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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 11, Number 11 November 2012 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Jobs/Career Shelf
Science Shelf Psychology Shelf Environmental Studies Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Fiction Shelf
Poetry Shelf Memoir Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Sports Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Islamic Studies Shelf Biography Shelf Art Shelf
Gardening Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Relationship Shelf
Education Shelf Writing/Publishing Shelf Business Shelf
Money/Finance Shelf Wine Shelf Political Science Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Humor Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Talk Like a Winner!, revised edition
Steve Nakamoto
Java Books
16835 Algonquin Street #122
Huntington Beach, California 92649
9780967089355 $14.95

A Best Books Award Finalist for USA Book News, Talk Like a Winner! 21 Simple Rules for Achieving Everyday Communication Success is now in a revised and updated edition. Talk Like a Winner! lives up to its title with practical advice for building strong, positive relationships through conversation. Though written especially for business professionals, the helpful suggestions of Talk Like a Winner! can be applied to personal conversations as well. From assessing the situation one is facing before the conversation starts, to expressing oneself fluidly, speaking with the proper amount emotion, observing one's audience and listening to others, the value of a sincere compliment, and much more, Talk Like a Winner! is packed cover to cover with tips, tricks, and techniques for improving one's conversational social skills. Highly recommended. "As a general rule, spend major time on major issues and only minor time on minor issues. A characteristic of [the] low-achieving is that they tend to spend the majority of their time talking about trivial things. A smart strategy is to assess the significance of a particular topic and give this topic its proper allotment of time. Then move on to other topics that have greater significance to your audience."

Quake Notes
Scott Watson
Country Valley Press
1308 W. Washington Street
Carson City, NV 89703
9780982019634, $10.00,

The earthquake that struck Japan in 2011 was one of the worst natural disasters in recent history. "Quake Notes" is a memoir from Scott Watson who shares his own experiences and writings from the period, detailing the hysteria surrounding the events and presenting a unique cultural study of how the Japanese people cope with natural disaster. A fascinating read, "Quake Notes" is a strong addition to any memoir collection focusing on disasters.

The Social Issues Shelf

A Vision to Action
aha! Process
PO Box 727, Highlands, TX 77562-0727
Darcie Rowan PR (publicity)
9781934583982, $14.95,

A better life for us all is quite the noble goal. "A Vision to Action: Best Practices to Reduce the Impact of Poverty in Communities, Education, Healthcare, and More" is a driven call to doing something in our communities about such scourges, encouraging those who want to do something how to do something, and how to realize when good works are being done and aid them. "A Vision to Action" is a positive and powerful read, not to be overlooked for social issues collections.

The Jobs/Career Shelf

The Temp Factor, complete edition
Cathy A. Reilly
Universal Publishers, Inc.
Editorial and Administrative Offices
23331 Water Circle
Boca Raton, FL 33486-8540
1612330614 $39.95

Author Cathy Reilly draws upon her 20 years of experience in human resources and management in The Temp Factor: The Complete Guide to Temporary Employment for Staffing Services, Clients, and Temps, a guide to the ins and outs of the staffing industry. Written for anyone and everyone involved in temporary employment, The Temp Factor is divided into three main sections: one for staffing services, one for clients, and one for temps themselves. "Many staffing services will allow you to retake tests and offer tutorials to get your skills up to speed, if necessary. Applying for work as a temp and being tested is a good opportunity to see where you may need to learn more. You can develop your weak areas in order to increase your marketability to prospective employers. Often the staffing service will give you guidance when interpreting your scores. They can advise you on the next an best steps if you do fall short. It's common for staffing services to offer free training in some areas, so be sure to ask about what is available." In today's volatile economy, where anyone can suddenly lose their job (or any business can suddenly lose their best workers!), The Temp Factor is worthy of the highest recommendation for career-minded professionals everywhere.

The Science Shelf

Darwinian Happiness
Bjorn Grinde
Darwin Books
P.O. Box 2202, Princeton, NJ 08543
9780878501601, $37.50,

Evolution's theories have brought us an unusual understanding of our condition - a hyper-intelligent monkey in a world evolving past us. "Darwinian Happiness: Evolution as a Guide for Living and Understanding Human Behavior" is a unique take on the ideas of evolution and civilization and their intersections in our individual lives. Bjorn Grinde seeks to understand the ways evolution has shaped us and how we can shape it in return, in hopes to create something very much better for our future. Scholarly with much to consider, "Darwinian Happiness" is not to be overlooked for social sciences and psychology collections, enthusiastically recommended.

The Psychology Shelf

The Adventurous Heart
Ernst Junger
Telos Press Publishing
20 Main Street, Candor, NY 13743
9780914386483, $21.95,

Psychology is the study of human thought and processes, and all around the world people have brought different perspectives together for a better and more complete understanding of it all. "The Adventurous Heart: Figures and Capriccios" is an English translation of the 1938 German psychological writer Ernst Junger who wrote on his perspective of the mind and what we seek in life, touching on the and the nature of intuition. Revered throughout the literary and psychological international communities, "The Adventurous Heart" is a strong read for those who want a better understanding of the man who saw much in his time of turmoil.

The Environmental Studies Shelf

Shale Gas
Vikram Rao
RTI International
3040 East Cornwallis Road
PO Box 12194
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194
9781934831106, $13.95,

Fracking is not fully understood by many. "Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril" investigates the debate about fracking, in particular the information surrounding shale gas, arguing against a prohibition on the practice. Many countries would extensively benefit from American prohibition in this field, but proper evaluation of the environmental hazards must be kept in mind. "Shale Gas" is worth considering for those who want to consider all sides of the fracking debate.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Stick With Exercise For A Lifetime
Robert Hopper, PhD
Shelton Interactive
3303 Northland Drive, Ste. 310, Austin, TX 78731
9781467909938, $12.95,

Health is not a short term thing, it's something to embrace for a lifetime. "Stick With Exercise For A Lifetime: How To Enjoy Every Minute Of It!" is a guide to finding an exercise program that works for readers that they can embrace and stick to for the long term. With a strong dose of health advice and how to have fun doing it, building a competitive spirit at any age, and conquering things that may push you away from your personal health success, "Stick with Exercise for a Lifetime" is a strong and much recommended addition to health and wellness collections.

Prevention is Difficult - But Possible
Allen J. Orehek
Dementia Prevention Center
2637 E Atlantic Blvd, #19129, Pampano Beach, FL 33062
9781475017526, $40.00,

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. "Prevention is Difficult - But Possible" is Allen J. Orehek's advisory on trying to improve chances of prevention for a lifetime when facing many diseases that become tougher to avoid with age, and how to live a longer and more effective life in the long term. For those who understand the power of prevention, "Prevention is Difficult - But Possible" is a choice pick for health collections.

The Green Foodprint
Linda Riebel
Print and Pixel Books
PO Box 1397, Lafayette, CA 94549
9780983305118, $15.95,

What we eat can affect the world in ways we may not fully understand. "The Green Foodprint: Food Choices for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet" is a health advisory that explores the concepts of eating healthier for ourselves as well as the planet, criticizing the industrial food systems for poisoning the planet and how the food from there also poisons us. Advocating a more natural diet, "The Green Foodprint" is a strong addition to general health and wellness collections as well as for environmentalists, highly recommended.

Food: You're The Boss
Gary R. Epler
Epler Health
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9780984933532, $15.95,

Food is a major part of our lives, but it shouldn't control us. "Food: You're The Boss" is a health guide as Gary R. Epler encourages readers to take better control of their lives and health by understanding how to control what they eat and control their diet more effectively, and make food that empowers one's life. With plenty of good advice for general nutrition, "Food: You're The Boss" is not to be overlooked for those seeking a better way to control their daily health.

Fast Food Vindication
Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD
J. Murray Press
c/o The Barrett Company (publicity)
12021 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90025
9780578110431 $9.99 pbk. / $2.99 Kindle

Former McDonald's Corporation real estate manager and registered dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen presents Fast Food Vindication, a counterpoint to the endless pop culture attacks on the fast food industry. Fast Food Vindication reminds readers of the positive side of fast food chains: their foods meet high standards of quality and safety; they often promote workers from within; and thanks to their efforts to offer healthier food choices and nutrition information, their meals can indeed be incorporated into a balanced diet. "...given the sheer size of the portions served at many conventional sit-down restaurants [which have] often less healthy methods of food preparation, and the amounts and types of food we load on our plates at buffets, it can be difficult to build a healthy meal. Surprisingly to some, we can find a similar menu item at a fast food restaurant with better nutrition content. Unfortunately, both fast food and sit-down restaurants flunk when it comes to sodium." Fast Food Vindication is perhaps most valuable for its exhortation that the reader think carefully about his or her nutritional choices, and not listen too closely to either positive or negative hype when making nuanced judgments. Highly recommended.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Magical World of Tolkien
Edouard Kloczko, author
Krystal Camprubi, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
24-32, rue des Amandiers
75020, Paris, France
9782733821510 $24.95

The Magical World of Tolkien is a gorgeous book that used fantastic, full-color art, liftable flaps, and the occasional novelty insert (such as strands of white horsehair on the page about the magical horses of Middle Earth) that takes the reader on a wondrous tour through the magic and majesty of Tolkien's setting for his legendary fantasy novels, "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The text tells of wizards, dragons, mortal kingdoms, and much more, condensing Tolkien's rich lore into easily digestible bites. Fantasy lovers will find the artwork captivating and inspirational! Delicate parts make The Magical World of Tolkien less than ideal for weathering the rigors of a lending library, but the masterful way in which it surveys Tolkien's classic works makes it an ideal companion to the series in personal fantasy collections. "Scatha was a dragon that particularly liked the taste of dwarves and their treasures. During Fram's reign, in the 21st century of the Third Age, Scatha spread terror over the whole region and destroyed many villages, although Fram succeeded in slaying the dragon. The dwarves asked Fram to give them back the riches that Scatha had stolen from them, but the only compensation they received from the king was a necklace made from dragon teeth."

Creature From Reelfoot Lake
James L. Dickerson
Sartoris Literary Group
PO Box 4185, Brandon, MS 39047
9780985513580, $16.95,

There are things that lurk through history, lost, and misunderstood. "Creature from Reelfoot Lake: The Merman Who Loved Women" follows three friends as they take a trip to Reelfoot Lake, and begin to be stalked by a merman with uncertain intentions. Looking for love among their group, they face their personal problems, and the creature as well. "Creature from Reelfoot Lake" takes cues from the 50s cult horror and related elements, making for an original read.

Broken Glass Publishing
50001 Lincoln Avenue, Evansville, IN 47715
9781934603123, $10.95,

What is real and what is a lie is clouded further by sorcery. "Chimera" is a novel of witchcraft and romance, as Chelsea faces the love she left behind for family. But the time apart has complicated things. The man she loves may be a murderer, and may have won her heart not through dedication and kindness, but instead magick. "Chimera" is a riveting romance that is worth considering for those who seek fantasy stirred into their tales of love and lust.

Stalking the Zombie
Mike Resnick
American Fantasy
919 Tappan St., Woodstock, IL 60098
9780961035259, $25.00,

Against the unusual, keeping one's mind straight carries one further than you'd expect. "Stalking the Zombie: Fables of Tonight" is a collection of short fiction from Mike Resnick, focusing on his blend of noir and fantasy with detective John Justin Mallory, who works in an alternate Manhattan where the legends of our world are very much true. With a strong blend of humor and adventure, "Stalking the Zombie" is a choice and recommended addition to general fiction and fantasy collections, highly recommended.

Through the Door
Jodi McIsaac
Inkwood Publishing
5681 148A St., Surrey, BC Canada V3S 8W8
9780988047211, $12.99,

Normalcy is only a temporary state. "Through the Door" is a fantasy from Jodi McIsaac as she presents a novel of falling into a very different world filled with legend, and is forced to hunt for her lost daughter before it's too late. With the whole new world against her, her efforts to survive are undaunted in the face of a mother's love. "Through the Door" is a strong addition to those seeking a riveting tale of fantasy and family, recommended.

Revelation 9:11
Ian A. Stuart & David R. Franklyn
MediaGroup Management Inc.
3477 Riverspray Crescent
Mississauga, Ontario Canada L4Y 3M6
9780988001206 $15.00

Revelation 9:11 is a fantastic novel about the delicate balance between angels and mortals as humanity rushes toward the Biblical end of the world. Taking place across the span of centuries, the story follows leaders, scholars, cardinals, and ruthless murderers. Father Benjamin Price, tasked with an unrelenting penance, searches for his path amid the machinations of Nazis, pirates, and corrupt clerics on one hand, and the twin children of angel on another. The ancient Nephilim Portal and the mysterious Anunnaki Key cast a shadow over humanity's future. Will the severity of Seraph - the Destroyer Angel of the Old Testament, and the Angel of the Abyss in Revelation - condemn all there is, and will there ever be life, hope, or mercy again? Simultaneously apocalyptic and thought-provoking, Revelation 9:11 is the extraordinary saga of a struggle transcending time and history, captivating to the very last page.

The Fiction Shelf

Bradley Somer
Nightwood Editions
PO Box 1779, Gibsons, BC Canada V0N 1V0
9780889712713, $21.95,

Perfection is something many desire, but no one achieves. "Imperfections" is a novel that explores the concept of perfection as Bradley Somer follows Richard Trench, who at a loss for limbs find himself in an adventure that is unlike anything he would have experienced with those limbs. Touching on the unusual, Somer seeks to look at the duality of beauty and ugly, and how the two aren't that far apart in what we week. With strong humor and much to ponder, "Imperfections" is not a read to be overlooked.

Ruby River Ranch
Rod Scurlock
Crooked River Press
406 S 3rd Street, Boise, ID 83702
9781936408689, $9.99,

The Old West was filled with opportunity, but you had to work for it. "Ruby River Ranch" is a novel of the Old West, in which Bart Madison seeks to claim his own part of Montana with a cattle drive. There's a girl and a chance for love in his sights, but he has to settle a lot of things before he can call her his - bandits, hostile natives, and nature itself all stand in his way. "Ruby River Ranch" is an excellent pick for those who love western fiction, highly recommended.

Keowee Valley
Katherine Scott Crawford
Bell Bridge Books
PO Box 300921, Memphis, TN 38130
9781611941722, $18.95,

Before America was founded, the Southern region of the future United States was a region of Chaos. "Keowee Valley" follows shut-in Quincy MacFadden as she discovers her cousin being held by the Shawnee Indians. Out to rescue her kin, she must break out of her shell, rely on many others to help her along, and deal with the weight of pre-Revolution Colonial politics. "Keowee Valley" is an enticing read for those who seek this particular brand of historical fiction, very much recommended.

Tom Wascoe
Bookstand Publishing
305 Vineyard Town Center, Suite 302
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
9781618632135, $15.95,

College makes us grow up a lot, our own fates in our hands for the first time. "Backseat" is a coming of age story surrounding young Michael, as he struggles through college during the height of the Vietnam War where academic failure could mean a draft into the conflict. Traveling through the country and enduring much for his fraternity, he learns much about life in the process. "Backseat" is a thoughtful and enlightening read of growing up with the 70's ahead of you.

Accidental Felon
Gloria Wolk
Bialkin Books
14460 New Falls of Neuse Rd., #149-247
Raleigh, NC 27614
9780965261555, $21.95,

A case can be manufactured out of nearly anything. "Accidental Felon" is a novel based on true events; author Gloria Wolk crafts a tale of an unknowing special needs mother gets implicated into a scam for insurance fraud, and how someone with no criminal intent can get thrown behind bars for actions they didn't even know were illegal. "Accidental Felon" discusses what some people face in the justice system and how there always isn't a hero to win the day.

Following Tommy
Bob Hartley
Cervena Barva Press
PO Box 440357, W. Somerville, MA 02144-3222
9780983104186, $17.00,

Brotherhood is a bond that can last a life time. "Following Tommy" is a novel of Chicago in the 1960s from Bob Hartley, who stick together through their rough upbringing, causing trouble and making nebulous names for themselves. As the first black people move into their neighborhood, the two learn much about America and its long road to something that resembles equality. "Following Tommy" is a worthwhile pick for historical fiction collections, highly recommended.

Permeable Borders
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Fairwood Press
21528 104th St Ct. E, Bonney Lake, WA 98391
9781933846323, $16.95,

What we wish for out of life is challenged on the matter if we truly want it. "Permeable Borders" is a collection of short fiction from Nina Kiriki Hoffman, as she invites people to reconsider what they know about life. "Permeable Borders" tells stories of everyday people as they face mundane challenges, and not-so-mundane challenges, as they seek their heart's desire - whether it's a grand aspiration, or simply the yearning to go home. "Permeable Borders" is a fine addition to modern short fiction collections, highly recommended.

The Raven's Heart
Jesse Blackadder
Bywater Press
PO Box 3671, Ann Arbor, MI 48106
9781612930273, $14.95,

In the high courts, there is so much waiting on the line. "The Raven's Heart" is a novel set amongst sixteenth century Scotland, as Alison, a lady in waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, finds her own intrigue in high society with those waiting to betray her around every corner. Drawn strongly from history as well as imagination, "The Raven's Heart" is a fine historical novel, an absolute must for fans of the period in the history of the British Isles.

Little Raw Souls
Steven Schwartz
Autumn House Press
87 1/2 Westwood St., Pittsburgh, PA 15211
9781932870657, $17.95,

Our stories are many, but they all s hare common links. "Little Raw Souls" is a collection of short fiction from Steven Schwartz as he presents a compilation of many characters and the struggles of life that they face and their struggles. With plenty of humor and the stories of life that drive us all forward, "Little Raw Souls" is a strong pick for any modern short fiction collection.

Winds of Change
Mary Metcalfe
Friesen Press
Suite 300, 852 Fort Street
Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 1H8
9781770977419, $9.99,

Trying to mend a family from the outside is a difficult task, but it is the task of the social worker. "Winds of Change" tells the story of struggling Jennifer Barrett who tries to piece her own life together after the loss of her family, by trying to mend the lives of Mark and Ben Powell, an international journalist and his son, who the father abandoned for his career. Not wanting to impose his demons on his son, he thought him not being in his life would help him, but it may have only led to resentment and other issues. "Winds of Change" is a strong pick for those seeking a novel of family and restoring life, highly recommended.

The Chocolatier's Wife
Cindy Lynn Speer
Dragonwell Publishing
336 Malin Road
Newtown Square, PA 19073
9780983832089, $15.95,

We want to believe those closet to us aren't capable of atrocity. "The Chocolatier's Wife" is a historical novel from Cindy Lynn Speer, as she tells the story of Tasmin, rushes to clear her betrothed's name. Delving into his hometown and family though, she is faced with many more challenges and sees that the offenses against her love's family aren't limited to him alone. "The Chocolatier's Wife" is a riveting spin of drama and historical romance, enticing and very highly recommended reading.

The Divorce Girl
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
Ice Cube Press
205 N. Front Street, North Liberty, IA 52317
9781888160666, $19.95,

Divorce can often send children into turmoil. "The Divorce Girl" is a novel set in the 1970s; Deborah Shapiro copes with her parents splitting in her teenage years by seeing a whole broad stroke of the world and its many curious characters through it all. A coming of age tale with a strong dose of humor all throughout, "The Divorce Girl" is a must for fiction collections, not to be missed.

Sunday's Child
Anne Lyken-Garner
113 Bay Drive, Cary, NC 27511

Many people struggle to get through life. "Sunday's Child" is a novel of 1980s Guyana, as Anne Lyken-Garner tries to capture the tough times of the nation and those struggling with the mass food lines and rationing of the period. A young girl meets with a soldier, and the tragedy that spills out from it adds to her hardship. A novel of facing the worst of life, "Sunday's Child" has much story to tell, very much recommended reading.

The Poetry Shelf

The Branches, The Axe, The Missing
Charlotte Pence
Black Lawrence Press
8405 Bay Parkway C8, Brooklyn, NY 11204
9780982876671 $9.00

"The Branches, The Axe, The Missing" is an intense distillation of partly poisonous life experiences that grows and tends towards something painfully transcending, brutal, yet recognizably human. Some realizations can only be expressed in such poetry. Charlotte Pence holds her poetic magnifying lens focus fearlessly, on painful experiences, and achieves a sort of soul integration through reconnecting with a primal essence. Here is a quotation of her making: "Like kicking a pebble over a cliff and never/ hearing it fall. Soon, you walk away/ and forget about it./ Most of the time. Tonight, she is thinking about/ two men, her father, now homeless, and her ex-husband,/ She had been direct with both of them./ She reminded her ex that she had never/ been in love. She told her father/ he would drag her down with him./ She was right. They agreed. They are gone./ Like kicking a pebble over a cliff and never/ hearing it fall. Soon, you walk away. (p. 18)" The most significant experience for the reader of this poem resides in the awareness of the void at the end, challenging one's bravery and ability to examine the void, to peer within and hold close a dark infinity at the core, where one's heart should be. Charlotte Pence has delivered a fearsome and precious gift to all in the chapbook of poems, "The Branches, The Axe, The Missing."

Somewhere Piano
Sarah Busse
Mayapple Press
362 Chestnut Hill Road, Woodstock, NY 12498
9781936419135 $14.95

Featuring brief poems that employ an eclectic variety of rhyme and verse formats, Somewhere Piano applies prize-winning poet Sarah Busse's twin masteries of vocabulary and cutting-edge emotion. Verses range in tone from harsh to seeking to wistful, and illuminate the dark moments in life as well as the optimistic ones. An excellent choice for poetry aficionados. "Drinking Song": They both briefly dream of deserting / their spouses, kids, and careers, / but they're mostly just fond of the flirting, / being too well acquainted with tears. // So here's to the lift of an eyebrow. / Here's to the smile, the press / of a hand on an arm or a shoulder. / Here's to ice in the glass.

Unpublished Poems
Broc Rossell
Brooklyn Arts Press
154 N. 9th St. #1
Brooklyn, NY 11249
9781936767045 $8.00

Unpublished Poems is the first poetry collection of Broc Rossell. The poems are brief, free-verse, and contemplative; the words stretch beyond mundane imagery to ponder the inexplicable aspects of life and death. Rossell needs few words to speak volumes about the enigma of mortality, in this thought-provoking collection. Highly recommended. "A Cloud of Faithful Witnesses": Hope is a form of penance // Like an oil rig / Spouting as it bores, // I climb to discover the rock // Or the Virgin of Guadalupe visits / And labor assumes a purpose. // Romance purports a dialectic between loss and solace // But this clerestorial poem / Has no house // Admits no refuge / Denies anything I can remember

Dean Olson
Fithian Press
PO Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519
9781564745354, $14.00,

Change is a constant in our lives. "Crossing" is a collection of poetry from prolific and experienced poet Dean Olson who presents a delve into the ideas of change, and the crossroads we will run into throughout our lives. With plenty to ponder on life, "Crossing" is a treat from a well traveled man with much to talk about, highly recommended. "First Up": Oh to be first up again./First to follow pheasants/onto untouched dew,/to be the still center/of pasture waste lost in mist//silence holding back dawn/aching to bare its neck//my in-placeness caught/in a freak of sunshine/on whitewashed stem and stalk//as extravagant light enters/known and sure.

Jeanne Bryner
Bottom Dog Press
PO Box 425, Huron, OH 44839
9781933964591, $16.00,

The world isn't perfect, and understanding that is the key to finding something better. "Smoke" is a collection of poetry from Jeanne Bryner as she presents a down to earth working class brand of poetry, drawing on what she has seen as a registered nurse. "Smoke" is a very much recommended addition to contemporary poetry collections. "Assessment": If you see wrist scars/kneel down,/check both ankles/offer to wash her feet.

And Butterflies Fly Away
Harper Wynne
Librado Press
PO Box 2801, Reston, VA 20195
9781879571051, $9.95,

Poems often seek to tell a story in their own way. "And Butterflies Fly Away" is a collection of poetry from Harper Wynne as he presents his work as a novel in verse, as he presents a story of youth and what we experience and learn. "And Butterflies Fly Away" is a strong pick for modern poetry collections, recommended. "The Pears and the Peaches: Two old ladies overlap the earlier century --/sisters in this house fifty years/both wearing lace collars./When we leave/they walk us out to the front gate./It's the way things were done in their time./We leave with a bowl to fill up with our century/between the pears and the peaches.

The Memoir Shelf

Me, Myself, and I
Elaine Andrus Watts
Biographical Publishing Company
95 Sycamore Drive
Prospect, CT 06712-1493
9781929882694 $11.95

Raised on an Idaho farm, musician and teacher Elaine Andrus Watts presents Me, Myself, and I, a memoir that collects treasured moments from her youth, her closeness to animals and nature, some verses of poetry from the heart, her experiences teaching, and even deeply spiritual moments. "Music, my joy, / An inner world, / Unique adventures, / Companions and retreat // Illusive, yet tangible / Emotions reach / heights and depths /seeking release." The episodic nature of Me, Myself, and I lends itself to being read in short bursts, but the joy and gratitude for God's gift of a wonderful lifetime is tangible throughout. Highly recommended.

Po-boy Contraband
Patrice Melnick
Catalyst Book Press
2941 Kelly Street, Livermore, CA 94551
9780980208146, $15.00,

Traveling the world exposes us to so much in our journeys. "Po-boy Contraband: From Diagnosis Back to Life" is a memoir from Patrice Melnick as she shares her world travels and facing the supposed death sentence of HIV. Finding the strength to live life, she has a lot of life worth living but her brush with mortality has charged her with. "Po-boy Contraband" is a strong pick for those seeking a memoir of living and thriving in spite of HIV.

Under the Wild Ginger
Jeffrey D. Willius
Bunker Hill Publishing, Inc.
285 River Road, Piermont, NH 03779
9781593731106, $12.95,

Youth is the state of wonder, of seeking knowledge. "Under the Wild Ginger: A Simple Guide to the Wisdom of Wonder" is a spiritual memoir of recollections of life and youth, of breaking through life's mysteries. The small bits of wonder seek to inspire introspection and thought, and make "Under the Wild Ginger" insightful and well worth considering for those seeking bite sized wisdom to ponder as they go through life.

The Self-Help Shelf

The Toltec Path of Transformation
Heather Ash Amara
Hierophant Publishing
8301 Broadway, Suite 219, San Antonio, TX 78209
9780981877198, $16.95,

The four classical elements represent much, even if they aren't scientifically the ingredients of the universe. "The Toltec Path of Transformation: Embracing the Four Elements of Change" is an inspirational read of self-improvement and transformation through the elements, the air of clarity, the energy of fire, the fluidity of emotions, and the stalwart nature of the physical body, Heather Ash Amara presents much to ponder in our pursuit of self-improvement. "The Toltec Path of Transformation" is a strong addition to motivational, self-help and spirituality collections.

The Sports Shelf

On Coaching Football
Thomas A. Dean
Universal Publishers
2331 Water Circle, Boca Raton, FL 33486-8540
1612330487, $25.95,

Football is a team sport that calls for strategy and teamwork more than anything else. "On Coaching Football: A Resource and Guide for Coaches" is a guide for coaches and coaching staff on how to more effectively understand the ins and outs of the team sport and building an efficient career as a coach. From how to apply for a job as a sports coach, building your team, and how coaching extends off the field. "On Coaching Football" is a must for any coach at any level of competition, or for those who want to break into coaching themselves.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Grace Like Rain
Jeff Petherick
Elk Lake Publishing
56767 Mt. Vernon
Shelby Township, MI 48316
9780979354328, $15.99,

There are times when life where our faith is lost and we feel we are lost to God. "Grace Like Rain: Soaking Up God's Best (Even When We're At Our Worst)" is a Christian inspirational read surrounding finding God's grace even at our lowest point in our lives, and how to find his love even when such a thing seems like a lie. With a powerful message for believers and those who want to believe, "Grace Like Rain" is well worth considering for Christian spirituality collections.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Spiritual Resiliency and Aging
Janet L. Ramsey & Rosemary Blieszner
Baywood Publishing Co.
26 Austin Avenue, PO Box 337
Amityville, NY 11701
9780895034113, $59.95,

Everyone fears aging, to the point they do not see its realities and benefits. "Spiritual Resiliency and Aging" analyzes the spirits behind aging and how to better embrace it for life, facing down agism and encouraging spirituality as the core of their being and staying strong in soul no matter how much the body ages. Chapters discuss how aging affects us in spirit, the value of keeping one's goals realistic, maintaining connections to others, and finding something worth living for. "Spiritual Resiliency and Aging" is an encouraging pick for spirituality and collections focusing on aging and inspiration, enthusiastically recommended reading.

10 Spiritual Laws of Life
Zoop Publishing
PO Box 6003, Bloomington, IL 61702
9780983986607, $24.99,

Greater spiritual harmony in life is attained by understanding how it all comes together. "10 Spiritual Laws of Life" is a thoughtful read from Ngankou, who touches on 10 spiritual principles, or laws as he calls them, to consider for greater spirituality in one's life no matter what one's calling truly is. With plenty to consider, Ngankou's work is revered by many influential people, and makes "10 Spiritual Laws of Life" worth considering fort hose looking to refine their relationship with their god, or whatever they believe.

Atheist Voices of Minnesota
Bill Lehto, editor
Freethought House
19154 Evening Star Way
Farmington, MN 55024
9780615598574, $20.00,

Atheism gains more followers to the modern day. "Atheist Voices of Minnesota" is a collection of essays from many Minnesotan atheists who come together and discuss their loss of faith, life as an atheists, finding principles without religion, and general life as an atheist in their lives. With plenty to ponder for followers of atheism or those who want a better understanding of atheism in general, "Atheist Voices of Minnesota" is a strong addition to philosophy and spirituality collections, highly recommended.

The Islamic Studies Shelf

The Science of the Quran
Ahmad Hassan
Lido Horizons Publishing
4201 Wilson Bouelvard, Suite 110
Arlington, VA 22203
9780615499840, $35.00,

Science does not disprove religion, as Ahmad Hassan believes. "The Science of the Quran: Proving God's Existence through Established Modern Science" is the research of Iraqi-American Ahmad Hassan, as he presents his own study and how he believes that modern science establishes the truths of the Quran, that he believes are linked to proof of a supreme being behind it all. For followers of the faith or those curious of a different take on the debate between science and religion, "The Science of the Quran" is an enticing read worth considering.

The Biography Shelf

Under the North Light
Lawrence Webster, author
P.O. Box 1342, Woodstock, NY 12498
9780967926865 $39.50

"Under the North Light: The Life and Work of Maud and Miska Petersham" is a sensitive and complete visionary biography of famed children's literature artists Maud and Miska Petersham. This long lasting union of artists from Hungarian and American beginnings is famous for its beautiful artistic illustrations of children's literature from the 1920's until the 1960's. Correlating as a companion volume to the retrospective Petersham exhibition at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum (opening October 6), "Under the North Light" is written by a long term friend and neighbor to the Petershams who grew up nearby. The origin of the title is Woodstock home studio used by the Petershams, with its north window for a desirable clarity of light to create award-winning art. Many of the pages of illustrations in "Under the North Light" will be familiar to adult readers from beloved old children's books treasured in their youth. Complete with a foreword by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead, "Under the North Light" offers a new look at a priceless legacy from a gifted union of artists.

Hell on Wheels
Karen Mueller Bryson
Short on Time Books
30215 N. Joshua Tree Dr., Florence, AZ 85132
9781477690758, $8.99,

Our passions can save us from a doomed life. "Hell on Wheels: The Incredible Story of 'Rookie Roller Derby Queen' Cindy McCoy" tells the story of McCoy, who struggled through life as a young girl before embracing roller skating and joining an international roller derby team and finding her calling, earning many awards to her name in her career. For those intrigued by the world of roller derby in the 1960s, "Hell on Wheels" is well worth considering.

The Art Shelf

Copic Coloring Guide Level 3: People
Colleen Schaan & Marianne Walker
Annie's Paper Crafts
306 East Parr Road, Berne, IN 46711
9781596354807, $14.95,

Coloring is more than grabbing markers or crayons like you did as a kid. "Copic Coloring Guide Level 3: People" is an art instructional guide to the techniques and ways surrounding color and how to get the most out of a picture with the right colors and techniques. From creating eye catching patterns, creating the right skin tones and hair colors, and much more, "Copic Coloring Guide" comes with a CD with more tutorial and instruction, making it a treasure for the learning art student.

The Gardening Shelf

Aphid in My Eye
Tom Powell
B. B. Mackey Books
PO Box 475, Wayne, PA 19087
9781893443518, $14.00,

Flowers to some are far more than the pretty things that come out of the ground. "Aphid in My Eye: Adventures in the Orchid Trade" is an exploration of the orchid trade; enthusiast Tom Powell brings readers into the in depth world of the orchid trade, where this beautiful flower can bring one to see many things, sharing his adventures and deals with many figures form all walks of life. "Aphid in My Eye" is a strong pick for gardening and memoir collections, recommended.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

John C. Brewer
PlotForge, Ltd.
1650 Lake Shore Drive, Suite 225
Columbus, OH 43204
9781937979003 $14.97

Book One of "The Multiplayer Saga", Multiplayer is a riveting adventure about a deadly conspiracy in the world of online gaming. Hector West is an ordinary young man, who is abruptly devastated when his father is killed in Iraq. His mother moves back to their small town where there's little to do and he has no friends. Hector escapes the drudgery of everyday life in the online game "Omega Wars", under the game alias Izaak Ersatz. When Hector's character is robbed by a rival gamer by the handle of Mal-X, Hector calls on his clan, the Spartans, to hunt down the cheater. Their efforts take a deadly turn when Hector learns that Mal-X is using "Omega Wars" to train for an attack that could ignite the flames of war in the real world! Only Hector can prevent a virtual atrocity in the making from becoming reality, in this riveting modern thriller.

Trevor Scott
Salvo Press
7430 Lacerta Dr., Sparks, NV 89436
9781609770396, $14.95,

Serial killers enjoy taunting the very people who pursue them. "Discernment" is a mystery novel from Trevor Scott, telling of the unique partnership between FBI Agent Julie Oh and expert in serial killings Leon Jackson, as they search through Portland for evidence to find a killer - who seems to be murdering with a noble goal. But murder is murder, no matter the circumstance, although the law may be more attracted to each other than the idea of justice... "Discernment" is a riveting read that should prove hard to put down, highly recommended.

The Relationship Shelf

The 'Rethink' Remedy
Lori Shea
Para Ella Publishing
8008 Strandhill Rd., Huntersville, NC 28078
9780985549909, $17.95,

Marriage is something not to toss oneself desperately into. "The 'Rethink' Remedy: For Single Women Over 30" is an advisory read for women who aren't yet married as they approach the dreaded middle age. Lori Shea advises readers not to bring their own bringer of failure, and encourage confidence in oneself by dispelling the anxiety that many feel at this time in their lives. With plenty to consider and solid advice for life, "The 'Rethink' Remedy" is a strong addition to relationship and self-help collections, highly recommended.

The Education Shelf

Coaching Classroom Instruction
Robert J. Marzano & Julia A. Simms
Marzano Research Laboratory
555 North Morton Street, Bloomington, IN 47404
9780983351269, $34.95,

Teaching is no easy task, and helpful advice is always welcomed. "Coaching Classroom Instruction" advises how to better coach teachers by senior teachers and colleagues on helping teachers grasp their career and how to better serve the students they are charged with educating. Outlining the common elements of effective teaching on many levels, evaluate a teacher's progress, and how to better help make good teachers great, "Coaching Classroom Instruction" is a strong pick for education and education administration collections, not to be overlooked.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Ten Steps to Help You Write Better Essays & Term Papers, fourth edition
Neil Sawers
The NS Group
21-10405 Jasper Ave., Suite 586
Edmonton, AB T5J 3S2
9780969790198 $14.95

Now in a fourth edition with comparative MLA/APA documentation, Ten Steps to Help You Write Better Essays & Term Papers is a straightforward and helpful guide not only for high school, college, and graduate students, but also for professionals in any vocation that involves writing essays or papers. Chapters offer guidance for choosing a thesis, doing research, organizing one's paper, completing the first draft, revising and editing the draft, and much more. Specific instructions for citing sources, etc. according to MLA guidelines (often used in English or humanities essays) or APA guidelines (often used in social science essays) will prove especially valuable. "If you plan to use a website as a research reference, evaluate that website carefully. What are the credentials of the person(s) who set up the site? How often is it updated? Is the information neutral...?" One of the most eyebrow-raising yet useful recommendations for evaluating internet-based (or any other) information is the CRAAP test: Currency (is it timely?), Relevance (is it important for your needs?), Authority (what is the information's source?), Accuracy (how reliable or truthful is the information?) and Purpose (why does the information exist?). Packed cover to cover with practical as well as stylistic advice, Ten Steps to Help You Write Better Essays & Term Papers is enthusiastically recommended.

The Business Shelf

#Managing Up Tweet
Tony Deblauwe and Patrick Reilly
20660 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 210
Cupertino, CA 95014
9781616990909 $19.95

Successful business experts Tony Deblauwe and Patrick Reilly present #Managing Up Tweet: 140 Tips to Building an Effective Relationship with Your Boss offers 140 invaluable suggestions - each no longer than a tweet (144 characters) - to improve one's relationship with one's superiors in the workplace. (There is an occasional footnote offering expanded definitions of little-known terms and the like). For example, suggestion ninety-nine is "In formal presentations to senior management, make your boss look good and never generate unwanted surprises." A font of wisdom in bite-sized digestible form, #Managing Up Tweet is an excellent browse for career-minded men and women. Also highly recommended in the "Tweet" series is Carmela Southers' "#Managing Your Virtual Boss Tweet" (9781616990985, $19.95), a similar guide packed with tweet-length suggestions to improving one's communication and visibility in the workplace, such as "Email is the easiest and least effective form of communication. Set clear email rules, or your teammates will email you into paralysis."

The Money/Finance Shelf

Wall Street Craps
Steve Nakamoto
Java Books
16835 Algonquin Street #122
Huntington Beach, California 92649
9780967089386 $16.95

Winner of the Global eBook Award in the category of finance and investment, Wall Street Craps: How To Play Today's Hot & Cold Stock Market For Fast Money With Less Risk is a straightforward, no-nonsense guide to making money off of Wall Street. A thoroughly accessible guide even for finance neophytes, Wall Street Craps emphasizes the importance of keeping a sharp and stable mindset, and not allowing one's emotions or attachments to get the better of one's rational judgement. Gambling analogies are nonstop - indeed, Wall Street demands just as much if not more alertness than a Las Vegas casino. Some of the market's basic concepts, such as short selling (a means of making money when a stock goes down in price, that will come back to bite the investor if the stock instead goes up in price), leverage, liquidity, and more are also explained in plain terms. "The natural habit to avoid is the unsound practice of maintaining a concentrated investment portfolio - the kind of portfolio that leaves investors open to excessive and unnecessary financial risk." A handful of black-and-white cartoons add a touch of mirth to this excellent primer, filled with sound advice for playing the Wall Street game - and also warnings of when it's best not to play the game at all (if one's finances are thin, or if the game is taking too high a toll on one's physical or mental health). Highly recommended.

The Wine Shelf

Home Production of Vodkas, Infusions & Liqueurs
Stanley Marianski & Adam Marianski
Bookmagic LLC
9780983697343 $19.95

Home Production of Vodkas, Infusions & Liqueurs is a comprehensive how-to guide, written for drink mixers of all skill and experience levels. Chapters cover distilling and diluting alcohol, ideal materials and equipment for creating tinctures, vodka, liqueurs and cremes, how to invent new drink recipes, and much more. A few words of caution are also included, concerning the pure alcohol that is an ingredient in many drink recipes: "At present, in the United States it is illegal to sell the 190-proof variety in California, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, and West Virginia... Some municipalities, such as Chicago, have banned sales of 95% alcohol to the general public even though the state permits it to be sold. The reason is that some college students were getting dangerously drunk drinking plain 90-95% alcohol." Black-and-white photographs, tables, charts, graphs, and a wealth of recipes round out this excellent, user-friendly guide for any connoisseur with a serious interest in potent cocktails.

The Political Science Shelf

Time To Act America
Marion Minke and Rosetta Jackson
Dog Ear Publishing
4010 W. 86th Street, Ste H
Indianapolis, IN 46268
9781457514036 $14.95

Time To Act America: Discussions: A Potential Fall From Democracy is a left-leaning call-to-arms concerning the latest political hot-button issues. The rightward swing of the Republican Party is criticized, as is the omnipresence of lobbyists, fiscal recklessness (especially Republican budget plans that cut taxes in the face of tremendous debt obligations), and the relentless assault upon worker's unions. "Our founding fathers did not set up our government as a theocracy with Christianity at its center; they set it up to transcend all belief systems so that all had the same civil rights to worship and live their lives as they saw fit. Government is there to make sure no group of people is discriminated against because of other groups' objection to their beliefs. Therefore civil law superimposes religious law. If we change that tenet in our constitution and allow one religious group to impose their values and beliefs on everyone else, we will lose all the civil rights and liberties we have fought so hard to achieve; enabling a potential fall from democracy." A handful of black-and-white charts and graphs enrich this piercing outcry about the need for Americans to become politically active (voting is quite literally the least any American citizen can do). Of particular interest are some inventive proposed solutions to improve America's troubled political scene, such as requiring all congressmen to take speed-reading classes (so they can better read and understand the bills they pass), providing government housing for congress rather than paying for their expensive private housing, allowing congress to govern from their home districts (using conference call capabilities and the like as needed), barring lobbyists from physical access to congressmen, revising the filibuster rule in the Senate so that it can only be used a maximum of twice a year, having the Supreme Court be elected and serving for no more than twelve years, and much more. While many of Time To Act America's recommendations are unlikely to be enacted into law anytime soon, they provide an excellent starting point for the debate on how best to reform America's troubled government.

Texas Got It Right!
Sam Wyly and Andrew Wyly
Melcher Media
124 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
Endicott & Company Public Relations
9781595910745 $19.95

Texas Got It Right! is an unabashed exultation of all things Texas - with particular emphasis on the policies that have prompted Texas' economic and population growth even amidst the Great Recession. A reader-friendly book packed with full-color photographs on almost every page, Texas Got It Right! is largely composed of brief vignettes of Texas history, success stories, quirk, and down-home pride. From how Texas is the nation's wind energy leader, to its Lucchese brand boots known for style and comfort, to the successful and well-known Texas A&M University, to how Texas hosted some 240,000 "guest citizens" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's destruction and much more, Texas Got It Right! highlights Texas' greatest successes, revealing why Texas has become the number one moving destination in America. An amazing and fact-filled read from cover to cover, Texas Got It Right! can't be called braggadocio because it's true!

The Audiobook Shelf

Ellen Kushner
Sue Media Productions
PO Box 227, Carle Place, NY, 11514
B006FS2C98, $24.95,

A simply terrific action/adventure tale of political intrigue, "Swordspoint" by Ellen Kushner has been brought vividly to life in a flawlessly recorded 10 hour, 54 minute, full cast production complete with sound effects and original music. Set in a kind of Renaissance type era where nobility settle disputes by employing swordsmen against their foes and in defense of their friends, Richard St. Vier and his eccentric companion Alec find themselves caught up in a series of interlocking deceits and power struggles. From the slum dwellers of Riverside, to the elegant members of the upper class, the characters are deftly shaped, the storylines are studded with cliff hanger moments of suspense, and the outcome is replete with surprises. With technically faultless production values combined with outstanding performances and a gifted narration, "Swordspoint" provides a true and authentic 'theatre of the mind' experience, making it very highly recommended for personal and community library Audio Book collections.

The Humor Shelf

The Facebook Diet
Gemini Adams
Live Consciously Publishing, Ltd.
665 Walther Way, Los Angeles, CA 90049
c/o Independent Publishers Group (distribution)
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780955465635 $9.99 pbk. / $4.99 ebook

The Facebook Diet is a humorous book filled with full-color cartoons revolving around a central theme - how are you to tell when you are spending too much time on the popular social media site that is Facebook? Possible answers include "You've created a page for your imaginary friend, cat, car or you dog" and "You've left your password and an obituary status update in your will." Silly caricature illustrations bring each only-slightly-hyerbole example to life! But perhaps the most valuable part of "The Facebook Diet" is its final section packed with suggestions for "unplugging" and "tech-detoxing", such as "Take up knitting or bird watching, but not the angry ones," and "In order to quell any narcissistic withdrawal symptoms, get your profile picture printed on your shirt, mug..." A hilarious giftbook perfect for friends who might be spending a little too much time online, The Facebook Diet is highly recommended.

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

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