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California Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 8 August 2015 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Cookbook Shelf American History Shelf
Business Shelf Audiobook Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Literary Studies Shelf Computer Shelf Military Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Political Science Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Technology Shelf Architecture Shelf
Gardening Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Antiques/Collectibles Shelf
Education Shelf Automotive Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Science Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf Biography Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Art Shelf Travel Shelf
Music Shelf Crafts Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
California Shelf Independent Press Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Jonathan Coopersmith
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421415918, $54.95,

Faxed: The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine is the first history of the facsimile machine which is now obsolete, and provides the lively history of a device that revolutionized workplace efforts. The fax not only improved communications and information transfer; it created a culture that changed the modern world. Readers will be surprised to learn it actually first appeared in 1843; but nearly a hundred fifty years passed between its original invention and its rise to fame first in Japan, then around the world. Archival research and interviews were used to reveal this lost history, while a tone designed to entertain as well as inform lends to a survey highly recommended for any interested in technological advancement and business history.

Island on Fire
Alexandra Witze & Jeff Kanipe
Pegasus Books
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004
9781605986746, $26.95,

Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of A Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World tells the story of Laki, one of Iceland's most dangerous volcanoes, and tells the history of a particularly devastating eruption in 1783 which has, surprisingly, been largely untold. That eruption caused the deaths of people as far away as the Nile and nearly devastated Europe. In the course of charting the events of that eruption, Island on Fire considers the science of volcanology, examines the possibilities of another such eruption, and provides creates an engrossing scientific and social survey that's hard to put down, geared to non-scientists wishing to know more about volcanoes and their worldwide impact.

Functional Inefficiency
Peter S. Wenz
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633880405, $26.00,

Functional Inefficiency: The Unexpected Benefits of Wasting Time and Money offers an unusual perspective in advocating that the way to reduce unemployment is through cultivating inefficiency. Surprisingly, such inefficiency results in more labor usage, which in turn supports employment and fosters economic growth. So is Peter S. Wenz advocating that businesses cultivate inefficiency? In one way, yes. But his is a more reasoned exploration of how to maintain selected inefficiencies in various areas of business to mitigate the effects of technological progress, which increases efficiency and reduces workers. This selective process is documented in an analysis of how time and money is wasted in healthcare, insurance, road construction and maintenance, and more - and addresses the value inherent in systems that cultivate some degree of selected inefficiency for the greater economic good.

Arms and the Dudes
Guy Lawson
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781451667592, $27.95,

Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners From Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History is a recommendation for American history and true crime readers alike, and tells of three young Miami Beach stoners who were put in charge of a, $300 million Department of Defense contract to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. The predictable happened: instead of filling orders with high-quality arms, the three bought cheap surplus Communist Bloc ammunitions and replaced the shipments with them. At least, that was the apparent story. But Arms and the Dudes actually digs deeper than official accounts, coming from an investigative journalist who delves into the real story behind the news to uncover shady dealers, covert Russian schemes, and an international cache of special interests and their interactions. It may read like a thriller novel, but holds all the trappings of truth.

The Cookbook Shelf

Bryan Voltaggio
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316323888, $35.00,

Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends represents the first solo cookbook for a restaurant chef and Top Chef Masters finalist, and provides a hundred recipes inspired by his mid-Atlantic food roots, which he grew up with. It provides comfort dishes paired with new flavors, taking classic fare such as Cinnamon Rolls to make them into Biscuits, and includes some unexpected embellishments, such as Grilled Watermelon "Ribs" spiced with fajita seasoning. These dishes are especially recommended for cooks who like to experiment while keeping to the 'comfort food' traditions, and are provided with colorful embellishments and clear directions. The result is a winning selection of new fare and takeoffs perfect for those who don't want to stay too far from comfort food.

The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook
Chris Fischer with Catherine Young
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316404075, $35.00,

The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook presents handcrafted letterpress menus gathered from Martha's Vineyard and comes from a Vineyard food thrower who runs a farm there, and who provides recipes and essays along with a hundred four-color photos and illustrations in his book. More than just a recipe book, this is the result of years of training in kitchens, meals that changed the author's life, and histories of some twelve generations of Vineyard cooking and family relationships. Color photos of dishes in progress accompany such unique creations as Olivia's Honey Pie, Pounded Flank Steak with Coal-Roasted Oysters, and Squash Tart. The result is a lovely compendium of dishes that combine the flavors and history of Martha's Vineyard with the author's food discoveries, perfect for seasoned cooks and relative newcomers alike.

To Live and Dine in Dixie
Angela Jill Cooley
University of Georgia Press
330 Research Drive, Athens, GA, 30602-4901
9780820347592, $24.95,

To Live and Dine in Dixie: The Evolution of Urban Food Culture in the Jim Crow South explores the changing food of the urban American South during the Jim Crow era, considering how race, ethnicity, class, and gender contributed to the development of racial segregation in public eating places. It officers a history centered in the 1900s to the 1960s and identifies the differences between activists who viewed public eating places as sites of political participation and those who struggled with desegregation as a challenge to property rights. While this book could easily be considered as a focus on civil rights issues over food, it uses urban food places and gatherings to explain how cooking and dining translate to public issues. As a culinary history persay it's something quite different, and is a recommendation for not just food history readers, but any involved in civil rights history and issues.

Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers
Gwendolyn Richards
Whitecap Books
314 West Cordova St., Suite 210, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1E8, Canada
9781770502277, $29.95,

Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers gathers nearly a hundred recipes from breads and cocktails to main dishes, and provides a fine survey that relies on lemons, lines, and puckery citrus to create a refreshing feel for summer dishes and a rich overtone in winter fare. From steaks and linguine with tuna and lemon to cookies, fish, pizzas and more, these sauces, grated additions, and more make the most of pairing citrus flavors with main dish and side dish ingredients; not just the desserts they all to commonly are known for. The result is a cookbook for citrus lovers that makes the most of citrus flavors.

Ally's Kitchen
Alice Phillips
Cedar Fort, Inc.
2373 West 700 South, Springville, Utah 84663
9781462115464, $28.99,

Ally's Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates is a cookbook packed with ideas for creating dishes from different countries, mixing American ingredients with spices and flavors designed to fuse comfort food with an international flavor - all presented in streamlined recipes perfect for busy family cooks. Vibrant full-page color photos accompany dishes arranged by world influence, from 'The Stunning Mediterranean' to 'An African Excursion' and 'Exploring Exotic Asia'. Seasoned cooks used to international fare and newcomers who have primarily cooked American foods alike will find appealing such dishes as a ginger-infused Singaporean Grilled Glazed Salmon glazed with brown sugar cranberry juice, or a Dafina Sabbath Stew from North Africa made with cinnamon, allspice, plums, apricots, and cubed beef.

The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning
Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062395030, $40.00,

The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning: A Polar Journey is hard to easily categorize: not quite a food book, yet laden with recipes; not quite a history, yet packed with insights on the Antarctic, it occupies a unique niche in the world of culinary, travel, and history books, straddling all three disciplines and offering a unique discussion that opens with the compelling admonition that "The first thing that comes to mind about Antarctica is not likely food. But if you are going to spend any time there, it should be the second." One doesn't expect color photos - but they appear in abundance, capturing finished recipe dishes and Antarctic scenery alike. All this comes from a 1996 volunteer group expedition to a Russian research station for a collaborative environmental project, and covers a summer spent cleaning up the environment and facing down the challenges of cooking in a makeshift kitchen. Readers will find this an inspiring, unique story and recipe collection.

The American History Shelf

The C&O Canal Companion, second edition
Mike High
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4363
9781421415055, $24.95,

The C&O Canal Companion: A Journey Through Potomac History has been substantially revised for its second updated edition, and provides an in-depth survey of the 184-mile Potomac River waterway that runs from Washington D.C. to Maryland. Records from the park's headquarters and the National Archives provide insights on how events affected the canal's construction and history from the early days of the nation to modern times. Black and white photos pepper an account that also includes the latest travel information for bikers, hikers, and campers who would visit the region. The result is hard to neatly peg as either a travel guide or a history: embracing elements of both, it's recommended for any who are interested in the canal's past, in the region's natural history, and in visiting the area.

The Business Shelf

Beyond Big Data
Martin Oberhofer,
IBM Press
c/o Pearson Technology Group
801 East 96th Street, #300, Indianapolis, IN 46240-3759
9780133509809, $34.99,

Beyond Big Data: Using Social MDM to Drive Deep Customer Insight comes from five of IBM's leading data management experts who provide new methods of blending data from social, mobile, and location sources to improve target marketing and better engage customers using mobile devices. It pairs technical references on architecture and new technologies with different ways of blending social media and data analysis, and it covers the basics of using this data while avoiding privacy and ethical conundrums. Maps, diagrams and charts, bibliographies and more lend to a powerful survey.

The Psychology of Fear in Organizations
Sheila M. Keegan
Kogan Page USA
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19102
9780749472542, $29.95,

The Psychology of Fear in Organizations: How to Transform Anxiety into Well-Being, Productivity and Innovation examines how fear manifests itself in large organizations, affects the work force, and how it can stifle growth and company creativity, and what psychological barriers lead to its proliferation. It considers how the hierarchical structure of organizations leads to these fears and an organization that contains and controls emotions in the workplace, and it discusses resilience and factors of flexibility in workforce arrangements. The result is a powerful survey that is a top recommendation for any interested in applied business psychology and how to effect true organizational change by tackling the underlying reasons why organizations fail.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Great War of Our Time
Michael Morell with Bill Harlow
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478954637, $35.00,

The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism from Al Qa'Ida to Isis comes from a former CIA Deputy Director and is narrated by Robert Fass, coming alive in audio to provide audiences with a gripping saga of how the CIA operates in general and specifically in the current war on terrorism. It provides an assessment that shows listeners how the threat of terrorism lives on, and it tells of behind-the-scenes negotiations with world leaders, how political oppression have resulted in nations unable or unwilling to join in the battle, and how American leaders have participated in the effort. Any listener who wants a vivid account of this struggle will find this is a powerful account.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

The Moving Researcher
Ciane Fernandes
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849055871, $49.95,

The Moving Researcher: Laban/Bartenief Movement Analysis in Performing Arts Education and Creative Art Therapies provides a comprehensive book that offers a step-by-step guide to this analysis and its concepts and applications, and explains basic exercises, movement principles, and symbols. It's organized in the four categories of this analysis and discusses how the theory developed and is applied to performing arts and movement therapy. While some prior familiarity with Laban/Bartenief is a plus, this offers a new text for Laban practitioners and researchers and follows its applications from classroom and studio to daily life, making it a top reference for both health and performing arts collections.

Metabolic Medicine and Surgery
Michael M. Rothkopf, MD,
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781466567115, $149.95,

Metabolic Medicine and Surgery provides college-level and professional collections strong in nutrition with a comprehensive overview of the field, introducing a new approach for patient management that considers how to treat patients with obesity, metabolic disorders, diseases, prediabetes, and more. It reviews the latest research and medical challenges, provides articles from world-renowned experts widely published in major medical journals, and packs its chapters with tables, charts, analysis of peptides, diagnostic tests, evaluation measurements, and more. The result is an in-depth survey that is a powerful assessment of nutritional influences on treatments, diagnosis and surgery, highly recommended for any interested in integrating nutrition with health management routines.

Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration, 12th edition
George D. Pozgar
Jones & Bartlett Learning
5 Wall Street, Burlington, MA 01803
9781284065923, $99.95,

Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration appears in its 12th updated edition to provide graduate and undergrad health administration students a guide to common legal issues affecting healthcare administration, and is a key reference for clinical and reference collections alike. Chapters represent some 40 years of experience as an administrator and surveyor across over six hundred hospitals and lends to a compendium of guidelines for understanding various legal challenges involved in health care. Case studies, court cases, and statistics blend in a presentation that covers a wide range of issues and industry influences and considers the ongoing challenges of quality care and legal concerns. The result is a powerful collection of papers and assessments that are essential to any working in the health care field.

The Literary Studies Shelf

The Bronte Cabinet
Deborah Lutz
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393240085, $27.95,

The Bronte Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects examines artifacts from the Haworth parsonage where the sisters lived most of their lives and created their novels, using these artifacts to illustrate a key aspect of their lives and works. Victorians considered that many physical objects held greater spiritual meaning, and so they were preserved rather than discarded. The sisters' writings in the form of letters, diaries, and handicrafts were thus preserved and here are revealed to provide insights on their lives and culture, along with discussing how these daily routines were reflected in and influenced each of their works. The result is a literary approach highly recommended for any who enjoy biographical and literary reflections on the Bronte sisters.

Exercises in Criticism
Louis Bury
Dalkey Archive Press
University of Illinois
1805 S. Wright Street, MC-011, Champaign, IL 61820
9781628971057, $35.00,

Exercises in Criticism: The Theory & Practice of Literary Constraint provides an interesting study in applied poetics from a critic and poet who uses constraint-based methods to write about constraint-based literature and techniques. He uses the early Oulipian classics to argue that modern American writers have changed such methods from applied literary theory to a kind of cultural critique whose usage has become widespread an embedded. Chapters appealing to college-level students of literary criticism provide intriguing discussions about poetics and how the use of critical constraints offers insights on how we talk about and view culture.

The Computer Shelf

Automate the Boring Stuff With Python
Al Sweigart
No Starch Press
38 Ringold Street, San Francisco, CO 94103-4403
9781593275990, $29.95,

Automate the Boring Stuff With Python is for any Python programmer who would learn how to use Python to automate tasks that would take hours to do by hand, and provides a winning survey that pairs the basics of programming with the specifics of Python, making it a recommendation for relative newcomers to both. A progressive educational format lends to searching for text, creating and renaming files, updating formats, working with .pdfs, and more, and provides step-by-step instructions for each program and project, along with practice concluding tests that challenge Python users to improve programs after they've learned routines. This focus includes plenty of code, examples, discussions of common pitfalls in routines, and is solidly connected to real-world applications, making this a top recommendation for any who would not only learn Python, but would learn how to apply it.

The Military Shelf

Yanks in the RAF
David Alan Johnson
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633880221, $25.00,

Yanks in the RAF: The Story of Maverick Pilots and American Volunteers Who Joined Britain's Fight in WWII provides the saga of American volunteer pilots who risked their lives to defend Britain during the early days of World War II more than a year before pearl Harbor, and is based on diaries and research in British, American and German archives. It considers the small group that represented this country's first real involvement in World War II and examines their various motives, effects on British fighters, and how their war experiences translated to expertise back home when they were transferred to the US Air Force. The result is a powerful story highly recommended for any military collection looking for lesser-known sagas of World War II and British interactions.

Inside Reagan's Navy: The Pentagon Journals
Chase Untermeyer
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623492120, $35.00,

Inside Reagan's Navy: The Pentagon Journals author Chase Untermeyer served as an assistant to Vice President George Bush, where he decided that the only way to learn how the government really worked was to leave the White House and seek a position in one of the departments - so when he was offered the role of deputy assistant secretary of the navy in 1983, it seemed a perfect match. This account provides his memoir of his experiences in that role, and uses anecdotes and stories to blend with history and descriptions of his experiences in that department during the Reagan years. Based on his diaries and writings, these stories come to life in a revealing account perfect for any who would receive an insider's view of Pentagon politics and affairs.

The Mediterranean Air War
Robert S. Ehlers, Jr.
University of Kansas Press
2501 West 15th Street, Lawrence, KS 66049
9780700620753, $39.95,

The Mediterranean Air War: Airpower and Allied Victory in World War II comes from an airpower history specialist who assesses the Mediterranean choices, strategies, strengths and weakness that led to air campaigns, and explores the key operations, turning points, and air war campaign's contribution to Allied efforts as a whole. It considers victories and defeats alike, surveys the challenge of building a new air command in the face of offensive forces, and considers the impact of various air campaigns during the war. The depth of this specific exploration makes it a recommended pick for any World War II military library.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Drinking with the Saints
Michael P. Foley
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
300 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621573265, $26.99,

Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour blends beer, wine, and spirits with saints' feast days and Church calendar history and thus is recommended for any interested in a blend of Church history and the art of drinking. Instructions for pouring and mixing beverages in honor of particular saints appear in over three hundred entries covering major holidays and feasts of the Catholic calendar, with nearly 350 cocktails, beers, ales and wines accompanying discussions of the Catholic origins of various rituals and accompanying drinks. The result is an intriguing blend of Catholic history and culinary insight in an unusual pick for religious readers interested in Church and culinary history alike.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years: Japan
Vasudev Murthy
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464203633, $24.95,

Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years: Japan is set in 1893, when King Kamehameha III of Hawaii's declaration increases tensions between Asian nations and Dr. John Watson receives a mysterious letter from Yokohama from a distinguished man then murdered on a voyage from Liverpool to Bombay. It's Professor Moriarty up to his usual schemes for worldwide domination - and only Holmes can stop him - if he survived the Reichenbach Falls. Holmes fans will find this a powerful survey that takes Doyle's original tone a step further in providing more investigative adventures true to the classic stories.

The Political Science Shelf

By the People
Charles Murray
Crown Publishing
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780385346511, $27.00,

By the People: Rebuilding Liberty without Permission shows how the federal government has decided how people should live, and provides here a survey on how to rebuild American liberties and freedoms. The political checks that were meant to reign in federal power have broken, the legislative process has become corrupt, all parties involved in politics are equally to blame, and the federal government has become an uncontrolled juggernaut. This title considers how people can take back control from such a scenario, and provides an analysis of not just a civil liberties system in trouble, but how it can be repaired. The result is a powerful survey that tackles assumptions, myths, and problems and returns government into the hands of where it should be: the people.

The Social Issues Shelf

Barnyards and Birkenstocks
Don Stuart
Washington State University Press
PO Box 645910, Pullman, WA 99164-5910
9780874223224, $28.95

Barnyards and Birkenstocks: Why Farmers and Environmentalists Need Each Other is a recommendation for college-level audiences studying political science, social issues, and environmental policy-making alike, and documents two dangerous concurrent trends - the loss of farms and damage to ecosystems - which are connected but often seen as opposing forces. The ongoing battles between the two, which are viewed as diametric opposites, need to be resolved to solve the detrimental political stalemates that have proved barriers to both: topics here contrasting opposing perspectives with an eye to encouraging collaboration rather than confrontation, gathering arguments and documents under one cover. The result is a debate that should be in any agricultural, political and social sciences collection.

The Secret Rules of Social Networking
Barbara Klipper and Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser
AAPC Publishing
11209 Strang Line Road, Lenexa, KS 66215
9781942197027, $29.95,

The Secret Rules of Social Networking provides a slim (66 pages) and accessible survey of how readers can develop deeper, more meaningful online connections and relationships and ties online navigation and approaches with a survey of the unstated rules that guide positive relationships both online and off. It considers friendships, romantic relationships, social skills, communications and more and couches all these in a series of simple lessons supported by stories and basic insights. While these are geared to young readers, many an adult facing ongoing challenges in social settings will find this an important and key survey to understanding social networking's subtler approaches and issues.

American Mojo Lost and Found
Peter D. Kiernan
Turner Publishing Company
200 - 4th Avenue North, Suite 950, Nashville, TN 37219
9781630269234, $34.95,

American Mojo Lost and Found: Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By comes from an award-winning author who focuses on the problems and potential of returning America's middle class to power, and provides both a history of the middle class's rise and fall and a consideration of the pathways that could return it to power. Surprisingly, he adopts a global perspective in the process which considers middle classes in general and the new forces affecting the middle class in not just America, but the world. Such disparate topics as New York's Robin Hood Foundation, Canada's social issues, the rise of Latinos in America, and monopolists who fight against choice might appear to be stretching the topic, but Kiernan brings all these disparate elements together in a treatise that should be on the shelves of any American economic, history, or social issues collection.

The Technology Shelf

Abstract Machine: Humanities GIS
Charles B. Travis
ESRI Press
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92373-8100
9781589483682, $52.99,

Abstract Machine: Humanities GIS uses GIS technology to analyze and visualize literary and historical texts, drawing unusual connections between GIS methods and how they can be applied to mapping language patterns for greater insights that lend to better critical analysis. Travis creates an interpretative model that can apply to ancient and modern works of novelists, philosophers, and others, and demonstrates how GIS can add an extra layer of critical thinking to the humanities. The result is an unusual recommendation for GIS reference collections and humanities researchers at the college level, surveying techniques and demonstrating their applications in a discipline one normally wouldn't associate with GIS modeling.

The Architecture Shelf

Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia
Ronald G. Knapp
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804847796, $29.95,

Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia: The Eclectic Architecture of Sojourners & Settlers pairs color photos by A. Chester Ong with a historical survey that pairs history with the authors' travels across the region of Southeast Asia in search of overseas Chinese heritage homes, and provides a powerful survey that uses architecture to trace the history of the Chinese in the region. Essays, historical photographs, paintings, and drawings of nearly forty such residences from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century are presented in lovely oversized full page color, with accounts discussing the social, economic, political, and cultural impact of the Chinese in the region. The specific results and surveys are delightful and make this architectural and historical piece of interest to far more than arts collections alone.

The Gardening Shelf

Daffodils in American Gardens 1733-1940
Sara L. van Beck
University of South Carolina Press
718 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29208
9781611174014, $44.95,

Daffodils in American Gardens 1733-1940 is illustrated with nearly two hundred color and black and white images but it's much more than your usual gardening guide, providing a history of daffodil cultivation and gardening from its early European roots to colonial times, Victorian periods, and World War II. Chapters document how the daffodil spread in popularity and propagation, and come from a horticultural expert who blends botany, archaeology, and history to consider the evolution of important gardens in the U.S. and the daffodil's place in them. Case studies of historic gardens blend with botanical illustration and discussions of landscape architecture to provide a detailed reference for gardeners with a special interest in heirloom plants in general and daffodils in particular.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

The Authentic Actor
Michael Laskin
Michael Wiese Productions
12400 Ventura Blvd., #1111, Studio City, CA 91604
9781615932221, $19.95,

The Authentic Actor: The Art and Business of Being Yourself belongs in performing arts collections and any concerned with the fine art of acting, and comes from a working professional actor whose thirty-plus years of experience in film and television, off Broadway and regional theaters lends to an assessment of successful approaches and attitudes to becoming a working actor. From self-doubt and handling callbacks to strategies for creating scenes, the job of an audition, and cultivating workable goals, The Authentic Actor provides a survey based on Laskin's years of industry experience and is a top recommendation for any actor serious about the job.

The Horror of it All
Adam Rockoff
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476761831, $24.00,

The Horror of it All: One Moviegoer's Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead provides a vivid and fun history of the highs and lows of the horror genre through his own obsession with horror films, beginning with his local video store and moving into cable productions. It's more than his personal survey, however, embracing the reviews and changing perspectives of critics and viewers, presenting the overall history of the genre, and offering a satisfying mix of critical and personal perspectives. The result is a vivid account which will delight horror movie genre fans who will recognize a similar obsession in Adam Rockoff's approach.

The Antiques/Collectibles Shelf

Handbook of United States Coins 2016
R.S. Yeoman
Whitman Publishing
4001 Helton Drive, Florence, Alabama, 35630
9780794843113, $9.95,

Handbook of United States Coins 2016 is a recommended reference for any buying and selling rare and collectible coins, and is reflects average dealer buying prices for American coins from 1616 to modern times. History, specs, actual coin-sized photos, and discussions of collecting, grading, and production accompany a survey that covers commemoratives, half-dollars, dimes and more. This 73rd edition of a classic collector's guide represents not only an industry classic but is presented in an affordable price to make it a top pick for collectors and library holdings alike.

The English Revolver: A Collector's Guide
George Prescott
Schiffer Publishing
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764347573, $45.00,

The English Revolver: A Collector's Guide to the Guns, Their History and Values charts the rise, fall, and current collectability status of the English revolver, which saw its heyday before World War I and declined thereafter. Many products of the industry see fame and discussion only in auction circles these days, but any gun collector interested in firearm history will find this describes the Adams's and Tranter's revolvers, from their makers and military applications to their variations, sales, and history. Numerous color photos of the revolvers accompany discussions of specific models and collectible status, making this a solid reference for both general collectors and firearm collectors with a special interest in the English revolver.

The Education Shelf

Evaluating ALL Teachers of English Learners and Students with Disabilities
Diane Staehr Fenner,
Corwin Press
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781483358574, $31.00,

Evaluating ALL Teachers of English Learners and Students with Disabilities provides a discussion of how to evaluate teachers who work with ESL and students with disabilities, and provides a comprehensive survey that uses a range of authoritative research studies to consider action plans and results. From basic principles for inclusive teacher evaluation to samples evaluators can adapt to recognize effective and even exceptional teaching methods for this group, this book is packed with case history examples and evaluation methods designed to be customized. Educators involved in the process will find it a powerful tool.

Smithsonian Stories
Wilton S. Dillon
Transaction Publishers
10 Corporate Place South, Piscataway, NJ 08854
9781412854597, $44.95,

Smithsonian Stories: Chronicle of a Golden Age, 1964-1984 provides a fine collection of insights of the 'golden age' at the Smithsonian and discusses the institution's knowledge base, growth, and why the Smithsonian's exploration of the arts, humanities and technology has resulted in so much expansion and discovery. Anyone interested in the golden age of the Smithsonian will find this offers insights into education, enlightenment, and how a research center came to occupy a central position in the American public consciousness. Smithsonian Stories is an edifying historical tour of the Smithsonian's evolution, consisting of a lively set of stories that considers the processes and growth of a venerable institution.

Professionalizing Early Childhood Education as a Field of Practice
Stacie G. Goffin
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605544342, $21.95,

Professionalizing Early Childhood Education as a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era is a pick for any early childhood education collection strong in professional development and offers the invitation to participate in a process that helps define ECE as a professional field of practice. Chapters focus on professional development processes and discuss many of the major issues that remain in early childhood education. From how a facilitator can handle professional conversations defining the field to workbook pages that lend to meaningful dialogue, Professionalizing Early Childhood Education as a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era is a 'must' for any working in early childhood education.

The Automotive Shelf

Where the Writer Meets the Road
Sam Posey
David Bull Publishing
4250 E. Camelback Road, Suite K. 150, Phoenix, AZ 85018
9781935007272, $29.95,

Where the Writer Meets the Road: A Collection of Articles, Broadcast Intros, and Profiles represents the commentary of a racing expert who wrote his first article for Road & Track in 1968, when he first drove for Penske's team in the Trans-Am series, and won many races since. He's produced an autobiography and other writings, but this new book gathers his best articles plus new TV transcripts under one cover, and provides a remarkable set of racing insights from LeMans to test-driving a home-grown propeller-driven Wind Wagon by his uncle. These are diverse and exciting works that embrace the extent of the auto racing world, not just one facet or one style of race, and thus is packed with an insider's rare insights on how the sport works and much of its history. The result is of literary and racing excellence and is a top recommendation for any auto sports collection.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Animal Messengers
Regula Meyer
Bear & Company
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781591431619, $18.00,

Animal Messengers: An A-Z Guide to Signs and Omens in the Natural World provides a survey about spirituality and animal connections and provides psychological insight into encounters with over a hundred animals, birds, reptiles, insects and more. Each animal holds potential for different messages when encountered, and this survey explores the meaning behind these encounters which depend on whether animals are fleeing, hiding, or hunting. While many encounters with wild animals lead humans to contemplate life in general, few discussions offer an animal-by-animal guide to these animal messages, or to the techniques involved in using animals as oracles for spiritual insight. The result will delight any who want clear insights into these kinds of approaches.

Pagan Magic of the Northern Tradition
Nigel Pennick
Destiny Books
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781620553893, $19.95,

Pagan Magic of the Northern Tradition: Customs, Rites, and Ceremonies discusses magic in pre-Christian societies of Northern Europe, and how people believed in magic because it not only seemed to explain how the world worked, but it was part of their daily lives. Pennick here considers the basic principles common to these magical pagan peoples, and examines how direct natural magic can lead to shape shifting, out-of-body experiences, or more. In a combination of analysis and history it explores the presence of magic in people's lives and considers symbols, luck, sacred places, spells, and more, explaining the activities involved in participating in Northern Tradition magical customs and rituals. The result is a powerful survey, highly recommended for any new age reader.

Toward the Light
Amy Major
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
9781632650009, $14.99,

Toward the Light: Rescuing Spirits, Trapped Souls, and Earthbound Ghosts provides a powerful saga of the afterlife and is the first guide to address spirit rescue and how to save earthbound spirits from an earthly exile. Rescue mediumship is a form of spirit communication for counseling the dead and helping the deceased cross over, and is the first book to provide a ghost's perspective on matters. From why spirits are earthbound to how to assess and help spirit attachments, this is an unusual perspective and a 'must' for new age readers.

The Science Shelf

Atoms Under the Floorboards
Chris Woodford
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781462812220, $27.00,

Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home offers an intriguingly different approach to home scientific ideas that explains such diverse processes as how smartphones work (and why they can't cook dinner), why a laptop heats up when the only moving part is its fan, and how glazing works. Home devices, construction, and oddities are presented in a lively and engrossing format perfect for any who like light, lively scientific discussions that take basic principles and trivia and examine them closely. The result is accessible not just to science readers, but for any interested in how home technology actually works - and doesn't work.

Essential Dynamics & Relativity
Peter J. O'Donnell
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781466588394, $69.95,

Essential Dynamics & Relativity provides college-level physics collections with a basic introduction to dynamics and special relativity, defining basic concepts and terms and covering topics with a focus on dynamics that analyzes the motion of multi-particle systems. It describes ideas ranging from Lorentz transformations and dilation to relativity mechanics and it explains the terms and their science in a way intended to reach students with relatively little prior background in the topic. Its attention to technical detail for college-level physics students makes this is a pick as a classroom text as well as a library reference.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Reef Libre
Robert Wintner
Taylor Trade Publishing
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781630760731, $45.00,

Reef Libre: An In Depth Look at Cuban Exceptionalism presents a fine look at Cuba's coral reefs, which are, surprisingly, among the most pristine in the world primarily because of isolation from tourism and development - the very things Cuba has been fighting to gain. Diver/photographer Robert Wintner uses his images and natural history to showcase these reefs and their exceptional unique qualities, contrasting their beauty with Cuba's urban and more developed areas. It's a gorgeous coverage that is unique in its focus on an equally exceptional reef that is one of the few remaining relatively undisturbed reefs in the world today, and is a 'must' for any collection strong in marine ecology.

The Biography Shelf

Karrine Steffans
BenBella Books
10300 N. Central Expressway, STE 400, Dallas, TX 75204
9781940363820, $24.95,

Vindicated: Confessions of a Video Vixen comes from an author whose memoir Confessions of a Video Vixen caused a furor ten years ago as it revealed the author's persona life complete with family secrets, love affairs, and the hip-hop industry. Surprisingly, all was not revealed in that book, as this follow-up shows. Here is an account of what happened in her life since the publication of her first book, detailing abuse, depression, and public attention which was often undesired and controversial. The result is an autobiography just as vibrant, shocking, and intimate as her first: one which fills in many blanks.

Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me
Stevie Phillips
St. Martins Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250065773, $25.99,

Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me: A Memoir comes from an author who began working at MCA under Lew Wasserman, then CMA. Her interactions with Judy Garland, her observations of Garland's talents and the politics involved in her interactions, and her interactions with Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli and other stars, as she came to represent some of the biggest talents in movie and music history, lends to a memoir that pairs her candid observations with some of the biggest personalities in the biz. The result is a hard-hitting survey which covers the end of the author's marriage, revelations about touring, and different music and stage personalities and how she handled them. Any with an interest in either music or Hollywood, from an insider's perspective, will find this thoroughly engrossing.

Playing Scared
Sara Solovitch
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781620400913, $26.00,

Playing Scared: A History and Memoir of Stage Fright will appeal to two audiences: those interested in autobiographies and memoirs, and those with a special interest in performance stories. It documents the author's struggles with performance anxiety, which began at an early age when she studied piano as a young child and fell in love with music, only to be overwhelmed by fear each time she played in public. One would think her fears would be assuaged by regular public appearances, but by the time she attended the Eastman School of Music, stage fright effectively ended her musical career. In her late fifties Solovitch gave herself a one-year deadline to conquer her stage fright, resuming music lessons and exploring various therapies and remedies. Hers is a gripping account of her discoveries and a special recommendation for any who suffer from the affliction.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Doga: Yoga for You and Your Dog
Mahny Djahanguiri
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780600628927, $14.99,

It's 'doga', not 'dogma' - and the purpose is clear: to include one's canine companion in a yoga session. If this approach sounds too 'new agey' for words, that's only because one hasn't partaken of Doga, a discussion of how to adapt the key yoga poses to involve a dog. Step-by-step color photos throughout follow the author's process of doing yoga with her dog, and invite readers to follow along. A dog and some familiarity with yoga poses will help in this process: a delightful new way of exercising dog and human alike.

The Art Shelf

Freida Kahlo's Garden
Adriana Zavala, Mia D'Avanza, Joanna L. Groarke
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791354569, $34.95,

Freida Kahlo's Garden provides a different perspective on her paintings, using her home and garden as the foundation for an exploration and supporting an exhibition of the same name. Artist Kahlo's Mexican home changed from the time of its construction at the turn of the 20th century to her death, as it was renovated, expanded, and reflected the artistry and taste of Kahlo and her husband, muralist Diego Rivera. Their art collections and the garden of tropical and desert plants formed the foundations of some of Kahlo's most memorable pieces. This volume profiles over twenty of her paintings and works on paper which feature plants, using archival photos to display Casa Azul's changes and pairing them with essays that examine her connections to home and garden. The result is a lovely examination that stands well alone as an added perspective on the wellspring of Kahlo's art.

The Travel Shelf

How to Survive Anything
Rob Dobi, Illustrator
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781743807527, $19.99,

How to Survive Anything: A Visual Guide to Laughing in the Face of Adversity offers step-by-step graphic instructions that tell travelers and adventurers how to handle almost any challenge, from being struck by lightning to handling a commute rush-hour jam, and blends humor with illustrations that are fun commentaries on survival. Some - like snakebite - are practical discussions; others - such as being lost in the wild without GPS - are both practical and funny. All are visually enhanced with color graphics throughout, making for a rare cross between the graphic illustration format and a practical application.

The Music Shelf

Your Band Sucks
Jon Fine
Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780670026593, $27.95,

Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) provides a musician's memoir of American independent rock underground music and comes from an artist who recorded with a series of rock bands for nearly thirty years. These cutting-edge bands played new styles of aggressive rock music, often toured beyond American shores, and attracted fan bases which would travel hundreds of miles to see them. Indie rock was very different before the Internet changed everything; this book considers obsessions, movements, rock music's evolution, and the presence and effects of alternative bands, and is a powerful survey highly recommended for any interested in alternative and indie rock history.

The Crafts Shelf

Playing with Surface Design
Courtney Cerruti
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631590368, $24.99,

Playing with Surface Design: Modern Techniques for Painting, Stamping, Printing and More covers the basics of surface design, outlining seven techniques that can be applied to multiple projects per technique. These can be used across all mediums and teaches how to produce gift boxes, albums, wall art and more, with full-page color, step-by-step photos leaving nothing to wonder. Accompanying instructions could have appeared in larger-size print - especially since most have a lot of white space room - but do a good job explaining the basics of the surface design techniques and objectives.

The Encyclopedia of Mosaic Techniques
Emma Biggs
Search Press USA
1338 Ross Street, Petaluma, CA 94954-1117
9781782211921, $19.95,

The Encyclopedia of Mosaic Techniques: A Step-by-Step Guide to Professional Results presents a comprehensive guide to creating mosaics, whether they apply to pottery, furniture, floors, or other design objectives. An A-Z guide to nearly thirty mosaic techniques makes it easy to locate those specific to one's interest, while a gallery of some 30 mosaic art pieces accompanies discussions of how to reproduce them. Numerous step-by-step color photos along with images of completed projects leaves nothing to guess and provides all the specifics key to creating and using mosaics.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Seamless Knits for Posh Pups
Sharon Sebrow
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604686152, $19.99,

Seamless Knits for Posh Pups belongs in knitting and crafts collections alike and provides easily-knitted patterns that help dress a dog in fun, functional sweaters. From tailoring a sweater to all kinds of dogs big and small to 14 styles that can apply to dogs from 8 to 30 pounds, many designs include embellishments and options that lend to versatile changes. The result is a knitting book that will appeal to any dog owner knitter looking for something different than children's clothing.

All Points Patchwork
Diane Gilleland
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612124209, $19.95,

All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon for Quilts & Small Projects offers paper templates to help guide readers on how to produce perfect patchwork piece matching, and covers all the basics of choosing shapes, cutting the paper templates, attaching them to pieces of fabric, and laying out the patches to stitch together. Shapes range from hexagons and octagons to triangles and pentagons, and provide an in-depth guide pairing full-page color photos with patterns and step-by-step directions. The result is a simple patchwork guide that takes the mystery out of both paper piecing and using geometric designs.

Complete Photo Guide to Sewing
Janith Bergeron and Christine Ecker
Creative Publishing International
c/o Quayside Publishing Group
33 Commercial Street, Gloucester, MA 01930
9781589238237, $22.95,

Complete Photo Guide to Sewing offers playful, fun projects to build skills and pairs technique instructions with keys to getting kids started in sewing by hand and by machine. The idea is to make sewing a kid-friendly, fun experience and chapters provide fifteen projects designed for boys and girls alike, and directed to those who have never sewn before. Basic skills build a foundation for learning in a fun collection of projects that can easily be used by adults looking to teach kids the basics through colorful, whimsical and practical projects.

Skirts & Dresses for First Time Sewers
Christine Haynes
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9781438005409, $21.99,

Skirts & Dresses for First Time Sewers: Patterns, Tutorials, Tips, and Advice provides an excellent collection of 14 accessible projects all designed for beginners interested in producing stylish, professional-quality results, and is a pick for any who want the ease of patterns and projects that lend to polished-looking results. Projects include handy QR codes and a URL that allows the download of complete project patterns, while ideas for adaptations and customizing allow each project to expand beyond its initial parameters. The result is a guide of not just the usual 'how to sew', but projects newcomers can be proud to complete and show off.

The California Shelf

Exactions and Impact Fees in California, third edition
Margaret Sohagi, et al.
Solano Press Books
PO Box 773, Point Arena, CA 95468
9780923956974, $80.00, 351pp,

Fully updated, this third edition of "Exactions and Impact Fees in California: A Comprehensive Guide To Policy, Practice, And The Law' is an impressively well written, deftly organized, very detailed professional guide for determining the appropriate and legally defensible mix of exactions and fees local governments may employ to ensure that project developments help solve ever-increasing community needs. "Exactions and Impact Fees in California" also includes definitive explanations about the distinctions among taxes, fees, assessments, land dedications, land reservations, and other exactions and development requirements, making it very highly recommended for professional, governmental, and academic library reference collections.

Behind San Quentin's Walls
William B. Secrest
Craven Street Books
2006 S. Mary St., Fresno, CA 93721
9781601352215, $18.95,

Behind San Quentin's Walls: The History of California's Legendary Prison and Its Inmates 1951-1900 belongs in California history collections and any collection strong in true crime, and covers one of the most famous prisons in American history. It comes from a historian who considers how it began as a real estate scheme to how it operated during the California Gold Rush into modern times, and uses newspaper accounts, maps, period photos, and more to examine the prison's evolution and its inmates. The black and white illustrations and period photos appear on nearly every page and embellish a fine survey of the prison's history and impact on California law, making this a 'must' for any who would learn about early California legal history in the making.

A Cross of Thorns
Elias Castillo
Craven Street Books
2006 S. Mary St., Fresno, CA 93721
9781601352420, $19.95,

A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanish Missions blends California with Native American history and culture to consider a chapter of California history that is less known than most; the enslavement of California's Indian population by Spanish missionaries from 1769 to 1821. Journalist Castillo challenges the popular notion that peaceful exchanges occurred between the Franciscan monks and California Indians, showing instead how the Spanish occupation of California lured Indians into the missions where they faced forced labor and physical punishment. Based on little-known church and Spanish government source materials, this is a gripping history that no serious California collection should be without.

The Independent Press Shelf

Live to Air
Jeffrey L. Diamond
River Grove Books
c/o Greenleaf Book Group
P.O. Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
9781632990310, $15.95,

Live to Air represents something different in the arena of thriller writing, presenting the character of one Ethan Benson, a New York television producer who hates doing crime stories despite his network's preference for them. Assigned to cover a shootout, it's just the kind of work he despises - until unusual circumstances tweak his investigative skills and curiosity and lead him on an unexpected path.

What makes Live to Air a standout is its puzzle pieces, the fact that its investigator is actually an unwilling participant in events, and its story line, which comes thoroughly steeped in New York City culture and areas (a fact that will delight any familiar with the Big Apple's neighborhoods and streets).

Where other thrillers fall short with too much predictability, Live to Air excels in the unexpected. Where others offer only a concern about justice, Live to Air offers the complexity of a family in hiding and a man's struggle with a myriad of personal issues. And where the typical thriller rests upon genre devices, Live to Air poses some satisfying surprises. It's all about changing stories, changing lives, and suspense; all packaged into a gripping saga certain to delight even the most experienced thriller genre reader.

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth
Steven Druker
Clear River Press
54 N Park Street, Fairfield, Iowa 52556-3050
9780985616908, $21.95, 1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436731202&sr=8-1&keywords=Altered+Genes&pebp=1436731258424&peri d=02HC6H6YPP3ZFM8X86BE

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public is a powerful pick for any collection strong in issues of genetically modified foods, special interest scandals, and the bigger social issues pictures involved in both, and charts an astonishing truth: that genetic engineering of food has long involved a systematic process of dangerous deceptive practices that have reached into scientific and governmental circles with equal impact.

While the story of gene manipulation and its introduction to world food supplies has been covered before, the different in Altered Genes' approach lies in its survey of the underlying special interests and political forces at work in determining not just business interests, but in the very nature of how science is conducted and how programs are rolled out to the public.

The fraudulent practices involved, in this case, embrace the highest levels of political office and many notable individuals along the way, exposes how the FDA became involved in illegal and unethical practices, and reveals not just a startling but a unprecedented erosion of scientific process, social values systems, and checks and balances originally designed to protect public health and safety.

The result is a gripping narrative that shocks and awes on so many levels that it's impossible to pose a narrow audience likely to be interested in the book. Readers of science, politics, health, business issues: all will find Altered Genes to be eye-opening, lively, and, ultimately, deeply disturbing.

Embrace the Moment
Bonnie Lee Mahler
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781504325349 $13.99

Embrace the Moment comes from an author who lost a son in a drowning accident which changed her world; only to lose a second son in a similar event only a short time later.

So, if anyone knows how to survive and overcome tragedy, it's Bonnie Lee Mahler, who imparts the basics of this struggle and its path in her memoir and self-help inspirational guide to recovery, Embrace the Moment.

By nature, Embrace the Moment provides a heady account of personal struggle; but through it all, choice and direction is emphasized, empowering readers to understand just how healing and recovery are intrinsic parts of embracing life's sorrows and elations alike.

Mahler, as a wellness, life mastery, neurolinguistic and hypnotherapy coach, has more tools (and a new age perspective) at her touch than most and shares them here in an embrace that includes music, travel, motivations for survival and developing personal resilience, and more.

The result is a satisfying mix of autobiography and insight highly recommended for self-help, inspirational, spiritual, and new age collections alike.

Glitch in the Machine
Edgar Swamp
Edgar Swamp, Publisher
9780692316016, $15.50,

Glitch in the Machine is a heady work of dystopian fiction set in 2025, in an all-too-believable world where the U.S. government operates as a shadow puppet of big business interests, with the 99 percent living in thrall to the 1% of rich companies that thrive on (and dominate) the poor.

Floyd navigates in this atmosphere as a successful mercenary who, on the face of it, appears to work as a claims adjustor for the predatory insurance industry; but in actuality functions as one of the most effective killers in the world, adopting a bulldog approach to eliminating those who would defraud his employer.

But Floyd's drug use and bad decisions lead him to the dark side of life and make him a target of a killer, himself. Suddenly nothing is cut-and-dried and his life becomes as uncertain as the world he once thought was his oyster.

Replete with underlying political satire and social observation, Glitch in the Machine is a special recommendation for dystopian readers seeking more than a touch of irony and social commentary in their fictional stories, along with all the action-charged elements of a thriller.

Katherine Jeffries
North Star Writer's Group
P.O. Box 317, Byron Center, MI 49315
ASIN: B00T708KEM, $2.99, =UTF8&qid=1437066816&sr=8-1&keywords=Stranglehold+Katherine+jeffries&pebp=1437066 828101&perid=0AQ8B52C340MRD0K0S7R

Stranglehold is no easy read, but offers a satisfyingly complex saga recommended for fans of thriller and novel stories who want their action fast-paced, their plots socially and politically complex, and their characters well-drawn.

It tells of a small town where the local police, frustrated by restraints on their activities, join with a secret group of neo-professional vigilantes to take the law into their own hands in the interest of keeping the peace. The only problem is: such an arrangement rarely achieves the benefits its creators envision, and the predictable happens as absolute power corrupts absolutely and turns the well-meaning law keepers into a dangerously powerful terrorist group.

It's rare to see such well-developed political and ethical facets in the context of a modern novel; and at first readers might suspect that the story's extra length means that the author's development might be too slow or complex. Not so: Jeffries merely takes the proper time to develop a superior read - something too often missing from faster action stories that skim over underlying complexities in favor of quick and dirty attractors. The result is a finely-written saga that doesn't feel as long as it is, because every word is carefully honed to produce maximum impact.

Gold in the Coffins
Dominic Certo, KSJ and Len Harac, Ph.D.
Harmita Press, LLC
1360 Clifton Ave., Suite 327 Clifton, NJ 07012
9780578155166, $18.95,

Gold in the Coffins mixes some unlikely scenarios together - ex-Marines, Wall Street power brokers, business schemes gone awry, whistle blowing and murder - and stirs them all together in a heady, fast-paced saga of revenge, betrayal, big business, and military members who decide to exact their own form of justice: an involving read recommended for any who like their thrillers hot and heavy.

Gold in the Coffins includes plenty of dialogue between characters, blending business, military, political and mystery facets into its story, and it skirts the lines between thriller, detective story, and novel, keeping the ability to attract all three genre readers with a tale that is satisfyingly unpredictable.

While it could be said that the main event takes its time to appear in favor of building characters who at times bog down in some of their dialogue, in actuality this just means that the story is more intricately woven than most, and not for the reader who must have nonstop staccato action.

Those with a special affinity for Marine culture and relationships after service will find Gold in the Coffins particularly inviting.

Managing Data Using Excel
Mark Gardener
Pelagic Publishing
PO Box 725, Exeter, EX1 9QU, United Kingdom
9781784270087, $83.99 HC, $22.99 Kindle,
9781784270070, $41.99 PB, 556pp,

Managing Data Using Excel: Organizing, Summarizing and Visualizing Scientific Data joins others in the 'Research Skills' series and is a top recommendation for any who would use their Excel spreadsheet skills to organize and share scientific data, standing out from the crowd of more general 'how to use Excel' handbooks to address the specific needs of the scientific community.

There are basics here, from how to build a dataset handling variables and notes to summarizing data using averages, creating visual displays with graphs and pivot charts, and using these tables to fine-tune results and displays that export well into datasets and summaries scientists can share.

Exercises are provided to reinforce concepts, while tips and notes compliment the educational process by pointing out common Excel challenges. Plenty of tables and charts pepper the discussions while an index makes it easy to use this is a reference for at-a-glance information.

Plenty of general Excel handbooks document how to create datasets and apply calculations, but the specific focus on scientific data manipulation provided here makes it a top recommendation over any general tutorial.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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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