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Able Greenspan's Bookshelf
Death of a Whale
Captain Paul Watson
9781570674013, $19.95, PB, 256pp
Synopsis: "Death of a Whale: The Challenge of Anti-Whaling Activists and Indigenous Rights "
by Captain Paul Watson
presents an inherently fascinating and informative narrative about a historic dispute involving
cultural entitlement, the
sovereignty of whales, and international whaling agreements. This compelling, in-depth account
documents how Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society fights to defend and protect whales and other aquatic marine
mammals from human
predators who hunt and murder then under the false pretense of Indigenous rights. In the process
of discharging its duties,
the organization has created global enemies and allies and, by necessity, has put its staff and
vessels in harm's way.
Reading like an electrifying adventure tale, "Death of a Whale" is a true-life logbook that reveals
how members of one
community, the Makah (located on Washington's Olympic peninsula), attempted to circumvent
international whaling laws
by invoking outmoded cultural entitlements for the sole purpose of killing, rather than for
sustenance or survival. Tribal
members, conservationists, and non-Indigenous Americans representing disparate points of view
on the cultural
appropriation of whaling rights contributed to the highly charged atmosphere of this
Impressively detailed and documented, the narrative account replays the events as they unfolded.
Watson's deep respect for Indigenous traditions and rights never waver, even when they conflict
with his own devotion to
the sovereignty of whales.
Critique: A compelling, informative, exceptionally well presented, and thought-provoking read
throughout, "Death of a
Whale: The Challenge of Anti-Whaling Activists and Indigenous Rights" is an extraordinary and
recommended addition to community, college, and university library Oceanic Environmental
Studies, Whaling History, and
Indigenous Peoples Social Issues collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should
be noted for the personal
reading lists of students, academia, environmentalists, indigenous peoples rights activists, and
non-specialist general readers
with an interest in the subject that "Death of a Whale: The Challenge of Anti-Whaling Activists
and Indigenous Rights" is
also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian/American marine conservation
environmentalist. A direct descendent of
Chief Henri Membertou (1490-1560) of the Mi?kmaq First Nations, Captain Watson was born in
Toronto and raised in the
fishing community of St. Andrews-by-The Sea, New Brunswick. One of the founding members
and directors of
Greenpeace, in 1977 he left Greenpeace and founded Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. He
later became familiar to the
public through Animal Planet's television show Whale Wars. He is the author or coauthor of over
a dozen books on his life
as an activist, the environment, and Sea Shepherd's numerous campaigns to defend marine
wildlife. His most recent release
coauthored with Tiffany Humphrey is Orcapedia: A Guide to the Victims of the International
Orca Slave Trade
(GroundSwell Books, 2020).
Diane Donovan's Bookshelf
Chasing the Darkness
Morgan James Publishing
In Chasing the Darkness, Azrael, the Angel of Death, has become Pandaren's most powerful
assassin. He is fueled not only
by a passion for his job of destroying anyone with magic, but the determination to locate and kill
a particular Fire Spectral
who changed his life.
Ironically, the pursuit of his greatest goal leads Azrael to become the very thing he despises the
most. When an experiment
gone awry gives him magical abilities but accompanies them with chaotic forces, Azrael finds his
new abilities change his
alliances, purpose, and life. This brings him full circle to accept help from those he once viewed
as his mortal enemies.
The twists and turns in Chasing the Darkness are simply delightful as Azrael reconsiders
everything he knew about the
world and his motivation for being a soulless murderer.
He can't be an effective murderer when he begins to question his soul. And so Azrael embarks on
a new series of
confrontations, alongside new compatriots. His revised attitude even surprises those who'd
expected something far different
from his changed position: "Do you have a plan?" Kord said, kneeling next to him, blowing into
his hands. "Yes, but let's
wait for the others to see what they have to say." Kord lifted a brow. "What?" Azrael said. "Just
figured you'd take command
and expect people to follow." Azrael shrugged. "A good leader isn't afraid to hear other
Readers who like stories about sword-and-sorcery fantasy worlds where the hero is deeply flawed
and transforms from evil
to good; where love is a new possibility and redemption a driving purpose to life and justifying
one's actions; and where
physical form, magic, and the desire for a life of love sometimes overwhelms larger purposes
will find Chasing the
Its ability to set up characters for given roles, then change their psyches and abilities mid-story,
lends it an attraction missing
from the typical sword-and-sorcery romance piece, fueling a series of engagements in which
disparate loners forge new ties
to become friends, family, and more.
Fantasy readers are in for a treat.
The Woods of Hitchcock
Ann W. Jarvie
9780578932002, $29.00 Hardcover; $16.99 Paper; $4.99 Kindle
Thriller readers with a special affinity for horses, psychic investigations, and murder will find
The Woods of Hitchcock a
captivating, engrossing story. It's set in South Carolina, where a southern girl working in Chicago
returns to her beloved
home, only to find that angst and danger have followed her from the city streets into her rural
Suzanne Clayborn's reading of her grandmother's manuscript uncovers eerie facts about her
family's heritage and hidden
involvements in supernatural affairs. This dovetails nicely with her own psychic abilities,
fostering new understandings that
explain much about not only her past, but abilities she never wanted or completely accepted in
the first place.
The first thing to note about Suzanne's story is that it reaches beyond her psyche to embrace and
explore the lives of many
different peoples around her, who support and reflect her world in unusual ways: "Pivoting, he
rode ahead of her, creating a
tunnel of light that would lead them home, like he'd done so many times before. Suzanne smiled,
feeling the love of a drunk
who sometimes came through for her, usually when she least expected it."
With grandmother Henrietta's words and wisdom as her guide, Suzanne begins to hone and
fine-tune the powers that not
only will change her life, but reinforce her return home, her sanctuary, and her newfound
connections to her community.
The spiritual inspections are particularly interesting as these processes of self-discovery are
revealed: "I've worked hard to
make this estate a sacred sanctuary of light, love, and peace." Suzanne turned back to her
grandmother. "How have you done
that?" "By following the advice of Buddha and Jesus." "Oh? I was expecting you to say Bears
Repeating," Suzanne said
with a laugh. "Where do you think he got it from?" Henrietta giggled. "Ha!" "Buddha taught us
how to claim our power,
space, and our God-given right to be self-sovereign," Henrietta said. "And Jesus taught us how to
go within to connect with
God and forgive others seventy times seven. In doing so, we're able to establish healthy
boundaries for our personal
It's unusual to find such spiritual reflections in the guise of a thriller that weaves paranormal and
psychological tension into
its murder mystery, but Ann W. Jarvie achieves this with a fine attention to detail and depth on
many different levels.
This means that readers anticipating a murder mystery or thriller alone receive the added value of
a spiritual and
psychological inspection in the story of a young woman just beginning to fall into her heart's
desire in a new life and world:
"What an incredible solution! It was a beautiful blending of her old creative life and what felt like
her new life's mission
unfolding. Or as Gran would've said: What a beautiful synchronicity! Suddenly, she saw the big
picture of it. And it felt
Readers seeking a multifaceted story that moves beyond the 'thriller' label and into arenas packed
inspection and growth will find The Woods of Hitchcock excels in an evolving sense of place
and purpose that places it a
cut above most thriller adventures: "Because of the nightmares in my life, I was finally able to
know who I am, accept my
God-given psychic and creative abilities with gratitude, and start using them correctly, which, in
effect, has solved my own
life's riddle," she said."
Suzanne's evolutionary growth makes for a thoroughly engrossing story that's hard to put
Jackal Moon Press
9781952425028, $18.99 Hardcover
9781952425004, $12.99 Paper
Australian Shepherd dog Puppa likes nothing better than a warm cup of tea in his favorite mug,
in the mornings. When he
discovers that cup missing, one day, he decides to ask his crocodile friend Matcha to help him
recover the purloined
But, mysteriously, Matcha is also missing...as is monkey Earl, and his other friends.
Why are so many beloved things vanishing from Puppa's life? Even food has gone missing, and
his tummy is rumbling.
P. Anastasia does a fine job of building the dilemma and tension in a picture book story that
presents Puppa's startling
discoveries in what must be the worst morning of his life.
Zoe Saunders brings her story to life with large-size, colorful, whimsical illustrations that keep
kids and read-aloud parents
engaged and wondering about the outcome of Puppa's terrible day.
A mystery, an adventure, and a warm-hearted story of a problem-solving pup contribute to a
gentle tale that kids will find
absorbing and fun.
King of Thieves
Vinings House Press
Historical fiction fans will find King of Thieves: Tailor, Smuggler, Spy is based on the true
story of Christian Andreas
Kasebier. It opens in Prague in 1757, where the first-person narrator gazes down upon a city his
beloved King Frederick has
Christian Andreas Kasebier was once a king himself, famous throughout Prussia by his nickname
"The King of Thieves."
Robbing from the rich to become wealthy while giving to the poor, Kasebier's notoriety earned
him a reputation for cunning
that reached even the king's ears and helped stay his execution when he was finally caught.
Freed from years of prison to employ his craft in the service of King Frederick, Kasebier is
determined to fulfill his duties to
the king and regain a normal semblance of life. Is freedom too much to ask for?
As readers learn how Christian becomes the notorious King of Thieves, one of the most infamous
criminals in Prussian
history, they absorb the sights, sounds, and politics and social order of the times through
Christian's eyes and
Kevin Casebier is particularly adept at capturing these times and their influences. His
descriptions of prison experiences,
political choices, and friendships that both endanger and support those involved in subterfuge
and action add to a riveting
story that requires no prior familiarity with Prussian history or the King of Thieves in order to be
became months, and while the situation with
Olbrecht did not improve, I at least became used to Stettin. There was so much to despise: the
cold, the smell, the food, the
lack of space. And yet, I did admire how the other 'lifers' made the best of such an awful
situation; and their ways helped
Curt Richter and I to cope."
From soldiers to watchmen and outright criminal behaviors, Casebier captures the interests and
events that change lives as
Christian navigates his world with constant threats to achieving his desire of a "simple, settled
The politics and battles of the time come to life in a series of escapades that place Christian at the
pivot point of many social
changes. Readers will enjoy a vivid story which captures a sense of the times and the family and
struggles which lead
Christian to understand that the Austrians are simply protecting their land from invasion.
1700s Bohemia comes to life in a manner that keeps readers both engaged and educated by a
story that follows one notable
man's choices and struggles. Historical fiction collections should consider King of Thieves:
Tailor, Smuggler, Spy a
notable acquisition for its vivid re-creation of the times.
Hao and Sabine Buy the World's Currencies
Hao and Sabine Buy the World's Currencies is a global trot through the world's currencies that
provides all ages with
insights not into the usual valuation details of money, but the main motifs of money and how
countries choose designs for
their banknotes and coins.
The characters who populate this journey aren't just Trinbagonian residents nine-year-old Hao
Finley Lee and his younger
sister Sabine Yi Lee, but include an astronaut, a millionaire, a museum curator and a chef, and
even a "fairy."
The currency-purchasing adventure that Hao and Sabine embark upon follows them through
different countries around the
world as they uncover geographical and numismatic facts.
Sidebars with quotes and data and an intensely visual format enhance the wealth of information
on places, peoples, history,
and currency development that are packed into this book.
Good-sized color photos of the fronts and backs of selected world currencies are accompanied by
explanations of their
design and the choices that went into the final product.
Adults (as well as middle grades and older) will find that Hao and Sabine Buy the World's
Currencies requires slow reading
to fully absorb. It would be daunting, were it not for the compelling illustrations throughout, the
use of sidebars to impart
quotes and other details, and Sabine, Hao, and others' insights.
More than the usual discussion of world history and currency, Hao and Sabine Buy the World's
Currencies imparts facts in a
lively manner that supplements many insights with the give-and-take of family members and
others who navigate this
world's diverse cultures ("The food here in Vietnam is sooooo good!" - SY, drinking pho (a
traditional flat rice noodle
"Uh-huh! I'm really liking this bun ch *. Mummy, Daddy, thanks for getting us also some new
non-las." - HF
"You're welcome. I hope the original artworks that we just bought will arrive home without
damage." - Mummy
"Don't forget the soy sauce and vermicelli from Cu Da Village." - SY").
The result is a wide-ranging account that demands much in the way of absorbing history, but
provides solid returns with an
unusual format that lends to attention-grabbing insights.
Hao and Sabine Buy the World's Currencies is highly recommended for all ages interested not
just in money or its history,
but in different cultures.
A Final Call
Readers of Eliot Parker's Code for Murder who longed for more now have their wishes granted
with A Final Call, a Stacy
Tavitt story that revolves around police investigators Stacy and Austin's latest probe, which holds
a personal note from the
Stacy is a savvy investigator who stays one step ahead of the perps she pursues: "Her instincts
kicked in. The gunshots
coming from the front of the house were a diversion to keep the police from gaining entrance.
Stacy knew that if Brandon
Dearfield oversaw his crew, he knew the way to catch the police by surprise in these situations
was to hide in the shadows
and use deceit whenever possible."
She also has a problem. She's confronting fellow cop Brandon, who doesn't have much to lose.
As she tries to uncover the
truth about special interests, what really happened to Chance, and cops and bad guys involved
with each other, the tension
From exploding safe houses to igniting hearts, Eliot Parker is especially adept at capturing action
and emotion, entwining
the two in a gripping story that profiles motivation, intrigue, and matters of the heart alike.
The Cleveland Police Department procedurals are realistically narrated and come to life, as does
the adrenaline of an
investigation that holds many twists, turns, and challenges for Stacy's world.
From decisions that influenced Chance's imprisonment to the threats that place Stacy's life in the
balance, the story is
fast-paced and hard to put down.
Parker takes the time to build a cast of characters, motivations, and connections that are designed
to keep readers both
informed and guessing about outcomes and interconnected interests.
As a sequel to Code for Murder, Stacy's routines and perspective continues to grow. As a
stand-alone mystery, A Final Call
needs no prior familiarity in order to prove thoroughly engrossing, riveting, and filled with
surprises and nonstop action
from beginning to end.
If Hummer sounds familiar, that's because this is the 30th Anniversary re-launch of a
middle-grade children's story that was
nominated for both the Mark Twain Award and the Golden Sowers Award. Its appearance with a
bright new cover, new
pencil drawings, and newly revised writing will reach contemporary audiences with a story just
as winning as it was when it
was originally published.
Twelve-year-old Hummer's home life is anything but stable. From a mentally ill mother and a
pigsty of a home to a father
who lives in their barn, only the presence of a runaway Arabian horse enters her life as a
potentially positive event.
The horse that she's named Fox belongs to Old Man Riley, who normally wouldn't let anyone
touch his prized animal. But
as Hummer places her hopes and impossible dreams on her new find, her life begins to change:
"Everything would probably
start solving itself with Fox around, Hummer thought. Leona would surely start coming out of
the house again to watch
Hummer ride, and Virgil would want to take them to horse shows."
Between what is fantasy and impossible and what can become a new reality lie hopes and dreams
that Hummer cultivates
successfully. This process, plus descriptions of her life on the farm, comes to life in a warm story
that is delightful in its
realistic scenarios and characters.
Linda Gruenberg explores Hummer's struggles with family mental illness, dysfunction, and her
own role in the world.
Hummer's horse-loving personality succeeds in confronting many things around her, and these
facets also emerge as middle
grade readers receive a realistic story of challenges and changes.
It's easy to see why Hummer was nominated for awards. Gruenberg's winning story of a young
girl's determination to
succeed against all odds, Hummer's unusual friendship with a gruff old man challenged to go
against his nature, and her
ability to see the good in adversity makes this more than another story of a horse-crazy girl, but a
compelling tale of success
that proves hard to put down.
Its reappearance in new form for new generations is to be celebrated as Hummer makes the kinds
of choices that lead to
unexpectedly positive results against all odds. It's the kind of success story young people
especially need today more than
Stella Peabody's Wild Librarian Bakery and Bookstore: A Novel-in-Stories
Wild Librarian Press
9781737675907, $16.95 Paperback/$10.99 E-book
The problem in too many novels is that they represent weighty reading for busy readers or those
with short attention spans.
That's one reason why Stella Peabody's Wild Librarian Bakery and Bookstore: A
Novel-in-Stories will prove appealing to a
broader audience than most. It cultivates a delicious blend of stories and recipes which lend to
succinct bites of tasty
The Wild Librarian Bakery & Bookstore is an imaginary place populated by fictional characters
and real recipes, in this
book. The recipes have all been tested and range from "Magical Day Muffins" to "Scandalous
Strawberry Cupcakes" and
"Poet's Beer Bread."
Part of the magic of the story lies in the culinary descriptions peppered throughout, but the main
attraction reposes in
characters that sparkle in their daily lives and observations about growth and change: "Mary slept
in the next morning with
her cat Dr. Freud curled up against the small of her back. She made coffee and went out to sit
under her avocado tree.
Instead of reading the newspaper or a few pages from a book as she usually did, she sat with her
bare feet in the grass,
picking yellow paint off a corner of the chair, and looking toward the house. Dr. Freud was
sitting at the French doors
watching her. She looked at the Mexican tiles in the garden path until she found her favorite one
of the crescent moon. She
got up and knelt down on the ground, placing her hand flat on it. The tile was already warming
up from the morning sun.
Mary looked at her hand. It seemed weathered, old. "Had it looked like this for awhile?" she
wondered. "What else about my
body has changed?"
A sense of whimsy blends nicely with the ingredients of solid characterization and good reads
much in the manner of a cozy
mystery, but without the intrigue portion the only power in the tale. "Cozy" is brought to life in
evolutionary processes, and book-and-food-based world of characters that revolve around books
and/or food in different
From new recipes "inspired by adventure" to travels that result in new shared stories to spark
imagination and change, a
bookstore's commitment to community, baking, and love translates to vignettes about individuals
who are changed not just
by the store's presence, but by its varied offerings.
Book and food enthusiasts alike will find much to relish in
Stella Peabody's Wild Librarian Bakery and Bookstore: A Novel-in-Stories. As its characters and
world evolves, so does a
sense of joie de vivre that inspires art in various forms, pays tribute to women's lives, and centers
on the powers of
imagination, questions, and cultivating creative fun in peoples' lives.
Stella Peabody's Wild Librarian Bakery and Bookstore's delight resides in its delicious sense of
community and depiction of
women's connections. It will reach its appealing aroma into the minds and hearts of readers that
enjoy good books, tasty
recipes, and compelling stories alike.
How to Bury Your Dog
Black Rose Writing
Fiction readers who enjoy growth stories will find How to Bury Your Dog offers a satisfying
blend of small-town
experience and environmental concerns.
It follows the experiences of animal rescuer Lizzy, who faces the sad prospect of putting down
her long-term charge, basset
Lizzy faces many changes, both to her environment as developers move in to threaten it, and to
her familiar world as
friendships and life change.
She lives alone, close to nature, and is a blood tech in a hospital. Her staid life also is subject to
comments from friends who
are concerned about her trajectory: "Lizzy, you sure have forgotten something - you're alive. I
don't want to sound trite or
insensitive, but you need a new life plan."
What that life plan will be when she is already busy burying many things around her evolves into
a story of
Readers will be especially pleased at the time taken to depict long-term relationships of all kinds,
and how Lizzy grows
away from her habits and comfort zone to contemplate new relationships and life purposes.
The small town setting, environmental concerns, and intersections between the lure of developer
interests and a rural area's
bounty makes for an intriguing story presented on different levels, from the personal to the
The burial of Happy lends another puzzle piece into an evolving war in a story replete in
thought-provoking moments that
embrace visions, revised outcomes, and a newfound appreciation for the environment.
Readers seeking a story about connections between individuals, communities, and the forces of
special interest that
challenge them will find How to Bury Your Dog an outstanding story of transformation. It
weaves through different themes
to arrive at an unexpected resolution that brings closure to a seemingly insurmountable
A Better Heart
Black Rose Writing
The last thing indie filmmaker Kevin Stacey expected was to become involved in animal rights
issues. But, in A Better
Heart, that's exactly what happens when his estranged father shows up on his doorstep sporting a
gun and a monkey that has
been liberated from a laboratory.
The second-to-last thing Kevin wanted was a relationship with his father. Or a monkey. But as he
becomes more involved in
the complex dilemmas of both, Kevin begins to grow on unexpected levels that hold
ramifications not just for their
father/son relationship, but his ability to change his life.
A road trip both brings them together and reinforces their differences. Chuck Augello presents
these with a wry dose of
humor that excels in tongue-and-cheek observations beyond the normal family road trip
experience: "In three hours we've
gone exactly forty-five miles, the only "America" on view being the rusted back fender of the
Ford Taurus in front of us and
the yellow Roadwork signs spaced every hundred yards as a reminder of why exactly we're in
gridlock Hell. In the backseat
Henry plays with a tangerine, content to rub his fingers over the smooth rind. He's strapped into a
car seat, dressed in blue
overalls, and any onlookers would assume he's my son, his grandfather in the passenger seat,
three generations on the drive
back to grandmother's house for dinner."
Ironic satire and comic relief permeate this uncertain journey to add levity into a rollicking
adventure that revolves around
protecting Henry and redeeming family relationships. During the process, rifts are addressed and
repaired in many different
Film references throughout keep the cultural backdrop and components alive while adding
atmosphere and insights to the
evolving story: "Maybe I'm wrong, but if we're going to help Henry, we need a leap of faith." My
father nods. "Like Butch
and Sundance, right? The leap off the mountain top?" I know the scene - a great one - in which
Dad's so-called buddy
Redford confesses that he can't swim, but he and Butch leap into the river anyway. And survive,
inexplicably. Should I tell
Dad that, like Sundance, I can't swim either, having grown up without a father to teach me?"
Between the intrigue, the moral and ethical conundrums, a more personal experience of animal
rights issues, and a
father/son road trip that brings with it new opportunities, Augello creates a solid psychological
and social examination. The
tale embraces movie rights, individual rights, and choices and their consequences. These diverse
subplots and themes will
resonate with different readers.
Think Kerouac's On the Road, but with contemporary social and relationship inspections. Add in
film industry insider
experiences; a son's desire for fame and connections; intrigue and escapes; and philosophical life
inspections. The result is a
fun, literary story that offers many sweeping lessons about the road to a better heart that will
linger in the reader's mind long
after the story ends.
"I thought all I was doing back then was making an easy buck," he says, "and it wound up
changing our lives. I've met so
many legends...Mr. Hitchcock, Peter Fonda, Bob Redford..." "Dad..." "Who would have thought
the most memorable would
turn out to be a monkey?"
Black Rose Writing
Unwitting is the second book in the Erica Rosen MD trilogy, and opens with the physician facing
the aftermath of a suicide
bomber who detonates in a large stadium crowd in San Francisco.
How and why does a doctor become involved in an investigation like this? Because a teacher of
autistic men, afraid of
contacting authorities, chooses Erica as a confessional alternative because of her well-known
background working with
special needs children.
Dr. Rosen also has a personal stake in the investigation because her clinic and her condo are
located quite near to the
explosion at the Willie Mays Gate at Oracle Park, affecting her home and business alike. It turns
out that an autistic man
does hold the key to identifying the perp...if she can use her skills to get him to talk.
Newcomers to Dr. Rosen's life need not worry that familiarity with prior events may be a
prerequisite to enjoying Unwitting.
Deven Greene inserts a recap of the Chinese affair into the story to provide a seamless
background on Dr. Rosen's China
adventure which led her to meet her future husband Lim, setting the stage neatly for the
perspectives and reactions in this
This is important because some characters from past events re-emerge in the present-day
Charged with not only preventing future bombings but protecting the autistic man who holds the
only clues to future safety,
Dr. Rosen faces numerous conundrums, both ethical and personal, as she employs her skills to
prevent more tragedies.
Greene's ability to bring the characters, the San Francisco setting, and murder challenges and
investigations to life enhances
a realistic story that proves hard to put down.
It can be challenging to weave past and present situations in such a way that newcomers don't
feel left behind, but Greene
achieves this in a manner that won't put off prior fans, engrossing all her readers in a story that
rests as much upon
psychological revelations as it does upon logical investigations and past experience.
Surprising outcomes, twists of plot, and the interplays between Rosen and her husband Lim and
the autistic Zaron, who
becomes part of their lives create perfect tension. It evolves nicely in the course of a medical
thriller that should attract
Robin Cook fans with its special form of medical conundrums paired with psychological
inspection and investigative
Readers interested in a well-balanced murder mystery and explorations of scientific process will
find Unwitting just the
ticket for a tale steeped in an autistic client's abilities and disabilities.
Dark Side of Memory
9781736938607 $16.99 paperback, $9.99 ebook
Maybe it's because author Tessa Bridal was born and raised in Uruguay, leaving the country at
age 20 as military oppression
began to take over. Or, perhaps it's her evocative writing as she combines memories of past with
a return visit that brings
alive the perils and plights of a people living under repeated oppression.
Whatever the reasons, Dark Side of Memory: Uruguay's Disappeared Children and the Families
That Never Stopped
Searching is a powerful story of Uruguay and its neighbors that should be part of any collection
strong in South American
history and culture.
The story opens, as Bridal returns to her homeland, with a rich observation: "As deep and as wide
as the sorrow its people
have endured is the river that separates Buenos Aires from its small neigh-bor, Montevideo. As
the plane banked
preparatory to its descent into Montevideo Airport, I saw the Rio de la Plata below me and
remembered how during the
summer months of December, January, and February, thousands of Argentines would leave their
sprawling capital and cross
the R-o de la Plata to bask on the golden sands of Uruguay's beaches."
In the course of exploring the rivers, streams, and scenes of her childhood and the nation, Bridal
blends a deeply passionate
affection for her people with an analytical study of the nation's heartbeat that mirrors her own
ongoing connections to its
She outlines the reason for this introspection and inspection from the beginning: "I was twenty
years old when my family
decided to immigrate to the United States. I cried from the moment we boarded the Pan
American flight until we were well
on our way to Washington DC, at which point I finally fell asleep. I remember most poignantly
the effort to adjust to what at
the time felt like insurmountable cultural differences...As a means of mourning, of celebrating,
and of escaping into the
familiar, I began writing fictional stories, published later in two novels set in Uruguay. Now I
was returning to interview the
families of four of the Uruguayan children who disappeared during the Cold War years, when
Uruguay's democracy, one of
the oldest in Latin America, fell to a military dictatorship, along with the democracies of Brazil,
Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and Honduras. Resistance movements
existed in all these countries,
and each had a story to tell."
And, such a story it is! It requires no prior familiarity with the nation or even South American
history, politics, or culture in
order to prove immediately gripping.
As events progress, the standout themes of survival against all odds shine through various
interviews that capture the
experiences of revolutionaries and ordinary people alike. Exceptionally moving are the stories of
not just surviving
atrocities, but efforts to improve the legacy being passed on to future generations as present-day
people rebel against their
bonds: "By now, Sara thought, she should have become inured to horror. She had chosen the path
of revolution, but
somehow, events had spun out of control. It was one thing to confront soldiers and policemen; to
destroy a few political
targets; even, painful as it was, to accept the occasional accidental death of an innocent
bystander. But the extent of the
violence that had been unleashed against the revolu-tionaries was incomprehensible to her."
From politics both internal and influenced by other nations to Uruguay and Argentina's
revolutions and struggles, Bridal
captures the special impact of economic, military, political, and social strife on the everyday
people of these nations.
Her compelling interviews chart the search not just for those children and adults who disappeared
with only hints of their
fates, but broken individuals and families who regroup to try to assemble broken lives lived
under ongoing political
As Bridal's interviews and stories traverse different generations and their experiences, readers
gain a new sense of the
region's influences and the fractured relationships that operate on different levels.
Anyone interested in the ongoing connection between political and social forces of change must
read Dark Side of Memory.
These families never give up...and never stop hoping.
Readers will never stop, either. This story is a powerful choice not just for memoir and South
American history collections,
but for any library strong in family experience and the lasting psychological impact of political
tides of change on present
and future generations.
A. J. Thibault
9781645991847, $26.99 Hardcover, $16.99 Paper, $4.99 ebook
Suspense, mystery, and thriller genre readers should prepare for a treat, because Deadly Serious
is as deadly grave about
stand-up comic Dan Goodis and his determination to solve a puzzle as it is about his probe into a
hermit scientist's murder
and his CIA father's mercurial life.
When Dan inadvertently comes to possess a secret code given to him by the physicist before he
dies, he becomes as
determined to learn its secrets as he was to hone comedy as a professional career.
Goodis is forty...long past the prime age for conducting an active investigation with a fresh
young mind. Perhaps this and his
unique background are the best preparations for the strange circumstances he's about to enter
into, because they are well
beyond his comfort zone to test his problem-solving abilities and friendships alike.
A comedian would seem a relatively simple target for a seasoned Russian assassin intent on
taking revenge for Dan's role in
his brother's death. Think again. Dan leads his would-be killer on a merry chase and stumbles
from one situation into
another in the course of his attempts to solve an increasingly dangerous puzzle that changes not
just his life, but everyone
around him...including new lover Lauren.
Life is funny. Dan never expected the events and coincidences that would lead him to a violent
confrontation on his own
property: "If Dan had known where this would lead, he never would have left teaching, bought a
dog, or gone jogging, and
he never would have met Lauren."
George Aiken is a career spy also in his mid-forties. As Dan and George's lives become
entwined, black comedy winds into
the mystery with struggles Dan never could have imagined for his life, carrying readers into a
cat-and-mouse game of
subterfuge, confrontation, and different types of predators even as he navigates his uncertain
relationship with Lauren.
Is Lauren a friend or foe? Why has she been lying?
Dan is forced to reconsider not only his new romance, but the courses of his life and the
motivations of those around him as
he begins to realize he's in too deep to walk away unscathed.
A. J. Thibault takes the time to fully explore Dan's psyche, evolving life, and motivations for
taking on and biting off more
than he can chew.
His concurrent concerns with the mystery, the increasing threats, and his personal struggles with
life and growth nicely
accent the story's intriguing twists and turns as he, like Br'er Rabbit, stumbles deeper and deeper
into pitfalls with seemingly
no choice but to forge ahead.
The tension is exquisite. The juxtapositions between daily life concerns and the special
circumstances of violence that the
puzzle introduces, and the combination of perspectives between Dan and Lauren as she comes to
understand she's involved
with both a rising star and a dangerous man, make for a delightful dance between psychological
The result is a mystery/thriller that will be enticing to genre fans as well as fiction readers who
want an absorbing story of
budding career, romance, and the conundrums a forty-something man faces over the choices that
impact his world.
The Experience of Leadership
Fred Stuvek, Jr.
The Experience of Leadership: Proven Examples from Successful Leaders is a collection of
stories that exemplify the traits,
approaches, and insights of successful leadership. It should appear in any military, business, or
self-help library as a study in
contrasts of achievement, and is also recommended for a wide age range of young adult readers
into adult circles.
Fred Stuvek, Jr. selected fifteen individuals whose stories reflect a diverse array of personal
experiences and achievements.
Don't expect to find any of these names familiar. These are profiles of common courage and
everyday example, and while
the individuals are highly respected leaders in their own sectors, they aren't necessarily at
national recognition levels.
Introductory pages outline concepts that set this book's subjects and their approaches apart from
the usual emphasis on
leadership traits: "Many theories of leadership focus on the leader, emphasizing physical traits
such as height or bearing and
personality traits such as charisma or energy. Such traits are clearly assets for someone who
aspires to lead an organization.
But, by focusing on the leader and not the people to be led, this perspective misses the
The point is that effective leadership goes beyond charisma. It embraces deliberate responses to
adversity, setting examples
that foster respect rather than trying to teach by admonition and showing how management skills
can be used to disseminate
and share responsibilities in a manner that encourages followers to step up to become leaders in
their own right, rather than
Each contribution comes from a different sector of experience, and offers another piece of the
larger picture of what it
means to lead effectively.
The diversity of these examples and the passion of each contributor as they explain their unique
approaches and the results
they have gained in comparison to other leaders supports a collection that is a powerful study in
Effective leaders grow other leaders, "paying it forward" in a way that keeps the benefits flowing
not just from them, but
through those that they influence.
By grounding ideals in proven experience, The Experience of Leadership creates a foundation for
understanding a process
that takes different forms in those of different backgrounds; but ultimately feeds back to one
central theme: real leadership is
about more than simply providing support and direction. It's about growing a new generation of
leaders, in turn.
The Experience of Leadership is essential to this process.
Izzard Ink Publishing
9781642280685, $27.95 Hardcover, $19.95 Paper, $9.99 Kindle
Hope Disappearing: A Population Left Behind is a study in homelessness and social issues that
should be on the shelves of
any collection strong in local and federal housing issues.
It documents the events of 2017, when some 200 homeless people waiting for a place in a
transitional housing program were
suddenly jettisoned from this possibility. They were left to their own devices due to a federal
program's policy change and
The irony was - there was already an established, supportive community program in place
performing much-needed services
to help the homeless transition to employment and housing. It changed the lives of thousands
who successfully participated
Years of experience at this proven, successful model went down the drain as Northern
California's Mather Community
Campus lost federal support and became just another shelter, ultimately costing the community
much more money while
providing only temporary respite rather than the permanent solutions it had so successfully
fostered over the years.
One might think Mather's experience is an isolated example, but actually, it's only the tip of the
iceberg of federal policy
changes and their devastating impacts, as Sherman Haggerty documents in Hope
If there's one thing to evolve from this book, it should be a sense of outrage. Outrage that
programs to help the homeless have fallen upon the axe of political policy-making games; fury
that those homeless who
wish to change their lives have diminishing opportunities and support systems to do so; and
anger that the issues Mather
experienced mirror a broader problem reverberating throughout communities all around
Haggerty, too, is outraged; yet he takes the time to clarify his opinions and perspectives,
cementing them to the wealth of
facts he uncovers: "My view (and it is mine alone) is that there has been a focused effort to
replace VOA (Volunteers of
America) on all of the county contracts for programs where they were providing homeless
services. There is no option for
recourse when situations like this happen with government agencies. All the power, money, and
direction are fully
controlled on that side of the ledger and out of the public view."
He also strives to present different perspectives on the issues and processes which he highlights.
This lends a more balanced
feel to the story...and to, perhaps, an even greater sense of outrage.
Haggerty's experience operating local homeless programs adds more authority and insider
insights to the equation than any
outside reporter could have achieved.
America's homeless - especially those who would re-enter life off the streets - are being
systematically and deliberately
thrown under the bus by policy changes at the federal level.
Hope Disappearing testifies about this process on their behalf. It should be in any social issues
collection as a powerful
analysis of transitional housing models and the political forces behind them, either supporting
them or closing them
It keeps its finger on the pulse of vanishing opportunities and ultimately points out why America
has a "homeless problem"
it can't seem to solve: "Placing individuals with these co-occurring disorders into housing
without intensive services only
touches the surface of the deep-seated issues facing most chronically homeless people."
Dear Heroin, a "Memoir of Goodbyes," is highly recommended reading for anyone living
alongside someone caught in the
web of a substance use disorder (addiction) or in the aftermath of one's death by suicide. It
documents Linda Morrison's
four-year struggles with her son Michael, a heroin addict.
Addiction changed not just her son, but her entire family's lives. His death by suicide did not end
the suffering, but
expanded it to new realms as Morrison struggled to find resolution and build a new life in the
aftermath of devastation.
Anyone who has a loved one addicted to a substance will find, in Dear Heroin, a resonating pulse
of pain as Michael's story
Also contained within its pages is the supportive approach of family and friends and a
relationship with God which all
provided strength and help during impossible times.
The title of Dear Heroin refers to an actual letter Michael wrote in the throes of trying to divorce
himself from his drug of
choice. It's a moving testimony to a process that began in high school with an addiction that
moved from OxyContin to
As Morrison embarked on a long road to recognizing her beloved son's addictive tendencies and
downward spiral, she
transmits this process to audiences who will find her book a moving story of failed treatments,
ongoing cycles of relapse,
heartbreak, and lessons on how families facing similar circumstances can recognize the danger
signs of addiction and know
what can be done to help. Sprinkled throughout the book are times of sobriety when Morrison
hopes he will stay on the path
Morrison's anguish shines through her story of discovery and family interactions. Parents will
readily relate to her
experiences and will absorb that constant juxtaposition of hope and failure until the final choice
is made...and beyond.
Although death changes her, Morrison's journey does not end with a life consumed with grief and
sorrow, but walks into
finding abundance after unimaginable loss.
At each step of this heart-warming (and heart-wrenching) read, Morrison chronicles the
emotional, spiritual, and
relationship changes that represent the ups and downs of addiction as well as everyday life: "As
the two of them talked,
laughed, and shared inside jokes, Allan and I looked on with deep gratitude in our hearts. It's hard
to describe the feeling I
had watching my son in his new world - so happy, carefree, and sober. I can't say it was worth the
harrowing nights of
Mike's drug use, but it was a joy to see how far he'd come."
Any reader who has lived through a loved one's addiction patterns will see themselves in this
memoir, while those outside
the process gain a better understanding of family impact and choices.
Ideally, Dear Heroin will find its way into libraries strong in family issues, social issues,
addiction, and recovery. Its path to
faith and serenity is charted with an unfailing honesty and offers tribute not just to son Michael,
but to the sense of purpose
that drove Linda Morrison to capture the evolutionary process of her entire family.
Alan L. Moss
Cresting Wave Publishing
9781735413587, $12.99 paperback, $1.99 Kindle
Thriller readers will enjoy a blend of high-octane action set against the backdrop of a treasure
hunt that leads Gary Levine,
wife Sharon, and other characters through the dangerous threats of hate groups and international
affairs in The Choices.
More so than most genre reads, Alan L. Moss cultivates the ability to craft a suspense story that
comes with its own special
blend of atmosphere and intrigue that rest as much upon psychological undercurrents as it does
Moss takes the time to outline evolving relationships, connections between action and choices,
and a treasure hunt that not
only tests legal standards, but challenges the expectations of those involved in an expedition that
From code breaking and unexpected deaths that prove to have nefarious sources to the influence
of a dangerous business
that includes Adrienne's revenge on a man who took her love away, grad student Mia finds that
her innovative idea to
retrieve a diamond treasure has led her into the world of powerful, dangerous men who operate
on both sides of the
As Gary's past returns to haunt him over his choices in unexpected ways and other characters
confront their own changing
worlds, Moss crafts a story of moral and ethical conundrums that provides a more complicated
backdrop than most genre
This story demands of its readers an ability to navigate a range of special circumstances and
changing intentions. A
synagogue shooting leads Gary on a dark hunt that drives him to enter a dangerous world to
investigate a seductively
Just when you think you know where the story is heading, it changes yet again. The myriad of
characters, special influences,
conflicting choices, and blend of intrigue and ethical problems keeps The Choices
thought-provoking on a level that goes
beyond an adventure and action saga alone.
Readers are challenged to consider a range of issues. These include domestic terrorism and
personal motivations for gain to
relics, rewards, and a hunt that reveals as much about the soul as it does about the pursuit of
happiness, love, or justice.
The Choices is a multifaceted read that is a delight to pursue. Just when you think you know its
intentions and purposes,
everything changes yet again. While this atmosphere may stymie those who want action alone,
it's the perfect formula for
attracting an audience that appreciates higher-level thinking and more engrossing situations than
the usual thriller story
The Choices is very highly recommended reading as a cut above most suspense stories. It focuses
on the decisions and
choices that change not only outcomes, but the hearts and minds of all involved.
9780645023701 $18.95 Paper/$5.99 Kindle
Set against the backdrop of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1792, Nelson's Folly is a story of a
couple separated by war.
They conduct themselves in different milieus under vastly changed conditions both at home and
When Horatio finally returns to Fanny, albeit a much-changed war hero after years in the Royal
Navy, the true questions of
duty, love, and the individual life pursuits of each come to the foreground.
The role Horatio Nelson envisions for his wife and family as he is away doing his duty is one that
challenges Fanny on many
levels: "'You, Fanny, have a role to play for me and for Josiah. I want you to be my representative
in England. You will
move up in society as I am promoted. I will have money then. You will buy good dresses and
fine hats. And visit London
and Bath and great country houses. We shall write to each other about everything.'"
While on the surface, given the times, Fanny is not being asked to do anything extraordinary;
given the nature of her own
heart and the rebellion social change brings to it, she in fact finds herself navigating murky,
dangerous waters indeed; both
in her marriage and in her social milieu.
Horatio's interactions with his wife over the years give him a glimpse of these changes, giving
insights into the times, Fanny's transformation, and the impact of war, distance, and social
change on the family. Their
acknowledgment of these changes is astutely captured: "Her knowledge of current events startled
him. She saw too that his
sense of destiny or ambition made the possibility of an early retirement, if he were to be
Nelson's Folly is a compelling, vividly portrayed tale that is well grounded in a sense of the
changing times, yet also nicely
rooted in memorable characters who each are understandable as they make choices for both
themselves and each other
against the political and cultural currents of their times: "She knew Horatio would want the same
as St Vincent and Duncan,
at least. His resentment would know no bounds if there were a lack of recognition or an
implication that his family were of
Perhaps one reason why this story proves so evocative and realistic is that Oliver Greeves is a
direct descendant of the real
Frances (Fanny), Viscountess Nelson and her son, Josiah Nisbet. Years of research on her life
and times contribute to the
authentic feel of Nelson's Folly as it examines the concurrent impacts of duty and love.
Both Fanny and Horatio are memorable, likeable characters. Their dilemmas are well presented,
both individually and as a
couple, making Nelson's Folly an astute consideration of duty, commitment, love, family, and
social aspirations alike.
Historical novel and political history readers, as well as general-interest readers who enjoy stories
of British society in 18th
century England, will find it an accessible, thoroughly involving saga rich in psychological,
political, and social
The Unseen and the Unwilling
9781735860336, $9.98 ebook, $16.78 paperback
The Unseen and the Unwilling opens with the specter of Congressman Edward Trey Custren's
quasi-leadership role as the
Speaker of the House, tracing the corrupt forces that dog his footsteps as threats to democracy
come in the form of political
maneuvering and subterfuge.
As murder, intrigue, and manipulation enter the picture of this political thriller, Kathleen Rapp
excels in creating a blend of
moral and ethical conundrums and political undercurrents of change that keep readers on their
toes and guessing.
Reporter Finn Reese stumbles on a well-kept secret about a cabal operating not in international
arenas, but in the very
corridors of the nation's capital. It's up to him to convince others that this threat, however
well-hidden and well-connected,
exists. This places Finn in a personal position of adversity and danger as he enters a swirl of
conflict that threatens to quash
his reporting career and his life.
Finn acknowledges the complexity of these investigations: "Missing papers, hint of murder
involvement, and a threat. Those
papers could reveal the big and bad your gut warned you about." "Maybe, maybe not. Remember:
head, not heart. 'Suspect'
is the operative word. My source could be playing me, for all I know."
As his choices bring him deeper into a wider ranging threat than even he could have envisioned,
readers are treated to a tale
of borrowed time and events which lead Finn to question the very foundations of democratic
processes: "Checks and
balances only work if you use them. You tell me: who is doing the checks to balance things?"
Most of all, The Unseen and the Unwilling excels at chronicling the erosion process in specific,
eye-opening ways that hold
special meaning for modern times and those who would examine the foundations of democracy
(and any threats to it) more
closely: "You aren't supposed to see it. This takeover has the outward appearance of a natural
evolution, but it's the farthest
thing from being natural. It's a manufactured debasement."
This lends a contemporary relevance to the tale as political strife rocks the nation, and makes it
even more essential reading
for modern audiences who will be both entertained and forewarned by its scenarios.
Collections which specialize in political fiction and thrillers will find The Unseen and the
navigation of a myriad of social, political, and legal challenges to be thoroughly involving (if not
somewhat unnerving) for
its poignant inspection of circumstances which hold important messages for modern times.
The Unwanted Dead
Black Rose Writing
9781684337941, $19.95 Paper, $6.99 Kindle
Based on facts surrounding World War II politics and history, The Unwanted Dead: The
Shocking End of Zorba's Heretical
Author is recommended for readers of modern Greek history and romance stories, and is
translated from the Greek original
by Niki Stavrou and Franjeska Nicole Brison-Chraniotis.
Its intriguing blend of relationships and social inspection open in 1957 Freiburg with an
intriguing conversation between
husband and wife at his deathbed: "So? Have you finally found your God?" Helen asked her
husband in the playful manner
they loved to talk to one another, sparking a conversation that would surely help him forget the
pain, even momentarily. But
mostly, so that she might assess his clarity."
As Helen (now the widow of Nikos Kazantzakis) returns to Greece to honor her husband's burial
wishes, she faces not only
his lasting legacy and impact, but changing events in Athens which test the results of lifetimes
she and Nikos have spent
together and the legacy of their choices.
Readers may think they should have a background in Greek culture or history, here, but one of
the delights of The Unwanted
Dead its that its milieu of fiction based on fact requires no thorough grounding in Greek events or
Nikos Kazantzakis in
order to prove accessible for newcomers.
(For those unfamiliar with Kazantzakis' work, he produced such classics as Zorba, a worldwide
bestseller whose movie
adaptation was nominated for seven Oscars (it won three) and The Last Temptation of Christ.
Kazantzakis was nominated
nine times for a Nobel Prize in Literature, but his country (his powerful enemies) lobbied against
What is required is a prior interest in either subject, and in historical fiction which is cemented by
facts and events.
As Helen's efforts to fulfill her husband's last wishes bring her into a struggle she'd never
anticipated, readers receive a
powerful story of the death of a great author and the efforts of Greek political, religious, and
social forces to quash his
Astute in its ability to traverse psychological, social, and political challenges, The Unwanted
Dead holds the ability to
educate readers about a potentially complex milieu through the eyes and heart of a widow and a
determined young journalist
whose efforts keep Kazantzakis's legacy alive.
Collections strong in Greek history and literature, romance story enthusiasts who appreciate a
strong historical and cultural
foundation and readers who maintain a special interest in contemporary Greek culture and events
will find The Unwanted
Dead a complex, powerful, compelling love story.
When author Yorgos Pratanos first began his story and researched Kazantzakis' life, the first
thing that impressed him was
their love affair. The couple was too progressive, even in terms of modern times. The age
difference, the war which Nikos'
ex wife declared on them, the difficulties they face together, and the marriage which took place
after 20 years of affair all
contribute to a powerful story based on real events.
The Unwanted Dead is highly recommended reading for those who wish to absorb the basics of
Greek influence and events
in a manner that brings its history to life through the heartbeat and ongoing influence of a wife's
enduring love, which leads
her to both influence him and interact with Kazantzakis' editors, lawyers in an era where women
normally didn't have much
of a voice or impact.
Yellow on Blonde
Stephen M. King
Yellow on Blonde will appeal to readers of family stories involving mixed ethnicities. It tells of
two sisters, Celeste Reyes
in Los Angeles and Molly Reyes in the Philippines, who reach across vast distances and divides
to establish new
Young adult readers receive a nice contrast between not only the two girls' personalities, but their
different cultures before
they meet. They come together with revised views of family and their place both within its larger
context and in their
relationship with one another.
Family is not a connection Celeste has valued in the past, but when her set and successful world
changes with the breakup of
her romance and a car accident, she embarks on a physical and mental journey that brings her
into Molly's world.
Each character has a very different life and perspective on how to live it.
Each navigates her own emotional needs and transformation in a different way, while moving
closer to the kinds of family
connections that strengthen their lives.
As Celeste moves nearer to Molly in many different ways, young adults receive a story of
understanding and second changes
that embrace forgiveness and the emotional experience and costs of depression. Celeste's journey
understanding, coping, and new possibilities for them both.
King creates a moving saga that inspects intercultural relationships and family conditions. The
very different personalities,
upbringings, and focuses of Molly and Celeste come to life under his hand, capturing each
circumstances: "She used to feel that there was always something to look forward to, and that
helped motivate her with her
schoolwork. That was gone now."
Young adults interested in stories about depression, family changes, multicultural settings, and
teen romances gone wry will
find many lessons and much food for thought in Yellow on Blonde as Celeste finds her way into
a new world and Molly
cultivates new understanding of her sister's dilemmas and attitudes towards life and family.
Darkness and Grace
Chris Olsen Communications, LLC
9798720084042, $16.95 Paper, $9.99 Kindle
Paul Pierson is beginning his second marriage (a fact his family celebrates) after grieving the
death of his first wife, but his
siblings come to suspect that new wife Pamela is not what she seems, and strife arises in place of
happiness and hopes for a
Darkness and Grace is about good and evil intentions and entanglements that change family
dynamics. It is made all the
more powerful by events that hold their foundations in reality, in Kathryn Schleich's family.
But, more than a story of overt evil, it's the tale of how subterfuge and malicious intent invade a
Midwestern family's loving
circles to change relationships, hearts, and minds.
This makes for a powerful story that originally appeared in 2007 with the same title, but under a
Readers may anticipate the depth of psychological inspection that such a story embraces, but
Schleich adds an overlay of
historical detail, from news reports of the times to authentic settings, imbibing this
fictionalization with newfound life and
the compelling feel of a thriller.
The prologue introduces events with a report from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about a dog who
returns home bearing the
gift of a woman's severed leg. This creates a compelling scenario that demands reader attention
from the start.
The events that unfold are no less riveting as Schleich rounds out news reports and events by
dovetailing them with the
insidious moral and ethical dilemmas that unfold when a family unwittingly brings a special form
of evil into their circle,
only to slowly recognize and acknowledge its powers.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this novel lies in the possibility that similar events could
all too easily alter other
families who think that their close ties cannot be broken.
As the thriller evolves and psychological inspections ramp up, readers will remain on the edge of
their seats with
unexpected twists and turns that keep them wondering about outcomes, moral resolution, and
psychological healing under
As Pamela's real identity and intentions become clear, the narrator resists the stalking,
intimidation, and threats Pamela
continually poses to everyone around her. Pamela is "trouble" with a vengeance, and as
courtroom brawls and legal
entanglements stalk the family and bring them into unbelievable struggles, readers receive a
gripping story that is hard to put
This powerful cautionary tale profiles a dangerous situation. Paul receives support from his
narrator sister and his entire
family...but even this circle of love may not be enough to thwart the lasting impact of a malicious
Thriller collections and any strong in psychological inspections of family and legal
entanglements will find Darkness and
Grace a powerful saga that grabs readers by the throat and just won't let go. Is a cardinal sin the
only path to resolution? The
question and events will leave readers gasping as the story delivers powerful messages about
struggle and choice: "I have
come to understand that goodness and evil each present us with choices, and they are never as
simple as they might appear.
What one may view as the ultimate act of malice, another may see as the necessary destruction of
Darkness and Grace is very, very highly recommended for its exquisite development of tension
and characters and the many
surprises it unfolds.
Family Snapshot as a Poem in Time
Finishing Line Press
Family Snapshot as a Poem in Time is a poetry collection the entire family can enjoy, and
captures a father's love for his
daughter and son with pieces that celebrate growth and family connections.
These free verses offer readers the chance to view their own families in a different light against
the mirror of G.H. Mosson's
experience with time's passage, growth, and interactions with his kids: "Firecracker
daughter,/your volcano of energy
exhausts my imagination. I always thought/imagination meant walking in a moonlit field
weeping/Where was I? And where
have I traveled to? The easy answer: time."
The narrator questions the legacy he transmits to the next generation ("If I am not a dreamer, how
will my son know me?")
while also transmitting to this generation poetic pieces that will resonate with young listeners and
crescent in the night, your moonbeams gleam/a tinsel light, and two tiny stars nearby/are just as
bright./I think you'll play
together tonight/when I'm not watching."
As the pieces for adults in the first half weave into verse for children in the second half, the entire
family will find the arc of
the book also evocative and reflective of the parenting experience: "Two years ago I showed my
daughter the moon. I am
too tired for stars./Yesterday, my son watched a squirrel climb a utility pole. His eyes bulged./I
took him down the slide for
the first time, in spring's first glorious afternoon."
Family Snapshot as a Poem in Time brings readers on a journey through time, child-rearing, and
self-reflection; then returns
to give younger audiences an evocative series of poems about nature, the universe, and family
It's unusual to see a poetry collection that can appeal across generations, but Family Snapshot as
a Poem in Time is such a
production. It thus is recommended not just for the usual poetry collection and reader, but for
anyone who would absorb
reflections on self, family, and the interconnectedness of life, at any age.
Green Writers Press
9781733653466, $15.99 Paper, $6.99 Kindle
Teen readers will discover that sixteen-year-old newly orphaned Lilah has a lot on her plate,
despite her youth. She's moving
into foster care, but with the support of something familiar in the way of her deceased twin
brother's best friend Joey. She
falls into a different world that provides her with revised options and some challenging choices.
And she needs to learn to
not only follow her heart, but sometimes overcome its impulses with logic.
Kindreds is about finding family and connections in unusual places. It cultivates a secret,
revealing a hidden world and a
scenario in which Lilah must take into consideration her future and her impulse to change and
take control of it.
As Lilah follows Joey, uninvited, into a strange new world, she's forced to not only make some
special decisions about her
future, but acknowledge her own heart's different direction...something even Joey wonders about:
"I would've brought you
here myself if I thought it was the right thing to do. I just didn't think this was something you'd be
into," he said."
One of the messages B.B. Russell imparts in this powerful story is how to discern the true course
of one's own heart from its
connections with others. Despite Lilah's inclinations, she must make her own choices and accept
their consequences: "She
did love him, but she had lied. She wasn't joining Nolianna, at least not without a fight."
As the story progresses, Russell does an excellent job of outlining these choices, Lilah's pressures
and influences to make
them, and the evolution of her own individuality in the face of both romantic and social
In addition to being a fine story about new possibilities, change, and transformation, Kindreds is
about self-empowerment in
the face of manipulation and lies. It shows how individuals can rise above both influences and
their own emotional
conundrums to reach for better outcomes in their lives.
Teens need such messages in this turbulent world as they enter into society and love. Kindreds
outlines the process whereby
Lilah embarks on an adventure that leads her not only to examine her own heart, but make the
kinds of choices that sync
with who she wants to be.
It should be advised that Kindreds leaves the door more than ajar for more. Teens who enjoy
Lilah's life and adventure will
welcome this opportunity, while collections that eschew the often-abrupt mercurial conclusions
of a stated series opener will
appreciate the definitive conclusions in this initial encounter.
Fever Dreams and the End of All Things
A. J. Massey
9781668516546 $5.99 ebook
Fever Dreams and the End of All Things is Book 2 in the Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the
Fading Creeps series, and
gives teen and young adult sword and sorcery fantasy readers an epic journey through the magical
realm of Meridia.
Ben, Avery, and Marcus haven't visited this world since they stopped the Fading, but they are
again called upon to thwart a
new threat posed by The Ghastly Three, who are searching for a powerful artifact that can help
them reshape the world.
A. J. Massey populates this world with the unexpected, from a razor octopus ("a gigantic red
creature with eight tentacles,
each covered in what appeared to be sharp, jagged blades") to talking goats who impart wise
observations to those who
The host of magical encounters and vivid, action-packed scenes that permeate this story will keep
young adults engaged and
on their toes as unexpected encounters with ghouls, dragonwoofs, and more unfold.
Massey excels at creating vivid scenarios, demanding circumstances, and unexpected twists and
turns that challenge young
heroes to engage in the biggest battle of their lives.
As magic is wielded and altered on both sides, the young people come into their strengths as they
are tested again and again,
inching forward to make a difference, once more, in this world's survival.
The blend of vivid action, unexpected creatures and threats, and power plays that lead each hero
to question their purpose
and abilities makes for engrossing reading indeed.
The lessons on personal empowerment and perseverance are subtly woven into a fantasy
adventure that's hard to put down,
but holds underlying messages and meaning peppered throughout: "Why did the Creator choose
us?" Ben asked. "Maybe he
thought we had something in common with him," Marcus said. "But I really think it's because he
knew we could save
Kids who like coming-of-age fantasy stories packed with confrontation and action, yet tempered
with a philosophical flavor,
will find Fever Dreams and the End of All Things a fine choice.
GGFC Properties LLC
9780982945391, $13.95 Paper, $6.95 Kindle
Covid Seasons may sound like nonfiction, but it's a novel that embraces the special seasons of
challenge to heart and mind
that began in 2020. It contrasts the lives of three very different couples which are in upheaval
overnight, providing an
absorbing, familiar scenario of survival.
Rick Goeld chooses three disparate scenarios to contrast, from an attractive blonde professional
policewoman married to a
staid lawyer to an evangelical Trumper whose husband is set for revenge and a Latina woman
whose husband has his eye on
Events open in late January with a mysterious illness and move through a "winter of blissful
ignorance" when Covid-19 was
still off the radar of most Americans.
Goeld's focus on building the lives and characters of each couple, then injecting the backdrop of
Covid and its influences on
each, creates a thought-provoking set of scenarios which operate on social, political, and
psychological levels alike.
It's no small feat to juxtapose such different lives against the evolving challenges and nature of
Covid, but this is exactly
what happened in the real world...and why the shifting nature of reality becomes such an
essential ingredient in this
As each couple and the individuals within it experience sea changes to their belief systems,
brought about by Covid, readers
gain a fine set of insights into the disease's more insidious impacts beyond physical survival
While current generations will more than recognize the mirrors being held up in this story, it's
really future generations that
stand to gain the most from Goeld's careful capture of the more elusive challenges of the
The influence of health on belief systems, relationships, perceptions of social and political forces,
and its reflection both in
society and in these couples comes to life. The plot winds through the choices and consequences
each individual makes in
the face of not just a life-threatening, but a life-changing disease.
Nothing is left out of this bigger picture, whether it be news about China, illegal immigrants, or
federal and state conflicts
over decision-making processes and regulations.
The result will be more than familiar to anyone living in these times, but will prove an astute
revelation that captures the
real disturbing tides of overnight change for those who will read the story a few years from
For modern audiences already well familiar with Covid's events, Covid Seasons offers the
opportunity to reconsider the
foundations of truth, lies, and the kinds of distancing that take place not just for health reasons,
The novel's careful blend of medical and political conundrums and its stories of loss, imploding
relationships, and change
will keep its audience reading, wondering, and involved as each character grasps revised truths
and survival tactics
9798744173401, $13.99 Paper, $2.99 Kindle
While some series titles also stand alone as independent reads and provide easy access to past
events for newcomers, it's
simply not possible to place the science fiction epic Orion in the category of an "easy read." It's
anything but...and that will
also make it a delightfully complex and rich milieu for hard sci-fi readers of steampunk stories
already familiar with its
predecessor Kimber, the first story in The Elyrian Chronicles.
Kimber set the stage of a world still struggling twenty years after a solar storm ravages Earth. In
2209, the remnants of
humanity have retired to underground abodes, and have been grafting human DNA with
radiation-resistant animals in an
effort to ensure its future survival.
In that world, protagonist Kimber is one of twenty-three members of a new subspecies of humans
called Auroras, who are
being groomed for survival even as they also are being treated like slaves.
Kimber sets the stage for events in Orion, which focuses on a journey that uncovers inhumane
crimes committed by the
Bureau, fostering a dangerous journey by Kimber and those who struggle not just for survival and
freedom, but the essence
of what they will remake of their world and new species.
Orion continues their journey of discovery with new revelations about their underground city and
its place in the world, their
survey of America's remaining fragments, and the moral and ethical challenges which face their
It should be noted that this review's descriptions over-simplify all the currents of action and
dilemmas embraced by both
Kimber and Orion. There are a host of characters, subplots, and scenarios that receive concurrent
attention in the saga that
make it as impossible to round up in the space of a relatively short review than Lord of the Rings
can be described as an
'epic journey and struggle between darkness and light'.
The delight in L.K. Hingey's works is that they take the time to build entire worlds that rest on
the foundations of moral,
ethical, and survival challenges that test all the characters. Physical and mental trials affect their
relationships and support
the characters as a whole, while the birth of "the first" baby Orion Aeneas, which represents one
of the positive pivot points
in mother Eve's world and those around her, portends future world possibilities: "Kimber
recognized Eve's desire to gift
Orion with a name that would always be a reminder of love and strength instead of always
haunting him with loss."
These are only a few of the remarkably thought-provoking scenarios and themes in Orion. Sci-fi
readers interested in sagas
that build worlds and new possibilities from the ashes of old paradigms will find the interlinked
Kimber and Orion novels
vivid in their review of genetic engineering's promises and perils in a stormy human future.
Sci-fi collections seeking epics that are more satisfyingly complex than the average
adventure-oriented leisure read will find
Orion a worthy addition.
Queen of the Sugarhouse
Queen of the Sugarhouse provides a collection of short stories that hones the cutting edge of
moral, ethical, and
transformational decision-making. It is highly recommended literature for those who enjoy
thought-provoking works about
realistic people facing conundrums that test their mettle.
Take the opening short piece 'Mercy', for example...one of several medical crisis stories that
draws readers into a medical
professional's conundrum - in this case, when she administers the wrong drug to an ICU
The opening lines move from everyday, familiar experience ("My car threw a hub cap on my
drive to work. There are police
in the parking lot as I pull into my spot. "Here, I'll walk you in," the cop says, one hand on his
gun.") to a life-changing
situation: "Working short-staffed again. Endless interruptions. Phone calls. Lab tests. IVs to be
changed. Sterile dressings.
Head-to-toe assessments. I'm passing nine o'clock meds and the minute that Tanya Lewis
swallows, I realize that I just
handed her the wrong pill."
Constance Studer gets right to the point in these works, creating atmosphere and dilemma with
brisk, staccato descriptions
which are compelling without being unduly verbose. This will especially appeal to those with
shorter attention spans who
eschew the normal descriptive challenges of even the short story piece in favor of stories like
these, which make every word
As the pieces unfold, readers will readily recognize aspects of their own response and thought
processes when facing
Another example of this strength lies in 'The Isolation Room', which follows writer Mary's
revised world in a psychiatric
institution after a suicide attempt. How she uses her writings and characters to work her way out
of a dangerous situation
makes for engrossing insights into her peculiar survival process.
Each character draws upon moral, ethical, and psychological strengths and convictions to find
their way past life-changing
situations to revised ways of looking at themselves and the world.
Each story offers a passionate lesson in how to achieve this, and each fosters a literary and
psychological depth as social and
medical issues are explored.
While Queen of the Sugarhouse will appeal to a wide audience of literary short story readers,
fiction readers, and those
seeking deep psychological inspections, it is especially highly recommended for medical
professionals and personnel. This
audience will find, in these characters and stories, much to relate to and understand about their
own experiences, lives and
potential transformative situations.
Delivering the Digital Restaurant
Carl Orsbourn and Meredith Sandland
Amplify Publishing/Mascot Books
9781645439493, $26.95 Hardcover, $9.99 Kindle
It's hard to think of a timelier restaurant business advice guide than Delivering the Digital
Restaurant: Your Roadmap to the
Future of Food. While its advice would have certainly been relevant pre-Covid, given the
transformation and special
challenges the pandemic has demanded of restaurants in particular, Delivering the Digital
Restaurant is an even more
essential read for any who would stay in business in this new milieu.
Delivering the Digital Restaurant is no light coverage of one restaurant's experience, but
interviews a host of culinary
professionals and businesspeople from all walks of the industry, gathering and synthesizing their
experiences and advice for
both existing establishments and newcomers who will operate under vastly revised
The crux of the focus is on operating in a virtual environment, from establishing a brand and
identity to managing
promotions and fulfillment processes.
From operating an effective delivery service and moving beyond dine-in options to using
kitchens in a different way (such
as 'ghost kitchens'), Delivering the Digital Restaurant not only represents a challenge to
conventional ideas of what makes a
restaurant, but provides options that support all levels of food processing, consumption, and
The authors don't pretend this is an easy transformation. Indeed, chapters are quite candid about
the obstacles involved:
"Compared to dining in, the digital ordering interface all but guarantees a poor experience. We
can browse a restaurant
menu on a small smartphone screen, but we often then make decisions with less information
compared to ordering
in-restaurant. We may not click through to the detailed description. We don't get to ask a member
of the restaurant team a
question about the food. We might be able to request some changes to an item, but our ability to
customize will likely be
limited by the ordering platform. A menu designed for a different ordering context simply cannot
function well on a tiny
screen with no human interaction. "Adapt your menu for delivery" is the advice of Henry
Roberts, owner of Two Hands
restaurant in New York City."
This attention to hands-on and real-world experience moves Delivering the Digital Restaurant
from concept to applied
behavioral and structural changes both on the part of the restaurant and in meeting customer
The candid assessments of common pitfalls and possibilities make this coverage a standout that
no restaurateur should be
without: "As consumer interactions become increasingly digital, the rules of the game change.
No longer is the brand
primarily about a restaurant's location, its ambience, or its servers. Instead, the brand is now
about a restaurant's authentic
voice online, its frictionless ease of use, and its ability to target, serve, and retain relevant
customer segments. A word of
caution here: some restaurateurs say, "We're already there!" believing that possessing a website
or an app makes them a
virtual restaurant. Nothing could be further from the truth. A brand may offer online ordering and
delivery fulfillment, but
still be a far cry from being a virtual brand. Being digitally native requires designing everything -
from consumer experience
to operating model - based on digital interaction being the only interaction a consumer has with
your restaurant. Think of it
this way: if a guest never walked through your door - if you had no door to walk through - what
would they experience, feel
about, know about your brand?"
Anyone interested in food service in this new milieu would do well to consult Delivering the
Digital Restaurant. It should be
not just in culinary collections, but in any business library holding as an essential key to adapting
to the modern world while
maintaining a culinary image that is both strong and flexible in the face of digital and Covid
challenges alike. It is very, very
highly recommended as an essential guide.
9781919641225, $5.99 Kindle
9781919641201 $16.99 Paperback
Shekhins: Uncovering the Universalism of John's Vision is a scholarly consideration of belief
which was actually sparked
by atheistic critic Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens presented points that ultimately shook Hyobel's
religious convictions and
led him to more closely examine the foundations of his beliefs. Had Hyobel not encountered
Hitchens' criticism, Shekhins
might not have been written to offer a close inspection of the Book of Revelation and its
As he probes the visionary and prophetic aspects of this Biblical book and its concluding journey,
science's issues with the visions of John, giving a nod to the scientific process that holds issue
with them while adopting the
middle ground in his study: "As much as ghost or spirit sightings cannot be verified, neither can
they be dismissed. And
such will be our stance in this book regarding visions: as much as science cannot verify visions,
neither can it totally
disprove them. I, for this reason, gave John of Patmos the benefit of the doubt, neither rejecting
nor fully embracing his
By adopting this unconventional approach, Hyobel is able to intersect religion with science and
philosophy in a manner that
will reach beyond Christian audiences alone - ideally, into the worlds of skeptics and
scientific-backed processes that
embrace a wider world of religious belief. The Book of Revelation itself, Hyobel repeatedly
points out, mirrors this
approach by placing no singular religion at the center of its events.
Hyobel himself adopts a critical tone in his scholarly process, considering some of the major
issues that emerge from an
in-depth study of Revelation: "I outlined four main obstacles that stall us from interpreting the
Book of Revelation, three of
which we shall tackle in this chapter. The first is the apparent paradox of our discovery on the
vision's character usage: if the
vision depicts spiritual forces as angels and non-angels, why does the vision, for simplicity, not
employ only one set of
The second obstacle that also hinders us from soundly interpreting Revelation concerns the
potential of spiritual forces...The
third obstacle is quite crucial to the identification of characters in Revelation. This relates to the
creators of spiritual forces:
what or who creates them?...
The fourth obstacle, which we shall deliberate in separate chapters, concerns on "God" and
"Satan" as they manifest in
Revelation. Because we say that the characters in the Book of Revelation are spiritual forces
without volition, must this
view also apply to "God" and "Satan"?..."
These and other issues receive astute analysis that invites readers to more closely examine not
only the stories of Revelation
and the visions of John, but ways they are interpreted, and the underlying conflicts that emerged
between various Christian
factions as they considered Revelation's meaning.
Hoybel is also realistic about the obstacles involved in accepting the Universalist perspective
which, at times, does not
adequately address conventional thinking about Revelation.
Hoybel's admits that readers of this analytical process may not always agree: "Regardless of what
people may think, I firmly
stand by our analytical handling of the vision of John. We did not, I believe, unnecessarily cross
any line just to come up
with a perspective because I, for one, detest such fallacious purpose. We primarily aimed to
envisage faith-ideals in the
Revelation, relentlessly verifying the legitimacy of most mainstream beliefs resolutely attached to
Revelation. In such
endeavor, we emerged with a number of intriguing insights, which a person may find either very
speculative or plainly outrageous. But, however one may find these, I stand by them."
With its well-researched attention to detail and Biblical studies and its reference-backed
approach to Biblical interpretation,
Shekhins will most likely appeal to academics and scholars. But the book can likewise attract
students of Biblical history
and people engaged in faith discussions, both of which will find the discourse both
well-researched and accessible.
The result is a unique examination that presents a new hermeneutical platform for considering
Revelation, John, and
Biblical representations. It is essential reading for not just Christians, but anyone studying the
Bible's last book, no matter
what their religious background.
The Demon in Disguise
Ashley Elliot with Michael J. Coffino
9781646634309, $26.95 Hardcover, $18.95 Paper, $7.99 Kindle
The Demon in Disguise: Murder, Kidnapping, and the Banty Rooster belongs in any collection
strong in true crime stories.
It brings to life Ashley Elliot's experiences when her father was murdered and her mother
Where other books often address such crimes from an outside investigative reporter's perspective,
The Demon in Disguise
stands out in coming from a crime victim's point of view, and turns a critical eye on the justice
Perhaps the most important reason for pursuing this victim's experience above others is this
perspective. It's also the reason
why some more personally involved with the case might question the need for this book.
Elliot's own acknowledgement of these attitudes and why the reason for making her experience
public supersedes any sense
of decorum or the idea that recovery involves moving on and forgetting presents perhaps the
most powerful case for not
doing either, and for reading her book: "There will be people who won't be happy I have written
this book. Some will say
what's done is done. The criminal justice system ran its course, straight to the hallowed
courtroom of the Arkansas Supreme
Court. Move on, girl. Others won't want the dirty laundry of yesteryear aired. Let bygones be
bygones. Some family
members may roll their eyes and lament - there I go again, stirring up shit, reminiscent of my
wilder days. Time to grow up.
I've heard it all before. When I pressed prosecutors to do their job, people told me, "you need to
let this go." I was warned I
risked unleashing a hornets' nest best left undisturbed and less harmful. I paid them little or no
heed. I wanted the justice
system to do what it was set up to do."
She provides not only justification for making these events known to a broader audience, but for
the book's inclusion in
criminology and legal justice collections as an example of justice processes gone awry.
As her story unfolds, readers receive a powerful, years-long probe into a mob-style execution that
had no witnesses and no
resolution that morphs into a kidnapping case when Elliot's mother then vanishes.
Her struggles with the legal system and her insights and investigations, which traverse not just
state boundaries but differing
legal systems, includes involving, specific descriptions: "I have no legal training, but even I can
see the fundamental
distinction between a kidnapping that occurred in two states (Utah and Nevada) - which might
compel one jurisdiction to
defer to another on a kidnapping charge - and other wrongs that occurred solely in one
The juxtaposition of a victim's search for truth and justice and her struggles with not just one but
competing legal systems
and their perceptions of the pursuit and identification of justice provides food for thought beyond
her experience alone,
offering debate material that legal students should find engrossing.
Her story of how judges treat victims in the courtroom is also eye-opening: "More interesting - to
no one probably but me -
was the Court allowed Trey to stay in the courtroom when his testimony concluded. Not me,
however. I had to stay in the
conference room. While I appreciated the judge didn't want another outburst from me, I also felt I
had an absolute right to
remain. So what if I lost it on the stand? I was confident it wasn't the first time a victim let loose
some tears in a criminal
trial. I had rallied and knew I could hold it together now that I was a mere spectator. They never
gave me the chance and, as
far as I was concerned, that was flat-out wrong."
Those who fear that publication of The Demon in Disguise will stir up a hornet's nest should
know that, if all goes well, it
should - and will.
Ashley Elliot's story deserves far greater attention than being regulated to true crime collections
alone. It should not only be
in law libraries, but used in classrooms as debate material on a variety of subjects raised during
the course of her
Katie, Bar the Door
Ruth Hull Chatlien
9781937484934, $17.95 Paper, $5.95 ebook
It's rare that the title of a book proves original and compelling in and of itself, but Katie, Bar the
Door is such a creation. It
will appeal to readers of modern women's fiction with its astute story of Katie Thompson, a
first-person story which
captives not only by its title, but in its first few lines: "I felt as though I were being driven to a
sentencing, not my
Katie harbors big dreams for her future which do not embrace the conventional paths others
around her believe she should
In the opening lines of her story, she and Ritchie have eloped, and are to be married without
benefit of ceremony. The
couple has known each other since childhood. Forbidden from embarking on this relationship by
a strict mother who caught
them necking, Katie's taken the step into sexuality, and is the driving force behind insisting that
they now marry.
The reason, however, isn't for love. It's because of lack of options: "Even if I got to a phone and
reached my mother, I wasn't
sure she'd take me back. She had forbidden my relationship with Ritchie over a year ago after she
caught us necking and told
me that, in God's eyes, I was as guilty as if I'd slept with him. Defying her low opinion of me, I
had clung stubbornly to my
virginity until we ran away, surrendering it then only because of the promise that I'd be Mrs.
Richard Pelletier in the
morning - and because Ritchie's rage at being asked to wait one more day was too menacing to
defy. Now that the deed was
done, according to the stringent doctrines of my mother and my church, my only chance to
redeem myself was to marry the
partner of my lust."
As Katie faces domestic violence, being a runaway from her family and faith, and reviews
dead-end roads and future
options, readers journey alongside her as she faces a series of men who become bosses, lovers,
and potential protectors,
unified in their desire to control her in some way.
Even her professor, Dr. Peter Taylor, becomes entangled in Katie's life and dreams as she moves
from a history student in
his class to something more.
Katie rewrote a history paper when she realized that her facts and sources were outdated. Can she
rewrite her life?
Ruth Hull Chatlien crafts a vivid story of abuse, growth, repression, and changing perceptions
and attitudes as she
documents a young woman's journey to self-empowerment and self-realization.
As the story moves full circle to embrace the relationships between mother and daughter and
generations of belief, readers
receive an engrossing examination of how past memories and experiences transform into future
changes and new
Katie, Bar the Door takes no simple paths in exploring these revelations. It provides many twists
and surprises that will
delight readers interested in a moving story of a young woman's dreams, misconceptions, and
growth. It will appeal to those
interested in emotional trauma, recovery, and transformation, as well as in evocative women's
9781646634422, $25.95 Hardcover, $17.95 Paper, $7.99 Kindle
Unsettled Disruption: Step-by-Step Guide for Harnessing the Evolving Path of Purpose-Driven
Innovation is a treatise on
global marketing, economy, and business. It represents one of the first books to consider the
revised process of doing
business on a global scale, post-pandemic.
Many business books center on encouraging innovative processes in traditional business
environments, but Juana-Catalina
Rodriguez's focus on the concept and applications of "disruptive innovation" sets her book apart
from most others in the
Another difference lies not only in how she creates her framework for change, but in her
exploration of real-world, proven
processes that already work within this framework.
Successful brands are held up as examples and models of a transformation processes that will
offer much food for thought to
businesses that base their own approaches on traditional, time-tested models without innovative
thinking: "IKEA became
the world's largest furniture retailer with 445 stores worldwide and 41.3 billion Euros global
revenue in 2019 due to unique
value delivery and customer engagement. Most incumbent businesses may hesitate to transition
to an IKEA-like model.
They still fear pushing away customers who are unwilling to take on tasks traditionally defined as
As 'disruptors' are identified and their methodology analyzed, Juana-Catalina Rodriguez provides
engrossing insights into
what works, what does not, and the impact of disruptive approaches on conventional operations:
"New generation disruptors
succeed by first identifying an unsolved customer problem and then conducting an in-depth
analysis of ways to stream the
value chain and redefine the business models using modern technologies that others haven't
utilized effectively. The
innovative use of technologies and unconventional strategies crushes the incumbents as new
disruptors target their
mainstream customers even quicker than ever. Often incumbents try to avoid disruption and
focus on sustaining what they
already have. However, they fail to identify the job-to-be-done...for incumbents to survive the
deadly disruptors, they have
to focus more on the industry's unattended sectors instead of flooding resources to create the
digital versions of their analog
selves, as we have seen in many sectors. In the next chapter, we will review some examples of
incumbents that failed to
handle disruptive innovation."
While Unsettled Disruption certainly would have held appeal pre-Covid, its contentions, business
review, and global
perspectives hold special messages and insights post-Covid as disruptive techniques take center
stage and demonstrate the
flexibility to adapt to quickly-changing conditions.
The result is a global marketing guide that offers solid alternatives, different perspectives, and
new options for those
struggling with the current environment and outdated models of business success.
Unsettled Disruption deserves a spot in any serious global business collection as a spot-on guide
to changing the business
game in a sustainable, purposeful manner.
The High-Performing Real Estate Team
The High-Performing Real Estate Team: 5 Keys to Dramatically Increasing Production and
Commissions should be in any
real estate library, as well as in the hands of sales teams who would work together to improve
sales results. It outlines a set
of best practices that result in the best bottom lines for agents and offices alike.
Brian Icehower's background as a real estate coach lends to an approach that covers both group
dynamics and team
operations and individual sales processes. Chapters address both as they cover the nuts and bolts
of understanding what
differentiates a high-performing team from an ordinary sales force.
Subjects range from focusing on metrics and building a pipeline of success to understanding
what activities can be delegated
to improve sales, fostering an office atmosphere of growth and accountability, and using
behavioral models to help teams
understand their individual differences to sync up with bigger-picture sales results. Icehower
provides lessons that will
resonate with any office and team seeking more than ordinary results.
He addresses the needs and perceptions and leaders and members alike, during this process:
"Real estate team leaders must
keep giving team members those positive nudges, much like a parent would. Leaders must
expect, going in, that team
members are going to struggle with a lot of things. They are not going to always hit their
numbers. Leaders should be
surprised if they do hit their numbers! It's all about shifting the context of the dashboard (which
we will dive into in Part 4
of this book) and reframing the way we look at our team members. Our context must shift to that
of a loving parent/child
relationship. All team members must take this to heart, too. This is not just advice for the team
leader. As you know, with
growth comes more opportunity for leadership positions on a real estate team. All team members
should be trained to have
this mindset because it may apply to them as they grow with the team."
His result formula for success works only if a real estate office and its agents are committed to
the team ideal for
achievement, and work together to make this an overall goal.
There's no mystery, here, on how to achieve this. The High-Performing Real Estate Team
provides the tools needed to move
attitudes and processes from the everyday to the pinnacle of sales success, addressing
perspectives, performance, and new
possibilities for revised individual and group dynamics.
No real estate collection should be without it.
Thieves of Paris
9798527353198 $10.99 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Thieves of Paris is a historical suspense story that takes place during World War II. Ex-thief and
soldier Max St Denis flees
the Nazi invasion of France, only to find that his new job relies on his thievery skills for
Tasked with saving valuable paintings from the Nazis, including a piece especially dear to his
heart, Max seems to fail in his
endeavor - which only makes him all the more determined to eventually succeed against all
As he faces smugglers, romantic possibilities, and challenges posed not only by his thieving
expertise but a host of
opportunistic fellow French citizens who hone their own skills for disparate purposes, Max
moves through a world of expert
thieves, forgers, and special interests that both dovetail with and attempt to thwart his purposes:
"She had a point, that I had
no right to jeopardize others with my obsession. But I couldn't get it out of my mind that, with
her help substituting the
copy, my chances were very good and discovery was unlikely."
Thieves of Paris is no simple story. It fosters satisfying twists and turns of plot, perception, and
good and bad participants
alike as war turns everything on end for everybody.
Who is in control? Everyone thinks they are, while, in reality, there are a host of special interests
(and subplots) at play in
Thieves of Paris.
With its roots based firmly in reality (Nazi art theft and the unfolding danger to Jews during their
occupation of France),
Thieves of Paris excels in blending the trappings of a suspense thriller with the historical realities
of the times. This creates
an engrossing series of cat-and-mouse interplays that will especially delight mystery readers
interested in World War II
The action is ongoing, the characterization and moves of Max and those around him well
described and intriguing, and the
story proves hard to put down. Its special focus on those trying to live their lives and do damage
control in the face of
simmering threats and controversies that reach into France's art world and culture makes for an
Styled for Murder
Nancy J. Cohen
Orange Grove Press
9781952886225, $14.99 Print, $4.99 ebook
It's not every day that a hair stylist is called upon to solve a murder, much less one stemming
from a frantic call by a mother
who finds a body in her shower. In Styled for Murder, Marla Vail once again finds her talents for
styling and sleuthing come
into play in just such a scenario.
A project manager foreman who was widely disliked in town is the victim, but the problem goes
beyond too many perp
possibilities as Marla uncovers clues separate from police investigations which are moving
towards fingering her stepfather
as the prime suspect.
As family and town secrets move to the foreground, Marla discovers increasing conflicts between
obligations, and her problem: "How could she keep up with everything? Add one more item, and
her life would topple over.
She could barely manage as it was to get all her tasks done."
A host of possibilities emerges, and Marla discovers that her penchant for sleuthing and
uncovering trouble is also a focus
on connecting the dots in unusual ways: "Unable to stay idle, Marla put away a few developers
that other stylists had taken
down from the shelves and not replaced."
Once again, Nancy J. Cohen brings to life not just a murder investigation, but the community at
large's intersection with the
hair stylist environment: "Marla sectioned off pieces of her hair with large clips. "All dads are
afraid to lose their little girls,"
she said with a sympathetic smile. "My stepdaughter, Brianna, is a senior in high school. She's
been accepted at Boston
University. My husband is still coming to terms with her leaving. Tell me, is there anyone else in
It's a pleasure to see a sleuthing story evolve where the protagonist is just as vested in her
business, family, and community
interactions as she is in her investigation, which embraces all three concerns.
Cohen's ability to bring these disparate facets to life in a story that moves between personal
concerns and social and
community change, weaving the "perfect murder" scenario into these interplays, makes Styled for
Murder an intriguing read
that returns the Bad Hair Days amateur sleuth to prior fans while making her accessible to new
The mix of family, social, and mystery concerns are nicely balanced. This makes for a cozy
mystery powered by Marla's
special blend of savvy and perceptions as a home remodel project goes seriously awry, posing
dangers to Marla and possible
perps alike: "If she wasn't guilty, was she in danger?"
The Fortune Cookie Writer
28 Leaves Press
9781737697213, $15.99 print, $3.99 ebook
The Fortune Cookie Writer is a novel about love, loss, and a family recovering from the fallout
of divorce. It opens with an
herbal description that is unusually compelling: "My mailbox reeks of oregano. Three parts
oregano to one part rosemary
and basil, to be exact. I realize this as I unlock the narrow metal door, and suddenly Mom's
ulterior motive in offering to get
my mail on Friday is clear. For a split second, her protective herbal blend, bound in a makeshift
cheesecloth sachet and
secured with a garbage bag tie, teeters on the ledge. But then, it succumbs to the weight of the
mail resting on top of it and
bursts. The contents of my mailbox tumble down in an avalanche of herbs, letters, and
From the start, Nina Navisky couches events with an overlay of light humor that delights: "'Basil,
rosemary, yarrow, juniper,
and anise. That must smell lovely.' 'I'm sure it does. You know what else smells great? Febreze.
But that doesn't mean it's a
'spiritual protectant against harmful forces.' "
Marissa is working three jobs and is heavily in debt after her unexpected divorce. With Owen to
look after, added to her
own family's support, Marissa retains purpose and emotional ties while still feeling overwhelmed
New age spirituality, explorations into chakras and the hidden virtues of the dead, and intrigue
entwine as Marissa uncovers
the truth about neighbor (and a man she barely knew) Bernie Klein's combination-lock case,
safety rules that lead to death,
and a mother's postal antics gone awry. These events permeate a story rich in herbal and ritual
processes on many sides, and ghosts of the past.
As old photos and the mysterious case present Marissa with a mystery she must solve, she also
works through her own
obstacles to healing, success, and moving on.
Nina Navisky writes with a warm hand that leads readers into thought-provoking moments.
These juxtapose nicely with the
balanced mystery, interpersonal relationships, and evolution of Marissa's world, even adding a
touch of philosophy into the
mix: "That's the meaning of 'life cycle.' It goes round and round in a circle, because even when
there's an ending for one
living thing, it's the beginning for another."
The theme of endings and new beginnings runs through The Fortune Cookie Writer. Marissa's
probe of Jewish and new age
traditions and their relevance to her circumstances keeps the story fast-paced and revealing.
Readers are thus treated to a
warm story of evolution that traverses life's changes. It is especially strong at depicting
relationships between children and
adults and the kinds of life explanations designed to solve puzzles that can't be explained: "'But
in the worksheets the life
cycle is a circle. And circles go round and round and don't end. But I don't get that, because when
you die, doesn't everything
stop?' 'That's a hard one to answer. The truth is that no one knows what happens. That's another
reason grown-ups don't like
to talk about it. We want to be able to give kids all of the answers.'"
With its delicate probe into circles of life, restarts, and processes of discovery, The Fortune
Cookie Writer will delight
women who look for psychologically astute stories firmly based in life changes and methods of
The novel's multifaceted approach offers a warmth and evocative presentation that women will
find understandable and
Pep the Galapagos Tortoise
Jose Simbana and Ellen Griffiths
Pep the Galapagos Tortoise tells of a shy little tortoise who seems an unlikely hero of his island
family and friends. But
children ages three to eight receive a surprise as Pep confronts island invaders to save his
Jose Simbana and Ellen Griffiths provide a delightful picture book saga that receives intriguing
illustrations by Jenna Riggs
as it pairs Galapagos Islands natural history facts with a fictional story of how one young tortoise
can make a
The idea is to pair this message about individual strength with facts about the islands' natural
world. There's also a
component of real-world threat described as invaders attempt to steal the tortoises from their
There is a wealth of information about various Galapagos creatures in the back of the book that
support young geography
and natural history learners with maps and animal facts.
The underlying message of how one shy individual can make a difference through some creative
thinking, friendships, and
problem-solving activism is just as valuable as the real-world Galapagos exploration portrait, and
will delight read-aloud
parents and independent readers, as well.
House of Roses
Advanced elementary to middle grade readers interested in a story of action and adventure will
find Bonez a fine leisure
read choice. It explores friendship, achievement, and what happens when a "wild card," a good
guy, and a cool guy find that
their interests lead them to compete in the activity they all love: skating.
One note about Bonez is that it presents a different, more succinct format to its dialogue and
interactions than many written
for this age group.
Thus, its descriptive language and dialogue are both presented and punctuated differently: "We
open up the story with Quigz
in a laughter. Then a slap to his back from Essie right after. Quigz - Hey, what was that for? I'm
just trying to get Bonez to
man up. He just needs to be smooth and be like, hey Peep what's up."
This jovial mix of street lingo, slapstick humor, and metaphor create an inviting alternative to
traditional methods of
description and dialogue, inviting kids to partake of the flavor of action sparked by an attention
to rhyme - albeit not
presented in the usual verse structure.
As Bonez, Essie, Peep, and Quigz interact with each other and their peers, lessons about good
intentions, slowing down to
let feelings and relationships develop, and facing the world with revised approaches imparts
gentle lessons to ages 8 and
older: "Bonez and Peep had a moment where they both felt whole. Life slowed down for a
minute; it felt like everything was
in their control."
Spiced with compelling black and white drawings by Amber L. Luecke, the lessons learned by
these young characters are
outlined in admonitions about the value of hard work, positive thinking and focus, and staying
true to yourself, among many
The result is a story that embraces with action, warms the heart with friendship encounters, and
imparts the basics of better
living through examples that are intriguing and filled with action.
A workbook of puzzles and activities at the end reinforces the story's lessons.
"The search for purpose and meaning in life is everyone's true goal." Bonez provides young
people with keys on how to
reach for better living as it demonstrates how to work out problems in life with an eye to options
that lead to a superior
Grigor, the Competitive Tyrannosaur who Roared and Roared
Phil Wohlrab, Publisher
Picture books about dinosaurs are a dime a dozen, and those that cover achievement and boasting
abound. But, pair the two
subjects and add the full-page, colorful drawings by Phil Wohlrab for an even more attractive
experience that young readers
and their read-aloud parents will find particularly engrossing.
Grigor is a little Tyrannosaur who is overly competitive. In fact, he's not happy unless he's the
best in everything he does.
And, he usually is.
The problem is...Grigor can play sports, but he's not a good sport. In fact, he's a sore loser.
And whenever he loses, he roars in anger and despair.
As readers move through Grigor's reactions to not being the best and not winning all the time,
adults will have much
opportunity to reinforce the story's gentle lessons on adversity, attitude, and handling failure
Grigor over-reacts to many things, but his tendency to roar begins to put off even fellow
These insights into how attitude affects friendships, team efforts, and ultimately success are
transmitted through fun
illustrations that get the point across as they follow the various scenarios in which Grigor
expresses his disappointment in
his team and in himself.
Read-aloud parents looking to instill examples of good and bad sportsmanship will find the
appealing drawings and Grigor's
dino dilemma to be just the ticket for some pointed discussions.
World Castle Publishing, LLC
9781955086806, $10.99 Paper, $3.99 Kindle
Who has not wanted to predict or change the future, at some point in life? And who has had the
tools to do so? In the sci-fi
story Chasing Time, retired history professor Tony Lucas must return to the magic of his youth to
find just that key...and
when he does, his decisions on how to employ it change everything.
Readers who expect a traditional opener will find this story's roots begin in Rome in AD 52,
where merchant Lucius Fabius
Antonius harbors an obsession with time and future prediction that is strengthened by a knack
that has served him well
throughout his life.
It also leads him to a risky business venture that brings the olive oil merchant into new realms of
mysterious forces affect his business and the pursuit of something impossible.
Fast forward to 1965, when Anthony Lucas, also obsessed with time and blessed with an
uncommon knack, finds a strange
souvenir that changes everything for him.
Time is fluid in this story as he moves away from youthful discoveries and pursuits, only to
remember them again when his
wife is diagnosed with a terminal illness that he becomes determined to change.
As Ann's health challenge threaten to overcome the very key that could contribute to her survival,
Tony faces pressures on
many fronts: "During the next few days, Tony became so preoccupied with the detailed planning
of Ann's care that he had
little time to think about the ancient key or a potential miracle cure for ALS. Whenever such
thoughts did enter his mind, he
pushed them away and sadly reasoned that there really wasn't much more he could do to unravel
the clues from the 2025
Thomas Reilly does a fine job of spinning a time-travel yarn that comes with its own charge of
exploring last chances for
survival, however extraordinary they may be.
His protagonist struggles with death, a mystery, new possibilities, and time running out for
business, health, and personal
Between stumbling upon an unbelievable story and the pressure to share it to make a difference,
Tony finds himself going
out on a limb in more than one way as he navigates special interests and personal objectives
against the backdrop of a
discovery that could change the world.
From how events in the future are interpreted (or disbelieved) by present-day players to how
Tony navigates moral and
ethical conundrums in the course of pursuing answers and cures, Chasing Time is as much about
chasing after hope as it is
about creating new opportunities with future knowledge in hand.
Readers who enjoy medical conundrums, time-travel experiences, and fantasy that pairs well
with realism elements will find
Chasing Time a heartfelt, compelling story that both joins and stands out in the time-travel
9781922551993 $11.99 Paper, $4.99 Kindle
Primeval Waters represents horror/thriller adventure writing at its best. It tells of an Amazon
River expedition through hell
when Dr. Micah Clark, his nine-year-old daughter Faye, and his assistant Catalina Abril are
kidnapped and forced to
traverse an environmentally altered Amazon jungle.
So, what's Dr. Clark doing in the jungle? What makes him famous - filming his reality adventure
TV series Meteor Micah,
the Outdoor Exploration Network's top show, which searches out exotic destinations, creates
gripping survival challenges,
and blends science with pop speculation about aliens and ancient mysteries: "Network executives
had christened him a
modern day "Marlboro Man" - a ruggedly handsome intellectual who appealed to everyday
viewers, especially ones who
wore tin foil hats."
He's investigating The Anomaly, an ancient meteorite long buried in a lakebed. The discovery
defies ready identification,
leading him into a field survey that goes awry from prehistoric threats.
The very ingredients which have made his series a success now contribute to an extraordinary
foray into unprecedented
dangers. Dr. Clark becomes convinced that an extraordinary alien intelligence is behind the new
threats, using them as
camouflage to hide secrets about the meteorite, which promises the world clean energy, but
harbors other abilities that might
not prove so beneficial.
As a paramilitary operation, jungle Queen Caveira, and other forces struggle for the same
treasure, Dr. Clark is drawn into a
series of confrontations that defy not only his scientific knowledge and its process, but his ability
Readers seeking an Indiana Jones-type story with nonstop action will be especially pleased at the
dilemmas and struggles
that happen back-to-back, and at the vivid descriptions William Burke presents as he explores
encounters: "The snake slammed straight down, using the front half of its body like an axe,
crushing the boat. Both serpent
and boat vanished beneath the water. A moment later, the snake resurfaced, a man clenched in its
jaws. It turned to focus on
its next prey - the yacht. Batista stared into its emerald-green eyes, his heartbeat pounding in his
ears. That silence was
shattered by machine gun fire. One of the gunboats came in fast, front machine guns blazing.
Unfortunately, Batista's yacht
was also in the line of fire. Batista hit the deck while keying his walkie talkie, shouting, "You
idiots are shooting at us!"
William Burke adds not only a host of special interests, but a variety of different threats to an
adventure packed with
unexpected twists and turns. Pirates, kidnappers, ancient monsters and cannibals, oh my!
Fans of nautical horror and sci-fi scenarios will find these encounters make for edge-of-your-seat
reading that grips with an
introductory mystery and doesn't let go.
The overlay of real-world Amazon nature and extraordinary events and influences blends two
disparate environments with
descriptions that are taunt and grippingly realistic: "Micah sank into a deep but remarkably clear
pool. He was about to kick
his way up when he saw something silhouetted against the sunlit surface. It was a fish, at least six
feet long, with a tapered
snout. Another equally large creature swam by, intentionally bumping him. Micah thought, Bull
sharks, while fighting the
panic welling inside. Amazon River bull sharks were as vicious as great whites - genuine
The result is a thriller/horror/adventure mix that will attract a wide audience, from fans of
William Hope Hodgson's special
brand of horror to Indiana Jones adventure story readers who just can't get enough of this kind of
special blend of fantasy
Please Don't Tell Cooper That Jack is a Rabbit
Michelle Lander Feinberg
9781736199039, $19.99 Hardcover, $13.95 Paper
Picture book readers ages 2-8, and adults who choose this story for read-aloud, will find Please
Don't Tell Cooper That Jack
is a Rabbit a winning story about a rescue dog who decides to make his escape from his beloved
home when he spies
something irresistible outside the fenced yard: a rabbit.
A fun rhyme follows Cooper's escape and efforts to catch the bunny ("Don't get me wrong, his
intentions are kind./It's
making a buddy that he has on his mind."). As pursued and pursuer race through town, causing
havoc all around them, they
discover their shared passion indicates that a new friend has been found.
Anna Mosca's lovely, colorful illustrations capture the whimsy and messages of Michelle Lander
Feinberg's story about an
unusual interspecies friendship.
Kids receive a warm story of "...connections made where differences had been" in a tale that
covers similarities, differences,
the elements of friendship and relationships, and the process of being a "true pal."
Parents who choose this story for read-aloud will find it offers many opportunities for
discussions on how to view and
accept differences while building meaningful relationships.
From information on pet adoption to discussions of diversity, acceptance, and overcoming
obstacles, Please Don't Tell
Cooper That Jack is a Rabbit embraces many themes that lend to opportunities for enlightenment
for the very young.
Searching for Eden
Black Widow Books
9781737203773, $5.99 ebook
Searching for Eden is a novel that chronicles Evan Jordan's search for answers and a mythical
place after his teenage
daughter dies of cancer.
Evan is not only crushed. He's angry: "Becoming a father should be labeled like a cigarette
pack!" That's what Evan Jordan
blurted to the first person he saw as he stormed out of the hospital, fists clenched. "I'm serious!"
he said to an old man who
was being wheeled in, hooked up to oxygen. "'WARNING: Care too much for a child and it will
kill you!' They should put it
right on the birth certificate. Or how about, 'WARNING: There are 10,000 things that can kill
your child and you can't do a
damn thing about half of them!' How about that one?"
His pain and anger drive him to questionable choices and the search for a mythical garden of
perfection, and he embarks on
a journey that leads him to encounter all manner of spiritual belief systems and people as he
travels through the Middle
Many of these characters are given a depth and psychological examination that moves beyond a
focus on one man's mission
alone. This is one of the strengths of Searching for Eden's diverse perspectives: "Feeling rejected
by BehnAm, Afsaneh had
indeed gone searching for Carmen, but couldn't find her anywhere. She returned to her tent,
where her aloneness at least
seemed appropriate. She lay down and tried to nap, but her spirit was still in turmoil. As a
woman in Iran, she had often felt
unimportant, as if she didn't belong, but she believed this place would be different. She tossed
around on her cot for a while,
and then got up and paced."
From traversing war zones to ancient archaeological digs and mysterious findings, Jordan's
search for answers and
resolution leads to an adventure that operates on many different levels, embracing action,
spirituality, life's meaning and
purpose, and military and political threats alike.
Keith Madsen excels in beginning with the microcosm of individual experience and blossoming
events and encounters to
the macrocosm of social unrest and political issues. He injects social and spiritual inspections
into the story that keep
readers involved and guessing about outcomes.
The myriad of complex subplots that evolve are easy to understand and thought-provoking in
their religious inspections.
Jordon's journey assumes a fuller flavor as it evolves: "If you are looking for a place where
14-year old girls will never die,
then you won't find such a place in Iran, or anywhere on the planet. But if you are looking for a
place where you can come to
some understanding about your own fear and hurt, a place where you can discover where
humanity took a wrong turn, and
ended up distrusting and fearful, then perhaps this is the place you should be."
Searching for Eden is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in stories about grief,
inspection, and journeys that embrace world events and special interests, unfolding to reveal
treasures of action and
Karthik Sekar, PhD
9780578944302, $30.00 Hardcover, $18.00 Paper, $9.99 ebook
After Meat: The Case for an Amazing, Meat-Free World is a study in ethics, values, and science.
It makes a case for the
unsustainability of using animals for food, clothing, and various other human purposes.
Unlike most similar-sounding books which focus on the moral and ethical issues of humane
animal treatment, Dr. Sekar
uses science (specifically, physics and biology) to make his case against how humanity currently
views and uses
More than simply arguing against such approaches, however, Dr. Sekar identifies alternatives
which make more sense on
many different levels, juxtaposing his own quest for better products and alternatives to animal
use with scientific inquiries
into processes and products which are both sustainable and an improvement on many different
His ideas represent "the donkey cart giving way to the Tesla Model S," combining reasoned
arguments and insights with
footnoted references that document the scientific foundations of his thinking: "...there is nothing
special about animal
protein versus non-animal protein for our health. If anything, limiting ourselves to only animal
protein will prove
disadvantageous in the long run. We can imagine a future where the fermentation-based protein
is tailored and
His futuristic extrapolations of how non-animal uses can benefit not just the planet and human
health, but business and
production circles promotes the common sense of making informed decisions that lead to
healthier, better choices on many
This brand of scientific assessment makes After Meat a standout in animal rights literature.
Where other treatises are largely
idealistic or philosophical in their arguments, this combination of scientific and economic
rationales, backed by footnoted
references and facts, makes for a production whose futuristic vision is not just possible, but
makes more sense than current
Any collection strong in sustainable choices and social transformation needs to include After
Meat in its holdings as an
outstanding example of science-based future possibilities that outline how government and
citizens can make fundamental
Gallant: The Call of the Trail
Mill City Press
9781662826146, $17.99 Paper, $8.99 Kindle
Gallant: The Call of the Trail is recommended for horse-crazy teens who enjoy stories of
girl/horse bonds and adversity. It
tells of Gallant and Gracie, who are separated by an accident when Gallant is five. Each pursues
similar courses of interest
in the horse world in a story that centers on not the usual racing scenario, but endurance
Another difference that sets Gallant apart from other horse stories is chapter titles that are
revealing and intriguing. "How
Was She Supposed to Say Goodbye," "We Won't Risk You Being Hurt Again," and "I Think
That Maybe I Did a Terrible
Thing" are a few examples of chapters that serve as captivating introductions to their stories.
Another draw is a shifting point of view that covers Gallant's perceptions and feelings as well as
Gracie's: "Gallant wanted
to tell them his fear was valid. He had been hurt before, but he realized they probably didn't care.
They just saw him as a big
baby who knew nothing and feared everything."
As Gallant and Gracie evolve separately and learn to become winners once more, the story
pursues their independent
learning processes, other relationships, and the irony of their life directions as each absorbs the
kinds of lessons that will
ultimately lead them to meet up in the future.
Exceptional black and white drawings by Phylicia Mann pepper the story and bring horse and girl
to life. The specifics of
endurance riding training add to the story line and are especially notable because relatively few
horse stories depict anything
other than the horse racing world.
As Gracie plots to reunite with Gallant and finds out that her parents have been keeping a secret
from her about his
whereabouts and ownership, she seeks to make her dreams come true against all odds.
Claire Eckard's focus on horse, girl, and how each evolves and grow makes for a thoroughly
engrossing story. Especially
compelling are the moments in which Gallant begins to understand truths about cruelty and
beauty in the world and those in
it, whether they be animals or humans: "He was turning something beautiful into something
demeaning. He couldn't
understand how Flash could be so handsome on the outside and so ugly on the inside."
While Gallant is about Gracie and Gallant's efforts to reconnect, and their independent lives, it's
also about how each learn
to cope without one another, and with the forces that influence their lives.
Teens are in for a treat with a horse story that embraces psychological and horse training milieus
that other horse tales for
teens don't begin to touch. Collections catering to this audience will appreciate the story's special
focuses and added
9781639880300, $19.99 Paper, $7.99 Kindle
Book 2 of the Comfrey, Wyoming series, Marcela's Army, continues the story of the Crow twins
and opens with a house
afire in 1983 Comfrey, in which a family perishes.
There is one survivor. Vera's vantage point from a tall tree gave her a birds-eye view of the fire's
As this story of adoption, recovery, and the lives of survivor Vera, Heidi Crow, and her twins
Marcela and Amadeus
evolves, the impact of events, coincidences, changed circumstances and growth lead families to
join in unusual ways to
survive and change.
Betrayal, redemption, and broken families who find in each other newfound purpose and
connection are probed in an
engrossing story that opens with tragedy, then progresses through the lives and influences of a
As the tale moves from Vera to Marcela, Heidi, and Amadeus, Vera's growth as a potter and her
artistic success blend into
Marcela's special challenges to unite very different paths.
Marcela, too, is gifted with clay; but she also struggles with an unusual charge to grow into her
true self. It will take family
and a village to support her during these endeavors.
Daphne Birkmyer presents a multifaceted story of several young people faced with life-changing
events and decisions that
challenge their abilities, interests, and roles in their community.
Her warm juxtaposition of families transformed by these events and her story of how responses
become more educated and
transformations come to be accepted makes for thought-provoking reading that many will find
Marcela's Army is not your traditional tale of small town life and concerns. It's a gripping story of
tragedies that resonate
through personal worlds to change all the people involved.
A family who lives in fear of their deepest secret being found and exposed finds new ways to
trust and love in a gripping
saga that will leave readers thinking about contemporary family issues and growth in an entirely
unexpected new way.
Collections strong in stories of survival and family ties will find Marcela's Army an outstanding
addition that stands out
from many as guardian Heidi oversees the Crow twins' evolution.
Robert Ornstein with Sally M. Ornstein
9781949358995, $24.99 Paper, $14.99 Kindle
God 4.0: On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called God is
recommended for psychology and
spirituality collections alike, and considers the intersection between the two as it probes different
notions of God and higher
Intrinsic to this discussion are reflections on the nature of personal reality and perception. These
demonstrate how ideas of
transcendence and belief have, in modern times, moved to re-evaluating the connections between
Ideally, for a smooth continuation of Robert Ornstein's theme, his prior The Evolution of
Consciousness should be read first,
because it sets the stage for God 4.0, which expands the discussion from its original
God 4.0 is the third and last book in Ornstein's trilogy. It can be read first, or readers may wish to
take the full journey by
starting with The Psychology of Consciousness, his groundbreaking classic study introducing the
two modes of
consciousness of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The second book in the trilogy, The
Consciousness, provides a critical understanding of how the brain evolved. The three books
together represent a
fundamental reconsideration of ancient religious and spiritual traditions in the light of advances
in brain science and
psychology, exploring the potential and relevance of this knowledge to contemporary needs, and
to our shared future.
New scientific findings across a range of disciplines contribute answers to sociological puzzles
about how the concept of
and search for transcendence has affected humankind. Even more importantly, they lay a
foundation of scientific inquiry for
God 4.0 which endeavors to explain and explore the shift in consciousness which many call
Ornstein strives for a "unified theory" that links scientific and spiritual disciplines to create a new
structure with which to
view this process of transcendence and discovery. His goal is to foster new avenues of thought
from these modern
revelations - ones that lend to a "new spiritual literacy."
As chapters reveal this history, readers are treated to a discourse that considers not just science
and religion, but life's
As with many scholarly presentations, God 4.0 is heavily footnoted with supporting studies and
reference materials. Unlike
most academic research, however, the lively tone of historical, social, scientific, and religious
inspection is quite accessible
to lay readers as Ornstein points out fallacies and truths in thinking, through the ages: "It must be
acknowledged that the
doctrines of all of the Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - hold that there was
one Creation, in which
God "created" everything. But these dicta were produced a millennium or more before the last
600 years of science and have
not been revised. They were never intended to be taken literally."
This quote illustrates an important prerequisite for the complete enjoyment of God 4.0. Readers
should be flexible in their
belief systems, whether they stem from religious or scientific foundations, and should be willing
to reconsider long-held
assumptions about religious truths and what constitutes reality.
Those with such an attribute, who look for a science-based overview of history, principles, tools,
and processes of thought
and belief, will find God 4.0 not just worthy reading, but a study which ideally lends to
discussion group debates and
Religion, science, psychology, and historical collections will find this study of social rules and
laws both ancient and
modern to be revealing and unique.
Deep in the Forest
Lynda McDaniel Books
9781734637151, $4.99 ebook
9781734637144, $14.95 Print
"Am I dead?" I whispered in the cold, dark emptiness surrounding me...As I pulled the covers up,
I could just make out the
sound of someone breathing deeply. I couldn't tell where that was coming from - this room or
somewhere nearby? I didn't
want to wake it, afraid what that might unleash. I had no idea how I got there, just that I had been
in England, away from my
home and my family. My head ached real bad, and I needed to take a leak even worse. But I laid
there quiet-like, afraid for
my life. If I still had one."
Deep in the Forest is the fifth book in McDaniel's Appalachian Mountain Mysteries, and provides
mystery readers with an
involving story that opens with a bang. After this gripping opener, Abit Bradshaw's story moves
backwards to nine days
earlier to fill in details of his family life with Fiona and the magical pulls of home and kin.
How thirty-six-year-old Abit moves from this life to one in which he holds no memory of his
present circumstances makes
for a gripping story as he heads into a "long battle" that moves back and forth in time.
Juxtaposed with Abit's perspective and tale is the story of Della Kincaid (whom he has known
since he was fifteen) and
Nigel Steadman, an Englishman who moved to the U.S. and became Della's good friend before
fleeing back to England.
He's also been an ongoing source of trouble for Abit and Della, dragging them into a series of
As Nigel, Della and Abit face a mole in their midst, a stakeout gone awry, and people who exist
in the "deep forest" of
complex interactions and trouble, readers receive a solid dose of British atmosphere as they
sojourn through pubs, mysteries,
Unlike the other books in this series, the British Isles focus provides a satisfying difference,
challenging the characters with
a new milieu. As travels expose underlying prejudices and social differences, each character
grows beyond their roots and
experiences as they confront the "deep forest" both outside and within themselves.
Mystery fans who enjoyed the prior books will welcome this departure in physical place, and
Lynda McDaniel's ongoing
ability to present realistic characters who operate against the backdrop of a challenging mystery.
Her ability to weave
psychological perspectives and changes into the bigger picture of a series of mistakes that lead
each character to question
their abilities and sense of purpose creates a story that is thought-provoking on more than the
mystery level alone.
Deep in the Forest deserves a spot in any mystery collection, irregardless of whether the prior
books in the series are familiar
or not. It stands well alone, and as a nice addition to the prior adventures.
Beatriz M. Robles
9781643145174, $12.99 Paperback, $19.99 Hardcover, $3.99 E-book
Artwords melds art and literature in a manner designed to appeal to both art and literary
audiences, and comes from an artist
and writer who captures the visual impact of pairing poetry with art.
Envisioning the written word as an art form is nothing new; but Beatriz M. Robles elevates it to
new levels as she presents
calligrams (word images), redactive ("found") poetry, and color photos and artworks that blend
words into the art form
Of necessity, Artwords requires a fine eye to both visual and verbal cues in order to prove
accessible. In other words, this is
not your usual poetry/art collection, but a representation in which each form supports the other
and operates within the realm
of the visual and written world.
As words and images wrap and embrace, readers are not only treated to an exercise in perception,
but an exploration of how
words can form visual images that translate on different levels, as writing becomes art itself.
The intersection between prose, poetry, and art in Artwords offers many surprises. It also serves
to challenge conventional
thinking, whether about art, photography, or written language.
Readers interested in alternatives to traditional style, form, and representation will find Artwords
more than just visually
appealing. It's a compelling work that defies easy categorization as either literature or art - and,
thus, belongs in the
collections of both.
Coach, Run, Win
Morgan James Publishing
Coach, Run, Win: A Comprehensive Guide to Coaching High School Cross Country, Running
Fast, and Winning
Championships comes from a coach who shares his training methods for creating fast runners out
of high school students.
His focus goes beyond the usual coaching how-to model, however, to address the specifics of
fostering fast, winning young
From developing a championship mindset and dealing with school administration, parents, and
booster clubs to fostering
leadership qualities in winning runners, Ken Sayles provides all the nuts and bolts needed to
understand various aspects of
the coaching process.
Its focus on cross-country training methods, paired with Sayles' own track record of producing
results from his coaching efforts, creates a book that should be on the desks of any high school
track coach who want to
move beyond ordinary processes into extraordinary achievements.
From individualized, season-long training routines to self-examination documentation which
techniques, the survey pairs case studies of students with discussions of challenges to positive
During the process, Coach, Run, Win addresses common obstacles to success and shows how to
overcome them on many
From the criteria for varsity letters to school rules, standards of excellence, and setting
expectations for behaviors both on
and off campus, Sayles leaves no stone unturned in his outline of the processes of producing high
achievers in the world of
Other coaching books are far more singular in approach and recommendation. One of the
outstanding features of Coach,
Run, Win lies in its multifaceted considerations of not just physical routine, but the politics of
school and parent
management and requirements and the process of fostering mental acuity in winning
This wide-ranging coverage of all the influences on coaching winners should be on the radars
(and in the collections) of any
coach who wants to go above and beyond the usual routines and guidance effort, whether they're
handling teams or
individuals determined to succeed.
The Valley Spirit
Stephen C. Altschuler
9798540963251 $14.95 Paper, $0.99 Kindle
The Valley Spirit: Living a Tao-inspired Life is recommended for new age readers interested in
transformative techniques. It provides a guide to Tao and Buddhist thinking that can lead readers
towards becoming more
engaged in and sensitive about the world.
From new ways of asking good questions to make their answers better and more relevant to
positive change, to
considerations of the foundations of estrangement, alienation, and roots, The Valley Spirit
addresses a far-ranging series of
considerations affecting the process of personal transformation.
Issues of what should be taken literally or figuratively and the differences between the two, the
task of handling
conditioning to become more engaged in the moment, and sidestepping the split between mind
and body that leads to
physical and mental challenges alike are all tackled in this Buddhist-based approach to life.
Many books have promoted this approach, but often neglect to cover the process of just how to
achieve this state of mind. In
contrast, The Valley Spirit focuses on how to arrive at this place, using the author's own brand of
nature and social
inspection as a foundation for walking in the footsteps of his journey towards a better perspective
Moving from the lessons learned from practicing Tai Chi forms to how conditioning presents
barriers to moving into
different mindsets, Altschuler provides observations and keys that allow for movement between
transformational thinking, focusing on finding balance points at different junctures. This fosters
Connections between Gaia, achievement, and the importance of finding answers in direct
experience draw important links
between Tai Chi and meditative processes, and growth-oriented transformation.
The Valley Spirit is a process-oriented book that gently guides readers on their own path of
self-discovery. It is highly
recommended for new age, self-help, and spirituality collections alike.
Historical fiction readers who enjoy stories of Civil War experience will find Stolen the first
volume in a family saga that
brings to life many under-covered aspects of the war's events and impact. These include the
kidnapping of students who are
to be sold into slavery in the period of time approaching the Civil War, as the South is seceding,
and is the subject of
When cousins Hannah and Carl vanish in Cleveland, it takes months to uncover where they are
and why they
A close family determined to find them embarks on a rescue mission that leads them deep into
the heart of a South
unfriendly to Northerners, and into the politics and growing threat of the Civil War looming on
Rosemary Nichols strives for more than historical accuracy in her story. She recreates the sights,
smells, and sense of the
culture and politics of the 1860s through evocative descriptions that bring the era to life: "'We
can have staterooms on the
Natchez. It is a well known steamboat and has a captain, Thomas Leathers, with a fine record for
safety. The Natchez carries
the federal mail. They will stop at the landing for Sarah's plantation sometime
Saturday.' He continued emphatically. 'We need to get out of this city. The citizens have gone
mad. Only this afternoon I
learned of another attack on a businessman from Philadelphia. He was fortunate not to be killed.
And he had done nothing,
merely seek to transact business in a whirlwind.'"
All is not a whirlwind of conflict, in this story. Nichols strives to equally and accurately represent
Northern and Southern
viewpoints and culture in a manner that explains and depicts both camps to allow for better
reader understanding of the
ordinary man's perceptions and interests.
From family member interactions to floods, the rising tides of social and political unrest, and the
concurrently runs through family and communities alike, Nichols strives for a Civil War
depiction that is fair and balanced:
"With Caleb's positive attitude general through the people, what could the Magnolia Ridge
community expect but
This approach also sets Stolen apart from other Civil War battleground-oriented, conflict-focused
approaches as it recreates
not a singular vision, but the many positive and negative influences on individuals and
communities during these times.
The focus on family ties, sympathetic contrasts in the atmosphere and differing approaches of
Northerners and Southerners,
and depiction of a journey that challenges all makes for an engrossing introduction to a series that
goes far beyond the usual
Civil War story. Stolen captures the nuances of history and perspective that provide a fresh view
of events, motivations, and
interactions between family and community.
Civil War collections and historical fiction readers will find Stolen thought-provoking and
unexpected on many different
levels. It stands apart from the usual Civil War analysis by personalizing all lives, on both sides,
making for a top
recommendation that stands out from the crowd in many ways.
Murder in Second Position
Level Best Books
9781685120214, $16.95 Paper, $5.99 ebook
Murder in Second Position represents the second book in the ballet mystery series, providing
cozy mystery readers with a
satisfying blend of intrigue, humor, and ballet experiences.
Ballerina Leah Siderova faces many new challenges in this story, from the involvement of her
stepmother in her ballet
company to the influence of ballet director Pavel Baron, a man who is "pure poison." Leah finds,
one fateful February day,
that she must once again engage in an investigation both within and outside of the ballet
Lori Robbins draws readers into these dovetailing worlds from the opening lines of the story: "I
belong onstage. Not in an
interrogation room at Manhattan's Twentieth Precinct. And yet, for the second time in less than a
year, that's where I had a
starring role. As part of my official statement, I'd like to go on the record to confirm this simple
fact: When dancers say,
"ballet can be murder," they're speaking metaphorically. Most of the time. More to the point, if I
were going to kill someone,
it would have been Savannah Collier."
From chilly New York City rehearsal days to stormy interpersonal relationships experienced by
Leah, her friend Olivia, and
others, Robbins brings to life both the intrigue and the ballet world's many challenges.
As astutely as the action plays out, Robbins doesn't neglect a dash of ironic wit that laces the
story with personality and fun:
"I took a few deep breaths, wishing my practice tutu wasn't quite so tight. Tragic swan queens
had no business gaining
weight, and I was self-conscious about recent dietary indiscretions regarding salted caramel
The references to the strict rules that ballerinas must follow throughout their careers appear
throughout the story, lending it a
realistic, insightful feel: "Still painful to me was the memory of watching a rehearsal director
chastise a ballerina for gaining
weight. She had dazzled audiences in her role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and as
a young student, I idolized
her. The year I joined the company, the rehearsal director began publicly referring to this
red-haired dancer as Plumpkin. He
wasn't the only one. The former critic of The New York Times was especially brutal, speculating
on the exact number of
pounds the poor woman had gained. It was a cautionary tale I never forgot. One day you're on
top, and the next you're
teaching kindergarten classes at Dolly Dinkle's School of Ballet."
As she probes the many people around her who are keeping secrets for different reasons, Leah
moves ever closer to the one
secret that almost kills her. Only a last-minute costume change saved her. It may not do so
The mystery component is just as lively as the dance company descriptions and the performances
brings all to life with a style that performs deftly and artistically, and this will attract both
dance-oriented readers and those
with little experience with the world of ballet.
The result is an engrossing murder mystery that operates on many different levels to bring readers
on a rollicking ride
through death, achievement, and ballet politics alike as a murderous rampage threatens more than
just one life.
Let's Say Jack Kennedy Killed the Girl
William F. Crandell
9781734091861, $14.99 Softcover, $24.95 Hardcover
Let's Say Jack Kennedy Killed the Girl is the first book in the Jack Griffin Detective Series, and
is recommended for
hard-boiled detective fiction readers who appreciate mysteries set in the politics of the past, and
which reflect and interpret
history in an inviting, thought-provoking manner.
Like all exceptional reads, it opens with a compelling image: "Jack Kennedy and I had nothing in
common when we met but
our first names, the Purple Heart, and the hots for Betty Dyson."
Thirty-four-year-old ex-Army P.I. Jack Griffin meets politician Jack Kennedy and acknowledges
their very different lives,
which come together when the aforementioned Betty Dyson drags them both into a murder.
Under William F. Crandell's hand, the politics and atmosphere of D.C. come to life as events
unfold against the backdrop of
turbulent times. All remain firmly grounded in Griffin's experience and observations, which
lends this story a personal touch
that goes beyond a murder investigation alone: "Every man my age in America seemed to be
getting married, fathering half
a dozen kids and buying a bungalow on the G.I. Bill at the edge of some town. I lived alone in a
two-room apartment in
Washington - three if the bathroom counted. I dated a lot of women and had fun with them 'til
they found their calendars full
of evenings with more typical men, guys who didn't sit up nights guarding their hearts. My empty
private life felt like a
This attention to personal detail and experience does more than add to the milieu of politics,
culture, and Jack Kennedy's
involvements. It adds a subset of experience and emotion that will attract even readers not
usually interested in either P.I.
mysteries or historical fiction.
As the story unfolds, Griffin struggles to keep young Congressman Kennedy from being
identified as the perp in a terrible
murder. The overwhelming evidence against Kennedy, including six solid witnesses who place
him at the scene of the
crime, seems insurmountable, but wealth and position work together to keep the wolves at bay as
Griffin does his job.
The candid, wry observations of this milieu as seen from the first-person experiences of Griffin
combine with historical
backdrops to bring the story to life in many different ways.
Satisfying twists and turns will intrigue mystery readers who might not see some of them
coming, while newcomers to the
genre will find the emotional inspections of both Griffin and Kennedy drive the plot with
connections that make the story
hard to put down beyond the mystery it presents.
The result is a compelling tale highly recommended for a wider audience than the usual P.I.
enthusiast alone. Between Let's
Say Jack Kennedy Killed the Girl's catchy title and intriguing personalities, it should reach into
novel and historical fiction
reader circles alike, with vivid, unique brand of action and political and psychological interplays
that make for a heck of a
Great Discoveries in Psychiatry
Logos Verlag (Berlin)
9783832553470, 34.00 Euro
Great Discoveries in Psychiatry presents a history of the discipline through various discoveries,
but it is anything but the
anticipated staid survey. Ronald Chase provides a chronological inspection of the major changes
that formed psychiatry over
the years, embracing the sometimes long processes that led up to these changes.
Chase's different approach is most notable in the perspective sections and chapter headings.
Thus, the first chapter,
"Kindness," reveals the foundations of psychiatry in a growing concern for the mental health of
one's fellow citizens. It
concludes: "Everyone would agree that kindness is better than humiliation and brutality, but
kindness is not simply a matter
of ethics. It actually improved the mental health of patients, and this fact alone forever changed
the practice of
Footnoted references to reports, studies, history, and other studies, as well as vintage black and
white photos, support
Many of his connections between the evolution of psychiatry and social issues are intriguing:
"Despite all the damaging
evidence, the exact nature of Asperger's involvement in Nazi activities remains uncertain. He did
not join the National
Socialist party, and he never admitted to knowingly committing the horrible crimes of which he
has been accused. Since he
would have put his career in jeopardy if he had not cooperated with the Nazis, one could say that
autistic psychopathy was
an invention born of necessity, and everything else flowed from the same imperative."
Readers should expect a healthy dose of science as well as history. Perhaps most notable,
however, is the attention to details
of the various kinds of social, political, and scientific influences that led to discoveries that
furthered the discipline. These
are presented using lively language and unexpected associations that encourage readers to think
not just about psychiatry's
evolution as a discipline, but also the diverse paths to discovery and change.
Chase's ability to cultivate a winning, lively tone in a study that could all too easily have been dry
and fact-laden instead of
fact-inspired sets Great Discoveries in Psychiatry apart from other histories. It deserves a place as
a foundation read in not
just mental health collections, but for general-interest readers who will find its special blend of
scholarship and investigative
insights just the right formula for an accessible, inviting read.
The Visionary Brand
9781737188100, $24.99 Hardcover, $5.99 ebook
The Visionary Brand: The Success Formula Behind the Worlds Most Visionary Brands belongs
in any business collection
focused on branding success, and makes a case for fostering a visionary, market-driving force
that achieves through
innovation and inspiration.
From product visions and engagement choices to creating a disruptive, different brand that stands
out from the crowd, Bryan
Smeltzer provides a series of admonitions that cover the processes of a successful formula for
Common business book approaches such as discussions of positioning and market-driven
processes thus receive a unique
approach that turns tradition on end to look at new results and how to achieve, foster, and
promote different forms of vision
Smeltzer adopts a problem-solving approach in his discussions that draws on many real-world
examples from the start. One
example is his survey of how Oakley, a successful eyewear brand, was missing the boat on
expanding their vision to related
That there are no easy answers to pursing this vision is supported in the Oakley example that
introduces The Visionary
Brand, where "Oakley's little problem became a much bigger problem - one that would alienate
some of their core
community and drive the entire brand culture in a different direction. Both category authenticity
and channel distribution
would quickly become problems whereas they hadn't been before. Oakley began to lose its
cultural direction, as well as
those loyal brand ambassadors who stuck with the brand through its evolution over the decades.
They had loved and
embraced the brand for what it was, not what it was becoming."
What went wrong? As their success story becomes one that threatens to crash and burn, Smeltzer
follows the process
whereby the company changed in a different direction before all was lost.
This and other examples explore visions gone awry as well as those which reached for the sky
and found the stars, providing
compelling insights that business readers and innovators alike will find both thought-provoking
What makes for "a truly visionary brand as opposed to one that loses its way" lies at the heart of
these discussions, which
encourage visionary thinkers to not just identify visionary qualities and pursuits, but understand
what leads to success and
what threatens failure.
Smeltzer's three decades in business lend a practical, real-world side to his theories and visions.
These help fellow business
visionaries understand the foundations of identifying what elements are involved in a successful
From pricing and promoting revolutionary products to integrating a product strategy that
embraces short- and long-term
visions, Smeltzer's approach offers business thinkers new ways of branding and envisioning their
Business collections will find his book specific and filled with opportunities that visionary
thinkers will find enlightening
and inspirational, grounded in the nuts and bolts of real-world experience.
Sunshine Chief is the sequel to Eric Peterson's second novel The Dining Car. It tells of food
writer and traveler Horace
Button, whose trip to Tucson involves him in investigating a crime others are not certain has
actually been committed.
Sound intriguing? The mystery menu is spiced by witty observations and relationships, whether
of family or associates who
become caught up in various dilemmas around him.
The story is narrated from the perspective of Horace's friend Jack, who has known Horace for a
year and a half.
From Horace's penchant for purchasing train cars and traveling by rail to a wayward niece who
joins them for the journey,
and the unexpected murder of Chef Jean-Claude, the story picks up action and intrigue along the
trip that keeps it fast-paced
Who might have wanted the chef dead? How can the precocious Jane and Florabelle help solve a
As Jack battles with his wife as well as the girls and Horace, he evolves revised perceptions of a
number of relationships
and their changing attractions: "At that moment I saw her at her worst: this self-righteous,
uneducated, insular chef, this
headstrong woman with a past that didn't seem to exist."
This illustrates one device Eric Peterson employs to keep readers engaged and interested: the
ability to turn anticipated
reactions, relationships, and experiences upside down for a different perspective.
As Horace's position as Tucson's honorary chief of police causes conflicts in his business and
with Jack, the intrigue and
interpersonal relationships heat up and change over an arrest warrant scheme gone awry.
While mystery readers will delight in the evolution of conundrums which keep Jack, Horace, and
the characters on their toes
with wild goose chases, fiction readers who enjoy train escapades, Tucson community insights,
and stories of strange justice
and redemption will find the story absorbing and unique.
Sunshine Chief 's ability to appeal beyond the mystery crowd to audiences who relish memorable
characters of all ages, and
who love escapades and adventures, makes it a top recommendation for fiction collections
looking for something
Barry Lee Swanson
Boat House Productions
9781737285519, $18.03 Paper, $28.95 Hardcover
Still Points is set in 1940 in rural Illinois, where college grad Philip Zumwalt takes a job as a
music teacher to save money
for his goal of becoming a professional musician in Chicago.
His life is changed when he meets Elinor Robinson, embarks on a romance that threatens his
dreams, then faces the rise of
World War II, which demands his participation in an unexpected conflict.
As battle and love change his artistic dreams, Philip finds himself moving far from his life's
passions and into uncharted
waters that lead him to question what he's really fighting for.
One of the reasons why Still Points comes across as so captivating is because of its foundations
in reality. Philip's journey is
loosely based on actual diaries written by the real Philip Zumwalt during World War II, and so
assumes an immediacy and
inspection that comes to life under Barry Lee Swanson's hand: "I once was a fool for love and
now I'm a fighting fool, he
thought. Though he did not love everything, an impossibility that El had proposed, he loved
many things: music, great
literature, philosophy, and even, to some degree, religion. It went without saying that he loved his
family and El. What
confounded him was that now he had to add one more item to his list: combat. Strange. There
was a certain exhilaration in
cheating death. There was a certain pride he felt when taking down an enemy Zero, in defeating
an adversary intent on
dominating others. He believed in freedom, and now, he had to admit to himself, he actually
loved something else - being a
man of action."
Many of the letters presented in Still Point came from Swanson's imagination, but some are
authentic or based on diary
entries. The author's concluding notes provide insights and further research for history buffs
looking for further real-world
These close inspections of belief, inspiration, and revised meanings and goals in life drive a story
further enhanced by letters
between Philip and his love El as they embark on the journey that brings them together and then
drives them apart.
These reflect on far more than war alone, or even absence. They demonstrate the ongoing
affection Philip harbors for
literature and life itself, and combine with his maturity process to offer inspections steeped in
poetic images: "When I think
back to the moments we spent together, most of them could be defined like that, not just when
we were dancing, but nearly
every, single instance. The world stood still, El. It reminded me of acciaccatura, the musical term
I taught you in band.
Remember? A grace note, ornamental, a timeless note, a momentary pause, maybe even a
moment of grace. It's there, and
then it's gone. Time frozen in place."
From moments in time and memory that help the soul survive to the evolution of self in the face
of separation and battle,
Swanson crafts an engaging, memorable portrait of a young man who sacrifices the dreams of his
life, only to grow and
move forward in different ways.
The milieu of the Second World War and its psychological and social effects on all involved
(whether in battle or waiting at
home) is captured in a compelling saga of romance and growth that will keep readers engaged in
the characters' process of
preserving their love and dreams against all odds.
Still Points belongs in any historical fiction collection strong in World War II accounts.
Oliver and the Wishing Star
Jennifer Decker and Chrish Vindhy
9781737764403, $17.99 Hardcover, $11.99 Paper, $4.99 ebook
Oliver and the Wishing Star is a fun picture book which opens with Oliver's wish to go play
instead of doing his homework.
A savvy mother catches him before he goes out the door and insists that he forego swimming
with his friend Finn in favor of
walking the dog and then doing his homework.
It's simply unfair, Oliver thinks. So unfair, that he must be cursed. The curse lies in not living a
carefree life like his dog,
and in having to do all the work of a human.
What happens when he breaks the rules and wishes for a different life? Trouble.
Chrish Vindhy provides good-size, colorful, captivating illustrations that bring Oliver's dilemma
and problems to life.
As Oliver searches for happiness, he slowly comes to realize its elusive nature and why he should
feel gratitude for who he
is and the creature comforts of his life.
Parents who choose Oliver and the Wishing Star as a read-aloud for the very young will find it a
detailed story that holds an
exciting adventure, a fantasy encounter, and a lesson.
The humor wound into this tale of a dog's life adds fun moments into a quasi-serious inspection
of what it takes to recognize
the good aspects of one's reality.
Dog-loving picture book readers are in for a treat.
Death Rules the Night
Rosemary and Larry Mild
Magic Island Literary Works
Death Rules the Night will appeal to mystery readers who hold special affection for bookstores
and detective stories. It tells
of truck driver Tom Dwyer, whose life is derailed when fellow driver trainee Frank and he flee a
hit-and-run accident that
threatens their careers.
Readers who anticipate a fairly straightforward progression of events from here should be
advised that Death Rules the
Night chooses no easy or predictable paths. A myriad of characters are introduced, whose lives
and choices feed into the
Vintage bookstore owners Dan and Rivka Sherman pursue the mystery of a vanished book of
Atkins family history, only to
find it likely contains clues to a crime so insidious that the perp has taken pains to confiscate
every known copy of the
As members of the Atkins family are introduced and people go missing, the mystery strengthens
and only makes Dan more
determined to get at the heart of the events that shake their community.
The Mystery Writers' Critique Group is also a big part of the community's process of
problem-solving. They are an active
membership whose approaches add experienced eyes that consider both mystery writing and
town events: "Whenever
attrition took its toll on membership, other writers, some seasoned authors, some wannabes,
stepped in to take their place.
Each left an inkling of their skills and wisdom at the long table and the others benefited. Each
meeting brought story parts
and bits to be read and criticism in the form of kindness to be dispensed, so that learning for all
The blend of literary review and community inspection added to the growing mystery's
components will delight mystery
fans who like their stories multifaceted and unpredictable.
Rosemary and Larry Mild take the time to craft and intersect the lives of a number of individuals.
Those who anticipate a
more singular focus and coverage may at first find this broad cast of characters daunting, but as
they all contribute to a
bigger picture of intrigue, the story assumes a life that a more casual interplay of a few characters
could not have
Dialogue, too, is compelling and realistic: "Dan!" scolded Rivka, "I told you this blasted
manuscript business was going to
end up being dangerous - trouble we could have avoided. And now look what you've done. It
involves poor Ivy, who
shouldn't have to worry about anything like this. After all, she's getting married next week."
"Hey, I know. There's no way I
could have predicted the sneaky little bastard would take things this far. All I wanted was an
explanation of why those books
disappeared. I'm sorry."
Death Rules the Night's lively inspections of death, marriage, threats, and redemption makes it a
recommended for mystery genre readers who like their stories realistic, engaging, and full of
surprises as they move into the
big secret Muddy Akins is determined to keep against all odds and prying town eyes...at any
The Jayhawker Cleveland
Anamcara Press LLC
9781941237786, $28.99 Hardcover, $19.99 Paper, $9.99 Kindle
Young adults who enjoy historical stories set in 1800s America will find The Jayhawker
Cleveland: Phantom Horseman of
the Prairie holds all the elements of a compelling tale. It's based on newspaper reports of a
notorious 1860s figure who
liberated slaves and horses alike during the Kansas Missouri Border War.
Contrasts between the Free State of Kansas and the slave milieu of neighboring Missouri come to
life in a saga that follows
The Jayhawker (a.k.a. Charles Metz) as he assumes various personas and names and fosters
causes in an era ruled by
sickness and social clashes alike.
A stint in prison changes Metz's feelings about slavery, and his evolving new perspective comes
to life: "Slaves are
property," said Metz, "according to Missouri law. Like horses or wagons, and we have that
pro-slaver Buchanan as president
who uses the Army to enforce that law." "When I get out in a year or so," said Moore, "I plan to
break that law. I'll head to
Kansas and join the fight. We're little more than slaves in here, painting the prison walls or hired
out to work for farmers
across the river." "At least you have a date to look forward to for your freedom," said Metz.
"Slaves have no future to look
forward to. I didn't have much of an opinion, one way or another about the slavery question, but
now that I am looking at
three years behind bars I can better imagine their plight."
Young adults who follow this shifting perspective absorb not only the history and biography of
this figure and his times, but
the political participants in the process of a transformation that changed hearts and minds: "We're
going to Missouri. We've
all had enough of the slavers and border ruffians coming over here and terrifying peaceful
settlers." Men cheered. Some
waved pistols or big knives in the air as Jennison continued. "I, Charles Jennison, commissioned
by Governor Robinson as
Lieutenant Colonel, say that we do not care about your past political opinions. No man will be
persecuted because he differs
from us, but now, neutrality is ended. If you are patriots, you must fight. If you are traitors, you
will be punished. The time
for fighting has come. Every man who feeds, harbors, protects, or in any way gives aid and
comfort to the enemies of the
Union will be held responsible for his treason, with his life and property."
The story unfolds with much drama and historical information, but involves young people in
issues ranging from political
and legal decision-making to the story of how one man's versatility and changing presence
influenced the outcome of
slavery and freedom in two states.
The author's concluding notes provides exceptional insights into why he chose his subject, how
he researched events, and
the challenges of pursuing facts based on newspaper reports alone ("Hours of searching might
produce a single paragraph, or
nothing at all.").
While the result will educate and intrigue young readers of American history, it also provides
discussion material and food
for thought as it follows this vivid personality through his last ride.
The Cleveland legend comes to life under David Hann's hand. It is highly recommended reading
for all ages...anyone that
looks for research-based fiction on early legal, political, and social issues in 1800s America.
9781732083332 $9.99 pbk / $2.99 Kindle
Final Chance is the third book completing the Final trilogy, and is highly recommended for
thriller readers - especially fans
of the prior books which set the stage for this powerful conclusion.
The story opens with U.S. President Bo Sanders relaxing in Camp David under a protective
forested dome that protects
residents from the harsh environment outside. Under his leadership, the U.S. has fostered a
doming project to stave off
human extinction as the climate changed, and terrorists have been sent to prison, making the
world a safer place.
Or, is it?
In short order, disaster strikes.
Leaving this futuristic setting, the story moves forty-six years back in time to 2020, where
polarizing politics and disasters
set the stage for what is to come.
The technique of presenting a disaster, then immediately moving away to set its roots may stymie
those who want a linear
production, but it succeeds in capturing reader interest from the start, then creating a backdrop of
which future events evolve.
As a series of pandemics and concurrent environmental challenges emerge, readers will find this
arena all too recognizable.
It's the perfect place for better understanding the events which stem from these conflicts, making
Final Chance a prophetic
thriller in more ways than one.
Operating within this milieu of the turbulent 2020s is scientist Vijay Patel, whose work and
character received center
attention in Van Fleisher's previous stories.
In the past, Vijay, his business partner Alek, and their company VitalTech's brainchild (a watch
that can predict the wearer's
death date) morph to new levels as the device is fine-tuned to detect Coronavirus and becomes a
key instrument in the battle
against the always-evolving plagues.
Even though Vijay is out of the picture, his legacy lives on. The decisions surrounding the use of
technology to mitigate
environmental and politics issues in this futuristic society offers not just last chances, but final
changes for the survival of
From investigations of political irregularities and threats to the pursuit of a deadly traitor who is
far too close to the trusted
offices that hold the fate of many in its hands, Fleisher excels in building a political and social
inspection that feels realistic
and familiar because its foundations lie in present-day experience.
Readers will not only find it easy to delve into the action and intrigue of Final Chance without
benefit of its predecessors,
but will find that its message and impact feel all too familiar.
As Vijay Patel's twenty-six-year-old daughter, Karima, assumes center stage and grapples with
many legacies, the Patel
family remains entwined in a social and political experiment that blends both high technology
and gripping issues facing the
Between the ethics of microchip tracking and murders contemplated when one's death date is
known to the concurrent
threats of climate change, political change, and pandemics, Final Chance embraces many moral
and ethical conundrums as it
surveys crimes, punishments, and new possibilities.
It takes a seasoned hand to incorporate all these questions and considerations into a gripping
suspense story. Van Fleisher
represents that talent.
Readers of Final Chance will find its special mix of familiar past and all-too-frightening future to
be hard to put down.
Seasoned with action and intrigue, these characters face questions modern man grapples with
today, on a level that makes
their choices and consequences anything but predictable.
Bobos Babes Adventures: A Magical Halloween
Karen M. Bobos
Bobos Babes, Ltd.
9781737437574, $17.99 Hardcover, $12.99 Paperback, $3.99 ebook
Bobos Babes Adventures: A Magical Halloween joins others in the Bobos Babes picture book
series, inviting attention from
young readers who enjoy stories of magical, close-knit families.
Halloween is being celebrated in the land of Harmony, and the Babes are all set for a good
As a rollicking rhyme follows the sisters through a world of talking ladybugs, costume
challenges, and transformations that
only Halloween could represent, young readers receive a lively and detailed story that focuses on
fun, laughter, and shared
experiences rather than scary encounters.
Parents, too, will find the rhyme and sisters' interactions lend to read-aloud enjoyment that offers
a different take on
As spells bring enjoyment and fun into their celebrations, all ages will relish the colorful,
whimsical drawings by Jazinel
Libranda that bring the lively sisters and their Halloween encounters to life.
Once again, the Bobos Babes feature fun-loving, sassy, joyful, and magical girls who embrace
each other and new
experiences as they enjoy an especially surprising holiday celebration that exceeds their
Adults who want to impart a sense of togetherness and shared fun beyond the usual focus on
Halloween horror will
welcome the opportunity to present youngsters with a more positive survey of Halloween's
possibilities for enjoyment and
Bobos Babes Adventures: A Magical Halloween is a delightful adventure that will keep kids (and
their read-aloud parents)
Ghoul n' the Cape
Josh Malerman's special brand of horror is evident in past writings which have embraced a wide
range of themes, from the
Netflix-adapted futuristic story of plague and monsters that is Bird Box to the specter of an
occupied house in a lake.
This attention to unexpected, gripping descriptions continues in Ghoul n' the Cape, a horror tale
that, like Bird Box, is
difficult to categorize and impossible to predict.
The stories of a disparate group of characters whose lives intersect in the arena of the unexpected
create a roller coaster of a
novel which resides somewhere in the outer limits of horror, social and philosophical inspection,
ghost story, and
inspections of possible and impossible worlds.
More literary than the usual horror novel, more philosophical than the typical social inspection
piece, and driven by Ghoul's
insane romp across America that leads far from any type of home one can imagine, Ghoul n' the
Cape is a work not for the
faint of heart or entertainment-oriented reader alone.
Its observers aren't just adults; but teens who (as in Ray Bradbury's classic Something Wicked
This Way Comes) fall into a
carnival of myth and imagination that transforms everyday perception: "The shadows just
wouldn't go away. Like he was
wearing a cowboy hat. Like the brim of an invisible hat hid what they wanted to see and kept him
hidden from a world
which could not observe him fully in return. "Sheesh," the boy said. The mood had fallen off. Not
so funny anymore. Truth
was, the guy was a little scary. Rode as erect as a flag pole, gripped the reins like a racecar driver,
egged the horse on with
dirty boots. "More coffee?' the waitress asked. Her voice, sudden as it was, scared the
couple-to-be, but neither took their
eyes off the rider. And they didn't respond, either. They only stared. As dust rose around the
hooves of the stoic beast, as the
shadows increased, pooling upon the man's features just as he came level with the diner, so close
to them both behind the
Many of the devices of Bird Box and Malerman's previous writings return to haunt readers with
considerations of sight,
perception, and different interpretations of reality. As the Cape and Ghoul make their
cross-country journey, each explores
the limits of their transformations, abilities, and interactions with the world: "The Cape knew he
couldn't Sway the trooper,
not from this distance, and certainly not with the mind alone. He had a way with words, maybe.
Often, he didn't even think
he had that. What he really had was a personality people seemed to believe. Some called it
calming, though the Cape rarely
felt calm himself. Recently he'd felt quite the opposite. Fleeing his post was not an easy thing to
do and required a brazen
bravery heretofore unknown to himself."
As Ghoul and the Cape make their way across America, witches, ghouls, and journeys
Malerman's unique descriptive abilities lend sharp angles into the story, which are delightfully
creative and unexpected: "He
looked back, once, and wished he hadn't. The thing was in the left eye again, licking what looked
like the edge of a knife, a
bright knife, so bright that, when Marcel turned back toward deck, he couldn't see properly,
couldn't see much at all, didn't
even know that he'd crossed the threshold, had left the statue's head, and had joined the pilgrim in
the abyss of a cruel and
Ghoul n' the Cape offers a thought-provoking story that crosses the threshold of imagination and
surreal life. It will demand
of its readers a slow reading and attention to detail because, like a cake that visually appears one
way yet tastes quite
different, its ability to melt in the mouth depends on its reader's ability to take things slow.
The blend of literary, horror, and philosophical inspection is exquisite, making Ghoul n' the Cape
a top recommendation that
defies neat categorization or quick interpretation.
Much like Bird Box, it's a specialty read that will attract a wide audience of intellectual readers
who look for extraordinary,
thought-provoking stories that live outside the box.
Badges of Honor
John M. Hinck, PhD, compiler
Badges of Honor: Stories of the Head, Heart, and Hand is compiled by an Assistant Professor of
Leadership for the USAF's
Air University, and gathers examples of leaders, decision-making processes, and how to cultivate
strength and honor during
the process. It should be given to any aspiring leader in any discipline, as it presents powerful
examples of fellow leaders
who cultivated not just a process, but a perspective about what highly effective leadership
The collection begins with the note that these contributors write their own chapters and
reflections. This diverse set of
experiences and voices adds to a survey that takes no singular route in explaining and exploring
examples of leadership, but
follows the process of how these individuals rose under and overcame different circumstances to
stand out from the
The book is constructed so that readers can begin anywhere within it, to receive snippets of
wisdom. This gives even the
busiest reader or shortest attention span an accessible gathering of influential writings.
Badges of Honor opens, appropriately, by reinforcing the notion that the reader, too, can write
about their own leadership
experience and inspiration, presenting a reinforcing discussion by Martha J. Sasnett, "Everyone
Has A Story." When Martha
took command of 42d Force Support Squadron in January 2015, she admitted she had her work
cut out for her.
How she met these challenges and cultivated a special brand of leadership with a squadron
already demoralized and
suspicious of any senior leader makes for eye-opening insights into the process of fostering
shared objectives even when a
group seemingly eschews guidance.
Issues of guidance and decision-making undergo inspection in a very different way in "God
Plants a Garden" by Demetrius
N. Booth, who explores family and religious connections, and the challenge of loving without
condition and despite all
Each story comes from a very different world. Each shines with examples of honor, value,
struggle, and achievement, and
each provides another light that points out the various ways in which true leadership is cultivated.
Leadership rests on not
only a solid game plan, but thoughtful, flexible approaches to life and others.
The inclusion of experiences from all walks of life and between disparate people proves that
leaders need not be associated
with business or military circles alone, nor even come from a shared foundation of educational
Leaders emerge from the hearts and minds of thoughtful, responsive, savvy individuals. And, as
the book encourages, the
reader can be one of them.
That's why it's important that Badges of Honor not be limited to military, business, or self-help
shelves alone, but should
appear as a choice for discussion groups or anyone strong in understanding how honor and
leadership are built, and how
they walk hand in hand to lead self and others to better lives and understanding.
Misplaced Your Body?
J Ward Anderson
9781956867039, $2.99 ebook
When Jane Roberts channeled the spiritual entity Seth in her metaphysical inspections, she
operated entirely in the
nonfiction realm as Seth imparted philosophical and spiritual insights about the meaning of life,
death, and afterlives.
Misplaced Your Body? No Problem, Replacements Are Free adopts a different tactic in
presenting a novella that comes
from an intriguing premise: that the spirit Mr. Samoa Jens is collaborating with J Ward Anderson
to produce a "recording of
many of my observations and philosophical ponderings gathered during my lives on Earth."
A wry sense of humor about the process evolves as Anderson mentions that "A change of font
seemed to be the best way to
distinguish my experiences from Mr. Jen's slightly condescending, occasionally long-winded
philosophical meanderings on
a wide range of subjects, all of which, surprisingly, directly relate to our bodily existence on this
During this discourse, the observations and interactions between both entities assume a higher
level of witty satirical
inspection that will especially delight fiction readers who look for a high degree of fun in their
stories. This interactive
pushme/pulley of literary allusion offers amusing insights that belay a potential for serious
contemplation alone, running wit
and wisdom alongside one another for maximum effect: "Before we explore my history with
words, I'd like to say that the
above blunt, rude comments from Mr. Jens could be skating the edge of what one might consider
to be 'an amiable manner'
mentioned in the prior chapter. If not, then be prepared. He can be difficult to predict."
It's unusual to see this blend of serious inspection and witty supportive responses, much less in
the format of fiction.
Anderson's ability to bring to life and make accessible Mr. Jens's reflections on the nature of the
universe, awareness, and
alien encounters alongside a myriad of related subjects will appeal to a wide audience interested
in a different form of
literary inspection that takes the form of a dialogue between two entities.
It should be noted that, in addition to a sense of humor and appreciation for literary and
philosophical reflection, readers
need to harbor few present notions of propriety or religious certainty. These audiences may find
offensive some of the
light-hearted representations of human history: "At first glance, you might envision Ms. Karma
as always being there,
forever watching over your shoulder, taking turns with Mr. Conscience to somehow keep humans
on the right side of HIS
'best practices' decrees about fornication, theft, and the like. You know, those Ten
Commandment thingies Moses was all in
a tizzy about, because, as he tells it, those lousy Pharaoh turds had no compunctions whatsoever
when it came to the
Pharaoh's Jewish property: killin', rapin' and doing all sorts of vile and nasty things to Mo's folks.
This pissed old Mo off,
and rightly so. As such, he got in a pow-wow with the Big Chief upstairs and they cooked up
these ten rules. And from then
on earth was a dull (but more civilized) place."
Those who look for unique inspections into the "mountains the truths" that challenge both the
mind and its ability to adapt
to alternate visions of spiritual beings and religious exercises will find absolutely delightful the
reflections in Misplaced
It deserves a spot in any collection where satire - and social inspection - intersect with spiritual
Timothy S. Johnston
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Ltd.
Fatal Depth: The Rise of Oceania is nautical thriller cli-fi reading at its best, and joins two others
in navigating a flooded,
collapsed world in the 2100s in which political clashes take place at sea.
In 2128, over ten million now populate the ocean floor in twenty-nine cities. The struggle for
independence against the
United States and tensions with China foster an environment of war and conflict fostered by new
technology and alliances
Set in 2130 AD, Fatal Depth details this ongoing struggle. It opens with an alarm that alerts
Cathy Lentz (of the United States Submarine Fleet) of a threatening presence just off the shores
of the eastern United States
For three years, she's monitored the screens for incoming subs in Norfolk, Virginia while longing
to be back under the water
in a sub. Now the impossible is happening, bringing with it a tsunami of physical and mental
proportions as everything she
knows about sub technology is turned on end.
The new warship is a game-changer. It challenges not only the U.S. but Truman McClusky,
Mayor of Trieste City, located
underwater off Florida's coast, to embark on a new form of espionage and defense, as a
Military sci-fi readers who enjoy tense action from the start, strong characters who react to and
analyze their environments,
and portraits of determined captains on all sides of the rising crisis will appreciate Timothy S.
Johnston's attention to
nonstop action and detail.
He explores the motivations, perceptions, and political and social climates of all sides and the
major characters who drive
this story: "Captain Ivan Arkady Ventinov stood on the bridge of his warsub, the largest ever put
to sea in the oceans - on
the surface or below - and felt enormous pride surge through his body. His entire history had led
him to this point in his
career. Born to government officials, raised in Moscow and socialized around aristocrats and
politicians his entire life, he
had had a meteoric rise in the Russian Submarine Fleet."
These details weave nicely into an unpredictable plot filled with social and political twists and
turns as the survivors of a
changing environment once again find their lives at risk.
It's also strengthened by the change from a third-person introduction of disaster to first-person
reactions and experiences that
neatly set the stage for both overall insights and personal "you are there" action: "Hopefully we'd
be adding enough mass to
the pile so that when the reaction really started to go critical, there would be enough uranium in
the molten corium to cause
an impressive meltdown. China Syndrome. Only this one would go up."
Another big plus is that the action is laced with emotional responses, which brings the setting and
situations to life: "The
thrum of the sound pulses echoed through the hull. Johnny, my best friend and former partner in
Trieste City Intelligence,
was sitting in the co-pilot chair to my right, and he glanced at me. "It still doesn't feel safe," he
"You know it works." "It's new on this ship." I grunted. He was right. But the sound pulses that
were radiating out from the
blunt bow of SC-1 were sending compression waves away from the sub, and we powered into the
lower pressure tunnel that
Exquisite in its combination of futuristic vision, military maneuvering on all sides, conundrums
facing survivors who keep
encountering new situations, and political struggles that affect all communities above and below
the tides of change, Fatal
Depth: The Rise of Oceania is both a powerful addition to the series and a fine stand-alone read
accessible to newcomers
who may not have prior experience with this setting. Maps, a timeline, and succinct description
paint all the background
necessary to thoroughly enjoy this thriller, which should be on the shelves of any library strong in
nautical cli-fi or science
fiction powered by political and military clashes.
Joseph T. Humphrey
Pen Publishing, L.L.C.
9781955729024, $5.99 ebook
As his thoughts drift in a classroom, Henry hears screaming. It's coming from outside. It's a
terrible sound the teacher also
hears, but nobody is in the corridors when he checks. It's a sound he tries to forget, because after
all, he's only seventeen,
and "...the scream was somebody else's concern. He'd spent a long time steeling himself against
the craziness of high school
life and didn't need this."
When he's dragged out of his complacency and forced outside his comfort zone, only his friend
Charley, a girl who struggles
with her own past trauma, is beside him to help.
Henry is already struggling ("The emotional yanking was paralyzing. He was being drawn and
quartered by all the sudden
claims on his life."), but the screaming girl brings with her a different reality filled with
dangerous creatures and even more
puzzles than he faces from his regular life.
Joseph T. Humphrey shifts the point of view from Henry's world to Charley's perceptions,
moving the story along in a fast
but understandable series of events that challenge them both in new ways.
Charley's drive to flee into solitude, to get away from these creates and everything else, mirrors
Henry's preoccupations, but
in a different manner. This satisfying contrast between personas, perceptions, and objectives
creates a fine adventure as the
truth about Henry's parents, their flight, and their choices come to light.
The Nekura are not only after Henry and his family: their powers will change the world, and only
the broken Henry and
Charley may stand in the way of disaster. Another threat arises as Charley realizes her parents
may already know of the
creatures and have a vested interest in this battle.
Although the age of the characters will mean much of the audience for Branded will be young
adult, this blend of fantasy
and supernatural thriller will also reach into adult circles with action and inspections that are
unexpected and descriptive:
"The grumbling volcano shook. Small rocks vibrated loose and fell into crevices in the ground.
Charley had a hard time
maintaining her footing on the crumbling surface beneath her. The heat was becoming
From beasts such as the gladiatorial Bludgeon that can call forth volcanoes to the onus on Henry
to be something he is not
(brave and bold) in order to save Charley and his world, Humphrey crafts an excellent,
fast-moving thriller that forges new
paths in the realm of supernatural fantasy thrillers, melding three genres into an inspection that is
vividly presented and
filled with satisfying twists and turns.
YA fantasy readers seeking nonstop action and the twists and questions of a thriller, as well as
many an adult seeking a
compelling crossover read, will find Branded hard to put down from beginning to end. It's a
highly recommended pick for
young adult into adult fantasy and thriller readers alike.
Life After Lockdown
Edited by Carol Burmeister, Rene DeLoss, Ruth Prystash, and Rebecca Silva
9781956110036, $19.95 Paper/$9.99 ebook
Life After Lockdown: Resetting Perceptions of Autism not only stands out from the surge of
Covid-subject books on the
market today, but promises to remain in that position in the future. This is because its focus -
covering the psychological
impact of Covid's quarantine on those on the autism spectrum - finally gives voice to the
experiences and perceptions of
those already struggling with sensory integration dysfunction.
Life After Lockdown is recommended for teachers of children with disabilities, caregivers, and
parents alike. It takes a
post-pandemic approach to re-integrating kids on the spectrum into daily revised lives,
addressing a myriad of concerns
specific to this group such as anxiety, social challenges, reconnecting school and home life in a
environment, and being adults on the spectrum in the new age of Covid.
As chapters reveal the reboot experience, they cover coping methods and special concerns from
the eyes of educators, those
on the spectrum, and community members alike.
The pandemic has added new levels of unpredictability, uncertainty, anxiety, and fear to all lives;
but those on the spectrum
face special challenges that are outlined in this book. These concerns are addressed by 40
well-known professionals and
individuals with ASD who are in the perfect position to enlighten readers about these issues.
It's hard to neatly peg the wide-ranging value of Life After Lockdown. If readers turn to it as a
self-help guide, it does fit that
category. If those outside the spectrum consult it for guidelines to rebuilding skills lost during the
pandemic, it also fits that
bill. But, most of all, it's the diversity of the shared experiences about pandemic living for this
specific group that rounds out
the advice and gives this book a personal edge that can't be beat.
Lives already shaped by autism were further touched by the pandemic in different ways, and in
ways different from those
not on the spectrum. Their experiences deserve a voice...and receive one in Life After Lockdown:
"We older autistic adults
need to recognize our age AND our autism. We need to be gentle with ourselves, especially with
a major undertaking like
re-emerging after a pandemic."
Especially notable are the conclusions to each contribution which outline the contributions
concerns and excitement about
life after lockdown. In the above narrative, Wilma contributes: "As we enter life after lockdown,
I am most concerned about
. . .remembering how to interact with people in person. As we enter life after lockdown, I am
most excited about . . .being
able to walk around anywhere and celebrate our beautiful world."
It's hard to be passionate, inspirational, and practical all at once, but Life After Lockdown's
attention to capturing a range of
experiences and advice from those on the spectrum who have and are coping with lockdown
illustrates these qualities in a
way that will educate, enlighten, and delight a broad audience.
It should be in every collection strong in psychology, ASD issues, or the social and community
impact of Covid.
Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services
Gary Roen's Bookshelf
c/o Penguin Random House
9780593355992, $17.00 pbk, $11.99
"Nanny Needed" is a complicated narrative that is much more than a good suspense novel. The
saying "If it seems too good
to be true, then it probably is, is definitely true with "Nanny Needed. Sarah Larsen and her
finance who both wait table in
the same restaurant, are struggling to make ends meet. The nanny add she answers appears, to be
the perfect fit to solve all
of their financial woes. "Nanny Needed" races along with tight writing, believable characters of a
family grieving the death
of a loved one.
L. Ron Hubbard Writers Of The Future Volume 37
Edited by David Farland
9781619867017, $15.95 pbk, $9.99 Kindle
The 37th Volume of "Writers Of The Future" continues the trend setting series with new
wonderful stories and art by
capable newcomers on their way to bigger and better things. Like other installments there are
several tales or commentaries
by established authors Orson Scott Card and John M. Campbell, Jody Lynn Nye, as well as
Hubbard himself. The yarns and
art here, from some of the newest crop of genre writers who can only go up in their careers.
"Writers of the Future"
maintains an open door for emerging talent into the field of science fiction fantasy that has
contributed more talent than any
other source to the genre.
9780999439821, $9.9 pbk $0.00 Kindle
"Safe Harbor" tells the story of what was taking place in Nazi Germany as Hitler's regime began
its assault on the country
and the rest of the world. It also is a love story of the characters of Eric and Nessa. Perfect
substance for a great story but
there are several things that detract from the enjoyment of the narrative. Often there are situations
placed with no real
bearing on the course of the yarn, too many of the character's name similarity that creates
confusion as well as cover and
title should be a hint to the reader of what lays in store. Both imply this is a book dealing with
something at sea when really,
it's something completely different. The formatting is difficult at times throughout the work. Still
"Safe Harbor" shows the
destruction of one nation and the effect on its people as well is a cautionary tale for us to learn
The Mistress of Illusions
c/o Penguin Random House
9780756413880, $9.99 pbk/$8.99 Kindle
Mike Resnick was for so long one of the top writers in the science fiction genre. "The Mistress of
Illusions" is the second
beautifully written tale of the "Dreamscape Trilogy" that confirms why his works were so
popular. Often when an author
dies their last writings disappoint. "The Mistress of Illusions" is a joyful further excursion into
the worlds begun in "The
Master of Dreams" that is Resnick at the top of his game. "The Mistress of Illusions" is exquisite
prose for any fantasy, or
science fan to devour
Create Space Independent Publishing
9781499662719, $9.95 pbk/$0.00 Kindle
"No Good" reveals a more southern tone of the city of Sanford Florida back in the 1940's.
12-year-old Johnny "No Good"
learns he has an adopted brother. Grudgingly, he does what he has to for his parent's benefit, but
is not so accepting until a
bit later. when certain things are revealed of who the male really is. Filling the complicated plot
are a murderer at large and
racism that abounds a laid-back society. "No Good" races along with fast paced prose,
memorable well fleshed out
characters set against the backdrop of a small town that is reminiscent of Mark Twain.
The Origin of Names, Words and Everything in Between Volume II
9781642506815, $15.95 pbk/$9.99 Kindle
Every so often people talk about where things come from, at different types of events. Patrick
Foote takes readers on an
excursion to learn the origins of different words. We find they come from diverse cultures all
across the universe for so
many centuries. There are also many divergent religious connotations that have been obscure
until now." The Origin of
Names, Words and Everything in Between" is perfect reading for anyone who loves to
accumulate their trivia
Becoming EVE my journey from ultra-orthodox rabbi to transgender woman
Abby Chava Stein
c/o Hachette Book Group
9781580059169, $28.00 HC $4.99 Kindle
I saw the author in an interview and wanted to know more about her remarkable story detailed in
"Becoming Eve" The
beginning is that Abby started out life as a boy in an orthodox Jewish family destined to be a
rabbi, but there were several
things Abby could not accept choosing to challenge many established practices including the
changing from a male to
female. "Becoming Eve" reveals a lot of secrets of the orthodox wing of Judaism while also an
enlightening passage of one
person's journey to a fulfilling life regardless of what other people think.
Almost Ticked Off A Survival Story A Love Story A Memoir
Mountain Brother Press
9781733966504, $15.95 HC/ $0.00 Kindle
We believe we have the best health care of any nation in the world. What if medical
professionals are stumped on a cause
for a person's illness. That scenario is presented overwhelmingly well in "Almost Ticked Off"
where the authors husband
was the patient whose health abruptly plummeted requiring transport to the nearest hospital. For
a period of time and many
different situations he somehow was able to hold on as many in the field of medicine theorized
the cause of his afflictions.
"Almost Ticked Off" is a powerful statement of love, faith and a medical field of professionals
racing to find the cause of
one person's hospital journey.
King of Ragtime The Story of Scott Joplin
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster
9781534410367, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle
We have heard the music of Scott Joplin, but what have we ever know about the man
synonymous with the Ragtime form of
music. Stephen Costanza sheds new light on the famous composer Scott Joplin, how as a boy he
dreamed of making music,
some of the influences that spawned him to continue on his journey to become one of the most
famous names in music. But
"King of Ragtime "also details how, being black affected the way people treated him even though
his music was so well
accepted. "King of Ragtime The Story of Scott Joplin" is a multi-layered expose of some to the
best and worst things about
the United States for all of us to learn from
Nabela Noor, author
Nabi H. Ali, illustrator
Simon & Schuster
9781534485877, $17.99 HC / $10.99 Kindle
So often we have seen for so many years that we have to look, act, and be a certain type of
person. "Beautifully Me" takes a
different position to let kids know be happy with yourself no matter what you look like, your size
and know you can be
anything you want to be. Through the character of Zubi who worries about herself until she does
a lot of soul searching to
realize that people will just have to accept her as she is. "Beautifully Me" is a simple approach
that has so much more to
teach all of us to be comfortable with the person we are.
Helen Dumont's Bookshelf
Accidental Grace: Selected Poems & Prose
9781928755548, $17.95, PB, 96pp
Synopsis: In lovely little volume of poetry and prose that is ably translated into English by
Andrea Lingenfelter, Ann
Slayton's "Accidental Grace" takes on wide-ranging subjects, sometimes imagining herself into
an array of voices (rarely
does she write in first-person) among them, the historical Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), "We
Have from the First Been
Singers," Hester Prynne's young daughter Pearl, "The Spell," even Henry Moore's great sculpture,
"Reclining Figures at
In "Western Primitive," frontier photographer Ben Wittick poses Geronimo, Chief Strange Horse,
and Calamity Jane in his
studio: "'Calamity,' he says, 'I don't know what Wild Bill / sees in you. I hear they call you / the
White Devil of the
Yellowstone. / Now show me what the damned creature looks like. / And hold it.'"
With a bold clarity, the tone of these poems is characterized by a precision of detail and cadenced
rhythms as they move
between meditative explorations and social satire in works such as "Nothing Again Is
Happening," "Partly Mozart, Mostly
Turkey Club," and "Everyone Was a Real One but Gertrude:" "Alice and I sat in the shadows / of
the salon drinking tea /
and talking hats with Fernande / while from the hive that Gertrude / made with Ernest and Pablo
and / a heap of Persian
Critique: A consummate wordsmith, Ann Slayton's verse is eloquent, resonant, and memorable.
"Accidental Grace: Selected
Poems & Prose" is an inherently interesting volume that is especially and unreservedly
recommended for personal,
professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary Poetry collections.
Editorial Note: Ann Slayton is the author of two chapbooks, The Music Beginning Here and
Catching the Light. She has
been engaged in writing and editing in her public affairs work at the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services and in
community arts projects. One of the founders of the Washington Women's Arts Center, she
organized and presented
exhibitions, workshops, discussions, and readings. Her poems and essays have been published in
among them, Ms Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Washington Review, and in
The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul
Park Street Press
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781644113400, $19.99, PB, 416pp
Synopsis: "The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul" by Connie Zweig is a DIY
instrucitonal guide and manual
for working through the inner obstacles of late life and embracing the spiritual gifts of aging.
"The Inner Work of Age" offers shadow-work and many diverse spiritual practices to help you
break through denial to
awareness, move from self-rejection to self-acceptance, repair the past to be fully present, and
allow mortality to be a
teacher. It also reveals how to use inner work to uncover and explore the unconscious denial and
resistance that erupts
around key thresholds of later life.
"The Inner Work of Age" features personal interviews with prominent Elders, including Ken
Wilber, Krishna Das, Fr.
Thomas Keating, Anna Douglas, James Hollis, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Ashton Applewhite, Roshi
Wendy Nakao, Roger
Walsh, and Stanislav Grof.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Inner Work of Age: Shifting
from Role to Soul" by
Connie Zweig is an inherently interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from cover to
cover. Thoroughly 'reader
friendly' in tone and commentary style, "The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul" is
especially and unreservedly
recommended for community, college, university, and senior citizen center library collections. It
should be noted for
personal reading lists that "The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul" is also readily
available in a digital book
format (Kindle, $13.99).
Editorial Note: Connie Zweig, Ph.D., is a retired psychotherapist, former executive editor at
Jeremy P. Tarcher Publishing,
former columnist for Esquire magazine, and contributor to the LA Times. Known as the Shadow
Expert, she is also the
coauthor of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow and author of Meeting the Shadow
of Spirituality, as well as a
novel, A Moth to the Flame: The Life of the Sufi Poet Rumi.
Workman Publishing Company
225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014-4381
The Workman Publishing Company has produced two table top jigsaw puzzles.
"Where the Crawdads Sing 1000-Piece Puzzle" (9781523515158, $19.95) is based on the Delia
Owens novel "Where the
Crawdads Sing". Now immerse her fans can go even further into the breathtakingly beautiful
world of "Where the Crawdads
Sing" including the waterways, the wetlands, the birds and animals, and the light, and that
amazing light as they, piece by
piece, and image by image, recreate this magical corner of North Carolina's Outer Banks that the
Marsh Girl calls home.
"Where the Crawdads Sing 1000-Piece Puzzle" comes with: 1,000 interlocking pieces; A
Mini-poster (9 3/8" 6 3/4 ") for
reference or framing. The completed puzzle size is 26 3/8" x 18 7/8".
"Book Nerd 1,000-Piece Puzzle" (9781523515127, $19.95) is a jigsaw puzzle just for book
lovers! You know you're a book
nerd because you never once thought the movie was better. Your favorite mug says "I'd rather be
reading." You have a
minimum of five books on your nightstand, and your favorite activity is browsing the shelves of
your local bookstore -- a
joy you can now relish, piece by piece, in this love letter of a puzzle to your personal passion.
"Book Nerd 1,000-Piece
Puzzle" comes with: 1,000 interlocking pieces; A Mini-poster (9 3 8" 63 4") for reference or
framing. The completed
puzzle size is 26 3 8" 18 7 8".
Both of these two new puzzles are a jigsaw puzzle player's sheer delight and highly
recommended for personal, family, and
community library recreational collections.
John Taylor's Bookshelf
Emerson's Nature and the Artists
9783791378695, $25.00, HC, 144pp
Synopsis: Widely considered to be the foundational text of the American landscape tradition,
Ralph Waldo Emerson's
Nature urges Americans to value and immerse themselves in their country's landscape, to build
American culture from
America's nature. Nearly two centuries after the original publication of the essay Nature by
Emerson, "Emerson's Nature and
the Artists: Idea as Landscape, Landscape as Idea" is an impressive and detailed study by critic
and historian Tyler Green
who brings together a selection of artistic works in dialog with Emerson's text for the first
Green also offers his own fascinating take on Nature through new research into how the essay
was informed by Emerson's
experiences of art and, in turn, how it informed American art well into the twentieth century. The
result is a unique melding
of essay, art, and ideas that will draw new readers to Emerson's writings, while also introducing a
fresh perspective on a
critical contribution to the American canon and showing what impact Emerson's text still has for
the US to this day.
Critique: Gorgeously illustrated in full color throughout, and unreservedly recommended as an
essential addition to
community, college, and university library collections, "Emerson's Nature and the Artists: Idea as
Landscape, Landscape as
Idea" by Tyler Green is an inherently fascinating, memorable, thoughtful and thought provoking
read that must be
considered essential reading for all students of Ralph Waldo Emerson's life and works.
Editorial Note: Tyler Green is an historian, art critic and the producer/host of the Modern Art
Notes podcast. His most
recent book is Carleton Watkins: Making the West American, which was awarded the 2019
California Book Awards gold
medal for contribution to publishing.
Mary Cowper's Bookshelf
1328 Greenleaf Street, Evanston, IL 60202
9781572843011, $29.00, HC, 320pp
Synopsis: Sourdough bread is commonly made by the fermentation of dough, using naturally
occurring lactobacillaceae and
yeast. The lactic acid (produced by itself) gives it a more sour taste and improved keeping
Sourdough bread fueled the labor that built the Egyptian pyramids. The Roman Empire
distributed free sourdough loaves to
its citizens to maintain political stability. More recently, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic,
sourdough bread baking became a
global phenomenon as people contended with being confined to their homes and sought
distractions from their fear,
uncertainty, and grief. In "Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from Ancient to
Modern Bakers", environmental
science professor Eric Pallant shows how throughout history, sourdough bread baking has always
been about survival.
"Sourdough Culture" presents the history and rudimentary science of sourdough bread baking
from its discovery more than
six thousand years ago to its still-recent displacement by the innovation of dough-mixing
machines and fast-acting yeast.
Pallant traces the tradition of sourdough across continents, from its origins in the Middle East's
Fertile Crescent to Europe
and then around the world. Pallant also explains how sourdough fed some of history's most
significant figures, such as Plato,
Pliny the Elder, Louis Pasteur, Marie Antoinette, Martin Luther, and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek,
and introduces the
lesser-known (but equally important) individuals who relied on sourdough bread for sustenance:
ancient Roman bakers,
medieval housewives, Gold Rush miners, and the many, many others who have produced daily
sourdough bread in
Each chapter of "Sourdough Culture" is accompanied by a selection from Pallant's own favorite
sourdough bread recipes,
which span millennia and traverse continents, and highlight an array of approaches, traditions,
and methods to sourdough
bread baking. "Sourdough Culture" is a rich, informative, engaging read, especially for bakers --
whether skilled or just
beginners. More importantly, it tells the important and dynamic story of the bread that has fed the
Critique: A model of culinary history, "Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from
Ancient to Modern Bakers" is
an extraordinary study that is as inherently fascinating as it is informed and informative. While
an extraordinary and
unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, family, and community library
collections, it should be noted
for personal reading lists that "Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from Ancient to
Modern Bakers" is also
readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).
Editorial Note: More information on Eric Pallant and his sourdough cultures, including a map of
bakers around the world
using Cripple Creek sourdough, can be found on his website at https://www.ericpallant.com. He
lives in Meadville,
Pennsylvania, with his wife, a cat he did not expect, and three active sourdough starters.
Don't Bring Your Vibrator to Rehab
9780578950044 $12.99 pbk / $8.99 Kindle
Synopsis: Don't Bring Your Vibrator to Rehab is an emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals the
terrifying and lonely
world of addiction. After almost a decade of sobriety, Pam Gaslow relapsed into a life of
dependency on marijuana, which
nearly destroyed her. She recounts a devastating downward spiral that shattered her at forty-five
years old. From bongs to
pipes to flavored vape pens, she drifted and then dove into a two-year-long stoned void: a
protracted journey to nowhere.
Gaslow was the twenty-four-hour defunct addict living without purpose and barely able to
function. And while she was
aware that pot wouldn't kill her, she couldn't feel more dead inside.
At times hilarious and harrowing, Gaslow paints a raw portrait of a woman held hostage by her
substance abuse. Eventually
becoming sick from marijuana toxicity, she finally finds the courage to seek treatment. Her
journey via rehab from an
entirely checked-out, lethargic, hopeless, and suicidally depressed pothead to a sober woman
with clarity and gratitude is
told with honesty, intelligence, wit, and a remarkable degree of self-deprecating humor.
Critique: Don't Bring Your Vibrator to Rehab is the biography of a middle-aged woman's
struggle to rise above dependence
on marijuana. Even though marijuana was unlikely to kill her from a direct overdose, its toxicity
overwhelmed her life in
other ways. Dependence on the drug drained her energy, exacerbated her depression to thoughts
of suicide, and robbed her
of the will to function normally. Her journey to sobriety is recounted with honest candor and
witty, self-critical humor. Don't
Bring Your Vibrator to Rehab is as absorbing as it is insightful, noteworthy in its firsthand
testimony of the harm that
recreational marijuana use can bring, and highly recommended. It should be noted for personal
reading lists that Don't Bring
Your Vibrator to Rehab is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).
Murphys Don't Quit
Morgan James Publishing
9781631955174 $17.95 hc / $8.49 Kindle
Synopsis: Murphys Don't Quit is a story of hope and resilience as one family rallies together
during a tragedy.
Colleen Murphys' daughter, Lauren, suffered severe brain damage after a tragic accident. Lauren
remained in the hospital
unidentified for several hours, she was not expected to survive. This story is a raw, honest
account of the pitfalls and
challenges a family faces while navigating life through brain injury.
Murphys Don't Quit shows how one family combined a never-give-up attitude with faith, hope,
and love. Throughout the
chapters, readers see not just the highs, but the heartbreaking lows. Due to the family's Irish wit,
humor often diffuses the
devastating subject matter. Through the many grueling hours of therapy and by visiting
specialists all over the country,
Lauren was able to find her way back to a life filled with purpose and is now a highly sought
after inspirational public
Critique: Murphys Don't Quit is the inspirational true story of the bonds of family, and the
determination to overcome
hardship. Author Colleen Murphy suffered one of the most devastating terrors a mother can
experience when she learned
that her daughter Lauren had suffered severe brain damage from a terrible accident. At first,
Lauren was not expected to
survive. She pulled through, yet the effects of the brain injury were devastating, and posed a
severe challenge. Murphys
Don't Quit tells of difficult therapy, travel to visit specialists all over the nation, and the pitfalls
as well as the small
successes on the long and difficult road to recovery. Candid and inspirational, Murphys Don't
Quit is an emotionally
uplifting read and highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that
Murphys Don't Quite is also
available in a Kindle edition ($8.49).
The Reluctant Queen
9780578991238 $17.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle
Synopsis: The story of the orphaned Jewish girl who saves the Jewish nation from extinction is
the stuff of fantasy and
Did such a person exist? Could an anonymous girl have been selected to be wife of the ancient
Persian king of kings?
The author of the award-winning I, Claudia and My Name is Saul ancient novels returns with the
story of Esther. Wilder's
skills at blending historical fact with vividly imagined, well-founded characters have become her
trademark. The Reluctant
Queen is guaranteed to captivate both her loyal fans and eager newcomers, right down to its last
Critique: The Reluctant Queen: The Story of Esther is a historical novel based upon the biblical
story of Esther, a Jewish
girl who became the wife of a king, and risked her life to save her people from massacre.
Award-winning author Lin Wilder
brings history to unforgettably vivid life, from the perspective of an intelligent, courageous, and
compassionate woman. The
Reluctant Queen is highly recommended for both personal and public library Historical Fiction
collections. It should be
noted for personal reading lists that The Reluctant Queen is also available in a Kindle edition
Micah Andrew's Bookshelf
Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes
Stephen G. Bloom
University of California Press
155 Grand Avenue, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612-3758
9780520382268, $27.95, HC, 312pp
Synopsis: The day after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968, Jane Elliott, a
schoolteacher in rural Iowa,
introduced to her all-white third-grade class a shocking experiment to demonstrate the scorching
impact of racism. Elliott
separated students into two groups. She instructed the brown-eyed children to heckle and berate
the blue-eyed students, even
to start fights with them. Without telling the children the experiment's purpose, Elliott
demonstrated how easy it was to
create abhorrent racist behavior based on students' eye color, not skin color. As a result, Elliott
would go on to appear on
Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, followed by a stormy White House conference, The Oprah
Winfrey Show, and thousands of
media events and diversity-training sessions worldwide, during which she employed the
provocative experiment to induce
racism. Was the experiment benign? Or was it a cruel, self-serving exercise in sadism? Did it
"Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes: A Cautionary Tale of Race and Brutality " by Stephen G. Bloom is a
meticulously researched book
that details for the first time Jane Elliott's jagged rise to stardom. It is an unflinching assessment
of the incendiary
experiment forever associated with Elliott, even though she was not the first to try it out.
"Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes" offers an intimate portrait of the insular community where Elliott grew
up and conducted the
experiment on the town's children for more than a decade. The searing story is a cautionary tale
that examines power and
privilege in and out of the classroom. It also documents small-town White America's reflex
reaction to the Civil Rights
Movement of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the subsequent meteoric rise of diversity training
that flourishes today.
All the while, "Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes" reveals the struggles that tormented a determined and
righteous woman, today
referred to as the "Mother of Diversity Training," who was driven against all odds to
Critique: Timely and timeless, "Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes: A Cautionary Tale of Race and
Brutality" is a unique, informative,
thoughtful and thought-provoking read that must be considered in this era of the Black Lives
Matter movement and the
increasing successful political movements to suppress the non-white voter, to be a critically
important addition to
community, college, and university library Contemporary Social Issues collections and
supplemental curriculum studies
lists. It should be noted for individual students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with
an interest in the subject
that "Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes: A Cautionary Tale of Race and Brutality" is also readily available
in a digital book format
Editorial Note: The Professor of Journalism at the University of Iowa, Stephen G. Bloom is also
journalist and author of five nonfiction books: The Audacity of Inez Burns, Tears of Mermaids,
The Oxford Project, Inside
the Writer's Mind, and Postville.
Michael Dunford's Bookshelf
A Maya Universe in Stone
Stephen Houston, editor
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9781606067444, $50.00, HC, 192pp
Synopsis: In 1950, Dana Lamb, an explorer of some notoriety, stumbled on a Maya ruin in the
tropical forests of northern
Guatemala. Lamb failed to record the location of the site he called Laxtunich, turning his find
into the mystery at the center
of "A Maya Universe in Stone", edited by Stephen Houston (Dupee Family Professor of Social
Sciences at Brown
The lintels Lamb discovered there, long since looted, are probably of a set with two others that
are among the masterworks
of Maya sculpture from the Classic period. Using fieldwork, physical evidence, and Lamb's
expedition notes, "A Maya
Universe in Stone" identifies a small area with archaeological sites where the carvings were
Remarkably, the vividly colored lintels, replete with dynastic and cosmic information, can be
assigned to a carver, Mayuy,
who sculpted his name on two of them. To an extent nearly unique in ancient America, Mayuy
can be studied over time as
his style developed and his artistic ambition grew. An in-depth analysis of Laxtunich Lintel 1
examines how Mayuy grafted
celestial, seasonal, and divine identities onto a local magnate and his overlord from the kingdom
of Yaxchilan, Mexico.
"A Maya Universe in Stone" contextualizes the lintels and points the way to their reprovenancing
and, as an ultimate aim,
repatriation to Guatemala.
Critique: An impressively informative combination of archeology and art, "A Maya Universe in
Stone" is a critically
important and significant contribution to the study of Pre-Columbian Mayan culture. Comprised
of four major and
illustrated essays and especially recommended for personal, professional, community, college,
and university library
collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, "A Maya Universe in Stone" is further
enhanced with the inclusion of
References, a listing of contributors, a listing of illustration credits, and an index.
Nancy Lorraine's Bookshelf
Own Your Period: A Fact-Filled Guide to Period Positivity
Chella Quint, author
Giovana Medeiros, illustrator
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780711256644, $14.95, PB, 95 pages
"Own Your Period: A Fact-Filled Guide to Period Positivity" is an empowering, educational
book for both people who have
periods and people who don't, because all people began life inside a uterus, and it's right to be
interested in how it all
Menstruation is an important milestone and deserves to be celebrated and planned and prepared
for. Colorful illustrations
represent body parts like the vulva, the ovaries, the uterus the brain and more. Throughout, the
emphasis of "Own Your
Period" is a concept called Period Positivity. This concept teaches that periods are not something
taboo, to be ashamed of, or
to be secretive about. Talking out loud about periods can help reverse and challenge cultural
negativity associated with
periods and menstruation. Attitudes are beginning to change and at some near time, we hope that
menstrual shaming will be
a thing of the past.
In efforts to slay superstition and blast myths, readers are educated and encouraged to talk about
the facts of their period
experiences. Activists have pushed to make menstrual products and advertising "more ethical and
less taboo." Learning how
to talk about periods, navigate periods at school, and become a savvy consumer of period support
products are all part of the
period positivity message.
On pages 88 and 89 there is a 20 part period Positive Pledge. One interesting part is # 3 "Find out
how to use sustainable
menstrual products and aim to cut single-use plastics out of your menstruation management.
Then tell people why you are
In sum, "Own Your Period" is a great introduction to the experience of Period Positivity for
people who menstruate, and for
people who are alive because their mothers menstruated. It is an excellent fact and fun-filled
guide to learning to live with
While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community
library collections for
children ages 9-12, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Own Your Period" is also
readily available in a digital
book format (Kindle, $14.20).
Mango, Mambo, and Murder
Raquel V. Reyes
Crooked Lane Books
34 West 27th Street, Floor 10, New York, NY 10001
9781643857848, $26.99, HC, 325 pages
"Mango, Mambo, and Murder" is a spicy new installment of the Caribbean cozy mystery series
with an Hispanic flavor.
Complete with recipes for Chicken Fricassee Cuban Style, Picadillo de Pavo, and Saint-Tropez
Sangria, this action packed
mystery dazzles eager readers with heroine Miriam Quinones-Smith's exciting forays into
Miami's Coral Shores latest
murder amidst an exciting Caribbean cooking show's debut and dawning success.
Filled with bilingual English/Spanish dialogue and cultural enrichment asides, "Mango, Mambo,
and Murder" explores a
world where a Cuban-Gringo marriage can survive slings and arrows of marital misfortunes and
projects a strong image of a Cuban mother choosing to raise her dual-culture son with knowledge
of both languages and
backgrounds for his heritage, despite strong social pressure from a dominant culture mother in
From the name of a newly adopted cat (Camo) to the delicious recipes for Cuban /Caribbean
cuisine, "Mango, Mambo, and
Murder" entrances, delights, and excites readers to keep turning pages. Kudos to the author of
this fabulous, fun, enticing
new cozy mystery series. Readers will clamor for more installments.
Very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be
noted for personal reading lists
that "Mango, Mambo, and Murder" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle,
Paul Vogel's Bookshelf
The Traits of Powerful People
9781735375823 $14.99 pbk / $7.99 Kindle
Synopsis: Power lifts the mood. It motivates us to take charge and liberates us to be our authentic
selves. It means wealth,
ability, choice, fame, influence, dominance, authority, rank, and prestige. Powerlessness
depresses the mood. It stifles the
self by making it subservient to other people's wills. It is at the core of many social ills - from
poverty to anxiety, workplace
problems to marital discord. The lack of power can damage our health, both mental and physical,
and even shorten our
We all want power, admittedly or not. Power is everywhere, and there is no avoiding the power
game. Even altruism and
morality, which we commonly associate with selflessness and care, are often used to gain an edge
in the pursuit of power.
From the playground to high school and college life to the workplace, people seem to
spontaneously converge on who the
winners and losers of the unspoken popularity contest are. Do humans have an innate ability to
perceive status cues in
themselves and others? If so, what are those cues? Are powerful people biologically different
from the powerless? Are there
inborn traits that confer an advantage in the pursuit of power? Can certain behaviors modulate
our genetic traits to make us
more likely to gain power?
If you have ever yearned to feel more in control of your life, obtain the power to determine your
own fate, and be happier,
healthier, and more productive, Talzoya explains the science behind dominance motivation and
the rules of power play in
our everyday lives. This book is a must-read to understand how power really works, so that you
can live life on your own
terms, get people to do what you want them to do, and have an impact in the world.
Critique: Written in plain terms thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, The Traits
of Powerful People
examines traits that powerful people have, and explores the science behind power, control, and
domination that affects
everyday life. Are the aspects that powerful people share due to inherent biology, or learned
behavior? How can
understanding the dynamics of power be used to improve security, status, and quality of life? The
Traits of Powerful People
is as fascinating as it is insightful, and highly recommended. It should be noted for personal
reading lists that The Traits of
Powerful People is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).
Editor's Note: Talzoya is a nuclear physicist by education and the author of Of Lovers, Lonely
Hearts, and the Psychotic
Spell Called Falling in Love, as well as numerous scientific publications. The Traits of Powerful
People combines the
wisdom of modern science and inspiration from the lives of contemporary and historical masters
of the power game to craft
a compelling theory of how the pursuit of power shapes civilization and defines our lives.
Paul T. Vogel
S.A. Gorden's Bookshelf
In Dog We Trust: A Golden Retriever Mystery
Neil S. Plakcy
B003BVIWYQ, $3.99, 277 pages
In Dog We Trust is a cozy mystery that can be frustrating for the reader. Many of the clues are a
little obvious and the main
protagonist keeps making easily avoidable mistakes. The saving grace of the story is the fun
relationship that grows between
the protagonist and the golden retriever.
Steve has inherited his father's home. He is on parole after being convicted of computer hacking.
With his conviction, he is
having problems earning enough money to live on. He has temporary teaching job at a local
college and is trying to develop
a business plan bidding on editing jobs for clients that are posted on the Internet.
During his regular walks around the neighborhood, he hears shots and sees a black SUV speeding
past. Rochester, his
neighbor's golden retriever, rushes to him and leads him to the body of Caroline, Rochester's
owner. Steve, who is not a dog
person, inherits Rochester and the mystery of who killed Caroline and why?
In Dog We Trust is an easy light cozy read. People who enjoy more detailed mysteries will find
the fun story too simple.
The key to the tale is the slapstick style relationship between Steve and Rochester. Rochester, in
typical dog fashion, is the
real detective in the story with Steve as his sidekick.
A Body On The Beach (The Rejoiner Book 1)
B0872BMLGX, $9.99 ebook, 268 pages
A Body On The Beach is a fun cozy style police procedural mystery. The characters are well
developed and interesting. You
know the characters will be interesting when one of the main protagonists is named Norman
Norman. The pace is well
balanced and the who-done-it mystery is worth waiting to the end to find out.
Detective Sergeant Norman Norman's retirement isn't working out. He made too many waves as
a detective and was pushed
into early retirement. He is asked to come back and help train a group of misfit cops who have
been pushed into a small
Welsh precinct on the coast. Before he can even report for duty, a body is found on the shore and
he and the new DI (who
was also forced to move to the coast) start the investigation. They prod their misfits into a
working investigative team.
A Body On The Beach is a great find for readers who enjoy the procedural mystery. It is an easy
read with twists and fun
characters. It is solid enough to attract readers from other genres. It is an easy recommendation
for anyone who enjoys a
S.A. Gorden, Reviewer
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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