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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 8 August 2022 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Cookbook Shelf American History Shelf
World History Shelf Art Shelf Biography Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf LGBT Fiction Shelf
Literary Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Business Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Automotive Shelf Interior Design Shelf
Computer Shelf Money/Finance Shelf Travel Shelf
Martial Arts Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf Parenting Shelf Woodworking Shelf
Photography Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Wine/Beer/Spirits Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Self-Help Shelf  


Reviewer's Choice

Lost & Found: A Memoir
Kathryn Schulz
https://www.kathrynschulz.com
Random House
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
www.randomhouse.com
9780525512462, $27.00, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Found-Memoir-Kathryn-Schulz/dp/0525512462

Synopsis: Eighteen months before Kathryn Schulz's beloved father died, she met the woman she would marry. In "Lost & Found: A Memoir", she weaves the stories of those relationships into a brilliant exploration of how all our lives are shaped by loss and discovery, ranging from the maddening disappearance of everyday objects to the sweeping devastations of war, pandemic, and natural disaster; from finding new planets to falling in love.

Three very different American families form the heart of "Lost & Found": the one that made Schulz's father, a charming, brilliant, absentminded Jewish refugee; the one that made her partner, an equally brilliant farmer's daughter and devout Christian; and the one she herself makes through marriage. But Schulz is also attentive to other, more universal kinds of conjunction: how private happiness can coexist with global catastrophe, how we get irritated with those we adore, how love and loss are themselves unavoidably inseparable. The result is that "Lost & Found" is part memoir and part a guidebook to living in a world that is simultaneously full of wonder and joy and wretchedness and suffering -- a world that always demands both our gratitude and our grief.

Critique: Eloquent, personal, inherently interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Lost & Found: A Memoir" is an extraordinary and expertly written story of life, love, loss, and celebration. While highly recommended for community library American Biography/Memoir collections, "Lost & Found: A Memoir" is readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Random Audio, 9780525642886, $35.00, CD).

Editorial Note: A staff writer at The New Yorker and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Kathryn Schulz writes with curiosity, tenderness, erudition, and wit about our finite yet infinitely complicated lives. Crafted with the emotional clarity of C. S. Lewis and the intellectual force of Susan Sontag, Lost & Found is an uncommon book about common experiences. It should be noted by librarians that "Lost & Found: A Memoir" is also available in a large print paperback edition (Random House Large Print, 9780593508527, $29.00, 320pp).

Editorial Note: Kathryn Schulz is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her previous book was Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. She won a National Magazine Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for "The Really Big One," an article about seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest. Lost & Found grew out of "Losing Streak," which was originally published in The New Yorker and later anthologized in The Best American Essays. Her other essays and reporting have appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Food Writing. She has a dedicated website at https://www.kathrynschulz.com


The Cookbook Shelf

Hunter Gather Cook: Adventures in Wild Food
Nick Weston
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784944179, $35.00, HC, 248pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hunter-Gather-Cook-Adventures-Wild/dp/1784944173

Synopsis: With the publication of "Hunter Gather Cook: Adventures in Wild Food" author Nick Weston aims to set you on a fulfilling, lifelong path of culinary adventures and food DIY, and show you how to embrace the lifestyle that surrounds the 21st-century hunter-gatherer.

"Hunter Gather Cook" will make wild food accessible to you, and take away any sense of trepidation at making your first brew, burger or carpaccio. And if you're already a 21st-century hunter-gatherer, then it will help you to expand your culinary repertoire, taking your experimentation and enjoyment to the next level.

"Hunter Gather Cooks" is a specialty cookbook for those wishing to reconnect with nature and the source of their food and includes butchery guides and wild-plant indexes, as well as recipes include wild meats, vegetables, sauces, sides, oils and cocktails.

Critique: Beautifully, profusely, and informatively illustrated in full color throughout, "Hunter Gather Cook: Adventures in Wild Food" will be a unique and highly prized addition to personal, professional, and community library culinary collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists of modern hunter/gatherers that "Hunter Gather Cook: Adventures in Wild Food" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.79).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Lewest, UK, Nick Weston specialized in Hunter-Gatherer Studies and the Mesolithic as part of his Archaeology degree. He has written for numerous publications and set up a successful company, Hunter Gather Cook, which is a school for foraging, butchery, cooking, and bushcraft.

Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers
Atsuko Ikeda
Ryland, Peters & Small
341 East 116th Street, New York, NY 10029
www.rylandpeters.com
9781788794305, $27.99, HC, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Otsumami-Japanese-appetizers-recipes-drinks/dp/1788794303

Synopsis: Otsumami is the Japanese term given to snacks and simple dishes that are specifically designed to be eaten alongside a drink. ("Tsumamu" means to grab something with your fingers or chopsticks so any foods that can be eaten easily in this way came to be known as "otsumami.")

They are commonly found at izakaya bars, pubs, and at house parties in Japan -- even if you are at home having a snack with your evening drink, you are still enjoying otsumami!

There are countless delicious flavor pairings to be enjoyed and included in this unique culinary compendium are recipes for small bites and dishes to tempt everyone, from existing devotees of Japanese food to newcomers keen to discover more.

Popular ingredients such as dashi, ponzu, miso, soy, teriyaki, and more, all make an appearance in a myriad of mouth-watering morsels including dips, pickles, salads, gyoza and tempura, sushi and sashimi, plus beautifully presented meat, fish, vegetarian, and vegan plates. Also included is a basic guide to Japanese beverages, and deliciously inventive cocktail recipes.

Critique; Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout with full color photographs showcasing featured dishes, "Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers" by Atsuko Ikeda showcases more than seventy palate pleasing, appetite satisfying recipes for authentic Japanese delectables to enjoy along with Japanese drinks. With a special appeal to anyone with an interest in Japanese cuisine, "Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers" is a unique and highly prized addition to personal, professional, and community library Ethnic Cookbook collections. It should be noted that "Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.49).

Editorial Note: Atsuko Ikeda is a Japanese chef, teacher, food consultant and food photographer. She has been running her famous cooking classes at Atsuko's Kitchen in London and across England since 2008, offering hands-on workshops with practical tips and skill-building lessons on how to prepare Japanese food and sushi. An accomplished chef, classically trained in Shojin Ryori (Buddhist temple cuisine), she is known for mixing traditional recipes with fusion dishes inspired by her culinary travels -- all beautifully presented with Japanese refined aesthetics. A creative force, she also works as a food consultant for major Japanese food products companies devising new recipes and products. Otsumami's website, Atsuko's Kitchen, is at www.atsukoskitchen.com. She can also be followed on Instagram @atsukoskitchen

Expressions: Art in Pastry
Julie Jones
Kyle Books
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
http://www.kylebooks.com
9781914239137, $39.99, HC, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Art-Pastry-Creative-Inspirational-Design/dp/191423913X

Synopsis: "Expressions: Art in Pastry" is a collection of basic sweet, shortcrust and hot water pastry recipes at the start of this culinary compendium can each be used for a variety of pies and tarts and with a wide range of fillings, both sweet and savory.

This is followed by chapters on Fruit, Meat & Fish, Vegetables, Sweet Dairy and Cheese which include 40 recipes that can all be adapted to variety of decorative approaches. The recipes suit small and large rounds and small and large squares, according to how many people you're planning to serve for.

In total there are more than a hundred decorative pies and tarts to feast your eyes on including recipes for a linear fruit pie, a cheese lattice pie, a pumpkin baked pastry tile pie and a carrot and courgette flower pie.

Every chapter includes exquisite photography by Andrew Montgomery of both the food and the inspiration behind it.

Critique: Julie Jones is an Instagram influencer and the author of "Soulful Baker" and "The Pastry School". She conducts online work-shops for pastry decorating and with the publication of "Expressions: Art in Pastry" provides a compendium of recipes and ideas that will easily enable even the most novice of family cooks/bakers to create truly extraordinary pies and delicious tarts suitable for any dining occasion. While especially recommended for personal, professional, family and community library cookbook collections, it should be noted that "Expressions: Art in Pastry" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).

Editorial Note: Julie Jones has two informative and dedicated websites: https://www.juliejones.online/recipes & https://www.juliejones.online

Delicious Disney
Pam Brandon, et al.
Disney Editions
c/o Disney Book Group
https://books.disney.com
9781368068239, $35.00, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Disney-Recipes-Stories-Magical/dp/1368068235

Synopsis: After the success of Disneyland, Walt Disney wanted to build something more elaborate and with more room. Ultimately, it was Walt's brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney, who brought forth his sibling's dream (and made it a reality) when the Magic Kingdom called Disney World opened in 1971.

"Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World: Recipes & Stories from The Most Magical Place on Earth" is filled from cover to cover with a heartfelt narrative and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, mouth-watering food photos, gorgeous Walt Disney Imagineering concept artwork, nostalgic restaurant menus and ephemera, and a little Disney magic.

This cookbook-meets-culinary-history coffee table book enchants with more than sixty recipes. Including an assortment of appetizers, main courses, sides, desserts, and even joyful libations, these dishes come from fine-dining and quick-service establishments across the resort. Each has been tested by home chefs to help you bring your cherished vacation memories to life . . . and inspire new ones for years to come.

Critique: With a culinary treasury of palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, kitchen cook friendly recipes that range from a Breakfast Lasagna, Canadian Cheedar Cheese Soup, and Orange Bird Flip, to Shrimp Linguine, Spaghetti and Plant-Based Meatballs, and Traditional Bread & Butter Pudding, "Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World: Recipes & Stories from The Most Magical Place on Earth" will prove to be an enduringly treasured addition to family and community library collections. Of special and particular appeal to the legions of Disney World fans, it should be noted that "Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World: Recipes & Stories from The Most Magical Place on Earth" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).

Lanka Food: Serendipity & Spice
O Tama Carey
Hardie Grant Books
https://www.hardiegrant.com/us/books
c/o Chronicle Books
680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
www.chroniclebooks.com
9781743797259, $40.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lanka-Food-Serendipity-Tama-Carey/dp/1743797257

Synopsis: Sitting on the edge of the Indian Ocean, just below India, is a tiny teardrop-shaped island called Sri Lanka. Lanka is sanskrit for island, in Tamil meaning 'that which glitters'. It is a country full of contradictions, and the food of Sri Lanka is equally hard to pin down. While the dishes are slowly gaining international recognition, the foundations and building blocks of Sri Lankan cooking are complex. They reflect the many diverse peoples, history, flavors and ideas that have overlapped to create a cuisine that is distinct yet difficult to define.

It was O Tama's love of the addictive pancake-like Sri Lankan staple hoppers that drove her to start professionally cooking the food from her youth, her heritage and her travels. With the publication of "Lanka Food: Serendipity & Spice", she brings her years of knowledge and experience together with recipes that demystify vegetable-dominant curries, hoppers, and the full range of spices and curry powders that enliven Sri Lankan dishes.

Of special notice are the essays that further contextualize the cuisine, making "Lanka Food: Serendipity & Spice" is a kind of culinary guide for people wanting a deeper understanding of the culture and the central place of food and serves as a wonderful starting point for cooking and sharing Sri Lankan feasts with friends and family at home.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated with full color photography by Anson Smart, "Lanka Food: Serendipity & Spice" is a veritable cornucopia of informed commentary and palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, kitchen cook friendly recipes. Of special interest are the sections devoted to Spice Mixes, What Goes With What, and Notes/Measurements/Explanations. Offering a culinary wealth of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, "Lanka Food" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, family, and community library Ethnic Cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: O Tama Carey first learnt to cook the food of her Sri Lankan heritage at her mother and grandmother's side - but began her cooking career quite by accident after landing a job in a restaurant kitchen in London's Notting Hill. Since then she has cooked French at Bistro Moncur, Chinese at Billy Kwong and Italian, of sorts, at Berta where she was head chef. In 2018 she opened Lankan Filling Station, her first solo venture in Sydney's inner city Darlinghurst. It's here that she spends most of her time pounding spices, working the floor and communicating the flavors of her Sri Lankan heritage. Outside the restaurant, her interests include bee keeping, salumi making, writing and teaching. She is featured on a dedicated web page at: https://blog.resy.com/2022/01/authentic-enough-for-whom-o-tama-carey-has-a-lifetime-of-knowledge-and-more

Taste of Home Ultimate Chicken Cookbook
Taste of Home, editor
Trusted Media Brands
https://www.trustedmediabrands.com
9781621457732, $19.99, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Home-Ultimate-Chicken-Cookbook/dp/1621457737

Synopsis: With the publication of "Taste of Home Ultimate Chicken Cookbook" you as a family kitchen cook are provided with beautifully illustrated, step-by-step recipes ranging from spicy wings and barbecue pizzas to comforting potpies and roasted chicken perfect for Sunday dinners. Every poultry dish you crave is here in one handy collection.

With "Taste of Home Ultimate Chicken Cookbook" you will also discover new favorites, including Buffalo Chicken Stromboli, Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Mexican Chicken Lasagna and so many others. You'll even find sheet-pan dinners, Instant Pot and air-fried greats, grilled specialties and other chicken dishes that are sure to become staples in your home. In addition, there are 44 QR Codes scattered throughout the book, QR codes take readers to free content including how-to videos, cooking tips and additional chicken recipes.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for personal, professional, and community library contemporary cookbook collections, "Taste of Home Ultimate Chicken Cookbook" is comprised of 362 'finger-licking' chicken dishes suitable for any and all dining occasions. A chicken lover's delight to simply browse through one page at a time, it should be noted that "362 finger-licking chicken dishes "Taste of Home Ultimate Chicken Cookbook" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Shop Taste of Home is the catalog division of Taste of Home magazine.
Taste of Home, introduced in 1993, features delicious, practical home cooking in a very personal way. Taste of Home is edited by a thousand real home cooks -- they have 1,000 field editors across the 50 states and the provinces of Canada who regularly send them recipes to consider. All readers are also encouraged to submit recipes for regular features and national recipe contests. They have a dedicated website at https://shop.tasteofhome.com/collections/cookbooks

Taste of Home: Cooking for Two
Taste of Home, editor
Trusted Media Brands
https://www.trustedmediabrands.com
9781621457718, $17.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Home-Cooking-Two-specialties/dp/1621457710

Synopsis: Love to cook but don't love all the leftovers when there are just two of you? Tired of wasting time, effort and money by cooking big meals that end up sitting in the fridge? Maybe you long for all the comforting casseroles, snacks, soups and sweet treats that please a crowd but don't make sense for a small household. Whether you're an empty nester, a newlywed, or you're simply cooking for a pair, "Taste of Home Cooking for Two" is a culinary compendium showcasing hundreds of quick and easy specialties that are sized just right when cooking just for two!

Critique: Profusely illustrated in full color throughout, "Taste of Home: Cooking for Two" is a throughly 'kitchen cook friendly' collection of DIY recipes for Snacks; Breakfast; Lunch; Beef & Chicken Dinners; Pork, Sausage & Other Entrees; Fish & Meatless Mains; Salads; Side Dishes; and Desserts. With each palate pleasing, appetite satisfying dish sized just right for one or two! Simply stated, "Taste of Home: Cooking for Two" will prove to be a highly prized addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Shop Taste of Home is the catalog division of Taste of Home magazine.
Taste of Home, introduced in 1993, features delicious, practical home cooking in a very personal way. Taste of Home is edited by a thousand real home cooks -- they have 1,000 field editors across the 50 states and the provinces of Canada who regularly send them recipes to consider. All readers are also encouraged to submit recipes for regular features and national recipe contests. They have a dedicated website at https://shop.tasteofhome.com/collections/cookbooks


The American History Shelf

Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas
James L. Haley
University of North Texas Press
1155 Union Circle #311336, Denton, TX 76203-5017
www.untpress.unt.edu
9781574418576, $24.95, PB, 672pp

https://www.amazon.com/Passionate-Nation-Epic-History-Texas/dp/1574418572

Synopsis: Utilizing many sources new to publication, historian James L. Haley delivers an impressively readable and enjoyable narrative history of Texas, told through stories embodying the words and recollections of the Texans who actually lived the state's spectacular history.

From Jim Bowie's and Davy Crockett's myth-enshrouded stand at the Alamo, to the Mexican-American War, and to Sam Houston's heroic failed effort to keep Texas in the Union during the Civil War, the transitions in Texas history have often been as painful and tense as the "normal" periods in between.

Critique: A history written with all the dramatic flair of historical saga, "Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas" is the true and detailed story of Texas in all of its epic grandeur. A massive work of impeccable and exhaustive scholarship, "Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American History collections in general, and supplemental curriculum Texas History studies syllabus in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.96).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Austine, Texas, James L. Haley is the author of two dozen books, including the biography Sam Houston (University of Oklahoma Press, 2002) and The Texas Supreme Court: A Narrative History 1836-1986 (University of Texas Press, 2013). He also writes historical fiction, most recently the Bliven Putnam Naval Adventures for G. P. Putnam's Sons (2016-2021). He has a dedicated and informative website at http://www.jameslhaley.com/

Arizona: A History of the Grand Canyon State
Jim Turner
Rio Nuevo Publishers
PO Box 5250, Tucson, AZ 85703
www.rionuevo.com
9781940322292, $16.95, PB, ($7.95 Amazon), 352pp

https://www.amazon.com/Arizona-History-Grand-Canyon-State/dp/1940322294

Synopsis: With the publication of "Arizona: A History of the Grand Canyon State", historian and author Jim Turner has created an impressively informative combination of history and travel guide that will interest all long-term Arizona residents, and most especially recent retirees, seasonal residents, and new arrivals who want to learn about their new home,

"Arizona: A History of the Grand Canyon State" ranges from ancient cliff dwellings to biotech firms. Plus fascinating stories of: Two centuries of mining, Mormon immigration, ranching, farming, health seekers, education, tourism, moviemaking, and the Five Cs; Wild West legends, stage robbers, and dancehall girls; Unsung heroes like the Navajo Code Talkers and Nellie Cashman, the "Miner's Angel"; Native American cultures, including Hopi, Navajo, and Apache; European settlement, the conquistadors, and Catholic missions; Mini biographies of significant people like Sandra Day O'Connor, Father Eusebio Kino, Hi Jolly, Barry Goldwater, and Balloon Buster Frank Luke -- And so much more about this beautiful land and the people who inhabited it.

Critique: Illustrated throughout with black-and-white photography, "Arizona: A History of the Grand Canyon State" is informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of a two page Bibliography and a fourteen page Index. Exceptionally well written, impressively comprehensive, expertly organized, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, "Arizona: A History of the Grand Canyon State" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community/academic library American History collections in general, and Arizona History studies lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Jim Turner is a retired Arizona historian who has been teaching, presenting, editing, and writing about Arizona history for more than forty-five years. He has authored or co-authored several books including, The Arizona Story; Arizona: A Celebration of the Grand Canyon State; The Mighty Colorado River: From the Glaciers to the Gulf; Four Corners USA: Wonders of the American Southwest; and Navajo Code Talker Manual. He has a dedicated web page at www.amazon.com/Jim-Turner/e/B001KIMU0O%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share


The World History Shelf

The Real Gladiator
Tony Sullivan
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781399017572, $34.95, HC, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Real-Gladiator-Maximus-Decimus-Meridius/dp/1399017578

Synopsis: "Are you not entertained?" shouts Russell Crowe, playing the part of General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the Oscar winning 2000 film Gladiator. The crowd, having witnessed Maximus defeating several gladiators, cheer in response. Film goers too were indeed entertained with the film grossing nearly half a billion dollars.

"The Real Gladiator: The True Story of Maximus Decimus Meridius" by Tony Sullivan covers the historical events that film was based on. From the Germanic wars on the northern frontier to the gladiatorial arena in Rome. From the philosopher emperor, Marcus Aurelius to the palace intrigues during the reign of his son. "The Real Gladiator: The True Story of Maximus Decimus Meridius" reveals how Commodus really died and which of the characters actually fought in the arena.

Readers will also meet two generals, Pompeianus and Maximianus, who most resemble our hero General Maximus. Then there is Lucilla, the sister of Commodus, who in reality married her General, but detested him. "The Real Gladiator: The True Story of Maximus Decimus Meridius" also focuses on warfare, weapons and contemporary battles. It will compare the battle and fight scenes in the film with reality from contemporary sources and modern tests and reenactments.

The reader will discover that fact is not only stranger than fiction, it is often more entertaining. The real history was certainly as much, if not more, treacherous, bloodthirsty, murderous and dramatic than anything the film industry has created.

Critique: Informative enhanced with the inclusion of maps, tables, figures, and pictures, "The Real Gladiator: The True Story of Maximus Decimus Meridius" is an inherently fascinating read and one that will have special and enduring appeal for readers with an interest in Roman history, politics, gladiatorial combat, and military actions. A unique work of exhaustive scholarship and research, impressively articulate and informative in commentary, organization and presentation, "The Real Gladiator: The True Story of Maximus Decimus Meridius" is an unique and highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Roman History & Biography collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "The Real Gladiator: The True Story of Maximus Decimus Meridius" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).


The Art Shelf

Design Your Own Anime and Manga Characters
TB Choi
Rockport
c/o The Quarto Group
https://www.quarto.com
9780760371374 $24.99 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Design-Anime-Manga-Characters-Step/dp/0760371377

Synopsis: With Design Your Own Anime and Manga Characters, you'll learn character design for these popular entertainment genres from renowned concept artist and teacher TB Choi.

Constructing a Character. Build a character right from the start with the basics of human anatomy and proportion.

Simplifying Forms for Poses and Gestures. Streamline form to develop effective poses and gestures from a variety of angles.

Drawing Hair, Clothing, and Accessories. Render authentic details that support your characters and enrich your stories.

Conveying Dimension, Emotion, and Character. Refine your use of line, shadow, and form to create visual variety, depth, and emotion.

Pets, Chibis, and Sidekicks. Create pets, chibis, anthros, and kemonomimi with personality.

Exercise: Design and Draw a Character. Learn a simple method for developing an original character, from mind map to finished drawing.

Filled with step-by-step demonstrations and expert guidance and advice, Design Your Own Anime and Manga Characters teaches you everything you need to bring unique characters to life.

Critique: Design Your Own Anime and Manga Characters lives up to its title as an instructive and visual "how-to" guide for aspiring artists interested in drawing characters or comics in the style of Japanese manga. A wealth of black-and-white illustrations (color is primarily used as highlights to aid in focus, and only occasionally shown in finished examples) demonstrate how to incorporate the basics of human anatomy, portray poses and gestures, add details like hair and clothing, apply lines and shadows to give expression and emotion, and much more. Thoroughly accessible to budding artists of all ages, Design Your Own Anime and Manga Characters is an excellent supplementary resource to broaden artistic creativity, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Design Your Own Anime and Manga Characters is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

The Power of Flowers
Vicki Rawlins
Rock Point
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9781631068706, $25.00, HC, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Flowers-Turning-Pieces-Transformative/dp/1631068709

Synopsis: Creating stunning yet fleeting works of art, artist Vicki Rawlins of Sister Golden defies the notion that art should be permanent in "The Power of Flowers: Turning Pieces of Mother Nature into Transformative Works of Art".

Using only the natural world and its gifts as her medium, Vicki forages for her materials and arranges them into stunning works of art.

Equipped with just scissors and tweezers, and using gravity as her glue, Vicki creates magical scenes and detailed portraits out of twigs, leaves, and flowers. After documenting her finished piece with a photo, she gifts her materials back to Mother Nature, or re-purposes them in her next creation. The process is therapeutic, and the possibilities are endless!

A charming exploration of imagination and possibility, "The Power of Flowers" offers its readers with a window into the creative process behind these natural artworks and abundant inspiration with a striking kaleidoscope of art pieces, including: Famous faces, like Frida Kahlo, John Lennon, Einstein, Diana Ross, and more; Whimsical scenes featuring blooming gardens, moonlit forests, seaside cottages, and woodland animals; Seasonal pieces inspired by the magic of the holidays; Contemplative art reflecting love, inner strength, and positive energy.

With her uniquely imaginative artistic vision, Vicki takes the reader ever deeper into her world by sharing her process, her sustainable approach to art, and anecdotes about what inspired her to create. Her advice -- Let yourself get lost in The Power of Flowers.

Critique: Now with the publication of "The Power of Flowers: Turning Pieces of Mother Nature into Transformative Works of Art" by Vicki Rawlings anyone can create a work of art drawn from field to forest and from stream to sky, capturing the harmony and beauty of the natural world with just some paper, flowers, leaves, and twigs. Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout with full color and informative captioned photographs, this coffee-table style volume is a unique and strongly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Nature Art Crafts collections.

Editorial Note: Vicki Rawlins is an artist living and creating between the lush woods of Door County, Wisconsin, and the seaside town of La Jolla, California. Both terrains provide equally beautiful, but vastly different foliage for her artwork made from 100% Mother Nature. With this artform, her paints are twigs and petals, and her paintbrush is a pair of tweezers and scissors. Throughout her 50+ years as an artist, Vicki has explored many mediums, including oil and watercolor painting. It was only 7 years ago that she began borrowing from the earth to create detailed botanical pieces. When Vicki's not creating art in her studio, she plays the role of co-founder of Sister Golden, alongside her daughter Brooke. Their home & lifestyle store in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, houses the work of independent artists and artisans from around the world. Naturally, part of the shop is a dedicated gallery space for Vicki's flower work. Sister Golden is also very engaged online both at www.sistergolden.com and @sistergoldenshop. Vicki's work has been featured by What Women Create, Spirituality & Health Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart, and Buzzfeed.


The Biography Shelf

Andale, Prieta!: A Memoir
Yasmin Ramirez
www.yasminramirez.com
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
www.cincopuntos.com
9781947627550, $17.95, PB, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/%C2%A1Andale-Prieta-Memoir-Yasm%C3%ADn-Ram%C3%ADrez/dp/1947627554

Synopsis: After the passing of her grandmother, Yasmin writes about her family's history as a way to hold on to their memories. Yasmin does not fit in, she is not "guerita" like her sister nor does she have a conventional family, and her plans never go as expected. Her skin is darker and shows her Mexican heritage, so her grandmother calls her Prieta. While it can be an insult, when it comes from her Ita's mouth Prieta means love, a love that helps Yasmin accept herself and her history, which is inextricably linked with the strong grandmother that helped raised her while Yasmin's mother worked as a Customs and Border Protection officer.

Yasmin admires the scars that showed who Ita was -- scars from breast cancer, scars from breaking up fights, even scars she's painted on husbands who thought they were stronger than her. The exploration of Ita takes Prieta on a journey of her own past, full of ups and downs. Bars that felt like home, rebel teenage years, trying on different dreams and career paths that eventually lead her to writing.

Set in El Paso, with the publication of "Andale, Prieta!: A Memoir", Yasmin shares her experience in the border and how that shaped her as a person. How this border city has a diversity of cultures and a sense of home she cannot find anywhere else.

Critique: Having a special and particular appeal to readers with an interest in Hispanic & Latin biographies and memoirs, "Andale, Prieta!: A Memoir" focuses on the bond between a grandmother and granddaughter, and explores the inevitable grief from losing it to death and the passage of time. A deftly crafted and deeply personal story that has universal relevance with respect to the generational connections of women, "Andale, Prieta!: A Memoir" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Hispanic American Biography & Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Andale, Prieta!: A Memoir" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Yasmin Ramirez is a 2020 recipient of the Woody and Gayle Hunt-Aspen Institute Fellowship Award as well as a 2018 Dickinson House Fellow. Her fiction and creative non fiction works have appeared in Cream City Review and Huizacheamong others. She is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at El Paso Community College. She stays active in the literary community and serves on the board of, BorderSenses, a literary non-profit. Her memoir, Andale, Prieta! is slated for release spring 2021 by Cinco Puntos Press. She also has a dedicated website at www.yasminramirez.com


The General Fiction Shelf

Jane of Hearts and Other Stories
Katharine Weber
https://www.katharineweber.com
Paul Dry Books
1700 Sansom Street, Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA 19103-5214
www.pauldrybooks.com
9781589881594, $16.95, PB, 202pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Other-Stories-Katharine-Weber/dp/1589881591

Synopsis: At the heart of every story comprising "Jane of Hearts and Other Stories", author Katharine Weber has located a compelling character in 'medias res', at a moment when situation, desire, and identity are intersecting and sometimes colliding.

In this anthology of short stories children go door to door selling poison mushrooms; an elderly New Yorker on the brink of losing her freedom bolts for one last dignified adventure; a girl is employed to babysit a sleeping baby she is forbidden to see.

In the title story lonely children roaming their Connecticut neighborhood discover a forgotten bomb shelter, which they make their secret headquarters. All in all, "Jane of Hearts and Other Stories offers Katharine Weber's readers a lively assortment of her short fiction, each story a precise and nuanced investigation of its moments.

Critique: Having a special appeal to readers with an appreciation of unique and deftly crafted psychological fiction and the literary format of the short story, "Jane of Hearts and Other Stories" is particularly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Jane of Hearts and Other Stories" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Katharine Weber is the author of six novels: "Still Life with Monkey", "True Confections", "Triangle", "The Little Women", "The Music Lesson", and "Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear". She has also published a memoir, "The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacy of Infidelities". Katharine also has an informative website at https://www.katharineweber.com

The Candid Life of Meena Dave
Namrata Patel
www.nampatel.com
Lake Union Publishing
9781542039079, $14.95, PB, 315pp

https://www.amazon.com/Candid-Life-Meena-Dave/dp/154203907X

Synopsis: Meena Dave is a photojournalist and a nomad. She has no family, no permanent address, and no long-term attachments, preferring to observe the world at a distance through the lens of her camera. But Meena's solitary life is turned upside down when she unexpectedly inherits an apartment in a Victorian brownstone in historic Back Bay, Boston.

Though Meena's impulse is to sell it and keep moving, she decides to use her journalistic instinct to follow the story that landed her in the home of a stranger. It's a mystery that comes with a series of hidden clues, a trio of meddling Indian aunties, and a handsome next-door neighbor. For Meena it's a chance for newfound friendships, community, and culture she never thought possible. And a window into her past she never expected.

Now as everything unknown to Meena comes into focus, she must reconcile who she wants to be with who she really is.

Critique: With a special appeal to readers with an interest in Asian-American literature and Friendship Fiction, "The Candid Life of Meena Dave" by Namrata Patel, with its elements of family secrets, personal identity, and the power of peer pressure on otherwise solitary souls, is an inherently fascinating and impressively scripted novel that will prove to be a highly prized addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Candid Life of Meena Dave" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Namrata Patel is an Indian American writer whose writing examines diaspora and dual-cultural identity among Indian Americans and explores this dynamic while also touching on the families we're born with and those we choose. Namrata has lived in India, New Jersey, Spokane, London, and New York City and has been writing most of her adult life. She has a dedicated website at www.nampatel.com

A Letter in the Wall
Eileen Brill
https://www.eileenbrill.com
She Writes Press
www.shewritespress.com
9781684631339, $16.95, PB, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Letter-Wall-Novel-Eileen-Brill/dp/1684631335

Synopsis: It's 1971, and Joan Dumann fears her former business partner wants her dead -- but her anxiety is less about dying than it is about feeling disrespected and invalidated. As she constructs a letter about her predicament, she revisits her past.

Born into a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family in 1915 and raised with privilege and opportunity, Joan wrestles with her turbulent thoughts and unfulfilled desires -- an internal battle that often results in self-destructive tendencies. When she attempts to push against the norms for women of her time in order to forge her own identity, she is met with resistance. Yet she might also be her own worst enemy, often alienating those who care deeply for her. Both manipulative and vulnerable, naive and conniving, Joan is, like many people, complex and misunderstood.

Inspired by a letter written by the real Joan, found hidden in the wall of a Pennsylvania home more than half a century later, "A Letter in the Wall" is a fictionalized imagining of who she was and what motivated her. Moving through several decades and events ranging from the 1918 influenza pandemic, to Prohibition, to the Great Depression, to the Vietnam War -- "A Letter in the Wall" deftly examines the internal and external factors that influence one woman's journey toward independence and empowerment.

Critique: An impressively well written and inherently fascinating novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality, character development, and plot manipulation, "A Letter in the Wall" by author Eileen Brill is all the more exceptional when considering that it is her debut as a novelist. Especially and unreservedly recommended as an addition to community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for the readers with a particular in interest in historical fiction, divorce and family life fiction, and mothers/children based stories that "A Letter in the Wall" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69).

Editorial Note: Eileen Grace Brill is an artist, a writer, and a sign language interpreter who grew up outside of Philadelphia and graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a BS in economics. She has written professionally for the restaurant, hotel, and commercial real estate industries. Eileen's short story "Christmas Angel" appeared in the international literary magazine Beyond Words in 2021. She has a dedicated website at https://www.eileenbrill.com/about

When We Let Go
Rochelle B. Weinstein
www.rochelleweinstein.com
Lake Union Publishing
www.brillianceaudio.com
9781662501036, $14.95, PB, 315pp

https://www.amazon.com/When-We-Let-Rochelle-Weinstein/dp/166250103X

Synopsis: When Avery Beckett is proposed to by Jude Masters, a widowed father and the man she loves, it should be a time of great joy. Instead, Avery is on edge. She's wary of the idea of family, doubtful of happy endings, and too afraid to take the leap. It's the kind of fear that comes from having secrets. Before Avery commits to a new life, she must reconcile with the one she left behind.

When Avery returns to her childhood farm in the North Carolina mountains, she's surprised to be saddled with a companion: Jude's teenage daughter, Elle, who's grappling with the loss of her mother and the complicated emotions of first love. On a path of mending wounds and breaking down walls, Avery and Elle form an unexpected alliance. It's giving them the courage to move forward. And for Avery, everything she needs to confront the past.

An emotional tale of mothers and daughters, loss and acceptance, "When We Let Go" is about the lessons that come from heartbreak and the healing it takes to embrace the joy of a second chance.

Critique: Of special interest to readers who appreciate well crafted novels about small town life and the relationships of daughters with their mothers, of loss and love, "When We Let Go" by Rochelle B. Weinstein is a fully entertaining and at times thought-provoking read from first page to last. While highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "When We Let Go" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713661511, $14.99, MP3-CD).

Editorial Note: Rochelle B. Weinstein is also the author of This Is Not How It Ends, Somebody's Daughter, Where We Fall, The Mourning After, and What We Leave Behind. Rochelle. When she's not writing, Rochelle can be found mentoring at-risk young women through Women of Tomorrow, teaching workshops at Nova Southeastern University. She has a dedicated website at www.rochelleweinstein.com

Shadow in the Bridge World
Mike Dorn Wiss
Master Point Press
www.masterpointpress.com
9781771402484, $19.95, PB, 218pp

https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Bridge-World-Mike-Dorn/dp/1771402482

Synopsis: The Shadow is a mysterious expert (at bridge, as well as many other sports) whose passion for anonymity means that you have never heard of him. The author is his friend, and under strict rules of concealment of the Shadow's identity, has been allowed to share these fascinating and instructive anecdotes with the world.

A collection of bridge themed short stories told with humor and panache, and played in varied locations including a Hawai`ian cruise, a corporate jet, a Rocky Mountain train ride, an exclusive country club, and many other settings, "Shadow in the Bridge World" was originally published in 1983 (more than 30 years ago). This new edition from Master Point Press has been both revised and expanded.

Critique: A fun read from cover to cover, "Shadow in the Bridge World" by Mike Dorn Wiss (a professional bridge player, writer and teacher who splits his time between Canada and Thailand) is an absolute 'must read' selection for anyone who has ever sat down to a game of bridge -- or who has competed in a local, national, or international bridge tournament. Simply stated, "Shadow in the Bridge World" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.

Estates Large and Small
Ray Robertson
https://rayrobertson.com
Biblioasis
www.biblioasis.com
9781771964623, $18.95, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Estates-Large-Small-Ray-Robertson/dp/1771964626

Synopsis: What decades of rent increases and declining readership couldn't do, a pandemic finally did: Phil Cooper has reluctantly closed his secondhand bookstore and moved his business online. Smoking too much pot and listening to too much Grateful Dead, he suspects that he's overdue when it comes to understanding the bigger picture of who he is and what we're all doing here. So he's made another decision: to teach himself 2,500 years of Western philosophy.

Thankfully, he meets Caroline, a fellow book lover who agrees to join him on his trek through the best of what's been thought and said. But Caroline is on her own path, one that compels Phil to rethink what it means to be alive in the twenty-first century.

Critique: With the publication of "Estates Large and Small", novelist Ray Robertson succeeds in reminding his readers just what it means to live, love, and (when the time comes) to say goodbye. Deftly crafted and memorable characters, a narrative storyline laced with humor and acute observation, "Estates Large and Small" will have a special appeal to readers with an apprication of psychological and urban life fiction -- as well as all dedicated bibliophiles who enjoy the theme of bookselling. While highly recommended for community, college, and university library literary fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Estates Large and Small" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, he currently residing in Toronto, Canada, Ray Robertson is the author of nine novels, four collections of non-fiction, and a book of poetry. His work has been translated into several languages. He has a personal and professional website at https://rayrobertson.com

Almost Like Praying
Joel Samberg
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
www.blackrosewriting.com
9781685130091, $25.95, HC, 249pp

https://www.amazon.com/Almost-Like-Praying-Joel-Samberg/dp/1685130097

Synopsis: Dolores Farrell, of Sherborn, Massachusetts, had her future all planned out: she'd marry an attorney, have sons who'd become attorneys, daughters who'd become patrons of the arts, and live in the shadow of Harvard University, thereby continuing her privileged, purebred Irish-Catholic legacy. -- But it didn't quite work out that way.

Dolores becomes a Long Island housewife married to a salesman, and must watch as all her children embrace lives and lifestyles quite different from what she had imagined. After all, did she ever expect one daughter to become a radio shock jock and one son to become a hard-drinking New York City cop? And then there's the other son, a sarcastic cartoonist who's missing a leg due to a terrible childhood accident. That, of course, was never part of the plan.

One day, the boy who used to live across the street, and is now a successful journalist, oversees Dolores hugging a six-year-old, olive-skinned girl -- and smiling! That doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would come naturally to Dolores.

"Almost Like Praying" consists of three separate stories the curious journalist reconstructs: one about the family's Massachusetts and Long Island roots, another about the troubled early adulthood of the eldest son, and the last which details the curious relationship between Dolores and that little girl.

Critique: A deftly written, narrative driven, inherently engaging storytelling style, "Almost Like Praying" by author Joel Samber is one of those remarkable novels whose originality and memorable characters will continue in the mind and memory of the reader long after it has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal lists of readers with an interest in Family Life fiction that "Almost Like Praying" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781684339365, $20.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: As a professional journalist, Joel Samberg's work has appeared in Connecticut Magazine, Pittsburgh Magazine and dozens of others. He is the author of the 2019 novel Blowin' in the Wind as well as four nonfiction books including Some Kind of Lonely Clown: The Music, Memory & Melancholy Lives of Karen Carpenter, which followed a report about Ms. Carpenter that he wrote and narrated for NPR's All Things Considered.


The Historical Fiction Shelf

The Ravens of Vienna
Adrian Grafe
Addison & Highsmith Publishers
c/o Histria Books
www.histriabooks.com
9781592111381, $29.99, HC, 280pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ravens-Vienna-Adrian-Grafe/dp/1592111386

Synopsis: Vienna in 1942 is a city overrun with Nazis, profiteers, and spies. A desperate Nazi officer, under pressure from his superiors, bullies Lichtblau, a banker, also a writer, into handing him over some of the bank's money. He is the object of hatred on the part of Hellroth, who has always been in love with Lichtblau's wife. As Lichtblau's and his family's lives become more and more perilous, they devise a plan for his wife and children to leave Vienna and travel across Europe to England.

Once in Oxford, a professor, Tom Oliver, with whom they have been in touch through a Resistance network in Europe, is due to take them in. Tom Oliver is loosely based on the figure of Maurice Bowra (1898-1971), a colorful libertine who played a decisive role in helping Jewish refugees escape war-torn continental Europe and get to Oxford. Lichtblau stays behind in Vienna after his family's departure, in order to work for the Resistance.

As the Lichtblau party crosses Europe, they encounter danger and get into life-threatening situations, facing them with resourcefulness and sometimes disguises and bluff. They also come across people willing to help them in their onward journey, passing through Germany and France. The Russians are still some distance from Vienna, as Herr Lichtblau, in 1945, torn between his love for his family and his desire to fight the Nazi plague in Vienna, decides to set out for England.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "The Ravens of Vienna" is author Adrian Grafe's debut as a novelist, this original and engaging story is a compelling historical drama comprised of memorable characters, eloquent observation, historical infused backgrounds, as well as inherently engaging and complex plot lines. Of special appeal to readers with an interest in World War II Historical Fiction in general, and Jewish Historical Fiction in particular, "The Ravens of Vienna" is strongly recommended, personal reading lists and community library collections.

Editorial Note: Adrian Grafe lives in Paris and is an English Professor at Universite d'Artois. A British author, Grafe has published several books and articles on literature and music. His poem "Peacock Pie in Paris", a recreation of the life, during the Occupation, of a young Parisian Jewish girl (who also appears in The Ravens Vienna), was published in We'll Never Have Paris, an anthology edited by Andrew Gallix (2019).

It's Alive!
Julian David Stone
https://www.juliandavidstone.com
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781626349315, $22.95, PB, 232pp

https://www.amazon.com/Its-Alive-Julian-David-Stone/dp/1626349312

Synopsis: In the summer of 1931, life was good for Junior Laemmle. Though only twenty-three years old, he was the head of all movie production for Universal Pictures, and under his reign, the studio flourished. So much so, he was about to be bestowed with the greatest honor a young executive can receive in Hollywood: a promotion to vice president of the entire company. What's more, Carl Laemmle, his father and founder of the studio, was returning to California for the first time in years to personally present the honor to his son. -- Or so Junior thought.

When his father arrives, Junior discovers that instead of being grateful for transforming and catapulting the out-of-date studio into the future, his father is obsessed with Junior's next production: Frankenstein. Like the year before, Carl is fervently against making another grisly and gothic film, despite Dracula becoming a huge hit -- a project which Junior fought for and personally oversaw through production. Also not helping Junior's cause, though the film is just days away from beginning production, the final choice between Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff to play the role of the Monster, has yet to be made.

"It's Alive!" offers vibrant portrait of 1930s Hollywood centered around the chaotic and exciting days just before the filming of the beloved cult-classic film, Frankenstein. Woven with hopeful passion, emotional vulnerability, staunch determination, and creative fulfillment, readers will be swept along with breathless cinematic pace through events that will not only change the lives of everyone involved, but Hollywood itself.

Critique: With a very special and particular appeal to fans of old Hollywood movies and movie-making, "It's Alive!" by novelist Julian David Stone is a fun and fascinating read that is populated with deftly crafted characters and a fully engaging, compulsive page turner of a narrative driven storyline. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Historical Fiction & Literary Fiction collections, "It's Alive!" is also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Julian David Stone's previous work includes screenplays for Disney, Paramount, Sony, and MGM; the full-length play, The Elvis Test; and several short-form documentaries on Frank Sinatra for Warner Bros. He is also the writer and director of the hit cult comedy feature film, Follow the Bitch. Recently he began writing books, with his award-winning debut novel: The Strange Birth, Short life, and Sudden Death of Justice Girl, which is about the world of the 1950s live television. It is currently being turned into a TV series. Julian is also the author of the best-selling coffee table book, No Cameras Allowed: My Career As An Outlaw Rock & Roll Photographer, detailing in words and photos his wild adventures photographing rock and roll concerts in the 1980s. He has a dedicated website at https://www.juliandavidstone.com

Shadows in the Mind's Eye
Janyre Tromp
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825447396, $15.99, PB, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Minds-Eye-Janyre-Tromp/dp/0825447399

Synopsis: Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on -- responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who's come back from combat to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam's experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand -- but that everyone is learning to fear.

Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn't the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she's terrified he's going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam's mental wounds -- or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

Critique: A carefully crafted work of Christian historical fiction by novelist Janyre Tromp, "Shadows in the Mind's Eye" is a riveting read and will have a special appeal to readers with an interest in PTSD -- the invisible wounds that the horrors of war inflict. A first class suspense thriller, "Shadows in the Mind's Eye" is highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Shadows in the Mind's Eye" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Editorial Note: Janyre Tromp is a developmental book editor who has worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty years, spending time in both marketing and editorial. She is a contributor to It's a Wonderful Christmas -- a Christmas novella collection with other award-winning authors, including Julie Cantrell and Lynne Gentry. She has a dedicated website at www.janyretromp.com


The LGBT Fiction Shelf

The Teachers' Room
Lydia Stryk
https://lydiastryk.com
Bywater Books
P.O. Box 3671, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-3671
www.bywaterbooks.com
9781612942339, $17.95, PB, 278pp

https://www.amazon.com/Teachers-Room-Lydia-Stryk/dp/1612942334

Synopsis: It is 1963, one of the most turbulent years in American history. The escalating tensions and conflicts in society at large are playing out in classrooms, principals' offices, and school boards across the country, along with the first stirrings of social transformation, though the past still holds its suffocating grip. And behind the closed door of the teachers' room in one small Midwest town, two teachers set eyes on each other and find it hard to look away.

Karen Murphy, fresh from college, has taken on her first teaching job. Despite her best efforts, she can't seem to stick to the subjects in her fifth-grade school books, helped along by the antics of a girl who upends all her lesson plans. She has a lot to learn, and her women colleagues are there to offer their advice, especially the enigmatic fourth-grade teacher, Esther Jonas. As Karen quickly discovers, the devoted spinster teacher with no life beyond the classroom is a myth -- the school is teeming with passion and secrets, her own perilous desire for Esther Jonas included.

"The Teachers' Room" by novelist Lydia Stryk is all the more impressive when considering that it is her first published novel and she so effectively offers both a panoramic view of a changing America and an intimate portrait of the hidden lives of teachers.

Critique: A deftly crafted novel that will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in LBGTQ themes, "The Teacher's Room" is an inherently original, engaging, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and entertaining read from first page to last. While highly recommended for community library Romance Fiction and LBGTQ Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Teacher's Room" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: An award-winning playwright and an essayist, Lydia Stryk trained at the Drama Centre in London and pursued an acting career in New York for exactly one year before returning to school to study History and Education. While completing a Master's degree in Journalism, she wrote a first play, coming full circle back to the theatre, this time as a writer. She has taught in schools and colleges, and her plays have been produced across the country and beyond. She has a dedicated website at https://lydiastryk.com

Querelle of Roberval
Kevin Lambert, author
Donald Winkler, translator
Biblioasis
www.biblioasis.com
9781771963541, $16.95, PB, 200pp

https://www.amazon.com/Querelle-Roberval-Kevin-Lambert/dp/1771963549

Synopsis: As a millworkers' strike in the northern lumber town of Roberval drags on, tensions start to escalate between the workers -- but when a lockout renews their solidarity, they rally around the mysterious and magnetic influence of Querelle, a dashing newcomer from Montreal.

Strapping and unabashed, likeable but callow, by day he walks the picket lines and at night moves like a mythic Adonis through the ranks of young men who flock to his apartment for sex.

As the dispute hardens and both sides refuse to yield, sand stalls the gears of the economic machine and the tinderbox of class struggle and entitlement ignites in a firestorm of passions carnal and violent.

Trenchant social drama, a tribute to Jean Genet's antihero, and a brilliant re-imagining of the ancient form of tragedy, "Querelle of Roberval" is a wildly imaginative story of justice, passion, and murderous revenge.

Critique: Ably translated into English for an American readership by Donald Winkler, "Querelle of Roberval" by novelist Kevin Lambert is an inherently fascinating and memorable read from first page to last. The winner of France's Marquis de Sade Prize, "Querelle of Roberval" will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in anti-hero novels and LGBTQ themes. While highly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction and LGBTQ Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Querelle of Roberval" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) from Biblioasis.

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Montreal, Canada, French Canadian Kevin Lambert grew up in Chicoutimi, Quebec. He earned a master's degree in creative writing at the Universite de Montreal. His widely acclaimed first novel, You Will Love What You Have Killed, was a finalist for Quebec's Booksellers' Prize. His second novel, Querelle of Roberval, not only won France's Marquis de Sade Prize, but also was a finalist for the prestigious Prix Medicis and the literary prize of the Paris newspaper Le Monde. In Canada, Querelle of Roberval won the Prix Ringuet of the Quebec Academy of Arts and Letters, was a finalist for the Grand Prix du Livre de Montreal and won or was a finalist for six other literary prizes. He has a Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Lambert

Editorial Note #2: Donald Winkler was born in Winnipeg in 1940, graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1961, and as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar, did graduate study at the Yale School of Drama. From 1967 to 1995 he was a film director and writer at the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal, and since the 1980s, a translator of Quebec literature: in 1994, 2011, and 2013 he won the Governor General's Award for French to English translation, and has been a finalist for the prize on three other occasions. He has a dedicated website at http://donaldwinkler.com/?page_id=129


The Literary Fiction Shelf

Provenance
Sue Mell
www.suemellwrites.com
Madville Publishing
www.MadvillePublishing.com
9781956440027, $19.95 212pp

https://www.amazon.com/Provenance-Sue-Mell/dp/195644002X

Synopsis: Still grieving his wife's early death, DJ has spent the last three years (and the money from her insurance policy) collecting guitars, composing music, and continuing to shop the Brooklyn stoop sales and flea markets they'd always enjoyed.

When his building is sold, he takes refuge in his younger sister's half-finished basement, imagining a comfortable and solitary retreat in Hurley, the small Hudson Valley town where they grew up. Instead, he finds himself caught up in his sister's troubling divorce, drafted as caregiver for his 11-year-old niece, and unable to face or afford a storage unit crammed with hundreds of vinyl records and every other scrap of his former life.

DJ gifts his niece a marbled glass egg, a porkpie hat, and one of his prized guitars. But what's asked of him, on his return to Hurley is not to give the perfect object - it's to give of himself.

Critique: A carefully crafted, impressively intriguing, and fully engaging contemporary novel that will have a special appeal to readers interested in family life fiction, "Provenance" by the gifted author Sue Mell is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that this edition of "Provenance" from Madville Publishing is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Sue Mell is a writer from Queens, NY, earning her MFA from Warren Wilson, and was a 2020 BookEnds fellow at SUNY Stony Brook. Her collection of micro essays, Giving Care, won the 2021 Chestnut Review Prose Chapbook Prize, and her collection of short stories, A New Day, was a finalist for the 2021 St. Lawrence Book Award. Other work has appeared in Cleaver Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, Jellyfish Review, Narrative Magazine and elsewhere. She has a dedicated website at www.suemellwrites.com

Confessions with Keith
Pauline Holdstock
http://paulineholdstock.com
Biblioasis
www.biblioasis.com
9781771964975, $16.95, PB, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Keith-Pauline-Holdstock/dp/1771964979

Synopsis: Preoccupied with her fledgling literary career, intent on the all-consuming consolations of philosophy, and scrambling to meet the demands of her four children, the acutely myopic and chronically inattentive Vita Glass doesn't notice that her house and her marriage are competing to see which can fall apart fastest.

Meanwhile, Vita's eldest son is embarking on his professional career as a teenaged stoner, her eldest daughter can't be seen in public with her lest she succumb of mortal embarrassment, her younger son's gerbils won't stop having babies, and the baby of the family suffers debilitating grief over certain memories, including the thought of the Cats soundtrack and that one time she stepped on a hornet's nest. Plus the family dog is a Greek chorus of puke.

Vita can barely find time for her writing career, and just when her newfound success in vegetable erotica is beginning to take off. Our heroine's only tried and trusted escape is the blissful detachment of Keith's hairdressing salon, but when her husband leaves the country, unannounced, she decides to do likewise -- in the opposite direction, and with their children.

Drawn from the pages of Vita's journal, "Confessions with Keith" is a fictional documentation of Vita's real life passage through a mid-life crisis and explores all the ways we can deceive each other and ourselves.

Critique: A deftly crafted and wickedly fun read from cover to cover, "Confessions with Keith" by novelist Pauline Holdstock is the kind of story that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While highly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Confessions with Keith" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Pauline Holdstock is an award winning novelist, short fiction writer and essayist whose books have been published in the US, the UK, Australia, Germany, Brazil and Portugal. In Canada, her work has been short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writer's Prize, and others, and has won the BC Book Prizes Award for Fiction and the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. She has a dedicated website at http://paulineholdstock.com


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

When Sparks Fly
Jo McNally
https://jomcnallyromance.com
HQN Books
c/o Harlequin Books
https://www.harlequin.com
9781335916389, $8.99, PB, 416pp

https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Falls-Rendezvous-5/dp/1335916385

Synopsis: Between her business, her recent divorce and her teenage daughter who needs her right now, Zoey Hartford has her hands full. Thank goodness she has her best friend, Mike McKinnon, to keep her laughing. Zoey and Mike have gone through everything together -- from chemistry class to heartbreak. They would never risk their friendship -- until one unexpected but sizzling night changes everything.

Mike is torn. Funny, down-to-earth Zoey in her flannel shirts and messy ponytail always seems so in control...until she melts into his arms. But he won't come between Zoey and her daughter. They'll just keep it casual. No drama. No feelings. No messiness. What could go wrong?

But the meddling, matchmaking book club won't be denied. They may not have set them up, but they recognize a perfect match when they see one. And they're determined to help Zoey see what's been right in front of her for so long!

Critique: The latest addition to author Jo McNally's 'Rendevous Falls' series, "When Sparks Fly" is a deftly scripted and charmingly fun read from beginning to end, and which will have a very special appeal to contemporary romance fiction fans. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99), "When Sparks Fly" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Romance Novel collections.

Editorial Note: The other titles in this outstanding series by romance novelist Jo McNally include: Slow Dancing at Sunrise; Stealing Kisses in the Snow; Barefoot on a Starlit Night; and Love Blooms. Jo McNally also has a dedicated website at https://jomcnallyromance.com

Set on You
Amy Lea
https://www.amyleabooks.com
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
www.penguin.com
9780593336571, $16.00, PB, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Set-You-Amy-Lea/dp/0593336577

Synopsis: Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead she finds solace in the gym -- her place of power and positivity.

Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents' engagement party.

In the lead up to their grandparents' wedding, Crystal discovers there's a soft heart under Scott's muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, they just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.

Critique: A romance novel for our times, "Set on You" by Amy Lea is a fun read from first page to last and will have a particular appeal to readers with an interest in romantic comedy. Showcasing Amy Lea's obvious flair for originality and her distinctive narrative storytelling style, "Set on You" is highly recommended for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Set on You" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Amy Lea is a Canadian bureaucrat by day and contemporary romance author by night (and weekends). She writes laugh out loud romantic comedies featuring strong heroines, witty banter, mid-2000s pop culture references, and happily ever afters. She has a dedicated website at https://www.amyleabooks.com and can be followed on Instagram @amyleabooks

Feeling of Home
Susan Anne Mason
www.susanannemason.net
Bethany House Publishers
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301
www.bethanyhouse.com
9780764240072, $29.99, HC, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Home-Redemptions-Light/dp/0764235214

Synopsis: Isabelle Wardrop's well-to-do life has completely unraveled. Within months, she's lost both her parents, her fortune, and her home. With nowhere else to turn, she and her younger sister move in with a trusted former servant in an impoverished area of the city. Desperate for work but having no qualifications, Isabelle is forced to accept help from Dr. Mark Henshaw, the very man she blames for her mother's death.

Mark Henshaw has admired Isabelle for several months, but after the tragic death of her mother, he vows to make amends for the past and help her find her way. But when Mark learns his younger brother has formed an undesirable friendship with Isabelle's sister (one that brings a whole new set of problems into their lives) he doesn't know if Isabelle will ever forgive him.

When startling developments begin to take place, both within Isabelle's heart and their siblings' relationship, her future looks very different than anything she could have imagined.

Critique: With the publication of "A Feeling of Home", novelist Susan Anne Mason clearly demonstrates her mastery of the Christian Romance genre. Populated with memorable characters and an eventful storyline that fully engages the reader's entertained attention from first page to last, "A Feeling of Home" is a deftly crafted, impressively original, and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Historical Romance and Christian Romance collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicate romance fans that "A Feeling of Home" is also available in a paperback edition (9780764235214, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Susan Anne Mason's historical novel "Irish Meadows" won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA as well as the Christian Retailer's Choice Award for Debut Novel. She has a dedicated website at www.susanannemason.net

Inventions of the Heart
Mary Connealy
www.maryconnealy.com
Bethany House Publishers
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton Road, Ada, MI 49301
www.bethanyhouse.com
9780764240164, $29.99, HC, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/Inventions-Heart-Lumber-Barons-Daughters/dp/0764239597

Synopsis: After her sister's marriage, Michelle Stiles is left hiding at Two Harts Ranch with the handsome but stubborn Zane Hart. She's managed to stay one step ahead of her stepfather and his devious plans, but if he finds her, she will no longer be safe.

Zane has problems of his own. Having discovered a gold mine on his property, he must figure out how to harvest it without kicking off a gold rush. Michelle, educated and trained to run her father's business, wants to manage all aspects of the mine, but Zane thinks for a person so smart she can have some misguided ideas. Running the mining operation will be a dangerous job, and he can't risk putting her in harm's way.

But danger finds Michelle anyway when she's suddenly attacked. If they go to the sheriff, they'll reveal her location, but if they do nothing -- their troubles have only just begun.

Critique: A very well crafted and thoroughly fun read, "Inventions of the Heart" will have a special appeal to readers with an affinity for both Western Romance and Christian Romance genres. Mary Connealy is a master of the contemporary romance and, while highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for her legions of fans that "Inventions of the Heart" is also available in a paperback edition (9780764239595, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Mary Connealy writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. Having sold more than one and a half million books, Mary is the author of the popular series Brothers in Arms, Brides of Hope Mountain, High Sierra Sweethearts, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie's Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero and has a dedicated website at www.maryconnealy.com

Laura's Shadow
Allison Pittman
Barbour Publishing
P.O. Box 719, 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
www.barbourbooks.com
9781636093505, $12.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lauras-Shadow-Doors-Past-9/dp/1636093507

Synopsis: De Smet, South Dakota--1890 : Young women growing up in De Smet live by two rules: don't go out in a snowstorm and don't give your heart to Cap Garland. Young Mariah Patterson only managed to obey one. Orphaned and having devoted her youth to scrapping out a life with her brother Charles, Mariah finds herself with no option but to marry the devoted but dull Merrill Gowan. Throwing caution to the wind, she seizes an opportunity to lay her feelings at Cap's feet, even though she knows Cap sees the world through the torch he carries for Laura Ingalls. Mariah is certain her love for Cap will be strong enough to break both bonds, and she's willing to risk everything to prove it.

De Smet, South Dakota--1974 : Trixie Gowan is the fourth generation of living Gowan women residing in the sprawling farmhouse on the outskirts of De Smet. Well, former resident. She's recently acquired her own bachelor girl apartment in Minneapolis, where she works writing ads for a neighborhood paper. She might live and work in the city, but her co-workers still call her Prairie Girl. Thus the inspiration for her comic strip "Lost Laura", in which a bespectacled girl in a calico dress tries to make her way in the city. The name is a quiet rebellion having grown up in a household where she'd been forbidden to mention the name, Laura. But when her great-grandmother Mariah's declining health brings Trixie home for a visit, two things might just keep her there: the bedside manner of Dr. Campbell Carter and the family secret that seems to be spilling from GG's lips one conversation at a time.

Critique: With a very special appeal to readers with an interest in mystery, suspense, and historical romance, author Allison Pittman (who has an interesting and dedicated website at www.allisonpittman.com) deftly weaves them together within a Christian framework. One of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "Laura's Shadow" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Laura's Shadow" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.35) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781685922160, $32.99, CD).

The Apple Creek Announcement
Wanda E. Brunstetter
www.wandabrunstetter.com
Barbour Publishing
P.O. Box 719, 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
www.barbourbooks.com
9781636091532, $16.99, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-Creek-Announcement-Creektown-Discoveries/dp/1636091539

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Apple Creek Announcement", readers are once again welcomed to Apple Creek, Ohio, where piano teacher and artist, Andrea Wagner, has a fascination with painting the rural Amish landscapes around her home.

She has made it to her thirties feeling like she has had a charmed life and finally has fallen in love with Brandon Prentice, a local veterinarian. But then she discovers she was adopted and all she thought she knew about herself has crumbled.

Andrea becomes so fixated on finding her birth mother that she pushes Brandon away, so she writes to the "Dear Caroline" column in the newspaper for romance advice. What will Andrea lose before she finds herself again?

Critique: A simply 'must read' for those with an interest in Amish style romance novels, "The Apple Creek Announcement" is the third title in novelist Wanda E. Brunstetter's superbly crafted 'Creektown Discoveries' series. Setting an original story of Christian romance, mystery and suspense within a Mennonite/Amish setting, "The Apple Creek Announcement" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated romance lovers and the growing legions of Wand Brunstetter fans tht "The Apple Creek Announcement" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99). Librarians should be aware that "The Apple Creek Announcement" is available for their collections in a large print Library Binding edition (Thorndike Press, 979-8885780674, $34.99) and as a complete an unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781685922542, $37.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written more than 100 books translated in four languages. Wanda's ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. She has an informative and dedicated website at www.wandabrunstetter.com

Booked on a Feeling
Jayci Lee
https://jaycilee.com
St. Martin's Griffin
c/o St. Martin's Press
120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271
https://us.macmillan.com/smp
9781250621146, $16.99, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Booked-Feeling-Novel-Jayci-Lee/dp/1250621143

Synopsis: Lizzy "Overachiever" Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly: 1. Become a lawyer. Check. 2. Join a prestigious law firm. Check. 3. Make partner. In progress.

If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.

Jack Park didn't expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he's got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn't know of his decades-long crush on her -- and he intends to keep it that way. She's a high-powered attorney who lives in L.A. and he's a bookkeeper at his family's brewery who never left his hometown. He can't risk their friendship on a long shot. Can he?

When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books.

Sometimes the path to the rest of your life has been in front of you all along.

Critique: With a very special appeal to readers with an interest in the romance novels being laced with humor, drama, and a bit of self-help psychology, "Booked On Feeling" by Jayci Lee will prove to be a fun read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Romantic Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Booked On Feeling" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666581249, $22.99, CD).

Where the Road Bends
Rachel Fordham
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800741549, $29.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Where-Road-Bends-Rachel-Fordham/dp/0800741544

Synopsis: As Norah King surveys her family land in Iowa in 1880, she is acutely aware that it is all she has left, and she will do everything in her power to save it -- even if that means marrying a man she hardly knows. Days before her wedding, Norah discovers an injured man on her property. Her sense of duty compels her to take him in and nurse him back to health. Little does she realize just how much this act of kindness will complicate her life and threaten the future she's planned.

Norah's care does more than aid Quincy Barnes's recovery -- it also awakens his heart to possibilities. Penniless and homeless, he knows the most honorable thing he can do is head on down the road and leave Norah to marry her intended. But walking away from the first person to believe in him proves much harder than he imagined.

Critique: With a very special appeal to readers who enjoy historical Christian romance novels, "Where The Road Bends" by Rachel Fordham will prove to be a heartfelt and enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated romance fiction that "Where The Road Bends" is also available in a paperback edition (9780800739744, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Rachel Fordham is also the author of A Lady in Attendance, A Life Once Dreamed, The Hope of Azure Springs, and Yours Truly, Thomas. Her fans expect stories with heart and she delivers, diving deep into the human experience and tugging at reader emotions with 'sigh-worthy' endings and truly memorable characters. She has a dedicated website at
www.rachelfordham.com


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

A Killing in Costumes
Zac Bissonnette
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9781639100866, $26.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Killing-Costumes-Hollywood-Treasures-Mystery/dp/1639100865

Synopsis: Jay Allan and Cindy Cooper were soap opera stars in the late '90s, a wholesome young husband-and-wife duo who combined musical talent with humor and charisma. When the truth about their sexual orientations came to light, their marriage and TV careers ended, but decades later they have remained friends. Together, they open Palm Springs' choicest movie memorabilia store, Hooray for Hollywood -- but no customers and dwindling finances spell trouble.

A Hail Mary arrives in the form of Yana Tosh, a ninety-year-old diva of the silver screen who has amassed a valuable collection of costumes and props and is looking to sell. But first, Jay and Cindy have to beat their competition, a vice president from a mega-auction house with ten times their resources. And when he winds up dead, they become prime suspects in the murder.

With their freedom and livelihoods on the line, Jay and Cindy desperately need to clear their names. There are plenty of other potential suspects, but they'll have to solve it soon before they're forced to trade in their vintage costume collection for two orange jumpsuits.

Critique: A fun read for any and all cozy mystery fans, "A Killing in Costumes" by novelist Zac Bissonnette is an impressively original, thoroughly entertaining, and strongly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Myster/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated 'whodunnit' fans that "A Killing in Costumes" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666614565, $22.99, CD).

A Dish to Die For
Lucy Burdette
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9781639100729, $26.99, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Dish-West-Food-Critic-Mystery/dp/1639100725

Synopsis: Peace and quiet are hard to find in bustling Key West, so Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, is taking the afternoon off for a tranquil lunch with a friend outside of town. As they are enjoying the wild beach and the lunch, she realizes that her husband Nathan's dog, Ziggy, has disappeared. She follows his barking, to find him furiously digging at a shallow grave with a man's body in it.

Davis Jager, a local birdwatcher, identifies him as GG Garcia, a rabble-rousing Key West local and developer. Garcia was famous for over-development on the fragile Keys, womanizing, and refusing to follow city rules -- so it's no wonder he had a few enemies.

When Davis is attacked in the parking lot of a local restaurant after talking to Hayley and her dear friend, the octogenarian Miss Gloria, Hayley is slowly but surely drawn into the case. Hayley's mother, Janet, has been hired to cater GG's memorial service reception at the local Woman's Club, using recipes from their vintage Key West cookbook -- and Hayley and Miss Gloria sign on to work with her, hoping to cook up some clues by observing the mourners.

But the real clues appear when Hayley begins to study the old cookbook, as whispers of old secrets come to life, dragging the past into the present -- and with murderous results.

Critique: As a novelist, Lucy Burdette is an exemplary master of the cozy mystery genre and her latest book, "A Dish To Die For" is uniquely enhanced for her dedicated and growing fan club with the inclusion of recipes! A true mystery lover's mystery, "A Dish To Die For" is a terrifically entertaining read from beginning to dramatic ending. While certain to be an enduringly popular addition to all community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Dish To Die For" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666613780, $22.99, CD).

Editorial Note: A clinical psychologist, Lucy Burdette has published 15 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic mysteries. Her books and stories have been shortlisted for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime.

Off the Chain
Janice Thompson
https://janiceathompson.com
Barbour Publishing
P.O. Box 719, 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
www.barbourbooks.com
9781636093130, $14.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Off-Chain-Gone-Dogs-1/dp/1636093132

Synopsis: With the publication of "Off the Chain" by Janice Thomson we find that the town of Brenham, Texas, has gone to the dogs! Marigold Evans' first attempt at rescuing an abandoned pooch lands her in a drainage pipe in Brenham Texas (and almost in jail!), until Parker Jenson comes to her rescue.

Then a bad day only gets worse as the Lone Star Vet Clinic, where they both work, is vandalized and the list of suspects starts to climb. With the help of her fellow employees, Marigold sets out to simultaneously solve the crime, rehab the rescued dog, and help more dogs in crisis. But why would anyone continue to work against all their good efforts?

Critique: A fun read for dog lovers and mystery buffs alike, with "Off the Chain" the reader is invited to curl up with their pup and sink into a delightful small-town mystery as riddles and rescues stack up in what is book one author Janice Thompson's new cozy mystery series 'Gone to the Dogs'. It should be noted that "Off the Chain" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), and is especially and unreservedly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

Editorial Note: Janice Thompson writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, nonfiction devotionals, and musical comedies for the stage. She has an informative website at https://janiceathompson.com

Look Closer
David Ellis
https://davidellis.com
G. P. Putnam's Sons
c/o Penguin Group
www.penguin.com
9780399170928, $27.00, HC, 464pp

https://www.amazon.com/Look-Closer-David-Ellis/dp/0399170928

Synopsis: Simon and Vicky couldn't seem more normal: a wealthy Chicago couple, he a respected law professor, she an advocate for domestic violence victims. A stable, if unexciting marriage. But one thing's for sure -- absolutely nothing is what it seems. The pair are far from normal, and one of them just may be a killer.

When the body of a beautiful socialite is found hanging in a mansion in a nearby suburb, Simon and Vicky's secrets begin to unravel. A secret whirlwind affair. A twenty-million-dollar trust fund about to come due. A decades-long grudge and obsession with revenge. These are just a few of the lies that make up the complex web -- and they will have devastating consequences. And while both Vicky and Simon are liars, just who exactly is conning who?

Critique: Of a very special appeal to readers with an affinity for the psychological suspense thriller, "Look Closer " by David Ellis is a compulsive page turner of a read populated with memorable characters and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style perfectly suited to the genre. While highly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Look Closer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: David Ellis is a judge and an Edgar-award-winning author of nine novels of crime fiction, as well as five books he has co-authored with James Patterson. In December, 2014, Dave was sworn in as the youngest-serving Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District. He has a dedicated website at https://davidellis.com

Death Casts a Shadow
Patricia Skalka
http://www.patriciaskalka.com
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299338701, $24.95, HC, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Shadow-Cubiak-County-Mystery/dp/0299338703/

Synopsis: With Door County, Wisconsin, caught in the grip of a fierce winter storm, Sheriff Dave Cubiak agrees to do a simple favor for a friend of his wife: he stops by to check in on an affluent widow with a questionable new suitor. His initial disquiet is easily dismissed -- until she is found dead the next morning in her home. Lying at the bottom of a flight of stairs, clutching a valuable bronze sculpture, she points her outstretched hand in the direction of a nearby, nondescript ring.

The scene bears all the characteristics of an accidental fall, not unheard of for a person of her age, but something is not adding up. Later that week, an explosion in an ice fishing shack on the frozen bay leads to the discovery of another body, burned beyond recognition. Was this the widow's missing handyman? Could the two deaths be related?

Past and present collide as Cubiak's search for answers uncovers the sad legacy of loneliness and the disquieting links between wealth and poverty on the peninsula.

Critique: Set against a northern Wisconsin in winter backdrop, "Death Casts A Shadow" by Wisconsin novelist Patricia Skalka will be of special interest to readers with an appreciation for the kind of narrative driven storytelling that plays fair in terms of 'whodunnit' plot twists and clues. The stuff of which award-winning movies are made, and an especially recommended addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Death Casts A Shadow" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.99).

Editorial Note: Patricia Skalka is also the author of Death Stalks Door County, Death at Gills Rock, Death in Cold Water, Death Rides the Ferry, Death by the Bay, and Death Washes Ashore -- which are the first six books in the popular Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery series. She divides her time between Milwaukee and Door County, Wisconsin, and has a dedicated website at http://www.patriciaskalka.com

Iconoclast
Laurie Buchanan
She Writes Press
www.shewritespress.com
9781684631254, $16.95, PB, 312pp

https://www.amazon.com/Iconoclast-Sean-McPherson-Novel-Book/dp/1684631254

Synopsis: Burdened by the pressing weight of survivor's guilt, Sean McPherson, an ex-cop, is desperate for redemption. At Pines & Quill, a writer's retreat in the Pacific Northwest, he and his fiancee, Emma Benton, are planning their lives together. He wants to go back into law enforcement. She plans to walk again.

Georgio "The Bull" Gambino, head of a Seattle-based crime family, has a long reach. Like cockroaches, his minions infiltrate even the most inaccessible of places to do his bidding. With Seattle to the south, the Canadian border a stone's throw to the north, and Bellingham Bay (a gateway to the Pacific Ocean) immediately to the west, Bellingham is the ideal location for the Gambino crime family to traffic drugs, weapons, and humans. But McPherson's in Gambino's way, which means he must be eliminated.

The writers in residence at Pines & Quill include an Afghanistan War veteran, a professional photographer, a civil rights attorney, and a gourmet chef. But McPherson suspects that there's more going on than the joy of creating plot twists. Is one of them conspiring murder outside the pages of their manuscript?

Critique: Another deftly crafted and riveting crime novel by Laurie Buchanan, "Iconoclast" is a great read for anyone with an interest in novels featuring organized crime, serial killers, and private investigators. A compulsive page turner of a read from beginning to end, "Iconoclast" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "Iconoclast" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: The author of the Sean McPherson novels (fast-paced thrillers home-based in the Pacific Northwest featuring a trifecta of malice and the pursuit and cost of justice), Laurie Buchanan has won multiple awards, including Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Gold Winner, International Book Award Gold Winner, National Indie Excellence Awards Winner, Crime Fiction/Suspense Eric Hoffer Awards Finalist, PenCraft Award for Literary Excellence, and CIBA Clue Book Award Finalist. She has a dedicated website at www.lauriebuchanan.com and can be followed on Instagram at lauriebuchanan.author and #seanmcphersonnovels

Criminal Justice
Randee Green
https://www.randeegreen.com
Coffeetown Press
c/o Camel Press
www.camelpress.com
9781942078869, $16.95, PB, 286pp

https://www.amazon.com/Criminal-Justice-Carrie-Shatner-Mystery-ebook/dp/B09VMNZ393

Synopsis: After a lifetime of dealing with her family's criminal antics, Detective Carrie Shatner has run out of tolerance. Thanks to their recklessness, the Department of Public Safety has finally caught on to what they've been up to. Carrie is trying to play both sides against the middle by taking control of her family's criminal organization as she turns over evidence against them.

Critique: The latest addition to mystery novelist Randee Green's simply outstanding 'Carrie Shatner Mystery series, "Criminal Justice" is a fun read that will have a very special appeal to readers with an affinity for police procedurals and authentic 'whodunnit' style mysteries populated with eccentric characters and the kind of unexpected plot twists that makes for a compulsive pager turner of a story from beginning to end. While highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of mystery buffs that "Criminal Justice" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Editorial Note: Randee Green has a bachelor's degree in English Literature, as well as an MA and an MFA in Creative Writing. She has a dedicated website at https://www.randeegreen.com

Death at the Manor
Katharine Schellman
https://www.katharineschellman.com
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781639100781, $26.99, HC, 352pp

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Manor-LILY-ADLER-MYSTERY/dp/1639100784

Synopsis: A Regency widow, Lily Adler is looking forward to spending the autumn away from the social whirl of London. When she arrives in Hampshire with her friends, the Carroways, she doesn't expect much more than a quiet country visit and the chance to spend time with her charming new acquaintance, Matthew Spencer.

But something odd is afoot in the small country village. A ghost has taken up residence in the Belleford manor, a lady in grey who wanders the halls at night, weeping and wailing. Half the servants have left in terror, but the family seems delighted with the notoriety that their ghost provides. Intrigued by this spectral guest, Lily and her party immediately make plans to visit Belleford.

They arrive at the manor the next morning ready to be entertained -- only to find that tragedy has struck. The matriarch of the family has just been found killed in her bed. The dead woman's family is convinced that the ghost is responsible. Lily is determined to learn the truth before another victim turns up -- but could she be next in line for the Great Beyond?

Critique: The latest addition to historical mystery novelist Katharine Schellman's simply outstanding 'A Lily Adler Mystery' series, "Death at the Manor" is clever, fun, and a simply great read from first page to last. An inherently gripping 'whodunnit' set in the Regency Era, "Death at the Manor" is particularly recommended for community library Historical Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs who appreciate a deftly crafted amateur sleuth in an original adventure that "Death at the Manor" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Katharine Schellman is a former actor, one-time political consultant, and currently the author of the Lily Adler Mysteries. She has a dedicated website at https://www.katharineschellman.com

In Too Steep
Kate Kingsbury
https://www.katekingsbury.net
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781639100668, $26.99, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Too-Steep-Misty-Room-Mystery/dp/1639100660

Synopsis: The murder of Lewis Trenton, a beachcomber who lived alone in a cabin in the Oregon hills seemed like a simple case at the start. But the newspaper article piques the interest of Vivian Wainwright, owner of the British-style Misty Bay Tearoom. The photo accompanying the article shows Lewis's cluttered living room, and on the shelf is a replica of Big Ben. Vivian is sure she sold the clock a week before in her shop. Who could have given the replica to Lewis?

Unable to keep from doing a bit of sleuthing, Vivian hunts down the replica in a local thrift shop, noticing that the base is missing, rendering it worthless, but just as Vivian is about to throw it in the trash, a sparkle catches her eye. It's a diamond, hidden away in a crevice in the clock. Vivian takes the diamond to Detective Tony Messina, who identifies it as part of a jewelry heist in Portland a month earlier. Portland police think Lewis was the fence who sold the jewels, and that he was killed after double-crossing the thieves -- but Messina doesn't believe the story.

What was the true motive behind Lewis's murder? How did he come upon the diamond? And what secrets can the clock tell -- before the killer strikes again!?

Critique: Another superbly crafted addition to novelist Kate Kingsbury's 'A Misty Bay a Room Mystery' series, "In Too Steep" is clearly to be classified as a 'must' for the growing legions of Kate Kingsbury fans. Belonging to that genre called 'Cozy Mystery', this thoroughly fun 'whodunnit' mystery will prove to be an immediate and enduringly welcome addition to community library collections. It should be noted for all dedicated cozy mystery fans that "In Too Steep" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666614497, $22.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Kate Kingsbury is the national bestselling author of over sixty books. Her work has appeared on many bestseller lists and her books have sold all over the world. She has a dedicated website at https://www.katekingsbury.net

Backstory
William L. Myers, Jr.
Oceanview Publishing
1620 Main Street, Suite 11, Sarasota, FL 34236
www.oceanviewpub.com
9781608094905, $27.95, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Backstory-William-L-Myers-Jr/dp/1608094901

Synopsis: In the aftermath of his wife's apparent suicide, Jackson Robert Hunter wakes up outside a bar with a badly battered head and no memory. Revelations convince Jackson that his wife's death wasn't a suicide, but a murder, and he sets out to find the killer.

While hunting the villain and struggling with his amnesia, Jackson discovers that his own backstory is a dark one, littered with broken hearts and dead bodies: a wife he betrayed; a lover he abandoned; a squad of crooked cops he double-crossed; and a city that lives in fear of his name.

Jackson's odyssey takes him from a small town in Kansas to Philadelphia, then back cross-country to Las Vegas. Along the way he encounters a sister he didn't know he had, a niece he failed to save, and a mentor ready to lead Jackson down the darkest of paths.

Finally, at the end of his journey, Jackson discovers that it's not another man he's been running to, or from, but his own damning deeds, and the paradoxical redemption they might bring.

Critique: A deftly crafted novel of suspense, "Backstory" by William L. Myers Jr. will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in vigilante justice and fans of psychological thrillers. Deftly scripted with memorable characters and a compelling storyline, "Backstory" is strongly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Backstory" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49).

Editorial Note: William L. Myers, Jr. is a Philadelphia trial lawyer who has tried cases up and down the East Coast and has argued before the United States Supreme Court. He is also the author of the best-selling thriller series 'Philadelphia Legal'. "Backstory" is his fifth novel and his first psychological thriller. He has a dedicated online web page at https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/william-l-myers-jr

Death of a Miser
Jenna Harte
https://jennaharte.com
Camel Press
6524 NE 181st Street, STE #2, Kenmore, WA 98028
www.camelpress.com
9781942078920, $16.95, PB, 220pp

https://www.amazon.com/Death-MIser-Jenna-Harte/dp/1942078927

Synopsis: It's the holiday season in Jefferson Grove and Sophie Parker's life is good. She hung up her Booty Burgo pirate wench waitress uniform months ago and now works full time sharing her beloved folklore and fairy tales as the library's children's program coordinator. She's getting along with all the members of her coupon group, including her high school nemesis Vivie Danner.

There are only two blips in Sophie's life; the first is her airplane repo boyfriend, AJ Devlin, who over the last few months has canceled more dates than he's kept making Sophie wonder if perhaps their relationship is coming to an end.

The second is her great Aunt Rose who enters her locally famous pie into the Winter Jamboree's pie contest. While Aunt Rose nearly always wins, contest judge, Carl Jackson, always has something negative to say about her pies. This time is no different when Carl criticizes her pie for being too sweet and then he steals it. It's an insult Aunt Rose can't let pass. Unfortunately, while she's fussing at Carl, he drops dead.

Carl's death is assumed to be from natural causes, until the medical examiner determines that he was poisoned, and all eyes turn to Aunt Rose as his most likely killer.

Sophie knows her aunt would never use one of her prized pies to murder, so she sets out to keep her aunt out of prison. It doesn't take long for Sophie to learn that the charming Carl Jackson was actually a greedy, sometimes cruel, miser, who had many enemies. As she learns more about Carl and those who had reasons to want him dead, Sophie creates problems in her coupon group, between her and AJ, and with a murderer bent on stopping her and Rose from celebrating the holidays ever again.

Critique: Of immense appeal and interest to dedicated fans of the cosy mystery genre, "Death of a Miser" is the third and latest addition to the 'A Sophie Parker Copupon Mystery' series from novelist Jenna Harte. Laced with humor and an inherently fascinating 'whodunnit' style mystery, "Death of a Miser" is highly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists for Jenna Harte's steadily growing legion of fans that "Death of a Miser" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, 5.99).

Editorial Note: Jenna Harte is the author of the Sophie Parker Coupon Mystery series featuring a fairy tale loving, coupon clipping sleuth. She also writes the Valentine Mysteries, the first of which, Deadly Valentine, reached the quarter-finals in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013. Along with mystery, she also writes romance with three books in her Southern Heat series. She's a member of Sisters in Crime and the Virginia Writers Club. She has a dedicated website at https://jennaharte.com

Mucho Mojo
Joe R. Lansdale
Vintage Crime
c/o Black Lizard
https://knopfdoubleday.com/imprint/black-lizard
9780307455390, $14.99, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mucho-Mojo-Leonard-Vintage-Lizard/dp/0307455394

Synopsis: With the publication of "Mucho Mojo" by author Joe Lansdale, Hap and Leonard return in another incredible, mad-dash thriller, loaded with crack addicts, a serial killer, and an ever rising body count.

Leonard is still nursing the injuries he sustained in the duo's last wild undertaking ("Savage Seasons" when he learns that his Uncle Chester has passed. Hap is of course going to be there for his best friend, and when the two are cleaning up Uncle Chester's dilapidated house, they uncover a dark little secret beneath the house's rotting floor boards -- a small skeleton buried in a trunk.

Hap wants to call the police. Leonard, being a black man in east Texas, persuades him this is not a good idea, and together they set out to clear Chester's name on their own. The only things standing in their way is a houseful of felons, a vicious killer, and possibly themselves!

Critique: As a novelist, author Joe R. Lansdale is a complete master of the hard-boiled mystery genre laid out in a distinctively recognizable narrative style storytelling format. Originally published in 1994, this new edition from Vintage Crime is also available for community library Mystery/Suspense collections and the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Sinkhole
Davida G. Breier
https://davidabreier.com
University of New Orleans Press
2000 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans, LA 70148
https://www.uno.edu/unopress
9781608012305, $18.95, PB, 263pp

https://www.amazon.com/Sinkhole-Davida-Breier/dp/1608012301

Synopsis: Lies from the past and a dangerous present collide when, after fifteen years in exile, Michelle Miller returns to her tiny hometown of Lorida, Florida. With her mother in the hospital, she's forced to reckon with the broken relationships she left behind: with her family, with friends, and with herself.

As a teenager, Michelle felt isolated and invisible until she met Sissy, a dynamic and wealthy classmate. Their sudden, intense friendship was all-consuming. Punk rocker Morrison later joins their clique, and they become an inseparable trio. They were the perfect high school friends, bound by dysfunction, bad TV, and boredom -- until one of them ends up dead.

Forced to confront the life she turned her back on fifteen years ago, she begins questioning what was truth and what were lies. Now at a distance, Michelle begins to see how dangerous Sissy truly was.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "Sinkhole" is an ingenious debut from editor and publisher Davida Breier. A simply mesmerizing and darkly comic coming-of-age novel immersed in 1980s central Florida, "Sinkhole" is an original, disturbing and skillful exploration of home, friendship, selfhood, and grief set amidst golf courses, mobile homes, and alligators. Having a special appeal to readers with an interest in psychological thrillers, "Sinkhole" is highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sinkhole" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Davida G. Breier was born in Miami, FL. She's spent the last two decades in various roles within the book industry and currently works for Johns Hopkins University Press. Davida lives in Maryland with her family, a pack of wee rescue dogs, a rescue tortoise, and two companion chickens. She has a dedicated website at https://davidabreier.com

The Last Housewife
Ashley Winstead
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139, Naperville, IL 60563
www.sourcebooks.com
9781728229911, $27.99, HC, 400pp

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Housewife-Novel-Ashley-Winstead/dp/172822991X

Synopsis: While in college in upstate New York, Shay Evans and her best friends met a captivating man who seduced them with a web of lies about the way the world works, bringing them under his thrall. By senior year, Shay and her friend Laurel were the only ones who managed to escape. Now, eight years later, Shay's built a new life in a tony Texas suburb. But when she hears the horrifying news of Laurel's death (delivered, of all ways, by her favorite true-crime podcast crusader) she begins to suspect that the past she thought she buried is still very much alive, and the predators more dangerous than ever.

Recruiting the help of the podcast host, Shay goes back to the place she vowed never to return to in search of answers. As she follows the threads of her friend's life, she's pulled into a dark, seductive world, where wealth and privilege shield brutal philosophies that feel all too familiar. When Shay's obsession with uncovering the truth becomes so consuming she can no longer separate her desire for justice from darker desires newly reawakened, she must confront the depths of her own complicity and conditioning. But in a world built for men to rule it (both inside the cult and outside of it) is justice even possible, and if so, how far will Shay go to get it?

Critique: A deftly crafted psychological thriller of a read from first page to last, "The Last Housewife" by novelist Ashley Winstead is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of suspense/thriller fans that "The Last Housewife" is also available in a paperback edition (9781728269825, $16.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9798212005173, $31.95, CD).

Editorial Note: Ashley Winstead is an academic turned novelist with a Ph.D. in contemporary American literature. She has a dedicated website at www.ashleywinstead.com

Just Like Mother
Anne Heltzel
Tor Nightfire
c/o Tor/Forge Books
120 Broadway, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10271
www.tor-forge.com
9781250787514, $26.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Just-Like-Mother-Anne-Heltzel/dp/1250787513

Synopsis: The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything (and everyone) at a safe distance.

When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she's ever had. Soon she's spending more time at Andrea's remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn't even mind that her cousin's wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry -- and baby fever comes with the territory.

The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea's world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins' increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come.

Critique: With a special appeal to fans of women's friendship themed novels, "Just Like Mother" is a an eloquently presented story of the macabre and darker elements of contemporary motherhood. An elegantly crafted and simply riveting read from cover to cover, "Just Like Mother" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Psychological Thriller collections.

Editorial Note: Anne Heltzel is a New York-based writer and book editor. She has penned several milder titles for children and young adults. "Just Like Mother" is her adult debut as a mystery/suspense/thriller novelist. She has a dedicated website at www.anneheltzel.com

Last Call at the Nightingale
Katharine Schellman
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
www.minotaurbooks.com
9781250831828, $27.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Call-Nightingale-Katharine-Schellman/dp/1250831822

Synopsis: New York, 1924. Vivian Kelly's days are filled with drudgery, from the tenement lodging she shares with her sister to the dress shop where she sews for hours every day.

But at night, she escapes to The Nightingale, an underground dance hall where illegal liquor flows and the band plays the Charleston with reckless excitement. With a bartender willing to slip her a free glass of champagne and friends who know the owner, Vivian can lose herself in the music. No one asks where she came from or how much money she has. No one bats an eye if she flirts with men or women as long as she can keep up on the dance floor. At The Nightingale, Vivian forgets the dangers of Prohibition-era New York and finds a place that feels like home.

But then she discovers a body behind the club, and those dangers come knocking.

Caught in a police raid at the Nightingale, Vivian discovers that the dead man wasn't the nameless bootlegger he first appeared. With too many people assuming she knows more about the crime than she does, Vivian finds herself caught between the dangers of the New York's underground and the world of the city's wealthy and careless, where money can hide any sin and the lives of the poor are considered disposable -- including Vivian's own!

Critique: A fun read from cover to cover for dedicated mystery buffs, "Last Call at the Nightingale" by novelist Katharine Schellman is guaranteed to be a compulsive page turner of a novel and an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. Leaving its reader's enthusiastically looking forward to more such entertaining mysteries from the mind and imagination of Katharine Schellman, it should be noted that "Last Cal at the Nightingale" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Katharine Schellman is a former actor, one-time political consultant, and currently a writer. Her debut novel, "The Body in the Garden", was a Suspense Magazine Best Book of 2020 and led to her being named one of BookPage's 16 Women to Watch. She has a dedicated website at https://www.katharineschellman.com


The Business Shelf

Project Management QuickStart Guide
Chris Croft
Clydebank Media LLC
www.clydebankmedia.com
9781636100609, $34.99, HC, 372pp

https://www.amazon.com/Project-Management-QuickStart-Guide-Simplified/dp/1636100600

Synopsis: With the publication of the "Project Management QuickStart Guide", author, speaker, trainer, and project management expert Chris Croft draws on his 30+ years of experience to deliver a comprehensive guide for would-be project managers, experienced project planners, and everyone in between.

As one of the UK's leading business, project management, and leadership trainers Chris knows how break down the sometimes-complex world of project management into actionable and easy-to-digest concepts. Insights from his dozens of courses that have reached over ten million students across the globe can be found within the pages of the "Project Management QuickStart Guide".

It doesn't matter if you are a reluctant project manager hesitant to step into the role, a manager with a new set of responsibilities, or a business owner looking to grow your business-you can learn and implement world-class project management skills to achieve your goals!

"Project Management QuickStart Guide" will have a special and enduring value for: Entrepreneurs, managers, or business owners who want a systematized way to achieve their business goals on time and under budget; New or experienced project managers who want to hone their craft with expert guidance; Jobseekers looking to supercharge their resumes and increase their value in the labor marketplace; Students preparing for a career in the business world; Non-specialist general readers who wants to break down complex projects into manageable tasks, better manage resources, and maximize their time management skills!

Critique: Exceptionally well written, impressively organized, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, Chris Croft's "Project Management QuickStart Guide" is an ideal textbook for MBA students and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, corporate, community, and academic library Business Management instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Project Management QuickStart Guide" is also readily available in a trade paperback edition (9781636100586, $24.99), a spiral-bound edition (9781636100616, $24.99), and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Chris Croft is an professional project manager, and one of the UK's leading business, project management, and leadership trainers. Chris's courses have reached hundreds of thousands of students around the globe and have even been integrated into corporate training at companies like Nasdaq, Volkswagen, Eventbrite, and others. With a decade's worth of experience in the advanced manufacturing sector, Chris knows what it takes to deliver world-class value on time and under budget and has a dedicated website at www.chriscroft.co.uk.

Strategic Creativity
Robin Landa
www.Robinlanda.com
Routledge
www.routledge.com
9781032137797, $39.95, PB, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Strategic-Creativity-Business-Advertising-Branding/dp/1032137797

Synopsis: The secret weapon for business experts to ensure strategically creative results, "Strategic Creativity: A Business Field Guide to Advertising, Branding, and Design" by Professor Robin Landa is an indispensable field guide to evaluating creative advertising, branding, and design ideas and solutions, and to working with creatives.

"Strategic Creativity" is a fundamental resource that enables business professionals to stand out amongst their colleagues and enhance their ability to communicate the creative "why" throughout their organizations, and it covers what every business expert should fully comprehend about the creative process. To effectively grow a business and reach the right audience or move a brand forward, advertising and branding need to be relevant, engaging, and worth people's time.
"Strategic Creativity" contains what a CEO, CMO, manager, business owner, or client didn't learn about the creative side of advertising and design in business school.

Featuring insightful conversations with creative experts, "Strategic Creativity" will earn a place on the desks of executives, leaders, managers, and middle managers across industries, whose work requires them to understand and execute on branding initiatives, advertising campaigns, social media, and other customer-facing content.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Strategic Creativity: A Business Field Guide to Advertising, Branding, and Design" is the ideal DIY 'hands on' combination of instructional guide and 'how to' manual that will have a very special appeal to anyone engaging in Branding/Logo Design, Advertising Graphic Design, and General Business Marketing. Thoroughly 'user friend' in commentary and lay out, "Strategic Creativity" is informatively enhanced with the inclusion of a four page Index and two pages of Notes. A complete course corporate creativity in advertising, and also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.99), "Strategic Creativity" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Contemporary Business Management collections and supplemental curriculum MBA studies lists.

Editorial Note: Robin Landa is an expert in creative advertising, branding, graphic design, and social media, and has been called a "creativity guru", having published over 20 widely recognized books in her fields of expertise. Robin holds the title of Distinguished Professor of the Michael Graves College, Kean University, USA. She has won numerous awards for her design, writing, and research, and the Carnegie Foundation lists her among the greatest teachers of our time. Robin is a former chair of Design Incubation and serves as a creative consultant to the C-suites of international corporations. She has a dedicated website at www.Robinlanda.com

Easier: 60 Ways to Make Your Work Life Work for You
Chris Westfall
www.westfallonline.com
Wiley
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
www.wiley.com
9781119834571, $25.00, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Easier-Ways-Make-Your-Work/dp/1119834570

Synopsis: A frustrated client hires a coach. He's looking for answers. Direction. And clarity. He wants to leave his job but can't find the self-confidence to do so. Should he stick it out? Is entrepreneurship a good idea? Little does he know, he's about to be fired in just five days.

With the publication of "Easier: 60 Ways to Make Your Work Life Work for You" by Chris Westfall, a self-leadership inquiry becomes a story of transformation -- and powerful universal discovery! Can a single conversation change your life?

"Easier: 60 Ways to Make Your Work Life Work for You " is a DIY handbook on coaching, leadership, and resilience. The illustrative story offers leadership insights on creating the future of work, finding connection and guidance, and uncovering 60 ways to make everything easier for team players, and team leaders, and everyone in between.

"Easier: 60 Ways to Make Your Work Life Work for You" covers: How to pivot from "How do I get through this?" to "What can I get from this?"; How to access innovation and empathy, for yourself and others, regardless of your circumstances -- and find true personal freedom; How resilience and adaptability are available to anyone, anytime.

The reader will be able tap into peak performance by understanding that you don't have to go it alone. The coaching conversation begins with a common concern and leads to a re-imagined future of work, because everything in life can be made easier -- if you just know where to look.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Easier: 60 Ways to Make Your Work Life Work for You" is informative enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of a two page bibliography of Recommended Reading, and an eight page Index. Highly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Business Management & Leadership Motivation collections, this is also complete DIY 'how to' manual for successfully helping themselves and their clients to succeed. Also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.00), "Easier: 60 Ways to Make Your Work Life Work for You" is especially recommended for the personal reading lists of counselors, coaches, and managers.

Editorial Note: Chris Westfall is one of the most sought-after coaches and keynote speakers in the world. He has helped launch over five dozen businesses and has appeared on ABC News, NBC TV, and CNN. His clients have appeared on Shark Tank, Dragons Den in Canada and Shark Tank - Australia. A regular contributor to Forbes, he has worked with thousands of leaders at Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and high-tech startups. He regularly consults with top-tier universities and is the author of four books, including Easier and Leadership Language, both from Wiley. He has a website at www.westfallonline.com

Profit From The Source
Christian Schuh, et al.
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
http://hbr.org/books
9781647821395, $32.00, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Profit-Source-Transforming-Business-Suppliers/dp/1647821398

Synopsis: In most companies, procurement is an unglamorous, unloved part of the business. A job in the procurement office? A fast track to nowhere. Sourcing and supplier management is strictly about costs, the thinking goes, and all that matters is playing hardball to get these as low as possible. No connection to innovation or strategy or creating positive value.

But not so fast! As Boston Consulting Group (BCG) thought leaders Christian Schuh, Wolfgang Schnellbacher, Alenka Triplat, and Daniel Weise explain in "Profit from the Source: Transforming Your Business by Putting Suppliers at the Core", procurement should be regarded in a new light, because it has the potential to be a CEO's secret weapon in these fast-moving, disruptive times.

With the publication of "Profit from the Source, corporate officers are offered a wake-up call and a new strategic blueprint for business leaders everywhere. With vivid stories and in-depth case studies, they illustrate that no other business function offers the same holistic view of a company -- from suppliers who provide the organization with raw materials and components to consumers who buy the finished product.

While it's true that a core task of any procurement function is to keep costs from spiraling out of control, "Profit from the Source" show how procurement can help businesses generate phenomenal value from five other sources of competitive advantage critical to success, including innovation, quality, sustainability, speed, and risk reduction.

Drawing on BCG research and authors Christian Schuh, Wolfgang Schnellbacher, Alenka Triplat, and Daniel Weise's firsthand experience working with some of the world's leading companies (in high tech, automotive, consumer goods, and many other industries) "Profit from the Source" provides proven strategies to drive new bottom-line, as well as top-line, growth for any company.

Critique: Informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of a four page listing of Acknowledgments, sixteen pages of Notes, and a twelve page Index, "Profit from the Source: Transforming Your Business by Putting Suppliers at the Core" is highly commended to the attention of corporate executives and board members, MBA students, entrepreneurs, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. While a core addition to community, corporate, college, and university library Business Management and Strategic Planning collections, it should be noted that "Profit from the Source: Transforming Your Business by Putting Suppliers at the Core" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note #1: Christian Schuh is senior partner and managing director based in BCG's Vienna office, in Austria. He focuses on global leaders in the Automotive and High-Tech sectors, and he is best known for the book The Purchasing Chessboard and his YouTube channel, Procurement in the Park.

Editorial Note #2: Wolfgang Schnellbacher is partner and managing director based in BCG's Stuttgart office, in Germany. He wrote his PhD thesis on game-theory-based negotiations in procurement, with a focus on auctions. He leads BCG's procurement activities in Europe, and he advises global leaders in the Industrial Goods and Consumer Goods sectors.

Editorial Note #3: Alenka Triplat is partner and managing director based in BCG's Vienna office, in Austria. She advises global leaders in the High-Tech, Defense, and Industrial Goods sectors, and she often works at the intersection between the procurement function and other key functions, such as engineering, product marketing, and manufacturing.

Editorial Note #4: Daniel Weise is partner and managing director based in BCG's Dusseldorf office, in Germany. He leads BCG's procurement activities globally, and he advises global leaders in the Industrial Goods, Energy, and Consumer Goods sectors. His work concentrates on creating maximum value from suppliers and often focuses on postmerger integration, restructuring, and transformation.


The Christian Studies Shelf

Money & Salvation
Andrew Geleris, author
SVS Press
575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707
www.svspress.com
9780881417135, $22.00, PB, 184pp

https://svspress.com/money-salvation-an-invitation-to-the-good-way

Synopsis: With the publication of "Money & Salvation: An Invitation to the Good Way", author Andrew Geleris reminds us that all too often when we as hierarchs, clergy, and lay leaders speak to our people about giving to meet the needs of the church or the needs of the poor, and we forget to teach that the true need for each and every one of us is simply to give.

The message is that God did not recommend that we give only when there is some perceived need or a capital campaign for a project. God commands that we give for the sake of our salvation.

"Money & Salvation: An Invitation to the Good Way" is succinct and profound exploration of the deeper spiritual meaning for Christians concerning the necessity of financial giving for the right reasons and the right purpose.

Critique: Jesus gave illustrative examples of what God desires of his people when it comes to donating -- witness the story of the Widow's Mite for example. As has been demonstrated over the last two millennia the effect of wealth on spirituality in terms of requests and donations has often been demonstrated to be a distraction and a source of corruption for clergy and laity from what God requires of us in both action and intent. "Money & Salvation: An Invitation to the Good Way" is unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the Christian community. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Money & Salvation: An Invitation to the Good Way" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) from Amazon.com

Editorial Note: Andrew Geleris, M.D., is a neurologist in Southern California and a member of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, Antiochian Orthodox Church in Palm Desert. He also serves on the boards of FOCUS North America and the Orthodox Christian Leadership Initiative.

God Loves the Autistic Mind
Father Matthew P. Schneider, LC
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
www.pauline.org
9780819831620, $16.95, PB, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/God-Loves-Autistic-Mind-Spectrum/dp/081983162X

Synopsis: Fr. Matthew Schneider, a priest on the autism spectrum, knows personally the particular challenges that autistic people face in prayer, as well as the autistic traits that can be leveraged to deepen one's prayer. With clarity and honesty, with the publication of "God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us" he shares from his own experience and that of others on the spectrum to give hope and confidence to readers.

A ground-breaking book, "God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us" includes 52 meditations, which provide a coherent progression of material for prayer that can be used on a daily or weekly basis.

Critique: A unique, timely, informative, thought-provoking, and deeply appreciated contribution to Catholic communities with respect to the subject of autism and Christianity, "God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us" is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and lay members of the Catholic Church with respect to autism and faith, spirituality, prayer and sacramental rituals. It should be noted that "God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Father Matthew P. Schneider is an openly autistic Catholic priest. He's originally from Calgary, Canada, but since joining the Legionaries of Christ, has done ministry across North America. He has written for many publications including the National Catholic Register, America, Crux, Aleteia, and Pauline Books & Media. You can find him on social media at @FrMatthewLC, @AutisticPriest, and at www.FrMatthewLC.com. He currently lives in Northern Virginia, writing a doctoral thesis in moral theology.

Your Longing Has a Name
Dominic Done
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
www.thomasnelson.com
9780785251705, $18.99, PB, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Longing-Has-Name-Alive/dp/0785251707

Synopsis: How is the health of your soul? Is the deepest part of you flourishing -- or is it languishing and gasping for air? Life for us all has been lately been filled with exhausting challenges: personal loss, political division, economic turmoil, faith deconstruction, and isolation. And our soul feels it.

Yet in the face of uncertainty, the Bible assures us we can thrive inwardly. Jesus promised his followers the abundant life. But how do we find it? How can we flourish in difficult times?

With the publication of "Your Longing Has a Name: Come Alive to the Story You Were Made For", author Dominic Done casts a beautiful vision of hope, revealing seven gifts God has provided for the health of the soul.

"Your Longing Has a Name" offers: A unique approach to understanding our purpose; Fresh language designed for current times of crisis and spiritual uncertainty; Soulful theology that focuses on our identity in Christ rather than rules-based legalism; Deeply moving personal stories, biblical insights, and relatable discussions on the human ache for meaning; Examples from history, literature, art, and culture.

"Your Longing Has a Name" paints a picture of hope during a time of crisis and confusion and helps us find ways for our soul to come

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is inspired and inspiring, "Your Longing Has a Name: Come Alive to the Story You Were Made For" offers is a timely and deeply appreciated approach for all members of the Christian community in light of the often depressing and disheartening events of the world we all live in with weekly mass murders, authoritarian corruption in the highest ranks of government, a merciless pandemic that keeps culling young and old alike, economic uncertainties, social media enhanced lies and misinformation campagins, wars and the rumors of wars. While very highly recommended for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, it should be noted that "Your Longing Has a Name: Come Alive to the Story You Were Made For" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Dominic Done is founder of Pursuing Faith and author of When Faith Fails. With a master's in theology from the University of Oxford, he has served as a pastor in Portland, Oregon; North Carolina; and Hawaii. Dominic has also taught English for companies in Europe, lectured in theology and history at various Christian colleges, worked as a radio DJ, and lived as a missionary in Vanuatu and Mexico.

40 Questions About Prayer
Joseph C. Harrod
Kregal Academic
c/o Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825446924, $29.99, PB, 296pp

https://www.amazon.com/Questions-About-Prayer-Joseph-Harrod/dp/0825446929

Synopsis: Praying is often the most common yet least understood practice of Christian spirituality. With the publication of "40 Questions About Prayer", scholar and teacher Joseph C. Harrod shares biblical insight on the nature and practice of Christian prayer. Harrod's emphasis on searching the Scriptures results in a trustworthy, practical guide to a vital aspect of Christian belief and behavior, equally appropriate for seminary courses, Bible studies, and personal understanding.

The accessible question-and-answer format of 40 Questions About Prayer allows readers to explore the issues they care most about, addressing questions that range from:
Does prayer change God's mind?; Does God hear the prayers of unbelievers?; and What does it mean to pray in Jesus's name?; to How does prayer affect evangelism, spiritual awakening, and revival?; What does it mean to pray "without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17)?; and Do physical postures affect prayer? -- a more.

Critique: As informed and informative and it is inspired and inspiring, "40 Questions About Prayer" is an unreservedly recommended and complete course of instruction on Christian prayer and one that will be especially appreciated not only by clergy and seminary students, but non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject throughout the Christian community and regardless of denominational affiliations.

Editorial Note: Joseph C. Harrod (PhD, Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) currently serves as assistant professor of biblical spirituality and associate vice president for institutional effectiveness at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Theology and Spirituality in the Works of Samuel Davies and numerous journal articles.

Confronting a Church in Controversy
Bradford E. Hinze
Paulist Press
997 MacArthur Boulevard, Mahwah, NJ 07430
www.paulistpress.com
9780809155088, $27.95, PB, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Confronting-Church-Controversy-Bradford-Hinze/dp/0809155087

Synopsis: With the publication of "Confronting a Church in Controversy" by Bradford Hinze the reader will be introduced to the Catholic clergy sex abuse controversy as considered in light of three basic faith convictions that have been brought into clearer focus during and since the Second Vatican Council.

The first guiding claim builds on Vatican II's teaching, now championed by Pope Francis, that through the anointing of the Spirit of God the baptized are gifted and summoned to live out the prophetic office of all the faithful people of God by actively participating in the life and mission of the church. This is achieved through personal and collective discernment by means of synodality, that is, as all the members of the church "we" are finding our way together.

The prophetic gift and office guide this journey by providing a sense of the faith in all the faithful not only to recognize, receive, and witness to the Word of God, but just as important in our endeavor in this study, to heed, receive, and respond to the voice of the Spirit perceived in the laments of victims grieving their violations, their wounds, and the disfunctions at all levels of the church made manifest in the clergy sex abuse.

This requires a deeper assessment of these issues provided by post-Vatican II clarifications of social and structural sin based on a realistic assessment of the sources of the laments and conflicts, the wounds and disfunctions in the church that provide the impetus and conditions for genuine church reform. These claims will provide the theological framework of "Confronting a Church in Controversy".

Critique: A timely contribution to the on-going discussion over Christian Ethics, Clergy Abuse of the Innocent, Church Hierarchy Malfeasance, and repairing the damage done to the reputation and mission of the Roman Catholic Church, "Confronting a Church in Controversy" by Bradford E. Hinze should be considered mandatory reading by all members of the Catholic clergy at all levels of church responsibility having to deal with this horrific issue. Simply stated, "Confronting a Church in Controversy" is unreservedly recommended for personal and professional Religious Ethics collections, including the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers both within and without the Catholic community who have an interest in the subject.

Editorial Note: Bradford E. Hinze is the Karl Rahner, SJ, Professor of Theology at Fordham University. He has served as the president of the Ctholic Theological Society of America. Professor Hizne also has a dedicated web page at https://www.fordham.edu/info/23704/theology_faculty/6563/bradford_hinze

Birthing the Holy
Christine Valters Paintner
Ave Maria Press
PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556
www.avemariapress.com
9781932057270, $18.95, PB, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Birthing-Holy-Nurture-Creativity-Renewal/dp/1932057277

Synopsis: Do you long to feel more alive, to see the vibrancy in your daily life? Do you feel the seeds of a new calling tugging at you? The look to the Blessed Mother for help.

With the publication of "Birthing the Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and Renewal", Christine Valters Paintner (Abbess of the online Abbey of the Arts) invites you to better know Mary and her heart through thirty-one of her titles, and, along the way, you'll nurture the new growth in your life.

The Blessed Mother is known by many beautiful titles, some of which are familiar (Virgin, Queen of Peace, and Star of the Sea) and some we may not be aware of (Vessel of Grace, Greenest Branch, and Our Lady of Silence).

Abbess Paintner offers a flexible format to reflect on Mary's titles through a thirty-one-day personal retreat, a series of novenas, or with visio divina exercises using striking images by printmaker Kreg Yingst. As you reflect on Mary in her role as Mother of Good Counsel, Woman Clothed with the Sun, Mystical Rose, Mother of Sorrows, Queen of the Angels, and other titles, Paintner invites you to hear what God calls you to develop in your life, help that dream or vision grow, and then nourish it in the world.

Whether meeting Mary for the first time in these magnificent titles or revisiting her as a beloved companion, "Birthing the Holy" invites you to see the exploration of Mary and your life as a spiritual and creative act, one that can help deepen your faith even as it sparks new growth within you.

Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Birthing the Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and Renewal" is especially and unreservedly recommended for the reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and all members of the Catholic community. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.49), "Birthing the Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and Renewal" will be an enduringly appreciated and valued addition to church, seminary, community, and academic library Christian Mariology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Christine Valters Paintner is the online abbess for Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery offering classes and resources on contemplative practice and creative expression. She earned a doctorate in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and achieved professional status as a registered expressive arts consultant and educator from the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association. She is also trained as a spiritual director and supervisor. Paintner is the author of seventeen books on monasticism and creativity, including Sacred Time; Earth, Our Original Monastery; The Soul's Slow Ripening; Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire; The Artist's Rule; The Soul of a Pilgrim; Illuminating the Way; The Wisdom of the Body; and two collections of poetry. She is a Benedictine oblate living in Galway, Ireland, with her husband, John. Together they lead online retreats at their website www.AbbeyoftheArts.com


The Judaic Studies Shelf

The Book of Jewish Knowledge
Rabbi Yani Tauber, editor-in-chief
Baruch Gordon, creative director
The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute
www.bojk.org
9781636680125, $99.00, HC, 496pp (Slipcase Edition)
9781636680118, $79.00, HC, 496pp (Regular Edition)

Synopsis: What is Judaism? What does it mean to be a Jew? What is Judaism's message to the world?

With the publication of "The Book of Jewish Knowledge" from The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, the reader is offered 1200 answers in 1200 voices to these basic and fundamental questions as it presents the story of Judaism via the variety of media that deftly capture the Jewish experience including: a Biblical account, a traditional Jewish practice, a painting by a Jewish artist, a Midrashic parable, a Talmudic discourse, a historical document, a poignant photograph, a gefilte fish recipe, a prayer from Psalms, a Scriptural aphorism, a Halachic responsum, a Kabbalistic diagram, a philosophical essay, a 12th-century travelogue.

Collectively, these present the reader with an encyclopedic overview of Jewish history, an in-depth examination of four millennia of Jewish wisdom, and an intimate tour of Jewish traditions and observances.

A groundbreaking, coffee-table style volume this 496-page compendium fully surveys the full scope of Jewish teaching and Jewish life, while also doing justice to the depth and beauty of Judaism.

Impressively comprehensive, organized and presented, "The Book of Jewish Knowledge" is comprised of five sections (Jewish History, Jewish Teaching, Jewish Practice, The Jewish year, Lifecycle Milestones).

Critique: Enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of seventy-eight full color graphs, tables, and maps, "The Book of Jewish Knowledge" includes works drawn from more than one hundred artists and photographers. An ideal and inclusive introduction to Judaism, and with enormous value for rabbinical students and non-specialist general readers interested in gaining to gain a new appreciation for the depth, breadth, and enduring splendor of Jewish knowledge and experience. Simply stated, "The Book of Jewish Knowledge" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, synagogue, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Why Do Jewish?
Zack Bodner
https://www.zackbodner.com
Gefen Publishing House
c/o Storch 255 Central Ave #B-206, Lawrence, NY 11559
www.gefenpublishing.com
9789657023686, $40.30, HC, 241pp

https://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Manifesto-21st-Century-Peoplehood/dp/9657023688

Synopsis: How do I live a more meaningful life? How might I feel more connected to others, to the world around me, to the past and the future? In an era when we can choose our own identities, why might we choose to identify as Jews?

With the publication of "Why Do Jewish? A Manifesto for 21st Century Jewish Peoplehood " these are just some of the questions Zack Bodner addresses as he thoughtfully shifts from asking "Why be Jewish?" to "Why do Jewish?" After laying out a compelling answer to that question, he goes on to explain what Jewish Peoplehood is and why he believes we are in the throes of an evolution to the next era: Jewish Peoplehood 4.0.

Zach also provides a road map for how to do Jewish in the twentyfirst century -- including proposing "the next big Jewish idea. Insisting that taking action is what matters most, Bodner proposes a creative new framework for doing Jewish based on an acronym from the Yiddish word TACHLIS, which means "getting down to brass tacks."

Through a combination of personal stories, insights from some of the world's greatest teachers, and contemporary analysis, "Why Do Jewish?" takes one of our oldest wisdom traditions and provides an accessible guide for anyone looking for answers to life's most important questions.

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is insightfully informative, "Why Do Jewish? A Manifesto for 21st Century Jewish Peoplehood" is an extraordinary and fascinating study that is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, synagogue, college, and university library Contemporary Judaic Studies collections. It should be noted for both professional and personal reading lists that "Why Do Jewish? A Manifesto for 21st Century Jewish Peoplehood" is also available in a paperback edition (9789657801055, $18.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.85).

Editorial Note: While serving as the CEO of the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, Zack Bodner oversaw the creation of the Center for Social Impact, the Taube Center for Jewish Peoplehood, and the Z3 Project, a global effort to reimagine Diaspora-Israel relations. Before joining the JCC, Zack served for fourteen years as the Pacific Northwest Regional Director of AIPAC. Zack holds a master's degree in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor's degree from Yale University. Additionally, he studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Ohr Someyach yeshiva, and Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is also a member of YPO and participated in the Executive Leadership Seminar at the Aspen Institute. He has a dedicated website at https://www.zackbodner.com


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Big Book of Candle Magic
Jacki Smith
Weiser Publishers
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
www.redwheelweiser.com
9781578637638, $24.95, PB, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Candle-Magic/dp/1578637635

Synopsis: With the publication of "The Big Book of Candle Magic", Jacki Smith, founder of Coventry Creations (currently among the largest and most successful magical supply companies), shares her magical secrets with readers, enabling them to empower themselves through successful spell casting.

"The Big Book of Candle Magic" explains the nature of magic spells and provides examples for a wide variety of purposes including love, money, healing, and protection, liberally punctuated with tips from "Aunt Jacki," deriving from her many years of experience.

"The Big Book of Candle Magic" also shows: How to create your own candles; The basics of crafting your own spells; How to use basic supplies for everyday magic.

Critique: Occasionally illustrated with black-and-white images, "The Big Book of Candle Magic" is deftly organized into four major sections (The Magic Hour is Now; The Joy of Spellcrafting; The Art of Cocreation; The Index of Inspiration). A complete and comprehensive instruction manual and 'how to' guide, "The Big Book of Candle Magic" will have a special appeal to readers with an interest in Magic, Spirituality, Witchcraft, and Healing. Exceptional in its organization and presentation "The Big Book of Candle Magic" is an ideal and especially recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted that "The Big Book of Candle Magic" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Jacki Smith is the founder of Coventry Creations, an internationally known maker of spiritual products, and co-owner of Candle Wick Shoppe in Ferndale, Michigan. In 1992, Jacki was the first on the national market with her Blessed Herbal Candles, launching the intentional candle industry. She now sells her own brand of candles to hundreds of metaphysical bookshops. She has a dedicated website at www.coventrycreations.com and can be followed on Instagram at @coventrycandles

The Path of Elemental Witchcraft
Salicrow
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781644113363, $24.99, PB, 576pp

https://www.amazon.com/Path-Elemental-Witchcraft-Womans-Shadows/dp/1644113368

Synopsis: A Book of Shadows is a witch's sacred journal, filled with personal experiences and the intimate working of spells. "The Path of Elemental Witchcraft: A Wyrd Woman's Book of Shadows" is a practical DIY guide to elemental witchcraft with which Salicrow invites you into her personal Book of Shadows, detailing hands-on techniques, spells, and rituals to work with the magic of the four elements -- Water, Earth, Air, and Fire.

Salicrow presents teachings on each element through the lens of different schools of magic, such as divination, healing, protection, manifestation, and enchantment. Within each of these elemental teachings is a series of progressive lessons, including a personal story from the author's lifetime of magical practice paired with a technique for you to explore.

For the Water witch, she explores scrying, engaging with undines, weather protection, fairy glamour, and healing with kitchen spells. For the Earth witch, she describes reading the bones, animal messengers, listening to plants, crystal grids, and shadow work. For the Air witch, she looks at communicating with sylphs and crows, divination through clouds and wind, sonic magic and healing, spell accelerants, and smudging. For the Fire witch, she examines the Djinn, the magical hearth, fire divination, candle work, and sex magic. For all the elements, she explores how to build elemental altars and customize the ceremonies and rituals.

Sharing intimate examples and practices to help you progressively develop the skills of witchcraft, Salicrow invites you to create your own personal Book of Shadows as you forge a magical relationship with the natural world.

Critique: With the publication of "The Path of Elemental Witchcraft: A Wyrd Woman's Book of Shadows", aspiring wiccans, magic users, and metaphysical studies students are provided with an ideal and comprehensive, step-by-step guide to hands-on techniques, spells, and rituals paired with personal stories from the author's decades of magical practice. Also presented are teachings on working with each element in different ways (divination, communication, healing, protection, manifestation, and enchantment); and an informative exploration of elemental altars, scrying and reading the bones, undines and fairies, working with runes and crystals, ancestral healing, weather sensing, fire gazing, candle magic, sex magic, and communicating with the Otherworld. Exceptional in organization and presentation, "The Path of Elemental Witchcraft: A Wyrd Woman's Book of Shadows" is recommended as an essential addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical & Witchcraft Studies collections. It should also be noted that "The Path of Elemental Witchcraft: A Wyrd Woman's Book of Shadows" is readily available from Destiny Books in a digital format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Salicrow is a witch, Druid, and natural psychic medium who weaves the traditions of her Irish Traveler and Blackfoot heritage with modern magical techniques. With more than 30 years of professional experience in the psychic arts as a spirit channel and seer, she offers readings for individual groups and teaches workshops throughout the United States and internationally. She lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

The Amazonian Angel Oracle
Howard G. Charing
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781644114261, $30.00, Card Deck

https://www.amazon.com/Amazonian-Angel-Oracle-Working-Spirits/dp/1644114267

Synopsis: Renowned shamanic artist Pablo Amaringo left behind countless unfinished drawings and paintings when he passed away in 2009 -- as well as hundreds of pages of writings on his knowledge of the mundo amazonica, the spiritual world of the Amazon. Working with these unfinished materials, Howard Charing, a longtime friend and student of Amaringo, has created an oracle deck and guidebook inspired by Pablo Amaringo's visionary art and spiritual wisdom.

The deck includes 33 vivid full-color cards, each featuring an angel, deva, or nature spirit set against an intricate backdrop of Amazonian jungle plants and animals, celestial bodies, ancient temples, spiritual symbols, and ayahuasca visions. Many of these angels and devas have appeared in Amaringo's paintings -- part of the meaningful details that make his work unique and link it to the magic and mystery of the Amazon.

The accompanying 192 page guidebook discusses the meanings of each card's angel, deva, or plant spirit and provides card spreads based on traditional shamanic practices, such as the Mesa Norte¤a of northern Peru. The guidebook also includes thoughts for reflection for each card to help you connect with the shamanic spirits and angelic beings of the Amazon as well as the visionary art of Pablo Amaringo.

Critique: Having a very unique and special appeal to students and practitioners of metaphysics, divination, and shamanism, "The Amazonian Angel Oracle: Working with Angels, Devas, and Plant Spirits" as a 'hands on' tool for contacting shamanic spirts and connecting with angelic beings is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies and Shamanism collections.

Editorial Note: Currently residing in London, England, Howard G. Charing holds workshops internationally on shamanism as well as plant medicine retreats in the Peruvian Amazon. He is also the author of "The Accidental Shaman" and co- author of "Plant Spirit Shamanism" and "The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo". He has a dedicated website at www.hgcharing.com

Astrology Magick
Lindsay Squire, author
Viki Lester, illustrator
Leaping Hare Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780711277182, $22.00, HC, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Astrology-Magick-yourself-magick-Forests/dp/0711277184

Synopsis: Astrology is a powerful tool for tuning into and better understanding yourself and others around you. Aligning your actions with the patterns and signs of the stars can bring you comfort and control in the 21st century, and empower you to really reflect on you present and future actions, and live your happiest life.

Whether you're new to witchcraft or to astrology, with the publication of "Astrology Magick" by the team of author Lindsay Squire and artist/illustrator Viki Lester, you will now be able to discover how to use simple witchcraft and astrology to boost your wellbeing, find self-love and acceptance, and harness the power of the stars and universe in your life as well as your craft.

"Astrology Magick" covers: How to incorporate astrology into your witchcraft practice; The different types of astrology (predictive, natal, karmic and synastic); The 12 zodiac signs, 9 planets, and 12 astrological houses; Your sun, moon and rising sign; How to calculate and read your birth chart; What retrograde means and how to survive (and thrive!) when mercury is in retrograde; Astrology and its relationship to the moon; How to use astrology as part of your magickal and self-care practice -- and much more!

Of special note is that by flipping the book's jacket to find a blank birth chart that you can fill in to help chart your stars, and refer back to it as you progress through the book.

With recipes, rituals and tips and tricks taken from The Witch of the Forest's personal grimoire, learn how connecting with astrology can help soothe 21st century anxiety, and how you can use it as a tool for empowerment.

Critique: An extraordinary and complete course of instruction in the use of astrology based magic, "Astrology Magick" is the ideal combination of instructional guide and 'how to' manual for anyone with an interest in personal transformation, self-help/self-improvement utilizing astrology combined with witchcraft based spirituality. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Astrology Magick" is especially recommended for personal and professional collections and studies lists.

Editorial Note #1: Currently residing in Yorkshire, UK, Lindsay Squire is a practitioner of eclectic Witchcraft and is the Witch behind the popular Instagram account, The Witch of the Forest. She has been walking her own spiritual path for over a decade, and is passionate about helping and empowering Witches at the beginning of their Witchcraft journeys. She has a dedicated website at https://thewitchoftheforest.co.uk

Editorial Note #2: Artist/illustrator Viki Lester has a dedicated webpage at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/viki-lester--527906387581122885 and can be followed on @forensicsandflowers

The Tarot Spellbook
Sam Magdaleno
https://www.samthecosmicwitch.com
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780760377086, $24.99, HC, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Tarot-Spellbook-Witchy-Magick-Manifestation/dp/0760377081

Synopsis: Connecting with the 78 cards of the tarot in a meaningful way can be overwhelming, which can lead to scouring reference books and memorizing meanings rather than actually using the cards themselves. The Tarot Spellbook gives you a fun way to learn the cards - and a practical way to work with them beyond divination and reading.

Each of the 78 spells in "The Tarot Spellbook: 78 Witchy Ways to Use Your Tarot Deck for Magick and Manifestation" is categorized into one of eight popular spell categories:self, change, love, money, career, wellness, protection, and home. Because the lessons taught by tarot cards are those that apply to all aspects of life, from karmic soul lessons to the smaller daily events, the spells comprising "The Tarot Spellbook" cover everything you need for a variety of common life situations.

Looking to manifest your desires? See the Magician card and spell. Need to find clarity? Work with the Moon card and spell to dispel illusion. Each entry outlines the card's overall meaning, and provides 2 - 3 journal questions to aid in introspection, reflection, and further connection to the tarot card. Each spell connects to a dominant theme of the card, helping you connect to the card on a personal level, and furthering your knowledge of witchcraft.

From candle magick, to spell jars, to ritual baths, and more, "The Tarot Spellbook" utilizes spellwork of all kinds to truly aid you in expanding your magickal practice on all fronts.

Critique: Each nicely illustrated tarot card is paired with an informative commentary, instructions for a particular spell, and helpfully personal Journal Questions. The result is a complete course of instruction in the art of tarot inspired spells that will be of particular interest to students of the tarot, of Wicca, and of Metaphysical Studies in general. Simply stated, "The Tarot Spellbook: 78 Witchy Ways to Use Your Tarot Deck for Magick and Manifestation" is a welcome and recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Tarot, Witchcraft, and Metaphysical Studies collections.

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Alberta, Canada, Sam Magdaleno is a professional witch and tarot reader. Creatrix of the popular Instagram handle, Sam the Cosmic Witch, Sam offers resources on witchcraft and tarot, as well as a monthly membership centered around working with moon magick. She specializes in demystifying witchcraft, and making it practical and applicable to everyday life. Having grown up visiting Wiccan shops and collecting crystals with her mom, Sam experienced the positive influence that witchcraft had on her life, and is dedicated to helping others live in alignment with their inner witch. Sam is obsessed with overalls, coffee, and horror movies. She has a website at https://www.samthecosmicwitch.com/meet-sam


The Automotive Shelf

Recreational Vehicles
Andrew Woodmansey
Pen & Sword Books
c/o Casemate (US distribution)
www.casematepublishers.com
https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
9781526792457, $52.95, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Recreational-Vehicles-World-History-1872-1939/dp/1526792451

Synopsis: Today there are 15 million recreational vehicles, or 'RVs', on the roads of Europe, the USA and Australasia. So how did this fascinating family of vehicles come about? Who were the first recreational nomads, what made them want to take to the road just for pleasure and what did the first RVs look like?

With the publication of "Recreational Vehicles: A World History 1872 - 1939", author, traveler, and automotive historian Andrew Woodmansey provides his readers with detailed and chronological history that beautifully illustrates the vehicles and exploits of the early RV mavericks with over 250 period photos of the vehicles, their builders and their owners.

It also explores the evolution of the RV from its horse-drawn roots through the steam era to the golden age of 1930s caravans and motorhomes. Many rare photos of early RVs were uncovered during the research for this book and are being published for the first time. These photos shed new light on the history of the RV.

The RV family is a global one, with six countries in particular having a strong RV heritage - the UK, USA, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. In a world first, this history compares the early evolution of RV design and usage in each country. Also featured is an international gallery of RVs adapted for non-recreational purposes.

By portraying not just the vehicles but also the trends, people and fashions of the period, this unique RV history reveals the remarkable early days of transport-based tourism and leisure. Andrew Woodmansey's engaging account of the early days of the RV will appeal not only to RV enthusiasts but also to anyone with an interest in how vehicles set us free to roam the world.

Critique: A unique automotive pictorial history, "Recreational Vehicles: A World History 1872 - 1939" is a simply fascinating read from cover to cover. Of special and enduring interest for automotive enthusiasts and historians, "Recreational Vehicles: A World History 1872 - 1939" is profusely illustrated throughout with black-and-white photography in support of an impressively informative commentary. A pure pleasure to simply browse through one delightfully nostalgic page at a time, "Recreational Vehicles: A World History 1872 - 1939" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Automotive History collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists. Of special note is that "Recreational Vehicles: A World History 1872 - 1939" is presently available on Amazon in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99).

Editorial Note: Andrew Woodmansey is a recreational vehicle historian based in Sydney, Australia. Born near England's New Forest, Andrew enjoyed many family caravan holidays as a child. After studying at Cambridge University, he embarked on a finance career spanning six countries, finally settling in 2000 in Australia, where he worked in senior operational roles at the Sydney Opera House and elsewhere. In 2014 he wrote 'The Caravan Buyers Guide'. Andrew now writes about RV history and explores Australia in his camper trailer.


The Interior Design Shelf

At Home on the Water
Jaci Conry
http://jaciconry.com
Gibbs Smith, Publisher
PO Box 667, Layton UT 84041
www.gibbs-smith.com
9781423657507, $35.00, HC, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/At-Home-Water-Jaci-Conry/dp/1423657500

Synopsis: The idea of a retreat in the form of a place removed from one's daily stressors, a secluded haven to be enjoyed by family, is more appealing than it has been in decades. But second homes are far from a novel concept. Families have built retreats since the late 1800s, when the well-to-do began to construct reprieves in coastal areas to escape the combustive atmosphere of city life.

Homes on the water have been coveted and cherished for their particular restorative qualities. In an oceanside house, one can't help but pause to contemplate the view.

With the publication of "At Home on the Water", author Jaci Conry offers a history of coastal living and features twelve homes on the water on both coasts and the gulf. This stunning coffee-table style volume (9 x 0.75 x 11.5 inches, 2.65 pounds) focuses on both the design of the homes and the way the homeowners live in them, embellished by interviews with homeowners, designers, and/or architects.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout with full color photography, "At Home on the Water" by home design professional Jaci Conry will be of special interest to readers with an interest in residential architecture and interior design. A pure pleasure to browse through one page at a time, "At Home on the Water" is an impressive source of interior design inspiration and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Interior & Home Design collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists.

Editorial Note: Jaci Conry has been covering home design for more than fifteen years. She has written for countless publications including the Boston Globe, Better Homes & Gardens, Domino, Dwell, Design New England, and Boston Home. In late 2017, she became editor-in-chief of a new shelter magazine, Interiors Boston. She has a dedicated website at http://jaciconry.com

The Bed Book
Laura Fenton
http://www.laura-fenton.com
Gibbs Smith, Publisher
PO Box 667, Layton UT 84041
www.gibbs-smith.com
9781423657330, $24.99, HC, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Bunk-Bed-Book-Bunks-Lofts/dp/1423657330

Synopsis: Everyone loves a bunk bed. Whether you are five or seventy-five, there is something about a cozy sleeping nook that excites the imagination. They are also an infinitely practical space-saving solution -- especially when that space is limited.

"The Bunk Bed Book: 115 Bunks, Lofts, and Cozy Nooks" by small space expert Lauran Fenton is both a dream book and a handbook. Inside you'll find 115 bedrooms from all across the globe from today's top interior designers and influencers. "The Bunk Bed Book" will appeal to both design professionals and everyday homeowners seeking inspiration -- not to mention kids dreaming of a bunk room of their own!

In addition to classic bunks, "The Bunk Bed Book" features lofts, daybeds, sleeping alcoves, and all manner of creative and comforting places to lay your head.

Critique: Profusely illustrated in full color throughout, "The Bunk Bed Book: 115 Bunks, Lofts, and Cozy Nooks" is a treasury of ideas for creating welcome sleeping spaces in homes of limited accommodation. Replete with DIY ideas, "The Bunk Bed Book" will be of particular and enduring interest for DIY home owners and professional interior designers alike. Informative and inspirational, "The Bunk Bed Book" is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Interior & Small Home Design collections.

Editorial Note: Laura Fenton is also the author of "The Little Book of Living Small". The former lifestyle director at Parents magazine, her work has also appeared in major publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, and Real Simple, and on leading home and lifestyle websites, including Apartment Therapy, Cup of Jo, Food52, and Remodelista. She has a dedicated website at http://www.laura-fenton.com


The Computer Shelf

Understanding Software Dynamics
Richard L. Sites
Addison Wesley Professional
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
www.mcp.com
9780137589739, $49.99, PB, 464pp

https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Software-Addison-Wesley-Professional-Computing/dp/0137589735

Synopsis: From mobile and cloud apps to video games to driverless vehicle control, more and more software is time-constrained: It must deliver reliable results seamlessly, consistently, and virtually instantaneously. If it doesn't, customers are unhappy -- and sometimes lives are put at risk. When complex software underperforms or fails, software engineers need to identify and address the root causes. This is difficult and, historically, few tools have been available to help.

With the publication of "Understanding Software Dynamics", performance expert Richard L. Sites tackles the problem head on, offering expert methods and advanced tools for understanding complex, time-constrained software dynamics, improving reliability and troubleshooting challenging performance problems.

Sites draws on several decades of experience pioneering software performance optimization, as well as extensive experience teaching graduate-level developers. He introduces principles and techniques for use in any environment, from embedded devices to datacenters, illuminating them with examples based on x86 or ARM processors running Linux and linked by Ethernet. He also guides readers through building and applying a powerful, new, extremely low-overhead open-source software tool, KUtrace, to precisely trace executions on every CPU core. Using insights gleaned from this tool, readers can apply nuanced solutions -- not merely brute-force techniques such as turning off caches or cores.

"Understanding Software Dynamics" will be valuable to experienced software professionals, including application and OS developers, hardware and system architects, real-time system designers, and game developers, as well as advanced students.

Critique: A complete and comprehensive course of 'user friendly' instruction under one cover, "Understanding Software Dynamics" is the ideal textbook for formal academic software design and engineering curriculums, as well as informal DIY studies for anyone with an interest in the subject. While highly recommended for community, college, and university library Computer Science collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of computer students, academicians, computer hardware/software programmers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Understanding Software Dynamics" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $29.99).

Editorial Note: Richard L. Sites wrote his first computer program in 1959 and has spent most of his career at the boundary between hardware and software, with a particular interest in CPU/software performance interactions. His past work includes VAX microcode, DEC Alpha co-architect, and inventing the performance counters found in nearly all processors today. He has done low-overhead microcode and software tracing at DEC, Adobe, Google, and Tesla. Dr. Sites earned his PhD at Stanford in 1974; he holds 66 patents and is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering. There is a dedicated web page for him at https://cpsc.yale.edu/event/cs-colloquium-richard-l-sites

Murach's HTML and CSS, fifth edition
Zak Ruvalcaba, author
Anne Boehm, author
Mike Murach & Associates
www.murach.com
9781943872862, $59.50, PB, 602pp

https://www.amazon.com/Murachs-HTML-CSS-Anne-Boehm/dp/1943872864

Synopsis: Now in a fully updated and expanded 5th Edition, "Murach's HTML and CSS" by the team of Zak Ruvalcaba and Anne Boehm, is illustrated in full color and thereby makes learning HTML and CSS easier than ever. Providing a complete DIY course under on cover novice (and even experienced) users will become equipped with all the HTML and CSS skills needed on the job today: With instructive lessons ranging from the very basics, to responsive design, to enhancements like forms, video, and CSS animations, to website usability and deployment, "Murach's HTML and CSS" is an invaluable instructional reference.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, this new and expanded 5th edition of "Murach's HTML and CSS" from Mike Murach & Associates is a comprehensive and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Computer Science collections in general, and CSS Programming, Digital Video Production, and Computer Programming Languages supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular.

Editorial Note #1: With over 30 years as a technical author, Anne Boehm first started with Murach Books in 1981. She has consistently displayed a gift for organizing complex material and making it easy to understand. Over the years, she has programmed and written about a wide range of subjects, from enterprise programming to user tools like Microsoft Excel to .NET programming to Web design and development.

Editorial Note #2: Zak Ruvalcaba has been researching, designing, and developing for the web since 1995. As a full-time web developer, he's developed web applications for companies like Gateway, HP, Toshiba, IBM, Intuit, Peachtree, Dell, and Microsoft. As a full-time instructor, he's headed up the Front-End Web Developer Certificate Program in the San Diego Community College District, where he's responsible for running the program and developing the curriculum.


The Money/Finance Shelf

Claim Your Dream Life
Dawn Fleming
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
www.morganjamespublishing.com
9781631956652, $17.95, PB, 190pp

https://www.amazon.com/Claim-Your-Dream-Life-Shoestring/dp/1631956655

Synopsis: "Claim Your Dream Life: How to Retire in Paradise on a Shoestring Budget" is an unconventional book about "retirement", written by trailblazer Dawn Fleming who explains how and why she and her husband, Tom, threw caution to the wind after financial devastation in the 2008 economic crash.

Sailing over 5,000 miles from California to Florida, the couple found their direction in the winds of change. At age 50 and 60, they knew it was probably too late to accumulate that "magic number" in their bank account in order to retire. Instead, they moved overseas and found a simpler, happier and richer life at a fraction of the cost of living in the US.

After so many people asked Dawn how they could do it too, she had to teach others how to create their Dream Life in Paradise. She launched the Overseas Life Redesign podcast to share the wealth of inspirational stories from people she's met who are Living the Dream.

With the publication of "Claim Your Dream Life: How to Retire in Paradise on a Shoestring Budget", Dawn outlines the step-by-step process she and Tom used to turn their dream into reality, along with sharing the success strategies her guests have used.

Critique: With a very special appeal and value for anyone wanting to plan for their retirement, "Claim Your Dream Life: How to Retire in Paradise on a Shoestring Budget" is a combination of 'real world' financial planning advice, insights and experiences with an DIY 'how to' guide for traveling when budget limited. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Claim Your Dream Life: How to Retire in Paradise on a Shoestring Budget" especially and unreservedly recommended for community library and community senior citizen center collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Claim Your Dream Life: How to Retire in Paradise on a Shoestring Budget" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Dawn D. Fleming, JD is an Attorney turned Alchemist who went from being afraid of dying at her desk to living her Dream Life in Paradise. An author, podcast host, serial entrepreneur and Strategic Lifestyle Designer - she's cracked the code and launched Overseas Life Redesign, a global consulting company to help serve those in midlife looking for their next adventure. For over 25 years, Dawn has trained, coached, and mentored thousands of successful entrepreneurs at all different stages, ranging from those who never had a business to seasoned serial entrepreneurs. Her podcast can be found at https://dawnfleming.com/podcast


The Travel Shelf

In the Wake of the Gods
Sam Jefferson
Adlard Coles
c/o Bloomsbury Press
www.bloomsbury.com
9781472975362, $28.00, PB, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wake-Gods-cruising-companion-world/dp/1472975367

Synopsis: "In the Wake of the Gods: A cruising companion to the world of the Greek myths" by Sam Jefferson is a unique and entertaining travel guide to Greek waters as it recreates parts of voyages undertaken in myth, anchoring off landmarks or ports associated with ancient legends. It follows the trails of Odysseus, Hercules, and Jason and the Argonauts, as well as visiting the sites where Poseidon lost his trident (off Paxos) and built his temple (on the Saronic Gulf), the cliff where Theseus's father threw himself to his death after fearing his son had been killed by the minotaur, Odysseus's ship (petrified by Poseidon and now an island in a small bay) and Troy, the remains of which survive as a reminder of the city that withstood a 10-year siege.

With almost 6,000 islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, Greece is a maritime nation like no other - and according to its mythology this has been the case since the days when seafarers believed their fortunes, good or ill, lay in the hands of Poseidon. Sailing through these crystal clear waters today is a voyage into history, whether true or legendary.

Retelling all the myths, from the very well-known to the less familiar, "In the Wake of the Gods" is a unique cruising companion to be read and enjoyed in its own right. With the author Sam Jefferson's in depth knowledge of the region, this travel guide compendium is also packed with useful and practical pointers for pilotage and passage planning, including information about prevailing winds and anchoring, along with charts and photography.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated in full color throughout, "In the Wake of the Gods: A cruising companion to the world of the Greek myths" is an extraordinary browsing experience for the armchair traveler, and an informatively welcome itinerary planning resource for the on-site traveler. Impressively informative and exceptional in both organization and presentation, "In the Wake of the Gods" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Travel Guide collections. It should be noted that "In the Wake of the Gods" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.87).

Editorial Note: Sam Jefferson is a journalist and maritime historian, and is one of the leading authorities on the clipper ship era. He is also the Editor of Sailing Today, and writes regularly for Classic Boat and Traditional Boats and Tall Ships. He is the author of Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail, Gordon Bennett and Sea Fever -- all of which are published by Adlard Coles Nautical. There is a web page dedicated to Sam Jefferson at https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Jefferson/e/B00NVWVK5I%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Chaucer's Italy
Richard Owen
Armchair Traveller / Haus Publishing
c/o International Publishers Marketing
22841 Quicksilver Drive, Dulles, VA 20166
www.internationalpubmarket.com
9781909961838, $22.95, HC, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Chaucers-Italy-Armchair-Traveller-Richard/dp/1909961833

Synopsis: Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340s - 25 October 1400) might be considered the quintessential English writer, but he drew much of his inspiration and material from Italy. In fact, without the tremendous influence of Francesco Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio (among others), the author of The Canterbury Tales might never have assumed his place as the "father" of English literature.

Nevertheless, "Chaucer's Italy" begins in London, where the poet dealt with Italian merchants in his roles as court diplomat and customs official. With the publication of "Chaucer's Italy", author Owen then takes us (via Chaucer's capture at the siege of Rheims), to his involvement in arranging the marriage of King Edward III's son Lionel in Milan and his missions to Genoa and Florence.

By scrutinizing his encounters with Petrarch, Boccaccio, and the mercenary knight John Hawkwood (and with vividly evocative descriptions of the Arezzo, Padua, Florence, Certaldo, and Milan that Chaucer would have encountered) Owen reveals the deep influence of Italy's people and towns on Chaucer's poems and stories. Much writing on Chaucer depicts a misleadingly parochial figure, but as Owen's enlightening short study of Chaucer's Italian years makes clear, the poet's life was internationally eventful. The consequences have made the English canon what it is today.

Critique: More than just a literary figure based travel guide, "Chaucer's Italy" by journalist and author Richard Owen will have a very special appeal to Chaucer students/scholars and armchair travelers. The next best thing to being an on-site tourist. Inherently interesting, deftly written, impressively organized and presented, "Chaucer's Italy" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Literary Travel Guide collections in general, and supplemental curriculum Chaucer studies reading lists in particular.

Editorial Note: Richard Owen was The Times correspondent for fifteen years. Owen has written several works of non-fiction, including Crisis in the Kremlin: Soviet Succession and the Rise of Gorbachov, Letter from Moscow and Lady Chatterley's Villa: DH Lawrence on the Italian Riviera.


The Martial Arts Shelf

The Triangle Hold Encyclopedia
Steve Scott
YMAA Publications
PO Box 480, Wolfeboro, NH 03894-0480
www.ymaa.com
9781594396496, $34.95, PB, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Triangle-Hold-Encyclopedia-Comprehensive-Applications/dp/1594396493

Synopsis: The purpose of "The Triangle Hold Encyclopedia: Comprehensive Applications for Triangle Submission Techniques for All Grappling Styles" is to explore and analyze what makes a successful leg-based triangle hold, along with the numerous applications and variations that make triangle holds the most effective submission techniques in any fighting sport.

"The Triangle Hold Encyclopedia" by Steve Scott presents a comprehensive analysis of triangle submission holds and the numerous applications, variations, set ups, and positions from which they are applied. Included throughout are technical tips, and discussions of how to systematically teach and study triangle holds so they become an effective part of your fighting and grappling arsenal.

"The Triangle Hold Encyclopedia" presents: Triangle holds starting from the bottom guard position; Triangle holds starting from in front of an opponent; Triangle holds starting from a top or back ride position; Triangle holds starting from a holding or pinning position; Prevention, defense, and escapes for triangle holds.

A central characteristic of "The Triangle Hold Encyclopedia" is that the skills presented can be used in a variety of fighting and grappling sports. As important as the power of the legs may be, knowing how to use that power is even more important -- and that's what this comprehensive instruction manual is all about.

Critique: A compendium of informatively and expertly illustrated step-by-step instructions, "The Triangle Hold Encyclopedia: Comprehensive Applications for Triangle Submission Techniques for All Grappling Styles" thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. An essential and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and dojo library martial arts instructional reference collections, it should be noted for martial arts students and practitioners that it is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.45)).

Editorial Note: Steve Scott is a professional judo, sambo and jujitsu coach residing in Kansas City, MO. He holds 8th dan rank in judo and 7th dan rank in shingitai jujitsu. Starting his judo career in 1965 and his sambo career in 1976, He has been active at all levels of competition, coaching and administration in different grappling sports. He has coached four World Sambo Champions, a member of an Olympic Judo Team, and hundreds of medal winners in national and international competitions in judo, sambo, sport jujitsu and submission grappling. He founded the Welcome Mat Judo Club in 1969 where thousands of people have trained in a variety of martial arts. Steve is also the innovator of the Freestyle Judo contest rules used by AAU Judo as well as the innovator in women's sambo in the U.S., having hosted the first women's U.S. National Sambo Championships in 1980. He was responsible for the AAU granting recognition to the sport of judo in 1994 after a hiatus of many years. There is a web page dedicated to Steve Scott at https://www.usadojo.com/books-dvds-steve-scott

Karate as the Art of Killing
Masayuki Shimabukuro, author
Leonard J. Pellman, author
Blue Snake Books
c/o North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704-2607
www.northatlanticbooks.com
9781623176617, $29.95, PB, 400pp

https://www.amazon.com/Karate-Art-Killing-Ideology-Techniques/dp/1623176611

Synopsis: Prior to 1900, karate-do was exclusively an art of unarmed self-defense. Its practice was designed for life-or-death situations -- effectively, an art of killing. With the publication of "Karate as the Art of Killing: A Study of Its Deadly Origins, Ideology of Peace, and the Techniques of Shito-Ryu" authors Leonard Pellman and the late Masayuki Shimabukuro restore karate to its original intent. They move karate away from its popular modern-day sporting applications back to its deadly origins -- and to the restraining philosophy of peace, self-sacrifice, compassion, and service to others that necessarily accompanied it.

With chapters on kokoro (heart, mind, and spirit), ki (spirit and energy), and the seven major precepts of bushido, "The Art of Killing" shows readers that the lethal art of karate is more than a method of bringing an enemy down -- it is a philosophical and spiritual system grounded in essential lessons to guard against abuses of power. This illustrated volume does not contain detailed instruction in killing methods, but it does showcase the deadly power of karate -- and explain why purity of intentions matters, and how compassion and respect are the essence of karate training.

Aspiring and practicing martial arts students will learn: The purpose and meaning of karate-do; The origins and major precepts of bushido; Training methods, preparation, and etiquette; Fundamentals, spiritual power, training patterns, and analysis and application of kata; And the body as a weapon.

Critique: With instructive black-and-white illustrations throughout, "Karate as the Art of Killing: A Study of Its Deadly Origins, Ideology of Peace, and the Techniques of Shito-Ryu" is as complete and comprehensive as it is 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. An absolutely essential and core addition to personal, professional, community, dojo, college, and university library Martial Arts collections, it should be noted for martial arts students and dojo martial arts instructors that "Karate as the Art of Killing" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.99).

Editorial Note #1: Shimabukuro Masayuki Hidenobu (27 March 1948 - 7 September 2012) was an 8th dan (8th degree black belt) in Shito-Ryu karate-do, a member of the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame, and technical adviser to the Dai Nippon Butoku-Kai, Japan's most prestigious martial arts organisation. During his lifetime, he trained thousands of students on four continents in the art of karate-do. Leonard J. Pellman has been training in classical Japanese budo since 1965, and currently holds the rank of 5th dan in Shito-Ryu karate-do. Together, Shimabukuro and Pellman have written several articles on karate-do and other martial arts for Black Belt and Inside Karate magazines, as well as the books Katsujinken: Living Karate (published by JKI, Inc.) and Flashing Steel: Mastering Eishin-Ryu Swordsmanship (published by Blue Snake Books).

Editorial Note #2: Leonard J. Pellman began his training in classical Japanese and Okinawan martial arts in 1966. He was an exchange student to Japan during his junior year in high school in 1968, which expanded his interest in Japanese cultural and martial arts. His training has included judo, kendo, karate, Okinawa kobudo, aikido, iaido, jodo, kenjutsu, and aiki-jujutsu under some of the world's leading masters of these arts. He has taught classical Japanese and Okinawan martial arts since 1988. His extensive research and training in these arts has led him to write three books and several magazine articles in collaboration with his sensei, the late Shimabukuro Masayuki Hanshi (1948-2012).


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Alice in Borderland, volume 2
Haro Aso
Viz
https://www.viz.com
9781974728558, $19.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Borderland-Vol-2/dp/1974728552

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Ryohei Arisu is sick of his life. School sucks, his love life is a joke, and his future weighs on him like impending doom. As he struggles to exist in a world that can't be bothered with him, Ryohei feels like everything would be better if he were anywhere else. When a strange fireworks show transports him and his friends to a parallel world, Ryohei thinks all his wishes have come true. But this new world isn't an empty paradise, it's a vicious game. And the only way to survive is to play.

Life in Borderland can be grim, but after completing two games Arisu feels like he might be getting a handle on how his new world works. Chota and Shibuki's visas are expiring soon, however, so the group doesn't have time to be picky about their next match. And the arena they stumble upon is a lesson in just how treacherous the rules in Borderland can be.

Critique: Volume 2 of Alice in Borderland continues the black-and-white manga (Japanese graphic novel) set in a merciless parallel world. Eighteen-year-old Ryohei Arisu thought his ordinary life had no future; then he and his friends were transported to a mysterious place that forces them into a deadly game just to survive. Volume 2 begins after Ryohei has completed two games, but the rules of the world shift without warning, and two of Ryohei's group will soon see their "visas" (and their lives) expire. Is a way home truly possible for all of them? Or for even one of them? Alice in Borderland is a dark, violent, and surreal take on the "isekai" (or "another world") genre, and a gripping saga that pits friend against friend. Manga connoisseurs are encouraged to begin the series with Volume 1 of Alice in Borderland (9781974728374, $19.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle) and strap in for a mind-bending ride that escalates into Volume 2 and beyond!


The Audiobook Shelf

A Harvest Murder
Frances Evesham
Boldwood Books
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroftusa.com
9781800480766, $72.95, CD

Synopsis: In Lower Hembrow, an idyllic village nestled beneath Ham Hill in Somerset, the villagers are preparing to enjoy the autumn traditions of the rural English countryside until Joe Trevillion, a curmudgeonly local farmer and the father of six children, vanishes.

When Adam Hennessy, the ex-detective proprietor of The Plough, the village's popular Inn, investigates, he finds ominous undercurrents beneath apparently harmless rumour and gossip.

Meanwhile, a vicious campaign of vindictiveness forces Adam and his three amateur sleuth friends to dig deep into the secret lives of their neighbours to expose the source of a cruel vendetta and prevent another death.

As they uncover the disturbing truth, the friends learn they must also lay their own past lives to rest before they can hope to make their dreams for the future come true.

Critique: A deftly crafted and traditional 'whodunnit' mystery, "A Harvest Murder" by Fances Evesham is now available as a complete and unabridged audio book in both a Library CD and an MP3-CD format. Offering a full blown 'theatre of the mind' experience for dedicated mystery buffs, "A Harvest Murder" is highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library Mystery/Suspense audio book collections.

Editorial Note: Frances Evehsam writes mystery stories including the Exham on Sea and Ham Hill Murder Mysteries, all set in Somerset. She has worked in the criminal courts seeing crime from all points of view: victim, prosecution and defence. For her growing legions of fans, she has a dedicated website at www.francesevesham.com where they can join her VIP list and pick up a free short story, "The Fish and Chip Shop Murder".

Nasty Business
Gillian Godden
Boldwood Books
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print, Inc.
www.ulverscroftusa.com
9781802801101, $88.95, CD

Synopsis: Bold, daring and ruthless, Tony Lambrianu is now the main player in London's sleazy but lucrative underworld. As the boss of a high-end nightclub in the West End and with a never-ending string of gorgeous women on his arm, Tony is the darling of the tabloids. However, despite his success, the little boy who lived on the streets is never far away.

Desperate for respect, he's driven to achieve more and more. Most of all, he craves the acceptance of Ralph Gold and to become a bigger part of his extensive web of organized crime.

Fearlessly facing up to enemies, winning battles and becoming the undisputed boss of the London underworld can be a nasty business, but it's the only business Tony knows. And he'll stop at nothing to succeed!

Critique: With a special and particular appeal to fans of Big City Crime Fiction, author Gillian Godden's "Nasty Business" is now available as a complete and unabridged traditional CD or MP3-CD format. This flawless production of a riveting British crime novel is a strongly recommended addition to the personal listening lists of dedicated mystery buffs and community library Contemporary Crime Fiction audio book collections.

Night Shadows
Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir, author
Diana Croft, narrator
Isis Audio Books
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print (USA), Inc.
PO Box 1230, West Seneca, NY 14224-1230
www.ulverscroftusa.com
9781399122214, $98.95, Library CD

https://www.ulverscroft.com/store/us/browse

Synopsis: The small community of Akranes is devastated when a young man dies in a mysterious house fire, and when Detective Elma and her colleagues from West Iceland CID discover the fire was arson, they become embroiled in an increasingly perplexing case involving multiple suspects. What's more, the dead man's final online search raises fears that they could be investigating not one murder, but two.

A few months before the fire, a young Dutch woman takes a job as an au pair in Iceland, desperate to make a new life for herself after the death of her father. But the seemingly perfect family who employs her turns out to have problems of its own and she soon discovers she is running out of people to turn to.

As the police begin to hone in on the truth, Elma, already struggling to come to terms with a life-changing event, finds herself in mortal danger as it becomes clear that someone has secrets they'll do anything to hide!

Critique: With its deftly performed narration by Diana Croft, this complete and unabridged library CD edition of "Night Shadows" by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense audio book collections. It should be noted for personal listening lists that "Night Shadows" is also available in an MP3-CD format from Isis Audio.

Editorial Note #1: Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland. Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. That book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavik. She has a dedicated webpage at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17977920.Eva_Bj_rg_gisd_ttir

Editorial Note #2: Diana Croft is a British Actor and Audiobook Narrator. After studying Music at Dartington College of Arts, she went on to study Acting and Musical Theatre at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. She has worked on stage in London's West End and various regional theatres up and down the country. She has a dedicated website at http://dianacroft.com

The Hawks of Delamere
Edward Marston, author
David Thorpe, narrator
c/o Ulverscroft Large Print (USA), Inc.
PO Box 1230, West Seneca, NY 14224-1230
www.ulverscroftusa.com
9781399141789, $79.95, Library CD

https://www.ulverscroft.com/store/us/browse

Synopsis: The Earl of Chester is enraged when his hawk is killed by an arrow in the Forest of Delamere. When two poachers are caught nearby, he orders their immediate execution.

Ralph Delchard and Gervase Bret arrive in Cheshire to settle a series of land disputes brought to light during the compilation of the Domesday book. Then a body is found in the forest, shot by an arrow, and it is clear the earl may have dispensed justice a little too hastily.

Delchard and Bret are determined to unmask the killer before they can take deadly aim again.

Critique: Having a very special appeal to fans of medieval mysteries, this complete and unabridged audio book of "The Hawks of Delamere" by skilled novelist Edward Marston is superbly narrator by experienced actor David Thorpe. The result is a flawless produced 'theatre of the mind' experience for the listener. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense and Historical Fiction audio book collections, it should be noted that it is also readily available in an MP3-CD format as well.

Editorial Note #1: Edward Marston has written sixty crime novels set in seven distinct periods of history. His books have been translated into many languages and range from the era of the Domesday Book to the Home Front during WWI, via Elizabethan theatre and the Regency period. He is best known for the hugely successful Railway Detective series set during Queen Victoria's reign. He has a dedicated website at http://www.edwardmarston.com/

Editorial Note #2: David Thorpe is an experienced vocal and motion picture actor with a web page dedicated to his work at: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0861657


The Music CD Shelf

A Southwest Story
Elizabeth Naccarato
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B4Y8NJ2M

The seventh album by Elizabeth Naccarato, A Southwest Story draws upon the musical heritage of Spain, Native American culture, and the American West. A Southwest Story celebrates the beauty and rich heritage of the American West, in a resonant, unforgettable listening experience. Highly recommended! It should be noted that the song "Mi Hito, No!" has explicit lyrics. The tracks are San Luis, Wild Horses, Sacred Land, Mi Hito No!, Fandango, Brown Eyes, Spanish Dance No. 2 by Granados, La Sierra, Shrine of the Stations of the Cross, The Vega, Dusk, Cowboy's Waltz, and Flower Moon.

Unspoken
Deb Rasmussen
debrasmussen.com
Privately Published
$20.00 CAD CD / $9.00 CAD digital

https://debrasmussen.bandcamp.com/releases

Vocalist Deb Rasmussen performs with the support of Jon Day on piano, Jeremy Coates on bass, and Robin Tufts on drums in Unspoken, an album of original songs with a theme centered upon the aspects of love and relationships that are not always put into words. Poignant and powerful, Unspoken is a work of emotional beauty, and a treasure for connoisseurs of dulcet vocals. Highly recommended. The tracks are Front Porch, You Smile, Just My Little Love Song, It Never Entered My Mind, Unspoken, Swept away, Darn That Dream, I Hear A Rhapsody, Fly Away, In Your Own Sweet Way, Peace Like a River and My Best To You.

Return of the Soul
Sonya Haramis
Peace of the Dreamer
www.peaceofthedreamer.com
B09M7VDRDR, $15.99, CD

https://www.amazon.com/Return-Soul-Sonya-Haramis/dp/B09M7VDRDR

Synopsis: Author and musician Sonya Haramis now has a debut album of New Age music, "Return of the Soul", a serene collection of angelic instrumental music. Distributed through CD Baby and registered with BMI, "Return of the Soul" is comprised of Radiant Pulse (1:53), Dancing Clouds (2:11), Raining Feather (4:36), Celestial Winged (3:13), Celestial Divine (6:25), Celestial Light, (5:24), and the title piece, Return of the Soul (2:54).

Critique: Eloquent, meditative, placid, peaceful, restful, "Return of the Soul" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, college, and university library Contemporary Ambient CD Music collections.

Editorial Note: Sonya Haramis also has a dedicated website at www.peacheofthedreamer.com. Her CD can also be obtained from New Leaf Distribution (UPC: 198002426116).


The Parenting Shelf

Commando Dad: Get Outdoors with Your Kids
Neil Sinclair
Viva Editions
2246 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
http://vivaeditions.com
9781632280794, $18.95, PB, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Commando-Dad-Outdoors-Your-Kids/dp/1632280795

Synopsis: With the publication of "Commando Dad: Get Outdoors with Your Kids", Neil Sinclair (ex-Commando, proud dad-of-three and author of Commando "Dad: Basic Training) is back with his experienced and 'real world practical' briefing on how fathers can inspire, entertain, and bond with their kids in the great outdoors.

Showcasing activities suitable for children aged 3 and up, this illustrated field guide is loaded with dozens of activities, games and crafts including: Building a shelter in the woods Learn to tie knots; Making a hotel for creepy crawlies; Getting creative with leaf printing; Sharing campfire stories, and so much more!

The Forest School mission briefs comprising "Commando Dad: Get Outdoors with Your Kids" will make sure that kids learn valuable skills, stay safe and have a lot of fun. Embrace the tried-and-tested Commando Dad approach to parenting and you will embark on some unforgettably memorable outdoor adventures.

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Commando Dad: Get Outdoors with Your Kids" is highly recommended to that attention of all fathers of young children who want to utilize outdoor activities to teach them, bond with them, and have all manner of fun with them. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "Commando Dad: Get Outdoors with Your Kids" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, scout master, and community library Parenting and Outdoor Activities collections.


The Woodworking Shelf

Simple Japanese Furniture
Group Monomono
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784946326, $24.99, PB, 184pp

https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Japanese-Furniture-Step-Step/dp/178494632X

Synopsis: "Simple Japanese Furniture" presents 24 simple and stylish DIY furniture making projects for the home with each design being based upon timeless Japanese furniture traditions.

Each individual project is presented with notes on the key design elements of each piece, the tools and techniques needed, and step-by-step instructions for completion. The designs are chosen to illustrate the structure of furniture and key principles in furniture building, and the techniques are well-suited to working with cuts of coniferous trees, especially cedar. Each project is described in a brief overview, with notes on degree of difficulty and an emphasis on key design elements. This is followed by a detailed descriptive section with helpful illustrations.

Critique: Profusely and informative illustrated throughout, "Simple Japanese Furniture" will have a special and enduring appeal to novice and professional woodworkers and hand-tool enthusiasts alike. "Simple Japanese Furniture" reflects growing interest in making simple, practical furniture for the home as well as an appreciation of Japanese design -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library Woodworking & Carpentry instructional reference collections.

Editorial Note: Group Monomono is a project team formed by Yoshio Akioka, a central figure of the KAK Design Group. They are based in Tokyo and have been leaders in the revival of woodworking and furniture making. Group Monomono specializes in wooden tableware and furniture and have written several renowned books and magazine articles on woodworking and furniture design.


The Photography Shelf

Utah: The Beehive State
Mark Lisk
Familius
www.familius.com
9781641705707, $40.00, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Utah-Beehive-State-Mark-Lisk/dp/1641705701

Synopsis: With stunning photography on every page by professional photographer Mark Lisk, "Utah: The Beehive State" is coffee-table style volume (12.4 x 1.1 x 10 inches, 4.19 pounts) that is a compilation of full page visual treasures that will transport the armchair traveler on a visual journey through the scenic wonders of Utah.

Critique: Highlighting the state's most beautiful spots and famous landmarks, "Utah: The Beehive State is an inherently fascinating volume to simply browse through one spectacular page at a time. "Utah: The Beehive State" could well serve as a template for similar photographic studies of other states. While highly recommended for community, college, and university library Photography collections (and an ideal Memorial Fund acquisition choice for Wisconsin community and academic libraries), it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Utah: The Beehive State" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photographic Arts, the photographs of Mark Lisk are showcased within seven books, Idaho Impressions (1997); Salmon River Country (2005); Desert Water (2005); Idaho: Portrait of a State (2007); Owyhee Canyon Lands (2008); Owyhee Canyonlands: An Outdoor Adventure Guide (2013); and Sawtooth/Whiteclouds (2016). He has a dedicated website at https://www.markliskphotography.com/index


The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Flirting with Fame
Dan Harary
BearManor Media
PO Box 71426, Albany, GA 31708
www.bearmanormedia.com
9781629339603, $38.00, HC, 286pp

https://www.amazon.com/Flirting-Fame-Hollywood-Publicist-Encounters/dp/1629339598

Synopsis: Dan Harary has been working as an entertainment industry publicist in Hollywood for over 40 years. As the founder of The Asbury PR Agency in Beverly Hills, CA, Dan often found himself standing side-by-side with dozens of the 20th Century's most famous movie, TV, pop and rock music stars. As a teenager between 1972-74, Dan was the stage manager and lighting director for The Sunshine Inn, where Bruce Springsteen began his career. After graduating from Boston University's School of Communications, Dan's career path included in-house positions with Columbia Pictures, the American Film Institute, the Playboy Channel, Columbia Pictures Television, and two of Hollywood's most prominent entertainment PR agencies. Dan launched his own Asbury PR Agency in 1996.

With the publication of "Flirting with Fame: A Hollywood Publicist Recalls 50 Years of Celebrity Close Encounters", Dan draws upon his more than four decades of experience and expertise to compile and present an inherently fascinating, surprisingly informative, and exceptionally well presented series of anecdotes of dealing with (and being around) all manner of celebrities and celebrity wannabees.

Critique: An absolutely fun and fascinating read that will have an immense appeal for readers with an interest in having a kind of 'backstage' look at the lives and times of a working publicist with his high celebrity clients, friends and acquaintances. Certain to be a unique and enduringly popular addition to community library Actor/Entertainer & Performing Arts collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Flirting with Fame: A Hollywood Publicist Recalls 50 Years of Celebrity Close Encounters" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781629339597, $28.00).


The Wine/Beer/Spirits Shelf

Summer Fizz
Ryland, Peters & Small
341 East 116th Street, New York, NY 10029
www.rylandpeters.com
9781788794374, $14.99, HC, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Fizz-recipes-refreshing-sparkling/dp/1788794370

Synopsis: In the warmer months when the days are long and the evenings roll in slowly, there's nothing better than fixing a cool drink, and a glass of something sparkling provides the ultimate refreshment. With the publication of "Summer Fizz", thirsty readers are offered more than 100 recipes for drinks that range from fruity and fresh to tart and tangy. This is a unique compendium offering an array of tasty fizzy tipples perfect for every summer occasion.

If you're in the mood for dining al fresco, why not rustle up a French 75 or minty Mojito for one to start the evening. And when the weekends play host to a livelier gathering, simply prepare a pitcher of Sparkling Cava Sangria to share, or take refuge from the heat of the day with a Berry Collins or a Strawberry and Ginger Mule.

Whether you need a cocktail to impress or a mocktail to refresh, this vibrant collection of effervescent drinks is sure to inspire.

Critique: Profusely illustrated with full color images of various drinks and with each drink being presented with carefully and thoroughly 'user friendly' step-by-step recipes, "Summer Fizz" by the editorial staff of Ryland Peters & Small will prove an 'all year round' fun and valued addition to personal, professional, and community library Wine/Beer/Spirits instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Summer Fizz" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.62).

Editorial Note: Ryland Peters & Small creates outstandingly beautiful books on homes & gardens, food & drink, weddings, babies & kids, plus vibrant stationery and gifts. Their purpose is to capture, in words and pictures, those elements of life that give the greatest pleasure: sharing the perfect meal with friends, relaxing in a beautifully scented bath after a busy day, and a home that makes you happy every time you open the front door.

Cocktails, A Still Life
Christine Sismondo, author
James Waller, author
Todd M. Casey, artist
Running Press
www.runningpress.com
9780762475186, $24.00, HC, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cocktails-Still-Life-Spirited-Paintings/dp/0762475188

Synopsis: Their is an ancient saying related to the consuming of beverages -- "We drink first with our eyes". If you believe there is an art to drinking well, then pairing cocktail recipes with still-life oil paintings is a natural next step.

Still-life artist Todd M. Casey, journalist Christine Sismondo, and author James Waller have effectively collaborated to publish "Cocktails, A Still Life: 60 Spirited Paintings & Recipes" combining 60 cocktail recipes with an impressive series of artist Todd Casey's contemporary hand-painted images.

This three-member team offers a satisfying deep-dive into each drink complete with a great classic cocktail recipe and a painted representation. Each drink tells a story, making this a truly unique cocktail-making guide attracting the eye, mind, and palate, and focused squarely on the art.

The showcased drinks comprising "Cocktails, A Still Life: 60 Spirited Paintings & Recipes" include the Mai Tai; Gimlet; Bloody Mary; Mojito; French 75; Ramos Gin Fizz; Mint Julep -- and more!

Critique: A beautifully rendered compendium of memorable cocktail themed artwork, as well as a 'user friendly' useful mixology guide, "Cocktails, A Still Life: 60 Spirited Paintings & Recipes" is especially and unreservedly recommended for anyone who enjoys a finely cocktail. While very highly recommended as a core addition to personal, professional, and community library Wine/Spirits/Beer instructional reference collections, it should be noted for all dedicated cocktail afficionados that "Cocktails, A Still Life" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note #1: Christine Sismondo has been writing about wine, spirits, cocktails, and other topics, ranging from fine art to social history, for the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Maclean's, and other publications for twenty years. Her journalism has earned her a Canadian National Magazine Award. Christine lives in Toronto.

Editorial Note #2: James Waller is the author of the Drinkology series of books published by Harry N. Abrams. The series' first volume, Drinkology: The Art and Science of the Cocktail, has sold more than 80,000 copies - including many sales through non-book retailers. James lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Editorial Note #3: Todd M. Casey is the author of The Art of Still Life: A Contemporary Guide to Classical Techniques, Composition, Drawing, and Painting in Oil. A modern master of the still-life genre, Todd teaches at several institutions, including the Art Students League of New York. He is represented by Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York, and his paintings are held in numerous private collections worldwide.


The Needlecraft Shelf

Cross Stitch Celebrations: Bundle of Joy!
Mollie Johanson
www.molliejohanson.com
Walter Foster Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780760375389, $19.99, PB, 96pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cross-Stitch-Celebrations-baby-themed-announcements/dp/0760375380

Synopsis: Whether you are completely new to cross stitch or already skilled in the craft, with the publication of "Cross Stitch Celebrations: Bundle of Joy!" needlecraft expert Mollie Johanson teaches you how to create highly giftable personalized keepsakes for a new baby.

This step-by-step guide includes all of the basics you need to learn the art of cross stitch. Following a brief introduction to tools and materials and an overview of basic cross stitch techniques, you will be treated to: 20+ charming patterns that reflect baby and nursery aesthetics; A range of mix-and-match fonts, border designs, color schemes, and baby animal motifs; Techniques on how to compose a DIY design; Tips for framing and displaying finished projects.

The featured baby animals include a bear, bunny, dinosaur, duck, elephant, owl, and a whale, and small motifs include hearts, clouds and moons, flowers, paw prints, and rainbows. With instructional guide even the most novice of needlecrafters can create the perfect personalized gift for every new parent and grandparent in your life. With the ability to mix and match, the possibilities are endless!

Critique: Expertly and instructively illustrated with patterns and 'how to' directions, and with a special appeal for anyone wanting to create a baby-themed gift and/or birth announcement, "Cross Stitch Celebrations: Bundle of Joy!" is especially ideal and recommended for personal, professional, and community library Contemporary Needlecraft collections. It should be noted that "Cross Stitch Celebrations: Bundle of Joy!" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99).

Editorial Note: Mollie Johanson is also the author of Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small and a regular contributor to stitching and sewing magazines. Mollie has her own website at www.molliejohanson.com


The Self-Help Shelf

Unlock Your Potential
Jeff Lerner
Matt Holt Books
c/o BenBella Books
www.benbellabooks.com
9781637741740, $28.00, HC, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Unlock-Your-Potential-Ultimate-Creating/dp/163774174X

Synopsis: Today, 54% of college graduates regret choosing to invest in a degree, over 70% of Americans detest their jobs (part of why they change jobs every 20 months on average), and 2 out of 3 of Americans will never be able to stop working and retire.

But what are we supposed to do? Is there an alternative to the system we live in comprised of school, college (debt), job, different job, more different jobs, 401K/pension, retire (hopefully but probably not)? And if there is an alternative can it really work for everyone regardless of where they currently are in the system? Is there something else out there that works equally well for the 18-year-old deciding whether or not to go to college, the 45-year-old questioning his/her career path, the 65-year-old who is way short of being able to retire, and anyone else feeling dazed and confused in the modern world?

With the publication of "Unlock Your Potential: The Ultimate Guide for Creating Your Dream Life in the Modern World", author and entrepreneur Jeff Lerner answers those questions with a resounding YES! He shows readers how the failings of our education, employment, and retirement systems have opened doors most people didn't even know exist. And, most important, he will show you how to step through those doors -- where they exist, how they work, what it takes to go through them, and what's on the other side.

Jeff is the founder and Chief Vision Officer of ENTRE Institute, the world's fastest growing education company and the first institute of higher learning dedicated to entrepreneurialism. Now, he is sharing his story and lessons learned from his own rags-to-riches journey from a broke musician to a $100 million entrepreneur. So that his readers can discover and understand digital real estate (an asset that generates income, builds wealth, and supports any life you choose to live) along with strategies any employee, business owner, retiree, child, etc. can use to escape the broken system and create their dream life in the modern world.

"Let Unlock Your Potential" offers a 'real world' practical and effective blueprint: a master key to unlocking your full potential and living a life no one told you was possible. Herein lies the key for anyone, anywhere in the world to escape the broken system and create a quality of life that was unimaginable a generation ago.

Critique: With a special and enduring appeal to readers who are unhappy with their job and/or profession, struggling with student debt, or wanting to engage in an entrepreneurial enterprise of their own in this age of the internet, "Unlock Your Potential: The Ultimate Guide for Creating Your Dream Life in the Modern World" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, corporate, college, and university library Business Education, Business Law, Entrepreneurship collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Unlock Your Potential" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: From broke jazz musician to $50 million in online sales, Jeff Lerner's story and message are now inspiring millions. After a decade of building multiple online businesses to over 8 figures and twice landing on the Inc. 5000, Jeff turned his focus to educating and inspiring entrepreneurs about the power of digital business. In 2018, he founded ENTRE Institute where over 50,000 students have discovered digital business. He is now regarded as one of the most inspirational voices online in business and personal development.


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


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