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Public Speaking Super Powers
Author Academy Elite
9781640853331, $23.95, HC, 282pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Three out of every four people suffer from speech anxiety, and research suggests that people who don't confront and overcome that fear are less successful in their careers and lives. However, people often look at successful speakers as superheroes with superpowers they, as mere mortals, could never possess.
Drawing from extensive research and interviews with business and professional speakers, "Public Speaking Super Powers" by Carma Spence will show how to: Turn public speaking fear on its ear; Develop the skills needed to be a success on the stage' Master techniques like a superhero speaker.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Public Speaking Super Powers" is a complete, comprehensive, thoroughly 'user friendly', and ideal do-it-yourself instructional guide, reference and resource for anyone seeking to communicate their message in public and before any number of people under any circumstance with complete confidence. While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Public Speaking Super Powers" is also available in a paperback edition (9781640853324, $19.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
The Influential Author
Gregory V. Diehl
9781945884665, $34.99, HC, 436pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "The Influential Author: How and Why to Write, Publish, and Sell Nonfiction Books that Matter", Gregory V. Diehl draws upon his experience as an educator and entrepreneur, to show aspiring writers how to turn their unique messages into profitable books without sacrificing royalties or creative control to a publisher.
With in-depth advice about all stages of book creation, publication, and marketing, "The Influential Author" takes a uniquely grounded and intellectual approach to nonfiction self-publishing. Unlike self-publishing guides that promise to teach how to write a bestselling book quickly and easily, "The Influential Author" goes through the complex details of planning, writing, editing, and promoting a written work at the standards of traditional publishing.
Whether an experienced writer or someone who has just started thinking about how to write a nonfiction book, "The Influential Author" shows how to: Combining your passions and experience with reader demand to decide what book to write; Organizing your knowledge into sections and chapters for maximum comprehension and flow; Refining your book with feedback from editors, proofreaders, beta readers, and market testing; Choosing a title, subtitle, description, and cover design that capture your message and create sales; Pricing and promoting each format of your book (digital, print, and audio) for maximum readership and revenue; Enjoying lifelong passive income, influence, and meaning from your book's success.
Critique: Every year there is at least one book that is a 'must read' for the aspiring writer seeking to have their manuscript become a book, and their book become successful. This year that 'how to' manual is Gregory V. Diel's "The Influential Author: How and Why to Write, Publish, and Sell Nonfiction Books that Matter". Diel covers all the bases and does so in a distinctively 'real world' practical manner that is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. Of special note is an appendix of Resources.
A complete and comprehensive course that should be a part of every community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing instructional reference and resource collections, it should be noted for the personal reading of aspiring (and seasoned!) writer on non-fiction that "The Influential Author" is also available in a paperback edition (9781945884658, $29.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Money/Finance Shelf
Living a Starbucks Lifestyle on a Dunkin' Donuts Budget
9781794261396, $5.99, PB, 50pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Millennials (broadly defined here as those in their 20s and 30s) want to enjoy the best things in life as much as everyone else. Yet, their earning potential is typically less than those of older generations .
Frequently saddled with high student loan debt, Millennials need to find ways to live large on a small budget. This concise guide will show how to enjoy the finer things in life for less. And it all starts with coffee!
"Living a Starbucks Lifestyle on a Dunkin' Donuts Budget: A Millennial's Guide to Getting the Most Out of Life Without Breaking the Bank" provides valuable advice and tips on everything from luxury apartments to hotels and cruise, cars, clothing, restaurants, spas, and more.
"Living a Starbucks Lifestyle on a Dunkin' Donuts Budget" is a guaranteed 'how to' guide will show how to experience luxury at a bargain.
Critique: From dealing with airport lounges, trips to Disney World, Department Stories and Outlets, "Living a Starbucks Lifestyle on a Dunkin' Donuts Budget" is a cornucopia of 'real world practical' advice on how to get the biggest bang for a buck. While specifically intended for struggling Millennials, folks of all age (and financial) groups will find this instructive and exceptionally well organized and presented guide to be the best six dollar investment they will every make in their lives! Highly recommended for community, college, and university library Money/Finance Management collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Living a Starbucks Lifestyle on a Dunkin' Donuts Budget" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Biography Shelf
Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story
Herbie J. Pilato
Jacobs Brown Media Group
9780999507841, $39.95, HC, 440pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Two years ago on January 25, 2017, the world lost Mary Tyler Moore at age 80.
Her many awards include two Emmys and a Golden Globe for her role as Laura Petrie in the 1960s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, and three Emmys, plus a second Golden Globe, as Mary Richards in her 1970s hit series The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Moore also won an Emmy for the 1993 TV movie Stolen Babies. In 1980, she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the Robert Redford-directed drama, Ordinary People.
But for fans of Mary Tyler Moore, the characters she played are paramount. The Mary Tyler Moore Show, premiering in September 1970, made her a symbol and role model for the Women's Movement. Her portrayal of an independent working woman challenged traditional women's roles in television. First Lady Michelle Obama said about the character Mary Richards: She wasn't married; she wasn't looking to get married; at no point did the series end in a happy ending with her finding a husband which seemed to be the course you had to take as a woman.
A decade before, Moore's role as Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show confronted conventional TV wives and moms through her assertiveness, as well as the chemistry between her and Van Dyke. Moore said, We brought romance to comedy, and, yes, Rob and Laura had sex!
While celebrating her life and career, "Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story" also explores in-depth her personal and professional struggles and triumphs. It narrates the many TV and film productions, stage plays, and personal appearances that spanned her 50-plus-year-career.
This new biography aptly delineates as never before Moore's issues with childhood sexual abuse; alcoholism; diabetes; cosmetic surgery; her near-obsessive love for animals; her troubled personal relationships with parents and spouses, as well as the tragic deaths of her son, her brother, and sister; and difficulties with a few of her co-stars, such as Rose Marie (from The Dick Van Dyke Show).
In covering the gamut of Moore's personal and professional life, this new biography features exclusive interviews with many of her co-stars, including Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Larry Matthews, and the late Carol Channing, plus recollections from several writer/producers who worked on many of her television productions. Among these is journalist and breast-cancer survivor Betty Rollin, whom Moore portrayed in the groundbreaking 1978 TV biopic, First You Cry. Despite her personal challenges, Mary Tyler Moore achieved a level of stardom and lasting admiration experienced by few.
Critique: "Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story" is a new Mary Tyler Moore biography, replete with never-before revealed insights from those who knew and worked with the celebrated actress, is being published on anniversary of her passing. An absolute 'must read' for the legions of Mary Tyler Moore fans, "Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story" by writer/producer Herbie J. Pilato will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mary: The Mary Tyler Moore Story" is also available in a paperback edition (9780999507858, $34.95).
9781513639222 $18.95 amazon.com
Synopsis: Bob Kunkel grew up in a large, Catholic family on a dairy farm in central Minnesota. Although he was older than some draftees, at 22, he was still young and relatively innocent. But not for long.
Kunkel recounts his experiences with so much detail that the reader can feel and smell the steamy jungle. He brings you right along with him. His story is much more than a collection of details, however. His military experience was largely mundane routine, spiced with dramatic and dangerous moments and anecdotal incidents, recounted with a dry sense of humor. Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster of a read.
Kunkel spent parts of 18 years working on this memoir. It began as general notes he wrote down in order to free the haunting details from his mind, as therapy for PTSD, It evolved into a full-fledged memoir. "Once I opened up, I could deal with it," he says. Initially, his plan was to share this painstakingly written account with family, as a sort of legacy. His story deserves to be shared much more broadly, though. It is a story of drive and tenacity, of survival, and of the power of faith and family.
Critique: Walking Point: A Vietnam Memoir is a candid, honest, and sobering firsthand account of the author's military training, tour of duty in Vietnam, and return home only to encounter a heartrending amount of public scorn, as well as the harrowing effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. A handful of black-and-white photographs enhances this vividly descriptive (and sometimes horrifying) "must-read" contribution to Vietnam biography and testimonial shelves. Highly recommended, especially for public library collections.
Where the Wind Heals
9781732348219, $23.99, HC, 108pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: When author, independent athlete, and outdoor educator Ari Schneider was a college student, he took a cross-country trip to discover what was hiding inside him -- and what he was running from.
"Where The Wind Heals" is the story of Ari and his friend Zephyr as they took an epic cross-country trip from Massachusetts to Alaska, climbing some of the most exquisite mountains in North American, having adventures that included Colorado's First Flatiron, the snowy peaks of British Columbia's Pigeon Spir, and Alaska's glaciers.
But "Where the Wind Heals" is also the story of how his friendship with Zephyr came under severe stress, his having to deal with depression, anxiety, and alcoholism -- but ultimately learning the hard way that asking for help can be more daunting that climbing any mountain.
Critique: A simply fascinating read from cover to cover, "Where the Wind Heals" is one of those true life accounts that will linger in the mind and memory long after this slender volume is finished and set back upon the shelf. While very highly recommended for community library Travel and Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Where the Wind Heals" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).
V.Q.E: The Tale of an Indian Physician in the United Kingdom of the 1980's
Vivek V. Gumaste
9781644679784, $8.99, PB, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Was Great Britain of the 1980's a welcoming place for a young man hailing from its former colony? How did the National Health Service exploit the vulnerable physicians from a newly independent and struggling India to fulfill its needs? What were the flaming hoops that a foreign physician had to jump through to further his professional career in the UK en route to a final destination in the United States?
These questions and conditions are addressed in "V.Q.E: The Tale of an Indian Physician in the United Kingdom of the 1980's", a gripping, event filled narrative by Vivek Gumaste.
VQE- an acronym for the dreaded Visa Qualifying Exam, a grueling 2-day test that all foreign physicians had to pass to practice medicine in the United States.
"V.Q.E." does not subscribe to any set genre. It is a unique chronicle that weaves the current events of those times with the memoir of a young foreign physician in an alien land to produce a piece of work that is informative, touching at times and entertaining in parts.
It also captures the despair, the hopes, trepidations and travails of this young man from a financially indigent India of the 1980's as he charts his way through the land of his colonial masters and the innumerable challenges of this tumultuous period of his life: professional setbacks in the form of exam failures, joblessness as he moves from one part of Britain to another changing cities sometimes every two weeks in search of work; a cataplexic agoraphobia as he tries to come to terms with racism on the streets.
Meanwhile in the background a host of remarkable events are being played out- Lady Diana's wedding, inter-racial riots and the British-Argentina war over the Falkland Islands.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, "V.Q.E." is an engaging, thoughtful and thought-provoking read that will hold a special relevance for medical students and physicians in particular. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library biography collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, doctors, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "V.Q.E" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Education Shelf
The Student's Comprehensive Guide for College & Other Life Lessons
Valarie R. Austin
9781732509610, $14.99, PB, 324pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Valarie Austin attended, graduated, and acquired four college degrees from four different schools: a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Maryland-College Park; a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee; a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York; and an Associates of Applied Science degree in Network and Wireless Technologies from Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland. In her distinguished military career, LTC Austin also taught leadership and military science as an instructor in the Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
In "The Student's Comprehensive Guide for College & Other Life Lessons", Valarie answers such questions as: Are you unsure if college is for you? Do you wonder if you are prepared? Do you know when and how you should start saving for college? Are you confused about which college to attend? How do you choose a major which best fits your interests?
"The Student's Comprehensive Guide for College & Other Life Lessons" is a comprehensive study aid and college guide that students will read before college, read while in college, and pass along to friends and family who may attend college later.
Valarie also gives tough practical advice to guide high school, college-bound and current college students about the discipline, skills, and knowledge necessary to successfully graduate on time.
Specifically, "The Student's Comprehensive Guide for College & Other Life Lessons" shows how to: Determine if a four-year degree is the best path for you and explore alternatives; Research and select the best college for you; Start making funding decisions about college costs, saving and student loan debt; Investigate and choose a major; Get the most benefit out of your classes, regarding note-taking, studying, and reading; Use college resources for academic and other assistance; Maneuver college life outside of the classroom; Navigate graduation requirements.
Critique: While impressively useful and real world practical in scope, organization and presentation making it unreservedly recommended for anyone seeking to attend or newly enrolled in a college or university, "The Student's Comprehensive Guide for College & Other Life Lessons" will prove to be an invaluable resource for low-income and minority students who are the first of their family to go to a college or university.
"The Student's Comprehensive Guide for College & Other Life Lessons" should be a part of every highschool counselor, community, college, and university library resource and reference collection. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Student's Comprehensive Guide for College & Other Life Lessons" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Evidence of Practice
Adam Geller, author
Annie Lewis O'Donnell, author
9780999378106, $27.99, PB, 162pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: With the right plan, video observation and video coaching can be a high-impact lever for accelerating teacher growth. "Evidence of Practice: Playbook for Video-Powered Professional Learning" is an instruction manual and guide that draws from researcher and practitioner advice to offer 12 video-based strategies that readers can implement in their own context for facilitating professional development.
"Evidence of Practice" includes a range of issues including: The Classroom Tour; Self-Interview; Example Analysis; Pre-Teaching; Self-Reflection; Partner-Supported Reflection; Skill Building Sequence; Video Learning Community; Virtual Walk-Through; Video Rounds; Longer-Range Reflection; Iterative Investigation; Online Lesson Study
"Evidence of Practice" also addresses putting video evidence at the center of professional learning, focusing techniques for analyzing video, and guidance about recording and sharing video, and a framework for facilitation of video-based discussion.
Of special note is an informative Afterword by Jim Knight.
Critique: A unique instructional manual and reference resource, "Evidence of Practice: Playbook for Video-Powered Professional Learning" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to school district, college, and university library Teacher Education collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of education students, classroom teachers and school administrators that "Evidence of Practice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Fiction Shelf
Where Pademelons Play
9780648428701 $24.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com
'If the dead only knew, they would spin in their graves.'
But what if the dead are not to be found in graves at all, but in a world beyond graves, from where they could exercise omnipotent powers to investigate the circumstances of their deaths?
The late Mark E. Larker, fashion photographer, is a case in point. When he exercises his powers in this way, he finds the circumstances of his death to be less than kosher. One Harry McMinn, techno-nerd, is heavily implicated. From his privileged viewpoint, Mark tracks Harry's life, presenting its narrative to his fellows in the afterlife, whom he refers to affectionately as 'pademelons', aka small wallabies. Denizens of the afterlife find presentations such as these, especially when spiced up with lively theatrics, to be useful diversions from the extreme boredom of eternity.
Harry's life, so presented, moves from birth, through an angst-filled adolescence, through lucky dealings in business and in personal relationships, through entanglements with international crime syndicates, and through numerous brushes with death. Harry comes out of it all smelling of roses, ready and willing to go on from strength to strength. The same cannot always be said of Harry's talented circle of friends...
Critique: Where Pademelons Play: A Presentation presents a unique take on the afterlife, as a bleak, eternal existence where there are few diversions other than observing, recounting, and performing events from the living world. One such intricate narrative follows a man with the luck of the Devil - or perhaps a talent for stealing good fortune from others who cross his path. Wry, satirical, and sharp-minded, Where Padmelons Play is darkly engaging to the very last page. Highly recommended, especially for connoisseurs of the macabre fantastic! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Where Pademelons Play is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
9781944855239 $21.95 pbk
9781944855185 $9.99 ebook
Synopsis: WTF, Dorkus! is a novel about love and suicide.
Tripsy South is a super-smart and thinking seventeen-year-old girl with a hyperkinetic knowledge of suicide in teens, especially girls. She "suffers" from a laundry list of maladies, including unio mystica, a special knowledge that also comes with a caustic and devastating wit that often draws blood from anyone nearby.
Tripsy's pissed off at everyone well beyond her kill radius because America's teen-suicide epidemic isn't just growing, it's actively being fueled by BigPharma, BigMedia and America's government, corporate and civic leaders, who very clearly don't give a damn. Worse, they all allow the epidemic to continue.
These sad facts drive Tripsy even nuttier than she already advertises.
Don't be quick to feel sorry for Tripsy, though: this young brainiac has a master plan to shake things up.
One day, out of the blue, she descends into the office of Dr. Jon Moore, a middle-of-the-road psychiatrist in Santa Barbara, California, who treats troubled children and suicidal teens. She then begins a year-long series of in-depth psychiatric sessions that test Dr. Moore's last raw nerve.
Dr. Moore has written his own unpublished manuscript about teen suicidal behavior, but he gets schooled on every level by this precocious young expert on all elements of teen suicide.
Unsure about how to react to Tripsy's unusual behavior, let alone how to treat her, Dr. Moore embarks on a deep emotional journey that forces him to examine his own past, present and future, not only as a psychiatrist but as a human being.
Critique: WTF, Dorkus! is a novel that deals directly with the social issue of teen suicide. Seen through the up-front conversations between a middle-aged psychiatrist and a teenager who is intimately familiar with the crushing pressures behind the epidemic - and the indifference that supposed societal leaders have toward it. WTF, Dorkus! is a riveting glimpse into the failures of American society to fully address a public health epidemic, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that WTF, Dorkus! is also available in an ebook edition (9781944855185 $9.99).
9781622530076, $14.95, PB, 220pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Alexis spends most sunny California days in a drab cubicle toiling away at a job that crushes her soul, and goes home to a dysfunctional relationship that is doing a number on her heart. She's plagued with discontent and haunted by an unsettling melancholy, which only worsens after her fiance of almost three years packs up and moves out. Desperate to pull herself out of a downward spiral, she spends money she doesn't have on classes at the Chloe Dillon Modeling and Acting Center. Unexpectedly, she discovers a passion for acting.
Self-discovery and new friendships abound at the Chloe Dillon Modeling and Acting Center, where she opens her eyes to positive affirmations and mingles with talented ambitious classmates. She believes she's turning her life around as she painstakingly steps towards learning to love life and herself. Battling her way through self-doubt, fear, and depression, she musters the courage to risk it all, quitting her dreaded job and pursuing a huge opportunity that could help her break into the acting industry.
In the throes of preparation for the big acting showcase, she's saddened to learn that her estranged fiance has been diagnosed with a serious illness. Alexis, finding herself in a financially and emotionally precarious situation, must choose between a newly discovered ambition that might never become reality, and the relative safety and sense of loyalty she feels for the only man she has ever loved.
Critique: The story of one woman's journey to change her life and realize her dreams, or face another crushing failure, "Participant" is a fully engaging novel that showcases author Carmen Kemp's genuine flair for originality, memorable characters, and inherently entertaining narrative storytelling skills. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Participant" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
More Than Bones
Craig David Singer
Twin Rabbit Books
9781732300804, $14.99, PB, 358pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Dr. Emily Norton is a recent med school grad starting her surgical residency at a renowned hospital in Baltimore. She's dedicated her life to science and reason -- so when she receives a supposedly magical amulet from an eccentric neighbor, she ignores the old man's warning.
Almost immediately, Emily's well-planned world begins to unravel. At first, the problems are minor, like finding herself in trouble with the hospital administration on her first day at work. But soon Emily is dealing with much bigger issues, from losing her job and fiance to being framed for a patient's suicide.
As Emily struggles to comprehend the amulet's strange effects, she also faces a dilemma about coincidence and fate: none of these disasters could have been caused by a mere amulet, right? Because everyone knows: there's no such thing as magic.
Desperate and confused, Emily will need to use every bit of her reason, love and faith to confront and conquer the cursed amulet -- even if it means forsaking everything she's ever believed.
Critique: Featuring more plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, "More Than Bones" is an inherently riveting read that showcases author Craig David Singer's genuine flair as a novelist for originality and narrative driven storytelling. An expertly crafted and non-stop entertaining novel from cover to cover, "More Than Bones" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "More Than Bones" is also available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).
How to Fall in Love
Dalma Heyn & Richard Marek
9781611882629, $24.95, HC, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Cupid is on notice. His boss, Jove, has just announced that he's downsizing the heavens and has deemed Cupid's job expendable. After all, in these wired days, a love god seems quaint and pointless. Cupid manages to buy a little bit of time by asking for one more chance to show that he can orchestrate a love for the ages . . . but the clock is ticking.
Down on Earth, former ballerina Eve Golyakovsky is living a quiet life in Vermont, tending to her maple sugar business. She dearly loved her late husband, a famed choreographer, but more as a mentor than as a spouse. She's never been truly touched by romance, and she's okay with that.
Evan Cameron is a well-known anthologist with a penchant for fine automobiles and commitment-free affairs. Love has threatened to visit him on occasion, but he's always managed to keep it from taking up residence.
When Eve and Evan meet, there's something almost otherworldly about their connection, and they reach each other as none ever has before. But Great Love is about more than attraction, compatibility, and fascination. And when their budding romance is tested, old habits and new fears seem likely to choke this flower off at the roots.
A love this intense might be more than either of them can handle -- and more than even Cupid can nurture!
Critique: A wonderfully entertaining read from first page to last, "How To Fall In Love" clearly showcases authors Dalma Heyn and Richard Marek's genuine flair of effective collaboration, originality, and narrative storytelling skills. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction & Romance collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How To Fall In Love" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
Tobi Little Deer
9781949596014, $20.99, PB, 312pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Tobi is a little dog living happily in New York City until his owner, Ted, leaves him on his family's Vermont farm in a town bordering a beautiful lake where dogs roam free. As Tobi waits and pines by the roadway, he has no way of knowing whether Ted will return. Drawn into the vibrant life of the farm, how well can he adjust to the family's idea of a dog's role and place?
While the family struggles with a devastating tragedy, he follows the farm dog Rex into mysteries of the night and ends up lost and alone. On a long odyssey through the back country and around the lake, trailing wondrous animals at his peril, Tobi encounters unforgettable people.
"Lake Isle" is a story of a dog and a family, enduring, forgiving, loving, during an idyllic time in the history of a town.
Critique: An utterly charming and inherently entertaining read from first page to last, "Lake Isle" showcases author Tobi Little Deer's genuine flair for originality, narrative storytelling, and the creation of truly memorable characters in a story that will linger fondly in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lake Isle" is also available in a paperback edition (9781949596007, $14.99).
Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball
9780997174113, $10.99, PB, 183pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: It will come as a great surprise to most basketball fans that Michael Jordan is not the greatest basketball player ever. "Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball" by Mike Delucia is the incredible story of Hank Luisetti, the predawn of March Madness, and how modern basketball was born.
While Michael Jordan's rank is debatable, a respectable dream team would include Kevin Durant, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dr. J, Tim Duncan, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan, and Hank Luisetti.
Chances are, most basketball fans have never heard of Hank Luisetti. But this wouldn't be a legitimate discussion without the Hall of Fame legend whose celebrity caused a basketball revolution.
James Naismith invented basketball in 1891; Hank Luisetti reinvented it in 1936. Hank changed basketball's genetic footprint when he popularized the one-handed shot. He could jump so high and stay up so long he seemed to defy gravity.
Was Luisetti better than Jordan? That's impossible to say because they played in different eras. But Hank Luisetti was basketball's first superstar and what he did for the game is unprecedented.
An historical novel that is based on the real world basketball achievements of Hank Luisetti, some actual events, aspects, and characters in "Madness" have been fictionalized -- but his legacy in the form of the drama that is basketball today is quite real.
Critique: An absorbing, entertaining, and deftly crafted read from cover to cover, "Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections and a 'must read' for all dedicated basketball fans. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Thomas & Mercer
9781503903562, $24.95, HC, 271pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Everybody loves Ian Ludlow's action novels (especially the CIA) because the spies know something the public doesn't -- his fictional plots have a frightening tendency to come true.
Ian is in Hong Kong with his resourceful assistant Margo French to research his wildest story yet -- a deadly global conspiracy by Chinese intelligence to topple the United States.
What Ian doesn't know is that his horrifying scenario is happening and that the Chinese mistakenly believe he's an undercover superspy assigned to foil their scheme. Now Ian is trapped in his own terrifying thriller, on the run from assassins, and racing against time to prevent an epic disaster.
He's written himself into a corner that could cost his life -- and his country!
Critique: An original and riveting read from cover to cover, author Lee Goldberg showcases a genuine flair as a novelist for narrative driven storytelling and able to create memorable characters that will linger in the mind long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf.
While very highly recommended for community library Suspense/Thriller/Mystery collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Killer Thriller" is also available in a paperback edition (9781503904286, $15.95), in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781978616455, $24.99, MP3 CD).
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
The Passion Season
9780997298550, $14.99, PB, 468pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: When Special Agent Zan O'Gara investigates a ritual murder, she meets the only man who's ever been able to reach beyond her emotional defenses. Little does she know he harbors a dangerous secret.
Barakiel accepted his solitary life after the rulers of his homeworld banished him to Earth, but his encounter with the fascinating Zan O'Gara changes everything. He knows he should stay away from her before his enemies make her a target. No matter. There's no taming the unruly passion of a Covalent warrior.
As Zan's investigation brings her closer to the truth about her lover, Barakiel realizes his presence on Earth has placed its most vulnerable citizens in danger. Compelled to protect them, he undertakes a series of duties he may not survive, even as Zan rescues him from a deadened heart.
Critique: An inherently riveting read that is skillfully presented by an author with a genuine flair for articulate originality and engaging narrative storytelling, Libby Doyle's "The Passion Season" is especially recommended to the personal reading lists of dedicated science fiction enthusiasts. The first volume of Libby Doyle's 'Covalent' series, it should be noted that there is a fair amount of explicit sex and sexual violence that would relegate "The Passion Season" to an adults only status. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Passion Season" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Self-Help Shelf
Mari L. McCarthy
9780692199831, $11.95, PB, 146pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the pages of "Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy, Life You Want to Live", Mari L. McCarthy teaches how to put the ultimate self-healing tool right at our fingertips through the art and practice of journaling.
Her readers will discover how daily pen-to-paper journal writing leads to self-growth and life-changing transformation. They will also learn that numerous scientific medical studies prove journaling unleashes a healing agent that empowers your life in ways you've never imagined.
In "Journaling Power" McCarthy also shares her own personal story of health and healing and provides step-by-step guidance on how to use Journaling Power Practice to: Reduce physical pain and overcome illness; Heal emotional wounds from past traumas; Resolve inner conflicts and create self-compassion; Conquer limiting beliefs and fears; Reconnect with your inner healer; Reduce stress and find inspiration; Set realistic goals while discovering the motivation to make them happen; Create the happiest, healthiest life for your Self.
With "Journaling Power", the reader will be able to engage the transformative power of expressive writing and therapeutic journaling to heal from stressful life events like chronic illness, job loss, divorce or grief. McCarthy guides her readers on a holistic journey of well-being and self-care and shows how to put one's self first and thereby allowing us to lead a life of joy, compassion, creativity and growth.
All that is then necessary is to find ourselves a notebook and pen and a quiet, comfortable space -- and the use McCarthy's writing prompts, morning pages and journaling exercises to unlock the strength of our unconscious mind.
Critique: Impressively and exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy, Life You Want to Live" is an extraordinary and thoroughly 'user friendly' course of instructions in the art and science of journaling as a means for improving the quality of life in these stressful times. While an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Journaling Power" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.39).
Proven Pathways to Wealth and Happiness
Victor Vonico Johnson
TDR Brands Publishing
9781947574069, $14.95, PB, 123pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: More than just another real estate investment primer promising easy money and a lot of it!, "Proven Pathways to Wealth & Happiness" is a common-sense guide by Victor Johnson for transforming your life through first shifting your mindset to believing in yourself then applying the Law of Attraction using vision boards, affirmations, and gratitude.
"Proven Pathways to Wealth and Happiness" deftly illustrates each step of the pathways with Johnson's own amazing real-life experiences. He was able to use the principles outlined in "Proven Pathways to Wealth and Happiness" to increase his income, reduce expenses, clear his credit history and increase his credit score, pay off debts, and save money.
Johnson also explains how he was able to change bad habit with good ones, become more likable, and increase opportunities through networking and achieve higher success. Finally, Johnson and his wife were able to take the leap into real estate investing and financial independence.
"Proven Pathways to Wealth and Happiness" gives you the keys, through practical tips and sound advice, to unlock your own new lease on life and reach your desired level of wealth & happiness.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Proven Pathways to Wealth and Happiness" is a 'real world practical' instructional reference and resource for emotional as well as financial stability and prosperity. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Proven Pathways to Wealth and Happiness" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.97).
The Travel Shelf
Jeffrey Eker Jr. & Sarang Shaikh
9780692177068, $22.00, PB, 315pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: We are living in a time of unprecedented access, allowing everyone to travel the world, make an impact and become a global citizen.
Jeffrey Eker and Sarang Shaikh first met in an elevator in Sri Lanka. Sarang has been to 12 countries (and counting) and Jeff has been to 22 (also still counting). Both are global citizens. They traveled the world and gained so much from their international work experiences.
Together they have collaboratively drawn upon their experience and expertise in "Living Globalized: The Best Adventures are Powered by International Perspective" to inspire and teach their readers how to find new opportunities, get paid to travel the world, and make an impact on the global stage.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Living Globalized: The Best Adventures are Powered by International Perspective" is an extraordinarily informative and uniquely inspiring read from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Living Globalized" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.00).
The Music Shelf
Long Distance Voyagers
Marc Cushman, author
Mark Alfred, editor
Jacobs Brown Media Group
9780998866390, $39.95, HC, 810pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: One of the most popular, original, and trail-blazing 20th Century music groups, The Moody Blues have sold over 80 million records, and scored Top 20 hits in four different decades.
They hit the top in 1965, with a No. 1 single, Go Now!, and toured with the Beatles (both bands managed by Brian Epstein). But their true breakthrough came in November 1967 with the release of the classic Days of Future Passed, the first LP to combine the rock album format with orchestral music, and spawning another No. 1 single: Nights in White Satin.
Overnight, the new genre of symphonic rock was born. Advancing this further, Moody Blues founding member Mike Pinder helped develop the Mellotron, a keyboard instrument which could simulate the sound of a string orchestra. This innovation not only gave the Moodies their unique sound, but enabled them to reproduce their epic albums in concert.
The Moodies were also the first rock group to champion the concept album, following Days of Future Passed with other thematic classics, such as In Search of the Lost Chord; On the Threshold of a Dream; To Our Children's Children's Children; A Question of Balance; and Long Distance Voyager.
The first volume of a planned two-volume history, "Long Distance Voyagers: The Story of the Moody Blues 1965-1979" is in-depth biography covers the magnificent 50-plus-year career of the Moody Blues. Exhaustively researched and featuring thousands of vintage interviews, reviews, and record chart statistics, as well as hundreds of photos. "Long Distance Voyagers: The Story of the Moody Blue" will whisk readers back in time and put them on the very threshold of a Moody Blues dream.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized, illustrated and presented, "Long Distance Voyagers: The Story of the Moody Blues 1965-1979" by screenwriter and director Marc Cushman is a definitive and comprehensive history that is a 'must read' for the legions of Moody Blues fans and will leave them looking eagerly toward the second and concluding volume of Moody Blues history. Very highly recommended, especially for community, college, and university library 20th Century American Music History collections in general, and Moody Blues supplemental studies in particular, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Long Distance Voyagers: The Story of the Moody Blues 1965-1979" is also available in a paperback edition (9780999507803, $35.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.95).
The Christian Studies Shelf
For Thou Art With Me
Bruce A. Baker
Grace Acres Press
PO Box 22, Larkspur, CO 80118
9781602650589, $11.95, PB, 124pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Receiving a diagnosis of a terminal illness causes many people to go into a tailspin of despair and depression. This is rarely considered a gift, but that is exactly what Bruce Baker conveys using his own experience and the truths of the Bible. With gentleness and candor, he explores the universal questions of why me, why now, and why this.
Baker explains that it's a gift for two very important reasons: first, it leaves you no choice but to face the inevitable; and second, you ve been given time to get ready. Now, obviously, all people, regardless of their health, have time to get ready. Everyone knows death is coming, and everyone should prepare for it. And that is exactly how his book, "For Thou Art With Me" helps.
The answer to why people fear death is obvious. All people know that 1) God exists, 2) that there is life after death, 3) that what one does in this life has a direct bearing on one's life after death, and 4) that between themselves and God something is wrong. This is why people fear death! Knowing why we are afraid to die does not help us overcome our fear of death. Exploring the reason for this fear is the antidote provided.
Baker shines light on what death means for the believer. It is a key in a door. It is a change in location. It is an answer to prayer. It is the delivery of the gift. These are evidenced by the psalmist who says, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalms 23:4).
Questions may arise about assisted suicide and Baker provides the destinction between termination of life and termination of treatment from a Biblical perspective.
One aspect of terminal illness that often goes unrecognized is the constant loss it entails. Nearly everyone recognizes the big loss at the end of the struggle but it is those other losses, the little ones that come before, that often go unnoticed. But they are not really little and need to be addressed. God gives examples that are highlighted in this book.
Baker says, "My prayer for you, Beloved, is that your life will be so totally transformed by the truths presented in this book that people will look at you the same way they look at me: As someone who possesses something different. As someone who has a peace that surpasses all comprehension."
Finally, "For Thou Art With Me" is a practical resource for someone facing the end of life. In contrast to more stuff, hope and help for the person who is dying as well as loved ones and care givers is the best gift that can be given.
Critique: Deftly written, organized and presented from first page to last, "For Thou Art With Me" deserves to be a part of every individual reading list on the subject of a Christian approach to death, grief, and bereavement, as well as every community and church End-of-Life reference collection.
Editorial Note: Dr. Bruce Baker is the Pastor of Washington County Bible Church (Brenham, TX), and is himself living with a terminal illness. Pastor Baker has a PhD in Systematic Theology from Baptist Bible Seminary, Clark's Summit, PA. He was for many years a Bible college and seminary professor and has taught in more than seven countries on four continents. Like Ezra of old, he has "set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinance..." (Ezra 7:10).
Prayers of My Mother
Carolyn L. Austin
Westwood Books Publishing, LLC
9781643615547, $15.99, PB, 250pp, www.amazon.com
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook: https://www.westwoodbookspublishing.com/books/prayers-of-my-mother
Audio Download: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/carolynlaustin2
Synopsis: A retired law enforcement officer, realtor, auditor, and aspiring business/career prep education teacher, Carolyn L. Austin was born and raised in Miami, FL. In 2014, she recognized "the call" and began writing Prayer Share as a daily devotional to aid friends' healing. "Prayers of My Mother: Tiny Pieces of Faith to Help You Believe He Is There for You..." is a five-part book of inspirational prayers.
Part One, "Blessed Trinity," is intended to encourage you to become in tune with your calling or spiritual gift(s) through meditation. It stresses patience and dependence on God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit throughout all circumstances.
Part Two, "Identifiable Characteristics," focuses on how others see you.
Part Three discusses "Life's Relationships," and includes your BFFs (best friends forever and boyfriends forever), and the effects these relationships have on you.
Part Four, "Personal Challenges," highlights how you see yourself and how you cope with those images.
Part Five, "Spiritual Challenges," depicts struggles and weaknesses in life as you prepare for the end of times.
Many of the daily devotionals shared within the pages of "Prayers of My Mother" unveiled Carolyn's real life anecdotes which were deeply hidden in her past and most times forgotten. The more she shared her journey with others, the more anecdotes she recalled. She has shared her trials and tribulations to encourage, console and heal, and hopefully bring peace and reconciliation to many.
It is Carolyn's utmost desire that "Prayers of My Mother" inspires many to seek a relationship with God, with the understanding that most times it is because of your trials and tribulations that you can hear Him, but you must learn Listening With A Different Ear.
Critique: An extraordinary and deftly crafted work that is both inspired and inspiring, "Prayers of My Mother: Tiny Pieces of Faith to Help You Believe He Is There for You..." is unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the community of faith regardless denominational affiliations. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Prayers of My Mother" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Death, Resurrection and Life, States of a Soul
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478779827, $18.95, PB, 200pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Of Italian descent, "Mercedes Franzone-Morales" lives in the United States and for the last eighteen years has been participating and serving in Church Ministries. During those years, She completed a three-year biblical and theological foundation program. However, at the present time, she is more involved in Prayer Ministry. Above all, her passion and zeal are to spend time with Jesus during Holy Communion, in prayer and in the service of others.
"Death, Resurrection and Life, States of a Soul" by Mercedes presents a profound spiritual and real experience of a soul who, by God's grace, love, and mercy was able to see the mighty hand of God guiding her through this journey. It is a living testimony of the process of conversion of a soul with very descriptive details, the spiritual context involving that soul, and the great purification, healing, and liberation taking place to achieve the necessary perfection desired by God.
In "Death, Resurrection and Life, States of a Soul" each state of the soul, death, resurrection, and life, the reader will be able to identify the graces, gifts, trials, sufferings, and virtues versus vices whose fruits will bring a continuous transformation of the soul, providing them, as well, a source of reference for states of their own soul.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Death, Resurrection and Life, States of a Soul" is both inspired and inspiring. A life changing, life enhancing, life celebrating, and truly memorable spiritually insightful work, "Death, Resurrection and Life, States of a Soul" is very highly recommended reading for all members of the Christian community with an interest in the subject of personal spirituality and receiving God's grace.
The International Studies Shelf
Letters to the Leaders of China
Kongjian Yu, et al.
9780996004183, $33.00, PB, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 2003, in the midst of China's rapid economic development and spiraling ecological devastation, the landscape architect and designer Kongjian Yu emerged, with the publication of "The Road to Urban Landscape: A Dialogue with the Mayors", as a powerful broker for change in the domain of environmental planning.
Since then, the text has been circulated widely among the nation's leadership, Yu's design, Turenscape, has flourished, and his core design concepts ranging from "negative planning" to "sponge cities", have been encountered at the highest levels of official design guidance.
In this newly revised and updated edition, "Letters to the Leaders of China: Kongjian Yu and the Future of the Chinese City" was expanded to include Letters to the Leaders of China excerpts and contains additional, previously unpublished letters to high-ranking of cials across the country, including President Xi Jinping.
With contributions from geographers, urban historians, and critical theorists, in addition to a lengthy colloquy with artist Ai Weiwei, "Letters to the Leaders of China: Kongjian Yu and the Future of the Chinese City" completely affirms Kongjian Yu's indispensability to understanding the sustainable transformation of China's environmental and urban design legacy.
Critique: A seminal work that is exceptionally well organized and presented, "Letters to the Leaders of China: Kongjian Yu and the Future of the Chinese City" is an essential and unreservedly recommended addition to college, university, and governmental Contemporary International Chinese collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
The Health/Medicine Shelf
The Digital Health Revolution
9780578409726 $19.99 pbk / $16.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Healthcare is evolving and our smart phones are driving that disruption, better connecting us with the stakeholders who help keep us happy and healthy. The Digital Health Revolution is the first consumer look at how digital health technologies are helping us collect, analyze and take action on our personal healthcare data. We check in with 30 of healthcare's top thought leaders to capture and share their insights. Whether you are managing a chronic condition or simply striving to stay healthy, plug in and catch up with the innovators driving disruption and delivering better value for us all.
Critique: Digital revolutions in modern technology are dramatically changing modern health care. Chapters of The Digital Health Revolution scrutinize different aspects of this transformation, drawing upon interviews with thirty healthcare experts to reveal how plugging in and using smart devices can improve quality of treatment. Chapters include "Data-Gathering Devices and How We Use Them", "Bright Minds, Big Ideas, New Ventures and Successes", and much more. The Digital Health Revolution is a "must" for health care professionals and college library collections, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Digital Health Revolution is also available in a Kindle edition ($16.99).
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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