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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 7 July 2017 Home | MBW Index

Table of Contents

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

Cowper's Bookshelf

Unsafe at Any Meal
Dr. Renee Joy Dufault
Square One Publishers
115 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, NY 11040
9780757004360 $16.95 pbk / $13.68 ebook

Synopsis: Each year, Americans consume hundreds of food products that contain truly dangerous compounds, including heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful additives - with the blessing of the FDA. Why is this happening and why haven't you heard about it? In Unsafe at Any Meal, Dr. Renee Dufault, former food investigator for the Food and Drug Administration, provides the startling answers.

While at the FDA, Dr. Dufault discovered that mercury - a highly toxic metal - was contaminating the plumbing systems of many food manufacturing plants. Upon further examination, she discovered that the same mercury was also evident in a number of processed foods commonly sold in supermarkets. When Dr. Dufault revealed these disturbing findings to her superiors, she was told to stop her investigation. Her continued efforts to raise the issue always met with a dead end, so she chose to take an early retirement from the FDA.

Dr. Dufault then devoted her energy to making the public aware of the insidious dangers that contaminate our food. In 2010, she founded an organization of scientists to study the scope of this problem and has published numerous research articles on the topic with little fanfare. To expose what still seems to be a well-kept secret by the FDA, she has written Unsafe at Any Meal to provide consumers with the information they need to know.

Critique: Unsafe at Any Meal: What the FDA Does Not Want You To Know About the Foods You Eat warns readers about commonly eaten foods that can possess heavy metals (such as lead or mercury, the consumption of which can contribute to conditions such as ADHD or autism), explains food labeling in plain terms, offers guidelines for a nutritionally balanced diet, and much more. Extensive references and an index round out this "must-have" for health-conscious consumers. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Unsafe at Any Meal is also available as an ebook ($13.68).

Unleashing The Healing Power Of Animals
Dale Preece-Kelly
Hubble & Hattie
c/o Veloce Publishing
9781845849566, $13.99, PB, 88pp,

Synopsis: "Unleashing The Healing Power Of Animals" features ten animals (nine non-human and one human) take the reader on ten journeys, where, in each case, an animal in need of rescue overcomes their issues and goes on to help people overcome theirs.

Featuring a unique range of species, some never previously used in a therapeutic environment, this book demonstrates how each species brings its own benefits to a therapy session. With a foreword from respected Animal Geographer Dr Daniel Allen, who has long supported Dale's work, the book also answers many questions posed by those interested in working within the field of animal assisted therapy, including: How do you select a therapy animal?; How do you 'train' a therapy animal?; What are the benefits of working with different animals?

Critique: In "Unleashing The Healing Power Of Animals" by Dale Preece-Kelly draws upon his expertise as an Animal Assisted Therapy Practitioner to details his own very personal experiences (including how he was rescued by his animals) describing how the creatures he has rescued have become first class therapy animals. An absolutely fascinating and informative read from cover to cover, "Unleashing The Healing Power Of Animals" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Pets/Wildlife collections in general, and Rescue Animal supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Mike Dicks & Scrabble
Hubble & Hattie
c/o Veloce Publishing
9781787110601, $12.99, HC, 64pp,

Synopsis: The relationship between dogs and humans has been evolving for tens of thousands of years, but it was only when Scrabble began writing about this from a dog's perspective that humans realized the true nature of their Best Friend status.

"Mike&ScrabbleToo" is the awkwardly adorable sequel to Mike Dicks' debut book "Mike&Scrabble". It represents the collected posts and tweets of our dynamic duo from the summer of 2016 to 'it's Christmas,' and reflects the changing nature of their relationship - as well as the improving drawing skills of Scrabble's chosen illustrator, Mike.

Critique: Wonderfully entertaining and highly recommended for community library collections, "Mike&ScrabbleToo" features more flights of fancy, more smiles and fewer moments of sadness than Scrabble's first offering and is simply a 'must read' for anyone that has a canine companion of their own.

Swim: Stories of the Sixties
Sandra Scofield
Wellstone Press
404 Wilson Road, Ashland, OR 97520
9781930835191, $21.00, HC, 134pp,

Synopsis: It's the early Sixties. The Grateful Dead and free love are still around the corner. But the young woman in the three stories comprising "Swim: Stories of the Sixties" knows that sex is the coin of the realm. From Mexico to Mykonos, she's looking for a place to light, and she thinks she'll know when she's finally home. For sure she knows she doesn't want men to tell her how to live. She doesn't even want them saying her name.

In "Oh Baby Oh" a woman called Baby hitchhikes from New York to San Francisco, to join a young man she met three years earlier. He wants to settle down in a conventional way, but she hopes he'll settle for her company long enough for her to plan her own future. She learns that her underlying contempt for an unsophisticated man is a sure way to be seen as contemptuous herself. Only the kindness of a young couple saves her from despair.

In "An Easy Pass" Baby spends a day at a tienta (the testing of brave bulls) on a bullfighter's ranch. There, she thinks she knows her place, and feels safe. After all, she amuses her host, and asks nothing of him, so feels superior to the other women who have gathered at the ranch. But when she capes a calf in the ring, her powerful host, with his cruel sense of play, lets her know where she stands in the world where she does not belong.

Finally, on the island of Mykonos, long before it became an Adriatic hot spot, Baby offers her friendship and guidance to two young soldiers on holiday. She helps them find a room, the best food, the best beach, and asks for nothing but their company. Only the soldiers are Oklahoma hardshell Baptist Christians. Confounded by Baby's insouciance, they scheme to save her from a rootless life, which sends her, in a fit of angry independence, straight out to sea.

Critique: "Swim: Stories of the Sixties" is an engaging and entertaining trio of original, linked, entertaining short stories the showcases author Sandra Scofield's natural gift for deftly crafted and compelling fiction in the short story format. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Swim: Stories of the Sixties" is also available in a paperback edition (9781930835184, $15.00).

Mary Cowper

Donovan's Bookshelf

Final Enemy
Dan Petrosini
ASIN: B072FNDQ68 $0.99

Jack is a newspaper man working the obituaries at Keokuk's daily newspaper, The Iowan. His life doesn't seem to change much between the news of deaths and burials (he's even been reduced to writing pet stories), and the only exciting thing that's happened recently is his observation of what may have been an asteroid streaking across the night sky: a sighting he dutifully reports to his grandmother as the only interesting bit of news in his life. It's a bit strange that there have been no deaths to report in three days; but things are about to get even stranger when he requests an assignment to cover the asteroid, only to find that the curious phenomenon of there being no deaths in the area follows the route the asteroid took.

From then on, suspense and science join forces with intrigue as Jack's perseverance in covering the asteroid turns into quite a different kind of confrontation with life, death, and everything in between. Is something larger happening; or is it just coincidence? Suddenly the obit section just got a lot more interesting, because there aren't any deaths to speak of. Jack is not only one of the early ones to note this change, but is one of the first to investigate it.

Final Enemy takes many unpredictable twists and turns as it examines the dwindling number of natural deaths, embracing the highest levels of political power as institutions begin to break down and as Jack struggles to protect those he loves.

In some ways Final Enemy is a story of social disintegration as well as a saga of survival. Secret plans, starvation, suicide, and a series of events that spiral the human race into a desperate survival mode evolve from a seemingly singular event and leads to a fast-paced action story that delights with its penchant for the unexpected.

In the face of a death-defying power, what's the "new normal"? And why would any nation resist the powerful promises of Remedy? As action embraces a desperate attempt to use science to stem a tide that could obliterate humanity itself, Final Enemy becomes a gripping blend of thriller and science fiction that's hard to put down and satisfyingly surprising in its plot's evolution.

Thriller fans and those who relish apocalyptic visions of the future will love the tension so exquisitely honed by Dan Petrosini in this engrossing saga.

The Piper
Ben Miller
Krac Publishing
9781540470911 $14.99 pbk, $4.99 ebook

The Piper is a sequel to the 2013 story A Bustle in the Hedgerow, but to approach it as a continuing story alone would be to do it a disservice because it truly is a stand-alone read that requires no prior familiarity with its predecessor in order to prove compelling, logical, and complete.

Mysterious kidnappings of infants done in an especially diabolical manner involve the already emotionally weary Jackson Byrne in a plot that challenges a life which seems both too demanding and 'stuck' in too many ways.

These kidnappings leave behind no clues, no witnesses, and no possibilities - and it requires the services of a rare FBI investigator and team well versed in child abduction cases because these particular episodes hold surprisingly few possibilities or perps.

The first kidnapping involves a Tasar blast to a harried new mother who can't seem to make her newborn happy. But this isn't the end of the story: as new kidnappings demand Jackson's expertise, only to challenge his perspective and unique investigative talents, they seem to indicate that a mysterious, modern-day Pied Piper has a deadly bigger picture in mind; and that he has a lot more in mind for Jackson and the missing infants.

More so than most investigative pieces, family structures and relationships are a big part of The Piper, covering Jackson's own demanding role helping his wife and the families of others he knows. Where the usual detective piece would focus mostly on clues, mysteries, and legal processes, The Piper adds a healthy dose of interpersonal interactions throughout its mix to keep its characters lively and involving, with personal and professional lives often teetering at the cutting edge of both problem-solving and self-discovery.

From unexpected moments of grief and loss ("His sentiments of sadness, shame, and anger mixed together to create a confusing palette, like blobs of finger paint at an impatient toddler's workstation blending into a deep brown. He had never cried for his mother before. This realization made him feel less ashamed. Every child should grieve at the loss of a parent, he supposed. Even a drug-addled abandoner like her.") and their wider-ranging impact on future decisions to a new trial with old news that threatens to destroy a family, The Piper's twist and turns will prove as unpredictable as the story's perp's ultimate purpose.

Plenty of investigative fiction pieces revolve around kidnappings and threats to children; but bundle overall relationship challenges and add legal twists into the mix, along with the struggles of an FBI agent who becomes personally embroiled in the child abduction case and a high-profile trial, and you have a piece that employs deep psychological intrigue and tension to power its saga of loss and survival.

Fans of investigative mysteries who seek solid psychological depth as it reviews family interactions and relationships will find The Piper provides a compelling, absorbing story right up to its unexpected conclusion.

Magic Hands: Professional Card Trick Secrets Revealed
Herbert L. Becker
Plain Sight Publishing
c/o Cedar Fort, Inc.
2373 West 700 South, Springville, Utah 84663
9781462120598, $16.99,

Herbert L. Becker was voted Best USA Magician in 1975 and 1976 by Houdini Magic Magazine. He's also written a series of magic trick books in the past, so one would anticipate, by this experience and the instructions in the book, that Magic Hands would add to the blossoming literature revealing magician secrets; but magic is about more than sleight-of-hand and illusion, and can serve as a nugget of wisdom about wider-ranging facets of life.

There are different ways of viewing Magic Hands. The first admonition to a potential reader is to expect a larger application of the magic card concept than simple exposes about how each trick operates and how to duplicate it. Despite the chapter headings and directions, embedded in the focus is a review of mechanics and science, learning curves and approaches, and a would-be magician's development and application of maturity, expertise and performance persona which moves beyond the trick and into the basics of life and learning skills.

Take the simple, basic trick of palming cards, for example. The 'magic' lies in learning not just the basic trick, but in honing the tools behind its successful incarnation. Magic and mechanics are separated in each trick and clearly explained using a step-by-step approach.

This approach clearly notes what separates the trickster from the true illusionist, emphasizing the practice involved in taking a special effect and repeating it until it truly appears magical. It also allows readers to understand that much of magic's nuts and bolts don't lie in the illusion alone, but in the practice of its mechanics to produce a seamless result every time.

Audience perceptions and belief systems, the mathematics involved in creating illusions, and the refinement of timing, coordination, and stage talk all illustrate basic facets of not just duplicating tricks, but learning their reinforcement practices.

Aspiring magicians and any interested in the results of understanding not just "how" but "why" in the finer art of illusion and stage productions will find Magic Hands offers a template for professional results and a solid learning approach that will carry over into other aspects of life, making it seem just as magical a process.

Liam McPhee & The Thief of Laughter
M. Evangeline
Celtic Light Productions

The rugged shores of Scotland, with its heaths and highlands, serves as a backdrop for the inviting faerie tale-like story of Liam McPhee, an eleven year old hero, who faces an array of almost insurmountable challenges in a young adult fantasy designed to attract all ages with its Scottish roots and high adventure. Liam McPhee & The Thief of Laughter is a refreshingly original story with enough twists and turns to make it a top pick for all ages of readers.

The first thing to note about Liam McPhee & The Thief of Laughter is that the story was written for the author's own Scottish grandchildren, which lends it a feisty sense of reality as the young people immersed in their Scottish roots find adventure in the most unremarkable of places.

Another powerful facet of this story lies in its atmosphere. From the busy docks of the town to a book-loving man's determination to involve kids in reading, the tale is filled with atmosphere and description that pull readers into its setting and culture: "Willow liked to scrunch-up the wee children of Scrucheon Road in large oversized chairs with worn and exotic books from all corners of the globe. In fact, you might find old Willow himself, reading out-loud, the pages of some tattered book, delighting the children of the neighborhood with tales old and new. Nothing seemed remarkable about that at all, nor did it seem remarkable that the inhabitants of the street were jolly or happy or gleeful from early misty mornings and stayed that way until the misty night pulled in another foggy dew covered dawn over the cobbled lane. Aye, Scruncheon Road was a delightfully happy place."

This is a good place to mention that Scottish brogue appears frequently in the dialogue ("Oh, Sally, goo' morning to ye," Liam greeted."), so young readers should be prepared for this as the story thickens.

And what a story it is! An evil fairy and a pirate (among others) decide to steal the laughter of the children of Scotland to use this for ransom - and what's more, they are successful! One might think that would be the end of this story, but it's only the beginning. Eleven-year-old Liam is a formidable, feisty young hero, but the evil Glaistig is equally cunning and well-presented: "I want you to steal every last laugh. I want all the laughter in Scotland captured and put in that cup. I don't want to hear another laugh. Not ever."

At times the dialogue of the Spriggans is reminiscent of Golem in Lord of the Rings: "Ohhss, "said the Spriggans. "ohhss, theys paaye dos theyss?", but since many in this age group won't be familiar with the weightier Tolkein scenario, this similarity in no way detracts from the drama and adds to the personality of the characters.

As the wild Scottish sea churns, the faery queen Luminata becomes involved, and though some of the descriptions and sentences are long enough to be deemed paragraphs ("And they fell down the moonbeam they fell right through the memory of home and as they tumbled all their lost buttons and lost mittens and lost balls and lost hats and scattered marbles spun around them like little galaxies and they laughed to see their lost mittens again and then they tumbled through the memories of their mothers and their fathers and through the memories of their own soft beds and warm pajamas and then they tumbled head over heels right back upon the shoreline where they slept."), the atmosphere and description can't be beat.

Monks, pirates, spells, dragons, and the future of Scotland wind into an epic tale that is quite long (over seventy chapters!) and delightfully compelling. The wealth of characters introduced - Rico, Izzy, Ragpicker, Melrose, and many more - require affection for detail and changing scenarios, but the three books of Liam McPhee & The Thief of Laughter together form an epic quest and struggle that a shorter treatment could not have adequately captured.

Especially recommended for young adults who enjoy multi-book and winding fantasy sagas, Liam McPhee & The Thief of Laughter is refreshingly original tale, well-steeped in Scottish atmosphere and culture, and replete with enough unexpected twists and turns to make it a top pick for all ages.

The Butcher's Bill
Martin Roy Hill
32-32 North Publishing
9780692802939, $10.99 PB, Digital Book, $2.99

Bill Butcher is on a mission and he's busy spying on an encampment of quasi-professionals in San Diego county. It's a job which seems almost too easy for him, even though it involves entering a secure office to make a threat.

As he pulls a gruesome example out of a bag, it's quickly evident that the central character in The Butcher's Bill is no hero. He may even be a deadly killer. But, whose side is he on? As events unwind to reveal overseas connections, warped loyalties, a friendship that demands big sacrifices, and an explosive story of violence and conspiracy, Bill is at the center of a social, political, and criminal maelstrom that keeps on growing, embracing and consuming participants up to the highest levels of government.

Readers of The Butcher's Bill should know that this thriller pairs high-octane action with a relentless force that embraces all kinds of connections and levels of confrontation, including more than a few descriptions of violent repercussions from deadly actions.

Butcher is newly "back from the dead" and his presence haunts friends and enemies alike, but the crux of the story's action takes place on an international stage where special interests combine with murder for an especially grim and involving portrait of intrigue and despair.

Readers who like their action swift and unrelenting, their heroes quasi-admirable and questionable in their ethics and morals, and their political and social mixes complex and surprising will find much to like in a story line that blends astute psychological examination and interpersonal relationship insights into its thriller elements: "Was he about to storm a ship - a ship guarded by armed men - because of his love for Yolanda and not out of friendship for Bill?"

Those who like their thrillers gritty and charged with unpredictable twists will relish the different directions chosen by Bill and his friend in this engrossing saga, which requires no prior familiarity with Linus Shag's previous story to prove delightfully complex and surprising right up to its unanticipated ending.

The Grumpface
BCR Fegan
9780995359208 (Hardback), $15.99
9780995359215 (Paperback), $ 8.99
9780995359222 (Kindle), $ 4.99
9780995359239 (ePub), $ 4.99

The Grumpface is illustrated by D. Frongia and offers picture book readers with good reading skills a fun tale set in the faraway village of Hay, which resides near the forest of Ho near an especially grouchy creature called The Grumpface.

A rollicking rhyme quickly reveals the ugly ogre's origins ("...he was cursed long ago, as a grumpy old man/When he grumped at a wizard who came up with a plan/That because he was grumpy and would never replace/His frown with a smile, he'd stay a grumpface.") and his threat to all who enter his realm, but stays on track as it centers on the meat of the story, which is about a quiet, would-be inventor who dreams of success and love, but never quite achieves victory.

Dan's idea of impressing a girl with something special and elusive lead him into Grumpface's clutches where he faces a series of impossible tasks with dubious freedom as the prize. Can Dan's invention abilities help him out of this impossible jam, even if they tend to regularly go awry?

Large-sized, whimsical illustrations bring this story to life, but its real winning feature lies in a bumbling would-be hero who has ambitions but never seems to quite achieve them, and the process by which he overcomes being daft to not only gain success, but help the Grumpface evolve as a result of their interactions.

Kids receive a warm, bright, fun story with a message that encourages reflection about interpersonal relationships, achievements, and thwarting one's impulse towards grumpiness. Parents will welcome an approach that couches its life messages with bright illustrations and vivid fantasy adventure nicely tailored for either read-aloud or for individual pursuit by youngsters with appropriate reading skills.

Rise and Decline
Bruce D. Thatcher
Lulu Press, Publisher
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781365771279, $26.00

Rise and Decline: Where We Are and What We Can Do About It is Book 3 in the 'History Speaks Today' series, and pairs historical facts with modern lessons that can be learned from events of the past. Structured as case studies and discussion guides for all ages, this offers a platform for connecting historical episodes and facts to today's dilemmas and events, reaching past the concept of studying history to draw important connections about how familiar political and social situations have their analogues in past events and decisions.

To consider the wider effects of world history in such a venture would be impossibly dense, so Bruce D. Thatcher selects six republics from Roman times upwards who have experienced phenomenal rises, declines, and virtual extinction to illustrate the common processes they shared and what these mean today.

Does the normal evolution of a political system translate to its inevitable demise? What factors contribute to this decline, and can it be altered? Not just history students but governmental policymakers and concerned, educated citizens alike receive a discussion that includes footnoted references to and quotes from source materials as they document dictators, civil wars, sieges, political unions and their dissolutions.

Discussion is also encouraged by chapter questions throughout, which offer fodder for debate and analysis.

Readers should consider Rise and Decline not just another historical review of events, but a very pointed, detailed examination of the underlying principles governing nations and affecting their progress. This is the meat of this book, and what sets it apart from the usual historical review. The observations about each republic's struggles are astute and meant to be thought-provoking reflections: "During the Commonwealth's rise and maturity, and especially as it declined, the mass of the szlachta were obsessed with the mere appearance of personal freedom and privilege, to the detriment of the enabling principles."

Not for the light history buff, Rise and Decline's detailed and important survey is a 'must' for any who would consider the foundations of nations, how they are strengthened and how and why they crumble, and how these relate to social and political policymaking at all levels. Serious readers open to contemplation and analysis will relish the encouragement of higher-level thinking which is offered in Rise and Decline, which holds a basic, key message for all concerned about the strength and structure of political institutions around the world, and particularly in America.

Your Crocodile Has Arrived
Laurie McAndish King
Destination Insights
9780998661513, $14.95,

Your Crocodile Has Arrived: More True Stories from a Curious Traveler is for armchair travelers who prefer to experience their action vicariously, and who cultivate a love of travel and the adventures associated with journeys.

This audience receives a travel memoir that goes beyond the usual cross-cultural encounter, explaining at the start how unusual places attract Laurie McAndish King, and why: "That sense of loss, of the ephemeral quality of our lives, has been especially powerful these past few years. I have found myself drawn to disappearing landscapes and pickled body parts, to ancient relics and invisible energies. And, especially in this new age of alternative facts and science deniers, I mourn our collective losses."

As she explains and explores this perspective, a sense of curiosity and adventure enhances a series of encounters that are anything but ordinary travel experiences. How does a visit to Auckland's iconic Sky Tower with the intention of a lovely view, cocktails and dinner turn into this, for example?: "All five toes of my right foot hang out over the edge of the Sky Tower's narrow exterior walkway, 630 feet above the city of Auckland. There is no guardrail. There is nothing at all to hold onto - nothing but thin air. I try to remember why I am here. Did I need an adrenalin rush? Was I trying to prove something? Had I come for the view?"

And how does a visit to a Cornwall town renowned for its smuggling history turn into a possible offer of modern-day involvement?: "Climbing aboard the bus, I asked the driver whether the Cornish still move contraband these days. "Of course not," he replied heartily. "That's all in the past." Then quickly, under his breath he added, "What is it yer lookin' for, lass?"

As humor, history, and adventure weave a series of uncommon experiences, armchair travelers receive a thoroughly engrossing read that is simply unpredictable. The places and experiences are diverse and unexpected throughout and provide 21 true travel tales that incorporate a healthy dose of understanding about other worlds and possibilities.

Travel memoir readers are in for a big treat, here. Smugglers, worms and karma, and retired military men who investigate UFOs - oh, my!

The Keystone Approach for Psoriasis and Arthritis
Rebecca Fett
Franklin Fox Publishing
9780991126958, $15.95, PB,

The Keystone Approach for Psoriasis and Arthritis focuses on diet as an option for alleviating the devastating symptoms of psoriasis and arthritis, and incorporates hundreds of scientific studies on nutrition and health to craft a plan that combines the Mediterranean diet with supplements for maximum effect.

The concept is simple: the diet can be used to restore gut health and combat the inflammation caused by autoimmune reactions. But, can food really be used as medicine? According to studies applied to Rebecca Fett's plan, it can - and, backed by the author's impressive authority and background (she holds a degree in molecular biotechnology and biochemistry from the University of Sydney and spent ten years as a biotechnology patent litigator in New York, where she specialized in analyzing the scientific and clinical evidence for immune-targeting biologic medicines), it's quickly evident that this is no 'pop' approach but offers serious scientific food for thought.

Chapters analyze the Mediterranean diet framework as it applies to health processes in general and autoimmune disease in particular, considering the processes and challenges of rebalancing the microbiome and covering anti-inflammatory treatments as a whole. As she reviews not just food and drugs but overall health systems and how they operate, readers receive a series of studies backed by heavily footnoted references throughout which support the author's contentions. These alternatives to traditional treatment approaches aren't just idealistic concepts, but verifiable, bona fide, science-backed approaches.

This is no easy path, it should be forewarned. It's not just a matter of changing diet and popping a few pills: there are many cautions involved in the process, which Rebecca Fett also includes: "Supplements can also obscure the results of dietary changes, as explained by Dr. Suskind of Seattle Children's is useful to keep other supplements to a bare minimum while experimenting with dietary changes."

Charts, summaries of scientific studies and analysis of how they apply to and support the author's contentions, and even recipes offer everything readers need to consider the benefits and logic of applying this program to their own needs.

It's rare to find an alternative health book so thoroughly backed by scientific studies, but The Keystone Approach for Psoriasis and Arthritis is not only a specific, authoritative recommendation, but represents a satisfying intersection of traditional and alternative approaches to healing. It should be in any health collection where autoimmune diseases are of interest.

Igor Eliseev
Glagoslav Publications
9781911414230, $22.22,

Conjoined twins are not typically the topic of a novel about social consciousness and its evolution, but One-Two is packed with surprises on many levels, and only one of them has to do with their physical connection as twins Hope and Faith make their way through an uncertain life.

Consigned to foster homes for much of their young lives, they face many obstacles; but perhaps the greatest is the miracle of a science which promises to separate them and give them a wholeness neither is familiar with.

The first thing to realize about One-Two is that it's loaded with gorgeous imagery and observation that aren't limited to social or psychological descriptions, but astutely capture the most subtle of nuances and impressions of the twins' lives: "Shortly before the New Year there was a thaw and the snow outside melted almost completely. Our room was lit by bright sunlight through the window grids and shiny knives of light pointed to the part where our bodies were joined."

From the bright childhood memories of oranges and snow and one twin's dreams of transformation from an Ugly Duckling before she quite realizes the reason behind her dream to the emotional storms of an entwined life ("You killed me with your words. I could understand and agree with you in my mind, but my heart had a will of its own. I burst into tears; you watched dispassionately, and then said in a conciliatory tone: "Well, maybe, we will be lucky and find good doctors; they will study our case and separate us in no time at all. You will come back here on two legs, confess your feelings to Sasha, and the two of you will move far, far away from here." Thank you, sister, and thank you a thousand times more. Despite being a realist, you never deprived me of the ultimate hope."), One-Two is packed with a web of first-person insights uniquely able to draw readers into a sinuous story of love, connections, and social earthquakes alike.

From love to begging in the streets to facing humiliation and the choice of death, the twins endlessly struggle with themselves, each other, and society; always at odds with their individuality and their connections.

In pulling no punches, the read becomes an emotional roller coaster of insight, observation, and angst, carrying readers into a world wracked by difficulty and challenge. Lest readers think this is just a story of twins, it should be emphasized that social observation is as intrinsically woven into the plot as their personal relationships: "...the country sank deeper and deeper into an atmosphere painfully reminiscent of our tunnel, where nobody believed in anything and nobody trusted anyone. People traded all they could: veterans sold their awards, actresses adored by millions of fans across the country offered their hungry bodies and even those who did not have anything bartered what remained of their conscience for money. In our crippled country, we ceased to be cripples."

What at first appears to be a novel about conjoined twins' struggles becomes a hard-hitting social commentary replete with vivid insights and thought-provoking moments: "These are times when everything is valued," he said with his eyelids drooping: "odd galoshes, empty bottles and even yesterday's newspapers, but pure, sincere feelings are depreciated and thrown out like household garbage, like something shameful and useless."

Wind social and political commentary and observation into a plot that examines the inner lives and feelings of two impossibly connected siblings for a story replete with emotion, drive, and insight that addresses issues of charity, love, connections, and the perspective of an observer inexorably connected to her world in more than one way.

One-Two is very highly recommended as a powerful literary and social commentary piece that's hard to put down.

The Underground, second edition
Roxanne Bland
Blackrose Press
9780996731683, $13.00 PB, $2.99 Digital,

The second updated edition of The Underground opens with the struggle of a man who fights to stay human as he faces the werewolf within him, and is set in an alternate Seattle, Washington world where witches, vampires, and werewolves - "exotics" - live alongside humans.

In this world, a series of inexplicable murders threaten the stability of a fragile relationship between different factions. Human attitudes need to change, but are heading in the wrong direction, and fiery passions between a possible alien and an exotic ignite a whirl of sexual energy which is added into the mix of confrontation and investigation surrounding escalating threats.

Part murder mystery, part investigative detective piece, and thoroughly imbibed with sexual and social tension throughout, The Underground is a story of passion, uncertain relationships, and a social system that teeters on the edge of chaos.

While readers will likely choose The Underground for its fantasy elements of vampires, werewolves and the like, to call it an urban fantasy is to simplify its complexity, which ventures into the detective and mystery arenas with its presentation of an interstellar assassin's impact. Graphic sexual scenes and ripples of violence and profanity throughout make this story a recommendation not for the light reader of vampire tales; but for those who can appreciate a gritty, street-wise, and sometimes sordid tone to descriptions of an underground world whose inhabitants skirt the boundaries of propriety.

Delve into the hidden worlds of these creatures of the night. They're vivid and engrossingly compelling in a tale highly recommended for sci-fi and urban fantasy readers looking for a story that's satisfyingly edgier than most.

Chaos: A Tale of Murder and Conspiracy
Lawrence J. Epstein
Fig Hollow Publishing
ASIN: B071VDK6Z3, $0 .99, Digital,

Novels set in 1935 America during the dust storm era rarely include elements of detective investigations and intrigue, but Chaos offers a far different sense of its times than most, and will attract mystery and detective readers to its tale of ex-World-War-I soldier Daniel's search for his son.

His journey alone would have made for an intriguing read, but the action and implications of the story are further heightened by two other main characters he encounters along the way: Jack, who searches for his wife's killer, and Hannah, a reporter hot on the trail of stories of intrigue and action who rejects the notion that she should forego career for family even as she questions her abilities and her destiny.

The special purposes of these three dovetail in a cross-country adventure that leads them to reach for separate goals and view life differently.

The feel of the story is exquisite: not quite a detective tale (because its characters aren't quasi-investigators by nature, but ordinary individuals changed by life's circumstances) and not a novel of Dust Bowl impacts, Chaos goes beyond the usual approaches to present an unexpectedly delightful blend of personal inspection and social commentary.

The interactions between protagonists are well done, with powerful dialogue presenting deep revelations and powerful decisions: "That's why I don't miss being a rabbi anymore, Daniel. People came to me shaking with sorrow...Without saying so, they begged me to say God was watching over them or some family member. I lied. I lied a thousand times, Daniel. I can't really say that God is watching anyone. I don't know what God is doing. I don't know right now if God looks out for little boys in trouble."

From the culture and experience of riding train rails to a feisty woman determined to be something more than her destiny ("You know what happens if I can't write the stories. I either spend my life looking at flower shows or I quit. And you know what happens if I quit. I become what every woman in America wants to be. I become a wife and a mother."), this story provides three microcosms of chaos that moves from personal lives to greater social experience.

The result is a powerful story of interlocking experiences that winds through the underbellies of society in such a way that readers who enjoy the combination of history, vivid characters, and detective investigations alike will relish the multi-faceted layers and approach of Chaos: A Tale of Murder and Conspiracy, which sweeps readers into the lives of three disparate people who search for the right paths in their lives.

Chatur and the Enchanted Jungle
Subhash Kommuru
Kommuru Books
9781946312013, $2.99, Digital Book,

Chatur and his intelligent donkey Gadhu return in another picture book story that pairs a series of insights contrasting hasty paces, decisions, and approaches to the world with a more sedate and quiet choice. It offers kids a colorful picture book mix of fun adventure and thought-provoking moments perfect for parental read-aloud and discussion.

Bright, large-size illustrations by Nayan Soni accompany the tale of a jungle short cut that results in becoming lost. Strangely enough, Chatur finds his every wish is granted in this realm, from water to quench his thirst to the sudden appearance of food when he feels hungry. He's satisfied to just accept these gifts without question, but it's the wise Gadhu who cautions that such largess may not come without a price tag.

As greed sets in upon the realization that they've stumbled on a magical forest where every wish comes true, Gadhu can only shake his head. Is 'bigger' necessarily better? Chatur is well on the road to an epiphany, and youngsters will easily follow his logical decisions, which are backed with colorful drawings throughout.

It should be mentioned that while Chatur and the Enchanted Jungle dovetails neatly with the format and perspective of the first Chatur adventure, no prior familiarity is needed for newcomers to enjoy this continuing story of a wise donkey and an often-foolish man's very different perspectives on how to live life and embrace its values.

This Hindi story easily reaches beyond its Indian cultural roots to offer an important platform for discussion to all ethnic groups, and is highly recommended for parents who look for tales that build thought-provoking moments into their action.

Blackout: The Life and Sordid Times of Bobby Travis
Edgar Swamp
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9780692832448, $0.99, Digital Book

While a true-life story inspired the creation of Blackout: The Life and Sordid Times of Bobby Travis, it is not an autobiographical presentation but a fictionalized dramatization of events, and follows a character who blacks out repeatedly in the course of his life. This serves as a constant 'reset' button to his life. As author Edgar Swamp began wondering about how life would be if blackouts were a regular occurrence, he gained the idea for this story.

The protagonist, Bobby, is an addict. If he's not in a stupor, he's questioning what just happened, facing unfathomable gaps in his memory and life. He's working on shaking free of the binges which create this kind of life for the sake of his daughter and in the interests of being a better father to her; but before he can make any real changes, he becomes tangled up with a Mexican drug cartel which kidnaps his beloved daughter and forces him on a path that AA and other recovery groups couldn't match.

Suddenly he has a big reason for conquering his addictions and quashing his blackouts - and it involves life or death and a complicated arrangement to trade one life for another. The problem comes back to his blackouts, however, which continue to complicate matters.

Executioners, mob members and big money, the long-range impacts of a lack of recollection, and gambling and drug issues plague Bobby's life as much as his freestyling ride through hoaxes, realities, and a sudden singular determination to rescue his daughter - an impulse which overrides many of his self-destructive habits.

Readers who appreciate stories of addiction and recovery, tales of international intrigue and kidnappings, and investigative pieces that focus as much on interpersonal relationships and recovery processes as on the events which challenge a stagnated life will find that the psychological depth in Blackout is exquisitely done.

The fact that Bobby's life, associations with others, and options change in response to the special challenges around him adds to a thought-provoking series of encounters that revolve around fear, hard choices, and deadly consequences.

Enthusiasts of thrillers and investigative pieces will find a strange sort of hero in the form of Bobby, who might be juggling too many challenges to save the one thing he loves in life. Addicted and alone, Bobby's confrontation of many forms of demons is well done and engrossing right up to a showdown that questions the humanity in evil actions and the events that lure him from the drunk tank (his home away from home) to a transformative, life-affirming experience.

Readers of the type of suspense which involves social inspection and personal growth will relish Bobby's journey and the elements that finally bring him peace.

The Untainted Egyptian Origin: Why Ancient Egypt Matters
Moustafa Gadalla
Tehuti Research Foundation
P.O. Box 39491, Greensboro, NC 27438

The Untainted Egyptian Origin: Why Ancient Egypt Matters will reach new age, Egyptologist and religious and social science readers alike with its wide-ranging inspection of Egyptian cosmology and the links between ancient and modern social, spiritual and political processes, and is recommended for collections looking for out-of-the-box thinking backed by solid research.

Moustafa Gadalla is an Egyptian-American independent Egyptologist who has published over twenty prior books on the topic. He started a foundation devoted to linking ancient Egyptian events to their modern world influences; so this effort comes not from a new age speculator, but from a serious professional well grounded in the history and studies of ancient Egypt.

This sets his series apart from many others. This introduction, The Untainted Egyptian Origin - Why Ancient Egypt Matters, offers a perfect opener to the series by answering the basic question of why modern readers should care about ancient times.

As chapters reveal various facets of this culture, they are quite specific about how ancient Egyptian choices differ from any other and how they contribute to a greater purpose: "The general perception of mysticism is that it is possible to achieve communion with God, by attaining knowledge of spiritual truth through intuition acquired by fixed meditation. The Egyptian model for gaining knowledge is based on the utilization of both intellect and intuition."

While readers might anticipate a good degree of complexity given both the subject and the author's credentials, it should be noted that the material, though solidly backed by scientific and historical research, is quite accessible to a wide range of readers, including novices with little background in the subject. This is because terminology is clearly defined, the focus is on providing a clear overview and introduction without prior need for expertise, and the approach of linking ancient to modern times is quite effective.

Readers might not expect a cross-genre approach that blends philosophy, religion, archaeology, the arts, and social and political inspection. One might think that an overview would be shallower. But the pleasure of this book lies in its ability to integrate potentially complex, confusing topics with a unity that helps everything come together and make sense, from hieroglyphics and their interpretation to the Egyptian concept of conflict: "War, for the Ancient Egyptians, followed rules as strict as a chess game and had specific rituals. They were truly the civilized people. A war had a profound religious significance. It symbolized the forces of order controlling chaos and the light triumphing over darkness."

This introduction touches on many subjects in a sweeping, logical overview that sets the stage for more books and further details. Newcomers interested in the topic from different angles will find much food for thought in an approach that neatly sets the stage for understanding not just ancient Egyptian life, but humanity's place in the scheme of the universe.

The Ancient Egyptian Culture Revealed, second edition
Moustafa Gadalla
Tehuti Research Foundation
P.O. Box 39491, Greensboro, NC 27438

This revised edition of a 2007 title expands and adds more information to the previous text, including photos and appendixes to round out and compliment its focus on the ancient peoples of Egypt and their culture, making for an important replacement volume for any collection that has consulted its predecessor over the years.

History is recorded by the winners of conflicts - and Egyptian history is no exception to this rule. Unfortunately, most Egyptian history surveys come from a decidedly Judeo-Christian perspective which incorporates prejudice and presumptions into its research. Biblical accounts from Hebrew texts serve as a shaky foundation to begin from, and myths start there as academic scholars ply their studies with approaches that refute basic Egyptian belief systems.

In The Ancient Egyptian Culture Revealed, Moustafa Gadalla brings the respect and acknowledgment process back into ancient Egyptian facts - something surprisingly lacking in academic research circles devoted to the subject - and reviews various introductory subjects to provide all levels of reader, from novices to quasi-experts, with a foundation from which to begin pursuing a real understanding of the ancient Egyptians and their society.

This introduction begins with a geographic examination of the land and features of the area and how the choices of the early Egyptians in building around the Nile River dictated their structures and the nature of their organization.

Some of the notes that are peppered almost casually throughout lend thought-provoking insights as almost an aside to the discussion, so readers need to move slowly and thoughtfully to capture the impact of statements such as this, which pinpoint common assumptions: "It should be noted that many pharaohs have inscribed their names on buildings that they never built. Therefore, just because Seti I inscribed his name on some parts of the Oseirion building, it does not make him the builder of the Oseirion."

One doesn't expect elevation, silt, and other geographic features to be important information in a study of Egyptian culture; but geographic placement and challenges are an intrinsic part of how a culture organizes and builds, and by probing the foundations of these choices, The Ancient Egyptian Culture Revealed creates a firm foundation of understanding which moves deftly into chapters which clearly identify common fallacies in Egyptology and then corrects these errors: "Because of the passive nature of the Baladi Egyptians, many people invented "theories" about the "identity" of the Egyptians that have absolutely no scientific and/or historical basis whatsoever. The premise of their baseless assertions is by division and racial identification of the people of Egypt, based on their assumed religions."

Every chapter takes a popular, long-held fallacy and holds it up to the light, revealing cracks in underlying premises and correcting them not with speculation or contrasting ideals, but using solid scientific, modern evidence: "In truth, the hundreds of Ancient Egyptian mummies - from all ages, together with DNA testing - as well as the numerous depicted figures in the Ancient Egyptian temples and tombs - show that present-day "Moslem" Egyptians are the same race as their Ancient Egyptian ancestors."

The give-and-take throughout is exquisite, creating a solid platform for considering not just Egyptian culture and history, but the exact (and many) points where study goes awry and prejudice and presumptions contribute to errors and omissions. Within these points are greater explorations of Egyptian culture based on interpretations and studies of papyrus which often holds surprising and specific evidence about just how advanced the ancient Egyptians were, both culturally and scientifically: "The Berlin Papyrus has been dated between 1350 and 1200 BCE. It deals with childbirth and infants. It contains a test for pregnancy, which recognized that urine carried the pregnancy factor."

Readers should expect many of the basic, long-taught premises about early Egypt to be turned upside down in a manner that lends to easy understanding by all readers, from those with no background in the subject to scholars long used to traditional approaches and their erroneous suppositions.

The result is a 'must' for any collection serious about not just early history or ancient Egypt, but the methods by which studies are conducted and myths perpetuated.

The Divine Female
Moustafa Gadalla
Tehuti Research Foundation
P.O. Box 39491, Greensboro, NC 27438

The new, expanded edition of The Divine Female adds further information and insights to its discussion of the ideal of the divine female and its relationship to male attributes. What does this idea have to do with the author's background as an expert in Egyptology? Plenty; because the foundations of ancient Isis beliefs are embedded in the idea of the divine female's image, from creation stories and Isis' role as the Divine Intellect to the incarnation of ancient Egyptian belief systems in modern Christian religions.

Chapters follow this analysis of feminine divinity as they discuss the spread of Egyptian religious principles throughout the world, the incarnation of Isis in various other cultures, and how sixteen female deities have their roots in Isis belief systems.

Social structures and their connections to spiritual harmony and paths, clarifications of important points of ancient Egyptian religions ("The Ancient Egyptian religion is not a matter of creed and dogma, but rather of a personal charter. Each one of us is an individual. One must live his/her own life, and each one of us must go his/her own way, guided by Maat."), and the ethical and social behaviors that are encouraged by Egyptian religious thinking are all surveyed in a tightly written, well-done presentation that takes a surprisingly wide range of disparate social, political, cultural and spiritual concepts and links them together under the broader umbrella of the divine female concept.

This study that promises to reach beyond the interests of Egyptologists and those concerned with ancient cultures and into the realms of women's studies, women's history, and women's spirituality.

Readers in all these areas will find this discussion well-done, supported by research and study, and very accessible to newcomers to either women's spiritual figures or ancient Egyptology.

Egyptian Cosmology: The Animated Universe
Moustafa Gadalla
Tehuti Research Foundation
P.O. Box 39491, Greensboro, NC 27438

Egyptian Cosmology: The Animated Universe offers a powerful alternative view of Egyptian perspectives about the universe and its spiritual connections, so readers who anticipate yet another survey of 'mythical figures' should be forewarned that this account doesn't follow the usual analytical paths, but posits different interpretations.

Traditional approaches to the subject have created a series of interpretation errors that have resulted in a wide-ranging set of misperceptions about ancient Egyptian society in general and its belief system in particular.

Egyptian Cosmology uses source material studies to refute these long-standing misinterpretations by prior scholars and their more casual readings of these materials; and the result provides startling food for thought.

Consider, for one example, that early religious texts have for too long been used as foundations not for spiritual but for historical reflection, resulting in interpretations that ignored some key ideas, misconstrued others, and generally built an erroneous platform supporting perceptions of the ancients as a primitive peoples with only rudimentary awareness of their world and how it operated.

This couldn't be further from the truth. As Moustafa Gadalla re-analyzes and reveals extent of early Egyptian cosmology, readers better understand how these foundation concepts reflect not only accurate and advanced viewpoints of the world, but relate directly to modern times.

One would expect that such a scholarly approach would involve special terminology and complex analysis accessible primarily to professional Egyptologists; but as with others in this series, Egyptian Cosmology is tailored for lay readers as well as researchers, building this accessibility by referring to past scholarship, ways in which it has diverged from source materials and circumvented the truth, and how concepts clearly expressed in ancient writings are still reflected in modern Egyptian works and perspectives.

From the idea of heavenly helpers and patrons to the notion, supported by artifacts, that the early Egyptians had a full working knowledge of cosmology and astronomy, readers receive quite a different interpretation of source materials that paints an entirely different viewpoint about the accuracy, sophistication, and advancements of these early peoples.

From the vital aliveness of Egyptian art representations that demand a re-assessment of analytical approaches ("...we must forego viewing the temple as an interplay of forms against a vague historical, archaeological presentation. Instead, we must try to see it as the relationship between form and function.") to the ancient Egyptian origins of modern symbols and images, this discussion should not be missed by any interested in revised interpretations of links between ancient and modern times.

Egyptian Alphabetical Letters of Creation Cycle
Moustafa Gadalla
Tehuti Research Foundation
P.O. Box 39491, Greensboro, NC 27438

Although this very specific focus on the relationship between the sequence of the creation cycle and the Egyptian ABGD alphabets is crafted in language accessible to lay readers, in reality, it will be the avid Egyptologist with background in the subject who will be the likely audience for the close inspection provided in Egyptian Alphabetical Letters of Creation Cycle.

Researchers and scholars will find this a historical, linguistic, and spiritual analysis of the creation cycle in early Egyptian writings surveys not just alphabetical letters, but the philosophical and spiritual nature of the Creation Cycle central to ancient Egyptian beliefs.

Chapters link different letters to specific roles in that cycle, considering the evolution of themes represented in different letters and phases and offering insights into ancient Egyptian writing modes. After laying a foundation for this kind of inspection ("Creation is the sorting out (giving definition to/bringing order to) all the chaos (the undifferentiated energy/matter and consciousness) of the primeval state. All of the Ancient Egyptian accounts of creation are exhibited with orderly, well defined, clearly demarcated stages."), attention is given to the mystical aspects and interpretations of numbers and letters in the system.

The result is especially recommended for researchers of ancient Egypt who want a blend of mathematical and spiritual analysis based on source materials.

Egyptian Mystics: Seekers of The Way
Moustafa Gadalla
Tehuti Research Foundation
P.O. Box 39491, Greensboro, NC 27438

Egyptian Mystics: Seekers of The Way is a revised, expanded edition of a 2003 publication that supports the premise that Ancient Egypt is the origin of alchemy and present-day Sufism. It delves into many specifics about this mysticism as it reviews the history of alchemy, transformation, and the idea of heavenly helpers, contrasting ancient times with modern traditions, and it offers keys to understanding how early Egyptian mystics survived Islam in ancient times through practices that carry forth to this day.

As in his prior books, opening introductory statements support the idea that early Egyptians fostered a cosmic consciousness that embraced a particular model of mysticism, containing tools to help seekers journey towards their vision of the Divine.

The introduction clarifies the overall contentions and history covered in Egyptian Mystics ("Religiousness for the Ancient Egyptians was total cosmic consciousness. The Egyptian concept is now commonly known in the East as Sufism, and in the West as alchemy."), setting the stage for new interpretations of source materials that correct many common misconceptions.

From folk saints, shrines, and visitation traditions to how texts left by these ancient peoples support their worldviews and belief systems ("The main theme of the Ancient Egyptian texts is the cyclical nature of the universe and the constant need for the renewal of such cycles, through well designated festivals. The Egyptians viewed/view these festivals as part of human existence, which constitutes the rhythm of the life of the community and the individual. This rhythm results from the order of cosmic life."), it's important to note that the scholarly references are specific and often pinpoint exactly the disparities between translations and language choices and pre-existing prejudices which have muddied the waters regarding ancient Egyptian cosmology and mystical views.

Readers needn't be scholars to appreciate these points. They do need to have a prior interest in Egyptology or ancient peoples that goes beyond the cursory or casual inspection, and an interest in understanding how these ancient traditions and perspectives have influenced modern Egypt and the world's religious and social organization.

While new age, Egyptian studies or history students will likely be the main audience for this addition to a powerful series, novices with little background in the subject will also find it accessible and educational.

Egyptian Divinities The All Who Are THE ONE
Moustafa Gadalla
Tehuti Research Foundation
P.O. Box 39491, Greensboro, NC 27438

By now, it should be evident to prior readers of Moustafa Gadalla's series on early Egypt that these books are no casual reads, but in-depth and interlocking pieces of a greater puzzle. Taken together, the books create a bigger picture; but they're presented individually for a reason: the topic would otherwise be far too weighty, and a unified book would, of necessity, have to omit the detail and descriptions that are so nicely reviewed in these shorter topical perspectives.

Egyptian Divinities The All Who Are THE ONE clears up many common misconceptions which stem from prejudice and assumption: "Academic Egyptologists, while worshiping everything Greek or Roman, totally ignore the eyewitness accounts of Herodotus, Plutarch, Plato, Diodorus, and other historians who reported about the Ancient Egyptian traditions, and who were much closer to the scene than the further removed western academic Egyptologists. This book avoids the paradigms, clears up the confusion, and explains the meaning(s) of over 80 of the most frequently encountered divinities."

Its primary strength lies in its ability to properly explain and interpret Egyptian ideology and redefine it as not a primitive expression of ideas, but as a sophisticated system of belief and inspection representing an advanced, high-level thinking society.

This expanded second edition to the 2001 edition adds more texts and photos that compliment the written word, offering a basic understanding of names, titles, meanings, and manifestations in the early Egyptian creation and divinity stories.

Perhaps most importantly, the book clearly and succinctly points out where and why prior interpretations of source materials have fallen short of their goals, providing concrete examples of misrepresentations of divinities and their background and correcting many long-standing errors.

This means that many scholars with a vested interest in traditional approaches may find both much food for thought and some degree of controversy suitable for debate. However, Moustafa Gadalla's scholarship is impeccable and well detailed; and ultimately researchers should embrace this in-depth study for its important re-interpretations and especially for its comparisons between these divine worldviews and comparative Christian interpretations ("The theme in the Egyptian Book of the Caverns talks about the necessity for death and dissolution (of the carnal and material), prior to the birth of the spiritual. This is echoed by the biblical Jesus...").

At some points the language could have been edited slightly to be clearer ("But who do want to be like so that he can guide us back to The Father?"), but generally speaking it is unambiguous, specific, and filled with insights to a discussion no Egyptologist or new age reader will want to forego.

The Ancient Egyptian Roots of Christianity
Moustafa Gadalla
Tehuti Research Foundation
P.O. Box 39491, Greensboro, NC 27438

Reading Moustafa Gadalla's series in order means that a foundation is built whereby topics dovetail neatly and set the stage for the next book; so those who have pursued Egyptian Divinities The All Who Are THE ONE may find it inevitable that the mentions of Christianity in that book lead inexorably to The Ancient Egyptian Roots of Christianity, which offers a more in-depth discussion of a topic touched upon in prior books.

Of all the books in the series so far, this one is certain to spark the most discussion and controversy, because it refutes many popular myths about Christianity's origins and connections and directly ties ancient Egyptian mysticism and beliefs to Christianity's belief system. This is evident in the opening salvo to what likely will be a series of revelations to most Western readers: "The very thing that is now called the Christian religion was already in existence in Ancient Egypt, long before the adoption of the New Testament."

As chapters make their points and provide evidence for their contentions, close attention is given to providing the kinds of linguistic backgrounds, historical references, and archaeological proof that backs these ideas: "In some Talmudic passages, Jesus is named Ben Pandira, meaning the son of Pandira. Pandira is a corrupt Hebrew form of an Ancient Egyptian term. The Hebrew Pa-ndi-ra, in its original form, is Pantr-ra (pronounced Pa-neter-ra). Ben means son. Ben Pandira, as such, means Son of God [Son of the neter (god) Ra]. All Egyptian kings, since ca. 3000 BCE had the title, Son of Ra. Thus, Ben Pandira (Son of Ra) identifies Jesus as an Egyptian king. The title, Son of Ra, is engraved on Twt/TutAnkh-Amen's stele, which was found in the Karnak Temple in 1905."

From Biblical creation stories that have misrepresented their true origins ("This biblical verse is badly mutilated Ancient Egyptian cosmology. We will explain this stage of creation in the Ancient Egyptian coherent way.") to source materials of ancient Egyptian and Christian writings which receive a different kind of inspection, this book offers many startling ideas that deserve further discussion, debate, and study.

For this reason, more so than his preceding books in the series, The Ancient Egyptian Roots of Christianity is especially recommended for Christian studies readers who would more closely examine and consider the origins of their belief systems.

M.L. Spencer
Stoneguard Publications
9780997177992, $12.99 PB, $0.99 Digital,

Darklands is Book 3 of the Rhenwars Saga, and opens with a selfish old man who has endangered his clans. He's marked for death at the hand of a young girl who hates him. His willing gesture of sacrifice now is meaningless to her in the face what her master has done. Azár, charged with helping enact a final act of magic that she would never wish on anyone, experiences the Transference that comes with death and the last task of closing the Gateway even as she accepts Zamir's legacy of power.

While all this action - and an ending - may seem like the conclusion of a story, it's only the beginning of her journey as Azár charges a demon with saving her people (her greatest wish is to help them) and begins a process that centers on dead warrior Darien Lauchlin's return to power as an overlord.

As past and present, duties and darkness, and demons and the living intersect, readers are carried into a world replete with warlords and soldiers, Darien's pain and downfall, fate and a woman's rejection, and a destiny forged in bloodshed.

Readers of epic fantasy will find a powerful story here, which takes a slightly arrogant, legendary figure and follows his progress to becoming a hero and an ally. In a world of broken oaths and dangerous encounters with mages, magic, and political consequences, Quin, Meiran, Darien and others find their purposes much changed, and must confront inner demons in addition to outer forces. These quests and subplots sweep readers into a powerful saga of confrontation and survival in a story line replete with mercurial connections and powerful insights.

Typically such complex series stories require prior familiarity with the characters and setting of past books, but it's a pleasure to note that Darklands needs no such introduction to stand strongly on its own as a recommended attraction to newcomer fantasy readers who enjoy stories of magic entwined with political concerns.

Dock Boss: Eddie McGrath and the West Side Waterfront
Neil G. Clark
Barricade Books
2037 Lemoine Ave., Suite 362, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
9781569808139, $17.95,

True crime history fans will find Dock Boss: Eddie McGrath and the West Side Waterfront a gripping saga of organized crime that combines the biography of Eddie McGrath with the rise of mob activities in the 1930s. The story reads with the drama and action of fiction ("Mutt squealed, "You'll get your smokes!" and fired a shot directly at Cordes' chest. Instinctively, Cordes raised his right hand to shield himself. The bullet slowed down as it passed through the area near his right thumb and, what likely would have been a fatal bullet, lodged shallowly in his chest."), but all events come from real life.

The first thing to note is that Dock Boss is as much a New York waterfront history as it as an account of the rise of mob crime in the city. This means that it will appeal to fans of biographies, true crime, and New York culture alike. The focus on New York's ports and the graft and crime that plagued them makes for an involving probe into the politics and social feel of the times, contributing to a story that rounds out many more general accounts of New York City's evolution with a specific attention to its waterfront.

This was a world where gunfire could erupt any place at any time ("The eldest Bell brother had just ordered his meal and was sitting alone at a table in the middle of the diner. As a waitress would later put it, "The Fourth of July cut loose and everybody ducked." Yanowsky took a few steps inside the door of the diner, drew a revolver, and emptied it toward Bell."), where separate gangs and mobs often had deals and relationships, and where dominant criminal figures and mob leaders openly used their influence on the waterfront.

Waterfront politics and development, mob actions and interactions, and the growth of the Mafia while legal processes attempted to reign in the terror makes for involving reading spiced with an approach that blends historical fact with the personalities, psychology and politics of the times. The addition of black and white vintage photos, maps, charts, and bibliographic links throughout (including FBI files, hearings, newspapers, and other source materials) will especially please scholars who want their reading backed by credible references.

The result is a true crime story highly recommended for a wide range of audiences; from those who relish the true crime genre to readers interested in New York's 1930s history, gang and mob evolution and psychology, and the social and political atmosphere of the times.

Tied Up With Strings
Madeline McEwen
Imajin Qwickies / Imajin Books
c/o BelleBooks
PO Box 300921, Memphis, TN 38130
Paperback: 9781772232974, $TBA
Kindle: 9781772232967, $3.99

Three days before Christmas, in a remote English coastal village, Catia Ann Titchell answers the doorbell to discover that a mysterious parcel has been left on the doorstep, and that her California friend Betty has arrived for her planned visit early and unexpectedly.

Catia's chosen this remote locale to finish her thesis, and one of the aspects of this story, a penchant for humor, is quickly evident as it explores her life and purposes: "I can't imagine why it takes four years to write about mold?" Betty ran a finger down a grimy vase in the center of the kitchen table. "Is that why you moved in here, to study it close-up and personal?"

In the process of catching up and learning about English cultural oddities and the neighbors, Catia almost forgets about the mysterious parcel; but eventually discovers that it contains what looks like a pet collar with the phone number to her rented residence. The mystery grows: who would address a box to her, but send an empty pet collar with a name on it?

A visit to the local pub, explanations about two very different brothers who are her neighbors, an encounter and apology offered to Catia, who seems to reject the gesture, and Betty's determination to oversee and help Catia so she can report to Catia's mother back home all blend in a series of encounters that again drifts away from the mysterious package's contents, only to return like the tide.

Where is this all going? It turns out that Betty is not what she seems - and neither are the neighbors Peter and Paul. As revelations and connections are made, readers move from what seems like a quiet story that takes a slow approach to building characters and English country scenes to a powerful Christmas story of life, death, disability, and mental illness.

As the contents of the box begin to make sense, Catia and Betty both find themselves involved in an unexpected series of events that revolve around autism and mystery.

However, to call Tied Up With Strings a 'mystery' in the conventional sense would be to do the story a disservice: while elements of investigation and mystery are here, they are only some of the facets of a story about relationships which are tied up in the trappings of English culture and American perceptions.

Readers of fiction about British/American encounters will delight in a tale about carefully buried secrets that come alive to possibly endanger Catia in a story that sets its stage slowly and quietly, then injects unexpected twists and turns for a delightfully thought-provoking read.

Leigh Goodison
Sheffield Publications
9781945136191, $13.99,

In 2072, Earth is quite a different place than we know it today. Nuclear strikes and pollution threats have done what no peaceful cooperative measure could have achieved: united the survivors in a new global world order and re-organized humanity.

Six scientists are sent to colonize a planet for future habitation; but when one vanishes, a terrible truth emerges: the past has caught up with them. A scientist is lost, a teammate is accused, a traitor emerges, and a message is sent back to Earth that the team has perished, setting the stage for a series of mysteries and events that date back to a time when Russia and the U.S. were countries.

That's the basic story; but in truth, there's a lot more going on than first meets the eye. For one thing, links to present-day history keep the story on an unexpected trajectory. Readers won't anticipate that the Lost Cosmonauts, the unverified and undocumented Russian astronauts of the Soviet Space Program from the late 1950s to early 1960s, would have anything to do with a future apocalyptic scenario; but Leigh Goodison deftly weaves this fact and mystery into her story line to offer a plot revolving around both a real event and a fictional future mission.

This technique of tying the past to a futuristic plot presents some surprisingly delightful moments both in historical reference and in descriptive choice: "Planet A was probably the most beautiful place I'd ever seen. In the ambient light from the Astraeus and the Explorer, the abundance of hydrogen gas gave it a luminous blue glow along the horizon, while nearer us a gentle iridescent violet warmed the cool blueness of our suits. It was like being in the center of neon lights, reminding me of old photos I'd seen of a place that had long ago disappeared into oblivion called the Las Vegas strip."

Team productivity and interactions, politics, ambushes and aliens, and the search for sustainable ecosystems all coalesce into a story that toes the line between apocalyptic sci-fi and a mystery piece that neatly brings together past events and future possibilities.

The humans remaining under the command of the Order of World Leaders back on Earth face a major challenge: one that will shake the very foundations of the mission and call into question the foundations of humanity itself. What could be bigger than finding Eden itself? Readers will find themselves thoroughly engrossed in a story that revolves not just around survival and renewal, but on solving a mystery that comes full circle and delves into mankind's earliest history.

Readers who anticipate an apocalyptic survival story alone will be surprised at the wider reach of Renascence, but its delight lies in its ability to move its plot well beyond the borders of any anticipated story about space exploration, survival, or recolonization. Sci-fi followers looking for different twists with the addition of a healthy double dose of history and mystery will be well pleased with a story that holds no obvious direction right up to its surprising conclusion in a production that will leave readers thinking long past the final pages.

Video of Murder
Trisha Sugarek
Tess Publishing, LLC
9781544645797, $7.95 paperback, $4.99 e-book

By now it should be evident, with Volume 7's addition to the 'World of Murder' series, that Trisha Sugarek has a real winner on her hands in terms of an ongoing theme able to sustain itself through book after book.

This latest focuses on the Chinese mafia in New York City, and presents a riveting story line that takes two different cultural milieus and ties them neatly together.

Cover art isn't usually mentioned by this reviewer because most of it is fairly unexceptional, but the bright, lovely colorful cover by illustrator David White should be noted because it helps make the book a standout attraction (something a book cover should ideally achieve, but too rarely accomplishes).

When done admiring the cover, readers are in for a real treat as they delve into a mystery that embraces death with a back alley homicide and the involvement of police detectives Garcia and O'Rourke, who are assigned to investigating a 'whodunit' in the murder of one Roger 'Crude' Creed, a trucking company owner who was so hated that the list of possible suspects is long.

An obnoxious taskmaster, Creed's death is celebrated among many, but the two detectives question who would have cause to hate him enough to kill him. He had his good side, too, which is revealed in the course of a probe that brings them into the heart of New York's boroughs, politics, and a world of bars, bodies, big rigs, and big bosses, despite the candid appraisals of the boss man's offensive behaviors: "Creed was always walking the fine line between racist or sexual harassment and a law suit."

As Garcia and O'Rourke eliminate suspect after suspect, a degree of finely tuned humor often permeates proceedings, lending a sense of comic relief to the somber investigation: "Did you kill Roger Creed? You were on the same route, I-80, during the same time period." Jack demanded. Jacob laughed so hard, tears came to his eyes. "Oh, yes, I stalked him down I-80, driving an eighteen wheeler with Creed Trucking blazoned on the sides of my rig. When he stopped to take a piss, I killed him. God, that's rich. You do know the man outweighed me by almost two hundred pounds, don't you?"

As it becomes evident they are being stonewalled, Garcia and O'Rourke begin to learn more than they wanted about Chinese gangs and the way things really operate in the trucking industry. More than ever, they need an insider's help. But, at what cost?

Steeped in the atmosphere of Chinese clubs, the big rig trucking business, New York City's gangland, and a fuzzy, elusive perp, Video of Murder offers many satisfying moments as it takes the reader on an unexpected journey through a homicide case that may take a video expert to solve.

Replete with satisfying turns, this story not only fits nicely into the prior series but stands well on its own, expanding the efforts and experiences of Garcia and O'Rourke while adding other characters into a story line that neatly captures and traverses the murky atmosphere of New York City's underworld.

Chalk up another outstanding and different addition to Sugarek's 'World of Murder' series!

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

Dunford's Bookshelf

The Complete King Arthur
John and Caitlin Matthews
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781620555996 $24.95 pbk / $17.99 ebook

Synopsis: Few legends have had the enduring influence of those surrounding King Arthur. Many believe the stories are based on historical truth. For others Arthur represents the archetype of the brilliant monarch reigning over a fairy-tale kingdom, offering his knights the opportunity to prove their mettle in battle and find gnostic illumination through initiation into sacred mysteries like that of the Grail.

Presenting the culmination of more than 40 years' research, John and Caitlin Matthews examine the historical and mythological evidence for every major theory about the existence of King Arthur. Drawing on modern techniques in archaeology and scholarship, they reconstruct the history of the 6th century in Britain, the period when the first unambiguous references to Arthur appear. They explore the history of every Arthur candidate, the geographical arguments that have placed him in different locations, and the evidence for his life and famous battles fought against the Saxons. Was the greatest British hero of all time not a king but a 2nd-century Roman officer active around Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria? A 5th-century soldier who operated in areas as far apart as Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, or Brittany? Or an entirely mythical fiction that provided a figure of light during a dark period of British history?

Examining other literary figures from the 5th century such as Vortigern and Ambrosius, the authors also break down the plots of all the major Arthurian romances, including those by Chretien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Malory, and Robert de Boron, to reveal the historical events they are based on. Piecing together the many fragments that constitute the image of Arthur, both the man and the myth, the authors show how each face of Arthur has something to offer and how his modern popularity proves the enduring power of the hero-myth, truly earning Arthur the title he first received in the 15th century: The Once and Future King.

Critique: Extensively researched, yet accessible to readers of all backgrounds, The Complete King Arthur: Many Faces, One Hero examines both the history and mythology of the legendary monarch. Chapters explore the theories that have been advanced for the true identity of King Arthur, the history (as best as can be reconstructed) of 6th century Britain, and the cultural legacy of the Arthurian mythos. At once both studious and inspiring, The Complete King Arthur is a "must-read" for anyone who desires to better understand the man behind the legend. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Complete King Arthur is also available as an ebook ($17.99).

Bob Dylan FAQ
Bruce Pollock
Backbeat Books
c/o Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group
33 Plymouth Street, Suite 302, Montclair, NJ 07042-2677
9781617136078 $19.99

Synopsis: In October 2016, the Swedish Academy finally conceded to a quarter-century's worth of clamorous petitions and sustained lobbying enacted by a chorus of poets, novelists, songwriters, and academics. At long last, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, his vast corpus spread out like Highway 61 behind him. How is a Dylan debutante to make sense of the song and dance man's six decade career? How might a diehard Dylan fanatic stumble upon something they didn't know they didn't know? Why, with award-winning journalist Bruce Pollock's Bob Dylan FAQ, of course!

Bob Dylan FAQ, the latest installment in Backbeat's FAQ series, condenses the life and times of America's premier songster into an addictively vivacious 400-page brick jam-packed with critical analysis, minutiae, photographs, ephemera, and period history. Every aspect of Dylan's life and career, from his ever-expanding discography, touring history, fallow periods, literary and visual artistic efforts, peers, influences, and legacy to his devoted fanbase is explored. Best of all, the book's structure invites perusing at any random point, as each chapter serves as a freestanding article on its subject. Dive into Dylanana with Bob Dylan FAQ!

Critique: Expertly researched and deftly presented by award-winning music journalist Bruce Pollock, Bob Dylan FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Song and Dance Man lives up to its title with everything an avid fan needs to know about the celebrated music artist (who was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature!). From critical analyses of his work, to details of his storied life and career, to black-and-white photographs and trivia, Bob Dylan FAQ lends itself to both casual browsing and dedicated reading, and features an index for quick and easy reference. Highly recommended.

Boom!: The Chemistry and History of Explosives
Simon Quellen Field
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613738054, $17.99, PB, 288pp,

Synopsis: Originally developed in the seventh century during China's Tang dynasty and brought back to European by such explorer merchants as Marco Polo, black powder was the world's first chemical explosive. It was a crude mixture at first, but over time chemists discovered the optimum proportion of sulfur, charcoal, and nitrates, as well as the best way to mix them so that the particles of each component were tiny and homogenous, resulting in a complete and powerful reaction.

In "Boom!: The Chemistry and History of Explosives", author and chemistry buff Simon Quellen Field takes his readers on a decades-long journey through the history of things that go boom, ranging from the early days of black powder to today's modern plastic explosives.

"Boom!" covers not just the who, when, and why, but also the how. How did Chinese alchemists come to create black powder? What accidents led to the discovery of high explosives? How do explosives actually work on a molecular scale? And though most people have a vague understanding that dynamite is more powerful than gunpowder, what does it mean to be more powerful?

"Boom!" goes back to the original papers and patents written by the chemists who invented them, to shed light on their development, to explore the consequences of their use for good and ill, and to give the reader a basic understanding of the chemistry that makes them possible.

Critique: A detailed, comprehensive, impressively informative, and compelling study, "Boom!: The Chemistry and History of Explosives" is exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections. For the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject it should be noted that "Boom!: The Chemistry and History of Explosives" is also available in a digital book format ($10.99).

Harbors Rich in Ships
Zeljko Cipris, editor & translator
Monthly Review Press
134 W. 29th Street, Suite 706, New York, NY 10001
9781583676493, $95.00, HC, 224pp,

Synopsis: Miroslav Krleza (7 July 1893 - 29 December 1981) was a leading Croatian writer and a prominent figure in cultural and literary life of the Yugoslavian states. He produced a body of work that spans more than five dozen books, including novels, short stories, plays, poetry, and essays, Krleza steadfastly pursued a radical humanism and artistic integrity. Yet remarkably little of his writing has appeared in English

Compiled, edited, and translated into English by Zeljko Cipris, "Harbors Rich in Ships" provides a hitherto unavailable opportunity for an American readership to appreciate the astonishing breadth of Krleza's literary creations. A collection of seven representative early texts introduces a new audience to three stories from Krleza's renowned anti-militarist book, "The Croatian God Mars"; an autobiographical sketch; a one-act play; a story from his collection of short stories; "One Thousand and One Deaths"; and his signature drama, "The Glembays", a satirical account of the crime-ridden origins of one of Zageb's most aristocratic families.

Critique: "Harbors Rich in Ships" is an impressively and representative collection that will help readers of all interests and ages see just why Krleza is considered among the best of the literary moderns and foremost among Croatian/Yugoslavian literary figures. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Literary Studies collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the work of Miroslav Krleza that "Harbors Rich in Ships" is also available in a paperback edition (0891593686496. $29.00).

Michael Dunford

Gary's Bookshelf

16th Seduction
James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Little Brown and Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9780316274036, $29.00

Lindsay Boxer is back in one of her most interesting adventures ever in "16th Seduction" This time she and Joe are out having dinner when they encounter one of the strangest criminals she and Joe have ever encountered. He is cagy and very deceptive while he is also an extremely dangerous enemy while she also has to solve a series of murders by a most cunning foe. Patterson and Paetro even show how one of the cases puts a rift in one of the relationships Lindsay has with a fellow member of her Women's Murder Club because of one of the cases. "16th Seduction" is a complicated story filled with lots of different conflicts that drive the story along to a satisfying conclusion.

The Stone Builders
John Lars Shoberg
MoonPhaze Publishing
9780986330100 $23.00

The description on the back cover "The Stone Builders" sounded like it would be a great science fiction novel, but from the first sentence in the prologue something goes wrong where the novel never recovers. At conventions, a popular discussion is does the writer have an obligation to the reader. The only one I've ever said is grab the them from the first page. Unfortunately, "The Stone Builders" doesn't. In fact, I found that I read the prologue several times and was more confused each time. Later I even tried to skip the prologue and starting in the first chapter but it had the same result. I wanted to give the author the benefit of the doubt by having several other writers give me their perceptions but they had exactly the same reaction. "The Stone Builders" is a very disappointing read that should be ignored.

The Devil's Science Book I
Jate Hemms
Page Publishing Inc.
101 Tyrellan Avenue Suite 100 New York, NY 10309
9781682131060, $16.95,

"The Devil's Science Book I" combines science fiction, horror and religion very well in substantial doses. One of the most interesting portions are the conversations the main character has with the devil. They are fascinating as the devil lays out a plan for the world that includes aliens, the space ship Voyager and an extremely demented therapist. The story is filled with interesting characters with a writing style the moves the story along to a very thought-provoking ending. "The Devil's Science" entices the reader to turn pages marveling how well he's combined genres that is an exciting addition to the thriller category of fiction.

Mission: Tomorrow
Edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Baen Publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403, Riverdale, NY 10471
9781476782034, $7.99, www,

Science fiction has always been at the forefront of predicting the possible future of the planet and Mission: Tomorrow: carries on that long tradition with stories gathered here for the first time by some of the finest authors today. Some of the names are Jack McDevitt, Ben Bova, James Gunn, Mike Resnick. In total, there are 19 perspectives of our possible future in stories that show a logical outlook to where we are going and how we are going to get there. "Mission: Tomorrow" is a fun excursion to what lays ahead.

These Vampires Don't Sparkle: Volume 1
Carol Highshoe, editor
Sky Warrior Book Publishing LLC
PO Box 9 Clinton MT 69825
9780692261781, $14.95

"These Vampires Don't Sparkle" takes readers to a new realm with numerous stories that delve into the world of the biting creatures we love to read about. All of the tales are fresh perspectives on the age-old character who still reigns in horror fiction as the king of chills. There are commentaries on customer service, a possible explanation for what really happened to the Hindenburg and much more in a great collection of stories that are bound to thrill. "These Vampires Don't Sparkle Vol I is for any fan of a good vamp story.

These Vampires Still Don't Sparkle: Volume 2
Carol Highshoe, editor
Sky Warrior Book Publishing LLC
PO Box 9 Clinton MT 69825
9781505846713, $14.95

The vampires are back in another biting collection by some of the lesser known authors of horror fiction. Smaller presses like Sky Warrior Books are putting out some great fiction that too many times goes unrecognized. "These Vampires Still Don't Sparkle" showcases a lot of talented writers with very different views of the vampire legend. Two examples are where a woman becomes younger as she tells stories of her life where she encountered one of the creatures and they have a mission to rid the world of certain types of people. Though written in poetic form these two exemplify the rest of the tales. Horror fans should have a taste of the juicy morsels in "These Vampires Still Don't Sparkle"

Detective Cross
James Patterson
Bookshots / Little Brown and Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9780316469760, $4.99

Alex Cross has one of his toughest cases in the new Bookshots presentation "Detective Cross" A bomber is loose in Washington D.C. as Congress is to vote on a new Veteran's bill. He must work very to stop this person from carrying out their agenda. "Detective Cross" is another page turner of exciting action that adds so much to the legacy of the character of Alex Cross.

Movie Trivia
Publications International Ltd
8140 Lehigh Avenue Morton Grove IL 60053
9781680225839, $20.00

We all love movies and "Movie Trivia" is a fun book that challenges readers to remember the little details of many of our favorite movies. There are teen movies to crime dramas in a collection that is fun to see how much fans of film really know. Take the trip and learn more than about the movies you love in "Movie Trivia."

Bulldozer Helps Out
Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
9781481458948, $26.00,

The character Bulldozer brings together his other machines to save an animal family that could cause a problem on the construction site they all are working on. The story of "Bulldozer Helps Out" is touching as the mechanisms ban together to help someone less fortunate in their time of need. There are several underlying messages that readers of all ages will enjoy. "Bulldozer Helps Out" begins simply but ends with a very touching lesson on how to treat others.

Gary Roen
Senior Reviewer

Gloria's Bookshelf

Charcoal Joe
An Easy Rawlins Mystery
Walter Mosley
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
1745 Broadway, NY, NY 10018
9780385539203, $15.00, Paperback, $9.99 Digital Book
9780385539203, $26.95 hc (Doubleday), 320 pp.,

From the publisher: Easy Rawlins has started a new detective agency with two trusted partners and has a diamond ring in his pocket for his longtime girlfriend Bonnie Shay. Finally, Easy's life seems to be heading towards something that looks like normalcy, but, inevitably, a case gets in the way. Easy's friend Mouse calls in a favor - he wants Easy to meet with Rufus Tyler, an aging convict whom everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe's friend's son, Seymour, has been charged with the murder of two white men. Joe is convinced the young man is innocent and wants Easy to prove it no matter what the cost. But seeing as how Seymour was found standing over the dead bodies, and considering the racially charged nature of the crime, that will surely prove to be a tall order.

One of his two partners, Tinsford "Whisper" Natly, is described as "a Negro from St. Louis who could find anyone, anywhere, given the time and resources. Easy describes himself as a "poor black man from the deep South . . . lucky not to be dead and buried, much less a living, breathing independent businessman." Their receptionist, Niska Redman: "Butter-skinned, biracial, and quite beautiful . . . twenty-four and filled with dreams of a world in which all humans were happy and well fed." Easy says of himself "I had two great kids, a perfect island woman that I would soon propose to, a profession I was good at, friends that I liked, and access to powers that most people in Los Angeles (white and black) didn't even know existed."

Easy's friend Mouse is a welcome presence in these pages. Forty-seven, he still has never worked "an honest job" and is accused by Etta as having been an outlaw since he was five, which he cannot deny. When Mouse asks Easy to help him out with Charcoal Joe, he cannot refuse. Fearless Jones (who Easy calls "the black Prince Charming") also plays a big role in the tale.

Another wonderful entry in this series, and another one which is highly recommended.

Dead Certain
Adam Mitzner
Thomas & Mercer
9781477822593, $15.95, Paperback, 348 pp.,

From the publisher: Ella Broden is living a double life. By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city's most grueling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan. No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she's not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she's sold her first novel, Ella couldn't be more thrilled . . . until she gets a call that her sister's gone missing. Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister's novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance. Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew?

Charlotte, 25 years old, is six years younger than Ella, but with a much more active social life. Her current beau, Zach, is only the most recent. As for Ella, she has no current boyfriend. For six years she had been an ADA in Manhattan before becoming deputy chief of the Special Victims Bureau. She is now working for her father in his high-profile defense law firm. But surprisingly her firm's newest client, Paul Michelson, is someone she last saw when he broke up with her shortly after their college graduation. He has come to her law firm "only days after an attractive 22-year-old woman who works for him went missing." This is a very front-page story, one where the police want to question Paul, which is what brings him to the Broden law office. But when Charlotte goes missing, the focus of the protagonists, and the novel, shifts abruptly. Charlotte's disappearance, we are told, becomes "the biggest missing-persons case in New York City history."

The book that Charlotte has written is entitled "Dead Certain," as is this novel itself. Chapters of her book are present in these pages, and we meet the various men with whom she has most recently been involved, or their fictional counterparts anyway. It is up to Ella to discover their real-life identities, and which of them might have been responsible for her disappearance. Ultimately the reader discovers who was responsible, but that "real-life identity" is something else again.

This is a masterfully written novel, presenting points of view of all the different characters, with the reader never quite sure which if any are fictional, and strictly from Charlotte's book, or actual humans. The entire tale takes place in a ten-day period, but there is a heck of a lot of action in that time frame! As you might have guessed, Mr. Mitzner's book is recommended.

Buffalo Jump Blues
Keith McCafferty
875 Hudson St., NY, NY 10014
9780143128878, $16.00, Paperback, 320 pp.,

From the publisher: In the wake of Fourth of July fireworks in Montana's Madison Valley, Deputy Sheriff Harold Little Feather and Hyalite County Sheriff Martha Ettinger investigate a horrific scene at the Palisades cliffs, where a herd of bison [a/k/a buffalo] have fallen to their deaths. Are they victims of blind panic caused by the pyrotechnics, or a ritualistic hunting practice dating back thousands of years? The person who would know is beyond asking, an Indian man found dead among the bison, his leg pierced by an arrow. Farther up the valley, fly fisherman, painter and sometime private detective Sean Stranahan has been hired by the beautiful Ida Evening Star - - a Chippewa Cree woman who moonlights as a mermaid at the Trout Tails Bar & Grill - to find her old flame, John Running Boy. The cases seem unrelated, until Sean's search leads him right to the brink of the buffalo jump.

This is the fifth entry in the series, and to call it eclectic would be an understatement. Both the fishing and wildlife aspects of it, which predominate in the early sections, are entirely foreign to this reader, whose usual preference is for character-driven novels. But the header for Chapter 8, "A Mermaid, an Arrowhead, and True Love," captures the elements of most of the rest of the book. The aforementioned Ida is the first of these, the arrowhead a piece of evidence in the search for the murderer of the Indian Man, and true love is - well, as Sean says: "True love knows not logic nor lust, but the synchronized bearing of hearts."

The bison was the "icon of the West that only a century ago had stood at the brink of extinction. When Harold comes upon the first body, he puts the dying animal out of its misery. He muses, "The irony of what he had done, killing the first bison to have returned to these ancient hunting grounds in one hundred and fifty years, was not lost on him." But he done what he had to do, and cannot second-guess himself. Shanahan is a terrific protagonist, of whom Martha says "You're what I call a Montana Renaissance man. You have about five different jobs and still you have to stick a hose down a gas tank to siphon up enough fuel to get to the store." (He guides during the trout season, writes for fishing magazines and paint in the winter (or when he gets a commission). He says of himself "I'm a better artist than I am a detective. Or fishing guide." But he is selling himself short, as he demonstrates during the ensuing investigation, assisting Martha in the search for the man or men behind the events. The geography of Montana is vividly presented. The writing is terrific and filled with humor, e.g., "Fishermen are born honest, but they get over it." The beauty of Montana is vivid, and that and the wonderful writing have pointed me to the fourth novel in the series which I had somehow missed, "Crazy Mountain Kiss," next up for this reader. Recommended.

Every Night I Dream of Hell
Malcolm Mackay
Mulholland Books
c/o Hachette Book Group
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9780316271776, $26.00, Hardcover, 288 pp.,
UK/CA: Pan, 9781447291442, $26.00, Paperback

From the publisher: Nate Colgan would be the first to admit that his violent reputation makes him very good at his job - and bad at everything else. After eighteen years spent working on the sidelines of Glasgow's criminal underworld, there's no question he'll accept the central position that Peter Jamieson's crime organization offers him, despite his better judgment. The organization isn't as strong as it once was: its most powerful members are either dead or behind bars, including Jamieson himself, and the time is ripe for change. Change begins with an execution - - a message for Jamieson's supporters - - which promptly sets the various factions within the organization against one another. Colgan's position as "security consultant" means his duty is clear: identify the killer and find out who's wiling to seize power at any cost - - even if it means igniting a war. Meanwhile, on the other side of the law, DI Michael Fisher conducts his own investigation into the murder. Both men can't help but wonder: Why do these events coincide with the return of the mother of Colgan's child, Zara Cope, a disreputable woman who seems to have an uncanny ability to attract trouble and troublemakers? A dark and thrilling crime drama, "Every Night I Dream of Hell" takes us deeper into a world of violence, fear, and double crosses.

Early on we meet Kevin Currie, a major part of "The Organization," a guy "in his late forties getting slowly far and jowly." Colgan, a member thereof since he was 18, is now replacing the man formerly Jamieson's hitman, a line Colgan himself "had never crossed." Actually and directly causing the death of another was against his principles, as odd as that may sound, as Colgan is and can be as brutal as necessary. An insomniac, Colgan thinks "the only world darker than the one I lived in was the one I slept in. . . I was always waking up growling at the darkness, scared of the things I was yet to do." He says of himself "I'm not an ugly man, a little weathered and starting to grey at the side of my dark hair, but not wholly unattractive and certainly well built. I'm smarter than most in this business, but not exactly a bundle of laughs."

To call Colgan "morally complex," as some readers have done, is an understatement. The novel is hard-boiled, filled with dark humor, and Colgan is a fascinating protagonist, if one wants to so characterize him. This is the fifth book written by Malcolm Mackay, the 2nd standalone after The Glasgow Trilogy, and is, as the earlier ones, highly recommended.

Not to detract from that sentiment, it should perhaps be noted that there is a five-page long list of characters provided at the beginning of the novel, and that is a good thing, although I must admit I did not refer to it as often as I needed to - the plethora of characters at times [many!] making it difficult to keep them straight in my mind.

Gloria Feit
Senior Reviewer

Gorden's Bookshelf

William Stacey
Amazon Digital Services LLC
Bastard Sword Press
B014LPT62C, $4.99, Digital Book, 531 pages
9780991965823, $19.99, PB, 530pp,

Starlight is an interesting mix of an adult military story and magic. The military action is similar to platoon size recon military actions in any of the various wars during the last century. The magic comes from our own mythologies that have found their way back to our world. At first sight this mix shouldn't work but it does. Stacey is able to do this by focusing on the individual characters and their motivations. There are misses in the storytelling but the overall pace and power of the tale makes it easy to overlook the misses.

Cassie Rogan is a college dropout heading back to her small town home in British Columbia in disgrace. Unknown to her and everyone else, the military has been experimenting with dimensional wormholes at a nearby instillation. The military has been traveling to another dimension where dark fairies and other creatures from our mythology have been sent into exile. The wormhole has caused a rift in the dimensions that now permits the creatures to come back to earth. When the dark fairies open the rift to earth they permit magic to flow back to earth. Cassie gets imbued with the magic and becomes a pawn in the opening moves in the upcoming Dark Elf War.

Starlight is an easy recommendation for those who enjoy military stories and/or magical fantasies. It bridges the gap between these two dissimilar genres. The beginning is a bit confusing, while Stacey blends the two genres together, but by the end of the story you are left wanting the next book in the series. The biggest weaknesses are the few missteps with the development of the characters.

The Cairo Vendetta
Earnest Dempsey
Amazon Digital Services LLC
Enclave Publishing
B01HOM8GP2, $2.99, Digital Book, 186 pages
9781944647100, $12.99 PB, 186pp,

The Cairo Vendetta is a light action adventure. It follows a very common formula. A small semi-independent spy agency sends a team to save a missing special operations team that disappeared while trying to get dangerous modern weapons from a vicious warlord. The team stumbles into a high level plot to use missiles to deliver poison gas and change world politics.

Agent Sean Wyatt and his partner Emily Starks are sent on their first covert mission to find out what happened to a special ops team that disappeared attempting to infiltrate the stronghold of African warlord Baku Toli. Instead of an infiltration of a regional warlord's stronghold, the partners run into a well-run and financed international terrorist organization. The bloody trail of the missiles leads from Tanzanian to Cairo.

The Cairo Vendetta is a solid addition to the spy action adventures. Nothing about the story stands out but there are also no real problems with the story. The action is non-stop. The plot works and has no major holes. The characters, although a little shallow, are fun and interesting. It is recommended if you need an action fix or if you find it on sale.

S.A. Gorden, Senior Reviewer

Greenspan's Bookshelf

Fishing the Cape Cod Canal
D. J. Muller
Burford Books, Inc.
101 East State Street, #301, Ithaca, NY 14850
9781580801836, $14.95, PB, 128pp,

Synopsis: Seven miles long and 480 feet wide, the Cape Cod Canal is an artificial waterway in the U.S. state of Massachusetts connecting Cape Cod Bay in the north to Buzzards Bay in the south. Nicknamed 'the Ditch' it offers the striped bass fisherman unparalleled opportunities and is a fishery unlike any to be found, on any coast. The paths to successful fishing in this unique environment are fully explained by D. J. Muller in "Fishing the Cape Cod Canal".

One key to fishing the Canal is knowing the tides and how they will affect the fishery. Another is understanding the migration patterns of the striped bass. A third is perceiving how adaptations in traditional fishing tackle (rods, reels, and line) must be made. Yet another is developing awareness of which lures catch fish, and how those lures are best manipulated. All these issues, and more, are fully explored in this exceptional instructional guide.

"Fishing the Cape Cod Canal" covers all the storied locations on its banks including: The Power Plant, Pip's Rip, The Dolphin's, The Cribbin, The Herring Run, Mass Maritime, Bell Road, The Stone Church, Murderer's Row and more.

Critique: Nicely illustrated throughout with black and white photography, thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, "Fishing the Cape Cod Canal" is an indispensable and very highly recommended as a practical and invaluable read for any dedicated fishing enthusiast, from novice angler to seasoned pro, effectively up and running -- and catching fish, along 'the Ditch'.

Why God?
Rodney Stark
Templeton Press
300 Conshohocken State Road, Suite 670, West Conshohocken, PA 19428
9781599475202, $24.95, HC, 304pp,

Synopsis: Why is it that the majority of people, from all socio-economic, education, and ethnic backgrounds, ascribe to some sort of faith? What draws us to religion? What pushes us away? And what exactly is religion anyway?

Defining religion over the past century has, ironically, led to theories that exclude belief in God, proposing that all systems of thought concerning the meaning of life are religions. Of course, this makes it impossible to distinguish the village priest from the village atheist, or Communism from Catholicism. Worse yet, it makes all religious behavior irrational, presuming that, for example, people knowingly pray to an empty sky.

In "Why God?: Explaining Religious Phenomena" Rodney Stark offers (Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University) offers a comprehensive, decisive, God-centered theory of religion. While his intent is not to insist that God exists, Stark limits religions to systems of thought based on belief in supernatural beings, that is, to Gods. With this God-focused theory, Professor Stark explores the entire range of religious topics, including the rise of monotheism, the discovery of sin, causes of religious hostility and conflict, and the role of revelations.

Each chapter comprising "Why God?" builds a comprehensive framework, starting with the foundations of human motivations and ending with an explanation of why most people are religious. Professor Stark ultimately settles what religion is, what it does, and why it is a universal feature of human societies.

Critique: An informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking guide for anyone who wants a thorough understanding of religion and our relationship to it, as well as a firm refutation to those who think religion can exist without the divine, will find "Why God?" to be an absorbing read from beginning to end. A masterpiece of seminal scholarship, "Why God?" is enhanced with six pages of Notes, a fourteen page Bibliography, and a twelve page Index. While very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Religion/Spirituality collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Why God?" is also available in a digital book format ($12.99).

Charlie Henry
CarTech Inc.
838 Lake Street South, Forest Lake, MN 55025
9781613252864, $39.95, HC, 192pp,

Synopsis: A subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company located in Dearborn, Michigan, the story of Kar-Kraft began, as did many others in the automotive industry, with an axe to grind. In 1963, Ford was seriously interested in purchasing Ferrari. Ferrari was a legendary brand with considerable success in racing, and Ford saw the acquisition as a great way to be instantly successful in the racing arena. When Enzo Ferrari realized that Ford would not give him complete control of the racing program, he backed out of the deal late in the process. Ford had spent millions in vetting and audits, which then set in motion a vengeful response against Ferrari. The result was the unthinkable: Ford beat Ferrari at Le Mans.

Ford wanted to become competitive quickly, but it did not have the race history or resources in house. To remedy the situation, Ford searched the U.K. for an independent company to help accelerate its race car development. It first settled on Lola Cars and set up Ford Advanced Vehicles. Later, Ford brought its LeMans effort to the U.S. and the Kar-Kraft relationship was established. Although Kar-Kraft was technically an independent company, it really only had one customer: Ford Special Vehicles.

Kar-Kraft's story doesn't begin and end with the GT 40 that took the win away from Ferrari at Le Mans. Ford expanded upon the program and organized an all-out assault on racing in general. Cars were prepared for Trans-Am, NASCAR, NHRA, and Can-Am competition. Street versions of the Boss 429 were assembled under its roof. And fabled prototypes including the LID Mustang, Boss 302 Maverick, and Mach 2C were all assembled in Ford's contracted race shop. And then, out of the blue, its doors closed for good on a cold day in 1970.

History tells us that Ford won Le Mans, the Daytona 500, and the Trans-Am championship. But it doesn't tell us how this was accomplished. In "Kar-Kraft: Race Cars, Prototypes and Muscle Cars of Ford's Specialty Vehicle Activity Program", Charlie Henry has enlisted the help of many of his former co-workers to write the very first book ever published on Ford's all-encompassing special projects facility, Kar-Kraft.

Critique: Charlie Henry, in addition to working at the Kar-Kraft facility, earned a degree in automotive mechanics and shared his passion and knowledge with high school, community college, and university students. During nearly 20 years in Chrysler's performance and race parts group, Charlie managed aftermarket sales, special events, and various product lines. After leaving Chrysler, Charlie started his own consulting business to serve the performance and race aftermarket. In "Kar-Kraft: Race Cars, Prototypes and Muscle Cars of Ford's Specialty Vehicle Activity Program" he draws upon his many years of personal experience and impressive expertise to provide a comprehensive, definitively, detailed, profusely illustrated history that should be considered as an essential, core addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Automotive History collections in general, and Ford Motor Company History supplemental studies lists in particular.

Strother Purdy
Linden Publishing
2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721-9875
9781610352918, $26.95, PB, 144pp,

Synopsis: With respect to furniture only chairs work as hard as doors. Building them to last, especially exterior doors, takes knowledge and experience that doesn't directly derive from making other types of furniture, such as tables and bookcases. "Doormaking: Materials, Techniques and Projects for Building Your First Door" by expert woodworker Strother Purdy gathers all the information and guidance that both beginning and intermediate woodworkers need to be successful making their first door.

While covering the construction of the eight most popular doors, "Doormaking: Materials, Techniques and Projects for Building Your First Door" starts first by addressing the fundamentals: the basics of good design and proper construction technique, the pros-and-cons of common materials including wood and sheet goods, interior and exterior finishes, hardware and the fine points of hanging doors.

Once those key elements are covered, "Doormaking: Materials, Techniques and Projects for Building Your First Door" offers project chapters that walk the aspiring doormaker step-by-step through the construction of eight essential doors, explaining design and material choices in specific contexts, tool options and other considerations. The first four projects are easily accessible to a beginner while the remaining projects offer up some more challenging details for the intermediate woodworker. Of special note are the sidebars containing amusing anecdotes and mistake stories (each one delivering tips as well as details for hanging a door) and an gallery sampling of doors that are sure to inspire.

Critique: Impressively informative, thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, profusely illustrated, "Doormaking: Materials, Techniques and Projects for Building Your First Door" is a complete and comprehensive course of instruction is that is an ideal instruction manual and guide for the woodworking hobbyist, the professional craftsman, or a DIY homeowner. While very highly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Woodworking collections in general, and Door Making supplemental studies lists in particular, it should be noted that "Doormaking: Materials, Techniques and Projects for Building Your First Door" is also available in a digital book format ($11.99).

Able Greenspan

Helen's Bookshelf

Evelyn Cameron
Lorna Milne
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426751, $14.00, PB, 176pp,

Synopsis: In 1889, Evelyn Cameron was a young spunky British woman of genteel upbringing who set sail for the United States against her family's wishes. She traveled with a friend, Ewen Cameron, the man who later became her husband. They were bound for eastern Montana to hunt big game along the Yellowstone River, only thirteen years after the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The next fall the Camerons returned to England, packed up, and moved to Montana, where they lived for the rest of their lives. They first rented a ranch on the Powder River, among other British expatriates, to raise polo ponies for export to England. After years of limited success in the pony trade, they bought a small herd of cattle, settling into a more dependable existence of ranching and market gardens.

In "Evelyn Cameron", biographer Lorna Milne uses diaries and letters to reconstruct how Evelyn lived in the harsh eastern Montana landscape and how she became an extraordinary photographer. Evelyn may have been born in England, but through heart and temperament, she was a true Westerner. She was resourceful, hard working, observant, artistic, adaptable. According to her contemporary, a traveling Englishwoman, Evelyn was described as one of the great wonders of Montana.

Critique: This biography of Evelyn Cameron (1868 - 1928) is impressively informative, exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented. Nicely illustrated throughout with black and white photography, "Evelyn Cameron" is an inherently engaging read from cover to cover and very highly recommended for both community and academic library Biography collections. It will also prove to be of immense interest for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the history of American Photography.

The ABCs of Thomas Merton
Gregory Ryan & Elizabeth Ryan
Paraclete Press
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
9781612618470, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Synopsis: A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 - December 10, 1968) was an American Catholic writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion.

With Gregory and Elizabeth Ryan's "The ABCs of Thomas Merton: A Monk at the Heart of the World", children age 5-9, as well as their parents, grandparents, teachers, and catechists, will enjoy learning about the major events in Thomas Merton's life and the choices he made along the way to become the world's most famous monk and hermit.

The playful ABCs format used in "The ABCs of Thomas Merton" will help children to remember what they are learning about Thomas Merton and the Christian life in general. With childlike simplicity, "The ABCs of Thomas Merton" creates an open and contemplative mood for the child and grown-up sharing in the reading experience.

Critique: Unique and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "The ABCs of Thomas Merton: A Monk at the Heart of the World" is as informative as it is entertaining and certain to be a popular addition to family, Sunday School, and Catholic daycare center, preschool, and elementary school collections.

Cloud Messenger
Karen Trollope-Kumar
P.O. Box 29, Neche, ND 58265
9781460287699, $24.99, HC, 348pp,

Synopsis: As a Canadian medical student, Karen Trollope-Kumar went to India to study social and preventive medicine and met a young pediatrician named Pradeep. His dream of working in the Himalayan foothills captured her imagination, and the man captured her heart. They married in a Hindu wedding ceremony and pledged to share a life of service and spiritual growth.

"Cloud Messenger: Love and Loss in the Indian Himalayas" is poignant, heartwarming, and gently humorous memoir in which Karen recounts an eleven-year chapter of their unusual lives. She and Pradeep worked as medical doctors in the Himalayas, first in a rural hospital and later in remote mountain villages. When disaster struck in the form of an assassination, an earthquake, and a political crisis, putting their ideals, their safety, and their relationship are put at risk.

"The Cloud Messenger" is a story of adventure and idealism, culture and medicine, faith and love, and it raises enduring questions: How can we cross religious and cultural boundaries? What happens to our dreams in the face of danger and disillusionment? And when dreams diverge, when one spouse can no longer continue on a certain path, what path do we choose?

Critique: An extraordinary and compelling read from beginning to end, "Cloud Messenger" is very highly recommended -- and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cloud Messenger" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1460287705, $15.99) and in a digital book format ($3.03).

Healing Spirituality
Gudrun Penselin
Rainbow Healing Publishing
9780968410820, $23.95, PB, 264pp,

Synopsis: 'Healing Spirituality" by Gudrin Penselin (Clinical Herbal Therapist, Bach Flower Practitioner, Certied Reexologist, Certied Iridologist/Sclerologist, Light/Colour therapist ) serves as a practical guide and working tool for the implementation of Bach Flowers into a person's daily life. Edward Bach's original work has been carefully preserved, but the increase in the vibrational frequencies of the Earth affects the information and healing potential brought forth by the Bach Flowers. Therefore, the information has been adjusted to the changes occurring on the planet at this time.

"Healing Spirituality includes: A detailed explanation of the Bach Flowers system; Bach Flowers and vibrational healing; Edward Bach's life, beliefs and philosophy of life and healing; Detailed description of all Bach Flowers; A working guide and practical information on how to integrate Bach Flowers into your daily lifestyle; Instructions for creating your own Bach Flower essences; and so much more!

Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Healing Spirituality: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Working with Bach Flowers" is very highly recommended for both community and academic library Alternative Medicine collections and supplemental studies lists. For the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject it should be noted that "Healing Spirituality" is also available in a digital book format ($9.95).

The Fearless Path
Leah Guy
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
12 Parish Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470
9781632650870, $15.99, PB, 224pp,

Synopsis: An intuitive transpersonal healer, spiritual teacher, professional speaker, and media personality, Leah Guy believes that disconnection is the root of all fear, and the attempt at letting go causes more problems than it solves. Debunking the myth of detachment and other popular New Age ideologies, she emphasizes that there's no escapism in emotional healing. Rather, the process is about putting the personal pieces of your heart, mind, and soul back together again.

She draws upon her own experience and expertise in "The Fearless Path" to offer a radical approach that will heal trauma, fear, heartache, and mental and physical health. Overcoming anxiety, sexual abuse, eating disorders, and addiction by using the principles showcased in "The Fearless Path", Leah has spent her life helping others find relief and freedom from personal afflictions.

"The Fearless Path" covers: Why "letting go" is the worst advice for healing, and how to really move on; Understanding the stories your energy system tells about your mind, body, and spirit -- and how to rewrite the script; How to transform fear and anxiety into love and inner peace; Why the law of attraction isn't all it's cracked up to be; Find strength and serenity in the midst of a personal storm.

Critique: Exceptionally 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Fearless Path" is impressively informed and informative. A life-changing, life-enhancing, life-transforming read, "The Fearless Path is very highly recommended for both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Fearless Path" is also available in a digital book format ($12.98).

Women in Agriculture
Linda M. Ambrose & Joan M. Jensen, editors
University of Iowa Press
100 Kuhl House, 119 West Park Road, Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
9781609384722, $65.00, PB, 272pp,

Synopsis: Women have always been skilled at feeding their families, and historians have often studied the work of rural women on farms and in their homes. However, the stories of women who worked as agricultural researchers, producers, marketers, educators, and community organizers have not been told until now in "Women in Agriculture: Professionalizing Rural Life in North America and Europe, 1880-1965", a collection of ten erudite essays collaborative compiled and co-edited by Linda M. Ambrose (Professor of History, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada) and Joan M. Jensen (Professor Emerita, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico).

Taking readers into the rural hinterlands of the rapidly urbanizing societies of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, these essays comprising "Women in Agriculture" tell the stories of a cadre of professional women who acted to bridge the growing rift between those who grew food and those who only consumed it.

Collectively, "Women in Agriculture" examines how rural women's expertise was disseminated and how it was received. Through these essays, readers meet subversively lunching ladies in Ontario and African American home demonstration agents in Arkansas. The rural sociologist Emily Hoag made a place for women at the US Department of Agriculture as well as in agricultural research. Canadian rural reformer Madge Watt, British radio broadcaster Mabel Webb, and US ethnobotanists Mary Warren English and Frances Densmore developed new ways to share and preserve rural women's knowledge.

These and the other women profiled here updated and expanded rural women's roles in shaping their communities and the broader society. Their stories broaden and complicate the history of agriculture in North America and Western Europe.

Critique: A unique contribution of seminal scholarship that includes a complete listing of the contributors and their credentials, forty-two pages of Notes, and a seven page Index, "Women in Agriculture: Professionalizing Rural Life in North America and Europe, 1880-1965" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Women's Studies and Agricultural History collections. It should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Women in Agriculture" is also available in a digital book format ($61.73).

The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness
Jill Filipovic
Nation Books
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9781568585475, $27.00, HC, 336pp,

Synopsis: For most women pursuing happiness is a complicated endeavor, one that is shaped by the constraints of gender, the expectations of feminine sacrifice, and the myriad ways that womanhood itself differs along lines of race, class, location, and identity.

In "The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness", Jill Filipovic (contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and a regular columnist for argues that the main obstacle standing in-between women and happiness is a rigged system. In this world of unfinished feminism, men have long been able to "have it all" because of free female labor, while the bar of achievement for women has only gotten higher.

Never before have women at every economic level had to work so much (whether it's to be an accomplished white-collar employee or just make ends meet). Never before have the standards of feminine perfection been so high. And never before have the requirements for being a "good mother" been so extreme. If our laws and policies made women's happiness and fulfillment a goal in and of itself, Filipovic contends, many of our country's most contentious political issues-from reproductive rights to equal pay to welfare spending-would be swiftly resolved.

Filipovic argues that it is more important than ever to prioritize women's happiness-and that doing so will make men's lives better, too. In "The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness", she provides an outline for a feminist movement we all need and a blueprint for how policy, laws, and society can deliver on the promise of the pursuit of happiness for all.

Critique: Thoughtful, informative, exceptionally well written, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness" is an absorbing and highly recommended read from beginning to end. Enhanced with twenty-two pages of Notes, and a thirteen page Index, "The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Women's Issues/Women's Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness" is also available in a digital book format ($14.99).

Two Heads are Deader Than One
Elena Hartwell
Camel Press
PO Box 70515, Seattle, WA 98127
9781603813136, $15.95, PB, 286pp,

Synopsis: Private Investigator Eddie Shoes is enjoying a rare period of calm. She's less lonely now that Chava, her card-counting mom from Vegas, is sharing her home. She also has a new companion, Franklin, a giant dog of curious ancestry.

Hoping for a lucrative new case, Eddie instead finds herself taking on a less promising client: her best friend from her childhood in Spokane. Dakota has turned up in Bellingham in jail, where she is being held on a weapons charge. Eddie reluctantly agrees not only to lend her friend money for bail but to also investigate who is stalking her. Soon after Dakota is freed, she disappears again, leaving Eddie to answer to the local cops, including her ex-boyfriend Chance Parker. Has Dakota been kidnapped? If not, why did she jump bail? What are Eddie's business cards doing on the bodies of two murder victims?

The key to these mysteries lies in Dakota and Eddie's shared history, which ended when Eddie left home after high school. As a person of interest in both murder cases, Eddie is forced to go in search of the truth, digging into the past and facing her own demons.

Critique: "Two Heads are Deader Than One" is the second title in author Elena Hartwell's 'Eddie Shoes Mystery' series and continues to demonstrate her genuine flair for writing carefully crafted, impressively entertaining, and original mysteries. While very highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "Two Heads are Deader Than One" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.95). Librarians should note that there is a complete and unabridged audio book edition of "Two Heads are Deader Than One" (Brilliance Audio, 9781543619270, $9.99, MP3 CD).

Helen Dumont

Lorraine's Bookshelf

My Caribbean Dream: A Children's Celebration of Island Conservation
Dr. Sharon R. Burow, & Bridget K. Weber, authors
Bridget K. Weber, illustrator
Connie K. Westphal, photographer
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781480839359, $23.95,

"My Caribbean Dreams" is a richly illustrated book about the fragile beauty of the Caribbean islands and their natural ocean setting. Successive scenes in lush colors show tropical forests, coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangrove roots, palm trees and beaches at sunset, rainbow sea turtles swimming deep in the ocean, and so much more. In each painting of nature is a small silhouette, sometimes two or three, of a human figure. The text is in verse, simple and beautiful, with a repeated refrain, "I'll take care of you And you'll take care of me." Interlaced with pictures of natural Caribbean scenes are man made houses, boats in the bay, and Caribbean markets offering foods to eat. The poems end with two portraits of island life and the words: "Culture, Caribbean Culture/ Richly treasured as can be/ I'll take care of you/ And you'll take care of me.....Islands, Caribbean Islands/ For all the world to see/ I'll take care of you/ And you'll take care of me." Completing the pages of vibrant paintings and poetry about Caribbean life are a series of miniature photographs of islands, oceans, coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangrove roots, harbors, beaches, fresh waters, crops/harvests, forests, homes, and culture. Each miniature portrait is accompanied by a condensed explanation of the need for preservation and protection of that aspect of Caribbean biodiversity or habitat to continue to preserve the many beauties of Caribbean culture. A final quotation from Psalm 104:24-25 completes this beautiful, inspirational book, which was also assisted in its creation by Atla R. Johnson-St. Louis, cultural consultant.

My Little Angel
Sherrill S. Cannon, author
Kalpart, illustrations
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Company
9781681819471, $12.00 paperback,

"My Little Angel" is a lovely narrative verse story about a little girl's miniature guardian angel, named Angela, who guides her safely through all the activities of her day. Angela reminds the girl to buckle her seat belt, to be courteous and kind to others, and to do good deeds that help strengthen the spirit as well as the mind. Angela helps keep the girl safe and sound all day and all night too. She helps her to be careful and follow rules when crossing the street, and to remember to share when she plays with others. Angela lets the child know that she is always loved, and although she may feel lonely sometimes, she is never alone. After a day of pleasant activities with Angela's guidance and continued presence, the girl goes to bed feeling safe and loved, whispering prayers for loved pets and family: "She's my little angel, sent from above ?To tell me God cares for me, shows me His love. / When I close my eyes after prayers have been said/ Angela sleeps on the top of my head." Cheery colored illustrations and special notes from Sherrill help young readers connect to the story's message. A beautiful successor to the eight previous children's books in this series, "My Little Angel" is a treasure for young readers age 5 and up.

Sammy's Broken Leg (Oh, No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It
Judith Wolf Mandell, author
Lise C. Brown, illustrator
Harpeth Ridge Press
9780997444919 (pb), 9780997444902 (hc), $13.99,

"Sammy's Broken Leg (Oh, No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It" is recommended by medical experts for young children recovering from the trauma of "life interrupted by a cast." This delightful, creatively presented story retells a real event that happened to the author's 2 year old granddaughter.

Sammy was a girl who loved being active every day. She loved to run, jump, twirl, skip, and run. One day she played on her trampoline and jumped too high and too fast. In an "Oh, No!" terrible accident, Sammy fell and broke her thigh bone. Her parents rushed her to the ER and helped her stay strong when she had to have a shot for pain, then surgery and encasement in a chest-to-shin fiberglass cast to protect her hip bones and broken thigh. The medical staff who operated on Sammy made the cast purple because her parents told them purple was her favorite color.

Although the huge body/leg cast was confining and overwhelming, a secret helped Sammy. As the cast was fitted on her, a thousand bazillion Kisses from everyone who loved Sammy came to nestle next to Sammy under the cast. They would help her have courage and patience to recover for four long weeks while she wore the purple cast. There was a list of careful rules for caring for Sammy in her cast.

Sammy went home, and awoke feeling scared and hurt. Her mom helped her get comfortable with positioning pillows and her Dad gave her medicine to help with the pain. After that Sammy had many complaints about living with the cast. She got tired of being in the cast, no baths, so much extra fuss about going potty, and not sleeping well. She wasn't hungry and couldn't get comfortable. She needed different clothes to wear to accommodate the cast. But her Mommy and Daddy tried many different things to help cheer her up, from pillowed rides in a wagon, visits from friends, and a calendar of 28 x's to mark off until the day the cast could come off. When Sammy was sad, her bazillion Kisses would whisper to her, "Be patient. You'll soon be doing all the things you love."

Finally the day came for Sammy's cast to come off. Sammy tolerated the X-ray well, but the noise of the electric saw to remove the cast frightened her. Her Kisses whispered to her to be brave, it would soon be over.

When the cast was finally gone, Sammy thought she would be able to run and skip and jump right away, like before, but she found she was very weak. Again the Kisses cheered her and counseled her to be patient. Sammy needed to gradually rebuild her strength in her muscles which had not been used for 4 weeks. The following days saw Sammy making gradual progress every day, until finally she was able to stand and walk again without help.

One fine day, Sammy found she could run, twirl, skip, and Jump just like before. As her Kisses flew away because their job was done, Sammy blew them a kiss. Charming colored illustrations accompany every day and every stage of Sammy's recovery in "Sammy's Broken Leg (Oh, No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It," making it perfectly appealing for young children age 1 and up who find themselves in the same predicament. Part of the recovery therapy of the bazillion Kisses comes from an acknowledgement of Sammy's feelings of sadness, anger and fear while she is enduring the process.

Nancy Lorraine
Senior Reviewer

Micah's Bookshelf

Listening to Type: Making Language Visible
Alex W. White
Allworth Press
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781621535355, $29.99, PB, 272pp,

Synopsis: With this visually stunning primer, designers will develop the skills and vision to produce truly innovative, eye-catching type design. All the basics of type design are covered, and in-depth information is provided on more advanced topics such as the differences between type applications, how typography creates identity, and what best inspires readers.

The individual chapters comprising "Listening to Type: Making Language Visible" cover: The language of type; Space and type; Typographic unity; What makes readers respond; Type and identity; Evolving type treatments; Readability and legibility; A timeline of the evolution of writing and typography. Academician and graphic designer expert Alex W. White packs the pages of "Listening to Type" with fifteen hundred images (modern and ancient, specially created and found) that illustrate typographic concepts and continue to yield more complexity and connectivity with each viewing.

"Listening to Type" proves that type is much more than groups of letterforms on a page; it is a language with the ability to convey meaning and evoke emotions beyond the spoken words it symbolizes.

Critique: A complete and comprehensive course of study accessible to design students and professionals alike, "Listening to Type" is exceptionally 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. "Listening to Type" is an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Writing/Publishing collections in general, and Graphic Design supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids
National Academies Press
500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
9780309453042, $78.00, PB, 486pp,

Synopsis: Significant changes have taken place in the policy landscape surrounding cannabis legalization, production, and use. During the past 20 years, 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis and/or cannabidiol (a component of cannabis) for medical conditions or retail sales at the state level and 4 states have legalized both the medical and recreational use of cannabis. These landmark changes in policy have impacted cannabis use patterns and perceived levels of risk.

However, despite this changing landscape, evidence regarding the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis use remains elusive. While a myriad of studies have examined cannabis use in all its various forms, often these research conclusions are not appropriately synthesized, translated for, or communicated to policy makers, health care providers, state health officials, or other stakeholders who have been charged with influencing and enacting policies, procedures, and laws related to cannabis use. Unlike other controlled substances such as alcohol or tobacco, no accepted standards for safe use or appropriate dose are available to help guide individuals as they make choices regarding the issues of if, when, where, and how to use cannabis safely and, in regard to therapeutic uses, effectively.

Shifting public sentiment, conflicting and impeded scientific research, and legislative battles have fueled the debate about what, if any, harms or benefits can be attributed to the use of cannabis or its derivatives, and this lack of aggregated knowledge has broad public health implications. "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids" provides a comprehensive review of scientific evidence related to the health effects and potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis. This report provides a research agenda outlining gaps in current knowledge and opportunities for providing additional insight into these issues that summarizes and prioritizes pressing research needs.

Critique: A product of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research" presents a definitive overview of the health benefits and liabilities of the medical use of cannabis. Informatively enhanced with the inclusion of five appendices that include a Glossary; a Study Approach; Systematic Reviews; Public Session Agendas; Biographical Sketches for Committee Members, Staff, Fellows, and Advisors, "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids" is an extraordinary and invaluable contribution to both the scientific and social policy discussions concerning the legalization and use of cannabis for health and medical purposes. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Health/Medicine collections in general, and Cannabis/Cannabinoids supplemental studies lists in particular, it should be noted for students, policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids" is also available in a digital book format ($64.99).

Errors, Blunders, and Lies: How to Tell the Difference
David S. Salsburg
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781138726987, $99.95, 168pp,

Synopsis: We live in a world that is not quite "right". The central tenet of statistical inquiry is that Observation = Truth + Error because even the most careful of scientific investigations have always been bedeviled by uncertainty. Our attempts to measure things are plagued with small errors. Our attempts to understand our world are blocked by blunders. And, unfortunately, in some cases, people have been known to lie.

"Errors, Blunders, and Lies: How to Tell the Difference" by David S. Salsburg focuses upon the widespread use of statistical methods by looking at historical examples of errors, blunders and lies from areas as diverse as archeology, law, economics, medicine, psychology, sociology, Biblical studies, history, and war-time espionage. In doing so, he shows how, upon closer statistical investigation, errors and blunders often lead to useful information. And how statistical methods have been used to uncover falsified data.

Beginning with Edmund Halley's examination of the Transit of Venus and ending with a discussion of how many tanks Rommel had during the Second World War, "Errors, Blunders, and Lies" invites the reader to come along on this easily accessible and fascinating journey of how to identify the nature of errors, minimize the effects of blunders, and figure out who the liars are.

Critique: Exceptionally informative, inherently fascinating, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Errors, Blunders, and Lies: How to Tell the Difference" is a unique and extraordinary read from beginning to end. Remarkable well written and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Errors, Blunders, and Lies" is an especially recommended addition to both community and academic library Statistics & Statistical Interpretation collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Errors, Blunders, and Lies" is also available in a paperback edition (9781498795784, $28.45) and in an eTextbook format ($27.03).

The Ideas Industry
Daniel W. Drezner
Oxford University Press
198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4314
9780190264604, $27.95, HC, 360pp,

Synopsis: The public intellectual, as a person and ideal, has a long and storied history. Writing in venues like the New Republic and Commentary, such intellectuals were always expected to opine on a broad array of topics, from foreign policy to literature to economics. Yet in recent years a new kind of thinker has supplanted that archetype: the thought leader. Equipped with one big idea, thought leaders focus their energies on TED talks rather than highbrow periodicals.

How did this shift happen? In "The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas", Daniel W. Drezner (Professor of International Politics at Tufts University) points to the roles of political polarization, heightened inequality, and eroding trust in authority as ushering in the change. In contrast to public intellectuals, thought leaders gain fame as single-idea merchants. Their ideas are often laudable and highly ambitious: ending global poverty by 2025, for example. But instead of a class composed of university professors and freelance intellectuals debating in highbrow magazines, thought leaders often work through institutions that are closed to the public. They are more immune to criticism -- and in this century, the criticism of public intellectuals also counts for less.

Three equally important factors that have reshaped the world of ideas have been waning trust in expertise, increasing political polarization and plutocracy. The erosion of trust has lowered the barriers to entry in the marketplace of ideas. Thought leaders don't need doctorates or fellowships to advance their arguments.

Polarization is hardly a new phenomenon in the world of ideas, but in contrast to their predecessors, today's intellectuals are more likely to enjoy the support of ideologically friendly private funders and be housed in ideologically-driven think tanks. Increasing inequality as a key driver of this shift: more than ever before, contemporary plutocrats fund intellectuals and idea factories that generate arguments that align with their own. But, while there are certainly some downsides to the contemporary ideas industry, Drezner argues that it is very good at broadcasting ideas widely and reaching large audiences of people hungry for new thinking.

Both fair-minded and trenchant, "The Ideas Industry" will reshape our understanding of contemporary public intellectual life in America and the West.

Critique: In a time of increasing polarization and the 'echo chamber' effect of being able to select news sources that reinforce a particular perspective on the social and governmental issues of the day, in an era where propaganda has become indistinguishable from unbiased information, "The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas" is a critically important addition to both community and academic library Political Science and Contemporary Social Issues collections and supplemental studies lists. A seminal work of outstanding scholarship that features a seventeen page Bibliography, sixty-six pages of Notes, and a thirteen page Index, it should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Ideas Industry" is also available in a digital book format ($11.11).

Micah Andrew

Richard's Bookshelf

Napoleon Hill's Success Principles Rediscovered
Napoleon Hill and Judith Williamson
The Napoleon Hill Foundation
Sound Wisdom
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9781937879747, $ 15.99, 2017, 184 Pages,

Timeless Success Principles for the 21st Century, Adopt a positive Attitude, Determine Your Dream, Follow Your Heart, and Take the First Step to Achievement

Jeffrey Gitomer, American author, professional speaker, and business trainer, collaborated with Judy Williamson, Director of the Napoleon Hill Learning Center at Purdue University to create the e-zine "Napoleon Hill Yesterday and Today." Judy has complied fifty two writings from Hill's success principles, added comments and challenges for application in the 21st Century in the book Napoleon Hill's Success Principles Rediscovered.

Each chapter opens with an inspirational motivational quote, principle, word of wisdom, or a pithy statement by Napoleon Hill or leaders involved in the work of the Napoleon Hill World Learning Centers. Judy demonstrates a keen gift for understanding, interpreting, and teaching the reader how to apply and master Hill's success principles. Each of the 52 lessons contains a principle of attitude, success and life, with the challenge to take action, achieve results, adapt a positive attitude in your professional and family life, and to share Napoleon Hill's success secrets with others.

Examples from the lives of Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Luther Burbank, Alexander Graham and Andrew Carnegie demonstrate purpose, dedication, determination, and dreams of achievement. Napoleon Hill's timeless principles have become the standard for personal development Coaches, Career Counselors, and well known Motivational authors and speakers internationally.

I have been personally challenged to read Napoleon Hill's Success Principles Rediscovered, one more for understanding, again for implementation, and repeated times for meditation and optimum application - always with pen in hand.

Wisdom for Winners Volume Three
Jim Stovall
Sound Wisdom
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9781937879891, $ 15.99, 202 pages,

Dream Big, Think Outside the Box, Be Innovative, and Seize the Opportunity

"Wisdom for Winner's Volume Three" is made up of selections of the wisdom and wit which first appeared in Jim Stovall's successful syndicated column Winner's Wisdom. This column was must reading for highly successful people around the world for over a decade.

The selections included in this book are arranged in eight standalone thematic units for generating success. Themes include models for "Truth and Understanding," "Finite Resources", and "Facts and Fantasies." Each reading ends with an important, memorable, life changing directive to reflect on throughout your day. I was especially challenged by the units "Human and Being," and "The Most Valuable Commodities."

Readers will find that Jim Stovall's millionaire mindset can be contagious, manifesting 'symptoms' of success. The will soon find that they putting into action these same incredible tips, principles, and tools, with similar results, of effectiveness, and achieving personal aspirations.

Author of over 30 books, Stovall's writing is authoritative, fast moving, and reader friendly, he writes 'with heart' emanated from 'his heart'. Jim's passion for helping others succeed permeates throughout his books. "Wisdom for Winner's Volume Three" is no exception.

The book is designed to impact a new generation of career professionals and young entrepreneurs. The concepts and principles presented are as relevant, up to date, and effective as in the day they were first recorded.

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

Chasing Famous: Living the Life you've Always Auditioned For
Lisa Lloyd
New Hope Publishers
P. O. Box 12065, Birmingham, AL 35202
9781625915177, $ 14.99, 192 pages,

Using the Stage as a Platform to Proclaim the Prominence of God for His Glory

In her book "Chasing Famous: Living the Life you've Always Auditioned For," Lisa shifts the focus from self-seeking affirmation to pointing people to God as the one to be honored. The theme of exchanging auditioning for approval from the crowds and seeking world renown challenges the reader to change the focus and to seek to proclaim the excellences of God.

Chapters are filled with Scripture truths and an invitation to:

Embrace yourself as unique

Find God's unique purpose for you

Break free of the bondage of shame and guilt

Boldly step out to accomplish your mission of proclaiming the redemptive message of Christ.

Lisa's writing is articulate, relevant, profoundly thought provoking, and rich in illustrative metaphor. Lisa is openly transparent; and shares an account of an incident from her life when she was young, vulnerable, and felt alone and trapped. She also tells of events in her career where God orchestrated unexpected blessing after a period of testing.

The 'Questions to Consider' feature at the end of each chapter can be easily adapted for use as a Reading Guide for book clubs or a discussion guide for small group Bible studies.

Destined to become a spokesperson for a new generation of Christian women, Lisa Lloyd is a successful actress and writer and is a popular speaker at women's retreats, conferences, and other events, nationally. "Chasing Famous: Living the Life you've Always Auditioned For" is highly endorsed by her peers, and by well-known Christian leaders.

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

Learning Change: Congregational Transformation Fueled by Personal Renewal
Jim Herrington & Trisha Taylor
Kregel Publications
2450 Oak Industrial Drive N E, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
97808525444555, $ 18.99, 264 pages,

Moving from a Program Driven Institution to a Learning Community

"Learning Change - Congregational Transformation Fueled by Personal Renewal" is made up of stories of church leaders who were able to transform their congregations by first making changes in their own lives. Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor cofounders of "Faithwalking" worked in a collaborative effort to develop a process focused on personal and congregational transformation.

The book is divided into four parts: Part one establishes the keys to real change, defines the key concepts to change and introduces the changes necessary for personal transformation. Parts two and three emphasize four essential core values to reconnecting to our intended design and the mental models necessary for shifting the way we think. Part four provides for equipping ourselves for more effective leadership.

I found the features with suggestions for interactive engagement for a better understanding and further assessment of the material to be an invaluable asset for determining implementation, taking action and being authenticate for setting personal goals in creating inner change.

Readers will get the most benefit from the book by setting aside an extended time regularly to follow the suggestions for reflections and going deeper, as you move forward in your personal renewal and actualizing authentic congregational transformation.

"Learning Change - Congregational Transformation Fueled by Personal Renewal" is timely, relevant, and important; a must read for pastors, church staff, and lay leaders.

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

The Buffer Zone Diet
Fred Cuellar
MaxVera Publishing
9780998909110, $ 16.95, 352 pages,

The Buffer Zone Diet: a Recipe for Fitness, Healthy Living, and Self-Discovery

I shudder to think of how many diets I have tried, how many books I have read, and how many pounds I have lost and gained back, in an effort to achieve good health, a nutritious diet, and weight loss.

Within minutes of opening the cover of Fred Cuellar's "The Buffer Zone Diet" I knew I was in for a good read, and just maybe discover the truth about weight management. I scanned the endorsements, glanced over the Table of Contents, explored the format of the chapters, and confirmed I was in for a good reading experience and a plan of action that I could initiate and pursue successfully.

The content is well organized, thoroughly researched, with an extensive list of reference for further reading. (Easily digestible, written in bite sized chunks). From the preface to the epilogue I became engrossed. Author Fred Cuellar writes from his real life experiences, personal research, and a personal commitment to make a difference in other people's lives.

As a result of Cuellar's challenge I am taking steps to achieve results in areas of weight management, healthy living, and self-discovery. I am learning to "tame my hunger," evaluate my food intake; determine an effective exercise program, regulate my sleep, and control my environment.

"The Buffer Zone Diet" is endorsed by leaders in the Medical Field, Clinical Nutritionists, and Mental Health Experts. Highly Recommended.

Flightmares, Sky-High Humor
Robert D. Reed
Robert D. Reed Publishers
P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Or 97422
9781944297169, $9.95,

Laughter: A Prescription for Releasing Stress. Building Confidence, and Increasing Self-Worth

"Flightmares, Sky-High Humor" is filled with subtle wit, quotes and jokes attributed to well-known aviators, and, comedians. The pages are packed with "laugh a minute" twists, oddities, and idiosyncrasies; humor that is guaranteed to tickle the funny bone.

I especially enjoyed comments alluded to anonymous flight attendants, passengers, and pilots. I couldn't help myself; I laughed, chuckled, and cracked up as I read the problems and solutions recorded by pilots and their mechanics.

The clever and imaginative cartoon illustrations created by Khairul Izzuddin add to the wit of an already hilarious collection, using well-chosen concepts related to air travel, customer service, and aeronautical procedures.

Bob recognized the physical benefits of laughter. There is healing in laughter. Doctors are prescribing "laughter" for relieving stress. Studies have established that laughing releases endorphins which stimulate feeling of caring and forgiveness, which create a positive state of the mind and "boost" optimism, self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.

Robert D. Reed is known for his love of fun by his family, his friends, and business associates. As you pick up "Flightmares, Sky High Humor," be sure to allow yourself the extra benefit of laughter, out loud laughter that triggers the endorphins to do their magic.

Fun filled entertainment at its Best.

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

It's A New Life - Mom is Gone: A Memoir about Living Independently with Severe Cerebral Palsy
Steven B. Salmon
Robert D. Reed Publishers
P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon, 97411
9781944297152, $ 12.95, 154 Pages,

A Candid Message of Living with the Difficulties of Severe Cerebral Palsy

"It's A New Life - Mom is Gone: A Memoir about Living Independently with Severe Cerebral Palsy" is Steven D. Salmon's story. This is an amazing Story of the aspirations, determination, dedication, and diligence that have motivated Steven in his passion to become a recognized, successful, and accomplished author. Steven shares his story of overcoming challenges to write about the physically disabled. He serves as a voice and advocate for the many who do not have a voice that is being heard.

Steven's mother dedicated her life to help him succeed. Steven has a Bachelor of Science degree in English with a writing minor from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens point and a Liberal Arts degree from Madison College. All these years his mother served as his primary care giver, so he could go on to pursue a writing career.

When his mother could no longer meet all of Steve's physical needs, health attendants were hired to become a care team. Things dramatically changed the day his mother fell several times. Steven alerted the family with a call for help. When help arrived his Mom was taken to the Emergency Hospital, she never returned home. She died of a cardiac arrest.

The realization that "Mom is Gone" thrust Steven into a new stage in his story. He now had to face the challenge of living independently with severe cerebral palsy.

I found it hard to put Steven's book down. There were other times when he was so gut wrenching honest it was hard to go on reading. I felt uncomfortable. As I continued to read Steven's story, I begin to see life through a new set of eyes. I felt ashamed and embarrassed for living in an uncomfortable vacuum of hypocritical empathy, without recognizing the dignity or character of the individual in a wheel chair, quietly seeking acknowledgement, affirmation, or maybe even an act of friendship.

Steven has ignited a new flame and refueled my passion to write with the reminder to: Believe in yourself, be patient, never give up. He encourages us to exchange our fears, failures, and impatience for hopes and dreams of success. This is the advice and encouragement he received from his friends, and now passes along to his readers.

I am left with an indelible picture of Steven at his computer, in four hour blocks of time, using his head to tap out his words using in a Morse code word choice program.

"It's A New Life - Mom is Gone" is a gripping story of the severe physical limitations, the pain of loneliness, of feeling being lost, scared, and tired; all while in the pursuit of bringing an influential message of hope to a unique people who have been looked upon as unemployable, who are relegated to become wards of the state living in group houses, highly medicated, forgotten victims of the "system."

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

Operating in the Courts of Heaven: Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven, Curriculum
Robert Henderson
Destiny Image Publishers
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768413861, $99.99

Discover How to Unlock God's Divine Purpose for Your Life

The Box Set Includes:

Interactive Manual for participants:

The Interactive Manual" is designed to be used as a part of the Courts of Heaven Curriculum.

Each Session includes:

An Introductory Statement and Summary which highlights the theme of the material covered in the DVD Study

Interactive questions for discussion of the material.

An Activation Exercise which will help participants process and implement the information presented.

Daily Devotional readings, suggested Bible study questions, a reflection, or suggested prayer.

Leader's Guide for facilitators:

The Leaders Guide is designed to equip the group facilitator to lead the participants through the course. The guide includes:

A Leader Checklist with actions to consider and complete prior to the class startup date.

Clearly defined instructions and a suggested structure for overseeing the weekly with structure for each session.

DVD Study:

Each DVD Studies feature Robert Henderson as he takes through a prophetic prayer strategy. By watching these powerful sessions and going through the Courts of Heaven process, you will learn how to dissolve the delays and hindrances to your destiny being fulfilled.

Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven - Book 2 in the Operating in the Courts of Heaven Series:

In the book "Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven," author, speaker, and global apostolic leader, Robert Henderson, boldly and authoritatively alerts the reader of the war being waged against the fulfillment of God's plan and purpose. He teaches members of the body of Christ how to discover and implement Biblical principles and spiritual mysteries for freeing us and our generation from familial curses that have sabotaged our futures.

"Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven - Dissolving Curses That Delay and Deny Our Future" is a timely and important book for Christians seeking a breakthrough in spiritual awakening, in these unprecedented times of spiritual warfare, by using a prophetic prayer strategy that will unlock the destiny of our nation during this time of world turmoil.

Robert Henderson is a trailblazer in apostolic teaching in areas of revelation, and impartation. He is recognized internationally and travels extensively with a commitment to disciple nations while he delivers his message of the Kingdom of God, and the Courts of Heaven.

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

Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven: Dissolving Curses That Delay and Deny Our Future Book 2
Robert Henderson
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780997246045, $16.95, 200 pages

Understanding the Protocol for Entering into the Courts of Heaven to Present Your Case before God as Judge

The Operating in the Courts of Heaven series introduces a prayer strategy for bringing your appeals before the courtroom of heaven.

The "Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven - Interactive Manual" is designed to be used as a part of the Courts of Heaven Curriculum. The book follows the same session sequence as the DVD teaching schedule.

Each Session opens with a viewing of a selection from the DVD Study which served as a basis for the material considered in the session and all of the other elements of the course curriculum. This is followed with an Introductory Statement and Summary which highlights the theme of the material covered.

Profound interactive questions stimulate discuss of the material covered in the DVD presentation. This discussion is followed by An Activation Exercise which will help participants process and implement the information presented. The Activation exercises can be done in a group setting or by an individual. Daily Devotional readings, suggested Bible study questions, a reflection, or suggested prayer are included to be used throughout the week following each session.

Robert Henderson is a trailblazer in apostolic teaching in areas of revelation, and impartation. He is recognized internationally and travels extensively with a commitment to disciple nations while he delivers his message of the Kingdom of God, and the Courts of Heaven.

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

Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven: Interactive Manual
Robert Henderson
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768413786, $ 19.99, 224 pages

Understanding the Protocol for Entering into the Courts of Heaven to Present Your Case before God as Judge

The Operating in the Courts of Heaven series introduces a prayer strategy for bringing your appeals before the courtroom of heaven.

The "Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven - Interactive Manual" is designed to be used as a part of the Courts of Heaven Curriculum. The book follows the same session sequence as the DVD teaching schedule.

Each Session opens with a viewing of a selection from the DVD Study which served as a basis for the material considered in the session and all of the other elements of the course curriculum. This is followed with an Introductory Statement and Summary which highlights the theme of the material covered.

Profound interactive questions stimulate discuss of the material covered in the DVD presentation. This discussion is followed by An Activation Exercise which will help participants process and implement the information presented. The Activation exercises can be done in a group setting or by an individual. Daily Devotional readings, suggested Bible study questions, a reflection, or suggested prayer are included to be used throughout the week following each session.

Robert Henderson is a trailblazer in apostolic teaching in areas of revelation, and impartation. He is recognized internationally and travels extensively with a commitment to disciple nations while he delivers his message of the Kingdom of God, and the Courts of Heaven.

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

Unlocking the Destinies from the Courts of Heaven: DVD Study
Robert Henderson
Destiny Image
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768413809, $59.99.2017, 3 CDs, 9 Sessions

A Prophetic Prayer Strategy that can Change Individuals and Nations

The DVD Study is a key feature to the understanding and application of the Unlocking the Destinies from the Courts of Heaven Curriculum Course.

Each DVD Study features Robert Henderson as he takes participants through a prophetic prayer strategy that includes addressing God as Father, Friend, and Judge.

This approach helps the participant Understand the protocol for entering into the Courts of Heaven to present their case before God as Judge dissolving curses that delay and deny our futures.

The DVD study includes three discs containing each of the Basic Principles of the course. Concepts are introduced that include a Three Dimensions Approach to Prayer, a description of what is written in Your Book of Destiny, an Introduction to Curses, the Common Landing Places for Curses," and Keys to Unlocking Your Prophetic Senses in the Courts of Heaven.

By watching these powerful sessions and going through the Courts of Heaven process, you will learn how to put an end to the delays and hindrances to your destiny being fulfilled.

Robert Henderson is a trailblazer in apostolic and life transforming teaching in areas of revelation, and impartation and is known for his extensive Apostolic Leadership impacting countries globally traveling extensively with a commitment to disciple nations while he delivers his message of the Kingdom of God, and the Courts of Heaven.

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

Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven Leader's Guide
Robert Henderson
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768413793, $14.99, 111 pages

Basic Guideline with Steps to Launching and Leading the "Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven" as a Group or Class Facilitator

The objective of the "Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven Leader's Guide" is to help the class members to identify and implement prophetic prayer strategies and revelatory principles for bringing their appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven in order to break up the delaying forces hindering them from moving forward and accomplishing their God given purpose and destiny.
The Leaders Guide is designed to equip the group leader to walk the participants through the course which includes: A Leader Checklist with actions to consider and complete prior to the class startup date.

The guide also includes:

Clearly defined instructions and a suggested structure for overseeing the weekly with structure for each session.

A Welcome and Fellowship time

A Worship and Prayer time

The Video Instruction

The Activation segment

Plans and assignments for the week ahead

A Closing Prayer

The final section of the Leader's Guide assists the Class Leader with materials essential for conducting the weekly sessions, including: A brief Introduction and Summary, Interactive Questions, and an Activation Exercise.

"Unlocking Destinies from the Courts of Heaven Leader's Guide" is an important tool for planning, overseeing, leading, or conducting the Curriculum Course effectively. The Guidelines are thorough, complete, adaptable, and easy to follow. They are instructive and indispensable.

Robert Henderson is a trailblazer in apostolic teaching in areas of revelation, and impartation. He is recognized internationally and travels extensively with a commitment to disciple nations while he delivers his message of the Kingdom of God, and the Courts of Heaven.

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

Richard R. Blake
Senior Reviewer

Taylor's Bookshelf

Turning to Political Violence
Marc Sageman
University of Pennsylvania Press
3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4112
9780812248777, $49.95, HC, 520pp,

Synopsis: Terrorism today is not solely the preserve of Islam, nor is it a new phenomenon. It emerges from social processes and conditions common to societies throughout modern history, and the story of its origins spans centuries, encompassing numerous radical and revolutionary movements.

"Turning to Political Violence: The Emergence of Terrorism" by Marc Sageman (who is a forensic psychiatrist and government counterterrorism consultant) provides a detailed, damning corrective to commonplace yet simplistic notions of Islamist terrorism.

A comprehensive and documented study, "Turning to Political Violence" examines the history and theory of political violence in the West. Sageman draws upon primary sources surrounding key instances of modern political violence, looking for patterns across a range of case studies spanning the French Revolution, through late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century revolutionaries and anarchists in Russia and the United States, to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the start of World War I.

In contrast to one-dimensional portraits of terrorist "monsters" offered by governments and media throughout history, these definitive accounts offer complex and intricate portraits of individuals engaged in struggles with identity, injustice, and revenge who may be empowered by a sense of love and self-sacrifice.

Arguing against easy assumptions that attribute terrorism to extremist ideology, and counter to mainstream academic explanations such as rational choice theory, Sageman has developed a theoretical model based on the concept of social identity. His analysis focuses on the complex dynamic between the state and disaffected citizens that leads some to disillusionment and moral outrage -- and a few to mass murder. Sageman's account offers a paradigm-shifting perspective on terrorism that yields counterintuitive implications for the ways liberal democracies can and should confront political violence.

Critique: Impressively relevant to an accurate understanding of the relationship of politics to violence, and of violence to politics, exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented, "Turning to Political Violence: The Emergence of Terrorism" is an extraordinary work of seminal scholarship that is further enhanced with the inclusion of a thirty-two page Bibliography, fifty-two pages of Notes, and a twenty-six page Index. While very highly recommended as a core addition to both community and academic library Terrorism History & Political Violence collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Turning to Political Violence" is also available as a digital book ($41.68).

Diagnostic Techniques in Veterinary Dermatology
Ariane Neuber & Tim Nuttall
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148
9781405139489, $64.99, PB, 320pp,

Synopsis: A practical everyday reference for veterinary practitioners, "Diagnostic Techniques in Veterinary Dermatology" focuses on contemporary techniques for investigating skin problems in small animals, horses and exotic pets. Written by experienced specialists in veterinary dermatology, "Diagnostic Techniques in Veterinary Dermatology" offers clear, step-by-step guidance on how to perform tests and interpret their results.

"Diagnostic Techniques in Veterinary Dermatology" is the first book devoted exclusively to the subject. It is a practical hands-on guide demonstrates how to carry out and interpret a huge range of dermatology tests, as well as how to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls. Featuring full colour photographs and illustrations throughout, key topics include: looking for parasites, hair plucks and trichograms, dermoscopy, cytology, fungal and bacterial cultures, histopathology, allergy testing, immune-mediated skin diseases, endocrine and metabolic skin diseases, infectious diseases, diagnostic imaging, otoscopy and examination of the ear, genetic tests, and more.

Critique: The collaborative project of Ariane Neuber (a European Diplomat and European and RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Dermatology who provides dermatology referral services for Chiltern Referral Services and Active Vetcare Referrals, and is Past President and current Scientific Coordinator of the British Veterinary Dermatology Study Group) and Tim Nuttall (an RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Dermatology and Head of Dermatology at The University of Edinburgh Royal School of Veterinary Studies with over 20 years' experience of clinical dermatology and teaching), "Diagnostic Techniques in Veterinary Dermatology" is a valuable working resource for busy practitioners in first opinion practice, as well as veterinary nurses and technicians. Impressively illustrated and exceptionally well organized and presented, "Diagnostic Techniques in Veterinary Dermatology" is an ideal textbook and reference for veterinary students and specialists in-training. While a critically important addition to academic library Veterinary Training collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for students that "Diagnostic Techniques in Veterinary Dermatology" is also available in a digital book format ($38.99).

Eat Wheat
John Douillard
Morgan James Publishing
11815 Fountain Way, Suite 300, Newport News, VA 23606-4448
9781683500117, $38.95, HC, 325pp,

Synopsis: Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP is the creator of -- the leading Ayurvedic and natural health website.

In "Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically-Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back Into Your Diet" he draws upon his years of experience and expertise to provide a scientific and clinically-proven approach to addressing food intolerances.

His theses is that after 3.4 million years of eating wheat and only 500,000 years of hunting meat, we are actually genetically better equipped to eat wheat than meat. "Eat Wheat" is your guide to safely bringing wheat and dairy back into your diet.

"Eat Wheat" explains how a breakdown in digestion has damaged the intestinal wall and leaked undigested foods and environmental toxins into the body's lymphatic system, causing "grain brain" symptoms and food allergies. Although eliminating wheat and dairy from your diet may help your symptoms, it is a Band-Aid solution. Eat Wheat addresses the root cause: weak digestion and the inability to efficiently break down harmful pollutants and toxins that can predispose you to a host of chronic degenerative diseases, such as cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Backed by more than 600 scientific studies, "Eat Wheat" is a revolutionary guidebook to regaining your digestive strength. It also: Separates fact from fiction surrounding gluten and dairy; Helps you navigate around food toxins in modern wheat and dairy; Retrains your body to digest wheat and dairy again; Gives you techniques to flush your lymphatic system, which is the cause of many food allergies; Teaches you to follow natural digestive circadian cycles; Helps bring your blood sugar back into balance and enjoy wheat and dairy again; Teach you proven exercise and detox techniques to re-boot strong digestion and achieve optimal health and vitality.

Critique: Combining science with common sense, "Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically-Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back Into Your Diet" is impressively 'reader friendly' and informative in organization and presentation. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Health/Medicine collections in general, and Dietary Studies supplemental reading lists in particular, it should be noted that "Eat Wheat" is also available for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject in a paperback edition (9781683500094, $21.95) and in a digital book format ($8.57).

The Storyteller's Dilemma
Louis Hernandez, Jr.
Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing
33 Plymouth St, Suite 302, Montclair, NJ 07042
9781495064814, $24.99, HC, 196pp,

Synopsis: Human beings are natural storytellers, and it's never been easier to access digital technologies that allow anyone, anywhere to share their story with the world. More stories are being produced and consumed now than at any other time in our species' history yet, for some reason, it's never been more difficult to cut it as a creative.

Consumers are paying less (if anything) for all forms of entertainment, traditional media companies are tanking, and the advertising realm has been turned on its head. Although operating budgets have increased in every sector, storytellers are making less than ever before, as the lion's share of new revenues cyclically feed mechanisms for distribution and monetization. Our media landscape is, in short, unsustainable and in the midst of a crisis. What went wrong? How can we fix it?

Although he presides over Avid, the leading provider of audio and video technology for creatives and media professionals, Louis Hernandez Jr. isn't your typical multinational CEO. In his two previous books, "Too Small to Fail: How the Financial Industry Crisis Changed the World's Perceptions" and "Saving the American Dream: Main Street's Last Stand", he chartered his vision of an egalitarian America structured around the communities that compose its very foundation.

He now brings the same notion of countless small actors with unlimited potential to the tumultuous world of media with his third book, "The Storyteller's Dilemma: Overcoming the Challenges in the Digital Media Age".

In "The Storyteller's Dilemma", Hernandez puts forth another comprehensive vision for our future that aims to advantage all while disadvantaging none. Neither a diatribe against economic elites nor a postmortem analysis of the ills of digital distribution, "The Storyteller's Dilemma" proposes a new approach with the potential to benefit all involved parties an approach that at once embraces the intensifying power of storytelling and eschews the notion that disruption and instability must greet an industry hand-in-hand.

Rather than favoring any given group over another, Hernandez imagines a streamlined world of shared platforms and common standards that empower storytellers, developers, and deliverers alike. By dispensing of business models that have proved unviable in the digital age, we can turn higher profits while more equitably compensating creatives and creative endeavors. In today's networked world, the economics of storytelling matters to everybody.

Critique: A compelling, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking read from cover to cover, "The Storyteller's Dilemma: Overcoming the Challenges in the Digital Media Age" is thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. Enhanced with the four pages of Notes and a three page Index, "The Storyteller's Dilemma" will prove to be of special interest and value to musicians and others in the entertainment industry. A seminal, practical, and insightful work, "The Storyteller's Dilemma" is especially recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Contemporary Music Business collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

John Taylor

Theodore's Bookshelf

Bill Pronzini
Forge/Tom Doherty Associates
175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10010
9780765388186, $24.99,

The No Name Detective Agency has taken on numerous odd cases, but in "Endgame," it has accepted two of the most unusual. One, for which the No Name Detective himself pursues instead of enjoying his semi-retirement, begins with the plea by a woman whose husband is found dead alone in a locked cabin. She doesn't believe that he was not accompanied by another. She asks No Name to identify the supposed woman, so she can give her a piece of her mind.

The other case involves a missing person, an agoraphobic woman who never leaves her house. Her husband is the obvious choice as murderer when her body turns up in a remote park. No Name was retained by the husband before his arrest, and continues his investigation following the husband's arrest. In each case, No Name reaches a conclusion, but faces the serious question of whether to reveal certain information he learns while seeking the solution.

The author involves the reader in the emotional dilemmas No Name faces, which is a recurring event in the series, and which enhances its readability. Meanwhile, Bill Pronzini contuse to create classic detective stories written so well that they seem easy to create, but aren't.


Sara Paretsky
William Morrow
10 E. 53rd St., NY, NY 0022
9780062435842, $27.99, Hardcover, 448 pp,

It all begins in Chicago, and ends up in Kansas, but VI Warhawski needs more than ruby read slippers to return home. Apparently, a black retired movie star decided on a moment's notice to leave the Windy City, ostensibly to visit the town where she grew up, dragging a young man along to film her reminiscences with stops along the way to Lawrence, KS. When the two seem to disappear, VI is retained by the woman's concerned neighbors to find them. The young man also is a person of interest in a drug theft at his place of employment, and Vicky becomes more wary when she discovers his apartment ransacked.

So off goes VI on the long drive to Kansas, tracing the woman's journey and attempting to pick up a trace of the pair. She visits Fort Riley, where she learns they stopped, but little else. So Vicky continues on to Lawrence, where she encounters all kinds of obstructions, and becomes involved in all kinds of side issues, other than her original purpose to locate the actress and her photographer.

The reader has to plow through a rather dry start to the novel, about one-third the length of the book, before the plot begins to develop. Then it turns into a complicated story that probably could have served as the basis for one or more novels. All in all, Fallout is an interesting work and can be recommended despite these reservations because the author and the series are so deservedly popular.

Wednesday's Child
Peter Robinson
William Morrow
10 E. 53rd St., NY, NY 10022
9780380820498, $14.99, Paperback, 336 pp.,

Peter Robinson's novels all have a common characteristic or two (or three). All are police procedurals featuring detective inspector Alan Banks, well-prepared and documented. Each, of course, ties up all loose ends, but not as the reader might expect. All are well-written and well-plotted. Wednesday's Child, an earlier work in this excellent series, is no exception.

The novel ostensibly relates to two cases. One involves the abduction of a seven-year old girl when her mother relinquishes her to a pair of supposed social workers. The other results from the murder of a man recently released from prison. Initially Banks is in charge of the kidnapping, but Superintendent Gristhorpe separates the two cases and takes control of it, at least until they seem to merge with some common characteristics.

The investigations proceed on dual levels, exhibiting another common thread in the series: a step-by-step police procedural carefully following clues and Banks' gut reactions which naturally turn out to be correct. As with other novels in the series, it is quite enjoyable and is recommended.

Need You Dead
Peter James
Pan MacMillan
9781509816316, 20.00 BPS, 39.99 CA$, Hardcover, 432 pp., In UK/CA May 18, 2017
9781509816330, Paperback UK, October 19, 2017, 400 pp.
9781509848287, Paperback, CA, December 1, 2017, 400,pp.
9781250030207, $27.95, Hardcover, 409 pp., In US June 6, 2017
9781509816330, 400 pp., Paperback, January 1, 2018

Roy Grace, Detective Superintendent and head of the high crime unit, faces a dilemma in the latest in this wonderful police procedural series, now numbering thirteen: evidence that one of his own squad may be a murderer. Such a possibility goes against everything Grace believes in. Such a possibility betrays the trust implicit in the job in which each policeman relies on all the others to watch his back.

The possible culprit is faced with an overwhelming accumulation of evidence in a murder case, one involving Lorna Belling, a beautiful woman hairdresser in an abusive marriage, making her husband a suspect in her murder, along with the accused cop. Another suspect is a respected member of the community who was in an extra-marital relationship with her. And a potential fourth suspect was an unknown lover. Lastly, there was always the possibility that she committed suicide.

The subsequent investigation is strewn with a variety of red herrings to keep the reader guessing. Meanwhile, Grace is faced with bringing back home the body of his dead first wife for burial, along with his previously unknown 10-year-old son he is now charged with rearing. Peter James has long demonstrated how a police procedural can not only be intriguing but well written. This latest novel is no exception. And just as important is his ability to show how very human Roy Grace is as a character.


Song of the Lion
Anne Hillerman
c/o HarperCollins
10 E. 53rd St., NY, NY 10022
9780062391902, $27.99, Hardcover, 288 pp.,

Anne Hillerman continues to demonstrate she is a solid author in her own right, albeit using the characters developed by her late father, Tony, in the series featuring Jim Chee, Bernadette Manuelito and Joe Leaphorn. And by expanding Bernie's role, she has added her own stamp on the series, which began in 1970, and in which this is her third novel.

The action begins when a bomb explodes, destroying a BMW belonging to a local hero who is mediating a hearing on a proposed resort on Navajo land adjacent to the Grand Canyon. A young man is killed while sitting in the car. The owner is playing in an alumni-student basketball game, and Jim Chee is assigned to be his bodyguard, driving him to the hearing and watching over him. The plot develops in unexpected ways and as it unfolds, Bernie gets to play a deeper role than that of a bystander. She takes over uncovering the real reason for the explosion, enlisting the assistance of Leaphorn, who still suffers from a bullet wound in his brain, but recalls an earlier incident, which helps Bernie resolve the case.

Common to the series are the descriptions of the arid Navajo country, the rituals, myths and customs of the people so well-done by Tony Hillerman and now continued on an equal footing by his daughter. Her plotting is similarly on a par with the series' founder. And by introducing an environmental issue in the plot, she has brought the series up to date, while maintaining the integrity of the basic story and its characters.


Theodore Feit
Senior Reviewer

Vogel's Bookshelf

Working Virtually: Transforming the Mobile Workplace
Trina Hoefling
Stylus Publishing, Inc.
22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, VA 20166-2012
9781620362914, $95.00, HC, 280pp,

Synopsis: Remote working (sometimes referred to as telecommuting) is the new reality, and transactional work that is provided by freelancers, contract employees or consultants has increased exponentially over these last two decades. It is forecast that as much as half the labor force will be working independently and virtually by 2020.

Most organizations are still grappling with how to effectively manage their virtual staff and how to effectively support and motivate them - an increasingly urgent task as more Millennials join the workforce, bringing changed attitudes to work satisfaction. "Working Virtually: Transforming the Mobile Workplace", is based on Trina Hoefling's three decades of experience planning and implementing remote working environments, provides expert guidance for anyone planning a shift to remote working, managing teams of teleworkers, or themselves working in a virtual team.

The key message presented by "Working Virtually" is that, in an environment where there is no face to face and informal contact, virtual working requires the creation of a matrix of distributed teams, and that their success depends on the right preparation, changing corporate culture and rewards, and implementing appropriate strategies at the management level to create team cohesion and motivate team members.

"Working Virtually" is for the executive leading changes in an enterprise that is preparing for virtual work or seeking to improve current performance. It offers tools to assess readiness, advice on creating appropriate reward policies, and strategies to adapt performance management processes to be more team-driven and technology leveraged.

"Working Virtually" is written to and for the virtual leader who wants to establish high performing virtual teams. It provides an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of managing a virtual team, offering a wealth of advice on creating the conditions for collaboration, motivating team members, and identifying and defusing problems.

"Working Virtually" is for the professional who works remotely from home, on the road, or in an office with remote colleagues. It is for anyone who wants to succeed in this new work environment by developing skills and networks to create a sustained and satisfying career path.

Critique: Exceptionally and impressively informed and informative, this newly updated and expanded second edition of "Working Virtually: Transforming the Mobile Workplace" is an essential and core addition to corporate, community, and academic library Contemporary Business Management collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for students, corporate executives, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Working Virtually" is also available in a paperback edition ( 9781620362921, $29.95).

BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad
Greg Popcak
Ave Maria Press
PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556
9781594717185, $15.95, PB, 192pp,

Synopsis: In "BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad", internationally known marriage and family expert Greg Popcak (who is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to tough marriage, family, and personal problems) draws upon his more than twenty years as a counselor as well as his own experience as a father to show how the Beatitudes can be viewed as a practical guide to understanding the love of God and applying that love to being a better father.

"BeDADitudes" is the first book to uniquely focus on the Beatitudes and fatherhood an is specifically intended to help fathers to stop focusing on themselves and instead focus on God -- learning how to be the father God wants us to be by becoming a servant leader in our own homes.

As a father of three children, Popcak realized that Jesus' call to be humble in the first Beatitude (Blessed are the poor in spirit) stands in direct opposition to what modern men learn growing up. Instead, they are taught they should live a life of unbroken success, defined by promotions at work and beautiful wives and honor students at home.

"BeDADitudes" will show that when practicing meekness, we will connect with our family by asking them questions and listening closely to their responses. By practicing mercy, we come to know our own sins, the difficulties that lie on the path to sainthood, and how our family needs to hear about God's grace in their lives.

In "BeDADitudes", the careful reader will discover the profound love of God found in the Beatitudes and understand how that love can transform anyone into being an awesome dad.

Critique: Inspired and inspiring, "BeDADitudes" is impressively well written and thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation. Original, exceptional, practical, insightful, informed and informative, "BeDADitudes" will prove to be a life-enhancing, life-changing read. While very highly recommended for personal, church, and community library collections, it should be noted that "BeDADitudes" is also available in a Kindle format ($12.87).

The Complete King Arthur: Many Faces, One Hero
John Matthews & Caitlin Matthews
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781620555996, $24.95, PB, 424pp,

Synopsis: Few legends have had the enduring influence of those surrounding King Arthur. Many believe the stories are based on historical truth. For others Arthur represents the archetype of the brilliant monarch reigning over a fairy-tale kingdom, offering his knights the opportunity to prove their mettle in battle and find gnostic illumination through initiation into sacred mysteries like that of the Grail.

"The Complete King Arthur: Many Faces, One Hero" presents the culmination of more than 40 years' research by John and Caitlin Matthews as they examine the historical and mythological evidence for every major theory about the existence of King Arthur. Drawing on modern techniques in archaeology and scholarship, they reconstruct the history of the 6th century in Britain, the period when the first unambiguous references to Arthur appear. They explore the history of every Arthur candidate, the geographical arguments that have placed him in different locations, and the evidence for his life and famous battles fought against the Saxons. Was the greatest British hero of all time not a king but a 2nd-century Roman officer active around Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria? A 5th-century soldier who operated in areas as far apart as Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, or Brittany? Or an entirely mythical fiction that provided a figure of light during a dark period of British history?

Examining other literary figures from the 5th century such as Vortigern and Ambrosius, "The Complete King Arthur" also breaks down the plots of all the major Arthurian romances, including those by Chretien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Malory, and Robert de Boron, to reveal the historical events they are based on. Piecing together the many fragments that constitute the image of Arthur, both the man and the myth, "The Complete King Arthur" shows how each face of Arthur has something to offer and how his modern popularity proves the enduring power of the hero-myth, truly earning Arthur the title he first received in the 15th century: The Once and Future King.

Critique: A comprehensive examination of the historical and mythological evidence for every major theory about King Arthur, "The Complete King Arthur: Many Faces, One Hero" explores the history of every Arthur candidate and the geographical arguments that have placed him in different locations; examines 1,800 years of evidence for Arthur's life and the famous series of 12 battles fought against the Saxons in the 6th century; and reconstructs the history of the 6th century in Britain, when the first references to Arthur and the core events of his reign appear. Enhanced with the inclusion of a listing of 'Dates, Names, and Time Line of Significant Events'; an appendix (The Sovereign's Chair); fifteen pages of Notes; a fifteen page Bibliography; a one page listing of Arthurian Societies & Resources, and a ten page Index, "The Complete King Arthur" is an extraordinary and seminal work of exhaustively researched scholarship. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Arthurian History collections and supplemental studies reading lists, it should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Complete King Arthur" is also available in a Kindle format ($12.99).

Paul T. Vogel

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

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