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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 13, Number 6 June 2014 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Political Science Shelf Biography Shelf
Fiction Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
American History Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf Poetry Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Business Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf Memoir Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

A Future for Cheetahs
Dr. Laurie Marker, author
Suzi Eszterhas, photographer
Cheetah Conservation Fund
PO Box 2496, Alexandra, VA 22301
c/o Booth Media Group, Inc. (publicity)
1386 Nightshade Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011
9780615933207 $45.00

A Future for Cheetahs is a coffee-table book about these beautiful and endangered big cats. Cheetahs are the only big cat that purrs (and doesn't roar), known for their incredible speed and hunting prowess, their distinctive spotted coats with "tear-trail" eye markings, and so gentle compared to other big cat species (such as pumas, tigers, or lions) that wealthy aristocrats historically used them to hunt for sport. Today, cheetahs numbers in the wild are dangerously low; habitat destruction, competition from other predators, poaching (including the illegal African "bush meat" trade), and African livestock farmers who kill cheetahs for the same reasons American livestock farmers once killed wolves or coyotes, threaten the cheetah with extinction. A Future for Cheetahs not only documents how difficult it is for Cheetahs to survive (doubly so for a mother cheetah attempting to raise her offspring and teach them how to hunt), but also Africa's endemic problems of famine, overpopulation, and habitat destruction, particularly from overgrazing and soil depletion. Saving the cheetah is impossible without also addressing the survival needs of those who call Africa home; one of the ways the Cheetah Conservation Fund protects cheetahs is by providing livestock herders with guard dogs (and the training to care for and use them) to protect their animals without killing cheetahs. Also of utmost importance are efforts to keep children in school, and promote sustainable economic and livelihood development. A Future for Cheetahs is filled not only with extraordinary, full-color photography of cheetahs (including heartrending images of mother cheetahs raising their kittens in an unforgiving world), but also of Africa itself, its wildlife, and its resilient people. The text is divided into chapters about the life cycles of cheetahs themselves, the deadliest threats to their existence, and the troubling challenges that face the whole of Africa. Highly recommended.

Beyond Conflict
Timothy Phillips
Brideswell Books
c/o Beyond Conflict
1100 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 300, Cambridge, MA 02138
9780615790572, $24.95, 103pp,

Synopsis: How do wars end? Why are some societies capable of peaceful political transitions while others descend into violence? In "Beyond Conflict: 20 Years of Putting Experience to Work for Peace", Tim Phillips draws from 20 years experience on the front lines of peace negotiations around the world to offer lessons for our current foreign policy challenges. He relates stories of six individuals from South Africa, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Israel, Chile and Czechoslovakia who stood up to dictatorship, sat down with their enemies and confronted their greatest fears to pave the way for lasting peace and reconciliation. Individuals include: Jan Urban, a Czech dissident, journalist and leading figure in the Velvet revolution to end communism; Roelf Meyer, South Africa's principal government negotiator during the end of Apartheid; Naomi Chazan, a senior Israeli political leader and women's rights activist who pursued peace with the Palestinians; Monica McWilliams, founder of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition who secured a place for women in negotiating an end to the violent conflict in Northern Ireland; Jose Zalaquett, the Chilean lawyer and human rights activist who helped establish Chile's truth and reconciliation commission following the Pinochet era; and Jose Maria Argueta, a senior Guatemalan statesman who risked his life to help end his country's bloody civil war. "Beyond Conflict: 20 Years of Putting Experience to Work for Peace" travels the globe, giving voice to courageous individuals who have led their nations from seemingly-intractable conflicts through peaceful transitions. "Beyond Conflict: 20 Years of Putting Experience to Work for Peace" explores the dynamics that must be present before societies can move towards peace, and showcases how even long-standing simmering hatreds have been overcome.

Critique: Articulate, detailed, documented, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Beyond Conflict: 20 Years of Putting Experience to Work for Peace" is extraordinary reading from beginning to end. Of special note is the Special Tribute to Nelson Mandela. Profusely illustrated throughout and enhanced with the inclusion of a roster of thematically relevant 'Boards and Committees', "Beyond Conflict: 20 Years of Putting Experience to Work for Peace" is a critically important and highly advised addition to both community and academic library collections.

Angel In Disguise
Violeta Barrett
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781484092217, $28.95, 148pp,

Synopsis: Violeta Barrett doesn't like cats. She has always told herself, "I am not a cat person." But one day not long after becoming a widow, she is taken by surprise by the scratching at her screen door. There, with a cute face and nicked-up ears, is a little guy who will become known simply as Cat. At first his clawing of the screen door annoys her. But soon, sitting on the porch together, she finds that she enjoys the little fellow's company. That's how it usually begins with animals; their kind spirit and cute faces warm our hearts--if our hearts are open enough to accept their offering. Luckily for Violeta her heart is wide open. "Angel in Disguise" is the tenderly moving true story of a genuine relationship between a woman and her pet cat. Their journey together is life- changing, amusing and emotional and underscores the notion that we were not meant to be alone; that we are social beings and that love is essential in our lives. It is true that the major focus of love has mainly been on male-female bonding. But the essence of true love has always meant patience, care, compassion and giving, and goes beyond human relationships. It is that kind of love in ANGEL IN DISGUISE that develops the feline-human bond that will capture the hearts of its readers.

Critique: Author Violeta Barrett has a rare gift for creating an immediate emotional engagement and response with respect to the reader. Enhancing her superbly crafted narrative story with color photography of her little, orange-striped cat that showed up one day on her porch and entered her life in so many ways, will strike a responsive chord within any reader who has loved -- and ultimately lost -- a precious animal companion. An entertaining read from first page to last, "Angel In Disguise" is truly extraordinary and highly recommended for personal and community library collections. It should also be noted that "Angel In Disguise" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.97).

Naturally, She's Dreaming, Inspirational Art and Essays
Susan Lukas
Privately Published
9780615979250, $30.00, 76pp,

Synopsis: Inspirational digital photo collages of nature and essays celebrate nature and art as the spiritual connection we all have. Susan's enchanting dreamlike images, organized by season, come from a place between heaven and earth. The uplifting message are the perfect accompaniment to her collages.

Critique: A pure pleasure to simply browse through and enjoying the full color images paired with thoughtful and thought-provoking commentaries, "Naturally, She's Dreaming, Inspirational Art and Essays" is both inspired and inspiring. Very highly recommended reading, "Naturally, She's Dreaming, Inspirational Art and Essays" would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library collections.

The Political Science Shelf

Insignificant Me!
Ruth Washington
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
97814772642799, $14.95, 97pp,

Synopsis: Well, it is the year and the time I dread the most. It is the Presidential election year, where we elect or appoint a President for the next four years. It is a time we are forced to endure as we listen to all the lies, promises, innuendo, etc. Why can't the politicians we have campaigning for office simply tell us what their plans are for making our lives easier? I'll tell you why, because they simply don't have a plan. Don't waste my time telling me what Joe Blow has not done for me! Simply state your plans if you have any, and allow me to make the decision of who do I think will do the best job for the Country or who is the lesser of two evils. As a cousin of mine used to say often times, "Playing upon my little intelligence!" I liked the fact that all the Republican Debates were not on every network. Don't automatically assume everyone wants to hear all this rhetoric on every network. Each network should take turns donating time to the candidates and debates. In this way, those who are interested can tune in and those not interested can do something else. One of my pet peeves concerns the amount of money spent to make the public believe all the lies, promises, innuendo and rhetoric told to us. What is even more disturbing is how gullible some of us are. Why isn't that money spent to pay down the deficit? If the politicians are truly concerned about the deficit, isn't this a viable start on reducing the deficit? Opinions are like asses, everybody has one and these are a few of my own.

Critique: Iconoclastic, insightful, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and offering a wealth erudite observational commentaries that will leave the reader feeling like here at last is a breath of fresh air amidst the fog of partisan political hot air, "Insignificant Me!" is truly extraordinary and deftly expressed political commentary that is enthusiastically recommended reading for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and anyone who has ever found themselves yelling at the television screen during one of those so-called political debates! It should be noted that "Insignificant Me!" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781477264775, $23.99) and a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Biography Shelf

Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother
Rosemary Mild
Magic Island Literary Works
MM Publicity
9780983859772, $9.95, 152pp,

Synopsis: Don't we all have mixed emotions about our mothers? But how many of us have a mother like Rosemary's who is multi-talented, yet super-tough to live with? Luby Pollack was a widely published journalist, popular book author, and even an artist of sorts. She sometimes had a daunting role to play. In the delivery room during Rosemary's birth, her psychiatrist husband ordered her not to make any noise during labor as it was "unseemly for a doctor's wife." Rosemary Pollack Mild started to write a book strictly about herself, but that didn't go so well. She discovered that Mother popped up on every page. Looming. Encouraging. Warning. Always the Protagonist, the Star, the Heroine, the Antagonist, and sometimes the Villain from the viewpoint of a loving but ornery daughter.

Critique: Fascinating, candid, engaging, compelling, "Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother" is a deftly written biography of a daughter and her sometimes 'larger than life' mother. This is a story that will resonate with the reader and be remembered long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf. Very highly recommend and entertaining reading, it should be noted that "Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

The Fiction Shelf

A House In Berlin
William R. Dameron
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781490953366, $15.99, 372pp,

Synopsis: "A House in Berlin" is an epic novel covering the period from 1939 to the summer of 1944. It follows actual events, and provides plausible interactions between fictional and historical characters. During World War II, Germany wasn't a pleasant environment. It was especially difficult for: - Dieter, an army officer who served in the Great War. His wounded leg had never fully healed. When called up again, he was initially confined to a desk job in army intelligence. He was passing information to the British and risked being shot as a spy; - Clara, the woman Dieter loved, had a mysterious past and was afraid for her life; - Ernst, a top salesman for Krupp before the war, lost his job when Hitler stopped all sales of steel outside the Reich. Unable to find other employment, he accepted a commission in the army; - Paula, who left and divorced Ernst when he could no longer support her life style; - Berthold, Ernst's brother, who enlisted in the Luftwaffe but was too tall to fit in the cockpit of a fighter; - Karl, a fanatic Nazi and Himmler's nephew, who served in the SS but was disgraced in battle. With his uncle's help Karl found a job as a Gestapo inspector, which gave him leverage to pursue Dieter, his competitor for Clara. As the war progressed and went badly for Germany, life became even less pleasant for: - Berthold, shot down over the coast of England; - Dieter, suddenly removed from his desk job, trained hastily as a tank commander, and sent to the Russian front. Himmler arranged that he was to be kept in action until he was killed; - Clara, hiding under a fake identity because the Gestapo suspected she was Jewish; - Heinz, a brilliant Panzer general fired by Hitler for lack of satisfactory progress in terrible winter conditions; - and - - Klaus, a Bavarian noble who learned that Hitler survived the bomb he planted. As things fall apart, Dieter and Clara flee. Karl and his Gestapo henchman wait for them and spring their trap.

Critique: "A House In Berlin" establishes novice author William R. Dameron as a truly gifted storyteller able to craft memorable characters and deftly weave them into a complex and compelling plot that swiftly engages the reader's total attention and holds it firmly from beginning to end. Extraordinarily well written, "A House In Berlin" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library general fiction collections.

The Mexican Witch
Edward G. Kurtz Publishing
PO Box 9949, College Station, TX 77842
9780615293110, $14.95, 334pp,

Synopsis: Naomi Fox, married, thirties, Jewish, and uptight, hustles to Mexico City after her runaway daughter, Karen. She finds her in a group surrounding an expatriate named Bill Klein. Following one drink too many, Naomi has a one night affair with Klein. Come morning, he helps her persuade Karen to return home. Days later Klein, in lassitude, decides to visit a Mexican Indian pueblo where he had once lived for a summer. Just as he is ready to go, Naomi returns, separated from her husband and needing "luft." He takes her with him. But their affair can no longer endure. Naomi goes home to her "painted on smile of a marriage" and Klein goes back to his city of dreams and beggars.

Critique: A deftly written and thoroughly entertaining debut novel, "The Mexican Witch" documents novice author Edward G. Kurtz as a talented and imaginative writer able to hold the reader's appreciative attention from first page to last. Simply stated, "The Mexican Witch" is enthusiastically recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.

Tanaka Chronicles
Tracy Kadungure
New Generation Publishing
9781909878747, $13.99, 370pp,

Synopsis: Never been kissed, and brought up with the mantra of 'wait until you get married to have sex', Tanaka is attached to her virginity and plans to give it up on her wedding day. That is until she meets Fungai...the sweetest temptation. A tall, handsome chocolate-skinned brother with a hard, muscular body and full, kissable lips. A series of encounters with him awaken the magic that lies within the body of the Goddess and the ecstasy in every woman. Holding her to him, he slips her top off, exposing her supple breasts...encircling the bead with his lips, he sucks, engulfing her nipple in heat and moistness...she allows herself to enjoy it...and then her orgasm, so powerful, so intense, takes her completely by surprise. Her body feels like liquid fire coursing through her. Deep within her, she discovers that she is juicy, sexy, sensual and alive. Follow Tanaka as she immigrates to the UK and meets Ricky, who presents her with an extraordinary proposition. She is yeaning to be reawakened and nurtured. She is ready to explore the sensual mysteries of her inner universe. Threesomes, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and naughty games...perhaps BDSM is on the cards. The insatiable genie is out of the bottle; putting it back is out of the question.

Critique: A mature novel for mature readers, Tracy Kadungure's "Tanaka Chronicles" is an extraordinarily well crafted novel that will hold the reader's total attention from first page to last. Complex characters interwoven into an equally complex storyline, "Tanaka Chronicles" is solid entertainment and highly recommended. It should be noted that "Tanaka Chronicles" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781909878839, $19.99).

The River's Memory
Sandra Gail Lambert
Twisted Road Publications
1400 Village Square Blvd., Suite 3-234, Tallahassee, FL 32312
9781940189000, $13.95, 240pp,

Synopsis: "The River's Memory" tells the story of women living along the banks of a river where water billows from caverns of silent lakes. Before the first Europeans arrive, a potter survives an alligator attack only to be trapped in a deadly game of politics. Centuries later a child of the Florida frontier sits on the baby graves of her siblings and tries to make sense of her mother's depression, race relations, and the habits of caterpillars. Fever and breathlessness, both from the Spanish Flu and a rush of new sexual feeling, sends a fourteen-year- old on a journey of escape that ends where in the years to come a woman born without legs spends her days swimming with manatees, drinking moonshine, and reading the latest Virginia Woolf. That is, until the day a man asks her to wrestle snakes. Today, a store clerk in the river's amusement park sells plastic dream catchers and alligator mugs made in China until divorce, a looming forty- ninth birthday, and a sudden winter storm drive her back to the river she abandoned as a child. And, finally, ten thousand years ago, when the river was only a crack in the earth, a trader walks across the grass savannahs of what will become Florida and searches for a way to end her pregnancy. These women are not famous. None of them have children. Instead, their stories exist in a mosaic of time and shadowed history, and the things of the river - clay and water, trees and bone - carry their memories forward.

Critique: A simply outstanding novel, "The River's Memory" clearly designates Sandra Gail Lambert has a tremendously talented and deftly effective author. Carefully crafted and memorable characters combine with a complexly interwoven storyline creating a solidly entertaining read that is highly recommended. "The River's Memory" would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections and will leave readers looking eagerly toward Ms. Lambert's next literary effort!

A Terrible Unrest
Philip Duke
Top Hat Books
c/o National Book Network
4270 Boston Way, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781782794370, $22.95, 359pp,

Synopsis: When Spiro, Maria and Anna Andrakis, a young immigrant family from Greece, are unwillingly thrust into the maelstrom of the Colorado Coalfield War (1913-1914), the most brutal labor conflict in American history, they must overcome a series of tragedies that change their lives forever. "A Terrible Unrest" is a novel of desperate bravery and horrendous violence, of unflinching loyalty, abject betrayal and human survival.

Critique: The Colorado Coalfield War was a major labor uprising in Colorado between 1913 and 1914. It culminated in the Ludlow Strike, which ended as a massacre when the Colorado National Guard attacked a tent city occupied by striking coal miners. In retaliation for Ludlow, the miners armed themselves and attacked dozens of mines over the next ten days, destroying property and engaging in several skirmishes with the National Guard along a forty-mile front from Trinidad to Walsenburg. The entire strike would cost between sixty-nine and 199 lives. It was described as the "deadliest strike in the history of the United States" Philip Duke's deftly written novel based upon that horrific struggle is a gripping work of historical fiction and very highly recommended for community library collections. It should be noted that "A Terrible Unrest" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.59).

Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray
David Maring
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781494493318, $14.95, 188pp,

Synopsis: "Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray" is a novel that stays true to a historical narrative. At the same time, "Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray" examines the intimate life and the personality traits of this famous American political figure. The reader will learn how after Davis graduated from West Point, his service in the Black Hawk War and the Mexican War made him a hero to the nation. Intimate stories of his relationships with Knoxie, the love of his life, and with his second wife, Varina, show both his strengths and weaknesses as a husband. The reader will follow the path of Jefferson Davis' public service as a member of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and as the Secretary of War. The novel explores Davis' philosophy on the Constitution and the relation of the States to Washington. The reader will learn how his education, environment, and personal experiences led him to the views he held on important political matters.

Critique: If "Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray" were a film it would quite possibly be classified as a 'docudrama'. Although a deftly written work of fiction, "Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray", with respect to Jefferson Davis' life and times, is reliably informed and informative. Highly entertaining and an easy read, "Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray" is strongly recommended for personal reading lists and community library historical fiction collections. It should be noted that "Jefferson Davis Before He Wore Confederate Gray" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.95).

Autumn in Carthage
Christopher Zenos
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
The Cadence Group (publicity)
212 Marengo Avenue, Suite 2S, Forest Park, IL 60130
9781496043023, $12.99, 332pp,

Synopsis: Nathan Price is a college professor with crippling impairments, seeking escape from his prison of necessity. One day, in a package of seventeenth-century documents from Salem Village, he stumbles across a letter by his best friend, Jamie, who had disappeared six months before. The document is dated 1692 - the height of the Witch Trials. The only potential lead: a single mention of Carthage, a tiny town in the Wisconsin northern highland. The mystery catapults Nathan from Chicago to the Wisconsin wilderness. There, he meets Alanna, heir to an astonishing Mittel-European legacy of power and sacrifice. In her, and in the gentle townsfolk of Carthage, Nathan finds the refuge for which he has long yearned. But Simon, the town elder, is driven by demons of his own, and may well be entangled in Jamie's disappearance and that of several Carthaginians. As darkness stretches toward Alanna, Nathan may have no choice but to risk it all... Moving from the grimness of Chicago's South Side to the Wisconsin hinterlands to seventeenth-century Salem, "Autumn in Carthage' is a story of love, of sacrifice, of terrible passions - and of two wounded souls quietly reaching for the deep peace of sanctuary.

Critique: An extraordinarily well written and original novel, "Autumn in Carthage" establishes Christopher Zenos as a particularly able and talented novelist. A terrifically entertaining read from beginning to end, "Autumn in Carthage" is very highly recommended reading and would prove to be a valued and popular addition to any community library collection. It should be noted that "Autumn in Carthage" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.59).

Back At Square One
Alfred Mielacher
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781491880296, $15.18, 122pp,

Synopsis: Two worlds-apart young adults, Diane-Lynn, a highly gifted graphic designer working in Paris, and Julien, a self proclaimed adventurer and talented caricaturist living in Cape Town, meet under unusual circumstances and embark on a philosophical journey through rainy nights and gale force winds along the Cape Peninsula.

Critique: A fairly quick and easy read, "Back at Square One" is a deftly written and entertaining novel that will have special appeal to anyone who appreciates a deftly crafted novel of memorable characters and inherently interesting storylines. Very highly recommended, it should be noted that "Back at Square One" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals
Susan E. Davis, PT
Joycare Media
c/o The Cadence Group
212 Marengo Avenue, Suite 2S, Forest Park, IL 60130
9780989275002, $19.95, 286pp,

Synopsis: "Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals: A Guide for the Consumer" is the essential guide to help pet owners navigate the veterinary physical therapy and rehabilitation field throughout the animal's life span. It will assist pet owners with how to find a qualified therapist, what to expect on the initial visit, explaining the process of goal setting and treatment intervention plans. It offers descriptions of physical modalities, therapeutic exercises, and a wide variety of conditions affecting the pet in the areas of orthopedics, neurology, oncology, metabolic illness, and congenital deformities. "Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals: A Guide for the Consumer" also addresses interesting topics such as aging pets/geriatrics, arthritis, injury prevention, stem cell procedures, Reiki, braces and splints, wheeled carts and artificial limbs. Included are numerous patient case studies and anecdotal

Critique: Absolutely 'reader friendly' from first page to last, "Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals: A Guide for the Consumer" by animal health care professional Susan E. Davis is an ideal instruction guide for non-professional general readers in helping a pet overcome a physical disability, maximize a pet's recovery and prevent further injuries. "Help your Pet Overcome Disability, Maximize Recovery and Prevent Injury" is very highly recommended reading for pet owners and is commended as an enduringly valued addition to community library Pets & Wildlife instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Help your Pet Overcome Disability, Maximize Recovery and Prevent Injury" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The World Walker
M. W. Albeer
Roundfire Books
c/o National Book Network
4270 Boston Way, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781782794905, $38.95, 857pp,

Synopsis: Exploring forgotten history and the nature of reality, "The World Walker" is an adventure of magic and mystery, set during a world-transcending struggle for freedom in a future time of global supremacy. During a time when the hidden leaders of the world are converging into a global elite oligarchy, a common problem of rebellion is spreading and about to reach a pinnacle. Nobody can see this more clearly than Jen, a Raiceman soldier, desperately wishing to escape a life of combat and explore his roots and Elera, who finds herself drawn into a sacred journey to rediscover the true history of humanity. Jen and Elera soon discover their interwoven parts in a story that has unfolded throughout antiquity. Wise protectors and powerful demons step from the shadows to reveal their part in the history of the universe. New worlds open, as those craving power and those seeking freedom are brought together in a series of melodic events. A story of hope, courage and freedom, The "World Walker" explores the physical, dream and spirit realms of existence.

Critique: A massive saga, "The World Walker" clearly establishes M. W. Albeer as a major literary talent. A complex and deftly woven story populated by memorable characters, and threaded through with engaging philosophical and social themes, "The World Walker" is very highly recommended reading and would be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should also be noted that "The World Walker" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.59).

The American History Shelf

Swords in Their Hands
Dave Richards
Pisgah Press
PO Box 1427, Candler, NC 28715
News & Experts (publicity)
3748 Turman Loop, #101, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
9780985387587, $24.95, 400pp,

Synopsis: "Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy," is the first book-length account of a plot that can be described as the closest thing to a coup that the United States has ever experienced. In the autumn of 1782, many Revolutionary War officers in the Hudson Highlands have grown angry and frustrated that they have not been paid in months or even years. With victory over the British within sight, they begin to fear that they will never get their back pay and promised postwar pensions, because the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, meeting under the Articles of Confederation of 1777, has no power to raise funds to pay them. Two political factions are at loggerheads over taxation: nationalists want Congress to have direct taxation authority, while their opponents insist that only individual states should have the power to do so, as is the case under the Articles. As the new year begins and the last months of the war approach, several key army officers, supported by some nationalist members of Congress, set in motion a desperate plot: they will terrify state legislators, and their delegates in Congress, into granting Congress direct taxation authority it needs, under threat of two alternatives. One option is that, after defeating the British, they will turn their armies toward Philadelphia itself to enforce their demands; alternatively, they will lay down their arms before victory is achieved, and let the British quell the colonists' rebellion. In March hundreds of Washington's officers, "ready for revolt," gather in Newburgh, NY to agree on the first steps toward implementing their plan. But to their shock and chagrin, General Washington himself arrives, and in a 15-minute address changes the course of history. Having himself "grown almost blind in the service of my country," he gently chides the officers, puts down the uprising, and saves the future nation.

Critique: A superbly detailed and documented history of an obscure chapter of American history, "Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy" is a simply fascinating study and strongly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in the emergence of the United States as a political entity in general, and the contributions of George Washington to American governance in particular. A seminal work of impressive scope, "Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy" is very highly recommended for community and academic library American History collections.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

The Human Life Equation
L. A. Washington
Lucid Logos
c/o Gulotta Communications
321 Walnut Street, Newton, MA 02460
9780615889214, $9.95,

While the definition of when life begins is one of science for some and of faith for others, the contesting views with respect to birth control and abortion are founded in religion and the interpretation of biblical passages. An on-going national debate with respect to the right of a woman to control her ability to procreate versus the right of a fetus to come to term and be birthed as a living human being continues to be one of the most divisive social issues of our day. To this grand debate, author L. A. Washington has written "The Human Life Equation: A Biblical Case For Choice" in which she presents a persuasive biblical exegesis that contends, based upon biblical scripture, that neither the Old Testament or the New Testament prohibit abortion either directly or indirectly. Most emphatically, "The Human Life Equation" provides an evidentiary argument that the Bible does not equate abortion with murder. Informed, informative, and in a great many respects, iconoclastic, "The Human Life Equation" is very highly recommended reading for anyone concerned with the abortion debate today.

Off My Chest: Letters to the Editor
Richard S. Levik
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477259528, $27.95, 358pp,

Synopsis: Most letters comprising "Off My Chest: Letters to the Editor" were in response to articles, stories, or other issues affecting Jews. Richard Levik's criticism also touches on Christianity. Religion is very much a hands-on topic for Mr. Levik. Originally, letter writing was intended as a safe outlet for release of frustration and anger, never expecting such angry and sometimes vicious letters to be published. Astonishingly, provocative letters were published. Inside "Off My Chest: Letters to the Editor" you will see the published version, the unedited version, along with letters and a few articles which were never published. Whether these letters changed hearts or minds, you be the judge.

Critique: Articulate, iconoclastic, confrontational, challenging, intellectually stimulating, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Off My Chest: Letters to the Editor" is an extraordinary read and highly recommended. It should be noted that "Off My Chest: Letters to the Editor" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).

The Poetry Shelf

As Above So Below
Ellen Cooney
Duir Press
795 Eight Avenue, #201, San Francisco, CA 94118
9780960291229, $15.00, 112 pp

The tarot is a pack of playing cards (most commonly numbering 78), originating in the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe and originally used to play a group of card games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. From the late 18th century until the present time the tarot has also found use by mystics and occultists in efforts at divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways. In "As Above So Below", the tarot deck has been a source of inspiration with respect to a body of poetry by Ellen Cooney that is impressively engaging to peruse by anyone who appreciates well crafted free verse and familiar with the visual imagery of the individual tarot cards themselves. Original and entertaining, "As Above So Below" is extraordinary and highly recommended. "Page of Pentacles: forest green sheets / royal purpose nightshirt / lapis lazuli towel / all whirling together / in the dryer / I dance to the rich / colors of the world.

Night Train Red Dust
Sheila Packa
Wildwood River Press
2 Chester Parkway, Duluth, MN 55805
9780984377770, $15.00, 98pp,

The Iron Range is an informal and unofficially designated region that makes up the northeastern section of Minnesota in the United States. It is a region with multiple distinct bands of iron ore. The far eastern area, containing the Duluth Complex along the shore of Lake Superior, and the far northern area, along the Canadian border, of the region are not associated with iron ore mining. Due to its shape, the area is collectively referred to as the Arrowhead region of the state. Sheila Packa has a blog ( featuring essays about people and places to be found in the Iron Range and which serve to inspire her poetry anthologized in "Night Train Red Dust: Poems of the Iron Range". The themes of her extraordinary and highly recommended free verse poems range from accordion music and strong women, to coal mining, unionizing, and radical politics. 'Grouse': Along a deserted road, at the edge / of October / a grouse between shadow and light arrives / with tentative steps -- / as if to say to fox or wolf or husband with a gun: / I've come this far -- has it all been a waste? / In his sights the bird / bolts into flight.

The Health/Medical Shelf

Rottenseed! Cottonseed, Alzheimer's and Your Brain
Bruce Semon, MD, PhD
Wisconsin Institute of Nutrition, LLP
c/o S.J. Miller Communications
9780967005720, $15.95, 156pp,

Synopsis: "Rottenseed! Cottonseed, Alzheimer's and Your Brain" is written for people who want to know where Alzheimer's is coming from and how to prevent it. Where does Alzheimer's come from? In our food there is a cottonseed toxin which can go to the brain and tie important structures up randomly. This toxin is an ideal candidate for causing Alzheimer's. Why is this toxin in our food? Cottonseed, left over from cotton farming, contains poisons but is also fed to farm animals, poultry and fish. The poisons remain in the meat and fat of the animals. Then people eat these toxins as they eat this meat. At least one of these toxins can go the brain and cause Alzheimer's. The answer for people who have seen loved ones suffer from Alzheimer's is to avoid eating cottonseed toxins. Dr. Bruce Semon is the first writer to shed light on the hidden practice of feeding poisonous cottonseed to animals which people then eat. "Rottenseed! Cottonseed, Alzheimer's and Your Brain" tells what the cottonseed toxins can do, where they are, how to avoid them and why the biomedical research establishment has not looked at them. "Rottenseed! Cottonseed, Alzheimer's and Your Brain" describes Dr. Semon's own experiments on feeding cottonseed to animals.

Critique: "Rottenseed! Cottonseed, Alzheimer's and Your Brain" is so well written by Dr. Bruce Sermon that it is thoroughly accessible and understandable by non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject of Alzheimer's and what puts ordinary people at risk for it. A seminal contribution with its particular focus on how cottonseed in human food relates to Alzheimer's, "Rottenseed! Cottonseed, Alzheimer's and Your Brain" is very highly recommended reading and should be a part of every community and academic library Health & Medicine reference collection in general, and Alzheimer's supplemental study reading lists in particular.

The Business Shelf

Steps to Small Business Start-Up
Linda Pinson
Out Of Your Mind . . . And Into The Mark
13381 White Sand Drive, Tustin, CA 92780-4565
9780944205594, $24.95, 232pp, Kindle $9.99,

Synopsis: A business classic that has been guiding new entrepreneurs through the process of launching their businesses for more than a quarter of a century, "Steps to Small Business Start-Up: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Idea Into a Successful Business" has now been revised to feature the most up-to-date information, forms, examples, and worksheets. It emphasizes all of the mechanics of the start-up, including choosing a business, legal structure, location, and DBAs. Additional chapters cover home-based business, proprietary rights, financing options, bookkeeping, and cash flow. Offering indispensable advice for marketing, Internet operation, and business planning, "Steps to Small Business Start-Up: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Idea Into a Successful Business" is positioned to remain a favorite for business education by universities, colleges, technical schools, and small business development centers.

Critique: Now in a fully updated and revised eight edition, "Steps to Small Business Start-Up: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Idea Into a Successful Business" is one of the most 'user friendly' instruction manuals available for novice entrepreneurs and small business owners. Informed and informative, covers all aspects of creating a business enterprise from deciding on a location, to securing a business license, to establishing a business bank account, to the issues of taxes, insurance, bookkeeping, cash flow, marketing plans, and more! Superbly organized and presented, "Steps to Small Business Start-Up: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Idea Into a Successful Business" is very highly recommended for personal, professional, academic, and community library Business Studies reference collections. Also strongly recommended are two companion volumes from entrepreneur and professional business woman Linda Pinson: "Keeping the Books: Basic Recordkeeping and Accounting for Small Business" (9780944205570, $24.95, 224pp, Kindle $9.99) and "Anatomy of a Business Plan: The Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Business and Securing Your Company's Future" (9780944205556, $22.95, 364pp, Kindle $10.49).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Diamonds from the Past
Ruth Benjamin
Menucha Publishers
250 44th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
9781614650706 $22.00

Diamonds from the Past is a suspenseful novel of intrigue, and riches so vast they prompt cold-blooded murder. Moshe Sher is on the verge of bankruptcy, a situation that forces his daughter to abruptly end a promising shidduch (matchmaking for potential marriage). His desperation leads him to take a dangerous job, investigating the diamond industry in West Africa. His search to learn more about a cache of ancient diamonds immerses him in the bloodthirsty conflicts of criminal organizations; his only defenses are quick thinking and faith! A tense, at times blood-curdling saga featuring a wry, keen-witted Jewish protagonist, Diamonds from the Past is a unique treat for fans of the genre.

The New Reality
Stephen Martino
Light Messages
c/o The Barrett Company
12021 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90025
9781611530742, $18.95, 336pp,

Synopsis: In "The New Reality", author Stephen Martino delivers an action-packed medical thriller in a heart-stopping race to save humanity. After a deadly retrovirus is inadvertently released upon the planet in 2080, no country is financially prepared to deal with such a disaster. Only the acclaimed neuroscientist, Alex Pella, and NIH expert, Marissa Ambrosia, have the audacity to lead a search for the cure while simultaneously fending off a foreign elite military unit sent to stop them. Guided by an ancient code concealed within the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the scientists must traverse ancient lands and attempt to solve a biblical riddle in order to save humanity from its eminent destruction. Drawing from both our nation s politically charged environment and the worldwide economic crisis, "The New Reality" follows Alex Pella on a journey that projects a frightening path for human existence in the twenty-first century.

Critique: With a storyline that could be ripped from tomorrow's newspaper headlines, author Stephen Martino reveals an extraordinary ability for creating memorable characters embedded in a thrill ride of an adventure that will grip the reader's total attention from first page to last. Attention Hollywood! This is the stuff of which block buster movies and ratings gold television series are made! Highly recommended for community library fiction collections and personal reading lists, it should be noted that "The New Reality" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.49).

The Cookbook Shelf

Dairy Made Easy
Leah Schapira & Victoria Dwek
Artscroll / Shaar Press
4401 Second Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11232
c/o Mesorah Publications, Ltd.
9781422614884 $15.99

Part of the "Made Easy" series for cooks of all skill and experience levels, Dairy Made Easy: Triple-Tested Recipes for Every Day offers a wealth of delectable dairy delights, from Sour Cream Pancakes to Three-Cheese Quiche, Honey Pomodoro Pizza, Calsones, Chocolate Cheese Muffin with Chocolate Ganache, Lemon Curd Ice Cream, and much more. A full-color photograph of every dish, step-by-step instructions, numerous side tips, and other enhancements such as a cheese guide round out this wonderful resource. Author Leah Schapira & Victoria Dwek are especially well known in the kosher (governed by Jewish dietary laws) culinary world; the recipes in Dairy Made Easy are excellent for preparing quality kosher food, though gourmets who know little or nothing about kosher cuisine will find Dairy Made Easy palate-pleasing just the same!

Everyday Cheesemaking
Kruby Blume
Microcosm Publishing
2752 N. Williams Ave.
Portland, OR 97227
9781621065920 $12.95

Illustrated with black-and-white photographs throughout, Everyday Cheesemaking: How to Succeed Making Dairy and Nut Cheese at Home lives up to its title as a practical guide to do-it-yourself cheesemaking. Step-by-step instructions walk the reader through obtaining and using the right equipment, food safety guidelines, advice to guard against common pitfalls, dozens of recipes, and much more. The options for vegan cheesemaking make Everyday Cheesemaking a truly inclusive guide, highly recommended for anyone with an interest in broadening their culinary craft horizons.

Healthy Recipes for a Busy Life
Jen Arricale
Sassy Spoon Publishing
c/o Concierge Marketing Inc.
13518 'L' Street, Omaha, NE 68137
9780991623310, $27.95, 192pp,

Compiled by celebrity fitness chef and professional sports nutritionist Jen Arricale, "Healthy Recipes for a Busy Life: Easy to Prepare, Fun to Share!" features a cornucopia of kitchen cook friendly recipes for dishes that will please any palate, satisfy any appetite, and prove suitable for any dining occasion from ordinary family meals to extraordinary dining occasions. Easy and timely to prepare, these outstanding recipes range from Pecan Banana Pancakes; Grilled Chicken Salad with Sweet Potato; Bok Choy, Mushroom, and Broccoli Stir-Fry; and Stuffed Acorn Squash; to Smokey Vegetable and Pinion Pizza; Roasted Garbanzo Snack; Healthy Fish Tacos; and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie. Of special note are the beautiful full color photographs of finished dishes and the many superb recipes for sauces and dressings. Also available in a Kindle edition ($7.95), "Healthy Recipes for a Busy Life: Easy to Prepare, Fun to Share!" is enthusiastically recommended for personal, family, and community library cookbook collections!

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

The Vietnam Trilogy
Walter C. Kuhlman
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478724124 $19.95

Author and Dramatist Guild member Walter C. Kuhlman, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War who served with the U.S. army from 1967-68 as a gunner on a Quad .50, presents The Vietnam Trilogy, a vivid anthology of three original plays. Although the plays are fictional, they are firmly anchored in the history and violence of the war, and the permanent impact it had on people's lives. "Survivor" tells of a man wracked with guilt for years after returning from the war, and pain that drives him to the brink of self-destruction; "The Innocents of War" is about the family of a solider who is MIA (missing in action) for over twenty years; and "Rap" follows Vietnam combat veterans trying to readjust from combat to civilian life, a tough to the point of Sisyphean task even with the aid of group therapy at the Veterans Administration. The Vietnam Trilogy deals directly and honestly with tragic, serious issues; highly recommended.

The Memoir Shelf

Growing Up Rocking
Henry M. Niedzwiecki
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
12620 FM 1960, Suite A4-507
Houston, TX 77065
9781618976857 $55.50

Growing Up Rocking (it begins...) is a coffee-table autobiography that speaks to everyone who grew up in the rock-'n'-roll era. Author Henry M. Niedzwiecki, a.k.a. "The Ol' Doowopper", briefly recounts his cultural and musical passions through the decades, with especially fond memories of the singing artists of the fifties and sixties. More than 350 color photographs, including images of many famous performers, embellish this love-letter to the show-stopping music of multiple generations. Growing Up Rocking also touches upon more serious events, both at large and at home. "I was one of the lucky ones because my eight-year obligation to the military was over. Vietnam was the hot spot and the war was really getting a lot of our friends killed. At the time, there was no family in the U.S. that didn't know someone who was killed in that war." Half of Growing Up Rocking is entirely devoted to photography; the rest blends imagery with a brief yet accessible narrative that takes the reader on captivating journey through time. Highly recommended.

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

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