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Allen J. Earlstone
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781500615543, $14.50, 234pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: We have been enacted laws and establishing rules since we first gathered into communities, millennia ago. In endeavoring to enforce these, we have used torture, imprisonment even capital punishment to no avail. Virtually everything we have tried has failed. Why is this so? The answer lies in our faulty thinking. Like everything else, our thinking evolved from our initial primitive beliefs drawn from our early sages. They provided a platform for our civilization as it is today. But just how civilized are we? The slaughter of our fellow humans goes on unabated. Children are dying of starvation all around the world. The gap between the rich and the poor grows ever wider. The United States has more people in prison than ever before. Hatred between people of different race, religion or creed continues. The petty thieves have grown to include international espionage among governments. While technology has developed at a staggering pace, there has been little improvement in the quality of our ethics. Still, there is a reason for this. We perceive the world through astigmatic eyes. Consequently, our reality is distorted. Things are not quite as they appear. "Worlds Apart" will open your eyes and provide a sharper view of reality, a view that could change your life and pave the way to changing the world.
Critique: Never has a book been more timely or more needed of as wide a readership as possible as with Allen J. Earlstone's "Worlds Apart". In a time of American governmental sponsored torture of prisoners, of American police brutality against minorities seemingly rampant throughout our nation, with American governmental involvement in an endlessly continuing series of conflicts abroad, with an American government willing to engage in Orwellian 'Big Brother' surveillance of our populace, with a hopeless corrupt political system which the American Supreme Court has exacerbated with such nonsense as "corporations are people" and "money is speech", with one percent of the American population holding upwards of 80% and more of the country's wealth, the social and political issues of our time have never been more pressing. "Worlds Apart" is an erudite call of alarm and reform as it is informed, informative, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. "Worlds Apart" is strongly and urgently recommended reading and should be a part of every academic and community collection in every community in the country.
Roadtrip with a Raindrop
PO Box 238, Morley, MO 63767
9781938905636, $39.95, 240pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A raindrop that falls into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota will reach the Gulf of Mexico 90 days later. When Gayle Harper learned that, her world was sent spinning in a new direction. She knew in that instant that she would make a 90-day road trip, following the entire course of the Mississippi River, while keeping pace with an imaginary raindrop that she would call "Serendipity." From that moment on, this adventure has created itself in ways that often seem magical. People offered lodging in places that let me slide body and soul into the local culture. There was a fisherman's cabin, a trendy downtown loft, a tugboat converted to a B&B, a plantation mansion, a sharecropper's cabin - and once, an entire 30-room manor! The Mississippi is one of America's greatest treasures. It is embedded in our history, our present and our identity as a nation. Along its roughly 2,400 mile journey, it is transformed from a tiny creek into an immense force of nature. It passes through dramatic changes in geography, climate, culture, lifestyles and accents.
Critique: Exceptionally well written and profusely illustrated throughout, "Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River" is a wonderfully entertaining read and documents author Gayle Harper has having an extraordinary talent for storytelling. Basically a coordinated anthology of some fifty-five stories, "Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library collections.
What I've Learned
Christopher T. Heist
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478742487, $27.95, 792pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "What I've Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit", Christopher Heist covers topics that affect us every single day. Just like you, Heist is basically a nobody that wants to be a somebody. So he set out to write this book; losing two jobs, an apartment, and a marriage along the way. In "What I've Learned" the reader will learn how to properly reject etiquette, how to legally stare into your neighbor's windows, how to properly support suicide, how to make sense out of idiotic laws, how to insult people's mothers, how to piss off religious people, how to write a screenplay, how to use taboo words without getting your ass kicked, how to play drinking games, how to handle holidays, how to use the bible to avoid paying child support, how to spot a scumbag boss, how to disgust hotel staff, how to behave online, how to deal with addiction, how to properly be patriotic, how to skip high school, how to say impolite things in German, how to choose heroes, and how to enjoy what you have with the time you have to enjoy it. In his small circle of friends, he is both a legend and an asshole. But now, Heist can invade the lives of complete strangers as he shares his twisted perspective of everything he's been exposed to. And yes, nothing is sacred. As a self-proclaimed actor, activist, poet, porn star, comedian, screenwriter, atheist, author, body-builder, recovered addict, part-time alcoholic, part-time racist, leader, winner, loser, counselor, ex-soldier, runner, bicyclist, laborer, prisoner, freethinker, singer, rapper, boxer, criminal, pimp, victim, street fighter, dirty fighter, dealer, director, graduate, guardian, sucker puncher, lover, photographer, model, artist, father, inventor, slave to the system, and all around survivalist; readers may find themselves nodding in agreement to some of the not-so-crazy observations he candidly shares in the pages of "What I've Learned".
Critique: A unique compendium, "What I've Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit" is a compelling read from first page to last. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "What I've Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit" is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. A seminal work of iconoclastic relevance to the world we all live in, "What I've Learned: An Encyclopedia of Perpetual Bullshit" is very highly recommended and instructive reading.
The Writing/Publishing Shelf
Book Fairs For Authors
Larry DeKay & Peggy DeKay
PO Box 4486, Louisville, KY 40204
9780983414438, $12.95, 188pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Dozens of book fair links are included "The Author's Guide to Book Fairs", an essential resource and reference for all authors, both traditionally published and self-published, who want to learn how to leverage book fairs to build their platform and sell more books. "Book Fairs For Authors" covers why go to a book fair; who can be in a book fair; where to find book fairs; applying to be in a book fair; preparing to go to the book fair; tips on engaging buyers at the book fair; post book fair marketing; and book fair traps and pitfalls. "Book Fairs For Authors" is enhanced with the inclusion of a list of book fairs by state; a list of book festivals by state; resources for authors; book expos and trade shows.
Critique: Informed, informative, exceptionally well organized and presented, as well as thoroughly 'user friendly' from beginning to end, "Book Fairs For Authors" should be considered mandatory reading for authors and publishers who hope to expand the audience for their books -- and the financial revenues that expanded readership would engender.
The Jobs/Careers Shelf
David J. DeWitt, GA
269 Southbury Road, Roxbury, CT 06783
9781478729396, $14.95, 148pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Handwriting Analysis: Discover Your Own Vocational/Career Potential" offers a new perspective not found in conventional books on Graphology. Handwriting analysis expert David J. DeWitt links handwriting analysis with professional satisfaction and instructs the reader in the analysis of their own handwriting. It is not uncommon for individuals to labor a lifetime in an occupation that they truly dislike or to which they are, at best, indifferent. Or they might move from job to job multiple times, desperately seeking a 'career' that is edifying. Moreover, young people just entering a sparse job market might find that they have little idea of occupations that could be personally and professionally rewarding to them. The ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius, once stated "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" ... Through "Handwriting Analysis: Discover Your Own Vocational/Career Potential", David DeWitt seeks to affirm this timeless advice. "Handwriting Analysis: Discover Your Own Vocational/Career Potential" will help direct you to determine your own career potential in order that you may make the best career choice fit your personality.
Critique: Informed and informative, "Handwriting Analysis: Discover Your Own Vocational/Career Potential" is extraordinarily well written, organized and presented. A unique and highly recommended addition to community library Jobs/Careers reference collections, "Handwriting Analysis: Discover Your Own Vocational/Career Potential" will prove to be of immense appeal to the non-specialist general reader with an interest in handwriting analysis.
The Money/Finance Shelf
The Joy of Financial Security
Donna Skeels Cygan
Sage Future Press
4800 Juan Tabo NE, Suite D, Albuquerque, NM 87111
DeHart & Company Public Relations
9780989778442, $24.95, 394pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Imagine being able to manage your money in a way that not only helps you achieve financial security, but also increases your happiness. You can, and The Joy of Financial Security shows you how. Cygan's financial expertise is apparent in topics such as increasing your net worth, wise investment strategies, minimizing taxes, and preparing for retirement. Readers learn how to protect themselves from the next economic downturn, how to avoid the pressure to " keep up with the Joneses, " and how to make smarter financial decisions. But she doesn't stop there. Applying research from psychology and neuroscience, she guides readers to create happier lifestyles by making small changes that reap big rewards. Simple changes such as focusing on gratitude, nurturing creativity, and choosing experiences with family and friends over more "stuff" are encouraged. The way she weaves financial strategies together with happiness strategies is fascinating - rewarding her readers both financially and personally.
Early in her financial planning career, Cygan noticed that clients who had healthy relationships with their money were much happier overall. Being rich didn't automatically lead to happiness, and being happy didn't automatically lead to becoming wealthy; the relationship was much more complex. She devoted many years to researching and pondering the relationship between money and happiness, eventually deciding to share her findings in this book. She concluded that money doesn't buy happiness, but it definitely impacts it. The dilemma was to determine just how money impacts our happiness.
"The Joy of Financial Security" is grounded in research, but it also includes personal stories from Cygan's clients and from her own upbringing. These stories make the advice authentic, and help the reader understand how to implement the financial advice and the happiness strategies into their own lives. She shows that taking control of your finances is not rocket science, and that anyone can become a wise investor - simply by developing a financial plan and using discipline to follow the plan. Topics such as money messages from your childhood, managing your human capital, good debt vs. bad debt, and a sustainable withdrawal rate during retirement are practical for anyone wanting to take their finances to a higher level. Research from the field of neuroscience is included, touching upon topics such as learning how to make financial decisions that are rational and logical, rather than fearful or impulsive. Psychology research suggests that 40 percent of our happiness is within our control. Cygan nudges her readers to embrace this opportunity, and to try some of the strategies that can increase our happiness.
Critique: Specifically written for the non-specialist general reader with no previous background in money management or finance, "The Joy of Financial Security" is an ideal and comprehensive introduction to handling money, credit, debt, and all other matters related to financial well being. As practical and applicable as it is superbly organized and presented, "The Joy of Financial Security" is a strongly recommended instructional guide and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Money/Finance reference collections. It should be noted that "The Joy of Financial Security" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
The Money Bubble
James Turk & John Rubino
3400 Robinson Parkway, Moscow, Idaho, 83843-7433
9781622170340, $14.99, 352pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In their 2004 book "The Coming Collapse of the Dollar", financial experts James Turk and John Rubino advised readers to bet against the housing bubble before it popped and to buy gold before it soared. Those were literally the two best investment ideas of the decade. Now Turk and Rubino are back in "The Money Bubble" to say that history is about to repeat. Instead of addressing the causes of the 2008 financial crisis, the world's governments have continued along the same path, accumulating even more debt and inflating even bigger financial bubbles. So another -- even bigger -- crisis is coming. Whether it ends up being called a "crack-up boom" or "the Second Great Depression ", everything will change, from the kinds of investments that create new fortunes to the kinds of money that most of us save and spend. "The Money Bubble" covers issues ranging from how governments are hiding the scope of the problems they face; to why the world's paper currencies will soon stop functioning as money; to how you can protect your savings from the threats posed by this transition from "unsound" paper currencies to "sound" money like gold and silver; to how you can actually make money during this transition.
Critique: Iconoclastic, persuasive, detailed, and rational, "The Money Bubble" is written with an impressive candor. Very strongly recommended reading appropriate for the non-specialist general reader concerned with money management and financial issues in a complex, volatile, and globally interdependent world, "The Money Bubble" will prove to be a popular addition to community library Money & Finance instructional reference collections. It should be noted that "The Money Bubble" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99) and as an Audio Book Download ($17.95).
Women, Money & Prosperity: A Sister's Perspective On How To Retire Well
Donna M. Phelan
9781939758330, $24.95, 272pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In "Women, Money & Prosperity: A Sister's Perspective On How To Retire Well", financial expert and former President of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Connecticut State Chapter Donna Phelan takes a new and refreshing approach to retirement planning for women. Told from the perspective of the four Strong sisters (one married, one divorced, one widowed and one who never married) this is the powerful story of each sister's journey on the road to retirement success. "Women, Money & Prosperity" relates how each sister's circumstances influenced the path she would take in her own retirement planning, and the lessons each needed to learn in order to succeed. Retirement planning can be scary in today's uncertain world, and women face many unique financial challenges that their male counterparts do not. Donna Phelan is passionate about showing women how to create their own financial security and retire well - speaking in language that is easy to understand and follow. Innovative and encouraging, "Women, Money & Prosperity" provides effective strategies for women who feel they are behind in saving for retirement. "Women, Money & Prosperity" will remove the fear and uncertainty from retirement planning, thereby empowering women to live out their golden years with dignity, confidence, security and peace of mind.
Critique: As informed and informative as it is comprehensive, practical, and thoroughly 'user friendly', "Women, Money & Prosperity" is enthusiastically recommended for women seeking to secure their financial independence and an adequate retirement. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Money & Finance instructional reference collections, it should be noted that "Women, Money & Prosperity" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.19).
The Relationship Shelf
David Steele & Darlene Steele
PO Box 111783, Campbell, CA 95011
Author Marketing Experts
9780990461227, $19.95, 258pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: What kind of marriage do you want? Most couples don't want an ordinary, boring, routine relationship. They want excitement, fun, closeness, love. When we get married we make vows to be together until death do us part, but 50% of marriages don't or can't keep that commitment. We have a dream or vision of how we want our life together to be. If we don't believe our dream is possible we feel hopeless, stuck, and eventually leave the marriage mentally, emotionally, and often physically. What does a Radical Marriage look like? No-one really knows because this is largely uncharted territory and individual for each couple. "Radical Marriage: Your Relationship as Your Greatest Adventure" is for couples who believe that they are together for a reason, which is to experience life to the fullest through their relationship.
Critique: Strongly recommended and rewarding reading for those who are contemplating getting married, for those already in a committed marriage, and for those whose marriage has failed and are seeking to understand why, "Radical Marriage: Your Relationship as Your Greatest Adventure" by the husband and wife team of David and Darlene Steele will prove to be invaluable. As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Radical Marriage: Your Relationship as Your Greatest Adventure" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Human Relationship collections. Fully accessible and 'reader friendly', it should be noted that "Radical Marriage: Your Relationship as Your Greatest Adventure" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.95).
The Self-Help Shelf
Getting More for Less: The Gravity of America's Choices
George LaRoque III
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781496944979, $20.80, 254pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Getting More for Less: The Gravity of America's Choices" is written and specifically designed to be a self help guide. It explores the ideas of what shapes our behavior, and what makes our kids think (and act) the way they do. It teaches about life, education, jobs and the power of our choices. It focuses on the idea of repeated imbalances that recur throughout most our lives, and the book teaches to use this information as a tool to get the results we all are after-happiness and success for our children in the world of disparity that they currently face.
Critique: In "Getting More for Less: The Gravity of America's Choices", author George LaRoque draws upon his years of experience and expertise as a physician and a father to write this compendium of observations and commentary that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Exceptionally well organized and presented, "Getting More for Less: The Gravity of America's Choices" is very highly recommended reading and would prove to be a valued addition to personal and community Self-Help reference collections. It should be noted that "Getting More for Less: The Gravity of America's Choices" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).
Touched by the Extraordinary: Healing Stories of Love, Loss and Hope
Susan Barbara Apollon
Matters of the Soul
Box 403, Yardley, PA 19067
DeHart & Company Public Relations
9780975403693, $24.95, 216pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Sooner or later, if we live long enough, most of us will feel the profound pain that comes with losing a friend or family member. But grief isn't all tears and suffering. It's also a pathway to spiritual growth, the birth of hope, and a deeper capacity for peace and joy. In this powerful follow-up to her first book, "Touched by the Extraordinary" (9780975403648, $19.95 PB, $2.99 Kindle), Susan Apollon shares a collection of real-life stories from people she's encountered -- stories that reveal the gifts that spring up and flourish in the harsh terrain of loss.
Critique: Inspired and inspiring, this second collection of true life stories compiled by Susan Barbara Apollon is uplifting reading that is enthusiastically recommended for personal reading lists and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted that "Touched by the Extraordinary: Healing Stories of Love, Loss and Hope", like the first volume, is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).
One Less. One More.
PO Box 1619, Sag Harbor, NY 11963
9780991465804, $25.95, 287pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "One Less. One More. Follow Your Heart. Be Happy. Change Slowly. " by Robbie Vorhaus is a modern-day handbook for following your heart, an ageless formula that when applied slowly, steadily and continuously, results in unimaginable happiness and success. Drawing on his decades of advising the powerful, rich and famous, Robbie discovered a fascinating common thread, a remarkable connection, an extraordinary link among his truly happy and successful clients, family, and friends. They all, at one point, courageously and consciously chose to change their lives and follow their hearts. And now you can, too. Using real life examples from world leaders, rock stars, sports legends, and other notables, Robbie walks readers through his premise that our singular purpose in life is to be happy, and by having the courage to follow our heart and change slowly, we can fulfill our greatest goals, dreams and desires. Recognizing that we are all unforgettable heroes sharing common doubts on a collective journey, Robbie addresses questions like, What is my purpose? What if I fail? or What if I can't hear my heart's calling? Robbie also shares his incredibly compelling personal story of transforming from a homeless, drug addicted teenager, to a major media photojournalist, founder of an award-winning communications agency, leadership and crisis strategist, and to eventually writing a short, endearing column for his local newspaper, The Sag Harbor Express, that soon became the impetuous for the OLOM movement.
Critique: Expertly written, organized and presented, "One Less. One More. Follow Your Heart. Be Happy. Change Slowly" is a blend of personal memoir and practical self-help manual. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' and highly recommended for personal self-improvement reading lists, "One Less. One More. Follow Your Heart. Be Happy. Change Slowly" is especially appropriate for community library collections. It should be noted that "One Less. One More. Follow Your Heart. Be Happy. Change Slowly" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
The Fiction Shelf
Charles David Kleymeyer
Quaker Heron Press
9781490353005, $22.95, 600pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Yeshu: A Novel for the Open-Hearted" by Charles David Kleymeyer is a lyrical, Quaker retelling of the New Testament saga. Readers are invited in to experience the resonant silences in the written record by joining the storytelling carpenter Yeshu, his young neighbors Daavi and Shoshana, and a band of fellow seekers as they travel through wilderness, village, and city in search of what is divine and what it means to be human. Brimming with adventure, laughter, and natural beauty, the quest they share forever alters their lives, and still impacts ours.
The brother and sister who are the eyes and ears of this telling step out of the obscurity of history to show us that the meaning of the public story we thought we knew eludes us until our personal story makes it our own. Before Daavi can take his first footstep at Yeshu's side, Shoshana goes mysteriously missing, leading him on a search to save her that puts his own soul in the balance during his journeys with Yeshu and beyond.
When the novel opens, Daavi is a young lad helping out in his neighbor Yeshu's workshop. He hands the carpenter tools and fetches him water from the village well. In return, Yeshu tells Daavi stories. Over time they forge a friendship that is deepened by the arrival of Yeshu's second cousin Yohanan, who wanders the wilderness, emerging from time to time to sing praises of the natural world and baptize seekers of the spirit.
Among those seekers are the "lost soul" Maria Magdalena and the exuberant Thunder Brothers, James and John. They treat the lad as their equal, and he blossoms in what will become enduring friendships. The transformative impact of Yeshu's teachings and example are illuminated in the dilemmas facing Daavi and his friends, and in the choices they make and avoid. They are challenged to embrace all living creatures as sacred, and the role of family and community are pitched against responsibility for the destiny of society. Each of them must answer their questions personally, and Daavi's lifelong road to clarity of insight and effective action is neither level nor straight. "Yeshu" is intended for readers of all ages and spiritual backgrounds. It was written by a storyteller about storytellers, including one of the premier tellers of all times, a Jewish village carpenter from Nazareth. "Yeshu" shares a seeker's journey in which the end is the beginning.
Critique: "Yeshu: A Novel for the Open-Hearted" is an inherently fascinating read from first page to last. Author Charles David Kleymeyer is able to bring his characters to life in the mind's eye of the fully engaged reader. As thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is solidly entertaining, "Yeshu: A Novel for the Open-Hearted" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Yeshu: A Novel for the Open-Hearted" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
The Last Election
Gary H. Collins
21st Century Publishing
9780990568377, $14.00, 330pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: John Quincy Barnes doesn't like politics. A relentless idealist, he's only willing to take time away from his law practice at Connecticut's most prestigious firm to participate in the political process as a strategist and fundraiser, because he believes that the result of a single election altered his destiny - and saved his life. Nevertheless, he's never even considered putting his name on a ballot until asked to do so by his mentor and father figure, Aidan Coyle. Aidan, Connecticut's most influential party boss, wants Quinn to primary four-term Senator Saul Berg to address the state's growing crisis over income inequality. The timing of Aidan's plea could not be worse. At work, Quinn has just undertaken the controversial pro bono representation of the mother of a Latino teen shot in nearby East Haven. At home, he's struggling mightily in his marriage to his wife, Brooke, while his daughter, Eliza, and two sons, Pierce and Ben, grapple with the challenges of growing up multiracial. Quinn is forced to decide whether the call to meet his destiny demands that he risk everything to take on the challenge of a lifetime. And put his idealism up against the monstrous beast that is modern American politics.
Critique: The author, Gary H. Collins, was himself once a candidate for a congressional office and was able to draw upon that experience to fashion a gripping novel that has the feel of 'it could really happen' in the mind of the enthralled reader. A deftly crafted work of twists, turns, and surprises, "The Last Election" is thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end and highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted that "The Last Election" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).
D. L. Lowell
P.O. Box 800851, Santa Clarita, CA 91380-0851
9780989392808, $15.00, 234pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: After a thousand years of searching, of lives forgotten where only fragments of misty pasts remained, two people found each other again in Los Angeles. A high powered executive by day, Grace White is brilliant, beautiful and driven to be the best. A broken relationship leads her down a strange dark path. On this journey she meets Richard Ascot, who suffers the midlife demons of lost dreams. The stark contrast between her two lives establishes the context of the story. There are forces that take lives in unforeseen directions. They have many names, destiny, kismet, predestination, divine will, fate. All are illusory attempts to explain chaos, to create meaning from chance, logic from randomness. Life is a journey with only a beginning and a shrouded end guaranteed.
Critique: A superbly crafted and deftly woven novel, "Soulmate" is a fascinating, entertaining, and riveting read from beginning to end and documents D. L. Lowell as an impressively and imaginative gifted writer. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that "Soulmate" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).
Beyond Expectations: Out of the Surf
Thaddaeus U. Montgomery
9780692272336, $11.99, 264pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Beyond Expectations: Out of the Surf" is a fast paced adventure with no shortage of comedy, and just a touch of romance. "Beyond Expectations: Out of the Surf" is a real coming of age story that follows a young woman named Moira O'Malley, and her soon to be complicated life in Ocean City, Maryland. Moira is unable to avoid getting caught up in a whirlwind of dangerous events, which will forever change her life, and the lives of her friends.
Critique: "Beyond Expectations: Out of the Surf" is a deftly constructed and skillfully crafted novel that documents Thaddaeus U. Montgomery as an author of considerable talent in creating a memorable story that is a solid entertainment from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted that "Beyond Expectations: Out of the Surf" is also available in a Kindle edition ($0.99).
The Adventures Of Jon Paul Chavalier
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781483417967, $18.796, 344pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Jon Paul Chavalier is a wandering man. While on a daily walk in Toulon, France, he meets a stranger who tells him he will have a bright future filled with adventures and a shiny object. Years later it seems the stranger's prediction has come true when Jon Paul finds a gold coin and keeps it, despite his best friend's belief that the coin is cursed. Moments later, Jon Paul excitedly discovers the coin has the power to grant him wishes without any idea that the coin was once held by some of the world's most powerful and evil men. As the cursed coin causes him to act strangely, Jon Paul embarks on a quest to learn more about the coin and unveil its powers. But it is not long before Jon Paul is caught in a struggle between good and evil, both in the outside world and within himself. In this compelling tale, a man who trusts in the power of a magical coin is led down a dangerous path where he attempts to fulfill a destiny written long ago.
Critique: Original, entertaining, offering deftly crafted characters and an engaging plot of twists and turns, "The Adventures Of Jon Paul Chavalier" establishes author Niclaus Lee as an especially gifted storyteller. Very highly recommended as a genuinely good read from beginning to end, "The Adventures Of Jon Paul Chavalier" is recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "The Adventures Of Jon Paul Chavalier" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781312551503, $35.76) and a Kindle edition ($7.99).
S. J. Miller Communications
9780692206843, $9.99, 176pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: After a particularly frustrating day at work, high school math teacher, Mike Postman's afternoon walk along the Connecticut shoreline is interrupted by the screams of a boy who has fallen in off the pier and can't swim. Mike dives into the cold waters, saving the boy, but drowning himself in the process. And yet, because of the heroic way he died, he is given the opportunity to go back and re-live any five days of his life. They can be days he enjoyed and wants to re-experience, or days in which he had regrets and wants to make amends. The days he chooses, end up not being just days that impacted his life, but also days that had an impact on history. Reminding us where we were during events both inspiring and tragic, "Five Days" compels readers to ask themselves, "Which days would you choose?"
Critique: A unique and engaging story that is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. Author Matt Micros demonstrates an impressive skill at storytelling. The result is a story that will long linger in the mind and memory after being finished and set back upon the shelf. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that "Five Days" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).
Love's Sweet Sorrow
Vinspire Publishing, LLC
P.O. Box 1165, Ladson, SC 29456-1165
9780989063272, $11.99, 346pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Jason Sorren's and Ariel Hammond's love and her Quaker faith are tested when Jason accidentally uncovers evidence that will expose arms smugglers selling weapons to terrorists. As the chases to retrieve the evidence intensify and Ariel is forced to kill to save Jason's life, she withdraws into a battle raging inside her, unable to reconcile whom she has been to whom she has become.
Critique: "Love's Sweet Sorrow" is a novel showcasing author Richard Brawer's impressive storytelling talent in an engaging and entertaining saga of love and faith. A deftly crafted and wonderfully satisfying read, "Love's Sweet Sorrow" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Love's Sweet Sorrow" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
SarEth Publishing House
The Barrett Company Communications
9780988341340, $24.99 (HC), 298pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Roger Legion is the head of a prestigious San Diego law firm and finds himself in the middle of a turf war between a Mexican drug cartel and a local gangster. When the cartel's attempt to persuade him fails, all hell breaks loose. It begins with an order to kill Legion and wipe out his entire law firm. "Legion's Lawyer's" weaves its way through a world of assassins, black ops, corrupt lawyers, female abduction, and a sick, violent, drug lord, who refers to his home as a palace. Legion must face the fact that at least one of his attorneys is conspiring with the cartel to assist in his demise. Someone trained by Roger Legion now wants him dead. But is it just one lawyer? Betrayal cannot be redeemed. All Legion knows is that the traitor is one of his own, one of "Legion's Lawyers"!
Critique: A deftly woven suspense novel with many an unexpected twist and unanticipated turn, "Legion's Lawyers" is a compelling and entertaining read from first page to last. Vince Aiello is clearly an author of considerable talent, imagination, and literary storytelling skill. Also available in a paperback edition (9780988341357, $11.99) and a Kindle edition ($3.99), "Legion's Lawyers" is enthusiastically recommended for personal reading lists and community library Suspense/Thriller fiction collections.
Hot Tea... Cold Case
D. G. Stern
3519 Exeter Court, Orlando, FL 32812
9780982809822, $12.00, 234pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Did the perfect company get away with the perfect crime? They had the perfect business plan. The investors ponied up the millions they needed. The company was humming along on all cylinders. And then one day they disappeared. Along with all their research, files and computers ... and a vial of the deadly Ebola virus that no one knew they had. Enter Stephen Blackman, a fifty-something burned out lawyer working his first case as a private investigator. Hired to try and find the missing scientists, Blackman turns up a dead body instead. And when the FBI arrives on the scene, Blackman can't be sure if they're the good guys or bad. But he's caught up in this high-stakes, high-risk and highly confusing case to find the missing scientists before someone releases the deadly virus on an unsuspecting world. Blackman bounces against the worlds of international espionage, national politics and high technology in this exciting thriller, the first in a series featuring a different kind of private eye with a taste for tea and a nose for trouble.
Critique: Simply stated, "Hot Tea...Cold Case" by D. G. Stern is a riveting mystery/suspense story that will seize and hold the reader's total attention from beginning to end. Superbly crafted twists and turns, all leading to an unexpected and climatic conclusion, "Hot Tea...Cold Case" is very highly recommended for mystery fan personal reading lists and will prove to be a popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted that "Hot Tea...Cold Case" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).
The Chimera Sanction
Andre K. Baby
Robert Hale Ltd.
9780719813047, $24.95, 224pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Pope Clement XXI is kidnapped, and the Curia, the Swiss Guard, and the Italian police are overwhelmed. Thierry Dulac from Interpol is called in, but he, too, is thwarted at every turn. His investigations hint at secrets held for centuries, revenge, and omerta in the arcane, twisting corridors of the Vatican itself. It seems the pontiff too has been less than open. From the shadowy world of the Vatican to the bustling Parisian boulevards, from the charms of the Florentine piazzas, to the searing bleakness of Libya's Great Sand Sea Desert, Dulac fights to pry open the plot which could cause havoc and disbelief among the billions of Catholics across the globe and bring the pontiff back to safety.
Critique: A riveting suspense thriller of the first order, "The Chimera Sanction" documents novelist Andre K. Baby has a master wordsmith and a gifted storyteller. Exceptionally entertaining and holding the reader's firm and total attention from beginning to end, "The Chimera Sanction" is enthusiastically recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted that "The Chimera Sanction" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781482553895, $13.95, 284pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: As the head of Vatican security, Giovanni Figlia must protect a new, African Pope who courts controversy every other day. The Pope's latest project is to make Pius XII, "Hitler's Pope," a saint. Things haven't gotten better since the Pope employed American mercenary Sean Ryan. Then a body fell onto the Vatican doorstep. Soon, a pattern emerges-- people who go into the Pius XII historical archives are dying. Each time, a priest has been in the background-- a priest close to the Pope. One of the victims was an al-Qaeda operative, drawing Scott "Mossad" Murphy of Israeli intelligence to Rome. Soon, Ryan, Murphy and Figlia must join forces to unravel the mystery around the Vatican, as even the man Giovanni is supposed to protect looks like a suspect. To get out of this alive, they must discover if Hitler's Pope was a Nazi collaborator, or a pious man.
Critique: A truly riveting read from first page to last, "A Pius Man" offers a suspense thriller replete with unexpected twists and surprising turns. A deftly crafted novel from beginning to end, "A Pius Man" certifies author Declan Finn as a master storyteller of immense talent and imagination. "A Pius Man" is the first volume of a planned trilogy. Highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that "A Pius Man" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).
Wrath of the Dixie Mafia
Ingalls Publishing Group
PO Box 2500, Banner Elk, NC 28604
9781932158700, $16.95, 218pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Johnny Morocco hits Atlanta, GA in 1953. The former Army Military Policeman changes his name from McDonald and uses his military training to become a licensed P. I. Johnny's "office" is a pool room called Big Town in the heart of the city. His clients are the players and the occasional lawyer who came in on his lunch hour. Johnny's luck runs out the morning he comes into Big Town and finds a dead man lying on a pool table. With only William the Negro rack boy in the building, William is the prime suspect. Taking on the mission of proving a Negro innocent of killing a white man puts Johnny in the crosshairs himself. Only after he gets involved does he realize the crosshairs belong to the organization known as The Dixie Mafia.
Critique: It's clear that author Paul Sinor draws upon his years of experience and expertise as a script writer to deftly craft "Wrath of the Dixie Mafia" into a riveting mystery. A skillfully woven story embedded with memorable characters, unexpected plot twists, and page-turner suspense, "Wrath of the Dixie Mafia" is very highly recommended for the personal reading lists of private eye mystery buffs, and would make an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.
J. Patrick O'Connor
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
Black & Blue Star Marketing
9781483410364, $30.48, 262pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Truth Seeker" is a thriller about a Native American Intelligence Operative investigating the murder of three Washington Journalists, when he uncovers a Brazilian Mafia conspiracy that has serious repercussions for the United States Government. Billy Tyson ""Wolf Tracker,"" the Father of the main character, an Apache Tribal Chief in New Mexico, met Rebecca, his Mother, on a Kibbutz in Israel, where Billy was sent to learn about the Israel farming methods. They married and had a son, who became a special intelligence agent for the U.S. Government.
Author J. Patrick O'Connor holds dual nationality, Irish and American. He was educated in the United States and spent twenty years in Private Security and Intelligence work for Governments and International Companies, both in the United States and Europe. He has had several non-fiction books published and this is his first fiction novel.
Critique: The debut novel of author J. Patrick O'Connor, "Truth Seeker" is a gripping read that is replete with plot twists and turns and documents O'Connor's mastery of the action/adventure suspense genre. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that "Truth Seeker" is also available in a paperback edition (9781483411279, $13.48).
The Fibonacci Murders
Dale E. Lehman
c/o One Voice Press
27 Walkern Road, Essex, MD, 21221
9781940135250, $12.95, 174pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "I start with zero. Nobody dies today." The strange note delivered to Lieutenant Detective Rick Peller of the Howard County, Maryland, police was just the beginning. Soon Peller and his colleagues find themselves chasing a cunning killer who is basing his crimes on the Fibonacci series, a mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the preceding two. And the only thing Peller knows for sure is that the series never ends.
Critique: It is always a pleasure for the mystery/suspense enthusiast to include a new author in the genre who has a total mastery of the storytelling arts including character development and superbly plotted story lines with all manner of twists, turns, and surprises. Such is the case with Deale E. Lehman and his novel "The Fibonacci Murders". A genuine 'page turner' from beginning to end, "The Fibonacci Murders" is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "The Fibonacci Murders" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.95).
When Camels Fly
9780991401710, $12.99, 350pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In Israel, archaeologist Grace Madison shoots her daughter's abductor moments before a young shepherd kills a second assassin. Running for their lives, the women pursue an evil preparing to sacrifice millions of people. They endanger family and friends, confront old loves, and soon realize that nothing is as it seems.
Critique: A superbly crafted combination of romance and suspense, "When Camel Fly" is a riveting read from first page to last. It is also the first volume of novelist NLB Horton's new series 'Parched'. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that "When Camel Fly" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).
The Brothers' Keepers
9780991401734, $14.99, 408pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: While cataloging looted antiquities in Brussels, archaeologist Grace Madison learns that her daughter has disappeared in France, and daughter-in-law has been attacked in Switzerland. But before the Madisons can save themselves, they must rescue an old friend--if he'll let them. Navigating a deadly, four-thousand-year-old artifact trail that crosses three continents, they jeopardize hearts and lives against a foe as old as time--as time runs out. Because choosing what's right is all that's left.
Critique: In "The Brothers' Keepers", novelist NLB Horton blends faith, espionage, romance, and suspense in a deftly crafted novel that grips and holds the reader's total attention from beginning to end. A solidly crafted entertainment, "The Brother's Keeper" is the sequel to "When Camels Fly" and the second volume in NLB Horton's 'Parched' series. Also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99), "The Brothers' Keepers" is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections.
The Prince and the Scorpion
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478741435, $26.95, 612pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "The Prince and the Scorpion" is a gripping, action-packed sequel to "The Trojan Horse Conspiracy" by Dick Nelson. The charismatic Brad Tilsdale, former Navy SEAL, FBI agent, CIA operative and now National Security Advisor to the President, expands his influence over the U.S. government's clandestine operations, while a weak President looks the other way. While Tilsdale weaves his way through the Washington bureaucracy to head off a massive Al-Qaeda attack, his sharply etched character begins to evolve in sinister ways to show the reader the dark and ruthless side of his personality. Caught up in a passionate romantic triangle with treacherous implications, Tilsdale plots and schemes to protect the United States, often from itself. His unorthodox alliance with the two most powerful women in Washington becomes embroiled in a struggle for control of the nation's Special Operations and clandestine services, exposing layer-upon-layer of personal agendas and an insatiable pursuit of power. Tilsdale is soon forced to deal with the Iranians, as they attempt to obtain nuclear weapons, and then attack the U.S. fleet in the Arabian Sea. The mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370 is finally explained, as the Iranians attempt to strike Israel with their remaining nuclear weapons. The real story of Osama Bin Laden's fate is told with chilling detail, resulting in the creation of a shadowy organization known to its members only as the Condor Group, and operated by Tilsdale, NSA Director Melissa Clayton, and CIA Director Karen Littleton. In a final cataclysm of heartless violence and duplicity, Tilsdale's character emerges as a flawed hero who will kill without remorse in order to achieve his secretive goals, aided by a beautiful, powerful woman who is drawn irresistibly to his strength.
Critique: In "The Prince and the Scorpion", Dick Nelson once again spins a superbly fashioned novel of political intrigue, assassinations, and heroism. A solid entertainment from first page to last, "The Prince and the Scorpion" is very highly recommended, and along with its prequel, "The Trojan Horse Conspiracy" (9781432795085, $19.95), would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Action/Adventure fiction collections. It should be noted that "The Trojan Horse Conspiracy" and "The Prince and the Scorpion" are also available in Kindle editions ($2.99 and $9.99 respectively).
Breach Of Power
95222 Village Drive, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
9780988506107, $16.95, 382pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: A hiker finds a journal lost during World War II deep inside a glacier. On its frozen pages are etched the secret locations of treasures lost since the 1940s. But something more ominous is scribed in the journal. Something that threatens the Presidency of the United States. Jake Pendleton is summoned to the White House and instructed to locate and acquire the book. He soon realizes there are others on a quest to find the book. Others who will kill to get to it first.
Critique: "Breach Of Power" is a compelling read from first page to last. Author Chuck Barrett demonstrates a complete mastery of the mystery/suspense genre with a contemporary thriller replete with plot twists, turns, and surprises. A solid entertainment, attention Hollywood -- this is the stuff of which blockbuster movies are made! Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted that "Breach Of Power" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.99) and as an Audio Book Download ($14.95).
Days Of The Giants
R. J. Petrella
Wide Yard Inc.
9780988628021, $26.99 hc
9780988628038, $19.99 pbk, 392pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Set in the politically tumultuous Boston medical world of the early 1990s, "Days of the Giants" follows intern Slater Barnes through a conflict between Boston City Hospital staff and corrupt municipal officials. Despite facing a life-threatening medical diagnosis of his own, Barnes has chosen to train in one of the country's most demanding teaching institutions, Boston City Hospital. Inspired by the public hospital's mission to treat patients regardless of personal resources, and undaunted by its deteriorating physical condition, Barnes finds meaning in his work and falls in love with the institution. But when Boston mayor Peter Doyle pushes a vast rebuilding plan for the hospital through Boston City Council, corrupt city officials mastermind a scheme to turn the plan into a profit. In so doing, they threaten the hospital's very existence and force Barnes and the rest of the BCH staff to defend it. Then, a resident is murdered... R.J. Petrella is a physician, scientist and writer in Boston. A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to Boston-area hospitals and health-related charities.
Critique: A riveting and enjoyable read from first page to last, "Days Of The Giants" is an expertly crafted mystery with many an unexpected plot twist and surprising turn. Clearly documenting author R. J. Petrella as a master of the mystery/suspense genre, "Days Of The Giants" is very highly recommended for mystery fans and community library collections. It should be noted that "Days Of The Giants" is available in a hardcover edition (9780988628021, $26.99), a paperback edition (9780988628038, $19.99) and a Kindle edition ($3.99).
The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Mists of the Three Lakes
Miguel Lopez de Leon
The Barrett Company Communications
9780692227251, $9.99, 202pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Upon his return to Hillside Manor, Peter is once again thrown into more exciting adventures...sitting in on the Supreme Council meetings, exploring dangerous parts of Hillside Manor, learning all about the darker aspects of Galadrian history, and finally visiting Galadria itself! Join Peter, Rune, Aunt Gillian, Monty and all your favorite Galadrian friends as they fight for their lives in this action packed sequel in the Galadria series!
Critique: The second volume of Miguel Lopez de Leon Gladria fantasy series, "Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Mists of the Three Lakes" continues to document the author's impressive storytelling talents with an imaginative and deftly woven fantasy novel that fully engages the reader's attention from beginning to end. Although a highly entertaining read as a 'stand alone' novel, appreciative readers will also want to read volume one, "Galadria : Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage" (9780692227268, $9.99, 170pp, $9.99) and volume three "Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Knights of the Leaf" (978-0692227282, $9.99, 148pp, $9.99). Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Science Fiction/Fantasy collections, it should be noted that all three volumes of the Galadria trilogy are also available in Kindle editions ($3.99 each).
The Methuselarity Transformation
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781497532489, $10.95, 250pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: In the future, human consciousness can be exchanged between bodies and the wealthy old can pay the young to die for them. Raymond Mettler, a man whose unrelenting terror of dying prevents him from living, is given just such a shot at immortality. Marcus Takana, a desperately poor young man accepts a future contract for Ray's mind to take over his body upon Ray's death in exchange for fabulous wealth, enduring youth, and unprecedented knowledge. Both men guard the secret of their grim pact in a world at the brink of environmental catastrophe because of a genetics experiment gone horribly wrong.
Critique: "The Methuselarity Transformation" is a riveting read and establishes Rick Moskovitz as a master of the science fiction genre. Deftly crafted characters woven into a truly imaginative and complex story, "The Methuselarity Transformation" is solidly entertaining and very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "The Methuselarity Transformation" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99) and as an audio book download ($17.46).
A Dragon's Mage
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781491733202, $39.95, 598pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: My name is Samson Drake Slayer. I'm twenty years old, a Chicago cop-and a dragon's mage. It's been two years since high school graduation-two unbelievable years of building my new life and running from what I really am. I have Connie, the girl of my dreams. I'm a cop, the job of my dreams. Everything seems to be in order, but I know that it is all just an illusion. Ten years ago, things started happening that no one would believe-the Mage Uprising-and now they're happening again. Warriors are preparing for battle, plots are hatching everywhere I look (and some places I never expected), and the only thing that stands between order and sanity is my girlfriend and her dragon. I'm also the first mage ever to befriend a dragon, and that's made me some pretty brutal enemies along the way. When you try to run from your problems, you may end up running into them all over again. But how long do you have to run until you realize you're only running from yourself?
Critique: Following Cecilia Lietz's previous novel "A Dragon's Whisperer", "A Dragon's Mage" continues to document the author's mastery of the fantasy action/adventure genre. Imaginative and deftly crafted, "A Dragon's Mage" is replete with plot twists, turns and surprises. A solid entertainment from beginning to end, "A Dragon's Mage" is very highly recommended reading for fantasy enthusiasts, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy/Science Fiction collections. It should be noted that "A Dragon's Mage" is also available in a paperback edition (9781491733196, $29.95), as well as in a Kindle edition ($3.99).
The Parenting Shelf
Just Be A Dad: Things My Father Never Told Me
1230-5 Madera Road Suite 211, Simi Valley, CA 93065
Promotion in Motion
9780988957510, $28.00, 304pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: It's nearly impossible for a man to be a good father if he is not a good husband. Children learn behaviors and how to treat one another by watching the way their parents interact. When a father exercises the influence that he has in a positive way, the entire family will benefit. Psychologist George Cave notes that many men have a tendency to be immature and selfish. However, they must push themselves beyond that way of behaving and thinking. Dr. Cave has seen that a man can learn to be more caring, loving, and involved with his children's upbringing, and therefore make a real difference. "Just Be A Dad: Things My Father Never Told Me" was written to help men understand the importance of being a father. Through his research and work as a psychologist, Dr. Cave found that a father's influence has far-reaching and long-lasting effects on the lives of children... good or bad. By reading "Just Be A Dad: Things My Father Never Told Me", fathers will learn how to make their influence a greater benefit to the family. "Just Be A Dad: Things My Father Never Told Me" also explains why children do the things they do, how to effect change in others, and the difference between teaching a child and punishing a child. Dr. Cave has seen the principles he expresses in "Just Be A Dad: Things My Father Never Told Me" make a dramatic difference for families. Why not yours?
Critique: "Just Be A Dad: Things My Father Never Told Me" is deftly organized into ten chapters: A Father's Influence; What Makes a Man a Good Father?; Understanding Children's Behaviors; Family Dynamics and Dad's influence; Being a Good Listener; Intimacy and the Four Levels of Communication; Relationship Expectations and Communicating Problems; A Discussion of Arguing; The Influence of Self-Esteem, Perception, and Emotions; Philosophies to Live By. As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Just Be A Dad: Things My Father Never Told Me" is exceptionally well written and thoroughly accessible to the non-specialist general reader with an interest in paternal parenting. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Parenting instructional reference collections, it should be noted that "Just Be A Dad: Things My Father Never Told Me" is also available in a Kindle edition ($11.99).
The Biography Shelf
Golda Meir-True Grit
Flash History Press
124 Woodgate Lane, Paoli, PA 19301
9780983478454, $14.95, 301pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: As a child prodigy in principles, Golda Meir has a repertoire of noble rebellion throughout her life from Midwest America to the Middle East. This resolve will bring equal pay and education to the Arabs and Jews in Palestine, hospitals and housing to Africans, and most well known Golda will be a signer of the Declaration of Independence for the rebirth of Israel. Undaunted by the objections of her family, sects of Jewish culture, and the back-door politics of powerful governments, Golda's DNA demands pragmatic decisions that reveal her destiny and the unwavering conviction that all people can live in peace and with dignity.
Critique: Golda Meir, born Golda Mabovitch, (May 3, 1898 - December 8, 1978) was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik, politician and the fourth Prime Minister of Israel. Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. Israel's first and the world's fourth woman to hold such an office Meir resigned as prime minister in 1974, the year following the Yom Kippur War. She died in 1978 of lymphoma. "Golda Meir-True Grit" is an exceptionally well researched and written biography that does full just to its subject. Enhanced with the inclusion of a three page Bibliography, twelve pages of Endnotes, and a very useful Index, "Golda Meir-True Grit" is highly recommended for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the life and accomplishments of Gold Meir, and would prove to be a popular addition to community library 20th Century Biography collections. It should be noted that "Golda Meir-True Grit" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.49).
Joseph Smith and The Latter-day Saints
Richard Lloyd Dewey
9780929753317, $43.99, 876pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Joseph Smith and The Latter-day Saints" by Richard Lloyd Dewey is the most complete portrait so far of the Mormon prophet. Written for the everyday reader, "Joseph Smith and The Latter-day Saints" robust biography that deftly unfolds the life and times of the founder of Mormonism. Eleven years in the making, "Joseph Smith and The Latter-day Saints" captures Joseph's tumultuous life story, backing it up all the way with thousands of facts (many of which are not widely known even among member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Biographer Richard Lloyd Dewey quotes from numerous journals and letters of neighbors on the farms and villages who actually knew Joseph Smith. "Joseph Smith and The Latter-day Saints" characterizes the fascinating relationships Joseph had with friends and enemies alike, allowing the reader to come to know Joseph on an paralleled personal level. Written from the viewpoint of a believer, "Joseph Smith and The Latter-day Saints" tackles the controversies head-on, with the pro- and anti- sources clearly identified. This meticulously researched first volume of a three volume series covers the first 25 years of Joseph s 38 year life.
Critique: An impressive work of detailed and meticulously researched scholarship, "Joseph Smith and The Latter-day Saints" is a seminal work that will be greatly appreciated by both academicians and non-specialist general readers with an interest in Mormon history. Superbly written, organized and presented, "Joseph Smith and The Latter-day Saints" is exceptionally well informed and informative, making it a truly extraordinary and highly recommended addition to personal, academic, and community library American Biography collections in general, and Mormon History Studies supplemental reading lists in particular.
Arizona Dream: A True Story from a Real-Life "Ocean's Eleven"
c/o Dog Ear Publishing
4010 West 86th Street, Suite H, Indianapolis, IN 46268
9780615787459, $19.00, 436pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Haunted by the demons from his past, Adnan Alisic escapes Bosnia and comes to Phoenix, Arizona, where he starts a new life. Fueled by ambition on and drive, he starts a successful car dealership, settles down, and lives the American Dream. Tortured by his past, he seeks relief in gambling and loses everything. After being tossed out of the casino, Adnan vows to get back at them. Forced by the gambling debt and driven by the revenge against the casino, he plans an elaborate casino heist. After discovering the tunnel running under the casino, he devises an intricate scheme to get his money back and pay off the debt. But such things are never simple and straightforward.
Critique: A riveting read from beginning to end, "Arizona Dream" is an expertly written, true-life tale that reads like a thriller novel, documenting author Adnan Alisic as an extraordinary storyteller. This is the stuff from which Hollywood blockbuster movies are made! Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Biography collections. It should be noted that "Arizona Dream" is also available in a hardcover edition (9781457522574, $33.00) and a Kindle edition ($4.99).
The Memoir Shelf
Terra Sancta Press
204 Royal Palm Drive, Melbourne, FL 32935-6955
9780982964729, $14.15, 335pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Island Park: A Memoir" is Edward Keck's personal story of a German-American boy's experiences during WWII era Island Park in New York. Replete with an engaging and candid account of the adventures as he and his brother experience (and survived0 exciting and sometimes dangerous exploits on the water is a fascinating account.
Criteria: Exceptionally well written and presented, "Island Park" takes contemporary readers back to a long-gone era when life for kids was so very different than it is today. As entertaining as it is nostalgic, there are timeless and time-lost memories that will linger in the reader's mind long after "Island Park" is finished and set back upon the shelf. Very highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library American Biography collections.
A Chronicle of Intimacies
John S. Raynor
Dolman Scott Ltd.
9781909204010, $9.70, 198pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The year was 1991 and John Raynor's life was in a mess. At forty-six, two years after separating from his wife, he was living on his own and the future seemed very bleak. And then, there was Carol, a divorcee two years younger than him. Suddenly, everything changed, hopefully for the better. The bond was immediate and intense. The problem was that, one day, Carol would need John, both physically and emotionally, while the next, she would be secretive, cool and distant. "A Chronicle of Intimacies" is the true account of a sixteen month relationship which turned John's life upside down, with the added complexity of him being registered blind. During this period, he traveled to Paris, Amsterdam and Singapore and made close friends with Wendy, Angeline, Jasmine, Mirz, Amanda and Sarah, but Carol had stolen his heart. Everything in "A Chronicle of Intimacies" is factual, except for Carol's true identity.
Critique: Exceptionally candid and very well written, "A Chronicle of Intimacies" is a fascinating read from beginning to end. Also very highly recommended is John Raynor's autobiographical sequel "Who Wants To Be British?" (978-1909204003, $9.55, 236pp) and continues his personal adventures in the pursuit of love and a happy ending. It should be noted that both "A Chronicle of Intimacies" and "Who Wants To Be British?" are available in Kindled editions ($4.49 each).
Bamboo & Fern
New Generation Publishing
The Old Fire Station, 140 Tabernacle Street
London, England, EC2A 4SD
9781910394991, $12.99, 274pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Bamboo & Fern" is Ava Brown's courageous and personal story of growing up in one of the poorest areas of Jaimaca, where she learned the life lessons of perseverance and survival. From a young age, Ava's self-taught belief that she was destined for more then the community's recreational activities of sex, raising babies and going to the farm gave her the courage to forge a very different path than the one expected of her. Her story starts in a poor rural area, where the need to find food often won out over school attendance, and follows her journey through her adolescent years, which were encased in the dark shadows of incest and sexual abuse, to her young adult years when the event of being held at gunpoint finally led her to flee her home country in order to save her sanity. Yet, her resilience and love for her native country allowed her to see all of her harsh and disappointing experiences as stepping stones to becoming a strong and self-reliant woman, one who is capable of helping our society to break the cycle of poverty and its effects. We welcome you to share in Ava's journey through her book, "Bamboo & Fern". Using the metaphor of the bamboo, her childhood experiences gave her strong roots to grow but made her tough and bendable like the bamboo plant, she is also like a fern, vulnerable but with a huge capacity for survival. You will experience her triumphs, setbacks and trials. "Bamboo & Fern" will break your heart, before it makes you smile.
Critique: Candid, erudite, engaging, informative, and thought-provoking, "Bamboo & Fern" is a deftly written memoir that will prove to be a rich and rewarding read. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library Biography collections, it should be noted that "Bamboo & Fern" is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.02).
Why Not? Conquering The Road Less Traveled
John Brown & Donna Brown
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478742265, $19.95, 178pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Cerebral Palsy is a developmental disease impacting motor coordination that affects 3 out of every 1,000 births. While medical intervention such as physical or speech therapy, ambulatory aides like wheelchairs or braces, help a child achieve a productive life, John Brown was determined that he would leave his mark on the world. Born in the early 50's with a type of spastic CP impacting his gait and balance, but leaving his speech intact, John and his strong willed mother fought against the times' conventional wisdom and doctors' predictions that he would never walk. After an early childhood of repeated muscle lengthening surgeries and body braces, he insisted upon leaving a special education school to be mainstreamed in the Philadelphia Catholic, then public, school systems, and went on to play Catholic grade school football and developed a keen interest in high school wrestling and football. After completing a degree in broadcast journalism, he embarked on a 44 year career as an award winning Philadelphia radio disc jockey, traffic reporter and meteorologist, retiring in October 2013. From the childhood specialists who viewed him as just another special needs child, to his first radio program director who called him a diamond in the rough, John was determined to be the best in his field and demonstrate that hard work, perseverance and, some luck, can help one trump the odds no matter the obstacles. John's is a story of the American spirit, how tears, determination and true grit can get you to the top.
Critique: Exceptionally well written and presented, "Why Not? Conquering The Road Less Traveled" is a an extraordinarily candid and moving personal account of triumph over tragedy. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library American Biography collections, it should be noted that "Why Not? Conquering The Road Less Traveled" is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.95).
My Year in Oman
Matthew D. Heines
9780990879305, $15.99, 442pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: What do you do when you find yourself alone in Arabia during the beginning of the War On Terror? A month after the September 11th attacks, the somewhat skeptical teacher and ex-paratrooper decides to take a job teaching English in the Sultanate of Oman. In spite of the warnings of friends, family and the U.S. State Department, the author arrives in Oman to find the country is nothing that he had imagined.
Critique: Author Mathew D. Heines personal experiences are deftly detailed in the pages of "My Year in Oman: An American Experience in Arabia During the War On Terror". The result is a riveting read from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that " "My Year in Oman: An American Experience in Arabia During the War On Terror" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).
Another Year in Oman
Matthew D. Heines
9780990879312, $10.99, 262pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: What do you do when you are a lone American in Arabia during the War On Terror in love with an Arab woman? In the second of a three book series describing his life in the Middle East after the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, the author finds he is alone again in the remote regions of Arabia. To make matters worse, the U.S. is gearing up for an invasion of Iraq to the north and everyone is looking at the author, the only American in the region, with even greater suspicion. In the middle of it all he finds himself involved in a surrealistic, clandestine relationship. But is it real, or is it just a dream? It's up to you to decide.
Critique: "Another Year in Oman: Between Iraq and a Hard Place" is the second title in author Matthew D. Heines' three volume series 'American Experiences in Arabia During the War On Terror' and continues his personal experiences, observations, and insights. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Another Year in Oman: Between Iraq and a Hard Place" is, like the first volume in this outstanding series (My Year in Oman: An American Experience in Arabia during the War On Terror" is recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that like volume one, "Another Year in Oman" is also available in a Kindle edition ($4.49).
Killing Time in Saudi Araba
Matthew D. Heines
9780990879374, $18.99, 510pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: What would you do if you found yourself in the middle of the War On Terror, without knowing it? What would you do if you worked for a company that didn't care if you lived or died? In the third book of his American Experiences in Arabia During the War On Terror series, Matthew D. Heines takes a job as an English Instructor training National Guard Officers for the Saudi Arabian military. After his arrival, thanks to Iraq and Abu Ghraib prison, the heaviest fighting erupts in Riyadh during the years 2004-2005. For eighteen months, the author experiences life in the Middle of the War On Terror. It's crazy, funny and tragic, all at the same time.
Critique: "Killing Time in Saudi Arabia: An American Experience" is the third and final volume in author Matthew d. Heines' superbly written biographical trilogy 'American Experiences in Arabia During the War On Terror' and, like the first two volumes, is informative, thoughtful, candid, and a totally engaging read from first page to last. Like the first two volumes in this impressive series ("My Year In Oman" and "Another Year in Oman"), "Killing Time in Saudi Arabia: An American Experience" is strongly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, and is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99). Academic libraries would be well advised to acquire the complete trilogy for their American Biography collections.
The Christian Studies Shelf
Integrated Justice and Equality
John Addison Teevan
Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
98 E. Fulton Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Bob Todd Publicity
9781938948923, $14.95, 190pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Why write about social justice? Why investigate income inequality? In "Integrated Justice and Equality", John Addison Teevan discusses the topics of social justice and income inequality within an economic, philosophic, and biblical framework that leads to an understanding of integrated justice. A theme of central importance is that Christians should continue to serve the people of the world both to gain credibility as Christians and to open the door for other aspects of Christian ministry, particularly the ones related to the Great Commission's call to disciple-making and church-planting. What key insights should the reader look for? First, many evangelical Christians have come lately to the issue of social justice. We are catching up and finding our role in the conversation. Second, while justice is a significant biblical value, it is always surpassed by God's grace. We must everywhere and always be ministers of grace in order to be good servants of God. If we follow that path, we will pursue integrated justice.
Critique: Informed, informative, thoughtful, thought-provoking, inspired, and inspiring, "Integrated Justice and Equality" should be considered 'must' reading for anyone within the Christian community (regardless of denominational affiliation) with an interest in social justice issues in general, and reforming income inequality in particular. Exceptionally well written and presented, "Integrated Justice and Equality" is highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library Social Issues collections. It should be noted that "Integrated Justice and Equality" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).
The Poetry Shelf
8 Liddon Road, Chalgrove, Oxon, OX44 7YH, UK
9780992997205, $15.14, 125pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Pop songs come in all shapes and sizes and this collection of humorous lyrics with illustrations might just remind you of pop favourites from the 1950s to the present day. When hilarious sequels to works by Bob Newhart (The Driving Instructor) and Clement Clarke Moore (The Night Before Christmas) are also included, the result is an array of scintillating verse designed purely to entertain and amuse. If you have an ear for music and can fit the lyrics to the originals, so much the better!
Critique: "Parodies Lost" is great fun and the tongue-in-cheek poetry is a delight. Deftly organized into seven major sections (Fifties Favorites; Swingin' Sixties; Musical Mementos; Seventies Specials; A Christmas Cracker; Ecstatic Eighties; And to Finish), "Parodies Lost" is replete with humorous takes on the human condition and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal poetry collections. It should be noted that "Pop songs come in all shapes and sizes and this collection of humorous lyrics with illustrations might just remind you of pop favourites from the 1950s to the present day. When hilarious sequels to works by Bob Newhart (The Driving Instructor) and Clement Clarke Moore (The Night Before Christmas) are also included, the result is an array of scintillating verse designed purely to entertain and amuse. If you have an ear for music and can fit the lyrics to the originals, so much the better! It should be noted that "Parodies Lost" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).
The Graphic Novel Shelf
Daniel Boyd & Edi Guedes
Allen Media Strategies
9780985749330, $19.99, 116pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: What if there really was a Garden of Eden -a place with a history before the first people we know of? A civilization cursed and banished underground for breaking their own commandment to live in balance with the Earth. When an evil coal operator discovers that the "sacred" carbon can burn forever, he will sacrifice the land and the people to extract the full deposit. When he awakens and releases a hell the surface world cannot imagine, the only thing that stands in the way of the ecological disaster, is a disgraced, ex-pro baseball pitcher and a community of courageous coal miners. Set in the southern West Virginia coalfields, "Carbon" is a supernatural horror story intertwined with environmental issues so timely they appear to come from the day's headlines, just barely scratches the surface of a very real and pressing environmental issue.
Critique: The collaborative effort of Daniel Boyd and Edi Guedes, "Carbon" is a superbly illustrated graphic novel that while a fictional entertainment, brings to bear some very real environmental issues and touches upon some very real human conflicts. Exceptionally well written and presented from first page to last, "Carbon" is very strongly recommended and rewarding reading. It should be noted that "Carbon" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).
The Photography Shelf
The Glow of Paris: The Bridges of Paris at Night
PO Box 53231, Washington, DC 20009
9780990630906, $49.95, 208pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: Paris at night. Already we're expecting something special. And that's exactly what Gary Zuercher provides in "The Glow of Paris: The Bridges of Paris at Night", a truly gorgeous collection of photographs. Over a period of five years, he took his cameras out into the Parisian night to capture stunningly evocative images of the bridges that span the Seine. Using his artistic eye and sophisticated photographic technique, he created these glorious black-and-white photographs, rich with detail and possessing a clear, luminous, quality. This collection is unique, and remarkable. No one else has ever photographed all the bridges that cross the Seine in Paris in this way. We don t see crowds of people, or heavy traffic. Nothing obscures the beauty and strength of the structures, the romance and symbolism of the bridges. Shooting in black and white allows the details to shine: the architectural elements, artwork, nearby buildings, trees on the riverbanks, and starry lamps casting paths of light across the water.
Critique: A classic study that raises photography to the level of a fine art, "The Glow of Paris: The Bridges of Paris at Night" documents the photographer as having a true artist's eye for composition and imagery. The flawless coffee-table book size reproductions are enhanced with the inclusion of an informed and informative commentary throughout, making "The Glow of Paris: The Bridges of Paris at Night" a 'must' for all aspiring photographers to browse through and would make an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Photographic Studies collections.
The American History Shelf
Write, If You Live to Get There
Mary K. Sonntag & Mary Jo Sonntag
Word Association Publishers
9781595718983, $19.95, 433pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: "Write, If You Live to Get There: Tracing Westward Expansion Through 120 Years of Family Letters", is the eloquently told story of the spirited family who chronicled more than a century of living in the letters they wrote to each other, from Pennsylvania and Vermont, to California and places in between. Mere memory might paint our pasts in glittering gold, but the reality that Mary K. Sonntag uncovered in this treasure trove of family letters and photographs, reveals something even more precious. Here is a clear, personal and intimate glimpse into life in America in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
This remarkable collection of letters, kept true to the idiom and spelling of the various writers, takes readers into day-to-day events and concerns of the real-life characters. There is the energetic and enterprising Sierra Nevada Vade Phillips who established a mineral water spa in early Tahoe, adding to her profits by marketing the water with the slogan, tastes better than whiskey! And there is Mehitable Jane Ball Phillips who divorced her first husband because he took the wrong side in the Civil War.
There are the marriages, the births, the heart breaking losses of babies and children, blizzards, Indians, plagues of insects and illnesses all recorded in these precious letters. "Write, If You Live to Get There: Tracing Westward Expansion Through 120 Years of Family Letters" is replete with such poignant lines as "If luck comes my way, I will come see you, if not I will keep on digging and live in hope."
Critique: A unique and impressive multi-generational account a revealed in an extraordinary collection of personal correspondences, "Write, If You Live to Get There: Tracing Westward Expansion Through 120 Years of Family Letters" is an inherently fascinating read from first page to last. Very highly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted that "Write, If You Live to Get There: Tracing Westward Expansion Through 120 Years of Family Letters" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).
The Geology Shelf
The Making Of Europe: A Geological History
Dunedin Academic Press Ltd
c/o International Specialized Book Services
920 Northeast 58th Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR, 97213
9781780460437, $90.00, 176pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: The continent of Europe, as a recognizable geographic entity, attained roughly its present shape around 20 million years ago. Even since then, the European coastline has undergone significant changes, due mainly to sea-level movements. "The Making Of Europe: A Geological History" relates how Europe has been assembled through geological time by the accretion of various distinct geological components, some of which have travelled a considerable distance across the globe to reach their present positions. "The Making Of Europe: A Geological History" is written for those who are curious about the shape, variety, and origins of the continent of Europe. How did the continent come to adopt certain shapes as presented on maps? Why are there such distinct regions and landscapes, ranging from the wide plains of Northern Europe to the mountains of the South? Illustrated in color, with technical terms kept to a minimum, "The Making of Europe: A Geological History" will educate all those who travel in Europe and who are interested in the study of geology.
Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout, "The Making Of Europe: A Geological History" by Graham Park is extraordinarily well written, organized and presented, making it an informed and informative read that would be of value to students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in geology. "The Making Of Europe: A Geological History" is very strongly recommended for both academic and community library Geology Studies reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted that "The Making Of Europe: A Geological History" is also available in a paperback edition (9781780460239, $49.50).
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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