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9788985878615, $24.99, HC, 194pp
Synopsis: On 9th April 2021, Chris Bentley wrote an email to his stakeholders, admitting having squandered millions of investor dollars as the chief of Bellatorum Resources, a Texas-based energy fund.
"Burning Bellatorum" is a brutally honest story written down in Chris's own words, as he reflects upon his journey, explains his decisions, and articulates exactly why and how he orchestrated the fraud. With Bellatorum's story as the backdrop, he brings to light invaluable lessons for novice to intermediate investors, fund managers, and entrepreneurs, reminding them of their core responsibilities and fine-tuning their mindsets in the fundamentals of wealth.
Part candid memoir and part what to watch out for manual, "Burning Bellatorum" is a simply riveting real-life story and a handy guide for investors and money managers -- reinforcing and summarizing sensible investment and business practices that readers ought to follow. With the hope of preventing others from making the same mistakes, Chris answers many common "how-to" questions with anecdotes and insights from his journey.
Critique: "Burning Bellatorum: The Story of a Forty Million Dollar Fraud and its Priceless Lessons for Investors and Entrepreneurs" is an astonishing and informative cautionary tale of immense relevance and value for professional and non-professional investors and money managers alike in their attempts to create and preserve wealth, spot corporate management and investment counselor irregularities -- and prevent the kind of frauds that have bankrupted companies and decimated the fortunes of investors ranging because of unwise and pyramid scheme white-collar criminals. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Money/Finance & True Crime collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Burning Bellatroum" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9788985878608, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Health/Medicine Shelf
Mind Your Body, Mind Your Health
9783347556362, $51.54 (Amazon), (25 Euros), PB, 300pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "Mind Your Body, Mind Your Health", author Lena Lanka helps you to find a way through the maze of countless faddish and ultra-specific diets and weight loss programs. Lena draws upon scientific findings to explain how different nutrients affect our bodies -- which ones help us build and which ones cause unpleasant symptoms and illness, or lead to obesity.
With the knowledge gained from reading "Mind Your Body, Mind Your Health", you can decide which path to take towards a healthier, slimmer self. Lena encourages you to experiment and choose for yourself which foods you are willing to eat and which you are ready to give up, after learning about their effects on the body.
A highly informative book, yet easy to read, and interlaced with Lena's own experiences and humor, "Mind Your Body, Mind Your Health" also sheds light on scientific fraud, which has caused millions to suffer by eating themselves sick with 'healthy' foods.
Of special note is the final chapter, which provides an insight into a small but fascinating segment of the history of medicine, a subject that has never been more relevant than it is today. It helps us to understand how we have reached the crisis we are currently in, and what makes the difference between health and disease.
Critique: Exceptionally well written and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Mind Your Body, Mind Your Health" will enable non-specialist general readers to obtain the healthiest version of themselves based upon scientific findings and discoveries. While especially and unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of men and women with an interest in maximizing their health based upon their eating habits, it should be noted for community, college, and university library Health/Medicine/Wellness collections that "Mind Your Body, Mind Your Health" is also available in a hard copy edition (9783347556355, $54.05, Amazon).
A Diet is the Last Thing You Need
Brenda L. Wolfe
9780578950174, $14.95, PB, 242pp
Synopsis: "A Diet is the Last Thing You Need: Weight Loss & Maintenance Answers", by obesity and eating disorders psychologist Brenda L. Wolfe, gives those readers who are frustrated trying to lose weight and are sick of the seemingly endless numbers of special diets an effective DIY blueprint for how to get a handle on their weight without losing their mind.
A compendium of practical advice for real people, and replete with illustrative stories, "A Diet is the Last Thing You Need: Weight Loss & Maintenance Answers" shows how achieving a healthier weight can be painless as Dr. Wolfe explains the small changes that give big results.
"A Diet is the Last Thing You Need: Weight Loss & Maintenance Answers" covers: Building a solid foundation for lasting results; Keeping going even when you lose motivation; Starting maintenance on day one and have it stick; Learning self talk to improve your mood, your behavior, and your weight; Ending stress eaing; Figuring out an exercise plan you can enjoy: Appreciating your body and nourish it well; Protecting children from weight and body image struggles; Getting the facts that get you off the diet roller-coaster; and above all -- Stop dieting!
The underlying message throughout is that after all the energy you have invested in diets that failed you, you deserve the opportunity to do it right!
Critique: Nutritionally and physiologically sound, as well as 'real world' effective, impressively organized and thoroughly 'user friendly' in presentation, "A Diet is the Last Thing You Need: Weight Loss & Maintenance Answers" is an ideal DIY approach to effective weight maintenance and control. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Health/Medicine collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Diet is the Last Thing You Need: Weight Loss & Maintenance Answers" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Editorial Note: Brenda L. Wolfe, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist who has specialized in the study and treatment of obesity and eating disorders for more than 40 years, mastering the ability to translate scientific knowledge into practical guidance. As a result, she has helped countless people achieve their wellness goals.
The Money/Finance Shelf
The Case for Long-Term Value Investing
9780857199478, $39.00, HC, 272pp
Synopsis: Value investing moves in and out of favor, but the data doesn't lie. It has always worked, and will continue to work -- as long as investors apply a value discipline and invest for the long term.
With the publication of "The Case for Long-Term Value Investing", experienced Wall Street pro Jim Cullen presents the eye-opening data that backs this up, explaining how investors can use the value approach for successful investing today, as well as sharing a wealth of fascinating stories from his time on the Street.
The aspiring investor is presented with: The true principles of value investing; Jim's stock-picking method in detail; Inspiring case studies of successful value investments; How to apply the value discipline through practical strategies.
"The Case for Long-Term Value Investing" also includes a concise history of the last 100 years of market history showing just how crazy the market can be -- along with a review of bear markets, recessions, bubbles, melt-ups, interest rates, and much, much more.
Critique: An exceptionally 'user friendly' guide to ultizing the data and strategies that drive stock market success, "The Case for Long-Term Value Investing" is an exceptionally well written, impressively knowledgeable resource for understaning how and why value investing works, how to understand the markets, and how to be a successful investor. While very highly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Stock Marketing Investment & Finance collections, it should be noted that "The Case for Long-Term Value Investing" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $30.00).
Editorial Note: Jim Cullen has almost 60 years of investment experience. He started in 1964 with Merrill Lynch in what was then their new Wall Street office. He later worked with two of Wall Street's top research firms Spencer Trask & Co. and Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette. Cullen founded Schafer Cullen Capital Management in 1984. Based in New York, the advisory firm presently manages approximately $18 billion in assets, and has approximately 40,000 clients in separately managed and mutual fund accounts.
The Parenting Shelf
Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms
9781940310961, $21.99, HC, 212pp
Synopsis: Shawn Simon thought being a stepmom would be easy until her stepdaughter spit on her dog. Then, she decided to make it her mission to meet other stepmoms and hear their stories. Once she did, she felt supported and no longer alone. Sharing those stories became a stepmom support group in writing.
Compiled and presented by Shawn Simon, "Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms" is comprised of true life stories from stepmoms that collectively present tales of inspiration, triumph, tribulations, and joys of being a stepmom.
Critique: Informative, supportive, entertaining, and insightful, "Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms" is a 'must' for anyone taking on the task of step-parenting children of any and all ages. Given the divorce and remarriage rates, that means that "Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms" is an essential and core addition to community library Contemporary Parenting collections. Impressively 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781940310954, $18.99).
Editorial Note: Shawn Simon is a Board Certified Educational Therapist who works with children. Therefore, when she met the man of her dreams, who just happened to come with a couple of kids, she thought being a stepmom would be a breeze. She was wrong. However, as someone born with only one arm, she's learned to overcome obstacles. Thus, she knew she could face the challenges of step-mothering. Shawn is published in the Association of Educational Therapists' Journal and is an award winning inspirational speaker in her field. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two step-kids, three rescue dogs, and one sixteen-year-old cat. Shawn has a website at https://stepmomshawn.com/ and is currently at work on more books for stepfamilies.
The General Fiction Shelf
Chains of Slavery
c/o Wipf and Stock Publishers
9781725288638, $33.00, HC, 176pp
Synopsis: It's 2048, eleven years after America's second revolution. Timothy Delgreco is hopelessly imprisoned in an appalling federal jail. While incarcerated he encounters a wise old man with startling information. "The end began at the beginning with an institution," the elderly sage tells him. "Slavery started a chain of events that caused America to go full circle. Slavery for one group of people produced slavery for all people."
Delgreco's world is turned upside down by what he hears. He learns commonly held perceptions are mostly wrong, many things he'd been taught aren't true, and the prison he lives in goes far beyond the penitentiary walls. Along the way, he discovers mankind's only hope.
Interested readers join with Timothy and the wise old sage as they examine US history from a whole new perspective, learning how the world's freest nation lost its freedoms, and how it was slavery that initiated the process.
Although "Chains of Slavery" by Brian Ridolfi is a work of fiction, its warning about the fragility of democracy is all too real. In its pages the United States' past is revealed, and its future foretold. The chain needs to be broken; if it isn't, the experiment which began in 1776 will end in tyranny not many days from now.
Critique: A not-so-subtle literary introduction to the perils of losing democratic freedoms, "Chains of Slavery" is on par with such epic political novels as "1984" by George Orwell. It is a real life possibility that was made manifest by the events of January 6, 2021 with the storming of the capital and a full out attempt to overthrow the duly elected presidency of Joe Biden, supported by the previous president, Donald J. Trump, and his congressional supporters, as well as a majority of the Republican Party. Simply stated, "Chains of Slavery" should have as wide a readership as possible. While unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction and Political Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Chains of Slavery" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781725288621, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Brian Ridolfi is the Director of Biblical Studies for the Rhema Bible School in London, England. He is the author of two books, "What Does The Bible Say About . . . ? The Ultimate Bible Answer Book" and "Useful Maxims In A World Of Empty Speak".
The Unexpected Danny Green
Paul R. Friedman
9781792373909, $25.00, PB, 383pp
Synopsis: From humble beginnings in Mississippi to New York's famed mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden, Danny Green is destined for greatness in and outside the ring. His personal and professional adventures take him from The Olympic Games in Montreal, to Manhattan's rugged mean streets, Italy's picturesque Amalfi Coast, to the glittering lights of Hollywood.
Critique: An absolute 'must' for the personal reading lists of all sports fiction enthusiasts, "The Unexpected Danny Green" by Paul R. Friedman is an inherently fascinating and compulsive page turner of a novel from cover to cover. A deftly crafted novel that is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Sports Fiction collections, it should be noted that "The Unexpected Danny Green" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Lemons In the Fog
Chaya Rochel Zimmerman
9781614657972, $22.99, HC, 248pp
Synopsis: Meir Rosen is a mature, responsible bachur who's excited to be in a post- high-school yeshivah in Eretz Yisrael -- a year filled with Torah study, visits to the Kosel, and touring ancient sites. But periods of nervous high energy leave Meir anxious and afraid; his bouts of sleepiness and haziness make it hard to focus. After several months of uncertainty, Meir receives a shocking diagnosis. Can he regain his mental health and stability, despite his family's fear and rejection?
Critique: An exceptionally well written, thoughtful and thought-provoking novel, "Lemons in the Fog" by Chaya Rochel Zimmerman is an engagingly entertaining and ultimately uplifting story about overcoming challenges and building life anew. Providing a message of hope and support to anyone dealing with challenging ordeals. "Lemons in the Fog" is highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Contemporary General Fiction collections.
Editorial Note: Chaya Rochel Zimmerman writes novels portraying facets of contemporary Jewish Orthodox life. She is also the author of "The Next Pair of Shoes" (2021). Her literary work serves her as a medium for communal self-reflection. She also maintains a website at http://zimnovels.com
9788985776300, $15.00, PB, 579pp
Synopsis: We all know it's not easy being a 21st century middle-aged, well-educated American with a decent job, no major health issues, no legal or financial problems, and plenty of family and friends. But most of us are pretty short on details. What exactly are the day-to-day challenges, not to mention the innermost mental and emotional processes, of folks struggling through this existence?
With the publication of "Revolution", author David Dorrough attempts to illuminate these mysteries, and many more as well, by delving deeply into the lives of several such people as they laugh, cry, love, and hate.
Appreciative readers will share in their sweet triumphs and their devastating failures, as well as ride along with them as they courageously press onward, learning and growing, facing immense obstacles, rising up, finding a way, charting a course, chasing their dreams -- all against the backdrop of Los Angeles, California.
Critique: Simply stated, "Revolution" by David Dorrough is one of those rare novels 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. Showing a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling that makes for remarkable and award winning literary fiction, Dorrough's "Revolution" is especially impressive when considering that it is the author's debut as a novelist. Unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary General Fiction, Urban Fiction, and Satire/Humor Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Revolution" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
That Other God
9780915317028, $25.00, PB, 330pp
Synopsis: "That Other God" by David Beasley is the story of an American poet and mystic who sets out with single-minded determination to unite the peoples of the earth through meditation, telepathy, and the collective subconscious and to bring them to the knowledge of the one true God of humanity.
He finds unlikely help from an English artist, a Turkish dervish, and an Austrian governmental bureaucrat. For a time, the mystic and his friends succeed, and the world knows peace and spiritual joy until the failings of human nature undo the promise. As the story unfolds, the reader is challenged to question what lies at the core of the spiritual degeneration of our time.
Critique: A deftly crafted work of metaphysical fiction the includes such elements as mysticism, telepathy, collective unconscious, sufism, and global humanism, "That Other God" is extraordinary, entertaining, thought-provoking, and original work of fiction that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library collections.
Editorial Note: David R. Beasley writes and publishes books under his imprint Davus Publishing and was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his writings. There is a website dedicated to his work at https://www.davuspublishing.com/EN/about.php
Down to the River
Anne Whitney Pierce
Regal House Publishing
9781646031887, $19.95, PB, 338pp
Synopsis: "Down to the River" by Anne Whitney Pierce is a family saga set in the late 1960s in Cambridge, Massachusetts and takes place against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.
Twin brothers, Nash and Remi Potts, have grown up as entitled, Harvard-educated, golden boys, heirs to an old, but dwindling family fortune. With the passage of time, the gold veneer of prosperity begins to chip away, and their lives begin to falter. We meet Remi and Nash in 1968, in their mid-forties and partners in a sporting goods store in Harvard Square.
The twins' marriages are in trouble. Their youngest children, Chickie and Hen (mistakes, they're often called….), are coming of age during the turbulent urban wilderness of the late 1960s with school bomb threats, racial tensions, war protests and demonstrations at Harvard and beyond. With all hell breaking loose at home, and any semblance of "parenting" hanging ragged in the wind, the two cousins are left largely to their own devices.
Suddenly freed from old rules and restrictions, they head out onto the streets of Cambridge, which become their concrete playground, tumbling headlong into a world of politics, sex, drugs, rock and roll.
Critique: A finely crafted historical family life novel set in the decade whose anthem was the cry of sex, drugs & rock 'n roll, "Down To The River" showcases author Anne Whitney Pierce as a inherently gifted and impressively skilled novelist who pays attention to historical detail and the creation of naturally interesting characters and situations. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Down To The River" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Anne Whitney Pierce is a life-long Cantabrigian and the author of two books, Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women (1993) and Rain Line (2000). She has also taught writing in the WLP graduate Writing Program at Emerson College. She has her own website at https://www.annewhitneypierce.com
The Historical Fiction Shelf
A Coat Dyed Black
Don Pugnetti Jr.
Legacy House Press
9781737595304, $24.95, HC, 310pp
Synopsis: Bjorn Erliksen lives a peaceful life on Norway's west coast and has never considered himself anything but a farmer. But when Nazi Germany invades, and his country's ill-equipped military collapses in less than two months, it falls on him and other ordinary Norwegians to fight back.
He escapes to England, trains with an elite Norwegian special forces army unit, and is smuggled back into his homeland as a commando. When Bjorn's resistance work eventually reunites him with a lost love, they join forces to carry out dangerous sabotage missions, all the while working in the shadows to evade the Gestapo. He weighs love against duty, wrestling with his own conscience as he is forced to commit unspeakable acts and unexpected betrayals. Can Bjorn survive long enough to see Norway's liberation and find his own peace?
Critique: The mark of a good writer of historical fiction is serious attention to authenticity and details in the story's background against which the characters and plot take place. With the publication of "A Coat Dyed Black", the narrative storytelling skills of Don Pugnetti Jr. as a novelist clearly demonstrated -- giving the reader an inherently fascinating entertainment. Of particular interest to fans of World War II based historical fiction, "A Coat Dyed Black" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Coat Dyed Black" is also available in a paperback edition (9781737595311, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
Editorial Note: Don Pugnetti Jr. has had a decades-long career in journalism, public relations, and public affairs, including eighteen years as a newspaper reporter and editor. He has served as policy advisor and speechwriter for a statewide elected official and has taught newswriting and communications at the university level. He has a website at: https://www.donpugnettijr.com
The Literary Fiction Shelf
In the Heart of the Garden Is a Tomb
9788985740707, $11.95, PB, 208pp
Synopsis: "In the Heart of the Garden Is a Tomb" is an anthology of haunted people. There's Wash Greavor and his friends, lost on backwoods logging trails, who stumble on an ancient graveyard where a monstrous sentry from long ago awaits them.
Then there's Corbin Grimwood and his new gun. It hums in his hand like a can full of bees. It brings him a feeling of protection and invincibility. Suddenly, he's become a man of action. But as the old Corbin slips away, the new one is left wondering: at what point do our possessions come to possess us?
And Shelly Loomis, there's a case for you: reduced to a shell of her former self by a frightful occurrence that has completely undone the mental balance of her best friend, and threatens her sanity as well if she doesn't take drastic action.
Then there's Rhoda Beekman, who collides head-on with a truck. She's lucky to be alive, but not so lucky to find she's now sharing her body with two other beings. There's the old grifter who sells human skulls to the bereaved; the fading actor whose yearning to hang on to fame will come at the cost of a fellow actor's life; the bachelor farmer grappling with a legacy of evil.
And there are the others. Lost souls seeking a way out. But there's no escaping the bitter truth that awaits us all in the heart of the garden.
Critique: With the publication of "In the Heart of the Garden Is a Tomb" author Joe Pawlowski reveals himself to be a master of the short story form and has a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling called 'magical realism'. Each cleverly crafted and horrific tale is a literary gem. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Literary Fiction and Horror Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "In the Heart of the Garden Is a Tomb" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Editorial Note: Joe Pawlowski is a retired journalist, a secular Buddhist, a major Beatles fan, a vegan, and a lifelong student of classic horror and supernatural literature. He has a website at http://joepawlowskiauthor.com/index.html
K. R. Byggdin
Enfield & Wizenty
9781773370736, $16.95, PB, 176pp
Synopsis: Twenty-seven-year-old Isaac Funk is broke, drifting, and questioning his lonely existence on the East Coast. Having left his conservative hometown of Newfield, Manitoba full of piss and vinegar, Isaac's dreams of studying music and embracing queer culture in Halifax have gradually fizzled out. When his grandfather dies and leaves him a substantial inheritance, Isaac is pulled back to the Prairies for the first time in ten years. Finding his father Abe just as enigmatic and unreachable as always and his extended family more fragmented than ever, Isaac begins to wonder if there will ever be a place for him in Newfield. Is the prodigal son home for good, or is it time to cut and run once more?
Critique: Some writers seem to have an inborn affinity and genuine flare for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that quickly engages their reader's rapt attention and doesn't let go until the very last page is read. All of which is even more impressive when considering that "Wonder World" is K. R. Byggdin's debut as a published author -- and they prove to be just such a talented novelist. A masterpiece of literary fiction and readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99), "Wonder World" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.
Editorial Note: K.R. Byggdin grew up on the Prairies and now lives on the East Coast. They are currently completing studies in English Literature and Creative Writing at Dalhousie University, and their stories have appeared in anthologies and literary journals including The Antigonish Review and Grain. Wonder World is their first novel.
9781771338981, $22.95, PB, 300pp
Synopsis: "A poem is never finished, only abandoned," wrote Paul ValÈry, an outcome echoed in the ten year on/off extramarital affair between Katharine, a film editor and Naomi, a lesbian poet.
Author Melanie Mitzner's novel "Slow Reveal" is set in New York in the 90s, where an when art, addiction and family dysfunction culminate in Katharine's attempt to reconcile her marriage. But when her love for the poet prevails, she must face confrontations with her two grown daughters, an artist and a writer mired in addiction.
Art is front and center in the novel. The precariousness of the artistic process is as risky, messy, and unpredictable as building intimacy and trust in love. Devotion and commitment are not the guard rails that keep a work or relationship on track but rather a form of entrapment..
Criteria: Deftly crafted and all the more impressive considering that"Slow Reveal" is author "Melanie Mitzner's debut as a novelist, the complex story will have specially appeal to readers who enjoy the kind of originality and narrative driven literary that comprises this tale of precarious love and loss of inherently fascinating relationships. While highly recommended for community library Literary Fiction collections, "Slow Reveal" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).
Editorial Note: Melanie Mitzner is a Montreal/New York writer. She is also an Edward Albee Fellow and a finalist in four fiction and screenwriting competitions. A former journalist and publicist in tech/broadcasting and co-founder of The Groovy Mind, Melanie's work focuses on political, social and environmental justice. There is also a website featuring her work at https://www.melaniemitzner.com
9781736403327, $18.00, PB, 279pp
Synopsis: Danny is an underemployed transient who drifts from New York City, the East Coast, and through the American West seeking itinerant work where work is available -- in places such as factories and canneries, constructions sites and fishing boats, a fry shack and on an auction-house floor. Danny, often cold and hungry, sometimes drunk, and always struggling to survive, tries to avoid becoming just one more "shuffler". Along the way, he learns about resilience and fortitude from the usually invisible characters who populate the fringes of our world.
"Shufflers" by Frank Haberle is comprised of 48 deftly interwoven short stories set in a minimum wage America of the 1980s -- a time where opportunities are few and situations are precarious. Sometimes funny but always honest, "Shufflers" is a kind of grand tour of a world in which no one hopes to travel, a world we see just out of the corner of our eyes.
Critique: A masterpiece of literary fiction by an author with a genuine flair for a truly engaging originality, "Shufflers" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Urban Fiction and Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Shufflers" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Frank Haberle is the author short stories that have won awards from Pen Parentis, Beautiful Loser Magazine, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and (most recently) the 2021 Rose Warner Prize for Fiction. Frank works professionally as a nonprofit development writer, and volunteers as a workshop leader for the NY Writers Coalition. He has his own website at https://frankhaberle.com
A Collection of Short Stories & Poems
Gary E. Smith
9781662919602, $38.00, HC, 260pp
Synopsis: As identified by its title, "A Collection of Short Stories & Poems" by Gary E. Smith is a book of short stories and poems reflecting and drawn from everyday human emotional experiences. A compendium of eloquent, elegant, and memorable stories of profound loss, great friendships, growing old with a dog, of going to war, and of deep romantic love, "A Collection of Short Stories & Poems" is one of those rare collections that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf.
Critique: Previously known as an author of mystery/suspense fiction, with the publication of "A Collection of Short Stories & Poems", Gary E. Smith demonstrates his mastery of the short story format and his linguistic skills as a poet. While also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.00), "A Collection of Short Stories & Poems" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.
The Romantic Fiction Shelf
Teach Me Tonight
9788419808638, $13.99, PB, 326pp
Synopsis: Lily Caldwell loves her job as a junior high school language arts teacher. It doesn't hurt that her classroom is right across the hall from her handsome, charming coworker Trey. While she enjoys his friendship, she hides her attraction to him for a variety of reasons, and she's determined to keep it that way.
Trey Garrison enjoys his job as a math teacher even if it makes him sound nerdy. He also likes his pretty coworker across the hall and interacts with her every chance he gets. Lily is sweet and friendly, but she keeps her distance, and he's dying to know why.
One conversation changes everything as Lily tells Trey about her friend's upcoming wedding at a popular ski resort. It should be fun, but she's standing up in the wedding with Collin, her controlling ex-boyfriend, and wishes she had a date. She never expected Trey to volunteer or to play her "fake boyfriend" to prove to Collin that she's moved on.
Trey can't wait to spend more time with Lily. He excitedly prepares "lesson plans" to pull off their ruse. However, he hasn't accounted for everything, including falling in love.
Critique: A sweet, sexy, deftly crafted, and impressively entertaining novel of friendship and romance, "Teach Me Tonight" launches a 'Love Lessons' series by veteran romance novelist Susan Coventry. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated fans or memorable romance novels that "Teach me Tonight" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Editorial Note: Susan Coventry is the author of over twenty-five contemporary romance novels including multiple romance series. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, puzzling, and walking her lovable Labradoodle. She can also be followed her on Facebook, Instagram, BookBub, and Goodreads, and she has her own website at https://www.susancoventry.org
Of Dreams and Angels
9781777534608, $23.99, PB, 598pp
Synopsis: Joe Riley has a successful, by-design life in the world of finance. He loves order, discipline, the tangible, the measurable. In pursuit of success he's spurned attachment, keeping romantic entanglements "on an island" -- leaving his life and heart invulnerable. When he begins to dream of a woman half a world away he's never encountered, his notions of practicality and planning are called into question.
In a search that variously brings him to the psychologist's office, a medium's table, and from the Rocky Mountains to the streets of London, England, Joe begins to fall for the woman of his dreams. In the process, he's beset by innumerable questions: Is he going mad? Might she actually exist? If so, why does he see through her eyes? Why is he party to visions that are either the greatest privacy invasion of all time, or a possible cosmic match in the making?
In the quest for answers, Joe confronts the deeper questions that assail most of us who dare open our hearts: Will I be enough? Will they love me when it stops being easy? Will they stay? Will they sweep me up, just to watch me fall?
Critique: An exploration of relinquishing fear and embracing the unknown, "Of Dreams and Angels" is an original, erudite, entertaining, and inherently fascinating read from first page to last. All the more impressive when considering that this is the author's debut as a novelist, "Of Dreams and Angels" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Romance collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated romance fans that "Of Dreams and Angels" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.49).
Editorial Note: A lover of words, writing love stories, "Of Dreams and Angels" was inspired in part by a dream that led Jared Morrison to the love of his life -- Erin Skye Kelly. Jared has a website at www.jaredmorrison.ca and can be followed on Instagram @jaredwrites
Judith Hale Everett
9781736067567, $15.99, PB, 364pp
Synopsis: Captain Geoffrey Mantell has returned after years on the Peninsula to find a wife, but none of the unmarried society ladies he meets quite grasp what he's been through as a soldier. Only Miss Emily Chandry, the unfortunate daughter of the miser next door, seems to understand him completely, but though the hours they spend together are the happiest of his life, he does not think of her as more than his childhood playfellow.
Only after his regiment is recalled to the Continent to fight the horrific battle of Waterloo does Geoffrey at last see the truth, realizing that Emily is the only one for him. He comes back to England after the war to claim her hand, but he is too late --- Emily is lost to him, the wife of a stranger who does not seem to care for more than her social connections.
Reeling from this turn of events, Geoffrey must try to move on, but Emily's situation will continue to haunt him until a mystery surrounding her late father opens up opportunities to change her fate, and he can only hope that his love for her will not drive him to go too far.
Critique: A superbly crafted, engagingly entertaining, and memorable work of historical romance, "Forlorn Hope" by novelist Judith Hale Everett is the third volume of her simply outstanding 'The Branwell Chronicles' series and will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated romance fiction fans that "Forlorn Hope" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Editorial Note: Judith Hale Everett is one of seven sisters, and grew up surrounded by romance novels. Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen were staples, and formed the groundwork for her lifelong love affair with the Regency. Add to that her obsession with the English language and you've got one hopelessly literate romantic. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or at her website at www.judithhaleeverett.com
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
As You Look
9781642473445, $17.95, PB, 228pp
Synopsis: Former LAPD cop-turned private investigator Yolanda Ávila blames herself for her mother's death. If she'd only followed her cop instincts instead of the juju (her random prophetic dreams) the perpetrator would have been off the streets and her mother would still be alive. The only salve against her guilt is Yolanda's vow to reject that juju crap, and to solve cases using only good solid detective work.
But when her godson is kidnapped and his parents are suspected of murder, Yolanda finds herself caught between what she feels and what she knows. And with the escalation of the case comes the escalation of her dreams. Until she can no longer ignore their importance.
If she wants to overcome the guilt and deal with her pent-up grief, Yolanda must confront the juju and learn to trust its place in her life. If she doesn't, she risks losing yet another loved one. And she can't possibly let that happen.
Critique: A finely crafted 'whodunnit' private eye style mystery, "As You Look" showcases author Veronica Gutierrez's remarkable talent for creating memorable characters, embedding them into an inherently compelling plot, and creating a gem of a read for dedicated fans of mystery and suspense. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "As You Look" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Veronica Gutierrez is a former community organizer, civil rights attorney, municipal employee, non-profit leader, and corporate executive. She draws from years of experience in those worlds for her writing. Veronica also published My Little Black Cocktail Book, a journal to organize her research and help others do the same. Some of the recipes she collects make it into her writing.
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
After The Silence
Ad Longe Publishing
9781737874539, $28.99, HC, 352pp
Synopsis: "Where is everybody?" is the question that became known as Fermi's Paradox. In 1950 the physicist Enrico Fermi asked this question while discussing the possibility of extraterrestrial civilizations. People reasoned that an advanced civilization able to travel at only a fifth the speed of light would be able to colonize the galaxy in a million years. Our Milky Way Galaxy is more than 13,000 million years old. On Earth, after its surface cooled from molten lava to solid rock, only a tiny part of its present age was needed for the first life to appear. And there are billions of planets in the Galaxy where a similar story could play out, time and place enough for many vast civilizations to have come and gone -- and some to still exist.
Fermi asked, mightn't one expect to see some sign of alien civilizations - stray radio signals, hints of Dyson Swarms around other stars, and indeed, why not passing travelers? But there was and continues to be nothing. This has been called the Great Silence.
As it happens, timing is everything. When the Great Silence finally ended - when the question of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence was finally dispelled with the first contact from an alien civilization of staggering advancement and age, humanity faced the most extraordinary surprises in all its history. "After The Silence" by novelist David Loschke is a story of those surprises and challenges that began for Earth's billions and four friends in particular on New Year's Day 2052 - anno Nuntii - the year of the message.
Critique: Original and deftly crafted with a laudable attention to detail, "After The Silence" by author David Loschke is a fully entertaining and at the same time quite thoughtful and thought-provoking read from cover to cover that will be of special interest to anyone with an affinity science fiction First Contact, Genetic Engineering, and Hard Science stories. While also available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9781737874515, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.49), "After The Silence" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections.
The Legend of Pedestrio
9788985392609, $16.95, PB, 312pp
Synopsis: Gather 'round, folks! My name is Abner, and I aim to spin you a yarn concerning a stolen hat, a backcountry tracker, and a legendary nomad who wanders the Earth by day and the sky at night.
The tracker is my friend Vern. You'll like him, though he's a mite shy. Tell you true, I don't recall the last time he showed his face Town Side. He's more at home roaming the wild spaces beyond where the last trail ends. Still and all, from the moment we discovered that impossible footprint out there among the swaddle bushes, I reckon Vern just had to meet the man who made it. Vern knows more about slick-fingered hornswoggles and five-legged catawampuses than anyone I know, but he can't talk to the rocks, the birds, and the trees the way Pedestrio can.
'Course, tracking Pedestrio brought us to the attention of the Old Ones, and that's when the adventure turned perilous. The Old Ones can rain fireballs down from the sky. They can erase the world, if They want to. You think the Great Empty Desert made itself? But Vern doesn't quit, and me... well, I really wanted that hat back.
Yes indeed, Wild Side is a land full of stories ... but beware the tales that unexpectedly come to life.
Critique: "The Legend of Pedestrio" is an impressively unique, wonderfully entertaining, extraordinarily unique novel of fantasy and humor that reads like being at the feet of a veteran storyteller. The imaginative and narrative driven storytelling style is put to very good use. "The Legend of Pedestrio" is so special that it will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Legend of Pedestrio" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Abner Serd is an itinerant storyteller and self-proclaimed supervisor of sunrises. He spends much of his time roaming the wilderness in search of new tales to tell. He has his own website at http: //www.abnerserd.com
The Christian Studies Shelf
God's Love for You: A Pictorial Devotional
Carolyn Begley Daley
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480896536, $42.95 PB, 112pp
Synopsis: As Christians, although we cannot see God, we find His handiwork in the written text of the Bible and in the beauty of nature inspires and comforts us. Through these things, we can refresh our souls and find peace.
"God's Love for You: A Pictorial Devotional" by Carolyn Begley Daley combines Bible verses with photographs to foster a spiritual growth and enhance a deeper understanding of scripture for members of the Christian community. The photographs can help us remember the associated Bible verses, and together they will flood our soul and remain in our memory as ever-constant reminders of God's great love for us.
"God's Love for You: A Pictorial Devotional" will inspire us to search for the beauty of God's Word and the beauty of His creation. To seek Him in our gardens, the landscape around us, the joys of innocent children, or the smiles of strangers. To cherish our lives and as the giver of our life. We are each of use unique. There is no one like use. Therefore we can bloom where ever we are planted -- just as the flowers do.
"God's Love for You: A Pictorial Devotional" is collection, intended to serve as a daily devotional book, blending Bible study and images of nature and family to provide an uplifting and comforting reminder of God's love.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, and a book to come back to time and time again, "God's Love for You: A Pictorial Devotional" is especially and unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted that "God's Love for You: A Pictorial Devotional" is also available in a paperback edition (9781480896529, $32.95 / $16.60 Amazon) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Editorial Note: Carolyn Begley Daley has served on the boards of several charitable organizations and has served in leadership roles in those organizations. She and her husband, Gil, have taught Bible study and Sunday School for several years.
Your Best Life Later
Vision Group, Ltd.
9781951648077, $39.99, HC, 406pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "Your Best Life Later", Andy McQuitty offers what every parent intent on raising serious Christ-followers needs to know and to pass along to their children.
Open the pages of this journal and enhance your spiritual maturity in walking with God through daily Bible study and prayer that refreshes the soul, keeps your life anchored, and stayed on Jesus, the Vine, so you'll bear fruitfulness and ensure your best life later.
Spiritual maturity is for those who "Watch daily at My Doors" (Proverbs 8:34). This is what these devotional journal entries are all about. If there was ever a time to watch daily at God's Doors, it is now, as we watch the world around us engulfed in fear change right in front of us.
Each journal is presented as a daily devotional for edification, inspiration, and perseverance to jumpstart the daily discipline needed to spend time with God, in His Word, and in prayer. Imagine these journals were written to you personally and pass these Godly messages along to your children as part of your legacy and their heritage from a Godly parent. It will ensure you live your best life later.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, informed and informative, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, Andy McQuitty's "Your Best Life Later" is especially recommended to the attention of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations and wanting to raise their children up in the accordance with biblical principles and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Randy Hartley, et al.
9781949784602, $17.99, PB, 206pp
Synopsis: Even when we find ourselves in the deepest, darkest valley, God goes with us. Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness.
Through the transformational, real-life journey of a suburban family in Tennessee, we get a view through the eyes of a loving father witnessing his once joyful and carefree daughter enduring a season of destructive rebellion.
In the same neighborhood, a Rwandan family, who immigrated to America after escaping the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, seeks answers to questions about their home country.
In a search of restoration and reconciliation, the two families find themselves halfway around the world in Murambi, Rwanda.
"Beautifully Broken: The Story of Two Fathers Fighting to Save Their Families and the Unlikely Journey that Changed Them Both" is a vulnerable account of the miraculous intertwining of two families who, through divine connection and the Lord's providence, found healing in their brokenness and pain.
With the publication of "Beautifully Broken", the authors masterfully present their witness to the deep issues trauma leaves behind, and the power of unfathomable love & liberating forgiveness. Through the heartwarming story of a father fighting to save his daughter and the hope-filled story of a family narrowly escaping genocide, you will be reminded of God's faithfulness and His ability to bring good from any painful past.
Critique: "Beautifully Broken: The Story of Two Fathers Fighting to Save Their Families and the Unlikely Journey that Changed Them Both" memorably illustrates the redeeming nature of the Savior. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), and now a major motion picture (the movie Beautifully Broken is available on DVD or can be digitally streamed at Amazon.com), this inherently interesting, inspiring, and remarkable true life story is especially recommended reading for all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations.
Editorial Note: Randy Hartley serves as Chairman of Legacy Mission Village, the refugee ministry founded by Wiliam and Ebralie Mwizerwa. William and Ebralie Mwizerwa are founders of Legacy Mission Village, a refugee services ministry based in Nashville, TN. The ministry has helped thousands of refugees from all over the world to successfully integrate into American society. The Mwizerwas are themselves refugees from Rwanda. William and Ebralie have five children -- Aimee, Myriam, Moses, Tim, and David. Ken Abraham joins the authors as a co-writer for the book. Fifteen of the books that Ken has collaborated on have appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list, with three titles reaching the number one position.
9781733102360, $24.99, HC, 192pp
Synopsis: His unstable childhood and an anger-fueled bipolar disorder led Jason Hollen to a deep dive into drugs, alcohol, and violence. As a teen, his downward spiral led to numerous stays in juvenile detention and treatment centers. Jason faced one health challenge after another and knows now that some were the result of medicating his way toward a quick fix.
Until a glimpse of redemption entered his life when future wife Kristyn began to influence and redirect him toward another path and a slow climb out of his addictions. His new business provided a generous six-figure income that fueled a cocaine habit. A battle raged between his addictions and the family he held dear. Only one could win.
Everything changed on one fateful day when he asked himself, "What else could go wrong?" That "what" became the ultimate turning point in his life and reignited his faith in God.
Critique: A candid memoir of a life-time struggle involving psychological impairment, drug addiction, alcoholism, violence and adolescent incarceration, "Spiraling Upward" is also the story of how a woman and a faith made healing and redemption possible for Jason Hollen. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, and also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "Spiraling Upward" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library American Biography collections and the personal lists for readers with an interest in Christian Personal Growth.
Editorial Note: Jason Hollen is a survivor. He's overcome numerous challenges in his life and now thrives on the victorious side. He's made it his mission to see others taste that victory as well. Hollen created Spiraling Ministries to bring hope and redemption to those suffering from mental health diagnoses, addiction, and even cancer. As an author, speaker, and podcaster, Hollen delivers an authentic and practical message. As an entrepreneur, he oversees a thriving construction business and resides in suburban Houston with his wife Kristyn and two children.
The Biography Shelf
Ronald G. Levi Jr.
9781735880556, $21.95, HC, 285pp
Synopsis: For an adopted person, the journey to find biological family members can be a an emotional roller-coaster ride of peaks, valleys, unexpected twists and hairpin turns. The surprisingly rare phenomenon of adoption is as unique as every child, parent and family experiencing it. Until now, no memoir has so artfully described the difficulty abandoned children known as foundlings face when trying to find their genetic truth or the thrill they experience upon finally coming face to face with their 'spitting image'. Adoptive parents, genetic families and everyone seeking unanswered truths, or hiding from them will be encouraged and entertained by this remarkable true story.
One bright summer afternoon on weekend errands with his mother, 10-year-old Ronald's faint suspicions that he is adopted are confirmed by his mother's careful, well-practiced announcement of the truth. As a child whose appearance is close enough to that of his extended African American adoptive family, he has always felt a part of them, but now things make a little more sense, and a 40-year odyssey of seeking his genetic truth is triggered. The formative years of spiritual training by his Baptist minister grandfather return to steady him as he is confronted by startling revelations of his birth-parents' past and his abandonment at a Detroit hospital shortly after birth.
"Spitting Image: A Foundling's Memoir of Faith and Gratitude " by Ronald G. Levi Jr. is a sweeping saga spanning hundreds of years that results in the creation of one unique human being who against all odds survives them to deliver a message of faith and great hope.
Critique: A combination memoir and social commentary, "Spitting Image: A Foundling's Memoir of Faith and Gratitude" is an inherently fascinating and deeply personal account of one man's journey to discovering and coming to terms with his genetic heritage as well as his experienced and supportive family life as an adopted son. A truly memorable account, "Spitting Image: A Foundling's Memoir of Faith and Gratitude" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Biography collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of those with an interest in adoption, trans-racial parenting, and the social implications of genetic genealogy that "Spitting Image: A Foundling's Memoir of Faith and Gratitude" is also available in a paperback edition (9781735880501, $16.95), and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Editorial Note: Ronald Levi is a family historian, genetic genealogist, and certified Project Management Professional who has helped hundreds of researchers build family trees and interpret their own DNA test results. He is also the co-founder and president of the non-profit Louisa Harvard Foundation. He has a website at www.ronaldlevi.com
The Military Shelf
Eagles, Ravens, and Other Birds of Prey
9788423330606, $25.99, HC, 416pp
Synopsis: In January 1973, the United States Air Force (USAF) concluded operations against North Vietnam in seeming disarray. With heavy losses to tactical aircraft and B-52s during Operations Linebacker I and II, the USAF's conventional capabilities were at their nadir. Instead of a potent sword protecting the West against Communist aggression, the Air Force appeared to be an obsolescent weapon to be shattered by new, potent Soviet air defense weaponry.
In January 1991, the USAF spearheaded the Coalition's air attack on KARI, the Iraqi Integrated Air Defense System. Considered by contemporary analysts to be the most effective air defense system outside that of the Soviet Union, planners expected KARI to exact heavy casualties. Instead, in less than ten days, Coalition forces shattered KARI and prevented it from overseeing any organized defense. Indeed, so complete was the Coalition air force dominance that the Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) chose to flee to Iran, their bitter enemy, rather than face certain destruction on the ground.
This journey from near irrelevance to triumph did not occur by accident. Air Force military and civilian leaders made a controversial choice: accept hostile air defenses as priority targets equal in importance to manufacturing centers, military formations, or political leadership.
With the publication of "Eagles, Ravens, and Other Birds of Prey: A History of USAF Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) Doctrine, 1973-1991", James Young reveals how this chain of decisions both helped win the Cold War and culminated in the greatest American aerial victory since 1945.
Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Eagles, Ravens, and Other Birds of Prey: A History of USAF Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) Doctrine, 1973-1991" is an invaluable and unreservedly recommended contribution to community, college, and university library the 20th Century American Military Airforce history collections and supplemental studies curriculums. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, dedicated military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Eagles, Ravens, and Other Birds of Prey: A History of USAF Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) Doctrine, 1973-1991" is also available in a paperback edition (9788423221218, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Editorial Note: Dr. James Young is an airpower historian, aviation enthusiast and military analyst. His writing credits include the USNI's 2016 Cyberwarfare Essay Contest, articles in Armor, The Journal of Military History, Marine Corps University Press Expeditions, and USNI Proceedings. In addition to his historical work and the critically acclaimed Usurper's War-series, he has collaborated with authors Sarah Hoyt, S.M. Stirling, and David Weber.
James A. Cox
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