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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 6, Number 1 January 2007 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Fiction Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Jobs/Careers Shelf Business Shelf American History Shelf
Psychology Shelf Self-Help Shelf Poetry Shelf
Art Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Money/Finance Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Sports Shelf
Biography Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

Nobody Roots for Goliath
Phil Hutcheon
Willowgate Press
PO Box 6529, Holliston, MA 01746
1930008112 $13.95

Composition teacher and longtime Giants, Warriors, and 49ers fan Phil Hutcheon presents Nobody Roots for Goliath, a realistic novel of contemporary college life. Marvin Walker wants to make the most of his seven-foot, six-inch heigh and prodigious basketball skills to finance a college degree and even win a spot on the NBA. But he enters the academic world woefully underprepared; and an older English instructor named Wade dares to take the young man under his wing and help him build his academic skills. Chronicling the battle against a host of life obstacles from bad grammar, drugs, and crime to paralysis-inducing political correctness, fickle lovers, and domestic violence, Nobody Roots for Goliath is a serious-minded, absorbing novel that reads like a true story because it draws so heavily upon harsh reality. Highly recommended.

The Fiction Shelf

A Professorial Pyth
Donald Taylor
Mystic Publishers
614 Mosswood Dr., Henderson, NV 89002
0972784055 $14.00

The debut novel of Emeritus Professor (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville) Donald Taylor, A Professorial Pyth: A Myth Without White Horses is a novel about a seemingly ordinary college professor to takes a leisure trip to Hawaii, and ends up facing the challenge of a job as University Administrator in his unfamiliar new society. A tale of character foibles and personal dilemmas, A Professorial Pyth offers a tongue-in-cheek view of the little challenges of daily life. Narrated from the titular professor's first-person point of view, A Professorial Pyth is sure to intrigue readers with its subtle, satirical humor and the shock of leaving comfort zones to encounter an unknown culture.

Zero Gravity
Sharon English
The Porcupine's Quill Inc.
68 Main Street, Erin, Ontario, Canada NOB ITO
0889842795 $22.95

Written by Vancouver resident Sharon English, Zero Gravity is an anthology of stories, mostly set in Vancouver, that offer intimate character portraits of individuals who are, either creatively or destructively, coping with the "zero gravity" state of being out of synch with life, or the sudden shock and fallout from accidents of fate. From a tourist in unseasonable clothing who survives a chilly mountain night by immersing herself in a hot spring, to a sixty-eight year old woman on a nude beach who meets the woman who stole her sweetheart forty years earlier, to a successful executive who can no longer see himself, and more, the stories weave personal foibles, slippery humor, and memorable moments. A delectable reading experience, to be savored one story at a time or all at once.

Running Mad
Amber Ellis
Hardscrabble Publishing
PO Box 973, Lewiston, MI 49756
0976859114 $14.95

Educator and critically acclaimed writer Amber Ellis presents her latest novel, Running Mad, the story of boy whose short life has been surrounded by violence, death, poverty and illness. Set during the devastation of the Great Depression, Running Mad follows the first-person perspective of nine-year-old Evan Fulton, whose inner resilience keeps him going long past the point when no one else thinks he can make it. Attention to historical detail and dialogue distinguish this powerful saga about breaking out of the vicious cycle of abuse. Also highly recommended is Ellis' debut novel, "Alta Fay's Allegiance."

Joseph Bathanti
Novello Festival Press
310 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
0976096374 $22.95

Winner of the 2006 Novello Literary Award, Coventry is a dark novel set amid the walls of an unforgiving prison. Author Joseph Bathanti, a teacher and VISTA Volunteer worker for the North Carolina Prison system, weaves a harrowing story about a man who takes a job at Coventry Prison and rapidly becomes ensnared in a cell of his own making. Stress upon his life comes from his wife's difficult pregnancy and a chain of dark, murderous events taking place in the prison. A suspenseful novel of real-world violence, ghostly hauntings, and terrible choices that leave no room for middle ground.

The Next Puritan
Mark Dickson
WingSpan Press
P.O. Box 2085, Livermore, CA 94551
1595940820 $14.95 1-866-735-3782

The Next Puritan is a novel about ethical dilemmas and the conflict between practical and religious morals. Nineteen-year-old Rachel Shepherd has seen enough of life's dark side that she is no wide-eyed innocent; when she observes evidence that Art, the close friend of her boyfriend Virgil, has committed a heinous crime, she must decide what to do next. She knows that Art is no cold-blooded killer and not a threat to others, and chooses to lie to the police in order to give him the opportunity to end the tragedy of his making on his own terms. But Rachel's boyfriend Virgil is devoutly religious, and believes that mercy and morality come through faith in God alone - that lying even with the best of intentions is the worst of actions, because it violates God's commandment against false witness and betrays a lack of faith in God to make things right. A thoughtful and highly philosophical narrative.

When Angry Shadows are Heard
Cairo Styles
Privately Published
PO Box 381644, Duncanville, TX 75138
0977437000 $15.00

When Angry Shadows are Heard is a thrilling novel about the seamy side of urban life, the brutal power plays between a crooked defense attorney and a notorious gangster, and betrayed prostitute caught in the center of it all. The beautiful but hapless Charlene, deceived into a life of prostitution by the man she loved, is falsely accused of stealing from a ruthless crime lord. In her desperate struggle to finger the true thief and protect herself from the machinations of a criminal empire, she meets Colt, a retired street hustler with the latest information on everybody and everything. A thrilling debut novel and the first of a two-part series set in the seamy urban heart of South Dallas, When Angry Shadows are Heard is a gritty, street-soaked tale of desperation, shattered dreams, impossible to put down.

Bag Lady
Alethea Pascascio
Queen Publications
PO Box 496, Artioch, IL 60002
0977837777 $14.95

The debut novel of poet and storyteller Alethea Pascascio, Bag Lady is a story of misfortune, hardship, and the search for redemption. Faith Donovan is lady weighed down by emotional baggage - an unhappy childhood, host of poor choices in men leading to dead-end relationships, and two-failed marriages haunt her. At thirty years of age, her life seems to turn around as she meets Justin, a Central American who helps her face her past and learn how to love herself. But even as she tries to extricate herself from her past, her sister's jealousy and rage threaten to pull her back in. A selection of fourteen discussion questions such as "How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?" enhance this cathartic tale of the painful process of self-transformation, highly recommended.

The Noon God
Donna Carrick
Booksurge LLC
5341 Dorchester Road, Suite 16, Charleston, SC 29418
1419641867 $12.99

The Noon God is a dark novel about struggling to survive in the shadow of greatness - or presumed greatness. When Desdemona Fortune's father is found murdered inside the offices of the faculty of Art, she knows of a great many people who held a potentially lethal grudge against him - and as she struggles to cope with the fallout of a household poisoned by addiction and narcissism, Desdemona must accept that the father she loved inflicted terrible pain on those closest to him. Now thrust into the role of head of the formerly illustrious family, she must protect her surviving sister from the reach of a seeming immortal at any cost. A dark novel of coming to terms with secrets and accepting the heavy mantle of responsibility, The Noon God fascinates the reader with the brilliance of its stark choices and the hidden depths of its shadows.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Fit & Pregnant
Joan Marie Butler, RNC, CNM
Vitesse Press
PMB 367, 45 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05601-2100
0941950409 $17.95

Now in a revised and expanded edition, Fit & Pregnant: The Pregnant Woman's Guide to Exercise presents the medically sound advice of nurse, midwife, athlete, and mother of two Joan Marie Butler for pregnant women of all backgrounds. Though Fit & Pregnant pays especial attention to the concerns of highly athletic women and particularly professional athletes, the needs, concerns, body changes, and exercise guidelines for all pregnant and postpartum women regardless of background are covered. Fit & Pregnant explores the beneficial effects exercise can have on the pregnant body, from types of exercise that can reduce the risk of postpartum urinary incontinence to general health and fitness promotion. Fit & Pregnant also covers which specific exercises are best avoided particularly in the second trimester onward, how to lift weights safely, and how to scale back particularly intense regimens - pregnant women are advised to train not for professional competition, but rather specifically for the "event" of delivering a healthy baby. Also discussed at length are the changes a pregnant woman's body goes through, what to expect and prepare for, and means to maximize health and safety throughout the experience. Enthusiastically recommended for expectant mothers everywhere.

Home Chiropractic Handbook
Karl V. Holmquist
One 8 Incorporated
PO Box 2075, Forks, WA 98331
0935081003, $24.00

Karl Holmquist is an experienced and professional chiropractor who has compiled an instruction manual on the chiropractic principle in correcting the spine in your own home. Profusely illustrated, comprehensive, practical, offering step-by-step lessons, making it a thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide, the "Home Chiropractic Handbook" is ideal for the non-specialist general reader and will hold immense interest for anyone curious about the chiropractic approach to health and medicine. Also very highly recommended for personal and community library Alternative Medicine reference collections is Holmquist's instructional DVD, Home Chiropractic (093508102X, $49.95).

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Stepping Up
S Gary Snodgrass
Greenleaf Book Group
4425 S. MO Pac Expwy., Suite 600, Longhorn building, 3rd floor, Austin, TX 78735
BMG Media Groups Inc. (publicity)
1386 Nightshade Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011
1929774419 $13.95

Written by human resources professional of thirty-five years' experience S. Gary Snodgrass, Stepping Up: 12 Ways to Rev Up, Revitalize, or Renew Your Career is a handy guide for readers of all backgrounds and all stages in their chosen profession. Chapters walk through how to succeed in a new environment, the importance of lifelong learning, improving one's communication skills and creating "Brand You", effective mentoring, anticipating future stardom by becoming a top-notch performer in the present, and much more. Written with honesty, sincerity, and the time-tested edge that can only come from practical experience, Stepping Up is an excellent guide and recommended reading for any working professional. "Focus on your specific audience and be decisive, declarative, and definite in what you stand for. Don't try to be everything to everyone."

The Business Shelf

The Business Sale System
James Laabs
First American Publishing
7606 Lindemann Trail, Madison, WI 53719
097675990X $19.95

Written by the founder of The Business Sale Center James Laabs, The Business Sale System: Insider Secrets To Selling Any Small Business is a step-by-step, hands-on guide to selling any small business at the highest price possible. Covering businesses worth $200,000 to $5 million, The Business Sale System offers tested strategies including the twenty-five factors that determine a company's value to buyers (such as whether there's a diversified customer base/product line with no one customer or product responsible for more than 15-20% of sales), tips to screen potential buyers and avoid revealing confidential information to the wrong people, critical precautions to protect oneself from fraud or being cheated out of payment, and much more. A "must-have" insider's guide for anyone seeking to get maximum reward for the years and monies they have invested in owning a small business.

The American History Shelf

What Ails The White House
Jay W. Murphy, MD
Leathers Publishing
4500 College Boulevard, Overland Park, KS 66211
158597398X $12.95

What Ails The White House: An Introduction to the Medical History of the American Presidency is a survey of the physical health of presidents of the United States, as assessed and written by cardiologist Jay W. Murphy. What Ails The White House is not excessively meticulous in its study presidents, focusing most especially on the hidden illnesses such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, re-elected in 1940 with severe hypertension and congestive heart failure, John F. Kennedy's Addison's disease, Woodrow Wilson's incapacitating stroke that effectively resulted in his wife assuming the responsibility of the office, and much more. The culmination of years of research, What Ails The White House is written to be accessible to medical laymen and experts alike. A truly fascinating study, especially given its final chapter predicting trends for the future in the health of individuals in the office of the American Presidency.

So Cold A Sky
Karl Bohnak
Cold Sky Publishing
413 Croix Street, Negaunee, MI 49866
097781890X $22.95

Written by weather forecaster Karl Bohnak, So Cold A Sky: Upper Michigan Weather Stories is a compilation of true tales of upper Michigan's extreme weather conditions, from pioneers who braved bone-chilling temperatures to settle the northern part of the state to modern snowstorms and heatwaves. Written in a straightforward narrative style and illustrated with numerous black-and-white photographs and artworks, So Cold A Sky is an enthralling chronicle of the eternal story of man versus nature. An incredible testimony to the endurance of Michigan's hardiest human inhabitants.

The Psychology Shelf

Beyond These Walls
Rachel Gunner & Hanna Gabriele
Argun Books
512 East Riverside, Suite 201, Austin, TX 78704
0977769100 $16.95

Written by psychotherapist Rachel Gunner and Disassociative Identity Disorder sufferer Hanna Gabriele, Beyond These Walls: The True Story of a Lost Child's Journey to a Whole Life is the true story of Hanna's struggle with 26 separate personalities that drove her to the point of attempting suicide. It was therapist Rachel Gunner's challenge to help Hanna find integration and wholeness in her life. Beyond These Walls is not written in the style of a clinical case study, but rather as a gentle, step-by-step recounting of Hanna's long journey toward healing and stability. A profound insight into coping with a life-shattering mental disorder, day by day.

The Self-Help Shelf

Paws of Wisdom
Sofia Steryo-Bartmus
Harmony Book Publishing
21900 Londelius Street, West Hills, CA 91304
0977095509 $16.95

Dog lover and multilingual world traveler Sofia Steryo-Bartmus presents Paws of Wisdom: Valuable Lessons We Can Learn From Our Pets, a collection of insights into life and suggestions for learning valuable wisdom from beloved animal companions. With the story of the author's dog Bunny, a faithful companion with Addison's disease who nevertheless lived to be 15 years old and taught his owner numerous lessons, Paws of Wisdom reveals the importance of being consistent, humble, patient, true to oneself, and kind and gentle to all living things. Also covered are ways to improve one's life through controlling anger, overcoming fear, having fun and exploring new places, learning to prioritize what's important, making time for solitude, living without regrets, and much more. A wonderful testimony to the power of selfless love as expressed by beloved pets, an invaluable quality for making the most of life itself.

Gene N. Landrum
Brendan Kelly Publishing
2122 Highview Drive, Burlington, Ontario, Canada, L7R 3X4
1895997240, $29.95 1-905-335-3359, (fax) 905-335-5104

Gene Landrum is the founder of the Chuck E. Cheese Restaurant chain and co-founder of Atari Computer. He is also a professor of the international College in Naples, Florida. In writing "Empowerment: The Competitive Edge In Sports, Business & Life", Landrum draws upon his many years of experience, expertise and success to identify and share thirteen winning behaviors that have enabled entrepreneurs and athletes to achieve excellent and eminence in their various fields of performance. Among the illustrative profiles provided are those of Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Martina Navratilove, Wayne Gretzky, Lance Armstrong, and Tiger Woods. Also drawing up cutting edge research in brain physiology, kinesthetics and psychology, Landrum explains just how and why these identified behavioral traits have contributed to success. Especially notable is the 13 self-assessments offered the readers to determine the degree to which they practice these winning behaviors in their own personality and conduct. A smoothly blended combination of scholarship and biography, "Empowerment" is informed, informative, 'reader friendly', and a welcome addition to personal 'self-help' reading lists and community library 'self-improvement' reference shelves.

Time Keepers
Pam Bertagnolli
Markee Press
PO Box 20326, Cheyenne, WY 82003
0978505433, $29.95 1-800-322-0963

"Time Keepers": 365 Motivational Challenges And Activities" is a unique note-book format workbook set up as a non-year-specific calendar of daily 'things to do' that are specifically designed to keep men and woman over the age of 60 mentally alert, emotionally healthy, and physically active. Each page features an inspirational quotation, along with sections to list appointments, special occasions, and scheduled events. Enhanced with 350 full-color photographs, "Time Keepers" is a practical workbook that includes a challenge for each day of the year which will promote divers daily activity that is thoroughly fun and 'user friendly'. One serendipity is that when completed at the end of a 365-day cycle, "Time Keepers" can be placed back upon the family shelf and serve as an heirloom and keepsake for friends and family after we are gone from their lives. Because it is a consumable, "Time Keepers" isn't appropriate for community library collections, but it would make an ideal and highly recommended gift for any senior citizen for their personal use and enjoyment.

Wake Up Inspired
Marian Baker
New Story Press
4511 North Sawyer Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625
0977905926 $17.95

Written by master certified coach Marian Baker, Wake Up Inspired: Fuel Healthier Success and Love the Life You're Meant to Lead is helpful to finding inspiration and greater balance in life, written especially for women. Wake Up Inspired examines the mental, physical, and spiritual dimensions of life, and acknowledges that different women will have different personal goals and priorities. Wake Up Inspired does not discriminate between women's dreams, but instead encourages readers to seize their dreams by properly assessing their investments, connecting with the "right tribe" of like-minded dream-seekers, taking positive steps to turn wishes into intentions and actions, and much more. A motivational, positive-minded self-help book to getting the most out of life.

Don't Blame Eve
Jovanka Ciares
EVErlasting Press
c/o Ciares-Borgese, LLC
20 River Court, Suite 1007, Jersey City, NJ 07310
1886489157 $19.95

Motivational speaker Jovanka Ciares presents Don't Blame Eve: A Guide To Live Your Life Your Way, a self-help guide especially for women. Having grown up in a culture with a societal double standard for men and women, and survived an abusive relationship that forced her to break free and embark on a 10-year spiritual journey, Ciares offers her wisdom in learning to let go of cultural conditioning and focus on the one's own needs, health, and goals in life. Don't Blame Eve in particular emphasizes the attitudes and skills a woman needs to cultivate to achieve independence and expand her capabilities in a dynamic world. Though Don't Blame Eve reflects the author's spirituality, the advice it offers is intended for women of all faiths and cultures, and is highly recommended.

Going Home
Gregory W. Boothroyd & Lori A. Gray Boothroyd
Honu Publications
PO Box 601, Traverse City, MI 49685
0967141613 $14.95

Mental health professionals Gregory Boothroyd and Lori Boothroyd combine their experience in Going Home: A Positive Emotional Guide for Promoting Life-Generating Behaviors, a consumable self-help book written especially for those who struggle with themselves in the search for happiness in their life and relationships. Chapters discuss how self-sabotaging behaviors are learned, maintained, and implemented, how to identify harmful behaviors and replace negative thought patterns with positive focus. Applications for these helpful psychological techniques range from learning to disassociate from substance abuser behavior patterns to improving communication in family or intimate relationships.

This Thing Called Grief
Thomas M. Ellis
Syren Book Company
5120 Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis, MN 55416
0929636643 $14.95 1-800-901-3480

Grief is the emotional response to loss. It is a complicated emotion that is necessary to work through in order to regain emotional equilibrium. Ignored and undealt with, grieve can lead to crippling isolation, overwhelming despair, the deprivation of the soul, mental illness and even death. Based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Thomas Ellis is a licensed marriage and family therapist, clinical supervisor and executive director of the Center for Grief, Loss & Transition. Ellis draws upon is years of experience and professional expertise to explain just what grief is, how it works, and the role of the grieving process in healing us. Illustrated with stories of real men and women making this an ideal and instructive guide recommended for non-specialist readers having to cope with the loss of a loved one in their own lives, "This Thing Called Grief" shows how the transformation qualities of successful grieving can heal our sense of loss and enable us to cope with even the most tragic of events.

Change Without Boundaries
Marty Crowe
Our Town Press
c/o Campbell Public Relations
1255 Lake Plaza Drive, Suite 244, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
0976405024, $34.95

Motivation expert Marty Crowe has written a 320-page compendium of advice, instruction, ideas, and inspirations that are applicable to any effort to change and/or improve our physical and emotional well-being by changing and/or improving our attitude towards losing unwanted weight. Far more than just another 'how to' book on dieting, "Change Without Boundaries" shows how to discover the power within us when we turn to God to change our lives. Readers will learn about 'neuroboics' – the proper use of words to reshape our lives; how to use a 'Fitness Compass' as our daily guide; the role of the 'Dream Weaver' in goal creation; how to never have to diet again; and how to change our lives with a 'DOIT' attitude. There is also a Dream Weaver soundtrack CD, "Don't Pass Me By", by Marty Crowe that makes a thematically perfect supplement to what is already an outstanding and thoroughly 'user friendly' textbook that is a highly recommended addition to the reading list of anyone tracking to lose weight, correct a habit, or otherwise change anything about themselves that they wish to.

Seeking Self
Stephan McLaughlin, Jr.
Heal Foundation Press
PO Box 241209, Memphis, TN 38124
0966157524 $15.00

Outdoorsman, husband and father, and active member of the Mankind Project and the organization Heal, Stephan McLaughlin, Seeking Self: An Inner Journey to Healthy Relationship, a self-help guide featuring five ways to improve healthy relationships. Offering both practical and spiritual encouragement, Seeking Self covers how to awaken and expand awareness, find personal power, discover feelings, nurture needs, and create inner harmony. A celebration of and invaluable guide to cultivating positive relationships with friends, family and loved ones. "We react to [negative] events by telling ourselves we are somehow bad, unworthy, less than, or not good enough... these harsh, unkind self-messages cast a shadow of inadequacy, robbing us of our inner harmony. Gentle, kind, and reassuring messages of Self-talk replace the old taskmaster with a compassionate voice that gently blesses and forgives."

Love's Mystery Solved
Joseph A. Smith Ph.D.
Love Icon Associates
4500 Dunley Court, Harrisburg, PA 17112
0595386717 $21.95

Part distillation of clinical psychology, part philosophy, part practical wisdom garnered from author Joseph A. Smith's years of work with individuals and families in psychotherapy, Love's Mystery Solved: Building Lasting Relationships is both a critical analysis of the seemingly unfathomable nature of love, and a solid self-help guide to cultivating positive, rewarding, and lifelong relationships. The first portion of Love's Mystery Solved defines love itself as a trinity of bonding, love, and relationship, since unless all three of these elements are present then none of them are. The path to arriving at this definition is a long one, given the many stereotypes, prejudices and confusing images of love, from ancient times to modern, particularly the modern media's habit of presenting sex and love as if they were interchangeable. Love's Mystery Solved goes on to explore the distinctions and similarities between men and women, relationship and bonding processes, the role of cultural influences, and how the individual can be mindful of all these factors when working to build a positive and successful relationship. A one-of-a-kind, scientific-minded treatment of romance that is neither overly cynical nor overly flowery, and enthusiastically recommended.

How To Self-Destruct
Jason Philip Seiden
Jason Philip Seiden & Associates
205 North Michigan Avenue, 40th floor, Chicago, IL 60601
0595399460 $11.95

Written by expert personnel problem-solver Jason Philip Seiden, How To Self-Destruct: Making the Least of What's Left of Your Career is a self-help book with a twist - rather than offer rose-colored, optimistic encouragement to make the best of oneself, How To Self-Destruct simply and plainly spells out how to utterly waste one's life, sabotage one's goals, immerse oneself in misery and apathy, and ultimately, self-destruct. Guidelines for a sure road to lifelong failure and regret include "Remind everyone how great an honor it is for them to help you", "Only make logical arguments, both to yourself and others" (a sure road to failure given how emotion-driven human beings are), and "Fall for a married main, or fall for a woman attracted to married men. Either way." The tongue-in-cheek negative approach in How To Self-Destruct drives its points home with an unforgettable dose of wry humor, though fans of video games, Bill O'Reilly, casual Fridays, and other aspects of popular culture should brace themselves for a snarky denouncing. Sidebars for the "truly masochistic success-seeker" such as "A masochist's rule for involvement: Speak up and speak out... Run for office if that's what it takes" offer balance to the (overall) very effective list of ways to ruin one's life, but ultimately, How To Self-Destruct stands tall among self-help books in that it unquestionably lives up to its title.

The Poetry Shelf

The Ordinary Sublime
Patricia Waters
Anhinga Press
PO Box 10595, Tallahassee, FL 32302
0938078941 $14.00

Written by teacher, journalist, and community activist Patricia Waters, The Ordinary Sublime is a collection of free-verse poetry about adjusting to tragedy, change, or the fallout of a failed marriage one day at a time - learning to appreciate each moment of daily life for itself. A moving testimony to the gradual acceptance of both the positive and negative facets of human life, society, relationships, family, and love. "Housewife": What we did was wrong. / It ended terribly, / how could it not? / There were children, houses, / whole rooms of the past / with no connecting doors. / We were night, whispers, / fugitive kisses, two beds, / yearning years, diapers, colic, / the marriage a dead land / hammered by drought. / The storm when it comes / is furious. Then everyone is hungry. // I cook, clean, sew, mend, / my heart like that Christmas present / bought at the July sales, packed away / somewhere, I find by accident, / long after the holidays are over.

A New Romanticism
Andrew Chavez
Airleaf Publishing
35 Industrial Dr., Suite 104, Martinsville, IN 46151
1600021301 $17.95

Now in a new edition updated and revised by author Andrew Chavez, A New Romanticism is a selection of prose and poetry offering thoughtful reflection to challenge the core tenets of religious and secular thinkers alike. Written especially to draw attention to underutilized yet remarkably powerful and profound human attributes, A New Romanticism explores the profound emotions of hope and despair, the majesty of the natural world, the glacial flow of time, and the twin cycles of creation and destruction. "That God Has Been Pronounced": That God has been pronounced dead / Does not delete or otherwise make it unnecessary / To attend to what are called higher laws or higher powers / Because the death of God / Is merely the death of a misinterpretation. / The sources that inspired the misinterpretation / Are still with us and very active. // Higher laws. / Higher powers. // Belief. / Faith. / Trust. // But nothing is enough. / Nothing is ever enough.

Life and Everything in Between
Stephen J. Dodds
Adcor Products
350 Ranger Avenue, Unit D, Brea, CA 92821
1595409777 $28.95

Entrepreneur Stephen J. Dodds presents his debut poetry collection Life and Everything in Between, a free-verse anthology interspersed with a diverse array of black-and-white photographic images. Each poem is a single page in length, centered on the page rather than aligned to the left margin, and opposite an insightful quote from a famous individual. Though Life and Everything in Between can be read in a single sitting, its themes, atmosphere, and symbolic philosophy innately prompt quiet contemplation at length. "Awakening": Lawn dew glistens / peacefully silent / as the morning mist / drifts between land and sky / All is still / Slowly the sun rises / blanketing the horizon / with a soft yellow glow / A robin's song / welcomes the dawn / of another day / to savor / life

The Poems Of Hafez
Reza Ordoubadian, translator
IBEX Publishers
PO Box 30087, Bethesda, MD 20824
1588140199, $22.00 1-301-718-8188

The Persian poetry of Hafez has been respected and enjoyed for more than five hundred years. Now a new translation into English by academician Reza Ordoubadian successful presents the language and imagery of Hafez to a new generation of readers who will find his verse to be as fluent, enjoyable, thoughtful, inspiring, relevant and universal today as they were when originally set down so long ago. With the inclusion of an extensive 'Notes to the Poems' section, "The Poems Of Hafez" is comprised of 202 'ghazals' and is a seminal and highly recommended addition to academic and community library poetry collections for both scholarship and the non-specialist general reader. 'Hundred and Sixty-Eight': This garment I wear, better in the pawn of wine:/this mindless booklet, better drowned in wine./Since I wasted life–when I reexamined time:/better in the corner of a tavern, tippled and gone./Since rational rumination is far from darvishi,/better heart on fire and eyes full of water./I will not speak about the condition of the ascetic to the people:/if I ever tell this story, it better be with lyre and the violin./Since the affairs of the heavens are foul, from this side/better lust for Saghi with wine in hand./Such a lover as you: I'll never abandon;/if I am to pull a burden, better the weight of your tresses./You are old, hafez: leave the tavern;/rendi and lusting best when you're young.

The Art Shelf

Aphrodisia 2
Craig Elliott, editor
Aristata publishing
16429 Lost Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91387
978-0975491232, $34.99

"Aphrodisia 2: Art of The Female Form" is a collection of fabulous artwork that was juried by vintage pin-up photographer Danielle Bedics, fantasy artist Jullie Bell, Star Wars film designer Iain McCaig, and Disney Art Director Robh Ruppel who combined their considerable expertise to present more than 200 works created by professional artists and illustrators that range from film designer Christohe Vacher, to faerie artist Amy Brown, to fantasy artist and Star Wars illustrator Dave Dorman. More than just a collection of reproductions, "Aphrodisia 2" also provides insights into the working methods and studio life of the panel of judges while showcasing the female form in a myriad of attitudes, forums, and poses. "Aphrodisia 2: Art of The Female Form" is a unique and strongly recommended addition to personal, professional, and academic library Art Studies collections.

A Gallery Of Paintings By Clark Hulings
Clark Hulings
White Burro Publishing
PO Box 32565, Santa Fe, NM 87594
0961536810, $68.00

Now in a newly revised second edition, "A Gallery Of Paintings By Clark Hulings" showcases the artist's western art along with his own in-depth commentary on each of the images, sketches, and paintings represented. This substantially updated edition features a comprehensive index and fifteen new paintings, with all of the reproductions having been 're-mastered' using state-of-the-art digital technology. The result are reproduced paintings that are as vibrantly colored as the originals. Featuring 157 color plates and 45 drawings, this 192-page compendium provides the reader with an informed and informative body of insights into the working life of a major American artist whose world has proved to be enduringly popular since it was first brought to the public's attention with the first edition published in 1986. "A Gallery of Painting By Clark Hulings" is a critically important and strongly recommended addition to personal, professional, academic, and community library American Art History reference collections and reading lists.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

David Bryan Russell
Freya Publishing
Suite 155, 15 Albert Avenue, Broadbeach QLD, Australia 4218
0977543803 $14.95

The debut novel of film designer David Bryan Russell, and the first book of a series, Enchanters is a fantastic story about a nineteen-year-old young woman, Glys Erlendson, who discovers a beautiful, magical, and at times terrifying world in coexistence with our own. Drawn into the midst of struggle against her will, she must embark on a perilous journey to foil dark forces threatening her life and the existence of all humankind. A high fantasy about the importance of love, the preservation of life, and the greatness of the natural world, Enchanters is enthusiastically recommended to fantasy lovers everywhere.

Eye of the Oracle
Bryan Davis
AMG Publishers
6815 Shallowford Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421
0899578705 $14.99

Volume one of the Oracles of Fire series, which in turn is a prequel to the Dragons in our Midst series, Eye of the Oracle is an epic fantasy novel about the tension between dragons and mankind, from the era just prior to Noah's ark through the time of King Arthur to the modern day. In Eye of the Oracle, dragons are targeted by the machinations of an ancient and ruthless evil force, and only the sacrifice of noble heroes prevented the dragons' complete extermination as a species. An enthralling saga of good against evil, and great deeds achieved by individuals of courageous and faithful spirit.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

To Serve & Protect
James K. Magee
Keene Publishing
PO Box 54, Warwick, NY 10990
0976680572 $15.00

Written by James K. Magee, To Serve & Protect is an exciting thriller about Police Chief Tom Martin, the dedicated protector of the sleepy small town of Goshen, whose world is turned upside down by the brutal assassination of a U.S. senator - and a subsequent homicidal rampage as a ruthless unknown perpetrator seeks an alleged witness hiding in Goshen. Among the dead are Chief Martin's girlfriend. Determined to avenge her and protect the town's residents, Chief Martin braves a tangled conspiracy, in which masterminds fueled by greed and lust for power manipulate lives and no one is safe from the coming storm. A gripping, suspenseful novel that acutely hooks the reader's attention from beginning to end.

The Expendability Doctrine
Patrick Mackeown
PO Box 53225, London N3 2XW
0955432804 $12.99

The Expendability Doctrine is an oil conspiracy thriller, about utterly ruthless criminal behavior motivated by sheer lust for money and power. When a British industrialist is professionally murdered amid an international oil crisis, his wife absconds, and a malicious pattern begins to unfold. A suspenseful saga stretching from Britain's east coast to the nightmare slayings in Libyan gaols, The Expendability Doctrine revolves around a creed that lives up to the ruthlessness of its title. Highly recommended.

Final Audit
Jim Worth
Mystrigue Press
3357 Mira Loma Avenue, Suite 159, Anaheim, CA 092806
0976892103 $27.95

The debut mystery novel of author Jim Worth, Final Audit: A Mystery weaves a pattern of conspiracy and death across the breadth of the United States. Veteran detective Dave Duncan and his new partner Stephanie Fox investigate the murder of the top executive from EnergyDyn, the company responsible for a massive energy collapse; one by one, they find correlating factors in the deaths of executives in San Francisco, Boca Raton, Maui, Coudersport, and Southampton. Part dark modern-day parable of increasing price pressures and energy crisis, part exciting whirlwind of deadly adventure, Final Audit holds the reader's attention captive to the final page.

Scott F. Falkner
Stone Garden Publishers
3851 Cottonwood Drive, Danville, CA 94506
1600760279 $24.99

Written by Wisconsin native Scott F. Falkner, Swaybuck is a dark novel of murder and revenge. Carl Green's wife is dead, and though the local medical examiner claims it was from natural causes, he knows better. Determined to exact a blood price, Carl targets the small town of Cutter Falls, Wisconsin, in full knowledge of the secret of the Swaybuck. A suspenseful story that combines Native American myth with the relentless human drive for vengeance, Swaybuck is a tightly written, compelling read from first page to last.

The Money/Finance Shelf

How to Get Out of Debt
Harrine Freeman
Adept Publishers
PO Box 60851, Washington DC 200039
1933949430 $19.95

Credit repair counselor Harrine Freeman applies her expertise to the written page in How to Get Out of Debt, a no-nonsense self-help guide to becoming debt free and repairing one's credit. From getting back on track after declaring bankruptcy, to protecting oneself against identity theft (which can cause terrible financial and credit rating damage!), to creating a reasonable spending plan, to simple step-by-step actions to improve one's credit rating and keep good credit, How to Get Out of Debt is a solid resource filled cover to cover with practical, "must-know" advice. A supplementary list of consumer protection agencies, sample monthly budget worksheets, and a list of credit report fees state by state round out this invaluable guide, enhanced by the personal testimony of the author's own experience of foolishly sinking into debt when he was younger, and learning the hard way how to dig himself out of debt and structure his financial life with solid discipline. Highly recommended.

The Road to Retirement
Jeffery E. Townsend
The Publishing Cooperative
1675 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80202
097227412X $13.95

As the Baby Boom generation retires, it becomes increasingly questionable as to whether social security can be relied on to support all Americans in their old age. No matter how politicians adjust Social Security in the future, it is much better to take responsibility for one's future and retirement needs today! Author Jeffery E. Townsend applies his years of experience as founder and president of Townsend & Associates, a financial planning firm specializing in retirement planning, in The Road to Retirement: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Retirement. Chapters address how to accurately project retirement income needs, understand pension plan options, make money in capital markets, plan taxes, assess insurance needs, plan one's estate, and much more. Emphasizing the importance of having a written plan rather than just "winging it", The Road to Retirement is enthusiastically recommended reading for anyone in the workforce. Also highly recommended is Townsend's previous financial guide, "The Master Plan".

Falling... in Love with San Miguel
Carol Schmidt and Norma Hair
Salsa Verde Press
220 N. Zapata Hwy. #11A, Laredo, TX 78043
0978728629 $23.95

Falling... in Love with San Miguel: Retiring to Mexico on Social Security is a simple testimony to the joys of retiring in San Miguel de Allende, an art and cultural center 165 miles northwest of Mexico City, named one of the top ten cities in the world to retire by "Money Magazine". Written by Carol Schmidt and Norma Hair, two women who came to escape the sweltering Phoenix summer and stayed when they became captivated by the joy of daily life. Falling... in Love with San Miguel is part memoir, part practical guide, as it details the first year of the authors' retirement life in San Miguel including their expenses on the costs of average Social Security, the problems they encountered and the adjustments they had to make, language issues in a Spanish-speaking country, the excitement of celebrating the fiestas of the Mexican calendar, and much more. Enthusiastically recommended for anyone considering vacationing in or moving to San Miguel, as well as for armchair travelers.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Kabbalah Revealed
Rav Michael Laitman
Kabbalah Publishers
1057 Steeles Avenue West, Suite 532, Toronto, ON, Canada, M2R 3X1
0978159004, $4.95

Hebrew in origin, Kabbalah is an ancient metaphysical science permitting its practitioners to better understand the world they live in and the purposes of God in the lives of His people. Now these timeless principles are provided for the edification of the non-specialist general reader by renowned Kabbalah scholar Rav Michael Laitman (founder and foremost exponent of Systems Philosophy and General Evolution Theory) in "Kabbalah Revealed: The Ordinary Person's Guide To A More Peaceful Life". Articulate, methodical, accessible, "Kabbalah Revealed" is a superb introduction to, and explanation of, what and how this ancient body of knowledge can provide wisdom, insight, and solutions into the phenomena and quandaries of contemporary life. "Kabbalah Revealed" is strongly recommended for students of Metaphysical Studies in general, and the lore of the Kabbalah in particular.

If You Could Only See… A Gnome's Story
Christopher Valentine, MBA & Christian von Lahr, Ph D.
Myst Of The Oracle Corporation
PO Box 133, Piney Creek, NC 28663
0978681207 $21.95

Psychic medium Christopher Valentine and claircognizant/clairvoyant medium Christian von Lahr present If You Could Only See… A Gnome's Story, a metaphysical introduction to the world of Gnomes, Faeries, Elves, and Leprechauns. If You Could Only See... is not a fictional fantasy novel, but rather the genuine spiritual story of the Nature People who live in an Aetheric Plane, as told in their own words through von Lahr's mediumship and telepathy. Questions and answers concerning these altruistic beings, as well as means by which the reader can share their love of Nature with these creatures and enhance the richness of personal life, fill the pages of this psychic testimony. An insightful and accessible glimpse into the spirit world, accessible to all readers willing to explore the possibility of realms and creatures who exist beyond the five senses.

The Sports Shelf

Sports Illustrated: Great Football Writing
Rob Fleder, editor
SI Books
PO Box 362929, Des Moines, IA 50336
1933405090 $26.95 212-446-5101

Edited by Sports Illustrated magazine's executive editor Rob Fleder, and with an introduction by popular football writer Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Great Football Writing compiles classic stories about football and football players from the pages of the venerable magazine, from the modern day to the 1950's. From "The Nightmare of Steroids" to "Where Have You Gone, Joe Namath?" to "All the Way with O.J." - an article about Simpson's stellar football performance from long before his arrest and trial for murder - the articles cover the both the highlights and the low points of America's long love affair with football. An excellent compendium or giftbook especially for thoughtful football fans, who enjoy pondering at length how the sport and its telling has gradually evolved with the decades.

The Biography Shelf

The Love of Lotus
Cynthia Waiying Wu Wilcox
Tyde Horse Books
600 Allerton Street, Suite 200, Redwood, CA 94063
0978613589 $17.00

The memoir of female Chinese-American author Cynthia Waiying Wu Wilcox, The Love of Lotus is not only a recounting of her childhood and adult life, but also a philosophical look at the conflict between traditional and received values, and the contrast in culture between nations. Growing up in China, she received a classical education, an unusual occurrence for girls; World War II forced her removal to the Chinese countryside to attend high school in Christian missionary schools. She attended college in Wisconsin and chose to become a pharmacist, eventually earning U.S. citizenship and marrying a Caucasian. The Love of Lotus is a testimony of acute scrutiny of the meanings of faith, purpose, identity, and independence. Classical Chinese education was once meant as preparation to serve the Emperor; with China's government becoming Communist, what was the purpose of what she had learned as a young girl? Highly recommended for anyone interested not only in the story of an immigrant woman's search for balance between Chinese and American perspectives, but also in philosophy concerning that most elusive of qualities, happiness, whether from an American or Chinese perspective.

A Woman's Worth
Marie B. Leonarde
Hudson Books
275 Rich Ave., Mount Vernon, NY 10552
0978629655 $14.95

The haunting yet courageous memoir of author Marie B. Leonarde, A Woman's Worth: My Life, My Struggle is the true story of a young Haitian wife who suffered terribly in a culture where women are little more than possessions. Married to a cruel and corrupt husband, who cheated on her, abandoned her at childbirth, and threatened her with a machete, she finally gathered the courage to leave, reclaiming her life by escaping with her children to New York. Gradually overcoming the horror of her past, she offers frank testimony of her trials and emotional recovery through spirituality and soul-searching. A profound message of support and openness to all, especially abused spouses and companions, A Woman's Worth: My Life is an unforgettable tale of inner strength and resolution.

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

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