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A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year
Larry Smith, editor
9781970183009, $13.99, PB, 168pp
Synopsis: Compiled and edited by Larry Smith, "A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year: Hundreds of Stories on the Pandemic" is the tenth book in the Six-Word Memoir series and tells stories of a world we never expected to be in and can't stop talking about. Told through the lens of students, teachers, and parents around the world, "A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year" offers hundreds of inspirational, playful, and profound takes on life during the pandemic. For some, "A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year" will be a window on the effects of a pandemic. For others, it will be a mirror of their own experience. For the rest of us, "A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year" is a kind of biographical time capsule to be read, shared, and discussed and is certain to prompt friends, family, and neighbors to ask each other: "What's your six-word pandemic story?"
Critique: Unique, insightful, entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking, inspired and inspiring, "A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year: Hundreds of Stories on the Pandemic" is especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Education and Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year: Hundreds of Stories on the Pandemic" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Military Shelf
WW II POWs in America and Abroad
Gary Slaughter, author
Joanne Fletcher Slaghter, editor
9781733802130, $20.00, PB, 256pp
Synopsis: Despite the growing library of World War II histories, little has been written about the six million people that were interned in prison camps around the world between 1939 and 1945.
We are aware that the Allies and the Axis powers held one another's armed forces as military prisoners of war (POWs). The Axis powers also confined millions of civilian prisoners in death or concentration camps. In addition, the Axis imprisoned Russians, Slavs, European Jews, Gypsies, medically or physically handicapped persons, non-Jewish intellectuals, and religious leaders.
Even the United States interned its own citizens in camps throughout America. Over 125,000 Japanese Americans and 11,000 German Americans were held in the camps. Most were naturalized U.S. citizens. Like military camps, these civilian sites were also surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers.
Critique: A unique, informative, exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented history, "WW II POWs in America and Abroad: Astounding Facts about the Imprisonment of Military and Civilians During the War" is an important and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library WWII history collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "WW II POWs in American and Abroad" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: In 1944 when a German POW camp was built in his hometown, Gary Slaughter, as a young boy, became fascinated with POWs. During the last two decades, Slaughter has authored five Cottonwood novels set on the American home front during the last five seasons of World War II, each containing POW storylines. Following book talks, most attendees' questions related to POWs. His extensive research resulted in this captivating history which continues to be a largely unknown component of World War II history.
The Health/Medicine Shelf
50 Years Lost in Medical Advance
Lewis S. Coleman, MD
9780578822600, $150.00, PB, 574pp
Synopsis: "50 Years Lost in Medical Advance" by Dr. Lewis S. Coleman describes a key theoretical advance in western medical history known as the Hans Selye's Stress Mechanism.
The worldwide warfare of the 20th century produced an era of research rigor, vigor, integrity, and progress that inspired a prominent physician researcher named Hans Selye (January 26, 1907 - October 16, 1982) to hypothesize that a "stress mechanism" regulates physiology and explains disease. His concept was and remains the most promising prospect for an effective theory of medicine, and it inspired an intense international search for the stress mechanism that was abandoned and mostly forgotten after years of fruitless failure.
However, powerful new theories typically arrive long before evidence becomes available to confirm them. Another 30 years of accumulating evidence from unrelated research has now enabled Dr. Coleman to identify the stress mechanism -- explaining physiology and disease, and fulfills all the predictions and expectations of previous stress researchers. It promises to revolutionize medicine and provide powerful new treatments that will enable health, longevity, and freedom from the eternal curse of disease, suffering, and premature death.
Stress theory exceeds the bounds of medicine and confers a "unified theory of biology" that explains embryology, evolution, anatomy, intelligence, emotion, "fight or flight," the Cambrian Explosion, Lamarck, Baldwin, saltation, dinosaurs, and the origin of life. It paves the path to deciphering genomics and explaining embryological development, which will enable the ability to alter evolution, with implications that presently reside in the realm of science fiction.
Critique: An inherently fascinating, informative, and iconoclastic read for medical students and practitioners, "50 Years Lost in Medical Advance: The discovery of Hans Selye's stress mechanism" is especially recommended for professional, college and university library Health/Medicine collections and Human Biology supplemental curriculum studies reading lists.
The Discovery of Germs
9781737967613, $7.99, PB, 95pp
Synopsis: In the year 1600, gnats and fleas were the smallest creatures known, and plagues were still unexplained and unstoppable natural disasters. By 1900, many of the parasitic microbes responsible for our deadliest diseases had been found, identified, and conquered. What happened in the 300 years in between? How did we go from ignorance and helplessness to understanding and power?
With the publication of "The Discovery of Germs", author John Krieger succinctly tells the story of this long and challenging journey and provides a detailed example of how we can climb from primitive ignorance to scientific certainty. From Galileo and the invention of the microscope, through the creative use of experiments to learn about the lives of microbes, to Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch and the triumph of the Germ Theory of Disease, readers can follow along with the scientists as they make their historical achievements, and witness the virtues that made these achievements possible.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, ""The Discovery of Germs" will be equally appreciated by students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject. Also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), "The Discovery of Germs" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library History of Medicine collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.
The Cookbook Shelf
Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner & Pies
Audrey Dunham Celebrations
9781736760116, $18.99, HC, 120pp
Synopsis: Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. For the practicing vegan, traditional holiday family celebration menus must often be modified to accommodate their dietary needs.
But with the recipes comprising "Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner & Pies: All of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dinner and Dessert Classics Made Vegan!" by Audrey Dunham, making a flavorful and memorable Thanksgiving (or any other holiday) dinner free of meat, dairy and eggs that the whole family can enjoy has never been easier... or more delicious!
"Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner and Pies" is offers all of the classics; mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing recipes, soft dinner rolls, pumpkin pie (even a "turkey" roast!)... and so very much more! Almost every written recipe is accompanied by a large, colorful recipe photo. Also included are invaluable tips on how to make each recipe gluten-free, as well as "make ahead tips" to help the busy host best manage their time in the kitchen.
Critique: Beautifully illustrated, impressively kitchen cook friendly recipes instructions, "Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner & Pies: All of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dinner and Dessert Classics Made Vegan!" is ideal for a vegan Thanksgiving dinner menu, as well as any other fine dining, holiday celebrating, culinary occasion for vegans, vegetarians, and even the carnivores amongst us! "Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner & Pies: All of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dinner and Dessert Classics Made Vegan!" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, family, and community library Vegan/Vegetarian cookbook collections.
The Photography Shelf
Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781665588812, $16.46 (Amazon), PB, 54pp
Synopsis: Digitally printing photos on Japanese paper can yield tremendous results for photographers who are interested in experimenting with new methods. But beware: The common concept of how photographs should look will be challenged if you decide to use this technique.
With the publication of "Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs ", photography expert Carl-Evert Jonsson shares his experiences using the experimental technique on the digital printing of photographs using Japanese paper. After using Japanese papers (washi) for paintings and collages, he started to use the papers for his photos.
This technique is not an alternative to classic film-based photography. Ink is injected from a cartridge in a printer connected to a computer and printed on paper, in this case on washi. Darkroom facilities are not needed. All you need is a computer, printer, washi, and photos.
The liveliness of washi fibres gives a softer result, and washi is more absorbent than Western papers, with the ink appearing integrated rather than sitting on the printed surface. Providing step-by-step instruction, "Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs" shows how to use a method that will give new life to photos.
Critique; Unique and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs" is an ideal instructional guide and manual that would be a prized addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary Photography reference collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of photography students, artists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Using Japanese Paper for Digital Printing of Photographs" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
The Biography Shelf
I Hear the Black Raven: A Petite Memoir
Claire Ishi Ayetoro
9781737363101, $13.45, PB, 174pp
Synopsis: A peculiar drama for the new generation, "I Hear the Black Raven: A Petite Memoir " by Claire Ishi Ayetoro delves into topics few are willing to discuss, and she does so with the fortitude of a seasoned survivor.
Claire's voice is clear and compelling as she tells of manic forays alone in the wilderness, on the highway, and within the four walls of her own home. Her readers will witness how this heroine pushes to regain her sanity and a solid grip on the world that threatens to slip from her grasp.
"I Hear the Black Raven" is a unique kind of memoir and an intensely personal story of poetic redemption. It is also a harrowing epic of self-discovery. Claire's mental illness takes her on a journey that is full of mishaps and scenarios that we all can identify with. We are privileged to be invited into her world -- a world that she does not initially understand, but learns to accept.
Critique: Deftly written, inherently fascinating, memorably thoughtful and thought-provoking, "I Hear the Black Raven: A Petite Memoir" is one of those memoirs that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99), "I Hear the Black Raven: A Petite Memoir" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Biography & Memoir collections.
Broken Road To Serenity
9780578466536, $12.95, PB, 300pp
Synopsis: "Broken Road To Serenity" by 86-year-old Dere Bowman is the autobiographical story of her life and times. It is the story of growing up poor in the segregated south. With no money, no job, and no particular place to go, at the age of 21, Dere hitched a ride with a stranger and left the state of Alabama in search of something better for herself and her future.
"Broken Road To Serenity" is the story of having to deal with unexpected and unforseen challenges that included traumatizing experiences, injustices that she was able to successfully live through and deal with based on a combination of personal determination and prayer.
Critique: Simply stated, "Broken Road To Serenity" is an inherently riveting read. This compact sized paperback edition of "Broken Road To Serenity" is especially recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary American Biography collections.
Rebellion, 1967: A Memoir
She Writes Press
9781647421045, $16.95 pbk / $9.95 Kindle
Synopsis: Janet Duffy, a spunky, seventeen-year-old Irish girl, is eager to start college - but instability between her alcoholic father and self-absorbed mother jeopardize her dream, so she sets up her own apartment with her younger sister in Jamaica, Queens, and treks to City College in Manhattan, New York. The routine is deadening, but she finds purpose in the black community, working for a mural painter and volunteering for a civil rights activist.
After turning eighteen, Janet marches with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and falls for a young black saxophone player, Carmen. Her father, a policeman, explodes over their relationship, so Janet rebels - runs away with the jazz musician, and then winds up in the East Village in the Summer of Love. In the ensuing months she deals with heartbreak, sexual harassment, poverty, and danger - but eventually, she asks for the help she needs in order to pick up the pieces of her life and return to her dream.
Critique: Rebellion, 1967: A Memoir is the true-life story of an artist who rebelled against her Irish family as a teenager, participated in civil rights activism, fell in love with a musician, suffered hard times, and continued to pursue her dreams with help. Candid and wholehearted, Rebellion, 1967: A Memoir offers a window into an era of turbulence and dramatic change, and keeps the reader's attention riveted from cover to cover. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Rebellion, 1967: A Memoir is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.95).
Editorial Note: Janet Luongo writes stories, creates art, and gives speeches and workshops. Raised Unitarian Universalist in New York City, she holds an MSEd from Queens College at CUNY and taught art from kindergarten to college. While teaching at the International School of Geneva over several years, she exhibited paintings in Geneva and Paris. In Connecticut, she taught communication at Sacred Heart University. As an art education curator in Bridgeport museums, her innovative programs garnered grants, awards and media attention for connecting urban and suburban children and developing leadership in underserved teens. Her book, 365 Daily Affirmation for Creativity, with a foreword by Jack Canfield and published in five countries, led to presentations in the US and as far as Xian, China. To make diverse feminist artists visible, she founded a non-profit, which mounted forty exhibits. She coproduced the movie Women Make Art, which was screened at the UNIFEM film festival. Currently, photography is her art.
Finding My Way: Positivity Through Adversity
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781637643402, $21.00, HC, 84pp
Synopsis: It took the devastating disease of cancer to open Nick Porter's eyes to how he was living. Now, with the publication of "Finding My Way: Positivity Through Adversity" he wants to help others improve their lives, too. While Porter admits he still has a lot to learn, his tips can help readers cope with things that are out of their control.
In "Finding My Way", Porter recounts his life, from his unique early experiences to his Stage IV cancer diagnosis in 2017. Funny, insightful, and touching, his combination of autobiography and self-help advice proves that life is much more than just waking up, working, and going through the motions.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Finding My Way: Positivity Through Adversity" is an inherently interesting, exceptionally well written, and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement and Contemporary American Biography collections. Of special and particular interest to the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject of dealing with cancer, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Finding My Way: Positivity Through Adversity" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Nick Porter has a wife of twenty-one years and four children. His special interest is raising money and awareness for cancer research, especially for the charity PEDAL THE CAUSE.
The General Fiction Shelf
Boutique of Quality Books
9781952782336, $19.95, PB, 542pp
Synopsis: Employees of the agency work in either the Past, Present, or Future department and each year they are assigned a person on Earth in need of being "Scrooged," as it were, so that person can reform and embrace the potential for goodness, love, and humanity they have in their hearts.
Frost Mason has worked in the Present department for almost a century and this Christmas is her 100th soul to save. But the problem is that Frost's belief in the miracle of Christmas and what her agency does has started to fade because while many people commit to reforming after the "life-changing" experience of being Scrooged, human beings rarely change permanently and Frost has watched countless former Scrooges backtrack and return to their old ways once time has passed.
Frost must find a way to deal with her disenchantment over humanity's potential to change while also working with her team to save the soul of this year's Christmas Assignment: a young, up-and-coming political star running for governor.
Critique: A thoroughly fun read from cover to cover, "The Present" clearly showcases author Geanna Culbertson's impressive flair for originality with her creation of a mystical agency that is responsible for creating Christmas Carol scenarios with preselected targets every December. Also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), "The Present is a great pick for Christmas themed personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.
9781950539352, $16.95, 240pp
Synopsis: "Skin Elegies" is a psychological novel by Lance Olsen that uses the metaphor of mind-upload technologies to explore questions about the relationship of the cellular brain to the bytes-entity to which it gives rise; memory and our connection to the idea of pastness; refugeeism (geographical, somatic, temporal, aesthetic); and where the human might end and something else begin.
At the center stands an American couple who have fled their increasingly repressive country, now under the authoritarian rule of the Reformation Government, by transferring to a quantum computer housed in North Africa. The novel's structure mimics a constellation of firing neurons - a sparking collage of many tiny narraticules flickering through the brain of one of the refugees as it is digitized.
Those narraticules comprise nine larger stories over the course of the novel: the Fukushima disaster; the day the Internet was turned on; the final hours of the Battle of Berlin; John Lennon's murder; an assisted suicide in Switzerland; the Columbine massacre; a woman killed by a domestic abuser; a Syrian boy making his way to Berlin; and the Challenger disaster.
Critique: Showcasing author Lance Olsen's genuine flair for originality and expertise as a narrative driven storyteller, "Skin Elgies" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections as one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after it has been finished and set back upon the shelf.
Editorial Note: Lance Olsen is author of more than 25 books of and about innovative writing, including, most recently, the novels My Red Heaven (Dzanc, 2020) and Dreamlives of Debris (Dzanc, 2017). His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, such as Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, Fiction International, Village Voice, BOMB, McSweeney's, and Best American Non-Required Reading. A Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, D.A.A.D. Artist-in-Berlin Residency, two-time N.E.A. Fellowship, and Pushcart Prize recipient, as well as a Fulbright Scholar, Professor Olsen also teaches experimental narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah.
The Bennet Women
9781542029179, $12.95 pbk / $1.99 Kindle
Synopsis: Welcome to Bennet House, the only all-women's dorm at prestigious Longbourn University, home to three close friends who are about to have an eventful year. EJ is an ambitious Black engineering student. Her best friend, Jamie, is a newly out trans woman studying French and theatre. Tessa is a Filipina astronomy major with guy trouble. For them, Bennet House is more than a residence - it's an oasis of feminism, femininity, and enlightenment. But as great as Longbourn is for academics, EJ knows it can be a wretched place to find love.
Yet the fall season is young and brimming with surprising possibilities. Jamie's prospect is Lee Gregory, son of a Hollywood producer and a gentleman so charming he practically sparkles. That leaves EJ with Lee's arrogant best friend, Will. For Jamie's sake, EJ must put up with the disagreeable, distressingly handsome, not quite famous TV actor for as long as she can.
What of it? EJ has her eyes on a bigger prize, anyway: launching a spectacular engineering career in the "real world" she's been hearing so much about. But what happens when all their lives become entwined in ways no one could have predicted - and EJ finds herself drawn to a man who's not exactly a perfect fit for the future she has planned?
Critique: The debut novel of librarian Eden Appiah-Kubi, The Bennet Women is a modern, original novel with roots of inspiration in the classic "Pride and Prejudice". The titular Bennet House is the one and only all-women's dorm at the exalted Longbourn University. Three close friends at the dorm are about to experience a year that will change all of their lives. Must their romantic entanglements (which can be significantly more difficult to cultivate when one lives in an all-women's dorm) and plans for the future clash with one another? A quixotic tangle of events spirals into a tangled interplay, in this thought-provoking, emotional, and thoroughly enjoyable literary tour, highly recommended for both personal and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Bennet Women is also available in a Kindle edition ($1.99).
Just One Life
9798761916890, $10.78 (Amazon), HC, 468pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "Just One Life" by Ernest Cohen, readers will enjoy being introduced to Geoffrey Zukor, a bumbler of superhero proportions, whose private calamities have him waltzing through life with all the grace of a Wiley Coyote/Roadrunner cartoon. But then something happens, something quite extraordinary. Late one afternoon, his fortunes change -- dramatically. Did he finally catch a lucky break or was it actually the consequence of an intervention by none other than a Grand Master in the esoteric Art of Coincidence?
Critique: An entertaining and skillfully crafted blend of comedy and family drama, "Just One Life" offers humor and heartbreak. Showcasing author Ernest Cohen's genuine flair for originality and storytelling expertise with a novel about the sustaining power of friendship, and the psychology of changing one's life and identity, "Just One Life" is an especially an unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections.
Wrestling with Tradition
9798509210969, $12.59, PB, 261pp
Synopsis: Tom Kilmer replaced the retiring legendary wrestling coach in a small Iowa town recognized for its deep winning tradition. In a community where winning on the wrestling mat had become a family trait, transitioning to a new coach would not come easy, and losing would be difficult to accept.
In the coach's first year, the tradition came crashing down on the Cresco Spartans, who suffered their first losing season in twenty-eight years. The coach understood how the physical aspect of growing up working on a farm contributed to the brutal and mental toughness of being a successful wrestler. But as the wrestlers and their families struggled through personal tragedies, they found themselves depending on the young coach and his wife for support.
Would his relationships with his wrestlers be enough to pull his team together before the weight of the tradition becomes too much?
"Wrestling with Tradition" by Dale Stopperan is more than a novel about a hero; it is also the story of a rural community, and Cresco High School which becomes the center and pulse of the town.
"Wrestling with Tradition" also explores how a sporting activity can keep a community together as the author deftly creates dialogues that effectively features the kind of banter that reflects the world of the characters he has so ably created.
Offering the readers with an inside perspective of the life within a successful high school wrestling program in the early 1970s, displaying how the athletes, coaches, and those around them interacted, grew and dealt with adversity, Wrestling enthusiasts and supporters, young and old, will resonate with many of the experiences and situations that the characters find themselves within as they develop team cohesiveness in a totally individual sport.
Critique: Impressively original and exceptionally entertaining, as well as of special and particular interest to wrestling enthusiasts and sports fans, "Wrestling with Tradition" will prove to be of enduring popularity and is unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wrestling with Tradition" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Literary Fiction Shelf
The Wedding Party
Liu Xinwu, author
Jeremy Tiang, translator
9781542031202, $24.95, HC, 400pp
Synopsis: On a December morning in 1982, the courtyard of a Beijing siheyuan (a lively quadrangle of homes) begins to stir. Auntie Xue's son Jiyue is getting married today, and she is determined to make the day a triumph. Despite Jiyue's woeful ignorance in matters of the heart -- and the body. Despite a chef in training tasked with the onerous responsibility of preparing the banquet. With a cross-generational multitude of guests, from anxious family members to a fretful bridal party (not to mention exasperating friends, interfering neighbors, and wedding crashers) what will the day ahead bring?
Set at a pivotal point after the turmoil of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Liu Xinwu's novel weaves together a rich tapestry of characters, intertwined lives, and stories within stories. "The Wedding Party" is a touching, hilarious portrait of life in this singular Chinese city, and all packed into a Beijing courtyard on a single day that manages to be both perfectly normal and utterly extraordinary at the same time.
Critique: Ably translated into English for an American readership, "The Wedding Party" by Liu Xinwu is a deftly crafted and inherently entertaining novel. Simply stated, "The Wedding Party" will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the novel has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Wedding Party" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781542044790, $14.95), in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713620143, $24.52, MP3 CD).
The Artist: A Love Story
9798625261326, $11.00, PB, 399pp
Synopsis: Lily fell in love with Russell in elementary school. No one would take this seriously, but Lily did. Even though the boy ignored her, Lily kept him in her heart. Years later when they met and renewed their friendship, Lily faced struggles she never imagined.
Critique: A carefully crafted and emotionally moving novel that will resonate with readers who have had unrequited childhood crushes of their own that would have repercussions in their adult love life, "The Artist: A Love Story" effectively showcases author Carter Dreyfuss' genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling that fully engages and entertains the reader from first page to last. The kind of novel that Hallmark Channel romance movies are made and that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "The Artist: A Love Story" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Artist: A Love Story" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).
The Romantic Fiction Shelf
Simple Tryst of Fate
D. M. Barr
Champagne Book Group
9781771559980, $13.99, PB, 182pp
Synopsis: A desire for a more conventional life once propelled travel writer Dani Barrett into a disastrous marriage. Ten years later and newly divorced, she's back on the road with a series of rules to protect her heart and a secret sideline as an erotica author. On a press trip, she meets James Aldridge, a charming yet cynical publisher who arouses her interest. Little does Dani know James is secretly an investigative journalist with his own kinky streak, and that rather than writing a travelogue, his undercover probe into political corruption will suck her into a treacherous journey across South America that could either end at James's grave site or in his loving arms.
Critique: A deftly crafted and entertaining contemporary romance novel laced with suspense, intrigue, unexpected plot twists, and memorable characters, "Simple Tryst of Fate: Some Rules are Meant to be Broken" showcases author D. M. Barr's genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storyteller that will immediate engaging the reader's total attention. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated contemporary romance fans that "Simple Tryst of Fate: Some Rules are Meant to be Broken" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
9781946637253, $16.95, PB, 410pp
Synopsis: David Stoneman was a rising star at one of Washington, D.C.'s most prestigious law firms until the firm's conniving managing partner, Gregory Thomas III, abruptly derailed his plans.
Thereafter, David encounters Sarah Mercer, a single mother who tragically lost her son and wants justice. To help Sarah and redeem his tarnished reputation, David unwittingly uncovers a government secret buried by Senator Stephen Smythe, a ruthless politician who will stop at nothing to protect his new legislation, the Division Act.
Allying with a desperate Southern Baptist minister, David and Sarah find themselves in a tumultuous legal battle which turns into a fight for their lives. The clock is ticking, and David must use his most powerful weapon (his mind) to outsmart his former boss, outmaneuver a team of highly-trained killers, and outlast a sitting United States Senator, before it's too late!
Critique: A deftly crafted, impressively original, and simply riveting political thriller of a novel, "Deadly Division" by Nathaniel Sizemore is an extraordinary and memorable read from first page to last. While highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Deadly Division" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
9781734019063, $12.99 pbk / $5.99 Kindle
Synopsis: But Marc McKnight and his team's success depends on Rachel Patterson, an incarcerated time traveler from the future who is violently obsessed with him.
Unbeknownst to McKnight, a dangerous female Operative has been dispatched from the future to rescue Rachel, regardless of the cost and potentially catastrophic impact on history.
McKnight and his team must outsmart the Operative to prevent both the plague, and the political revolution tied to its malevolent inception.
Critique: The newest sci-fi novel of the Marc McKnight Time Travel Adventures series, Time Plague follows Marc and his expert team in their race to undo a deadly pandemic sparked by unwise tampering with history. An unbalanced female time criminal and an unknown assailant determined to free her at all costs not only threaten the future of humanity, but also cause a great deal of trouble for Marc's impending wedding with his live-in girlfriend Megan! Jumping between 2036, 2012, and 2086, Time Plague is an action-packed, heart-racing thrill ride from cover to cover, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Time Plague is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).
In the Shadow of Deimos
9781839080869, $16.95, PB, 352pp
Synopsis: Mars, 2316. The recently created Terraforming Committee arbitrates the dramatic development of Mars by powerful rival corporations. When a rogue asteroid crashes into a research center and kills its lone technician, the fragile balance between corporations is shattered. The World Government's investigation into the accident reveals a multitude of motives, while a corporation insider stumbles on a dark conspiracy. Two Martians with very different agendas must navigate a trail of destruction and treachery to uncover the truth and expose those responsible, before Mars falls to Earth's corruption. As lines blur between progress and humanity, Mars itself remains the biggest adversary of all.
Critique: An original science fiction novel by a master of the genre, "In the Shadow of Deimos" is part of author Jane Killick's 'A Terraforming Mars' series and will prove to be of immense interest to science fiction fans with an interest in the exploration of the solar system in general and of the colonization of Mars in particular. Thoroughly entertaining and also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, $19.99, CD), "In the Shadow of Deimos" is especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections.
Editor's Note: Jane Killick is an author and journalist who juggles working for BBC Radio with a lifelong passion for science fiction. Alongside several series of original SF novels, she has also written numerous behind the scenes books, including Stasis Leaked Complete, a guide to TV show Red Dwarf, and a series on Babylon 5.
The Jobs/Careers Shelf
From Paycheck to Purpose
9781942121534, $24.99, HC, 272pp
Synopsis: Does the work you do matter to you? Are you unsure what you want to do for a living? Are you in the right place but looking to advance? No matter where you are in your career, you were born to do work you love.
Ken Coleman found himself stuck in an unfulfilling career until he realized he didn't have to be. With the publication of "From Paycheck to Purpose: The Clear Path to Doing Work You Love", he draws on what he learned from his own ten-year journey as well as from coaching thousands of others to walk you through the seven stages to discovering and doing meaningful work.
Relevant to any job or industry, "From Paycheck to Purpose" is comprised of step-by-step instruction to: Get Clear on the work you were uniquely made to do and why; Get Qualified to do the work you were created for; Get Connected with the right people who can open the doors to your dream; Get Started by overcoming the emotions and mistakes that often hold people back; Get Promoted by developing winning habits and traits; Get Your Dream Job by doing work you love and accomplishing results that matter to you; Give Yourself Away by expanding the dream to leave a legacy.
Critique: With its motivating message that 'Feeling stuck in your career is a choice -- and you can change it', From "Paycheck to Purpose: The Clear Path to Doing Work You Love" is the ideal DIY instructional guide and manual for creating and achieving job and career management goals. Practical, effective, informative, thoughtful and thought provoking, inspired and inspiring, "From Paycheck to Purpose: The Clear Path to Doing Work You Love" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Job Hunting & Career Guides, Business Motivation & Self-Improvement, Motivational Management & Leadership collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Paycheck to Purpose: The Clear Path to Doing Work You Love" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666523508, $24.99, CD).
Editorial Note: Ken Coleman is host of The Ken Coleman Show and the EntreLeadership podcast. An acclaimed interviewer and nationally syndicated radio-show host, he helps listeners discover what they were born to do, pursue their passions, and ultimately land their dream career. He joined Ramsey Solutions in 2014 and is the author of One Question: Life-Changing Answers from Today's Leading Voices. He also maintains an informative website at
The Business Shelf
What Is It Costing You Not To Listen?
9781636181493, $29.95, HC, 384pp
Synopsis: "What Is It Costing You Not To Listen: The Power of Understanding to Connect, Influence, Solve & Sell" by Christine Miles was written specifically for those who want to make a positive change in their life, work, or business. For those who want to improve their marriage, be a better parent, or increase the revenues of their business enterprise.
"What Is It Costing You Not to Listen?" will encourage the reader to examine how they are listening. Readers will discover that not only are many of the problems in their lives due to not listening effectively, but listening helps to solve most problems.
Christine Miles is a longtime expert in educating individuals and organizations on how to listen in ways that transform how they lead, sell, influence, and succeed in every aspect of life. Following the steps of her breakthrough Listening Path™ will provide her readers with a critical key to their success and understanding.
Through Christine's game-changing approach to listening, readers will learn to: Hear what is said and not said; Identify their listening persona and realize when it is unhelpful; Soothe their subconscious so they can listen differently; Listen with intent to gather the stories of others; Replace interfering direct questions with just six questions; Mini-reflect to speed up the listening process without getting lost; Affirm to create alignment, break down walls, and solve problem.
In business, listening is good for the bottom line. It creates trust between coworkers so they can solve problems better, get things done, manage conflict, stay engaged, and empower one another. In personal relationships, listening is an act of love that communicates to people they are important to you.
Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "What Is It Costing You Not To Listen: The Power of Understanding to Connect, Influence, Solve & Sell" is an effective, life changing, life enhancing blend of DIY self-help manual and personal/business management instruction guidebook. While very highly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Business Management and Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "What Is It Costing You Not To Listen: The Power of Understanding to Connect, Influence, Solve & Sell" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).
Editorial Note: Holding a BS in Psychology from Millersville University, a Master's in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate in Structural Family Therapy from the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center, Christine Miles is an author, professional keynote speaker, consultant, executive coach, thought leader, entrepreneur, and recognized world expert in the field of listening differently. Christine has helped thousands of executives, individuals, and families expand human connections, transforming businesses and lives.
The Indispensable Leader
The Indispensable Leader LLC
9781737637721, $24.95, HC, 194pp
Synopsis: The traditional binary thinking of detail-oriented or big-picture leadership is limiting the growth of contemporary careers, teams, and companies. Filled with practical tools and real-world examples, "The Indispensable Leader: How to Use Your Inner Manager and Visionary to Achieve Leadership Success" by Darby Vannier is an instructive and practical guide which will help balance detail-focused accomplishment and big-picture inspiration to create a leadership style that fosters an effective team, an enterprising environment, and an exciting future.
"The Indispensable Leader" presents: Beneficial traits of the Manager and Visionary archetypes to adopt; A foundation of core values and habits to handle every situation; How to display influential leadership outside of a formal role; Options for building both technical and big-idea skills; Indispensable tips for creating and strengthening a great team.
Critique: Invaluable reading for anyone charged with managerial responsibilities, "The Indispensable Leader: How to Use Your Inner Manager and Visionary to Achieve Leadership Success" is an ideal choice for DIY studies or as an MBA curriculum supplementary textbook. While especially recommended for corporate, community, college, and university library Business Management collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of entrepreneurs, business managers, corporate executives, MBA students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, that "The Indispensable Leader" is also available in a paperback edition (9781737637707, $17.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Darby Vannier has over 20 years of experience in leadership development and strategic consulting. He has led effective teams of more than 100 employees, coached others into their own leadership positions, and created stability during challenging organizational transitions. Darby built his career on the philosophy that developing the right people is the key to success. He also maintains an informative website at www.beindispensable.com.
The DAP Strategy
DAP Publishing Pte Ltd
9789811816499, $18.88, PB, 172pp
Synopsis: New software offers opportunities to improve business outcomes. Yet millions of dollars and hours of productivity are wasted each year as companies fail to manage change in a cloud technology-led world. The problem isn't the people or software -- it's a lack of confidence and knowledge. "The DAP Strategy: A New Way of Working to De-Risk & Accelerate Your Digital Transformation" by Raj Sundarason enable business enterprises to take advantage of new ways of working to de-risk and accelerate the potential value from their digital transformation initiatives with Digital Adoption Platforms.
In "The DAP Strategy", Sundarason (the chief evangelist for the world's premier DAP provider), shares practical insights to empower leadership teams and employees to master digital tools. Strategic yet nontechnical, this is your guide to accelerating capability and unlocking the potential of digital transformation programs for your organization.
"The DAP Strategy reveals: The power of DAPs to help your "baby users" confidently navigate new digital tools, completing processes faster and more accurately; How to unlock cashable benefits by leveraging existing system data to fix process friction points that impact your P&L; Positive benefits of DAPs on employee workflow, work culture, and customer relationship management; A framework to assess the value and economic impact of DAP content on business objectives; What an organization must do to ensure successful digital transformations for the competitive advantage it needs -- because DAPs aren't enough.
Critique: Exceptionally informative, thought-provoking, innovative, practical, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "The DAP Strategy: A New Way of Working to De-Risk & Accelerate Your Digital Transformation" is unreservedly recommended for corporate, community, college, and university library Business Management & Technology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of entrepreneurs, business managers, corporate executives, MBA students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The DAP Strategy: A New Way of Working to De-Risk & Accelerate Your Digital Transformation" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
It Begins with Please and Doesn't End with Thank You
Edwin P. Baldry
River Grove Books
9781632994592, $20.00, PB, 260pp
Synopsis: We live and do business in a world where respect, gratitude, and appreciation have been replaced by efficiency, dismissiveness, and even fear of genuine connection. Sometimes, we don't stare up from our screens and devices long enough to realize there is even another person on the other side of the tweet or email.
One thing is for sure: this speed of life has taken a toll on our basic use of good manners and etiquette. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the decline of professional business communications. But manners and etiquette can be a powerful tool for business and sales success.
With the publication of "It Begins with Please and Doesn't End with Thank You: Transforming Business Etiquette into Sales Performance", author and successful businessman Edwin P. Baldry shows how to regain those tools and techniques of bygone eras and update them for the digital today. This DIY how-to guide and informational/instructional resource takes the concepts of "please" and "thank you" into every realm where you engage with clients and prospects-from your first hellos and emails, phone and video calls, to conference rooms and restaurants.
With his "return to the personal" philosophy, sales veteran Baldry breaks down the practices, principles, and protocols for successful business dealings and relationship-building. Via tips, tools, and humorous tales, Baldry shows how to tap into the often-overlooked power of manners to improve your business relationships, and how to transfer etiquette into sales performance.
Critique: Timely and relevant to successful business management, marketing, and sales practices and policies in today's pandemic disrupted business world, "It Begins with Please and Doesn't End with Thank You: Transforming Business Etiquette into Sales Performance" should be considered essential reading for anyone having to engage in sales with respect to the general public, as well as within business ranging from Main Street to Wall Street. Also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "It Begins with Please and Doesn't End with Thank You: Transforming Business Etiquette into Sales Performance" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Business Sales & Management Communications collections.
The Money/Finance Shelf
Faster Safer Wealthier
9781777813208, $19.95, PB, 198pp
Synopsis: High-risk entrepreneurship is a tough route to a rich life and financial freedom. Start-up stress, like relying on a once-in-a-lifetime innovation or setting out on a one-track objective of billionaire status, most often results in detours and setbacks rather than the financial rewards you desire. Not all businesses are high-risk endeavors though. Substantial, lasting wealth can be built in the space between broke and billionaire-when you reframe your idea of business ownership.
With the publication of "Faster Safer Wealthier: Skip the Start-up and Buy a Stable Business to Build Intergenerational Wealth", Dr. Gregory Bott explains: Why entrepreneurial potential doesn't depend on your education, money, age, or experience; How to align your personal abilities, passion, and energy with the right investment when buying a business; Solutions to finance your acquisition, from partnerships to private loans; and more.
"Faster Safer Wealthier also provides a due diligence starter kit to analyze elements like cash flow, valuation, and vulnerabilities of potential target companies, as well as business management systems to put in place after acquisition to scale for greater profitability.
Critique: An especially comprehensive, expertly organized, and throughout 'user friendly' DIY instructional guide and manual that will prove to be especially valued by novice and aspiring entrepreneurs, "Faster Safer Wealthier: Skip the Start-up and Buy a Stable Business to Build Intergenerational Wealth" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Small Business & Entrepreneurship collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for MBA students, academia, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Faster Safer Wealthier: Skip the Start-up and Buy a Stable Business to Build Intergenerational Wealth" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
Editorial Note: Dr. Gregory Bott is an entrepreneur and investor. At age 24, he quit his full-time corporate employment in pursuit of both higher education and entrepreneurship. Since then, he has owned and operated numerous businesses across multiple industries, including hospitality, real estate, and agriculture. A governance and leadership expert with four degrees across three continents, he instructs at the University of Alberta and chairs one of the largest social services agencies in Alberta, Canada. He also maintains an informative website at www.gregbott.com
The Christian Studies Shelf
The Dwell Book
9798767287833, $10.00, PB, 141pp
Synopsis: With the publication of "The Dwell Book: Empowering the Next Generation to Live the Life God Intended", Maddie Rey takes her readers along on the journey she herself went on growing up in the Church as she shares the experiences, the sacrifices, the realities, and how through it all she found her testimony as a Pastor's kid growing up in church.
Critique: An absorbing and inherently interesting memoir, "The Dwell Book: Empowering the Next Generation to Live the Life God Intended" will be of special and particular interest to members of the Christian community regardless of their denominational affiliations. Detailing experiences that are at once intensely personal, and yet universally recognizable, "The Dwell Book: Empowering the Next Generation to Live the Life God Intended" is unreservedly recommended for community, church, and seminary library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Dwell Book: Empowering the Next Generation to Live the Life God Intended" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).
The Humor Shelf
Laugh without Guilt: A Clean Joke Book
Birke Duncan, author
Jason Marc Harris, author
Emma Rose Hill, illustrator
9798462490491, $9.99, PB, 223pp
Synopsis: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change.
Why don't priests play golf?
They don't have the vocabulary.
Why are most blonde jokes one-liners?
So that guys can understand them.
Compiled, edited, and retold by the team of Birke Duncan and Jason Marc Harris, these are the kinds of jokes, riddles, puns, anecdotes, urban legends, joculates, quips, and anti-tales comprising this expanded second edition of "Laugh without Guilt: A Clean Joke Book".
Critique: An ideal resource for anyone having to give a public speech, and wonderfully entertaining just to browse through one page and joke at a time, this new second edition of "Laugh without Guilt: A Clean Joke Book" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library humor collections.
The Self-Help Shelf
Fire Your Narrator!
9781737434504, $14.95, PB, 145pp
Synopsis: Looking from the outside, you have it all together. You're smart, talented, and accomplished. On the inside, you think you're not enough. You've got a harsh voice that talks you through your day, second-guessing actions and ruminating on past mistakes.
Say hello to your narrator, a voice familiar to you -- because it is you! And yet, it's holding you back from feeling happy and fulfilled. It's time to take back ownership of your most important story -- the one you tell yourself.
With the publication of "Fire Your Narrator!: A Storyteller's Guide to Getting Out of Your Head and into Your Life", television producer and expert storyteller Valerie Gordon dives into the powerful stories we tell ourselves and how our narrator (our subconscious voice) affects our actions and our success. "Fire Your Narrator!" is a relatable guide enhanced with laughs, compassion, and practical tools to identify your own narrator and recast the role with a positive, more productive voice.
"Fire Your Narrator!" features: Ten common types of inner-story narrators, like The Critic or The People Pleaser; The origin of your narrative thoughts in your past, so you can master them in your present; How to pinpoint beneficial emotions behind negative narrator talk and change your response; Red-flag words and how to spot them before your inner narrator gets too loud; The secret to flipping that unhelpful internal script for a clearer, happier future.
Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Fire Your Narrator!: A Storyteller's Guide to Getting Out of Your Head and into Your Life" is an effective, practical, insightful, thoughtful and thought-provoking DIY self-help manual that is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fire Your Narrator!" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).
Editorial Note: Valerie Gordon is a 10-time Emmy award-winning television producer with more than two decades in media creating and overseeing feature stories for top media outlets. She knows how to use the power of a meaningful, memorable story for impact and influence. As founder of Commander-in-She, LLC, a communications and career strategy firm, Valerie helps high-achieving women take command of the storytelling skills necessary to grow their careers and ascend the leadership ladder. She also maintains an informative website at https://commander-in-she.com
James A. Cox
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