Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Wisconsin Bookwatch

Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 12 December 2021 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Christmas Shelf
Education Shelf Money/Finance Shelf Business Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf Islamic Studies Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Literary Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Psychology Shelf Travel Shelf
Interior Design Shelf Comix/Graphic Novels Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf Nautical Shelf Art Shelf
Needlecraft Shelf Cookbook Shelf Poetry Shelf
Autism Shelf Photography Shelf Wisconsin Shelf


Reviewer's Choice


The Burnout Epidemic
Jennifer Moss
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
http://hbr.org/books
9781647820367, $30.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Burnout-Epidemic-Rise-Chronic-Stress/dp/1647820367

Synopsis: We tend to think of burnout as a problem we can solve with self-care: more yoga, better breathing techniques, and more resilience. But evidence is mounting that applying personal, Band-Aid style solutions to an epic and rapidly evolving workplace phenomenon isn't enough -- in fact, it's not even close. If we're going to solve this problem, organizations must take the lead in developing an anti-burnout strategy that moves beyond apps, wellness programs, and perks.

"The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It" by Jennifer Moss is eye-opening, paradigm-shifting, and practical guide in which are revealed the real causes of burnout and how organizations can stop the chronic stress cycle that an alarming number of workers suffer through.

"The Burnout Epidemic" explains: What causes burnout (and what organizations can do to prevent it); Why traditional wellness initiatives fall short; How companies can build an anti-burnout strategy based on prevention, not perks; How leaders can measure burnout in their own organizations; What leaders can do to develop a healthier culture that prioritizes resilience and curiosity.

As the current pandemic has shown, self-care is important, but it's not a cure-all for burnout. Employers need to do more. With fascinating research, new findings from the pandemic, and interviews with business leaders around the globe, "The Burnout Epidemic" offers business managers and corporate executives insightful and actionable advice that will empower them to help themselves (and their employees) feel healthier and happier at work.

Critique: Enhanced with the inclusion of eighteen pages of Notes and a fourteen page Index, "The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It" will prove to be an invaluable addition to personal, professional, corporate, community, college, and university library Business Stress and Personal Management instructional reference collections. It should be noted for MBA students, academia, corporate executives, business management, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.90).

Editorial Note: Jennifer Moss is also the author of "Unlocking Happiness at Work", which received the distinguished UK Business Book of the Year Award. Moss also sits on the Global Happiness Council. To acknowledge her contributions to business and public service, Moss was named a Canadian Innovator of the Year, an International Female Entrepreneur of the Year, and recipient of the Public Service Award from the Office of President Obama.


The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Book Proposals That Sell
W. Terry Whalin
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
www.morganjamespublishing.com
9781631955105, $16.95, PB, 162pp

https://www.bookproposalsthatsell.com

Synopsis: Specifically written for the novice and inexperienced writer wanting to become a successfully published author, and now in a thoroughly revised and updated edition, "Book Proposals That Sell: 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success" is the ideal instruction guide and manual that begins with acknowledging that about 80% to 90% of all nonfiction books are sold from a book proposal. An absolutely essential necessity for becoming a published author, the book proposal contains many elements that will never appear in a manuscript -- yet these details are critical to publishing executives who make the decision about publishing or rejecting an author's project. In his DIY "Book Proposals That Sell", W. Terry Whalin reveals 21 secrets to creating a book proposal that every author needs in order to create one that sells.

Critique: Simply stated, if you only have time to read one 'how to' guide to getting published, whether it be traditional publishing or self-publishing, "Book Proposals That Sell: 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success" is that one DIY instructional book. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, it can help the aspiring writer to avoid costly and time consuming mistakes with respect to getting published and having that published book brought to the attention of its intended readership.

Editorial Note: W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. A former literary agent, Terry has published in over 50 magazines and written more than 60 books through traditional publishers. Several of Terry's books have sold over 100,000 copies. He is the creator of www.Right-Writing.com and www.TheWritingLife.ws


The Christmas Shelf

Dear Santa
Debbie Macomber
Ballantine Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
www.randomhouse.com
Random House Audio Books
www.randomhouseaudio.com
9781984818812, $21.00, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Santa-Novel-Debbie-Macomber/dp/1984818813

Synopsis: Lindy Carmichael isn't feeling particularly joyful when she returns home to Wenatchee, Washington, for Christmas. The man she thought was "the one" has cheated on her with her best friend, and she feels completely devoid of creativity in her graphic-design job. Not even Christmas carolers or Christmas cookies can cheer her up -- but Lindy's mother, Ellen, remembers an old tradition that just might lift her daughter's spirits.

Reading through a box of childhood letters to Santa and reminiscing about what she'd wished for as a young girl may be just the inspiration Lindy needs. With Ellen's encouragement, she decides to write a new letter to Santa, one that will encourage her to have faith and believe just as she'd done all those years ago. Little does Lindy know that this exercise in gratitude will cause her wishes to unfold before her in miraculous ways. And, thanks to some fateful twists of Christmas magic (especially an unexpected connection with a handsome former classmate) Lindy ultimately realizes that there is truly no place like home for the holidays.

In "Dear Santa", author Debbie Macomber truly celebrates the joys of Christmas blessings, both old and new.

Critique: Absolutely perfect for the Christmas season and a simply wonderful and heartwarming read any time of the year, Debbie Macomber's new novel, "Dear Santa", is especially and unreservedly recommended for any and all community library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the legions of Debbie Macomber fans that "Dear Santa" is also readily available in a large print paperback edition (9780593505021, $23.00), in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Random House Audio, 9780593289723, $30.00, CD).


The Education Shelf

Paying for College, 2022
Kalman Chany
The Princeton Review
www.PrincetonReview.com
c/o Random House Inc.
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com
9780525571544, $22.99, PB, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Paying-College-2022-Everything-Admissions/dp/052557154X

Synopsis: Financing a college education is a daunting task no matter what the financial circumstances of students and their families might be. With line-by-line instructions for filling out the FAFSA and consumer-friendly advice to minimize college costs, "Paying for College, 2022: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College" addresses: Maximizing financial aid eligibility; How COVID-19 and the latest tax laws affect the financing of a college education; Exploring both long-term and short-term strategies to reduce college costs and avoid expensive mistakes; Complete every question on the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms to best advantage; Compare aid offers and learn how to appeal them if necessary; Plan strategically as a separated/divorced parent, blended family, or independent student.

Critique: Expertly organized and presented, "Paying for College, 2022: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College" is a 'must have' resource for the families of college bound students, highschool counselors, community, college, and university library College & University Financial Aid and College & Education Costs reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Paying for College, 2022: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

What's Your Leadership Story?
Gretchen Oltman, author
Vicki Bautista, author
ASCD
1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
www.ascd.org
9781416630395, $39.95, PB, 175pp

https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Your-Leadership-Story-Aligning/dp/1416630392

Synopsis: When you as an educator can authentically tell your story, your school community will know you, what you value, and why you make decisions the way you do. You will rediscover a sense of purpose, renewal, and inspiration that may have slipped away amid the chaos of life -- and you can build a stronger connection with those you lead and work beside.

Leading in a school setting does not mean you need to lose your individual identity. You became a school leader by following your own unique path. You possess talents that set you apart from others. By working purposefully to share your personal leadership philosophy, you can create a new expectation of what school leaders should be and counter the unrealistic assumptions that others may hold. You can be more than your title.

That is the theme and purpose of "What's Your Leadership Story?: A School Leader's Guide to Aligning How You Lead with Who You Are" by Gretchen Oltman (who is an author, attorney, and associate professor of interdisciplinary studies at Creighton University, where she leads a program for graduate students pursuing degrees in leadership) and Vicki Bautista (who is an assistant professor at Creighton University in the department of interdisciplinary studies).

Critique: Exceptional 'reader friendly' in organization and presented, "What's Your Leadership Story?: A School Leader's Guide to Aligning How You Lead with Who You Are" is essential a DIY instructional guide and manual that would benefit any educator to become more effective as a leader in whatever their educational setting might be. While especially and unreservedly recommended for school district, college and university library Teacher Education collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "What's Your Leadership Story?: A School Leader's Guide to Aligning How You Lead with Who You Are" is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.49).


The Money/Finance Shelf

Retirement Stepping Stones
Tony Hixon
River Grove Books
c/o Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781632994035, $16.95, PB, 186pp

https://www.amazon.com/Retirement-Stepping-Stones-Meaning-Purpose/dp/1632994038

Synopsis: In 2002, with his business partner, Adam Zuercher, Tony Hixon launched Hixon Zuercher Capital Management -- a fee-only wealth management and investment firm. Tony wanted to help clients ensure that they wouldn't outlive their money -- and possibly even have enough saved to accomplish their bucket-list goals. However, after several years of running a numbers-first business and serving his clients well in their financial lives, a family crisis changed his thinking.

Tony's mother retired from her job as the director of a hospice agency, and she quickly fell into a deep depression as she lost her purpose and fulfillment derived from a lifelong career she had been passionate about. On March 22, 2011, Tony's mother tragically took her own life. After this life-changing tragedy, Tony made it his goal to help pre-retirees not repeat the mistakes his mom made as she transitioned from her career into retirement. You need a plan for both your finances and your lifestyle.

With the publication of "Retirement Stepping Stones: Find Meaning, Live with Purpose, and Leave a Legacy", Tony Hixon will help ensure that your retirement brings you pleasure, serenity of mind, and the enjoyment of a life well-lived. That your transition is from success to significance. That you find a newfound hope and a newfound purpose. That retirement brings you your best years.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Retirement Stepping Stones: Find Meaning, Live with Purpose, and Leave a Legacy" is essential reading for everyone, but most especially the aging Baby Boomer generation. Practical, comprehensive, understandable, "Retirement Stepping Stones: Find Meaning, Live with Purpose, and Leave a Legacy" must be considered an essential addition to community, Senior Citizen Center, college, and university library Retirement Planning, Financial Risk Management, Wealth Management, and Financial Planning collections. It should be noted for the personal and professional reading lists that "Retirement Stepping Stones: Find Meaning, Live with Purpose, and Leave a Legacy" is also readily available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99).


The Business Shelf

Lead with We
Simon Mainwaring
Matt Holt
c/o BenBella Books
www.benbellabooks.com
9781953295699, $27.00, HC, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lead-We-Business-Revolution-Future/dp/195329569X

Synopsis: The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown into stark relief how "business as usual" is no longer serving us. The economic, business, and environmental models of the past do not reflect our current realities. And for our economy (and for us) to survive, we need nothing less than a seismic shift in the way we do business.

Simon Mainwaring is the founder and CEO of We First. A decade ago, he showed how business leaders and consumers could use social media to build a better world in We First. Now, after decades of research and field experience at the vanguard of the world's most successful brand revolutions, he provides in "Lead with We: The Business Revolution That Will Save Our Future " -- an instructional blueprint for doing business better in today's challenged world.

By leading with "we" (putting the collective above the individual, holding the sum above the parts, and emphasizing the importance of the role that everyone plays) corporate executives and business managers can not only help solve the escalating challenges of today but also unlock extraordinary growth for their business, and abundance on our planet.

Timely and compelling, the message of "Lead with We: The Business Revolution That Will Save Our Future" is simple: The future of profit is people's purpose, aligned. "Lead with We: The Business Revolution That Will Save Our Future" not only examines why we must all conduct business differently in order to grow in today's market, but provides the how in the form of concrete steps any reader, wherever they find themselves in the business hierarchy, can take toward success.

Critique: Timely, insightfully informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Lead with We: The Business Revolution That Will Save Our Future" is impressively well written, organized and presented, making it critically important reading as our economy struggles to recover the pandemic's deleterious economic impact that is currently compounded by supply chain issues and the beginnings of an inflationary spiral. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, corporate, college, and university library Corporate Leadership Motivation and Business Management collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of MBA students, academia, corporate executives, corporate board members, business managers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Lead with We: The Business Revolution That Will Save Our Future" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Beyond Happiness
Jenn Lim
Grand Central Publishing
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
www.hachettebookgroup.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9781538736883, $28.00, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Happiness-Authentic-Leaders-Prioritize/dp/1538736888

Synopsis: Jenn Lim has dedicated her career to helping organizations from name-brand industry leaders to innovative governments build workplace cultures that benefit both their employees and their bottom line, with less employee turnover, greater engagement, and higher profits. Her culture consultancy, Delivering Happiness, demonstrates the profound impact happiness can have on businesses' ability to thrive in our ever-changing times.

With the publication of "Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact" she clearly and concretely shows the way the model works in a hyper-connected fast-paced world, beginning with each individual defining their sense of values and purpose (the ME), and rippling through the organization ecosystem (the WE and the COMMUNITY) in waves of impact.

Drawing on a deep understanding of the science of happiness, Jenn also shows how bringing your whole self to work allows you to do your best work every day -- no matter what role you play at your company or what crisis might come at you next. She explains how true happiness comes from living your true purpose, and offers case studies to show how companies can help individuals align their purpose with the company mission. This innovation in organizational design and company culture is no longer a nice-to-have. It's the future of work, and it's here now. In this life-changing guide, you'll be empowered to find greater purpose in your own life and career, and to spread that power to others in your business and beyond.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact" should be brought to the attention of corporate executives, business managers, entrepreneurs, and Human Resource/Personnel staff. While especially recommended for corporate, community, college, and university library Business & Workplace Culture collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of MBA students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781538707364, $21.41), in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781668601310, $40.00, CD).

Editorial Note: Jenn Lim is the CEO of Delivering Happiness, a company she and Tony Hsieh (the late CEO of Zappos.com) co-founded to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business. Delivering Happiness is a business consultancy and global movement that has impacted and inspired over 400 companies in more than 110 countries. In 2017, Jenn was selected to be on the Global Happiness Council of Work and Wellbeing with the charter to scale the impact she's made in even more sustainable ways. In 2020, Delivering Happiness was on Inc. 5000's list of fastest growing companies.


The Christian Studies Shelf

The Prophets of Israel: Walking the Ancient Paths
James K. Hoffmeier
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825445729, $44.99, HC, 400pp

https://www.amazon.com/Prophets-Israel-Walking-Ancient-Paths/dp/0825445728

Synopsis: In the illustrated pages of "The Prophets of Israel: Walking the Ancient Paths", Old Testament scholar and longtime field archaeologist James K. Hoffmeier informatively explores the biblical prophets through their ancient settings through full-color photos and images of historical and cultural importance, a focus on the geopolitical contexts of the prophets, clear explanations of the prophets' provoking messages, and discussion questions for Bible students or instructor use.

These features and photos vividly illustrate the biblical narratives and the prophets' concerns, helping readers better comprehend each text's message and make informed theological applications.

The biblical prophetic tradition extends far before and far after the Major and Minor Prophets. Yet all biblical prophets (including recognizable figures like Moses and Elijah), including the lesser-known prophets like Huldah and Micaiah, as well as the New Testament prophets, ministered in distinctive cultural and historical circumstances. Professor Hoffmeier draws upon on his extensive knowledge of ancient Near Eastern culture, geography, political realities, and the Old Testament message to locate the prophets in their worlds. This approach illuminates prophetic messages and ministries with a theological clarity that basic history and literary interpretation cannot achieve.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated with full color photographic images throughout, "The Prophets of Israel: Walking the Ancient Paths" is ideal as a seminary or college curriculum textbook, as well as a study resource for small groups or individuals. While an especially recommended addition to personal, church, seminary, community, college and university library Old Testament and Christian Prophets collections and curriculum studies reading lists, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of academia, clergy, seminarians, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Prophets of Israel: Walking the Ancient Paths" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $40.22).

Editorial Note: James K. Hoffmeier is Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity International University Divinity School, and has extensive field experience as a hands-on archaeologist.

The Year of Grace of the Lord
Moine De L'Eglise D'Orient & D. Cowen
SVS Press
https://svspress.com
9780913836682, $23.00

https://www.amazon.com/Year-Grace-Lord-Scriptural-Liturgical/dp/0913836680

Synopsis: On the basis of worship of the Orthodox Church, The Year of Grace of the Lord takes the reader through the Sundays and feast days from the beginning of the year in September to the time of its completion after Pentecost. It is a guide to the scriptural readings and prayers of the calendar year and reveals the spiritual growth in Christ that is opened to us in them. In the author's words, the liturgical year is 'an abridgement of the history of salvation.' A helpful list of reference notes, including historical and theological material, is given at the end of each chapter. This book will be of interest to anyone who wishes to know more about the development and pattern of the Orthodox liturgical year.

Critique: The Year of Grace of the Lord: A Scriptural and Liturgical Commentary on the Calendar of the Orthodox Church is an in-depth guide to the Orthodox Church's liturgical year, including scriptural readings and prayers, the history of the development and patterns of the Orthodox liturgical year, theological underpinnings, and much more. Although deeply spiritual and in-depth, The Year of Grace of the Lord is thoroughly accessible to Christians of all backgrounds, and a highly recommended for self-study as well as for church library collections.

Editorial Note: A Monk of the Eastern Church (Moine De L'Eglise D'Orient) is the well-known pseudonym for Fr Lev Gillet (1893-1980), who has authored numerous volumes of biblical and spiritual reflection. United to the Orthodox Church in 1928, Fr Lev was deeply imbued with Eastern monastic spirituality. In 1948, he was appointed chaplain to the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius, dedicated to the work of Christian unity.

The Hermits of Big Sur
Paula Huston, author
The Liturgical Press
2950 Saint John's Road, PO Box 7500
Collegeville, MN 56321-7500
www.litpress.org
9780814685068, $24.95, PB, 248pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hermits-Big-Sur-Paula-Huston/dp/0814685064

Synopsis: Between World War II and Vatican II, as Italy struggled to rebuild after decades of Mussolini's fascism, an eleventh-century order of contemplative monks in the Apennines were urged by Thomas Merton to found a daughter house on the rugged coast of California. A brilliant but world-weary ex-Jesuit, who had recently withdrawn from a high-intensity public life to go into reclusion at the ancient Sacro Eremo of Camaldoli, was tapped for the job.

Based on notes kept for over sixty years by an early American novice at New Camaldoli Hermitage, "The Hermits of Big Sur" tells the compelling story of what unfolds within this small and idealistic community when medievalism must finally come to terms with modernism. It traces the call toward fuga mundi in the young seekers who arrive to try their vocations, only to discover that the monastic life requires much more of them than a bare desire for solitude.

Also described is the miraculous transformation that sometimes occurs in individual monks after decades of lectio divina, silent meditation, liturgical faithfulness, and the communal bonds they have formed through the practice of the "privilege of love."

Critique: Informative and fascinating, "The Hermits Of Big Sur" by Paula Huston (a National Endowment of the Arts Fellow and a longtime oblate of New Camaldoli Hermitage) is a remarkable, unique, and original study that will be of immense and special interest to anyone who has every contemplated or experienced the monastic life. While very highly recommended for the Catholic community, it should also be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Hermits Of Big Sur" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Following the Call
Eberhard Arnold, et al.
Plough Publishing House
151 Bowne Drive, PO Box 398, Walden, NY 12586
www.plough.com
9781636080048, $18.00, PB, 396pp

https://www.amazon.com/Following-Call-Living-Sermon-Together/dp/1636080049

Synopsis: For the last two thousand years, Jesus' most famous teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, has possessed an irresistible quality. Who hasn't felt stirred and unsettled after reading these words, which get to the root of the human condition?

Comprised of 52 readings, "Following the Call: Living the Sermon on the Mount Together" is the follow-up to the acclaimed collection "Called to Community: The Life Jesus Wants for His People" and taps into an even broader array of sources, bringing together prophetic voices from every era and a range of traditions to consider the repercussions of these essential words.

More than a commentary or devotional, "Following the Call: Living the Sermon on the Mount Together" is designed to be read together with others, to inspire communities of faith to discuss what it might look like to put Jesus' teachings into practice today.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Following the Call: Living the Sermon on the Mount Together" is especially and unreservedly recommended for church, seminary, and community library Christian Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminarians, and all practicing Christians, regardless of their denominational affiliations, that "Following the Call: Living the Sermon on the Mount Together" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

The Deeply Formed Life
Rich Villodas
WaterBrook Press
c/o WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
10807 New Allegiance Drive Suite 500, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com
9780525654384, $24.00, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Deeply-Formed-Life-Transformative-Values/dp/0525654380

Synopsis: Most members of the Christian community live in the state of "being a Christian" without ever being deeply formed by Christ. Our pace is too frenetic to be in union with God, and we don't know how to quiet our hearts and minds to be present. Our emotions are unhealthy and compartmentalized. We feel unable to love well or live differently from the rest of the world -- to live as people of the good news.

Pastor Rich Villodas says we must restore balance, focus, and meaning for our souls. With the publication of "The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus" he lays out a fresh vision for spiritual breakthrough following five key values: Contemplative Rhythms Value: slowing down our lives to be with God; Racial Justice Value: examining a multi-layered approach to pursuing racial justice and reconciliation; Interior Examination Value: looking beneath the surface of our lives to live free and love well; Sexual Wholeness Value: exploring how our sexuality connects with our spirituality; Missional Presence Value: living as the presence of Christ in a broken world.

"The Deeply Formed Life" is a kind of instruction manual for living in the richly rooted place we all yearn for: a place of communion with God, a place where we find our purpose.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus" is unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the Christian community with an interest in Christian Discipleship & Faith. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, theologians, and practicing Christians of every denomination that "The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780525654407, $16.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note: Rich Villodas is the Brooklyn-born lead pastor of New Life Fellowship, a large, multiracial church with more than seventy-five countries represented in Elmhurst, Queens. Prior to becoming lead pastor, he gave oversight to New Life's small group ministry and served as a preaching pastor. Rich graduated with a BA in pastoral ministry and theology from Nyack College. He went on to complete his master's of divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary. He enjoys reading widely, preaching and writing on contemplative spirituality, justice-related issues, and the art of preaching.

Launching a New Worship Community
Paul Nixon, author
Craig Gilbert, author
Discipleship Resources
c/o Upper Room Books
PO Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0003
www.upperroom.org
9780881779554, $17.00, PB, 200pp

https://www.amazon.com/Launching-New-Worship-Community-Practical/dp/0881779555

Synopsis: For many Christian churches, the call to make disciples comes with a realization that the church's current worship opportunities do not reach certain groups in their surrounding community. New worship services offer the most promising strategy for renewing established churches and planting new worship communities. In a post-pandemic world, churches will be challenged to reach new people with the gospel and to help them meet in a way that is meaningful to them.

Accessible to ministry professionals and lay leaders, "Launching a New Worship Community: A Practical Guide for the 2020s" is a comprehensive guide to starting a new worship community -- whether that means an established church beginning a new worship service or a church startup designing its first worship offering. The authors, Paul Nixon and Craig Gilbert, writing with the assistance of a team of church planting experts, provide practical advice rooted in solid academics, theology, and real-world experience. With this guide, readers will have the tools they need to begin and sustain a new worship community.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Launching a New Worship Community: A Practical Guide for the 2020s" is an ideal instructional guide and manual for clergy and parishioners wanting to be effective in developing churches and church programs relevant to the contemporary needs of their congregations. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Launching a New Worship Community: A Practical Guide for the 2020s" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Paul Nixon is the author of multiple books on church development. His company, Epicenter Group, has coached hundreds of congregations and their leaders in North America and in Europe, helping many to discover breakthroughs in the growth and renewal of their ministries. Nixon also serves as director of church multiplication for Discipleship Ministries. He was codeveloper of the Readiness 360 inventory for churches.

Editorial Note #2: Craig Gilbert is a worship consultant and founder of Purposed Heart Ministries. From Craig's ministry start in a small congregation to his serving a church with eight distinctive worship communities involving more than 2,000 worshipers, Craig has planned and presented worship in a wide variety of styles at the "every Sunday" level, as well as designing and leading worship in large conference settings for thousands of people. In every church Craig has served, he has helped to launch a new worship service. Each time, the services were well received from the start and grew quickly. Craig continues to consult every day with many congregations on how to strengthen their teams and systems to nourish great worship communities, including beginning new services.


The Judaic Studies Shelf

The Soul of the Mishna
Yakov Nagen
Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
c/o Toby Press
PO Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531
www.korenpub.com
9781592645824, $29.95, HC, 436pp

https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Mishna-Yakov-Nagen/dp/1592645828

Synopsis: The Mishnah is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Torah. It is also the first major work of rabbinic literature. The Mishnah was redacted by Judah ha-Nasi at the beginning of the 3rd century CE in a time when, according to the Talmud, the persecution of the Jews and the passage of time raised the possibility that the details of the oral traditions of the Pharisees from the Second Temple period (536 BCE - 70 CE) would be forgotten. Most of the Mishnah is written in Mishnaic Hebrew, but some parts are in Aramaic. (Wikipedia)

As the foundational text of the Oral Torah, the Mishna is analyzed to understand Jewish law and the workings of the halakhic system. But, there is also an inner spirit to the work that often goes unnoticed, a profundity that provides important principles and insights for everyday life, such as those relating to God's presence in the world, relationships between parents and children and between husbands and wives, social justice, the Temple, the Land of Israel, and more.

"The Soul of the Mishna" by Rabbi Yakov Nagen (Senior Rabbi, Otniel Yeshiva, Israel) looks at over two hundred mishnayot and identifies the fascinating literary devices used by the Sages to reveal the deeper meaning of the text. To bring the mishnayot closer to contemporary readers, Rabbi Nagen also interweaves personal reflections throughout his interpretations. "The Soul of the Mishna" is a profound, eye-opening, and soulful approach that will revolutionize the way you learn Mishna.

Critique: An impressively thoughtful and thought-provoking study, "The Soul of the Mishna" will be welcomed for personal Talmud studies, as well as synagogue, community, college, and university library Contemporary Judaic Studies collections in general, and Talmudic supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, rabbis, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Soul of the Mishna" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Prince and the Emperors
Dov S. Zakheim
Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
c/o Toby Press
PO Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531
www.korenpub.com
9781592645404, $29.95, HC, 344pp

https://www.amazon.com/Prince-Emperors-Times-Rabbi-Judah/dp/1592645402

Synopsis: "The Prince and the Emperors: The Life and Times of Rabbi Judah the Prince" by Jewish history expert and lecturer Dov S. Zakheim is a biographical account of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi (Rabbi Judah the Prince), who was also known as Rebbe, as well as the human and historical context that shaped the Mishna and Gemara. Drawing upon both Jewish and Roman sources, "The Prince and the Emperors" provides a portrait of this important rabbinic sage, as well as insight into the Jewish encounter with Rome.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, informative, and compelling work of historical research, "The Prince and the Emperors: The Life and Times of Rabbi Judah the Prince" is a truly impressive and extraordinary work of original scholarship that is an especially recommended addition to synagogue, community, college, and university library Judaic Studies & History collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Prince and the Emperors: The Life and Times of Rabbi Judah the Prince" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Studies in Spirituality
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd.
c/o Toby Press
PO Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531
www.korenpub.com
9781592645763, $24.95, HC, 318pp

https://www.amazon.com/Studies-Spirituality-Jonathan-Sacks/dp/1592645763

Synopsis: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (8 March 1948 - 7 November 2020) was an internationally respected religious leader, prolific writer, and the Emeritus Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.

"Studies in Spirituality" is a compilation of essays designed by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks as part of a weekly reading study program on the first five books of the Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Critique: Enhanced with an informative Foreword by Sivan Rahavmeir, "Studies in Spirituality" (the latest book in the Koren Publishers Jerusalem 'Covenant & Conversation. series) is an extraordinarily thoughtful and thought-provoking read. Exceptional and an ideal for DIY study groups, "Studies in Spirituality" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, synagogue, college, and university library Judaism and Biblical Studies collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.


The Islamic Studies Shelf

Contemporary Rationalist Islam in Turkey
Gokhan Bacik
I.B. Tauris
c/o Bloomsbury
https://www.bloomsbury.com
9780755636747, $115.00 hc / $82.80 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Rationalist-Islam-Turkey-Opposition/dp/0755636740

Synopsis: Nineteenth-century Istanbul was an intellectual hub of rich discussions about Islam, in which leading reformists had a significant role. Turkey today appears to be an intellectual vacuum to anyone searching for ongoing critical engagement with Islam. The main purpose of this book is to adjust this view of Turkey by showcasing the modern Turkish theologians who challenge mainstream Sunni interpretations of Islam. Labelling these theologians as 'rationalist' rather than 'reformist', the author reveals that their theology is inherently anti-establishment and thus a religiously-oriented challenge to the hegemony of the state-sanctioned Islam: for the rationalists, Turkey's problems have their origins in the Sunni interpretation of Islam.

Contemporary Rationalist Islam in Turkey analyses nine prominent scholars of Islam who provide a religious opposition to the Sunni revival in Turkey: Huseyin Atay, Yasar Nuri Ozturk, M. Hayri Kirbasoglu, Ilhami Guler, R. Ihsan Eliacik, Omer Ozsoy, Mustafa Ozturk, Israfil Balci, and Mehmet Azimli. These scholars' writings are almost exclusively published in Turkish, so this book makes their ideas available in English for the first time. It also examines the scope, methodology and argumentation of the scholars' theology, categorizing their theological interpretations from 'historicist' to 'universalist' and from 'empiricist' to 'rationalist'. In identifying a new 'rationalist' school of Turkish theology and outlining its different manifestations, the book breaks new ground. It fills a significant gap in the literature on Islamic studies and reveals an understudied dimension of Turkey and Turkish Islam beyond the well-known ideas of the AKP and the Gulenists.

Critique: Professor of Political Science Gokhan Bacik presents Contemporary Rationalist Islam in Turkey: The Religious Opposition to Sunni Revival, a close examination of nine well-known scholars of Islam who oppose the Sunni Islam revival in Turkey. A scholarly, studious, and well-reasoned dissection, Contemporary Rationalist Islam in Turkey discusses how rationalist beliefs question the Sunni Revival's concentration of authority, and the Sunni Revival's refusal to acknowledge contradictions between their religious contentions and natural law, among other perceived shortcomings. "...the rationalists maintain that Islamic thought is no longer a game of persuasion; human reason has the authority to go beyond the religious axioms. Rejecting God's intervention in history as agent, the rationalists now assign to human beings the role of ultimate actors in history, leaving everything about religion subject to natural law. That done, it is no longer required to engage with the inconsistent arguments of Sunni theology: It is simply wrong when it is inconsistent with reason and science." Contemporary Rationalist Islam in Turkey is a seminal and welcome contribution to public and university library Islamic Studies collections, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Contemporary Rationalist Islam in Turkey is also available in a Kindle edition ($82.80).

Editorial Note: Gokhan Bacik is Professor of Political Science at Palacky University in the Czech Republic.


The General Fiction Shelf

The Bad Immigrant
Sefi Atta
Interlink Books
c/o Interlink Publishing Group
46 Crosby Street, Northampton, MA 01060-1804
www.interlinkbooks.com
9781623719050, $27.95, HC, 362pp

https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Immigrant-Sefi-Atta/dp/1623719054

Synopsis: In her latest novel, "The Bad Immigrant" (and through the voice of her first male protagonist - Lukmon), author Sefi Atta peels away nuanced layers to expose the realities of migration from Nigeria to the USA, such as the strains of adjustment and the stifling pressure to conform without loss of identity.

Covering a wide range of issues, including interracial and intra-racial tensions, and familial strains exacerbated in a new geographic and cultural environment, "The Bad Immigrant" is a thoroughgoing exposition of the many challenges that confront a modern migrant as told from the perspective of a protagonist whose sophistication and educational prowess is no guarantee of success in a country that is prone to valuing conformity over merit.

Lukmon's narrative is grounded in a wide array of cultural and literary allusions that testify to the author Sefi Atta's wit and sophisticated management of complicated matters in a manner at once erudite and accessible. Furthermore, with "The Bad Immigrant", Atta deftly drives the narrative forward with repartee that forges deep intimacy with the characters and engenders sympathy for all of them, even those we find infuriating.

Critique: A timely, entertaining, expertly crafted, thoughtful and thought-provoking novel given our current national political, cultural, and social controversies over immigration issues, "The Bad Immigrant" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community library Contemporary General Fiction collections.

The Lost Theory
Michael Kelley
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781626348844, $25.95, HC, 480pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Theory-Michael-Kelley/dp/1626348847

Synopsis: Sean McQueen is a staid, middle-aged NYU literature professor leading an uneventful life, until he receives a cryptic letter from his intellectually and poetically gifted best friend, Dylan Byrne. Following years of extensive research, Dylan claims that he has discovered "the theory of everything": a revelation that promises to alter man's view of existence by reconciling science with spirituality. The two men arrange a meeting to discuss the paradigm-shifting theory, but after Dylan never shows, Sean discovers his friend has died under mysterious circumstances and the theory has gone missing.

Sean teams up with Dylan's scientific collaborator, quantum cosmologist Emily Edens, to find the lost theory. Together they embark on the adventure of a lifetime -- traveling from the busy streets of New York City to the mystical corners of Kathmandu where Dylan realized his groundbreaking theory. On their quest, they encounter extraordinary allies and fearsome adversaries, including a covert government operative code-named "Guru," who is hell-bent on finding the theory first and preventing Sean and Emily from sharing it with the world.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that this is author Michael Kelley's debut novel, "The Lost Theory" is an impressively original and expertly crafted blend of mystery, suspense, magical realism and romance. An inherently fascinating and entertaining read that is also readily available in an inexpensive digital book format (Kindle, $0.99), "The Lost Theory" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Fiction collections.

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady
Sharon J. Mondragon
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825447020, $15.99, PB, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Yarn-Dragon-Lady-Prayers/dp/082544702X

Synopsis: Margaret, Rose, Jane, and Fran had a good thing going: meet every week in the quiet of their peaceful chapel and knit prayer shawls. No muss, just ministry. That is, until their pastor boots them out of the church in his last-ditch effort to revive the dwindling congregation.

Uptight Margaret isn't having it. Knitting prayer shawls where people can watch is the most ridiculous idea she's ever heard of, and she's heard plenty. Prayer belongs in the church, not out among the heathen masses. How are they supposed to knit holiness into these shawls if they're constantly distracted by the public? But with no choice, the others embrace the challenge. They pack their knitting bags and drag Margaret (grumbling the whole way) to the mall with them. She can't wait to prove them all wrong when it fails miserably, and show the pastor that she always knows best.

Without the familiar mold the group has been stuck in, their own losses, pain, and struggles rise to the surface. And the people and situations they encounter every time they try to sit quietly and knit are taking them a lot further out of their comfort zone than they ever imagined. Can they find the courage to tackle the increasing number of knotty issues they learn about in the community -- or will the tangle be too much to unravel?

Critique: A unique, original, well crafted, and inherently fascinating work of contemporary fiction that will have a very special appear to readers within the Christian community, "The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Sharon Mondragon's debut as a novelist. Warmly entertaining from cover to cover, "The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

The Secret of Snow
Viola Shipman
Graydon House
http://graydonhousebooks.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9781525899812, $28.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Snow-Novel-Viola-Shipman/dp/1525899813

Synopsis: When Sonny Dunes, a SoCal meteorologist whose job is all sunshine and seventy-two-degree days, is replaced by a virtual meteorologist that will never age, gain weight or renegotiate its contract, the only station willing to give the fifty-year-old another shot is the very place Sonny's been avoiding since the day she left for college -- her northern Michigan hometown.

Sonny grudgingly returns to the long, cold, snowy winters of her childhood -- with the added humiliation of moving back in with her mother. Not quite an outsider but no longer a local, Sonny finds her past blindsiding her everywhere: from the high school friends she ghosted, to the former journalism classmate and mortal frenemy who's now her boss, to, most keenly, the death years ago of her younger sister, who loved the snow.

To distract herself from the memories she's spent her life trying to outrun, Sonny throws herself headfirst into covering every small-town winter event to woo a new audience, made more bearable by a handsome widower with optimism to spare. But with someone trying to undermine her efforts to rebuild her career, Sonny must make peace with who she used to be and allow her heart to thaw if she's ever going to find a place she can truly call home.

Critique: Viola Shipman is the pen name of author Wade Rouse and with the publication of his latest novel, "The Secret Of Snow", once again demonstrates his particular and entertaining narrative driven storytelling style. As with this twelve previous books, there are a literary wealth of surprising plot twists and deftly crafted, memorable characters that immediately involve the readers total attention from first page to last. While highly recommended for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be note for personal reading lists that "The Secret Of Snow" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781525806445, $16.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781665104340, $39.99, CD).


The Literary Fiction Shelf

How High? -- That High
Diane Williams
Soho Press
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
www.sohopress.com
9781641293068, $25.00, HC, 128pp

https://www.amazon.com/How-High-That/dp/1641293063

Synopsis: The 34 short stories by Diane Williams comprising "How High? -- That High" depict ordinary moments (for example, a visit to the doctor's office or a married couple's hundredth dance together). With each individual story Williams delivers a lifetime of insecurities, lusts, rejections, and revelations, making her work equally discomfiting and amusing. With unmatched wit in every sentence, Williams is able to capture whole universes in a single short story, delivering visionary insights into what it means to be human.

Critique: A true master of the short story format, "How High? -- That High" showcases author and storyteller Diane Williams' genuine flair for originality coupled with an unsurpassed literary skill and talent for narrative driven stories and memorably crafted characters. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "How High? -- That High" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in New York City, Diane Williams is the founder and editor of the distinguished literary annual, NOON, the archive of which, as well as Williams' personal literary archive, was acquired in 2014 by the Lilly Library. She is the author of nine previous volumes of short fiction and the recipient of four Pushcart Prizes.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Death on the Shelf
Allison Brook
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9781643857800, $26.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Shelf-Haunted-Library-Mystery/dp/1643857800

Synopsis: Clover Ridge librarian Carrie Singleton is thrilled to attend her best friend Angela's wedding, but Angela's family can be a bit much. Angela's wealthy cousin Donna hosts an extravagant bridal shower at her resplendent home, but the celebrations turn to gossip as the guests notice Donna's surgeon husband, Aiden, spending a bit too much time with Donna's cousin Roxy. At the wedding reception, the sweet occasion turns darkly bitter when Aiden topples into the chocolate fountain -- dead.

The suspect list is as long as the guest list, and as difficult to sort out as the seating chart. A few of the top contenders on Carrie's suspect list are the flirtatious Roxy, emotionally unstable since her recent divorce; Angela's grouchy brother, who feels Aiden betrayed him; and Roxy's scorned ex-husband. Even Donna may have had reason to want her husband dead. And Aiden's gossipy office manager has plenty to say about them all.

Then another member of Angela's family is murdered, making Carrie more determined than ever to find the killer. Can library ghost Evelyn and library cat Smoky Joe help Carrie solve the murders before she becomes the next of Angela's wedding guests to head to the grave?

Critique: Another spellbinding 'whodunnit' from the pen of Allison Brook, "Death on the Shelf" is the latest addition to her simply outstanding 'A Haunted Library Mystery' series. Once again the dedicated mystery buff is treated to a series of unexpected plot twists and memorable crafted characters. While certain to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to any community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collection, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Death on the Shelf" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666522495, $22.99, MP3 CD).

How to Book a Murder
Cynthia Kuhn
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9781643858593, $26.99, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Book-Murder-Starlit-Bookshop-Mystery/dp/1643858599

Synopsis: To help save her family's floundering Colorado bookstore, Starlit Bookshop, newly minted Ph.D. Emma Starrs agrees to plan a mystery-themed dinner party for her wealthy, well-connected high school classmate Tabitha Baxter. It's a delightful evening of cocktails and conjecture until Tabitha's husband, Tip (who is hosting the affair in the guise of Edgar Allan Poe's detective C. Auguste Dupin) winds up murdered!

In a heartbeat, Emma and her aunt Nora, a famous mystery writer, become suspects. Emma is sure the party's over for Starlit events, until celebrated author Calliope Nightfall, whose gothic sensibilities are intrigued by the circumstances, implores the bookseller to create a Poe-themed launch event for her latest tome. Throwing a bash to die for while searching for additional clues is already enough to drive Emma stark raven mad, but another shocking crime soon reveals that Silvercrest has not yet reached the final chapter of the puzzling case.

Someone in this charming artistic community has murder on the mind, and if Emma cannot outwit the killer, she and her beloved aunt will land behind bars, to walk free nevermore.

Critique: Another perfectly crafted 'whodunnit' mystery by author Cynthia Kuhn, "How to Book a Murder" is part of her A Starlit Bookshop Mystery series. A mystery lover's pure delight laced as it is with unexpected plot twists and turns throughout, "How to Book a Murder" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs in general, and the growing legions of Cynthia Kuhn fans in particular, that "How to Book a Murder" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666512373, $22.99, CD).

The Dangers of an Ordinary Night
Lynne Reeves
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
9781643858654, $26.99, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Dangers-Ordinary-Night-Novel/dp/1643858653

Synopsis: On a chilly fall evening at the prestigious Performing Arts High School of Boston, best friends Tali Carrington and June Danforth go missing after auditioning for a play. They're last seen in grainy, out-of-focus surveillance footage that shows them walking away from the school. Two days later in a town south of Boston, Tali is found disoriented and traumatized by the ocean's edge, while June is pronounced dead at the scene.

Tali's mother, Nell, is so bent on protecting her daughter from further emotional harm that she ignores rumors of her husband's involvement and enlists the help of Cynthia Rawlins, a reunification therapist with personal insight into the riptide that hides below the surface of every unsuspecting family. Meanwhile, Detective Fitz Jameson uncovers a criminal undertow involving the high school's over achieving students, and finally sees an opportunity for personal redemption from a secret that's haunted him for years.

As Nell, Cynthia, and Fitz confront their own contributions to the scandals that beleaguer them, their lives turn out to be more deeply intertwined than they'd ever imagined. In the end, they must decide what lengths they're willing to go to protect the people they love while also saving themselves.

Critique: The kind of mystery suspense thrill that unfolds like a roller coaster gone wild, "The Dangers of an Ordinary Night" by author Lynne Reeves is a compulsive page turner of a read from cover to cover. Original, clever, entertainingly memorable, "The Dangers of an Ordinary Night" is highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Dangers of an Ordinary Night" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666519457, $59.99, CD)

God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen
Rhys Bowen
Berkley Books
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
www.penguin.com
9780440000082, $26.00, HC, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/Rest-Royal-Gentlemen-Spyness-Mystery/dp/0440000084

Synopsis: Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas.

Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham.

Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping.

There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.

Critique: "God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen" is one of Rhys Bowen's 'A Royal Spyness Mystery' novels and, simply stated, an impressively crafted and thoroughly entertaining read from first page to last. With a wealth of unexpected twists and turns, and also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) as well as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781713658504, $24.99, CD), "God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen" is especially recommended for the personal lists of dedicated mystery buffs and community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

The Twelve Jays of Christmas
Donna Andrews
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
www.minotaurbooks.com
www.macmillanaudio.com
9781250760180, $26.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Jays-Christmas-Langslow-Mysteries/dp/1250760186

Synopsis: Meg and Michael's annual holiday celebration is well underway, with a throng of out-of-town relatives staying at their house. Hosting these festivities is a little harder than usual. They have to relocate all the events normally held in their library, currently occupied by Roderick Castlemayne, the irascible wildlife artist who's creating twelve paintings of birds to illustrate Meg's grandfather's latest nature book.

Still, the celebrations continue and the entire family rejoices to learn that Meg's brother Rob and his longtime fiancee Delaney have finally decided to tie the knot. Unfortunately, they decide to do this in the middle of Meg and Michael's annual New Year's bash, dashing their mothers' hopes of planning the wedding to end all weddings.

Delaney's mother sneaks into town so she and Meg's mother can secretly plot a way to talk the happy couple into having a big bash. Hiding her only adds to Meg's holiday stress. It's almost a full-time job fending all the visitors who want to confront Castlemayne including reporters, bill collectors, process servers, and several ex-wives in search of unpaid alimony.

Then someone murders Castlemayne in the middle of a blizzard and sets loose the birds he was painting. Can Meg help the police crack the case before the killer strikes again? Can she keep Christmas merry in spite of the body in the library? Can she negotiate a compromise between Rob and Delaney and their disappointed mothers? And can she recapture the twelve escaped jays before they begin nesting in the Christmas tree?

Critique: An impressively entertaining and original 'whodunnit' by an author with a true mastery of the genre, "The Twelve Jays of Christmas" by Donna Andrews is a dedicated mystery lover's delight. While certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the legions of Donna Andrews fans that "The Twelve Jays of Christmas" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Macmillan Audio, 9781250822659, $43.81, CD).

Damascus Station
David McCloskey
W. W. Norton & Company
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
www.wwnorton.com
9780393881042, $27.95, HC, 432pp

https://www.amazon.com/Damascus-Station-Novel-David-McCloskey/dp/0393881040

Synopsis: CIA case officer Sam Joseph is dispatched to Paris to recruit Syrian Palace official Mariam Haddad. The two fall into a forbidden relationship, which super charges Haddad's recruitment and creates unspeakable danger when they enter Damascus to find the man responsible for the disappearance of an American spy.

But the cat and mouse chase for the killer soon leads to a trail of high-profile assassinations and the discovery of a dark secret at the heart of the Syrian regime, bringing the pair under the all-seeing eyes of Assad's spy catcher, Ali Hassan, and his brother Rustum, the head of the feared Republican Guard.

Set against the backdrop of a Syria pulsing with fear and rebellion, "Damascus Station" is a gripping suspense thriller of a read that offers a textured portrayal of espionage, love, loyalty, and betrayal in one of the most difficult CIA assignments on the planet. a deftly crafted novel by author David McClaskey (who is a former CIA analyst and consultant at McKinsey & Company, and while at the CIA, worked in field stations across the Middle East and briefed senior White House officials and Arab royalty), "Damascus Stations" is an especially recommended addition to community library General Fiction collections. Of immense interest to fans of political, espionage, and international anti-terrorism action/adventure fiction, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Damascus Station" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.18).

Grave Reservations
Cherie Priest
Atria Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9781982168896, $26.00, HC, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/Grave-Reservations-Novel-Cherie-Priest/dp/1982168897

Synopsis: "Grave Reservations" by Cherie Priest is the story of Leda Foley -- a devoted friend, struggling travel agent, and inconsistent psychic. When Leda, sole proprietor of Foley's Flights of Fancy, impulsively re-books Seattle PD detective Grady Merritt's flight, her life changes in ways she couldn't have predicted.

After watching his original plane blow up from the safety of the airport, Grady realizes that Leda's special abilities could help him with a cold case he just can't crack.

Despite her scattershot premonitions, she agrees for a secret reason: her fiance's murder remains unsolved. Leda's psychic abilities couldn't help the case several years before, but she's been honing her skills and drawing a crowd at her favorite bar's open-mic nights, where she performs Klairvoyant Karaoke -- singing whatever song comes to mind when she holds people's personal effects.

Now joined by a rag-tag group of bar patrons and pals alike, Leda and Grady set out to catch a killer and learn how the two cases that haunt them have more in common than they ever suspected.

Critique: A deftly crafted blend of mystery, suspense, the occult, and magical realism, "Grave Reservations" is an original and impressively entertaining read from cover to cover. Showcasing author Cherrie Priest's genuine flair for creating memorable characters and unexpected plot twists, "Grave Reservations" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Grave Reservations" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781982168902, $17.00), in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781797133911, $39.99, CD).

The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden
Kate Saunders
Bloomsbury Press
www.bloomsbury.com
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9781408866924, $26.00, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Sorrowful-Maiden-Laetitia-Rodd/dp/1408866927

Synopsis: In the spring of 1853, private detective Laetitia Rodd receives a delicate request from a retired actor, whose days on the stage were ended by a theater fire ten years before. His great friend, and the man he rescued from the fire, Thomas Transome, has decided to leave his wife, who now needs assistance in securing a worthy settlement. Though Mrs. Rodd is reluctant to get involved with the scandalous world of the theater, she cannot turn away the woman in need. She agrees to take the case.

But what starts out as a simple matter of negotiation becomes complicated when a body is discovered in the burnt husk of the old theater. Soon Mrs. Rodd finds herself embroiled in family politics, rivalries that put the Capulets and Montagues to shame, and betrayals on a Shakespearean scale. Mrs. Rodd will need all her investigatory powers, not to mention her famous discretion, to solve the case before tragedy strikes once more.

Critique: The third mystery in author Kate Sauncers' outstanding Laetita Rodd historical mysteries series, "The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden" once again presents a deftly crafted, impressively entertaining story featuring an indomitable lady sleuth that is the equal of Sherlock Holmes or any Agatha Christy detective. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the growing legions of Kate Saunders fans that "The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666521269, $22.99, CD).

Shadow Music
Helaine Mario
Oceanview Publishing
1620 Main Street, Suite 11, Sarasota, FL 34236
www.oceanviewpub.com
9781608094509, $26.95, HC, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Music-Maggie-OShea-Mystery/dp/1608094502

Synopsis: Late in the Cold War, a young woman escapes from Communist Hungary, vanishing into the night with a priceless painting and a baby girl and thereby setting events in motion from a decades-old secret that will change lives for generations to come.

Many years later, classical pianist Maggie O'Shea is drawn to Cornwall in search of a long-lost Van Gogh and the truth behind her husband's death. A journal from World War II Paris holds many of the answers, but only two people know where the Van Gogh is hidden now -- a courageous nun and a man presumed dead.

Set against the backdrop of the international music and art world, Maggie finds herself on a collision course with three dangerous Russians who threaten all she holds dear -- including her life and the life of the man she has come to love.

Critique: In the pages of "Shadow Music" by Helaine Mario, is deftly crafted, impressively original, and memorably entertaining blend of loss, courage, love, and revenge. The third book in the author's 'Maggie O'Shea' mystery series, this is a simply riveting tale of suspense with many an unexpected plot twist and turn, "Shadow Music" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly welcome addition to any and all community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery fans that "Shadow Music" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49).

Labyrinth of Lies
Irene Hannon
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800740504, $29.99, HC, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Labyrinth-Triple-Threat-Irene-Hannon/dp/0800740505

Synopsis: When the daughter of a high-profile businessman disappears from an exclusive girls' boarding school, police detective Cate Reilly is tapped for an undercover assignment. It doesn't take her long to realize that beneath the veneer of polish and wealth, things are not as they seem at Ivy Hill Academy. But the biggest surprise of all? The only man she ever loved is also working at the school.

Zeke Sloan has never forgotten Cate, but now isn't the best time for their paths to cross again. When their two seemingly disparate agendas begin to intertwine (and as startling connections emerge among the players) the danger escalates significantly. But who is the mastermind behind the elaborate ruse? And how far will they go to protect their house of cards?

Critique: Another deftly written and original suspense thriller of a novel by a master of the genre, and underscored with romance, "Labyrinth Of Lies" by Irene Hannon is the second volume in her outstanding 'Triple Threat' series and will have particular and special appeal to fans of Christian Mystery Suspense Thrillers . While highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for the growing legions of Irene Hannon fans that "Labyrinth Of Lies" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780800736187, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Cold Brew Corpse: A Coffee Lover's Mystery
Tara Lush
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9781643857886, $26.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Brew-Corpse-Coffee-Mystery/dp/1643857886

Synopsis: It's a steamy September, and business is brisk at Perkatory, the hottest coffee shop in Devil's Beach, FL. Much of the clientele pours in from Dante's Inferno, the hot yoga studio next door. But the bright, sunny Gulf Coast days turn decidedly dark-roast when the body of the studio's owner turns up in a nearby swamp.

Between running Perkatory and training Stanley, her golden Shih Tzu puppy, Lana Lewis, a reporter-turned-barista, is too busy to go sleuthing. But when the editor of the local paper asks her to write about the murder, Lana's dreams of getting back into journalism start to percolate.

Lana discovers that the yogi has a nefarious past and her share of mug shots, so grinding her way through the suspect list is a large task. She learns that the victim was fatally beaned by an SUV before she was dumped in the swamp. But was the killer one of her students? An envious yoga teacher? Or a local photographer who seems to know too much?

But no one tells Lana Lewis what to do. Hunting the caf-fiend who killed the yogi puts Lana and Chief Noah's relationship (and Lana's life!) in very hot coffee!

Critique: A 'whodunnit' mystery enthusiast's delight, "Cold Brew Corpse" by Tara Lush is a deftly crafted and thoroughly entertaining read from beginning to end. Memorable characters, clever plot twists, and a rousing finale all combine to make "Cold Brew Corpse" a favorite and prized addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of Tara Lush fans that "Cold Brew Corpse" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781666523928, $26.99, CD).

Our Trespasses
Michael Cordell
TCK Publishing
https://www.tckpublishing.com
9781631611537, $14.99, PB, 200pp

https://www.amazon.com/Our-Trespasses-Paranormal-Michael-Cordell/dp/1631611534

Synopsis: Drowning in a meaningless existence flipping burgers, Matthew Davis suddenly collapses from a powerful psychic connection he shares with his twin brother, Jake. The pain is violent and immediate, and Matt knows exactly what it means. Hundreds of miles away, Jake has just been viciously killed. But instead of severing their connection, the murder intensifies it and Matt begins to suffer the agony of Jake's afterlife.

Hell bent on solving Jake's murder in order to break the connection, Matt travels to his troubled hometown of Hatchett, Nebraska, where an old lover and savage new enemies expose the festering wounds that Jake left behind.

Matt tries atoning for Jake's sins, but when a demon infests the connection between the two brothers, Matt must find a way to sever their bond before his world, and ours, become engulfed in the flames of hell.

Critique: Original, compelling, and a deftly crafted blend of mystery, suspense, action, and the paranormal, "Our Trespasses" by author and storyteller Michael Cordell will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library Psychic Thriller Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Our Trespasses" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Autobiography of Mr. Spock
Lina McCormack, author
Russell Walks, illustrator
Titan Books
https://titanbooks.com
9781785654664, $24.99, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Autobiography-Mr-Spock-David-Goodman/dp/1785654667

Synopsis: In "The Autobiography of Mr. Spock", one of Starfleet's finest officers and the Federation's most celebrated citizens reveals his life story. Mr Spock explores his difficult childhood on Vulcan with Michael Burnham, his controversial enrolment at Starfleet Academy, his time on the Enterprise with both Kirk and Pike, and his moves to his diplomatic and ambassadorial roles, including his clandestine mission to Romulus.

Brand-new details of his life on Vulcan and the Enterprise are revealed, along with never-before-seen insights into Spock's relationships with the most important figures in his life, including Sarek, Michael Burnham, Christopher Pike, Kirk, McCoy and more, all told in his own distinctive voice.

Critique: Simply stated, "The Autobiography of Mr. Spock" is absolutely essential reading for the legions of Star Trek fans. A deftly crafted memoir of a fictional character by author and Star Trek fans Lina McCormack, and featuring a section of full color artwork by Russell Walks, "The Autobiography of Mr. Spock" will prove to be a massively popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Autobiography of Mr. Spock" is also readily available from Titan Books in a paperback edition (9781785659416, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Star Wars Insider: Fiction Collection Vol. 2
Timothy Zahn, et al.
Titan Comics
https://titan-comics.com
9781787737082, $24.99, HC, 148pp

https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Insider-Fiction-Collection/dp/178773708X

Synopsis: Titan Comics has been publishing the official Star Wars Insider magazine worldwide for over 200 issues. The second volume in their Star Wars Insider: Fiction Collection series, this compendium of five original Star Wars stories by short story authors Timothy Zahn, James S. A. Corey, Jason Fry, Paul S. Kemp, and John Jackson Miller are beautifully illustrated by the artwork of Drew Baker, Magali Villeneuve, John Van Flektt, Joe Corroney, and Brian Miller.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of Star Wars fans, "Star Wars Insider: Fiction Collection Vol. 2" is published in a hard cover coffee-table size format (8.17 x 0.55 x 11.16 inches) and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal and community library Science Fiction collections in general, and Star Wars reading lists in particular.


The Psychology Shelf

Psychedelics and Psychotherapy
Tim Read, editor
Maria Papaspyrou, editor
Park Street Press
c/o Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781644113325, $24.99, PB, 424pp

https://www.amazon.com/Psychedelics-Psychotherapy-Healing-Potential-Expanded/dp/1644113325

Synopsis: Exploring the latest developments in the flourishing field of modern psychedelic psycho-therapy, the articles comprising "Psychedelics and Psychotherapy: The Healing Potential of Expanded States" (expertly compiled by Tim Read and Maria Papaspyrou, co-directors of the Institute of Psychedelic Therapy in the UK) shares practical experiences and insights from both elders and newer research voices in the psychedelic research and clinical communities.

The contributors examine new findings on safe and skillful work with psychedelic and expanded states for therapeutic, personal, and spiritual growth. They explain the dual process of opening and healing. They explore new approaches for individual inner work as well as for the healing of ancestral and collective trauma. They examine the power of expanded states for reparative attachment work and offer insights on the integration process through the lens of Holotropic Breathwork. The contributors also examine the use of cannabis as a psychedelic tool, spiritual exploration with LSD, microdosing with Iboga, treating depression with psilocybin, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.

Revealing diverse ways of working with psychedelics in terms of set, setting, and type of substance, "Psychedelics and Psychotherapy: The Healing Potential of Expanded States" concludes with discussions of ethics and professional development for those working in the field as well as explores considerations for training the next generation of psychedelic therapists.

Critique: Expertly compiled and co-edited by Tim Read and Maria Papaspyrou, and with specific attention to the use of cannabis as a psychedelic tool, spiritual exploration with LSD, micro-dosing with Iboga, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, "Psychedelics and Psychotherapy: The Healing Potential of Expanded States" is a uniquely informed and informative addition to community, counseling center, college, and university library Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pharmacology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for psychology students, academia, therapists, counselors, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Psychedelics and Psychotherapy: The Healing Potential of Expanded States" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note #1: Currently residing in London, England, Tim Read, M.D. is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist with degrees in neuroscience and medicine. After heading the services for psychiatric emergencies and crisis intervention at the Royal London Hospital for 20 years, he is now involved in clinical research at King's College and Imperial College, London University, on the therapeutic use of psychedelics.

Editorial Note #2: Currently residing in Brighton, England, Maria Papaspyrou, MSC, is an integrative psychotherapist, supervisor, and family constellations facilitator. She has given talks and published articles on the sacramental and healing properties of entheogens, supporting their reintroduction in psychotherapy. She is also the co-editor of Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine.


The Travel Shelf

Lonely Planet Best of Great Britain
Damian Harper, et al.
Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
www.lonelyplanet.com
9781787015364, $24.99, PB, 324pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Planet-Great-Britain-Country/dp/178701536X

Synopsis: "Lonely Planet's Best of Great Britain" is an illustrated and information packed compendium of the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you when visiting England, Ireland, and Scotland. With its thoroughly 'user friendly' format, even the most novice of tourists can explore London's museums, sip whisky in Scotland, and hike in Snowdonia; all with this comprehensive guide as a trusted travel planner.

"Lonely Planet Best of Great Britain" features: Up-to-date information - all businesses were rechecked before publication to ensure they are still open after 2020's COVID-19 outbreak; Full-color images throughout; Highlights and itineraries help tailor any trip to personal needs and interests; Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots; Essential information including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices; Honest reviews for all budgets (including eating, sightseeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss!); Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, art, food, wine, sport, landscapes, wildlife; A free, convenient pull-out London map (included in print version), plus easy-to-use colour maps to help you navigate your destination.

Critique: Lonely Planet travel guides are held to the highest standards of quality content and utility -- and "Lonely Planet Best of Great Britain" is in full compliance to that requirement. Whether traveling to the UK for business, pleasure, or both, This compact paperback edition of "Lonely Planet Best of Great Britain" is the ideal trip planning resource for a truly memorable trip -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Travel Guide collections.


The Interior Design Shelf

Cozy White Cottage Seasons
Liz Marie Galvan
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
www.thomasnelson.com
9781400224555, $27.00, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cozy-White-Cottage-Seasons-Ways/dp/1400224551

Synopsis: With the publication of "Cozy White Cottage Seasons: 100 Ways to Be Cozy All Year Long ", do-it-yourself interior designer and popular blogger Liz Marie Galvan helps you to create space to snuggle up, stretch out, or kick back at home so that you can focus on what matters most during the holidays and every day. Following the popularity of "Cozy White Cottage", Liz Galvan's "Cozy White Cottage Seasons" is a beautiful, full-color photography holiday lifestyle book packed from cover to cover with easy-to-do, practical tips to make any home a welcome haven from New Year's to spring, summer, fall, and all the way through Christmas.

"Cozy White Cottage Seasons" covers: Creating cozy celebrations, traditions, and memories indoors and out; Repurposing furniture and decor for every season; Cultivating your flair for vintage, modern, farmhouse, or a unique style all your own; Designing a hot cocoa bar --and making other seasonally cozy recipes; Storing and manage holiday clutter. In addition, "Cozy White Cottage Seasons" is enhanced for the DIY enthusiasts with fun ideas to celebrate and decorate for: Christmas; Thanksgiving; Halloween; Fourth of July; Father's Day and Mother's Day; Easter; Valentine's Day -- and so much more!

Critique: Profusely and beautifully illustrated with full color photography throughout, "Cozy White Cottage Seasons: 100 Ways to Be Cozy All Year Long" is a delight to simply browse through and an ideal resource for interior re-designing and holiday decorating ideas. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Home Decorating & Interior Designing instructional reference collections, it should be noted for the DIY enthusiast that "Cozy White Cottage Seasons: 100 Ways to Be Cozy All Year Long" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: A cozy enthusiast living in an 1800s farmhouse, Liz Marie Gaven's design tips and wisdom have been featured on the TODAY show, Better Homes and Gardens, and Country Living. With decorating tips, fun family traditions, and doable ways to make your home inviting in every season, Liz helps you create a beautiful living space and a grateful heart all year long.


The Comix/Graphic Novels Shelf

Comic Book Artist Bullpen
Jon B. Cooks, author
George Tuska, Jack Kirby, Fred Hernback, artists
Frank Bolie, Terry Beatty, Jack Abel, artists
TwoMorrows Publishing
10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614
www.twomorrows.com
9781605491059, $24.95, PB, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Comic-Book-Artist-Bullpen-Cooke/dp/1605491055

Synopsis: "Comic Book Artist Bullpen" collects all seven issues of the little-seen labor of love fanzine published in the early 2000s by Jon B. Cooke (editor of today's Comic Book Creator magazine), just after the original CBA ended its a TwoMorrows Publishing run. Featured are in-depth interviews with some of comics' major league players, including artists George Tuska, Jack Kirby, Fred Hernback, artists Frank Bolie, as well as an amazing all-star tribute to Silver Age great Jack Abel by the Marvel Comics Bullpen and others. That previously unpublished all-comics Abel appreciation (assembled by Rick Parker) includes strips by Joe Kubert, Walter Simonson, Kyle Baker, Marie Severin, Gray Morrow, Alan Weiss Sergio Aragones, Mort Todd, Dick Ayers, and many more! Plus a new bonus feature on Jack Kirby's unknown 1960s baseball card art, and a 16-page full-color section, all behind a Jack Kirby cover!

Critique: Profusely illustrated in black-and-white throughout, "Comic Book Artist Bullpen" is prove to be of immense interest to all comic book bibliophiles. Informative and fun from cover to cover, "Comic Book Artist Bullpen" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, highschool, community, college, and university library Historical & Biographical Fiction Graphic Novels collections in general, and the personal reading lists of all dedicated comic book fans 16 to 86!

Doctor Who: Missy
Jody Houser, author
Roberta Ingranata, illustrator
Titan Comics
https://titan-comics.com
9781787736450, $17.99, PB, 112pp

https://www.amazon.com/Doctor-Who-Missy-Jody-Houser/dp/1787736458

Synopsis: Missy (the female incarnation of The Master, an arch enemy of Doctor Who) up to her old tricks, but this time she's not alone! In the company of her earlier incarnation as The Master, Missy goes back along her own timeline with many a danger from old foes in search of a fragment of the Key to Time. How will the Doctor survive this latest maniacal plot in this special story celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Master?

Critique: An absolute 'must read' for the legions of Doctor Who fans (and, for that matter, fans of The Master), "Doctor Who: Missy - The Master Plan" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library graphic novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Doctor Who: Missy - The Master Plan" is available from Titan Comics in a digital book format (Kindle/comiXology, $11.99).

The Sunless Country: Trent
Rudolphe, author
Leo, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
www.nbnbooks.com
9781849183963, $11.95, PB, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Sunless-Country-Trent-6/dp/1849183961

Synopsis: Beyond the Arctic Circle, in the freezing cold and never-ending night, the Mounties do their duty and try to resist the creeping assaults of madness and depression. One evening, Canadian mounted police officer Trent, alone at his remote outpost, hears a call for help. He finds a couple of Natives, dead of exposure, along with a very much alive baby! Reluctantly turned into a polar nurse, the sergeant must leave his shelter (which is unequipped to cater to its new occupant) in order to find her a new family.

Critique: The sixth volume in the Canadian Mountie Trent series, "The Sunless Country" is a deftly scripted, impressively illustrated, and thoroughly entertaining graphic novel that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Sunless Country" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle/comiXology, $4.61).

Editorial Note: Brazilian artist Leo is best known for his science-fiction, multi-series saga The Worlds of Aldebaran. He also created Canadian Mountie Trent as well as Kenya and its second season Namibia, all three with the artist/illustrator Rodolphe - a teacher, journalist and writer who's penned over 150 graphic novels so far and worked with some of the greatest names of Bandes Dessinees.

The Regiment
Vincent Brugeas, author
Thomas Legrain, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
www.nbnbooks.com
9781849185943, $15.95, PB, 64pp

https://www.amazon.com/True-Story-SAS-Regiment-Book/dp/1849185948

Synopsis: Despite the heroic efforts of L Detachment, the unit's victories haven't managed to stop the advance of the German war machine. Soon, Rommel is at the gates of Egypt, and losses mount among David Stirling and Paddy Mayne's men -- some crueller than others. In the end, they will have to reinvent themselves and give everything to push back the Desert Fox and earn their name at last: The Special Air Service!

Critique: The third book in the outstanding graphic novel series 'The True Story of the SAS', "The Regiment" is military combat storytelling at its finest. A riveting read throughout, "The Regiment" will prove a welcome and enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library Graphic Nove collections for readers ages 15 to 85. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Regiment" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle/comiXology, $5.99).


The Audiobook Shelf

Murder by the Bookend
Laura Gail Black
Dreamscape Media
https://www.dreamscapepublishing.com
9781666518801, $22.99, 7 CD, 8 Hours 42 minutes

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Bookend-Antique-Bookshop-Mystery/dp/1666518808

Synopsis: Hokes Folly, NC, beloved antiquarian bookstore, Twice Upon a Time, is throwing a bash for its grand reopening. But bookseller Jenna Quinn's peace of mind is shattered when the local library's Director of Antique Books turns up dead in the parking lot with his head bashed in by a glittering pair of vintage glass bookends that he'd won in the bookstore raffle.

As they examine the murder scene, Jenna and her police detective boyfriend Keith happen upon the only witness -- Eddie, the victim's dog, who flees the scene leaving a trail of bloody footprints behind. If only dogs could speak, Jenna might be able to make quick work of the murder case and get back to stocking her bookcases. Alas, finding the killer won't be so easy, even though this is not Jenna's first murder investigation (she inherited Twice Upon a Time from her slain uncle). The suspect list includes the late librarian had not-so-friendly run-ins with numerous guests -- but suspicion eventually centers on three unsavory individuals who left the party shortly before the victim did.

Now Jenna must edit her inventory of suspects from three names to one before the bloodthirsty bookend-wielder becomes the author of Jenna's demise.

Critique: The sequel to author Laura Gail Black's mystery novel "For Whom the Book Tolls" which launched her "An Antique Bookshop Mystery' series, "Murder by the Bookend" is an impressively crafted 'whodunnit' with many an unexpected plot twist and turn before the unexpected finale! Especially recommended for community library audio book collections, this complete and unabridged audio book edition is skillfully narrated by Susan Boyce and is an ideal 'theatre of the mind' experience that will be especially appreciated by Amateur Sleuth fans.

Suburbia Made Me Do It
Ashley Fontainne
Blackstone Audiobooks
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
www.BlackstoneAudio.com
9798200714537, $29.95, CD

https://www.amazon.com/Suburbia-Made-Me-Ashley-Fontainne/dp/B09FNR8QSS

Synopsis: For over twenty-five years, Rory Davenport had based her life on the ancient, mental code of ethics passed down from previous generations that she secretly nicknamed The Suburbia Handbook.

High school sweethearts must marry and the wife is to stay at home and raise the children while the husband brings home the bacon. All married couples must procreate and raise, at a minimum, two and a half children, preferably staggered in ages by three years. A woman's job as housewife is to maintain a pleasant, always spotless home for her family. Check. Housewives must service their husband's needs when the man's urges overtake him, no matter how tired, sick, in pain, or stressed the wife feels.

For over twenty years, Rory adhered to the strict rules -- until a final act of egregious infidelity on the part of her husband shattered her mental control. This was the culmination of a series of traumatic events the sent her life spiraling out of control, destroying each and every archaic, foundational rule.

Except Rule Number Eleven: One must defend their family, no matter what. This rule trumps everything else, even if the defense comes in the form of bodily harm to another.

Critique: An extraordinary, unique, and inherently compelling suspense thriller, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of "Suburbia Made Me Do It"" is giftedly narrated by the author -- Ashley Fontainne. A simply fascinating story with incredible plot twists that continue right down to the unsuspected ending, "Suburbia Made Me Do It" is especially and unreservedly recommended for the dedicated suspense/thriller fans wanting a true 'theatre of the mind' experience, as well as an enduringly popular addition to community library CD audio book collections.

Best in Snow
David Rosenfelt, author
Grover Gardner, narrator
Macmillan Audio
www.macmillanaudio.com
9781250818058, $29.99, 6 CDs, 7 Hours

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Snow-Andy-Carpenter-Novel/dp/1250818052

Synopsis: Christmas has come early to the town of Paterson, New Jersey, in the form of a snowstorm that left over two feet of snow on the ground. Lawyer Andy Carpenter likes snow (to a point) but he misses the walks he takes his dogs on every day.

When the snow starts to melt, and a body is discovered by his dog, Andy ends up in the office of the local newspaper editor. The murder victim is that of crooked businessman Thomas Lansing, who had an infamous relationship with the newspaper. Last year a young reporter published an expose, and Lansing had him fired for libel. Now, the young reporter (and prime suspect) isn't answering his phone -- and everyone is worried.

Andy agrees to take the case, though it's not looking good this holiday season. The snow is piling up -- along with the evidence

Critique: An inherently compelling and fully entertaining Andy Carpenter mystery by veteran mystery/suspense author David Rosenfelt, this CD recorded edition of "Best In Snow" is deftly narrated by the vocal talents of Grover Gardner. The result is a true 'theatre of the mind' style audio book, complete and unabridged, that is especially and unreservedly recommended for the personal lists of all dedicated mystery buffs and will prove an enduringly popular addition to community library audio book collections.


The Music CD Shelf

My Favorite Holiday!
Patricia Vonne
patriciavonne.com
Bandolera Records
$TBA CD / $10.89 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/My-Favorite-Holiday-Patricia-Vonne/dp/B09J2CKG5N

My Favorite Holiday! is a Christmas-themed music album of ten original songs and one cover performed by musician, actress, and award-winning female vocalist Patricia Vonne. Patricia's brightly dulcet voice is pure listening joy! This festive collection will appeal to all ages, and is highly recommended as a way to spread Christmas cheer. The tracks are "Santa's On His Way", "Nochebuena", "Alone On Christmas Day", "Las Posadas", "Christmas Without You", "My Favorite Holiday", "Cumbia Navidad", "Santa's On A Rampage", "Christ Child", "Carol of the Bells", and "Old Man Santa".

Whisper
Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy
www.mysticjourney.net
Autumn Light Productions
$17.92 CD / $8.91 MP3

https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Suzanne-Teng-Gilbert-Levy/dp/B09HW2YQ34

Award-winning music artists Suzanne Teng and Gilbert Levy present Whisper, a beautiful, emotional, and instrumental album of original music crafted to soothe the mind and spirit. Light, exotic, and gently relaxing, Whisper is a mellifluous experience that can be savored on its own, or played to help one calm the mind while engaged in other tasks. Highly recommended. The tracks are "Whisper", "Sweet Jack", "Birgitte on the Steps", "Watching Us From Other Worlds", "Winter Prayer", "Genesis", "She Dances With the Sea", "White Buffalo", and "Gammapana".

Erlebnisse
Noam Lemish
www.noamlemish.com
Privately Published
$17.00 CAD physical / $10.00 CAD digital

https://noamlemish.bandcamp.com/album/erlebnisse

Erlebnisse is a solo piano album, titled after a German word for "deeply felt experiences". Each song is improvised, recorded in a single take, and played in real time. The tracks span a gamut of emotions and trace a mind-expanding journey brimming with creativity, inspiration, and adventure. An extraordinary soundscape sparking dreams, desires, and passions, Erlebnisse is highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the extraordinary.


The DVD Shelf

For the Love of Jason, Season 1
ALLBLK
https://allblk.tv
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$16.96 DVD

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Jason-1-Phoebe-Holston/dp/B09DMW9XFK

For the Love of Jason, Season 1 is a series about a single, educated, financially stable black man with no children, in search of true love. Jason has experienced long-term relationships, and years of bachelor life, yet as he grew older he realized that one by one all of his closest friends were settling down. Feeling the pressure to find someone rather than spend middle age and beyond alone, he starts a string of awkward dates - fortunately, all of his friends are eager to help him! For the Love of Jason is witty, heartwarming, at times sassy, and always entertaining, highly recommended. English language with English subtitles, 2 hours and 31 min.

Kevin Can F Himself, Season 1
Starring Annie Murphy
AMC Studios
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$39.98 DVD / Blu-ray

https://www.amazon.com/Himself-Inboden-Petersen-Bonifer-Raymond/dp/B09F5DC7YB

Available in both DVD and Blu-ray formats, Kevin Can F Himself, Season 1 is a dark humor series about what lurks beneath the surface of a seemingly idyllic, sitcom-style marriage. Allison McRoberts is married to her self-centered husband Kevin, but when she learns that the future she hoped for will never happen, she joins forces with her neighbor Patty to wrest back control of her own life. Grim wit, human frustration, and emotional fakery abound, in this unforgettable deconstruction of the ties that bind. English, Spanish and French languages and subtitles, 5 hours 54 min.


The Self-Help Shelf

Don't Pick Up All the Dog Hairs
Ronald Dwinnells, MD, MBA
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781626348691, $20.95, HC, 264pp

https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Pick-All-Dog-Hairs/dp/1626348693

Synopsis: Ron Dwinnells sought leadership skills from early on in his career, and the publication of "Don't Pick Up All the Dog Hairs: Lessons for Life and Leadership" is the entertaining and informative culmination of that search, offering insights into how to deal with situations and enhance your life at home and in your career,

"Don't Pick Up All the Dog Hairs" began serendipitously while Dwinnells was teaching public health and leadership classes at a local medical school. He advised his students what-not-to-do as a leader through entertaining stories from his own very unique background, conveying lessons he had learned from failures, adversities, mistakes, and even enemies from leadership experiences along the way.

The lecture series became so popular with students, it won him accolades and several teaching awards -- and pressure to write his stories down. Dr. Dwinnells, a pediatrician and certified physician executive, did just that, and generations of readers will be the beneficiaries of his humor, insight, and wisdom.

Critique: Simply stated, if you only have time for one self-help book, make it "Don't Pick Up All the Dog Hairs: Lessons for Life and Leadership" by Dr. Ronald Dwinnells. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, laced through and through with humor and practical information, "Don't Pick Up All the Dog Hairs: Lessons for Life and Leadership" is a DIY course of instruction for improving the quality of your life and the lives of your friends and family. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Don't Pick Up All the Dog Hairs: Lessons for Life and Leadership" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Ron Dwinnells is the CEO of ONE Health Ohio, an integrated community health center program serving the medically uninsured, underinsured, and underserved populations in northeast Ohio. His clinics have served over one million patients during his 35 years at the helm.

Discomfortable
A.J. Bond
North Atlantic Books
https://www.northatlanticbooks.com
9781623175566, $18.95 pbk / $12.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Discomfortable-What-Shame-Break-Hold/dp/1623175569

Synopsis: Are you ready to get Discomfortable? We all know shame: it's that unpleasant feeling that makes us think there is something wrong with who we are. It's more than just embarrassment or regret - shame can shake us to the core. And worst of all, it tells us that we need to be, feel, and act differently in order to be seen, loved, and accepted. But is that true?

Author and shame educator (a.k.a. "Shame Ed" coach) A.J. Bond takes us through his own shame breakthrough, sharing how he went from "I'd rather die than be gay" to uncovering and reclaiming his inherent wholeness and worth. With unexpected humor, warmth, and candid personal stories, Bond shines a light on this feeling that doesn't want to be seen and named-and invites us to bring our own shame into the open to reclaim and reframe our lives in a powerful new way.

Critique: Discomfortable: What Is Shame and How Can We Break Its Hold? is a self-help guide that critically examines the concept of shame, and how it can cause lasting harm. Chapters examine how shame works, the difference between shame and guilt, the cruelty of victim shaming, when shame can actually be healthy, and much more. Discomfortable emphasizes the crucial importance of breaking through harmful shame, and is a welcome addition to personal and public library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Discomfortable is also available in a Kindle edition ($12.99).

Editorial Note: A. J. Bond is a writer, filmmaker, and self-described "shame breakthrusiast," creator of the podcast and shame education platform Discomfortable. Bond's goal with Discomfortable is to make the subject of shame as ubiquitous, accessible, and entertaining as possible in the hopes that others can find the same sense of relief, liberation, and purpose that he experienced through his own "shame breakthrough."


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Thrifty Witch's Book of Simple Spells
Wren Maple
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9781592339808, $22.99, PB, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/Thrifty-Witchs-Book-Simple-Spells/dp/1592339808

Synopsis: When it comes to the metaphysical arts of witchcraft, there is nothing wrong with being simple and straightforward. Easy spells are not less worthy spells. These ideas are central to the practice of the Thrifty Witch. Sick of not being able to easily source (or afford) what she needed for spells, Wren Maple dedicated herself to collecting and optimizing spells that could work for all witches -- no matter where they were on their journey and no matter their personal resources. Now in the pages of "The Thrifty Witch's Book of Simple Spells: Potions, Charms, and Incantations for the Modern Witch", Wren shares her research and brings her collection to the page for the first time.

"The Thrifty Witch's Book of Simple Spells" is part primer, part spellbook. It includes: Getting started/witch basics: Witchcraft as self-care, how to establish a practice, and a handful of super-easy spells to get casting today; Key ingredients for spells: Starter stones and herbs, how to source, what to buy first, and more questions answered!; Simple spells for every witch: Just like the spells Wren is known for online, nearly every spell in the book requires five items or fewer, and all ingredients are easy to source; Specific spells: Organized by purpose (e.g. love spells, protection spells), these spells are sure to cover what you're looking to cast; Tips and Tricks for Casting: When to cast for best results, where to cast and why it matters -- making your spells count!

The beauty of these spells is that they are easy enough and affordable enough to practice daily. Since practice and process are so important, The Thrifty Witch's Book of Simple Spells" provides an invaluable resource unlocking the ability to try new spells and refine casting methods multiple times per week and even daily!

Critique: Inherently fascinating, exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Thrifty Witch's Book of Simple Spells: Potions, Charms, and Incantations for the Modern Witch" especially recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Metaphysical Studies collections -- is a 'must' for the personal reading lists of all aspiring Wiccans and metaphysical studies practitioners.

Editorial Note: Wren Maple, aka The Thrifty Witch, is the founder of The Thrifty Coven and @TheThriftyWitch on Instagram, a popular and fast-growing resource for witches looking for simple-to-source and easy-to-cast spells. Wren has written about witchcraft and a variety of other topics for pop-culture sites such as Pop Sugar, Teen Vogue, and more. Previous to her witching career, Wren was an editor and writer, contributing to magazines and websites including Martha Stewart, Better Homes and Gardens, and other lifestyle publications.

Dark Goddess Magick
C. Ara Campbell
Fair Winds Press
c/o The Quarto Group
https://www.quarto.com
9780760370957, $24.99 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Goddess-Magick-Reclaiming-Feminine/dp/0760370958

Synopsis: Light magick is all well and good, but sometimes you can't just "love and light" your way through challenging circumstances. The potent shadow goddesses you meet here, however, can guide you through the darkness.

Authored by Ara Campbell of the wildly popular Goddess Circle school and community, each dark goddess entry includes spells, invocations, and practices to utilize the goddess's magick and wisdom for embodying strength, setting boundaries, and transforming your life.

Often, it is in the darkest times that we find our strength and reclaim our power.

Someone poaching on your lover, your home, or your business? Call on Kali, The Warrioress, to release your fear and stand your ground.

Is your world falling apart or are you processing deep trauma or grief? Call on Persephone, The Dark Queen, to help guide you through your emotional underworld and find a new beginning.

Trying to shake your "nice" girl or people-pleaser tendencies? Call on Lilith, The Rebel Renegade Goddess, to reclaim your freedom.

Feeling stuck in some life situation that won't move forward? Call upon Morrigan, The Phantom Queen, to shapeshift the circumstances.

When life gets hard and messy, Dark Goddess Magick gives you spells, practices, and dark goddesses you can call on.

Critique: Dark Goddess Magick: Rituals and Spells for Reclaiming Your Feminine Fire is a metaphysical guide written especially for women, offering suggestions for connecting with legendary goddesses, in order to kindle the fire within to meet life's overbearing challenges. Here are magick and strong-willed mythological role models to aid women in setting boundaries, being more assertive, and transforming their own lives. Dark Goddess Magick is a thoroughly fascinating browse, reference, and resource for Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Dark Goddess Magick is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

Editorial Note: C. Ara Campbell is a visionary writer, author, and founder of The Goddess Circle. She is a soul guide, cosmic channel, facilitator of The Inner Priestess Awakening Online Journey and Relationship Empowerment & Sacred Love Online Journey, and author of The Astro Forecast Publication. She is also a purveyor of rare and high vibration crystals in her popular Etsy Shop. Ara is a modern day mystic dedicated to the rising feminine, and connecting others with their gifts and healing using the natural world.

The Ultimate Guide to Psychic Abilities
Karen Frazier
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780760371398, $26.99, PB, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Guide-Psychic-Abilities-Developing/dp/0760371393

Synopsis: Essentially, psychic ability is the capacity to know the unknowable. We are all born with this gift -- but we need to know how to access it. In the pages of "The Ultimate Guide to Psychic Abilities: A Practical Guide to Developing Your Intuition", Karen Frazier shows how to awaken different psychic abilities including: Mediumship (the ability to talk to Spirits); Precognition (the ability to know events before they occur); ESP (the ability to glean psychic information from objects); Remote viewing (the ability to see events at a distance); Channeling (the ability glean information from other people or Spirits); Psychic dreaming (the ability to use dreams to predict the future or know events); Astral projection (the ability to send your energy and awareness to other locations); Psychokinesis (the ability to affect and move objects with your mind).

Readers will also learn how to use their psychic abilities in conjunction with other divinatory tools such as tarot and astrology. Setting energetic boundaries and protection is also discussed as are strategies for managing psychic information if the reader is empathic or highly sensitive. Exercises and practices allow anyone to explore and learn at their own pace as they strengthen and refine your abilities.

Written in an accessible style, The Ultimate Guide to Psychic Abilities is the essential guide for developing your most important ability.

Critique: Exceptionally 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Ultimate Guide to Psychic Abilities: A Practical Guide to Developing Your Intuition" is extraordinarily well written and an ideal combination of introduction and instructional guide to psychic abilities -- making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary Metaphysical Studies collections.

Editorial Note: Karen Frazier is an intuitive energy healer, psychic medium, author, and musician. She has written several successful books about energy healing, crystals, sound healing, metaphysics, and the paranormal. She is a columnist for Paranormal Underground Magazine. She currently writes two columns for the magazine: Dreams and Symbols, and Metaphysics and Energy Healing. Karen also co-hosted Paranormal Underground Radio for more than eight years. She formerly served as Paranormal Underground's Managing Editor. She also edits and writes for the website www.LoveToKnow.com about paranormal, horoscopes, tarot, feng shui, and energy healing.

The Zenned Out Guide to Understanding Tarot
Cassie Uhl
Rock Point
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9781631067730, $18.99, HC, 184pp

https://www.amazon.com/Zenned-Out-Guide-Understanding-Tarot/dp/1631067737

Synopsis: The tarot is a tool of divine guidance that allows you to connect with your inner knowing through the spread and layout of cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards that help you tap into your inner source of awareness, power, and wisdom. The Major Arcana usually concerns itself with life's spiritual lessons while the Minor Arcana represents what we experience on a day to day basis.

"The Zenned Out Guide to Understanding the Tarot: Your Handbook to Reading and Intuiting Tarot" by Cassie Uhl will lead you to increase your self-knowledge and enlightenment through the tarot, demonstrated with illustrations of 78 lavishly designed cards. This comprehensive collection will introduce you to the art of tarot and tarot readings. Complete with actionable exercises and steps that you can easily do at home, you'll be able to add tarot to your magickal arsenal. You'll learn how to use your intuition to interpret the cards' messages and use the messages to manifest your intentions.

Critique: Nicely illustrated throughout, "The Zenned Out Guide to Understanding the Tarot: Your Handbook to Reading and Intuiting Tarot" is the ideal DIY introduction to the use of the tarot deck for self-inspection, self-discovery, and self- motivating. Unreservedly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library Metaphysical Studies Collections, "The Zenned Out Guide to Understanding the Tarot: Your Handbook to Reading and Intuiting Tarot" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, and has a great deal of insight and expertise to offer both the novice and the experienced tarot user.

Editorial Note: Cassie Uhl is the owner and founder of Zenned Out, a jewelry store brand aimed at normalizing spirituality in the common marketplace. Zenned Out handcrafts jewelry with meaning and provides a community that inspires a mindful and spiritual lifestyle. Cassie hopes to give spiritual souls a place to feel at home on her Zenned Out blog and offers handcrafted jewelry with meaningful symbols, powerful gemstones, and mindful quotes to enable people to wear jewelry that aligns with their souls' purpose.


The Nautical Shelf

The Boatyard Book
Simon Jollands
Adlard Coles
c/o Bloomsbury Press
www.bloomsbury.com
9781472977106, $35.00, Flexibound, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Boatyard-Book-boatowners-maintenance-refitting/dp/1472977106

Synopsis: A DIY boat owner's guide to yacht maintenance, repair and refitting, "The Boatyard Book" by Simon Jollands is a practical, comprehensive instructional reference manual that provides sensible, accessible advice for boatowners on planning and carrying out annual maintenance, repairs, upgrades and refits of sailing yachts and motorboats, up to 20 metres in length.

Beginning with all the information owners will need to care for their boat, including how to budget and plan tasks to be done through the year, "The Boatyard Book" goes on to help them choose the best boatyard for their needs, then provides essential how-to reference material and ideas for a comprehensive range of projects large and small to be carried out ashore.

There's advice and tips from highly respected boatyard owners, specialists and surveyors, as well as from the author's own 25 years' experience of boat ownership, all fully illustrated with step-by-step photos and illustrations. Topics covered include: laying up, hull and deck care, mast and rigging, sail care, engines, electrics, maintenance of plumbing and gas systems. It also covers more complex projects including re-wiring a boat, overhauling an engine, how to treat osmosis, and how to go about a complete refit.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, illustrated, organized and presented, "The Boatyard Book" is an ideal and thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction guide and manual to be kept at the yard, or on the boat, because it will be referred to time and time again by those who are either happy to keep things ticking along with the minimum of effort or by those who want to get stuck into bigger projects. Simply stated, while very highly recommended for community library nautical and boat maintenance collections, no owner of a boat or yacht should be without their own copy of "The Boatyard Book". It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Boatyard Book" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $17.01).

Editorial Note: A lifelong sailing enthusiast, Simon Jollands has filmed many major sailing events as well as producing and directing several sea safety films for the RNLI. He is the co-founder of app developer Safe Skipper Apps, which specializes in producing nautical reference apps, and is author of The Boatyard Book, Safe Skipper, Reeds Lights, Shapes and Buoyage Handbook and Go Sailing, all published by Adlard Coles

A Race for Real Sailors
Keith McLaren
David R. Godine, Publisher
Fifteen Court Square, Suite 320, Boston, MA 02108-2536
www.godine.com
9781771622677, $32.95, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Race-Real-Sailors-International-Fishermens/dp/1771622679

Synopsis: In the summer of 1920, the public following the latest America's Cup series were frustrated to find that every time the wind got up, the organizers called off the race. There was muttering in the taverns of Halifax and Lunenburg: why not show these fancy yachtsmen what real sailors can do? A Nova Scotia newspaper donated a trophy and put out a challenge to their rivals in New England, inviting them to meet the Maritimes' best in a "race for real sailors."

"A Race for Real Sailors: The Bluenose and the International Fishermen's Cup, 1920 - 1938" is a vibrant history of the Fishermen's Cup series, which dominated sporting headlines between the two world wars. The salt spray practically blows off the page as the author Keith McLaren's arresting style captures the drama of each race and the personalities of the ships that contested them: the Delawana and the Esperanto, the Columbia and the Gertrude L. Thebaud, and dominating them all the Bluenose, the big brute from Lunenburg whose image shines on the Canadian dime to this day.

Vying for the spotlight are the boats' larger-than-life skippers, among them Marty Welch, the hard-charging American who first took the cup; Ben Pine, the Gloucester scrap dealer whose passion kept the races afloat when they seemed destined to fade away; and the irascible, impossible Angus Walters, master of the Bluenose, who repeatedly broke American hearts but whose own heart was broken by Canada's refusal to come to the rescue of his beloved vessel.

"A Race for Real Sailors: The Bluenose and the International Fishermen's Cup, 1920 - 1938" is a stirring and poignant tale is that is impressively illustrated with 51 historical photographs and five maps, and rounded out by a glossary of sailing terms and an appendix of the ever-changing race rules. "A Race for Real Sailors: The Bluenose and the International Fishermen's Cup, 1920 - 1938" is a story that will keep even confirmed landlubbers pegged to their seats, a tale of iron men and wooden ships whose time will never come again.

Critique: Originally published in 2006 and now available in a new paperback edition for a new generation of appreciative readers, "A Race for Real Sailors: The Bluenose and the International Fishermen's Cup, 1920 - 1938" is an extraordinary history of an extraordinary event that will be of immense interest and inherent fascination for all nautical racing enthusiasts and fans. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Sailing Sports and Nautical History collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Race for Real Sailors: The Bluenose and the International Fishermen's Cup, 1920 - 1938" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.99).

Editorial Note: Keith McLaren has worked the waters of North America for over thirty-five years, from offshore supply boats and drill rigs to coast guard ships and deep-sea freighters. He spent two seasons sailing on the Bluenose II, and the experience inspired him to write his first book, "Bluenose and Bluenose II". He is currently a captain for BC Ferries and lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.


The Art Shelf

Creative Acrylics
Carla Co Chua
Quarry
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780760373279, $22.99, PB, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Creative-Acrylics-Step-Step-Beginners/dp/0760373272

Synopsis: Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion and plasticizers, silicon oils, defoamers, stabilizers, or metal soaps. While most acrylic paints are water-based, some become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted with water, or modified with acrylic gels, mediums, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor, a gouache, or an oil painting, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.

Acrylics are one of the most versatile, affordable, and accessible art mediums, and "Creative Acrylics: A Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide to Creating with Paint & Mediums - Create Paintings Filled with Color, Texture, Unique Effects & More!" by Carla Co Chua is an ideal instructional guide with all the tips, tricks, and techniques for blending colors and building texture, plus excellent instruction on how to paint a range of different subjects.

Confused about which types of paints to use, and how to use them? "Creative Acrylics" cuts through the clutter and offers clear fundamentals for working with a variety of paints and mediums to produce beautiful results. Acrylic paint is water-soluble, dries quickly, and is forgiving, making it perfect for those starting out. Begin your acrylic painting journey with an expert who will guide you through enjoyable techniques and projects as you build confidence and ramp up your skills.

Step-by-step techniques, lessons, and projects cover a wide range of styles and genres, including color mixing, brushwork, glazing, and how to paint easy florals, still lifes, landscapes, and animals. Take your new skills even further and paint on different surfaces to create an apron, painted shells, a paintbrush rest, clay pot, and more.

"Creative Acrylics" includes: How to set up your workspace to make painting more enjoyable; A guide to the different types of acrylic paint; Basic techniques such as understanding color and value, and how to add texture and other effects using paint and mediums; Lessons and projects that build skills: creating still lifes, florals, landscapes and skies, and painting on fabric, wood, shells, clay, and more

Critique: An ideal instruction manual and guide for all skill levels, "Creative Acrylics: A Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide to Creating with Paint & Mediums - Create Paintings Filled with Color, Texture, Unique Effects & More!" is a fun, practical, effective, and thoroughly 'art student friendly' approach to learning about and working with the medium of acrylic paints -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, art school, college, and university library collections.

Editorial Note: Carla Co Chua has hosted several public and private art workshops since 2017 and has collaborated with art supply brands to teach acrylic and watercolor and painting at art events around Metro Manila. Carla continues to inspire artists with her beautiful artwork that includes florals, animals, portraits, landscapes, and still life. Carla lives in Manila, Philippines and can be followed on Instagram: @carlacochua

The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing
Julia Claire Weber
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9781631599354, $26.99, HC, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Guide-Wheel-Throwing-Essential/dp/1631599356

Synopsis: A complete introductory course in pottery making utilize a potter's wheel, "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" by pottery making expert Julia Claire Weber, will enable novice pottery makers to develop the skills (and patience) needed to make their first forms. "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" starts at the very beginning of the process. It also presents a tour through a typical ceramics studio, a discussion of the best clays for throwing, as well as a variety of centering methods.

Additionally, "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" includes: Starter projects like cups, bowls, and plates to hone your skills; Tutorials on important topics like trimming and handles; A unique decal workshop, unlocking the potential of image transfer.

Throughout "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing", skill-building is front and center, with tips and tricks to help to crack the code and make pieces to be proud of. Gallery work from some of today's top artists are sure to inspire potters of all levels.

Critique: Profusely illustrated in full color throughout, "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" is an ideal DIY instructional guide and manual for aspiring pottery makers. It would also make a thoroughly user friendly how-to curriculum text for school pottery making classes. Simply stated, "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, art school, college, and university library Pottery & Ceramic Art instructional reference collections.

Editorial Note: Julia Claire Weber is a full-time studio artist (Julia Claire Clay) and a part-time gallery manager. An alumni of the Odyssey Clayworks residency program, Julia was previously studio manager of Clayspace in Erie, PA and is a graduate of the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania ceramics program. Julia keeps a full teaching schedule at craft and art centers across the country and her work has been widely featured and displayed, including exhibitions at NCECA, Pottery Northwest, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Objective Clay, and the Touchstone Center for Crafts. In print, Julia's work can be seen in Amazing Glaze, Creative Pottery, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramic Arts Daily, and more.


The Needlecraft Shelf

Small Knits
Yoko Hatta
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9780804854108, $16.99, PB, 80pp

https://www.amazon.com/Small-Knits-Japanese-Style-Accessories-variations/dp/0804854106

Synopsis: With a contemporary approach to traditional knitting patterns and textures, "Small Knits: Casual & Chic Japanese Style Accessories" offers a modern Japanese take on classic knitted accessories and brings to life a collection of stylish necessities for warmth and fashion. From selbu mittens to unisex hats and neckwarmers, each of these featured pieces work for just about any mood, recipient and wardrobe.

"Small Knits: Casual & Chic Japanese Style Accessories" is comprised of illustrated instructions and photos for 19 charming projects, plus variations, including: Elegant Nordic mittens, handwarmers and a beret; Stylish neckwarmers in houndstooth and argyle patterns; An unique Fair Isle hat and handwarmers; Comfy, durable socks in herringbone and other classic stitches; A delicate, lacy shawl -- and much more!

Instructions, diagrams and Japanese-style knitting charts take you through each project from start to finish. A section on technique shows how to execute the stitches used in this book. These projects are fun and rewarding for experienced knitters who've enjoyed a taste of the Japanese knitting style or would like to give it a try.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Small Knits: Casual & Chic Japanese Style Accessories" will prove to be an extraordinary and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, and community library needlecraft instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Small Knits: Casual & Chic Japanese Style Accessories" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Yoko Hatta is the designer behind the Japanese knitting studio Kazekobo. A prolific artist whose work spans over thirty years, she has written many knitwear books and stitch dictionaries, and contributed to magazines and compilations in both Japan and the US. She is a contributor to Brooklyn Tweed and Vogue Knitting, and over a thousand of her designs can be found on Ravelry.com. Her work is known for adding contemporary flair to classic garments. She is the author of Japanese Knitting Stitches from Tokyo's Kazekobo Studio and 150 Favorite Crotchet Motifs from Tokyo's Kazekobo Studio.

Knitted Shawls
Christine Boggis
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784945848, $24.99, PB, 152pp

https://www.amazon.com/Time-Knit-Shawls-Christine-Boggis/dp/1784945846

Synopsis: "Knitted Shawls: 25 Relaxing Wraps, Cowls and Shawls" is truly comprehensive in that it covers all the techniques needed before beginning work on any knitted shawl project.

"Knitted Shawls" was created by Christine Boggis drawing upon her years of experience and expertise to take all the concerns out of the craft, as shawls don't have to fit in a certain way, or even end up in exactly the right shape to work. "Knitted Shawls" also includes an informed and informative series of articles exploring the health benefits of knitting, how it can contribute to mindfulness and wellbeing.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated step-by-step instructions for each individual project, "Knitted Shawls: 25 Relaxing Wraps, Cowls and Shawls" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, and community library contemporary needlecraft instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "Knitted Shawls: 25 Relaxing Wraps, Cowls and Shawls" is also readily available from the GMC Publications in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Brighton, England, Christine Boggis is the editor of Knitting magazine and the author of JOMO Knits: 21 Projects to Celebrate the Joy of Missing Out.


The Cookbook Shelf

Buen Provecho!
Ericka Sanchez
Familius
www.familius.com
9781641705653, $29.99, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/%C2%A1Buen-Provecho-Traditional-Mexican-Flavors/dp/1641705655

Synopsis: Compiled and presented by Ericka Sanchez, "Buen Provecho!: Traditional Mexican Flavors from My Cocina to Yours" is a beautifully illustrated collection of over 100 authentic Mexican recipes, each with its own unique spin and delivering the Mexican flavors everyone craves with respect to Mexican cuisine -- but swapping in easy-to-find, healthful ingredients! From breakfasts and salsas to meatless meals and special recipes for Dia de Los Muertos and other special occasions, "Buen Provecho!" is the ideal cookbook for anyone looking to expand their cultural culinary palate!

Critique: Fascinating to browse throughout, thoroughly 'user friendly' to plan memorable meals with, "Buen Provecho!: Traditional Mexican Flavors from My Cocina to Yours" and its palate pleasing, appetite satisfying recipes is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Latin Americn and Vegan cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Ericka Sanchez is a recipe developer, food stylist, and the creator of the award-winning culinary website nibblesandfeasts.com. Ericka's cooking style is inspired by her life as a bicultural Latina living in California and her cherished memories in the kitchen with her grandmother and mother in Mexico, where she lived until she was eight years old.

Sushi
Ryuichi Yoshii
Periplus Editions
c/o Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9782702846827, $18.95, HC, 112pp

https://www.amazon.com/Sushi-Essential-Kitchen-Ryuichi-Yoshii/dp/962593460X

Synopsis: Sushi is a Japanese culinary art form. Fresh and delicious, sushi is also one of the healthiest foods you can eat, as it's low in fat and high in essential vitamins and minerals. Aesthetically pleasing, sushi is also surprisingly simple to make. From traditional hand-rolled sushi to the modern sushi in a bowl, this sushi cookbook will show you how to make these elegant dishes with ease.

In "Sushi", Japanese culinary expert Ryuichi Yoshii provides step-by-step instructions and photographs showing how to make a variety of sushi and sashimi. Also included in "Sushi" is information on the history and the health benefits of Japanese sushi, as well as directions on using sushi-making tools, making perfect sushi rice, how to cut vegetables and decorations, and selecting fresh fish.

Sushi recipes include: Nigiri; Vegetable Sushi; Sushi in a Bowl; California Rolls; and Thin Rolls.

Critique: All the recipes comprising "Sushi" are very easy to follow and are especially suitable for both beginners and experienced cooks. Filled from cover to cover with elegant and stylish photographs, "Sushi" will prove to be a prized addition to personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections.

Editorial Note: Ryuichi Yoshii was born in Nagasaki in southern Japan. His father was a traditional Japanese chef who taught Ryuichi to appreciate fine food. Ryuichi trained to be a sushi chef in Tokyo before moving to Australia in 1993 with his wife, Virginia. He recently opened his own restaurant in Sydney's Darling Harbour and is well known and respected in Sydney for his creative sushi and adventurous cooking style.


The Poetry Shelf

Gun/Shy
Jim Daniels
Wayne State University Press
www.wsupress.wayne.edu
9780814348789, $16.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Gun-Shy-Made-Michigan-Writers/dp/0814348785

Synopsis: The poems in Gun/Shy deal with the emotional weight of making do. Tinged with both the regrets and wisdom of aging, Jim Daniels's poems measure the wages of love in a changing world with its vanishing currency. He explores the effects of family work - putting children to bed, leading parents to their final resting places - and what is lost and gained in those exertions. Childhood and adolescence are examined, through both looking back on his own childhood and on that of his children. While his personal death count rises, Daniels reflects on his own mortality. He finds solace in small miracles - his mother stretching the budget to feed five children with "hamburger surprise" and potato skins, his children collecting stones and crabapples as if they were gold coins.

Daniels, as he always has, carries the anchor of Detroit with him, the weight both a comfort and a burden. He explores race, white privilege, and factory work. Eight Mile Road, a fraught border, pulses with division, and the echoes of music, singing through Detroit's soiled but solid heart, resonate in these poems. His first long poem in many years, "Gun/Shy," centers the book. Through the personas of several characters, Daniels dives into America's gun culture and the violent gulf between the fearful and the feared.

Throughout, he seeks connection in likely and unlikely places: a river rising after spring rain and searchlights crossing the night sky. Comets and cloudy skies. Cement ponds and the Garden of Eden. Adolescence and death. Wounds physical and psychic. Disguises and more disguises. These are the myths we memorize to help us sleep at night, those that keep us awake and trembling. Daniels's accessible language, subtlety, and deftness make this collection one that belongs on every poetry reader's shelf.

Critique: Gun/Shy is a poetry anthology reflecting upon life in Detroit - cherished memories of family and friends, thorny problems of race, the reality of white privilege, and the grind of factory work. The titular poem "Gun/Shy" critically examines America's obsessive gun culture and its horrifying fallout. Candid, accessible, and unforgettable, Gun/Shy is highly recommended for personal and public library poetry collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Gun/Shy is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99). "Miracles": I'm sorry for praying to God / to bring a snow plow down my street. // He knows and I know that I'm not one of his guys, / The Mayor's Hotline wails, busy as a siren. // I confess to cussing out the neighbor on crutches / who accused me of burying his car in shoveled snow.

Editorial Note: Jim Daniels is the Thomas S. Baker University Professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon. His recent books include Rowing Inland (Wayne State University Press, 2017) and The Perp Walk. He also coedited the anthology RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music.


The Autism Shelf

On the Spectrum
Daniel Bowman Jr.
Brazos Press
c/o Baker Publishing Group
http://bakerpublishinggroup.com
9781587435065, $19.99 pbk / $12.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Spectrum-Autism-Faith-Gifts-Neurodiversity/dp/1587435063

Synopsis: Nearly everyone knows someone on the autism spectrum, whether it's a niece or nephew, a student in their classroom, a coworker, or a sibling, spouse, or child. One in 54 children has autism, according to the CDC, and autism is reported across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Yet most of what people think they know about autism is wrong.

On the Spectrum debunks myths with a realistic yet hope-filled deep dive into the heart, mind, and life of a Christian. Daniel Bowman, a novelist, poet, and professor, received an autism diagnosis at age thirty-five after experiencing crises in his personal and professional life. The diagnosis shed light on his experience in a new, life-giving way. In this captivating book, Bowman reveals new insights into autism, relationships, faith, and the gift of neurodiversity.

Rather than viewing autism as a deficiency, Bowman teaches readers--through stories of his heartbreaks and triumphs--authentic ways to love their neighbors as themselves, including their autistic neighbors who are fearfully and wonderfully, if differently, made.

Critique: On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity discusses autism and neurodiversity from a Christian perspective, emphasizing the importance of embracing and engaging with God. Author Daniel Bowman, an associate professor of English who also mentors young people on the spectrum, discusses the ramifications of autism plain terms, paying heed to both the drawbacks and the potential benefits of being neurodiverse. Interviews and personal stories from neurodiverse individuals enhance this thoughtful, accessible, and highly recommended testimony.

Editorial Note: Daniel Bowman Jr. (MFA, Seattle Pacific University) is an author, poet, and associate professor of English at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, where he codirects the Making Literature Conference. He writes and speaks regularly on neurodiversity, including for the SBC's Facts & Trends website, The Mighty, Ruminate magazine, and at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). Bowman is editor in chief of Relief: A Journal of Art & Faith, engages in several in-person and online communities addressing neurodiversity and mental health, and mentors young people on the spectrum.


The Photography Shelf

The Winter Coast of Maine
Ed Kenney
https://ed-kenney.format.com
Seapoint Books
https://seapointbooks.com
978099855658, $50.00, HC, 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Winter-Coast-Maine-Photographs-Kenney/dp/0998556580

Synopsis: "The Winter Coast of Maine: The Photographs of Ed Kenney" is the first fine art book dedicated to color photographs of Maine's coastal landscape made exclusively during the coldest months -- a time of year that most visitors and summer residents rarely get to see.

The Maine coast is a place of exquisite beauty at all times of year, but especially in winter. The topography of this region ranges from long sandy beaches in the south to tall granite headlands in the area known as "Down East." Photographer and Maine resident Ed Kenney has spent the last decade compiling a portfolio of stunning images capturing the essence of a coast that is at times serene and still, and at other times ferocious, stormy, and bitterly cold.

Critique: Published in a coffee-table style format (12.91 x 0.84 x 10.98 inches), "The Winter Coast of Maine: The Photographs of Ed Kenney" is an impressive compendium of full color photographic prints that are an inherently fascinating and memorable browse from cover to cover. Enhanced with an informative introduction by National Geographic veteran Sam Abell, "The Winter Coast of Maine: The Photographs of Ed Kenney" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Contemporary American Photography collections.

Editorial Note: The photographic skills of Ed Kenney were honed using a succession of film cameras that began with a Kodak Hawkeye and progressed over the years to an Arca Swiss 4x5. Although the view camera still sees occasional use, these days almost all capture is digital on high resolution sensors matched with the finest lenses.


The Wisconsin Shelf

The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story
Ron Faiola
Agate Midway
c/o Agate Publishing
1328 Greenleaf Street, Evanston, IL 60202
www.agatepublishing.com
9781572843035, $36.00, HC, 216pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wisconsin-Supper-Clubs-Story-Illustrated/dp/1572843039

Synopsis: In "The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish", the third in his popular series of supper club histories. Once again author and supper club authority Ron Faiola invites his readers to enjoy more than a century of history behind this beloved dining tradition in an illustrated guide that takes his readers from London to Hollywood, to New York City, and finally to his own home state of Wisconsin.

The journey begins with the world's very first supper clubs, which emerged in London in the mid-1800s. The phenomenon was adopted by New York's restaurant and saloon owners in the late 1800s, and soon spread to suburban and rural areas. Across the United States, supper clubs enhanced culinary and dining traditions, and greatly influenced the evolution of live entertainment such as cabaret, comedy, and jazz, and dance crazes such as "The Charleston," "Turkey Trot," and the eyebrow-raising "Wiggle Wiggle."

Faiola unfolds the history of Wisconsin's supper clubs with stories of its most iconic establishments, such as Ray Radigan's, Hoffman House, and Fazio's on Fifth. He reveals the remarkable durability of the supper club tradition as it withstood WWI, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, Prohibition, the Great Depression, WWII, as well as the mid-twentieth century advent of fast food franchises and casual dining chains. Through their innovation and determination, supper club owners and their staff have managed not only to survive, but to maintain generations-spanning restaurants that remain prominent features of their communities to this day.

Profusely illustrated throughout with full-color photographs, newspaper clippings, and first-hand interviews, "The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish" offers a hearty buffet of the history of Wisconsin's most iconic supper clubs and the folks who keep the cocktails poured, the relish trays fresh, and ensure there's always an open seat at the table.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of Wisconsin supper club enthusiasts, "The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish" is an essential, necessary, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to Wisconsin community, college, and university library Wisconsin History collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.99).

Editorial Note: Residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ron Faiola is an author and filmmaker who has produced and directed numerous critically acclaimed documentaries. He is the president and founder of Push Button Gadget Inc., which has been specializing in audio visual and business theater production for nearly 20 years. He is also the author of :Wisconsin Supper Clubs" and "Wisconsin Supper Clubs: Another Round", both of which are published by Agate Midway.

Madison Chefs: Stories of Food, Farms, and People
Lindsay Christians, author
Chris Hynes, photographer
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299333409, $34.95, HC, 264pp

https://www.amazon.com/Madison-Chefs-Stories-Farms-People/dp/029933340X

Synopsis: Why do Salvatore's tomato pies have the sauce on the top? Where did chef Tami Lax learn to identify mushrooms in the woods? How did Morris develop its signature ramen?

Farm-to-table is a cliche, but its roots among the farmers and chefs of south-central Wisconsin are deep, vibrant, and resilient. From brats and burgers to bibimbap, Madison's food scene looks substantially different than it did just a decade ago. Though the city has always been ahead of the locavore movement, a restaurant boom in the 2010s radically changed the dining landscape. Even when individual eateries close or chefs move on, their ideas, connections, and creativity have lasting power. Much larger cities have been unable to match the culinary variety, innovation, and depth of talent found in Wisconsin's state capital.

"Madison Chefs: Stories of Food, Farms, and People" by Lindsay Christians (who is the food editor and arts writer at The Capital Times and co-host of the Corner Table, a podcast about food and drink in Madison, Wisconsin) provides an in-depth look at nine creative, intense, and dedicated chefs captures the reason why Madison's food culture remains a gem in America's Upper Midwest.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout with the full color photography of Chris Hynes, "Madison Chefs: Stories of Food, Farms, and People" is an exceptionally well written and informative 'armchair travelers' guide to fine cuisine -- Madison, Wisconsin style. Informed and informative, and one that could well serve as a template for similar culinary volumes of other major American cities, "Madison Chefs: Stories of Food, Farms, and People" offers a unique perspective and will prove to be a welcome addition to personal, professional, and community library Culinary Arts & Travel collections.


James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
e-mail: mwbookrevw@aol.com
http://www.midwestbookreview.com


Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design