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MBR Bookwatch

Volume 12, Number 5 May 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 Shelley's Bookshelf
Shirley's Bookshelf Taylor's Bookshelf Vogel's Bookshelf

Cowper's Bookshelf

On the Dock
Gary C. Busha
Wolfsong Publications

On the Dock is a single-poem, mini-chapbook about a boy's reflections while playing and fishing, filled with imagination, wonder, and relish for the simple joys of life. Many verses are written in the style of a haiku, though some liberty is taken with the number of syllables per line. As picturesque as a summer day, On the Dock is a brief yet vivid and memorable treasure. "With knife on the dock / the boy cuts his initials / in the bench for posterity. // The taste of soap lingering / the boy learns not to swear / when Mother's around."

Follow the Light
T. C. Newman
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432797263, $14.95,

The Shroud of Turin knows only controversy. "Follow the Light: The Shroud's Revelations" is T. C. Newman's own thoughts and investigations surrounding the shroud and what she believes may lead to the truth behind the legendary cloth. Insightful and a must for those who are fascinated by the shroud, "Follow the Light" is a must for Christian and religious studies collections, highly recommended.

Moving Mountains
James Wilde
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478715542, $19.95,

Water is all too often taken for granted. "Moving Mountains: How the Dream to Climb the Seven Summits Transformed Into the Charity Global H20" is a memoir from James Wilde as he tells of his realization of the global water crisis while pursuing his life's goal of touching on the seven peaks. Sharing his story and how he came to found and further a charity to seek cleaner water for the world, "Moving Mountains" is a much for memoir and true adventure collections, highly recommended.

Mystical Speed
Hubert Guscott
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478713272, $19.95,

Secret techniques are not so easily given up. "Mystical Speed" is a novel of sports and athletics, as five track athletes travel to Jamaica in hopes of learning the secrets the runners there have mastered in making the most out of their speed, trying to see if it's truly skill or something else entirely. "Mystical Speed" is an enticing look into the mysteries of Jamaica and the secrecy native peoples can hold from the outside world.

The Last One
Marin R. Yann
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478712824, $16.95,

Struggling to survive is not meant for children. "The Last One: An Orphaned Child Fights to Survive The Killing Fields of Cambodia" is a memoir from Marin R. Yann as he shares his tragic tale of losing his entire family and coping with the drive to survive that lasted throughout his developmental years before he finally gained the ability to immigrate to America. "The Last One" is an insightful and tragic tale, recommended reading.

Mary Cowper

Donovan's Bookshelf

The Price of Disrespect
Alex Siegel
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B009WEA13Q $2.99

The Price of Disrespect provides the sixth book in the blossoming Gray Spear series and opens with a grim scenario of riots in Chicago's, where many are dying. In any given riot scenario there are usually clear reasons why people are angry; but not this time. Aaron and his team are thus involved in uncovering the 'why', probing underlying and hidden forces affecting not only the city, but their own team.

New Gray Spear team recruit Tawni Williams has reluctantly joined the team and finds her own beliefs and troubled perspectives challenged as they face an increasing violence that could change not only Chicago's landscape, but those of other cities as well. Her gang background (working with a team of vigilantes) has given her a tough and street-savvy exterior; yet she doesn't trust authority or cops ... which places her in an uncertain position with team leader Aaron.

Aaron's team members all have unusual supernatural powers that they employ in the course of their protection duties. Their faith in God blends these abilities with an eye for detecting trouble that the average police force can't match - yet Tawni is proving a wild card in a puzzling equation. As the Gray Spear Society delves into her background, motivations and life, so they begin to discover answers to the violence shaking Chicago.

Tawni is introduced to the forces, extreme security measures and assets of the Society and as she questions the group's methods and abilities, so she receives information justifying its approaches: "Why are you guys so crazy about security?" she asked...."God's enemies are always looking for a weakness to exploit."

Soon Tawni's identity is erased and replaced, all her values in life (even money) are challenged and met, and she arrives at the heart of the purpose of the Gray Spear Society in a mission that will test not only her courage, but her entire belief system: "...God created the Gray Spear Society to protect His apple...we stop the help us be successful, the Lord allows us to break some of the rules that ordinary people must follow."

One would think that with all these abilities, evil could not gain a foothold - but the Society is up against one of their greatest challenges yet and Tawni soon finds that even their miraculous powers have limits.

Readers receive an in-depth, guided tour into the inner sanctum of the Society through newcomer Tawni's experiences. As she receives lessons in fighting, survival and values, the truth about the deadly violence begins to emerge with a ferocity which reaches even into the Society's highest members - and suddenly the struggle to save Chicago becomes a struggle to save mankind from emerging powers and an evil weapon that could turn even skilled Society members against one other.

The nature of the threat confirmed, the Society members find themselves running out of time as they face attackers that put them all at risk. Throughout it all Tawni is continually tested by the Society until she discovers that inadvertently she has stumbled upon the life she's always dreamed of, even if it all may be too brief.

Paranormal action, issues of moral and spiritual preservation, and one woman's indoctrination into a very different world make for yet another multifaceted thriller recommended for prior fans and newcomers alike - the latter of whom will be motivated to read all the Gray Society novels for added background and adventure.

Jesus Phenomenon Return: End of the World
Fritz Michel
Outskirts Press
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432781293 $16.95

Jesus Phenomenon Return: End of the World will appeal to any Christian reader interested in the end of the world and how and what will happen, and offers a powerful discussion of signs of the end times and how to prepare. It comes from an author who has been described as a 'prophet' and provides specific details on how societies have strayed from God's word and teachings.

God has always sent messengers to communicate his word - and Fritz Michel appears to be one of these messengers, blending Biblical research with insights on exactly what life will be like in the world during these end times.

Chapters begin with an admonition to consider the 'why' when reading the Bible and reflecting on the word of God. 'Why' offers explanations that, when put into action, allow for change and guidance on identifying one's correct path: Michels maintains that the question may be difficult, but not impossible to know. From why things exist to why God acts in specific ways, chapters begin with Genesis and the creation of the Devil; considering the Devil's mission, his effects on the world, and the prison time of the Devil and the date of his release (which Michels identifies as coinciding with the roots of World War I and World War II.)

From links between hatred and evil through the centuries to the meaning of Archangel Michael and how men are becoming parrots instead of embarking on the kinds of questions and reflections that would lend to real freedom, this is packed with keys to understanding and considers why those who once held keys from Jesus are no longer among us.

The author's first-person reflections permeate Jesus Phenomenon Return: End of the World, providing a personal approach that touches upon Biblical teachings, philosophy, and Michel's own understanding of spiritual meaning and its translation in today's world. Readers are admonished to learn God's philosophy through observations of and actions in the world - and are invited to learn to recognize God's teachings in every segment of world interactions.

Jesus will absolutely return to Earth to reign and create a new world order based on peace and love, Michel maintains, and "To have every enemy as a friend - that is more than a dream, more than a vision."

Thus, surprisingly, there is much hope embedded in Michel's vision of end times - and much opportunity for spiritual revelation and change.

Is Michel a prophet? Christians will want to read and decide for themselves, gaining inspiration and much to reflect upon from the pages of a title that considers the evolution of end times and, surprisingly, the concurrent revolution of hope and faith that is inherent in Jesus' return to Earth.

Diane Donovan
Senior Reviewer

Dunford's Bookshelf

Suddenly Solo
Harold "Hal" Spielman and Marc Silbert
Privately Published
c/o Whitegate PR
9780578114989 $14.95

Suddenly Solo: A Lifestyle Road Map for the Mature, Widowed or Divorced Man lives up to its title as a practical-minded guide written especially for older men looking to find a new relationship with a woman. Chapters discuss how to form new connections, the realities and concerns of sex, the pros and cons of living together, and much more. "A [written] cohabitation agreement can help resolve any disputes that can arise if your relationship does not work out or if one of you passes away. You really don't want your heirs arguing about what was yours or hers... Some states have common-law statutes that define cohabitation arrangements specifically. These may impact how your possessions are viewed and your future obligations in the case of death or separation (think 'palimony')." Suddenly Solo is an absolute must-read for any older widower or divorced man, highly recommended.

Viva Laughter!
Patrick Shannon
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478711025, $37.95,

Laughter is powerful and can do so much to help heal us. "Viva Laughter!" is an inspirational look into humor and what it can do for us, as Patrick Shannon seeks to bring readers a fun walk through the world of humor and the little bits of fun that push us through the next day in our lives and inspire us so. "Viva Laughter!" is a fine compilation of humorous stories and jokes, very much recommended.

The Breakthrough
Frederic C. Hartman
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9780595686971, $27.95,

Conquering the painful past is a rough endeavor. "The Breakthrough: Breaking the Spells of Painful Emotions and Finding the Calm in the Present Moment" is a self-help and psychology guide from Frederic C. Hartman, who seeks to help the reader face the pain of their past, a pain that so many of us share that it may as well be humanity itself. With much wisdom and knowledge to be considered on the power of thought and finding that last bit we need to beat our fear, "The Breakthrough" is a strongly recommended addition to self-help and inspirational collections, highly recommended.

Charles W. Massie
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478712190, $19.95,

Love can give way to hate so very quickly. "Pinned" is an enticing and twisting novel. Mark Casey is charmed by Roxie into her Kentucky home in the cause of love. But the love quickly goes sour and there's something wrong about Roxie, and Mark may not realize it before it's too late. "Pinned" is an exciting tale of mystery and drama, very much recommended reading.

Cliff of the Ruin
Bonnie McKernan
Abbott Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781458206701, $24.99,

A simple mystery spins into so much more. "Cliff on the Ruin" is a novel as author Bonnie McKernan tells the story of New York Lawyer William Teague and the alluring mystery of Mae Kendrick, who finds herself married but with no recollection of why. Pursuing her history across the Atlantic and into the realm of legend itself, "Cliff on the Ruin" has plenty of twists and turns for fans of mystery, fantasy, and romance, very much recommended reading.

Emory Black
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432790141, $11.95,

One traumatic event is enough, but enduring weeks is cruelty incarnate. "Hell is Not a Place... It's a Roadtrip" is a dark tragedy following young Josh as he and his girlfriend are kidnapped by ex-convicts. They face a terrifying ordeal, struggling to find a way out and discover something that ultimately resembles justice through it all. "Hell is Not a Place... It's a Roadtrip" is worth considering for contemporary fiction collections, recommended.

Michael Dunford

Greenspan's Bookshelf

Prostate Problems
Tony Bianco
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475958058, $11.95,

Prostate problems can wreak havoc on our lives beyond cancer. "Prostate Problems: One Man's Journey Through BPH" is a memoir from Tony Bianco as he tells his story of the common disorder Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, and how this usually titular benign condition escalated and began to harm his life, and how he fought the disorder through good medicine and good spirituality. "Prostate Problems" is worth considering for anyone else facing the troubles with these disorders, much recommended.

When Red is Blue
Sabrynne McClain
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9780957128507, $13.99,

It takes years to heal from the scars of a tortured childhood. "When Red is Blue" is a novel of facing the past. Kate Faraday wants to leave her world behind, and when her mother dies, her response frightens her... she can't figure out if she cares. Facing her inner demons while dealing with the hometown lurking around her which has seen her pain, "When Red is Blue" is an enticing addition to general fiction collections seeking works with strong coming of age and coping elements.

My Mother's Secret
J. L. Witterick
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475962574, $8.95,

Heroism is risking death for another. "My Mother's Secret" is a memoir from J. L. Witterick as she tells her mother's story of risking her life during the tumultuous Holocaust, sheltering Jewish families from German patrols and risking the heavy penalty that was on this crime at the time in Poland. "My Mother's Secret" is a riveting and heroic tale of daring to defy tyranny, highly recommended reading.

Washington Park
Michael Irvin Hutchinson
Inspiring Voices
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781462402311, $13.99,

In a small town, a single crime can rock the foundation. "Washington Park" is a novel from Michael Irvin Hutchinson who tells of small town Springfield, Missouri and the disappearance of a family law judge. As the town unites and finds a shadow hiding beneath their society, "Washington Park" spins a tale of faith and family values, a read well worth considering.

I'm Saved! Now What?
Chantell M. Cooley & Pastor JP Wilson
Westbow Press
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449761134, $11.95,

Taking Christ into your heart is only one part of the embrace of faith. "I'm Saved! Now What?: A Guide for Teenagers To Go Deeper With God" is an inspirational Christian guide from Chantell M. Cooley & Pastor JP Wilson who offer much practical advice and wisdom on remaining true to their faith through these rough years and transition to young adulthood. "I'm Saved! Now What?" is an insightful addition to Christian spirituality collections, much recommended.

Able Greenspan

Helen's Bookshelf

Mystic Pete Chronicles Book 1: Sex & Mysticism
Mystic Pete
Ludwig Press
c/o Sgarlat Publicity
PO Box 4204
Charlottesville, Virginia 22905-4204
9780985847104 $10.50

Written with wit, verve, and a touch of the erotic, Mystic Pete Chronicles Book 1: Sex & Mysticism an intriguing glimpse into the web of interconnected threads that encompass human existence within and beyond the mortal coil. Innovative author Mystic Pete posits that a full mystical awakening necessitates a full sexual awakening as well. Mystic Pete discusses everything from Heaven and spiritual realms, to the end of the world, to weight loss, and the divine - as well as the pivotal role that human sexuality plays in all of these things. "I am not suggesting that you simply 'believe in God,' because belief can interfere with perception. But once you perceive other dimensions, see a ghost, arouse someone with your mind, or experience something like time turning to taffy, there can be no doubt about the existence of a reality beyond what science tells us is real." Mystic Pete explains his spiritual training method focused upon mastering the Five Powers - Guidance, Healing, Protection, Raw Power, and Manifestation. Additional books with more detail on mastering each of the five powers are forthcoming.

A World Torn Asunder
Marina Guirescu
Bettie Youngs Books
9781936332762, $21.95,

Romania's history is long and storied, especially throughout the twentieth century. "A World Torn Asunder: The Life and Triumph of Constantin C. Giurescu" tells the story of Dr. Guirescu and his correspondence that shed much light on Romania through the first two world wars and it falling under Communist influence under Russia in the process, and a personal story of struggling to find something better through it all. "A World Torn Asunder" is an insightful and much recommended addition to biography and world history collections.

Lawrence Goudge
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781469787272, $25.95,

Jesus Christ died a Jew, and the faith of Christianity did not come until afterwords. "Cover-Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus's True Heirs" is a Christian studies read from Lawrence Goudge who writes of theological studies and the true origins of Christianity that came through Paul, and how the message of Christianity has been bent to man's will and how to find that true message again in spite of all of Christianity's problems. "Cover-Up" is a worthy addition to Christian studies collections, highly recommended.

The Consistent Choice
Donna Kendall
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100
Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781452560144, $14.99,

Every choice we make has an impact on the world. "The Consistent Choice: For Better Living in a Better World" is a motivational read from Donna Kendall and encourages readers to improve their decision making by realizing what they truly seek out of life and making sure all their decisions help them towards that ever so vital path. "The Consistent Choice" is a must for self-help collections, much recommended.

Almighty God
Enakeme S. Mariere-Dogun
Westbow Press
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781449764104, $11.99,

Taking solace in faith can help us make it through another day. "Almighty God: How to Walk in Hope, Faith, and Victory Every Day Through the Power of the Holy Ghost" is a Christian inspirational read from Enakeme S. Mariere-Dogun who shares the story of faith saving him from tragedy and how it has helped guide his life well. "Almighty God" is a strongly recommended addition to spirituality and Christian collections.

A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall WASP
Mark Okun & Hillary Brower
Dog Ear Publishing
4010 W. 86th Street, Indainapolis, IN 46268
9781457517365, $15.95,

Coming to terms with ourselves and the world around us is a journey that may take years. "A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall WASP" is a memoir from Mark Okun and Hillary Brower who share their experiences with the 60s and 70s in New York City, losing innocence and finding something very different instead in a world filled with drugs and wild sex. "A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall WASP" is an enticing coming of age memoir with plenty of twists and turns, so very much recommended reading.

C. L. Paur
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781481706773, $16.95,

Many stories make up our entire world. "Stories" is a novel from C. L. Pair, following Catharine Zimmer as she faces her judgment in the afterlife, and has to hear the stories of those whose lives he may have impacted on the whole. "Stories" is an enticing read with a twist on life and facing our ultimate judgments, highly recommended.

Helen Dumont

Julie's Bookshelf

Gold Dust
Catherine Weaver
Sigillum Publishers
100 N. Whisman Rd. # 2517
Mountain View, CA 94043
9780983848547, $14.95,

Synopsis: Alex Lee is a Freshman at Palo Alto High in the Silicon Valley. With no friends and the most ordinary name ever, not to mention a mother who has somehow turned into a mindless zombie, Alex doesn't know how things could get worse. But when she comes face to face with a leprechaun on her way home from school, she finds out. Armed only with a clarinet and advice from her Buddha-quoting grandmother, Alex is forced into an adventure that will lead her from a high-tech security breach, through an army of griffins to a point where she could save her mom- if she isn't torn apart by overwhelming magical forces first. Marked by humor and insight, this fresh take on the classic Spanish romance of the magical Island of California will keep readers turning pages as they try to find the answer to the question, "What will Alex do next?"

Critique: A perfect selection for a YA summer readinglist, author Catherine Weaver has woven a deftly told tale of an alternative universe fantasy where a Californian teenager must deal with all manner of magical creatures in an original adventure marked with memorable characters and unexpected plot twists. Eager readers will be looking forward with enthusiasm for Catherine Weaver's next novel! A popular addition to community library YA fantasy collections, it should also be noted that "Gold Dust" is also available in an ebook format (Kindle, $7.99).

Mortal Flesh: The Last Hero of Pompeii
Ana Costa Alongi
Sigillum Publishers
100 N. Whisman Rd. # 2517
Mountain View, CA 94043
9780983848561, $17.95,

Synopsis: Cuerpo Mortal's plot takes place in the ancient Roman Empire. The setting is in the city of Pompeii, known for its destruction under tons of lava and ash in 79 A.D. The story starts three months before this tragedy occurs, and then the countdown begins. The narrative pulls the characters down a road where not everyone is whom he appears to be. The tension increases with each secret that is unveiled through this page-turner with unpredictable developments. Marcus, a 19-year-old young man, is oblivious of everything and enjoying the beach with his friends. After one of these care-free days ending in a drunken stupor at a local tavern, Marcus comes home to find his father, a famous despot, announcing Marcus's marriage to a woman whom he has not seen for years. A forbidden love falls across the path that Marcus' parents had laid for him, challenging everything he had been taught to believe about his future. He tries to change his fate and flees, embarking on a journey with new friends. Marcus's search for the truth changes him in ways that he can never return from. His adventure will finally reveal his true divine nature and the power of the immortal soul. When Marcus believes that things cannot get worse, he will face the biggest challenge of all: a volcanic eruption at the boundaries of his home.

Critique: Praising the storytelling abilities of literary award winning author Ana Costa Alongi would be 'gilding the lily' indeed! Nonetheless, it must be acknowledge that she has a superlative gift for engaging her reader's total attention from first page to last in "Mortal Flesh: The Last Hero of Pompeii", a romantic action/adventure fantasy of the first order. Highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should also be noted that "Mortal Flesh: The Last Hero of Pompeii" is also available in an ebook edition (Kindle, $6.99).

Change Your Shoes, Live Your Greatest Life
Kathy Andersen
KA Connect, LLC
PO Box 398305
Miami Beach, FL 33239
9780983712619, $19.95,

Synopsis: Kathy Andersen left Australia to take a "break" that turned into a journey of more than ten years. Changing her corporate high heels to hiking boots started Kathy on a journey where she would experience the power we each have to be our greatest self, and to live our greatest life. In Change Your Shoes, Live Your Greatest Life, each chapter of Kathy's journey provides insights and guided reflections to give the reader tools to chart their own journey of discovery, and to make positive decisions for a purposeful life. Kathy reveals a journey that we can each take to live our greatest life, and enables each reader to embark upon their own journey as they turn each page. Among other things, Kathy's journey enabled her to step into the darkness of a childhood filled with abuse and isolation, and to step out knowing we are each so much greater than the worst that happens to us. She discovers the gifts and treasures waiting for each of us in each moment, and that with them, we can rise above any obstacles and soar to our greatest heights. From traveling through some of the richest and poorest countries in the world, from remote villages, to shimmering cities, to wide open spaces, to ancient ruins, to sitting under the Bodhi Tree in India where the Buddha gave his first teaching, and even to the hallways of Harvard University, Kathy discovers worlds within, around, and beyond that take us on a journey to our greatest self. We each have within us everything we need to make the changes we need to step onto a path to our greatest self, and our greatest life. Our journey starts with a simple pause that allows us to unwrap all of the extraordinary gifts within us - the gifts of our limitless potential. There are no boundaries, only infinite possibilities. So come, change your shoes, embark upon a journey through this book. Immerse your self in all that is waiting for you in this moment, to venture to your greatest life!

Critique: Personal, deftly written, inspired and inspiring, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Change Your Shoes, Live Your Greatest Life" combines personal memoir with insightful self-help observations that make it a delight to read from beginning to end. Engaging, entertaining, encouraging, motivating, "Change Your Shoes, Live Your Greatest Life" is enthusiastically recommended reading and will prove an enduringly popular addition to community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections.

Quest Of The Warrior Maiden
Linda C. McCabe
Foul Mouthed Bard Press
PO Box 2344, Windsor, CA 95492
9780983636212, $16.99,

Synopsis: The legends of Charlemagne come to life in a saga of chivalry, secret romances, betrayal, revenge and magic. Bradamante, the niece of Charlemagne, and Ruggiero, a Saracen knight descended from Hector of Troy, are renowned warriors who meet and fall in love on a battlefield before being separated. This tale of impossible love is set against the backdrop of a holy war between Islamic and Christian armies and features legendary heroes Orlando and Renaud de Montauban.

Critique: In "Quest Of The Warrior Maiden", author Linda McCabe reveals an undeniable talent for creating a truly memorable and epic fantasy saga incorporating memorable characters, cliff hanger suspense, magic and Arthurian romance of the first order. "Quest Of The Warrior Maiden" is enthusiastically recommended reading and a first rate selection for community library Science Fiction/Fantasy collections. It should also be noted that "Quest Of The Warrior Maiden" is also available to an appreciative readership in a Kindle Edition ($2.99).

Spare Change
Bette Lee Crosby
Bent Pine Publishing
1402 SW Bent Pine Cove
Port St. Lucie, FL 34986
9780983887911, $14.00,

Synopsis: Eleven year-old Ethan Allen Doyle has witnessed a brutal murder and now the boy is running for his life. In the time-tested tradition of Southern Fiction, Crosby unveils the darkest side of human nature and then rewards her readers with a beautiful tale of love, loss and unexpected gifts. Olivia Westerly is the only person Ethan Allen can trust, and he's not too sure he can trust her. She's got no love of children and a truckload of superstitions--one of them is the belief that eleven is the unluckiest number on earth. Olivia avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she's a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her grandson. With a foul mouth, dark secrets and heavily guarded emotions, Ethan Allen Doyle is not an easy child to like. He was counting on the grandpa he'd never met for a place to hide, but now that plan is shot to blazes because the grandpa's dead too. He's got seven dollars and twenty-six cents, his mama's will for staying alive, and Dog. But none of those things are gonna help if Scooter Cobb finds him.

Critique: Skillfully written, "Spare Change" clearly demonstrates Bette Lee Crosby's ability to engage her readers rapt attention from beginning to end. A thoroughly entertaining work of immense literary merit and strongly recommended for community library literary fiction and mystery collections, "Spare Change" is especially recommended for fans of well crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.

The Answer To Your Question
Paulette Alden
Radiator Press
4900 Washburn Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410
9780988518988, $15.00,

Synopsis: How well can you really know the people you love, even your own son? Four young women are murdered, and he's the suspect . . . After raising her son, Ben, as a single parent, librarian Inga Daudelin is blindsided when he is accused of the murders of four young women. At the same time, Jean, a young, pregnant waif who seems both simple and wise, "imprints" on Inga at work, drawing her into an unusual friendship. When Ben kidnaps Jean, Inga and lead detective Ron O'Loughlin, with whom she is falling in love, search for the two, who along with Jean's baby, have formed a strange but human family.

Critique: A riveting novel from first page to last, "The Answer To Your Question" showcases author Paulette Alden's genuine talent as a gifted storyteller. Also highly recommended are her two earlier titles: "Feeding The Eagles: Short Stories" (Graywolf Press, Kindle, $2.99) and "Crossing The Moon" (Penguin, Kindle, $2.99).

The Power And Simplicity Of Self-Healing
Liberty Forrest
Privately Published
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9781481197045, $17.99,

Synopsis: We've all heard those occasional stories of people who have recovered from untreatable or incurable conditions. There are those who were told they would never walk again - but through sheer determination, they did it. There are those who were riddled with malignant tumours and given a death sentence, but repeatedly visualised perfect healing and they became well. There are numerous documented reports like these and usually, we think they are flukes, coincidence, or perhaps "miracles". They are so rare and so powerful, the notion that this could be commonplace does not occur to us. But it should. The "default setting" for any living organism is to survive, yet survival is only possible if the organism is inherently able to heal. We think nothing of our ability to recover from illnesses, injuries, broken bones. But why stop there? Why is it impossible to believe that we can heal ourselves of anything more serious than a broken arm or a really bad flu? It is only because we have not known we could do it. For thousands of years, we have turned to medicine men, healers of all kinds throughout the ages, unaware that each of us possesses the power to create - and to heal - our illnesses. The Power and Simplicity of Self-Healing is a fascinating and empowering page-turner, chock full of astonishing information that revolutionises the way we look at illness and healing. In this life-changing book, Liberty Forrest encompasses a wide range of seemingly disconnected and unrelated subjects, yet each one is a separate piece of an incredible and complex puzzle. In her warm and easy style, she explains each of those puzzle pieces one by one, ultimately revealing a startlingly simple picture that provides indisputable scientific proof that we can heal ourselves of virtually any illness. Growing up in an abusive and alcoholic environment, liberty began having terrifying panic attacks as a young child. By the time she reached adulthood, there were also issues with addiction, OCD and anorexia. At the age of 20, liberty's physical health was beginning to decline, a situation that continued to worsen into her 30s, as one ailment after another was added to the growing list. Among the worst was a significant and debilitating heart problem, which slammed into liberty's life like a runaway freight train. Over the years, there were times her suffering was so great, she became suicidal, always managing to pull herself back from the abyss and carry on. Her desperate and futile search for wellness took her down many paths from the conventional to the near-insane. When it seemed all avenues had been exhausted, in an explosive moment of anger and frustration liberty vowed to find a way to heal herself, believing that if other people have done it, then she could do it, too. With occasional relevant interjections about her own story of suffering and healing, liberty covers a multitude of topics in a step-by-step systematic fashion, layering one piece of information on another and building a strong foundation so that all of the pieces are well-connected and logical. Drawing on a wealth of information from numerous medical professionals, researchers, and scientists along with the metaphysical, mysterious and inexplicable, liberty drops one fascinating piece of the puzzle after another into its rightful place, creating multi-faceted and undeniable proof that self-healing is not only possible and powerful, but very simple for anyone to do. If she could do it, you could, too. To see more of liberty's books, click the link on the side.

Critique: A deftly presented and impressive work of original research, "The Power and Simplicity of Self-Healing" is informed, informative, and highly recommended reading, as well as academic and community library's personal health/alternative medicine reference collections.

Mimi And Her World
Mimi Correll Cerniglia
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781456700591, $28.28,

Synopsis: Mimi Cerniglia's autobiography begins with the introduction of the two people who will become the parents of her two sisters and her. You will find out why furniture manufacturing in the Piedmont area of North Carolina was important in the author's life and the state of North Carolina. Depression era modes of transportation and communication come alive from her excellent descriptions. Due to a family incident religion's decline and eventual rejection unfolds slowly. An annual family event helps the reader learn about the homestead of a southern family who had owned slaves. Terms used in local government reminds the reader that North Carolina was one of the original thirteen colonies and was settled from east to west. Public school education in her college town was so important the citizens paid extra tax for city schools. The end of World War II brought peace time production of everything. College and an education career as well as marriage led to the birth of a son and a move to Florida. More education in North Carolina and a return to Florida for the son's education was interspersed with a new marriage. Following traveling and house building in North Carolina came death and a move back to Florida to be near her successful son and twin grandsons. Her senior years of reading, writing and golf stopped due to illness. Recovery from illness and pursuit of academic endeavors concludes the book.

Critique: An interesting life lived in interesting times! As informative as it is entertaining, Mimi Correll Cerniglia's life story is a exceptional read and a highly recommended addition to community library American Biography collections. It should also be noted that "Mimi And Her World" is also available in paperback (9781456700584, $17.72) and in an ebook edition (9781456700607, $9.99).

Non-Compliance: The Sector
Paige Daniels
Kristell Ink
47 Greenham Road, Newbury
Bershire, England, RG14 7HY
9781909374034, $12.99,

Synopsis: I used to matter... but now I'm just a girl in a ghetto, a statistic of the Non-Compliance Sector. Shea Kelly had a brilliant career in technology, but after refusing to implant an invasive government device in her body she was sent to a modern day reservation: a Non-Compliance Sector, a lawless community run by thugs and organized crime. She's made a life for herself as a resourceful barkeep, and hacks for goods on the black market with her best friend Wynne, a computer genius and part-time stripper. Life is pretty quiet under the reigning Boss, apart from run-ins with his right hand man, the mighty Quinn: until Danny Rose threatens to take over the sector. Pushed to the edge, Shea decides to fight back ...

Critique: Also available in both Kindle (9781909374058, $4.99) and ePub (9781909374041, $4.99) editions, "Non-Compliance: The Sector" is a carefully crafted work of original fiction that offers solid entertainment from first page to last and never disappoints!

The Other Girl
Alexandra Ares
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781460992531, $8.99,

Synopsis: THE OTHER GIRL is a bare, slim, literary novel written in a minimalist style and telling the story of a conversation. Life does this switching trick, giving you hope from one place, and satisfaction from another. Maxim Smirnov, a young Russian immigrant in New York dreams of becoming the next software billionaire like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and to move in with his gorgeous girlfriend. In the meantime he has no home of his own and sleeps like a gypsy on chairs and in his office. When his lover is reluctant to take him in, he ends up moving in with an older Italian girl Giordana Gatti, a reclusive film animator with a powerful personality and feminist ideas that clash with his macho upbringing. She is "the other girl" in more ways than one, and guards an old, secret, unrequited love story. How will her fierce spirit and masochistic passion reflect on his own future choices? Provocative, gritty, and unforgettable, THE OTHER GIRL is the story of a woman and a man on the edge, torn between the desire to belong and feel alive, and the desire to break away from unfulfilling love. Alexandra Ares writes in fierce, unflinching prose about the equally dark sides of passion and solitude, and the tenderness of hope.

Critique: It is clear from "The Other Girl" that Alexandra Ares is a superbly talented novelist and well deserving of her literary honors. Original, superbly crafted, and truly memorable, "The Other Girl" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library literary fiction collections.

Julie Summers

Klausner's Bookshelf

Dreams and Shadows
C. Robert Cargill
Harper Voyager
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062190420, $24.99,

Proud parents Tiffany and Jared Thatcher love their newborn Ewan. However, after hearing Tiffany's awful warble that only a bay would cherish, Dithers the Bendith Y Mamau blob abducts Ewan from his family's seventeenth floor apartment and replaces the cooing infant with the Changeling Knocks. Tiffany realizes immediately something is not right with her newborn and claims he is not her baby; but Jared and others thinks something is not right with her.

Over the years Ewan and another abductee Colby meet and become friends in the Fey's Limestone Kingdom. Together they escape to earth where Ewan falls in love in Austin. However, departing the Limestone Kingdom proves much easier than staying away as they are drawn back to their former realm as no one just leaves.

Though the Changeling snatch concept is not new, the denizen of the Limestone Kingdom brings freshness with their metaphysical debates on whether places like Texas exist beyond "... traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!" Fans will enjoy the escapades of the two BFFs in Austin and in Limestone as both places can prove bloody deadly.

The Lost
Vicki Pettersson
Harper Voyager
9780062064653, $14.99

Five decades ago someone murdered private investigator Griffin Shaw and his wife Evie; the case was never solved. On the bottom rung of the celestial ladder, Griff assists the purebreds by collecting the souls of murder victims; in exchange for his cooperation he has permission to investigate the homicides of him and his spouse. Recently, he met Las Vegas reporter Katherine "Kit" Craig when he was to collect her soul; but he broke the rules by failing to do so as he fell in love with the mortal after Anas clipped his wings due to defiance (see The Taken).

A new deadly drug eats away the flesh of the krokodil users. An obsessed Kit believes she and her beloved angel need to prevent further deaths, but Griff must collect the soul of krokodil user Jeap Yang, which angers his mortal girlfriend. Kit interferes, which leaves her vulnerable to fallen angel Scratch. Still, as is her personality, she leads the charge against the powerful Marielitos Cartel.

The second Celestial Blues bittersweet romantic urban fantasy (see The Taken) is a strong tale starring a hard boiled 1950s detective with a soft boiled heart and the "Impossible Dream" reporter "... willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause"; as defined by her and not heaven. With the angelic hierarchy seemingly real, fans will enjoy this super thriller; as the cold case murder mystery, Scratch and the drug war deftly come together.

Dark Tide
Elizabeth Haynes
9780062197337, $14.99

Genevieve Shipley worked two lucrative jobs in London. During the day, she was a successful software saleswoman; at night she made much more money as a pole dancer at the exclusive Barclay Club. When Genevieve attained her monetary goal, she quit both positions and the city to relocate in Kent living on the Revenge, a houseboat.

However, her idyllic retirement turns ugly during her first boat party when her friend from her dancing gig days Caddy is found floating dead in the water near Genevieve's houseboat. Distraught and filled with guilt because the stunned Genevieve believes she was the intended victim as she assumes the motive for murder traces to a package she holds for Dylan the Barclay bouncer who has vanished and not responded to her texting.

When Dark Tide focuses on the package, the storyline is an exciting psychological thriller that grips readers with a need to know what is inside the box that led to a homicide and imperils the protagonist. When the plot spotlights pole and lap dancing (flashbacks) and houseboat repair it feels padded with extraneous information. Still the heroine engages the audience with her youthful conquers the world attitude leading to foolish missteps Into the Darkest Corner of society.

The Golem and the Jinni
Helene Wecker
9780062110831, $27.99

In Konin near Leipzig Polish Jew Otto Rotfeld was arrogant, feckless and lonely. He destroyed in a short time the thriving family furniture business he inherited; making him even less marketable to women. A desperate Otto visited Yehudah Schaalman, an extremely old man who dabbled in the Kabbalah to ask the dark mage to create for him a golem. In 1899, Rotfeld leaves on the steamship Baltika accompanied by his golem. On the trip over, the Golem's master dies while the crew assumes she is his widow. In New York City Rabbi Avram Meyer, realizing the supernatural clay essence of Mrs. Rotfeld, internally debates whether to kill her before she brings destruction or help her; he names her Chava and gets her a job in a bakery.

In Manhattan tinsmith Boutros Arbeely frees a jinni from a millennium old copper flask. He names the jinni Ahmad, who becomes a metalworker. Ahmad misses his ancient Syrian Desert fiery birth place especially the palace, which he knows is long gone. When Ahmad and Chava meet, they are attracted to one another though her master is dead while his Ibn Malik lives on.

This is a strong historical fantasy that weaves together the story of two supernatural beings from different mythos. Although the desert coda feels abrupt, the key to this super thriller is the support cast the protagonists encounter as each of these souls' respective tales brings depth to the storyline.

William Patterson
Pinnacle Books
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
New York, NY 10018-2522
9780786027644, $9.99,

Pregnant Jessie Clarkson fled her home Sayer's Brook, Connecticut upon witnessing that her husband Emil Deetz was a homicidal psychopath. Her sister Monica and her brother-in-law Todd Bennett got her an apartment in the East Village where she raised her daughter Abby; When Jessie learns that Emil died in a Mexico drug-related shootout, she, her child and their nanny Inga move back to Sayer's Brook.

Her sibling and her former BFF Heather are unhappy with her return because each stole their husband from Jessie. Horror writer John Manning, who allegedly killed his wife, also lives in the cul de sac. Following a block welcome home party in which the female guests except her aunt wish Jessie stayed in New York, Inga visits John at his home. On her way back to her house, someone slices Inga's throat reminiscent of what Jessie saw Emil do at the Black Wolf Tavern in Port Chester. As the cops suspect Manning and Clarkson, Abby finds a playmate her age while the adults wonder whose family he belongs to. More murders occur with the same M.O.; the link to the homicides is Jessie.

Slice is an exciting thriller with a supernatural element and a fully developed cast. Although there is too much soap opera-style melodrama, fans will enjoy this fast-paced tale from the first Slice to the last leap of faith.

Heart of Ice
P.J. Parrish
Pocket Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 13th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781439189375, $7.99,

In 1990 Florida based private investigator Louis Kincaid is in Michigan spending time with his ten year old daughter Lily. Seven months ago, Kincaid had been working a case in Ann Arbor when he learns his college girlfriend Kyla had not aborted their unborn as she threatened and he dared her. Now he is grateful she did not as father and daughter visit Mackinac Island though he detests the comparisons his tweener makes of him to her stepdad police officer Eric Channing who persuaded Kyla to tell Lily.

Kincaid plans to return to law enforcement if he can obtain an offer in Florida as he knows he is marked as a troublemaker in Michigan. Meanwhile he and Lily bike Mackinac Island when she notices Twin Pines, a house she thinks is haunted so they make an abrupt detour. When she trespasses Lily falls through the floor onto bones. The victim is probably teenage summer resident Julie Chapman who vanished in 1969. Chief of Police Jack Flowers hands over the investigation to State Detective Norm Rafsky, a working acquaintance of Kincaid's girlfriend Joe Frye who he is to meet in two days. Meanwhile Lily asks her dad to help Flowers with the case as the local cop has no experience with homicides.

The latest Louis Kincaid investigation (see Thicker Than Water, Paint It Black and Dark of the Moon) is an enjoyable twisting whodunit that in spite of the 1990 date has a historical feel to the storyline due to the salad days of the IT gizmo revolution. Although the cop-P.I. rivalry feels somewhat stereotypical, sub-genre readers will relish this thrilling cold case Michigan mystery from the moment Lily rushes into Twin Pines until the final stunning revelation.

The Suitors
Cecile David-Weill, author
Linda Coverdale, translator
Other Press
2 Park Avenue, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10016
9781590515730, $16.95,

In 2007 at Cap d'Antibes on the French Riviera, their father announces to his adult daughters that he and their mother decided to sell L'Agapanthe though they do not need the money. Aghast with horror the siblings (psychotherapist Laure and French presidential language interpreter Marie) do not want strangers owning their annual summer retreat from ennui of life as L'Agapanthe is a key representation of a dying elitist lifestyle Laure and Marie cherish; perhaps even more than Laure cares about her son Felix.

The two sisters consider their options as they reject giving up the bonne mansion with its ideal intellectual climate inside proper manners that new money cannot understand due to a lack of proper nurturing compounded by poor naturing. The solution is to sell their beloved retreat to the right money people that will appreciate the tradition and continue along the same chic lines of the sisters and their parents by including the siblings as his or her mentors; that is if they fail to persuade dear old dad to give them L'Agapanthe. Thus the matchmakers seek proper refined suitors to purchase L'Agapanthe.

The Suitors is a satirical comedy of manners with a key underlying message not to allow material things to incarcerate you. The meandering and thin, but jocular storyline contains anecdotal behavior by nouveau riche celebs clashing and trashing with refined old money. With a nod to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (directed by Luis Bunuel), fans will enjoy new meaning to Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.

Solo Pass
Ronald De Feo
Other Press
9781590515860, $14.95

Almost two months have passed since Ott has been outside alone amongst the conformists, but now feels prepared to venture forth on a Solo Pass while promising his handlers to return to the mental ward that has been his home since his breakdown. He carefully played by their rules answering just enough to sound like he is recovering but not enough so they feel he no longer needs them and especially conceals his loathing towards vicious therapist Prodski, who Ott believes should be a solitary confined patient in the asylum. Ott still is stunned when he is granted a Solo Pass by the staff to the outside world of New York City.

As he ventures forth, Ott's phobia of simply vanishing away increases while he also muses over returning to the Cotswold's village he may be from (or not). Even Ott distrusts Ott as the city of his thoughts fails to match the city he wanders in.

Solo Pass is an intriguing satire told in the first person by Ott, who make a strong case that the difference between lunacy and normalcy is societal definitional acceptance; the norms must not condemn the nonconformist ill. Ott is a superb lead as he never seems quite comfortable with others including inmates whether inside or out and struggles to control his destructive compulsions and his crippling phobias; he is most at ease within his head dreaming of his past that may never have happened. Although the support cast especially inside the mental ward is extremely thin, readers, reminded of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, will relish a New York tour guided by the mind of Ott.

Flames And Smoke Visible
D. S. Lliteras
Rainbow Ridge Books
140 Rainbow Ridge Rd., Faber, VA 22938
9781937907099, $17.99,

As D. S. Lliteras, he has written highly regarded novels (see Judas The Gentile); as Danny Lliteras, he was in the military and worked as a firefighter for the Norfolk FD. Mr. Lliteras combines his writing skills with his firefighting experience to provide the audience with an insightful memoir of being a first responder knowing like a marine at the front that any blaze could prove your last. Firefighters empathize with the victims who lose more than just values in a blaze; they lose part of their soul when a personal item like a family bible is gone. Knowing this helped him and his mates fearlessly face death to enter hell's inferno. While putting out a fire in which his team is first in engine, Mr. Lliteras did his tasks until he could not breathe; he suffered a heart attack. This gave the author a firsthand look at being on the receiving end of emergency people as an ambulance took him to the hospital. His reaction to Dr. Guttimann informing Mr. Lliteras that his "cardio architect is shot" so that he no longer can do what he loves as a tailboard fire fighter sums up the memoir as he depresses over no longer being a cowboy. His wife Kathleen is elated as she no longer has to worry about the latest phone call being the final fatal one. The author uses exciting anecdotes to enhance a deep discerning look at what being a firefighter is all about, Flames And Smoke Visible enables us to get inside the hearts and souls of these brave men and women at the fire front and the impact on their concerned loved ones.

Edge of Dawn
Lara Adrian
Delacorte Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor
New York, NY 10019
9780345532602, $25.00,

Mira witnessed her beloved Breed Kellan die in a warehouse explosion. The veiled child, whose eyes prophesize the gazer's future, grew up that day with a loathing of the rebels. Over the next eight years, she became a warrior and now is a captain in the Order who believes in killing first.

When Mira crosses the line of acceptance on an assignment, her superior punishes her with a fluff task that her boss knows she will hate but do well. Mira serves as bodyguard to award winning human inventor-scientist Jeremy Ackmeyer while he attends the GNC Summit. However, the task goes wrong when rebels abduct her and Jeremy while scheming to blow up the conference. Seeking a way to expedite herself and her charge, Mira is stunned when she meets the leader of the kidnappers.

Two decades have passed since the human masses became aware of the Breed (see Darker After Midnight); Lara Adrian refreshes her romantic urban fantasy saga with new issues of surviving the coming out party. Yet the threats from rebels and humans, who both demand the top rung of the food chain, remain palatable. Readers will enjoy watching how the children as adults become the warriors still led by Lucan as the Order's next generation takes over though the paradox of prophesy means the journey not the outcome matters. Lara Adrian is one of this reviewer's top ten authors.

The Family Way
Rhys Bowen
Minotaur Books
c/o St. Martin's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250011633, $24.99,

In 1904 New York City, pregnant Molly promised her husband police captain Daniel Sullivan that she will no longer sleuth though she has quite a success rate (see Hush Now, Don't You Cry and Bless The Bride). Bored and irritable from the overbearing summer heat and her overbearing husband, Molly receives a letter from a Mrs. O'Byrne of Ireland asking if sir or madam could look into what happened to her niece Maureen O'Byrne who failed to send a Christmas card. The note further stated she crossed the Atlantic last year and got a good servant job with the Mainwaring family.

Molly deems asking a few questions about Maureen will not break her pledge to her overly-protective husband. When she witnesses a baby kidnapping and learns of several other infant abductions, Daniel, who is working that case, demands she stay in cooler Westchester at his parents' home. She acquiesces to exile since Molly knows the Mainwaring brood lives in that county. At the same time she runs into her outlawed by the English sibling Liam, who's illegally in the States on a Brotherhood Irish independence mission. In Westchester, Molly, with help from her Manhattan neighbors, continues her detecting work.

The latest Molly Murphy historical mystery is a delightful early twentieth century investigative tale starring the unsinkable 5-6 months pregnant protagonist at her courageous best. Readers will feel the sweltering heat of the city compounded by the tenements and the relatively cooler burb to the north. Action-packed, fans will enjoy aptly titled The Family Way.

The Day Is Dark
Yrsa Sigurdardottir, author
Philip Roughton, translator
9781250029409, $15.99

Kaupthing Bank head of security Matthew Reich hires his lover Reykjavik lawyer Thora Gudmunstdottir to assist him in investigating occurrences at a mining camp in the Greenland tundra though to escape her adult children and grandchild she planned on the Caribbean. Accompanying Matthew and Thora on her trek to the frozen island is her dreadful office secretary Bella and scientists.

The geologists and support personnel disappeared and are presumed dead; no one else wants to work at a place considered haunted by the malevolent Tupilak; as besides the current vanishing, Danish colonists also disappeared without a trace in 1918. Thora is to learn what happened to the present day missing crew. The local Inuit population resent the latest visitors as outsiders have polluted their formerly pristine land. Thora looks closely at the Inuit struggling between a heritage that is teetering on the brink of generational extinction and the intrusion of modernization; symbolized by Igmaq the hunter, whose son prefers modern day beer and his favorite husky like him becoming too old to remain the leader of the pack.

The latest Thora Gudmundsdottir tale (see Ashes to Dust, Last Rituals and My Soul To Take) is a fabulous chilling (literally and figuratively) thunder on the tundra thriller. The leisurely - paced storyline looks close at the war between cultural tradition and unique modernizing assimilation. Although having an Icelandic grandmotherly lawyer on the investigative team and an incompetent legal secretary (brought along for comic relief) seem unlikely, fans will enjoy this engaging thought-provoking mystery.

Shadows and Strongholds
Elizabeth Chadwick
Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139
Naperville, IL 60563
9781402274596, $14.99,

In 1148 at St. Peter's Fair in Shrewsbury, a noble's spare ten year old Brunin FitzWarin wanders alone as his father's searjeant is distracted by a buxom. He takes a beating from the squires of his father's enemy Gilbert de Lacy. Learning of his second son's battering, Lord of Whittington and Alburbury Castles and numerous other estates, Brunin's irate dad Fulke wants to avenge this insult as the bullies used a knife, but his friend and trading partner Joscelin de Dinan says he will mentor Brunin at Ludlow Castle.

Joscelin's wife Sybilla welcomes the lad, setting an example of kindness for others to emulate like her daughters. Brunin and one of the hosts' offspring Hawise become friends. Over the years the lad proves adept at war and recognizing talent in others like his wife Hawise who he wed in a marriage of political expediency between friends and lovers. As the Civil War engulfs Wales, Brunin becomes the Lord FitzWarin.

This prequel to Lords of the White Castle is a strong medieval romance starring a powerful cast especially the lead couple, their families and their enemies. Using real persona, Elizabeth Chadwick brings to life the Shadows and Strongholds at a dangerous time when the innocent die while Stephen and Matilda vie for the throne.

A Shot of Sultry
Macy Beckett
9781402270390, $6.99

Documentary filmmaker Bobbi Gallagher fled Los Angeles for her hometown of Sultry Springs, Texas when her latest project fell apart due to the lies of a friend she trusted. With her reputation and consequently her career destroyed, she earns a miserable living videotaping weddings, but has a concept to make it back. Her plan is to launch Sex in the Sticks hoping Trey Lewis, a close friend of her older half-brother Luke (see of Sultry with a Twist), and Sheriff Colt Bea will agree to star as the sexy male hicks.

Trey seeks a second chance to overcome his dishonorable discharge by proving his innocence especially to his estrange disappointed parents. He accepts a two year security position in Dubai. When Bobbi enters Luke's bar, Trey assumes she is another low life. To his shock, instead she is Luke's sibling as he never knew his pal had a sister. Though he is not a kiss and tell red neck, Trey agrees to do the show because he knows this is the female he plans to have sex with; if he can ever get Bobby from being the camera.

The return to Sultry Springs will elate fans of contemporary romance as Bobbi and Trey bring serious backstories (his military experience and her nasty childhood) to their relationship; while the support cast (the townsfolk and her crew- the blue haired Asian and Scooby's Shaggy) add mostly humor to the mix. Breezy, readers will enjoy the escapades of the filmmaker and the rural hunk.

Free Fall
Catherine Mann
9781402274961, $6.99

On the Horn of Africa, Interpol agent Stella Carson and Air Force pararescueman Jose "Cuervo" James meet while on an antipiracy mission. The attraction is hotter than the tropics, but a disappointed Stella leaves when she wants much more than just hot sex with their relationship while Jose cannot overcome his emotionally crippling nasty childhood.

In East Africa, terrorists capture an undercover Stella and other prisoners. Jose and his teammates parachute into the dangerous zone to rescue the hostages. As the adversaries pursue them, the multi-force rescue team lead a race to safety across the jungle while also needing to prevent a terrorist attack on the American embassy. The desire between Stella and Jose turns into love, but decisions about their relationship remains in the future as their feelings must not impede mission accomplished.

The latest Elite Force: That Others May Live romantic thriller (see Under Fire and Hot Zone) is a terrific tale due to the growing love between the protagonists staying in the background though readers will feel the need as the mission comes first. In fact, much of the romantic subplot is told in flashbacks to their first encounter and with Jose's fears of turning back to alcohol if something happens to Stella. Although the storyline follows the most obvious path fans will enjoy the rousing "rumble in the jungle."

Earth Girl
Janet Edwards
59 John Glenn Drive
Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616147655, $17.95,

By 2788 one out of a thousand earthlings are unable to use the portals to travel to other planets. Those immune system challenged one tenth per-centers are considered handicapped as they are Planet One-bound.

The parents abandoned newborn Jarra because her handicap meant she could not live away from earth; so they dumped her there. Now eighteen years old, Jarra, tired of the inane prejudicial Neanderthal ape jokes and a lover of history, plans to prove her worthiness. She masquerades as a normal offspring of a military family from a different portal than that used by her biological parents and becomes a student of University Asgard where she meets Fian. During an archeological dig in what was once Manhattan, a twentieth century skyscraper collapses on a research team; the most experienced on excavations, Jarra becomes a key rescuer. A solar storm forces an earth evacuation that would prove fatal to the abnormal, but instead those orbiting make their first earth landing in six centuries with Jarra key to their staying alive.

Earth Girl is an entertaining futuristic science fiction thriller that focuses on a brave heroine trying to prove to the majority that society thrives when everyone is welcomed inside the tent; prejudice harms more than just the obvious recipients. Obstinate and steadfast, Jarra is an engaging teen as she makes a case that an Earth Girl ape can do much of what the Norms do; in many cases better.

The Lady Of The House
Katherine Elberfeld
Fithian Press
c/o Daniel & Daniel Publishers
PO Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519
9781564745385, $14.00,

In Georgia without a warning, fifty-six year old Pearce died from a cerebral hemorrhage. His stunned Widow Annie, four years his junior, buried her husband today even while expecting him to arrive for his funeral. Their son Jimmy takes care of his shocked older sister Maggie; while both offspring try to help their grieving mom as death of the family patriarch was the furthest from the minds from Pearce's loved ones.

Annie looks back at her life to the events and key people who nurtured her into who she is today. She thinks of growing up on the orange clay of Georgia with her brother Cat and later when he married his wife Lily. Her reflections of her past have her musing over her parents and grandmother, and the love of her youth Danny who she dumped. Finally, Annie considers the impact of her oldest offspring as she knows she must move on, but cannot grasp why Pearce's death leaves her feeling alone.

Making a case that grief is customized; Katherine Elberfeld provides a deep drama of a widow struggling to cope with perhaps the greatest change in her life when her long time spouse suddenly dies. With a nod to Reflections on My Life by Marmalade, although the ending seems too soft a landing, readers will sympathize with the grieving widow as she profoundly believes the present is "the changing of sunlight to moonlight" and the future only will be "sad tomorrows" so she goes home to reflect on her past.

Alizel's Song
Bill Pottle
Ellechor Publishing House
1915 NW Amberglen Parkway, Suite 400
Beaverton, OR 97006
9781937844882, $16.99,

Alizel the lowest Unranked angel muses over how fifteen billion years after the event, man stated: "In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth"; not relatively long after that, man called it the Big Bang though it was not big and there was no bang as there was no air. The mission-less angels, even the highest rank Seraphim Luciferel, was confused as to why He created another world besides Heaven. The official word from the Seraphim was to trust in the Father as all will soon be revealed.

Zebub the Virtue sadistically hurts Verin the Virtue in a duel until Cantos the desk keeper armorer, accompanied by a Principality and a Power, ends the match. An Irate Verin destroys Cantos and the Principality while Zebub does likewise to the Power. The vanished angels end in Containment; while their destroyers fly away free and witness Alizel cries for the first time not in joy. The first murder in Heaven is the genesis of a revolt. When the new realm includes an entity made in God's image, Luciferel takes over leading the rebellion against the Father. Not long afterward (in heavenly time), those angels ridding themselves of God's Energy forge a mission to destroy Man, who quickly abuses free will to commit sin.

Alizel's Song is a deep "memoir" as Bill Pottle provides a superb retelling of Genesis and much more. Fast-paced, this profound biblical thriller grips the reader from the onset with all the angels, even those that remain loyal, in shock with what the Father has wrought. The unranked angel escorts the audience on a tour of Heaven while describing key events in those early days as Big Bang scientific theory converges with Creationism.

The Guilty One
Lisa Ballantyne
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-5299
9780062195517, $14.99,

In London, the Islington Police arrests eleven year old Sebastian Croll for the beating death of his neighbor eight year old Ben Stokes in Barnard Park. Juvenile law solicitor Daniel Hunter defends the accused youth.

To mount a reasonable defense, Daniel investigates Sebastian's life, which increasingly reminds the lawyer of his own troubled past as the child of a drug addicted single mom, which led to foster care until Minnie Flynn took him. Sebastian loves and hates Minnie Flynn who saved his life but also he believes destroyed his soul.

This is an exciting psychological legal procedural as readers wonder whether Daniel's childhood prevents him from truly seeing Sebastian the violent monster or enables him to see Sebastian the hurting tweener. Though the numerous support cast can be overwhelming and the trial climax interrupted by the past, rotating between the solicitor's salad days with Minnie and the present day trial, fans will appreciate the blending of a psychological thriller with a British legal procedural. Daniel, Minnie and Sebastian put a face on government austerity lock them up and throw away the key mentality.

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire
Abigail Gibbs
9780062248732, $14.99

Seventeen year old Violet Lee knows being alone at one in the morning in Trafalgar Square is not a smart move, but clubbing with her BFF Ruby felt wrong after Joel. Violet soon knows there is something worse than being alone at one in the morning in Trafalgar Square when over thirty males with sharpened canes and something else arrive. Prince Kasper Karn kills Claude Pierre, the leader of the thirty men; he and five other teens slaughter the rest of Clan Pierre's hunters in a flash. Though in the shadows and at a distance beyond normal hearing, Kasper hears Violet whisper jerk; he takes her prisoner though he cannot fathom why he abducts this human Girly instead of either killing or ignoring her.

Kasper gives Girly a choice to either convert from Human to vampire or remain his guest indefinitely until they kill her as her kind can never go back. However complicating matters for His Highness is when he learns who her powerful father is; as murdering Violet is no longer an option if a cross-species war is to be avoided as her dad knows of the existence of his kind.

This is an exhilarating young adult paranormal romance in which the vampire brood is closer to Stoker's vision than that of Meyer's. Violet seems insensitive as her stomach never reacts to the blood and gore, and too strong as she never soils her panties upon learning what kidnapped her. Still readers will root for her to come out on top especially against the prince of abusive arrogance.

I'll Stand By You
Wayne Jordon
Harlequin Kimani
c/o Harlequin Books
225 Duncan Mill Road
Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, M3B 3K9
9780373862993, $6.25,

The Harrison sisters were children when their parents went to heaven and they were separated but not before pledging to one day be reunited. One of the siblings Eboni became adopted by the Wynter family to include three overly protective brothers.

Now a firefighter on leave, Eboni begins her search for the oldest Aaliyah and the two youngest Keisha and Cyndi. In a condo in Manhattan, Eboni meets Darren Grayson at the pool when he takes down his swimming suit in front of her. She thinks he is a pervert while he thinks he may have found the woman to help him believe in happily ever after for even a reformed former player. As they fall in love, the realtor conceals the facts that he is a divorcee with a child Kenya raised by his mom. Though she accepts his help on her sibling quest, Eboni no longer trusts Darren as she wonders what else of significance he hides from her.

Known for his beautiful Barbados tales (see the Knight saga and To Love You More), Wayne Jordon provides a strong Manhattan romance starring a woman with a mission and a man who may have her love, but has a mission to regain her trust. The character-driven storyline is filled with angst as readers will feel Eboni's obsessive need though raised in love by the Wynter clan. Although Kenya is too precocious, readers will appreciate this delightful contemporary, which implies future Harrison stories to come.

Wicked Kiss
Michelle Rowen
Harlequin Teen
9780373210640, $9.99

In Trinity, New York teenager Samantha still seeks Stephen the Gray who stole her soul with his Dark Kiss turning her into the Gray Girl. At the same time Sam joined the Nightwatchers of angels (Bishop, Zach and Connor) and demons (Kraven and Roth) struggling to prevent the evil Gray Natalie deployed from destroying Trinity. Sam also needs to understand why the brothers from opposite poles Bishop and Kraven loathe each other. Cassandra the angel joins the Nightwatchers to Sam's jealous chagrin as the newcomer and Bishop seem to hit off.

Deciding she is in the way with her hunger for soul gathering growing out of control, Sam leaves on a solo quest to regain her stolen soul. On her trek, further complicating Sam's equilibrium is when she runs into the high school queen of mean Stephen's ex-girlfriend Jordan who blames the Gray Girl for her losing her boyfriend. They team up to investigate a string of recent suicides, but conclude the Grays are not the cause but something as insidious.

The second Nightwatchers teen urban fantasy is an enjoyable thriller that explores the meanings of good and evil through the actions and thoughts of the fully developed team. The angst is cranked to high as several players show their immaturity by hiding key information until sh*t soils their underwear and too many Hail Mary miracles occur. Still Wicked Kiss is an exciting refreshing angels and demons thriller.

Mountain Echoes
C.E. Murphy
Harlequin Luna
9780373803514, $14.95

Shaman Joanne Walker still grieves the loss of her estranged mother when FBI Agent Sara Isaac tells her that her dad vanished in the mountains of the Cherokee Qualla Reservation in North Carolina. She flies from her mom's funeral in Ireland where she was called Siobhan Walkingstick (see Raven Calls) and drives from Atlanta to a place she vowed never to return when she left as Joanne Walkingstick a decade ago. As Joanne heads to the mountains, she wonders how she will cope when she meets her son Aidan who she left behind to reside there with his adoptive family.

Upon reaching her destination, Joanne learns that Aidan's biological father Lucas has also disappeared and even the Elders have not prevented the malevolence from growing. As she begins her search, Joanne prefers not use her shaman skills but fears she has no choice as increasingly she concludes an evil has assaulted the Appalachians leaving the great chain weeping in pain as only a select few like Joanne can hear. Soon after her unwelcome arrival, Joanne's former boss at Seattle PD and now love interest Captain Mike Morrison arrives.

The latest Walker Papers (see Demon Hunts and Spirit Dances) is another great entry as the heroine learns you can go home to face your past. Fast-paced, and perhaps the most complicated tale in this super series, fans will relish the Urban Shaman returning to her native roots that she fled almost ten years ago to fight an evil using time as a weapon of mass destruction.

Anything For Her
Janice Kay Johnson
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373718368, $5.50

All Sean had from his family was his great-great grandma's unfinished quilt. When his last known relative died, he was placed in a nightmarish foster care home. Now he is with stone worker Nolan Radek who struggles to earn his foster son's trust.

With Sean's permission, Nolan takes the quilt to shopkeeper Allie Wright to ask her if she can finish the lad's heirloom. She agrees to complete the quilt and also accepts a date with Nolan as both are instantly attracted to one another. As they fall in love, Nolan knows she conceals something from him that leads him to distrust her veracity as he knows firsthand betrayal by loved ones.

Aptly titled as the lead male must decide between dumping his beloved or accepting Anything for Her, this is an engaging contemporary romance starring two fully developed protagonists and a vulnerable child. Fast-paced for most of the entertaining storyline, the plot slows down once the audience learns Allie's secret. Janice Kay Johnson provides fans with a fine drama.

Back Where She Belongs
Dawn Atkins
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373718412, $5.50

The car accident left her father dead and her beloved older sister Faye in the hospital comatose. Business consultant Tara Wharton left a meeting in San Francisco to come home to hold her sister's hand just like Faye used to do when they were kids. Adding to her fears is something felt wrong with how Faye's husband Joseph Banes, CFO and number three person at Wharton Electronics (after his wife and father-on-law) told her the bad news.

She and her high school boyfriend Dylan Ryland reconnect though she never forgot how he chose his father's company over attending college with Tara and that their families were at war back then and remain hostile. The pair looks into the fatal accident even as each knows they still love the one that got away.

This is a strong family drama with a deep mystery enhancing the business rivalry and the romance. Fast-paced from the opening heart wrenching scene of the siblings at the hospital, fans will wonder what happened as Dawn Atkins provides a terrific contemporary in which the heroine learns you can go home if love greets you.

Maybe This Time
Joan Kilby
Harlequin SuperRomance
9780373718399, $5.50

Two years ago in Melbourne, Australia little Holly dies in an accident. Her grieving parents Emma and Darcy Lewis are filled with guilt over their baby's death; leading to their marriage dissolving.

Encouraged by his two best friends to take some R&R after nonstop work since the traumatic tragedy, Darcy goes on a singles cruise where he runs into Emma. Still deeply in love with each other and in spite of their remorse, the couple succumbs to the attraction and shares a night of sex. Emma becomes pregnant and plans to raise her child alone as Darcy never believed he was a good father to Holly. However, after giving birth to Billy, Emma becomes ill. Darcy must step to the plate and take care of his beloved ex-wife and his cherished infant though he never did so with Holly.

This is a deeply emotional second chance at family contemporary drama. Putting aside the odds of the lead couple going on the same cruise, readers will root for the fully developed lead couple and their newborn to make it as a family.

Driving Her Crazy
Amy Andrews
Harlequin KISS
9780373207091, $4.99

In Sydney, photojournalist Kent Nelson shocks Sunday On My Mind magazine editor Tabitha Fox when he informs her he would like to drive a few thousand kilometers across Australia to take photos. Tabitha believes the freelancer has not taken a picture since the accident in Afghanistan. Still she agrees to the Outback photos and a feature on renowned artist Leonard Pinto whose nudes of ballet dancers are considered national treasures; the catch being the recluse demands journalist Sadie Bliss be included in his exclusive though the editor cannot explain why he wants this rookie.

Neither Kent nor Sadie wants three days on the road with their new companion. He thinks she is a curvy green groupie while she thinks he is a pretentious brooding hunk. As they cross the continent, the dysfunctional couple share lust that soon turns into love, but neither trusts the other. Sadie knows her road buddy hides something that shattered his equilibrium though she conjectures that it ties to his work; while Kent wants to know what her relationship with Pinto is that she hides from him though he conjectures what that must have been.

Driving Her (and him) Crazy is a fabulous amusing Australian romance that deftly uses the Outback as a wonderful backdrop. The protagonists with their flaws and fears, and the support cast (including the Outback) are fully developed as Amy Andrews provides a fun road trip with serious undertones.

Crash Landing
Lori Wilde
Harlequin Blaze
9780373797493, $4.99

Working a business deal, affluent Gibb Martin is at Bosque de los Dioses in an isolated area of Costa Rica that can only be reached by bush plane as the nearest village to the resort Monteverde is twenty-five miles away. However, he stops his efforts near the volcanic mountain range Cordillera of Tilaran when his best friend and partner on the venture Scott Everly tells him he will not be involved in the Coast Rican enterprise because he is getting married in Key West.

Stunned, Gibb needs to reach Florida to prevent his buddy from doing something stupid. He hires local pilot Sophia Cruz to fly him immediately to Key West. Although she would prefer to tell Slick City Boy in his suit to pound volcanic ash, she needs the money so agrees to take him to the Keys. However, when they crash on a deserted island, he finds himself musing over the happiest times in his life (all before becoming a wealthy business mogul) and being with Sophia has moved to numero uno even as spider monkeys bomb them with fruits and orchid thieves invade their interlude.

The third Stop the Wedding! contemporary romance is a fun zany tale starring opposites (laidback mellow and hard charging obsessed) falling in love. Although the premise is identical to the previous entries, readers will enjoy the madcap by air effort to prevent the Birchard-Everly nuptials from happening after the by sea (see Smooth Sailing) and by land (see Night Driving) attempts.

With All My Soul
Rachel Vincent
Harlequin Teen
9780373210664, $9.99

Avarice the hellion knows he has time on his side as he seeks Kaylee Cavanaugh by assaulting her loved ones. Kaylee struggles not to break but is under pressure because she knows she is the cause of what is happening to her friends, family and her high school. She considers giving up especially when her adversary abetted by his allies (Envy and Vanity) murders her BFF Emma.

Instead, Kaylee and Emma attend the latter's funeral as the former found a body to host her friend's soul. When Avarice attacks another of her loved ones, filled with out of control rage, Kaylee vows no more. Feeling locked in by her anger, she plans to take the war to the enemy even if it results in her final death as she expects will occur especially after encountering the last essence she wants to meet at this critical moment.

This is a terrific finish to the action-packed Soul Screamers third urban fantasy trilogy (see If I Die and Before I Wake); as the irate heroine decides with all her soul to go after her adversaries though she needs to let go of her current avenging attitude to calmly plan a counterattack. Although the storyline opens up a bit choppy, fans will enjoy the climax as Kaylee learns you can't save everyone but will risk her existence to insure as many of her loved ones are safe.

Royal Rescue
Lisa Childs
Harlequin Intrigue
9780373696840, $5.50

Over three years ago, Josie Jessup, heir to a media conglomerate, died. Pregnant she actually went into the Witness Protection Program after what she saw in Chicago to avoid her lover Brendan O'Hannigan, the son of a gangster. Now as a single mom JJ Brandt raising her son Charlie, she learns of the assault on her father Stanley.

With her U.S. Marshal handler Charlotte Green gone (see The Princess Predicament), Josie, knowing the risk and consulting with no one, visits her dad at the hospital. FBI Agent Brendan O'Hannigan is shocked to find her alive and that he sired a child. However, his American Princess is unaware that her father's attack was a means to get her to come out of hiding. Only Brendan, whose peers and beloved distrust him, vows to keep her safe while concealing his full agendas from everyone; as he reciprocates their distrust.

The latest Royal Bodyguards (see Protecting the Pregnant Princess), Royal Rescue, is a fabulous twisting romantic suspense starring two protagonists who prove love is not enough to forge a passionate relationship. Action-packed from the moment the heroine steps out of the shadows, fans will appreciate Lisa Child's terrific thriller.

Star Witness
Mallory Kane
Harlequin Intrigue
9780373696833, $5.50

Law enforcement believes Hasty Mart convenient stores owner and importer Ernest Yeoman violently murdered Congressman Freeman Canto in order to prevent an increase tariff on imports and greater security at the Port of New Orleans. Freeman's granddaughter Danielle Canto witnessed her grandfather's homicide.

Prosecutor Harte Delancey is assigned keeping the attorney safe from Yeoman. As a hurricane bears down on the pair, each knows they are isolated from outside help. Danielle, whose storm phobia has paralyzed her in the past, finds with Harte at her side she can cope. As killers stalk the duet and trusting no one in law enforcement, the prosecutor's office or even the US Senate and with his family out of reach, Harte and Danielle rely on themselves to survive the tsunami that targets them.

The latest Delancey Dynasty (see Private Security and Death if a Beauty Queen) is a great romantic suspense that showcases the consistently high quality novels by Mallory Kane. Fast-paced from the onset and never slowing down, readers will relish the perilous adventures of two wonderful heroes.

The Rule-Breaker
Rhonda Nelson
Harlequin Blaze
9780373797479, $4.99

In Mosul, Army Ranger Micah Holland commits suicide after watching the enemy sends pregnant women with explosives strapped on them to enter a hospital. Captain Eli Weston watches his best friend die.

Eight months later, a still haunted Eli heads to Micah's hometown of Willow Haven, Kentucky for a memorial service, he does not want to attend as he concealed the truth about how his buddy died. Still for Micah and his loved ones, Eli attends the dedication. Eli also fears seeing Micah's former fiance Shelby Monroe after they shared a kiss that never should have happened while also shaking their souls. Eli's plan is to avoid Shelby as he has enough guilt from that kiss. However, Shelby knows the truth as to what happened to Micah in Iraq as someone else told her with accusatory letters blaming her for her ex killing himself.

This Uniformly Hot! military romance (see Letters from Home) focuses on the aftermath of a soldier taking his own life after witnessing inhumane horror; soldier and veteran suicides are major problems for society (not just the military). Character-driven with less heat than usual in a Blaze, readers will appreciate Rhonda Nelson's strong look at honoring a fallen brother in arms by hiding the truth from his family.

Her Man In Manhattan
Trish Wylie
Harlequin KISS
9780373207114, $4.99

NYPD Vice Detective Tyler Brannigan leads the daughter of Mayor Kravitz, Miranda, out of a club being raided by the cops as the tabloids would have a field day with her arrest. He fulfills his duty when he kisses her to keep two of his peers from taking her to a cell.

Miranda knows she must behave especially since her dad is considering a run for governor, but rebels over constantly being in the fishbowl and having no time of her own. To his chagrin, Brannigan is assigned personal protection duty of the brat when he prefers investigating major crimes. Though attracted to the cop especially after the kiss that also shook his core; Miranda has plans to elude her jailer through seduction; while he will use cuffs if needed to keep her grounded though his thoughts have better uses.

Her Man In Manhattan is a fast-paced bodyguard romance starring seemingly two opposites though both share in common rule-breaking; an asset they will need if the pair is to make it. With a nod to the movies First Daughter and Chasing Liberty, readers will enjoy this contemporary although Miranda acts more like an out of control teen than an adult.

First Time For Everything
Aimee Carson
Harlequin KISS
9780373207046, $4.99

Miami Assistant U.S. District Attorney Blake Bennington leaves the courthouse distracted wondering why he rejected the come-on of beautiful classy Sara. Not paying attention to where she is going, music therapist Jacqueline "Jax" Lee accidentally plows into Blake. She apologizes to the suit who thinks she barely is old enough to vote. Jax and others are arrested when they do a flash mob dance number at the courthouse in an effort to raise public awareness that The Teen Center's music program funding was severely cut.

She calls her law student friend Nikki Bennington, who asks her brother Blake to bail Jax out of jail. Blake hires downsized Jax to help his sibling as her live-in caretaker as Nikki wears a long leg cast. As Blake the contained one and Jax the free spirited one fall in love, both ponder the age old question of boxer vs. brief.

This is a humorous entertaining opposites attract romance starring two fully developed protagonists whose mutual lust has both of them reeling so each hides behind a war of the words. Although the key support cast (his mom and sister, and the Teen Center) never seems fully developed, readers will relish the gender combat between the suit and the free spirit.

The Taming Of A Wild Child
Kimberly Lang
Harlequin KISS
9780373207053, $4.99

In New Orleans, socialite Lorelei LaBlanc knows she has the reputation polar opposite to her sister Vivi; held in high esteem as a paragon of how the affluent should behave. As her sibling marries Connor Mansfield and about to on her honeymoon (see The Downfall of a Good Girl), Lorelei vows to change her well-deserved image of being the wild girl into a good girl.

The morning after her sister's wedding, Lorelei wakens with a horrific hangover and mortified that journalist Donovan St. James shares the bed with her. She thinks back to the tequila and its aftereffect as she cannot recall the tryst while he knows every inch of their coming together. As Lorelei muses in horror over the first day of her makeover with a tabloid reporter, she tells him no more, but instead the pair begins an affair. As they fall in love, Lorelei chooses her makeover image over her lover.

The second LeBlanc sister romance is a fun matching of a tabloid favorite and a tabloid reporter. Fast-paced from the moment Lorelei wakes up to realize she still is the wild child with her prime regret not knowing how good or bad it was. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted contemporary.

The Wolf's Surrender
Kendra Leigh Castle
Harlequin Nocturne
9780373885664, $5.50

The violent shifter stalks Mia D'Alessandro, who runs in fear knowing her attacker toys with her as entrepreneur Jeff Gaines already bit her once. Blackpaw werewolf Nick Jenner finds the frightened woman and takes her to the safety of his pack. However, he fears for Mia's well-being since the feral wolf already bit her, which means she could turn murderous if Gaines is not killed as Blackpaw assumes the rogue will not mentor her through her first shift.

However, Nick soon learns why Gaines wants Mia; the vile werewolf knows Mia is an Unseelie and wants her dark blood. Knowing how easily a shifter can turn malevolent from firsthand experience, Nick distrusts the female as Unseelie are dark essences though to his chagrin his guest has his heart palpitating at hyperspeed.

The Castle mythos makes for an enjoyable fast-paced werewolf romance. The lead triangle is fully developed with readers anticipating the confrontation between the good Nick, the potentially bad Mia and the ugly Jeff.

Keeper Of The Moon
Harley Jane Kozak
Harlequin Nocturne
9780373885657, $5.50

In Los Angeles, a serial killer targets Elven females by deliberately infecting them with the deadly scarlet pathogen. Among those carrying the death sentence in their blood is new named Keeper, Sailor Ann Gryffald.

She and shapeshifting club owner Declan Wainwright investigate the homicides while hiding how they feel about their partner from the other. Sailor has wanted Declan for seemingly ever, but assumed he did not reciprocate her desires as he showed no indication otherwise; likewise Declan did the same in spite of his long time attraction to her. However, as they team up to hunt down a lethal psychopath terrorizing the Elven populace and keep the Otherworld species from exploding in rage, the werewolf and the elf no longer conceal their attraction to one another.

The first Keepers L.A. is a thrilling action-packed romantic urban fantasy. Though the romance at times surpasses the hunt for the predator, the stars are a fascinating pairing of two individuals hiding their need for one another; but forced to work together, each confesses their feelings as lust turns to love.

Winning Back His Wife
Melissa McClone
Harlequin Romance
9780373178667, $5.75

The Oregon Search and Rescue volunteers save an injured climber on Mount Hood, but for Dr. Cullen Gray there is no time for R&R at his nearby home in Hood Hamlet. His soon to be ex-wife volcanologist Sarah Purcell is in critical condition in a Seattle trauma center after a blast of steam led to her being hit by rocks and tossed a significant distance while on the rim at Mount Baker.

Panicked he rushes to her side though he swears he can live without her. Upon seeing her in a comatose state, Cullen changes his vow to never leaving her side if god gives them a second chance. When Sarah regains consciousness, she is shocked to see her husband at her side. Each thinks how they married after only knowing one another for two days, but both placed their respective work ahead of their relationship; leading to their agreeing to an amiable divorce. Now he refuses to go as Cullen plans on Winning Back His Wife.

This is a strong second chance at love contemporary as a trauma awakens two workaholic protagonists as to what they almost lost by ignoring their relationship; their vocation came before each other. Cullen and Sarah are fully developed as neither can conceal how they feel from one another or the audience, but work still intrudes on their working through their reconciliation in Melissa McClone's super romance.

Beguiling the Boss
Joan Hohl
Harlequin Desire
9780373732289, $4.99

Affluent Jennifer Dunning does not need to work as her parents are wealthy and she is their only child. Still she earned an MBA and was personal assistant to the CEO of a large company. Tired of her incompetent boss, she quits her job; catching her father cheat with his best friend's wife leads to her leaving Dallas.

Jennifer accepts an office position working for reclusive business wizard Marshall Grainger at his ranch. She is stunned by her attraction to her boss as she distrusts men since Mr. Football All-American almost raped her in college and affirmed by her dad's philandering; in fact she never let any male stay with her overnight. Marshall explains other duties as assigned includes housekeeping and cooking, but is shocked by his desire for his new employee as he distrusts all women. He soon offers to change her job description to wife and mother as he deems her worthy, but he fails to add his heart into the mix.

This is an engaging warm ranch romance as the protagonists make a nice couple. Although the premise is not new, readers will enjoy this entertaining contemporary.

Cover Me
Joanna Wayne, Rita Herron and Mallory Kane
Harlequin Intrigue
9780373696741, $5.25

"Bayou Payback" by Joanna Wayne. Former NOPD narcotics officer Remy Comeaux returns to New Orleans, a place of tragedy since he lost his fiancee and reason for breathing Carlotta Worthington to Katrina. His quest is to end the corrupt reign of newly appointed Police Commissioner Lee Barnaby. However, Lee's girlfriend Katrina survivor Nicole Smith reminds Remy of Carlotta.

"Bayou Jeopardy" by Rita Herron. Several years have passed since Katrina, but ex-city Police Detective Mack Rivet has just returned to New Orleans for the first since the flood killed his wife Lily and son Winston, and someone with influence had him arrested on phony charges. However he is unprepared for the shocker that his wife and a son he never met are alive. Mack considers three corrupt individuals (his father-in-law Melvin Landry, Mayor Barrow and lawyer Tate Manning) as the only suspects setting him up as each had much to gain with his removal from the scene.

"Bayou Justice" by Mallory Kane. Eight years ago, FBI agent Ray Storm went undercover in New Orleans to bring down corrupt politician Martin Hennessy for taking funds earmarked to fix the levees. Ray used Martin's innocent sister Molly to get evidence against the Louisiana Disaster Avoidance Task Force Chief. However, Katrina destroyed the proof. Now Ray is back in town and needs the woman he used and abandoned to bring down her sibling, who is running for governor.

Eight years ago Katrina enabled the corrupt to win on the backs of desperate citizens and caring honest cops trying to help the people. Now these dedicated law enforcement officials are back in these exciting three tales of romantic suspense.

The Princess Predicament
Lisa Childs
Harlequin Intrigue
9780373696772, $5.25

Her father King St. Pierre announced at a ball that his daughter Princess Gabriella will wed in a political arrangement. However, an angry Gabriella ends up pregnant after making love with her sire's bodyguard Whit Howell. Not long afterward, Gabriella vanished in Paris; Whit blamed himself for his indiscretion and vowed to find her Royal Princess.

Six months since she disappeared, Whit locates Gabriella living in poor conditions while working at an orphanage and loving every minute. When an attempted abduction occurs, Whit intervenes. He wants to escort her home, but wonders whether the rival fiance princes, a royal cousin or Whit's former partner targets pregnant Gabriella, a woman he loves and would die to keep safe.

The latest Royal Bodyguards romantic suspense is an engaging thriller that builds from the previous tale Protecting the Pregnant Princess. Although the premise is not new (see Roman Holiday), The Princess Predicament is an enjoyable sequel with a nice added twist involving bodyguard Charlotte Greene.

The Baby Jackpot
Jacqueline Diamond
Harlequin American
9780373754472, $5.25

Following her divorce from Raditch, Safe Harbor Medical Center Nurse Stacy Layne donates her eggs to a needy couple The Barkers. However on her twenty-eighth birthday, Stacy believing she is having her period and intoxicated Dr. Cole Rattigan share a night of intimacy. She learns a side effect of egg donation hormonal therapy is a higher fertility probability as she becomes pregnant carrying triplets.

Cole will do anything for her and their offspring even offering to marry her, but Stacy declines. Having her marriage detonate leaves Stacy believing their children need a home filled with love; an action neither parents wants to do but each wonders if the children will be better off with other people raising them.

The latest Safe Harbor Medical Center romance (see The Baby Dilemma) is an enjoyable baby makes five tale though the premise has been used before (see The Detective's Accidental Baby) made shakier by professionals having unprotected sex. Still, readers will enjoy returning to Safe Harbor, California where unborn triplets prove to be adept matchmakers.

The Libertine
Saskia Walker
Harlequin HQN
9780373777396, $14.95

In 1715 Chloris Keavey desperately needs to produce the heir soonest or her ruthless spouse Gavin Meldrum will kick her out of their Edinburgh home. Maura Dumbar sends Chloris to Saint Andrews to seek a fertility spell from coven leader Lennox Taskill. The witches are fearful as Maura works for their influential enemy council member Tamhas Keavey.

To his chagrin as he loathes humanity for burning his mother at the stakes, Lennox is attracted to his newest client. She feels the same way about the powerful witch. As they begin a tryst, Tamhas decides he will sleep with the married cheating woman who has sold her soul to the devil. To eliminate his rival, Tamhas proclaims Lennox a witch deserving the fate of his mother.

This is an exciting, enticing eighteenth century erotica paranormal romance. The storyline contains intriguing relationships with Chloris as the foci of three competing males (the good, the bad and the ugly). Although sex rules the heated storyline, fans will enjoy Saskia Walker's return to 1715 Scottish love and witchcraft (see The Harlot).

Beauty Awakened
Gena Showalter
Harlequin HQN
9780373777433, $7.99

His beautiful cold Mommy Cornelia hated him and sliced off his wings as a small boy before sending seven year old Koldo to live and preferably die with his even eviler father. He survived his father's torture though psychology Koldo is damaged due to parental loathing and abuse. Koldo joined the on probation Angels of the Dark army led by Commander Zacharel (see Wicked Nights) whose brutal combat against demons has led to human collateral damage.

Koldo meets twins Nicola and Laila Lane while on an operation. Each sister suffers from chronic heart conditions with Laila dying; both also have been used as sustenance by demons. When Nicola has a concussion, she begins to see demons. Her only hope for her and her sibling to survive resides with the wingless avenging angel Koldo who she finds overwhelmingly attractive.

The second Angels of the Dark romantic urban fantasy contains refreshing unique romance as the embittered lead male (Freud would have had wet dreams fulfilled with Koldo as a patient) is the virginal one though their tryst comes across somewhat limpid. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment readers meet young Koldo and never slows down as this offshoot of the Lords of the Underworld saga provides fans with a grim exciting thriller starring a traumatized male whose heart was pulverized when his wings were clipped.

Bungalow Nights
Christie Ridgeway
Harlequin HQN
9780373777457, $7.99

In Afghanistan dying Colonel Samuel Parker tells combat medic Vance Smith what he wanted to do with his little daughter Layla when he returns to the States. He shows Vance a picture of a little girl and makes him give a deathbed vow to fulfill his helmet list.

His cousin Baxter hires childhood neighbor Addy March to serve as a nanny when Vance takes young Layla to the beach at Crescent Cove, California for a month. However, the only problem with sharing Beach House No. 9 is that cute little Layla is a beautiful twentyish woman. Both feels the heat of attraction, but the late colonel stands between them; as Vance believes a fling would betray his vow and Layla being a military brat learned to control her emotions and fears the medic will open the floodgates of grieving the death of her father.

The second Crescent Cove summer romance (see Beach House No. 9) is an engaging tale starring two nice people brought together by her deceased father. Although the set-up seems highly unlikely, readers who ignore Vance's misconceptions will enjoy this warm love story as the protagonists learn families matter.

Forbidden Sister
V.C. Andrews
Gallery Books
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781439155059, $7.99,

In New York City, when compliant Emmie Wilcox was six years old, her martinet Papa threw out her rebellious older sister fifteen year old Roxy for breaking his rigid rules. Over the next few years, Papa cleansed any evidence that he had an older daughter and raged whenever her French Mama mentioned the forbidden name of Roxy. Emmie even concluded she goes to a strict private school as a reaction to Roxy's rebellion.

With her parents' unaware and accompanied by her best friend Chastity Morgan, Emmie begins to follow the mystical Roxy who the BFFs see escorting various men. When Papa and Mama die, Roxy becomes Emmie's guardian. As both struggle with their loss and coming together for the first time in a decade, Roxy's escort service causes issues for the student; and M's arrival at the escort's business leads to danger. However both venues begin bringing two sisters coming together trying to do what is right for each other.

Forbidden Sister is a deep family drama in which both siblings are fully developed and through their respective filters so are their parents. Character driven, readers will enjoy this discerning relationship tale filled with plausible surprises.

Threads of Hope
Christa Allen
Abingdon Press
PO Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
9781426752667, $12.99,

In Houston, Trend's magazine reporter Nina O'Malley is angry and disappointed when the Senior Editor position in New York that she thought she earned went to Janie Bettencourt. To add to the insult, Nina's boyfriend photographer Brady Lambert is going with Janie. Finally she receives the biggest blow when she is assigned reporting a charity marshmallow, a benefit for the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

However, though her ego took a beating, Nina decides to prove she deserved Manhattan by covering the charity gala by reporting on real people. This leads her to widower veterinarian Greg Hernandez, who attended high school and treated her with disdain as he was an upper elite jock and she was a lower class geek. Greg introduces her to his adoptive HIV-positive Ethiopian daughter Jazarah. As Nina interviews the Quilters, she realizes each has faith in the Lord as does Greg; a belief she lacks.

The latest Quilts of Love drama (see Path of Freedom by Jennifer Hudson Taylor, A Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer AlLee and Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane) starts off like the Hallmark movie Naughty or Nice but quickly turns to an inspirational tale. The support cast is strong as readers obtain a firsthand look at the devastation of AIDS on families. However, the relationship between the protagonists never quite gels. Still fans of the series will appreciate Nina following Threads of Hope as she journeys from self-indulged egomaniac to loving believer.

Warren Fahy
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765333292, $24.99,

In 1917 at Corrective Camp 479 in the Kaziristani Mountains, guard Taras Demochev bullies the expendable Zek inmates into digging underground inside caverns when allegedly leaches attack. Six hours later, inspectors find one human part, Taras' hand before poring cement in the tunnel.

In the present Pacific, zoologist Thatcher Redmond lies dead on a raft holding an empty jar that had been filled with fauna he took from recently nuked Henders Island. Crab-boat Captain Tezuka sends three sailors to check strange looking fauna when bugs kill two of them; the third returns with a captured specimen.

Russian tycoon Maxim Dragolovich modernizes Stalin's underground bunker city Pobedograd. However, something kills his workers preventing the activation of the geothermal power plant. Dragolovich offers four million to recently married biologists Nell and Geoffrey Binswanger to change their honeymoon from Hawaii to the Kaziristani Mountains in order for them to identify the species residing in an unknown underground ecosystem filled with exotic fauna and flora. After barely surviving Henders Island along with Andy Beasley and five alien Hendros (see Fragment), the biologists have doubts, but come anyway. In Russia, the pair's Henders Island copper-based horrors and much worse in the subterranean lake await to greet them.

The second ecosystem thriller is a terrific SF tale with an underlying horror premise of the creatures from within invading the surface (reminded me of the three versions of The Thing). The key is the use real science to support the concept of a thriving ecosystem beneath the surface. Fast-paced from the frightening 1917 scenario until the vast present day military operation, readers will enjoy Warren Fahy's latest adventure into a unique nightmarish landscape filled with gruesome predators.

Night Moves
Randy Wayne White
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399158124, $26.99,

In Florida, Doc Ford and his friends Tomlinson and Dan Futch find clues that lead them to believe they can locate the legendary five missing bombers that vanished in late 1945. A pilot, Dan flies them over the remote area where they believe the planes crashed. However, their plane fails forcing an emergency landing.

The trio quickly concludes their crash was caused by sabotage as someone wants them dead. All three have enemies with Tomlinson the most likely target due to his dispute with a Haitian drug kingpin and Tomlinson's companions are considered acceptable collateral damage. Although Dan's foe is unlikely a killer rather than a sport's rival, Doc's black ops work as a hired gun or his marine biologist environmental stands on Sanibel Island's Dinkin's Bay could be the motive. Several more near deadly incidents occurs as Doc and his friends plan a counter attack.

The latest Doc Ford thriller is an engaging tale as someone tries to kill Doc and company. The storyline starts with a fabulous exciting opening; the search for the real lost Flight 19. I would have preferred Randy Wayne White stayed with this premise; as the plot loses momentum when the action becomes swamped with several other subplots including the attempted murder mystery and Doc's potential love life with Hannah Smith (see Gone). Still readers will enjoy this dangerous chess match with several suspects having powerful motives to kill Doc or Tomlinson.

Midnight Blue-Light Special
Seanan McGuire
c/o Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780756407926, $7.99,

Though generations of her family have studied the Cryptid population and kept these "monsters" safe from the humans and visa-versa, cryptozoologist Verity Price is not a chip off the DNA block as she prefers ballroom dancing. However, Verity still proves Price blood flows through her veins when she came to Manhattan to competitively dance only to get sidetracked with the family vocation due to the snake cult (see Discount Armageddon). Still her recent caper led her to meet her maybe boyfriend Dominic De Luca although it is a star-crossed relationship as he is a monster-hunter for her family's enemy the Covenant of St. George.

Dominic warns Verity that his bosses are coming to New York to inspect the progress he made in species cleansing and to finish the eradication of the Cryptid species from Manhattan. Putting aside her love of dance, Verity needs to prevent a bloodbath by concealing the monsters from the hunters including a traitorous blood relative seeking vengeance.

The superb second InCryptid urban fantasy is an incredibly fast-paced New York tale that except for an intrusive sidebar involving a psychic cousin never slows down as monsters, protectors, hunters and collateral damage humans converge for a Manhattan Midnight Blue-Light Special. Verity adds humor with her asides as she tries to keep a bloodbath from overwhelming the city. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this faster than the speed of light thriller.

The Children of Kings
Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah Ross
9780756407971, $24.95

Mentored by his renowned grandmother Linea Storn-Hastur, the Keeper of Comyn Tower, Prince Gareth Elhalyn fears he will never live up to the accomplishments of his teacher or his famous grandfather Regis Hastur. However, his biggest worry comes from his concern that his inheritance is the legendary Elhalyn insanity.

Dreaming of freedom, he talks with his grandmother who encourages him to travel as a trader. Gareth heads to the feral Dry Towns where few will recognize a powerful Comyn lord. As a trader in Cathon, Gareth hears rumors of Dry Towners beyond Shainsa armed with Compact forbidden deadly Terran blasters. Gareth knows this is plausible even though the Terran Federation withdrew from their planet after a bloody interstellar war (see THE ALTON GIFT); as the outsiders considers the lost colony part of their empire and will arm enemies of the ruling party. He also concludes his mission is to verify this at a risk to his life as he heads to the most dangerous area of the most outlawed sector on Darkover; Dry Towners never pledged adherence to the Compact or the laran Comyn Lords.

The Children of Kings is a fresh Darkover tale due to the protagonist's venture into a rarely mentioned location (see The Shattered Chain by the late Marion Zimmer Bradley) as the Dry Towns and their residents want nothing to do with the Comyn lords. Gareth is a terrific though somewhat typical Darkover hero as he struggles with his fears going insane while trying to learn the truth and if substantiated to find a way to prevent a deadly disaster. Darkover fans will relish Deborah Ross' strong saga into a lawless lethal land.

A Turn of Light
Julie E. Czerneda
9780756407070, $20.00

Marrowdell lies at the vortex of two worlds. The townsfolk recognize the uniqueness of their village belonging to both the magic and mortal realms yet also not part of either. Amongst the unique villagers, Jenn Nalynn stands out. She yearns to leave her hometown to see the worlds, but having been born in the Verge where the two realms overlap at A Turn of Light sunset, she cannot venture forth; a "turn-born" like her is the anchor to keeping the magic and the mortal from converging into releasing forces that would end two realms.

Though her father Radd, older sister Peggs and the rest of her family try to be there for her, she feels alone as she has all her life except for an invisible friend Wisp; sent there to keep Jenn from taking even one step outside of Marrowdell. As the Great Turn occurs, Jenn approaches her nineteenth birthday with the objective of seeking true love as she believes a husband will show her the world outside the Verge. She tries to create a mate only her invisible friend Wisp becomes the solid man Wyll. Then there is the other newcomer who has come to the village.

This is a terrific fantasy due to a strong cast and a deeply created location. Jenn's dilemma brings a coming of age premise, but the superb storyline is much more as dreams may be misplaced but never totally gone especially when spring brings new hope after a dismal winter. Readers will relish visiting Marrowdell as Julie E. Czerneda deftly moves from science fiction to fantasy.

Lord of Darkness
Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10017
9781455508303, $7.99,

In 1740 London, Godric St. John adheres to his pledge he made a few years ago as the Ghost of St. Giles to protect the city's most innocent, the children. The masked avenger even wed an innocent aristocrat two years ago to keep her from a disgraceful scandal before vanishing on their wedding day.

However, he never expected his spouse Lady Margaret nee Reading to fire two shots at him while he fights footpads trying to accost her. Megs seeks revenge against the Ghost of St. Giles who killed her true love Roger Fraser-Burnsby and forced her to wed someone else. To complicate matters, Megs and her fellow rusticating companion, Godric's sister Sarah, move into her spouse's Saint House as she demands an heir, but fails to recognize who the Ghost of St. Giles is. As the married couple fall in love, he fears for her life as many better shooters than her want the death of the Ghost of St. Giles.

The latest Maiden Lane Georgian romance (see Thief of Shadows and Scandalous Desires) is an exciting entry due to the grieving protagonists (he is a widower) finding a second chance at love if they can overcome their distrust and misconceptions. Fast-paced from the first shot until the final confrontation, series fans will appreciate thus engaging historical.

Starting Now
Debbie Macomber
Ballantine Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor
New York, NY 10019
9780345528810, $26.00,

In Seattle, workaholic attorney Libby Morgan is shocked when she loses her position as expected to be main partner, but is not concerned as she expects law firms to come running to her. Instead she remains unemployed and bored.

To pass time, Libby daily visits A Good Yarn knitting store on Blossom Street where she picks up the hobby of knitting that she used to enjoy doing alongside her late mom when she was a kid. Libby becomes friends with the shopkeeper Lydia Goetz, the owner's teen daughter Casey, the latter's BFF Ava and other knitters. However, troubled Ava touches Libby's heart who tries to help her, leading to the unemployed attorney meeting Dr. Phillip Stone. However, when opportunity to return to her partnership path occurs, Libby must choose between her satisfying low-keyed life of friends and love or the lonely glide to legal top gun.

The return to Blossom Street (see Summer on Blossom Street and A Turn In The Road) is an engaging visit for long time readers as old friends play secondary roles while newcomers take the lead. Although the entertaining storyline follows the stitches as expected, fans will enjoy the mixing of friends and knitting with many kinds of loving relationships.

Revenge On Route 66
Kris Neri
Cherokee McGhee
9781937556020, $17.95,

Hollywood hunk Alec Grainger enjoys traveling Route 66. He currently is on the Mother Road with his son-in-law's Uncle Philly and soon joined by his daughter Tracy Eaton and her husband Drew. One of their favorite haunts has been the Lunch Pail Cafe in Tecos, New Mexico, but the diner is locked up since the proprietor, Lucy Crier is locked away after murdering her former boyfriend. However, somehow witnesses claim to see Lucy on Route 66. Alec persuades his companions for them to look into the sighting of a jailed Lucy.

Soon after the inexplicable sighting as Lucy has an iron clad alibi, someone kills her ingratiating son Woody. As the traveling team investigate the Crier mysteries, the FBI inexplicably declare Tracy Eaton as a deadly Most Wanted fugitive; she can run on Route 66 but can't hide from the Feds and other pursuers.

The latest Eaton family travelogue (see Revenge of the Gypsy Queen, Revenge For Old Time's Sake and Dem Bones' Revenge) is another is humorous yet graveyard serious amateur sleuth as this time the flaky free spirited heroine is on the lam from the Feds (and others). The storyline is fast-paced with Tracy, the original campy Revenge star, dodging capture while seeking to solve three mysteries as she would prefer not to become Lucy's bunkmate. Fans will appreciate this tremendous trip down America's Mother Road.

The Spellcaster's Grimoire
Mark All
ImaJinn Books
PO Box 74274, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1004
9781610261210, $14.00,

In Maynard, Georgia, bestselling author Trish Sinclair writes her third tome on recreational witchcraft. Her sources have been the local coven, which has angered all except leader Benton Moorcroft although he is upset that she mentioned the Spellcaster's Grimoire in book two; as he wanted its existence kept secret with almost everyone believing the tome destroyed.

Benton arrives at Trish's house to warn her that evil witch Kate Cavanaugh is coming to claim the Spellcaster's Grimoire; for Trish to obtain help from loner warlock Aidan McCarthy, and for her to run. Instead of Aidan the loser, Trish heads to coven member Sondra Patton with Kate in pursuit. Sondra and other coven members tell her to fix what she wrought by using her manipulative skill before Kate gets the book and the crystal that will enable her to kill all the witches, but also assigns novice Rain Devereaux to assist. The two women race to Aiden's home with Kate chasing after them. The powerful raging Kate confronts the two pathetic female practitioners and the drunk.

The latest Witches of Milton County (see Mystic Witch) is an exciting fast-paced urban fantasy starring four flawed individuals in a coming of age story. Trish has no confidence in her skills while Rain has too much as both never seem to succeed yet must; Aiden is a sop due to an ugly magical incident he shared with Kate years ago while she came out of that life changer thirsting for more power. Action-packed and filled with confrontations and a simmering back burner romance, readers will enjoy this entertaining thriller.

Room No. 10
Ake Edwardson, author
Rachel Willson-Broyles, translator
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781451608526, $25.99,

In Gothenburg, Sweden, the corpse of twenty-nine year old Paula Ney is found hanging in Room No. 10 of a dive, the Hotel Revy. Although an enigmatic suicide note is nearby, police Chief Inspector Erik Winter knows this was a homicide.

Winter recalls working with Detective Inspector Fredrik Halders on a disappearance case in the same hotel almost two decades ago. Twenty-nine year old Ellen Borge vanished from the same Room No. 10, but that case remains cold. As he conducts his inquiry into the Ney murder, Winter also thinks back to the unsolved Borge disappearance.

The latest Chief Inspector Erik Winter Swedish police procedural (see Sail of Stone) is an intriguing psychological mystery that grips readers who prefer a more conversational cerebral whodunit as the action is tepid at best and the clues reanalyzed several times. This technique adds a sense of reality to the engaging storyline but can at times become tedious. Still sub-genre fans will want to know what is going on in Room No. 10.

The Pleasure Project
JAX, Jenna McCormick and Cassie Ryan
Kensington Aphrodisia
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
New York, NY 10018-2522
9780758241795, $14.00,

"The Science of Pleasure" by JAX. While working on the Phoenix Project's mission to find a way to preserve healthy cells while a patient underwent cancer treatments that normally shredded any cell, Dr. Eric Paulson stole Dr. Jenesis Bruehl's promising research. Instead of using it to save lives, he tested it on human subjects leading to a superhuman breed while Jenesis and other altruistic scientists became notoriously tagged. One of these super-humans Kincaid Gregory offers himself as a test subject to Jenesis. Neither expected the attraction.

"Project Seduction" by Jenna McCormick. Jace Donovan is assigned to travel on the Trist space cruise liner as a paid pleasure companion at a bachelorette party thrown for supermodel Constance Ripley. At a deserted North Carolina inn, Jace meets the owner, mother of the bride Evie, and her odious ex Yon. Attracted to the older woman, Jace risks his employment for a chance with his woman.

"A Pirate's Pleasure" by Cassie Ryan. For two decades space pirate Captain Red Death and her merry crew have raided ships. Now they target the flagship run by Captain Dare McFadyen carrying munitions to Gavin 2 at war with Gavin 1. They are shocked to meet Red as she is Dani McGovern, a protege of Dare's grandfather. Dani and Dare are in heat from that first moment they met, but he is a war profiteer and she is a war preventer.

These are three entertaining heated over the top science fiction romances starring delightful protagonists.

Killer Honeymoon
G.A. McKevett
9780758276513, $24.00

When her family camped in her San Carmelita, California house for her wedding, private investigator Savannah Reid and her husband, Police Detective Sergeant Dirk Coulter decamp twenty-four miles away for a honeymoon on Santa Tesla Island. After an evening of bliss in a dumpy motel selected by Dirk, they relocate to a pre-Civil War cottage near the Santa Tesla Lighthouse arranged by her close friends and Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency associates, Ryan Stone and John Gibson.

While looking out from the top of the lighthouse, Savannah sees a woman running on the beach, but not as if she was jogging. The pair goes to see if the runner needs help when they hear her scream followed by gunshots. As TV newscaster Amelia Northrop dies, she says the name William; her husband is land developer William Northrop. Island police chief Charlotte La Cross acts uninterested in solving the homicide while Savannah's crew including partners Stone and Gibson, and Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency's Tammy Hart; as well Granny Reid Waycross join the Killer Honeymoon.

The latest Savannah Reid mystery (see Buried in Buttercream) is a humorous cozy that readers will appreciate with its dirt poor Georgia wit clashing with Southern California sensitivities. Fast-paced and loaded with jocularity, sub-genre fans will learn what series readers expect from G.A. McKevett when it comes to Savannah. The whodunit is excitingly clever but it is the repertoire between the cast that make for an entertaining investigation.

The Paris Affair
Teresa Grant
9780758283931, $15.00

Two months have passed since Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and chaos remains the order of the day as the restored Ultra-Royalists cleanse anyone with Bonaparte ties in a new wave of terror. Ironically the Emperor's Foreign Minister Talleyrand (and now the Prime Minister) and Minister of Police Fouch survive the Bourbon restoration fervor.

At the Trois Amis Tavern in Paris, British Attache Malcolm Rannoch and his wife Suzanne meet frightened French double agent Antoine, Comte de Rivere. While Suzanne distracts the other patrons, fearing Bourbon cleansing, Antoine demands Malcolm sneak him out of the country into England with a pension and two homes or he will expose a secret that the Duke of Wellington would pay anything to keep buried. Suddenly a brawl breaks out and during the melee, someone kills the Comte. At the British Embassy, the Rannoch couple reports to the Duke what transpired; as the espionage agents believe someone purposely silenced Antoine. The British war hero orders Malcolm and Suzanne to investigate and learn what Antoine believed would take him to England.

The third Rannoch Regency mystery is a terrific thriller as Teresa Grant deftly provides a spotlight on the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat. The investigation is super as the "we spy couple" looks into the homicide to try to learn what Antoine's ticket was; while also providing the audience with a tour of dangerous Paris after the fall and restoration.

The Cherry Cola Book Club
Ashton Lee
9780758273413, $15.00

For six years, Maura Beth Mayhew has been the librarian in Chericho, Mississippi. She has asked for nearby parking and internet access, but the council says no. Now head councilman Durden Sparks tells Maura she has five months to increase usage or the library will be closed and replaced by an industrial park.

Maura visits her friend Twinkles Diner owner Periwinkle who tells Maura to be tough. New resident Connie McShay mentions she and her husband Douglas were in the Music City Page Turners. They form the Chericho Page Turners Book Club. Maura's friend Voncelle Nettles joins the book club. Cooking show radio host Becca Broccoli also joins, but cannot persuade her Stout Fella to sign up too. At the first meeting, they discuss the rules while Durden attends too. They change the name to the Cherry Cola Book Club and meet in a month to discuss Gone With The Wind. Library assistant Renette tells Maura she and her friends discussed whether they were a Melanie or a Scarlett. The club does likewise except Locke says he is a Rhett. Maura begins a concerted effort with the other book club members to save the library and meets Douglas' nephew Memphis English teacher Jeremy.

Small-town politics comes across powerfully influential with little things like no parking or net access to make in this case a library visit unpleasant; yet at the same time the importance of libraries is emphasized also at a time when cuts reduce their effectiveness. Although the dispute between the council and the librarian never comes across as very threatening and people volunteer too easily, readers will enjoy The Cherry Cola Book Club's book discussions and their fight to save the library.

Wolf With Benefits
Shelly Laurenston
Kensington Brava
9780758265227, $15.00

Leaving his extended pack family home in Smithtown, Tennessee, wolf shifter Ricky Lee Reed obtains a job at his cousin's security company in New York. He is assigned to protect jackal-shifter Toni Jean-Louis Parker, a member of the Carnivores hockey team.

After dealing with siblings and other pain in the butt family members, neither is in the mood for a serious relationship, but both feel the intense attraction as they tour the country together while she plays hockey. Ergo they agree to no strings benefits. However, as they fall in love, her pack's latest woes place Toni Jean and Ricky Lee on center ice.

The latest Pride romantic urban fantasy (see Big Bad Beast and Bear Meets Girl) is the usual fast-paced and jocular yet complex storyline that grips readers from the first hip check to the final hat trick. Although over Rocky Top, series fans will enjoy this fun amusing shifter romance where females might beat you up as much over chocolate as a slur.

A Good Man
J.J. Murray
9780758277220, $15.00

In Charlotte, North Carolina, former WNBA and Olympics star Sonya Richardson enjoys her quiet life after years of living the fast-paced celeb diva style though she regrets in some ways her basketball days never allowed time for herself. Still single, her publicist Michelle Hamm calls her for the first time in five years to inform her WB wants her to star on a new reality TV show "Hunk or Punk;" in which a black woman and several suitors would hook up in front of an audience. Sonya, named Jazz for the show, must also bring her BFF; so asks Kim to join her as Shani in Los Angeles.

Widower, ex-pastor John Bond is the token white guy who everyone expects will fail as he lacks the vim, vigor and bling of his extroverted rivals; even he expects to be the first voted off the show. However, John finds Jazz's honesty and coolness under fire refreshing; he reacts to her energy and voracity with quiet kindness. Sonya finds herself attracted to the caring ex-pastor, but he is neither a hunk nor a punk; just the throwaway Caucasian who keeps surviving along with Tony.

Although the premise of TV reality shows as a potential matchmaker has become trite from overuse and I have doubts about a 1 on 1 basketball game, A Good Man is a fun tale containing two fabulous romances. Character driven, fans will root for Sonya and John to make it.

Lucky Stiff
Annelise Ryan
9780758272751, $7.99

On Christmas Day in Sorenson, Wisconsin, medical examiner Mattie Winston and her boyfriend Police Detective Steve Hurley look at the remains of a burned house and the body inside. Mattie concludes the arson was used to conceal a homicide; as the victim died before the inferno began. The victim, paraplegic Jack Allen recently won a large casino jackpot. The pair agree that the obvious motive is greed especially since Jack's safe was open and empty.

Mattie and Steve visit the North Woods Casino where Jack won big but ended up an unlucky stiff. They ask questions and realize many people knew of the winnings, which leads the deputy coroner and the cop to conclude several suspects besides the victim's girlfriend and housekeeper had opportunity. However Mattie and Steve begin a second inquiry by heading into the cold water to examine the dead body of floater Donald Strommen who vanished a few weeks ago.

The latest Mattie Winston police procedural (see Working Stiff, Scared Stiff and Frozen Stiff) is an enjoyable mystery with two murders to solve. The madcap mayhem has been reduced in this exciting entry as the heroine seems to have moved on passed her nasty ex-husband although this time Steve's past arises. Fans will appreciate this well-written Wisconsin whodunit as both cases prove difficult even with Mattie finding forensic evidence that leads to more questions than answers.

The Eleventh Commandment
Lutishia Lovely
Kensington Dafina
9780758286628, $15.00

Dr. Gabriel Livingston loves classical music while his wife Frieda Moore-Livingston appreciates rap. Both know she has come a long way from her street life. However, Frieda may have stepped too far when his namesake looks more like one of her flings than her spouse.

Residing on beach front property with their two kids in La Jolla, Cyclone and Hope Taylor seem the perfect couple as their marriage is built on love and trust. However, his college girlfriend arrives with a request that challenges their faith in one another.

Singer Darius and his manager Bo Crenshaw combine a successful professional life with their nice personal life that includes his son he had with former groupie Stacy Grayson. All seems perfect until Paz enters theirs lives.

Stacy wed NFL player Tony Johnson in what has been a wonderful life. However a severe knee injury leaves his football career in jeopardy and perhaps their marriage as this surly man is no longer the kind caring person she married three years ago.

The latest Hallelujah Love relationship drama stars four couples dealing with tsuris (in several cases self-destructive) threatening their idyllic relationships. Character driven with rotating leads, the key is that the ensemble cast seems real as each must learn to deal not just with the good, but the bad and the ugly while turning to the Lord for spiritual guidance.

Breaking All My Rules
Trice Hickman
9780758287205, $15.00

Six months ago Boutique owner Erica Sanford ended her engagement to the "Good One" Claude Daniel Richardson after finding out he was an amoral egomaniac that cheated on her. Her family is upset as they deemed him perfect to fit in with her CEO father and the rest of the high achievers since he was a star college player with brains and personality. As her BFF says Claude is Lucifer as he rejects her demand to stay out of her life. No one dumps Lucifer.

On jury duty at the D.C. Superior Court, Erica and sanitation worker Jerome Kimbrough meet and begin seeing each other. He fears his low social status as a high school dropout working on his GED and with a young son Jamel means her family will reject him as a street loser even though he turned his life around. However he is no Claude though he has his "Claude" equivalent in Jamal's mother mucking up his relationship with Erica.

Breaking All The Rules is a fresh look at the social class structure within the African-American community. The protagonists are a strong pair and the support cast dynamic as stereotyping by their respective friends and family powerfully intrude on their relationship; perhaps more so than their respective ex drama queen and king. Although there is too much outside interference dropping in and out, readers will enjoy this close look at seemingly opposites falling in love in spite of the consternation of people (who speak different forms of English) in their inner circle.

Reality Check
Kelli London
Kensington Dafina KTEEN
9780758286970, $9.95

After Charly's Epic Fiascos tossing out the lemons rather than making lemonade in Nuevo York, the Illinois expatriate continues her odyssey to make the big time. She gets a slot as the faithful sidekick to former child star Annison's hostess role on The Extreme Dream Team traveling reality show. Besides the divas and the crew, Charly brings Marlow 2 to act as "Robin" the sidekick to Annison's teacup sized poodle "Batman" Doll.

On the cross country trek to Southern California, Charly meets people in need but they teach her valuable lessons on what matters in life as she seems to step into one fiasco after another. In Los Angeles, Charly knows real reality is a lot tougher to cope with than reality TV as toilets don't wait for the next show.

Reality Check is a zany teen road show starring a wonderful heroine whose amusing wry philosophical asides satirize homilies while she seems to step into one fiasco after another. Breezy fun, readers will enjoy Charly's latest fiascos across the country and in "It never rains in California ... man it pours" (Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood); as she makes a Reality Check on what matters on and off the air.

Lady of Ashes
Christine Trent
9780758265913, $15.00

In 1861 London, Violet Morgan is super at dressing a corpse but terrible at keeping a house. Violet is fabulous sympathizing and assisting those grieving a loss, but unable to understand why her husband is so angry with her lately and for practical purposes no longer gets involved with his family's Morgan Undertaking funeral services.

Violet is unaware that Graham loathes the Americans and joins a conspiracy to help the South gain their independence by selling weapons to the Confederacy. At the same time Violet is hired to provide funeral services for a close friend of the royals. At the same time Graham vanishes, Violet investigates deaths among the impoverished; not appreciating the risk she places herself in with her inquiry.

The mystery takes a back seat to the historical aspects of the engaging story line; as readers obtain insight into the strict rules of Victorian funerals and grieving. Violet is a wonderful protagonist whose husband condemns her for not keeping the house proper while she also undertakes all the tasks at their funeral business since he stopped working there in order to spend time defeating America. Ironically she finds giving respect to the dead a haven from her marital troubles. Her investigation is slow and begins somewhat late, but still fans will enjoy this entertaining Victorian tale.

Creator: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Epic, Earth's Human Behavior Confronted
Allen Pollens
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781456306700, $14.99,

On June 14, 2014 in New York City, Professor Thomas Scribner receives a summons to appear at an inquiry to bear witness. He is given no choice whether to appear at the inquest as no essence can refuse the Guardians of the Universe. Seven Guardians are passing judgment on an eighth, the Creator of planet Earth where an experiment went wrong due to the psychopathic selfishness of the individuals making up the dominant sentient species. If ruled a colossal failure the free will test subjects will be terminated.

A stunned Scribner sees a wake-up tragedy the next day and knows he must turn humanity around before mankind's eradication. He persuades student assistants Susan Bellwether and Andrew Brown to help him write the "Words of the Creator" and convince an avarice world to adhere to "The Credo." As the world devolves over the years, mostly due to religious dogmatic wars and environmental destruction, the Creator increasingly believes the noble experiment failed. Disheartened the Creator creates warning calamities in 2025 and 2035, but few heed the message. Over those same decades, the three messengers, though considered by most as lunatics, continue their efforts to save earth while marrying and having children. However, a sad Creator leans towards pulling the plug.

With a nod to the song In the Year 2525 (by Zager and Evans), Allen Pollens provides a deep apocalyptic science fiction epic centered on Earth's Creator confronting human behavior in a refreshing profound Creationism-Judgment Day parable. Fast-paced from the moment a bewildered professor finds himself in Times Square to bear witness to a calamity, readers will appreciate this strong tale as the displeased Creator begins the end.

The Fall of St. Sebastian
E. Kelly Keady
Forty Press
427 Van Buren Street, Anoka, MN 55303
9781938473029, $16.95,

Attorney Peter Farrell left the White House staff to return to private practice and spend more time with his wife Sara and their newborn twins, John and Nola. However before he can settle down with his family, President Madeleine Scholfield asks him to go to San Francisco to discretely look into a potential terrorist attack that the Council on International Relations believes is relevant as it is written in code in the Book of Enoch mentioning the name Peter Farrell and highly lethal contagious Human Bird Flu. Not only does Peter think the trip an inane waste of time, he loathes the CIR and their master The Englishman (see The Cross of St. Maro for why).

At JFK, two Somalians destroy a jet leaving the airport using heat seeking missiles. Scholfield shuts down air traffic; while infected with Bird Flu, six Chinese enter the country to spread the deadly strain. While POTUS deals with the health crisis, terrorism and her warmongering cabinet encouraged by the Joint Chiefs, Peter continues his trip to meet with CIR as war with China seems imminent. After stopping in California to consult with CIR, Peter, accompanied by a spy (Pope) and a retired agent (Redwood), travels to China in search of a cure to the pandemic outbreak and to prevent WWIII.

From the opening attack on the jet over JFK to the final confrontation, The Fall of St. Sebastian is an exhilarating twisting thriller as Peter quickly learns trust no one. Though seemingly improbable, readers will relish Peter and his two teammates racing against time to avoid a worse calamity as the drums of war sound louder with each passing second.

The Mapmaker's War
Ronlyn Domingue
Atria Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
9781451688887, $23.00,

Her brother taught Aoife to draw a map. Ecstatic with what she learned, she persuaded her father to allow her to try to become the rare female mapmaking apprentice. To her further delight, Aoife is accepted as a student. She becomes her nation's kingdom's mapmaker, whose mission is to chart the entire kingdom.

While on her trek, she crosses the boundary into another land filled with affluent peace-loving people who tell the welcomed newcomer that they guard a legendary ancient relic from the beginning of time. Aoife returns home to tell her people who decide to destroy the outsiders. Shocked, Aoife tries to warn her new friends, which leads to her banishment due to seditious activity. As war breaks out, Aoife's new companions welcome her, but she feels disconsolate missing her family she left behind; amplified when she gives birth to a daughter.

This is an engaging autobiographical fictional account of a female mapmaker at war with her place in a society in which women have no rights; ironically the war between the countries predominantly is limited to a passive first person account by the protagonist. Although the support cast is stereotyped as only the title character is fully developed (partly because we see everyone through her filter), readers will enjoy the efforts of the heroine to keep her loved ones in two nations safe.

Kristina Ohlsson
Emily Bestler Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
9781439198902, $25.00,

In 2008 in Stockholm, Alex Recht leads his team (pregnant Fredrika Bergman, sexist Peder Rydh and newbie Joar Shalin) in two investigations, They look into the deaths of immigrant rights activist Vicar Jakob Ahlbin and his wife Marja in what looks like a murder-suicide probably brought on the by the death of a daughter. Additionally the unit conducts an inquiry into a hit and run vehicular homicide of a person with no identification except notes in Arabic.

As they work the seemingly separate cases, the police find links to human trafficking and an unreported assault of a teen in 1993. While Bergman tries to identify the unknown victim as no one filed a missing person's report, Recht leads his subordinates scrutiny of Jakob's activities protecting illegal immigrants in his home while also seeking the missing other daughter of the late Ahlbin couple.

When this engaging Swedish police procedural focuses on the cases and the related immigration debate, Silenced is a strong mystery; when the storyline centers on the respective personal lives of the three cops and one civilian, it loses steam as those subplots feel intrusive. Still, filled with betrayal and dark predatory practices, readers will appreciate this relevant look at the social and economic impacts of trafficking (especially the shocking glimpse into a Swede trapped in Thailand as her identification begins to vanish) and immigration.

The Bull Slayer
Bruce Macbain
Poisoned Pen Press
6962 E. First Ave., #103
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
9781464201080, $24.95,

In the tenth regnal year of his reign, Emperor Trajanus Augustus assigns fiftyish Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus to the post of governor of Bithynia-Pontus province. The ruler orders Pliny the Younger (as Secundus is called by many) to eradicate the corruption using any means necessary in a place where Romans were slaughtered a century ago.

Pliny and his retinue are greeted by the province's fiscal procurator, Marcus Vibius Balbus, who has ruled Bithynia-Pontus with absolute authority by controlling the purse strings and terrorizing governors. Ignoring the not veiled threat Pliny interrogates an angry Balbus. As they settle into a siege mentality Pliny, his staff and family find the Greeklings hostile especially since his mission angers the affluent like Diocles the Golden Mouth who he needs to succeed. When Balbus vanishes, Pliny leads the inquiry while the irate citizens seem verging on overt assaults on the outsiders.

The second Plinius Secundus Ancient Rome historical (see Roman Games) is an engaging thriller in which the protagonist's personal life and relationships with his loving eccentric wife Calpurnia and his staff (especially Zosimus and Suetonious) supersedes (and overwhelms) the whodunit. Loaded with tidbits about life at the beginning of the second century AD in Bithynia-Pontus, fans who appreciate a sense of being there to see family dynamics will enjoy The Bull Slayer even though the whodunit rarely takes top billing.

The Book Of Killowen
Erin Hart
c/o Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 14th fl.
New York, NY 10020
9781451634846, $26.00,

Detectives Stella Cusack and Fergal Malloy lead the investigation into how a Gold Mercedes containing in its trunk the remains of a centuries-old corpse ended up in County Tipperary's Killowen Bog. Keeper of Conservation, National Museum of Ireland brings in two experts, Irish archeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin to extract the victim. As the pair works on the removal of the well preserved but murdered Killowen Man, they find another corpse wearing modern garb.

Cormac and Nora are interested in the top deceased who turns out to be a ninth century monk murdered allegedly for heretic scripting. Stella and Fergal are interested in the bottom deceased who turns out to be TV host Benedict Kavanagh, known for destroying his guests with his sharp wit. Both investigations intertwine; forcing the four investigators to cooperate; especially since the nearby landowners and an artist colony prefer to hide the motives of the two homicides more than millennia apart.

The latest Maguire-Gavin archeological mystery (see False Mermaid) is a great whodunit that hooks the audience from the moment the car is found in the bog. Fast-paced from the onset with its dual homicides, The Book Of Killowen will be shortlisted as one of the best mysteries of the year as Erin Hart provides a deep look at various motives to maintain secrets.

Immortal Ever After
Lynsay Sands
Avon Books
c/o HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
9780062078117, $7.99,

"Igor" came every night to give his caged female prisoners drug-laced oatmeal, fruit and water except the one his master chooses for his "night out" dining. This evening the vampiric psychopath selects veterinarian Valerie Moyer as his latest bloody snack. However, far from being docile, she stopped eating the oatmeal after her last "night out" Valerie surprises and stakes Igor. She calls 911 but the dispatcher thinks she is on drugs when she mentions six other women, stakes, bites and a vampire who has come for his meal. Wounded and exhausted, she escapes only to faint.

Monitoring the 911 call, vampiric enforcer Anders Andronnikov leads a team into the house. The vampire is gone, but they tend to the women and the police answering the 911 call. Anders finds Valerie and with Bricker takes her to home of Lucien and pregnant Leigh Argeneau. The enforcer also knows Valerie is his lifemate while the vet feels the attraction. As she accepts the concept of good and bad vampires, her nightmare stalks her waiting for the opportunity to bleed her to death.

The latest Argeneau romantic urban fantasy (see Under A Vampire Moon and The Lady is a Vamp) is an enjoyable thriller due to the likable protagonists and a self-trained rogue vampiric survivalist. The sister bonding between Leigh and Valerie adds freshness while the horde of cameo visitors detracts from the plot. Still series fans will enjoy this engaging triangle.

Night Resurrected
Joss Ware
9780062018670, $7.99

In 2010 near Denver, fire chief Wyatt suffered injuries rescuing a woman from a blaze. The next day he kisses his wife and two kids as he leaves to join his friends exploring caves in Sedona.

Five decades later he and his comrades leave the cave to a world shattered by the Change. Feeling left behind as his buddies have gained supernatural powers while all he has is grief over the loss of his family and guilt for not being there when the calamity occurred, Wyatt lacks hope and detests himself for betraying his memories by his attraction to Remington Truth who he treats shabbily as a defense mechanism to avoid caring. Remy feels the same way about the only man she cannot understand especially his hostility towards her. As she heads to Envy, zombies and Strangers hunt for Remy and the crystal her late grandfather gave her while Wyatt's compulsion to protect other propels him to find and accompany her.

The latest Envy Chronicles romantic apocalyptic fantasy (see Night Forbidden and Night Betrayed) is an exciting entry as the last of the Sedona fab five to star finds the truth sets him free to love again. Fast-paced with the trademark blighted land in the background, series fans will relish this entry as Joss Ware provides a strong thriller even if we agree with the heroine that Wyatt is a dick.

A Bride By Moonlight
Liz Carlyle
9780062100283, $7.99

In 1847, Lisette Colburne accuses Metropolitan Police Assistant Police Commissioner Royden Napier of failing at his job because he was a stooge of Lord Lazonby. She tells him she is the youngest daughter of the late Arthur ruined and practically killed by the Lazonby heir Rance Welham (see The Bride Wore Pearls) who is exonerated in the murder of her father. Accusing him of being a coward, Lisette says she will avenge her dad's death and the ruining of her family.

Two years later, Lisette returns to London to begin her vendetta against Rance, now Lord Lazonby. At the same time Royden, now the commissioner investigates an aristocrat's brutal murder that leads back to Arthur Colburne, Lazonby, and subsequently Lisette. He gives the upstart female a choice between pretending to be his fiancee to help him search for the truth or face murder charges. As they team up, these two adversaries fall in love, but neither wants to act on feelings they loathe rather than embrace kshama.

The latest St. James Society Victorian romantic mystery (see One Touch of Scandal and The Bride Wore Scarlet) is a fabulous historical that deftly blends a strong murder investigation with a changing relationship between the protagonists. Fast-paced Liz Carlyle provides another powerful mystery as the two sleuths team up in a love neither feels conformable with.

Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore: Flying Through History
J. Scott Fuqua
Bancroft Press
PO Box 65360
Baltimore, MD 21209
9781610880787, $7.99 pbk
9781610880770, $17.99 hc

At school in Baltimore, Daniel studies the boring War of 1812 musing how he will stay awake reading this ennui fight while also wondering why no cameras were invented to at least take still photos. His teacher writes "Terrible" on his report.

Calvert the raven shocks Daniel when he speaks to the lad saying he will prove firsthand that history is exciting. He takes the skeptical student back to 1814 Baltimore where the British army and navy attack Fort McHenry. Explaining to the stunned child that history is fluid as there is a distinct possibility that this time the Star-Spangled Banner may not wave comes morning.

The first Flying Through History tale is a superb historical (with speculative elements like time travel and anthropomorphism) as the illustrations enhance a deep look at the battle that led to the National Anthem. Elementary school students will want to soar back in time with Calvert as he makes his case that history is thrilling using "empirical experience".

Queen Jezebel
Jean Plaidy
Touchstone Books
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
9781451686548, $16.00,

Catherine de' Medici and her young son King Charles want to end the hostility between the Catholics and Huguenots that is destroying France. Thus Catherine arranges a marriage of convenience between her reluctant twenty-something Catholic daughter Margot and the Huguenot King Henry of Navarre in an attempt to end the violence. They wed in Paris; however, the marriage fails to bring about the peace that King Charles desperately wants. Catherine, realizing that her control over her royal offspring is vanishing, convinces him that the Huguenots plan to assassinate him. King Charles authorizes religious cleansing to rid the kingdom of the "pestilential Huguenots forever" while the heretics celebrate the wedding.

The reprint of the third Catherine De' Medici biographical fiction (see This Italian Woman and Madame Serpent) is an engaging historical that showcases the manipulative protagonist involvement in the late sixteenth century French religious civil war. The entertaining storyline paints a diabolical dangerous Catherine manipulating her children, but fails to fully paint the background of two strictly rigid (in their Godly beliefs) religious combatants. Still aptly titled Queen Jezebel is an enjoyable finish to the De' Medici trilogy.

The Chalice
Nancy Bilyeau
9781476708652, $26.99

In 1528 teenager Joanna Stafford acts lifeless ever since George Boleyn tried to rape her. Her worried mom takes her teenage daughter to see seer Sister Elizabeth. The seer says Joanna will stop evil after she meets two other prophets.

In 1538, Dartford Sister Joanna worries about the future since King Henry VIII broke the church. Her cousin Marquis Henry Courtney and his wife Gertrude take her to their estate. Gertrude says Lady Mary sent her and rumors fly that the Pope will excommunicate the king; followed by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles and the French king Francois invading England. Meanwhile the king executes Sister Elizabeth for predicting his death if he weds Anne Boleyn. Gertrude blackmails a reluctant Joanna into meeting with Orobas the seer. Though fearful of Boleyn sorcery, Joanna hears Orobas speaking with a buried Sister of Dartford who says there are two possible futures: Mary on the throne or the king's second son; she also tells Joanna to find the third seer. Dudley arrests Montagu and Courtney while Joanna and her friend Edmund seek the third seer hoping to understand the prophecy.

The fresh prophesy premise during the reign of King Henry VIII is brisk and fascinating with two strong late twists enhancing the exciting tale that also provides a deep look at the impact of the religious changes made by the monarch. Joanna is a terrific protagonist keeping the plot moving although the storyline slows down at times. Historical fans will appreciate this unique Tudor thriller.

Shadow Of Freedom
David Weber
Baen Books
PO Box 1188, Wake Forest NC 27588
9781451638691, $25.00,

The Manticore's fleet defeated the invincible armada of the Solarian League that had encroached into the Star Empire's sector with plans with plans to seize the strategic wormholes. However, Tenth Fleet Commander Michelle Henke knows she and the rest of the military have no time to bash in the glory of a stunning victory, The Solarian Office of Frontier Security continues to cause havoc in the Talbott Quadrant especially along the frontier. While all types of warfare continue unabated, the threat to destroy Manticore and its allies remains stratospheric; as does the hostility with the Mesan Alignment. Manticore turns to former enemy People's Republic of Haven as hopefully an ally.

At the same time, the Mobius Liberation Front informs Manticore that they have begun the liberation rebellion to overthrow the brutal reign of President Lombroso, but need the help from the Star Empire as previously negotiated and promised. No one in Manticore authority ever heard of the MLF so the assumption is the diabolical clever Mesan Alignment is using subterfuge to destroy the bonds between the Star Empire and the smaller under fire independents at a time the fleet cannot divert resources away from the fight against the Solarian League.

This is an engaging Honorverse science fiction thriller with a Cecil B Demille cast distracting from the exciting outer space naval encounters and fascinating political machinations; Henke (not Harrington) loosely is the nearest individual to being the prime player. The storyline also provides a different perspective from events told in A Rising Thunder and Mission of Honor so that the audience knows several key outcomes. Still Shadow Of Freedom is well written and shows the logistical problems of fighting a multi-front war.

A Few Good Men
Sarah A. Hoyt
9781451638882, $14.00

Living the good life as the son of notorious Good Man tyrant Keeva, who along with fifty peers control the earth, Lucius Keeva enjoyed his life. After killing his friends, Luce spent the last fourteen years in solitary confinement at underwater Never-Never where except for initial interrogation and a brief illness, he never saw another person.

A boom occurs and seawater begins seeping into his tiny cell while he hears an angel singing Women of Syracuse. A boomer riding an illegal motorized broomstick freed the former heir to Olympic Seacity. Believing he must be an evil monster for what he did, Luce plans to stay away from people. However, when he learns his father and brother were assassinated Luce realizes he must become the latest Good Man to prevent a horrific bloody civil war from occurring as the rebels demand liberty or death and the rulers plan to give them death. Luce not only has no allies, he is the target of his once aristocratic peers and the rebels trying to overthrow tyranny; the few supporters he finds need him not as a leader but as a symbolic puppet.

Though filled with plenty of action from the opening boom until the final climatic confrontation, this sequel to Darkship Renegades and Darkship Thieves is a thought provoking thriller. The storyline is built on the premise of idealistic opposition with a legitimate freedom cause is easier to achieve including dying as a martyr than pragmatic governance. Sarah A. Hoyt provides a great insightful tale with plenty of real world examples in which the innocent pay the price of revolutionaries' hubris (not just in blood as also through free democratic elections) once the opposition obtains the objective of ruling.

I Left My Haunt In San Francisco
Mark Everett Stone
Camel Press
c/o Coffeetown Press
PO Box 70515, Seattle, WA 98127
9781603819275, $15.95,

After a decade plus as the top agent and only still living member of his graduation class at the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, Kal Hakela faked his death so that he could kill the invincible Finnish monster Iku-Turso who murdered his sister (see What happens In Vegas, Dies In Vegas). His BSI boss BB re-recruits him to train the Green Peas in protecting the World At Large where humans dwell from the denizen of The World Under. Once his current term ends, Kal considers retiring with his beloved WWII MI-7 agent Jeanie whom he met in 1943.

BB tells Kal that former BSI agent Thomas Mace jumped to his death in San Francisco. Someone had ripped apart his intestines, but somehow Mace ran up thirty flights of stairs in five minutes, and opened and closed steel doors before leaping off the roof of a building. Kal leads the inquiry in a city where he years ago eliminated a psychopathic serial rapist magic practitioner but left innocents dead and the Bay's protector Emperor Norton irate.

The third Hakela urban fantasy (see Things to Do in Denver When You're Un-Dead) is a superb entry as the lone wolf goes into the field with no additional support from a depleted BSI and three major changes in his life. He no longer obsesses with rage over killing monsters; he has Jeanie in his life though she currently works a case in the Bayou; and he learned people care about his well-being after volunteers joined him in Vegas. One thing remains the same; Mark Everett Stone provides another intelligent, wry action-packed satire that will have fans waiting for the next stop on the Hakela Americana tour.

Jackson Hole Journey
Linda Jacobs
Camel Press
c/o Coffeetown Press
PO Box 70515, Seattle, WA 98127
9781603819107, $15.95,

In 1925, Francesca di Paoli left Tuscany with plans to open a vineyard in California. When she reaches Jackson Hole on her trek west, she thinks the area surrounded by the majestic Tetons is beautiful. However, her other descriptor of peaceful ended almost as quickly as she considered it when she witnesses the violent lightning and booming thunder; the first of several dangerous natural disasters that place her and others in peril.

Needing money to complete her journey, she obtains a position as the cook at Snake River Dude Ranch owned by the Sutton family. Francesca feels fickle as she is attracted to steadfast William and charming Bryce Sutton. However, Bryce bows out and leaves the ranch when he realizes his older brother is in love with the cook. One year later Bryce finally returns home forcing Francesca to make up her mind and choose one of the siblings.

This is an enjoyable historical romance made fresh by the insightful look at the mid-1920s Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons; a divisive time over a controversial proposal to turn the area into national park. The lead triangle consists of strong protagonists, but it is the town and its rugged terrain that makes for a strong Americana.

Susan May Warren
Summerside Press
9781609367718, $14.99,

By 1929 Rosie Worth as actress Roxy Price has become famous, rich and married to a hunk. However, when Wall Street dives on Black Friday, she is left where she started as Rosie: penniless but still married to a hunk who she does not love nor does he her which makes her ashamed. Desperate for income, she accepts a starring role in a movie to be filmed in Europe and financed by Belgian aristocrat Rolfe Van Horne; whom she met when he thought she was going to jump off a balcony.

Rosie is attracted to the film's backer, but her gut tells her he is concealing something from her and the rest of the film crew. When Rosie finally learns the truth, she feels trapped in an unattainable situation between different types of love while wondering if God abandoned his flock.

The third Daughters of Fortune (see Baroness and Heiress) historical thriller is a powerful look at Depression Era Europe through the eyes of the title character and Rolfe. Susan May Warren provides her readers with a vivid contrast between the Hollywood studios golden era and the rise of the Nazis as the Winds of War (by Herman Wouk) come to an already depressed world.

The Chosen
Theresa Meyers
Zebra Books
c/o Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street, Floor 21
New York, NY 10018-2522
9781420121261, $6.99,

"The Chosen." In 1883 Arizona, as the Chosen Darkin hunters, attorney Remington Jackson and his brothers, Winchester (see The Slayer) and Colt (see The Hunter) grew up being trained to fight evil. Currently they each must find a segment of the Book of Legend in order to combine the tome needed to prevent Hell from invading earth. In the Bisbee Mining Camp, Remy enlists the help of incarcerated shapeshifting thief China McGee whose skills he needs to steal his part of the tome. The Darkin, who has worked with Colt, agrees to assist him in return for her freedom, but China has plans for the relic that do not include Remy. In the Aztec jungle, as they fight for their lives, China widens her options to partner with Remy long after the mission is done, if they survive.

"The Inventor." In 1868 London Sir Marley Turlock works on his invention in order to obtain membership in the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain by impressing Queen Victoria though he has hit a glitch. Lady Persephone Hargrieve works alongside of him and soon afterward her father Lord Hargrieve asks Marley to join in the fight against Darken. Skeptical, the inventor joins the battle against demons, vampires and those even more lethal evil.

The Chosen, the third Legend Chronicles, is an exciting Wild West urban romantic fantasy starring the last Jackson sibling and a master Darkin thief who Colt insists can steel rail from underneath a train. Action-packed throughout with a strong cast, readers will enjoy the rumble in the jungle as time has run out on the Jackson brothers. Additionally, the bonus prequel the Inventor looks at a key series support character Sir Marley's introduction to the Darkin.

Surprising Lord Jack
Sally MacKenzie
9781420123227, $7.99

Miss Frances Hadley is furious with the men and Aunt Viola interfering in her life. She has managed the family estates successfully for years, but now wants money for a dowry and receives bunk instead of cash. Deciding to confront her enemies, Frances chops of her hair and wears male garb as she heads to London as Francis only to find no available bed in the inn due to the annual Valentine Ball hosted by the Duchess of Love, Lady Greycliffe. The innkeeper and his wife feel sorry for the young male teen and give her food and shelter.

One of the hunks being discussed by followers of the Duchess of Love is her son Lord Jack Valentine, who conceals his pursuit of a serial killer while eluding his mother's romantic schemes behind the shame of a rake. Forced to flee from a pain in the butt female whose pursuit runs him out of his house, Jack stops at Findley's inn where he learns he will need to share a bed with a youth who turns out to be a feisty female. They agree to hide each other's secrets and team up to take down a predator, prevent his mom's latest matchmaking, and prevent her family's vile scheme. While doing all this, they fall in love.

The latest Duchess of Love historical (see Bedding Lord Ned) is a fun madcap romantic comedy with a whodunit subplot adding tension. Though the cross-dressing premise has been used a lot, readers will enjoy this entertaining fast-paced Valentine romance from the moment the lad and the lord share a bed.

You're Still The One
Janet Dailey, Cathy Lamb, Mary Carter and Elizabeth Bass
9781420124194, $7.99

"The Apple Orchard" by Cathy Lamb. The injury Allie Pelletier suffers sends her to the emergency room. The physician is the love of her life Dr. Jace Rios, who wants a new chance with her but Allie knows there is no second chapter for them.

"A Kiss Before Midnight" by Mary Carter. Over two decades ago, then sixteen year old Rebecca Ryan spent the best and worst night of her life with musician Grant Dodge in New Orleans where she also was cursed. Now she seeks the father of her son in order to remove the curse.

"Romeo & Juliet ... and Jane" by Elizabeth Bass. A decade ago, Jane Canfield and Roy McGillum were a couple, but eventually ended their relationship. When Roy returns home, he and veterinarian Jane recall their performances as Romeo and Juliet in a school production. As Roy asks: "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, (and Jane) is the sun;" that is if she agrees to be his forever Juliet with a happily ever ending to their drama.

"The Devil and Mr. Chocolate" by Janet Dailey. In Santa Fe gallery owner Kitty Hamilton feels like a serial spouse as she has three divorces to her name and is engaged to number four, Belgian chocolatier Marcel Boulanger. However husband number one Sebastian has plans to be Kitty's mate for the rest of their lives and no sweet "Muscles from Brussels" (apologies to Jean-Claude Van Damme) will stand in his way.

These are four engaging second chance at love romances starring wonderful protagonists though the relationship gap is underdeveloped.

Zero Separation
Philip Donlay
Oceanview Publishing
595 Bay Isles Road, 120-G
Longboat Key, FL 34228
9781608090686, $25.95,

As Michael Ross pilots the Eco-Watch's Spirit of da Vinci Gulfstream IV to West Palm Beach, a nasty thunderstorm including a lightning strike causes an abrupt dive as a generator went out. Michael tells Donovan Nash that they need to make an emergency landing now at Boca Raton Airport. The pilot safely brings them to the ground.

Michael checks the plane for damage, but while doing so, someone assaults him. Injured he watches the thug steal a Gulfstream from the Boca Raton Airport. FBI Special Agent Veronica Montero believes that Donovan is the key to solving this hijacking and more important to her taking down the person responsible for the murder of her partner. She plans to use information she has on him from what he did twenty years ago that he wants kept secret to force him to help her. After several murders related to the stolen plane occur and the families of Donovan and Michael come under attack, Nash does not need blackmailing to work with the Fed.

The third Nash thriller (see Category Five and Code Black) is an exciting action-packed tale that has readers wondering what the ultimate objective of the killer and associates is. Nash is an interesting protagonist with a history he prefers buried and a tendency to fly into terrible storms. Although the support cast is from thriller central casting, readers will enjoy Nash teaming up with a blackmailing Fed against an amoral predator.

Passion's Prey
A.C. Arthur
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780312549121, $7.99,

FBI Agent Xavier Santos-Markland the Topetenia jaguar-shifter works the deadliest predator cases mostly in the Washington D.C. area. He drops in at Athena's topless where he watches Caprise Delgado perform an exotic dance that has him and the other patrons drooling. Though his senses are overwhelmed by his desire, Xavier realizes Rogue shifters, who abandoned the Etica code of ethics and deserted one of the five tribes to most likely join drug dealing Topetenia Sabar Tavares' gang, are nearby. With no explanation, he escorts the hybrid dancer to safety where their mutual attraction is temporarily satiated though each craves more.

Xavier knows Caprise conceals something that frightens her from him. He offers his help but she rejects his aid, which angers and frustrates him as he fears for the woman he knows is his life mate. Her stalker continues to threaten her; as this hybrid killer also claims Caprise as his mate.

The latest Shadow Shifters romantic urban fantasy (see Temptation Rising and Seduction's Shift) is an action-packed entry; as A.C. Arthur expands her realm by introducing other tribes and a new hybrid. The lead couple is a nice pairing of flawed feisty mates though their first encounter following her performance seems very doubtful; while the psychotic villain adds sinister tension to an exciting triangle of life and death.

You & I, Me & You
MaryJanice Davidson
St. Martin's
9780312531195, $24.99

In Minneapolis FBI Bureau of False Flags Ops (BOFFO) Special Agent Cadence Jones lives with her boyfriend Patrick; as do her sisters, Shiro and Adrienne. The siblings are unhappy with Patrick in their lives, but accept reality that, except when either Shiro or Adrienne take control of Cadence's body they cohabitate, they have no choice. Whenever Cadence regains control of her body from those horrid moments one of her sisters takes over, she miserably cleans the mess they leave her with.

In spite of Patrick in their lives, since the three sisters met gorgeous Dr. Gallo, they compete for the lead role as each are fascinated by the eerie hunk. As they work out the convoluted relationships, Cadence (abetted by her sisters) and her partner sociopath George Pinkham confront in a return engagement serial murdering Threefer Killer (see Me, Myself And Why).

The third Jones sisters FBI thriller (see Yours, Mine, And Ours) continues the over the top of Deming Heights Park zany dark humorous police procedural; as MaryJanice Davidson once gain lampoons society's convenient cataloguing people to fit inside a file drawer. Readers will enjoy this madcap Minnesota mystery as the multiple personality disorder field operative uses all three personalities to work the case while also causing havoc in relationships.

Secrets Of A Runaway Bride
Valerie Bowman
St. Martin's
9781250008961, $7.99

In 1816 Marquis Devon and Lily Morgan go on their honeymoon (see Secrets Of A Wedding Night). However before leaving, the happy couple asks Devon's best friend Jordan Holloway to watch over her sister Annie Andrews. Although not his cup of tea the Earl agrees.

With her overly protective sister away, Annie plans to elope with Arthur Eggleston. However whenever she works a scheme like climbing a convenient vine to get inside her intended's house that pest Jordan inconveniently arrives to thwart her plots. He finds her capers humorous but decides before one works and he has to explain to the wife of his BFF, Jordon abducts the beautiful dynamo; he takes her to his country estate. There she causes havoc to his house and his heart as he falls in love with his temporary ward while she reciprocates having fallen in love with her diligent jailer.

The second Andrews Secret Brides Regency romance is a delightful jocular frolic. The lead protagonists are intelligent and engaged in a humorous gender battle of wits that sub-genre fans will thoroughly appreciate though neither Annie nor Jordon consider consequences when they act.

A Little Folly
Jude Morgan
St. Martin's
9781250022271, $25.99

Sir Clement Carnell was a bully with a temper and he lived to control others. He married late, but his young bride proved weak and succumbed to death after a decade under his thumb. She left him with two children Valentine and Louisa, who he raised with an iron fist; neither was allowed to leave their Devonshire estate. Both in their twenties, the siblings are freed when in a rage Clement drops dead.

However, adjusting to their liberation from the tyrant proves difficult as they know no other way to live except hiding from the wrath. Still they throw small parties and welcome estranged cousins Tom and Sophie Spedding into their lives. Valentine shows his gumption when he rejects his father's chosen one. The Spedding couple takes the Carnell duet to London where Valentine and married Lady Harriet Eversholt begin a tryst after meeting at her gambling parlor; while Louisa is attracted to Lieutenant Pearce Lynley. As Valentine runs up a large gambling debt, Harriet's irate spouse plans to destroy the country bumpkin with the siblings' childhood friend, James Tresilian intervening.

Readers will feel they are in England just after the Napoleonic wars are over as a euphoric atmosphere of rejoicing has spread throughout London. However the key to this strong enjoyable Regency is Jude Morgan captures the actions and reactions of the naive brother and sister to their new freedom to do what they want for the first time in their over two decades of life.

Brian D'Amato
Mulholland Books
c/o Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017-0010
9780316217248, $14.99,

New York City artist Jamie Angelo seeks the perfect Beauty, but fails to have found his muse. With friends from his Yale days, Jamie meets his compulsion for the ultimate beauty by creating faces using artificial skin for the rich and famous as he did for fellow Eli grad Penny Penn. However, instead of satiating his obsession, he feels unsatisfied as he needs much more than making loads of cash from the affluent vain.

His frustration finally ends when Jamie meets performer Jaishree Manglai. He immediately recognizes her face as the canvas for his Mona Lisa. Persuading her to allow him to turn her into the ultimate aesthetic "Minaz"; Jamie starts working on his "It Girl" masterpiece. She soon becomes the toast of the town until his work begins to fall apart as the artificial skin he used turns cancerous ugly.

This reprint of a 1994 modern day Dr. Frankenstein tale that looks deeply into the American obsession with surface Beauty mostly holds up with the test of time although the overuse of pop figures from that era detracts from the otherwise profound storyline. However, it is arrogant Jamie's monstrous muses (shared by many) on what beauty is that makes Brian D'Amato's first novel a winner.

Jewel of The Pacific
Linda Lee Chaikin
River North
c/o Moody Publishers
820 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60610
9780802437518, $14.99,

Rafe Easton decides to leave his beloved Hawaii and his soul mate Eden Derington to obtain medical attention in San Francisco for his blindness. He sends his fiancee a note informing her of his decision, but she never receives it. Heartbroken she concludes he no longer wants to marry her; she joins her medical father on setting up a leper clinic. When she fails to respond he assumes that his first inclination that no woman wants a lesser man as a mate is true.

Eden learns from her cousin that Rafe returned, but since he failed to contact her and was seen with Bunny Judson, she believes he wants no part of her. Ignoring Eden, Rafe works his coffee plantation and runs for a legislative seat on the anti-Royalist party that wants the Queen to abdicate and the kingdom to join the United States. She also must choose which side of the debate she belongs to as the moment of reckoning has arrived.

The latest Dawn of Hawaii historical thriller continues shine a deep light on the kingdom at a time of "crosswinds" changes sweeping the island through the impacts on two families (Easton and Derington clans) and their friends. The story line is anchored in time and place by real persona like Queen Liliuokalani, locations like the leper colony on Molokai and historical tidbits like the fight between independence or the States. Although it behooves fans to first read Hawaiian Crosswinds and Spoils of Eden (preferably recently) to understand how miscommunication led the lead pair (and others) to where they are at the start of Jewel of The Pacific, fans will enjoy Linda Lee Chaikin's epic trilogy.

Harriet Klausner
Senior Reviewer

Lorraine's Bookshelf

Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burns, author
GIA Publications, Inc.
7404 S. Mason Ave., Chicago, IL 60638
9789781579999759, $45.00,

"Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw" is a long awaited comprehensive biography of the great American choral music genius. Including a DVD of Shaw's dress rehearsal of the Brahms Requiem at Boston University, "Deep River" traces the 80+ year life and career of the famous choral arts maestro from early roots as a California boy, and his troubled marital history, through his slow but undeniable rise as an amazing choral music pioneer of classics. Cover notes describe Shaw as "part of an American mythic tradition that encompasses Jay Gatsby, Leonard Bernstein, "American Idol," and Barack Obama. This only alludes or hints at the greatness of Shaw.

One of Shaw's goals in staging choral music is described as the desire to make a space, in American concertgoer's experiences and expectations, for seeking grace. Shaw also believed in the concept of clearing space in a musical performance for the composer's living spirit to re=inhabit the piece to be performed. Although this ideal goal was undeniably ambitious and possibly unrealistic, there were known to be cases where Shaw achieved it. Further biographical analysis traces Shaw's musical career and development parallel to his tempestuous personal life. The man was and remains an enigma of great humility and cruelty, but his musical contributions are sublime and overshadowing. He wanted to help redefine American choral music, and also to set up a network of choral music educators who could both educate and support each other. He had many other goals and achievements, but his overriding commitment was to the furtherance of American choral music, exemplified by the African American spiritual.

Because Shaw's musical accomplishments were so varied and broad, the 15 separate appendices in "Deep River" offer valuable reflections of the depth of his achievements. The Shaw Timeline and Awards ((p.53), Summary of performance History, Most Important Shaw Recordings, and Documentary Films of Robert Shaw Choral Workshops At Carnegie Hall are some of the more illuminating appendices, along with the Major Tours of the Robert Shaw Chorale 1948-1967 and the Commissions and Premiers Conducted By Robert Shaw. "Deep River" aims for and achieves a difficult standard in this fascinating biography of one of America's original choral arts directors

Another musical title from the same publisher that is also very highly recommended is "The Composer's Craft: A Practical Guide for Students and Teachers (9781579999766, $24.95), by Blake Henson and Gerald Custer, with a foreword by James Jordan.

Indivisible: Poems for Social Justice
Gail Bush & Randy Meyer, editors
Norwood House Press
PO Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781603574174, $14.60 (list), $10.95 (School Library)

"Indivisible: Poems for Social Justice" is an impressive and memorable collection of poems that definitely do not take a back seat on the bus; they trumpet dysfunctional deeds and social trends of the dominant culture, presented in 54 poems from 20th and 21st century American poets on social justice. Poems are divided into chapters subtitled 'liberty was misquoted,' "we are all getting burned,' 'giving secrets away,' 'the signals we give,' and 'the next thing to happen.' Poets whose work is represented include both familiar and unfamiliar names: Nancy Byrd Turner ("Immigrants"), Tupac Shakur ("Liberty Needs Glasses,"), Langston Hughes ("Misery"), Assotto Saint ("The Geography of Poetry"), Maya Angelou ("Harlem Hopscotch"), Mitsuye Yamada ("Warning"), Wendell Berry ("My Great-Grandfather's Slaves"), Luis Rodriguez ("Piece By Piece"), and Louis Untermeyer ("Prayer"). Many varied voices sing the songs of social justice, or its glaring absence. One poem strikes a ringing challenge to be taken up, "Freedom of Expression" by William Stafford.

My feet wait there listening, and when
they dislike what happens they begin
to press on the floor. They know when
it is time to walk out on a program. Pretty soon
they are moving, and as the program fades
you can hear the sound of my feet on gravel.

If you have feet with standards, you too
may be reminded - you need not
accept what's given. You gamblers,
pimps, braggarts, oppressive people: -
"Not here," my feet are saying, "no thanks;
let me out of this." And I'm gone.

Debbie Holland, author
Crystal Productions
1812 Johns Drive, Glenview, IL 60025
9781562906924, $24.95,

"ARTintegration" is a new art educational multi subject book with thirty examples of elementary student lesson plans that integrate art with such diverse subjects as math, social studies, science, and language arts. Spiral bound, studded with colorful illustrations, "ARTintegration" presents lesson plans with subject headings and highlighted categories of art elements, materials, reference, vocabulary, essential questions, national standards, learning objectives and additional information regarding the history of the art technique(s) employed. Steps are delineated, along with alternate project suggestions with grade levels specified. Final examples of student work or completed projects are also included. Some sample project titles are Plaids and Stripes Forever (Textile Design/Math), Hippogriff Illustrations (Illustration/Language Arts), Dynamic Diamonds (Math/Social Studies), Gingerbread Houses (Math/Language Arts/Architecture), Contemporary Sculptures (Art/Social Studies/Math), Silhouette (Social Studies/Science), and Thayer: Father of Camouflage (Art/Science/Language Arts). For added whimsey, there is a plan titled Crazy Quilts (Textile Designs;Social Studies/Math), and also Dragon Creations (Illustration/Social Studies). There is even one chapter titled Morphed Bugs which includes instructions to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy's Insect video, taking notes, labeling and sketching the insect parts and stages. Each insect project must have eyes, antennae, legs and abdomen. Most curious of all, the creature can morph as the student works and each student can borrow their neighbor's supplies if they do not want or need them. What encouragement and inspiration for creativity and careful observation! The end of "ARTintegration" lists specific national standards for the visual arts by grades with specified achievement standards (pp.66-67). There is also a glossary on the elements of art& principles of design plus a vocabulary list. ""ARTintegration" is a brilliantly creative set of lesson plans for 45 minute classes that teach multidisciplinary approaches across the curriculum through art.

America's National Parks: A Pop-Up Book
Bruce Foster, paper engineer
Dave Ember, illustrator
Don Compton, concept and text
W. W. West, Inc.
20875 Sholes Rd., Bend, Oregon 97702
9780975896037, $34.95,

"America's National Parks: A Pop-Up Book" is a stunning pop-up art triumph featuring incredible three dimensional, scenic pop-ups and full color illustrations as well as brilliant descriptive narrative text and sidebars covering 17 of the United States majestic national parks. Retro park posters and historic photos of park sites and monuments stud the flat pages, while six amazing two page spreads of intricately worked, cutout colored pop-ups bring fantastic park scenes to thrilling life. This is a case where art meets nature, with the added serendipity that $8.00 of each book's full price of $34.95 is donated to the NPCA when purchased from the official website, which is A great, creative fund raising project and a commendable project for insuring the secure continuation of this majestic legacy of nature to future generations, "America's National Parks - A Pop-Up Book" is both a brilliant production and a valuable collector's item. According to promotions, only 1,200 copies of the Deluxe Limited Edition ($100 each, of which $80 is to be donated to the NPCA) are to be released, numbered and autographed by the creators, featuring the NPCA mission statement stamped in gold foil on the slipcover plus an NPCA logo pop-up, all enclosed in a black cloth slipcase. Or order the $35.00 hardback edition and let your grandchildren enjoy it for years. Of course, younger children will need to be supervised to protect the fragile, intriguing paper sculptures, the hidden Florida panther, the flying birds, the plume of Old Faithful, none of these will withstand rough handling. This is truly a magnificent book of nature portrayed in art.

Deep Relaxation, Coming Home to Your Body
Sister Chan Khong, author
Parallax Press
2236 B Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 93710
9781937006273, $14.95,

"Deep Relaxation" is a book and CD offering 9 separate guided deep relaxation meditations, accompanied by an introduction, guided exercises, and short and long practice of deep relaxation. The end result and purpose of deep relaxation practices is healing, accompanied by a sense of well-being and vivid life participation. "Deep Relaxation" is both a beautiful book embellished with poetry and subtle page decorations, a holistic treat for mind, body and soul.

Motivos : The Life of St. Francis
Gabriela Mistral, author
Elizabeth Horan, editor, English translator
Bilingual Review Press
Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University
PO Box 875303, Tempe, AZ 85287
9781931010931, $20.00,

"Motivos: The Life of St. Francis" is a bilingual edition of forty four prose poems by famed Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral on St. Francis, written between 1924 and 1929. A motivo is often a type of nature meditation, but Mistral changes this to biographical musings on the life of St. Francis. These prose poems are full of mystical, yet painfully accurate insights and images. First Latin American winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1945), Gabriela Mistral is an identity that began as Lucila Godoy in a poor Chilean family, receiving sketchy formal education and enduring much cruelty from fellow Chilean educators and administrators in her first 33 years in Chile (until 1922) and then her subsequent 34 years abroad. Ultimately she transformed her suffering and humilities to beautiful prose poem creations such as her "Motivos." One small quotation from the Motivo titled "Body" is included for its exemplary words and concepts: " Human happiness is such a weighty thing, and he didn't want it. Pain, another form of density that pulls and tears, was something he fled from What weighed nothing was this joy in creatures, which he wanted to carry forever. .. He would feel the world as light as a crown of flowers. Perched at its edges he didn't want to weigh more than the sipping bee... (p. 8)." A summary biography and history is included at the end of "Motivos," which are also enriched by a number of black and white engravings or illustrations of St. Francis from perhaps the earlier edition, such as "St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio" by Constant Le Breton. There is no escaping the impact of this powerful Latin American poet and teacher, also converted to Catholicism and joined the Third Order of St. Francis lay worker and educator. Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), born Lucila Godoy in a small, poor Chilean village, is an endless inspiration to women, poets, teachers and saints today.

Nancy Lorraine
Senior Reviewer

Mason's Bookshelf

Taking Your Life To The Next Level: 7 Keys To Living The God Kind Of Life
Jimi Akanbi
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781482345100, $9.99,

Synopsis: Prosperity in God's kingdom includes peace, wealth, health, honor, faith, favor, love, and more. There is no limit to the measure of prosperity that you can encounter in life. The more knowledge you have about God, coupled with wisdom, the more prosperity you will receive. Understanding and performing the steps outlined in this book 'Taking Your Life to The Next Level' will help you accomplish this.

Critique: Very nicely organized in both presentation and precept, "Taking Your Life To The Next Level: 7 Keys To Living The God Kind Of Life" will prove to be of special interest and value for members of Christian communities regardless of denomination affiliation.

Leather to The Corinthians
Tom Lucas
Room 1331 Publishing & Media
1414 West Princeton Street
Orlando, FL 32804
9780988526105, $12.99,

Synopsis: "Leather to the Corinthians" is an absurd postmodern fable that defiantly flips a middle finger at modern American life. Through the perspectives of its multiple characters, Leather to the Corinthians explores the absurdities of organized religion, the military, big business, fast food, advertising, sex, and the media. Witty, with bitter undertones, its story possesses a satirical spirit as it plays with traditional story structure, phrasing and cultural references. Its multiple layers encourage return visits as its characters have many more unique tales to tell.

Critique: Simply stated, Tom Lucas' deftly written novel "Leather to The Corinthians" is a fun read that will appeal to counter-culture enthusiasts in general, and anyone who appreciates the absurdities of life in particular. Lucas is a master storyteller of the first order and this debut novel will leave legions of appreciative readers looking eagerly toward his next literary effort!

Unraveling The Universe's Mysteries
Louis A. Del Monte
Privately Published
9780988171800, $14.95,

Synopsis: Unraveling the Universe's Mysteries offers a rare glimpse into scientific mysteries that have baffled scientists over the last century. It bravely takes the reader to the edge of science where proof is scarce, and the line between physics and metaphysics blurs. Explore the latest science theories regarding: What caused the Big Bang? Is there a multiverse? What role does string theory play in modern science? Is time travel possible? Is dark energy/dark matter real? Are there other Earths? Are we alone? What ultimate fate does humankind face? Can science prove God exists?

Critique: An inherently fascinating read that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Unraveling The Universe's Mysteries" is thoroughly 'reader friendly' as author Louis Del Monte deftly addresses an impressive variety of scientific questions and issues in a manner that is ideal for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in what science can inform us about life's fundamental questions and the universe at large. Informed and informative, "Unraveling the Universe's Mysteries" is an impressive work that deserves the widest possible readership and is especially recommended for school, academic, and community library Contemporary Science reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

The Year Of Soup
Howard Reiss
Krance Publishing
116 Depot Place, Nyack, NY 10960
9780615725451, $12.99,

Synopsis: At the age of 30, Tess has had three jobs and three significant relationships with two men and one woman - each lasting three years. Drifting through life, confused about her sexuality, Tess decides to live a life of celibacy and to open up a restaurant devoted to soup. Tess has a talent for making soups with strong medicinal and spiritual qualities - something passed down from her great-great grandmother, a descendant of one of the Salem witches. In the second week of the restaurant's opening, an elderly professor of English, Roger Beanstock, comes in at closing time. Beany, haunted by his own past has lived a celibate life devoted to his work. He visits the restaurant every Thursday night for the next year to share soup and wine with Tess, which she calls the Year of Soup, before taking his life. Shortly after Beany's death, Tess meets Jim at the restaurant, a furniture maker with his own reasons for keeping to himself. It is through a series of letters that Beany has left for Tess that she learns the truth about the Professor, is able to come to terms with her own sexuality, and discover Jim's own tragic secret that will change both of their lives.

Critique: "The Year Of Soup", as with his first novel "A Family Institution" (9780615570884, $14.99), clearly establishes Howard Reiss' credentials as an especially gifted storyteller with a knack for creating fully developed characters and original storylines that engage the readers complete attention from first page to last. "The Year Of The Soup" is highly recommended and thoroughly entertaining, making it an appropriate addition for community library contemporary fiction collections.

Bernard L. Dillard
BerNerd Publishing
PO Box 2081, New York, NY 10108
9780615696119, $14.98,

Synopsis: "Lemonade", is a coming-of-age story, which highlights Bernard L. Dillard's persistence, faith, and triumph as he journeys toward the ever-elusive space called manhood. Exposed to the goods, the bads, and the uglies of Dillard's world, readers can't help but sympathize with, cheer for, and laugh out loud at a man, who is trying his best to find the most stable path that leads from boy to man. Written like a novel and presented in bite-sized chapters, "Lemonade" is indeed a page-turner. Throughout these pages, Dillard shares the story behind his success. Through candor, vulnerability, and a tinge of wit, Dillard describes how he overcame his own sense of adversity. Although he has held many of these details close to the vest over the years, he now exposes past wounds in his own life with the hopes of encouraging others to succeed despite their own feelings of injury and loss. Simply, it is a tale of triumph and unmasks what happens when one learns how to win with the hand of life that is dealt. In a nutshell, Dillard stands in life's kitchen, gathers his ingredients, and shows us what to make when all there seems to be is a basket full of lemons.

Critique: An engaging read from first page to last, "Lemonade" is an articulate, candid, inherently fascinating, true-life story that marks Bernard L. Dillard as an accomplished writer able to draw his readers into his personal memoir with an intimacy rarely encountered by always appreciated. "Lemonade" is highly recommended reading and will prove to be a popular addition to community library 20th Century American Biography collections.

Noncompliant List: Transplants, Meditation and My Journey to Health
Kevin Hopf
Luminare Press
467 West 17th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401
9781937303068, $12.95,

Synopsis: Facing certain death in 1991 from chronic liver disease brought on by Hepatitus B, Kevin Hopf instead began a journey to healing. After a liver transplant and tangling with Western medical establishment, Hopf discovered non-traditional healing techniques, and in Noncompliant List, he offers alternatives that will encourage and enlighten fellow travelers.

Critique: It is notable that "Noncompliant List: Transplants, Meditation and My Journey to Health" is author Kevin Hopf's first attempt at writing. As a first effort is succeeds admirably as he relates his own person experiences in candid detail to the benefit of others who may find themselves and a loved one in similiar medical circumstances, maing "Noncompliant List: Transplants, Meditation and My Journey to Health" a welcome and highly recomended addition to personal and community library Health & Medicine reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

Graves' Disease And Hypterthyroidism
Sarfraz Zaidi, MD
iComet Press
6988 Calle Dia, Camarillo, CA 93012
9781481884440, 15.95,

Synopsis: Graves' disease is one of several causes of hyperthyroidism. In "Graves' Disease And Hyperthyroidism", Dr. Zaidi, a leading endocrinologist, describes how to accurately diagnose and treat Graves' disease as well as other causes of hyperthyroidism. The medical treatment of Graves' disease has not changed in over 50 years. Sad, but true! The standard, usual treatment with Radioactive iodine is a superficial, myopic approach. It almost always makes you hypothyroid (underactive thyroid state). Then, you need to be on thyroid pills for the rest of your life. In addition, radioactive iodine does not treat the underlying root cause of Graves' disease - autoimmune dysfunction, which continues to smolder and easily erupts into another autoimmune disease. Anti-thyroid drugs do not treat autoimmune dysfunction either. They provide only temporary relief. Often, symptoms return once you stop these drugs. Surgery also does not treat autoimmune dysfunction. It often leads to hypothyroidism as well as many other complications. Over the last ten years, Dr. Zaidi developed a truly breakthrough approach to get rid of Graves' disease at its roots - autoimmune dysfunction. His patients have benefitted tremendously from this approach. Now, its time for you to learn about this ground breaking discovery. Dr. Zaidi reveals what really causes autoimmune dysfunction that ultimately leads to Graves' disease. His revolutionary treatment strategy consists of five components: His unique Diet for Graves' disease (including original recipes), the link between Vitamin D deficiency and Graves' disease, the connection between Graves' disease and Vitamin B12 deficiency, how Stress causes Graves' disease (and Dr. Zaidi's unique strategy to manage stress) and the Judicious use of Anti-Thyroid drugs. Dr. Zaidi also explains: What are thyroid antibodies? What are the tests to diagnose various causes of hyperthyroidism? What causes Graves' eye disease and what is its proper treatment? How do you accurately diagnose and manage Graves' disease during pregnancy? Dr. Zaidi describes actual case studies from his clinical practice that detail his treatment step by step and reveal how his treatment strategy actually works and saves thyroid glands, as compared to the usual treatment approach, which destroys thyroid glands with radioactive iodine.

Critique: A leader in the field of Hyperthyroidism and Graves' Disease, Dr. Zaidi writes with authority and clarity that makes "Graves' Disease And Hyperthyroidism: What You Must Know Before They Zap Your Thyroid With Radioactive Iodine" an absolute "must" for anyone who must deal with this condition either within themselves or who are concerned with a loved one. Comprehensive and thoroughly 'reader friendly', "Graves' Disease And Hyperthyroidism" will prove to be an invaluable and appreciated addition to both academic and community library Health & Medicine reference collections.

Life On Nubis
Robert Harken
9781479211791, $12.99,

Synopsis: By 2040, efficient machines displace humans in nearly all tasks. Unable to contribute and too poor to consume, these surplus people succumb to propaganda from Earth's Emigration Effort and become cargo on interstellar starships launched toward distant solar systems. Aiden Haven, one of the displaced, departs Earth on the eve of parity between human and artificial intelligence. Believing he embarks on an adventure to resuscitate his life, Aiden underestimates the risks of colonizing an inhospitable new planet. When his daughter, Sarah, resurrects the future that colonists abandoned on Earth - a future now stalking them - father and daughter must face forces of nature and Earth's legacy or witness the destruction of their colony's last refuge.

Critique: Impressive and original, "Life On Nubis" clearly establishes Robert Harken as a master of the science fiction genre. A first class read from beginning to end, "Life On Nubis" is very highly recommended for scifi enthusiasts and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library science fiction collections. Also highly recommended by Robert Harken is his earlier work, "Snow Falling" (Orthogonal Media, Kindle, $0.99).

Double Cross of Time
Mark de Castrique
Bella Rosa Books
PO Box 4251 CRS, Rock Hill, SC 29732
9781622680122, $14.95,

Synopsis: When scientists first discovered in 2012 what they referred to as the God Particle, the headline flashed around the world and ushered in a new era of scientific research. But where will it lead? What dangers will be revealed? Set in year of 2030, "Double Cross Of Time" is the story of scientist Jonathan Singer who stands on the verge of achieving his two greatest dreams: marriage to his soul mate Sally DeMille and the successful launch of The American Super Collider, the culmination of his cutting-edge research. But when an elderly man shows up at his apartment with irrefutable proof that he is also Dr. Jonathan Singer, Jonathan's ordered life spins wildly out of control. The old man claims to have traveled back from forty years in the future. He makes a desperate plea--"To thine own self be true." But this self is telling him to destroy everything he's worked for. Is Jonathan being true to himself or battling his own worst enemy? Will he betray himself or lose the woman he loves? One thing is certain--while Jonathan races against time to save the Future, someone is trying to kill him in the Present. The countdown has begun and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Critique: A true science fiction thriller of a novel, "Double Cross Of Time" is superbly written and clearly underscores author Mark de Castrique as an impressively talented writer in the genre. Original, compelling, and a truly memorable read, "Double Cross Of Time" is highly recommended for science fiction buffs and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library collections.

The Brother-In-Law
F. X. Biasi Jr.
Privately Published
c/o Smith Publicity
1930 E Marlton Pike, Suite I-46
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
9780984878123, $16.95,

Synopsis: Just days before the catastrophic events of 9-11, and after months of meticulous plotting, a disguised Bart LaRocca inflicts vengeance on his brother-in-law, the powerful and unscrupulous Mafia boss, Al (aka Little Nicky) Nicosia. Bart then vanishes without a trace. The Brother-in-Law is a fictional, suspense filled, forty year saga of an Italian-American couple and their son, whose lives are caught up and shattered by their insidious family association with the New York mob. The first day Bart LaRocca and Al Nicosia met in high school an instant dislike developed. However, neither of them could imagine how events over the next four decades would transform their adolescent dislike into loathing, and Bart's overwhelming desire for revenge. Bart LaRocca was the naive product of a typical post WWII middle class Long Island family. When he meets the Nicosia brothers Bart is exposed to the nefarious world of organized crime. Pietro Nicosia, their father, is a high ranking member of the Leucchi crime syndicate. The oldest brother, Al, eagerly embraces his father's criminal lifestyle. John, the youngest son, abhors the family legacy and becomes one of Bart's closest friends and allies. As fate would have it, Bart and their younger sister Gina fall passionately in love, marry and have a son, Peter. Determined to avoid the parasitic forces that surround his in-laws, Bart pursues his career away from New York. First as a U.S. Air Force officer he is assigned to Italy where he and Gina have a fantastic double wedding in Venice with her brother John and his fiancee. Their son Peter is born in Italy but shortly after his birth Bart receives orders for Vietnam. During Bart's tour in Nam, Gina and Peter move in with her parents where Peter comes under his Uncle Al's influence. Upon Bart return and discharge from the Air Force, and initially with Gina's support, Bart accepts jobs that move his family up and down the east coast and into the mid-west. However, neither time nor distance can expunge from their lives the specter of his in-law's criminal empire and Al's violent exploits. At one point even Bart's impeccable reputation is put in jeopardy by "associates" of the Nicosias. Finally, after 20 years of discord, her father's death, and Peter's going off to college, Gina moves back with her mother in New York. These events herald in Little Nicky's destructive influence on his sister and nephew Peter. When Peter becomes tragically involved in one of Little Nicky's criminal schemes, Gina helplessly plummets into depression, alcohol, and drugs, thus foreshadowing the final confrontation between Bart, aided by a handful of interesting and influential friends, and his infamous brother-in-law.

Critique: A superbly crafted work showcasing in fictional form a populated criminal world first brought to the attention of the American public in the Godfather film trilogy. A thoroughly engaging read and highly recommended for community library collections.

Jack Mason

Micah's Bookshelf

The Greatness Within
Louise Richardson
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781466977129, $10.97,

We want to live our lives and sun anything trying to stop us from doing so. "The Greatness Within" is a memoir from Louise Richardson who shares her struggles with an illness, and how it almost cost her everything she sought dear. Through her therapy and drive, she recovered her life and took everything and anything back. "The Greatness Within" is a powerful read for self-help and inspirational collections, highly recommended.

Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To
Barry Tutor
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781466948808, $13.33,

Being there for another is one of the most merciful things you can do. "Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To: A Caregiver's Journey" is a memoir from Barry Tutor as he tells his story of caring for his wife who was diagnosed with the disease and what it did to her throughout her later life, and how it put so much stress on him as a man trying to be there for her and care for her. A story that will resonate so much with many readers, "Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To" is a must for self-help and caregiver's memoirs collections, recommended.

Through the Valley of the Deep Darkness
Thomas Arner
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781466955028, $17.48,

Hatred festers into so much more inside of us. "Through the Valley of the Deep Darkness: Holding onto the Ancient Testimonies" is a memoir from pastor Thomas Arner, as he shares his own grief and faith of coping with the huge tragedies in his life and finding his way through it all, finding happiness and something to love in spite of it all. "Through the Valley of the Deep Darkness" is a must for Christian memoir collections, highly recommended.

Derrick Patrick
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781469777658, $21.95,

Plots lurked everywhere behind the strings of Jesus's mission. "Jesus: The Rise of Nazarene" is a Biblical thriller as author Derrick Patrick offers a twist of the Biblical plots, offering a true betrayer of Christ, millennia old plots, and modern conspiracies. Exciting and riveting reading with plenty to draw readers in and intrigue them, "Jesus: The Rise of the Nazarene" is a must for those who love Biblical thrillers, much recommended.

A Case for Wisdom
Geoffrey Woods
c/o AuthorHouse
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781475949735, $10.95,

As time runs short, we may want to reach out and salvage those bonds before they are forever lost. "A Case for Wisdom: A Son's Story About Reconciling With His Father" is a memoir from Geoffrey Woods as he tells his story of how he found his way of connecting to his father even as he loses his health. Writing of faith and family, "A Case for Wisdom" is an insightful and much recommended addition to memoir and Christian collections.

Micah Andrew

Richard's Bookshelf

Just Blow it Up: Fire Power for Unlimited Living
Dixie Gillespie
Sound Wisdom
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9781937879181, $14.99,

Practical Principles for Creating Personal Success

"Just Blow it Up" is contains over 200 power packed pages of practical personal principles for creating and enjoying personal success. I found an applicable "take away" on nearly every page. Dixie Gillaspie provides the tools, ammunition, and a plan of attack for facing the insurmountable brick walls that keep you from accomplishing your life dreams and purpose.

Dixie inspires the reader to see and recognize the possibilities and opportunities around them that will help them move their dreams from fantasies to realities. The same principles apply whether your dreams are grandiose, your projects are major, or you are dealing with small routine speed bump size obstacles. I found her explanation of the process of vision, passion, and belief to be enlightening. She also helped me understand the importance of confidence, validation, and impetus.

Illustrations are drawn from Dixie's own experiences and from shared analogies and examples from her Blast Thru Coaching sessions. Her writing is focused and articulate. She is highly respected among her peers as a gifted communicator.

The book is divided into four parts, in a logical sequence, equipping the reader with a "dynamite toolbox" to set off the four blasting caps to blow up the walls that have kept you from accomplishing your life dreams and purpose. Highly motivational - Highly recommended.

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

We Confess!: The Civil War - The South - and the Church
Deborah Brunt
WestBow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449731786, $ 22.99,

A Clarian Call to Confession - With the Jarring Blast of the Shofar

"We Confess! The Civil War - The South - and the Church" carefully records a time line of the discovery, development, and history of the territory settled by Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto right up to the post-Civil War days. Deborah Brunt describes the mistreatment of the native American Indians, as well as the implication and reality of the injustice of the "Indian Territory."

Brunt goes on to address and openly discusses: The corporate sins of the nation and of the church; Jim Crow laws; the Civil Rights Movement; and unresolved issues prevalent today. She evaluates bigotry and segregation, the Klan and the obsession with greed, power, and pride. She calls attention to the immorality, violence, and intimidation, mobbing, rape, and violence ignored by society and the white church. The book is a well-documented detailed account of the influence of slavery on the founding and history of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Deborah Brunt's historical research is thorough and meticulously documented. She reveals phenomenal spiritual insight into the issues facing the conservative church culture with specific attention to the southern church. Brunt is passionate about confronting the hard and difficult issues of how fear and pride, strife, and rejection have resulted in rebellion and bloodshed.
The themes of the Old and New Testament "Blood Covenants," redemption, sanctification, and atonement accompany the message of the Gospel of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection throughout the entire book. The book is written as a call to establish unity within the church.

Brunt's writing is disturbing, stirs the emotions, and is controversial. She writes with passion, is convincing and convicting. It brings a prophetic picture of the danger of building on a faulty foundation. I was left with the challenge to assume responsibility as an individual to make a conscientious effort to impact others in my own circle of influence to also take the message of confession, repentance, and renewal to their world. In turn we can all impact the molders of public opinion that represent us in government, and in the leadership of the church.

"We Confess! The Civil War - The South - and the Church" is a summons to action and calls for a response. Highly Recommended.

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

When Heaven invades Earth - A Practical Guide to A Life of Miracles
Bill Johnson
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768442106, $16.99

An Invitation to Experience Miracle Encounters in Jesus Name

"When Heaven Invades Earth - A Practical Guide to A Life of Miracles" is filled with exciting real life stories of miraculous healing that bring a freshness to a faltering system of bias and the limitations of dogma; stories of transformation and renewal resulting from an intentional deliberate pursuit of ministry to the poor and a faith that includes the seeing miracles experienced. Bill Johnson's writing transcends the natural and focuses on the supernatural.

The book is full of miracle encounters, tried and proven strategies to help create an opportunity for miracles, signs, and wonders to happen. Pastor Bill Johnson poses the question, "How dependent on the Holy Spirit are you willing to live?" In his preaching, teaching and healing ministry he challenges the reader to move beyond their deeply entrenched theological blinders to rethink their interpretation to re-examine the scriptures to see what they actually say.

This expanded tenth anniversary edition includes a 40 day devotional guide which includes a quotation from the text accompanied by profound questions for personal application, assimilation, and action, and a meditation for reflection and contemplation. "When Heaven invades Earth" is a wakeup call to church, and a guidebook to pastors, church leaders, and laymen desirous of encountering the miraculous in their ministry. invade

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

Leverage Your Laziness!: How to do what you love, ALL THE TIME!
Jeff Goldberg and Steve Bookbinder
Sound Wisdom
167 Walnut Bottom Road
Shippensburg, PA 17257
9781937879143, $9.99,

Dynamic Strategies for Trading the Drudgery of Work into the Excitement of Accomplishment

Jeff Goldberg and Steve Bookbinder combine their wit, intellect, and common sense in this entertaining, data packed instructional manual. They draw on their personal insight, diversified experiences, and passion for life coaching in the writing and production of "Leverage Your Laziness!" In this collaboration they introduce an approach designed to use leverage and laziness as a strategy for attaining effective performance with the least work and the added bonus of sensing the enjoyment of accomplishment.

Steve helps the reader discover how to recognize and utilize their strongest strengths in their personal strategy for success. Jeff introduces keys to focus on those things you enjoy most in your work to increase your personal productivity with the least effort.

Sixteen principles, dozens of motivational quotes from dozens of recognized leaders, and the opportunity for individual readers to get specific in applying these principles personally make up the format of this humorous, practical, and powerful guidebook.

Concise, and compact, yet comprehensive "Leverage Your Laziness!" is an important tool for the established entrepreneur, for successful leaders, for life coaches, and for those who "wanna be" rich and famous.

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

Hinds' Feet on High Places Devotional - the original and Complete Allegory with Devotional
Darien B. Cooper
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. 310 Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
978076844202, $16.99

An Invitation to Embrace the Unconditional Love of Our Heavenly Shepherd

"Hinds' Feet on High Places Devotional" is designed to enhance and enrich your spiritual journey. Darien Cooper retains and expands the richness of Hannah Hurnard's original allegorical writing in this devotional interpretation of the contemporary classic. The daily quiet time meditations and reflections renew the reader's spirit from within encouraging a time of bonding with the Lord in an intimate relationship that leads to a sense of security, strength and peace.

Darien Cooper unlocks the subtle nuances of an individual's spiritual journey as illustrated in Much Afraid's flight from the negative influence of the Fearing family kinfolk to follow the Shepherd. The reader will be enlightened as they travel with Much Afraid throughout her encounters, detours, and ascent to the high places.

Insights in the devotional readings translate the mysterious metaphorical implications of allegory into to the reality of surmounting the obstacles of the present. Fear, intimidation, and shame are replaced with confidence, faith, and spiritual strength. The reader is challenged to press ahead; embracing the truth that there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome through the love of Jesus.

"Hinds' Feet on High Places Devotional - the original and Complete Allegory with Devotional" is a Clarian call to live in a godly manner, to live up to your faith, and always to be careful not to slip back into your old ways.

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

Even When Bad Things Happen, God is Good - Trusting God When it Hurts the Most
Leary E. Bonnett
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768442090, $16.99

Sensitive Answers to Troubling Questions

"Even When Bad Things Happen, God is Good - Trusting God When it Hurts the Most" is a combination; theological treatise, an inspiration devotional guide, a motivational case study, and a spiritual discipline handbook. Readers can expect to receive insights from Leary Bonnett's teaching that will embolden and stretch them in their faith journey.

Bonnett provides thought provoking, step by step. Rich and meaningful lessons and guidance on building character traits of : humility, hope, faith, patience, and love while developing spiritual discipline, and putting faith into action using examples, and principles rooted in God's Word. These lessons are authenticated by his personal life and ministry.

I was challenged by Bonnett's, Biblical authenticity, articulate communication style, his intellect, and credibility. I appreciated his careful detail in research and formatting, his descriptive word pictures, relevant examples and illustrations, and the continuity of his presentation

The thought reflection questions presented at the end of each chapter are designed to be used for personal mediation, spiritual mentoring, or as a small group discussion study guide.

"Even When Bad Things Happen, God is Good" is an excellent resource for Pastors, Counselors, and Laymen ministering to individuals and families who are facing crisis and difficult times.

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

The School of the Seers- A Practical Guide on How to See in the Unseen Realm
Jonathan Welton
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257
9780768442144, $16.99

An Exciting Eye Opening Adventure into Seeing Supernatural Christian Living as the Norm

This expanded edition of "The School of the Seers" includes three new chapters, and an Interactive Study Guide ideal for group use, and an Advance Seer Training Manual.

Jonathan Welton brings a fresh presentation of revelatory teaching based on his personal experiences and careful study of the scriptures on the subject of: angels, spiritual warfare, prophecy, and the spirit realm. Jon's writing provides the reader with vision, direction and encouragement.

"The School for Seers" is rich in instructional material, profound questions, and practical pointers for application. The material is well researched and thoroughly documented. The format is user friendly with definitive topical headings, intuitive instruction, and practical pointers for application.

Each chapter of the study guide is formatted to include: Teaching points, key chapter scriptures, and an activation exercise (titled: flipping the switch). Other features include: A stretching application, review questions, suggestions for journaling, and verses to "ponder and memorize."

"The School of the Seers" is written: To give you the tools needed to sharpen your discernment, to create a hunger in you to pursue and experience the presence of God, and to provide a manual to guide the reader to open spiritual sight in the unseen realm.

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

The Prophetic Perspective
Mark Chironna
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768442120, $15.99

A Biblical Exposition on the Five-Fold Ministry of the Prophet

"The Prophetic Perspective" is a comprehensive study that addresses questions on the dynamics of the prophetic on the church, the individual and the apostolic reformation. In this in depth biblical exposition Mark Chironna explains the five-fold ministry of the prophet.

Chironna is a gifted communicator, highly respected as a prophetic minister. He writes with an understanding and intellect that unlocks profound truths for the theologian with a spiritual sensitivity and Holy Spirit anointing that will appeal to readers at every level of maturity. The book is an equipping tool empowering the reader for ministry. Mark demonstrates an acute awareness of the roles of the gifts of the Apostle, prophet, and evangelist. His explanations, illustrations, definitions, and word pictures combine to challenge the reader to further study and research.

The Pinpoint the Prophetic feature at the end of each chapter helps the reader explore and consider different, sometimes conflicting, viewpoints on Prophetic Perspective in light of God's intended future to affirm or give a better understanding of long held personal views.

I especially liked the reader friendly format of the book and the organization of the material.

The sub title of "The Prophetic Perspective" become the underlying theme throughout the book "Seeing and Seizing Our God-Intended Future."

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

Recovery for the Christian Family: Surviving Alcoholism
Chaplain Farris and Ruth Robertson
Recovery Literature
217 W. Bennett Street
Springfield, MO 65807
9780911939026, $12.95,

Recovery from the Bondage of Alcohol Addiction

"Recovery for the Christian Family: Surviving Alcoholism" is for families impacted by the addictive nature of the alcoholic. Personal examples and Scriptural principles are used to illustrate and reinforce the complexity of the subject matter introduced.

Chaplains Farris and Ruth Robertson offer hope and recovery to the reader. They provide important information and detailed instruction on topics related to intervention, Show more Show less the commonality of the addiction cycle, recovery, and answer dozens of "Why? When and How?" questions. They also include a matrix of issues regarding misperceptions of life, unrealistic desires, daily frustrations, genetic predisposition, and learned behaviors that the alcoholic deals with on a regular basis.

Chapters are packed with solid information on the importance of communication, the need for a spiritual connection, co-dependent relationships, relapse prevention, recovery models and family interaction. Each family member is faced with the need for commitment, sacrifice, change and perseverance if they are going to replace anger, shame, guilt and condemnation with love and acceptance.

The material is introduced in a logical progression with clarity. The Robertson's write convincingly, with compassion. The thought provoking visual illustrations and a complete index add to the value of the book as a resource tool.

"Recovery for the Christian Family: Surviving Alcoholism" is an important guide for 12 Step Recovery programs, Family Counselors, Clergy, and for every member of the family "Surviving Alcoholism."

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

Even Though I Walk Through the Valley
Laura M. Kymla
Destiny Image Books, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310
9780768442113, $16.99

A Bittersweet Journey through Pain, Despair, Restoration and Healing

"Even Though I Walk Through the Valley" is Laura Mauro Kymla story of her spiritual journey; a journey that includes years of suffering the emotional and physical pain of a rare form of cancer, Multiple Myeloma. She tells of the band of supporters, who stood with her during times of her deepest needs, with prophetic affirmations, intercessory prayer, and the details of running a household, hundreds of doctor's appointments, and chemotherapy treatments, and hospital stays.

Laura is articulate in providing information on the diagnosis, treatment, and therapy experienced throughout her battle with Multiple Myeloma. She also describes the roller coaster of emotions she felt in the midst of experiencing the torture of living in a "prison of pain" as ranging between "hysteria, fear, disbelief, and denial."

Laura writes with transparency as she tells of feelings of rejection, betrayal, verbal abuse, belittlement, and condemnation experienced as a child and in her teens. These feelings resulted in an "approval addiction" that continued into adulthood. As a professional counselor Laura gives compassionate understanding and encouragement to strengthen and equip readers who have been exposed to similar brokenness, and to bring healing and restoration to their spirit, and a balm of refreshment to their soul.

Laura often includes a brief note of encouragement, affirmation, or insight to introduce a lesson learned through a crisis or "dark night of the soul" experience. These can help the reader form important life principles and values that impact relationships and lead to a personal sense of self-worth and inner peace. Reflection questions at the end of each chapter encourage the reader to search their own heart and apply the principles to overcome those inexplicable challenges being experienced. Profound.

Laura is a gifted communicator, steadfast in a God sized faith. "Even Though I Walk through the Valley" offers hope to the individual discouraged by the uncertainty of pursuing a journey into the unknown and ministers to the whole person, body, soul and spirit.

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

God's Provision for Your Every Need
T. D. Jakes
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310
Shippensburg, PA 17257
978768410112, $9.99

Refreshing Water for the Wilderness Experience

In his book "God' Provision for Your Every Need" Dr. T. D. Jakes introduces the penetrating instruction that leads the reader into divine truth encounters with Jehovah Jireh - our provider.

The convenient size and short chapters of the book make it an ideal devotional reading companion for commuting or traveling. The profound truths highlighted for emphasis are worthy of contemplation and reflection. Each power packed chapter Includes rich promises, important guidance, inspiration, and challenge. Topical themes include a logical progression of wilderness experiences, thoughts on God's plan for intimacy, celebration in praise and worship, and the Holy Spirit's outflowing of blessing in our lives.

I appreciated the space provided with each chapter which provides an opportunity for the reader to record their own thoughts and impressions of the material introduced in the chapter or for creating a personal devotional journal, or make application, and action plans.

A full chapter from Pastor Jakes' best-selling book "Naked and Not Ashamed" is included as an extra bonus feature; a compassionate call to openness and honesty before God and others.

"God's Provision for Your Every Need" is a bold reminder of the refreshing renewal God provides to sustain us in our wilderness journey with Him.

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

Richard R. Blake, Senior Reviewer

Shelley's Bookshelf

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

Marie Moore hails from Mississippi, where she graduated from Ole Miss. During her career she taught junior high, wrote and then edited her hometown newspaper, raised a family, and won awards for her journalistic work. Not content with those laurels, she began her own travel agency and visited over sixty countries, escorted tours, and sailed on nineteen cruises encompassing a fifteen-year period. So she has created a wealth of inspiration for her current job...writing mysteries.

Amateur sleuth Sidney Marsh is embarking on her second adventure as a follow-up to SHORE EXCURSION. Sidney and her buddy, Jay, are chosen by their New York travel agency for a familiarization trip to South Africa to provide information for the travel agency's newest offering...safari tours. They arrive in gorgeous Africa, and immediately sense there is something decidedly "off" about" the resort, which lies directly in the path of all sorts of wild game. There is also something fishy about some of the members of their excursion, and almost immediately there is death and eerie happenings:

"A fresh leopard track. A big one. And, just ahead of it, another, and another.

'Dear God,' he said. 'That baby really is around her somewhere. FELIX!'

Felix came running, with Connie and Irene right behind him. He looked at the tracks, motioning for us to be still. Then he spoke quietly in what I think was Bantu into his radio. David had said that the local dialect was Bantu, though some spoke Xhosa and most also spoke Swahili. In seconds, two burly guards joined us on the path, shining their lights on the tracks.

'He has made a kill,' one of them said, pointing to dark drops in the sand."

Marie Moore has scored another triumph with GAME DRIVE. Excellent!! It will keep the read glued from the first page to the surprising ending.

Headaches Can Be Murder
Marilyn Rausch & Mary Donlon
North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
PO Box 451, St. Cloud, MN 56302
9780878395965, $14.95,

Marilyn Rausch and Mary Donlon met and began their collaboration at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Donlon was a CPA by trade, and Marilyn taught adult basic education and is a retired market research consultant. HEADACHES CAN BE MURDER is their first mystery. LOVE CAN BE MURDER is in the works and will be released in 2013.

Chip Collingsworth is a crime novelist who hit it big with his first novel. Unfortunately, he was married and divorced three times, and both his inheritance and the proceeds from his book have evaporated in the trail of his erstwhile wives. He moves to a small town in Minnesota to get away from it all and write a follow-up mystery entitled BRAIN FREEZE. But when animals begin dying from tainted water, and the life of one of his new friends is threatened, Chip finds himself in the middle of a mystery as compelling as his new novel:

"'Chief, Jane here, I got the first responder page and talked with Doc Schultz. I think the best place to land a medi-vac helicopter given the snow is the south parking lot of AgriDynamics. I'll meet you over at Doc's. We've got to get Mabel to the Mayo Clinic ASAP.'

'Mom, Mabel is going to be okay, isn't she?'

'She's awfully sick, sweetie, but the Mayo Clinic is one of the best hospitals in the country. They'll find out what's wrong and do their best to help her. You stay here. Honey needs some company, and Runt needs to be bottle-fed. Chip, we could use your help if enough First Responders don't make it in Time. Can you come with me?'"

HEADACHES CAN BE MURDER is really two novels in one, with characters and action to match. Chip is a reluctant hero, and his small town is his redemption.

Shelley Glodowski
Senior Reviewer

Shirley's Bookshelf

Precipice: The Beginning
Kevin J. Howard
Outskirts Press
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
978478716938, $23.95,

In the beginning of this read we meet, Lieutenant Travis Daniels, who is far from his wife and son as he leads a team on Mars. Trapped on a planet and punished for something he did not do tears at his very being, but his troubles are small compared to what his wife and son are experiencing on earth. Strange happenings is a light way of expressing what is going on. The earth is falling apart in every way it can and strange creatures are feeding upon humans, young and old. What is happening and can Travis return to earth to rescue his family and help mankind, or is this the end of life as we have always known it?

Hold onto your hats, readers, as you are taken into a world that looks nothing like the one you are living in now. Author, Kevin J Howard has whipped together a tale that is not only frightening, but perhaps not so far fetched as some may think. Certainly he has used his imagination but from my own concept of what I see coming upon our world is he really that far into fantasy? I think not. Listen, if you want a read that will keep you glued to the pages this one is for you. It will take you deeper and deeper into a darkness where you wonder if there is any hope for light. A story that is perhaps too close to what may well happen in the near future in one way or the other. Great read, one that leaves you with the desperate need to know more. Good job, Mr. Howard, keep them coming!

Just Do This Thing Already
Joseph A. Guerriero
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781481860819, $12.00,

I would like to begin this review by saying this read was one of the most enjoyable works I have read in a long time. Why? you may ask. Author, Joseph A. Guerriero has taken memories that he has wrapped in his heart and shares them with the reader as he allows us peeks into his life, growing up with his father, Tony. He is a man who in his own way brought stability and life into his family and those he intermingled with. His ways and actions to some may be quite funny, because he was, to others he may seem demanding, at times he was, to others they truly may not understand his ways or why he was as he was, but Tony knew what he was doing, and he did it well. These stories will creep into your heart and become a memory that will bring a smile. I definitely related to Tony, Joey, and the life they led. Being born in Newark, NJ and also having an Italian father so many traits from Tony were so like my own dad, and happenings so similar to my own experiences growing up, that they actually touched home with me. Even the different locals that our author takes us to in this read awakened in me memories that were long forgotten.

I really can't tell you how many times I giggled through this read, it held my interest, and was a pleasure to read. I especially enjoyed the trip to Niagara Falls, the muscle man on the bus, and of course the somewhat scantily clad waitresses at the restaurant. Too funny!. This story is one you will truly enjoy. A heart to heart read and a salute to a man who made a difference in one way or another to all who interacted with him. You will enjoy this one. Recommended.

Throwing Grapes Moving Mountains: A Devotional Journey for the Hungry Heart
Jan Hegelein
Westbow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449775902, $19.95,

I am not one who uses Devotional books a lot. Please don't misunderstand me, I think they are great, but I tend to just talk more with the Lord than read a Devotional. I was pleased and surprised at what I found in this one, however. Our author, Jan Hegelein, has allowed the Spirit of the Lord to work through her in this book. She has done this through the choose of the Scriptures that she has used, to the words of wisdom that are presented with each one. In doing so, she is bringing Scripture, situations, trials, victories, down home and personal. At times she interacts with the reader by asking them questions to correspond with what has just been presented to them. This is a great way to help the reader recognize perhaps their short-comings in these areas, and correct them. I enjoyed the warm and heartfelt poetry within this work sometimes an awakening, sometimes a heart cry,and sometimes a simple kiss to God or from God. This is one Devotional that is truly set aside from the rest, one that surely God has touched and anointed for His people. Recommended.

Dawn Drums
Robert Walton
Moonlight Mesa Associates
18620 Moonlight Mesa Road, Suite A
Wickenburg, AZ. 85390
9781938628153, $16.95,

Most of us have some knowledge of the Civil War from our school days, however author, Robert Walton, brings us into the very heart of a battle that changed the course of our Country. With grace and respect he introduces us to the characters as their role in this epic event begins to play out. Some are well known, such as, Abraham Lincoln, General Ulysses S Grant, and Almira Martin; while others are not so known, and some are fictional, yet well played in the happenings of the times. The journey they take is long and dark, touching the very core of mankind, no matter what side they are on and no matter why the battle is fought, you will understand, the scars will remain for a lifetime, Mr. Walton brings to light, personal sacrifices, emotional traumas, the battle for freedom, and the price that was paid.

I enjoyed this read. It is not written as a text book, but as a story that takes on a life of its own. Events, battles, people, become alive as you walk hand in hand with the players through the dark journey of battle, and life during a time of uncertainty. Yes it does become down-home and personal, as author Robert Walton, weaves his words in such a way that you actually become part of the story before you. You find emotions will awaken within you as the battle rages on, and you will have a new respect and understanding of what really happened and how this event changed so many lives, including your own. It is a wonderful book and one I am proud to highly recommend, truly exceptional.

Bedtime Riot
Prof Tiptoe
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781482582406, $9.99,

I believe all parents have endured drama when it comes to bedtime with our children. How many times have you walked them back to their beds and tucked them in, only to have them reappear? In this delightful tale by, Professor Tiptoe, we share this experience with Tiftaf, a little boy who just is not tired. As with children, his imagination takes root as he experiences several sleep disturbing happenings, from his blanket taking him up in the sky, to creatures creeping out from his shoes, and an unfortunate trip to the ocean where his clothes and bed become soiled. Oh my!

This is a very delightful read, bringing to light in a fun way, a situation that is played over and over again in all families. The illustrations definitely bring alive what is happening, colorful and bold. The characters are just different looking enough to draw your attention to them. I believe every child, and parent, will be able to identify with this story and will giggle through it. A great sharing tale and one that will show parents and children, in this situation they are not alone. Recommended.

Shirley Johnson
Senior Reviewer

Taylor's Bookshelf

Thrill of the Rookie
Osaze Ehigiator
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781477237427, $16.95,

A chance at a new life is sometimes taken in fear of anything and everything around them. "Thrill of the Rookie" is a memoir from Osaze Ehigiator who shares his story of coming from Nigeria with little to call his own and his struggle to survive and find his way to thrive through it all. "Thrill of the Rookie" is a powerful read of clawing for the American dream even when it all seems hopeless, and somehow making it real.

Autobiography of a Baby Boomer
Robert Schultz
Light Messages
9781611530490, $22.95,

The baby-boomer generation has produced a wide array of people. "Autobiography of a Baby Boomer" is a memoir from Robert Schultz who shares his worldwide journey from being the straight laced college student to embracing the hippie movement to finding his way back to life after traveling far and wide. With humor and poignancy, "Autobiography of a Baby Boomer" is insightful and a very much recommended addition to contemporary memoir collections.

The Hottest Summer in Recorded History
Elizabeth Bachinsky
Nightwood Editions
9780889712768, $18.95,

Everyday is everything at once. "The Hottest Summer in Recorded History" is a collection of poetry from Elizabeth Bachinsky who offers her unusual blend of opinions and insight onto the world around her, presenting honesty and humor hand in hand. "The Hottest Summer in Recorded History" is a strong addition to modern poetry collections. "When You First Meet a Domesticated Dog": He is a frightening prospect, indeed./There's the slavering mouth full of teeth,/and the hair that stands up like bristle./It noses your crotch and takes a good snuffle//and what's this? -- it wants a little pet?/Everyone seems okay with that,//standing around eating chicken off the BBQ/like there isn't an animal among you. Also from Nigthtwood Editions is "Timely Irreverence" from Jay Millar, who brings another sardonic yet insightful perspective from the Canadian perspective, well worth considering. And "Ink on Paper" by Brad Cran (9780889712812, $18.95), poet laureate for Vancouver, who presents poetry with a strong message about social issues.

Full Circle
Jane Hersey
9781780884295, $7.99,

Life's cruelties can often stick with us for a lifetime. "Full Circle" is the follow up memoir to Jane Hersey's 'Breath in the Dark', continuing her struggles to survive as an abused single mother who has to stoop to deeper and darker places in her life, to where hope may well have been lost. Hoping to share her story to help others, "Full Circle" is a strong addition to traumatic memoir collections and for studies on mental health and recovery.

Magnificent Joe
James Wheatley
One World
c/o Erin L. Cox (Publicity)
9781851689668, $14.95,

A companion through it all is invaluable. "Magnificent Joe" follows the tale of Jim and Joe, two individuals in North England trying to find something new in their lives. Forming a friendship in the process, it will be tested by the weight of past crimes, and trying to find something of redemption in spite of the oddness of the world around them. "Magnificent Joe" is an enticing read that will resonate with many a reader.

John Taylor

Vogel's Bookshelf

Thera and the Exodus
Riaan Booysen
9781780994499, $35.95,

The history behind the events of the Bible is curious, trying to find reality in fact. "Thera and the Exodus: The Exodus explained in Terms of Natural Phenomena and the Human Response to It" is an intriguing and different interpretation of the Biblical story of Exodus. Riaan Booysen seeks to tell the story of the Thera volcano's unrest, and how the Amenhotep III, ordered a sacrifice of all the first born to appease the Gods, and how his own first born was saved...and that this son would become Moses. An intriguing take on the legend trying to connect human nature with natural history, "Thera and the Exodus" is an enticing read for a different take on ancient history, highly recommended.

Bumbling Through Hong Kong
Tom Schmidt
Kakibubu Media Limited
9789881806673, $12.95,

There is so much of the world to see, that it can prove overwhelming. "Bumbling Through Hong Kong" is a humorous travel exploration from Tom Schmidt following Bumbling Bob and his friendly backpackers as they move through this famous city with an appreciation for culture and nature throughout. "Bumbling Through Hong Kong" is a treasure with plenty of humor, highly recommended reading.

God's Gladiator
Richard Hardy
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064
9781622953509, $15.99,

Keeping one's faith can prove so hard, especially in the volatile nature of the business world. "God's Gladiator" is a memoir from Richard Hardy as he shares his road to the top as a Christian in the business and traveling the world in the process, facing many dangerous situations but keeping his faith with him through all of it. "God's Gladiator" is an intriguing read that has much to be considered, very much recommended reading.

What's Your Monster's Name?
Ingrid Kern
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432782290, $18.95,

All through out life we face monsters, and emerge alive. "What's Your Monster's Name?" is an inspirational read from Ingrid Kern who shares her faith and inspiration for dealing with the fears in our lives, defeating those monsters and letting our lives flourish over their beaten corpses. With a driven motivation to succeed, "What's Your Monster's Name?" is a driven read for community library self-help collections.

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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