Return to home
page Book Reviews, Book Lover Resources, Advice for Writers and Publishers
Home / Small Press Bookwatch

Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 23, Number 4 April 2024 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Health/Medicine Shelf Science Shelf
Biography Shelf General Fiction Shelf Literary Fiction Shelf
Metaphysical Studies Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic
Victoria Noe
King Company Publishing
9798988240501, $21.99, HC, 213pp

Synopsis: While grieving the death of a friend is hard, grieving for that friend during a pandemic is a whole lot harder.

With the publication of "What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic", Victoria Noe presents a powerful and compassionate exploration of friend grief during the COVID-19 epidemic. Her deeply personal, yet all too universal experience sensitively addresses the unique challenges and emotions faced by people who have experienced the loss of a friend during these uncertain times.

Through personal anecdotes, interviews, and expert insights, Victoria delves into the profound impact of losing a friend and the specific grief journey that ensues. "What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic" acknowledges the unique bond and significance of friendships and explores the complexities of grieving for a friend in a world upended by isolation, physical distancing, and limited opportunities for traditional mourning rituals.

Noe's story and experience also highlights the power of honoring the lives of those friends, offering examples of meaningful tributes and finding solace in shared memories. It encourages readers to embrace the healing power of community, finding comfort in the stories of others who have experienced friend grief during the pandemic.

"What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic" serves as a source of comfort, validation, and hope, reminding readers that they were not alone in the intricate journey of friend grief during these challenging times.

Critique: Personal yet universal, poignant and honest, cathartic and ultimately inspiring, "What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic" by Victoria Noe is one of those true life stories that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself is finished and set back upon the shelf. Of special value to readers with an interest in friendship, love, loss, grief and bereavement in a time of universal plague that took the lives of multiple millions of men, women and children around the world, "What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library collections. It should be noted that "What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic" is also available in a paperback edition (9798988240518, $18.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Victoria Noe ( kept a promise to a friend to write a book. That book turned into a series of small books on the experience of grieving the death of a friend. They are Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives A Damn; Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends; Friend Grief and 9/11: The Forgotten Mourners; Friend Grief and the Military: Band of Friends; Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle; Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes. In 2015, she was named Library Journal's first SELF-e Ambassador, promoting their initiative to put self-published e-books into US libraries. That same month, her essay, "Long-Term Survivor" won the 2015 Christopher Hewitt Award for Creative Nonfiction from A&U Magazine. She is also the author of Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community. Victoria is a member of the Authors Guild, Nonfiction Authors Association, the Alliance of Independent Authors, ACT UP/NY, and the Chicago AIDS Garden planning committee.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Obesity - The Modern Famine
Kathy M. Campbell
Pursuit Press
9798988627425, $22.99, HC, 224pp

Synopsis: Americans are living through a uniquely modern famine. With obesity on the rise and a cultural ideal of health built around "eat less, exercise more", our bodies are being deprived of nutrients at the cellular level. Slower metabolisms, weight gain, and lack of energy is our bodies' way of responding to the ever-increasing modern demands and environmental pressures. It's the norm in our busy lives to ignore the crucial elements that make up good health -- sleep, fresh water, nutrition from nutrient dense foods, oxygen, movement, and more.

It's time to sound the alarm on the obesity epidemic and reveal the real truth: Obesity is not the problem; it's the symptom of a much larger health crisis.

With the publication of "Obesity - The Modern Famine: Discover the Underlying Drivers of Weight and Navigate Your Way to Health", Dr. Kathy Campbell invites you to shatter the confines of conventional thinking around health and obesity. While obesity is labeled as personal failure, she propels you toward an enlightening realization: it's time to look at our culture of health. Based on her popular TEDx talk with a unique blend of medical insight and her personal journey with obesity, Dr. Campbell reframes the healthy eating narrative to put the power of your health back in your hands.

"Obesity - The Modern Famine covers: The critical steps to create a culture of health around you, including the vital roles of community, connection, and purpose; The unique clues your body is giving you and how to decipher these physical signs to unlock lasting health; How to define your health goals, recognize the external factors influencing your health, and navigate life's challenges in a way that supports your well-being; The complex interplay between our primitive bodies and our modern culture and how to put the pieces of foundational health in place; Dozens of health strategies and practical exercises that put you on the path to eat more, support your biochemistry, and start your pathway to get off the pills derailing your health.

Simply stated, "Obesity: The Modern Famine" offers a blueprint for a healthier future. In a culture that reliably produces disease and obesity, Dr. Campbell offers a rallying cry for personal transformation for the life you want to live -- one of vitality, well-being, and thriving health.

Critique: A seminal and groundbreaking, informed and informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented study, "Obesity - The Modern Famine: Discover the Underlying Drivers of Weight and Navigate Your Way to Health" by Dr. Kathy M. Campbell is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and college/university library Health/Medicine collections and supplemental Health/Medical Issues of Aging curriculum studies lists. It should be noted that "Obesity - The Modern Famine" is also available for health care professionals and non-specialist general readers in a paperback edition (9798988627401, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Dr. Kathy M. Campbell has been a clinical community pharmacist in Oklahoma for over 30 years. Her popular TEDx University of Tulsa talk, "Obesity: The Modern Famine," highlights her innovative approach to community health, combining medical insight with personal health experiences managing obesity. Dr. Kathy Health, LLC ( offers consultations, seminars, and education, exploring foundational and holistic health approaches. Her innovative approach to pharmacy includes holistic health practices and meaningful patient interactions.

The Science Shelf

Predicting the Eclipse
Stephen Wolfram
Wolfram Media
9781579550875, $14.95, PB, 112pp

Synopsis: The phenomena of a total eclipse of the Sun is both rare and dramatic. On April 8, 2024, one will cross the US. But when exactly will it happen?

"Predicting the Eclipse: A Multimillennium Tale of Computation" is a short but richly illustrated volume in which prominent scientist and computation pioneer Stephen Wolfram tells the triumphant and hard-won story (spanning more than two thousand years) of how science, mathematics, and computation have brought us to the point where we can now predict the time of the eclipse to within one second.

Readers will learn how the problem of eclipses brought us some of the earliest exact science, the first known computer, contributions from many of the all-time greats of mathematics and physics, and critical technology for the space program. Also provided is a clear, modern understanding of a phenomenon that has surprised and amazed throughout human history from antiquity to this very day.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Predicting the Eclipse: A Multimillennium Tale of Computation" is an ideal introduction the solar eclipse and will prove of particular relevance and value to readers with an interest in astronomy, astrophysics, and the history of science. While especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Astronomy collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Predicting the Eclipse: A Multimillennium Tale of Computation" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note: Stephen Wolfram ( is an award-winning scientist, an author, and the creator of some of the world's most respected software systems -- Mathematica, WolframAlpha and Wolfram Language. For more than 35 years, he has been CEO of the global technology company Wolfram Research, as well as responsible for a series of groundbreaking advances in basic science, including the recent Wolfram Physics Project.

The Biography Shelf

The American Banker in Paris
Karl K Taylor, author
William D Engelbrecht, author
Dorrance Publishing Company
9798888129807, $39.95, HC, 360pp

Synopsis: The life of Nelson Dean Jay is an opus sized adventure of the unknown banker who lived in Paris and influenced the powerful people of Europe as well as world events. During the Roaring Twenties in Paris, he was a friend of Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, and Gertrude Stein. Jay was described in the New York Times as "one of the most civilized and authentic Americans in Paris."

The German Gestapo busted into his office to close down his bank. He was the only American bank to remain open in occupied Paris during the war.

Jay was a member of the welcoming party for Charles Lindbergh when he made the first transatlantic flight-New York to Paris. Later he criticized Lindbergh to his face, suggesting that he consider his views carefully.

Was Dean Jay a spy? Probably not, but everyone sought his advice. From presidents to popes to dictators. He was an informant who provided information to those who needed and used it.

He met his wife, Anne, on a blind date and that night he told her "I'm going to marry you." And he did. The marriage lasted sixty years.

Jay helped provide the money for the work of his friend, Nobel Prize winner Madame Marie Curie, who laid the foundation for modern oncology.

Critique: An inherently fascinating biography of an inherently interesting man who lived in inherently extraordinary times, "The American Banker in Paris: The Remarkable True Story of Little Known Nelson Dean Jay" by co-authors William Engelbrecht and Karl Taylor is laid out in nineteen informative chapters that are enhanced for the reader's benefit with an informative Introduction. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "The American Banker in Paris" is an unreservedly recommended addition to community and college/university library 20th Century Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The American Banker in Paris" is also available in a paperback edition (9798888129807, $24.00) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.00).

Editorial Note #1: William D. 'Bill' Engelbrecht discovered his love of writing as a sophomore in college when he won the William Randolph Hearst Award for writing at the University of Illinois. Upon completing his Masters's Degree he spent the next twenty-six years in the creative, imaginative world of the Leo Burnett Company, eventually serving as an Executive Vice President. Along the way, he started a newspaper, magazine and radio station. He served on the faculty of Bradley University and became one of its Vice Presidents. His advocacy for education eventually led him to be named the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

Editorial Note #2: Karl K. Taylor is the consummate writer. He earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois with an emphasis on writing and published his work in a number of prestigious academic journals. He spent over twenty years teaching the art of writing and has written three books on how to write. He has also been on the staff of Bradley University. With his Midwestern roots, Karl also had a blog that featured essays of average people from small towns who do extraordinary things. Karl received his BA degree from Knox College.

All But Six
Terrina Troy
Wool & Yard Wide Press
9798988788904, $27.95, HC, 286pp

Synopsis: Terrina Troy's father was a blue-collar high school dropout who spent his life giving the middle finger to authority. He was brilliant, fearless, reckless, and treated "bucking the system" as a sport.

With the publication of her memoir, "All But Six", Terrina weaves a raw, moving story that allows the reader to eavesdrop on some of the saddest, scariest, and funniest moments of their lives, as father and daughter struggle to navigate the complexities of their deep bond.

Her father's relentless pursuit of autonomy and devil-may-care attitude defined his life's path. He taught his daughter to never take a backseat to anyone: being strong and brave were her only options. His loving words and encouragement shaped her sense of humor and independent fighting spirit. When she was a child, her dad was her hero and mentor. But she would also learn that when it comes to a person's true character, actions always speak louder than words.

Her grit and backbone challenged him when his alcoholism and contrarian ways crossed the line. Terrina's unwavering commitment to a better life caused him to resent her; it made his personal failures impossible to hide. The very fortitude her father developed in her led to many brutally honest confrontations and a decades-long estrangement from him.

Fate reintroduced an opportunity to prove himself worthy of a second chance. His humility, introspection, sense of humor and redemptive actions ultimately reconnected their bond. Terrina embraced and straddled their very different worlds, communicating with him on his terms. In the end, she taught her father about unconditional love, devotion and respect-but it was his final lesson that would change her forever.

Critique: A compelling, intimate, and ultimately inspiring life story, "All But Six" by Terrina Troy will prove of special and particular relevance to readers with an interest in parental relationships, estrangements, and reconciliations. Laced with humor, cogent observations, and personal detail, "All But Six" is especially and unreservedly recommended for community library American Biography/Memoir collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "All But Six" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Terrina Troy ( was born and raised in Michigan. She graduated from California State University, Hayward with a Bachelor of Arts, Sociology. Terrina has been published in many trade and leadership magazines, blogs and websites. "All But Six" from Wool & Yard Wide Press is her first book.

Confessions of a Third-Rate Goddess
Kathy Biehl
9th House
9781736432136, $28.95, HC, 298pp

Synopsis: At the end of the 20th century, while mainstream media popularized an expensively dressed version of modern adult life, there was a rawer, and definitely weirder, reality being played out off-screen.

Columnist and zinester Kathy Biehl chronicled that from there was a singular and heavily trafficked intersection (collision point, some might say) of young professionals, performing and outsider artists, Unitarians, gays and lesbians, metaphysicians, traveling statues, and people who defied categorizing, many of whom wanted to sleep together, and some of whom actually did.

"Confessions of a Third-Rate Goddess: Traipsing Through A World Gone Weird' is a sequel to author Kathy Biehl's "Eat, Drink & Be Wary: Cautionary Tales". It is a memoir based romp through the antics, sagas, and questionable behavior that Biehl witnessed, experienced and, at times, instigated.

With eyebrow firmly arched, she snapshots sexual tension, ambivalence, and confusion; perils of fan mail and professional caroling; Groucho impersonators, snooping repairmen, and divine manifestations; ludicrous journeys, backstage dramas, and driveway parties; close-ups with a strange, frightening disease; her own, accidental attainment of goddesshood; and other mystery-marvels of life on the bridge to the millennium.

All of it really happened. Nobody could make this stuff up.

Critique: Throughly laced with humor and observational insight, the memorable and inhernetly fascinating essays comprising "Confessions of a Third-Rate Goddess: Traipsing Through A World Gone Weird" are a fun and thought-provoking read from start to finish. Deftly written with wit, whimsey and candor, Kathy Biehl's "Confessions of a Third-Rate Goddess: Traipsing Through A World Gone Weird" is unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections and is readily available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9781736432143, $12.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.95)

Editorial Note: Kathy Biehl ( is the author of "Eat, Drink & Be Wary: Cautionary Tales" which was shortlisted for the 2022 Eric Hoffer Award Grand Prize. Her writing has also won awards from the Association of Food Journalists, Houston Press Club, and Texas Bar Journal. She is a former columnist and associate editor of the Houston Press. She is also the publisher of Editrix, and primary voice of the social commentary zine Ladies' Fetish & Taboo Society Compendium of Anthropology, which existed in print from 1988-1998 and continues online in companion blogs.

All You'll See Is Sky
Janet A. Wilson
She Writes Press
9781647426446, $17.95, PB, 248pp

Synopsis: Despite having everything she could ask for, Janet Wilson couldn't shake a sense of emptiness in her life -- or her desire to return to the continent of her birth. After much back-and-forth, she and her husband reached an agreement: they would embark on a daring adventure, driving 25,000 miles across Africa. What they couldn't anticipate then was how this trip would challenge almost every belief, opinion, and value they held.

Over the course of their journey, Janet and her husband collided with the world and each other. There were tears and laughter. They shared thrilling highlights and challenges that forced them to negotiate and cooperate with one another. And after a heartbreaking tragedy and Janet's arrest, they made critical decisions that transformed their relationship, bringing them to a level of trust and commitment they had never before experienced. Ultimately, this led them to a deeper understanding about their place in the world - and each other's lives.

A suspenseful and emotional true autobiographical account that explores themes of love, commitment, resilience, and the power of forgiveness in the face of adversity, "All You'll See Is Sky: Resetting a Marriage on an Adventure Through Africa" is a memoir of a woman's transformation from brokenness to wholeness and a couple's transformation from breakdown to breakthrough.

Critique: Exceptionally candid, inherently interesting, impressively well written, organized and presented, "All You'll See Is Sky: Resetting a Marriage on an Adventure Through Africa" by Janet Wilson and published by She Writes Press is the kind of intensely personal, yet universally appealing memoir that will linger in in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. While with the highest possible recommended for community library Biography/Memoir collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "All You'll See Is Sky" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Janet A. Wilson ( is a South Africa-born author and adventurer with a passion for Africa's wilderness, wildlife, and diverse cultures. She met her husband, Tom, during student anti-apartheid protests in South Africa, and they later immigrated to Canada with their sons in 1979. Together, they have completed three extensive overland travels, driving a total of over 50,000 miles around Africa as well as from Alaska to Argentina and around Europe. Janet has a degree in sociology and nursing and obtained her master's in health administration. She completed the Creative Nonfiction Certificate Course at Toronto's Humber School of Writers. She and Tom currently live in Canada.

The General Fiction Shelf

Dialogues with the Wise Woman
Richard Todd Devens
Gatekeeper Press
9781662933219, $14.99, PB, 238pp

Synopsis: Scammed by a Las Vegas con artist, pianist George Sistern descends into a deep depression; and even three years later his pain, guilt, self-loathing, rage, and desire for revenge remain.

Through an acquaintance, he contacts Mildred Markowitz, a psychologist and philosopher of genius to deal with his inner demons.

Although a work of deftly crafted fiction, "Dialogues with the Wise Woman" by Richard Todd Devens is also a fascinating psychological and philosophical treatise that tackles many important issues including: What is evil? Can good and bad be determined? Is revenge ever justified? What is the best way to deal with the current violent crime epidemic? Can all criminals be rehabilitated? Is there good in everyone? What is self-esteem, and how does one acquire it? How does one release toxic and distracting thoughts? How should one prioritize time, the universal limited commodity? How can we determine the most ethical course of action? What is happiness?

Critique: A unique and compelling read from start to finish, "Dialogues with the Wise Woman" is an unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and college/university library collections. It should be noted for readers with an interest in psychological thrillers and vigilante justice novels that "Dialogues with the Wise Woman" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Articles by Richard Devens have appeared in a number of newspapers, as well as such music magazines as Piano Guild Notes ("What is Talent?" 1992; "Earl Wild - The Romantic Master," 1996), and martial arts magazines such as Kung Fu Tai Chi (formerly Kungfu Wushu), Official Karate, Karate/Kung-fu Illustrated, and Black Belt. Richard co-authored the book Martial Arts for Kids (Weatherhill, 1997). His second book, Rational Polemics, was a 2013 Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Award Winner, a 2014 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award recipient, and a second-place winner in philosophy at the 20th Annual Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Book Awards, also in 2014.

Land Marks
Maryann Lesert
She Writes Press
9781647426460, $17.95, PB, 288pp

Synopsis: Once you've experienced the devastation of fracking, nothing but stopping it makes sense. After a year of fracking well site visits and protests, four college student activists become determined to protect the people and the places they love.

In the river-crossed northwoods of Michigan, Kate, Brett, Sonya, and Mark, mentored by their former professor Rebecca, keep watch as North American Energy (NorA) connects a corridor of frack well sites deep in the state forests. When NorA expands in unexpected directions and their awful, bigger plan becomes clear, the action begins.

As grassroots activists gather and prepare to stop NorA's dangerous superfrac, stresses other than the fracturing of the bedrock appear. Sonya is arrested, Rebecca reveals her hidden past, and the one person who knows both women's stories arrives in camp. Love and solidarity want to win, even if most showdowns with Big Oil don't end well for those who take a stand.

Suspenseful, poignant, and galvanizing, "Land Marks" by novelist Maryann Lesert is a tribute to the waterways that connect us, the land that sustains us, and the moments that inspire us to rise up together to say, "No more!"

Critique: Fracking is a well stimulation technique involving the fracturing of formations in bedrock by a pressurized liquid. The process involves the high-pressure injection of "fracking fluid" (primarily water, containing sand or other proppants suspended with the aid of thickening agents) into a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum, and brine will flow more freely. When the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants (either sand or aluminium oxide) hold the fractures open. Fracking has been linked to earthquakes and the subsurface water contamination.

Although a work of fiction and riveting read from start to finish, "Land Marks" by Maryann Lesert, accurately presents the issues around the controversial practice of 'fracturing' as a fundamental part of a novel that is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Contemporary Literary & Political Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Land Marks" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Editorial Note: Maryann Lesert ( writes about people and place in equal measure. Her first novel, Base Ten (Feminist Press, 2009), featured an astrophysicist's quest for self among Lake Michigan's forested dunes and the stars. "Land Marks" grew from two years of boots-on-well-sites research on fracking. Before novels, Maryann wrote plays, including three full-lengths, five one-acts, and collaborations with a memoirist and a local symphony.

The Literary Fiction Shelf

Finding Isobel
Mary Behan
Laurence Gate Press
9781734494365, $15.00, PB, 268pp

Synopsis: Isobel has always yearned to uncover the mystery surrounding her birth and why her adoptive parents have refused to share what they know with her. About to enter vet school, Isobel's life takes an unexpected turn after the death of Maggie O'Connor, Isobel's de facto grandmother. Fueled by the pain of rejection, and willing to sacrifice her college plans and a burgeoning relationship, Isobel embarks on a quest.

Her search takes her from the tranquil landscapes of Wisconsin to the untamed beauty of New Zealand and ultimately to Bosnia, where she was born. Along the way, she encounters a diverse cast of characters, each with their own secrets and stories to share. Isobel discovers that the past holds far more than mere answers, setting her up for a future she could never have imagined.

Critique: The very definition of literary elegance, "Finding Isobel" by Mary Behan is a deftly crafted and inherently fascinating novel about self-discovery, forgiveness, and the enduring power of family. Of special interest to fans of women's domestic life and global adventure, "Finding Isobel" is unreservedly recommended for community and college/university library Literary Fiction collections.

Editorial Note #1: Mary Behan ( is a former professor of neuroscience. Now retired, she devotes her time to writing fiction, memoir, and short stories. Her first book, "Abbey Girls", is a memoir she wrote with her sister, Valerie Behan, about their childhood in Ireland. Her debut novel, "A Measured Thread" is set in Wisconsin and Ireland. It was named a Top 100 Indie Book in 2020, a finalist in the Page Turner Awards, and an eLit medal winner. Kernels, a collection of short stories, was published in 2021 and is a 2022 Shelf Unbound Best Indie award winner. Her stories have been published in the Irish literary journal, Crossways, and received Honorable Mention in the Writer's Digest Writing Competition.

The Lies Among Us
Sarah Beth Durst
Lake Union Publishing
9781662514722, $16.99, PB, 333pp

Synopsis: After her mother dies, Hannah doesn't know how to exist without her. Literally. In fact, Hannah's not even certain that she does exist. No one seems to see or hear her, and she finds herself utterly alone. Grief-stricken and confused, her sense of self slowly slipping away, Hannah sets out to find new purpose in life -- and answers about who (and what) she really is.

Hannah's only remaining family is her older sister, Leah. Yet even Leah doesn't seem to notice her. And while Hannah can see and hear her sister, she also sees beautiful and terrible things that don't (or shouldn't) exist. She learns there's much more to this world than meets the eye and struggles to make sense of it all.

When Hannah sees Leah taking the same dangerous path that consumed their own mother (where lies supplant reality) she is desperate to get through to her. But facing difficult truths is harder than it looks!

Critique: Original, fascinating, deftly crafted, "The Lies Among Us" is one of those brilliant novels that will have a special and particular appeal to fans of metaphysical/magical realism. Showcasing author Sarah Beth Durst's distinctive and narrative driven storytelling style, "The Lies Among Us" is a solid and highly recommended pick for community and college/university library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Lies Among Us" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Sarah Beth Durst ( is the author of over twenty-five books for adults, teens, and kids, including The Bone Maker, The Lake House, and Spark. She won an American Library Association Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for the Andre Norton Nebula Award three times. Several of her books have been optioned for film/television, including Drink, Slay, Love, which was made into a TV movie and was a question on Jeopardy!

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

The Hedge Witch's Hearth
Heliodor Press
9798987571279, $19.99, PB, 144pp

Synopsis: A hedge witch's home supports them spiritually and in life. And you can have a magical household of your own! If you care for it and fill it with the right intentions, it will care for you back. For example:

Your bedroom will be the calm respite you need from the world.
Your dining room will fill your friends with the warmth of your hospitality.
Your bathroom will be truly cleansing.
And your home office will be an energetic source of abundance and creativity

With the publication of "The Hedge Witch's Hearth: Crafting and Nourishing Your Magickal Home" Wiccan students and practitioners will be introduced to the stories of hearth goddesses from Hestia to Brigid. The will learn about crystals that match the energies they are looking for.
Employ a journal to set the intentions for each room of the house.

Of special note is practicing of the accompanying spells and recipes: Casting a protection salts spell on your threshold, making a spell jar in the kitchen, bless your office for prosperity, and so much more!

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and presented, "The Hedge Witch's Hearth: Crafting and Nourishing Your Magickal Home" is the ideal DIY introduction to the craft as applied to daily life. A deft combination of spell book and instruction manual, "The Hedge Witch's Hearth" is informatively enhanced for the reader's benefit with the inclusion of a two page bibliography of Further Reading & Listening, and a four page Index. While unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library Metaphysical Studies collections, it should be noted that "The Hedge Witch's Hearth" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

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

Copyright ©2001

Site design by Williams Writing, Editing & Design