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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 1 January 2017 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Jobs/Career Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Coloring Book Shelf Political Science Shelf Biography Shelf
Parenting Shelf Self-Help Shelf American History Shelf
Civil War Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Gaming Shelf
Education Shelf Money/Finance Shelf Psychology Shelf
Criminology Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

The Future of Email
V. A. Shiva
General Interactive, LLC
9780997040234, $19.95, PB, 158pp,

Synopsis: Dr. V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai, the inventor of email and polymath, holds four degrees from MIT and is a world-renowned systems scientist. Dr. Shiva invented in the email system in 1978 (when he was a 14-year-old boy), to enable collaboration and communication among office workers at a small medical college in Newark, NJ.

He has now become the center of many controversies. For their 125th Anniversary issue, The Wall Street Journal commissioned him as email's inventor to write a brief essay entitled "The Future of Email". That article shared what email really is and where email is heading.

More recently, The New York Times interviewed him to comment on Hillary Clinton's use of personal email server to manage classified U.S. government communications. In that article, Dr. Shvia shared that the use of a personal email server was extraordinary, wrong and clearly a well-planned strategy by Ms. Clinton to deny the American public's rightful access to communications that were government property.

Now updated and expanded into a book, "The Future of Email " is a much-needed expansion of those thoughts and comments in his previous articles to provide the American public with important insights as to where email is going and why they, as citizens, must take action to protect this important medium, which has been subverted by vested interests.

Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally thoughtful and thought-provoking, "The Future of Email" is an extraordinary work that should be a part of every community, college, and university library collection. For personal reading lists of academia, public policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject it should be noted that "The Future of Email" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).

Love Our Vets, second edition
Welby O'Brien
Deep River Books
PO Box 310, Sisters, Oregon, 97730
9781940269597, $15.99, PB, 224pp,

Synopsis: Anyone who has served in combat in any capacity will experience Post-traumatic Stress Disorder at some level. Veterans who have been deeply and profoundly affected will find that their families and loved ones will also be distressed as well. Finally, the cries and needs of the loved ones have been addressed in "Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD", a comprehensive, practical, self-help book that is now in a newly updated in its second edition.

"Love Our Vets" answers more than 60 heartfelt questions, providing down-to-earth wisdom and much-needed tips for veterans and their families taking care of themselves.

Sharing as a counselor and from her personal experience of living with a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD, Welby O'Brien gives hope, encouragement, and practical help for families and loved ones who are caught in the wake of the trauma."Love Our Vets" addresses a broad spectrum of issues and concerns and offers realistic wisdom from a wide variety of individuals who share from real hearts and lives.

Especially intended for family members of PTSD afflicted veterans, "Love Our Vets" provides answers to such questions as: What about his or her constant negativity?; How can I get friends and family to understand?; When does my compassion help or hurt?; How much should we tell children and what can we say to them?; What should parents of veterans do in taking action or backing off?

Critique: "Love Our Vets" is so much more than just another book about PTSD; rather, it is a tremendously informed and informative resource for families and loved ones who struggle along with their vets to face and master the day-to-day challenges of life. While absolutely and unreservedly recommended for every community library and VA Hospital collection in the country, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Love Our Vets" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.99).

The #100 Love Notes Project: A Love Story
Hyong Yi
Lorimer Press
9780996188418, $60.00, HC, 232pp,

Synopsis: Flying socks, Spanish anchovies, origami butterflies, and tarot cards comprise just a small part of the collaborative efforts that produced "The #100 Love Notes Project: A Love Story". Author Hyong Yi commissioned 17 artists to illustrate his 100 three-line poems and share some of the insights behind their work. Together artists and poet have illuminated a story that have captured the hearts of people around the world, giving it even greater meaning and purpose.

The initial version of Hyong Yi's "100 Love Notes" was launched on the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina on November 21, 2015. To honor his wife, Catherine Zanga, on the one-year anniversary of her death from ovarian cancer, Hyong and his two young children gave strangers 100 handwritten love notes, notes that chronicled Hyong and Catherine's life together, from their first meeting, to dating, marriage, children, and her death, which came far too soon. "The #100 Love Notes Project: A Love Story" is a continuation of that memorial.

Critique: Unique, inherently fascinating, consistently compelling, beautifully illustrated, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "The #100 Love Notes Project: A Love Story" is a truly extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library Poetry and Art collections. Librarians should note that "The #100 Love Notes Project: A Love Story" would make an ideal Memorial Fund acquisition selection.

Emilio Corsetti III
Odyssey Publishing Ltd.
9780997242102, $27.95, HC, 472pp,

Synopsis: On April 4, 1979, a Boeing 727 with 82 passengers and a crew of 7 rolled over and plummeted from an altitude of 39,000 feet to within seconds of crashing were it not for the crew's actions to save the plane. The cause of the unexplained dive was the subject of one of the longest NTSB investigations at that time.

While the crew's efforts to save TWA 841 were initially hailed as heroic, that all changed when safety inspectors found twenty-one minutes of the thirty-minute cockpit voice recorder tape blank. The captain of the flight, Harvey "Hoot" Gibson, subsequently came under suspicion for deliberately erasing the tape in an effort to hide incriminating evidence. The voice recorder was never evaluated for any deficiencies.

From that moment on, the investigation was focused on the crew to the exclusion of all other evidence. It was an investigation based on rumors, innuendos, and speculation. Eventually the NTSB, despite sworn testimony to the contrary, blamed the crew for the incident by having improperly manipulated the controls, leading to the dive.

"Scapegoat: A Flight Crew's Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption" is the story of an NTSB investigation gone awry and one pilot's decades-long battle to clear his name.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Scapegoat: A Flight Crew's Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption" is a consistently compelling read throughout and very highly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Scapegoat" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.82).

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Gol: A Curated Guide for the Modern Day Job Hunt
Kathy Engen & Linda Heath
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
9781634890410, $25.00, PB, 144pp,

Synopsis: Collaborative written by the team of Kathy Engen and Linda Heath, "Gol: A Curated Guide for the Modern Day Job Hunt " is specifically designed for those who are stuck, uninspired, or lacking the time to chart a new course for their next job or career. Through words of wisdom and focused do-it-yourself activities, the reader can unlock a career plan and design a strategy to achieve his or her personal and professional goals. "Gol: A Curated Guide for the Modern Day Job Hunt " will shift mindsets and spark new ideas. In these pages lies a 'fill in the blanks' roadmap to reflect, jumpstart, and sustain the search for a dream job. Each individual chapter leads through to a journey of self-discovery, easily navigating effective resume writing, networking, and interviewing.

Critique: A thoroughly 'user friendly' and consumable instructional guide, "Gol: A Curated Guide for the Modern Day Job Hunt" is an informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for anyone seeking or contemplating a change in their employment be it short term or long term.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Nesiritide: The Rise and Fall of Scios
Roger M. Mills, MD
True Directions
c/o iUniverse, Inc.
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781491797648, $13.99, PB, 150pp,

Synopsis: When Roger Mills, a medical school professor, made a late-career move from academic cardiology to the pharmaceutical industry, he had no idea what the next decade would bring. At the University of Florida in the late 1990s, he had been a clinical investigator in a phase 2 trial studying the dosing and efficacy of nesiritide, which Scios Inc. was attempting to bring to the market. He joined the company in 2005, and soon became its vice president for medical affairs.

Nesiritide was the biotechnology company's only product in clinical development, and after a stunning turn of events at a Food and Drug Administration meeting in 1999, company president Dick Brewer had to use all his smarts to keep the company together and reverse its fortunes. Johnson & Johnson would eventually acquire the company in 2003 for $2.4 billion, but then found it would have to decide how to deal with safety concerns raised about the drug after two scientific publications claimed it could cause kidney failure and death.

Critique: In "Nesiritide: The Rise and Fall of Scios" Dr. Mills provides a true 'insider's account' of what it really takes to develop and introduce a drug to market -- and all the things that can go wrong. Highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Health/Medicine collections, it should be noted that "Nesiritide: The Rise and Fall of Scios" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781491797631, $26.99) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Fiction Shelf

Neil A. White
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781524606749, $13.99, PB, 200pp,

Synopsis: "Closure" by Neil A. White is a moving coming-of-age tale that follows three young boys through adolescence into adulthood, each trying to make sense of a world turned upside down. It's 1939 and in Poland the German is army sweeping across Poland intent on the destruction of an entire people. In a small Polish town, ten-year-old Piotr Kowalczyk's idyllic world will be forever destroyed. Then it's 1944 in Croatia and young Dino Mitak flees to the freedom of the West as the communist-led Partisans move ever closer to Zagreb. The its 1980 in Australia and a small boy, already struggling to cope with the loss of a parent, is confronted by a gruesome murder. From the tranquil foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in southern Poland, to the Balkans and a simmering feud centuries in the making, to the streets of inner-city Melbourne where these three personal histories collide, even though these events, generations and worlds are initially far apart, the become interwoven in a poignant story of grief, hatred, revenge and finally, closure.

Critique: An original, deftly crafted and consistently compelling novel from cover to cover, "Closure" clearly demonstrates and documents author Neil White as being an impressively gifted storyteller. While very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Closure" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

She's Got the Jack
Suzanne Eglington
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781524560225, $33.00, HC, 444pp,

Synopsis: Kate met Robert when her world was falling apart. He was a driving force of nature in the form of a gorgeous cop who demanded respect and turned heads -- and he knew he wanted Kate from the moment he saw her. They were married after only a week of dating. Some said it was too soon, but Kate knew it was just right for her and her terminator of a husband.

It hasn't even been a year since their wedding, and it feels as though they've lived a million lives, filled with travel, romance, adventure, and amazing sex. Kate is finally starting to understand Robert's over-protective nature as she learns more about her dark knight's past. She is his hard won prize, and everything he does is for Kate and their future.

Then, a new arrival changes things. Kate's crazy Uncle Jack shows up in his usual manner, by surprise, and Robert proves to be a pup in this older wolf's presence. Kate can hardly believe how star struck Robert is over Jack. However, with Jack's training, Robert could become a super cop, so Jack decides to stick around -- which might prove to be an advantage to Kate as she continues learning the secrets of the intense man she desperately loves.

Critique: "She's Got the Jack" is the third and latest volume in author Suzanne Eglington's outstanding series 'The Kate and Robert Chronicles'. A deftly written and consistently compelling read from cover to cover, "She's Got the Jack" advances the saga of Kate and Robert and continues to reveal Suzanne Eglington as an undeniably skilled novelist of the first order. While unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "She's Got the Jack" is also available in a paperback edition (9781524560201, $19.99). For those to whom "She's Got the Jack" is their first introduction to 'The Kate and Robert Chronicles', they will want to seek out the first two volumes: "Inceptions" (9781483617220, $29.99 HC; 9781483617213, $19.99 PB, $3.99 Kindle) and "Beckham 101" (9781524502218, $29.99 HC; 9781524502232, $19.99 PB; $3.99 Kindle).

Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899
Andrew Barger
Bottletree Books LLC
9781933747590, $10.99, PB, 205pp,

Synopsis: Compiled and edited by Andrew Barger, "Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899: A Phantasmal Ghost Anthology" showcases some of the very best ghost stories drawn from publications over the last half of the 19th century. Included are strange and shocking tales from popular American and Victorian authors including: Bram Stoker, M. R. James, Joseph Le Fanu, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Nesbit, and Francis Marion Crawford. In this outstanding anthology, Barger has added his familiar scholarly touch by annotating the stories, providing story background information, author photos and a list of ghost stories considered to settle on the most frightening and well-written tales.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for lovers of a great ghost story, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, college, and university library 19th Century Literature & Literary Studies collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of ghost story enthusiasts that "Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899: A Phantasmal Ghost Anthology" is also available in a Kindle format ($5.98).

The House Beneath the Damen Off-Ramp
William Claypool
Meadow Lane Press
97809865063749, $14.95, PB, 226pp,

Synopsis: A tale of suspense and human frailty, "The House Beneath the Damen Off-Ramp" by William Claypool is set on the gritty west side of Chicago. As the story begins, the reader is introduced to a young boy of about five, the third of six children, living in poverty. The boy is almost entirely deaf due to neglect of his chronic ear infections. He communicates to his mother and siblings through a combination of signing and monosyllabic words that are often difficult to decipher by his family, and impossible to understand by outsiders. He lives in constant fear of his mother's boyfriend, a violent character who has repeatedly abused the family. As the story opens, the boyfriend has just entered the family's apartment.

The young boy sees the boyfriend and quickly retreats to safety within a secret space he has created in the void between two walls of the apartment. While hiding, he feels disturbing vibrations around him and becomes even more alarmed. When he finally emerges from his hiding spot, he discovers that his family has been murdered and he is left alone with their lifeless bodies. Despite the horror all around him, the boy is relieved to see that the boyfriend is gone. He struggles to understand what has happened, all the while terrified of the boyfriend's return. Overwhelmed with loss and terror, the child flees the apartment into the rainy night.

Fate intervenes to help the lost, speechless boy in the person of JJ Jefferson, a native Chicagoan who's been living the good life in sunny West Palm. Jefferson has returned to his hometown on an annual pilgrimage back to his roots, focusing on visiting a wild cast of characters from his high school days, which includes a cop, a priest, a disabled jockey, and JJ's on again/off again girlfriend.

JJ is a successful businessman, yet a little eccentric. He prefers to camp out in a shack beneath the Stevenson Expressway when visiting, rather than bunk with friends. He sees this experience as a way to reconnect to his humble yet rough upbringing, and to hone the survival skills he learned in the military. It's beneath this highway off-ramp that JJ stumbles across the bloodstained boy crouching behind a pillar. While definitely not in JJ's plan, he becomes the boy's reluctant protector.

JJ assumes the role of overnight guardian until he can deliver the young boy to the authorities. However, by the following morning everything changes, including JJ's intentions. The action moves quickly over the next few days as JJ's colorful friends are enlisted to help him protect the young boy, all of them unaware of the peril that threatens them by aiding the helpless child.

Time is of the essence as JJ searches for a way to communicate with the boy and gain his trust so that he can determine who he is and how he came to be covered in blood. To what lengths will JJ and his friends go to protect the boy? Duty and morality clash while the hunt is on for the killer in this modern story of truth and consequence.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, "The House Beneath the Damen Off-Ramp" is a riveting read from beginning to end and showcases novelist William Claypool's exceptional flair for creating memorable characters and embedding them into a consistently compelling and unfailingly entertaining narrative story lines. While highly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The House Beneath the Damen Off-Ramp" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Banishing The Darkness
Jeff R. Spalsbury
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781534697584, $19.65, PB, 418pp,

Synopsis: Captain Harry 'Sti' Stiletto returned from Afghanistan a wounded war hero, but inside he still carried the nightmare pain of witnessing the deaths of four of his men. Soon, however, he had it all: a rich wife, an elegant house, a great job, an expensive car, pricey clothes, and a loyal dog.

Then one bleak Friday everything in his world implodes. He's fired from his job, his car is stolen, and his wife divorces him, locks him out of their house, dumps all his clothes, and gives his dog away.

What of his Marine buddies who returned from battle with him? What of their lives? Were they as damaged and hurting as he was; floundering, and unable to adjust to civilian life? Artist, Sergeant Coby Wilson, still haunted by the war can no longer paint. Lieutenant Luis de Poseur, who lost the use of his legs during that ambush, now just drinks his pain away.

Sti wants to open a creative art and rehab center to help his friends reclaim not only their lives but also their souls. First has to find them. Then he must persuade them to join him in the wildest mission imaginable -- banishing the darkness and learning to live again. And maybe they'll find more than redemption. Maybe they might even find love.

Critique: "Banishing the Darkness" by Jeff R. Spalsbury is the story of an Afghanistan veteran who loses everything in one day. An exceptional and consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Banishing the Darkness" reveals author Jeff Spalsbury as an exceptionally gifted novelist who is able to deftly craft truly memorable characters and engaging them into an impressively created storyline of unexpected twists and turns. While very highly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Banishing the Darkness" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).

Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken
Monica Bhide
Bodes Well Publishing
9780997662412, $15.00, PB, 340pp,

Synopsis: Raised by Buddhist monks in Delhi after his mother's untimely and tragic death, Eshaan sets out on the challenging quest to feed and nourish the hungry so they do not suffer her same fate. His attempts to achieve this monumental goal are constantly thwarted. And when his former girlfriend returns from Europe with a handsome fiance in tow, his life becomes even more complicated. But a sliver of hope appears in the form of a local TV cooking competition. Winning would offer the solution to all his problems: money for his mission and the chance to impress the girl he loves. But to win this competition, Eshaan first must face a secret that has the potential to destroy his life and his dreams.

Critique: Monica Bhide is an internationally renowned writer known for sharing food, culture, love, and life with a lyrical voice and universal appeal. She has built a diverse and solid audience through the publication of three cookbooks, her collection of short stories, her website,, and articles in top-tier media, including Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Saveur, The Washington Post, Health, The New York Times, Ladies Home Journal, AARP The Magazine, Parents, and many others. In "Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken" she successfully turns her talents to the task of writing a consistently compelling and unfailingly entertaining novel, demonstrating her literary skills with deftly crafted and memorable characters embedded a carefully constructed storyline of unexpected twists and surprising turns. While very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Arrivals and Departures from Normal
Lana Jean Rose
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781491774960, $32.95, HC, 406pp,

A naive teenage girl in her senior year of high school comes home to find all her belongings packed and sitting on the front porch. Airstream's abusive father, who silently laments the loss of his baseball career, and a mother, who lives in a world convinced she is Cleopatra before Cleopatra was Cleopatra, have decided Air is a "commie-pinko" since she reads Ramparts and the Berkeley Barb.

From an early age, Air realized in order to survive her bizarre family life she had to protect her authentic self. Whimsical, innately talented, and fiercely independent by nature, Air struggles to piece her life together as she finds herself continually caught in you've-got-to-be-kidding-me circumstances.

Despite being emotionally abandoned by her parents, Air becomes an engrossing, strong and fascinating young woman, determined to be a successful artist without any formal training.

Ingenious and persistent, Air is on a mission to confront her demons and multi-personalities, surmounting the endless, inexplicable far-fetched absurdly funny bumps in the road to prove she is lovable and worthy of love. Air's life path is far from normal.

Critique: In "Arrivals and Departures from Normal", author Lana Jean Rose has written a heartfelt novel that is a consistently compelling read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Arrivals and Departures from Normal" is also available in a paperback edition (9781491774953, $22.95) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Forces From Within & Without
J. W. Amran
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781481166089, $9.99, PB, 158pp,

Synopsis: "Forces From Within & Without" by J. W. Amran is set in Iran during the turbulent 1978-1979 revolution seeking to overthrow the Shah. An Iranian born author, J. W. Amran deftly weaves the political side of events, dealing with the game that intertwines the political policies of nations and the power play of the major and all powerful oil companies into a work of alternate fictional history.

The U.S. is trying to cause religious unrest in the Soviet Union by first making Iran a religious state. Their hope is to create this situation in Iran by supporting, but not openly, a religious fervor through a new religious leader in Iran. The effect of that new religious fervor, they hope, will spill over to several of the Russian states and create civil and religious rebellion in the USSR.

Parallel to the United States plotting this course of events to bring down the Soviet government, the major international oil companies are secretly meeting to sabotage the US plans which they see as an extreme detriment to their own operations. The intrigue is witnessed through the eyes of an American educated Iranian oil executive who has romantic entanglements with a top oil company lobbyist.

During the tumultuous times of the Iranian revolution and embassy takeover, he is forced to try and escape from those that would arrest and kill him. His harrowing experiences in trying to work his way out of Iran to the Turkish border are both funny and frightening. Although fictional, "Forces From Within & Without" is peppered throughout with true and real stories, anecdotes and folklore as witnessed by the author during the pre and post revolution days in Iran. It is a depiction of internal and external forces coming together making the perfect storm to overthrow the Shah of Iran.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and a consistently compelling read from cover to cover, "Forces From Within & Without " is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Forces From Within & Without" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.95).

Everyone Loves You Back
Louie Cronin
Gorsky Press
PO Box 42024, Los Angeles, CA 90042
9781941576229, $15.95, PB, 256pp,

Synopsis: In "Everyone Loves You Back" by Louie Cronin we meet Bob, a sarcastic radio technician who has enough on his plate trying to navigate his forties without his Cambridge neighborhood becoming overrun by urban tree huggers and uppity intellectuals in tracksuits. Between a love triangle, a rapidly shrinking job market, and the looming threat of finally growing up, Bob is forced to dig deep and figure out not just what he wants, but who he is. Change hits hard when you live in the past.

Critique: Louie Cronin's breakthrough novel, "Everyone Loves You Back" is a deftly crafted and consistently compelling coming-of-middle-age story that reveals the author's genuine flair for creating a memorable character and a riveting read from beginning to end. "Everyone Loves You Back" is very highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.

Carolina Belle
Rose Senehi
K.I.M. Publishing, LLC
PO Box 132, Chimney Rock, NC 28720
9780996257152, $15.95, PB, 282pp,

Synopsis: Scarred by betrayal, "Carolina Belle" is the story of Belle McKenzie's transition from bitterly unforgiving, to a woman willing to swallow her pride to win back the man she never stopped loving. Cut from the same tenacious cloth as her grandfather, Pap, who owns the biggest apple orchard in North Carolina, she risks her life rescuing four hundred antique apple trees her neighbor and mentor has spent a lifetime collecting from old farms and fields all over the South. From them, Belle, a botanist and farmer, is hell bent on creating a "billion dollar" apple she'll call the Carolina Belle.

Matt has worked for Pap since he was old enough to hold up his end of an apple box. Pap thinks of him as the son he never had, but Belle as the man whom she loved and who betrayed her.

With his recent divorce, Matt pursues Belle, the love his father forced him to turn his back on. Will the missteps of their past keep them from trusting each other, or will their suppressed love bloom enough to overcome unfounded suspicions?

Rich in emotion and driven by suspense, "Carolina Belle" reveals a bold, resourceful character, the kind needed for a clan to survive for five generations in the precarious business of apple growing in the North Carolina Mountains. Woven throughout this story is the fascinating history of the American apple that started when countless settlers planted seeds all over a country that had no apple trees, kicking off one of the biggest evolutionary experiments this nation has ever seen.

Critique: Not often included in the legend of Johnny Appleseed is that his primary motive for planting apple trees on the American frontier was to take advantage of the law that allowed claim to the land upon which such trees were planted. Land that he could later sale at a profit. Although a work of fiction, "Carolina Belle" note only shows author Rose Senehi as having a genuine flair for deftly creating memorable characters, but a novelist who pays serious attention to getting her story's historical details correct. An inherently entertaining and consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Carolina Belle" is especially recommended for community library General Fiction & Historical Romance collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Carolina Belle" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou
Steven Burgauer
Battleground Press
9780692808122, $14.95, PB, 324pp,

Synopsis: In "Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou", novelist Steven Burgauer deftly intertwines historic persons, actual events and distant locales of WWII with a fast-moving fictional Nazi plot to disrupt the manufacture of Higgins boats, the remarkable landing craft that won the war for the Allies.

Spanning the globe from amphibious landings at Guadalcanal, to the Navajo code talker school, to the exotic environs of New Orleans, to the secret world of Bletchley Park, this tautly written thriller, covering two weeks during the summer of 1942, and combines a fully imagined cast of characters with the historically important figures of Andrew Higgins, members of American and British Intelligence, Navajo code talker Chester Nez, Commander Ian Fleming of MI6, along with a Polish intelligence officer, and "Silver Dollar Sam" Carolla, crime boss of New Orleans.

Critique: An exceptionally well written, complex, multi-character dominated thriller from beginning to end, "Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou" showcases author Steven Burgauer as an impressively talented storyteller able to offer a consistently compelling read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou" is also available in an inexpensive Kindle format ($0.99).

Harry Taylor
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781502864697, $15.50, PB, 414pp,

Synopsis: Tony Virenti, a young Italian, is serving a life sentence in a dire English prison having been wrongly convicted on circumstantial evidence of slaying a British lawyer and his family. In Italy his uncle, Massimo Pulverenti, the Mafia Godfather, is under pressure from family elders to seek Virenti's release as they are convinced there was collusion between the British police and the authorities with Freemason connections at the trial. Massimo is also concerned with the failing health of Virenti's mother, and as her desire is to see her son home again he makes a promise to set the boy free. He assigns the Mafia's top Italian lawyer to the case but the lawyer faces strong resistance from the British authorities and the police and he learns of the involvement of the Freemasons. The lawyer is brilliant and has never lost a case and he is determined to beat the British legal system but he encounters delays, delays that put pressure on Massimo, who then decides to secretly free Virenti the Mafia way. Two methods with one single objective. One legal, one illegal. Will either succeed?

Critique: A deftly crafted, multilayered novel that is a simply riveting read from first page to last, "Pursuit" clearly documents author Harry Taylor as an impressively gifted storyteller with a genuine flair for creating truly memorable characters and embed them into a consistently compelling plot. "Pursuit" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections.

The Blue Baron Mystery
Jerry Labriola
Strong Books
9781928782933, $12.05, PB, 308pp,

Synopsis: Hired by Gens de Verite, an ancient French organization to track down the murderer of six people and to locate the stolen Blue Baron diamond, Dr. Paul D'Arneau finds himself embroiled in complicated and hazardous situations with hardly a chance of turning back. Yet, renowned for his expertise in forensics and esteemed for his rectitude in the mysterious world that trades in international artifacts, Paul seizes Verite's offer as an opportunity to broaden his career as well as earn a seven-figure compensation. The diamond is believed to be cursed, because anyone who publicly announces he or she wants to purchase it and mentions Napoleon Bonaparte in the same breath is found murdered. Paul's dangerous exploits take place in France, Holland, The Hague, Belgium, Angola, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Buenos Aires and Gibraltar. Exhausted and burned out, he finds distraction, comfort and relaxation in lecturing -- if he can live long enough to deliver them.

Critique: A deftly crafted and riveting read from cover to cover, "The Blue Baron Mystery" showcases author Jerry Labriola's impressive mastery of the genre and his genuine flair for creating memorable characters and surprising plot twists and unexpected turns. While very highly recommended for the personal reading list of dedicated mystery buffs that, "The Blue Baron Mystery" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

In the Line of Duty
Carolyn Arnold
Hibbert & Stiles Publishing
PO Box 35016, Nelson Park, RO, London, Ontario, Canada, N5Z 5Z6
9781988353258, $26.99, HC, 244pp,

Synopsis: It was an ordinary day for police officer Barry Weir. It was the end of shift, he was tired, and he just wanted to get home to his wife and kids. But someone had other plans for him, shooting him down and forcing him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

When news of Weir's murder reaches the department, it leaves Detective Madison Knight and every cop in the Stiles PD itching for revenge. It cuts Madison's boyfriend, colleague, and Weir's childhood friend, Troy Matthews, deepest of all, driving him away from everyone he loves just when they need one another the most.

With evidence pointing to a gang-related drive-by, Madison and her team investigate the town's seedy underbelly in search of justice for their fallen brother. But the deeper they dig, the more convoluted the case becomes. Now they need to figure out if this was a random shooting as part of a gang initiation, a straight-up hate crime, or a targeted kill. But with members of the Stiles PD under attack, they have to do it fast...before more officers pay with their lives.

Critique: A simply riveting read from cover to cover, "In the Line of Duty" clearly reveals author Carolyn Arnold to be a master of the genre with an exceptional flair for creating truly memorable characters and a roller-coaster ride of a plot with all manner of twists and turns. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "In the Line of Duty" is also available in a paperback edition (9781988353302, $14.99) and in a Kindle format ($5.99).

Captive Threat
Joseph D'Antoni
Corporate Sciences Incorporated
9780983081678, $12.99, PB, 386pp,

Synopsis: As the Vietnam War concludes an MIT professor, contracted to the NSA, leaks U.S. military secrets to the world. He is now America's #1 traitor. Abducted by Soviet agents, he and his family are traded to North Vietnam.

Wade Hanna's partner and lover, Megan Winslow, is forced into a witness protection program run by Army Intelligence. Haunted by PTSD flashbacks of her last mission Megan discovers she is being used as "bait" for another covert operation. Escaping the witness protection program Megan finds sanctuary with Wade in the deep swamps of Louisiana.

Wade is selected to head the mission to capture or terminate the #1 American traitor. To avoid being left behind in the swamp Megan must convince Wade she is fit for the new mission.

Wade's covert intelligence team infiltrates the guarded jungle monastery where the professor is being held only to find their team is vastly outnumbered and outgunned by the opposition. Planned extraction of the target becomes impossible as Wade's team faces imminent termination of the entire squad.

Critique: "Captive Threat" is the fifth title in author Joseph D'Antoni's outstanding 'Wade Hanna' action/adventure black-ops mystery series. continues his Wade Hanna pulse-pounding, black-ops mystery series. Clearly, D'Antoni's is a master of the genre and is impressively skilled at deftly creating memorable characters and constructing riveting storylines marked with unexpected twists and surprising turns. While very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Captive Threat" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Silent Children
Amna K. Boheim
Troubador Publishing Ltd.
9781784625160, $13.99, PB, 290pp,

Synopsis: Something's amiss at the home of young Annabel Albrecht. First, her favorite maid Eva disappears, then her friend Oskar. Worse is to come - her brother is murdered and her mother is taken away, leaving Annabel to fend for herself. Almost 70 years later, Annabel's son Max uncovers his mother's long-buried past, and unlocks the secrets preserved by Annabel's missing friends. But as Max is to discover, some children can never be completely silenced. Is he haunted by ghosts or by guilt, and will he ever escape? "The Silent Children" is a gripping tale of tragedy and revenge.

Critique: Set in the city of Vienna in1938, "The Silent Children" by Amna K. Boheim is a deftly crafted and intensely compelling novel that showcases the author's impressive abilities as an original storyteller who is able to create truly memorable characters and set them in the context of a riveting, suspenseful plot of unexpected twists and surprising turns. While very highly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Silent Children" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Born Speaking Lies
Rob Lenihan
9781942515418, $17.95, PB, 505pp,

Synopsis: New York mobster Billy the Kid gets a chance to escape the violent world of 1990s Brooklyn after being shot and left for dead in a Pennsylvania forest by members of his own crew. Billy tries to disappear into small town life with Lora, a local woman who finds him bleeding by the side of the road, but his desire for revenge and his rapidly deteriorating health drives him toward a bloody confrontation with his former friends.

Critique: "Born Speaking Lies" is a complex and consistently compelling novel that showcases author Rob Lenihan as an impressively gifted writer with a genuine flair for creating memorable characters and a deftly composed and riveting story of unexpected twists and turns. A consistently entertaining read from beginning to end, and very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Born Speaking Lies" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Expired Listings
D. M. Barr
Punctuated Publishing
9780997711813, $15.99, PB, 338pp,

Synopsis: What if people were dying around you and you weren't absolutely sure you weren't their murderer?

Someone is 'deactivating' the Realtors in Rock Canyon and almost no one seems to care. Not the surviving brokers, who consider the serial killings a competitive boon. Not the town's residents, who see the murders as a public service. In fact, the only person who's even somewhat alarmed is Dana Black, a kinky, sharp-witted yet emotionally skittish Realtor who has no alibi for the crimes because during each, she believes she was using her empty listings for games like Bondage Bingo with her sadistic lover, Dare. And yet, mysteriously, all clues are pointing her way.

Along with clearing her name and avoiding certain death at the hands of the 'Realtor Retaliator,' Dana has an even bigger problem: she's inadvertently become a person of interest in more ways than one to Aidan Cummings, the sexy albeit vanilla detective investigating the case. While his attentions are tempting, Dana is torn -- does she continue her ironically 'safe' but sterile BDSM relationship with Dare, or risk real intimacy with Aidan?

Critique: "Expired Listings" by D. M. Barr is an exceptionally well written, genre-busting, riveting psychological thriller laced with satiric, romantic and erotic elements. A consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Expired Listings" is a masterfully crafted suspense thriller that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "Expired Listings" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).

A Winter of Wolves
Marc Rainer
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781537610757, $10.05, PB, 264pp,

Synopsis: Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask is summoned to a murder scene. A Park Police officer has been brutally murdered at the Lincoln Memorial. As Trask and a team of local and federal investigators try to find the killer, more police officers are murdered. While attending the funeral for one of these victims, Trask and his team find themselves in a firefight with a cell of radical Islamic terrorists. Disqualified because of his involvement at the scene at Arlington National Cemetery, Trask is reassigned to Washington D.C.'s Joint Terrorism Task Force, where he discovers that the firefight at Arlington was only part of a bigger and much more sinister plot that threatens the entire eastern seaboard.

Critique: A riveting suspense thriller of a novel from beginning to end, "A Winter of Wolves" reveals author Marc Rainer's impressive flair for creating a deftly crafted and memorable novel that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "A Winter of Wolves" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

C.D. Bell
Chooseco LLC
9781937133559 $17.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: C. D. Bell's Weregirl is a fast-paced teen thriller set in Tether, Michigan, a town on the brink of shutdown since it was stripped of its resources by corporate polluter Dutch Chemical. High school junior Nessa Kurland is a cross-country runner with her eyes set on one thing: a college scholarship as her one-way ticket out of Tether.

Talented teammate Cynthia Sinise invites Nessa on a nighttime run through Tether's overgrown forest trails. But she speeds ahead, leaving Nessa alone to discover a trapped wolf. Nessa tries to free the animal but is badly bitten, seemingly ruining her hopes for a strong fall season with the cross-country team.

Instead, Nessa's freakishly quick recovery is followed by improved running times. All her senses are heightened. Nessa has transformed. She has become a werewolf.

In her new state, Nessa learns there are things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. Why does a Nobel Laureate work at the small-town medical clinic? Are top college athletic scouts really interested in her emerging talent? Can she trust Chayton, the motorcycle-riding guide her friends have faith in? Weregirl's Nessa must navigate her junior year and true human darkness, while making peace with her new, wild nature.

Critique: Supernatural fans of all ages will thoroughly enjoy the exciting, dramatic saga of a young woman's dual quest to master her own wild gift and uncover the sinister secret lurking within her dilapidated hometown. An exciting, dramatic story featuring a courageous and resourceful heroine, Weregirl is highly recommended for both high school and public library fantasy collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Weregirl is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Blood Dragons
Rosemary A. Johns
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781533679819 $11.99 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Synopsis: There are three people in this affair...and two of them aren't human. In a divided paranormal London, Light is the rebel bad boy vampire of the Blood Lifer world, with a photographic memory. And a Triton motorbike. Since Victorian times he's hidden in the shadows with Ruby - a savage Elizabethan Blood Lifer. She burns with destructive love for Light. But he's keeping a secret from her, which breaks every rule in Blood Life. When she discovers the truth, things take a terrifying turn.

1960s London. Kathy is a seductive singer. But she's also human. Light knows his passion for her is reckless but he's enchanted. Yet such a romance is forbidden. When the two worlds collide, it could mean the end. For both species.

When Light discovers his ruthless family's horrifying experiments, he questions whether he should be slaying or saving the humans he's always feared. What dark revelations will Light reveal at the heart of the experiments? Will he be able to stop them in time? The consequences of failure are unimaginable. Unless Light plays the part of hero, he risks losing everything. Including the two women he loves.

Critique: Volume 1 of the Rebel Vampires series, set in a precarious world where vampires are both predator and prey, Blood Dragons deftly blends elements of paranormal thriller and passionate romance. Blood Dragons is a character-driven, sizzling-hot saga for vampire literature connoisseurs to sink their teeth into! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Blood Dragons is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

The Tormented Witch
J. C. Beckham
The Solopreneur Publishing Ltd.
B01H7JPIOO, $3.63, Kindle, 334pp,

Synopsis: Apart from the fact that Leila Albergo was born in England, she was just like any other seventeen-year-old U.S. high school student. That was until, by a dark twist of fate, she develops supernatural powers. Leila is convinced that her feelings for school heartthrob Luca Jareau will remain unnoticed until he turns out to be her greatest ally. With his help, she must learn to control her magic and conceal the truth from everyone else, in order to protect the people she loves. Leila also realizes that some friends are not always who they seem to be and that staying alive at any cost, can sometimes be too high a price to pay.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and showcasing a genuine talent for storytelling by author J. C. Beckham, "The Tormented Witch: Crowded Souls" is the debut novel of a new trilogy and a consistently engaging and thoroughly entertaining read from beginning to end that is very highly recommended -- especially for YA Fiction lists.

Time Shift
Kris Trudeau
Laclu Publishing
9780994922571, $17.99, PB, 436pp,

Synopsis: In 2097, the missing link to Artificial Intelligence is uncovered when conventional robots are programmed with human personalities, giving them the desire to "be". While these free-thinking robots struggle to understand their own existence, they discover a dislike for human inefficiencies and materialism. Quietly, they strive to free their race from human constraints and their population explosion goes unnoticed until it's too late.

The city of Tricity is on the brink of falling into the robots' clutches and the only solution whereby control of it can be seized from the metallic malcontents is so unconventional that the odds of success are virtually nonexistent. During this 185-day mission, teams must alter elements of the past to save the future. If they are successful, time will "shift" and rewrite the future without the robots' destruction.

Owen has no idea how he can help these teams save his city from the rogue, experimental robots, eighty years before the conflict even erupts. Although he is the key to saving the future in 2097, Owen may not be alive long enough to help. Caught up in a whirlwind of time travel, futuristic technologies and mysterious accidents, Owen's life may never return to normal.

"Time Shift" unravels the complex relationships and unique challenges faced by each team member during this seemingly impossible endeavor. Each person has the potential to shift time in a way that could drastically alter or undo key events and de-create people throughout history, changing the world for better -- or for worse.

Critique: All the more impressive considering that "Time Shift" is author Kris Trudeau's debut science fiction novel, this deftly crafted, multilayered, consistently compelling read is very highly recommended, especially for community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections. For the personal reading lists of dedicated science fiction time travel fans it should be noted that "Time Shift" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Hard to Die
Andra Watkins
Word Hermit Press LLC
PO Box 21849, Charleston, SC 29413-1849
9780990859376, $16.99, PB, 264pp,

Synopsis: "Hard to Die" is the story of what happened to 'Dear Theodosia', the fiery daughter Aaron Burr serenades? An inventive new take is presented on the uncharted fate of Theodosia Burr Alston, the fiery daughter of Alexander Hamilton's murderer. "Hard to Die" is an engrossing speculative fiction time-warp that combines elements of history, the paranormal, and suspense to breathe fresh air into Theodosia's forgotten life and story. "Hard to Die" is the highly-anticipated sequel to author Andra Watkins first novel, "To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis" (9780615937472, $14.99 PB, $6.99 Kindle).

Critique: A consistently entertaining and impressively well crafted novel that will hold the reader's rapt attention from beginning to end, "Hard to Die" is an especially recommended addition to community library historical fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Hard to Die" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.99).

The Coloring Book Shelf

Healing with Bach Flower Mandalas: Coloring Book
Gudrun Penselin, author
Yana-Lee Kratschat, illustrator
Rainbow Healing Publishing
9780968410837, $16.95, PB, 112pp,

Synopsis: "Healing with Bach Flower Mandalas: Coloring Book" is a unique publication. It is much more than just another coloring book for grown-ups.

The system of healing developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930s, known today as the Bach Flowers, is comprised of 38 flower essences plus the Rescue Remedy. The ultimate goal of this healing method is to assist us in freeing ourselves from limiting beliefs and emotions that hold us back from living our life to our full potential. "Healing with Bach Flower Mandalas: Coloring Book" features all the Bach Flowers including the Rescue Remedy in the form of mandalas. This combination provides vast potential and opportunity for healing, movement and transformation.

"Healing with Bach Flower Mandalas: Coloring Book" is a fun tool for working with Bach Flowers. Designing and coloring the Bach Flower mandalas can be enjoyed by anyone.

This valuable coloring book includes: Introduction to Edward Bach and the Bach Flowers; General information about mandalas; Suggestions for how to work with Bach Flower mandalas; Quotes from Edward Bach interwoven throughout; Messages from each of the Bach Flowers; A mandala for each flower as well as a blank page for reflections.

Critique: The beautiful, welcoming floral designs promote tranquility of the spirit. Offering hours of meditative, reflective activity, "Healing with Bach Flower Mandalas: Coloring Book" is a unique and satisfying coloring book for adults. Highly recommended.

The Political Science Shelf

The Solution: Repairing Our Broken Political System
Michael M. Stockdell
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781524508173, $28.66, HC, 314pp,

Synopsis: Our current political system puts too much power into the hands of the few and often produces results that don't work. In the pages of "The Solution: Repairing Our Broken Political System", Michael Stockdell proposes a plan that restricts the size and scope of the federal government while increasing the direct influence of the people. The goal is to make government simpler with full public accountability.

"The Solution" is divided into four sections. Two sections describe the various reasons why big government programs don't work and refute the reasons often cited for why they should. Parts three and four propose Stockdell's notion of a fix to the political system: first, a number of constitutional amendments aimed at making government function similar to what the founders intended and yet are more modern and, second, policy recommendations that repair and replace nonfunctional programs and deal with a number of existing political and social issues.

Critique: Exceptionally well reasoned, occasionally iconoclastic, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Solution: Repairing Our Broken Political System" is a compelling, thoughtful, and thought-provoking read that is very highly recommended, especially for community, college, and university library Contemporary Political Science collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of Poly Sci students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in governmental reforms that "The Solution" is also available in a paperback edition (9781524508159, $19.99) and in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Fabian Libertarianism: 100 Years to Freedom
Martin Cowen
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781514486900, $29.99, HC, 196pp,

Synopsis: Martin Cowen has been a Libertarian for forty-four years. Martin attended the first Georgia Libertarian Party convention in 1972 during his first year at the University of Georgia Law School. He has voted the straight Libertarian Party ticket, when available, since then. He wrote "Fabian Libertarianism: 100 Years to Freedom " for the purpose of persuade the reader that there is something very wrong in the political world.

Cowen explains why so many societal problems are intractable. For example, how is it that Thomas Edison's great invention, the incandescent lightbulb, is outlawed in America? How is that veterans beloved of Americans are denied treatment by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) unto death? How is it that bad teachers are kept on indefinitely by a school system at full pay in isolated temporary reassignment centers ("rubber rooms" in New York City)?

The heretofore undiscovered answer is what Cowen describes as superorganisms -- and they currently have ultimate power over us. Superorganisms consist of individual human beings as a group. Superorganisms have lives separate from the individual human beings of which they are composed. Superorganisms are epiphenomena of human social groups.

Examples of superorganisms include government bureaucracies like the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, unions like the National Education Association, and corporations like General Electric. In "Fabian Libertarianism", the name Leviathan is given to these superorganisms

In "Fabian Liberalism" Cowen offers a plan to defeat Leviathan, but because Leviathan is virtually immortal, in control of government education, itself a sociopath, and served, in part, by sociopaths, our road is long and difficult hee anticipates and warns of a one-hundred-years struggle. It is important to note that in "Fabian Libertarianism" Cowen holds out hope for restoring American freedom to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

Critique; Exceptionally well reasoned, written, organized and presented, "Fabian Libertarianism: 100 Years to Freedom" is a consistently compelling and ultimately inspiring read. While unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental studies reading lists, it should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Fabian Libertarianism" is also available in a paperback edition (9781514486894, $19.99) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Biography Shelf

A Life To Remember
Balawant Shankar Joshi
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781503549265, $29.99, HC, 308pp,

Synopsis: "A Life to Remember" is Bal Joshi's amazingly detailed memoir that spans three continents and nearly a century of his life. In the pages of "A Life To Remember" he recalls a journey beginning in a small village in southern India and ending in the southern United States.

The son of a poor but brilliant school teacher and linguist, Joshi relates his beginnings at school, moving through hard-fought successes to the completion of the highest levels of education at Cambridge.

Throughout the journey and for all his life, a philosophy of peace, regard for his fellow man, and an attitude of determination regardless of the pitfalls of life shine through his modest writing. Joshi expands on his long career in experimenting with plants and Natural Products for synthesis and use in pharmaceuticals in India, Switzerland, and the United States.

He also writes of family, weddings, and celebrations in India, and travels to many countries. He recalls a small but dangerous role he played in the fight for independence of India from Great Britain.

Retired many years ago and living in Georgia, he writes of losing his beloved wife, finding productive activity in a Natural Products, learning to paint, and finding new friends and companionship throughout his senior years.

Joshi is a great example for all of a life well lived and a love for humanity and a mind still keen and full of stories at the age of ninety.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "A Life To Remember" is a compelling read from cover to cover. A candid and inherently interesting account of a life well lived, "A Life To Remember" is an especially recommended addition to community and academic library Contemporary Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Life To Remember" is also available in a paperback edition (9781503549272, $19.99) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Blood Ties
Philip Klaus
Liferich Publishing
9781489705556, $33.95, HC, 200pp,

Synopsis: Philip Klaus works as a contractor. He and his wife of more than fifty years have three adult children and six grandchildren. He lives in Salem, Oregon.

Brought home by adoptive parents only five days after his birth in November of 1940, Klaus was raised against the majestic backdrop of the Pacific Northwest. For years, he grew up searching for his sense of identity and his origins. In "Blood Ties", Klaus narrates how he looked for his birth parents for many years.

Klaus tells how he was born in secrecy -- only his mother and father knew he existed. That secret was kept for seventy years. Klaus' quest to find his family and to find answers about himself was filled with gut-wrenching anguish, disappointing setbacks, and never-ending twists and turns. It eventually ended with a phone call in January of 2011. It was a call that rearranged many lives. Klaus tells how his ninety-four-year-old mother was still alive and that he also had two sisters.

Critique: An impressively narrated and exceptionally candid story of one's man's persevering search for his familial origins, "Blood Ties" is an inherently fascinating and consistently compelling account. While very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Blood Ties" is also available in a paperback edition (9781489705532, $14.99).

The Parenting Shelf

From Monsters to Miracles
Anette Edens
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781483446820, $34.99, HC, 190pp,

Synopsis: Although it's probably the most important job many people will have, most of us enter parenthood seriously unprepared. Regardless of how much we believe we know, we raise our children pretty much by what feels like instinct, doing what our parents did or what we wish they had done. When a child veers off course, our parenting approach has to change.

In "From Monsters to Miracles: Parent Driven Recovery Tools that Work", psychologist Anette Edens shares her experience as a parent and counselor working with families whose children have addiction issues. Her readers will learn how to maneuver through the chaos to create a harmonious family life. Even if their teenage son or daughter is not ready or willing to change. "From Monsters to Miracles" reveals that there is help and hope.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, practical and insightful, "From Monsters to Miracles: Parent Driven Recovery Tools that Work" is a must read -- especially for parents of substance abusing teens. While very highly recommended as a core addition to community and academic library Parenting instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "From Monsters to Miracles" is also available in a paperback edition (9781483446806, $18.99) and in a Kindle format ($7.99).

The Self-Help Shelf

On the Back Burner
Lee Stoerzinger
Privately Published
9780692486696, $19.95, HC, 204pp,

Synopsis: "On the Back Burner: The Conversations We Should Be Having" is Lee Stoerzinger's passionate exhortation to his fellow citizens in 21st century America to align the values that we mutually espouse with the values that we live. Stoerzinger is a Certified Financial Planner who is adept by training and experience to see how what we do now creates the future that we want for ourselves and for our heirs. He understands that at the center of financial planning is life planning. "On the Back Burner" is concerned about creating, protecting, and passing on a legacy in the broadest sense. "On the Back Burner" shows us that by figuring out what we want to leave behind, we can enrich the lives we have today.

Critique: Exceptionally well reasoned and expertly written, "On the Back Burner: The Conversations We Should Be Having" is impressively informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation. An inherently and consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "On the Back Burner" is very highly recommended for community and academic library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "On the Back Burner" is also available in a Kindle format ($5.49).

Return to Your Senses
Ronald D. Eastman II
Headstrong Press
9780997720303, $12.99, PB, 198pp,

Synopsis: In "Return to Your Senses: Save Yourself before Technology Kills You", Ronald Eastman (an executive protective agent respected by many of the world's most prominent celebrities and public figures) explains how he went from being the "victim" to now protecting his A-list clients from predators, paparazzi, and dangerous lovers -- thwarting threats against beloved actors, filmmakers, and musicians on hundreds of occasions.

Through his bold, personal narrative, Ronald demonstrates an exemplary model of wholeness, health, and happiness as a result of paying attention to his senses and developing them over time in harsh conditions. "Return to Your Senses" provides a hair-raising glimpse into the lives of celebrities as the reader learns: How to harness the power of your reptilian brain; How personal gifts and abilities can help find purpose in life; How use of our inherent senses to protect, preserve, and reinforce the life we desire; How technology weakens our reptilian brain (our inherent senses) threatening mankind's very survival.

Critique: Today we are the target of an overwhelming social and mass media to the point of tuning out our inherent senses. Anyone wishing to live the purposeful and sustainable life they deserve should start by reading Ronald Eastman's "Return to Your Senses". Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Return to Your Senses" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Return to Your Senses" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

A Mother's Dance
Pattie Welek Hall
WriteLife Publishing
9781608081349, $19.95, PB, 330pp,

Synopsis: How does one measure the depth of a mother's love? Pattie never thought it possible until she experienced every mother's worst nightmare -- twice.

With all three kids in college and thriving, Pattie is excited about embarking on her new career as community relations manager at Barnes & Noble. That is, until she receives word that her nineteen-year-old son has been admitted to the Medical University of South Carolina and tagged 'John Doe' after he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Now her sole concern is to get to Charleston, 250 miles away, before he takes his final breath.

Although Casey is given only twenty-four hours to live, Pattie clings to her faith and refuses to accept his death sentence. During Casey's long and arduous healing, Pattie takes a hard look at the past -- the kids' tender childhood memories, their challenging teenage years, the skeletons in the closet, and the circumstances that have formed her into who she has become. When tragedy strikes again, Pattie must make a choice -- to remain stuck in her grief or to step into the life she's meant to create.

Critique: Moving and heart-wrenching, "A Mother's Dance: A Memoir" is an inspirational story about family relationships, hope, perseverance, self-discovery, hard choices, and most importantly about love. A consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "A Mother's Dance" is one of those personal stories 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. Very highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Mother's Dance" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.15).

The American History Shelf

On the Pleasures of Owning Persons
Volney Gay
International Psychoanalytic Books
9780996548199, $35.00, PB, 282pp,

Synopsis: One of the horrific and undeclared reasons, from colonial times dawn to the end of the Civil War, most Americans owned slaves was not just financial. They owned slaves because they liked owning other human beings.

For the first two centuries of American history, starting with the colonists, slavery was a part of the social, economic, and governmental order. Looking back, many of us find it more comfortable to view slave owners as evil or sociopathic. The startling truth is that many, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were otherwise admirable in both their philosophies and their behaviors.

To understand America's struggles with race relations, we must take an uncensored look at our country's involvement with slavery. "On the Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery" by Volney Gay examine three questions:

What were the pleasures of owning slaves?; How did freedom-loving, American Christians explain ownership to themselves?; How did they defend themselves against this double contradiction? Answering those questions will help we Americans face our own 21st Century future with greater clarity.

Critique: Exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented by Volney Gay (Professor of Religious Studies, Psychiatry, and Anthropology, Vanderbilt University), "On the Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery" is a unique study in the annals of American history. An impressively informed and informative work of original and seminal scholarship, "On the Pleasures of Owning Persons" is truly extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library American History and Black Studies collections in general, and the Psychology of Slavery supplemental studies reading list in particular.

The Civil War Shelf

Making Georgia Howl!
Dave Dougherty
Winged Hussar Publishing
9780996365772, $35.00, HC, 336pp,

Synopsis: During the American Civil War, the much-maligned Union cavalry ultimately prevailed through guts and dedication, losses and defeats, from Shiloh to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Beginning the Civil War under General William T. Sherman, the 5th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry regiment fought over three years, from March, 1862, to General Johnston's surrender in April, 1865, finishing the war once again under Sherman.

Confederates reported the regiment decimated time and again, defeated in every battle, but this study presents for the first time the truth of the matter. Fighting in General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick's 3rd Cavalry Division during Sherman's six month campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas, the 5th Ohio and all of Kilpatrick's cavalry did everything expected of them and more, earning the high praise of both Kilpatrick and Sherman.

In particular, "Making Georgia Howl!: The 5th Ohio Cavalry in Kilpatrick's Campaign and the Diary of Sgt William H. Harding" looks closely at the generalship of Kilpatrick, Sherman, Johnston, and Confederate cavalry commanders Joseph Wheeler and Wade Hampton. Neither Wheeler nor Hampton acquitted themselves well against Kilpatrick, and the myths formed by various writers, including Wheeler himself, are contrasted sharply with the evidence.

In Wheeler's case, the routine murder of Federal prisoners began long before Sherman's march through Georgia, necessitating a discussion of war crimes in which Sherman's depredations in Georgia and South Carolina are compared against Hampton's and Wheeler's actions.

This work is the definitive study of the 5th Ohio and Kilpatrick's campaign in Sherman's army from Atlanta to the end of the war. Bonuses are the diary and letters of Commissary Sergeant William H. Harding, present in Company K of the 5th OVC from August, 1862 to July 1865.

Critique: An invaluable and unique contribution to the growing library of American Civil War literature, "Making Georgia Howl!: The 5th Ohio Cavalry in Kilpatrick's Campaign and the Diary of Sgt William H. Harding" is an extraordinarily informative source of detailed information that results in a consistently compelling read from cover to cover. An absolute 'must' for the personal reading lists of all Civil War buffs, "Making Georgia Howl!" is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library American Military History collections in general, and Civil War supplemental studies lists in particular.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

The Inside Secrets of Sesame Street
Lucille Burbank, Inc.
9781634914383, $30.95, PB, 133pp,

Synopsis: Since its premiere in November 1969, the television show Sesame Street has been a beloved favorite among children and adults alike for over 45 years. "The Inside Secrets of Sesame Street" by Lucille Burbank contains an enormous amount of background information on one of the most successful children's shows in broadcasting history. It also illuminates a television model that is transferable to any adult TV series and, through its pictorial content, "The Inside Secrets of Sesame Street" brings back nostalgic moments that are a joy to remember!

Critique: Enhanced with occasional color images, "The Inside Secrets of Sesame Street" is exceptionally informed and informative. Impressively well written, organized and presented, "The Inside Secrets of Sesame Street" is especially recommended to all Sesame Street fans and community library collections.

The Gaming Shelf

Limitless Sky
Jeff Cork
Triumph Books
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781629373270, $15.95, PB, 128pp,

Synopsis: A game of survival, exploration, and discovery, No Man's Sky is one of the fastest-growing phenomena in video game history, attracting and astounding players of all ages. The game's 18 quintillion planets are procedurally generated, meaning you could very well be the first person to ever set eyes on a planet that even the game developers never encountered -- a true testament to the game's innovation.

The very first unofficial guide, "Limitless Sky: No Man's Sky Unofficial Discovery Guide" will provide not only an introduction to the hottest video game, but it'll also teach you how to get more out of your valuable playtime -- exploring vast areas, fighting pirates, upgrading your ship or spacesuit, avoiding Sentinels, and identifying new species and resources.

Critique: A full-color illustrated book that shares strategies, examines the creation of the impressive procedurally generated planets, and provides a glimpse at what's to come in this ever-expanding universe, "Limitless Sky: No Man's Sky Unofficial Discovery Guide" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, making it very highly recommended and of enduring value for both novice and seasoned players of No Man's Sky.

The Education Shelf

Read: Decoding the Reading Obstacle
Walker Guerrier
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478776253, $32.95, PB, 207pp,

Synopsis: In "Read: Decoding the Reading Obstacle", Walker Guerrier draws upon his years of experience tutoring highschool and college students to present a design for top students who have the desire to go above and beyond in their scholastic abilities and performance. With a special emphasis on increasing student test scores in English and Science, "Read: Decoding the Reading Obstacle" provides an approach will help any student attain his or her highest potential.

Critique: A consumable workbook, "Read: Decoding the Reading Obstacle" is especially recommended for both public school, private school, and home-schooling curriculums, and as an ideal, effective, and 'user friendly' do-it-yourself study skills improvement manual for college students.

The Money/Finance Shelf

Countdown to Financial Freedom
Mark Avallone
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781504361927, $33.95, HC, 222pp,

Synopsis: For most of us our financial clocks are ticking, and we are all of us running out of time to pursue our desired retirements. In "Countdown to Financial Freedom", certified financial planner, practitioner and Forbes contributor, Mark Avallone (founder and President of Potomac Wealth Advisors, LLC, an independent financial advisory firm, serving clients through holistic financial planning and wealth management), offers bold and practical guidance for pursue the kind of finances an ideal retirement supported by adequate finances would require

In this refreshing, easy-to-ready book, Avallone presents a decade-by-decade guide for everyone whether they are just starting out, entering their peak earning years, or about to retire. Regardless of current financial position, the reader will find their Unique Formula for determining a clear path to their specific retirement goals.

Drawing on stories of people who have overcome financial setbacks, Avallone explains strategies like how to avoid the destructive forces of the 3 D's--disability, divorce, or death of partner--which can ravage even the most sound financial plan.

Critique: Impressively 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Countdown to Financial Freedom" is exceptionally informed and informative and an ideal, highly recommended addition to both community and academic library Money/Finance instructional reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists. For the personal reading lists of financial planning students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, it should be noted that "Countdown to Financial Freedom" is also available in a paperback edition (9781504361903, $15.99) and in a Kindle format ($6.99).

The Psychology Shelf

Barb Rentenbach and Lois Prislovsky, Ph.D
Mule and Muse Productions
9780988344914 $24.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: A candid, practical, and defiantly funny guide to embracing neurological differences--from a bitingly witty autistic mute and her dyslexic, ADHD-wired, lesbian therapist.

Shattering the conventional notion of disability, Neurodiversity sheds light on autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit disorders (ADD/ADHD), dyslexia, and other neurological differences as natural human variations with their own challenges and strengths. While backed by brain science, the authors write from personal experience. Speechless (literally) due to severe autism, Barb Rentenbach communicates by typing one letter at a type. (Though "disguised as a poor thinker," she's imaginative, dedicated, and exceptionally patient.) Her therapist and friend, Lois Prislovsky, Ph.D., is an educational psychologist whose distinctive traits include dyslexia and ADHD. (She's also married to a woman, a mom to a teenage son, and enjoys any new challenge - the wackier the better.) In alternating chapters, Barb and Lois share real-life stories, mind-opening insights, and down-to-earth advice to encourage everyone to see beyond labels, treat others with respect, and help each unique person become his or her highest self.

Critique: Neurodiversity: A Humorous and Practical Guide to Living with ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Dyslexia, The Gays and Everyone Else lives up to its title with practical advice for parents, caregivers, employers, LGBT parents, families with LGBT members, and anyone who lives with or loves someone who is different. Written with wit and charm, Neurodiversity is as enjoyable to browse as it is accessible and enlightening. "Don't overprotect [your child with anxiety disorder]. You are a model for your child, regarding how to handle stress, fears, and problems... Parents who assist their children with anxiety in gaining exposure to novel environments, and working through problem solving as independently as possible, promote brain growth and development." Enhanced with color photographs and a bibliography, Neurodiversity is highly recommended for both personal and public library collections.

The Criminology Shelf

The Reporter Who Knew Too Much
Mark Shaw
Post Hill Press
9781682610978 $26.00 / $9.99

Synopsis: Was What's My Line TV Star, media icon, and crack investigative reporter and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen murdered for writing a tell-all book about the JFK assassination? If so, is the main suspect in her death still at large?

These questions and more are answered in former CNN, ESPN, and USA Today legal analyst Mark Shaw's 25th book, The Reporter Who Knew Too Much. Through discovery of never-before-seen videotaped eyewitness interviews with those closest to Kilgallen and secret government documents, Shaw unfolds a "whodunit" murder mystery featuring suspects including Frank Sinatra, J. Edgar Hoover, Mafia Don Carlos Marcello and a "Mystery Man" who may have silenced Kilgallen. All while by presenting through Kilgallen's eyes the most compelling evidence about the JFK assassinations since the House Select Committee on Assassination's investigation in the 1970s.

Called by the New York Post, "the most powerful female voice in America," and by acclaimed author Mark Lane the "the only serious journalist in America who was concerned with who killed John Kennedy and getting all of the facts about the assassination," Kilgallen's official cause of death reported as an overdose of barbiturates combined with alcohol, has always been suspect since no investigation occurred despite the death scene having been staged. Shaw proves Kilgallen, a remarkable woman who broke the "glass ceiling" before the term became fashionable, was denied the justice she deserved, that is until now.

Critique: Expertly written Mark Shaw (a former criminal defense attorney and legal analyst for CNN, ESPN, and the USA Today), The Reporter Who Knew Too Much: The Mysterious Death of What's My Line TV Star and Media Icon Dorothy Kilgallen is a riveting true-life murder mystery, thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds. Reference notes and an index round out this "must-read" for true crime connoisseurs. Highly recommended!

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

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