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California Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 4 April 2017 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf World History Shelf Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Gardening Shelf Education Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Audiobook Shelf Military Shelf
Automotive Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Women's Studies Shelf Business Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
California Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

The Book of Hygge
Louisa Thomsen Brits
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780735214095, $22.00,

The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection takes a Danish word for a universal feeling of been warm, sheltered, and belonging to a community and creates a simple book of advice on how to bring this concept into one's home and life. Black and white photos and illustrations accompany a discussion of how the Danish cultivate this feeling in their lives, with chapters reviewing the concept of embracing a sense of place and self that begins in the home and extends outward. With its clear definitions of detail without constraint and nurturing a deeper sense of well-being, this book offers invaluable insights and much food for thought and will make an especially inviting gift for those who would think about their lives, environments, and self-created purposes.

Letters to a Young Muslim
Omar Saif Ghobash
Picador USA
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1800, New York, NY 10010
9781250119641, $22.00,

Letters to a Young Muslim comes from the ambassador of the Untied Arab Emirates to Russia, and gathers of series of personal letters he wrote to his older son which covers the basics of being Muslim in an international arena. Modern young Muslims have much potential for affecting the world, both good and bad, and these thoughtful letters present reasoned arguments directed to Muslims of all ages on how Muslims can unite and remain true to Islam while carving a positive position for themselves in the world. By encouraging his sons to face these issues - and the prejudice which often accompanies them - Ghobash creates a powerful discussion that reaches beyond his family and holds meaning for anyone interested in Muslim peoples, young people, and their future place in the world.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

An Author Tells All
David L. Workman
David L. Workman, Publisher
9780996230940, $2.99,

As much as authors dream of having their books published, many don't realize the bigger picture of what's involved. For an advance preview of the entire process, from creating a noteworthy book cover to finding an audience and reviewers, David L. Workman's book tells it like it is, enlightening his readers on the rest of the process, and should be consulted before a single self-publishing thought crosses an author's mind. It truly provides much information that otherwise would only be gleaned from trial and error. Loaded with screen shots, examples, and many specifics, An Author Tells All is one of the best books an aspiring writer on the cusp of self-publishing could obtain. It should be required reading for any such audience. Its clear path to success and its wise insights will prevent many a marketing error and save much money.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Xenogeneic: First Contact
Lance Erlick
Finlee Augare Books
9781943080229 $12.95 pbk
9781943080236 $2.99 Kindle

Xenogeneic: First Contact is an unusual twist on the usual alien "first contact" story in that the aliens that come to Earth have done so because they were the losers of their first civil war in a distant star system, and have arrived to take over Earth. This is the story that evolves through aerospace engineer Dr. Elena Sweetwater Pyetrov's efforts as she faces a showdown with the Special Committee Responsible for Alien Programs and opposition to her plans of exploring space and searching for her lost father, who vanished 18 years earlier while searching for extraterrestrial life. Unexpectedly charged with saving the human race, the dilemmas and changing choices Elena faces are deftly portrayed and become the novel's focal points, elevating it above competitors who would make the experience of first contact with aliens the entire focus of the story. Lance Erlick's ability to inject the qualities of stubbornness, determination, and human perseverance into an action-packed story lends an ethical and psychological focus to his sci-fi drama that will especially satisfy readers who like their stories complex and driven by more than alien environments and challenging encounters.

The Black Wolves of Boston
Wen Spencer
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781481482462, $25.00,

The Black Wolves of Boston tells of Silas Decker, whose world ended when vampires attacked him. Since then he's led different lives in the last three hundred years; all of which have experienced a spiral of descent until this point, when he's alone and struggling in his isolated vampire life. Add a woman who hunts down evil monsters, a teen Prince of Boston who is also alone in a city filled with danger, and a college-bound high school senior who faces a devastating savage event and you have four individuals who join as a powerful force when witches strive to gain control over humans. Can four loners work together for the greater good of a society they feel ostracized from? The Black Wolves of Boston will appeal to horror and fantasy fans alike with its powerful story of four very different lives.

The Everything Box
Richard Kadrey
Harper Voyageur
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780061289558, $16.99,

The Everything Box is about thieves, magic, angels, creation, peculiar science and odd investigations: as such, it will appeal to a wide audience, from sci-fi and fantasy readers to those who look for unusual twists and turns from contemporary novels. A mysterious box isn't just an odd heirloom: it's actually a doomsday machine - one that everyone is out to get. Special interests and intrigue enter into the picture as more and more people become privy to just what the box can do - and why they should be interested in its special world-altering powers. A riveting, gripping saga evolves, recommended for fantasy readers looking for something edgy and different.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

The Woman in the Story, second edition
Helen Jacey
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932573, $27.95,

The Woman in the Story: Writing Memorable Female Characters appears in its second updated edition to provide film and video screen writers with a specific set of insights on how to develop female characters. Performing arts collections already well aware that the prior book has become an authoritative resource will find this newly updated book offers more strategies and case studies relating to all kinds of gender development issues, offering tools that pair the different styles of writers who develop different female characters to the likely kinds of stories that would benefit from their specific approaches. From depictions of women's rivalry, body image and role choices involving dependency to case studies of creative representations and explorations, The Woman in the Story is packed with food for thought which should not be missed and which is recommended not just for screenwriters, but for any writer crafting female protagonists and characters.

The World History Shelf

Cold War: An International History, second edition
Carole K. Fink
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 West 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813349824, $32.00,

The second updated edition of Cold War: An International History provides a retelling of events that has implications for the current world as it re-interprets and offers new perspectives on the Cold War and its processes. Carole K. Fink provides an emphasis on people, power and ideas that explores the Cold War's effects on other countries around the world; not just the U.S. and USSR. This second edition adds more research and the latest studies about the Cold War era and clarifies many points in the earlier edition, making it a 'must' for any college-level student of Cold War history and politics.

The Fiction Shelf

What We Never Had
Zach Wyner
A Vireo Book
c/o Rare Bird Books
453 South Spring Street, Suite 302, Los Angeles, CA 90013
9781942600688, $17.95,

Josh is out of college and drifting - and not just in his work life, where he's stuck in a dead-end job in Los Angeles as a high school tutor, barely making ends meet. His dreams of being an actor are over, he's in a dysfunctional relationship with woman, and life seems to hold an endless series of obstacles and disappointments. Under another author's hand, What We Never Had could have all too easily descended into depression and angst; but by starting at the bottom and working his way up, Zach Wyner instead presents an ultimately positive vision of how purpose, direction, and achievement take place in life. His portrait of newly adult Josh and the paths he chooses to find his purpose offers a compelling portrait of a young man at a crossroads who can only see one linear direction on his road. It's this almost poetic ability to capture and analyze the moment and the fragments of life that pass through crisis, relationships, choices, and consequences that keep What We Never Had alive and moving through a post-college world where one door has shut and the next remains ajar, facing both possibilities and the unknown. Readers with an affinity for humor, poetic language, and an unusual narrative approach that uses the form "you" to capture life's subtler nuances will find this novel to be unerringly precise and pointed in its protagonist's journey through the netherworld that often represents the post-college condition.

What Beauty Tells Me
David Vigoda
Collioure Books
9780972825016, $16.95,

Three stories of three different people linked by music - an opera-loving teenager, a middle-aged country music has-been, and a retired violinist - join two novellas that also feature very different dilemmas in What Beauty Tells Me. At first glance these worlds seem disparate and distant from each other; but one of the special attributes of What Beauty Tells Me is an attention to detail that weaves together the connections between seemingly-isolated individual lives to form a greater perspective on the mechanics of choice and the impact of decisions. Subtle romances, deep disguises, and the pursuit of happiness and personal profit all coalesce in stories that are slices of life when taken individually and part of a larger image when pieced together - a picture that chronicles the costs of dedication, passion, purpose, and lives divided by misery and love alike. Readers seeking literary pieces that excel in subtle drama, thought-provoking scenarios, and characters forced to confront their own choices, promises, and actions will find the blend of psychological, social insight, and interpersonal interactions in What Beauty Tells Me are impeccably drawn, revealing approaches that take historical fact and inject personal insight into wider-ranging stories of hope and revelation.

A Piece of the World
Christina Baker Kline
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062356260, $27.99,

A Piece of the World comes from the author of the acclaimed Orphan Train and here offers a different story; that of Christina Olson, the woman Andrew Wyeth painted in his 1948 image 'Christina's World'. Even most non-artists know of this work, which features a woman in a pink dress sitting in a field looking at a house, but this story takes the next step in imagining the life of Olson and the circumstances which brought her in contact with the then-22-year-old Andrew Wyeth. This fictional memoir is vivid, exciting, and hard to put down: a masterpiece of psychology and art in its own right, and very highly recommended.

In Farleigh Field
Rhys Bowen
Lake Union Publishing
9781477818299, $24.95,

In Farleigh Field tells of Farleigh Place, a countryside estate far from the war that leads to London's bombing, just an hours' drive away. This self-sufficient estate is being run by a skeleton crew - the war has occupied everyone else's attention and time - and an army regiment is staying there under bucolic conditions until a soldier falls to his death. Most novels about Britain during the war take place in London or other urban areas, so it's a pleasure to have a novel that incorporate class, politics, and struggles from a countryside perspective; especially with reference to pro-German societies in England. It's a gripping, evocative story that will prove hard to put down, with a solid basis in facts of the times.

Night Train and Other Stories
H. Arlo Nimmo
October Properties
9781542468541, $15.00,

Night Train and Other Stories opens with 'Tinfoil Angels,' a powerful saga of the start of World War II for America, with the invasion of Pearl Harbor and its impact upon a young boy. As the protagonist experiences life on an army base and forms an obsession over collecting tin foil 'for the cause,' his life some sixty years later comes full circle as an obsession turns into memories of the war years that reveals an unexpected consequence of his tinfoil collection efforts. As readers wind through Night Train and Other Stories, they come to realize that these vignettes are slices of life that transcend either autobiography or literature, presenting a relentless train ride through connections lost and found. These stories capture marvelous slices of life that depict the intersection between personal experience and lives changed by circumstance and political affairs. They chart solitary journeys, encounters with other cultures, small acts of kindnesses between strangers, and conundrums of survival, duty, and choice. With the relentless staccato progression of a rail ride, Night Train and Other Stories takes ordinary encounters and considers the roots of their happiness and sorrow, paralleling their lasting impact with past and present evolutionary processes. Readers of short stories who enjoy vignettes that pack in-the-moment emotion into deeper considerations of social justice and political affairs will find these well-seasoned stories just the ticket.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Twelve Angry Librarians
Miranda James
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780425277768, $26.00,

Twelve Angry Librarians provides a fun 'cat in the stacks' mystery and returns librarian Charlie and his Maine Coon cat Diesel to the limelight. In this mystery, Charlie is pressured by his job as an interim library director who must welcome visiting librarians to an annual meeting, and by the presence of his rival who is set to deliver the keynote address. When said rival is found dead, Charlie unexpectedly becomes a suspect and finds his hands full as he and his cat try to solve a murder which holds many political and personal implications for his life.

The Violated
Bill Pronzini
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781632866608, $26.00,

The Violated provides a thriller that will delight audiences who like stories of murder mysteries, rampages, and puzzles. A murder victim turns out to be the main suspect in a brutal assault case, leading a police chief and a detective on a desperate chase to find a murderer and his motives for a grotesque killing. This mystery holds so many possible suspects and motives that at first it's a winding tale that seems to hold no easy answers; but as the story evolves, it becomes apparent that everything has happened for a reason, and the connections between murderers and victims are unexpectedly close. Those who enjoy complex stories with no simple resolution and many unexpected twists will find The Violated a winning tale.

Peter Heller
Alfred A. Knopf
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780451493897, $25.95,

Celine is a private eye whose specialty lies in bringing families together as she works to atone for her own personal loss. Her passion for her job and her success rate at finding missing persons makes her a top detective in her field, but when Gabriela asks for help in locating her photographer father who vanished in the rugged wilderness of Montana, Celine finds her dogged tenacity tested by a cold case that heats up again when she and her partner are threatened. This engrossing story of loss, discovery, and redemption goes beyond the usual detective story with its added dashes of psychological intrigue and twists of plot, making for a top recommendation for readers who enjoy investigative pieces cemented by strong psychological elements.

Serial K
Brian Gallagher
Mirror Publishing
Ordering link:
9781612253626, $14.99 Paperback, $4.99 Kindle,

What happens when a sociopath decides to become the most famous killer in history, challenging the fame of Jack the Ripper and other serial murderers? What happens when his heroes serve as goals, to be superseded by a greater achievement? A dangerous manhunt and story of madness lead an FBI agent and his wife on a deadly hunt which becomes more personal when the elusive killer targets his hunter. An affinity for gruesome murders and a man's evolving mental disorder which produces a penchant for serial killer history will lend to an appreciation of this murder investigation, which alternates between the killer's perspective and that of his pursuers. An attention to dual subplots adds an extra, unexpected dimension to Serial K, creating a story that is replete with tension and psychological depth. Between setups, traps, savvy perceptions, and deadly games, Serial K offers a series of scenarios that are satisfyingly unpredictable and lend to some vivid associations, making for a satisfyingly absorbing read for any interested in murder investigations and mysteries that hold no obvious path to easy resolution.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Light on the Mountain
Dr. Stewart Bitkoff
Abandoned Ladder
9780991577521, $12.95 PB, $4.99 Kindle,

Light on the Mountain will appeal to readers of spiritual fiction and spirituality, those who enjoy philosophical parables, and new age audiences; especially those confronting a new era of despair and hopelessness. It offers a message for each of these readers in the form of the fictional prophecy of an Ancient One who has been sleeping for 1,000 years, and whose awakening will lead the city people out of oppression and pain to confront their demons and solve their problems. Of additional note is the political impact of this spiritual force on the kingdom, and the issues of control and authority it raises. It's a parable of hope and an affirmation of the power of Light in the face of personal, political, and social darkness, and its ability to both enlighten and entertain makes for a winning combination that considers possible paths to a better world.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Lessons from the Pack
Cesar Millan with Melissa Jo Peltier
National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426216138, $24.95,

Lessons from the Pack: Stories of the Dogs Who Changed My Life shares stories of dogs who have inspired the famous dog behaviorist, who has how own TV show about canine behavior modification and who here provides a fine and vivid survey of dogs and the lessons they've given him. These life-changing stories are not just fun and insightful reads, but offer plenty of psychological insights into not just dog personalities, but how to work with different animals and how and why animal psychology differs from humans. Whether readers pursue this for light leisure entertainment or solid advice, the only prerequisite to enjoying and learning from it is a prior affection for canines.

The Self-Help Shelf

The Five Side Effects of Kindness
David R. Hamilton, PhD
Hay House Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781781808139, $15.99,

The Five Side Effects of Kindness belongs in any self-help or positive thinking collection and reviews the physical and psychological affects of kindness with an emphasis on mind/body connections. Kindness does make for happiness, better health, and slower aging processes and holds a cathartic effects with implications for all involved. This book explores these regeneration processes and the link between kindness and health, and is a key acquisition for anyone interested in the bigger picture of altruistic behaviors.

365 Ways to Live Generously
Sharon Lipinski
Llewellyn Publications
2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
9780738749600, $16.99,

365 Ways to Live Generously surveys habits that create and support generosity, and discuss these habits through a collection of 365 daily focuses that alternate between seven generosity-inducing habits. Each habit appears once a week which allows readers to practice them and make them a part of daily life, and each is supported by tips and the latest research about their importance. The result is a series of inspirational exercises highly recommended for anyone who would live more generously, but who don't know how to get started in the process.

The Gardening Shelf

Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden
Erin Benzakein with Julie Chai
Chronicle Books
680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
9781452145761, $29.95,

Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest & Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms features lovely color photos by Michelle M. Waite throughout a book by the leader of the farm-to-centerpiece movement and provides a guide to growing and arranging flowers year-round. It offers all the basics gardeners need to choose different flowers for different seasons, provides growing tips for small and large spaces alike, and is especially strong in its survey of how to cut these flowers and arrange eye-catching bouquets for every occasion. Plenty of books discuss growing and harvesting flowers, but the addition of insights for incorporating these blooms in various seasonal and special occasion wreaths, garlands and more pairs the basics of understanding bloom times, vase life tricks and specific varieties with keys to using annuals and perennials alike. The result is a highly recommended blend of botanical and design information offering many approaches not seen elsewhere.

The Education Shelf

Barron's AP Guides
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
$18.99 each,

Students looking to score well in the AP exams should look no further than Barron's updated guides, which provide a combination of discussions and question and answer tests designed for self study. Martin Sternstein, Ph.D.'s AP Statistics (9781438009049), for example, appears in its 9th updated edition to review the latest test renditions and strategies for practice. Seven full practice tests, including one diagnostic and one online, accompany chapters that consider all the AP Statistics topics with an eye to reinforcing understanding and preparing for the kinds of questions students can expect on the AP exam. AP Calculus by David Bock, MS, Dennis Donovan, MS and Shirley O. Hockett, MA (9781438008592) appears in its 14th updated edition and presents 5 practice tests in Calculus AB and five in BC. One online test and one diagnostic test are provided for each. These books are packed with formulas, hints for problem-solving, figures of charts and information, in-depth directions on how to use calculators to solve problems, and comparisons and solutions in numerous supporting examples throughout. These AP books should be considered essential, 'must have' study guides for any student looking for refresher or self-study courses.

Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had
Tracy Johnston Zager
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781571109965, $52.00,

Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had: Ideas and Strategies from Vibrant Classrooms addresses the common gap between mathematicians who perceive math as creative and fun and students who view it is boring at best and frustrating at worst, and helps teachers move students from dull math classes to more vibrant, lively productions. The author spent years with many math teachers in a wide range of settings and grades to collect the successful strategies that would reach grades K-8 through this collection. Chapters offer examples of innovative teaching methods, measurable results in improving math comprehension and usage, and include strategies, examinations of conjectures, and tips on how to lead math students to make new, exciting connections. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any math instructor seeking specific keys to not just teaching the basics, but making math relevant and exciting.

Corwin Press, Inc.
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218

Lotus Linton Howard's Bright Ribbons: Weaving Culturally Responsive Teaching into the Elementary Classroom (9781506325255, $31.95) comes from an instructor who spent four decades teaching in diverse classrooms, and represents a relationship-oriented approach to building lessons that reflect community connections and spirit. Chapters present and discuss basic strategies for the seven basic principles for CRT teaching, showing how to blend these into all classroom lessons and activities and how to add in time devoted to CRT objectives. From reward sharing and sample activities for culturally inclusive math and science to handling different assessment modes, this is a specific, powerful survey especially recommended for teachers working in culturally diverse settings who want to make the most of that diversity to create new connections between students. Wendy W. Murawski and Kathy Lynn Scott edit What Really Works with Exceptional Learners (9781506363479, $30.00), a guide tailored for busy educators who want to quickly assess the possible strategies and approaches for teaching different types of disabilities. These can be as specialized as autism and as broad as accommodating cultural differences: either way, chapters promote inclusion on many levels as they survey technology integration processes, teacher engagement with families and student events, how to make the kinds of connections that enhance teaching English language learners who have disabilities, and contrasting different types of classroom accommodations. The result is a powerful guide, highly recommended for any professional interested in a diverse range of interconnected topics about exceptional learners and how they can excel. What Do I Teach Readers Tomorrow? Nonfiction by Gravity Goldberg and Renee Houser (9781506351216, $33.95) covers grades 3-8 and provides teachers with a specific guide to teaching nonfiction reading. Its focus is on a "moment-by-moment" approach that comes packed with tips and reproducibles, accompanying some thirty lessons embracing reading and thinking correlations. Specific books, approaches to teaching them, and examples of student writing and teaching examples that receive color commentary and analysis create a visual display that is inviting and clear. This attention to both detail and the kind of display that invites quick reading and reflection makes What Do I Teach Readers Tomorrow? Nonfiction a top recommendation: lively and specific and provided in a format even the busiest professional will appreciate.

The Cookbook Shelf

Leon: Fast and Free
Jane Baxter & John Vincent
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781840917321, $29.99,

Leon: Fast and Free is another cookbook from the healthy UK restaurant chain Leon and packs in well over a hundred recipes that are completely gluten- and dairy-free and which offer dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Leon champions sugar-free dishes, as well, and readers should expect recipes that rely on natural foods and international influences, as well. Full-page color photos of completed dishes accompany such fare as Lamb & Roasted Summer Vegetables, Sweet Potato and Okra Stew, Tofu Adobo, and more, while dishes can be made in often-surprisingly short periods of time - as little as 20 minutes. From Beef Shin & Vegetable Soup to a Gluten-Free Fried Chicken which uses a crunchy tempura-style batter, these are dishes filled with flavor and innovation alike, especially recommended for healthy eaters looking for original fare that requires minimal prep time but holds maximum flavor.

Flora Shedden
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784722197, $34.99,

Gatherings: Recipes for Feasts Great and Small is Flora Shedden's first cookbook and comes from a 20-year-old who was a semi-finalist in the Great British Bake-Off contest. Her concept of a 'gathering' involves easy cooking and hosting which can be accomplished on weekends, after work, or during celebrations. Dishes are designed to look festive and yet demand a minimum of prep and cooking time, and range from Harissa-Spiced Lamb Cutlets to Sumac Roast Chicken with Carrots and Chickpeas and Speedy Spicy Tacos. The range of international influences and flavors requires access to spices and ingredients common in most supermarkets, and the dishes are filled with flavor and many innovations, making this an excellent addition for any cook who enjoys entertaining.

Christophe Felder & Camille Lesecq
Rizzoli International
300 Park Avenue South, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10010
9780847858651, $55.00,

Gateaux: 150 Large and Small Cakes, Cookies and Desserts comes from two of France's most famous pastry chefs and reveals how they produce visually amazing, classic French baked goods. It's not a recommendation for novices, but for readers holding some background and interest in baking in general and French pastry making in particular. This audience will welcome the detailed discussions and recipes for making tarts and specialty pastries, and will find the inclusion of regional fare elevates this book's presentation above competing pastry cookbooks. Also included are stories and memoirs which blend autobiography with cultural insights on French baking traditions. Add a wealth of color photos throughout for a production which is mouth-wateringly appealing and unique, highly recommended for any cook with a special interest in French pastry production.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hachette Audio
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104

James Patterson and Candice Fox's Never Never (9781478944713, $35.00) is narrated by Federay Holmes, whose smooth voice lends high drama to the powerful thriller revolving around Harry Blue, a Sex Crimes department female investigator whose brother is arrested for the murders of three young women. Challenged on many personal as well as professional levels, Harry searches for answers in a world where she increasingly questions everything she's trusted - and which challenges her with a new partner and his questionable intentions at just the time in her life when she wonders about everything she already believes to be true. Douglas Preston's The Lost City of the Monkey God (9781478964520, $35.00) receives a powerful reading by Bill Mumy, whose voice brings to life a gripping blend of medical mystery and real-world thriller. An ancient curse, an old legend, and a team of scientists sounds like the makings of a strong fiction piece; but Douglas Preston participated in the exploration and events that led to discovering a lost civilization, and so his story is a powerful testimony to real-world adventure and, backed by Bill Mumy's narration, reads with the high drama of an expert. Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and Elissa Epel, PhD's The Telomere Effect: Living Younger, Healthier, Longer (9781478940425, $30.00) is narrated by Suzanne Toren, who lends a powerful voice to this classic discussion of the role of telomerase and telomeres in the aging process. Written by the Nobel Prize winner who discovered these, and the health psychologist who researched resulting connections between lifestyle and psychology, this combines research approaches to offer a powerful key to how anyone can assess their lifestyles for better health results, and is recommended for health, self-help and general-interest listeners alike.

The Military Shelf

Drone Strike!
Bill Yenne
Specialty Press
99 Spring Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012
9781580072380, $39.95,

Drone Strike! UCAVs and Unmanned Aerial Warfare in the 21st Century provides an illustrated and in-depth examination of the armed aerial vehicle and considers its importance to modern military warfare today. Bill Yenne's prior history on the subject, Birds of Prey: Predators, Reapers, and America's Newest UAVs in Combat appeared in 2010 and should also be considered for any military collection, but this companion volume picks up where that book left off and covers the latest technology and advancements in robotic aerial warfare systems. It focuses on 21st century events and it includes recently declassified photos of the latest U.S. UCAVs. The author traveled extensively and took numerous photos for this book, which is packed with color images of fighters and people involved in the process, while chapters cover a range of related military topics, from European non-collaborative programs and South Asia unmanned aerial combat affairs to different types of American drones. The result is a powerful examination no modern military library should be without.

The Automotive Shelf

CarTech Inc.
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025

Diego Rosenberg's Selling the American Muscle Car (9781613252031, $39.95) belongs in any automotive history collection but hold potential to attract a secondary audience that car books usually don't reach; and that is the business holding interested in histories of advertising and marketing campaigns. This book focuses on a number of these campaigns surrounding 'muscle cars' of the early 1960s during a period when auto manufacturers struggled to create compelling ads to entice buyers. Chapters consider not only the muscle car's evolution and incarnations, but the methods of its promotion - and it's this focus which combines auto history with a powerfully compelling set of insights into the challenges of marketing an unusual product to a mercurial American public. Auto history and business holdings alike will find this packed with color images, detailed discussions of both muscle cars and advertising conundrums, and more. Geoff Stunkard's Hemi: A History of Chrysler's Iconic V-8 in Competition (9781613251881, $39.95) is recommended for auto buffs who harbor a special affection for the Hemi v-8 engine, and provides a lively, photo-filled history of how Chrysler developed the engine that came to dominate various race car competitions over the years. From major wins and championships to individual drivers who drove Hemi-powered cars to victory, this book provides a record of the engine's winning achievements and will delight fans who may have had some basic information, but not at the level of depth offered here.

Trans-Am Era
Daniel Lipetz
David Bull, Publisher
4250 E. Camelback Road, Suite K. 150, Phoenix, AZ 85018
978195007203, $69.95,

Trans-Am Era: The Golden Years in Photographs: 1966-1972 gathers images from this period of motorsports series history and provides a history of the Trans-Am series; but even more than that, it captures in rare images the great moments of this race and the cars that drove in it. Shots from the stands, the pits, and of drivers, owners, and vehicles alike make for a vivid visual history that pairs black and white and colors with pages of details on particular races, years, milestones and mishaps. Discussions of significant rule changes, instances of cheating, how rules were developed or modified, special years in Trans-Am history, and the politics and processes of team sponsors makes for a well-rounded and in-depth tribute to the sport and its history; a 'must have' reference for any motorsports enthusiast in general and Trans-Am fans in particular.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Cartographies of Disease
Tom Koch
ESRI Press
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92378-8100
9781589484672, $79.99,

The expanded new edition of Cartographies of Disease: Maps, Mapping, and Medicine provides a detailed link between the latest technology of electronic cartography and its relationship to medicine, and offers a fine history of medical mapping from its initial non-digital 19th century applications to modern times. By providing a sweeping survey of plague maps, medical mapping representation approaches, and the latest GIS technology's approach, Cartographies of Disease: Maps, Mapping, and Medicine provides historians medical students, and cartographers a powerful link between data and visual representation. Chapters come packed with color photos and maps as they survey epidemics and weather charts, the process of how diseases spread, and how maps, charts, and visual representations change scientific and medical perceptions alike. The result is a powerful approach that will appeal to a wide audience and which should be a part of not just cartography lessons and collections, but medical history holdings as well.

Bittersweet on the Autism Spectrum
Luke Beardon, PhD and Dean Worton
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781785922077, $18.95,

Bittersweet on the Autism Spectrum provides a collection of insights from nearly thirty writers who describe the positive experiences they've had on the autism spectrum in a surprising and satisfying contrast to the many, many books on the market which detail issues. From how music has helped one contributor overcome social difficulties to finding educational support for visual learners and how one individual made people happier through a radio show, this offers a fine and compelling series of insights on autism's lesser-discussed strengths, and is a 'must' for any health, parenting, or lifestyle collection.

Change the Story of Your Health
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD
Findhorn Press
9781844097166, $17.99,

Change the Story of Your Health: Using Shamanic and Jungian Techniques for Healing discusses alternative medical traditions that inject spirituality into the overall fields of physical and mental health, and comes from a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst who has used these techniques, in conjunction with Western medicine, to help his own physical ailments and those of his clients. While a growing number of alternative medical books add a spiritual dimension, what is unusual in Change the Story of Your Health is its blend of specific Jungian techniques with shamanic approaches usually regulated to new age audiences; all this bundled with an attention to physical and personal health challenges that range from the effects of aging to sexuality and serious health ailments. Readers determined to take charge of their path towards optimal health will find Change the Story of Your Health contains a treasure trove of step-by-step processes designed to lend insights into and modifications of overall health and approaches to life.

Pharmaceuticals to Nutraceuticals
Dilip Ghosh and R.B. Smarta
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781482260755, $149.95,

Pharmaceuticals to Nutraceuticals: A Shift in Disease Prevention considers the recent shift in the health and consumer industries from treating diseases and conditions to preventing them, and offers a scientific survey of the use of nutraceuticals and foods in these prevention efforts. While the pharma industry has acknowledged this change, there remain many questions about quality and product safety when it comes to medicinal foods - questions surveyed in this book, which gathers under one cover the scientific studies and research surrounding food, nutrient and drug applications, marketing, and claims. College-level students of health and nutrition as well as practicing professionals in these fields will appreciate the inclusion of many different studies and assessments of therapies and their results, and will find this global focus offers a solid contrast and assessment of food-based prevention claims. The result is an in-depth collection highly recommended for any professional or college collection.

The Social Issues Shelf

The Blood of Emmett Till
Timothy B. Tyson
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476714844, $27.00,

The Blood of Emmett Till blends an investigative piece with a historical examination of racial events in the 1950s which resulted in a brutal murder, but its reconstruction of the lynching, trial, and its lasting impact makes this a powerful recommendation not just for readers of American history, but any civil rights holding strong in social issues. The torture and execution of a teen boy who violated local racial taboos while visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta, and its lasting impact on the African-American community, makes for a gripping survey. The story is hard to put down, specific in its investigative avenues, and revealing in its lasting impact on civil rights efforts.

Hit Makers
Derekl Thompson
The Penguin Press
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781101980323, $28.00,

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction considers the overwhelming desire for popularity and fame in the internet age, and surveys the social impact of hit movies, songs, apps, and seemingly-instant success stories. What is less evident is that each of these instances of seeming overnight acclaim holds its own background story of evolution that involves a blend of social milieu, underlying power struggles, social and political influences, and pressures that work together to turn some new products into winners. Blending history, science, psychology and social issues, this offers general-interest and sociology readers alike a strong survey of the process of hit-making that should be in any general-interest and social history collection.

The Women's Studies Shelf

Women's Movements in the Global Era, second edition
Amrita Basu, Editor
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 West 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813350127, $49.00,

The second updated edition of this history and study of global women's movements considers their growth, evolution, and different problems as they arise in different countries, and goes beyond most Western-oriented analysis to show how such movements are bringing women's issues to the forefront around the world. Chapters explore these movements in depth, from their histories and the countries in which they originated to their evolving connections to social and political processes both within their nations and around the world. This second edition has been completely revised and offers six new chapters, adding to works by scholars of women's studies. No women's studies collection should be without this wide-ranging, important anthology.

The Business Shelf

Not Just Talent: The Millennials Redefining Talent & Human Capital Management
Philipe Bruce
P.O.D.S. Coaching, LLC
9780998369518, $16.99,

Not Just Talent: The Millennials Redefining Talent & Human Capital Management goes beyond most books that would define 'millennials' as a specific age group with somewhat different approaches to life: it maintains that these millennials, by redefining values and talent in business settings, are changing the nature of how business is conducted. Where other business books adopt a general approach to discussing millennial influences in the workplace, Not Just Talent delves into specifics. It moves deftly from the definition and management of 'talent' and specific levels of engagement from HR administrators to managers, to the concept of "encouraged intrapreneurship" as a method of attracting visionary employees who are motivated not just by pay levels, but by the kinds of business environments that are designed to support opportunities for creativity and alternative applications of business structures and workplace culture. Many books discussing millennials in the workplace offer general perceptions, but because Philipe Bruce's book comes from real-world success stories, it asks some powerful questions. The answer is obvious: business managers and owners should start here; with this book.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Rain Drops of Love for a Thirsty World
Muse Harbor Publications
9781612642079, $18.95

Rain Drops of Love for a Thirsty World comes from an author who lost her spiritual focus after nearly two decades in the financial industry, but who found it through a series of spiritual messages from what she calls "The Life Force" - a field of love. In a sense, Rain Drops of Love isn't written by her, but by this force, which encourages readers to examine their lives, their spirits, and to practice healthy self-awareness and love. The focus on how to thrive in a world fraught with darkness lends to a discussion of The Life Force's messages of love and enlightenment that hold special importance for today's audiences, and which is recommended for new age and spirituality readers alike.

The California Shelf

The Great Green Gold Rush
Kathleen Tracy and Michael Caldwell
Creative Classic Publications Inc.
9780995259317, $24.95 HC, $8.00 Kindle,

Legal marijuana is a blooming business in California, but people have used cannabis for some five thousand years, and the plant has been grown across the U.S. since colonial times. Only comparatively recently has it come to be classified as illegal, fraught with political and social conflict. The Great Green Gold Rush follows the growth of this plant's legalization for medical and sometimes recreational use, providing fifteen case studies about businesses who are using this legalization process to build marijuana businesses. Discussions of this process include wider-reaching social concerns, such as why cannabis doesn't seem to hold the same glass ceiling issues as other businesses, how it's routinely promoted and supported small business efforts, and how a combination of activism and medical advancements have changed cannabis yet again, moving it from an illegal drug to a blossoming business challenged by political process. Anyone with an interest in professionals who are embarking into new areas of growth will find this a powerful survey.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
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phone: 1-608-835-7937

Diane C. Donovan, Editor & Senior Reviewer
12424 Mill Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
phone: 1-707-795-4629

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