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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 4 April 2014 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Jobs/Careers Shelf Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf LGBT Shelf
Computer Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Poetry Shelf Cookbook Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Biography Shelf Native American Studies Shelf Criminology Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Memoir Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Kuyper in America
Abraham Jr. Kuyper
Dordt College Press
498 - 4th Avenue NE, Sioux Center, IA 51250-1606
9780932914934, $11.00, 100pp,

Synopsis: In 1898, Abraham Kuyper traveled from the Netherlands to the United States to deliver the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was gone for more than four months; during which time he wrote twenty-two letters to his wife Jo (and seven children) back home. These sometimes hastily penned personal letters allowed his wife and children to share his adventures, and also his thoughts and feelings while traveling. These are typical travel letters. For Kuyper scholars and students of American history and culture these letters contain fascinating details, and for the lover of the epistolary genre and the petit histoire this publication offers the opportunity to get close to the enigmatic figure of Abraham Kuyper.

Critique: Abraham Kuijper (29 October 1837 - 8 November 1920), generally known as Abraham Kuyper, was a Dutch politician, journalist, statesman and theologian. He founded the Anti-Revolutionary Party and was prime minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905. Ably translated into English by Margriet Urbanus, and deftly edited by George Harinck "Kuyper in America: This Is Where I Was Meant to Be" offers a candid and informative perspective on Kuyper by Kuyper and is an especially recommended addition to academic library reference collections.

Russell H. Kaschula
University of South Africa Press
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213
9781868887330, $22.00, 176pp,

Synopsis: Russell Kaschula's delightful and provocative stories explore the complexities of living in the intercultural spaces of Southern Africa - reflections born out of his own history and experiences. Depicting a truly South African identity, these stories are told without bigotry, condescension, or political correctness. They embrace the theme of a common historical uncertainty and displacement over a period stretching back to the 1850s. Bringing together pre- and post-apartheid threads, Kaschula weaves together sometimes painful, sometimes humorous incidents of change, sorrow, fun, violence, forgiveness, innocence, identity, belonging, new directions, and interlinked destinies.

Critique: This outstanding anthology is comprised of twelve thoroughly entertaining and engaging short stories: Two Teas Pleas; Pool; Valley of Voices; Initiates; Six Teaspoons of Sweetness; Divine Beginnings; N(ative) Y(ard) 47th Street; Shades of Orange; The Forgiver; Shadow; Razor Ribbon; and the title piece, Displaced. A collection of extraordinarily well crafted stories, "Displaced" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.

My Husband Has Died, But That's Not The Funny Part
Debra J. Blood
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781481716673, $22.95, 258pp,

Synopsis: Losing her husband Dennis unexpectedly in 2011, at the young age of 47, Debra was faced with handling grief in the only way she knew how, with strength, grace and much laughter. Debra worked through her tears by posting to her husband each day (for one year) on a social media website after his passing. She credits her "seeing the light of day" by sharing funny stories of their time together and walking through the pain, not alone, but with her ever growing unshakeable faith in God and the resounding love of many who have taken this journey each day with her. Through her stories, her daily blog ( and her posts she has used her distinctively unique humor, desire to honor the love of her life, and her ability to "tell it like it is" to inspire, lift, and encourage others in a way seldom seen. "Losing the one you love suddenly is like being put on a roller coaster ride (and I have always hated those). You rise slowly, fall fast, hold on for dear life, and scream not so nice words that you hope those around you didn't hear. But when you get off this ride, while you may not want to buy another ticket, you are so proud of yourself for just being able to say you let go, threw your hands in the air the entire time and you indeed lived through it" You will laugh, you will cry, at time you will pray you never personally know how she truly feels, but after you read this book that was written to her sweet husband Dennis and for her children Timothy and Sarah, you will believe that just maybe there is a way to face death and come out smiling.

Critique: Written with an extraordinarily articulate candor and practical insight, "My Husband Has Died, But That's Not The Funny Part: When Laughter and Love Overcome Grief and Loss" is as inspired as it is inspiring. Very highly recommended and informative reading for anyone having to deal with the loss of a loved one, "My Husband Has Died, But That's Not The Funny Part: When Laughter and Love Overcome Grief and Loss" should be a part of every community library collection in the country.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

The Brainiac Paradox
Mark Cornillie
Stein, Klauber & Company
PO Box 15051, Detroit, MI 48230
9780989188500, $23.95, 352pp,

Synopsis: There are nine factors that can significantly influence whether one's STEM career will be successful and fulfilling or not. These are the focus of "The Brainiac Paradox", but there is much more ... Scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians (STEM) are widely accepted to be among society's most intelligent people, and yet some struggle with something those on the other end of the cognitive spectrum may handle with ease: communication. This is the Brainiac Paradox. Communication effectiveness largely determines whether one's work is understood, approved, funded, staffed, supported, and ultimately successful. Communication challenges among STEM professionals result in frustrated careers for those directly affected, and innovation and solution opportunity costs for society as a whole. "The Brainiac Paradox" tackles this subject head-on, providing relevant information and actionable solutions. Essentially, it is two books in one. The first half addresses the underlying issue, answering the questions of how, why, and so what. It explores various mind sciences research that would seem to suggest congenital explanation. It also reviews environmental development factors that contribute to this phenomenon, if not the outright cause. The second half offers targeted assistance and prescriptive solutions, focusing on the nine factors author Mark Cornillie has found, based his more than 20 years of hands-on experience with this issue, to most impede the success of some STEM professionals. These solutions are provided within the framework of a methodology that will ensure lasting results. But The Brainiac Paradox is not just for STEM professionals seeking greater career success. It also has been written for those who are affected by this issue indirectly: managers, colleagues, loved ones, etc.

Critique: Of special note is author Mark Cornillie's informative introduction (The Tower of Technobabel) and instructional advisory (How to Use This Book). "The Brainiac Paradox: Solutions for the Communication Challenges of STEM Professionals" is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "The Brainiac Paradox: Solutions for the Communication Challenges of STEM Professionals" is an engaging (and at times challenging) read, making it very highly recommended for academic and community library collections, and the personal reading lists for anyone engaged in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Fiction Shelf

The Death of Davy Moss
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
WMG Publishing
PO Box 269
Lincoln City, OR 97367
9780615862019 $15.99

The Death of Davy Moss is an original romance novel about a modern-day Elvis. Davy Moss was a pop culture sensation, until his alleged death in a terrible accident, fifteen years ago. The fans keep his memory alive, but Davy Moss himself has traded fame and fortune for the relative anonymity of his quiet new life as Josh Candless. When he crosses paths with music promoter Emily Lukovich, she recognizes his talent and wants to make him a star, unaware of his nigh-celestial past. The sparks of love begin to stir between this unlikely couple, but at what price? Davy Moss once abandoned everyone he knew; will Josh Candless do the same? Complex characters driven by multiple motivations form the halmark of this serenade, especially recommended for readers who enjoy music as surely as they do romance.

Havens of Pompeii: Some Things Always Survive
Nicole Louw
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781462019731, $27.95, 534pp,

Synopsis: After spending seven fruitless years training as a gladiator, Valerus Claudius Cascus returns from Rome to his hometown of Herculaneum. Upon his arrival, he delivers his father the gift of three dancing girls-one of whom is Flavia, a slave from Briton, and a secret member of the Christian faith. Valerus finds himself drawn to the shy and withdrawn Flavia, and her ambition and dedication lead him to a new way of looking at the world and his life. As their worlds slowly intertwine-initially as friends and then as lovers-Valerus becomes blatantly aware that Flavia is first and foremost his father's slave and he can do with her as he pleases. In a heroic attempt to protect Flavia, he soon begins to work towards liberating her from her cruel fate. Unfortunately, neither Valerus nor Flavia suspect the imminent danger that lies beneath the mountain that first brought them together. In this historical tale based on real-life events, a Christian slave and a free Roman struggle to keep their love alive-even as the world erupts around them. Some things will always survive.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, novelist Nicole Louw has a definite flair for creating memorial characters and crafting entertaining narratives. A solid entertainment from first page to last, "Havens of Pompeii: Some Things Always Survive" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library historical fiction collections. It should be noted that "Havens of Pompeii: Some Things Always Survive" is also available and highly recommended to the general reading public in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Recovering From Life
Debra McKenna
Privately Published
c/o Rebecca Brown
The Cadence Marketing Group
9780615841458, $9.99,

Synopsis: Recovering From Life is the tale of 39-year-old, red-headed spitfire Stephanie McCarthy's rollicking road to redemption. A gifted freelance writer in Northern California, Steph works days hawking frozen foods while her life limps along. Until her husband, Kenny, disappears into the crack ghetto. His descent into addiction catapults Steph onto a wild ride that feels unendurable - but ultimately leads to her own self-discovery. Marooned in a state of financial doom, legal tangles, and emotional turmoil, Steph navigates the pitfalls of her new path, which takes her into the realms of drug dealers, high finance - and hot romance. With her wisecracking buddy, Lee, and other surprising allies at her side, Steph begins to rebuild her world as she stumbles into her own blind spots and wrestles with her faulty guy-radar. When Steph at last spies the "Welcome to Reality" sign at the end of the road, she realizes that her job is to heal from a life she never chose - and to recover from the one that she did. But while she rides that roller coaster of recovery, Stephanie has one hell of a good time.

Critique: In "Recovering From Life", author Debra McKenna demonstrates a true gift from imaginative storytelling that fully engages and entertains the reader from beginning to end by populating an original work of fiction with authentically believable characters that will linger in the mind long after her novel is finished and set back upon the shelf. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library contemporary fiction collections, it should be noted that "Recovering From Life" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Wandering West
Gary C. Stalcup
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
Bohlseng Group (publicity)
9781483403274, $19.99, 316pp,

Synopsis: Jack Stiler's return to The Lucky Star Ranch in South Texas is bittersweet. The property along this stretch of the Little Hondo has been in his family since the early 1900s. An ex-Wall Streeter, Stiler is still dealing with the loss of his beloved wife to cancer and the humiliation of a scandal that ended his career. He now faces the challenge of a lifetime as he tries to save the ranch. The region has been plagued by a drought of historic proportions, and the area surrounding his home is rife with the trafficking of drugs, guns, and desperate human beings who want nothing more than a better way of life. But Siler's return is more than a battle to save The Lucky Star from financial ruin and from the invasion of smugglers; it's a desperate attempt to defeat the demons within. He battles to hold onto those he loves in the midst of even more death and destruction, while struggling with his own sense of mortality.

Critique: With plot points that could be taken from contemporary newspaper headlines, "Wandering West" is a deftly scripted contemporary novel that documents author Gary C. Stalcup as a master wordsmith and a skilled novelist. A riveting and entertaining read from beginning to end, "Wandering West" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections.

The Gospel According to Mary, Mother of Jesus
Donald W. Bartow
Wholeness Publications
PO Box 36057, Canton, OH, 44735
9781893042155, $22.99, 192pp,

Synopsis: With compelling sensitivity and tenderness, author Donald W. Bartow captures the life of Jesus from the unique perspective of His mother, Mary, the woman God chose and blessed to bring His Son to Earth. Although fiction, it is often the case that a well-researched and presented historical novel imparts more truths than a non-fiction book which may have inaccuracies due to either author bias or shoddy research. Such is the case with The Gospel According to Mary, Mother of Jesus which is scripturally sound, culturally sensitive, and in modern language. The Gospel According to Mary, Mother of Jesus is as easy to read as an entertaining suspense novel, while at the same time being as informative as a textbook. Creatively it presents the essence of the Gospel of faith, hope, and love. This engaging and insightful work - intended for young, old, believers, and unbeliever - flows tenderly from the heart of the aged mother of Jesus. Through the warmth of a mother's love sharing her heart-felt story you will discover an enhanced meaning to your life, find many helpful spiritual truths, fully grasp the message and ministry of Jesus, increase your understanding of the Bible, learn to appreciate that God can take an ordinary person and accomplish the extraordinary, be inspired to help fight the darkness of the rampant secularism in our day, experience a story as exciting as a suspense novel.

Critique: Just as Jesus used short stories (called parables) to illustrate spiritual truths, so "The Gospel According to Mary, Mother of Jesus" is a novel length story that illustrates spiritual truths while entertaining and inspiring the reader. Offering a deftly written and biblically based narrative, "The Gospel According to Mary, Mother of Jesus" is very highly recommended reading and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library historical fiction collections.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Fatal Forgery
Susan Grossey
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781489587404, $12.49, 282pp,

Synopsis: It is 1824, and trust in the virtual money of the day - new paper financial instruments - is so fragile that anyone forging them is sent to the scaffold. So why would one of London's most respected bankers start forging his clients' signatures? Sent to arrest Henry Fauntleroy, Constable Samuel Plank is determined to find out why the banker has risked his reputation, his banking house and his neck - and why he is so determined to plead guilty. As the case makes its way through the Regency justice system, exercising the finest legal minds of their generation and dividing London society into the banker's supporters and detractors, Plank races against time to find the answers that can save Fauntleroy's life.

Critique: A wonderfully entertaining novel from first page to last, "Fatal Forgery" showcases the impressive and gifted storytelling talents of author Susan Grossey and will leave the reader looking eagerly toward her next effort. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library fiction collections, it should be noted that "Fatal Forgery" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.49).

Murder Capital
Tracy Coleman
Traro Publishing
PO Box 4001, Gary, IN 46404
9780985514303, $19.99, 446pp,

Synopsis: "Murder Capital" focuses on one man's mission to break up the most corrupt and destructive crime rings which he had ever seen - the government of Gomor, Indiana. Vincent Joshua is a successful trial attorney who practices in Los Angeles, California. When he learns that his father is involved in a near fatal car accident, Vincent makes the decision to leave his thriving law practice in Los Angeles and return to Gomor, Indiana to help his family. Vincent left the city in 1985 after his brother was killed execution style. When it was obvious that his father would make a full recovery, Vincent accepts a job with the Riverside County Prosecutor's Office. It doesn't take Vincent long to realize that the same corruption which plagued the city and caused his brother's death, had only gotten worse. This time, Vincent is no longer a naive, frightened youth running to save his life, but a powerful, skilled attorney, who has the knowledge to bring down the judges, police and prosecutors who made millions off of Gomor's illegal drug trade.

Critique: A riveting novel from beginning to end, "Murder Capital" documents author Tracy Coleman as a master of the action/adventure suspense novel genre. Attention Hollywood, "Murder Capital" is the stuff from which block-buster movies are made! Terrifically entertaining, "Murder Capital" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library fiction collections. It should be noted that "Murder Capital" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Edge of Death
John Benedict
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
Author Marketing Experts (publicity)
9781492230946, $12.95, 320pp.,

Synopsis: There's a secret lab in the basement of the prestigious Buchanan Medical Center, where the newly declared dead become subjects in pathologist Gunter Mueller's research in cutting-edge resuscitation medicine. None of his subjects have survived--until now. Not only is he alive, Nick Chandler has undergone a chilling metamorphosis into a man of supernatural prescience, superhuman strength, and absolutely no remorse--as Chip Allison and his friend Kristin Duffy quickly discover. Chip is on duty as monitor watcher in the ICU when Chandler is wheeled in; mere minutes later, Chandler has fled into the night, leaving behind a violently murdered nurse, the first of many victims. Besides being an avid dog lover, Kristin has an interesting hobby: she takes Kirlian photographs--images of the auras all living creatures give off. When she applies the technique to a photo of Chandler inadvertently captured on the night of his escape, Chandler has no aura. And somehow, Chandler knows she has that damning photograph... Still suffering flashbacks after being attacked by his former boss wielding a bone saw three years ago, anesthesiologist Doug Landry is teaching residents at the Buchanan Med Center during a six-month sabbatical when his wife Laura is seriously injured in a biking accident. When things go terribly wrong on the operating table, Laura is delivered to Dr. Mueller for resuscitation...

Critique: A deftly written masterwork in the medical thriller genre, author John Benedict's "The Edge of Death" is the riveting sequel to his earlier novel "Adrenaline" (9781484897522, $12.95) and very highly recommend reading. It should be noted that "The Edge of Death" is also avalable in a Kindle edition ($6.95).

When Patty Went Away
Jennie Burt
Muskrat Press
PO Box 13064, Portland, OR 97213
9780989544634, $13.95, 380pp,

Synopsis: What event could turn a quiet man from one who has always followed and gone along, to one who takes a stand against his community? In 1976, in a remote farming corner of Oregon, rebellious fifteen-year-old Patty vanishes. Blamed for awful trouble, the community, everyone but farmer Jack McIntyre and his daughter, bid her good riddance. Even Jack's wife dusts her hands of the girl. As wild as she turned, Patty had once been close to Jack's family and was his daughter's only friend. Jack cannot help but care what happened to her. His feelings for the girl force him to make the most difficult decision of his life: to find the courage to search for her. The journey he takes will change him, and everyone he loves, profoundly.

Critique: A deftly written novel showcasing the quiet struggle of farmer and his family within the framework of a deftly written mystery. A minor literary masterpiece, author Jennie Burt is a remarkably gifted writer and "When Patty Went Away" is highly recommended for personal summer fun reading lists. It should be noted that "When Patty Went Away" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Dazzling Darkness
Paula Cappa
Crispin Books
9781883953614, $16.95, 286pp,

Synopsis: "The Dazzling Darkness" is a paranormal mystery set in Concord, Mass. A secret lies buried beneath the haunting statues of Old Willow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts. The nearby woods are alive with the spirits of Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott. Does Elias Hatch, the cemetery keeper, know the power hiding in the old graveyard? On a cold afternoon in March, a neighbor boy, five-year-old Henry Brooke, goes missing. His parents are frantic as hours pass. Then, a police dog tracks Henry's scent inside the nearby cemetery. Detective Mike Balducci suspects that Elias Hatch knows the truth about what happened to the young boy. As shadowy apparitions drift through the trees, Balducci will struggle to unravel the secrets of the dazzled faces in

Critique: Paula Cappa is a master of the metaphysical mystery genre. "The Dazzling Darkness" documents her as an extraordinary and original storyteller of the first rank. Very highly recommended, it should be noted that "The Dazzling Darkness" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99). Also strongly recommended is Cappa's previous metaphysical novel "Night Sea Journey: A Tale of the Supernatural" (Kindle, $2.99).

Lance Charnes
Wombat Group Media
PO Box 17190, Anaheim, CA 92817
9780988690332, $14.95, 408pp,

Synopsis: Luis Ojeda owes his life to the Pacifico Norte cartel. Literally. Now it's time to pay. Luis had led escaping American Muslims out of the U.S. during the ten years following a 2019 terrorist attack on Chicago. He retired after nearly being killed by a border guard. But now in 2032, the Nortes give Luis a choice: pay back the fortune they spent saving his life, or take on a special job. The job: Nora Khaled - FBI agent, wife, mother of two, and Muslim. She claims her husband will be exiled to one of the nation's remote prison camps to rot with over 400,000 other Muslim Americans. Faced with her family's destruction, she's forced to turn to Luis - the kind of man she's spent her career bringing to justice. But when the FBI publicly accuses Nora of terrorism, Luis learns Nora's real motive for heading south: she has proof that the nation's recent history is based on a lie - a lie that reaches to the government's highest levels. Torn between self-preservation and the last shreds of his idealism, Luis guides Nora and her family toward refuge in civil war-wracked Mexico. The FBI, a dogged ICE agent, killer drones, bandits, and the fearsome Zeta cartel all plan to stop him. Success might just free Luis from the Nortes...but failure means disappearing into a black-site prison, or a gruesome death for them all.

Critique: "South" is a riveting work of action/adventure suspense that is a real page-turner of a novel. Author Lance Charnes demonstrates a truly impressive knack for deftly creating a complex and thoroughly engaging story that grabs and holds the reader's rapt attention from beginning to end. A novel that could be ripped from today's headlines about cross-border narco-terrorism, "South" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should be noted that "South" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

II Corps: The CIA in Vietnam
Tim Lilly
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478722069, $13.95, 262pp,

Synopsis: Here is the highly anticipated coinciding spin off sequel to the novel Wode Susu-My Uncle-A Story Of The Chinese Mafia. In the first novel in this series you learned of a trinity of central characters. The first novel was told from the point of view of the Chinese Mafia Boss Chan Wan San's nephew Randal Ting and his best friend was Tommy Landis. In this volume, Tommy tells you of his father Nathan Landis. From his growing up in a rural coal town, to his beginnings at the end of World War II in the OSS, and then recruited by the CIA to Force 784 for his part in the Korean War and then sent to Vietnam. He is appointed the Declared Agent to the Consulate General and Director of Air Operations of Air America for Military Region 2, II Corps, Nha Trang, Republic of South Vietnam. Force 784 is a little known branch of the CIA that was the beginnings of the very first Delta Force Teams that were comprised of Air Commandos and Green Berets and would soon recruit the best soldiers from all branches of the Special Forces and operators and pilots from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Landis is not only the Director of Air Operations but participates in all the highly classified clandestine operations in Southeast Asia. He has been told by his superiors that there is illegal profiteering going on and it his additional duty to sniff them out and expose them. He is also well aware that in doing so it will more than likely end his career in the Foreign Service. Not since the release of the movies "Platoon" and "Full Metal Jacket" has there been a story on Vietnam that is so compelling, gritty, and graphic. You will feel the humid climate and witness gun battles and dog fights unveil before your very eyes. You will hear the screams of dying men and see their blood splatter across the pages. The colorful characters will suck you in and make you feel as though you are in the story itself. Welcome to the real war in Vietnam.

Critique: A fictionalized account of a true story, "II Corps: The CIA in Vietnam" documents author Tim Lilly's narrative skills and abilities to craft memorable characters and a deftly engaging storyline for a solid entertainment from first page to last. Very highly recommended, for personal reading lists and community library fiction collections, "II Corps: The CIA in Vietnam" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99). Also strongly recommended is Tim Lilly's novel, "Wode Susu: My Uncle - A Story of the Chinese Mafia" (9781478714118, Paperback $14.95, Kindle $9.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Shifter's Trail
Adam Alexander
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478700845, $12.95, 350pp,

Synopsis: Except for an unfortunate attachment to numbers, Andromeda Brown is an ordinary girl with an ordinary life at a perfectly ordinary school. Until, that is, a spaceship crash-lands near her home in Chicago, and circumstances throw her into contact with folks whose zip code is, quite literally, out of this world. Her new acquaintances are in trouble and desperately need her help. They are frantically looking for a freakish, shape-shifting alien scientist who has been hanging out on planet Earth for, well, ages. And hard as it is to track down someone who can change appearance at will, Andromeda's difficulties are multiplied by the fact that she and her friends are not the only ones on the shifter's trail. Darker forces are at work. For if the shifter's knowledge falls into the wrong hands, humanity is in for a very bad day....

Critique: An especially skilled author, Adam Alexander is able to keep his reader's rapt attention from beginning to end, making "The Shifter's Trail" a wonderfully entertaining science fiction action/adventure novel that will have strong appeal and is a highly recommended addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted that "The Shifter's Trail" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

The Atlantian Chronicles: Atlantis Rising
Gary English
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478701477, $14.95, 220 pp,

Synopsis: What if there were still living survivors from the sunken island of Atlantis, and what if they find themselves suddenly thrust back to the surface and into a world they know little about? Survival is the force which guides their actions, and humankind only a means to an end. What will happen? Who decides who lives and who dies? Between these pages lie the answers to these questions and more. The Atlantian Chronicles is a story of survival, mystery, betrayal, and of two mismatched lovers whose accidental encounter becomes a means for humankind's survival. The initial encounter puts the whole planet on edge, altering our concept of the world and the universe itself. What happens next may surprise you, yet one question still remains to be answered. Would you make the same desperate choices these Atlantians made in order to survive?

Critique: A brilliant and terrifically entertaining read, "The Atlantian Chronicles: Atlantis Rising" is science fiction adventure at it's very best. Author Gary English demonstrates having a natural gift for original storytelling and "The Atlantian Chronicles: Atlantis Rising" will prove to be a popular addition to the personal reading lists of science fiction enthusiasts and an enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy/SciFi collections. It should be noted that "The Atlantian Chronicles: Atlantis Rising" is also available in both a hardcover edition (9781478723134, $28.95) and a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The LGBT Shelf

Melissa Pritchard
Bellevue Literary Press
NYU School of Medicine
550 First Avenue, OBV A612, NY, NY 10016
9781934137680, $14.95, 192pp,

Synopsis: Welcome to Palmerino, the British enclave in rural Italy where Violet Paget, known to the world by her pen name and male persona, Vernon Lee, held court. In imagining the real life of this brilliant, lesbian polymath known for her chilling supernatural stories, author Melissa Pritchard creates a multilayered tale in which the dead writer inhabits the heart and mind of her lonely, modern-day biographer. Positing the art of biography as an act of resurrection and possession, "Palmerino" brings to life a vividly detailed, subtly erotic tale about secret loves and the fascinating artists and intellectuals - Oscar Wilde, John Singer Sargent, Henry James, Robert Browning, Bernard Berenson - who challenged and inspired each other during an age of repression.

Critique: Rarely has a novel based on real people reached such deftly crafted literary excellence as this historical work of fiction clearly documenting Melissa Pritchard as a writer equal to any of the people populating her superbly presented story. "Palmerino" is a complex and entertaining novel that is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Palmerino" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Computer Shelf

The Java EE Architect's Handbook, second edition
Derek C. Ashmore
DVT Press
9780972954884, $34.95, 268pp,

Synopsis: "The Java EE Architect's Handbook" is a concise guide to assuming the role of application architect for Java EE applications. This handbook will guide the application architect through the entire Java EE project including identifying business requirements, performing use-case analysis, object and data modeling, and guiding a development team during construction. This handbook will provide tips and techniques for communicating with project managers and management. This handbook will provide strategies for making your application easier and less costly to support.

Critique: Now in a fully updated second edition, "The Java EE Architect's Handbook: How to be a Successful Application Architect for Java EE Applications" is exceptionally well written, deftly organized, and accessible presented. Thoroughly 'user friendly' throughout, ""The Java EE Architect's Handbook: How to be a Successful Application Architect for Java EE Applications" is an strongly recommended instruction manual and guide for Java EE users, as well as professional and academic library Computer Science reference collections.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Universal Aspects of the Kabbalah and Judaism
Leo Schaya
Wisdom Tales Press
PO Box 2682, Bloomington, IN 47402
9781936597338, $19.95, 200pp,

Synopsis: The late Leo Schaya (1916-1986) was a brilliant author and editor whose only book to appear in English was the much-acclaimed "The Universal Meaning of the Kabbalah", which is often cited in books on Jewish mysticism. "Universal Aspects of the Kabbalah and Judaism" is a collection of writings by Schaya, including some previously unpublished material, that highlight the particular way in which Judaism expresses universal truths and concepts. Schaya explains in great depth and beauty how the God of Israel manifests His goodness, power, and mercy in multiple levels of creative emanations, which are the main focus of the Kabbalah. Even more, however, Schaya looks through Judaism's particular forms and demonstrates that at its core Judaism reveals the same mysterious universal source from which all of the great religious traditions of the world draw their spiritual sustenance and energy.

Critique: Deftly edited by Roger Gaetani and with an informative Foreword by Patrick Laude, "Universal Aspects of the Kabbalah and Judaism" is enhanced with the inclusion of a glossary, a list of sources, biographical notes, and a comprehensive index. As accessible to the non-specialist general reader with an interest in mystical aspects of Judaism, as it is an important anthology of writings for students of the Kabbalah, "Universal Aspects of the Kabbalah and Judaism" is very highly recommended for personal, synagogue, community, and academic library Judaic Studies collections.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Flourishing Churches and Communities
Chad Brand
Christian's Library Press
c/o Bob Todd Publicity
9781938948169, $10.00, 178pp,

Synopsis: Pentecostal Christianity is just over a century old, and yet its impact in that time as an evangelistic force for Christ has been astonishing. One foundational scriptural understanding of the Pentecostal movement is that the Spirit empowers us to carry out the work of the gospel. Without a dependence on the work of the Spirit, we are mere humans. Dr. Self provides here a vivid picture of what it looks like for followers of Jesus to take the Great Commandment and the Great Commission seriously in the context of their own local communities. His concern is that our view of discipleship is lacking a clear integration of faith, work, and economics. Christians have the means to bless their local economies in unique ways that can transform coworkers and neighbors alike as Christ is glorified. This primer aims at wholehearted discipleship that extends beyond our Sundays at church and into our workplaces the rest of the week. With a strong biblical understanding of the all-encompassing nature of true discipleship as integral to the kingdom of God, combined with a unified view of church history and an appreciation for all members of the church body, Flourishing Churches and Communities presents a vision for Christians that is as beautiful as it is challenging.

Critique: "Flourishing Churches and Communities: A Pentecostal Primer on Faith, Work, and Economics for Spirit-Empowered Discipleship" is as informed and informative, as it is inspired and inspiring, creating a truly exceptional and very highly recommended addition to personal, seminary, and academic library Christian Studies reference collections in general, and Pentacostal Christian Studies supplemental reading lists in particular. It should be noted that "Flourishing Churches and Communities: A Pentecostal Primer on Faith, Work, and Economics for Spirit-Empowered Discipleship" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

Religion Today: An Integral Approach
Brennan R. Hill
Lectio Publishing LLC
c/o Bob Todd Publicity
9780989839709, $35.95, 406pp,

Synopsis: "Religion Today: An Integral Approach" will challenge students of Christian Theology and satisfy curious minds searching for answers and perspective on religion in general. From the phenomenon of individuals becoming "spiritual but not religious" to multiple religions' views on homosexuality, "Religion Today: An Integral Approach" uses diverse perspectives to look at how religion relates to today's society. Readers explore the thoughts and theories of psychologists, historians, experts on world religions, sociologists, social justice activists, environmentalists, feminists, experts in spirituality, evolutionists and many others in an attempt to discover a more balanced understanding of the world and be encouraged to explore their own relationship with religion through both an internal dialogue and discussions with others. Dr. Brennan Hill unveils a background on the history and basic elements of religion before diving into how religion relates to Ken Wilber's four quadrants of life: the "I," the "Thou," the "We," and the "It." From this foundation, Hill then examines the roles of spirituality, faith, and theology with regard to religion, and investigates the relationship between religion and numerous social issues that are relevant to young adults today.

Critique: Written with an extraordinary clarity, accessibility, and presentation, "Religion Today: An Integral Approach" will prove to be an enduringly valuable contribution to personal, seminary, and academic library Christian Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists. It should be noted that "Religion Today: An Integral Approach" is also available in a Kindle edition.

The Poetry Shelf

Oddly Beautiful
Madelyne Camrud
New Rivers Press
1104 Seventh Ave. South
Moorhead, Minnesota 56563
9780898232851 $14.95

Oddly Beautiful is an anthology of poetry applying a variety of free-verse styles. The grieving process is a central theme, but so is the treasure of memory, and reflections on life, love, and family. Gentle and comforting, Oddly Beautiful deserves to be contemplated at length, and acknowledged for its fragile and timeless beauty, much like the turn of the seasons and the progression of life's phases. "The Snow Turns Blue": I knew it was coming, always does- / but oh, how things have changed / under the weight of it, / having to scrape or shovel it up. // Before the snow came, / I thought we'd grow old together / like taking a slow walk / downhill. Instead, / I'm coasting alone / like a child on a sled, / looking back over my shoulder, / sorry for all I've left behind, / afraid fo what lies ahead.

The Fate Motif
Douglas Nordfors
Plain View Press
9781935514831 $14.95

The dimensions of time form a spiraling theme in The Fate Motif, an original anthology of free and variable verse poetry that contemplates great forces of personality such as Queen Elizabeth I, Marcel Proust, and Buster Keaton; the transcendental quality of meditation; and critical turning points in history. Some poems tell a story, while others freely wind their wistful way, inviting the reader to reflect as if within a labyrinth of mirrors. Unique and compelling, The Fate Motif is a welcome addition to avant garde poetry collections. "The Half-Moon in the Window": Looking out at my life so far, I wish / my human heart and every mistake / I've put into it won't fall away // and rise again clean and clear / and relatively shapeless: / the window in the half-moon.

Leonard H. Roller
Friesen Press
852 Fort Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8W 1H8
The Barret Company Communications (publicity)
12021 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90025
9781460227855, $12.99, 128pp,

Synopsis: At the heart of every sun the blackness, At the heart of every joy the fear, At the heart of each black hole imprisoned light. The universe obsessed With warring day and night. Inspired by current discoveries and theories of the origin and fate of the universe, the beauties and mysteries of spacetime, and man's relationship with the cosmos, "Darklight" is a collection of 77 poems - ranging from classical to free contemporary - that marvels at everything from the microscopic to the infinite.

Critique: "Darklight: A Poetic Odyssey into the Wonders of the Cosmic Age" documents Leonard H. Roller has a major poetic talent and a skilled wordsmith. His astronomy and astrophysics inspired verse is deftly organized into seven major sections: Multiverses; Boson's Mates; Giants and Dwarves; Nothing From Nothing; Quirks of Quarks; Dark Matters; Deus in Machinam. A superb anthology that is also available in a hardcover edition (9781460227848, $27.99), "Darklight - A Poetic Odyssey into the Wonders of the Cosmic Age" is highly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Contemporary Poetry collections.

The Cookbook Shelf

Health to the Core!
Lee Jackson
Images Unlimited Publishing
PO Box 305, Maryville, MO 64468
9780930643294, $14.95, 128pp,

Synopsis: "Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids" features lots of healthy apple recipes for children and teenagers. Eating healthy is the new buzzword. Healthful alternatives to the traditional high-sugar, white flour apple recipes have been incorporated into the apple dishes. ealthy food practices are the basis for the recipes. Author Lee Jackson gives the top 10 healthy tips she considers the most important food practices for healthy living. From these she focuses on what she calls THE BIG FOUR: Avoid refined sugar; Avoid white flour; Avoid GMO products; Use healthy cooking oil Safety precautions for working in the kitchen are given. Included is an apple guide to the varieties of apples used for different purposes, such as eating-in-hand, for salads, for cooking in applesauce, and for baking in pies, tarts, crisps, and other desserts. Young cooks will appreciate the easy-to-follow directions while older cooks will enjoy creating apple dishes perfect for any occasion. There are over 70 wholesome and tasty recipes from which to choose, without all the sugar. Help kids and young teens make healthy food choices using apples, one of their favorite foods.

Critique: Spiral bound so that it can lay flat on a kitchen table or counter, "Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids" is a cornucopia of apple related dishes that will please any young palate and satisfy any young appetite. Of special note are the sections devoted to Drinks and to Snacks. Thoroughly kid and kitchen cook friendly, "Healthy to the Core! All Natural Low Sugar/No Sugar Apple Recipes for Kids" is enthusiastically recommended for family cookbook collections.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Art of HealingArt
Jacqueline Ripstein
7 Colors LLC
9780989380447, $60.00, 268pp,

Synopsis: "The Art of HealingArt" connects you to the essence of knowledge. Each lesson is a step to your awakening, a compilation of wisdom to support you to live your most empowered, fulfilled, abundant, and optimum life. This book encompasses our life's journey. It is a call to raise our consciousness and vibrations. Its purpose is to guide us to reunite with Spirit. It awakens our inner wisdom, helping us to transcend limiting thoughts, beliefs, and habits. Each lesson in this book has a purpose. The purpose is to awaken reunion with our Soul. As we polish ourselves as a diamond, we grow; we shine through our physical existence. Life is a school, a constant learning. All those who come into your life are meant to be your teachers. Every soul enables the opportunity to mirror you. This inspirational and transformational book reveals to us, through its images and their hidden messages, our Light, which is so greatly needed in these times of great changes. Jacqueline Ripstein's Art has changed the lives of thousands of people; her Art has been tested and proven by Internationally renowned scientists to be an instrument to help us heal and ascend in Consciousness. You are much more than your eyes can see. Discover your Invisible World and the perfection within it. Your thoughts, emotions, and feelings arise from the Invisible World and are manifested into this physical, material world.

Critique: Offering a synergist approach to personal transformation, "The Art of HealingArt: The Keys to Power & Awareness" is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Both inspired and inspiring, "The Art of HealingArt: The Keys to Power & Awareness" is especially recommended reading for anyone seeking to change their life and successfully deal with and ultimately overcome the stresses and tribulations that are inevitable. Very highly recommended, it should be noted that "The Art of HealingArt: The Keys to Power & Awareness" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Biography Shelf

Thomas Jefferson's Enlightenment: Paris 1785
James C. Thompson
Commonwealth Book Publishers of Virginia
9780985486310 $50.00

Thomas Jefferson's Enlightenment: Paris 1785 is a unique, biographical portrait of American Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, focusing on a crucial turning point in his life - when he witnessed the death spiral of the French monarchy, destined to culminate in the French Revolution a few weeks before Jefferson returned home. Jefferson's time in France would chang him; he would share ideas with a circle of philosophers, and trade the idea that human history was a gradual march toward enlightenment. When he returned home to America, he would join forces with people organizing America's first political party, and continue to make his mark on history. Written in a unique style - the "nonfiction narrative" - Thomas Jefferson's Enlightenment: Paris 1785 tells how Jefferson adjusted his worldview through Jefferson's own words, quoted and smoothly integrated in an accessible natural flow. Historic black-and-white and color images illustrate this illuminating, captivating, and highly recommended glimpse into the mind of a great man and legendary leader.

Worst Seat in the House
Caleb Jenner Stephens
Willow Manor Publishing
Fredericksburg, VA 22406
9781939688507 $24.99

Worst Seat in the House: Henry Rathbone's Front Row View of the Lincoln Assassination is the biography of a man who witnessed history, and lost his battle against demons of the mind. Henry Reed Rathbone (1837-1911) was a Civil War veteran who had earned the rank of major at the time of President Lincoln's assassination. He and his wife agreed to attend the theater at the request of the President's wife, and he was the only man able to confront Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Booth managed to get away and remained at large for twelve days; Rathbone sustained severe injuries from their struggle. But Rathbone's greatest wounds were inside. Post-traumatic stress plagued him in the years that followed. He blamed himself for failing to prevent Lincoln's assassination, and became increasingly unstable and violent. His mental illness peaked in a fit of madness eighteen years later; he attacked his own children, murdered his wife when she tried to defend them, and then tried to kill himself by stabbing himself in the chest. Judged insane by German courts, he spent the remainder of his years in an asylum. Worst Seat in the House is as much a cautionary tale about the devastation of untreated mental illness as it is a window into a turning point of history from the perspective of one helplessly caught in its tide. Highly recommended.

On My Own
Erika Schulhof Rybeck
Summit Crossroads Press
9329 Angelina Circle, Columbia, MD 21045
9780983404996, $17.95, 136pp,

Synopsis: Erika Schulhof Rybeck enjoyed a magical childhood in Austria, escaped to a convent boarding school in Scotland, and started a new life in America. She tells her story as a tribute to the parents who shielded her from the Nazi atrocities swirling around her, genocidal horrors that led to their deportation and disappearance. After being a teacher, mother and volunteer, among other activities, in Ohio and in the Washington, DC area, she looks back at age 84 at rare experiences--living in castles and cottages, being sheltered by Catholics, discovering her Jewish heritage, and learning of her illustrious family.

Critique: Another invaluable and deftly recounted memoir from a generation that is now disappearing into history, "On My Own: Decoding The Conspiracy Of Silence" is an eloquent and articulate account and a welcome addition to the growing library of Holocaust literature.

The Native American Studies Shelf

Riding Out The Storm
Phillip Carroll Morgan
Chickasaw Press
PO Box 1548
Ada, OK 74821-1548
9781935684107 $20.00

Riding Out The Storm: 19th Century Chickasaw Governors, Their Lives and Intellectual Legacy is the not only the story of three Native American leaders, but also of the people they led, governed, and inspired. Winchester Colbert, Cyrus Harris, and William Leander Byrd were born of Chickasaw mothers and white fathers; each held high standing in the tribe due to their matrilineal heritage. They lived in a turbulent time, during which the Chickasaw nation evolved from a clan system into a constitutional republic. Each man held the rank of governor for a time between the years of 1855 and 1892, and they would witness the harsh consequences of Indian Removal, the American Civil War, and the Dawes Act (a law created to compel American Indian assimilation into mainstream society, by forcing the sale of Native American lands). An extraordinary true story of educated and erudite leaders put to the test against tremendous odds, Riding Out The Storm is a welcome addition to Native American Studies and American History shelves.

Guatemala Journey Among the Ixil Maya
Susanna Badgley Place
Privately Published
9780988487604 $24.95

Featuring full-color photographs and images on nearly every page, Guatemala Journey Among the Ixil Maya takes the reader on an amazing tour of the indigenous Ixil Maya communities of northwestern Guatemala - their culture, economy, language, identity, family customs, and more. Brimming with personally-gathered research worthy of a scholar, yet accessible to readers of all backgrounds, Guatemala Journey Among the Ixil Maya is the next best thing to traveling to Guatemala and personally experiencing life in an Ixil community. Highly recommended, especially for public and college library Native American Studies shelves.

The Criminology Shelf

All Against The Law
Bill Friedman
Old School Histories
9780989685207 $17.99 print / $9.99 ebook

All Against The Law: The Criminal Activities of the Depression Era Bank Robbers, Mafia, FBI, Politicians, & Cops chronicles some of the most notorious criminal activity in America during the Great Depression. From the infamous "Public Enemy Number One" John Dillinger, to high-profile criminals such as Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd, to corrupt politicians, flourishing Mafias, cold-blooded assassinations of FBI agents and policemen, bootlegging, and the (sometimes misdirected) wrath of the courts, All Against The Law is drawn from 47 years of research and details over 100 major crimes. Accessible to readers of all backgrounds, All Against The Law is a welcome contribution to criminology and American History reference collections.

The Needlecraft Shelf

Easy Cross-Stitch Cards & Tags
Annie's Publishing
9781573673730 $12.95

Illustrated with color photography throughout, Easy Cross-Stitch Cards & Tags is a hands-on craftbook of twenty-seven simple card and gift tag projects that can be made through cross-stitch on an inexpensive lattice. Step-by-step stitching instructions and black-and-white diagrams guide the needlecrafter through the process, and a four-page "Getting Started" introduction will teach novices how to use a needle in no time. A wonderful way to make distinctive, unforgettable embellishments for holidays, birthdays, or any occasion, Easy Cross-Stitch Cards & Tags is an excellent addition to any needlecraft project shelf.

The Memoir Shelf

Star Crossed
Bette Isacoff
Headwinds Publishing
PO Box 176
Stockbridge, MA 01262
9780615752815 $16.95

The memoir and debut book by author Bette Isacoff, Star Crossed tells of her life and love in New England in the late 60's. At the time, interfaith relationships were frowned upon almost to the point of being forbidden; yet Bette, a 21-year-old Catholic college senior, fell in love Richard, a seventeen-year-old Jewish kid. They became engaged seven weeks later, and married two years later. Both their families (and the local clergy) objected vehemently to their relationship, trying every trick in the book to break them up. Today, when roughly 45% of all U.S. marriages are interfaith, few Americans encounter as severe an ordeal to love as Bette and Richard did, yet stories like theirs deserve to be remembered, as testimony to the long, hard road toward tolerance. Insightful, relevant, at times witty, and always absorbing, Star Crossed is highly recommended.

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

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