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Reviewer's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 12 December 2017 Home | RBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Andrea's Bookshelf Bethany's Bookshelf
Buhle's Bookshelf Burroughs' Bookshelf Carson's Bookshelf
Clint's Bookshelf Duncan's Bookshelf Gail's Bookshelf
Grace's Bookshelf Graham's Bookshelf Julie's Bookshelf
Logan's Bookshelf Margaret's Bookshelf Mari's Bookshelf
Mason's Bookshelf Molly's Bookshelf Polk's Bookshelf
Shel's Bookshelf Susan's Bookshelf Suzie's Bookshelf

Reviewer's Choice

1001 Aviation Facts
Edited by Mike Machat
Specialty Press
99 Spring Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10012
9781580072441 $24.95

Andy Jordan

1001 Aviation Facts lives up to its title with a wealth of fascinating, little-known facts about aviation, from World War II aircraft to military jets, commercial airlines, helicopters, sailplanes, noteworthy pilots and much more. "[Fact] 961: The Ideal Model Airplane and Supply Company started up in 1911 and would go on to be the leader and longest-lasting manufacturer of model airplanes." A handful of black-and-white photographs illustrates this choice pick for aviation history buffs, equally suited for browsing in brief segments or cover to cover.

The Ghost of Lady Liberty: A time travel historical fiction mystery book (Mysteries In History Book 2)
Lyndon C., author
Ananya Chopra, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781979105521, $7.95, paperback, 104 Pages
B076YY3CG2, $0.99, kindle, 106 Pages

Cheri Clay

"He wanted so badly to tell his family about his secret. But his parents wouldn't believe him, and he was afraid Meg would poke fun at him. So it remained his little secret. He wondered if his camera would take him on any interesting adventures in the Big Apple. He couldn't wait to find out."

Sixth grader, Sid Cooper is excited to be going to New York City with his parents and big sister Meg, who is entering high school. Sid got to create the agenda for the sights the family will see. At the top of his list is climbing to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Sid is excited about the possibility that his magical camera would lead to an adventure back in time, but cautious not to push the button and go back at the wrong time...

Ghosts, mysteries, time travel, suspense and history make up this amazing story for elementary-aged kids. Even adults will be caught up in the exciting storyline that will keep everyone entertained. I found it's historical detail to be outstanding, reminiscent of the kid's TV show "Liberty's Kids", with its descriptive detail, captivating even the youngest of minds. I loved how Lyndon handled the delicate detail as the family discussed 9/11. And was blown away by the story captured in pictures by the young illustrator Ananya, at only eleven years old, has proven she clearly has a future as an amazing illustrator. Learning history becomes a fun adventure that kids will not soon forget!

Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace
Jennifer Chiaverini
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10014-3657
9781101985205, $27.00, 448 pp.

Matt Geiger

There is a passage in "Enchantress of Numbers," in which Ada Lovelace reflects on her newborn son. While others marvel at the dark-eyed infant's potential and dream of his future, she "so passionately adored the perfect little creature he already was" that she "gave no thought to what he might be five, ten, or twenty years in the future."

There is an immediacy to her experience. It is not some far off, high-minded concept. It is here, now. There is immediacy to all of Jennifer Chiaverini's upcoming novel, as well, which is an impressive feat in the realm of historical fiction.

Lovelace, although often ignored by history books, has all the makings of a legendary, iconic figure. She unleashed an "almost awful energy & power" onto the world when she wrote what many consider the world's first computer program. She was an intellectual. She was the daughter of one of her time's greatest celebrities (and he was a scandalous celebrity at that). Her life was full of duality and tragedy.

But she was also a human being, whose life began amid her parents' marital turmoil and ended at the young age of 36, cut short by cancer. For these reasons and others, "Enchantress of Numbers" has an almost Dickensian feel to it. The stories in it may be big or small, but the characters and their human qualities are enormous. People are what they do, as Jung pointed out, and some people are rueful, some are kind, some are bitter and some are shimmering and bright. Many modern authors sacrifice realism and humanism for obsessive nuance: heroes must be anti-heroes, villains must have a sad and tidy explanation for their villainy, everything in shades of gray. Not Chiaverini. Ada Lovelace might be flawed in some ways, but the author is refreshingly unrepentant in her portrayal of her as good, and brilliant, and creative, and ultimately likeable. In that way, Ada Lovelace is like David Copperfield if he helped invent the greatest thinking machine in the history of human civilization. In "Enchantress," as in "David Copperfield," the author gets out of the way and lets the protagonist tell her own story. It's in her voice that you hear the tale while you read it.

Rule number one if you want to have an interesting life should be this: be born to Lord George Gordon Byron. "He was a genius, some whispered in awe. He was a libertine, said others, looking scandalized, but often no less admiring."

Byron was a rock star of his era. While his emotionally lavish life was partially responsible, he wasn't just famous for being famous; he was a celebrity because he wrote poetry that dazzled and captivated readers in the 1800s, just as it does today. Poetry is not even close to being my favorite literary genre, but even I can recite most of "She Walks in Beauty." I've been able to ever since I was 15 years old, when the magnificence of the world and those around me was almost too much to bear, and I first encountered a sweeping, roguishly sentimental ode to a beautiful woman in one of my school textbooks.

Lord Byron doesn't last too terribly long in "Enchantress of Numbers." After all, he and Ada's mother, Annabella, parted ways when she was just a baby, and he died when she was still a child.

He is a writing legend, but he would never be in the running for a "Father of the Year" award. Yet his presence looms throughout the book. For Ada's mother, he is a villain whose tendencies - toward unhinged passion and wild sentimentality - must be suppressed in her daughter's budding character. Ada is brought up to be a critical thinker, with a scientific mind that will protect her from her father's many perceived eccentricities and flaws.

As Annabella puts it when she and her husband part ways, "Byron had willfully chosen the path to damnation and was striding cheerfully down it, away from her, away from Ada."

Growing up, Ada is surrounded by her mother and her mother's friends and family, "who perpetually hovered around [her] like a swarm of judgmental wasps."

But, and this might not be the first or last time in history this has happened, children do not always grow up to be exactly who their parents wish them to be. Ada, in her short life, somehow managed to hone her analytic mind and unleash an enormous dose of creative thought onto the world. After all, the Analytical Engine on which she worked wasn't just some dull code - it was a doorway to a limitless new world of information and thought. Without it, we might not have anything of the modern world. Without that doorway being opened, it's hard to imagine modern medicine, art, culture, war, or information sharing. Without it, we wouldn't have cracked the human genome, or sent people into space. It rivals the wheel in terms of cultural significance.

Despite her upbringing, Ada's imagination thrives. She confides that she is pleased to be "the rare sort of wild creature" that survives "fairly well in captivity." Ada Lovelace was unique in her mental powers as a mathematician and scientist, but there is no denying she had something of her father's great poetry inside her. This is one of many things you realize as you read Chiaverini's portrayal. That combination - of science and art working in tandem - is the kind of rare power that can literally change an entire world.

Those already familiar with Chiaverini's work - she is a New York Times bestseller, so there are plenty of them - will recognize some familiar themes here. Shakespeare is present, with an apt quote from Macbeth. Like that play, "Enchantress of Numbers" does often feel like a tragedy. Ada is so likeable and so genuinely alive that when Chiaverini (spoiler alert) kills her, you almost want to bring her up on murder charges for her crime. Then you remember that Chiaverini works as an enchantress too, conjuring the stories of people long since departed from this world. Even she can't make them live forever, except between the pages of books like this. And as every booklover knows, all books, even good ones, come to an end at some point.

When she died, Ada Lovelace was laid to rest beside the body of her famous father. They were separated for much of their short lives, but they are spending eternity together right now. In this novel, shortly before that eternity begins, Ada laments that her time is running out. While she was content to love her infant son in the present, she looks to the future when she considers herself and her own legacy. She worries she will not see the Analytical Engine in action. She longs to sit back and marvel as is transforms the world. She suspects her narrative will survive her, and she hopes history might remember the part she played.

But while her father remained famous in death, she was often forgotten - omitted from many history books, or relegated to the footnotes. I knew little more than her name when I cracked open the cover of "Enchantress of Numbers."

But history isn't over, yet. With Chiaverini's new book, Ada Lovelace finally gets some of the credit she deserves. Not just for her contributions to mathematics and science, or for the poetry of her imagination, but also for being a real person, of flesh and blood, who achieved something we all strive for but so few of us manage: to live a remarkable life.

Halo: New Blood
Matt Forbeck
Gallery Books
c/o Simon and Schuster Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10020
9781501128080, $9.99, 200 pages

Paul Lappen, Reviewer

Set approximately 500 years from now, this novel, part of a series, is about humanity in the middle of an interplanetary war. Their opponent is a large group of species and factions collectively called the Covenant.

Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck is an average soldier in that war. He and his Strike Team are part of the Orbital Deep Shock Troopers, or ODST. The relationship between Strike Team members is much more than just trusting each other. They have to know what their colleague is going to do before he does it. Even though they have the latest weapons and battle armor, the Troopers still have a high death rate.

The ODST play a major role in thwarting a Covenant invasion of Earth at the end of the Covenant War. Buck has every justification for wanting to retire to someplace quiet with Veronica (who works for the Office of Naval Intelligence), his girlfriend. The Spartan program will give Buck and the other Troopers the chance to, literally, become super soldiers. Buck is very reluctant to go through the internal, and external, modifications that are necessary, until Veronica convinces him.

Meantime, there are some humans who really don't like the United Nations (the name of the human planetary confederation). Now that the Covenant War is over, they can't help but think that the Spartan soldiers will be used on them, to stifle all dissent. For Buck, fighting the Covenant War, was, figuratively, easy (if a being is alien, fire away). It gets a lot harder when the enemy is human, perhaps even another Spartan.

This is my first exposure to the "world" of Halo, based on the popular computer game. This novel is really good. As you can expect, there is a lot of action, but the characters are real people, too. The author does a first-rate job from start to finish, and it is well worth reading.

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies
Ross King
Bloomsbury Press
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, NY 10010
9781632860132 $19.00 pbk
B01DM9Q5V8, $8.57 Kindle, 416 pp,

Vicki Hill

Ross King has written many books about art, architecture, and artists, including BRUNELLESCHI'S DOME: THE STORY OF THE GREAT CATHEDRAL IN FLORENCE, THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS: THE REVOLUTIONARY DECADE THAT GAVE THE WORLD IMPRESSIONISM, and MICHELANGELO AND THE POPE'S CEILING. King creates thrilling introductions to significant achievements in art and architecture, and makes them live within their historical settings. In addition, King gives us insight into how artists view their achievements, how they innovate, and how they overcome their doubts and persevere.

In this winner of multiple non-fiction prizes, King emphasizes Monet's later career and achievements. Monet had first turned to water lilies "when he glimpsed Latour-Marliac's hybrids at the 1889 Exposition Universelle", and King fully delineates the long history, associations, and symbolism of water lilies from many diverse perspectives. In illuminating the "intensity and breadth of vision, ... lyrical beauty and ... disciplined subtlety" of Monet's work, many new-to-me details on how painterly effects were achieved are described. Time has a special role for Monet's art; for example, multiple canvases were worked simultaneously to capture precise effects reflecting sunlight, weather, and the movement and depth of water. The preoccupation with capturing and describing the effects of time resonate with the novels of Marcel Proust, who wanted to visit Monet's home in Giverny and even write a book about Monet's garden.

The last part of the book covers the post-World War I period when despite poor health and changing views of the public toward his work, Monet continued to show astounding ambition and determination to create a colossal public art installation for the public. His large canvases of water lilies, willow branches, and tree and cloud reflections now reside in the Musee de l'Orangerie, an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located in the Tuileries Gardens. A fitting end to an astonishing career that because of King's devotion to genius and to art we can now better understand.

Clean Out Your LifeCloset
Corbie Mitleid
Fire Through Spirit Press
PO Box 297, Warnerville NY 12187-0297
9781614683704, $14.99 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 216pp,

Madeline Dennis-Yates, Reviewer

Corbie Mitleid has read a lot of self-help books, and now she wants you to write your own - with some guidance. There are no groundbreaking ideas in this book if you've read others like it or gone to therapy, but the ideas are presented in a customizable way that could just make them stick this time. Perhaps the most effective and original method is "thinking like a Martian," or looking at every situation or problem as if you've never seen anything like it. This opens the door to new, more positive interpretations of things that one may have deeply entrenched feelings about, and it encourages less reactive behavior. It's also such an appealing and sensible idea that it stays with the reader throughout the book, lending every concept raised, as basic as it may be, new dimension.

Mitleid is like your most reliable friend in a crisis - one who says something simple that you probably already knew, but who somehow says it in a way that makes everything clearer. The thing about your best crisis friend is that she's probably a little wacky, and maybe she casually mentions her "intuitive" work and throws you off just when you're getting on board with her ideas. Mitleid is great at sharing stories, her own or others', true or fictional, that are relatable and relevant. When she mentions her "intuitive" - akin to psychic - work, it may be too specific to be engaging to most readers. However, Mitleid never tries to sell the reader on any of these beliefs or methods, and she reveals the relevance of this work in the relationship section when she uses examples from her intuitive hotline job to demonstrate the pervasiveness of poor communication. In a section that feels basic, this adds some flavor.

If there were any risk of appearing preachy, Mitleid negates it with her "Adventure Pages." Placed at the end of each chapter, these are worksheets that ask the reader what she found useful in the chapter and encourage her to extract only the ideas that will work for her. Mitleid is adamant that readers adopt what methods they like and nothing more. This fits elegantly with the "cleaning out" theme of the book. Throughout, readers are encouraged to re-imagine what could be useful in their lives and to throw out what clearly isn't. By teaching her readers this, Mitleid also teaches them how to use her book.

"Clean Out Your LifeCloset" may just be the compassionate, endearingly quirky companion self-help readers are looking for.

Andrea's Bookshelf

Bold Women in California History
Kay Moore
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426799, $14.00, PB, 200pp,

Written for teenagers and young adults, but having strong interest for adult readers with an interest in Women's Studies and Women's History as well, "Bold Women in California History" reveals what women can do when they dare to be bold. From Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, to Yoshiko Uchida, Japanese internment camp survivor turned children's author, to Elvira Virginia Mugarrieta, who dressed as a man in order to do things women of the time could not, the thirteen women portrayed in this collection broke down barriers of sexism, racism, and political opposition to emerge as heroines of their time. Whether that meant pushing for change in the state senate, as Rose Ann Vuich did, or escaping slavery and later doing good for the community, as Bridget Biddy Mason did, each and every one of these stories, unique as they are, show ways in which women have created lasting change. Perfect for school or home, this collection of short but informative biographies is both a valuable resource and an entertaining read, making it an unreservedly recommended 'must' for family, school and community library collections.

The Festive Frolics of Panda and Owl
Frank Lewis, author
Autumn Brook, illustrator
Brown Books Publishing Group
16250 Knoll Trail Drive, Suite 205, Dallas, TX 75248-2871
9781612549583, $14.99, PB, 43pp,

Panda and Owl are a hoot! Birthday parties, ice cream, and river games can be fantastic fun - especially when you're with your best friend! Children ages 7 to 9 can join in with spontaneous, cheerful Panda and wise but disoriented Owl as they live and laugh together in the Bamboo Forest. In the five stories written by Frank Lewis, with illustrations by Autumn Brook, Panda and Owl rhyme, sing, walk, eat, and splash through their adventures. But whether they're discovering the very best activity for the very best outside day possible, or just planning surprises for each other, the thing they enjoy more than anything else is spending time together as unlikely yet inseparable best friends. A charmingly entertaining read from cover to cover, "The Festive Frolics of Panda and Owl" will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Andrea Kay

Bethany's Bookshelf

Dennis the Menace #3: "Dennis the Menace in Hawaii"
Hank Ketcham
160 Broadway, Suite 700E, New York, NY 10038
9781629917689, $24.99, HC, 192pp,

Synopsis: The late Henry King Ketcham (March 14, 1920 - June 1, 2001), better known as Hank Ketcham, was an American cartoonist who created the Dennis the Menace comic strip, writing and drawing it from 1951 to 1994, when he retired from drawing the daily cartoon and took up painting full-time in his home studio. In 1953, he received the Reuben Award for the strip, which continues today in the hands of other artists.

Now available to a whole new generation of young readers ages 9 to 12, ""Dennis the Menace in Hawaii" finds four year old Dennis and his parents, Alice and Henry, taking a whirlwind tour of Hawaii. During this tropical adventure, Dennis's cultural misunderstandings only add to his usual high-energy shenanigans.

By boat and by plane, the Mitchell family hop from island to island with Dennis leaving a path of hilarity in his wake. As entertaining as it is informative, of special note is Dennis (and young readers) learning about the history of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The fun continues on with the hijinks of Dennis and a box of monkeys on the plane trip home!

Critique: "Dennis the Menace in Hawaii" features every page from the original 1958 100-page graphic novel, plus a great deal of solid information on and about Hawaii and its people, customs, and history -- loads of extras in the form of games and puzzles! Simply stated, "Dennis the Menace in Hawaii" is a 'must' for the legions of Dennis the Menaces fans of all ages!!

Beyond ADHD: Overcoming the Label and Thriving
Jeff Emmerson & Robert Yehling
Rowman & Littlefield
c/o Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781442275102, $36.00, HC, 280pp,

With the help of Robert Yehling, "Beyond ADHD: Overcoming the Label and Thriving" combines Jeff Emmerson's personal story of his ADHD diagnosis, with his exploration along the way of the latest medical, scientific and societal explanations and tools for managing and living with the condition. Including interviews with a number of experts at the forefront of next-generation ADHD diagnostics and treatment, he questions the cookie-cutter way ADHD is commonly diagnosed and treated. Suggesting that the list of symptoms often used to identify ADHD can be attributed to many other disorders and conditions, he explores how and why ADHD diagnoses have increased by 50% in the last ten years. Emmerson advocates a different approach to ADHD, arguing that it should be a diagnosis of exclusion rather than the other way around, and that we must look past the label, recognizing that individual symptoms vary and treatment plans should be better tailored to the individual. He examines mental and behavioral issues from all sides, including the possibility that nurturing - rather than trying to alter or suppress - the active, "360-degree" mind is a viable way for those diagnosed with ADHD to realize their gifts and lead purposeful lives.

Critique: An absorbingly informative read that is exceptionally well presented in a manner that will be of immense value for both academia and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the subject, "Beyond ADHD: Overcoming the Label and Thriving" is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library ADHD collections and supplemental studies lists. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Beyond ADHD: Overcoming the Label and Thriving" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.70) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Tantor Audio, 9781541461369, $29.99, CD).

Making Every Science Lesson Count
Shaun Allison
Crown House Publishing
81 Brook Hills Circle, White Plains, NY 10605
9781785831829, $18.95, PB, 144pp,

Synopsis: Especially written for classroom science teachers of students ages 11 to 16, "Making Every Science Lesson Count: Six Principles to Support Great Science Teaching" by Shaun Allison (who started teaching science in West Sussex, before becoming a head of science, and is currently deputy head teacher at Durrington High School) goes in search of answers to the fundamental question that all science teachers must ask: What can I do to help my students become the scientists of the future?

Allison offers gimmick-free advice that combines the time-honored wisdom of excellent science teachers with the most useful evidence from cognitive science. "Making Every Science Lesson Count" is underpinned by six pedagogical principles challenge, explanation, modeling, practice, feedback and questioning and provides simple, realistic classroom strategies that will help teachers make abstract ideas more concrete and practical demonstrations more meaningful.

"Making Every Science Lesson Count" also points a skeptical finger at the fashions and myths that have pervaded science teaching over the past decade or so such as the belief that students can make huge progress in a single lesson and the idea that learning is speedy, linear and logical. Instead, "Making Every Science Lesson Count" advocates an approach of artful repetition and consolidation and shows how to help students develop their conceptual understanding of science over time.

"Making Every Science Lesson Count" provides effective strategies designed to help bring the six instructional principles to life, with each individual chapter concluding in a series of questions to inspire reflective thought and help in the relation of content to classroom practice.

Critique: Real world practical in content, organization and presentation, "Making Every Science Lesson Count: Six Principles to Support Great Science Teaching" is very highly recommended for school district, college, and university library Teacher Education instructional reference collections. It would also be enormously useful for home schooling parents with respect to teaching the scientific method to their children. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Making Every Science Lesson Count: Six Principles to Support Great Science Teaching" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother
Jenna Vinson
Rutgers University Press
106 Somerset St., 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
9780813591018, $95.00, HC, 256pp,

Synopsis: The dominant narrative of teen pregnancy persuades many people to believe that a teenage pregnancy always leads to devastating consequences for a young woman, her child, and the nation in which they reside. In "Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother" Jenna Vinson (Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell) draws on feminist and rhetorical theory to explore how pregnant and mothering teens are represented as problems in U.S. newspapers, political discourses, and teenage pregnancy prevention campaigns since the 1970s.

Professor Vinson shows that these representations prevent a focus on the underlying structures of inequality and poverty, perpetuate harmful discourses about women, and sustain radicalized gender ideologies that construct women's bodies as sites of national intervention and control.

"Embodying the Problem" also deftly explores how young mothers resist this narrative. Analyzing fifty narratives written by young mothers, the recent #NoTeenShame social media campaign, and her interviews with thirty-three young women, Professor Vinson persuasively argues that while the stigmatization of teenage pregnancy and motherhood does dehumanize young pregnant and mothering women, it is at the same time a means for these women to secure an audience for their own messages.

Critique: A considerably impressive work of original and erudite scholarship, "Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother" includes three Appendices, eighteen pages of Notes, a fourteen page Bibliography, and a nine page Index. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Parenting collections in general, and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for students, academics, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother" is also available in a paperback edition (9780813591001, $29.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.45).

Susan Bethany

Buhle's Bookshelf

My Jerusalem: The Eternal City
Ilan Greenfield, editor
Ziv Koren, photographer
Gefen Publishing House
11 Edison Place, Springfield, NJ 07081
9789652299079, $50.00, HC, 170pp,

Synopsis: Ever since King Solomon built the Holy Temple on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, Jews around the world have seen the holy city as the core of their lives. Jews from every continent on the globe have always prayed three times a day facing Jerusalem. Jews from Yemen, Ethiopia, and Lithuania; Jews from Morocco, Spain, India, Poland, and Russia. No matter where they are born, no matter where they die, all Jews have Jerusalem in common.

Jerusalem Day 2017 marks fifty years since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, allowing worshipers of all religions to freely worship and pray in their holy places for the first time in hundreds of years. In honor of this great anniversary, this unique photo essay brings together the thoughts and reminiscences of those who love the holy city.

Compiled and edited by Ilan Greenfield, "My Jerusalem: The Eternal City" features a unique collection of photos by Zive Koren, who is arguably one of Israel's most recognized photographers. Here portrayed are the people of Jerusalem: the real, everyday people who live in Jerusalem; those who work in Jerusalem; those who worship in Jerusalem; and those who exercise their freedom to demonstrate in Jerusalem. "My Jerusalem: The Eternal City" is truly stunning book and a must-have for everyone whose heart beats to the rhythm of the world's holiest city.

Along with a wealth of full color photography, "My Jerusalem: The Eternal City" is enhanced with the inclusion of personal essays on Jerusalem by 36 personalities, among them: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, Mike Huckabee, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Dr. Ruth R. Wisse, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Pastor John Hagee and many more.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively informative read from cover to cover, "My Jerusalem: The Eternal City" is a unique and truly memorable contemporary study of Jerusalem and its people, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, family, synagogue, community, and academic library collections.

Perceptual Intelligence
Brian Boxer Wachier
New World Library
14 Pamaron Way, Novato, CA 94949
9781608684755, $15.95, PB, 280pp,

Synopsis: An expert on human perception, Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler, is the medical director of the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute in Beverly Hills and a staff physician at Los Angeles's famed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His pioneering treatments in vision correction and Keratoconus has resulted in his having published eighty-four medical articles, and delivering 276 scientific presentations.

Now in "Perceptual Intelligence: The Brain's Secret to Seeing Past Illusion, Misperception, and Self-Deception" Dr. Wachler explores the brain's ability to interpret and make sense of the world and describes how human perception can be reality or fantasy and how to separate the two -- which is the basis of improving your Perceptual Intelligence (PI). With concrete examples and case studies, Dr. Wachier explains why our senses do not always match reality and how we can influence the world around us through perceptions, inward and outward.

Fine-tuning your PI elevates your game so you can have what you want in life: better job, better relationships, better sex, more success, more happiness. Without this book you will have a hard time achieving these things because you will keep repeating the same patterns. By reading "Perceptual Intelligence" you elevate potential success in every area in your life. Of special note is the chapter devoted to perception and sex.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Perceptual Intelligence: The Brain's Secret to Seeing Past Illusion, Misperception, and Self-Deception" is impressively informative, thought-provoking, and insightful. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for medical students, psychology students, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Perceptual Intelligence" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781441749369, $29.95, CD).

Willis M. Buhle

Burroughs' Bookshelf

The Lazy Universe
Jennifer Coopersmith
Oxford University Press
198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4314
9780198743040, $39.95, HC, 272pp,

Synopsis: Jennifer Coopersmith is an Honorary Research Associate, La Trobe University, Australia, who took her PhD in nuclear physics from the University of London, and was later a research fellow at TRIUMF, University of British Columbia. She was for many years an associate lecturer for the Open University (London and Oxford), and was then a tutor on astrophysics courses at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne while based at La Trobe University in Bendigo, Victoria.

"The Lazy Universe: An Introduction to the Principle of Least Action" is a rare book on a rare topic: it is about 'action' and the Principle of Least Action. A surprisingly well-kept secret, these ideas are at the heart of physical science and engineering. Physics is well known as being concerned with grand conservatory principles (e.g. the conservation of energy) but equally important is the optimization principle (such as getting somewhere in the shortest time or with the least resistance).

"The Lazy Universe" explains: why an optimization principle underlies physical; what action is; what 'the Hamiltonian' is; and how new insights into energy, space, and time arise. "The Lazy Universe" assumes some background in the physical sciences, at the level of undergraduate science, but it is not a textbook. The requisite derivations and worked examples are given but may be skim-read if desired.

In "The Lazy Universe" Jennifer Coopersmith draws from Cornelius Lanczos's book "The Variational Principles of Mechanics" (1949 and 1970). Lanczos was a brilliant mathematician and educator, but his book was for a postgraduate audience. "The Lazy Universe" is no mere copy with the difficult bits left out - it is original, and a popularization. It aims to explain ideas rather than achieve technical competence, and to show how Least Action leads into the whole of physics.

Critique: A deftly crafted work of seminal scholarship from beginning to end, "The Lazy Universe: An Introduction to the Principle of Least Action" is an extraordinary study enhanced for academia with the inclusion of an informative Preface and Introduction, figures, a Bibliography and listing of suggests for further reading, as well as an six page index. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The Lazy University" unreservedly recommended for college and university library Contemporary Physics collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

Finding Eden
Robin Hanbury-Tenison
I. B. Tauris Publishers
9781784538392, $35.00, HC, 240pp,

Synopsis: Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic center of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra.

Fifty years ago the interior of Borneo was a pristine, virgin rainforest inhabited by un-contacted indigenous tribes and naive, virtually tame, wildlife. It was into this 'Garden of Eden' that Robin Hanbury-Tenison (a Cornish based explorer, President of the charity Survival International, and previously the Chief Executive of The Countryside Alliance) led one of the largest ever Royal Geographical Society expeditions.

This was an extraordinary undertaking which triggered the global rainforest movement and illuminated, for the first time, how vital rainforests are to our planet. For 15 months, he and a team of some of the greatest scientists in the world immersed themselves in a place and a way of life that is on the cusp of extinction.

Much of what was once a wildlife paradise is now a monocultural desert, devastated by logging and the forced settlement of nomadic tribes, where traditional ways of life and unimaginably rich and diverse species are slowly being driven to extinction. "Finding Eden: A Journey into the Heart of Borneo" is a story for our time, one that reminds us of the fragility of our planet and of the urgent need to preserve the last untamed places of the world.

Critique: A uniquely detailed and compelling account, "Finding Eden: A Journey into the Heart of Borneo" will have special appeal to both academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the effects of human impact upon the natural order and balance of rainforests and the growing danger with respect to issues ranging from native cultural extinctions to climate change. Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, remarkably accessible in organization and presentation, "Finding Eden: A Journey into the Heart of Borneo" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Finding Eden: A Journey into the Heart of Borneo" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $20.49).

John Burroughs

Carson's Bookshelf

The Edge of the Earth: Climate Change in Photography and Video
Benedicte Ramade, editor
Black Dog Publishing
9781910433980, $45.00, HC, 192pp,

Synopsis: Increasingly and forebodingly, contemporary artists are turning their attention to the subject of climate change, in poignant and often confrontational ways. Compiled and edited by Benedicte Ramade and published by Black Dog Publishing in partnership with Ryerson Image Centre., "The Edge of the Earth: Climate Change" in Photography and Video explores recent and historic work in the context of present-day environmental concerns, considering the future consequences of the age of the anthropocene, and humanity's harsh imprint on our planet.

"The Edge of the Earth" accompanies a major exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, Canada, and includes works by pioneering and renowned artists such as Edward Burtynsky, Naoya Hatakeyama, Richard Misrach and Robert Rauschenberg; critical propositions on present situations by Chris Jordan, Gideon Mendel and Brandi Merolla; plus visionary works by Jean-Pierre Aube, Adrien Missika, Evariste Richer and Andreas Rutkauskas. Photojournalism from the RIC's Black Star Collection is also included, contextualising artistic reflections within half a century of historical reportage on the environment.

Produced as a large-format book with high-quality reproductions throughout, "The Edge of the Earth" includes critical texts by Benedicte Ramade and TJ Demos, an interview with Lucy Lippard, and an introduction by Paul Roth. This critical overview offers the insight of artists into the present climate crisis, with the motive of prompting reconsideration of our increasingly perilous relationship to our planet.

Critique: On an underlying par with 'An Inconvenient Truth', "The Edge of the Earth: Climate Change in Photography and Video" underscores and makes clear that climate change and the role humanity is playing is no hoax and will work as a strong counter-argument to the petroleum industry's bought-and-payed-for politicians who are still trying to debunk climate change as a myth. Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "The Edge of the Earth" is an inherently fascinating as it is informed and informative, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Climate Change instructional reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

Hess and the Penguins
Joseph P. Farrell
Adventures Unlimited Press
PO Box 74, Kempton, IL 60946
9781939149855, $19.95, PB, 288pp,

Synopsis: Pursuing his investigations of WWII machinations, secret international agreements, breakaway civilizations and hidden wars in Antarctica, author and researcher Joseph P. Farrell examines the continuing mystery of Rudolf Hess, his sudden flight to Scotland, his supposed imprisonment at Spandau Prison in Berlin and how his flight affected affairs in Europe, Israel, Antarctica and elsewhere in "Hess and the Penguins: The Holocaust, Antarctica and the Strange Case of Rudolf Hess".

"Hess and the Penguins" is study of Hess' mission to make peace with Britain and get rid of Hitler -- even his involvement in a plot to fly Hitler to Britain for capture! How much did Gaoring and Hitler know of Rudolf Hess' subversive plot, and what happened to Hess? Why was a doppleganger put in Spandau Prison and then "suicided"? Did the British use an early form of mind control on Hess' double? John Foster Dulles of the OSS and CIA suspected as much.

"Hess and the Penguins" also uncovers the strange death of Admiral Richard Byrd's son in 1988, about the same time of the death of Hess. What was Hess' connection to Antarctica? Of special note is that "Hess and the Penguins" uncovers the special operations and still-secret activities of WWII and the breakaway civilization.

Critique: Exhaustively researched and documented, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, impressively informed and informative, "Hess and the Penguins: The Holocaust, Antarctica and the Strange Case of Rudolf Hess" is an extraordinary, unique, and inherently fascinating history of one of the most important Nazi's of his generation and will prove to be a very special and highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library World War II collections in general, and Rudolf Hess supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Michael J. Carson

Clint's Bookshelf

A Foodie's Guide to Capitalism
Eric Holt-Gimenez
Monthly Review Press
134 W. 29th Street, Suite 706, New York, NY 10001
9781583676592 $25.00 pbk / $14.75 Kindle

Synopsis: Capitalism drives our global food system. Everyone who wants to end hunger, who wants to eat good, clean, healthy food, needs to understand capitalism. This book will help do that.

In his latest book, Eric Holt-Gimenez takes on the social, environmental, and economic crises of the capitalist mode of food production. Drawing from classical and modern analyses, A Foodie's Guide to Capitalism introduces the reader to the history of our food system and to the basics of capitalism. In straightforward prose, Holt-Gimenez explains the political economics of why - even as local, organic, and gourmet food have spread around the world - billions go hungry in the midst of abundance; why obesity is a global epidemic; and why land-grabbing, global warming, and environmental pollution are increasing.

Holt-Gimenez offers emblematic accounts - and critiques - of past and present-day struggles to change the food system, from "voting with your fork," to land occupations. We learn about the potential and the pitfalls of organic and community-supported agriculture, certified fair trade, microfinance, land trusts, agrarian reform, cooperatives, and food aid. We also learn about the convergence of growing social movements using the food system to challenge capitalism. How did racism, classism, and patriarchy become structural components of our food system? Why is a rational agriculture incompatible with the global food regime? Can transforming our food system transform capitalism? These are questions that can only be addressed by first understanding how capitalism works.

Critique: Eric Holt-Gimenez (director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy think tank) presents A Foodie's Guide to Capitalism: Understanding the Political Economy of What We Eat, a scrutiny of the social, environmental, and economic flaws of the neoliberal capitalist system that has dominated food production in modern democratic governments. Why do billions of people go hungry or suffer malnutrition when it should be possible to produce enough food to nourish the entire world? Why is obesity a global epidemic? Why is there so much food waste? A Foodie's Guide to Capitalism is not shy in its criticism of "business as usual" capitalism, and encourages the reader to think long and hard about alternatives to unfettered capitalism that could lend more power to small farmers, to impoverished populations, and to ordinary consumers. Highly recommended, especially for public and college library social issues shelves. It should be noted that A Foodie's Guide to Capitalism is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.75).

A Strange and Mystifying Story, volume 1
Story and Art by Tsuta Suzuki
c/o Viz Media
1355 Market Street, Suite 200, San Francisco CA 94103
9781421595955 $12.99 pbk / $6.29 Kindle

Synopsis: Akio Yamane's bloodline is cursed! Or at least that's what his relatives would have people think. Now feverish and delusional from a terminal illness, Akio accidentally summons his family's guardian deity. Little did he know this sinfully hot god would appear naked, sporting ears and a tail. Wait until Akio finds out the unconventional and rather intimate manner his protector plans on using to cure him!

Critique: The first volume of a seven-volume black-and-white manga (Japanese graphic novel) series, A Strange and Mystifying Story belongs to the yaoi (male homoerotic) genre, and is expressly rated M for mature readers. The somewhat strained relationship between a terminally ill young man and the mysteriously mythical family protector who plans to cure him through... "intimate means"... blends elements of comedy, drama, and attraction into a fine distillation. A Strange and Mystifying Story was previously out of print, but now the entire series will be re-published on a quarterly basis, and it's a "must-have" for yaoi connoisseurs! It should be noted that A Strangle and Mystifying Story is also available as a DRM-free downloadable PDF from, or in digital versions for NOOK, Kindle, the Kobo eReader, or on Google Play.

Clint Travis

Duncan's Bookshelf

The Book of Enoch the Prophet
R.H. Charles, Translator
Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
1578632595, $12.95 pbk / $8.98 Kindle 136 pp.

Enoch was taken into space and received training (from Uriel) on the operations of the natural universe. Enoch describes the behavior of the 'Watchers' ( in Sumerian) such as Azazel who taught men to make swords, & knives or Jegon who brought the 'Watchers' down to earth and led them astray through the daughters of men. [The righteous] "cast them into the abyss." (Book of Enoch, LIV.5).

Enoch transmits his prophecy to Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. Enoch issues long books of warnings to sinners and describes basic astronomy and star movements as it was presented to him by Uriel, a teacher. Enoch is shown the Watchers at work measuring the circumference of the Earth. While flying he describes a volcano: "And I came to a river of fire in which the fire flows like water and discharges itself into the great sea towards the west." (XVII.5).

The prophet's role was to warn future generations of the coming catastrophe at the end of days. It may have been a warning of the return of Nibiru (Planet of the Crossing, aka Planet X) with the destruction rained upon the Earth.

The story of the warning to Noah left this reviewer wondering if the description of the floating house was added centuries later by scribes in Ethiopia.

Also published by London: Hollen Street Press Ltd. 1917. 17th Printing, 1980.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Erik Larson
Vintage Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
0375725601, $14.95 pbk, 390 pp

"Embedded ...[with] treasures of description and anecdote" ... "thoroughly engaging" ... ... "enthralling narratives" ... "spectacular and grisly." These are just some of the snippets from reviewers. This is history from 1892-1893-1894 that our society has forgotten and/or did not wish to remember. It is the story of Daniel H. Burnham, Architect (and 18 other architects) who designed and built the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It is also the story of Dr. Henry H. Holmes who built a three story 'hotel' with a sound-proof vault wherein he murdered and butchered (25? 32?) women in three years.

The architects struggled with 'committees' who insisted in approving all the designs and materials. They dealt with destructive weather and the growing labor movement to build a 'dream like' city of white buildings that illustrated what a city in America could look like. They were solitary knights with a vision, although historians said they were too tied to Greek/Roman ideals of design.

While the White City was under construction and during its nine-month run the police forces and detectives of Chicago were over-whelmed with petty crimes (pick-pockets) and could not begin to research the many women who came to Chicago and disappeared. Dr. Holmes used several of his victims in an insurance fraud. He was helped by Pitezel to dismember and strip the bodies of flesh and then sell the skeletons to medical schools and doctors. Holmes charm won the hearts of innocent women who were enthralled by Chicago and the growing 'White City.'

Larson tells the story of the Chicago World's Fair, set against the very personal stories of the women who trusted him. 'White City' reads like murder mystery that is eventually solved by a team of determined detectives. This book is history. 'Nuff said.'

Lost Secrets of the Gods: The Latest Evidence and Revelations of Ancient Astronauts, Precursor Cultures, and Secret Societies
Michael Pye & Kirsten Dalley
New Page Books
c/o Career Press Inc.
12 Parish Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470
9781601633248, $14.95, PB, 229pp plus Notes on Writers

The text is original essays by geologists and archeologists. Dr. Robert Schoch proposes secret societies held and preserved secret knowledge of technology in the culture before the end of the Ice Age. (9,500 BC). Other Essay Subjects: Spirit Warriors; Atlantis; Symbolic Time Concepts in Dogon and Egyptian Cosmology; Giants; Humans are Aliens; Atlantis in Spain; Ceremonial Shaft alignments date Great Pyramid base to 12,070 BCE; Indigenous 'Star People' traditions; an Ancient War (Cambyses); and a New World Financial Order.

Graham Hancock
Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari
65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950
9781932857849, $21.17, 400 pp + Appendices (2)

Graham Hancock explores the possible source of cave art that suggests ancient shamans used rhythmic dancing or plant hallucinogens as the source of "inspiration for the first religious ideas of mankind." (376). Hancock reports that "people from all times and places consistently and reliably report the same non-real ['spirit'] experiences..." (379). He asks: Are the spirits, essentially, teachers who wish to improve humans as a race? Research with subjects who experienced 'out-of-world' visions suggest the images and teachers are implanted in DNA.

Marty Duncan, Reviewer

Gail's Bookshelf

Picturing Heaven: 40 Hope-Filled Devotions with Coloring Pages
Randy Alcorn and Lizzie Preston
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781496425270, $14.99,

Randy Alcorn, author, founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries and leading authority on heaven pairs inspirational devotions with Lizzie Preston's imaginative illustrations in "Picturing Heaven," a scripture based, devotional coloring book. The large square sized book is aptly described in the subtitle as "40 hope-filled devotions with coloring pages."

Each devotion portrays a different aspect of heaven further enhanced by an intricate, corresponding illustration to color with crayons, inks or pencils. While the overall theme is heaven, that "special place God has prepared for those who love Him," the devotions offer comfort, encouragement and assurance that heaven is also a place of rest and enjoyable, meaningful work. An idea in stark contrast to being bored and floating on clouds with harps in hand as many believe. Only one of many reasons "Heaven," by Randy Alcorn, released in 2004, belongs on every believer's bookshelf.

"Picturing Heaven" has a sewn binding and is printed on heavy-weight paper. Each two-page spread contains devotions on the left with illustrations to color outlined in gold on the right. Each of forty readings begin with a title that summarizes the devotional theme followed by one or two scripture verses and a brief hope-filled study.

For example, the 27th devotion, (pg. 62) is titled, "No Boredom in Heaven." The scripture verse, Luke 19:17 is about a servant's reward of ten cities to govern because the servant was faithful with the "little Jesus entrusted" him with on earth.

This study features "life in God's new universe," a life that will be captivating and exciting with animals, galaxies, flowers and star systems to study. One of many points to ponder in this reading is the concept of boredom. The author reminds readers, boredom "is one of Satan's favorite heresies," which is the exact opposite of what the Bible portrays. Other readings focus on "heavenly thinking," being "in the presence of God's angels," "eternal freedom from sorrow" and much, much more.

This imaginative and fun coloring, devotional journal is a delightful find in adult coloring books. with its broad, overview of the power and majesty of heaven for all who trust and believe in Christ. The fascinating study offers hope and the intricate illustrations invite readers artistic expression as they color, blend and highlight the golden images of heaven. "Picturing Heaven" is an exceptional gift choice especially for the soon appearing Christmas season.

We Stood Upon Stars: Finding God in Lost Places
Roger W. Thompson
12265 Oracle Blvd. Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
9781601429599, $15.99,

Roger W. Thompson, entrepreneur, adventurer and writer, pens a powerful collection of travel essays set in some of the most beautiful wilderness areas of our nation in "We Stood Upon Stars." Each of 31 stories reveal a different adventure and how diverse settings helped him find "God in Lost Places," the subtitle of his new release.

The essays capture his "journey to find freedom from the mundane," journeys where he "encounters God in nature" and gets to "know himself more deeply as a father and a husband." Beautiful places such as Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and Washington's San Juan Islands. The extraordinary stories aren't preachy, but instead are filled with the wonder of people, places, God and the open road spirit of adventure.

He uses the analogy of maps to wrap his stories in. Essays begin with hand-drawn maps of what he calls "maps of sacred places" with notations about hotels, restaurants, fishing holes and sights that captured his imagination during specific adventures. Each story reveals personal discoveries of what it is to be a man and the connection he found between God and faith in nature.

The essay, "Deep November" (pg.193) takes place in Washington's San Juan Islands. There are two hand-drawn maps. One, a smaller insert, is an overview of the San Juan Islands with notations of the Islands East Sound and memorable spots that include Darvill's Book Store, Teezer's Coffeecakes, Mijita's Mexican Kitchen and more.

The larger map is of Orcas Island with notations about "Deer Harbor, Orcas Hotel and Cafe, Moran State Park, Inn at Ship Bay, Sunset at West Beach, Mountain Lake, Cascade Lake and Mount Constitution, 'the highest point in San Juan Islands'" that includes the essay.

He writes about choices and love in this essay. From the stormy ferry boat ride "where the brunt of gale-force winds slammed the ferry broadside," to celebration of his wife's fortieth birthday to sipping tea at Darvill's Bookstore. Each interludes reminded him through "sickness and health," with "kids, school, sports and the craziness of life," through temptations and options," each one had chosen the other and their relationship was still very, very good.

Journey along with Thompson as he searches "mountaintops and valleys, deserts and oceans, canyons" and more to "discover who we are and, or who we still want to be." Because "the language of our hearts," he writes, "reflect that of creation because in both are fingerprints of God." The stories are poetic and memorable, and I highly recommend the book.

Gail Welborn, Reviewer

Grace's Bookshelf

The Best Lover
Laura Boss
NYQ Books
9781630450441, $15.93, 75 pages

I want Laura boss to be poet laureate of the world so we can hear forever about her kindergarten lovers, her grown up husbands, their ex-wives, her snow-white doll, her angora hat. I want to live with her in an apartment musty with an old lover's manuscripts that his family wants in the dumpster - an apartment where Gregory Corso might have left his self-portraits especially the black one. I want to go back in time where someone called her a dirty Jew and I want to polish her fingernails and tell her I am one too. But since none of this is possible in real time, I want to reread this book because social media was never this social, and Netflix isn't half this outrageous. But the best thing of all is that the lady's got craft - and meter. She's got line lengths, phraseology, imagery, meaning, humor; and thankfully Boss is a poet who really lets us see who she is. She doesn't hide in language. She bombasts it with felt life; and makes the world just as funny and weird and worth adoring as it really is. Thank you, Laura Boss, for turning on all the lights on this gray Sunday. Thanks for your self-deprecating Charlie Chaplinesque beauty. I was desperate to remember what makes poetry last. Now I remember - it's letting the chips fall where they may, in carefully calculated and orchestrated delight.

Basic Training

Every man I've ever known
talks about how he hated basic training
that was the worst experience
of his life -
the 35 mile march in the dark or
crawling under barbed wire with machine
gun fire above
or a drill sergeant that seemed to be the son of Satan

Whenever any of these men and I have an argument
and he says, "I can't take this"
I say, Remember Basic Training -
it could be worse"
And somehow he usually stops complaining about me.

The Masque of Marilyn Monroe
Matthew Hittinger
9781546552826, $12.95, 59 pages

Who doesn't care about Marilyn Monroe; and how many Marilyn's are there? The answer is as many as there are writers invoking her. Hittinger is known for his ability to combine myth, pop culture and philosophy - and these come nicely together in this latest book. He uses a wide-angle lens. His Marilyn is once presented as an 80- year-old taking a sitz bath; and there's a fabulous experimental poem, "Marilyn Munroe and Marianne Moore Monitor the Periodic Table of Monikers." Elsewhere she cooks - preparing a 'stuffing recipe.' "Em Dash" is a poem where the epigraph reads Marilyn rehearses a scene from Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie to the rodents of Central Park, 1955. You say whaat? I say read it. This poet does not need narrative to tell story. He comes at situation by way of tone, pointillism, and emotion. His individual strength is that he can make each poem a showstopper like the icon herself. Hittinger raises questions instead of making pronouncements - and as idiosyncratic as fame is, he gets that; and uses it as his template, always shape - shifting what Marilyn appears to be, seen through a poet's Kaleidoscope. She becomes spontaneously a result of perception. This is done by using inventive measures on the page; then at times approaching Monroe from others' eyes, (Marlene Dietrich, Mae West etc.) Marilyn Monroe is the subject here, but the book's author is the star because of his epitomized poetics.

I Am Not A Myth

Marlene Dietrich remembers the night of the Marilyn Monroe
Productions Press Conference, New York City, January 1955

I wanted to be that trace of scarlet lipstick
when you arrived, tipsy, a bit chartreuse
a subdued platinum angel. A white mink

stole. I am at heart - Come up for a drink -
a gentleman. You, a question here to seduce,
a pink thought traced by scarlet lipstick

a deer drawn to a salt lick. I am a brick-
back, brick-thrown widow of a caboose.
I lift my black veil. I drop my black mink.

To the bird, flown - we toast with a clink.
You created 'the girl'. "Their golden goose
is now a scarlet smudge." Your lips stick

to the wine glass and all I can do is wink
out a song, the tricks of an aging chanteuse.
You call a cab and grab your white mink

while I play my saw, and all I can think
is I am not a myth a recluse who will recuse
you to remain a trace of scarlet lipstick
caught on the collar of a white mink.

Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth In Maximum-Security Detention (in English and Spanish)
Edited by Seth Michelson
Preface by Jimmy Santiago Baca
Settlement House
9780985946890 $16.00 pbk 109 pages

This is the book you wish would never have to be written, and this is the book you're grateful has been guided into print. Editor Seth Mickelson writes, "... what ethos do we espouse, both domestically and geopolitically, by placing traumatized child refugees in isolation cells in a maximum - security detention center? What alternatives might we conceive?" Jimmy Santiago Baca writes "... they have endured what few Americans can even tolerate for a minute. Look into their eyes and see all the poetry of universe spinning like orbs of fire..."

There are no names attached to the poems which adds a chilling effect. One child writes," I have liked to see my mom,/but she wasn't good to me./She never told me I love you,/called me a street kid./I'd always wanted her to love me,/I want you to tell me I'm yours, son,/that you love me./But it won't happen because she's dead./And I don't feel anything,/her life doesn't matter to me...//In my room I always cry./My crying in my room is like heavy rain./At night I always ask God/to give me a mother that loves me..."

Here' a poem called "Marriage:" "Yesterday in my cell/my pal asked, Man, /don't you want to marry life/forever? And I/answered, Why/marry life/if I can't divorce/death?

An untitled prose poem now: "I tried to kill myself six times without succeeding, /but I know that day or night the moment will/have to come when from a slip I'll lose my life/and that's why I don't long to become a poet or/scientist or pastor or president or to be someone/prestigious because what's the point of know - /ing so much if with a blow to the head I forget/everything unable even to remember my name.

And this: titled "If a man could..." "cry without shame, ask forgiveness,/without our pride/or ego getting hurt, or if you could say/to yourself I forgive you because/you behaved badly, but/to yourself, because it easy/ to forgive people of importance to you,/the tricky thing is to forgive/yourself, to say to yourself I forgive you, because/one sees the defects of others,/but to see your own and forgive them/is very hard, but try, friends,/it will be easy in the end."


I Forget

Without reason to exist
I often forget that I am
real and this makes ache
the soul that I don't have
or that can't find me
as I wander
somewhere else.

Saint Torch
Emily Fragos
Sheep Meadow Press
9781937679767, $21.93, 60 pages

Emily Fragos is one of our top poets and this book tells why. The poems are grounded in the present but have the flavor of another reality - one with castles and carriages rustic scenes and mythic characters. Here is "Boardwalk in Winter:" "The arcade paranoiac hoists a trophy of pulled-out/roots above his feverish head. /The shaved monkey braves hunger and the wind//for the gloved hand's stroke. /The child performer in his starched white shirt/hacks at the strings of a frozen mandolin. // Bald Athena, shivering psychic, has a tooth that needs/pulling and hammer toes in pink slippers. /She stows rusty crown and files her nails grown wild.

And the book's title poem, framed in a magic realism "At The Burning Of Saint Torch:" In my father's fields, tired hands spread manure,/owlet's scream in their nests, scaring the children//with the sounds of their wild lives, and the great,/patient oxen pull, pull...//A path is being cut through the throng for my cart/and the dancing bear with the ring through its soft nose.//His beautiful fur is wet and glistening./I enter the delirium like a child enters the play room,//deaf to the surface of things./With your last body, pray for the beasts,//to be yoked together with them, to stumble/with them, to be halted, to be rested.

There's reverence in this book for Chopin, Bach, and visual artists written with a lyric necessity. Yet I keep going back to the world Fragos creates which is not fairy tale, not every day life, but somewhere in between, overlapping, a place I've never been before. Calvino, Neruda, Keats are there with her other worldly lines and perfect craft. So much depends on the classics; and Fragos' knowledge of art, music and literature draws from a deep well. All combined, the sheerness of thought shaping her poetic circumstances takes my breath.

19 Chopin Waltzes

Snow falls from rafters of pink, swollen clouds;
moonlight drenches the peasants' fields.

The feathered flash of a fish, the Juice of the peach,
the silver rivers before we named them with color.

All the begetting: the weak limbs and soft bellies,
the faces elongated like the devil himself. The devil

himself! The ship that sales to dreams of Achilles,
the palace of the deaf, the murmuring in centuries' rooms,

the crying of turtle doves, the fleet-footed dancing.
On earth as in heaven, beauty without reason.

For Want of Water And Other Poems
Sasha Pimentel
Foreword by Gregory Pardlo
Beacon Press
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
9780807027851, $16.00, 105 pages

We learn more about male dominance in these poems than ever encountered before. We see this in the forms of love, grief, invasion, fear, and sympathy. But always with some of the most original writing you'll find. Pimentel has mastered the gift of courage - to this add craft, imagination, honesty and innovation. How do you make music from situations harsh and frightening? The answer is with invention and structure. The body of this work is that of the Mexican border with more than 48,000 deaths, mostly innocent, and thousands more vanished because of drug trafficking. How can poetry come from this? It's a miracle that a poet's mind can comprehend so many levels, can forgive so many violations to tell her story. The geographic border is not the only one we find sacrificed to loss; and Pimentel explores our own ragged personal edges with exquisite care, as if she's putting the poem on an altar of blood so we can better pray for its survival/our survival.

This is such an absorbing collection you won't feel comfortable reading cover to cover even on a rainy weekend. Each word amplifies and therefore must be read slowly. Here, facts and truths are compliant -not at war with one another- they blend with evidentiary language that has no model I can think of. Gregory Pardlo's introduction is erudite and illuminating. This is a terrifyingly brilliant book.

While My Lover Rests

Night divides from my pillow
as a man and a woman, one taking

breath, and the other, moving
to the pattern of his sleep. The soft

palate clicks as measure, and the dead
drip through the window. Here,

the plates of our women's hips surface
from memory with my nakedness, like a body

and its reflection meeting at the point
of water, and I watch the man alone

in my bed curl, returning. In sleep
we are always aware of the presence

and absence of bodies, and he swims
in delicate ballet to the sheeted

center, knowing the lack of my weight
there. The wind buries herself

against the pane in this lovely, terrible
hour, and all the immigrants I know

of evening are coming to
gather themselves around. Tonight

I am swimming in this
Inhalation - exhalation - and the wind,

Larger than ever, is wailing, and his
throat relaxes, his uvula aquiver,

and I am listening now and learning
how little my need, in night, to speak.

Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries
Edited by Martha Collins and Kevin Prufer
Graywolf Press
250 Third Avenue North, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781555977924, $20.00, 179 pages

Last night at my table a group of poets parsed translations of Pablo Neruda. Each offered different interpretations. Today in my hand is an incredible book of poems with translations and commentaries. But this is no ordinary book of translated poems. Each single poem, in its original language, is given three translations by three English speaking poets. For example, let me show the first line of a poem by Rainier Maria Rilke (1908) "Archaischer Torso Apollos:"

Wir kannten nicht sein unerhortes Haupt, ...

This same first line is rewritten now,

M.D. Herter Norton (1938:) "We did not know his legendary head..."
J.B. Leishman (1960:) "Though we've not known his unimagined head..."
Robert Bly (1981:) "We have no idea what his fantastic head..."

This book is an unexpected treasure chest of poets' sensibilities in approaching the lyricism of another language; and after each presentation there's a commentary by a notable literary figure. In the case of the Rilke's piece, David Young analyzes the three interpretations of the poem.
Martha Collins, in her introduction, makes me think of W.S. Merwin who often said that poems are impossible to translate from another language, "Yet we do it," Merwin added. She quotes Robert Frost's wry remark, " what is lost in translation." Yet, Collins does it, and with Kevin Prufer presents 25 poets ranging from the Greek poet Sappho (circa 620-570 BCE) to Felix Morisseau-Leroy (1912-1998.) The commentators are among the best minds writing today, making up a great collection; a contribution to literature, crossing bridges to greater understandings, and expanding the bright art of translation better than ever before.

Returning to Fields and Gardens (1)

When I was young, I did not fit in
with others, and simply loved the hills and mountains,
By mistake, I fell into the dusty net
and before I knew it, it was thirty years!
The caged bird longs for the old forest.
The fish in the pond misses the old depths.
I cultivate land along the southern wilds,
and, keeping to simplicity, return to fields and gardens.
Then acres now surround my house;
it is thatched, and has eight, nine rooms.
Elms and willows shade the back eaves.
Peach and plum trees are lined out the front hall.
The distant village is hazy, hazy: and
slender, slender, the smoke hanging over houses.
Dogs bark in the deep lane, and a rooster
crows on top of a mulberry tree.
My house untouched by the dust of the world -
ample leisure in these bare rooms.
I was held so long inside a narrow bird-
cage, but now, at last, can return to nature.

-translated by Arthur Size

In the end, there are things to admire in all of these translations, but there's no substitute for reading and experiencing the poem in Chinese. Tao Qian's rhythmical pulse, clarity of images imbued with Taoist insight, spontaneity, and rigor are untranslatable. It's a poem to return to again and again.

Talking to the Night
Susan Meehan
Day Eight
No ISBN $TBA 32 pages


The Color Of Truth
Susan Meehan
Ex Libris
9781524598808, $19.99, 143 pages

A poet who's been otherwise engaged in a lifetime of public service finally gets her say at age 79 with two books of significance. Two books in one premier year! To read them is to know that vitality has nothing to do with calendars. In these books she explores her family album, eccentric relatives, the love of Ireland, philosophical ruminations, an ever-evolving/loving marriage; as well as many irreverent anecdotes. You'll revel in the unpredictability of intense stories told lightly. She has too much poetic integrity for nostalgia or sentimentality; and prefers straight-ahead honest memory. By this she lets the reader in on emotional experiences and episodes that bring us more to life. This is not a retiree sitting idly in the sun - this poet has a fierce heart with charisma, nourishing and rich.

2 poems from Talking to the Night:

Brushing my hair in the moonlight
I smooth memories
plaiting them into a crown
to wear in my dreams
weaving their dark, rough skeins
into silk.

I must speak for crows
Let them flock around me.
I can learn from the tongue of birds,
Then from our cawing conversation
Can I not learn
The tongue of fallen angels?


After God
Michael Whelan
Tintean Fein Press
9780692341452, $TBA, 103 pages


this plain
June day, hazy and hot,
alone I plunked into the back
of Dada's station wagon,

borrowed for the day,
a few boxes - books, photos,
papers, clothes - the little I carry
after 12 years as brother.

The last to be packed
is an afterthought:
the black robe on the back
of my door. Surprising myself

I fold it
with an ache
into the bottom
of my last box to go.

In it I fold away

Let them rest, I think,
in the bottom box
of my soul. Tattered
from the soul's first season.


The Unstill Ones
Miller Oberman
Princeton Univ. Press
9780691176833, $17.95, 71 pages

Including translations and adaptations from Old English and Anglo-Saxon Poems.


There were rocks. Huge, looming,
scored with caves, lunar. It was windy.
He pressed himself into a shallow
depression to light a candle
for his father, as was custom.
The sinking brief flare of the match
three times snuffed out, when,
sulfur-nosed, he lights the small
white candle in its jelly glass.
Makes a cave, hunching
of his body. Makes a cave,
diving, of his mind, singing
into the wind, bent
over the flame. The sun sunk,
the sky a fading blue, deep
violet. He can taste them,
violets, his body a yawn,
a gaping openness arcing
around the memory candle.

A black sliver of wick
drops into the wax pool.
The wind drinks the sound
in a long gulp. The wind
gets so thirsty. All that

Feet of the Messenger
H.C. Palmer
BKMK Press
9781943491100, $13.35, 77 pages.

Section 1 from "Five Notes from War"

And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls
- William Blake

The lieutenant bled out -
eleven units of plasma
& my friend holding
pressure not enough
to save him.
Near the end
my friend believed
he was transporting
to afterlife when
his fingers trapped
inside the lieutenant's
congealed blood.
We soaked them free
with water
from canteens.
Now, when we visit
The wall, my friend
tries to wedge
his fingers back in.

Radioactive Starlings
Myronn Hardy
Princeton University Press
9780691177106, $17.65, 82 pages


Leaves burn above our heads
yet our hair remains unsinged black
as jackdaw.

This crispness this air more
like quince. I have failed miserably.
I have failed you in this

season of colorful death.
How it falls in streets
pounded smooth.

In piles where I played as a boy.
Auburn joy now like
the burning of skin.

Who could have known me this way?
This failed man wandering after
the act after the explosion.

The parachute wide as wilderness dragging.
This wilderness where
I reach for you.

Shatter The Bell In My Ear, selected poems
Christine Lavant
Translated from the German by David Chorlton
Bitter Oleander Press
9780986204982, $18.00, 117 pages.

From the section Art like mine is only stunted life

Then don't wake up, send me every nightmare!
I can surely handle the difficult things,
They are tame in my presence and feather light -
Only my own heart gives me trouble,
It is like lead since you no longer desire it.

Leaves Surface Like Skin
Michelle Menting
Terrapin Books
9780998215914, $15.98, 70 pages

To Skin Bare

The lichen sticks to bark grooves like skin, but dead,
dried, and peeling. Like damaged skin. Diseased skin.

It's skin of another, and there's a strangeness
in the act of stripping it. Almost shy. Almost

Aware of some kind of compelled intrusion. Wayward
intimacy. Compulsion to intrude right there

on a log of balsam. You peel. You strip. You take off
the skin of this other thing. Imagine it's like peeling scabs,

not yours, a friend's, a stranger's. or taking off clothes,
not yours, a stranger's. You can think these things in the woods.

In the woods, if you have a thought and then another
and another thought, but no one is there to watch you

weather your notions as you strip lichen off bark, as you peel
bark from tree, as you reveal the bare trunk and the ooze of sap,

does anyone sense your thought-quake? If anything
is moved - if anything shudders, if anything shakes -

It is only your own unheard heart, its wavering
wick, the dormant layers it beats beneath.

Best Translation

Wine of Reunion: Arabic Poems of RUMI
Translated and edited by Nesreen Akhtarkhavari and Anthony A. Lee
Michigan State University Press
9781611862638, $19.95, 91 pages


Soon, I'll be returning to my Master,
and soon I will obey his kind command.
He'll buy me in the morning when he wakes,
and I will sell myself at his demand.
The hungry man devours his first meal.
I'm starving for his glance, you understand?
I will find him. Soon we'll be together.
Did you think I'd be lost down here forever?

Best Literary Magazine

Edited by RD Armstrong
Lummox Press
191 pages. Featuring 192 poets (unless I counted wrong).

What can be said, after we say, "I Love You" for giving so much space to so many writers.

Hiram Larew

From this far away
The Civil War and Revolutionary War
Seem like custard to me
That's not to minimize their horrors
But it is to say that I have learned to accept my aging face
And all the sweets that come like ghostings
It's to say that I've been muskets along the way
And feel like ambushed sparks
I've also bandaged ooze and piped whistles
And even now I listen hard to whatever great-grandfathers growl from bed
Whenever they want to
I've held West Virginia close as any maiden aunt would
And I've tasted puddings
And cornfield fights
Nothing else surrounds my years as such knowing does
Nothing else silhouettes my insides as candles can
And surely nothing will ever race down my ravines
Hat in hand
Like these chills do.

Best Book Of Mindfulness Poems Of Meditation

Poetry of Presence
Edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai & Ruby R. Wilson
Grayson Books
9780998258836, $21.93, 199 Pages., 130 Beautiful Poets

Consider the Space Between Stars
Linda Pastan

Consider the white space
between words on a page, not just
the margins around them.

Or the space between thoughts:
instants when the mind inventing
exactly what it thinks

and the mouth waits
to be filled with language.
Consider the space

between lovers after a quarrel,
the white sheet a cold metaphor
between them.

Now picture the brief space
before death enters, hat in hand:
vanishing years, filled with light.

Best Nasty Anthology

Nasty Women Poets
Edited by Grace Bauer & Julie Kane
Lost Horse Press
9780998196336, $24.00, 323 pages

I think over 200 nasty poets writing "Unapologetic and Subversive Verse" and who knows how many more there are out there.

Dittrick Medical History Center, Cleveland
Kim Roberts

Wheels, whisks, wishbones,
silhouette of a tiny pine.

Birds in flight and fiddlehead ferns.
The uterus is a magic place:

dark as a cave, it accommodates
any shape we insert:

circle and snakes, beetles
and bows, fossils and fleurs de lis.

Some are even shaped like a uterus
in miniature, amulets for warding off

miniatures of ourselves. Leaves
of a plastic ginkgo tree unfurl -

no end to our genius, its infinite contours.
On this scaffold we build.

a barren language in plastic letters:
expandable O's, flying V's,

X's like antlers, and a range
of two-handled Ts, eager to get to work.

Grace Cavalieri, Reviewer
Washington Independent Review of Books

Graham's Bookshelf

Innovative Teaching Strategies in Nursing and Related Health Professions
Martha J. Bradshaw and Beth L. Hultquist
Jones and Bartlett Learning
5 Wall Street, Burlington, MA 01803
9781284107074, $71.91, 481 pages

'Innovative Teaching Strategies in Nursing and Related Health Professions' is a textbook not only for nursing students, but for any subject areas in education. The authors have written a book that allows the students, teachers and other interested readers a book that leads to self-directed learning allowing for discovery of ideas to use in many areas from education to counseling to social work and any level of nursing. This is a book of relatively short chapters that cover topics from culture and diversity to learning how to teach and learn from debate, lecture, role play and other teaching modalities that are used in schools, hospitals and other settings as well as who will be teaching these skills needed in practice.

This is a textbook I chose to read for it fit my interests in teaching, counseling as well as nursing skills and how these fields are related yet different. The authors known as Martha J. Bradshaw and Beth L. Hultquist have written a textbook that illustrates the various teaching strategies for nursing staff, preceptors and teachers at various levels of learning. The language is understandable and only uses 'slang' when absolutely necessary. This book in my opinion is a success for after reading it I may go back to school to get my PhD and use this book as a reference for future research projects.

The only fault I find with this book in reality is why do these teaching books seem to repeat each other. The words have been changed for easier understanding and I know it is hard to 'reinvent the wheel'. This is still a good book for reference needs of teachers and students and researchers.

Nurse as Educator Principles of Teaching and Learning for Nursing Practice
Susan B. Bastable
Jones and Bartlett Learning
5 Wall Street, Burlington, MA 01803
9781449694173 $TBA print / $107.96 eTextbook

Susan B. Bastable has written 'Nurse as Educator Principles of Teaching and Learning for Nursing Practice'. This is a textbook that leads the teacher and the student how to teach and be taught. Readers and students learn in different ways and this book will show how to teach students at all levels using VAKT (visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile) methods along with the standard lecture/discussion methods. Susan has shared information on evaluation, technology, instructional materials, methods to teach and learn how to write behavioral and general objectives and goals for them and the students.

This is also a textbook that shows how to write these objectives and goals that will go along with students socioeconomic status, special needs and culture. A book that will also show how to keep motivation and compliance in nursing education as well as in practice. Teaching and learning is all about clarity and ability and feeling good about the what and how we teach and learn. This is what this textbook taught me and I chose this book for I wanted to learn and review how to write learning objectives and goals and how to show the relationship of nursing, counseling and general teaching.

Mark Graham

Julie's Bookshelf

The Sight of Semiramis
Alison L. Beringer
Arizona State University
PO Box 874402, Tempe, AZ 85287-4402
9780866985420, $60.00, HC, 248pp,

Synopsis: Beginning with Diodorus Siculus's first-century BCE account and extending to early modern German Meisterlieder, "The Sight of Semiramis: Medieval and Early Modern Narratives of the Babylonian Queen" by Alison L. Beringer (Associate Professor of Classics and Humanities at Montclair State University) deftly explores the plethora of narratives about the ancient Babylonian queen Semiramis.

The selected texts, most from continental Europe, cover a range of genres and languages. Organized thematically around issues of visual communication (acts of seeing and being seen) this erudite study highlights the narrative fluidity in the matiere de Semiramide, ultimately revealing a figure of excess and surplus that defies classification and categorization.

In its thematic focus, "The Sight of Semiramis" is a seminal study that also draws on the competitive yet complementary relationship between the visual and the verbal.

Critique: An impressively informed and informative work of original scholarship, "The Sight of Semiramis: Medieval and Early Modern Narratives of the Babylonian Queen" features a ten page appendix (Selected Meisterlieder), an eighteen page bibliography, and a thirteen page index. Exhaustively researched, exceptionally well written, impressively organized and presented, "The Sight of Sermiramis" is an especially valued and definitively recommended addition to college and university library Medieval Studies and German Literature collections.

When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?
Jennifer Grant
Herald Press
1251 Virginia Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
9781513801384, $29.99, HC, 192pp,

Synopsis: From writer and veteran columnist Jennifer Grant comes an unflinching and spirited look at the transitions of midlife in "When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?". Deftly plumbing the physical, spiritual, and emotional changes unique to the middle years ranging from the emptying nest to the sagging effects of aging. Grant acknowledges the complexities and loss inherent in midlife and tells stories of sustaining disappointment, taking hard blows to the ego, undergoing a crisis of faith, and grieving the deaths not only of illusions but of loved ones. Yet she illuminates the confidence and grace that this season of life can also bring.

Critique: Timely and timeless, thoughtful and thought-provoking, replete with wit and wisdom,"When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?" is an unreservedly recommended read -- especially for the now aging babyboomer generation! While certain to be an appropriate and popular addition to community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?" is also available in a paperback edition (9781513801315, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Good Girl's Guide to County Jail for the Bad Girl in Us All
Ellen Marie Francisco
9781460284773, $29.99, HC, 176pp,

Synopsis: Ellen Marie Francisco was a good girl who did everything right for years. So why did everything gone so wrong for this self-made business woman, realtor, and mother of two?

On a hot day in August Ellen is arrested for car-jacking, assault with a deadly weapon, and robbery. She's just landed in the Incarcer Nation without a passport. Like the millions of women who came before her, she wants to leave the land of chain link, and barbed wire behind her. Fifty-nine days later this good girl gone bad walks out a free woman-or so she thinks.

Ellen has written the "Good Girl's Guide to County Jail for the Bad Girl in Us All" to help other women: stay out of jail; know how to use their rights; understand the court process; plea down charges to minimize the risk of re-arrest; understand how a conviction affects their future beyond bars. "Good Girl's Guide to County Jail for the Bad Girl in Us All" is filled with good advice from "bad girls" serving time on the inside, as well as commentaries by criminal law attorneys who tell it like it is.

"Good Girl's Guide to County Jail for the Bad Girl in Us All" will help any woman coming into conflict with the legal authorities to cover their assets with all the relevant legal forms that are easy to fill-in and are ready for the Notary Public including: Power of Attorney; Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit; Temporary Custody Order; Letter to CPS Social Worker; Consent for International Travel, and more.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented in a thoroughly 'user friendly' format, "Good Girl's Guide to County Jail for the Bad Girl in Us All" is an unreservedly recommended and critically important addition to every community library (especially those in high-crime urban areas), as well as academic library Criminology collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted that "Good Girl's Guide to County Jail for the Bad Girl in Us All" is also available in a paperback edition (9781460284780, $27.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

No Man's Land: The Life and Art of Mary Riter Hamilton
Kathryn A. Young & Sarah M. McKinnon
University of Manitoba Press
301 St. John's College, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, R3T 2M5
9780887558115, $31.95, PB, 288pp,

Synopsis: What force of will and circumstance drove a woman from a comfortable life painting china tea services to one of hardship and loneliness in the battle zones of France and Belgium following the Great War? In the case of western Canadian artist Mary Riter Hamilton (1868-1954), art was her life's passion. Her personal life story is one of tragedy and adventure ranging from homestead beginnings to genteel drawing rooms in Winnipeg, Victoria and Vancouver, to Berlin and Parisian art schools to Vimy and Ypres -- and finally to illness and poverty in old age.

"No Man's Land: The Life and Art of Mary Riter Hamilton" is the first biographical study of Hamilton, whose work can be found in galleries and art museums throughout Canada -- and the result of meticulous research in unpublished private collections brings to light new correspondence between Hamilton and her friends, revealing the importance of female networks to an artist's well being.

Her letters from abroad, in particular, bring a woman's perspective into the immediate post-war period and give voice to trying conditions. Hamilton's career is situated within the context of her peers Florence Carlyle, Emily Carr, and Sophie Pemberton with whom she shared a Canadian and European experience.

Critique: The collaborative work of Kathryn A. Young (Assistant Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Manitoba) and Sarah M. McKinnon (who is a former Vice President, Academic, OCAD University; a former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; and former faculty member and Curator at the University of Winnipeg, and is currently engaged as a consultant in higher education), "No Man's Land: The Life and Art of Mary Riter Hamilton" is an exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented biography. A sterling work of seminal and painstaking scholarship, "No Man's Land: The Life and Art of Mary Riter Hamilton" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Canadian Biography collections in general, and Mary Riter Hamilton supplemental reading lists in particular.

Julie Summers

Logan's Bookshelf

When a Stranger Comes...
Karen S. Bell
Privately Published
9781549772320, $12.00, PB, 222pp,

Synopsis: Achieving what you crave can also bring the terrifying fear of losing it. For Alexa Wainwright, this truth has become her nightmare.

Born Gladys Lipschitz, the daughter of an unwed Soviet-era Jewish immigrant, Alexa was beyond thrilled and amazed when her debut novel, A Foregone Conclusion, soared to number one on the bestseller's list and became an international sensation. The accompanying fame and riches were beyond her expectations. Unfortunately, her subsequent work has yet to achieve the same reception by critics and readers. Yes, they have sold well based on her name recognition, but she dreads the possibility of becoming a mid-list author forgotten and ignored. She vows to do whatever it takes to attain the heady ego-stroking success of her debut. But is she really?

Witnessing an out-of-the-blue lightning bolt whose giant tendrils spread over the blue sky and city streets below her loft window, Alexa doesn't realize just how this vow will be tested as she's magically transported to an alternate reality. In this universe, the characters from her books are given the breath of life and she meets publisher, King Blakemore, who just might be the Devil himself.

At first, she shrugs off her doubts about this peculiar publisher and very lucrative book deal offer because the temptation of riches and re-found fame is too strong. But all too soon, Alexa realizes she's trapped in an underworld of evil from which she desperately wants to escape. For starters, she finds herself in an iron-clad book contract that changes its wording whenever she thinks of a loophole. Desperate to get her life back, she devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence.

Satisfying one's greed can come at a devilishly high cost!

Critique: An impressively crafted and consistently engaging read from cover to cover, "When a Stranger Comes..." is an extraordinary novel that reveals author Karen Bell's genuine flair for originality and creating memorable characters deftly embedded in a narrative driven story. While unreservedly and strongly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "When a Stranger Comes..." is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Spanish Knight's Secret
Peter H. Christopher
FriesenPress - Home
9781460297070, $33.99, HC, 456pp,

Synopsis: In 1565, the young Spaniard Juan de Guaras receives an exquisite brooch in the shape of a Maltese cross from his parents to commemorate his becoming a Knight in the Order of St. John. But within four months de Guaras dies in the defense of Fort St. Elmo against the Ottoman Turks during the Great Siege of Malta; and the brooch meant for his beloved, Maria, and their son-is lost to history.

By chance, 450 years after the siege, watercolors commissioned by the Order in the 17th century for their ledger are on display for the first time in the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta. Kiyoko Bartolo, a professor from the University of Tokyo who specializes in jewelry of the European Renaissance, recognizes the drawing of de Guaras' brooch.

Famous throughout history not only for its magnificent gems, but as a key to the wealth that de Guaras had obtained as a corsair raiding the richly laden merchant ships of the sultan, Suleiman, the Magnificent. Kiyoko learns that it was last recorded in 1923 when the Communist Party inventoried the jewelry belonging to the Russian royal family that was held in the Hermitage. Twenty years later, during the German Siege of Leningrad in World War Two, it mysteriously disappears.

Kiyoko, determined to locate the Maltese brooch, enlists European colleagues she's befriended during Renaissance seminars to assist her in her search. However, the closer they come to finding the brooch, the more resistance and violence they meet from unknown parties who want the brooch, and its secrets, for themselves.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "The Spanish Knight's Secret" is author Peter H. Christopher's debut as a novelist, his genuine flair for originality is truly remarkable, and his storytelling skills are notably extraordinary. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Spanish Knight's Secret" is also available in a paperback edition (9781460297087, $18.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Carl Logan

Margaret's Bookshelf

Daughter Have I Told You Lately
Luciana Gilmore
Knowledge Power Books
24307 Magic Mountain Pkway, Suite 386, Valencia, CA 91355
9780998170169,$19.95, PB, 80pp,

Synopsis: "Daughter, Have I Told You Lately" by Luciana Gilmore is an inspirational and universal mother-daughter presentation for expressing personal sentiments by mothers to their daughters. "Daughter Have I Told You Lately" is specifically written to infuse daughters with pearls of wisdom, knowledge, and assurance of their greatness. "Daughter Have I Told You Lately" illustrates Luciana's belief that our daughters need to know a mother's greatest joy is nurturing them and watching them evolve into awesome and amazing women!

Critique: Beautifully illustrated with full color photography, "Daughter Have I Told You Lately" is an inspired and inspiring read that is unreservedly recommended for all mothers with daughters -- and all daughters who aspire to one day becoming mothers of daughters in their own right.

Lights in a Dark Town
Meriol Trevor
Ignatius Press
PO Box 1339, Fort Collins, CO 80522
9781586176280, $14.95, PB, 240pp,

Synopsis: To the Birmingham, England of 1849 comes Emmeline Erle, with her mother, and they are plunged into a industrial city of smoke and grime. The town is one of great contrasts; progress and poverty, industrial expansion and murky slums, new villas and filthy streets go side by side. Dark and light battle in the minds of its people too, principles of freedom and tolerance struggling with ignorance and prejudice, deep doubt of religious truth coexisting with fanaticism.

Emmeline quickly makes friends - Lizzie, the pathetic, hardworking skivvy; the doctor's family; Daniel, the lonely schoolboy next-door; her rather prim schoolfellows and the warm-hearted boatmen on the cut. The most important person in the town, for both Emmeline and Daniel, however, is Fr. John Henry Newman, who is running a disused gin-palace as a chapel in one of the worst areas, attempting to bring help to the poor factory workers and the light of truth to citizens blinded by suspicion and bigotry. They learn to know and love this great man, and with him experience the anxieties of the cholera outbreak and the dangers of the 'No-Popery' riots.

Caught up in one excitement or trouble after another, Daniel and Emmeline both finally arrive at happier times, while the walls of Newman's new church, a symbol of light in a dark town, rise into the foggy Birmingham sky.

Critique: "Lights in a Dark Town" by Meriol Trevor is the colorful and dramatic about the life of John Henry Newman, who was a famous British priest, preacher and pastor. The panorama of Victorian England is brilliantly unfolded here - Birmingham, Oxford, Prince Albert opening a new railway, theatres, factories, The Crystal Palace. But above all, "Lights in a Dark Town is a novel that effectively portrays for readers of all ages the character and thought of Blessed John Henry Newman. While very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lights in a Dark Town" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

An Illustrated Modern Reader of 'The Classic of Tea'
Wu Juenong, author
Tony Blishen, translator
Better Link Press
c/o Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9781602200296, $26.95, HC, 160pp,

Synopsis: The late Wu Juenong (1897 - 1989) was an agricultural scientist and economist. He was also the founding figure in the revival and development of the modern Chinese tea industry. He served as Vice-Minister of Agriculture, honorary president of the China Agricultural Institute and honorary Director General of the China Tea Institute. He established the first specialist higher educational institute for the tea industry as well as a national tea company. He also set up a tea research institute at the foot of the Wuyishan Mountain in Fujian Province and made an outstanding contribution to the development of the Chinese tea industry.

'The Classic of Tea', the first known monograph on tea in the world, was written in the 8th century by Lu Yu who devoted his entire life to the study of tea and is respected as the Sage of Tea.

An Illustrated Modern Reader of 'The Classic of Tea', by Wu Juenong is the culmination of his lifelong research on Chinese tea culture and history, and introduces his readers to modern findings of effects and properties of tea, types of tea preparations, the evolution of tea growing regions and tea drinking customs across China, in addition to extensive annotation. Both scholarly and informative.

An Illustrated Modern Reader of 'The Classic of Tea' also includes vivid illustrations and pictures of tools and utensils for the making and drinking of tea, either hand-drawn or collected by him, which the original study by Lu Yu, 'The Classic of Tea' lacked. Selected Chinese traditional paintings in An Illustrated Modern Reader of 'The Classic of Tea' illuminate the elegant art of brewing and drinking tea, the social rituals associated with tea drinking, and the reformative and cultural significance of tea ceremonies.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated, impressively informed and informative, An Illustrated Modern Reader of 'The Classic of Tea' is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library Chinese Cultural History collections in general, and Chinese Tea Ceremony supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Women and the Land
Barbara Hall & Kathryn Gamble Lozier
Ice Cube Press
9781888160963, $24.99, HC, 96pp,

Synopsis: The collaborative project of Barbara Hall and Kathryn Gamble Lozier, "Women and the Land"is a photographic compendium that showcases more than twenty-five women who are impacting Iowa's farmland. Some of them have inherited rural property and are managing the agriculture practices from afar. Some are working the land directly, providing food to the heartland. Some are working in tandem with their husbands, fathers, sisters, daughters. Many of them grew up on a farm, left the land to get an education and left the state to follow their passions, only to find that their deepest passion is really the land, and have returned to it. Each of the women is affecting the land in her own unique and feminine way.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and impressively informative browse from cover to cover, "Women and the Land" is a unique and extraordinary study that is unreservedly recommended for personal, community, and academic library Women's Studies collections and supplemental reading lists.

Janice Boekhoff
WildBlue Press
P.O. Box 102440, Denver, Colorado 80250
9781942266549, $10.99, PB, 306pp,

Synopsis: Desperate to save her family's struggling gold mine, Elery Hearst orders her crew to dig a new tunnel in a last-ditch effort to intersect the original gold vein. Rather than saving her legacy, however, the tunnel collapses, killing one of her men. Initial reports blame the tragedy on faulty equipment -- an old machine Elery should have replaced.

Before she can come to terms with the guilt and regret consuming her, Elery's brother disappears in search of the Lost Dutchman, a legendary mine of vast riches, and what he believes to be the solution to his family's grave financial situation. To find her brother, Elery must now ask for help from the one man she'd rather avoid -- Lucan Milner, the twin brother of the miner who died in the collapse.

Still struggling with the loss of his only brother, rescue tracker Lucan Milner reluctantly agrees to help with the search. But when Elery insists on coming along, her presence forces his emotions to the surface. How can God expect him to forgive her?

Then, Lucan's tracking dog is injured, bringing the search to a halt. Lucan and Elery realize the only way to find her brother is to find the Lost Dutchman Mine. And Lucan holds the secret that can help in the form of journal pages written by the Dutchman himself. But sharing them with Elery not only rips open his grief-stricken heart, it puts both of them into the path of a killer.

In these deserted mountains, they aren't the only ones desperate to find the lost mine.

Critique: A simply riveting read from beginning to end, "Crevice" showcases author Janice Boekhoff's genuine flair for deftly crafted characters and an impressive ability to skillfully develop a consistently engaging storyline of unexpected twists and turns. While very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Crevice" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Margaret Lane

Mari's Bookshelf

Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America
John Egenes
Delta Vee Trade Paperback
9780692930854, $15.99 pbk / $0.99 Kindle

If the journey, not the destination, is the point, as it is for John Egenes, then I won't spoil much by telling you that riding Gizmo, his horse, into the Atlantic at the end of their cross country trip is anti-climactic. John had already imagined it even before he started out; what matters is the dream fulfilled. In 1974, Egenes set out from Southern California to Virginia Beach by horse. He had a little over $100, a general route, a lot of curiosity and perseverance to follow it. He gets away with a lot that's no longer possible due to population growth and increased regulation. But even with fewer restrictions, luck and (mostly) open terrain to find his way (relatively) unimpeded, he considers this a "Calvinist ride," where patience and trust are their own rewards. In Calvinist doctrine, happiness is earned the hard way. John's journey isn't about accumulating stories or fame or to say that he conquered something, but to become who he is. When it's over, the becoming has just begun.

John writes like I picture him riding, at a gentle trot. He punctuates his stories from the trail with stories of his childhood and some philosophical musings. The pace is steady, with time for reflection. He says it was work to spend time on the journey, to wile away hours when he or Gizmo weren't moving. He sought after this kind of freedom, in solitude, in a disconnection from society. Nonetheless, he discovers he's never alone. In the wilderness, he says, one is never alone. And, he always has Gizmo. Caring for Gizmo gives him purpose and teaches him how much Gizmo gives back. Just as the many people he encounters on the trip are mostly interested in Gizmo, so too, this book is a tribute to his faithful, stalwart companion. John's book is entertaining and inspiring. It makes me want to take stock as he does, looking back and looking forward; what have I come from, where am I going, and who is with me? No matter the answer, the point is in the asking.

Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro
Vintage International
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
1400078776, $14.00

"Why Hailsham at all?... It's a good question for you to ask," Madame asks Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, the three main characters in this 2017 Nobel Prize winning novel. From their childhood together at Hailsham, an exclusive center for children in Britain, making art and writing poetry, to adulthood spent in and out of donation centers, they wonder with each other what it's all worth, what they have become, to each other and to the world. Despite how the world might perceive them, and we don't get much of the world's perspective, they go on building up their memories and following the courses set out for them. "The memories I value most, I don't see them ever fading," says Kathy. Kathy and her friends rarely ask why they have the experiences they do, as Madame suggests, but instead allow their experiences to matter.

Garrison Keillor disagrees with the Nobel committee's choice of this book because it's humorless and not entertaining. True, its tone is serious, but the outlook is not dismal. It could be categorized as dystopian and far fetched, but it tells a truth about the human spirit. With British reserve, it describes a group who refuses to be mere victims. It reminds me of Jane Gardam's Old Filth, that orphan turned revered old gentleman returning to his roots with an unarticulated yearning that's both naive and heroic. Similarly, Kazuo Ishiguro's characters don't protest their lot in life so much as feel it in precious moments triggered by a cassette tape or a drawing or an umbrella or a game of pretend. This isn't a depressing book, rather, it's about how we capture our deepest sensations, which sometimes hurts. Perhaps Keillor lacks the subtlety to recognize entertainment in the form of inner search and not dazzling output. Keillor accuses the Swedes of one-up-ing us with their intellect and stoicism; I think the joke's on Keillor. Where the Swedes detect delicacy and charm, he sees only boredom, and that says more about him than Kazuo Ishiguro's pastorale yet probing work.

The Burgas Affair
Ellis Shuman
Privately Published
B0767KHQPW, $4.99, Kindle

On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive planted on a tourist bus at Burgas Airport killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. In Ellis Shuman's fictional account of this actual tragedy, Ayala, an Israeli data analyst and Boyko, a Bulgarian detective, pair up in a multinational investigation of the attack. While Ayala and her Israeli colleagues suspect Hezbollah, Boyko's team isn't so sure. Ayala and Boyko travel all over Bulgaria tracking leads and learning to enjoy each other's company much more than they thought they would at first. As their trust grows, they divulge their darkest secrets to one another. These secrets turn out to be more than just skeletons in the closet, rather, present day threats.

Beginning with an enigmatic prologue featuring an unnamed woman strapped into a ticking bomb-jacket, each scene is packed with suspense. Layers of intrigue build to a fever pitch when Ayala and Boyko meet their nemeses - and confront each other. When he isn't describing terrorism and crime, Shuman fills out the story with lush and complex Bulgarian and Israeli scenery and culture. In real life, the case has never been solved. I'll leave it to you readers to discover how Shuman handles the ending. Given his penchant for dramatic tension, don't expect a predictable conclusion.

Mari Carlson, Reviewer

Mason's Bookshelf

10 Most Common Mistakes Dog Owners Make
Tammie Rogers
Privately Published
9781548482794 $12.99 pbk / $6.49 Kindle

Synopsis: Whether you are hesitant, disillusioned or perplexed about your connection with your dog, Tammie Rogers can help you achieve an effective and powerful bond with your cherished companion. Relying upon her thirty years of experience teaching dogs and their people, Rogers offers an honest, compassionate and dependable approach to solve ten of the most common problems that plague dog owners. Focusing on dog as a unique species that needs our benevolence and understanding, 10 Most Common Mistakes Dog Owners Make successfully presents a way to communicate with dogs in a confident, considerate and trusting manner. Socialization, pulling on the leash, nipping and biting, as well as tackling situations when others sabotage your relationship with your dog are some of the topics which are explored in detail. The information presented is comprehensive, unique and inspired. It is clear that Rogers has knowledge about canines that anyone can use to forge a sensible, kind and cooperative relationship with their dog.

Critique: Tammie Rogers, a dog trainer of thirty years' experience, presents 10 Most Common Mistakes Dog Owners Make And How to Resolve Them!, a guide to better understanding one's dog and preventing common pitfalls. It should be noted 10 Most Common Mistakes Dog Owners Make is not primarily a how-to training manual, although some dog training methods are covered. Chapters discuss mistakes dog owners make such as selecting the wrong breed or type of dog for their lifestyle, allowing dogs to pull on the leash, or tolerating canine teeth on human flesh or clothing under any circumstances. 10 Most Common Mistakes Dog Owners Make is an invaluable supplementary resource for dog owners, and a must-read before acquiring a pet that will likely share one's life for fifteen years or more. Highly recommended.

Curse of the Coloring Book
Howard L. Hibbard
Ghost Dog Enterprises
9780985634469, $16.95, PB, 384pp,

Synopsis: When Herald Lloyd, an attorney and family man, learns he's been cursed with a catastrophic legal-malpractice lawsuit, his recurring Vietnam War flashbacks flood his consciousness, and he medicates his post-traumatic stress with alcohol. He was reckless to quit college to join the Army. Mocking the war, he bought a GI Joe Coloring Book and half-gallon of whiskey, for a drunken send-off with his fraternity brothers. Vietnam hurls Herald into becoming a decorated combat platoon leader, commanding stressed oddballs and misfits like Dogman, who walks point and only barks to communicate. Now he must fight again, this time to save his client, law practice, and family. Was the coloring book cursed?

Critique: Although a work of fiction, "Curse of the Coloring Book" by Howard L. Hibbard is based on a true story. A truly riveting read from beginning to end, "Curse of the Coloring Book" reveals author Howard Hibbard as an impressively gifted novelist who is able to deftly craft an extraordinarily entertaining and memorable story -- the kind that will linger on in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf, making it very highly recommended, especially to community library General Fiction collections.

Jack Mason

Molly's Bookshelf

Phoning Home Essays
Jacob M. Appel
University of South Carolina Press
718 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29208
9781611173710, $24.95, hardcover, 136 pages

Jacob M. Appel's Phoning Home Essays, dedicated to Rosalie, is a publication having 177 pages. The book is an assortment of provocative, noteworthy, and at times even unusual essays vis-a-vis multidimensional interests running the range from ironic to categorically motivating.

Appel's preliminary composition, Phoning Home, focused upon incidences taking place during the author's seventh summer; which for his household was a period in which his family was agitated with the nettlesome attentions of a crank call artist.

The touching narrative, Two Cats, Fat and Thin, telling how the loss of two wee, rubber cats, Fat and Thin; toys given to the author by an adored aunt, his grandaunt, overwhelmed not only his childhood, but served, as well, to foster an often distrustful disposition enduring well past childhood and on into his maturity.

At times questioning, diffident, and even acute, Appel now and then, divulges more than a few of the most kept back, classifying problems of his life. With perceptive content often fixated on childhood anguish to unveiling of his maternal grandfather, and an transient coincidental occasion with a man who was not his grandfather; Appel re-counts to the reader some of the dilemma also felt by a good many of his family, and others, in prewar and war time Europe. It was a time when several of his family perished. As well, Appel tells us of his grandparents' 65 year marriage.

Readers learn of the swift, unanticipated expiration of another grandfather, as well, Appel discloses that his grandaunt's green Jell-O was a weapon of, and, he enlightens something of Alzheimer and what the finding meant in 1932, and why he decided to be tested for the propensity for the condition.

Essay titles range from Mr. Odd and Mr. Even, The Man Who Was Not my Grandfather, Caesura - Antwerp, 1938, Sudden Death - A Eulogy, An Absence of Jell-O, She Loves Me Not, Opting Out, Charming and Devoted, Livery, Our Incredible Shrinking Discourse, Divided Expectations. And, there is more.

Appel re-counts that numerous of his writing activities combined for this publication have before appeared in a good many periodicals. Subject matter for these often tongue-in-cheek, always absorbing compositions show-case the author's New York City childhood, his at times quirky family, his Jewish culture, life in general and more.

I found Phoning Home Essays to be an agreeably coherent publication filled with something for every reader.

The chronicles characterize the writer's incomparable voice, his is a unification of longing and perceptions, wistfulness and authenticity as moderated through his education including degrees in ethics, law and medicine.

Appel is a man who queries, holds, pursues and attains more answers. His empathy for others grounded in his medical practitioner line of work, is toughened by his barrister ethicist's inexorable probing for answers, clarification and solutions.

I enjoyed the read, Phoning Home Essays is a book for the home library, the English teacher or professor's reading list, and as well, it is for anyone who appreciates a compilation of rapid reads presented in an easy to tuck into brief case or carry bag for immediate perusal while waiting for the train to pass, the kid to be finished in the dentist's chair or anytime a few minutes for a read-through presents itself.

I enjoyed the read very much, Happy to recommend.

NOTE: I was sent an ARC for review.

Anger and Anxiety: How To Be In Charge Of Your Emotions and Control Phobias
Dr. Bob Rich
1591090644, $TBA, paperback, 91 pages

Dr. Rich describes how anxiety and phobias tend to form
[Reviewed first for Word Weaving]

Dr. Bob Rich's book Anger and Anxiety: How To Be In Charge Of Your Emotions and Control Phobias is a volume comprising ninety-one pages, eight chapters and a bibliography inscribed by a psychologist, counselor, author having with many years' experience in the field of psychotherapy and causes and treatment for those suffering Anger and Anxiety management.

Chapter titles include 'Why You Need An Anti-Switch Stress,' 'The Cave Person in You,' 'The Man Who Got Dogs to Dribble and Drool On Demand,' 'Phobias,' 'Making the Switch,' 'Help From Those Who Care,' 'Talking Back', 'And So On.'

Writer Rich forwards the notion that those having need with phobias, anger and anxiety management cannot assume enchanted resolutions to problems having developed over time. Nor is a solitary step recovery likely.

Rich continues by observing that pressure, tension, stress is a human technique for responding to challenge. He says, as a collective, we often reply to peril with a fight or flight reaction, in addition he notes that annoyance can prod most of us to act in ways we may later regret.

He underlines what we all know at some level, but often forget when in the throes of anger, or stress resulting arises from our interactions. Dr Rich points out that anxiety is frequently the outcome of our interactions with other people.

Anger and Anxiety: How To Be In Charge Of Your Emotions and Control Phobias is an amalgamation of case studies taken from Dr. Rich's years of notetaking, counseling and maintaining files, measures tried, and refined insightfulness into the human understanding.

Novice and experienced counselors alike may find this study has potential to become an essential teaching guide for those dealing on personal or counseling levels with anxiety disorder and other challenging responses. Dr. Rich's book can serve to edify novice counselors regarding methods to use for modifying destructive activities and emend both mental and physical health.

If used as a self-help book, within the covers of Anger and Anxiety: How To Be In Charge Of Your Emotions and Control Phobias Writer Rich has fashioned a straightforwardly read work intended for those who understand they are in need of some assistance with the difficulties they may be facing in life.

This short little volume is crammed with supportive recommendations while not crushing the reader with a lot of psychotherapist mumbo jumbo.

I found Dr. Rich provides well thought out suggestions without attempting or promising to resolve all problems. He knows that the job of the therapist is not to solve or point out solutions, rather the counselor guides the troubled toward the 'Ah Ha' moment of learning what resolutions are possible, and what may or may not work in their particular life in order for the one with the problem to find and use methods for resolving their difficulties.

Dr. Rich defines how apprehension and dreads come about and are preserved once established. He quotes everything convenient in order to get his point across. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, selections from texts and anecdotes taken from case studies are all intertwined with the knowledgeable clarification of problems discussed.

Counselor Rich analyses a diversity of conflicting behaviors. He presents a history of studies and presents what he terms the ABC method for analyzing behavior in stressful situations. A/the antecedent, precursor leading to B/behavior, action resulting in C/consequence, resulting outcome.

Rich suggests that the keeping of a behavior diary listing reactions and the like, can be supportive for sorting out thoughtful response as opposed to response leading to more stress. He offers a comprehensive assortment of coping procedures often used for dealing with identified problems.

The most uncertain or into denial reader facing problems may well find Anger and Anxiety: How To Be In Charge Of Your Emotions and Control Phobias to be a valued instrument as they search for something to help them with their personal struggle to overcome whatever emotional problems they may be facing.

Rich provides comprehensive recommendations contained in terms lay readers can understand as he explains the important characteristics of a Cognitive-Behavioral approach.

His writing is on target, wide-ranging, hard hitting, deals with real problems and offers practical proposals for the reader to use.

Interesting Read ... Recommended for the parents home library, counselor's book shelf, Classroom Educators library, personal reading list and inclusion for Public, School and Personal libraries.

Teaching in Circles My Journeys in Teaching High School
Nathan R. Miller
Kaplan Publishing
9781427797797, $TBA, Hardcover, 208 pages

On the pages of Teaching in Circles My Journeys in Teaching High School, Writer Miller acquaints the reader to a staggering reality that at the time the book was published; one in every six Americans is registered in one of the Nation's public schools. And, he rapidly points out; an essential factor often unnoticed by mishap or design as political individuals commence a drive toward election; schools are important, nonetheless, schools are but one causal agent in a child's development.

Readers will find 'We'd like to think teaching is all gold stars and smiling faces and getting out of school at three o'clock is written on the front piece of the book dust jacket.
However, reality is that teaching is often extended hours and tumultuous children and accountability standards that are quickly approaching castles in the air and the sad certainty that teachers and students are frequently overwhelmed with some of the never-ending push for more and more. Teaching frequently is summer vacations being used attending professional development and summer school classes.

On the pages of Teaching in Circles My Journeys in Teaching High School, Writer Miller acquaints the reader to a staggering reality that at the time the book was published; one in every six Americans is registered in one of the Nation's public schools. And, he rapidly points out; an essential factor often unnoticed by mishap or design as political individuals commence a drive toward election; schools are important, nevertheless, schools are but one causal agent in a child's development.

Family, friends and community all play a part in children's educational process. I especially like Miller's avowal that a person is neither demarcated by, nor ethos determined by the life led from kindergarten to graduation. School is very important; nonetheless school is not accountable for every minute of life.

Regulations concerning instruction, authorized testing with outcomes held high as illustration of the great catastrophe of today's educationalists and the institutes where they impart the instruction infrequently divulge the day-to-day life of either pupil or instructor, that of those who do not teach.

Writer Miller has constructed a highly understandable work encompassing twenty-four chapters filled with narratives of some of his experiences in the classroom. All teachers face ups and downs, every teaching career has flashes of great delight and others filled with anguish.

Miller is cautious to not offer student names or too many particulars for fear that a reader might be able to pin point a precise circumstance or student. Student confidentiality is something every teacher is anticipated, required, to hold in high regard.

Teaching in Circles is not a hilarity occupied; feel happy little work, nor is it a disconsolate, all kids are awful and what else can I do with this degree, type work.

Writer Miller strikes a happy, and at times, amusing equilibrium. Miller converses regarding what he terms -broken kids-. Every teacher I have known, taught with, chatted with in summer sessions, or chatted with at workshops, church suppers, or any gathering where myself and even one other teacher is present, has had -broken kids- in their classroom. He discusses the fact that where kids are broken, schools are made impotent, sadly families are clueless regarding the why or how the situation is as it is and politicians are misguided, or vengeful, or ready to lay blame on any and everything rather than learning underlying causes.

Today's classrooms are frequently occupied with kids identified as having attention deficit hyperactive disorders. While others are identified having emotional behavioral disorders, oppositional defiant disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, bipolar disorders, autism spectrum syndromes, violent tendencies, drug abuse tendencies, attachment disorders, overt sexual behaviors, depression and suicidal tendencies sitting side by side with students who exhibit many of the same tendencies, however none have been identified as yet. And each of the identified and non-identified sit alongside the so called well adjusted, happy kids who are ready to learn.

Schools are expected to meet those, guidelines, goals, standards and high test results demanded of them with each student without regard to any of the problems we know are present.

Anecdotes are used to exemplify some of the difficulties, or circumstances teachers face on an ongoing basis during the school day. From the kid who swears, to the drug addicted, to racial hostility which remains alive and well, Miller does not skirt issues. Associations and problems beween staff members, administration and others are all included in the work.

Because I teach; I always appreciate reading works produced by fellow teachers, some I read for pleasure and others I read to assure myself it is not only in my classroom, or school district or state that so many of the situations I have seen during a career spanning nearly four decades take place.

Miller's down and dirty candid assessment of his classroom experiences in the profession wherein I have spent many years; is a breath of fresh air filled neither with the saccharine teaching is so wonderful every minute nor the please, kick me again if you would martyrdom or a sense that the reader can never measure up to a perhaps self-proclaimed super teacher author.

Well written, easily understandable, Writer Miller has constructed an exceptional work for the novice teacher and the old hand too. He does not unravel all problems, or offer the magic pill which causes all kids learn, and all teachers to shine. He does offer some awareness into why some of the kids sitting on the chairs each day behave and respond as they do, and why instructors act and react as they do.

I'm certain every teacher has had a moment or two of wondering why on earth did I choose teaching, and should I keep on when the going is so dratted difficult, kids will and do argue and fight every turn and everyone it seems, EXCEPT teachers or others in the field believe themselves to be experts regarding teaching, are certain they know what the teachers are doing wrong and demand that those lazy louts improve and begin to teach right.

Teaching in Circles is not the account of a contented and totally fulfilled teacher ready to pass on his insight to future generations. And thank goodness, really, since what Miller offers in its place is so much more authentic and thought-provoking.

Miller in his brutally honest, frequently self-critical, bitterly sarcastic, and full of doubts style of writing presents a peek into the lives of nearly every dedicated but struggling teacher who is also fighting an uphill battle in the face of overcrowded class size, lack of supplies, kids who are ill prepared for class much less life that is just around the corner. The demands placed upon the schools coupled with lack of understanding and respect from public at large seem less important; Teaching in Circles achieves that feel good in spite of everything and becomes a book able to provide any teacher with a new look on teaching.

Enjoyed the read, Happy to recommend Teaching in Circles for the personal reading list, for school and public library, for gifting teachers, novice and the old war horses who have given years of service despite wondering why they stick with it, and for the public at large who may develop a new perspective and begin to see schools and the educators and students in a new light

The Rite of Passage
Joseph McCullough
Six Gallery Press
097460335X, $13.99

Lyricist Poet McCullough brings The Reader a winding ode opening with "Translations from the writings of Iyouhesheit Weyoutheyme."

McCullough delivers explanation concerning the awareness regarding life: at any minute of the day, there is life.

Our sentiments are examined prior to bard McCullough guiding The Reader into a glance into the life most of humanity worldwide, and especially living in our country share: "Born of a lineage of emigrants..." McCullough gently chaperons us into understanding of the voyage our ancestors selected as has been depicted through various understandings.

"Religion" is considered before McCullough next steers our thinking to the present: "I add to my generation, but remain within my own life."

Turning to new views McCullough shows The Reader how The planet where we live alters. I specifically relished the exhortation The Versifier presents dealing with Discussion of climate and weather conditions; this section is important and timely particularly today.

A struggle regarding ethics and ideals is offered in lines I am sure the bard intended to be read, and then read again. Once more, versifier McCullough guides our thinking toward the concept that each Season is made for another leads to further inspection.

Steered via the thought provoking guidance of rhymester McCullough; lines delving into I: I of creatures, I of spirit, I of person I of myself, I of communities and farms and ... provide The Reader a glimpse into ourselves in ways we may not have thought to explore before.

McCullough thoughtfully next turns our course toward predilection that is not an easy concept to grasp: Time has no emotion, or that people, while the same, are all different at the same time.

Land, millions of acres is offered along with Writer McCullough views regarding McCullough's take on the dealing with Personal commitment and inherent trust; again an especially important stance for our times.

Bard McCullough's consideration of A Love of being alive and simple pleasures of a day round out the work.

"If" leads the reader into considering many thought provoking tenets. If there were no written words...

The Rite of Passage extends to The Reader an often poignant, always moving fleeting view into one man's contemplation as he considers the profusion that life has to offer.

Few of us never reach so deep within ourselves to convey forward what may be the principal component of what make us human.

During my reading of the work; I found the free verse presentation provided by Lyricist McCullough to be first-rate, I enjoyed the pace of the words and effect opportunity for The Reader to join in the feelings inspired by the Bard's muse.

Writer/Poet McCullough skillfully captures peerless, frequently nostalgic implication in this keenly inscribed, thought provoking canto.

The degree and familiar language used by the writer grants superb rhythm to the reading. Modest, nevertheless potent, in implication and sentiment set down in a straightforward style; The Rite of Passage is heightened by extension, showcasing a sequence of inspiring reflections.

I found The Rite of Passage to be an attractive verse having sweeping appeal. I like the avid explicitness of this individually articulated, uplifting write. The flow serves as the current moving ever onward over a well-worn riverbed in this important linguistic arrangement.

A thought-provoking read presented by a gifted writer/poet; The Rite of Passage is a philosophical, sagacious work having countless messages rooted in it.

Happy to recommend for all who enjoy poetry, and the loveliness of our language well presented. The Rite of Passage is a good selection for the home and public library, the school library and High School English Teacher classroom library, the book will make a nice Teacher gift for beginning and ending of the school year.

Cats, Cats, Cats!
Leslea Newman
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9780689866975, $7.99, Paperback, 32 pages, Reprint edition

Leslea Newman's Cats, Cats, Cats! Presents Lively, animated kitties who whoop it up each night until dawn.

Wee Mrs. Brown, is a very tiny lady. Diminutive and endearing, Mrs. Brown lives in her house where she is never alone. Petite Mrs. Brown is a very small lady who does not live alone, she loves cats.

Mrs. Brown lives with her cats. Mrs. Brown has 60 cats who keep her company. All through the day Mrs. Brown's cats do not let her alone or lonely. They doze nearby as she cleans her house, or while she sits to sip her coffee. Mrs. Brown's cats even wait quietly when she works in her garden. They snuggle close by as Mrs. Brown takes her afternoon nap.

All the day long Mrs. Brown is not ever, at no time lonesome. During the day Mrs. Brown's cats exercise flawless, howbeit sluggish, respectable conduct. And, thus it is for tiny Mrs. Brown who abides in a nice, large house at the edge of town with her cats, cats, cats to keep her company.

All day long, Mrs. Brown is busy as she goes about her work. All day long, Mrs. Brown's cats rest and doze off and snooze the day away.

However at night! NIGHTTIME is a very different story. Soon as Mrs Brown sets the 60 bowls of cat food, gives each a gentle, affectionate pat on their head and smiles as she takes herself up the stairs to her bed THE CATS GO WILD.

Cats are flinging confetti. Cats are frolicking, and cats are playing ball. Cats are munching spaghetti. Cats are chasing their tails, cats are baking, cats cutting a rug twirl and slide. All night long cats are consuming and writing, they are reading and knitting, and they are performing and carousing.

I must confess, I have always supposed as much. I too am a cat lady.

These cheerful, peppy kitties whoop it up until dawn. Well of course, by then the house is in over-all disorder come morning. And, sweet, tiny, patient Mrs. Brown wakes up every morning to a house in total disarray.

Does Mrs. Brown take her broom and pitch the little beggars out, well, no; with her broom she tenderly sweeps her cherished, somnolent cats into a bundle so they can get their beauty sleep.

As I read aloud at the end of the day, small snickers become giggles and they become guffaws. At this point Osage County First Grade are weak with laughter. Not a bad way to end the school day.

The first pages of the narrative introduces Readers to Mrs. Brown and her busy, active life spent during the day. And, we see the cats, however, they are mostly sleeping.

Sounds like cats I know. As day disappears into night the felines come to life. Yes, sounds like cats I know.

Most folks recognize that cats are nighttime creatures which clarifies why they choose to play at night and sleep away their day.

Osage County First Grade likes the cats, they like Mrs. Brown, and, they like this book.
Stunning, a bit hazy, watercolor imageries are created by illustrator Erika Oller using pale colors with blurred edges for portraying the cats in manner that every cat lover will enjoy. During the daylight hours cats are presented in typical cat poses -- laying upside down, and in, and on, and, around everything.

Illustrator Oller depicts cats adorning the weather vane up on the roof, and draped upon, atop, in and along every imaginable portico. Felines even drape around and over Mrs. Brown who sits with her lap heaped with masses of cats; we see only her strong legs below the cats.

Noticing those artworks has caused me to contemplate whether this writer and this illustrator might have been peeking into my office as I work with a cat or two on the computer desk, one cat on my lap and another trying to settle in too.

Osage County First Grade admires this book very, very much, and, so do I.

I think it likely that the adult reader must need to be a cat enthusiast to truly appreciate the wacky rhymes and frolicking cats and the not quite there illustrations.

Children require no such context; I find most kids just like cats.

The rhyming text divulges the crazed, mad stunts taking place in the madcap household as author Newman presents rhyming clarification as to why cats snooze all through the day and abruptly spring to life as the moon is appearing in the heavens above.

Cats, Cats, Cats! is a children's rhyming, picture book for kids from 2 to 90 and cat lovers all.

Child pleasing read, Happy to recommend as read to little folks, read with help at the K-1 level and read to by end of grade 2.

Molly Martin, Reviewer

Polk's Bookshelf

Miami Misnomer
Robert Earl
Privately Published
9781535607896 EPUB
9781535607902 MOBI
9781535609678 paperback $TBA
B074MG5L94, $3.99, Kindle, 155 pages

"Given a second chance at life, follow Simon (Rolla)'s dissension into the abyss of Hell as he maneuvers his way through the asphalt jungles of Miami's most dangerous Overtown and Liberty City sections. Simon bravely attempts to find redemption amid a City consumed with hate, greed and murderous religious cults.

Miami Misnomer is a captivating and compelling urban tale. It provides a glimpse of the gritty trek through the dangerous streets of Miami's forbidden neighborhoods as a forsaken boy grows into a man, and does everything he can just to survive."

These paragraphs, taken from the Miami Misnomer blurb, sum up the book in many ways. The main character, Simon Rolla, a product of the Miami of the 70's and early 80's and military service in the Viet Nam War is a capable man lost in the world of drugs and criminal gang rivalry making up Miami's worst neighborhoods. Miami in the early eighties was largely a city controlled by pimps, prostitutes, drug importers and dealers and rival street gangs to whom street warfare was no big deal. When the rivalries started, the gators in the Everglades ate well.

Rolla is determined to rise above his background. Using his determination and to a bit of military training he overcomes his drug abuse and wide-ranging sexual habits, including one killing, he joined the Miami Police Department. Helped by a police Captain who needed a head-knocker more than a rule-follower to keep order, he soon found himself on the other side of the street...the side of the law.

Under pressure from the Mayor's office, Rolla's Captain assigns him to put an end to a series of murders attributed to an extremist religious cult. If he is to complete the assignment, Rolla must re-new old alliances. Most importantly, he must come to terms with what's important to him. The question is...can he do it?

Simon Rolla is very well developed character. Readers can readily see the forces that shaped him into confused mess of a man that he is, while understanding that those same forces gave him the tools he needed to survive and rise above his circumstances although not always in the way he would prefer. Part of his character development is a detailed view of Miami's underbelly that some may find shocking. Nevertheless, truth is stranger than fiction and few places are stranger than Miami in the early eighties.

The characters other than Rolla are developed just enough to fill their roles in the story and they fill those roles nicely.

Miami Misnomer is a very entertaining and informative adventure. It is a mean street level, no-holds-barred look at the reality of the times and full of profanity and sex...the reality of the times. I am not an advocate of profanity and excessive sexual description in books, but this is the type of story in which authenticity demands it; reader be warned! I felt the book could have used better editing, but for those with historical curiosity, and those looking for a good raw action adventure read, this one is hard to beat. 4-Stars

Decay: Humanz 1.0
Igor Ljubuncic
Privately Published
9781546466536, $5.99, paperback, $2.99, Kindle, 53 pages

OMG! Zombies have feelings too! Who knew?

I didn't. Perhaps since I don't read zombie books I could be forgiven.

Even zombies are subject to political wrangling and infighting just as viable humans are and now an extremist faction has stolen a nuclear bomb apparently to annihilate normal humans.

As the first person narrator, who is also leader of the world's zombies ruminates on the implications of the situation, Alejandro, head of security, is ordered to find and recover the bomb, preferably without allowing humans to learn that it has fallen into zombie hands. Will a decaying Alejandro and his rotting security zombies be able to recover the bomb? Will it go off devastating whole populations of humans and ensuring every zombie worldwide is hunted down and destroyed? Will they all rot before the bomb is located? Will the narrator's holey stomach develop an imaginary ulcer from worry about the incident and which of the various political factions he juggles stole it? By the way...does Alejandro have an agenda of his own?

Don't ask me. I don't read zombie books. I guess you'll have to read Decay: Humanz 1.0 yourself to find out! 4-Stars

Christine Horner
In The Garden Publishing
Yugen Press
P.O. Box 752252, Dayton, OH 45475
9781941351178, $16.67, paperback
9781941351284, $28.76, hardcover, 268 pages
B074FWY2W1, $3.99, Kindle

What's worse than death by bleeding from a thousand cuts?

A plot scattered obscured by shadows of huge spreading tree limbs, their foliage obscuring the light while reaching for it; completely forgetting the purpose of a story is to spotlight a plot in a manner that allows the reader to see and follow it.

The author of Attribution has a vivid imagination. Clearly she sees a plot...she identifies one at the end of the book. However, a reader trying to put the pieces together to arrive at that plot may as well be piecing together confetti after a ticker-tape parade to produce a high resolution photograph.

From the blurb, I expected an action conspiracy story. This is a conspiracy story, but the nature of the conspiracy is not apparent until the very end. In the beginning we are treated to a rough landing in an air car and a bit of a promise of more action to come. The information "You fell eight feet" followed by the command "Get up!" implies further action. However, the implication of action is doomed by a main character who spends most of the book locked up ruminating about a past in which the reader is not invited to participate, and the motives of a phantom boss who is never present. Considered in light of the rest of the book, I felt Chapter 1 to be irrelevant. Much later, we realize that the two hard thumps at the end of Chapter 1 are Pete's walking stick striking the ground. So what? Is he a relict park ranger, a prison warden or a fellow prisoner? I was never sure. Is he a shaman or other supernatural being, or just a strange man. Who knows?

Who is Truby? The reader has no idea until the end. Truby remembers a past told in flashbacks that seemingly has no relationship to her. Very late in the book a secret is revealed providing more information about Truby. For most of the book readers must wonder how Truby fits into the plot. When the information was at long last revealed my reaction was a shrug and a "so what?".

Truby is a prisoner, yet no reason is offered for Truby's imprisonment; it just is. Yet, Truby is alleged to have useful "assignments" from Lt. General Young the nature of which is never made apparent, yet she is never allowed to leave to pursue these "assignments".

Her co-workers are enigmas; while turning out to be more than they appear, they could have provided so much more to the story. What they do provide removes them from the ranks of hero/adventurers and we finally understand how Zedd, at least, did what he did. The other two, despite their roles, seem to be along for the ride.

I kept expecting Pete, the Ranger to be more than he turned out to be; Truby's supporter. It appears his purpose in the book was to produce Rose, a seven year-old genius...and, oh yes, to keep steering readers back to the idea of environmental changes by way of Old Faithful.

This story would have benefitted from logical storytelling where the reader is allowed to experience the plot in a logical progressive manner rather than a shotgun blast of seemingly unrelated information. The story idea is good although very ambitious and far-reaching, but the characters and their actions, and their presentations need a much tighter storyline. The character development is less than adequate. I felt the reader needs to know more about the characters and their backgrounds when they are introduced rather than wait for clues as the story progresses. In addition, in my opinion, this book would benefit from better editing.

From all of this, one might think I hated it. Not true. I actually enjoyed parts of it and curiosity drove me to finish it. After all, the end of a story about a conspiracy on such a grand scale should be whopper, right? Since I'm not telling, I guess you'll have to read it to see.

Readers who like dystopian 'what ifs' and tales of massive worldwide conspiracies should enjoy it. 3 1/2-Stars

The Ace of Clubs; Part 3 of the Red Dog Conspiracy
Patricia Loofbourrow
Red Dog Press, LLC
9781944223137, $14.99, paperback, 245 pages
9781944223151, $30.00, hardcover
B073PPH1K5, $3.99, Kindle

After the colossal explosion of a zeppelin that killed her friend, an aristocrat who was allegedly defrauding prominent merchants in Bridges in concert with Frank Pagliacci, Jacqui is taken away to recover and grieve by her husband, Tony Spadros. Meanwhile, the Clubb Family, who own and control the Zeppelin depot, convene a coroner's inquest to demand answers for the blast. Jacqui, who was never supposed to be at the zeppelin depot, is identified by witnesses and the Clubb Family inquisition is maliciously designed to focus squarely on her and the Spadros family.

Jacqui never understood why Roy Spadros forced her at gunpoint to marry his son, Tony five years before. Now, she doesn't understand why Tony, who swears he has "split" with Roy Spadros and loves her exclusively has her watched everywhere she goes. She knows it is not for her protection as Tony claims. However, the entangled web is woven ever tighter as she discovers that even her most trusted servants are spies...and not for Tony.

But, then Tony has a secret; one he refuses to share with Jacqui. Jacqui and Joseph Kerr have a secret too; one neither Tony nor Roy can know about. She watches helplessly as Tony discovers her secrets one by one and ruins more of her friends. Without resources and bound between powerful men, she feels her only recourse is to run. Will she run into the arms of love, or into the arms of further manipulation and treachery?

The Ace of Clubs escapes the endless maze of awkward social networking that plagued The Queen of Diamonds. Somehow, there is more at stake; more intrigue, more actually happening in The Ace of Clubs. There is much less focus on the characters and their backgrounds and much more focus on what they actually do and their motives for doing it.

This is not to say the reader's questions are all answered; far from it. But, readers can see more actions and consequences and there are intriguing mysteries brought into play, for example; who knew Tony had a brother? And what really happened to him? Readers are also allowed into Tony's secret. Most probably suspected something like it from past books, but now we know.

In my opinion, The Ace of Clubs is a better book than its predecessors. The Red Dog Conspiracy gets a bit deeper with each book as does the social pit in which Jacqui finds herself. Overall, this is an excellent read for action, conspiracy, steam-punk and mystery buffs of all ages. 5-Stars

M. Lynch
City Owl Press
9781944728557, $12.99, paperback, 223 pages
B074CR3L3K, $0.99, Kindle

Imagine a world in which there is a rigidly controlled caste system, where one must apply for marriage which may be approved to into a lower or higher caste depending upon your social indiscretions, your intelligence or simply where the government needs workers. Imagine that art is non-existent, that one can be imprisoned simply for being 'different', that racial differences are ironed out by controlled manipulating marriages and strictly controlling births. Imagine that no one is allowed to see, read, or know anything the government does not approve; that is, anything that is not part of their prescribed program for 'your' well-being.

Now, imagine Bristol...a non-entity in this 'perfect' world. Bristol is a person without an identity; an "unregistered", meaning that his birth was illegal so he must live completely outside the prescribed social order. However, Bristol has a talent for art and his art inspires secret admirers.

Now, enters Jude...a boy framed by the police for Bristol's artwork and sent to prison. He is a boy who never loses faith despite the abuse. A boy the prison warden plans to kill to effect population control in the prison.

Then, then is Samara, Jude's prison teacher who sees his abuse and the fallacies of her boss, the warden. Samara, inspired by Bristol's art begins to question society and her place within it.

Denver, Bristol's sister, never considers disobedience and is fearful Bristol will be caught and executed. She is assigned to a loveless marriage; a marriage with a fateful twist.

This handful of characters come together in an unexpected way that rocks their world, shows them there is more than they've been told and gives them hope for the future.

The Unregistered is much more than I hoped for when I began reading it. I found myself engrossed and really empathetic to the characters. This is a fascinating read with potentially serious social implications and a couple of major twists that keeps readers guessing. It should be enjoyed by those who enjoy dystopia and anyone who is into reading about strange overbearing social systems. 4-Stars

Shadow by the Bridge
Suzanne Zewan
NFB Publishing
119 Dorchester, Buffalo, NY 14213
9780998881188, $14.99, paperback, 368 pages
B076FDGR61, $5.99 Kindle

In 1917, a woman was killed by an unknown assailant in Linden, New York. The killing was a sensation because Linden was a quiet rural town where nothing, much less murder, happened. The murder was never solved, but over a period of several years, a number of other murders occurred in Linden all attributed to the same killer.

In Shadow by the Bridge the author has fictionalized the story of Linden during the period of 1917 through about 1924. It told through the eyes of a young boy growing over the period of years to become an adult; a young boy who was an unintentional eye-witness to the first murder and who suffered as some of the best known and closest friends of his family fell victim to the murderer. The reader is treated to the turmoil, grief and unease caused by such events in the community, and to the burden of grief, regret or even guilt some of the participants carry throughout their lifetimes.

Shadow by the Bridge is an engrossing and grim reminder how far criminalistics has progressed since 1917. The author appears to have diligently researched the story to ensure as much historical accuracy as possible. The reader is invited to share the confusion and lack of closure with the residents of Linden of the time...who had no idea which one of them may be next. 5-Stars

River Rising: Book 1 of the Carson Chronicles Series
John A. Heldt
Privately Published
B075RQ1XHY, $4.99, Kindle, 661 pages

Tim and Caroline Carson have disappeared. Several months have passed when the family attorney shares a letter left by John with Adam John's oldest son. What the letter contains causes Adam to gather Greg, Natalie, Cody and Caitlyn, his brothers and sisters, together to plan a strategy; a strategy to travel to the past to rescue their parents.

Traveling to Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the year 1889, the Carson's find life enjoyable and a bit simpler than 2017. They also make friends whom they grow to love, but who seriously complicate their mission. But others complicate their mission more. An association with a drifter in the Arizona territory puts Greg in jeopardy. Romantic interests bloom, but must be dealt with in light of the harsh realities of time-travel.

However, there are two even greater complications: the Johnstown flood of May 31, 1889 and the fallacies of time travel when two groups are trying to meet in the same time and place over the span of a hundred twenty-eight years.

The Characters are torn emotionally by the search for their parents, their new relationships, and the effects of the pressures of anonymity, criminality and a natural disaster of immense proportions. They are well developed and the book contains romantic storylines that should satisfy the most ardent of romantics.

Maybe things will be better in 1918 than they are in 1889...but maybe not...we'll have to wait for the next book to see.

John Heldt writes wonderful historic fiction in a time-travel context. His books are great reading anytime. Any of them, particularly this one, would appeal to anyone who likes reading historic fiction, sci-fi time travel, or even romantic novels. 5-Stars

Murder By The Book: A Marsden Novel, Book 2
Brigitta Moon
Brigitta Moon Books
9781977607089, $7.99 paperback
B076HP15S8, $0.99, Kindle, 269 pages

Murder by the Book has all the elements of a great murder mystery; multiple dead bodies under mysterious circumstances and difficult conditions, a police detective with marital problems and a conniving wife, a town mayor concerned about his political image, innuendo of an old case hanging in the resident's memory...and finally, an old perceived wrong that escaped everyone's attention...except that of the murderer and the victims.

The active characters are sufficiently developed to support the storyline and just enough backstory is provided to keep them from falling into limbo. However, no information is provided about any of the victims. I was not able to generate emotional interest in either the main characters or the victims. There was simply no information for a reader to know anything about them or to put together pieces of the puzzle that would make them potential victims in the reader's eyes...or for to allow them to satisfactorily deduce the identity of the murderer before the detective can do so. The one exception was Rose, whose backstory was, in the end, irrelevant.

The dialog seems contrived, strained and unnatural, more like reading a script than normal conversation. There is a difference between reading a story and being immersed in a story. I felt the dialog was being told to me, never that I was participating in it so I never felt the character's emotions; I just read descriptions of them.

I try not to be overly critical of writing style but Murder by the Book approaches the story in a unidirectional manner just as though the detective's, or an uninvolved person's, perspective is the only perspective that counts giving the reader a one-sided view and denying a sense of competition between the murderer and the detectives. Rabbit trails rise suggesting alternative solutions to the mystery none of which are followed to their logical conclusions.

Nevertheless, I found myself interested in the story and wondering when the next shoe would drop. Because the overall story plot was generally familiar, I had little trouble guessing what would happen next. Despite that, the book was enjoyable.

Based on the strength of the story's potential, folks who enjoy mysteries, especially cozy mysteries, should enjoy Murder by the Book. 4-Stars

Clabe Polk, Reviewer

Shel's Bookshelf

The Storyteller's Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don't
Carmine Gallo
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250072238, $15.99

I picked this book up expecting it to be a book about using storytelling to achieve a business purpose. It is that, but it's so much more. It's really a book on how to change the world through the power of telling the right story to the right people.

Sure, many of the sources are business leaders: Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Steve Jobs of Apple, Richard Branson of Virgin, John Mackey of Whole Foods, Paul Polman of Unilever, Elon Musk of Tesla, Kate Cole of Cinnabon, Sheryl Sandberg who taught us to "Lean In" (and yes, among those profiled who were known first as business leaders, white males dominate, as they do in the subset I listed here - I see this as a weakness in an otherwise strong book).

But many others we know first outside the business world and this list is far more diverse: activists like Malala Yousafzai, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks; entertainers including Oprah Winfrey, Sting, Bruce Springsteen; and public figures who used their platform to create sweeping change: Pope Francis, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy. And numerous ordinary people who made a difference.

One of my favorite stories is about Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise. After an encounter with a boy in India who desperately wanted a pencil. He started a charity with just $25, and that charity has gone on to build and fund schools that have served 30,000 impoverished children.

Gallo's format is to open each chapter with a story, often rooted in the protagonist's difficult early years - and he suggests we open all our talks with a story. He has consciously chosen to present much of the material either through the seven-part Pixar formula for successful storytelling:

1. Once there was a ______
2. Every day he ______ (I think he could have said "he or she")
3. Until one day ______
4. Because of that______
5. Because of that ______(emphasis added)
6. Until finally ______
7. Ever since then ______

Or the three-part formula used by J.K. Rowling and others: Trigger/Transformation/Lesson

These are two of many storytelling tools Gallo shares with us to help us amplify our own message by telling it more effectively. Some are common knowledge if you read many books on speaking, such as the vastly stronger appeal of emotional connection over a recital of facts. But some were new to me, such as the biological research that shows why this is so, and the conclusion that if your story is going to succeed, 65 percent or more of the content needs to hit the emotions. He looks at why such devices as analogy and repetition have so much resonance for us (because they turn the content into something more emotive), why so many stories follow "the rule of threes," and how to develop a "success-destiny mindset." (Note that the previous sentence is an example of the rule of threes.)

Successful stories involve the protagonist overcoming obstacles, and often require a villain. Every hero needs a "worthy adversary."

And all these techniques have a goal of moving the listener or reader - he uses the word "transporting." When you transport your audience, you have the chance to change their point of view.

I'm going to play with that insight myself. Not all of my talks have villains right now, and I am going to experiment with whether adding them makes the speech demonstrably stronger. This might be a challenge in my "Making Green Sexy" speech, where the closet thing to a villain is the abstract notion that green products and services have to be boring. While it's not a human villain, "Impossible is a Dare" does have two opponents: apathy and disempowerment - but even that may not be clear-cut and personal enough. Reading this book caused me to put up a new speech topic that starts with a very clear villain: the stranger who grabbed me on the street and raped me when I was 11. And that is right there in the talk title: "From Child-Rape Survivor to Champion of Social Change: A Personal Journey." We'll see what kind of interest it attracts (and meanwhile, I welcome your feedback on this idea).

Sometimes, great storytellers harness behavior that diverges sharply from the proper and expected. Great storytellers harness our discomfort and break us out of our patterns - like the time Bill Gates, discussing malaria deaths, unleashed actual mosquitoes.

Meanwhile, let me share a few insights (there are far more than I can include here):

In cultures with a rich storytelling tradition, the approach is multimodal: including gesture, tone, etc.

Learn passion from Steve Jobs' question, "what makes your heart sing?"

Adversity and failure become empowering when we learn from them

Storytelling creates a bond that Gallo calls "neural coupling" between teller and listener

Stories take complex subjects and convey them in manageable chunks - especially when told in accessible language

Stories of hardship and failure say "I'm just like you"; they see themselves as able to do what you've done - but never let yourself be defined by those failures

Often, the business storytelling successes - and the business successes they lead to - are also driven by a need to change the world: "We're not retailers with a mission, we're missionaries who retail," as John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, put it - or, in the words of Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, "we exist to connect people to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel"

Visuals do enormous work in helping us retain a message, boosting recall from 10 percent all the way up to 65 - but never get so dependent on your slides that you can't deliver without them

Gallo ends the book with an awesome quote from Walt Disney: Storytellers "instill hope again, and again, and again."

Practical Bliss: The Busy Person's Guide to Happiness
Lisa Broesch-Weeks
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781530927319, $16.95 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Several times a year, an interviewer asks me, "what was the best decision you ever made?" I always answer, "the decision in my 20s to have a happy life." That decision influenced everything else from that day forward. I believe it has been the key to my productivity, and the change I've made in the world.

Yes, it was a conscious decision. And yes, you can choose that path as well.

My client Lisa Broesch-Weeks can help you get there. She sent me a copy of her book, and as soon as I saw the title, I knew I'd like it. As a busy person, I love the idea of happiness for busy people, and I love the idea that bliss can be practical. She uses "bliss" and "happiness" pretty much interchangeably, seeing bliss as simply a more complete version of happiness (p. 96). I see more of a difference: bliss is more of a temporary high, while happiness, to me, is an ongoing state - but for this review, I'll accept her near-merging of the terms.

Happy people. Lisa says, have figured out how to advance their purpose - which will be a verb, not a noun (pp. 44-48) and will be widely different for different people - with every part of their lives. And their purpose is not tied to serving one particular individual (p. 58).

They don't beat themselves up striving for perfection; they've replaced stress-inducing words like "search" with power words like "explore" and "uncover" (p. 57). At work, they're more productive and more engaged. Gallup put the cost of "employee disengagement" at $300 billion per year (p. 18), so there are dollar figures on that engagement. And at home, they enjoy better relationships, better health, and better brain function (pp. 21-24).

A lot of keeping happy is basic self-care: not letting yourself get overstressed...learning to say no to tasks that don't advance your purpose or to people who deplete your energy...taking time for vacations, exercise, and other self-care (pp. 27-28) ...and making space for your passions and pleasures. She reminds us that machines don't run without time for recharging and maintenance, and neither do people (p. 26).

More stuff doesn't create more bliss. And neither does running on the "hedonic hamster wheel" (p. 78 - what an amazing metaphor!). And certainly you don't get there by neglecting your passions in favor of something that feels "more important" but usually isn't (p. 96). She points out that no one else is going to relieve you of your "optional obligations and stressors" and offers strategies to get rid of them in ways that don't alienate others (p. 104).

Not all stress is avoidable, of course, and she provides help with managing the mandatory stress. As an example, she suggests worrying less about the need to appear constantly busy and more about how to add value (p. 111) - and shows some ways to shift focus from what's wrong to what's right, phrasing our goals and accomplishments in ways that the brain can hear and absorb, and act upon (pp. 119-126). Once concept I especially loved was the idea of gratitude for the wonderful future you expect, and not just for a present that may or may not seem fulfilling. She notes that this transformation helped her "put myself in situations where I would make it easier for success to find me" (p. 134). Time in gratitude, she says, is not an expense but an investment.

As the book wraps up, she advises on how to thrive despite happiness "haters" and how to forgive them (pp. 154-156). Though some of her advice may seem obvious, it can be hard to see from the outside, and always worth reminding ourselves: "I have what might be startling news. Living in bliss is a journey, much more than a may not know when you've arrived (p. 141, emphasis in original).

Note: Although I have done some consulting for Lisa, this review is not part of that arrangement and I am not being compensated for it.

Our Earth, Our Species, Our Selves: How to Thrive While Creating a Sustainable World
Ellen Moyer
Greenvironment Press
9781942936282, $13.99

Rarely have I come across a book that so closely mirrors my own thinking. But our lenses are different. In my latest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World - and in three earlier related books - I look at the power of business to heal the world. Moyer looks at how consumer-citizens can do the same thing.

Also, I made a deliberate choice not to dwell on the gruesomeness of our situation and the urgency to change; I figure that information is widely available. Moyer spends several chapters on what's wrong before moving to how we fix things.

If you're in business, I recommend that you read both. They complement each other nicely.

On to the specifics: Before delving into the problems, she gives us a vaccine of optimism in the introduction - starting right on page 1 with a magnificent, empowering quote from Buckminster Fuller: "The best way to predict the future is to design it" and pointing out, correctly, that "changing course is not only doable but it is not so difficult as we may think - and it can be fulfilling." (p. 3)

Fuller is only one of dozens of my favorite luminaries she quotes or cites. Her list includes environmentalists like Wangari Maathai, Wendell Berry, and Jane Goodall...human potential geniuses including Barbara Marx Hubbard, Deepak Chopra, and Jean Houston...activists from Gandhi and Martin Luther King to Mandela and Robert Reich...prosperity folks such as Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield, and Napoleon Hill...deep thinkers like Einstein, Pope Francis, and Bruce Lipton - to name a few.

This list shows the breadth of her holistic approach. It's not either/or but all, and. Instead of focusing on one necessary evolution at the expense of all the others, simultaneously pursuing world change and a healthy environment, exploring the 90 percent of our brains most of us don't use, achieving financial comfort, expanding our compassion, and all the rest of it. Yes, we can have all this and more, and it's actually easier to get there holistically.

Refreshingly, she doesn't see a grumpy, hoarding billionaire as financially healthy (p. 105). Having money without happiness does not make you a success in her eyes (or mine).

That insight is part of a nice section on happiness. Quoting Gandhi: happiness is when our thoughts, speech, and actions align (p.99). Fun is transient; happiness is ongoing; both are important (p. 106). Quoting Shimoff: happiness is more likely to bring success than financial success is to bring happiness (p. 109).

She makes some connections that I didn't know. I had no idea that we squander half our water to cool electric power plants (p. 30) - we wouldn't need to do that if we'd switched to renewable energy - or the horrifying statistic that 1.8 million children per year die a thoroughly avoidable death from lack of water or lack of unpolluted water (p. 31). We waste water in many other ways, too, including far too great a share of irrigation water (p. 73). I've been saying for years that there's no shortage of water or energy - but we deploy them poorly. So poorly that she sees climate change as a massive civil rights violation against the poor (p. 118).

I also didn't know that the $5.3 trillion in global fossil fuel subsidies accounts for a full 6.5 percent of global GDP - more than we spend on health care! Eliminating those subsidies would reduce CO2 by 17 percent and eliminate 50 percent of pollution deaths - while hastening the transition to clean, renewable energy, which is already cost-competitive if you take away the fossil and nuclear subsidies.

And she points out that the lone wolf doesn't usually create the sweeping change we need. Cooperation with each other and with other species, not ruthless social Darwinism, makes us fittest (pp. 43-46).

Speaking of wolves: I love her description of the many positive ripples resulting from wolves' reintroduction into Yellowstone (pp. 62-63). So in pursuing any big goal, we need to factor in all the costs and all the benefits.

That means rethinking absolutely everything - and setting big goals that let us get out of either-or thinking and into all-and. We can switch to fully organic and leverage that to eliminate food scarcity; the UN says this would double our produce supply (p. 150). We can fund the space program and fund human and environmental needs, but not if we box ourselves in with small thinking and limiting stories (p. 141).

Combining "high-tech and high nature" (p. 148), Here's her four-part formula for creating this kind of systemic change:

1. Exercise the Precautionary Principle to avoid unintended consequences
2. Work upstream to eliminate problems in the first place
3. Change from centralized to distributed systems (solar is a great example)
4. Use a holistic approach

A lot of this is about mindset. One great example: shift our thinking from "environmental protection" to "rights of ecosystems" (p. 177). But even as we build a new castle in our corner of the sandbox, we can't ignore the soldiers at the moat. Reich notes that if we give up on politics because it's too corrupt, we collapse the buffers protecting the planet and most of its people from corporate and government rapists who would plunder without limit (p. 185). But citizens, leading through creative nonviolence, can create leadership where governments eventually have to follow - and according to Paul Hawken, the environmental movement is the largest people's movement in history (p. 191). When just 15 percent of us (p. 199) combine our vision of possibility (pp. 195-196) and our outrage at the status quo, (p. 198), change happens.

And then maybe the whole world will start to look like the remarkable success story of Bhutan (pp. 200-201). Years ago, Bhutan looked beyond Gross National Product to Gross National Happiness - and manifested massive improvements in sectors including democracy, health, environment, carbon, and energy.

This is only a tiny taste of the wisdom in Moyer's book. Read it, buy it for friends, apply it to the business world by also reading Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, and put the lessons of both books into action.

Shel Horowitz

Susan's Bookshelf

The God Mind Principles
Krystyna Fowler and Phillip Fowler, Inc.
9781634914420, $17.95, 298 Pages

Genre: Religion

What an amazing and life changing book!

Jointly written by husband and wife Spiritual Writers Krystyna and Phillip Fowler, The God Mind Principles is a truly enlightening book, which if you want, can be the catalyst to change your life if you follow the Rules of Law and the three spiritual seals which are written at the front of this inspiring book.

The aim of the authors is to open your mind to the God Mind Principles which will enable you to live your life in the best possible way, achieving what you wish for, finding inner peace and harmony, experiencing true joy, and learning how to recognise evil when it manifests itself in different ways.

The God Mind Principles discusses all the things and prejudices you will encounter in life, in your dreams, hear reported scientifically, and wonder about, in many different ways. In recognition that everyone is unique and absorbs knowledge differently, the authors emphasise that it is vital that everyone read all the book thoroughly, that way you are ensured of understanding its teachings the way which is easiest for you.

Throughout, the unconditional love offered by the god, goddess, eternal father, eternal mother shines through, and the reader learns of how this love and understanding can be attained through belief, and that although everyone is different this love will unite them all.

When we have finished reading this book we are asked to continue on and read it in reverse from back to front, and in doing so we will discover the keys to open the Book of Journals.

We are asked to keep a daily record of our hopes, desires, goals, and feelings, both good and bad. Although the authors recognise that this may be difficult at first, we are asked to persevere and assured that through the keeping and reading and re-reading of our hopes, dreams fears etc. and studying them, we will ourselves come to recognise the answers we seek in our writings, and by opening our hearts and minds to the eternal father, eternal mother we will be receptive to their guidance and support throughout our lives.

Somehow inspiring just doesn't seem enough to encompass this book, but it does sums it up. If you are lost, confused, unhappy, depressed, unsure, indeed in any form of crisis you will not only find this incredible book inspiring but also perhaps the way to your salvation.

The Bootstrap Ultimatum
Avraham Azrieli
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781499717488, $11.98, 266 Pages

Genre: Mystery

Memorial Day has become a travesty for thousands of Americans, the greedy word of commerce has taken it over. As with many other holiday days, it is used as another excuse for companies to make huge profits running special 'Memorial Day Weekend' sales, selling things people really don't need, to people who just can't resist going shopping, and then coming home with a bargain!

Not surprisingly US veterans, and the families of those who have lost their lives fighting for their country feel resentful. Many veterans are every day tragically suffering silently, terribly maimed and traumatised by war, often forgotten, or refused help by the authorities. However, this year is going to be different, as one person, an ex-Air Force Veteran has decided to do something about it! What's more, the veteran has a powerful ally, modern technology, and aims to use all its considerable power to reap revenge on the world of commerce!

This exciting political thriller begins with Ben Teller, investigative reporter for NewZonLine Media and his girlfriend Keera popping into his father's grave to pay their respects. They are just about to head off for a weekend away. Then Ben receives a text from Ray, his boss, asking if he can take a job on. There is trouble expected at Out-Mart. It's on their way, so Ben decides to cover the story, and on arrival discovers a riot in progress. Someone has emailed all the Out-Mart customers an 'Everything $1 on Memorial Day Weekend' coupon!

This is just the beginning! Soon more coupons begin arriving in inboxes, and the troubles quickly escalate. We join Ben as he frantically tries to find the perpetrator, fitting the pieces of the puzzle together, only to discover to his dismay that a vital piece is missing. With time running out and disaster looming on the horizon will Ben manage to find the final piece, discover who the culprit is, and apprehend, them before it is too late?

I really enjoyed reading this exciting suspense mystery which has plenty of twists and turns, and a storyline which kept me riveted until the very end.

Mrs. Chartwell and the Cat Burglar
Pamela Gossiaux
Tri-Cat Publishing
9780997638752, $14.95

Genre: Mystery

Romance, mystery, and adventure, this book has it all!

Self-preservation is natural when one is hurting, and Abigail Chartwell is doing just this when we meet her at the beginning of this unforgettable story. Widowed young, she believes she will not love again, tortured by her past and fighting her own demons, she has hidden for six years behind her wedding ring and thick glasses. Romance is the last thing she wants, or needs. Her work in the ancient maps and documents department of the university enables her to escape from the world, there she can enjoy the quietness and sanctity of her surroundings, and her church and the friends she has there are her family.

Then there is Tony, a handsome, dashing guy, fond of quoting Shakespeare, wooing the ladies, and an accomplished cat burglar. However, he has a secret, he is a man on a mission. Hidden in his families past is a legend about a lost painting, said to be painted by the great Antonio Russo, he has promised his grandmother that he will find it for her, he's tantalisingly close, but he just needs to get one more clue...

It is his search for the clue which leads to him to drop in at the library, and there he encounters the beautiful Abigail. The accidental meeting is destined to change their lives forever. As the story unfolds they find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other, her intrigued by his story and mystique, he by an overwhelming urge to love and protect her.

But does the painting he is so desperately searching for even exist, and what does the future hold for Tony and Abigail?

I couldn't wait to read this exciting new release from Pamela Gossiaux because I really enjoyed her last book 'Good Enough.' Mrs. Chartwell and the Cat Burglar is a lovely story and I highly recommend it, it has everything you could wish for, mystery, suspense, romance and a great adventure. I just couldn't put it down!

Harappa 2 The Fall of Shuruppak
Shankar Kashyap
Privately Published
9781549930225, $9.99, 264 Pages

Genre: History

This fascinating journey into Indian history is set in the third millennium BCE. Through the author's thorough investigation into this era, and extremely descriptive writing, these splendid days of the Mesopotamian and Indus Valley civilisations are brought to life for his readers.

In this the second book of the Harappa series we join the friends Upaas (a physician), his wife Lopa, Parthava and Elaamite Prince Shushan as they continue their journeys, travelling far and wide through unknown lands satiating their thirst for knowledge.

In this adventure they find themselves agreeing to help the grief stricken Emperor Gilgamesh of Sumer find the great Sage Ziusudra. Gilgamesh believes that the sage will answer a question he is compelled to ask, and through the answer he will find an end to his torment.

Armed with the help and advice of Sage Vasishta, magic potions, and amulets for protection they set off on a quest unlike any other they have undertaken. Their travels take them through unknown lands, where they battle mythical beasts, demons, and many unimaginable creatures, but will they succeed and will Gilgamesh find the answer he seeks?

After seeing the Sage they return to Shuruppak as war breaks out, and with battles raging and thousands lying dead or dying they escape by ship, taking those they can. Little do they know that a higher being has decided that mankind needs a lesson, and what happens next is one of the most well-known of all biblical stories...

What I love about this story is that for those of us who are not Indian, yet have a great interest in Indian history, the legend behind the grief and torment of Gilgamesh, and others, interwoven into this epic adventure, adding immeasurably to the enjoyment, and fascination of this book.

I am looking forward to reading Dasharajna: The Battle of Ten Kings (Harappa Trilogy Book 3).

Susan Keefe, Reviewer

Suzie's Bookshelf

Maxine's Happy Trails: A Truck Story
Chris Mason
9781370322947, $TBA, Ebook, Words: 520

"Be whoever and whatever your heart desires . . ."

Join Maxine on a trucking adventure as she gets behind her big wheel. With each mile, she teaches youngsters the vital parts of an eighteen wheeler. As she explains each important part, there is a merry tune that sets the pace of this book.

Children will delight with the masterfully crafted illustrations that bring this book to life. Also, I applaud the author who included a female truck driver. This is very encouraging to young girls that can instill in them they can do any type of career they set their mind to achieve.

MAXINE'S HAPPY TRAILS: A TRUCK STORY is rich with happiness and joy. The story is one that is both educational and fun to read.

Chris Mason is an author that writes about a variety of subjects and topics. With each book, he lends his special blend of artistic talent that makes the book stand out from the competition.

Beautiful Boy
J. L. Hunt
B01DDYU91E, $3.99, Kindle Edition, 22 pages

"This book is absolutely delightful! I can easily see this becoming a child's favorite bedtime story. The illustrations are superb; they allow the special magic to come alive in each page.

J.L.Hunt, is a magnificent writer whose book is one that celebrates the beauty in each boy. Each page presents a fun-filled atmosphere that overflows with positive words of encouragement. Parents will gravitate to these books for it provides substance that pays tribute to how special every boy is to the world."

Fish from the Sky
Addison Marsh
c/o Amazon Digital Services LLC
B06ZYZ7WJW, $2.99, Kindle Edition, Print Length: 271 pages


In the heat of war, a love emerges . . .
Will this newfound relationship be strong enough to survive a country torn apart?

Abigail Linneman has lived in Cambridge all of her life. She decides she is in need of a break from Cambridge. To earn extra cash, she starts work at a local pub. She loves her job, for it provides her life and excitement that she has been craving.

When the Royal Corps of Signals learned she spoken German, they recruited her. She accepted their offer. There she first noticed Sergeant James Marshall. He was so unlike the other men who she came in contact with, for there was a shyness in him that wasn't present in the others who sought her attention.

James fell in love with Abigail instantly. Together they shared a whirlwind courtship. When James proposed marriage to her, she was unsure if she wanted to marry someone who had such a dangerous career. It took her seven days to say "yes" to his question.

The two spend their wedding night together, and then James military career calls him away to participate in a special operation. Will his mission be a success and he come home to the comforting arms of his new bride?

FISH FROM THE SKY is an outstanding novel! I found myself being enthralled by each of the scenes as they play out before my eyes. This book has the power to reach out and pull you into its pages. Through the author's descriptive words, you are able to feel a magnetic pull that quickly wraps its way around your heart.

Addison Marsh should stand up and take a bow! She has proven to me that she is one magnificent author. With this being my first book that I found by this talented author I quickly knew that her writing was going to earn a spot on my keeper shelf. Each scene is so perfectly constructed, the characters are expertly defined, which makes for an unforgettable reading experience.

Visit Alook's Cool Place In Outer Space (Let's Explore the World Series)
Kimberley Kleczka
c/o Amazon Digital Services LLC
B01HWV4D0M, $1.99, Kindle Edition

"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life"

-Albert Einstein

Alook is an exquisite bird that originated from a special star. His world is one where beauty and light radiate throughout the land. He attends school and learns both Koolamundo and English. English is the funniest language to learn.

His family consists of his Mother and Father and his Lola and baby brother Kaia. As a family, they make special memories together. He also has a beloved pet dragon named Zagon who glows at night. He feels blessed to have such a wonderful life.

VISIT ALOOK'S COOL PLACE IN OUTER SPACE visits Alook and his family. With brightly colorful illustrations each word seems to leap off the page. The characters in this book add their own magical charm to the story.

Kimberly Kleczka is a very talented author whose writing appeals to children. Her words and colors that use selects are sure to gain a child's attention. With each book that I discover from this author, I grow more love with her work.

EAT HOT... LOOK HOT: Burn more Fat and Boost Your Metabolism at any Age!
Alessandra Solis
Terra Firma Press USA, Inc.
Amazon Digital Services LLC
B077JFKQVZ, $4.99

Non-Fiction/Self Help

A miraculous discovery is about to change the world . . .

A breakthrough revelation is about to hit the world by storm! Through the ingenious research of Allessandra Solis, she has discovered a proven method of weight loss. What makes her theory so wonderful is that it is something that we can find in our normal grocery store.

This book takes you through how Alessandra discovered this miracle discovery and how she used it to lose unwanted pounds for her own health benefit. The method is simple to understand and the powerful ingredients are very inexpensive.

This book will allow you to get rid of those expensive diets and gym memberships. There is basically nothing you need to change your eating habits except incorporating the key ingredient that will jumpstart your metabolism.

EAT HOT...LOOK HOT BURN MORE FAT AND BOOST YOUR METABOLISM AT ANY AGE! is a book that can help solve anyone's weight loss problem. It provides all the insight what a person needs to do to see the most results. No matter what your age or weight issue this book can produce effective results.

Alessandra Solis is an exceptional author whose book can help a large and diverse population. The research she has conducted and the results she has experienced with this method have convinced me that this book will work for anyone. I feel this book is one of the most beneficial forms of weight loss advice that I have discovered in a very long time. I feel it will quickly become a literary sensation!

Dead on the Water: Abandon Ship (Zombie Cruise)
RWK Clark
Clarkinc; 1 edition
Amazon Digital Services LLC
B01J85V8Y4, $3.99 Kindle, 265 pages


Beneath the surface evil exists . . .

Jason Harrington and his family are planning to go on vacation to Belize. The vacation consists of being on a cruise ship and then docking in Belize. He dreams of spending this time with his family exploring the island, but instead his wife Claire insists the entire family shop. He knows that if he didn't give into her selfish demands that she would make sure the time they spent in close quarters was miserable.

Jason's one saving grace is found in his twelve-year-old daughter Ariana who possesses a kind and positive attitude. Ariana dreamed of one day becoming a Veterinarian. He wished that he would have been able to come with her on the vacation so the two of them could have a relaxing time.

While out shopping Ariana sees a wounded animal. She goes to try to help it out of its pain. As she gets closer, the dog bites her. She doesn't think the wound is anything serious and continues back to the ship with her family.

Unbeknown to Ariana and her family the dog that had bit her had been eating infected rats from a secret lab in Belize. Through its contact with her, she also has become infected with the strange disease that inhabits its body.

In the blink of an eye, the ship of fantasy and fun turns into a vessel of horror. Zombies replace the cruise passengers and the voyage quickly becomes doomed. Can the order be restored to the chaos that exists onboard? Will the voyage one be one that is salvageable? Or will the creatures take control of the ship?

DEAD ON THE WATER is a high action drama. I found myself quickly becoming absorbed into the plot. The characters each lend their own special blend to the overall context of the story. I found this book captured my interest from the first few pages because each scene built upon the next.

RWK Clark has proven to me that he is a talented author. By writing this book he has revealed his true writer's voice to the world. This story is one that will definitely hold your interest and become one that is hard to forget. I highly recommend this book and look forward to discovering more of this author's future works.

The Great Works: A Coloring Book
Chris Mason
Illustrations by Viadimir Cebu
9781370507627, $TBA, Words: 250

Fiction, Erotica, General

Legends Never Die . . .

Some of the greatest known art is found by names such as Leonardo Da' Vinci, Vincent Willem Van Gogh, and Sandro Botticelli. Just saying these historic names produces an immediate reputation in your mind's eye of their great works.

These masters of art became legends, their work is known worldwide and will continue for generations to come. To celebrate these well-known artists and their creations, Chris Mason and the talented Viadimir Cebu have brought to life these images in a color book format.

Each illustration is created with in-depth detail. When the owner finishes coloring in the art forms they can easily become their own framed masterpieces.

Chris Mason is an author who offers a variety of talents. He writes memorable books where each one is well thought out. This author has become an icon in my opinion, where he has left his own historic mark on the world. This coloring book is a tribute to his ingenious amount of talent he possesses. It is one that's assured to appeal to a wide audience.

Suzie Housley

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

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