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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 2 February 2019 Home | MBW Index

Table of Contents

Cowper's Bookshelf Donovan's Bookshelf Dunford's Bookshelf
Gary's Bookshelf Gorden's Bookshelf Greenspan's Bookshelf
Helen's Bookshelf Lorraine's Bookshelf Micah's Bookshelf
Richard's Bookshelf Taylor's Bookshelf Vogel's Bookshelf

Cowper's Bookshelf

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Reni Eddo-Lodge
Bloomsbury Circus
c/o Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781408870556, $27.00, HC, 272pp,

Synopsis: In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren't affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race."

Her words hit a nerve. The post went viral and comments flooded in from others desperate to speak up about their own experiences. Galvanized by this clear hunger for open discussion, she decided to dig into the source of these feelings.

Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of color in Britain today.

Critique: Although culturally derived from ethnic experiences in the culture of Great Britain, "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race" has a very special and very real relevance to race relations in the United States and thorough out Europe. Exceptionally well presented, impressively informed, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race" is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race" is also available in a paperback edition (9781635572957, $17.00), in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.91), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781543641172, $9.99, MP3 CD).

Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth
Bernard Saladin d'Anglure
University of Manitoba Press
301 St. John's College, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, R3T 2M5
9780887558306 $34.95

Synopsis: First published in French in 2006, Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth contains an in-depth, paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of Inuit stories on womb memories, birth, namesaking, and reincarnation. This new English edition introduces this material - collected and translated in Igloolik, Nunavut - to a broader audience and contains a new afterword from Saladin d'Anglure. Saladin d'Anglure follows in the footsteps of Marcel Mauss and Claude Levi-Strauss, who was his colleague for seven years and provided him with advice until his death.

Critique: Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth: Gender, Shamanism, and the Third Sex is an indispensable primary testimony of traditional Inuit legends, myths, folk tales, and more concerning gender and metaphysical matters such as reincarnation. Concepts such as a third gender (an intermediate identity between male and female) figure strongly. Enhanced with a bibliography and an index, Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth is a scholarly, in-depth analysis and a welcome contribution to public and college library Native American Studies shelves. Highly recommended.

The Princess and the Fangirl: A Geekerella Fairytale
Ashley Poston
Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
9781683690962 $18.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone - the actress who plays Princess Amara - wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year's ExcelsiCon isn't her last, she'll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That's easier said than done when the girls step into each other's shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these "princesses" race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

Critique: A witty young adult novel that will appeal lifelong geeks as well as young people ages fourteen and up, The Princess and the Fangirl offers a new twist on the classic "a day in the other person's shoes" parable. High-spirited adventure, a glimpse into the pressures of the entertainment industry, and a funny-bone-tickling sense of humor make The Princess and the Fangirl memorable from cover to cover. The Princess and the Fangirl is a choice pick especially for school and public library Young Adult fiction collections. Also highly recommended is the previous novel in the series, "Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale" (9781683690436, $10.99 pbk / $9.99 Kindle). It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Princess and the Fangirl is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

The Badass Girl's Guide
C. J. Scarlet
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781977667717, $12.95, PB, 192pp,

Synopsis: Women and girls are generally raised to be nice to everyone. They're taught to avoid being rude at all cost. To smile through awkward situations. To giggle when they feel uncomfortable rather than risk embarrassing someone who is just "playing" with them. To expect men to be their rescuers if they're in danger. How many times in your life have you ignored the blaring sirens from your intuition when someone was violating your boundaries? Or worried as the creepy guy from your dorm followed you to class? Or suffered through regular sexual harassment at work?

It's a strange paradox in that we spend so much of our lives being hyper-vigilant about potential danger, but become utterly helpless when we're confronted with uncomfortable and even dangerous situations. We smile when someone pays us an inappropriate compliment at work. We roll our eyes when a man makes a crude joke or gesture. We stiffen but don't necessarily move when someone brushes up against us. Making "Nice" is Hurting You Why? Why do we "make nice" when we're treated with disrespect? Our instincts are correct, but we override them because our early training was so strong.

Part of the reason is fear -- that the situation will escalate if we object, that we'll embarrass the other person or ourselves, or that the person we confront won't like/love/employ us anymore. We're also often clueless about how to respond. Then there's the pervasive, personally-held belief that we can't take care of ourselves, so we demure rather than react.

We feel helpless, which leads to a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. Denial is also a huge factor; we deny what's happening to us in favor of making excuses for the perpetrator: "He was just kidding." "I'm just being overly sensitive." "He didn't mean it." Or the ever popular, "Boys will be boys." This unfortunate perspective lets predators off the hook when they behave badly.

"The Badass Girl's Guide: Uncommon Strategies to Outwit Predators" is a compendium of effective, real world practical, and very specific things that can be done to effectively counter being afraid, or loathing and blaming yourself for feeling vulnerable, and defending against the culturally conditioned responses that previous generations of women and girls had to put up with or suffer from.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Badass Girl's Guide: Uncommon Strategies to Outwit Predators" is one self-help, self-improvement book that should be a part of every personal, community, college, and university library collections for women readers in this age of #MeToo. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Badass Girl's Guide: Uncommon Strategies to Outwit Predators" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Mary Cowper

Donovan's Bookshelf

Daring Dreamer
Deborah King
Liberation Publishing
9781733588805, $10.99

Daring Dreamer is the first book in the Inspiration in Cologne series, and tells of changes that transform the relationship of two best friends living in Cologne, Missouri. It should be mentioned early on that while the story intends to be part of a broader set of experiences, it is complete unto itself, and features neither a cliffhanger conclusion nor the feel of a divided-up story line.

Janna is a young woman still recovering from a traumatic loss in years past that haunts her and keeps her from forming meaningful relationships, emotional ties, and roots. Seeking a way out of this quagmire of ennui, she travels around the rural areas of Missouri until she comes upon the picturesque town of Cologne, where she sees opportunity for a new life far from ghosts of the past.

Her best friend Shelby is also in need of change and is invited to join her in forming a new life far from what she's known. Opening a new business together in this new town seems just the ticket for becoming part of the community and embarking on a meaningful journey.

There's only one problem when two friends struggle to change: one may move at a different speed than the other. When romance is added into the mix, Janna believes her heart's desires are attainable, if only she can rid herself of the lingering trauma that affects everything she touches.

Deborah King's messages about perseverance, self-examination, new beginnings, and old limitations are nicely woven into a story about changing relationships sparked by new opportunities.

As Daring Dreamer evolves, readers are treated to an uplifting first-person saga of a thirty-something woman who decides to take big risks and pursue her dreams against all odds, and who sees her change of attitude and atmosphere pay off in a big way.

In contrast, her best friend holds similar values but a different approach to achievement, and their anxiety levels, conflicting perspectives, and volatile lives are explored through shifts in points of view that capture not only their external messages and internal responses; but those of suitor Richard. As Melinda, Ginny, and others become involved in their business pursuit and personal dream, many influences coalesce to create a story that is genuinely compelling and which feels true to life circumstances and interpersonal relationships.

Janna opens up to Richard and allows romance to blossom against all odds, and readers receive thought-provoking insights into how she's accepting her new life ("I genuinely didn't expect to deviate from my life's plan. When Todd asked me to visit Cologne with him and investigate the property he actually wanted me to buy, I surprised myself. The property exuded peacefulness. I had no idea how much I wanted - no, needed - peace in my life."), which are nicely juxtaposed with a shared dream that Shelby and Janna still hold dear.

Daring Dreamer closely examines a shared dream, the different avenues of achieving that goal, and the pursuits of two women who strive for success and who recognize their limitations and possibilities.

It is an inspirational story that manages to combine the themes of romance and change with womens' business pursuits and the mechanics of re-careering and re-envisioning the future in an excellent mix of leisure read and thought-provoking inspection of the process of formulating and following one's most impossible goals.

Women who cultivate their own dreams will find this a powerful story filled with the efforts and insights of one who is a 'daring dreamer' and who invites her audience to become the same.

Killing Vincent: The Man, The Myth, and The Murder
I. Kaufman Arenberg, MD
N3M Publications
9780578406961, $44.95

Killing Vincent: The Man, The Myth, and The Murder disproves a common myth about the "mad artist", Vincent van Gogh, and his "suicide", making a case for a far different scenario surrounding his death. It's a combination of true crime, and a romantic murder mystery. It is a psychological probe into history that is a 'must' for any reader interested in Vincent van Gogh's life and death.

Dr. Arenberg maintains that Vincent wasn't a depressed and insane individual who shot himself in a wheat field. Instead, Vincent stumbled to his accommodations in France, bleeding from an abdominal wound that killed him. A modern forensic analysis confirms that the wound was not self-inflicted; therefore, not suicide, but murder.

Modern forensic science is applied to history in an intriguing manner, offering not just detailed insights on van Gogh's death, but on the process of verifying historical facts and tackling long-cold cases of murder, suicide, or mysterious death.

One should be forewarned that this is no casual inspection. For example, research into and photographs of letters in Vincent's own hand, documenting his 'vertige' attacks, show how differences in translation approach and generic terms may have contributed to differences of interpretation that alter diagnoses, perspectives, and medical viewpoints.

Dr. Arenberg's medical background is invaluable as he pursues an analysis that includes his opinion about Vincent's attacks, his health, medical diagnosis, and the impacts of his recurrent disorder on his art. However, Dr. Arenberg maintains that Vincent's medical issues did not impact his death. Dr. Arenberg pulls no punches in giving his opinion of popular and possibly erroneous conclusions of the past: "In contrast to being remotely suicidal, you have alternately to accept that this genius's primary need was to create and capture all the beauty in the world that he saw so clearly. This unbelievable creative drive and process that generated one or two masterpieces a day would not willingly be snuffed out in any moment of despair."

From an in-depth probe into the artist's psyche, a new diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome emerged. In addition to progressive, investigative steps into physical evidence, such as the murder weapon, Dr. Arenberg leaves no stone unturned; whether it be forensic reenactments of the murder and discussions of the crime scene or examinations of motives and likely perps.

Color drawings throughout, created by artist Darrell Anderson specifically for the Killing Vincent Project, accompany the author's location photos and images from new forensic studies.

The result is simply an unparalleled 'must', recommended not just for art enthusiasts, but for true crime and history readers interested in the process of re-examining a cold case and its impact on modern-day audiences.

The Adventures of Fawn Book 3: Far and Yet So Near
Al E. Boy
Al E. Boy, Publisher
9781979086516, $11.99 Paper

Fans of Fawn's process of growth and discovery have a third book to relish in an adventure which continues to challenge the young reindeer with more than seasonal expectations.

Fawn and friends become involved in the Reindeer Games of 1849 when Santa gives his duty as overseer to veterinarian Doctor Mary Weather (Santa's betrothed) and a series of crises evolves, from a health challenge involving TB to a blizzard.

Simple black and white drawings illustrate the dilemmas Fawn faces, from reindeer suffering from mindless trances who try to walk off cliffs to the discovery that the reindeer are somehow being controlled. And in the midst of such a crisis rises an added dilemma: will Fawn be sold?

The atmosphere and depth introduced in the prior books expand further with Far and Yet So Near. Fawn continues her growth process, faces a countdown to another (and possibly very different) Christmas, and faces thieves, reindeer-napping, and the meaning of life when everything changes to where even friends and family fall apart.

Readers of all ages will find that spirit of adaptation, transition, and survival embedded into a read that would at first seem to appeal primarily to children, with its animal friends and Christmas setting. Far and Yet So Near actually presents many themes suitable for older readers, from innovative and assertive actions to individual decisions about how to live life and interact with others.

Fawn is the perfect heroine: indecisive, yet wanting to do good and uncertain, yet willing to expand her skills and abilities to help others. Love, loss, and threats to everything Fawn holds dear keep readers involved up to an unexpected conclusion which nicely expands Fawn's growth and abilities.

Anyone looking for a gentle adventure replete with lessons on adaptation and giving will relish Fawn's ongoing evolution, set against the trappings of Santa's world, in a story recommended not just for Christmas; but for all seasons and all ages.

Small Town Big Money
Colby Williams
Colby Williams, Publisher
9781732781023, $25.95, Hardcover
9781732781016, $11.99, ebook


Barnes and Noble:

Available for retailers via Ingram.

Small Town Big Money: Entrepreneurship And Opportunity In Today's Small Town is about operating a small business in a small town, and comes from an entrepreneur author who owns and runs a coffee company in such a town in Missouri. Colby Williams doesn't deem his venture a 'small business', however. He identifies as an entrepreneur, and his focus and book embraces that effort.

Unlike too many books about small business, Williams pulls no punches in outlining the pros and cons of any given entrepreneurial effort: "Getting started is hard. Longevity is hard. Being financially successful in business seems like a million years away, and it all feels that much more difficult when you live in a town in which a used espresso machine costs the same as a house just five blocks away."

Another big difference between this book and more general approaches is that it considers specifics, from gaining funding from reluctant investors and what drives their perception of an entrepreneur's pitch and prior successes and (surprisingly) failures ("People who hit the bottom and climb to the top are a great investment, so don't be afraid to let your pitch audience know how you've struggled to get where you are today.") to the many differences of a startup venture created in a small environment.

In such a place, failure may actually be a starting point for future success: " a small town, failure can be extra-intimidating. Everyone knows you and knows your family. We already discussed how quickly word travels here. Some of that is gossip. There's an element of schadenfreude - a few people will love dishing about your failure. It makes them feel better about themselves. But the vast majority will watch what you do next. Maybe you lose everything, go bankrupt, sell the last piece for pennies - if you aren't afraid to show your face soon after, owning the points at which you went wrong, then a small town is a great place to receive love and support and to start again. As long as you haven't lied to or tricked anyone, and as long as you don't owe money to everyone in town, falling and bouncing back is something to respect. This frees you up to innovate, create, and take risks in your small town without fearing shame. Use that failure for fuel."

By covering the basics of small town atmosphere and how its unique size and community translate to support systems unavailable in larger cities, Colby Williams not only makes a big case for small town residents to achieve their dreams, but offers chapters that explicitly detail how to research, fund, manage, and grow a small venture.

By adding case history examples of success and failures and lessons to be learned from them, Small Town Big Money in effect crafts the kind of atmosphere it seeks to explore in its subject: a small book advocating big ideas and supporting big dreams.

The process of realizing these dreams is quite exact. Williams outlines the roots of achievement and identifies common pitfalls and cautions. Any would-be entrepreneur residing in a small town will find much invaluable information encouraging the effort in a book that outlines the basic principles and practices of successful business practices that hold an eye to "building an empire that can last."

There's no better place for aspiring entrepreneurs to begin than with this accessible survey, which is both educational and compelling with its chatty tone and real-life, encouraging examples of risk-takers and achievers.

Mother of Rebellion
B.K. Boes
Beyond Here Publishing
1948673002, $19.99, Paperback
1948673010, $29.99, Hardcover
$3.99, eBook

Mother of Rebellion takes place long after The Schism, the great war that divided the continent of Leyumin before an uncertain series of smaller conflicts finally descended upon the land, thwarting any promise of lasting peace.

Two nations are left to vie for the title of Unitor: one determined to achieve its goals by force; the other by political consent.

The five very different individuals profiled in Mother of Rebellion are essential to this process, and their quest for a better life unites them in developments replete with hardship and dreams.

As readers venture into the lives of a slave-wife, a warrior, a guardian of history, a disciple, and a young nobleman, they receive different histories, perspectives, and goals which lead them into a shared vision and mission.

From efforts to make peace and undo family angst and heritage to changing visions of faith, personal loyalty, illness and destruction, and marriage, the complex and compelling world of Mother of Rebellion demands of its readers an attention to detail and social and political interactions. This focus is amply rewarded in a plot that is visionary, revealing, and hard to put down: a smorgasbord of different personalities thrown into the mix of nation-building or destruction (depending on perspective).

Mother of Rebellion takes different journeys and common heroes and winds them into a story of invaders, desperate missions, winning and losing, and military, political, and psychological transformation.

Readers looking for complex worlds and entwined destinies will relish this saga for its fast pace, different characters, and changing notions of warriors and heroism. All these facets contribute to a rich palate of action and insight to keep readers thoroughly engrossed and wondering about the conclusion right up to an action-packed, unexpected confrontation.

Managing Parkinson's With Diet
Yuchi Yang RD
Independently Published
9781731507686, $14.99 paper, $7.99 Kindle

Managing Parkinson's With Diet is quite clear in its approach, backed by author Yuchi Yang's authority as a registered dietitian. It's designed for Parkinson's patients who seek to supplement medical treatment with dietary support, and is not intended to replace a physician's care. With so many Parkinson's books claiming miracles, it's important to note that this practical diet guide addresses a more down-to-earth and common concern in Parkinson's care: fluctuating diets, especially surrounding protein intake.

Managing Parkinson's With Diet opens with the latest research findings about Parkinson's, but the heart of Yang's book lies in designing a uniquely appropriate diet and understanding the special needs of Parkinson's patients. This is especially significant given studies that indicate diet has a big influence on Parkinson's symptoms.

Specific examples of protein-rich, healthful choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are accompanied by references to balanced plans specific to the needs of Parkinson's sufferers, who too commonly are diagnosed with malnourishment.

Tools are provided for self-assessment and to supplement the approaches of physicians and registered dietitians, from how to calculate one's dietary fiber needs to understanding the ratio between carbohydrates and protein.

The information is provided using charts, examples, and an unassuming tone that makes many of the concepts accessible by and appropriate to not only Parkinson's readers, but caretakers seeking a primer on the basics of nutrition.

Educational tools range from food categories to how to design an individual meal plan. The extensive, specific tips on healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners also include Chinese, Japanese, and Middle Eastern theme choices, which successfully diversifies the options.

Recipes for such simple dishes as Egg Stir Fry Rice or Stir-Fry Onion and Kidney Beans assure all the pieces are put together in a way that any caregiver or Parkinson's cook can easily understand.

Doctor's offices handle medicine and treatments, registered dietitians working with physicians provide information, and Managing Parkinson's With Diet completes the triangle of empowerment by supplementing both with clear medical research, applied to diets that are simple to understand and follow, and appealing.

Managing Parkinson's With Diet should be a staple in any Parkinson's caregiver, family member, or patient's self-help arsenal for better health.

Deliberate Deception
Joe Porrazzo
Porter House Press
9780578425184, $27.09, Hardcover
9780578422626, $17.99, Paperback
9780692157114, $2.00, eBook

Amazon Author Page:

Don't let the advertising fool you: Deliberate Deception is the second book in a trilogy, but that doesn't mean it requires prior familiarity with its predecessor, Solemnly Swear. It's relatively rare to note a trilogy addition that truly stands alone while enhancing others in the series; but Deliberate Deception is such an accomplishment, forging new ground while seamlessly integrating all the details of protagonist Alex Porter's life and personality. As such, it promises vivid interest not just to prior fans, but to newcomers who will appreciate its fast pace and engrossing plot.

Alex, a retired Air Force OSI agent turned private investigator, faces another big challenge to his skills as he confronts the results of a greedy corporation's raffle where the unexpected prize is death.

It's been only seven months since his wife and daughter were killed and Alex is still in full-fledged grief; but he is cognizant enough to respond when a lawyer's friend goes missing in Tucson. It's no surprise that his probe results in his own life being in the crosshairs; but when he uncovers allies among those who would harm him, the story really ventures into the unexpected.

The first big plus to Deliberate Deception is Alex's journey, which moves deftly from grief to full investigative mode with more than a few surprises during the process. Alex is steeped in military procedures, circles, and connections; but even these experiences don't translate to easy solutions to complex criminal activities. Joe Porrazzo's attention to detail flushes out Alex's personality, motivations, and conundrums to create not just compelling action scenes, but a character who is completely realistic and likeable.

Tough security questions, high tech answers, and Alex's first PI contract after moving to Tucson wind into a story line replete with action, intrigue, and a newfound problem that perp Diggs may just have to eliminate.

As a new holiday season (Alex's first without his wife and daughter) and romance enter the picture, readers are treated to a fast-paced story of a capable, authoritative PI who may be moving too quickly on many levels even as he perceives himself as inexplicably moving too slowly, compared with his past momentum. Readers will identify with his self-assessment and predicaments as they move through an engrossing series of changing scenarios.

His new girlfriend Missy is also cautious about changing her life ("Missy turned to leave, burdened by feelings of dread. She tried to shake them but she was convinced Alex wasn't coming back. These feelings were new to her. Her whole life, she had fended for herself and never had to worry about anybody else. She was in uncharted territory and the panic wouldn't let go."). As both explore new territory, events heat up to tackle themes of murder, responsibility, love, and unlucky, innocent people killed by greed on the cusp of what they believe to be their luckiest day of life.

Politics, terrorism, and greed together create a story that is hard to put down, filled with unexpected twists and turns powered by Alex's recovery and growth and Missy's newfound revelations about the world and her place in it. Once begun, it's nearly impossible to put down.

Readers looking for a thriller that grabs hold and doesn't let go will find Deliberate Deception just the ticket for a superior and satisfying blend of psychological detail and suspense.

The Dragon's Harvest
Jason F. Boggs
Mill City Press
9781545641347, $21.99

Devil's Dragon may have introduced the series with a bang, but The Dragon's Harvest takes the adventure a step further in a stand-alone compliment to and second book in the trilogy. Here, Nelson Jones is on a mission to uncover the meaning of the sun gates that lead humans and Aesini to confront an impossible power play.

At stake is the survival and resurrection of The New Era, the continued existence of aliens who value nature over technology, and alliances forged by adversity, which face newfound challenges from dangerous discoveries.

Nemesis Ira Bilis returns to throw a monkey wrench into the mix, but as battle lines are drawn, the struggles proves far more complex than human, alien, or competing forces could imagine. Even as Bilis relishes her newfound power, its bloody aftermath, and the fact that The New Era "is back, for good this time", a new force is unleashed that causes everyone to take a second look at their status, goals, and ambitions in this changing world.

From ideas of the will of Gods and questions about whether they can be defeated to simmering regrets over lost love, fear of failure, and hate tempered with love, The Dragon's Harvest takes some unexpected turns that prior readers of Devil's Dragon won't expect.

Perhaps this is the greatest strength of The Dragon's Harvest: its ability to build upon prior scenes, then turn them upside down to pair action-packed scenes of confrontation and rescue with unexpectedly thought-provoking moments of character growth and insight.

As Jessie Freeman and Ira Bilis clash, brute force leads to new power plays and opportunities that leads each to reevaluate their relationship and lives.

The result is a fantasy that neatly juxtaposes military confrontation with a love/hate relationship set against the backdrop of emerging powers and new forces: one that leads readers on a rollicking journey through changed worlds and lives to emerge into a strange new world neither side anticipated.

Prior fans and newcomers alike will appreciate the fast-paced action, vivid confrontations, and complex relationships between humans, aliens, and adversaries alike in a pick highly recommended for readers who like their adventure fast-paced and their characters well drawn.

Triad of Murder
Trisha Sugarek
Independently Published
9781729561751, $7.99 Print, $4.99 Kindle

Book #9 in the World of Murder series is, as its predecessors, inspired by real life events which add an extra dimension of authenticity to the story line. It opens with the dilemma of Penny, who is experiencing an independent life after being buried in childcare and being a wife for eighteen years. A special arrangement has been made with husband Tony that preserves the semblance of their twenty-year relationship while allowing her more freedom; but when she meets Lyle at a bar, things change not because he loves her, but because he, too, plans to entrap her.

Investigators O'Roarke, Garcia and Sneed, come to investigate a murder where Penny is the victim. Could Penny's husband, who loves her, be the perp? As the homicide detective team uncovers a myriad of perps, mishaps, and convoluted triads of circumstance, readers receive a vivid and fast-paced investigative story that offers more suspects than answers and keeps the action taunt with a guessing game that holds no obvious answers and many possibilities.

As a love relationship and a special arrangement morphs into shootings, a cunning perp, and boys who inadvertently become part of a bigger picture they'd never planned, Triad of Murder excels in a romp through juvenile involvements and adult activities that challenges investigators and a community alike.

Stella, Jack, Phoebe, and friendships gone awry intersect over a murder that will keep readers involved in police procedurals and family relationships right to the end.

While mystery fans and prior readers of the series will find this a compelling addition, true crime enthusiasts should also place Triad of Murder (and the entire series, for that matter) on their reading radars: the reality-based events and action are exquisitely detailed and the story is hard to put down.

Famous Dishes from Around the World: Healthy, Tasty, and Affordable
Platos Famosos de todo el mundo: saludables, sabrosos, y economicos
Executive Editor: Stephanie Maze
Moonstone Press, LLC
c/o Independent Publishers Group (dist.)
9780972769723, $14.99

Famous Dishes from Around the World/ Platos famosos de todo el mundo is a bilingual cookbook presented in English and Spanish for lovers of good ethnic foods who may still be unfamiliar with their ingredients. The book provides an outstanding selection of top international dishes that are identified with a particular country, both with authentic recipes and variations thereof.

What sets this collection of recipes apart from that of other cookbooks is its focus on a single representative dish for each featured country. Familiar to many Americans, each of these iconic dishes is associated with a particular nation and is chosen with deliberate purpose: "Beyond emotions and memories, however, the dishes in this book represent something deeper: They are a collection of national and well-known culinary creations that have become intrinsically identified with a particular country because of their history. As such, they are a symbol of national pride and cultural identity with the country of origin, pride that is carried on from generation to generation."

Famous Dishes/ Platos Famosos includes recipes for Irish Stew, Israeli Cabbage Rolls, Mexican Fajitas, Swedish Meatballs, and Indian Fish Curry, among many others, with names that can be recognized by those who have sampled ethnic cuisine from around the world. The cookbook features a number of advantages: ingredients that can be shared across a variety of the featured dishes; dishes that are budgeted and won't break the bank; and recipes that are authentic or slightly tweaked to make them as healthy and accessible as possible.

Readers of this cookbook can expect to find not only a satisfying diversity of iconic foods, but a variety of international dishes that are appealing, surprising, and easy to produce as well. One of the featured dishes - American chili - for example, includes turkey, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and a range of many other delicious ingredients.

Each dish is accompanied by a color photo, a historical information sidebar, and a box with the nutrition breakdown of each recipe.

With its emphasis on familiar-sounding comfort foods and hearty mainstays, Famous Dishes from Around the World, Platos famosos de todo el mundo is recommended over and above other introductory ethnic cookbooks because of its recognizable national dishes, its diversity, its attention to healthy ingredients, and the ease with which the recipes can be prepared in the kitchen.

Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us
Maggie Daniels and Matt Michel
9781543950557, $10.48

Strxia Website:

Amazon e-book:

e-book Price: $3.99


Bookbaby Paperback:

Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us is an elementary-grade 'portal fantasy' that sets itself apart from so many other fantasy stories for this age range by injecting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles into the story line (physics and engineering, in particular.) The fact that these concepts are research-backed and not hastily tossed-in quasi-concepts, as in so many sci-fi and fantasy reads, elevates this story above others.

The premise revolves around parallel universe Strxia, which is governed by the same physical laws as Earth. An elite group of scientists has seized control and is trying to manipulate the laws of math via odd number utilization, and it's up to math-savvy geek Seth and his baseball team to save the day.

Many elements of Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us would seem to indicate its appropriateness not only readers ages eight to twelve, but for a wider audience as well. Plays on words (as in the title), creative technical thinking about parallel universes and their influences upon one another, and the inclusion of adult special interests (such as the opening pages, which feature a board of directors intent on preserving sports programs threatened by a budget cut) make for subjects and approaches that are more mature than most elementary or middle-grade fantasies offer, with appeal to even adult readers.

Strxia has been tested on youth test readers ages 8 to 15, as well as many adults. The 8-year-old likes the action and adventure, the humor, and becomes exposed to the physics even without total understanding or, importantly, frustration. Older readers tend to absorb the physics principles and want to try the math.

That said, Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us cultivates a lively discourse and believable characters who face a myriad of choices as they navigate their different worlds.

Strxia is an enticing choice for children with initial interest in baseball or science, and offers a fun challenge for any child who enjoys action and adventure reading. Only cursory knowledge of baseball as a sport is necessary to enjoy the book.

While the guise is that of an inviting leisure read, the combination of science information, critical thinking skills needed to absorb the story line, and the interesting, challenging two universes whose experiences connect them make for a story more than a cut above that of a casual reader.

From jocks who demonstrate surprising botanical knowledge to an indoor apartment-dwelling geek's confrontation with impossible situations such as giant talking flowers, Strxia excels in a story filled with surprises, it stays true to its foundation of STEM science concepts, and it invites young readers to expand their knowledge through a story line that romps between worlds.

Purposeful, compelling, and filled with action and scientific insight, Strxia is highly recommended reading for educators who want to support traditional nonfiction STEM approaches with stories designed to challenge and test both the imagination and science acuity.

Living on the Empty Stage
Sondra Bennett
New Insights Press
9780999580165, $19.95

Living on the Empty Stage: Performing Daily Life in the Light of Self-Awareness is a wonderfully written new guide at the intersection between self-help and spiritual awareness. Its foundation is based on using the strategies of acting to improve one's "life performance" yet at the same time seeks to help readers achieve greater self-awareness.

Readers seeking new methods to improve, change, and adapt will appreciate this guide. It offers a unique blueprint designed not just for immediate gratification and change, but for a life of better daily performances leading to a more fulfilling existence.

The book opens with the idea that the Empty Stage Awareness is the neutral ground from which we can adopt any frame of mind. The chapters, which are presented in five 'Acts," then explain how there are Five Performance Styles, and each of us is usually dominant in one or two of them. Once you know your Performance Style, you can begin identifying your tragic and comic characters, creating a 'Performance Style Profile', cultivating a higher sensitivity toward humanity, and crafting a dynamic performance model that rises above how you approach your usual roles in life.

The chapters' discussions show how daily events, challenges, and perceptions can be changed to improve one's performance at work, at home, or anywhere, by assessing one's abilities and perspectives, and making social and spiritual changes that lead to growth and transformation.

Living on the Empty Stage's discussions of spiritual and psychological advancement will appeal to anyone seeking a new approach to understanding our chosen roles, performance styles, and the process of changing and enhancing them. It is highly recommended for those seeking new ideas in self-help and self-awareness.

Dark Touch
Ellie Lewis
Black Rose Writing
9781684331765, $17.95 Paper, $5.99 Kindle

Dark Touch is the first book in the Glass Star Trilogy and introduces Sloan, who is being stalked not by a jealous boyfriend, but by an evil entity. Unlike a human stalker, this evil force can stalk her through her dreams, as well.

Sloan is depicted as a strong protagonist whose spunky, independent Seattle world isn't dominated by dating or social involvements: "Come on Sloan, you never date! Seattle guys are fun." "How do you know I'm not already seeing someone?" She raised an eyebrow. "Because every time a hot guy has ever approached you I have heard you say the following two words - Fuck. Off." She made little quotation marks in the air. Millie was not exaggerating. Fuck off was my go to statement when guys tried to ask me out. It worked like a charm. "I can't argue."

Sloan isn't just an assistant at a law firm; she's a blossoming and talented young artist about to confront supernatural forces she'd never believed in. Her life is set to change in many ways; not the least of which is through a relationship with James, a man she admires, and the idea that she may be facing her last few days of life. This proposition leads her to quit her job and fully engage with a new task, which leads her straight into danger.

What sets Dark Touch aside from other genre writings is its creation of a feisty, determined protagonist who is not just believable, but compelling. Readers will appreciate Sloan's spunky personality and grit, essential ingredients to facing Darrow and his army of winged warriors.

Torn between a dark force and a white, golden warrior, Sloan becomes the pawn in an otherworldly. But, why is she so important? Love, injury, recovery, and confrontation permeate an emotionally charged, riveting story line that places Sloan far from her familiar life against forces she'd never imagined.

Readers receive more than just an action-packed story. Sloan's determination and clarity shine in a tale that reveals a bigger picture with the Dark Ones and their influence not just in human lives, but the balance of energies in the cosmos itself.

More so than most, Dark Touch is hard to put down and, fueled by Sloan's drive to survive, is one of the best new publications to appear this season, in this genre. Very highly recommended!

Cooking after Brain Injury: Easy Cooking for Recovery: Book 3
Susana Stoica, PhD
Healing Alternatives Press
B07KWGLNQP, $9.95 Kindle

Cooking after Brain Injury: Easy Cooking for Recovery: Book 3 adds to the others in this series, specifically designed as brain-friendly primers for those with brain injuries who typically find the usual cookbook approach too complex and confusing.

Those with little familiarity with brain injury might not realize that cooking is one of those cognitive skills that becomes a real test after traumatic brain injury. Even those who were accomplished cooks prior to the injury often find themselves unable to comprehend the basic steps and processes of cooking.

Cooking after Brain Injury is from an author who experienced two such injuries on the same day, and who spent ten years retraining herself in the kitchen. Her work resulted in many new approaches to cooking that adjusts for common obstacles, from problems with concentration and sequencing to putting together a complimentary menu. The recipes in the books also address brain injury side effects like weight gain and food sensitivities, providing reference table that help users choose the best suited dishes for their needs.

Introductory sections cover the basics of which dishes to start with, explain the classification criteria and the special codes applied to the recipes, and builds on the simpler recipes presented in the first and second books in the series (which are required stepping stones to attempting the dishes in this third book).

Unlike most series titles, these books are broken down into series for a specific reason. Those suffering from brain injury are easily confused and overwhelmed by too much information not properly structured for easy comprehension, so these shorter cookbooks are more inviting. The clear delineation between the books allows for the progressive re-learning of kitchen skills.

Repetition in duplicating the dishes is encouraged. To avoid limited meals, Dr. Stoica encourages brain-injured users to get together with others to select recipes from the book so that proficiency can be built even as entire meals are produced. As cooking after brain injury is a tiring proposition, the author provides larger quantity recipes for dishes that can be portioned and frozen, as well as specifying the steps necessary to process specific frozen dishes when defrosting.

Tips on bulk food production for the freezer and how to handle it and steps for cooking several dishes in a meal address confusion and many common obstacles that tend to making cooking problematic.

Many cookbooks promote healthy recipes for healthy living; but this set also promotes healing by doing, making cooking a part of the brain's exercise regimen during the recovery process. By providing only author-tested recipes, strategies for foolproof production that circumvent common confusion areas for the brain injured, and rating recipes by complexity so cooks can choose among them depending on their mental fitness on a given day, Dr. Stoica returns independence to those who typically consider cooking an "impossible dream" after a brain trauma.

The recipes themselves are simply and clearly presented, from an Apple Plum Soup and German Potatoes with paprika and sour cream to Chicken Liver Pate and Eggplant Schnitzel. Appealing color photos introduce each new dish. Ingredients lists are common to most cookbooks, but the clear differentiation between preparing ingredients and the dish itself and serving and reheating suggestions also assume a step-by-step clarity that leaves nothing to wonder about. Ingredients lists, for example, include processing notes.

Book 1 features the very simplest of dishes to get started, from Asparagus with Garlic and Mushroom Soup to Tuna Salad and Berries with Whipped Cream. Book 2 expands the recipe selection with more difficult recipes requiring more attention to detail, from Cabbage Soup and Guacamole to Bok Choy with Garlic and Gazpacho Soup.

The emphasis on step-by-step processes that breaks up typical cooking directions for easy absorption and understanding by those who may not be able to concentrate or quickly process steps makes this series a top recommendation. These books should be in the tool boxes of anyone recovering from brain trauma and the therapists helping them regain their independence through brain-exercise therapies by providing, especially those who may have been accomplished cooks prior to their injury, a sense of accomplishment and feeling of being once again useful and an active part of everyday life activities.

The Dead Don't Talk
Lawrence J. Epstein
Fig Hollow Publishing
B07LF13Y3G, $0.99

Danny Ryle isn't an investigator: he's a politician with an ability to fix problems. But in The Dead Don't Talk, the problem is a murder, and Danny just happens to have a background that might lend to even this dilemma's resolution as he taps the knowledge of his retired father, a former hit man.

There's more than one issue with this plan, however. Long Island is replete with suspects, and Danny has no experience sorting out the clues in a murder mystery. Maybe he should have become an accountant, like his mother wanted.

The police have been very professional; but it's obvious they've missed something. Can Danny's talent for making things right piece together a string of impossible clues to do what the professionals have failed to achieve, solving a complex series of interrelationships?

There are no easy answers and no obvious leads, but Danny has something the police do not: access to master thieves and a ring of individuals who can threaten and blackmail their way into anything. It's these dubious associations that provide Danny with a unique edge and a number of conundrums that revolve around re-election polls and an old murder investigation.

With Danny's life on the line, it quickly becomes evident that the case is anything but cold. A murderer still is on the loose, and he'll do anything to suppress the facts. Danny is headed for trouble that even his savvy father may not be able to fix.

The Dead Don't Talk is narrated in the first person, which gives it immediacy and intimacy that draws readers in. Dialogues between father and son move from practical daily matters to ethereal philosophical reflections on life and further create connections for readers who will find themselves immersed in the personalities, ambitions, and perceptions of two very different characters: "You have a lot of information but absolutely no solid leads in Siegel's murder. So you have no clues, no leads and you're putting your life in danger. For what, exactly? To help an old man find some comfort before he dies. Believe me. I'm an old man. I'd like some comfort. Comfort never comes. Just one day you close your eyes and there's darkness. You can't find comfort in the face of that reality. People try by promising angels singing in Heaven. And after the promise a guy dies and he's sitting on a lawn listening to angels singing. He'd go crazy from boredom in five minutes. There's no comfort in Heaven either. You just die. An eternal darkness, an endless void. Take your choice. You can suffer in this life. More than you can imagine, Danny, when you get older. Or you can stare into the vast, dark hole of nothingness. Life's great."

These explorations into relationships and problems that draw father and son together are part of what elevates this murder mystery above others, crafting scenes and encounters that go far beyond a 'whodunit' to probe the connections, disassociations, and relationships between family members, politicians, and community.

Infused with political observations as well as a foray into the dark side of murder, The Dead Don't Talk serves up an inviting, delicious read that lingers in the mind long after Danny faces an ethical conundrum that could either make or break his life.

Juggling - From Antiquity to the Middle Ages
Thom Wall
Modern Vaudeville Press
9780578410845, $25.00

Anybody who's ever wanted to throw a ball and juggle anything in life will welcome the rare opportunity to learn about its evolution in Juggling - From Antiquity to the Middle Ages: The Forgotten History of Catching and Throwing.

Readers who might think juggling holds a singular Western history will be surprised to learn that it actually was discovered in several cultures, all isolated from one another, and can be documented as early as 2,000 BCE, in the tombs at Beni Hasan in Egypt.

Thom Wall opens with a pointed observation about why documenting the history of juggling is so difficult to pinpoint: "As with dance, so with juggling - the moment that the performer finishes the routine, their act ceases to exist beyond the memory of the audience. There is no permanent record of what transpired, so studying the ancient roots of juggling is fraught with difficulty."

The chronicles that follow are arranged chronologically, from ancient writings, relics, and indicators of juggling to modern times. Good-sized color images of relics and writings often accompany footnoted research documenting juggling's evolutionary process, providing readers with both a visual and text record of its appearance in art forms, history, social interactions, and human society.

It should be noted that Juggling doesn't just assemble historical evidence. Wall discusses the quality of the evidence itself and the extrapolations that can be made from it: "Though this passage doesn't describe a literal performance, it does serve as evidence that jugglers were performing with swords and on tightropes in present-day Turkey as early as the 4th and 5th centuries."

This approach lends an authoritative, critical thinking perspective supplementing the historical examination, offering readers more than just clues to juggling's appearance and performances over the centuries. Readers actually learn how to analyze and assess data and draw conclusions from a survey that is dedicated to exploring all aspects of juggling, from its social and sports impact to its legal ramifications: "The jongleur's performances in early medieval Ireland were regulated by the law - or at least there were rules set forth for the compensation of audience members accidentally injured by jugglers during performances."

Readers will find juggling's story broader than anticipated, crossing disciplines with a deft attention to detail that follows juggling's influence on not just societies and cultures, but gender roles: "Anthropologist Avigail Morris, who spent considerable time studying gender roles in traditional Tongan society, asserts that hiko exemplified the feminine ideal in Tonga and that "the motions and gestures used in the game bring out beauty and gracefulness in females of all ages" - in particular, the flexible and graceful motions of the wrists." Morris explains that hiko's mystical origins align it with "traditional concepts of beauty and sexuality" and allow a girl to "show off just how feminine she could be" (Morris, 2009)."

This history requires of its readers some prior affinity and affection for juggling; but richly rewards a reader's basic interest. What seems like (and is) a complex, scholarly approach to the subject takes on a lively feel through embellishments and discussions that successfully relate juggling skills and approaches to wider examinations of social organization, skills development, and cultural evolution.

Jugglers especially (but general-interest audiences, as well) will appreciate the surprising accessibility and depth in Juggling - From Antiquity to the Middle Ages: The Forgotten History of Catching and Throwing, a primer packed with unexpected insights and an exquisitely involving attention to detail.

Forgetting the Dreamtime
G.V. Loewen
Austin Macauley Publishers
97811788784308, $14.95 Paper, $4.51 Kindle, $20.58 Hardcover

Forgetting the Dreamtime is Book 1 of the Kristen-Seraphim Saga and opens with a teen protagonist rebelling against her evangelical parents' many rules. Kristen's stubbornness and mutinous attitude actually serves her well in the scenario that evolves to place her at odds not just with her parents, but against a threat to everything she loves.

Forgetting the Dreamtime is a young adult coming of age story that holds complex situations, language, and relationships between Kristen, her parents, and her inner voice. While adolescent correction is one of the guiding purposes to her parents' lives, Kristen is a rebel who can't be controlled. Nothing is beyond her grasp, whether it be a best friend/lesbian relationship, a defiant attitude towards religious oppression, or forward progress in a new domestic relationship with Mike.

When Mike discovers the truth about her age, he's hit with a combination of horror and admiration that creates further conflict, while a "meet the parents" dinner is replete with religious back-and-forth jockeying that will spark a smile in readers who may find familiar the counterstrikes and innuendos of family struggles at the dinner table.

Spiced by Kristen's observations of impossible things around her and larger questions of an evolving battle between good and evil, the story marches into unusual territory and becomes something much more than the journeys of a rebellious, spunky teen.

Mature teens to new adult readers will find Forgetting the Dreamtime difficult to easily peg. The combination of quest saga, coming of age story, fantasy elements, and the reality of complex family and love relationships will not only appeal on a broader level than the usual teen read, but injects questions and perspectives that lead readers to think about Kristen's directions and choices.

It should be cautioned that racy language and situations are embedded in this candid, striking story. G.V. Loewen doesn't overuse these elements (they are all key to building story line and characters), but they do elevate the story to audiences who can handle a story of evolving sexuality and spiritual inspection.

Readers seeking a multifaceted tale that is intriguing, involving, and filled with confrontation and evolution will delight in Forgetting the Dreamtime, a chronicle that is racy, lively, and hard to put down.

THE MAGIC LIST: Girl Invictus
Mark Tiro
Second Dharma Books
9781948037044, $3.99, Ebook
9781948037051, $12.99, Paperback

Amazon Ebook URL:

Amazon Paperback URL:

THE MAGIC LIST: Girl Invictus provides another Spirit Invictus novel to expand the experiences of the others in the series and again turns teen Maya's world on end.

This time she is living a normal day which changes forever when she loses track of time, then finds herself lost in time. Suddenly her family doesn't see her. A pen and paper magically appear as she tries to navigate her familiar yet changed life; but their appearance isn't the only thing that's magical about her revised situation.

As Maya comes to realize that she has a unique opportunity to realize all her dreams, she also comes to acknowledge the underlying cost of magic, and faces conundrums that involve old friends and magical voiceless exchanges and every memory of every lifetime that's been forgotten until her encounter with mysterious David brings them back.

Maya believes she's experiencing an afterlife; but it's much more than that. She holds the power to change everything, but at a big cost. And her failed memories, other lives, David, and mixed-up timelines intersect in a challenging new reality that pushes her to create a growing list that chronicles past, present, and future events.

From her dissolving abilities to deny and repress to whether or not she's the sole cause of all the effects changing her world, Maya's beliefs and abilities are challenged, and readers enter a world filled with mystery, confrontation, and experiences that border on spiritual revelations.

Because Maya is a teenager, one might anticipate this series to be directed to teens. Because it involves Maya's probe of life purpose, a reader might anticipate a religious component. And because it involves her journey through possibilities, a decidedly new age element lends much to a metaphysical adventure.

But to relegate this latest or the series as a whole to any singular readership would be to do it an injustice. Maya's ongoing explorations of meaning in her life and the world blends a coming of age story with a thriller overlay, adds a personal quest through impossible situations that confront and revise Maya's paradigm of reality itself, and leaves readers thinking long past the mystery of the magic list itself.

Maya's journey continues to be captivating in this latest incarnation, and both newcomers and prior fans will find especially thrilling the underlying truths she uncovers from the ongoing puzzles in her life. These pull her from childhood into adulthood and lead her to acknowledge her anger and strength, to release them, and to be reborn.

Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services

Dunford's Bookshelf

Making Two Vietnams
Olga Dror
Cambridge University Press
One Liberty Plaza, Fl. 20, New York, NY 10006
9781108470124 $105.00

Synopsis: North and South Vietnamese youths had very different experiences of growing up during the Vietnamese War. The book gives a unique perspective on the conflict through the prism of adult-youth relations. By studying these relations, including educational systems, social organizations, and texts created by and for children during the war, Olga Dror analyzes how the two societies dealt with their wartime experience and strove to shape their futures. She examines the socialization and politicization of Vietnamese children and teenagers, contrasting the North's highly centralized agenda of indoctrination with the South, which had no such policy, and explores the results of these varied approaches. By considering the influence of Western culture on the youth of the South and of socialist culture on the youth of the North, we learn how the youth cultures of both Vietnams diverged from their prewar paths and from each other.

Critique: Making two Vietnams: War and Youth Identities, 1965-1975 is a scholarly, in-depth study of the vastly divergent experiences of youth growing up in North Vietnam and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The two regions had drastically different socialization and politicization of Vietnamese children and teenagers; the North was much more heavily centralized, while the South did not have a strong agenda of indoctrination. Western culture more heavily affected the South, while socialist culture influenced the North. This all but created two different Vietnamese cultures, with lasting repercussions. A list of references and an index round out this thoughtful, extensively researched and unflinchingly presented analysis, highly recommended especially for public and college library World History collections.

S. Andrew Swann
Daw Books, Inc.
c/o Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756415020 $16.00 pbk / $11.99 Kindle

Synopsis: This dark portal fantasy introduces Detective Dana Rohan, an officer who solves crimes using the Mark that allows her to travel to alternate pasts and futures.

Detective Dana Rohan has an excellent arrest and conviction rate. But even her partner doesn't know the real reason why.

All her life Dana has borne a Mark of unknown origin that she's kept secret. A Mark that allows her to walk into alternate pasts and futures. A Mark that allows her to go back and see any crime as it's being committed. But the life she's carefully built around this secret ability begins to crumble when she's assaulted by a ragged old man. He babbles an incoherent warning that "the Shadows are coming," right before he is killed by an armored monstrosity out of another century. The armored attacker vanishes, leaving the old man to die in Dana's arms, and she realizes that he bears the same Mark she does.

Soon Dana finds herself hunted by Shadows coming from out of Chaos. She must flee through a host of alternate worlds as she finds out the true meaning of the Mark on her skin, and why someone wants to kill her for it.

Critique: Marked is a fast-pasted, suspenseful urban fantasy-mystery. Detective Dana Rohan, gifted with the extraordinary ability to visit alternate pasts and futures, has used her talent to achieve an exceptional arrest and conviction rate. Now, she has been targeted for death by assassins with futuristic technology. Who is hunting her, and why? A riveting read that keeps the reader entranced to the very end, Marked is highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Marked is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).

No Sunscreen for the Dead
Tim Dorsey
Marketing Department
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
195 Broadway New York, New York 10007
9780062795885 $26.99 hc / $12.99 Kindle

Synopsis: The Sunshine State's most lovable psychopath, Serge A. Storms, kills it in this zany adventure from the "compulsively irreverent and shockingly funny" (Boston Globe) king of mayhem, New York Times bestselling author Tim Dorsey.

Serge and Coleman are back on the road, ready to hit the next stop on their list of obscure and wacky points of interest in the Sunshine State. This time, Serge's interest is drawn to one of the largest retirement villages in the world - also known as the site of an infamous sex scandal between a retiree and her younger beau that rocked the community.

What starts out as an innocent quest to observe elders in their natural habitats, sample the local cuisine, and scope out a condo to live out the rest of their golden years, soon becomes a Robin Hood-like crusade to recover the funds of swindled residents. After all, our seniors should be revered and respected - they've heroically fought in wars, garnered priceless wisdom, and they have the best first-hand accounts of bizarre Floridian occurrences only Serge would know about. But as the resident's rally for Serge to seek justice on their behalves, two detectives are hot on the heels of Serge and Coleman's murderous trail.

In this epic adventure that jumps between present day and the tumultuous times of the Vietnam war, mystery fans are in for a witty and deliciously violent delight from the twisted imagination of bestselling author Tim Dorsey.

Critique: Part of the deliriously, violently funny "Serge Storms" series, No Sunscreen for the Dead follows the chaotic Serge and Coleman as they become embroiled in a struggle to reclaim the stolen retirement funds of senior citizens living in a grand retirement village. But Serge and Coleman's ruthless, bordering-on-psychopathic methods quickly attract the unwanted attention of two detectives! A rollicking, tongue-in-cheek adventure decidedly not for the faint of heart, No Sunscreen for the Dead is highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that No Sunscreen for the Dead is also available in a Kindle edition ($12.99).

Michael Dunford

Gary's Bookshelf

Robert B. Parker's Blood Feud
Mike Lupica
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780525535368, $27.00,

Robert B. Parker died in 2010. A bit later his estate found new writers to continue the Spenser, Jessie Stone and his western novels but new stories of Sunny Randall were not considered for a while. I am pleased to see that Mike Lupica was hired to continue the tales of Sunny Randall. "Blood Feud" hopefully is the first of many more to come. Lupica who was a personal friend of Robert B. Parker was a fantastic choice as he has captured the feel of the character and the writing that many of us remember and loved. Randall gets involved after there is an attempt to kill her ex-husband whom she still loves. The dialogue is snappy while the story races along to a final satisfying conclusion. Fans can rejoice that Sunny Randall is back in business in "Blood Feud."

Secret Agent Angel From the Realms of Glory
Ray Sutherland
Black Opal Books
P.O. Box 504, Parkdale, Or 97041
9781626945722, $12.99,

An angel is sent to help fix different situations people are in. His mission is to also bring them all together in one place and time. Ray Sutherland's novel "Secret Agent Angel From the Realms of Glory" is a wonderful inspirational tale that reinforces that we all have someone looking out for us in good times and bad. The story races along with crisp writing, interesting characters and a fulfilling conclusion that is positive reading for these hard times we are living through. The cover of "Secret Agent Angel From the Realms of Glory" entices readers to want to open the pages and read this beautifully written story that is in the class of "It's a Wonderful Life."

Blood And Wisdom
Verlin Darrow
The Wild Rose Press
9781509220861, $17.99,

Private Investigator Karl Gatlin is hired by a woman who has been threatened by an anonymous note writer. Shortly after taking the case a body is found near a new age spiritual community viciously mutilated. Gatlin investigates further with bodies piling up in a case that could get him killed. The tale races along with enough twist and turns to its fantastic climax of an ending. "Blood And Wisdom" is a story guaranteed to please mystery fans looking for a new author to enjoy.

Robert B. Parker's Colorblind
Reed Farrel Coleman
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399574948, $27.00,

"Jessie Stone is back as police chief of Paradise faced with two complicated situations. One of his officers is framed in a sophisticated plot to destroy her reputation while a mysterious stranger comes to Paradise on a destructive path that will cross with Jessie. Coleman has written a fast-paced story with all of the elements that has made this series so much fun to read because Jessie unlike other characters is not a perfect one but he has faults that are revealed in many of the books. Robert B. Parker created a great character in Jessie that "Colorblind" takes to new levels of excitement.

The Kicks Win Or Lose
Alex Morgan
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781442485822, $6.99,

The Kicks are in the championships for the first time in a long time but there are problems. A newspaper story where Devin was interviewed causes a rift between her and some of the players while coach Flores has to attend to family matters leaving them with the boy's coach who has a different style of training players. There are many conflicts throughout the novel that race the story along to the final game of the season. The Kicks novels are filled with great characters and stories that are well told for all ages to enjoy. "The Kicks Win Or Lose" is the 3rd in the series.

The Kicks Hat Trick
Alex Morgan
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781481450973, $6.99,

Now that the Kicks season is over many of the players want to continue to play soccer so they sign up for a team that plays in the winter leagues. Some of the Kicks go to one team while some of the players go elsewhere. Also, her younger sister wants to play on her own but there is no funding until Devin and her friends figure out ways to get money to help her sister play her own completions. "The Kicks Hat Trick" title comes from a term often used in soccer that is totally appropriate for the events Devin is facing in the 4th novel of the series.

The Boy and the Guitar
Veronica Velenzuela
Create Space
4900 LaCross Road, North Charleston SC 29406
9780692372470, $14.99,

A guitar plays beautiful music for all who want to hear it until one nasty man makes it his mission to end the merriment of the instrument. Mr. Malicious ends the music by stealing the strings of the guitar while she is napping. Now, everyone is saddened until a boy named Julien enters the female music device's life. The two are united to solve her problem. "The Boy and the Guitar" reminded me of the Blue Meanies in the Beatles movie "Yellow Submarine" where the evil blue characters ended the wonderful music that the Beatles restored by traveling to the area. Interestingly enough another aspect that involves the Beatles slightly is one of John Lennon's sons was named Julian. "The Boy and the Guitar" is a beautiful tribute to the role music plays so heavily in our lives and what would happen if there was none. The author also did all of the artwork that moves the wonderful story along to its conclusion. All ages should enjoy "The Boy and the Guitar"

Alfonse the Littlest Clown
Rosey Terranova
Rose Dog Publishing
c/o Dorrance Publishing
585 Alpha Drive Suite103, Pittsburgh PA 15238
9781480976344, $23.00,

A boy has a rare problem. He is the smallest person to every want to be an entertainer with the circus. His whole family has always been with the attractions but for some reason no one ever takes him seriously. He is so determined to achieve that he will do anything to accomplish his goal to participate in shows under the big top tents. Alfonse studies and does all he can to prove he is worthy of being a clown though his only bad things is his size. "Alfonse the Littlest Clown" has many underlying messages to everyone that if you work hard you can achieve all that you want. All ages should enjoy this wonderful title that is filled with beautiful artwork that reinforce the lessons being taught

Your Mind VS Your Design
Annette Pichardo
Create Space
4900 LaCross Road, North Charleston SC 29406
9781979936446, $10.50,

We all face many challenges in our lives every day. Annette Pichardo in "Your Mind VS Your Design" has a unique way of telling readers how to face them head on and achieve everything they want to. Most important she tells that people control their own destiny by how they think about things in simple terms that all can understand. "You must believe you are worth everything to other people's lives..." This is only one of the examples of where she takes readers on a journey to fulfillment of everything they desire in life. "your Mind Vs Your Design" is a shining example of what you can achieve when you want to.

Listening for Echoes Finding Hope In The Darkest Hours
Pam Saffran
3 Ducklings Publishing LLC
9780998926209, $15.99,

When people get married there usually are wedding vows of "in sickness and health" spoken. Pam Safran shows in "Listening For Echoes" just how devoted a wife she was to her husband Alan and the marriage when he revealed to her that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At the same time, she was dealing with a mother in the hospital with complications from a brain aneurism. Pam was also the mother of several children. As if that was not enough stress, she had to deal with the medical practice her husband was a surgeon with and how they would help her cope with her husband's grim future. At first, she was resolved that there was a way to save her husbands live but as the months passed, she had to accommodate to the fact that he would not live much longer and that she would have to take on the responsibilities of both parties in the marriage. She also had to deal with backstabbing partners in the practice who wanted to cut her out of anything she was entitled to from them. "Listening for Echoes" is an expose of a life filled with wonderful moments that collided with a darker side that shows people can move through situations that will either make or break you, offering hope to others in similar situations. I highly recommend "Listening for Echoes" for anyone in grief or facing some of the same things Saffran had to deal with

Gary Roen
Senior Reviewer

Gorden's Bookshelf

American Terrorist
Wesley Robert Lowe
Amazon Digital Services LLC
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
B01DYKEZHG, $3.99, ebook, 303 pages

American Terrorist is an action adventure with a lethal female protagonist. The story is a well written shoot-em-up with a few logic flaws and an underlying basis in political mythology.

Rayna is an ex-military operative who has joined a private company fielding a private international intelligence team of deadly field operatives. This private company works outside of government to take the type of actions against criminals and terrorists that governments can't publically sanction. While analyzing a series of terrorist events in the news and on the Net, she discovers a trail indicating a possible upcoming major terrorist action within the US. Jumping into action, she investigates destroyed villages in and around the terrorist strongholds in the Middle East to incidents in the heart of the US. The path she is following is littered with dead bodies and other carnage. With each step closer to the terrorists, the more lethal the trail becomes.

The characters in American Terrorist are quirky and interesting. There is plenty of action so it is easy to lose oneself in the tale. The only significant problem with the story is that it requires governments to operate in a mythological mode. It also aggrandizes a very wealthy private corporation as a mythic good guy. To keep this fantasy framework within the narration both the actions of the bad guys and good guys are modified from reality.

American Terrorist is recommended for readers who are willing to ignore/accept a popular mythology of fumbling governments and altruistic corporations. Those individuals who like pure action with fun characters will also enjoy the book. But any technical readers who prefer contemporary tales that fit snugly in the reality of today will have problems with the book.

Eclairs and Executions
Carole Fowkes
Amazon Digital Services LLC
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
B078VC93ZZ, $2.99, ebook, 275 pages
9781983551635, $10.59 paper

Eclairs and Executions is a light private detective story with a complete cast of unusual and strange characters. The detective part and most of the rest of the story is missing but it is still a fun read because of the mix of weird and different characters.

Private detective Claire DeNardo, who is always in search of a chocolate snack, has been hired to find dirt on nasty literary critic George Dixon. Instead of dirt, she finds her writer client running from Dixon's home. There she finds Dixon tortured and murdered. Soon she has multiple clients wanting her help and a local mob boss wanting her off the case.

Eclairs and Executions is book 4 in a series and the story continually references the previous books. The story also has a number of secondary plotlines having to do with the quirky characters that distract from the weak detective plot.

Eclairs and Executions is a book to read when you want to put your mind on hold. It is less a mystery and more collection of unusual character studies.

S.A. Gorden, Senior Reviewer

Greenspan's Bookshelf

A Very Public Offering
Stephan Paternot
Actarus Press
9781732932401, $14.99, PB, 279pp,

Synopsis: A decade before Facebook, Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman created the first social network in their college dorm room. After a meteoric rise, became world-famous for its billion-dollar IPO, only to quickly plummet toward the depths.

"A Very Public Offering: The Story of and the First Internet Revolution" by Stephan Paternot is a very personal and informative history that specifically details what it was like to witness the chaotic birth of the internet industry.

One of the poster boys of the dot-com era, Stephan rode the wild high of seeing his digital dreams come true, only to confront the sometimes-ugly reality of being the youngest-ever CEO of a public company. As Stephan navigated a fledgling and cutthroat industry, he struggled to keep his company afloat.

Chronicling a surreal, upside-down period in American corporate history, "A Very Public Offering" tells the dramatic personal story of a young man's rocket toward success, and what happens when it all falls apart.

Newly reissued to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of's IPO and adding powerful and practical lessons for a new generation of start-up founders, this edition of "A Very Public Offering" expands upon Stephan's story featured in the National Geographic TV series 'Valley of the Boom'.

Critique: A simply fascinating and elaborately detailed historical account, "A Very Public Offering: The Story of and the First Internet Revolution" is a compelling read that is as insightful as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. While very highly recommended for both community, college, and university library collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "A Very Public Offering" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Actarus Press, B07KFQVH9Q, $17.95, CD).

Flamingo Coast
Martin Jay Weiss
Rare Bird Books
453 S. Spring Street, Suite 302, Los Angels, CA 90013
9781947856585 $17.95 pbk / $10.98 Kindle

Synopsis: After Special Agent Jennifer Morton is fired from the IRS, she pursues a fat-cat financial felon that has fled to an island with no extradition laws. While off the grid, she discovers a community that shelters some of the most wanted white-collar fugitives in the world. Just as she's about to expose the entire web, she unearths the truth about her father and must choose between two very different kind of betrayals.

Critique: Flamingo Coast: A Thriller is a suspenseful tale of white-collar crime and one woman's quest for justice. But true justice is also blind to the blood ties of family! Flamingo Coast is a riveting read, suspenseful to the end, and especially recommended to genre connoisseurs and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Flamingo Coast is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.98).

Persistence of Light
John Hoyte
Terra Nova Books
33 Alondra Road, Santa Fe, NM 87508
9781948749060, $17.95, PB, 248pp,

Synopsis: John Hoyte was a student at Cambridge University who realized one day that a grant he might get could provide an interesting and unusual summer vacation. And thus was born the idea of leading an elephant over the Alps via the trails, paths, and mountain passes taken by Hannibal with his army and war elephants in 218 B.C. to do battle with the Roman empire.

Hoyte's successful mission, with an elephant named Jumbo on loan from the Turin zoo, became a media sensation, leading to international coverage and starting him on the way to a fifty-year career as an inventor and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

Hoyte's personal story is a fascinating one, beginning with the six years of his childhood spent in a Japanese internment camp in China during World War II. Throughout the years that followed, he has taken each surprising twist and turn of fate and used it to help build a life infused with purpose, creativity and fulfillment.

Critique: An exceptionally well written and impressive blend of personal memoir and true live adventure, "Persistence of Light: From a Japanese Prison Camp to an Elephant in the Alps to Silicon Valley" is an extraordinary and entertaining read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended, especially for community biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Persistence of Light" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Able Greenspan

Helen's Bookshelf

What Would Mrs. Astor Do?
Cecelia Tichi
New York University Press
838 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10003
9781479826858, $24.95, HC, 352pp,

Synopsis: Mark Twain called it the Gilded Age. Between 1870 and 1900, the United States' population doubled, accompanied by an unparalleled industrial expansion, and an explosion of wealth unlike any the world had ever seen.

America was the foremost nation of the world, and New York City was its beating heart. There, the richest and most influential (Thomas Edison, J. P. Morgan, Edith Wharton, the Vanderbilts, Andrew Carnegie, and more) became icons, whose comings and goings were breathlessly reported in the papers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

It was a time of abundance, but also bitter rivalries, in work and play. The Old Money titans found themselves besieged by a vanguard of New Money interlopers eager to gain entree into their world of formal balls, debutante parties, opera boxes, sailing regattas, and summer gatherings at Newport. Into this morass of money and desire stepped Caroline Astor.

Mrs. Astor, an Old Money heiress of the first order, became convinced that she was uniquely qualified to uphold the manners and mores of Gilded Age America. Wherever she went, Mrs. Astor made her judgments, dictating proper behavior and demeanor, men's and women's codes of dress, acceptable patterns of speech and movements of the body, and what and when to eat and drink.

The ladies and gentlemen of high society took note. "What would Mrs. Astor do?" became the question every social climber sought to answer. And an invitation to her annual ball was a golden ticket into the ranks of New York's upper crust.

"What Would Mrs. Astor Do?: The Essential Guide to the Manners and Mores of the Gilded Age" serves as a guide to manners as well as an insight to Mrs. Astor's personal diary and address book, showing everything from the perfect table setting to the array of outfits the elite wore at the time.

Channeling the queen of the Gilded Age herself, Cecelia Tichi (William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and American Studies at Vanderbilt University) paints a portrait of New York's social elite, from the schools to which they sent their children, to their lavish mansions and even their reactions to the political and personal scandals of the day.

A colorful tapestry of fun facts and true tales, "What Would Mrs. Astor Do?" presents a vivid portrait of this remarkable time of social metamorphosis, starring Caroline Astor, the ultimate gatekeeper.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and informative read from first page to last, "What Would Mrs. Astor Do?: The Essential Guide to the Manners and Mores of the Gilded Age" is an extraordinary cultural history and an unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "What Would Mrs. Astor Do?" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

The Hangman's Secret
Laura Joh Rowland
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781683319023, $26.99, HC, 304pp,

Synopsis: Photographer Sarah Bain and her friends Lord Hugh Staunton and sometime street urchin Mick O'Reilly are private detectives with a new gig -- photographing crime scenes for London's Daily World newspaper. The Daily World is the latest business venture of their sole client, Sir Gerald Mariner, a fabulously wealthy and powerful banker.

One cold, snowy January morning, Sarah, Hugh, and Mick are summoned to the goriest crime scene they've ever encountered. A pub owner named Harry Warbrick has been found hanged and decapitated amid evidence of foul play. His murder becomes a sensation because he was England's top hangman and he's met the same fate that he inflicted on hundreds of criminals.

Sir Gerald announces that the Daily World - meaning Sarah and her friends - will investigate and solve Harry Warbrick's murder before the police do. The contest pits Sarah against the man she loves, Police Constable Barrett. She and her friends discover a connection between Harry Warbrick's murder and the most notorious criminal he ever executed - Amelia Carlisle, the "Baby-Butcher," who murdered hundreds of infants placed in her care.

Something happened at Amelia's execution. The Official Secrets Act forbids the seven witnesses present to divulge any information about it. But Harry had a bad habit of leaking tips to the press. Sarah and her friends suspect that one of the other witnesses killed Harry to prevent him from revealing a secret related to the execution. What is the secret, and who hanged the hangman?

Critique: A superbly crafted Victorian mystery by an author who is quite apparently a master of the genre, "The Hangman's Secret" by Laura Joh Rowland is a riveting read from cover to cover and will leave her readers looking eagerly toward her next novel! While very highly recommended for all community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "The Hangman's Secret" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.80) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974926527, $29.99, CD).

Black Dahlia Avenger III
Steve Hodel
Rare Bird Books
453 S. Spring Street, Suite 302, Los Angels, CA 90013
9781945572975, $20.00, PB, 320pp,

Synopsis: In the pages of "Black Dahlia Avenger III" veteran LAPD homicide detective Steve Hodel presents his four-year follow-up investigation into Los Angeles's 1947 Black Dahlia murder and other serially connected 1940s Lone Woman Murders.

This newly revised, expanded and updated third edition of "Black Dahlia Avenger III" includes ten new chapters with all new evidence and forensics further linking his father, Dr. George Hill Hodel to the 1947 Black Dahlia Murder, as well as the 1945 Chicago Lipstick Murders, the Manila "Jigsaw Murder" and the 1969 San Francisco Bay Area "Zodiac" murders.

Black Dahlia Avenger II (2018) is the sequel to the 2003 New York Times Bestseller and Edgar-award winning Black Dahlia Avenger, and it raises the investigative bar from rock solid to beyond a reasonable doubt -- the legal requirement for readers to arrive at a finding of GUILTY.

Critique: An absorbing, thought-provoking, and insightful read from beginning to end, "Black Dahlia Avenger III" is an extraordinary study and one that will be an enduringly popular addition to community and academic library Criminology collections, as well as the personal reading lists of all True Crime buffs.

The Past Life Perspective
Ann C. Barham
Atria / Enliven
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781982107697, $17.00, PB, 256pp,

Synopsis: "The Past Life Perspective: Discovering Your True Nature Across Multiple Lifetimes" by Ann C. Barham (who is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified regression therapist with training in transpersonal psychology, hypnosis, therapeutic imagery, and trauma release modalities) offers a rare and fascinating intimate glimpse at past life regression therapy.

Licensed therapist Ann Barham invites us the reader into her office as she helps her clients mine their unconscious memories for the key past life experiences that can provide specific guidance for their current situations. No longer simply the stuff of new age practitioners, past life regression therapy is a powerful tool that can improve your understanding of your personal challenges and deepen your connection with the world around you. Barham demystifies this intriguing phenomenon, sharing her client's astounding stories, each a clue to the profound influence the personalities of the past have on our thoughts and actions today.

As modern science and technology advance at overwhelming rates, many of us crave the healing insights and feelings of eternal love that survivors of near death experiences frequently report. Through past life therapy, everyday people are able to experience prior lifetimes all the way through their deaths, tapping into abiding spiritual truths and answering essential questions about human existence.

Critique: Offering uniquely informative perspectives and insight, "The Past Life Perspective: Discovering Your True Nature Across Multiple Lifetimes" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of metaphysical studies, practitioners, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject, that "The Past Life Perspective: Discovering Your True Nature Across Multiple Lifetimes" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).

Helen Dumont

Lorraine's Bookshelf

The Tale Teller, A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel
Anne Hillerman
Harper Collins Books
195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007
9780062391957 $26.99 HC; $13.99 Kindle, Audio CD $59.99,

For fans of Tony Hillerman's Leaphorn, Chee and Manuelito mystery novels set in beautiful Navajo country, the beloved Joe Leaphorn rises again under the watchful pen of Anne Hillerman, daughter and successor to her father's vast writing legacy.

Leaphorn is in recovery from a nearly lethal brain injury, and although he is retired from the Tribal Police Force, he occasionally consults as a private investigator for special cases that interest him. Leaphorn has recovered speech almost unimpaired in his native Navajo, but English comes more slowly to him. so he has continued speech therapy.

His friend and housemate, Louisa has requested him to accept a case involving a missing gift from a box of bequests to the museum and library under the supervision of Mrs. Daisy Pinto, soon to be retired director of the museum. In a complex case involving a special dress belonging to a famous Navajo woman named Juanita, wife of Chief Manuelito, who help instill strength and courage in Navajo tribal members during the period after the dispersal of the Navajo Nation, when many thousands died before they were allowed to return to their homeland. the dress, called a biil, would represent strength and ideals of wholeness and overcoming oppression to the Navajo Nation if it could be found and retored to the museum donation.

While beginning his investigation, Leaphorn comes into contact with his former coworkers, Chee and Manuelito, now married and still employed by the Tribal Police. Investigation of a series of burglaries and a suspicious death combine and chapters alternate between updates in two to three areas of development.

The quiet, factual prose of Hillerman understates but also showcases the vivid natural setting of Shiprock, the Grand Canyon, and the rest of the Four Corners, peopled by the Navajo Nation and others. Subtle relationship shifts and gaps in communication are implied, sometimes indicating possible leads to the solutions to the mutual mysteries. All wraps into a combined conclusion after many pages of built up suspense and delicate interweaving of threads of three stories, involving Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito.

In the end, "The Tale Teller" does what its title says on at least four levels, interpersonal communication and relationships, intertribal communication and relationships, relationship between the Navajo and others, outsiders, and even other tribal members, and finally the relationship between the individual Dine and a sacred entity or entities, which may allow him or her to be purified and to go in beauty.

For all Hillerman fans, it is a joyous experience to be able to once again enter the beloved world of Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, and Bernie Manuelito in the authentic voice of Anne Hillerman.

Fierce Fashions, Accessories, and Styles That Pop
Rebecca Rissman, author
Compass Point Books
c/o Capstone Publications
1710 Roe Crest Drive, North Mankato, Minnesota 56003
9781543511000, $34.65, Library Binding, 48 pages,

"Fierce Fashions, Accessories, and Styles That Pop" is a title from the DIY Fearless Fashion series for teens and young adults. Showcasing individual creativity, "Fierce Fashions" presents 5 chapters of creative projects and design creations to revolutionize your fashion image, for inexpensive individual creative touches.

Chapter 1 is Not-Your Ordinary Necklaces, Chapter 2 is Bold Bracelets and Metal Midi Rings, chapter 3 is Fierce Headware, Chapter 4 is Revamp Your Tops, and Chapter 5 is Be Brave With the Bottom half of Your Wardrobe. Each project has a materials list, simple step by step instructions with photos, and a beautiful color photograph of the finished project.

The initial introduction, Be Fearless With Your Fashion, showcases materials such as beads, black permanent markers, bleach pens, twine, jewelry hardware, fabric paint and fabric glue, zippers a hot glue gun, metal jewelry chains, clasps and parts, tools such as needle nose and round nose pliers, scissors, and wire cutters, and old T-shirts. some of the creative project suggestion include Freaky Fringe, Skeleton Bracelet, Comic Book Bangles, zipper art, Faux Septum piercing, fringe trimmed items, Bleach Pen Leggings, Studded Cuffs, and more. there is even a Duct Tape and Trash Bag Skirt, sure to appeal to edgy looking teens and pre-teens.

Appealing to the creative individualist with lots of ideas and not lots of money, "Fierce Fashions" is an exciting collection of fun projects to spice up a humdrum wardrobe for girls, or boys.

Other titles from the DIY Fearless Fashion series that are also highly recommended include: "Makeup Magic With Glam and Gore Beauty (9781543510980)," by Rebecca Rissman, "Freaky Nail Art With Attitude (9781543510997)," by Rebecca Rissman, and "Hair-raising Hairstyles That make a Statement (9781543511017)," by Rebecca Rissman.

25 Women Who Fought Back
Jill Sherman, author
Compass Point Books
c/o Capstone Press
1710 Roe Crest Drive, North Mankato, Minnesota 56003
9780756558505, $35.32 Library Binding; $8.95 PB, 64pp,

"25 Women Who Fought Back" Is an exciting series of profiles of women in world civilizations and countries who founded movements, wrote the truth, spoke truth to power, and became memorable soldiers battling for feminism in many different world stages and arenas. Filled with succinct profile information about 25 different women tradition builders, this title educates, challenges and redefines the meaning of gender-based equality.

The profiles include Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), Pauli Murray (1910-1985), Betty Friedan (1921-2006), Gloria Steinem (b. 1934), Wangari Maathai (1940-2011), Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), Bell Hooks (b. 1952), Joan Jett (b. 1958), Alison Bechdel (b. 1960), Roxane Gay (b. 1974), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b. 1977), Claudia Rankine (b. 1963), Sojourner Truth (1797-1883), Rosa Parks (1913-2005), Barbara Walters (b. 1929), Charlene Teters (b. 1952), Sylvia Tamale (b. 1967), Caryl Churchill (b. 1938), Alicia Garza (b. 1982), Manal al-Sharif (b. 1979), Janet Mock (b. 1983), Laura Bates (b. 1986), Emma Watson (b. 1990), and Malala Yousafzai (b. 1997).

In all these thumbnail biographies, highlighted sidebars offer crucial bytes of information such as the following: "Making Waves : The feminist movement is often categorized as having three waves. The First Wave began with the suffragette movement... the Second Wave began in the 1960....focused on the workplace, sexuality, family, and reproductive rights... The Third Wave is happening now. Feminists continue to fight for these issues, and also for equal rights for women of color, women of different sexual orientations, and human rights overall (p. 13)."

Another telling quotation is found in the biography of Alison Bechdel: "In one of the 'Dykes to Watch Out For' comics, a character explains that she only goes to a movie if it meets three requirements: it must have at least two women; those women have to talk to each other; and the conversation has to be about something other than a man. The method of judging movies is now called the Bechdel test (p. 26-27)." Black and white and color photographs of the women portrayed help identify each individual unmistakably.

"25 Women Who Fought Back" is a powerful compendium of strong women of several races and gender identifications who made notable contributions to the three Waves of the feminist movement. it is an excellent educational resource for students age 10 and up.

Additional titles from the series Daring Women which are also highly recommended include the following: "25 Women Who Ruled (9780756558512)," by Rebecca J. Standborough, "25 Women Who Thought of It First (9780756558529)," by Jill Sherman, and "25 Women Who Dared to Go (9780756558536)," by Allison Lassieur.

Nancy Lorraine
Senior Reviewer

Micah's Bookshelf

The 22nd Michigan Infantry and the Road to Chickamauga
John Cohassey
McFarland & Company
PO Box 611, Jefferson NC 28640
9781476671666, $35.00, PB, 200pp,

Synopsis: The Battle of Chickamauga, fought on September 18 - 20, 1863, between U.S. and Confederate forces in the American Civil War, marked the end of a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. It was the first major battle of the war fought in Georgia, the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theater, and involved the second-highest number of casualties after the Battle of Gettysburg. (Wikipedia)

Called upon to take a hill at the 1863 Battle of Chickamauga, the untested 22nd Michigan Infantry helped to save General George H. Thomas right flank. Formed in 1862, the regiment witnessed slavery and encountered runaways in the border state of Kentucky, faced near starvation during the siege of Chattanooga and marched to Atlanta as General Thomas provost guard.

Critique: "The 22nd Michigan Infantry and the Road to Chickamauga" by John Cohassey is a detailed and definitive American Civil War history that explores the 22nd's day-to-day experiences in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. Deftly describing the challenges faced by volunteer farm boys, shopkeepers, school teachers and lawyers as they faced death, disease and starvation on battlefields and in Confederate prisons, "The 22nd Michigan Infantry and the Road to Chickamauga" is an essential addition to personal, community, and academic library American Civil War History collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for students, academia, and American Civil War history buffs that "The 22nd Michigan Infantry and the Road to Chickamauga" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.99).

Men of Air
Kevin Wilson
Pegasus Books
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004
9781643130064, $29.95, HC, 448pp,

Synopsis: Bomber combat crews faced a wide array of perils as they flew over German territory. Bursts of heavy flak could tear the wings from their planes in a split second. Flaming bullets from German fighter planes could explode their fuel tanks, cut their oxygen supplies, destroy their engines. Thousands of young men were shot, blown up, or thrown from their planes five miles above the earth; and even those who returned faced the subtler dangers of ice and fog as they tried to land their battered aircraft back home.

The winter of 1944 was the most dangerous time to be a combat airman in RAF Bomber Command. The chances of surviving a tour were as low as one in five, and morale had finally hit rock bottom. "Men of Air: The Courage and Sacrifice of Bomber Command in World War II" by journalist and military historian Kevin Wilson is a comprehensive history of the air war that year, and describes the most dangerous period of the Battle of Berlin, including the unparalleled losses over Magdeburg, Leipzig and Nuremberg.

"Men of Air" reveals how these ordinary men coped with the extraordinary pressure of flying, the loss of their colleagues, and the threat of death or capture. Brilliantly placing these stories within the context of The Great Escape, D-Day, the defeat of the V1 menace, and more, "Men of Air" shows how the sheer grit and determination of these "Men of Air" finally turned the tide against the Germans.

Critique: Impressively researched, exceptionally well written, enhanced with the inclusion of illustrations, maps, ten pages of Notes, a three page Glossary, a three page Bibliography, and an eighteen page Index, "Men of Air: The Courage and Sacrifice of Bomber Command in World War II" showcases the everyday heroism of bomber crews in 1944 at a turning point in the war against Germany. While an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library World War II Military History collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and military aviation buffs that "Men of Air" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.99).

Spirit and Sacrament
Andrew Wilson
Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310536475 $14.99 pbk / $8.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Spirit and Sacrament by pastor and author Andrew Wilson is an impassioned call to join together two traditions that are frequently and unnecessarily kept separate. It is an invitation to pursue the best of both worlds in worship, the Eucharistic and the charismatic, with the grace of God at the center.

Wilson envisions church services in which healing testimonies and prayers of confession coexist, the congregation sings When I Survey the Wondrous Cross followed by Happy Day, and creeds move the soul while singing moves the body. He imagines a worship service that could come out of the book of Acts: Young men see visions, old men dream dreams, sons and daughters prophesy, and they all come together to the same Table and go on their way rejoicing.

In short, Spirit and Sacrament is an appeal to bring out of the church's storehouse all of its treasures, so that God's people can worship our unrivaled Savior with sacraments and spiritual gifts, raised hands and lowered faces.

Critique: Spirit and Sacrament: An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship deliberately makes a portmanteau of the words "eucharistic" and "charismatic" in its title to drive home its message - that liturgical traditions can be made more appealing ("charismatic") to churchgoers without sacrificing their core intent: to share the grace of God. Passionate and joyful, Spirit and Sacrament is especially recommended for pastors and church professionals seeking to revitalize their congregations and rekindle a brighter flame of inspiration. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Spirit and Sacrament is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

Micah Andrew

Richard's Bookshelf

Three Feet from Gold: Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities
Sharon L. Lechter and Dr. Greg S. Reid
Sound Wisdom
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9781640950719, $15.99, 242 pages

Motivating, Inspiring, Informative, and Entertaining

Sharon L. Lechter and Dr. Greg S. Reid collaborate in this allegorical approach to challenge the reader to persevere; stay with their goal and never to give up their accomplishing their dream. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote from Napoleon Hill; followed by practical stories and applications of the critical principles introduced in Napoleon's classic bestseller, "Think and Grow Rich."

These classic models from Hill's writing become a roadmap to success. Gregg uses Autobiographical sketches and life stories accompanied by fictional elements to identify and interpret the crucial principles inspired and promoted by Napoleon Hill.

The authors incorporate all the elements of good storytelling as they follow Greg's journey as he retraces Hill's steps to find his potential and accomplish his goals and dreams. It is their purpose to introduce to today's generation of young potential leaders the principles of Napoleon Hill using contemporary stories and examples of well-known leaders of today who have and are persevering to reach their dreams.

"Three Feet from Gold: Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities" is motivational and inspirational, and informational reading at its best. A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Don't Step in the Entre-Manure!: Tiptoe Your Way to Entrepreneurial Succes
Bill Matthews
Sound Wisdom
P. O. Box 310 Shippensburg, PA 17257
9781640950504, $15.99 148 Pages

Content, Context, Adaptability, Practical, and Proven Concepts

"Don't Step in the Entre-Manure" quickly defines the primary focus and the objective of the book. Matthews begins with 32 questions in four crucial areas for attaining entrepreneurial success.


Finance, Administration, Planning, and Control

Marketing and Sales

Productively and Accountability of Employees

Each focuses on a specific theme with practical observations and instruction, a case study example relating to the chapter emphasis, and "tongue in cheek" challenge to "Check your shoes" for any evidence of Entre-Mature that needs attention.

Chapter titles clearly define the subject matter of the chapter - a tremendous help when locating specific areas you may want to review, develop and improve in your business operation.

Bill Matthews is known for a successful career working with business leaders in business management, strategic planning, and education and advisory services.

"Don't Step in the Entre-Manure!: Tiptoe Your Way to Entrepreneurial Success" is a crucial resource you will want to keep handy for easy reference, review, and application; this is a book you will want to provide for your leadership staff, department heads, and their workers.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Magic Ladder to Success
Napoleon Hill
Sound Wisdom Books
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9781640950559, $27.95, 182 Pages

Powerful Proven Principles, From the Law of Success Philosophy of Napoleon Hill, author of the bestselling "Think and Grow Rich."

"The Magic Ladder to Success" is based on eight basic motivational principles of the Law of Success Philosophy developed by Napoleon Hill. Step by step Hill leads the reader on the ladder of success to acquire personal power.

Hill goes on to analyze each of the 17 dynamics on which his law of success is composed.

I became so intrigued in my reading that I made copious notes from the information I gleaned especial related to the subjects of self-confidence, imitative, imagination, and concentration. Other topics I want to reconsider reread, and put into practice include the importance of enthusiasm, self-control, and good health habits. I found so many new ideas as I carefully read and reviewed principles I have incorporated my life over many years.

"The Magic Ladder to Success" is filled with powerful proven highly motivating principles for finding success today.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Magic Ladder to Success
Napoleon Hill
Sound Wisdom Books
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9781640950559, $27.95, 182 Pages

Powerful Proven Principles, From the Law of Success Philosophy of Napoleon Hill, author of the bestselling "Think and Grow Rich."

"The Magic Ladder to Success" is based on eight basic motivational principles of the Law of Success Philosophy developed by Napoleon Hill. Step by step Hill leads the reader on the ladder of success to acquire personal power.

Hill goes on to analyze each of the 17 dynamics on which his law of success is composed.

I became so intrigued in my reading that I made copious notes from the information I gleaned especial related to the subjects of self-confidence, imitative, imagination, and concentration. Other topics I want to reconsider reread, and put into practice include the importance of enthusiasm, self-control, and good health habits. I found so many new ideas as I carefully read and reviewed principles I have incorporated my life over many years.

"The Magic Ladder to Success" is filled with powerful proven highly motivating principles for finding success today.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Convenience Revolution
Shep Hyken
Sound Wisdom
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
97816495028, $24.95, 208 pages

Customer Relations, Consumer Behavior, Marketing

Bestselling author, Shep Hyken's new book "The Convenience Revolution" is cutting edge, up to date and a must-read for today's leaders. Shep writes with passion, is astute in his presentation, and confident in his convictions. He is right on target on his conclusions regarding the imperative need for creating greater customer convenience in today's competitive market strategies.

Compelling case studies and company profiles accentuate the importance behind his assertion that the next frontier of customer service is convenience in creating customer loyalty in companies of every size.

Hyken is known for his leadership in customer service. His six core concepts should become the creed for creating and sustaining consumer demand and economic success.

"The Convenience Revolution" is destined to create a tidal wave in customer service. The subtitle of the book; "How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience That Disrupts the Competition & Creates Fierce Loyalty" sums up the contents.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Coach the Soul
Ken LaVigne
Robert D. Reed Publishers
P. O. Box 119, Bandon, Oregon 97411
9781944297367, $14.95

A Masterful Model of Compassionate Dedication and Effective Leadership

It is the clarity, the strength, and the example of his coaches that motivated Ken LaVigne to persevere and to succeed. These are the same lessons Ken tries to model and to pass on to high-risk students today in a sophisticated and disentangled culture.

LaVigne clearly understands the power of a good story. His stories resonate with the reader through the depth of compassion, respect for and support of, which Ken gives his students today.

Word pictures of awakening to the sound of sirens in the night announcing tragedy, danger, and death. The look of fear, disappointment, and hope in the eyes of parents etched forever in his heart.

Other stories tell of the resilience, trust, and purpose of students, and their examples of faith, compassion, and grit. These stories tell of how students are challenged to grow in devotion, commitment, and perseverance to become men and women of character, self-discipline, inspiration, and empathy.

Javier's story, gripped my heart; his grieving parents asking, "Why?" and the questioning of Javier's friends, due to the senseless death; on the very threshold of promise and a new beginning.

Coach Ken struggled with the same question. He found his answers through a strong faith in God which gave him confidence that the "Almighty's" omniscient plan for him was to provide comfort to his students. Coach LaVigne tells of growing relationships with students that grew to become deepening friendships over the years.

"Coach for the Soul" is a benchmark model for coaches at every level: volunteers, and professionals - as well as the families, fans, and spectators of sports around the world.

Destined for Change
Lois Werth Mimbs
Frontline Press
P.O. Box 764499, Dallas, Texas 75376
9781643161020, $12.95, 36 pages

A Parable of Destiny, Pop Corn, and Change

Using a writing style of poetic prose, and meaningful metaphors, written by Lois Werth Mimbs, the thought-provoking photography of Don Smarto, the cover design of Luke Smarto, and the interior design by Frank Cucciarre and you will come away with inspiration to change.

If you are experiencing clouds if adversity, the pain, and sadness of grief and the loss of a loved one "Destined for Change" will help you exchange the emptiness and sorrow for new patterns to build hope, and lessen the intensity of the pain of grief.

Kernel by kernel I savored memories from the past as I relived the moment in the present, to plan for an activity in the future to enjoy the bouquet of new memories and to contemplate fulfilling my destiny and purpose.

Page by page, picture by picture, I discovered how secrets of change renewed hope and opened my eyes to focus on new patterns of change and the experience the freedom of abundant life.

The author displays remarkable insight,; the eye-catching photos combine to activate the challenge and reward of change from within.

"Destined for Change" came to my attention during a season of change in my life. I want to encourage others to read and pass along the message of hope to others; an excellent choice for a gift book for anyone who is experiencing the grief of loss.

The New Era of Glory - Stepping into God's Accelerated Season of Outpouring & Break Through
Time Sheets
Destiny Image Publishers
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 47297
9780768445251, $16.99, 198 pages

Decrees, Declarations, and Encounters - Outpouring and Breakthrough

Bestselling authors and highly respected Charismatic Leaders recognize Tim Sheets for his Spirit-empowered message of awakening and reformation, the authority of the believer - and the evidence of a new surge of God's anointing on his life and ministry.

Sheet's profound insights and revelatory teaching describe the synergy that is being created through the combined impact of Holy Spirit's empowerment and the churches activation. His prophetic words of instruction and promise lead the reader into a contagious expectancy of abandonment and revival.

Tim uses the prophetic words given by God to Isaiah and instructions provided by the Apostle Paul to young Timothy, to introduce defining moments, potent reminders and assignments to be activated by God's people. Sheets explores the restoration of the Holy Spirit's gifting of the fivefold ministry of the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, and pastoral teaching with strategic insights and a new emphasis on almost forgotten principles of scriptural truth.

"The New Era of Glory is a book that deserves more than a casual reading. Each chapter is rich in prophetic expression and revealed truth that can be activated by the prayerful reader with amazing results and will resonate with anyone seeking a breakthrough in accessing Holy Spirit encounters and experiencing victory in Spiritual Warfare.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Power Encounters - Unlocking the Supernatural through Experiences with the Holy Spirit
Destiny Image Publishers
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768419351, $15.99, 158 pages

New Dimensions of Partnering with the God's Holy Spirit's Power

Dr. Francis J. Sizer's book "Power Encounters - Unlocking the Supernatural through Experiences with the Holy Spirit" came to my attention at a divinely appointed time in my life; a time when I had been searching and praying to know God in a broader intimate way: a kind of spiritual awakening, renewal forgiveness, and empowerment, a new closeness to God.

Dr. Sizer relates the experience of his call to the priesthood, his seminary training, and assignment to a parish church. He openly shares the story new his birth into the kingdom of God in response to being immersed in the love of Jesus, of his Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the overwhelming emergence into the power of God.

Dr. Sizer tells of the pain of rejection and betrayal by his peers, of pursuing knowledge, neglecting God, and finally of God's bigger plan for his life.

I became deeply moved through stories of miraculous healings, signs, and wonders. By entering into these stories vicariously, I interacted with their restoration and miraculous healings spiritually, emotionally, and physically, deeply moved as they found new freedom from mental bondage and crippling disease.

After a time of reflection and soul searching, I am moving into a new period of peace, preparing me to fulfill my destiny and purpose.

"Power Encounters - Unlocking the Supernatural through Experiences with the Holy Spirit" will resonate with a faithful remnant ready to unlock the supernatural within.

Life-changing potential - Highly Recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sudden Breakthrough
Lijun M. Cole, Sr. and Valora Shaw- Cole
Destiny Image Publishers
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
978076843585, $15.95, 134 Pages

Sudden Breakthroughs - Life Changing "Suddenlies"

I knew within the first chapter of "Sudden Breakthrough" that I would be experiencing some breakthrough moments in my lie throughout my reading of the book - a season of change in perspectives, circumstances, and events.

Chapter by chapter authors Lajun and Valora Cole lead the reader through biblical examples of times in Israel's history when the Lord used prophets like Isaiah and Ezekiel to announce bless about to be poured out suddenly through restoration, refreshing, and renewal in a season of "suddenlies" - followed by miraculous breakthroughs.

New Testament illustrations also reveal stories of unexpected sudden appearances of Jesus with miraculous suddenly results, rewarding an individual's faith for healing and resurrection power.

As readers, we are directed to expect God's sudden anointings, answers, and rewards

I found the chapter describing the agents for change prior to a personal catalyst for breakthrough especially helpful - a call for unity, praise, worship, prayer, fasting, faith, and giving - resulting in a sudden financial breakthrough.

A final section invites the reader to record and reflect on "suddenlies" they are expecting to happen in their lives. and a plan to develop for watching God bringing your "suddenlies" them to fruition.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purpose. The opinions expressed are my own.

Prayers & Declarations That Open the Courts of Heaven
Robert Henderson
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768418699, $16.99, 200 Pages

Powerful Prayers and Declarations for Removing Hindrances and Fulfilling Your Divine Purpose

Robert Henderson's "Prayers & Declarations That Open the Courts of Heaven" is filled with empowering prayers and declarations for removing hindrances and fulfilling your divine purpose.

It is essential that we know how to reset the timing of the Lord's divine purpose when we encounter any interruption. When prophetic promises on my life are delayed because of Satan's onslaughts, my failures, sin, and wandering: I am learning to present my prayers and declarations to take my case to the courts of heaven.

Page after page and chapter after chapter I found and claimed promises related to God's calling, apportions, purposes, and the power to fulfill my destiny. I confidently ask for miracle healing physical, emotional, and spiritual. I am looking for miraculous turnarounds as I present my prayers and declarations to the courts of heaven; state my case, make my plea, and accept God's decree.

Henderson writes with authority and skill as he provides the reader with proven prayer and declarations to present their case before the courts of heaven.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are mine.

Sales Manifesto
Jeffrey Gitomer
Sound Wisdom
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA, 17257
978099925520, $24.95, 209 pages

Attention-Getting Mission Statements for Ultimate Success

"Jeffrey Gitomer's Sales Manifesto" is filled with new success principles; take away techniques, and motivational moments that guarantee a new era of making sales and building relationships.

I was surprised at how quickly these attention-getting mission manifestos become be actionable steps tor meeting my success goals.

This is a book for a new generation of upcoming sales representatives willing to give value, help people, establish relationships, and enjoy the process..

I am adding " Jeffrey Gitomer's Sales Manifesto" to my ready reference shelf of books I plan to reach for and refer to for motivation and renew an implement my actions to help me keep on track for achieving my action plan for 2019.

Tremendously timely and highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sales in a New York Minute
Jennifer Bluckow
Sound Wisdom
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780996207720, $24.95

Actionable, Tactical Strategies Readily Implemented

Jennifer Bluckow's book "Sales in a New Your Minute" is designed to help the reader: Make more sales, build relationships, succeed in setting and reaching goals.

Every one of the 212 pages of "Sales in a New York Minute" is filled with fast-moving easy to implement ideas and tactics to make sales faster and success greater. This practical wisdom and uplifting guidance are presented through a series of 60-second attention-getting easy to apply, and to produce actionable techniques for success.

Jen writes with confidence and establishes credibility and interest with her reader. Her persistence, determination, and desire to help others is reflected in her writing throughout the book.

I whole heartily embrace Jen's work. I plan to keep "Sales in a New York Minute" within easy reach of my desk to reflect often on one of those "60-second" challenges to enjoy life more and love what I do.

A complimentary review copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Richard R. Blake
Senior Reviewer

Taylor's Bookshelf

One Nation Under Drones
Captain John E. Jackson, USN (Ret.), editor
Naval Institute Press
291 Wood Road, Annapolis, MD 21402
9781682472385, $29.95, HC, 256pp,

Synopsis: Knowledgeably compiled and deftly edited by John e. Jackson, "One Nation Under Drones: Legality, Morality, and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems" offers an informative review of how robotic and unmanned systems are impacting every aspect of American life, from how we fight our wars to how we play to how we grow our food.

Included are chapters from a dozen experts, researchers, and operators of the sophisticated systems that have become ubiquitous across the nation and around the world. Press reports have focused primarily on unmanned aerial vehicles, officially designated as UAVs, but more often referred to as "drones".

This work takes the reader behind the scenes and describes how Predators, Reapers, Scan Eagles, and dozens of other pilotless aircraft have been used to fight the Global War on Terrorism. Although these systems seemed to emerge fully-developed into the skies above America's distant battlefields following the attacks of September 11, 2001, readers will discover that they actually trace their lineage to World War I, when the "automatic airplane/aerial torpedo" which was designed and built by the Sperry Gyroscope Company and made its first flight just over a century ago.

Unmanned aircraft were used by various combatants in World War II and took many forms: from converted manned bombers to intercontinental attacks on the American homeland by rice-paper balloons. Technology developed in the latter decades of the 20th century enabled crews stationed thousands of miles away to attack targets on remote battlefields. Such long-range and remote-controlled weapons have been extensively used but are controversial from both legal and ethical standpoints.

There are chapters written by international law specialists and drone pilots with advanced education in ethics address these issues from both sides of the argument.

"One Nation Under Drones" also details how robotic systems are being used on land, in and below the seas, and in civilian applications such as driverless cars.

Three dozen photographs display drones as small as an insect up to those as large as a 737 airliner.

"One Nation Under Drones" covers such a wide array of topics that it will be of particular interest to everyone ranging from the casual reader seeking to know more about these systems to national security professionals, both in and out of uniform, who will be making decisions about their procurement and use in decades to come.

Critique: A unique and seminal work of extraordinary merit, "One Nation Under Drones: Legality, Morality, and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems" is unreservedly recommended for community, college, university, and governmental library Aviation History collections in general, and Contemporary Drone supplement studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted that "One Nation Under Drones" is also available for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.50).

Bones Behind the Wheel
E. J. Copperman
Crooked Lane Books
2 Park Avenue, 10th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781683318873, $26.99, HC, 336pp,

Synopsis: Innkeeper Alison Kerby is determined to keep her mind, body, and soul focused on bringing high-spirited hospitality to her lodgers at the Haunted Guesthouse. She simply has no time for any more murder investigations, no matter what Paul Harrison, her resident ghost detective, says.

But this time, the mystery comes looking for Alison. Workers unearth a 1977 Lincoln Continental buried in the sand behind Alison's guesthouse - and they discover a skeleton still belted in behind the steering wheel.

Paul, of course, is on the cold case - to the extent that a ghostly gumshoe can be - but Alison is still determined not to do the incorporeal investigator's legwork. Not this time. But her new husband Josh is intrigued, and he offers to help Paul poke into the case of the cold Continental. Uh-oh...has Josh caught the investigation bug? It's a harsh wake-up call for a harried businesswoman who'd thought she'd told the detective life to hit the road.

What can go wrong? How about everything? As Alison dodges stray bullets, discovers a gun in the guesthouse, and reluctantly probes a decades-old murder that turns out to be shockingly relevant even today, her specter inspector tries to keep her spirits up. But as she searches for the key to unlock the case, is Alison headed for her final check-out?

Critique: The tenth addition to author E. J. Cooperman's uniquely suspenseful 'Haunted Guesthouse Mystery' series, "Bones Behind The Wheel" is an original and humor laced novel that offers a unique roller coaster of a ride with its unexpected plot twists and turns. Cooperman is a past master of this unique genre and "Bones Behind The Wheel" is one of his best mysteries to date! While very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bones Behind The Wheel" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.80).

John Taylor

Vogel's Bookshelf

Cry Wilderness
Frank Capra
Rare Bird Books
453 S. Spring Street, Suite 302, Los Angels, CA 90013
9781947856301, $26.95, HC, 272pp,

Synopsis: "Cry Wilderness" is author and filmmaker Frank Capra's never published, and often speculated about novel of Silver Lake which was his favorite place nestled in the jagged cliffs of the eastern Sierra Nevadas. Capra casts the fictional Frank Capra in the lead roll of this novel of environmental and humanitarian preservation.

As tourism comes back to the decimated boom towns of the eastern Sierras, Frank Capra finds himself, along with a do-good cop named Lefty, at the center of a scandal. That scandal being that they provided food and protection to two men living off the grid in the wilderness, while the powers that be have been desperately trying to clear the men out of the area, being not the kind of folk they want in their towns.

In "Cry Wilderness", the David and Goliath of small-town tourism politics comes to a head in the wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas. as people genuinely caring for one another ultimately triumphs over oppression.

Critique: Featuring an impressively informative Introduction by fellow filmmaker Ron Howard, "Cry Wilderness" is an extraordinary read from beginning to end and a novel that will prove to be an immediately popular and appreciated addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of the legions of Frank Capra fans that "Cry Wilderness" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Highbridge Audio, 9781684410989, $29.99, CD).

Free All Along
Stephen Drury Smith & Catherine Ellis, editors
The New Press
120 Wall Street, floor 31, New York, NY 10005
9781595588180, $26.99, HC, 352pp,

Synopsis: Robert Penn Warren (April 24, 1905 - September 15, 1989) was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic and was one of the founders of New Criticism. He was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He founded the literary journal The Southern Review with Cleanth Brooks in 1935. He received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel for his novel All the King's Men (1946) and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. He is the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry. (Wikipedia)

In 1964, in the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Robert Penn Warren set out with a tape recorder to interview leaders of the black freedom struggle. He spoke at length with luminaries such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Ralph Ellison, and Roy Wilkins, eliciting reflections and frank assessments of race in America and the possibilities for meaningful change. In Harlem, a fifteen-minute appointment with Malcolm X unwound into several hours of vivid conversation.

A year later, Robert Penn Warren would publish "Who Speaks for the Negro?", a probing narrative account of these conversations that blended his own reflections with brief excerpts and quotations from his interviews. Astonishingly, the full extent of the interviews remained in the background and were never published. The audiotapes stayed largely unknown until recent years. Free All Along brings to life the vital historic voices of America's civil rights generation, including writers, political activists, religious leaders, and intellectuals.

A major contribution to our understanding of the struggle for justice and equality, these remarkable long-form interviews are presented here in the pages of "Free All Along: The Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Interviews" as original documents that have pressing relevance today.

Critique: Expertly compiled and co-edited by the team of Stephen Drury Smith (who is the executive editor and host of APM Reports, the acclaimed documentary unit of American Public Media) and Catherine Ellis (who is an award-winning broadcast and podcast journalist, and the founder of Audio Memoir), "Free All Along: The Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Interviews" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library African-American Studies collections in general, and Robert Penn Warren supplemental curriculum reading lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Free All Along: The Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Interviews" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.76).

Tapping the Oceans
Joe Williams & Erik Swyngedouw, editors
Edward Elgar Publishing
9 Dewey Court, Northampton, MA 01060-3815
9781788113809, $130.00, HC, 208pp,

Synopsis: Collaborative compiled and co-edited by Joe Williams (Department of Geography, Durham University) and Erik Swyngedouw (School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester, UK ), "Tapping the Oceans: Seawater Desalination and the Political Ecology of Water" provides a detailed analysis of the political and ecological debates facing water desalination in the twenty-first century.

Water supplies for cities around the world are undergoing profound geographical, technological and political transformations. Increasingly, water-stressed cities are looking to the oceans to fix unreliable, contested and over-burdened water supply systems. Yet the use of emerging desalination technologies is accompanied by intense debates on their economic cost, governance, environmental impact and poses wider questions for the sustainable and just provision of urban water. Through a series of cutting-edge case studies and multi-subject approaches, "Tapping the Oceans" explores the perspectives, disputes and politics surrounding water desalination on a broad geographical scale.

As the first book of its kind, "Tapping the Oceans" is unique work that will have a very special appeal to anyone researching water and infrastructure issues in the fields of political ecology, geography, environmental science and sustainability.

Industry and water managers who wish to understand the political debates around desalination technology more fully will also find this an informative read.

"Tapping the Oceans" is comprised of contributors experts in the field of water desalination politics and technology including: E. Feitelson, M. Fragkou, S. Gorostiza, A. Loftus, H. March, J. McEvoy, D. Pavon Gamero, D. Sauri, A. Scheba, S. Scheba, E. Swyngedouw, M. Usher, J. Williams.

Critique: Enhanced with figures and tables, the ten articles comprising ""Tapping the Oceans: Seawater Desalination and the Political Ecology of Water" is an extraordinary work of seminal scholarship. Exceptionally well organized and presented, including a four page Index, "Tapping the Oceans" would well serve as a supplemental studies curriculum textbook on the subject and is unreservedly recommended for college, university, corporate, and governmental library Environmental Studies collections in general, and Water Desalination collections reading lists in particular.

Paul T. Vogel

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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