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California Bookwatch

Volume 10, Number 6 June 2015 Home | CALBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Culinary Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Science Shelf Botany Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Homeowner's Shelf Gardening Shelf American History Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Biography Shelf Travel Shelf
Psychology Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Political Science Shelf
International Studies Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Sports Shelf Computer Shelf
Business Shelf Education Shelf Needlecraft Shelf
Writing/Publishing Shelf Literary Studies Shelf Technology Shelf
Photography Shelf Art Shelf Crafts Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Music Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Parenting Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fiction Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Automotive Shelf
California Shelf Independent Publishers Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Caring Economics
Tania Singer and Matthieu Ricard, Editors
Picador USA
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1800, New York, NY 10010
9781250064127, $26.00,

It's hard to neatly identify the audience for Caring Economics: Conversations on Altruism and Compassion, Between Scientists, Economists, and the Dalai Lama. Certainly it's a 'given' for spirituality and philosophy collections, but also recommended for social issues shelves and for economics and business readers interested in broader interpretations of doing business. It considers how the bottom line may be enhanced by global compassion, and it discusses how to do this. Based on a conference held by the Mind and Life Institute in Zurich in which experts from around the world gathered to discuss the possibilities and pitfalls of a global economic based on compassion, this is a 'must' for any who would consider the blossoming effects of conducting business with more than bottom-line profits in mind.

Americans in Thailand
Jim Algie,
EDN Editions
9789814385848, $39.90,

Americans in Thailand documents the arrival of Americans in Siam and their many contributions to that country's development, and chronicles the entwined stories of foreigners and Thai people alike, from the first Americans to travel there in 1818 to early missionaries, traders, and more. This collection provides that history can be a lively force as well as a powerful documentary of social interaction and change: essays presented in chronological order cover many rare stories of personalities, interactions, achievements, and sometimes disasters, and together go a long way to paint the story of Thailand's evolution and influences. Add pages of extensive sidebars of lively history, vintage black and white and color photos of individuals, and discussions separated into chapters such as 'Quiet Americans', 'Armed Americans', 'Committed Americans' and more, and you have a format and presentation key to understanding the American presence in Thailand and its ongoing impact on Thai culture and social development.

The Cannabis Encyclopedia
Jorge Cervantes
Van Patten Publishing
16420 SE McGillivray 103-734, Vancouver, WA 98683
9781878823342, $50.00,

The Cannabis Encyclopedia is no light treatment, but a weighty reference packed with some 2,000 color images to supplement an all-inclusive guide that covers everything from gardening and landscaping to figuring electricity consumption for maintaining plants, working with different kinds of soils, adding organic materials, and more. Anything having to do with the cultivating, harvesting, and processing of medical marijuana is covered in detail and depth, with numerous charts, photos, and sidebars of information leaving nothing to wonder. Plenty of books provide some information; but this is one of the few guides to pack in just about everything one would need to know about growing and harvesting medical marijuana, making it an unparalleled, highly recommended reference.

How to Be a Husband
Tim Dowling
Blue Rider Press
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399172939, $26.95,

How to Be a Husband isn't what you'd expect: that is to say, it's not a self-help book. At least half of its readers, seeing the 'how to' in the title, will anticipate this - and they'll be in for a surprise. It comes from a columnist who is a father with over twenty years of marriage experience and a of hilarious encounters who decides to explore what makes a good husband in modern times, and who sets out to examine the personas and possibilities defining 'good husband'. With a hilarious hand he considers the pros and cons of the beast, and pairs pointed social observations with fun personal experiences throughout in a lively read designed to entertain as much as it educates.

Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey
Marie Mutsuki Mockett
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393063011, $26.95,

When author Marie Mutsuki Mockett traveled to Japan in search of healing from the grief of losing both her Japanese grandparents and her American father, she journeyed to her family's Zen Buddhist temple to bury her grandfather's ashes - but the radiation released after Fukushima made it impossible. Her observations of the devastation caused by the tsunami and her observations of how the Japanese handled the massive disaster form the foundation of a memoir that is both a travelogue and a cultural investigation, and brings to life the psyche of the Japanese as well as the author's quest for healing. A cast of characters enter her life and in the process come to teach her about Japanese culture and the grieving process in Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey. The result is an evocative, compelling account that should be in the collections of any who profess to carry books about Asia in general and Japanese lives in particular.

The Culinary Shelf

Eating Viet Nam
Graham Holliday
Anthony Bourdain Books / Ecco
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062293053, $26.99,

Eating Viet Nam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table includes a foreword by culinary traveler Anthony Bourdain as it offers a journalist's take on Viet Nam, and while this book could have been featured in our Travel Shelf section, it's profiled here so that no fan of food misses it. The author, unlike most sojourners, wasn't keen on travel; but his curiosity about Viet Nam prompted him to journey halfway around the world and his particular focus was on living in the country, not just journeying through it. As such, he decided to focus on local food and searched for authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Eating Viet Nam chronicles this culinary journey where he risks disease and more to sample some of the dishes unique to that country. The result is an assessment of land and people but, most of all, of culinary traditions and specialties unique to Vietnam, making this book a recommended pick for any who would learn more about the region and the nation's byways and culinary oddities.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Quentin Tarantino FAQ
Dale Sherman
c/o Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing
33 Plymouth St, Suite 302, Montclair, NJ 07042
9781480355880, $24.99,

Quentin Tarantino came to Hollywood with one major purpose in mind; to make the films he wanted to see, starting with Reservoir Dogs in 1994 and continuing with the release of the very different Pulp Fiction in 1994. His growing fame was testimony to the fact that his unorthodox perspective worked, and worked well, and this FAQ book considers the movies he directed, his approach, and why it was so successful. Chapters analyze the common themes of his very different films, his unique techniques, and the devices that created exceptional results, and provide a survey of his works in television and the critical writings about his approaches. The result is a recommendation for any collection strong in contemporary film analysis in general and Tarantino in particular, lending many insights into his approaches and world.

The Science Shelf

Chris Impey
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393239300, $27.95,

Beyond: Our Future in Space considers how centuries of space exploration efforts stem from a single human urge to travel and explore, and considers how that urge today is being translated into plans for space elevators to replace rockets, experiments in suspending life for long-distance universe journeys, and more. Any who think mankind's efforts to explore the skies is dead should read Beyond: it packs in all manner of technological insights that aren't just speculation or science fiction, but active projects and research goals; and it blends the author's expert knowledge of astronomy and advanced technology with a consideration of the many possibilities of space exploration in the decades to come. The result is a perfect choice for any collection strong in space exploration discussions.

Infrared Astronomy - Seeing the Heat
David L. Clements
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781482237276, $49.95,

Infrared Astronomy - Seeing the Heat from William Herschel to the Herschel Space Observatory is a college-level physics reference that astronomy holdings will find especially appealing because no math background is required in order to understand its science. This is a special note because infrared so often is laden with computations and analysis, but this book surveys astronomical techniques and discoveries in a manner that is perfect for those who have science backgrounds and want a solid scientific overview of the topic. Chapters consider local heat, distant heat, ancient heat, the heat of the stars, and more, and are accompanied by clear discussions that blend history with inquiry and scientific facts.

The Powerhouse
Steve LeVine
Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780670025848, $28.95,

The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World tells of the struggle to invent a super-battery; the results of which would change the nature of political powers in the world and transform nations. There would be fewer costs, new wealth, and more - so why hasn't this 'super battery' come to pass? Steve LeVine was granted two years of access to Argonne National Laboratory, a secure federal research center where scientists are attempting this battery, and here he tells of the research, its challenges, and how a 'battery war' involving some twenty countries is immersing researchers, developers, and politicians alike. The insider's report perspective is quite absorbing and assumes no prior familiarity with technology or politics as it probes research proceedings, obstacles to success, and promises of the future in a lively read recommended not just for science and technology readers, but for the general public.

Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781476756219, $23.99,

ASAPScience: Answers to the World's Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors, and Unexplained Phenomena comes from the creators of the award-winning YouTube series who provide scientific answers using hand-drawn comics in funny situations, and provides in book form what their weekly installments capture so well: a sense of fun and curiosity that invites readers to learn about basic science without the process proving painful. The result is such a lively read that it will reach well into general-interest, non-scientist audiences.

Rust: The Longest War
Jonathan Waldman
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl., New York, NY 10020
9781451691597, $27.00,

Rust: The Longest War is recommended for any reader who enjoys a blend of science, history, and public issues, and presents a call for action in the course of discussing rust's damage and the fact that it's such a pervasive menace that it nearly brought down the Statue of Liberty, and costs this country over, $400 billion annually. Waldman personally battled rust on a sailboat and his challenge was to protect his boat from rust. His research went far beyond products to probe the wider world of rust products and potions, scientific struggles, and rust's pervasive and ongoing threats to infrastructures and individuals alike. Any with an interest in science and rust will appreciate this absorbing approach.

The Botany Shelf

Kansas Wildflowers and Weeds
Michael John Haddock,
University Press of Kansas
2501 West 15th Street, Lawrence, KS 66049
9780700620814, $39.95,

Kansas Wildflowers and Weeds is a 'must' for any Kansas collection strong in Kansas botany, and provides a reference book that explores wildflowers and weeds in their natural habitats across the state. It offers the rare opportunity to appeal to two audiences: those who want to identify plants and understand what is growing across the state, and ecological researchers who will appreciate the in-depth inclusion of the latest research on Kansas botany. The former reader shouldn't expect a take-along pocket tote, however: this book's appearance in formidable hardcover packs in detailed references, hundreds of color photos, and significant research and technical depth. No Kansas library strong in regional nature should be without this weighty and wide-ranging collection of research and identification insights!

The Social Issues Shelf

Raising Generation X
Linda M. Blum
New York University Press
838 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10003
9781479871544, $27.00,

Raising Generation X: Mothering Kids with Invisible Disabilities in an Age of Inequality is all about raising children with ADHD, autism and other 'hidden' conditions, and uses interviews with a sampling of mothers to show how their experiences vary by influences ranging from race and a child's gender to socioeconomics. College-level readers and parents interested in such studies will find Linda Blum applies and blends a critical medical sociology examination with sociological insights and discussions of social issues that pair mothers' experiences with neuroscientific breakthroughs and social experience. The result is an examination that is key to further understanding the experiences of families with such children, whether they be traditional structures or headed by single parents.

US Immigration in the Twenty-First Century
Louis DeSipio and Rodolfo O. de la Garza
Westview Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780813344737, $33.00,

US Immigration in the Twenty-First Century provides an in-depth review of the issues surrounding immigration and immigrant status in this country, examining the evolution of policies, their legal and political battles, and how reform and change is affecting U.S. immigrants. It provides college-level political science readers with a comprehensive review of the issues, the pros and cons of various debates surrounding them, and such issues as who should award citizenship and how public and political attitudes towards American immigrants have changed. The result is a powerful analysis highly recommended for any collection strong in immigration issues in general or political processes in particular.

In Manchuria
Michael Meyer
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781620402863, $28.00,

In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China provides a blend of memoir, cultural inspection and historical analysis key to understanding modern China, and comes from the author of The Last Days of Old Beijing. It considers the region of Manchuria bordered by Mongolia, North Korea, and Siberia and in the course of researching and writing this book, the author lived in the remote region in the rice-farming community of Wasteland, where he personally witnessed its sweeping changes when a government-backed private company began buying up paddies and hiring farmers as laborers. Rural China is undergoing vast changes and Wasteland can easily be used as a microcosm example of these social and economic transformations, which is why In Manchuria is a top recommendation for any who would consider not just modern-day Manchuria's changes, but the many corporate and cultural challenges facing rural regions of the world.

The New Normal
Amitai Etzioni
Transaction Publishers
10 Corporate Place South, Piscataway, NJ 08854
9781412854771, $49.95,

The New Normal: Finding a Balance Between Individual Rights and the Common Good asks what society can live without and what it should not have to live with. While it focuses on economics, it also considers American habits, consumption patterns, technological and business changes, and more, and considers how everyday life and civil society interest in all these arenas of adaptation and new social forces. The result is a recommendation for college-level audiences, especially social science students, who will appreciate the blend of economic analysis, business insight, and connections to social ideals and ethics.

Everyone is African
Daniel J. Fairbanks
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781633880184, $18.00,

Everyone is African: How Science Explodes the Myth of Race blends biology, anthropology, and evolutionary evidence to make an argument against the existence of biological 'race'. It analyzes human variation patterns and shows that information that seems to justify racial differences are scientifically inaccurate - and it uses examples from genetic research, geography, and racially based medicine to support its contentions. Any collection strong in racial insights and social issues will find this a fascinating, science-based argument.

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed
Meghan Daum
Picador USA
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1800, New York, NY 10010
9781250052933, $26.00,

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision NOT to Have Kids is a literary and social discussion on the topic of fertility and choice, and gathers essays from sixteen writers who explain why they have not become parents. Each offers a different perspective not only on their choice, but the reactions from society. Parenthood is not the only path in life, but society is centered around kids and procreation, and those who avoid the process are often labeled as being egocentric. This book answers those charges and clearly points the way to alternative behaviors and why they are every bit as valid as the majority decision to have children in their lives.

Victims of Progress, sixth edition
John H. Bodley
Rowman & Littlefield
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442226920, $100.00,

Victims of Progress appears in its sixth updated edition to consider, as an ongoing project, how technology is affecting indigenous peoples around the world, and is recommended for college-level collections strong in anthropology as well as global social issues and cultural studies. It considers the histories of struggles between small-scale indigenous communities and colonists and developers, examines intervention techniques, and posits the theory that these small-scale communities have done a good job in contemporary times of organizing as a political force to defend their territories, lifestyles, and interests. This sixth edition holds expanded discussions of both rebellions and deliberate isolationist tactics, and adds further details on the costs and threats posed to such communities by global warming. No global issues collection should be without this solid reference.

The Homeowner's Shelf

Pretty Prudent Home
Jacinda Boneau & Jaime Morrison Curtis
Stewart Tabori & Chang
c/o Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, 6th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781617691546, $24.95,

Pretty Prudent Home: Your Ultimate Guide to Creating a Beautiful Family Home includes over seventy projects designed to crate a modern, comfortable home, and packs in design tips and whimsical approaches that cover all kinds of decorating options, from using vintage and antique embellishments to sewing quilts, creating bake sale displays, and incorporating the ideas of functionality, comfort and beauty into a home decor choice. From personalizing home decor with linens to easier ideas for party planning, beginning tips for machine applique methods, converting a pretty oil painting find at a flea market into a tote bag, and developing a home style, this is packed with all kinds of options that don't just involve the usual attention to sewing and fabrics (though these are included!), making for a guide any home decorator will find inviting and intriguing.

The Gardening Shelf

Greenhouse Vegetable Gardening
Inger Palmstierna
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781629147390, $19.95,

Greenhouse Vegetable Gardening: Expert Advice on How to Grow Vegetables Herbs, and Other Plants covers all the basics of building, decorating, and using a greenhouse, and focuses on easy, fun methods of caring for plants. It comes from a gardening expert who considers how to use the greenhouse to cultivate fruits, vegetables, and herbs, as well as summer flowers, and it provides a year-round approach to managing a greenhouse which can be easily customized for individual purposes. Color photos pack a presentation that includes discussions of plant diseases and common growing problems, hotbeds and cold frames, the structure's building and optimal location, and starting vegetables for outside planting. No prior knowledge of either greenhouse construction or gardening methods is required in order to appreciate this book's basic focus and techniques.

The Nourishing Farmstead
Ben Hewitt with Penny Hewitt
Chelsea Green Publishing Company
85 North Main Street, Suite 120, White River Junction, VT 05001
9781605585514, $29.95,

The Nourishing Farmstead: One Back-to-the-Land Family's Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit provides a fine method of growing nutrient-dense foods to produce better results, and tells how to create relationships between land and people that support each other. The Hewitts focus on small plots of land which makes their book attractive to gardening audiences, and they cover not just veggies but fruit and farming methods that embrace social remediation, bionutrient dense farming, and more. Color photos, sidebars of information, discussions ranging from choosing and managing chickens to making butter: all these are discussed in context of expanding land and community connections alike. More than just a farming book, this offers a different formula for re-envisioning working with the land, and is a 'must' for any collection strong in small-scale farming methods and ideology.

The American History Shelf

Food in the Civil War Era: The North
Helen Zoe Veit, Editor
Michigan State University Press
1405 South Harrison Road, Suite 25, East Lansing, MI 48823-5245
9781611861228, $29.95,

Food in the Civil War Era: The North examines food habits and how cookbooks evolved during the Civil War era, and will appeal to any with an interest in American culinary history. This approach uses vintage cookbooks for its exploration: although are many recipes included, it should be noted that these aren't in the modern format (ingredients listing, precise measurements, color photos and step-by-step directions) but in the style of the times, which offers a paragraph or two from these historic works for recipes such as Hot Cakes, Indian Bread, Venison Sausages and more. Accompanying these are discussions of how people cooked, what they ate, and 1860s culinary sentiments in American life. From the development of Northern agricultural systems and new technology's influence on these systems and cooking to descriptions of modern domestic life and pursuits, this isn't a cookbook but an important history piece recommended for any student of early American history and daily life.

The Cookbook Shelf

Bob's Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook
Camilla V. Saulsbury
Robert Rose Inc.
120 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4P 1E2
9780778805007, $24.95,

Bob's Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook: 281 Delicious Whole-Grain Recipes packs in a collection of gluten-free ideas and shows how naturally gluten-free grains from millet to amaranth hold the potential for changing everyday dishes. This can be seen in recipes such as Split Pea Soup with Chia Chutney, Sorghum with Parmesan and Broccoli Rabe, Buckwheat, Butternut Squash and Mushroom Stew, and many more. Sections of color photos throughout provide illustration of many of the dishes while discussions offer time-saving tips, storage ideas, and often hold only two to three preparation instructions, making this cookbook a solid pick for any who would use whole-grain approaches to cooking without the gluten concerns.

Mug Cakes
Joanna Farrow
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781846014918, $12.99,

Mug Cakes Made in Minutes in the Microwave appeals on two levels: for those who want a very quick homemade cake option, and for cooks who don't want too much cake around the house. Both audiences will find this perfect for producing quick one-cup cakes, with ingredients guaranteed to work well: at that's needed is a microwave and an appropriately microwave-proof mug to cook in. From how to tell if a mug is good for baking purposes to adjusting cooking times, Mug Cakes is the perfect item of choice for any who own a microwave and are too busy to produce the traditional cake. Recipes vary from a Pumpkin and Ginger Cake to the traditional Red Velvet Cake (albeit made with beet juice). Color photos pack a presentation of recipes that often only take three lines of description to achieve.

The Art of Cooking With Vegetables
Alain Passard
Frances Lincoln Publishers
74-77 White Lion Street, Islington, London, N1 9PF
9780711235410, $19.99,

The Art of Cooking with Vegetables comes from a chef who made a revolutionary move for a three-Michelin-starred Parish restaurant: he took red meat off of his menu. One might think this would have spelled 'death' to any future fame, but he focused on ingredients from his own organic farm, and on developing vegetable recipes which were innovative and unusual - and The Art of Cooking with Vegetables bears the fruits of this effort. Here are nearly fifty recipes illustrated with Chef Passard's own color collages, packed with such unusual flavor combinations Globe Artichokes with Bay Leaves and Lime and Rhubarb and Strawberries with Pralines and Orange. It's this approach to unusual taste combinations which makes for a standout among vegetable cookbooks: that and the fact that the recipes are easily accessible for home cooks and represent something different. Obviously, readers should hold a prior affection for vegetables and an interest in thinking outside the box when it comes to their preparation and flavors.

Healthy Latin Eating
Angie Martinez & Angelo Sosa
Kyle Books
1st Floor, 192-198, Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, England, SW1V 1DX
9781909487185, $22.95,

Healthy Latin Eating: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed presents a hundred healthy revamps of traditional Latin cooking, gathers contributions from a variety of cooks and family members, and focuses on enhancing flavor and reducing fats. Thus, a remake of the traditional beef picadillo - here with turkey - adds red wine, fresh tomatoes, and capers to the traditional picadillo made with peppers, onion, and spices; and a classic Fish Tacos is served with a lively chipotle pepper syrup made with pineapple and fresh guacamole. Color photos throughout - some of the foods, some of the cooks - accompany dishes which are quite easy to put together, though some may require access to a Mexican market for yucca root and other traditional favorites. The result is a modified Latin cookbook packed with different flavors and mixes: perfect for Latin cooks who want something special in the way of new embellishments to classic favorites.

Dessert for Two
Christina Lane
The Countryman Press
43 Lincoln Corners Way, Woodstock, Vermont 05091
9781581572841, $24.95,

Dessert for Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and Cakes is a top pick for couples who tire of dessert cookbooks that produce cakes, cookies, pies and desserts in quantity. With this in hand you can make just two servings of blueberry pie, or even cake for two, and can have the occasional home-baked treat without the quantity issue. Chapters provide recipes that have been tested by the author and her blog fans, and accompany tips on how to bake small proportions successfully: no light accomplishment because it involves more than just having ingredients, but understanding how reduced quantities bake differently. Measurements are in the tablespoons and quarter-cups here, and produce six-inch cakes and small, light bites perfect for waist-watchers who want just a bit of dessert. Color photos make this a top recommendation.

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook
Kate White
Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
9781594747571, $24.95,

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook packs in over a hundred recipes from mystery authors, and lends an element of investigate mystery into the finer art of cooking, whether you're planning a sinister dinner party or looking at the unlikely idea of crab crakes that comes from a Chinese-Korean American who writes historical mysteries. Each recipe opens with a discussion by the writer on how they got into cooking, how they developed their recipe contribution, and how it can work in family settings as well as for entertainment. Why is it especially recommended for mystery fans? Because the personal insights of contributors Sue Grafton, Lee Child, James Patterson, and more big names can't be beat.

Made in America
Colby & Megan Garrelts
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449458140, $21.99,

Made in America: A Modern Collection of Classic Recipes is packed with modern cooking methods, comes from two award-winning chefs, and adds new embellishments to classic recipes. Under their hands, Apple Butter takes on new flavor with an Apple-Bourbon Butter recipe, Garrelts Fried Chicken is brined and cooked using two pots of oil to prevent overbrowning, and the pie crust for Banana Cream Pie is coated with a thin layer of dark chocolate to keep the crust crispy. The result is satisfyingly different, and a fine pick for any who want embellishments on familiar comfort dishes.

The Norske Nook Book of Pies and Other Recipes
Jerry Bechard and Cindee Borton-Parker
University of Wisconsin Press
1930 Monroe Street, Third Floor, Madison, WI 53711-2059
9780299304300, $29.95,

The Norske Nook Book of Pies and Other Recipes is no light production: it packs in over seventy pies, adds Scandinavian specialties such as cookies and muffins, and is a recommendation for any dessert cook who wants something different. The Norske Nook cafe, opened in 1973, has won nearly forty blue ribbons at the National Pie Championship in Florida and this cookbook features some of its award-winning baking, from an Apple Cream Cheese Pie and a Lingonberry Topping to Rhubarb Cream Meringue Pie. The result is a delicious invitation to try different (mostly dessert) pie creations, packed with full-page appealing color photos of finished products.

The CSA Cookbook
Linda Ly
Voyageur Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9780760347294, $24.99,

The CSA Cookbook: No-Waste Recipes for Cooking Your Way Through a Community Supported Agriculture Box, Farmer's Market, or Backyard Bounty offers innovative ideas for using odd vegetables and different parts of plants that are usually discarded in the cooking process, and provides a selection of recipes based on global influence and seasonally-available vegetables. The intent is simple: to use the box loads of vegetables that a CSA subscription brings to one's doorstep, and to use them with new flavors and seasonings to turn that oddball vegetable into a welcomed dinner addition. From Flaming Kale Chips and Fresh Pea Soup to Leek Green and Saucy Shrimp Stir-Fry, any who face the monthly challenge of a box load of farm-fresh veggies now have a golden opportunity for using them to best advantage.

A Taste of Cowboy
Kent Rollins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544275003, $30.00,

A Taste of Cowboy: Ranch Recipes and Tales from the Trail is chuck wagon cooking at its best, and originates from an author who grew up ranching and began cooking for cattle ranchers in 1993 from his 1876 Studebaker chuck wagon. While he's appeared on television to great acclaim, this cookbook represents more of his style, blending stories, poetry and songs, and recipes with color photos of the range - both the grasslands version and the grill. And as far as recipes go, Mrs. O'Donnell's Fried Meat Pies, Cream Cheese Chicken and Green Chile Enchiladas, and Chicken and Sausage Almond Casserole can't be beat. It's cowboy cooking with a dash of gourmet - and is highly recommended!

Classic Recipes for Modern People
Max & Eli Sussman
Olive Press
c/o Weldon Owen, Inc.
415 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
9781616288129, $25.00,

Classic Recipes for Modern People offers a different perspective than most cookbooks, focusing on childhood recipes which are here remade with adult tastes in mind. Using this approach, TV dinners can be made from scratch, traditional desserts receive a facelift for flavor and nutrition, and even something as basic as Popcorn Shrimp sparkles when matched with Leek-Chile Butter, or the classic Fondue with a recipe for Chocolate-Cardamaro that pairs port and bittersweet chocolate with strawberries and pound cake for dipping. Color photos throughout make for a delightfully delicious presentation with all kinds of adaptations that take classic dishes and re-present them with a twist.

White Heat 25
Marco Pierre White
Mitchell Beazley
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017
9781784720001, $39.99,

White Heat 25 appears in a fine 25th anniversary edition featuring photos by Bob Carlos Clarke, an oversized appearance, and discussions and recipes by one of the youngest chefs ever to earn three Michelin stars. The 25th anniversary edition includes a new portfolio of previously unpublished material - including Clarke's photos - and has gone far since its original production in 1990, where it already earned its stars as a classic. Opinion ("When lobsters are in tanks they feed on their own flesh. You can have a majestic beast fished out for you, but it may be on its last legs, it may have almost eaten itself up, inside.") blends with some seventy recipes and fine full-page color photos rendered on oversized pages to make for a powerful highlight and a new classic in its own right.

Gluten-Free Flour Power
Aki Kamozawa & H. Alexander Talbot
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393243420, $35.00,

Gluten-Free Flour Power packs in step-by-step instructions, full color illustrations, and meal-planning insights perfect for any serious about eliminating gluten from their diets, and comes from chefs and restaurant consultants known for their approaches to food challenges. As those on the diet well know, it's difficult to produce gluten-free foods at home while making them acceptable to other family members. Many cookbooks try to provide dishes but wind up sacrificing texture or taste, especially when it comes to baked goods. This introduces flours, gums and starches needed to make good gluten-free dishes and shows how to achieve light doughnuts, a triple chocolate cake, and more. Process photos for almost every recipe accompany the photos and discuss techniques and basic concepts in a top pick for any who are on a gluten-free diet.

Southern Made Fresh
Tasia Malakasis
Southern Living
c/o Oxmoor House
9780848742942, $26.00,

Southern Made Fresh: Vibrant Dishes Rooted in Homegrown Flavor is rich on local, homegrown ingredients and blends traditional Southern fare and recipes with this modern attention to fresh foods. The result is a collection of seasonal dishes that 'lighten' the approach to Southern cuisine without sacrificing flavor. Farmer's markets everywhere will supply almost everything needed to make Southern Made Fresh a success, while recipes such as Baked French Toast with Banana Br–lee and Vegetable Soup with Pecan Pesto offer something decidedly different from other Southern cookbooks. Especially recommended is the approach to Southern supper dishes which are filled with main course options, such as Root Vegetable and Sirloin Pot Pies.

Lomelino's Ice Cream
Linda Lomelino
Roost Books
Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
9781611801750, $18.95,

Lomelino's Ice Cream packs in nearly eighty ice creams, sorbets and more for any who want a basic ice cream book from an established food writer and photographer, and fosters the idea that making homemade ice cream not only results in a better-tasting product, but is actually quite easy. Ice cream can be made with or without a machine - this recipe book can be applied to any home situation - but its real value lies in recipes not to be found in other ice cream books. From Double Malted Milk Ice Cream to Pomegranate Sherbet, it's packed with new ideas that make it a recommendation even for those with experience and other ice cream books, who always look for something different.

The Biography Shelf

It's a Long Story: My Life
Willie Nelson with David Ritz
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780376403559, $30.00,

It's a Long Story: My Life provides the definitive autobiography of Willie Nelson and incorporates more than a light dose of humor into a production that is "told as clear as a Texas sky and in the same rhythm that I lived it." Familiarity with and appreciation for Nelson's music is a prerequisite to fully appreciating this account of how he moved between Texas to the Pacific Northwest and around the country as he honed his music and moved from selling vacuum cleaners and encyclopedias to writing song after song in hopes of hitting the big time. How he hit that big time - and, more importantly, what he did with it - forms the foundation of a lively autobiography that recounts some of the biggest names in country music and his friendships and encounters with them. Any who love country music know of Willie - and this audience will find his autobiography compelling and a fine read.

Ghost Boy
Martin Pistourius with Megan Lloyd Davies
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781400205837, $16.99,

Ghost Boy provides a frightening true story of a boy misdiagnosed early and trapped in his own body, and provides the autobiography of a boy maintained in a vegetative state for twelve years - fully aware. What seemed a simple sore throat to a pre-teen slowly turned into a condition which left the child mute and wheelchair-bound. Doctors gave him two years to live, and he moved into a coma. Four years later, at age 16, Martin began to regain consciousness - but nobody knew this. He was still trapped inside a broken body: there to live for twelve years, unable to communicate his awareness. His slow journey back is documented here, and chronicles misdiagnosis, a family's determination, and how he reclaimed his life. It's a riveting, involving saga; hard to put down.

Becoming Steve Jobs
Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli
Crown Business
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780385347402, $30.00,

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader considers Jobs's early career and how he moved from a business failure to one whose efforts revolutionalized a business, and uses rare access to the tech world to provide a blend of journalism research and insights into Steve's evolution based on a journalist who had a twenty-five year relationship with Jobs. At once a recommendation for business holdings and biography collections, this considers how Jobs changed his life and his career and learned how to maximize his strengths and translate them into success. From his executive style and visionary charisma to his struggles as a CEO, this offers many rare glimpses into his personality and life as well as how it entered into business circles, and is a 'must' for any who would receive a well-rounded examination of the man's life challenges and many unique attributes. There have been many solid Jobs biographies on the market; but few provide the business focus and insights of this, which seeks to add another dimension into the leader's personal life, and achieves this with skill to offer up many new insights and perspectives.

Screening Room: Family Pictures
Alan Lightman
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
9780307379399, $25.95,

Screening Room: Family Pictures provides a fine memoir of Memphis from the 1930s through the 1960s that considers early movie history and Lightman's grandfather, who started a movie theater empire that made the family's name a Southern staple. Here the author provides a memoir of his return to Memphis and an attempt to understand his family heritage and social changes that affected all members. While film collections will find it an intriguing addition for its insights on Southern film history, it's more of a family memoir that incorporates the changing face of Memphis over a thirty-year time frame, and is key to understanding the sentiments and atmosphere of the South.

Finding Peter
William Peter Blatty
Regnery Publishing
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621573326, $27.99,

Readers of autobiography and spirituality alike will recognize Blatty's name as author of the best-selling The Exorcist, but here his true-life encounters with the supernatural is every bit as fascinating as his novel. Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life After Death provides a memoir of love, grief, and afterlife and tells of a son who died very suddenly of a rare disorder, changing Blatty's life. When supernatural events began occurring, he became convinced that peter was sending messages from the afterlife. Finding Peter chronicles these messages and their impact, and is a powerful story of devastating loss, hope, and change that will move even newcomer to Blatty's life and work.

The Travel Shelf

Around the World in 50 Years
Albert Podell
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250051981, $26.99,

Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth represents a lifetime of traveling and brings the world to life for those armchair readers who would receive their adventures in the comfort of home. Most such reads embrace a few years or a particular trip: the pleasure of this one is that it's decades of experience and numerous countries wound into one journey, and brings readers along as Podell gains wisdom about travel in general and determines to visit 'every country on Earth'. Some of these are harrowing encounters, some are marked with Podell's ability to adapt to virtually any situation, and some are remarkably engrossing sagas of other cultures and cultural differences. Whether the reader is planning an actual sojourn or just wants to live high adventure though Podell's eyes and life, one thing is certain: the action and adventure is lively, well detailed, and thoroughly engrossing - the hallmarks of a superior literary travelogue that's well-done and exceptional.

The Disneyland Book of Lists
Chris Strodder
Santa Monica Press
P.O. Box 850, Solana Beach, CA 92075
9781595800817, $16.95,

Any traveler with affection for Disneyland will appreciate this new way of exploring the theme park and its attractions: a compilation blending jokes, history, relics, urban legends, world records and more into one lively cover. This collection includes lists written for this book by celebrities and Disney legends and experts, and provides a lively unofficial, unauthorized survey filled with a combination of trivia and travel insights. Add black and white photos to the mix and you have a Disneyland celebration especially recommended for destination visitors and trivia collectors.

The Psychology Shelf

Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316278867, $28.00,

Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry comes from a doctor who has headed the American Psychiatric Association, led a department of psychiatry, and here presents both a clinical and scientific survey of the history of the discipline from early to modern times. In discussing its basic premises, diagnostic systems, treatments, and connections to medicine, Shrinks provides a well-rounded discussion that charts psychiatry's evolution using case studies of patients and psychiatrists whose work changed the field. From stormy professional encounters to successes and failures, Shrinks is a lively account and highly recommended for any interested in how the field of psychiatry evolved. It will find a place in any health collection.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th edition
Dennis Kasper and Anthony Fauci
McGraw-Hill Education
c/o McGraw Hill Professional
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 45th Floor, New York, NY 10020,
9780071802154, $249.00,

These two volumes provide a powerful resource and an expanded multimedia DVD that includes 137 e-chapters and over 150 videos, and aptly demonstrates the powerful possibilities between printed word and multimedia format. This 19th edition has been redesigned for an easier reference and clinical applications, and appears in two connected volumes: one for basic principles and symptoms; the other for therapeutic applications of particular diseases. College students and clinicians will find this provides key updates to all kinds of diseases, with the latest research accompanied by enhanced images, redone radiographic examples, pathological drawings and illustrations, and expanded tables, charts, and references. New chapters cover fatigue, men's health and infections in returning war vets while some of the chapters are only available on the accompanying DVD, making for a presentation that reduces some of the text volume and places it proper perspective on a supplemental reference format that lends to searching and even quicker reference. There is a lot detail packed into this reference, which could have become cumbersome without the multimedia approach. With it, clinicians have an opportunity for quicker access and more depth of material, and will find the volumes fully integrated and supported (even though it should be mentioned that a mobile app opportunity should be a serious consideration by purchasers, and the lack of such an app for the iPad is a glaring omission.)

Hip on Health
Charlotte M. Hendricks, PhD
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605544014, $21.95,

Hip on Health: Health Information for Caregivers and Families features large-size print, fun black and white illustrations by Nic Frising, and a discussion of health and wellness in early childhood that features information covering a child's growth, development, and typical childhood issues from illness to safety. All this is presented in the form of reproducible mini posters, one-page information sheets, and documents that lend to posting, distributing to families, displays, and more. While this information has been covered before, it's the format which promises to reach further into general-interest audiences, parenting and communities, providing all health concerns in easily-digestible approaches perfect for discriminating educators.

2015 Nurse's Drug Handbook
Jones & Bartlett Learning
5 Wall Street, Burlington, MA 01803
9781284054613, $42.95,

The 2015 Nurse's Drug Handbook appears in its fourteenth updated edition to pack a reference full of practical nursing drug tools that are updated annually, and should be on the shelf of any nurse's office. It includes an index of all generic, trade and alternate drug names, discussions of drug interactions with foods and activities and adverse reactions, risk categories and warnings, nursing considerations that include patient education, and more, and it offers new appendixes on ophthalmic drugs, antvirals, antieoplastic drugs, and more. The result is a desk reference that keeps pace with the rapidly-changing world of pharmaceuticals.

Dietary Sugars and Health
Michael I. Goran,, Editors
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781466593770, $139.95,

Sugar consumption has been linked to many diseases from diabetes to cardio problems and some cancers, and Dietary Sugars and Health is designed to reveal all these interactions and how sugars relate to health. It gathers writings from the latest food science and health research circles to provide college-level readers with an assessment of everything from human and animal trials to public health policies, consider relationships between specific diseases and sugar interactions, and more. The result is a powerful gathering packed with bibliographic references and technical information which will especially appeal to health professionals and students looking for a wide-ranging reference on the topic.

The Political Science Shelf

Do Facts Matter?
Jennifer Hochschild and Katherine Levine Einstein
University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780806146867, $29.95,

Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics opens with an examination of Thomas Jefferson's 'ideal citizen', who uses accurate information to make policy and political choices, and continues the process by considering what happens if these paths aren't followed. The focus is on how 'facts' are misused, misrepresented, and misinterpreted to result in faulty political decision-making processes in this country, and it moves on to consider everything from political figures and Supreme Court justices to military choices and religious concerns. Incorrect facts pose a great danger to democracy: this book thus is a key consideration for any college-level political science student and many an adult reader interested in political issues.

Trust Betrayed
Scott Taylor
Regnery Publishing
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001
9781621573272, $27.99,

Trust Betrayed: Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Selling Out of America's National Security comes form a former Navy SEAL who has carried out numerous clandestine missions behind enemy lines, battling insurgents abroad and facing a surprising truth: that much of the battlefield is actually on American turf. It presents a host of accusations against the Obama administration's actions - so if the reader is a staunch Obama supporter, the chapters may prove challenging to read and believe. It reveals leaks and bad decisions made by special forces and Intelligence, and it pinpoints the problems in a political strategy that is intrinsically flawed. The result is a hard-hitting political expose that considers issues of national security and high-level politics and is important for any who would understand how classified information is handled, in general, and how Obama interacts within the political arena, in particular.

The International Studies Shelf

Globalization and India's Economic Integration
Baldev Raj Nayar
Georgetown University Press
3240 Prospect Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
9781626161078, $69.95,

Globalization and India's Economic Integration belongs in college-level collections strong in international affairs in general, Asian perspectives, and India in particular, and provides a solid analysis of economic change in India and how the country's politics have been changed by it. Expanding markets, new opportunities for entrepreneurs, and new global choices have resulted in greater unity, not segmentation, and discussions thus show that India has benefited more from globalization than anticipated. With commission findings, charts and graphs, discussions of polarizations, economic growth patterns, and social factors, this discussion provides an outstanding and technical survey highly recommended for any economic and political sciences student.

The Christian Studies Shelf

You'll Never Be Younger
William J. O'Malley
Orbis Books
Box 302, Maryknoll NY 10545-0302
9781626981249, $18.00,

You'll Never Be Younger: A Good news Spirituality for Those Over 60 surveys the meaning of religious thought and faith for those who are older, and belongs in any Christian collection strong in personal spiritual inspection. From how to incorporate new facets of growth, curiosity and humor into advancing years to changing concepts of faith and belief, You'll Never Be Younger is all about keeping faith as life goes on, examining how facets of true faith lie in developing confidence, empathy, better systems of prayer and understanding, and more. The result is a 'must' highly recommended for any growing old and gaining more wisdom in the process.

Jesus Christ: The New Face of Social Progress
Peter J. Casarella, Editor
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802871138, $45.00,

Jesus Christ: The New Face of Social Progress is based on a reading of Pope Benedict's 2009 Caritas in Veritate, and provides scholarly essays that explore how the ideal of Jesus Christ forms the basis for economic and social progress. Contributors come from different disciplines, from theological to secular foundations, and discuss politics, economics, and more - all within the arena of Catholic thinking. It's the first book in English to consider the Caritas in depth and is a 'must' for any scholarly Catholic thinker and collections catering to them.

Agents of the Apocalypse
Dr. David Jeremiah
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781414380490, $24.99,

Agents of the Apocalypse: A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times assumes a step-by-step approach to events in the Bible that depict the apocalypse, considering exactly how these figures could arise, and linking them to discussions of who will participate in the scenarios of Earth's final days. The prerequisite here is, of course, an interest in these scenarios and prophecy. Dr. David Jeremiah is a noted prophecy expert who narrows his focus to the major figures of Revelations - the exile, the martyrs, the two witnesses, and more - and engages readers with a Bible-based dramatization that brings these prophecies to life. This approach goes beyond analysis of passages to make for a read that holds the drama of fiction and pairs it with the analysis of a noted Christian leader, making it a pick for a wide range of Christian collections.

Eternal Living
Gary W. Moon, Editor
InterVarsity Press
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 605151426
9780830835959, $22.00,

Eternal Living: Reflections on Dallas Willard's Teaching on Faith & Formation considers what the church would look like if it were truly reflective of the kingdom of god on earth - and offers an intriguing collection of contributions that use Dallas Willard's teachings as a foundation for discussion. The first prerequisite for successfully utilizing this book, then, is knowledge of Willard's perspective and teachings. The second is an interest in theological philosophy that calls for inspection of meanings of life and spiritual belief systems, and the third is affection for the kind of Christian perspective that is open to changing one's perspective of what work and daily life involves. Readers with these perspectives and interests in mind will find this a thought-provoking collection that blends philosophical with spiritual concerns.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

A God That Could Be Real
Nancy Ellen Abrams
Beacon Press
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
9780807073391, $25.95,

A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet comes from a philosopher of science who is also a lawyer and a lifelong atheist, who discovered that imagining the presence of a higher power in her life offered new opportunities. Her husband was a famous astrophysicist who was creating a new theory of the universe based on dark matter. And here's where it gets interesting: A God That Could Be Real could not have come about were it not for these two personalities and their two discoveries interacting in a new way to create something different in terms of scientific and spiritual intersections of thinking. This book avoids the usual arguments for God in favor of discussing science-based findings, collective behavior patterns, and the concept of God as an "emergent phenomenon" in each person. With such an interpretation God didn't create the universe so much as creating its meaning. The result is a satisfying, unique blend of philosophy, science and religion which is perfect for a wide range of readers.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Book of Stones
Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
9781583949085, $29.95,

The Book of Stones: Who They Are & What They Teach has been expanded and revised to include nearly eighty new stones, and includes contributions by Hazel Raven as it focus on new age healing with crystals. There are many new age titles on the market that discuss healing with crystals and gemstones, but this one offers a more comprehensive reference than most, covering nearly 400 separate stone varieties and adding color photos of each and essays on each stone's spiritual properties. A blend of discussions about scientific properties and history blends with surveys of chakra correspondences and how stones work together to provide an in-depth metaphysical encyclopedia for crystal users serious about their art. From each stone's particular powers to harmonious groupings, how weaknesses can be turned into new strengths, and historic uses of the stones, this is a 'must have' reference for any new age crystal practitioner and reference libraries catering to them.

Awaken Your Third Eye
Susan Shumsky, DD
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
Warwick Associates Publicity
9781601633637, $16.99,

Awaken Your Third Eye: How Accessing Your Sixth Sense Can Help You Find Knowledge, Illumination, and Intuition is new age spiritual thinking at its best, and comes from an author who has practiced meditation and other spiritual disciplines for nearly fifty years, working under an enlightened spiritual master from India and teaching, herself. Her approach to awakening the third eye and its accompanying connections to divinity provides not just theory, but methods to develop different perceptions in everyday life, and it includes third eye teachings of Jesus as well as yogis. Contrary to popular perception, anyone can awaken their third eye and heighten sensory perceptions: this book advocates the approach and tells how.

R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell
Red Wheel/Weiser
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781938875090, $19.95,

Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity considers the ideas behind an international movement that advocates using science and technology to overcome the 'natural' limitations experienced by humanity, from the Singularity (creating advanced machine intelligence systems) to replacing individual minds with virtual or collective processes. About half the information herein is actually being researched or happening now; the other is on the radar for, perhaps, the near future. Discussions take the form of A-Z entries considering science processes that are changing the perception and nature of what it means to be human, and are recommended for science and new age audiences alike.

The Sports Shelf

Warrior Kids
Tim Tipene
Libro International
783 West Coast Road, Oratia, Auckland 0604, New Zealand
9781877514227, $44.99 pbk. / $12.99 Kindle,

Warrior Kids: Warrior Training for Children offers a program of martial arts and self-mastery specifically oriented towards children, and stands out as a unique custom program for any who would read about a pioneering program with a proven track record: some eighteen years working with children across New Zealand - many from challenged backgrounds. It uses Maori warrior concepts and blends in Eastern martial arts as it teaches kids how to both confront and preserve, and develop respect and self-control at the same time. This book offers ten sessions of the in-school program in a format that lends to instructors duplicating the routines and approaches with kids, and it provides teachers and parents alike a fine solution to helping kids face their emotional and physical challenges in life. The result isn't just a book about a program: it's an opportunity for using a unique approach to help kids grow and face life's challenges.

Neuroscience for Coaches
Amy Brann
Kogan Page USA
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19102
9780749472375, $39.95,

Neuroscience for Coaches: How to Use the Latest Insights for the Benefit of Your Clients offers coaches the latest neuroscience information in manner that directly applies to sports, pairing coaching techniques with these insights and showing how coaches and incorporate this new information into their coaching practices. It covers basic brain concepts, how brain networks affect coaching, considers why optimism is important in the coaching process, and provides both social and scientific keys to success. Coaches will find this a key acquisition directly relating scientific research and findings to coaching objectives.

High-Powered Plyometrics, second edition
James Radcliffe and Robert Farentinos
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
PO Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820-5076
9781450498135, $21.95,

High-Powered Plyometrics appears in its second updated edition to pack in nearly eighty exercises for sport training, and is a top recommendation for any who would apply power training to athletic pursuits - and this means coaches, conditioning experts, and sports players alike. Step-by-step instructions and photo sequences accompany intensity guidelines to assure correct technique, and exercises can be incorporated into an existing program or used as the foundation for programs keyed to 21 sports, from football to track and wrestling. The result isn't recommended for casual players or coaches, but it's a treasure trove of detail for any who want intensive, specific training routines.

The Computer Shelf

Precision Photoshop
Lopsie Schwartz
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781466591752, $59.95,

Precision Photoshop: Creating Powerful Visual Effects offers the author's own insider tips form years of working specifically on visual effects in the entertainment world, and requires no prior Photoshop expertise to prove useful. It provides a step-by-step beginner's tutorial on Photoshop's main features, showing how to manage text, filters and files and how to work with camera raw files and Photoshop's many tools. Instructions for a variety of visual results assume the form of both short tutorials and longer explanations, with examples of production-quality work throughout and color screenshots and insights enhancing the example routines and making them virtually foolproof. The result is a powerful toolbox of special effects features perfect for newcomers to Photoshop who want professional-quality productions.

Fire in the Valley, third edition
Michael Swaine and Paul Freiberger
Pragmatic Programmers
2831 Eldorado Parkway, #103-381, Frisco, TX 75033-7438
9781937785763, $34.00,

Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer appears in its third edition to provide the definitive history of the personal computer, and comes from two veteran journalists who were on scene from its beginnings to modern times. One would expect such a coverage to profile machines, but to its tribute, this book also features the personalities involved in the computer's evolution, from developers and scientists to business leaders. This revised, expanded third edition includes the departure of key leaders in the field and that this means for the future of the PC, completing the saga and making for a history that is essential to any computer collection.

Cluster Analysis and Data Mining: An Introduction
Ronald S. King
Mercury Learning
c/o Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781938549380, $59.95,

Cluster Analysis and Data Mining: An Introduction pairs a DVD of appendix references on clustering analysis using SPSS, SAS, and more with a discussion designed for training industry professionals and students, and assumes no prior familiarity in clustering or its larger world of data mining. It provides theories, real-world applications, and pairs these with case histories and examples to support algorithms for clustering data and gathering their results. From different clustering models, their applications, and their uses to exercises and reviews designed to reinforce learning, this is a solid reference for any just beginning to delve into the specifics of data mining operations and options.

Scenario-Focused Engineering
Austina De Bonte and Drew Fletcher
Microsoft Press
c/o O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
1005 Gravenstein, Hwy N., Sebastopol, CA 95472-2811
9780735679337, $49.99,

Scenario-Focused Engineering teaches engineers how to build innovation through customer partnerships and understanding demands for new products, and gathers proven practices and lessons that emphasize how scenario-focused engineering works. Here business software engineers receive tips to building better teams through understanding a customer's unspoken needs. Chapters discuss software development, management and leadership needs, and design specifics with an eye to blending business scenarios and computer innovation with established best practices. The result is a guide that is perfect for software engineers working to create better business solutions.

The Business Shelf

It's All Your Fault at Work
Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. and L. Georgi DiStefano, LCSW
High Conflict Institute Press
7701 E. Indian School Road, Suite F, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781936268665, $19.95,

Collections strong in books on business management will find the narrowed focus and insights especially important in It's All Your Fault at Work. More and more workers have high-conflict personalities: the business manager's challenge is on how (or if) to manage them. As narcissistic or bullying people dominate the workplace and spread discard, it's important that managers not only understand the signs and effects of these personalities, but realize their options in responding to workplace hostility and how to set limits. This book packs in specifics, from responding to misinformation and considering who in the workplace fits the description of a 'high conflict personality' to making the most of workplace atmosphere and re-directing conflict to more positive results. No manager should be without this analysis.

Silicon Docks
Pamela Newenham, Editor
Liberties Press
c/o International Publishers' Marketing
22841 Quicksilver Drive, Dulles, VA 20166
9781909718876, $20.00,

Silicon Docks: The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub comes from a team of Irish journalist who reveal the inside story of how Dublin's decaying docks were changed into a hub for tech companies looking to expand into Europe, and how this approach then helped jump start the Irish economy. Over the past fifteen years a revolutionary change has been happening as many of the world's largest tech firms have opened in Dublin: the question is, how did this happen? Chapters trace the story in social, political and economic circles with an eye to examining all the influences on these events, using big-name companies from Google to Twitter to consider how the country convinced the biggest names in industry to make their homes in Ireland. While this story will especially appeal to global entrepreneurs, it's also a top pick for any collection strong in Irish history, contemporary Irish issues, and Irish culture and provides a powerful assessment of the country's astonishing rise and how it turned a liability into an asset. Very highly recommended!

The Effective Change Manager's Handbook
Richard Smith,, Editors
Kogan Page USA
1518 Walnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA 19102
9780749473075, $65.00,

The Effective Change Manager's Handbook: Essential Guidance to the Change Management Body of Knowledge is a technical guide directed to practitioners and academics who want to know how to apply change management concepts to an organization's objectives, and covers a range of higher-level topics in its survey, from benefits management and stakeholder concerns to project management and an approach to coaching that incorporates behavioral change concepts. It can also be used as a college-level business text, as it includes 'questions to think about' at chapter's end and includes numerous charts, graphs, and case studies in the course of exploring a change manager's processes. References and insights into how change management concepts can be applied across the board to a wide variety of scenarios makes this a solid reference.

Igniting Customer Connections
Andy Frawley
c/o Wiley Professional Trade Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781118916704, $28.00,

Igniting Customer Connections: Fire Up Your Company's Growth by Multiplying Customer Experience & Engagement offers a research-based set of insights on the new world of marketing, pairing anecdotes, memoirs, and discussions of evidence and data that show how ROE marketing works. Return on Experience x Engagement is a form of marketing that holds results. The author commissioned exclusive research among over 4,000 consumers who represented over 10 billion transactions to arrive at this formula, which presents the results of the research in an actionable approach business leaders can translate to their sales pursuits. It covers new marketing approaches, concepts that are easy to understand, and makes a solid addition to any business collection.

Virtuous Meetings
Karl Danskin and Lenny Lind
c/o Wiley Trade Publishing Group
111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
9781118538661, $35.00,

Virtuous Meetings: Technology & Design for High Engagement in Large Groups describes a new methodology that blends communications technology into meetings to change how these meetings feel and what they accomplish, and provides details on a new collaborative view of meetings that create measurable outcomes. Virtuous meetings shows how to use each participant's strengths to maximum advantage, showing how even larger groups of people can be integrated into a session that focuses on work and achievement. It's a new take on the traditional meeting model, and provides a design format that is geared to unlocking communications within and between large groups, making for a top pick for business managers who want to get more concrete results out of large group interactions.

The Education Shelf

In the Best Interest of Students
Kelly Gallagher
Stenhouse Publishers
480 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101-3451
9781625310446, $23.00,

What is in the best interest of students? Is it teaching to Common Core standards, teaching student to excel in tests, or more? This discussion takes the Common Core standards and assesses their strengths and weaknesses. It advises teachers to retain a vision of what these standards mean for quality teaching, and it shows how to provide students with more choices and insights on reading and writing activities, using modeling and blending genres in the process of exploring opportunities to sharpen listening and speaking skills. The result does more than integrate Common Core with teaching practices: it advises teachers on how to delivery better-quality educational processes as a whole.

Crimes of the Educators
Samuel Blumenfeld & Alex Newman
WND Books
2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW, #351, Washington, DC 20006
9781938067129, $26.95,

Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are using Government Schools to Destroy America's Children is more of a social issues or political science title than most, but is reviewed here because it makes a strong case that America's public education system needs vast changes, making a case that any educator should be interested in. The author has spent some forty years researching why US public schools still turn out millions of illiterates. He connects the educational and political processes in a survey that exposes a plan to 'dumb down' the American population, and while a condemnation of socialism lies at the heart of his examination, it includes much food for thought that educators should know.

Giants in the Nursery
David Elkind, PhD
Redleaf Press
10 Yorkton Court, St. Paul, MN 55117-1065
9781605543703, $29.95,

Giants in the Nursery: A Biographical History of Developmentally Appropriate Practice comes from an expert in early childhood education who considers DAP theory, evolution, and implementation from its early concepts to its later scientific foundations, and is a pick for any who would understand the practice, its origins, and its purposes. It provides arguments for adopting DAP as the method of choice in supporting early childhood learning, and it provides a strong biographical history of early childhood education's major theoretical figures. Educators interested in a combination of history and applied theory will find this engrossing.

The Tao of Statistics, second edition
Dana K. Keller
Sage Publications
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781483377926, $30.00,

The Tao of Statistics: A Path to Understanding (With No Math) appears in its second edition to provide a user-friendly guide to statistics that explains what they mean, with a difference - there's no math involved. Most books are loaded with formulas; this is loaded with explanation. The basic concepts are covered with attention to how and why they are applied, offering important keys to understanding. This second edition adds new coverage of 'big data' and its impact and concepts, material contrasting it with 'small data', and discussions on missing data and more. The result is a pick for any interested in more than math formulas.

How Did You Get Here?
Thomas Hehir and Laura A. Schifter
Harvard Education Press
8 Story Street, 1st floor, Cambridge, MA 02138
9781612507811, $35.00,

How Did You Get Here? Students With Disabilities and Their Journeys to Harvard presents the stories of sixteen students - all of them disabled in various ways, and all of them successful Harvard University graduates. It considers the processes of each student as they achieved personal and academic success, is arranged thematically to explore the many issues disabled students face in the education system, and it provides a powerful set of surveys of special challenges to higher education. Even more important, it provides keys to understanding that disabled students can use to better assess the special challenges of the Harvard environment, and is recommended as an inspirational read for any who would better understand how disabled students navigate various obstacles in the course of pursuing higher education.

Assessment 3.0
Mark Barnes
Corwin Press, Inc.
2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-2218
9781483373881, $22.00,

Assessment 3.0: Throw Out Your Grade Book and Inspire Learning shows that true learning isn't about data management and collection: it's about encouraging students to conduct independent learning and cultivate a curiosity of and process for investing the world. Because of this focus, this book identifies common misinformation that supports the idea of grading efforts and advocates a different kind of system in which education and change are encouraged by teacher choices and activities. It packs in resources for communicating about assessment systems and their impact, it provides a big challenge to traditional grading systems and data collection, and it makes a solid case for actionable change in modern classrooms that offer better methods of truly inspiring learning. No teacher or education collection should be without this survey.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Make It, Take it
Krista Hennebury
Martingale & Company
19021 Avenue NE, Bothell, WA 98011
9781604684872, $26.99,

Make It, Take It: 16 Cute and Clever Projects to Sew with Friends tells how to make everything from tote bags and aprons to a sewing machine mat and quilts, home accessories, and more, and is all about projects that encourage sewing with friends. Tools and supplies are arranged around nine make-ahead projects with stitches that can be done in a group setting, and come from twelve designers that share their inspirations. Color photos, patterns, materials lists, and especially tips on interacting within a sewing circle or group setting make this a winning project guide for sewers who would work with others in creating a finished product.

Knitting Fresh Brioche
Nancy Marchant
SixthandSpring Books
161 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 1301, New York, NY 10013
9781936096770, $24.95,

Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns profiles over seventy stitches used in twelve projects for wraps and scarves, and presents a two-color method that uses increases and decreases to produce more than the brioche rib tends to offer. The result creates a reversible fabric with differences on each side, and in effect makes two garments out of one. All this is presented in step-by-step illustrated guides that cover basic to advanced stitches, and pairs charts and patterns with instructions that are nearly foolproof. Some basic background in reading knitting instructions will make for an even smoother introduction to the potentials of brioche stitches and styles.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Comedy Writing Self-Taught
Gene Perret
Quill Driver Books
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721
9781610352208, $16.95,

Comedy Writing Self-Taught: The Professional Skill-Building Course in Writing Stand-Up, Sketch, and Situation Comedy comes from a three-time Emmy Award winner and author of another comedy writing book, and provides a 'course in a book' as it covers stand-up, sketch, and situation comedy. It shows aspiring comedy writers how they can teach themselves the basics of comedy writing by analyzing their work and using writing exercises, and it covers all the basics of different types of comedy. The result is a 'must' for any comedy writer who wants more of a workbook approach to learning, along with industry specifics.

The Literary Studies Shelf

The Strange Case of Rachel K
Rachel Kushner
New Directions Publishing Corporation
80 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9780811224215, $19.95,

The Strange Case of Rachel K features three pieces that present short stories that excel in the definition of 'literary fiction' - and that's because they take very different scenes and visions and work them into engrossing visions of the world. Here dogma, belief, lessons of history and the passion of galloping horses are captured in works that reflect on pioneers, visions, and terrible events alike. There's exploration, brutality, and faith healers; tacit agreements and lofty ambitions blended with challenging obstacles. Without revealing too much, suffice it to say that the plots are varied, the protagonist experiences are worlds apart yet connected by a common thread, and readers will find these short tales evocative and compelling.

The Technology Shelf

Getting to Know Web GIS
Pinde Fu
ESRI Press
380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92378-8100
9781589483842, $84.99,

Getting to Know Web GIS provides a workbook with exercises that teach how to share resources online and build web GIS applications quickly, and is a recommendation for any using the Esri suite of web GIS technologies. It focuses on these technologies as a whole and doesn't require previous programming background to prove successful, and it provides GIS students, teachers and analysts with a fine manual suitable for both classroom applications and job training. Most of all it imparts a basic working knowledge of GIS web-based applications and includes assignments, question and answer sections, color screen shots and examples, tips on publishing GP services and using widgets and layering techniques, and much more. It's a 'must' for any working in GIS.

The Photography Shelf

Tiny Worlds
Charles Needle
Amherst Media
175 Rano Street, Suite 200, Buffalo, NY 14207-2176
9781608957637, $27.95,

Tiny Worlds: Creative Macro Photography Skills offers a different kind of approach to macro photography that blends technical prowess with an artistic approach to capturing tiny subjects. It covers the basics of selecting and using specialized macro gear, but then it moves into composition, design, and how to incorporate macro photography methods into more creative approaches. From focus and depth of field to adding food coloring and designs to bring out the macro subjects, this offers far more than another photography guide to equipment and its use; it's for any who want to create artistic results with macro images using such varied techniques as LED flashlights, textured glass, defocusing techniques, and more. The result is a title that should be in any photography 'how to' collection.

The Art Shelf

A-Z of Bird Portraits
Andrew Forkner
Search Press USA
1338 Ross Street, Petaluma, CA 94954-1117
9781782210023, $35.00,

A-Z of Bird Portraits is a lovely art book that pairs nearly thirty images of bird species with step-by-step projects on how to capture them on paper. From the materials needed to produce such portraits to basic composition, drawing, and anatomical discussions of bird features and how to render them, A-Z of Bird Portraits focuses on acrylics and how to use them to capture artistic, accurately-rendered birds. With its lovely illustrations and attention to detail, any beginner with little experience with drawing, acrylics, or nature will find it easy to pick up a brush and produce something that not only resembles a bird, but portrays species with fine detail.

Mixed Media Portraits
Pam Carriker
North Light Books
c/o F+W Media
1140 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001
9781440338953, $24.99,

Mixed Media Portraits: Techniques for Drawing and Painting Faces is a recommendation for any crafter looking to expand their mixed media projects and abilities, and uses an easy face-mapping technique to encourage drawing faces from imagination, without a model or photo. It teaches the basics of providing such sketches, translating it to painting and other mediums, and shows how to use these images in wider pursuits. This isn't a discussion of polished, professional results so much as a series of insights on how to put together expressive sketches that translate well to the mixed-media realm. Add fifteen step-by-step projects encouraging portrait basics and you have a lovely crafter's guide.

The Artist's Everything Handbook
Kate Wilson
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062338778, $29.99,

The Artist's Everything Handbook: A New Guide to Drawing and Painting is a top pick for any who want more than a listing of crafts materials, and pairs how-to tutorials and artist profiles with color galleries of works and a guide to materials used in creating all kinds of artwork, from paint and glazed products to working with charcoal, different kinds of papers, multimedia art, and more. Profiles of artists and galleries of their works accompany each tutorial discussion and provide plenty of visual references emphasizing techniques from sketching to applying paints, while surveys of digital tools and alternatives in art focuses on the latest traditional blended with non-traditional approaches. The result is a colorful collection of drawing and painting works from younger artists which offers a new depth and focus for any who would consider the latest techniques.

The Crafts Shelf

Beeswax Alchemy
Petra Ahnert
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781592539796, $25.00,

Beeswax Alchemy: How to Make Your Own Soap, Candles, Balms, Creams, and Salves from the Hive is recommended for any who have bees and want to make better use of all the beeswax. Beeswax has numerous holistic benefits and also can be used in beauty and health products: Beeswax Alchemy explores the wide extent of wax use, covers products that can be given as gifts are used in home decor, and goes far beyond the usual book that focuses on candle-making (although this, too, is a part of the book's many projects) alone. The only prerequisite is access to bees and beeswax: the result speaks for itself.

I Love Paper
Fideli Sundqvist
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631590252, $22.99,

I Love Paper: Paper-Cutting Techniques and Templates for Amazing Toys, Sculptures, Props, and Costumes is for any collection strong in paper crafting and provides a fine discussion of the potentials and applications of homemade paper art. It packs in some forty paper projects in an illustrated guide packed with tips and step-by-step directions, and it comes from a Swedish paper artist who offers a wide range of projects designed to teach many foundation skills on paper crafting. From a tutorial on basic paper-crafting techniques to templates and photos that bring everything together, this is a wonderful crafter's pick.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Great Horned Owl
Scott Rashid
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
97807644347665, $34.99,

The Great Horned Owl: An In-Depth Study joins a plethora of owl natural history books already on the market; and at first glance, one might wonder about the need for yet another. But this book is a powerful standout recommended above and beyond other owl references, packing in over a hundred photos and illustrations, narrowing the focus to the great horned owl, and packing in bird observation descriptions, insights about owl food habits and behavior, and more. The in-depth details put other owl books to shame and employ a lively, colorful approach that lends to far more detail and appeal than competitors.

The Secret History of Kindness
Melissa Holbrook Pierson
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
9780393066197, $26.95,

The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn provides a close inspection of dogs and how dog training offers insights on the human psyche, and comes from an author whose first pet seemed to form an instant bond with an animal trainer - a bond that seemed indecipherable to her. Her attempts to understand that bond led to behaviorial psychology and B.F. Skinner's work training animals, and led to an in-depth investigation of animal behavorists and probes of relationships between trainers and animals. The result is a lively probe of animal and people interactions that's a fun read, enlightening, and a 'must' for any who would understand how pets are trained and how they bond with people.

The Music Shelf

On Tour with Leonard Cohen
Sharon Robinson, Photographer
PowerHouse Books
37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781576877258, $45.00,

On Tour with Leonard Cohen is one of the best books on the market to follow a touring musician in his daily gigs and experiences on the road, and offers a fine survey through the eyes of photographer Sharon Robinson, who is also Cohen's close friend and longtime collaborator. Robinson was Cohen's singer, then a co-writer and producer. She's thus participated in hundreds of shows. Her images and insights of his travels and tours is a 'must' for not only fans of Cohen's musical prowess, but for readers who would receive a visual exploration of what it means to 'go on the road' on tour.

The Art of Gothic
Natasha Sharf
Backbeat Books
c/o Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing
33 Plymouth St, Suite 302, Montclair, NJ 07042
9781617136023, $35.00,

The Art of Gothic Music+Fashion+Alt Culture is about art and subgenres, but most of all it's about goth music - which ranges from death rock and gothic metal to emo. Each is different, and yet each is characterized by dark costumes, an attraction to morbidity and the macabre, and more. While The Art of Gothic Music+Fashion+Alt Culture holds many unparalleled insights about these musical forms, it's also a pick for arts collections and any with an interest in Goth culture, from cybergoth and the history and origins of Gothic 'scream queens' to film, horror, and more. Packed with full-page color photos and inviting illustrations to accompany even more lively (and, often rare) historical insights, this book is a 'must' for any who would understand the evolution of Goth art forms and styles.

Black Sabbath: Symptoms of the Universe
Mick Wall
St. Martins Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250051349, $27.99,

Black Sabbath: Symptoms of the Universe comes from a rock journalist and former publicist to the band who follows its evolution from its early days to the height of their fame, their dissolution, and their reunion, and provides a satisfying blend of individual and band biography that examines their influences, music, and how they affected and interacted with the music industry. It's a lively treatment that explores how the members interacted with one another to create and contribute to a form of rock music that rose to the top, and includes exposes about their lives as well as involving insights into rock music history and evolution as a whole. No popular music collection should be this revealing probe of the band's rise to the top of the charts!

Create Music with Notion
George J. Hess
Hal Leonard Books
c/o Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing
33 Plymouth St, Suite 302, Montclair, NJ 07042
9781480396159, $19.99,

Create Music with Notion: Notation Software for the Busy Musician comes with the promise of online media access and provides a powerful guide to the best ways to use the program notion for either Mac, PC, or iPad. Notion blends notation, sequencing, and live performance and this book is for any musician who would streamline this process. It covers applications using projects and supporting session files for all experience levels, uses focused video tutorials, and comes from a music technology professor who explores all aspects of this particular software and its wide-reaching opportunities for musicians.

I've Been Out There
Grady Gaines
Texas A&M University Press
4354 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4354
9781623492700, $23.00,

I've Been Out There: On the Road with Legends of Rock 'n Roll comes from a Houston blues and R&B legend who describes a career on the road supporting the likes of Little Richard, James Brown and other greats, and is an autobiography that pairs Gaines' experiences with observations of life on the road, the evolution of the genres, and the progress of the Upsetters, a backing band that saw such greats as Sam Cooke and Gladys Knight and the Pips to fame. Relatively little is written about backing bands, adding to the importance of I've Been Out There, which provides an unusual perspective not typically seen in accounts that come from the leading acts themselves. A peppering of vintage black and white photos throughout contributes to a winner!

The Audiobook Shelf

Work Rules!
Laszlo Bock
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478980872, $35.00,

Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead is unabridged, narrated by the author, and provides a powerful survey by a visionary who made Google's People Operations a revolutionary organization. It contains valuable lessons for managers, its audio format lends to quick listens by busy individuals, and it relies on behavioral economics to address psychology and its applications in business management processes. From why Google is consistently rated a top place to work to years of applied experience, Work Rules! in book for is exceptionally useful and, in audio, is even more valuable.

The Parenting Shelf

Parenting OCD
Claire Sanders
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106
9781849054782, $19.95,

Parenting OCD: Down to Earth Advice from One Parent to Another considers the special challenges and responses to parenting a child with obsessive compulsive disorder, and comes from an author who has been successfully managing her son's severe OCD for nearly a decade. Don't expect quick, simplistic approaches to such a complex condition, here: Sanders provides tips based on her experience and covers everything from what to expect in and from therapy to how to cope with many OCD symptoms. Her discussions are candid ("That's the thing about schools. Three things can happen: they may be concerned about the impact on the school and their budgets, they may just not care, or, they may be brilliant and give you some much-needed support, help you fight your child's OCD and keep them in school.") and go far in exploring school and home systems and how they can either support or conflict with OCD management processes.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Gillian Philip
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765333254, $26.99,

Icefall adds to the 'Rebel Angels' series titles and pairs fantasy with a fine story as it presents another world of the Sithe, a beautiful people who live a mortal life in the blink of an eye. The Veil hides their world, but it's fraying - and some believe that's a good thing. Icefall presents an exile's struggles, Kate's struggle with a monster that took her soul, and a boy's surprising power over the Veil. Powerful protagonists and powerful settings mark a story that comes to life and simply shines, highly recommended for any who enjoy complex worlds and realistic, absorbing protagonists.

The Country of Ice Cream Star
Sandra Newman
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062227096, $26.99,

The Country of Ice Cream Star is set in the aftermath of a plague in future America, where teen Ice Cream Star and her nomadic tribe live in a world inhabited only by children. Any who reach the age of twenty die of a strange disease that has killed for generations - but there is a rumor of a cure, so when her brother begins showing signs of the illness, Ice Cream Star decides to go find a cure. It should be noted that the futuristic lingo of Ice Cream Star will take a little getting used to. It's unique to her setting and not your typical English grammatical presentation. That said, the story is compellingly different and will especially attract readers who are interested in apocalyptic stories of the future and how young people survive in changed worlds: packed with depth, insight, and not for those looking for light entertainment.

Dave Bara
Daw Books, Inc.
c/o Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756409968, $24.95,

Impulse presents Volume One of The Lightship Chronicles and is recommended for fans of hard science fiction and military sci-fi alike. Lieutenant peter Cochrane of the Quantar Royal Navy is to begin his assignment on a new Lightship bound for deep space exploration when an unprovoked attack on Lightship Impulse has resulted in the deaths of his former girlfriend and her shipmates. So he's transferred there and faces an unexpected destination, unidentified enemies, and possesses secret orders that may ultimately led him to mutiny against the institution he serves. With its gripping journey and changing setting, Impulse is tightly-wound military drama at its best, recommended for any fan who enjoys solid characterization and military settings.

The Blood of Angels
Johanna Sinisalo
Trafalgar Square Publishing
388 Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053
9780720610048, $16.95,

It's hard to neatly peg The Blood of Angels: part thriller and part science fiction, it relies heavily on methods from both genres as it presents a future world in which all bees have vanished, causing crops to vanish, riots to beak out, and the world economy to collapse. Beekeeper Orvo is struggling with the death of his son and his focus on his disappearing bee colonies seems to hold more loss than possibilities, until he discovers that a dead queen bee leads him to explore myths linking bees to the afterlife. Suddenly new worlds open, he enters a portal to the Other Side, and there he makes discoveries that may heal his soul and the wider world. Winner of the English Pen Award, this hard-hitting fantasy is based in a good degree of reality and its blend of environmental and personal crisis creates a gripping narrative that's truly hard to put down.

Into the Maelstrom
David Drake & John Lambshead
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781476780263, $25.00,

Into the Maelstrom tells of an uncertain peace in the Cutter Stream colonies: one based on uncertain behaviors in general and the efforts of Allen Allenson, a man all too familiar with war in his life, who wants nothing but a peaceful future - something that may be impossible given the distance between government control and the colonies. War is heading their way despite it all, and Allenson's background makes him particularly vulnerable to the knowledge that maybe on he can prevent all-out war - by leading the battle. He's not a general; or is he an activist; but sometimes the men who want peace the most find themselves fighting for it. This military science fiction saga will delight those who want a focus on war, peace, and everything in between - and a strong protagonist who is an unwilling participant in it all, and will tell a solid, good story in the process of exploring these world-changing events.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Satan's Lullaby
Priscilla Royal
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464203541, $24.95,

Medieval mystery writer Priscilla Royal's Satan's Lullaby is a winner: set in the autumn of 1278, and tells of a prioress facing an inspection of her priority, feeling that something is amiss. When a sick clerk dies from a potion, investigator father Davoir the possibility that Sister Anne is guilty of either incompetence or murder - or, possibly, a deeper plot is afoot. Did Prioress Eleanor order the death, and is he himself threatened - or is it something else? A host of medieval protagonists and encounters contributes to a story steeped in medieval times and a solid mystery that will delight fans of the genre with its complex 'whodunnit' style and attention to detail.

The Magician's Daughter
Judith Janeway
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464203381, $24.95,

"I pulled a skunk out of my hat and looked shocked." That's the opening kicker to a fine new mystery series featuring one Valentine Hill, whose act centers around the idea that "Reality is illusion. Illusion is reality, and nothing is what it seems." With such a precedent set, Valentine herself proves to have no legal existence - and her search for an elusive family background has proved futile but leads her to San Francisco, where odd events answers some of her questions and raises even more. A psychic killer, a seductive gangster, and FBI involvements: what more could challenge her life and skills? The result is a satisfyingly different mystery, and one which will especially delight genre fans looking for something different.

Murder, She Wrote: Killer in the Kitchen
Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain
Obsidian Mystery
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451468383, $23.95,

Murder, She Wrote: Killer in the Kitchen is based on the television series and offers another fine murder mystery in the bestselling series: this one charting controversy in the kitchen between two Cabot Cove eateries which turns into murder. Jessica will have to enter the world of cooking to solve the mystery, and there's a host of chefs who appear to be cooking up trouble in the midst of matters. Readers with an affection for mysteries and food will find this an absorbing, revealing murder mystery filled with satisfying twists and turns not just of knife, but of story line.

The Fiction Shelf

Traci L. Slatton
Parvati Press
9780986061158, $16.99,

Alia is a fallen angel living in Paris and facing a rapidly-changing world as the Nazis begin to take over. Grieving for her lost child, she's living the life of a human in a world that's being increasingly possessed by an evil, and enjoys both men and newfound friendships in this alien land: both of which are soon to change with the forces at work. Ever hopeful of the winning power of love even under impossible situations, Alia nonetheless faces something she's never experienced, and finds her new life just as broken as the old one. It's hard to neatly 'peg' this absorbing story: a little bit historical fiction, a dash of spirituality, some steamy romance, and philosophical self-reflection about the worth of individuals and their choices against evil forces - all this makes for a complex literary work that is a cut above your usual read, and recommended for any who want a moving saga of redemption, loss, renewal, and courage on the parts of man and angel alike.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Jon B. Cooke
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
9781605490571, $21.95,

Swampmen: Muck-Monsters of the Comics provides the second double-size CBC Annual and considers the range of characters and scenarios that comprised 'swamp men' such as The Heap, Bog Beast, and more. A range of illustrators, writers, and more are surveyed with black and white images accompanying details about photo shoots, graphic novels, book-and-record sets, and plots of stories. There are even color panels and a cover art work by Frank Cho and a history of the evolution of Swamp Thing underground horror culture, making this a pick for any who would absorb the peculiar evolution of the 'swamp thing culture' in the world of graphic novels and comics.

The Automotive Shelf

James Garner's Motoring Life
Matt Stone
CarTech Inc.
39966 Grand Avenue, North Branch, MN 55056
9781613251362, $34.95,

James Garner's Motoring Life pairs two unusual topics - cars and film - under one cover and is thus recommended for both auto history audiences and those with a special affection for early Hollywood icons such as James Garner, Steve McQueen or Paul Newman. The fact that all three drove or raced memorable cars in the movies and on television is only made more intriguing by the fact that they also owned such cars in real life. Car buffs and film fans will appreciate a focus on these cars, with black and white vintage photos (and some color shots) packing a history of television, film, and the fancy and eye-catching vehicles that added to some of the finest productions in media history. It's rare to find a 'crossover' title about cars that can reach those with other interests: James Garner's Motoring Life is such an achievements, and comes highly recommended.

Where the Writer Meets the Road
Sam Posey
David Bull Publishers
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 comes from an author who has a 20-year racing career in the industry, has driven in the Indy 500, the U.S. grand Prix, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and whose background uniquely lends to a survey that distills some 40 years of auto racing history and events. Posey retired from driving in 1982, but his articles for numerous publications continued, as did his work as a television commentator - and Where the Writer Meets the Road reflects this marriage between writer and driver with hard-hitting articles and insights that transmit an enthusiasm for the sport along with observations of its highlights. The result is a 'must have' acquisition for any auto history collection.

The California Shelf

The West without Water
B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam
University of California Press
155 Grand Avenue, Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612-3758
9780520286009, $24.95,

The West without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow documents the changing climate of the American West over a vast twenty-thousand year period, documenting past droughts and flooding and integrating these events into considerations of future climate change on water resources. It considers paleoclimate science in also considering what is 'normal climate' for the West and why current events may not be so far outside that norm. If all this sounds deeply scientific, be advised that while The West without Water does indeed hold natural history and climate facts, it's also woven with a sense of investigative history to lend it colorful passages and reflections, making it accessible not just to geography and planetary science readers, but the general public - basically, any with an interest in California's environment and drought in general.

Quicksilver Mining in Sonoma County
Joe Pelanconi
The History Press
420 Wando Park Blvd., Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781626194724, $19.99,

Quicksilver Mining in Sonoma County: Pine Flat prospect Fever is a compelling Sonoma County, California history that pairs stories of colorful individuals who participated in the quicksilver boom of the 1870s with early California life, and is a 'must' for any who would understand the lure of riches in the state in general and Sonoma County's development in particular. It uses stories of individuals, laborers, and multicultural encounters to consider the country's heritage and development, pairing vintage photos and illustrations with charts, a lively discussion, and individual biographies. The result is a fine history that focuses on quicksilver rather than gold and fills in many gaps in popular ideas.

The Army Surveys of Gold Rush California
Gary Clayton Anderson and Laura Lee Anderson, Editors
The Arthur H. Clark Company
c/o University of Oklahoma Press
2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069
9780870624308, $34.95,

The Army Surveys of Gold Rush California: Reports of Topographical Engineers 1849-1851 comes from one George Horatio Derby, who wrote detailed reports of early California while serving as the army's topographical engineer, and is a pick for any who would receive an in-depth, scholarly account designed originally to provide information to a military charged with bringing order to the new West. Early maps, reports, and topographical details were key to that effort, but this account was buried in the National Archives and are collected, edited, and reproduced here for the first time. The journals and maps are key to understanding California of the times, and though dense at points, offer a fine and unique survey to any interested in Gold Rush California history and source materials.

The Independent Publishers Shelf

Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air
David JC MacKay
P.O. Box 145, Cambridge CB4 1GQ, England
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780954452933, $49.95,

There are so many books about sustainable energy and alternative energy on today's market that one might wonder about the need for yet another; but Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air offers something different - and that's a notable achievement in a genre overloaded with too many revamps using the same approach.

Given that there are many contradictory statements in the industry coming from official sources, special-interests lobbyists, and the media, the need for Sustainable Energy is apparent: it's a book that focuses not just on statistics, but how they relate to consumers who want both clear understanding of renewable resource options and details on how these facts apply to lifestyles and national interests alike.

Chapter headings and topics such as "Nuclear power comes in two flavors." "Other things that cost a billion." "Living on other countries' renewables?" focus on clarifying facts, offering mathematical relationships that readers can easily understand, and connecting these statistics to the real indicators of energy consumption, sustainable uses, and broader issues of energy plans for the world.

Add extensive bibliographic references, data and studies, and charts and illustrations throughout and you have a clear model for understanding the entire sustainable energy industry, making it a top recommendation over others.

Fat Girl: How To Let Go Of Your Weight And Get On With Your Life
Susan Bodiker
Publish Green
ASIN: B00S8REA9O, $2.99

Author Susan Bodiker is a former 'fat girl' who understands the challenge of image and weight, and struggles with both; so her Fat Girl comes not from a medical perspective and not from an outsider's vantage point, but from personal experience.

It's a call for change and for a better understanding of the social and psychological ramifications of weight, and it's a recommendation for any who might benefit from a blend of autobiographical insights and discussions of body image.

As such books go, Fat Girl holds no miracle formulas, no revolutionary new information, and no easy answers. What it does present is an accessible story that chronicles a mother/daughter relationship, abuse, habits that stemmed from an uncertain self-image, and close connections between weight and emotional processes.

While it may not promise miracles, but it does invite girls and women to learn from Bodiker's story, and to recognize how weight issues often thwart an active engagement with the world: all this bound into an accessible autobiography that's both revealing and inspiring.

Dead Woman Talking
Tarona Gail Hawkins
CreateSpace L5.98 e=UTF8&qid=1427987836&sr=8-1&keywords=dead+women+talking

Author Tarona Gail Hawkins is a hypnotherapist, a psychic and a psychotherapist who has communicated with many famous personalities over the decades, and who narrows her focus here to Marilyn Monroe, offering insights on Monroe's life, death, and Hollywood politics and intrigues as learned posthumously from Marilyn herself.

There have been plenty of books about Monroe's life and death; but this different approach offers something more: the only prerequisite for its enjoyment is a belief in psychic communication beyond the grave and a particular interest in Monroe and Hollywood happenings.

Chapters cover everything from her lost childhood to interactions with famous figures, showing how she was programmed by the government to carry out operations as a secret agent by sleeping with suspected double agents and top scientists, and delving into the specifics of a mind control method which dictated many of her actions.

All this was channeled through the psychic connection between Marilyn and Hawkins and provides a fascinating series of events that are narrated through both Marilyn's eyes and Hawkins' observations and investigations. Believe it or not: the read is fascinating and offers up much food for thought for Marilyn enthusiasts who think they have 'read it all' about the actress and her stormy life.

Understanding and Preventing AIDS: a Book for Everyone
Chris Jennings
Health Alert Communications
P.O. Box 65, Hudson, NH 03051,


Spanish Version: Que es el SIDA y como prevenirlo: Un libro que todo el mundo debe leer

The message contained in Understanding and Preventing AIDS: a Book for Everyone is so valuable that it appears in a Spanish-language edition, has been favorably reviewed by the New England Journal of Medicine, and has received much acclaim from hospitals, medical institutes, and schools adopting it as a textbook.

With so many books on the market discussing nearly every imaginable aspect of AIDS, it may initially be difficult to understand why Understanding and Preventing AIDS is a standout - but evidence to support this fact begins with a table of contents that lends especially well to at-a-glance information with subject headings that are specific and well-done ("Humans-The Host", "Types of HIV Infections", "Catching AIDS", "Preventing HIV Infections", and more).

There's a lot of science and health information - much of it quite detailed; but all of it accessible to lay readers. There are charts, illustrations, and color photos - in other words, any kind of informational visual needed to explain a system or a medical point is employed. Finally, there's a candid attention to discussing everything from sexual method to why there is a reluctance to consider condoms, leaving nothing to wonder. Simple language is used that is direct, scientific, and easy to understand, making Understanding and Preventing AIDS: a Book for Everyone a 'must' for any collection looking to blend the latest scientific and health facts with an approach accessible to lay audiences and medical personnel alike.

Beginner's Guide to Digitalpainting in Photoshop
Nykolai Aleksander, Richard Tilbury and 3DTotal Team
3D Total
9780955153075, $49.99,

Beginner's Guide to Digitalpainting in Photoshop is a rich winner that presumes no prior familiarity with Photoshop, and which focuses on the basics of digital painting - not the entire program. This narrowed approach makes for an invaluable tutorial reference to those who come to Photoshop with a specific goal in mind: to produce superior paintings in a digital format. Color screen shot examples throughout accompany a discussion that pairs step-by-step techniques with artwork examples.

But first, a review of Photoshop basics: just enough to enable newcomers to the program to easily navigate its menus and tools. Then, keys to customizing the program - something many Photoshop books only address much later in the process, after the user has struggled with cumbersome pre-set options.

Finally - and quickly - the tutorial discusses how to create a superior digital painting. Don't expect a photo gallery of amazing examples so much as a lesson that packs in written directions and provides just enough visual examples to reinforce its concepts: this is the final excellent feature in a guide that represents one of the most in-depth, effective discussions of digital painting in print.

The Spotted Hyena
Hans Kruuk
Echo Point Books and Media
9781626549050, $21.95,

The Spotted Hyena: A Study of Predation and Social Behavior provides an in-depth study that considers the spotted hyena's behavior and ecology and makes a case for the animal's role not just as a scavenger, but as a predator that blends its habits with a social structure designed to fit in with ecological surroundings and group needs. An analysis that considers their hunting techniques and their communities, this book covers facts about hyena's behavior that are unavailable in other studies.

If it sounds familiar, that's because The Spotted Hyena was originally published in 1972. The fact that it remains a unique reference earning it a 2014 reprint is testimony to its classic contents, which include nearly 2,000 scientific citations and many supplementary discussions on topics such as the characteristics of animals killed by hyenas and statistics relating to hunting behaviors. College-level students of natural history will find this compelling.

Chainsaw Lumbermaking
Will Malloff
Echo Point Books and Media
9781626548442, $39.95,

There are several prerequisites to appreciating the wealth of information contained in Will Malloff's Chainsaw Lumbermaking: one of them is access to trees, another is familiarity with a chainsaw and an interest in learning new techniques. With these requirements met, readers will appreciate learning about a method that is the culmination of Malloff's thirty plus years' experience felling trees and making lumber. To clarify, this is about logging everything from giant redwoods to all types of timber from major forests in North America.

The author invented several chainsaw mills, perfected an easy method of chainsaw lumbering described in this book, and packs his step-by-step tutorial with black and white photos throughout.

From modifying chainsaws and using equipment in the woods to the author's quartersawing system, precision milling techniques, and provisions for woods safety, this book is a treasure trove of information. Be forewarned: chainsaw lumbering is hard work: that's a given for this type of endeavor. That said, any who want very specific keys to success will find Chainsaw Lumbermaking a winning approach.

In the Line of Fire
Jan Arnow
Butler Books
P.O. Box 7311, Louisville, KY 40257
9781935497967, $29.95,

In the Line of Fire: Raising Kids in a Violent World blends a collection of case studies and true stories with tips that adults can use to protect kids from everything from bullying and school shootings to violence in television and video games, and is a fine gathering of statistics, stories, and insights on the world's increasing violence and its threats to kids.

This is where most books end, but In the Line of Fire goes a step further, packing in over four hundred solutions to stopping the effects of violence: methods school administrators, parents, psychologists and pastors alike can employ.

From how boys and girls are adversely affected by gender bias and gender teachings to common signs indicating bullying or abuse, checklists for rating school climates, history timelines, and sidebars of at-a-glance information, In the Line of Fire is a solid guide packed with invaluable blends of data, case histories, and actionable recommendations. No parent, teacher, or childcare worker should be without this unique reference.

The Adventures of Young Walt Disney
William Silvester
Theme Park Press
9781941500187, $14.95,

The Adventures of Young Walt Disney provides the lively story of Walt Disney's youth and family roots, going back to the early 1800s when Walt's grandfather emigrated from Ireland and continuing the family saga to pinpoint Walt's early influences and the paths that led to his creation of a Disney empire.

It's surprising to find such an extensive family history: most biographical sketches only return to early childhoods - but in this case, understanding Walt's family's heritage is key to appreciating how he came to be so heavily involved in the entertainment industry. This provides an in-depth survey that moves from 1901 Chicago to Kansas City in the 1920s, following those who had early faith in Walt and his vision, and who contributed to his achievements.

Any with a prior affection for Disney who want a clear discussion of how his dreams came true and, more importantly, their origins will find The Adventures of Young Walt Disney probes the true origins of magic.

Bridging the Gap: A Simple Guide to College
Chelsea L. Dixon, MS, MAT
Open Door Publications, LLC
2113 Stackhouse Dr., Yardley, PA 19067
9780996098533, $12.95,

Bridging the Gap: A Simple Guide to College comes from the founder of GamePhox Unlimited, LLC, a company involved in creating educational opportunities for underprivileged and minority youth. This book reflects that approach, going where few other college guides can by offering an application guide and discussion geared not to college-bound high-level performers, but to underrepresented students.

Where other books make the assumption that readers have long been on college-bound, Bridging the Gap begins with middle school and assumes no prior knowledge of the application process. It provides students and their families with basics and a planning guide that takes the usual resources and discusses them using easy, simple language.

From student-athletes and their different approaches to college to a middle school checklist for future plans, this is a solid reference that takes a potentially complex topic and creates an accessible, useful approach to the many possible paths of achieving a college education.

Cold Heart
Chandler McGrew
Astor + Blue Editions
419 Lafayette St., Fl 2, New York NY 10003
9781941286449, $4.99,

The killing spree has begun, it's taking place in a remote Alaskan village, and it is drawing the attention of a burned-out ex-cop who only wanted to leave violence behind, and who lacks all his former tools and resources for stopping murders.

As if this wasn't enough, Cold Heart also offers up a healthy dose of psychological suspense as Micky first faces a stalker who has dominated her life, then the reality of a murder who has somehow made it to one of the most remote outposts of human civilization.

While she survived a shootout that claimed her partner's life and many violent encounters, she may be up against her final challenge in Cold Heart, which opens with a bang and keeps readers involved with gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller action.

It's not just the chill of the far North that enters the reader's bones, here: it's the chill of death and the relentless contrasts between brutalities of past and present. In the end Micky faces one of the greatest challenges of her already-tumultuous life and career - and readers face one of the most satisfying, twisting, and unpredictable mysteries in print.

Imaginary Things
Andrea Lochen
Astor & Blue Editions
419 Lafayette St., Fl 2, New York NY 10003
9781941286111, $15.95,

Imaginary Things is a warm novel about a young single mother who moves to her grandparents' rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son David: a move that leads to her sharing the visions of shadowy dinosaurs with her young son, revealing a disturbing new world of possibilities.

Are imaginary creatures stalking her son, are they real, and can Anna do anything about them? Add romance into the mix and you have further confusion over what is real, what is illusion, and what can hurt or heal.

Imaginary Things is an invitation to believe in visions, dangers, the power of imagination, and the possibilities of love. It's a story of closely-held secrets, magic, and a haunting set of circumstances that not only affects Anna's son, but her own history with her mother. Readers who enjoy evocative, winding stories replete with emotional connections and revelations will find Imaginary Things an inviting leisure read.

The Warming
Lorin R. Robinson
Mill City Press
322 First Avenue N., 5th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781634133128, $16.95,

The Warming: Speculative Fiction about the Human Impact of the Climate Crisis presents the world of 2047, when hundreds of millions are suffering from drought, rising oceans, and unpredictable, violent weather. Against this backdrop of disaster is Dr. Jonathan Carver, a marine scientist whose work offers hope of offsetting some of the potentially devastating effects of the warming.

The novel offers several approaches to the subject matter. First of all, the story is presented using a 12-chapter narrative that begins in 2047 and ends with an epilogue, with seven short-story flashbacks journeying around the world to present first-person stories of warming catastrophes and with a series of video news reports.

It's not usual to have a subset saga within the main story line, but while these short pieces take place beyond the main story, they enhance that effort by adding extra dimensions of understanding and human experience into the mix. The fictional short video news stories (in the form of flashbacks presented in broadcast script form) further consider the political, social and economic effects of the growing global crisis.

This three-step process is confusing only if readers anticipate (and need) a linear approach. In reality, these devices work together to add levels of complexity and insight to the story to paint an overall bigger picture of the climate crisis and its various challenges. Philip Wylie accomplished something similar (without quite so many approaches) in his classic End of the Dream. It's satisfying to see a similar attention to detail used here to create an absorbing and multi-faceted story line capturing the nuances of global warming and all its implications for the survival of the human race.

The Art of Real Estate
Debbi DiMaggio & Adam Betta
1814 Franklin Street, #902, Oakland, CA 94612
9780985503666, $19.95,

The Art of Real Estate: The Insider's Guide to Bay Area Residential Real Estate considers all kinds of influences on Bay Area residential real estate trends and trends by top 1 percent Realtors in the US, who share their best practices to help buyers, sellers and Realtors.

It comes packed with tips and checklists for home buyers that include how new buyers can assess a neighborhood, seek out agents who specialize in the kinds of property desired, and understand the entire home purchase process from handling inspects to making a bid.

On the other side, sellers are treated to insights on what's involved in home staging, how to obtain a seller's agent, understanding the multiple listing service resource, and the tax ramifications of selling a home.

All this information is in other real estate how-to books; but having both buyer and seller concerns under one cover, adding specifics for the San Francisco Bay Area's volatile market and encouraging this book's use in conjunction with working alongside a professional real estate agent, makes for a guide that features an easy symbol system for at-a-glance references and an approach that relies on explanations of procedures on all sides to smooth out transactions and address common questions.

Send More Idiots
Tony Perez-Giese
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781480813496, $19.99,

Also available though, atch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Barnes & Noble: 0813496

Send More Idiots is a novel by an award-winning journalist who experienced life on both sides of the border in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. Steeped in this background, the novel is thus able to capture the culture and feel of the region far more than any outsider could have accomplished, presenting a blend of intrigue and social insights as it delves into the mystery of a vanished American real estate broker and his brother who becomes involved in a complex world of cartel warlords and danger trying to find him.

As the narrator becomes increasingly immersed in the atmosphere of the border and the drug wars that both invigorate and frighten him, he draws ever closer to the truth about what happened to his brother - and what might happen to him if he stays.

Exquisite tension and a dance of deadly forces emerges against the backdrop of social and political border town tensions in Send More Idiots, recommended for any who would absorb a strange new world living along a unique American frontier dream.

The Problem Was Me
Thomas Gagliano with Abraham J. Twerski, MD
Gentle Path Press
P.O. Box 3172, Carefree, AZ 85377
9780982650578, $16.95,

A single negative message in childhood can have lifetime implications - and none are more damaging than the messages we experience while growing up. Most have received such messages, and many adults remain damaged by them.

This motivational guide for adults who haven't achieved their full potential because of such messages tells how to identify self-doubts and fears and how to turn these messages into positive, life-affirming admonitions for success. The book comes from a successful life coach, public speaker and relationship expert involved with self-help therapy and it pairs ideals of defeating negativity with practical approaches that range from identifying damaging messages and their ongoing impact to understanding such diverse issues as abandonment, struggles with authority figures, and how to give and receive criticism in a better manner.

There are plenty of motivational self-help books on the market which address negativity and its effects. Gagliano offers a concrete approach to assessment, identification, and reworking such criticisms to revise one's own reactions to others in life. Thus, the buck stops with the reader's enlightenment and changes, which avoid passing on the negativity - as it should.

Across the Pond
Michael McCormick
9781508537199, $11.58 8&qid=1430244150&sr=8-2&keywords=across+the+pond

Dedicated to the veterans of the Vietnam War, Across the Pond tells of a young man who fought for his country in Vietnam, returned home, and faced abandonment and hostility because of his actions overseas. This subject might not be a new one to many, but the heart of any story lies in the way it's told - and Across the Pond is an enlightening, moving saga that explains not just one young man's changes, but how America changed because of Vietnam.

One might anticipate a weighty survey, but the pleasure in this book, in contrast to similar-sounding discussions, lies in its brevity, which succeeds in packing a punch using only 50 pages.

So if it's an in-depth tome that is appealing, look elsewhere. Across the Pond is more of a quiet statement, based on the author's personal experiences, and proves that one need not be excessively wordy to capture the emotions and power of the aftermath of war and the plight of war veterans who received little or no support upon returning home.

Pinnacle Lust
Michelle Dim-St. Pierre
9781610055727, $26.95,

Pinnacle Lust is an unexpected story that tells of a 'kosher good girl' born in Israel who happens to be a secular Jew with no religious interests or desires to be radical. One might expect from the novel's title and cover art that this is to be a story of sexual discovery; but it also is a story of a daughter discovering her mother's deepest secret, which began before Leigh was born and is steeped in stories of relationships that break boundaries, religious roots, and heritage alike.

Yes, readers can expect a lusty story; but that doesn't mean it's packed with steamy sex scenes: it also comes filled with cultural observation, psychological revelations, and accounts of military training discussing the finer lines between bravery and stupidity.

Will her mother's lies repeat in her daughter's life? Will erotic choice translate to the ability to overcome adversity and betrayal to reach new pinnacles of achievement? Be forewarned: there are affairs between professionals, discussions of the positive and negative forces of love, Israeli culture and Jewish religion, and everyday life in an Israeli young woman's world: multifaceted matters that weave a satisfyingly complex yarn of passion, redemption, and exploration against the backdrop of a nation at war.

Where Angels Prey
Ramesh S. Arunachalam
Authors Upfront
9789384439378, $9.95

The world is facing one of its greatest financial crises yet, but only in one country - India - is a boom happening in an unlikely industry: microfinancing. It's this fact which comes to the attention of Robert Bradlee, senior correspondent with The New York Post, who decides to personally investigate these strange facts; only to discover that what seems like a wonderfully successful altruistic business of providing financial services for small business in poor or rural communities in reality hides a deadly truth.

What Robert discovers isn't financial opportunity or social grace, but a program that holds devastating implications for India's poor.

The frightening part of this story doesn't lie in the fact that this novel is a realistic financial thriller with a global setting so much as that it's loosely inspired by real life in Andhra Pradesh, India, and holds alarming implications for business and social causes alike.

For this reason alone (in addition to the fact that the story is an edge-of-your-seat compelling read), Where Angels Prey is a recommended pick for thriller readers looking for something slight different: a realistic saga which will strike a little too close to home for many cognizant of Wall Street involvements in the lives of Third World residents.

The After Series
Traci L. Slatton
Parvati Press
$16.99 each,

Two titles in 'The After' series provide a gripping story of apocalypse and its aftermath, starting with Fallen (9780989023290), which documents what happens when deadly mists kill billions on Earth, leaving the survivors struggling in a chaotic new world.

Here a woman with a strange healing ability leads eight children to safety where Arthur offers them all a haven - and Emma falls in love with him. For a woman whose world has ended and whose heart has shattered, all this seems nothing short of a miracle - but within the miracle lies danger, and when she comes to understand Arthur's closely-held secret, everything falls apart once more.

Fallen is about faith, disaster, and redemption. It's also about love, betrayal, and uncovering hope in the face of the end of all good things. At the heart of it all are children and the truth behind a natural phenomenon which has changed the world: a truth that will either rebuild or finish breaking Emma's heart and world.

Cold Light (9780986061103) continues the saga of Emma, Arthur, and other survivors of the apocalypse. Here the fight for survival and love continue as Emma and Arthur become part of a group that continues to face challenges and changes in a post-Apocalyptic world.

It's encouraging to think that in even the bleakest of worlds and circumstances, not only hope but love can still exist. It's about saving lives, handling underlying judgment, embarking on a mission to raise children in peace and safety, and organizing survivors. It's also about burying the dead and accepting the fates of those who cannot be reached in time.

As in any dystopian story, it's the protagonists and their reactions that 'make' the saga, and the 'After' series proves a compelling, involving survey of what it means to be a survivor, both initially and in the ongoing progression of challenges that makes up a new life.

Escape the Madness
Gena Lofton
9781505891195, $24.99

Escape the Madness: 10 Steps to Get Out of the Rat Race is about becoming financially independent from everyone, including parents, spouses, government entities, and businesses.

There are two audiences who will find much food for thought and many riches here: those who are new to the idea of escaping the 9-5 work world to achieve success from passive income sources, and those who want a basic introduction to the concept to begin their own planning processes.

Escape the Madness isn't for the financial advisor who already has years of experience working with alternative financial options, but it's absolutely perfect for those who have been plodding through the 'rat race' for a while and who are newly considering alternative options. Chapters offer keys to assessing where you are in life, where you want to go, and how to get there, and focus on potential sources of 'passive income' and how these can contribute to a better income stream.

Any looking for a solid starting point that is understandable and easy will find all the tools needed in this introduction.

The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50
Joan Price
Cleis Press
2246 - 6th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
9781627780964, $22.95,

The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain - or Regain - a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life provides a sexuality self-help focus for seniors who want to understand how aging alters sexual drive and how to enjoy sex despite medical challenges and loss of libido. Chapters use interviews with couples, singles, and all kinds of people to consider the common problems of sex after 50 and how to overcome them.

One might expect this to focus on physical changes, but there's plenty of psychology, also; from long-term relationships and dating to how to maintain different kinds of relationships - including friends with benefits, swinging, and boundary-stretching fantasizing. From negotiating a change from monogamy to returning to sex after a long-time absence, this book covers a lot of ground.

These focuses set The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50 apart from other sexuality books, offering wide-ranging discussions of mental and physical influences on sexuality for seniors and providing a positive set of messages and information for revitalization.

The Herb Lover's Spa Book
Sue Goetz
St. Lynn's Press
P.O. Box 18680, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
9780989268868, $18.95,

The Herb Lover's Spa Book: Create a Luxury Spa Experience at Home with Fragrant Herbs from Your Garden comes from a herb gardener and spa enthusiast who provides the basics of both growing and preparing therapeutic herbs for a home spa, and
pairs color photos with step-by-step directions throughout for using nearly twenty herbs from the harden. Recipes cover teas, masks, scrubs and more, and directions include everything from herb garden layout and container gardening to herb measurement guidelines, producing soak and scrub herb collections, and more.

While the 'recipes' are the foundation of this title, accompanying details also cover how to apply herbs to common problems, from counteracting jet lag to building your own oversized tea bags from cotton muslin.

Handmade notes, DIY projects, and keys to growing plants and designing a home spa make The Herb Lover's Spa Book more wide-ranging than one might expect (i.e. there's even directions for designing the ambiance of the physical spa itself!), but perfect for herb gardeners who want to put their harvests to full use.

HIV/AIDS in South Africa: The Facts and the Fiction
Chris Jennings
Health Alert Communications
P.O. Box 65, Hudson, NH 03051
9780936571089, $25.00,

HIV/AIDS in South Africa: The Facts and the Fiction was recently awarded the 2014 Will Solimene Awards for Excellence in Medical Communication - an award which recognizes outstanding achievement in medical, biomedical and health communications published in the prior two years - and it's easy to see why.

At first glance the title might seem directed to an elite and narrow audience of health professions concerned about AIDS and HIV, but closer inspection shows that it's actually a review of some 3,000 medical articles which synthesize and document the story of AIDS over some thirty years and provide a startling account of medical policy mismanagement and flawed statistics.

The details are synthesized in a summary of statistics and facts about how HIV/AIDS has spread around the world, and refutes commonly-held beliefs, demonstrating that scientific literature clearly shows New York City as the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic, and that the idea that HIV came from monkeys is false.

Jennings' weightier, primary book, HIV/AIDS: The Facts and the Fiction, offers support of his premises and investigations into scientific statistics and literature. This shorter companion volume narrows the focus to South Africa, offering data listing raw numbers of reported AIDS and actual deaths and providing an opportunity to contrast these figures with computer estimates and data from the U.S.

College-level collections looking for a solid gathering of statistical evidence surrounding HIV and AIDS will find this volume and its companion to be essential references.

A Beautiful Life Cut Short By Early Onset Alzheimer's: Marcia's Journey
Denver D. Smith
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781490747835, $21.10,

A Beautiful Life Cut Short by Early Onset Alzheimer's: Marcia's Journey at first glance may look like another memoir about an Alzheimer's patient; but the focus here is a little different and comes from a husband whose wife was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's when she was just 49. Where most Alzheimer's stories recount those who are decades older, this surveys his wife's decline over a period of thirteen years as he cared for her in their home.

There are daily reflections as both struggle with the progressing disease, there are insights on not just possible timelines but special challenges faced by early onset Alzheimer's patients and their families, and there are stories of coping with each change and its ramifications.

Most of all, it's a celebration of Marcia's journey and her family's daily experiences: because of this journal approach, this book (more than others about Alzheimer's) provides a clear picture of what happens, what changes, and how to cope and adds not just a personal touch, but a daily perspective not seen elsewhere.

Letting Go Again
Kimberly Smythe
Inner Sight Press
9780988576063, $14.95

Letting Go Again: A Birth Mother's Tale of Adoption, Reunion, Separation and Growth provides a birth mother's story of how she gave up her baby daughter for adoption, only to face the new challenges of a reunion and a troubled relationship two decades later. It's a fine recommendation for any reader of adoption stories looking for something different.

When teen Kimberly first gave up her daughter, her life changed. Her relationships with her parents, the child's birth father, and her husband changed and when she reunited with her daughter, it wasn't the happy ending so commonly depicted in the movies, but unleashed a storm of contention.

This moving story documents the efforts Kimberly went through to gain a relationship with the child she gave up, and how the years of separation lead to wounds and emotional damage that it seemed nothing could heal. Part of the struggles came in redefining a relationship that fluctuated between friendship, distant acquaintance, and a mother/child connection. Part of them accompanied the growth mother and daughter experienced both together and separately.

The result is an emotional roller coaster exploring a stormy mother/daughter relationship and the lasting effects of adoption and reunion from the eyes of the birth mother, and is recommended for any reader interested in adoption's long-range impact on everyone involved.

Legendary Safari Guides
Susie Cazenove
P.O. Box 4532, Northcliff 2115, Johannesburg, South Africa
9781920434946, $18.95,

US Distributor: Midpoint Trade Books:,

Many dream of exploring Africa, and so there are safari companies and extensive books written about these possibilities; but Legendary Safari Guides isn't just another travelogue or guidebook, but a collection of writings from a safari travel promoter which charts the experiences of nearly thirty safari guides who are more than a cut above the ordinary.

Armchair readers and Africa-bound travelers alike will discover stories of adventure and passion that provide riveting insights into how guides operate, how they introduced their guests to a different kind of African experience, and how they presented some truly remarkable wilderness adventures.

African destinations vary from South Africa to Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Namibia. The guides approach tourism and safari work from very different vantage points and discuss licensing, safari camp experience, motivations for becoming involved in more than casual guide experiences, and more.

Legendary Safari Guides is so much more than another 'guide to Africa', and tells what it means to get the most out of a wilderness encounter, using the diverse eyes of selected extraordinary individuals to capture some truly amazing moments. The result is perfect for readers of biography, African adventure, armchair travel, or even travel industry insider information.

A Deeper Perspective on Alzheimer's and Other Dementias
Megan Carnarius, RN, NHA, LMT
Findhorn Press
117-121 High Street, Forres 1V36 1AB, Scotland, UK
9781844096626, $18.99,

A Deeper Perspective on Alzheimer's and Other Dementias is unlike most other books on the subject in that it doesn't relate the predictable progression of Alzheimer's or the strain on caregivers, but focuses instead on how to create an improved quality of life for everyone affected, at each stage of the disease. It's highly recommended for caregivers and families dealing with dementia and shows how to cultivate a sense of love, life, and support in the process of caregiving, right up to the final stages of the disease.

Megan Carnarius has a professional background in caring (as a registered nurse, licensed nursing home administrator, and massage therapist with some 25 years' experience running memory care facilities) and links the different stages of dementia to different aspects of its care, offering tools that embrace the spiritual implications and challenges of illness as much as the physical and psychological stresses involved.

The result is far more wide-ranging than most, and a top recommendation (above most others) for the position of 'most practical, useful' guide, packed with tools caregivers need to know about.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities: What You Should Know
Alphonso W. Knight Sr.
Xlibris LLC
Bohlsen Group
9781499044966, $19.99,

Historically Black Colleges and Universities: What You Should Know comes from a former college administrator who provides an authoritative reference guide with the idea of encouraging Afro-Americans to learn more about these universities, and is a recommendation for education and college-bound readers alike.

What should one know about such institutions? For one thing, a large number of blacks are simply unaware of the presence and opportunities of such institutions across the U.S. Profiling them under one cover allows for cross-comparison of everything from histories and notable alumni to tuition fees, school size, athletic affiliations, and more.

But don't view this as a review of special programs: its purpose is to outline historically significant black institutions and provide introductory overviews suitable to narrowing areas of interest for further research. Understanding each school's history, campus makeup and culture is step one to moving into further research on program offerings.

American Travelers on the Nile
Andrew Oliver
American University in Cairo Press
420 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10018-2729
9789774166679, $44.95,

American Travelers on the Nile: Early U.S. Visitors to Egypt, 1774-1839 opens with two eighteenth-century travelers to the Nile and proceeds to chart the evolving presence of Americans in Egypt, documenting the increasing popularity of college-age students on pilgrimages to the area and covering their influence on Egyptian history and culture.

More a cultural encounter history than a travelogue, American Travelers on the Nile presents a lively collection of relationships between cultures and documents the early American experience in the Middle Eastern world and its effects on both sides of the ocean.

Unpublished letters, diaries, lesser-known newspaper articles, and other source materials were used to present these stories, while over thirty illustrations embellish traveler tales and enhance a read that covers journeys, but is at its strongest when viewed as an absorbing early history of cross-cultural interactions accessible to travel readers and students of Middle East history and culture alike.

Caregiving Full-Time and Working Full-Time
Dr. Keith Washington
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781490856636, $13.95,

Finally! A book that addresses the special challenges of caregivers who must juggle two jobs simultaneously, in Caregiving Full-Time and Working Full-Time: Managing dual Roles and Responsibilities! There have been many books discussing caregiving challenges; but too few address the majority of caregiver scenarios where a caregiver is also a breadwinner.

The costs of such efforts are apparent in statistics which show that some seventy percent of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties and face major impacts on their careers, savings, and health insurance.

Dr. Washington doesn't just approach this from a physician's standpoint; he cared for his parents when his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and had to make some hard decisions about his career versus his family, realizing in the course of events that caregiving's real cost is more than economic.

His book reviews these costs, explores options available from family, government and employer sources, and blends his personal experiences with studies and concrete game plans for reducing the impact of caregiver/worker struggles.

Who's Going to Watch My Kids?
Rachel Levy Lesser
Turning Stone Press
665 Third Street, #400, San Francisco CA 94107
978161852944, $17.95,

Who's Going to Watch My Kids? Working Mothers' Humorous and Heartfelt Struggles to Find and Hold on to the Elusive Perfect Nanny provides an unusual focus on the working relationships between nanny and parent, and gathers stories from the author's own life and the lives of fifteen other working mothers to recount such encounters.

Her experiences are poignant, funny, and also pointed as she addresses common points of concern between nanny and mother and outlines common mistakes and how to identify and overcome them.

From the nanny who wants to move in and take over to those who fail in their duties, Who's Going to Watch My Kids? reflects on the typical struggles parents face as they look for in-home childcare assistance. The result is a fun, accessible, and solid read for any struggling with childcare.

'Bobby and Mandee Children's Safety' books
Deputy Sheriff Robert Kahn
Future Horizons Inc.
721 W. Abram St., Arlington, TX 76013
$6.95 each,

Bobby and Mandee are the child heroes of a fun series of books that blend activities such as coloring with information directed to children on the autism spectrum, and two additions to the series emphasize basic safety in a manner accessible to these kids and their parents.

Too Safe for Strangers (9781885477750) has been credited with foiling numerous stranger abductions and uses Bobby and Mandee to explain 'stranger danger' in a way that makes sense. Parents can use it as a read-aloud as pages emphasize the differences between strangers and friends, discuss what it means to 'know someone well', and teaches kids the warning signs of danger.

Too Smart for Bullies (9781885477767) uses Mandee's first-person experience to explain what bullying means and how to handle it. Parents, again, are encouraged to read this book to kids and use it to discuss important points. A question and answer test included here provides further positive reinforcement for adults looking to be certain kids understand.

Both safety books can be used for role playing and provide basic instructions central to safe living, and both appear in color with drawings and realistic encounters accompanying advice on how to handle threats.

Healing the Western Soul
Judith S. Miller
Paragon House
3600 Labore Road, Suite 1, St. Paul, MN 55110-4144
9781557780174, $14.95,

Healing the Western Soul: A Spiritual Homecoming for Today's Seeker considers how social and political tensions are slowly pulling people away from Judeo-Christian roots and spiritual beliefs, creating what is ultimately a confusing and difficult spiritual journey for many.

It analyzes how millions of people from Judeo-Christian backgrounds experience spiritual emptiness and how these seekers often eschew the spiritual intuitions and mystical visions that come to them through prayer, dreams and daily living; and it considers why the religious, psychological and social systems of modern society and even the New Age movement have failed to address these problems.

A description of the three stages of the Western Spiritual Path and how these might lead to a more spiritually-fulfilling life contributes to a discussion designed for modern seekers of all faiths who want to get a handle on their lives and purpose.

A More Perfect Union
R.W. Richard
WEB Press
9780980080469, $9.99,

To begin with, it's important to point out that A More Perfect Union is a work of fiction: it's not a book about history, social justice, or even psychology, but a saga centered upon former Miss Cherokee Nation Ayita Starblanket, who is running against Florida Governor Arturo Arnez.

An unexpected focus in what looks to be a story of women in politics is a romantic twist that pits two opponents in a struggle to win hearts and minds not just of their constituents, but of each other.

At the intersection of romance and politics is a story that's witty, fun, and with a healthy dose of satirical observation on life, romance, and the stormy relationships between political figures and men and women alike. Any who enjoy novels that examine love and politics will find A More Perfect Union to be a witty, fun saga.

Lanayre Liggera
Bohlsen Group
9781499094817, $19.99,

Intrusion presents a multi-faceted and unusual read with a theological thriller that focuses on a judge who battles the supernatural, and is recommended for readers with more than an inclination to believe that occult forces are inherently evil.

Sir Carter Braxton is the judge in a complicated case, American widow Valerie is a courtroom spectator who becomes too involved in his life, and a U.S. satellite tracking system being tested by NASA becomes the dangerous impetus for bringing not just these two together, but sparking a spiritual journey of discovery.

Anticipate apparitions, Arabs, and intrigue as a Sidi legend comes to life and challenges each protagonist. Also anticipate a healthy dose of spiritual reflection and revelation in a thriller that uses a gang and a dangerous force to bring different faiths together with an unexpected, shared purpose.

Accidental Droning
Pete Liebengood
Bohlsen Group
9781503537590, $17.27, TF8&qid=1430931937&sr=8-1&keywords=9781503537590

Accidental Droning provides a riveting story of Bo Granger, who encounters a political murder while flying his drone. And that's only the opening salvo of the encounter: he faces not just murder, but blackmail and ongoing confrontations.

One doesn't expect political overtones from a murder mystery. One doesn't expect a high-tech witnessing of a murder to turn into a series of misadventures as Bo struggles with invading another's privacy and the ethics behind keeping a video witness of a drowning murder. One doesn't also expect encounters that cross the line from dirty politics to dangerous confrontation.
It's all here in a mystery that is packed with unexpected twists, turns, and influences throughout: a delightful change from the usual linear mystery approach, and highly recommended for genre readers looking for something different.

Jock Talk
Beth Noymer Levine
Greenleaf Book Group Press
P.O. Box 91869, Austin TX 78709
9781626341715, $19.95,

Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World takes insights from the world of sports and teaches leaders how to shape communication strategies to become more effective leaders.

There have been a host of books on communication which have addressed issues on business speeches; but athletes do more public speaking than most and thus, surprisingly, have honed styles and approaches that can teach executives a thing or two.

Their stories are contained in a gathering of public comments of athletes, coaches, and team owners and illustrate the basics of five communication principles that will provide best results for business purposes. Any business speaker needs this framework; whether they're addressing media or conventions, or making presentations to staff members.

Mad Dogs
I.B. Gumnut
Balboa Press
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington IN 47403
9781452504506, $10.95,

Two sheepdogs, Red and Blue, take their motorbike out for a spin after a hard day of sheep herding in the Australian Outback in Mad Dogs, a saga that adds to the "Stories from Down Under" series for kids that focuses on adventure, innovation and fun.

A little under 20 pages features full-color, full-page whimsical and fun illustrations paired with six sentences of rhyme describing the dogs and their motorcycling prowess.

The result is a compelling and easy story read, perfect for kids with some rudimentary reading skills who are interested in lively rhymes.

Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids
Deborah J. Cornwall
Bardlof and Company
5430 Colewood Place, Sarasota, FL 34232
9781938842221, $7.95,

Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids is based on interviews with caregivers and provides anyone facing cancer in a child with the practical resources to help manage its daily impact.

One might anticipate this advice would occupy hundreds of pages; but one delight in Things I Wish I'd Known: Cancer and Kids is that it appears in a slim, pamphlet-like coverage of under sixty pages - which makes it much more digestible for those in crisis with short attention spans.

Case histories pair with caregiver interviews and experiences to share first-hand knowledge about the process of diagnosis, daily challenges, and resources to help children of different ages manage the disease in their lives.

Also included are keys to handling children who have lost a sibling or parent to cancer, and discussions of support during and after treatment. Any caregiver feeling overwhelmed by too much weighty information should look here for answers that are firmly grounded in real solutions.

The Adventures of Chloe Zoe Young: Chloe's Surfing Adventure
Carol Young
WestBow Press
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington IN 47403
9781490846125, $13.95,

The Adventures of Chloe Zoe Young: Chloe's Surfing Adventure is designed for a short attention span and a young reader interested in interactive formats, and provides a rhyming adventure story based on a surfing dog's experiences.

Chloe the dog loves her beach run and experiences, but particularly enjoys watching the surfers and dreaming of riding the wild surf herself. So when a surfer asks her to join him, she jumps at the opportunity, and learns much about the sport.

The fun illustrations appear in full color and opposite the rhyme, which follows Chloe as she realizes her dream.

Kids interested in dogs, water sports, surfing, or just a light read of experiential accomplishment will delight in the simplicity and appeal of The Adventures of Chloe Zoe Young: Chloe's Surfing Adventure.

The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: A Challenging Job
Brooks Olbrys
Childrens Success Unlimited LLC
521 - 5th Avenue, 27th Floor, New York NY 10175
9780982961353, $12.95,

The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: A Challenging Job is recommended for picture book readers grades 1 and up with good reading skills who will appreciate some thirty pages of detail in this sequel to The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: A Journey Begins. No prior familiarity with its companion is needed to appreciate this basic introduction to achievement principles, which uses a fun story about oceans and marine life to involve young readers.

Blue Ocean Bob, a island boy who loves adventures and new experiences, decides to protect and involve himself in his island's natural worlds, interacting with creatures from hummingbirds to dolphins. His animal friends aid him as he carries out his duties and overcomes obstacles; and with this team's involvement, a better life evolves for them all. The ideas may sound very adult for a reading level just barely out of the picture book easy reader category; but the concepts are nicely presented, even if they do require a more advanced thought process from picture book readers.

Bright color illustrations by Kevin Keele contribute to a story line that introduces grades 1 and up to concepts of life ambitions, hard work, teamwork, and an awareness of the environment, couching all this in a lively and compelling story kids will readily learn from.

When it Hits the Fan
Larry Mullins
Hobble Creek Press
c/o Cedar Fort
2373 W. 700 South, Springville UT 84663
9781462114986, $15.99,

When it Hits the Fan: A Handbook to Surviving Anything comes from an author who spent sixty years in law enforcement teaching survival classes. He shares the results of these teachings on how to survive one projected emergency: the power grid's crash. From deciding whether to stay at home or leave to identifying edible food sources, making tools, obtaining shelter and fire, and facing down civil unrest, this handbook joins others on the topic of survival - with a difference.

First is its focus on making the kinds of decisions that go beyond shelter, food, and safety to consider what's involved in staying put or leaving.

Second is a 'bigger picture' view of what the 'end of the world' might entail and strategies to survive long term primitive conditions rather than short-term outages: the kinds of emergencies that change cultures, not just daily lives.

Third is a solid focus on what it means to be strong enough to survive long-term. These facets go beyond examining possible disasters to analyze the heart of choices involved in the survival process, making for a different approach and a highly recommended addition to any who would prepare for the worst.

Secrets of a Nun: My Own Story
Elizabeth Upton
Twin Star
c/o Santa Barbara Press
9780972272100, $13.99,

Secrets of a Nun: My Own Story tells of Elizabeth Upton who, at the age of fifteen, gave up her Olympic dreams to become a nun, leaving her family in the pursuit of a spiritual life.

What seemed like a clear choice actually was more challenging than she had imagined: her spiritual journey and psychological development didn't sync, and Elizabeth spent the next twenty years struggling with the restrictions of convent life. It was a forbidden love affair that eventually forced her to not just leave the Order, but experience true spiritual change.

Secrets of a Nun: My Own Story offers a vivid, first-person account of convent life, interactions between nuns, and the challenges that come with living in such an order. Anyone who wants a vividly personal saga embracing psychology, religion and social perspectives will find this a riveting read.

The Wizard and the Quient
T.J. Lemmer
Trafford Publishers
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781412056861, $21.48,

The Wizard and the Quient is a fantasy adventure centered around fifteen-year-old Thomas Wisby, who finds himself in a foreign world of wizards, dinosaurs, and other oddities. Thomas was enjoying his summer on a ranch, where he lives alone with his mother - but his focus on soccer changes in an instant when he stumbles upon a magical world that could answer questions about his past.

The Quient ('Quasi-Energy', or Stellar Oracle) is a black orb that chooses its own master - and Thomas just so happens to be the lucky recipient of its attentions. The Quient forms a symbiotic relationship with whomever it chooses - but Thomas not only knows nothing about magic, but hasn't had any intention of being kept by anyone or anything. But the Quient is never wrong, it's tasked with "...choosing someone with a good heart, who was kind, and noble, someone with great promise....", and Thomas is deemed that rare soul.

Adventures explore the relationship between the two and while the beginning of the story bogs down a little in detail and requires some getting used to, readers who persevere are soon immersed in a fantasy filled with twists, turns and action centered on developing magical abilities to have "...a wonderfully successful and magical life."

Teens with an affinity for fantasies will find this a fine saga of a boy who is coming to grips with who he is and where he's going in life.

Sacred Space
John D. Duncan
Austin Brothers Publishing
306 Los Colinas, Georgetown, TX 78628
9780990347743, $14.95 654

Sacred Space: The Art of Sacred Silence, Sacred Speech, and the Sacred Ear in the Echo of the Still Small Voice of God comes from a pastor and scholar who advocates slowing down to make room for sacred space - a sacred breathing space, if you would - to renew life's vision and purpose and reconnect with Christ.

It's a reader's guide on where to find (or how to create) this space and what to do with it when you have it: as such, it's a particular recommendation for Christians who feel overwhelmed and who want methods for counteracting the modern world's pressures and the church's tendency to marginalize the religion very it promotes.

Chapters consider how a damaged soul can recover to discover a renewed spiritual connection to God, and provide close inspection of the nature of distractions that create pressure and distance believers from God. The author's own struggles synthesize with reflections on the process of belief to create an important reflection on the value of sacred space and how to build it.

The Singer and His Songs
Deke Rivers
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Bohlsen Group
9781450217941, $25.95,

The Singer and His Songs is a novel telling of Chris, who falls in love with the guitar the first time he sees it, but who abandons his beloved music career in Australia to move to the United States - only to see his songs become big in both countries.

A new home, a new music environment, and even a new romance challenge Chris as he struggles with increasing fame and all the changes it brings. Trips to New York, new record deals, midnight jam sessions, recordings, and the very different musical environments of the West and East coasts in the U.S.: all these contribute to a vivid saga of a young musician on the move in more ways than one.

While Chris may serve as an icon of achievement to fans around the world, he still struggles to find his own satisfying path in life - and The Singer and His Songs thus shows how both his worlds collide as one of its focal points - romance - becomes all too complicated. A powerful saga emerges; perfect for readers who love stories about musicians, success, and the rise to fame.

The Song of My Father
Christine T. Hall
Plain Sight Publishing
c/o Cedar Fort
2373 W. 700 South, Springville, UT 84663
9781462116164, $12.99,

The Song of My Father comes from a girl who grew up hearing positive messages from her father: "Things will work out. Good will come from this." All well and good; but as an adult she faced something she couldn't explain as an event from which any good could possibly spring, and she came to question this belief.

The Song of My Father is at once an autobiography and an inspirational piece, exploring loss, grief, faith, and the means by which acceptance and positive attitudes are built. It covers the early impetus for belief systems and the later challenges to them, and it pays tribute both to a father's lessons and the lessons of life and healing.

The result is a first-person story that is, in itself, a song of hope, faith, and recovery.

Here Comes the Sun
Leza Lowitz
Stone Bridge Press
P.O. Box 8208, Berkeley, CA 94707
9781611720211, $16.95,

Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras follows the life of a single woman who travels the world, grew up in Berkeley during the sexual and feminist revolution of the 1970s, and moved to Japan where she met the man of her dreams. She opened a yoga studio in Tokyo, made the country her home, and continued to travel, feeling a hint of emptiness until she returned to Japan to discover that a connection with a child was the key to changing struggles into joy.

Plenty of memoirs cover adoption; but few adopt the tone and background of a spiritually-minded woman whose connections to meditation and community turn into a different kind of love than one that stems from blood ties or even the adoption process alone.

Fueled by Lowitz's deep connection to the yoga process, it offers a warm story not of idealistic new age thinking; but of a life in transition, and how this succeeds in transforming other lives in the process of pursuing motherhood.

Freaks I've Met
Donald Jans
Shebeau Publishing
Bohlsen Group
9780996175609, $16.00

Freaks I've Met features a college graduate who is tempted into the money-hungry world of finance, only to land in jail, and follows Jack Fitzpatrick in his move from Washington to California in search of riches. While he's on a mission to prove that he can become happy through achieving wealth, Jack finds that life hands him more than one lemon and his job-hopping leads to increasing ethical dilemmas in the process.

Freaks I've Met is a satisfying tour de farce that is surprisingly humorous, pointed, and fun as well as a serious, pointed survey of the institutional bond market, based on author Donald Jans' own background in this financial sector.

It perfectly captures the dreams of new college grads who might think success is in the palm of their hands, only to field a host of challenges handed down by tough choices about the best ways to live. It's unexpected to discover a sense of fun in bond trading, but Freaks I've Met does a fine job of juxtaposing humor and serious issues; all couched in a lively story.

From Working to Wisdom
Brendan Hare
Joppa Flats Publishing
Smith Publicity
9780996003407, $16.95, sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431545223&sr=8-1&keywords=9780996003407

For From Working to Wisdom: The Adventures and Dreams of Older Americans, Brendan Hare asked older Americans to reveal their dreams and feelings about retirement and aging, and created a book to offer enlightenment to those prepared to leave the work force. Some participants were retired and some were still working: Hare interviewed forty-six older Americans about their lives and the process of aging, and their answers are guaranteed to provide rich insights.

While its purpose is to describe how 'wisdom' is achieved, this book focuses on individual stories of work, retirement, and psychological change, and imparts inspiration as well as insights to readers interested in leading more purposeful lives and planning for the future.

Be forewarned: this isn't a book about how to retire or manage money: it's all about attitude, redefining the concept of retirement, and investing in happiness and new directions rather than financial focuses so common of many retirement books.

And this approach to the 'wisdom' piece is exactly what makes From Working to Wisdom a standout.

A Voyage in the Sunbeam
Annie Brassey
One Peace Books
43-32 - 22nd Street, #204, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781935548423, $18.95,

A Voyage in the Sunbeam: Our Home on the Ocean for Eleven Months tells of an 1876 voyage made by Annie Brassey to circumnavigate the world - the first to be accomplished in a steam-powered yacht - with her husband, four children, and a host of pets. Originally published in 1878 as a collection of her writings, this was a best-seller in its day, but was almost regulated to obscurity before its reprint here.

The writing remains as lively and interesting as it was back in its time, capturing a sense of adventure and nautical experiences from an author who died at sea of malaria at the age of 48.

Full moons, burning mountains, stormy weather and amazing experiences ("Whilst I was standing on deck at night a flying-fish flew against my throat and hung there, caught in the lace of my dress.") - it's not often that writing lively enough for yesteryear remains compelling in modern times; but A Voyage in the Sunbeam certainly fits this bill and is highly recommended for readers of nautical history and adventure.

The Sound of Water
Joshua K. Linden
Turning Stone Press
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781618520883, $15.95, qid=1431550065&sr=8-1&keywords=9781618520883

The Sound of Water: A Psychology of the Soul follows the author's seven-year journey of reflection on soul, ego, and his place in the world, and represents not just the process of his self-examination, but the wellspring of 'living in the moment' to connect with what resonates in the self (in this case, water). It's best described as a 'meditative self-examination' that considers the process of soul-searching and, as such, it's a recommendation for new age and spirituality readers alike.

While The Sound of Water is based on psychology, philosophy and religion, it's meant to be a synthesis of influences that considers such diverse topics as the essence of reality, states of unreality, and the individuation process of the ego.

With its first-person blend of autobiographical experience and exploration, it invites readers to embark on similar journeys, fueled by shared experience. The result is a gentle consideration of process, especially recommended for self-help and new age readers alike.

The Me I Never Was
Francine C. Still Hicks
Balboa Press
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452598239, $18.99,

The Me I Never Was is an inspirational autobiography which provides readers with the experiences and tools needed to discover the person they need to be, and uses personal experiences as well as Hicks's background as an activist artist, inspirational speaker and lecturer to consider how people evolve and change.

It's about identifying and honing one's personal energy to supercharge life itself, it's about considering how "...thoughts of love have been conditioned by a conforming, egotistical world to a simulated imitation of what 'true love' is meant to be.", and it's about overcoming such conditioning through an attention to conquering darkness, doubt, and negativity to choose paths that lead into the light.

It's spiritual writing at its best, includes some poetic reflections along with its spiritual focus, and is recommended for new age readers who want to understand the various paths and choices involved in transitioning to higher levels of being.

Space Helmet for a Cow
Paul Kirkley
Mad Norwegian Press
1150 46th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50311
9781935234173, $14.95,

Space Helmet for a Cow: The Mad, True Story of Doctor Who Volume 1: 1963-1989 is recommended for any prior fan of the Doctor Who television series and provides a vivid behind-the-scenes story of how the British science fiction show evolved.

There have been many books written about Doctor Who's various incarnations; but few adopt the perspective of examining some 50 years of TV history to consider the major forces behind its shows and how a novel story of interplanetary war, aliens, and strife was achieved on a slim budget that barely covered production costs.

A show-by-show approach outlines these highlights, including friendships, conflicts, struggles, innovations, character uncertainties and challenges to continuity as actors arrived and departed. Virtually any insight into how show directions were chosen or honed is presented here with an eye to explaining personal and political influences on the show's evolution.

This attention to detail places Space Helmet for a Cow far above the usual biographical examination of actors and probes its underlying social and political influences, making it a 'must' for any Doctor Who viewer and fan.

The Man Who Saw the Future
Catherine Blackledge
Watkins Publishing, UK
9781780288000, $24.95,

The Man Who Saw the Future: The 17th-Century Astrologer Who Changed the Course of the English Civil War considers the life of William Lilly, who was born in 1602 and whose involvement in politics and prophecy provided forecasts of the future that changed the course of the English Civil War.

Readers who want a book that skirts the line between a history and a discussion of astrology's impact on the future will find this an intriguing, different perspective that takes historical fact and weaves it into a discussion of spiritual and new age perspectives.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of this history, which reads with the drama and intrigue of a novel, is the fact that by his beliefs and actions, Lilly literally changed the course of a war: food for thought for practicing astrologers who will find here a lively tone and presentation requiring no prior familiarity with British history, culture, or even astrology.

The Mark on Eve
Joel Fox
Bronze Circle Press
9780682306192, $13.99,

If it's a political thriller that's desired (especially considering the upcoming Presidential elections), then The Mark on Eve more than fits the bill, providing a compelling contemporary saga that opens with a female governor on the fast track to becoming President. Her ambitions are nearly ended by an attempted assassination - and that's where Eve comes in.

Eve may have foiled the attempt, but she's no ordinary heroine: under a spell from an 18th century witch, she doesn't age and is cursed to remain on Earth until she fulfills an impossible requirement. And so she's always on the move and never lets anyone get close - until now.

Suddenly in the spotlight and more than involved, Eve's secret is threatened even as her endless life is injected with a new and different purpose: helping a woman become the first female President of the country. And a witch may, once again, be the key to her changes. A riveting story line with unexpected twists makes The Mark on Eve a top recommendation that will keep readers engrossed, enchanted, and surprised to the end.

Gun Needle Spoon
Patrick O'Neil
Dzanc Books
5220 Dexter Ann Arbor Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
9781936873579, $14.95,

Gun Needle Spoon creates a memoir of Patrick O'Neil's life: as a worker at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, the City's premier punk rock venue during the movement's heyday in the 1980s, O'Neil was in the perfect position to observe the social and political nature of events. When he become a roadie and eventually road manager for the Dead Kennedys and Flipper, he become even more immersed in punk culture.

But all of this spiraled out of control when he became a heroin addict and spent the next eighteen years of his life immersed in crime. Now thirteen years sober, O'Neil returns to look back at his life in general and the punk movement of the times.

Expect candid, often graphic descriptions of drugs and deprivation. Anticipate a gritty memoir packed with insights on how the punk rock dream became a nightmare. No punches are pulled, and his examination captures a spirited and terrifying descent that also details how recovery was finally made. Under his hand, the punk rock movement (as well as its accompanying drug culture) is revealed in all its complexities.

Wild Turkey in Colorado and the Central Plains
J. Michael Geiger
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781490754512, $19.39,

Wild Turkey in Colorado and the Central Plains is designed to provide a region-specific guide for both novices and experienced hunters of wild turkey in the Colorado region - and if readers think hunting techniques should be similar everywhere, this book proves that they are not.

Chapters discuss different habitats (including winter shelter and critical habitat issues for small landowners) and integrates wildlife management issues with discussions of hunting specifics. From methods of killing a wild turkey at different ranges to seasonal hunting specifics, this is most decidedly a specific guide for hunters, not wildlife preservationists: as such, it's packed with the specifics to land management and turkey habitats, as well as the 'harvesting' techniques that will be needed to successfully hone the sport in Colorado's mountains and the central prairies.

Surfing the Border
Serge Dedina
925 Seacoast Drive, Imperial Beach, CA 91932
9781941384107, $17.95,

Surfing the Border: Adventures at the Edge of the Ocean is all about surf culture and travel, and comes from a longtime surfer, conservationist, and the Mayor of Imperial Beach, who travels around the world to consider how surfing connects its participants to nature.

Dedina co-founded Wildcoast, an international conservation organization, and has devoted his life to protecting the California and Mexico coastline: his book is at once a travelogue, an autobiography, and a conservation piece that draws important connections between the sport of surfing and the underlying ideology of coastline conservation.

It's a pick for both California and sports collections alike - particularly those which already hold surfing books but which seek a more integrated approach linking such disparate facets as coastal fishing, surfing, beach movies and culture, and habitat preservation.

Out on the Water
Tessa Duder
Libro International, New Zealand
9781877514753, $20.00,

Out on the Water: Twelve Tales of the Sea provides a fine new collection of sea stories for young people and captures the thrill of being on the water, from participating in a boat race to sailing on a tall ship, working shipping cattle on a scow, and more.

The idea is to gather a diverse range of nautical adventures to demonstrate that no two boats, no two adventures, and no two journeys are alike. The sea holds many moods, and those who travel upon its water do so by different means. Out on the Water captures the experience of being out at sea, pairing full-page black and white images by Bruce Potter, who is a noted book illustrator, with first-person accounts of young people on the water.

The fact that most nautical adventures involve a single perspective or type of boat, and most are written by and for adults, sets Out on the Water apart from the majority of nautical writings and makes it a top recommendation for middle school readers into adult circles.

Just Maagy
Virginia Burton Stringer
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781480811218, $21.99,

Just Maagy tells of a spoiled Crown Princess, one Melania Abigail Alice Grace, a spoiled thirteen-year-old who insists on always having her own way. She often gets it, but her aging father knows he'd better change her ways, or his kingdom will suffer.

So he takes her to the Summer Castle, hoping its caretakers, an elderly couple rumored to be enchanters, will teach Maagy about kindness and patience. Nobody can teach this willful child anything; but as she explores her new home, she uncovers mysteries and challenges that provide her step-by-step paths to becoming a better person.

It's unusual to find a fairytale for middle readers - most are directed to younger audiences - but Just Maagy succeeds in providing an involving plot based not just on magic, but on a spoiled princess's journey to becoming a leader and gaining maturity. This compelling story will reach from middle school into high school grade levels with its feisty protagonist and a host of problems surrounding her growth.

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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