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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 8 August 2014 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice World History Shelf Biography Shelf
Gardening Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Fiction Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Photography Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf Travel Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf Parenting Shelf
Memoir Shelf Poetry Shelf Art Shelf
Mythology Shelf Jobs/Career Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Reality Shock
Ripley Publishing
7576 Kingspointe Parkway, Suite 188
Orlando, Florida 32819
Wellons Communications (publicity)
9781609911096 $28.95

Illustrated with full-color photography on every page, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Reality Shock is the latest in a grand series of coffee-table-sized, hardcover extravaganzas of weird, wild, wonderful, almost unbelievable, yet one hundred percent real things from around the world. Ripley Publishing takes pride in meticulously verifying that every last incident, creature, event, or other amazing thing covered is genuine - from a skateboarding mouse (the skateboard is small enough to fit the mouse, of course), to individuals born with one brown and one blue eye, to the high-flying "Black Cats" who performed incredible - and sometimes fatal - aviation stunts, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Reality Shock is fascinating from cover to cover. Though created especially to stir interest in reading among teens and young adults, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Reality Shock will prove mesmerizing to readers of all ages, and is highly recommended.

1000 Record Covers
Michael Ochs
107 Greene Street, New York, NY 10012
9783836550581, $19.99,

Synopsis: Record covers are a sign of our life and times. Like the music on the discs, they address such issues as love, life, death, fashion, and rebellion. For music fans the covers are the expression of a period, of a particular time in their lives. Many are works of art and have become as famous as the music they stand for - Andy Warhol's covers, for example, including the banana he designed for The Velvet Underground. This edition of "1000 Record Covers" presents a selection of the best '60s to '90s rock album covers from music archivist, disc jockey, journalist, and former record-publicity executive Michael Ochs' enormous private collection. Both a trip down memory lane and a study in the evolution of cover art, this is a sweeping look at an underappreciated art form.

Critique: With its superbly reproduced, full color, captioned album cover reproductions, "1000 Record Covers" is a 576 page compendium comprised of record album images that provide a truly nostalgic trip through three decades of music memories for members of the Baby Boom generation. A sheer delight to simply browse through, "1000 Record Covers" would prove to be an enduringly popular and inexpensive addition to community library collections.

The World History Shelf

Jusuf Buxhovi
Jalifat Publishing
9780976714057, $99.99, 1902pp (3 Volumes),

Synopsis: The three volume "Kosova" series is by an Albanian author Jusuf Buxhovi is a comprehensive history of the small European nation of Kosova. Providing an analysis of the past, from ancient to modern times, Buxhovi distinguishes Kosova as a continuation of the old kingdom of Dardania - a land inhabited by Albanians throughout history. Buxhovi is notably unaffected by the bias of academics influenced by the communist regime. As an historian he describes and analyzes the past with fairness and balance, considering different points of views and accepting the well-founded arguments of domestic and foreign scholars. Ultimately, relying on this approach, Buxhovi views Kosova or Dardania as an integral part of the Albanian ethnic territory, as a cradle of progressive development, and as the birthplace of prominent individuals who contributed to their nation as well as the Western civilization as a whole.

Critique: An impressive and seminal work based upon meticulous research, and ably translated into English by the team Getoar Mjeku, Avni Spahiu, and Faton Bislimi, the three volumes that comprise "Kosova" are exceptionally well written, organized and presented. A monumental undertaking of the first order under the co-editorship of Diane Tafilaj and Jason Frazer, Jusuf Buxhovi's "Kosova" is a critically important contribution to the region's history and an essential addition to academic library European History collections in general, and Albanian History supplemental studies lists in particular.

The Biography Shelf

She's All Caught Up!
Jamila T. Davis
Voices International Publications
196-03 Linden Blvd., St. Albans NY, 11412
9780985580735, $15.00, 338pp,

Synopsis: "She's All Caught Up" is a cautionary tale for young people enamored by the fast life and the older folks that love them. This personal memoir tells of the negative influences that swayed the early life of author Jamila T. Davis (creator of the Voices of Consequences Enrichment Series). She is currently serving a 151 month sentence for her role in a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme.

Young Jamila grew up in a loving, middle class home. Her hardworking parents, the Davises, overcame the barriers of poverty and racism faced by African Americans in the segregated South. From the back wood shacks of the rural south, the Davises migrated north, making Jamaica Queens, New York their new home. They drove themselves relentlessly. By education and endless hard work, they attained their portion of the American dream. Determined to afford their own children the opportunities they themselves never had, the Davises provided their children with a good life, hoping to guarantee their children's success.

At first, it seemed as though the formula worked. Jamila became her parents' ideal "star child." At a young age she performed in dance recitals at Lincoln Center and toured the country in a leading role in an off- Broadway play. Throughout elementary and middle school she maintained straight A's and was accepted to the acclaimed "Fame" High School of Performing Arts in New York City. All was copacetic until high school years, when Jamila meets Craig. He was a 16 year old drug dealer from the Southside projects of Jamaica Queens. His street edge fascinated naive Jamila, and he quickly usurped Mrs. Davis' position as role model and protector.

Jamila became mesmerized by the hustlers and life in the inner city ghetto. Her values quickly changed. She wanted independence, power and notoriety, and she chose life in the fast lane to claim them. With her brains and beauty, she rises to the top! As this high school teen rebels, breaking loose from her parents' tight reins, the Davises wage an "all-out" battle to save their only daughter who they love so desperately. But Jamila is in too deep! Poisoned by materialism and the drama of street life, she resists, and the Davis family is turned upside down!

This real-life story exemplifies the powerful societal influences that affect today's youth, and the almost insurmountable challenges of the older generation who fight hard to protect them. This heartfelt story empowers both youth and adults to understand the tragic consequences of poor choices while instilling the ability to resist them. When this good girl goes bad, it seems as if there is no turning back.

Critique: An exceptionally well written and dramatically candid account, Jamila T. Davis' personal story is very highly recommended reading, especially for teenagers and young adults facing similar backgrounds and temptations. "She's All Caught Up" is very highly recommended reading and would make an enduringly popular addition to school and community library American Biography collections.

The Gardening Shelf

The Wastewater Gardener
Mark Nelson
Synergetic Press
One Bluebird Court, Santa Fe, NM 87508
9780907791515, $23.95, 232pp,

Synopsis: In "The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time", Mark Nelson takes the reader on a kind of global expedition to learn how we are wasting the world's dwindling supply of fresh water by flushing away a very valuable resource -- our own human wastes! Mark Nelson is founding director of the Institute of Ecotechnics and has worked for several decades in closed ecological systems research. As one of eight brave souls enclosed in the pioneering Biosphere 2 experiment, Nelson realized how essential the proper use of human waste is to the health of the planet. This, combined with his lifelong love affair with constructed wetlands, led to the discovery of Wastewater Gardens, an important solution to some of our trickiest global environmental dilemmas. While the problems and case studies covered in this book are indeed quite serious, Mark's approach to the subject makes for a fun, down-to-earth and very informative read.

Critique: Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influence. Municipal wastewater is usually conveyed in a combined sewer or sanitary sewer, and treated at a wastewater treatment plant. Treated wastewater is discharged into receiving water via an effluent sewer. Wastewaters generated in areas without access to centralized sewer systems rely on on-site wastewater systems. These typically comprise a septic tank, drain field, and optionally an on-site treatment unit. The utilization of wastewater for agricultural purposes is growing in importance as the scarcity of potable water grows -- especially in third world countries. Informed and informative, "The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time" is enhanced throughly with illustrations as well as a five page 'Recommended Further Reading' list; internet links, a roster of Wastewater Gardens international Representative, and a comprehensive Index. Very highly recommended for personal, NGO, academic, and community library Environmental Studies collections, "The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Warden and the Wolf King
Andrew Peterson
Rabbit Room Press
523 Heather Place
Nashville, Tennessee 37204
9780988963252 $22.99

Award-winning author Andrew Peterson presents The Warden and the Wolf King, the fourth and final fantasy novel in the "Wingfeather Saga". A terrible war threatens the land; Gnag the Nameless and the terrible Fangs of Dang are about to invade, and they have no mercy even for children. Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli - also known as Throne Warden, Wolf King, and Song Maiden of Anniera - stand with the brave Hollowsfolk against the darkness, but at what cost? Suitable for readers of all ages, The Warden and the Wolf King is highly recommended especially for fans of sweeping, epic fantasy crafted in the spirit of Tolkien's classic "The Lord of the Rings".

Relic Worlds: Lancaster James & the Search for the Promised World
Jeff McArthur
Bandwagon Books
1331 North Cordova Street, Apt. E, Burbank, CA 91505
9781499197020, $12.99, 350pp,

Synopsis: Lancaster James is scouring ancient ruins of long lost civilizations on distant planets in search of powerful relics that may unlock the greatest secrets of the galaxy. He is now hot on the trail of an elusive alien race that believed their god was leading them to their "Promised World." Who they were and what they have hidden away is a mystery Lancaster hopes to solve so he can learn why they disappeared from the cosmos. He will have to overcome others, however, such as space pirates, gamblers, mercenaries, and corporate armies who want to claim the artifacts for their own wealth and power. He has the knowledge and the education, and a partner named Little Jack; one of the best former corporate spies in the galaxy. It is a race against time as Lancaster struggles to understand what happened to other life forms in the universe before humans suffer the same fate.

Critique: A relentlessly entertaining space opera style action/adventure science fiction novel, "Relic Worlds: Lancaster James & the Search for the Promised World" showcases Jeff McArthur as an imaginative and talented novelist of the first order. An extraordinarily and deftly woven plot of twists, turns and surprises, "Relic Worlds: Lancaster James & the Search for the Promised World" is very highly recommended reading and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted that "Relic Worlds: Lancaster James & the Search for the Promised World" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Murdering Lawyers
Larry Fine
Grey Swan Press
Kelley & Hall Book Publicity & Promotion
9780983490081, $28.95, 366pp,

Synopsis: Murdering Lawyers by Larry Fine is a legal thriller with murder, international intrigue, and diabolical evil involving many of the most powerful lawyers and judges in New York city. A young lawyer is caught up with an ancient cabal committed to bringing the most unspeakable evil into the world, and he must defeat these forces or face his own demise and that of his friends and loved ones. Lawyers start ending up dead and innocents are subjected to monstrously vile acts before this heart-pounding thriller reaches an ending crescendo of lethal violence.

Critique: A smoothly written mystery/suspense novel by a master storyteller, Larry Fine's "Murdering Lawyers" is a solid entertainment from first page to last that is very highly recommended for fans of the genre. Very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted that "Murdering Lawyers" is also available in a paperback edition (9780983490098, $17.95, 336pp) and a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Death By Hitchcock
Elissa D. Grodin
Cozy Cat Press
Kelley & Hall Book Publicity & Promotion
9781939816313, $14.95, 208pp,

Synopsis: Physics and film seemingly have few academic features in common. However, when local siren Bunny Baldwin, a student in the Film Studies Department at Cushing College, is found strangled to death on opening night of the Hitchcock Film Festival, Physics professor Edwina Goodwin puts on her detecting hat. Using her scientific sleuthing skills to assist her almost boyfriend Police Detective Will Tenney, the pair work together to investigate the campus murder. Edwina wants to know - - why did the murderer tie a strip of film around the victim's head? Why did the killer time the murder to coincide with the showing of the famous Hitchcock film Spellbound? Was Bunny really killed by strangulation or did the unusual drugs found in her system suggest poisoning? Why do all the suspects have a seemingly airtight alibi? There are certainly sufficient suspects as Edwina quickly ascertains. The head of the Film Studies Department was having a torrid and practically public affair with the victim. His wife was apparently furious, but not enough to keep her from also engaging in sexual hanky panky. The victim had stolen a screenplay written by her roommate, Mary, to secure a Hollywood agent. Mary is out for payback. A quirky older woman who uses plants and other natural remedies to cure various ailments followed the head of the department around like a moon-struck calf. And, of course, there's the film department's boy savant who plays chess with Edwina and keeps her updated on the various players. Can Edwina use her knowledge of physics to unlock the strange features of this most unusual crime? When a second murder occurs, it looks like she may - if the killer doesn't find her first.

Critique: Author Elissa D. Grodin brings to her mystery novel a very special expertise arising from her own life as the daughter of the co-founder of AMC Theaters (Stanley Durwood) and the wife of film and television actor Charles Grodin. She applies her insights into the world of film and television to create an entertaining realism as she deftly weaves a complex story and populates it with memorable characters. A solid entertainment from beginning to end, "Death By Hitchcock" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted that "Death By Hitchcock" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

The Genius Dilemma
Dustin Grinnell
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
Cadence Marketin Group (publicity)
9781495998423, $12.95, 534pp,

Synopsis: A team of scientists has invented a new smart drug named Trillium. A revolutionary medical breakthrough, Trillium enhances cognitive abilities, creating geniuses. But the researchers are horrified to discover that genius comes at a cost. Leviathan, the CIA's assassination team, has been tasked with eliminating global threats using any means necessary. When their superior General Beranger learns about Trillium, he believes he's uncovered a distinct advantage in the fight against terrorism. After convincing the scientists to share the drug with his team, Beranger learns there's just one problem - Trillium creates cold-blooded psychopaths. The first casualty is CIA operative David Landry who snaps hours after taking the drug. When he goes rogue, it's up to Special Forces, along with renowned neuroscientist Alan Pierce and psychiatrist Michelle Emmett, to stop them. Armed with a hastily concocted antidote, the team hunts Landry. His destination? Africa. Nasir Lwazi, the Kenyan president, has recently been murdered. Believing Lwazi's son Thomas is a threat to national security, Landry is on a ruthless mission to destroy him and he doesn't plan to let anyone get in his way. Alan and the Special Forces team are determined to reach Kenya and stop Landry before he harms Thomas or any other innocent civilians. But can they get there in time? Will the antidote work? Or will Landry suffer the same fate as their other targets? In the unforgettable climax, an epic battle for power ensues as the Special Forces team attempts to thwart Landry's homicidal tendencies.

Critique: An original, superbly crafted, page-turning thriller of the first order, "The Genius Dilemma" will have strong appeal for fans of science fiction action/adventure novels replete with unexpected and dramatic plot twists, turns, and surprises. Solid entertainment from beginning to end, "The Genius Dilemma" by Dustin Grinnell is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.

Global Shadows
Jerry Labriola
Strong Books
PO Box 967, Middlebury, CT 06762
9781928782827, $24.95, 319pp

Synopsis: International treasure hunter and former Yale professor (dismissed from his post due to a compulsive interest in mythology), Paul D'Arneau is hired by the Parisian organization Gens de Verite to investigate the theft of a cabinet containing stem cell research papers. A globe spanning pursuit ranging from Germany, France and Switzerland, to Japan, Africa, and the isle of St. Helena, and involving murder, prostitution, intrigue, lead to unexpected consequences, complications, and resolution.

Critique: The author of ten previous novels, Jerry Labriola is well able to deftly craft intricately woven plots and embed them with memorable characters and all manner of twists, turns and surprises. "Global Shadows" is his latest novel and presents a solidly entertaining read from beginning to end. "Global Shadows" is especially recommended to fans of mystery fiction and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library collections.

The Color of Evil
Connie Corcoran Wilson
Quad City Press
2127 - 3rd Street, #B, Moline Illinois, 61244
9780982444856, $10.95, 252pp,

Synopsis: Tad McGreevy has a power that he has never revealed, not even to his life-long best friend, Stevie Scranton. When Tad looks at others, he sees colors. These auras tell Tad whether a person is good or evil. At night, Tad dreams about the evil-doers, reliving their crimes in horrifying, vivid detail. But Tad doesn't know if the evil acts he witnesses in his nightmares are happening now, are already over, or are going to occur in the future. He has no control over the horrifying visions. He has been told (by his parents) never to speak of his paranormal power. All Tad knows is that he wants to protect those he loves. And he wants the bad dreams to stop.

At Tad's eighth birthday party (April 1, 1995) in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the clown his parents hire to entertain Tad's third-grade classmates is one of the bad people. Pogo, the Killer Clown (aka Michael Clay) is a serial killer. So begins 53 nights of terror as Tad relives Pogo's crime, awakens screaming, and recites the terrifying details to his disbelieving family. The situation becomes so dire that Tad is hospitalized in a private institution under the care of a psychiatrist---who also does not believe the small boy's stories of having paranormal power. And then the police arrest Pogo, the Killer Clown. Flash forward to the beginning of Tad's junior year in high school, 8 years later. Tad is 16 and recovered from the spring of his third-grade year. When Michael Clay was caught and imprisoned, the crime spree ended and so did Tad's bad dreams.

Until now, in the year of our Lord 2003, when evil once again stalks the land.

Critique: The first of a paranormal thriller trilogy intended for young adult readers, "The Color Of Evil" documents author Connie Corcoran Wilson as an imaginative and skilled novelist with a total master of her genre. A solid entertainment from beginning to end, "The Color Of Evil" is highly recommended personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "The Color Of Evil" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99). Also very strongly recommended are the two other titles in this outstanding trilogy: "Red is For Rage" (9780982444818, $10.95, PB, 258pp, Kindle $2.99) and "Kaiki = Killer" (9780982444825, $12.00, PB, 240pp, Kindle $3.99).

A Director's, Cut: An Abbot Peter Mystery
Simon Parke
Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd
1 Spencer Court, 140-142 Wandsworth High Street, London SW18 4JJ
9780232530612 7.99 Brit pounds pbk. / $9.99 Kindle

Award-winning radio writer Simon Parke presents A Director's, Cut: An Abbot Peter Mystery, his latest novel featuring retired monk and gifted sleuth Abbot Peter. When a theatrical performance is shockingly interrupted by the grisly murdered corpse of its director, Abbot Peter and Detective Inspector Tamsin Shah are among the shocked and horrified audience. Who among the cast and crew of the struggling theater could be responsible? Abbot Peter's keen grasp of the criminal mind is put to the test, in this measured, suspenseful whodunnit! Also highly recommended the previous Abbot Peter Mysteries, "A Psychiatrist Screams" and "A Vicar, Crucified".

The Self-Help Shelf

Grow Up Your Ego
Jeannette M. Gagan
Rio Chama Publications
3075 Plaza Blanca, Santa Fe, NM 87507
978148183887, $16.50, 153,

Synopsis: "Grow Up Your Ego: Ten Scientifically Validated Stages to Emotional and Spiritual Maturity" delivers scientific backing for the stages of ego growth, what it means to have a mature ego, and the steps to take for getting there. Not only does the path of growing up the ego connect us to the mission of our souls, it also provides a crucible strong enough to support the transcendent experiences we so yearn for. In learning of the essential role of the ego--that of keeping us alive and giving us a sense of self-- readers soon discover that when we're born, the ego has as much growing up to do as the rest of us. When bonding with caretakers is interrupted or fails, we see the results in children and adults who lack self-esteem, cannot be empathic, cannot establish healthy relationships, and who may act out in varying ways. Like no other book in its genre, "Grow Up Your Ego: Ten Scientifically Validated Stages to Emotional and Spiritual Maturity" shows how the ego can "grow up" at any time through the identification and maturing of defense mechanisms; by learning how to appropriately self-soothe; and through wholesome relationships. In language anyone can understand, this self-help book leads readers through chapter content and exercises. Case examples and step-by-step encouragement contribute to this holistic overview of how spirituality is part and parcel of our humanness.

Critique: In "Grow Up Your Ego: Ten Scientifically Validated Stages to Emotional and Spiritual Maturity", author Jeannette M. Gagan draws upon her more than twenty years of experience as a licensed psychologist in a clinical practice which included being on the teaching staff of the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Hospice Institute, as well as her training with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, to create a self-help instruction manual that is as informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, inspired and inspiring, and above all, practical and thoroughly 'user friendly' for the non-specialist general readers seeking to improve the quality of their personal lives. Very highly recommended for personal and community library Self-Help collections, it should be noted that "Grow Up Your Ego: Ten Scientifically Validated Stages to Emotional and Spiritual Maturity" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

The Fiction Shelf

The Cobbler of Ridingham
Jeffrey E. Barlough
Western Lights Books
c/o Gresham & Doyle
PO Box 45797, Los Angeles, CA 90045
9780978763442, $14.95, 314pp,

Synopsis: The eight volume in Jeffrey E. Barlough's 'Western Lists' fantasy-mystery series, "The Cobbler of Ridingham" is a curious adventure that befell Richard Hathaway while visiting at Haigh Hall, the home of a family acquaintance, Lady Martindale, on the marshes outside the quaint old town of Ridingham. What is the curse that hangs over the Martindales? What secrets preoccupy certain members of the household? What is it that her ladyship's father, old Sam Gander, has seen in the evening sky while pacing the battlements? Above all, what is the sinister shadow that has returned to the Hall, and whose appearances portend the coming doom of a Martindale?

Critique: A master storyteller of imaginative fiction that grasps the reader's rapt attention, "The Cobbler of Ridingham" continues to document Jeffrey Barlough as an outstanding novelist with an ability to enhance his work with believable detail, plot twists, and memorable characters. A 'must' for readers already aware of Barlough's impressive talent as a fantasy novelist, "The Cobblie of Ridingham" will well serve to introduce his deftly crafted literary style to a new and appreciative audience, who will be motivated to seek out the earlier volumes in this immensely entertaining series which can be found listed at

The Dark Side of Key West
Randymary de Rosier
Tate Publishing
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781629944562, $16.99, 208pp,

Synopsis: In the 1950s, Jac wants to stay out of his family's business. He has always wanted to work on his own hobbies and enjoy his new hotel. To help, Jac hired his old high school girlfriend KaSandra Martin to run the hotel. But, Jac ends up helping her out of a sticky situation with a scam at a fertility clinic that has no rational explanation. With a hotel full of friends, these six couples investigate and uncover a plot that the fertility clinic has been hiding for years. But just when they think they have it figured out, new mysteries pop up about their own pasts. Will these wanna-be detectives be able to stop the villainous Doctor Calendar and exact revenge for all of the women wronged? Or will the mysteries involved in the couples keep them from shutting him down?

Critique: "The Dark Side of Key West" is debut novel and clearly establishes Randymary de Rosier as an accomplished and talented author able to craft memorable characters and embed them into a deftly woven story that attracts and holds the reader's attention from beginning to end. A solid entertainment with a fair complement of unexpected plot twists and turns, "The Dark Side of Key West" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "The Dark Side of Key West" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

A Secret Woman
Rose Solari
Alan Squire Publishing
c/o Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780982625194, $22.95, 320pp,

Synopsis: Louise Terry is the quintessential, modern American woman; a successful and independent artist, sexually liberated and head strong, she's determined to carve out a life for herself where her painting comes first and where she can avoid messy romantic entanglements. But when her estranged mother, Margaret, dies, leaving a box of documents, photos, and journals, Louise discovers in its contents a new and very different woman from the one who raised her. This Margaret was admired by Catholic priests and Wiccan priestesses alike for her spiritual gifts and was working, at the time of her death, on assembling her visions of a 12th-century cross-dressing woman mystic who not only managed to infiltrate the male bastion of Glastonbury Abbey, but who instigated the tragic fire that burned it to the ground in 1184. Determined to pursue the fragments her mother left behind, Louise travels to England where she meets a cast of characters whom she must depend on to find her way. Blurring the boundaries between past and present, between the body and the spirit, between female and male, this page-turning mystery is a sexy romp through time and space, a profound meditation on the mother-daughter connection, and an enlightening exploration of what it means to make love, to make art, and to make a life worth living.

Critique: Arising from the Santa Fe Writer's Project, "A Secret Woman" establishes author Rose Solari as an impressive literary talent whose novel showcases deftly crafted characters and an original story line that holds the reader's rapt attention from beginning to end. A superbly presented entertainment from first page to last, "A Secret Woman" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library collections.

Beautiful Evil Winter
Kelly K. Lavender
First Edition Design Publishing
PO Box 20217, Sarasota Fl 34276
9781622874415, $15.95, 242pp,

Synopsis: "Beautiful Evil Winter" is a novel about an international adoption in one of the most dangerous countries in the world. When Sophia and her husband Ethan set off to Russia to adopt a baby boy, little do they realize they are headed straight into the open arms of the Mafia. To make matters worse, an untrained, inexperienced adoption coordinator orchestrates the effort to complete the task and keep the American couple safe as they deal with iron-fisted syndicate control of orphaned children. "Beautiful Evil Winter" is a modern-day odyssey about the human capacity for hope, the traumas that shape our lives, and the hardship we'll endure for love. What will devoted parents do for their child? -- Anything.

Critique: Although a work of fiction, "Beautiful Evil Winter", author Kelly K. Lavender has given such a realistic feel to her novel that the story holds firmly to an engaging credibility from beginning to end. An especially well crafted and deftly woven story that holds the readers fully entertained attention from first page to last. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted that "Beautiful Evil Winter" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

A Letter From the Other Side
Anita Eklund Larsson
Library Tales Publishing
The Barrett Company
9780615868165, $16.90, 248pp,

Synopsis: The Carter and Walker families both live in Minnesota and have strong family ties to Sweden, but that's where the similarities stop. As a horse-farming family, the Carters work very hard for very little income. Their home on the outskirts of Mora, Minnesota is a far cry from the home of the Carters, a wealthy and powerful family, who live in Minneapolis. What brings the families together is the force of love. After a chance meeting, brothers Sam and Gabriel Carter fight for Megan Walker's love and attention. Passion, grief and tragedy are mixed with intrigues and mysterious disappearances in this family-tale that tells of multiple people's lives and love stories.

Critique: "A Letter From the Other Side" is author Anita Eklund Larsson's debut novel and establishes her as a writer of imagination, talent, originality, and a master storyteller. A wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end, "A Letter From the Other Side" is a richly woven tapestry of the human condition. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections, it should be noted that "A Letter From the Other Side" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Cookbook Shelf

Aunt Bunny's Favorite Recipes
Annette B. Barnard
Recounted by her husband, Bud
Kuokoa Enterprises
Peanut Butter Publishing
943 NE Boat Street, Seattle, Washington 98105
9781598491555 $19.95

Aunt Bunny's Favorite Recipes is a down-to-earth cookbook of treasured family favorites; individual copies are either comb-bound or Wire-O bound (a type of spiral binding) for ease of use. Vignettes and memories enrich the plain-terms recipes for culinary delights ranging from Anise Bread to Enchilada Casserole, Pavlova, Creole Pork Chops, Tangy Orange-Carrot Salad, Walla Walla Onions Roasted, and much more. An excellent go-to resource for taste-tested meals, Aunt Bunny's Favorite Recipes works well for personal use or as a culinary giftbook.

The Best of Rose Reisman
Rose Reisman
Whitecap Books
Suite 210, West Cordova Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1E8 Canada
9781770501997 $36.00

The Best of Rose Reisman is a hardcover cookbook compendium of over 275 delicious and healthful recipes from celebrated Canadian columnist and registered nutritional consultant Rose Reisman. Full-color photography illustrates several of the family favorite creations, including Black Bean Soup with Avocado, Korean Stir-Fried Beef and Crunchy Rice, Roasted Potato, Cauliflower and Edamame Mash, and much more. User-friendly instructions and a wide diversity of mouth-watering dishes make The Best of Rose Reisman a superb choice for home use or gift-giving!

Mussels: Preparing, Cooking and Enjoying a Sensational Seafood
Alain Bosse with Linda Duncan
Whitecap Books
Suite 210, West Cordova Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1E8 Canada
9781770502147 $29.95

Featuring full-color, full-page photography of most of its dishes, Mussels: Preparing, Cooking and Enjoying a Sensational Seafood lives up to its title as the definitive gourmet resource for making the most of one of the most versatile seafoods of North American cuisine. Recipes include Mussel Salad Al Fresco, Mussel Chowder, Pineapple Szechuan Mussel Pizza, Barbecue Beer Mussels, and even several "bread 'n' spread" goods to complement mussels. General tips, tricks, and techniques for selecting, storing, and preparing mussels round out this specialty chef's treasure trove, highly recommended for seafood cookbook collections.

Gluten-Free Vegan Baking
Parragon Books Ltd.
440 Park Avenue South, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10016
9781472349057 $12.99

Full-color photography illustrates Gluten-Free Vegan Baking, a user-friendly, step-by-step cookbook to making tasty, meatless, gluten-free delicacies from scratch, from Fresh Fruit Layer Cake to Chocolate & Macadamia Brownies, Apricot & Raisin Oat Bars, Mango Cheesecake, and much more. A handful of general vegan and gluten-free baking tips round out this excellent resource. Gluten-Free Vegan Baking is a "must-have" for every sweet tooth connoisseur dedicated to avoiding animal products and/or gluten!

Curing And Smoking Fish
Stanley Marianski & Adam Marianski
Bookmagic LLC
11771 Park Blvd., Seminole, FL 337722
9780983697398, $19.95, 262pp,

Synopsis: "Curing and Smoking Fish" provides all the information needed to understand the entire process of preparing and smoking fish. The subject of making brines is covered in detail and simplified by advocating the use of brine tables and testers. Fish can be dry salted or immersed in brine; salt can be applied alone or with sugar and spices; brine can be weak or strong; fish can be cold or hot smoked; wood chips can be dry or wet. There are many parameters to consider. To a newcomer, this can become confusing; however, all these details are mentioned and explained in such a way that the reader will feel confident to take control of the process. Master the basics, but not be afraid to apply this knowledge in real applications. Additionally, smoking methods are thoroughly described, as well as proper design of basic smokehouses. The discussion is not only limited to fish, but also covers shellfish such as clams, mussels, oysters and shrimp. To get the reader started, there is a collection of recipes for smoking fish, making fish spreads and preparing sauces for serving fish.

Critique: Simple stated, "Curing And Smoking Fish" should be on the culinary reference shelf of every fisherman whether they ply freshwater or saltwater bodies in pursuit of fish for trophy or for the dinner table. Exceptionally well written, profusely illustrated, thoroughly 'user friendly' from beginning to end, "Curing And Smoking Fish" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Cookbook as well as Fishing/Hunting instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Curing And Smoking Fish" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.95).

The Photography Shelf

Paths to Artistic Imaging in Photoshop
Russell Brown
Brown Paper Books
9780987574602 $59.95

Demonstrating its tips, tricks, techniques, and suggestions with full-color photography on almost every page, Paths to Artistic Imaging in Photoshop lives up to its title with nuanced methods for enhancing digital imagery through Photoshop magic. Digital artists of all backgrounds and skill levels will benefit from studying Paths to Artistic Imaging in Photoshop and keeping it close at hand. Topics covered include digital infrared photography, focus stacking for depth of field, creative texture application, night/low light/extended exposures, and much more. A "must-have" for anyone looking to improve their creative Photoshop skills, whether as a hobby or for a profession!

Southern Africa Safari
Vonne Martin
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
MM Book Publicity
9781481712583, $124.95, 360pp,

Synopsis: "Southern Africa Safari: Beyond the Concrete Jungle-South Africa, Botswana, Zambia" is comprised of full color photographs of animals encountered by Vonne Martin while she was on safari in Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa in August and September 2011.

Critique: Enhanced with informational commentaries, this coffee-table photography book is a thoroughly engaging browse of striking images showcasing the wildlife of South Africa. Very highly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Wildlife Photography collections, "Southern Africa Safari: Beyond the Concrete Jungle-South Africa, Botswana, Zambia" would make an enduringly popular choice as a Memorial Fund acquisition.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Fireflies: A Writer's Notebook
Coleen Murtagh Paratore
Little Pickle Press
3701 Sacramento Street, #494m San Francisco, CA 94118
Smith Publicity
9781939775047, $12.95,

With respect to "Fireflies: A Writer's Notebook", Coleen Murtagh Paratore (who has had 19 of her books published since 2004 and is perhaps best known for her novel "The Wedding Planner's Daughter), has created a resource in which aspiring writers can jot down their ideas and observations which may well be occasionally inspired by a sprinkling of inspirational prompts and advisory citations. A perfect little blank page manual in which to record thoughts and story elements, "Fireflies: A Writer's Notebook" is also perfectly equipped to help overcome writer blocks. Because it is a consumable, it is not appropriate for community or academic library Writer/Publisher instructional resource collections, but it is enthusiastically recommended for the personal reference collections of individuals who aspire to putting their thoughts down on paper -- and perhaps utilize those recorded thoughts for larger writing projects.

1,001 Tips for Writers
Quotations selected by William A. Gordon
North Ridge Books
PO Box 2832, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
9780937813102 $15.95

1,001 Tips for Writers: Words of Wisdom About Writing, Getting Published, and Living the Literary Life is an anthology of witticisms, insights, tips, tricks, techniques, warnings, suggestions, and much more for anyone and everyone in the writing trade. William A. Gorden has gathered a broad swath of writing quips from an immense diversity of authors, publishers, editors, and other experts in the field. 1,001 Tips for Writers is a pleasure to browse, and an absolute "must-read" for anyone considering a literary career! "Every time we have to publish a public affairs book, we cringe. People forget about the event it deals with. The attention span of the American public is fleeting. -Alberto Vitale, chairman and CEO of Random House, quoted in The New Yorker, October 6, 1997."

The Travel Shelf

The Thinking Fan's Guide To Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom
Aaron Wallace
The Intrepid Traveler
PO Box 531
Branford, CT 06405
9781937011246 $15.95

The Thinking Fan's Guide To Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom is a different kind of guidebook to one of the most popular travel destinations in America. Author Aaron Wallace approaches Walt Disney World as more than a colorful collection of rides and concession stands, but rather as a work of art. The Thinking Fan's Guide To Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom touches upon the history, literary influences, designs, and storylines of each attraction, culminating in a collective storyline as worthy of appreciation as any great work of literature, cinema, or theater. The descriptive, contemplative views of each ride are so comprehensive that The Thinking Fan's Guide To Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom as recommended for erudite armchair travelers as it is for starry-eyed tourists!

Access for All
Deborah Wall & Dennis Boulton
New University Press LLC
9418 West Lake Mead Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89134
9780982921951, $25.01, 196pp,

Synopsis: The collaborative work of Debora Wall and Dennis Boulton, "Access for All: Touring the Southwest with Limited Mobility" guides people with limited mobility who wish to visit the most stunning scenic outdoor attractions in four Southwestern states. Directions with measured driving distances and walking distances enable visitors to choose those sites which best suit their needs. The Grand Canyon, Death Valley, scenic drives in Utah and Nevada, and many sites in between are described from the point of view of those with limited mobility. Parks and campgrounds with suitable accommodations are an important focus, as are whether restrooms and hotel rooms are accessible, and whether a walkway to a viewpoint is suitable for wheelchairs or walkers.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated throughout, "Access for All: Touring the Southwest with Limited Mobility" is a specialized travel guide that is specifically designed for anyone having to deal with wheelchair accessibility, or mobility issues using canes, crutches, or walkers. Impressively organized and presented, "Access for All: Touring the Southwest with Limited Mobility" is ideal for itinerary planning for vacationing travelers wanting to visit natural refugees, as well as national forests, parks, and monuments. Of special note is the section devoted to Southwest Passenger Trains and the chapter showcasing Scenic Byways, Roads, and Drives. "Access for All: Touring the Southwest with Limited Mobility" is very highly recommended for both personal and community library American Travel Guide collections.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Cracking The Ancient Codes
Adekunle Rowaiye
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Company
9781628570588, $14.50, 272pp,

Synopsis: There exists the force of good and evil, which are both actively interfering in the affairs of men and operate by dynamics not explicitly understood by mortals. It appears that man's actions and inactions are engineered by unseen forces that manipulate him to accomplish a specific purpose. It also appears that in the fulfillment of prophecy, Satan is an unpaid worker in the kingdom of God. This treatise, "Cracking the Ancient Codes", captures vividly the intrigues behind the Bible stories from the spiritual dimension. It narrates the story of the Seed and the Serpent, manifesting in different forms as they engaged in unabated contention throughout the ages. The intentions of Satan are clear: to frustrate the manifestation of the Seed, by either defiling or destroying the Seed's ancestors. In this plot, Israel and Jerusalem are the sacred sites; the Jews and later the church are the principal actors. Without ambiguity, the Light shines with an outstanding luminance and Darkness cannot decipher the mystery behind it. Mortals have to make the constant choice between life and death. Events surrounding the state of Israel and the existence of the church remain the most valid markers for fulfillment of spiritual prophecy. The world must be conscious of the warfare that exists and must not be engulfed in the deception of a no-devil secularity.

Critique: As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Cracking The Ancient Codes" is an exceptionally well written, highly recommended, and original work that will hold immense interest for anyone with an interest in Christian metaphysical studies. Organized and presented in twenty succinct chapters and featuring both a Preface and an Epilogue, "Cracking The Ancient Codes" is enhanced for the non-specialist general reader with the inclusion of a thematically useful Bibliography.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

When Caring Takes Courage
Mara Botonis
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478730538, $29.95, 244pp,

Synopsis: After twenty nine years in healthcare, working throughout the United States in the senior housing industry, Mara Botonis' life and career trajectory was forever changed when a close family member was stricken with Alzheimer's. Her everyday work at the national level alongside families coping with the impact of Alzheimer's/dementia as well as countless medical and healthcare professionals specializing in this disease offered unparalleled opportunities to learn from their collective expertise. The tools provided in "When Caring Takes Courage: A Compassionate, Interactive Guide for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers" can be tailored to fit specific needs and are designed to assist caregivers with all aspects of caregiving. Topics include tips to help with everyday challenges such as bathing, toileting, managing medications, and dealing with difficult behaviors as well as communicating with healthcare professionals, finding affordable care options, and adapting recreational activities. Readers will learn from the best practices and proven techniques widely utilized in Alzheimer's/dementia care today, in a way that empowers them to personalize their use of these resources.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and presented, "When Caring Takes Courage: A Compassionate, Interactive Guide for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers" is the ideal, practical, and strongly recommended instruction manual specifically designed for use by non-specialist general readers who find themselves responsible for the care of a loved one suffering from Alzheimers or other senile dementia. It should be noted that "When Caring Takes Courage: A Compassionate, Interactive Guide for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers" is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.99).

The Parenting Shelf

Bank of Allowance Givers: Raising Financially Savvy Children
Lori Wolf
Diamond Press
9781629640068, $9.99,

"Bank of Allowance Givers" is a concise manual of a system (the BAG system) of allowance payment that parents or caregivers can use with children to teach them good money management skills plus sharpen their work ethic and increase their overall financial awareness all at the same time. Though it may seem a bit daunting at first, the BAG system is simply a system of agreements that covers an earned allowance, or paycheck, for agreed upon chores or "work" done, on a routine schedule, with accompanying good and bad interest rates for careful saving or spending on cash advance agreements, or in the deficit. Kids earn their allowance by doing agreed upon chores promptly (see Appendix B, Chores Contract) and sometimes additional tasks offered and agreed upon. They may receive a lesser amount of allowance if they fail to complete agreed upon chores or if they show other undesired behaviors to be specified. Bag account amounts are kept track of by the child and initialed by the parent monthly or on an agreed upon regular schedule, and parents transfer money into the child's account according to the running total owed periodically . The BAG system works more or less like an online paycheck for a regular job, without Social Security, insurance, and FICA deductions. A Quick Start summary is given that lists eleven basic steps to get started on a BAG allowance system on page 3. The helpful appendices cover the BAG Allowance Agreement, the Chores Contract, Checks, and the Check Register. Although the BAG system may seem a bit complex at the beginning, it is actually a good mirror of nearly all the usual financial transactions that all kids will need to learn to negotiate as they mature. As pointed out in the Conclusion for Parents on page 23, the BAG system has potential for transitioning into larger savings for bigger expenditures, such as a car, tuition for college, or a trip. "Bank of Allowance Givers" is an excellent resource for parents, caregivers, and teachers who desire their students/children to learn financial systems theory as it applies to them in their everyday life.

The Memoir Shelf

The Orange Trees of Baghdad
Leilah Nadir
Read Leaf
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781927018354 $17.95

Winner of the George Ryga award, The Orange Trees of Baghdad is the true-life memoir of a woman between two worlds. Author Leilah Nadir is the daughter of an Iraqi father and an English mother, raised in Britain and Canada. Though she had never been to Iraq, she longed to visit the family home of her great-aunt. In 2003, the West invaded Iraq and Leilah was fraught with worry for her relatives, who told her frightening tales of car bombs, kidnappings, extortion, criminal gangs and anarchy. The Orange Trees of Baghdad is not just her story, but the story of human suffering, of civilians so pressured that they sought refuge in the "safer" haven of Syria... a scant few years before the Syrian Civil War erupted. The Orange Trees of Baghdad is soul-touching, harrowing, and highly recommended. "In ten years, they [Nadir's aunts] had lost all their relatives and friends, either to death or emigration. They had once known most of their neighbours, but now only one family remained on the street, everyone else had fled. There was no one to take care of the house and the country was too terrifying to return to. Why would they ever go back?"

Barrio Princess
Consuelo Samarripa
Parkhurst Brothers Publishers
9781624910272 $15.00

Barrio Princess: Growing Up in Texas is the memoir of Mexican-American professional storyteller Consuelo Samarripa, who was born in the San Antonio barrio after World War II and grew up surrounded by two cultures - the mainstream, English-speaking culture (she learned the language via immersion at public school) and the traditions of her Spanish-speaking household. Barrio Princess isn't entirely constrained by the linear flow of time; some chapters focus on the lasting influence of life events, from adopting a "pre-owned" dog to visiting to a sickly family member in the ICU. A heartfelt, passionate, and fascinating reflection from cover to cover, Barrio Princess is an especially welcome contribution to Latina literature collections and reading lists.

The Poetry Shelf

In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013
Tom Montag
MWPH Books
PO Box 8, Fairwater, WI 53931
9780974649986 $25.00

In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013 is a free-verse anthology that reflects poet Tom Montag's experimentations in the medium across decades. Most poems are brief, and touch upon the mysteries of nature, and the hardiness of life in the country. As the poems captivate one's consciousness, the pages fly through one's fingers faster than imagining. "Lessons the Wind Would Teach": Why are we unwilling to learn / the lessons the wind would teach? // Walk / with it. // Do not / wrestle // the wind. / Do not // argue / with God. // I try to speak - / a mouthful of wind. // A wind / to make you // wish for wings."

The Art Shelf

Easter Island Sketchbook
Susan A. Sternau
Sausalito Press
9780989845588 $29.95

Presented in striking full color, Easter Island Sketchbook: An Artist's Journey to the Mysterious Land of Giant Stone Statues is an artbook of breathtaking watercolor paintings that artist Susan A. Sternau created during her visit to Easter Island. The enigmatic Moai stone statues are a prominent central theme, but some paintings also depict natural scenery, local buildings, or other relics of history. Aside from a brief introduction, there is very little text; each plate simply has a brief caption to place it in context, such as "Plate 55. Birdman Village. These restored stone houses with low doorways are associated with the birdman ritual at Orongo. Catholic missionaries stopped the birdman ritual; the last competition was held in 1866." Easter Island Sketchbook makes an especially wonderful gift for armchair travelers!

The Mythology Shelf

The Heracliad: The Epic Saga of Hercules
Richard Bertematti
Tridium Press
9780990302704 hc $25.95
9780990302711 $19.99 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

The Heracliad: The Epic Saga of Hercules is an extraordinary novel that transforms ancient mythology about the legendary Greek hero into a prose narrative, accessible to readers of all backgrounds. Author Richard Bertematti stays as faithful to all primary mythological sources about Hercules as possible, melding them into one, gigantic saga. A "must-read" for anyone with an interest in ancient Greek mythology, The Heracliad: The Epic Saga of Hercules is especially recommended for public and college library mythology shelves.

The Handy Mythology Answer Book
David A. Leeming, Ph.D
Visible Ink
43311 Joy Rd., #414, Canton, MI 48187-2075
c/o KT Public Relations
9781578594757 $21.95

Also available as an ebook, The Handy Mythology Answer Book suveys classic mythology around the world, in a reader-friendly question-and-answer format accessible to readers of all backgrounds. "What is the background of the myth of the Trojan War narrated in the Iliad? The Iliad tells a story about the war in Ilium (Troy), waged by the Greeks, or Hellenes... The beautiful Helen, wife of Agamemnon's brother, Menelaus, the king of Sparta, had been seduced and abducted by Paris, a Trojan prince, and an alliance of Greeks had come to take her back and to punish Troy for harboring her." Enhanced with a list of mythological characters, a bibliography, and an index, The Handy Mythology Answer Book is fascinating to browse, and choice pick for public library mythology collections.

The Jobs/Career Shelf

How to Find a Great Job in the Great Recession
Rob Wolf
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478720140, $19.95, 188pp,

Synopsis: "How To Find A Great Job In The Great Recession: 12 Steps to Make it Happen!" has the approach needed to find a new job or career despite the slow economic recovery of the country since the Great Recession hit and hit hard in 2008. "How To Find A Great Job In The Great Recession: 12 Steps to Make it Happen!" will guide the reader through the process of building an effective Marketing Plan towards re-employment, including job seeking tools that will make an immediate difference with respect to competing in a highly competitive and abbreviated job market. "How To Find A Great Job In The Great Recession: 12 Steps to Make it Happen!" will teach how to have a conversation with anyone, every time, Help succeed in any of the seven different types of interviews. Of special value for anyone vulnerable to age discrimination is the Ageism chapter for those over 50 and recent college graduates. "How To Find A Great Job In The Great Recession: 12 Steps to Make it Happen!" shows how to utilize five different types of recruiters, turn networking events into referral machines, and tricks to getting a resume noticed. Of special note is learning how to answer the interview question "Tell Me About Yourself" and create real interest in the Interviewer. Thoroughly 'user friendly', practical, informed and informative, "How To Get A Great Job In The Great Recession: 12 Steps to Make it Happen!" is very strongly recommended as a personal job seeking instruction manual and for community and academic library Jobs/Careers instruction reference collections. It should be noted that "How To Find A Great Job In The Great Recession: 12 Steps to Make it Happen!" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

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

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