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The Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 5 May 2023 Home | BW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Education Shelf Jobs/Careers Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Criminology Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Cobra Pose
Susan Rogers and John Roosen
9780645413625, $6.99 ebook

Cobra Pose, the second book in the Yoga Mat Mysteries series, benefits from but requires no prior introduction to its predecessor in order to prove accessible and inviting to mystery readers.

Elaina Williams is a yoga instructor who uses Cobra Pose to boost her energy. Ironically, adversaries and hackers The Cobra and The Wolf, who may be involved in her father's disappearance, hold their own special abilities as they reach out to embroil Australia in an international scam that threatens the global economy.

Readers move from the microcosm of Elaina and her new love (photojournalist Ric Peters) and their relationship and latest mission to the bigger picture of the worldwide threat posed by adversaries whose skills are well beyond amateur sleuth and yoga instructor Elaina's abilities ... and maybe even Ric's special hidden skills.

It's rare to see a yoga milieu incorporated into a thriller that evolves on international playgrounds, but the two subjects dovetail nicely in a story replete with nuances and insights into both worlds.

It's also rare to observe the blends of philosophical, political, and thriller influences that so neatly create an exceptionally vivid atmosphere in which intrigue evolves in satisfyingly unexpected ways. As the story evolves, thriller readers will relish the twists of plot which bring Elaine and Ric ever closer to an astonishing truth and test of each individual's abilities, while those interested in yoga will find added value in the emotional and physical connections created by the yoga interludes and lessons.

The attention to atmospheric detail is not lost in the fast pace of the unfolding mystery, which is also a notable feature of a plot which takes the time to create delicious scenes: "They sat down to chicken parmesan, roasted vegetables and pasta stuffed with spinach. In the refrigerator, the chocolate mousse was chilling next to whipped cream 'at the ready' to serve as a topping. The Italian rolls were from the local bakery."

Australia's foreign, financial, and national interests come to life, requiring no prior familiarity with the country from readers. Those interested in a gripping story of intrigue will find Cobra Pose tests the relationships and personal mettle of characters who often seem both capable and in unlikely positions to solve a mystery of international importance.

Libraries and readers seeking compelling stories firmly rooted in a sense of place, and characters who are each tested to operate beyond their intrinsic training and abilities, will find plenty to appreciate as Cobra Pose evolves its ultimate message about cyber-attacks, schemes, and decisions which lead to discovery, recovery, and uncommon courage and sacrifice.

The Education Shelf

Leading Within Systems of Inequity in Education
Mary Rice-Boothe
9781416631835 $31.95

Synopsis: This timely guide will help leaders of color succeed within white spaces while working to dismantle those spaces for a new system where they - and students - thrive.

As a leader of color, what do you need to succeed in the systems that often have marginalized the populations you represent? What skills and support will help you to replace these existing systems with new ones that will better serve today's students?

In Leading Within Systems of Inequity in Education, Mary Rice-Boothe addresses these questions with specific recommendations, outlining the "whys" and "hows" of 10 individual, interpersonal, and institutional competencies for leaders:

1. Demonstrate self-awareness.
2. Operate outside your comfort zone.
3. Practice love and rage.
4. Practice self-care.
5. Engage in authentic dialogue.
6. Attend to relationships.
7. Create a coalition.
8. Be patient but persistent.
9. Take a stand in pursuit of a liberatory education system even if it's unpopular.
10. Act to change systemic racism every day in policies, procedures, and systems.

You will learn from the experiences and insights of equity officers and principals in districts of all sizes and explore key takeaways, reflection questions, and additional resources. Both inspiring and practical, Leading Within Systems of Inequity in Education is an indispensable liberation guide for overcoming obstacles and creating the path to genuine equity in schools.

Critique: Leading Within Systems of Inequity in Education lives up to its title as a guide to help educational systems better serve students, especially when existing systems are marred by inequity and discrimination against students (and teachers!) based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, or other factors. Educators of all backgrounds will find the practical advice to create change for the better invaluable. Highly recommended, both for college library Education Studies collections and the personal reference of professional educators in the field. "You will not achieve liberation by fighting for just one community or area of oppression. Intersectionality is paramount. Social movements are often tied together by a single issue or point of identity. This strategy has generated progress, but we need to try something different to experience liberation."

Editor's Note: Mary Rice-Boothe, EdD, has more than 25 years of experience in education as a teacher, principal, principal coach, curriculum designer, and equity officer. She currently serves as an executive director of curriculum development and equity at The Leadership Academy. In this role, she oversees the organization's internal and external equity strategy. Rice-Boothe is also the lead designer for the organization's instructional tools and resources.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

You're Gonna Get Peed On!
Dr. Michael Bugg, D.V.M.
The Veterinary Project Publishing
9781738772308 $22.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Thrive in your veterinary career, combat burnout, and realign your life with this expert guide! Your patients may be adorable dogs and fluffy kittens, but even the cutest of job perks don't lessen the stress of your veterinary career.

Between the never-ending stream of appointments, constant decision-making, and empathy exhaustion, the reality of your once-dream job may feel more like a nightmare. The truth is, sustaining a career as a veterinarian is hard to do when you're stuck in survival mode.

You treat all your clients and their adorable furry creatures with love, compassion, and gratitude. Now, it's time to care for the most important patient - yourself.

In You're Gonna Get Peed On, Dr. Michael Bugg, DVM, shares smart solutions for the personal and financial struggles that no one warned you about in vet school. With this guide of practical advice and insights from veterinarians pulled from his popular podcast, The Veterinary Project Podcast, get ready to take back control from veterinary burnout and realign your life for ultimate joy and financial abundance - both inside and outside of the clinic.

Critique: You're Gonna Get Peed On! is a tell-it-like-it is guide written by a veterinarian, for veterinarians, yet thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds. Chapters address both practical and emotional issues that can interfere with work- life balance. A brief section on money management supplements this informed and informative guide especially for anyone aspiring to or managing a veterinary private practice. Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that You're Gonna Get Peed On! is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Baen Books

Two new science fiction titles from Baen Books are especially and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.

D.J. Butler's Witchy Eye (9781982192365, $17.00) tells of Sarah, a teen with a bad eye and a good talent for hexing. When a Yankee wizard priest attempts to kidnap her, she finds a mysterious monk on her side who pushes her to probe her real powers and heritage. This sends her on a quest that carries her into dark realms and dangerous confrontations with the forces that rule her world and that of her imagination. The powerful blend of fantasy, coming-of-age saga, and the evolution of a young girl's powers and altered perception of her place in the world makes for riveting reading especially recommended for teen audiences into adult circles, who will find Sarah's story compelling.

Robert E. Hampson's The Moon and the Desert (9781982192495, $18.00) is a medical thriller of the future that tells of Glenn Armstrong Shepard and his dreams of going to Mars. A training accident on the moon cripples his body but not his dreams as he determines to be rebuilt to fulfill the strength of both. A powerful story of growth and new abilities merges into a plot thickened by futuristic intrigue and growth to create a compellingly different atmosphere sci-fi readers and libraries will find captivating.

The Criminology Shelf

Long Time Dead
Susan McIver
Friesen Press
9781039151123, $28.99 Hardcover/$17.99 Paper/$5.99 ebook

Long Time Dead: My Investigation Into the Unsolved Murder of Ralph Wilson Snair examines a murder that ordinarily would not seem important for close inspection: that of a retired church custodian who was shot. Was his death in 1957 a murder, or suicide?

The interest came from blood ties. Susan McIver is Ralph Snair's great niece, a scientist and a former coroner well equipped to investigate this unsolved cold case some sixty years later. Her research involved old notes, news and police reports, and autopsy results, and uncovered the few clues remaining as to what really happened. As she made progress in a case that turns out to hold all kinds of social ties and political insights and influences, readers will find this true crime investigation comes to life with its probe of not only events, but the underlying motives of those involved in Ralph's death.

The fine art of piecing together police procedures and social and medical influences on murder investigations makes Long Time Dead especially invaluable, and a standout in true crime literature. McIver's ability to transmit a mystery, the process of solving it decades later, and the changing procedures of investigators supplements a "you are here" feel with the consideration of historical and social changes that affected outcomes, influences, and investigative technology alike.

All these facets are why Long Time Dead is recommended, above and beyond the usual true crime story, for libraries strong in criminal justice history and investigative methodology. They will find in the story much to recommend to book discussion groups considering crime, problem solving techniques, and the sometimes-deadly results of the changing social milieus of American communities in the 1950s.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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