Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Small Press Bookwatch

Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 23, Number 7 July 2024 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Money/Finance Shelf Computer Shelf
Pets Shelf Biography Shelf General Fiction Shelf
Historical Fiction Shelf Literary Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Business Shelf Sports Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Self-Help Shelf  


Reviewer's Choice

When I Stop Fighting
Daryl Dittmer
Independently Published
9798891093454, $22.99, HC, 321pp

https://www.amazon.com/When-Stop-Fighting-Unexpected-Getting/dp/B0CJXGKBR4

Synopsis: To quote the author"Just like water seeks its own level, so does everything else, including idiots. I was one of those at that point in my life."

With the publication of "When I Stop Fighting: The Unexpected Joy of Getting My Head Out of My Ass" by Daryl Dittmer is an eye-opening, honest, unapologetic take on life. It is a personal story about overcoming obstacles, overcoming addictions, and taking risks.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a place in life where we don't want to be. For Daryl, there is no more glamorous way to explain it than, in his own words, 'my head was in my ass'.

Daryl was not living anything close to a productive, happy, fulfilling life. He was digging myself deeper into the quagmire of dysfunction, addiction to drugs and alcohol, hiding, fears, and dishonesty. Especially, dishonesty with himself. A living day to day in a kind of self-imposed prison, Daryl was moving ever closer to an end that would have been devastating.

But when a moment of honesty and clarity shone a flicker of hope and opened his eyes to the potential for a different way of approaching this gift we call life, he started to become aware of what we all crave at one time or another -- To be happy, with peace and contentment, to be financially secure; to be free from his fears; to not feel insecure and exposed; to a different life.

As he explains in "When I Stop Fighting" -- "I can be a victim of myself or a product of the work I do to become a better version of myself."

Having now been completely sober almost four decades, Daryl has uncovered, committed to, and worked very hard on a way of life that keeps on giving, so that he could give to others 'real life' principles for guidance in dealing with the inevitable difficulties and disappointments of life.

In "When I Stop Fighting", Daryl effectively illustrates how every single one of us can stop for a few moments, take a pause, evaluate ourselves, and determine what we want to get out of our time here. A move toward a fulfilling, gratifying, and rewarding place is available for all of us, no matter where we start.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "When I Stop Fighting: The Unexpected Joy of Getting My Head Out of My Ass" is candid, unflinching, fascinating, memorable, and the kind of memoir that is both deeply personal but with a universal resonance. While also available in a paperback edition (9798891092129, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), "When I Stop Fighting" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections, and to anyone with an interest in Alcoholism Recovery, Mid-Life Crises, and the role of Religious Faith with respect to personal Self-Help/Self-Improvement.

Editorial Note: Daryl Dittmer has worked relentlessly on himself for almost 40 years. Having hailed from a blue-collar family and upbringing, work-ethic was instilled early and often. Daryl was put to work as a farm hand at an early age, at one dollar and fifty cents per hour, and learned the immense value of hard work and long days. Since those days, Daryl has been a carpenter, sales professional, business owner, builder, landlord, real estate investor, and consultant. Now, "author". Daryl feels very fortunate to have had mentors assist him with his life's journey and wants nothing more than to pass on what was so graciously given to him. He considers it an honor to be in a position to do that.


The Money/Finance Shelf

Moving to Tax-Free
Bruce Hosler
Moving to Tax-Free LLC
www.movingtotaxfree.com
9798989420926, $29.99, HC, 257pp

https://www.amazon.com/Moving-Tax-Free-Strategies-Creating-Retirement/dp/B0CZ9TWQVY

Synopsis: When planning for retirement, some of the first big questions are "Have I saved enough to retire?" or "Will I be able to leave a legacy for my family? Are my spouse and I going to be OK through our lifetime?" But those planning for retirement may be missing a foundational question to retirement financial planning success -- will I be paying higher tax rates on my future retirement plan distributions from my 401K and IRA?

The question isn't "if" we will face higher future tax rates but "when". It is almost inevitable that tax rates will be higher in the future. Understanding that tax rates will likely be much higher in the future can help you dramatically improve your chances of success in retirement.

With the publication of "Moving to Tax-Free: Strategies for Creating Tax-Free Retirement Income, and Tax-Free Lifetime Legacy Income for Your Children", professional and experienced wealth advisor Bruce Hosler, EA, CFP(R), brings a new approach to moving to a tax-free retirement.

Based on Bruce's decades of experience in wealth management and tax planning, this definitive guide is a strategic plan for how you and your family can pay less taxes over your lifetime. Using advanced intentional tax strategies, you can start to build a tax-reduction plan that can help you move to tax-free income in retirement.

"Moving to Tax-Free" covers: The available options to save on taxes when you retire and potentially live income tax-free from federal and state taxes (including your Social Security benefits); Proactive strategies to shield your savings from future tax hikes; The effective sources of tax-free income including the Roth IRA and the Roth 401(k), the life insurance retirement plan, the health savings account, the 529 plan to Roth IRA rollover, and the reverse mortgage line of credit; How to navigate "uncontrollable" financial potholes affecting your savings and the adjustments to make to stay in control of your affairs; Plus vital, must-ask questions for your tax professional and financial advisors to ensure forward-thinking financial planning.

Move effectively to a tax-free plan for your retirement. "Moving to Tax-Fee" isn't just theory; it is a practical road map filled with tactics built to give you the retirement you've always dreamed of.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented to be of maximum use to the non-specialist (and older) reader with an interest in the subject, "Moving to Tax-Free: Strategies for Creating Tax-Free Retirement Income, and Tax-Free Lifetime Legacy Income for Your Children" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, senior citizen center, and college/university library Money & Finance collection. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of anyone with a specific concern with their personal taxes, wealthy management, and financial retirement planning that "Moving to Tax-Fee" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798989420902, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: Bruce Hosler, EA, CFP(R), CPWA(R), AIF(R), CEPA(R), is the founder of Hosler Wealth Management LLC and a prominent financial advisor with over 27 years of tax and financial planning experience. Named to the Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list for six years, he combines expertise in financial strategies with a personal touch. He has a website at www.movingtotaxfree.com

Money Loves You
Julia M. Carlson
https://juliamcarlson.com
Joan of Arc Publishing
https://www.joapublishing.com
9781961098404, $25.99, HC, 187pp

https://www.amazon.com/Money-Loves-You-Transform-Relationship/dp/1961098385

Synopsis: Firstly -- Money corrupts and Big Money corrupts Big time. Secondly -- It's the love of money that corrupts, not money itself.

But it is possible to make money, and have your money make money. That's the promise of "Money Loves You: Transform Your Relationship with Money and Grow Your Wealth" by ulia M. Carlson.

Maybe you don't believe it, maybe this title will stir a whole range of emotions within the pit of your stomach, humor, anger, disbelief, or wonder. Could this be simply a marketing gimmick? How can the bringing of 'love' into the subject of money be plausible? The answer to that question and concern according the Julia is simple. -- Easily.

You, from your previous experiences may have many reasons bo believe that (and why) money doesn't love you. The world is an unforgiving place, a dog-eat-dog society. But the promise of "Money Loves You" is that you can break free from all that.

Critique: Far more than just another 'how to get rich' book, Julia Carlson's "Money Loves You: Transform Your Relationship with Money and Grow Your Wealth" from Joan of Arc Publishing will prove of immense value to readers with an interest in ethically obtained financial security, work/life balancing, spiritualism and the material, leadership and motivation. Exceptionally well written, organized, presented, 'real world practical' and downright inspirational, "Money Loves You" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Money/Finance collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Money Loves You" is also available in a paperback edition (9781961098381, $18.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: Julia M. Carlson (https://juliamcarlson.com) is an entrepreneur at heart and launched herself into the financial planning field at the age of 19 -- starting her own business at age 23. She has over 27 years of experience helping families and business owners with their wealth management and financial planning needs. Julia is CEO and Founder of Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group, LLC and they serve over 1600 families across the United States. Julia has been honored to be recognized for her excellence throughout her career including being ranked by Forbes as one of America's Top Women Wealth Advisors.


The Computer Shelf

Inheriting Agile
Rob Lineberger
Sandprint Press
9798989149605, $24.99, PB, 370pp

https://www.amazon.com/Inheriting-Agile-Practitioners-Development-Post-Agile/dp/B0CZSFTW7M

Synopsis: With the publication of "Inheriting Agile: The IT Practitioner's Guide to Managing Software Development in a Post-Agile World", Rob Lineberger offers a revolutionary new guide to project management -- shifting your software development failures into success.

Here's a startling fact: Over 60% of software projects fail. We often blame budget, scope, or communication problems between stakeholders. But the real reason might surprise you. It's time to reveal the deep-rooted misconceptions in IT project management and to expose the historical lie preventing your team from delivering quality software.

An Agile methodology expert, Rob Lineberger brings over two decades of expertise to shatter illusions around agile and to guide you through the adaptive approaches necessary for success in today's software development landscape. Lineberger's transformative Blur Box model challenges the predictive approach that has been internalized as the best practice by the IT industry, replacing guesswork with a visual, adaptive strategy. In this enlightening guide, you will learn actionable tactics to confidently navigate complex iterative projects, sidestepping costly agile failures.

"Inheriting Agile" delivers: The untold history that has shackled software development to a cycle of failure; The revolutionary Blur Box model that visualizes the agile process for all stakeholders in a clear and groundbreaking way; Strategies to overcome the inertia of outdated practices and to embrace adaptability; The agile circus escape practices (12 actionable tactics to steer clear of common pitfalls and to reshape your organizational culture); A cultural shift in IT management, fostering an environment where agility and continual learning reign supreme.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Inheriting Agile: The IT Practitioner's Guide to Managing Software Development in a Post-Agile World" will prove to be of extraordinary value to readers with an interest in IT, organizational/business structure alteration, as well as software design, testing and engineering. "Inheriting Agile" is informed, informative, and unreservedly recommended pick for personal, professional, community, and college/university library IT & Computer Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Rob Lineberger (www.roblineberger.com) is an expert in agile software development with over 25 years of experience. He created the innovative Blur Box model and is a respected speaker and educator. Rob holds an MS in IT management from Purdue and a BA in fine art and psychology. His diverse achievements include teaching, numerous peer-reviewed publications, and recognition in the fine arts.


The Pets Shelf

Pets are Family
Erika Sinner
Book Baby Publishers
www.bookbaby.com
9798350945409, $18.99, PB, 280pp

https://www.amazon.com/Pets-are-Family-simple-that/dp/B0CTSFLYYT

Synopsis: In the summer of 2023. within two weeks, Erika Sinner tragically lost one of her Shar Pei, Kingston, while another, Edmond, was diagnosed with cancer. So began a summer-long fight of radiation, immunotherapy, and surgeries between hours-long drives to the hospital. She loved these dogs as sons and her grief was profound, unlike anything she had experienced before.

While pet bereavement was available to her, she became very aware that it wasn't the norm. Knowing she was not alone in her shame and grief as a pet parent, she began to gather resources and write about her experience. Her book, "Pets Are Family: It's As Simple As That", is a first step in raising awareness about the necessity of pet bereavement leave in organizational policies.

Erika saw Kingston's passing and the events that followed as her "moment that mattered," one that only she will ever feel the full weight of. It has inspired her to show up more vulnerably and lead by example so others feel like they can do the same when their moments arise. While updating company policies to include pet bereavement is crucial, it's just a part of her bigger mission to bring more empathy into the workplace. Because, after all, we're only human, and we need each other -- and our beloved pets -- more than ever.

Critique: Addressing one of the more obscure but yet almost universal experiences is the loss of a beloved pet. The grieving process is quite real wither it is for a canine or feline companion, from a goldfish to a horse. With the life expectancy of humans being longer than that of a pet (tortoises excluded), it is an inevitable consequence of pet companionship. That makes Erika Sinner's "Pets are Family: It's As Simple As That" an essential and core addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Pet Care collections and supplemental Grief Psychology curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pets are Family: It's As Simple As That" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: Erika Sinner, fueled by her personal experience in grief, recognized an unaddressed dimension of pet loss, prompting her to shine a light on this often-overlooked facet of the human experience. Through her compelling storytelling, she empowers us to create a world that better supports one another in times of sorrow. Erika's vision includes advocating for the inclusion of pet bereavement leave in organizational policies, sparking a wave of empathy-driven change and leadership. (https://www.directorie.com/erika-sinner)

Soulmate Dog
Michelle B. Slater
Wandering Cloud Press
https://www.wanderingcloudpress.com
9781963452013, $29.95, HC, 232pp

https://www.amazon.com/Soulmate-Dog-Michelle-Slater-PhD/dp/1963452011

Synopsis: Michelle Slater's dog Brady became seriously ill at the age of five (and, according to his veterinarians, should not have survived). Searching for answers, Michelle turned to the growing field of animal communication.

Animal communicators argue that anyone can be coached to listen, understand, and respond to animals. Through training with Debbie McGillivray in the art of animal communication, Michelle became semi-fluent in the language of dogs.

As a result of their extraordinary conversations, Michelle shares in "Soulmate Dog" how Brady transformed the way she sees animals-as well as how we as humans love and grieve, and live day-to-day with our animals.

Humans are illiterate not just about grief, but about love and daily communication. Love (and then grief) for our pets resides in a place that human vocabulary doesn't exist for; the language of dogs, as taught to Michelle by Brady, makes the love we have for our pets even stronger.

Critique: Essential reading for anyone with a canine companion of their own, "Soulmate Dog" by Michelle B. Slater is an extraordinary approach to animal communications relevant to any animal/human bonding experience. Fascinating, informative, iconoclastic, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Soulmate Dog" from Wandering Cloud Press is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Pet Care/Communications collections and supplemental Cultural Anthropology curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Soulmate Dog" is also available in a paperback edition (9781963452006, $17.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Michelle Slater (https://michelleslater.com) is a scholar of comparative literature and president of the Mayapple Center for the Arts and Humanities, an educational nonprofit where artists and scholars come to teach and collaborate in Stamford, Connecticut. Her first book, Starving to Heal in Siberia delves into how she was cured of the debilitating effects of advanced Lyme disease. Michelle holds a Ph.D. in French Literature from Johns Hopkins and spends her time between Connecticut and Switzerland. Michelle is the author of the forthcoming novel The Lunatic.


The Biography Shelf

The Ocean Inside Me
R. G. Shore
Northwest Wisdom Publications
https://www.northwestwisdom.org/book
9798989521906, $16.95, PB, 263pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ocean-Inside-Me-Spiritual-Healing/dp/B0CSWYGWMH

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Ocean Inside Me: A Spiritual Memoir on Healing Racial Trauma", R. G. Shore reveals how he learned to love and accept the cause of his deepest pain, his brown body.

His prison radio became the conduit by which he transcended the limitations of prison. The static white noise helped transform a world of concrete and injustice into a world where he could connect to nature and find healing through the element of water. His embodied spiritual journey eventually led him to studying law where he advocated for the very men who oppressed him.

A Master in meditation, R.G. Shore found a way to liberate his inner child in the most unlikely place, and is now offering a path for you to find healing as well. This spiritual memoir also offers practical guided steps for you to begin your healing journey.

Critique: Of special and particular value to readers with an interest in true life survival stories, healing racial trauma, meditation as a means of spiritual redemption/healing, and inspiration within a prison environment, "The Ocean Inside Me: A Spiritual Memoir on Healing Racial Trauma" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, prison, and college/university library Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted that "The Ocean Inside Me: A Spiritual Memoir on Healing Racial Trauma" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: R.G. Shore is the founder of a nonprofit called Northwest Wisdom, where he teaches people the tools and techniques to go deeper and heal the spiritual wounds within.

Hello Flower
Martina Gruppo
Independently Published
9798325952456, $12.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Flower-story-narcissistic-invisible/dp/B0D4VRRVCY

Synopsis: Self-deprecating, heartbreaking and sometimes funny, with the publication of her memoir, "Hello Flower: A real life story of narcissistic love and invisible abuse", Martina Gruppo ultimately provides the reader with a realistic and revealing insight into how even the strongest person can be susceptible to the most insidious form of abuse -- and yet find the courage to walk away and shine again.

Critique: Articulate, intimate, candidly informative, and of particular value to readers seeking an understanding of the difficulties encountered ranging from a diagnosis of cancer to conditions of subtle domestic abuse, Martina Gruppo's gripping and inherently fascinating personal life story as recounted in the pages of "Hello Flower: A real life story of narcissistic love and invisible abuse" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library contemporary women's biography/memoir collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of those with an interest in the psychology of marriage and marital abuse that "Hello Flower" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.81).

My Fathers
Len Prazych
The Book Publishing Solutions
https://thebookpublishingsolutions.com
9781962204811, $19.99, HC, 185pp

https://www.amazon.com/My-Fathers-Letters-Healing-Quest/dp/B0CJSTGZGM

Synopsis: Can a 15-second "incident" that happened to an 11-year-old altar boy in his parent's bedroom a half-century ago forever change the course of his life and the trusting relationship he had with his two fathers: his biological one and the beloved parish priest who sexually molested him?

With the publication of "My Fathers: Letters of Healing on a Quest for the Truth", Len Prazych shares his story in a series of intimate letters to his recently deceased father, while trying to learn what really happened on a sweltering August night in 1971 in Bayonne, NJ.

Unlike salacious tales and tabloid headlines that describe multiple incidents of horrific sexual abuse at the hands of priests who preyed upon unsuspecting altar boys and other vulnerable children over years or decades, "My Fathers" is a story healing told by "one who got away," and his 50-year quest to learn the truth about his perhaps not-so-pious father and his predatory priest.

Clearly and respectfully written, this profanity-free and poignant story will strike a very personal chord with survivors of abuse, their parents or guardians and anyone else impacted by the behavior of priests and their protector, the Catholic Church.

Critique: Sober, factual, candid, fascinating, and memorable, Len Prazych's "My Fathers: Letters of Healing on a Quest for the Truth" is a unique and invaluable contribution to the impact a pedophile can have on a child well into his or her adult years. A deftly crafted personal story with a universal resonance, "My Fathers" is unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Contemporary Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Fathers" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781962204804, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Len Prazych (https://lenprazych.com) is a talented writer whose storytelling prowess shines through in his memoir -- 'My Fathers: Letters for Healing while Seeking the Truth. His life story shows not just one person's journey but also common feelings like love, pain and strong family ties that last forever. Len's story makes people want to look at their own family stories and value the connections that have made them who they are.


The General Fiction Shelf

All the Flowers of the Mountain
Christina Holbrook
Sunroom Studios
9798986148809, $30.99, HC, 390pp

https://www.amazon.com/All-Flowers-Mountain-Christina-Holbrook/dp/B0B2TTVLDF

Synopsis: In a Paris art gallery, physician Dr. Michael Pearce is forced to confront his past when he views a sculpture by the artist Katherine Morgan.

The vivid bronze artwork evokes memories of a summer many years ago, when Michael and Katherine-Kit first met as teenagers by a lake in New Hampshire. He was a small town boy who skied, played guitar, and was destined to run his father's hardware store; she was the restless, troubled daughter of a wealthy New York family.

Set amidst the mountains and farmlands, small country towns and elegant summer homes of rural New England, "All the Flowers of the Mountain" buy Christina Holbrook is the story of a pivotal summer for Michael and Kit. Michael's ambitions are ignited by this young woman and he grows determined that their future will be together. But Kit dreams of becoming an artist and her struggle with a secret from the past leads her to a deadly showdown and choices that will break Michael's heart.

As a novelist, Holbrook captures the dark complexities of family secrets and the painful choices when the need to set one's own course in the world opposes the demands of the heart. "All the Flowers of the Mountain" is a haunting exploration of trauma and the abuse of privilege, of desire and the enduring power of love.

Critique: An eloquently crafted, original, and compelling novel by an author with a distinctive and narrative driven storytelling style, "All the Flowers of the Mountain" will be especially appreciated by readers with an interest in deftly written coming of age stories. One of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "All the Flowers of the Mountain" is unreservedly recommended for community library general fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "All the Flowers of the Mountain" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798986148816, $21.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Christina Holbrook (www.christinaholbrook.com) received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Political Theory from Wellesley College. Holbrook's column Lark Ascending ran in the Summit Daily in Frisco, Colorado from 2016 through 2020. More recently her short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. "All the Flowers of the Mountain" is her first novel and has been awarded the Colorado Book Award for 2023 in the Romance Category and an IPPY Bronze Medal. She can also be followed on Instagram @christinaholbrookwrites

The War on Sarah Morris
Kathleen Jones
Legacy Book Press
9798987482346, $17.99, PB, 245pp

https://www.amazon.com/War-Sarah-Morris-Kathleen-Jones/dp/B0CVQ28JYC

Synopsis: What happens when one day, without any warning, your secure corporate job suddenly becomes precarious? And all your professional duties are taken away, leaving you with nothing but repetitive, mind-numbing tasks?

Sarah Morris, is a 49-year-old editor at a Toronto publishing company who finds herself in this very predicament when Quill Pen Press, the company she has faithfully served for twenty-one years, undergoes a reorganization in the aftermath of the 2008 recession.

Concerned only with preserving her own cushy job, Sarah's selfish boss gives all the company's editing projects to freelancers and to a pet employee, unofficially demoting Sarah and two colleagues, who are now expected to spend their days tagging and formatting documents. When the two younger colleagues leave to pursue better opportunities, the boss dumps all their data entry tasks on Sarah and pressures her to complete an ever-growing mountain of work in less and less time, while taking away her right to paid overtime.

At first, Sarah is afraid to face the truth; she tells herself that she will get her old job back once the economy improves. But when the boss starts bullying her, she realizes that her company doesn't have her best interests at heart and that she's been pigeonholed into a dead-end job.

Critique: A story for our times, "The War on Sarah Morris" by author Kathleen Jones is an inherently compelling, deftly crafted, and showcases her narrative driven and impressively distinctive storytelling style as a novelist. A work of fiction that may well resonate with the reader's real life experiences all too well, "The War on Sarah Morris" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The War on Sarah Morris" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: For some thirty years, Kathleen Jones (https://kathleenjones.org) has been an editor for various Canadian book publishers. Today, Kathleen is a full-time author who writes for a number of popular book blogs. She also contributes monthly book reviews to Goodreads. She lives in Canada.

Island On Fire
Andrew Salter
Olympia Publishers
https://olympiapublishersusa.com
9781804393338, $14.71 PB / $6.06 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Island-Fire-Andrew-Salter/dp/1804393339

Synopsis: Bill Mortimer, a die-hard maverick sentenced to death for avenging the murder of his family, has been granted a reprieve by The Shield, the authoritarian movement now ruling the UK. In return for his life, Mortimer is conscripted into a bloody war and risks a different kind of death.

Dr Martha Franshell, a talented geneticist who performs illegal modifications on unborn babies, has been imprisoned by the Vice and Virtue squad for her crimes against morality.

Against the backdrop of a war-ravaged country where civilization is crumbling, these two are thrown together by a set of perilous circumstances, pitted against each other in a bid to save their own lives.

Surrounded by brutal military forces, religious zealots and marauding cannibals, Mortimer and Franshell must ultimately stare down the barrel of human depravity at its worst to survive. But not all endings are happy ones...

Critique: A deftly crafted and original dystopian novel by author Andrew Salter, "Island on Fire" is an extraordinary thriller of a read from start to finish -- and one that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after this novel is finished and set back upon the shelf. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.06), "Island on Fire" from Olympia Publishing is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections.

Editorial Note: Andrew Salter (https://andrewsalterauthor.co.uk) developed his novel, "Island on Fire", from an original film screenplay. The story was greatly influenced by his strong interest in twentieth century military history which has taken him to several sites in Poland, Germany, Spain and Russia.


The Historical Fiction Shelf

Silenced Whispers
Afarin Bellisario
Transtrategy
9798990004443, $27.95, HC, 360pp

https://www.amazon.com/Silenced-Whispers-Afarin-Bellisario/dp/B0CZWCQV4D

Synopsis: While other Iranian girls of the early twentieth century cook, sew, and hope for marriage, Gohar climbs trees, reads books, plays tar, and dreams of escaping her forsaken desert town. But when her forbidden correspondence with a non- Muslim boy is discovered, fear of banishment forces the fatherless Gohar to welcome the protection of Saleh Mirza, a powerful nobleman. At 14, she marries his choice of husband, a 55-year-old politician expecting to enter her marital home in a white chador and leave it in a white shroud.

But fate takes her to Tehran, where she is dazzled by the electric lights and gramophones but appalled by the misery, poverty, corruption, and foreign meddling. Endangering her life and marriage, she joins the reformists, while secretly idolizing Aslan, a mysterious Russian allied with the Iranian nationalists.

Critique: An historical novel that is relevant to our times given the status of women in Islamic countries such as Afghanistan and Iran, "Silenced Whispers" is a fascinating read from start to finish. Author Afarin Bellisario's distinctive and narrative driven storytelling style raises her novel to an impressive level of literary elegance. While it is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Silenced Whispers" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9798990004412, $16.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.95).

Editorial Note: Afarin Bellisario was born and raised in Tehran in a family with its feet in the past and its head in the future: whereas her grandmothers could barely read, her university educated father and uncles were prominent members of Iran's new technocratic elite. Her great grandfather had 25 wives and concubines; she holds a PhD from MIT. She perceives this as progress. She began writing professionally in major women and youth publications and the literary magazine Ferdousi at the age of 14, in pre-revolutionary Tehran.

Afarin came to the US to study and stayed when the Islamic Revolution happened. Most of her professional career has been spent in the high-tech world in both technical and business capacities. But she has continued writing. In 2013, her essay "Movies with My Aunt" was published in the anthology Love & Pomegranates, edited by M. N. Sayers. The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe have published several of her op-eds, and she writes regularly about the clash between tradition and modernity on Medium (Counterview).

That Pinson Girl
Gerry Wilson
Regal House Publishing
https://regalhousepublishing.com
9781646034185, $19.95, PB, 278pp

https://www.amazon.com/That-Pinson-Girl-Gerry-Wilson/dp/164603418X

Synopsis: In a bleak Mississippi farmhouse in 1918, Leona Pinson gives birth to an illegitimate son whose father she refuses to name, but who will, she is convinced, return from the war to rescue her from a hardscrabble life with a distant mother, a dangerous brother, and a dwarf aunt.

When, instead, her lover returns with a wife in tow, her dreams are shattered. As her brother's violence escalates and her aunt flees, Leona must rely on the help of Luther Biggs, the son of Leona's grandfather and one of his former slaves, to protect her child.

Told against the backdrop of the deprivation of World War I, the tragedies of the influenza epidemic, and the burden of generations of betrayal, "That Pinson Girl" unfolds in lyrical, unflinching prose, engaging the timeless issues of racism, sexism, and poverty.

Critique: Intense, riveting, deftly crafted, author Gerry Wilson has created an original story that is raised to an impressive level of literary excellence. A novel that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "That Pinson Girl" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Gerry Wilson's "That Pinson Girl" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: A seventh-generation Mississippian and a child of the hill country she writes about in "That Pinson Girl", Gerry Wilson (https://gerrygwilson.com) came of age during the turbulent civil rights era. Her story collection, Crosscurrents and Other Stories, was nominated for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Fiction Award. Gerry is a recipient of a Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship. Her stories have appeared in numerous journals. "That Pinson Girl" is her first novel.

Lost Seeds: The Beginning
Teresa Mosley Sebastian
Dominion Asset Publishing
https://teresamosleysebastian.com
9798988467007, $17.99, PB, 197pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Seeds-Teresa-Mosley-Sebastian/dp/B0CFS8GJZ5

Synopsis: "Lost Seeds: The Beginning" by novelist Teresa Mosley Sebastian is the story of two brothers, Dublin and Timothy Brisco, who were born into poverty at the turn of the twentieth century to formerly enslaved parents.

From birth, they witness firsthand the atrocities their parents had to endure and themselves experience the continued struggles of being Black in the South. Encounters with physical abuse, mental illness, and racism define the brothers' lives, and despite their best efforts to survive, the seeds of slavery's wickedness inevitably spawn and lead the two down separate paths.

Dublin attempts to overcome his tragic past and hopes to elevate his place in life by escaping oppression and adapting to segregated societal life, while Timothy openly displays his wounds, attempts to reject his Black identity, and descends into a fog of mental illness.

The two brothers never discuss their journeys, nor the lifetime of insecurity and violence they experienced, ultimately creating an impassable chasm in their relationship.

Eventually, at the request of their mother, Dublin reluctantly permits Timothy to live on his family's land in a one-room windowless shack. Although they are once again united on the same property, their feelings of indifference and the distance between the two persist.

Will their relationship forever be lost to the traumas of their past, or will they be able to come together and be each other's strength in the face of the cruelties of their world? Because no matter how much time or distance passes, the seeds of brotherhood never die.

Critique: Original, compelling, deftly crafted storytelling of the first order, (and all the more impressive when considering it is the author's debut as a novelist) this paperback edition of Teresa Mosley Sebastian's new novel, "Lost Seeds: The Beginning" from Dominion Asset Publishing, will hold a special appeal to readers with an interest in African American historical fiction. While especially and unreservedly recommended pick for community and college/university library Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lost Seeds: The Beginning" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note: Teresa Mosley Sebastian (https://teresamosleysebastian.com) is an attorney, entrepreneur, and law school professor. She seeks to make a difference in the environment and culture through her involvement with nonprofit community and corporate boards. Teresa believes spiritual words and the sounds of nature soothe the inner being, define a place of peace, and inspire her creative writing. She has always been compelled to put words to the human life she sees around her. Lost Seeds: The Beginning is her first novel.


The Literary Fiction Shelf

Right: A Portrait of Controversy
Steven Paul Leiva
Magpie Press
9781735298597, $14.95, PB, 371pp

https://www.amazon.com/Right-Controversy-Steven-Paul-Leiva/dp/173529859X

Synopsis: In a 1980s, an America different from our own, both familiar and not, Congress passed and President Henshaw signed the Birth Cessation Act. Once it became law, no one would be allowed to have a child for 25 years, any woman under 24 weeks pregnant was required to have an immediate abortion, and all men were called up to report for a vasectomy.

"Conscious regulation of human numbers must be achieved." is what Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich wrote in his 1968 bestseller, 'The Population Bomb'. By the early 80s, the federal government had statistical projections that population growth was outpacing the available resources needed for all in America to live a comfortable and secure life. A situation that would inevitably lead to the chaos and violence of extreme civil unrest.

Most Americans, liking comfort and security, supported the government's action. Most, but not all. And those who didn't -- including a world-famous female billionaire entrepreneur, inventor, and film producer; a TV salesman from Queens; a well-to-do Manhattan college radical; an unwed mother in Los Angeles who protests most horribly; America's premier pundit-columnist; and a young man who talks to his dead brother -- became loud enough to start a fresh new controversy in America.

Critique: Although a work of fiction, "Right: A Portrait of Controversy" is an expertly pictured projection of a draconian dystopia where 'big-brother style' governmental attempts at population control are vividly illustrated. An inherently fascinating read from start to finish, author Steven Paul Leiva raises his original novel to an impressive level of literary elegance. The result is a compelling novel that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), "Right: A Portrait of Controversy" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Literary Fiction collections.

Editorial Note: Before publishing critically acclaimed works of fiction, author Steven Paul Leiva spent over twenty years as a writer and producer in the entertainment industry. He worked with such talent as Academy Award-winning producer Richard Zanuck, director Ivan Reitman, literary legend and screenwriter Ray Bradbury, Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, Looney Tunes legend Chuck Jones, and Animation Feature Academy Award-winning director Brad Bird. He even lent his voice to the Academy Award shortlisted (placing in the top ten) animated short, "The Indescribable Nth". (www.goodreads.com/author/list/4488996.Steven_Paul_Leiva)


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

A Slice of Death
Patricia D. Perry
Dorrance Publishing Company
www.dorrancepublishing.com
9798890279880, $33.00 HC, 264
9798890270832, $20.00 PB, $15.00 Kindle

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-slice-of-death-patricia-d-perry/1144885292?ean=9798890279880

Synopsis: Detective Jack Pirrone still loves his estranged wife, Cynthia, and now that she's returned to Cape Cod as a Medical Examiner, perhaps they could rekindle some of that old passion between them. However, Jack's personal life must take a back seat to the murders of several young, beautiful women in the area.

"A Slice of Death" by novelist Patricia Perry follows Jack as he and his team try to identify and stop a serial killer who assaults, mutilates, and dresses up his victims, including applying makeup and posing them to be discovered in the most gruesome way possible, while leaving no forensic evidence.

An approaching hurricane, the influx of holiday tourists, and growing pressure from the community and press add to Jack's struggle, a struggle that intensifies when the killer gets too close to Jack's loved ones. Will he solve the mystery in time?

Critique: An original, compelling, deftly crafted, and inherently fascinating thriller of a read from start to finish, "A Slice of Death" will have a particular interest to fans of mystery novels that have more unexpected plot twists and turns than an Kansas tornado. While especially and unreservedly for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Slice of Death" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.00).

Editorial Note: Patricia D. Perry is presently residing at Traditions at Christiana, a fifty-five plus Community in Delaware. She grew up in the Bethesda, Maryland area and attended the University of Maryland majoring in Business Administration and Nursing. Patricia has always had a passion for reading mystery and true crime. Her hobbies are crossword puzzles, enjoying Oldies, Rock and Roll music, new genres, playing cards, cruises to the Bahamas, and going to the Jersey shore in the summer with friends.

Knife River
Baron Birtcher
Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller
https://openroadmedia.com
9781504086523, $35.99, HC, 338pp

https://www.amazon.com/Knife-River-Ty-Dawson-Mysteries/dp/150408652X

Synopsis: There are rules in the West no matter what era you were born in, and it's up to lawman Ty Dawson to make sure they're followed in the valley he calls home. The people living on this unforgiving land keep to themselves and are wary of the modern world's encroachment into their quiet lives.

So it's not without some suspicion that Dawson confronts a newcomer to the region: a record producer who has built a music studio in an isolated compound. His latest project is a collaboration with a famous young rock star named Ian Swann, recording and filming his sessions for a movie. An amphitheater for a live show is being built on the land, giving Dawson flashbacks to the violent Altamont concert. Not on his watch.

But even beefed up security can't stop a disaster that's been over a decade in the making. All it takes is one horrific case bleeding its way into the present to prove that the good ol' days spawned a brand of evil no one wants to revisit.

Critique: An impressive mix of mystery, suspense, and action/adventure, "Knife River" by Baron Birtcher is a compelling, compulsive, and inherently fascinating read from start to finish. As a novelist, Baron Birtcher has a distinctive, narrative driven storytelling style that raises his suspense thriller to an impressive level of literary excellence that does not disappoint! While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery fans that "Knife River" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781504086370, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Baron Birtcher (www.facebook.com/BaronRBirtcher) spent a number of years as a professional musician, and founded an independent record label and management company. His first two novels, Roadhouse Blues and Ruby Tuesday, are Los Angeles Times and Independent Mystery Booksellers Association bestsellers. Birtcher has been nominated for a number of literary awards, including the Nero Award for his novel Hard Latitudes, the Claymore Award for his novel Rain Dogs, and the Left Coast Crime "Lefty" Award for his novel Angels Fall. He was the 2016 Silver Falchion Award winner for his novel Hard Latitudes and the 2018 Winner of the Killer Nashville Reader's Choice Award for his novel South California Purples.

The China Plot
John Lauricella
Irving Place Editions
https://www.irvingplaceeditions.com/index.htm
9798987576205, $28.00, HC, 438pp

https://www.amazon.com/CHINA-PLOT-John-Lauricella/dp/B0BRP7MWZ5

Synopsis: Anthony Sciascia, an unknown writer, and his wife, Professor Riva Klein, are visiting Qingdao and Beijing for business and tourism. Even as their plane is landing, both CIA and China's Ministry of State Security are targeting them as pawns in a Cold War-style propaganda gambit. Trumped-up charges of spying and state detention are in play. Zhang Ailing, consummate double-agent and mistress of aliases, is the operative both agencies tap to execute their strangely complementary schemes.

English-language fluency and personal beauty enable Ailing to lure Anthony in. She makes sure he sees her reading one of his novels, then praises the book to his face. This "coincidence" occurs while Anthony is imagining his new novel, set in China. A Chinese woman reading one of his books seems to promise that his novels have a secret following among elite Chinese. His minute of fame seems to have arrived, and his prospective book, his "China novel," promises to be his best yet.

Riva suspects this pop-up reader is a ploy or trap. Anthony talks himself into believing she is genuine because life is stranger than fiction. Their clashing interpretations of Ailing become secondary when a turn of events seems to say that Riva and Anthony's escape from the People's Republic will be fraught with danger and exact a price.

Critique: A thriller of a read from start to finish, with the publication of "The China Plot", author John Lauricella presents an original novel that rises to an impressive level of literary excellence. Deftly crafted characters adroitly embedded in a riveting and original plot, "The China Plot" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly appreciated addition to community library Political Fiction and Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The China Plot" is also available in a paperback edition (9798987576229, $21.00).

Editorial Note: John Lauricella is the author of five novels and many short stories. Admission to Cornell University and the generous strength of a Sage Graduate Fellowship enabled him to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. Later, he earned a Ph.D. in English Language & Literature at Cornell.


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Stone of Love
Margaret Lizard
Wild Rose Press
https://wildrosepress.com
9781509253364, $19.99, PB, 354pp

https://www.amazon.com/Stone-Love-Stones-Margaret-Izard/dp/150925336X

Synopsis: After leaving her abusive ex, American scholar Brielle DeVolt embarks on a career-changing opportunity, the renovation of Laird Colin MacDougall's Chapel ruin. The attractive, broad-shouldered Laird leaves her weak-kneed, but can she trust herself to love again?

Dusted in construction dirt, the curvy beauty in his study captivates Colin. As Brielle steps to the window, her brunette tresses halo in the sunlight, and he sees her as his dream soul mate. When he learns his hereditary duty is safeguarding magic Fae stones, all he wants is to protect Brielle from the evil forces of the Fae.

Traveling to the past to assume his forefather's identity and find a missing magic stone is challenging enough. When Brielle appears, an undeniable attraction to his ancestor ignites, causing her confused passion.

Faced with fighting an evil Fae to save the realms, Colin must choose between saving the stone or saving his love.

Critique With its deft blending of fantasy and romance, "Stone of Love" by Margaret Izard is an original, engaging, fascinating and fun read from start to finish. Original, compelling, and raised to an impressive level of literary excellence, this edition of Margaret Izard's "Stone of Love" from Wild Rose Press is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stone of Love" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99) as well.

Editorial Note: Margaret Izard (www.margaretizardauthor.com) is an author of historical fantasy and paranormal romance novels. Over the years, she developed a love for great storytelling in different mediums. She does not waste a good story, be it movement, the spoken, or the written word. She discovered historical romance novels in middle school, which combined her desire for romance, drama, and fantasy. She likes to write exciting plot lines, steamy love scenes and stories that feature a strong male with a soft heart.


The Business Shelf

The Usage Economy
Adam Howatson
LogiSense Corporation
https://www.logisense.com
9781738260737, $18.99, PB, 151pp

https://www.amazon.com/Usage-Economy-Strategies-Technology-Management/dp/1738260739

Synopsis: Competent business leaders know their markets are evolving faster than they can keep up unassisted. What worked before doesn't work for the new generation of consumers and companies. Those who latch on to outdated practices may find themselves left behind.

This has never been more relevant than when it comes to traditional pricing and monetization models. One-size-fits-all subscription-based pricing leaves customers feeling frustrated with lack of value. Customers want to pay for what they use -- period. Welcome to the usage economy; pricing and go-to-market strategies for an ever-evolving market and a data-driven, usage-based economy.

From tech leader and CEO of LogiSense Adam Howatson comes "The Usage Economy: Strategies for Growth, Smart Pricing, and Effective Technology Management" a groundbreaking instructional guide about the transformative shift from conventional subscription models to dynamic, usage-based go-to-market strategies.

Usage-based economics are already being utilized by industry disruptors from Uber to OpenAI and AWS alongside other SaaS pioneers, and more leaders are making the shift every day. "The Usage Economy" pulls back the curtain on the future to help your company stand apart and stay relevant in a crowded global marketplace.

"The Usage Economy" shows: How to identify and calculate your company's unique value exchange and how to build an effective usage-based go-to-market; How shifting to a usage-based model enhances business flexibility and customer engagement, responding to the growing demand for personalized services and customer optionality; To interpret and analyze the valuable customer data generated by usage-based go-to-market models for insightful, data-driven business decisions and market trend predictions; The massive role that AI and machine learning will play for usage-based models and how to capitalize upon them for increased growth; Insightful breakdowns of disruptive usage-based monetization models and the right steps to take to diminish risk with a customer-first, usage-based go-to-market.

Providing real-world examples and case studies, "The Usage Economy" is a practical DIY road map to redefine your company's approach to the way it thinks about pricing and product monetization. Billing shouldn't be painful. Use it to your advantage and transform your business strategy, enhance customer satisfaction, and secure a competitive edge in the ever-evolving business landscape.

Critique: Informative, insightful, 'real world practical', "The Usage Economy: Strategies for Growth, Smart Pricing, and Effective Technology Management" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, corporate, community, and college/university library Business Pricing, Product Management; and Direct Marketing collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for MBA studies, academia, corporate executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Usage Economy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) as well.

Editorial Note: Adam Howatson (www.logisense.com) is the CEO of LogiSense and member of the board of directors, with a diverse background of technological innovation and growth at OpenText, ITAC, and other leading organizations. Specializing in enterprise software, and with a particular passion for usage-based billing and economics, AI, virtual economies, and data transformation, Adam has influenced tech education and held numerous leadership roles.


The Sports Shelf

The History of Fantasy Sports
Larry Schechter
Independently Published
9798218424701, $24.99, PB, 318pp

https://www.amazon.com/History-Fantasy-Sports-Stories-People/dp/B0D39FMLVR

Synopsis: A fantasy sport is a game, often played using the Internet, where participants assemble imaginary or virtual teams composed of proxies of real players of a professional sport. These teams compete based on the statistical performance of those players in actual games. This performance is converted into points that are compiled and totaled according to a roster selected by each fantasy team's manager. These point systems can be simple enough to be manually calculated by a "league commissioner" who coordinates and manages the overall league, or points can be compiled and calculated using computers tracking actual results of the professional sport. In fantasy sports, as in real sports team owners draft, trade, and cut (drop) players. (Wikipedia)

Fantasy sports have become as ingrained in American culture as baseball and apple pie. And they have spread worldwide. There are versions of these games for football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, cricket, bull riding, bass fishing, Iditarod and many more. It is one of the most popular forms of entertainment today.

But the millions who play mostly have no idea about the people and events that created this phenomenon. With the publication of "The History of Fantasy Sports: And the Stories of the People Who Made It Happen", Larry Schecter provides the first complete telling of how we got from the spontaneous ideas for games years ago, to the multi-billion-dollar industry of today.

Schecter personally spent 18 months researching and interviewing dozens of key players, pioneers, and entrepreneurs to uncover their stories. This reader-friendly history is ready to take its place alongside some of the best in sports history. Readers will be entertained and inspired by these stories of humble beginnings turned multi-million-dollar enterprises. Schechter does a great job of capturing the passion, obsession, and love of the game behind these businesses.

Critique: An impressively informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, "The History of Fantasy Sports: And the Stories of the People Who Made It Happen" by Larry Schecter simply fascinating read from start to finish. "The History of Fantasy Sports" is an especially recommended read for anyone with an interest in fantasy sports. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and college/university library Fantasy Sports History collections, it should be noted that "The History of Fantasy Sports" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) as well.

Editorial Note: Larry Schechter is the author of Winning Fantasy Baseball (2014). He has been called one of the best fantasy baseball players in the world. Larry was a two-time winner of the CDM Sports national salary cap contest, defeating 7,500 teams in 2002 and 6,000 teams in 2005. He has competed in the two most prestigious experts leagues, winning the USA Today-sponsored LABR league three times and the Tout Wars experts league six times. One of his keys to success in fantasy baseball is attention to detail. He used that ability in researching, conducting interviews, and writing The History of Fantasy Sports. Larry is now retired and lives in Florida. You can follow him on X @LarrySchechter


The Christian Studies Shelf

Overdue Heresies: And Other Reflections of a Quaker Seeker
Malcolm Bell
Fresh Look Press
https://freshlookpress.com
9798988908029, $15.95, PB, 210pp

https://www.amazon.com/Overdue-Heresies-Reflections-Quaker-Seeker/dp/B0D1T5SPGK

Synopsis: A key question every Christian should ask -- "What, if anything, do I believe about God?"

The burgeoning of people who doubt many traditional Christian answers makes this question highly pertinent today. The short and very short essays comprising "Overdue Heresies: And Other Reflections of a Quaker Seeker" aim to stimulate readers to reach, reaffirm, or rethink their own conclusions about God, Atheism, Jesus, Miracles, Sin, Salvation, and many other elements of the Christian tradition.

They do not seek to persuade anyone of anything; rather, they encourage readers to enjoy disagreeing. They say little about the Quaker Way, though many of them resemble the messages that readers might hear spoken out of the silence of a Quaker meeting.

"Overdue Heresies" by Malcolm Bell is especially for:

People who are spiritually inquisitive or question major parts of their church's doctrines.

Atheists and other "Nones." Students seeking fodder for late-night bull sessions.

Seekers of truth.

"Overdue Heresies" asks many questions and questions many traditional answers. It is not for people who seek certainty or believe they have found it -- but for those that are still seeking.

Critique: Eloquent, erudite, iconoclastic, informed, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, the essays of Malcolm Bell comprising "Overdue Heresies: And Other Reflections of a Quaker Seeker" from Fresh Look Press is especially and unreservedly recommended for church, seminary, community, and college/university library Christian Studies/Theology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of pastors, preachers, priests, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Overdue Heresies" is also available in a digital boo format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note: Malcolm Bell is the author of "The Attica Turkey Shoot: Carnage, Cover-up and the Pursuit of Justice" (Skyhorse Publishing, paperback, 2022). While becoming a confirmed Episcopalian at age thirteen, he began to question traditional Christian doctrines. His spiritual journey took him from the Episcopal Church to a United Church of Christ, where he taught junior and senior high Sunday school, to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), where he found his spiritual home. For the past forty years, he has jotted down his spiritual thoughts, which are now collected in Overdue Heresies and Other Reflections of a Quaker Seeker.


The Self-Help Shelf

Common Wisdom: 8 Scientific Elements of a Meaningful Life
Laura Gabayan, MD
Redwood Publishing, LLC
https://www.redwooddigitalpublishing.com
9781956470994, $19.99, HC, 200pp

https://www.amazon.com/Common-Wisdom-Scientific-Elements-Meaningful/dp/1956470999

Synopsis: With the publication of "Common Wisdom: 8 Scientific Elements of a Meaningful Life", Dr. Laura Gabayan shares the discoveries of The Wisdom Research Project as part of a fascinating journey to explore the timeless question: What is Wisdom?

Through engaging interviews with 60 wise individuals across North America, Dr. Gabayan uncovers 8 essential elements they share.

While rooted in scientific research, "Common Wisdom" is beautifully written in a way that makes the profound insights accessible and relatable to everyone. Not just another self-help study -- "Common Wisdom" provides an effective formula for achieving happiness and success.

Critique: Eloquent, articular, informatively insightful, motivational, inspirational, "Common Wisdom: 8 Scientific Elements of a Meaningful Life" is exceptionally reader friendly in organization and presentation. Of special interest to readers holding a leadership position, who are seeking health and wellness, looking for an engaging read that is simple, or interested in enriching their lives, "Common Wisdom" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Personal Transformation and Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections.

Editorial Note: Dr. Laura Gabayan is a renowned physician and researcher. Regarded internationally as an expert in the field of research medicine, she has received multiple research grants and awards for her work. She has also published dozens of papers cited by hundreds of researchers. She attended UCLA for her schooling and is now affiliated with the UCLA School of Medicine.

Gratitude Miracles
Joyce Wycoff
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
www.createspace.com
9781535592581, $12.95, PB, 220pp

https://www.amazon.com/Gratitude-Miracles-journal-change-everything/dp/1535592583

Synopsis: With the publication of "Gratitude Miracles: The journal that could change everything!", Joyce Wycoff shows that all it takes is 5 minutes a day to achieve greater happiness, better relationships and a more fulfilling life.

Recent research that proves that keeping a gratitude journal turns out to be a key to better health and fitness, as well as reducing stress and coping with the ups and downs of everyday life.

"The Gratitude Miracles" DIY journal that incorporates all the latest research on how to best practice gratitude into a simple, 5-minutes-a-day journal based program that is fun, fast and effective. You only have to try it and watch your life improve both physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in style, organization and presentation, this extraordinary paperback edition of "Gratitude Miracles" by Joyce Wycoff is especially and unreservedly recommended for anyone and everyone with an interest in self-help/self-improvement through DIY personal transformation.

Editorial Note: Joyce Wycoff has long been fascinated by the human spirit and the seemingly bottomless potential for growth and expansion. She is called by the mystery of why one person moves toward joy while another is pulled toward pain and suffering. The cause seems to be more than life circumstance. Life abounds with stories of triumph over adversity, heroism in the midst of devastation, radical forgiveness in the face of horrific atrocities. Stories have called her since childhood. First, in the form of books that filled her being with possibility, then as a writer telling her own stories and those found in organizations, now the ones that come from that magical world of imagination. Her chosen service is to help set free the untold stories in others. More recently, the stories of her life wanted to play with images. Photography and the wonders of Photoshop joined forces to create digital art that surprises and delights her. Joyce is a writer, artist, photographer and continues to be a joyful student of life.


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


Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design