage, and dreams of becoming a model with her best friend, eschewing school and failing classes,
as a result.
Her adoptive parents don't support her goals, and favor their birth son: "Mom and Dad had always been against my dreams.
Even though I was so appreciative that they adopted me, they seemed not to care about me; they only doted on Sam.
Although Sam was spoiled and got whatever he wanted, he'd grown to be a humble and nice guy. Sam was now a senior and
wanted to become a movie director. Mom and Dad fully supported him, but whenever I brought up modeling, they
immediately criticized my dream."
Despite her mother's efforts to dissuade her from her goal, Paradise meets a model on the airplane and solidifies her dreams.
Then she discovers the truth about her adoption, and why her adoptive parents seem to resent her. And everything changes
Tara Lala creates an engaging story that evolves into directions that pre-teen readers won't see coming.
As Paradise finds herself in a milieu where all the rules have changed and magic becomes part of her world, readers will
appreciate the juxtaposition of real-world dilemmas, problem-solving on many levels, and Paradise's search for a place and
feeling she really can call home.
Pre-teens will identify with her changes and adventures, and will appreciate how the story comes full circle in an unexpected
way. Tails From Down Under is an extraordinary work that pairs real-world with magical dilemmas so seamlessly that the
reader's mind and heart are delighted by Paradise's spunky charm.
Advanced elementary to middle grade readers will find Tails From Down Under captivating.
9781916118119, $8.99 paper/.99 ebook
It's unusual to see adventures for ages 7-12 set in Russia, but Mishka holds special appeal for dog lovers as well as sporting
an unusual setting. Kids receive an education about the geography and culture of Russia ("June in the Russian north was as
warm as December was cold.") as they read about dog Mishka's crime-busting exploits.
Think Lassie, but on a bigger scale. Mishka becomes involved in bank robberies, scares thugs and thieves, and saves
But, a dog story isn't all that is happening in Mishka. Mike Maroney takes the time to explore the emotions and growth of
those around Mishka, as well: "Max was sorry for being cross at Natasha. If there's one thing that makes you feel big, it's
someone being scared when you're not."
This injection of psychological inspection and keys to understanding interpersonal communications makes Mishka much
more than the story of a superhero dog. It's a study in bullying, friendships, relationship-building, and best friends and
family that brings all these elements into a vivid tale.
Kids may initially choose Mishka because of their love for dogs, but ultimately they will pursue the story because of its
descriptions of love between people and animals alike.
Adults who direct kids to Mishka will find its warmth and Russian backdrop simply delightful.
JUST ONE LIFE
JUST ONE LIFE (all caps intended) introduces Geoffrey Zukor, a walking disaster who navigates life on a tightrope of
His story opens with a vivid account of falling into a death pit of doom. Then the scenario moves from Geoffrey's feelings
and observations to a more dispassionate analysis of events that teases the mind with delightful tongue-in-check humor:
"Rather dramatic, the whole falling into the death-smeared pit of doom bit, wasn't it? Surprisingly though, drama was not
the objective here. What the man behind the curtain was going for was memorable. That's what you need in a situation like
this; you need m-e-m-o-r-a-b-l-e. For you see, Geoffrey's impending high-speed head butt with the cold, blood-stained rocks
of the canyon floor wasn't just some run-of-the-mill neural oscillation run amuck. No, this snippet of dream was something
Ernest Cohen adds footnotes that are anything but staid and scholarly during the course of exploring Geoffrey's navigation
of life: "Really Odin, old boy, it never dawned on anyone to potty-train the Valkyrie? Really?"
These add delightful embellishments to a tale replete in humorous plays on words, family life, and situations that keep
Geoffrey on his toes and dancing through life.
Even his hospitalization and release receive a special brand of attention that readers won't expect: "He wondered if he could
confide in him; tell him how damn strange it felt to be out of the hospital, to be out in the world, out on his own. Tell him
how everything on the drive overlooked the same, the same streets and buildings, yet it all felt so different, so unfamiliar. It
was so weird. But should he tell him that? Tell him that maybe, somehow, he'd gotten used to the hospital, used to having
everyone around, the endless barrage of smiling, familiar faces; tell him how maybe he had even come to feel part of
something, something larger than just his own recovery."
By now, it should be more than evident that Geoffrey's transformations will be extraordinary and unpredictable; both in his
life and in the story.
From how transitions in life are achieved and how sequestered people become free, to disturbing, strange events that
Geoffrey must address, readers receive a romp through life, politics, psychology, and realms of insanity that give them a
delightful run for their money.
Ernest Cohen succeeds in spinning both a hilarious and a thought-provoking yarn.
JUST ONE LIFE is a captivating reflection on life's ironies, challenges, and changing situations that both test and transform
the characters in different ways.
Its lively inspections and unexpected twists will keep readers involved to the end.
The Seekers: Soul Ties
9798504782874, $5.28 ebook; $14.73 paperback
The Seekers: Soul Ties will appeal to fantasy readers who like their adventure stories fast-paced and action-packed, but it
also presents an unusual format. It takes the form of two stories of couples who face different challenges as they tackle
changing threats from the natural world they thought they knew well.
Sabiri and Iskrila are forced to go to war to protect their village when a new force hits. They are igni: a fast, agile creature
on this world which sports "two legs ending with hooves, two arms, but also a tail. Unlike animals who walk on all fours,
the igni, as any sapient species of the Lands, preferred to walk upright, meaning on two legs. Each igni was two meters tall,
wide and muscular, making them the second strongest and biggest sapient species." They are unique, creative makers whose
curiosity can either pose trouble or offer a solution to the challenging new threats that plague the world.
Maria and Bacara's lives (they are also igni) revolve around a different village world. They, too, face mysterious attackers
who seem to have no specific reason for decimating their village. The only solution involves a quest to gain control of
magical artifacts that may hold power to protect their village from the attack or some other useful ability.
With various clans, good allies, dangerous enemies, unique species, close friendships, different goals, desires, and
perspectives, Anton Anderson crafts a complex, appealing world. He peppers his story with black and white illustrations
that add visual context to its characters and setting.
There are ancient, mysterious temples with magical doorways that lead you where you command them, magical fountains
that become full of running water at your single wish, and books that are crafted unnaturally well. There are encounters with
diverse species and a variety of colorful and dangerous flora and fauna.
Most of all, their quest involves satisfying their curiosity about the world and testing their courage and responses to it as all
four move outside their familiar comfort zones and into realms where the rules no longer apply.
Anderson's story seems a simple quest tale on one hand, but draws readers with a complex fantasy setting and evolving
relationships that often give pause for thought. Uncertain new alliances test everyone and bring with them new dilemmas as
the power of the artifacts becomes evident.
Will they tap this new force to save the world, or will they transform it?
The struggles these igni face within themselves and between one another makes for an involving fantasy that paints an
involving picture of creatures connected to the land, but somewhat disconnected from one another.
The adventure that drives them into unfamiliar territory is recommended reading for fantasy fans from advanced middle
school grades well into adult circles.
Terra Nova Books
9781948749770, $14.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
War Train is set in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and revolves around teen Mogi Franklin, who becomes involved in his
architect sister's refurbishing of an old hotel, only to find himself investigating its mysterious past.
An attic filled with treasures that needs to be emptied introduces Mogi to World War II history and mysteries, from the
Harvey Girls and bank robbers who pulled off a heist that has never been solved to family experiences during the war that
created changes, secrets, and extraordinary events.
Teen readers who choose War Train will find the history nicely embedded within this historical backdrop, all powered by
Mogi's present-day dilemmas as he uncovers more and more facts and mysteries that dovetail with his family's past.
Donald Willerton doses the story with a heavy hand of World War II facts, but assumes no prior reader knowledge of this
backdrop as he spins a yarn that keeps Mogi investigating and on his toes.
Chapters alternate between past events and present day, adding more characters into each era to bring both worlds to life.
These are clearly identified in chapter headings, so the flow between eras proves seamless, with each offering captivating
insights that keep readers engaged and moving forward.
The past decisions and events that lend to the future mystery makes for a story that juxtaposes adventure and discovery with
new revelations about the Castaneda Hotel, the famous Harvey House restaurant, and a mother's love for twins which
creates both a dilemma and a solution that resonates through the years.
Teens who choose War Train for its action and mystery will find themselves intrigued, entertained, and educated, all in
War Train is especially recommended for collections seeking a way of imparting World War II history to today's youth in a
manner that embraces both facts and entertaining adventure leading to new discoveries and revelations about the
How to Hunt a Bear
B09MHRBGDD, $7.99 Kindle
Readers of historical novels centered on World War II events will find How to Hunt a Bear a fine saga. It follows a Jewish
family from 1939, as Nazis enter their village, and is revealed from three perspectives. Eighty-seven-year-old Itzhak, a
nursing home resident in Jerusalem, seeks to document his family story; young Itzhak (Ichu) is seven years old at the
beginning of the war; and Maya, a family history genealogist, finds that her research into the Hauzer family legacy changes
As the story moves from 1939 Poland and first-person experiences and Jewish culture there to a grueling Russian winter in
1942, then to modern-day (2019) Holland, readers will find all the characters provide thought-provoking experiences.
Changing places and times are clearly labeled in chapter headings which clarify the back-and-forth perspectives and shifting
timelines that carry the family and readers from past to present.
Modern characters attempt to understand their place in the family history based on newly emergent knowledge about the
past, lending How to Hunt a Bear an excellent sense of interconnected heritages and Jewish cultural experiences.
These revelations are powerful strengths of the story, nicely answering the question contemporary young people may have
about the relevance of historical events to their modern lives: "I couldn't conceive how people had survived the war for so
many years, only to be unable to return to their homes, forced to spend a few more years in a DP camp and then embarked
for Israel, a country rising from the dust, where they would begin a new life from scratch, unwilling to let their darkest
memories and their lost loved ones hold them back, difficult as it may be. How did people start over after enduring that kind
The use of first-person observations brings these disparate worlds to life, strengthening the connections between characters
who share not just history, but Jewish culture.
These elements make How to Hunt a Bear a purposeful, revealing testimony to survival that is highly recommended for any
collection strong in Holocaust history and Jewish experience.
Anna Mitchell Hall
Cane Mill Press
9781737560432, $6.99 ebook/$9.99 paperback
Life After: Finding Strength And Spirit In Unexpected Change is a testimony to facing challenging changes with courage
and hope. Typically, such books center on loss. Anna Mitchell Hall's focus is on all types of transformative change (whether
they stem from loss or vastly altered directions in life) which bring with them new opportunities for reconsidering faith and
As chapters explore the skills for surviving and thriving life, Christian readers receive keys to adaptation and how to tap into
the kinds of religious support systems, concepts, and actions that keep them moving onward and upward.
Being Christian or even religious does not automatically translate to flexibility. The effort needs to be made to adapt to,
grow from, and embrace life expereinces: "As Christians, we are called to set our hearts and minds in such a way as to be
receptive to the inbreaking spirit of God. This can be one of the biggest challenges of our faith. Loving our neighbor is no
picnic but being open to changing our preferences and routines is a whole other ball game. We all have opportunities to be
transformed by the changes that come into our lives. Yet many of us, and many of the organizations we are a part of, remain
stubbornly static, unchanged, and even raging against the change that comes to our doors."
As Hall delves deeper into the riches and wisdom of transformation, readers begin to draw important inspirational
connections between Christian belief, life's progression and challenges, and the choices involved in adopting attitudes that
contribute to the world in a positive way.
Each step is clearly delineated and analyzed. These lessons also present room for journaling and daily admonitions ("What
might you need to let go of to make room for change?") as they teach in various ways - by example, author experiences and
insights, those of others she's heard of or encountered on her journey, and the intersection of spiritual and psychological
Readers who want a specific, inspirational blueprint to improving their own journeys after catastrophic loss or change will
find Life After even more pertinent and necessary in a world challenged by COVID and other paradigm-altering events.
Life After should be in Christian and self-help collections alike as a solid inspection of the routes that may be taken to
mitigate depression and fatalistic thinking.
The Pod Tower
9781291875683, $15.48 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
The Pod Tower blends the dystopian backdrop of a cold 2057 winter with a story of intrigue as a renegade who lives outside
of his technological world comes to realize that a family secret is threatening his son.
Marcus Calvert has rejected many social norms and made decisions that have negatively impacted his family life, but he
can't turn his back on either his past or his son Elliot's future. An added motivation for his newfound involvement in both is
the threat posed to his carefully construed lifestyle by this family secret.
Marcus begins a search for truth that holds frightening ramifications not just for his own life or his son's, but for the future
Pete Alexander paints a compelling portrait of a world not that far ahead of (or vastly different from) some of the directions
modern society is heading in. That makes this story all the more attractive. Marcus shapes his world with newfound
knowledge of actions made in 2009 by a middle-aged father whose irreversible decision causes consequences that ripple
into the future.
Marcus lives outside the Containment Walls and operates in a milieu replete with nature, despite constant threats to change
it in every way imaginable. Pete Alexander captures the look, feel, and focus of this world: "Calvert had always loved the
wind, whether just a soft summer breeze upon his skin or a full-on epic winter onslaught. To him, it was one of the last
touches of reality he could relate to in a world which, day by day, seemed hell-bent on becoming systematically poisoned
and technologically crippled. The very notion that it was a force too powerful to be changed or corrupted by the human race
was one he was able to draw some reassurance from."
Calvert believes that "society has changed for the worse, rather than the better." Many of his observations, insights, and
experiences will reverberate with modern readers who face their own dismay over social and environmental changes and
This is one reason why Alexander's The Pod Tower resonates so strongly. It contains many elements of modern angst and
dilemmas, and while it contains a futuristic dystopian backdrop, these concerns and the realistic portrait of a rebel drawn to
solve a long-standing mystery to change his own life and those around him makes for particularly engrossing reading.
Marcus has spent decades carefully avoiding the one thing he needs to confront. Readers who follow him on his adventure
will find both the setting and the psychology impeccably depicted and thoroughly compelling.
It's hard to craft a detailed work of social inspection within the larger context of a sci-fi adventure. Alexander has achieved
both of these goals, and The Pod Tower thus holds the ability to serve as not just an involving dystopian read, but a story
that holds discussion material for book clubs interested in community and individual transformation from the seeds of social
Prince Ewald the Brave
9798741692691, $15.00 Paper/$1.99 Kindle
In Prince Ewald the Brave, Prince Ewald Kenderley, in line to inherit the throne as the oldest in the family, faces a threat not
from outside the kingdom, but from within...from its own leader and king, his father.
King Jonnecht is a tyrant whose temper and violence threatens not just his family, but his kingdom. He operates in direct
opposition to the queen's kind ways, and Ewald's siblings have developed their own survival tactics designed to preserve
their lives and little else.
It's up to Prince Ewald to find a way to confront his father and king's rule to save not just the kingdom, but his family. How
can he defeat a ruler who holds the power to inject his attitude throughout his kingdom?
As Prince Ewald hones a plan, others also plot to bring down the tyrannical king: "The King of Osterik instead looked to the
mountains where he would soon send whole armies; from there, they hoped to charge down the western slopes, and like a
new river not to be stopped, push the Kenderleys all the way back to Bayrock, and there, smash the glass house that
Jonnecht was building to taunt his foes. He sighed. Ah, dreams."
Soldiers amass and battles begin as Ewald learns new tactics, both physical and mental, to challenge his powerful father's
It should be noted that while Prince Ewald the Brave is connected to a trilogy, it operates as a stand-alone prequel that
requires no prior familiarity with events to prove accessible and interesting even to newcomers who may have chosen it as a
singular fantasy adventure.
Another note is that, despite a cover that seems designed to appeal to young adults and preteen readers, the action and
deeper messages of this story will reach into adult fantasy reader circles.
What does it take to be a nobler, truer king rather than a dictator who appears to wield all the power? As Ewald tests his
boundaries and limitations and considers the choices he has in defeating a monster, the prince's changes and considerations
prove enlighteningly thought-provoking: "If the truth only needed itself to win, what a place Kensrik would be," the Prince
mused. "Too often it's about who's best at using force."
The result is a fantasy that will appeal to a wide age range as a determined prince is forced to consider what makes a better
ruler with an outcome that resonates with his values and the kind of world he wishes to influence.
Libraries strong in fantasy collections will find Prince Ewald the Brave inviting.
The Fate of Lenn
9798476324775, $13.00 Paper/$1.99 Kindle
The Fate of Lenn follows the trials and tests of Duke Lenn Wancyek, and opens with his childhood and fragments of
memories that influence his growth to adulthood.
A prologue offers his early questions, his growth and introduction to cousins, the loss of his beloved father, and the issues
which continue to influence his evolution.
Lenn's search for a peaceful life despite his duties and position in the kingdom are evident from the start: "Lenn remained
troubled. None of this changed his responsibilities. If Lenn kept his kingly uncle happy, this Dukedom would continue to
benefit from trade and protection. And Lenn could safely read in his personal library without so much as needing a guard to
watch the manor, so peaceful was his countryside. He supposed that some inconvenient task was necessary in exchange for
such luxury. His family had made many deeper sacrifices than this."
As he comes of age and comes to feel increasingly detached from the responsibilities his position brings, Lenn confronts
both opportunities and conflicts of interest that dare him to reconsider his role in the kingdom even as invaders arrive.
As Duke Lenn engages in a war that carries him beyond his inclination to live a quiet life, readers are treated to a story of
good, evil, and the ultimate impact of a legacy that influences "....a people who survived and would one day thrive
It's difficult to peg the audience for this story. Dylan Madeley crafts a memorable story of inner and outer conflict as he
follows a young man who takes on the political and social conflicts of his kingdom. The story works on psychological and
fantasy levels to reach a wide age range. Other characters facing their own life-changing issues and influences intersect with
Lenn's life to provide a full-faceted story of a kingdom under siege in different ways.
The cover illustration and some of the story would seem to appeal to middle grade readers and older; but many of the
fantasy elements will reach into adult circles with their thought-provoking insights into survival and transformed lives.
The Fate of Lenn is a tale of good men and legends that create hope for the future with stories that live on in the hearts and
minds of survivors.
The story of a quiet Duke who steps up to become a hero figure despite his reclusive inclinations will appeal to readers who
like powerful stories of courage, battle, and political and social strife that lead to thought-provoking, life-changing
Fans of Wolfe Trap and investigator Clay Wolfe (who was introduced in that mystery) will relish his reappearance in Mouse
Trap, another Port Essex story that revolves around Wolfe's probe into a missing mouse.
This isn't just any rodent. It's a resident of a genetics lab that has been subject to a well-meaning genome editing experiment
gone awry. And the mouse's fate could determine the fate of humanity, if what it harbors also gets loose.
Matthew Cost's latest mystery thus moves from a whodunit to a thriller as Clay's new task holds implications for life far
beyond Port Essex, Maine. As opposed to Cost's Mainely Mystery series, the Clay Wolfe/Port Essex series is a thriller
series, following up Wolfe Trap about heroin being smuggled through lobster traps and Mind Trap, where society is
threatened by a cult run amok.
Good genes, bad intentions, and an evil plot to unleash havoc all revolve around the mouse's fate and Clay's ability to pursue
the truth about its importance. Is this genome editing being done on more than just mice?
From Victoria's search for a way to create an above-average baby to the intersection of business, science, and Clay's
conflicts with a new police chief who doesn't appreciate the fact that a P.I. has set up shop in his own jurisdiction, right
under his nose, Cost creates a riveting story filled with subplots and small-town characters who all have their own special
Russians may or may not be involved in stealing or buying scientific discoveries involving superior mice. Clay comes to the
realization that, like it or not, he's going to be a father with a woman he doesn't love. Cost creates a fast-paced, riveting story
that moves through characters' lives and bigger-picture thinking alike.
Clay, his Grandpops, and a group of his supporters edge closer to the dangerous truth about the missing mouse, giving
readers many satisfying twists and turns to keep them on edge and guessing.
Mouse Trap is a vivid story that mystery and thriller genre readers alike will find involving on many different levels.
Libraries catering to these audiences will find that Cost has crafted another winner.
The truth is stranger than fiction, in this story especially. (Wait. It is fiction. Isn't it?)
Neil Perry Gordon
9781732667730, $16.99 Paper/$4.99 ebook
Otzi's Odyssey - The Troubled Soul of a Neolithic Iceman is a metaphysical fantasy thriller. It embraces these genres in a
manner that will intrigue and delight readers looking for something refreshingly action-packed, employing a different flavor
in timelines that move from modern to prehistoric eras and back again.
Otzi the caveman's mummified body is found trapped in ice, in 1991. What isn't trapped is his soul, which awakens from its
long sleep to find itself in a strange new world.
In an effort to uncover answers to many questions about his life and reincarnation, Otzi journeys from present to past. This
brings readers into his perception of caveman conflicts and daily life and the conundrums his journey poses not only to that
world, but present-day events.
Imagine waking up to see your frozen body. Neil Perry Gordon paints a vivid picture of Otzi's awakening: "While I
observed a body, half-buried in the glacial ice, I could not reach out and touch it. While I heard the shrieking winds, I could
not feel the frigid snow being pushed up into towering drifts. While I shouted my anguish aloud, my words fell silent on the
mountainside. If it is true that I existed, then it must be also true that I am not of body."
As he struggles to answer haunting questions of how his soul remains connected to his body, and what the purpose of his
reincarnation serves, readers follow him a journey that brings him to Jolly Jane, who joins him and others in this strange
state of being half-alive.
Jane was known as a murderess, committing others to death because it "helped her cope." Otzi sold his soul to the devil in a
bargain which has apparently landed him in this position. Both find themselves undertaking a journey through tortured
souls, guided by a Voice that seems to inject a higher purpose to their conditions and present-day dilemmas.
Gordon's story is thought-provoking, action-packed, and thoroughly unpredictable. Spiritual wisdom and guidance juxtapose
nicely with the adventure component to keep readers both entertained and enlightened.
As memories of past life and loved ones are channeled in unexpected ways, Otzi must find the courage to follow his calling
through past lives and into a future where he makes better choices.
Readers who enjoy more than casual metaphysical inspection, spiced with the thriller components of an adventure through
past and present realms, will relish Otzi's Odyssey. The story is highly recommended for fantasy, spirituality, and thriller
9798490681397, $14.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle
Dystopian sci-fi readers who like alternate history stories will find The Ventriloquist an unusual tale. It creates a different
spin on the events surrounding JFK's murder.
This alternate world is connected by the Hive network. Everything is automated, and nothing is secret. When Lee Hussein
Oswald murders JFK, the death creates an international incident and war in the Middle East. Oswald was just the fall guy
for an insidious takeover plot designed to control the world's population.
This is when the Ventriloquist enters the picture with his dual identity as an assassin and comedy act. As iTech influences
and presence fall onto his radar of attention, the "armed and extremely Muslim" Oswald fears for his daughters, raised under
the technological surveillance and prejudice of this nation. His role as a "dumb patsy" is apparently to confront demons,
CEOs, and the growing divide between Muslims and the world.
Steven Cortinas captures the moment-by-moment reality of JFK's death, but couches it in this futuristic scenario involving
the Hive, the Ventriloquist, high technology control methods, and issues affecting the Muslim community.
This creates a diverse inspection that seamlessly pairs a futuristic setting with the facts surrounding JFK's murder and how it
is reported to, interpreted, and investigated by forces hidden to the public.
This combination of fantasy and reality is very nicely done. It introduces compelling notes of social and political inspection
that introduces the Legacy Universe in a way that feels both familiar and alien. The chronicle also employs a humorous
overtone, at times, to offer comic relief as impossible circumstances embrace Gateways, doors, and brick walls that keep
even the clever Ventriloquist on his toes.
Part sci-fi alternate history and part investigative drama, The Ventriloquist is an excellent study based on a
thought-provoking what-if. What if social media existed on the day JFK was shot? How would its pressures, interpretations,
and structure have changed the events that followed JFK's murder?
Readers who enjoy strong social inspections that keep them wondering and thinking will find that The Ventriloquist does
both as the power of the Legacy permeates this universe and directs the actions of ordinary people and extraordinary
Sci-fi collections strong in alternate history, social commentary, and dystopian settings will relish the different flavors
strongly represented in The Ventriloquist. Those who tire of JFK rehashes will be especially delighted to discover the story
moves into much unfamiliar territory.
Imani's Undersea Adventure
Tess M Jackson
Onyx Prose Publishing
9781736128282, $16.99 Hardcover/$12.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook
Picture book readers who enjoy stories of undersea encounters will relish Imani's Undersea Adventure. The story opens with
a young girl's visit to an aquarium with her grandfather, where she views scary sharks.
As her wise grandfather teaches her that the shark is more amazing than scary, Iamni views a marine biologist feeding them
inside the tank. She and young readers learn more about shark biology, studies, and history, which dovetails with her
grandfather's review of their heritage and those who were forced onto slave ships in Africa to be brought to America.
Imani learns much more than natural history in a story that embraces human and natural affairs. It teaches kids about
science, research methods, historical examination, and modern dilemmas (such as the fact that many African Americans
don't know how to swim).
What does this have to do with sharks? As Imani comes to realize truths about more than just sharks, she fosters a deeper
appreciation of her heritage and modern-day opportunities, and develops a new goal, as a result of this information.
Young readers may anticipate the adventure that revolves around confrontation and problem-solving from the book's title,
but Imani's Undersea Adventure offers so much more. It's an adventure that explores fear, heritage, opportunity, and revised
Imani's Undersea Adventure is highly recommended for picture book libraries seeking inclusive fiction about strong young
Black girls who learn about new opportunities via lessons from the past.
Its positive note about engagement and understanding links past and present to help youngsters understand how the past
influences present-day choices and opportunities, with the possibility of changing the world.
Paradox: The Attack on the Ladies Room
Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog
Paradox: The Attack on the Ladies Room blends mystery with a time travel story and humor. Agents John and Krylla Smith
are experienced in tracking down puzzles for a group operating within a semi-covert government agency.
This particular endeavor, however, involves an investigation of matters far from the usual staid approaches to world realities
and threats: "And what is DivEs? It stands for the Division of Esoterica. But while operating quietly within OIO, it's not a
division of anything, not really, just a loose collection of folks interested in everything from the Land of Oz to water sprites
to little blue men from Mars. Doesn't matter if such beings are real or not - they might be real, and that starts to get some
high-powered people involved, like the Executive Branch of the government..."
The problems it solves embrace everything from lost tricycles to possibilities such as 'paratime.' The descriptions of these
paradoxes might challenge readers who harbor less affection for physics explanations: "...wars in paratime are not so simple
as they might be in mere three-dimensional space. Assume, for argument's sake, that your target is place X at time T, in
some tau dimension tau-sub-one. Pop up there, you say, make a quick strike, and - whammo. All is said and done, and
you've won. Ha. Not so, not if the enemy also has tau-time capabilities, as they say in the military. When they find out about
your victory at X,T, tau-sub-one, they sneak up in a parallel universe to X,T, tau-sub-one minus 2 minutes and clobber you
the instant you show up. You see, we must remember that for any given event in a given paraverse, there is an infinity of
similar or like events elsewhen. Only in one of them did you perhaps achieve the victory you wanted."
However, readers who enjoy science and speculative works injected with thriller and mystery components, who relish
challenging scientific observations and possibilities set against an action-packed backdrop, will find Paradox: The Attack on
the Ladies Room just the ticket.
And, don't forget the humor. It laces through the adventure, spices the missing person situation involving Krylla, and draws
readers with a sassy, observational tone that is wry and revealing all in one.
Many of the descriptions seem like weighty run-on sentences, but incorporate vivid descriptions that are detailed, yet
accessible: "In those emerging Innoryas where Krylla herself was listen-ing to Yvor, she was indeed impressed by his
scenario. She readily envisioned herself dashing down darkened alleys, woboes at her heels, breathless, hurrying through the
gloom amidst sullen beggars and drunken revelers who grabbed at her while making leering remarks - (Krylla, too, had her
kaleidoscopic moments, and she visualized herself simultaneously kicking one of the leering revelers and slitting a random
brigand's throat with a Malayan kris that had materialized out of nowhere) - and then, leaping over the sodden body of a
gshthwk addict (a terrible drug, invented by Krylla solely for the purposes of the scenario, that degrades the soul while
destroying the body: O woe!) and seeing ahead the lights of the local Paratime Troop headquarters, suddenly - snaffle! -
there opens up a Wessel time trap - "
Yes, there is complex language, intriguing paradoxes, and a story that is both science-laden and weighty. But these elements
are tempered by a rollicking romp through time and space that is satisfyingly unpredictable, filled with twists and turns to
keep readers guessing about the outcome.
Paradox: The Attack on the Ladies Room is highly recommended for readers who like sci-fi and time travel mysteries laced
with a side order of jokes that temper the story's complexity. The result is a fun atmosphere overlying a serious
Sci-fi, humor, and time travel fiction readers will find that Paradox: The Attack on the Ladies Room steps out of the
boundaries and comfort zones of these genres to represent a unique blend of mystery surrounding, for example, the Origin of
the Capsillon transmitter, and who invented what, somewhen.
Holcomb's Potato Song
The whimsical title and youthful appearance of this book's cover art suggest a young audience, but Peter Obourn's story of a
farm boy's adventure and coming of age is recommended for young adult and adult readers alike.
Holcomb Bascomb's upbringing and experience offer few options for a wider-ranging life. His countenance to his small
rural community is that of a quiet man who is solid, yet circumspect in his interactions with others. He isn't involved in
small-town politics or drama...which is why his entanglement with Grace Illingwood, who embarks on a search to find a
father who was never part of her life, is so unusual.
But Holcomb has overheard a conversation not meant for his ears, and this sends him on an unexpected journey that belays
his staid approach to life and poses new challenges that go beyond an awakening sexual attraction and emotional
Peter Obourn paints a compelling portrait of a young man's crush on an older woman (Grace's mother Agnes), his struggles
to understand his emotions and reconcile them with his urges and his place in the world, and his growing determination to
do something about his situation: "I just said hi and went to the reading room, which is a nice room. It has couches and easy
chairs. It's kind of like a living room with books in it. I sat, and even though it made my stomach hurt, I started to think
about Agnes Illingwood. I had to because something had to change with Agnes."
As Holcomb's decisions land him in the middle of emotional, sexual, and social conundrums that he has no experience with
and little ability to handle, he finds that doing what he thinks is the right thing isn't always the simplest answer.
Between confronting theft and envy to confronting the truth about Grace's father's identity, Holcomb finds his hands full and
his heart heavy.
Obourn takes the time to paint a fine backdrop for this story. This atmosphere and the small-town descriptions lend a vivid,
realistic touch to the tale: "We sat together on a rock. We were the only climbers at the top. We could see peaks fifty miles
away and all the lakes and forest in between. We looked back over Forestville and out to the farm and up the river that
disappeared into the trees and at the mountain peaks that got hazier and hazier until they disappeared over the horizon.
Close to us we saw individual trees, then patches of green and red and gold that gradually merged into a single hue and then
merged again into a soft line between earth and sky."
The coming-of-age component nicely drives a plot in which Holcomb comes to better understand himself and his place in
the world. Readers will realize that his intrinsic patience and quiet ability to listen may be not his greatest detriments, but his
greatest assets - and the answer to many of his questions.
Young adult and adult audiences who look for quiet revelations about those evolving into a more effective life will find
Holcomb's Potato Song a worthy, quietly compelling read. It's the perfect adjunct to Catcher in the Rye and other grittier
stories of emerging sexuality and social inspection.
Timber Ghost Press
9781736586747, $4.99 ebook
The coal mining town of Blackrock, Pennsylvania has seen its share of problems; but when Moon Song's brother Hye goes
missing, an investigator discovers a cover-up of events that involves far more than a single missing person.
Moon suspects that her brother's disappearance is more than just a slide back into addiction, so she hires P.I. Ben Sawyer to
help her get to the truth. What they uncover is so unexpected that it defies all notions of truth, reality, and the politics and
processes surrounding the town's key industry, the mining operation.
At this point, it should be mentioned that The Beyond is a paranormal crime thriller that goes beyond any anticipated story
of political or business greed or shady operations. Horror and thriller fans, too, will relish the components of adversity and
unexpected revelations that follow Moon and Ben's tracks as they not only reveal the truth, but struggle with what to do
As their investigation leads to learning about mine deaths and an entity that resides underground, they come to realize that
the only way they can survive is to thwart an impossible threat that is more powerful than any mankind has faced
Ken Brosky does a fine job of creating tension, injecting unexpected twists and turns, and presenting a story that at first
seems predictable, but soon excels in unpredictable events.
At first, nobody seems to care about missing people in Blackrock. But they're about to care in a big way, because the secrets
that lie in the mine present risks that the entire town has a vested interest in thwarting.
Whether he's describing small town interactions and relationships, the coal mining industry, or the efforts of a grieving sister
to uncover the truth about her brother, Brosky does a wonderful job of detailing action and emotion in a powerful saga of
second chances gone awry.
Readers of thriller, horror, and supernatural mystery will find The Beyond an exciting, involving story that keeps them
guessing to the end, thoroughly immersed in the dilemmas faced by Moon, Ben, and the people of Blackrock.
J. Alexander Greenwood
Caroline Street Press
9780578301020, $13.99 Paper/$3.99 ebook
Pilate's Faith is the eighth book in the John Pilate mystery series and will draw prior fans, especially, to its latest
John Pilate is tired of problem-solving and challenges to living, but he's forced to operate beyond his weariness on yet
another case that turns all too personal when a small town is terrorized in his name. Added angst comes from the fact that
his prior support systems (family, friends, faith) are falling apart under the latest onslaught, leaving him virtually alone in
the fight. As in many situations where everything seems to fall apart, faith and foundations thought unshakeable are often
the most fragile. And the most enduring.
The story opens with a curious kidnapping...curious because Pilate is locked in a small container, in a strange conversation
with his captor that slowly reveals clues to the situation as their back-and-forth banter develops.
Through this discussion, J. Alexander Greenwood provides a sense of mystery and intrigue and psychological inspections of
perp and victim alike, creating a thought-provoking atmosphere which only becomes more complex as the story
Newcomers to Pilate will find no barriers to quick immersion in his personality and situation, while prior series readers
immediately become involved in another conundrum which tests his skills and the ways in which others view him in his
Under Greenwood's hand, the chase scenes and intrigue which follow Pilate are almost secondary to the psychological depth
of inspection he is forced to conduct as all his tried and true methods and life relationships crumble under pressure.
Some may be initially confused by the dialogues with his inner persona, Simon. This device lets people into the logic and
pro/con directions Pilate considers during the course of his confrontations, adding an extra dimension of insight to the story
despite its initially-confusing appearance (not because the author hasn't described this conversation properly; but because it's
unusual to see a character inwardly divided, who explores the pros and cons of his choices through an alter ego who has
another name and identity within him).
Simon is the one entity who stands beside Pilate when everything else falls apart. He should - he's part of Pilate. It's this
critical inspector persona who may give him the edge to not just survive and solve the mystery of a killer's identity, but
allow him to reinvent his world.
Readers who look for whodunit components in their mysteries will find an added value of deep psychological and social
inspection in Pilate's Faith.
Designed to be thought-provoking, the story keeps readers on their toes to the end, functioning as both a fine stand-alone
read and an exciting addition to the mystery series as a whole.
Libraries who look for solid, well-written crime thrillers and cozy mysteries will want to take a hard look at this well-written
story of intrigue and personal transformation, which should be on their acquisition lists.
Box Lunch Lifestyle
Cheryl K. Johnson
Box Lunch Lifestyle: Using Your Lunch Break to Win Back the Life You Deserve is recommended for self-help readers
who find themselves at a crossroads in their journey towards personal transformation and becoming a more effective,
positive force in the world. It comes from a successful professional who found herself 'stuck': "I could barely get a grip on
my workday, let alone feel like I had any influence over the world."
How can a literal-minded, practical problem-solver address the bigger questions of purposeful living and effective choices
that go beyond checklists of achievements? What moves lead to visions of a less flawed lifestyle?
Cheryl K. Johnson tackles these questions and more in Box Lunch Lifestyle, which is especially recommended reading for
self-help readers involved in business pursuits, who struggle with personal lifestyle values and changes. More importantly,
she considers the definitions of what this revised future would look like, helping readers refine their individual notions such
a goal before following a path to its achievement.
Making better choices in a non-pressured manner is part of what makes the Box Lunch Lifestyle work. The notion of 'lunch'
is uncomplicated: it's a meal that can be easily put together, shared, justifiable, and personal. The image serves as a snapshot
for better life possibilities, and is represented in constant, digestible approaches that remove the overwhelming feeling that
stems from larger, seemingly unachievable self-help efforts. This is part of what differentiates the Box Lunch Lifestyle
concept and book from other goal-oriented discussions of personal transformation.
"By making better choices about the food you eat at lunch and how you spend your time, you prove to yourself that for thirty
minutes today - not at some point in the future - your life can look more like the one you really want."
Can change really be this easy? It can - with the program shared in this book, the concept of bite-sized approaches to
change, and discussions of how to get out of the pressure cooker and into better routines and interactions in all facets of
Self-help and business collections alike will find Box Lunch Lifestyle: Using Your Lunch Break to Win Back the Life You
Deserve a winner because it presents all its bigger-picture thinking through smaller-picture windows. This gives readers a
clear and unobstructed chance of effecting the kind of change they value in both their lives and the wider world at
Nobody is too busy for lunch. And nobody is too busy for Box Lunch Lifestyle: Using Your Lunch Break to Win Back the
Life You Deserve.
John Chase MD
9781949550450, Paperback: $19.95; Kindle: $7.95
"You What?!": Humorous Stories, Cautionary Tales, and Unexpected Insights About A Career in Medicine is not your usual
surgeon's story of medical experiences, but a light-hearted look at the profession that's narrated through anecdotes,
recollections, and nostalgic stories from Dr. Chase's career.
It captures the nuances, experiences, and training of a doctor involved in orthopaedic surgery, capturing the moments that
represent highlights and eye-opening experiences of over 40 years.
It's rare to find irony and humor in such depictions. Most books written by physicians and surgeons are staid presentations
devoid of any semblance of wit, which often translates to dry reading. In contrast, "You What?!" adds an entertaining,
delightful flavor into its mix of medical conundrums and educational insights.
Aspiring surgeons and doctors will be the first audience for this book. They will enjoy a variety of experiences that illustrate
the daily routines, challenges, and processes of becoming a good doctor. Dr. Chase offers plenty of advice to young doctors,
as well: "The secret is to "Get a guy." (Good advice for life, as well.) Find somebody you can go to who understands young
people don't know everything. Go to a quiet place, away from everybody else, where you can ask questions. Find someone
who will give you good advice and won't blab to everybody."
He also provides cautionary advice on how to avoid common mistakes: "Want to avoid those "YOU WHAT?" Moments?
Developing your 'people skills' will go a long way toward a lasting, rewarding and fulfilling career."
From learning how to listen, use humor appropriately, and handle the unexpected during and after surgery to understanding
the stated and unstated facts of bureaucracies and HIPPA and the pros and cons of choosing to be a physician, Dr. Chase
pulls no punches in outlining the realities of a doctor's life.
Yes, there is humor. But all is not chuckles and jokes. Underlying the comic relief is a very serious approach to the nuts and
bolts of being a physician that reveals very specific details about the medical community that med students often won't fully
realize until they've been immersed in the culture for years.
That's why "You What?!" should be on the reading lists and in the graduation gift bag of any aspiring doctor. More so than
most books written by physicians, it outlines routines, strategies, coping methods, and underlying politics and medical
processes that would-be doctors need to know in order to make the best decisions about their careers, their patients, and
No medical library should be without it.
Tailspin is a World War II memoir that focuses on the experiences of a German POW who survives his ordeal and returns
home still in the tailspin which began with his capture.
Unlike most stories of wartime capture and recovery which focus on military and war traumas, tail gunner Gene Moran
returned home to face new challenges between his memories, war atrocities, and life in a changed world.
His encounter with author and neighbor John Armbruster gave life to his story as three years of interviews led to the stories
in this book, which functions as both a biography and a World War II expose.
It's important to note (as the author does in his preface) that this isn't the complete story of Eugene Paul Moran. Such an
all-inclusive approach would have likely taken more than twice the pages and turned a gripping story of survival into a
weighty tome that might have challenged many of its readers.
It's a collection of highlights and sights, sounds, and ordeals of a bomber pilot who went missing mid-war after surviving a
four-mile free-fall tailspin in his plane, was captured, and survived, only to return home to face further trails.
That eighty-year-old Gene Moran was able to recall so many details of explicit, exquisite description makes for an even
more powerful nonfiction saga that Armbruster made all the more notable by doing the legwork and research to support the
events. He reviewed combat records, letters, recorded recollection, phone interviews with relatives of the characters, and all
available sources concerning Moran's service in the 96th Bomb Group and his time as a prisoner of war.
When facts or dialogue were missing, Armbruster filled in the gaps to create a seamless read, using vetted information and a
small degree of conjecture at the few points where mystery remained.
Readers who choose this saga for its World War II history may initially be surprised that the story is a memoir of the extent
of Moran's life; not just his wartime engagements. Those who pursue this story for its biographical elements will not be
disappointed, but may also be surprised; for it's a concurrent story of Gene's wartime experiences and Armbruster's struggles
with his wife's cancer diagnosis and her progressive decline.
What evolves is anything but singular. The story of how these two men's lives dovetail in unexpected ways makes for a
powerful story that should be on the shelves of not just World War II collections, but men's relationship literature and any
library collection where stories of friendship and connection are valued.
Catastrophic Rupture: A Memoir of Healing
K. Jane Lee
Catastrophic Rupture: A Memoir of Healing is recommended for educators, healthcare professionals, and parents who will
appreciate these rare insights from a physician and parent whose daughter was brain injured at birth.
As a doctor, the author witnessed many families struggling with a child's disease or injury. She saw families ripped apart by
these circumstances. Little did she know that her observations would one day prepare her for her own struggle with her
child's disability and its impact on their family's relationships.
Key to appreciating this memoir's special approach is the candid assessments Dr. Lee shares from the start as she treats
young patients and interacts with their parents: "My years of training were full of patients and parents like this, children
whose severe neurologic disabilities allowed them only the most basic interaction with the world, parents so devoted that
they would do anything to keep them going. The questions nagged me: Do those parents really understand what is going on
with their child, that there is no hope for improvement? Do they really believe that their child is capable of the thoughts and
emotions that they attribute to them, or is that just a way to cope with spending day after day caring for a child who can't
respond? Why do they keep subjecting their child to medical treatments that only serve to prolong this tortured
As her questions become personal inquiries in an unexpected development, readers receive a moving story of how she
overcame her fears of such trails to start her own family, only to find herself living the nightmare she had clinically observed
in so many other parents who came to her hospital in desperation and fear.
Lee's unique dual status affords inspections that could not have come from a physician or a parent alone: "When I looked at
the children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, I saw only the disabilities. Sure, I treated them in a kind and competent
manner, but I didn't really connect with them. When I looked at the parents, it was not with empathy, but with a vague
curiosity - as if they were from a foreign culture. As if their lives had always been this way; as if this were normal to them. I
never thought about how it was for them at the beginning, when they had dreams of a typical healthy child and felt the
anguish of losing that.
While I recognized and supported the rights of families to make decisions for their children, I didn't understand some of
Her distinctive position creates an analytical and emotional blend rarely imparted in memoirs of disability and parental
challenge. All these elements make Catastrophic Rupture a standout in memoirs of a child's disability, and an important
choice for parenting, healthcare, and psychology library collections and readers.
The Bus Driver's Mother
Izzard Ink Publishing
9781642280746, $29.95 Hardcover/$23.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
The Bus Driver's Mother weaves two lives into one story, following the evolving relationship of a mother and her son. This
would seem to make for an ordinary story, but it's not. The juxtaposition of emotions and observations between a special
needs son and a mother whose life is complicated because of his needs creates a dynamic not typical in stories of either
mother and son relationships or special needs children, adding a compelling twist to the tale.
Andrew grows up to be a simple man: a bus driver who genuinely cares for his passengers and job, who perceives the world
in relatively simple terms.
The story opens with baby Andrew posing a few challenges to his mother while presenting a "bewitching charm" that
prompts the invention of a song that belays any difficulties that may come in raising him: "There's sunshine in my boy,
there's sunshine in my boy.... There's sunshine in his big blue eyes, he is my greatest joy...."
Andrew's simple, plump countenance and obvious pleasure in life is in stark contrast to his worrying mother Ella's struggles
to raise him.
The first chapters of the story revolve around Ella's childhood, coming of age, and family structure. Money was enough of a
concern that "My siblings and I, if we learned anything, was that you were never, ever late to the table and you always took
as ample a portion first time around as you could get away with. You couldn't always eat what you took or get away with
what you wanted, but you'd have a go at it, knowing that whatever you got, you got, and that leftovers were
These lessons translate into adult habits as Ella builds her own family and comes to understand her mother's conundrums
and complexities during childrearing.
This sets the stage for Andrew's evolving health crisis and Ella's discovery that she really has few others to rely on but
herself...and her father. A too-busy working husband doesn't step in to provide the kind of support she needs. And so she
navigates doctor visits and Andrew's health with worry and concern while baby Andrew continues to develop his happy
perspective of life, unconscious of the challenges his condition presents to those around him ("He hasn't a worry in the
As Andrew becomes a special needs child with unusual abilities and reactions to life, Ella and Sam navigate the years
during which he evolves in ways they could never have predicted ("Andrew's path was not remotely clear.").
Andrew has proven adept at falling through any cracks in social systems, whether they be healthcare or education. Where
will he land as an adult? In their laps?
Most of the chapters revolve around mother Ella's personal journey as she holds her family together and creates the best
world possible for Andy.
Andy's chapters, in contrast, are simpler expressions of delight as he is eventually given his own bus to drive and takes pride
in making his passengers comfortable, happy, and safe during long-distance bus trips. His earliest dream was to become a
police officer for much the same reason (helping others), but life doesn't always go as planned, and he has a special
flexibility that allows him to absorb this and enjoy other opportunities that feel just as important.
Beverly Pridgen outlines Ella and Andy's perspectives in chapter headings that clearly identify the point of view being
explored. While Ella's perspective receives nearly twice the feature of son Andy's, they work together to provide a powerful
perspective on different ways of perceiving and navigating life.
The result is especially recommended reading for those who would understand both the challenges of raising a special needs
child to become an independent adult, and the perplexities mother and son each face during this process.
While fiction collections will find it attractive to mothers and women who enjoy family chronicles, The Bus Driver's Mother
should also be included on the reading lists of parents and professionals involved with special needs families. From
navigating health care to education and legal systems, it offers many insights into a process that shapes and directs mothers,
sons, and their independent and connected lives alike.
Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding
9798773139225, $15.55 Paperback/$18.00 hardcover/$2.50 ebook
Horror and thriller readers who like their settings contemporary and realistic will find Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding
embraces modern times and horror scenarios alike.
Like many, Sybil Crewes hasn't left home since the pandemic began. This leaves her job (she's an anti-terrorism agent) in
limbo. The kidnapping of her friend Harry drives her to do what she fears most: leave home to embark on an effort to
venture into the dangerous world to find him.
When she uncovers a lab devoted to tweaking the COVID variant into something even more deadly, Sybil is prompted to
enter her former job full-force in order to stop them in an effort to save what's left of humanity.
The story doesn't open with Sybil, but character Sean's descent into a dark tunnel that leads him into danger. It then moves
to Massachusetts State Trooper Nancy McCann's investigation into the Deer Island incident.
These two events merge into Sybil's life as she wonders about her lover Harry's safety. He's hours late coming home, and
she knows something is seriously wrong.
Cemented by these events and personalities, the horror and thriller components of the story unfold as Sybil conquers one
fear, only to find it replaced by something even more insidious. She's made her reputation on stopping threats...until
As subplots emerge involving vampires, thirsts for revenge, betrayals and gangs, and more, diverse elements added into the
plot keep readers on their toes and surprised about the evolving characters and their influences.
Cynthia Fridsma does an outstanding job of combining the thriller and horror formats. As Sybil's true identity and the reason
why she's become especially deadly are revealed, along with many surprises, readers will find the tension very nicely done,
the unexpected twists of plot satisfyingly complex, and the story powered by characters who hold their own special interests
beyond survival alone.
The medical and social dilemmas juxtapose nicely with the horror components, drawing from both real-life worries and
conundrums and horror genre backdrops.
The result is a satisfying horror story especially recommended for thriller readers who like quasi-real life settings and
challenges that go beyond political and social challenges alone.
Readers who enjoy vampires, pandemic dramas, and stories of terrorism and redemption loosely based on real-world events
will find a special winner in Pandemic: Chaos is Bleeding.
Marshwinds Press Company
9780961449667, $29.95 Hardback; $19.95 paperback; $9.9 e-book
Change Happens: But Will They Understand? is a study in moral and ethical behavior, justice, and crime. The novel
revolves around bad decisions made almost two decades in the past which continue to reverberate and affect individual lives
in modern times.
E. Aly provides a cast of characters who each face the consequences of a day which marks the end of Judge Ernst "Cal"
White-Callaway's life as he knew it. Two strong women face decisions that will also change their focuses in achieving their
goals or making decisions that result in a legacy beyond their lifetimes. A young couple shares a love relationship that most
can't understand. And the innocuous-sounding Berkshire Book Club, based on Haitian spirituality, undertakes a venture into
political effectiveness that holds ramifications for future generations.
Readers won't anticipate the diversity of characters and perspectives in this story, much less those who seem to operate from
entirely different segments of society and belief systems.
Aly is adept in crafting descriptions that capture both bigger-picture thinking and the nuances of small-town life and
decisions that enter into social and political circles: "'Yes, Madam Chair - and, I will add, ladies' club champion in tennis,
golf, and bridge. It was sneaky of you to partner with John Emerson rather than your gorgeous judicial boy toy. We want to
know if the relationship with John is no-trump or love.' The ladies giggled."
Whether it's dialogue, describing politics and public personas, considering crime and redemption, or analyzing judicial
systems, Aly provides a fine multifaceted story that ranges from individual choice to social impact: "Something isn't right. I
should have been instructed to send the Paschal boy's file to Boston. The governor didn't ask for the file. I sent it anyway,
that same day, to the governor's office. They should have forwarded it to the panel. The panel should've finished within a
week of the governor calling me. I've heard nothing from anyone. The governor mentioned an investigator. Inquiries don't
have investigators; criminal investigations do. It fits with a judicial criminal investigation. Nothing in the file warrants that
The result is an examination of hearts, values, and influences on social and political change that cement these considerations
firmly into the disparate lives of individuals affected by the winds of chance and choice.
Readers interested in stories of justice, crime, and the pursuit of happiness will find Change Happens: But Will They
Understand? a lively, thought-provoking experience. Its consideration of a community changed by one man's decision is
especially recommended for book club discussion groups. There's even a reader's guide at the end for this audience that
reinforces the themes and issues that appear throughout this story.
Three Questions: Stories
Marshwinds Press Company
9781734117011, $21.95 Hardback; $12.95 paperback; and $6.99 e-book
The title of this short story collection may portend only three questions, but it consists of twelve short works that consider
how people face turning points in life that change their purpose and trajectories.
Each short piece features a twist and a learning experience that encourages readers to reflect on the forces of change that
move people into different directions.
The opening piece, 'Beach Walk,' presents an incoming tide of unhappiness that carries readers into Anita's world, where her
love of the ocean and beach intersect with her anguish over love, relationships, and change.
E. Aly intersects the natural world with human affairs, using evocative descriptions: "In the early years, what they called the
BC era, their code for "before children," they would come down before dawn with a beach towel, make love in a swale in
the sand dunes, and look at the stars. They had both professed their love for each other, confident of God's blessing if they
were fortunate to see a shooting star. As the sun rose, they had stood in the surf and promised anew to love each other as
they did at that moment. What had changed? Who had stopped this love ritual? She did. He did. They both did. You can't
have sex in the sand dunes before dawn with babies and toddlers alone in the rental house. Other times, crying children and
sleep deprivation dissipated the sunrise magic. She and Dave's love renewal ritual had slipped away just like the tide went
out. But at least the tide came back in twice a day, every day. Scanning the expanse of ocean, she wondered: can our love
come back in?"
As a mid-life crisis time is tackled during the walk, readers are invited into a world replete with similar tales and changed
lives as the tide nudges Anita along and moves her into new discoveries and possibilities.
"Can two miles of beach change the course of life?" Read this story for the answer.
Each story features very different characters, dialogue, reflections, and twists. 'Cinderella Dress', for example, follows
small-town visitors to the big city of New York, a far stretch from their small town of Lumber City, Georgia.
A drive of over fourteen hours brings them into another world as Ryan, his fiancee Betty Sue, and Ryan's best friend Jody
embark on a journey that leads them to the custom-made unique Cinderella Dress, designed "...for the most perfect female
body God could create. The dress, as you can see, is all pleats. This is the challenge. Each pleat must envelop its part of the
body in just the right way, expanding slightly but not too much. Many young women are beautiful in certain spots: their
legs, their buttocks, their breasts, their face, one place or another. What they are not is beautiful in every place. The dress
commands total beauty. That is why it is the Cinderella Dress. It will fit no one except God's perfect creation." Is Betty Sue
that bastion of female perfection? Only the perfect woman can wear this dress.
There's only one problem. Perfection comes with a price, and it's often that of revised perceptions of life's possibilities.
Each story holds a delightful twist. Each contains a moral and a thought-provoking conclusion.
Literature readers who look for works that excel in employing the short story form to its hardest-hitting, best advantage will
find each tale a gem that lends to reflection and insights about pivot points in life that often emerge at unexpected
The Hunt for the Peggy C
John Winn Miller
PO Box 65360, Baltimore, MD 21209
The Hunt for the Peggy C combines World War II history with a nautical thriller as it follows Captain Jake Rogers, a
smuggler used to transporting contraband who is tasked with the most challenging job of all: to save a Jewish family fleeing
What began as a business arrangement with slightly unusual cargo turns into a humanitarian endeavor that challenges Jake's
skills, perspective, and heart as he finds himself intrinsically woven into the fabric of this Jewish family's life.
Is the old cargo ship Peggy C up to such a task? More importantly, can Jake summon enough courage and resources to keep
his newfound charges safe from both human and natural threats on the high seas?
John Winn Miller keeps his eye on the history surrounding this era, but translates it into action-packed scenarios that will
delight readers looking for a backdrop of nonfiction spiced by the intrigue and psychological depth of fiction: "For two years
since the war started in 1939, the Peggy C and her ragtag crew had dodged the mines and torpedoes and random naval duels
from Africa to the North Sea, managing to eke out a living while the competition dwindled. Outside the protection of a
convoy, fewer and fewer commercial ships dared ply these waters. Though Germany's focus had shifted to the Russian and
Mediterranean fronts, too many trigger-happy U-boat captains still lurked about in search of trophies from sunken tonnage.
The situation was truly dire and desperate. Rogers loved every minute of it."
As U-boats, chases, romance, and special interests coalesce, the story becomes riveting on many different levels. The
interplays between disparate special interests and characters illustrate some of the conundrums of political and social
interactions during wartime:
"'There's a U-boat out there that wants its boarding party back,' Rogers said.
'You will turn them over to the British authorities when we dock.' (rescued RAF pilot Lt. Gaylord)
'And the refugees?' Rogers was getting agitated.
'The Jews will have to go back where they came from,' Gaylord said with a haughty assurance that irritated Rogers even
'One of those Jews saved your life. You'd send her and her family back to die?'
'Rubbish,' Gaylord said. 'Truth be told, the Nazis are more civilized than you damn Yanks.'"
From spies and missing crews to losing battles and unexpected love, Miller spices his story with intrigue, close encounters,
escapes and confrontations, and historical facts.
More so than most World War II tales, the intrigue and realistic backdrops create a compelling story that operates for all
readers, no matter the degree of their familiarity with World War II politics or events.
The Hunt for the Peggy C is a vivid inspection of moral, ethical, social and political changes set against a thrilling backdrop
of confrontation and revelation that will reach not only historical novel readers, but those typically attracted to thriller and
Library collections on the lookout for vivid World War II accounts and lively plots will find The Hunt for the Peggy C a
Jamie Andrea Garzot
Girl Friday Books
9781954854291, $24.95 Hardcover/$7.99 ebook
Unconventional: A Memoir of Entrepreneurism, Politics, and Pot comes from an early pioneer in cannabis retailing in
California. It shares the concurrent stories of the legalization of cannabis and Jamie Andrea Garzot's business adaptations as
the legal environment changed and evolved.
Garzot holds eleven years experience as a state-licensed cannabis retailer, an appointed city official, and an industry
Her unique position as an appointed city official, businesswoman, and personal advocate of legal cannabis contributes to an
insider's history that reviews and personalizes the issues involved in the legalization and sale of cannabis products.
Tasked with being a leader and advocate even though being a relative newcomer to the industry, Garzot evolved into her
role much as the cannabis industry moved from being an illegal operation to a legal business. Business readers will
appreciate the gritty observations she makes about the process of adopting regulations for a neophyte industry that promotes
business while protecting consumers and professionals alike.
They learn how she navigates the concurrent jobs of being an industry advocate and a business owner: "Making it a priority
to be part of the process in Sacramento, I started to put systems and processes in place in my store that would allow it to run
semi-autonomously, like a well-oiled machine, regardless of whether I was across the street in my office or across the
Social issues and political science readers will relish her accounts of how this outsider became an insider, privy to
regulations and details of how the medical, political, and business communities interacted over marijuana's growth,
distribution, and use: "Prior to the passage of Proposition 64, California law required that anyone wishing to use medical
cannabis obtain an annual recommendation issued by a state-licensed medical doctor. The terms "prescription" or "script"
were commonly used interchangeably with "recommendation," but technically, due to the federal status of cannabis, a doctor
could not prescribe a Schedule I controlled substance, but they could "recommend" its use in the same way that they might
recommend vitamins or an emotional-support animal."
Also enlightening are personal trials and experiences that contributed to and shaped her ability to become an effective
businesswoman in the retail cannabis environment. From childhood influences to how she grew her business as a solo
female operator to see $12M in annual revenue without investor money, the juxtaposition of personal, social, and business
insights and developments is astute and revealing, and will appeal to a wide audience.
While her experiences are California-specific (and thus will prove of particular interest to California collections and
readers), they hold lessons and insights as the rest of the nation considers their own cannabis regulation processes.
Unconventional: A Memoir of Entrepreneurism, Politics, and Pot is recommended not just for California collections
(though it will be of particular interest and importance to these), but to anyone who would absorb a business and social
issues examination that peppers personal observation with political, legal, and social analysis.
Its lively presentation and consideration of a myriad of interests and issues does a fine job of exploring all sides of the pot
issue and its adaptation into mainstream society, cemented by one plucky female entrepreneur's vision and drive to achieve
business success in a blossoming, changing, often controversial environment.
9798762928830, $8.99 paper/$.99 Kindle
Back Time combines a thriller with science fiction to produce a time travel study in danger. Temporal physicist and
researcher Peter Waylan is only interested in science. His time-travel lab, however, attracts those who would use time travel
to direct outcomes and change the past and future.
When an attack on his lab sets him adrift backwards through time, Peter learns more about this futuristic strike force and its
intentions. He comes to realize that he may be the only one able to thwart their influence, even though his own position as a
time traveler feels uncontrolled and tenuous, at best.
As he traces the origins of these killers of the future to past history and embarks on his own campaign to protect the
timeline, a series of suspenseful cat-and-mouse encounters emerges which will delight sci-fi and thriller readers looking for
action-packed encounters and unpredictable twists and turns.
Igor Max uses compelling, unusual language to capture Peter's perspective and emotions: "Something isn't right about this
fall. Something fundamental doesn't make sense. It's a strange thing to think in the last second or two of life.
More like a second and a half. That's his estimate. Shouldn't his last thought be something more profound? Shouldn't his life
flash before his eyes? Shouldn't he question his big life choices? Shouldn't he feel something? Some final, desperate
emotion? No. Peter Waylan focuses on the science."
His revelations power the nexus of a story that details pitfalls and dangers in nearly every choice Peter makes: "Before he
pulls out, he steels himself for what's required: a complicated balance between not only the backward physics, but the event
horizon. He might cause certain driving conditions to manifest in the future if he follows through with them in the
Max also injects humor and wry observation into these encounters to provide a subtle sense of comic relief: "They ignore
Waylan, for now. Except in one forward interval, when they call him "Spook" as they talk among themselves. It's not a bad
nickname. He's little more than a dark specter moving through this reality, casting a deathly shadow in his wake, unleashing
a new Nazi reign on the future that will swallow these men and everyone else in its maw. They must have seen him twitch
when he jumped back in time."
Typically, time travel encounters focus on either returning to one's timeline or effecting positive changes to it. Scientist
Peter initially seems ill-equipped to thwart an enemy of time, but as he steps into his role and the past, his skills and
direction prove not just the ticket to save the world, but likely its only option.
The result is a science story strongly rooted in thriller components that will delight readers seeking something different from
their time travel stories.
It's very highly recommended reading for any sci-fi collection where time travel adventures are of interest, but should also
be attractive for thriller novel fans that enjoy science and social and political dilemmas alike.
The Sundance Revenge
Foundations Book Publishing Company
B09KZH7RZH, $4.49 Kindle
In The Sundance Revenge, ex-Marine Belle has returned to civilian life harboring anger issues, which she grapples with as
she works as a guide at a snowy Utah park. It seems a good job for both her skill level and her desire to interact with the
public in a particular manner...until people begin dying on her watch in "accidents" and suicides which leave her
As the bodies mount, Belle comes to realize these events are part of an insidious, deeper plan that involves a century-old
mystery and killers that have her (and the town) in their crosshairs.
Maybe she should go back to quilting. That, or become more involved than she'd planned, to follow the clues into an
impossible scenario of revenge.
Mike Pace builds a thoroughly engrossing story that blends an ex-military woman's IED affliction with a larger picture of
adversity that calls upon both her resources and, surprisingly, her ailment, to resolve.
From a dangerous shooter that places her in a serious life-threatening situation to the "impure thoughts" that emerge with
Alonzo, and the charge she faces to confront both the unknown and her inner demons, Pace creates a compelling thriller that
holds strong psychological depth as well as cat-and-mouse moves between Belle and the unknown assailants.
As she faces a town in deadly danger, friends who fall in the line of duty, trying to help her, and guilt (both past and
present), Belle finds within herself the courage to both change and face the impossible.
Just in time, too.
Fans of mystery, intrigue, and psychological drama will find The Sundance Revenge builds a fast-paced story firmly
centered on the psyche and conundrums of an already-strong woman who finds the foundations of her strengths, beliefs, and
relationships sorely tested.
With its strong characterization, mystery, and engaging saga quasi-based on real people, Pace crafts a tale that is thoroughly
involving and hard to put down.
Song of Cigale
Heaven Above, Earth Below LLC
9780997143942, $24.95 Hardcover/$11.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
Song of Cigale presents the stories of people on both sides of World War II, whose lives are changed by Nazi invasion and
calls to battle.
These include two sets of siblings: one in France (brother/sister), and one in America (two brothers) who become entangled
in circumstances that lead to a second D-Day in Southern France in August (an event that receives lesser mention in the
chronicles of military World War II history compared to the much-covered June D-Day).
Mark Perretta's story opens with this second D-Day and a bang of action in which the main character runs for her very life,
fleeing German soldiers who are arriving at her home. These soldiers confront her parents who chose to stay behind to buy
more time for their daughter's escape: "'Cours!' her mother cried. 'Run, Caro! Run!' Caroline's feet pounded the gravel path
as she propelled herself into darkness. She was a whirlwind of limb and emotion, her short raven hair bouncing with each
The action-packed opener draws even non-history fans into a story steeped in the heart-stopping threat of Nazi discovery.
Four years earlier, the Germans invaded. War entered their lives, and the family began preparing for the inevitable.
Somewhere over France, paratrooper Michael's bomber is going down, in another vivid scene: "The gaping bomb bay door
glared back at him with an evil grin. Moments before, the mission had been as normal as any other nighttime jump Michael
had made. But the bullets of 20mm flak guns from a German night fighter ambushed their plane, shredding one of Lucky
Lady's wings. Then, one final time, the fighter blasted the coup de grÉce. Gas tanks exploded, the B-24's bomb bay door
ripped open, and the remaining wing, upper gun turret, and rear fuselage blazed in flames as the plane screamed toward
Each chapter reveals another life, another vivid circumstance, and the wartime experiences each character shares (albeit
from very different vantage points). Perretta creates original, satisfying contrasts in perspective, ideals, and the hell of a war
that forces each individual to make impossible decisions.
Readers won't expect romance to evolve under such circumstances of strife, but Perretta's attention to exploring the many
different facets of life under siege also embraces the human mind's ability to grasp new possibilities and grow under even
the most adverse conditions.
He is especially skilled at juxtaposing the effects of these dilemmas on choices and consequences: "Frank's mind raced with
images of Caro, sunflowers, Germans, and blood. He tried to focus, for soldiers' lives depended on him. Perhaps, if I refuse
to think her name. But that was impossible. Wave after wave of regret washed through his tortured soul."
More so than most World War II stories, the convergence of these very different lives and the moral and ethical conundrums
each character must face alone creates a deeper psychological probe of the war's effects on all people.
The novel is replete with a blend of action and psychological inspection that goes beyond capturing historical events to
illuminate readers about these changing and challenging times.
The characters are well developed, their different perspectives and experiences are logically and nicely documented, and
both history and interpersonal connections come to life.
When will the war really be over? It won't happen when peacetime comes, but when injured hearts settle down and future
generations help reconcile past and present. And it won't happen until readers begin to understand how life can go on after
losing so many loved ones to fellow man's violence.
As Arthur reflects towards the end of his story: "War is like some swift river, and once you're caught in its current, you can't
escape. It carries you downstream, and no matter how hard you fight, escape is impossible. When you finally do emerge, if
you're lucky enough, it's like you're still... not clean. And definitely not the boy you were when it started."
Readers of World War II fiction will find in Song of Cigale a powerful, highly recommended story of different kinds of
confrontation (both internal and external) and healing processes which hold hope for a better future.
Scoundrel in the Thick
Pedee Creek Press
9781734226300, $25.95 Hardcover/$17.95 Paper/$7.99 ebook
Scoundrel in the Thick is a historical novel set in 1882 Colorado, where former Civil War hero Thomas Scoundrel sets out
on a mission to rescue his best friend's kidnapped fiancee.
B.R. O'Hagan adds plenty of real characters and historical events to further spice the tale as Scoundrel partners with Bat
Masterson, encounters old friend Buffalo Bill Cody, and interacts with famous literary figures during the course of what can
only be described as a rollicking ride through the icons and images of America's past.
An introductory letter to Scoundrel by Walt Whitman admonishes the protagonist that he must "...habit yourself to the
dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life. Do anything, lad, but let it produce joy."
This leads into a prologue that takes place in 1882 Mexico, where a bullet rips into Diego's bedroom and violence takes
place by unknown assailants. As the confrontation evolves, he is charged with finding Thomas, the only man who will
"know what to do."
Indeed, Thomas does know what to do. He's in New York City, at the first electrically lit musical event ever held in the
nation, where inventor Thomas Edison is being honored for his revolutionary achievement. And Thomas is busily starting a
O'Hagan excels in both recreating this period of time and its famous personalities and adding an action and adventure flavor
to a story that captures the sentiments and people of Thomas's world: "Theatrics aside, William F. Cody was a man you
wanted in your corner when the big fight was on."
As Thomas and Rosalilia's journeys coalesce, readers receive a vivid inspection of the social, political, and cultural
intersections of a bygone era. These add a realistic flavor to the fictional events that unfold with drama and action.
From political plots to blame Colonel Scoundrel and the Cheyenne for the total destruction of two border towns, to former
Mexican Vice-President Resposo's participation in plans that will affect the destiny of nations, readers will enjoy a vivid
romp through 1800s personalities and a plot to steal a country.
Scoundrel in the Thick represents historical novel writing at its best. With its blend of fictional and real events and attention
to strong character development (which captures personal and political special interests), it's a story that will captivate even
those who may have little prior knowledge of these times.
Historical fiction library collections strong in early American representations and action-packed adventure stories will find
Scoundrel in the Thick a worthy addition.
Ekstasis - The Return of the Sovereign Heart
9781514399798, Paperback: $19.99/Kindle: $11.99
Ekstasis - The Return of the Sovereign Heart offers a spiritual journey with the first book in the Ekstasis magical realism
romance series. It follows the trials and experiences of spiritual seeker Mona Devek, who publishes a fictional story that
changes atheist reader David Wilkins, shaking him from his grief over the loss of his beloved family.
Mona's publication not only transforms David, but leads him into a new venture as he decides to make a movie about her
story. When he discovers that Mona's journey has taken away his ability to meet and interact with her, he faces yet another
shock...and a revised purpose in life.
M.I. Dugast crafts an outstanding story of reincarnation, recovery, discovery, and spiritual survival that operates on many
delightfully unexpected levels.
On the one hand, it's a concurrent survey of two disparate individuals who find their destinies unexpectedly entwined. On
another level, it's about trauma and healing from losses that provides quite involving descriptions which (it should be
cautioned, and is consequently marked as trigger warnings at the start of the book) sometimes embrace graphic violence and
Readers who expect a spiritual journey alone may be surprised by the concurrent reflections and revised experiences a host
of characters face as they consider the purpose and possibility of new life approaches and meanings: "The visions at the
millennium and, much later, her experience with Cillian, had been the last times she had felt something close to what she
was feeling in the present moment, although this was very different. Not only was it more intense, but there seemed to be a
distinct echo to it - a reciprocity. The thought sent her head into a vortex of activity that seemed to have a life of its own,
contracting and expanding, like breath, like heartbeats - paving a way to a new life, her inner being whispered. 'Yes! I really
am wholeheartedly ready for a new life!'"
From hyperdimensional doors to the concept of David as a host who carries a destiny beyond his understanding, Dugast
crafts a metaphysical tale replete in thought-provoking considerations of what it means to adopt a new lease on life.
Readers who enjoy uplifting metaphysical and spiritual sagas will find Ekstasis - The Return of the Sovereign Heart filled
with characters and choices that enlighten, delight, and ultimately lead to love.
The unusual blend of romance and enlightenment creates a story that blossoms with inspiration and meaning. It's especially
recommended for spiritual readers who enjoy fictional accounts of journeys towards enlightenment.
Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services
Gary Roen's Bookshelf
The Ambulance Chaser
Post Hill Press
9781637582411, $17.00 pbk, $8.99 Kindle
"The Ambulance Chaser" is a new addition to the popular legal thriller genre. Jason Feldman attorney at law is contacted by
a college friend to meet on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. They reunite and a short time later Jason learns the
friend attempted suicide and is in the hospital. As the story unfolds Jason becomes a suspect in a murder of another former
classmate. Jason's life already a mess because of his drug abuse and drinking has everything against him when he begins to
try to establish his innocence. "The Ambulance Chaser" establishes "The Ambulance Chaser" establishes Brian Cuban as an
author to look for other exciting thrilling tales.
Mulholland Books/Little Brown
c/o Hachette Book Group
9780316531238, $16.99 pbk, $11.99 Kindle
From the first page "The Chain" draws the reader with a roller coaster ride to the very end. Rachel O'Neil's day is
complicated enough with a medical appointment she is worried about. On the way to it she pulls into a parking lot to answer
her phone, to learn someone has kidnapped her daughter. Bad enough is the communication, made worse as the caller tells
her, in order to get her child back she has to do the same thing to someone else, because of something called The Chain.
From then on Rachel does everything she can to protect herself and to have her daughter returned. Taking the premise of a
chain letter the author propels the story along with rapid pacing, detailed characters caught up in the mayhem of someone's
evil plan that gets more and more complicated as it rolls along. "The Chain" is for anyone looking for truly suspenseful yarn
Robert B. Parker's Bye Bye Baby
c/o Penguin Random House
978059328514, $28.00 HC// $14.99 Kindle
The Spenser series by Robert B. Parker himself or Ace Atkins has always been great mystery fun, but "Bye Bye Baby" is
very different. Atkins draws on the political climate of today to tell a story that reads like something you'd see on the nightly
network broadcasts or any of the 24-hour news stations. Spenser is hired to protect a Congresswoman running for
re-election for a second term. Her views and ethnic background have stirred up a hornet's nest of extremist organizations
throughout the nation. Spenser runs into complications when law enforcement agencies of the federal government inform
him, they are surveilling the groups and want him to keep a low profile to the extent of letting an attack take place. Spenser
risks everything with the aid of Hawk, and Sixkill to continue the job he was hired to do. "Bye Bye Baby" races along with
crisp writing, snappy dialogue worthy of Robert B. Parker that is a great addition to the long running series.
Fear No Evil
Little Brown And Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
9780316499149, $29.00 HC, $14.99 Kindle
Alex Cross is back in "Fear No Evil" a rip-roaring thriller from the first page to the very end. An enemy Cross has faced
before makes it personal when Cross and detective John Sampson are targets in the wilderness. Alex's wife Bree is working
on a case in France that later becomes intertwined with his own one that adds to the exciting slam bang suspense. Patterson
is a master of holding readers interest and "Fear No Evil" is a shining example of why he has such a high following for each
c/o Harper Collins
9780063112193, $28.99 HC, $14.99 Kindle
"Autopsy" the newest4 novel of the Scarpetta series is the most complicated one to date that is one of the best as well. Kay
Scarpetta is brought into a crime scene of a female body is found on some train tracks in a park. A bit later she and her
husband are taken to the White House for a briefing about a space disaster at a top-secret lab orbiting in space that could
cause a worldwide catastrophe. Later while visiting a family member, she is poisoned by something she drank with a very
violent reaction. "Autopsy" is crisp writing with well fleshed out characters with so many complicated story lines that race
the story along for a satisfying conclusion.
Lacey Unlocked Atwood Coleman I: A Fantasy Play Series Book
Flying Monkey Press LLC
9781736634714, $12.99 pbk, $0.00 Kindle
"Lacey Unlocked" is a novel filled with a lot of good things that is all about relationships and how doing many different
things can only enhance it. Lacey Coleman is a social worker who deals with many of the dregs of society She like so many
in her profession see some of the darkest sides of humanity especially domestic matters. To cope with it all she has to find
ways to not take the job home with her. Lately she looks forward to her budding relationship with professional photographer
Nick Atwood. In his line of work, he has been issued a special invite to the Fantasy Hotel in Charleston South Carolina
where he will also take his new girlfriend Lacey. Lacey is excited because the owner is also the author of a book entitled
"Fantasy Play 101" that Lacey has enjoyed reading. "Lacey Unlocked" moves along at a brisk pace to the very end that is a
very enjoyable read for anyone to enjoy.
Legacy Book Publishing
9781947718890, $19.95 no Kindle
"Shenandoah Dreams" covers a lot of topics that include racism, bullying, crime and live in a small southern community.
This is a novel that takes readers on a journey through reality and dreams that help the main character cope with all that life
throws at him in a portion of the country that is not often written about. "Shenandoah Dreams" also incorporates many
motivational teachings that we take for granted. Harris captures the feeling of this part of the country and his characters are
memorable as are the situations they deal with. I felt the work did not lead up to its ending as well as it could have. That said
"Shenandoah Dreams" still has a lot of good things going for it that readers can find to enjoy.
Legacy Book Publishing
9781947718753, $19.95 no Kindle
Breaking bread has many connotations that include food, but the author explains it's the way you live your life as well. In his
case he is devoted intertwining God's love and humanity. He uses biblical passages that apply to today's world more than
ever before, then writes his own personal stories representing that he like all of us have fault to also ask for God's support
and guidance to maintain a better life. Also nice thing is how he tells the inspiration behind his writings. "Broken Bread" is
roadmap for all of us to follow to experience a more satisfying life by following the teachings of the ancient writings that
still have merit in our complicated lives of today
What I Couldn't Leave Behind My Career As A Cop
9781737467700, $13.99 pbk, $4.99 Kindle
"What I Couldn't Leave Behind" is one mans journey through a major portion of his life as a police officer. Neil Loewe
takes readers into the world of a crimefighter in a small town near Chicago Illinois that takes us all back to the 1970's where
some think law enforcement was very different from today. In some ways they are right but as Loewe shows they are also
wrong. Cops deal with many things most of us never see or even know about. Some of the stories are sad while others are
funny, but all are things other departments and officials are very familiar with. Examples are a driver who tells Loewe "You
can't give me a ticket because I am an attorney." The two meet again in court and the outcome is rewarding while another
traffic situation has a woman coming on to Loewe who solves the problem brilliantly. There are cases of domestic abuse
that are dark while others of a missing person. really dealing with dementia. Lowe entertains as well as educates the public
about what all departments have been deal with every day. "What I Couldn't Leave Behind" should be read by all of us to
understand better how the job cops do affects them personally and their families.
We The Presidents: How American Presidents Shaped the Last Century
978173782310, $18.50 pbk, $8.99 Kindle
Publishers know a good thing in titles about our presidents and "We The Presidents" is one of the best to come along in a
long time. Ronald Gruner's writing is easy to follow and points out a lot of details many of us never knew. He begins with
President Wilson and Warren G. Harding and closes with Donald J. Trump. Some of the interesting facts revealed are, the
whole Make America Great Again is nothing new in fact America First under Harding was exactly the same kind of thing.
Harding was perceived as a weak president but there are a lot of things he accomplished as well as calling out racism. Other
presidents are Harry Truman who came into the office with no knowledge of the office because he was kept out of
everything by Roosevelt as is well known but Truman accomplished so much with very little support. "We The Presidents"
is great reading for all of us who want to know about all the men who have served as president for the last 100 years. "We
The Presidents" should be required reading for courses of history in high school and college courses throughout the
Helen Dumont's Bookshelf
The Myth of Closure
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9781324016816, $21.95, HC, 192pp
Synopsis: The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people haunted by feelings of anxiety, despair, and even anger. With the
publication of "The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change", pioneering therapist and
academician Pauline Boss identifies these vague feelings of distress as caused by ambiguous loss, losses that remain unclear
and hard to pin down, and thus have no closure. Collectively the world is grieving as the pandemic continues to change our
With a loss of trust in the world as a safe place, a loss of certainty about health care, education, employment, lingering
anxieties plague many of us, even as parts of the world are opening back up again. Yet after so much loss, our search must
be for a sense of meaning, and not something as elusive and impossible as "closure".
"The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change" provides many strategies for coping:
encouraging us to increase our tolerance of ambiguity and acknowledging our resilience as we express a normal grief, and
still look to the future with hope and possibility.
Critique: Timely, well written, organized, and presented, "The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic
and Change" will prove of special value and enduring interest to professionals and non-specialist general readers alike. Also
available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a
Time of Pandemic and Change" is an especially recommended addition to community, college, and university library
Contemporary Psychology, Grief Counseling, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder collections and supplemental curriculum
Editorial Note: Pauline Boss, PhD, is emeritus professor at University of Minnesota. She is known worldwide for
developing the theory of ambiguous loss and as a pioneer in the interdisciplinary study of family stress management. Dr.
Boss is also the author of Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss.
The Widow Wore Pink
Gossamer Pres, LLC
9780996368100, $24.99, HC, 224pp
Synopsis: Robyn had spent years as a Playboy Bunny, oblivious to God's master plan for her life. But she escaped a life of
drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity for a fresh start with Jesus. Cleaned up and happy, with a handsome husband, a nice house,
and two wonderful children, her life seemed perfect. Then, the unthinkable: In an instant, everything changed. That one
moment triggered a chain reaction of unwanted challenges, and her life would never be the same.
In a brutal and unexpected instant, her husband is dead, her marriage is over, job ended, car wrecked, money's gone, and a
diagnosis is pronounced.
Critique: "The Widow Wore Pink" is an impressively personal and candid autobiography that reveals that the God who was
faithful to Robyn will also be faithful to anyone else. "The Widow Wore Pink" illustrates how unwelcome changes in life
can be successfully dealth with by knowing and trusting the promises of God in our lives. Highly recommended reading for
all members of the Christian community and anyone else who finds themselves struggling with dramatic or horrific events
in their own lives, it should be noted that "The Widow Wore Pink" is also readily available in a paperback edition
(9780996368117, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99).
Editorial Note: Robyn Dykstra (who has been widowed twice in just four years) is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher who
loves Jesus. For decades, Robyn has been presenting life-changing messages to help thousands energize their faith in God
and find the strength to face life's challenges. She maintains an informative website at www.robyndykstra.com
Adventure in Zanskar
Emergence Education Press
9781954642133, $24.95, HC, 231pp
Synopsis: In 1983, twenty-one year old Amy Edelstein set out on a solitary 500-kilometer journey in the highest valley in
the world. Zanskar, the westernmost corner of the Tibetan plateau which had only recently become opened to travelers. She
would spend several months walking by foot, crossing passes above 16,000 feet, sleeping in caves, meeting high lamas and
monastics, and exploring a culture that had remained virtually the same for thousands of years.
It was a culture that would change dramatically and irrevocably in the few short decades since. What drew her was the
eternal seeker's quest for wisdom and insight, what shaped the rest of her life is what she found. A young woman's solitary
journey to reach physical and metaphysical heights, "Adventure in Zanskar" is her story.
Timely and timeless, "Adventure in Zanskar" will be especially appreciated by readers in our stressed and troubled times
who can now share in the fruits of Amy's once in a lifetime adventure and learn from what she discovered about courage,
perseverance, kindness, meditation, awakening, and the difference between Eastern and Western worldviews.
Critique: An inherently fascinating and potentially life-changing memoir, "Adventure in Zanskar" is especially
recommended to the attention of readers with an interest in Tibetan Buddhism & Travelogues. While certain to be a
welcome addition to community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that
"Adventure in Zanskar" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781735265087, $17.95) and in a digital book
format (Kindle, $7.99).
Editorial Note: Amy Edelstein is the author of six books, including "The Conscious Classroom". She is also the recipient of
a Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for her nonprofit Inner Strength Education, Amy has developed a potent curriculum
of mindfulness & systems thinking, empowering over 17,000 teens in under-resourced schools. Anyone interested can learn
more at www.InnerStrengthEducation.org
Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 754, Huntsville, AR 72740
9781940265933, $21.00, PB, 296pp
Synopsis: The publication of "Psycho-Spiritual Healing: And Other Techniques for Dysfunctions Created by Who We Are
and How We Incarnate" by Guy Needler is the result of over 20 years of healing experience. It describes the various healing
modalities used by the author in treating physical, energetic, and psycho-spiritual issues that result in illness, disease, and
psychological/mental health issues.
"Psycho-Spiritual Healing" provides a step-by-step description of the issues, why they manifest, and the modalities used to
Energy and vibrational healing is a gentle, noninvasive therapy developed by Barbara Brennan. It heals the physical
manifestation of dis-ease, which results from imbalances in the human energy field. These imbalances are created by
mis-perceptions of events encountered during our early years of life that are reflected on the body's energy system. These
ultimately create physical dis-ease and dysfunction.
"Psycho-Spiritual Healing" creates the ability to reprogram the thoughts, behaviors, and actions of the patient at their point
of origin, thereby removing mental blocks, bad habits, anxiety, depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolarism, and
incorrect DNA programming. It is also used to create confidence, clear and expansive thinking, and trust in one's
Used together with other modalities developed by the author, energy/vibrational and psycho-spiritual healing techniques
provide a comprehensive healing methodology that can heal most if not all health issues.
"Psycho-Spiritual Healing" is a useful core text and companion for those who wish to embark upon a career in healing but
need to know more behind what causes illness and how to cure it.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Psycho-Spiritual Healing: And Other Techniques for
Dysfunctions Created by Who We Are and How We Incarnate" will prove to be a highly valued and appreciated resource for
academia and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subjects of Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Energy
Healing, and Metaphysics. While an exceptional choice for professional, community, college, and university library
Alternative Medicine & Pyschology collections, it should be noted that "Psycho-Spiritual Healing: And Other Techniques
for Dysfunctions Created by Who We Are and How We Incarnate" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle,
Editorial Note: Guy Needler a qualified Reiki master, and his training and experience in energy-based therapies have
resulted in him being a member of the Complementary Medical Association. Along with his healing abilities, his spiritual
associations include being able to channel information from Spirit, allowing for constant contact with other entities within
our multiverse and his higher self and guides.
John Taylor's Bookshelf
A Queer Dharma: Yoga and Meditations for Liberation
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704-2607
9781623176518, $17.95, PB, 288pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "A Queer Dharma: Yoga and Meditations for Liberation", Jacoby Ballard provides an
empowering and affirming guide to embodied healing through yoga and the dharma, grounded in the brilliance, resilience,
and lived experiences of queer folks.
Part I deconstructs the ways mainstream yoga perpetuates queer- and transphobia and other systemic oppressions, exploring
the intersections of yoga, capitalism, cultural appropriation, and sexual violence. Ballard also addresses the trauma
(complex, vicarious, historical, and collective) perpetuated against queer communities.
Ballard also offers tools for self-compassion, tonglen, lovingkindness, and grounding, and helps readers explore questions
like: What is trauma? How is it a product of injustice--and how can healing it create justice?; The world won't stop being
homo- and transphobic, so how do I encounter that in a way that does the least harm?; How do we love what is uniquely
trans about us?; What are affinity groups, and why do we need them?
In part II, Ballard offers a queer-centered, fully embodied, and equity-rooted practice with meditations, practices, and
sequences for processing and healing from trauma individually and in community. He explains concepts like
lovingkindness, letting go, compassion, joy, forgiveness, and equanimity through a queer lens, and pairs each with
corresponding meditations, practices, and beautiful line drawings of queer bodies.
Enhanced with stories from Ballard's personal practice and professional experience teaching yoga in schools, prisons,
conferences, and his weekly Queer and Trans Yoga class, "A Queer Dharma" is a guidebook, reclamation, and
unapologetically queer heart offering for true healing and transformation.
Critique: Informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "A Queer Dharma: Yoga and Meditations for Liberation" is an
inherently fascinating and ultimately inspiring read that is recommended to all members of the LGBTQ community, as well
as community, college, and university library Yoga, Religion, and Spirituality collections. It should be noted for personal
reading lists that "A Queer Dharma: Yoga and Meditations for Liberation" is also readily available in a digital book format
Editorial Note: Jacoby Ballard is a social justice educator, yoga teacher, and Buddhist teacher-in-training. As a yoga teacher
with 20 years of experience, he leads workshops and trainings around the country on diversity, equity, and inclusion-inviting
participants into the inner process and the outer manifestations of that practice on high school and college campuses, and in
yoga spaces, trainings, and retreat centers, and runs the Resonance Mentorship Program for certified yoga teachers to find
their niche and calling. Ballard has taught in schools, hospitals, nonprofit and business offices, a maximum security prison,
a recovery center, a cancer center, LGBT centers, gyms, and a veteran's center as well as many yoga studios. Ballard has
been an advisor to the Yoga Service Council since 2014, and on the Faculty of Off the Mat, Into the World since 2016, and
consults for Lululemon, Yoga Journal, and Yoga Alliance. He is currently being mentored by Buddhist teacher DaRa
Williams in the Insight lineage. He also maintains an informative website at www.jacobyballard.net
Rebekka VoB, author
John Crutchfield, translator
Wayne State University Press
4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309
9780814341643, $94.99, HC, 384pp
Synopsis: "Disputed Messiahs: Jewish and Christian Messianism in the Ashkenazic World during the Reformation" is the
first comprehensive study that situates Jewish messianism in its broader cultural, social, and religious contexts within the
surrounding Christian society. By doing so, author and historian Rebekka VoB shows how the expressions of Jewish and
Christian end-time expectation informed one another.
Although the two groups disputed the different messiahs they awaited, they shared principal hopes and fears relating to the
end of days. Drawing on a great variety of both Jewish and Christian sources in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, and Latin,
"Disputed Messiahs" examines how Jewish and Christian messianic ideology and politics were deeply linked. It also
explores how Jews and Christians each reacted to the other's messianic claims, apocalyptic beliefs, and eschatological
interpretations, and how they adapted their own views of the last days accordingly.
"Disputed Messiahs" is a comparative study of the messianic expectations of Jews and Christians in the Ashkenazic world
during the Reformation and their entanglements, contributing a new facet to our understanding of cultural transfer between
Jews and Christians in the early modern period.
"Disputed Messiahs" includes four main parts. The first part characterizes the specific context of Jewish messianism in
Germany and defines the Christian perception of Jewish messianic hope. The next two parts deal with case studies of Jewish
messianic expectation in Germany, Italy and Poland. While the second part focuses on the messianic phenomenon of the
prophet Asher Lemlein, part 3 is divided into five chapters, each devoted to a case of interconnected Jewish-Christian
apocalyptic belief and activity. Each case study is a representative example used to demonstrate the interplay of Jewish and
Christian eschatological expectations. The final part presents VoB's general conclusions, carving out the remarkable paradox
of a relationship between Jewish and Christian messianism that is controversial, albeit fertile.
Critique: An original work of original, meticulous, exhaustively detailed, and impressively informative scholarship,
"Disputed Messiahs: Jewish and Christian Messianism in the Ashkenazic World during the Reformation" is especially
recommended for community, seminary, college, and university library collections. It should be noted for the personal
reading lists of students, academia, rabbis, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that
"Disputed Messiahs: Jewish and Christian Messianism in the Ashkenazic World during the Reformation" is also readily
available in a paperback edition (9780814348611, $36.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $35.14).
Editorial Note: Rebekka VoB is an associate professor of Jewish history at Goethe University, Frankfurt. Her research
focuses on Jewish cultural history in early modern Europe, with a particular interest in cultural transfer between Jews and
The Empires of Atlantis
Marco M. Vigato
Bear & Company
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781591434337, $25.00, PB, 416pp
Synopsis: Exploring more than 100,000 years of Earth's history, with the publication of "The Empires of Atlantis: The
Origins of Ancient Civilizations and Mystery Traditions throughout the Ages", author Marco Vigato combines recent
discoveries in the fields of archaeology, geology, anthropology, and genetics with the mystery teachings of antiquity to
investigate the true origins of civilization. Establishing the historical and geological reality of Atlantis stretching all the way
back to 432,000 BCE, he traces the course of Atlantean civilization through its three empires, revealing how civilization
rose and fell several times over this lengthy span of time.
"The Empires of Atlantis" shows that Atlantis did not vanish "in one terrible day and night" but survived in a variety of
different forms well into the historical era. Revealed is how the first Atlantean civilization lasted from 432,000 to 33,335
BCE, the second one from 21,142 to 10,961 BCE, and the third Atlantis civilization--the one celebrated by Plato--collapsed
in 9600 BCE, after the Younger Dryas cataclysm.
"The Empires of Atlantis" also examines the role of Atlantean survivors in restarting civilization in different parts of the
world, from GĒbekli Tepe and Egypt to India, Mesopotamia, and the Americas. He explains how they created colonies and
outposts around the globe, as evidenced by the colossal network of pyramids, earthen mounds, and other megalithic
monuments they left behind. "The Empires of Atlantis" shows how these monuments testify to the survival of a "Sacred
Science" of Atlantean origin, and documents the survival of the primeval Atlantean Tradition through various secret
societies into the modern era.
Drawing on more than 500 ancient and modern sources and his own personal exploration of hundreds of archaeological sites
around the world, Marco M. Vigator shows not only that Atlantis was real but that the whole world is now being called to
become a New Atlantis and awaken into a new Golden Age.
Critique: An inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "The Empires of Atlantis: The Origins of Ancient Civilizations
and Mystery Traditions throughout the Ages" is an iconoclastic historical study that is enhanced with the inclusion of a
section of color photography, as well as the occasional black-and-white illustration. A detailed work that will have a
particular interest to both academia and the non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, "The Empires of
Atlantis: The Origins of Ancient Civilizations and Mystery Traditions throughout the Ages" is highly recommended for
personal reading lists as well as community, college, and university library Antiquarian History collections in general, and
Atlantis history supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular.
Editorial Note: Marco M. Vigato is an Italian born author, researcher and explorer who has dedicated the last 15 years of his
life to the task of uncovering the truth about the origins of civilization. He has appeared on numerous documentaries,
podcasts and TV shows as an expert in ancient Mesoamerica and the worldwide megalithic phenomenon. In 2020, he
founded the ARX Project (www.arxproject.org) with the objective of uncovering more evidence of what he believes was
once an advanced global seafaring culture that vanished at the end of the last Ice Age. He can be followed on his website
Mary Cowper's Bookshelf
Behind Frenemy Lines: Rising Above Female Rivalry to Be Unstoppable Together
Dr. Amber Tichenor, PhD
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
9781631955419, $21.95, PB, 354pp
Synopsis: Female rivalry is boundless. Partly due to biology and partly due to culture. As a result, there is a hunger for this
topic, to better understand it, to curb the behavior, to dive into the misconceptions and reality that it's not just a cat-fight.
But it is so much more than that. It's a silent epidemic. Women who are recipients of this type of behavior often don't speak
about their experience until it is behind them, or near to being over. Silent in the fact that there is often awareness by others
about the behavior, but traditionally it's not dealt with until after the fact, if ever.
"Behind Frenemy Lines: Rising Above Female Rivalry to Be Unstoppable Together" by Amber Tichenor is a practical guide
to help women find their peace, explore how they trust, establish true connections and know they are not alone when they
are experiencing these types of behaviors. By sharing personal and relatable stories, "Behind Frenemy Lines" addresses the
raw ugliness of female rivalry head on. It also offers tips with structure to educate and help women connect with one another
about the seriousness of the phenomenon so that they can forge relationships that help them be unstoppable, together.
Critique: Timely, relevant, insightful, informative, inspirationally motivating, "Behind Frenemy Lines: Rising Above
Female Rivalry to Be Unstoppable Together" is a life changing read that is unreservedly recommended for personal,
professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary Women's Issues and Self-Help/Self-Improvement
collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Behind Frenemy Lines: Rising Above Female Rivalry to Be
Unstoppable Together" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Editorial Note: Dr. Amber Tichenor has a PhD in I/O Psychology and is the founder of To Be, Coaching + Consulting(R).
She is a thought leader in the topic of women's rivalry and has 20+ years' experience as an Organizational Change Strategy
and Leadership consultant where she helped guide businesses through transformational change. Amber is deeply passionate
about the phenomenon of rivalry between women. She has studied this issue extensively and wrote her PhD dissertation
thesis, "A Phenomenological Study of the Experience Of Rivalry Among Women in The Workplace" about it. She consults
with organizations and offers speaking engagements and workshops on this important topic. Amber's goal is to promote
collaboration over competition. Dr. Tichenor also writes a monthly blog that addresses specific topics about rivalry between
women. She has been published in the On Purpose Woman Magazine and has had guest appearances on numerous podcasts
and webinars. She is a leader and member of BossBabes RVA, a community of 7100+ female entrepreneurs whose focus is
to uplift, learn and surround themselves with motivated, passionate and creative individuals.
Exile, Nature, and Transformation in the Life of Mary Hallock Foote
Megan Riley McGilchrist
University of Nevada Press
Mail Stop 0166, Reno, NV, 89557-0166
9781647790189, $40.00, PB, 224pp
Synopsis: Deftly combining a breadth of scholarship, insightful critical thinking, and an engaging personal interaction with
Mary Hallock Foote's substantial collection of illustrations and writings, author Megan Riley McGilchrist provides a
significant contribution to western literature and the lives of western writers with the publication of "Exile, Nature, and
Transformation in the Life of Mary Hallock Foote".
This exceptional literary biography opens a window into the remarkable, little-known nineteenth-century personal history of
the accomplished American author and illustrator, Mary Hallock Foote (1847 - 1938), who was a woman both of her time,
and ahead of it.
When Mary gave up a successful career as an illustrator in New York to follow her husband, a mining engineer, to the West,
she found herself in a new, unfamiliar, and often challenging world -- sometimes feeling like an exile. The thousands of
pages of her unpublished letters, which form the foundation of this study, give rare insight into the process of acculturation
and eventually the transformation that she experienced. This wide-ranging analysis also examines the role that nature and
Mary's lifelong connection with the natural world played in her adaptation to the western mining towns where she spent
much of the rest of her life.
In many ways, Mary's life mirrored that of author Megan Riley McGilchrist, whose parallel exile began in 1977 when she
left America for England. Drawing equivalences with Mary's life as an exile and her own life as an expatriate American
woman, Megan provides a meditation on her own transformation, as much as on Mary's. Megan demonstrates what it has
been like to be a twenty-first-century American expatriate, Californian-turned-Londoner -- and to find common ground in
the life of a nineteenth-century woman.
Comprising elements of biography, literary analysis, history, and personal history, and containing many unpublished
excerpts from Mary's voluminous correspondence, "Exile, Nature, and Transformation in the Life of Mary Hallock Foote"
offers insight into the ways Mary perceived the world around her. It also provides insight into the experiences of exiles of
any time -- people who have left a familiar environment to embark on a new life in a new and not necessarily comfortable
Critique: Fascinating, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Exile, Nature, and Transformation in the Life of
Mary Hallock Foote" is an extraordinary and definitive study of a particularly remarkable and talented woman of her time.
While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library American Literary Biographies collections
as a work of original and painstaking scholarship, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and
non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Exile, Nature, and Transformation in the Life of Mary
Hallock Foote" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $38.00).
Editorial Note: Megan Riley McGilchrist is a native Californian who has lived permanently in England since 1983. She is
an English teacher at the American School in London and the author of "The Western Landscape in Cormac McCarthy and
Austin Macauley Publishers
9781528999434, $11.95, PB, 194pp
Synopsis: Compiled by Robbie Henderson, "Our Mothers" is comprised of stories written by a group of friends who met
during school and university days. Rarely celebrated, these short stories are about their mothers. While these women were
from different backgrounds and some were born, or lived their early lives, in different countries, they shared some things in
common. They were British by either birth or ancestry. They were middle class and they were young mothers during the
latter part of World War 2, or shortly thereafter. They lived in Canberra during the '50s, '60s and '70s (longer in some cases)
and contributed to the social life of the growing city in a variety of ways.
Critique: An fascinating and informative read from cover to cover, "Our Mothers" is a unique celebration of an impressive
diversity of women who became mothers. A welcome and unusual addition to community library collections, it also should
be noted for personal reading lists that "Our Mothers" is available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.50).
Editorial Note: On completion of her initial studies at the Australian National University, Robbie Henderson worked as a
teacher, a biochemist, a political activist and a feminist activist in Australia and the United Kingdom culminating in her
election as a member of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Legislative Assembly. Thirty years working in the
non-government sector and the New South Wales (NSW), Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Australian governments
followed. In 2004 she joined Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) as an advisor to the Solomon
Islands' Prime Minister and Head of the Cabinet Office, and in 2008, she worked as an advisor to the national police (PNTL)
in Dili, Timor-Leste.
Arrival of the Light Beings
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781982267933, $33.95, HC, 200pp
Synopsis: Contact with extraterrestrial and multidimensional beings began for Olive Stuart on New Year's Day 2000 when
she heard the Voice declare: "It's time." Childhood terror of an extraterrestrial presence triggered panic in Olive when the
Voice later spoke to her through a client who was soundly sleeping during a Reiki session. Communication and trust with
the Voice developed for several years until Olive's fears of anything extraterrestrial were fully released and she understood
why she had been selected for contact. Slowly a friendship developed with Avratar, a Fifth Dimensional being who guided
Olive to a greater awareness of life beyond Earth's three-dimensional boundaries.
"They must understand that we are here to help" was the message Avratar wanted humans to hear. "Time is limited .... There
are many individuals on your planet who wish to live in harmony with the planet and each other, yet they are denied this
opportunity. That was not the original intention for this planet. The injustices and the continuing harm to Gaia will not be
permitted to continue."
Reports of unidentified flying objects are increasing across the globe; soon even more ships will be appearing in our skies.
Sightings, direct contact and even abductions can no longer be dismissed as fabrication. Changes, and the light beings, are
The publication of "Arrival of the Light Beings: How to Prepare for the Shift and Contact with Extraterrestrials" by Linda
Hawley is designed to help alleviate the anticipated fears and increase awareness of their objectives, how to comprehend the
massive Earth changes that have been foretold, and most importantly how to "prepare your heart." Written in the style of
narrative fiction, "Arrival of the Light Beings: How to Prepare for the Shift and Contact with Extraterrestrials" is in reality
an autobiography of the author's growing awakening and acceptance of her role in the planet's evolution.
Critique: Inherently fascinating, iconoclastic, informative, thought-provoking read from cover to cover" Arrival of the Light
Beings: How to Prepare for the Shift and Contact with Extraterrestrials" will have a special appeal to non-specialist general
readers with an interest in metaphysics, UFOs, spirits and ghosts. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Arrival
of the Light Beings: How to Prepare for the Shift and Contact with Extraterrestrials" is also readily available in a paperback
edition (9781982267919, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
Editorial Note: Linda Haley is the founder and executive director of The Reiki Center, a comprehensive natural wellness
center for people and their pets based in Columbus, Ohio. Contacted by a Fifth Dimensional being named Avratar on New
Year's Day 2000, Linda's terrifying experiences with ghosts and other non-human entities when she was a child led to
immediate panic and a complete rejection of his request for support. Twenty years of subsequent contacts with Avratar and
other non-human messengers have helped her to now understand why she was selected to deliver their urgent appeal for
greater understanding of spiritual truths, the importance of a deeper connection to Source, and why beings from throughout
the galaxy are now advancing towards Earth.
Micah Andrew's Bookshelf
Design Resilience in Asia
Oscar Carracedo Garcia-Villalba, editor
c/o Actar Publishers
440 Park Avenue S, 17th FL, New York, NY 10016
9781948765251, $89.95, PB, 488pp
Synopsis: Led by the National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment, edited by Oscar Carracedo
Garcia-Villalba, "Design Resilience in Asia: Thinking the Unpredictable, Designing with Uncertainty" presents the research
by design results of four consecutive years in four different countries (China, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand)
responding to the current challenge of building more resilient cities in front of impacts of climate change, such as coastal
and river flooding, water and air pollution, water scarcity, urban heat island effect, aquifer depletion or subsidence.
"Design Resilience in Asia" brings together the work of highly-reputed academics, professionals and scholars drawn from
20 universities worldwide with the aim of serving as a guide for mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change,
and more specifically to reinstating the environmental qualities of our cities through carbon-neutral or carbon net-positive
urban designs and plans.
Critique: A timely and invaluable contribution given the current and expected increasingly serious impacts of climate
change, "Design Resilience in Asia: Thinking the Unpredictable, Designing with Uncertainty" is an essential and core
addition to personal, professional, community, college, university, and governmental library Sustainability & Green Design,
Regional Architecture, and Urban & Land Use Planning collections and supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.
Editorial Note: An architect, urbanist, educator and an expert in digital transformation and business development, Oscar
Carracedo Garc°a-Villalba is the Director of Resilient and Sustainable Cities Design and Planning. Research and
development lead Director Designing Resilience Global Program.
A Bloodstained Hammer
Alison Townsend, author
Brian T. Seifrit, author
Hudu Creek Publishing
9781777328085, $12.96 (publisher), $7.47 (Amazon), PB, 178pp
Synopsis: Co-authored by Alison Townsend and Brian T. Seifrit, "A Bloodstained Hammer" is a fictionalized description
based on the actual Townsend murders that occurred in the outskirts of Fruitvale, British Columbia in 1959.
Critique: Especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense
collections, "A Bloodstained Hammer" is a deftly crafted and inherently fascinating novel that is inspired by, and accurately
based upon, an horrific incident of two homicides that took place in a small Canadian community over 60 years ago, "A
Bloodstained Hammer" is an inherently riveting and memorable read from cover to cover.
Hold The Apocalypse
9798454735616, $8.99, PB, 200pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "Hold The Apocalypse: Pass Me A Scientist Please And Other Humorous Essays From An
Optimist In Dreamland", Bob Lorentson, a terrified yet occasionally optimistic environmental scientist, takes a humorous
look at the science behind the human and animal behaviors that make a doomed planet so interesting.
If you've ever wanted to get the real dirt on forest bathing without getting muddied, or on animal arsonists without getting
burned, or on DIY transcranial Direct Current Stimulation without risking all those excitable neurons that already have one
foot out the door, then "Hold The Apocalypse" is for you. Should you be of the type, however, that has found life's little
pleasures interrupted of late by the loud ticking of the Doomsday Clock, put in some earplugs, because it's not yet too late to
have a good laugh while you learn about 'Cat Research for Dummies,' 'Brain Wars - the Gender Variations,' or 'Boredom -
It's Not Just for the Boring.'
Critique: Comprised of fifty erudite and occasionally iconoclastic essays, "Hold The Apocalypse: Pass Me A Scientist Please
And Other Humorous Essays From An Optimist In Dreamland", Bob Lorentson combines humor with science, philosophy,
psychology, history, and even poetry to examine a myriad of curious subjects while he (and you!) wait for the collapse of
civilization. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it
should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hold The Apocalypse" is also readily available in a digital book format
Editorial Note: Bob Lorentson is an environmental scientist, humor writer, and serious technophobe. When not writing, he
can usually be found running from the 21st century. He lives in East Haddam, CT with his wife, two rescue animals, and his
fears of spontaneous combustion. Oh, and of a world dominated by artificial intelligence and real ignorance.
You can find his website and blog at www.boblorentson.com, and follow him on Instagram (@boblorentson1212).
Urgent!: Save Our Ocean to Survive Climate Change
Captain Paul Watson
c/o Book Publishing Company
PO Box 99, Summertown, TN 38483
9781570674037, $9.95 PB, 92pp
Synopsis: We know now that despite all the climate change denier protests that a pandora's box of environmental disasters
has been opened, threatening the ability of the natural world to recover and humanity to survive. From devastating fires and
storms to the emergence of deadly new viruses, it's become impossible to deny the terrifying reality of climate change.
Captain Paul Watson, founder of the direct-action group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has spent decades protecting
the ocean's ecosystems and marine life and developing a knowledgeable and intimate relationship with our seas. With depth,
clarity, and compassion, Watson identifies the numerous ways we are sabotaging the ocean's ability to sustain life on this
planet with the publication of "Urgent!: Save Our Ocean to Survive Climate Change".
"Urgent!" explains the apocalyptic scenario that is our future if we don't act now. There still is time to mitigate some of the
consequences of the climate crisis. Watson provides a roadmap for us to navigate a way out by lowering our carbon
footprint, becoming actively involved, and drawing on our passion and courage to find potential solutions. His credo is: "We
don't change the world without making waves."
Critique: An absolute 'must read' for everyone concerned with the dramatic and disastrous impacts that climate change is
already having (and which are predicted to increase in severity and frequency), "Urgent!: Save Our Ocean to Survive
Climate Change" needs to be a part of every professional, community, college, and university library Environmental Issues
collections and studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, environmental activists,
governmental policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Urgent!: Save Our
Ocean to Survive Climate Change" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Editorial Note: Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian/American marine conservation activist who founded the direct-action
group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977. He became familiar to the public through Animal Planet's popular
television series Whale Wars A prolific writer, Watson has authored or coauthored more than a dozen books, including
Orcapedia, Death of a Whale, Dealing with Climate Change and Stress, and Captain Paul Watson: Interview with a
Michael Dunford's Bookshelf
Ships and Shipwrecks: Stories from the Great Lakes
c/o Michigan State University Press
1405 South Harrison Road, Suite 25, East Lansing, MI 48823-5245
9781948314091, $29.95, PB, 182pp
Synopsis: From the day that French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle launched the Griffin in 1679 to the 1975 sinking of
the celebrated Edmund Fitzgerald, thousands of commercial ships have sailed on the vast and perilous waters of the Great
In a harbinger of things to come, on the return leg of its first trip in late summer 1679, the Griffin disappeared and has never
been seen again. In the centuries since then, the records show that an alarming number of shipwrecks have occurred on the
Great Lakes. If vessels that wrecked but were later repaired and returned to service are included, the number certainly swells
into the thousands.
Most did not mysteriously vanish like the Griffin. Instead, they suffered the occupational hazards of every lake boat:
collisions, groundings, strands, fires, boiler explosions, and capsizes. Many of these disasters took the lives of crews and
passengers. The fearsome wrath of the storms that brew over the Great Lakes has challenged and defeated some of the
staunchest vessels constructed in the shipyards of port cities along the U.S. and Canadian lake shores.
With the publication of "Ships and Shipwrecks: Stories from the Great Lakes", Great Lakes historian Richard Gebhart tells
the tales of some of these ships and their captains and crews, from their launches to their sad demises -- or sometimes, their
Critique: A unique and informative Great Lakes maritime and nautical history, "Ships and Shipwrecks: Stories from the
Great Lakes" by historian Richard Gebhart is an inherently fascinating and impressively informative read from cover to
cover. While highly recommended for community, college, and university library Great Lakes Maritime History collections,
it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, nautical history buffs, and non-specialist general
readers with an interest in the subject that "Ships and Shipwrecks: Stories from the Great Lakes" is also readily available in
a digital book format (Kindle, $16.17).
Editorial Note: Richard Gebhart was director of the White River Light Station lighthouse museum from 1975 to 1980. He
has authored numerous articles of historical interest and essays for journals and newsletters of Great Lakes historical
Joe Loizzo, author
Elazar Aslan, author
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115-4544
9781611809213, $26.95, HC, 296pp
Synopsis: "Boundless Leadership: The Breakthrough Method to Realize Your Vision, Empower Others, and Ignite Positive
Change" by Joe Loizzo and Elazar Aslan provides a complete and systematic roadmap to finding meaning in your work,
realizing your full leadership potential, and inspiring your team with resilience, innovation, compassion and confidence.
"Boundless Leadership" offers the reader a new science-based vision of leadership that prescribes disciplines of mind, heart,
and body to help leaders cultivate clarity, compassion and fearlessness for themselves and throughout their
"Boundless Leadership" also offers accessible, real world applications to bring ease to leading oneself and others, and
provides examples drawn from the authors' years of experience with clients, including CEOs of multi-billion-dollar
businesses, entrepreneurs and managers trying to balance the complex challenges of work and life in our interdependent
Each section comprising "Boundless Leadership" includes a range of practices based on neuropsychology and contemplative
science, including guided meditations to improve focus and awareness, cultivate empathy and compassion, and build
fearlessness and flow. Each section also offers a practical application to ease daily challenges, including clarifying
intentions for better decision-making, improving accountability and responsibility for better team collaboration, and
embodying purpose to optimize impact on one's organization and society at large.
"Boundless Leadership" is especially relevant during this current explosion of pandemic driven remote working and
provides advice and guidance to remain productive and joyful when your work environment is in flux. Whether you're a
CEO, manager, team leader, consultant, coach, social entrepreneur or community activist, "Boundless Leadership" offers the
tools needed to clarify your vision, lead others, and ignite positive change in the world--giving you a much needed
advantage in today's fast-paced digital age.
Critique: Exceptionally insightful, 'real world' practical, and inspiringly motivational, "Boundless Leadership: The
Breakthrough Method to Realize Your Vision, Empower Others, and Ignite Positive Change" is an extraordinary and
recommended addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, college, and university library Business
Management collections. It should be noted for MBA students, academia, corporate executives, business managers,
entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Boundless Leadership: The
Breakthrough Method to Realize Your Vision, Empower Others, and Ignite Positive Change" is also readily available in a
digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).
Editorial Note #1: Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD is a contemplative psychotherapist, a clinical researcher, and Buddhist
scholar-teacher. He founded Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, a nonprofit organization that interacts with over
12,000 people per year. On the faculty at the Weill Cornell Medical College and the Columbia University Center for
Buddhist Studies, he lectures widely on the role of meditative learning in the future of health, education, and leadership, and
teaches regular public classes and workshops.
Editorial Note #2: Elazar Alsan, MBA, PCC is an executive advisor, speaker, and entrepreneur. After a successful career as
a business executive, he became a professional coach over a decade ago, bringing his meditative practice and leadership
principles to corporations including Chase, D&B, MasterCard, American Express, and ADP, as well as hyper growth
start-ups. He is the founder of A Day of Kindness in Philadelphia, President of the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia,
and a Nalanda Institute board member.
The Alien Disclosure Deception
Sophia Perennis Publications
9781597311847, $19.95, PB, 254pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "The Alien Disclosure Deception: The Metaphysics of Social Engineering", author
Charles Upton tries to answer two questions: 1) Why has the U.S. Government suddenly done an about-face in 2021, from
debunking UFOs to officially admitting that they are "real"? 2) Since UFOs appear on radar, leave physical traces, and
produce a wide spectrum of psychic and paranormal phenomena, exactly what are they?
The answer to the first question is: "Because 'disclosure' is part of a long-term social engineering project beginning at least
as early as the end of WWII." The answer to the second is: "They are psycho-physical entities such as have been reported
throughout human history, called the Jinn by the Muslims and Fairies by the Northern Europeans.
The social engineers have opted to use this well-known phenomenon (whether or not they fully understand it) to shift the
paradigm in the Western world from Democracy and Christianity to Technocracy and Transhumanism. Extensive evidence
is given for both these theories, drawing upon history, individual and social psychology, traditional metaphysics and
eschatology, the physical sciences, and the phenomenology of the paranormal, thus producing the most global and consistent
explanation to date (if not the most easily accepted one) of the UFO phenomenon.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Alien Disclosure Deception: The Metaphysics of Social
Engineering" is impressively informed and informative. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, iconoclastic and insightful,
"The Alien Disclosure Deception: The Metaphysics of Social Engineering" is especially and unreservedly recommended for
personal, professional, community, college, and university library UFO Studies collections. It should be noted for the
personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Alien
Disclosure Deception: The Metaphysics of Social Engineering" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle,
Editorial Note: Poet and metaphysician Charles Upton was born on December 13, 1948, in San Francisco, California. He is
a protegee of the Beat Generation, a veteran of the psychedelic counterculture, a peace activist, a Sufi Muslim, a writer of
the Traditionalist/Perennialist School, and author of 20 books -- mostly on the subjects of "metaphysics and social
criticism". In 2013, along with Dr. John Andrew Morrow, he co-founded the international Muslim/Interfaith peace
movement known as the Covenants Initiative, and is presently Executive Director of the Covenants of the Prophet
Foundation. He has been writing on the subject of UFOs since 2001.
Nancy Lorraine's Bookshelf
Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives
Rick Bleiweiss, author
Black Stone Publishing
31 Mistletoe Rd., Ashland, OR 97520
9781665046756, $26.99 HC, $5.39 Kindle, 300pp
Winner of the PNBA BuzzBooks award, "Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives" by Rick Bleiweiss offers
historical mystery buffs a whole new palate of slick "tonsorial sleuths" plus the dapper Pignon Scorbion, the new eccentric
inspector who must use his superior detective skills to solve a puzzling trio of deady crimes, covering a continent and
country-spanning locale, while based in a quaint 1910 English village.
Many allusions and homages to classical mystery cliches are buried in this delightful text. Uncovering them can be as
addictive as solving the mystery in triplicate. Pignon Scorbion is compared to Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and maybe
even Lord Peter Wimsey. This promising introductory title is sure to attract fans and followers for further tales of Pignon
Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives. Light in tone, gently acerbic in touches, the prose of famous rock star promoter
and associate Rick Bleiweiss never fails to intrigue avid readers.
Very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections and the personal reading lists of dedicated
mystery buffs, "Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives" introduces a new mystery series that is not to be
Shady Hollow: A Murder Mystery
Juneau Black, author
Vintage Crime/ Black Lizard Mysteries
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
9780593315712, $16.00 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 219pp
"Shady Hollow" is the latest animal murder mystery in the cozy mystery series of the same name. Co-authored by Jocelyn
Cole and Sharon Nagle, this delightful series features woodland creatures as characters with disturbingly human
The cunning reporter fox Vera Vixen chases down a rumor that Otto Sumpf, a grouchy toad, has been murdered. In the
peaceful society of Shady Hollow, a small settlement where "woodland creatures of all types and temperaments, from the
tiny mouse to the mighty moose, live together in a successful and mostly peaceful society," murder is a grievous offense to
stability of the natural order.
Vera resolves to solve the dangerous mystery murder, and discovers information that endangers her and the other Shady
Hollow animals. These include BW Stone (a cigar-chomping skunk editor), Lenore Lee (a raven expert on mysteries), Joe (a
gossip tracking moose), Chief Theodore Meade (a bear law enforcement officer), Deputy Orville Braun (another bear
officer), Ruby Ewing (sheep), Reginald von Beaverpelt, (plus Anastasia, Esmerelda, and Edith von Beaverpelt), Lefty the
small time criminal raccoon, and Ambrosius Heidegger (owl professor of philosphy), and Sun Li (panda proprietor of a
vegetarian restaurant called the Bamboo Patch).
Danger looms when Vera tracks down elusive clues, and threats to other woodland creatures and inhabitants of Shady
Hollow materialize. All creatures possess helpful traits, and working together, they offer help to Vera in solving the
"Shady Hollow" has been aptly described as '"Watership Down" meets Mickey Spillane. All imaginative characters promise
an unusual romp and a quirky reading experience to devotees of the cozy mystery. Very highly recommended for
community library collections, indulge your whim for animal identification and cross species learning, and explore the
wondrous world of Shady Hollow.
Sing Like Never Before
Justin Stoney, author
Mark Pate, illustrator
Mission Point Press
9781950659753, $49.95 PB, $49.95 Kindle, 225 pages
"Sing Like Never Before: A Creative Look at Vocal Technique & Pedagogy for Singers & Voice Teachers" is a
comprehensive, succinct, vividly presented and illustrated vocal teaching manual that offers helpful content on the technical
tools, scientific principles, visual illustrations of vocal concepts, creative imagery, practical tips, comedic scenes and soulful
passages, all of which contribute significant inspiration and encouragement to aspiring vocal performers.
Described by performer Tony Shaloub as "a game changer" "Sing Like Never Before" is divided into 10 chapters covering
breathing, the larynx, vocal resonance & tone, posture & alignment, the tongue, jaw, & mouth, vocal registration, larynx &
vocal fold control, vocal health & speech, vocal performance & acting, and singing from the soul.
Filled with SLNB Quick Tips sidebars, colorful accurate illustrations, engaging style, and accessible vocal technique tips
and tricks, "Sing Like Never Before" offers excellent, valuable vocal coaching and training exercises and knowledge to
singers of all levels. here is an example of the vocal practice explanations from Chapter 29, Soft Palate:"To sing like never
before, become a vocal myth buster! Don't just lift your soft palate like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill. Instead,
develop heroic control over your soft palate's full range of motion. If you do, then vocal freedom will never be all Greek to
you!" This is followed by the SLNB Quick Tips sidebar: "1. Practice singing nasal consonants (M,N, and NG) to experience
a lowered soft palate. 2. Practice singing any pure vowel (like EE, OO, of AH) to experience a raised soft palate. 3. Practice
nasalized vowels (like MAHM or NEEN) to experience an "in between" soft palate.
"Sing Like Never Before" is chock full of helpful information, exercises, and humorous explanations of the working of
successful vocal performance. The fantastic diagrams of all the related muscles required for vocal performance help to
engage, visualize, and integrate vocal practice techniques. There is a positive emphasis on healthy practice and performance
and enjoyment of vocal performance.
"Sing Like Never Before" is a fantastic vocal pedagogy resource that should be on every vocal student's and teacher's
Mama: A World of Mothers and Motherhood
Helene Delforge, author
Quentin Greban, illustrator
Polly Lawson, translator (from French)
9781782507710 $19.95, HC
A collection of twenty-one artistic masterpieces with poignant poetic descriptions, "Mama: A World of Mothers and
Motherhood" presents sensitive portraits and moments of motherhood in globally diverse cultures and situations.
Created by a team of sister and brother -in- law, (author Helen Delforge and artist Quentine Greban) and ably translated
from French into English for an American readership by Polly Lawson, these painfully sensitive words and pencil and water
color images are hauntingly beautiful portrayals of nearly all aspects of a mother's love for her child and the bond it
From the heart rending portrait of a mother who is devastated by the loss of her child to the mother with bell-like prayer
stick, the fears, doubts, uncertainty, risks, and joy of mothering a child is portrayed and celebrated, across miles, across
oceans, across cultures and home settings. "Remember that everywhere on this earth/ children are held, helped to grow,
protected, loved./ Let us take this world full of love/ into our hearts."
All who treasure the experience of a mother child relationship will find rich enhancements of that life stream in this
beautiful collection, "Mama: A World of Mothers and Motherhood" is highly recommended for personal, family, elementary
school, and community library non-religious holiday collections for young readers ages 6-12.
Christmas At the Movies
Phillip Keveren, arranger
Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing
PO Box 13819, Milwaukee, WI 53213
9781458407740, $15.99, PB, 56pp
"Christmas At the Movies" is a collection of 16 popular movie classic holiday themes arranged for solo piano by master
arranger/performer/composer Phillip Keveren. A partial list includes old favorites paired with newer hits: "My Favorite
Things," "We Need a Little Christmas," God Bless Us Everyone," "Somewhere in my Memory," "Star of Bethlehem,"
"Where Are You Christmas?" and "Carol for Another Christmas."
The first four songs, which come from "Miracle on 34th street," "The Sound of Music," "White Christmas," and "Mame,"
can be played as a Christmas at the Movies Suite background holiday medley for a slide show or holiday media event. All
arrangements are tastefully jazzy, moderately challenging, smoothly paced, and beautifully framed, as is typical of all
Keveren piano solo arrangements.
Teachers and students who perform at holiday recitals will want to avail themselves of this trendy yet timeless collection of
holiday movie theme favorites. A piano music book for late intermediate/early advanced pianists, the arrangements
comprising Christmas at the Movies" linger on the palate like tasty holiday treats, chocolates, sugar plums, or buns.
Paul Vogel's Bookshelf
iWater and Other Convictions
Robert D. Kirvel
Steel Toe Books
9781949540253, $18.00, PB, 220pp
Synopsis: We all do it on occasion: spew words to defend or offend. But when someone insists "Nobody knows anything" or
"All [insert political or religious affiliation] are idiots", just what is really going on?
"iWater and Other Convictions" by Robert D. Kirvel is about the people we all have met who embrace unfounded political,
social, sexual, or moral mindsets drawn from untrustworthy sources. The literary snapshots comprising "iWater and Other
Convictions" show why individuals who are sure they know the most often know the least, how empathy is not always as
positive as it's cracked up to be, where conspiracy theories originate, and what personal authenticity can mean in perplexing
and polarizing times.
Critique: Written specifically the benefit of readers who have tried again and again to make sense of social, cultural, or
political conversational nonsense, "iWater and Other Convictions" is challenging, insightful, thoughtful and thought-
provoking. Impressively timely, especially when considering the current political scene debased by elaborate and deceptive
misinformation campaigns on social media, "iWater and Other Convictions" is especially and unreservedly recommended
for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library collections.
Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner
Austin Macauley Publishers
9781528994309, $19.95, HC, 94pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner", Mario Lopez-Goecoechea address a number of
topical and timely questions including: What does a certificate of naturalization mean to an immigrant in Brexit-plagued
modern Britain? How do we navigate the various identity markers we acquire through life? Which ones stand out? Which
ones blend in and get forgotten? And why? How does language affect the process of adaptation to a new country? Should
writing from an "English as an Additional Language (EAL)" perspective be seen through the prism of aesthetics (writing per
se) or identity politics? What is masculinity in the 21st century? How big is the Afro-Cuban scene in London nowadays? Is
it time the Cuban government acknowledged Virgilio Pi§era's contribution to the island's literary canon and apologised for
the way it treated the writer? What is the linguistic future of the next Latin American generation?
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner" is an impressively
thoughtful and thought-provoking read that will be of special interest and appeal to both academic and non-specialist
general readers with an interest in the subjects so well and articulated discussed by Lopez-Goicoechea, who is a
Cuban-born, London-based writer and blogger who has lived in the British capital since 1997. While highly recommended
for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cuban,
Immigrant, and Londoner" is also available in a paperback edition (9781528994293, $12.95) and in a digital book format
Editorial Note: Mario Lopez-Goicoechea's success as a blogger merited his inclusion in the first anthology of Cuban
bloggers called Buena Vista Social Blog (editor, Beatriz Calvo Pe§a) in 2010. In 2012, Mario published three separate
essays on the centenary of Cuba's foremost playwright, poet, essayist and short storywriter, Virgilio Pi§era in The Guardian,
Prospect magazine and The Prisma newspaper. For the last twelve years, Mario has built a strong and ever-growing diverse
Explain This!: A Lateral Thinking Party Game
9798454633578, $6.99, PB, 74pp
Synopsis: Parties are fun. Games are fun. "Explain This!: A Lateral Thinking Party Game" by Sam Hicken is fun.
Combining them yields the fortuitous equation: Party + Game + Book = Fun x 3. "Explain This!: A Lateral Thinking Party
Game" is comprised of 25 top lateral thinking puzzles, some traditional some original, plus an introduction that's designed
to be both informative and funny. Two original cartoons accompany each brainteaser, and there are other humorous
elements scattered throughout.
Lateral thinking puzzles (also called situation puzzles, the explanation game, or two-minute mysteries) proceed as follows.
The "host" reads a seemingly odd scenario, after which the group uses yes or no questions to figure out the circumstances
that led up to it. Puzzles can take from a few minutes to over an hour to solve.
Lateral thinking puzzles can be intellectually entertaining (and challenging detective work!) plus they're a natural jumping
off point for party banter and jokes. "Explain This!: A Lateral Thinking Party Game" makes entertaining reading, but it's
even more fun to try the puzzles with friends.
Critique: A guaranteed and fun ice breaker resource for any and all parties and family gathering and get-together events, and
also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), "Explain This!: A Lateral Thinking Party Game" is highly
recommended for personal, family, and community library Puzzle and Humor collections.
Paths of the Righteous. Stories of Heroism, Humanity and Hope
Gefen Publishing House
c/o Storch 255 Central Ave #B-206, Lawrence, NY 11559
9657023730, $14.99, PB, 145pp
Synopsis: What does it mean to be a righteous person in these uncertain times? When anti-Semitic violence has rocked the
Jewish community, it's common to turn inward. Our heroes who give us hope shine a light through dark times. Throughout
history, Jewish leaders have shown our community and humanity what it means to rise to the occasion. But do you know the
stories of non-Jewish luminaries that uplift our community while inspiring their own?
With the publication of "Paths of the Righteous. Stories of Heroism, Humanity and Hope " by Ari Mittleman readers will
discover eight individuals who have gone above and beyond for Israel and the Jewish people during a difficult and turbulent
period. Largely unheralded and not in the headlines, their stories can inspire us. They each demonstrate unique attributes.
No matter how hidden it may seem during an uncertain journey and challenging times, collectively they teach us what it
means to pursue a righteous path in the twenty-first century.
King Solomon in Proverbs wrote: "The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn; it shines ever brighter until the day is
perfect." Black, White and Latino from Africa, Europe and North America, "Paths of the Righteous. Stories of Heroism,
Humanity and Hope" introduces four men and four women that through their actions demonstrate the true meaning of this
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Paths of the Righteous. Stories of Heroism, Humanity and Hope" deserves (especially in
this dark times) the widest readership possible. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college,
and university library Judaism & Religious Ethics collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Paths of the
Righteous. Stories of Heroism, Humanity and Hope" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.56).
Editorial Note: Ari Mittleman works at the nexus of politics, policymaking and the press in Washington, DC. Proficient in
both modern and biblical Hebrew, he has formally studied the language and traditional Jewish texts since kindergarten and
travels regularly to Israel. In total, he has visited over 40 countries and has worked with heads of state, celebrities and global
business leaders. As a native Pennsylvanian deeply involved in the pro-Israel community, the tragedy in Pittsburgh deeply
Paul T. Vogel
S.A. Gorden's Bookshelf
B07FSW6CY5, $4.99, 2018, 320 pages
Defiance is a SF war between species novel. There is little hard science in the story but there are enough illusions of science
to satisfy the SF reader. The characters are well-fleshed with pages and pages of details. The biggest drawback is, when you
get to the end of the story, you find it is just an introduction to a series.
One hundred years after a deadly encounter with an alien race Captain Mitchell and his ancient falling-apart ship USS
Defiance is sent on a supply mission across a dangerous expanse of space with a supply run. There is a secondary secret
agenda to the mission. Hints that the alien race, which was fought a hundred years earlier, is still active in the region.
Mitchell and his ship have the deadly task of finding out if it is true while keeping everyone else in the dark.
Defiance is a well written introduction to a solid SF space opera but all it is is an introduction. If you aren't willing to
commit to reading the series, it is hard to recommend. The storytelling is reasonably done but the packaging is the problem.
It should be marketed as an intro to a series and not a standalone story.
Pawsitively Poisonous: A Cozy Witch Mystery (A Witch of Edgehill Mystery Book 1)
Melissa Erin Jackson
B07R8D29RN, $0.00, 2019, 260 pages
Pawsitively Poisonous is a fun cozy witch mystery. It had a slightly different take on witchcraft blended with a reasonably
complex murder mystery. The one real pleasure is that the protagonist doesn't really know how to investigate a mystery but
still muddles through.
Amber Blackwood owns a small shop in Edgehill, Oregon called The Quirky Whisker. When her best friend is killed shortly
after stopping by her shop, she becomes a suspect in her poisoning. To clear her name she decides to find out what
Pawsitively Poisonous is an easy recommendation in the cozy witch mystery genre. It has complex and interesting
characters and a solid mystery. The stumbling investigation of a novice sleuth adds to the fun.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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