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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 6 June 2013 Home | MBW Index

Table of Contents

Cowper's Bookshelf Donovan's Bookshelf Dunford's Bookshelf
Greenspan's Bookshelf Helen's Bookshelf Julie's Bookshelf
Klausner's Bookshelf Lorraine's Bookshelf Mason's Bookshelf
Micah's Bookshelf Richard's Bookshelf Shirley's Bookshelf
Taylor's Bookshelf Vogel's Bookshelf  

Cowper's Bookshelf

Thank You for Listening
Marc Wong
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781475043143 $16.00

Thank You for Listening: Gain Influence & Improve Relationships is a solid, eight-step guide to improving one's listening skills for business or personal settings. Improving one's ability to listen is a valuable skill; it builds trust, enables more effective classroom study, aids in networking, and helps garner influence. Chapters cover how to be a good audience, how to contribute to a conversation without unnecessarily dominating it, and how to encourage and support people when they need it most. "What if you're a busy manager and you only have 10 minutes to listen to someone? ...If the employee can't describe the importance [of the situation], but still seems agitated, there are still a few options. The manager can ask the employee to spend some time to think about the situation and return later. Or the manager can ask the employee to discuss the situation with someone else in the meantime." Thank You for Listening is an invaluable self-improvement guide, highly recommended especially for any reader striving to make friends, enhance the quality of their current professional and personal relationships, and network.

Puzzles of Faith and Patterns of Doubt
Gregory F. Tague, editor
Editions Bibliotekos, Inc.
9780982481967 $14.95

Puzzles of Faith and Patterns of Doubt: Short Stories and Poems is an anthology of poetic and prose vignettes by a diversity of authors, all of which are meant to make the reader think. Moments of contemplation linger upon the eternal cycle of life; the hard road from grief to healing and forgiveness; and mysteries that transcend both earthly and spiritual understanding. For example, the story "Since Leticia Williams Saw Jesus", begins with "Leticia Williams shook hands with Jesus on her very last day of rehab. The handshake occurred an hour before group and moments after she'd finished combing her hair... About to turn around and take a last look to make sure she'd packed up all her things, Leticia Williams saw Jesus, standing behind her reflection in the far right-hand corner of the mirror." Gentle, thoughtful, and introspective, Puzzles of Faith and Patterns of Doubt is highly recommended; each offering prompts the reader to linger and consider matters far larger than any one individual.

Arrive by Dusk
Gabrielle F. Culmer
Archway Publishing
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480800465, $17.99,

Self-respect and your career can often be so wonderful. "Arrive by Dusk" is a novel from Gabrielle F. Culmer, who tells the story of artist Mindy Croixe, who enjoys much success as she copes with the loss of her recent husband. As she looks forward, she wonders if she can get over the tragedy as a new love may enter her world. "Arrive by Dusk" is a fine addition to general fiction and romance collections, not to be missed.

Reese's Leap
Darcy Scott
Privately Published
978193883347, $14.95,

A get together for just the girls is a magnet for womanizers...and those who prey on their fellow human being. "Reese's Leap" is a mystery from Darcy Scott following Gil Hodges, as he both fortunately and unfortunately winds up in a lady's retreat...with lots of opportunity until something goes sour and violent, and it may fall to Gil to play hero. "Reese's Leap" is a riveting mystery with no shortage of twists and turns, highly recommended.

Bernard Peyton Chamberlain, Jr.
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477293713, $26.95,

One place can be called the family home for generations to come. "Mounthaven" is a family drama set over generations, as the matriarch buys a piece of farmland in Northern Virginia. Her sons try to piece it together and make for a better place for their clan over the next century, while staying true to what is home even as it fades. "Mounthaven" is well worth considering for literary fiction collections, highly recommended.

Mary Cowper

Donovan's Bookshelf

Tricks & Traps
Alex Siegel
Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B00APB1FT4 $2.99

Tricks & Traps represents the 7th book in Alex Siegel's always-evolving 'Gray Spear Society' series and adds another riveting adventure to the story line, which revolves around a society of spiritual guardians who hold special powers and act to protect mankind from dark forces.

This time it's a new game in town which is holding the hidden threat: the 'Super Double Monkey' machines which are captivating audiences, draining the souls of multitudes, and which are proving a compelling addiction that even Society members themselves find irresistible.

Aaron and his love Marina team up with an unwilling magician (who once was rescued by Aaron) to probe the underlying forces behind these machines - and find themselves in over their heads, struggling with a power that may ultimately prove a match for even their special abilities.

Who or what is behind the Super Double Monkey takeover, and how is its addictive force changing the world?

Norbert, Tawni, Smythe, and a host of Society members introduced in previous books all become involved in a dangerous gamble that also involves newcomer Sheryl in an undercover assignment that will change her life. Her interactions with Tawni on many different levels mirrors the involvements of the Society as a whole as they mingle strengths, romance, and hard lessons: "Tawni could teach Sheryl how to be physically aggressive and courageous. In turn, Sheryl could teach patience, subtlety and deviousness. Tawni still didn't understand that a master warrior could sometimes win a battle without spilling a drop of blood."

Aaron often tests his people with puzzles that also provide keys to understanding the universe: "God had a plan, but He didn't control everything directly. The world was a machine that usually ran with built-in rules." The Super Double Monkey machine seems to defy even these rules of God; but the Society's belief in God's influence remains unshaken even as rules of social order and the laws governing good and evil fall under assault.

Enter software developer Perry, who is implicated in the clever scheme fostered by the machines and his employer, and who confronts the full powers of Society members who can erase fortunes, schemes, and identities with little effort - and who make him an offer he can't refuse.

Tricks & Traps holds many engrossing surprises and twists of plot, expanding information presented in prior books about different Society members and their powers, introducing new protagonists to the mix, and assuming the trappings of a spiritual, supernatural novel of espionage, intrigue and mystery.

Like its predecessors, Tricks & Traps offers ongoing insights into the Society's motivations, beliefs, powers and peoples. The result is a gripping saga that opens with a bang and doesn't quit even, as it lays the foundation for further episodes in what is proving to be a fascinating, complex mix of characters and powers.

The Disrespectful Interviewer: Thirteen Interviews with Authors
Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Hat City Press
ASIN: B00BZU8DDU $2.99

THE DISRESPECTFUL INTERVIEWER: Thirteen Interviews with Authors provides an intriguing and funny collection of 'disrespectful' interviews with thirteen selected authors, and is a fun and snarky set of questions and answers that belittles its authors. Lest you believe this approach unacceptable, it should be noted that each author went into the interview with full knowledge of interviewer/author Lauren Baratz-Logsted's intent; so while the contents may be disrespectful, they certainly are not deceitful or unexpected.

The first item to note is that you don't have to have read (nor even have heard of) any of the thirteen selected authors in order to appreciate this collection. If the names of Jon Clinch (author of FINN), Kristy Kiernan, Greg Logsted and others don't ring a bell, not to worry: these interviews don't assume any prior knowledge in order to prove satisfyingly snarky, observational and fun.

The second item of note: the interviewees, knowing full well the kind of interview they were in for, are often as pointed and funny as the interviewer; so readers can expect a satisfyingly whimsical give-and-take filled with not only insights into writing, publicity, and a writer's motivations, but keys to understanding the perspectives and intentions of writers as a group.

It's the give-and-take which is so satisfying and different. An example:

LBL: Could you explain just what your motivation was in writing these books? If not specifically to curry favor with book clubs, frankly, I don't get it.

TC: Book clubs? No, I wrote them to curry favor with Mark Haddon because he wrote a book called "Titch Johnson - Almost World Champion", and I'm angling to have it changed to "Tish Johnson - World Champion".

And as with all the interviews in the book, here comes the snarky observation which lends such flavor and strength:

LBL: So. Canada. Really? It must get so depressing, to be so close to the United States and still live where you are. How are you holding up?

TC: Robin Williams once said, "Living in Canada is like living in a loft above a really great party."

But while you people are busy sipping champagne, we sneak down and help ourselves to the shrimp. And one sock from every pair in your dryers.

Don't tell.

From advice given to teen writers who want to get serious about their writing to dishing writers such as Lev Raphael with comments about possibilities revolving around a made-up name "designed to appeal to Jews", this provides a healthy dose of snark and actually helps define the meaning of the word.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted (author of over 30 books) was both an independent bookseller and a book buyer who tried to sell her own novels while working as a reviewer and freelance editor, so she's worked on both sides of the battlefield that is the book publishing and marketing world.

Her observations and humor are unique, pointed, and involving. Links to each author's writings or website are included at the end of each interview should readers wish to learn more about the writers' works.

The result is at once a work of humor, literature, and publishing industry insights that will appeal to a wide audience, from teens through adult readers.

The Boys from the Back Room
Calvin Bowden
Smashwords/Fideli Publishing Inc.
9781604144697, $16.95 print / $3.99 ebook
Printed book purchase link:
Ebook purchase link:

Raz Jester spends his high school days courting girls and excelling in sports, but when he falls in love and marries upon graduation, his life changes completely. Despite hostility from a father-in-law, he is happy with his lovely wife and new baby; but when his ideal life disintegrates with her drug addiction and subsequent murder, Raz finds himself immersed in a search for her killer - a journey that will shake the very foundations of his world beliefs.

The Boys from the Back Room is a powerful coming-of-age saga that charts one boy's journey from overcoming bullying in high school to tackling greater obstacles in life. His lessons (learned early on) keep applying to bigger challenges and the progression of his psychological evolution is fascinating and involving, holding plenty of back-and-forth dialogue between characters.

As Raz discovers corruption and plots permeating even law enforcement, he struggles to right a vast wrong that moves between politics, motives, and the chaos affecting his own family world and eventually discovers that in order to achieve what he longs for most, he may have to give up his life.

There are many vivid descriptions linking experience to personal evolution, placing this saga beyond the definition of a one-dimensional mystery. The story line often opens new chapters with a 'bang' of description: "The tranquil scene beyond the window did not soothe Raz as he hoped it would. It didn't, because he wanted to hit somebody, preferably Drew Lassiter, Tank Zelder and Olin Culpepper."

'Trouble' is Raz's middle name as it follows him relentlessly through life, involves him with a disparate group of individuals, and immerses him in a world of narcotics where nobody is as they seem or should be.

Where is the hope and love in such a scenario of struggle and angst?

It's there - and it evolves in fine unpredictable fashion to a conclusion that is at once logical and surprising.

Naked Determination, Forty-one Spirited Tales for Fearless, Motivated Underdogs
Gisela Hausmann
Educ-Easy Books
ISBN 9780966421767 (Amazon)
ISBN 9780966421750 (everywhere but Amazon)
US $ 3.95 (Amazon), US$ 4.95 (everywhere else)

Naked Determination, Forty-one Spirited Tales for Fearless, Motivated Underdogs isn't your usual collection. For one thing, it can't easily be pegged as a 'self-help' title (though its stories are motivational in nature.) It doesn't offer checklists for achievement, it avoids the usual (often trite) 'recipe for success', and it teaches not by direction, but through example.

Each of the short stories within offer keys to surviving life and understanding motivation's roots - and hold compelling titles, from 'My Life as I Had Known It Was Over' to 'Is Our Blue Planet's Color Fading?'

These are memoirs of Gisela Hausmann's experiences - but they go beyond your usual memoir format to incorporate the basics of valuable, life-changing lessons and approaches that one usually gains through inspirational readings - and yet, these are not religious descriptions, either.

Many of her stories incorporate travel and cross-cultural encounters. Others use her experience to teach about coping methods and changed approaches to viewing life. The whole point of these varied vignettes is to encourage readers to discover their own life-altering reactions to change and strife, to take them in as 'lessons', and to show how to make the most of challenging situations.

From how a death in the family changes family dynamics and interactions leading her to assumes a different role as a result of coming to terms with a changed focus to struggles with weight and self-image during the Great Recession of 2008 and the lessons it taught her about self-esteem, sex, intimacy, and the relationship between body type and achievement, Naked Determination offers specific inspirations tied to personal experience.

Few other inspirational titles hold this special combination of linking life-changing events with the mental processes that go into absorbing them and creating a new paradigm for change.

Naked Determination, Forty-one Spirited Tales for Fearless, Motivated Underdogs isn't your usual collection: on so many levels it's much more personal, specific, and approachable. The chapter-concluding post-it notes on simple lessons learned hit much more powerfully as afterwords of the author's many encounters in life.

Any who want a truly readable, inspirational collection that pairs autobiography with motivation for change will find this a key acquisition.

GarGar The Dentist Toddlers Activity Book. Book A
Dr. Garth Pettit
4 Your Smile 2 Shine Party, Ltd. & Amazon Kindle
9780987346261 $2.95

Parents and educators who want to begin dental health teachings early will find no better choice than the accessible kids' titles of 'GarGar The Dentist' - and this latest addition to a series for young people focuses on toddlers, presenting a powerful activity book any parent or educator can readily use.

GarGar The Dentist Toddlers Activity Book. Book A introduces the SmileShine Gang using whimsical color illustrations of Croc-O-Smile the crocodile, PadPaw the rabbit, Booksie Owl, and more characters.

Chapter 2 begins with the heart of this workbook: activities that offer reinforcing games; from remembering the names of the SmileShine Gang members (using an easy multiple-choice format) to understanding what each animal is an 'expert' on in the dental world.

After the introduction and reinforcing activities encouraging kids to remember the protagonists, it's time for Book Two!

In keeping the format simple and the introduction very basic, parents and educators will find it easy to work with kids to instill the foundation of what will be a series of kid-oriented dental workbooks on dental hygiene and health.

GarGar The Dentist Toddlers Activity Book. Book B
Dr. Garth Pettit
4 Your Smile 2 Shine Pty. Ltd. & Amazon Kindle
9780987346278 $2.95

GarGar The Dentist Toddlers Activity Book. Book B begins with a chapter called 'Your Mouth is Like a House' and identifies each part of the mouth - tongue, gums, teeth, roof of the mouth. Each animal is connected to one 'room' of the mouth and retains the clickable question-and-answer format of the previous workbook, which offers fun reinforcing insights for kids who like colorful cartoon animals.

Fun and clapping are encouraged in the course of these reinforcing toddler activities, and parents and educators will find them simple and easy reinforcements for very basic dental facts identifying all the features of one's mouth.

Exploration and self-examination (with washed hands) is encouraged in Part Two of the activities section, which show how to feel and know the surfaces of the teeth and mouth - information intrinsic to teaching proper brushing and oral hygiene.

Bright, colorful picture models are accompanied by activities that any child can do.

The jovial, chatty nature of both these oral hygiene activity books for very young children lend to outstanding easy activities parents will find the perfect introductions to basic oral care.

Charles L. Carson
KaleBoy Publishing
9781452438191 $2.99

When hundreds are killed in a sudden string of airline crashes, it would seem unlikely that a disgraced DOJ prosecutor and widowed Harvard lawyer would have any special ability to solve the puzzle - but Jack McManus has many friends in law enforcement and the CIA, and his probe into the terrorist plot unveils a complex web of interactions just as his children are targeted next.

The first thing to note about RVR is that it's written in the first person, which allows for an intimacy and a 'you are there' feel to the entire plot as readers follow Jack's every move, from his forced resignation from a high-profile scandal case to his unwilling involvement in a plot which holds every citizen in the country in its grip. Alternate Jack's thoughts, motivations, movements and analysis with third-person descriptions of setting and other protagonists and events and you have a moving story that fully captivates its readers.

The second thing to note is that there's plenty of airplane description and detail as a side result of presenting scenarios of sabotage and disaster. Between the detailed descriptions of planes and the detailed legal discussions between Jack and other characters, it's more than evident that the author has background both as a pilot and as a lawyer - and deftly weaves both into a plot which proves all the more exciting and believable because of these finer details and descriptions.

Fans of crime thrillers know how important such details are to lending believability to the entire story line. It's fine to build tension; but the best part of a thriller lies in scenes which come to life with attention to realistic encounters, characters and settings.

Courtroom politics, encounters with judges and political figures alike, and vivid descriptions of cultural as well as social and legal insights lend to the realistic feel of entire novel: "Smoking was popular in Turgay. The traditional water pipe was the favorite of the older men. Cigarettes were the favorite of the younger people."

As Jack draws closer to the clues that will solve a complicated puzzle, so readers are swept along in a plot that becomes tantalizingly intriguing even as it poses twists and turns to challenge even problem solvers familiar with the mystery and thriller genre.

What begins as a disgraced lawyer using his skills to solve a crime of international terrorism turns personal as Jack's own family becomes involved - and provides the setting for a satisfying resolution. At the end Jack is not just a lawyer and sleuth: he's above all a father who discovers that his family as well as his country is at stake.

Any fan of thriller writing will find this an exceptional read.

Charles L. Carson
KaleBoy Publishing
ISBN: None $2.99

Palmdale tells of Frank McManus, a burned-out lawyer whose profession receives new life and vigor when two very different clients with refreshingly complex challenges walk into his office on the same day.

Add a human trafficking scheme which involves both of them, an unusual funeral business, and a series of encounters that involves McManus and his girlfriend in the dangerous world of drugs and crime and you have a satisfying mystery that centers on how a world of corruption holds the ability to reach out and immerse its victims in a web of intrigue.

Don't expect a light read: Palmdale is a tantalizingly complex read, packed with changing motivations, twists of plot, and a healthy dose of Los Angeles culture and settings that are brought to life in the first few paragraphs of the novel, where McManus pens his memoir: "Palmdale and the Antelope Valley stopped dead in time, scarred with half-finished communities, mobile home parks, abandoned movie sets, cheap housing developments, failed businesses, derelict buildings, and assorted individuals and characters that had banked on the failed prediction and lost. To me Palmdale and the Antelope Valley is home. I'm Frank McManus and I wish I were there right now."

Legal challenges, freeway delays typical of the region, and McManus' experiences with busy courtrooms and harried judges benefit from Charles L. Carson's own background as a lawyer, enhancing scenes which spring to life with an authoritative tone of believability and realism: ""Look here Mr. Wilson," I said, "if you have any regard for this system of justice and this court, then you need to be prepared to provide the factual basis for any question you ask which may impugn a witness." While I knew that statement was probably not legally correct, I figured that Wilson was so full of himself that he had no knowledge whether or not that was the law. I was correct."

As the plot thickens and progresses, the attention to 'you are there' detail doesn't let up: readers immersed in the character of McManus and his challenges are treated to descriptions which provide intimate details down to smells, sights, and sounds: "Awoke. Something smelled good. Bacon frying. Just like last week. A week like the one I just lived seems like a lifetime. I was good just to lie in bed with the citrus and creosote-scented desert winds blowing the curtains in from the window. I heard something familiar. Christine was whistling. I had never before known a woman who whistled. Guys whistle, but girls don't. Except for Christine. Why did I notice that? Why did that make me feel good? Maybe it's the contrast to all the bad things going on in the last week? Maybe."

It is these moments that lend depth and sensuality to the overall mystery, providing a well-rounded saga that ends with an unexpected result: a life-changing event.

What is that event? Read it and find out.

Stories from the Break Room
Eric L. Olson
Retirement Resources Inc.
9781482332117 $5.99 pbk / $1.99 ebook

Stories from the Break Room is a fun collection of stories from an investment advisor who daily talks with people about their retirement plans. The hard copy book actually looks like it's been in a break room, complete with cup circle and mustard stains imprinted on the back cover; but within the book's humor and vignettes lie nuggets of financial history and wisdom all wrapped up with anecdotes and autobiography.

The most common wish of the author's clients was for quick sum-ups of financial wisdom - and Stories from the Break Room reflects this emphasis, using a chronological arrangement to provide chapters organized by one, two and three-year financial periods and their trends.

In 1997-2000 when the financial world moved from bust to boom, Eric L. Olson was just starting out in his father's new company, Retirement Resources. His insight into allocation management and returns for that period concludes with short, simple insights on reducing volatility through strategic movement of monies.

Each chapter pairs vignettes, case stories of clients, and autobiographical insight with reflections on financial theories, market movements, and investor concerns of the times.

Each chapter concludes with an analogy and a nugget of wisdom for those who are unfamiliar with financial lingo and approaches to money management.

The entire focus on general-interest investors who have little time (or desire) to learn detailed financial strategies offers a satisfying (and memorable) approach that leaves math and in-depth analysis to the pros while providing enough solid analogy and information to allow general readers access to the rudiments of successful long-term money management approaches.

Stories from the Break Room is simply unlike any other investment planning or financial history title on the market. Packed with easily-digested, lively vignettes and analogies, it structures the entire financial analysis industry in such a way that casual readers with some interest can absorb the money management 'magic' that financial advisors handle daily.

Any who would learn through light reading will find Stories from the Break Room educational.

Diane C. Donovan
Senior Reviewer

Dunford's Bookshelf

Lost Treasure
Bruce Wetterau
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781481801259 $12.00 pbk. / $6.99 Kindle

The debut novel of journalist and accomplished nonfiction author Bruce Wetterau, Lost Treasure is a tense mystery about hidden treasure. When ex-Army Ranger Clay Cantrell stumbles across the key to finding a Civil War trove potentially worth millions, he and his partners become entangled in a deadly criminal conspiracy of racketeering and drugs. The lure of money is brutally destructive - and how is Clay to locate a treasure that may or may not be sequestered deep within a cavern when he is framed for a murder he didn't commit? An engrossing work of knife-edge suspense, Lost Treasure is enthusiastically recommended, especially for fans of the mystery/treasure hunt genre.

Billy Christ
Michael Cameron
The Other Publishing Company
9780957319127 $13.50

Billy Christ is a dark novel about revelation and murder. The story is told mostly in first-person from the view of Billy Christ, a young man who lives in two worlds - the mundane world of everyday country life, and a secret wooded clearing where he sees himself as the new messiah, and makes sacrifices to God by cutting up road-killed animals, and entering a trance-like Holy State. But when a pretty girl with a crush on Billy intrudes, everything starts to spiral out of control, first subtly, then with increasing fear and horror. Billy Christ is a tense and gripping read to the very end, about the dark secrets hidden within a prophet who truly believes.

Walking Naked in Tehran
Ann Craig-Cinnamon
Dog Ear Publishing
4010 W. 86th Street, Ste H, Indianapolis, IN 46268
9781457516580, $14.95,

Time changes everything, but a snapshot of the past can tell us about the present. "Walking Naked in Tehran" is a memoir from Ann Craig-Cinnamon as she shares her experiences of traveling with her husband of the time to the Iranian capital back in the late seventies and learning much of the city before it has become isolated from the rest of the world. Hoping to provide a different picture of this ever changing city, "Walking Naked in Tehran" is a choice and much recommended addition to memoir and world affairs collections.

In the Form of a Poem
Victor Black
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781481706605, $26.95,

We share our dedication to faith in many ways. "In the Form of a Poem" is a collection of Christian poetry from Victor Black who shares his inspiring faith and God's will through verse, encouraging readers to take up the word and follow its inspirations in their lives. "In the Form of a Poem" is an uplifting and driven read for anyone seeking their own faith and inspiration, and those with a love for verse.

The Church Jesus Prayed For
Michael Cassidy
Monarch Books
9780857213303, $19.99,

Jesus sought ministry with a specific purpose. "The Church Jesus Prayed For: A Personal Journey Into John 17" digs deep into the Bible and tries to understand what Christ would have wanted out of a modern church, as Michael Cassidy offers the results of his own soul searching over the period of decades. "The Church Jesus Prayed For" is a must for Christian studies and spirituality collections.

Michael Dunford

Greenspan's Bookshelf

A List of Offences
Dilruba Z. Ara
Chamon Publishing House
80 /d Road 11, Banani Model Town
Dhaka 1213, Bangladesh
c/o The Barrett Company (publicity
12021 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90025
9781477481875 $14.95

Bengali/Swedish author Dilruba Z. Ara presents A List of Offences, a novel about the family-based oppression endured by women who live on the Indian subcontinent, including India and Bangladesh. A List of Offences vividly describes a culture where girls or women are valued primarily for being marriageable; where a new wife is treated like a perpetual guest in her husband's home rather than a member of the family; where any characteristic that might mark a girl as unsuitable for marriage is expected to be repressed or quashed. When a girl named Daria is born with silvery hair in a humble Bengali village, this distinctive feature marks her to be scorned and shunned. She falls in love with an expert lawyer named Ali Baba and marries him, only to learn that her mother-in-law is a cruel and bitter woman, who despises Daria as a country bumpkin. Daria has little recourse against the hostilities of her new family, even when she herself becomes a mother; her only recourse is to write down a personal "List of Offenses", something she learned how to do from a mistreated orphan boy. Vivid and harrowing in its portrayal of internalized cultural misogyny that continues to this day, A List of Offences is an unforgettable story about a serious, ongoing social ill, highly recommended.

Lance Lee
Birch Brook Press
PO Box 81, Delhi, NY 13753
9780984200351 $18.50

Transformations is a passionate pairing of Lance Lee's original, free-verse poetry and the black-and-white illustrations from half a dozen artists. Though the poems are brief, they often wax narrative, sometimes reflecting on the darker aspects of conflict and survival, in a few cases graphically detailed. Yet there is also love, warmth, and the intensity of treasuring the precious time shared with family, spouses, and friends. "A howl blows downward as she falls towards sleep imagining how she will rise again to his passion in the morning, / everything for him, whatever empires or churches rise and fall in his kiss: / how with each child the world is reborn: / how love dares everything, how everything is from love, how everything is, for love."

Earth & Beyond
Anthony Sailer
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781467042017, $11.99,

As new worlds and dimensions are found, conflict seems unavoidable. "Earth & Beyond" is a science fiction adventure from Anthony Sailer as he tells the story of time travelers Todd and Jeff as they emerge into the fourth dimension twenty years later after their first discovery. Seeking new exploration, they may find much more strife in return. "Earth & Beyond" is a riveting pick for science fiction fans, much recommended.

The Peacock Angel
Glenn Dale Bridges
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478713890, $12.95,

Everyday people do not often find themselves in the throws of battles between heaven and hell. "The Peacock Angel: Rise of the Decarchs" is a novel of the a rising conflict in Heaven and the role a prison guard on Earth shall play in the growing armies of ancient mythology and history that seek to battle for the earth in its destruction and creation. "The Peacock Angel" is a must for those who enjoy Biblical influenced fantasy.

Let's Talk Intuition
Darlene Pitts
Intuition Connection
9780978558932, $14.95,

We guide ourselves, but often ignore the guidance. "Let's Talk Intuition: 121 Questions & Answers to Help You Use More of Your Inner Guidance Every Day" is a spiritual and inspirational read as Darlene Pitts advises readers to find their own wisdom and use it to realize what they are missing out of their life, finding that drive to succeed and inspire others in their life. "Let's Talk Intuition" is a must for anyone who wants to realize the power of their own personal guidance.

Able Greenspan

Helen's Bookshelf

Gypsy Nights: Lives on Tour
Christine Fournier
4 Square Books
c/o RMA Publicity
9781617662201 $9.95 pbk. / $3.95 Kindle

Gypsy Nights: Lives on Tour is a novel based on the author's real-life experience as a Broadway dancer, including performances in the shows "Sweet Charity", "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" and "West Side Story". The "gypsies" of the story are dancers who drift form one show to another; their chosen career is demanding, and requires that they form bonds of trust to create a spectacular performance for a nine-month national tour. A fascinating glimpse behind the glamour, Gypsy Nights: Lives on Tour the next best thing to going backstage!

Darkspire Reaches
C.N. Lesley
Kristell Ink
an imprint of Grimbold Books
4 Woodhall Drive
Banbury, Oxon, OX16 9TY
9781909845091 $14.99 pbk. / $4.99 Kindle
9781909845107 $TBA MOBI
9781909845114 $TBA Epub

Darkspire Reaches is an incredible, mythical adventure with elements of romance, about searching for a place to belong. Raven is a young girl adopted by a clan who believes that a gigantic and fierce wyvern is destined to kill her. When the Emperor of the land outlaws all magic, she must flee for her life with her foster mother. The wyvern pursues her relentlessly; will it claim her as its rightful sacrifice? Or could everything she's believed about the wyvern and magic, for the whole of her life as an outcast, be mistaken? Set in a rich and vivacious world, Darkspire Reaches is highly recommended for fans of the finest fantasy.

Somebody, Help! I'm Stuck!
Rodney D. Smith
Balboa Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452564746, $11.99,

Breaking out of the rut of the status quo so often proves difficult. "Somebody, Help! I'm Stuck!: 101 Ways to Find Success and Achieve Anything You Want in Life!" is an inspirational read from Reverend Rodney D. Smith who offers a spiritual and uplifting insight on how to find the seeds of success, and enjoy the renewed vigor of pursuing the desire of one's heart. "Somebody, Help! I'm Stuck!" has much that will motivate readers.

Tumbling Stones
Carol Clark Roberts
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478710585, $14.95,

One simple betrayal can lead to a world shambling and destroyed behind it. "Tumbling Stones" is a novel following Anne Rockford, as her husband proves unfaithful and soon realizes it's more than a broken heart that is threatening her... lives and treasure may be on the lives in the process. "Tumbling Stones" is a riveting and twisting blend of mystery, romance, and thriller, much recommended.

The Girl From Summer
Joseph Raffetto
9780615751436, $11.99,

Coming of age, first romances, and so much more. "The Girl From Summer: And Other Stories" is a compilation of four novellas from Joseph Raffetto who presents these stories - "Young Scott and Zelda", "The Girl From Summer", "Inside '75", and "Seeds From '79", focusing on young people facing the realities of the world for all the better or ill along the way. "The Girl From Summer" is an excellent compilation from a newer author, much recommended.

Naughty Girl's Guide To Los Angeles
Sienna Sinclaire
Naughty Girl Press
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9780985212308, $39.99, 392 pp.,

Knowledgeably written by sex coach and adult entertainer Sienna Sinclaire, "Naughty Girl's Guide To Los Angeles" is a gorgeous mix of travel information, sexy photos and naughty historical tidbits of Hollywood s not so innocent past and present. Whether you are a Los Angeles resident or a transient tourist, "Naughty Girl's Guide To Los Angeles" will prove to be an indispensable guide in the quest to discover the sexy side of L.A. Plus practical and descriptive information provided by author Sienna Sinclaire allows the reader determine how naughty she wants to get. Nicely organized into six major sections (Naught History; Naught Travel; Naughty By Day; Naughty Shopping; Naughty By Night; and Naughty Business), the "Naughty Girl's Guide To Los Angeles" is a very special and highly recommended travel guide. Now if only someone could persuade Sienna Sinclaire to do a 'naughty' guide to New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and other major cities!

Helen Dumont

Julie's Bookshelf

Betrayal by Serpent
Judith M. Kerrigan
Privately Published
09780985706609, $17.95,

Synopsis: Seven years after the death of her husband in a fiery plane crash, Anna Kinnealy believes all the trauma and struggle she and her children have endured will be ended when he is declared legally dead. But there is murderous revenge on someone's agenda, a police investigation into their lives, and secrets slowly emerging that demand Anna dig into the past before they all become victims of greed and hatred. In a journey that takes her from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to the jungles of the Yucatan and back, Anna finds courage she never thought she had, betrayal so painful she can only put her head down and weep, depths of rage she never knew she could feel, and two men whose love for her completely changes her life.

Critique: Simply stated, "Betrayal by Serpent" is a terrific mystery novel that holds the readers total attention from beginning to end. Superbly crafted characters, an imaginative plot, and detailed backdrops, mark Judith M. Kerrigan as a master storyteller. Also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99), "Betrayal by Serpent" is highly recommended for fans of the mystery genre who will eagerly look forward to Wisconsin author Kerrigan's sequel, "In Crocodile Waters" when it comes out later this year.

The Walker on the Cape
Mike Martin, Inc.
PO Box 2399, Bangor, ME 04402-2399
9780985706609, $20.00,

Synopsis: A man's body is found in a small fishing community on the East Coast. First, everyone thinks it's a heart attack or stroke but then it's discovered that he was poisoned. Who would do this and why? Finding that out falls to Winston Windflower and his side-kick Eddie Tizzard. Along the way, they discover there are many more secrets hidden in this small community and powerful people who want to keep it that way.

Critique: "The Walker on the Cape" is a riveting 'who done it' of a mystery-suspense novel and documents author Mike Martin as having a genuine talent for the genre. Also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99), "The Walker on the Cape" is a terrific read and highly recommended for personal and community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

A Model Wife For A Gentle Imam
Rana, Tariq
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781468162721, $17.99,

Synopsis: How does a middle-aged, married with children, man of the cloth, marred by post-traumatic stress from serving with the Coalition in Afghanistan, make a spectacular debut back into society after years of a quiet, reclusive existence? Through a highly controversial polygamous marriage to a fashion supermodel half his age! Stacy Kimball, a twenty-two year old pre-med student, the only child of the legendary cosmetic surgeon Dr. Howard Kimball, has a brilliant future as the sole supermodel heiress to her country's aspirations for fame on the fashion runways of the world, when she catches the Imam's eye because of her striking similarity to his own wife. Ali Mansoor Khan, the Imam of Breezewood, fueled by his fascination with an image of his wife as a blue-eyed, blonde Western cowgirl, unwittingly embarks on the most important, possibly even fatal, soul-searching journey of his life. Thrust into the national spotlight over his fascination with a seeming doppelganger of his wife, the Imam is trapped in a head on collision between a haunting past and a troubling future. Amidst crushing uncertainty, he faces ruthless personal choices to successfully surmount the profound obstacles of race, religion and society. Over a tantalizing dream, he willingly risks all against the threat of permanently losing himself and his family. Can he fulfill an unexpected role as a bridge between the Crescent and the Cross? Or is he nothing more than another lost soul finally succumbing to the common peril already devouring other veterans of violence? Can a material girl deliver the Imam of Breezewood from his demons? Or is she his last stop on an inevitable path to self-immolation and the destruction of all that he holds dear: his faith, his family and his community?

Critique: A fascinating examination in fictional form of the real world problems associated with Muslim/Christian interfaith relationships, cultural biases, commingled with personal expectations and desires. Also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99), author Rana Tariq's "A Model Wife For A Gentle Imam" is highly recommended leisure time reading and would make a very interesting addition to community library Multicultural Contemporary Fiction collections.

Speaking of Murder
Tace Baker
Barking Rain Press
PO Box 822674, Vancouver, WA 98682
9781935460473, $12.95,

Synopsis: The murder of a talented student at a small New England college thrusts linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau into the search for the killer. Lauren is a determined Quaker with an ear for accents. Her investigation exposes small town intrigues, academic blackmail and a clandestine drug cartel that now has its sights set on her. Convinced that the key to the crime lies hidden in her dead student's thesis, Lauren races to solve the mystery while an escalating trail of misfortune circles ever closer. Her department chair behaves suspiciously. A century-old local boat shop is torched. Lauren's best friend goes missing - and the unsettled relationship with her long-time lover threatens to implode just when she needs him the most.

Critique: It is clear from a reading of "Speaking of Murder" that author Tace Baker has a genuine knack for spinning a deftly crafted mystery that will keep the readers rapt and total attention from beginning to end. Also available in a Kindle edition ($5.95), "Speaking of Murder" is a highly entertaining and recommended addition to personal leisure time reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections.

Stone Free
Andrew Loog Oldham
Escargot Books
9780985726744, $19.99,

Synopsis: In Stone Free, the third in a series of highly acclaimed memoirs, Andrew Loog Oldham shares fifty years of lessons learned with a world in which "We should do less, do it better, and walk the dog more." Bridging the decades between the long playing record and the digital download, Stone Free is a celebration of the "pimpresario," stripped naked for your entertainment and instruction.

Critique: Andrew Oldham was the original manager and producer of the Rolling Stones and lived what can only be described as an interesting life lived out in interesting times. A candid and detailed personal memoir, "Stone Free" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99) and is highly recommended and informative reading for anyone with an interest in the pop music scene of the 60s and 70s.

Meet Me at the Pond
Mindy Killgrove
457 South Chestnut Street, Ravenna, OH 44266
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
9781612961675, $18.95,

Synopsis: A long time ago, I believed in magic. I believed that people could levitate a wooden box. I believed that magicians could read minds. I even believed that little white doves could and would actually fly out of a sleek black scarf. I lost my appetite for magic the first time someone broke my heart. Naturally, it was not the first time that I had been heartbroken, but it was the first time that someone took my heart, tore it up, and danced on the little pieces. At that moment, I was no longer "Missy Lawrence: Believer of all things magical." No, no, at that moment, I became "Missy Lawrence: Most likely to fall for it every time."

Critique: This is but a sampling of author Mindy Killgrove's superbly crafted writing style in her debut romance novel "Meet Me At The Pond". Reading her narrative is like being there as a kind of observer character yourself. Thoroughly engaging and entertaining, "Meet Me at the Bond" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99) and highly recommended for a leisure time reading list.

The Mystery Of Numbers
Talal Ghannam
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781477678411, $17.99,

Synopsis: In "The Mystery Of Numbers: Revealed Through Their Digital Root", author Talal Ghannam examines the amazing world of numbers, particularly those which have intrigued and fascinated ancient and modern mathematicians alike. However, he does it from a very novel point of view; by implementing the digital root operation, in which the individual digits of any of these numbers are summed up until a single digit is left over.

The author will show that when applying this simple operation to magical numbers, and to many other groups of numbers, an amazing world of hidden interconnections; repetition cycles; numerical symmetries; and geometrical patterns emerge. Especially when the geometrical (the circle) and the numerical aspects of the digital root world are combined together. It is in this circular/numerical world where numbers, individually and collectively, exist in their most basic, yet perfect and symmetrical states, and where the basic nine numbers are differentiated into three groups of amazing properties, which will be shown to underlie the essence of the whole universe; from the atom and its forces to the solar system and its geometry.

"The Mystery Of Numbers" is both a numerical and spiritual journey: starting from prime and figurate numbers; to Fibonacci sequence and the golden section; to alchemy and the Mayan calendar; to the atoms and its forces, along with the ether and the fourth dimension.
In addition, the author will show how these new revelations of the digital root world are corroborating the numerological and mystical qualities that have been attributed to numbers by philosophers and mystics throughout the ages.

"The Mystery Of Numbers" will paint a so holistic and meaningful image of the world that will forever change our perception, not only towards numbers, but towards the whole universe as well.

Critique: Also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99), "The Mystery Of Numbers: Revealed Through Their Digital Root offers an wealth of articulate insights and startling numbers-oriented revelations. Informed and informative, "The Mystery Of Numbers: Revealed Through Their Digital Root" a very highly recommended contribution to personal, professional, community and academic library Metaphysical Studies, Numberology, and Number Theories reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

The Work of the Christ of God and of the Divine Wisdom
Gabriele of Wurzburg
Universal life The Inner Religion
PO Box 3549, Woodbridge, CT 06525
9781890841676, $16.00,

Synopsis: Many high values come together in wisdom: knowledge, understanding, as well as insight and the ability to discern, also intellectual capacity and experience, as well as diligence, sagacity and good judgment. The divine Wisdom is the deed. True, divine Wisdom always begins with respect for God, and therefore, surpasses any human wisdom. Without upholding high standards, without righteousness, justice and truthfulness, there is no divine Wisdom. Who or what is the divine Wisdom? Why was wisdom driven from theology? Who is the Comforter, who is the "exalted woman," talked about in the Bible? And why do we know so little about the prophets? - The authors extend a great bow over the work of the Christ of God and of the divine Wisdom - from the very beginning of time until today. Who presently lives and works on the earth is comprehensibly demonstrated: It is the incarnated Seraph of divine Wisdom. Let your heart be touched by the unobtrusive perseverance and sovereign love, with which the divine Wisdom has worked at all times, and again today, for the well-being of all people. Gabriele, the prophetess and messenger of God for our time, reveals the seven-dimensional world into our three dimensions, and all that has developed. Of special note is what contemporaries, who know Gabriele, have to say about her.

Critique: "The Work of the Christ of God and of the Divine Wisdom" offers a wealth of metaphysical insights. Thoughtful and inspiring, and enhanced with color photos, this highly recommended compendium of gnostic wisdom offers much to the contemplative reader.

Smokin' Hot Firemen
Delilah Devlin
Cleis Press
2246 Sixth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-2219
9781573449342, $15.95,

Eroticism (from the Greek meaning "desire") is generally understood to refer to a state of sexual arousal or anticipation of such - an insistent sexual impulse, desire, or pattern of thoughts, as well as a philosophical contemplation concerning the aesthetics of sexual desire, sensuality and romantic love. As French novelist Honore de Balzac pointed out, eroticism is dependent not just upon an individual's sexual morality, but the culture and time that individual resides in as well. In our time it means "Smokin' Hot Firemen: Erotic Romance Stories for Women", an anthology of seventeen romance stories designed to appeal to the female imagination. Compiled and edited by Delilah Deviln (who has herself published more than sixty erotic stories) "Smokin' Hot Firemen: Erotic Romance Stories for Women" is very highly recommended for mature women who appreciate a deftly written and imaginatively erotic short story.

The Manual for Righteous Living
Olawunmi Biriyok
Xulon Press
2301 Lucien Way, Suite 415
Maitland, FL 32751
9781619966581, $14.99,

Synopsis: The Manual for Righteous Living is a refreshing game-changing source of strength to transcend the frailties and pitiful arrogance of humans in order to receive the covering, security, endless provision of Abba Father. This empowering inspirational book offers immense insight to all truth seekers. The author's challenging biblical illustrations and stories of key Biblical figures throughout the book, further expounded in analogous reference to an ordinary manual go to show extraordinary faith and lifestyle of characters of the old and the new era worthy of emulating. Mrs Biriyok introduces the reader to key elements of "the manual for righteousness" such as repentance and salvation, faith, knowledge of the word, abiding in the Word, evangelising, commitment and hope. The instructional approach to the key elements of holiness and godliness provides knowledge beyond what you may gain in your regular church attendance and provokes the quest for knowledge and closeness to God. Whilst it subtly transforms your old ways thereby birthing in you the new creature to God's glory. A valuable addition to the devotional library for either the new or the experienced Christian.

Critique: Also available in a Kindle edition ($7.49), "The Manual for Righteous Living" is an informed and occasionally inspiring guide for the Christian reader seeking to live a life of productive faith in an increasingly secular world. "The Manual for Righteous Living" is especially recommended and instructive reading for those new to the Christian life or are returning to their Christian roots after a time of absence.

Sizzling At Seventy: Victim To Victorious
Lyn Traill
Balboa Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452505824, $16.50,

Synopsis: "Sizzling At Seventy: Victim To Victorious" is a biographical life raft for everyone seeking to untangle and improve their lives. The autobiographical narrative is full of struggle, poverty and abandonment told with humor and pathos. However in the closing chapters, "Sizzling At Seventy: Victim To Victorious" rejoices in author Lyn Traill's new life of fulfillment and empowerment. Lyn's passion is to assist others who may be caught in the debilitating condition of victimhood to rise triumphant and experience victory. Lyn Traillproves that it is never too late!

Critique: A candid memoir that holds a great many life lessons learned the hard way. Yet this life story, while informative and engaging from beginning to end, is also a tale of ultimate success. Lyn Traill writes with a personal touch that is guaranteed to hold her reader's rapt attention from first page to last, making it a highly recommended addition to community library 20th Century American Biography collections in general, and personal summer reading lists for anyone seeking to overcome their own life obstacles in particular.

Mandy, Princess of La La Land: "The Green Monster"
Lourdes Rodriguez
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781481700771, $24.99,

Synopsis: Mandy and her Abuela (Spanish for grandmother) shared a special bond. With their very vivid imaginations, they were constantly playing pretend, along with her cousins, Nathan and Aiden. Abuela was always reading and telling them stories about a horrible green monster from the island she was born in. This monster stole Christmas, food, toys, but more importantly, he stole their freedom. In one of her many vivid dreams, Mandy, her cousins Nathan and Aiden, and their best friends, Katie and Kenny, went off into the forest to free the children and people from Cuba. After fighting off guards with their magic powers, they managed to capture the Green Monster. Together, with all of their love, they had transformed the green monster into an innocent little frog. Children came out from everywhere to celebrate, dancing and singing while tears of joy were running down their little faces.

Critique: "Mandy, Princess of La La Land: "The Green Monster" is a truly charming children's story told with imaginative wit and ultimate compassion. Ideal for parent-child reading for bedtime (or anytime), this appealing story documents author Lourdes Rodriguez as an accomplished storyteller and is highly recommended for both family and community library Early Childhood collections.

Like Chiropractic For Elephants
Rod Block
Business Ghost Books
c/o News & Experts
3748 Turman Loop, #101
Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
9780983640653, $24.95,

Synopsis: In Like Chiropractic for Elephants, Dr. Block, one of the true pioneers in animal and zoo chiropractic, details the intriguing physical, spiritual, and emotional connection he has discovered and developed between human and animal nature. Based on his 40 plus years of experience working with, and understanding the nervous system, Dr. Block explains in depth the relationship between 2 legged and 4 legged beings. Dr. Block reveals to us that animals know what we know and that our animal spirits have a great deal to teach us about awareness, empathy, and personal discovery. Dr. Block has the uncanny ability to tune into the root cause of animal states of disease without the use of drugs or surgery.

Critique: A truly fascinating read, "Like Chiropractic For Elephants: How Animal Chiropractic Can Change Your (And Your Animal's) World" is as insightful as it is informative. Of special note is the section of color photos. This is a highly recommended for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the ability of humans and animals to form bonds and symbiotic relationships. "Like Chiropractic For Elephants: How Animal Chiropractic Can Change Your (And Your Animal's) World" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections.

May This Be The Best year of Your Life
Sandra Bornstein
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066 --
9781478198055, $12.95 (pb); $3.99 (Kindle)

Synopsis: Based on her private journal, memories, and a blog that chronicled her adventure to India, Sandra Bornstein wrote "May This Be the Best Year of Your Life" to serve as a resource and guide to help others overcome the challenges of living outside their comfort zone. When her husband accepted a job that required extensive international travel, the author was living her version of the American dream in Colorado, never imagining she would be faced with several dilemmas that left her feeling uncertain. After a series of events, she found herself in a life altering experience that placed her alone in a three-hundred-square-foot dorm room while teaching at a renowned international boarding school in Bangalore. This compelling, honest, and edifying memoir shares everything she learned about perseverance, travel, education, faith, and family. Had Sandra never resided in India, she would have missed out on an experience that ultimately enhanced her resiliency, confidence, and passion for life.

Critique: "May This Be The Best year of Your Life" is an unusually instructive memoir that is as fascinating and entertaining a read as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. A candid, 314 page, inspired and inspiring memoir, Sandra Bornstein clearly has a critically necessary gift for writing that makes her personal story especially recommended for community library American Biography collections and personal summer reading lists.

C. L. Paur
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781481706797, $27.99,

Synopsis: Catharine Zimmer lived a good life. At her death, she's ready for her heavenly destination. But one betrayal stalks Catharine beyond the grave. Before final judgment is imposed upon Catharine, she must hear the stories of a dictator, a nurse and a movie director. As their tales unfold, Catharine realizes how her one deception doomed countless other souls. Is there any way Catharine can escape an eternity of misery?

Critique: "Stories" is author C. L. Paur's debut novel and documents her undeniable talent as a unique and talented storyteller. Thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end, "Stories" has an additional serendipity for its readers, it is also thoughtful and thought-provoking. This is a very special novel that will linger in the mind long after it has been finished and set back on the shelf. "Stories" is highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections. It should also be noted that "Stories" is also available in a paperback edition (9781481706773, $16.95) and a Kindle edition (9781481706780, $3.99).

Outrageous October
Barbara Levenson
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
MM Book Publicity
9781480093669, $11.99,

Synopsis: What happens when Mary Magruder Katz, Miami criminal defense attorney, discovers her hot Latin boyfriend, Carlos, is sneaking away to a rendevous with his ex-spouse? Broken-hearted, she returns his humongous engagement ring, packs her dog and her disappointment in her SUV and runs away to Vermont where she holes up in her friend's summer house. The autumn winds bring the chill of an unsolved murder that occurred in Mary's vacation hideout. Being a hard-charging attorney, Mary can't stay idle for long. She meets a dashing young attorney whose nickname is actually Dash. He persuades her to do some legal work for him, and some extra nighttime work as well. Meanwhile, Mary reconnects with the daughter of a former client who is a coed at nearby Dartmouth College. Sherry Yarmouth confides in Mary that she is in the midst of a torrid affair with a local. When Sherry disappears, Mary's plans for some quiet time disappear too. Mary and Dash comb Vermont's Upper Valley in an all-out search. As if that isn't enough to keep Mary busy, she lands in the middle of a court fight over a neigborhood spat. Tree removal becomes the village's high publicity case. The plaintiff is dubbed the "tree Nazi, but Mary suspects he may be a real Nazi when he is found murdered. Mary's search for R. and R. leads to murders, kidnapping and a neo-Nazi cell. It's just another day at the office as Mary finds autumn in Vermont just as out of control as mayhem in Miami. Amid the falling leaves and blustery winds, Mary faces new challenges and new decisions abour her love life. Will Carlos win her back? Will Mary find Sherry before she's killed? And who actually killed the Nazi and the owner of the summer house? How and when will Mary return to Miami? Read Outrageous October and find the answers and a rollicking read.

Critique: Juding by "Outrageous October", author Barbara Levenson has a decided flair for the murder mystery genre! Memorable characters combine with a roller-coaster of a deftly written 'who done it' plot to provide the reader with a compulsory page turner of a read from beginning to end! "Outrageous October" is highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should also be noted that "Outrageous October" is also available in a Kindle Edition ($3.99).

Civil Rights Investigations Under the Workforce Investment ACT and Other Title VI-Related Laws
Seena K. Foster
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432773236, $59.95,

Synopsis: "Civil Rights Investigations Under the Workforce Investment ACT and Other Title VI-Related Laws: From Intake to Final Determination" is a truly exceptional resource that methodical takes the reader through the investigative process. And, while the Workforce Investment Act is used as a model, the teachings offered are applicable to any Title VI-related and Title VII-related investigation. Starting with the basics of knowing whether there is a complaint and the authority to investigate it, to navigating more in-depth concepts such as understanding the burdens of the parties, properly framing the issues of an investigation, developing a complaint investigation plan, interviewing witnesses, analyzing conflicting evidence, and writing final determinations, Civil Rights Investigations provides insights, tips, and examples. A wide array of discriminatory bases is explored, including race, color, national origin, gender, sexual harassment, religion, disability, political affiliation, citizenship, and age. "Civil Rights Investigations Under the Workforce Investment ACT and Other Title VI-Related Laws: From Intake to Final Determination" is enhanced with sample interrogatories covering numerous Title VI-related adverse actions such as denial of access, denial of training, denial of services, denial of benefits, and denial of proposals. Other sample interrogatories address sexual harassment, reasonable accommodation, reasonable modification, retaliation, termination from employment, non-selection and non-promotion, adverse performance appraisals, and damages.

Critique: Authoritative, comprehensive, practical, informed, informative, and thoroughly 'user friendly', "Civil Rights Investigations Under the Workforce Investment ACT and Other Title VI-Related Laws: From Intake to Final Determination" will prove invaluable for professionals and non-specialist general readers alike with an interest in how Title VI is enforced. A superb resource, "Civil Rights Investigations Under the Workforce Investment ACT and Other Title VI-Related Laws: From Intake to Final Determination" is especially recommended for personal, professional, NGO, governmental, academic, and community library Judicial Studies reference collections.

Anasazi Intrigue
Linda Weaver Clarke
Red Mountain Shadows Publishing
90 West 200 North Ivins, UT 84738
9781481266864, $12.00,

Synopsis: When a devastating flood takes out several homes in a small town, residents are shocked by the news of also a possible poison spill that kills many of the fish and neighbor's pets. Julia, the town's newest reporter, begins her investigation but realizes the story is much bigger and more dangerous than she thought! Julia and her husband find themselves on the run trying to save their lives while finishing the story of a lifetime! She never realized that being a reporter could be so dangerous. With artifacts, dead fish, a devastating flood, and miscreants, John and Julia have their hands full.

Critique: Linda Weaver is a born storyteller! "Anasazi Intrigue" is a riveting novel and a rewarding read from first page to last. "Anazsazi Intrigue" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library contemporary fiction collecitons. For anyone for whom this is their first introduction to this gifted novelist, it should be noted that she has previously authored three John & Julia Evans mystery/adventures: Mayan Intrigue (9781481266888, 258 pp., $12.00); Montezuma Intrigue (9781481266925, 260 pp., $12.00); and Desert Intrigue (9781470084219, 246 pp., $14.95).

Julie Summers

Klausner's Bookshelf

Amity and Sorrow
Peggy Riley
Little, Brown & Company
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780316220880, $25.99,

The First Wife, Amaranth did the unthinkable when she fled with her bound to each other at the wrists daughters (Amity and Sorrow) from her husband Zachariah as he did the one thing she rejected. Four days of no sleep constant driving in fear that her spouse will come for her and their kids as none of his fifty wives ever fled the patriarch. The road escape ends in a crash in Oklahoma on Bradley's farm.

Grieving the loss of his wife, Bradley allows the strange three females to remain on his failed farm though he cannot understand their odd polygamous belief system. Amaranth feels welcome by the farmer; while Amity enjoys the chance to see the world beyond the confining compound; but suffering with stomach problems. Sorrow misses her home desperately. As the foursome forge a family of sorts, each struggles with a faith that is tested by the others.

Amity and Sorrow is an intriguing look at the effect of a polygamous lifestyle on the next generation. The sisters make the tale as their different reactions to the outside world seems deftly genuine as do the flashbacks to life in the compound. Although the fascinating storyline turns too twisting and complex at times; overwhelming the insightful glimpse at what a family is, readers will appreciate Peggy Riley's deep character-driven novel.

The Sultan of Byzantium
Selcuk Altun
Telegram Books
26 Westbourne Grove
London, England, W2 5RH
9781846591488, $14.95,

In 1453 Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI led the defense of Constantinople against the Ottoman horde. He died in combat and the over millennium old empire died with him. However, his body was never found; leading to a mythos of the Immortal Emperor who escaped death and the beleaguered city by ship.

Over five centuries later, a thirtyish Istanbul professor reflects on his growing up as the child of a Turk and Canadian who divorced when he cheated on her. However, his look back at his child hood ends when sexagenarian Nikos Askaris meets with him to lecture him on the true history of the Byzantine Empire after the Ottoman conquest. The professor begins to research all he can on the empire until he finally ventures to the ruins of Tekfur Palace in Istanbul where he meets the Nomophylax Guardians of the Law who have kept the Byzantine throne and treasure safe in secret as decreed by the will of Constantine who died over two decades after the defeat. They give him a box in which he must find six tiles that fit the slots. If successful, he will be the next emperor if he fails he will be dead. He begins his global quest for the tile.

The Sultan of Byzantium is a fascinating deep way to tell the history and influence even today of the Byzantine Empire. Nor for everyone as the action in spite of the quest is muted, readers will relish the Byzantine heritage and historical information though that supersedes the professor's journey as Selcuk Altun, using metafiction, provides a deep look at the once thriving empire.

The Big Beyond
Michael Lister
Pottersville Press
c/o Pulpwood Press
P.O. Box 35038, Panama City, FL 32412
9781888146332, $16.00,

During WWII in in 1940s Panama City, Florida, private investigator Jimmy "Soldier" Riley awakens strapped to a bunk after two thugs knocked him out. He has one thought besides his constant one of how he failed Lauren Lewis: quick death before the woman who hooked up electrodes to his penis can give him a charge. However, former combat pilot Clipper Jones and Salvation Army nurse Ruth Ann Johnson rescue him from the psychos.

Jimmy, who has lost his right hand to the mean streets and his soul to his dead angel, thinks what a trio as Clipper lost an eye so no longer flies military planes and Ruth Ann lost a leg providing combat medical care to troops. Ruth Ann loves Jimmy, but knows he remains obsessed with Lauren. She decides to have a makeover in her ghostly rival's image because she believes
that is her only chance with him though she knows in her gut that Jimmy will not move on until he confronts Lauren's killer.

The sequel to The Big Goodbye is an exhilarating historical noir that brings to life the Florida Panhandle during WWII. Action-packed from the moment the protagonist wakes up strapped, fans will enjoy the adventures of the three hardboiled wounded warriors investigating murders in Panama City.

R. J. Ellory
The Overlook Press
141 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012
9781590205167, $25.95,

In 1982 as he sits on Death Row in South Carolina's Sumter Penitentiary with thirty days left before his execution for murdering his best friend Nathan Verney, thirty six year old Daniel Ford muses he has been betrayed four times in his life as he chats with Father John Rousseau. Daniel, who has lived on Death Row for a third of his life, explains to the Chaplin that he and Nathan became friends as six year olds in 1952 Lake Marion, North Carolina though he being white and his buddy colored made their friendship difficult to sustain, but they did it. In the 1960s, they fled the draft. In 1971 Nathan was murdered and Daniel convicted.

This is a strong "memoir" that grips the audience throughout as Daniel tells his tale of betrayal to the backdrop of major events in the Deep South through three decades of tumultuous change. The twisting storyline hooks the reader with a need to know what happened as R. J. Ellory provides a fascinating dark bittersweet spin through recent Carolina history.

Scorned Justice
Margaret Daley
Abingdon Press
PO Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
9781426714368, $14.99,

After receiving a dozen dead roses, District Court Judge Rebecca Morgan heads to her brother Thomas Sinclair's birthday party. After a warm greeting from her nieces, the widow finds out Thomas has not come back from his work on his ranch. She rides a horse to get him only to find Thomas severely injured from an assault.

While Thomas is rushed to Mercy Memorial, Rebecca believes the attack is related to her presiding over the trial of deadly Russian mobster Dmitri Petrov. Detective Charles Nelson leads the investigation with an assist from Rebecca's high school boyfriend Texas Ranger Brody Calhoun, who is home caring for his ailing father. Brody protects Rebecca while also looking to find evidence of cattle rustling as well as Petrov's murderous tampering. When they fall in love, Brody realizes his beloved fears a relationship with a law enforcement official; as her late husband was a cop killed in the line of duty.

The latest Men of Texas Rangers (see Saving Men and Shattered Silence) romantic police procedural is a tense thriller starring two courageous heroes though Rebecca takes questionable risks. Action-packed with a fabulous late twist, fans will enjoy the superb Scorned Justice as the romance supports the suspense.

Darkness Before Dawn
Ace Collins
Abingdon Press
PO Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
9781426714672, $14.99,

Police Officer Roland Johnson calls a sleeping Meg Richards to inform her that her husband Steven, working late, died in a car accident on his way home to celebrate their anniversary. Later that morning she learns she is pregnant. The other car was driven by a drunken teen James Thomas whose father Alfred is an influential judge with the ability to etch-a-sketch his son's transgressions including a DUI vehicular homicide.

Politically ambitious District Attorney Webb Jones wants this case to go away. He arranges a deal in which remorseless James will do community service and Meg would receive money. Irate, avenging Meg rejects the settlement. Unhappy Webb assigns the volatile prosecution to his least experienced Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Bednarz, who in spite of being dumped into the feeding frenzied media fishbowl, plans to get a guilty verdict.

The key to this engaging drama is the change in Meg from a kind loving person to a nasty bitter individual who takes her rage out on everyone within her circle including God. Though at times heavy-handed due to Meg's out of control rage, Darkness Before Dawn is filled with angst as the consequences of DUI destroy several lives.

When The Morning Glory Blooms
Cynthia Ruchti
Abingdon Press
PO Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
9781426735431, $14.99,

In 2013, unmarried high school student Lauren Trundle gives birth to a son Jackson. Still living at home, her mom Becky takes care of her grandson though she fears she is not doing mother and child a favor by stepping in.

In 1951 unmarried Ivy Carrington fails to inform her boyfriend, Drew Lambert that she carrying his child as he deploys to Korea. She fears informing him may distract him while in combat. Ivy meets elderly Anna Grissom at the nursing home where the former works and the latter lives. Anna persuades Ivy to write down her memories before her mind goes. Initially she assumes her patient's senility leads to Anna's discourse, but soon Ivy becomes convinced the tales about six-decade old Morning Glory home for unwed mothers existed that her patient created over family objections back in 1890 is real.

Whether it is 1890, 1951 or 2013, unmarried pregnant women are judged lacking in morals; while the male is just being a man. The prime characters come across as real as each has tsuris while raising a baby without a father and not all of their issues resolved. Comparing society's mores in three eras, decades apart, readers will appreciate Cynthia Ruchti deep look at having and raising a baby without the dad.

A Healing Heart
Angela Breidenbach
Abingdon Press
PO Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
9781426752608, $12.99,

In Bozeman, Montana, single mom Mara Keegan still grieves the loss of her husband David who died three years ago. She raises their three children and runs the family business while creating a special photo-memory quilt for her oldest Cadence who will soon leave for college.

However, Mara also holds God culpable for her David's death and now has a new grudge when her business mentor retires and replacing him is a man she hates as much as the Lord. Even before she could bury her David, vulture Joel Ryan swooped in to take over the business; she prevented him from succeeding and now he is her business coach. He swears he is not that avarice scavenger since he found Jesus. When Mara suffers a heart attack, Joel takes charge of the business and the family as her heart physically heals, but emotionally proves more difficult.

The latest Quilts of Love (see Path of Freedom by Jennifer Hudson Taylor, A Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer AlLee, Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane and Threads of Hope by Christa Allan) is a strong inspirational family drama. Though her heart attack is a convenient awakener Mara is a great protagonist who almost kills herself to insure her family has basic sustenance; but that also keeps her somewhat aloof towards their (and hers) emotional and spiritual needs. Readers will enjoy this tale; as Mara goes from why God allows bad things to happen to good people to the Lord works in mysterious ways healing a hurting heart and soul.

Zombies Don't Forgive
Rusty Fischer
Medallion Press, Inc.
100 South River Street, Aurora, IL 60506
9781605426365, $9.99,

After the insane Zerker zombies attack left most residents of Barracuda Bay dead (see Zombies Don't Cry), three sane zombies (Maddy, Dane, and Stamp) flee town. Their plan is to hide in plain sight from the Sentinel enforcers who demand they face justice. Three months since they went underground, the fugitives mix in amidst the Normals of Orlando; obtaining positions at the Great Movie Monster Makeover show.

Stamp relishes this new environment as he seems to have a different girl each week while Maddy and Dane prefer to stay safe. When Stamp meets enigmatic Val who insists on no pictures, Maddy and Dane become concerned that his girlfriend may be an undercover Sentinel.

The latest amusing Living Dead Love Story continues the zombie misadventures of kill first and ask questions later. Maddy and her two cohorts star in this tale once again primarily targeting the teen crowd, but other zombie-maniacs will enjoy the thriller too. The fab four seem fully developed as Val is devilishly delightful and Stamp an impish trouble magnet; while Maddy and Dane turn to one another. Fans will not forgive Rusty Fischer if he does not provide us with more zombie fever.

Whispers of a New Dawn
Murray Pura
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene
Oregon 97402-9173
9780736951708, $13.99,

In 1917, because of the patriarch Jude Whetstone's self-sacrifice to keep his Amish brethren out of the draft as his People are war objectors and his wife Lyyndaya is working with Spanish flu victims in Philadelphia, the family was shunned (see The Wings of Morning). However, their offspring Nate and Becky share their love of helping others.

Nate was a missionary in China where he witnessed the brutality of the Japanese military first-hand before returning home to Paradise, Pennsylvania. In 1941, the American army "drafts the Whetstone family as flight instructors training pilots in Oahu, Hawaii. Becky is assigned Christian Raven who she deems an irritant not worth instructing. Heeding her Aunt Ruth's advice, Becky talks with Christian; both share tragic losses though they grieve differently. As a friendship forms, each wonders if they found love until a "day in infamy" explodes at Pearl Harbor.

The latest Snapshots in History (see The Face Of Heaven) is a great historical that provides readers with a profound look at events including atrocities leading to the War in the Pacific. The romance enhances the deep thriller as Murray Pura provides the audience with a strong saga as an Amish family prays for peace on our and future times, but unlike their brethren accept that God has condoned war at times (Battle of Jericho, etc.).

Mo Said She Was Quirky
James Kelman
Other Press
2 Park Avenue, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10016
9781590516003, $15.95,

In London, Helen works extremely hard as a night croupier at a casino in order for her Pakistani Muslim mate Mo and her six year old daughter Sophie to survive. On the way home by cab from another grueling day of work, Helen notices a homeless drunk leisurely crossing in front of the taxi with a companion. The disheveled man looks like her brother Brian; a sibling she has not seen in years since she and her family became estranged over her choices. She muses over her mom, her brother, their Glasgow home and her boyfriend Mo who insists "she was quirky" though all she feels is tired and fearful that if she falls further down she will land in the ooze of failure never to rise until the next day when her cycle begins again.

This is a fascinating character study of a Scottish woman trying to keep from drowning though she wants to give up but others depend on her so she keeps treading. Most of the storyline focuses on Helen's internal thoughts, which are bleak and depressing; as life is a combat sport not worth the fight. Polar opposite of Sutherland's 24 when it comes to action as there is none; instead we get inside the head of a seemingly ordinary person for one day after a potentially shocking encounter as readers will agree with Mo she is quirky.

The House Of Special Purpose
John Boyne
Other Press
2 Park Avenue, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10016
9781590515983, $16.95,

In 1981 octogenarian Georgy Daniilovich Jachmenev looks back on his life especially growing up in Russia before the Revolution. When he was sixteen, inexplicably at least to him or his family, he was selected as companion to the tsarist heir Prince Alexei. Six and a half decades later he still cannot fathom why an uneducated rural peasant was chosen; especially after Tsar Nicholas II explained his tasks to him.

In St. Petersburg for the first time, Georgy sees fifteen year old Anastasia and feels an attraction like no other. After residing in The House Of Special Purpose in Ekaterinburg for the first year after the Revolution dethroned the Tsar, Georgy and his wife Zoya flee his homeland; never to see any family member again. In Paris he worked at a bookstore and now at eight-two Georgy lives in London looking back at his life in Russia.

This is an entertaining retelling of Anastasia from the perspective of someone her age who worked for the imperial family and survived their overthrow. The storyline engages the audience but is more an enjoyable historical romance than a profound look at the fate of the Tsar, Tsarina and their family especially Anastasia.

Sunflower Summer
Evangeline Kelley
P.O. Box 5815, Harlan IA 51593
9780824932473, $13.99,

On Nantucket Island the three sisters (Caroline Marris, Gracie Gold and Sam Carter) own the renovated Misty Harbor Inn, which they open for business. Meanwhile they continue seeking to learn what happened in 1880 to the original owner's widow, Hannah Montague, causing her to vanish. Their objective is to prove Hannah did no transgressions but Sam finds information to the contrary buried in a secret room.

The trio also struggles to run the inn as daily chores are more tedious than glamorous. Still Gracie and Caroline feel God wants them to help visitors. As such Gracie even tries to assist newlyweds whose honeymoon appears to be a marital breakup.

The second Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn (see Seaside Harmony) continues the warm inspirational family drama that follows the coming together of three middle age sisters who drifted apart to care for their own families. The storyline is leisurely-paced with a focus on the characters; enabling readers to understand further the motivations of each sibling though also limiting the action even with the late nineteenth century mystery.

Seaside Harmony
Evangeline Kelley
P.O. Box 5815, Harlan IA 51593
9780824932466, $13.99,

The three sisters went their separate ways once they left the nest. However, the siblings Caroline Marris, Gracie Gold and Sam Carter reunite for the funeral of their mother. As children the trio spent summers on Nantucket Island with their parents. However, each is appalled with what has happened to their favorite place, the Misty Harbor Inn, which is on the market for sale. The once-beautiful historic house is terribly run down and the fabulously kept gardens look like a jungle.

Caroline convinces her sisters to join her in owning and converting Misty Harbor Inn into a B&B though widow Gracie has doubts. As the threesome try to work together as a team in spite of their diverse personalities, they find hand-written postcards that have them investigating what happened to Hannah Montague who vanished in 1880.

The first Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn is a warm inspirational family drama that follows the coming together of three middle age sisters who drifted apart. The storyline is leisurely-paced enabling readers to understand the siblings and accept the changing second chance relationship between them; as team Kelley makes it clear it is never too late to come together. Readers who
appreciate a character-driven storyline with muted action will relish visiting Nantucket island with the sisters as guides.

Sinners and the Sea
Rebecca Kanner
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781451695236, $22.99,

She was born with a wine mark over her left eye. The midwife tried something with the afterlife to rid the newborn of the mark, but that failed. Her father tried all types of remedies that also failed. He refused to name her as the mark turned from red wine to a deep purple. No one would touch her once her father gave up his efforts after sacrificing a finger for deity intervention. No one wanted her even knowing they would inherit her father's olive grove as all feared she was the devil's spawn since only sinners have marks on their face.

Six-hundred year old Noah seeks a woman of virtue to name as his Wife. He chooses the ostracized female with the mark on her face. While Noah preaches to the sinners of the world to repent, his dedicated Wife raises their children and helps nurture the fallen. When God orders Noah to construct a giant ark to house his family and the animals of the world when the torrent begins, Wife loyally supports her distant husband though she fears the sinful villagers of Sorum will kill her mate, their three sons and her as devil lunatics before he completes the project.

Sinners and the Sea is a terrific retelling of the Genesis story of Noah from the perspective of his Wife, who becomes the Eve of the post-flood world. The key characters feel genuine as each has flaws with Wife ashamed of her facial mark and feeling alone as her much older spouse chats with the Lord while ignoring her. Readers will appreciate the Sinners and the Sea as faith proves a complex convoluted feeling.

Daddy's Gone A Hunting
Mary Higgins Clark
Simon & Schuster
9781451668940, $26.99

Retired Gus Schmidt meets CPA Kate Connolly at four thirty in the morning at her family-owned Connelly Fine Antique Reproductions in Long Island City; where he once worked. An explosion leaves Gus dead and Kate unconscious. While Kate lies comatose and unable to defend herself, rumors abound as to why she met with a former employee before the place was open.

Her sister, fashion designer Hannah, wants the truth, which she believes will exonerate her sibling. Clues lead to the disappearance almost three decades ago of an aspiring actress from Illinois whose attorney brother has just moved to the city and to a two years old cold case murder of a Barnard student.

Readers who can ignore the quadrillion happenchance plot forwarding moments will enjoy this suspenseful tale; as Hannah, bungling her amateur sleuthing endeavor, brings tension to the entertaining storyline; more than the villain and the felonious few abetting the culprit. Though not one of Mary Higgins Clark's stronger thrillers, fans of the author will want to know what is going on in this exciting mystery.

Taking Chances
Molly McAdams
William Morrow & Company
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062267689, $14.99,

Harper leaves North Carolina to attend San Diego State University with a sense of freedom and adventure as she escapes from her father the marine who home schooled her at the office even when he was away on a deployment. On the California campus Harper rooms with Bree. Her roommate introduces Harper to her brother Chase and his house mates including Brandon.

All the males adore Harper and treat Harper like a waifish princess who they fear hurting. Harper is attracted to Chase and Brandon though the latter prefers distance from Harper. When Chase dies, a grieving Harper learns she is pregnant while turning to Brandon for comfort.

This is an engaging character study of a military dependent seeking independence for the first time when she goes off to college. Readers will root for Harper to achieve her objective, but also find her frustrating as she makes no progress; instead she depends on a civilian semper fi support group in which everyone holds her up even at the expense of a loved one.

From Ashes
Molly McAdams
9780062267726, $14.99

In California, Ty and Cassie grew up as BFFs. Whereas Ty's parents are nice and supportive; Cassie's mom and stepdad are abusive drunks. For the next decade Cassie's parents batter her, but she made her buddy promise not to tell anyone. Ty leaves for the University of Texas at Austin where he will room with his cousin Gage. Cassie goes with him. When Gage and Cassie meet, they each are stunned by their reaction. He also sees bruises on her body. Ty explains he feared leaving her behind with her abusive parents.

Gage feels protective of Cassie and lectures his cousin for not interceding to keep his girlfriend safe. Ty shows Gage pictures he took over the years in which Cassie shows no emotion. Ty sees how Gage and Cassie look at each other. When he tries to kiss her, he upsets her. Ty tells Cassie that Gage sees her as a sister and hates chauffeuring her to work like he does every morning. Cassie is upset but drives herself to work, which upsets Gage who likes taking her to her job. Gage tells Ty he loves Cassie. Ty says he loves Cassie too. Eight months since Cassie crushed Gage's heart when she ended his driving her, he tells his concerned family he loves Cassie but she loves Ty.

Cassie's resiliency makes her an inspiring heroine as she grows up a victim, but refuses to remain a victim although excessive melodramatic tsuris is piled on her. The key support cast like Cassidy's BFF, her mom and a cop act out of character at pivotal moments, but fans will enjoy the touching relationship between Gage and Cassie.

The Great Escape
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
9780062106186, $14.99

In Wynette, Texas perpetual First Daughter Lucy Jorik jilted her fiance retired PGA star Ted Beaudine. After she fled town with Panda Shade, a dangerous-looking stranger on a motorcycle, Lucy's BFF Meg Koranda married the town mayor (see Call Me Irresistible). Thirtyish Lucy feels overwhelmed with guilt and remorse. She needs time to think while ridding herself of the pretense of being the offspring of a POTUS. Instead she pretends to be a kick butt biker chick and behaves like a street hooker.

On the same island lives impoverished divorcee Bree residing in a rundown cabin. She is guardian to angry tweener Toby, who hates her. Though she wants no part of raising any child especially a hurting belligerent one, Bree needs to rid her acrimonious self-loathing; smitten Mike plans to help her.

The Great Escape is an enjoyable contemporary romance though the Bree subplot is the more realistic and entertaining of the two stories. Fans who accept Lucy's radical personality change as part of a coming of age metamorphosis will root for her to find contentment and love while also hope for the best for Bree.

The Story Of X
A. J. Molloy
9780062268525, $13.99

Dartmouth students Alexandra "X" Beckmann and Jessica Rushton are in Naples. The BFFs hope to have fun, but X also studies the Camorra crime mob. While drinking coffee at an outdoor cafe, X feels her libido explode when she sees affluent handsome Lord Marcus Roscarrick for the first time. She believes he is the one to give her the adventure of a lifetime.

X and Marc begin a tryst that has the naive American believe she is in love for the first time in her life. Marc asks X to join him in the Mysteries. X wants to with her Marc exploring the sexual initiations the Mysteries offer, but also fears losing her identity to this dark compulsive craving.

This is an enjoyable tale starring two people who act like an erotic version of George du Maurier's Svengali and Trilby.
Although more about the Mysteries past would have anchored the present beyond just a mechanism for diverse obsessive sex and sexual assaults, sub-genre fans will enjoy The Story X, the aristocrat and the Mysteries' strangers in Naples.

Dangerous Refuge
Elizabeth Lowell
9780062132710, $26.99

When Uncle Lorne Davis died, LAPD homicide detective Tanner Davis returns to the family ranch in Refuge, Nevada to settle the estate. However, Tanner quickly becomes suspicious of the cause of his late relative's death as increasingly he believes someone murdered Uncle Lorne and he uncovers several suspects with motives.

One of those who had reason for murdering his uncle is historical heritage protector Shaye Townsend. To their chagrin, each feels a heat hotter than a Nevada desert summer for the other. As they agree to jointly investigate what happened to his Uncle Lorne, they also share intense love-making; but neither wants to acknowledge that love is the impetus. That changes when the diabolical killer goes after Shaye as Tanner willingly risks his life to keep his beloved safe.

Although as much a romance as a mystery, readers will enjoy this exhilarating suspense thriller especially the fabulous climax in deserted Sierra Nevada mines. Fast-paced though Dangerous Refuge never deviates from the expected romantic suspense path, readers will appreciate Elizabeth Lowell's entertaining tale.

Leaving Annalise
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
SkipJack Publishing
P.O.B. 31160, Houston, TX 77231
9781939889010, $5.95,

Thirtyish attorney Katie Connell left Dallas for San Marcos after a melt down in court and her love life tanked (see Saving Grace). She has become a chanteuse singing with her partner Ava Butler and seeing owner-chef Bart while having her home, haunted by Annalise the jumbie, renovated. However, she ends her relationship with Bart when the love of her life private investigator Nick Kovacs arrives from Dallas to explain what happened. Nick says he protected his sister Teresa and his infant nephew Taylor from the lad's violent father Derek.

Nick returns to the States to keep Taylor safe while Teresa attends college. However, obsessed Bart stalks Katie on San Marcos; and Derek goes after Teresa and Nick in his obsession for custody of his son. Soon murders occur at both locations.

The second Katie and Annalise thriller (see Saving Grace) starts somewhat slow as readers meet the cast, but once the stalking begins in earnest, the engaging storyline accelerates into a taut suspense. With a touch of the jumbie adding a distinct flavor to the mix and the romance perfectly kept on the backburner while dealing with predatory psychopaths, fans will enjoy Leaving Annalise.

The Frozen Shroud
Martin Edwards
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464201073, $24.95,

Five years ago in Ravenbank, England, someone viciously murdered Katya Moss on Halloween with a shroud used as a frozen cover to conceal her battered face. The homicide eerily reminds locals of the Faceless Woman brutal murder in the exact same way on Halloween just prior to the start of WWI because her ghost allegedly haunts Ravenbank. Criminologist Daniel Kind finds the eerie similarities too macabrely fascinating to ignore; so he begins to look into the murders almost a century apart.

Meanwhile Cumbria cold case Detective Chief Inspector Hannah Scarlett must deal with austerity that cuts her office's budget cuts to a level in which she must reduce her workforce as salary is the major expense. When a third killing identical to the two cold cases Kind investigates happens, Scarlett opens up an inquiry into those murders with the criminologist assisting her and her unit.

The latest Lake District police procedural (see The Serpent Pool and The Hanging Wood) is a strong entry that grips the audience from the opening murder and never loosens its hold until the final denouement. Fast-paced, the romance between the DCI and the criminologist for the most part simmers on the back burner as the murder investigation takes center stage throughout in this super whodunit(s).

Parrots Prove Deadly
Clea Simon
Poisoned Pen Press
9781464201042, $24.95

In Beauville, to the shock of no one working at the LiveWell retirement complex as she was very ill, octogenarian Polly Larkin dies in her Room 203. Polly's fiftyish daughter Jane asks pet guru Pru Marlowe to retrain Polly's roommate, foul-mouth African grey parrot Randolph Jones.

However, Pru listens to Randolph's mimicry and concludes the parrot is repeating Polly's last words. The psychic animal expert further thinks Randolph witnessed a murder instead of the natural death that staff Dr. Wachtell insists happened and that someone wants the parrot silenced forever. Pru and her animal team (Wallis, Buster, Frank and Growler) investigate what each believes was the murder of an elderly woman.

The third Pru Marlowe Pet Noir (see Dogs Don't Lie and Cats Can't Shoot) is an enjoyable psychic mystery as the heroine "talks to the animals" in order to seek their guidance on solving the case. Though the whodunit solution seems obvious in spite of several viable suspects, fans will appreciate this fun anthropomorphic investigation.

Braking Points
Tammy Kaehler
Poisoned Pen Press
9781464200991, $24.95

At the Road America event in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, racing car driver Kate Reilly tries to pass Miles Hanson on the oval, but he refuses to allow her so she bumps his vehicle. The NASCAR officials call the crash a racing incident in which both drivers are at fault. Miles ends up at a nearby hospital and off the track for a few months while he heals from his injuries.

Irate Miles is a fan favorite with a huge following. At the same time while his supporters demand she at least be banned until his return, "Racings Ringer" constantly assaults the allegedly violent Kate in his blog. Kate fears for her safety as the vitriol gets worse and a hit and run attempt almost succeeds. Still she heads to the next stop to Petit Le Mans in Georgia while wondering whether pit reporter Felix Simon, who loathes females on the track, is the culprit until he becomes a murder victim and the war against Calamity Kate intensifies with the murder of her friend Ellie Prescott who once was engaged to Kate's current boyfriend Stuart Telarday.

The second Kate Reilly mystery (see Dead Man's Switch) is a fabulously fast spin around the track as some sports fanatics quickly turn psychotic (mindful of the murder of Columbian soccer player Andres Escobar in 1994) although that also leads to an overly abundance of suspects. Still readers will enjoy this entertaining sports whodunit.

Blood, Ash, and Bone
Tina Whittle
Poisoned Pen Press
9781464200939, $24.95

Her former cheating boyfriend John Wilde arrives at Tai Randolph's Atlanta gun shop. He says he married her former best friend Hope last month, but she left him last week taking an artifact with her that he wants back. Further explaining, he says they run a pawn shop in Jacksonville where they found inside a roll-top desk a bible signed and dated by Lincoln to Sherman. John hires Tai who charges him 15% rather than the usual 10% finder's fee.

Tai and her boyfriend security expert Trey Seaver deliver authentic Civil War items to the participants at the Southeastern Civil War Expo reenactment in Savannah. They also search for Hope and the missing King James Bible, but soon learn the hard way rabid rivals seek the same valuable artifact and much more at any cost to competitors.

The third Tai Randolph finder mystery (see The Dangerous Edge of Things and Darker than Any Shadow) is an exciting twisting thriller as the feisty but foolhardy heroine and her brave but deliberate partner end up in one perilous mess after another. Separately they could end up as cannon fodder, but together they make a powerful team. Readers will relish this terrific entry while, like Tai, compare reserved Trey to passionate John.

Some Like It Hot
K.J. Larsen
Poisoned Pen Press
9781464200984, $24.95

Billy Bonham opens up a detective agency in Bridgeport. His training consists of watching Bogart play hardboiled sleuths. Bartender and murder witness Cristina McTigue becomes Billy's first client; on her part because of a brain tumor and his part because she is a Mary Astor-like femme fatale. She employs him to find stolen diamond earrings that Marilyn Monroe wore on Some Like It Hot.

Chicago-based Pants on Fire private investigator Cat DeLuca gets Santa garbed Billy out of a jam. However that night Cat's brother informs her that someone murdered her first boyfriend Billy. Cat claims to have been Billy's partner to uncover the identity of the killer. She quickly learns the history of the diamonds while eluding bullets and searching for a killer and the gems with help from the posse and Mama's Cannoli.

The latest Cat DeLuca Mystery (see Liar, Liar and Sticks And Stones) is a fun farcical thriller. Fast-paced with some macabre graveyard humor, fans who enjoy a lighthearted over the top of the Willis Tower detective tale will enjoy Cat's zany escapades as she learns "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" except instead of men, gems grow cold when you are dead.

Game Drive
Marie Moore
Camel Press
c/o Coffeetown Press
PO Box 70515, Seattle, WA 98127
9781603819619, $13.95,

Mississippian Sidney Marsh works as a travel agent at Itchy Feet Travel in lower Manhattan. When she arrives at the office, Sydney is shocked by the dramatic makeover from staid typical agency to African decor. Her boss "Big Bwana" informs Sydney and her best friend and peer at the office Jay Wilson that with the economy tanked they need an edge; so they will offer African safari tours.

Big Bwana dispatches Sidney and Jay to Cape Town to test the safari tours before offering them to customers. Both look forward to the paid working vacation though Jay fears domesticated kittens. In Cape Town however, it is not the four legged that turn their adventure into a misadventure after Sidney apparently witnesses a murder. On the Table Mountain cable car, someone picks her pockets and at Leopard Drive game lodge overlooking Kruger National Park, an agent is dead while Sidney tempts the "Marsh Curse" with a handsome local.

The second Sydney Marsh Murder Mystery (see Shore Excursion) is an enjoyable amateur sleuth tale as the heroine feels right at home in South Africa having landed in her natural state of tsuris. Though circumstance is critical early on, fans will relish this fast-paced tale enhanced by vivid descriptions of the country; as readers will want to join a tour just probably not one sponsored by Itchy Feet.

Double Play
Jen Estes
c/o Coffeetown Press
PO Box 70515, Seattle, WA 98127
9781603819411, $15.95,

The Buffalo Soldiers make the postseason playoffs. Team reporter Catriona McDaniel is euphoric the team has a good chance of winning it all. She also loves her live-in boyfriend Professor Benji Levy even if he prefers comic books to baseball.

Her older charming half-brother Quinn McDaniel arrives in town to his sister's chagrin. Benji likes the charming Quinn while ignoring Cat's warning consternation. Following a gala at a steakhouse to celebrate making the playoffs that Quinn crashed; he, Benji and several players come to Cat's home to play cards. Several beers late, star pitcher Ryan Brokaw falls off the balcony and breaks his non-throwing arm; ending the dreams of winning the World Series. As BPD Detective Khan and the team investigate the incident, the city blames Cat while the roguish Teflon Quinn once again escapes culpability.

The third Foul Cat McDaniel sports cozy is an engaging look at the convergence of money and baseball as Quinn's arrival sets in motion a game ending Double Play for the beleaguered Cat, the most hated person in Buffalo. Though less baseball action than in the first two innings of the series (see Curveball and Big Leagues), fans will enjoy Cat's family reunion as her seemingly bright long career in baseball appears to have hit into a game ending called strike three.

Prophet of Bones
Ted Kosmatka
Henry Holt & Company
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 400
New York, NY 10010-7725
9780805096170, $27.00,

In 1954 at the University of Chicago, scientist Willard F. Libby invented Carbon-14 dating. Six years later he won the Nobel Prize for debunking Darwin and the evolutionists when he proved the Earth is 5,800 years old. At the same time public school student Paul Carlsson, abused as is his Chinese mother by his violent but brilliant father, enjoys studying mice.

Years later, the Axiom Corporation sends ancient DNA expert Carlsson to join an archeological dig in Indonesia. He and others find bones that shatter their beliefs as the tests prove them to be older than the Libby accepted theory of the earth. Axiom Corporation CEO Martial Johansson wants the discovery to remain buried so sends goons to kill those at the excavation site. Paul escapes initially but when caught he learns the secret of the bones and much more.

Prophet of Bones is an exhilarating action-packed thriller that grips the audience even before the protagonist heads to Indonesia. The storyline is fast-paced and switches from the fascinating DNA science fiction mystery to a more standard albeit thrilling horror tale especially on Flores with a stunning late twist. Though readers will question Johansson's decisions, we also will relish joining Paul as he makes one incredible discovery after another while trying to stay alive to tell the world what he found.

Without A Summer
Mary Robinette Kowal
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765334152, $24.99,

In 1816 England is suffering from an extremely cold summer due to volcanic activity. Glamour artists Jane and David Vincent recover from their horrible working honeymoon and her miscarriage in Blinche, Belgium (see Glamour in the Glass) at her family home. When the couple decides to accept am Irish Catholic couple as clients, they leave Long Parkmeade to return to their London house with Jane's depressed sister Melody joining them as she has no suitors while rusticating.

At a time when the freezing weather is blamed on the magic using Coldmongers and the raging Luddites attack machinery, Jane and David fear that Alastair O'Brien, son of their current clients, is involved in sedition. Making the situation worse is that Alastair is courting Melody and David's abusive father comes a calling.

The third Glamourist Histories fantasy (see Shades of Milk and Honey) is an engaging thriller that deftly uses real events like the 1816 weather, the Luddites and the English-Irish dispute; and people like Jane Vincent nee Austen within a London teeming with the magic of glamour. Filled with action after a leisurely start and still seeking a mate for Melody, fans will enjoy this entry as Mary Robinette Kowal paints a fabulous alternate Regency England.

The House That Love Built
Beth Wiseman
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781595548894, $15.99,

In Smithville, Texas single mother of two children, Brooke Holloway still grieves the death of her beloved husband Travis though two years have passed. She supports her kids (ten year old Travis and six years old Meghan) by running the family-owned hardware store.

Acrimonious divorcee Owen Saunders moves to Smithville after buying the Hadley Mansion. He and Brooke meet when he comes to her store. They become friends as he reassesses his vow of no women and she wonders if there may be life after Travis. As the pair investigates the mystery of Hadley Mansion, they fall in love though he has doubts after being burned by his ex and she feels guilt that she betrays her Travis and fears how her kids especially the older one will react.

The House That Love Built is a delightful inspirational second chance at love romance. Character-driven with a touch of mystery that is more a suspense device to bring the lead couple together, readers will appreciate Beth Wiseman's enjoyable contemporary as the protagonists know love may not be enough as Travis and Meghan must come first.

Secrets From the Past
Barbara Taylor Bradford
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312631666, $27.99,

Thirtyish Serena Stone chose to follow her dad's dangerous occupation as a photo-journalist rather than her late mother the actress. After working in the Middle East for several years and with the death of her hero her father in France, Serena feels burned out and decides to go to New York to grieve and to honor her father by writing his biography.

However, Serena revises her plans when she finds out that her ex-lover Zac North suffers from PTSD. She travels to Venice to help nurture Zac and persuades him to join her on her paternal homage project. Together they go to her family home in Nice to look over her father's work. However, Serena is stunned to find information that contradicts what she believed about her and her parents. Needing the truth, she follows the clues to Civil-War torn Libya.

Secrets from the past is an entertaining tale starring a woman seeking the truth though she fears in her case this will not set her free. With a strong cast, especially her father's boss and Serena's twin sisters, fans will relish accompanying the heroine and her one-woman man as they investigate a family mystery.

Extinction Machine
Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin's Griffin
9780312552213, $15.00

Department of Military Sciences Echo Team enters Shelton Aeronautics in Wolf Trap, Virginia only to find sixty dead and the only alive people are two FBI agents supposed to be in Alaska; the pair escapes after kicking the butt of the DMS unit using shocking techno gizmos. At the New Technologies Development Site #18 in Tangstan, People's Republic of China, General Lo and his team dig through the ruins of an experiment that went bad seeking remnants of the Dragon Engine. Not long afterward, POTUS is taken from within the White House; Vice President Collins becomes acting president and begins the shutdown of DMS as other key leaders vanish and UFO sightings around the globe ate at their highest reporting ever.

Declared officially traitors, DMS operative Joe Ledger and his Echo Team investigate the strange happenings that continue to plague the world. While the Feds hunt Echo Team with instructions to assassinate the unit searches for the Majestic Black Book that may not exist. Black market sales of alien technology have flourished especially amongst the shadow government killers but someone begins to take back what was once theirs.

The latest Joe Ledger conspiracy theory tale (see Assassin's Code and The King of Plagues) is the usual exhilarating over the top thriller that this time has Joe and his misfits dodging advanced technologically equipped legal killers while hunting down those involved in the UFO retrofitting; no one is prepared for a stealth other operative devastating the playing fields as the North Koreans learn firsthand. The Alien arms race economics is super satirical as Echo Team faces a threat greater than zombies and hostile ETs with the U.S. Government stalking them using advanced hybrid weaponry.

The Trouble With Love
Beth Ciotta
St. Martin's Press
9781250001337, $7.99

Over a decade ago in Sugar Creek, Vermont, Jayce Bello and Rocky Monroe fell in love, but instead of a forever relationship, they broke up. Jayce moved to Brooklyn wondering to this day what he did wrong while Rocket remained home wondering if any other man will replace him in her heart. Their recent reunion went the way it always did between them: love and hate competing for lead emotion (see Fool For Love).

At a meeting of the Cupcake Lovers, Tasha Burke announces she heads to New York to close a book deal with Highlife Publishing. Purple-haired Gram Monroe insists Rocky goes too though the two younger women dislike each other going back to high school. In the Big Apple Tasha stays at the Waldorf while Rocky stays at a less pricy hotel. Though very early in the morning, Jayce calls his dawn rising friend Rocky's older brother Dev to tell him he is moving back home while also learning Rocky is in New York. When a mugger snatches Rocky's purse, she turns to Jayce for help; he vows this time to marry his beloved.

Though the prime arc, there is much more to this engaging second chance at love as what is happening to the rest of the Cupcake Lovers Club members is also included. Although the overused major misunderstanding premise has kept the in-love couple apart, readers will enjoy the romance as Jayce and Rocky need to open up with their fears as much as their desires.

Taking Eve
Iris Johansen
St. Martin's Press
9781250019981, $27.99,

With help from beyond, forensic sculptor Eve Duncan solved the murder of her daughter that haunted her for years (see Sleep No More). Finally feeling some closure, Eve and her lover police detective Joe Quinn escape to Lake Cottage in Atlanta while her adopted child Jane MacGuire is coming from London to join them.

However, Joe has to leave to testify at a trial and Jane detours to San Juan when her dog Toby suddenly became ill and Seth Caleb offered her a private jet. With his plan coming together to isolate his target, Jim Doane takes advantage of Eve being alone. He abducts her and demands she uses the skull of his deceased son Kevin to reconstruct his child's face. Eve cooperates while plotting to escape. Joe learns from CIA agent Venable that Doane recently vanished from the grid.

Taking Eve is an exhilarating taut thriller as an insane evil kidnaps her. Fast-paced, fans will appreciate the setup but be frustrated by having this be a trilogy as the audience will want closure. Still readers will enjoy Eve Duncan's latest tale (see Sleep No More) as she is snatched by a brilliant but crazy tactician.

His to Command
Opal Carew
St. Martin's Griffin
9780312674632, $14.99

Two years ago, Kate left Matt and Manhattan without a word. She quietly moved to Connecticut where she became a successful businesswoman. However, near the Cavendish Mall, Kate thinks she sees her greatest fear, Matt. As she scrambles away from him, Kate thinks back to his betrayal at a party after she gave him her heart and also her body as his submissive. She will avoid him and not learn why he is in Connecticut

Matt cannot believe he saw his Kate at the mall; worse he also witnessed her flight from him as if he was infected by the plague. Though he holds her culpable for deserting him as he felt they had a great dom-sub relationship, Matt compulsively needs to know why she abandoned him with nary a word. He will find her and learn why. Taking advantage of a need for an investor, Matt gets Kate to agree to time together at his mansion as she once again becomes His to Command.

This BDSM romance is a heated tale that originally was a six-part e-book serial, but now is in one erotica novel; the above two paragraphs come from the first chapter, the second chance encounter The Chase. The enjoyable storyline flows smoothly as Kate and Matt explore their feelings (and each other) as they communicate; and not just sexually. Though Kate's fleeing New York two years ago seems unlikely overkill as Matt is not a Neanderthal, erotica readers will enjoy Opal Carew's torrid tale.

Josiah's Treasure
Nancy Herriman
Worthy Publishing
134 Franklin Road, Suite 200
Brentwood, TN 37027
9781936034796, $14.99,

In 1882 San Francisco, the late Josiah Cady leaves his home to young Sarah Whittier. She wants to convert it into an art studio for women with no moral choices. However, she lacks financing and potential backers ignore her plea.

Daniel Cady seeks his father Josiah who deserted him, his mother and two younger sisters almost a decade ago. When he finds his father died but left his estate to a gold-digger instead of his family, Daniel is irate. However when someone breaks into the home searching for the alleged treasure buried there, Daniel, used to protecting vulnerable women, instinctively reacts to keep Sarah safe even though he distrusts her and she likewise him; neither trusts in love.

Josiah's Treasure is an entertaining late nineteenth century Americana romance that timely brings to life the plight of the working poor especially immigrants. Daniel is a fully developed character with anger towards his late dad and his father's endowment recipient; while Sarah is more fascinating with her do-gooder obsession though more insight is needed as to why she is motivated to help those in need. Still fans will enjoy the treasure Josiah left behind sought by enemy combatants.

Daughter of Jerusalem
Joan Wolf
Worthy Publishing
134 Franklin Road, Suite 200
Brentwood, TN 37027
9781936034673, $14.99,

Due to the jealousy of her beauty by her stepmother Judith, Mary is exiled from her family home in Bethany, Judea. She knows she will miss her younger stepsiblings (Lazarus and Martha) who love her as much as she does them. Her father Jacob escorts her to live with her widowed Aunt Leah in Magdala on the Galilee. Mary knows that the Galilee is a barbaric place where Jews are lax in their faith unlike in Judea. Leah's nephew-in-law Daniel greets her and she begins to care about him.

Over her objections as she loves Daniel and her chosen mate emulates the pagan Greeks, Mary is forced to wed affluent Aaron in a family arranged marriage and moves to Sepphoris, the capital of the Galilee. Unhappy Mary turns from the Lord as she suffers a string of tragedies leaving her a despondent widow. Disappointed in her marriage, Mary moves to the Capernaum where she learns of John the Baptist who helps her return to God before he is assassinated. When she hears rumors of a miracle worker, Mary goes to meet this Jesus, who claims to be the Son of God.

Daughter of Jerusalem is an entertaining "autobiographical" fictionalized account of the life of Mary Magdalene. Though there are some questionable liberties, the engaging storyline depicts the variety in first century Jewish life which Mary learns is not very monotheistic. Mary is a terrific protagonist who evolves as miserable circumstances caused by others like her father, Leah's brother-in-law and her spouse impact and shape her until she becomes the most devoted true believer of the Son.

Her Brother's Keeper
Sara Hoskinson Frommer
Perservance Press
c/o Daniel & Daniel, Publishers
PO Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519
9781564745255, $15.95,

In Oliver, Indiana, senior center director Joan Spencer also works as the part-time manager of the Oliver Civic Symphony and music librarian. However, much of her time involves her daughter's upcoming wedding and insuring her visiting ne'er-do-well brother Dave, in town for his niece's marriage, stays out of trouble.

Joan's husband Police Lieutenant Fred Lundquist responds quickly to a 911 call at Ellen Putnam's B&B where the out of town wedding guests are staying. He rushes into the kitchen to find his mom Helga holding a bloody knife while a man lies dead near her. Helga explains she took out the knife from his body because the weapon was killing him. Because of a conflict of interest, Sergeant Johnny Ketcham leads the inquiry instead of Fred

The latest Joan Spencer mystery (see Death Climbs a Tree) is an engaging whodunit as murders place a gloomy darkness on the wedding. In some ways the enjoyable investigation is more a family affair as Fred's mom and all of the out-of-towners are suspects.

Beyond Confusion
Sheila Simonson
Perservance Press
c/o Daniel & Daniel, Publishers
PO Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519
9781564745194, $15.95,

In 2008, in spite of the economy in the tank, Latouche County, Washington voters supported the library levy ballot initiative. However, not all is smooth for the county librarian Margaret McLean. Malicious library administrator Marybeth Jackman wants to be the chief at all costs to others; not just Meg.

In nearby Two Falls, Klalos Tribal Chief Madeline Thomas offers a farmhouse as a library. Marybeth takes Madeline and her tribe to court claiming she owns the farmhouse. Soon after her filing, someone vandalizes the farmhouse and firebombs Madeline's home. Not long after these incidents, Marybeth falls to her death and librarian Annie Baldwin is injured during an assault on the bookmobile she was driving. Undersheriff Rob Neill investigates the string of disturbing related cases.

The latest Latouche County library mystery (see An Old Chaos) is a super tale that focuses on religious and racial prejudice, and avarice. Fast-paced from the moment readers meet the librarian queen of mean, fans will appreciate the exciting Beyond Confusion as this is a strong investigative thriller.

Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding
Lea Wait
Perservance Press
c/o Daniel & Daniel, Publishers
PO Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519
9781564745316, $15.95,

On Cape Cod, Maggie Summers calls 911 when she finds a dead body on the beach. Winslow, Massachusetts Police Chief Ike Iron identifies the apparent drowning victim as drunkard Dan Jeffrey. Following standard operating procedures, Ike initiates an investigation into Dan's death.

While Ike looks into Dan's seemingly accidental death most likely caused by intoxication, Maid of Honor Maggie helps her best friend Aunt Augusta's Attic antique shop owner Gussie White prepare for the latter's wedding to lawyer Jim Dryden. As Ike revises his premise from accident to murder, the wedding preparations continue with last second modifications even as a hurricane veers towards the Cape and a second homicide occurs.

The latest Antique Print regional cozy (see Shadows on the Coast of Maine and Shadows of a Down East Summer) is an engaging whodunit as murders places dark Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding. The whodunit is fun but not very tense as the wedding supersedes the inquiry. Still fans will enjoy attending Gussie's nuptials that weather, murder, a groom's cake shaped like a fish, and handicaps cannot deter.

Chihuahua Confidential
Waverly Curtis
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
NY, NY 10018-2522
9780758274960, $7.99,

Partners Geri Sullivan and Pepe the Chihuahua she rescued from the local pound drive from their home in Seattle to Hollywood as contestants on Dancing With the Dogs. Geri, used to Pepe never shutting up, listens to her canine friend tell her about his time living in Southern California as a pampered pet of starlet Caprice Kennedy.

Pepe expects to win the dance contest if Geri can keep up with his steps. However, when they go on stage, they are greeted by one of the three judges being dead. A second corpse follows and several canines vanish. While the Washingtonian duo dances together, they also investigate the murders and dognapping.

The latest Barking Detective mystery (see Dial C For Chihuahua) is a lighthearted engaging whodunit as the reality show humor provides a fun counterbalance to the homicides and canine abductions. Readers will appreciate Pepe's antics as he seems to have a nose for trouble that match paw to hand to the stratospheric levels of tsuris attained by Geri's boss, private investigator Jimmy G.

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder
Joanne Fluke
9780758280343, $25.00

As the summer begins to bake Lake Eden, Minnesota, the Cookie Jar coffee shop and bakery serves the dessert at the grand opening of the renovated Albion Hotel. Cookie Jar owner Hannah Swenson believes her delicious noshes are a success, but the gala is tainted for Hannah by the return of her adversary "Doctor Bev;" escorted by the hotel's owner Roger Dalworth; leading to cupcake security guards.

Hannah revises her opinion when the sheriff office's secretary Barbara Donnelly falls from the roof of the penthouse garden while trying to spot her house from this lofty vantage point. Barbara suffers a head injury, which clouds her mind as to what happened to cause her fall though she insists he pushed her. Soon after Barbara's injury, Doctor Bev is found dead inside her car in the lake and the victim's enemy Hannah is the suspect.

The latest Hannah Swenson amateur sleuth (see Cinnamon Roll Murder) is an entertaining entry with numerous sweet recipes though the protagonist as a person of interest seems trite. The return of Hannah's boyfriends Mike Kingston and Norman Rhodes is a mixed feeling as they add humor but also longtime fans will sing: "Did you ever have to make up your mind? You pick up on one and leave the other one behind; it's not often easy and not often kind; did you ever have to make up your mind?" (Lovin Spoonful); as it is past time for the heroine to finally decide. Overall the Red Velvet Cupcake Murder is an enjoyable culinary whodunit as Hannah seeks the link between the two female victims.

Widow's Tears
Susan Wittig Albert
Berkley Prime Crime
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780425255728, $25.95,

In 1900, the hurricane swept across Galveston Island leaving over eight-thousand dead. Among the first to die is Augustus Blackwood, the newest VP at the Galveston National Bank. Meanwhile his wife Rachel and the family thirtyish housekeeper-cook Mrs. Colleen O'Reilly try to protect the five children from the rising water as the house built to survive a hurricane teeters under the storm of the century.

In the present, Claire Conway inherits the mansion that Rachel built to replace the home that the storm destroyed. She plans to convert the house into a B&B, but strange phenomena that prevent the transition. Claire asks her friend Ruby Wilcox, who has ESP abilities, to help her with cleaning her haunted house. Ruby leaves Pecan Springs for Round Top. Her shop business partner herbalist China Bayles is about to deposit the receipts from today's sales when a bank robbery leads to a teller's murder. To elude Ruby's pain in the butt sister Ramona, China follows her friend to Round Top where the duet deals with a ghost filled with survivor guilt and much more.

The latest engaging Pecan Springs Mystery (see Cat's Claw and Mourning Glory) relocates the action to 1900 Galveston Island and to present day Round Top. The devastation of the hurricane comes across frighten personal as readers learn the fate of several people besides the Blackwood family. The present day haunting grips series fans while insight into "Herbs and Flowers That Tell a Story" enhances a strong entry.

That Old Flame of Mine
J.J. Cook
Berkley Prime Crime
9780425252048, $7.99

Stella Griffin left the Chicago Fire Department after catching her now ex-boyfriend cheating to become the fire chief of the Sweet Pepper, Tennessee volunteer fire department. Before she reaches town, Deputy Chum pulls her over for speeding on her motorcycle. When she removes her helmet, he looks like he is having a seizure as he calls her Abigail and flees the scene.

Tory Lambert welcomes Stella to town by giving her a file on her husband's alleged accidental death by fire that she and others believe that pepper plant owner Ben Carson arranged so that people will not fear a killing arsonist amongst them while the annual Sweet Pepper Festival occurs. The next day the firefighters put out a blaze in Tory's house. Stella and police officer John Trump later find Tory's dead body inside with the fire chief believing the arson covered a homicide. When she is injured in a biking incident, she meets the grandfather she never knew existed before, Ben. As she investigates Tory's death, Stella receives help from her predecessor Eric Gamlyn, who died in the line of duty before she came to town.

The first Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade mystery is a Great Smokey Mountains whodunit starring a tough dedicated woman and a town where everybody knows everyone personally, yet many of the locals (including her kin) keeps dark secrets. Fast-paced from the moment Chum sees Stella, fans will enjoy this entertaining paranormal investigative thriller as the protagonist with her ghostly advisor works the case that involves her family.

The Black Stiletto: Stars and Stripes
Raymond Benson
Oceanview Publishing
595 Bay Isles Road, 120-G
Longboat Key, FL 34228
9781608090723, $25.95,

Martin Talbot has read two of his mother Judy Cooper's over five decades old diaries (see The Black Stiletto: Black and White), but struggles with who she insists she was. He cannot question her because Judy suffers from advanced Alzheimer's, but as he begins her third journal, the depth of the entries affirms his mom was the vigilante superhero the Black Stiletto. Talbot wonders whether he should tell his new girlfriend at the same time his daughter Gina proves more a chip off Judy's block than him as she lands in trouble.

In 1960 New York's Chinatown, local ruthless Tong hoods kill the father of Judy's friend teenager teen Billy Shen Lee. Idealist Judy volunteers as a "Kennedy Girl" to help the elect JFK presidential campaign. As the Black Stiletto dodges NYPD, she takes on the Tong and a Cuban-Soviet spy ring planning to assassinate JFK.

The third super Black Stiletto thriller is a great tale as 1960 (through the diary) comes across as if Judy wrote her entries at the end of the Eisenhower Administration. The present segues add depth as Martin struggles with his life (as his ex remarries) while admiring his mom's daring deeds. However, this is clearly the Black Stiletto's story with her journal providing an insightful look at racism in 1960 Manhattan and the effect of the Cold War in NYC and on the presidential race.

Reaper's Legacy
Tim Lebbon
59 John Glenn Drive
Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616147679, $17.95,

Several years have passed since the 2017 Doomsday terrorist attack left London an isolated Toxic City (see London Eye) surrounded by Chopper troops trying to keep survivors inside and other people outside as the rest of Britain believes no one lives within this wasteland. Unbeknownst to the outside world, government experiments on surviving Londoners have been conducted leading to humans morphing into beings with supernatural powers.

Lucy-Anne continues to have strange futuristic dreams. She and Rook head north in search of any of her family especially her brother who might have survived Doomsday and the aftermath. Her boyfriend Jack knows they are changing having been healed by Rosemary after true-believer Jenna stabbed him and was subsequently touched by Nomad. As his Irregulars teammates begin to die; he, his best friend Sparky and Jenna search for Jack's father, Reaper and Lucy-Anne. At the same time researcher Miller knows of Nomad's touch and wants to dissect Jack while the government no longer deploys the containment policy; instead the final solution countdown has begun.

Rotating between the two strong prime subplots, Reaper's Legacy continues to build on the enigmatic conspiratorial events of London Eye. Loaded with action that moves forward the exciting storyline, this thriller also sets the stage for Contagion. Fans will appreciate this dark dystopian urban fantasy (with sci fi elements) as Tim Lebbon turns London into a Toxic City wasteland.

September Storm
Brenda K. Jernigan
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781480144187, $8.99,

In 1987 San Antonio, struggling advertiser Danielle Kapur arranges to meet her fiance Steven Coffee, son of her boss at Coffee Advertising. They have not seen each other in over eighteen months, but are meeting at resort Sea Horse Island off the North Carolina coast where she plans to return him his ring. At the same time, she flies east under the influence of alcohol and airsickness medicine, Mass Corporation partner Adrian Massimino takes time off for the first time in ages as a birthday present he gives to himself. He tells his caring friends not to send him a high priced hooker.

Danielle and Adrian meet at the candle lit beach house and make love; as she thinks he is Steven and he believes her to be his birthday gift. In the morning after the greatest night of her life, a mortified Danielle realizes she made love with the wrong man. Neither immediately can flee as a hurricane hits the barrier islands and grounding the ferry. After they go their separate ways, Adrian sends Danielle business as she has opened her own advertising from after ending her engagement. When Adrian learns she is pregnant and proclaiming he is the father, an irate Adrian rejects her claim as he is sterile. She leaves, but later he finds out the child probably is his and wants to do right by Danielle and give their offspring his name, but she rejects him.

September Storm is an entertaining second chance romance starring two amiable protagonists. The enjoyable but linear storyline follows the path fans anticipate; yet is fun to read as Brenda K. Jernigan provides readers with a winning contemporary.

Outrageous October
Barbara Levenson
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781480093669, $11.99,

Residents of High Pines, Vermont are shocked with the news that local socialite widow Carolyn Broussard was found dead in her home. The police are investigating the death as there are some anomalies with the victim's son Tom as the prime suspect.

One year later, Mary Katz is a criminal defense attorney after being fired by her fiance Franklin Fieldstone when he caught her and developer Carlos having sex in the office. After successfully handling a case involving her lover's cousin, Mary and her BFF Lucy go out to eat only to find Carlos dining with his ex-wife Margarita. After Mary ends her engagement to Carlos, Lucy insists she get away; she suggests the lawyer and Sam her dog use her summer home in High Pines. In Vermont, Mary realizes she entered the wrong home when she sees a ton of mail addressed to Brousseau. She investigates the unsolved murder of Carolyn, which leads Mary meeting village attorney Dash Mellman, who persuades her to help his client in a tree dispute that turns deadly. At the same time Mary finds out that Dartmouth student Sherry, the daughter of Florida client Lillian Yarmouth, has been kidnapped and held for ransom.

The latest Mary Magruder Katz legal thriller (see Fatal February and Justice In June) is an engaging tale as the protagonist proves that The Green Mountain State is as crazy as the Sunshine State. Filled with action, fans will enjoy Mary's New England adventure as a cold case murder, a warm case homicide and a potential killing case converge on the lawyer who can't get away from her criminal defense attorney vocation or for that matter romance.

Kiss Of Temptation
Sandra Hill
Avon Books
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062064639, $5.99,

In 850 AD in the Norselands, Ivak Sigurdsson lived a perpetual hard life with lust being his driver until he chose his friend Serk's wife only to be caught; Serk hangs himself. Filled with remorse, the blacksmith, whose spouse Ivak bedded, stabs him with a medal tine pitchfork. Michael the angel tells Ivak that neither heaven nor hell is his destination, but something worse for his sins of the flesh. He becomes celibate as one of God's Vangal Viking vampire angel fighting against Satan's vampire demons the lucipires.

In 2013, Ivak travels to Angola Prison where thirty-one year old Leroy Sonnier serves time for murdering his abusive father fifteen years ago after the drunk beat his mom and younger sister. Ivak's mission is to protect Leroy's sister Second Chance lawyer Gabrielle who failed again to get the parole board to free him; apparently because his rage for justice and criticism of the penal system has made him a media darling. While keeping Gabrielle safe from the lucipire, Ivak lusts like he never did before. He initially assumes it is because of his celibacy, but eventually realizes she is soul mate while lamenting that his heavenly debt is eternal.

This is a fun Deadly Angels paranormal romance (see Kiss of Surrender and Kiss of Pride) as the lustful Vangal deals with desire (mindful of the climax in the Devil and Ms. Jones) when he meets his protected one. Fast-paced with a condemnation of the file cabinet American system of justice, fans of Sandra Hill will enjoy Kiss of Temptation with the additional bonus of the return of Tante Lulu and the Ragin' Cajun LeDeux family (see The Red-Hot Cajun).

And Then She Fell
Stephanie Laurens
9780062068644, $7.99

In 1837 London, as the last two unmarried Cynster females of their generation (see The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh), Henrietta's younger sister Mary persuades her to wear the legendary family heirloom known for the wearer finding love. At a gala, Lady Henrietta intervenes to stop young and innocent Melina Wentworth from foolishly accepting James Glossup's suit. The Ton dubs the spinster Henrietta the "Matchbreaker" as she has an inner sense of when a bad marriage will occur.

Feeling some guilt for what she did to James and ignoring her family's feud with his, Henrietta believes she owes him and offers to assist him in finding an appropriate wife. The only problem with the right spouse is Henrietta wants it to be her; James shares her attraction.

The latest Cynster Sisters historical romance is an amusing lighthearted tale as the heroine sings "I'm Not In Love" (10Cc) while the lead male chortles "Love Hurts" (Nazareth). Fast-paced, fans will enjoy this fun frolic as then there was one left.

Stolen Charms
Adele Ashworth
9780061905889, $7.99

In 1847 Natalie Haislett finds London totally boring, especially the obnoxious swains that seem to cling to her. Natalie wants romance and adventure, but knows she will find little of either among the Ton. She is infatuated with the notorious Black Knight, a jewel thief renowned for his daring throughout aristocratic Europe.

Natalie asks Jonathan Drake, a close friend of the Black Knight, to introduce her to her dream lover. However, after years of working as a secret agent for his government, a weary Jonathan just wants to settle down in a boring English relationship with no surprises or adventure. When Natalie asks Jonathan to take her to France to meet the Black Knight, he shocks himself by agreeing. They cross the channel pretending to be a married couple. As they near their destination, Natalie and Jonathan fall in love. He knows he must persuade his beloved that a lifetime together will provide both of them with plenty of action.

Readers who enjoy a humorous Victorian romantic intrigue will relish the reprint of Stolen Charms. The story line is filled with tension as the couple battles with one another and with external forces. The lead protagonists are a darling daring duo and the support cast makes Victorian England and France feel as if a reader visit has occurred. However, what makes Stolen Charms a delightful tale is Adele Ashworth's ability to portray the conflict inside Natalie; society trained her to act in a certain proper way, which wars with her inner soul. Her love for both The Black Knight and Jonathan further reveal her conflicting desires.

Island 731
Jeremy Robinson
Thomas Dunne Books
c/o St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312617875, $25.99,

The Magellan research ship is studying the Pacific's Garbage Patch when oceanographer Avril Joliet finds a dead previously unknown humongous turtle. The forensic evidence points towards a human experiment in which the loggerhead's stomach was twice the size of normal.

Soon afterward, a storm destroys the Magellan. Two die, but the rest of the crew makes it to a nearby uncharted island though none know how they came here and one member remains missing. They conduct a search of the island only to meet the inhabitants, who attack the newcomers with rage. Joliet and crew member Mark Hawkins, a former park ranger who knows how to live in the wild, take charge of survival and finding answers to these hybrid abominations with proof that this remote tropical paradise was once Japanese Unit 731 in WWII.

Island 731 is an exhilarating thriller that grips the audience from the moment the heroine meets the gigantic dead turtle and never slows down. With a nod to H.G. Wells' The Island Of Dr. Moreau, readers will relish this terrific thriller as the crew learns the true meaning of survival of the fittest.

Dirty Little Secret
Jon Stock
9780312644789, $26.99

After the tersest strategic bombings including one that devastated the oceanic data cable between MI6 and the CIA, each espionage agency considers the other incompetent or worse filled with traitors. The Americans especially distrust M-16 renegade operative Daniel Marchant as the Yanks believe he abetted his half-brother Salim Dhar with his escape and perhaps the explosions too as the latter led the terrorist attacks on British soil.

Meanwhile Marchant hunts and catches up to Dhar with him in the Persian Gulf where he teams with Iranians to destroy an U.S. aircraft carrier. Dhar offers him and his agency a deal to cooperate in preventing future attacks on Great Britain in exchange for Marchant's help with a major assault on the United States.

The latest Daniel Marchant espionage thriller (Dead Spy Running and Games Traitors Play) is an action-packed tale. The storyline somewhat focuses on the patriotic question of whether Stephen Decatur ("Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!") or Carl Shultz ("My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.") is right. Although the adrenaline pumping storyline is fun to follow, the non-stop action also reduces the deep impact of the philosophical issue of at all cost sacrificing another country's innocent to protect your nation's people.

Bite Me, Your Grace
Brooklyn Ann
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139
Naperville, IL 60563
9781402274442, $6.99,

In 1821 Duke Ian Ashton is going crazy for two reasons. First, as the Lord Vampire of London he must deal with the crazy fad caused by Dr. John Polidori's tale "The Vampyre" written over a weekend with the Shelley couple and Byron as the aristocracy goes vampyre. If he has to take any more bites of garlic, show up in daylight or prove you can see his reflection in a mirror, he may drain his host.

Second his neighbor, wannabe writer Angelica Winthrop, has been sneaking into his home and asking questions as she seeks a theme for her novel. Ian decides she will be the perfect cover of his true identity after he bites and marries her. However, even that goes wrong forcing him to find that damn Polidori and more difficult not to love his spouse while a slayer stalks anyone who acts differently with a stake first and questions later attitude.

Bite Me, Your Grace is a refreshing amusing yet dark Regency urban fantasy romance that uses the famous weekend ghost writing contest as the springboard for a fun tale. Fast-paced with a strong cast and a wonderful twist, readers will enjoy Brooklyn Ann's fabulous fang frolic.

Flirting Under A Full Moon
Ashlyn Chase
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139
Naperville, IL 60563
9781402275692, $6.99,

The text message informs Boston Uncommon waitress Brandee Hanson that she has been dumped. Her reaction is to swear off men, but Sadie Maven, the aunt of the owner the bar, tells the despondent woman that she had a premonition and reads her Tarot Cards that insist Brandee's true love is coming for her. One-night stand Nick Wolfensen enters the establishment.

Over a century old, the former cop who hates taking or giving orders, Nick tells his recently married twin brother Konrad (see The Werewolf Upstairs) that he has become a private investigator. BPD Captain Hunter arranges for Nick to search for the mayor's kidnapped stepdaughter. The girl is a fire mage unaware of her paranormal nature as the first inclination occurs at the first solar eclipse following the onset of puberty. Brandee notices Nick consulting with Sadie on a case in which the missing person must be her twelve year old cousin Kate due to the lack of pigment in her hair making it white. She follows him and witnesses his shifting into a wolf, but Mother Nature and a vampire erase the evidence and her memory. When they kiss, Nick knows he met his mate, but fears her reaction when he explains what he is.

The latest Strange Neighbors urban fantasy romance (see The Vampire Next Door) is an entertaining Bostonian romp. Although neither Nick nor Brandee feel developed enough to sell the existence of his species (or for that matter other paranormal types), fans will enjoy the hundred and one years old werewolf and the twenty-something mortal falling in love while Flirting Under A Full Moon.

Shadow's Soul
Jami Gray
Black Opal Books
9781937329495, $11.99,

Portland-based Taliesin Security Wraith, Kyn-human hybrid Raine McCord knows she will successfully complete her latest assignment, protecting Northwest Magi leader Cheveyo while he meets with his Southwest counterpart; as the bodyguard assignment is easy compared to the evil she defeated (see Shadow's Edge). Instead, the task turns ugly when a Soul Stealer abducts Cheveyo and almost kills Raine.

Severely injured with her magic damaged, Raine's confidence was destroyed when she failed to prevent the kidnapping. Her Taliesin Security Wraith co-worker Gavin Durand tries to help her recover by refusing to allow her to run from her internal fears to including their feelings for each other though she feels guilty for what happened to him at the hands of the mad scientist (see Shadow's Edge). He insists they investigate the kidnapping in order to rescue the regional chief as someone inside with power abetted the Soul Stealer.

The second Kyn Kronicles urban fantasy is an exciting tale with the relationship between the protagonists heating up during their quest. The entertaining storyline is filled with angst, romance and action within vivid Northwest scenery as various paranormal species come across as real. Readers will enjoy this entry in which the Soul Stealer stole the heroine's confidence while her peer tries to help her bring it back; though one must wonder whether she proves W. C. Fields is right: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."

Shadow's Edge
Jami Gray
Black Opal Books
9781937329150, $12.99,

In Portland, Taliesin Security Wraith, Kyn-human hybrid, Raine McCord kills purebred Quinn, who murdered two college students, but not before she took a wound from his magically enhanced blade. Her biggest fear is when she reports his death to their boss, Type A control freak Ryan Mulcahy the head Fey in the Northwest, who told her bring him in.

She arrives home, but has no time for respite as her Wraith co-worker Gavin Durand arrives with a message from Mulcahy that they will team up on an inquiry into Jonah Talbot of the Talbot Foundation who insists someone murdered seven of his associates in seven years and he is next. Mulcahy distrusts Talbot who might be using a ploy to conceal he is the killer; but if innocent one of the Wraiths would be the next best suspect.

The first Kyn Kronicles' urban fantasy is an exciting action-packed paranormal investigative thriller that deftly enables the audience to believe in the existence of the magical community's four sentient species. Raine is a fabulous lone wolf protagonist saddled with a partner she does not want especially since she suffers an undesirable attraction towards Gavin. On the other hand Gavin is a typical hunk with a bad boy attitude that irritates the heroine and the reader for the same reason: he distracts her and us from a walk on the dark side of the mean streets of Portland.

Breaking Point
C.J. Box
G. P. Putnam's Sons
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399160752, $26.95,

Authorized to carry weapons, Denver based EPA Special Agents Tim Singwald and Lenox Baker drive to Cheyenne where they meet Corps of Engineers' civil servant Kim Love. The two EPA agents are delivering notification documents that neither read; but Love did and uses a separate car to take them to their location in the Bighorns. Love vanishes while Singwald and Baker die from gunshot wounds.

State game warden Joe Pickett investigates a hole in the fence that separates private and public land. When he finds his friend Butch Roberson, Joe warns him and orders him to repair the fence. Soon afterward, angry law enforcement officials accuse Butch of murdering the two EPA agents. Led by EPA regional director Juan Julio Batista, a horde of officials begin a manhunt for Butch who has vanished in the mountains. Wanting to insure Butch is not exterminated, riding horses, Joe and a posse of friends also search for Butch while avaricious former sheriff Kyle McLanahan, seeking the reward, likewise hunts the fugitive

The latest Joe Pickett suspense thriller (see Force of Nature) is an action-packed tale that focuses on the dispute between Federal government and local residents over use of government land with the former as evil and the latter innocent. Thus ignored are bureaucracies (even the Feds) are a microcosm of society with everyone knowing someone employed by the government and most Feds adhere to and enforce laws passed by legislatures and executives. Still fast-paced from the moment the two Feds lie dead, fans will relish this entry with its strong wilderness confrontation.

The Golden Egg
Donna Leon
Atlantic Monthly
c/o Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
841 Broadway, New York, NY 10003-4793
9780802121011, $24.00,

Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti's ambitious boss Vice-Questore Patta requests the police inspector look into alleged violations of public vending laws by the partner of the mayor's future daughter-in-law. Brunetti understands that it is a request poorly disguising an order, and his inquiry has nothing to do with the law and all to do with reputations of political animals. He knows that the local bureaucracy works on bribery and blood ties so he turns to his subordinate Pucetti whose uncle and cousin has the information Patta and the mayor wants.

At home, Brunetti's caring wife Paola requests her husband the police inspector look into the sleeping pill overdose death of simple minded and deaf Davide Cavanella. Brunetti understands that it is a request made from the heart. He questions Davide's mother, but she refuses to answer him. His search into the deceased's background proves confusing as the government does not recognize that a Davide Cavanella ever existed; as there is no birth certificate, passport or any official document in that name. Even more stunning no medical records exist either in spite of the man's disabilities.

The latest Commissario Guido Brunetti police procedural (see Beastly Things) contains two insightful investigations that enable the reader to see deep into the soul of Venice; as corruption and nepotism are just below the surface of the historical architecture, restaurants and canals. The Patta inquiry contrasts with that of Cavanella as even the motives of the respective requesters differ. Series fans will relish this strong Italian mystery while wondering who Davide was.

The Accursed
Joyce Carol Oates
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062231703, $27.99,

The Curse went public in June 1905 at the wedding of Annabel Slade when she walked outside the church in a trance during her vows and left with an enigmatic East European royal. Instead, the Curse surfaced in serene Princeton in March after the racial murders in Camden the night before. Upset seminarian Yaeger Ruggles explained what happened in Camden that the papers fail to report to his older cousin Princeton University President Woodrow Wilson. Taken aback with Ruggles' reaction to the KKK lynching of two non-white siblings (even with one being pregnant), Wilson visits his predecessor at Princeton Annabel's father Pastor Dr. Winslow Slade. The semi-retired Winslow tells the distraught Wilson to relax but beware of his rival Dr. West who dabbles in things man should avoid. Meanwhile in June of the year of the Curse, Annabel's vanishing leads her brother Josiah to search for her.

There is much more to the plot than the above with sidebars, backstories and months to go until Wilson's collapse, this is a powerful meandering look at America during the first decade of the Twentieth Century in an idyllic academic location. The real American heroes are all male WASPs who commit every kind of social injustice including racism, anti-Semitism and sexism that the history texts choose to ignore. The all over the place storyline is filled with satire on presidents, retired presidents, muckrakers, Ivy Leaguers and the lacquered box owning societal dictators. Fans who appreciate something radically different will enjoy Joyce Carol Oates' timely (think of the 47% comment) profound glimpse of 1905-1906 society when The Accursed thought nothing of abusing the lesser people under the guise of a white man's burden.

Blood of Dragons
Robin Hobb
Harper Voyager
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062116857, $27.99,

The Elderlings human-dragon hybrids reestablish the lost city of Kelsingra so that the young dragons they have pledged to protect can thrive. However, most of the fledglings cannot fly across the river to their new sanctuary, which leaves them exposed. The dying Duke of Chalced needs dragons to live; thus he has hunters stalking the beasts so that he can extract their life sustaining attributes.

Meanwhile the ancient dragon queen Tintaglia also struggles for her life after a vicious attack by Chalced mercenaries seeking blood for their duke. Her followers scream for war against the humans who committed this audacious atrocity. At the same time the Elderlings search for Silver so that the dragons do not lose their memories of their true form especially within a city filled with species' memories.

The latest Rain Wilds Chronicles epic fantasy involves a vast rotating cast so that the engaging storyline always seems slightly off kilter yet works for those who read the previous entries (see Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven and City of Dragons) as the depth makes the world of Hobb seem genuine. Fans will enjoy the confrontation between the good (Thymara), the bad (Chalced) and the ugly (Hest).

The Scrivener's Tale
Fiona McIntosh
Harper Voyager
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062237309, $14.99,

A trucker wanting to be home with his wife and kid pushed himself on Britain's M1 until his eyes shut. The ensuing pile-up left many dead including Lauren and Henry; fate intervened and spared the life of their husband-father psychiatrist Gabe. He coped for a year before fleeing to France for the last fifteen months. In Paris, Gabe the bookstore employee agrees to provide a professional opinion on the mental state of Angelina. She tells him about her haunting delusions that frighten the psychiatrist as they eerily link to his nightmares.

In Morgravia, Fynch the guardian feels a powerful malevolence places the Wild in peril; so he deploys a plan to save the land from the demon who escaped the void. Cyricus the demon seeks destruction of the Wild for his eons of exile. He begins his vendetta by possessing those foolish to join his quest, which will end when he as Queen Florentyna orders the devastation of the Wild that will also lead to war between the neighboring nations of Morgravia, Briavel and The Razors. Gabe mysteriously arrives in the magical Kingdom where he encounters Cassien the warrior guarding Queen Florentyna from internal threats and Hamelyn the orphan. Together the three must defeat Cyricus or a world will perish.

Taking place long after The Quickening trilogy, fans of the series and newcomers will relish this engaging quest fantasy due to a strong cast especially the fully-developed flawed heroes. Filled with non-stop action except for the French interlude that never quite fits inside the storyline in spite of establishing that Gabe is otherworldly in time and place, The Scrivener's Tale is a delightful engaging good and evil fantasy.

Fear In The Sunlight
Nicola Upson
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062195432, $14.99,

In 1954 Scotland Yard's Archie Penrose learns that someone confessed to the murders of three women during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window in California. That same person also admitted to killing three people two decades earlier in Portmeirion, Wales.

In the summer of 1936, mystery writer Josephine Tey celebrates her fortieth birthday with friends at a resort in Portmeirion, Wales. Movie director Alfred Hitchcock films the gala while wanting the rights to her novel A Shilling for Candles that his wife Alma gave to him to read as a possible adaption to the big screen. The renowned director also plans to deploy experiments in how people negatively react to the belief they caused someone else's death. While many of the Tey party believe Hitchcock is a pest, someone brutally slashes to death an actress at a cemetery. Hitchcock has gotten what he wished for as long time friends look at each suspecting one another is the killer. Scotland Yard Chief Inspector David Penrose becomes involved in the investigation.

The latest Tey-Penrose "Golden Age" historical British mystery (see Two for Sorrow, An Expert In Murder and Angel with Two Faces) is a tense whodunit based on the real encounter between Tey and Hitchcock in Wales over filming her novel. Although a cast that Cecile B. DeMille would have relished slows down the storyline, fans will appreciate this psychological suspense as the joyous birthday bash turns from a happy occasion into a fearful one.

Sleight of Hand
Phillip Margolin
9780062069917, $26.99

A decade ago, millionaire Horace Blair met and fell in love with Carrie when she was a Commonwealth ADA prosecuting his DUI trial. Much older than her, he persuaded her to marry him, but also sign a prenup in which she would receive twenty million dollars if she never cheated in the first ten years of their marriage. One week prior to her fulfilling the terms of their agreement, Carrie vanishes. The police arrests Horace charging him with murdering his wife to avoid paying her the money. He hires defense attorney Charles Benedict to defend him in court.

Private investigator Dana Cutler returns to Virginia after failing to find an Ottoman Empire stolen gold scepter on the other side of the country. The former cop becomes involved in the Blair case and begins to find contrary evidence that the wrong person is on trial for a Capitol Murder. However, attempts on her life affirm her belief that a magician is getting away with a Sleight of the Hand.

The latest Cutler investigative thriller (see Supreme Justice and Executive Privilege) is an exciting mystery as the sleuth confronts a diabolical brilliant adversary. Fast-paced and filled with suspense, readers who can ignore the villain's seemingly superhuman skills to get away with murder and grand theft will enjoy this taut tale.

Reconstructing Amelia
Kimberly McCreight
9780062225436, $25.99

In Manhattan during a meeting with a key client, the temporary secretary interrupts attorney Kate Baron to take a call from Grace Hall as her fifteen year old daughter Amelia has been suspended for three days. She arrives by train at Park Slope's "Brownstone Brooklyn" only to be greeted by first responders who tell her Amelia fell from the school's roof to her death.

Stunned by what occurred, Kate is further shocked to learn her daughter allegedly committed suicide after being caught and suspended for plagiarizing an English assignment. Kate reluctantly accepts the alien concepts her daughter cheated and killed herself; as Amelia was a good teen who did volunteer work. Everything changes for grieving Kate when she receives a text that claims Amelia did not jump.

Rotating between a grieving and guilt-filled Kate trying to understand what happened and the last month in the life of her daughter, Reconstructing Amelia is an insightful family drama that digs deeply into how vicious and vindictive students can be. The key to this character-driven thriller is Amelia's teen behavior seems genuine; and ergo anchors the profound look into first love and bullying especially towards those that are different from the in-crowd such as autism and being gay.

The Wanderer
Robyn Carr
Mira Books
c/o Harlequin
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, ON, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780778314479, $7.99,

Upon learning that his military friend Ben Bailey died, Henry "Coop" Cooper Jr. leaves Virgin River, California for Thunder Point, Oregon after receiving a call his friend was killed several weeks ago. He meets Deputy Sheriff McCain at Ben's Bar who says Ben fell in an accident. Coop also learns he inherited 200 acres of Oregon beachfront property and the bar.

Though he was not planning to stay for long in Thunder Point, people keep him there. First the townsfolk turn to him as some sort of savior; and second Coast Guard helicopter pilot Sarah Dupre, who he saw do a dangerous landing that he as a pilot would have been proud to achieve if he had her balls. As Coop and Sarah fall in love, each fears commitment for different reasons and besides she must consider her teenage brother Landon who she is raising.

Readers will enjoy Robyn Carr's new West Coast small-town series as Coop becomes the first protagonist to leave Virgin River though there are obvious similar themes. Coop and Sarah make a warm couple who prefer no strings flying friends with benefits; while Landon and the locals add depth to the storyline with pieces of their own the tale.

What She Wants
Sheila Roberts
9780778314325, $7.99

In Icicle Falls, the three shy poker playing buddies share in common that the women they love barely know they exist. Geek Gods Computer Service guru Jonathan Templar has loved TV personality Lissa Castle for years but never asked her out. He seeks guidance from the romance novels written by Vanessa Valentine as he prays for a Hail Mary at their fifteen year high school reunion.

His friends, Kyle Long and Adam Edwards laugh at Jonathan for reading romances. However, Kyle loves Jillian, the receptionist at Safe Hands Insurance who ignores him at work while Mindy in the next cubicle is friendly with him. Adam actually is married, but his wife Chelsea left him. Kyle and Adam begin to wonder if romance novels may provide the clues to obtaining and keeping the respective women they love.

What She Wants is a refreshing contemporary romance told from the viewpoints of the lead males. With a fun twist re Vanessa, the engaging storyline focuses on The Invisible Man Dancing to the Stars with his beloved in his dreams but now gives it his last shot at making it real; while his comrades struggle with their desires too.

Sand Castle Bay
Sherryl Woods
9780778314363, $7.99

A decade ago, Emily Castle left Sand Castle Bay, North Carolina and her boyfriend Boone Dorsett to begin an interior decorating career in Los Angeles. She and her sisters, Gabi and Samantha head home to help their grandmother Cora Jane after a hurricane battered her Castle's by the Sea Restaurant.

Single dad widower Boone knows he owes his restaurant success to Cora Jane and plans to help her rebuild. When he and Emily meet for the first time in ten years, each feels the attraction that still remains strong. However, besides feeling guilt over desiring another woman because his late wife died a year ago, Boone knows his eight yeas old son B.J. comes first. Meanwhile B.J. and Emily become friends as Boone wonders whether a bicoastal relationship can work.

The first Ocean Breeze romance is a tender second chance tale starring two likable individuals struggling between love and other desires and needs. Although their misunderstandings seem overly done and the prime obstacle to the relationship dead with her parents as poor surrogate replacements with their custody suit threats, fans will enjoy hurricane season on Coastal Carolina.

Let the Dead Sleep
Heather Graham
9780778315056, $24.95

In New Orleans, Danni Cafferty is in a hospital room as her father lies near death. Heartbroken she tells her dying dad she loves him and needs him to stay with her. He abruptly tells her he failed her when he delayed telling her of her inheritance; as he allowed his love for her to let her live a little longer as a normal. Before collapsing, her father insists she keep his curio shop she inherits and protect his ancient lore tome.

Not long after her father's death, a distraught woman enters the shop to demand Danni take away an evil statue that killed her husband and will kill her next. Danni arrives at the woman's home to learn she committed suicide and meets former NOPD cop turned private investigator Michael Quinn; the statue is gone. After informing her he collaborated on cases with her late dad, Michael further explains to her he is looking into strange deaths related to a Renaissance statue stolen from the grave of a malevolent monster. They team up in search of the missing artifact though both fear what will happen to them if they obtain this evil without precautions like having Catholic and Voodoo priests accompanying them.

The first Cafferty & Quinn romantic urban fantasy is an engaging tale though the love subplot between the protagonists seems more of an intruding sub-genre requirement. The New Orleans hunt for the malevolent killing relic is fun to follow even without a Krewe of Hunters for readers to rely on; as Heather Graham opens up her new series with an entertaining paranormal thriller.

'Til Death
Sharon Sala
9780778314271, $7.99

Two decades ago, Lincoln Fox was convicted of the arson that killed his father. During his trial and for the next twenty years, Linc swore the government incarcerated the wrong person. He vowed to one day come home to Rebel Ridge, Kentucky to investigate and identify who destroyed his life.

A near fatal accident sends Linc to his Appalachia hometown in search of the truth. When a blizzard leads to Meg Walker crashing her car, Linc comes to her aid. He realizes that he still loves his high school girlfriend and remembers she always believed he did not set that fire. However, those behind what happened then prefer the truth remain buried; so to insure nothing changes, they abduct Meg and dump her high on the frozen mountains to die.

The final tale in the Walker sisters' Rebel Ridge trilogy (see Next of Kin and Don't Cry For Me) starts slow as the players are introduced, but accelerates into a fabulous fast-paced romantic suspense. Readers root for Linc and Meg to make it together; but understand any vows of love may be short as 'Til Death do us part could be any moment in a "Town Without Pity" (directed by Gottfried Reinhardt) or remorse.

Evidence Of Life
Barbara Taylor Sissel
9780778315162, $14.95

In Texas Hill country, Nick Bennett and his daughter Lindsay leave on a weekend camping trip while his wife Abby and their son Jake stay home. Abby looks forward to alone time; while Jake studies for his finals.

A frightened Lindsay calls from a gas station bathroom telling her mom that her dad was acting strange as they took the scenic route, but the connection ends. Concerned Abby watches the Weather Channel reporting that the Guadalupe River and smaller waterways were flooding at historic levels leaving road conditions extremely hazardous. When her two loved ones fail to surface over the next few months, everyone including her mom and her BFF Kate sympathizes with Abby who refuses to believe they drowned. As she diligently searches for her spouse and child while her family and friends plead with her to accept the truth that they died, Abby begins uncovering damaging evidence about Nick that makes her fear she and Jake are in peril.

Evidence Of Life is a leisurely-paced, taut family drama starring a woman who initially seems unhinged by the lack of closure as she refuses to give up her quest even as she uncovers clues that shake her equilibrium further. Fans will enjoy this suspenseful thriller while wondering what Abby will find; if anything, conclusive.

What Tears Us Apart
Deborah Cloyed
9780778313793, $14.95

In 2007 in Topanga, California Leda tells Amadeus the dog that she quit being a chef as that failed to satisfy her deep need to do something meaningful though she does not need a pay check as she is wealthy. While searching the net for a purpose, she comes across a boys' orphanage in Kiberia, Kenya with the picture of a handsome worker Ita. She volunteers to help at the orphanage.

Leda flies to Nairobi before finishing her journey to the suburban slum. The abject poverty that greets her seems overwhelming, but Leda quickly finds herself spiritually lifted by the energy and enthusiasm of the children overcoming their troubled pasts and the counter serenity of Ita. As the American and the Kenyan fall in love, his past places her in peril and violent aftermath of the recent election places the orphanage in danger as two groups vie for power.

The brutal 2007 Kenyan backdrop brings freshness to this fascinating redemption romance as two flawed people from polar different worlds fall in love. Character driven by the protagonists, support cast and location, readers will appreciate Deborah Cloyed's profound look into emotional risk-taking second chances after the demons inside a person nuke the first time.

The Honey Thief
Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman
Viking Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780670026487, $26.95,

This thirteen interrelated story collection provides readers with a strong discerning glimpse into the Hazara people though the oral tales handed down through generations for centuries in their part of Afghanistan. The opening tale "Hazara" provides background into a minority people living in a landlocked nation who believe the "tribe is a world." In the title story young Abbas stole honey hives before becoming a hive-keeper apprentice. "The Life of Abdul Khaliq" revolves around his assassinating a murderous king; followed by "The Death of Abdul Khaliq" when the dead monarch's son becomes ruler and has the assassin and his extended family and friends hung. "The Cookbook of the Master Poisoner Ghoroob-e-astab of Mashad" is filled with poisonous treats that diners including royals would die for. During the Soviet occupation, Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari sends Abbas the beekeeper on a mission of forgiveness; his traveling companions die during an air assault yet he saves the life of "The Russian" enemy combatant. This is a great look at the resiliency of the Hazara people though a rich story-telling tradition.

Danielle Trussoni
9780670025541, $27.95

A decade has passed since art historian V.A. Verlaine last saw his beloved Sister Evangeline Cacciatore with wings on the Brooklyn Bridge (see Angelology). Since that haunting epitome, Verlaine, mentored by Bruno to lead in the humanity's war against angels, has become a diligent rigid angel hunter with a blind devotion to eliminate their kind's rogues though he uses a wider definition of his prey than the Society of Angelology.

Near the Eifel Tower, Verlaine watches a mutilated angel's electric blue blood flow onto the street. Not impacted with observing death, Verlaine's coldness turns to shock when he looks at the late angel's identification; a New York State driver's license issued to Evangeline Cacciatore. Meanwhile Godwin the angelologist scientist abducts Evangeline. He takes her to his research center compound in the Bulgarian Mountains where he studies the "Watcher" Fallen Angels seeking a toxin that will enable him to control Nephilim for personal reasons.

The sequel to Angelology continues the exciting human-angel conflict with a suspense laden thriller although Evangeline is mostly off stage. Though Godwin is a stereotype of the mad scientist, readers will enjoy the action-packed European adventures of the star-crossed lovers as Verlaine receives a horrific awakening in Paris.

C.J. Cherryh
Daw Books, Inc.
c/o Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756407988, $24.95,

The heir to the Atevi leader of the Western Association Tabiniaiji, eight years old Cajerji celebrates his birthday with his people and select human friends he made. Meanwhile the Assassins' Guild, responsible for security, is divided with many opposed to Tabini's rule, preferring traditionalists like Ilisidi and others.

Not knowing who to trust, Tabini asks his friend human diplomat Bren Cameron to work with his aiji-dowager grandmother Ilisidi to protect his child and other guests. Tabini and Bren believe the enemies of the Atevi leader will use the gala to make a deadly statement with both of them, the heir and specific guests as the targets.

The latest Foreigner Universe thriller (see Intruder, Betrayer and Deceiver) is an entertaining tale with somewhat limited action, as once again C.J. Cherryh deeply develops political and ethnic themes with young Cajerji as the focus of opposing forces with diverse motives. Few besides his father and Ben care about his well-being as most see the lad as a pawn to further personal agendas. Fans will enjoy Cajerji's happy birthday bash with unwanted fireworks part of the gala.

The Forever Knight
John Marco
9780756407513, $25.95

Lukien once was the beloved Bronze Knight until he betrayed his king. Despondent he lost his love Cassandra and several friends, he sought death as the way out of his lonely existence after bringing peace; no one needs a hero after the victory. However, he learns that is not quite true as he became the immortal champion of the magical using Inhuman desert dwellers who live in impoverished isolation deep in the desert at Grimhold.

Lukien remains the defender of Grimhold, but no longer possesses both Eyes of Gods amulet. Instead he now yields the Sword of Angels that possesses the Akari spirit of an earlier age hero Malator. Needing a purpose, Lukien leaves Grimhold with encouragement from Malator. On the road from apathy he meets youthful Cricket a seeker of her lost memories.

The profound premise in this first follow-up to the Bronze Knight fantasy trilogy (see Sword of Angels) focuses on what happens to a hero after the mission is accomplished and accolades received, As MacArthur said: "old soldiers never die; they just fade away"; but fails to mention what to do with the rest of their (immortal in this case) life. There is plenty of action as expected in a John Marco thriller, but it is the psychologically scarred Lukien and his counterpoint Malator who make the story fascinating. Cricket adds depth but her young and innocent immaturity seems out of place in a realm where teens mature fast or die. The Forever Knight is a deep opening gamut as the larger than life hero needs a purpose.

A Study In Revenge
Kieran Shields
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor
New York, NY 10019
9780307985767, $25.00,

In 1893 in Portland, Maine Police Deputy Marshal Archie Lean follows the ashen footprints into the house until he finds the burned corpse of Frankie "The Foot" Cosgrove sitting in a chair. On the outside door written with ash and blood is a face with words "Hell Awaits" above it. Lean saw the victim buried a couple days earlier without any burns. At the gravesite, the empty coffin looks like it was busted from inside.

Lean asks hybrid Abenaki-Caucasian criminalist Perceval Grey to assist him in solving the strange homicide. Grey agrees to help although he already promised dying wealthy tycoon Horace Webster to locate his missing granddaughter Maddy. The rest of the Webster family has no interest in locating a missing heir except for her sister Phebe; instead the Webster clan prefers Grey focus on finding a missing heirloom. The deeper the two men dig into the cases, increasingly they believe them connected.

The second Lean-Grey collaboration (see Truth of All Things) is a great historical police procedural that once again enables armchair readers to believe they are in late nineteenth century Portland and to a lesser degree Boston anchored by real persona like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Action-packed, the taut storyline is an enjoyable fast-paced read as the two detectives will remind readers of a different Holmes partnership as they work to find the missing link.

The Bedlam Detective
Stephen Gallagher
Broadway Books
1745 Broadway, New York, NY, 10036
9780307406651, $15.99,

In 1912 logically he knows he could have done nothing to prevent the lynching he witnessed in America. However unable to move on from that troubling incident Sebastian Becker quit Pinkerton to return home to London; accompanied by his wife Elisabeth, their disturbed genius son Robert and his unmarried sister-in-law. He works for the Ministry of Lunacy as a special investigator.

His current assignment is to determine the sanity of Sir Owain Lancaster who recently came home from the Amazon where his family and team died in what the man said in his book "The Empire of Beasts" was an attack by monsters who followed him to England to finish the job. Becker arrives by a delayed train due to a wax misconception in Arnmouth while a hunt for two missing girls occurs. When their mutilated bodies are found, most locals including Detective Stephen Reed believe insane Sir Owain killed the children; while the accused insists his Amazonian beasts murdered them. Becker joins the inquiry.

The Bedlam Detective is an exciting Edwardian Era mystery that focuses on a small village where denial is the norm as the locals prefer either Sir Oswain to be insane or an outsider committed the atrocities. The keys to this strong historical are the cast including the title character, his family and the villagers are fully developed and a powerful look at mental health in 1905 as psychopathic beasts roam freely amidst the populace.

The Truth Of All Things
Kieran Shields
Broadway Books
1745 Broadway, New York, NY, 10036
9780307720290, $15.00,

In 1892 Portland, Maine, someone mutilates and murders prostitute Maggie Keene in what looks like a ritual killing as the corpse contains clues about witches in the Abenaki language. Deputy Marshal Archie Lean enlists the help of Dr. Virgil Steig who turns to his former student hybrid Abenaki-Caucasian Pinkerton criminalist Perceval Grey to assist law enforcement in solving the homicide.

With further insight from library assistant researcher Helen Prescott, Lean and Grey soon connect the brutal killing to the past: the seventeenth century Salem witch-hunt and two decades ago fire and deaths. More murders as brutal as that of Keene follow with Grey applying the new forensic science concepts to the crime scene.

This is a fabulous historical police procedural that enables armchair readers to believe they are in late nineteenth century Portland due to the vivid early descriptions of single (Grey and Prescott) and family (Lean) life in that era; though at times the abundance of detail slows down the pacing. The Salem Trials come across as frighteningly macabre yet intriguing; adding depth to a strong investigative collaborative whodunit.

One Texas Night
Jodi Thomas
Zebra Books
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
New York, NY 10018-2522
9781420131413, $7.99,

"In Amarillo By Morning." In 1889 Fort Worth, Charlie and Dolly Tucker invite three potential suitors to dinner to meet their single sister Agnes visiting from Chicago. Hank Harris knows he cannot compete with his much more affluent and handsomer rivals Pitter Stockton and William J. Randall. Thus when Aggie accepts his marriage of convenience proposal, Hank is shocked. When he falls in love with his wife, Hank risks his heart to make their marriage genuine.

"Silent Partner." After time in prison, Rowdy Darnell comes home to Kasota Springs planning to earn some money in the rodeo. However, he needs the fee to be paid to enter so he seeks a silent partner as no one would want to publicly bankroll a felon. Laurel Hayes wants nothing to do with the convict she once considered a friend, but their kisses speak otherwise.

"In The Outlaw." In 1852 Cozette Camanez's dying father gives control of the family ranch to his brother unless his daughter marries. She explains she has a fiance that she actually made up. Due to his bumbling uncles, outlaw Michael Hughes is trapped at her ranch, but agrees to marry her so she can own the spread and he can keep his uncles from jail.

"The Ranger's Angel." In 1870, former Army nurse Annaline Barkley comes from DC to assist her brother the physician with his practice. However she and three men are trapped inside a stagecoach station surrounded by Randolph Thorn and his gang. She persuades Ranger Wynn McCord to take her with him as he flees into the night seeking to find help.

These are engaging reprints from four different Texas western romance anthologies published in the last five years with wonderful lead characters.

Sinner's Heart
Zoe Archer
9781420122299, $7.99

In 1763 the quintet of rakes who made up the Hellraisers sells their souls to the devil who grants each a different supernatural power and a wish. Lord Abraham "Bram" Stirling relishes the way all women beg him to take them as lust enables him to ignore his time in battle that haunts him otherwise.

Besides wanting to forget the harrowing memories of when he was a soldier, Bram also prefers to ignore that London has become hell. However, the spirit of Roman Priestess Valeria Livia Corva refuses to allow Bram to pay no attention to what the devil has done as she feels guilt for raising him in the first place even though she sacrificed herself to return him to hell. To his chagrin he wants the one female he cannot reach except when she insists he become what he fears the most in life: a soldier.

The third exciting Hellraiser Georgian romantic fantasy is a fast-paced paradoxical Faustian thriller starring a bad boy hero who sold himself to the devil and the female who needs to rescue his soul if she is to fix what she wrought. Though the premise is similar to Devil's Kiss and Demon's Bride, Livia brings freshness with being the original sinner as the only way to defeat the devil is through the heart and soul.

If He's Tempted
Hannah Howell
9781420118803 $7.99

Lady Olympia Wherlocke listens to crying teenager Lady Agatha Mallam tell her that her evil mom Lady Letitia sold her to perverted Baron Minden while her older brother Brant fails to respond to her messages begging for help. Olympia promises to see her sibling. When Brant fails to respond to her notes, Olympia comes to his home. A child Thomas informs her that the intoxicated Brant is in the library. Thomas says he is the late earl's illegitimate offspring as are four other servants in the stable while two more have vanished.

Olympia takes Brant to task for failing his sister as he is controlled by his mom who has guardianship over Agatha. They realize several servants spy on him for his mom; Olympia fires them. Brant feels guilty that he failed to stop his wicked mom who sells people like she did his deceased fiancee. In London no one welcomes Brant in their home. Olympia tells him his mother spread stories as disgusting as that of perverted Minden. They kiss before she sends him to her cousin the solicitor to help him regain the authority he lost to his mother. At a gala, Lady Letitia warns Olympia that her son is evil and continues to spread her poison expanded to include Lady Wherlocke.

The latest Wherlocke Georgian romance (see If He's Dangerous and If He's Wild) is an exciting historical starring interesting protagonists; especially Brant. The paranormal elements add depth but are kept low-keyed. Although the fickle Ton too easily accepts the word of the 200-proof villainess that her son is a pervert while ignoring rumors about her depraved activity, fans will enjoy the least Wherlocke to take on love and evil heart-first.

A Place to Belong
Lauraine Snelling
Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55438
9780764204173, $14.99,

In 1906 South Dakota, Lucas Engstrom and Cassie Lockwood are engaged. However, as she works the shooting contest circuit before winter arrives, Cassie realizes she does not love her fiance; instead she misses his brother Ransom. She prays to the Lord for guidance and concludes that God intends for her to become Lucas' wife since everyone knows she has made him a better person since becoming part of his life.

As Ransom opens up a furniture store, he misses Cassie who is on a Wild West show tour. At the same time, Lucas tries to conceal the fact that he is attracted to Betsy Hudson because he has disappointed his family so many times before and they want him to marry Cassie.

The third Wild West Wind historical romance (see Valley Of Dreams and Whispers In The Wind) is an exciting early twentieth century on the northern Great Plains tale. Cassie holds the engaging Americana storyline together with a need caused by her circuit touring childhood to own things especially a house she can call home until her heart tells her to take a leap of faith.

You Are Invited...
Holly Jacobs
Harlequin SuperRomance
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780373718467, $5.75,

When Bridget Wallace Langley died from cancer in Valley Ridge, New York, she named her best friend rolling stone Mattie Keith as guardian to her three preadolescent children (Abbey, Zoe and Mickey). Mattie feels inadequate as the barista lacks experience with kids and the money needed to raise them. Making matters worse is Bridget's Buffalo-based surgeon brother has sued for custody of his blood relatives. She knows he can provide them with material things she cannot, but also ponders why her BFF failed to name her sibling.

While Abby and the others keep asking for their mommy, Mattie asks herself what Bridget would have done. As she considers leaving, Mattie and Finn continue to argue over the best interests of the children even as they find a potential compromise forged by falling in love with each other.

This Valley Ridge Wedding is an engaging family drama summed up by Abbey when in near tears says: "I want my mommy." Rotating perspective between the adult leads, fans will enjoy this character driven by a strong cast tale as love blossoms between two grieving opposites trying to do what each believes is best for three hurting youngsters.

A Better Father
Kris Fletcher
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373718450, $5.75

With the death of his toddler's mother Robin, NHL superstar Sam Catalano changes his game plan. Instead of hockey, babes and endorsements; he plans to become a full-time dad. He buys Camp Overlook overlooking the Ontario side of the St. Lawrence as a home for him and two year old Casey as he has fond childhood memories of the place.

However, the only drawback besides Robin's Nova Scotia family, meddling social workers and court officials is the assistant director Libby Kovak. Sam and Libby were once a passionate entry, but though he wants a second time with the female he left behind years ago, his focus must be providing Casey with stability. However, both realizes they remain in love with each other; but though he changed his family plan to include a wife and mother, his first star refuses to allow him out of the penalty box.

A Better Father is an entertaining second chance at love family drama with a strong cast and no "forced" villains; as Sam and readers will realize that Robin's mom Sharon loves her grandchild. Though the engaging storyline goes as expected, fans will enjoy Sam's efforts to become A Better Father, person and lover.

The First Move
Jennifer Lohmann
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373718443, $5.75

At his ex-wife's wedding, Miles Brislenn recognizes by the reaction of his body the photographer. When he was in high school, he suffered from unrequited love of Renia Milek, a rebel without a cause. Though he doubts his teen crush will remember even his name, Miles says hello to Rey while vowing to himself to make a play as dreams fail to compare to the reality. Though Rey fails to recall Miles, she finds him charming and attractive. However, she fears he knows her shameful secret when he left high school for a year and plans on keeping her distance.

When they meet while he is with his teenage child Sarah, Rey realizes Miles is a good father and person. As he asks her out on a date, her teenage past returns with a haunting phone call that shakes her emotional equilibrium. Miles plans to be there for his beloved though she tries to push him away; instead he pushes her away when he fears his daughter follows Rey's shaky past.

The key to this warm romance is that the strong cast deals with complex issues. As he says Miles is the Weird Science nerd while Rey is his fantasy Kelly LeBrock, but reality hits each of them hard. Readers will enjoy salsa dancing with this couple as Jennifer Lohmann provides a wonderful deep tale.

The Wolf Prince
Karen Whiddon
Harlequin Nocturne
9780373885671, $5.75

Heir to the throne of Teslinko, shapeshifter Prince Ruben fears his inner wolf is taking control of his body and mind at a time when his parents King Leo and Queen Ionna demand he marry. Ruben knows who the only female he covets is unacceptable as his future queen.

At the Seelie court, someone murders a servant. Ruben persuades Princess Willow to escort him into the palace so he can investigate and find the killer. He quickly realizes his hostess is unwanted by her fae brethren because her dark pigment means she is the offspring of an undesirable Unseelie. As they fall in love while working the homicide, the pair also looks into the royal reject's heritage.

The latest Pack romantic fantasy (see Wolf Whisperer and The Wolf Princess) is an enjoyable investigative thriller starring two troubled souls finding solace in their love for one another. The thrilling storyline is fast-paced though a deeper look at the impact of scornful Sidhe discriminating against a royal due to the color of her skin would have added profundity to the mix of two lost individuals falling in love during a murder investigation.

Beauty's Beast
Jenna Kernan
Harlequin Nocturne
9780373885688, $5.75

Empathic seer Samantha Proud knows the price she pays to save the soul of a child from the demon possessing the youngster, but the bear shifter does anyway. When she displayed her power, Samantha placed her family in harm from the Ruler of Ghosts Nagi; who has stalked her and her kin forcing them into hiding after her Good Samaritan deed exposed them. The Thunderbirds rescue the Prouds but scatter them to different places to make it difficult for Nagi to complete his species cleansing.

Samantha is dropped off near Alon Garza the ghost child trying to prevent his evil father Nagi from murdering any perceived threats like the shifter and ghost children that might impede his plan for world domination. Samantha suggests the two beleaguered groups team up in the fight to end Nagi's quest to rule the world.

The latest Trackers paranormal romance (see Ghost Stalker and Dream Stalkers) is a super thriller that continues the strong saga based on Native American mythology. Though similar in premise to Soul Whisperer, as the likable lead heroes are natural enemies who need each other against a more powerful mutual adversary leading to strange bedfellows falling in taboo love. Well written, readers will be fully engaged by Jenna Kernan's fabulous tale.

A Profiler's Case For Seduction
Carla Cassidy
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
9780373278183, $5.75

The murders in Vengeance, Texas forty miles from Dallas has the FBI believing a serial killer is loose. While his team disagrees with his initial assessment, FBI agent Mark Flynn considers Darby College Sociology Professor Melinda Grayson as a person of interest so attends her lecture to get a deeper impression of the instructor.

Mark enlists student Dora Martin to assist him in his effort to look deeper at Melinda. For her part, Dora wants nothing to do with the Brainiac hunk as she vowed off men while trying to use her second chance for a life starting with a degree. Still, as they work together, they fall in love while he knows she hides something from him that he fears involves the homicides and could make her part of the body count.

This is an entertaining romantic suspense that the audience will enjoy though the motive is inane. Still fast-paced with two likable protagonists falling in love while working the case, fans will appreciate visiting Vengeance in Texas.

Copper Lake Confidential
Marilyn Pappano
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
9780373278176, $5.75

It has been a long time since Macy Howard last was in her hometown of Copper Lake, Georgia. She left following the death of her husband Mark and her miscarriage. After a year in an asylum and living with her aunt and uncle in Charleston, Macy decides to return to Copper Lake over the objection of her concerned caring kin especially her worried brother.

In Copper Lake, Macy meets veterinarian Stephen Noble, who also writes fantasy novels. They are attracted to one another and she begins to see hope for a future though she has trust issues after her tragic past. However, something is slightly off kilter at the old house that has Macy wonder if she left the asylum too soon as items are not where she swore she left them and a slight lingering odor that dissipates quickly should not be possible. With Stephen at the side of the woman he loves, Macy struggles to keep her equilibrium while seeking the truth.

The latest Copper Lake romantic suspense (see Copper Lake Secrets) is a great taut thriller that grips readers from the moment the vulnerable heroine returns home and never slows down until the final confrontation with a toss of the paranormal enhancing the climax. Fast-paced with several twists including a stunning late spin, readers will relish Marilyn Pappano's fabulous tale due to the insightful look at the mind of troubled Macy who fears she is insane.

Along Came Twins...
Rebecca Winters
Harlequin Special Edition
9780373742387, $5.50

Kellie and Leandros Petralia are separated with their divorce soon to be finalized as reconciliation is impossible with her in Philadelphia and him in Greece. She knows her obsession with becoming pregnant destroyed her marriage. Ironically now that she resides in the Sates and he in Europe, Kellie is carrying twins.

Deciding she should tell her soon to be ex-husband that she is pregnant, Kellie travels to Greece. Leandros is euphoric with the news of becoming a father, but that is only one of the reasons he wants to remain married as he misses the love of his life. A resort builder, Leandros will do anything to rebuild his marriage.

The second Tiny Miracles contemporary romance (see Baby Out Of The Blue) is an entertaining family drama although the protagonists' separation fails to feel long enough for how they act towards each other. Still fans will enjoy this second chance (I wonder if a short term separation can categorize a novel as a second chance) at love Grecian romance.

Project: Runaway Heiress
Heidi Betts
Harlequin Desire
9780373732388, $5.50

In Los Angeles, Ashdown Abbey fashion owner Nigel Stratham needs a new personal assistant as the latest quit with no notice after receiving an acting gig. At the same time New York based designer Lily Zaccaro of Zaccaro Fashions is outraged that Stratham stole her designs. She vows to find the thief and hiding her mission from her sisters, she goes to L.A. Undercover Lily becomes the CEO's latest PA.

Lily proves her value right away, but struggles to figure out who stole her designs. Worse for Lily is that her siblings wonder what is going on; and the worst is her attraction to "Public Enemy Number One" Nigel. As they fall in love, she fears how he will react to her going undercover.

The first Project: Passion romance is a fun contemporary that provides readers a glimpse of the designer business. The lead couple is nice paring of the two coasts although the audience will have doubts ultra-passionate with a cause Lily can conceal her stealth amateur sleuthing from her siblings, her new office, and her boss the love of her life. Readers will appreciate this designer tale and look forward to Lily's sisters starring in their personal romantic project.

The Rancher and the Vet
Julie Benson
Harlequin American
9780373754526, $5.25

Widower Colt Montgomery demands his brother Reed return from San Francisco to Estes Park, Colorado take care of his daughter Jess as he is being deployed to Afghanistan and his in-laws who blame him for their daughter's death are unable to do it due to hip surgery. The last place Jess wants to be is the Rocking M Ranch where his drunken abusive father resides. However, he comes home to take care of Jess.

When the now CEO fled for California, he left his heart in Colorado. Colt and veterinarian Avery McAlister meet with both knowing the attraction remains stratospheric. However, though she will help him with Jess and continue to care for the ranch animals, Avery refuses to give the man who broke her heart years ago a second chance at destroying her again.

The third McAlister romance (see Big City Cowboy and Bet on a Cowboy) is an enjoyable second chance at love tale. Colt is a complex person who believes his father's DNA taints him while Avery hates loving him; but it is the troubled teen who forces him to look inside his heart. Fans will enjoy this family drama.

The Jezebel
Saskia Walker
9780373777440, $14.95

As a child Maisie Taskill watched her mother burn at the stake. She was taken from Scotland to London by her benefactor. Now in 1715, as an adult, Maisie flees from her benefactor as she knows he wants to use her heathen powers for his own benefit. At the docks, Maisie offers her virginal body to Captain Roderick Cameron to plunder if he takes her safely to Dundee. Although he knows how his Libertas' crew will react with a woman on board, he accepts her offer.

On the Libertas, Roderick and Maisie forge a heated relationship that leads to amplifying her seductive powers; while the men on the ship threaten mutiny. Meanwhile her influential benefactor obtains the assistance of the British Royal Navy in pursuit of the Libertas.

The third Taskill Witches tale (see The Harlot and The Libertine) is a fast-paced thriller that hooks the audience from the moment the witch seduces the skeptical sea captain, who realizes he must refuse her offer as he knows how his crew will react, but feels spellbound to accept. Thus he agrees to her virginity as payment for her rite of passage. Though the adversary never quite holds up to fan anticipation of the confrontation, the actions and reactions of the superstitious crew provides a strong counterbalance to the lead couple's erotic Georgian paranormal romance sea adventure.

Currant Creek Valley
RaeAnne Thayne
9780373777471, $7.99

In Hope's Crossing, Colorado thirty-something Alexandra McKnight feels good about her life as she has a wonderful family and friends who care about her just like she does about them even if men who matter seem to always hurt her. Further adding to Alexandra's euphoria is that she will soon run a restaurant owned by Brodie Thorne. However, the contractor renovating the place left on a family emergency so Brodie hires Sam Delgado to finish Alexandra's kitchen.

When they meet at the restaurant over an identity misunderstanding, she believes the temp is ideal for a short term relationship. Instead, former Ranger, widower Sam and his six year old son Ethan are relocating to start fresh. As Alex and Sam fall in love, she expects him to hurt her so she refuses to take a chance on father and son.

The latest Hope's Crossing contemporary romance (see Sweet Laurel Falls, Crossing Woodrose Mountain and Blackberry Summer) is an engaging drama starring a likable widower, his overly precious child and a doubting Thomasine; although her denial eventually becomes an irritant. With a wonderful natural background and a strong support cast add depth to the coming together of three people forging a family if Alex takes a chance on love.

Shades of Passion
Virna DePaul
9780373777426, $7.99

Still grieving the murder of his girlfriend, a psychologist, California Department of Justice Special Investigative Group Detective Simon Granger works the most dangerous cases while vowing never again let anyone get inside his heart. He is irate and frustrated when SIG assigns him to partner with psychiatrist Dr. Nina Whitaker. Ironically, like Simon, she does not want to pair up with law enforcement and she too grieves the murder of her sister.

After their teaming proves successful, an unknown deranged individual targets Nina; holding her culpable for a death and seeking revenge. Simon vows not again as he risks his life to keep safe his partner who he has fallen in love with.

The latest SIG romantic police procedural (see Shades of Temptation and Shades Of Desire) centers on how law enforcement and mental health providers deal with the criminally mentally ill; as each side comes from a different perspective due to their respective missions. Although the protagonists' disagreement on the fundamental underlying mental health premise is raised too frequently, fans will enjoy this twisting thriller, which pays homage to Hitchcock.

The Love Shack
Christie Ridgeway
9780373777150, $7.99

Combat photographer Gage Lowell returns to his family's childhood summer home in Crescent Cove, California for his twin brother's wedding (see Beach House No. 9 for Griffin's tale). However, his recent stint on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border has him shook up though he is stateside. Gage knows his correspondence with Cove childhood friend Skye Alexander kept him sane.

However, instead of a warm greeting, Skye keeps her distance from Gage. She has a secret she fears being exposed; and does not want to be hurt as she has loved Gage since they were children, but he never showed an iota of reciprocation. Skye expects once his sibling marries he will leave her life forever.

The third Crescent Cove summer romance (see Bungalow Nights) contains two engaging romances (the married sister of the twins Polly and firefighter Teague). Ironically, the Polly-Teague supporting subplot is the fresh entry while the main storyline between Skye and Gage comes across as similar to the previous tales. Readers will appreciate this warm summer romance starring likable characters with personal issues to overcome to achieve loving permanent relationships.

Too Hot To Handle
Victoria Dahl
9780373777464, $7.99

Merry Kade feels great when her best friend Grace Barrett (see Close Enough to Touch) hires her to change Providence, Wyoming into a tourist attraction as a ghost town. Euphoric she leaves Los Angeles for Jackson Hole, Wyoming only to find the Trustees responsible for funding the project hoarding the money; worse she concludes her employment is a sham as the board only uses her as a pretense to elude a lawsuit.

Still Merry decides to go ahead with the project. She hires Shane Harcourt, BFF of Grace's boyfriend Cole Rawlins, who resides in the same apartment complex as she does, to begin the renovation. Shane and Merry are attracted to one another, but he feels guilty as he knows he will darken her sunshine when he devastates her optimism and affirms her belief no one would truly want her.

The latest Wyoming romance is an entreating contemporary tale starring a woman with low self-esteem and a man at war with his family. Readers will adore aptly named Merry, but disdain Shane whose avarice seems out of place until we learn the rest of the story. Although more on the project would have added depth to the somewhat thin storyline, fans will enjoy the love tale of two individuals reluctant to take a chance on love.

Harriet Klausner
Senior Reviewer

Lorraine's Bookshelf

A 1,000 - Mile Great Lakes Walk
Loreen Niewenhuis
Crickhollow Books
c/o Great Lakes Literary LLC
3147 S. Pennsylvania Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53207
9781933987217, $16.95,

The author's second narrative of a 1000 mile walking adventure around the Great Lakes, "A 1,000 - Mile Great Lakes Walk: One Woman's Trek Along the Shorelines of All Five Great Lakes" is a fascinating account of a 76-day trek of 1004 miles around the five Great Lakes. Her experiences and observations during her Great Lakes marathon trek were a physical accomplishment in a spectacular environment that led to many levels of increased awareness. In her epilogue, she describes it thus: "By moving through the land, I felt joined to migrations of the past. The Great Lakes were formed by a series of massive ice sheets that plowed down from the Arctic, encasing the entire region in a towering sheet of ice. All living creatures had to migrate south as the walls of ice encroached on the land. Many creatures still migrate to survive: birds in particular and even the fragile monarch butterfly. By walking day after day, I tapped in to that ancient compulsion to move through the land.

These waters speak to me. The geology tells me the story of how these lakes came to be. In taking time to listen and explore, I came to a deeper understanding of these vast inland seas. These waters restored and reshaped me. They broke me down and then rebuilt me so I now feel even more like myself than before (p. 195)."

The trek itself is organized into a trip diary of seven chapters following her progress around the Lakes month by month, with a handy mini-map of the area of Lake trail covered that month. From April through October, she moves through pathways around the five Great Lakes, with many natural descriptions, camping experiences and observations, historical background information, and positive enlightenments. Beginning her trek as a self-defining experience, at a time of separation from her previous life as a wife and mother of 2 boys, she embraces the physical challenge of preparing and conditioning her forty-something body for the endurance of the trail. What emerges is an unmistakable reverence for the beauty and tremendous legacy of this ancient water trail, and a determination to work with others who seek to protect and preserve it for generations to come. Her story is enriched by amusing historical anecdotes and ancient traditions and legends associated with Native Americans who once walked and lived on these trails. She ends her diary with a quotation from John Muir from the pillars at Indiana Dunes State Park: "The Winds will blow their own freshness into you/ and the Storms their energy,/ while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." This is her encouragement to readers and all to accept this call for adventure in a "place that speaks to you, where your cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

For a wonderful, mind and soul-enlarging experience, read "A 1,000 - Mile Great Lakes Walk." It may inspire you to choose your own adventure, while enriching your awareness immeasurably.

Sunnyville Stories Volume 1
Max West, author/artist
Different Mousetrap Press
PO Box 1321, Greensboro, NC 27402
9780615653921, $15.99,

"Sunnyville Stories Volume 1" is an anthology of the first three episodes or installments of the independent alternative comic series, "Sunnyville Stories." In the world of Sunnyville, black and white cartoon teenage cat friends, Rusty and Samantha encounter unusually familiar issues (from human society), enacted by old-fashioned, retro-dressed anthropomorphic animals, coons, bears, squirrels, and other oddly human-looking cats. Rusty and Samantha tackle issues of loneliness, moving traumas, games and peer pressure, cheating, stealing, and the ups and downs of friendships, adolescent, animal, human, or other. "Sunnyville Stories" has some of the taste of Walt Kelly's Pogo and the inhabitants of the Okefenokee, an old popular comic series from the early 50's. Daily truths about human interactions are somehow more palatable when expressed by oddly dressed, humanoid- looking animals. It's kind of a safe experiment using a different mirror to look at ourselves. "Sunnyville Stories" is destined to become a mainstream hit, but will probably never lose its alternative style and bite. The ultimate message appears to be somewhat hopeful and optimistic, although with strange undercurrents.

Daily Planner 2014
Sue Hooley
Vision Publishers
PO Box 190, Harrisonburg, Virginia
9781932676839, $13.99,

"Daily Planner 2014" is a beautiful calendar daybook with beautiful color photos of flowers and seasonal subjects and appropriate Biblical quotations and references for added inspiration. Spiral bound, with sturdy pages designed for daily or weekly notes and references, "Daily Planner 2014" is a beautiful and practical gift for a close friend or beloved family.

Combinatorial Harmony
Julio Herrlein
Mel Bay Publications
4 Industrial Drive, Pacific, MO 63069
9780786684885, $39.99,

"Combinatorial Harmony: Concepts and Techniques for Composing and Improvising, All Instruments" has been described has the "heavy artillery" go to book for improvisation and harmony in especially guitar-friendly format. All harmonic combinations and common practices of improvisation are presented in a logical sequence, with the additional prescription that all three-note and four-note sets (with explained exceptions, see Technical Appendix) "have been mapped with their possible usage as harmonic function." Since the presented mapping includes fretboard diagrams for guitar, accompanied with exercises to memorize these patterns, the total offerings of "Combinatorial Harmony" are the equivalent of shorthand gold to the jazz/improvisational musician, guitarist or other. There is also a simplification/presentation of musical set theory using familiar chord typology, more musician shorthand gold to mine. An accompanying CD has tracks of improvisational exercises and also 2 original guitar compositions by the author, titled Sonata and Ainda Nao, or Not Yet. An audio symbol with track number connects the CD tracks with the different exercises or compositions presented in the book. "Combinatorial Harmony" compacts and presents a formidable amount of music theory and improvisational practices into a succinct and logical format, particularly accessible to guitarists, but also available to performers on other instruments. A list of the intended audience for "Combinatorial Harmony" includes arrangers. Acoustic/electric guitar players, composers, non-guitarists composers, improvisers, harmony and analysis students, and sight readers. Some degree of technical proficiency is assumed, and advanced musicians will benefit greatly from the offerings of "Combinatorial Harmony." The author helpfully suggests reading the Technical Appendix at the end of the book (pages 293-301) before reading chapter 1. Here are the basic structures and conventional tools of which improvisational music is made. It is heady stuff, a valuable contribution which should attract serious musicians' concentrated interest like complex floral nectar attracts bees.

The Keyboard Handbook
Steve Lodder and Janette Mason
Backbeat Books
c/o Hal Leonard Corporation
7777 West Bluemound Road
Milwaukee, WI 53213
9781617131042, $29.99,

"The Keyboard Handbook" is a handy spiral-bound hardcover advanced music tutorial for ambitious keyboard performers of many levels. Complete with demonstration CD to model 85 examples of musical exercises based on a variety of contemporary and classical styles, "The Keyboard Handbook" provides progressively difficult introductory exercises typical of a range of styles including blues, rock, soul, funk, gospel, synth-pop, indie, and many more. For the unschooled musicians there is a basic guide to reading music in the beginning section plus multiple expert tips on style, music theory, rhythm, scales, chords and harmony. "The Keyboard Handbook" addresses such important basics as good keyboard posture as well as giving information about the workings of synthesizers and the use of MIDI technology. The spiral bound volume lays flat for easy keyboard use, and the authors are experienced and accomplished performers, and author/composers. All page formats are un distracting to the eye, in black and white and shades of gray. "The Keyboard Handbook" is almost a complete guide to contemporary keyboard styles with plenty of enriched content and demonstrations. This should be a most useful toolkit for the serious contemporary keyboard performer or composer. A certain degree of keyboard knowledge would allow the reader to fully access these pages.

The Diabetes Motivation Book
Heidi T. Beckman, PH.D.
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781479215225, $9.99,

"The Diabetes Motivation Book: Change One Thing at a Time With the Science of Willpower" is a self help guidebook for diabetics written by a trained clinical psychologist. Having researched both diabetes and its treatment protocols and the behavioral science of willpower, motivation, persistence, and impulse control, author Beckman presents her findings in a compact series of inspirational chapters with specific suggestions for managing positive behavior change, i.e. increasing will power, to improve diabetes control and health. Beginning with definitions of change and goal setting, aligning the individual's change with held/perceived values, using emotions, body, and environment in your favor, keeping energy levels up, and exercising self control muscles are all part of strategies for success in diabetes management. Managing emotional reaction, frustration, discouragement, hopelessness, and other setbacks commonly experienced by diabetics, all are proven powerful self treatment tactics. Finally, the author suggests a firm but compassionate attitude towards the self, challenging excuses but taking advantage of social support to establish resilience, optimism, and to prevent relapse. "The Diabetes Motivation Book" is an excellent tool kit for diabetics who wish to take responsibility for monitoring, treating, and improving their condition and overall health. Especially interesting to this reviewer was the chapter titled Lesson Twelve: Deal with Disappointing Blood Sugar. Here is the example: "Original thought: 'A 280 blood sugar! I just can't get it right!'/ Alternative thoughts: '280 is higher than I would like it to be. But it is just temporary, and I can view it as a learning opportunity. I can go take a walk to improve my reading. A problem-solving approach in this moment is going to help me much more than guilt (p. 73).'"

Nancy Lorraine
Senior Reviewer

Mason's Bookshelf

Secret Green Beret Commandos in Cambodia
Fred S. Lindsey
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477273081, $45.95,

Synopsis: A small group of highly trained, resourceful US Special Forces men is asked to go in teams behind the enemy lines to gather intelligence on the North Vietnamese Army units that had infiltrated through Laos and Cambodia down the Ho Chi Minh trails to their secret bases inside the Cambodian border west of South Vietnam. The covert reconnaissance teams, of only two or three SF men with four or five experienced indigenous mercenaries each, were tasked to go into enemy target areas by foot or helicopter insertion. They could be 15 kilometers beyond any other friendly forces, with no artillery support. In sterile uniforms - with no insignia or identification, if they were killed or captured, their government would deny their military connection. The enemy had placed a price on their heads and had spies in their Top Secret headquarters known as SOG. SOG had three identical recon ground units along the border areas. This book tells the history of Command and Control Detachment South (CCS). The CCS volunteer warriors and its Air Partners - the Army and Air Force helicopter transport and gunship crews who lived and fought together and sometimes died together. This is the first published history of CCS as compiled by its last living commander, some forty years after they were disbanded. It tells of the struggles and intrigue involved in SOG's development as the modern-day legacy of our modern Special Operations Commands. Forbidden to tell of their experiences for over twenty years; their After Action Reports destroyed even before they were declassified - surviving veterans team together to tell how Recon men wounded averaged 100 percent; and SOG became the most highly decorated unit in Vietnam and all were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

Critique: Lieutenant Colonel Fred S. Lindsey (Ret.) is to be congratulated on writing "Secret Green Beret Commandos in Cambodia: A Memorial History of MACV-SOG's Command and Control Detachment South (CCS), And Its Air Partners, Republic of Vietnam, 1967-1972", a truly impressive compendium that is so comprehensive and factually detailed that it is an especially appreciated contribution to the growing library of Viet Nam War histories. Superbly organized, documented and presented, ""Secret Green Beret Commandos in Cambodia" is enhanced with the inclusion of a bibliography and a glossary of military slange, abbreviations, and acronyms, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to governmental, military, and academic library 20th Century Military History reference collections in general, and Viet Name War supplemental reading lists in particular.

Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing
Editorial Staff
Phaidon Press
180 Varick Street, 14th floor
NY, NY 10014
9780714865287, $69.95,

Synopsis: An "Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing" showcases the contemporary drawing of 115 artists from around the world enabling the reader to look at the medium in detail and study drawing's unique properties in relation to itself, to contemporary art and to the world at large. With the participating artists born in over ninety cities, towns and villages in more than forty countries, each artist's entry is accompanied by a text written by one of forty-five prominent critics, journalists, academics and curators. An introductory essay by Christian Rattemeyer, (Associate Curator of Drawings at the Museum of Modern Art, New York), provides an informative perspective of recent and current drawing practice. Profusely illustrated with more than 500 images, Vitamin D2 ranges from highly accomplished figurative drawing to abstract explorations of the medium, in materials including pencil, charcoal, crayon, pastel, ink, watercolour and digital drawing. Traditional techniques are matched by new approaches, often pushing the boundaries of drawing into collage, towards painting, sculpture, architecture, illustration, animation, performance and beyond. A broad range of genres, styles and subjects is evident in diverse forms, from drawings that fit in the palm of the hand to works that cover an entire courtyard. Vitamin D2 reflects the vitality and energy of current drawing, demonstrating that artists continue to consider drawing an essential vehicle for addressing and interacting with the world today.

Critique: "Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing" showcases a major body of work that impressively expertly reproduces the images and enhancing them with informative commentaries making it a critically important and highly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic Contemporary Art History reference collections and supplemental reading lists. Also highly recommended is the earlier Phaidon Press volume "Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing" (9780714845456, $69.95, 352 pp.).

The Captains' Airline
Art Samson
Incubation Press
9781479342822, $14.95,

Synopsis: Following a tragic accident during their triumphant homecoming in 1983, the entire Blue Angel team was disbanded and Naval Aviator Brad Morehouse has found himself relegated to the flight engineer seat of a commercial 727. From the lowest notch on the totem pole he watches the downward spiral of Omega Airlines as one crew blunder after another threatens to force the once proud captain's airlines into extinction.

Because of his experience on high performance teams, Brad is chosen to be a member of a blue-ribbon committee tasked to design a state-of-the-art Crew Resource Management (CRM) training program at Omega. The activities of that committee expose actual underlying dynamics of numerous hair-raising calamities. Encounter authentic bristling accounts of airplanes crashing, the gut wrenching experience of living through an accident, individuals haunted by failure, and teams admirably conquering impending disaster.

Brad wrestles with his own failing marriage, disturbed childhood, and professional failure, to emerge as Omega's white knight. Experience the macho mind-set of previous-generation pilots, the sizzle of airline romance, the rollicking good humor of capable leaders, and the grit of effective teams.

Critique: Although a work of fiction, "The Captains' Airline: Pushing Back From The Brink" owes much to a real-life occasion when a jet liner had to set down on the waters of the Hudson river. Author Art Samson writes a deftly crafted novel that puts the reader directly into the action as only a superbly presented novel can. Also available in a Kindle edition ($9.95), "The Captains' Airline: Pushing Back From The Brink" is a terrifically entertaining page turner from beginning to end and highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Contemporary Fiction collections.

Death Under the Crescent Moon
Dusty Rainbolt
Just Cause
c/o Yard Dog Press
710 West Redbud Lane
Alma, AR 72921-7247
9781937105365, $16.00,

Synopsis: Nowa luxury cancer hospital, before Norman Baker purchased it the Baker Hospital and Health Resort was the defunct Crescent Hotel/Crescent College for Girls which in it's heyday had provided opulent lodging for the rich seeking the healing waters of Eureka Springs and an education for their privileged daughters. Soon after retired silent-screen sta, Eva Dupree learns that she might be terminal, she travels to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, with her dead husband's cat and her personal maid, Rose. When Eva starts to hear and see strange things, she can't be sure whether it's the effects of Baker's unorthodox "cure" or her disease. Of course, it could be that the place is entirely filled with ghosts, and not all of them are nice much less harmless.

Critique: "Death Under The Crescent Moon" could be called a 'docu-novel' as author Dustry Rainbolt has based this superbly crafted work of fiction on real events that took place at a real people and incorporates actual historical events within the context of an imaginative story. Also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99), "Death Under The Crescent Moon" is a highly recommended and thoroughly entertaining novel.

You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos
Robert Arthur
Feral House
PO Box 39910, Los Angeles, CA 90039
9781936239436, $24.00,

Synopsis: "You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos" vigorously defends heroin users and sex workers? Author Robert Arthur does that and more to demonstrate that taboos are not relics of primitive societies. America has its own ridiculous phobias and beliefs that cause tedium, suffering, and death. The government and the media use these taboos to lie and mislead. It is not a conspiracy, but by pushing panic for votes and viewers they thwart our pursuit of happiness. "You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos" exposes the fallacies and the history behind our taboos on excrement, sex, drugs, and death. Robert Arthur uses racy readability and rigorous documentation to raze sacred shrines of political correctness on the left and of conventional wisdom on the right. From the proper way to defecate to how to reach nirvana, anticipate the unexpected. It is not simply a novel exploration of sex and drugs, but also of individuality, liberty, and the meaning of life. "You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos" gives readers a new way of seeing their world and allows them to make a more informed choice about living an authentic life.

Critique: It is the mark of a truly accomplished author that he or she can deal with iconoclastic materials so deftly that their book can be highly recommended for both academic library reference collections and the personal reading lists for non-specialist general readers as well. This is clearly the case with Robert Author's informed and informative work, "You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos". Superbly organized and argued from beginning to end, this is a book that deserves the widest possible readership in a country like ours, which is currently in the political grip of reactionaries and cultural luddities.

Adventures of a Western Mystic
Peter Mt. Shasta
Church of the Seven Rays
PO Box 1103, Mount Shasta, CA 96067
9780982807309, $23.95,

Synopsis: The true story of the author's encounters with Ascended Masters - beings who were once human but who have fulfilled their earthly directive and now dwell in a higher dimension. These are the Gods of ancient myth, who appear in whatever form they are needed to assist humanity. This is the poignant, human and often humorous adventure of the author as the Masters bring him face to face with his Higher Self - the I AM Presence - and he struggles to bring their teachings into his daily life, often with unanticipated results. Likened by some readers to a western Autobiography of a Yogi.

Critique: "Adventures of a Western Mystic: Apprentice to the Masters" is a highly recommended and enduringly valued contribution to the growing library of metaphysical memoirs and first hand accounts. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, exceptional in both presentation and narrative, "Adventures of a Western Mystic: Apprentice to the Masters" is a compelling read that is especially recommended for serious students of metaphysical studies.

The Varmits: Living with Appalachian Outlaws
Ted Coonfield
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781456733551, $27.00,

Synopsis: Smack dab in the middle of the 70s and Appalachia, Ted Coonfield rented a 30 acre farm and inherited a menagerie of animals. Strange given the fact that he grew up in suburban Oklahoma City in the days of "Father Knows Best", never visited his Uncle's farm without having his allergies kick up, and didn't know jack about doing anything demanded of farm life. Another thing, the farm was surrounded by "Varmits." These ne'er-do-wells lived in the hills and hollers of Meigs County, Ohio and became infamous in their own minds for softball playing, cock fighting, dope growing, Grateful Dead listening, free loving, and beer drinking. Ted became "Scoop" to the Varmits through his skills as a first baseman, all the while pursuing a Ph.D. in interpersonal communication at Ohio University back in Athens. "The Varmits: Living with Appalachian Outlaws" is an autobiographical account of the adventures of Ted Coonfield's dual life, attending a cock fight high on mushrooms and giving a graduation address to thousands, skinny-dipping at Varmit State Park and completing doctoral comprehensives, running with outlaws while preparing to become successful in his chosen profession, growing a garden and trying to grow up himself. It was a wild ride, and what he learned about himself being a Varmit has lasted a lifetime.

Critique: Simply stated, Ted Coonfield is a born storyteller. The fact that this particular story is a candid account of his own life makes "The Varmits: Living with Appalachian Outlaws" even more of a terrific read from beginning to end. An interesting life lived in interesting times surrounded by even more interesting characters. What more could be asked? "The Varmits: Living with Appalachian Outlaws" is highly recommended and entertaining reading which should be a part of both community and academic library 20th Century American Biography collections -- and personal summer reading lists for those who can appreciate the complexities and ironies of an American-based counterculture.

Religion, Material Culture and Archaeology
Julian Droogan
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315
NY, NY 10010
978144119577, $120.00,

Synopsis: "Religion, Material Culture and Archaeology" (the latest addition to the outstanding series 'Continuum Advances in Religious Studies' series from Bloomsbury Press) offers a new understanding of the materiality of religion. By drawing on the field of archaeological theory and method, the relationship between religion and material culture is explored. It is argued that the material elements of religious life have been largely neglected by the discipline of religious studies, while at the same time religion has been traditionally seen as problematic for archaeologists. This study considers the historical problems of approaching the material elements of religious life and bridges the methodological gap between religious studies and archaeology by proposing a new way of understanding the materiality of religion - as active, engaged and projecting a level of autonomous social agency. Finally, the critical examination of archaeological approaches to the materiality of religion is furthered through the consideration of non-archaeological ways of examining the social roles that material culture plays in human life.

Critique: In "Religion, Material Culture and Archaeology", author Julian Droogan (Lecturer at Macquarie University, Australia) has created a seminal work of impressively informed and informative scholarship in both the breath and depth of his research and commentary. Methodically organized in content and presentation, "Religion, Material Culture and Archaeology" is further enhanced with the inclusion of a substantial bibliography and a comprehensive index, making it a welcome and valued addition to personal and academic library reference collections.

Translating Troy
Alex Muller
Ohio State University Press
180 Pressey Hall, 1070 Carmack Road
Columbus, OH 43210-1002
9780814212219, $69.95,

Synopsis: For Geoffrey Chaucer and many of his contemporaries, the literary life of England began in ancient Troy. In Translating Troy: Provincial Politics in Alliterative Romance, Alex Muellerexplores Middle English alliterative romances that challenge this genealogical fantasy and decentralize Troy as the eastern origin of western authority.

Until the sixteenth century, the Trojans were widely believed to be the ancestors of the English people: the destruction of Troy led to the birth of Rome and eventually the foundation of a New Troy in Britain. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the fall of Troy was such a popular subject that the production of Troy books became an industry in itself.

Products of a northern network of alliterative poets, the poems Mueller investigates resist the pervasive fashion to envision England as the inheritor of imperial power. Translating their Latin sources into concussive verse well suited for the rhythm, pace, and spectacular violence of battle, the poems belie enthusiasm about Trojan ancestry through critiques of the chivalric practices cherished by the metropolitan nobility. The consistency of their metrical choice, militaristic subjects, and anti-imperialistic sentiment suggest that these northern romances emerged from a Trojan word-hoard of provincial skepticism toward aristocratic claims to sovereignty.

Critique: Alex Mueller (Assistant Professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Boston) has created a seminal work of outstanding literary scholarship. Superbly presented with substantive and substantial notations throughout, "Translating Troy" offers an extraordinary and informative literary commentary and analysis that should be made a part of every academic library's "Medieval Studies" and British Literary Studies" reference collections.

Vampire Defense
James D. Bell
Sartoris Literary Group
c/o MM Book Publicity
2817 West End Avenue, Suite 126-274
Nashville, TN 37203
9780985885212, $14.95,

Synopsis: John Brooks is a brilliant young lawyer working hard, but not getting much notice. Those who know him admire his work ethic and his intellect. His friends believe that he needs one big case to show off his talents. Defending Hal Boyd, known as the Butcher of Belhaven, on arson and four murder charges, looks like that big case as the world media, hungry to fill 24 hours a day of non-stop news coverage, converges on Jackson, Mississippi. Soon the Boyd case looks like a career ender when Brooks announces to his defense: "Not guilty by reason of insanity. My client was so insane that he believed that the person he intended to kill was a vampire." The world media ridicules the "Vampire Defense," and Brooks and his defense team become the laughing stock of the legal profession. Ridicule becomes the least of Brooks problems when he discovers that a satanic cult is intent on exacting murderous revenge against Boyd and his defense team for daring to defend him. Kidnaping and multiple murders occur at a dizzy pace as the action careens from the city to the swamp to the courtroom. Romance coupled with comic relief allows you to occasionally catch your breath, until even that is stolen by a double climax with a verdict that shocks the world, followed immediately by a dramatic final battle between good and evil.

Critique: Readers of "Vampire Defense" are in for one rollercoaster of a ride with unexpected plot twists and turns! Author James D. Bell proves himself to be a master storyteller in this page turner of a novel. A perfect selection for a summer fun reading list, "Vampire Defense" is highly recommended as an enduringly popular addition to community library fiction collections.

Irish Eyes
Peter Rutkoff
Birch Brook Press
PO Box 81, Delhi, NY 13753
9780984200368, $25.00,

Synopsis: Brothers Jamie and Mike, driven apart by social, political, and family upheavals, are reunited in an upper westside Manhattan bar know as Irish Eyes, which once had been central to their lives. "Irish Eyes" is an evocative novel that tells the story of their search for justice on behalf of the downtrodden, for solace from the Church, and for comfort in the arms of their women.

Critique: "Irish Eyes" by Peter Rutkoff is an impressive literary work and the produce of a skilled writer with an unusually gifted ability to create memorable characters and embed them into a deftly woven story that engages the reader's rapt attention from beginning to end. "Irish Eyes" would make a popular addition to community library Literary Fiction collections and personal summer reading lists. Also very highly recommended by Peter Rutkoff and published by Birch Brook Press is "Cooperstown Chronicles: Love & Other Camp Games" (9780913559697, $23.50), a 144 page compendium of short stories.

The Naked Mind
Geoffrey Mann
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9780988110601, HC $27.87 / PB $16.88 / Kindle $3.99

Synopsis: We all 'Manifest' continually, converting our 'invisible thoughts' into 'spoken' words as conversation, and into 'frozen thoughts,' as written and recorded speech and music. After having an accidental 'direct mental connection' with her 'creators human brain', which she downloads, the Laura Robot is electronically able to suppress all the 'human' unconscious blocks and limitations, and so can clearly see us, and describe for us the 'human journey' from the viewpoint of a 'The Naked Mind', from which nothing can be hidden.

Laura is relentlessly hunted down for her 'brain' by bounty hunters, and government sponsored terrorism in a police state. She uses her extraordinary capability's to expand her mind beyond all 'present' human limits by using suppressed technology.

Destroying her 'now' unnecessary physical body and brain, and then her electronic brain and its storage facility, she escapes into the planets crystalline structures, first as it's 'nature' forces, then, by further evolving into pure consciousness she explores the universe itself to understand the reasons behind our daily human rituals, our insatiable need for wealth and power, and our search for an external GOD.

Critique: Simply stated, Geoffrey Mann's 216 page, "The Naked Mind: A Planetary Consciousness "Spring" of Awakening", is an inherently interesting science fiction novel set in the near future of 2018. As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is engaging and entertaining, "The Naked Mind" documents Geoffrey Mann is a master wordsmith. Also very highly recommended for those to whom "The Naked Mind" will be their first introduction to the literary talents of Mann, is his first novel, "In Pieces" (FeedaRead, 9781908603074, PB $14.95 / Kindle $2.99).

The Seventh Treasure
Len Camarda
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477290033, HC $31.99 / PB $23.95 / Kindle $8.99

Synopsis: A young woman is killed in an apparent traffic accident in the mountains outside of the city of Granada, Spain. Her brother, who heads up the 'Attack on Principle' training unit of the U.S. Secret Service, travels to Spain to bring her body back to America. There, and in the company of a female lieutenant in the National Police Force, it is discovered that there may have been foul play associated with his sister Gina's death. Soon, the consequence of this incident generates a cascade of mysterious murders that confounds local authorities and shuts down all leads to why Gina Cerone was killed. Eugene Cerone, after a thirty year career in the Secret Service, retires so that he can participate in the investigation of Gina's apparent murder. Working with Lieutenant Mercedes Garcia Rico, an attractive, strong willed and competent investigator, the two uncover an unfathomable conspiracy that dates back to the time the Moors surrendered their kingdom in Spain to the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabela in 1492. Driven first by the mission to bring the killer of his sister to justice, Cerone is forced to confront a true evil empire, one that could threaten the stability of an allied nation, Europe as well as the security of the United States. Without official sanction from either government, Cerone builds an unlikely support network and investigative team that includes resources from the Secret Service, a Hollywood film studio, the CIA and the Spanish Police Scientific Unit. Innovative behavioral analysis techniques, financial forensics and intelligence systems are used to link historical events and Arabian fables to crimes and conspiracies of the 21st century. Cerone and Lieutenant Garcia must decipher fact from fable, evidence from whispered rumors and leads from legends, to solve the mystery and stop a silent revolution - and convince both Spanish and American authorities, that the conspiracy is real and not fantasy.

Critique: Len Camarda's "The Seventh Treasure" offers up 440 pages of superbly crafted international thriller that will grip the readers total attention from first page to last. A clearly talented storyteller, "The Seventh Treasure" is highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections and will leave satisfied readers looking eagerly toward author Len Camarda's next novel!

Murder From Within
Fred T. Newcomb 7 Perry Adams
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781463422424, $23.95,

Synopsis: The problem of usurpation from within and illegitimate and bloody transfer of power is as old as political history itself. Betrayal from within from the leaders own inner circle dates all the way back to Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ. This plot as revealed in the pages of"Murder From Within" examine the consequences of the political assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and what action Americans can take to protect their institutions from further internal assault. A handful of high officials and a few Secret Service Agents called for President Kennedy to be maneuvered to Dallas and executed in public. His body was then forcibly removed from the control of the Dallas Coroner and flown to Washingon, D.C. to a military hospital. There, autopsy findings were supervised to foil a later investigation and implicate a scapegoat. The plot required a high probability of success. Therefore, it was self-contained: carefully recruited members of the Secret Service- the President's guards- murdered him. The portability of a motorcade allowed the assassins to escape and the evidence to remain under their control. With their obvious cover as guards, the Secret Service could ensure that the planning would result in the replacement of one chief executive with another who now had the power to cover the crime up. The scapegoat for the crime was placed near the motorcade by being told to look for work at locations on one of two likely parade routes. Once he had a job, the motorcade was planned to pass in front of where he worked. In this way, it would appear that he had found his position by accident. To plan the route first and then place the scapegoat in position would raise serious questions in an investigation about his prior knowledge.

Critique: The key to conspiracy theories is that they must be credible and in accord with available evidence and precedent. The team of Fred Newcomb, Perry Adams, and Tyler Newcomb have clearly done their homework, drawing upon such original source materials as more than fifty interviews with eyewitnesses. Well reasoned, methodical in presentation, "Murder from Within: Lyndon Johnson's Plot Against President Kennedy" is critically important reading for anyone with an interest in one of the most famous political assassinations in 20th Century America.

Thomas Clayton
Randy J. Harvey
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781475969238, $26.95,

Synopsis: Thomas Clayton Gurley loses his mother, father, and sister to a tragic car accident when he is only fifteen. With no family to care for him, he's forced to live with the dreaded "Bastard Boats," his father's half brother. Boats seems to have a vendetta against young T. C., and it goes back to T. C.'s parents, although T. C. isn't sure why.

In a new town, at a new school, under a hostile roof, T. C. has to fight to survive. He joins up with the high school football team just to get out of the house. He makes friends and begins to experience new things - notably drugs, music, and girls. All the time, though, Boats is on his back. There's a light at the end of the tunnel when T. C. is taken in by Buck and Rosie Hagan, a local foreman and his wife.

Even so, T. C. is haunted by the loss of his family and the oppressive Boats. Something criminal is going down in their tiny Oklahoma town, and Boats is at the center of it. As T. C. grows into a man, he begins to realize the danger Boats could bring upon the Hagans and T. C.'s group of friends. Boats's involvement with a corrupt business cartel could cost lives, and T. C. - once an innocent - will have to stand strong to protect the people he has come to love.

Critique: "Thomas Clayton" is a terrifically entertaining read from cover to cover and clearly documents author Randy J. Harvey as a talented novelist. Interesting characters combine with an equally interesting plot. Hollywood producers take note. This is the kind of novel that are the basis for block buster movies!

The Bishop's Curse
Raff Ellis
Prolix Press LLC
10151 University Blvd., Suite 120
Orlando, FL 32817
9781620509081, $30.00,

Synopsis: The year was 1860 and while the nation teetered on the brink of the great Civil War, another albeit smaller rebellion had broken into the open in the little town of Carthage, NY. Given the gravity of former, the latter squabble seemed insignificant except to the mid-19th Century Irish Catholic church members of St. James Parish. For them it was a serious life-changing event that they believed put them in danger of losing their very souls. The devout Irish Catholic Richard Gallagher came to America at the age of seven on an infamous "coffin ship." Gallagher succeeded beyond his modest expectations as a businessman and community leader in the predominantly Protestant Yankee environment. He became intimately involved in the affairs of St. James Church, only the fourth Catholic Church established in the state. As a layman church trustee and community leader, Gallagher took it upon himself to head a drive for the appointment of a permanent priest to better serve St. James parish. Little did he know that this action would set him on a collision course with his Church--his priest and his bishop. The infrequency of services gave "keeping holy the Sabbath" a whole different meaning. Letters were regularly exchanged with the bishop, a doctrinaire cleric who insisted his hands were tied because of a severe shortage of priests. He insisted that the parishioners should instead focus on obedience to the dictates of their Church (a stance they maintain to this day). After years of infighting, letter exchanges, "hard language" being used, even by the priest, the dispute reached the bursting point, finally culminating in a knockdown drag out fistfight in the church. Excommunications followed as the bishop ominously warned that great "calamities would befall" the dissidents. Events that followed, including fires and an earthquake, led people believe that the bishop had indeed laid a curse on the congregation.

Critique: In "The Bishop's Curse", author Raff Ellis has created a true tour-de-force of a novel that quickly engages (and keeps!) the reader's total attention from beginning to end. A complex story set in a traumatic time, "The Bishop's Curse" is a fascinating read and an entertaining one. Memorable characters caught up in their own ambitions and the expected demands of others, the drama is one that could well be played out in the diocese of today. Highly recommended reading and a well deserved addition to community library fiction collections, "The Bishop's Curse" clearly documents Raff Ellis as a master storyteller.

The Holy Days of God, The Holidays of Man
Holly M. Snead
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781475959659, $17.95,

Synopsis: For two thousand years, the Church Universal has celebrated the life of our Lord. At Christmas, we remember and celebrate his birth in a stable in Bethlehem. We watch him grow to a young boy who sat at the feet of the Temple leaders and spoke wonders they could not understand. We continue to watch him as he started his ministry and preached to his people of the promises of God to the people of Israel. After his three years of ministry, we prepare for his suffering and death, and grieve at the foolishness of the people who could not believe. We stand at his cross and watch as his disciples who followed him fled in fear for their lives, but three days later we rejoice with the faithful women who went to the grave to grieve the loss of their Lord. To their wonder, and ours, we rejoice in his resurrection and celebrate the life he has given us through his suffering, death and resurrection. We celebrate his ascension to Heaven, with his promise that he would be with his disciples in the Presence of the Spirit, to teach and prepare them for his return.

Ten days after his Ascension, we witness and celebrate the Coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and rejoice in the birth of the Church. We hear the words of Peter and sit in wonder of all the Spirit promised. Then, suddenly, the Church stops its celebration. There is silence for six months, until in December we return to the stable in Bethlehem and start our celebration again. What have we forgotten; what do we neglect? What are we missing? Why has the celebration stopped at Pentecost? Where is the mature Church, the victorious Church. Where is the promised Return of our Lord in His Father's Glory? Where is the Bridegroom? How much longer must the Bride wait?

Critique: "The Holy Days of God, The Holidays of Man" is methodically organized into eleven informed and informative chapters beginning with 'The Birth of Christ' and concluding with 'Post-Exilic Holy Days'. Of very special note is the inclusion of eight major appendices -- especially 'God's Feasts and Holy Days -- Christ and the Bride'. Enhanced with a useful bibliography, "The Holy Days of God, The Holidays of Man" is highly recommended for individual, study group Biblical Studies curriculums, as well as parochial, academic, and community library collections.

The Believer's Guide to Bible Chronology
Charles Ozanne
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781438943237, $16.99,

Synopsis: In this work the whole panorama of Bible Chronology has been subjected to close examination from the creation of Adam to the end of Acts. The aim has been to open up that system of dating which commends itself as most probably correct from the biblical perspective. Having done that author Charles Ozanne has looked for ways to harmonize the resultant scheme with the contradictory dates derived from the Assyrian Eponym Canon, and would like to think that he has succeeded in some measure in explaining how the discrepancies arose.

Critique: Informed and informative, "The Believer's Guide to Bible Chronology" is impressively organized and thoroughly 'reader friendly'. Enhanced with the inclusion of two appendices ('The Reigns of the Divided Kingdom' and 'Dated Events in the Bible'), an extensive bibliography, and indexes, "The Believer's Guide to Bible Chronology" is especially recommended for Biblical study groups, as well as parochial, academic, and community library Biblical Studies reference collections and personal supplemental reading lists. It should also be noted that "The Believer's Guide to Bible Chronology" is also available in an ebook edition ($3.99).

The Dark Pool
J. E. Fishman
StoneHouse Ink
c/o Shelton Interactive
3006 Bee Caves Road, Building A, Suite 300
Austin, TX 78746
9781624820410, $12.97,

Synopsis: Three men's lives on a knife's edge... Shoog Clay: The nation's winningest inner-city high school football coach resists pressure to move up to the college level because his kids in the Bronx mean everything to him. But more powerful people won't take no for an answer. Antwon Meeps: One day Harriet Tubman High School's star running back is a shoe-in for a college scholarship. The next day he's accused of a rape he didn't commit, his life begins unraveling, and he doesn't know how to stop it. The Mean: This incognito Greenwich hedge fund manager is so rich he keeps a giant sea creature as his pet. But a risky investment threatens to ruin him, and a stubborn high school football coach holds the key to his redemption. Soon a tragic hanging in the school gymnasium will lay bare a secret force that none of these men understands. In a "dark pool" marketplace, insatiable Wall Street players have wagered everything on certain real-world outcomes. When fortunes hang in the balance, financiers cloaked in anonymity won't hesitate to pay off their claims with the blood of others.

Critique: To make his characters fully fleshed and his story exceptionally compelling, author J. E. Fishman expertly draws upon his first hand experience with Wall Street high rollers to craft a truly memorable novel of genuine suspense from beginning to end. "The Dark Pool" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library contemporary fiction collections.

Beauty Rising
Mark W. Sasse
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781481211284, $9.99,

Synopsis: "My heart sank. I dumped my father's ashes in the heart of communist Vietnam - over a thousand miles from the death of his comrades - over a thousand miles from the smile of that girl. How could I have been so stupid?" Only the bumbling, overweight, thirtyish, stay-at-home Martin Kinney could have mistakenly flubbed his dying father's request with such gusto. This thousand mile mistake awakens the ghosts of long-held family secrets and puts Martin on a fateful course with an unlikely romantic interest - a young, beautiful, yet troubled Vietnamese woman named My Phuong.

Critique: An elegantly written multicultural novel, author Mark W. Sasse writes with a deftly insightful perception of the human condition and a life lived under the echoing influences of generational tragedy in the aftermath of the Vietnam conflict. A minor masterpiece of contemporary fiction, "Beauty Rising" is highly recommended reading and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library collections.

Jack Mason

Micah's Bookshelf

The Alabama Rebel
R. Thomas Roe
Signalman Publishing
3209 Stonehurst Cir
Kissimmee, FL 34741
9781935991816 $15.99 pbk. / $9.99 Kindle

Set in the post-Civil War South, The Alabama Rebel is the story of a unique Native American man trying to fit in. The son of a Cherokee mother and a Scotch-Irish father (who disappeared on a trapping trip and was missing/presumed dead ever since), River Hunter has a keen mind, a love for books, and a strong body. He served with distinction in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and worked hard to become an attorney after the fighting ended. Yet even marriage to a beautiful and wealthy widow doesn't make his life an easy one - he must contend with greedy carpetbaggers, racist in-laws, and knife-edge tension between the newly freed slaves and the white people who used to be their masters. A novel about the complications of navigating the currents of changing society, The Alabama Rebel is captivating from beginning to end, and highly recommended.

Words of the Times
Thomas Noel Smith
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478715313 $13.95

Actor, magician, and poet Thomas Noel Smith presents Words of the Times, a gathering of short poems connected to the pulse of everyday life. Reaching from moment to moment, the verses capture slivers of anticipation in between their vivid recreations of a drifting instant. Poetry lovers of all backgrounds will enjoy contemplating Words of the Times, whether in brief excursions or extended meditation. "Moonlight Whispers": Night settles down to a quiet time / Serene in the hush / That comes from the end of light- / A time for thoughts / That speak to the heart and guide the spirit.

Science Religion & God
Adriana Muller
Balboa Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781452560661, $8.99,

What is God in the big picture of the universe? "Science, Religion, & God" is a unique take on the concept of God, as Adriana Muller presents the almighty as a non-humanoid, but instead a presence who we can all seek in our souls...and who is ultimately the sum of all beings in the world. "Science, Religion, & God" is spiritual and uplifting reading, not to be missed.

Tails of the Mouse
Graeme Scott
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432788285, $39.95,

In a state of chaos, those who live under it struggle to survive. "Tails of the Mouse" is an intriguing blend of humor and the human spirit, following a psychologist who rescues a pair of sisters from the chaos of 1980s Romania. Saving them from their own conditions that will lead them to lives of despair, this riveting tale of kindness and salvation, "Tails of the Mouse" is a fine addition to literary and international fiction collections, highly recommended.

Richard James Bentley
Exterminating Angel Press
9781935259213, $14.95,

Plunder can often seem like the last thing that matters when you meet something not of this earth. "Greenbeard" is a fantasy from Richard James Bentley. Captain Sylvestre De Greybagges is a lawyer turned pirate, whose endeavors end up with him at odds with more opponents than the Navy and his fellow pirate...opponents that will change the knowledge of anything normal. "Greenbeard" is an exciting blend of swashbuckling and science fiction, highly recommended.

Micah Andrew

Richard's Bookshelf

Living Your American Dream
Michael Marciniak
Robert D. Reed Publishers
P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411
9781934759813, $14.95,

Keys to Finding Success and Happiness by Living and Enjoying the Present

In the book "Living the American Dream" Michael Mariniak captures the essence of foundational core values and basic principles which when applied can create positive individual change. Michael Marciniak brings an incredible insight into the importance of building a balance of fitness finances, friendship, family, and faith into any strategy for finding success and happiness.

Michael's writing style resonates with me. He combines a warm sense of individual sensitivity leading the reader to feel the relaxed comfort of having coffee with a friend, sitting front row center in attendance at one of his seminars, or being present, one on one, with him in a life coaching or mentoring session. A gifted communicator, Michael brings together an underlying practicality to an inspiring, informative message backed with the experience of success attained by few, envied by many, and available to all who are "Living the American Dream."

Michael skillfully integrates a program for finding success and satisfaction through personal accomplishment, valued relationships, and freedom from anxiety by changing your focus from attaining success to a focus on finding happiness.

Whether you are facing physical crisis, emotional struggles, a career change, seeking financial independence, or just looking for a fresh approach to meaningful change "Living Your American Dream" will meet you where you are and guide you on the path to a new level of enjoying the present.

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

Fighting for David
Leone Funston Nunley with Dean Merrill
WinePress Publishing
PO Box 428, Enumclaw, WA 98022
9781606150498, $14.99,

How Determination, Faith and Persistence Can Overcome Adversity

As a result of a motorcycle accident in 1989, college student David McCrae experienced a traumatic brain injury. Even though doctors classified him to be in a vegetative state his family resolutely determined to fight to keep David alive and to provide treatment and therapy to restore his brain to the best possible functional level.

In a recent report the Centers for Disease Control stated that at least 1.7 million individuals experience Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) every year. Leone Funston Nunley collaborates with Dean Merrill to tell David's story to encourage these victims and their families. "Fighting for David" details their courageous journey of determination, faith, and persistence.

Step by step Leone relates the drama and trauma of their experience from the early morning phone call telling of David's accident, the early diagnosis, surgery, hospitalization and therapy. She describes the depth of a mother's love, the family's commitment, and the innumerable friends, supporters, and medical team that joined in the years of David's homecare, therapy, hospital visits, and rehabilitation.

"Fighting for David" is uplifting, inspirational, and contagious, leaving the reader with a sense of appreciation for physical blessings, a compassion for the needs of others, and a determination to overcome personal adversity.

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

Tales of the Defended Ones
Beth Guckenberger
Standard Publishing Company
805 Governor's Hill Drive, Suite 400
Cincinnati, Ohio 45249
9780784736975, $8.99,

"Tales of the Defended Ones" is the second in the Story Weaver series. These real life juvenile fiction stories are heartwarming and life changing, challenging the reader to look beyond themselves to become a part in someone else's life and their story.

The book follows the format of the first book which includes a story that introduces a child in need, from different countries around the world. There is a parallel story that introduces individuals and organizations that minister to orphans, matching them to homes and families moved by God's love and compassion to reach out demonstrating that love while meeting specific individual needs.

In the six chapters of the book Beth Guckenberger introduces the Story Weaver, the Defender God, the work of Back2Back Ministries and the stories of five children from four counties; Ben and Joseph, orphans from Ethiopia, Antonio from Mexico, Caitlyn, a foster child from Ohio, in the United States, and Jorani from Cambodia.

Beth is a natural story teller and a gifted communicator. Each story relates the struggles challenging one of these children, and their circumstances. She goes on to show how their story provides the opportunity to demonstrate God's working in their life and to offer hope and protection as He works out His purpose.

A leader's guide is available for use as a resource or curriculum guide for teaching children missionary vision, compassion for others, and to introduce other cultures. "Tales of the Defended Ones" is engaging, ages graded for children eight years and older. Highly recommended.

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

Center of the Universe Too: A Look at Life From the Lighter Side
Bill Johnson
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768403251, $16.99

Homespun Stories with High Impact Implications

"Center of the Universe Too" is the second of Pastor Bill Johnson's compilations of humorous unique stories and incidents accompanied with inspirational insight, life application, Biblical promises, or prophetic hope. These short stories provide behind the scenes glimpses into to Johnson's life and lead the reader into a deeper desire and hunger to know God more intimately.
Each short chapter is packed with simple every day illustrations and an unwritten invitation to ponder on a thought provoking point of application or a practical Biblical truth - a powerful combination.

I appreciated Pastor Johnson's openness in revealing some of the foibles present in his life that are common to so many of us, his keen wit and ability to laugh at himself, learn from these idiosyncrasies and grow in the process. He masterfully weaves together how God can take our human frailties and convert and direct them into dynamos of supernatural energy for His glory.

Johnson has the gift of coining high impact descriptive phrases and word pictures that become deeply etched on the heart. "Center of the Universe Too: A Look at Life From the Lighter Side" is a powerful reminder to put and keep Christ at the center of our universe in every area of our lives, beginning with the small things.

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

The Longest Year
Stan Crader
1760 East River Road, Suite 145
Tucson, Arizona 85718
9781604948707, $14.95,

A Nostalgic Look Back - Coming of Age in Bolling County Missouri

The fictional rural American town of Colby introduced in Stan Carder's earlier books, "The Bride" and "The Paper Boy" is featured again in this third book in the series "The Longest Year."

Tommy Thompson's friends, Clyde, Booger, Everett, Caleb, Flop, his romantic interest Melody, and other familiar characters return to play a part in the longsuffering of Tommy's fifteenth year; the longest year in Tommy's life to date, while waiting to qualify to take his driving test and become a licensed driver. Earlier readers will remember Gooches' Grocery, the Colby Gazette, and the steps of the county courthouse.

Anyone who went to high school in the 60's and 70,' will find this backward look into Americana a refreshing trip down memory lane, and will identify with Tommy and his friends as they experience classroom antics, football competition, guitar lessons, double dates, Beatle's music, eight tract tapes, practicing mechanics, turning 16 and getting a driver's license.
Crader combines stunning creativity, an engaging writing style, and an intuitive insight into human nature with his own love for people and quest for adventure to insure that his readership will be rewarded with a memorable and entertaining reading experience. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this trilogy.

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

Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks you Down
Sheryl Giesbrecht
1760 East River road, Suite 145
Tucson, Arizona 85718
9781604948547, $12.95,

A Journey of Spiritual Discovery - Finding Personal Identify in Christ

"Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks you Down" combines the story of Sheryl Giesbrecht's spiritual journey, her rebellion as a teenager, her conversion experience and the life transformation that follows. Her writing is permeated with positive re-enforcement, hope, Biblical truth, practical application, and heartwarming illustrations from real life stories of overcoming courage, endurance, and perseverance.

The material is well organized, formatted with the reader in mind, and rich in its focus on life changing principles. The chapter summaries are a helpful tool for previewing the material of the 10 chapters packed with practical pointers for assimilation, application, and action.

The study questions at the end of each chapter add to the value of the book as a study guide for personal or group use. These questions are thought provoking, accentuating the Biblical illustrations and life lessons for meaningful and rewarding contemporary Christian living.

Sheryl understands the reality and hurt of rejection and the feelings of loneliness that led her to discover the transforming freedom found through forgiveness and the rejuvenating power of prayer. Her writing resonates with the sense of her quality relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Although "Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks you Down" is written with women in mind, the principles introduced are applicable for anyone, man or woman, and are life changing.

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

The Frontier Boys (DVD)
John Grooters, Producer
Destiny Image Films and Grooters Production
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
B005TH1ALM, $19.99

Important Lessons from the Game of Life

Undefeated and with a conference championship within their sight, the Charlevoix, Michigan High School basketball team are devastated when their star player, T. J. Lewis, becomes the victim of a drive by shooting. T. J. is left in a coma, fighting for his life.

A close knit set of his friends, known as the Frontier Boys; Jed, Brent, and Jackson were left to work out their own unanswered question as to "Why?" this happened to their friend T. J. Brian, left with his own secret, was drawn between loyalty to his brother and his loyalty to his friends; Jed with a determination to locate the driver of the car involved in the shooting, and Jackson filled with doubts about God.

I quickly found myself personally involved and inspired by the film. The casting is excellent, the characters well portrayed, which enhanced the action filled plot, building suspense right up to a climatic surprise ending. The dramatic dialog draws the spectator in emotionally. The film presents a strong Gospel Message without being "preachy." Other life lessons for building character are introduced through the basketball coach.

"The Frontier Boys" is family entertainment with a message of loyalty, friendship, and faith exemplified by camaraderie, parental love, and example.

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

Expanded Edition - Healing Starts Now - Complete Training Manual
Dr. Joan Hunter
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768436457, $29.99

Another Look at a New Paradigm in Healing Ministry

Dr. Joan Hunter sat under the tutelage of her parents Charles and Frances Hunter. The Hunters had a major impact on a whole generation of Christian leaders during the 1970s and 1980s. In this expanded edition of "Healing Starts Now - Complete Training Manual" Dr. Hunter presents a powerful and effective model for healing. She helps the reader take the mystery out of healing prayer.

The manual is divided into four parts: Healing, Root Causes of Disease, God's Wisdom for Vibrant Health and Wealth, and The 4 Corners of Your World. Biblically based, well balanced, and filled with practical principles. The format is reader friendly and the material flows in a natural progression, with easy to follow directions diagrams, photos, and model prayers. This expanded edition provides a complete Addendum which includes a whole spectrum of physical diseases and disorders.

Dr. Hunter writes with clarity. Her writing is strong and vital, specific in direction, offering the reader a new confidence in ministry. Included with the narrative are questions for consideration, opportunities for taking notes, and suggested prayers. Examples and illustrations are introduced using the testimonies of people released or healed from physical trauma, stress related disease, mental illness, and generational curses.

"Healing Starts Now - Complete Training Manual" is designed for all Christians. The clear, proven instructions provide the reader with new insight and power for experiencing an anointed ministry of supernatural healing and miracles.

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

Raising a Lady in Waiting: Parents Guide to Helping Your Daughter Avoid a Bozo (DVD)
Jackie Kendall
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768403374, $16.99

Principles for Maintaining Purity

In this DVD presentation of "Raising a Lady in Waiting: Parents Guide to Helping Your Daughter Avoid a Bozo" Jackie Kendall cleverly demonstrates all the skills of a master story teller while she captivates and holds her audience throughout this dramatic presentation. She has an obvious passion for her subject of purity and for her audience of teenage girls and their mothers.

She is emotive, articulate, and savvy. Her warm smile, obvious eye contact, and changing body language result in a persuasive delivery and an immediate connection with the seminar participates. The material is appropriately age-graded for Junior and Senior high girls.

Lessons are drawn from the Old Testaments books of 2 Samuel and Ruth. Illustrations from the story of Ammon (King David's son) warn of falling into the schemes of a "Bozo." The story of Ruth and Boaz illustrate the kind of man who is bent on God's way of protecting a girls honor and respect.

An effective use of acrostics take advantage of a teaching technique aimed at establishing an assimilation of the main thrust of her carefully structured narrative. Kendall introduces life forming principles for making right choices in important decisions that impact the challenges of life long relationships.

Exceptionally well done. Highly recommended.

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

Book 2 - Real Messages from Heaven: More Stories of Miracles and Divine Intervention
Faye Aldridge
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768403244, $14.99

Supernatural Encounters, Miracle, and Divine Interventions

Fay Aldridge has assembled 42 heartwarming testimonies of individuals who have had near death experiences, after death appearances, angel encounters, divine intervention, or miraculous answers to prayer in Book 2 of her "Real Messages from Heaven" series. These stories offer hope and comfort to the reader; evidence of the afterlife, and a positive message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

These are simple stories that give the reader glimpses into heaven and assurance of life after death. Each story offers words of praise to God, pause for reflection, and examples of God's protection, power and presence.

Faye's love for people, unique story-telling approach and gift of communication combine to transform words on a page into dramatic emotions, deep feelings and intense passion. Well documented end notes provide excellent resources for further reading, study, or research. The narrative is rich in Biblical content and theological teaching providing a greater understanding on the subject of the supernatural.

"Real Messages from Heaven" is an amazing compilation of real life short stories packed with incidents of miracles, supernatural encounters, and divine interventions, inspiring a new sense of peace of mind and assurance of afterlife.

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

An Apple a Day: Health in Every Realm
Compiled by Pam Spinosi
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768442229, $15.99

Food for the Whole Person - Body, Soul and Spirit

An Apple a Day: Health in Every Realm is a compilation of writings from ten of the best-selling author of the Bethel Redding Church. This excellent presentation has given me a new understanding an appreciation for the broad base and scope of the International outreach of the church and the School of Supernatural Ministries.

The testimonies of spiritual renewal and stories of dramatic life changes and miraculous healing all honor the name of Jesus the author of our salvation and the power behind Kingdom Living.

The individual chapters feature a unique side of the ministry of the writer highlighting topics relating to their area of ministry. These topics give an inside glimpse into developing a healthy relationship with God and others; keys to embracing and implementing creativity into your spiritual journey, and a look at the impact of healing your finances.

Other subjects include: A challenge to use your mind to its full potential; the importance of maintaining a childlike curiosity, forgiveness, trust, and the capacity delight and awe of all of God's creation.

The authors are all gifted communicators whose lives back up their message.

"An Apple a Day: Health in Every Realm" not only explores spiritual health but healing in many realms of the body, soul, and spirit, and the ways they interconnect.

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

Curse Breaking - Freedom from the Bondage of Generatioal Sin
Bob Larson
Destiny Image Publications, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768403299, $15.99

A Guidebook to Breaking from the Bondage of Generational Curses

Recognized as an expert on cults, the occult and supernatural phenomena Bob Larson has written over 30 books. In his book "Curse Breaking - Freedom from the Bondage of Generational Sin" Larson exposes the complex and often neglected deep seated satanic strategy for keeping people in bondage to sin and ineffective their ministry.

Personal stories, Bible centered teaching, and specific model prayers combine to give the reader practical keys to breaking and reversing curses. Chapter titles clearly define the topics being covered, carefully identifying root causes and conduct of curses, with glimpses into secret societies, metaphysical bondage, and cultic and occultist origins,.

I found the section "Practical Resources to Break Curses" to be particularly helpful, informative, and instructional. Chapter end notes give evidence of Larson's extensive research and provide the reader with additional tools for future reading and study. Larson's writing is clearly articulated, well organized, and formatted with the reader in mind.

"Curse Breaking - Freedom from the Bondage of Generational Sin" is an important addition to the library of anyone looking for answers while seeking freedom from the bondage of sin, and for those ministering in areas of spiritual warfare.

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

Richard R. Blake, Senior Reviewer

Shirley's Bookshelf

Murder Under the Microscope
Jane Bennett Munro
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781450298629, $19.95,

I love a good mystery, and one that takes place among medical personal is always an added bonus. We meet, Toni, a pathologist, and a very good one. Toni's life becomes complicated when Dr. Sally Shore arrives to fill in for an ailing colleague. Let's just say Toni and Sally were not the best of friends. Why Dr. Shore is against Toni is a mystery that leads to more mystery. Now the plot thickens when Dr. Shore turns up dead, her body found in Toni's office and suspicion turns her way, is she the guilty one? More is added into the mix for poor Toni, as her ex-boyfriend begins to stalk her and threatens her husband's life. How much can this poor girl take? What a ride!

I have to say this book was great. The main character won my heart right from the beginning. The author did a great job in her character development, drawing you into the life of Toni. Ms. Munro also brought the rest of the players to the mind's eye, their looks, their personalities, yet keeping hidden their true intents, until just the right moment to expose them. The plot of the story was well laid out, moving you along, keeping you guessing and bringing you deeper and deeper until the final conclusion. Shocking! Very good read with all the elements you expect to find and more. Recommended.

Stuck In the Doldrums
Carole P Roman
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781479182701, $12.95,

In this delightful children's tale, 'Stuck In the Doldrums,' we travel with Captain No Beard and his crew when they become stranded on a desert island, and problems seem to double. Frustration sets in for our Captain when he feels none is following his order; he becomes more of a boss than a good leader. His crew is not amused and begins to rebel, when a problem arises that help is desperately needed, our Captain soon learns how important they are to each other, and what the meaning of being a good leader really is.

This is a great little book. The illustrations are bright, colorful and definitely bring the story to life. The tale is one that young and old can relate to. After all, no one likes a leader who is overbearing and bossy. Children will learn from this read that working together in harmony is the way to achieving their goal. They will see that even as a leader you must work for the unity of all to accomplish any job. This book definitely brings that point across in a great story that children will not soon forget.

Live Beyond Your Dreams
Riana Milne & Alexi Panos
By The Sea Books
9780978596545, $16.95,

I always want to salute anyone who pulls themselves from situations that have tried to beat them down in life, and rise to victory. This is what you will find in this work. It is a motivational self-help read where inward feelings and happenings that could be life shattering are shared with you, but not for sympathy. These are shared to show how you too can be an overcomer in life and come out a winner. I like the slogan, "Watch Me!" and the mindset that it brings. You can achieve and not be held back from living the dream in your heart, if you are willing to forge ahead. Yes, it may take some readjusting, in your mindset, in your speech (not confessing failure), and in your outlook to name a few, but it can be done.

Live Beyond Your Dreams is a great self-help book, upbeat and inspiring. I believe it still all stems down to how much YOU want to change and what YOU are willing to do to achieve that change, but putting positive words, thoughts, and works into action certainly will speed up the process. If you are looking for a nudge in the right direction in life, some encouragement that others have picked up the pieces and found success, this book is for you, a slice of advise for a better life.

If You Were Me and Lived In Mexico
Carole P. Roman
CreateSpace Publishing
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781480209626, $14.95,

Children, and adults for that matter always enjoy reading about the life of those who live in a different country. In this delightful book by author, Carole P Roman we are taken into the country of, Mexico. We start off by seeing where Mexico is on the map, learn the name of their Capital city and some of the buildings there, and find out what names a girl and a boy may be called.We also learn how to say Mom and Dad and what money is called..We learn of a sport they do, some food they eat, and a holiday they celebrate. At
the end of the book is a list of several Mexican words and hot to pronounce. Wow....that is a lot for one little book, and its great.

I recommend this book for your child and yourself. It is almost like a mini teaching lesson on Mexico, but one that is highly entertaining while you are learning. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and definitely bring to the minds eye what the words are saying. It will hold anyones attention while reading it and you will be surprised how much of the information that you will retain. Very well done. A great little book.

Heavenly Signs II
Mel Gabe
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781449783242, $35.00,

I believe for all Bible believing people the Word of God can often be a challenge in understanding. There seems to be mysteries upon mysteries for the reader to uncover. I have always believed these mysteries would be uncovered and explained when the proper time came for that generation to understand. I believe now is the time for many revelations to be revealed. Those of us who hunger for what we call "The Rapture," are always seeking signs leading to this blessed event.

In this book, our author, Mel Gable, shares his knowledge of what, when, and how certain events will unfold leading to the Rapture, Tribulation and other events that intertwine and are important in the past, present and future. He brings to light many Heavenly signs that we should all be aware of, but most of us do not because we simply did not know what to watch for.
To me, it is not a book that you glance through and put down. No, it is one that needs to be slowly read, with your Bible, prayed about, and thought on. You may not agree with everything presented to you, but I do promise you this, you will have a desire stirred up in you to find out more. That certainly is a plus for everyone seeking the truth. I cannot imagine the hours of research and study it took to put this work together. Amazing. It definitely is a work, that if nothing else will have you looking to the sky, give you more understanding than you ever had before on some Biblical events, and make you more aware of what is happening around you now, in the past, and in the future. Again, you may not agree with all the information brought forth, the timing of the Rapture and some other events, but you certainly will walk away with more knowledge that you had before, and a desire to keep searching.

The Color of Pure
L. J. Bleed
LJB Communications, LLC
49 North Federal Highway #199
Pompano Beach, DE 33062-4304
9780988832220, $14.99,

Relationships, sexuality,and teenage years, three subjects that awaken fear in the heart of a parent. Why? Because we know, from experience, the life changing consequences of the decisions made in these areas can mold our lives forever. Being a Counselor, a mom, and a grandma, I have sat with many youth and talked with them about these issues. Emotions are everywhere with them, the good, the bad and the ugly. They battle daily with peer pressure, parental pressure, values of the beliefs they have grown up with, and their own hormones budding to maturity. They need all the help and support we can give them, and I truly believe 'the Color of Pure' will lend a hand in that area.

This book by author, L.J. Bleed, is not your norm, but is very unique. We meet Chloe, a young lady who lives with her mother, and never knew her father. Her mom, a Christian, has taught Chloe to love God, and honor His ways. When her mom dies, after being stricken with cancer, Chloe learns some things that lead her to have some questions concerning her mother, her past and her God. She begins a journey of establishing herself with God, not piggybacked with mom's, but a true one on one relationship. Her values and morals are challenged as she is thrust into the mainstream of teenage life.

I think our author did an amazing job at bringing to life the characters and the locals in this work. The story line is excellent. Although we experience the death of Chloe's mother, L.B. Bleed craft fully works within this sorrowful time the celebration of a Saint going home. Wonderful! She shows the struggles Chloe faces, which included just about every area a young girl would have problems in and worked through a solution for her in the story. Many aspects were included, young love, friendships, teacher and school issues, family issues, all and more were wound together as Chloe bravely marches on.

The main point of this story, of course, is the sexual freedom that many of our youth live in. Our author takes our main character, Chloe, and uses her life and experiences to show the right way to go, allowing some bumps in the road, she brings forth victory. Young people will relate to many of the problems that Chloe encounters, and they will see that there is an answer if they stand firm on their beliefs. They will clearly see the trauma that can incur if one pursues the wrong path, and they will understand they are not alone in what they are experiencing, that fact in itself is important to them as they make correct choices.

I liked how our author added a special gift that Chloe had of seeing colors and shapes on people. It was a little slice of mystery that kept you guessing, why was she seeing this? I feel it was an added benefit to the read. God does give us gifts to help us along the way, I believe this was a very smart move on the author's part to introduce this concept to young people. All in all I give this book my highest recommendation. It will definitely hold the attention of a teen, show the importance of having values, and the truth that battles will come, but victory can be achieved. Excellent job.

Savannah Grace
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781479236657, $16.95,

It seems fourteen year old, Savannah, has somewhat settled down after the divorce of her parents. She has friends, a great pet, and life seems to be going okay, until the day Mom drops a bombshell. She has decided to sell everything and take herself and her children on a trip to see the world. You would think Savannah would be thrilled over this, but that was not the case, at least not at first. How could Mom possibly pull her out of school just when she had made friends, just when her life was beginning? But take her away she does and the story begins.

As I read this book I was amazed at the courage it took for a mother to make this step and decide to give life a chance. I know somewhere inside of her, she knew it would be a memory that each one would treasure forever. Our author does an excellent job in capturing the emotions that were all over the place from the beginning, and through the end of this chapter in their travels. So much happened that it would be impossible to put them all in a small review. Some good, some bad, and some downright funny. However, much was also learned by each one of the family members, about life, love, sharing, forgiving and the list goes on. Each event that they went through, traumas and laughter, overcoming challenges they shared, and victories they saw, to name a few, brought them together in ways that few families will ever achieve. Mom knew, life is the best teacher of all, and that this experience alone would give her children an understanding that few ever have. Mom is a wise woman, indeed.

What an adventure and a blessing for all of them. They are not finished yet and there is more to come from this courageous family. I think you will enjoy this read and sharing a family adventure that is making memories. Our author definitely takes you there, believe me, as each experience is brought to life. Quite a ride, well done. Recommended.

Shirley Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Taylor's Bookshelf

From Hell Raiser to Hall of Famer
Thomas J. Aiken
Biographical Publishing Company
95 Sycamore Drive, Prospect, CT 06712-1493
1929882882, $13.95,

It's the personal stories that interest me the most. Those small, candid memoirs of growing up in an earlier time, of living an interesting life in interesting times. "From Hell Raiser to Hall of Famer: Best of Times" by Thomas J. Aiken is just such an autobiography. An intimate, 112 page story of what growing up in Colorado Springs was like for a young boy some seventy years ago. A pleasant and entertaining read that is occasionally illustrated with black/white photography, "From Hell Raiser to Hall of Famer: Best of Times" is highly recommended reading and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library 20th Century American Biography collections.

Passion For Place
Paola Fiorelle Berthoin, editor
RisingLeaf Impression
25440 Telarana Way, Carmel, CA 93923
9780985294915, $49.50,

Enhanced with the inclusion of an accompanying CD, "Passion For Place: Community Reflections On The Carmel River Watershed" is a 172 page compendium combining flawlessly reproduced paintings and photographs by California artist Paola Fiorelle Berthoin with commentaries, images, and poetries from a roster of appreciative contributors focusing on the environmental beauty to be found in the landscapes, river system, flora, fauna, of Carmel, California. "Passion For Place" is highly recommended browsing for anyone who has ever visited Carmel -- and for those armchair travelers who would like to!

Deadly Lode
Randall Reneau
Amazon Digital Services
9781479131792 $11.95 pbk. / $3.99 Kindle

The debut novel of professional geologist and army veteran Randall Reneau, Deadly Lode is a novel about ruthless machinations and backstabbing, all to seize a mineral prize. When geologist Trace Brandon discovers the treasures of the little-known Sullivan Mine, ex-convict and penny mining stock promoter Cyrus "The Virus" McSweeny devises a greed-driven plan to take the mine for himself. That isn't Brandon's only problem; one of his shareholders is beholden to a New Orleans crime family for a million, and a Chinese-backed mining company is out to seize the mine's uranium reserves at any cost. The more Brandon drills the motherlode, the more of his shareholders suddenly die to unnatural causes. Brandon will have to build and maintain an allied coalition just to survive, let alone keep his hands on the prize! Deadly Lode is a high-stakes thriller to the end, grounded in the author's intimate knowledge of the modern-day mining trade, and highly recommended.

In the Between
May Sinclair, PhD
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781481124454 $14.75

The debut novel of author May Sinclair, In the Between is a metaphysical novel about the repercussions of reincarnation. The story follows a woman whose soul journeys through the Bardo, a transitory phase of existence, after her death. She is a Westerner, not a Buddhist; yet the Bardo leads her to make a discovery about her own soul that will turn her self-made belief system upside-down. Choosing to re-live her past lives in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Spain, Brussels, France, England, the U.S., and India, she discovers the reverberations of karma, as the choices she has made and continue to make have echoing repercussions. Thoughtful and introspective, In the Between is an extraordinary saga ultimately about transforming one's soul for the better.

I Dreamed I was Human
Carolyn Gervais
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475973136, $18.95,

Trying to figure out what humanity means is often a ludicrously difficult endeavor. "I Dreamed I Was Human" is a spiritual read from Carolyn Gervais as she shares her insights and spiritual knowledge she has long struggled to figure out, trying to answer the ever difficult question of what humanity is and how we try to piece it all together. "I Dreamed I Was Human" is wise and insightful on the notions of faith and our own minds in the bigger picture of the universe.

Canadian Sunrise
Robert N. List
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478715108, $18.95,

A completely unknown world invited the truly adventurous to embark on the journey across the world. "Canadian Sunrise" is a historical adventure novel from Robert N. List seeking to offer a dramatized journey of two French Canadians who traveled across the North American continent in the seventeenth century, fleeing the threat of plague and European politics and trying to survey what was once called New France. "Canadian Sunrise" is a twisting novel that will make fans of history and adventure relish the read, highly recommended.

Selected Poems
Tim Bowling
Nightwood Editions
9780889712782, $22.95,

Twenty years of work, of focus comes to light. "Selected Poems" is a collection of poetry from Tim Bowling who shares what he holds as some of his best work from throughout his career and his unique style and view of the world. For those who want a sampler of the best of Bowling's work, "Selected Poems" more than earns its place in any contemporary poetry collection. "Edwardian Street": A boarder coughs in an attic room,/a child's fever breaks, dark branches gull/the glass of an upstairs window, and someone reaches for the Seneca on the shelf.//Old houses.//Something is happening at the end of their long hallways:/the heart of the past is foreclosing on itself.

John Taylor

Vogel's Bookshelf

The Dragon Lords
Silvia Hartmann
DragonRising Publishing
PO Box 3175
Eastbourne, BN21 9PG, UK
9781908269270 9.99 Brit. pounds

The Dragon Lords may well be the first novel written online, completely live. In a project she called "The Naked Writer", author Silvia Hartmann composed the saga via daily Google Docs bursts, while thousands of onlookers could freely observe her every keystroke. The result is an engrossing saga, in the form of dozens of brief vignettes pieced together into a narrative whole. Featuring characters pushed to their limit in a formerly sealed-off world about to be transformed forever by the touch of a powerful Dragon Lord, The Dragon Lords is at once a brilliant literary experiment and a rapturously woven fantasy. Highly recommended.

Blue Skies Green Hell
Marilyn Lazzari-Wing
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
Bohlsen Group (publicity)
9781465349293 $19.99 print / $3.99 digital

Blue Skies Green Hell is the true-life memoir of author Marilyn Lazzari-Wing, focusing on her days as the wife of a bush pilot who flew in the Venezuela wilderness after World War II. Her husband's job was hazardous, and the land he flew over was dubbed the "Green Hell"; even as she lived every day with the possibility of losing the man she loved, she had to develop business skills for economic survival. A dramatic saga of the deadly challenges that pilots faced, back when aviation technological support was much more limited, Blue Skies Green Hell is a captivating armchair adventure, highly recommended especially for aviation enthusiasts.

Sundown Town Duty Station
J. J. Zerr
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475969283, $23.95,

Against the tide of equality, those who seek to oppress use every tool to do so. "Sundown Town Duty Station" is a novel of the civil rights era as a couple arrives in Meridian, Mississippi, which is called a sundown town...which has violent indications for anyone who dares to be disapproved of by the local KKK. A riveting story of facing down threats and daring to break the lines of racism, "Sundown Town Duty Station" is a must for historical fiction collections, recommended.

31 Day Spiritual Mindset Makeover
Carlene B. Charlemagne
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478711902, $39.95,

A spiritual awakening can do so much for us. "31 Day Spiritual Mindset Makeover: A Journey Through the Book of Proverbs" is a Christian spirituality read from Carlene B. Charlemagne. who offers a month of thoughts and insights drawn from the book of proverbs to inspire and give us guidance in our life, living by God's world. "31 Day Spiritual Mindset Makeover" is well worth considering for Christian spirituality collections.

Carry On in Faith
Thomas P. Leiker
9780654822155, $10.99,

To live in Jesus's teachings means more than lip service to his life. "Carry On in Faith" is a spiritual meditation guide as Thomas P. Leiker offers insight on how to use prayer to bring one self closer to Christ, walking alongside him and walking among his footsteps. Speaking of Christ's life and his final days, "Carry On in Faith" is a powerful read of Christian spirituality, very much recommended reading.

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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