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Wisconsin Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 11 November 2020 Home | WBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Biography Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf
Automotive Shelf Philosophy Shelf Art Shelf
General Fiction Shelf Historical Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Political Science Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
DVD Shelf Travel Shelf Business Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Money/Finance Shelf Poetry Shelf
Sports Shelf Hunting Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Woodworking Shelf Needlecraft Shelf Crafts Shelf


Reviewer's Choice

Storied & Scandalous Wisconsin
Anna Lardinois
The Globe Pequot Press
246 Goose Lane, Suite 200, Guilford, CT 06437
www.globepequot.com
9781493047574, $19.95, PB, 200pp

https://www.amazon.com/Storied-Scandalous-Wisconsin-Mischief-Heartbreak/dp/1493047574

Synopsis: Compiled by Anna Lardinois, "Storied & Scandalous Wisconsin" is a collection of true and shocking tales from Wisconsin's seamy past. Lardinois has synthesized well-researched information into cohesive assembly of tales of about terrible fires, vengeful call girls, famous flim-flam men, and eye-brow archingly suspicious deaths. Meet mob boss Frank Balistrieri and discover the havoc he wreaked. Readers will enjoy these true and historical stories of red light districts, rum runners, crimes, and tragedies.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and intrinsically riveting read from cover to cover, "Storied & Scandalous Wisconsin" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to Wisconsin highschool, community, college and university library Wisconsin History collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Storied & Scandalous Wisconsin" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Anna Lardinois owns Gothic Milwaukee, offering the city's most popular haunted, historical walking tours. She is also the author of Milwaukee Ghosts and Legends, and the creator of Walking Milwaukee, a collection of self-guided tours that explore the best of Cream City's history and architecture.

Cheese: The Making of a Wisconsin Tradition
Jerry Apps
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299329242, $27.95, PB, 271pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cheese-Wisconsin-Tradition-Jerry-Apps/dp/0299329240

Synopsis: Wisconsin has not always been the dairy state, but cheese is a notable part of its heritage. Capturing the voices of farmers, milk haulers, makers, and graders, Jerry Apps provides a rich view into the history of cheese in the state, beginning with its humble origins in farmhouse kitchens. As he explores the extraordinary diversity of cheese products, he peppers his lively narrative with obscure lore.

In this significantly updated second edition of "Cheese: The Making of a Wisconsin Tradition", Apps examines tumultuous changes in the business over the past twenty years, including the impacts of corporate megafarms and the rise of artisanal producers. Vivid historical photographs and striking portraits of modern family-operated factories reveal the delicate balance between art and science that goes into the process of turning ordinary milk into a wide variety of flavors, from the ubiquitous cheddar to sublime delicacies. Through these stories, we can come to better appreciate the remarkable farmers and producers that shaped cheesemaking into the thriving industry it is today.

Critique: A 'must read' for non-specialist general readers with an interest in Wisconsin history that is written with a true storyteller's charm, an historians love of detail, and simply stated as a reviewer's recommendation, no Wisconsin highschool, community, college, or university library should be without a copy of this newly revised, expanded and undated edition of Jerry Apps' "Cheese: The Making of a Wisconsin Tradition" in their collections.

Editorial Note: Jerry Apps is the author of more than forty books on rural America and the Upper Midwest, including The Land Still Lives, Simple Things, and Breweries of Wisconsin. He has appeared in five documentaries produced by Wisconsin Public Television based on his books and is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Mental Traveler
W. J. T. Mitchell
University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
www.press.uchicago.edu
9780226695938, $22.50, HC 192pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mental-Traveler-Journey-through-Schizophrenia/dp/022669593X

Synopsis: How does a parent make sense of a child's severe mental illness? How does a father meet the daily challenges of caring for his gifted but delusional son, while seeking to overcome the stigma of madness and the limits of psychiatry? In the pages of W. J. T. Mitchell's memoir, "Mental Traveler: A Father, a Son, and a Journey through Schizophrenia" he tells his story that is at once representative and unique. It's the story one family's encounter with mental illness and bears witness to the life of the talented young man who was his son.

Gabriel Mitchell was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age twenty-one and died by suicide eighteen years later. He left behind a remarkable archive of creative work and a father determined to honor his son's attempts to conquer his own illness. Before his death, Gabe had been working on a film that would show madness from inside and out, as media stereotype and spectacle, symptom and stigma, malady and minority status, disability and gateway to insight. He was convinced that madness is an extreme form of subjective experience that we all endure at some point in our lives, whether in moments of ecstasy or melancholy, or in the enduring trauma of a broken heart. Gabe's declared ambition was to transform schizophrenia from a death sentence to a learning experience, and madness from a curse to a critical perspective.

Laced throughout with both love and pain, "Mental Traveler" shows how Gabe drew his father into his quest for enlightenment within madness. It is a personal yet university story that will touch anyone struggling to cope with mental illness, and especially for parents and caregivers of those caught in its grasp.

Critique: Expressly recommended for the non-specialist general reader having to deal with the presence and impact of mental illness in themself, their family, and their friends, "Mental Traveler: A Father, a Son, and a Journey through Schizophrenia" is extraordinarily well written, organized and presented. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Psychology collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of psychology students, academia, mental health care providers, and the general public, that "Mental Traveler" is also readily available in a digital book format (eTextbook, $13.50).

The Truth About The Barn
David Elias
Great Plains Publications
https://www.greatplains.mb.ca
9781773370507, $20.95, PB, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Barn-Discovery-Contemplation/dp/1773370502

Synopsis: "The Truth About The Barn: A Voyage of Discovery and Contemplation" by David Elias offers informed and informative answers to important questions about how barns came into being, why they look the way they do, why they're worth reflecting on, and what possible future they may have. Individual chapters investigate the barn's place in culture and religion, art and literature. Psychological and philosophical implications are also explored. Of special note is that readers are treated to an occasional recollection of the David's own experiences with barns.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively informative read the is enhanced with the occasional black-and- white illustration, "The Truth About The Barn: A Voyage of Discovery and Contemplation" will prove to be an unique, exceptional, enduringly popular, and prized addition to personal reading lists, as well as for both community and college/university library collections.

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Winnipege, Canada, David Elias is the author of six books, the most recent of which is "Elizabeth of Bohemia". His fiction has been nominated for a number of awards, including The Books in Canada First Novel Award for Sunday Afternoon and The Journey Prize for his short story, How I Crossed Over. His work has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies across the country, and in addition to writing he spends time as an editor, writer-in-residence, mentor and creative writing instructor.


The Education Shelf

Paying for College, 2021
Kalman A. Chany
The Princeton Review
www.PrincetonReview.com
c/o Random House Inc.
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com
9780525570097, $22.99, PB, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Paying-College-2021-Everything-Admissions/dp/0525570098

Synopsis: Exacerbated by the current economic decline, financing a college education for most aspiring college entrants and their families is a daunting task. With line-by-line instructions for filling out the FAFSA and consumer-friendly advice to minimize college costs, "Paying for College, 2021: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College" by Kalman A. Chany will helps to take control of the college application and enrollment experience.

"Paying for College, 2021" will: Maximize financial aid eligibility; Learn how COVID-19 and the latest tax laws affect the financing of a college education; Explore long- and short-term strategies to reduce college costs and avoid expensive mistakes; Complete every question on the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms to the aspiring student's 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: Fully up to date, comprehensive, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Paying for College, 2021: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College" is unreservedly recommended for all highschool counseling offices, community and college/university library collections, and most especially, students and their families needing financial assistance to achieve a college and/or university education.

Editorial Note: Kalman A. Chany, is the founder and president of Campus Consultants, an independent New York-based firm that has helped thousands of families maximize their financial aid since 1984. He has authored articles on college funding for Parade and other publications and has appeared on ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's Evening News, CNN's Your Money, NBC's Nightly News, and NPR's Talk of the Nation.


The Cookbook Shelf

Some Good Sweet Treats
Jessica Mitton
Breakwater Books
P.O. Box 2188, St. John's, NL, Canada, A1C 6E6
www.breakwaterbooks.com
9781550818307, $21.95, PB, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Some-Good-Treats-Jessica-Mitton/dp/1550818309

Synopsis: Jessica Mitton is a Culinary Nutrition Expert and award-winning Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant based in Moncton, New Brunswick. She has been featured in multiple publications and media channels, including the Academy of Culinary Nutrition's From Scratch cookbooks, CBC radio, and the national magazine Optimyz.

In the pages of "Some Good Sweet Treats" she has compiled a thoroughly 'kitchen cook friendly' compendium of decadent chocolate delights, oat-based goodies, muffins, cakes, squares, and cookies, these recipes will satisfy any sweet tooth without the guilt. Because these sweet confections, baked wonders, and delicious desserts are made in ways that are healthier and more nutritious. Now even the mst novice of kitchen cooks can make truly tasty treats that are gluten and dairy free, incorporating healthier ingredients that will make everyone feel good!

Critique: Profusely illustrated, a pleasure and inspiration to simply browse through, and certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, and community library cookbook collections, "Some Good Sweet Treats" is unreservedly recommended.


The Biography Shelf

Raven's Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson
Hank Lentfer
Mountaineers Books
1001 SW Klickitat Way, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98134-1161
www.mountaineersbooks.org
9781680513073, $24.95, HC, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ravens-Witness-Alaska-Richard-Nelson/dp/1680513079

Synopsis: The work of cultural anthropologist, author, and radio producer Richard K. Nelson (1 December 1941 - 4 November 2019) focused primarily on the indigenous cultures of Alaska and, more generally, on the relationships between people and nature.

Nelson lived for extended periods in Athabaskan and Alaskan Eskimo villages, experiences which inspired his earliest written works, including "Hunters of the Northern Ice". Nelson was also the author of "The Island Within and Heart and Blood". The recipient of multiple honorary degrees and numerous literary awards, he regularly packed auditoriums when he spoke. His depth of experience allowed him to become an intermediary between worlds. This is his story.

In "Raven's Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson", biographer Hank Lentfer tells Nelson's story -- from his midwestern childhood to his first experiences with Native culture in Alaska through his own lifelong passion for the land where he so belonged.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively informative biography, "Raven's Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson" will prove to be of immense interest to readers with respect to Natural History, Environmentalist & Naturalist Biographies, and Cultural Anthropology. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library 20th Century American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Raven's Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.49).

As the Twig Is Bent: A Memoir
Wallace Byron Grange, author
Joseph L. Breitenstein, editor
Richard P. Thiel, editor
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299329501, $29.95, HC, 295pp

https://www.amazon.com/As-Twig-Bent-Memoir-1/dp/029932950X

Synopsis: Wallace Byron Grange (1905 - 87) was an influential American conservationist who worked alongside Aldo Leopold. Collaboratively edited by Joseph Breitenstein and Richard Thiel in "As the Twig Is Bent: A Memoir", Grange's personal story vividly describes his mostly idyllic childhood watching bird life in the once grand prairies just west of Chicago. He goes on to document his family's journey and pioneering struggle to operate a farm on the logged cutover country in northern Wisconsin, a land that provided him with abundant opportunities to study the lives of wild creatures he loved most.

Written when Grange was he was in his sixties, "As the Twig Is Bent: A Memoir" conveys how a leading conservationist was formed through his early relationship to nature. In beautifully composed vignettes, he details encounters both profound and minute, from the white-footed mice attracted by cookie crumbs in his boyhood clubhouse to the sounds of great horned owls echoing through the wintry woods. As he develops his own understanding of the natural world, he comes to an awareness of the dramatic and devastating role of humankind on ecosystems.

Grange's poignant observations still resonate today amid global conversations about the fate of our natural resources and climate change.

Critique: An inherently interesting life story told with detail, candor, and impressively informative observation, "As the Twig Is Bent: A Memoir" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and college/university library American Biography collections. Of special relevance to readers with an interest in conservation, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "As the Twig Is Bent: A Memoir" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $22.49).

Editorial Note: Joseph L. Breitenstein is a licensed psychologist and professor at Luther College. His professional interests include the intersections between psychology and environmentalism. Richard P. Thiel is active with the Timber Wolf Information Network and the International Wolf Center. His books include Keepers of the Wolves and Wild Wolves We Have Known.


The Christian Studies Shelf

Invitation to Christian Ethics
Ken Magnuson
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825434457, $44.99, HC, 544pp

https://www.amazon.com/Invitation-Christian-Ethics-Contemporary-Theological/dp/0825434459

Synopsis: "Invitation to Christian Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues" by Ken Magnuson (Professor of Christian ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky) is an indispensable guide for helping pastors, counselors, and everyday Christians navigate today's difficult moral questions. Readers will benefit from Professor Magnuson's survey of ethics from a biblical perspective as well as contemporary theories of moral reasoning.

This comprehensive and exhaustive survey is followed by twelve chapters devoted to some of the thorniest issues Christians encounter today, such as: Sexuality, including homosexuality, sexual identity, and gender; Marriage and divorce; Infertility and assisted reproductive technologies; Abortion; Physician-assisted suicide; Race relations; Creation care; Capital punishment; Just war, pacifism, and the use of lethal force.

Professor Magnuson provides biblical insight into each topic and presents key moral considerations. He also answers specific, practical questions that arise and concludes with a summary of his recommended approach to each issue. Readers will learn how to grapple with difficult moral questions and will receive guidance for some of life's most challenging ethical conundrums.

Critique: Impressively thoughtful and thought-provoking throughout, "Invitation to Christian Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues" is an ideal curriculum textbook for seminary students, unreservedly recommended for church, community, and academic library Christian Ethical Studies collections -- and is especially and unreservedly recommended to the attention of clergy, theologians, and non-specialist general readers within the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations.

The Church's Best-Kept Secret
Mark P. Shea
New City Press
202 Cardinal Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538
www.newcitypress.com
9781565481183, $16.95, PB, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/Churchs-Best-Kept-Secret-Catholic-Teaching/dp/1565481186

Synopsis: "The Church's Best-Kept Secret: A Primer on Catholic Social Teaching" by Mark P. Shea is a short primer which lays out the basics of Catholic social teaching in a way accessible to the ordinary Catholic as well as to any other person of good will attempting to grasp this often profoundly misunderstood area of Church doctrine and practice.

Writing in everyday language for the non-scholar general reader, Shea concisely describes the roots of Catholic social teaching in Scripture and Tradition and gives simple, practical examples of how it works in ordinary life. Sketching the meaning of the Dignity of the Human Person, the Common Good, Subsidiarity, and Solidarity, Shea bridges the gulf in our politics and cultural warfare to make the case that Catholic Social Teaching, properly understood, is common sense, as well as the path to living a happier and more just common life for each human person.

Critique: A thoroughly thoughtful and thought-provoking read, "The Church's Best-Kept Secret: A Primer on Catholic Social Teaching" is an extraordinarily accessible work that will prove to be of immense interest and value to clergy and seminarians, as especially the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject. While highly recommended for seminary, church, community, and academic library Roman Catholic Social Theology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted that "The Church's Best-Kept Secret: A Primer on Catholic Social Teaching" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. He is the author of numerous books including "By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition". His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and he is known nationally for his one minute "Words of Encouragement" on Catholic radio. Shea also maintains the popular blog Stumbling Towards Heaven. In addition, Mark is an internationally known speaker on various issues in Catholic faith and life.

Jesus the Great Philosopher
Jonathan T. Pennington
Brazos Press
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.brazospress.com
9781587435140, $39.99, HC, 242pp

https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Great-Philosopher-Jonathan-Pennington/dp/1587435144

Synopsis: Many of we Christians tend to live as though Jesus represents the "spiritual part" of our lives. We don't clearly see how he relates to the rest of our experiences, desires, and habits. How can Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity become more than a compartmentalized part of our lives?

In the pages of "Jesus the Great Philosopher: Rediscovering the Wisdom Needed for the Good Life", New Testament scholar and teacher Jonathan Pennington argues that we need to recover the lost biblical image of Jesus as the one true philosopher who teaches us how to experience the fullness of our humanity in the kingdom of God. Jesus teaches us what is good, right, and beautiful and offers answers to life's big questions: what it means to be human, how to be happy, how to order our emotions, and how we should conduct our relationships.

"Jesus the Great Philosopher" brings Jesus and Christianity into dialogue with the ancient philosophers who asked the same big questions about finding meaningful happiness. It helps us rediscover biblical Christianity as a whole-life philosophy, one that addresses our greatest human questions and helps us live meaningful and flourishing lives.

Critique: Erudite, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Jesus the Great Philosopher: Rediscovering the Wisdom Needed for the Good Life" is an extraordinary and ultimately inspiring study that will be a welcome addition to Contemporary Christian Theology collections in general, and Christian Bible Studies/Christian Living Studies supplemental reading lists in particular. It should be noted for seminary students, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Jesus the Great Philosopher: Rediscovering the Wisdom Needed for the Good Life" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781587434655, $18.99) and in digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: Jonathan T. Pennington is an Associate Professor of New Testament interpretation and Director of Research Doctoral Studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also on staff as a preaching pastor at Sojourn East Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Additionally, Professor Pennington is the host and co-producer of the popular web series Cars, Coffee, Theology and has written numerous books, including The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing and Reading the Gospels Wisely.

Recovering Benedict
John Edward Crean Jr.
Morehouse Publishing
c/o Church Publishing Incorporated
1637 Beechwood Ave #1, Louisville KY 40204
www.churchpublishing.org
9781640653269 $14.95

https://www.amazon.com/Recovering-Benedict-Twelve-Step-Living-Rule/dp/1640653260

Synopsis: As the father of Western monasticism, Benedict of Aniane (747 - 821) pulled together various strands of monastic spirituality into a single handbook for holiness. Alcoholics Anonymous presented an equally innovative way to address alcoholism based on twelve steps drawn from numerous spiritual sources.

While it took a sixth-century Italian collating various sources to produce a handbook for spiritual life, it likewise took a twentieth-century American to pull together the spiritual principles to recover one's physical life. In "Recovering Benedict: Twelve-Step Living and the Rule of Benedict", John E. Crean, Jr. brings both traditions together in one handbook for living: daily meditations are inspired by the down-to-earth wisdom of the Rule of Benedict, and AA's template for sobriety and humbleness.

Critique: An exceptional and thoughtful daily devotional for anyone wishing for deeper healing, "Recovering Benedict: Twelve-Step Living and the Rule of Benedict" is ideal for personal use, or as a curriculum text for small group study. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Recovering Benedict" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.59).

Editorial Note; The Very Reverend Canon John Crean is Dean Emeritus of the Diocese of Western Michigan. He taught at Yale, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Hawaii, and Grand Valley State University, where he was also department chair. John has published and presented scholarly papers on the Rule of Saint Benedict and served as co- editor of Magistra. He is currently researching and publishing on ecclesiastical history. An oblate of Saint Boniface Benedictine Abbey in Munich, John has been involved in twelve-step recovery work since 2003.

Brownlow North: His Life and Work
K. Moody Stuart
Banner of Truth
PO Box 621, Carlisle, PA 17013
www.banneroftruth.org
9781848719460, $20.00, HC, 328pp

https://www.amazon.com/Brownlow-North-His-Life-Work/dp/1848719469

Synopsis: Brownlow North (17 July 1741 - 12 July 1820) was a bishop of the Church of England. The fruitfulness of Brownlow North's ministry led him to become known as the 'John the Baptist of the great awakening of 1859'. As demonstrated in the pages of "Brownlow North: His Life and Work" by K. Moody Stuart, this largely forgotten evangelist of the nineteenth century has much teach the Christian community of today.

His preaching was marked by an eloquent, but unadorned proclamation of Christ as revealed in the Scriptures. He brought fresh impetus to the old truths. He preached to both the hearts and intellects of his hearers. It was biblical evangelism driven by biblical theology. These were the defining characteristics of Brownlow North's ministry, and his example is a lesson for us today.

This compact biography sheds light on the life and ministry of a man who had experienced for himself the transforming power of the gospel, and who was used by God to bring many others to know that same power.

After Brownlow North's death in 1875, the then Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to a friend: 'No one could know him without seeing that his heart and life were devoted to his Master's service, and that he burned to preach to others what he had found so precious to his own soul.'

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Brownlow North: His Life and Work" is commended to the attention of all members of the Christian community and especially church, seminary, and academic library Religious Christian Leader Biographies, Christian Spiritual Growth, and Historical Biographies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of seminary students, clergy, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Brownlow North: His Life and Work" is also readily available in a paperback edition ($4.50).

Editorial Note: Kenneth Moody Stuart (1842-1904) was the minister of Moffat St Mary's Church in Annandale, Dumfriesshire, in the south of Scotland. He was the son of the well-known Free Church minister Alexander Moody Stuart, and wrote a biography of his father, in addition to his study of Brownlow North.

Has Archaeology Buried the Bible?
William G. Dever
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
www.eerdmans.com
9780802877635, $25.99, HC, 168pp

https://www.amazon.com/Archaeology-Buried-Bible-William-Dever/dp/080287763X

Synopsis: In the last four decades, archaeological evidence has dramatically illuminated ancient Israel. However, instead of proving the truth of the Bible (as an earlier generation had confidently predicted) the new discoveries have forced us to revise much of what was thought to be biblical truth, provoking an urgent question:

If the biblical stories are not always true historically, what, if anything, is still salvageable of the Bible's ethical and moral values?

"Has Archaeology Buried the Bible?" by Professor William G. Dever simplifies these complex issues and summarizes the new, archaeologically attested ancient Israel, period by period (ca. 1200 - 600 BCE). But it also explores in detail how a modern, critical reader of the Bible can still find relevant truths by which to live.

Critique: An ideal introduction to the advances made in biblical archaeology for the non-specialist general reader and student, "Has Archaeology Buried the Bible?" is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. Enhanced for the reader and academia with the inclusion of a seven page listing of Suggested Readings, a three page listing of Sources for Illustrations, and a three page Index, "Has Archaeology Buried the Bible?" is an exceptionally informative and highly recommended addition the personal reading lists of biblical archaeology enthusiasts, biblical archaeology students, academia, seminary students, clergy, as well as both community and college/university library Biblical Archaeology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: William G. Dever is Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has served as director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology in Jerusalem, as director of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, and as a visiting professor at universities around the world. He has spent thirty years conducting archaeological excavations in the Near East, resulting in a large body of award-winning fieldwork.

Faith Wins: Overcoming a Crisis of Belief
Adam Groza
New Hope Publishers
PO Box 830711, Birmingham, AL 35283-0711
www.newhopepublishers.com
9781563093869, $15.99, PB, 208pp

https://www.amazon.com/Faith-Wins-Overcoming-Crisis-Belief/dp/1563093863

Synopsis: Sooner or later, even the most dedicated Christian will struggle to believe. Will feel as if they are in a state of doubt about their Christian faith.

Doubt is a natural part of the Christian life. At some point, everyone goes through some type of a crisis of faith. But "Faith Wins: Overcoming a Crisis of Belief" by Adam Groza is not only for those who experience the average moments of doubt, but also for those who are in a chronic or nearly constant state of struggle.

Believer, if that's you, "Faith Wins" is specifically designed to help you make through your faith crisis and show you how to come out on the other side with faith that is strengthened and matured.

Be encouraged to see how doubt and faith can coexist. With "Faith Wins" learn how to strengthen your faith to conquer specific doubts. Understand the giants of the faith who doubted, but then allowed faith to endure -- let your faith be victorious! If you possess saving faith, there is always hope: Faith wins!

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Faith Wins: Overcoming a Crisis of Belief" is inspired and inspiring -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended reading for all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Faith Wins: Overcoming a Crisis of Belief" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Adam Groza is a vice president and associate professor of philosophy of religion at Gateway Seminary in Ontario, California. He has taught philosophy at a variety of institutions and has contributed to various books. Adam travels internationally, preaching and speaking on faith and culture, apologetics, and evangelism.

Let This Be the Time
Janet Schaeffler, OP
Twenty-Third Publications
1 Montauk Avene, #200, New London, CT 06320
www.23rdpublications.com
9781627855594, $18.95, PB, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/Let-This-Time-Spiritual-Essentials/dp/1627855599

Synopsis: The journey of aging is different for every Christian, but no matter our path, the joys and challenges of getting older give us all a wonderful opportunity to keep growing emotionally and spiritually. In "Let This Be the Time: Spiritual Essentials for Life's Second Act", Janet Schaeffler draws on her own experiences of aging and the insights of many elders to help us all deal with twelve increasingly important needs.

Those needs include: to live a life of meaning and purpose; to joyfully pursue love and relationships; to ask and explore questions; to learn and grow and laugh; to navigate change and transition; to cope with losses; to be grateful; to forgive and be forgiven; to give; for spiritual integration; to let go and simplify; and to prepare for dying and death.

The journey of aging is a gift for each eldering person, and filled from cover to cover with gentle wisdom and practical suggestions, "Let This Be the Time" will help us make the most of this wonderful gift as we learn to live and love more fully in our eldering years.

Critique: Exceptionally 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Let This Be the Time: Spiritual Essentials for Life's Second Act" is both inspired and inspiring and especially commended to the attention of all senior citizens regardless of denominational affiliations -- especially in this current era of pandemic, social unrest, and economic stress.

Leaving God Behind
David Arthur Auten
Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 West 8th Avenue, Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401-2960
http://wipfandstock.com
9781725285248, $35.00, HC, 94pp

https://www.amazon.com/Leaving-Behind-David-Arthur-Auten/dp/172528524X

Synopsis: Written with warmth, wisdom, and compassion, in the pages of "Leaving God Behind', author David Arthur Auten invites us to reclaim the secretive, intuitive nature of authentic becoming. In a time when many are increasingly disenchanted with traditional demarcations between belief and unbelief, the sacred and secular, Auten offers a refreshing account of what faith can look like beyond the bounds of religion.

Those thirsting for re-acquaintance with true selfhood, and the ability to heed the gift of their own inner voice, will find consolation and inspiration in the author's story of leaving behind the church, ministry, and also God, not in exchange for an atheist or even humanist outlook, but as an act of faith itself. Transgressive, insightful, and candid, "Leaving God Behind" is a kind of memoir about following God beyond God, to a place of self-compassion, surrender, and homecoming.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "Leaving God Behind" is especially commended to the attention of all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of clergy, seminary students, and lay members of the Christian faith with an interest in personal transformation and spirituality that "Leaving God Behind" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781725285231, $15.00).


The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Alchemy of Stones
Robert Simmons
Destiny Books
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781644113097, $29.99, PB, 496pp

https://www.amazon.com/Alchemy-Stones-Co-creating-Gemstones-Transformation/dp/1644113090

Synopsis: "The Alchemy of Stones: Co-creating with Crystals, Minerals, and Gemstones for Healing and Transformation" presents an inspired breakthrough in Robert Simmons' thirty-five year career of exploring and revealing the spiritual qualities and potentials of minerals, crystals, and gemstones. This holistic, Earth-based framework for understanding stones and their energies initiates readers into an alchemical worldview that leads to spiritual healing, transformation, and transcendence.

Engaging readers step by step, Simmons provides guidance on discovering and harnessing the three human powers of intention, attention, and imagination, each a crucial component for meeting and working in harmony with the energies of the Stone Beings. Simmons also introduces us to the Divine Feminine intelligence known as Sophia, or Wisdom. The Stone Beings are her emissaries, and through relating and co-creating with them, the healing and redemption of ourselves and the Earth becomes a reality.

Offering an illustrated dictionary of the spiritual qualities of more than 375 different minerals, crystals, and gemstones, Simmons also explores in depth what he calls the Four Cornerstones of the Alchemy of Stones: Moldavite, Phenacite, Azeztulite, and Rosophia. He discusses the stages of alchemical transformation and provides meditative practices with specific stones to go with each stage. He also explores how to work with stone mandalas, crystal body layouts, gemstone elixirs, and Orgonite energy devices and details powerful techniques for working with stones. Woven throughout are Simmons' personal stories of the pivotal mystical experiences that triggered his capacity to feel stone energies and led him to develop his relationship with the stones, revealing how this work can open minds and awaken hearts.

Critique: Offering a complete course of instruction in the subject, "The Alchemy of Stones: Co-creating with Crystals, Minerals, and Gemstones for Healing and Transformation" is a profusely and beautifully illustrated volume that will prove to be a prized addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Metaphysical Studies collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of those with a specific interest in the subjects of crystal divination and healing that "The Alchemy of Stones" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.99).

Editorial Note: Robert Simmons has been working with crystals and stones for over 35 years. He is the cofounder of Heaven and Earth, a company offering gem and jewelry creations for self-healing and spiritual and emotional development. Currently residing in New Zealong, he is also the author of several books, including The Book of Stones and Stones of the New Consciousness.

The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot
Russell A. Sturgess
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
www.innertraditions.com
9781644110560, $24.99, PB, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Roots-Tarot-Cathar-Hidden/dp/1644110563

Synopsis: The Holy Grail has been discovered. Not a cup or chalice as myth leads us to believe, the Holy Grail is sacred knowledge of the path to enlightenment and inner peace. While Russell Sturgess was conducting research on the Marseille Tarot, he found evidence that this tarot deck, while masquerading as a simple card game, held the teachings of an ancient heretical religious group from southern France, the Cathar, who are believed to be the keepers of the Holy Grail. To avoid persecution by the papacy, this sect used portable art like illuminations to convey their Gnostic Christian teachings, in the same way the stained glass windows of churches spoke to their congregations. This portable Cathar art then inspired the creation of the Tarot.

After his breakthrough discovery of a hidden key on the Magician and Strength cards, Sturgess examined the Major Arcana cards further and used the key to unlock their symbolism, discovering clear instructions for recalibrating human consciousness and achieving enlightenment, with specific cards representing pivotal points in making the journey from ignorance to awareness. Decoding the cards in detail, the author shows how they reveal a journey of transformed consciousness that can result in finding what the Cathar called "the kingdom of heaven."

Calling this sacred knowledge the "Cathar Code", in the pages of "The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot: The Cathar Code Hidden in the Cards" Sturgess reveals his personal development program based on the Code that opens access to a meaningful lifestyle filled with peace and joy and that naturally fosters health and well-being. He shows how these teachings offer a clear path that transforms a life burdened by fear of failure, rejection, and scarcity into one with clarity of purpose, self-honoring, kindness, and the abundance that comes with making a fulfilling difference in the world.

Critique: An inherently fascinating, iconoclastic, informative, and compelling study, "The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot: The Cathar Code Hidden in the Cards" will be an especially appreciated and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies Collection in general, and Tarot Card supplemental curriculum lists in particular. It should be noted for students and practitioners that "The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot: The Cathar Code Hidden in the Cards" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia, Russell A. Sturgess has practiced as a complementary health professional since the mid-1970s, developing his unique approach to osteopathic massage, peace-centered healing, and mindfulness practice. He has personally trained over a thousand students throughout the United States, New Zealand, and Australia.

Crystal Grids Handbook
Judy Hall
Fair Winds Press
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9781592339877, $19.99, HC, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Grids-Handbook-Healing-Manifestation/dp/1592339875

Synopsis: Throughout recorded human history the use of crystal grids to create, heal, and manifest goals and intentions has been a part of the medical culture. A condensed version of "The Ultimate Guide to Crystal Grids", Judy Hall's "Crystal Grids Handbook: Use the Power of the Stones for Healing and Manifestation" shows the reader all the fundamentals for constructing an effective grid.

Readers will learn how to harness the power of sacred geometry to activate and amplify the power of their crystals. Featuring dozens of grids designed by one of the world's leading crystal experts, the Crystal Grids Handbook" is the essential and ideal quick-reference guide where the beginner grids are based on basic geometric shapes and templates as well as showcasing advanced grids for deep healing and transformation.

Aspiring crystal users will learn how to select the best crystal for a particular grid or purpose as well as how to correctly set up, activate, and dismantle a grid. This indispensable little volume includes grids for: Love; Manifesting prosperity; Career; Healing; Protection. Enhanced throughout with beautiful photos and illustrations, the "Crystal Grids Handbook" is essentially a step-by-step guide for harnessing the magic and power of crystals.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated, the "Crystal Grids Handbook" by Judy Hall is the ideal introduction to the use of crystals and especially recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university metaphysical studies collections in general, and crystal healing instructional reference collections in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that the "Crystal Grids Handbook" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Dorst, England, Judy Hall is a successful Mind-Body-Spirit author with over 45 MBS books to her credit, including the Crystal Bible (volumes 1 and 2), Encyclopedia of Crystals, 101 Power Crystals, Crystals and Sacred Sites, The Crystal Seer, Crystal Prescriptions, and The Crystal Wisdom Healing Oracle.

A trained healer and counselor, Judy has been psychic all her life and has a wide experience of many systems of divination and natural healing methods. She also has a BEd in Religious Studies with an extensive knowledge of world religions and mythology and an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at Bath Spa University. Her areas of expertise are past life readings and regression, soul healing, reincarnation, astrology and psychology, divination, and crystal lore.

Judy has appeared four times in the Watkins list of the 100 most influential spiritual living writers and was voted the 2014 Kindred Spirit MBS personality of the year. An internationally known author, psychic, and healer, Judy conducts workshops in her native England and internationally. Her books have been translated into 16 languages.

Life with the Afterlife
Amy Brun & Julie Tremaine
Grand Central Publishing
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
www.hachettebookgroup.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9781538754146, $27.00, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Afterlife-Truths-Learned-Ghosts/dp/1538754142

Synopsis: Amy Bruni, co-star of the television series Kindred Spirits and one of the world's leading paranormal investigators, has learned a lot about ghosts over her years of research and first-hand experience. Now, in "Life With The Afterlife: 13 Truths I Learned About Ghosts", she shares the insights she has gleaned and how they have shaped her unique approach to interacting with the spirits of the dead and those who encounter them.

From her earliest supernatural encounters as a child, through her years appearing on the television series Ghost Hunters and the creation of her own company, Strange Escapes, which offers paranormal excursions to some of America's most notoriously haunted destinations, and into her current work on The Travel Channel's Kindred Spirits, "Life With The Afterlife" is full of astonishing and deeply moving stories of Amy's efforts to better understand the dead but not yet departed.

With Amy's bright humor and fierce compassion for both those who are haunted and those who are haunting, "Life With The Afterlife" is an informative look at what connects us as people, in life and beyond.

Critique: Exceptionally well written with the literary assistance of Julie Tremaine, "Life with the Afterlife: 13 Truths I Learned about Ghosts" by Amy Runi is extraordinary, insightful, thought provoking, inherently fascinating, and very highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in metaphysical studies. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists that "Life with the Afterlife: 13 Truths I Learned about Ghosts" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781549161506, $40.00, CD).

Editorial Note: Amy Bruni started working professionally as a paranormal investigator in 2007, when she began appearing on Ghost Hunters, one of the longest-running and highest-rated paranormal television shows. Now, she's the co-star and executive producer of The Travel Channel's Kindred Spirits. In addition, Amy is the owner of Strange Escapes, a company offering paranormal excursions to some of America's most notoriously haunted destinations.


The Automotive Shelf

How to Swap GM LT-Series Engines into Almost Anything
Jefferson Bryant
CarTech Inc.
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025
www.cartechbooks.com
9781613253885, $34.95, PB, 144pp

https://www.cartechbooks.com/how-to-swap-gm-lt-series-engines-into-almost-anything.html

Synopsis: The GM LS engine has dominated the crate and engine-swap market for the past 20 years, and now the new LT engine has become a popular crate engine for swap projects as well. As essentially the next-generation LS, the LT features a compact footprint, lightweight design, and traditional V-8 pushrod architecture similar to its predecessor, so it swaps easily into many classic cars, hot rods, and even foreign sports cars.

The new LT1/LT4 takes a bold step forward in technology, using active fuel management, direct injection, an upgraded ignition system, continuous variable valve timing, and a wet- or dry-sump oiling system. With this advanced technology and higher performance, more engine swappers are using the LT platform. In "How to Swap GM LT-Series Engines into Almost Anything" engine swapping expert and longtime author Jefferson Bryant presents thorough instruction for each crucial step in the LT swap process.

Although the new LT shares the same basic engine design with the LS, almost all of the LT engine parts have been revised and updated. As a result, the mounting process has changed substantially, including motor-mount location, K-member mounting process, and component clearance; all these aspects of the swap are comprehensively covered. The high-compression direct-injected engines require higher-pressure fuel systems, so the fuel pump and fuel lines must be compatible with the system. LTs also feature revised bellhousing bolt patterns, so they require different adapter plates.

The oil pan profile and oiling systems are unique, and this can present crossmember clearance problems. All other important aspects of the swap process are covered, including accessory drives and cooling systems, engine management systems, tuning software, controllers, and exhaust, so you can install the LT in popular GM A- and F-Body platforms as well as almost any other chassis. Solutions for the major swapping challenges, parts compatibility, and clearance issues are provided.

Muscle car, hot rod, truck, and sports car owners have embraced the new LT platform and the aftermarket has followed suit with a wide range of products to facilitate swap projects. "How to Swap GM LT-Series Engines into Almost Anything" affords comprehensive guidance so you can complete a swap with confidence.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, expertly written, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "How to Swap GM LT-Series Engines into Almost Anything" by 'life long car guy' Jefferson Bryant is the ideal step-by-step instructional guide and manual for anyone wanting to learn how the swap process takes place and/or has a personal engine swapping project of their own.

The Fred Opert Story
Peter Hill
Veloce Publishing Ltd.
www.veloce.co.uk
9781787115651, $25.00, PB, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/Fred-Opert-Story-Wheeler-dealer-Champion-maker/dp/1787115658

Synopsis: Fred Opert's life journey took him from a brief stint in a New York jail, to having a successful career as race-car importer/dealer, race team owner and F1 team manager -- before tragedy caused him to walk away from the sport he loved.

"The Fred Opert Story: Motor Sport Entrepreneur, Wheeler-dealer, Racer, Champion-maker & Bon Vivant" by motoring journalist Peter Hill is fascinating biography follows Fred Opert's whirlwind lifestyle, talent-spotting successes, and the trials and tribulations of managing the ATS F1 team. Detailing the drivers who came up through the ranks with Opert, this biography features interviews with many of those who worked with him and has been written with the co-operation of Opert's family, friends and ex-employees.

Critique: Impressively informative, featuring two sections of full color photographs, and informatively enhanced with the inclusion of Forewords by Nico Rosberg, Alan Jones MBE and Keke Rosberg. "The Fred Opert Story: Motor Sport Entrepreneur, Wheeler-dealer, Racer, Champion-maker & Bon Vivant" is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary man that will be an enduringly appreciated addition to the personal reading lists of dedicated automotive history fans and the Biography collections of both community and college/university libraries.


The Philosophy Shelf

KISS and Philosophy: Wiser than Hell
Courtland Lewis, editor
Open Court Publishing Company
70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601
www.opencourtbooks.com
9780812694918, $19.95, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/KISS-Philosophy-Popular-Culture/dp/0812694910

Synopsis: KISS is the most outrageous and yet the most enduring of rock bands, with an unparalleled, almost religious level of devotion from millions of die-hard fans. Compiled and edited by Courtland Lewis, in the pages of "KISS and Philosophy" a series of professional thinkers of diverse outlooks provide much-needed insights into the motivating ideas and metaphysical foundations of the KISS take on life.

According to some, the true message of KISS is self-actualization through the hard work of following your dreams. Others focus on the existential aspect of KISS thinking, drawing upon Camus and Sartre to show that KISS is preoccupied with empowering the individual to achieve self-greatness. By contrast, there is a view of KISS which identifies a "destroyer" attitude, leading some listeners to reject KISS outright, while encouraging others to become the most dedicated of followers. Yet another view sees KISS's "letting loose" as essentially Dionysian.

Some chapters gain access to KISS thinking by tracing the band's cultural and historical impact, finding meaning in the way generations of fans make sense of KISS's always evolving output, the changing line-up, and the archetypal characters represented by the band's use of make-up and presentation. Other chapters look at the aesthetic quality of the band's output, especially their most controversial album, Music from "The Elder."

Several chapters examine KISS's orientation to bodily pleasures, notably sex, extracting the band's philosophy of sex and love from different clues and indications. How does KISS's unashamed indulgence relate to various pleasure-governed ethical systems throughout history? Is getting the most out of pleasure key to living the good life? And does a life of gratifying one's body ultimately yield fulfillment? What are the limitations and hazards of a pleasure-oriented lifestyle?

The biography of band members also provides material for reflection, looking at the nature of forgiveness through the lens of KISS's notorious feuds, and determining how to reconcile the apparently conflicting accounts of some famous squabbles. The changing line-up of the band raises questions about the meaning of "KISS" and whether KISS could last forever

Critique: A seminal collection of inherently fascinating, impressively informative, and interestingly insightful commentaries, "KISS and Philosophy: Wiser than Hell" is the latest entry in the the Open Court Publishing Company's 'Popular Culture and Philosophy' series and will prove to be of immense interest to the legions of KISS fans, as well as to students of philosophy and popular culture. While highly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "KISS and Philosophy: Wiser than Hell" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Courtland Lewis is an Instructor of Philosophy at Owensboro Community and Technical College. He is co-editor of Doctor Who and Philosophy, More Doctor Who and Philosophy, and Red Rising and Philosophy and editor of Divergent and Philosophy.


The Art Shelf

The Art of Drawing Dragons
Michael Dobrzycki
Walter Foster
c/o The Quarto Group
quartoknows.com
9781600588709 $21.99

https://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Dragons-Mythological-Fantasy-Creatures/dp/1600588700

Synopsis: Ever considered the differences between fairies and pixies or struggled to remember how many heads belong to a hydra? With more than 50 step-by-step projects; tips and techniques for working with graphite pencil, charcoal, and ink; as well as a little history for each featured mythological and fantasy creature, The Art of Drawing Dragons, Mythological Beasts, and Fantasy Creatures includes everything you need to know to get started drawing your own impressive beasts.

From choosing the right tools and materials to helpful drawing techniques, such as understanding value, basic shading techniques, creating textures, and constructing your own creatures, this step-by-step drawing guide is the perfect first step for beginning artists. Follow along as you learn to draw dragons and fantasy creatures from around the world, including elemental dragons, sea serpents, hydras, fairies, trolls, goblins, gargoyles, and more! With practice, you'll soon be able to capture your favorite fantasy creatures - and learn a little bit about their origin and history at the same time.

The Collector's Series offers approachable, step-by-step art instruction for a variety of mediums and subjects, such as drawing, oil, acrylic, watercolor, cartooning, calligraphy, and more. Perfect for beginning artists, each title features artist tips for drawing or painting anything and everything from people, animals, and still life to flowers, trees, and landscapes.

Critique: The Art of Drawing Dragons is a superbly detailed guide for aspiring artists of all skill and experience levels. Featuring black-and-white illustrations of the steps of drawing as well as guidelines for creating textures and meticulous instructions, The Art of Drawing Dragons goes beyond its title to demonstrate how to draw a wide variety of other mythical creatures as well! Highly recommended.

How to Create Manga: Drawing Clothing and Accessories
Studio Hard Deluxe Inc.
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9784805315637, $17.99, PB, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/How-Create-Manga-Accessories-Illustrations/dp/4805315636

Synopsis: Fashion meets form in this essential style guide for aspiring artists seeking to to dressing up their drawings. Even the most novice of artists, with the help of "How to Create Manga: Drawing Clothing and Accessories" will learn how to drape their manga creations in the wardrobe of their dreams, all while learning techniques and tips used by professional illustrators to realistically draw clothing and accessories of all types ranging from blouses and T-shirts to button downs, sweaters, coats, pants, skirts and shorts. And with respect to accessories, boots, belts, shoes and sandals are all included as well, along with detailed coverage of satchels, purses and backpacks.

Critique: Profusely and usefully illustrated with more than 900 illustrative and instructional drawings by twelve professional illustrators, "How to Create Manga: Drawing Clothing and Accessories" the detailed, in-depth, and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructions make this the perfect DIY guide and manual. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community, art school, and college/university library Art Instruction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of neophyte manga artists that "How to Create Manga: Drawing Clothing and Accessories" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Art of Figure Drawing for Beginners
Gecko Keck
Walter Foster Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9781633228818, $21.99, PB, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Art-Figure-Drawing-Beginners-mannequins/dp/1633228819

Synopsis: Mastering the human form for portraiture is one of the most challenging subjects for a beginning artist to learn. Packed with practical instructions, helpful tips, and fundamental techniques, "The Art of Figure Drawing for Beginners: Learn to use basic shapes and art mannequins to draw faces and figures" by Gecko Keck is a comprehensive, DIY, 144-page course of thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction that will prove to be an essential resource for learning to draw the human form and poses with ease.

"The Art of Figure Drawing for Beginners" features instructions for learning how to render the head, body, and extremities using very basic shapes, as well as drawing mannequins placed in a variety of configurations. An informative and easy-to-follow content covers figure drawing essentials, including: An overview of basic anatomy; Natural variations in shape, texture, and proportion; Helpful techniques for rendering humans in single and group poses; Information for working with the tools of the trade.

Critique: An ideal instructional guide and manual for beginning artists, art enthusiasts, and serious fine art students, "The Art of Figure Drawing for Beginners" has continuing value for even more experienced artists needing to depict the human form and anatomy in their work -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, art school, community, and college/university library DIY Art Instruction collections and supplemental studies lists.

Editorial Note; Gecko Keck is a well known artist and entrepreneur on the German artistically creative scene. As early as 1989, he founded an agency for caricatures and illustrations and got to know about production as a graphic designer. He has been a freelancer again since 1993, and has created over 5000 design drawings, as well as over 300 models for the popular Kinder surprise eggs.

You Are an Artist
Bob Smith & Roberta Smith
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
www.thamesandhudsonusa.com
9780500239933, $19.95, HC, 168pp

https://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Artist-Roberta-Smith/dp/0500239932

Synopsis: According to contemporary artist and activist Bob and Roberta Smith, every human is an artist. Drawing is an important part of learning to communicate, and above all else, life is a conversation, making art a vital part of human existence. In "You Are an Artist" they help the reader to work out what kind of artist he or she is and what can be achieved, combining thought- provoking meditation on art practice with practical exercises and creative prompts that encourage creativity and self-expression.

"You Are an Artist" is a compendium of entertaining, startling, and often evocative narratives that bring to life a series of lessons about the nature of art and inspiration. Providing ideas, tips, and practical examples from Bob's own work as an art teacher and activist, "You Are an Artist" is for anyone who wants to be an artist and needs just needs a bit of a creative push for them to take the plunge.

Critique: Enhanced with the inclusion of 125 color illustrations, "You Are an Artist" is the ideal DIY 'starter kit' to launch an art career in any medium. Inspired and inspiring, "You Are an Artist" is highly recommended for personal, professional, community, art school, and college/university library collections. It should be noted for aspiring art students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "You Are an Artist" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Bob and Roberta Smith, a.k.a. Patrick Brill, is a British contemporary artist, activist, writer, broadcaster, musician, art education advocate, and keynote speaker. He is a Royal Academician, and in 2017 was awarded an OBE for services to Art. Bob is a patron of The Big Draw and the National Society for Education in Art and Design. He sat on the Tate Modern Council and was recently a trustee of Tate. He is also a Trustee of Art UK and a contributor to the Guardian. He has extensive experience of teaching and is Associate Professor at the Department of Art and Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University. He has curated numerous public art projects, including the 2013 Art Party to promote contemporary art and advocacy. His works have been exhibited internationally, and are in collections in Europe and the United States.

Cartoon Animation With Preston Blair
Preston Blair
Walter Foster Publishing
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9781560100843, $25.99, PB, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cartoon-Animation-Collectors-Preston-Blair/dp/1560100842

Synopsis: Cartoon animation is the process of drawing and photographing a character in successive positions to create lifelike movement. Animators bring life to their drawings, making the viewer believe that the drawings actually think and have feelings. "Cartoon Animation With Preston Blair" was written by a professional animator to help aspiring animators learn how to animate. The pioneers of the art of animation learned many lessons, most through trial and error, and it is this body of knowledge that has established the fundamentals of animation.

Animators must first know how to draw; good drawing is the cornerstone of their success. The animation process, however, involves much more than just good drawing. This DIY instructional guide and manual teaches all the other knowledge and skills animators must have.

In chapter one, Preston Blair shows how to construct original cartoon characters, developing a character's shape, personality, features, and mannerisms. The second chapter explains how to create movements such as running, walking, dancing, posing, skipping, strutting, and more. Chapter three discusses the finer points of animating a character, including creating key character poses and in-betweens. Chapter four is all about dialogue, how to create realistic mouth and body movements, and facial expressions while the character is speaking.

There are helpful diagrams in this chapter that show mouth positions, along with a thorough explanation of how sounds are made using the throat, tongue, teeth, and lips. Finally, the fifth chapter has clear explanations of a variety of technical topics, including tinting and spacing patterns, background layout drawings, the cartoon storyboard, and the synchronization of camera, background, characters, sound, and music.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout and comprehensively covering all of the fundamentals of cartoon animation, "Cartoon Animation With Preston Blair" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, art school, community, and academic library Animation Art Instructional Guide collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Editorial Note: Preston Blair (October 24, 1908 - April 19, 1995) was a native Californian who studied art at the Otis Art Institute, as well as illustration under Pruett Carter at Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts). As a member of the California Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society in New York, he exhibited work all over the country. Preston was a fine artist during the early days of full-length feature animation. For the Disney production Fantasia, he designed and animated the hippos in "The Dance of the Hours". He also animated Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, portions of the classic film Pinocchio, and the famous scene in Bambi when the owl talks about love in his "twitterpated" speech. At MGM, Preston directed Barney Bear short films, and he was well known as the designer and animator of one of Tex Avery's epic shorts Red Hot Riding Hood. Preston later moved to Connecticut, where he produced television commercials, educational films, and cartoons, including The Flintstones. Before he passed away, he worked as an inventor of interactive TV programs, such as teaching reading through animation and virtual reality games featuring full-sized animated opponents.


The General Fiction Shelf

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez
Buck Storm
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
www.kregel.com
9780825446375, $15.99, PB, 352pp

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Ashes-Gomez-Ballads-Paradise/dp/0825446376

Synopsis: When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can't go on -- so he doesn't. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel's ashes. Slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis's ghost, and a strange kid named Bones.

Across town, Father Jake Morales plays it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. Then a shady business deal threatens the town and his good friend Gomez Gomez. Father Jake can't just stand by and watch, but what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?

"The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez" is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.

Critique: The first volume in the 'Ballads of Paradise' series by Buck Storm, "The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez" is an inherently fascinating read from an author with an impressive gift for the kind of narrative storytelling style that will quickly engage the reader from first page to last. While unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Glimmer As You Can
Danielle Martin
Alcove Press
c/o Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
www.dreamscapeab.com/audiobooks
9781643855233, $26.99, HC, 298pp

https://www.amazon.com/Glimmer-As-You-Can-Novel/dp/1643855239

Synopsis: In the middle of Brooklyn Heights sits the Starlite: boutique dress shop by day, underground women's club by night. Started by the shop's proprietor after her marriage crumbled, Madeline's social club soon becomes a safe haven for women from all walks of life looking for a respite from their troubled relationships and professional frustrations. These after-hour soirees soon bring two very different women into Madeline's life (Elaine, a British ex-pat struggling to save her relationship, and Lisa, a young stewardess whose plans for the future are suddenly upended) irrevocably changing all three women's lives in ways no one could have predicted.

But when Madeline's ne'er-do-well ex-husband shows up again, the luster of Starlite quickly dampens. As the sisterhood rallies around Madeline, tension begins to eat at the club. When an unspeakable tragedy befalls their sorority, one woman must decide whether to hide the truth from the group or jeopardize her own hopes and dreams.

Critique: Set in 1962 "Glimmer As You Can" fully captures the heartbeat of an era and the ambitions of a generation of women living in a man's world -- a world threatened by a wave of change. Showcasing the narrative storytelling skills of author Danielle Martin, "Glimmer As You Can" is an impressively original, fully reader engaging, and deftly scripted novel that will prove to be a welcome addition to community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Glimmer As You Can" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781662048081, $24.99, CD).

Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything
Kristin Bair
Alcove Press
c/o Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
www.dreamscapeab.com/audiobooks
9781643855004, $16.99, PB, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Agatha-Arch-Afraid-Everything-Novel/dp/164385500X

Synopsis: Agatha Arch's life shatters when she discovers her husband in their backyard shed, in flagrante delicto, giving the local dog walker some heavy petting. Suddenly, Agatha finds herself face to face with everything that frightens her - - and that's a very long list indeed!

Agatha keeps those she loves close. Everyone else, she keeps as far away as possible. So she's a mystery to nearly everyone in her New England town. To her husband, she's a saucy, no-B.S. writer. To her Facebook Moms group, she's a provocateur. To her neighbor, she's a standoffish pain in the butt. To her sons, she's chocolate pudding with marshmallows. And to her shrink, she's a bundle of nerves on the brink of a cataclysmic implosion.

Defying her abundant assortment of anxieties, Agatha dons her "spy pants" (a pair of khakis whose many pockets she crams with binoculars, fishing line, scissors, flashlight, a Leatherman Super Tool 300 EOD, candy, and other espionage essentials) and sets out to spy on her husband and the dog walker. Along the way, she finds another intriguing target to follow: a mysterious young woman who's panhandling on the busiest street in town.

It's all a bit much for timorous Agatha. But with the help of her Bear Grylls bobblehead, a trio of goats, and a dog named Balderdash, Agatha may just find the courage to build a better life.

Critique: An absorbing and entertaining read of the first order, "Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything" by novelist Kristin Bair is a wonderfully original and highly recommended addition to community library collections. Singularly original and satisfyingly compelling, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781662052934, $22.99, CD).

Once Again
Catherine Wallace Hope
Alcove Press
c/o Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
www.dreamscapeab.com/audiobooks
9781643854816, $26.99, HC, 278pp

https://www.amazon.com/Once-Again-Catherine-Wallace-Hope/dp/164385481X

Synopsis: Isolated in the aftermath of tragedy, Erin Fullarton has felt barely alive since the loss of her young daughter, Korrie. She tries to mark the milestones her therapist suggests (like today, the 500th day without Korrie) but moving through grief is like swimming against a dark current.

Her estranged husband, Zac, a brilliant astrophysicist, seems to be coping better. Lost in his work, he's perfecting his model of a stunning cosmological phenomenon, one he predicts will occur today -- an event so rare, it keeps him from being able to acknowledge Erin's coinciding milestone.

But when Erin receives a phone call from her daughter's school, the same call she received five hundred days earlier when Korrie was still alive, Erin realizes something is happening. Or happening again. Struggling to understand the sudden shifts in time, she pieces together that the phenomenon Zac is tracking may have presented her with the gift of a lifetime: the chance to save her daughter.

Unable to reach Zac or convince the authorities of what is happening, Erin is forced to find the answer on her own. Erin must battle to keep the past from repeating -- or risk losing her daughter for good.

Critique: Compelling, original, the kind of novel that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, "Once Again" by Catherine Wallace Hope is a strongly recommended addition to community and college/university library Contemporary General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Once Again" is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781662048005, $24.99, CD).

A Solitude of Wolverines
Alice Henderson
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
www.harpercollins.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9780062982063, $27.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Solitude-Wolverines-Novel-Suspense-Carter/dp/0062982060

Synopsis: While studying wolverines on a wildlife sanctuary in Montana, biologist Alex Carter is run off the road and threatened by locals determined to force her off the land.

Undeterred in her mission to help save this threatened species, Alex tracks wolverines on foot and by cameras positioned in remote regions of the preserve. But when she reviews the photos, she discovers disturbing images of an animal of a different kind: a severely injured man seemingly lost and wandering in the wilds.

After searches for the unknown man come up empty, local law enforcement is strangely set on dismissing the case altogether, raising Alex's suspicions. Then another invasive predator trespasses onto the preserve. The hunter turns out to be another human -- and the prey is the wildlife biologist herself. Alex realizes too late that she has seen too much, that she has stumbled onto a far-reaching illegal operation and now has become the biggest threat.

In this wild and dangerous landscape, Alex's life depends on staying one step ahead -- using all she knows about the animal world and what it takes to win the brutal battle for survival.

Critique: A deftly blended combination of suspense thriller and action adventure that is the stuff from which block buster movies are made, "A Solitude Of Wolverines" by novelist Alice Henderson is a compelling read from beginning to end. While certain to be an immediately welcome and enduringly appreciated addition to community library fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Solitude Of Wolverines" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781799944164, $39.99, CD).


The Historical Fiction Shelf

The Conqueror
Bryan Litfin
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800738174, $26.99, HC, 496pp

https://www.amazon.com/Conqueror-Constantines-Empire-Bryan-Litfin/dp/0800738179

Synopsis: It is AD 312. Rome teeters on the brink of war. Constantine's army is on the move. On the Rhine frontier, Brandulf Rex, a pagan Germanic barbarian, joins the Roman army as a spy and special forces operative. Down in Rome, Junia Flavia, the lovely and pious daughter of a nominally Christian senator, finds herself embroiled in anti-Christian politics as she works on behalf of the church.

As armies converge and forces beyond Rex's and Flavia's controls threaten to destroy everything they have worked for, these two people from different worlds will have to work together to bring down the evil Emperor Maxentius. But his villainous plans and devious henchmen are not easily overcome. Will the barbarian warrior and the senator's daughter live to see the Empire bow the knee to Christ? Or will their part in the story of Constantine's rise meet an untimely and brutal end?

Critique: A deftly crafted and fully absorbing novel by an author who is an especially skilled storyteller, the readers of "The Conqueror" by Bryan Litfin will travel back to one of the most pivotal eras in Christian and Roman history -- a time when devotion to the pagan gods was fading and the Roman Empire was being conquered by the sign of the cross. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Conqueror" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.57).


The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Key to Love
Betsy St. Amant
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800739164, $29.99, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Key-Love-Betsy-St-Amant/dp/0800739167

Synopsis: The only thing Bri Duval loves more than baking petit fours is romance. So much so, she's created her own version of the famous Parisian lovelock wall at her bakery in Story, Kansas. She never expects it to go viral -- or for Trek Magazine to send travel writer Gerard Fortier to feature the bakery.

He's definitely handsome, but Bri has been holding out for a love story like the one her parents had, and that certainly will not include the love-scorned-and-therefore-love-scorning Gerard.

Just when it seems Bri's bakery is poised for unprecedented success, a series of events threaten not just her business but the pedestal she's kept her parents on all these years. Maybe Gerard is right about romance. Or maybe Bri's recipe just needs to be tweaked.

Critique: A pure literary treat for dedicated Christian romance fans, "The Key To Love" by Betsy St. Amant is a wonderfully entertaining and original novel that would prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to any community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collection. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Key To Love" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780800738891, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Return to Virgin River
Robyn Carr
www.RobynCarr.com
Mira Books
195 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10007
www.mirabooks.com
9780778388340, $27.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Return-Virgin-River-Robyn-Carr/dp/0778388344

Synopsis: Kaylee Sloan's home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother's recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer's block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack's Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she's surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend (or a stranger) in need.

Kaylee's world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there's the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee's dread turns to wonder. Because there's no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

Critique: Another perfectly crafted gem of a novel by Robyn Carr, "Return To Virgin River" is a literary treat for her legions of fans -- and an ideal introduction to one of the most accomplished masters of the romance genre for those unfamiliar with her work. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Return To Virgin River" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and in a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Publishing, 9781799920076, $29.99, CD).

Editorial Note: Robyn Carr is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She is the author of the popular long-running Virgin River series, as well as the Grace Valley, Thunder Point, and Sullivans Crossing series. The Virgin River series is the basis for a Netflix Original television drama series. Her novel By Right of Arms won the won the RITA award for best novel. She maintains an informative website at www.RobynCarr.com

The Blended Quilt
Wanda E. Brunstetter, author
Jean Brunstetter, author
Barbour Publishing
P.O. Box 719, 1810 Barbour Drive, Uhrichsville, OH 44683
www.barbourbooks.com
http://oasisaudio.com/about-oasis
9781643526010, $12.99, PB, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Blended-Quilt-Jean-Brunstetter/dp/1643526014

Synopsis: Sadie Kuhns has a lot happening in her life. She is creating a unique quilt by blending a traditional Amish pattern with a Hawaiian pattern as a tribute to her time spent in the islands, and she is working on a self-published book. But her relationship with Wyman Kauffman has stagnated after six months of courtship. He can't seem to commit to a profession that would secure a future, and he is jealous of the time Sadie gives to her own pursuits. Is there really any reason to drag this courtship out? Only time will tell.

Critique: A deftly crafted Amish romance novel, "The Blended Quilt" is an impressive and memorably entertaining read from beginning to end. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated romance fans that "The Blended Quilt" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.34) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Oasis Audio, 9781640914797, $14.99, CD).

Forget Me Not
Sarah M. Eden
Covenant Communications
226 S. 630 E., Suite #4, American Fork, Utah 84003
http://www.covenant-lds.com
9781524413354, $16.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Forget-Me-Not-Gents-Book/dp/1524413356

Synopsis: Julia Cummings has long been acquainted with loss-her mother, her brother, her sister, her friend, all gone too soon. But the loss that pushed her grief to the limit as a young girl was that of her best friend, Lucas Jonquil, who abandoned her without looking back. Now, eight years later, Lucas has returned to Lampton Park, and Julia has steeled herself-she will never forgive the man who broke her heart.

After losing too many of his friends and family to early deaths, Lucas vowed to live life to the fullest. And after traversing the world, he has returned from his adventures to find his family and home as he left them-except for Julia. The little girl he left behind has blossomed into a captivating lady, a lady who makes it clear she despises him.

With little hope of reconciliation, the former friends are blindsided when their parents make a shocking announcement. Lucas and Julia have been betrothed without their knowledge and are to marry immediately. Now Lucas must rely on the help of his closest friends to win the heart of a lady who loathes him -- a lady he's coming to love more deeply every day.

Critique: Set in Nottinghamshire, England, 1785, "Forget Me Not" is the debut volume of author Sarah M. Eden's new 'The Gents' historical romance series and effectively showcases her narrative storytelling skills and total mastery of the Georgian Romance genre. Fully developed characters, unexpected plot twists, nicely crafted background details, "Forget Me Not" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated historical romance fans that "Forget Me Not" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book from Covenant Communications (9781524413361, $22.99, CD).

The Love Note
Joanna Davidson Politano
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800739201, $29.99, PB, 384pp

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Note-Joanna-Davidson-Politano/dp/0800739205

Synopsis: Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings (mostly negative ones) about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.

Laced with mysteries large and small, "The Love Note" is romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found.

Critique: A fully engaging, impressively entertaining, and exceptionally well written novel by a master of the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that keeps the reader rapt attention from first page to last, "The Love Note" by Joanna Davidson Politano is certain to be an immediately and enduringly welcome addition to community library Mystery, Suspense, Romance collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Love Note" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780800736897, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Nothing Short of Wondrous
Regina Scott
Fleming H. Revell Company
c/o Baker Publishing Group
6030 East Fulton, Ada, MI 49301
www.revellbooks.com
9780800739218, $29.95, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Wondrous-American-Wonders-Collection/dp/0800739213

Synopsis: It is 1886, and the government has given the US Cavalry control of Yellowstone. For widowed hotelier Kate Tremaine, the change is a welcome one. She knows every inch of her wilderness home like the back of her hand and wants to see it protected from poachers and vandals.

Refused a guide by Congress, Lieutenant William Prescott must enlist Kate's aid to help him navigate the sprawling park and track down the troublemakers. But a secret from his past makes him wary of the tender feelings the capable and comely widow raises in him.

As they work together to protect the park and stand firm through injustice and tragedy, they may just find that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in control.

Critique: A wonderfully crafted and fully entertaining historical romance novel by a writer with a genuine gift for involving the hearts and minds of her readers, "Nothing Short of Wondrous" by Regina Scott is a highly recommended addition to personal reading lists and community library Romance Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Nothing Short of Wondrous" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780800736408, $15.99) and in digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Looking for a Cowboy
Donna Grant
St. Martin's Press
120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271
https://us.macmillan.com/smp
9781250250063, $7.99, PB, 368pp

https://www.amazon.com/Looking-Cowboy-Heart-Texas-5/dp/1250250064

Synopsis: A beautiful stranger has come to Clearview, asking questions that are nobody's business. Cooper Owens also wasn't born yesterday. He knows that this out-of-towner is hiding a dark secret of her own. Much as he knows he should head in the other direction, he can't make himself turn away.

P.I. Marlee Frampton always wanted to lead a nice quiet life, working as a cop in her local police department. But that dream came to an end when her sister was murdered and her baby kidnapped. Now Marlee's come to Texas to investigate the Harpers, who may be linked to shady adoption agencies. Cooper can't believe that his friends could be involved in anything so sinister. Soon he makes it his mission to help Marlee discover the truth -- and keep her safe in his arms.

Critique: A deftly crafted contemporary western romance, "Looking for a Cowboy" is an extraordinarily entertaining and compelling read from beginning to end and successfully showcases author Donna Grant's impressive flair for narrative driven storytelling. While highly recommended for community library Romance Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Looking for a Cowboy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

New Man in the School / Her High School Lover
Peter Rabe
Stark House Press
1315 H Street, Eureka, CA 95501
www.starkhousepress.com
9781944520786, $19.95, PB, 204pp

https://www.amazon.com/House-High-School-Lover-Stark-Press/dp/1944520783

Synopsis: In "New Man in the House" Roger Garland has made a career out of pleasure. He is, in fact, the perfect butler -- discreet, deferential and ready to please the family, particularly the women of the house. His new employer is banker Matthew Hornaday. But Garland is much more interested in Hornaday's teenage daughter, Lorna. Lorna is just discovering sex, and Garland is certain that he can be the perfect teacher. But there is also Mrs. Hornaday to consider. She may be married to a banker, but she was once a Broadway star, and has lost none of her lust for life - or for Garland. If only Mr. Hornaday didn't distrust him so much, this could be the perfect set-up for seduction.

In "Her High School Lover", Laura Vaughn has fallen out of love with her second husband. Her first husband, Pierre, taught her all about life when they were young in France, but archeologist Robert makes her feel like an obligation. While Laura writes letters to Pierre, her teenage son Tony seethes with rage and confusion, resentful of his mother, disdainful of his step-father, mad at the world. And Tony's friend, Tad Howard, has problems of his own -- his parents hate each other, and use him as their punching bag. Each one them is seeking something and someone to make the pain go away. It is only a matter of time before Laura and Tad find each other.

Critique: Peter Rabe aka Peter Rabinowitsch, (1921 - 1990), was a German American writer who also wrote under the names Marco Malaponte and J. T. MacCargo (though not all of the latter's books were by him). Rabe was the author of over 30 books, mostly of crime fiction, published between 1955 and 1975. Now Stark House Press has brought back into print for the benefit of a new generation of appreciative readers two of his stories with the publication of "New Man in the School / Her High School Lover". Enhanced with an informative Afterword by Barry N. Malzberg, and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "New Man in the School / Her High School Lover" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Body in Bodega Bay
Betsy Draine & Michael Hinden
University of Wisconsin Press
728 State Street, Suite 443, Madison, WI 53706-1418
www.uwpress.wisc.edu
9780299297947, $17.95, PB, 232pp

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Bodega-Bay-Sandler-Mystery/dp/0299297942

Synopsis: Life in Bodega Bay, a place made famous as the setting for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, has been quiet for antiques dealer Toby Sandler -- until his new business partner is found dead in the harbor. Soon, the local sheriff discovers that the victim's recently acquired Hitchcock artifacts and a painting of an angel have mysteriously vanished.

Toby and his wife, art historian Nora Barnes, are enlisted to aid the investigation. As they dig into tales of the area's past and encounter perplexing clues that are both criminal and otherworldly, the couple contemplates whether some mysteries are too deep to solve.

Critique: Originally published in a hardcover in 2014 and now newly available in a paperback edition, "The Body in Bodega Bay" is a classic whodunnit in which the co-authors Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden plays fair with the reader in terms of plot twists and turns. "The Body in Bodega Bay" is a fully engaging and impressively entertaining read -- and one that will have immense appeal for dedicated mystery buffs. While especially recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Body in Bodega Bay" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Funeral for a Friend
Brian Freeman
Blackstone Publishing
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
www.BlackstoneAudio.com
9781982663728, $27.99, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Funeral-Friend-Jonathan-Stride-Novel/dp/1982663723

Synopsis: Jonathan Stride's best friend, Steve Garske, makes a shocking deathbed confession: he protected Stride by covering up a murder. Hours later, the police dig up Steve's yard and find a body with a bullet hole in its skull.

Stride is pretty sure he knows who it is. Seven years ago, an out-of-town reporter disappeared while investigating anonymous allegations of rape against a prominent politician. Back then, the police believed that the reporter drowned at a dangerous swimming hole called the Deeps but the discovery of the body changes everything. Now Stride's partner, Maggie Bei, is forced to ask Stride an uncomfortable question: Did you kill him?

Stride is obviously hiding things. He was the last person to see the reporter alive. And he admits lying to Maggie about that meeting, but won't tell her why. With suspicion in the murder pointing at him, Stride finds himself off the case and on leave from the Duluth Police.

His only ally in clearing his name is his wife, Serena, who retraces the reporter's investigation into the explosive allegations. The clues all point to a hot Duluth summer years earlier that everyone in town would prefer to forget.

Someone was willing to kill rather than let those long-ago secrets come out, and the suspect with the strongest motive is Stride.

Critique: A deftly crafted and simply riveting police procedural novel by a true master of the genre, "Funeral For A Friend" by Brian Freeman is the stuff of which box office hit movies are made and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly welcome addition to community library Mystery/Suspense/Thriller collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Funeral For A Friend" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.69) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781982663421, $29.95, CD).

Never Turn Back
Christopher Swann
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
www.crookedlanebooks.com
www.dreamscapeab.com/audiobooks
9781643855370, $26.99, HC, 280pp

https://www.amazon.com/Never-Turn-Back-Christopher-Swann/dp/1643855379

Synopsis: Ethan Faulkner is a precocious child with a brilliant but troublesome sister, a war vet for a father, and a weary mother trying to manage their family. One night a young woman rings their doorbell, desperate to hide from two men who are pursuing her, when one of the two barges in after her. The struggle leaves both of Ethan's parents dead.

Years later, Ethan has a successful teaching career and a budding relationship with a coworker. But he hasn't quite followed through on his promise to his dying father -- to take care of his sister. Susannah is not an easy person to keep tabs on, is a handful even when the tabs are kept, and quite frankly, Ethan wants her to suffer for preventing him from getting to his dad before he died all those years ago.

It was a long time ago and Ethan tries to put all of it behind him. But that's easier said than done. When news of a brutal murder breaks with evidence pointing to Ethan as the prime suspect, all the painful memories of his past come rushing to meet him.

Critique: As a novelist, Christopher Swann is a master of the kind of narrative storytelling style that artfully conveys both emotion and nuance. His latest novel, "Never Turn Back" is a powerfully rendered story of family, vengeance, and actions that can echo down through the years with irreparable consequences for the future. Having a very special appeal for mystery buffs who appreciate an artfully written suspense thriller featuring an amateur sleuth and many an unexpected plot twist and turn, "Never Turn Back" is a welcome and recommended addition to community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Never Turn Back" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781662048036, $24.99, CD).

The Russian Pink
Matthew Hart
Pegasus Books
148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10018
www.pegasusbooks.com
9781643135502, $25.95, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Russian-Pink-Novel-Matthew-Hart/dp/1643135503

Synopsis: When "The Russian Pink" (which is a stunningly large rose-hued diamond) makes a surprise appearance around the neck of Honey Li, the wife of surging presidential candidate Harry Nash, Alex Turner, an investigator for the Treasury Department's diamond division and former C.I.A. agent, finds himself spiraling down a seemingly endless rabbit hole. A diamond like that always carries secrets, but the web of mystery behind "The Pink" is more complex than Alex could ever image.

Starting with the trail of damage from botched sting operation, Alex wavers between legal and illegal tactics, friends, family, and foes to find out why a mysterious Russian double agent betrayed him and the diamond ended up on a potential path to the White House. For wherever the Russian Pink goes, secrecy, deception, and death surely follow.

Critique: An original and riveting read from start to finish, "The Russian Pink" is an impressively well crafted novel of suspense with more plot twists and turns thatn a Disneyland roller coaster. The stuff from which block buster movies are made, "The Russian Pink" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly welcome addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Russian Pink" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

East of Texas, West of Hell
Rod Davis
NewSouth Books
105 South Court Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
www.newsouthbooks.com
9781588384164, $18.95, PB, 280pp

https://www.amazon.com/East-Texas-West-Hell-Novel/dp/1588384160

Synopsis: A desperate call from heiress Elle Meridian shakes ex-Dallas TV anchor Jack Prine from his comfortable life in the Big Easy as he begins his long search for Meridian's missing teenage daughter. Instead of the girl, Jack discovers the savaged bodies of drug dealers and embarks on a journey of relentless violence and lethal betrayal across the South.

As an intricate web of deception, extortion, and murder unwinds, Prine finds himself at odds with neo-Nazis, the cartel, and the Dixie Mafia. Even if Prine can save Meridian's child, can he justify the blood on his hands? Rod Davis expands the thrilling world of South, America in this Southern noir, rife with chaos, unexpected turns, and fascinating characters.

Critique: In the pages of "East of Texas West of Hell", accomplished novelist Rod Davis deftly exposes the dark underbelly and underground economies of God's country in a compelling story that fully engages the reader's attention from one unexpected cliff-hanger of a plot twist after another. While highly recommended as a popular addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "East of Texas West of Hell" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

The Well Of Ice
Andrea Carter
Oceanview Publishing
1620 Main Street, Suite 11, Sarasota, FL 34236
www.oceanviewpub.com
9781608093663, $26.95, HC, 352pp

https://www.amazon.com/Well-Ice-Inishowen-Mystery/dp/1608093662

Synopsis: Its a cold December on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal and solicitor Benedicta "Ben" O'Keeffe is working flat out before the Christmas holidays. While on a trip to Dublin to visit her parents, she runs into Luke Kirby (the man who killed her sister) freshly released from jail. On the surface he appears remorseful, conciliatory even, but his comment as she walks away makes her realize he is as evil as ever.

Back in Glendara, she finds chaos. The Oak pub has burned down and Carole Kearney, the Oak's barmaid, has gone missing. And then, while walking the dog up Sliabh Sneacht, Ben and her partner, Sergeant Tom Molloy, make a gruesome discovery: a body lying face down in the snow. Another brutal attack in the small town and Ben plunges into full discovery mode.

Who could be behind this vicious attack on Glendara and its residents? And why disturb such a charming town at Christmas time? As Ben delves in to find answers, she comes face to face with the reality that all this evil could be swirling around her as her past confronts her present -- and future!

Critique: Another riveting suspense thriller of a mystery from an accomplished master of the genre, "The Well Of Ice" is the newest addition author Andrea Carter's 'Inishowen Mystery' series and certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that "The Well Of Ice" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781472125989, $12.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.49).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Believing: The Other Stories of Zenna Henderson
Zenna Henderson
NESFA Press
PO Box 809, Framingham, MA 01701
www.nesfapress.com
9781610373388, $32.00, HC, 470pp

https://www.nesfa.org/book/believing-2

Synopsis: Zenna Chlarson Henderson (November 1, 1917 - May 11, 1983) was an American elementary school teacher and science fiction and fantasy author. Her first story was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1951. Her work is cited as pre-feminist, often featuring middle-aged women, children, and their relationships, but with stereotyped gender roles. Many of her stories center around humanoid aliens called "The People", who have special powers. Henderson was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1959 for her novelette "Captivity". Science fiction authors Lois McMaster Bujold, Orson Scott Card, Connie Willis, Kathy Tyers, and Dale Bailey have cited her as an influence on their work.

Best known for her stories of The People, published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s, The People were a group of human-appearing aliens, escaped the destruction of their home world only to be shipwrecked on Earth, where they struggled to hide their extra abilities. These stories were collected into one volume in 1995 when NESFA Press published Ingathering: "The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson".

During the same period, Henderson published an equal number of non-People stories. Like the stories of The People, they range from comforting to unnerving. Fans of The People will recognize the same underlying belief in the goodness of people and other beings as they struggle for a chance at a better future. These stories have a common theme -- belief. A girl believes that the hills are lost beasts and leads them home; a boy believes he can fight evil with a pocket piece made from Popsicle sticks; a boy believes he can build a noise-eating machine -- with fatal results.

"Believing: The Other Stories of Zenna Henderson" contains every non-People story, all long out of print. Thirty-three of the stories in this volume are from her collections, The Anything Box and Holding Wonder. The remaining five stories and three poems were previously published in other magazines and anthologies.

Critique: An absolute 'must have' addition to the personal collections of all dedicated science fiction buffs and both community/academic library American Science Fiction History collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that tis NESFA edition of "Believing: The Other Stories of Zenna Henderson" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95) from www.amazon.com.

Editorial Note: NESFA is the New England Science Fiction Association, Inc. and maintains a website (www.nesfa.org) that is comprehensive, covering a wide variety of activities, information, and services that NESFA provides to the science fiction community and to their members. Science fiction fans can also send news item suggestions to newsworthy[at]nesfa.org, and for events and activities to calendar[at]nesfa.org.

Days of Burning, Days of Wrath
Tom Kratman
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
www.baen.com
9781982124762, $25.00, HC, 400pp

https://www.amazon.com/Days-Burning-Wrath-Carerra/dp/1982124768

Synopsis: When Patricio Carrera's family was murdered by Salafist terrorists aided and abetted by the fleet of alien Earth, the only restraint on his ruthlessness and ambition was also removed. Now, after decades of war and preparation for war in his adopted homeland of Balboa, the last of the Tauran Union Expeditionary Force collapses and is herded into prison camps and ships, where their re-education commences.

An Islamic rebellion explodes inside the Tauran Union, bringing the governments and the bureaucracies to their knees - - except when they're hauled up by their necks on lampposts. In neighboring Santa Josefina, the Taurans' Task Force Jesuit is pinned into one small corner of the country, helplessly awaiting destruction. At sea, the Balboan classis and the remaining fleet of the Zhong Hegemony battle for the supply lines that keep the invading Zhong Army in Balboa alive, while the legions, now rid of the Taurans, redeploy against the Zhong, vengeance and massacre in their hearts and minds.

And finally, Hamilcar Carrera, Patricio's young son, stands poised on the bridge of a clandestine assault transport, ready to obliterate the last enemy base on his planet, even as a small ship is poised to remove the alien interstellar fleet overhead.

Critique: A deftly crafted and compelling science fiction story of political revolution, holy war, and armed violent struggle on an interplanetary scale, "Days Of Burning, Days Of Wrath" by Tom Kratman is a riveting read that is unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated science fiction 'Star Wars' style action/adventure fans that "Days Of Burning, Days Of Wrath" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Political Science Shelf

In the Balance of Power, revised edition
Omar H. Ali
Ohio University Press
215 Columbus Road, Suite 101, Athens, OH 45701
www.ohioswallow.com
9780821424346, $29.00, PB, 304pp

https://www.amazon.com/Balance-Power-Independent-Third-Party-Movements/dp/0821424343

Synopsis: Now in a newly updated and expanded edition, "In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States" by Professor Omar H. Ali reveals the multiple independent political tactics and strategies that African Americans have used to expand democracy and uphold civil and political rights since the founding of the nation.

This newly revised edition of Professor Ali's groundbreaking narrative includes an epilogue by independent political analyst and leader Jacqueline Salit. New material addresses the historic presidencies of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as the rising tide of independent and anti-party sentiments.

Critique: Impressively informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States" provides invaluable insights into the current political divisions of American politics on a national level with profound implications for the near term and long term political climate. Enhanced with the inclusion of six page Time Line, forty-eight pages of Notes, an eighteen page Bibliography, and an eight page Index, "In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States" is a deftly crafted work of meticulous scholarship and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Contemporary Political Science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that 'In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $27.55).

Editorial Note: Omar H. Ali is the Dean of the Lloyd International Honors College and professor of global and comparative African diaspora history at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and was named the Carnegie Foundation North Carolina professor of the year.

Truth & Democracy
Steve Zolno
Regent Press
2747 Regent St., Berkeley, CA 94705
www.regentpress.net
9781587904998, $16.95, PB, 176pp

https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Democracy-Personal-Political-Polarization/dp/1587904993

Synopsis: Democracies are forged in the wake of oppression. At first there is trust among those with a common cause. But maintaining unity is a continual challenge. Democracy is in crisis in the United States and in many countries around the world -- a situation that even includes some members of the European Union.

Many nations that started on a path to democracy in this century now are reverting to autocracy. Their elected leaders maintain support by pitting one part of the population against the other as they threaten those who challenge them. They exert their authority by repeating mistruths and intimidating the press.

Internal divisions in the United States now threaten that it will tread that path. In the US and other democracies equality and human dignity still have not fully been realized. In every generation we must renew our commitment to democratic principles and their meaning for our time.

Critique: Witnessing the breakdown of American political norms, etiquette, and sense of fair play that has given rise to the Trump administration and ethically corrupted the Republican party to what seems to be its very core, "Truth & Democracy: Truth As A Guide For Personal And Political Action In An Age Of Polarization" by Steve Zolno should be considered mandatory reading for all political activists regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum today -- as well as a part of every community, college, and university library's Contemporary Political Science collection and supplemental curriculum studies list.

The Conscience of a Progressive
Steven Klees
Zero Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
www.johnhuntpublishing.com
9781789044966, $23.95, PB, 216pp

https://www.amazon.com/Conscience-Progressive-Education-Economics-Inequality/dp/1789044960

Synopsis: "The Conscience of a Progressive" by Professor Steven Klees begins where Senator Barry Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative (1960) and Paul Krugman's The Conscience of a Liberal (2007) leave off.

In this new study Professor Klees draws on 45 years of work around the world as an economist and international educator to paint a detailed picture of conservative, liberal, and progressive views on a wide range of current social issues. He takes an in-depth look at his specializations: education, economics, poverty and inequality, international development, and capitalism.

Professor Klees also examines major social problems like health care, the climate crisis, and war. Throughout this informed and informative study, Professor Klees tries to give a fair and careful depiction of how conservatives and liberals see these issues, whilst focusing on critiques by progressives, and on the alternatives they offer.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, reasoned, reported, organized and presented, "The Conscience Of A Progressive" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Comparative Politics, Economic Policy, and Political Philosophy collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers that "The Conscience Of A Progressive" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Steven Klees is Professor of International Education Policy at the University of Maryland and specializes in education, economics, and international development. He has previously taught at Cornell University, Stanford University, Florida State University, and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford University. His work examines the political economy of education and development.


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham MD 20706
www.nbnbooks.com

https://www.amazon.com/Westfjords-2-Islandia/dp/1849184518

In Marc Verdrines' "Islandia: The Westfjords" (9781849184519, $13.95, PB, 52pp) Jacques continues his journey through the heart of Iceland, still looking for answers to questions even he doesn't quite understand. However, he unknowingly leaves behind a trail of disasters and tragedies that strike every one he's come close to. Pursued first by vengeful men, then by the authorities, he eventually arrives in a village where he finds a rocky formation that he's dreamed of long before touching down on the island.

https://www.amazon.com/Will-Never-Forget-You-SAM/dp/1849183678

In the final installment of science fiction author and illustrator Marazano Shang's epic graphic novel "We Will Never Forget You" (9781849183673, $17.95, 72pp), convinced that they are the last survivors of the human race, Ian and his friends have decided to go in search of the command centre controlling the machines that hunt them so mercilessly. Their only ray of hope is that SAM, their robot ally, is once again with them, but even with his help, they are painfully aware that their attempt to reach the place where everything ended for mankind is little more than a suicide mission.

https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Bill-5-Trent/dp/1849183953

The fifth and latest addition to author Rodolphe and illustrator Leo's Canadian Mountie graphic novel series Trent, "Wild Bill" (9781849183956, $11.99, PB, 48pp) finds that while escorting a prisoner, Trent stops in a very animated small town because the famous Wild Bill Turkey is passing through on his way to his bride. Bill is a legend among gunfighters of the Old West. An aging one, yes, but that doesn't prevent him from coming to the Mountie's help when a group of men try to free his prisoner. A powerful man is behind that attempt, though, and both Trent and Bill suddenly become targets. Of special note is a totally unexpected ending!


The Audiobook Shelf

The Devil and the Dark Water
Stuart Turton, author
James Cameron Stewart, narrator
Tantor Media, Inc.
6 Business Park Road, Old Saybrook, CT 06475
https://tantor.com/new-releases.html
9781705268469, $44.99, CD

https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Dark-Water-Stuart-Turton/dp/1705268463

Synopsis: It's 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes? With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

Critique: Brought vividly to life in a true theatre of the mind experience through the narrative talents of James Cameron Stewart, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of "The Devil and the Dark Water" by Stuart Turton is an extraordinarily entertaining and thoroughly recommended addition to community library collections and to the specific attention of all dedicated historical mystery buffs. (14 CDs, 17 Hours).

Stand Up And Die
William W. Johnstone, author
J. A. Johnston, author
Danny Campbell, narrator
Tantor Media, Inc.
6 Business Park Road, Old Saybrook, CT 06475
https://tantor.com/new-releases.html
9781494541545, $12.99, CD

https://www.amazon.com/Stand-Die-Jackals-William-Johnstone/dp/1494541548

Synopsis: Some say bad luck comes in threes. And if you're a bandit, bank robber, or bloodthirsty killer, that bad luck comes in the form of three hard justice-seekers known as the Jackals. Each of the Jackals has his own path to follow: Former Texas Ranger Matt McCulloch is trying to protect a young Commanche from scalphunters. Retired cavalry sergeant Sean Keegan is dodging bullets in a prison breakout planned by the notorious Benteen brothers. And bounty hunter Jed Breen is bringing in one of the bank-robbing Kruger twins-while the other one's out for his blood! Three Jackals. Three roads to justice. But when their paths cross near Arizona's Dead River, they've got to join forces and face all of their enemies come hell or high water. They don't call it Dead River for nothing.

Critique: An action packed western novel brought to life in an extraordinarily effective theatre of the mind experience by the narrative talents of Danny Campbell, "Stand Up and Die" by the team of William and J. A. Johnstone is packed with everything a dedicated Johnstone fan has come to expect -- making it a certain and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Western Fiction and audio book collections. (Complete and unabridged, 8 CDs, 9.5 Hours).

Cunning of the Mountain Man
William W. Johnsone, author
J. Rodney Turner, narrator
Tantor Media, Inc.
6 Business Park Road, Old Saybrook, CT 06475
https://tantor.com/new-releases.html
9781494538224, $39.99, CD

https://www.amazon.com/Cunning-Mountain-Man-William-Johnstone/dp/1494538229

Synopsis: Framed for the murder of a rancher, Smoke Jensen must escape the angry lynch mob out for his blood, win the trust of the widow of his supposed victim, and clear his name by exposing the land-hungry killers responsible for the crime. That's going to take a steady gun hand and an iron nerve.

Critique: Containing mature themes and written by a master of the western fiction genre, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of "Cunning of the Mountain Man" by William W. Jonnstone is an inherently gripping, engagingly entertaining story deftly narrated by the vocal acting talents of narrator J. Rodney Turner. An absolute 'must' for the legions of William Johnstone fans, "Cunning of the Mountain Man" is certain to be an immediately popular and enduringly appreciated addition to community library audio book collections. (7 CDs, 8.5 Hours)

The Last Campaign
Martin L. Shoemaker, author
Rebecca Moses, narrator
Brilliance Audio
PO Box 887, Grand Haven, MI 49417
9781799754879, $14.99, CD

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Campaign-Near-Earth-Mysteries/dp/1799754871

Synopsis: Brazilian investigator Rosalia Morais, and her husband, revered American spacer Nicolau Aames, are building a life together in Mars's Maxwell City, the fastest-growing settlement on the planet. Good news: there are no natural predators. Bad news: there are humans. That means the crime rate is growing, too.

To ensure public safety, Rosie's appointed by the mayor as the Red Planet's first chief of police. No sooner does she build a law enforcement squad than the biggest challenge looks to be internal. Policing the police for graft and corruption is one thing. But when an industrialist is found among the chars of an arson, it's murder.

The fire leads to questions that can be answered by only one man -- Nick's former officer on the Earth-to-Mars vessel the Aldrin. And Nick is still duty bound to keep the officer's secrets. As loyalties shift, trust breaks, and the tide of a political conspiracy rises, Rosie must solve a mystery that could doom the future of humanity on Mars.

Critique: A flawless produced complete and unabridged audio book, award-winning actress Rebecca Mozo's superbly presented narration of Martin L. Shoemaker's novel "The Last Campaign" is an extraordinary listening experience and one that will have immense and immediate appeal to science fiction fans and mystery/suspense buffs alike -- making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to any and all community library audio book collections.


The Music CD Shelf

Halfway from Nashville
Sean Harrison
www.seanharrisonsongs.com
Cosmic Cowboy Records
$15.00 CD

Halfway from Nashville is a music album of original songs by Sean Harrison, crafted in his signature style blending the boundaries of Americana, country, blues, and rock. The candid, all-too-real lyrics tell stories of ordinary struggles, triumphs, and travails of American life. Halfway from Nashville is memorable, heartfelt, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Halfway from Nashville", "Go To Girl", "Gravel & Dirt", "Big Decisions", "Ode To A Goner", "Wake Up Dead", "Fingertips", "Psychedelic", "Paydays", "The Last Water Tower", "Worried", and "Breathe Out Her Name".

Papa Rosko
Papa Rosko
PapaRosko.com
Voodoo Possum Records, LLC
$8.00 CD

Papa Rosko is the self-titled debut album offering a blend of reggae, rock, Latin, dub, and pop. The result is a genre- bending, original fusion that tantalizes the listener with its unique rhythmic medley. The lyrics touch upon serious topics, including how the news media is driven by profit over the pursuit of truth, and lessons to be learned from George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984". Papa Rosko is thoughtful, thoroughly engaging on multiple levels, and highly recommended. The tracks are "Folsom Prison Blues", "Tranquilo", "Angel", "When You Say Nothing At All", "NooZies", "Chemistry Is Everything", "You're Not The Only One", "1984", "Now Is The Moment", and "Man Wan 2 B Free".

Three Tributes
Commissioned by James and Robert Freeman
Innova
https://www.innova.mu/albums/james-and-robert-freeman/three-tributes
$15.00

Three Tributes is a music CD of original, instrumental scores commissioned in honor of the parents of brothers James and Robert Freeman. Award-winning composers Kevin Puts, Andrea Clearfield, and Gunther Schuller each contributed a chamber orchestra piece. A treasure for anyone who enjoys the rich medley of orchestra performance, Three Tributes is a choice pick for personal collections or holiday gift-giving. Highly recommended. The tracks are "Quintet for Piano and Strings: 'The Red Snapper", "Romanza for Violin and Chamber Orchestra", and "Sonata for Two Pianos, Four Hands".

Best of Solo Piano, 2007-2018
Dan Kennedy
www.dankennedy.us
Mt. Pollux Music
$19.99 / $TBA digital amazon.com

Best of Solo Piano, 2007-2018 is a compilation of original solo piano works by Dan Kennedy, created in a style that draws upon elements of both new age and classical traditions. The sweeping, rapturous music is a treasure for connoisseurs of the genre, and also makes an excellent gift. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Heaven", "Falling", "Moving On", "Beautiful Day (With You)", "Cycle", "Jade", "Wintergreen", "Souvenirs", "Story Within a Story", "Dear Girl", "Backstory", "A Moment", "California", "Ballad", "Wildflower", "Allelu", and "Clear as the Coast".

The Great Kat
greatkat.com
$9.98 each

The Great Kat, well-known for her unabashedly provocative appearances, sensual videos, and extraordinary talent in skillfully shredding classical works of music at record-breaking speeds, is celebrating Beethoven's 250th birthday with the release of two new singles in both digital and CD format. "Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony for Guitar and Symphony Orchestra" ($9.98) is a profound new way to experience a classical musical journey inspired by nature's transitions from tranquility to thunderstorms. "Beethoven's Fur Elise" ($9.98) is a transformatively shredded version of Beethoven's posthumously discovered work in honor of an unknown woman whose identity has been the source of near-endless speculation. As always, the Great Kat displays an incredible gift for musical performance that pushes boundaries in more ways than one; both singles are highly recommended.


The DVD Shelf

Double Cross, season 1
UMC
www.UMC.tv
c/o AMC Networks
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$16.96

Double Cross, season 1 is an original DVD series about a brother-sister pair of twins with a dark past and the determination to eradicate an evil far greater than their own. The sudden rise of a sex trafficking ring that kidnaps young girls spurs them to hunt down the most vile type of criminals and serve vigilante justice. Their grim elimination of traffickers attracts the attention of the police, putting their own futures in jeopardy. Double Cross is an intense psychological drama starring two fascinating anti-heroes, highly recommended for connoisseurs of the genre. 6 episodes on 2 DVDs, 198 min., SDH subtitles.

Balthazar, series 2
Acorn TV
www.us.RLJEntertainment.com
$59.99

Balthazar, series 2 is an original forensic procedural DVD series. A combination of crimesolving, drama, and pathos, Balthazar series 2 delves deeper into its protagonist's troubled past. A lead surfaces in the investigation to find the culprit who murdered Balthazar's wife twelve years ago. Balthazar and Chief Inspector Helene Bach work together to prevent the killer from claiming more victims, even as their own relationship deepens. Balthazar, series 2 is a superb, thought-provoking series, highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of the genre. 10 episodes on 3 DVDs, 600 min., SDH subtitles.

Championship Productions
www.championshipproductions.com/cgi-bin/champ/index.html

Championship Products is the premier publisher of sports training DVDs. They have now released three new and outstanding training basketball DVDs, each one by a top ranked basketball coach, each of which is especially and unreservedly recommended for highschool, college, university, and professional basketball training instructional videos.

"Dick Bennett's Encyclopedia of the Pack Line & Blocker/Mover Systems" (BD-05763, $39.99, DVD) features a in-depth on the Pack Line Defense and Blocker/Mover Offense with coach Dick Bennett who is the creator of both systems. Viewers will: Learn the origins, philosophy, and best practices of the pack line defense, which has been widely adopted across all levels of the game; Understand how the blocker-mover offense operates and how to best adapt it to their team; Build a successful basketball program built on strong morals and principles.

"Joe Gallo: Using a Zone as Your Primary Defense" (BD-05762, $29.99, DVD) shows: How to run a stifling zone defense that forces opponents to run their second best offense and take shots they don't work on consistently; Understand why Coach Gallo prefers using zone defense and why he chose to run it full-time in the first place; Get a blueprint for working on zone defense in practice and how to make practice sessions more competitive; Deep-dive into how to make a zone defense more effective with practice footage and game film breakdowns.

"Coaching Basketball the Bob Hurley Way" (BD-05761, $39.99, DVD) will widen the base of a coaching spectrum with drills, offensive and defensive strategies, and pillars for success. Coaches and players will learn many of Coach Hurley's favorite go-to drills that he used over a long and successful coaching career; Receive insightful coaching tips for the offensive and defensive sides of the ball that will make your team more efficient; Absorb essential team building and culture-enriching advice from a Hall of Fame coach.


The Travel Shelf

Exploring Wine Regions - Bordeaux France
Michael C. Higgens
International Exploration Society
PO Box 93613, Pasadena, CA 91109
www.exploringwineregions.com
9780996966023, $44.95, PB, 500pp

https://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Wine-Regions-Bordeaux-Discover/dp/0996966021

Synopsis: "Exploring Wine Regions - Bordeaux France: Discover Wine, Food, Castles, and The French Way of Life" by author and photographer Michael C. Higgens brings a unique approach in educating and inspiring readers about the wine region of Bordeaux France in the form of a kind of profusely illustrated journey that deftly explores the long and fascinating history of wine, gastronomy, castles and joie de vivre, the French way of living life.

The perfect companion for any wine lover or travel enthusiast, extensive resources are provided for wine lovers who want to know where to go, what to look for, what questions to ask, and how to understand complex answers. Everyone can learn how to develop a palate to appreciate the finest wine and food the French of the Bordeaux region have to offer.

Critique: Ideal for the armchair traveler and for mapping out excursions for the adventurous on-site traveler, "Exploring Wine Regions - Bordeaux France: Discover Wine, Food, Castles, and The French Way of Life" is an extraordinary, informative, and thoroughly 'user friendly' resource that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Travel Guide and wine enthusiast reference collections.

Spirits of San Francisco
Gary Kamiya, author
Paul Madonna, illustrator
Bloomsbury Press
www.bloomsbury.com
9781635575880, $28.00, HC, 244pp

https://www.amazon.com/Spirits-San-Francisco-Voyages-through/dp/1635575885

Synopsis: Gary Kamiya's first foray into travel book writing was "Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco". Now "Spirits of San Francisco: Voyages through the Unknown City" he joins forces with artist and illustrator Paul Madonna to take a fresh look at this one-of-a-kind city. Marrying image and text in a way no travel book about this city has done before, Kamiya's captivating narratives accompany Madonna's masterful pen-and-ink drawings, breathing life into San Francisco sites both iconic and obscure.

Critique: An ideal read for the dedicated armchair traveler and of special value to anyone with an interest in one of America's premier cities with its exceptional influence on American popular culture, "Spirits of San Francisco: Voyages through the Unknown City" is an extraordinarily informative and thought-provoking tour-de-force showcasing the city and its people. While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library American Travel & Travelogue collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Spirits of San Francisco: Voyages through the Unknown City" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Soul of Barcelona: A Guide to 30 Exceptional Experiences
Fany Pechiodat, author
Vincent Moustache, author
Jonglez Publishing
https://jonglezpublishing.com
9782361953874, $14.95, PB, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Barcelona-Guide-Exceptional-Experiences/dp/2361953870

Synopsis; With a copy of "Soul of Barcelona: A Guide to 30 Exceptional Experiences", visitors to Barcelona can plant an itinerary that can include grooving to jazz on Gaudi's rooftops, tasting tapas prepared by a grandmother who is inspiring all the young Spanish chefs, discovering how to get to a secret beach, sinking into the ultimate churros, taking a hot bath at a spa beneath the city, and so much more!

"Soul of Barcelona" showcases the 30 best experiences the city has to offer -- any one of which alone make it well worth the trip. Additionally, the aspiring traveler with particularly appreciated the inclusion of interviews with those who give the city its spirit and illustrations that capture the city's soul.

Critique: For the armchair traveler, browsing through the pages of "Soul of Barcelona: A Guide to 30 Exceptional Experiences" is the next best thing to being there. For the on-site visitor "Soul of Barcelona: A Guide to 30 Exceptional Experiences" is an ideal itinerary planning guide to get the most out of a visit be it a day trip excursion or an extended vacation. "Soul of Barcelona: A Guide to 30 Exceptional Experiences" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Travel Guide & Travelogue collections.

Jonglez Publishing
https://jonglezpublishing.com

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Edinburgh-Unusual-guides-people/dp/2361953633

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Venice-guides-Thomas-Jonglez/dp/2361954117

Synopsis: Jonglez Publishing is a premier publisher of travel guides. Two of their newest titles in the Jonglez Publishing 'Unusual Guide' series are especially to be recommended for personal, professional, and community library collections.

With "Secret Edinburgh: An unusual guide" (9782361953638, $21.95, PB, 320pp) the traveler can descend into a Cold War bunker, piece together guerrilla mosaics, unearth the most glorious of grottoes, genuflect before the wooden robot overlord, sniff out dogs more dazzling than Greyfriars Bobby, peruse a 17th-century list of ladies of pleasure, get water-boarded in a prototype Jacuzzi, travel to the Wild West of Morningside, discover hidden gardens and clandestine art that not even the neighbors know about, and more!

With "Secret Venice" (9782361954116, $21.95, PB, 432pp) travelers will discover the secrets of St. Mark's Basilica without any tourist, decipher the capitals of the palace of the Doges, take the only underground canal in Venice, look out for of the alchemical sculpture of the winged horse, open your eyes to traces of the Teriaca, this miracle drink that was long made in Venice, tear up the paintings of the Scuola di San Rocco according to the principles of the Hebrew Kabbalah or the construction of San Francesco della Vigna according to those of the musical Kabbalah, visit an underground graveyard, push the doors of palaces and monasteries to walk in unsuspected gardens, admire the extraordinary forgotten library of the Venice seminary, sleep in a sublime room hidden in a palace, go shopping at the women's prison market of the Giudecca, play petanque in the heart of the city, make a retreat in a wonderful monastery of the lagoon, and more!

Critique: Both of these profusely illustrated, information jam packed, easily portable little volumes are indispensable street and armchair guides for those who would like to explore the curiosities of these two most secretive of cities. While especially recommended for community library Travel Guide collections, it should be noted that"Secret Venice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle $9.99).


The Business Shelf

What Is Strategy?: An Illustrated Guide to Michael Porter
Joan Magretta, author
Emile Holmewood, illustrator
Heinrich Zimmermann, contributor
Harvard Business Review Press
60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163
http://hbr.org/books
9781633698239, $25.00, HC, 80pp

https://www.amazon.com/What-Strategy-Illustrated-Michael-Porter/dp/1633698238

Synopsis: In "What Is Strategy?: An Illustrated Guide to Michael Porter", Joan Magretta (author of "Understanding Michael Porter"), has teamed up with illustrator Emile Holmewood to capture essential strategy concepts in a short, easy-to-understand, graphic format.

In a kind of graphic novel format, the reader will find the classic Porter frameworks (industry structure and the Five Forces, competitive advantage and the value chain) as well as a set of practical tests to apply in evaluating existing strategies or developing new ones. The reader will also learn Porter's thinking about critical issues such as scale, goal setting, sustainability, and disruption.

With a relatable cast of characters (a deadlocked team of managers calls in Professor Porter to help them devise a new strategy) "What Is Strategy?: An Illustrated Guide to Michael Porter" brings a sense of fun to a serious subject. It will help the reader to quickly grasp the fundamentals of strategy, whether they are a seasoned strategist looking to cut through all the new buzzwords or a new manager about to lead their first strategy meeting.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "What Is Strategy?: An Illustrated Guide to Michael Porter" will prove to be an invaluable, practical, and appreciated addition to personal, professional, community, corporate, and college/university library Business Management & Planning collections and supplemental MBA curriculum studies lists for MBA students, academia, as well as an in-service training textbook for corporate executives, business managers, entrepreneurs, and the DIY studies lists for non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.

Editorial Note: Previously a Bain partner and a strategy editor at Harvard Business Review, Joan Magretta has worked with Michael Porter for over two decades. A McKinsey Award winner, she is currently a Senior Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.

Alignment Strong
John E. Quinlan
https://johnequinlan.bydmg.com/alignment-strong
An Inc. Original
c/o Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
www.greenleafbookgroup.com
9781733478175, $24.95, HC, 242pp

https://www.amazon.com/Alignment-Strong-Human-Centric-Competitive-Leadership/dp/1733478175

Synopsis: The present pandemic driven economic collapse underscores that in our modern unforgiving and complex global market environment, only a groundbreaking organizational change framework will allow companies and corporations to sustainably compete and thrive

"Alignment Strong: A Strategic and Human-Centric Handbook for Competitive Leadership" is inspirational guide created by ex-CEO and road-tested executive leadership coach John E. Quinlan who takes you on a journey of self-discovery as a leader of others.

Years ago, deep in the Utah desert near the end of a long motorcycle trek, Quinlan had a vision of perfect organizational alignment -- with da Vinci's Vitruvian Man at the core. This concept is what became "Alignment Strong".

Concise yet impassioned, "Alignment Strong" is an essential handbook that clarifies the ten components of Quinlan's proven competitive leadership model by overlaying them on a depiction of da Vinci's ideal human form. As a result, the perfect organizational alignment converges with the ultimate individual alignment.

By following the "Alignment Strong" framework, you will learn the importance of: Articulating your own change philosophy and applying a shared formula with deftness; Finding vulnerability and courage by understanding your own personal power, blind spots (CEO disease), career derailers, and resistance to change; Integrating strategic and human-centric systems within your enterprise to increase organizational health, financial results, and competitive posture; Aligning espoused core values with strategic vision, mission, leadership/team, strategy, goals, and a performance management system, while culturally imbedding an appetite for change.

Utilizing research and advice from top business and thought leaders, as well as self, organizational, and team assessments, Quinlan's "Alignment Strong" enables you to transform not only yourself, but your company.

Critique: A unique and extraordinary contribution to the growing library of business management DIY instructional materials, "Alignment Strong: A Strategic and Human-Centric Handbook for Competitive Leadership" is impressively informative, exceptionally thoughtful, extraordinarily insightful, eminently practical, and unreservedly recommended for professional, community, corporate, college, and university library Business Management, Leadership, Motivational collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of MBA students, academia, corporate executives, business managers, entrepreneurs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Alignment Strong" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: John E. Quinlan co-founded and ran a publicly traded financial services holding company, building it to 330 employees in 14 states and $430 million in assets. But Quinlan ended up losing it all. His failure became his competitive advantage and ultimately the genesis for his book, Alignment Strong".

After co-establishing a consulting and investment banking firm in Detroit, he left America for the other side of the world, where he and his wife founded, in remote Papua New Guinea, a certified-organic and Rain Forest Alliance coffee growing, collection, and exporting business. It grew and prospered until local greed and vengeance, culminating in an assassination attempt, forced the Quinlans to abandon their company.

Quinlan is now an author, speaker, organization development specialist, and executive leadership coach. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Albion College in Michigan, and a Master of Science in Organizational Development (MSOD) from the American University, Washington, D.C. Quinlan was recognized as an entrepreneurial polymath by Inc. magazine.


The Self-Help Shelf

Growing Big Dreams
Robert Moss
www.mossdreams.com
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
www.newworldlibrary.com
9781608687046, $16.99, PB, 344pp

https://www.amazon.com/Growing-Big-Dreams-Manifesting-Imagination/dp/160868704X

Synopsis: "Growing Big Dreams: Manifesting Your Heart's Desires through Twelve Secrets of the Imagination" by Robert Moss is a passionate yet practical call to step through the gates of dreams and imagination to weather tough times, embark on travel adventures without leaving home, and grow a vision of a life so rich and strong it wants to take root in the world. Vitally relevant today more than ever, dreams are a tool available to all.

Moss is a cartographer of inner space, equally at home in Jung's psychology and shamanic journeying. In "Growing Big Dreams" he presents a collection of compelling stories, playful activities, and wild games -- all of which are specifically designed to lead the reader to manifest a life of creative joy and abundance. His readers will learn to connect with their inner 'imagineer' and become scriptwriter, director, and star of their own life movies, choosing their preferred genre and stepping into a bigger and braver story.

Great artists, mystics, and shamans know that there are places of the imagination that are entirely real. In "Growing Big Dreams" Robert Moss shows how to get there.

Critique: Impressively 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Growing Big Dreams: Manifesting Your Heart's Desires through Twelve Secrets of the Imagination" is an extraordinary and potentially life enhancing read that is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Self-Help/Self- Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Growing Big Dreams" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Robert Moss is the creator of the School of Active Dreaming, an original synthesis of modern dreamwork and ancient shamanic and mystical practices. He leads popular workshops all over the world, including a three-year training for teachers of Active Dreaming and online courses for the Shift Network. He maintains an informative website at www.mossdreams.com


The Money/Finance Shelf

Moneyfulness: Learning to Live with Money
Michael Keet
https://moneyfulness.me
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
www.morganjamespublishing.com
9781642796162, $16.95, PB 220pp

https://www.amazon.com/Moneyfulness%C2%AE-Learning-Money-Michael-Keet/dp/1642796166

Synopsis: Money causes the most stress for people around the world. Seventy-two percent of all Americans experience stress about their finances and that money stress is not only caused by not having money but is caused by the way people think about money -- their convictions and behavior.

In the concept of mindfulness, there is no mention of stress reduction about money problems. People can find all kinds of stress relievers regarding depression, burn-out, anxiety, etc.

For the first time, Michael Keet presents in the pages of "Moneyfulness: Learning to Live with Money" a unique concept that fills this gap in the overall concept of mindfulness. Michael presents the idea that people's mindset about money and the practical "how to" belong together, walking readers through the seven aiding factors of mindfulness as they apply to money along with the practical steps for how to actually manage money.

For those who are ready to end their money stress, "Moneyfulness" shows them how to never look at money the same again!

Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented for the benefit of the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject, "Moneyfulness: Learning to Live with Money" is packed from cover to cover with practical insights, information, strategies, tactics, and encouragement. Especially recommended for community and college/university library Money & Finance Management instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Moneyfulness: Learning to Live with Money" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Currently resides in Noord Brabant, The Netherlands, Michael Keet was a high school drop-out, and at the age of 21 was labeled as "underprivileged" with no relevant education or work experience. He now has his Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Finance and, within nine years, Michael went from "underprivileged" to finance director at the age of 30 before becoming an entrepreneur and developing online accounting software to help small business owners. He is also a certified mindfulness coach and has been published in and interviewed by the Dutch Financial Times, along with other local newspapers.


The Poetry Shelf

A Brief History of Fruit
Kimberly Quiogue Andrews
The University of Akron Press
30 Amberwood Parkway, Ashland, OH 44805
http://www.uakron.edu/uapress
9781629221618, $15.95, PB, 99pp

https://www.amazon.com/Brief-History-Fruit-poems-Poetry/dp/1629221619

Synopsis: In the verse comprising "A Brief History of Fruit" by Kimberly Quiogue Andrews, the reader is shuttled between the United States and the Philippines in the search for a sense of geographical and racial belonging. Driven by a restless need to interrogate the familial, environmental, and political forces that shape the self, these poems are both sensual and cerebral: full of "the beautiful science," as Kimberly puts it, of "naming: trees of one thing, then another, then yet another."

Colonization, class dynamics, an abiding loneliness, and a place's titular fruit, from tiny Filipino limes, to the frozen berries of rural America, all serve as focal markers in a collection of verse that insists that we hold life's whole fragrant pollination in our hands and look directly at it, bruises and all. Throughout, these searching, fiercely intelligent and formally virtuosic poems offer us a vital new perspective on biracial identity and the meaning of home, one that asks us again and again: "what does it mean, really, to live in a country?"

Critique: "A Brief History of Fruit" is poet Kimberly Quiogue Andrews's award-winning full-length debut and will leave the reader looking eagerly toward her next literary project. Thoughtful, thought-provoking, and above all -- memorable, "A Brief History of Fruit" is especially and unhesitatingly recommended for community and college/university contemporary American poetry collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Brief History of Fruit" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.15).

Editorial Note: Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet, literary critic, and the author of BETWEEN, winner of the 2017 New Women's Voices Prize from Finishing Line Press. A two-time Academy of American Poets prize winner and a Pushcart nominee, her poems have appeared widely, including in Poetry Northwest, Grist, West Branch, The Shallow Ends, Tinderbox Poetry Journal and elsewhere, and have been selected for inclusion in Bettering American Poetry. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, ASAP/J, and elsewhere. She can be found on Twitter at @kqandrews.

Wonder & Wrath
A. M. Juster
Paul Dry Books
1700 Sansom Street, Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA 19103-5214
www.pauldrybooks.com
9781589881495, $14.95, PB, 80pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Wrath-M-Juster/dp/1589881494

Synopsis: A. M. Juster is an award-winning poet, translator, and critic. His most recent books include John Milton's The Book of Elegies, The Elegies of Maximianus, and Sleaze & Slander, and his first book of original poetry, The Secret Language of Women, won the Richard Wilbur Award. Juster's poetry, translations, and essays have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Hudson Review, The New Criterion and many other publications.

Published by Paul Dray Books, "Wonder & Wrath" is his latest collection of original and translated poetry. These poems display great formal accomplishment and deliver pleasure in the act of reading them -- especially when read aloud in accordance with the cadence and rhythm of the words and their phrasing.

Critique: The poems comprising "Wonder & Wrath" have previously appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, Rattle and many other top journals. A truly memorable collection of impressively crafted verse that as timely and timeless, as it is inherently thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Wonder & Wrath" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as both community and college/university library the Contemporary American Poetry collections.


The Sports Shelf

Good Shot: A Guide to Using Clay Target Skills in the Field
Steven Mulak
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
www.stackpolebooks.com
9780811703772, $19.95, HC, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Shot-Guide-Target-Skills/dp/0811703770

Synopsis: Stephen Mulak writes, hunts birds, and shoots targets at his home in Massachusetts. He has written six books on hunting, dog training, and nature.

In "Good Shot: A Guide to Using Clay Target Skills in the Field", Mulak covers the question of what makes someone a good shot? He has given this question a lot of thought, and in the pages of "Good Shot" he analyzes problems faced by shooters everywhere. A good shot doesn't miss the same shot twice because he figures out why he missed it and what he must do to correct his mistake.

Shooting a shotgun well takes skill, and "Good Shot" will help the reader improve their technique in terms of: What to look for in a field shotgun; How to improve technique and how to recognize and change bad habits; How to use skeet to improve your hunting plus clay target games.

As Mulake attests -- "If you are a bird hunter looking to improve your marksmanship, welcome to the skeet field!" Illustrations and photographs clearly show the right way (and the wrong way) to shoot skeet and improve the shooter's score. Mulak's "Good Shot" takes a shooter from the skeet range to the hunt, with a whole new set of tools at their fingertips.

Critique: An ideal, comprehensive, and thoroughly 'user friendly' DIY educationally informative guide and manual, "Good Shot: A Guide to Using Clay Target Skills in the Field" well prove to be an enduringly welcome and appreciated addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Shooting Sports & Recreation instructional reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Good Shote" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780811739092, $16.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.49).

Editorial Note: Steven Mulak wrote, hunted birds, and shot targets at his home in Massachusetts. He has written several books on hunting, dog training, and nature, including a collection of short stories and an annotated suburban naturalist's almanac, "Just Off Main Street" (Down East Books, 9780892726646, $15.95 PB, $14.99 Kindle, 159pp).


The Hunting Shelf

Wingshooting: More Birds in Your Bag
Peter F. Blakeley
Stackpole Books
5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6921
www.stackpolebooks.com
9780811705660, $29.95, HC, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wingshooting-More-Birds-Your-Bag/dp/0811705668

Synopsis: A definitive instructional guide and manual, "Wingshooting: More Birds in Your Bag " by Peter F. Blakeley is comprised of an effective distillation of tips and techniques and carefully compiled knowledge of the unit lead system. Offering a new and productive approach to hunting quail, doves, pheasants, ducks, and geese, "Wingshooting: More Birds in Your Bag" emphasizes how to apply a specific lead to a specific target. Of special note are the chapters on eye dominance, gun fit and mount, muzzle control, the birds, timing, and shooting rhythm.

Critique: A complete, comprehensive, and illustrated DIY instructional, "Wingshooting: More Birds in Your Bag" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Hunting & Sports Recreation collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wingshooting: More Birds in Your Bag" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780811739139, $21.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.50).

Editorial Note: Currently residing near Dallas, Texas, Peter Blakeley writes for Sporting Clays magazine. He grew up in Stockport, Cheshire, England, and shot and operated a gun shop on the Duke of Buccleuch's Estate in Langholm. He earned his credentials as a shooting coach at Annandale Shooting Ground in Dumfriesshire and Westside Sporting Grounds in Houston and the Dallas Gun Club.


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

101 Rescue Puppies
Kathy Callahan
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
www.newworldlibrary.com
9781608686568, $18.95, PB, 152pp

https://www.amazon.com/101-Rescue-Puppies-Familys-Fostering/dp/1608686566

Synopsis: Over the past decade, Kathy Callahan's family has taken in more than a hundred rescue puppies. "101 Rescue Puppies: One Family's Story of Fostering Dogs, Love, and Trust" is delightful photo-filled book that features the wonderful stories that emerged as these foster pups were suddenly surrounded by a nurturing family complete with patient adult dogs and curious cats. With a gift for capturing the moment in both words and images, Callahan brings her readers inside the poignant and ultimately uplifting work of fostering.

While "101 Rescue Puppies: One Family's Story of Fostering Dogs, Love, and Trust" is an inspiring read that is indeed about puppies, it is also about family and human connection. It's about finding your own way through that one special thing you can do to 'light a candle, instead of cursing the darkness'.

Critique: A thoroughly charming book to browse through from first page to last, "101 Rescue Puppies: One Family's Story of Fostering Dogs, Love, and Trust" is most certainly recommended, especially for community library Pets/Wildlife collections. Especially commended to the attention of everyone who has ever had a canine companion of their own, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "101 Rescue Puppies: One Family's Story of Fostering Dogs, Love, and Trust" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Kathy Callahan is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) living in Alexandria, Virginia. She loves to coach people and their puppies into a great pack life. Her family continues to foster puppies amid their own furry pack.


The Woodworking Shelf

Sharpening: A Woodworker's Guide
Randall A. Maxey
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784944407, $24.95, PB, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Sharpening-Woodworkers-Guide-Ralph-Laughton/dp/1784944408

Synopsis: "Sharpening: A Woodworker's Guide" by woodworking expert Randall A. Maxey takes one of the most important aspects of maintaining a successful workshop and breaks it down into all of key areas in an easily-accessible manner. Keeping tools sharp is one of the most fundamentally important disciplines to ensure top-quality results.

Aimed at both those new to woodworking as well as the experienced woodworker, "Sharpening: A Woodworker's Guide" is broken down into three main sections: sharpening by hand, machine sharpening and putting the theory into practice. Traditional sharpening techniques and tools are covered as well as those using the latest innovations for both hand and machine sharpening.

"Sharpening: A Woodworker's Guide" covers: sharpening with oilstones, waterstones and diamond stones; correct methods for holding tools; power grinders and grinding wheels; using jigs and tool rests.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "Sharpening: A Woodworker's Guide" is an ideal instructional guide and manual that will prove essential for the beginner and hold a great deal of value for even the more experienced woodworker. Simply stated, "Sharpening: A Woodworker's Guide" would be appropriate as a curriculum textbook for every public school and technical college woodworking course, as well as for personal, professional, and community library woodworking collections.

Editorial Note: Randall Maxey has been woodworking almost since he was old enough to lift a hammer. Born and raised in central Ohio, he owns a custom woodworking business, Cherry Ridge Woodworks. He is also the founder and owner of MiniMaxWorkshop.com which supports the idea that you can build great projects in small spaces. Randall also served ten years as senior editor for a woodworking magazine. He continues to write and edit articles for other woodworking publications and companies.


The Needlecraft Shelf

Crocheted Dogs
Vanessa Mooncie
The GMC Group
www.gmcbooks.com
9781784945664, $24.95, PB, 160pp

https://www.amazon.com/Crocheted-Dogs-Vanessa-Mooncie/dp/1784945668

Synopsis: "Crocheted Dogs" by Vanessa Mooncie is comprised of ten canine themed DIY crocheting projects that include their individual detailed patterns being effectively illustrated with stunning photographs and helpful hand-drawn charts. There is also an extensive techniques section explaining all the stitches and techniques needed to make a perfectly created crocheted canine companion!

Critique: An ideal and thoroughly 'user friendly' instruction manual and guide, "Crocheted Dogs" will prove to be an especially welcome and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, and community library Needlecraft collections. Ideal for both the novice and experienced crocheting enthusiasts, it should noted for personal reading lists that "Crocheted Dogs" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

Editorial Note: Vanessa Mooncie spent many happy hours as a child sitting with her mother and grandmother learning to knit and crochet. She went on to study fashion and textile design and became a children's wear designer, illustrator and interior designer. Vanessa now specializes in silkscreen work (www.vanessamooncie.com) and designing crochet jewelry through her company Kissy Suzuki (www.kissysuzuki.com). Vanessa has written many successful books for GMC Publications, including Animal Hats, Crocheted Wild Animals, Sew Adorable, And Sew to Bed and Crocheted Sea Creatures. She is also a regular contributor to other craft books and magazines.


The Crafts Shelf

Kawaii Resin and Clay Workshop
Alex Lee
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9781631599682, $24.99, PB, 144pp

https://www.amazon.com/Kawaii-Resin-Clay-Workshop-Super-Cute/dp/1631599682

Synopsis: In "Kawaii Resin and Clay Workshop: Crafting Super-Cute Charms, Miniatures, Figures, and More", author and crafter Alex Lee (of PolymomoTea YouTube and Instagram fame) shares his amazing techniques, tips, and tricks for creating awwww-inspiring, heart-stoppingly cute tiny and little projects to wear and give.

Aspiring resin and clay crafters will learn about the essential tools and techniques for working with these easy-to-use mediums, from shaping to adding color, and from casting to curing. They will also discover 25 jaw-droppingly adorable projects that combine polymer clay and resin in fun and unique ways. Plus they will be provided with expert guidance on how to create and adapt designs for making jewelry and multiples.

Critique: An expertly written, profusely illustrated, thoroughly 'user friendly' step-by-step, DIY instructional guide and manual, "Kawaii Resin and Clay Workshop: Crafting Super-Cute Charms, Miniatures, Figures, and More" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Polymer Clay, Beadwork, and Miniatures instructional reference collections.

Editorial Note: The creator of popular YouTube channel, Instagram account, and Facebook page PolymomoTea, Alex Lee designs and creates super-cute charms and other projects using polymer clay, resin, and other crafts materials.


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


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