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Charles A. Casto
Radius Book Group
9781635764024, $24.95, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: On March 11, 2011, fifty minutes after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit eastern Japan, a tsunami 45-feet high engulfed the nuclear power plant known as Fukushima Daiichi, knocking out electrical power and all the reactors' safety systems. Three reactor cores experienced meltdowns in the first three days, leading to an unimaginable nuclear disaster.
The person the Tokyo Electric Power Company called for help was Dr. Charles 'Chuck' Casto. In "Station Blackout: Inside the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and Recovery", Dr. Casto, (who is arguably the foremost authority on responding to nuclear disasters), shares his first-hand account of how he led the collaborative team of Japanese and American experts that faced the challenges of Fukushima.
Critique: A lifetime of working in the nuclear industry prepared Dr. Casto to manage an extreme crisis, lessons that apply to any crisis situation, making "Station Blackout" not only a riveting read about one particular disaster by a kind of 'how to' manual for nuclear industry related crises or other natural disasters requiring a multinational collaborative response. While unreservedly recommended for governmental, community, and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists of emergency responders and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Station Blackout" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
Write Your Story
Jennifer Carlson, Ph.D.
9781543954777 $24.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: What if you wrote it all down? What if - in writing your experiences and sharing them - you begin letting go...of all of those good memories that you wish to share or not-so-good memories you're trying to forget? Only you know what you wish to share. That was until now.
Questions, quotes, and resources are contained in this self-start, easy-to-read, write your own biography, which allows you, the reader, to immerse themselves in content with the intention of surfacing their own memories and writing the story of their life.
Dr. Carlson's courageous life story is recounted in a way that supports and encourages others to write their own.
Critique: Illustrated with a handful of beautiful color photographs, Write Your Story: A Self-Start, Write Your Own Biography was created to help the reader realize the inner ambition to write their own biography. The motivational push to "just do it" lies primarily through example, as author Jennifer Carlson offers details of her life and her family in plain terms: "I hope to inspire you to write your own life story by sharing my own". Of particular note are the twelve pages of uplifting quotes from a wide variety of public figures. Write Your Story is engaging and thoughtful from cover to cover. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Write Your Story is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
The Cookbook Shelf
The Original Mediterranean Cuisine, second edition
Equinox Publishing Ltd.
c/o ISD (dist.)
9781781796405 $39.95 amazon.com
Synopsis: The Original Mediterranean Cuisine is both culinary history and cookbook, with 70 recipes from fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Catalan and Italian manuscripts, adapted for today's kitchens. Starting with the natural and cultural affinities of Mediterranean Europe, such that a medieval merchant from Italy could be understood in Marseille and Barcelona, it demonstrates the culinary similarities that differentiated this region from northern Europe.
The first edition was published by Wakefield Press in Australia in 1995 and licensed in 1996 to Chicago Review Press in the USA. This edition has been extensively revised and enlarged by a third and is lavishly illustrated with images from medieval texts. It includes new sections on the medieval table and table manners, and discusses the significance of the medieval banquet through a selection of menus.
Critique: Culinary historian Barbara Santich presents an extraordinary blend of recipe book and in-depth history, now in an updated second edition illustrated with color images from medieval texts, as well as a couple brand-new sections. Featuring seventy recipes from the Mediterranean of over 500 years ago, modified so that they can be readily crafted and experienced in modern-day kitchens, The Original Mediterranean Cuisine is sure to delight adventurous cooks and an excellent way to experience history through one's sense of taste as well as through study and learning. Highly recommended, especially for personal, public, and college library collections.
The Native American Studies Shelf
Five Years in America
Sylvia S. Kaspyrcki
9783981162097, $19.95, HC, 96pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Over the course of a sojourn in North America between 1857 and 1862, the Capuchin priest Antoine Marie Gachet from Fribourg, Switzerland, spent two and a half years among the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin. As part of his pastoral and missionary work Gachet engaged in ethnographic and linguistic studies, resulting in a Menominee grammar, a diary account of his labors, and an ethnographic collection.
"Five Years in America: The Menominee Collection of Antoine Marie Gachet" by Sylvia S. Kasprycki (Lecturer in the Department of Ethnology of the Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main) is unusually well documented collection, preserved at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Fribourg, and here published for the first time in its entirety.
"Five Years in America: The Menominee Collection of Antoine Marie Gachet", together with a catalogue raisonne and a selection of Gachet's hitherto unpublished drawings held by the Capuchin Friary in Fribourg, places in the contexts of Catholic missionary ethnographic collecting and of Menominee historical ethnography of the mid-nineteenth century, an extensive series of material and visual documents offering valuable insights into the lifeways of a Native American people of the western Great Lakes region during a period of cultural change and adaptation.
Also included is a biographical sketch by the late Anton Rotzetter, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, describes Gachet's work in Fribourg and India before and after his five years in North America and an explanation of the ideology of conversion in the Franciscan tradition.
Critique: Beautifully illustrated with full color photography without, "Five Years in America: The Menominee Collection of Antoine Marie Gachet" is a unique, extraordinary, informative, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Native American collections in general, and Wisconsin's Menominee supplemental studies lists in particular.
The Computer Shelf
How To Protect Yourself From Your Computer
9780692815465 $19.99 amazon.com
Synopsis: Are you frustrated with your computer? Bombarded by error messages? Did your uncle's neighbor's cat's cousin come over and install pirated software? Is your computer dreadfully slow? Don't bother buying a new one! In this book, you'll learn:
About viruses, spyware, toolbars, and spam
How fake cleaning programs turned the industry into a grease fire
(and how your local computer guy may be pouring water on it)
What really causes slow computers
How fake tech support scammers scare you out of your money
What a proper, verifiable backup is
How to avoid buying a new computer every few years
How to avoid spending a fortune on printer ink
Why updates ruin your phone so often
Who's monitoring what you say and type - legally
How the industry plans on controlling us next
...all in Plain English!!!
This book is meant to act as a guide for the 99% of intelligent people on Earth who are intimidated by technology and don't want to become programmers or mechanics just to get online. We'll go inside the mind of the "more features = better" geeks responsible for all the helplessness, we'll de-mystify and debunk the myths and rumors, and we'll get you feeling more confident in no time!
Critique: Thoroughly "reader-friendly" to computer novices everywhere, How To Protect Yourself From Your Computer is a candid reference and resource for avoiding a plethora of common pitfalls. Color illustrations and screenshots intersperse the straightforward advice about what really causes slow computers, common email scams, the lifesaving importance of backups, and much more. How To Protect Yourself From Your Computer is a superb resource for public library collections and highly recommended for technology newbies ages eight to eighty in the modern digital age.
The Aviation Shelf
A Barnstormer Aviator
Nick Vuyosevich and Nina Anderson
Safe Goods Publishing
9781513639987 $16.95 amazon.com
Synopsis: Living in the 1930s, with nary a nickel in his pocket, an immigrant's son learned to fly. This was Nick's story written by him fifty years after that first solo. Come back to the time when crashes were common, navigation was I follow roads, scarf and goggles were standard pilot gear, and barnstorming was the way to get folks out to the airport for a ride. Written by a pilot from the 1930s who tells his story of learning to fly in Clarence Chamberlin s airplanes and becoming a barnstormer, who founded the Jersey City Flying Club, Clifton and Whippany airports. He tells his adventures in flying the Hisso Standard, Swallow two place with OX5 and Kinner engines, Waco, Great Lakes, along with the Consolidated Trainer, as well as the Curtiss Fledging, Eaglerock, and many other biplanes of the times.
Critique: A Barnstormer Aviator: My Personal Journey to Scarf and Goggles Flying in the 1930s lives up to its title as a riveting, firsthand testimony of the pioneer days of aviation. Here is a glimpse of life in the 1930s, an era when trying to find a flying instructor was challenging and to fly solo meant potentially risking one's life to engine failure, crashes, or the hazards of flying at night without instruments. A Barnstormer Aviator is fascinating from cover to cover, and a "must-read" for anyone interested to learn more about the exhilaration and perils of the early aviation era. Highly recommended!
The Business Shelf
Turning Numbers into Knowledge, third edition
9781938377068, $24.95, PB, 251pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving" by Dr. Jonathan Koomey (who is a lecturer at Stanford University) bridges general business problem solving and mathematics for improved effectiveness in work and life.
Full of tools for solving real-world problems, this new third edition of "Turning Numbers into Knowledge" is an ideal training manual, especially for anyone is feels intimidated by quantitative analysis. It is also an excellent refresher textbook for beginning analysts looking to improve the quality of their data, the clarity of their graphics, and the cogency of their arguments.
In addition to numerous updates (including references, URLs, and reading lists) this newly expanded and updated third edition includes revised chapters and many new and updated examples.
Mastering the art of problem solving takes more than proficiency with basic calculations; it requires understanding how people use information, recognizing the importance of ideology, learning the art of storytelling, and acknowledging the important distinction between facts and values. "Turning Numbers into Knowledge" is essentially a beginner's guide that addresses these and other essential skills.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, impressively organized, and accessibly presented, "Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving" is an ideal textbook for college and university library Business & Economics collections and supplemental studies curriculums. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, analysts, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Turning Numbers into Knowledge" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).
Page Two Books
9781989025048, $27.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Hunter Harrison, the revolutionary railroader from Memphis, dramatically turned four publicly traded companies into cash machines. Starting as a laborer when he was a wayward teenager, Harrison spent a half century in the rail business and nearly two decades running Illinois Central, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and CSX.
Never accepting the status quo, Harrison not only renovated established railroads, he forced an industry to shape up. As the pre-eminent proponent of Precision Scheduled Railroading, Harrison created approximately $50 billion in shareholder value. Charming, intimidating, and not afraid to make enemies, the no-bullshit CEO let nothing get in his way. At the same time, he was a talent scout and coach to thousands, and a devoted father and husband for more than fifty years.
In the pages of "Railroader: The Unfiltered Genius and Controversy of Four-Time CEO Hunter Harrison" biographer and journalist Howard Green offers insights into running all businesses based on conversations with Harrison over several years.
"Railroader" also includes candid stories from Harrison's family and colleagues including both those who admired him and those who criticized him. Green's access and decades of experience give him the unparalleled ability to tell the story of this uncompromising leader who both inspired and infuriated.
Critique: Impressively detailed, researched, organized and presented, "Railroader: The Unfiltered Genius and Controversy of Four-Time CEO Hunter Harrison" is an extraordinary account of an extraordinary life and is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists for business students, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Railroader" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Music Shelf
Diary of a Beatlemaniac
9781947976030, $24.50, PB, 202pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: At the helm of the rock n roll phenomenon that took over 60s pop music, the Beatles defined the Swinging Sixties and were at the forefront of the British music invasion.
Offering fun and unique insights into the famous musicians and entertainers associated with the Beatles, including John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Victor Spinetti, and Hy Lit, through interviews and vignettes, and driven by the frenzy of fan clubs, Beatles concerts, and endless dreams and meeting schemes, Patricia Gallo-Stenman's "Diary of a Beatlemaniac: A Fab Insider's Look at the Beatles Era" romps through the heady, roller-coaster days of Beatlemania as seen through the eyes of one Philadelphia schoolgirl and her band of 'Beatle Buddies.'
Compiled from Patricia's own diary and extensive scrapbooking, this extraordinary and nicely illustrated slice of life peeks into the heart of an inner-city teen at the forefront of Beatlemania. For Beatlemaniacs of any age, Patricia's extensively detailed account offers a unique glimpse into the groovy days of the Swinging Sixties and the chance to relive the magic of the pop-culture phenomenon called the Beatles.
Critique: "Diary of a Beatlemaniac: A Fab Insider's Look at the Beatles Era" by Patricia Gallo-Stenman is the personal and deftly scripted memoir of 1960s era musicology and a must-read for music fans in general, and those interested in Beatles history in particular. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library 20th Century American Popular Music History collections, it should be noted for the personal lists of Beatles fans, students, academia, and non-specialist general readers that "Diary of a Beatlemaniac" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.49).
The Fiction Shelf
Forefathers & Founding Fathers, second edition
Brown Books Publishing Group
9781612542720 $14.99 pbk / $7.80 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: In the early colonies, this country was on the precipice of becoming an autocratic theocracy. The battle for democracy and equal rights was sparked by a few characters, who are now lost and forgotten pieces of history. Forefathers & Founding Fathers is an adventure, a love story, and a tale of great persistence, chronicling those who fought to create the template for America. It is a tale that every American should know and yet most do not.
Travel back to 1620s London, where hardworking and creative Samuel met Mary, a unique and highly educated woman. Their journey would lead them to the colonies, where they were ostracized and sentenced to death for introducing the fundamental principles modern Americans hold dear.
This fast-paced historical fiction will make you question your understanding of the founding years of this free nation. These pioneers not only sparked the ideals of democracy 150 years before Jefferson and Adams but created the template our founding fathers used to build America. This expanded second edition explores even further into the lives of these impactful figures, giving a deeper perspective on their sacrifices and devotion to this country.
Critique: Now in a revised second edition, Forefathers & Founding Fathers is a historical fiction novel that draws heavily upon extensive research to bring to life the quirks, foibles, deep human flaws, and brave heroism of the seventeenth-century patriots who fought for American independence. Fast-paced and thoroughly engaging, Forefathers & Founding Fathers keeps the reader's rapt attention to the very end. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Forefathers & Founding Fathers is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.80).
The Rise of Esperanto
9781525508769 $15.49 pbk / $3.49 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Three hundred and fifty years in the future, the world's political structure teeters on the edge of disaster as tensions intensify between countries and continents. Vespacia's military and business communities join forces, plotting to gain control of Esperanto in the face of its astonishing growth. Despite continued insistence to the contrary, world domination seems to be the Vespacians' ultimate goal.
Amid turmoil, Ovi, a simple and open-minded priest, opposes the increasing violence. Struggling with the meaning and evolution of understanding God and His means, Ovi finds himself at the head of a new religious faction, one that disagrees with hard-core believers in the Old Testament's teachings. With his newfound status as leader of this prominent religious faction, Ovi is in a unique position to prevent the Vespacians from achieving world domination, even as he further questions the existence of God.
As the conflict between Vespacia and Esperanto spreads and becomes increasingly violent, Ovi works to find a lasting resolution to the conflict, but will it come too late? In the midst of the madness of the widening war between Esperanto and Vespacia, the world's fate lies in the hands of one very ordinary man and a benevolent alien god.
Critique: The Rise of Esperanto is a thought-provoking novel set centuries in the future. Ovi is a priest at the crossroads between conflicting religious and political ideals. Even as he privately questions the existence of God, he may be the only person capable of ending a boiling war between two global superpowers: the prosperous Esperanto, and the rapacious Vespacia. Difficult moral conundrums with no easy solutions keep The Rise of Esperanto riveting to the very last page! It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Rise of Esperanto is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.49).
I, Claudia: A Novel of the Ancient World
9781948018432 $15.75 pbk / $7.19 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: Claudia Procula - wife of one of the most controversial figures in ancient history - comes alive to twenty-first-century readers in a groundbreaking new novel by the award-winning author of the Lindsey McCall medical mystery series.
For decades, the daughter of the last Oracle at Delphi has suppressed the secrets of her birth, extensive education, and marriage to the notorious Fifth Prelate of Judea - Pontius Pilate. Now, at age seventy-nine, she feels compelled to leave behind her story for the world and set the record straight about the beginnings of modern history.
"He has had his arms raised for how many hours now? Shouldn't there be a Joshua to help this Moses? I suppressed a smile at my wittiness, knowing better than to voice the thought aloud. My ladies would be shocked by my allusion to the great Jewish prophet. Well aware of my reputation as an empty-headed nitwit among those who served my husband, such low expectations had served me well. Best to maintain the fiction."
In a surprising change of genre and style, Wilder brings her extensive research and wide-ranging imagination to bear on the seminal story of our time: the passion of the Christ. The result is a compelling and harrowing love story replete with historical figures such as Seneca, Socrates, and Pilate himself. It is sure to captivate both believers and skeptics alike, and remain in readers' minds long after the last page is turned.
Critique: The ancient era of the historical Jesus Christ comes to vivid life in I, Claudia: A Novel of the Ancient World, and exceptional novel from the perspective of Claudia Procula, the wife of Pontius Pilate (who is notorious for his role in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ). I, Claudia is provocative, thoughtful, thoroughly engaging, and highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that I, Claudia is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.19).
The Grey Zone
9780999340042, $16.95, PB, 376pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: For most of the world life had improved after the implementation of the Basic Human Standard and the formation of The Global Federation of Nations. However, after fifteen years, there are some who still fight against the principles of the organization.
Natalie Kelley is a journalist for the Chicago Tribune whose reporting focuses on American terrorist groups in opposition to the GFN. When an Oklahoma City restaurant is attacked, Natalie travels to investigate the incident, but soon begins to question whether the assault was an amateur action or part of a larger conspiracy.
"The Grey Zone" follows Natalie and a cast of characters from both sides of the battle and explores the ramifications of an exceedingly globalized planet as conflicting ideologies clash across the United States.
Critique: A deftly crafted novel that accurately reflects very possible consequences played out by an increasing polarization of America and the world, "The Grey Zone" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Grey Zone" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Who Cries for Mother Earth
Brings Good LLC
9781732680715, $16.95, PB, 270pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "Who Cries for Mother Earth", novelist Margaret Hines tells the story of a young Lakota woman who seeking to discover her special place in the world, sets out to learn about her people, her place on earth, and how nature and man interact.
Through a vision quest filled with extraordinary imagery, dire warnings for Mother Earth, a deep respect for the past and hope for the future, "Who Cries for Mother Earth draws upon Lakota culture and spirituality in a way that is inherently fascinating and holds the readers rapt attention from beginning to end.
Critique: A skillfully crafted and absorbing read by an author with a genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling, Margaret Hines' "Who Cries for Mother Earth" is an especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Who Cries for Mother Earth" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
Blank Slate Press
c/o Amphorae Publishing Group
9781943075508, $16.95, PB, 406pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the 1880s, the biggest, baddest boomtown of the 1880s was San Diego, California. The attraction wasn't gold or silver but cheap land, the promise of an oceanfront paradise where it never snows and rarely rains, and the too-good-to-be-true deals offered by local real estate merchants.
In the wake of bona fide settlers came the hucksters, con artists, and snake oil vendors -- so many flimflam men (and women) that those duped called the town "Scam Diego." Abetting the crime and chaos was the nearby Mexican border, a convenient refuge for the rustlers, ex-Rebels, and banditos who floated back and forth across the unmarked frontier.
Caught up in this perfect storm are two men: U.S. Marshal Cradoc Bradshaw and San Diego Times reporter Nicholas Pinder. Best friends growing up, Bradshaw and Pinder are now sworn enemies and all because of a woman. Having once cooperated to catch bad guys, Bradshaw and Pinder now compete -- Pinder with his quill pen or Bradshaw with his sawed-off shotgun and Colt single action Army revolver.
Their competition heats up when someone starts killing the town's movers and shakers. As the bodies pile up, the question becomes which of the former friends will track down the killer first?
Critique: A deftly crafted saga of a novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality, attention to historical detail, the creation of memorable characters, and an inherently page turner of a read with more twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster, Joe Yogerst's "Nemesis" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nemesis" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
K.I.M. Publishing, LLC
9780692178058, $18.70, PB, 262pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: With over twenty fires ranging in the North Carolina mountains, how does an emergency response network pushed to the breaking point respond to a fire threatening to devour the mountain communities of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Shumont and Bat Cave?
Annie Simms is a volunteer firefighter and a biologist who is striving to stave off bat extinction, and becomes embroiled in the fight against The Party Rock Fire that started November 5, 2016 and initiated the largest request for mutual aid the state had ever seen.
Deftly woven throughout this novel about two firefighters who are in love, yet find themselves torn apart by swirling suspicions and mistrust, "Catching Fire" is the compelling story of a family struggling with its past in the frightening present.
Critique: Original, engaging, well written, and a compelling read from beginning to end, "Catching Fire" showcases the narrative storytelling talents of author Rose Senehi. Certain to be an immediate and enduring addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Catching Fire" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
A Light in the Desert
Treehouse Publishing Group
9781732139114, $16.95, PB, 286pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots (the Children of Light) who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.
When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil as local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters arrive on the scene.
As the search for the saboteurs heats up and the authorities question members of the cult, they uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes.
As the former sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.
Critique: A gritty, well scripted novel with elements of Post-Traumatic Stress, sheer survival, and issues associated with child abuse, Anne Montgomery's "A Light in the Desert" is an intrinsically gripping read from beginning to end by an author with a genuine flair for originality and compelling narrative driven storytelling. While unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Light in the Desert" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Song for a Spy
9781717794758, $12.00, PB, 301pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Song for a Spy" by Bernard Trafford is a novel set in thirteenth-century Bologna, against the backdrop of a power-struggle with neighboring Modena amid the chaos of the Interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire. Lorenzo is a young man with rapidly-acquired skills as troubadour, scribe, eavesdropper, spy, willing but inexpert lover, unwilling but expert assassin. these are skills that must carry him through conspiracy, political intrigue, seduction, torture and murder to a bloody climax among Bologna's corrupt potentates in the bizarre world they create for themselves high in that city's legendary medieval towers.
Critique: Inherently fascinating, historically detailed, exceptionally well written, and engagingly compelling, "Song for a Spy" is an extraordinary and fully entertaining read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Song for a Spy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.22).
A Cobbler's Tale
Neil Perry Gordon
9781732667709, $12.99, PB, 334pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 1910, Pincus Potasznik, a Jewish cobbler, left his pregnant wife and three small children to sail for America. His goal is to seek a new life for his family in the burgeoning Lower East Side of Manhattan.
On his traumatic voyage across the Atlantic on the SS Amerika steamship, Pincus meets Jakob Adler, a young man running from an accidental murder of a notorious crime boss in Warsaw. Opportunities await them in New York, but it's not an easy time for Jewish immigrants.
A few years later, while enjoying the spoils of his business and helped along with Jakob's unlawful contributions, Pincus realizes he made a terrible mistake. But the opportunity to return to his family has almost closed due to the outbreak of World War 1. Now he must face a decision, should he risk going back to Europe to rescue them from a war they could all die in, or is it better to wait in New York and build his fortune?
Born in a small shtetl in the province of Galicia, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Pincus has yearned all his life for wealth and the freedom it will bring, but what price will he have to pay for his dreams?
As the bloody battles of World War I explodes within miles of the family home, in a small village called Krzywcza, Moshe, the son of Pincus and Clara Potasznik, discovers a divine ability to foretell dire events, and to offer comfort to those in pain, taking us deep into the world of ancient Jewish mysticism, known as the Kabbalah.
Will Pincus do the right thing? And can Moshe foresee what's to come for his own family?
Critique: An inherently engaging and intrinsically interesting read from beginning to end, "A Cobbler's Tale" showcases author Neil Perry Gordon's genuine flair for narrative storytelling and his attention to historical detail. A deftly crafted and original novel that will linger in the mind and memory long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf, "A Cobbler's Tale" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Cobbler's Tale" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Six Thousand Miles to Home
Kim Dana Kupperman
Legacy Edition Books
9781732349704, $25.00, PB, 320pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In 1939, Hitler's tyranny expanded to encompass western Poland compelling a prosperous Jewish family (Julius and Josefina Kohn and their two teenaged children, Peter and Suzanna) flee their homeland, embark on an unexpected odyssey of six-thousand arduous miles.
The family evades Nazi capture, only to be arrested by the Soviets, who have invaded Poland from the east.
Deported to northern Russia, they endure savage conditions during eighteen months of forced labor in a prison camp, where death lurks around every corner. When Hitler breaks a secret pact with Stalin, and the Nazis invade the USSR, the release of Polish prisoners in the Soviet Gulag is negotiated.
The Kohn family's journey then continues, from Russia to Central Asia and across the Caspian Sea to Persia. Now in a foreign land as impoverished refugees, their hometown occupied by the Nazis, and their relations, friends, and neighbors displaced across the world, can they discover generosity, hope, and even love in Tehran?
Critique: Based upon a true story by author Kim Dana Kupperman, "Six Thousand Miles From Home" is engagingly dramatic, deftly crafted, and inherently memorable novel set during one of the Holocaust's lesser-known episodes, the deportation into the Soviet Gulag of 1.5-2 million Polish citizens at the start of World War II. Although a work of outstanding fiction, "Six Thousand Miles From Home" is enhanced with the inclusion an informative Afterword by Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz. While unreserved recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Six Thousand Miles From Home" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Secret Agent Angel
Black Opal Books
PO Box 504, Parkdale, OR 97041
9781626945722, $12.99, PB, 266pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Samuel, a secret agent angel on Earth, sometimes has to improvise when things go badly wrong. Over forty years of angelic missions come to a head in a fire at a snowbound truck stop when a fire demon comes to destroy one man's faith -- or his life. The only chance for success rests with the spiritual power of the humans whom Samuel has tried to prepare for the struggle, but have they gained enough spiritual strength and awareness...or, if not, does God have a Plan B? Even angels sometimes have to act on faith to get the Plan back on trace!
Critique: An entertainingly original, deftly crafted and thoroughly engaging novel that is unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Secret Agent Angel" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Daughters of the Lake
Lake Union Publishing
9781503900820 $24.95 hc / $4.99 Kindle amazon.com
Synopsis: After the end of her marriage, Kate Granger has retreated to her parents' home on Lake Superior to pull herself together - only to discover the body of a murdered woman washed into the shallows. Tucked in the folds of the woman's curiously vintage gown is an infant, as cold and at peace as its mother. No one can identify the woman. Except for Kate. She's seen her before. In her dreams...
One hundred years ago, a love story ended in tragedy, its mysteries left unsolved. It's time for the lake to give up its secrets. As each mystery unravels, it pulls Kate deeper into the eddy of a haunting folktale that has been handed down in whispers over generations. Now, it's Kate's turn to listen.
As the drowned woman reaches out from the grave, Kate reaches back. They must come together, if only in dreams, to right the sinister wrongs of the past.
Critique: Award-winning author Wendy Webb (a.k.a. "Queen of the Northern Gothic") presents Daughters of the Lake, a haunting and heartbreaking murder mystery. In the wake of a marriage falling apart, Kate Granger retreats to her parents' home on Lake Superior, and is horrified to discovery the corpse of a dead woman and infant. Kate has seen the woman before - in her dreams. Now, Kate must seek justice for innocent, when she has few leads outside of visions during her sleep. A masterful work of suspense, Daughter of the Lake is highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Daughters of the Lake is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).
The House Always Wins
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
9781684331222, $15.95, PB, 181pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Someone is shooting up Dirty Sam's. Will the Long Harbor police get their man, or woman, before a casino heist, a slots player who disappears in a puff of smoke, a crossbow-toting florist, and an undercover agent who makes a mean goulash, complicate the investigation? Oh, for the simpler days of illegal gambling!
Critique: In "The House Always Wins", author Tom Minder reveals a genuine flair for original, deftly crafted, narrative based storytelling and a mastery of the genre. This page-turner of a read has more unexpected plot twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that this inherently compelling novel is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
Nick Noelle: Thicker Than Blood
A. R. Baumann & Dolores DeLuce
9780999691649, $19.95, PB, 270pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Set in the steamy, gritty city of New Orleans in 1971 where the mob ruled, Nick Noelle (who is a newly retired detective from Housto) returns home to settle his affairs with his dying mother.
Already bored with retirement, he stumbles upon an unfolding serial killer case darker and more sinister than any he had known.
While visiting his departing mother, he finds a disturbing set of diaries that recorded her tragic life. Horrified by what he reads, he is stricken with guilt, fear, regret and despair which lure him into a pit of self-destruction.
As he struggles with addictions to alcohol and gambling in a city that thrives on vices, he is in danger of losing his wife, his mind and worse, his own life.
Critique: An impressively original, darkly compelling, and deftly crafted read from first page to last, "Nick Noelle: Thicker Than Blood" by A. R. Bauman (with assistance from Dolores DeLuce) is one of those noir novels that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nick Noelle: Thicker Than Blood" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.99).
Two Suspects: A Legal Mystery
9781729430255, $12.95, PB, 111pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: There's been a burglary in a luxury high rise co-op in Manhattan: an elderly woman was assaulted in her apartment, with jewelry taken. The prime suspect is Johnny Jones, who was in the building around the same time, helping his lawyer, public defender Alan Goldman, move temporarily into the apartment of his friend, corporate lawyer Tim Wilson.
But another suspect soon emerges: a look-alike intruder who got into the building through a basement door with a broken lock.
The victim is suing the co-op for millions, represented by her niece, litigator Cathy Collins - who is Tim's ex-girlfriend. She claims the intruder is guilty, but Tim (the president of the co-op's board) claims Johnny is guilty; if so, the co-op isn't liable at all, since he got into the building lawfully.
Readers will see how lawyers Tim and Cathy behave oh so badly, using sex to influence Alan and A.D.A. Gina Gomez in their handling of Johnny's case, to suit their lawsuit end. It won't be until the very end of this dark-comedy, 'who dunnit' mystery that the question will finally be answered: which of the two suspects is guilty?
Critique: A deftly crafted and riveting mystery that plays fair with the reader from first page to last, "Two Suspects: A Legal Mystery" by Gary Sherbell is a unique, entertaining, and highly recommended addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Two Suspects: A Legal Mystery" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Riverdale Avenue Books
9781626014657, $29.99, HC, 194pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Here's an interesting question: -- How far would you go for love when the one you love is one of the walking dead?
Six months after the Necro Rabies pandemic has turned the world into hordes of rabid undead known as "Cujos," 21 year-old Rhonda Driscoll discovers her zombified fiance, Brad, in her old hometown.
Fearing that her Marine Colonel father will kill undead Brad, Rhonda flees, taking a road-trip with Brad in tow in hopes of starting a new life in a frightening and uncertain world complicated by numerous perils, pure horror, joy, heartbreak, and unconditional love.
Critique: Showcasing a genuine flair for originality and a mastery of the 'walking dead' genre, author Jeremy Wagner's new novel, "Rabid Heart", is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated zombie fans that "Rabid Heart" is also available in a paperback edition (9781626014640, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).
The Enchanted Sonata
Heather Dixon Wallwork
9781732831513, $12.95, PB, 386pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!), and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker.
Whisked away to his world that includes an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince, Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells -- and the future she thought she wanted.
Critique: "The Enchanted Sonata" is author heather Dixon Wallwork's deftly and engaging version of The Nutcracker Ballet (with a dash of The Pied Piper) and is an inherently fascinating and entertaining novel from first page to last -- and one that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Enchanted Sonata" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).
The Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Lydia A. Mitchell
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781982206024, $30.95, HC, 162pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: All of us have wondered at some point or another whether there is a deeper meaning to our everyday activities. Some of us may have even searched on a subconscious level for the missing component in our daily lives. The good news is that incorporating a sense of spirit into every day can fill missing gaps, expand our lives, and provide us with confidence and clarity in all decisions.
With her unique background and spiritual guidance, Dr. Lydia A. Mitchell is focused on helping others to combine the spiritual and physical realities of life. Lydia's scientific studies into the microscopic physical world give her a unique understanding of the subtle energies unseen by the human eye. After obtaining her doctorate in chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Lydia worked in research in the education and corporate worlds. She carried out experiments based on electromagnetic principles to determine the structure of compounds on a molecular level. Giving consulting and training courses in Feng Shui shifted her focus to the spiritual arena. She consults for business and residential Feng Shui clients in the United States, Spain, Ireland, and South America.
In the pages of "Spiritual Reality: Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary", Dr. Mitchell shares an approachable and useful guide to developing spiritual awareness that shifts our focus away from an everyday view, enables us to see the magic within and around us, and transform the ordinary into extraordinary.
Through simple methods, practical guidance and tools, and real-life stories, Dr. Mitchell helps us combine the spiritual and physical realities of life and consistently connect with the spirit to create a life that flows easily. "Spiritual Reality: Transforming the Ordinary into the Extraordinary" shares guidance created to help all of us link with the internal spirit to increase joy, improve our outlook, and take control of our lives.
Critique: A deftly written, accessibly organized, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' presentation, "Spiritual Reality: Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary" is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections in general, and Contemporary Spirituality supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Spiritual Reality" is also available in a paperback edition (9781982206031, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Christian Studies Shelf
John D. Barry
9781641231756, $15.99, PB, 208pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change" by nonprofit CEO, Bible scholar, and pastor John D. Barry is based on self-sacrifice and love. It's called "Jesus' Economy" because it's about creating a spiritual and physical economy for those who need it most. Here is a thoroughly biblical and compassionate pattern for addressing issues of poverty and offering the hope of the gospel.
"Jesus' Economy": Shows how you as an individual can best encourage renewal in your community; Demonstrates how your church community or any group can alleviate poverty; Presents a unified plan for creating jobs, spreading the gospel, and meeting basic needs; Focuses on community development and sustainability -- lasting change, globally and locally.
"Jesus' Economy" is a call to address our own spiritual poverty (as people who can too easily become distant from Christ) and it is a call to address the physical poverty all around us in a smart and sustainable way. Jesus' teachings show that with simple, everyday choices, Christians can make the world a better place and create enduring change by engaging in a Jesus economy with the currency of love.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Jesus' Economy: A Biblical View of Poverty, the Currency of Love, and a Pattern for Lasting Change" is an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of how Christians can most effectively address the problems of poverty both within the context of a Christian community and thorough out the broader secular world. While unreservedly recommended for all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliation, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Jesus' Economy" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Self-Help Shelf
Embracing Life as It Is
Goodman Beck Publishing
9781936636013, $14.95, PB, 144pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In haiku, we pay attention to the moment without embellishment. We embrace the moment as it is, not how we would like it to be. Just this, right here, right now.
Wabi-sabi is valuing imperfection, impermanence, and the natural devolving of everything born or made. Just this, right here, right now, as is.
Zen also teaches us to pay attention. The past is gone. The future is unknown. The only thing we have is this present moment. Meditation helps us to mindfully attend to this moment, just this breath, right here and right now. We learn to be where we are completely.
The basic premise underscoring "Embracing Life as It Is: Lessons from Wabi-Sabi, Haiku, and Zen" is that wabi-sabi, haiku, and zen all provide important lessons in many things, including selflessness, acceptance, non-discrimination, compassion, and self-compassion.
Critique: Dr. Alan Gettis is a clinical psychologist who is well steeped in both Western psychology and Eastern philosophy. Now in the pages of "Embracing Life as It Is: Lessons from Wabi-Sabi, Haiku, and Zen" he draws upon his years of experience and expertise to deftly craft a a comprehensive and effective instructional guide that is exceptionally well written, accessibly organized and presented for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in improving and enriching the quality their personal life and an appreciation of their metaphysical environment. Simply stated, "Embracing Life as It Is" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, and Meditative Studies supplemental reading lists.
Destiny Is Not Hereditary
Bobby J. Grossi
Advantage Media Group
65 Gadsden Street, Charleston, SC 29401
9781642250640, $14.99, PB, 156pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: One of the most valuable lessons out there is understanding that you can learn something from everyone you encounter. No matter a person's upbringing or the circumstances they had to overcome, everyone has knowledge they can share, and that knowledge can be the first step in becoming an ambassador for change in the world.
In "Destiny Is Not Hereditary: How Becoming a Better You Impacts Others", Dr. Bobby J. Grossi outlines many guidelines you can follow to not only embrace your passions and meet your goals, but to also help others grow by sharing your knowledge. In this book, Dr. Grossi will give life lessons that will help you: Discover your passion; Stay disciplined to lead a healthy and happy life; and Learn to build a game plan for change in yourself and in others.
There are opportunities everywhere in life that you can seize to grow and change for the better. The only thing left to do is start making a change now, so you can be the best you can be!
Critique: Bobby J. Grossi, DDS, was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. He attended the University of Detroit Mercy Dental School and graduated in 2003 with his doctorate in dental surgery. Dr. Grossi is deeply committed to giving back to the community and coaches many youth teams. His goal is to inspire and influence every person he meets in a positive way.
In the pages of "Destiny Is Not Hereditary: How Becoming A Better You Impacts Others" he draws upon his years of experience and expertise to articulate and present a 'real world practical' yet inspired and inspiring instructional guide that is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Destiny Is Not Hereditary" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Napoleon Hill, author
Jeffrey Gitomer, annotator
9781503942011, $9.99, HC, 243pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Oliver Napoleon Hill (October 26, 1883 - November 8, 1970) was an American self-help author best known for his book Think and Grow Rich (1937) which is among the 10 best selling self-help books of all time. Hill's works insisted that fervid expectations are essential to improving one's life. Most of his books were promoted as expounding principles to achieve "success". (Wikipedia)
Twenty years before the publication of his magnum opus "Think and Grow Rich", Napoleon Hill was an instructor, philosopher, and writer at the George Washington Institute in Chicago, where he taught courses in advertising and sales. These rare, never-before-seen lectures were thought to be lost to history but given exclusive access to the archives of the Napoleon Hill Foundation, Jeffrey Gitomer has unearthed Hill's original course notes containing the fundamental beliefs in hard work and personal development that established Hill as a global leader of success and positive attitude.
In "Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill, Gitomer has captured Hill's foundational wisdom for the twenty-first century. These easy-to-implement real-world strategies for life, family, business, and the bottom line prove as energizing and inspiring today as they were nearly one hundred years ago.
Critique: Enhanced for modern readers with an informative Forward and useful annotations by Jeffrey Gitomer, "Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill" will prove to be an enduringly valued contribution to those with an interest in the life and work of Napoleon Hill. While every highly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781978641426, $19.99, MP3 CD).
The Unfinished Book About Who We Are
9781938284083, $11.99, PB, 190pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "The Unfinished Book About Who We Are: First Steps to Self-Discovery", author Joseph Rain (an entrepreneur from London who has renounced any association with nationality, race, religion, or class, and instead considers himself a true citizen of the world, faithful to one religion: humanity) address such fundamental questions as: Who are we and where are we going? What is reality and what is truth? How do we harness our full, limitless potential?
We have been asking these questions since we became capable of self-reflection. Entire bodies of thought grew up around these questions. Wars have been fought over them; empires crumbled because of them; religions were created to explain them, and then to crush them. Even quantum physics has had plenty to say about them -- but we haven't really listened.
Today's breathless pace of technological and geopolitical change leaves us with little time or space to contemplate such things, but it has become more critical than ever that we do so. Can science and religion finally shake hands? Should our moral values inform or follow law? And most striking of all, what do quantum physics and spirituality have in common?
Written by a man whose background spans several cultures and multiple religions, who has experienced the highs and lows of personal and professional life, and who went through a deep personal tragedy when he was only in his twenties, "The Unfinished Book About Who We Are" invites you to explore some of humanity's most tenacious and indelible questions -- and to find the answers that will take your own life to a different level. Take a deep breath, because "The Unfinished Book About Who We Are" will take you farther than you thought you wanted to go.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Unfinished Book About Who We Are: First Steps to Self-Discovery" is an impressively blending of information and inspiration that is as thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is life enhancing and engaging. While very highly recommended as an addition to community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Unfinished Book About Who We Are: First Steps to Self-Discovery" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Empath Empowerment in 30 Days
Women's Intuition Worldwide, LLC
9781935214465, $18.95, PB, 272pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. There are many definitions for empathy that encompass a broad range of emotional states. Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and somatic empathy. (Wikipedia)
Are you among the 1 in 20 people born as an empath? Then you're a Highly, Highly Sensitive Person, ultra-perceptive. Only have you ever specifically notice that? Seemingly beyond your control, being an empath can weaken your sense of "Who am I?"
Rose Rosetree's Empath Empowerment is the only trademarked system in America for helping empaths to stop suffering in ways that aren't about being sensitive but, rather, result from having an empath's highly porous aura. Important, since 1 in 20 people born as an empath!
"Empath Empowerment in 30 Days" offers a systematic course for gaining excellent skills as an empath. All readers need do is read one (fast-moving, entertaining) chapter per day. Then do a bit of homework. In 10 minutes a day, readers will become skilled empaths in just 30 days.
Clearly written, with unique illustrations, "Empath Empowerment in 30 Days" is a how-to instructional manual that includes a clear explanation of what happens to all unskilled empaths, whether they know it or not: "Unskilled empath merge". This subconscious-level habit deposits "STUFF" in the empath's aura, a particular kind of problem that happens only to empaths. Only the skills that readers learn here will break this unproductive habit, leading to more mental clarity, more stable emotions, and a stronger sense of self.
Written by America's most experienced empath coach, "Empath Empowerment in 30 Days" was originally published in 2009 as "Become The Most Important Person in the Room: Your 30-Day Plan to Empath Empowerment." This adapted version of the material has been significantly improved, in keeping with the author's experience teaching empaths worldwide.
Find more information about Empath Empowerment at the author's website, rose-rosetree.com.
Critique: "Empath Empowerment in 30 Days" is #1 of 4 in a series of Empath Empowerment Books, each one specifically designed to help empaths use their full potential in life. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Empath Empowerment in 30 Days" is very highly recommended for community and academic library Psychology, Metaphysics, and Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Empath Empowerment in 30 Days" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Track Your Truth
Roots & Wings
9781928663102, $17.95, PB, 172pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Puja A. J. Thomson is the Director of Roots & Wings in New Paltz N.Y. which offers holistic counseling, interfaith ceremonies, and workshops on various health, wellness, and spirituality topics throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley.
In the pages of "Track Your Truth: Discover Your Authentic Self" Thomson offers the tools to discover our inner wisdom in order to live a life of personal integrity. It is easy to be distracted in our fast-paced world, if you listen to others but not to yourself. You may even lose touch with your own core values. In order to have a life of integrity, it has to be fully your own.
Rather than looking outward to find truth and understanding, "Track Your Truth" shows how to become a detective of what works and what doesn't in your life when you pay attention within. You can learn to recognize and follow the clues that your body, mind, emotions and spirit give you, that you may have ignored.
This warm clear encouraging guide is filled from cover to cover with a wealth of practical tips, research-based information, stories and explorations to help you gain access to the wisdom within. While each individual chapter is designed to build on the previous one, each person's journey will be different. Thus those with specific interests may delve in at any point to whatever resonates with them.
Suitable for both women and men who may have wandered off track with themselves and are looking for a fresh start in life, "Track Your Truth" is enhanced with the inclusion of explanatory reference endnotes, as well as a useful Index.
Critique: Original, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Track Your Truth: Discover Your Authentic Self" is as real world practical as it is inspired and inspiring. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Track Your Truth" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Own Your Phenomenal Self
Rita P. Mitchell
Rita P. Mitchell, LLC
9781732910201, $10.47, PB, 110pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: It's not easy being a young woman in business today. That's why entrepreneur Rita Mitchell (who is the first-ever recipient of First Horizon's 2018 Inclusion & Diversity Leader's Award) wrote "Own Your Phenomenal Self: A Guide on Character, Success, & Leadership".
After almost four decades succeeding as a successful business executive, Rita has already fought and conquered the battles women currently face in the corporate world and condenses her experience and expertise in the form of a guide that will put any woman's career on the fast track.
"Own Your Phenomenal Self" is collection of compelling, inspirational, and personal stories, easily read during a quick flight or short road trip. Replete with memorable anecdotes and illustrations that deliver profound wisdom and strategic prowess and offering encouragement to focus on the three core building blocks of being phenomenal: character, success, leadership, of special note are the practical steps for owning personal purpose and understanding personal value.
Critique: An exceptionally well written, organized and presented life-changing read for any woman entering the competitive field of business (or politics!), "Own Your Phenomenal Self: A Guide on Character, Success, & Leadership" is a complete course of instruction that should be a core part of any personal, professional, community, corporate, college or university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement reading list or collections.
The LGBT Studies Shelf
A Boy Like Me
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781546210801, $28.99, PB, 278pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "A Boy Like Me" is the first anthology from openly gender fluid and LGBT+-identified artist Reki* who is also a recording artist based in Los Angeles, California.
This unique collection of poetry and prose is primarily a firsthand narrative of what it means to be feminine within the community when concerning dating and romance, society at large, and sometimes within family and platonic ties and circles.
Other themes include heartbreak, day-to-day testimonies that reveal to the reader how alike many of us are, and his mother's untimely death.
"A Boy Like Me" is a literary work specifically geared toward liberation of the femmes within the LGBT+ community that are ceaselessly tempted to silence by outside forces and, many times, by our own.
Critique: An extraordinary, thoughtful and thought-provoking compendium of poetry and prose, "A Boy Like Me" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library LGBT collections and supplemental studies curriculums. It should be noted for personal reading lists of students, faculty, members of the LGBT community, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "A Boy Like Me" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.17).
The Health/Medicine Shelf
How to Starve Cancer
9780951951712, $32.99, HC, 404pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A modern-day 'Cancer Sherlock Holmes', Jane discovered that a cancer-starving diet, powerful supplements and a handful of old, forgotten, low-toxicity drugs, when taken together, acted synergistically, magnifying each of their anti-cancer effects many times. Like magic, her terminal cancer just melted away.
"How to Starve Cancer"is truly ground-breaking book in which Jane takes us through her remarkable, heart-breaking journey, and the medical discoveries she made on the way. Using herself as a human guinea pig, she worked out the best drugs and supplements to starve her own cancer in an easy-to-follow 'Metro Map'.
She has expanded this route map to show which fuel pipelines you need to block for every type of cancer, so you too can create your own cancer-starving cocktail. Tragically many simple old drugs have been overlooked in the race for the latest patentable 'game changers'. Is the answer already out there? Jane believes it is. Bit by bit she has pieced the puzzle together, demystified its complexity, and produced a simple protocol.
"How to Starve Cancer" will answer all the burning questions you face when you begin to explore complementary cancer care. Which 'off-label' drugs and supplements should you take? Should you try the ketogenic diet? Should you fast? Is fat safe? How much and when should you exercise? Jane explains why each patient needs a personalized approach and, importantly, how to work this out.
"How to Starve Cancer" is a compelling story of resilience and determination in the face of impossible odds.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, impressively informative, and accessible organized and presented for the non-specialist general reader, "How to Starve Cancer" should have as wide a readership as possible -- and be considered essential reading for anyone who has received a cancer diagnoses for themselves or a loved one. While unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Health/Medicine collections in general, and Cancer supplemental studies reading lists in particular, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How to Starve Cancer" is also available in a paperback edition (9780951951736, $25.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The American History Shelf
American Politics on the Rocks
9780692156001 $25.00 amazon.com
Synopsis: Grab your hat and fasten your safety belt. You are about to embark on a ride which will take you on a whirlwind tour through the bizarre back streets of American politics.
If you think politicians are just suit-wearing stiffs, think again. This book of politically humorous and obscure political information will enable you to dazzle your friends at cocktail parties, at the office water cooler, or at the coffee shop. Politics does not have to be a blood sport where people remain entrenched in their views and fight it out like they are on The Jerry Springer Show. As outrageous as it may sound, this book will provide you with ammunition to make a political conversation fun, and allow you to sound smart at the same time.
Major topics in this book include the following: unusual presidential facts, feisty first ladies, family feuds, debate debacles, White House rats, diabolical dirty tricks, embarrassing hot microphone moments, inflammatory insults, White House ghosts, and humiliating bloopers. When political conversations get ugly, my advice is to insert some peculiar political minutia and then divert -- divert--divert. Instead of focusing on the divisive side of politics, why not lighten up the conversation by mentioning the battle with rats (the furry ones, not the corrupt ones) at the White House, or haunted happenings in the White House, or mentioning some of the more famous insults politicians have made to harm their opponents, or the dirty tricks politicians play on one another, or the hilarious bloopers politicians have made.
Politicians can be witty, nasty, callous, and just plain nutty. As Mark McKinnon, the executive producer of the hit "Showtime" series "The Circus" opines about this book: "It is terrifically entertaining and fun. And it's non-partisan so you can break it out at parties and not offend anyone." Like the cover of this book, we are all in the same leaky boat together. So why not lighten up?
Critique: American Politics on the Rocks is peppered cover to cover with bizarre, outlandish, outrageous, and hilarious quotes from American political leaders. Black-and-white photographs of each leader are paired with their memorable (or mind-blasting) moments. American Politics on the Rocks is quite nonpartisan, emphasizing humor over policy, and makes an excellent giftbook! Highly recommended, if only to brighten up one's day with a smile.
Louis R. Negrete
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781519355263, $14.99, PB, 148pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Louis R. Negrete is a Chicano, born and raised in Los Angeles. He served as Director of Project Head Start for the Council of Mexican American Affairs and then as a founding faculty member of the new Chicano Studies Department at California State University, Los Angeles. For 35 years, until his retirement, he was Professor of Chicano Studies at Cal State L.A.
In "Chicano Homeland: The Movement in East Los Angeles for Mexican American Power, Justice, and Equality", Professor Negrete tells the dynamic story of the movement for the rights of Mexican-Americans. Focusing on the Chicano movement at its epicenter in Los Angeles, Negrete brings to life the issues that triggered this wide-ranging civil rights movement - police brutality, institutionalized poverty, demands for better schools, opposition to the war in Vietnam, and defense of undocumented immigrants.
Professor Negrete blends personal experiences and eyewitness accounts with stories of the many leaders, organizations, and successful political strategies. Professor Negrete also provides a vision of how a new generation of activists (who represent the largest minority voting block in the country) might revive this crucial human rights movement.
Critique: Impressively informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Chicano Homeland: The Movement in East Los Angeles for Mexican American Power, Justice, and Equality" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended contribution to both community and academic library Chicano-American History collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Chicano Homeland" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Criminology Shelf
Deborah Vadas Levison
9781947290693, $14.49, PB, 358pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: After surviving the horrors of the Holocaust (in ghettos, on death marches, and in concentration camps) a young couple sought refuge in Canada. They settled into a new life, certain that the terrors of their past are behind them. They built themselves a cozy little cottage on a lake in Muskoka, a cottage that becomes emblematic of their victory over the Nazis. The charming retreat was for them a safe haven and a refuge from haunted memories.
That is, until a single act of unspeakable violence defiled their sanctuary. Poking around the dark crawl space beneath their cottage, they discovered a wooden crate, nailed tightly shut and almost hidden from view. Nothing could have prepared them for the horror of the crate's contents -- or how the peace and tranquility of their lives would be shattered.
Now in the pages of "The Crate: A Story Of War, A Murder, And Justice", their daughter, Deborah Vadas Levison, details the extraordinary account of her parents' ordeals, both in one of the darkest times in world history and their present-day lives.
Critique: Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Deborah Vadas Levison is an award-winning journalist, publicist, and storyteller, and, a child of Holocaust survivors. A deftly crafted and inherently riveting account from beginning to end, "The Crate: A Story Of War, A Murder, And Justice" is a true story showcasing the complexities of the human experience in the face of genocidal horror and the striving for singular human justice in the face of a specific and horrific act of ultimate cruelty. While very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Crate" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9781977353863, $29.99, CD).
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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