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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 15, Number 12 December 2016 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Science Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Biography Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Metaphysical Studies Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf
Political Science Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

The Manual to Online Public Records, fourth edition
Michael L. Sankey & Cynthia Hetherington
Facts On Demand Press
c/o BRB Publications Inc.
PO Box 27869, Tempe, AZ 85285
9781889150628, $22.50, PB, 650pp,

Synopsis: In this newly updated and expanded fourth edition of "The Manual to Online Public Records", authors Cynthia Hetherington (who has more than 20 years of experience in research, investigations, and corporate intelligence and is the founder of Hetherington Group, a consulting, publishing, and training firm focusing on intelligence, security, and investigations.) and Michael Sankey (who has more than 35 years of experience involving public record research and government record access and is the founder and CEO of BRB Publications, Inc., as well as the Director of the Public Record Retriever Network) sheds new light on the mystique of finding public records from government and private sources. This compendium is the What, Where, and How of online public record access is on a nationwide basis. New chapters explore how to analyze record searching methodology and how to best use social media sites for advanced, creative techniques of finding electronic and paper trails of records. An analysis of 15,000+ government sites is arranged in individual state chapters. Data is presented in a format that is easy-to-use and practical in wording as well as spiked with subjective comments on value and benefits. Readers will soon learn of detailed information on key locations, including data not found from a Google Search. "The Manual to Online Public Records" will also provide techniques on how to narrow the overwhelming array of vendors to find those sites that best suit a researcher's needs.

Critique: "The Manual to Online Public Records" is an invaluable and thoroughly 'user friendly' resource provides the competitive edge for concise record research that is unreservedly recommended for professional, community, and academic library Information Science & Data Collection reference collections. A "must-have" for any researcher in the modern digital age!

Aging Wisely
Viola Meeke
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781493114269, $29.99, HC, 126pp,

Synopsis: It is a given truth that growing old is not for sissies! One of the unexpected realizations of growing older is that it brings many thoughts of "I wish I knew that before." "Aging Wisely: Facing Emotional Challenges from 50 to 85+ Years" by Viola Meeke provides information to help us age as well as possible. Surprisingly, unlike our bodies our feelings do not age. Pleasure and contentment interface loneliness, loss, fears and sorrow. At a time when life is thought easier, new problems and situations that are challenging arise. The four stages of aging include the initiation to aging at about fifty years of age, changes in life following retirement, a gradual acceptance of being older, and the final years of being eighty-five and older.

Critique: As thoughtful and thought-provoking a read as it is informed and informative, "Aging Wisely: Facing Emotional Challenges from 50 to 85+ Years" is especially recommended for all senior citizens and would prove to be an enduringly popular and valued addition to community library, academic library, and senior citizen center library collections on Aging. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Aging Wisely" is also available in a paperback edition (9781493114252, $19.99) and in a Kindle format ($3.03).

Dates and Dreams: Short Fictions, Prose Poems, Cartoons
E. M. Schorb
Hill House
9780692641262, $24.95, HC, 238pp,

Synopsis: E. M. Schorb is a prize-winning poet, novelist, and short story writer whose latest offering, "Dates and Dreams" is a collection of over a hundred prose poems, all originally published in literary magazines and quarterlies from England, Austria, Canada, Germany, China, Australia, India, and America; from Oxford Poetry, Poetry Salzburg Review, The North American Review, to Envoi, The Outrider and the University of Windsor Review, among many others. The winner of the Writer's Digest 2016 annual poetry contest, "Dates and Dreams" also includes a generous selection of Schorb's unique drawings and an introduction by X.J. Kennedy -- as well as a complete listing of E. M. Schorb's previously published works.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and consistently compelling read, "Dates and Dreams: Short Fictions, Prose Poems, Cartoons" showcases the work of a master of the English language and the prose poem format. A unique and memorable read from first page to last, "Dates and Dreams" is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Poetry collections. For the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers it should be noted that "Dates and Dreams" is also available in a paperback edition (9780692677407, $18.95).

The Science Shelf

Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism: The Central Argument
Howard J. Fisher
Green Lion Press
9781888009453, $30.00, PB, 526pp,

Synopsis: James Clerk Maxwell (13 June 1831 - 5 November 1879) was a Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics. His most notable achievement was to formulate the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as manifestations of the same phenomenon. Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism have been called the "second great unification in physics" after the first one on gravity realized by Sir Isaac Newton.

Maxwell's 'Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism' brought about what Albert Einstein called "the greatest change in the axiomatic basis of physics since Newton". But Maxwell's aim was never to construct an axiomatic theory. Instead, the Treatise presents an argument which, beginning with the most characteristic electrical and magnetic phenomena, and interpreting them as manifestations of continuous fields of electric and magnetic energy, culminates in Maxwell's theory of light as a wave motion within those fields.

The argument of the Treatise is not straightforwardly demonstrative but is a dialectical one that can be challenging to discern among the many topics presented. In "Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism: The Central Argument", academician Howard J. Fisher undertakes to extract and expound the principal path of Maxwell's dialectical thinking.

Critique: A seminal critique of Mawell's work in the field of electricity and magnetism, "Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism: The Central Argument" is enhanced with the inclusion of a two page Bibliography and a ten page Index, making it unreservedly recommended for college and university library History of Science & Physics collections in general, and James Clerk Maxwell supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

The Cookbook Shelf

Tonja's Table
Tonja Engen
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
9781945769207, $25.00, PB, 208pp,

Synopsis: "Tonja's Table: Menus and Recipes for Every Occasion" is a beautifully illustrated culinary compendium of flavor-packed dishes that will comprise meals that are both memorable and appropriate for any and all dining occasions."Tonja's Table" showcases more than 40 menus for entertaining and parties, weeknight dinners, and of special note is a section for restaurant-inspired recipes.

Critique: Easy to use and inspiring to plan menus with, "Tonja's Table" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, family, and community library cookbook collections. The palate pleasing, appetite satisfying recipes range from Filet Mignon with Red Wine Sauce; Mediterranean Quiche; Rosemary and Garlic-Infused Pot Roast; and Greek Salad; to Lamb Chops with Herbes de Provence and Yogurt Pesto; Hot Szechuan-Style Green Beans; Chicken and Swiss Turnovers; Chickpea Veggie burgers with Smoked Paprika Aioli; and Zuchini with Marcona Almonds. Highly recommended!

My Culinary Journey: Food and Fetes of Provence with Recipes
Georgeanne Brennan
Yellow Pear Press
c/o Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9780997066401 $27.50 hc

Synopsis: In this extraordinary memoir, James Beard Award-winning author, Georgeanne Brennan, takes us on an intimate journey to Provence - the place of her early culinary inspiration - where she writes in lush detail about the food, people and French festivals she celebrated during her lifelong journeys through the region.

As a young woman, she and her husband, with their small children, bought a farmhouse with a little land and some goats, in hopes of realizing the dream of an idyllic existence in the French countryside. Now, these memoirs, documented in A Pig in Provence, are accompanied by forty delicious recipes, gorgeous photographs (many are the author's personal photos) and informative, lively text featuring information about seven of her favorite regional French festivals.

In these pages, readers will find rich descriptions of warm summer meals, learning to make goat cheese, discovering regional festivals (or fetes) and more. This evocative and passionate memoir weaves together personal stories of friendship, cooking and living in the Provencal tradition, and will whet the appetite of foodies, travelers and anyone who dreams of packing their bags and taking a delicious romp through the lavender fields and vine-covered hills of Provence.

Critique: A handful of color photographs of mouth-watering dishes interleaves this enjoyable blend of recipes, anecdotes, and French cultural celebration. My Culinary Journey is an armchair gourmand's delight, and the next best thing to experiencing Provence's gustatory specialties in person. Highly recommended for personal browsing, as a fine cuisine giftbook, or as a travel souvenir, My Culinary Journey is a joy to page through. The provided recipes include "Fava Bean Toasts", "Escargots with Pastis", "Charentais Melons with Port", "Mustard-Glazed Spring Carrots with Sage Lamb Chops", and much more.

The Biography Shelf

The Road To War
Steven Burgauer
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781450218825 $33.95 hc / $2.99 Kindle

Synopsis: This is the story of Captain William C. Frodsham, Jr., who - shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - enlisted in the U.S. Army Infantry, where he excelled in basic training, became a junior officer, and eventually led a combat boat team ashore on Omaha Beach.

Six days later, in French hedgerow country and under withering German fire, Frodsham was wounded and taken prisoner. He spent the next year as a German POW, where he suffered great deprivation before finally being liberated by advancing Russian forces.

His training, his courage, his capture. The reader is taken for a first-person tour of the times at home and then tunneled into a vastly different world on the battlefield and in a German prisoner-of-war camp.

Critique: There is a reason why those who served during World War II are remembered as The Greatest Generation. The Road to War: Duty & Drill, Courage & Capture is a riveting military memoir, recounted in vivid, harrowing detail, and highly recommended for both personal and public library collections. It should be noted that The Greatest Generation is also available in an inexpensive Kindle edition ($2.99).

Not Exactly Love: A Memoir
Betty Hafner
She Writes Press
9781631521492, $16.80, PB, 240pp,

Synopsis: It was 1969, and all the rules were changing, when Betty, a woefully single French teacher on Long Island, met the handsome but edgy new teacher at her school, a hippie just back from Woodstock. His vitality opened up a new world to her -- but when they married, his rages turned against her, and often ended with physical violence. Like millions of women who discover they've married an abusive man, Betty was forced to make daily decisions. Should she suppress her feelings or should she risk violent confrontation, should she keep his physical and mental abuse against her secret or report him to the authorities, and ultimately, should she continue to live with it or leave him.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, brutally candid, and ultimately inspiring, "Not Exactly Love: A Memoir" is especially recommended to the attention of anyone having to deal with an abusive spouse or friend. While very highly recommended for community library Contemporary American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Not Exactly Love: A Memoir" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.69).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Day of First Sun
Sheryl Steines
Privately Published
9780985865245 $13.88 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Synopsis: As if tracking a deranged vampire and protecting the world of magic isn't enough, now a mortal princess is dead and a nosey reporter is bent on exposing, Wizard Guard, Annie Pearce's deepest secret. If her life wasn't already complicated enough now Annie senses a change in her longtime partner and best friend, Cham. Is it her naturally suspicious self or is he hiding something from her? When your partner is also the woman you love, coming to work every day can feel like a blessing and a curse. But that's the world Bobby Chamsky lives in as a Wizard Guard. Spells, hexes, curses, and murder: all in a days work. Nevertheless, at the end of that day there is nothing Cham won't do to protect Annie. Now that the world of nonmagic and magic have crossed with the death of mortal royalty, Cham's loyalty and love for his partner will be truly tested. Will Annie find out if her suspicions are true? Will Cham forgive her for her recklessness and can he save her before it's too late?

Critique: The first novel in the "Wizard Hall Chronicles" series, The Day of First Sun is an exciting blend of sleuthing, romance, and wizardry. Set in a modern-day Chicago splashed with a touch of magic, The Day of First Sun keeps the reader in suspense as its heroes strive to unravel the machinations of a supernatural murderer. Does a ruthless vampire informant have the answers? Or a volatile rogue wizard? The Day of First Sun is a choice pick for connoisseurs of the urban fantasy genre, highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Day of First Sun is also available in a Kinde edition ($2.99), and that a sequel, "Black Market", is forthcoming.

Olivia's Story: Protector of the Realm
David L. Dahl
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781483451725, $29.99, HC, 173pp,

Synopsis: The year is 1943. With the ink scarcely dry on her diploma, Olivia leaves Lander, Wyoming, for New York City. In a quick turn of events, she lands a translating job working for a man known only as the Major. Soon she is living an idyllic life, with exciting and rewarding work; Vivian, her roommate, is also her best friend. Then there is an accident, and in a flash, Vivian is gone. At that dark moment, a late-night visitor whisks Olivia to a secret world of fairies, elves, and leprechauns, where the surprise of her life awaits; the queen selects her to be the Protector of the Realm. Now Olivia is flying into Nazi Germany, unarmed save for her dog and a few gadgets. Her mission is simple-rescue the Major, locate an evil Jinn, and stop him from destroying the planet.

Critique: "Olivia's Story: Protector of the Realm" is an original, deftly crafted and consistently compelling historical fantasy novel by David Dahl. While very highly recommended for community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of fantasy fans that "Olivia's Story" is also available in a paperback edition (9781483451749, $14.99) and in a Kindle format ($6.15).

Silent Meridian
Elizabeth Crowens
MX Publishing
9781780929774, $16.95, PB, 360pp,

Synopsis: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert musician and paranormal investigator. Although in his humble opinion, Scott considers himself more of an ethereal archeologist and a time traveler professor.

Together they explore lost worlds and excavate realms beyond the knowledge of historians when they go back in time to find it. But everything backfires, and their friendship is tested to the limits. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future.

"Silent Meridian" reveals the alternate histories of Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and other notable luminaries in the secret diaries of a new kind of Doctor Watson, John Patrick Scott, in an X Files for the 19th century.

Critique: The first volume in author Elizabeth Crowen's 'Time Traveler Professor' series, "Silent Meridan" is a consistently entertaining and deftly crafted novel that is very highly recommended for community library Science Fiction/Fantasy collections. For the personal reading lists of science fiction fans who enjoy an alternative history approach to storytelling it should be noted that "Silent Meridian" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99). SciFi buffs will be eagerly awaiting publication of the second title in this outstanding series: "A Pocketful of Lodestones".

The Self-Help Shelf

Clueless 101
J. Ronald Adair
Eltek Publishing
9781367325401, $TBA PB / $3.99 Kindle, 137pp,

Synopsis: "Clueless 101: A Life Manual for Millennials" is specifically written to members of the Millennial Generation (and Gen Z'ers) to navigate through the complexities of contemporary life. In "Clueless 101" author J. Ronald Adai has compiled 125 pages of practical advice, safety precautions, societal standards, and references that will prove as irreverent as it is invaluable as a useful aid for younger people who seek and need something more than just getting by!

Critique: Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, content, organization and presentation, "Clueless 101: A Life Manual for Millennials" is very highly recommended for highschool, community, college, and university Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Clueless 101" is also available in a Kindle edition (, B01JQG9IQU, $3.99).

The Fiction Shelf

Testament Hill
Philip Kadwell
Liberty Street Publications
PO Box 665, South Lyon, MI 48178-0665
9780692696743, $12.50, PB, 334pp,

Synopsis: Geologist Dr. Claire Brannigan travels to rural Testament Hill, Missouri in the spring of 1962 to investigate why the local water wells have been going dry. In the course of her work, she uncovers that the town has been unknowingly founded on the site of an epic battle between Good and Evil at the dawn of human history.

Critique: One to read with the lights bright and full on. Deftly crafted and simply riveting from cover to cover "Testament Hill" by Philip Kadwell (an impressively gifted master of the genre) is an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to community library Horror/Suspense collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Testament Hill" is also available in a Kindle format ($5.95).

Becoming Jonika
P. J. Devlin
Possibilities Publishing Company
9780986182211, $10.99, PB, 266pp,

Synopsis: After she meets nineteen-year-old Ishmael, Joni Byrnes stops caring about home, school, and swim team. Instead, she embraces Ishmael's hippy lifestyle of music, pot, and Hermann Hesse. When she sells marijuana for Ishmael, Joni gains notoriety as Joni Juana -- but her new found popularity ends in a bust.

While Ishmael goes to prison, Joni avoids juvenile detention by agreeing to spend the summer of 1969 at Camp Saint Augustine of Hippo teaching inner-city black kids to swim. Joni arrives at camp with two joints stuffed in the pockets of her cutoffs. As the only white counselor, she's greeted with: "You couldn't find no crackers to save?"

In a year marked by the Vietnam War, pressure for civil rights, the Manson Family murders, the first moonwalk, and three days of peace and music at Woodstock, Joni's choices dictate her future. When the end of camp is only a week away, Joni's decision to smoke a joint jeopardizes the respect she's earned and the agreement that kept her out of juvie.

Critique: P. J. Devlin's "Becoming Jonika" is a truly riveting read by an impressively talented novelist writing about coming of age during a time of immense cultural upheaval and an aspiring re-imagination of the American dream. A deftly crafted story of alienation, acceptance, and accountability, "Becoming Jonika" is unreservedly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Becoming Jonika" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Dancing at Angel Abbey
Lauren M. Bloom
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781504353335, $39.95, HC, 370pp,

Synopsis: By worldly standards, Kate Cunningham is a success. Driven to achieve by her demanding father, Kate has fought her way into partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm. Unfortunately, professional success has come at a terrible personal cost, leaving Kate lonely, sad, and with only her elderly Siamese cat as her constant companion. But one day when an anonymous note summons Kate to her dying father's bedside, everything suddenly changes.

As she is launched on a wild journey of personal discovery propelled by portents and fortuitous events orchestrated by the great Archangel Gabriel, Kate leaves behind the world she knew, loses nearly everything she thought was important, and discovers that most of what she knew about herself was a lie. When the deceits of her past fall away, Kate learns that angels are real, miracles happen, and the truth about her life is more mysterious and magical than anything she could have possibly imagined.

Critique: A deftly crafted and consistently compelling read from first page to last, "Dancing at Angel Abbey" shares novelist Lauren Bloom's heartwarming, humorous, and inspiring story of one woman's journey into a mystic realm where Heaven and Earth intertwine, archangels eagerly share their wisdom, and Divine destiny waits. Thoroughly entertaining and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dancing at Angel Abbey" is also available in a paperback edition (9781504353311, $22.99) and in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Hawk's Ascension
S. J. Garland
Maple Kakapo Limited
9780473360467, $15.00, PB, 382pp,

Synopsis: Nathaniel Hawk keeps his promise to Cornelius Thistlewaite after the events of the recent Singapore trading season. Nathaniel reluctantly gives up his life of vice for a position at Thistlewaite's trading house. He soon finds the business of trade in the British Empire is every bit as cut throat as fighting pirates on the high seas. As he starts his new life, a terrible secret from his past threatens to destroy everything he has built and will force him to choose between old allies' and new.

Charlotte Carstairs tries desperately to settle into her new life as Nathaniel Hawk's fiance. She is not proud of the decisions she made in order to save her family from penury and must deal with their repercussions for her future. Every bit as determined as her formidable future husband to make her own place in the world, she must navigate the space between ruthless trader and traitor as the payment for past debts threaten her future.

Together Nathaniel Hawk and Charlotte Carstairs will navigate the dark underworld of black market traders in colonial Britain. They will challenge the East India Company's monopoly on trade with China and lead the drive for individual enterprise. With enemies on all sides, Nathaniel and Charlotte's immense ambitions will either drive them apart or bind them together.

Critique: An extraordinary and deftly crafted novel with keenly drawn protagonists and a riveting storyline, "Hawk's Ascension" showcases author S. J. Garland as an exceptionally gifted novelist. A consistently compelling and entertaining read from first page to last, "Hawk's Ascension" is wholeheartedly recommended, especially for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Hawk's Ascension" is also available in an inexpensive Kindle format ($2.99).

The Infidels
Joe David
Books for All Times
9780939360086, $16.95, PB, 286pp,

Synopsis: The Great War to end all wars began with two shots: one aimed at the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Hapsburg throne, and the other aimed at his wife, Sophie. What many thought would be just another Balkan squabble quickly escalated into a major war felt around the world.

As Europe burst into flames and millions of soldiers began battling the forces of nationalism, the Ottoman Turks joined arms with the Germans and extended the conflict to their longtime enemies, the Russians and the Christians. Incited by secular leaders in Constantinople, northwestern Persia became a warzone in which radical religious tribes invaded Christian villages and systematically martyred hundreds of thousands of 'infidels" who dared to resist conversion.

"The Infidels" by Joe David takes place in those turbulent times on a small slice of ancient, isolated land owned by a wealthy Assyrian family, where a young Christian girl awakens one morning to the brutal massacre of her race in a war that she is too young to understand. Stripped of her privileged and comfortable existence, pursued by a Muslim governor (a powerful symbol of the rising new world order) and surrounded by hostility and greed, deep-sated hatred and unspeakable horrors, she must somehow come to terms with the nightmare that her life has become.

Critique: A consistently compelling novel by an author who has taken serious effort to get background details correct, "The Infidels" by Joe David is a simply riveting read from cover to cover. Certain to become an enduringly popular addition to community library historical fiction collections and personal reading lists.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Gail Force
Robert Lane
Mason Alley Publishing
9780692670446 $14.95 pbk / $4.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Jake Travis, while trying to expose a corrupt Miami art gallery, goes undercover for the FBI. The gallery's owner, Phillip Agatha, is more enchanted with murder than he is with art. Aboard Agatha's luxury yacht, the Gail Force, Jake is taken by Agatha's hospitality and falls for his alluring assistant, Christina. Unknowingly, Jake plays into Agatha's hands and initiates actions that will cause a young woman to die.

As Jake battles to save the woman, unearth a rogue FBI agent, and bring Agatha to justice, his greatest challenge is to stay loyal to his girlfriend, Kathleen, and to withstand the Gail Force.

Critique: The fourth stand-alone Jake Travis novel by award-winning author Robert Lane, The Gail Force is a riveting saga of crime, action, and suspense. Writing with razor-edged wit and a keen sense of impending peril, The Gail Force is a page-turner to the end and especially recommended for connoisseurs of the genre. It should be noted for personal reading lists that The Gail Force is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99).

Adnan Alisic
AA Publishing
9781511648684 $TBA pbk / $7.99 Kindle

Synopsis: After surviving horrific massacre, 15-year-old Meho commits ruthless murders, derailing a top-secret FBI investigation which tried to prevent the sophisticated assassination on the President of the United States.

The murders are followed by the trial of the century, where media vilifies Meho as a psychopath, mass murderer, and a monster all under the influence of the FBI, who are trying to conceal the identity of the victims and protect the National Security.

The only person who believes that Meho is innocent is his 10-year-old brother Bucky, who will turn heavens and earth to free Meho. After learning the truth, Bucky is devastated, but not all things are as they seem, and the truth will be revealed at the very end.

Critique: Could human technology be on the verge of creating a genetically-targeted bio-weapon? Unforgiving explores the possibility; even though the overall story is fictional, the science behind its premise is quite real. A fascinating saga of mass-murder, misplaced justice, vengeance, and intrigue, Unforgiving will keep the reader riveted from cover to cover. Highly recommended! It should be noted for personal reading lists that Unforgiving is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

The Bazatov Conspiracy
Geoffrey A. Gilbert
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781504911085, $35.99, HC, 516pp,

Synopsis: When CIA Agent, Melville Zadev boarded Gateway Airways Flight 189 at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Thanksgiving dinner was on his mind. The many overseas assignments left him in a state of sheer exhaustion - another three months, and he'll be saying goodbye to the CIA. But by a strange and ironic twist of fate, Zadev learnt even before he landed at JFK that his blissful thoughts of retiring, were far from becoming a reality.

Two Jihadists had commandeered the flight. One of them is holding a knife to the throat of a senior flight attendant, while his accomplice spews out a slew of hateful anti- American expletives. They had one objective - blasting the Boeing 777 with 283 American passengers out of the sky!

Zadev teams up with an off duty Marine to confront the hijackers. The accolades came from every quarter, and Melville Zadev is hailed as a true American hero. The CIA man thought he had fought his final battle. But the terrorists were not daunted by the botched hijacking. Soon, Zadev hits the road, tracking a shadowy and elusive enemy! From Allepo, to the exotic French Riviera and Ramadi in Iraq, Zadev goes on a ruthless hunt for the jihadists.

In Moscow, a former Military man joins him in the fight; but the terrorists had other ideas. An assassin's bullet takes out a key informant, moments after he met Zadev and his Russian partner. America's arch enemy - the MAKI Network, led by Jatan Bazatov, has another score to settle. And while Zadev plans his strategy to liquidate the evil masterminds, a mole within the CIA, sells top secret intelligence to America's enemies! It's a desperate race against time for Melville Zadev and Vladimir Slavancovic, as they try to stop Bazatov and his group of barbaric jihadists.

Critique: "The Bazatov Conspiracy" by Geoffrey Gilbert is is the stuff of which block-buster movies are made! A deftly crafted and riveting read from cover to cover, "The Bazatov Conspiracy" is unreservedly recommended for community library Action/Adventure fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Bazatov Conspiracy" is also available in a paperback edition (978-1496974112, $23.95) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Blood Virus: A Pandemic by Design
L. A. Hollis
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781491793695, $24.95, HC, 200pp,

Synopsis: Thousands are dying and many more sickened as an unknown virus runs rampant through Western Africa. Its victims experience a violent death within a few days of exposure, so the CDC jumps in before the virus can become a global pandemic. They send their best man, Dr. Lennox Richards of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, to ground zero in Benin.

Lennox heads up an international team of top specialists with the intent of identifying and possibly developing a vaccine to halt the virus's progress. However, there's a problematic variable: the virus is ethno-specific, killing only blacks and leaving others with nothing more than a common cold. As an African American, the stakes have suddenly changed for Dr. Lennox Richards.

The good doctor has yet to realize a more sinister plot is being waged, with Benin as the initial test site for the bioengineered killer. A lethal plan is in effect to expose the world's ethnic groups to a virus specific to their particular race-in other words, the implementation of an ethnic bomb.

With time running out and no cure in sight, will Dr. Lennox Richards be able to stay alive and halt the doomsday scenario that looms close at hand?

Critique: A riveting read by an impressively talented author, "Blood Virus: A Pandemic by Design" is very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Blood Virus: A Pandemic by Design" is also available in a paperback edition (9781491785270, $14.95) and in a Kindle format ($3.99).

On A Midnight Clear
Henry Hoffman
Melange Books
9781680462920, $10.95, PB, 164pp,

Synopsis: In "On a Midnight Clear" by Henry Hoffman, private investigator Adam Fraley chances upon a horrific Christmas Eve crime while traveling the Colorado foothills. At the heart of the story is the relationship between Fraley and Noelle Feldman, an enchanting young girl whose family life is shattered by the tragic event. Finding a killer and a trove of buried gold, not to mention a future for Noelle become the challenges facing Fraley as he maneuvers his way around a bevy of obstacles populating his path.

Critique: A deftly crafted and consistently compelling read from beginning to end by a master of the genre, Henry Hoffman's chilling novel "On A Midnight Clear" is very highly recommended, especially for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs that "On A Midnight Clear" is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99).

Prospect for Murder
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson
Artemesia Publishing
9 Mickingbird Hill Road, Tijeras, NM 87059
9781932926453, $29.95, HC, 282pp,

Synopsis: Writer Natalie Seachrist has had visions since childhood. But the vision of a girl's body draped over a vintage Mustang shatters her personal world when she learns the body belongs to her grandniece. With the help of retired police detective Keoni Hewitt and her feline companion Miss Una, Natalie begins her own investigation at an apartment in the foothills of Honolulu. Will Natalie be able to learn the truth about Ariel's death before the police close the investigation without an arrest? Or has Natalie put herself in the way of a killer who's willing to kill again to hide their secret?

Critique: An deftly crafted and impressively engaging read from cover to cover, "Prospect for Murder" clearly demonstrates novelist Jeanne Burrows-Johnson as a master of the mystery/suspense genre. While very highly recommended for the personal reading lists of dedicated mystery buffs and community library Mystery Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Prospect for Murder" is also available as a complete and unabridged CD audio book (9781932926460, $34.95).

Bullet in the Chamber
John DeDakis
Strategic Media Books
782 Wofford Street, Rock Hill, SC 29730
9781939521637, $18.95, PB, 363pp,

Synopsis: Gutsy reporter, Lark Chadwick once again finds herself at the wrong place at the right time: front-row center when the White House press briefing room is suddenly attacked. The president is missing, the first lady's life is at risk, and Lark's personal life is falling apart when the man she loves disappears.

In this action/adventure story of mystery and suspense, "Bullet in the Chamber" manages to capture all of the intensity, grit and breathlessness of covering the presidency in an age of nonstop news and fierce competition.

Critique: With "Bullet in the Chamber", author John DeDakis proves to be a gifted and original novelist who is a master of the political thriller. A consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Bullet in the Chamber" is very highly recommended, especially for community library collections.

Sally Fernandez
Dunham Books
9780997397321, $15.99, PB, 224pp,

Synopsis: Maxine Ford, having resigned as deputy director of the States intelligence Agency, soon needed an outlet for her innate sleuthing capabilities. It only made sense that she would be destined to establish her own investigative firm. Naturally, her stellar clients would be among the Washington elite, including senators, members of the various congressional committees, along with other high profilers inside the beltway.

Max is hired by the wife of a prominent Senator to determine the cause of his untimely death. It leads her to discover that three world-renowned scientists had been killed days before they were scheduled to testify before the late Senator's investigative committee. Meanwhile, a fourth scientist has gone missing. Max determines he is the key to unearthing the motives behind the deaths.

Following the many twists and turns, Max and her associate, Jackson Monroe uncover a powerful organization responsible for the killings. The challenges to the global warming "cottage industry" heats up putting into question the alleged science behind the widely accepted climate change dogma. Cogent evidence is provided to the president, forcing him to make a crucial decision -- to to cover up a diabolical plot or bring down a multi-trillion-dollar world-wide economy.

Critique: "Climatized" is the first novel in a new thriller series by Sally Fernandez. An impressively well written and consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Climatized" is an especially recommended addition to community library General Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Climatized" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.69).

Roger Davis
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781491710883, $22.95, HC, 162pp,

Synopsis: For the Lady Kaline de Belmar, it should be a time of great happiness. As the official social season begins, Kaline and her grandmother, the dowager duchess Catherine de Belmar, accept an invitation to attend a ball at Greywycke Castle, the ancestral home of her godfather. Before they depart, however, the duchess informs Kaline that a male heir has been found for the Belmar title, supplanting both women -- and that Kaline should prepare for an arranged marriage, a prospect she does not care for.

Kaline is being courted by the mysterious Sir Edward Brune, but her grandmother informs Kaline that Brune is an unsuitable match and that other prospective suitors she has chosen for her will be present at the ball. Soon after Kaline arrives at the event, however, eerie occurrences begin to undermine the event, putting Kaline and her companions under the control of an unknown force that seems to be shaping the course of the weekend -- and their destinies.

Critique: With "Greywycke", novelist Roger Davis has deftly crafted a truly suspenseful tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery surrounding a castle above the sea, and a young lady who discovers she must rely on the wisdom of strange creatures and her own inner strength in order to triumph over evil and take control of her fate. A consistently compelling and unfailingly entertaining read from beginning to end, "Greywycke" is especially recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Greywycke" is also available in a paperback edition (9781491710869, $12.95) and in an inexpensive Kindle format ($3.99).

The Christian Studies Shelf

Experiencing God Through His Names
Sheryl Giesbrecht
Bold Vision Books
PO Box 2011, Friendswood, TX 77549
9780692743010, $12.99, PB, 112pp,

Synopsis: What's in a name? Names are more than groups of letters that represent a person or identify objects. Names are powerful. A person's character and destiny can be influenced by his or her name. God's attributes and personality support His unique and distinct names. If we comprehend the meanings of His titles, we can know God more intimately. In "Experiencing God Through His Names", Sheryl Giesbrecht (author of three books, hundreds of articles, blogs, and columns. as well as an inspirational speaker, a nationally syndicated radio host, leadership trainer Sheryl Giesbrecht takes the reader on an exciting journey to discover and absorb the truth about God's character.

Critique: Exceptionally well written and thoroughly accessible for the non-specialist general reader seeking their own personal relationship with God, "Experiencing God Through His Names" is especially recommended to all members of the Christian community regardless of their denominational affiliation. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Experiencing God Through His Names" is also available in a Kindle format ($5.99).

Finding the Narrow Path
Lin Wilder
Wilder Books
9781942545545, $13.50, PB, 166pp,

Synopsis: Deciding to walk away from God did not come easily or quickly for Lin Wilder. Nor did the decision to return.

As she explains: Exactly how much of my personal life should be included in this book has been a tough decision to make. This is, after all, the story of a conversion, not an autobiography. Many of my choices, judgments, and their consequences remain painful, even humiliating to revisit, writing them down, even more so. Initially, I questioned the relevance of describing elements of my career, education and relationships with men- in short, my pre-Catholic world in detail. Since I did not convert until midlife, there are a lot of territories to cover. But I realize that my use of the term 'lost years' makes no sense unless I place them squarely in the context of the person I was then. Without the details of my early life, unpleasant as they are to recall, much less write, this sense of drifting and of aimlessness are merely words which lack substance. They are unidimensional. In talks to church groups about life with and without my faith, I frequently used 'ground' while I stomped the floor I stood on, forcefully, as I worked to convey what is gained and lost with and without faith.

Faith and all which accompanies religion like regular church attendance and a belief that there is something greater here, someone present, informs our decisions and choices, even our goals. Just so, its absence widens all boundaries. More and more is acceptable.

This, at times, brutally honest story of the reasons for Wilder's walk away from God, then years later, return, cannot fail to provoke and challenge. Her decision to reveal intimate and painful details of the life lived during the years she refers to as 'lost' will cause even the most devoutly faithful reader to take a peek at the shadows of the self we hide from the world and from ourselves.

Critique: An exceptionally candid account that is impressively well written, organized and presented, "Finding the Narrow Path: Patterns, Faith and Searching" is an inherently fascinating and consistently compelling account that is as informative and thoughtful as it is insightful and ultimately inspiring. While very highly recommended for Christian Studies reading lists, it should be noted that "Finding the Narrow Path" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.99).

Gifts from Guidance
Kay Christy, MA
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781452590004, $28.00, HC, 142pp,

Synopsis: Kay Christy is a behavioral scientist and a metaphysician. She has been a student and practitioner of metaphysics and the intuitive arts for the past thirty-five years. In "Gifts from Guidance" Christy has compiled an anthology of prayers and affirmations that she had written over a ten-year period. It was written using an intuitive writing process that invokes communication with the author's spirit guides and guardian angels.

Each individual prayer unfolds a devotional vision of a life guided by love, compassion, and wisdom. This anthology's ability to articulate the longing of the soul to live an inspired and happy life is profound. The prayers are gifts from a unique inner-guidance system, and are offered with the wish that they will bring comfort, encouragement, and inspiration to the world of possibilities life has to offer. They are meant to be healing, and can be life preservers of peace and hope at times of distress, uncertainty, and fear.

"Gifts from Guidance" is a simple tool for syncing our hearts and minds with a higher level of consciousness. These amazing prayers are universal in their message of love that bridges religion and spirituality with our common human need for peace and ease.

Critique: Exceptionally inspired and inspiring, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "Gifts from Guidance" is one of those life enhancing reads that is unreservedly recommended to all members of the Christian community regardless of denominational affiliations. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gifts from Guidance" is also available in a paperback edition (9781452589985, $11.99).

Finding a Way Ahead!
Angela Harper
Circle Books
John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
9781785354182 $14.95 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

Synopsis: Finding a Way Ahead! is a book of devotional reflections drawing from experiences of Angela Harper's own healing from a lifelong condition. The reflections are intended to help others, showing that it is necessary to look at various aspects of ourselves in any search for divine healing and wholeness. The notes were originally written for a Time for Healing prayer group; a mix of churchgoers and those who came off the street to join in and who needed someone to talk to, pray with them, and listen. In accessible easy-to-read sections, Angela Harper encourages others to take heart, and to help them find comfort and guidance and coping strategies. Her aim is to give people tools to help turn around their experiences or to see other perspectives.

Critique: Written by theological expert and chaplain Angela Harper, Finding A Way Ahead! Spiritual Signposts to Healing and Wholeness is a candid, kind-hearted testimony of abiding faith in God. A comforting repository of wisdom, insight, and love, Finding a Way Ahead! is highly recommended. "It's not easy for some people to love themselves. Some believe that it's narcissistic or selfish - but to love yourself means that you are more able to achieve the realistic things you want to do in life, without constantly thinking that you are not good enough; loving yourself means that you are able to comfort yourself." It should be noted for personal reading lists that Finding a Way Ahead! is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
c/o World Service Inc.
400 W. Cummings Park, Suite 1700, Woburn, MA 01801
9781932021806, $19.98, PB,

Synopsis: Food Addicts Anonymous is a program using the 12 steps, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous, to enable men and women to recover from their addictions to foods that are causing them uncontrollable cravings. "Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous" was specifically written and published to help readers to find out if they are food addicts and, and if so, to take the steps that countless others have taken to recover from their food addictions. Anyone can recover from the chains of addiction and find freedom with the help of "Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous". Of special note is the inclusion of four appendices: Some Frequently Used Terms; A Brief History of Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA); The Twelve Steps; The Twelve Traditions.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous" is a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Health/Medicine reference collections in general, and the personal reading lists of anyone having to deal with any form of food addictions in particular.

The Metaphysical Studies Shelf

Zen for Druids
Joanna van der Hoeven
Moon Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
9781785354427 $14.95 pbk / $4.61 Kindle

Synopsis: The teachings of Zen Buddhism combined with the earth-based tradition of Druidry can create a holistic way of life that is deeply integrated with the seasons, the environment and the present moment. In soul-deep relationship we can use the techniques and wisdom from both traditions to find balance and harmony within our own lives. In this text we explore the concepts of the Dharma (the Buddha's teachings) and how they relate to the wisdom of the Druid tradition. We also look at the Wheel of the Year in modern Druidry with regards to the Dharma, incorporating the teachings into every seasonal festival in an all-encompassing celebration of nature. We explore meditation, mindfulness, animism and integration with nature, learning how to find sustainable relationship in the work that we do, opening our souls to the here and now and seeing the beauty and wonder that enchants our lives in every waking moment. Step into a new life, fully awake and aware to the beauty of the natural world.

Critique: Druid, teacher, and author Joanna van der Hoeven presents Zen for Druids, an inspirational reflection on the interplay between Zen Buddhist teachings and the druidic way of life, which is innately connected to the beauty and harmony of nature. Chapters contemplate the Dharma in a druidic context, meditation and mindfulness, the turn of the seasons, and more. "When we are mindful, we are able to see that the universe exists in everything around us, and that we are not separate... By stopping the self-centered attention that we have lived with perhaps all our lives, we turn our focus outwards so that we don't miss a thing. We learn the joy and peace that comes from really living in a mindful manner." One does not need to be a druid or a Buddhist to benefit from the wisdom of Zen for Druids! Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Zen for Druids is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.61).

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

The Fight That Started the Movies
Samuel Hawley
Conquistador Press
9780992078683 $17.95 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

Synopsis: On March 17, 1897, in an open-air arena in Carson City, Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons fought for the heavyweight championship of the world. The contest was recorded by film pioneer Enoch Rector from inside an immense, human-powered camera called the "Veriscope," the forgotten Neanderthal at the dawn of cinema history. Rector's movie of the contest premiered two months later. Known today as The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight, it was the world's first feature-length film.

The Fight That Started the Movies is the untold story of Corbett's and Fitzsimmons' journey to that ring in Nevada and how the landmark film of their battle came to be made. It reveals how boxing played a key role in the birth of the movies, spurring the development of motion picture technology and pushing the concept of "film" from a twenty-second peephole show to a full-length attraction, "a complete evening's entertainment," projected on a screen.

The cast of characters in the tale is rich and varied. There are inventors Eadweard Muybridge, Thomas Edison, William Dickson and Eugene Lauste, figuring out how to photographically capture and reproduce motion. There are the playboy brothers Otway and Gray Latham, who first saw the commercial potential of fight films, and their friend and partner Enoch Rector, who pushed that potential to its fruition. There are fighters Jim Corbett with his "scientific" methods of boxing; Bob Fitzsimmons with his thin legs and turnip-on-a-chain punch; hard-drinking John L. Sullivan and the original Jack Dempsey and the gifted but ultimately doomed Young Griffo. There are loud-mouthed fight managers and big-talking promoters, and Wild West legends like Bat Masterson and Judge Roy Bean when the story heads to the Rio Grande river. And finally, there is the audience, our collective ancestors, discovering that movies were more than just a curiosity to gape at, but a new and enduring form of entertainment to rival the theater.

Critique: The Fight That Started the Movies: The World Heavyweight Championship, the Birth of Cinema and the First Feature Film is an in-depth study of the amazing historical event in 1897 that helped usher in a new era of media. Written with a scholar's attention to detail, yet thoroughly accessible to readers of all backgrounds, The Fight That Started the Movies is a "must-read" for cinema history buffs and a welcome addition to public library collections. Highly recommended!

The Political Science Shelf

Where Bernie Went Wrong
Hunter Lewis
Axios Press
PO Box 457, Edinburg, VA 22824
9781604191080 $15.00 hc / $7.19 Kindle

Synopsis: What motivated Bernie Sanders to undertake his ground breaking campaign? First and foremost, he was appalled by the economic inequality of American society, which he felt was getting ever worse. He wanted to tax the rich and especially Wall Street much more heavily in order to finance more Social Security and Medicare for all, among other expanded government programs.

Sanders planned to jumpstart the economy by vastly increasing government investments in "infrastructure" such as roads and bridges. He would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for a start and keep raising it. He would open US borders to immigration while simultaneously cutting back on open borders for trade.

Would this program work? Would it lead to the intended outcome? Where Bernie Went Wrong considers this question and concludes that while Sanders is right in calling for a revolution against today's political and economic elites, his proposed solutions would actually make the plight of the poor and middle class even worse.

Critique: "Where Bernie Went Wrong: And Why His Remedies Will Just Make Crony Capitalism Worse" is a measured rebuttal of the economic ideas and policies espoused by former Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders. Even though Sanders lost the presidential nomination, his championed causes resonated in the hearts of numerous voters. Both those who oppose and those who support Sanders' ideas would be well advised to peruse "Where Bernie Went Wrong", the better to thoroughly understand the counter-arguments. Also highly recommended are author Hunter Lewis' previous titles "Are the Rich Necessary?" and "Where Keynes Went Wrong".

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

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