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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 2 February 2013 Home | MBW Index

Table of Contents

Cowper's Bookshelf Donovan's Bookshelf Dunford's Bookshelf
Greenspan's Bookshelf Helen's Bookshelf Klausner's Bookshelf
Laurel's Bookshelf Lorraine's Bookshelf Micah's Bookshelf
Richard's Bookshelf Shelley's Bookshelf Shirley's Bookshelf
Taylor's Bookshelf Vogel's Bookshelf  

Cowper's Bookshelf

When I Retire
Andy Landis
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781469904801 $14.95

When I Retire: The Fastest, Easiest Way to Make Your Retirement Fun, Fulfilling, and Significant is not a financial guide, and does not cover investment strategies, the minimum wealth threshold needed to retire comfortably, or the long-term repercussions that the retiring Baby Boom generation may have on governmental policy. Instead, it is a consumable book filled cover to cover with checklists designed to help the reader think about ways to make their retirement enjoyable, and add sparkle to those golden years. The suggestions range from thought-provoking to whimsical, often embellished with insightful quotes from actual retirees, and there are numerous blank lines for the reader to write down his or her own ideas. Checklists of possible retirement activities are grouped according to subject, from relationships to physical exercise, touring, volunteering and charity, and more. For example, some suggestions for spiritual activities include "Start a dream journal next to my bed to gain insight into my dreaming self", and "Visit a different church, synagogue, or mosque at least once a year to learn about other ways to worship." When I Retire is a veritable brainstorm of enriching, enlightening pursuits, highly recommended for anyone searching for something positive to do with their free time - not just retirees!

Sandra Turner Lemire
Westbow Press
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449743963, $13.99,

Being your own boss promises a certain level of freedom. "E-Girls: Entrepreneurial Women" is a business motivation guide from Sandra Turner Lemire as she seeks to inspire young women to drive themselves further with faith and good business sense, as well as what to know as women in the competitive world of business. "E-Girls" is a must for any aspirational young woman who wants to go far with their business.

Emotional Memoirs
Lani Hall Alpert
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781479206285, $12.95,

The stories of our lives and how we live are not unlike the storybooks of our lives. "Emotional Memoirs" is a collection of short fiction and memoir from Lani Hall Alpert who draws from both her everyday life and her imagination to create stories of Chicago's life in the modern day and growing up. With plenty of humor and poignant tales, "Emotional Memoirs" is a choice and recommended addition to any short fiction collection.

Dean Warren
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477145272, $29.99,

The world chances although we are never sure if we want to change with it. "Imaginings" is a collection of short fiction from Dean Warren as he ponders many topics through fiction, offering takes on many topics on the shifting culture and advances of science and technology. With much to think about and an original sense of humor, "Imaginings" is a must for general fiction collections, not to be missed.

Solitary Thoughts
William Goff
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466937871, $12.35,

We all often want what's best for ourselves and society, but it can be harder than one believes. "Solitary Thoughts" is a collection of thoughts and opinions on life and living from William Goff as he offers much recommended insight on the pursuit of happiness and living in society and the malice that is often shown to the others we live with. "Solitary Thoughts" is a strong recommendation to memoir and philosophy collections.

The Lanzis
Giancarlo Gabbrielli
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477201534, $26.95,

Italy was quite chaotic between the first and second World Wars. "The Lanzis I: The Boundless Shades of Life" is a novel set in this period, following a Tuscan family in opposition to the rise of the titular autocratic regime. Following the personal stories of these individuals as they try to live their lives in these trying times, "The Lanzis I" is a strong addition to historical fiction collections with a nod to coming of age tales, highly recommended.

Janine Canan
Pilgrims Publishing
9788177699890, $10.00,

A dedication to the written word is something that can come with a lifetime of work. "Ardor" is a collection of poetry from Janine Canan who shares her half-century of work dedicated to world's wisdom and excitement on many levels, focusing on nature and the life of our world. "Ardor" is a fine addition to any contemporary poetry collection, recommended. "Awakening": Arisen/out of the imagination of God/into the world --/each of us/An avatar awakening.

A Christian's Book of Haiku
Daphne Washington
Westbow Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449750589, $17.99,

The concept of poetry extends beyond culture. "A Christian's Book of Haiku" is a collection of poetry in the popular 5-7-5 syllable style from Daphne Washington who presents these faithful verse on life and living and finding the relationship with faith and god. "A Christian's Book of Haiku" is a must for those seeking a dose of religious poetry. A sample: Speak abundantly/Believe for prosperity/See beyond the now.

Business Alchemy
William R. Cobb & M. L. Johnson
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781468587869, $24.95,

An idea is the first step to something great. "Business Alchemy: Turning Ideas Into Gold" is a business advisory from William R. Cobb & M. L. Johnson as they seek to let people turn their ideas to greater business success and avoid the pitfalls that often make most new businesses fail within a year. Taking notes from business success stories, there is plenty of sage advice for the aspiring business man, making "Business Alchemy" a very much recommended addition to general business collections focused on start-up.

Morning, Noon, and Night
Alison Tyler, editor
Cleis Press
2246 Sixth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
9781573448215, $15.95,

The bond between two as they enjoy one another body and soul is a drug all itself. "Morning, Noon, and Night" is a collection of erotica aimed at couples, as Alison Tyler compiles these stories of engaging in sex in the world around them, not leaving it just for evening in the bed room. Each hour presents an enticing scenario with plenty of allure. "Morning, Noon, and Night" is a must for general fiction collections focusing on erotica.

Shaman, Sister, Sorceress
M. Terry Green
Privately Published
9780983292562 $13.99

The third novel chronicling the trials and travails of Olivia Lawson the Techno-Shaman, Shaman, Sister, Sorceress begins with Olivia searching for some peace and quiet on a Hopi reservation. But the seemingly placid land holds forces beyond her immediate awareness, which have been grappling with a bitter conflict for centuries. Olivia is abducted from her tour bus, and then things get worse... much worse. As Olivia struggles to hold her own against practiced shamans, she is suddenly confronted with an unexpected opportunity to pursue love - but at what cost? An escalating saga of the razor-edge balance between lives and worlds, innocence and guilt, armistice and total war, Shaman, Sister, Sorceress is a thoroughly engaging read, ideal for fans of fantasy with a modern twist. Also highly recommended are the previous novels in the Olivia Lawson Techno-Shaman series, "Shaman, Healer, Heretic" (9780983292500, $13.99) and "Shaman, Friend, Enemy" (9781466463004, $13.99).

Mary Cowper

Donovan's Bookshelf

Involuntary Control
Alex Siegel
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B006KUVB1G $2.99

Involuntary Control adds yet another, fourth saga to Alex Siegel's evolving Gray Spear Society series and is a recommended pick for prior readers who have found the premise and action engrossing.

It's been months since their last mission and Aaron is facing yet another challenge in the form of a hacker who has stolen money from the Society's top secret bank accounts. It's a theft that should have been impossible on so many levels - but Aaron's search for the perp only uncovers more mysteries as he's lead to a small farming community where people are killing themselves in terrible ways, with authorities not only powerless to stop them, but strangely uninterested in investigating the details.

The hacker turns out to be a pawn in a greater game of cat-and-mouse, a courier who comes to pick up her data has also been paid off in something he covets (a computer game), and even an FBI badge can't lead Aaron to the source of trouble: everyone involved is only a pawn with no information on the game and how or why it's being played.

Even more puzzling are the actions of the people in the small town: suddenly bank presidents are painting their homes with striking phosphorescent colors (including the windows) and police are ignoring deaths. The plot only deepens when a refugee princess, a missing sister, and autistic, royal twins become involved, each with their own stories and seemingly separate purposes.

Facing a small town suicide rate that's 200 times the national average, Marina and Aaron find all clues point in the direction of White Flame, one of the largest military contractors in the world with a huge campus where "men create miracles that kill."

Their journey takes them far beyond princesses, computer hacker wizards, and zombie-like townspeople to a police force used to handling people who regularly lose their minds, a counterstrike force skating preciously on the rim of new identities and old dangers, and the threat of a mind control device that could change not just the fate of one town, but the world.

It is this kind of threat Aaron and his society are best trained to handle - and this kind of threat that involves an Army initiative, a secret project, and a myriad of puzzling relationships with White Flame's technology and people at the center.

Once again a satisfying blend of swift action, spiritual influence, military and patriotic objectives, and the efforts of one society whose members have special abilities, and who work undercover to protect the world from dangerous forces.

Fans of the prior Society novels - as well as many newcomers - will appreciate this blend of swift action, unpredictable plot and impeccable characterization.

Michael Reilly
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B009ZL0Z7I $2.99

Scott first meets his wife-to-be as she is running away - and finds himself compelled to follow her, eventually making her his wife. Eight years later Julianna Putnam is on the run again: this time from her husband Scott and their idyllic life in Boston.

But Scott is not going to let her get away without a chase, and so finds himself in pursuit of a woman ever elusive; only to discover that he's not the only person hot on her trail.

Julianna is heading for home in the face of a storm of the century - Hurricane Katrina - and her flight serves as a magnet for attracting trouble even as she seeks to leave behind both romance and danger.

It's hard to neatly peg the reader of Misisipi: one must have an affection for romance, but an interest in complexity and depth that moves beyond the usual shallow or predictable story line of singular romance focused entirely on love. One must have an interest in mystery and intrigue - but also, an ability to accept the undercurrents of romantic relationships and danger that continually run concurrently throughout the plot and bring its action to a more personal level than most mystery or action titles offer.

Misisipi's introduction takes the form of a letter from Julianna to Scott in which she declares her ongoing (despite her flight) love for him, acknowledges that her ongoing fears have overcome this affection, and shares with him the journal she has kept of her journey, which has both brought him love and negated romance.

The course of Misisipi explores more than one dance: Julianna's past, her relationships to those she leaves, Scott's efforts to discover who she really is, and a secret that will lead Scott to murder.

The move from third-person accounts to Julianna's first-person recollections of the storm gathering in her life makes for dramatic moments packed with insights and vivid twists and turns of plot; all mirrored by the growing physical storm that is Katrina: "It seems the entire city has crawled inside my radio. God knows, none of them is visible outside my window. I want to turn it off but somehow silencing them will be as bad as abandoning them. So I carry them to the Superdome, as though our car is their ark."

The result is an action-packed novel crammed with adventure, subplots, romance, mystery, and intrigue all tied together by changing perceptions and the rise of a great storm that will ultimately transform everything.

Busy? Yes. Too busy for some? Perhaps. But readers who appreciate multi-faceted plots and approaches to fiction will find Misisipi vivid and satisfying - especially if they come from a broader audience than genre-specific readers.

Jason As a Young Boy
Wolfgang Schoellkopf
Arbor Books
9780984199266 $0.99

Cheiron is better known as the "old man of the mountain", an ancient who opens Jason As A Young Boy with a reflection on the love of his life, one Chariklo, who was five years old when he first met and fell in love with her (much to the chagrin of his mother, who believes his infatuation is puppy love.)

Cheiron's people have been exiled to a harsh mountain world by invaders, where they seek out a marginal life and where Cheiron is a teacher, at age nineteen facing ten more years until he can marry his beloved.

When he leaves his mountain home to sort out his frustrations and thoughts only to encounter a reclusive Minyan prince on the road, Cherion begins a journey that moves far beyond his repressed people and their isolation and even beyond his romance, and leads to a re-assessment of Minyan rule, family interrelationships, and a law decreeing the death of sons which a fleeing prince hopes to avoid by having Cheiron help them save baby Diomedes' life.

One easy lie and Diomedes is quickly integrated into his new foster home with nobody suspicious of his true origins: "The previous day Diomedes had been the son of a Minyan prince; within a day of his arrival on Pelion he had acquired a new mother, healthy food, a comfortable bed, and a safe abode. He had become one of us in spite of his Minyan blood."

Everyone loves the boy, but when a deadly disease threatens him and needs defining to be cured, it also becomes evident that a new and better name is needed for the child - and so he becomes Jason, is raised to be part of two radically different worlds, and will someday unite two disparate peoples, his power fated by an act of kindness and one of desperation.

With its roots in Greek mythology and the evolution of Jason as a paradox living between these two very different worlds, Jason as a Young Boy creates a powerful expansion upon the Jason and the Argonauts legend, filled with psychological and social insights: "Thinking back I have trouble deciding who Jason was at the time - what emotions and thoughts filled his mind, and whether the story-game had made him better or worse. Nessos had noticed Jason's obsession with sacrificial rituals, Philyra was dumbstruck by his cold-blooded betrayal of friends, and now Krorones deplored his matter-of-fact attitude about killing men. What was happening to the boy's soul?"

Rifts among royalty, Jason's motivations for invasions conducted during the course of his ongoing quest for gold, and his eventual own romance (resulting in murder and changed hearts) comes steeped with political interplays, changing motivations, and conflicts between very different peoples. The evolution of Jason's personality, his voyages with the Argonauts, and his coming of age are all told with an eye to probing underlying motivations, psychology, and the sources of confusion and misunderstanding on all sides.

Can a childhood game assume the trappings of a reality that will ultimately change the Greek world? What makes the difference between a game and a perception of reality that results in motivations that change and kill men and drive barriers between peoples?

A story-game begun as therapy evolves into a dangerous and deadly force that assumes a life of its own, and Jason as a Young Boy evolves its own complex insights into the whole Jason and Argonauts story, making it a powerful recommendation for any who enjoy early Greek history and historical novels based on exploring the psychology of motivation.

Life Imitating Art: Short Stories and Personal Memoirs
David C. Munroe
Andor Artist Management Services and Publishing / Smashwords $7.99

So you think you hate short stories, memoirs, and reflections on life and David C. Munroe's Life Imitating Art incorporates all three; so perhaps you harbor second thoughts about proceeding further? Do so and you're missing out on a collection designed to especially fascinate those who traditionally don't care for the short story format.

Life Imitating Art is fiction about and for the struggling middle class. It comes packed with humor as well as social and personal insights based on protagonist experiences with life, and it comes with a candid honesty in its reflections that endears readers to each protagonist from their opening paragraphs: "Eli Horton was a carpenter. Well . . . not really, but that's what he called himself...Sure, carpenter was an oversimplification (an outright lie, actually), but he wasn't going to waste his time and diminish his status trying to explain his job to some well-upholstered number while he clutched a sweaty one at the bar on a Friday night. Nor did he want to bandy around titles like 'chip-blower' or 'wood-wrangler', catchy hyphenated job descriptions that could be mistaken for entry-level positions at a gay porn studio. Eli sawed stuff . . . sort of."

When Eli unexpectedly finds himself confronting heaven, with all its incongruities and puzzling aspects, he must come to terms with new perceptions of reality and afterlife possibilities that don't fall into any singular belief system. Most of all, he discovers he's a candidate for becoming a new kind of liaison between heaven and earth - and has a stiff test to pass before he can become such: "as I've said, we can't go the Son-of-God route. We have to go with someone who's already walked the planet for a while, and he's got to have passed a biblical quality test.""

What can Eli offer the world? An intriguing set of reflections follows.

Each story considers what its protagonist adds to the world, those in their circle, and themselves. Each opens with a startling introduction that is unexpected and involving, as in the aptly-named short story 'Down the Drain': ""Shit, crap, merde." Ronson isn't sure if he's describing the potpourri rising in the bowl before him or merely venting, but either way he's spent a second too long doing it."

From family man Ronson's struggles with under-employment to the challenge of buying his son's first musical instrument, his frustrated home fix-it attempts, and seeing his monetary base crumble until a plumber's visit changes his world, 'Down the Drain' is filled with a satisfying set of images that feel like a tidal wave of change and evolution.

The stories in Life Imitating Art are short vignettes of human activity, concerns, and achievement. All are told with a candid, humorous, rough observational voice and all provide realistic protagonists and scenarios where people are faced with special challenges and called to make decisions that run the gamut from ordinary to extraordinary.

Any who enjoy the short story format and many who usually avoid it will find this a powerful collection.

The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis
Harry Henderson and Albert Henderson
Esquiline Hill Press
9781588634511 $9.99

Also available in multiple e-book formats, including Nook from B&N, and epub and pdf from Untreed Reads, Fread, and Overdrive.

The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis tells of the first famous 'colored sculptor' to capture her African and Native American mixed heritage in stone, revealing the cultural and artistic influences of a strong woman who encouraged social change after the Civil War. In-depth research on source material including her writings, hundreds of news items, and more than two dozen published interviews were used in the making of this biography, which goes beyond surface history to probe Lewis' psyche and the many mysteries surrounding her life and times.

Unlike many scholarly works, the dedication and introduction section is actually filled with important keys to understanding how the authors came to research Edmonia Lewis: "Based on their twenty-year friendship, Bearden had recruited my father to help him rectify a glaring omission in cultural resources. Barely a word about important African Americans appeared in the canons of art history. Together they pioneered research and wrote biographies to remedy the gap."

It also provides a key answer to newcomers to Lewis who wonder why they would want to read about her: "Simply calling her exceptional is a gross understatement, like saying the Louvre collects wonderful paintings. She was a gatecrasher in the elite world of fine art and a self-made woman. She found fame and prospered at a time when wealthy white women had few legal rights; colored women, rich or poor, had less to none."

Until now the lack of a scholarly, well-researched biography has resulted in many myths surrounding Lewis' life. This fact alone makes The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis a key acquisition for any arts or Afro-American history holding. The authors' attention to precise scholarship provides all the details of a solid linear history and biography but the end result is anything but dry: it reads with the passion and drama of good literature: "A colored person could become a successful artist. This man proved it. Afterwards, kneading clay, she must have mused over his path. He worked as a hairdresser in order to acquire the fine art of painting in spare moments."

From her early influences and how they affected her art to her involvement in civil rights and women's rights issues, The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis successfully charts the course of her life and places her art and achievements squarely in the social, political and artistic tone of her times: "Despite the sympathies of many New England artists, the features of black Africans were as rare in literary sculpture as Swahili greetings in the King James Bible. Ancient Olympus had no such gods or goddesses to guide these Greek revivalists. Only the controversial tabletop group, the foot-high Slave Auction modeled in 1859 by Salem born John Rogers, featured colored people."

Discussions are replete with this background and chapters also come photos (many in color) of Lewis' sculptures, marking their evolution and progression as her life and art evolved. Twelve of the 55 illustrations are in color, making for a fine visual survey to accompany the written history.

There are really only two requirements for an enjoyment of this detailed survey: an appreciation for scholarship with all its footnotes and extensive references, and an appreciation for the remarkable life and achievements of one of America's first black artists.

Any with such interests will find The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis an unexpectedly lively, revealing survey that does much to re-create the social and political atmosphere surrounding her times.

Fuck Yeah Menswear
Kevin Burrows and Lawrence Schlossman
Touchstone Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020
9781451672688, $20.00,

Fuck Yeah Menswear: Bespoke Knowledge for the Crispy Gentleman began as a Tumblr blog in 2010 and grabbed the attention of the fashion world with its sharp critical analysis of men's clothing styles. The book version provides satirical commentary, on location fashion photography, and a reflection on menswear trends, street style, and crispy presentations for all kinds of men's trends, from Prep and Goth Ninja to heritage. Advice from the editors of the blog provide keys on wardrobe essentials and honing a unique look and pairs biting commentary and humor with tips on clothing care and masculine fashion statements. A fine, fun and pointed contemporary observation of modern style.

Diane C. Donovan
Senior Reviewer

Dunford's Bookshelf

Strange Case of Mr. Bodkin & Father Whitechapel
M. Elias Keller
GZI Productions
9780615670249 $14.95

Author M. Elias Keller presents Strange Case of Mr. Bodkin & Father Whitechapel, an original novel based on a classic work of literature, "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson. Both books are combined into a single edition that the reader may browse, compare and contrast at leisure. Strange Case of Mr. Bodkin & Father Whitechapel begins with the premise: what if the mysterious substance that Dr. Jekyll consumed was also ingested by a fundamentally amoral man... and created a saintly split personality? After all, the substance itself is neither good nor evil, but rather a key to unshackle the deepest repressed elements of the imbiber's psyche. When the cruel and avaricious banker Geoffrey Bodkin consumes the substance, the saintly Father Whitechapel appears to bring aid and comfort to the paupers of East End. Yet through his noble deeds, Father Whitechapel earns the spite of Victorian London's upper crust, who concoct a plan to stop him by any means - even framing him for the heinous crimes of the serial killer Jack the Ripper! Strange Case of Mr. Bodkin & Father Whitechapel smoothly spins the style of Stevenson's Victorian prose into a fascinating new tale, and is highly recommended as an interesting complement to Stevenson's dark novella.

Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon
Robert S. Fuller
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781478297604, $24.99,

When love must be an eternity, finding something worthy of such is a rare thing. "Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon" is a vampire romance, following Valerie Ross as she seeks to return to the mortal world she had abandoned with her love of Fashion. Closely tied to many women, she finds allure in two, and there may be something more to it, with vicious intent. "Valerie: Daughter of the Dragon" is a choice pick for those who seek romance with a vampiric twist, much recommended.

Don Quixote for a New Millennium
Diogenes Rodriguez
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432787608, $22.95,

The hero when none is needed is a theme that resonates between all languages and cultures. "Don Quixote for a New Millennium" is an updated translation and stage adaption for the famed story of Cervantes' heroic satire, as Diogenes Rodriguez uses his skill as a playwright to tell the story comprehensively and effectively. "Don Quixote for a New Millennium" is a fine addition to anyone who wants to demonstrate the play on stage, highly recommended.

Atomic Gold
Cameron Jacks
The Colonsay Project - Publishing
9780957316508, $21.05,

In the pursuit of a powerful resource, governments would go to war. "Atomic Gold" is an action/adventure novel following Logan Bechard as he enters into the international intrigue surrounding Molybdenum, an element rare and valuable found on only a few places throughout the world. Faced with a race against time and the fate of the world hanging into the balance, Logan must travel all over and thwart the plans as they come. "Atomic Gold" is a must for those who love international action/adventure thriller collections.

February's Files
Rich Curtin
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781469908694, $12.50,

A case gone cold for half a century doesn't mean justice is impossible. "February's Files" follows deputy Sheriff of Grand county Manny Rivera as the discovery of a murdered man's skeleton shakes his department. As he tries to clear the shame that the murder has brought on the town of Moab, "February's Files" is an enticing pick for any mystery fan who loves the modern west and its natural wonders.

Genetically Privileged
A. W. Daniels
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475942071, $14.95,

Where does the future of humanity lie when it is at the mercy of science? "Genetically Privileged" is a science fiction novel following hopeful parents Joe and Mary Christianson contact a fertility doctor and find themselves delving into a secret government project that will advance humanity in its own way...but at what cost? "Genetically Privileged" is an insightful spin of science fiction exploring genetic engineering, recommended.

Seismic Influences
Priscilla Audette
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781475201802, $14.95,

When a life is lost, the balance of the world shifts. "Seismic Influences" is a philosophical nover following Joy as she finds something deeper behind the corpse she finds, and the truth that lies behind it. Exploring Joy's own discovery of the world and everything it holds behind it, "Seismic Influences" is a treasure of thoughtful fiction, recommended.

Finding Your Positives
Steve Ward
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475931266, $10.95,

We all have our strengths, and can go far on those strengths. "Finding Your Positives: Your Personal Self-Help Plan for Overcoming Life's Toughest Challenges" is an inspirational guide as Steve Ward seeks to inspire readers to embrace their strength to face down the struggles of life, drawing on his own battle against prostate cancer and never giving up even when it seems lost. "Finding Your Positives" is a must for self-help and inspirational collections, highly recommended.

I Kill Me
Tracy H. Tucker
Privately Published
9781478236740, $8.99,

Letting things fester within us only makes it worse. "I Kill Me: Tales of a Jilted Hypochondriac" tells the story of Christine Bacon, a woman who is more than a little afraid of anything going wrong with her life, and when they actually do, they do a lot of damage. A threeway goes wrong, leaves her divorced and trying to find someway to heal, for her kids, and for her self. "I Kill Me" is an intriguing novel that will resonate with many a woman reader dealing with their own crises.

L. A. Powell
Brown Books Publishing Group
16250 Knoll Trail Drive, Suite 205
Dallas, TX 75248-2871
9781612540979, $23.00,

Few fully understand their own sexuality, which makes every lesson learned all the more valuable. "Encounters" is a collection of short erotica from L. A. Powell, as she presents her own twist on the events of sex and sexuality, the bond between man and woman as they find one another in desires and lust through their acts. Breaking barriers, expectations, and so much more, "Encounter" is an enticing pick that will inspire those who seek those sudden events that bring so much light to our lives.

The Immortal Oak
Joseph Marczely
Bookstand Publishing
305 Vineyard Town Center, Suite 302
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
9781618631282 $7.99

Inspired by author Joseph Marczely's act of planting an oak tree over his beloved father's grave, The Immortal Oak: The Conscious Universe is a thought-provoking collection of insights and reminiscences that Marczely shares from memories of his late father, as well as rational musings to support the existence of what may as well be called God. "Dad was a very logical, rational, scientific man. He seldom used the term 'God' and did not practice any religion. I think his questions about a greater system related to a common human feeling. There appears to be both an internal and collective cry for gods. This has been going on for as long as human beings have existed as such. People do relate to one another. They share common ideas. We are, for the most part, arranged, or wired, the same way." The Immortal Oak encourages the reader to ponder the meaning of life, consciousness, and spirituality, and is highly recommended especially as consolation to any who are grappling with the difficulties of losing a loved one or confronting their own mortality.

Michael Dunford

Greenspan's Bookshelf

A Financial Guide to Aliyah and Life in Israel
Baruch Labinsky
Mosaica Press
c/o Stuart Schnee PR
9781937887025 $19.99

A Financial Guide to Aliyah and Life in Israel is a crystal-clear, practical guide to managing one's finances while living in Israel. Written especially to explain Israeli banks, taxes, insurance, real estate market, and much more for anyone who wishes to become part of the Aliyah (Jewish immigration movement), A Financial Guide to Aliyah and Life in Israel presents the nuts and bolts of everyday situations in plain terms, thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds. "The average consumer, as an individual, has few choices and very little bargaining power when working with the banks. Whenever possible, choose a bank as part of a group such as via your employer or with an organized consumer group. Banks often give preferential rates to companies and their employees, and this options sometimes even applies to professional groups." A Financial Guide to Aliyah and Life in Israel is enthusiastically recommended as an absolute, no-holds-barred "must-have" for anyone contemplating immigrating to or retiring in Israel!

The Sleeper: Earth's Salvation
George L. Stewart
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781105604416 $25.00

The Sleeper: Earth's Salvation is a stark science fiction novel about the terrible sacrifices necessary to preserve Earth's biosphere. Human overpopulation and environmental degradation have become so extreme that an alien race has embedded a being of indescribable power to undo the spreading damage at any cost. To rescue the Earth from destruction requires a cruel but inescapable culling of the human population, as well as a revolutionary transformation in human industry, energy generation, and food production. Can a global society enable a crucial balance between the Earth's nations, cultures, languages, and religions? As riots and crime run rampant in the wake of ongoing planetary transformation, the mysterious alien entity perseveres in its efforts to protect the planet... but what will be the final toll of its mission? The Sleeper is as thought-provoking as it is captivating, urging the reader to think carefully about the all-too-real dark future that humankind is bringing upon itself.

Echoes from the Sun
Ari Marsh
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781466454897 $17.95

Echoes from the Sun is far-reaching novel about a young traveler seeking spiritual awakening on a lonely hike through California's mountains. He stumbles across a mysterious, timeless amulet with the miraculous power to heal disease and extend one's natural lifespan. An astounding adventure ensues, leading him to Florence, Italy where the authorities seek to detain him. The possibility of a transcendent spiritual breakthrough, possibly for all of humanity, lies in the balance amid this extraordinary saga bridging the metaphysical esoteric and everyday. Highly recommended.

Sparta's Kings
John Carr
1848848498, $29.95,

Thousands of years ago, rulers rode into battle alongside their men. "Sparta's Kings" is a historical look at the Kings of Sparta who three thousand years ago ruled as dual monarchs over their clans and the actions they made that gained Sparta its place in history. John Carr presents a riveting chronicle of these warrior kings offering insight onto these great men of legend and the strategy behind their actions. "Sparta's Kings" is a worthy addition to any collection focusing on ancient Greek history, highly recommended.

Up, Up, and Away
Dr. Mary Moore Nance
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449761356, $27.95,

Reading can be a wonderful thing. "Up, Up, and Away: Helping Reading Haters Become Reading Lovers" is Dr. Mary Moore Nance as she tries to encourage teachers to inspire readers out of everyone, and how to bring a love of reading into academic success in anyone. A driven personal story alongside its educational reference value, "Up, Up, and Away" is filled with plenty of advice for those looking for new ways to teach reading and the following educational topics.

Hair: The Long and Short of It
Art Neufeld
Privately Published
9781467953573, $9.95,

Humans are strange, furless animals, except for the top of our head. "Hair: The Long and Short of It" explores the unique qualities of the human head of hair, the manes we all share. Looking at the biological history of hair, its evolution, the many myths and legends surrounding the hair and so much more, "Hair" is an interesting read with plenty of facts and figures, sure to entertain and fascinate all the way through.

The DNA of Gender Relationships
Stephen R. Champi
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478720720, $9.95,

The differences we can have with those in our own species can be quite daunting. "The DNA of Gender Relationships" is a study of social sciences from Stephen R. Champi as he presents his own thoughts on the evolution of the inter-gender relationships of mankind throughout their history. With plenty to consider about now and the future of gender roles, "The DNA of Gender Relationships" has much to think about, recommended.

The Girl in the Butternut Dress
Joanne Hardy
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781468068412, $20.00,

Love strikes, often in opposition to all common sense. "The Girl in the Butternut Dress" is a novel of romance in the Civil War. Gabrielle struggles in Illinois to help runaway slaves escape to emancipation, but when Cayne, a Confederate sympathizer who works against Gabrielle's goals, enters her life, she feels divided between her virtues and her heart. "The Girl in the Butternut Dress" is an enticing exploration of the war between the states and the personal toll it often wrought.

The Last Prophet
Peter James Iengo
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466939899, $12.00,

The armies of Lucifer seek a second chance to bring an end to the unjust mankind. "The Last Prophet" is a novel of the conflict between angels, of Michael and Lucifer. When Lucifer was first defeated, he was sealed away until 2012. An order called the Creed is charged with building an army to prepare against Lucifer's return. "The Last Prophet" is a riveting tale of modern Biblical fantasy, very much recommended reading.

A Broken Sausage Grinder
Hank Thomas
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475922349, $18.95,

Getting the government to do something has been a long road to work from. "A Broken Sausage Grinder: Is Our Government Fundamentally Flawed?" explores the political problems that plague our system, as Hank Thomas tries to gain a more complete understanding of the American political system, throughout its history as a sort of diagnosis to our modern problems. "A Broken Sausage Grinder" is well worth considering for political readers, recommended.

Painted Window
Dr. Deborah Waterbury
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781462718610, $14.99,

Love is not for the privileged few. "Painted Window" is a Christian driven novel of allegory. Elizabeth is a downtrodden woman who has resorted to prostitute, and doesn't believe herself worthy of love. But when love seeks her anyway, she learns that sometimes a love goes through anything and everything to come together. With a strong allegory to the unconditional love of Christ, "Painted Window" is well worth considering for Christian fiction collections.

The Seventh Day
Michael Alexander
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475939934, $14.95,

With evil literally appearing in his office, a detective finds his sleuthing skills must go beyond the mundane. "The Seventh Day" is a religious mystery from Michael Alexander, following Detective Nick Callister who is investigating a series of suicides throughout his town, including his own son. As the devil relays to him the truth of the matter, he faces the evil down and their corrupting influence. "The Seventh Day" is a must for those seeking mystery with a paranormal kick, highly recommended.

Able Greenspan

Helen's Bookshelf

On the Verge
Karen Lenfestey
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781478338659 $14.00

The third book in Midwest Writer's Fellowship award-winning author Karen Lenfestey's "Sisters Series", On the Verge follows interior decorator Valentine Taylor, mother of a seven-year-old son, whose high hopes for her forthcoming marriage to Nathan meet abrupt tragedy. After a terrible fall leaves Nathan with a head injury, his personality changes. Prone to fits of impulsive action or even outbursts of anger, he buys a "dream house" beyond their finances, and their efforts to rebuild the building as well as repair their relationship flounder. Is there any hope that she might one day be with the man she fell in love with again? A thoughtful tale about difficult human problems with no easy solutions, On the Verge is highly recommended.

I Don't Care About the Color of Your Skin
Carol London
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781475088137, $7.99,

Love cares not for trivial details. "I Don't Care About the Color of Your Skin" is a novel from Carol London following Muslim American immigrant Ana as she flees her homeland and makes it to America. Learning much about the new world, she finds friendship with many an romance with another, finding her life caring little for skin color in many ways. "I Don't Care About the Color of Your Skin" is an enticing novel of friendship and romance, very much worth considering.

Passport to Nowhere
Samuel Blessing
Wasteland Press
c/o Two Harbors Press
9781600476044, $11.95,

Teaching is a tough profession, and can make a grown man cry. "Passport to Nowhere" is a fictional take on the teaching profession as Samuel Blessing uses his long experience to follow the teachers Knoward High School, and the stress they face against the high standards put on them without enough to meet those standards. With a political message behind it all, "Passport to Nowhere" is a fine addition to any modern fiction collection.

Carolina Garcia-Aguilera
Books & Books Press
c/o Jessica Jonap PR (publicity)
9780983937845, $16.95,

There are many terms for the profession, but the calling is ultimately the same. "Magnolia" follows the titular character as she copes with failed aspirations in Miami, as she's preparing to return to Minnesota. But when she's presented with an intriguing offer that will give her the life experiences she the cost of the virtues she holds as a Catholic. "Magnolia" is an enticing novel of romance and growing up, very much recommended reading.

Walk in Bethel
Rose Mary Stiffin
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
c/o Ginny Grimsley, News & Experts (publicity)
9781452838908, $16.00,

Family's roots grow deep in the south. "Walk in Bethel" is a novel of Southern America as many people and families try to make their ways through life in the Mississippi Delta. Tragedy, near tragedy, and kindness occur and push them to their limits of good will and personal stories. With a strong dose of wisdom, "Walk in Bethel" is much recommended for those who enjoy southern family drama and down to earth story telling.

Stained River
David E. Faxon
9781463678388, $13.95,

For survival, one has to use all of their wits in a strange land. "Stained River" follows Terrence Connery, faced with a sudden crash in the Amazon rainforests. Surrounded by hostile tribes and nowhere to turn, Terrence finds his way through the forest, sees many things bizarre and supernatural, and begins to find clues that his plane crash wasn't entirely a coincidence "Stained River" is an exciting blend of the paranormal, mystery, and vengeance, much recommended.

God's Law
Captain Sonny Paago
West Bow Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449734374, $24.95,

The word of God lies in the scripture, but has often been perverted for man's own purpose. "God's Law" is a spiritual look at the word of God, as Captain Sonny Paago, an evangelical minister, shares his own thoughts on the word of God and how to better teach the word and lessons of Christ, and how to follow them in everyday life when it may seem so very difficult. "God's Law" is a driven addition to general Christian studies collections, recommended.

Tested to the Limit
Consolee Nishimwe
Balboa Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452549583, $15.99,

Genocide is one of the worst things humanity has done, pushing a people towards annihilation. "Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor's Story of Pain, Resilience, and Hope" is a memoir of Consolee Nishimwe, as she shares her story of surviving the Rwandan genocides against the Tutsis. Sharing how she managed to escape her fate, although not completely unscarred, she comes to America after so long and so far away. "Tested to the Limit" is a poignant and much recommended addition to international memoir collections, especially for those with a focus on atrocity.

I've Got Some Lovin' To Do
Julia Park Tracey
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475939842, $18.95,

The twenties were a very different time, a war was over, and everything was booming. "I've Got Some Lovin' To Do: The Diary of a Roaring Twenties Teen" is a compilation of memories and diaries as Julia Park Tracey touches on the memoirs of her great grand aunt, Doris Baily Murphy, offering an insightful story of the then teenager's life, and how things were so different yet somethings were always the same. "I've Got Some Lovin' To Do" is a must for memoir collections, not to be overlooked for those who seek stories of pre-World War II America.

Men Don't Pee Striaght
Rick Dean
Privately Published
9780615642154 $7.99

Men Don't Pee Straight and Other Things You Should Know About Us is a brief, hilarious book reaffirming the truth in some of the most pervasive stereotypes about men. According to author Rick Dean, men do ask for directions, but only if it's for food, sleep or sex - men also need attention (lots and lots of it!), don't talk much (unless grunting counts), and certainly never change diapers! Livened up with colorful, cartoony illustrations and silly mini-checklists (such as "He noticed [] the blonde next door / [] my sister's chest / [] my best friend's butt / [] other ____"), Men Don't Pee Straight makes a great gag gift especially for long-suffering wives and girlfriends!

Helen Dumont

Klausner's Bookshelf

Love, Lust & Pixie Dust
Erica Ridley
Intrepid Reads
9780985455880, $8.99,

Daisy le Fey is an ambitious pixie who craves becoming a licensed Tooth Fairy. She has an opportunity to prove herself worthy with her first assignment to snatch the Angus tooth.

In the Costa Rican rainforest anthropologist Trevor Masterson leads an excavation that he knows must succeed; failure denotes no funding for future digs. He falls asleep with his face on the specimen tray only to abruptly awaken when he spots an unknown female with wings stealing his prize find a fossilized tooth that falls off his chin. He thinks she is a bespectacled Victoria's Secret model while she insists he go back to sleep or she will leave him no money. As Daisy tries to fly away with the tooth, Trevor tries to prevent her. One magical fumbled attempt after another leads to turning his T.A. Katrina into a smoking pumpkin and several kisses; Trevor and Daisy reconsider their respective life goals even as her superiors take action against her for her felonious behavior with a mortal.

The first Nether-Netherland romance is a fun lighthearted farce that lampoons the urban fantasy's relationships between humans and paranormal as the course of True Love flows uneven. Fast-paced, fans, who enjoy an amusing storyline that never takes itself seriously, will want to read this jocular frolic.

Free From Guilt
Pat Simmons
Lift Every Voice Books
9780802403896, $14.99,

Brilliant MIT graduate Cameron Jamieson completed ten generations of his family roots tracing his ancestry back to African royalty and to previously unknown Boston kin. However, his genius also leads him to question the simplistic embrace of God's love and offer of salvation by his entire St. Louis family except for the septuagenarian matriarch Beatrice "Grandma BB" Beacon, the terror of the city. Cameron accepts her belief that life is meant to enjoy today and worry about redemption far into the tomorrows.

Unlike Cameron who can quote scriptures, Gabrielle Dupree believes God comes first above all else. She prays that one day the Lord delivers to her a man of equal faith to share a love of one another and Jesus. Gabrielle and Cameron are attracted to one another at first sight. However, the strength of their polar opposite religious convictions places a relationship between them in peril as each struggle with love.

The latest Jamieson Legacy urban Christian inspirational (see Still Guilty, Guilty of Love and Not Guilty of Love) is a terrific contemporary romance with a fascinating triangle consisting of Cameron, Gabrielle and Jesus; Gabriele especially feels the tug on her heart and soul. As in the cousins' tales (see The Guilt Trip and Guilt by Association), genealogy plays a key supporting role enhancing the engaging storyline. Readers will appreciate this strong entry as temptation and God-fearing converge with Gabrielle knowing the right path is with Jesus but the damning alternate seems so good.

Greenwood and Archer
Marlene Banks
Lift Every Voice Books
9780802406217, $14.99,

In 1921 in Tulsa, taking advantage of the rage of the white community over a newspaper accusing black Dick Rowland of raping white Sarah Page, the racist White Glove Society screams for the lock up of all colored especially in the affluent Greenwood District. Their bigoted shrill wins causes a race riot in Greenwood leaving over 300 dead (see Son of a Preacherman).

Engaged couple, son of a preacher Billy Ray Matthias and oil heiress Benny Freeman are dismayed since the former's brother Ethan defended Rowland. Benny's ex-fiancee Jordan Franks returns; his dumping her turned her into a recluse until Billy Ray intervened. While believing God wants him to preach, Billy Ray prays for his beloved.

Federal agent DP Dooley believes the race riot affirms his rage with God. He vows to destroy the "Godly" White Gloves Society even as they gain new supporters. Ignoring immense pressure to lock up the colored, fervent racist Police Chief Jake Gilbert saw the Greenwood massacre first-hand. He joins with Dooley to end racial hate crimes in his city with support from the newly created Interdenominational Christian Clergy who wants God in everyone's life; while the Chicago mob sees an opportunity to expand their operation into Tulsa.

This is a powerful historical that looks deep at the aftermath of the Greenwood race riots. With a present day relevancy, the underlying irony of the tale is the diverse cast believes that God is on their side as so many invoke the Lord's name in defense of whatever they do. Besides a fabulous look at devastated 1921 Tulsa, Marlene Banks makes a case that claiming Jesus has your back is not soul-deep believing in Jesus.

The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book (Revised & Updated)
Brian James Freeman and Bev Vincent
Illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne
Cemetery Dance Publications
132-B Industry Lane, Unit 7
Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
9781587673153, $19.95,

Obviously for fans of the renowned author, the second edition adds new trivia questions involving King or his works (since the first was published in 2005) on top of the original compilation. Once again accompanying the questions are hints and ultimately the answers. His works are further broken down into separate chapters re the novels, novellas and short stories. Other chapters include his books written as Richard Bachman and the Dark Tower series. Finally, his movies, non-fiction endeavors and miscellaneous musings fill up additional segments of the lighthearted entertaining book. Mr. King's readers will fully enjoy this seemingly complete trivia homage that digs as deep anything you can find; for instance asking which Red Sox player had his name misspelled in The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and who Pedro Martinez's soul brother is?; even a Bronx Bomber can appreciate the author's Red Sox nation. The illustrations add eerie depth as well as posing additional trivia questions associated with them. Clearly aimed at Kingophiles like the SKEMERS (Stephen King E-MailERs) who along with other fan groups provided questions, casual fans of the author will also enjoy this fun book. Of course adding to the pleasure, this reviewer trounced her spouse.

The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book
Brian James Freeman, et al.
Cemetery Dance Publications
132-B Industry Lane, Unit 7, Forest Hill, Maryland 21050
9781587673115 (trade - $19.95)
9781587673122 (hardcover - $40.00)

Obviously for fans of the renowned author, this collection asks trivia questions involving fifty four movies based on Mr. King's works (including Bachman novels like The Running Man), his acting roles not all based on his novels (Nightriders), film sequels and the Dollar Babies (this is new for me; I would love a film festival of them). Each film is given its own chapter with numerous almost all multiple choice questions like whose name is on the bat Wendy used on Jack in the Shining and what cartoon show is Tad watching in Cujo? With over 1,000 questions (many of which were provided by fans) and numerous Glenn Chadbourne Illustrations taken from the movies, readers will enjoy this fun entertaining compilation.

Chance of a Lifetime
Jodi Thomas
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10014
9780425250525, $7.99,

In Texas, Tannon Parker visits the Harmony County Library to tell librarian Emily Tomlinson that his mom no longer recognizes him. She thinks back to when they were best friends growing up and on the high school newspaper together as juniors when the bloody tragedy ended their friendship fifteen years ago as he pushed her away. Like Tannon, Emily will go home alone, but unlike her former BFF she will write a fantasy piece on her journal about him holding her hand with a smile. When she visits his mom, he hopes they can at least be best friends again though he wants much more.

Not yet twenty-one, musician Beau Yates works gigs in town in places where he cannot drink. At the same time his estranged dad makes it clear to everyone that his son is a disgrace. His belated New Year's resolution is to have a girlfriend who likes him. He knows he is attracted to the mysterious Red but doubts she cares about him.

Recently, lawyer Rick Matheson has been beset by a series of accidents that he believes were deliberate as he wonders who wants him dead and why. He wonders if the sleazy clients that he defends are the cause. U.S. Marshal Trace Adams rides her bike into Harmony concealing her mission to protect Rick.

Rotating subplots, the latest Harmony drama (see Just Down the Road, The Comforts of Home and Somewhere Along the Way) is an engaging small-town Texas tale starring a charming ensemble cast. The cast makes fans feel Welcome to Harmony.

Take The Trophy & Run
Gail Sattler
B&H Publishing Group
127 Ninth Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37234-0143
9781433677298, $14.99,

In Bloomfield, BFFs crafts shop owner Amber Weathersby and mechanic Stan Wilson belong to the Bloomfield Garden Club though the former knows she is pathetic when it comes to growing things and expects to lose her membership even with his help. Her expertise is with creating crafts out of her store and arranging the Spring Fling Early Bloomer display in the winner's garden. As she does annually, she uses her gnome Gnorman to hold the trophy as the centerpiece in the winning garden. This year Gnorman wears Stan's sombrero as an added touch in Becky's garden.

Before Amber can receive the accolades due her for her wonderful arrangement, someone gnome-naps Gnorman and the trophy. Amber and Stan track the elusive Gnorman but the clues they follow seem crazy; almost as insane as the awareness of the deep attraction each of the two amateur sleuths feel for the other. As they continue their odd pursuit, Gnorman the gnome plays matchmaker between two BFFs in love.

Take The Trophy & Run is an enjoyable romantic comedic cozy starring two engaging protagonists supported by his mom Kathy and several other Bloomfield Garden Club members, and of course the elusive Gnorman (picture the gnome in a tux). Fast-paced fun, fans will appreciate this jocular whodunit as the detectives find love in Bloomfield.

Darkship Renegades
Sarah A. Hoyt
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781451638523, $14.00,

Kit the Jarl mule clone and the daughter of wealth Athena know they are fortunate to escape Earth and her past. They leave with a price on Thena's head are going to Eden to live together in love and peace. Instead they face treasonous charges as a powerful individual uses the duo as fodder to manipulate his way into becoming Eden's first dictator.

The couple accompanied by his sister mule Zen and another mule Doc Bartholomew team up with their mission to learn how to grow powertrees so that Eden no longer depends on harvesting earth tree powerpods, which as a byproduct will free the solar system. However, the quest starts badly when Kit is injured before they depart. Bartholomew tries a dangerous medical procedure to save his life. The method seemingly works, but as Kit recuperates, he increasingly does not behave like her beloved husband. Instead he has the memories of his "sire" Jarl re-engineered to rule Earth. With their mission on the brink of failure, Thena knows she must prevent the transformation of her husband and will do whatever it takes including killing him; while she also understands her only out if they do not succeed on their original mission is her death.

The second Darkship space opera (see Darkship Thieves) is an entertaining science fiction thriller that continues the adventures of Thena. There are too many reflective treatises by Thena that slow down the pace of the overall exciting storyline. However, these interludes also provide insight into the historical, political, economic, science and technology. Fans will enjoy traveling on a Darkship piloted by Athena and her mates exploring the believable Hoyt galaxy.

Rising Sun
Robert Conroy
9781451638516, $25.00

The attack on Pearl Harbor left America especially its Navy reeling in shock and dismay as much of the Pacific Fleet especially the vaunted battle ships were destroyed by the Japanese air assault. Still morale remains high fueled by a need for retaliation. In June 1942, anticipating a glorious victory the US Navy prepares to engage the enemy near Midway. However, before the prime sea battle, Japanese subs sink two American carriers (Enterprise and the Hornet) and their planes and crew. The Japanese Imperial Navy wins an overwhelming victory in the Battle of Midway.

Former assistant principal, Admiral Spruance's staffer Lieutenant Tim Dane survives the sinking of the Enterprise. At a hospital in Hawaii he meets civilian Nurse Amanda Mallard who is helping him recover from his injuries. Meanwhile the United States struggles to rebound from this pivotal defeat. The Japanese Army invade Alaska and the Navy blockades Hawaii. Admiral Yamamoto, who told the Emperor Japan cannot win the war, orders constant bombing of the American West Coast cities to try to end the hostilities by bringing the fighting to civilians, further crippling morale. As America fights back; Spruance adopts Dane proposal to fully take the war to Japan while the FBI investigates alleged enemy activity inside the country.

The latest Robert Conroy engaging alternative WWII military thriller (see Himmler's War) focuses on changing the outcome of a pivotal point due to an unfortunate plausible happenchance (if you are the Americans) at the Battle of Midway. However, the overarching premise feels similar to 1942 although that novel used Pearl Harbor as the change agent. Still readers will appreciate Rising Sun as Mr. Conroy brings his exciting version of the war.

Miss Dimple Suspects
Mignon F. Ballard
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250009678, $24.99,

During WWII in Georgia, first grade student Peggy Ashcroft vanishes in the nearby woods. The townsfolk conduct a search for the missing child. Peggy's teacher at Elderberry Grammar School Miss Dimple Kilpatrick joins the hunt, but takes a solo path. She finds Peggy but the child is too exhausted to travel far. Max the dog arrives and escorts the teacher and her student to the nearby farmhouse of reclusive Mae Martha Hawthorne and the artist's companion Suzu "Suzy" Amaya, who provide shelter to both females.

Several days later, someone murders Mae and steals her increasingly valuable paintings; Suzy is missing though she frighteningly contacts Miss Dimple as she fears mob anti-Japanese fever before vanishing in the middle of her call. She proves right when the locals fervently believe Suzy killed Mae Martha due to her Japanese roots. Not one to embrace ignorant racism, Miss Dimple, assisted by teachers Virginia and Charlie, search for Suzy and the art while a killer stalks the trio.

The latest Miss Dimple Mystery (see Miss Dimple Disappears and see Miss Dimple Rallies to the Cause) is a fun twisting WWII cozy that focuses on the home-front Japanophobia as much as the trio's inept investigation. Although the support cast seems too stereotyped, readers will appreciate Miss Dimple Suspects the paintings are the motive.

Illegally Iced
Jessica Beck
9781250001078, $7.99

In April Springs, North Carolina, friends Donut Hearts owner Suzanne Hart and town blacksmith James Settle are arguing. However, soon afterward someone stabs and kills James while the sun was up out in the open. Another shop owner Gabby Williams tells the police that she saw Suzanne fighting with James just before he died.

Police Chief Martin leads the investigation though he believes Suzanne is not the killer though many townsfolk do. Knowing her reputation and business are on the line, Suzanne and her BFF Grace Gauge begin their own inquiry especially wondering why no witnesses in a daylight public stabbing had come forth. They soon learn the victim was a wealthy heir and had issues with his ex-girlfriend.

The latest Donut Shop Mystery is an engaging amateur sleuth as the intrepid dynamic duo investigates who murdered their friend. This time suspicion rotates back to Suzanne who shared the prime suspect role in Killer Crullers and had the lead in Fatally Frosted; Grace was the suspect in Powdered Peril; the heroine's mom Dorothy in Drop Dead Chocolate; and ex-husband Max in Sinister Sprinkles. Readers will enjoy this entertaining regional culinary cozy as Suzanne knows it is her turn for her neighbors to wonder and gossip about whether she killed the blacksmith.

To Darkness and to Death
Julia Spencer-Fleming
9781250016065, $14.99

In New York, John Huggins of the Millers Kill Search and Rescue asks volunteer Episcopalian Priest Clare Fergusson to help look for a missing woman lost in the Adirondacks. The nine year Air Force veteran joins the team learning that the missing woman is twenty-six years old Millie van der Hoeven, who was staying at her brother's home for the past three months, but failed to return from a walk.

At about the same time, Millers Kill Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne feels guilt over falling in love with Revered Fergusson though he is married to Lindy, who lovingly has been at his side every step of the way for twenty-five years. Adding to his discomfort Lindy gives him a special rifle for his fiftieth birthday while he struggles to say the words I love you to her. The missing person's case leads to a homicide and a land deal going bad all within the Blue Line that demarcates the Adirondack State Park. As Russ and Clare team up once again, their feelings for one another remain deep, but both fears the first step because it means telling Lindy.

The reprint of the fourth entry in the Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne investigative series is a wonderful tale that provides an atmosphere of a small mountain town struggling with a deadly land deal. The lead couple remains an interesting pair in love, but trying not to hurt the kind innocent third party to their triangle. The whodunit is cleverly developed so that the storyline, like the roads in the area, serpentine around the mountain. The audience obtains a tense terrific thriller that builds up from one scenario to a different one until the final altercation.

The Italian Woman
Jean Plaidy
Touchstone Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
9781451686524, $16.00,

In Florence, her father Pope Clement VII arranges for his fourteen year old daughter Caterina de' Medici to marry the second son of the King of France, Prince Henry of Orleans; forcing her to leave behind her beloved Ippolito. That political marriage also broke the heart of Jeanne of Navarre who hoped to become Prince Henry's wife.

Patient but bitter, Caterina accepted the affronts by her husband and others in his circle who bowed to King Henry's beloved mistress Diane de Poitiers instead of the mother of his children. When Henry died, Queen Regent Caterina watches her ailing oldest son Francis become king. However, she prefers her second son hale Henry to replace his sick older brother on the throne in order to insure her dynasty. Jeanne, married to Antoine de Bourbon, supports the Huguenots as civil war breaks out in France with Caterina manipulating all sides to strengthen her family hold on the throne.

This reprint of the 1950s published middle historical in Jean Plaidy's Catherine Medici trilogy (see Madame Serpent) is an engaging sixteenth century French intrigue. Although the action feels tame compared to contemporary written historical biographic fiction (see The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner), fans will enjoy Ms. Plaidy's saga as the enjoyable storyline enables fans to understand what motivated the key rivals.

Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard
Meesha Mink
9781451688979, $14.99

Sophie "Suga" Alvarez and Daniel "Dane" Greenley met and fell in love while attending college. Though total opposites in outlook as she believed in hard work while he took the hustler's route, they became an entry. A few years after their first meeting, they remain a couple, but Suga, a junior account executive is disappointed on the path of their relationship. She wants to drop the "Y" in her status by becoming his wife Sophie rather than his wifey Suga. However, she also refuses to marry her beloved until he ends his loan shark career by going straight.

Dane swears to his Suga he will go legit, but his vow proves too late when the couple is arrested and appear heading to prison; her only escape is betraying her Dane. Suga's life is in turmoil, but more tsuris hammers her when she learns her father's felonious secrets and their impact on her relationship with BFF Luscious; and decides to run Dane's business.

The latest Real Wifey street lit is an exciting fast-paced urban noir as the wifey tries to prove a chip off the old man's block by taking control of her mate's loan shark operation. Although the overall premise is similar to the previous Lucious entries (see Real Wifeys: Get Money and Real Wifeys: On The Grind), Suga brings freshness with her seemingly off the streets' outlook. Fans will enjoy this gritty tale of an urban wifey turning cement jungle warrior.

The Forever Year
Lou Aronica
Fiction Studio Books
9781936558360, $15.95,

At eighty-three, Mickey Sienna lives alone in his New Jersey home ever since his beloved wife Dorothy died a few years ago. Mickey's four children worry about his living alone at his age, but do nothing until he doses off while making fried eggs, setting his kitchen on fire. The siblings discuss what to do. The three oldest want to move dad into assisted living while the youngest by twelve years Jesse wants his father to move in with him.

When threatened with the home, Mickey leaps at moving in with Jesse. The two men walk gingerly on eggshells as they struggle to find a middle ground and avoid a generation war. Mickey forces Jesse to bring his girlfriend Marina to him so he can meet her. He quickly realizes these two have a rare chance for a once in a lifetime love, but his son is a moron who thinks love eventually dies. Mickey relates the story of his one true love, not his spouse of fifty years though he loved her too. Will Jesse understand what he has before he loses it or is fatherly advice too late for a grown up son?

THE FOREVER YEARS is a reprint of a delightful family relationship drama with a wonderful romantic subplot. The story line is amusing yet poignant as Mickey struggles with his decreasing capacity and his adult children tussle with what is best for their beloved dad. Jesse is an enjoyable individual who is a mocking cynical Metro New Yorker (oxymoron?) as well as a nurturing person. Though Marina seems too perfect to be real, fans will appreciate Lou Aronica's enchanting and beautiful contemporary tale.

Dukkha: The Suffering
Loren Christensen
YMAA Publications
PO Box 480, Wolfeboro, NH 03894-0480
9781594392269, $12.99,

Portland Police Detective Sam Reed has been a cop for fifteen years but uses lethal force for the first time. A highly regarded martial arts instructor Sam is shook by his having to use his gun though the brass determined he performed an acceptable "good shoot." Still hurting, the department psychiatrist approves Sam to return to his duty. However, his karma proves horrific when within a few days of his return to active duty; he uses his gun again killing a perpetrator and a young innocent bystander. Looking at the blood that splattered all over him Sam mentally is shattered; made worse later is when he learns the dead man whose blood was soaked all over him and his marital arts wounds suffered from AIDS. His kill's family wants Sam dead.

Samuel visits Sam saying he is his father. Sam insists his dad died in a North Vietnamese prison camp many years ago. A martial arts expert, Samuel explains he has a Vietnamese family with his daughter Mai graduating from Portland State University.

The first Sam Reed martial arts thriller is an exhilarating tale in which violence begat violence as father and son find their reunion intruded by several avenging individuals targeting both men; fighting becomes a family affair. Fast-paced and filled with non-stop action (no respite for the Sam duet or the readers) though over top of Mount Hood, fans will enjoy this exciting Oregonian tale.

Goran Powell
YMAA Publications
PO Box 480, Wolfeboro, NH 03894-0480
9781594392535, $12.99,

Now retired from his job at the harbor, Kenichi Ota reflects back on the life of the late great karate Master Chojun Miyagi who died back in 1953 in his sixties. Kenichi recalls meeting the great man in 1933 when as a foolish young boy growing up on Okinawa he was caught in the tidal waves of a typhoon. Over the next few years Kenichi studied karate under the tutelage of his master Chojun as cold war hostilities between America and Japan grew until Pearl Harbor began the combat. The pair traveled together to China to study the essence of karate while WWII slowly turns against the Japanese. As the American military head to Okinawa to begin the invasion, the Japanese army drafts every able person to defend the island. Following the ignoble defeat, Master and Student must help their fellow Okinawans rebuild. Eight years later, the student begins to consider ways to save the reputation of a great man, teacher and friend.

Chojun is a refreshing WWII biographical fiction from the point of view of a karate student providing insight into the martial arts and the devastation of the war on his island through Kenichi's filter of his beloved Master. The karate fights are top rate and the lead protagonists seem fully developed caring individuals. However, it is Okinawa during and after the war that makes for a powerful historical thriller.

Ever After
Kim Harrison
Harper Voyager
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780061957918, $27.99,

Elf Trent Kalamack's top security expert, Quen Hanson wants to hire witch-demon Rachel Morgan to protect his employer so he can spend quality time with Ceri and their babies (Lucy and Ray). Though she knows she desperately needs the money, Rachel declines the offer due to her bi-polar history with the mogul.

The ley line Rachel created is rapidly eroding the demon Ever After realm. At the same time, Rosewood syndrome infected children start vanishing with Rachel as the only suspect after the ley line disaster; while an insane extremely powerful demon abducts Ceri and Lucy. With no choice, Rachel teams up with Trent and Quen to prevent the end of the demonic realm (and her life) and rescue the security expert's family while betrayal awaits their efforts.

The latest Hollows urban fantasy (see A Perfect Blood) is a great entry that series fans will relish as the transition to the end game countdown has begun. Filled with action and numerous exciting subplots containing a sense of pending doom (including Rachel's convoluted AFU personal life and insight into the demon-elf hostilities), the Hollows readers will enjoy this thriller.

Blood Money
James Grippando
9780062109842, $26.99

Miami defense attorney Jack Swyteck defends notorious nightclub waitress Sydney Bennett from the charge of murdering her two-year-old daughter Emma whose remains were found near the Everglades. The public overwhelmingly convicted Sydney of the homicide of her child.

When the verdict from the Vero Beach jury is not guilty, disbelief and anger overwhelm a stunned nation. Many hold Jack in contempt for getting the murdering mom off the hook. He receives threats and other forms of harassment while the media go on an ugly feeding frenzy. Near the jail where the acquitted Sydney is about to leave, a mob attacks college student Celeste Laramore, a Bennett look-alike leaving her comatose. The victims' irate parents blame the media especially BNN, who misidentified Celeste as Sydney on TV. They turn to Swyteck to represent them as they sue BNN who accuse the Bennett defense team of going after Hollywood and publishing Blood Money. As they and their loved ones are threatened, Jack and his crew begin to uncover a shocking truth behind the Blood Money.

Partly based on the Casey Anthony case, Blood Money is an action-packed legal thriller that spins in a shocking direction just after the early verdict. The latest Swyteck case (see Afraid of the Dark) grips the audience throughout as the trial aftermath proves dangerous to the lawyer and anyone close to him. Series fans will enjoy this entry as James Grippando condemns the media for seeking ratings over the truth.

Bernard Cornwell
9780061969676, $20.99

The war between the English and French on France soil continues unabated. However, in 1356 as the hostile forces prepare for bloody hand to hand combat at Poitiers, Black Friar Ferdinand allegedly steals La Malice from an old coffin. La Malice is the sword that Jesus ordered Peter to hide in the garden of Gethsemane and everyone wants Saint Peter's blessed blade as the legend is the person yielding this sword will rule.

Pursuing Ferdinand is Avignon papal enforcer Father Calade and his hooded hawk. The Earl of Northampton orders his mercenary Sir Thomas "La Batard" Hookton and his band to find Saint Peter's sword. Having just switched sides over payments due, Sir Thomas obeys the order leading his troop across France fighting his former allies, treacherous friends, and warlord hordes and duplicitous churchmen. At the same time major forces prepare for a bloody hand to hand combat at Poitiers with Sir Thomas and his mercenaries joining the deadly battle.

1356 continues the exciting epic medieval era escapades of Sir Thomas Hookton (see the Grail Quest: Archer's Tale, Vagabond and Heretic) as the pivotal battle of the Hundred Years War looms. Though the myriad of subplots never quite cohesively gel in spite of the various factions converging on Poitiers, historical fans especially of the Grail Quest series (though this is apparently a sidebar tale) will relish this deep at medieval combat with incredible bloody battle scenes as everyone wants to claim through la Malice that God supports their holy cause.

The Death of Bees
Lisa O'Donnell
9780062209849, $25.99

In Glasgow, fifteen year old Marnie Doyle comes home to find her father dead from suffocation inside the family house and her mother hung in the outdoor shed. Marnie tells her eleven year old sister Nelly. Neither wants foster care; so they agree to inter their negligent abusive parents Gene and Isabel in the yard and pretend the deceased are in Turkey until Marnie turns sixteen and can legally become her sibling's guardian. Knowing the druggies that Gene and Isabel are, everyone including Mick the ice cream vender drug dealer demanding payment from their dad buys the temporary abandonment belief.

Their lonely gay neighbor Lennie the "pervert" pariah realizes what is going on and begins feeding and sheltering the sisters. Meanwhile Mick finds the passports of his two missing customers so he knows something is not right. When Lennie's dog finds the buried bones, he reinters them in his yard. Finally the kids' estranged maternal grandfather Robert T. MacDonald visits his offspring seeking redemption from his daughter for abandoning her twice but is nasty towards his grandchildren. As their plan unravels, Marnie and Nelly also navigate school.

The Death of Bees is a fascinating relationship drama starring two young victims of parental neglect and abuse. The intriguing storyline rotates perspective between Lennie and the sisters so that the audience receives a more rounded view of events. Although Nelly's voice feels off key, readers who enjoy a gritty extended family Scottish street lit drama will appreciate redemption vs. abuse of two young sisters trying to shine brightly in a dark environs.

The Cove
Ron Rash
c/o HarperCollins
9780061804205, $14.99

The Cove lies near the Appalachian North Carolina village of Mars Hill. The villagers fear the Cove as a home for ghosts and fetches. Living near the Cove on the same farm where they grew up are the Shelton siblings. Due to a birthmark, locals ostracize Laurel as a witch who they believe belongs with the shadows of the Cove while her brother Hank has just returned from the front minus a hand. Thus working their family farm is almost impossible as no one will accept a job on land where Laurel Shelton resides.

While at the creek doing laundry, Laurel finds a severely injured Walter Smith, who suffered massive hornet stings. She heals the mute flutist and soon nurse and patient fall in love. At the same time, Army recruiter Chauncey Feith decides Walter is a dangerous adversary working for the Kaiser. An ultra-patriot, Chauncey, emboldened by alcohol, decides to take matters into his hand and eliminate the enemy threat to Mars Hill.

This late WWI drama is a deep atmospheric thriller that warns readers to beware of patriots who claim the flag belongs only to them and those who think the same way as they do. Anyone with a differing opinion is a traitor (mindful of Iraq circa 2003 with Congressional Representatives Ney and Jones changing House cafeterias' French fries to freedom fries). The Shelton pair and Smith are fascinating fully developed characters while the townsfolk represent uneducated superstitious rural folks; with Feith over the top of Mount Mitchell as a super-patriot flag waiving stereotype. Readers will enjoy Ton Rash's strong look at the home front during WWI.

Scent of Magic
Maria V. Snyder
Mira Books
c/o Harlequin
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780778314189, $14.95,

Everyone believes that the last known healer Avry of Kazan is dead after saving the life of King Tohon's strongest adversary Prince Ryne from the plague that devastated the Fifteen Realms (see Touch of Power). However, she and Kerrick of Alga, who saved her life when her villagers decided to execute her, go on separate missions though both share the BHAG of preventing evil Tohon from ruling in terror over the Fifteen Realms.

In disguise as she knows there are plenty of people who want her dead starting with General Jael, Avry joins the forces of Tohon's enemy High Priestess Estrid as a troop instructor in silent movements; unaware that Tohon has created new invincible soldiers who are already dead. She also plans to reconcile with her sister who is on Jael's staff.

Prince Ryne sends Kerrick to the wilds north of Alga to investigate whether the barbarians are invading his realm as rumored. A pact signing with Tohon by his brother leaves a stunned Kerrick left with too small a force to repel the invading northerners; let alone protect his Alga Realm from the duplicitous ruler.

The second Healer fantasy is a strong thriller with plenty of military and political intrigue. The Snyder Realm feels real partly because the romance between Avry and Kerrick remains muted as the focus is on the seemingly upcoming war; for the most part they are apart. The storyline is fast-paced switching subplots (and locals) at times to abruptly, but fans will relish the further adventures of Kerrick and Avry as they battle the malevolent minion of Tohon the terrible.

The Silence of the Llamas
Anne Canadeo
Gallery Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781451644791, $15.00,

Married a few years, Bostonians Ellie and Ben Krueger leave successful careers to open up the Laughing Llama Farm just outside a New England coastal village, Plum Harbor. They host a grand opening fiber festival to introduce their llamas to their neighbors. However, someone maliciously attacks the llamas with a paintball gun. Black Sheep Knitting Shop assistant Phoebe Myers sees the effect on the llamas and brings help, but not before Buttercup suffers a head trauma and seizure. The Krueger tenant Dot takes charge with washing the paint off the llamas as they were becoming sick from the toxin on their skin.

Ben blames reclusive nutcase Justin Ridley, who expects the newcomers to flip the property to developers once the legal date to sell occurs. Black Sheep Knitting Shop owner Maggie Messina suspects Angelica Rossi, as the vandal since the owner of the alpaca fiber Sweet Meadow Farm has been spreading negative rumors about llama fiber. The culprit stabs to death sweet llama Daphne followed by the homicide of Ridley. As the Black Sheep knitters investigate the murders, the killer remains hidden in plain sight like a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The latest Black Sheep Knitting Mystery (see Till Death Do Us Purl) is an enjoyable amateur sleuth mystery with the members investigating because of the friendship between Dana and Ellie (reunited thanks to Facebook); the other Knitters welcome the newcomer as a kindred spirit. The storyline is fast-paced from the first assault until the final confrontation with two fabulous twists while also providing insight into fiber spinning. Although the knitters' reason to make inquiries remains soft in spite of the friendship and love of animals, fans will appreciate The Silence of the Llamas.

A Home Called Your Own: A Journey Across Six Generations
Steve Hanna
Riverview Press
1710 N 12th Street, Boise, ID 83702
9780985740399, $15.00,

In one week, Steve Hanna was to leave Baker City, Oregon to attend school as an exchange student in Madrid. His dad tells him, his younger brother and their mom the story of their ancestors the Belohlavy family who sent one member married Vaclav, who left behind his pregnant wife, from Nepomuk, Bohemia to American over a hundred-twenty five years ago. Vaclav did send for his wife and during WWII, Great Uncle Leonard tried to visit them but was shot by Nazis. Now dad wants his oldest son to fulfill the Pact by visiting the Bohemian descendants. Steve prefers to enjoy Spain, Morocco and Europe, but not visit in a remote village in the Czech Republic to fulfill the family Pact handed down through generations. He ignores the Pact at first, but eventually seeks his roots.

This is an intriguing memoir that has at its heart the captivating late nineteenth century Pact though most of Mr. Hanna's European adventure has nothing to do with the family odyssey. Still his time in Spain and elsewhere is interesting (especially to students and parents) as he showcases the good, the bad and the ugly of being an exchange student in a foreign land. However, it is the Pact that makes this a fascinating read.

Gillian Philip
Strident Publishing
9781905537198, $8.40,

The Veil separates the world of humans from that of the Sithe. Because of the radical different life spans, the underlying philosophies of the two species are polar opposites. The humans' strongest value is fear of anything odd or new as change threatens their possessions even those with nothing. On the other hand the Sithe's most significant value is trust of one another regardless of station as ages of living together require belief that those in your community have your back.

The unthinkable happens when Sithe Queen Kate NicNiven has plans to destroy the Veil and subjugate the humans under her rule. To do this she must eliminate her most powerful opponent Lord Griogair MacGregor. When Griogair is assassinated, his two sons (Seth and Conal) flee to the mortal realm. They vow to return one day to claim their inheritance, but first the siblings must avoid the human witch-hunt at a time when Restoration divisive fervor has savage Scotland in a deadly turmoil.

This is a strong historical fantasy in which two mythical siblings struggle to survive as strangers in a strange hostile land. The key to this engaging storyline is that the Sithe society seems genuine with its construction built from the premise of the species' longevity. The plot accelerates once the brothers cross the Veil and find themselves held in suspicion by just about everyone while stalked by cleansing fanatics on both sides of the restoration fight. Readers will appreciate the first Rebel Angels thriller wondering why the Queen wants to conquer the pathetic race on the other side of the Veil.

Saving Each Other: A Mother-Daughter Love Story
Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy
Vanguard Press
c/o Perseus Books Group
11 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
9781593157333, $25.99,

In 2008 Ali Guthy complained to her parents that her eyes hurt. Her mom, cosmetic giant Victoria Jackson took her to the doctor where they learned the daughter suffered from incurable Neuromyeltis Optica (NMO), a rare disease that has struck 20,000 people around the world. With the full support of her husband infomercial marketing guru Bill Guthy and their two sons, Victoria, applying her business model, began a campaign with one goal: save the life of Ali. Knowing her family loves her and her them, Ali tries to keep their morale up with a Pollyanna attitude.

Saving Each Other is an inspirational memoir that mostly focuses on a Mother-Daughter Love Story, but also to a lesser degree on the supportive love by the three males as this family bonded into a caring cohesive team in reaction to something bad happening to one of them. To their credit mother and daughter may have customized their anguish as the only sufferers in the world, but soon realized there are others out there so formed a foundation to help each other, their family and others. Though it affirms that affluence and influence considerably helps, this is a well written memoir as saving Ali becomes the prime obsession of her family especially her mother who switches immediately "From Mascara to Medicine."

The Lawyer's Lawyer
James Sheehan
Center Street
c/o Hachette Publishing Group
237 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017-0010
9781455508662, $22.99,

In 1993, University of North Central Florida at Oakville student Stacey Kincaid claims a man tried to kill her. She works with local and county detectives especially Danni Jansen of OPD and the FBI to draw a sketch of her attacker. Soon afterward the police arrest Thomas Felton. Not long after that Felton is convicted as a serial killer who eight years later sits on death row awaiting execution once his appeals end for murders he swears he did not commit.

To defend him, Felton supporters turn to retired Miami trial attorney Jack Tobin because the latter is considered the "lawyer's lawyer" by the best of the profession when they need legal representation. He looks into the case and finds odd anomalies that make him wonder if Felton is a fall guy. Tobin decides to leave Bass Creek to represent Felton in court. However, Robin is unprepared for the brouhaha of rage against him by the jurisprudence system as if justice is an inconvenience. The citizens of Oakville threaten him and even his soul mate condemns him though she has a personal interest in this case; while the lawyer's lawyer soon finds he needs a lawyer.

The latest Jack Tobin legal thriller (see The Mayor of Lexington Avenue and The Law of Second Chances) is a great tale filled with stunning twists in and out of courtroom. The storyline is fast-paced from start to finish, but it is the cast who make this a winner as many of those in law enforcement and the legal system are angered with Tobin for mounting a competent defense when almost all of them prefer the State execute Felton.

The Sound of Broken Glass
Deborah Crombie
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780061990632, $25.99,

Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan and DCI Gemma James Kincaid plan a weekend of fun with their foster child Kit and their two younger children. They enjoyed Friday night Pizza, but Saturday morning, Gemma's subordinate DS Melody Talbot informs her they have a homicide in which a naked bound man is found at the Belvedere in Crystal Palace. While Duncan watches the kids, Gemma leads the investigation.

The victim is highly regarded barrister Vincent Arnott, who while tied up was strangled to death in this dive of a hotel. Not long afterward, the corpse of a second barrister, murdered in the same manner is found. Besides the M.O., other evidence points to the same killer. Gemma and Melody soon link these homicides to a lethal encounter between two lonely people, a young male teen and a grieving widow teacher, fifteen year ago in Crystal Palace.

The latest James and Kincaid British police procedural (see No Mark Upon Her, Necessary As Blood and Kiss A Sad Goodbye) is a super entry as flashbacks interweave deftly with the present day investigation. The police inquiry engages the reader as Gemma and Melody take the lead in that subplot; while the marital relationship and the kids show the caring gentler sides of the Kincaid couple. Series fans will enjoy this fine whodunit.

Uses for Boys
Erica Lorraine Scheidt
St. Martin's Griffin
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250007117, $9.99,

Anna loved life with her single mom when she constantly would ask the "tell-me-again times" and be reassured that her mother only wanted a single girl, her. However, when she turned eight, Anna learns she is too old for fairy tales as her mom seeks her next husband. Deserted in plain sight in a world she no longer understands, Anna proves a chip off the maternal block as she obsesses over a psychological need to belong. She uses sex to make boys her surrogate family. A boy rapes her and she drops out of school to the taunts of slut from her peers. Still a teen, Anna moves in with her latest boyfriend. Anna meets and envies Toy, whose boys are much nicer than those in her life. When she meets Sam and his family, Anna knows what she wants in life is not the Uses of Boys, but the love of a caring "tribe" like she once had when she was very young with her mom.

This is a deep decade in the life of a child-teen using an inner strength to survive her feelings of maternal abandonment. Anna is a wonderful individual who goes from adored child to surviving slut to caring about people. Readers, especially teens, will appreciate Anna's captivating coming of age tale realizing the importance of looking past derogatory labels into the heart and soul of others.

A Breath Of Scandal
Elizabeth Essex
St. Martin's
9781250003805, $7.99

In December 1814 in Sussex, Antigone Preston attends her Papa's funeral but has no time to mourn his loss because on that same day her Mama informs her that she arranged for her to marry to wealthy Lord Aldridge who is three times her age. Refusing to be a sacrificial lamb, Antigone needs a scandal to turn Aldridge away from her. At a gala, she punches and knocks down Aldridge for all to see. Her reputation is shattered.

At the same ballroom where Antigone let her fists do her talking, Navy Captain William Jellicoe enjoys her bodacious antics and is attracted to her. As this son of an earl and the female boxer become an entry, they scandalize London with their escapades.

The latest Reckless Brides Regency romance (see Almost a Scandal) is an entertaining historical due to the antics of the refreshing heroine. Fast-paced and amusing from the first punch until the final kiss, fans will enjoy A Breath Of Scandal.

Live And Let Love
Gina Robinson
St. Martin's
9780312542412, $7.99

CIA agent Con Russo goes undercover in Orchard Bluff, Washington to obtain information on RIOT's top assassin Rooster before he kills the enemy operative. However, Con has a major problem in the small town that could expose his identity to the Rooster. His wife Willow, who thought he died two years ago in an explosion in Ciudad when he was Jack Pierce, resides there. She is unaware that Rooster set the blast.

Though his face is radically different, Willow believes Con Russo is her husband Jack Pierce as no one has his eyes, Spookie recognizes him, and her heart tells her so. Willow vows to learn the truth using seduction as a weapon of choice. Rooster begins to wonder if his friend Willow is right that Con Russo is her husband Jack Pierce. Not willing to take chances, Rooster plans to kill Con and Willow.

The latest Agent Ex espionage romance (see Diamonds Are Truly Forever) is an action-packed thriller with a unique triangle consisting of an assassin, a terrorist and a widow. The storyline deftly combines tension and jocularity in a fast-paced fun tale.

The Two Week Wait
Sarah Rayner
St. Martin's Griffin
9781250021489, $15.99

In Brighton, Lou and Sofia are a happy couple residing in the B&B owned by the former's mother. Lately Lou has had bladder issues so she accompanied by her partner go for tests where she learns she has a large fibroid cyst on her womb. Lou undergoes surgery to have the nonmalignant tumor removed.

In Yorkshire, Cath survived a cancer scare but at the cost of becoming infertile. She wants desperately to give her caring husband Rich an offspring. Investigating alternatives Cath thinks the costly egg sharing procedure is the best choice though there is no guarantee of success; as the child will have Rich's DNA and that of another female.

Lou wants to be a mother too though Sofia detests the idea of raising a child. Investigating options, Lou believes the egg sharing concept is the way to go as she could share motherhood with another woman. Soon the dreams of Lou and Cath will converge.

The Two Week Wait is a fascinating look at how individuals share the same life-changing desires though seemingly polar opposites (especially when it comes to their respective sexual orientation); Cath and Lou share the same dream of motherhood. Although the character driven storyline can slow down at times due to the deep look at the emotions of the lead two women, fans will respect both females (and Sarah Rayner) while relishing their angst-laden efforts to become mothers.

Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady
Tiffany Clare
St. Martin's
9781250008022, $7.99

In 1846 three rakes (an earl, a marquess and a duke) attend the funeral of the abusive Earl of Fallon. Thus Leoniadas, Tristan and Hayden show up not out of friendship to the deceased, but as a show of support to the SOB's financially broke widow Lady Jezebel. Jez asks the rogues for a favor as she wants them to prevent a marriage between the abusive next Fallon and the naive Lady Charlotte Lindsay as she does not wish the innocent to end up like she did. Willing to do anything for their friend, each knows the best plan to thwart unholy matrimony is to compromise the daughter of Lord Ponsley.

Four years ago Leo Harrow deserted his beloved Genevieve Camden. Since he dumped her, she swore off marriage and love while accepting the role of poor relation. Her uncle demands Genny act with propriety especially while chaperoning her cousin Charlotte or face the street. Leo and Genny see each other across a ballroom; plans are shattered as the pair only has eyes for each other but she distrusts her beloved who broke her heart.

The first Dangerous Rogues Victorian romance is an entertaining second chance at love historical with a strong lead couple and a solid support cast who add depth to this storyline and appears to set up the future entries. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady while wondering who will pair up in the future tales while hopefully also clarifying the mystery of the enigmatic Dowager Jez.

The Dead Shall Not Rest
Tessa Harris
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
NY, NY 10018-2522
9780758266996, $15.00,

In 1782 at the Oxfordshire annual spring fair, Lady Lydia Farrell asks her betrothed American Dr. Thomas Silkstone to examine attraction eight-foot-tall Charles "Irish Giant" Byrne. The anatomist concludes that Byrne is dying. Not wanting to be a dissected freak in death especially after learning that unscrupulous Dr. John Hunter plans on grave robbers snatching his body, Byrne arranges his burial at sea; Thomas vows to insure the man's wishes are met.

In London, someone removed the larynx from Signor Cappelli after murdering the castrato. Because of his unsavory grave-robbing reputation and the surgical precision, Hunter becomes the prime suspect though he swears he is innocent. His rival Silkstone believes the anatomist is innocent so in spite of his preference to see the amoral doctor sent to the gallows, he investigates the homicide.

The second Dr. Thomas Silkstone mystery (see The Anatomist's Apprentice) is an outstanding late eighteenth century whodunit. The investigation is top rate with clever clues and anchored by a strong sense of time and place; for instance Byrne and Hunter were real persona and grave-robbing was a thriving occupation as the opening transaction depicts. The Dead Shall Not Rest is a fabulous historical investigative thriller.

Fear Collector
Gregg Olsen
9780786020461, $7.99

"Fear Collector." Ted Bundy rots in hell, but his vile legacy macabrely lives on in the minds of his victims' loved ones. Grace Alexander grew up in the shrine of her vanished older sister Tricia as her parents never let go of the belief she was a Bundy dead. They assigned her a life mission as a baby to learn what happened to Tricia. She joined the Tacoma police department and married a Fed. Currently Grace and her TPD partner Paul Bateman investigate several missing girls who physically look very similar to each other. They find the corpse one of the vanished females, but also find the older remains of a person nearby who may have been a Bundy murder. Peggy Howell passed her version of the Bundy legacy to her son Jeremy: his life mission is to surpass the body count of her beloved hero.

"The Bone Box." Tommy Freeland sends a note to his cousin Kitsap County, Washington forensic psychologist Dr. Birdie Waterman. Two decades as a teen, her testimony helped convict him of murder. She visits him at prison where he swears he is innocent. Tommy begs his cousin to investigate. Birdie finds the townsfolk resent her while some fear she will uncover hidden secrets.

Filled with a strong obsessed cast of survivors and an insane groupie, and terrific twists, the Fear Collector is a taut suspenseful thriller that focuses on two interpretations of the Bundy legacy, which makes the rotating storyline feel like a fast-paced true crime tale. Though a late spin seems over the top of Mount Rainier, The Bone Box is an enjoyable cold case short story starring a haunted heroine who learns the truth about telling the truth.

Easter Bunny Murder
Leslie Meier
9780758229359, $25.00

Residents of Tinker's Cove, Maine, enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt hosted by elderly Vivian Van Vorst at her Pine Point. Pennysaver reporter Lucy Stones loves to cover the fun event for the paper. However, when Lucy and other townsfolk arrive at Pine Point, they are shocked by the closed gates as no one can remember when the estate was not open for the gala. Before anyone can decide what to do next, as concern for the hostess rises; the Easter Bunny rushes out of the mansion staggering erratically towards the gates. To the horror of the witnesses especially the children he collapses before reaching it.

The Easter Bunny, VV's grandson and heir Duff, dies before reaching the hospital. Lucy wonders if Duff was a murder victim or just died because his time ran out. She increasingly considers the death a homicide when she learns that VV recently became a recluse; as the vivacious town matriarch has always been outgoing. Though the cause has not been determined, Lucy thinks the only motive seems to be money as Duff was the heir.

The latest Lucy Stone mystery (see Chocolate Covered Murder and The Christmas Thief in A Winter Wonderland anthology) is an entertaining cozy. The heroine investigates though admits to herself Duff may have died of natural causes but the journalist remains vigilant in her inquiry as she knows her friend VV has been acting differently. The enjoyable storyline is fast-paced with a solid twist that turns the Easter Bunny Murder into an engaging family affair.

Mollie Cox Bryan
9780758266323, $7.99

Mike and Annie Chemovitz agreed she would quit her investigative reporter job at the Washington Herald to become a stay at home mom to their two sons Ben and Sam. The Chemovitz quartet relocated to Cumberland Creek, Virginia where she becomes a Cropper of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Club and she still free-lances occasionally for the paper as she did with the Maggie Rae Dasher death (see Scrapbook of Secrets).

The police drag a corpse out of the Cumberland Creek River. Detective Brant points out to Annie that the deceased had strange markings on her body. Meanwhile Cookie Crandall the witch joins the scrapbookers' club though she insists she lacks any experiences; she quickly becomes friends with the members. Another homicide with runes on the body occurs. When Brant names Cookie as the only suspect due to the arcane markings and her being a witch, Annie supported by the Croppers investigate. However, every clue they dig up leads to digging a bigger hole for Cookie; especially when they find an advanced-level, elaborately decorative spiritual scrapbook that a rookie could never have done.

The latest Cumberland Creek Mystery is an enjoyable whodunit starring a strong protagonist (Annie's reaction to the first corpse sets the tone for the storyline). Fast-paced, readers will wonder who Cookie is and why she is in town in Mollie Cox Bryan's entertaining investigative tale.

Death Goes Postal
Rosemary and Larry Mild
Magic Island Literary Works
9780983859710, $14.95,

In 2004 in Bath, England, Professor Emil Kravitz believes the "old mule" is in his way. Kravitz wants the Herr Koenig's fifteenth century typesetting molds. He visits Professor Abner Fraume to demand the octogenarian hand them over to him, but the old mule refuses; having hid the valuable relics and sent three letters to his sister Edythe Bender in the States as to there whereabouts. Raging out of control Kravitz kills the man standing in his way.

In Annapolis, Maryland Edythe and her husband are ailing so they need to sell their Olde Victorian Bookstore, but refuse to do it to just anyone. They want someone who appreciates old books and will treat the bookstore's live-in cat Lord Byron with kindness; so she choose their friends Dan and Rivka Sherman. At a book event, employee Liz Nathan mentions the letters, which apparently lead to a break-in and the kidnapping of Rivka; as one of the attendees must be obsessed Kravitz.

Death Goes Postal is a terrific bookstore mystery that is ironically made fresh by the six centuries old typesetting artifacts. The whodunit is fun to follow as readers, Dan and the Feds believe Kravitz is behind the dangerous crimes, but do not know who in the mystery writer's club he is (though you would think that would be relatively easy to find out). Fans will appreciate this engaging whodunit as the infant days of printing meets the on demand digital age.

A Love Untamed
Pamela Palmer
Avon Books
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062107510, $7.99,

Once he was Kieran the Therian, but now he has become the latest rendition of Fox. He was the only one of the new shapeshfting Feral Warriors who did not attack the team veterans (see Ecstasy Untamed). Still as the rookie, Fox needs to prove as much to himself as his teammates he belongs as their equal in their endless war against the evil Daemons.

He is assigned teaming with Melisande the Ilena warrior who loathes shapeshifters. Expecting his teammate to be like all females wanting him, Fox is stunned by her hatred and distrust of him. As he begins to defrost the ice warrior, they become snared inside a daemon mage trap. Working together to escape before time runs out on them, Melisande and Fox find love and trust as the keys to freedom.

The latest exciting Feral Warriors romantic urban fantasy (see Rapture Untamed) is an enjoyable entry as two warriors, a newcomer and a shapeshifter hater, pair up. The storyline is fast-paced but has a somewhat deja vu feel with the couple falling into a spirit trap. Still series fans will appreciate this tale as only love can save the lives of the Feral and Ilena Warriors.

Wild About You
Kerrelyn Sparks
9780062107718, $7.99

Head of security for Romatech Angus McKay notes Howard Barr the were-bear is missing in Alaska. Five year old Constantine Dragonesti says Howard has videos he conceals from everyone that reveals he has a crush on Amazon Elsa Bjornberg of the International Home Wreckers TV Show.

In Alaska Howard looks over the cliff where his human girlfriend Carly was murdered by Rhett Bledlyn twenty years ago. Howard was exiled for killing Bledlyn in order to keep the werewolves from overwhelming the much smaller were-bear population; but recently he learned Rhett lives so he came home. With allies, he deploys operation three little pigs destroying two of Rhett's houses and distributing his illegal offshore money to his enemies, endangered villages and charities.

Elsa will work with Howard to renovate a house. When Howard's hand touches Elsa's shoulder birthmark, both burn. Stunned she tells her Aunt Greta that the curse was activated. Greta and Aunt Ula arrive to protect their niece from Howard the berserker. Howard and Elsa discuss family curses as his family lives if the guardian of the forest dies; while the guardian lives if the berserkers die. Soon weres, vampires and guardians will converge on the Adirondacks.

The latest Love at Stake romantic urban fantasy (see Wanted: Undead or Alive) builds off the deft comingled curses turning the strong lead couple into star-crossed lovers. The good, the bad and the misinformed support cast enhances the engaging storyline. Although the confrontation seems weak, readers will enjoy the twisted love story of Howard the bear and his amazon.

Jay Lake
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765326775, $27.99,

In Copper Downs, sixteen year old Green realizes her pregnancy especially the last month was a dull affair having been a courtesan, an assassin, a God creator and the killer of an Immortal. Breaking custom by delaying the naming ceremony for one week after giving birth to twins, Green and the sire of her babies Speto complete the rite praying for a long life under the protection of Endurance for their children Marya and Federo.

Feeling guilty for the changes she wrought to her friends in Copper Downs, Green feels strongly she must sail across the Storm Sea to Kalimpura in search of the kidnapped child of Ilona stolen by Bittern Court diplomats (see Endurance). However, she knows the voyage is too dangerous for her babies but fears leaving them behind as they will be vulnerable to the Copper Downs' deities who would claim them (and her) as theirs or sacrifice them and even distrusts Ilona to keep them safe. Making matters more difficult for her is Green knows the Kalimpura Gods and the Bittern Court likewise demand the blood of her and her newborns.

Green's latest awesome adventures showcase how far she has come since Endurance as she returns to Kalimpura, the Bittern Court and the Lily Goddess in search of the abducted child. The storyline is much more reflective (and consequently less action) than in Green and Endurance (even with the latter's overly long soliloquies). Fans will enjoy the heroine's struggle to keep her twins safe and keep a promise to Ilona but must breach yet avoid capture by the Bittern Court who she knows has plans for the slayer of the Immortal Duke.

Imager's Battalion
L.E. Modesitt Jr.
9780765332837, $27.99

Quaeryt's brother-in-law, the ruler of Telaryn Lord Bhayar, names him subcommander in the army that is about to punish Bovaria for its recent annexation invasion of their kingdom as part of an effort to unite the five squabbling nations into what it once was as Lydar. Realizing the opportunity to prove the value of imagers like him, Quaeryt logically plans to display leadership, courage, worthiness and loyalty when he takes his unit into combat so that he and his peers become accepted by society as heroic rather than the pariahs they currently are.

However, Quaeryt's obsession costs the lives of many of his troops in battle yet accomplish little in terms of acceptance. Even with the heroics performed by him and his soldiers, the anti-Imager adversaries at Lord Bhayar's court and in the military continue their unrelenting assault on Quaeryt and his Imager peers.

The latest Imager Portfolio fantasy (see Princeps and Scholar) is a fascinating tale as brilliant Quaeryt learns that his rational thinking does not mean others will do likewise regardless of what he and his unit achieve. Though there is limited action considering this is a military thriller, series fans still will enjoy the thought provoking concepts generated mostly by a hero with a deep need to belong.

Truancy City
Isamu Fukui
Tor Teen
9780765322630, $19.99

The City continues to be divided between the tyrannical Educators and the rebellious Truants. Neither side is prepared to end the conflict as Educators backed by their deadly Enforcers refuse to give up the power of centrally controlling what is learned; while many of the Truants believe the only way to obtain the freedom to think is to overthrow the ruling oligopoly through bloodshed. Thus the Educators and the Truants share in common a dogma that they are totally right and their enemy totally wrong.

While in-fighting continues unabated with the adversaries entrenched, a third party sees an opportunity to take over the City. Unless the Educators and the Truants can unite against a common foe, both will be eliminated.

The third Truancy thriller (see Truancy and Truancy Origins) is an exciting climax that takes an external spin to Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall." Extremists on both sides reject compromise even with a new threat that endangers both groups. Character driven by reflective rotating leads among the ensemble cast, fans will appreciate this thought provoking tale wondering what will happen to the City.

The K Street Affair
Mari Passananti
Rutland Square Press
58 West Rutland Square; Boston, MA 02118
9780985894603, $15.99,

Terrorists simultaneously attack several Washington, D. C. Metro stations in the worst assault on American soil since 9/11. While her husband cannot get home, FBI Agents Henry Redwell and Maxwell Van Buren visit Rutledge & Smerth junior associate lawyer Lena Mancuso at her house. The Feds demand Lena assist them prove their case against disgraced lobbyist William Acheson and her employer Q. Randolph Smerth who leads a team she is on defending the former in court. The agents insist the pair knew the terrorist attack was coming and want her to be their informant proving bribery and money laundering involving Smerth and his Clearwater clients Acheson, Russian oil baron Korov and future Saudi ruler Prince Aziz.

Though she insists Smerth is no terrorist abettor, she reluctantly agrees to help the Feds. However, Lena soon realizes the FBI is clueless as to how dangerous and humongous the international octopi of Lotus a "blocker company on steroids" truly are when it comes to profiting from tax free war.

The K Street Affair is a superb financial legal thriller starring a woman whose life is devastated when the Feds knock on her door to recruit her as an undercover operative. Lacking ambition as partnership is not a goal she wants to sacrifice her life for, Lena seems like a poor Hail Mary choice to save the country (and other nations) from a deadly global corporacy. Fans will enjoy this taut tale wondering whether this apparently average person has the guts to risk her life and those of her loved ones to prevent an insider takeover of the country when the impact on her would be insignificant at best.

Private London
James Patterson and Mark Pearson
Grand Central Publishing
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10017
9781455515554, $14.99,

In Southern California, Private International's top gun Jack Morgan saved the life of Hannah Shapiro though she witnessed her mother's assault. Shook by her near death experience, Hannah attends classes at Chancellors University in London. Her affluent father hires Private International to protect his daughter. Jack assigns Private London's Dan Carter to keep her safe.

However, someone abducts Hannah to Dan's chagrin. He desperately searches for her while his former wife Detective Inspector Kirsty Webb works on a case involving the serial kidnaping, rape and organ stealing of young healthy women in which Hannah may be in the queue for harvesting of her body parts.

The latest Private investigative thriller (see Private Berlin) is an engaging tale that is at its best when the focus is on saving Hannah though she seems more jinxed than Joe Btfspik of Li'l Abner fame. When the plot goes internationally big, it loses plausibility especially trying to merge the ex-spouses' respective inquiries into one. Still fans will enjoy touring England with Private London as our guide.

Cover of Snow
Jenny Milchman
Ballantine Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor
New York, NY 10019
9780345534217, $26.00,

In Wedeskyull, New York, owner of the Phoenix house restoration business Nora and police officer Brendan Hamilton are happily married. Deeply in love, she awakens to find him hanging by an old rope from the ceiling. Officials rule it suicide which his mother Eileen accepts without a second thought.

However, Nora rejects the ruling as she believes her beloved spouse would not have killed himself especially after a night of lovemaking both enjoyed. She investigates but the cops, his family and the remote Adirondack villagers refuse to cooperate. Still even with the silence she receives, Nora finds allies in her sister, autistic Dugger Mackenzie and reporter Ned Kramer as she uncovers strange behavior by her late husband. He obtained sedatives which would explain why she slept very late as he drugged her so she would not interrupt him and she learns of his brother's death twenty-five years ago though she cannot quite connect the demises of the siblings.

The key to this taut psychological thriller is the cast including the isolated mountain village which seems genuine whether it is the grieving heroine seeking answers, the locals warning her to back off, or her few supporters helping her learn the truth. Atmospheric, fans will enjoy this low key suspense as a bewildered Nora narrates her tale in a town with a whispered dark history.

When You're Desired
Tamara Lejeune
Zebra Books
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
New York, NY 10018-2522
9781420123913, $6.99,

In 1817, widower Lord Dorian and his brother Lord Simon a soldier discuss a play starring notorious actress Cecilia St. Lyrs. Simon hates her while Dorian likes her. Their mom invited wealthy Sir Lucas Tinsley and his daughter Lucasta to join them. After the show, Lucasta, Dorian and his mom visit Cecilia while Simon talks to Prinny about business with Lucas. Lucas tells Simon he will ignore Prinny's debt to him if he retrieves a necklace he gave to Cecilia because she failed to sleep with him. She plans to sell the necklace to raise money for the Foundlings Home.

Cecilia informs Simon she chose the late Armand over him because the Frenchman offered marriage. Irate Simon demands she choose sex with Lucas or return the necklace. She chooses sex. Cecilia tells Dorian she will never be his mistress as she used to sit on his knees when she was a child. Dorian is shocked as she is Sarah Hartley who lived with their family years ago. His mom said she died while he was away; he even visited her grave. Instead she was sent to Ireland as a teen to wed an odious man. As Dorian vows to protect her, he cuts off his mom shocking his sibling who still loves his brother's "mistress".

This entertaining late Regency romance stars an interesting heroine, an angry lead male and a strong fully developed support cast. The theatre provides a nice backdrop. Although the Dowager Duchess' actions seem inane several years ago but much more so in the present as if she did not expect her sons to talk, fans will enjoy this engaging second chance at love historical.

The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright
Rea Nolan Martin
WiaWaka Press
c/o Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9780557074952, $25.00,

In Canaan, New Jersey, sixty-three year old beautician Vera Wright and her husband Monk attend services at the Church of St. Jude the Apostle as they do every Sunday. Father Max Alter's sermons encourage his flock to let God into their life. Heeding her pastor's advice, Vera begins coming to church for the daily mass

One day at the church, Vera sees a light shine through the glass window of Jesus. She notices the light reflects that half the attendees seem redeemed while the rest stained with the blood of salvation. Having let God into her life, Vera is shocked with what the Lord wants from her; as the Divine Father picked the least (in her mind) to lead the world to a new spiritual revelation.

The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright is a thought provoking tale that uses humor to remind readers what matters in life. The profound storyline focuses on the awakening of the heroine who must overcome her doubts and the doubts of others including those who know her as the baby boomer beautician. Rea Nolan Martin provides a wonderful inspirational story as Vera "almighty" affirms what eighteenth century hymnist William Cowper wrote: "God Moves in Mysterious Ways."

Dark Shala
Cathy Benedetto
9781613181164, $15.95,

After five centuries of peace, the Surmese Empire two-front invasion left the kingdoms on the continent of Sandala reeling. The prophecy of the Shala warriors (accompanied by their Fels) of saving the humans has begun with the liberation of Gleneden and Palaton (see The Eyes of Sandala). The Shala led by the royal Tahjeen Tier escorts many humans through the underground passages beneath the Sea of Death leading to their cavernous home inside a crater. However, on their journey to safety, someone murders Ladean the Shala; Tahjeen and his beloved Ariann the healer know the impossible has occurred. A traitorous Shala has betrayed his species and the prophecy by killing a Shala.

In the frozen north, a raging and resentful Krale, the exiled Shala, plots revenge against his former queen and her son for exiling him ten years ago as a child when the Fels rejected him. He has connected with his own beast a dreadwolf. With his Dark Shala exiles, traitors within the Shala and an alliance with the Surmese, Krale believes he is destined to sit on the throne and rule Sandala.

The exciting second Shala military fantasy is fast-paced throughout even with a frantic feel that time is running out on getting the humans to safety. Filled with betrayal and a close look at the Dark Shala, readers will appreciate this solid middle entry as Tahjeen tries to save the continent from invaders, angry exiles and quislings who share his doubts about fulfilling the prophecy.

Travis Thrasher
David C. Cook
c/o Cook Communications
4050 Lee Vance View
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
9781434764164, $9.99,

Chris Buckley knows his preference is to quit like his mom did to the bottle, but his conscience refuses to allow him to surrender even to Temptation. He has learned much about his dark DNA since coming to Solitary, North Carolina; home of his family, Pastor Marsh and other evil. Chris believes he is the chosen one to save the townsfolk though he has doubts he is up to the task having been unable to keep his beloved safe while facing one failed attempt after another until he just about gave up and fled town.

Now he is back in Solitary with renewed spirit and hope as he accepts his only ally is his belief that God is on his side. Distrusting everyone else especially family, Kelsey and religious icons, Chris with faith as his armor prepares for the final battle against evil with his soul and that of others on the line.

The final Solitary young adult tale (see Gravestone and Solitary) is an intriguing climax to a strong saga. The reluctant hero knows the time of reckoning cannot put off any longer though he prefers the Temptation of just being a teen while ignoring the wickedness that engulfs the town. Although it behooves the audience to read the previous entries to learn how far Chris has come, Travis Thrasher provides a powerful finish as the young champion faces benign-looking evil at stake is redemption of many souls vs. the loss of his.

City of Dark Magic
Magnus Flyte
Penguin Books
c/o Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10014
9780143122685, $16.00,

In Prague, affluent Maximilian Lobkowicz plans to convert the family's Lobkowicz Palace into a museum. He offers Boston based Ph.D. candidate in neurological musicology Sarah Weston the job of cataloguing the Beethoven manuscripts and determining whether the alleged connection between a royal ancestor of his and the great composer is true. Excited with the work, obsessed over the suicide of her mentor Professor Sherbatsky and encouraged by Jepp the enigmatic dwarf, Sarah accepts the position.

Before she leaves the States someone draws an alchemist symbol on her ceiling. In Prague, Sarah learns the Lobkowicz family is divided into two hostile groups. Trying to remain focused, Sarah begins to find information on Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved" and on Sherbatsky's final days. When she tries the time altering drug Jepp gave her; she meets Beethoven, the long dead Lobkowicz princes; alchemists; and Jepp known as Nico back four centuries ago. As she falls in love, Sarah's blind tweener student Pollina arrives in the Czech Republic to warn her teacher that someone wants her dead.

This is a terrific romantic fantasy that deftly combines time travel and Beethoven with conspiracies four-hundred years ago and today in Prague and DC. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy Sarah escapades then and now as she guides us on an exciting lyrical tour of Prague.

The King Next Door
Maureen Child
Harlequin Desire
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780373732227, $4.99,

Griffin King and Nicole Baxter met at the wedding of his cousin Rafe King and her best friend next door neighbor Katie Charles last year. Affluent Griffin is house-sitting while Rafe and Katie are in Europe for three weeks and his beachfront condo is on the market. Though he admires how sexy all work and no play is except with her three years old son Connor Griffin adheres to his vow to end his serial affairs lifestyle and especially avid women with kids.

A fire in Katie's kitchen forces her and Connor to temporarily vacate. He invites mother and child to move into his cousin's home. Nicole decides a short tryst is just the thing for her as the divorcee shares in common with the bachelor: no marriage. As Griff proves kind and caring towards her son though an easy mark for Connor's child con; neither adult knows how to react to falling in love.

The latest Kings of California romance (see King's Million Dollar Secret) is an engaging romance starring two protagonists whose theme song is 10 Cc's "I'm Not in Love" and a too precocious matchmaking toddler. Contemporary fans will enjoy this warm tale as the King falls in love with the single mom and her child next door.

All He Really Needs
Emily McKay
Harlequin Desire
9780373732265, $4.99

Dying Hollister Cain informs his offspring that they take charge of Cain Enterprise and prevent a missing heiress from stealing their billion dollar legacy. Dalton the CEO hunts for the woman; while his brother Griffin the International marketing VP performs little except in bed with beautiful women and overseas travel; and their illegitimate sibling Cooper is the outsider. Dalton informs Griffin that he quits as the CEO as he has a more important mission: winning the heart and regaining the trust of his beloved Laney Fortino (see All He Ever Wanted). Before leaving, Dalton tells Griffin, whom their dad scorned as a wastrel do-gooder, that his assistant Sydney Edwards will take good care of him.

Stunned Griffin the underachiever has been Sydney's secret lover, but now he is her boss. He believes they can combine the boardroom with the bedroom, but though she loves Griffin she informs him no more trysts. As bad as that thought is since he loves being with her; he also fears he will have little time for his vocation of helping Hope2O.

The second At Cain's Command contemporary romance stars a seemingly unambitious hedonist and a dedicated administrative assistant. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy learning of the hidden depths of Griffin (and for that matter Sydney too) as he makes a case not to judge a book solely by its cover while also encouraging the audience to look up Hope2O's real counterpart

A Real Cowboy
Sarah M. Anderson
Harlequin Desire
9780373732241, $4.99

Oscar winner James Robert Bradley left Hollywood at the height of his fame several years ago. Though many including his agent Bernie Lipchitz expected him to come back after a respite, James remains on his Bar B Ranch in the middle of nowhere Montana.

Thalia Thorne has a chance to produce her first movie, Blood for Roses, if she can persuade James to play the role of Sean; she believes he could win another Oscar with this part. When she reaches his ranch, she sees nothing California in the boorish cowboy who wants her to leave as she disturbs the peace he has found in Big Sky Country by reminding him of the bad things he did in Southern California; worse he is attracted to her as she is to him. Thalia refuses to go away as she needs him or her career dies for failing to deliver. Trapped by a blizzard, J.R. and Thalia begin to fall in love.

The lead couple makes for a rousing redemption ranch romance as he has demons from his past that haunt him while she needs him if she plans to remain in Hollywood. Though the device of a snow storm stranding the protagonists has been used a lot, fans will enjoy this entreating character-driven contemporary

Night Driving
Lori Wilde
Harlequin Blaze
9780373797417, $5.25

In Bozeman, Montana, former Army Captain Boone Toliver recuperates from his third right knee surgery to repair an injury suffered from a bomb in Afghanistan. He feels like an invalid as he was forced to hire help though he can afford it having invested wisely the millions he inherited millions from his beloved late wife. The only tsuris besides his knee is his ditzy neighbor Tara Duvall, a sexy irritant. He is busted when he pretends to be on the cellphone only to have his half-sister marine biologist Ph.D. candidate Jackie Birchard call. Before leaving Tara says she is moving home to be with her ailing mother; while Jackie says she is marrying the man she loves and trusts, Coast Guard Lieutenant Scott Everly whom she has known just over a month. He reacts poorly as Jackie says she will marry her fiance in a few days in Key West before hanging up on him.

Boone has less than five days to save Jackie from herself, but cannot fly due to the threats of blood clots and he can't drive that distance while local car service says no. He places an ad on the internet and gets a response by someone going to Miami. They negotiate terms of leaving tonight; afterward he learns his driver is the ditz. The road trip has misadventures as time is running out, but also opens up Boone's heart as he begins to fall in love with his zany neighbor.

Night Driving is a fun zany romance starring two opposites falling in love while on the road. Character driven by the lead couple, fans will enjoy the changing relationship between Tara and Boone.

The Mighty Quinns: Logan
Kate Hoffmann
Harlequin Blaze
9780373797394, $5.25

Ninety-six year old Irish author Aileen Quinn is writing her autobiography of a rags to riches orphan girl making it big; when she asks her assistant Ian Stephens to find the descendants of her older brothers, siblings she never met. Assuming her brothers are dead, Aileen wants to leave her fortune to their children and grandchildren. She learns the youngest Tomas sailed to Australia in 1916; so Ian hires Capley and Drummond of Brisbane to investigate.

In Queensland, Australia, struggling horse breeder Logan Quinn faces bankruptcy. Logan drives to deliver his favorite horse Tally to a buyer. He stops at affluent Williamston Farm where his old mate Ed Perkins the stable manager invites him to stay for a night. Ed lectures him for not letting his boss Simon Grant bid on Tally. Simon's daughter Lucinda introduces herself to Logan as Sunny. She knows she failed her dad when she flopped at the equestrian event at the London Olympics. Refusing to compete in Brisbane, Lucinda decides to escape her father's disapproval and pressure by hiding in Logan's camper. As they travel the continent, the poor horse-breeder and the heiress fall in love.

The latest Mighty Quinns' series (see Ronan and Cameron) is a fabulous Australian romance starring two wonderful protagonists on a journey of love. Though financially polar opposites, the pair share a deep love of horses and soon of each other. Readers will look forward to more tales of Aileen's relatives as the nonagenarian who has always felt alone for over nine plus decades has found family.

Beach House No. 9
Christie Ridgway
9780373777402, $7.99

Frank the agent hires editor Jane Pearson to help former imbedded Afghanistan War journalist Griffin Lowell complete his memoir of one year with the troops as the reporter is way behind schedule. He ignores her calls so needing the job after severing ties with a best-selling client, Jane travels to Crescent Cove, California to accost Griffin on person. She expects to see an alcoholic brooding recluse, but instead at his Beach House No. 9 cabana she finds an alcoholic "party central" womanizer.

Griffin tells the nuisance "Librarian" to leave as he insists he needs no help especially from a comma momma. She ignores him and moves into Beach House No. 8 and charms his dog Private to betray him and join her side. To drive the "Governess" away, Griffin invites his troubled sister and her brood to move into Beach House No. 8. Instead Jane moves into Beach House No. 9. Although each believes the other is a pest, they also share in common an attraction.

The first Crescent Cove contemporary romance is an enjoyable tale starring two individuals who are enemy combatants falling in love. The support cast especially his extended family and party goers like Ted and the diet cherry cola crowd enhances the well written storyline. However, it is the flashbacks to his year with the troops leading to Griffin's PTSD, making him feel shattered and causing his writer's block that bring poignancy to a warm novel.

The Marriage Campaign
Karen Templeton
Harlequin Special Edition
9780373657247, $5.25

The three cousins called themselves the Summer Sisters as they spent vacation time together at their late grandma's house near St. Mary's Cove on Maryland's Eastern Shore. April Ross (see A Gift For All Seasons) and Melanie Duncan (see The Doctor's Do-Over) are brides in a double wedding ceremony attended by the third "Sister" maid of honor Blythe Broussard. Also there are Blythe's childhood nemesis widower Congressman Wes Phillips and his young son Jack.

Blythe recognizes a troubled kindred spirit in Jack whose mom died in a car accident two years ago. She warns Wes that Jack has self-destructive issues like she once had. Attracted to the Congressman and caring about Jack, Blythe plans to keep her distance from father and son until she makes her escape back to DC as fourteen years ago on Valentine's Day her heart (and virginity) broke. Wes has other ideas as he is falling in love with Blythe and believes strongly she is perfect for him and Jack though her rocky past negatively impacts his reelection chances.

The Marriage Campaign is an engaging contemporary second chance at love romance starring a relationship-phobic designer, a Congressman whose campaign focus is Blythe not the voters and a disturbed eleven year old boy. Filled with compassion and passion, readers will enjoy this wonderful contemporary.

Dark Wolf Rising
Rhyannon Byrd
Harlequin Nocturne
9780373885626, $5.50

The Silvercrest Lycan scouts stopped the human female as she was driving up the Maryland mountain towards their town Shadow peak. On emergency leave from her Smythe, Virginia professor position, Chelsea Smart shows them a photo of her missing younger sister Perry while threatening to shoot off their manly extremity if they touch her. Erik Drake, who prefers his species to mate with lycans, intercedes by telling her nicely to leave before darkness sets in as he insists it is unsafe. To their mutual chagrin, each is attracted to the other. As he tells her to go, she uses a common to both species middle finger gesture. When her vehicle fails, Erik drives Chelsea back to Wesley.

When Chelsea learns that rogue Lycans are drugging women to kidnap and pimp them as prostitutes, Erik agrees to help her save Perry, end the prostitution ring, and protect his Solvercrest pack. As they work together, their lustful attraction turns to love.

The latest Bloodrunners (see Last Wolf Standing, Last Wolf Hunting and Last Wolf Watching) romantic mountain fantasy is an exciting thriller as the latest alpha meets his independent mate while she searches for her sibling. Fast-paced with a dark background, series fans will enjoy the latest visit to Maryland.

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night
Heather Graham
Harlequin Nocturne
9780373885619, $5.50

Musician Rhiannon Gryffald relocates to Los Angeles as the new Keeper of Southern California; a tough place to enforce peace amidst the Others and the human species as Hollywood is loaded with performers. Her first major assignment as the Keeper to the stars is serial murders in which the evidence points towards a rogue vampire. Her investigation leads to Elven police detective Brodie Mac who is undercover as an actor on a show working the same case.

Rhiannon and Brodie agree to work the case together. They soon connect the victims to Brodie's show. Believing they know the predator personally though not the identity of whom he/she is as the culprit remains hidden in plain sight; the pair tries to focus on ending the homicides though their attraction makes concentration on the killer difficult.

The first of a new Keepers series (future tales by Harley Jane Kozak and Alexandra Sokoloff) is an entertaining entry as the Los Angeles paranormal realm seems genuine with Brodie as an Elven cop anchoring the realism. The whodunit is cleverly designed as a combo matchmaker and Hollywood Homicide inquiry as the protagonists know they must solve the case quickly (with timeouts for kisses) without revealing the truth of the Others residing among the humans. Readers will enjoy Heather Graham's tour of the SOCAL night life.

Indigo Awakening
Jordan Dane
Harlequin Teen
9780373210763, $9.99

In Los Angeles, Mia arrives at the apartment of her younger emancipated seventeen year old sister Rayne with a cop demanding her sibling hand over their brother Lucas. Mia insists Lucas is sick and needs drugs while Rayne believes Mia's Church of Believers hunt people like her sibling.

The meds have finally left his body so that Lucas can hear the voices and the music that was muted too long. He vanishes into the Sunset Boulevard area after cautioning Rayne not to look for him as she would place herself in danger from the Believers who hunt the "Indigo" teens like Lucas. Rayne rejects her troubled brother's warning as she searches for him on the mean streets of the city. There she meets mysterious loner Gabriel Stewart, who she feels compelled to protect though he frightens her; she scares him with her belief that deep down he cares and worse how much he wants to protect her. Reluctantly Gabe assists Rayne in her quest while the Believers stalk them.

The first Hunted young adult romantic fantasy is a great thriller as Jordan Dane makes her world of special power teens and a Church hunting them down seem believable in an X-Men way. The lead characters and Lucas seem genuine, but it is the fanatics (though somewhat stereotyped) like Mia who make the tale work as they recognize what the Indigo mean to the present dominant species.

Enchanted Ever After
Robin D. Owens
9780373803477, $14.95

In Denver, Kiri Palger loves online gaming though her job of the last two years at a national computer firm has left her drained of more energy than losing at Fairies and Dragons. Needing to unkink after a long day on her butt at the office, Kiri takes a walk in Mystic Circle where she lives. A man with a runner's physique accosts her saying he is from Eight Corps, Human Resources, parent company of Fairies and Dragons where she hopes to work at one day. He refers to her neighbor Jennie Weaver as a reference, but calls her Jindesfarne Mistweaver Emberdrake (see Enchanted No More). When he floats his business card to her, a frightened Kiri rushes home while hybrid Lightfolk Lathyr Tricurrent watches her retreat.

At a neighborhood party that Lathyr attends, Jennie hires Kiri to work on a new game. As she spends time with Lathyr, Kiri works on the new project while she finds herself obtaining mystical new powers. Soon she and Lathyr are on a magical quest as Kiri "tests" in real life the game she is helping to create.

The third Mystic Circle romantic fantasy (see Enchanted Again) is a fun entertaining thriller as the real and virtual worlds merge. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy Kiri's lighthearted romp as she must choose between magically in love or ennui in the mundane.

The One That Got Away
Kelly Hunter
Harlequin KISS
9780373207008, $5.25

In Sydney, business partners Max Carmichael the architect and Evie Jones the engineer forged a good working relationship when they created MEP (Max and Evangeline Partnership). Max asks Evie to marry him so he can access his fifty million dollar trust fund two years earlier than if he remains single though he admits they do not love each other and will divorce once he no longer needs marriage. He tells her that way they can have the ten million they need for this project. After negotiating stipulations, she agrees.

Max sends a cell phone picture of his fiancee to his older half-brother Logan Black and their mom. Logan feels like his stomach was pounded as this Evie looks like the Lena who he shared the greatest kinkiest week of his life over a decade ago. Evie and Max travel to Melbourne to meet his family. When Max introduces Evie to Logan, both are stunned but go through the motions of a first encounter to fool his family. She knows he was the one but he wanted more than she could give and offered nothing except incredible sex in return. Now Logan wants Evie gone as she is the only person who ever wiggled inside his heart while she remembers the sex was heavenly but they had nothing else.

The first KISS romance is a great Australian second chance at love contemporary starring two fascinating protagonists and a solid support family. Both leads possess strong personalities as they go through phases of the Kubler-Ross model re their original break-up (denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and acceptance) though accepting their love may not be enough for this couple. Kelly Hunter provides a powerful opening act.

The Other Side Of Us
Sarah Mayberry
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373718245, $5.50

After learning that his wife Edie was cheating on him with her ex for five years, musician and sound technician Oliver Barrett obtains a divorce and moves into the Melbourne suburban beach house of his late aunt. His next door neighbor is TV producer Mackenzie Williams, who is recovering from a terrible car accident last year.

Neither is friendly as healing is their top priority. However, their dogs become BFFs while teaming up to tear down the fences, physically and metaphysically. Soon the two obstinate humans follow the lead of their canines as Oliver and Mackenzie fall in love.

The Other Side Of Us is an entertaining contemporary Australian romance starring two sets of couples with the precocious pooch pair leading the way. The keys to this engaging love heals all storyline are the realistic portrayal of the respective anguish and hurt of the lead humans and their "recovery." Fans will enjoy this warm Down Under tale.

The Truth About Comfort Cove
Tara Taylor Quinn
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373718290, $5.50

In Comfort Cove, Massachusetts, twenty-eight years ago, a man raped Sandy Hayes and kidnapped her baby daughter Allie. Now the police have a DNA match, but because the science was new that may not be enough to convict him. Sandy's daughter police officer Lucy Hayes encourages her frightened alcoholic mom to look at a line up where the older woman claims number four raped her.

Comfort Cove Police Detective Ramsey Miller never comes home to Vienna, Kentucky as his negligence years ago led to the death of his sister though his father pleads with him to see his ailing mom. Ramsey investigates a missing child cold case in which the DNA of the victim snatched almost three decades ago was found in the home of a baby trafficker. When Ramsey and Sandy team up on the inquiry neither expected the attraction between them.

This is a great taut police procedural romance with a strong cast and wonderful twists including a stunning final spin. Fast-paced but character driven, readers will relish this powerful romantic suspense.

A Hometown Boy
Janice Kay Johnson
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373718252, $5.50

Two weeks ago in Tucannon, Washington, Joyce Own told her troubled oldest son thirty-four year old Robbie he would have to leave if he failed to take his psychiatric medicine as she feared for her life. He left with rifles and began a deadly rage starting with the nasty next door neighbor Tindall and ending with his suicide. The mass killings became a media sensation.

Robbie's brother David comes home to help his mom cope with what her boy did and with the town's ostracizing her, which he cannot blame them as he told his parents Robbie was dangerous and needed to be committed; they refused. In town, David and his friend from his teen days Acadia Henderson meet. They were sweet on each other, but she moved before either acted on their feelings. The pair remains attracted, but David knows his mom's need comes before his desire; complicating any relationship is Acadia grieves the death of her dad; one of Robbie's victims.

This is a tense small-town thriller that looks at the aftermath of a massacre done by one of them. The key to the character-driven poignant tale is the romance between David and Acadia plays second fiddle to a town and a family struggling with the bloody tragedy.

Planning For Love
Christi Barth
9780373778126, $7.99

As wedding planner Ivy Rhodes turns thirty, she wonders if she will ever meet her mate. Still she always provides her clients with a quality ceremony by pretending to be the bride.

Her current client won the Wild Wedding Smackdown. She meets True Life Productions videographer Bennett Westcott after tripping over a bag carelessly placed by him. Big Ben is filming the wedding. He and Ivy share a one night stand. They meet again when both will work on a reality TV show focused on weddings. As they make love, she knows he is the one, but though he feels the same about her, Ben cannot commit to a permanent relationship.

Planning For Love is fun breezy contemporary romance starring two likable individuals (though Ben needs a smackdown) and a host of marriage quotes. With a nod to The Wedding Planner, readers will enjoy this lighthearted frolic as love apparently is a curse unless ben takes a chance.

Home by Dark
Marta Perry
9780373777358, $7.99

Almost a decade has passed since Rachel Mason eloped to marry Ronnie over the objections of her Amish family and community. She never returned to home in Deer Run until now. Now a widow, Rachel, accompanied by her nine year old daughter Mandi, comes home to face communal ostracizing as no one including her Daad and Maam welcome her or her child except for her fourteen year old brother Benjamin Weaver.

Her late husband's BFF Colin McDonald knows he owes Rachel for failing to be there for his deceased buddy though he believes she will not welcome him. However, a troubled Benjamin tells his sister and Colin a secret that haunts the teen and makes him a target of the killer. The estranged pair unites to keep Benjamin safe.

The first Watcher in the Dark is a taut romantic suspense starring a brave heroine who though a pariah within her family will do anything to keep her child and brother safe. The key to this strong Amish thriller is the family and romance subplots support the suspense as the danger remains the prime focus. Readers will enjoy Home By Dark as a clever predator implements his plans for Deer Run.

Highlander Claimed
Juliette Miller
9780373777594, $7.99

Lord Ogilvie sexually assaults Roses claiming her mom escaped him with death but she would not. As she struggles to escape, he rips her clothing but stops abruptly when he sees the small tattoo previously hidden by her garb. Ogilvie questions her where she got it, but she tells him nothing to protect the healer who saved her life when as a child she was dying from measles. Roses stabs her attacker and flees to nearby Clan Mackenzie as the first stop before vanishing into the Highlands as an outcast.

Wilkie Mackenzie finds Roses and knows he wants her as his forever. However, his older brother clan chieftain has arranged a political alliance through Wilkie marrying the daughter of an ally. While Wilkie struggles between his love of Roses and his clan, she fears her unknown heritage will destroy her beloved Warrior. So Roses flees again only to be caught by Ogilvie who knows who she is having seen the tattoo while her warrior pursues his Angel.

The first Clan Mackenzie historical romance is an exciting Highlander thriller as clans battle to claim the mysterious female as theirs; and assassins kill to keep secrets hidden. Fast-paced but driven by the Angel, the Warrior and the odious, sub-genre fans will appreciate Highlander Claimed.

Forever a Lord
Delilah Marvelle
9780373777310, $7.99

In 1800, the Venetian tells his ten year old prisoner Nathanial Atwood that the lad's father ignored the kidnapper's demand. The angry man calmly tells the lad he cannot deal with Atwood's sister Auggie or their mama as that would be a hanging offense and that he is no murderer. Five years later the Venetian freed Nathaniel who remains in New York.

In 1820, Coleman, a top bare knuckle fighter, answers a notice in the paper for information on a missing Nathanial Atwood. He goes to see the Duke of Wentworth and his son Lord Yardley at the Adelphi where he learns the older man is his brother-in-law and the younger his nephew as they seek to honor their beloved late Auggie by finding her lost brother; a quest they have tried to achieve for years. Coleman says Atwood died, but Yardley says he owes it to their respective moms to come home.

Nineteen year old Lady Imogene Norwood attends her first Season expecting no matches due to her stutter and lack of confidence having been ill. Her assumption changes when she meets brawling angry Lord Atwood whose return to London has one objective to destroy his father. All bets are off when Imogene wants to sponsor him as a bare knuckle fighter so she can help her brother. To persuade Atwood, she offers a marriage of convenience.

The third Rumor historical romance (See Forever and a Day, and Forever a Lady) is a terrific refreshing tale that provides a unique reason for a marriage of convenience and Coleman's stunning story as a Forever a Lord fighter. Rotating perspective will have readers enjoying this strong nineteenth century thriller as well as the previous entries.

Big Sky River
Linda Lael Miller
9780373777204, $7.99

When his wife Corrie died a few years ago, Parable County Sheriff Boone Taylor sent their two young sons (Griffin and Fletcher) to live with his sister Molly, her husband Bob and their three children. However, Bob suffers an injury so Molly tells her sibling he needs to raise his sons in his home.

Following a divorce, Tara Kendall left New York City to run a chicken farm next to Boone's spread in Montana. Her former spouse Dr. James Lennox calls her to tell her he is exiling their tweener twin daughters (Erin and Elle) to stay with her after they routed another nanny. She is elated as she misses her daughters and some of the things about the vibrant Big Apple, but definitely not Lennox. As the families become acquainted the two adults fall in love; feelings neither want.

The return to Parable (see Big Sky Mountain) is an engaging contemporary romance due to the likable single parents and their four impish children. The children serve as matchmakers as Tara and Boone need help so they turn to one another. With a nod to the Brady Bunch, fans will enjoy with seven "you get eggroll."

All He Ever Needed
Shannon Stacey
9780373777556, $7.99

Mitch Kowalski likes being the wanderer who roams from town to town. However, when his surrogate mom Rosie Davis asks him to come home to Whitford, Maine to save the family's run down Northern Star Lodge and to help his brother Josh, he comes back. Arriving late by Whitford standards, he stops for a bite at the diner where he meets relatively new owner Paige Sullivan who came to town two years ago seeking roots after a childhood as a rolling stone.

Used to women jumping his bones, Mitch is shocked when Paige rejects him. However, he soon persuades her into a no strings six-week fling while he straightens out family issues before going on the road again. However, as they fall in love, neither wants to be the first to admit their desire to change their agreement out of fear of rejection.

The latest "Killer" Kowalski contemporary romance (see Yours To Keep and Exclusively Yours) is an enjoyable entry starring two people with polar opposite needs; as he prefers the road and she a home. A pair of decade old dysfunctional relationships involving secondary couples is poignant but also detracts from the prime engaging storyline. Still fans will enjoy returning to Maine as the wanderer and the homesteader fall in love.

Ashton Park
Murray Pura
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North
Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736952859, $13.99,

In 1916, like many Brits, Sir William and Lady Elizabeth Danforth of Lancaster and their seven children are involved in supporting the war effort. The three sons serve in the military while the four daughters perform support functions at the home front.

Pious Sir William struggles between his belief in God's love for all his creatures and a sense that civilization would collapse if class became extinct. Still when Sir William is away at Parliament, he demands his family and servants attend the formal rigid Church of England. However, Lady Elizabeth and her best friend, her head cook at her Ashton Park manor, Mrs. Longstaff prefer the informal equalitarian Baptist church in Liverpool.

The first Danforths of Lancashire WWI era historical is a superb period piece that provides readers with "Snapshots of History" at a critical point when skill begins to supersede social class distinctions as the top of the social pyramid. Character driven fans will enjoy this deep look at a changing Great Britain as a lasting byproduct of the war to end all wars is the international demands for equality.

Fear of Beauty
Susan Froetschel
Seventh Street Books
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228
9781616147020, $15.95,

As the American military arrive in the village of Laashekoh in Helmand Province, the battered body of a child Ali is found at the bottom of a nearby cliff. Anti-American extremists arrive to take advantage of the grief by blaming the foreign invaders for the death of the oldest child of Sofi and Parsaa. Though many villagers feel the child accidently fell, some loathing the Americans hold them culpable. Parsaa wants to move on as he has four other sons; while Sofi cannot as she feels the soldiers are easy scapegoat and she needs to know for certain who the killer is.

Just outside Laashekoh in an encampment, Army Ranger Joey Peterson may have been raised by dogmatic fundamentalists, but like all of his peers, struggles with accomplishing his training assignment due to the lack of local skills and a hatred of the infidels. Daughter of a General, Ag specialist Mita Samuelson teaches Sofi to read so that she learn what really happened to her oldest son while the Afghani extremists push to kick out the enemy and force women back to their more traditional roles. They kill Peterson's translator and kidnap Samuelson.

This is a great societal thriller that deftly rotates the lead between Peterson and Sofi. Action-packed, readers will feel they are in Helmond Province as Sofi bravely searches for the truth with Mita and Joey enabling her. However, what makes Fear of Beauty one of the top novels of the year is the moral warning that extreme preservation of a culture's tradition can result in perverting the fundamental belief system; whether it is American, Afghani or otherwise.

Dante's Wood
Lynne Raimondo
Seventh Street Books
c/o Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228
9781616147181, $15.95,

In Chicago, eighteen year old Charlie Dickerson has the mental acumen of an elementary school child. His affluent parents have their teenage son residing at the New Horizons Center. Recently they fear someone abuses Charlie as he has been crying at night. Thus they turn to psychiatrist Mark Angelotti to determine the truth.

Eighteen months ago, Mark learned he suffered from Lever's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, which is leaving him blind. He interviews Charlie who confesses that he killed the center's art teacher Shannon Sparrow. Knowing incarcerating Charlie would destroy the mentally handicapped teen, Mark investigates the New Horizons Center staff including the late Shannon to see if abuse is prevalent. However, as he faces a malpractice lawsuit Mark is unprepared to learn the deceased was carrying Charlie's child.

The first Mark Angelotti psychological thriller is a terrific mystery starring a wise-cracking protagonist who uses self-deprecating humor as a defense mechanism enabling him to deal with his degenerative eye condition. The storyline grips the reader from the moment Mark and Charlie meet as the reader learns that the truth will set no one free, but the big lie leaves the needy in a horrible stasis.

Fatal Decree
H. Terrell Griffin
Oceanview Publishing
595 Bay Isles Road, 120-G
Longboat Key, FL 34228
9781608090709, $25.95,

Longboat Key, Florida's only cop Jennifer Diane "J.D." Duncan asks her lover retired lawyer Matt Royal to help her with a case that brings out repressed memories. When Duncan worked at Miami PD a dozen years ago, she failed to find the Whale Tail serial killer who executed his middle aged female victims with a bullet to the head and found bound to a tree. Her current investigation deals with the death of a stranger eerily similar to those earlier victims as she has a whale tail earing on her left ear.

Matt and J.D. investigate the homicide and finds the victim has government ties, but fails to answer why here and whether the killer returned or a copycat emerged. However, the inquiry spins weirdly when Guatemalan gangbangers attempt to kill Matt and J.D. Further complicating the murder mystery is Matt's best friend Jock Algren is directed to eliminate the killer as he works for that same agency the deceased worked at.

The latest Matt Royal whodunit (see Collateral Damage) is an engaging investigative thriller. The whodunit is interesting because each new clue convolutes the case but not as much as Matt's fears that J.D. soon will leave the Key to return to the big city. Fans will enjoy the competing hunts for a killer.

Saving Grace
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
SkipJack Publishing
P.O.B. 31160, Houston, TX 77231
9780988234802, $18.95,

Thirtyish Dallas attorney Katie Connell has become an alcoholic especially since her parents died last year on the Caribbean island of St. Marcos. After winning a high profile case, she gets drunk and sleeps with her co-worker Nick Kovacs who she thinks she loves. However, this makes her late for court the next morning before she breaks down in front of everyone.

Humiliated and with her career and love life dead, Katie ignores her brother's plea for her to enter rehab; instead she flees to St. Marcos where her parents died with a plan to investigate their deaths. She hires former NYPD cop Paul Walker to make inquiries. Meanwhile voodoo enthralls Katie, but it is her new friend Ava who inadvertently begins her rehabilitation. When the police arrest Ava for murdering her lover Guy an influential senator, Katie provides the defense though criminal law is not her specialty.

The first Katie Connell thriller is an exciting tale that combines twisting investigative and legal subplots with a character seeking redemption by learning what happened to her parents who allegedly drove off a cliff. The storyline begins slowly while in Texas as we meet the self-destructive unhappy Katie, but accelerates into an exhilarating mystery with a touch of voodoo once the fascinating protagonist stops her free fall upon meeting Ava in the Caribbean.

Miss Whittier Makes a List
Carla Kelly
Camel Press
c/o Coffeetown Press
PO Box 70515, Seattle, WA 98127
9781603818971, $14.95,

Teenage Quaker Hannah Whittier leaves her Nantucket home to sail from Boston to her brother's home in Charleston on the Molly Claridge. The crew of His Majesty's Frigate Dissuade boards the vessel. The British Naval Captain Sir Daniel Spark demands that Captain Winslow hand over deserters as he pronounces "once and Englishman always an Englishman." Hannah intercedes as the British impress American sailors, but Daniel kisses the stunned spitfire.

Not long after the Dissuade leaves, a French vessel sinks the Molly Claridge. The Dissuade rescue the lone survivor Hannah. Spark informs her she will be his guest for at least six weeks as they sail to the Caribbean. There she will find a ship heading to America. As Daniel and Molly sail together they fall in love, but she is a Massachusetts Quaker and he is a British aristocrat who expects the American experiment into democracy to fail.

This is a reprint of an entertaining early nineteenth century romance mostly on the dangerous high seas as the French and British are at war. Like Sparks, readers will appreciate the spirit of feisty Hannah once she gets her sea legs; however acceptance of Sparks is more difficult as he goes from ruthless and arrogant when he boards the ill-fated Molly Claridge to caring and nurturing on the Dissuade. Still fans will enjoy this mostly at sea historical with the reality of combat in the background while wondering if these star-crossed lovers can become a permanent couple as at least one of them will have to give up a way of life that is bone marrow deep.

Janna McMahon
Koehler Books
210 60th Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
9781938467233, $15.95,

Teenager Lorelei arrives in Austin by bus. She heads to the Tumbleweed Street Outreach young adult center where she can get some chow, pick up clothing and even shelter. She enjoys the food and selects some items to wear, but rejects the cot.

Twentyish Emily works as a bartender. When she meets David the reporter investigating the gutter punks who live as an unwanted underbelly of the city, she agrees to be his photographer. Emily meets Lorelei and wants to help the teen. The two women becomes friends, but Emily learns the true meaning of good intentions as every time she tries to get Lorelei off the street, danger surfaces from the teen's past; Emily also tries to assist other young lost souls by bringing attention to their plight through her unforgiving harsh camera.

This is a deep look at the teen homeless living on the streets of Austin. The insightful storyline rotates perspective mostly between the two women though others like Emily's mom Barbara take the lead at times. This character driven urban tale driven by a strong cast has readers wondering whether Emily has found her groove with photographing the gutter punks.

Harriet Klausner
Senior Reviewer

Laurel's Bookshelf

Death Brings Victory
T.M. Hunter
9780615641157, $12.95,

Everyone knows the best present Santa can bring me is a book, so this year a friend bought me this one at a book signing because Aston West is my favorite literary hero in the sci fi genre. So this book was a Christmas gift and not purchased at Amazon.

Aston West is a reluctant hero. His favorite pastimes include pirating derelict space transports and partaking of Vladirian liquor. But he performs valiantly when forced to, doesn't hesitate to start or finish a battle, and he's adept at extracting a harsh revenge. This time it's payback for unknowingly delivering a weapon of genocide into the hands of a Torian despot. West is determined to right the situation, no matter what it takes. He teams up with Rione Sc'lari, a bronze skinned Lazarian beauty who's also a courageous warrior in service to her queen. It's war, pitting despotic father against idealistic daughter, with West and Sc'lari battling the interstellar bad guys. Sc'lari is a friend, but West's feelings for her go beyond friendship. As they battle their way through the Torian underground, he struggles to keep her alive. West lost one woman to a ruthless tyrant in the past and vows he won't lose Rione.

West's character is charismatic and appealing, the almost non-stop action exciting. West's faithful onboard computer, Jeanie, is a hero in her own right as she uses every trick in her memory banks to keep West and Sc'lari alive. Will revenge be bitter or sweet? Will our hero keep Rione alive long enough to defeat the bad guys? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Laurel Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Lorraine's Bookshelf

I'm Sorry
Hatherleigh Press
c/o The Hatherleigh Foundation
5-22 46th Ave, Suite 200
Long Island City, NY 11101
9781578264131 $12.50

"I'm Sorry: The Art of Apology & the Gift of Forgiveness" is a healthy relationships handbook exploring the graceful art of apology and the gift of forgiveness. These are two extremely important interactions, crucial to continued serenity or just balanced mental health. Studded with famous, relevant quotations, "I'm Sorry" explores the value of apology and forgiveness in human interactions. Here is an example: "To forgive is indeed the best form of self-interest since anger, resentment, and revenge are corrosive of that 'summum bonum,' the greatest good." Desmond Tutu (p.78). First defining, then explaining and encouraging the reader to step up to the challenge of making apologies and forgiving others for perceived wrongs. This is at the heart of many religious disciplines' first principles, and also to the betterment of the human race. "I'm Sorry" is a handbook to help maintain human relationships, of the first order.

Deep Living
Roxanne Howe-Murphy, author
Enneagram Press
c/o Deep Living Institute
1474 La Loma Vista Santa Fe, NM 87504
9780979384714 $24.95

"Deep Living: Transforming Your Relationship to Everything That Matters Through the Enneagram" is a life approach teaching book based on the author's practice of the Deep Living Approach, which integrates four key elements to help readers find a deeper connection to themselves. These elements include the Enneagram as an ancient body of wisdom (described as "a vehicle for compassionate and accurate self-understanding, self-recognition, and self embracing"); the Deep Living orientation (described as "a voice or vehicle for practical and radical compassion for the full spectrum of the human experience"); a set of practical tools that can be used in everyday life; and processes for advanced healing and awakening. "Deep Living" is presented in three sections meant to be read consecutively: Section I, Orienting to Your New World; Section II, the Enneagram Iceberg Model; and Section III, Change for Life. Completion of these three sections in sequence will equip the reader with a systematic approach to the perspectives of Deep Living and use of the Enneagram Iceberg Model, plus additional tools and applications that will enhance and support your spiritual journey and all its challenges. In final review briefly, "Deep Living" is about inner personal exploration for life enrichment and self understanding, using the Enneagram model as a "map to help ..illuminate and recognize a full range of specific various stages of your human and spiritual journey (p. 385)." A divided circle diagram illustrates the 9 Enneagram personality types, and suggests specific strategies such as conscious breathing for shifting attention and realigning awakened qualities. Of particular interest is the concept of the U-turn, a move explained as a reversal of habitual directions in an automatic mode of living that can help the individual move towards a desired soul consciousness described as longing. "Deep Living" is profound transformational inner directed therapy, made accessible to all who enjoy literacy.

Christmas with the First Ladies
Coleen Christian Burke, author
Deborah Norville, Foreword
Insight Editions
P.O. Box 3088, San Rafael, CA 94912
9781608870462 $29.95

"Christmas with the First Ladies: The White House Decorating Tradition from Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama" is a beautiful photo-documentary book about different traditions of White House celebrations and decorations for Christmas from 1960 to 2009. Included are chapters filled with color photographs and holiday festivity details from the White House holiday seasons under Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama. Beautiful details of Christmas celebrations past and present are presented along with fascinating accounts of holiday projects and parties that the First Ladies were involved in. Famous Blue Room trees and special charity parties are described, along with children's and other celebrations with the White House First Ladies and families. A beautiful series of brief historical thumbnail portraits emerges on an ever -circling Advent calendar, richly embellished with anecdotes, family stories, and special Christmas themes. One interesting feature of this charming edition is it is co-produced with Roots of Peace, which in association with Insight Editions will plant two trees for each tree used in the manufacturing of the book. For example, it is planned that two million fruit and nut trees will be planted in Afghanistan to provide farmers there with skills and support needed for sustainable land use. As a gift or a beautiful coffee table book for the holidays, "Christmas with the First Ladies" is exquisite and top notch.

Nancy Lorraine
Senior Reviewer

Micah's Bookshelf

Seeing Through the Bull...
Bryan Beaty
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781478176596 $9.99 pbk / $4.99 Kindle

Although written especially for businesspeople, Seeing Through the Bull... The Art of Problem Solving is a practical-minded guide packed with tips, tricks, and techniques for tackling challenges head-on, with a straightforward problem solving methodology. The three key steps are to identify and pinpoint the problem, construct an appropriate solution, and work to have that solution effectively implemented. Packed with common sense wisdom, Seeing Through the Bull... lives up to this title and is highly recommended. "When I find someone is having trouble 'spilling the beans' about a problem, I can hint about the fact that I have heard about the problem from others first. This almost always makes people feel better about telling me what is really going on."

October Snow
Jenna Brooks
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781479234820 $13.99

October Snow is a dark debut novel about the aftereffects of domestic violence. The protagonist is Josie, who survived as a battered wife for twenty years by playing mind games on her abusive husband. Her talent for manipulating a bully remained after her final, bitter divorce, and she works day to day with other battered women. But when she witnesses the death of a woman murdered by a husband, hatred starts to gnaw within her. Then, one of her best friends becomes pregnant by a manipulative man who reveals his plans to use the child as a pawn. Josie can take no more; she intends to unleash her own manipulative talents to ensure a brutal, final solution upon her friend's abuser. Tense and suspenseful, October Snow is a gripping read to the very end, highly recommended.

New York Roommates
Howard Boger
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432796815, $12.95,

Roommates come in all levels of the bizarre. "New York Roommates" is humorous drama of living in New York and dealing with the unusual freak parade of roommates in our lives. Hank needs a room mate, but after an endless parade of weirdos, he decides a woman as his opposite is what he needs. But it doesn't stop being less weird. "New York Roommates" is an enticing novel that shouldn't be overlooked, recommended.

Heart of Terror
Craig W. Dressler
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781621471875, $11.99,

Faith is a bulwark for many, allowing them to carry out God's will well. "Heart of Terror" is a novel of an Iranian and America who meet in Japan. The strange circumstances brings forth a bond through their faiths, and when they both return to their homelands, their friendship spurns a calling that will save lives. "Heart of Terror" is an exciting twist of thriller and faith, very much recommended reading.

Lost Sense of Self & The Ethics Crisis
Paul P. Jesep
Entrepreneur Spirit
9781479238309, $12.95,

Ethics are a seriously underrated aspect of doing business. "Lost Sense of Self & The Ethics Crisis: Learn to Live and Work Ethically" is a guide to keeping oneself happy and ethical in the world of business, where entire industries are lured by a song that cares only about the bottom line, and how such an attitude can lead to serious failings for human nature. Advocating a better education in ethics in today's financial schools, "Lost Sense of Self & The Ethics Crisis" is a must for business motivational collections, recommended.

The Proxy Assassin
John Knoerle
Blue Steel Press
9780982090398, $15.00,

War an be waged without direct conflict. "The Proxy Assassin" is the third entry into John Knoerle's Hal Schroeder spy series, this time following Hal as he gets involved with anti-Communists guerillas in Romanian for covert ops, facing the battle he has to fight as well as the allure of a Romanian princess. Riveting and hard to put down, "The Proxy Assassin" is a strong pick for anyone who likes action-adventure thrillers, much recommended.

Chocolate Chocolate Moons
Jackie Kingon
Privately Published
9781477561805, $8.99,

Every taste of sweetness might have a bit of poison behind it. "Chocolate Chocolate Moons" is a novel following larger Molly Marbles as she's presented with an opportunity to break from her cycle of dieting with a trip to the moon where her weight is suddenly much less of concern, and when her favorite snack food turns out to have a hidden twist, Molly has more on her plate than even she can handle. "Chocolate Chocolate Moons" is a humorous romp, sure to please many a reader.

Movement of Stillness
Jacqui Derbecker
Balboa Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452537078, $20.99,

Even as 2012 passes, the Mayan tradition has much to teach. "Movement of Stillness" As Revealed in the post-Mayan Calendar: Post 2012" is a metaphysical spirituality book as Jacqui Derbecker advises readers on piecing together the writings of Cayce on the Mayans, and using that knowledge to gain a more complete knowledge of our world. "Movement of Stillness" is well worth considering for metaphysical spirituality collections, recommended.

Jesus the Jew No One Knows
D. C. Smith
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9780615516332, $18.00,

Jesus was a massively influential figure, and perhaps even divine. But it is often forgotten, that Jesus was also a man. "Jesus: the Jew No One Knows" tells the story of Jesus the man, bringing to light the legends of the era that may offer a more clear vision of the man who was the pivotal figure in the history of the western world. Analyzing the culture of Rome at the time and offering many counter ideas to accepted canon of the Christian faith, "Jesus: The Jew No One Knows" is an intriguing twist of religious study, worth considering.

Brenda Davis
Balboa Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452555027, $19.99,

There are many things we seek to keep hidden from the world. "Shadows" is a novel of secrets over generations, as Brenda Davis tells the story of three women coping with their family history of mental illness and facing the persecution they face over the generations, from the asylum to the chance at help. "Shadows" chronicles the history of mental illness and the problems it can cause on the family, and makes for a choice read, not to be missed.

Micah Andrew

Richard's Bookshelf

Keys to Passing Your Spiritual Tests: Unlocking the Secrets to your Spiritual Promotion
Abraham John
Destiny Image Publications, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 172547
9780768402889 $16.99

Practical Instruction in Meeting Spiritual Testing

"Keys to Passing Your Spiritual Tests" introduces, defines, and details: What is meant by spiritual tests, the purpose of these tests, Biblical examples of spiritual tests, and practical keys to victory through testing. I gained new insights and understanding in the areas of life where we may experience personal tests especially in areas of sickness and suffering, and from the specific tests learned by Moses throughout the wilderness years, the eight mistakes to avoid, and the seven tests David faced. I was impressed again with the need to allow the Holy Spirit to give us a right heart, teach us lessons of obedience, convict us of sin, and bring us to repentance as we grow in spiritual stability and move into spiritual maturity.

Author Abraham John encourages and strengthens Christians internationally through Maximum Impact Ministries equipping them for the ministry, church planting, and leadership and discipleship training. John's writing is anointed, articulated, and authoritative.

"Keys to Passing Your Spiritual Tests" is rich and penetrating in unlocking insights into eternal truth through Biblical examples from the lives of Abraham, Moses, David, and many others. God's principles and methods are presented in a way that reignites the desire for a fresh new encounter with the Lord.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Open Heaven: The Secret Power of a Door Keeper
Tommy Tenney
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768403015, $15.99

Restoring Power and Passions to Worship

Highly acclaimed by pastors, worship pastors, and internationally respected Christian leaders are excited about Tommy Tenney's new book "Open Heaven: The Secret Power of a Door Keeper." Tenney challenges the reader to restore the passion of David to their worship.

Tenney's writing is thought provoking, and heart probing; simple truths are profoundly presented, are illuminating, and infused with passion and authentic worship. "Open Heaven" is written for those searching for the heart of God, wanting to enter into His very presence. Readers beware! God may move you from your comfort zone, upset your agenda, rethink your theology, and take you into an experience a deep brokenness which leads to "the secret power of a door keeper and "open heaven" to you.

The format includes a rich balance of scriptures, short inspiring prayers, and life changing encounters with the power and presence of Lord of Lord in His throne room. Chapter titles and topical titles within each title capture the attention and imagination while conveying an important challenge, promise, or command.

"Open Heaven" is destined to become a classic. Tommy Tenney leads the reader into an encounter with the unfathomable glory of God's presence. Highly Recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Heaven Is Beyond Your Wildest Expectations: Ten True Stories of Experiencing Heaven
Sid Roth and Lonnie Lane
Destiny Image Publishing, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 172587
978-07684052865, $ 15.99

Ten Amazing Testimonies of Visits, Visions, and Dreams Describing Heaven

"Heaven Is Beyond Your Wildest Expectations" relates the testimonies of ten individuals who visited heaven, a vision, or a supernatural dream of a visit to heaven. These stories have been used to help millions "experience a touch of Heaven" through interviews by Sid Roth on his television program It's Supernatural.

Dr. Gary wood, author of "A Placed Called Heaven" tells of the magnificence of heaven, its design, the activities of angels, and the presence of Jesus. Dean Braxton describes the throne of God and the depth of God's love whenever he relates his experience during his visit to heaven.

Rhoda Mitchell helps the reader capture something of the sounds of joy and of the glory that permeate the atmosphere of heaven. Ian McCormack experienced the gracious mercy of God and a born again experience as a result of his visit to heaven; thousand have received forgiveness from their sins as a result of Ian's testimony, including his son Michael who shares his own story of visiting heaven and now shares the same calling - telling others of Jesus.

Each story affirms the message that "Heaven is Beyond Your Wildest Expectations." A wonderful message of hope and assurance.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Future of Worship: Preparing the church for a Tsunami of Change
Nathan Byrd
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768402902, $16.99

A Timeline of Corporate Sanctuary Worship

Nathan Byrd, internationally known worship pastor, traces Sanctuary Worship from its Hebraic root right up to contemporary Christianity in his book "The Future of Worship." He compares the three dimensions of worship with the Tabernacle: The Outer Court, the Inner Court, and the Most Holy Place. He describes the Shekinah glory and the worship of New Testament believers.

I became intrigued with Byrd's word study of what he defines as the four eras of worship: The tabernacle, the temple, the synagogue, and the sanctuary. He also describes the evolution of worship over the last forty years. He uses a workable approach to develop his thesis with relevant illustrations and relational situations. His conclusions are solid, alive, and applicable with a strong emphasis on holiness.

Byrd establishes a pattern and call to worship that will shatter complacent attitudes about worship which will lead the reader to a place of deeper worship likened to "the holy of holies." This demands a paradigm shift back to the pattern and purpose originally designed by God. Byrd's writing is biblically based and provides significant insight into worship as our heart's response to the knowledge of God's plan for approaching His throne of grace as individuals and as a church as we approach His throne to express our worship through music, praise, gratitude, and the teaching of God's Word.

"The Future of Worship" paves the way wave to a new paradigm of the understanding and experience of Biblical worship.

The New Covenant Prophecy: A Supernatural Jewish Journey of Faith from the Old to New Covenant
Grant Berry
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768402940, $ 16.99

The Good News of Yeshua - Jesus the Messiah

In his book "The New Covenant Prophecy" Grant Berry records the story of his supernatural journey of faith from the old covenant to the new covenant. He draws from his own personal experience and from the depth of his study in the scriptures. This is a book for anyone seeking answers in their own journey of faith.

Berry's study reveals God's purpose for Jewish peoples, the nation Israel, and for Jewish Christians. Grant himself is a Jewish believer in Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah. He provides the reader with a deeper understanding of the New Covenant, and the good news of the gospel from a Messianic perspective.

I enjoyed Grant's writing style; as a gifted communicator he establishes a conversational approach establishing a comfortable warm sense of sharing individually from his inner heart; challenging and inspiring the reader. Berry writes with authenticity and spiritual sensitivity. His story is engaging, well balanced with scripture and personal observation - a compelling narrative.

"The New Covenant Prophecy" invites the reader to move from observing a religious experience of ritual or ceremony to a quest to know the truth and to find an intimacy with God through the good news of Yeshua - Jesus the Messiah.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes the opinions expressed are my own.

The 40 Day Soul Fast: Leader's Guide
Cindy Trimm
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768441918, $24.99

An Eight Week Journey - Learning to Live Authentically

The Leader's Guide to "The 40 Day Soul Fast" includes a DVD with teaching by the author Dr. Cindy Trimm. This guide includes all the material in the Participant's Guide with step by step group leader guidelines and instructions for organizing, leading the class and facilitating small discussion groups throughout the course. This guide includes:

Steps to starting a 40 Day Soul Fast Group detailed suggestions for mapping out the course, determining location, formatting meetings, promoting the event and moving forward with your group

A Group Leaders Check List

A Suggested Agenda for the 8 Week Journey

The eight week program is designed to help the participant learn to grow spiritually and be empowered "from the inside out." Lessons include inspiring scriptures, quotes from highly respected leaders, and helpful instruction from Dr. Cindy Trimm's teaching. The book includes The 40 Day Soul Fast Handbook, Fasting Guidelines, and a unique Consecration Shopping List.

"The 40 Day Soul Fast" is designed for use in churches, organizations, small groups, or families desirous of spiritual growth resulting in greater health, happiness, and success.

The accompanying teaching DVDs set the pace for the group sessions that follow and capture the authenticity of Cindy Trimm. Dr. Trimm's teaching is transforming, empowering, life changing.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

The 40 Day Soul Fast: Participant's Guide
Cindy Trimm
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768441925, $ 14.99

First Steps on a New Journey to Authentic Learning - Empowering You for Life

As I opened Cindy Trim's "The 40 Day Soul Fast" the first time I had no idea of the amazing spiritual journey I was about to embark. The forty day adventure is made up of bite sized daily portions or lessons in this participant's guide. Each week contains a Video Listening Guide introducing the theme for the week which is broken down into five daily studies. Each of the 40 daily lessons addresses a characteristic that defines an Authentic Person.

The lesson begins by introducing its focus, a scripture passage, and reflective questions leading to suggested action steps for the journey ahead. An important part of the effectiveness of the study are the suggested guidelines for detoxifying spirit, soul and body found in The 40 Day Soul Fast Handbook (Appendix A).

Benefits of the Soul Fast study include:

An increased ability to discern and follow God's direction

An increased ability to bring your ways into alignment with His

An increased peace in your life

"The 40 Day Soul Fast" is an excellent study guide for spiritual growth. It is designed for small group use in churches, organizations, or in family night studies in the home. Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Awakening to Messiah - A Supernatural Discovery of the Jewish Messiah
Rabbi K. A. Schneider
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768441949, $15.99

A Unique Testimony of a Supernatural Discovery of the Jewish Jesus

Rabbi K. A. Schneider tells his personal story of God's supernatural revelation of Jesus the Jewish Messiah in his book "Awakening to Messiah." The book is written to help the reader find their true identity and to become aware of Yeshua (Jesus) as a spiritual reality.

Schneider writes from personal his experience of supernatural encounters with Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) and shares the lessons he learned from these experiences. It is his hope that the reader will be enriched with a fuller understanding of the indwelling spirit of Christ as they move forward in their faith journey. He encourages the reader to incorporate their study of the written Word of God with their experience of intimacy with the living Word, Jesus (Yeshua). His revelatory insights into Messianic prophecies, our bodies as the dwelling place of God (His temple), the inner presence of Jesus and the resultant transformation, wholeness, and peace are profound and confirmed with scriptural evidence.

"Precept upon precept" Rabbi Schneider equips the reader with an understanding of multi-cultured ministry, witnessing strategies for sharing Jesus as Messiah, conquering objections, and meeting people where they are. I was specifically challenged by the illustrations of sitting at the feet of Jesus in a leisurely expectancy allowing Him to accomplish His purpose in His timing.

"Awakening to Messiah - A Supernatural Discovery of the Jewish Messiah" is designed to point Jewish people to a personal understanding, recognition and experience of Jesus (Yeshua) as Messiah and to provide an understanding of the Jewish culture, its people, and history to Christ followers. He then challenge them to become intentional in seeking out Jewish people with the express purpose of introducing them to Yeshua.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Jesus Killed My Church
Randy Bohlender
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
97807684031090, $15.99

A Unique Title for an Amazing Adventure in Church Planting

"Jesus Killed My Church" is an honest candid look into the intervention of Jesus in the leadership and plans of man. A story of unexpected plot (life) twists including, pitfalls, triumphs, defeats, and successes that lead to an unexpected conclusion which is just the beginning of an ongoing story of following Jesus and allowing Him to take charge.

Randy communicates much of his story using a dry humor that exhibits a direct, open, and honest look into his humanity and humility. With his wife Kelsey and a band of volunteers Randy was led through a modern day adventure of testing, similar to that of Moses and the Israelites throughout their wilderness journey. The pages are filled with experiences resulting from prayer, fasting, and spiritual battles, including an encounter similar to Elijah's in the Old Testament account of calling on God for rain when challenging the prophets of Baal.

The prophets of The Burning Man organization were Randy's challenge when he and four companions faced them in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada in a spiritual battle that ended with headlines in USA Today that read "Thousands Leave Burning Man Because Of Rain."

Randy's writing is compelling and engaging, heartwarming, and challenging. "Jesus Killed My Church" is an important book for every Christian, with special insights for the pastor planning on planting a church. A Unique Title for an Amazing Adventure in Church Planting.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Demolishing Demonic Strongholds - Spiritual Firepower
Morris Cerullo
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P.O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768441932, $15.99

Spiritual Firepower Satan's Greatest Fear

Internationally recognized evangelist Morris Cerullo helps the reader recognize the abysmal tactics of Satan in his book "Demolishing Demonic Strongholds." Cerullo exposes the presence of demon spirits in the world today. He describes the oppression, torment, and vexation seeking to control, possess, and dominate our minds.

Biblical examples are used to illustrate the parallel of dozens of contemporary experiences by people in bondage to demon power. Cerullo provides the reader with practical action steps to claim power, overcome Satan, get release, and gain victory over his strongholds. Actual letters addressing personal strongholds are used to help the reader recognize that they are not alone in their struggle and to provide answers for demolishing demonic strongholds.

I found Cerullo's discussion on the topics of fear, the spiritual battlefield, Satan's domain and claims, his attacks, and the chapters dealing with our weapons to be especially helpful. I was challenged personally as I read Cerullo's testimony of a new anointing.

The discussion questions at the end of each chapter offer opportunity for individual reflection, recording in a spiritual journal, or in interactive group discussion. Valuable end notes validate Cerullo's careful research and extensive study.

"Demolishing Demonic Strongholds - Spiritual Firepower" is powerful in its presentation of a solid message for meeting the challenge of joining in the Battle against Spiritual Warfare.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

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False Justice - Unveiling the Truth about Social Justice
Stuart Greaves
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768441963, $15.99

A Call for a Change in the Foundational Paradigm of Justice

From an early age Stuart Greaves became an observer in the social dynamics prevalent on an international scale. In his book "False Justice - Unveiling the Truth about Social Justice" he provides the basis for a melding of personal faith in Jesus Christ and his own affinity toward social injustice and the socioeconomic disparity across racial lines.

Greaves provides amazing Biblical insights into the plight of the poor, struggling with poverty, hunger, human trafficking, abortion, genocide, and human inequality. He then translates these perceptions into spiritual applications for implementing a Christ centered paradigm of justice.

As I read, I begin to examine my own personal commitment and motivation to explore social justice in light of the Christian principles I champion. I begin to relate the moral responsibility of society to the small acts of kindness we exercise individually. I may never impact legislation, sway social reform, eliminate racism, eradicate poverty, or abolish the political corruption rampant at many levels of government but I was awakened to a need for being spiritually relevant while being socially realistic. I determined to challenge the sophisticated, ethical, pharisaical, religious attitudes prevalent in society today.

The book is divided into two parts: Part I: Introduces the progression of justice, false messengers, the false gospel, and false worship and religion. Part II: Presents A Global Worship Movement for Justice, The Gospel as the true message of justice, The Messiah Jesus, as the just one, a man of war, and a charge for commitment. Greaves' meticulous research is well documented, awe-inspiring resource for further reading and study.

Stuart Greaves' book "False Justice - Unveiling the Truth about Social Justice" provides an impressive Biblical treatise a Clarian call for Change in the Foundational Paradigm of Justice. Highly recommended.

The Voice
Don Nori, SR.
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768441970, $15.99

Embracing "Brokenness" a Prerequisite to Experiencing "Union" with God

"The Voice" is a call to quiet our souls, to give ourselves to the inner preparation of the Holy Spirit to bring God's victorious reality into our walk with Him. Don Nori, SR introduces the life changing role of "Brokenness" as a prerequisite to experiencing "Union" with God.

Don writes in a conversational style, conveying profound thought provoking concepts and a depth of understanding resulting from his personal perseverance in pursuing the presence of God that accompanies "Brokenness."

I was motivated by Don candid personal illustrations and the lessons in "Brokenness" and "Union" Jacob experienced as he wrestled with God, Moses' spiritual journey through his wilderness wanderings, and David's victory over his many battleground experiences.

The selected scriptures and poignant quotes from the classic devotional writings of Thomas a Kempis, Brother Lawrence, Oswald Chambers, A. W. Tozer, D. L. Moody and many others provide added insight and inspiration to the powerful impact of the book.

Don Nori SR. is a true spiritual frontiersman leading in an exploration of uncharted discoveries in the realm of prophetic living. "The Voice" details "how we can participate and how we should respond" as we listen for and hear the voice of the Lord.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Grace Given: Touch of Grace Book Two
Beth Shriver
Charisma Media/Realms
600 Rinehart Road
Lake Mary, Florida 32746
9781621360179 $14.99

A Story of Mystery, Mercy, and Forgiveness

As a volunteer worker in our church library I am always on the lookout for new authors to recommend to our most avid readers. Series authors in the genre of Amish fiction have become a favorite of many, so I was delighted to discover "The Touch of Grace Trilogy" by Beth Shriver. "Grace Given" is the second in the series. The story parallels the lives three women, each faced with unique hardships and demonstrates how they respond showing mercy, pardon, and forgiveness.

If you read the first title in the series "Annie's Truth" you recognize the names John Yoder, and Annie Belier. "Grace Given" is based on Elise Kline, Yoder's cousin.

From the first page to the last paragraph Shriver captures and holds the reader's attention. Her writing is well paced with an absorbing well developed plot and believable characters.
Beth Shriver's "Grace Given" adds a unique fresh approach and a deeper insight into Amish life and adds a touch of mystery.

Ancient Paths: Rediscovering Delight in the Word of God
Corey Russell
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768441956, $15.99

The Rediscovery of Finding Delight in the Word of God

Corey Russell urges the reader to rediscover the delight of meditation on the word of God, to hear His voice, worship in awe, and obey His instruction. Russell calls for a shift in our approach to reconnecting with and experiencing God's presence.

Lessons from the writings of Moses, the history of Israel, and the prophecies of Jeremiah provide the guidelines for the ancient paths of rediscovery of power available when we listen for God's Word. The teaching of the New Testament confirms these principles.

Russell writes with a spiritual sensitivity, birthed out of his own personal spiritual journey and discovery through the power of meditation, in depth study of the word, intimate intercession, and an intentional pursuit of knowing God's heart.

I enjoyed the documentation of the research that went into the writing of the book which included a valuable list of authors and titles for additional reading and future study.

"Ancient Days" is written for people spiritually starving, hungering for and desiring communion and an intimacy with God through the word; it is a message for the heart at a time of spiritually famished Christian's hungry for more.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Hope For Every Moment: Inspirational Thoughts to Help You Every Day of the Year
T. D. Jakes
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768410099, $11.99

A Threefold Celebration of the Heart

New York Times bestselling author T. D. Jakes gives the reader a sense of anticipation and expectation in his book "Hope for Every Moment: Inspirational Thoughts to Help You Every Day of the Year." Each daily devotional begins with a selected scripture that addresses issues of the heart, baffling difficulties, confusing questions, personal struggles, or unexpected emergencies. These readings provide comfort in adversity, strength in times of weakness and hope in times of discouragement.

Each day has a "take away message." As I reflected on the passage of scripture, the practical instruction, and life changing promises, I begin to see them as a threefold celebration of the heart. A step backward helps me recognize God's sustaining power, a view of the present reveals my unborn potential, and a look ahead provides a revelation of God's purpose for the future.

T. D. Jakes' equips the reader with a plan for overcoming with steps for succeeding, using stimulating questions to apply life changing principles, to build faith, find solutions, to determine God's calling, and to meet the challenge experience your full potential.

"Hope For Every Moment" is packed with inspiration for reflection and renewal, with solid instruction for spiritual growth, and a challenge to redirecting your passion to God's purpose.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Richard R. Blake, Senior Reviewer

Shelley's Bookshelf

Murder at Spirit Falls
Barbara Deese and Dorothy Olson
North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
PO Box 451, St. Cloud, MN 56302
9780878396146, $14.95,

Barbara Deese's adventurous career began as she became one of thirty-three U.S. Marshalls in the United States. Dorothy Olson spent twenty-nine years as a federal investigator. She is a passionate animal rescuer and owns her own clan of animals.

MURDER AT SPIRIT FALLS is the debut effort of these two expert investigators.

Spirit Falls is the idyllic location of Robin Bentley's cabin in the northern Wisconsin wilderness. Robin is recovering from breast cancer, and she and her book club buddies love to leave the big city to relax, cook, read, and yes, have adventures. Robin's neighbors are a bit out of the ordinary and are representatives of two ends of the economic spectrum. So when a body washes up by the waterfall, the "No Ordinary Women" book club find themselves in a real life murder mystery, particularly when the local authorities want to claim the case as an accident:

"'Well, it sounds like opinion to me. We don't know she died from drowning, do we?' Despite Cate's soft voice, Robin could tell she'd dug in for a battle.

His bemused expression didn't wane. 'We could say [her waterlogged body], found in the water below the waterfall.'

'That would be more factual,'

'Anything else?'

Catherine's jaw had hardened. 'You're treating this as an accidental death, aren't you?'

'For now.'"

For those familiar with the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, MURDER AT SPIRIT FALLS incorporates many famous spots around the city. This whodunit fairly jumps off the page, with the women's' expertise in investigation providing the focal point for the plot. The lifestyle of the Cities shines through, and each character adds to the spirit of the tale.

Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer

Shirley's Bookshelf

Revealing Heaven - An Eyewitness Account - Book One
Kat Kerr
Xulon Press
2301 Lucien Way, Suite 415
Maitland, FL 32751
9781602665163, $14.99,

I have to say from my earliest memories I have known and loved, Jesus. As my life continued on I soon gave my entire self to Him, serving Him to the best of my ability. Now, as the time-span of my life is moving towards the final act, my Spirit drifts to the place that one day soon will be my home, Heaven. I had to read this book, and I'm so glad I did.

From page one you are drawn into the heart of a woman who you immediately know loves her Savior and Her God, and loves people. She begins by telling some of herself, her life, and what is ahead of you in the read. I was ready and I was not disappointed. I sat glued to the book as my heart pumped with excitement and anticipation of what awaited me in my Heavenly Home. I learned what would happen at my death, some personalities of Angels, and personal stories of some who have already made their final journey, but we have just begun.

I often think of those who have gone on to Heaven, and wondered do they really get to see us? You bet they do, Ms Kerr explains about the wonderful Portal she was shown where they are able to not only see us, but watch as we go through some of our memorial events, such as marriage, or a new baby. They also are able to make declarations for us to help us through trying times. I was amazed. She speaks of Entertainment, Heavens Nurseries, and yes even Hell. We are also given some visual, as Ms. Kerr has placed some sketches of what she has seen. Wonderful! Believe me, much revelation and joy awaits you.

I read and reread every page of this book, and I could not stop the praise that came from my heart to a God who truly loves us, as my future home opened up before me. Listen guys, I know life can be hard. I have had more bumps in the road than I care to think about, but you know what, if you have Jesus as your Savior, you have a happy ending to your story.

As this book will confirm, God loves us so much that everything in Heaven is there for our joy, our pleasure, our happiness. As I put this book down, after reading it over and over again, I smiled. I will be eternally grateful to, Kat Kerr, for sharing the wonders that await the children of the King. To me, this book was a kiss from God, breath of His breath, and life giving encouragement, and I am pleased and honored to give it my highest recommendation.

Ummmm...Mommy, I Think I Flushed My Brother Down The Toilet
Jeff Rivera, author
Danko Herrera, illustrator
Kindle - Amazon
Amazon Digital Press

Let me start this review off by saying, as a reviewer I have reviewed countless children's books over the years, but....I have never reviewed a book such as this and I say that with a smile. First of all the title is going to grab the attention of any little one, because it is definitely not the norm for a story tale, but it's a winner just the same. The author uses something that a child has contact with everyday and probably at one time in their young life has thrown a few choice articles down its inviting mouth, but their little brother? Hummm!!!! The adventure begins as Mom definitely is not a happy camper when she finds out her son, Jesse, has been flushed down the toilet by his sister, Falisha Whiskers. Mom demands that Falisha finds her brother and brings him home.

Falisha is not happy about this, but knows better than to tell her Mom no, so off she goes down to a land few have traveled before, one that is called the Kingdom of Yuck! Our author does an excellent job in describing how this 'Kingdom' looks, hills made of slushy gushy mush, streets made of smelly jelly fellies...and illustrator, Danko Herrera. brings the story alive with his excellent colorful illustrations. Now, the question is, does she find her brother and bring him home, or does Falisha wonder in this Kingdom of Yuck forever? Ah.....I leave that for you to find out.

Final words, I highly recommend this book for several reasons. First, it is different than any other I have seen. It's a fun read with wonderful illustrations, yet doesn't stop there. The story also shows a child if they are going to do something they know they should not, there will be consequences and if possible they will have to make it right. Responsibility for their actions, a good lesson to learn. I loved the way author, Jeff Rivera, wraps all of this around in a fun adventure in a very forbidden zone. Sure to bring more than one giggle from young and old alike. Very well done.

The Hiden Ones
Nancy Madore
Kindle Edition Only
Amazon Digital Press

I was very pleased to be asked to review this work by author, Nancy Madore, it is right up my alley. I myself have been very interested in the very topics her story is about. We meet, Nadia, a young woman who has a lot going for her but is about to take a journey she never imagined. We find her kidnapped and whipped away to a foreign land by several men who treat her no better than a sack of garbage, literally. Nadia soon finds out that they are searching for something that only she has, the story of her grandmother, Helen. Helen, years ago went on an Archaeological study with her father, and several others. While there they found ancient books and brought a Nephilim offspring, Lilith, into this realm. It is this information that now these men seek and the answer as to why will shock and surprise you, but that is only the beginning of a supernatural read you will never forget.

I have to say, this is probably one of the hardest reviews that I have had to write. Why? Because in one review there is no way I could explain to you the complex storyline of this work, and all the interweaving of mythology, history, theology, and other subjects, that this author had to do to achieve this story. Amazing. I also know that there are things happening in this world that aren't that far from such a story as this one, so it made for quite a chilling read. Did I like it? You bet I did, it is excellent and keeps you going, never even realizing how long a work it is. As a matter of fact you are quite disappointed when it ends because you crave more. Everything about it was top of the line and I would have to say it is one of the best books I have read this year. I highly recommend it. Great job, Ms. Madore, keep them coming.

Scrolls of Darkness
Paul Henry Johnson
Outskirts press
10940 S. Parker Rd.
Parker, Colorado 80134
9781432795313, $16.95,

In this exciting top-notch adventure we meet, Brent Michaels, a Corporate attorney, but not for long. Brent receives a strange letter from a man named, David Baumann, an old friend of his fathers, who is now deceased. As Brent finds out his father was involved in searching for the Scrolls of Darkness, which are satanic scripts that are very important to a group called, the Sons of Darkness. This group is evil and totally under Satan's control. A tragedy happens in Brent's family and he is pulled into the search for these scrolls, a search that will change his life forever. I have to say I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end. The character development and local development is top-notched, taking you to where you should be, describing the locals bringing them to life in your minds eye, and allowing you to know each individual and the part they play in this fact-moving, action packed, emotional roller coaster ride of a read. I became so engrossed that I could not put the book down and read it in several days. Perhaps it touched a nerve in the battle our world is now fighting between evil and good. A fiction story (or is it?) that allows you to cheer for the good in the hopes that our world is not totally immersed in darkness. If you want a story that takes you down roads you have not traveled before, this book is for you. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and I look forward with great anticipation for the next chapter. Exceptional.

Murder in the Rue Dumas
M.L. Longworth
Penguin Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street
New York NY 10014
9780143121541, $14.00,

In the beginning of this read we are introduced to many characters who may turn out to also be suspects in a murder. Dr. Georges Moutte, the Director of Theology at the University d'Aix is the victim. Dr. Moutte was about to retire, or so all thought, until he announced he would stay on for a while longer. There was no joy over this news, after all, besides his position, he lived in one of the most wanted apartments at the university, there were many who hungered after his position. No, this announcement did not set well.

Now Judge Antoine Verlaque is faced with the almost impossible job of finding out 'who done it.' How do you narrow down the list of possible suspects, it is overwhelming. However there is a lot of things that have been hidden that will now be revealed as the search for Dr. Moutte's killer continues.

I did enjoy this read once I got into it, as the story takes place in another country. This mystery is set in France and I found that to be interesting as the author did an excellent job describing the locals. The development of the characters were also top notch, and I know that was not an easy task with the many characters involved in this mystery. The web of the mystery became a little thicker as hidden secrets of each ones lives were revealed and the final outcome of 'who done it,' is sure to surprise you. I really liked Verlaque, as a person and also as the head investigator. His ways and personality added a lot to the story. Murder in the Rue Dumas has all the elements for a great mystery read, plus several surprises. I believe you will truly enjoy it.

Out of the Shadow
J.S. Winn
Create Space
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
97814800043176, $13.95,

There are mystery stories and there are mystery stories inside mystery stories, this book fits the second. We meet Becca, a young woman who undergoes a terrible event. Her husband is killed and she is raped, and her life turns into a nightmare. Now she is in a battle to know who did it because it looks as if the finger points to her. Sarah has had problems in the past, but should this made her the main suspect? But wait, Psychologist Sarah Abrams, perhaps one of the few people who truly understand Becca, thinks the answer maybe hidden within Becca herself, does she know the killer or is it her? What a tale is weaved!

I enjoyed this story, reading and trying to unwrap the different layers that were being presented to me. The author did a great job with character development, and story development. I have to admit I didn't have a clue on how it was going to turn out and I was surprised. If you want a mystery read that whips you around and gives you a good ride for your money, this one is for you. Good job.

Shirley Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Taylor's Bookshelf

Guardian Angel Volume One: The Beginning
Dr. Arnold Spero Bisase
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477235317 $33.50

Guardian Angel Volume One: The Beginning is the autobiographical testimony of Dr. Arnold Spero Bisase, a man who personally witnessed tremendous upheaval in East Africa, especially Uganda. Though Bisase is a dental surgeon by trade, his travels and experiences amid cultural boundaries are eye-opening in their variety and multifaceted challenges. Guardian Angel Volume One (an appropriate title, given the unexpected dangers, political purges, and ethnic cleansings Bisase has blessedly survived) is an extraordinary and at times shocking true-life story. "'The call I took during surgery was from Kampala. Your staff said to tell you this.' He handed me the exact message he had received on the telephone... 'Please tell Dr. Bisase not to come back. The soldiers had come to pick him up. And when we told them that he had gone to Nairobi to operate, they thought someone had tipped him off. So, they've gone to his house but we have already alerted his family to hide; so, they are safe.'"

Live Better Longer
Hugh Wilson
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781475017779, $12.95,

A good life is a long life. "Live Better Longer: Your Guide to a Healthier Life" is a guide to better physical and emotional health on many levels as Dr. Hugh Wilson advises readers on the steps they can take, with tips on building energy for every day life, forming stronger personal relationships, and making sure the intimate time is fulfilling. "Live Better Longer" is well recommended for general health and wellness collections, not to be missed.

Writing for the Senses
Olivia Aragon
Green Light
9781622402540, $11.99,

Our connection to the world around us, they are how we interpret our place in the world. "Writing for the Senses" is a writing guide from Olivia Aragon as she presents an exploration of our senses and allure of life and living in the process. "Writing for Our Senses" is a must for any writer who wants to better incorporate more than sight and sound into their tales for a more immersive experience.

Burning For Freedom
Anurupa Cinar
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781426974984, $20.33,

History is all too often whitewashed for the modern day. "Burning for Freedom" is a novel of history surrounding the darker side of Gandhi's efforts for Indian independence, showing that it was not through principled nonviolence alone. Following a semi-fictional story surrounding Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a man who has sacrificed much in his efforts for India. An enticing read with plenty of twists and turns, "Burning for Freedom" is a must for historical fiction collections, recommended.

A Poet and Bin-Laden
Hamid Ismailov
9781909156333, $24.30,

September 11, 2001 had impacts on far more than just America. "A Poet and Bin-Laden" is a blend of recent history and fiction, as Hamid Ismailov tells the story of Belgi, an Uzbek poet who grows dissatisfied with his country's government the infamous terrorist attacks occur. Rebelling in his own way, Ismailov presents a story that brings another side to the events of the period, following Belgi through his journeys through the region and encounters with Bin Laden himself. An intriguing story of the personal changes the events can bring across the world, "A Poet and Bin-Laden" is a well worth considering for international literary fiction collections.

The Curious Childhood of Patty O.
Pat Olchefski-Winston
c/o AnnMarie Petitto
9781105835025, $12.99,

Our paths through childhood all have their own curious twists which allow us to grow up into who we are. "The Curious Childhood of Patty O." is a memoir of childhood and learning from Pat Olchefski-Winston, as she shares a memoir of growing up and the difficulties she faced, sharing the challenges and struggles she encountered all along the way. "The Curious Childhood of Patty O." is a wondrous read with plenty to entice, very much recommended.

1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors
Glen Wiggy, author, Leif Olson, illustrator
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475945645, $18.95,

Sometimes throwing out the most random of hands is what you need to get by. "1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors: Finding Profit and Humor in Card-Counting" is a collection of humor with some card playing advice from Glen Wiggy who presents an unusual twist of non-traditional blackjack playing, and knowing how to use it more effectively for success and profit. "1536 Free Waters and Other Blackjack Endeavors" is well worth considering for card players who seek a bit of humor in their gambling education.

Reality Bites
Shaunda Kennedy Wenger
Essemkay Company Productions
9780615614298, $8.95,

We all have embarrassing family members, and it's tougher when they're literal monsters. "Reality Bites: Tales of a Half-Vampire" is a humorous young adult read as Half-Vampire Mackenzie tries to fit in with the normal human world, pursue a crush, and try to figure out her role in her paranormal family...and how to use it to her advantage. "Reality Bites" is a fun read that young people will relish with their own struggles of fitting in.

The Impending Monetary Revolution, The Dollar and Gold
Edmund Contoski
American Liberty Publishers
Box 18296
Minneapolis, MN 55418
9780965500708 $19.95

Investment lecturer Edmund Contoski presents The Impending Monetary Revolution, The Dollar and Gold, a wake-up call about what the severe fiscal problems rocking Europe and especially Greece imply about America's troubling debt problems. The American dollar enjoys the high status of being the world's reserve currency, and the American government currently has the option of printing more money to answer its debts. Contoski warns that both these situations will soon change, and criticizes the reckless gambling that modern banking has become under the fractional reserve system. A return to the gold standard would make impossible some of the worst shenanigans that precipitated the financial crises of 2008 onward, and so Contoski argues heavily in favor of such a measure, to the extent of claiming it will inevitably become necessary. A wealth of data and numerous full-color charts and graphs offer supporting evidence for Contoski's thesis on why he believes the gold standard is part of the antidote to reckless government expansion, excessive debt, and the threat of hyperinflation. "Despite growing inflation, the dollar probably won't be replaced with a new currency, at least not if the Constitution is to be followed... The only other way to get around this Constitutional limitation would be a Constitutional amendment to permit a new currency - one backed by gold. Since there is virtually no chance of such an amendment being initiated by Congress, it would likely have to be done through a new Constitutional convention." The Impending Monetary Revolution is an eye-opening and forceful argument, thought-provoking and extremely critical of the Obama administration.

John Taylor

Vogel's Bookshelf

Niagara's Most Haunted Legends and Myths
Peter Andrew Sacco, Inc.
PO Box 2399
Bangor, ME 04402-2399
9781621418146 $14.95

Niagara's Most Haunted Legends and Myths lives up to its title as a repository of supernatural lore about the Niagara region. Examining some of the most haunted locations in the area since the 1800's, chapters retell stories about vampire brides, sunken shipwrecks, ghosts at military forts, and much more. Occasional black-and-white photographs intersperse Niagara's Most Haunted, making it a most enjoyable tour, and the next best thing to investigating Niagra rich wellspring of paranormal folklore in person!

The World of Haiku
Trisha Sugarek
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781480035676 $7.95

The World of Haiku is a striking collection of original poetry; each poem consists of three haiku verses. Bold, pen-and-ink artwork embellishes each brief poem. The World of Haiku embodies the spirit of encompassing timeless observations in a fleeting moment of verse, and is a delightful treasure for any who enjoy contemplative haiku poetry. "Summer Woods": a single leaf floats / deer creep along well worn paths / fish leap with delight // rings spread on the pond / katydids shout their presence / goslings paddle near // breezes stir the trees / the forest floor perfumes rise / a lone bird exults

The Patsy
Bert Silva
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781468089431, $14.95,

Heroes rarely receive a hero's reward. "The Patsy: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" is a mystery novel following one J. D. Mize, who gets seven years for manslaughter for his act of heroism, and as he gets released, he finds his role is not yet done. With targets lying on him, he finds new friends to back him up as he finds the truth of the matter. "The Patsy" is a twist of mystery and adventure that shouldn't be overlooked.

Under the Sycamores
Michael Perrotta
3L Publishing
9780985266936, $19.95,

We seek others to help us bare the burden of life in all of its trouble. "Under the Sycamores" is a novel from Michael Perrotta following Emila as she copes with the concepts of freedom and meeting others like her, dealing with her own profound passions for life and living in the process. "Under the Sycamores" is an enticing and emotional novel, not to be overlooked.

The Easy Way is Always Mined
E. Nelson Stiles
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466935860, $14.33,

Survival alone does not make a hero. "The Easy Way is Always Mined" is a novel of adventure following veteran soldier Kurt, who has gained a reputation for his continued survival through the years, and how the title of hero is foist upon him, when all he really wants to do is use anything and everything to evade the reaper for another day. "The Easy Way is Always Mined" is an enticing read, highly recommended.

David Maislish
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781780031484, $15.99,

When you have power, you are a target. "Assassination: The Royal Family's 100 Year Curse" is a historical analysis which states there has been an attempted or successful murder of every British King or Queen over the past millennium. Delving deep into history, he presents the background of every attempt and its story. An intriguing touch of history that is darkly fascinating, "Assassination" is well worth considering for those who like the treachery of the courts, recommended.

From Pink to Blue
Marilyn Louise Lawrence
Balboa Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452552385, $8.99,

A child needs guidance from those who love them, and are willing to help them find that path. "From Pink to Blue" is a spiritual guide that touches on parenting and finding the divine message for oneself and their children, and looking for the future. "From Pink to Blue" is filled with much to think about for spiritual readers, much recommended.

The Complex Man
Robert T. Grammont
Privately Published
9781470176815, $19.95,

We are forced to do many things, but we always ultimately force ourselves to embrace life as we want it. "The Complex Man" follows the story of Bud, and his long connection with his family, trying to find out what family is in spite of the tough times and his confusing life. Exploring the changing family dynamics of the recent world, "The Complex Man" should resonate with many a reader, much recommended.

Love Never Ends
Connie Martin & Barry Dundas
Inspiring Voices
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781462401932, $13.99,

To lose your daughter so young in her life threatens us with so much. "Love Never Ends" is a memoir from Connie Martin, as she shares her struggles of coping with the sudden loss of her daughter, Connie, from what was suppose to be a routine surgery. Sharing her journey through coping over a fifteen year period, "Love Never Ends" is a poignant memoir of a woman coping with the loss of a loved one, and makes for a choice and very highly recommended read for those who may also be coping with the sudden loss of a loved one.

S. K. Badgett
Globeflower Press
9780615654119, $12.95,

Deep in the darkness it can be hard to find light. "Tenuous" is a memoir from S. K. Badgett as he shares his experiences of years as a coal miner and how during those years, he lost sight of his soul. Finding his way back to spiritual health, "Tenuous" tells an insightful story of life, living, adventure and everything else that can come with just the very stress of getting by.

Paul T. Vogel

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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